Monday, December 21, 2009

Thumbprint Cookies

I love these cookies. I have no idea why. I even used to eat the ones in the vending machine, at UP, probably with a Diet Pepsi. Classic meal, good grief.

Anyway, most important thing- get a good jam. No one likes crap jam.

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon flax with 2 tablespoons water
1 cup WW pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Jelly- your choice...make it good!

1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
2. Mix brown sugar, shortening, applesauce, vanilla and flax with water in medium bowl. Stir in flour and salt until dough holds together.
3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place about 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Press thumb deeply in center of each.
4. Bake about 10 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Fill thumbprints with jelly. (Adapted from my really old Betty Crocker cookbook)

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sugar Cookies- Day 6!

Of all the traditional Christmas cookies, this is the one I most remember. My granny makes excellent sugar cookies and her frosting is better than anyone’s. She claims it is nothing special and that she simply follows a recipe, but there is just something really tasty about it. Maybe it’s just because Granny made them.
In any case, I knew I had to include them in the 12 days...what’s Christmas without a plate of stars and bells, frosted in red and green?
Of course, Jena and Maddie immediately jumped on these cookies when I asked for their favs. These girls love anything sweet: doesn’t matter if it’s cookie dough, rice krispie treats or frosting- on top of cookie, cupcake, or in the can. We may or may not have once eaten our combined weights in cupcakes and frosting.
This dough was a little sticky, and frustrated me easily. So, I only made two Christmas trees and said “screw it” and rolled the rest into sugar cookie balls. It’s easy to get lazy when you’re making 12 cookies in 2 weeks...what was I thinking?

I totally just copied the recipe from Happy Herbivore (I love that site!) Only change: I used 1 tablespoon flax with 3 tablespoons of water instead of the ener-g-"egg"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Italian Wedding Cookies

Italian Wedding Cookies
or Mexican Wedding cookies. I have never seen either at a wedding, but I would totally eat them at one..maybe a wedding cookie cake...hmmm.
Mom suggested these a few days ago and since we are always on the same page, I already planned on making them.

Here they are!

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour flour
3/4 cup finely ground almonds or almond meal
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup Earth Balance
2 1/2 T agave syrup
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift together the flour, ground almonds, confectioners' sugar and salt and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer, cream together the margarine with the agave until fluffy. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, beating until just incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in several additions, beating until combined. Divide the dough in half, wrap each half in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I totally cheated on that part.)
Preheat the oven to 350 F and line two large baking sheets with parchment. Roll about 1 T. of the dough at a time into balls, placing each on the prepared baking sheets as you work. Bake until the edges just begin to brown, about 12-14 minutes. (Don't let them brown all over, as they will dry out very quickly!) Transfer the cookies to wire cooling racks to cool for about 15-20 minutes. Roll cookies in confectioners' sugar to coat and return to the wire cooling racks to cool completely.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am not sure that Chocolate Chip Cookies are very holiday-esque, but at least four people mentioned them. Then, when I asked my dad about his favorite cookie, he said this one. (I was beyond not surprised) My dad is a typical, sports watching, All-American guy and this is an All-American cookie. I was hesitant to add it to my twelve cookies, but when he told me he heard that chocolate chip cookies are the number one holiday cookie, I caved.
Since there are thousands of recipes, I knew I could modify and “healthify” this cookie no problem: so I did...somewhat.
I also added some warm spices to try to make it a little more Christmasy. If you are not vegan, you could add some colored mnms to these, but I don’t think I’m supposed to promote that on a vegan blog- keep your mouth shut.

Adapted from
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/2 tsp.salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
vegan chocolate or carob chips - put in as many as you like
1/2 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 teaspoon vanilla you can use a combo of regular and bourbon vanilla, like I did()
1/4 cup water


In a large bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add chips. Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a medium size bowl mix vegan sugar applesauce and oil. Mix it well. Add the vanilla and then add the water. Mix it well. Add the wet to the well in the dry. Mix it well but be careful not to overwork it. Add more chips if you need to. Spoon onto cookie sheets- you may need to spray them.

Bake 10 minutes, or until golden and soft.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pecan Sandies

Yesterday I asked Claire, “What’s your favorite holiday cookie?” In typical Claire fashion, she was unsure of the name, but went on to energetically descripe a pecan cookie dipped in powdered sugar. I am unsure if she actually means Italian Wedding Cookies (I will make those later in the week), but Pecan Sandies have powdered sugar too, so that’s what I made.
I don’t think I have ever made these before, but they came out great. I had to add more flour after the batter was complete- they seemed a little too wet. I think it’s because of the water to flax ration, which was added instead of eggs.
The crushed pecans and almond meal give this cookie an excellent texture. And the insane amount of sugar will have you smiling, and running to the gym.

Recipe adapted from
1 cup earth balance
1 cup canola oil
1 cup raw sugar
1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons flax with 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
I cup almond meal (I found this at Trader Joes...just use another cup of flour if you're pulling your hair out searching)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped (very fine- almost crushed) pecans
1/2 cup raw sugar for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine, canola oil, 1 cup raw sugar and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Beat in the flax and water, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the creamed mixture. Mix in the pecans. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and roll each ball in remaining white sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven


I am posting day 2 and 3 tonight, due to my lack of post last night...I was too bust baking.

I know I say this with a lot of foods, but I used to hate snickerdoodles. What’s so special about a buttery cookie dipped in cinnamon and sugar? Um, hello...what’s NOT special about a buttery cookie dipped in cinnamon and sugar. I do not know what my problem was.
When I decided to make 12 Christmas cookies, I ran out of ideas fast. So, I enlisted the help of my lovely, and hungry, friends and family to pass along the names of their favorite holiday cookie. A few people ended up mentioning this one, but it was Nicole, who mentioned them first. Unfortunately, Nicole is in San Francisso, but hopefully these keep long enough for her to have some, or I may just have to make another batch for her.
They were easy enough to want to make again. There is nothing unique about this recipe, except for the Bourbon Vanilla I added! And unlike many other things I try to make, these are not healthy...okay the wheat flour is good, but that’s about it.
It’s Christmas time- who wants a healthy cookie?

Recipe adapted from
1/2 cup earth balance, softened
1/2 cup vegetable, non hydrogenated shortening
1 1/3 cups raw sugar
2 tablespoons ground flax w/ 6 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 3/4- 3 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons raw sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the flax and vanillas. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

12 Days of Christmas, desserts.

Peppermint Black bean brownies:
For the next twelve days, I will post a Christmas cookie recipe.
Although, tonight's recipe is not a cookie. It's a brownie. A brownie made with black beans. Stop making a face. I know black beans should be saved for an enchilada accoutrement, or perhaps a soup...I was skeptical too. But, my faithful reader(s)?, these brownies do not taste like black beans.
However, I will admit I am not completely satisfied with my results. I "stole" the recipe from Happy only amendment was the peppermint extract addition. (I added 1/2 tsp.) My brownies were not as thick as hers, even though I did them in the same size dish. I will try to make these again by adding some chocolate chips and maybe 1/4 cup more chocolate powder. try the recipe though- they look fab and look like they taste even better on the HH blog.
Come back tomorrow for another recipe. I am still toying with the next 11 recipes, so if you have suggestions, leave them here, or on my fb page and I will try to deliver.

(No recipe, click the HH link!)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Mushroom and sun-dried tomato risotto

I love risotto and I don't know why.
It's just rice and rice is boring. But risotto is's magical. Not really, but if you're a Gilmore Girls fan, you will know the episode I am referring to. If not, ask me and I will tell you, so you don't think I am crazy.

The problem with risotto is that it can be time consuming, boring if it's always cooked the same way and totally fattening (which is probably why it's good.) I've slimmed it down and dressed it up. Here's the result:

Mushroom and sun-dried tomato risotto
4 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons water
1 package crimini mushrooms
1/2 yellow onion
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup soy milk or soy cream
1 jar sun dried tomatoes- rinsed and drained (get rid of the excess oil!)

Add 1 tablespoon water to skillet, and stir in the onion. Cook until slightly soft. Add 1 more tablespoon of water and add rice, cook about 2 minutes. When the rice has taken on a pale, golden color, pour in wine, stirring constantly until the wine is fully absorbed. Add 1/2 cup broth to the rice, and stir until the broth is absorbed. Continue adding broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring continuously, until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft.
In a separate skillet, add last of water and cook mushrooms until hot. Slice sun dried tomatoes. Add mushrooms, tomatoes and spices to risotto. Add milk, stir and keep warm. Risotto should be creamy and hot.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A+ Oatmeal raisin cookies

I love school. I love cooking. (I sound like I'm about ready to launch into "I like lamp", from Anchorman.) In any case, when I really, really love a class, I usually show my appreciation for a teacher by cooking something.
Monday night was the last meeting for my favorite grad school class this semester. I have a feeling it may end up being my favorite class in my grad school endeavors, but that has yet to be seen.
A few weeks ago, my professor mentioned that oatmeal raisin cookies are her favorite. I wanted to make her a little treat to show her how much I appreciate her class. It is rare to find a class/teacher as amazing as this one. I think you will agree that when a teacher (or anyone) is truly fabulous, he/she deserves to hear it. Those of you in EDC 171, who read the blog (shout out!) will agree, I hope.
Here is the recipe for these amazing cookies (I promise I am not giving them to her hoping she will give me an A.) Regardless, these cookies are an A+ recipe. I can't believe I didn't use any fat, oil, butter, etc. And the only sugar comes from fruits and maple syrup. You may not believe it until you try it, but please do. These cookies are soft and sweet and, if you're counting, have about 50-60 calories per serving.
I made a batch with raisins and one with chocolate chips (the cal count goes up if you're indulging in chocolate! But who cares?)
P.S. Check back tomorrow for some delish risotto.

1 cup oats
1 1/2 cups whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

2 tablespoons ground flax (I know it's a dry ingredient, but keep it with the wet!)
6 tablespoons water
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 mashed banana
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 cup raisins and/or 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wet ingredients (not raisins). Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add wet to dry ingredients. Mix until combined, do not over mix. Add raisins and/or other mix ins.

Spoon onto cookie sheet with spoon or cookie dough dropper (buy one of these!!!) Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Until soft, but firm in the middle. Makes between 24-30 cookies.
Give to a teacher, or eat them all yourself.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"Nacho" every day nacho

Please pardon the pathetic joke in the title. I could not resist. (This is what happens when you spend all day with 2nd graders that make you want to pull you hair out and then you find euphoria when your 3 hour class is cancelled.)

This recipe is pretty simple. Make it. It's one of the most omni friendly recipes I have. It's also super simple to modify. And it can please picky sisters. My sis came home, saw this on the table and said "Oh my gosh, yesss!! Nachos" (insert big eyes, gasp and happy teenager.)

1 bag healthish tortilla chips (look for something with wheat, beans, flax, veggies, etc.)
1 package chickenless chicken
5 oz. vegan nacho cheese
4 oz. vegan monterey jack cheese
1 can black beans
1 package spanish rice
2 tbsp. healthy oil
2 tbsp. wheat flour
1/3-1/2 soy milk

Cook rice to package's specifications. Set aside.

Shred nacho cheese. In a pot at medium low, mix healthy oil and wheat flour until it makes a roux. Add milk and stir to avoid clumps. When hot, add cheese until mixed well. Set aside. Keep adding milk, or water or broth (any liquid) to keep from thickening.

Preheat oven to 400.
Place chips in one layer on baking sheet or casserole dish. Make sure the baking sheet has a lip, or your nachos will tumble to the floor! Add a layer of cheese sauce. Add some beans, rice and chicken. Top with desired amount of shredded jack cheese. Repeat steps, starting with nachos, until all ingredients are gone... make sure the goods are evenly spread over the chips.

Place in oven for 10-15 minutes. Chips should be crispy, cheese should melt. Serve with guacamole and salsa.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Enchilada Casserole

I am on a roll. And at least one of you better make one of these dishes on here and then post how you liked it. Please?
If you're going to make anything, make this!
Enchilada casserole is a staple in our house. It's simple, cheap and feeds the picky masses (aka my omni sisters). Mix it up, add some fall veggies, or a different "meat".

corn tortillas (just buy the package if you're lazy)
1 can enchilada sauce or one recipe homemade enchilada sauce
1 small can diced mild green chiles
2 packages soyrizo (I like TJ- cheaper than any other brand)
1 chopped onion
1 rd or green pepper
1 box whole grain spanish rice

Cook rice according to box
Saute chopped onion and pepper in 1 tablespoon of water. Add soyrizo and cook until hot. Add 1 can mild green chiles. Mix and set aside.
Preheat oven to 375
Spoon a thin layer of sauce in a large casserole dish (about 11x14 ish).
Cut tortillas in half and layer them in the dish (you can set them rounded edge to straight or rounded to rounded, your choice). Spread soyrizo and veggie mixture on tortillas.
Spread rice on soyrizo mix.
Place another layer of halved tortillas in the dish and top with sauce. Repeat the soyrizo mixture and rice. Add another layer of tortillas and repeat if still more soyrizo. Top with tortillas and a layer of sauce.

Bake until hot, about 15 minutes.
Serve with chips, salsa and guacamole.

Here is the enchilada sauce (terrible pic, but I wanted you to get an idea)- my first time making it from scratch. I am never going back!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pumpkin muffins

I make pumpkin cookies every year, but I rarely take advantage of other pumpkin baked goods.
Last night I found a recipe for pumpkin bread on I was amazed at the positive 2000+ reviews, but appaled by the ingredients in the bread: 1 cup of oil, 3 cups of sugar, 4 eggs, etc. I am willing to indulge, but if I can modify, I'd much rather save my indulgences for something really special.
This recipe is completely adapted from the recipe I found. In addition, I turned these into mini muffins, topped half with a cinnamon swirl glaze and the other half with chocolate chips- yum.

Mini pumpkin muffins (or bread)*

1 15. oz can pumpkin puree
4 tablespoons flax + 4 tablespoons water
1 cup apple sauce
2 tablespoons healthy oil
2/3 cup water
1/2 squeezed orange
1 cup natural sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (you can use cinnamon and nutmeg)

Unnecessary additions
1/2 cup chocolate chips (for half of the batter)
1 tablespoon earth balance
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, flax, applesauce, oil, water and sugar until well blended.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and spice. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended.
Scoop half of the batter into mini muffin tins. (pre-greased or paper lined.) For sugar glaze- place butter, brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl, blend with fork. Top half of the muffins with the mixture.
For the other half of the batter, mix in chocolate chips and pour into muffin tins.
Bake for about 10-15 minutes in the preheated oven.

*If baking bread, put into loaf pans and cook for about 45-50 minutes.

Adapted from

Tomato soup and grilled cheese sammies...a classic

My sister will tell you that I went a little soup crazy this week. What can I say?

I went grocery shopping on Tuesday when it rained hard enough for Noah and his arc to sail through the city. (The high school's parking lot flooded- if that tells you anything) Rain and wind and grey clouds equal soup. So here is another soup recipe, but I promise this is the last one for the week.

This tomato soup is nothing super original, but why mess with a classic? Serve it with crackers, or if you're feeling really old school, a grilled cheese sandwich- I used wheat sourdough bread and vegan nacho flavored cheese. My little trick- grill the sandwiches on a pancake griddle, then microwave to really melt the cheese (these were the star of dinner.)

Classic tomato soup:

Serves 8-10 (Cut recipe in half if you don't want leftovers)

2 24 oz cans crushed tomatoes with basil (basil optional)
1 small can tomato paste
1 red pepper
1 tablespoon water
1/2 yellow onion
2 celery stalks
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dried herbs (you pick)
2 cups vegetable broth

Preheat oven to 400.
Cut red pepper in half, long way, de-seed. Place on a baking sheet, hollowed side down. Bake until the skin in brown/black. (About 40 min)
Chop onion and celery and place in a hot skillet with water. Cook until onion start to turn golden. Set aside
Mince garlic, set aside.
Place all tomato products, herbs, spices and broth in vitamix or blender. Add onions, celery and garlic. Blend until smooth.
Cut red pepper into large chunks (just so it is easy to blend.) Add to blender. Pulse until smooth.
If using the vitamix, turn on high until soup heats- about 5 minutes.

Serve immediately with grilled cheese sandwiches.

*I did not use a blender, may produce different results. You can heat the soup in the microwave or on the stove.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Butternut Squash soup- can you say fall?

I know, I know. I have been more than remiss the past several weeks. What can I say? A girl goes from the end of a lazy summer to starting school, work, etc., etc. all at the same time.
In case you haven't recently experienced really cold weather (my trip to Boise last weekend exposed me to real, non-California, cold) or tons of rain, I'll get you in the loop and's FALL!!
I'm excited (if those caps and exclamation points didn't clue you in). This means sweaters, fires, the smell of Christmas and really excellent food. I'm getting a little tired of sandwiches and veggie burgers.
Tonight's meal screamed fall:
Roasted Butternut Squash soup, apple cinnamon bread and roasted veggies. You won't find the bread or veggies in this post (don't tell, but the bread was in a box from Trader Joe's and the veggies are cut, drizzled with grapeseed oil, salt and herbs, which I roasted in the oven.)
The soup recipe was built from many recipes: Alton Brown, allrecipes, Vitamix and my head. Please enjoy- this was truly delicious and creamy and if you're unsure of squash soup, let this year be the one that you grow up, stop complaining and try it!

1 large butternut squash
1 apple (choose the variety, I used Honeycrisp)
1/2 onion
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp soy butter, melted
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 whole wheat flour
2 cups vegetable broth
Grapeseed or olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.
Cut squash in half, peel skin and cube into 1.5-2 in cubes (I know it takes work, deal). Cut apple into similar chunks. Place squash and apple in a casserole dish (try not to overlap) Pour melted butter, salt, cinnamon and herbs over the squash and apple. Bake for 40-45 minutes (until tender)
Chop onion and mix garlic. Saute onion in a bit of grapeseed oil. When translucent, add garlic and heat.
In a vitamix (or blender*) mix vegetable broth and flour. If using the vitamix, blend on high for 5 minutes- it should get hot. Add squash and apple, onion and garlic mixture to flour and broth. Blend until pureed. Serve hot with bread and roasted veggies.

*I made my soup in a vitamix, so the blender may produce different results. You may not need to blend as long because it will not heat like a vitamix will.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Peach Upside Down Cake that will rock your world!

I found the recipe that will keep me a vegan for the rest of my life.
sometimes I get sad when I see lovely almost croissants or delicious iced lemon cookies and I realize I cannot indulge in them.
Whenever I'm wishing for a treat, I will remind myself of this warm, buttery, lemony, sweet, fresh dessert and say, "haha. I can have my cake and eat it too!"
With it's low cal and fat content and amazing flavor, it's irresistable.
I wish I could take teh credit, but I got it off of one of my fav blogs.
The only thing I did was use rice instead of soy and I used whole wheat flour instead of white... you will not be sorry if you make this.
If you're looking for a vegan recipe to try- THIS IS IT!

A quick shout out to my great-grandmother and her cast iron skillet. I'm convinced she would have an aneurism if she knew I made a vegan dessert in one of her pans, but she not here to say, "Allison, what on earth are you doing?!" So, ha.
Click here for the recipe and make sure to browse the rest of this site: it's fantastic. Feel free to view my photos below... sorry if there's drool on the screen. ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Eggplant Parmesan

This weekend, my dear friend, Nicole asked, "When are you going to update your blog? I check it all the time!" Thank goodness someone does... if you're out there, little readers, please comment on my recipes so I know you're reading!
In any case, I'm posting this recipe for Nicole because she asked. So, if there is anyone who wants me to cook something and post it on my blog: tell me!!! I'm sure vegan cooking sounds scary and there must be tons of recipes you're sure I cannot veganize, so give me a challenge.
Last week, I received some eggplant from my CSA. I really enjoy eggplant, but I enjoy it the same way I enjoy mint... as a flavor. No one sits around eating mint leaves, and rarely do I eat an eggplant, even though eggplant tapenade and hummus frequent my refrigerator. So, today was the perfect night to make eggplant parmesan. Likely one of the most common vegetarian Italian dishes, I've read recipes that fry the eggplant, bake it, bbq it, or some combo of two. Since I've never had eggplant parmesan, I cannot say how this recipe compares, but our foreign exchange student and I loved it.
My red sauce was homemade and I even added some diced squash (because oodles of it are sitting on my counter, yelling at me to use them!)
For tonight, I will not be posting my sauce recipe because it was a little too acidic, but I'll play with it and get back to you.
Don't forget to read the post below this one- I've made some treats for you!

Eggplant Parmesan: serves 4-5

3 medium to large eggplants
1-2 tablespoons healthy oil
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (their texture holds up well in the oven)
Vegan parmesan cheese
Vegan mozzarella cheese (opt.)
3 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon oregano, or other dried herb
I jar, can, or 2 cups red sauce

Preheat oven to 425.
Slice eggplant diagonally, in about 1 inch slices. Brush with healthy oil, on both sides.
Mix breadcrumbs, garlic, onion, parmesan and herbs into a shallow bowl.
Lightly coat a baking dish with red sauce. (The casserole dish should be large enough to hold the eggplant slices without overlap.)
Place each eggplant slice into the breadcrumb mix, making sure both sides get a generous coat.
When finished, place each slice into the baking dish, sprinkle leftover crumbs onto the eggplant slices.
Cook in the oven for about 25 minutes.
(This is the eggplant after the first bake.)
When the crumbs are crisply, pour sauce over each slice to cover. Top with mozzarella cheese and return to oven. Cook until bubbly and brown- about 10 more minutes.

Graham Crackers and Oreos

I believe Donna Reed, June Cleaver and every 1950's housewife smiled upon me today, while Gloria Steinem and the other radical feminists of the 20th century mocked me for my cooking endeavors. Nevertheless, today I made graham crackers and Oreos... I know. Ridiculous.
I should have been a woman in 1954... I would have found some handsome man to marry me and I could have hung around in a kitchen making donuts and truffles all day. Oh well.
I haven't tried the graham crackers yet (I'm waiting for a dark chocolate s'more tonight!) but the recipe's been begging for an attempt since I read it on VeganYumYum. Although I still find omitting honey from my diet somewhat laughable (are the bees really complaining?!) it is not vegan, thereby making graham crackers non-vegan. All for the best; they're usually loaded with HFCS and other nonsense that modern American society claims standard. (I'm off my soapbox.) To see the recipe, head to VeganYumYum, the first vegan cooking blog I ever read, with "to die for" recipes and pictures.

The Oreos, however, were all me. Well, the cookie was. The buttercream is the standard recipe found on the internet. The neighbor kids came over yesterday and we decided to bake cupcakes. I had a small bowl-ful of leftover frosting and conjured an urge to make Oreos. I really love Oreos- something I never thought I'd say, but it's true. Unbelievably, they're vegan, which makes me more scared because of what's in that deliciously naughty creme filling- more HFCS, for sure!
I made the cookies off of several recipes. There are a ton of chocolate cookie recipes out there, ranging from cake box mix to a more complex Italian style. I opted for a somewhat simple recipe. Of course, I substituted eggs with flax, and let me say, why is flax so amazing?! There is no need for eggs in baking when one can throw a tablespoon of flax and some water into a cookie- seriously.
Alright, get on your aprons, pearls and your 1950's heels and get in that kitchen and bake some "better for you than the packaged junk, but still not healthy" cookies. (See the Oreo recipe below.)

1 1/3 cups Brown Rice flour (you could use any kind... this is what I had on hand.)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups turbinado sugar (same rules apply for sugar... use any kind.)
9 tablespoons room temp earth balance
1 tablespoon flax and 4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375.
In a bowl mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar. While an electric mixer, add the butter, flax, water and vanilla. Beat until combined. It may be a bit crumbly, but that's okay-it will come together. Drop rounded teaspoons (best with a melon baller) of batter onto pizza stones- or lined cookie sheets. Make sure cookies are in ball shapes and press down with palm of hand. Bake for 8-9 minutes. It's hard to tell when the cookies are done because they're dark, but do not let them crack. This will make them difficult to sandwich.
Make cream filling while cookies are baking and cooling.
*Let cookies cool completely before sandwiching*
After the cookies have cooled on a rack, turn one upside down and place about 1-2 tablespoons, or more if desired, buttercream onto cookie. Spread like butter on bread. Place another cookie on top to create a sandwich. The frosting should be thick, but not overwhelming: you want to be able to see it!
When you've made all the sandwiches, place cookies in a tupperware container- do not overlap- and stick them in the freezer to set. You can serve them frozen or thawed.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Brownies!!!! (and they're kinda good for ya)

When I was a kid, I actually really disliked brownies (and goldfish, graham crackers, animal cookies and peanut butter)-I know!
However, the reason I hated brownies was because they were always too dry- especially if you didn't eat them a nanosecond after they came out of the oven. This of course ensured maximum tongue and hand burning.
When I started cooking on my own, I added chocolate chips to my brownies and loved them.
This recipe is an adapted version of a totally bad for you recipe that throws in some zucchini. Now, eating zucchini seems rather silly to me when you're going to eat 3 cups of sugar and a pound of fat. So, I fixed the recipe and think they're quite delish (as do the unsuspecting people who've raved about them and not mentioned the zucchini!) The chocolate chips and frosting are both optional, but I recommend doing one or the other,

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetnened applesauce
1 cup natural sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 FINELY cups shredded zucchini
1/2 cup semi-sweet choc chips

3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 cup earth balance
1 cups confectioners' sugar
1/8 cup rice milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x13 inch pan
Mix the applesauce, sugar and vanilla together. In a separate bowl, blend the flour, powder, soda and salt.
Add the wet into the dry ingredients, then add the zucchini and chocolate chips. (If the batter seems to dry, add a bit more apple sauce. This dough is thicker than most brownie batters). Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

(IF DESIRED) While the brownies are baking, melt the cocoa powder and earth balance over the stove. In a bowl, blend the sugar, milk and vanilla extract. Stir in the melted chocolate and serve over cooled, but slightly warm brownies.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Baked Potatoes

I'm back from vacation, so there will be a few posts this week.
Poor potatoes, I always underestimate your power to make a delicious meal. They're cheap, healthy, easy to top with anything, thus making it a winner for all tastebuds!

This potato is topped with homemade chili, steamed broccoli, peach/mango salsa and some vegan cheese.
I don't really have a recipe for the chili, but I kinda threw one together, see below. Top these taters with anything you like- Tofu sour cream, soy butter or even a smattering of sauted veggies!

1 yellow onion
1 clove garlic
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans
1 can black beans
1 can chili beans
1 pkg soyrizo
1 small can tomato paste
1 can crushed tomatoes
Tabasco or other hot sauce/powder to your liking

Saute onion and garlic in pot. Add soyrizo, cook until broken into bits, add all other ingredients. Simmer until hot, serve over potato.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stir Fry

In the mood for stir fry? This is an easy recipe for a quick weekday meal.
It started with me realizing we had Basmati rice in the cabinet, some left over red pepper and carrots and then deciding to buy the supplies I need for stir fry!
You can add whatever veggies you have on hand, not to mention tofu, "chicken" or "beef". I tried the beef for the first time last night and although I don't think I'll buy it again, at least I don't have to be curious anymore! Beef was never my thing and the alternative isn't either... maybe that means it actually resembles beef...
Of course, I tried to be ambitious and make egg rolls, but I literally bought EGG roll wrappers- momentary lapse in vegan judgement.
I pulled the wrappers out of the fridge and it dawned on me that egg rolls are, duh, made of egg. So, at 6:20, I made a quick call and we made a hasty run to the local Thai restaurant for some salad rolls and they were delish! I also served this meal with steamed edamame.
Stayed tuned for blackberry pie tonight or tomorrow!

Serves 4-6
Basmati rice (follow directions and amounts for 4-6 ppl)
1 tablespoon oil or water
1 red pepper, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped
1 bag shredded carrots
1 package sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. chili paste (add more for spicy tastebuds)
1/2 cup teryaki or soy sauce
1/4 cup crushed peanuts (optional)
1 bundle green onion, chopped (optional)
1 cup bean sprouts (optional)
1 pkg "chicken" or "beef" strips

In a large pan, saute red pepper and succhini until slightly tender, add mushrooms and carrots and cook until veggies are soft, but not mushy. Add meat, if desired.
In a large bowl, stir chili paste and sauce.
Mix cooked rice and veggies into the bowl of sauce.

Place stir fry on platter and top with peanuts, onions and bean sprouts. Serve with sald rolls and edamame, if desired.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Risotto stuffed artichokes

Now that I feel a little more comfortable in the world of vegan cooking, I'm beginning to create my own recipes and trying to stop playing copycat from all my favorite vegan cooking blogs: check out these kitchen heroes on my favorite links!
The other night I decided a stuffed artichoke sounded like a lovely dinner, but what stuffing? How to cook the chokes?
Risotto and the BBQ would be the answers.
After a mishap with the propane tank, the BBQ idea went out the window, so I steamed the chokes and broiled them in a bit of grapeseed oil. (Note: I should have cooked the chokes longer...oops!)
Nevertheless, the risotto was fab and the fam gave it rave reviews. The risotto is versatile- you can sneak in any veggies you like, but I used some summer squash from my new CSA!
Enjoy my first recipe:
Risotto stuffed artichokes

Serves 5-7
1 tablespoon healthy oil
1/2 tablespoon earth balance
quarter of one large yellow onion, diced
3 small summer squash, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups arborio rice
6 cups vegetable stock (more if needed)
1/4 cup soy creamer
1 quarter cup green onion, diced
Dried or fresh basil, if desired
vegan mozzarella cheese, if desired

Melt butter and oil together in a large pot or skillet. Add onion until slightly golden, add garlic and squash.
Add rice and cook until slightly golden.
Add enough of the stock to cover the rice and simmer until liquid begins to evaporate. Continue to add stock, to cover rice, until all the stock is used. (This process will take about 20 minutes.)
When ready to serve, add soy creamer. (Add more or less depending on desired consistency)
Top with green onion, a sprinkle of basil and some finely grated cheese.

Cook the artichokes however you wish, but make sure they are seasoned with some herbs, or salt and pepper. Halve the chokes, scoop out their middles, and fill them with the risotto.

Serve with salad.

Welcome to my blog

So you're probably wondering, "who is the young vegan?" (that is of course if you don't know me already.)
I suppose I'm calling myself the young vegan because I'm, well, young- twenties is young, right? And in any case, I am a young vegan. I've only been diving into the world of vegan eating for three months, but it was not a decision I took lightly.
However, as a starving, unemployed teacher, and graduate student, I live with my non-vegan parents and sisters and try to prepare vegan meals that appeal to their carnivorous palettes.
I hope this blog becomes an accurate depiction of my daily adventures in vegan recipes, while living with non-vegans in a small, (less than vegan conscious) town in Nor-Cal.
Please enjoy the photos, recipes and stories... I hope this inspires you to think outside the box when you cook. Be adventurous. Try eggplant or wheat flour, or dare I say, tofu... it may surprise you.