Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Hummus & Avocado

GrilledSandwichesAll right. I have two confessions. First, these aren’t technically grilled, nor do they have avocado on them. *GASP* I know, I’m sorry. But let me explain. So, it’s very early spring here in Colorado and the outdoor grill, much like my legs, are still winterized. But, I do have the spray tan of grills . . .
20140414_175759 Now, about that avocado. I’ve had 4 avocados sitting in a paper bag on my counter for about 5 days and they are still rock solid. I made the mistake of trying to cut into one and it was like stabbing a butternut squash. And if that wasn’t enough, I tried a second avocado and ended up with the same results. In fact, I couldn’t even get the halves apart! I was all ready to place the beautiful slices of avocado next to the fresh basil . . .

noAvocadoIn spite of these culinary catastrophes, I assure you, the “grilling” process worked beautifully, and the avocado would be a grand addition to these sandwiches.

INGREDIENTS:

Marinade

1/2 C balsamic vinegar
1/2 C red wine
1/4 C olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

The rest

2 small zucchini, sliced length-wise
1 red bell pepper, cut into wide strips
1 eggplant, sliced length-wise, then again length-wise
1/2 large onion, cut into wide strips
1 avocado (preferably real and not imaginary), sliced
1 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C hummus, homemade (easy) or store bought (even easier)
6 French rolls, or other sandwich bread

DIRECTIONS:

Combine the marinade ingredients in a large zip bag. Add the veggies and let them marinate in the frige for about an hour. Turn the bag over halfway through. Spray the grill pan with a small amount of cooking spray and heat pan over medium heat. Using tongs, place the veggies in the pan. I recommend putting as many slices of bell pepper on as you can because they’ll take the longest to cook. I also suggest flattening them out a little so that you can turn them over to cook both sides. The zucchini and eggplant will take about 3-4 minutes per side.
20140414_181655I continued cooking all of the zucchini and eggplant, transferring the cooked slices to a large sheet of foil and sealing it up while everything else cooked. Everything stayed nice and hot. I then added the onions while the peppers continued to cook.
20140414_182013Once the vegetables are cooked, start assembling your sandwiches! (You can toast the bread first, if you’d like). Spread on some hummus, add the veggies, basil and of course, a few beautiful slices of avocado. Enjoy!

 

Pine Nut & Cashew Ravioli with Fresh Mushrooms, Tomatoes & Basil

PineNutCashewRavioli2I’m finally back with a new recipe! As much as I love them, I don’t use pine nuts often because they’re rather pricey, but I picked some up on sale. They add such a decadent flavor to dishes and this is no exception. Combined with cashews, they make an ideal stuffing for ravioli. The fresh veggies on top complete the meal.

INGREDIENTS

Dough

1-1/2 C semolina flour
1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 C warm unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbs olive oil

Filling

1/2 C pine nuts
1 C roasted, unsalted cashews
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 C fresh spinach

Topping

2 Tbs Earth Balance
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 C cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 large tomatoes, diced
1 C fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbs red wine
Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

You can soak the nuts for several hours to overnight, or to speed things up, in a medium bowl, pour boiling water over the nuts and let sit for 2 hours. Sometimes, I only soak them for an hour or so; I don’t mind if the filling isn’t perfectly smooth, so it’s up to you. To prepare the dough, whisk together the two flours and the salt. Whisk in the warm almond milk and oil. Sometimes it’s easier to use your hands to combine everything; use what works. Transfer the dough to a very lightly floured surface and knead for 5-7 minutes until the dough is smooth. Cover in plastic wrap and set aside. To make the filling, drain the nuts and add them to a food processor. Process them for about 30 seconds to get them a bit pureed. Add the rest of the ingredients and puree 1-2 minutes until smooth. Set aside.
20140411_173050As you probably recall, I like to use my pasta maker and a ravioli plate to make raviolis, and I have to say, the process gets easier and quicker each time. I recommend at least getting a ravioli plate—you can find one for under $20 on Amazon.
20140411_175640I ended up with 44 raviolis . . .
20140411_183459I then let them sit for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, I prepared the topping. In a small bowl, combine the tomatoes and basil; season with salt and pepper. In a medium skillet, heat the Earth Balance and add the garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Cook for two minutes, then add the wine and cook another 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms soften. Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes and basil.
20140411_185555Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the ravioli (about a dozen at a time) for 3-5 minutes. They will float to the top and puff up a little when they’re ready. I usually serve them as they finish cooking so they stay hot. If you want to cook them all first, I suggest transferring them to a large, oiled baking sheet. Otherwise, they’ll stick together. Serve with a scoop or two of the fresh topping and enjoy!
20140411_191407

And the winner is . . .

Congrats to Scout and Bodhi who won a copy of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

Thank you to everyone who visited and entered!

DSC08248And by the way, I also made the Fiesta Taco Potato Crisps that are on page 85 and brought them to a get together. Everyone (including us) declared they were the Best. Appetizer. Ever. I made them again last night when my Mom came over for dinner. Again, Best. Appetizer. Ever.

20140406_163926_resizedThanks again, everyone!

Empowered Noodle Bowl + A Giveaway of The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

DSC08248I was thrilled to have an opportunity to post a recipe from Angela Liddon’s The Oh She Glows Cookbook AND be able to give a copy away to one lucky reader! I’ve been glued to this cookbook since I received it because not only is it full of beautiful photographs (about every recipe has a pic), but the recipes look downright delicious. Like Liddon, I had some unhealthy eating (or should I say, not eating) habits before I went vegan. I can truly say that a vegan diet saved my life. This is a great cookbook to have in your collection because it is full of tasty, healthy recipes that use only whole, minimally-processed ingredients. If you’ve been a fan of the Oh She Glows website, you’re going to love this cookbook with 75 brand-spankin’ new recipes, plus 25 updated reader favorites. So if you want to win this beautiful cookbook, leave a comment; it’s that easy! You have until midnight (PST) on Sunday, April 6. I’ll announce the winner on Monday, April 7th. 

Empowered Noodle2

You’ll love Liddon’s Empowered Noodle Bowl, two ways: Thai Peanut & Orange-Maple Miso on page 153. I decided to make both dressings and honestly, I can’t tell you which one is my favorite; they’re both delicious. The Thai Peanut is thicker with some garlic kick, whereas the Orange-Maple Miso is a tad thinner and milder. They’re both easy enough to make, so why not do both? This is a fantastic lunch or light dinner, that comes together rather quickly. I like how the veggies take precedence over the noodles—it’s not a heavy pasta dish, but rather, a bowl of fresh veggies with some noodles thrown in and coated with a tasty dressing. A winner for sure.

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

Thai Peanut Sauce

1 large garlic clove
2 Tbs toasted sesame oil
3 Tbs natural smooth peanut butter
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 Tbs fresh lime juice
2 Tbs + 1 tsp low-sodium tamari
1-2 tsp granulated sugar

Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

3 Tbs light miso
2 Tbs rice vinegar
1 Tbs toasted sesame oil
1 Tbs tahini
1/4 C fresh orange juice
1 Tbs water
1 tsp maple syrup

Salad

4 oz gluten-free soba noodles
Extra virgin olive oil, for the noodles
16 oz bag frozen shelled edamame, thawed
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 English cucumber, diced
1 carrot, julienned
4 green onions, chopped
1/4 C cilantro, chopped
Sesame seeds, for serving

DIRECTIONS

To make the Thai Peanut sauce, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely smooth. Do the same for the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing.

Empowered NoodleCook the noodles according to instructions on the package (5-9 minutes). Drain, rinse under cold water and transfer to a large bowl. Drizzle with a little of the olive oil, then toss with the veggies and dressing of your choice. Top individual servings with sesame seeds and enjoy! If you like the looks of this recipe, you’re going to want this cookbook, so leave a comment and you just may get it! Good luck!

DSC08246With the Thai Peanut Sauce
DSC08247With the Orange-Maple Miso Dressing

 Reprinted by arrangement with AVERY, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © GLO BAKERY CORPORATION, 2014.

Quinoa & Kale Pitas with Tahini Dressing

QuinoaKalePitasThese are packed with some of my favorite ingredients! Quinoa is loaded with protein and the kale is well . . . it’s kale! We all know kale is high in iron, calcium and several vitamins. Check out these 10 Health Benefits of this super green. I also threw in some pepitas, which are rich in vitamins, beta carotene, and protein. I made a pretty big batch so that I can nosh all week (especially post workouts), but feel free to halve the recipe if you’re fearful of getting quinoa’d out. (Inconceivable! ;-) )

INGREDIENTS

Filling

2 C tri-color quinoa
4 C vegetable broth or water
1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 C red onion, diced
3/4 C green onion, sliced
2 C mushrooms, diced
1 bunch kale, leaves removed and chopped (stems discarded)
3/4 C pepitas

Dressing

2 large cloves of garlic
1 Tbs tahini
2 Tbs yellow/light miso
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C cold water
2 Tbs chia seesds
1/4 tsp black pepper

The rest

Pita pockets
Avocado slices

DIRECTIONS

I recommend making the dressing first. It’ll be a little runny, but letting it sit for 20 minutes or so, will allow the chia seeds to do their thing and thicken up the dressing. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Set aside.

DSC08213In a large soup pot, combine the broth (or water) with the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

DSC08214Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add the red and green onions. Saute until softened and a tiny bit browned. Add the kale and mushrooms and saute until the the kale is bright green, about 5 minutes.
onionskaleFold the veggies and pepitas into the cooked quinoa.
DSC08215I placed a little dressing inside the pita,  along with a slice or two of avocado, then added the filling, and topped with some more dressing. Enjoy!
QuinoaKalePitas

Asian-Inspired Risotto

AsianRisottoYep, I’m still on my risotto kick. This time, however, I gave it an Asian twist by adding bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, and a touch of sesame oil (among other seasonings). This is a unique and delicious change from the usual risotto dish and would be great paired with some veggie crystal rolls. Yum!

INGREDIENTS:

4 C vegetable broth
1 Tbs red miso
1 C water
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
2 heads baby bok choy, chopped
2 C shiitake mushrooms, chopped
3/4 C green onion, sliced thin
1/2 C Sherry cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp Chinese 5-Spice blend
1/4 tsp sesame oil
1 Tbs tamari ( or soy sauce)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a Dutch oven, whisk the 4 cups of broth and 1 tablespoon of miso; stir in the rice. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Fifteen minutes before the rice is done, begin steaming the bok choy. Steam for 10 minutes, then add the mushrooms and green onion.

bokchoyWhen the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), stir in the one cup of water,sherry and Earth Balance. Stir vigorously for 1-2 minutes—it’ll thicken up. Next, add the nutritional yeast, five-spice blend, sesame oil, and tamari. Stir well for at least a minute. Fold in the bok choy mixture and enjoy!

 

Potato-Leek & Broccoli Soup with Tempeh Bacon

PotatpBroccoliSoupWe’ve had some mighty chilly weather lately—mostly in the form of wind, so by evening, we’re ready for a hot soup to warm the bones. This soup is easy to prepare (especially if you have an immersion blender) but if you don’t, you can certainly transfer to a blender or food processor. The tempeh is optional, but we all thought it added a nice smoky flavor to the soup. I used LightLife organic strips, chopped up and sauteed in a little olive oil.

tempeh baconINGREDIENTS:

5 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 leeks, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 heads worth of broccoli florets
2.5 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and diced
6 C vegetable broth
1 tsp shallot salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
3/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
1/2 C nutritional yeast flakes
4 Tbs flour
1 C warm almond milk
Daiya cheese shreds, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, heat 2 tablespoons of the Earth Balance. Add the garlic and cook 2 minutes, then add the leeks and celery. Cook 5-7 minutes, or until the veggies soften and begin to brown.

DSC08196Add the potatoes, broccoli and broth. Lower heat and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are softened. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup to your heart’s content . . . you can leave some chunks of potato and broccoli if you’d like. Season with the shallot salt, pepper, Herbs de Provence, and nutritional yeast.  In a small sauce pan, melt the remaining tablespoons of Earth Balance and whisk in the flour. Little by little, add the warm almond milk, whisking constantly until thickened. This should only take a couple of minutes. Pour into the soup and blend thoroughly. Top with a scoop of tempeh bacon and Daiya cheese and enjoy!

Tofu & Shiitake Stir-fry with Soba Noodles

sobanoodlestirfryThis is such an easy and tasty dinner to throw together—as long as you remember to give the veggies time to marinate. Even it’s just an hour, that’s quite all right. Feel free to use your own favorite veggies, but keep in mind, that you may have to marinate certain vegetables separate, depending on whether or not they need longer cooking time. The vegetables I chose could be all cooked together at the same time, so it made this dish a breeze.

INGREDIENTS

Marinade:

1/2 C tamari
2 Tbs brown rice vinegar
2 tsp agave
2 tsp sesame seed oil
2 Tbs sherry
1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs ginger root, grated
1/2 C green onion, sliced

The rest: 

8-oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
14-oz pkg. extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed
3/4 C snowpeas, cut in half
6 to 8 oz buckwheat soba noodles ( I like Hakubaku brand. They come in a package of 3 separate rolls of noodles. I used 2 of the 3)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs arrowroot

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a resealable bag. Mix it up well, then add the mushrooms, tofu and snowpeas. Coat the vegetables thoroughly and lay flat in the refrigerator for at least an hour, turning over once, half way through.

DSC08184In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Drain and reserve the marinade in a measuring cup; you should have about a 1/3 of a cup; set aside. Saute the vegetables over medium heat for 8-10 minutes, or until they begin brown. Meanwhile, heat the water for the noodles. They’ll only take 4 minutes to cook once adding them to boiling water, so it will all come together pretty quickly.

When the vegetables are about done, whisk the arrowroot into the reserved marinade. Make sure you don’t have any clumps. Pour it into the skillet, coat the vegetables well, and reduce the heat to low.

DSC08187Drain the soba noodles and serve with the vegetable mix on top. Enjoy!

 

Wild Rice & Potato Stew with Field Roast

WildRicePotatoFRStewCan you tell that I’m loving my new Dutch oven?! But really, this could be made with a regular soup pot too, but it’s way more satisfying to get use out of a new kitchen toy. This is a little similar to the Creamy Wild Rice Soup, but I revved it up by adding a Field Roast sausage (which we all thought, made the soup) and some other seasonings. I also didn’t have to prepare a roux, so it was even easier. This stew is perfect for a cold and wintry night. We’ve been socked in with LOTS of snow and temps this week haven’t risen much above 12 degrees. Our rain chain is certainly feeling it . . .

rainchainINGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/2 large red onion (about a cup)
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 C vegetable broth
1 C wild rice mix (I like Lundberg’s Wild Blend)
1 Field Roast sausage (either Apple & Sage, or Italian Seasoning flavor), crumbled
3 small red potatoes, peeled and diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
1/2 C Tofutti sour cream
1/4 C almond milk
3 Tbs flour
3/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
Salt and pepper, to taste

DSC08174

DIRECTIONS:

In a Dutch oven (3Q or larger) or in a large soup pot, melt the Earth Balance over medium-high heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook 4-5 minutes, or until they are softened. Stir in the garlic and Field Roast and saute over medium heat for 3 minutes. Pour in the broth and rice; cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 40 minutes. Add the diced potatoes and cook covered for another 20-25 minutes. In a small bowl, whisk the sour cream, milk and flour until well blended; stir into the soup. Season with the Herbs de Provence, salt, and pepper.
soupsLet it cook a few minutes longer until heated through, then enjoy! (Serves 6)
wildricepotatoFRStew2

Bowties with Butternut Squash

bowtiesbutternutWe decided that this is one of those dishes that could easily put you in a food coma if you’re not careful. (Like the cashew cheese pasta—happens to us every time). The sauce is a basic roux that I then added seasoning and some roasted butternut squash to. Next time, I think I’d add some mushrooms and peas, but this dish is also delicious with just the squash.

INGREDIENTS:
10-12 oz bowtie pasta
1 med butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
4 Tbs flour
1/3 C white cooking wine
1-1/2 C almond milk
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
3/4 tsp sage
Salt and pepper, to taste
vegan Parmesan, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 400. In a medium bowl, coat the squash with the olive oil, then spread onto a baking sheet. Roast the squash for 30-40 minutes, stirring them once halfway through.
DSC08170
Meanwhile, boil the pasta until al dente, then drain. But while the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, melt the Earth Balance. Slowly add the flour and whisk until thick and smooth. Next, whisk in the white cooking wine and blend until smooth. Little by little, add the almond milk, whisking until thickened over medium heat. Add the nutritional yeast, sage, salt, and pepper. Fold in the squash and remove from heat. You can either keep the pasta and sauce separate, or combine the two. Serve immediately and enjoy!

bowtiesbutternut

 

Easy Baked Risotto

BakedRisottoThis is a lot like the Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto, but this one requires a lot less work, especially when it comes to stirring! I recently purchased a Dutch oven and decided to try making risotto in it. So much less work! Mine is 5-quarts and this recipe only took up about 1/2 of the Dutch oven, so I would think even a 3-quart one is plenty big enough.
DSC08169Risotto is a very versatile dish, so you can add whatever vegetables to it that you’d like. I stuck with spinach, onion and mushrooms, but feel free to add peas, asparagus, Swiss chard, kale . . . you name it.The great thing about using a Dutch oven, is that if you want to make this a side dish, you’ll have plenty of time to throw together the main entree while this cooks. But served with a salad and bread, this risotto makes an ideal main entree.

INGREDIENTS:

5 C vegetable broth
1-1/2 C Arborio rice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 C onion, chopped
16-oz mushrooms (cremini or white), chopped or sliced
2 C spinach, chopped
1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C white cooking wine
2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1-1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Combine 4 cups of the broth and the rice in the Dutch oven. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. While the rice is baking, prepare your other ingredients. In a bowl, combine the spinach, lemon juice and salt; set aside. Next, heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened and a little brown. Add the mushrooms and cook 5 minutes more.
20140126_171053I also combined the nutritional yeast, thyme, pepper, and salt in a small bowl to make it easier to add it all at once, when it comes time to add them.
DSC08164Once the rice is done (most of the liquid has been absorbed), add the remaining cup of broth:

20140126_172828Next, stir in the white wine, Earth Balance and seasoning. Stir vigorously for about 3 minutes, or until the risotto is thick and creamy. Stir in the mushrooms mixture, along with the spinach.
DSC08165So good! Serve immediately and enjoy!
BakedRisotto

Top of the Mountain Book Award

TOMlogo1OK, I know this post isn’t vegan-related, but I do know that many of you out there are like me: vegan and a writer, so I wanted to let you in on a contest that I’m actually coordinating. The Top of the Mountain Book Award is given out each year at the Northern Colorado Writers Conference. This year, it’s happening March 28-29. You don’t have to attend the conference or even be a member to win. The contest is open to published and unpublished authors of fiction and/or creative/narrative nonfiction. Just polish up the first 25 pages and a 5-page synopsis. Deadline is February 1, so get those entries in! The top prize is $1,000!! Get the full guidelines HERE and good luck!

Tempeh-Salad Sandwich

TempehSalad

If you want to call this “Egg Salad” or “Tuna Salad,” go right ahead. It certainly has the feel, so to speak. I do put some kelp powder in this salad, so it can have that tuna-ish essence. I made this version somewhat chunky, but I’ve also made it more like a pate. If that’s more your fancy, I suggest using a food processor to mash up the tempeh, then finely cut the onions instead of chopping them. Either way, this is a healthy lunch that will keep in the fridge for a few days. Serve on some toasted bread with lettuce, and if you like, a slice of vegan cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz tempeh, cut into large chunks
1/3 C onion, chopped (I prefer red onion in this, but I was out)
1/3 C vegan mayo
1-1/2 Tbs yellow miso mixed with 1 Tbs water
1/4 C fresh parsley, minced or chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill
1 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 tsp kelp powder
1 Tbs water

The rest…optional ingredients

bread
tomato
lettuce
vegan cheese
cucumber slices

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the tempeh for 15-20 minutes.

DSC08155

Transfer the tempeh to a bowl (or the food processor) and mash up until your reach the desired consistency.

DSC08156

Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Tempeh2

Vegan & Gluten-Free Mini Quiches

quichesI’ve been wanting to figure out how to make vegan mini quiches for a while now, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Do I use tofu? Flour? Wave a magic wand? Well, when I came across this recipe, I knew my search was over. I only made one modification and that was to add the veggies to the batter instead of just topping the batter with them. Doing so, will give you about 4 more quiches (16 instead of 12). That works great as long as you have 2 muffin tins. Otherwise, you could add your veggies just to the tops. I was thoroughly impressed with these. They taste like a cross between an actual egg-y quiche and a biscuit. They’re packed with protein and make a great quick breakfast on the go—just zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’re good to go. (These are especially ideal for a post-workout snack).

INGREDIENTS:

2-1/2 C garbanzo/chickpea flour (I also had some garbanzo & flava flour mix that worked great, too)
3 C cold, filtered water
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
Cooking spray

Veggies/toppings:
Use your favorites, but I like to use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped . . .
spinach
tomato
mushrooms
green onion
cilantro
Other options: veggie bacon or ham, bell pepper, sauteed garlic, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, basil, Swiss chard, shredded (and squeezed dry) zucchini, peas, . . . the list is endless.
Note: I used sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) in a batch and I recommend easing up on the oil in the batter by at least a tablespoon. Also, throw in some chia seeds. Pepitas or sunflower seeds would also be great additions.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 500 and lightly spray the muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, oil, and salt. Be sure to whisk until all the lumps are gone and  you have a smooth batter. You can then pour the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and just add your veggies to the top, OR (as I would recommend) add the veggies to the batter.

DSC08148

Fill the muffin tins . . .

DSC08149Bake for 14 minutes, then crack the oven door slightly, and cook another 11 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so, and remove with a knife. Enjoy!

quiches2

Layered Eggplant with Cashew Cheese

EggplantThis is part lasagna, part eggplant “Parmesan.” I originally set out to make the latter, but I didn’t want to use packaged vegan cheese. Homemade cashew cheese has become a favorite around here, especially with Italian food, so I decided to give it a try with this. The recipe for the cheese is the same from the Butternut Stuffed Shells and I think it turned out delicious! I didn’t soak the cashews very long—maybe just an hour—and it still turned out creamy and smooth. This makes about 6 good-sized portions; great for a larger group, or for having leftovers.

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium eggplant, peeled (a carrot peeler works great) and sliced into 9 thin slices
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil
2 14-oz can diced tomatoes (I used the Italian variety), undrained
1/2 C white wine
1 Tbs dried basil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 C flour
2 C panko or breadcrumbs
2 Tbs Italian dried seasoning
1/2 C Ener-G Egg replacer powder
3/4 C almond milk
1/8 C water
Olive oil for frying

Cashew Cheese
2 C raw cashews, soaked in water for up to 2 hours, then drained
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
2-3 Tbs almond milk
1 tsp tahini
1/2 Tbs onion powder
1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

To make the cashew cheese, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. If you want it thinner, feel free to add more almond milk and/or lemon juice. Set aside.
DSC08139Preheat oven to 350. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and add the garlic over medium heat. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the onion and saute for 7-8 minutes, or until the onions begin to soften and brown. Add the tomatoes, wine, basil, and oregano, stir to combine, and lower heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.

DSC08137While the sauce is cooking, combine the egg-replacer powder with the almond milk and water in a shallow bowl. Do the same with the Italian seasoning and panko, and add the flour to a small bowl.

breadingDust the entire eggplant slice with flour, cover with a thin layer of egg-replacer, then coat with the panko. Eventually, you might have to add a little more water to the egg-replacer dish in order to cover all 9 slices. In batches, place the eggplant slices in a skillet with enough oil to fry—about 2 minutes each side. Try to avoid flipping the pieces more than once, otherwise, you’ll end up with lots of fried chunks of breading in the skillet.
unfriedandfriedPlace finished slices on a plate lined with paper towels. Repeat process until all 9 slices are done. Next, coat the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish with a ladle of the tomato sauce. Place 3 slices of the eggplant on the bottom and spread each slice with cashew cheese. Top with sauce, then repeat process.
layeredCover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and enjoy!

Creamy Wild Mushroom Risotto

risottoWow, has it really been this long since my last post?! I guess the holidays will do that. I hope everyone had a great holiday season and so far a good 2014. I’ve made this risotto several times now, and I swear we love it more each time. Sure, there’s a little prep work involved, as well as some constant stirring, but I promise you, it’s worth it. You can even read a book while you make this. Seriously. Have a book  handy because you  might as well get some reading done as you stir. (A glass of wine wouldn’t hurt either).

INGREDIENTS:

3/4-oz pkg. dried shiitake mushrooms
3/4-oz pkg. dried porcini mushrooms
3 C vegetable broth
3 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/8-1/4 C lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 large onion, chopped small (about 1 C)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil, divided
16-oz cremini mushrooms
1-1/2 tsp thyme
1 C Arborio rice
1/2 C white cooking wine
1-1/2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine
1/8 C nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS:

To begin, soak the shiitake and porcini in very hot water for about 30 minutes. Once re-hydrated, drain, wash, and chop the mushrooms up small; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, lemon juice and salt; set aside as well. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 Tbs of olive oil and add the garlic. Cook 2 minutes over medium heat, then add the onion. Saute until softened, about 10 minutes. Add the cremini, shiitake, and porcini mushrooms and cook 10-12 minutes, or until they have cooked down. Add the thyme, Arborio rice, and remaining olive oil. Combine the rice well in the pan and cook 3-4 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook 5 minutes, or until all of the liquid has been absorbed.

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Add about 1/2 C of the broth and stir constantly until completely absorbed; repeat, adding only a 1/2 C of broth at a time. It will take about 20-30 minutes. (Good time to have a book handy). Next, stir in the spinach mixture and cook 2-3 minutes, or until the spinach has cooked down. Stir in the Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, and black pepper. Enjoy! (This is great with some oven-roasted asparagus and garlic toast)!

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Wild Mushroom & Miso Soup

MushroomSoupFor mushroom lovers like us, this soup certainly made us very happy. Some friends had brought it to a get together and we all demanded the recipe. It is from The Vegetarian Slow Cooker.  This soup requires just a tad of prep work, but then it all goes into the slow cooker. Not only is this soup savory and full of flavor, but the mushrooms are packed full of immune boosters—perfect for fighting off the winter chills and colds.

INGREDIENTS:

1 (1/2 oz) pkg dried porcini mushrooms (I could only find the 3/4 oz package, which I used all of)
1 C hot water (I added a bit more since I used more mushrooms)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 leeks, (mostly white parts and a little of the green) sliced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked peppercorns (I used ground—didn’t have the peppercorns)
1 bay leaf
8-oz shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and thinly sliced (I recommend adding more–they cook down quite a bit)
8-oz cremini mushrooms, stems removed and quartered (Again, I’d add more)!
6 C vegetable broth
1 C water
1/4 C miso
Optional: fresh snipped chives

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine the dried porcini mushrooms and the hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes, using a fine mesh strainer, drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Finely chop up the porcinis and set aside. In a large skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks, carrot and celery for about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, and porchinis. Cook for a minute, then add the reserved liquid.

vegmixTransfer to a slow cooker and add the shiitake and cremini mushrooms, along with the broth and water.

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Cover and cook on high for 3 hours OR on low for 6 hours. Stir in the miso and cook on high for 15 minutes. Discard bay leaf and ladle into separate bowls; garnish with chives. Enjoy!

25 Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

thanksgivingIn case you’re still wondering what to make for Thanksgiving, here’s a few ideas. Whatever you decide, I hope you have a wonderful holiday filled with friends, family, and gratitude.

Brunch

Brunch

Cinnamon Rolls
Hash brown Casserole
Stuffed French Toast
Breakfast Tarts

Soups

soupsPesto Potato Soup
Eggplant Parmagiano Stew
Carrot-Ginger Soup
Creamy Wild Rice Soup

Sides
sides

Israeli Couscous with Pine nuts & Parsley
Roasted Asparagus
Twice-Baked Potatoes
Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

Main Dishes

MainsField Roast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce
Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables
Flaky Harvest Vegetable Squares
Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew  Cheese
Vegetable Pot Pies
Field Roast with a Co Au Vin Sauce
Sweet Potato Ravioli with a Butter-Garlic Cream Sauce
Beet Ravioli with Garlic-Butter Walnut Sauce
Butternut Squash Lasagna

Desserts

desserts

Pumpkin Pie
Cranberry-Muffin Bundt
Fruit Tarts
Coconut-Lemon Bundt Cake

Layered Polenta Casserole

Polenta casseroleThis is how tonight’s post-dinner conversation went between father and son:
        “This is going to be deee-vine for tomorrow’s lunch,” father said as he placed the leftovers in a container.
        “Wait, who said you get them all?” his son said, grabbing hold of the dish.
        “You will lose an arm, son,” father said firmly. 
A wresting match in the kitchen ensued. I don’t know who the victor was; I walked away, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be eating the leftovers for breakfast. Yes, it was that good.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pre-made polenta log (I used the sun-dried tomato & garlic variety), cut into 18 slices
2 C spinach, chopped
1 large tomato, chopped
2 C mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/3 C bread crumbs or panko
1/2 C Parmezano Sprinkles (recipe below)

Parmezano Sprinkles: (from the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook)
1/2 C blanched almonds

2 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes
1-2 tsp light miso
Heaping 1/4 tsp salt

Sauce:
4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
6 Tbs flour
1 C vegetable broth
1/4 C almond milk
Salt and pepper, to taste

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. To make the Parmezano Sprinkles (which I recommend making ahead of time) combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and process until you have little crumbles . . . then refrigerate.

Parmezano Sprinkles Combine the chopped spinach, tomatoes and sliced mushrooms in a bowl along with the basil, rosemary, salt, and pepper.

20131124_180102To prepare the sauce, melt the Earth Balance and add the garlic. Saute about 2 minutes. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Next, add vegetable broth a little at time, whisking constantly until everything is incorporated over medium heat. The sauce should begin to thicken. Slowly add in the almond milk, an 1/8 C at a time and whisk thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper. Add a ladle of sauce to the bottom of an 8″ baking dish—just enough to coat the bottom. Place 9 slices of the polenta on the bottom and sprinkle with about 1/4 C of the Parmezano Sprinkles.

20131124_181953Next, layer on the spinach mixture—pack it down if you have to, but get it all on there. Top with the remaining 9 slices of polenta . . .

20131124_182152. . . then remaining sauce, the bread crumbs, and another 1/4 C of the Parmezano Sprinkles.

20131124_182430(0)Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let it sit for  about 5-6 minutes before digging in. Enjoy!
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Butternut Squash and Mushroom Lasagna

Butternut Squash Lasagna

Looking for Thanksgiving meal ideas? You’ve come to the right place! This lasagna, is downright amazing—your guests will be demanding the recipe.  A similar dish that would also be great for Stuffed Bird Carcass on the Table Day, would be these Butternut Squash Stuffed Shells with Cashew Cheese. So this dish is definitely less complicated than you might think. I recommend preparing the squash and tofu ricotta ahead of time and keeping them in the fridge until ready to use. Because I didn’t saute the mushrooms, the only things I had to do come suppah-time, was boil the noodles and make the white sauce—both no-brainers . . . I promise. Speaking of noodles, I prefer to use the old fashioned kind simply because the no-boil ones are too short and I have found that they don’t always get cooked completely. Should your noodle preference differ from mine, that’s quite all right . . . you get to make those executive decisions in your own kitchen :-) I just like that I can cut the cooked noodles to fit my pan. Either way, this won’t disappoint!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
4-5 garlic cloves
Olive oil
1/8 C almond milk
4-5 C mixture of shiitake and button mushrooms
Salt and pepper
15 + a few extra lasagna noodles

Tofu ricotta
14-oz tub extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
Optional: 1/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded

White sauce
1/4 C Earth Balance margarine
6 Tbs flour
1 C vegetable broth
1/2 C almond milk
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. To prepare the squash, I recommend peeling the squash and dicing it up. I have found that if you’re going to just puree it anyway, this is the fastest way to roast a butternut squash. As long as you have a decent potato peeler, this step will be a breeze.

squashToss in a bowl with a little olive oil and some salt and pepper. I decided I might as well roast some garlic too, so I took about 6 cloves, cut the tops off (leaving them in the skins), placed them on some foil, drizzled some olive oil on them, then loosely wrapped them up.

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Spread the diced squash on a large baking sheet (along with the garlic) and roast for 30 minutes.roasting

Next, transfer the squash and the garlic cloves (which should slip right out of the skins) into a food processor. Add about an 1/8 C of almond milk and puree. It’s up to you how smooth you want to puree the squash, but I recommend not having too many big chunks remaining. To prepare the ricotta, throw all of the ingredients in a food processor, except the cheese, and puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, and if using the cheese, stir it in.

fillings

Slice up the mushrooms. I had just about 4 cups of sliced shiitakes and since we’re obsessed with mushrooms, I decided that wasn’t enough, so I added some white button mushrooms . . . perfect.

mushrooms

Preheat oven to 375. To begin, I suggest starting the sauce about 5 minutes before you start the water for the noodles. In a medium saucepan, melt the Earth Balance, then whisk in the flour until fully incorporated and you have a thick paste. Add a little broth, then whisk until smooth. Do this until you’ve added all the broth. Whisk it constantly over medium heat until it begins to thicken. Slowly, and bit by bit, add the almond milk, whisking continuously until it thickens. Reduce heat and season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn. Hopefully by now, the noodles are about ready. Don’t over-boil them—they’ll cook more once in the oven. Otherwise, they’ll rip while assembling the lasagna. Rinse thoroughly with cold water to keep them from sticking to each other. Ladle some sauce on the bottom of the pan—not a lot; just enough to coat the bottom. I used a 9×13″ baking dish, so I placed 5 noodles vertically in the dish and cut a couple of inches off one end. Spread half of the squash mixture on the lasagna noodles. Then spread a couple of tablespoons of the tofu ricotta on each noodle. (I didn’t use all of the ricotta–I had about a full cup leftover). Next. layer on half of the mushrooms.

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Repeat process with another 5 noodles, the rest of the squash mixture, more ricotta, and the remaining mushrooms. Top with the last 5 noodles and pour sauce on top. (I added a little more almond milk to the sauce because it had gotten a bit thick). Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, then enjoy!

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Black Bean and Chick’n Enchiladas

EnchiladasSorry it’s been so long since my last post; been a busy bee, I guess. Sometimes, it just feels like a faux meat night and I was craving these enchiladas. They’re a breeze to prepare, but taste like you slaved away in the kitchen. This would also be a good meal to entice those meat-eating friends of yours to come to the table and give veganism a chance.

INGREDIENTS:

1 16-oz pkg. vegan chicken strips, defrosted (Morning Star, Simple Truth, or Gardein brands all make their own version)
1 15-oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14-oz can Rotel (tomatoes with diced green chilies), drained
1 16-oz jar 505 Brand green chili sauce
1 C Tofutti sour cream
4-oz Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C almond milk
Optional: 1/4 to 1/2 C vegan pepper jack shreds
Optional: salsa, guacamole
7 flour tortillas

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream, cream cheese, vegan pepper jack (if using) and milk. Stir in the Rotel, black beans and chick’n strips.

DSC08093Scoop the chick’n mixture evenly into 6-7 flour tortillas and place into a 9×13 baking dish. Cover with the green chili sauce.

DSC08096Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes. (Make sure the foil isn’t touching the tortillas too much, because it will stick to them). Enjoy with some guacamole and salsa!

Enchiladas

White Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with Chocolate Chips

cookiesYep, that’s right. White chocolate-peanut butter cookies. I have to thank A Wonderful Vegan Life for turning me onto this peanut butter:

DSC08085Yeah, thanks a lot, because now I’m hooked! ;-)

Well, this takes peanut butter cookies to a whole new level . . . and the chocolate chips?! Forgetaboutit  . . .

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C Earth Balance margarine
1 C brown sugar
1/2 C White Chocolate Wonderful Peanut Butter
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1 Tbs oil
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/2 C flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 to 3/4 C chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Using a mixer, combine the Earth Balance, peanut butter, and sugar. Once blended, add the egg-replacer, oil and extracts; mix well. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking soda. While the mixer is running, add the dry ingredients a little at time. Incorporate all of the ingredients thoroughly, Next, stir in the chocolate chips using a spoon or spatula.

DSC08086Take small handfuls of dough and roll into a ball—as best you can; it’s not easy with the chocolate chips, then squish them down a little on the baking sheet.

DSC08087Bake for 10-12 minutes and enjoy!

Gnocchi with Roasted Vegetables

GnocchiMy mom made this dish for me a few weeks ago and I’ve been anxious to make it for the family. It’s so easy to prepare. The only difficult part was actually finding this fancy little product . .

DSC08073My mom had used Knorr’s Vegetable Homestyle Stock, but I had a hell of time finding it—or I should say, finding the vegetable flavor. Of course the beef, chicken, and low-sodium chicken ones seemed to be available, but us vegemites seem to get left out. I eventually found them at Safeway, but only one of the two Safeways in town (Taft and Drake for you locals). Anyway, this stock is ideal for this dish. It’s extremely concentrated; like a paste, so all I had to do was add a little water, and volia! it was ready.

The gnocchi on the other hand, was pretty easy to find . . .

DSC08074

INGREDIENTS:

1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 large red onion, cut into big slices
1 large zucchini, cubed
1 large yellow squash, cubed
2 C carrots, cut into cubes/chunks
2-3 C mushrooms, quartered
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
2 tubs of Knorr Vegetable Homestyle Stock
2 (16-oz) pkgs. gnocchi

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. Prepare all of the veggies. (When peeling a butternut squash, a decent potato peeler works just fine). Combine all the veggies (except the mushrooms) in a large bowl. Drizzle with just a tiny bit of olive oil and teensy bit of balsamic vinegar. You don’t want the veggies dripping with oil; use enough to just barely coat them. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking sheet. I used two pans—the vegetables won’t roast evenly if the pan is too crowded; they’ll steam instead.

DSC08071I roasted them for about 30 minutes before adding the mushrooms (that I prepared with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper). All ovens run differently and cooking time also depends on how large the vegetables are cut. Roast another 10 minutes or so. A good time to start the water boiling for the gnocchi would be right before you throw the mushrooms in.  In a small measuring cup, combine two tubs of the Knorr stock with about 1/2 C of water. Heat in the microwave for about a minute.

knorrThe gnocchi will only take 3-5 minutes. I divided the drained gnocchi in half and added them to the two pans of veggies. I then poured 1/4 C of the stock to each pan and coated everything well. I ended up combing both pans into one . . .

DSC08078That’s it! So delicious . . . enjoy!

Mexican Stuffed Shells

Mexican Stuffed Shells

I had been seeing recipes for this dish floating around and decided to try make my own vegan version. You might not think to combine pasta and Mexican food, but it’s not unlike my Mexican Pasta Casserole. Easy and delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

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Filling:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 (12-oz) pkg. LightLife veggie crumbles (or other ground “meat” of your choice)
1 C onion, diced small
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
1 packet taco seasoning
1/2 C cilantro, minced
2 Tbs lime juice

Sauce:

1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
2 tsp Ancho chili powder (or other chili powder)
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cloves garlic
2 jarred roasted red peppers
1 (4-oz) can diced green chilies

The rest:

1 box jumbo shells (approx 45 shells)
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1 (4-oz) can sliced black olives
Vegan shredded cheese
Optional: vegan sour cream, salsa

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350.  In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the onions and bell pepper. Saute until they begin to soften and brown. Add the veggie crumbles and cook another 5-7 minutes. I mixed the taco seasoning with about a 1/2 C of water and poured it into the skillet and combined it with the veggie mixture. Stir in the cilantro and lime juice and remove from the heat. Let it cool.

DSC08060Meanwhile, boil the water for the shells and prepare the sauce. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the tomato sauce and seasonings. In a food processor, puree the garlic cloves and roasted red peppers. Add the puree to the sauce, along with the green chilies and cook over medium heat. Once the shells are ready, drain, rinse and place them on a large baking sheet. (It keeps them from sticking together).

DSC08061Place about a 1/4 C of the sauce on the bottom of a 15″ baking dish. Stuff each shell with about a tablespoon of filling; place in dish. I ended up with about 42 stuffed shells with a few leftover. Top with remaining sauce, green onions, olives, and cheese.

DSC08063Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

MexStuffShells

Quinoa & Veggies with a Tahini-Miso Dressing

Quinoa2Quinoa is such a fantastic lunch option. It’s packed with protein and it can be made so many different ways, that it’s pretty hard to get bored with it. I wanted a light dressing for this and came up with this tangy tahini-miso goodness. I also love adding nuts for a bit of crunch to these types of dishes, so I threw in some toasted almond slivers. Delish!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa (I like this Rainbow Quinoa from Alter Eco)
2 C vegetable broth or water
1-1/2 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced
6 green onions, sliced
1 C cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 C slivered almonds, toasted

Dressing:

1 tsp tahini
1 Tbs yellow miso
1/8 C almond milk
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp garlic powder
pinch of salt

nutsandveggies

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse the quinoa in fine mesh strainer with cold water. Combine it with the broth (or water) in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until there is just a little bit of water left, about 12-15 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green onions, but don’t combine—cover and let the veggies steam 3-4 minutes. For the dressing, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

DSC08038Once the mushrooms have softened, stir them into the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, nuts and dressing. I recommend adding a little dressing at a time in case you don’t want it all. I had a little left over.

DSC08041Gently fold and combine everything. Enjoy!

Quinoa2

Pumpkin-Spiced Pancakes

Pancakes
What a fabulous fall morning for these pancakes!

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The Ninth Grader found this recipe last week and we finally got around to making them. The original recipe is not vegan; easy enough to remedy. . . and we also upped the spices to give these more flavor. With the leftover canned pumpkin, I’ll be making vegan pumpkin-spiced lattes tomorrow, which I’m definitely looking forward to.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 C almond milk
1 C pumpkin puree
Egg-replacer for one egg (I used Ener-G Egg replacer)
2 Tbs oil
2 Tbs vinegar
2 C flour
3 Tbs brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp allspice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt

The Rest:

Earth Balance margarine
Syrup

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, combine the milk, pumpkin puree, egg-replacer, oil, and vinegar. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.

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Place a flat pan over medium heat and spray with oil. Let it preheat for a minute or two. Scoop 1/3 cupfuls of batter onto the hot pan.

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Let cook 3-5 minutes, then flip.

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I transferred the cooked ones to a pan, covered with foil and placed in a warm oven until all pancakes were cooked. This recipe makes 12 pancakes.

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Enjoy!

Sugar-Glazed Zucchini Bread

Zucchini bread

Ah . . . Fall, the changing of the leaves, and the smell of baking zucchini bread. Not bad for a Friday afternoon. Then of course, eating the sugar-crusted bread! This is a very easy bread to throw together and great for sharing!

INGREDIENTS:

6 Tbs flax meal
1/2 C warm water
4 C zucchini, grated and squeezed of all liquid (2 to 2-1/2 medium zucchinis)
2 C brown sugar
1/2 C applesauce
1/4 C oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 C almond milk
3 C regular flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 Tbs baking powder
1 Tbs cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Glaze:

1 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, melted
1/4 C brown sugar
3 Tbs almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350.  In a small bowl whisk together the flax meal and warm water; set aside. Using a mixer, combine the brown sugar, applesauce, oil, vanilla, and almond milk. Add the zucchini and flax meal; mix well. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and combine well. Pour the mixture evenly into two lightly greased loaf pans. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Every oven runs differently, so check often. Once they are a bit browned on top and an inserted toothpick or knife comes out clean from the center . . .

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Just before this, of course, whip up the glaze.  Whisk together the ingredients and brush the tops of the bread with it. Bake it again for another 7-10 minutes.

20131011_130949Let them cool for 10-15 minutes before removing from the pans. Slice and enjoy!

20131011_132415

Marinated Field Roast Gyros

Gyros2

Yep, go ahead, bookmark this one right now; I’ll wait . . .

Ready? Did you get it? OK, so these are pretty outstanding. They look darn good, too. I made similar ones quite a while ago, but I wanted to change them up a little. I also made the pitas myself, which I assure you, is completely worth the effort. Store-bought pitas tend to be dry, but these are incredibly soft, plus there aren’t any hidden ingredients. I highly encourage you to make your own, but you can certainly buy them. Flour tortillas would also work great. Because I love Field Roast and their simple, healthy ingredients, I thought I’d use their Celebration Roast . . . simply brilliant!

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You’ll need a little bit of prep time for this meal, so you’ll probably want to start everything earlier in the day, if possible. I let the Field Roast mixture marinate for about 4 hours and the pitas (with the dough-rising time) will take a while too. Don’t let that scare you though! The processes are super easy and you’ll be glad you took the extra time.

INGREDIENTS:

Pita bread recipe
or flour tortillas

Gyros/Marinade:

1 Field Roast, Celebration Roast
1 large red onion, sliced
1/2 C tamari or soy sauce
1/8 C olive oil
1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1-1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne
Salt and pepper

Tzatziki Sauce:

8-oz plain almond or soy yogurt
1/2 C Tofutti sour cream
2 tsp garlic powder
1-1/2 tsp onion powder
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbs fresh mint, minced
2 Tbs fresh dill, minced
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 of a large cucumber, shredded and squeezed of all water

The rest:

1-2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
1/2 of a large cucumber, sliced
Lettuce, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the Field Roast loaf into 12-14 slices, then cut each slice into strips.

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In a large ziplock, combine all of the marinade ingredients and mix well. Add the Field Roast slices and onion to the bag, seal it up and refrigerate for 4-6 hours, turning the bag over a few times.

DSC08001

Meanwhile, prepare the tzatziki sauce by whisking everything together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate until mealtime.

tzatziki

When it’s time for dinner, pour the Field Roast/onion mixture along with all of the marinade into a skillet and saute over medium heat until the liquid is absorbed and the Field Roast begins to brown, about 10 minutes.

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Fill the pita with some Field Roast mixture, a slice or two of tomato, cucumber, lettuce, and some tzatziki sauce. Enjoy!

DSC08014

Let’s Rethink the Pink

pinkribbon

I love fall, but there are two things that piss me off about October: 1.) Starbuck’s stupid non-vegan PSL and 2.) “Pinktober.” I’m all for finding a cure for breast cancer (and all cancers, of course) but do you know where your support dollars go?! “Pinktober” was created by a pharmaceutical company—your money goes to a drug company who makes expensive, toxic, and ineffective drugs and ignores alternative therapies. Please take a few minutes to read this AWESOME article from The Gerson Institute, “Rethinking Pinktober.” 

Also, check this out: A man with stage 3 colon cancer cured his cancer with a vegan diet. It’s incredible. 

Ultimate Green Protein Smoothie

smoothie

A friend gave me this recipe over the weekend and I’ve made 3 of these so far! I added a tablespoon of chia seeds because of their amazing health benefits, but you can leave them out if you’d like. Please note, you don’t have to use peanut butter AND protein powder, but if you omit the protein powder, I suggest using vanilla almond milk or a vanilla flavoring for taste. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS: (1-16 oz smoothie)

1-1/2 C unsweetened almond milk
1 handful of fresh spinach
1/2 a ripe avocado
1 Tbs peanut butter
1 scoop vegan vanilla protein powder
1 Tbs chia seeds
2-3 ice cubes

DIRECTIONS:

Blend 2-3 minutes in a blender until smooth. Enjoy!

Bowties with Veggies and Roasted Garlic Ricotta

RicottaPasta1

I’m so happy there are some leftovers! The original recipe uses real ricotta, but not only did I make use my go-to ricotta recipe, I also added/omitted some ingredients. Ricotta cheese has so much fat it’s ridiculous (10 g/fat, 6 g/saturated fat) so even if you do eat dairy, I urge you to try my tofu-version that contains 5 grams of fat, and only 1 gram of saturated fat. Plus, you’ll also benefit from the protein and the no cholesterol! Also, if you think roasting garlic is a pain, it’s really not. It’s so easy to do and takes only 30 minutes, in which time, you can prepare all of your ingredients. Ideally, if you can roast the garlic and make the ricotta the day before, it will be even more flavorful by the time you make this dish. I think you’ll find this is a great main meal or side dish that will please even picky eaters.

INGREDIENTS:

 Tofu-Ricotta:

14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/3 C nutritional yeast
2 Tbs lemon juice
Optional: 1/2 C Daiya Mozzarella shreds

The rest:

1 lb bow-tie pasta (any variety would be fine)
6 cloves of garlic (or more if you want)
Olive oil
1-1/2 C cherry tomatoes, halved
4-6 C fresh spinach, chopped
2 C mushrooms, sliced and sauteed
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C reserved pasta-cooking water

Ricotta Pasta

DIRECTIONS:

To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 425. Cut off the tips of each garlic clove and place on a piece of foil; drizzle with olive oil. Wrap up loosely in the foil, place on a small baking sheet, and roast for about 30 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

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Meanwhile, however, prepare your other ingredients. To make the “ricotta,” combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, but don’t blend it yet until the garlic is done. You’ll want to add the garlic cloves and blend everything together, along with the 1/4 C of the reserved pasta-cooking water. So until the garlic is ready, at least throw together the ingredients to get started. Cook the pasta according to package instructions while you saute the mushrooms in a small pan with a teaspoon of olive oil. Chop your spinach, slice those tomatoes, and finish off the ricotta by adding the newly roasted garlic and water. (For the garlic cloves, gently squeeze an end and the skins should come right off, then discard).

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Drain the pasta and rinse with hot water to remove as much starch as possible. Return the pot to the stove and over medium-low heat, add the spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms; saute with a smidgen of water until wilted and heated through.

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Add the pasta and ricotta and combine everything thoroughly, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy!

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Rosemary Drop Biscuits

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The rain is continuing to wreak havoc on our state. It took a break yesterday, but started up again last night and hasn’t let up since. Tomorrow is shaping up to be another day off for the Ninth Grader. We are so lucky where we’re at right now, that we aren’t experiencing flooding in my neighborhood, but other sections aren’t fairing as well. We’re so thankful we’re not in Lyons, Estes Park, Boulder, and other mountain towns where people have lost their homes. Hundreds of people are unaccounted for. Please keep Colorado and those affected by the floods in your thoughts!

We’re grateful to be warm, dry and safe in our home and able to have veggie chili simmering in the crock pot, listening to music, and spending our day together. The Ninth Grader made these the other night for dinner and I wanted to share them all of you—an easy addition to any meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 C flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 C Earth Balance, melted
2/3 C almond milk
1 Tbs dried rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Whisk together the dry ingredients, then stir in the milk and melted Earth Balance. It’ll be sticky, but that’s OK; just incorporate everything the best you can.

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We had a very curious visitor stop by . . .

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Take 1/4 C-sized pieces of dough and place them on the baking sheet. We got 12 biscuits out of the batch.

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Bake 12-15 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.  Enjoy!

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Rainy Day Tofu Scramble

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So Mother Nature has not been happy with us. A couple of weeks ago, we were having extreme heat that schools actually closed down for a day. Now, Denver and Northern Colorado is having extreme rain and flooding. (And we can’t forget about the snowstorm in May!) Fort Collins is shutting down bridges and closing up shop. Other cities, like Lyons are being completely evacuated. Many of the mountain towns have no water, electricity and gas! We’re fortunately doing fine where we’re at, but other neighborhoods in Fort Collins are gearing up for some serious flooding.

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This is between Lyons and Estes Park. Image from Estes Park News.

Yikes! I hope everyone stays safe and that this rain gives us a break!

So while we wait it out, might as well eat, right? Here’s a quick, easy, and versatile breakfast that will be ready in minutes.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
1 14-oz tub extra firm tofu, drained, pressed and crumbled
6 mushrooms, sliced
1/2 C green onions, sliced
1/2 C black olives
A few dashes of turmeric
A few dashes of cumin
A couple dashes of garlic salt
A couple of dashes of black pepper
1/4 C salsa
1 tomato, diced
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, and diced
Daiya cheese shreds
Flour tortillas, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and green onion and saute over medium, heat for 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms cook down a little. Add the turmeric, cumin, garlic salt, and pepper. Next, add the tofu and black olives and saute 5 minutes, then stir in the salsa. Cook for a few minutes until everything is hot. Serve either in a bowl, or tortilla along with some Daiya, tomatoes, and avocado. Enjoy!

Summertime Fruit and Greens Salad

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I was needing to bring a dish to an outdoor potluck and The Ninth Grader actually had this idea and it sounded pretty good, so I went to work in the kitchen. Not only was it gone by the end of the night, I’ve already emailed the recipe to those who requested it. It has a light, tangy dressing that is perfect for a summertime get together.

INGREDIENTS:

Dressing:

1/8 C + 1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs + 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1 Tbs poppy seeds

Salad:

8 C greens, chopped (I used iceberg and green leaf)
2 15-oz cans mandarin oranges, drained
2 6-oz containers raspberries
1 C Craisins
1 C pomegranate seeds
1 C walnuts, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, combine the greens.

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Carefully fold in the fruit and walnuts, then drizzle the dressing on top.

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Again, gently fold or toss the salad to incorporate the dressing. Enjoy!

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Vegan French Onion Soup

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I’ll be honest, I never really ate French onion soup before my vegan days, so I’m not sure how it’s supposed to taste. My guys were the ones to decide if this one passed the test. The Ninth Grader liked it a lot, but found it a little salty (I used broth and miso). The Husband liked it, but didn’t care for the vegan cheese—he admitted that the  real cheese is what made it so great before. I myself, loved the vegan cheese and I found that it all worked so well. Of course, the salt-factor didn’t seem to be a problem for me, which I’m thinking is because I spent the day (from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) walking over 15 miles along one of Fort Collins’ trails and pretty much sweated out any salt, so I was needing it! You can certainly just use water for this recipe. This recipe serves 3.

INGREDIENTS:

3 Tbs olive oil
2 extra large onions, sliced (about 8 cups)
4 C water (or broth)
1/3 C miso
3 Tbs water or broth
1 Tbs thyme
Black pepper (and salt, if needed)
Vegan cheese

Croutons

1/2 a loaf of sourdough or French bread or baguette, sliced
Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

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Heat the 3 tablespoons of oil in a large soup pot and add the onions. Cook them over medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, or until they soften and begin to brown.

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Meanwhile, make the croutons. Lay them out on a baking sheet, brush with oil and place under the broiler until browned. Flip them, brush with oil and broil again.

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In a small bowl, combine the miso, thyme and tablespoons of water or broth.

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Add the water/broth and miso mixture to the onions and bring to a boil.

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Fill bowls with the soup, top with the croutons and cover with cheese. I used the Daiya shreds and also sliced up some of the Daiya Swiss slices:

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Place the bowls onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler for just 1-2 minutes.

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Enjoy!

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My “New” Chairs

This post sort of has to do with food. We sit on these “new” chairs while eating delicious vegan food . . .

Our dining room chairs were beginning to show their age and I had already reupholstered them once before. We had inherited a new table, but the chairs didn’t match. *GASP*! Can you imagine?! ;-) The set had been a housewarming gift when we bought our first house back in 2002, so when we went shopping, we had no idea how dang expensive good quality chairs were. We would have paid anywhere between $800-$1000 for 6 chairs. In the end, I decided to go all DIY on them . . .

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Between fabric (worth waiting for a sale–saved 50%), paint, and supplies, I spent $102—for all six chairs. Don’t you love recycling?!

I chose to accent two of the six chairs with this fabulous patterned yellow fabric; the others in the gray chevron.

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Sure, there’s work involved, but I had these babies done in less than 3 days. My search is now on for a rug, which unfortunately, I don’t think I can whip up from anything I have already. Any recommendations for a durable, earth-friendly rug?

Garden Watch

It’s pretty amazing what can grow in a few short months. This was what our garden and yard looked like in May:

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and here we are now:

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Earlier in the summer, we had quite a crop of snap peas, but now that they’ve run their course, we’ve had to make way for the tomatoes, which so far, have been amazing! Here’s a look at what’s cooking in the garden . . .

PEPPERS (ANAHEIM, BELL & JALAPENO)

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DAIKON RADISHES, CARROTS (COLORED AND REGULAR), AND KALE

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TOMATOES

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I also thought I’d share the incredible transformation that our little corner of the earth has gone through since 2009 . . .

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Happy gardening and I’ll bring you pictures (with more than just green veggies) when harvest time comes!

WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO FROM YOUR GARDEN?

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce

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It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of August. Right now, I can see a few leaves on the Sumac trees outside my window, already turning red. I feel as though I missed a great deal of our Colorado summer, spending it rather, in different parts of the U.S. (and in one case, another country). We experienced the gorgeous summer days of Victoria, BC, Seattle, San Francisco, a couple balmy days in San Diego, Sacramento, Napa, and finally wrapped up the season’s fun in New York City. I feel truly blessed that I was able to go on these trips with the people I love and adore. This morning, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such times and that my family and I have our health. A young teacher at my son’s school, passed away last night from cancer. He had just celebrated his one-year anniversary with his wife. I didn’t know him, but he was to be my son’s English teacher this year. My heart goes out to his wife, who is also a teacher at the school. It makes me appreciate even more, the times spent together as a family. One of my favorite times is cooking with the Ninth Grader and the fun we have together making messes in the kitchen. This meal would not have come together without his help; him holding up the sheet of pasta dough while I crank it through the pasta maker. It may have looked like a circus stunt, but the results were nothing less than spectacular.

INGREDIENTS:

Pasta dough:

2 C semolina flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 C warm almond milk
2 Tbs olive oil

Pesto Sauce:

2 to 2-1/2 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C parsley
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 C lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1 C pine nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts or almonds would work great, too)
3 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

The rest:

2-3 C mushrooms, sliced
1 C green onions, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough, whisk together the flours and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the warm almond milk and olive oil. I recommend using your hands to then blend everything together thoroughly. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I divided the dough into fourths and proceeded to feed each section through the pasta maker to make long sheets, then through the fettuccine portion. I found that four hands make this job much easier, if not necessary. You’ll want to let the pasta dry up a little. I don’t have any pasta drying racks, so I improvised . . .

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These methods worked beautifully. Time-consuming, perhaps, but a necessary step—otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of fettuccine noodles stuck together in one big mess. While the pasta drying, make up the pesto. You can also make this earlier in the day to save time. Toss the basil, parsley, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend for about a minute. Add the nuts and blend until smooth. Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerate until ready to use. To make the sauce, I added about half of the pesto and 3 Tbs of Earth Balance to a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Let the butter melt, stirring often.

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Now would be a good time to get a large pot of salted water boiling. While you’re waiting, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and green onion.

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Saute 3-5 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the mushrooms to be. Meanwhile, the Ninth Grader toasted the walnuts in a small, dry skillet.

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Have your dinner plates ready because once the water is boiling, the small batches of pasta will cook quickly. I think I cooked all of the pasta in 4 batches. This recipe will easily feed 6 people. The pasta will stick together if you cook it all at once, so I recommend having everyone dish up as you go. You can also drizzle a little olive oil over the cooked noodles to keep them from getting sticky. Top each serving with a tablespoon or two of pesto sauce, mushroom mixture, tomatoes, and walnuts. Enjoy!

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Meatless Mushroom Ragu

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Hello! I didn’t forget about all of you; I’ve had a very busy month of traveling. I spent a couple of weeks traveling around Northern California on a little book tour—you can read about it HERE if you’d like. I now get to spend 8 days in New York City this month with my dear friends Kerrie and Nicole! I’ve thrilled to be going on this trip, especially since I’ve never been to the Big Apple. I’m hoping I get a chance to check out some of Alicia Silverstone’s favorite NYC vegan eateries while I’m there. Any recommendations of your own?

In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying not living out of a suitcase for a few days and I finally got back in the kitchen. I recently picked up The Vegan Slow Cooker Cookbook and decided try the meatless ragu. I made a few changes to the recipe, however. You may not think to haul out the slow cooker during the summer, (let alone for vegan food), but it beats using the oven to heat up the house and we’re not regular grill users, so the crock pot is a great idea. The only trouble is that the smell of everything cooking might make you hungry all day. Most of the recipes in the cookbook include instructions for what to prepare the night before and what to prepare the next day—a real time-saver. There wasn’t much to do the night before, so I threw it all together in about 15 minutes around noon.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs olive oil
1/2 C onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Field Roast sausages, Italian Seasonings flavor, crumbled
1 28-oz can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 C mushrooms, chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
3 Tbs port wine
Chopped fresh basil
Optional ingredients: diced zucchini and/or bell pepper
1 lb Rigatoni pasta

DIRECTIONS:

In a large skillet, cook the onion in the olive oil, until the onions are tender, a bout 3-4 minutes.

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Transfer the onions to the slow cooker. Next, add the Field Roast to the skillet and over medium heat, saute until browned, 3-4 minutes as well.

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Transfer the Field Roast, tomatoes, mushrooms, salt and pepper, vinegar, and wine in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Serve over cooked pasta and top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

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Garbanzo-White Bean Truffle Spread

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This is a variation on the white bean truffle spread that I decided to whip up for our July 4th party. I’ve made the original version several times, but I wanted to change things up a little and I’m thinking I like this new version even better!

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
1 15-oz can Great Northern beans, drained and rinsed
1 large (or two medium) clove of garlic, halved or quartered
1 tsp salt
5-6 large green onions (white and green parts) sliced
4 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:

Add the salt and garlic to a food processor and process until the garlic is pretty well chopped up. Add the beans, lemon juice, salt, and green onions; puree until smooth. While the machine is running, add the truffle oil; blend well. If you have time, let it chill for an hour or two before serving. Enjoy on crackers, toasted baguette slices, or veggies.

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Quinoa-Rice Salad with Tempeh and “Feta”

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We had a fabulous July 4th holiday feast with great friends and family. Our friends made these incredible grilled vegetable sandwiches and an outstanding gazpacho! (recipe soon to come, for sure).

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Cold quinoa and/or rice salads tend to be ideal for outdoor get togethers, plus, being vegan AND gluten-free, makes it so everyone can enjoy. Granted, there was a lot of prep work for this salad, but you can save yourself some time by making certain things ahead of time. I love the different flavors in this salad, as well as the crunch from the nuts. I made quite a big batch, so feel free to halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 C wild rice mix (cooked in 2-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1 C quinoa (cooked in 1-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1-1/2 C dried apricots, diced
1-1/2 C toasted nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans, but I think pepitas and almond slivers would be great too)
1 C fresh parsley, chopped

Tempeh + marinade:
8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes
1/4 C tamari
1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced

Tofu “feta”: (adapted)
1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 C cashews
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp yellow or mellow miso
2 Tbs reserved marinade (below)

Marinade:
3 Tbs lemon juice
5 Tbs white wine vinegar
1-1/2 Tbs yellow or mellow miso
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

Dressing:
1/2 C lime juice
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making the feta and marinating the tempeh ahead of time, even a day or two ahead if you can. I didn’t, and I think the salad still turned out great, but it’ll bring out the flavors even more. We’ll start with the feta.

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Slice the tofu into 1/2″ slabs and place into a large dish. Whisk together the feta marinade and coat the tofu thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or preferably over a night or two. Next, blend the cashews, olive oil, miso, and reserved marinade. I used my blender, but I couldn’t get a smooth consistency, so I transferred the mixture to a mortar and pestle, to mash it up even more.

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Crumble up the tofu with your fingers, then add the cashew mixture; combine well. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

To make the tempeh, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium zip bag and add the tempeh. Let it marinade for several hours to overnight.

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When ready, heat a tiny bit of olive oil to a small skillet and add the tempeh. Saute over medium heat until the tempeh has crispy edges.

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Meanwhile, cook the rice and quinoa (separately) according to package instructions. I tend to use veggie broth for added flavor. I also used what quinoa I had: some red, some regular.

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Combine the two in a large bowl and refrigerate until cooled. (Be sure to place a hot pad or trivet underneath the bowl when placing directly onto a cold, glass refrigerator shelf.) Once cooled, fold in all of the ingredients: nuts, feta, parsley, tempeh, and apricots. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad; fold gently to incorporate everything. Enjoy!

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Polenta Marsala

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It’s great to be back with a new recipe! I haven’t worked with polenta much, so I decided to take the easy route and use the pre-cooked version.

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It’s great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Having always liked Marsala-anything, I wanted to give it a try with polenta, another new favorite around here. The recipe calls for flour, but feel free to make this meal gluten-free by using another type of flour, such as rice flour. The Husband called this “f***ing brilliant.” Need I say more?

INGREDIENTS:

1-18oz tube of pre-cooked polenta (I used the basil garlic variety)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
2 C mushrooms, sliced (I recommend cremini or baby portobello)
1/2 C green onion, sliced
3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour, any variety
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1  to 1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C Marsala cooking wine

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the polenta into about 18-19 slices.

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In a small bowl, combine the flour, marjoram, and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the polenta slices. You may have to do a couple of batches, like I did. Brown the polenta, about 5-7 minutes on each side.

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Once they are all browned, set aside. Wipe out the skillet and add the Earth Balance. After it melts, whisk in the flour mixture. Over medium heat, add the broth and Marsala, little by little, continually whisking until it’s smooth. You may have some extra broth leftover at this point, but hang onto it in case you need to thin the sauce out more later. Add the mushrooms and green onion, and mix together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms cook down a little. You may need to add a little more broth to thin the sauce.

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Add the polenta slices to the pan and carefully fold them into the sauce. Simmer on low until the slices are heated through again. Enjoy!

Vegan Vacation: Seattle

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I have been such a slacker! I finally got a chance to throw together this post about our vegan adventures in Seattle. I had made quite a list of restaurants to try to hit up while we were there, but it didn’t work out completely. Because we stayed downtown, we opted to hoof it everywhere, except for taking the city bus one day, which meant we couldn’t hit up a few vegan eateries that I was hoping to get to. All in all, it worked out just fine and we certainly didn’t starve!

Hook and Plow

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Located right along the piers on Alaskan Way, Hook and Plow wasn’t the most obvious vegan choice, but a menu we had found online listed some vegan options. Once we got there, however, these items were awol. When we asked the waitress about this, she happily offered to speak with the chef about what he could make. He ended up coming to our table and was very willing to fix us something vegan and delicious. We each went with this incredible mushroom (oyster, shiitake and button) risotto.

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It was probably one of best meals we had in Seattle. So flavorful and delicious! Diners at the other tables were intrigued and asked the waitress about it. We felt vegan-special. :-)

Chutney’s Queen Anne

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Located at 519 1st Ave., and is in walking distance to the Seattle Center (Space Needle, Chihuly Gardens, Pacific Center, etc.) The outside is very unassuming, but the inside is more upscale. If you like Indian food, you will love Chutney’s. They have a great selection of vegan items to choose from and are very reasonably priced. We started with the Onion Bhajiya, onion fritters fried in a seasoned chickpea batter.

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We could have eaten ten more a piece; they were outstanding.

We went with the Vegetable Biryani with rice, nuts, spices, and raisins. The flavors were amazing.

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And the Aaloo Gobi Punjabi (potatoes, cauliflower tossed with onions and tomato and seasoned with coriander and ginger garlic). Pure awesomeness.

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Everything was delicious (including the rosemary and garlic naan!) and the service was outstanding. I highly recommend Chutney’s for a fine vegan Indian cuisine.

So, speaking of the Seattle Center, we were highly impressed with the amount of vegan options (thank, Bill Gates)! At the Armoey/Center House, you’ll have your choice of several restaurant options in a food court setting. 21 eateries to be exact! Once day, we grabbed a quick sub from Subway, but then we discovered more . . .

Plum Market

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You can only imagine our excitement when we found this 100% vegan and organic eatery. It’s actually tucked back in a corner and we didn’t even see it at first (hence, the Subway).

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I don’t know what it was called, but I got the last one. Thank goodness. It was a puff pastry with vegan mac and cheese and caramel onions on top. Yes, please.

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I also went with the kale salad with tofu “feta.” Delicious!

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The Husband went with this incredible tofu sandwich. I can’t remember what was all in it, but he really enjoyed it.

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The Ninth Grader went with the vegetarian pot pie from Sweet and Savory Pie.

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He thought it was great . . . just not big enough!

Gordon Biersch

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Located at the Pacific Place Shopping Center downtown. For the typical American brewhouse, they actually have quite a few vegetarian items that can be made vegan. We were all drawn to the veggie tacos with lettuce, pico de gallo, and avocado. (Just ask for no cheese). Served with black beans and rice. They tasted fresh and the flavor was great.

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Dragonfish Asian Cafe

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Located at 722 Pine St. This was located just across the street from the hotel, so for Asian takeout, it was great. We weren’t necessarily starving, so we each ordered the vegetable spring rolls, the avocado rolls, and the tofu rolls.

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I’m usually not big on veggie sushi rolls, but these were fantastic. They were also larger than the rolls we’ve had in other places. We enjoyed the food so much, we ended up ordering another night from them as well.

Rock Bottom Brewery

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Located on 5th Ave., across from the 5th Ave Theater this was a great stop for a veggie burger. And a beer flight . . .

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The house-made veggie burger was pretty darn good and it was nice to hear (from our waiter) that around 90% of the menu is made in house and from scratch. The patio is a great place to sit and relax (as long as it’s not raining).

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Guaymas Cantina

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Located near Pioneer Square at the Harbor Steps at 1303 1st Ave. Typically, it’s pretty easy to find plenty of vegan options at a Mexican restaurant and that was certainly the case here.

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We all had the “Guaymas” Wet Burrito (minus the cheese).

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Another winner. Really delicious.

The atmosphere is nice and they also offer a complimentary salsa bar. The service was also great.

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Yard House

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Located at 1501 4th Ave. We were thrilled to come across Yard House since they have lots of vegetarian and vegan options, including a large menu of Gardein products.

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Plus, any of their burgers can be made with a Gardein patty. I ordered the Gardein Orange Peel Chicken with baby corns, bok choy with an orange glaze. Yum!

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The Husband went with one of their Gardein burgers, as did the Ninth Grader. Obviously, I was too hungry and didn’t get pictures! They enjoyed them, however.

Museum of Flight’s Wings Cafe

Located inside the Museum of Flight 9404 Marginal Way S.

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We were delighted to see the Vegan Asian Rice Noodle Salad, so we each ordered that.

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Although we highly appreciated the effort to accommodate vegans, it left a lot to be desired. Even with the sesame dressing, we found the salad (tofu, bell peppers, edamame, noodles, and cabbage) incredibly bland; there was just no flavor. At least it was healthy!

P.F. Chang’s

Located downtown at the Westlake Center (400 Pine St). This is always a great options for vegans and instead of trying to find another dinner place for our last night, we decided to wait the 30 minutes for a table. Having eaten at P.F.Chang’s several times before, we knew it’d be a good option.

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Veggie chow mein

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Buddha’s Feast

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Coconut Vegetable Curry

This post isn’t complete without showing you the original Starbucks located at Pikes Market!

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Yes, the coffee tasted the same, but it’s all about the experience, right?

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My Book is Now Available!

On a non-vegan note . . . my historical nonfiction, Folsom’s 93 is now available! Sorry for the blatant, self promotion, but I thought, if any of you (or others you know) are history buffs, you might be interested. You can order a copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. The e-version will be available July 1st. Some of the stories of these men are so bizarre; stranger than fiction. For example, one woman’s husband was Folsom’s 52nd execution and happened to be her fourth murdering husband! How does that happen?! Well . . . you’ll have to buy the book to find out! ;-)

Folsom's 93

Thanks for your support!

Vegan Vacation: Victoria, British Columbia

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Hey there! We had a fun-filled two-week vacation, but it’s good to be back. I’ve got a lot going on, so I’m going to try to make this brief! First, we had the most amazing weather in Victoria and Seattle—totally lucked out. We definitely want to move to Victoria, but I know that the cloudless weather we had is certainly not the norm. Either way, Victoria is high on our list of vacation spots. This is the view from our room. Instead of putting you through our vacation photos, I’ll skip to the food! I was pleasantly surprised at how vegan-friendly Victoria is; we had no trouble finding places to eat and stuff ourselves silly. For us, most everything was in walking distance, too. Our hotel had a small kitchen so we were able to at least prepare some meals ourselves. We started each morning with a short walk to a great coffee shop:

Moka House Coffee

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Excellent coffee and service and even had veggie burritos and veggie rolls—The Husband’s favorite.

Rebar

50 Bastion Square, Victoria

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Definitely a favorite!

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Kale Salad: $9 (vegan)

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Potsticker Bowl $13 (vegetarian)

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Rebar Poutine $12 (vegetarian)

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Vegan brownie (can’t remember the price. Don’t care. It was awesome)

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Rebar is very popular and fills up, so you may have to wait for a table, but it’s worth it. If you can’t make it, don’t worry—they have a cookbook!

Green Cuisine Vegetarian Restaurant

#5 560 Johnson Street, Victoria

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Vegan Mac n’ Cheese. That’s all you need to know. Okay, they have more than that, but be sure to try it, because it is fantastic. Green Cuisine is buffet style and prices are based on plate weight. There were so many items to choose from, that this was such an ideal way to try a bit of everything! Plus, it was all delicious. The menu changes often, so check their website for the menu.

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On a side note, I was really bummed that Sarah’s Place, a vegan shop above the restaurant, closed just one day before we arrived. Luckily, you can still order online! I want to wish Sarah a speedy recovery, as she is having to undergo chemo for breast cancer. Keep her in your thoughts and send her a friendly note if you can!

Lotus Pond Vegetarian Restaurant

617 Johnson Street, Victoria

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We went with the lunch buffet (also priced by plate weight), or you can order from the menu. The place is pretty small, but seemed to be a local favorite. We really enjoyed it.

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I will probably never forget this meal or this restaurant, because we ate here shortly after I about lost my shit out in the ocean in a kayak. We kayak a lot, but of course, being in Colorado, we’re confined to lakes and rivers. I’ve never been a big fan of being in the ocean, but I thought, hell, I could do this. After getting out a little too far, where the bay opened up and the waters got a bit choppy, I freaked. I was in the back of a 2-man kayak with The Husband and suddenly I panicked, thinking we were going to get eaten by a whale, a shark, or an orca . . . or all three. This was moments before I started hyperventilating:

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Anyway, I digress . . . If go, see Joanna at Victoria Kayak ~ Tours & Rental. She’s the best! (Us, after being safely back on deck)!

kayak

The Joint Pizzeria  

1219 Wharf Street, Victoria, BC

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Another great local favorite. Pretty small inside, but we were able to score a table. The Joint offers vegan and gluten-free pizzas, which you can have made on the spot, or take a slice or two to-go. They make their vegan pizzas with Daiya cheese (even though the menu says, “our own vegan cheese”). Whatever, I was happy with the Daiya.

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The Ninth Grader went with the nachos with veggie meat.

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Blue Poppy Restaurant—Butchart Gardens

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We hopped the bus one day and went up to The Butchart Gardens (a must-see if you visit). They have two restaurants and we opted for the cafeteria-style, Blue Poppy. We all went with the $8 salad that was ok—it sufficed. There weren’t many vegetarian options otherwise, although I believe they had a vegetarian Indian dish. It looks like the menu changes often, so you may want to call ahead to find out what veg-friendly options they’ll have that day.

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Is that it? I guess so. I will end it by featuring a British Columbia wine that was outstanding (especially while being enjoyed on the balcony, overlooking the bay):

Red Rooster Winery

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I’ll be bringing you our vegan Seattle finds soon!

Victoria, BC & Seattle . . . Here We Come!

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We leave this weekend for a week in Victoria, BC and a week in Seattle! We’re very exited to get away and looking forward to spending time in two places we’ve never been. I’ve done a lot of research on places to see, places to eat, but it’d be great to get some recommendations!

So, how about it? Any recommendations?

Stuffed Shells with Butternut Squash and Cashew Cheese

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A BIG thank you goes out to Luminous Vegans for this outstanding recipe. When I saw it a couple of weeks ago, it immediately bookmarked it. This also reminds me a bit of the Sweet Potato Ravioli I made a while back, which was also a favorite. Everyone loved this—a keeper for sure. The only thing I did different was made a full box of jumbo shells (about 40 shells), otherwise, I followed the recipe as it was. These are not overly squashy tasting, thanks to the amazing cashew cheese. You can make the filling ahead of time and store it in the fridge until ready to use, which is a time saver, but not a must. From start to finish, it took me about an hour and a half of (easy) prep and cook time.

INGREDIENTS:

1 box jumbo shells

1 large butternut squash

1/3 C chives, chopped

1/3 C basil, chopped

salt and pepper

1 jar marinara sauce

Cashew Cheese:

2 C raw cashews, soaked in water for up to 2 hours, then drained

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs almond milk (I did add about another tablespoon)

1 tsp tahini (I accidentally used a tablespoon, hence, the extra almond milk, but it all worked out)

1/2 Tbs onion powder

1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 450. Cut the butternut squash in half. Roast for 30-45 minutes. Oven temps and cooking times vary, so check after 30 minutes; the squash should be tender and soft.

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Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine all of the cashew cheese ingredients and puree until smooth. Pretty easy. In a medium bowl, combine the chives, basil, squash and about 1/2 to 3/4 C of the cashew cheese.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Of course, while all this is going on, boil the shells (10-15 minutes). Once drained, stuff each shell with the filling. Don’t get too heavy handed—you can always add more to any of the shells.

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Layer on the jarred marinara sauce. I used about 3/4 of a jar. The rest will be great for a quick spaghetti lunch this week.

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Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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Vegan Oven Tacos

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Every week, when I’m writing up a grocery list, I always ask for dinner suggestions. It never fails. “Tacos.” It’s become a joke around here. When I saw this recipe on Pinterest for Oven Tacos, I knew my hegans would be very happy with a vegan version. These were definitely a hit. I had to laugh when the original recipe said that after the ground beef is cooked (yack!) “drain the liquid.” Oh, just say what it is! Grease! Melted animal fat! Ahhh . . . I love it; being vegan means never having to say, “drain the liquid/grease/fat.” Speaking of which, the Boca crumbles have zero fat, I use “no fat” refried beans, and there is no fat in the tomato sauce. Obviously, these aren’t totally fat free, but can you imagine the fat content alone in the original ones? Yikes! So, not only are these amazing, they’re actually healthy for you. I’ve discovered these great whole grain taco shells that really are delicious. Psst . . . by the way, this makes A LOT. I made 13 tacos and had some filling left over, so I recommend either serving these to a crowd, or freezing half the filling for the next taco night.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 bag Boca Crumbles

1/2 large onion, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1  15-oz can no fat refried beans

1 small can diced green chilies

1 packet taco seasoning

1  8-oz can tomato sauce

Daiya cheese shreds

13-14 taco shells

Toppings:

green onion, sliced

sliced black olives

fresh cilantro, chopped

diced tomatoes

guacamole or diced avocado

salsa

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and saute until softened and beginning to brown. Add the Boca Crumbles and cook 4-5 minutes, or until they are heated through. (No need to drain any “liquid”)! In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the seasoning mix with 1/2 to 3/4 C of water;  stir into the Boca mixture. Next, add the tomato sauce, green chilies, and beans. Combine well over medium-low heat.

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Fill the taco shells with the mixture. I wanted to leave plenty of room for toppings, so I filled them about a third of the way up, but feel free to use as little or as much as you want. Like I said, I made 13 tacos—enough to fill a 9×13 baking dish, so if you’re making more, you’ll want a larger dish. And be careful, they break easily with the thick filling inside (especially after they’re baked). Sprinkle with some Daiya cheese.

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Bake for 10 minutes. The bottom portion of the shell (that has the Boca filling) will have the awesomeness of a soft taco, but the flavor of corn. THEN, the top half is crunchy—best of both worlds!

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Load them up with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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