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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Tempeh Lettuce Wraps

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Lettuce wraps are a favorite around here, especially since we can be picky and add what toppings we want. Oh, and they’re fresh and easy to make. I suggest having all of your ingredients out, ready to go, and even chopped before anything else; it just makes life easier. I was inspired by a Vegetarian Times recipe, but I made lots of changes by adding ingredients and omitting some. That’s the beauty of these . . . they’re so versatile.

INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

2 8oz pkg. tempeh, broken into chunks
5 large mushrooms, diced
1 can water chestnuts, chopped (I didn’t have any, but I would have used them if I did, so these are certainly optional)
1 Tbs olive oil
2 Tbs fresh garlic, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C fresh mint, chopped
1/8 C lime juice
1 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs toasted brown rice vinegar
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sriracha
1/4 tsp brown sugar

Sauce:

1/8 C lime juice
1/8 C water
1/8 C sugar
2 Tbs tamari
1 Tbs brown rice vinegar
1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs yellow  miso
salt and pepper, to taste

Toppings:

2 carrots, shredded
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into strips
Fresh basil, sliced into strips
1 C green onions, sliced
1 avocado, sliced into thin strips
1/2 C chopped peanuts and slivered almonds (also chopped)
12-16 large lettuce leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Whisk together the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. To make the filling, pulse the tempeh in a food processor. Depending on your preference, you can pulse it until you’re left with course pieces, or process it a bit more like I did. It can be difficult to get a consistent texture if you want larger pieces.

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Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the ginger and garlic. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tempeh (and water chestnuts, if suing) and broth. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Uncover, add the mushrooms, increase heat to medium-high, and cook ten minutes. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and heat thoroughly.

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Since you were so efficient in your prep work . . .  ;-) you’re ready to fill the lettuce wraps! Place a scoop in the center of the lettuce leaf and add your favorite toppings, and drizzle with about a tablespoon of the sauce. Enjoy!

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Vegan Baked Jalapeno Poppers

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The Eighth Grader and I have been wanting to try making these for a while, but we kept forgetting. We were to bring an appetizer to a dinner the other night and finally! I remembered these. Not only that, our friends love jalapenos, so these were ideal. They were literally gone in about 5 minutes. They were so easy to make, too, so I’ll be bringing them to the next get together.

INGREDIENTS:

10 jalapeno peppers

Filling:

6-oz vegan cream cheese
1/2 C Daiya cheese shreds (I used a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2-3  Tbs vegan bacon bits

Coating:

Egg-replacer powder + water
almond milk

Breading:

3/4 C flour (any variety)
4 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 to 1-1/2 C panko

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients, except the bacon bits, in a mixer. Once well incorporated, fold in the bacon bits; set aside. To prepare the peppers, cut the tops off and slice the peppers in half, length-wise. Clean out the insides, reserving any seeds you may want to keep (for heat).

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To prepare the coating, I didn’t measure out the egg-replacer powder and water .  .  . sorry. But I can tell you, I used about 1/3 C of Ener-G Egg Replacer and created a thick, meringue-like consistency by whisking in some water. I then combined it with about 1/2 to 3/4 C of almond milk.  Next, combine the flour and nutritional yeast in a shallow bowl.

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In another shallow bowl, pour in the panko. So here’s the process:

Fill the pepper halves with some cream cheese filling, roll it in the milk, then the flour filling, then the panko. Place onto a lightly greased baking sheet.

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Repeat with remaining peppers. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops begin to brown. I threw them under the broiler for about 2 minutes. Enjoy!

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And guess what . . .  it’s snowing! Again! I’m so over it.

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Luckily, the veggies we planted in March are doing fine. Of course, we had to cover them again last night, but we should only be getting 3 inches at the most.  I suppose the good thing is that this will help with this summer’s fire danger. But still . . . why can’t it just rain?!

Macadamia Nut Cheese

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I was immediately smitten when I saw this recipe for macadamia nut “goat cheese” over at The Holy Kale. I haven’t met many nut cheeses I didn’t like, and this one looked too delicious not to try. I followed the recipe as it was written, but when I tasted it, I found into be incredibly bland. After all, there wasn’t any seasonings besides the tarragon it was rolled in. . . I took matters into my own hands because I sure the heck wasn’t going to waste the $7 I spent on two cups of macadamia nuts! A little salt, lemon juice, olive oil, and agave saved the day . . . and the cheese! Other than the texture, I don’t think this resembles goat cheese, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tasty–it most certainly is!

INGREDIENTS:

2 C macadamia nuts (I used unsalted), soaked for 24 hours in water
1 cap veggie Probiotic
1/2 C water
2-3 Tbs lemon juice
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp, or to taste, salt
1-2 Tbs agave
2-3 Tbs fresh tarragon, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

After soaking the nuts, drain and transfer to a food processor along with 1/2 a cup of fresh water and the contents of the probiotic capsule. Blend until smooth (you will probably need to periodically scrape the sides).

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Wrap in a cotton napkin or a few layers of cheese cloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.

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Keep wrapped in the cloth and place into a bowl. Do not seal the bowl.

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Let it sit for 2 days on the counter and ferment. Unwrap . . .

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. . . and transfer to a bowl. Using a fork, blend in the lemon juice, salt, and oil. Taste and adjust seasonings/flavorings if need be. Wrap the cheese in plastic wrap, shaping into a log.

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Refriderate for several hours to overnight to allow the flavors to meet and mingle. The longer you let it percolate the better! Spread the chopped tarragon on a cutting board and roll the log over it. Drizzle with agave and serve with crackers. This would also be excellent crumbled over a salad. Delicious and worth the long process! Enjoy!DSC07277

Vegan Herbed Cream Cheese

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I think non vegans would find it pretty hard to know this is nondairy. (And when is it not fun to fool omnivores)? This is a Tofutti cream cheese-based dip/spread, but you could easily reverse the ratio of cream cheese and sour cream in this recipe and make it a sour cream-based one. It works great as a dip, dolloped on a baked potato, cracker spread, bagel topper, or sandwich condiment. It was ideal for veggie wraps . . .

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INGREDIENTS:

12-oz container of Tofutti cream cheese
1/4 C Tofutti sour cream
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbs dried minced onion
1 tsp salt
2 large green onion, sliced
1 Tbs lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. Store in an airtight container and keep chilled until using. Enjoy!

Zucchini, Tomato & Ricotta Tart

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This was so good and so easy to make! Yes, I know, puff pastry—even though it’s vegan—isn’t the healthiest of foods, but once in a while, it’s okay. In fact, it’s downright fun to come up with recipes using it. This is the perfect time to break out the mandolin slicer (if you’re brave enough). I’m still too freaked out to use it after my mishap with it.  Anyway, I used my go-to ricotta cheese recipe which makes more than what you need for this, but the rest will freeze well or keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. It’s great mixed in some cooked pasta with veggies, or small batch of a stuffed shells. You can also just halve the recipe if you’d like. This dish works as a main meal, or cut into small squares, is ideal as an appetizer. Check out these other tart recipes: Savory Vegetable Tart and Savory Asparagus Tart.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
2 tomatoes, sliced thin
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

Ricotta:

14-oz tub of extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 tsp basil (sometimes I use fresh basil–about a cup)
1 tsp rosemary (Again, you can use 1 Tbs of freshly chopped rosemary)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/3 C nutritional yeast
Optional: 1/4 to 1/3 cup of vegan mozzarella, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 350. On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to fit an 11″x17″ cookie sheet. It’s ok if the edges go over the side—just tuck them in. Stick with a fork in several places.

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Bake for 7-10 minutes (check it to make sure it’s not browning). You want it just toasted:

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To make the ricotta, combine all of the ingredients (except the cheese, if using) in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in the cheese.

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Spread about a cup or so of the ricotta onto the puff pastry. You can use as little or as much as you’d like. Top with the tomato slices. I got about 9 slices, so I spaced them evenly on top.

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Next, layer on the zucchinis. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

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Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the crust brown the zucchinis are tender.

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Transfer to a large cutting board, then cut and enjoy!

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Spicy Empanadas

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Happy New Year!

We spent our New Year’s Eve with friends and I brought these empanadas. I’ve made similar ones before and I noticed that I had written 5-6 jalapenos for that recipe. Those must have been some pretty mild peppers, because I used one in this recipe and they were plenty zippy! I changed these up a little and they turned out great. I think adding a chipotle-flavored Field Roast sausage link would also be great for the filling. I’m going to have to figure out how to keep them from opening up during the baking process, but it didn’t seem to make a difference in taste—they were gone in minutes!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

3 C flour + some for kneading
3 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer + 4 Tbs water
12 Tbs Earth Balance (1-1/2 sticks)
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs white vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 C water

Filling:

8-oz non-dairy cream cheese
2 Tbs lime juice
1 Tbs almond milk + some for brushing
1 tsp shallot salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 C vegan pepper jack, shredded
1 tsp cumin
1 jalapeno, chopped fine
1/3 C red bell pepper, chopped small
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped small
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough, combine the egg replacer with the water and process until foamy.

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Add the flour, Earth Balance, salt, vinegar, and water. Process until well combine.

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Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes. Wrap with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic in a medium skillet. Add the onions, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Season with cumin and saute 5-7 minutes, then remove from the heat.

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Using a mixer, combine the cream cheese, lime juice, almond milk, shallot salt, and garlic powder. Stir in the cilantro, cheese, and pepper mixture.

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Preheat oven to 400. Roll out the dough and using a disk, bowl or cup, cut out 4″ circles.

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Place about a tablespoon of the filling in the middle of dough circle. Fold over and you can either use a fork to seal the edges closed, or a pastry wheel cutter, then place onto a large baking sheet.

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Bake for 15 minutes, then brush the tops with almond milk. Bake another 5-7 minutes, or until the tops brown. Enjoy!

Cashew-Truffle Hummus

This was probably one of the best cashew spreads ever. The original recipe, called Rich and Creamy Cashew Cheese, is from Vegetarian Times, but when I tasted it, it was incredibly bland, so I decided to up the ante and add some of my favorite ingredients. After I messed with it, I found that it ought to be more appropriately called hummus, not to mention, my new favorite hummus. It’s hard to go wrong with miso and truffle oil!

INGREDIENTS:

2 C raw & unsalted cashews, soaked for 24 hours
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs lemon juice
2 tsp white balsamic vinegar (I used regular and added another tsp)
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder
2-1/2 Tbs truffle oil (my addition)
2 Tbs white or yellow miso

DIRECTIONS:

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews. Using a food processor, process for a minute.

Add a 1/2 cup of water and remaining ingredients. Process for 3-5 minutes or until smooth. Cover and refrigerate for about 12 hours or overnight. Enjoy with pita chips, crackers, or on a sandwich.

Halloween Fun

Another Halloween come and gone . . . with lots of delicious food and drink and wonderful friends. This is just one of many hysterical pictures!

The Menu

Guacamole, Black Rice Salad, Almond cheeze (herb and plain), pumpkin hummus, Party Cheese Ball, Spinach Dip, Pesto Potato Soup, Cashew-Truffle Hummus and cupcakes!

I hope you had a safe and fabulous Halloween!

Grilled & Stuffed Avocados

There’s a Mexican restaurant here that makes a stuffed and grilled avocado, but they use shrimp and cheese. I wanted to make our own version. We’re lucky around here to find large avocados for a dollar a piece, so when they were on sale, I grabbed several. Our grill hadn’t seen us for a while—in fact, this is the first time we’ve used it this summer. And August is almost over! Anyway, we made the most of it by grilling veggies, too.

I used this great seasoning from Urban Accents: Teriyaki Grill Kabob Kit, soy, pineapple & sesame.

It was really delicious and an easy way to season vegetables for the grill. Just add some oil and mix it with the veggies. We didn’t use the provided skewers, however, and opted for the grill basket. I separated the mushrooms from the rest of the veggies since they cook fast. I recommend marinating the vegetables for a couple of hours. Over medium heat, grill the veggies for about 30 minutes; stirring often. Add the mushrooms to the grill basket with about 5 minutes of cooking time left.

Now…for the Amazing Avocados . . .

INGREDIENTS:

3 large avocados, pitted and peeled
3 small tomatoes, diced small
1/2 C red onion, diced small
1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tbs red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp lime juice
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Optional: Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

To make the filling, combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside. I suggest making the stuffing ahead of time and let it get to room temperature.

Brush olive oil on both sides of the avocados. Season with salt and pepper on the rounded side.

Set the grill heat to low. Using a spatula or tongs, place the avocados on the grill rounded-side down. Season the flat side with salt and pepper. You may have to tilt each side of the avocado to get the rounded edges cooked a bit.

Cook four minutes on each side.

Now . . . you could mix in some Daiya cheese into the filling, heat the broiler in your oven up, fill up the avocados, and broil for a minute. (or top with Daiya and broil) Otherwise, just fill each avocado with tomato filling and enjoy!

Cherry Tomato Tarts

Don’t you love summer tomatoes? This is the first year we’ve had a garden. For Mother’s Day this year, The Hubby built me three large raised beds and they are overflowing with a bounty of tomatoes, lettuce, and peas. Several days a week, we’re needing to pick more ripened tomatoes.

So, what to do with all of them? (Besides snack on them, of course)? Make some fresh tarts! I had some leftover puff pastry in the freezer, so I used that. Otherwise, you can make a quick dough yourself. Check out this easy recipe. And thank goodness for fresh herbs…the piece de resistance!

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry dough sheet

Approximately 2 C cherry tomatoes, halved

2-3 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

1 C fresh basil leaves, cut into strips

Olive oil (I used Butter-flavored—non-dairy)

Optional: Daiya Cheese shreds

DIRECTIONS:

Thaw the puff pastry dough per package instructions. Preheat the oven to 400. On a flowered surface, roll the dough out to about 11×7. I used the bottom of a tart pan to cut out 4″ circles. I had some dough left, so I made some very ghetto-looking ones with the rest.

This would also work if you wanted to make a full-pan tart, like this asparagus oneUsing a fork, aerate the dough and bake for 3-5 minutes. If using, sprinkle a little Daiya cheese on the tarts, then layer on some basil and tomatoes. Sprinkle with rosemary.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, then drizzle some olive oil on the tarts. Bake another 5 minutes, or until they begin to brown around the edges.

Enjoy!

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

I can’t say I recall having pigs in a blanket much when I was a kid, although I’m sure many of you grew up on snacking on these. Even vegan, they’re  probably not the healthiest, but that’s ok–there’s nothing wrong with some Pillbury Crescent Rolls once in a great while. The Seventh-Grader really wanted to try these, so after a tiny bit of prep, we had a quick snack. I added a little Daiya cheese to one, just to see how it tasted and it was pretty darn good!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Pillbury Crescent Rolls (8)

4 Smart Dogs (or other veggie dog of your choice), cut in half

Daiya cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll the dough and separate each piece. Roll up one of the dogs, starting at the wide end.

Mine with cheese…

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

These are great served with ketchup, horseradish, mustard…you name it. Enjoy!

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries

This is a first for me. I’ve never eaten polenta at home, but I’ve ordered it in restaurants. I decided to try making polenta fries, but the easy way . . .

Ancient Harvest

This is certainly an ideal way to make fries: crack open a polenta log, slice, season, and bake!

INGREDIENTS:

 1 tube of polenta

1/8 C olive oil

2 Tbs truffle oil

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the two oils in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with some of the oil mixture. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices.

Then cut each slice into thirds.

Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the oil mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Enjoy!

Papaya Trail Mix

The Seventh Grader is on a school hiking trip this week, so it gave me an opportunity to make some homemade trail mix that has everything he likes; nothing gets picked over. I also used butter-flavored olive oil that a friend gave me (it’s dairy-free) and works perfectly for trail mix. The subtle buttery taste is amazing. (It works great on pasta, too). Mine is from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company in Fort Collins. After the family had some of the mix, I got, “This is all you made?” I’ll be making another batch today.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C almonds, raw and unsalted

3/4 C walnuts, raw and unsalted

1/2 C pumpkin seeds (with the shell), unsalted

1/2 C dried papaya, cut into chunks

1/4 C chocolate chips

Butter-flavored olive oil

1/2 to 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a little cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts. Drizzle with the olive oil—just enough to lightly coat the nuts. Do the same with the salt. Mix well. Layer onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Since most ovens tend to run different, check often—don’t let the nuts burn.

Let cool for just a minute or two and combine the nuts and papaya in a bowl.

Once the mix has cooled completely, stir in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

More Fun with Ramen

You may remember that The Seventh Grader likes to experiment in the kitchen, particularly using ramen noodles. Recently, he came up with a new creation: Ramen Nests. After cooking the noodles, he sprayed a muffin tin with cooking spray and divided the noodles into four nests. After baking for a few minutes, he then added some chopped spinach, Daiya cheese, and his own array of spices such as garlic salt and pepper. He then baked them a bit more. They were quite delicious! What a cheap appetizer! (4 nests for about $0.20)  Such a culinary genius! ;-)

Three-Nut Cheese

I have been both fascinated and mystified by nut cheese. It wasn’t until I went vegan two years ago that I even learned you could make cheese from nuts. No, it doesn’t necessarily taste much like milk cheese, but it’s still delicious and of course, much healthier for you than the moo-ey version. This recipe is also from Big Vegan, and is actually for quesadillas topped with a mango salsa. I plan on giving that a try, but I think this cheese tastes phenomenal on crackers and apples. I melted some on a tortilla and the flavor really comes out. This recipe is a process, so allow a couple of days for it to magically turn into cheese.

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 C macadamia nuts

1/3 C raw cashews

1/3 C almonds, slivered or flaked

1 acidophilus capsule

1 Tbs cold-press corn oil (I didn’t have any, so I used olive oil)

1 tsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Place the nuts in a bowl and cover with cold water; refrigerate overnight. The next day, drain the nuts and puree them in a food processor with 1/2 C water. Add the contents of the acidophilus capsule and puree.

Transfer to a glass bowl and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Leave it at room temperature for 24 hours.

It will then give off a very cottage-cheesy smell. Stir in the lemon juice, oil, and salt. Refrigerate. Enjoy!

White Bean Truffle Spread

Many of you know I LOVE truffle oil. When I saw this recipe in Party Vegan, I knew I had to make it.

I brought this spread to a get together and wow—it was gone in seconds and the recipe was requested by several people. The flavor is subtle; not overpowering at all. I highly recommend doubling this recipe—you’ll be glad you did!

INGREDIENTS:

1, 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed

2 tsp garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp salt

2 Tbs lemon juice

1 Tbs + 1 tsp truffle oil

1 Tbs fresh chives, chopped (I used one green onion—mostly green parts)

DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor, blend the garlic and salt together. Next, add the beans, chives, and lemon juice; blend well. With the processor running, slowly pour 1 Tbs of the truffle oil in. I got a little excited and poured it all in—which was just fine. (The remaining teaspoon is for drizzling on top when you serve it). Chill for at least two hours, then serve with crackers and veggies.

Orange-Almond Cheese Log

I saw a recipe in the December issue of Vegetarian Times for Date-Cheese Ball, but it’s made with goat cheese. I decided to make my own version using the almond cheeze I’ve made before. It has a similar taste and texture to goat cheese and figured it’d be a perfect substitute. It was. Plus, the orange zest gave it such a unique flavor. I brought this to a holiday party and it was gone pretty quick. Keep in mind that this recipe takes up to two days to prepare. You could make it in a day if you blanch and soak the almonds in the morning and serve it in the evening.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C blanched almonds

1/2 C lemon juice

5 Tbs olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp salt

1 C cold water

8-oz Tofutti cream cheese

1-2 Tbs orange zest

2 tsp dried thyme

1 C sliced almonds, toasted

DIRECTIONS:

To the make the almond cheese, soak the blanched almonds for about 24 hours in water. Next, dry them off and transfer to a food processor. Puree them with the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, water and salt. Layer a fine mesh strainer with a thin cotton napkin (works way better than cheesecloth), and place over a bowl. Pour half of the mixture into the lined strainer and wrap up tightly, then squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible. Wrap up and secure with a rubber band. Do the same with the rest of the cheese. Transfer to a plate and chill for 8 hours or over night.

(you’ll end up with twice this much almond cheese)

To make the cheese log, cream the cream cheese the food processor or mixer. I used a food processor; either would work fine—I just find that the cream cheese gets blended much better this way. You can then transfer to a bowl and stir in everything else, or continue using the food processor.  Squeeze out any more liquid from the almond cheese and add them to the cream cheese along with the orange zest and thyme.

Pulse several times to combine. Layout a long piece of plastic wrap and spread the toasted almond slices on it. Scoop out the cheese onto the plastic, then wrap up the sides to create a log. This will take some finessing, so just go with how you feel most comfortable doing it.

Chill for a few hours and serve with crackers. As we were putting the food out for the party, someone had some blackberries and put them around the cheese—brilliant! Fresh fruit is ideal to accompany this cheese log. I know there’s some time involved in making this, but the steps are very easy and worth the effort. Enjoy!

Amazing Avocado Salsa

Beware: This feeds a crowd . . . and . . . you can easily fill up on this salsa before dinner because it’s so delicious! It’s packed full of flavor and would be ideal for a summer get together. (yes, it’s December, but avocados were on sale). The recipe is from All Recipes, but I just made a couple of changes such as using red onion instead of yellow and adding 1 cup of fresh cilantro. Dig in!

INGREDIENTS:

1 (16 ounce) package frozen corn kernels, thawed

2 (2.25 ounce) cans sliced ripe olives, drained

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 small red onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

3 tablespoons cider vinegar

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

4 avocados – peeled, pitted and diced

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, mix corn, olives, red bell pepper, onion, and cilantro. In a small bowl, mix garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, cider vinegar, oregano, salt and pepper.

Pour into the corn mixture and toss to coat. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 8 hours, or overnight. (I didn’t have time to let it sit that long. I chilled it for about 4 hours). Stir avocados into the mixture before serving with tortilla chips or toasted baguette slices. Enjoy!

My First Cooking Class

Last night I hosted my first vegan cooking class for fellow members of Fort Vegan, a vegan and vegetarian meetup here in Fort Collins. Many of the attendees were vegetarian, but looking to go vegan and needed ideas of how to cook without cheese and eggs. I enjoyed meeting everyone and getting a chance to “talk shop” and learn a few things myself. I put together a packet of information regarding protein, calcium, and ten different things to make with tofu. I also included the recipes for the vegan goodies we ate. I’m sorry to say, I completely forgot to serve the vegan brownies–although the recipe was included. The Seventh Grader was thrilled with my oversight.

I served four easy-to-make appetizers: Avocado Bruschetta, Crock Cheez, Hummus, and Field Roast Stuffed Phyllo Cups. I then showed attendees how to make the best mac n’ cheese ever.

Hopefully, everyone came away with lots of helpful information and full stomachs. I had a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to class number 2 next Sunday. I’m not sure what I’ll be whipping up for that class, but since Thanksgiving is coming up, I may focus on vegan holiday dishes. Thanks again to everyone who attended!

Halloween Shenanigans

I’m a little slow in getting this post up—I’ve been swamped, but here it is. I LOVE Halloween—behind Christmas, it’s my favorite holiday. It’s The Husband’s least favorite holiday, but he puts up with it for me. (Thanks, hon). He’ll even don a costume . . .

The Husband, on the left, after getting fed up with the (cheaply made) Headless Man costume and our good friend, and neighbor, Chris.

I decided to go as a witch . . .

(No, I’m not drunk, just hamming it up for the camera)

I’ll make this quick . . . I threw together some appetizer favorites along with a pot of Vegetable-Barley Chili. On the menu were Stuff Phyllo Cups, Mushroom/Spinach Truffle Oil Tart, Hummus, and my mom’s famous Party Cheese Ball.

For dips, I used Tofutti sour cream with vegan veggie mixes, had some olive out, as well as cider and punch. For something sweet, I decided to make Cinnamon-Sugar Pita Chips:

So easy! Preheat oven to 425. Cut each pita in half, then each half into 3 pieces, then pull each piece apart; place on a baking sheet.  Heat about 4 Tbs of Earth Balance in a saucepan and combine 2 Tbs sugar and 1 tsp of cinnamon in a bowl. Brush each pita triangle with Earth Balance, then sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake for about 4-5 minutes. Once they cool completely, whip up some icing by combining about 2 cups of powdered sugar with 2-3 Tbs of almond milk; drizzle on the chip. Enjoy!

Can you guess what my friend, Jessie is?

 

Cream Cheese & Jalapeno Empanadas

I was in charge of bringing an appetizer to a get together this weekend. I try to make something that I haven’t already brought a million times before, I just have to hope they turn out if I’m making them for the first time. How do you do that? I don’t know, just make these! :) When my mother-in-law called this morning to get the recipe, I knew I must have done something good!

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

3 C all purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 C Earth Balance margarine

1/2 C almond milk

Filling:

12-oz Tofutti or Galaxy Foods brand vegan cream cheese

1-1/2 C fresh cilantro, chopped

6-7 green onions, sliced

5-6 (depending on how hot they are) jalapenos, finely chopped (You can use canned, too)

1/2 C vegan Monterrey jack or mozzarella, shredded

About 1-1/2 Tbs lime juice

A few dashes of garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. To make the dough, use a mixer to blend the flour, salt, and butter until you get a crumbly mixture where most of the butter pieces are small. While mixing, gradually add the milk. You may not use all of it–just enough to make a dough that sticks together to make a ball. You can wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge while you make the filling.


To make the filling, combine all the ingredients using the mixer. I eyeballed the lime juice–just enough to flavor and thin the mixture out. A tablespoon may be plenty. Same with the garlic salt; just to taste.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about an 1/8″ to a 1/4″ thick. I cut out 4″ circles by cutting around the bottom of my 4″ tart pans, but a wide mouth glass, or round cookie cutter would work great. Place about a tablespoon or so of filling in the center of the dough circle, but spread it out so it’s kinda long and narrow.

You’re then going to fold the dough in half and crimp the edges closed with a fork. Make sure the edges get good and sealed, otherwise, they’ll puff up in the oven and come open.

Bake for about 25-30 minutes.  About halfway through, I brushed the tops with olive oil.All ovens run different, so you may need to bake them longer or for less time; check periodically. Serve with salsa. Enjoy!

Yield: about 28

Mango and Avocado Spring Rolls

I’ve been wanting to make this type of spring roll for a while—I’ve seen recipes for then in various different places, but all I knew is that I had a very ripe avocado and a very ripe mango that needed to be used. These were delicious! The only thing I had trouble with, was coming up with a dipping sauce. Traditional peanut sauce just didn’t seem right for these. They’re good on their own, but I think a sauce would be nice. Any ideas?

INGREDIENTS:

14-16 sheets rice paper

8-oz rice noodles

1-2 avocados, sliced thin

1 mango, sliced thin

1 medium cucumber, cut into matchsticks

1 C fresh cilantro

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Have everything chopped and ready to go. While chopping, cook the noodles according to package instructions, which is only a few minutes.

Fill a pie plate with warm water. I find it best to set it next to the left of my large wooden cutting board (where I’ll be assembling the rolls). Place a sheet of rice of paper into the water and let it soften for about 45 seconds. Carefully pull it out, let it drip any excess water and then lay it out onto the cutting board. Place another sheet in the water so that it’s ready when you need another one. Start with a handful of rice noodles. They can be hard to tear apart, so I found that having some kitchen scissors on hand is helpful. Place into the middle of the rice paper. Add a couple slices of avocado, mango, and cucumber and top with some cilantro and salt and pepper.

Fold in the sides first, then bring up the bottom and roll up. Transfer to a plate. They’re not that difficult to make as long as your work area is set up before hand. Enjoy!

Product Reviews: Nate’s Savory Mushroom Meatless Meatballs & Gardein Chipotle-Lime Crispy Fingers

The other night just seemed like an appetizer night. Every once in a while we’ll peruse Whole Foods, or Sunflower Market for some vegan appetizers for dinner. We had never tried Nate’s Savory Mushroom Meatless Meatballs before and anything that says “savory mushrooms,” we’re all over it. I’ve had Nate’s Zesty Meatless Meatballs, and we weren’t that impressed. They had no flavor—even with marinara sauce and cheese on them. I was willing to give these a try, however.

There are three methods of cooking them listed on the back: stove top, oven or microwave. We went with the oven: 375 for 10 minutes. They come with zero saturated fat, no trans fat, no cholesterol, 8 grams of protein, and only 4.5 grams of total fat. So onto the taste . . . they weren’t good. Not only did they have NO FLAVOR, the little taste that they did have, was not good at all. They tasted very fake. All three of us tried one and none of us liked them. Bummer. We were hoping for more. You’re better off making your own.

Now, on to better news . . .

These were outstanding! I usually have a problem with fake chicken products that taste too much like the real thing—it really grosses me out, but for some reason, these don’t do that to me—and the consistency and taste are pretty close to real chicken. We all loved these, especially with the vegan ranch dip. Gardein makes many varieties, and the Chipotle Lime flavoring is just right—not overpowering. We baked them at 450 for 20-25 minutes. They have 6 grams of fat (0.5 grams of saturated fat), no cholesterol and 16 grams of protein. These would be ideal cut up for a “chicken” salad.

The guys wanted onion rings and vegetarian tamales as well. I made some hummus to go on pitas and crackers and it was a fun and delicious (minus the “meat” balls) appetizer night.

Vegan Ranch Dip

This dip is ideal for chips, veggies, and especially for the Gardein Chipotle-Lime Crispy Fingers. I used Galaxy Foods Vegan Cream Cheese—which was new for me, as I’ve always used Tofutti brand. I thought it was really good.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz vegan cream cheese

2 Tbs light miso

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs nutritional yeast

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs dried chives

DIRECTIONS:

Combine everything in a food processor and chill for a couple of hours. Enjoy!

Vegan Brie

This recipe is from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I was intrigued. I’ve tried lots of other recipes from this cookbook and many have been outstanding, but there have been a few that just didn’t do it for me. I was nervous about this one. Surprisingly, however, it’s pretty delicious. I wouldn’t say it’s like brie; both with consistency and taste, but it does taste very good. The recipe doesn’t mention this, but I highly recommending briefly warming this cheeze in the oven or microwave. It only takes about 10 seconds in the microwave. It seems to taste better when it’s a bit melty. I also think this would be really tasty with some warm fruit compote over the top, such as warmed raspberries and blueberries. The possibilities are pretty endless!

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 Tbs wheat germ, or 1/3 C toasted sliced almonds

1-1/2 C water

3 Tbs agar flakes, or 1 Tbs agar powder

1/2 C chopped raw cashews

1/2 C silken tofu

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1/4 C lemon juice

2 Tbs tahini

1-1/2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/8 tsp ground dill seed or ground coriander (I used the coriander)

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly oil a 2-1/2 cup round mold. I used a Pyrex bowl, but you can also use a pie plate or cake pan. Dust the bottom of the bowl with either the wheat germ or toasted almond slices. I used the wheat germ; set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring often until dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the rest of the ingredients; blend until very smooth. Pour it into the prepared mold.

Place it uncovered in the refrigerator until it cools completely. Then cover it with a lid and let it chill for several hours, or overnight. To serve, I used a sharp knife to go around the edge—mostly to just break the suction. Turn it over and it will slide right out of the bowl.

Cut it into wedges and serve with crackers. Like I said before, I recommend serving it warm; I think it taste much better that way. It will keep for 5-7 days. I don’t see why it can’t be wrapped up and frozen, too.

Enjoy!

A Look Back

When it’s time to plan meals for the week, I sometimes rely on some old favorites of mine. When looking back on my recipes, I always come across yummy ones I’ve forgotten about. I thought I’d bring these oldies, but goodies to you.

Appetizers

Party Cheese Ball

Stuffed Mushrooms

Mustard Greens and Cheeze Filo Pie

Avocado Bruschetta

.

Breads

Pesto Potato Bread

Blueberry Muffins with Crumb Topping

Home-made Pita Bread

Chive-Flecked Spud Muffins

.

Side Dishes

Israeli Couscous with Pine Nuts & Parsley

Easy, Creamy Pasta Salad

Baked Fries with Sea Salt & Truffle Oil

Easy Cole Slaw

.

Soups

Eggplant Parmagiano Stew

Vegetable-Barley Soup

Vegetable-Barley Chili

.

Lunch

Smoky-Miso Tofu Sandwiches

Garden Wrap

BLTA with Tempeh Bacon

Green Tea Rice with Lemon, Snowpeas & Tofu

.

Breakfast

Quinoa-Couscous Cereal with Dried Fruit

Colorful Kale and Potato Casserole

Hash Brown Casserole

Home-made Granola

.

Dinner

Sweet Chili-Lime Tofu

Breaded Zucchini with Lentils and Rainbow Chard

Angel Hair Pasta with Mushrooms & Ricotta

Spinach & Tofu Calzones

Spinach & Pesto Lasagna

Fresh & Healthy Soft Tacos/Burritos

Pecan-Crusted Seitan

Field Roast with Fresh Blueberry Sauce

.

Desserts

Glazed Chocolate-Avocado Cupcakes

Chai-Spiced Berry-Oatmeal Cookies

Cheeze Danishes

Sunflower-Cherry Oatmeal Bars

Spicy Field Roast-Stuffed Fillo Cups

Sorry for the lousy picture—I took it with my iphone since I didn’t have my camera on hand. Don’t let it deter you from trying these tasty appetizers. They’re easy to make and a sure crowd-pleaser.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Field Roast Chipotle-flavored sausages

6 green onions, sliced

6 mushrooms, diced small

1 can water chestnuts, diced small

2 pkgs Athens mini fillo shells (30 shells)

1-2 tsp olive oil

Daiya cheddar-flavored cheese shreds

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the Field Roast into large pieces and grind them up in a food processor.

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the water chestnuts, green onions, and mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes.


Add the Field Roast and cook another 5-7 minutes, or until everything is heated through.

Place a pinch of Daiya cheese in the bottom of the fillo cup, top with a spoonful of the mixture. You can easily make more than 30 with this mix, otherwise, save any leftovers for a breakfast burrito! Enjoy!

Savory Vegetable Tart

Like the Savory Asparagus Tart, this one is to die for. I think that pretty much sums it up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package instructions (allow for about an hour to an hour and a half)

1/2 a bunch of asparagus

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

5 mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 C Daiya mozzarella

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 tsp truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Cut up the asparagus into bite-sized pieces; steam for 10-12 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a an 11×7″ baking sheet. Don’t worry about getting it perfect—you can tuck in the sides if they overlap the edges of the pan. Prick the dough in several pieces with a fork and bake for 4-5 minutes. It will puff up:

Layer on the cheese, then the tomato:

Next, layer on the mushrooms and the steamed asparagus:

Combine the olive oil and truffle oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the veggies with the oil mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then enjoy!

White Bean Crock Cheez

This cheeze comes from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and is similar to the other crock cheez from the same cookbook. The change here is that this recipe uses white beans (I used Great Northern beans) instead of tofu. That makes a difference, especially for those who don’t eat soy (or a lot of it) for various reasons. This is a great alternative. The taste is only slightly different as you can tell it’s made with beans, and the texture is a little bit softer and smoother. I love to have this on pieces of pita bread, on crackers, or spread on toast. You can also use garbanzo beans in place of the white beans.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C cooked white beans or garbanzo beans

3 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

2 Tbs tahini

2 Tbs lemon juice

1-1/2 Tbs light miso

1-2 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. Chill several hours or overnight. Keeps 5-7 days in the fridge. Enjoy!

Herbed Almond Cheeze

It’s amazing what you can make with almonds! This recipe is the same as the Almond Cheeze Log, but this time, I added herbs to it. This cheeze is light and fluffy and the herbs are subtle. Feel free to add more than I did, but I think you’ll like this mild version.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C blanched almonds

1/4 C lemon juice

3 Tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled (I used minced)

1-1/4 tsp salt

1 Tbs fresh chives, chopped

1 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1/2 tsp dried dill

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 C cold water

Cheesecloth (a thin cotton napkin works great, too)

DIRECTIONS:

First, to blanch the almonds, add them to a small sauce pan and fill with water, just to cover the almonds. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pinch the skins between your finger and the skins will slide right off. Dry them off well.

Place almonds in a medium bowl and cover with 3″ of water; soak for 24 hours. Drain and rinse twice with running water. Next, puree the almonds with the chives and parsley.

Then, add the dill, onion powder, garlic powder, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and water in a food processor until smooth. Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon mixture into cheesecloth or cloth napkin.

Bring the corners and sides of the cheesecloth together and twist around the cheese, squeezing out any excess moisture. Secure with a rubber band and refrigerate for several hours. Enjoy!

 

Edamame Hummus

My wonderful friend and neighbor brought this over to me. We are both foodies and even though she’s not vegan, she always whips up amazing vegan creations for me to try. This hummus is full of flavor and is great with veggies, chips, crackers, etc. A refreshing summer dip!

INGREDIENTS:

2 C edamame
2-3 garlic cloves
2-3 lemons, juice and zest reserved
1/3 C tahini
5/8 C olive oil
1/2 avocado, peeled and pitted
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground coriander
1/16 tsp cayenne
1/2 tsp agave

DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor, blend edamame, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and tahini. With motor running, slowly drizzle in oil to emulsify mixture. Add remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Enjoy!

Recipe: Edible Front Range

Kale and Cream Cheese-Stuffed Sweet Chilies

Geez . . . it’s been a while since I last posted. The Sixth Grader (or should I say, soon-to-be The Seventh Grader) was on a week-long field trip so me and The Husband ate out a lot this week. Produce in my refrigerator, however, was feeling very neglected, so last night I decided to make these. They were delicious! We threw them on the grill, but you can also bake them in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes. Use this stuffing for small chilies and serve them as appetizers, too.

INGREDIENTS:

3 large sweet chili peppers

10-oz Tofutti cream cheese

3 Tbs lime juice

1 tsp cumin

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, diced

1 bunch of kale

6-8 green onions, sliced

1/2 C vegan pepper jack cheese, shredded

2 tsp garlic, minced

2 tsp olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Using a food processor or mixer, cream together the cream cheese, lime juice, cumin, and cilantro.

In a large saucepan or skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the kale. One bunch may seem like a lot (5-6 cups) but it will cook down quite a bit. Cook it over medium heat, constantly stirring it. I found that tongs work great for this. Cook for 4-5 minutes, or until nice and wilted.

In a large bowl, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, and cheese. Mix in the cream cheese mixture, then stir in the kale.

To prepare the chilies, there are a number of different ways to do it. First, slice the tops off and pull out the insides–as much as you can. You can either stuff them from the top, or slice them in the side. You can also slice them lengthwise, stuff them, then put them back together. I sliced into the side of it and found that that just worked better for the size of these chilies.

Preheat the grill to a medium-high heat. Wrap the stuffed chilies in foil and place on the heated grill. Cook them for about 10 minutes, turning them often. Once the filling starts to drip out from the foil, remove them from the grill. Unwrap from the foil and enjoy!

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread

I love experimenting with making vegan cheeses and spreads and this one is so easy and delicious. It’s ideal as a sandwich or wrap condiment, or a dip for crackers and veggies (particularly, veggie crackers)! I also think it’d be great on a toasted bagel, English muffin, or toast.

INGREDIENTS:

14-oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed

2/3 C nutritional yeast flakes

3 Tbs yellow or red miso (I used yellow)

3 Tbs tahini

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 C port wine

Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Add everything into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Savory Asparagus Tart

When I open my own vegan restaurant, this tart will be a signature item on the menu! And look, I’m sharing my secret recipe with all of you now! The Husband was on a conference call when I took this out of the oven and took a bite. You have no idea how difficult it was to not eat his portion; he would have never known. But of course, I couldn’t do that to him—it’s a recipe you’ll want to share and enjoy with others.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry dough, thawed

1 C Daiya or other vegan cheeze, shredded

1 bunch asparagus

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 tsp truffle oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Roll the pastry sheet out to about 11″x7″. Place onto a baking sheet. Using a fork, puncture the dough all over.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. You may need to press down on the dough with a spoon if it puffed up in places.

Sprinkle the cheese onto the dough, then line the asparagus—close together—on top. I just cut the stalks in half (after cutting of the thick ends) and placed them like so:

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, truffle oil, salt, and pepper. Brush the mixture onto the asparagus , thoroughly coating the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the tart begin to brown. Remove from the pan (I used two spatulas on either end) and transfer to a large cutting board. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Baked Fries with Sea Salt and Truffle Oil

Here I go again with the truffle oil . . . guarantee you’ll love these! Truffle oil on French fries just go together like PB&J. I brought these to a get together and they were gone in minutes! You can peel the potatoes if you’d like, but I’m not fond of the peeling process. If they don’t have to be peeled, you can bet I won’t do it. So it’s up to you.

INGREDIENTS:

6-7 small to medium russet potatoes

Truffle oil

Sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Scrub and/or peel the potatoes. Cut into fries and place in a bowl. Coat with the truffle oil. I didn’t measure it out—I used just enough to coat the fries, a little over a tablespoon. Sprinkle with salt—again, to taste and enough to coat the fries. I set the bowl aside for about an hour to let them marinate for a bit.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. After letting the fries sit for a while, the bowl had a lot of liquid from the potatoes. Use a slotted spoons or your hands to layer the fries on the baking sheet. I drizzled a bit more truffle on top and sprinkled a little more salt on them.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn the fries as best  you can. There’s no magic way to do this—just flip and move them around so that they don’t stick to the foil. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. For the last few minutes of baking, I switched to broil and browned them a tiny bit. I think they’re tasty on their own without any sauces, but either way, you’re sure to enjoy this decadent treat!

Chickpea Havarti Spread

This spread can easily be called a dip as well. It almost has a chowder-like taste to it. From the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, this recipe is simple and delicious! This would also make a great condiment for sandwiches or wraps, too.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C water

2 C drained cooked or canned chickpeas (one 15 or 16 oz can)

1/2 C raw cashews

1/3 C nutritional yeast flakes

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground dill seed

1/2 tsp whole celery seed

1/4 C lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until very thick, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool a few minutes. Pour into an air tight container and chill for several hours to overnight.

Enjoy on crackers, as a vegetable dip, or as a sandwich condiment. Makes 2 cups.

Cashew Spread

I think I might be getting the hang of these nut cheeses. I thought I’d try my hand at making a cashew cheese spread and I love it! It’s perfect as a sandwich condiment, a cracker topper, or lathered on an apple slice. You can play with the flavors, but I like an herb-y kind of spread and I think you’ll like this one, too!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C raw cashews

1/4 C lemon juice

1 tsp garlic, minced

1 Tbs olive oil

1 tsp yellow miso

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp dried chives

1/4 C cold water

1/4 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the cashews in a bowl of water for about an hour; drain and rinse. In a food processor, grind the cashews until fine. Add the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.

Transfer to an airtight container and chill for 3-5 hours. Makes about 1-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Collard Green Wraps with Tahini-Umeboshi Sauce

Sorry I’ve been a bit MIA lately. Life is quite busy these days, especially with my alter ego. For the last few days, the family has dined on easy things like spaghetti, veggie burgers, and canned soup. Looking into their Oliver Twist eyes, I knew I needed to make an effort with dinner. Thank goodness for Green Buffalo Foods—they delivered my box of veggie love this afternoon and I swooned at the beautiful collard greens I received.

You could easily make spring rolls using collard greens, or make them with rice instead of noodles, like I did. The ingredients can easily be varied with this recipe, so get creative! I liked using the collard greens because of their fabulous nutritional value and durability when rolling them up. I think next time though, I’ll steam them just a tiny bit before filling them up, rather then afterward—they may fare better.

INGREDIENTS:

12 collard green leaves, washed and patted dry

8-oz firm tofu

6-8 mushrooms, sliced

4 large green onions, sliced

1-15oz can Great Northern beans, drained

1 C long-grain rice, uncooked

2 tsp garlic, minced

1-2 tsp olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Tahini-Umeboshi Sauce:

1/3 C tahini

2 tsp umeboshi paste

2 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbs tamari

2 Tbs water

2 Tbs almond milk

DIRECTIONS:

Combine rice with 1-1/2 cups of water. Bring to boil; stir and cover for 15 minutes, or until water has absorbed. You can also use jasmine scented rice, or arborio rice. Sushi rice would also be great. In the meantime, slice tofu into thin slices (julienned) saute in a dry skillet until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from the skillet. In its place, add the garlic and olive oil. Heat for a minute, then add the green onions and mushrooms. Saute until slightly browned and soft. Add the rice, beans, and tofu and stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the fat stem off of the collard green. Don’t cut off too much—just to where it starts to thin out and add 1-2 spoonfuls of the rice mixture onto the leaf.

Fold in the two “tails” of the collard green leaf:

Now fold the opposite side in:

Then roll from the bottom up and secure with a toothpick. Spear it through the stem, if you can. You’ll be left with a neatly rolled wrap:

I then placed them in a steamer basket and steamed them for just a few minutes.

You’ll probably have to do this in batches, so I recommend transferring them to a plate after steaming and covering with foil.

To make the sauce, whisk together all the ingredients and serve with the warm wraps. Enjoy!

 

 

Almond Cheeze Log

This fluffy, mild cheeze is outstanding. I originally posted the recipe for it back in December. I’ve made it a few times since then, and this time, made a log out of it and brought it to my neighbor’s Super Bowl Party. It was a hit. I use the cheese as a pizza topping, sandwich spread, and pasta topper. Just this morning I made breakfast tarts using it. I recommend making a double batch at a time since it does take a while—but I guarantee you’ll love it!

The guys were (almond) Cheeseheads for the day!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C blanched almonds

1/4 C lemon juice

3 Tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled (I used minced)

1-1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecloth (a thin cotton napkin works great, too)

Toasted walnuts or pecans

Agave nectar

DIRECTIONS:

First, to blanch the almonds, add them to a small sauce pan and fill with water, just to cover the almonds. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Pinch the skins between your finger and the skins will slide right off. Dry them off well.

Place almonds in a medium bowl and cover with 3″ of water; soak for 24 hours. Drain and rinse twice with running water. Next, puree the almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbs olive oil, garlic, salt and 1/2 C of cold water in a food processor until smooth.  Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon mixture into cheesecloth.

Bring the corners and sides of the cheesecloth together and twist around the cheese, squeezing out any excess moisture. Secure with a rubber band. I have found that a cloth napkin works really well for this—even better than cheesecloth.

Chill 12 hours or overnight. Discard any excess liquid—I squeezed a little more out. After it has chilled, spoon it onto a layer of plastic wrap and form a roll, or log.

Unwrap and roll it out onto a plate. Sprinkle the toasted walnuts or pecans on top and then drizzle with agave. Serve with crackers or Grannie Smith apple slices. I love this recipe (from Vegetarian Times) and even though you have to soak and chill a lot, it’s worth it.

Plum Crock Cheez

Today’s high is a whopping -4 degrees. School was even canceled. So not only is it a great day to be in the kitchen (later I’ll be baking something delish–stayed tuned), but thanks to the snow day, I’ll be home to watch Oprah and her vegan challenge! Since the crock cheez was such a big success, I decided to make it again, but follow one of the variations listed in the cookbook (The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook).  This one is actually called, “Plum Good Crock Cheez” and uses umeboshi plum paste. It is outstanding! It tastes very similar to the original version, but with a tangier, sweeter punch. I’m not sure which version is my favorite!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb (8oz) firm tofu, drained

3 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs tahini

2 Tbs lemon juice

1-1/2 Tbs umeboshi plum paste

1 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Cut tofu into large cubes. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water—just enough to cover the tofu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and drain well. I used a fine mesh strainer to ensure any small pieces didn’t fall through. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator until it’s easy to handle. Crumble it up into a food processor and add the other ingredients. Process until smooth, scraping the sides, if necessary. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for several hours to overnight. Enjoy!

Mustard Green and Cheeze Filo Pie

I’ve moved onto another obsession. Filo (or phyllo) dough. Oh my gosh . . . the possibilities! I veganized this recipe from Sunset magazine and after one bite, we quickly realized I should have doubled, if not tripled the recipe. My mind is going a mile a minute thinking of different ways to create filo pies, so expect more!

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs mustard greens, chopped

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/4 C Earth Balance, melted

6 sheets thawed filo dough, cut in half

1 C Daiya mozzarella

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the greens (may have to do in batches), then transfer to a large bowl of ice water. Drain and squeeze as much water out of the greens as possible. You’ll be left with a ball of damp greens, but just pull and shake apart.

Preheat oven to 375. In a bowl, stir greens with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Butter an 8″ square baking dish and lay one filo square in bottom. You’ll have 2 edges that are a bit longer–that’s ok. Brush lightly with butter—this is where  you can brush those extra edges down and basically fold them over. Layer on another 5 pieces of filo, but alternate the directions that you lay them down, so that the excess edges are alternated each time. Butter each layer as you add it on.

Next, spread the greens on evenly, then the cheese.

Layer on the rest of the filo dough, buttering each layer like before. Then cut through all the layers into 9 pieces.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Let cool 5-7 minutes before serving. You will love these—guarantee! Enjoy!

VARIATION: I’ve made this a couple of times using frozen spinach. I like Cascadian Farms brand which is boxed, but the spinach inside is kept in a sealed plastic bag—makes it easy to thaw. Drain and squeeze out the liquid and prepare the same way as the mustard greens. I often double it and make a 9×13 dish of it—the uncut phyllo dough sheets are perfect for this sized dish.

Crock Cheez

When I tell people I’m vegan,  a lot of them will say that they could probably give up meat, but cheese?! Are you kidding? They just can’t give up this coagulated, compressed, salty, melty product of milk. I can understand; back in the day, I was definitely a cheese-whore. But thanks to The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, I can go back to my cheese-whoring days of yore. If  you don’t already have this cookbook, run, walk, bike, drive (carpool, if you can), ride the bus . . . to the nearest locally-owned and operated (if possible) bookstore and buy it!  Either that, or visit me often, because rest assured, I will be making (and posting) every recipe from this cookbook throughout the coming months. I am amazed at how delicious (and easy!) these recipes are. I know . .  *eye roll* . . .there may be a few cheeze recipes that won’t fool you skeptics out there, but that’s ok, I’m aware that some fake cheese taste, well, fake. It’s gonna happen, but I’m finding that there are enough out there to make up for those few.

This crock cheeze is absolutely amazing! It tastes incredible. The cookbook also list several different variations of this recipe that I will definitely try–watch out for those posts. :)  I made it shortly before dinner and I wanted to eat just that on crackers, but my family would have gone hungry . . . I don’t know that I would have shared.

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 lb (8oz) firm regular tofu, drained and pressed

3 Tbs nutritional yeast

2 Tbs Tahini or raw cashew butter (I used tahini)

2 Tbs lemon juice

1-1/2 Tbs light miso

1 tsp onion powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dry mustard

I love Denver Tofu (not just because I live in Colorado) but because it really is outstanding.

DIRECTIONS:

Cut tofu into large cubes. Place in a small saucepan and cover with water—just enough to cover the tofu. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and drain well. I used a fine mesh strainer to ensure any small pieces didn’t fall through. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator until it’s easy to handle. Crumble it up into a food processor and add the other ingredients. Process until smooth, scraping the sides, if necessary. Transfer to an airtight container and chill in the fridge for several hours to overnight. This is a pretty important step, like with the Party Cheese Ball and the Cheddar and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip. The flavors really need a chance to mesh and mingle. That is, if you can wait that long. :)

Caramelized Onion Dip


Love onions? You’ll love this dip. Caramelizing the onions brings out a rich sweetness in them and are ideal for a dip—served hot or cold. Serve with potato chips, veggies or crackers.

INGREDIENTS:

2 lbs yellow onions (about 3 large onions) sliced thin

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 tsp sugar

3 Tbs Earth Balance

1 Tbs olive oil

6 cloves garlic, minced

8-oz Tofutti cream cheese

1/2 C Vegenaise

3/4 C Tofutti sour cream

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Over medium heat, melt the Earth Balance in a large skillet. Add the onions and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook for about 12 minutes, then stir in the sugar and increase the heat. Cover and continue to cook another 20 minutes, or until the onions are browned and caramel-y.

Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer the onions to a large cutting board and chop them up. You can also use a food processor.

In a small saute pan, heat the oil and garlic until the garlic begins to brown, then remove from the heat. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, Vegenaise, sour cream, nutmeg, garlic, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the onions and thyme. Puree half of the dip, then stir back  into the other half.

Cover and chill or put transfer to a baking dish and warm. Enjoy!

It’s A Cheeze Extravaganza!

Well, first of all, Merry Christmas! I hope everyone has had a wonderful, fabulous holiday full of family, friends and happiness. Even Moe-Dog is having a happiness hangover:

And apparently, he’s a little embarrassed about it:

My mom surprised me with a copy of The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and I have had uncheese on the brain since.  For Christmas Eve, we typically do drinks and appetizers, games and movies, so I made three different cheezes from the recipe book and one from Vegetarian Times. A few of the cheezes will require a couple days’ worth of time—but rest assured—they’re easy and worth it. You will need to blanch almonds, something I had never attempted before, but found it to be quite an easy process.

First up:

Port Wine Uncheese


This is super simple to throw together. The pinto beans give it that dry cheese taste and texture and even if it doesn’t taste exactly like cheese, it still has excellent flavor. I recommend adding some nutritional yeast–maybe a 1/4 C for more of a cheesy flavor if you feel it needs it. Otherwise, it’s fab on its own. The recipe calls for nonalcoholic red wine, but I went with an actual port.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C (1-15 or 16 oz can) pinto beans

1/4 C nonalcoholic red wine or port wine

3 Tbs sesame tahini

1 Tbs light or chickpea miso (I used light miso)

DIRECTIONS:

Throw it all in a food processor then let it chill several hours or overnight. You could then roll it in roasted walnuts or pecans for extra flavor, if desired.

Source: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

 

Incredible Almond Creme Cheez


This one has a fluffy, lemony flavor that pairs really well with herbed crackers. The taste is very mild, so herbed crackers work great with this one. You will need to blanch the almonds for this, which is very easy: place almonds in a saucepan with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil for 1-2 minutes, then drain and allow to cool. Pinch the skins between your finger and the skins will slide right off. Dry them off well.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 C blanched almonds

1/2 C hot water

1/2 C cold water

2 Tbs  lemon juice

2 Tbs kuzu, arrowroot, or cornstarch (I used cornstarch)

1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Grind the almonds to a fine powder. Transfer to a blender (I did as the recipe said, but I’m sure just using the food processor is fine) and add the hot water; process until thick and creamy. Add the cold water and remaining ingredients; blend until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Once it thickens, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly for another minute. Let it cool. Fluff with a fork or whisk and transfer to a storage container.

Chill for a few hours. Before serving, beat again with a fork or whisk.

Source: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

 

Onion, Dill and Horseradish Cheez

If you like cheese with a kick, you’ll love this one. The horseradish is perfect in this and makes for a great sliced cheese. I’m not crazy about dill, so next time I will go easy on it and not add the full two teaspoons, but aside from that, it’s a great addition to any cheese platter.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 C water

5 Tbs agar flakes

1/2 C chopped raw cashews

1/4 C nutritional yeast

3 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs tahini

2 Tbs white horseradish (not creamed)

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

1 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp dried onion flakes

2 tsp dried dillweed

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly oil a 3-cup plastic (I used glass) container and set aside. Combine the water and agar flakes in a saucepan and boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently 5-10 minutes, or until flakes are dissolved. Transfer to a blender and add the cashews, nutritional yeast, tahini, horseradish, mustard, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Process until smooth. By hand, add the onion flakes and dillweed. Pour into the prepared container and cool uncovered in the fridge. Once it is completely cooled, cover and chill several hours to overnight. Before serving, slice thin.

Source: The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook

 

Almond Cheese: Spreadable and Feta-Style

 

(Spreadable)

(Feta-Style)

Now this is probably my favorite. This one comes from Vegetarian Times and despite the time and effort, I’ll be making it over and over again. I doubled the recipe because it can be made into a spreadable version and a feta-style. The only difference is that the feta-style requires baking—a very simple step.

INGREDIENTS: (undoubled)

1 C blanched almonds

1/4 C lemon juice

3 Tbs olive oil

1 clove garlic, peeled (I used minced)

1-1/4 tsp salt

Cheesecloth

DIRECTIONS:

Place almonds in a medium bowl and cover with 3″ of water; soak for 24 hours. Drain and rinse twice with running water.

Puree the almonds, lemon juice, 3 Tbs olive oil, garlic, salt and 1/2 C of cold water in a food processor until smooth.  Place a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and line the strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth. Spoon mixture into cheesecloth.

Bring the corners and sides of the cheesecloth together and twist around the cheese, squeezing out any excess moisture. Secure with a rubber band.

Chill 12 hours or overnight. Discard any excess liquid—I squeezed a little more out. One half I left in the fridge and for the feta-style: Preheat oven to 200. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and unwrap cheese and transfer it from the cheesecloth to the baking sheet. Flatten to a 6″ round with a  3/4″ in thickness on the sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool. I then transferred it to a bowl and used a fork to break it up into feta-like chunks. Place in a storage container and refrigerate for several hours.  Add to salads or soups—you’ll love it! Enjoy!

I’m sure Moe will recover from his Christmas overload soon . . .

Pineapple Salsa

Vegan MoFo, Day 26

Happy Black Friday. As for me, I’m staying far away from the maddening crowds; safe at home.

My mom made this salsa—the recipe is actually from a friend and it won first place in a recent salsa contest. One bite and you’ll see why!

INGREDIENTS:

1 can pineapple rings, drained

1 medium red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 of a bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1 chili pepper of choice, such as an anaheim

DIRECTIONS:

Grill the pineapple rings about 5 minutes on each side. Chop up and combine with the other ingredients. So easy! Serve with tortilla chips and enjoy.

Cheddar and Rosemary Crackers

Vegan MoFo, Day 22

Monet, at Anecdotes and Apples Cores, made some cheddar and rosemary biscuits that had me salivating! They also reminded me of an old recipe for crackers that I made a million years ago. I will however, try her recipe (and veganize it), but for now, enjoy some amazing crackers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C vegan cheddar, shredded

3-ox Tofutti cream cheese

1/2 C Earth Balance margarine

1 tsp sweet red chili sauce

1-3/4 C flour

2 Tbs sesame seeds

4 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

Salt, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325.  In a food processor (with the dough blade) combine the cheeses. Add the butter.

Add the chili sauce, then flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Once combined, add sesame seeds and rosemary.

Divide dough in half and roll out. Now, you can decide how big you want to roll them out. I wanted to make tiny nibblers, but you’re welcome to make larger crackers. Once you made that big decision, wrap in plastic wrap and chill. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 20-25 minutes, but if you have extra time, go ahead and just refrigerate them. Slice them as thick or as thin as you want. I find that somewhere between 1/8″ and 1/4″ is best.

Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a smidge of salt, if desired.

Bake for about 10 minutes—just don’t let them get too browned. The bottoms will a little, but taken them out before the edges brown. Enjoy! (Thanks for the inspiration, Monet)!

 

Tasty Harmony

Vegan MoFo, Day 18

Doesn’t that look wonderful! They are Asian Lettuce Wraps that my favorite restaurant makes (and they happen to be the only vegan restaurant in town). They are amazing! Tasty Harmony is a fabulous restaurant downtown that seems to always be packed when we go there. Thanks to them, I’ve discovered jackfruit tacos, sea vegetables, and an incredible nondairy raw key lime pie!  I love to bring meat-eaters there because it’s impossible not to love their food!

Photo: Feasting Fort Collins

So if you ever find yourself in Downtown Fort Collins, CO, hit up Tasty Harmony. If not, try my own version of Asian Lettuce Wraps.

Cashew Cheese Nachos

Vegan MoFo, Day 17

The Sixth Grader loves nachos and loves cashew cheese, so this is an ideal after-school snack for him. I still had some cashew cheese in the freezer,  so I left it in the zip lock and placed it in some warm water for about 10 minutes. It’s best if it’s still a little frozen for grating it. I recommend using the microwave—at first I used the oven on a low broiler, but the chips were browning before the cheese was melting.  Other ingredients to try: tomatoes, salsa, or refries.

INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla chips

Hard cashew cheese, shredded

Green onion, sliced

Black olives, sliced

Avocado, diced

Tofutti sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

I like to have a layer of chips, some cheese, then another layer of chips and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle on the green onions and olives. Zap in the microwave for about a minute, then add the avocados and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Happy World Vegan Day!

Today kicks off my Vegan MoFo quest to blog everyday in November about all things vegan. We got an early start to the festivities last night with an all-vegan Halloween party with family and friends. When it comes to entertaining, our guests never go hungry or thirsty for it’s an opportunity for me to stuff them with vegan goodness. Last night was no exception.

The Menu

Vegetable Chili

Party Cheese Ball

“Cheddar” and Sun-Dried Tomato Dip

Spinach Dip

Avocado Chimichurri Bruschetta

Olive tray

Spicy Wonton Cups (see below for recipe)

Mexi-Roll-Ups (see below for recipe)

Spicy Wonton Cups:

INGREDIENTS:

30 wonton wrappers, Twin Marquis brand (egg-free)

2 Field Roast sausages, Chipotle flavor,

1 small onion, chopped

5 large mushrooms, quartered

3 jarred roasted red peppers, chopped

Vegan mozzarella, shredded

DIRECTIONS:

You can make this recipe earlier in the day to make things easier–which was a lifesaver! To make the wonton cups: Preheat broiler to high. Lightly grease a  muffin pan. I made medium-sized ones, but these work really well with the mini-muffin pan. Place a wonton wrapper in each muffin cup:

Spray the cups with a little bit of cooking spray and put under the broiler for about 3-5 minutes, or until they begin to brown.

Meanwhile, break up the sausage into large chunks and throw into the food processor. Add the onions and chop up until pretty fine. Transfer the sausage mixture to a skillet, then add the mushrooms and roasted red pepper to the food process and process until fine, then mix in with the sausage mixture.

Preheat oven to 375. Heat mixture in the skillet thoroughly, then fill the cups evenly with the mixture and sprinkle on some vegan mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake about 15 minutes. If making ahead, refrigerate the sausage mixture and cover the wonton cups until ready to use.

Mexi-Roll-Ups

INGREDIENTS:

4 flour tortillas

8 oz Tofutti cream cheese

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

(2) 2-1/4 oz black olives, diced

4 oz can mild green chilies

4 large green onions, sliced thin

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese and cilantro and spread 1/4 of the mixture onto 1 tortilla. Layer on some olives, green onions, and green chilies.

Roll up and if not using right away, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Otherwise, slice the roll and lay on a platter.

The Look

That’s right. Pedro and Napoleon. The Husband could also pass for a very tan Burt Reynolds or a Hispanic Ken doll. After making him dress as Marilyn Monroe a few years back for Halloween, I owed him, so it was my turn to cross-dress.

The Sixth Grader and I went a little nuts with the fake cobwebs:

By the end of the night, Pedro was ready to pass out . . .

Hope everyone had a great Halloween and Happy World Vegan Day!