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Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper

25 Feb

A skillet meal the gloved one would be proud of....Lefty, not Michael Jackson. But I bet he'd like it too.

When I was a kid, the sight of few human beings made me as happy as a vision of Betty Crocker’s anthropomorphic meal-time-in-a-box mascot, Lefty the Helping Hand, hanging out on our kitchen counter. Because that meant only one glorious thing: Helper was coming!

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is not a fan of the kitchen. So Helpers were a common sight in our house — much to the joy of little Bridget. They were so gooey. So noodely. So salty. So yum.

In particular, I adored the 1990 version that featured Lefty wearing a Russian hat:

The Berlin wall is down! Creamy noodley goodness for all!

Anyway, that was 24 years ago. Flash forward through slap bracelets, Tamogotchis, Britney and Justin’s matching denim ensembles, MySpace and the resurgence of all things Apple, and while 29-year-old Bridget no longer eats animal foods, I still cherish the hell out of some Helper memories.

So, not too long ago, I decided I was going to turn this most-dear childhood staple into something a little healthier. The first step? Way less salt. And, obviously, no artificial preservatives. Easy peasy.

Now, your typical stroganoff sauce consists of sour cream, oil, butter, beef broth, onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper. As you know, I don’t play with those first four items. So I improvised. I traded out cashews for the artery-clogging trifecta of cream, oil and butter, added apple cider vinegar for the sour tang, and replaced the beef with a combo of vegan, meatless soy crumble and vitamin-D-packed mushrooms. Mmm, shrooms.

I also felt the need to squeeze some green into my ode to a healthier Lefty. I went with a cup or so of frozen peas, but spinach or kale would be a good plan, too.

The results did not disappoint.

Before I give you the play-by-play on how to whip this up, here’s a little info on why cashews are so awesome:

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

While they’re not fat free by any stretch of the imagination, cashews certainly kick butter, cream and plain old olive oil’s asses. First of all, they’re actually less fatty than some of  their other nut brethren, and they boast unsaturated fat (the kind that’s good for you).  They’re also made up of a bunch of minerals, which make your skin, hair and nails all pretty-like. Plus, cashews provide B vitamins, and they contain several antioxidant compounds regarded as anticancer agents. Also, they’re actually a seed (Mr. Seed to you). Who knew?

And now, let’s pig out!…

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper
Serves ~4

Ingredients

Sauce (makes about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A generous shake of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Everything else
  • 6 oz. non-egg noodles
  • 6 oz. vegan meatless crumbles (I used Gardein)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or other veggies, such as kale, spinach, etc.)
Directions
  1. To make them as creamy as possible, soak your cashews for at least a half an hour. If you are lucky enough to own a Vitamix or similarly turbo-powered blender/food processor, then you can skip this step.
  2. Combine all your sauce ingredients in your blender/food processor, and whiz until smooth.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, combine noodles, sauce, mushrooms and peas and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  4. When mixture bubbles, turn heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dig in!

Bon apetit! 

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Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers

17 Jan

Not pictured: drool.

Not pictured: drool.

Sure, I could have used a fork to crush the crackers. But this was so much more fun.

Did you know that Ritz Crackers are vegan? It’s true. I’m not saying they are in any way nutritious, in fact I’m sure they’re not, but goddamnit they are yummy and made of zero animal bits.

And sometimes, as Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford have taught me, you need to treat yo’ self.

That’s why I was so excited when, while scrolling through the resplendent sea of possibilities we call Pinterest, I happened upon this recipe for crab-cake balls made with Ritz.

“I can soooo sub out chickpeas for crab,” I said to myself, steepling my fingers like Mr. Burns, before adding the image to my “Make it Vegan Challenge” board. “This is going to be awesomesauce.”

And it really was.

In addition to subbing out the crab and egg, I also added in some veggies: onion and celery.

Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 1 vegan egg replacement (I used this chia-water goop)
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t have any)

Bella and Leo were fooled by the seafood-like smell, and kept trying to sneak off with some cakes. Here they are post discipline, and rightly ashamed of themselves.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush drained chickpeas with a fork or potato masher in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add crushed crackers, Old Bay, parsley, onion and celery to the chickpeas.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine your chia-water goop, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the chickpea and cracker mix, and gently combine.
  6. Mold your mixture  into golf-ball sized lumps and bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper  for 30 minutes. I also sprayed the balls lightly with some oil before baking, but you could skip that step if you want to stay oil free.

I can’t speak to how long these hold up in the fridge, because Miles and I (mostly me) ate them all within 24 hours. I can, however, tell you they are bomb-ass on salad — particularly when paired with the Deity Dressing from “Everyday Happy Herbivore” (pg. 128). So much noms.

Bon appétit! 

So Many Carrots Carrot Cake Cupcakes

11 Jul

Calling all sweet teeth.

Calling all sweet teeth.

What do you do when your man buys a five-pound bag of carrots (because he was on a carrot kick), but is unable to consume them fast enough, thus leaving the produce drawer filled with root vegetables on the verge of ruin?

Have you guys met my boyfriend?

Have you guys met my boyfriend?

Some less neurotic souls might let the carrots falter and move on with their lives. But not Aunt B. Because throwing away food makes me irrationally miserable.

So, instead, I made and froze a huge vat of carrot soup, which I plan to consume when it’s not surface-of-the-sun hot outside (recipe coming later), shredded multiple bags of carrots for salads, and whipped up way more carrot cake cupcakes than a household of two requires.

This was not only my first vegan carrot cake, but my first carrot cake attempt period, and also my first go at homemade frosting. So I was a little wary. Luckily, I followed two fantastic recipes from Jannequin Bennet’s “The Complete Vegan Kitchen,” a birthday present from my lovely friend Alex (thanks, Al!), and all was well.

Based on the ingredients I had on hand, I had to make a few slight alterations. But the end result was delightful. These little cakes are not only really moist and flavorful — they’re also a yummy, cool treat on a hot day when you eat one right out of the fridge. Plus, making tiny, adorable frosting carrot decorations was super fun.

Not-a-Pro-Tip: Don’t have a piping bag? No problem. Fill up a sandwich bag with icing and cut off one of the corners. Bingo. You are now authorized to ice.

Big ups to my main squeeze, Miles Pfefferle, for taking pics of my food and really liking carrots. Smooch.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes (or two 9-inch round cakes or one 9×13-inch cake)

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (Ms. Bennet calls for soy flour)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 allspice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (Ms. Bennet uses the zest of one lemon)
  • 3 Tbsp apple sauce (or canola oil)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots (I shredded and the diced mine in a food processor because ain’t nobody got time for grating)

Patty cake, patty cake, baker people…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray your cupcake pan (or cake pans).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, combine the raisins, carrots and liquids, and whisk until the mixture is light and bubbly.
  5. Combine the two mixtures (dry and wet) in one bowl, and stir until just combined. Be sure not to over mix.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into your cupcake wells, and bake for 20 minutes (30 to 40 if you’re making a cake).
  7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then carefully flip the pan over and dump them out onto a plate to finish cooling.
  8. Once they’re cool, frost them with the recipe below…

Tofu Walnut Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbps walnuts
  • 1/2 pound tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla

How to frosting

  1. Whir the walnuts around in a food processor until they’re a fine powder.
  2. Add the tofu and blend until combined.
  3. Add the maple syrup, coconut and vanilla and blend until combined.
  4. If the frosting seems too thick, add in a little almond or soy milk.
  5. Let the frosting cool off in the fridge for a few minutes before use.

Note: If you’re frosting two 9-inch round cakes or one 9X13-inch cake, double the amounts above.

Bon appétit!

Vegan Brunchapalooza: Hashbrown Tartlets and Cheesy Herb Drop Biscuits

5 Jul

Brunch is served!

Brunch is served!

Allow me to introduce you to what may just become your new favorite way to start the day at noon: hashbrown tartlets and cheesy herb drop biscuits.

Although “tartlet” may hold some dessert-y connotations, versus the obviously eggy “quiche,” I went with it for three reasons:

  1. It sounds adorable.
  2. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, “Friends.” (For those of you who don’t recall, Jon Lovitz guest-starred in an early episode and wore the word out in a very humorous fashion. Video below for your viewing pleasure).
  3. Whateva whateva. I do what I want.
Click for (hilarious) vodeo.

Remember when Jon Lovitz was Monica’s stoned almost-employer?

Anyhoo, the cool thing about these crustless mini quiches tartlets is that they’re very customizable. You can throw in any veggies, herbs or faux meats you have sitting around. My favorites so far are the fresh chopped dill and mushrooms version, the veggie sausage, red onions and spinach combo (below) and the green pepper and soyrizo version pictured above. You could also add a little Daiya or Teese for some extra cheesetastic oomph.

Hashbrown Tartlets
Serves six (use six half-cup ramekins or one 9″ pie dish)

Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 large potatoes, shredded
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 14 oz. veggie sausage (I used Gimme Lean)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsps almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
Tartlet time!
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your ramekins (or 9″ pie dish).
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Break up the veggie sausage into the skillet, add in the red onions, and cook until the sausage is browned and the onions are soft. Remove from heat.
  4. To make your eggy casserole base, start by taking the drained tofu for a spin in a blender or food processor until it’s broken up into small crumbles.
  5. Start slowly pouring the almond milk into the liquid feeder, until the mixture is the consistency of frosting.
  6. Add in the nutritional yeast, salts, herbs and spices, and pulse a few times until it’s all combined.
  7. Dump the lot into a large mixing bowl, and add in the sausage and onions, shredded potatoes and spinach.
  8. Once the mixture is well combined, scoop equal portions into your ramekins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
  9. Place the ramekins on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes. 45 to 50 if you’re using a pie plate.
  10. Let the tartlets cool for before serving.

Cheesy Herb Drop Biscuits
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all purpose, unbleached white flour
  • 1 Tbsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Drop it like it’s hot!

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Combine the melted butter (or oil) and milk in a separate little bowl, then slowly stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, as your biscuits won’t be as fluffy! Don’t worry, the dough is supposed to be super sticky.
  4. Space eight little equally sized lumps of dough onto the cookie sheet and bake at 475 for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 and bake for another five minutes (until the biscuits are starting to brown on top).
  5. That’s it. Eat up!

The One with The Bonus Recipe: Spareparts Breakfast Sammy

The day after your successful brunchapalooza (or later that day), just slice a biscuit in half and top it with a half tarlet popped out of a ramekin. You can also freeze them and heat them up later (thaw then wrap them in foil and bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes).

Bon appetit!

High time for vegan strawberry rhubarb pie time

31 May

It's high time for pie time, ya'll.

It’s high time for pie time, ya’ll.

She lives!

It’s true. I am back, and I bear a delicious, pie-shaped apology for my long absence.

My hiatus was due to an abrupt, but destined, across-the-continent move from Chicago to my new home base: the lovely and not-as-rainy-as-you’ve-been-lead-to-believe Portland, Oregon! Check it out on that Vine thing the kids are talking about.

From where I stand, PDX is the vegan home planet. I haven’t even been here a month, and I’ve already discovered so many veg-focused and veg-friendly nosh spots that I am equally concerned for my waistline and wallet. The Steve Caballero at Sizzle Pie is currently tied with the vegan bratwurst at the Altengartz food cart for my favorite treat.

But I’ll save the Stumptown deets for later. For now, let’s talk pie.

Pie is yummy.So, you want to make a vegan strawberry rhubarb confection, do you? Of course you do. It tastes like summer with sugar sprinkled on top. Plus, it makes a great breakfast (IMHP).

Here’s what you need:

Filling Ingredients

  • About 1 1/2 lbs of  strawberries, hulled and quartered (two of the 16 oz. containers)
  • About 1 1/2 lbs of rhubarb, chopped into bite-size bits (about three foot-long stalks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 Tbsps arrowroot powder (or good old cornstarch, if you’re me)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • A pinch (pronounced: peeeeench) of sea salt
  • 2 tsps orange zest
  • Additional 1 tsp of sugar (for sprinkling)

Crust Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup solid coconut oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

How to Pie

Zestfully Clean!

No, not this kind of Zest. But weren’t these commercials inspiring?

First of all, I misplaced my zester in the move, so here’s a little bonus tutorial on how to zest a citrus fruit without a grater or a zester (You’re welcome):

  1. Use a sharp knife to peel a few strips of the rind off the fruit. Try your best not to get the white part, as that has a bitter taste. You just want the colorful bit.
  2. Chop up the rind as fine as you can.
  3. That’s it. You’ve made zest.

For further instructions on the filling, and pie assembly, check out the original recipe here from Mattie on veganbaking.net.

But for the crust, I recommend this simple, and super tasty gem from Gene Hemshaw on food52.com. It’s crazy simple to make, especially if you’re blessed with a food processor. It really is the perfect vegan pie crust.

Now that I have a kitchen again, I promise that more recipes from me are on the way. But for now, Bon appetit!

Also, a special thanks to my love, Miles Pfefferle, for capturing pie time with his Canon. xo.

Tofubacue with home fries and cheezy broccoli

9 Mar

Barbecue tofu bake

Tofu, is that you?

You guys, this is all you need to know: barbecue, taters and cheddar.

Just kidding, there’s a whole dinner recipe a’comin, but weren’t those three words enough to make your tums go, “Um, yes please?” I thought so.

But before I get started, here’s an open letter to tofu:

I swear to you this is edible.

What.Is.This? Seriously. Is this soylent green??

My dearest Tofu,

How I love you. Yes, to the untrained eye you may appear to be an ominously gelatinous and colorless blob of yuck. But I know better.

To begin with, you’re crazy versatile. Should I bake you, fry you, include you in pasta, or turn you into dessert!? I don’t know. I just don’t know. There are so many options!

And you’ve always got my back, tofu. I know that you Judo chop my bad cholesterol and even suit up for the fight against cancer. Plus, you give my bones a boost, help prevent premature aging and come big with the vitamin E. In short, you’re a rock star, tofu, and I’m sorry not everyone knows it.

Forever yours,
Aunt B

So, back to the recipe.

Tofubacue (or TBQ) with Home Fries and Cheezy Broccoli
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces tofu, pressed
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (if you’re being good) or a handful of vegan cheddar cheese (if you’re being me)

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Bake that tofu with your bad self!

  1. Make your barbecue sauce in a sandwich-sized container with a lid, then carefully squish in your block of tofu, cover it, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour (flip the tofu over about halfway through). I let mine hang out over night.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
  3. Cut your marinated tofu into eight slices, place them on the cookie sheet, and then smother them with the rest of the sauce.
  4. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes on each side, flipping them over (carefully) halfway through. I recommend spooning some of the sauce back onto the tofu blocks after you flip them over. Waste sauce, want sauce, I always say have never said before.
  5. Either sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your broccoli to give it a cheesy flavor and boost of B12, or throw on a handful of vegan cheddar (such as Daiya) if you’re feeling less responsible.

If you want some potatoes to round out the meal (of course you do), I recommend this lovely recipe for oil-free oven-fried potatoes. FYI: The second time I made these, I let the potatoes marinate overnight (Not on purpose. Some friends called from the bar around the corner, and the meal was, of course, put on hold). Anyway, they came out even more delicious.

Finally, I know I just babbled on and on about how much I love tofu (and I meant every word!), but I think I shall make this with tempeh in the near future. If you beat me to it, let me know what you think.

Bon appetite!

Cheesy chick-none and veggie casserole

13 Feb

Mmm...smell the traditionalism.

Just like grandma’s casseroles. Minus the love.

There’s something nostalgic and comforting about a casserole. In fact, when it comes to the old “is there anything more American than…” question, I firmly believe that a casserole can give apple pie, baseball and debatable foreign policy a run for their money.

Gma love.

Me and my Gma. She was a real rad lady.

Casseroles are also some of my favorite dishes, because they’re simple to assemble, please even the stingiest of pallets, make for days of delectable leftovers, and they remind us all of our grandmother’s cozy kitchens (unless you had a rare casserole-less grandma, in which case I invite you to borrow the memory of mine).

For me, this cheesy, seitan- and veggie-full recipe achieves all the important casserole criteria — and I can assure you that it has been thoroughly omnivore tested and approved.

Final note: While the seitan works well as a hearty chicken replacement, and it’s a great source of protein and iron, you can just as easily double the amount of mushrooms and the dish will still be “nomnomnom” worthy.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces whole wheat rotini noodles
  • 1 lb of seitan
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen broccoli
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Bridget’s Nommy Good Cheeze sauce (ingredients below)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs (for some crunch, if that’s your bag)

Bridget’s Nommy Good Cheeze Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened soy or almond milk
  • 3 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 3 Tbsp unbleached flour (chickpea flour is gluten free, FYIzzle)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Dash of cayenne pepper (recommended for those of us who enjoy a good kick in the mouth pants)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Conjure a casserole

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook and drain the pasta, then put it back in the pot and set it aside.
  3. Brown the seitan in a large skillet on medium heat (add 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil if you like), and break it up into bite-sized pieces while you’re at it.
  4. Combine the sauce ingredients in a mixing bowl or food processor.
  5. Transfer the sauce to the skillet, add in the veggies, mix well, and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. Pour the skillet contents into the pot with the noodles and mix well, then turn the whole lot out into a greased casserole dish.
  7. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs before baking uncovered for 30 minutes.
  8. Allow the dish to cool before you start shoveling the yummy casserole goodness into your face hole.

Bon appetit!

Mama mia! Vegan spaghetti pie

25 Jan

Spaghetti pie

A pie made out of spaghetti. And it’s vegan. Now you’ve seen it all.

Me and my mama.

Me and the mama.

If you could translate a hug into food, it would probably become spaghetti pie. It’s warm, comforting, familiar, simple and, like the very best embraces, noodley. (Note: I may have abnormal hug preferences).

The story of spaghetti pie begins with my mother, who I am like in most every way. We both love classic films and jet-fuel-strength black coffee. We both become apoplectic in crowded situations. And we also both have a tendency to burst into made-up-on-the-spot lyrics when frustrated. In short, we are both a little odd (and okay with it).

Little Lloyd Dobbler

This is Little Lloyd Dobbler. To be fair, you’d spoil him too.

My mama does not, however, share my love of cooking.

She’s good at it, no doubt, but would just rather focus her energies in other areas, such as spoiling her dog rotten.

So when I was growing up and she did spend time in the kitchen, what resulted was usually a treat. One of my very favorite dishes was spaghetti pie, probably because it’s also a bit of an oddball. Noodles in a dessert dish? Wah?

At my mom’s genius suggestion, I devised a vegan version of this comfort food champion for all of us plant-eaters, replacing cottage cheese with crumbled tofu, swapping in vegan butter for the cow kind, and calling for egg and meat substitutes.

For the meaty part you could use chopped mushrooms, seitan, or vegan beef crumbles.

I chose to use a combination of baby bella mushrooms and diced up Tofurky Italian sausage, which I am kind of obsessed with.

Serves 6

Ingredients

Ingredients

Your ingredients stand at the ready.

  • 8 ounces spaghetti
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter (Earth Balance is uh-may-zing)
  • 2 flax eggs (Dissolve 2 Tbsps ground flax seed in 1/2 cup super hot water, then set in fridge for 15 minutes to thicken)
  • 1 cup drained and pressed tofu, squished through your fingers until it resembles cottage cheese
  • 1 pound vegan beef substitute (I used finely diced Tofurky Italian sausage)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (I am a member of the Daiya cult)
  • A couple shakes of Italian seasoning, if you so desire

Build a Pie

Noodle crust and tofu "cheese" base.

This here is your noodle crust and tofu “cheese” base.

  1. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions and drain.
  2. Mix your butter into the still-hot spaghetti until it’s all melted.
  3. Stir in the flax eggs until the noodles are coated.
  4. Place the mixture in a buttered 10-inch pie pan/tin, and form it into a crust-like shape.
  5. Spread the crumbled tofu over the bottom of your spaghetti crust.
  6. Cook up your meat replacement of choice in a skillet, along with the onions, mushrooms and peppers, over medium heat until the meat replacer is browned and the veggies are soft.
  7. Add the spaghetti sauce and heat the mixture through.
  8. Pour the skillet mixture into the pie pan, and bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle the pie with the mozzarella cheese and some Italian seasoning, if you wish, and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melty and browning and calling your name.

That’s it! Let it cool for about 10 minutes before digging into your very own noodly hug.

Bon appetit!

Cheesy quinoa and awesome stuffed peppers

15 Jan

Cheesy quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers

Colorful and also freaking yummy cheesy quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers.

Because I like you guys, I’ll be honest. I’ve made quinoa stuffed peppers before, and they’ve rated a solid “meh” on the flavor scale. But these little guys? On top of being super easy to make, they’re cheesy, they’ve got a little kick, and they will put a smile on your face. And if (for some unforeseeable reason) they fail to accomplish that last bit, try this.

When I first made these, I had a few cups of the extremely filling filling leftover. What was I to do?

Well, piggy enterprising as I am, I figured the filling would make a good dip, and grabbed a handful of tortilla chips to get my appetizer on, fooling myself into thinking I could eat just a few bites and save the rest.

Ha.

Of course, I ended up scarfing down all of it, and wasn’t even hungry for the peppers when they emerged from the oven. No worries, they fed me for the next week, aaaaand I found my new favorite dip recipe, in addition to my new favorite stuffed pepper recipe. And hopefully yours.

That same night, I also ended up spilling an entire glass of wine and a can of black beans on the floor and nearly severing a toe when I lost my grip on my veggie-dicing knife…but that’s another (cautionary) tale of trying to cook whilst clumsy.

Anyway, I believe the credit for how fabulously scrumptious these peppers are goes to the addition of Daiya mozzarella cheese in the stuffing. And maybe the cayenne pepper should get a little nod. But you be the final judge.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 15-ounce can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup quinoa (or you could use rice. But then you don’t get to say “keeen-wah”!)
  • 2 cups + 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheese (I heart Daiya)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 5 ounces frozen spinach
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots (I threw a few handfuls of baby carrots in a food processor)
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

Make it so!

  1. Cut your peppers in half, and pull out the seeds and ribbing (the light-colored stuff).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a  saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft.
  3. Add the mushrooms, cumin and garlic, and sauté the mix for another 2 minutes.
  4. Break up your frozen spinach as well as you can (I achieve this by slamming the bag against my kitchen counter like a psychopath), and toss that in the pot.
  5. Cook for another 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid is evaporated.
  6. Add in your black beans, quinoa, carrots, and about 2 cups vegetable broth (enough to cover the whole mixture).
  7. Cover the pot and bring your mixture to a boil. Then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes.
  8. My favorite step: Stir in the vegan cheese.
  9. Add in your salt, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  10. Stick your face as close to the mixture as is safe and take a giant whiff. Yummmmm.
  11. Preheat your oven to 350.
  12. Spoon a heaping helping of filling into each pepper half, and carefully place them in a casserole or baking dish.
  13. Pour about a half cup vegetable broth into the dish, then cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  14. Sprinkle each pepper with more cheese, if you like, and then bake uncovered for about 15 minutes more, or until the tops are browned.
  15. Nomnomnom.

In addition to the fact that they taste like joy, another lovely character trait of these peppers is that they keep really well. If you plan to scarf them down in the next few days, just pop them in a fridge-suitable storage container and, when it comes time to nosh, wrap them in tin foil and bake them in the oven at 350 for 20ish minutes.

Or, if you want to make a bunch for a rainy day, place each pepper in individual freezer bags (make sure you get as much air out as possible) and they’ll keep in your ice box for months. Just defrost in the fridge before cooking, and give it the same tin foil and baking treatment.

Bon appetit!

The best thing since sliced bread

12 Jan

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OMG, you made bread!

Patty cake, patty cake, baker men and women. This recipe will supply you with two delicious loaves of whole wheat bread for sandwiches, toast, or whatever it is you like to do with your bread. I won’t judge.

I found this recipe, which I altered a bit because I apparently can’t help myself, in a list of Seven Delicious Vegan Bread Recipes. I also made the foccacia, and highly recommend it. Noooommmm.

Before we begin, a few words of advice:

  • Wear an apron or get cozy with the idea of being covered in flour
  • Buy several packets of yeast because, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to screw up at least your first two attempts at getting it to activate. Apparently yeast is lazy.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 Tbsp + 3 Tbsp organic molasses
  • 2 Tbsp active dry yeast (one packet)
  • 3 cups + 5 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup organic oil (I rock the sunflower)
  • 1/4 cup organic soy milk
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax + 3 Tbsp warm water (to make 1 flax egg)

This is how we dooo it, na na na na na, nana naa…

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Bubbling yeast. It’s aliiiiiiive!

  1. Mix warm (but not steaming hot) water, 1 Tbsp of molasses and yeast in a large bowl.
  2. Place the bowl somewhere warm (I recommend a microwave that’s been run with a cup of water for a minute), and wait about 10 minutes for foamy bubbles to form.
  3. Stir in the first 3 cups of pastry flour and mix well.
  4. Cover the bowl with a towel and set it back in the previously discovered warm place for a minimum of 20 minutes (or up to 24 hours if you’ve got places to go and things to do).
  5. Mix in the first 3 Tbsp of molasses, along with the oil, soy milk, sea salt and the flax egg.
  6. Begin adding your remaining 5 1/2 cups of flour, a 1/2 cup at a time. After the dough gets too dense to stir, start kneading it right in the bowl. It will be sticky, and you will get messy, but forge on and continue adding the rest of the flour. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until the flour is all mixed in, and the dough is smooth and elastic instead of sticky.
  7. Divide the dough into two equal parts, then shape those lumpy fellows into loaves and pop them into two oiled bread pans (I like olive oil spray).
  8. Cover the pans with a clean towel and set them back in that special, warm place your dough is so familiar with by now. Let it sit there and think about what it’s done for about an hour and 15 minutes, until the dough has doubled in size.
  9. Bake both loaves at 350 for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown and you can run them clean through with a knife or toothpick.
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Twinsies.

Voila! You have made bread.

Unless you eat a ton of bread, I recommend freezing one of the loaves so it doesn’t go bad while you’re working your way through its sibling.

If that creeped you out, I am sorry I’m not sorry.

Bon appetit!

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