Thursday, December 13, 2012

Vegan Nog!

It's almost the weekend, so how about a little Nog to get in the holiday spirit? I used to love egg nog growing up, but always thought it was a little too thick. The vegan "seasonal" Nog is actually even better than the original, I think!

The above "Seaonal Nog" is made with soy milk, but there is also a coconut milk version. The conconut milk nog definitely has a different (coconutty, duh) flavor. At first I didn't like that one, but then it grew on me.... but I think the seasonal version is still my favorite.

Sprinkle with a little nutmeg, add a cinnamon stick...

... add some spiced rum...
Zaya rum: This stuff is seriously good
... and dive in!

Oh and by the way, if you are a rum person, I highly, highly, highly recommend seeking out that rum pictured above (Zaya). A friend brought it to our holiday party, and holy cow it's amazing. It might be the best rum I've ever had. It's smooth, has a spiced, lightly sweet, almost caramely flavor, and it's pretty darn strong. It's so quality, you might even call it sippin' rum. But it does go especially well with Nog too!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Soft, chocolate, Kahlua-spiked cupcakes, filled with melty chocolate, covered in vanilla Kahlua marshmallow icing, drizzled with more melted chocolate, and topped off with a Dandies marshmallow. I call them Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes, and they definitely warmed up the guests at my holiday party!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

HoHoHoliday Party

Time for another vegan dinner party! Although, this one was filled with so many sweet holiday treats, I'm not sure it's technically accurate to call it a dinner party.... salted caramel corn, ginger spice cupcakes, "Mexican hot chocolate" cupcakes, pretzel bites, spiced Nog, mulled wine, and more!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pumpkin Parsnip Lasagna

Another great recipe from VegNews' Holiday 2012 Issue. I couldn't wait to try this one, and made it for my visiting family members the night before Thanksgiving this year. The pumpkin and parsnip went so well, with just the right amount of Daiya mozzarella cheese- this was a hearty, delicious holiday meal.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Citrus-Herb Maple Tofu and Arugula Salad

Maple and soy sauce marinated, sweet, herb-seasoned tofu over fresh arugula and spinach with cinnamon-nutmeg orange slices and fresh avocado. In under 30 minutes. It's a delicious big fresh flavorful salad meal!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Cornmeal-Crusted Cauliflower and Truffle Mushroom Gravy

I love love love roasted cauliflower. Usually I just slice it up, toss it in a little bit of olive oil and lemon-pepper seasoning, and that's enough to make me want to devour the entire bunch. But for Thanksgiving this year, I wanted to try a new version: cornmeal-encrusted roasted cauliflower steaks, covered in a creamy, incredibly flavorful, white mushroom gravy sauce with truffle oil. Sounds heavenly, right? It was, and this would make a great addition to any holiday (or winter-time) dinner party plate...

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Vegan Thanksgiving Spread!

I'm very excited to share my Thanksgiving with you! I was completely psyched everything turned out so well, and that my family enjoyed it too. I was crazed cooking all day, and the pumpkin pie didn't even get put in the oven until after the meal, but hey, we had tons of great food! I think we have some new traditions on hand...

Monday, November 19, 2012

What to Make for Vegan Thanksgiving

This year, I'm pretty excited for Thanksgiving. It's my first vegan Thanksgiving, and we're hosting my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and brother-in-law, who are always a blast to hang out with and we don't get to see often enough. I can't wait to have them, show them our new home & neighborhood, and share some delicious food with them. There are so many good recipes out there, I don't know what to make. I'm trying to find a balance between the old traditions and new exciting recipes that would make for great holiday additions. Here are some dishes I'm thinking of making for the big spread!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Winter Kale Salad

I feel whole again. This was a stressful week of tons of work (and more to come), of no time for cooking exciting meals, and it left me feeling less than. But after an awesome Saturday yoga flow class, a run with my dog, (and ok a little shopping), and a giant bowl of this hearty, healthy kale salad, I felt renewed, revived, and energized. Easy to make but so, so delicious, this salad just makes you feel good. It would also make a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Salad Pizza and Vegan Frozen Pizzas

Since going vegan, I probably eat less pizza than I used to; I'm totally ok with that, since I think those pizza meals have been replaced by better, healthier options. But every now and then, you do just want some pizza! Or, you need to rely on a ridiculously easy dinner option with little to no effort. At least, I do. Recently, I've found two great, vegan frozen products that make for easy and delicious pizza meals.

Above and beyond opening the box, "Salad pizzas" make a typical frozen pizza more filling by piling on tons of greens and veggies, which can also help you eat less of the pizza. Also, opting for a pre-made, whole grain crust only, or a gluten-free or vegan frozen pizza can help make those quick frozen meals healthier, since they tend to be lower in fat, sodium, and processed ingredients. Here are some of my thoughts and ideas for easy salad pizzas.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Potato & Roasted Carrot Soup

I love soups, especially this time of year, because they are so easy to make, and so warm and hearty. This soup is thick, creamy, full of flavor, and could be easily adapted to keep mixing things up.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles & Vegan Halloween

Happy Halloween! What better way to end Vegan MoFo than with a deliciously sweet spread. We had a Halloween party Saturday night, and yep, I did my crazy hostess thing yet again.... This time, I made bourbon cinnamon cupcakes, candy corn, and pumpkin cream cheese truffles.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Kale & Kabocha Squash Curry Coconut Soup

This would be a perfect meal to make Sunday night, and then store and have waiting for you when you come home after a case of the Mondays; it's comforting, delicious, and tastes even better the next day. But it's also easy enough to quickly whip together after a long work day, in keeping with the theme of many of my vegan MoFo recipes.

When I saw red kabocha at the farmer's market, with a little sign that described it's sweet flavor, I knew I had to have it. I use green kabocha pretty regularly now, but hadn't tried the red variety yet. Kabocha squash is delicious roasted on its own, in curries, or in soups -like this Asian udon noodle soup- or this Fall-themed soup.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Vegan Candy Corn and Chocolate Candy Corn

Candy corn seems to be one of those polarizing things. You either love it, or you hate it. For me, it's always been the former. Until I eat too much of it and then I hate it- for a few hours, anyway. But no matter how much I may OD on candy corn in October, every year when Fall rolls around, I look forward to its return, right along with the falling leaves, crisp air, and cozy sweaters, of course. No matter which candy corn camp you're in, you have to admit, these little candies, with their uniquely sweet texture, are a Fall candy staple. So of course I needed to make vegan candy corn!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Farro with Beets and Apple Cider Broccoli & Rapini

Before we move on to Halloween treats and sweets, how 'bout another healthy dinner?

Yes, this is my second post with apple cider this week. But I like having multiple recipes to use an ingredient in, especially those ingredients that you don't buy all the time and that don't last indefinitely. And this is also another simple, easy, filling, delicious meal that can be thrown together after work.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Brownies, Brownies, and Strawberry Brownies!

Sometimes you just want a brownie. For my husband, that sometimes is pretty much always. Brownie sundaes and strawberry shortcake are probably his top two all-time favorite desserts. I decided to combine the two, since our neighbor had just brought us 3 baskets of fresh local strawberries. Think chocolate-covered strawberries, in brownie form. They're even low fat, too- but every bit as satisfying.

And if you're looking for other vegan brownie recipes, read on- I also include some links to a few brownie recipes from around the web. These recipes are easy and can completely be thrown together on a weeknight evening when you're just craving a little dessert...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Coconut Greens and Kuri Squash

Nothing fancy here. Just another simple, easy, healthy but yummy weeknight meal to add to the mix!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apple Cider Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Tempeh, and Greens

Sweet, warm Fall flavors. Filling and healthy. This dinner is a variation on a tempeh & Brussels sprouts dish I've made a few times before, but with plenty of fresh apple cider mixed in - perfect for a cool Fall day.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Butternut Squash Orzo with Sage Brown Butter

Do you ever make a meal, while sipping a glass of wine (or two), and then finally sit down to eat it, and think, "Holy crap, this is amazing. What the hell did I put in this?"-? This was one of those meals. But don't worry, I think I do actually remember the exact ingredients here. And if you don't think it tastes completely awesome, blame the white wine ;-)

Monday, October 15, 2012

White Acorn Squash with Sweet Tempeh and Mushrooms

I love "squash bowl" meals. Give me a fall squash and I'm happy. Add some more veggies to it, even better. There are a million variations to stuffed squash dinners- here's another tasty one!

White Acorn Squash with Sweet Tempeh and Mushroooms
Serves 2
  • 1 white acorn squash 
  • 8 oz shittake mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 package of tempeh, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2-3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • A few dashes of sriracha (I used about 6-8 drops)
  • 1 tsp fig jam
  • handful of almonds, chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Place face down in large dish with a few inches of water. Cook for 30-35 minutes, until tender with a fork.
  2. After putting the squash in the oven, mix together the maple syrup, soy sauce, sriracha and jam in a small bowl. Place the tempeh in a bake safe dish and pour the sauce over it; toss to coat. Place in the oven with the squash for 15 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, place the sliced mushrooms with 1 Tbsp soy sauce and toss.  After 15 minutes of cooking the tempeh, add in the mushrooms and sliced almonds, stirring to mix around the sauce. Add more maple syrup and/or soy sauce if needed, and cook for until 10-15 minutes, until tempeh is browned.
  4. To serve, place the tempeh mix inside each half of squash and enjoy warm. 
Deeeeelish. The sweet tempeh, mushrooms, and almonds go so well with the acorn squash.

Other squash bowl meal ideas:
  • Acorn squash stuffed with roasted veggie quinoa, rainbow quinoa with cranberries, nuts, and spinach, or quinoa with cashew butter and apples
  • Butternut squash with farro or wheatberry salad
  • Spaghetti squash with tomato sauce, broccoli, and mushrooms
Gotta love those fall squashes! 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rosemary Socca with Roasted Eggplant

Since our anniversary dinner, I've been wanting to make socca at home. If you haven't ever had or heard of socca, it's just a chickpea "pancake," almost is a little like polenta in texture and consistency. Socca is simple to make, and can be varied in a bunch of ways, so it's a great addition to quick weeknight meals. Perfect for enjoying a restaurant-style dinner, right at home in your warm & cozies.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mom's Pumpkin Bread, Veganized!

Thanksgiving day. Christmas morning. Family. Holidays. Pumpkin bread.

These words just go together for me. We can't have a Christmas or Thanksgiving without this bread, and I can't have this bread without thinking about home, family, and holidays growing up. A warm, delicious, soft, incredibly moist, cake-like bread that melts in your mouth with fall spices and pumpkin goodness. The top forms a thin, almost gooey layer of pumpkin that my brother and I would secretly cut off in pieces, like little mice nibbling away at the best part. This recipe has become almost a part of my family identity- it's right up there with steamy Baltimore summers, Cape Cod vacations, New Hampshire lakes, and long car rides in Ford station wagons- and I almost thought about not sharing it to keep the family secret. But, good food is best shared, and so, I give you... the best pumpkin bread ever. My mom's. ;-)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

A rare event

Sunday night my husband decided he wanted to make dinner. Vegan dinner. No, really, he did. To put things in perspective, this hasn't happened in about a year. Well, not if you don't count ordering take-out, or heating up jarred spaghetti sauce and boiling noodles.

Ever since we had an awesome dinner at an Indian place in SF called Dosa, we've been wanting to re-create the coconut and roasted corn soup we had there. I'm definitely surprised to say that my husband made a pretty darn delicious version of it. Here's the link to the soup he made. He pretty much followed the recipe, using fresh corn, but we subbed vegetable stock for the chicken stock. The only changes I would make are to make sure the corn is really well puréed, so it's nice and smooth. (I had to laugh a little at him when he was trying to blend the corn in our weak-ass blender instead of using the food processor, which he despises because it's so loud. He did need a little help.) Oh and my other recommendation would be to double the recipe, because there weren't any leftovers!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Fall Coconut Curry

This dish is a warm bowl of goodness, a blending of my farmer's market veggies this week. Sweet Fall squash, seasoned tofu, cauliflower, and kale all stewed in a blend of coconut and curry spice.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Persimmon Pumpkin Cookies

Hello persimmons. Meet pumpkin. I think you two will work well together...

The last pumpkin cookies I made were soft little bites filled with melty chocolate chips. But the pumpkin didn't shine quite as much as I wanted it to. I wanted pumpkin cookies that SCREAMED pumpkin. I wanted to up the PUMPKIN ANTE...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dreamy Creamy Tofu, Pickle, and Pea Salad

Sometimes I go weeks without eating tofu. I go through phases. Beans...tofu...tempeh. And repeat. Cycling through proteins. Today, I seem to be back to tofu. I was craving a little tofu salad for lunch, so I whipped this up in a snap. Tangy and creamy but still light, and perfectly paired with some fresh greens or rolled up in a soft wrap.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Vegan Mofo and Encuentro!!

What?! It's October?! How did that happen? I was just hanging out at a friend's pool in 75 degree weather yesterday. And it's 80 today... but even if the weather doesn't feel like Fall, I couldn't be more excited to welcome October. Because it's Vegan Mofo (that's Vegan MOnth of FOod for those of you who have not heard). And this year I'm officially taking part in it! To start off the month, I have a restaurant review- but see yesterday's post on pumpkin cookies if you are craving a recipe!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies & Other Weekend Treats

As promised, we're leaving the tropics behind and moving on to Fall-themed recipes. I ran around the Farmer's market this weekend excited to find squashes and persimmons (yes! it's persimmon season again!) in addition to my usual leafy greens. I whipped up these pumpkin cookies Friday night, and they reminded me a little of my mother's pumpkin bread, in cookie form, with mini melty chocolate chips. Well hellllloooo there Fall, I didn't realize I'd missed you so much!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tropical Take-Me-Aways

Ok, last "tropical" post, and then I swear, I'll jump on the pumpkin and butternut squash boat with the rest of the bloggers. (Although, to my credit, September and October are often summer-like months in the Bay area). Summer or Fall, these little desserts are good way to start off the weekend. Think Pina Coloda in a cake. Layers of soft sponge cake, rum pudding (yes, that's what I said), and toasted coconut. It's a dessert mixed with a healthy dose of the islands.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pineapple Quinoa

Flavorful pineapple quinoa, served right out of the pineapple... definitely a good dinner party dish. This is easy to make, delicious, and filling. A great side or main for a summer pot-luck or BBQ! Yes, I realize it's now fall. But indulge me for just 2 more recipes...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tropical Black Bean Sliders

Trust me when I say this is a recipe everyone should have. Notice how I didn't say every vegan. Or every vegetarian. Nope, everyone. I made the massive mistake of just making one batch of these suckers for our housewarming party this weekend, and if I wasn't a few drinks in, I would have been seriously concerned about an uprising. They are good, and they go in a flash. And they are MINI! Which means, not only are they tasty, they are CUTE. I love all things mini almost as much as I love all things mango. Speaking of which...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Very Warming Housewarming

The spread- vegan summer buffet style
This weekend, after almost two months in our new place, we finally had a housewarming party. I think it has actually taken that long to get settled... I was still hanging pictures two days ago...but I am love with our new spot, and just the feeling of being home. So on yet another sunny, warm day, it was the perfect time to host our housewarming party. As my dinner parties usually go, it was of course filled with lots of treats that I was excited to share. So time to share them with YOU!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Vegan Egg Pancakes with Sunburst Squash Sauté

Last week brunch was sweet, so this weekend I was craving savory. Hearty, eggy-tasting fluffy little rounds paired with plenty of greens, mushrooms, and beautiful sunburst squash, sauteéd in olive oil and seasoned with fresh thyme...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

24 hours in NYC, Vegan Style

Cafe Blossom's Raw Beet "Ravioli"
What do you get when you have a vegan who spent the past 4 days in a small town with very limited vegan options, and then put her in New York City for 24 hours?? A LOT of good eats, that's what. I'm being completely honest when I say that my first stop after landing at JFK was Lula's Sweet Apothecary to try vegan soft serve, and it wasn't even remotely on my way to my crashpad for the night. What can I say, a girl's gotta eat ;-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Roasted Peach and Wild Blueberry Pancakes

What is it about roasting things that just makes the flavors completely rock?! These pancakes are to the next level because of roasted peaches. You will love them. That is, if you manage to save enough roasted peaches for pancakes after pulling them out of the oven.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Candied Cacao Nib Cookies

Want something a little nuttier than your typical chocolate chip cookie? Try these on for size! They're chewy, sweet, and a little crunchy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Simple Pleasures

Ok, I'm on a tomato kick. But these little cherry tomatoes looked too good to pass up at the Farmer's market. And sometimes, the best food is just plain, simple, and fresh. Uncomplicated and clean. All I did with this was cut up the fresh, juicy tomatoes, sprinkle a tiny bit of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, drizzle a tad of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and add the fresh chopped basil from my back yard.

Served with fresh baked bread from our local shop.

Fresh and yum! For something a little more exciting, see my vegan caprese or tomato pie.

I love simple, easy, delicious healthy food- and I LOVE sharing it with friends & family! It makes me really happy to get other people excited about healthy food... particularly if I've made it ;-)

Other simple pleasures I'm thankful for today:
Sunny days and blue sky
Cuddling with my dog
Being by the water
A scenic long run

Hope you are enjoying your weekend as well!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Tomato Pie

It's hard to believe it's already the end of August. This summer has been hectic and busy, and the past month has not been filled with as much cooking as I would have liked. So I was completely psyched to get back into the kitchen to whip up this 'lil pie. When I saw these heirloom tomatoes, I nabbed a bunch and couldn't wait to use them.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vegan Caprese

I was on family vacation last week, and made this easy appetizer/salad twice. The first time, I whipped it up so I would have something to eat while my family and friends were snacking on cheese and crackers. But it ended up nearly disappearing before I even got to it. Poor cheese- you've been replaced by something healthier and fresher-tasting ;-) But in all honesty, I was really pleased to share this yummy dish, and have my family love it, especially since none of them are vegan or even vegetarian. It's a dish for everyone!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beet and Avocado Salad with Beet Greens and Goji Berries

This dish is fresh, summery, light, and delicious, and jam-packed with healthy ingredients. AND, I used basil growing in my NEW and very own herb garden! I can't tell you how awesome it is to just open my door and pick a few leaves of fresh basil to use in my dishes. Well, ok, I can tell you. I just did. I love it. I'm going basil-crazy. I'm also ready to go golden beet crazy after making this meal.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Recent Vegan Eats Out & About

Phew. It's been quite a week- we moved last Sunday, to a new place I'm totally psyched about. But it's been a week of very little sleep, crazed packing and then unpacking. I don't know about you, but I can't stand it when things aren't "in their place." There's still a lot left to do, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel... and plenty of good food along the way.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Moving meals

Boxes everywhere. Complete disarray. Nothing in its place, and nothing fresh in the fridge... this is not how I like to live! But, we're moving this weekend, so I've been on a mission to use up those random half-empty boxes of pasta, frozen food, nearly empty bottles of sauces, and clean out whatever perishables are left in the fridge. That's led to some mostly boring meals, and not nearly enough fresh veggies and fruit (I haven't been to my Berkeley Bowl all week! I don't know how I'm surviving!!) But despite this, I have managed to come up with a few tasty meals this week...

Saturday, July 7, 2012

4th of July Treats

A bit late on my fourth of July post, but we are getting ready for a move around here so it's been busy! I made a slew of vegan treats to take to a BBQ for the 4th, and they were a total hit (especially, as usual, the cupcakes). Read on for the details!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Low-fat Maple Banana Granola

Warm, fresh, sweet granola. A few years ago I was on a quest to re-create the perfect granola: brown sugar cinnamon, dried fruit, and gorgeous clusters of oats, homemade from a B &B my husband and I had stayed in while we were in Gig Harbor. Unfortunately, after attempting multiple recipes I'd found online, each batch I made came out worse than the previous- loose and not enough flavor, or dry, or just kind of boring. My husband just made fun of me, and we were left with way to much granola no one wanted to eat.

The batches I made never really achieved those sweet little clusters, the clumps of oats. In my opinion, it's all about the CLUMPS! And then, out of no-where, and with ridiculous ease, along came this recipe...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CCK Recipes

I am a big fan of trying out recipes from other blogs. Besides something that just looks or sounds really delicious, I'm particularly enticed when something seems really unique, really healthy, and, when I'm lazy, really easy. Chocolate Covered Katie's recipes are pretty much always really easy, and often healthy and unique as well. I wanted to share a few variation successes (and ones that have not been so successful).

Above: I made her Healthy Lemon Squares, but altered by splitting the recipe in thirds and making a lime version (with lime juice and lime zest instead of lemon) and a blueberry version (with about 1/2 cup fresh blueberries for about 1/3 of the recipe). My favorite was definitely the blueberry version (or blueberry-lemon, which I've also made in the past!) Another great variation is to do layers: make half lemon and half lime, and when you are spreading it in the pan, put in the lime first, followed by the lemon, for pretty little layer bars with refreshing zest. Finally, one last variation that works well: the crust calls for coconut oil- you can easily cut back on the amount of oil by using banana. Since I was running low on coconut oil and only had about a teaspoon, I added 1/2 of a medium banana, melted, to the dough, and it worked great!

Read on for more CCK recipes (and variations) I've tried!