Monday, September 29, 2014

Sometimes You Just Need It

Chocolate. I feel like I could end my post right there. I thought as a vegan that was something I would never have the pleasure of tasting again. Yes I live a sheltered life, please big city , internet savvy vegans do not mock me. I have two word: Dark Chocolate. It is available in vegan form. Be still my heart. I have made chocolate chip cookies. super rich chocolate cake and even Post Punk Kitchen's Mexican Hot Chocolate snickerdoodles Life is complete. Now if you will excuse me I must tend to my sick Bumper, who turned down the cookies. Sick child trumps blogging and Vegan MoFo.

Happy Eating,

P.S. I use Enjoy Life brand mini semi- sweet chocolate chips.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

My Favorite Brownie

Brownies are the ubiquitous go- to -mom -is- in -a- hurry -and- what- to- bring- to the-church picnic/potluck/picnic/informal gathering dessert.  The trouble is most brownie mixes require at least an egg if not eggs and milk. What is an aspiring vegan mom to do? Chocolate Covered Katie once again comes to the rescue with her black bean brownies ( ). The first thing I am going to do is ask you to put away your skepticism. I can envision the raised eyebrows and the groans. I too was a little dubious at first, I mean beans in a dessert really? Then I thought for a little bit. I have always liked those sweet red bean paste desserts at Chinese restaurants so I was willing to give the brownies a try.

Oh My! They are so good! The brownies turn out moist and chewy and very chocolaty. They have become my go to brownie recipe and my family likes them better than traditional brownies. I like that I can sneak some healthy goodness into dessert. As for the beans? I have found that most people can't taste them until they are told (then they swear they could taste them all along, but I know better). I won't sugar coat this these are not an easy dessert for me to make because I only have a small mini blender so it takes some time to get the beans smooth enough so the texture is not gritty. The brownies, are well worth the effort. To borrow from Dr. Seuss: Try them, Try them, you will see, you will like them just like me!

Happy Eating!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Apples, Apples , Apples Everywhere

When the days start get cool my oven heats up. In the heat of summer I can barely even think of the baked goodies I indulge in during the Autumn, but today was as perfectly cool and crisp  a day as one could wish for.  My whole family loves when I get in a baking mood especially when I bake an apple pie, but apple pie from scratch can be labor in intensive so I decided apple crisp would be in order.

A quick aside is needed here. I love apples. love that they are available year round- a shout out and thank you to California - I love that the best time of year for apples is the Autumn - nothing like hot apple cider on a chilly day- The scent of fresh apples always puts me in an Autumn frame of mind.I love that they come in so many different varieties not just the red or golden delicious, there are Braeburn, Fuji, Winesap, Pink Lady, Mackintosh, Granny Smith, and Gala just to name a few.  Apples are vegan (I know that is obvious, but some people get really hung up on a label), they are good to eat raw as a pure healthy dessert or they can be made into cider, sauce, juice, or baked with a little cinnamon and sugar- topped with vegan ice cream of course! Apples can be turned into pies, cakes, cobblers, crumbles, crisps, turnovers, muffins and apple brown Betty.

Okay now that have listed the apples praises, it just so happens I have about four apples that are past their prime for raw snacking, but are still perfectly usable for baking. So here it is a quick and easy apple crisp:

4-6 apples Gala or Fuji tend to work best -- but Red delicious get a bit mushy for my taste.
1/4 cup brown sugar
1tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ginger
1tbs lemon juice
1tbs cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla


1cup rolled oats
1cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3-4 Tbs non-dairy milk

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

Combine apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cornstarch in a bowl and let sit for about 10min.
Mix dry ingredients for the topping, then add oil and milk. Mix thoroughly.

Spoon apples into an 8x8 square pan and spread topping on top. Bake for 45min or until topping is brown. Let cool around 15min before serving.

Plop some vegan ice cream on top and enjoy!

This recipe was adapted from:

Happy Eating

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

One Last Frozen Treat

I realize summer is over, but I could not leave summer behind with out doing at least one post about ice-cream, plus I have sore throat today and something cool is very appealing. Before I gave up dairy I used to love ice-cream, and although there are plenty of good non-dairy options out there nowadays most of them cost a pretty penny. Now I don't mind the expense for a rare treat but with as much as I like the brands I tried it became clear that my wallet was going to suffer.

Then there is the Bumper, since becoming a mom I have become more and more aware of the food I put into my body. Little eyes are watching and I need to set a good example right? Right. Enter frozen banana soft serve. Once I made it for myself I had another "duh" moment like with chickpea salad. Not only is this dessert ridiculously easy to make, it is good for your and tastes fabulous! The Bumper even requests it to have when we have our picnic lunch days. Most often I serve it plain, but sometimes I add strawberries, peaches,  blueberries, cocoa, or peanut butter. All are fantastic! The one pictured above is made with blueberries, and peanut butter.

1-2 cups frozen bananas
1/8th -1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice
1-2 cups frozen blueberries (optional)
1Tbs peanut butter (optional)
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp vanilla

Put the above in a blender and mix until creamy.
P.S. I promise I will post Autumn type desserts tommorrow

Happy Eating!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Muffins- Need I Say More?

Okay this is the week I have been waiting for all month: Dessert Week. I am not ashamed to admit that I love desserts and part of the fun of cooking is getting to veganize my favorites and trying out new recipes. Yesterday was the first day of Autumn and in celebration I used the last of the giant zucchini from the garden to make zucchini-banana muffins.

 The Bumper professes to despise all things zucchini, she was disappointed the first time she bit into a raw one because she was expecting cucumber, and she hasn't forgiven the squash, so I was a little nervous making this. After all as yummy as muffins are, I can not eat 24 of them all by my self. My worry was for naught. The Bumper liked the muffins so much she ate four of them in a row!
I used this recipe: from Post Punk Kitchen.
I tweaked it a little by doubling it, using 1/2 cup of sugar (I think maple syrup or agave would work just as well), substituting the allspice for nutmeg and adding 1/2tsp of ginger.

I hope you like them as much as the Bumper!

Happy Eating

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Lazy Man's or Woman's Tex-Mex Black beans

Black beans are my favorite beans. I first fell in love with the little darlings in college where I was introduced to black bean dip. Unlike the fickle lentil with whom I have had an on again off again love affair since the Peace Corps (very bad food poisoning and that is all I am saying), black beans have been a constant and stalwart dining companion.
Dried beans are cheaper, and I don't mind soaking them overnight but sometimes the hungry hoards (In my case a very impatient 3year old) can not wait. Then it is lazy Tex-Mex black beans all the way.
It is so easy and I don't even mind when the Bumper starts stealing the whole beans, I just have to get it on the table before that happens. This dish is so smack yourself on the head simple that I am almost ashamed to blog about it -- almost.

 Step One - Take a 16oz can of black beans drain and rinse.

Step Two - Open Once jar of salsa of your choice. I love homemade salsa and Nana makes a very
good one, and if you have very patient children, or none at all, go ahead and make your own. I have neither the time nor the inclination to visit the ER after the Bumper has gotten jalapeno in her eyes.

Step Three- Combine the two.

You are done.

If you are feeling really lazy serve as is. I try to at least pair it with tortilla chips, and most times I go for brown rice and a green salad on the side. When mangoes are in season I throw throw those in there two. This dish can be serve hot or cold, with avocado or not. The hardest part of this dish is trying serve it before all the individual components get eaten. See how easy eating vegan can be?

Happy Eating

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Last of the summer garden stew

Our summer garden is still producing plenty of tomatoes, squash (yellow and zucchini), peppers, eggplant, kale, corn, patty pans and onions. Nana and I have barely been able to keep up with the harvesting, especially the tomatoes, and we were struggling trying to figure out what to do with it all. It has gotten to the point where the neighbors are hiding their faces at our approach, and we have run out of room for frozen spaghetti sauce. I am not complaining, because I know in winter we will be happy to have a taste of summer, but still we were a bit stumped. Then we realized the best thing to do would be to make soup. Soup is the perfect thing on a cool, hint of autumn in the air, lazy Sunday afternoon. After the hard work of chopping up all the veggies, just put everything in a pot add some stock -either homemade or you can cheat like I did and use vegetable bullion , your spices in this case curry, salt, black pepper, parsley and turmeric, bring to a boil, and then let simmer four an hour or so until the vegetables are tender and it is thick enough handle with a fork. That's it. Easy. No hassle and fills the house with a smell that can't be beat, except by homemade bread, but that is another post. The best part? I have supper done for at least the next two nights. To make the meal for tonight I will serve over quinoa with a green salad. Later in the week I'll add chickpeas and serve with rice.
I will be posting more supper ideas because even I can only eat soup for so many days and it is always good to have options available.
P.P.S This post is way late because I am getting over a stomach virus and the LAST thing on my mind over the last few days has been food.
Happy Eating

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

My Fridge Runneth Over

One of the ways I dish  up a quick lunch is to use leftovers, and this weekend produced quite a generous quantity! I took the lead in cooking for my birthday party on Sunday. I made a curry coconut lentil stew, and a cashew cream cake. Both were vegan and both were delicious! The hostess sent us home with a rice noodle dish normally made with a fish sauce and featuring pork and chicken, but  she made it with green  beans and tofu for me. Another friend served a up a curried carrot and cabbage dish, that was accidentally vegan. So for today's lunch I used up the last of the lentils along with a salad and warm flat bread.  The nice thing about doing a lot of cooking on the weekend is the rest of the week is a snap. I really won't have to make lunch or dinner until tomorrow night. Unfortunately  I do not have any pictures of the cream cake, because it got eaten up too fast!

Happy Eating

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

What kind of sandwhich is that?

Lunches were hard for me, because I was so used to meat and cheese sandwiches or cheese sandwiches when I became vegetarian. When I did a vegan challenge last year I ate nothing but Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches or salad for lunch for a whole month. Don't get me wrong I love a good salad and PBJ is a classic, but both can get pretty boring after awhile. Then I discovered the hitherto lowly garbanzo bean, and its amazing versatility. I had long known that garbanzo beans, otherwise known as chickpeas, could be used to make humus, falafel, and and three bean salad, but I hadn't given them much thought beyond that. Until I was introduced to chickpea salad.
I have seen it on other blogs as faux-tuna, or un-tuna, but refuse to call it that because I think it does chickpea salad an injustice. For one thing no cruelty to tuna and for another no nasty fish breath, the kind that makes you never want to open your mouth to speak again-- gone.
So here is my take on chick pea salad, it only takes about twenty minute to make, less if a small child isn't stealing chickpeas out of the bowl:

1 15oz can of chickpeas rinsed and drained.
2-4 Tbs veganaise or cocktail sauce
1Tbs spicy brown mustard
1/4 cup dill relish
1 celery stalk finely chopped
1 tsp cilantro (optional)_
1-2 tsp of Old Bay seasoning

Mash up chickpeas leaving a few pieces intact, it should be chunky not smooth like hummus
Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well blended. Tadah! You're done! Can be eaten on bread, crackers, lettuce or straight out of the bowl!

Happy Eating

Friday, September 5, 2014

Oatmeal - Because I am Bert of Bert and Ernie

Ahh! Oatmeal, after yesterday's sugar rush I felt more than ready to get back to basics. I resorted to my old standby: quick cooking rolled oats. Two minutes in the microwave, add some almond milk and brown sugar and Voila-- the breakfast of champions (or of an overly tired mom whose kid doesn't like cold cereal very much).

Truly, with the exception of toast and cold cereal, there is no easier breakfast item to veganize.
As much as I like the convenience of quick cooking rolled oats, I even like them cold, but my family thinks that is just wrong, about five years ago I fell in love with steel cut or Irish oatmeal. In the wintertime it is hearty and filling and has a nutty flavor rolled oats just can not compete with. However the little suckers take around thirty to forty minutes to cook. I simply do not have that kind of time in the mornings unless I get up super early. Crock-pot oatmeal to the rescue! This is brilliant, I say brilliant! Put the desired amount of oats in a crock-pot, add enough non-dairy milk or water to cover, set the crock-pot on low overnight and wake up in the morning to the comforting smell of cooked oatmeal perfection. One word of advice: Do not put raisins, or dried cranberries, or any other dried fruit in until the next morning. The liquid re-hydrates them so they like little alien egg pods, and nobody wants to eat alien egg pods!


P.S. Next week will be vegan lunches -- which was the hardest category for me.
P.P.S. Last night I started on Nana's scarf 162 chains! Whew! And for those of you who are wondering: No, I have not finished the stress sock. Arrgh!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Breakfast Interrupted

This vegan MoFo breakfast post will be brought to you by my birthday. I was going to post about oatmeal and wax lyrical about steel cut versus quick-cooking rolled oats, but then I realized I had something more exciting to write about: cake! That's right, I made my very first vegan birthday cake for myself with the Bumper's help. I wanted chocolate, but the Bumper wanted strawberry so I figured I would give the cake she wants for her birthday a trial run. I used this recipe from Chocolate Covered Katie: (

The finished product tasted kind of like a giant pancake, not overly sweet, but very yummy. The frosting was where I got into trouble. I wanted to use the coconut milk frosting that Katie suggested, but the cream did not rise to the top. In desperation I used the recipe on the back of the confectioners sugar box and veganized it. I used Earth Balance brand vegan buttery spread, and used the coconut milk. I threw in the strawberry slurry I made and mixed it all together. The frosting was a hit. The Bumper loved it and so did Nana. I thought it a little too sweet so I will be playing around with it a bit more.

Here is what I did:
1/4 cup of vegan margarine
2 cups of powdered sugar
3Tbs coconut milk
4 frozen strawberries
1tsp vanilla
1Tbs powdered sugar.

First blend frozen strawberries, vanilla and the Tablespoon of powdered sugar.
In a seperate bowl beat together at low speed the powdered sugar, margerine, and coconut milk.
Pour in the strawberry mixture and beat again until peaks begin to form. Refrigerate for 1 hour then frost your cake.

Happy Eating

p.s. Sorry about the picture quality, but three year old's and frosted cake in the same room do not last long!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Something New

Today was just as hot as yesterday and by the time we got back from Taiji class, neither the Bumper, nor Nana, nor I felt like eating anything warm, but since we had had smoothies the day before none of us were particularly enthused by that prospect. So the Bumper and Nana ate cold cereal and I had chia pudding for the first time.

Blog-land has been abuzz with chia recipes so I thought I would give it a whirl. I found a simple recipe : from Chocolate Covered Katie ( Last night I followed the instructions for soaking the seeds and this morning before class I checked on it. It was watery and the some of the seeds had stuck to the bottom. I gave the mixture a quick stir before going to the gym, and when I got back it had reached pudding like consistency.

 I used agave for my sugar and added nutmeg and cinnamon. Eagerly I gave it a taste. It was... different. I am not honestly sure I liked the taste, or the consistency. The Bumper liked the seeds raw, and she also liked them in pudding format.  I put the pudding in a blender and I liked the consistency better (plus the seeds did not get stuck in my teeth).

Overall I am glad I tried the chia pudding, and I think I will make it again for a treat using the chocolate version, but it will not be a breakfast staple for me.

P.S. Note to self: do not put the bananas in the blender with the pudding. The pudding tastes better with the bananas on top.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Keep it Cool

Ready to Go!
When the weather outside is hot and humid, like it has been the past few days as summer sends its last salvo, even the thought of cooking a hot hearty breakfast makes my stomach turn. Smoothies to the rescue. I like that smoothies are fast and easy, and with the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables this time of year the possibilities are endless. This morning I made the Bumper's favorite smoothie: Banana-Blueberry . The smoothie is super easy to make and you can't taste the Kale -- which is a bonus when you are trying to get a suddenly picky toddler to eat her leafy greens!

1-2 cups of Kale  (2-4 large leaves washed and stems removed)
1/2 cup non-dairy milk of choice -- I used Vanilla Almond Milk
1Tbs Almond Butter
1Tbs Ground Flax
1 -2 Bananas
2 Cups Frozen Blueberries

The Smoothie tastes way better than it looks
Put everything into the blender and blend until smooth. I like my smoothies on the thick side so I tend to use less milk. Enjoy!


P.S. Tomorrow I will be casting on the chain for Nana's scarf.
P.P. S What vegan smoothie do you like?

The Bumper liked it!

Monday, September 1, 2014

Meatless Monday and the Start of Vegan Month of Food

I don't really have a theme for Vegan Month of Food, but I will be focusing on one meal per week, the meals will be quick, easy and with as little processed food as I can manage  so there won't be many veggie burger, Tofurky, or cheese substitute type recipes). When I first tried to go vegan a few years ago I thought being vegan was far less healthy than being vegetarian, and that vegans ate nothing but soy burgers and fake cheese.  I have learned otherwise and this month I hope to share what I have learned. This week is Vegan Breakfasts, then I will feature Vegan Lunches, then Suppers, and lastly, my favorite, Vegan Desserts. Happy Eating!

Today for breakfast is Cream of Wheat-okay not terribly exciting, but yes it is vegan. When I was growing up my mom would always make it with milk and egg added in. These days I use plain soy or almond milk and omit the egg. Today I chose banana and blueberries as toppings. It only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to prepare and the Bumper loves it.


P.S. All is quiet on the sock front.