March 11, 2014

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

I have to be honest. I've been making this recipe for months now - and haven't shared it with you. It's not that I didn't want to. It's because I usually eat the entire batch of chili before I have the time to take a pretty picture to share. But this time was different. I added a little something special and knew I had to be a good little vegan and get you this recipe.

But first - I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to all of the support I've gotten over the last few weeks on my book release! Your kind words and positive reviews of the book have filled me with joy! You guys have no idea how much your support means to me - and the fact that people are actually buying "Super Sweet Vegan Treats" is literally a dream come true. So - thank you! If you haven't checked out my book yet, you can read all about it here! Now - on to the recipe!

Have you guys had a chance to try Beyond Meat's new Beef-Free Crumbles? I saw them at my local Whole Foods and quickly tossed them into my basket. They come in two flavors: "Beefy" and "Fiesty". I used the Beefy flavor in this recipe, but the Fiesty flavor would be great too! I was planning on making this chili that night and knew this would be the perfect addition!

And boy was I right. The crumbles gave this chili a deliciously chewy and meaty texture! They paired so great with the sweet potatoes and black beans! I can't wait to try these crumbles with spaghetti or on my next Taco Tuesday! I highly recommend them.


  • 2 tablespoons light cooking oil
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes - cubed
  • 1/3 cup onion - diced
  • 2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 1 package of Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles
  • 1 16oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 15oz can black beans
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • dash of hot sauce

Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium high heat. Add in the sweet potatoes, onion, and garlic and cook until the onions are slightly softened - about 5 minutes. Stir in the Beef-Free crumbles and allow to cook until thawed - about 3 minutes.

Add in the canned tomatoes, black beans, and tomato paste. Stir until everything is combined and then pour in the vegetable broth. Stir in the chili powder, pepper flakes, and hot sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 25-30 minutes until the sweet potatoes have cooked through.

February 12, 2014

Gardein Product Review!

Hello everyone!! It's time for another product review. This time it's Gardein's turn! If you haven't tried any of Gardein's amazing vegan meat products - you must. They were kind enough to send me over a few coupons to taste their newest creations and I couldn't have been more excited. The more vegan products on the market, the better!

I've been a fan of Gardein's products for years, but I didn't realize they had so many different varieties that were so easily accessible. I found all of these at my local Target! They had an amazing selection of Gardein products and they were all on sale for a great price! I'm actually heading back there later today to pick up some more! I can't wait to try the Beefless Sliders, Buffallo Wings, and the BBQ Riblets! So yummy!!

The items that I was able to try were The Crispy Chick'n Sliders, Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips, Lightly Breaded Turk'y Cutlets, and the Classic Meatless Meatballs. The two pictures below are the Turk'y Cutlets and the Meatless Meatballs. They were so good you guys! The Turk'y Cutlet was so crisp and delicious - and the gravy on top was absolutely perfect! The Classic Meatballs were a perfect addition to my spaghetti dinner that I cooked for me, my sister, and her fiancee. We all loved them - and even went back for seconds! 

I would definitely recommend Gardein's products to anyone and everyone - especially if you're serving a meal to your meat eating friends and family! Gardein's products are sure to satisfy even the most die-hard carnivore!

December 11, 2013

GO Veggie! Giveaway

I hope everyone is having a wonderfully amazing and festive Holiday season. I know I've been hard at work on my cookbook, Super Sweet Vegan Treats, that will be released very soon, but I thought I would take some time out from my writing and baking (and eating...lots of eating) to hopefully brighten up your winter by hosting a giveaway!!

In the spirit of the holidays, GO Veggie! (formerly Galaxy Nutritional Foods) was kind enough to send me over some coupons to give away to five lucky Vegan Heartland readers! I've been using GO Veggie!'s products for years and have featured them in many of my recipes. GO Veggie! offers multiple cheese alternatives for Vegans including different flavors of slices, blocks, shreds, cream cheese, and even a grated topping that tastes just like Parmesan! I love using their American Cheese slices in grilled cheese and their Mozzarella shreds are perfect on top of pizza! If you haven't tried their products - now would be the perfect time to give them a try.

This contest is open until midnight on December 15th! You can enter by scrolling to the very bottom of this post and entering using Rafflecopter. There are multiple ways to enter so be sure to do every one for a better chance at winning your coupon for a free item from GO Veggie! Here are some recipes I've created using GO Veggie! products to give you some inspiration. Happy cooking/baking!

Cheesy Mexican Lasagna

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Italian Grilled Cheese

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 30, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Scones

Is anyone one feeling pumpkin overload? No? Me neither. Another day, another pumpkin recipe and honestly I couldn't be happier. That's what Autumn is about, right? Consuming mass amounts of pumpkin. At least I know I'm not lacking in Vitamin A this season.

I actually came up with this recipe while writing my cookbook, but thought it was so good I had to share it with all of you. The scones aren't overly sweet, but have that classic pumpkin + cinnamon taste that everyone loves!

I've been spreading coconut butter on mine! If you haven't tried making your own coconut butter, you have to! It's super simple and much cheaper than buying store bought! Feel free to top them with whatever you want - I just hope you love them as much as I did!

*Makes 9 Scones*


2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the pumpkin, applesauce, and vanilla and beat together until combined - then add in the dry ingredients and non-dairy milk. Mix all of the ingredients until dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out until it's 1-2 inches thick. Use a biscuit cutter to cut out medium sized rounds of dough. Place on a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle liberally with a cinnamon and sugar blend.

Bake in a preheated oven for 15-17 minutes until the scones are cooked through and golden brown.

October 20, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I hope you're enjoying all these crisp Autumn days as much as I am. It's still very much Pumpkin season over here in Minnesota. The leaves are falling by the bucket loads and I can seriously feel Winter around the corner. Hopefully you all caught my last recipe. Those Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies were AMAZING. There's something about pumpkin + cinnamon and nutmeg that makes everything all better. And be forewarned - I have more pumpkin recipes around the corner! There's definitely more where this came from.

I found this recipe while searching through all of my Grandma's old recipes and ended up using it as inspiration for these muffins. When I finished making the recipe - it turned out to be A LOT of batter. So be warned...this is a large recipe. I ended up making 1 loaf of pumpkin bread and 1 dozen muffins with this batter. But don't worry, that just means there's more pumpkin goodness to enjoy. I shared my extra muffins with my family and they absolutely loved them!


3/4 cup light oil
2 cups sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup applesauce
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

In a large bowl, cream together the oil, sugar, and brown sugar until fluffy. Add in the applesauce, pumpkin, and vanilla. Beat again until all of the wet ingredients are combined. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg. Once sifted, pour the dry ingredients into the wet batter in 3 stages alternating with the water.

Grease a standard loaf pan and pour the batter in about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour - 1 hour and 10 minutes until the bread is cooked all the way through. Allow to cool completely before serving.

With the leftover batter, scoop into a greased and lined muffin pan to about 2/3 of the way full. Bake in a preheated oven for 30-32 minutes until the muffins are cooked through.

October 11, 2013

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Hello friends! Sorry about the lack of recipe updates! I've been VERY hard at work with some other projects and I've really neglected the blog. One of those projects I'm very happy to announce today...

I'M WRITING A COOKBOOK!! I can't wait for you all to see it. It's titled Super Sweet Vegan Treats and it's all completely desserts! I'm hoping to have it released by mid-November so you guys can get it before Thanksgiving and it will be sold exclusively through! I've been coming up with some amazing recipes for the book - and this is one of them. With the seasons changing and the pumpkin eating in full swing - I knew I couldn't wait to share it with all of you. Plus...I missed you all.

You can never have too many pumpkin recipes! Am I right? I made these cookies for my Dad's birthday. He's going to school for surgical technology (something I could never do!) and he brought them to one of his classes! Luckily everyone loved them - and I know you will too!

*Makes about 2 dozen cookies*


2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup pumpkin
2 tablespoons applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, all spice, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the shortening, sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, applesauce, and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients and beat well with a mixer until dough forms.

Cover dough with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll the chilled dough out onto a floured surface to about 1 inch thickness. Cut dough into small to medium sized circles and place on a greased cookie sheet. Top each circle with cinnamon and sugar.

Bake in a preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown.

May 11, 2013

Vegan Chicken Pot Pie

It's been so long since I've had Chicken Pot Pie. I think I may have tried the Amy's brand of vegan pot pie, but it's just not the same as homemade. Luckily the people from Beyond Meat sent me some samples of their chicken-free strips to try and I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I was so excited when they contacted me. I've heard so much about Beyond Meat in the press and have heard so many good things about it (Like Bill Gates' endorsement and a food writer at the New York Times being fooled by it's taste and texture.) They come in three flavors: Lightly Seasoned, Southwest, and Lemon Rosemary - and I get to sample all three! I couldn't wait to try I went to work right away in the kitchen!

The filling for this recipe is pretty much a basic chicken pot pie recipe, but the recipe for the crust has been in my family for generations. I normally am AWFUL at making pie crusts (they never come out flaky enough, or there's never enough for a whole pie), but this one turned out fantastic! Delicious, buttery, and flaky. Everything you want a pie crust to be. This vegan chicken pot pie is definitely going into my repertoire of dishes to serve for entertaining. I know vegans and meat-eaters alike will love this one - and I hope you do too!

Pie Crust Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 5 tablespoons cold water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

The key to a flaky pie crust is to use cold ingredients. Therefore - always keep all of the ingredients refrigerated before hand. 

Blend the flour and cold vegetable shortening in your food processor or with a pastry cutter until the mixture is mealy and the shortening is pea sized. Mix in the applesauce, salt, and vinegar and pulse your food processor a few times.

Add in the cold water 1 tablespoon at a time - pulsing after each tablespoon. Once the dough forms into a ball and when you pinch the dough and it sticks together - it's done. Pour out onto your counter and separate into two balls. Cover each ball of dough with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 tbsp light oil (I used coconut)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1 garlic clove - minced
  • 1 12 oz package of Beyond Meat
  • 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (mine was peas, corn, carrots, and green beans)
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

In a large skillet, heat the 2 tbsp oil over medium high heat. Add in celery, onion, and garlic. Cook until celery has softened and the onions are semi-translucent. Stir in the Beyond Meat and frozen mixed vegetables. Allow to heat through for 2 minutes.

Add in the flour, broth, and milk to create the sauce. Mix together well and stir in the salt and black pepper. Continue to stir until the sauce is bubbly and has thickened. Remove from heat.

After the dough has refrigerated for a bit and you're done cooking the filling, roll out your pie crust on a floured surface. Press the bottom crust into your pie pan and cut off any excess crust off the edges. Pour your filling over the pie crust. Roll out the other half of the pie crust and place on top of the filling. Trim away any excess crust. Seal the edges by pinching together the bottom and top pie crusts and crimping them with a fork. Cut 4 holes in the middle of the top pie crust to allow ventilation.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes until the crust is golden brown. If the edges of the pie crust are browning quicker than the middle - cover them with tinfoil for the last 10-15 minutes.

April 18, 2013

Banana Nut Cake with Brown Sugar Almond Frosting

I have to be honest - I had a love affair with this cake. It was short. It was brief, but it was magical. I made the cake on a Friday...and it was gone by Monday. Granted I brought my parents a couple of slices, but the rest was all me. I almost when into a self induced sugar coma, but it was worth it. Now I feel like I need to do some sort of cleanse, but that's another topic entirely.

I came across this recipe when I was going through all of my Grandma's recipes a while back and I just knew I had to re-create it.  I happened to have a bunch of bananas that were way passed their prime (we're talking almost black) so it was perfect timing. This was always one of my favorite desserts growing up...I know I say that often, but my Grandma made some amazing desserts. I hope you guys like this cake as much as my family does!

Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups mashed bananas (about 3 medium bananas)
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup shortening
  • 2/3 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure and sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. 

In a large bowl, cream together the mashed bananas, sugar, and shortening. Once well combined, add in the non-dairy milk, applesauce, vinegar, and vanilla. Stir in your dry ingredients and blend together on low speed, scraping the bowl constantly. Once the batter has come together - stir in the chopped walnuts.

Grease a 9"x13" baking pan or two 9" round pans. Pour the batter into the pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes in a rectangle pan or 35-40 minutes in the round pans. Cake will be done when a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool before frosting.

Brown Sugar Almond Frosting Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1 cup brown sugar - packed
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 cups powdered sugar - sifted
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • a big bowl of water to cool the frosting in.

Melt the shortening over low heat. Once it's fully melted, add the brown sugar. Cook and stir for two minutes then stir in the milk. Raise the heat to medium high and bring the mixture to a full boil. Once it's reached a full boil, take off the heat and place the pan in the bowl of cold water. Once the liquid has cooled - add in the 2 cups of powdered sugar and mix with a hand mixer. Mix until it has reached your desired consistency. Stir in the almond extract. Spread onto cooled cake.

April 12, 2013

Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwich

This isn't your Grandma's grilled cheese sandwich - or at least it's not my Grandma's. This was definitely a departure from the grilled cheeses that I used to eat growing up. Mine was usually a couple of slices of Wonder Bread that were buttered and had two slices of American cheese slapped in the middle. Not that there's anything wrong with that (I still make classic grilled cheese sandwiches once and a while - veganized of course), but my taste buds have changed and I wanted to go for something more sophisticated and exciting!

Luckily the people over at Go Veggie! sent me two bags of their new cheese shreds to sample. I've had their Mexican shreds before - I used them to make my Mexican Lasagna a while back. This was my first time using their Mozzarella shreds...I knew the cheese was going to be good, so I had to come up with a few other classic Italian ingredients to pair with it. I wasn't sure if I'd like spinach on a grilled cheese, but let me tell you - this sandwich was amazing. Go Veggie's mozzarella shreds were ooey and gooey - just like cheese should be! They're perfect for all of your favorite Italian dishes! I can't wait to try them my Grandma's Lasagna recipe!

*Makes 1 sandwich*


  • 2 slices of crusty Italian bread
  • 2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes - coarsely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil - coarsely chopped
  • 1 handful of baby spinach (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/3 cup Go Veggie! Mozzarella Shreds
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Spread the coarsely chopped sun dried tomatoes on once slice of the bread. Top with the fresh basil, spinach, mozzarella shreds, and garlic powder. Place the other slice of bread on top - then brush the outside of the bread with olive oil.

Place the sandwich in a skillet over medium heat with the oiled slice of bread own. Brush the other slice of bread with olive oil. Grill for 3-4 minutes until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown. Serve with Marinara sauce for dunking!

April 2, 2013

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I spent Easter Sunday with with my family over at my Aunt's new house. She just moved up here from the Milwaukee area on Friday and decided to host an Easter dinner at her house on Sunday! Crazy, right?! That would be too much stress for me after moving, but she did an amazing job and it was so much fun catching up with her and eating some great food.

This Easter was my Mom's first holiday as a vegetarian! She's finally decided to give up meat (again) and I couldn't be more proud of her. She's reading a few books and doing her research, but she knows this is the best decision for her health, the environment, and of course - the animals. She's even on her way to becoming a vegan! So of course I had to make her a delicious dessert to celebrate the occasion. These cupcakes are always a hit whenever I make them, but the frosting was a tasty new addition.

The frosting turned out so well - all thanks to Go Veggie's Vegan Strawberry Cream Cheese. It honestly tasted just like strawberry ice cream! My family loved the frosting so much they were eating it with a spoon! I know I'm going to be making this one again and again. I hope you like it as much as we did!

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the shortening and sugar until fluffy. Add the vanilla, applesauce, and vinegar - mix well.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and then mix into the batter in three steps - alternating with the milk.

Scoop the batter into oiled cupcake liners, filling them 3/4 of the way full. Helpful Tip: Use an ice cream scoop to evenly measure the amount of batter you pour into your cupcake liners.

Bake the cupcakes for 18-21 minutes. Check at 15 minutes to maker sure the tops aren't getting too brown! Allow them to cool before decorating.

Frosting Ingredients:

Cream together the cream cheese and shortening in a medium bowl until well combined.

Sift in the powdered sugar and the beat on high until well incorporated. Pipe frosting on to cupcakes. Garnish with chocolate shavings. Refrigerate any leftover frosting.