February 26, 2011

Peanut Butter Cup Cheescake


Proceed with caution. This was seriously and dangerously delicious. I can't put into words how amazing this was. All I can do, is express myself through song. You're welcome.


There's a party in my tummy. So yummy. So yummy. I think I'm going to try a chocolate cookie pie crust next time so there's even more chocolatey goodness going on!

Filling Ingredients:
Other Ingredients Needed:
  • 1 prepared graham cracker or chocolate cookie crust
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (for topping)

February 25, 2011

Creamy Cannellini Bean Dip


Mmm, Mmm, Mmm. I love a good bean dip. If you've never tried Cannellini beans, you should! To me, they taste like a cross between a kidney bean and a garbanzo bean. They're so delicious! This dip goes great with pretzels, tortilla or pita chips, vegetables (I bet carrots and celery would be so good with this!). I can't wait to serve this at my next party!

Also, if you don't have cannellini beans, or don't like them, any white bean should work in this recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 3 cups cooked cannellini beans
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2-1 tsp salt
  • pinch of cayenne and red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Blend all of the ingredients in your food processor or blender. I like to chill mine overnight before serving to let all of the flavors blend (especially the cayenne and pepper flakes) and it's much better cold!

February 23, 2011

Oven Roasted Broccoli


I'm always searching for new and delicious ways to eat my veggies. Broccoli is one of my favorites, but I'm always eating it steamed. Then I stumbled upon this recipe in my recipe box from Rachael Ray that I must have printed out a few years ago. So I decided to give it a whirl!

I love the idea of using the entire head of broccoli instead of just the florets. A lot of the vitamins and minerals are in the stalks, but most people just throw that part out. So not only are you throwing away vitamins and minerals, you paid for that part and you're just tossing it out. Sort of a waste of money. I actually usually keep mine in the fridge and juice them the next morning, but not tonight! Tonight, they're getting roasted with some olive oil and garlic. In the famous words of Mrs. Ray - YUM-O!

Ingredients:
  • 1 head of broccoli, cut into pieces all the way through the stem
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil (just eyeball it)
  • salt and pepper

February 21, 2011

Smokey Quinoa Chili


One of my favorite ways to come up with recipes is to look in my cupboards and refrigerator and figure out what sounds good together and needs to be used. I had beans in the fridge that needed to be used, some quinoa in my cupboard, and a bell pepper that was getting past its prime. So what pops in my head? Chili!

I planned on making chili for my Super Bowl party, but had a cold and was in no mood to cook. So I decided to make up for it, and I was not disappointed. I love a good bowl of chili or soup with some yummy bread to dunk in the juices!

If you missed my BASICS post on how to cook quinoa, look here!

By the way, is it "Smoky" or "Smokey"? Both ways look weird to me, but I thought "Smokey" looked less weird.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup prepared quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans
  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 14.5 oz cans of Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

In a soup pot, saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in oil. Cook until the onions have become translucent.

Add the diced tomatoes, broth, and spices. Reduce the heat to medium low and add beans and quinoa. Stir occasionally and cook for 15-20 minutes.

February 19, 2011

Minnesota Apple Crisp


This is one of my favorite dishes I've ever adapted from one of my grandma's recipes. I used to love eating apple crisp growing up! My grandma always serves some for family get-togethers and holiday celebrations - and we always had a big scoop of ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream on top. I like mine with a big scoop of Coconut Vanilla Ice Cream or Coconut Whipped Cream!

Is it bad that I feel slightly less guilty when eating a dessert with fruit in it? I think my mind plays some sort of game, making me think it's not as bad for me since I'm eating fruit. Does anybody else do that? I know most apple crisp recipes call for oats in the crumble topping. That's how I usually make my apple crisp too, but as I was going through all of my family's old recipes, I stumbled upon this one and had to make it the old-fashioned way!

I made mine in a pie dish, so I needed a bit more topping. If your making yours in a smaller baking dish, maybe try halving the topping recipe. If that's not enough, just make another batch! You can't complain if there's extra topping on your apple crisp!

Crumble Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan shortening

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Place all of your topping ingredients in a food processor and blend until it's well combined and crumbly. The shortening will bind with the flour to look like little peas. Set aside.

Filling Ingredients:
  • 3-4 large apples
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Core and thinly slice all of your apples and place in a greased pie dish or baking dish. Toss with the remaining filling ingredients. Top with the crumble topping and bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the crumble turns golden brown.

I love the smell of freshly baked apple crisp in the house! So perfect for Fall - one of my all time favorites!

February 16, 2011

VH BASICS: Cooking Steel Cut Oats


I was never a big oatmeal person growing up. My parents always had enough sugary cereal on hand to keep us happy. But when I started my P90X workouts, I needed a simple and healthy breakfast that was also high in protein. That's where these steel-cut oats come in. Also, I don't know what you guys think, but Oprah has been shoving steel cut oats down our throat for a while now.

I tried making them in my pressure cooker, and it worked great, except for the fact that it splattered out some gooey liquid from the vent. So I've found that cooking these on the stove top works best for me. Towards the end of the cooking process, when you go and stir it, it still (for me at least) violently bubbled and splattered, so make sure you have a big pot so it doesn't get all over your stove top. I make 2 cups at a time so I have a big bowl in my refrigerator that I can go to in the morning and add whatever I want. I'll be adding different variations and flavors in the future for you guys, so watch for those!

Ingredients:
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 cups steel cut oats
  • 6 cups hot water
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk

Melt your oil in a deep pot over medium heat, add your oats and stir for 2 minutes until the oats are lightly toasted.

Add 6 cups of hot or boiling water to the pot. Stir, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 25 minutes, only stirring once or twice.

After 25 minutes, add 1 cup of non-dairy milk, and stir it in. Cook for another 8-10 minutes, and make sure to stir it once or twice so that the oats don't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Once most of the liquid has been absorbed, remove the oats from the heat, and allow to sit, covered, for 2-3 minutes.

These will stay good in your refrigerator for about a week. To reheat, just pop in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or reheat on your stove top with a little non-dairy milk!

February 14, 2011

Faux-Cheesy Italian Stuffed Shells


Pasta + Cheese equals heaven. Italian was (and still is) my favorite type of food to eat. I think that's why it was so hard for me to give up cheese. I remember when I first became Vegan, I was still living at home with my family and my brother and his girlfriend had ordered cheese pizza. I went in to their bedroom and just smelled the ooey gooey cheese. I had it bad for cheese. So I'm glad I somehow managed to discover the world that is fake cheese. And yes, I realize this recipe sort of sounds like it starts out with "For Sheezy".

This recipe calls for my Creamy Tofu Ricotta, plus shredded fake mozzarella and fake graded Parmesan. The mozzarella should be easy to find, my favorite is the Daiya brand. If you can't find grated Parmesan, just use some Nutritional Yeast flakes. Also, I used medium pasta shells in this recipe (since I found these great genuine Italian pasta shells at an Italian market), but you can use jumbo ones if you have them! Just up the amount of fake cheeses and sauce you're going to need.

Ingredients:
  • 12 medium pasta stuffing shells
  • 4 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 1/3 cup grated Vegan Parmesan (or Nutritional Yeast Flakes)
  • 1 cup of Creamy Tofu Ricotta (or Tofutti's Better Than Ricotta)
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Vegan Mozzarella (I used Daiya's Mozzarella)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9"x13" baking dish with cooking spray. Pour 1 cup of your pasta sauce on the bottom of the baking dish.

Cook your pasta shells according to package directions. Just until al dente (cooked, but still firm)

In a bowl, combine the tofu ricotta, 1/3 cup grated vegan mozzarella, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, and pepper. Stir until well combined. Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain, and place in the baking dish. Stuff each shell with about 1 tbsp of "cheese" mixture.

Pour the rest of the sauce over the stuffed shells. Sprinkle with the remaining vegan mozzarella and vegan Parmesan. Bake until heated through, about 30-40 minutes. At the very end, turn your broiler on (if your "cheese" hasn't melted all the way) and bake for another 1-2 minutes until your "cheese" has melted. Keep an eye on it so you don't burn it!

February 13, 2011

Creamy Tofu Ricotta


This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook. I have tweaked it a little bit, but it's almost exactly how it's made in the book. I know there's a lot of recipes for Tofu Ricotta on the internet, but this one is the best one of tried. It's more creamier than the other ones. You can use this in savory dishes like stuffed shells, lasagna, ravioli, or just don't use the spices if you want to use it for a sweeter dish! I'll be putting up the recipe that I used this in tomorrow! So watch out!

Makes about 2 cups of Tofu Ricotta

Ingredients:
  • 1 12.3 oz container of Extra Firm Tofu
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tsp agave
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast

Break the tofu into large chunks. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain well. Chill uncovered in the refrigerator until it's cool enough to handle.

Crumble and place in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. Mash and blend until the mixture has a fine, creamy, grainy texture similar to ricotta or cottage cheese. Chill for several hours or overnight before serving to allow the flavors to blend.

It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days, but I've found it freezes really well too. That's where the rest of mine is right now until I need it again!

February 5, 2011

VH BASICS: Cooking Beans


Beans are a huge staple in my diet. I eat them at least once a day. And there are so many advantages to buying and cooking dried beans rather than buying canned. First off, a lot of canned foods are stored in cans that are coated in bisphenol A, also known as BPA. It helps preserve the foods, but it also mimics human hormones and has been classified as an endocrine disruptor. BPA has been associated with a variety of health problems, including cancers, early puberty, and developmental problems.

Also, it's so much cheaper to buy dried beans than it is to buy canned. The kidney beans I buy at my local co-op are less than $2.00 a pound. Can you imagine how many beans are in a pound? Most beans that I buy are around that same price too. I always have dried kidney, garbanzo, black, and cannellini beans on hand. I think I even have some mung beans that I got on sale too. I've included a nifty chart for you guys that has the cooking times for each different type of bean on it.

Don't forget to soak them overnight before you cook them! It reduces cooking time and helps in digestion! I always cook mine in my electric pressure cooker, but you can always just cook yours on the stovetop! A pressure cooker just cuts down on the cooking time. The usually ratio for cooking beans is 3-4 cups of water for every 1 cup of beans.