February 28, 2011

Vegan Pets? That is the Question...

So, by now I've introduced you to my 4-legged daughter Keeva. She's my 3 (almost 4) year old Yellow Lab who is seriously the light in my life. But I have a question to all my blog readers out there with pets. Do you feed them a vegan diet like you feed yourself?

I've struggled with this ever since I adopted Keeva a few years ago. I know that naturally and biologically she's an omnivore. Although I know there are some really great vegan dog food options (even a couple at my local pet food store), I feel like I'm cheating her from something if I don't feed her meat. Not that she get's a ton of variety of meat (she really only eats fish, since the dry food I give her is White Fish and Sweet Potato based), but it's still meat. Cats are a whole other conversation, because, to my knowledge, they're biologically carnivores. So, I've come to the conclusion that I am the one who decided to adopt a meat eating species, and it's my job to make sure she stays healthy. So I think I'll continue to buy her White Fish and Sweet Potato food (it's this brand by the way).

So what's your opinion? Vegan Dogs and Cats?

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!

  • 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

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!

  • 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.

  • 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

FARM's Meat Out 2011

The great organization FARM (stands for Farm Animal Rights Movement) contacted me and asked me to help promote their event called Meatout 2011! Their goal is to help expose 20,000 people to Vegan food, preferably non-vegans or people who are veg-curious. So on, or around March 20th, thousands of people in all 50 states will get active to host educational events for Meatout- the world's largest grassroots diet education campaign.

I of course plan on doing my part, so on (or around) March 20th, I plan on doing a giveaway for all of my blog readers! I'll let you know more in the future!

To host your own Meatout 2011 event or for more info visit here: http://www.meatout.org/

For more info on FARM visit here: http://www.farmusa.org/

You can also sign up for their weekly Meatout Mondays newsletter where they feature some of their favorite recipes! Watch for some of my recipes in the future!

For more info on the Meatout Mondays newsletter visit here: http://www.meatoutmondays.org/index.php

Thanks everybody! I hope you're excited about the giveaway coming up! I know I am!

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 my Homemade 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 17, 2011

Classic PB & J Oatmeal

This is definitely my new favorite way to eat my oats for breakfast. I used to always eat them with maple syrup and cinnamon, which gets really boring after the 100th time. I don't know why I didn't think of this earlier! I'm a sucker for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Not only is it delicous, its a great and quick easy breakfast, high in fiber so it's really filling, and high in protein, especially with the added peanut butter!

  • 1 1/2 cups prepared steel cut oats (you obviously don't have to use steel cut)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp jelly or jam (my favorite is strawberry!)
  • 1/4 cup berries (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Enjoy and Happy Eating!

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!

  • 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.

  • 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)

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

  • 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

February 11, 2011

New Layout!

Alright, so I've been playing around with my blog for a couple of days. I've been playing around with the background and the title image. What do you guys think? Do you like the new changes?

I hope to get a new recipe up for everybody tomorrow! Thanks again to everybody supporting this blog from all over the world! It really means so much to me!

February 7, 2011

Being Sick Sucks - Here's what I'm eating

I hate that I get a cold every time I start an exercise regimen. Damn you P90X! Anyway, it's been about 3 days and I think this cold is on it's last leg. I try to eat as healthy (as one should eat every day) as I can when I'm sick. So for breakfast, it was a couple of pieces of 100% Whole Wheat Toast and a banana. The picture is what I had for lunch. It was steamed broccoli with brown rice with a little Tamari and black pepper. I had some stuff that was starting to go bad in my fridge so I decided to make a little juice cocktail. Here's what I put in my juicer:

  • 2 apples
  • 3 cups of spinach
  • 1/2 bunch of parsley
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 5 kale ribs (I ate the leaves steamed yesterday)
So then I tasted it. It was nasty. Garlic. Garlic. Garlic. So I decided to make it a smoothie! I threw the juice in my blender and added:
  • 1 tbsp agave
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
And that made it taste a little better. It still reeked of garlic (which, I'm afraid I will too). But I'm hoping this will help in kicking that cold bug to the curb! I'm so ready for winter to be over!

I'm going to be posting what I've been eating for dinner the past few nights in a couple of days! Warm Winter Soup! And watch for my Valentine's Day Dessert recipe tomorrow! It turned out great!

Cornmeal Fried Onion Rings

Probably not the best thing to eat when you're fighting a cold, but I had them planned for my Super Bowl get together! I also planned on making Chili and Guacamole, but I only got as far as the onion rings. Oh well! How did everybody else's Super Bowl parties go? What yummy foods did you all make?

These were so delicious and crunchy. I love what the cornmeal does in this recipe! The original recipe is actually from Ina Garten from Barefoot Contessa. I've just veganized it! They went over really well at my Super Bowl get together (I'm hesitating to call it a party, since there was only a few people over!). So make sure to make enough for everybody, because people went back for seconds on these!

  • 3 yellow onions
  • 2 cups vegan buttermilk (just mix 2 cups of milk with 2 tbsp lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup medium cornmeal
  • 1 qt vegetable oil

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.

February 4, 2011

Green Pizza with a Cornmeal Crust

Once again, I hate taking pictures at night, but a lot of times I don't have choice since I'm so busy during the day. Anyway, this is one of my favorite comfort dinners! It's great with the Daiya cheese sprinkled on top. I know it might not be the healthiest meal on the planet, but it's much better than ordering Pizza Hut. And it tastes better too! Plus you get a couple of servings of vegetables in, and you get to eat pizza while doing it. That doesn't sound too bad!

Also, on a much sadder note, my food processor died last night. It was tragic. It tumbled from high off the counter and shattered when it hit the floor. You will be missed food processor (until I get another one). So I totally made this pesto by hand. It wasn't too hard actually. I just chopped up the basil really fine, chopped the garlic and pasted it, and chopped up some walnuts really fine and mixed it together with some olive oil. Just like Italian grandmothers have been doing it for centuries!

  • Prepared Cornmeal Pizza Crust Dough (recipe below)
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1-2 cups of baby spinach (or arugula would work!)
  • 1/2 cup pesto sauce (my recipe is here)
  • 1 cup shredded faux cheese (Daiya is my favorite...I used some of the mozzarella and cheddar)
  • salt and pepper