April 29, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus


I absolutely love hummus. I love spreading it on bread for sandwiches (and piling on the veggies!), it's great as a dip for veggies, tortilla chips, and pita chips. It's super nutritious too. A lot of people think that being Vegetarian is dangerous since you're not eating a complete protein (like animal meat), but to eat a complete protein, all you have to do is combine the protein from two different sources (either beans, seeds, grains, nuts, or legumes) and you've got yourself a complete protein! How easy is that, right? That's why Hummus is a really great food to have in your kitchen at all times! By combining the protein from the garbanzo beans and the protein from the tahini (which comes from sesame seeds), you're creating a healthy protein that doesn't include all the unhealthy fats and cholesterol!

I usually make my basic hummus, but I just happened to have a jar of roasted red peppers in my fridge that I needed to use up before they went bad. I played with the measurements of the oil and tahini and I great a nice thick hummus! It was so good, I'm definitely going to have to make this more often. Except next time I'm going to try and roast my own red bell peppers!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup roasted red peppers
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Put all of the ingredients together in a food processor or blender and blend! It's that simple! If your hummus is to thick, just add more olive oil until it's the consistency you desire. If you think it's too thin, it will thicken up once it's refrigerated overnight, so don't worry!

April 25, 2011

Sugar and Spice Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting


I'm officially in love with Cream Cheese Frosting. I know I should be talking about the cake first, but the fact is that I could have eaten this frosting with a spoon. And I know everyone else was thinking the same thing at my family's Easter get-together. I actually wasn't even going to tell anybody that I was the one who had made the carrot cake because I wanted everyone to try. And knowing my family (like I thought I did), they wouldn't go near something that wasn't filled with eggs and butter and I would be left with a whole cake. Although to my surprise, when everyone asked who made the cake and they found it was me, they didn't douse it with Holy Water. Ok, I'm exaggerating, but you get the point. It's hard to get people to try Vegan foods in a non-Vegan world, am I right? Luckily, everyone who tried said it was really good and tasted like "the real thing". Some even went back for seconds (myself included)!

I hope everyone had a great Easter celebration (if you celebrate)! For me, Easter is just a chance to get together with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sisters, brothers, parents and grandparents to talk, laugh, and pig out! And we did just that and more!

The huge giant ham in the middle of the table was still absolutely disgusting.

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup light oil (I used Safflower)
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrot
  • 1/2 cup walnuts

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend together the oil, vanilla, applesauce, apple cider vinegar, white sugar, and brown sugar. Over the bowl of wet ingredients, sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Once the wet and dry ingredients are mixed together well, stir in the grated carrots and walnuts. The batter will be a little thick.

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick in the center of the cake comes out clean. The top of the cake will be a dark brown color so don't worry! It's not burnt! Just be sure to watch it so that it doesn't burn!

Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 8 oz Vegan cream cheese
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
Blend together the shortening, vanilla, and cream cheese. Then sift in the powdered sugar and blend well. The frosting is also a little thick. If you want to thin out the frosting add in a tsp of non-dairy milk or water at a time. If it becomes too thin, just add a little more powdered sugar.

April 22, 2011

Mexican Quinoa with Seitan Chorizo


Hey everyone! I'm so excited to be posting another quinoa recipe since I know how much everyone loves their quinoa! This is actually another recipe that was created because I had a bunch of things I needed to use before they went bad. I had bought a package of Upton's Naturals Seitan Chorizo a while ago when I was shopping at a Co-Op in Minneapolis that I don't get a chance to shop at too often, also I had a bell pepper and a jalapeno pepper that I had chopped and frozen in my freezer that I really needed to use. My first thought was "Oh, Mexican rice sounds yummy!", but of course I go to my cupboard and I'm out of rice, but what do I see? Quinoa! And that's how this recipe was born. Let me tell you, this recipe did not disappoint! It was so good! I think I actually liked it better than Mexican rice. I'm not sure what it was. Maybe because the quinoa was fluffier or something. Who knows!

If you can't find Upton's Naturals Seitan Chorizo, there are tons of recipes to make your own online. Also I know Yves makes a really great Chorizo and so does Soyrizo! If you don't like quinoa or don't have quinoa on had, rice would work with this recipe as well! Also, I had mentioned that I had bought the seitan at a co-op that I don't get to shop at very often, (even though it's my favorite grocery store) but that's going to change very soon! I recently got hired there to work in their grocery department! I'm so excited! Hopefully I'll be moving to Minneapolis in the near future as well!

Ingredients:
  • 2-3 tbsp oil
  • 1/2-3/4 of a large onion - diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 jalapeno - seeded, ribs removed, and diced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 red bell pepper - diced
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 package of Seitan Chorizo

Heat 1-2 tbsp oil in a large skillet. Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno. Saute the veggies over medium high heat until the onions have become translucent (about 7 minutes). Stir in the salt, black pepper, and cumin. Add in the quinoa and toast with the veggies for 2 minutes. Add in the diced tomatoes and broth. Stir together and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Allow the quinoa to absorb all the liquid, about 40-45 minutes.

In a separate skillet, brown the chorizo in 1 tbsp of oil. Once the chorizo has browned, mix with the quinoa and serve.

April 20, 2011

Date Cookies


I can't believe this is my first cookie recipe If you're a fan of mine on Facebook, then you'll know that I hinted that I was going to be baking a family favorite cookie recipe! This has been one of my Dad's favorite desserts ever since he was little so I was so excited to make them. I remember eating these all the time at my grandma's house, warm and fresh from the oven! I can't wait to bring these over to his house for him to try!

I'm pretty sure I made these way too big, but they still tasted really good! I was just trying to re-create them the way my grandma's did, but they were gigantic. At least I know to make them smaller for next time right? This recipe is easily doubled if you want to make 20-24 cookies.

Also, hopefully you all have noticed that I've been adding to each recipe a "printer-friendly" version. I know I appreciate when others do that on their website, so I'm hoping it makes your life a little bit easier!

*Makes 10-12 cookies*

Dough Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup vegan buttermilk (Mix 1/2 cup non-dairy milk with 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and set aside for 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 EnerG Egg Replacer
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350F.

With a hand mixer or in your food processor, mix together the sugars and shortening. Then mix in the buttermilk, vanilla, and egg replacer.

In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Once mixed together, blend with the wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.

Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 cups dates
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Make sure all the dates are pitted and roughly chop them. Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once the dates have softened and formed somewhat of a paste, remove them from the heat and allow to cool.

Using a round cookie cutter, cut the dough into circles and place on a greased cookie sheet. In the middle of the circle, fill with 1-2 tbsp of the date filling. Fold over the circle to make a half circle shape and press down on the opening with a fork. Poke a few holes in the top of the cookies (so your cookies don't explode in your oven).

Bake for 10-12 minutes until the cookies are golden brown. Allow to cool before serving.

April 15, 2011

Dill Vinaigrette Pasta Salad


This recipe brought back some really great memories for me. My mom used to make this all the time for Me and my brother and sister when we were younger. We each got to make our own bowl and put whatever we wanted in it! Of course, being the picky child that I was, I only put pepperoni and black olives in mine. God forbid I ever ate something green. Luckily my palate has matured as I've grown, so I decided to make it how my mom normally made hers (for the most part).

This really is a super versatile salad. You can put any of your favorite fruits/veggies in here. I know my mom sometimes puts tomatoes and cucumbers in hers. I'm going to have to try that this summer when I have lots of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers in my garden! I decided to do broccoli, red bell pepper, black olives, and veggie pepperoni, and of course the pasta and vinaigrette.

I had forgotten how good white pasta was! I made this to serve at my friends' baby shower that I threw this past weekend (everyone loved this salad by the way). I normally eat 100% whole wheat pasta, but I know most people don't. So I made this with regular white pasta and let me tell you, it was scrumptious. I still love my whole wheat though!

Do you guys have any favorite dishes that bring back memories from your childhood? For me, it's this one and when I smell my mom cooking Hamburger Hot Dish (How Minnesotan is that?) it reminds me of my Great Grandma (My mom's grandma) and how I used to love eating it when I was little (remind self to veganize hamburger hot dish...)

Dressing Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used Safflower, but any light oil works!)
  • 1/2 cup tarragon vinegar (I think Heinz makes a pretty easy to find one)
  • 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

    Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients until well combined. I like to make the dressing the night before so it has enough time to have the flavors blend together.

    Salad Ingredients:
    • 16oz package of Rotini pasta
    • 1 head of broccoli - chopped
    • 1 bell pepper - diced
    • 1 4.25 oz can of sliced black olives
    Cook the pasta according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, chop the broccoli and bell pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and allow to cool before tossing with the vegetables. Once the salad ingredients are all tossed together, toss with the dressing and refrigerate over night.

    Thank you and Happy Eating!

    April 12, 2011

    Super Moist Chocolate Cupcakes with Buttercream Frosting


    I know. I know. Terrible picture. I didn't have a ton of time to take a good picture since I was busy with setting up the shower and decorating. I'll have to take a better picture of these the next time I make them!

    Hopefully you all follow me on Facebook! If you do, then you know that I hinted (or sort of flat out said) that I was working on a new chocolate cupcake recipe! I also uploaded a picture of my garden I started that looked a little like chocolate cupcakes, but was really just dirt. The mind sometime plays dirty tricks doesn't it? One second you think you're getting a picture of yummy cupcakes, the next second you find out it's dirt. So I'm sorry about that!

    The first couple times I made these they were a little too wet for my liking, so I fooled around with the measurements and oven temp until they came out just right! If you look at the ingredients and you notice that there's coffee in here, don't worry! These aren't coffee flavored cupcakes (note to self: make chocolate coffee cupcakes). I learned from Ina Garten that adding a little coffee to chocolate dishes brings out the flavor of the chocolate. I'm pretty sure she's dead on since everyone who tried these said they were amazing! My sister even said they were "bomb", which is a good thing. I was so nervous serving them at my friend's baby shower! It was my first time serving a vegan dessert to all of my friends (and some strangers!) and luckily they all loved them! I also served my Perfect Vanilla Cupcakes which went over really well too!

    Makes 16-18 cupcakes

    Cupcake Ingredients:
    • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 3/4 cup cocoa
    • 3/4 tsp instant coffee (not coffee grounds, but instant coffee)
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 3 tbsp melted margarine
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
    • 3/4 tsp vanilla
    • 1 cup non-dairy milk
    • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

    Preheat the oven to 350F.

    Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa, instant coffee, and sugar.

    Blend together the melted margarine, applesauce, vanilla, and vinegar with a hand mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the non-dairy milk.

    Put cupcake liners in your cupcake pan and spray with a non-stick cooking spray. Fill the liners 2/3 of the way full and bake for 15-17 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean!


    Buttercream Frosting Ingredients:
    • 1/2 cup vegan shortening
    • 1/2 cup margarine
    • 3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
    • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
    • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

    Beat the shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.

    Add the vanilla and soy milk, and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy.