July 27, 2011

Chewy Molasses Cookies

It's been so long since I've had molasses cookies! They used to be one of my favorites when I was little. My grandma always made the best cookies. I was looking though my recipes trying to find a new dessert I could make with ingredients that I had on hand - and this was the winner! They're so chewy and sweet - and go great with a big glass of almond milk (or any milk of your choosing!) The smell of molasses always reminds of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. It's so funny how smells can do that to you! Those were some of my favorite books when I was little. I think the reason that they remind me of the books is because of a recipe I tried making when I was in the middle of reading the series. It was a sort of molasses candy that they had made in the book. I should try making it again!

I have a couple of new exciting things happening for Vegan Heartland! One being that I'll be hosting a Vegan Dinner party for my family this Saturday. My parents, my sister, some of my Aunts and Uncles and Cousins will be there! None of which are Vegan...not even Vegetarian actually. As part of the FoodBuzz publishing group though - I'll be doing a post with recipes + pictures + video! I hope they all like my Vegan food. Wish me luck!

  • 1/2 cup shortening - melted
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine - melted (or your favorite margarine!)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup sugar (for rolling the dough in)

In a medium bowl, mix together the melted margarine, shortening, 1 cup sugar, and applesauce until smooth. Stir in the molasses. Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg in separate bowl. Blend into the molasses mixture. Cover, and chill dough for 1 hour. 

Preheat oven to 350F. Roll the dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the 1/4 cup white sugar. Place dough balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes, until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks.

July 25, 2011

Asparagus Pasta Salad

Hello everyone! I hope everyone's Summer is going well! Mine has been a little hectic, but that's alright! I just can't wait to get all of this "big" stuff out of the way so I can focus on what I really want to put my attention to! One of those things being cooking (and coming up with new recipes!) So that brings me to today's post! I was going through my recipe box and stumbled upon a recipe that I had jotted down a few years ago. I had been looking for a new salad to take to work for the week and this was definitely the answer! Asparagus and pasta together? I'm in. The original recipe called for 2 endive, but I didn't have any on hand when I was making the salad, so they missed the cut! If you want to - try adding them in! I'm sure they'd be a delicious addition!

  • 1 small shallot - finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound asparagus
  • 1 small red bell pepper
  • 1/2 pound of your favorite pasta
  • 3/4 cup frozen green peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 3 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat the shallot and the oil in the microwave for 30 seconds. Once heated, remove from microwave and allow the oil to cool

Trim the bottoms of the asparagus. Roughly chop them and boil them in 1 inch of water for 3 to 5 minutes. Cool under ice cold water to stop the cooking and to keep the bright green color!

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the oil/shallot mixture, vinegar, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Then add the rest of the ingredients and toss together. Serve refrigerated.

July 17, 2011

French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Hey all! Sorry! I know it's been a while since I've posted a new recipe! I've been so busy lately with life stuff that it's been keeping me from cooking! Don't you hate that? It's the first thing to go when I'm too busy. Lately my diet has been consisting of so many processed foods. I can't wait to get back on track. I did finally find a new car and I sold my old car. Now I'm just looking for a new apartment and eventually a new job. Like I said before "So much to do, so little time".

I did, however, find the time to invite my parents over for breakfast and offer to make breakfast for them! I was perusing the recipes over at Food Network's website and stumbled upon a recipe by Paula Deen for a French Toast Casserole. I was officially in love. I knew I had to make it, but the ingredients list was filled with non-vegan foods, so I had to come up with my own way of making it! Speaking of which, I know Paula Deen is not a "favorite" of the Vegan community, but I actually happen to love her. I love her show, I love her personality, and she just seems like a sweet person. I know that she puts 12 eggs, half a pig, and a pound of butter in about everything she makes, but I try to see beyond that. Really, a lot of her recipes look really good. Maybe I can see her differently since I grew up in a similar household (where my grandmother cooks my grandpa's eggs in bacon grease *shudder*). What do you guys think of Paula?

Also, there's something else I must address. I was born and raised here in America's heartland (Minnesota/Wisconsin). The only time I've ever heard the term "casserole" was if my Mom or Grandmothers were making Tuna Noodle Casserole. Otherwise, we always called casseroles by a different name - "hot dish". Is that a purely Midwestern thing or are there other parts of the country that do the same thing? I find it so interesting! A friend of mine and I were in Key West, Florida a few years ago and we went to eat at a restaurant. She asked the waitress what kind of "pop" they carried there and she said "You must not be from around here". She said they called everything "Coke"! Anyway, I've gone off on enough tangents today! My parents absolutely loved the recipe - so here ya go! You have to cut the bread and let it soak in the batter overnight, so it takes a little advanced preparation, but it's worth it!

  • 1 large or 2 medium French baguettes
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used Silk Soymilk)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • Walnut Praline Topping - recipe below
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Slice bread into 3/4 inch thickness. Spray a large casserole dish or baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the first layer with slices of bread. Pour a third of the batter on top of the bread. Repeat to make three layers (or more if you have enough room in your dish and enough batter!) Cover with tinfoil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating, you can make the praline topping!

Praline topping:
  • 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Spread evenly over the french toast and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

July 5, 2011

Very Berry Shortcake

I hope everyone had a safe and fun Independence Day! The fireworks show that I saw was incredible! Easily the best I've ever seen! Keeva and I ended up going over to my Aunt and Uncle's house to celebrate. They had steak on the grill and I ate my veggie dogs. However, I was in charge of bringing dessert. The last dessert I brought to a family function was my Carrot Cake that I brought to my Aunt and Uncle's house for Easter earlier this year. Knowing that my last dessert was well-loved, I was a little less nervous bringing a vegan dessert for everyone to try. So, in the spirit of the 4th of July I had to make a red, white, and blue dessert! I'm happy to say that everyone absolutely loved it! My aunt even had me leave a few for her to eat for breakfast the next morning with her coffee! So, another vegan dessert made. A few meat-eaters made to believe that vegan desserts aren't scary. My work here is done....until my next dessert.

*Makes 9-12 biscuits*

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp vegetable shortening (I used Spectrum brand shortening)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup dairy free creamer (I used Wildwood brand Soy Creamer, but you could probably just use regular non-dairy milk)
  • sugar for sprinkling on top
  • Your favorite berries (I used blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
  • Non-Dairy whipped cream (I used Soyatoo's whipped cream....so yummy!)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar until well combined. Add in the shortening (I like to add mine by the teaspoon. 4 tbsp of shortening is 12 tsp) and mix together with the dry ingredients until the shortening is the size of peas. It works well if you use a hand held mixer to blend.

Then add the vanilla and creamer and mix together with a spoon. You're probably going to have to use your hands to do the last part of the mixing. A spoon can only do so much and you don't want to use a hand mixer!

On a greased cookie sheet, drop them by the large spoonful. They don't spread out too much so you can put them a little bit close together. Sprinkle the tops with sugar and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until the tops are golden brown.

Allow to cool, then top with whipped cream and berries and serve!