August 21, 2011

The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford

Otherwise known as "Better Than Sex Dessert", but I wanted to keep things clean. I'm all about cleanliness (Just don't look at the pile of dishes in my sink). Also, this is my Grandmother's recipe and it was titled "The Next Best Thing to Robert Redford" - and I wanted to stay authentic! I think you guys get the idea though. This dessert is amazing.

When I was making it - I wasn't all too excited about it. It just seemed like some whipped cream and pudding. I don't know what it is, but the combination of all these ingredients just come together and create something so delicious. You have to try it! Plus - it's such a pretty dessert. I love all the layers. It looks like something that took a long time to make, but it takes no time and little effort! It's best when refrigerated overnight. If you don't have the time though - refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours, until the pudding has set!

 Crust Ingredients:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups walnuts (plus more for the top of the dessert)
  • 1 cup Earth Balance Spread

Mix the above ingredients in a food processor until well combined. Press into a 9x13 baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees F for 15-20 minutes. Allow to cool and set aside.

Filling Ingredients:
  • 8 oz vegan cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 10.4 oz container of Soy Whip Topping (I used Soya-Too brand - but you can use any brand)

Mix the above ingredients together in a food processor and spread on top of crust. Refrigerate while preparing the puddings.
  • 1 container of chocolate pudding
  • 1 container of vanilla pudding

Cook the puddings according to the package directions. I used Dr. Oetker's Chocolate and Vanilla puddings, but there's multiple Vegan pudding brands on the market. Once cooked and cooled, spread on top of the whipped cream/cream cheese mixture. A second layer of whipped cream is optional. Top with chopped walnuts and refrigerate overnight.

August 18, 2011

Baked Manicotti with Italian "Sausage" and Peas

Hello friends! I'm so grateful for the support everyone has been giving me for the Minnesota's Most Valuable Blogger contest. You guys are truly the greatest! If I could make a batch of cookies for all of you and send them to you - I totally would. Or maybe a batch of baked manicotti?

This dish is so scrumptious! I can't watch an episode of Giada at Home anymore without wanting to recreate her recipes. If you haven't seen my recipe for homemade mixed berry jam, you have to check it out! This recipe actually reminds me of a recipe that I created based on an Amy's frozen meal. It has all the same ingredients - minus the Italian sausage. The Tofurky sausage adds such a great layer of flavor though. You get the sweetness from the peas and tomato sauce and the spiciness from the sausage - and don't forget the ooey gooeyness of the Daiya mozzarella. So good!

  • 1/2 cup of Vegan Ricotta - click the link for my recipe
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 small onion - about 1/3 cup - diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves - minced
  • 2 Tofurky Italian Sausages (or your favorite Vegan Italian Sausage) - diced
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 2 cups Vegan Mozzarella (I used Daiya - my favorite non-dairy cheese)
  • 6-8 Manicotti shells
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-by-13-by-2-inch glass baking dish with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, onion, and garlic. Cook until the sausage is cooked through and the vegetables have softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool slightly. Once cooled - add the peas, ricotta, and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until just tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Spread half of the marinara sauce over the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Using a small spoon, fill the manicotti shells with the sausage filling and arrange in a single layer in the baking dish. Pour the remaining marinara sauce on top of the filled shells. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top and drizzle with olive oil. Bake until the cheese has become bubbly and melty - about 30 minutes. Broil for the last 1-2 minutes.

August 16, 2011

Super Easy Mixed Berry Jam

Never will I ever be able to buy jam or jelly in a jar. Ever again. This jam is that good you guys! It's so delicious - and yet so simple to make. I always thought making jam was a long process that you needed to have pectin for and you needed to boil it in the jar and you needed special equipment. I guess you do need all that stuff if your canning jelly, but if you're just looking to make some fresh jam, there's no hassle required! Thanks to Giada for inspiring this recipe! I was watching Giada at Home on the Food Network this weekend and I saw her making this. She had Thyme in hers though - which sounds...interesting. I guess I'd try anything once. As long as it's Vegan.

I used strawberries and blueberries for this jam, but you can use any fruit you'd like! I can't wait to try this with some of my other favorites. The possibilities are endless. I'm thinking the next one will involve peaches. Doesn't that sound amazing? Also - for the liquid sweetener - I used agave nectar. If you have maple syrup, that would work perfectly as well. I'm not sure about other liquid sweeteners though. If you want to try using others and let me know how it goes - that would be wonderful! I'm a little curious to see how brown rice syrup would do in this recipe!

  • 4 cups of strawberries - hulled and quartered
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 4 tbsp citrus juice (Any citrus juice would work. Giada did 2 tbsp lemon, 2 tbsp lime juices. I just did 4 tbsp of grapefruit juice because that's what I had on hand. Orange juice would work here too!)

Place the berries in a medium sized saucepan. Using a potato masher - lightly mash the berries. Add the agave and grapefruit juice. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally - until thick. About 50 to 55 minutes. Cool to room temperature. The jam will thicken as it cools. Refrigerate in an air-tight container.

August 12, 2011

Chipotle Black Bean Dip

Hello everyone! I've been working hard on some new recipes! I can't wait to share them with you. Some of them are old family recipes that I've never even tried before. That has to be one of my favorite things about this blog. It's forced me to try new things. Before I was blogging, I was stuck in a rut of the same dishes every week (all of which I've already put up here). I know life gets overwhelming and other things become more important than finding something new and creative for dinner. Believe me, I've been there. Hopefully I can inspire you to try something new though. Maybe take one night a week and cook a meal for yourself or your family that you've never tried before. You just may be pleasantly surprised!

Which leads me to Chipotle Black Bean Dip! Hidden inside what seems to be this normal black bean dip is a punch to the taste buds from canned Chipotle Peppers and Adobo Sauce! I'm not someone who likes overly spicy foods - so I shied away from using too much of the peppers and sauce. If you love your food spicy, by all means add more! Make sure to taste test first though. Chipotle Peppers and Adobo sauce can be pretty spicy.

  • 2 cups cooked black beans
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 canned chipotle pepper (1 pepper, not 1 can!)
  • 1 tbsp adobo sauce (from the can)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients except the oil in your blender or food processor. Once the ingredients are well combined, stream in the olive oil until the dip reaches a consistency to your liking. Refrigerate and serve cold. Not only is this great with tortilla chips or carrots and celery - it's great as a sandwich spread topped with your favorite veggies!

August 10, 2011

Blackberry Peach Scones

Can you believe we're already in the last full month of Summer here in America? I'm sort of in denial I think. I can't accept that I'm going to be blasted with yet another season of Winter in a few months. I'm a little excited for Autumn though. Late Summer/Early Fall is my favorite time of the year! All of the fresh produce + the cool air. Nothing is better after a hot Summer! Plus the house isn't so hot when I turn the oven on to bake!

So even though it was hot outside today - I turned the oven on to make some scones! Thanks to one of my Facebook fans Deitre, I was inspired to try my hand at creating my own scone recipe. No big deal since I've never actually made scones before. I think I got it though! Not too wet and not too dry. Not overly sweet, but just sweet enough. If peaches and blackberries isn't your thing, try adding some of your favorite ingredients! I'm going to try a Cherry Almond Scone one of these days soon! I'll let you know how my experimenting goes!

*Makes 6 medium scones*

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance Spread)
  • 1/3 cup apple sauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup diced blackberries
  • 1/3 cup diced peaches

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Sift/Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Once combined add the shortening and margarine. Mix together until the shortening and margarine have incorporated with the dry ingredients and are about the size of peas. Add the applesauce, vanilla, vinegar, and milk - mix together until the dough forms. If your batter is too wet - add a little more flour until it's workable with your hands. Mix in the blackberries and peaches until well incorporated.

Roll out onto a floured surface until the dough is about 1 inch thick. Using a sharp knife - cut into triangles. Place on a greased cookie sheet and sprinkle the tops with sugar. Bake until the tops are golden, about 15-17 minutes. Allow to cool before serving.