November 23, 2011

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!


Good Morning everyone! I just wanted to take a little time to wish everyone (who's celebrating!) a Happy Thanksgiving! It's not always the easiest time of the year for Vegans and Vegetarians, but hopefully you can show your family and friends that choosing a cruelty free diet is the most compassionate option for the Holidays. That's one of the reasons I love to cook so much. I love having my friends and family try all of my different dishes - just to show them that Vegan food can be just as good (and better...) than non-vegan food! I'm having a Christmas Cookie party this Saturday with some of my friends and family. I'm so excited, but I know I'm going to be in the kitchen all day on Thursday and Friday! I'll be posting pictures from the party + recipes on Sunday, November 27th - so watch for those!

I also just wanted to let everyone know how extremely grateful I am to all of you. Knowing that I have people who read and love my recipes makes it that much more fun to cook and create in the kitchen. I just wish I could send a little care package of vegan goodies to all of you!

Also - Krista over on my Facebook page wanted to know what my favorite Thanksgiving dish is. I wish I could have made my Thanksgiving dinner ahead of time to share with all of you, but instead I'm gonna let everyone know exactly what I'll be cooking so you can get an idea of the recipes to expect in the next week.

Here's my Thanksgiving menu:

  • Tofurky with roasted carrots, asparagus, and broccoli
  • Stuffing with Wild Rice and Apple Sage "Sausage"
  • Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
  • Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Homemade Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Coconut Whipped Cream

I can't wait to eat all of this stuff....for the next week. I'm going to have so many leftovers! But that's one of the great things about Thanksgiving, right?

If you're still searching for Thanksgiving recipes, here are a couple of suggestions for you! Have a safe and happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Sides:

Desserts:

November 21, 2011

Mint Chocolate Cupcakes


Alright everyone. I meant to post this yesterday, but didn't get around to doing it, so I'm doing it first thing this morning! So Delicious was kind enough to send me a goodie basket a couple of weeks ago that included their new Holiday Beverages. This cupcake recipe was created using their Mint Chocolate Coconut beverage that's new for the 2011 Holiday season!

The Mint Chocolate beverage worked amazingly in the cupcake recipe. The cupcake was perfectly moist and had a hint of mint flavoring that went perfectly with the mint chocolate chip frosting! If you don't have access to So Delicious' mint chocolate beverage - I've altered the ingredients below. I'm thinking about making these again for Christmas time, but adding some red sprinkles on top! I'll be sure to post pictures when I do!

Cupcake Ingredients:
  • 1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 tbsp light oil
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened smooth applesauce
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 1 cup non-dairy chocolate milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Preheat the oven to 350F.

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

Blend together the oil, applesauce, vanilla, and vinegar with a hand mixer. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture in 3 batches, alternating with the mint chocolate coconut 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!

Mint Chocolate Chip Frosting Ingredients:
  • 1 cup vegan shortening
  • 3 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp mint extract
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped chocolate chips

Beat the shortening until fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes.

Add the vanilla, mint, and non-dairy milk. Beat for another 5 to 7 minutes until fluffy. Fold in the chocolate chips and frost on top of cooled cupcakes!

November 19, 2011

So Delicious Coconut Holiday Beverages Review, Recipe, & Giveaway!


The amazing people over at So Delicious were kind enough to send me a sample of their two new Holiday beverages a couple of weeks ago! This year So Delicious rolled out two new Coconut Beverages created specially for the Holidays! Hopefully you've all seen them at your local natural foods stores! The funny thing is that So Delicious didn't even tell me what they were sending me. It was like Christmas in November for me when I got home from work and found the big box sitting on my doorstep. I opened the package to find these two delectable looking drinks + two beautiful Holiday coasters!

So - being the curious person I am, I grabbed a glass out of my cupboard right away and poured me a little sip of each beverage. The company's name is definitely fitting because, like all of their other products, these two were So Delicious! I had never had egg nog before so this was definitely a welcome treat. Let's just say that the two little sips turned into large mug fulls!

I didn't want to drink too much though. I wanted to think of two recipes that could be created using these delicious drinks! The first one popped into my head right away.


I made my famous French Toast Casserole with a Pecan Praline Topping using So Delicious' new Coconut Egg Nog! I intended on making it for brunch for my parents and I, but I ended up having to run to my Grandparents house after I took it out of the oven. I didn't get home until later, but when I did step into my kitchen, I found my casserole half gone. My parents had eaten their dinner I guess. So - I didn't get a picture of the new casserole, but my parents said it was even better with the So Delicious Coconut Egg Nog! The recipe is a little time consuming - it has to soak overnight - but it's so worth it!


I also created a new recipe using their Mint Chocolate Coconut Beverage. I could not stop eating these. If you're a huge chocolate mint fan like I am - you've gotta try these! I'll post the recipe for these tomorrow, but here's a picture to wet your appetite!



Ingredients:
  • 1 large or 2 medium French baguettes
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 qt of So Delicious Coconut Egg Nog
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • Pecan Praline Topping - recipe below


In a bowl, whisk together the flour, So Delicious Coconut Egg Nog, 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 margarine, shortening, or Earth Balance Coconut Spread
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 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.


Let's not forget about the Giveaway!

So Delicious was also kind enough to send me two coupons to give to you guys for 1 free So Delicious product of your choice! There's many ways to enter - just be sure to leave a separate comment for each different entry!

  1. "Like" Vegan Heartland on Facebook
  2. Follow @VeganHeartland on Twitter
  3. Follow Vegan Heartland with your Google Account
  4. "Like" So Delicious on Facebook
  5. Follow @So_Delicious on Twitter
  6. Write a post about my giveaway on your blog or website and link back to my giveaway! And don't forget to leave a link to your post in your entry comment.
I'm giving everyone enough time to enter so don't worry! The contest will end at 11:59 pm on December 3rd, 2011. I will announce the winners on December 4th, 2011! Winners will be chosen by random.org! Contest only open to U.S. residents!

Good Luck Everyone!

November 8, 2011

Blueberry Pumpkin Dog Treats


If you're a fan of mine on Facebook - then you know how much I've been researching a homemade diet for my Yellow Lab, Keeva. It's been a struggle trying to decide on whether or not to have her on a Vegan diet or not, trying to collect all the best information on what to feed her and how to feed her. I had her on Vegan kibble fore a few months before and her body did not react very well to it. Now I'm researching how to prepare her food myself instead of relying on kibble. If anybody has any advice I would greatly appreciate it!

03/04/2013 Update: Keeva has been on a mostly homeade vegan diet for almost a year now and she's doing amazing! She does eat kibble every now and then and she absolutley loves it! For more information on feeding your dog a homemade vegan diet - check out my post here!

I know there's one thing I can count on though and that would be these treats! Keeva absolutely loves these! Not only does she love to snack on them, but they're super nutritious for her! She get's the antioxidants from the blueberries and pumpkin + the omega-3 fatty acids and lignans from the flax seed meal. I think when I make these next time I'm going to add some sesame seed meal and molasses to add a little boost of calcium to her diet. They're super easy to make and you can cut them out into any shape you like! I found this cute bone cut out at a local kitchen supply store!. You could also do a fire hydrant cut out - or I've been thinking about taking this recipe and making Christmas cookies for her! If I do - I'll definitely share pictures!

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups 100% whole wheat flour (you could try using oat or brown rice flour for wheat free treats!)
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/3 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Blend together the applesauce and pumpkin. Once the applesauce and pumpkin are well combined, stir in the flour and flax seed meal. Add in enough water until dough just becomes workable. The dough will be a little stiff, but don't worry, that's what we're going for! Work the rest of the ingredients together with your hands until all have become well incorporated. Roll out to 1/2 inch thickness and cut in to your desired shapes.

Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheets. Press the blueberries into your treats (as shown in picture above.) Bake on one side for 20 minutes then turn over and bake on the other side for another 20 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before feeding to your pups!

November 6, 2011

Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes


I'm continuing my quest to veganize all of my family's recipes! This recipe was definitely a biggie. I honestly can't believe I didn't think of this one sooner. The nice people from the company Chicago Soy Dairy sent me a sample of their Non-Dairy Cheddar sauce and I knew this would be the perfect recipe to try it in!

I was born here in Minnesota, but mostly raised in the neighboring state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin is considered "The Dairy State" for those who don't know - so being Vegan in a state where every one's favorite food is cheese wasn't an ideal situation. Every family gathering or party has to have a dish of cheesy potatoes. Whether or not you put bacon or ham on top is up to you. I tried some Vegan tempeh bacon on top and it was absolutely delicious!

I was going through my family's recipes and stumbled upon this one that was created by my Great Aunt Jeanie. This was one of my absolute favorite foods as a kid! If you're craving something creamy and cheesy - you have to give this one a try! The recipe makes enough for a big crowd. There wasn't a specific baking dish size given, but try using a large casserole dish. You could also easily halve this recipe for a smaller gathering!

Ingredients:
  • 5 pounds of potatoes
  • 1 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance Buttery Spread)
  • 4 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 4 cups non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
  • 1 package of Teese Non-Dairy Cheddar Sauce (or 2 cups of your favorite Non-Dairy Cheddar)
Boil the potatoes with the skins on until just tender. Drain the potatoes and allow them to cool. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle - peel and slice them to your desired thickness.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt the margarine in a large saucepan. Once the margarine is melted add the flour and whisk together. Cook the flour and margarine for a couple of minutes to get rid of the "raw flour" taste. Add the non-dairy milk and whisk  the flour and margarine into the milk to thicken it. Whisk in your Teese Cheddar sauce until well combined with the milk.

Layer the potato slices in a baking dish and pour your cheese and milk mixture on top. If you want you can top with chunks of vegetarian bacon or ham! Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes until the cheese becomes bubbly and forms a nice "crust" on top! Remove from oven and cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

November 3, 2011

Streusel Apple Pie


Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you're all having fun preparing for an amazing Thanksgiving feast! I've been planning out exactly what I'm going to be making this year. I always love to have a Tofurky with roasted vegetables on the side, stuffing, mashed potatoes, biscuits, and I usually buy a store bought Pumpkin Pie for dessert. Not this year! I'm going to try making my own pumpkin pie from scratch next week! I can't wait to try it out. I'll let you all know how it goes.

I don't know about you guys, but I always get asked the question "Do you still like Thanksgiving?". As if I don't eat food. I survive on air. Of course I still love Thanksgiving! Part of me enjoys it even more now that I'm making my own food. I became a vegetarian at 15 - so I was still eating the food my Grandma prepared for the Holidays. Now that I've been a vegetarian for 8 years (and a vegan for 6 of those years) I've had to rely on myself to create a delicious Vegan Thanksgiving feast! The Holidays are that much more special and exciting for me!

Other than Pumpkin Pie - I know the the other two traditional pies people make on Thanksgiving are apple pie or pecan pie. This dessert sort of combines the two in a super delicious way! The apples are soft and sweet in the middle and the top is so crunchy and nutty. So good! I used Earth Balance's new Coconut Spread for the topping. It turned out so well!

What are some of the weirdest questions you guys get asked about being a vegetarian/vegan?

Pie Crust Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose or pastry flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 c water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

The key to making a delicious and flaky pie crust is to have everything be ICE COLD when mixing. I even refrigerate my food processor overnight before making one. If you're not using a food processor - refrigerate your bowl and pastry cutter. I also put the flour/salt combination in the fridge and I freeze the shortening.

Combine the flour and salt. Cut the shortening into cubes and place in the food processor with the flour and salt. Pulse the food processor until the shortening is mixed into the flour and forms little "pea-shaped" balls. Stream in the 1/4 cup of water until the crust forms into a large ball in the food processor. Pour out the dough onto a floured surface and roll out to 1/2 inch thickness. Place in a pie pan and cut off the extra dough hanging off the sides.

Filling Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 6 cups sliced apples

Mix together the above ingredients in a large bowl. Once the apples have been coated with the flour, sugar, and spices - pour on top of the pie crust.

Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats - uncooked
  • 1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance's Coconut Spread (or your favorite margarine)

Combine the above ingredients and spread on top of the apples. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes until the apples are tender, the pie crust is cooked thoroughly, and the topping is browned and crunchy! Enjoy!

November 2, 2011

Country Apple Pancakes


Hopefully everyone saw my post that included pictures of mine and my family's trip to our local apple orchard! We had so much fun that day and found some really great stuff. We found some tasty apples obviously - so I've been searching through my family's old recipes looking for some apple inspiration! Once I saw this recipe for apple pancakes - I knew I had to try them!

My Mom said that my grandma used to make these pancakes all the time for her and her step-father when she was growing up. I guess he used to request them every weekend! I can see why - they're absolutely delicious! Also, be on the lookout for another recipe featuring some apples we bought on our visit to the apple orchard! Hint: It's a dessert!

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk)
  • 1 tbsp light oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 medium apple - shredded

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and cinnamon. Once the dry ingredients are mixed well, stir in the milk, oil, and applesauce. Once the dry and wet ingredients have become well incorporated - mix in the shredded apple.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and lightly coat with cooking spray. Ladle the pancakes onto the skillet and flip once bubbles cover the surface of the pancake. Cook the other side of the pancake until lightly browned. It will take about half the time it took to brown on the opposite side. Serve with warm maple syrup and enjoy!