Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I don't cook all the time!

Some people may see this blog and think I must cook all the time! But I actually don't. Not even every day. For example, I might have a smoothie for breakfast, a bowl of cereal for a snack, a sandwich and fruits and veggies for lunch, and leftovers or take-out for dinner. I probably cook 5 times a week. So this is a post about all the OTHER stuff I eat.

For breakfast I love my smoothie, but sometimes I save it for a snack and eat typical breakfast food instead. I love pancakes, oatmeal, cream of wheat, cold cereal, and fruit. I might actually cook breakfast (pancakes and maybe hashbrowns) once every other week. I've recently gotten addicted to Cascadian Farms Cinnamon Crunch cereal. It's a great substitute for Cinnamon Toast Crunch but I have to watch my intake. I'd eat a whole box in one day if I let myself! I love regular almond milk poured over cereal.

For lunch I generally have half a peanut butter sandwich on Arnold's bread (the slices are larger, which is why I only have one piece), a TON of fruits and veggies, some dip, and maybe a treat, like a fruit leather or cookie. I can load up a full-sized dinner plate for about 500 calories. This (and my smoothie) is how I manage to get about 10-12 servings of fruit and veggies a day. It takes a while to munch through all of that produce, so I always feel satisfied by the time I'm done. Unlike with the Cinnamon Crunch cereal, which I inhale in about 90 seconds and still always want more. I'm addicted to Annie's Goddess Dressing. It has plenty of calories though, which is why I measure it out (yes that's a medicine cup you see in the first pic!).

Aren't they lovely lunches?

Sometimes I'll have salad too, but I'm not a huge salad person. When I do eat one, I make it good. Not iceburg lettuce and dry carrot sticks. I load it up with all sorts of veggies, beans, and nuts. On this salad I have a Quorn Chik'n pattie which I no longer eat because it has dairy. Their plain (unbreaded) ones are dairy-free though (but still have egg). There's tons of other protein packed vegan meat substitues you could use to make an entree salad though. I love Bacos! they always make a salad seem complete, they have only 30 calories per serving, but have 3 g of protein. A well-planned salad can pack almost a full day's worth of protein without a ton of calories. This one had 600 calories and a whopping 35 grams of protein!

And in case you are wondering, it doesn't take me long at all to prepare my veggies. I generally cut, wash, and store everything that day I buy it. It seems to help most stuff last longer that way anyway. I keep my carrots and celery in upright containers with water in them. I remove stems from grapes and wash and store them right away. I love a snack of cold grapes! I buy huge amounts of broccoli because I eat so much of it. Usually 3 heads per week. I cut and store it immediately in baggies. I eat it raw but also use steam it (I'll never be able to go back to using frozen broccoli!). I also cut and freeze my berries and bananas days in advance so I can just reach in the freezer and grab what I need (plus a smoothie just isn't the same if the fruit isn't frozen). It takes maybe half an hour to prepare a week's worth of veggies.

Hope that helps any aspiring vegetarians! It's not as hard as it seems to go without meat (or all animal products for that matter). You have to REALLY appreciate plant foods though. I've been trying all sorts of new things. Can you believe I had my first nectarine only 2 weeks ago!? There's always a ton of just have to troll the produce department and see what's available. Enjoy each and every bite and allow yourself a splurge once in a while. Those chewy chocolate raspberry cookies are the perfect end to ANY meal!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Daiya Cheese!

Ok so this isn't a post dedicated to just one recipe. It's not like you really need special recipes for cheese dishes just throw it on stuff! Cheese was, by far, the hardest thing for me to give up when I went dairy-free. I found almond milk to be an excellent substitute for low-fat cow's milk, there are a variety of ice cream brands and flavors that are just as good, if not better than, dairy ice cream, and things like cakes, cookies, and other treats are super easy to make dairy-free at home. Cheese...well, it's a little more difficult. Most of the vegan cheeses suck. There are some soy substitutes that aren't TOO bad, like Veggie Shreds, but they still have some dairy ingredients in them.

Well Daiya Cheese has been out for a while but Whole Foods only started carrying it April 1st of this year. And I just managed to make my way up there to get some about a week ago. I was a little nervous after reading the reviews...seems people either love it or hate it. My own opinion? I'm not head over heels in love with it, but it's the best vegan cheese I've tried. It tastes good but the texture is still just a bit off. Nothing too bad. It melts, it stretches, it gets creamy when you need it to...overall, not bad. So far I've done mini pizzas on thin buns, mac and cheese, a bean burrito, and a hawaiian pizza (with mock ham, which is pretty good!).

You can get mozzarella shreds or cheddar shreds. The mozzarella is pretty accurate with the flavor. The cheddar reminds me a bit of Kraft mac and cheese. So not BAD, just not like "real" cheese. I figured it would be excellent on mac and cheese because of that. Funny though, once I got the milk and margarine in there, it dampened that Kraft taste and it tasted more like real cheese.

I used a combo of the two on the burrito.

Don't you just LOVE how creamy it is!?

You don't need a lot on pizza. Too much and you might get a mouthful of a bit of a slimy texture. Just enough for the TASTE of cheese is all you need. A very thin layer, with the sauce showing through is more than sufficient.

Everyone says this stuff is NOT good right out of the package. I'll trust them on that.

I'm pretty excited to try some of my old favorites with this cheese! I'll probably do lasagna next. Or maybe chicken parmesean with some mock chicken.

Oh the greatest thing about Daiya? It's not soy! Nope, it's completely dairy free and soy free. Here's the ingredient list:

Filtered water, tapioca and/or arrowroot flours, non-GMO expeller pressed canola and /or non-GMO expeller pressed safflower oil, coconut oil, pea protein, salt, inactive yeast, vegan natural flavours, vegetable glycerin, xanthan gum, citric acid (for flavor), annatto.

It's only 90 calories per 1/4 cup and since you don't need a lot to get a great cheesy flavor, this is definitely a nice low-cal option.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Veggie Lo Mein

So I made my own seitan with high hopes for this recipe. Turns out my homemade seitan wasn't all it was cracked up to be (entirely too much soy sauce in the mix!). When I find a good homemade seitan recipe, I'll share it. For now, I'm back to the pricey packaged stuff. This would be good without any meat replacement at all though, or tofu or mock chicken if that's what you like. I picked out my seitan and just enjoyed the veggies. I have no idea where I got this recipe from, but I imagine it's fairly generic.


6 oz lo mein noodles
2 tbsp sesame oil
8 oz broccoli florets
1 cup shredded or sliced carrots
1/2 cup cashew pieces
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tbsp peanut oil
Seitan, cut into chunks
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari
1 tbsp sesame seeds

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Using a wok or a large skillet, heat sesame oil over high heat. Add broccoli, carrots, cashews, and ginger. Stir-fry 5-7 minutes. Add the soy sauce, sesame seeds, and noodles (rinse noodles under water if they become too sticky). Toss to coat and cook 5 minutes more, stirring continuously.

I'm never satisfied with just the broccoli and carrots for a stir-fry. I think I had red bell pepper, broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, and onion in here. I also didn't have sesame oil so I just did peanut oil. And the meal is never complete without some spring rolls! I don't remember what brand I got, but they came from kroger and were actually pretty decent, for the frozen kind. I sprinkled my sesame seeds on last since they were already toasted.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is just your basic recipe, only dairy and egg-free. And always a crowd-pleaser!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp milled flax seed + 3 tbsp water
2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350*. Mix flax seed and water in a small bowl and set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Beat margarine, sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Add flax mixture and beat well. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet 1 1/2" apart. Bake 11-12 minutes.

The flax seed replaces the egg(s) and you don't even know it's there. Seriously, if you've never used flax seed, go buy a box now! My Kroger has whole flax seed in the organic/natural section of the store, but the milled flax seed is just in the baking aisle. If you get the milled kind, store it in a Ziploc in the fridge after you open it. You can mill your own whole flax seed. I think most people use a coffee grinder. You can store whole flax seed in the cupboard and it keeps a long time. You can put flax seed in just about anything. It has good fats, including omega 3's and adds just a little burst of protein as well. And of course, replaces eggs because of it's binding properties.

Wanna know my trade secret for extra chewy cookies? Don't bake them until very done. Bake them *just* under done. Then, when they come out of the oven, give the cookie sheet a good tap on the top of the stove. The cookies will deflate and look a little flat, but they stay chewy much, much longer!

Veggie Meatballs

Sometimes you just want a meatball sub! I've been craving it for a while and this recipe took care of that and quite easily too. These were incredibly simple to put together and they don't insist on falling apart like hamburger does and without the need for an egg!


7 oz soy sausage (such as Gimme Lean)
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Spaghetti sauce

Coat a large skillet with olive oil over medium high heat. Mix sausage with the other ingredients and roll into 12 balls. Cook 5-6 minutes or until evenly browned. Add spaghetti sauce and remaining basil and half of garlic. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 3-5 minutes. Serve over pasta or on a bun.

I wanted a sub and my son wanted spaghetti. It was great in both. I think the texture could have been improved upon just a bit, maybe by baking them instead. I'll have to try that and update sometime. They tasted great though, even with dried herbs instead of fresh.

Also, if you have difficulty finding bread crumbs that don't have milk and egg in them (seriously, WHY do bread crumbs need that!), just whir some dried bread or dry stuffing (check the ingredients) through the blender. My bread crumbs right now have a definite italian flavor to them (flavored stuffing), so they worked perfectly for this.

Recipe from Vegetarian Times.


Another one from 500 Vegan Recipes (great book with lots of variety!). I like Spanish rice and beans. It's a cheap, hearty meal and I like to scoop it with chips. But I prefer it with white rice (I just don't love brown, no matter how much better it is for me, sorry!) and I realize that's not very nutritious. So when I came across Mexiquinoa, I just knew I had to try it! Quinoa is a wonderful in protein and very versatile. It has a bit of a weird texture so some people don't like that. I have texture "issues" but I can handle this one. It's not my fave, but I know I'm doing my body good when I change it up for white rice on occasion. I made 1/4 of this recipe. Who the heck needs this much quinoa? Maybe a family of 6. So if it's just 2 of you, definitely don't make more than 1/2 the recipe unless you intend to freeze some of it or just don't mind eating it for the next 3 days.


4 cups water
2 cups dry quinoa
2 cups corn kernals
1 can black or pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 4 oz can jalepeno peppers, drained
1 cup chunky salsa
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional toppings:

1/2 cup diced bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup seeded and diced tomatoes

In a sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Add quinoa, return to a boil. Reduce heat a cook, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until water has been absorbed and quinoa "tails" have unfurled. Remove from heat. Fluff with a fork, cover, and let sit 10 minutes. Combine all the other ingredietns in a large bowl. Mix quinoa in. Serve with desired toppings.

So I changed this one up just a tad too. I don't like anything very spicy. I left out the jalepenos and red pepper flakes. I also found myself without salsa, which usually lends quite a bit of flavor to a dish, so I just added a lot more seasoning and diced tomatoes. And I prefer my beans and corn and other stuff all nice and hot, so I cooked it all into the quinoa once it was done. I just didn't feel tossing it in a bowl with the hot quinoa would heat it up enough for my taste. And of course, I scoop it with corn chips!

Easy Chickpea Noodle Soup

Ah, my blog's namesake. I wanted something catchy...something people would remember. Chicken noodle soup is such a common comfort food and it seems everyone likes it. Of course, I had to go with the vegetarian version to stay on subject. There are lots of ways to make mock chicken noodle soup. Almost always you want a "no-chicken" broth for your base. You can buy it in quarts or you can buy bouillon cubes. I'm sure there's a way to make it from scratch but I'm just not there yet. Then you need to substitute your chicken. Some people do tofu, some people do seitan. Some people buy mock chicken and cut that up. I like chickpeas. "Chickpea Noodle Soup" sounds better than "Seitan Noodle Soup". They aren't processed and it's easy to just dump them in. If you cook your own from dry beans and keep them in portions in the freezer, you can skip the added sodium of canned beans, but still have the convenience. Soba or udon noodles give it that "Campbell's" texture. Only make as much as you need, because that type of noodle will continue to absorb the broth and get really mushy after a while. Or you can store it if you want, but you may want to just use regular noodles if you do that. This is my "easy" version, which I mostly got from 500 Vegan Recipes but changed up just a bit.


4 cups no-chicken broth
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen carrots
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 oz dry udon, soba, or lo mein noodles

Saute onion in a little oil in a medium pot, about 5-7 minutes. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add the veggies and chickpeas and return to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer 7-10 minutes or until noodles are tender.

How easy is that?

I didn't have carrots on hand when I took this picture. It's excellent with whatever you decide to put in it. Maybe even mushrooms, if that's your kind of thing. I like a lot of pepper on top of mine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Green Bean Almondine

Just a yummy little side dish.


1 lb fresh green beans, snapped and washed
3 cups water
2 tbsp margarine
1 cup diced yellow onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1/4 cup slivered or sliced almonds
1/4 cup Bacos
Salt and pepper to taste

Steam beans in water for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside. Reheat pan and add margarine. Heat over high. Add onions and garlic, saute about 7 minutes. Add almonds and bacos, cook 2 more minutes. Add green beans, toss to coat, and cook 3-5 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

This is from 500 Vegan Recipes, but originally had mushrooms in it as well and I just don't do mushrooms, sorry!

Cinnamon Sticky Buns

I was SO intimidated by these, but they weren't really very hard to make, even though it was late at night and I had to set my alarm for each next step because I kept falling asleep in bed!


1 envelope active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp margarine
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp canola oil

Cinnamon filling:
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp margarine, softened

1/8 cup plain non-dairy milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Dough: Dissolve the yeast in warm water and 1/2 tbsp sugar. Let sit until foamy and bubbly, about 5 minutes. Mix together flour and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, margarine, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Add the wet to the dry and knead until elastic dough forms. Turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 5 minutes. Form into a ball, lightly coat with oil, cover and let rise 1 hour.

Filling: Mash together the brown sugar and cinnamon with the margarine. Set aside.

Punch down the dough. Press out into a rectangle. Spread filling evenly all over, leaving 1'2" border on both the short edges. Starting at a short edge, roll up. Crimp the dough at the end to seal. Cut the dough into 6-8 pieces. Place each one in a baking dish, evenly spaced. Let rise another hour. Preheat oven to 400*. Bake 15-20 minutes, until golden brown. Let rest 5 minutes. Serve upside-down and top with icing.

Icing: Whisk milk and powdered sugar and drizzle over buns.

Mine are not upside down. I messed up a little and most of the filling came out. Plus, I think I baked them about 2 minutes too long, because the filling then hardened to the bottom of the pan, so there was no reason to serve them upside down. But look on the bright side...they were lower calorie then! No, really, these do probably take a bit of practice to get them just right. Even though they weren't perfect, they were still great.

From 500 Vegan Recipes (this is the printed recipe, halved)

Pasta Salad

My mom invited me over for a cookout yesterday and of course, I know I have to bring my own food. I don't expect others to accommodate me and of course, I love to share when I can (especially cookies!). I fixed black bean burgers, salad, and chocolate chip cookies, but I still felt something was missing. I wanted pasta salad. I'd never made it before, but how hard can it be, right? I flipped through my old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, just to make sure I wouldn't overlook something silly. Their recipe called for a few things I didn't like (like olives), but also gave me ideas (I've never had zucchini in pasta salad and wouldn't have thought to put it in). My frozen peas were freezer burnt, so I went to my garden and picked a double handful of sugar snap peas and steamed them. Just from what I had lying around the house (and my garden) I made an excellent pasta salad!


Pasta (any kind, I used multi-colored radiatori and regular macaroni)
Peas (frozen or steamed)
Zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced thinly
Red bell pepper, diced
Onion, finely diced
Italian salad dressing (I used Annie's Tuscany Italian)

Boil the pasta and then drain it and run cold water over it. Toss it in a bowl with the other ingredients. Cover and chill about 2 hours before serving.

Use as much or as little of each ingredient or add different ones. If it sounds good, it probably will be. If you make a potful, you'll probably want to use all, or almost all, of an 8 oz bottle of dressing. I didn't make that much and I used less than half the bottle.

The cookout was great and a lot of fun!

Sweet and Nutty Rice Casserole

This came from Kiwi magazine. I wasn't thrilled with the veggie to rice ratio so I'll be playing around with it the next time I make it. There's nothing "wrong" with it really, but I prefer many more veggies in my dinners. It was delicious though, with a little extra cinnamon and agave nectar (the recipe originally called for honey I think). Adrian gobbled it up and asked for seconds, which is rare. So this is definitely a winner!


1 tbsp oil
3 medium carrots, diced
1 small onion, finely diced
1 1/2 cups basmati rice, rinsed
32 oz vegetable broth
1 15 oz can of chickpeas
1 tbsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
Pepper to taste
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350*. Heat oil over medium. Add carrots and onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Add rice and stir until coated with oil. Add broth, chickpeas, agave syrup, cinnamon, salt, and pepper, stir. Increase heat to bring liquid to a simmer. Transfer to a baking dish, cover and place in the oven. Bake until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 25 minutes. Top with almonds and serve.

So I made half the recipe since it was just me and my "eats like a bird" kid eating that night. We barely made a dent in it anyway though and I was able to freeze 3 cups of leftovers. It makes a LOT. When it came out of the oven, I put it on our plates, and THEN sprinkled more cinnamon and drizzled more agave syrup. Just a bit, but enough to give it a lovely sweet taste. I just wasn't feeling the "sweet" with the stated amount of sweetener. Oh, Adrian picked out the almonds, but I still consider it a winner. If the offending ingredient can easily be picked out, I consider it a success anyway. I served this with salad, since the veggie content was so low. This can definitely be served alone though...just add a few more carrots and maybe celery. I think celery would be excellent in this!

Corn Dog Muffins

This is a kid-pleaser. I can't find vegetarian corn dogs locally and they are my son's very favorite food. This is a little healthier and of course, meat-free. Vegetarian hot dogs aren't the most delicious things on the planet, but I truly do enjoy them baked into corn muffins. They have a better texture than when you just heat them up and throw them on a bun.


1/4 cup + 2 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/8 cup canola oil
Vegan soy hot dogs (I use 4, but you can use more or less)

Preheat oven to 400*. Grease a muffin tin. Mix all dry ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients, except hot dogs. Slice hot dogs lengthwise, then in chunks. Mix hot dogs into the batter. Scoop batter into muffin cups, about 3/4 full. Bake 15-18 minutes.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chickpea Nuggets

Yummy finger food! These are shaped like chicken nuggets but have nowhere near the same texture or taste. They are very flavorful and a little soft on the inside, but hold their shape very well. I dipped them in ketchup and enjoyed every second of it. ;-)


1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 of a medium sized onion
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp milled flax seed mixed with 3-4 tbsp of water
Italian seasoning to taste
Salt and pepper
Bread crumbs
Flour for dusting

Whiz the onion and garlic in a food processor or blender until it's finely chopped. Add the chickpeas and blend until the beans have broken down. Scrape mixture into a bowl and add the flax seed mixture along with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to taste. Add enough bread crumbs until it holds together and retains it's shape when molded. Make nugget shapes and dust lightly in flour. Fry several minutes on each side over medium heat. Dry on paper towels. Makes about 12-14 nuggets.

I haven't tried these out on my 5 year old yet. If I'm up front that it's NOT like regular chicken nuggets, he probably won't balk when he bites into one. At first I was a little shocked at the texture. I wasn't expecting it to be quite so soft, but once I got past that, they were really, really good. I have some pretty serious texture "issues" (one reason you won't see tofu recipes on here) so if I didn't gag on the soft texture, you won't either, if you're more normal than me (or at least AS normal as me).

I plan on playing around with this one a little, maybe adding vital wheat gluten to get a "meatier" texture, and probably baking them instead of frying them. Updates to come!

This recipe came from my friend, Melissa. Her daughters loved them!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oat Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

Your usual chocolate chip cookies made with out flour so they are a little healthier.


1 3/4 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup dairy-free chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375*. Stir together the oat flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk together the flax seed and milk. Add the brown sugar and sugar in the flax mixture and stir. Add oil and vanilla and whisk until combined. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until batter forms. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop batter by tablespoons onto an ungreased cookie sheet, leaving 1 1/2" between cookies. Bake 10-12 minutes.

I still prefer regular chocolate chip cookies, but these are delicious in their own way and you get a touch of whole grain as well.

I believe this one came from 500 Vegan Recipes.

Lentil Dahl

This is another great Indian dish. It goes well over basmati rice. When I made it, I did the Vegetables Korma at the same time and just piled everything on my plate separately. That works too.


1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 tsp ground cumin seed
1 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp red pepper, crushed
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups cauliflower florets, chopped
2 cups tomatoes, chopped
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup dried lentils
2 tbsp lime juice
3/4 tsp salt

Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger, cumin, turmeric, red pepper, and garlic and saute 2 minutes. Add cauliflower and tomatoes and saute 1 minute. Stir in water and lentils and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35-40 minutes. Stir in lime juice and salt.

I found this on the internet, but lost the link. If this is yours, let me know and I'll properly credit you. :-)

Chickpea Crunchies

There are a bunch of recipes for this all over. I think I originally found it posted by someone of and just did my own prefered seasoning blend.


1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
seasoning salt
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 400*. Blot chickpeas dry. Season to taste. Bake 30-40 minutes, lowering the tem to 325-350* in the last 10 minutes to prevent burning.

Use whatever seasonings you like! This is a very yummy, high protein, low fat snack.

Chocolate Syrup

I was very sad to give up my Ovaltine when I went dairy-free. I was using Hershey's syrup for a while, until I became aware that high fructose corn syrup was not something I wanted to be ingesting. I wasn't thrilled with the flavor anyway. I came across this recipe for chocolate syrup and it is amazing! Stir it into milk or top a sundae or banana split with it. Or just eat it with a spoon. Whatever. It's still very high in sugar, so you can't go too crazy on it, but at least you can pronounce all the ingredients.


1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a 2 quart saucepan, mix cocoa and water with a whisk or a fork. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally. Add the sugar and continue to stir until sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and boil a full 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add the salt and vanilla, stirring to blend.. Pour the syrup into a pint-sized canning jar (or anything else you have handy). Store in the fridge.

It amazes me that people think I deprive myself because I choose not to eat meat or dairy. This little sundae was delicious!

Recipe credit goes to Hillbilly Housewife.

Lentil Mini-loaves

You will discover that lentils are one of my very best friends. They go SO well in so many things! They are super cheap and high in protein. They have a mild flavor, so they can take on the other flavors of the dish rather than making everything taste like, well, lentils. This is a great dish when you want something to go alongside potatoes and veggies. It's something you can eat when you want that "down home" style meal in front of you. This recipe is my very own, but there are many on the internet that are very similar. If you think I've copied yours, I'm very sorry. I really did play with this endlessly to get it just right to suit my tastes.


1 cup lentils, rinsed and sorted
1/2 onion, diced
1 cup oatmeal
4 tbsp milled flax seed
1-2 gloves of garlic, minced
Ketchup, salt, and italian seasoning to taste

Cook lentils until very tender, drain. Preheat oven to 350*. Saute onion and garlic in a little oil for 3-5 minutes. Mash lentils and combine with oatmeal in a large bowl. Add garlic, onion, salt, ketchup, flax seed, and seasoning. Mix with your hands and press mixture into a greased muffin tin. Top with extra ketchup. Bake for 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving. Makes about 10-12 loaves.

I prefer mini-loaves, but you can certainly do it the traditional way, in a loaf pan. You can also use rice instead of oatmeal, but I feel rice doesn't hold it together nearly as well.

Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cookies

Time for more dessert! This alone was worth what I paid for the Veganomicon book. My 5 year old adores them and asks for them by name. His favorite used to be chocolate chip but those just don't even compare now. Check the ingredients in your raspberry preserves. Many have high fructose corn syrup. If you don't have almond extract, that's fine. It is equally good without it, even if the flavor s slightly different. Just double the vanilla.


1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350*. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a large mixing bowl, stir together raspberry preserves, sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract. In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients. Add the dry to the wet in 3 batches, mixing well each time. You will need to work it with your hands at the end, as it should be the consistency of playdough. Roll the dough into walnut-size balls and flatten into 2 1/2" disks. Place on a cookie sheet only 1/2" apart (they don't spread much. Bake 10 minutes. Makes about 24 cookies.

As long as you don't over cook these, they stay chewy for a few days. If you make them smaller or larger than the recipe calls for, adjust the baking time by a minute or so in either direction; less for smaller cookies and more for bigger cookies. Share them with your friends and family because if you leave them sitting on your counter, you WILL eat like 10 of them!

Lentil Tacos

This is another easy dish, especially if you cook lentils in big batches and freeze them in portions. You can also wrap these in burritos or make a taco salad. They are a great substitute for soy meat, which is expensive.


2 cups cooked lentils
Taco seasoning (packaged or homemade)
Diced onions
Taco shells (or tortillas)
Shredded lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Taco sauce
Tofutti sour cream

Saute onion in oil about 3-5 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning, cook 5-10 minutes. Serve with shells and toppings.

The toppings are variable of course. I think in that picture I also had some frozen corn I heated up. I don't like sour cream, but Tofutti is dairy-free if that interests you. I like my spanish rice on the side, not as a topping and that is optional as well.

Pasta with White Beans and Zucchini

This is one of my super easy dishes when I just don't have the time or the energy for something fancier. It's loaded with nutrition, especially if you add a small salad to the side. I tried this one day after having tried a Kashi microwave dinner. I wasn't impressed with the quality of the dinner (especially for $5!) but I was able to see how well white beans and zucchini went with it, when I otherwise wouldn't have thought to combine all of these particular ingredients.


8-10 oz of dry pasta
2-3 cups of homemade or jarred spaghetti sauce
1 can of small white beans, drained and rinsed
3 small or 2 medium zuchinni, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 small onion, diced

Cook pasta according to directions and drain. In a medium saucepan, heat a little oil over medium. Add onion and zucchini and cook until tender. Add sauce and beans and heat thoroughly. Spoon sauce over pasta.

I prefer whole wheat pasta. It's a little chewier, but the trade off in nutrition can't be beat. I'm much more wary of refined grains than I used to be. Since I've cut back on them, my once crazy blood sugar stabilized almost overnight. You can make it even healthier by use cooked dry beans and making your own sauce. This is my "lazy" dish though, so I just make sure to pick a jarred sauce that has very little sugar and sodium in it and never, ever high fructose corn syrup. Rinsing beans thoroughly does help with the sodium content. If you like mushrooms or squash or anything else, try adding that as well.

Green Smoothie

This is the single most important thing I eat almost every day. I don't love greens. I can eat plenty of broccoli, but kale, spinach, and collard greens? Not so much. I can eat a little spinach in a salad, but I'm not a huge salad fan and the amount of spinach is negligible. In a smoothie I can fit 2 full, packed cups of greens and not even flinch.

I started out with less spinach while I acquired a taste for the smoothie, which doesn't have any added sweeteners. So if you aren't sure about it, start low and work your way up. I use my Magic Bullet blender for this, which is perfect for a good-sized 16 oz drink. You can use any blender of course, but you have to watch how much of each thing you use, or you may end up with a 32 oz smoothie, which is more than any person should drink, unless you want to spend all morning running to the bathroom to pee over and over again (yes, I know from first-hand experience). I chop and freeze my fruit in advance, as soon as my bananas and strawberries start to turn. You don't want to use barely ripe fruit because it won't be sweet enough to cover the taste of the spinach. And never EVER use frozen spinach! Blech...


Spinach (a little or a lot)
1 medium banana, peeled, chopped, and frozen
1/2 cup of chopped strawberries, frozen
3/4 cup of non-dairy milk (I prefer almond)

Rinse your spinach and stuff it into the cup. Add the milk and twist on the cross blade lid. Blend for a minute or so, or until there are only small specks of spinach left. Take off the lid and add half the fruit. Replace the lid and blend until there is no more grinding sound and only a whirring sound. Repeat with the remaining fruit. Use a little more milk to thin it out if needed. The frozen fruit gives it a wonderfully frozen, creamy texture and you don't have to add ice, which just takes up space without adding nutrition.


You can, of course, play around with the ingredients, based on your preferences. I find the frozen banana to be necessary because of the texture it gives it and also because the flavor is strong and overpowers the spinach. Toss in any kind of berries. I've used peaches before. Try any other greens. Kale is especially nutritious. Add a little ground or whole flax seed if you don't mind a little crunch (I don't like it myself, but many people do). Add in any very nutritious fruits and veggies you don't prefer and otherwise wouldn't get enough of. I find it makes greens SO much more palatable and now I get plenty of them.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Meaty" Ravioli

For the longest time I was craving a good, beefy ravioli, like the kind that comes in a can and is extremely unhealthy for you. As disgusting as that is, that's exactly what I wanted. I looked all over online and could not find a vegetarian or vegan version. So I got brave one day and gave it a shot and ended up pleasantly surprised! Soy meat came in handy for this one.

I've heard the best way to make ravioli is to use square won ton wrappers, but all I've found are ones with egg in them. If you are fine with egg, give that a shot and save yourself a lot of trouble!



1 cup flour (semolina or other)
1/2 cup water
pinch of salt


1/2 cup Boca crumbles
2 cups of fresh spinach, washed and shredded
Oregano and parsley to taste
Finely minced garlic and onion (optional)
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp milled flax seed
1/8 cup spaghetti sauce plus more for pouring over the top

Saute the filling ingredients over medium heat in a little oil until heated through and spinach is wilted. Let cool a few minutes, then pulse in the blender a few times to break up larger chunks and make the filling a little pasty. Put it back in the skillet and heat through again. Set aside.

Combine ingredients for the dough. Knead several times, then roll out very thin. Use more flour if needed. Use a cup to cut out circles about 4" across. Fill each one with 1-1 1/2 tbsp of filling. Fold the circle over and press the edges with a fork. Repeat until you run out of dough. Makes about 8-10 ravioli.

Boil water and cook 4-5 ravioli at a time with 1 tbsp of oil to prevent sticking. Cook 5 minutes. Strain well and top with additional sauce.

I have no idea what that little gray speck is so please ignore it. There was no gray speck in the actual finished product!

Banana Wheat Germ Muffins

Mmmmm....muffins. They make great snacks and picky kids almost always eat them, even if you put fruit and veggies in them! Make a batch and freeze the extras so you have muffins all the time!


1 cup plain soy milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup canola oil
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup wheat germ
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 375*. Lightly grease a muffin tin. Pour milk and the apple cider vinegar in a cup. Set aside to curdle. Mash bananas in a large mixing bowl. Add milk mixture, oil, sugar, and vanilla, mix well. In a separate bowl mix flour, wheat germ, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add to the banana mixture and stir until just moistened. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake 22 minutes.
Recipe credit goes to Veganomicon.

Bean Burgers

I don't love soy meat. It's ok from time to time, but it's an attempt to replicate the taste and texture of meat but it doesn't usually do a very good job. I prefer something that's good in it's OWN RIGHT, not because it succeeded in tasting like cow. Enter the bean burgers. :-) They don't attempt to taste like hamburger, but they are very yummy and give you that special satisfaction you only get from something hearty on a bun.

There are loads of recipes out there. I never did write one down. I got the gist of it from reading online and then just went to the kitchen and whipped them up. It's very easy and these are very customizable.


1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed or 1 1/2 cups of cooked dry beans
1/2 cup of oatmeal, give or take
barbecue sauce or ketchup
diced onion
minced garlic
milled flax seed
salt and pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, saute onion and garlic with a little oil, until onion is translucent. In a bowl, mash the beans with a fork and dump in all the ingredients, including the onion and garlic. The amounts of the other ingredients will vary based on your preferences. Work the bean mixture with your hands and form into 4-6 thin patties. Fry them in a skillet with a little oil about 5 minutes on each side. Serve on buns.

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Time for breakfast! With a hearty breakfast of pancakes, tots, and fruit, you won't even miss the fatty, greasy bacon!


1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup non-dairy milk
2 tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla

Stir together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center, set aside. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet ingredients to the dry all at once and stir until just combined. Heat a skillet over medium and spray with oil. Pour 1/4 cup of batter on the skillet and cook until bubbles form and edges are slightly dry. Flip and cook 1-2 more minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Makes about 8 pancakes.

Lessons I've learned the first few times I made these: 1) You can't substitute olive oil or vegetable oil for the canola oil. It tastes like crap. 2) If you accidentally dump baking soda instead of baking powder in the bowl of flour, throw it out and start over. No matter how hard you try, you can't get all of it out and it definitely matters. 3) Yes, the vanilla is necessary.

I honestly don't remember where I got this recipe from. If I remember, I'll be sure to update.

Magic Bullet Broccoli Soup

This recipe came from my Magic Bullet cookbook that came with the blender. It's great for an easy, light lunch. The instructions assume you have a microwave, which I do not. If you don't, just steam the broccoli on the stove and finish in the blender. Of course, this works if you have a different blender as well, you just may not be able to microwave steam it in the handy-dandy cup. :-)


3/4 cup broccoli florets
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup no-chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
Salt and pepper to taste

Add broccoli, garlic, and broth to the Tall Cup. Use the steamer top and microwave 2-3 minutes. Add milk and twist on the crossblade. Blend to desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sub asparagus for Asparagus Soup.

I also added whole steamed broccoli to give it some chunkiness and topped it with Bacos. I made Pillsbury cresent rolls to have on the side.

Cheezy Quackers

This recipe came from 500 Vegan Recipes, by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. The only thing I changed was I cut back on the salt a little. The recipe also said to use "prepared cookie sheets", whatever that means. I just put them straight onto the foil.

Nutritional yeast is interesting and it seems you either love it or hate it. It has an odd smell and while you are making this dough, and you may be turned off by it because it stinks. I won't lie. It smells like feet. But when it bakes it starts to smell wonderful towards the ends and gives the crackers a slightly cheesy flavor. If you really hate nutritional yeast and don't mind dairy, some Parmesan cheese might be great in this. I don't know for sure though!

This a great one to let the kids help with!

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
4 tbsp margarine
1/2 cup water or non-dairy milk

Combine the flour, nutritional yeast, pepper, and salt. Cut the margarine on top and combine with a fork until it looks like coarse meal. Add water 1 tbsp at a time until the dough forms. Roll dough out to 1/4" thick or less. Preheat oven to 350*. Cut out shapes using a very small cookie cutter. Place crackers on a cookie sheet. Bake 15-18 minutes.

Barbecue Seitan on a Bun

Seitan is awesome. It's sometimes called "wheat meat". It's made from vital wheat gluten and some other stuff and it has a very meaty texture, unlike tofu. It pretty much just soaks up the flavors of what's around it, so pile on the good stuff! This is very simple for one of those nights where you just don't feel like doing anything elaborate or time-consuming, or it could make a quick, easy lunch.


1 8 oz package of seitan
Bottled barbecue sauce
Hamburger or hoagie buns
A side of veggies or chips or anything that sounds good

Drain the seitan and shred it into a saucepan. Dump in some barbecue sauce and let it simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Prepare your side dishes. Spoon the seitan on your bun and enjoy! Now wasn't that easy?

Bruschetta with White Bean Paste, Tomato Chutney, and Reduced Balsamic Glaze

Yet another Vegetarian Time recipe. Really, I *just* started reading that magazine. Like 3 weeks ago. But they have some excellent recipes! I'll move onto other sources soon, I promise, and even some creations of my own.

I jumped at the chance to make this because bruschetta always looks SO good to me...but I hate olives. And so does my boyfriend. Well this one is olive-free and delicious!



1 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp non-refined cane sugar

White bean paste:

1 15 oz can of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, minced


4 Roma tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp finely chopped shallot
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp lime juice


16 slices of french baguette
2 tbsp olive oil

For the glaze, simmer vinegar and sugar in a saucepan over med-low heat until syrupy. Cool.

For the paste, blend all the ingredients in a blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

For the chutney, combine all ingredients in a bowl.

For the bruschetta, preheat grill (or oven...I set it to 400*). Brush slices with oil and grill or bake 2-3 minutes on each side. Tops with 1 tbsp of paste and 2 tbsp of chutney. Drizzle with glaze.

Vegetables Korma

I'm totally in love with Indian food. I'd never even tried it until I became a vegetarian. Isn't that sad? Everyone should eat it, vegetarian or not. It's delicious! And it's so incredibly versatile. Don't have cardamom? Toss in another spice. Don't have potatoes? Toss in cauliflower. Don't have basmati rice? Oh just serve it with regular old white rice. No one will judge you!

This one is meant to be easier in that you use frozen veggies instead of fresh. I still use fresh and just give them a quick steam before tossing them in. I used to only eat frozen veggies, but I've become a little spoiled recently and almost always prefer fresh.


1/2 cup basmati rice
2 medium tomatoes, cut into chunks
1/2 small white onion, cut into chunks
1 1/2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tsp curry powder
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp golden raisins
2 cups of frozen mixed veggies (green beans, cauliflower, carrots, lima beans, zucchini, ect)
1 7 oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp toasted, slivered almonds

Cook rice according to package directions. Puree tomatoes, onion, and ginger to a paste in the blender. Heat oil over medium heat. Add curry powder and cardamom and cook 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add tomato puree and raisins. Simmer 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Stir in veggies, chickpeas, and milk. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 6-7 minutes, until veggies are tender. Serve over rice and sprinkle with almonds.

Recipe credit goes to Vegetarian Times.

Iced Oatmeal Cookies

I gotta start off with a dessert. I LOVE sweets. There will be a lot of them in this blog. Before I became a vegetarian, I was 40 lbs overweight and it was very obvious that I like sweets. I've lost almost 25 lbs and I'm getting closer to my goal weight everyday....and I still enjoy my sweets! Many of them are healthier than what you would buy in the store. This one has flax seed instead of egg and applesauce instead of oil. Check your applesauce! Many brands have high fructose corn syrup, which is evil in disguise. I buy Mott's Natural.

If you don't have oat flour, just whiz some oats through the blender and store the extra in a baggie.

You'll want to start these cookies early, since the dough needs to chill in the fridge for a little while.


2 tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup oat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance, it's the *best* vegan margarine!)
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

For the icing:

3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Stir together the flax seed and 3 tbsp of water in a small bowl, set aside. Whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl, set aside. Beat margarine, brown sugar, and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add applesauce, vanilla, and flax seed mixture and beat until smooth. Stir in oat flour, then add oats and raisins and mix well. Cover and chill in the fridge 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350* and spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Roll cookie dough into golf ball sized balls and place them 1/2" apart. Flatten them with the back of a spatula. Bake 10-12 minutes. Whisk together the confectioner's sugar and lemon juice until smooth. It should be thick but spreadable. Gently brush icing onto hot cookies. Let cool 5 minutes.

Aren't they beautiful?! These stayed nice and soft for at least 24 hours. They are a little larger and don't make 2 dozen like many cookie recipes do. I got 8 out of half the recipe, so I'm guessing 16-18 for a full batch, unless you roll them smaller.

So the funny story behind this? When you store your leftover oat flour in a baggie in the cupboard, make sure it isn't sitting next to the heavily seasoned italian bread crumbs. Flavors leach right through the plastic, leaving your next batch of cookies tasting like pizza dough!

Recipe credit goes to Vegetarian Times.

So what do you eat?

This is the first thing many people ask when they find out what I *don't* eat. I'm a vegetarian and I also don't eat dairy and I limit my egg consumption. I may go vegan one day but I don't know. To the typical American, this diet seems severely lacking and boring. But my diet is more varied, interesting, and flavorful than it ever was when I ate meat! I used to think meals revolved around that hunk of flesh on my plate. Veggies and grains were an afterthought. I've done a complete 180. Now I go to my fridge and say, "I have a big head of cauliflower...what can I make with it?" There's a lot of delicious food to be had and it's easy to come up with new and exciting dishes when your plate doesn't revolve around beef, chicken, pork, or fish. Those 4 choices get boring mighty fast.

So here's my blog. I'd been posting all of this to Facebook, but there's so much more I want to write! My friends often ask me for recipes...well here they are! And maybe even a story or two behind each dish. And each one will come with a review with my own comments, of course, but I don't plan on posting any I didn't personally try and love.