Friday, December 31, 2010

Five-Story Bean Dip

If you're invited to a party and want to take something other than wine, here is a great dip idea. All the different layers give this dish a very interesting flavor. I would suggest assembling it in a lower dish for easier dipping. A glass dish would be perfect, allowing all the layers to be easily admired:)

Five-Story Bean Dip: Party Vegan cookbook: Robin Robertson

1 1/2 cups cooked or 1 (15-oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 cups tomato salsa, well drained
1 cup guacamole
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
1 (4-oz) can diced mild green chiles
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp. salt
4 green onions, finely chopped
1 ripe tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup sliced pitted black olives
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Tortilla chips, for serving

In a medium bowl, mash the beans with the chili powder. Add 1/2 cup of salsa and mix well to combine. Spread the bean mixture on the bottom of a glass bowl or in a circular shape on a platter. Spread the guacamole on top, followed by the remaining 1 cup salsa.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, chiles, lime juice, and salt. Mix well. Spread the sour cream mixture on top of the salsa.

In a separate small bowl, combine the green onions, tomato, and olives. Spread the vegetable mixture on top of the sour cream mixture and sprinkle with the cilantro. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving. Best if eaten same day that it is made.


We originally made these brownies to take to our good friends holiday party, unfortunately we didn't make it to the party but thought we'd share the recipe. We're always trying out new brownie recipes, after all, who doesn't love a good brownie!

Chocolate Lover's Brownies: Party Vegan cookbook- Robin Robertson
1/1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup plain or vanilla soy/almond milk
1/4 cup neutral vegetable oil
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8-inch. square baking pan

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, maple syrup, soy milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula. Don't over mix. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. Bake for 35 min. Cool for 30 min. in the pan.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quesadilla Bites

Not every picture can be a dazzler, but we wanted to show the variety of vegan food that can be made easily. Quesadillas are a great weekday meal and can be stuffed with all sorts of ingredients. We started with a layer of doctored up re-fried beans, then chiles, caramelized onions and finished with a sprinkling of almond cheese. Put a little oil or soy butter into a hot pan then cook until a bit crispy. Slather a bit of soy sour cream on top .... and that's all she wrote, literally.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

French Chocolate Bark - Ina Garten

A few years ago my parents decided that they didn't want to do a big present exchange over the holidays, so I started making little goodie baskets. My uncle, who is a bachelor, also gets in on the holiday basket gift. I usually make a banana or cranberry loaf, then scatter the basket with all sorts of treats. Every year I try to make a few new items to keep things fresh. This chocolate bark is a new recipe - I think it will be a hit. As usually, I didn't have the exact ingredients so I used dried orange/cranberry, apricots and cashews.

French Chocolate Bark - Ina Garten

1 cup whole salted, roasted cashews
6-7 oz. vegan semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (Trader Joe's Brand is vegan)
6-7 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup dried crystallized ginger, 1/2 inch diced
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried apricots, 1/2 inch diced
1/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a pencil, draw a 9x10" rectangle on a piece of parchment paper placed on a sheet pan, then turn the parchment paper over.
Spread cashews in one layer on another sheet pan and bake for 8 min. Set aside to cool.

Place the semisweet chocolate and half the bittersweet chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave high for 20-30 seconds. Stir with a rubber spatula. Continue to heat and stir in 30-sec. increments until the chocolate is just melted. Immediately add the remaining bittersweet chocolate and allow it to sit at room temperature, stirring often, until it's completely smooth. Stir vigorously until the chocolate is smooth and slightly cooled; stirring makes it glossier.

Pour the melted chocolate onto the parchment paper and spread it lightly into the drawn rectangle. Sprinkle the top evenly in the following order: first ginger, then cooled whole cashews, cherries, apricots and raisins. Set aside for 1-2 hours until firm. Cut bark in 18-20 pieces.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup

It's always nice to have several Tomato soup recipes on hand and this recipe is especially nice because it contains chickpeas, which adds thickness and also provides protein. If you prefer your soup chunky, just blend half the soup leaving some chickpeas whole. An emulsion blender is a perfect way to get the texture just right and is less cleanup than a blender.

Spicy Tomato Chickpea Soup
- Vegan Yum Yum cookbook: Lauren Ulm

2-3 T. vegetable oil
1 sweet onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. chili flakes
1/2 t. mustard seeds
1/2 t. turmeric
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 t. salt
2 T. nutritional yeast (optional)
1 cup hot water
black pepper to taste

Heat oil in large skillet with high sides. Add the onion and saute for 2-3 min. until softened. Add the garlic, cumin and chili flakes and stir for another minute.

Add the mustard seeds, turmeric, and drained chickpeas. Saute until the chickpeas begin to turn golden.

Add the tomatoes and salt and let simmer for 10-15 min. until the tomatoes are cooked.

Transfer the mixture -all or half of it - to a blender. Add the nutritional yeast and hot water and blend until smooth. Blend in batches if you can't fit everything at the same time. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hummus Muffins- For Dogs

Soooo, we decided to stay inside on this cold winter's day which inspired us to make some baked goods. Unfortunately for Kevin, the dogs were the lucky receivers of the hot out-of-the oven, delectable treats. I guess, these little goodies could be eaten by humans but I'm sure the pups will be keeping a close eye on them!  There are so many fun vegan dog treats in this cookbook, I highly recommend it!

Doggie Hummus Muffins: It's a Vegan Dog's Life cookbook: Molly (

1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 T. ground flax
1 T. hulled hemp seed (optional) - I didn't use
1 t. baking soda
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup chickpeas, mashed
2 T. canola oil
1 1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray mini muffin pans with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, combine flours, flax, hemp seed, nutritional yeast and baking soda. Add oil, tahini, chickpeas and water, mixing well. The batter will be thick. Scoop batter into the muffin pans and bake for 20-30 minutes. Remove and let cool completely before serving.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fried Chickpeas With Chorizo and Spinach

Patrick found this recipe in in the New York Times. The Chorizo gives it a nice kick along with a hint of color. Trader Joe's carries Soy Chorizo which is ground not firm but works perfectly. You could actually have this for dinner with a big chunk of bread. The meal is loaded with protein and all sorts of good nutrients.

Fried Chickpeas With Chorizo and Spinach

1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Salt and black pepper

2 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, as dry as possible

4 ounces soy chorizo (I used Trader Joe's soy chorizo which is in a casing but crumbled)

1/2 pound spinach, roughly chopped

1/4 cup sherry

1 to 2 cups bread crumbs.

1. Heat the broiler.

2. Put three tablespoons of the oil in a skillet large enough to hold chickpeas in one layer over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add chickpeas and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until chickpeas begin to brown, about 10 minutes, then add chorizo. Continue cooking for another 5 to 8 minutes or until chickpeas are crisp; use a slotted spoon to remove chickpeas and chorizo from pan and set aside.

4. Add the remainder of the 1/4 cup of oil to the pan; when it’s hot, add spinach and sherry, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook spinach over medium-low heat until very soft and the liquid has evaporated. Add chickpeas and chorizo back to the pan and toss quickly to combine; top with bread crumbs, drizzle with a bit more oil and run pan under the broiler to lightly brown the top. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 4 servings.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad w/Warm Cider Vinaigrette-Barefoot Contessa

I've made this salad on several occasions and everyone always gobbles it up. You can make it with whatever greens you have on hand, I used Romaine this time but prefer baby arugula. Not sure if Squash is still readily available -- which is the best way to go. I defrosted some Squash that was already cut up but it got a bit soggy.

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with warm Cider Vinaigrette -

1 (1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled and 3/4" diced
olive oil
1 T. pure maple syrup
salt & pepper
3 T. dried cranberries
1/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. minced shallots
2 t. Dijon mustard
4 oz. baby arugula, washed and spun dry
1/2 cup walnut halves, toasted (in med. sauce pan/med heat/4-5 min/tossing frequently)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Place the squash on a sheet pan. Add 2 T. olive oil, maple syrup, 1 t. salt, and 1/2 t. pepper - toss. Roast the squash for 15-20 min, turning once, until tender. Add the cranberries to the pan for the last 5 min.

While the squash is roasting, combine the apple cider, vinegar, and shallots in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook for 6-8 min. until the cider is reduced to about 1/4 cup. Off the heat, whisk in the mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1 t. salt and 1/2 t. pepper.

Place the arugula in a large salad bowl and add the roasted squash mixture and walnuts. Spoon just enough vinaigrette over the salad to moisten, and toss well. Sprinkle with S&P. Serve immediately.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tofu Omelets- "Vegan Brunch" Cookbook

Tofu Omelets: Vegan Brunch cookbook: Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Omelets .... what a perfect way to warm up your tummy and give you energy to shovel all that Michigan snow.

The omelet is made with chickpea flour which gives the tofu fluffiness and an egglike taste. Nutritional yeast adds color as well as savory flavor. Black Salt, which is an Indian salt, has a sulfuric taste that is reminiscent of egg yolks. I added it to the filling as well as the batter.

Be creative with the fillings. My filling consists of spinach, onions, black olives, tempeh bacon and vegan mozzarella cheese. The filling was cooked in a separate pan and heated up before being added to the omelet.

2 garlic cloves (optional)
1 lb. Silken Tofu - firm
2 T. nutritional yeast (which can be purchased at Wholefoods or health food stores)
2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. turmeric
1 t. fine black salt (plus extra for sprinkling on top - optional)
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1 T. arrowroot or cornstarch

In food processor, chop up the garlic and add tofu, nutritional yeast, olive oil, turmeric and black salt. Puree until smooth. Add the chickpea flour and arrowroot and puree again for about 10 seconds, until combined. Make sure to scrape down the sides so that everything is well incorporated. **NOTE: if batter looks too thick, add up to 1/4 cup of water.

Preheat large, heavy-bottomed, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly grease the pan with either cooking spray or a very thin layer of oil. (The less oil the better for the nice brown speckles). Also, make sure that you use a large skillet, as you need room to spread out the omelet and to get your spatula under there to flip.

In 1/2-cup increments, pour the omelet batter into the skillet. Use the back of the spatula to spread the batter out into about 6-inch circles.
Let the batter cook for about 3-5 minutes before flipping. The top of the omelet should dry and become matte yellow when it's ready to be flipped.
Flip the omelet and cook for about a minute on the other side.

After approximately a 1 min., I filled the omelet with my warm filling then folded it. Sprinkle with a touch more of the black salt (optional) and there you have it.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I had the pleasure of celebrating my mom's 80th birthday with her today. We shopped, lunched and just appreciated our time together. After eating much too much, I got the Vita-Mix out and made a smoothie with whatever I had in the freezer/fridge. The smoothie is made up of pear, apple, banana, raspberries, celery, parsley, pomegranate and a spoon full of almond butter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Soy Ice Cream & Pomegranate

I'm not a huge sweet fan but I discovered a good combo that's also healthy! Vanilla Soy Ice Cream topped with Pomegranate Seeds and juice - and no baking. Everything in moderation, right?

Split Pea Soup with Tempeh Bacon and Chipotle Cream

This is a hearty, feel good soup, perfect for winter.
Because I didn't have Chipotle on hand, I just used plain Cashew Cream. It made it thick, rich and creamy. I'm learning to move forward and improvise when I don't have all the ingredients on hand. This recipe is from The Conscious Cook cookbook that was featured on Oprah last year. Enjoy!

Split Pea Soup: The Conscious Cook cookbook: Tal Ronnen

Sea Salt
4 T. Earth Balance
2 shallots, minced
1 large carrot, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. chopped fresh rosemary
1 t. bay leaf
1 t. smoked paprika
5 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups split peas, rinsed
ground pepper
2 t. canola oil
4 slices tempeh bacon
Chipotle Cream or Cashew Cream (recipe follows)

Place large stockpot over med. heat. Sprinkle bottom with pinch of salt and heat for 1 min.
Add the Earth Balance and stir until melted, being careful not to let it burn. This will create non stick effect.

Add shallots, leeks, carrot, and garlic and saute for 5 min. Add the rosemary, bay leaf and paprika and continue cooking for 2 min. Add the stock and split peas and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tempeh bacon and fry on both sides until crisp. Cool, then coarsely crumble. Serve the soup garnished with the Chipotle Cream and tempeh bacon. ( I chopped up the bacon and added into soup along with 1/4-1/2 cup regular Cashew Cream).

Chipotle Cream:
1/4 cup vegan mayo
1/2 cup thick cashew cream (recipe to follow)
1/2 canned chipotle in adobo sauce
sea salt and black pepper
juice of 1 lime

Cashew Cream: 1 cup whole raw cashews ( I used salted because I had on hand))
soak cashews over night (I only soaked a couple hours due to time)
Put cashews in blender and add water just to cover.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Tinker's homemade dog food

Tinker's Homemade Dog Food

We adopted Tinker (10+ years) in August. She was in bad shape when we took her in but with a little TLC and healthy meals, she looks and acts like a puppy again. We make raw food and add to store bought food. We make their food with beans, veggies, nutritional yeast and anything else yummy that we have on hand.

Friday Taco Night


I used Smart Ground original veggie protein crumbles from Hollywood Market for a meat source and fried it up with lots of olive oil and Trader Joe's taco seasoning. It's important to use lots of oil!
Just add lettuce, vegan cheese, green onions, tomatoes and whola! Pair the tacos with a side black beans mixed with corn, green onion, lime juice and salt.