Saturday, December 31, 2011

Pecan Balls

To our delight, my mom has started making these cookies Vegan and loading them up with lots of chopped Pecans. She has been making these little gems for 50 plus years -- bless her heart!   As you will see, the sugar content is light which makes the pecan flavor stronger, but you can always add more or roll them in sugar once baked.

Pecan Balls – Helen Lantz

2            cups all purpose flour
¼            cup sugar
½            teaspoon salt
1            cup soy butter (softened)
2            teaspoons vanilla extract
2            cups minced or finely chopped Pecans

Sift together in medium bowl, flour, sugar and salt.

Add soy butter and vanilla extract.  Work with spoon or hands until well blended.

Add pecans.  Shape into 1 “ balls.  Assemble on un-oiled cookie sheet.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 25 minutes or until brown.

***For sweeter cookie, roll cookies, while still warm, in sugar.
Makes approx. 4 ½ dozen

Friday, December 30, 2011

Holiday Prep

Paige is on the "look out" for grandma and grandpa's arrival while Tinker assists me in the kitchen!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chickpea & Pumpkin fritters

Toasted Pumpkin Chickpea Fritters  ( is such a great, resourceful site for Vegan recipes, information and articles.  Kathy Patalsky creates her own recipes as well as photographs her beautiful creations.  This recipe really caught my eye and can be made as an appetizer or light meal with a side salad.  The only change I made to her recipe was to use ground flax seed instead of Hemp – only because that’s what I had on hand.
Check out her Blog --  it’s really a fun site!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Pear and Fennel Salad

Whenever I’m at the market and I spot Fennel, I usually put in in my cart without a thought as to what I’m going to do with it.  I like the IDEA of cooking with fennel but really don’t know too many recipes that call for it.  When eaten raw, it has a strong licorice flavor so I prefer cooking it.   I scoured the web for a salad recipe with Fennel and Pears and found this one.  **After I removed the walnuts from the oil, I added a bit of brown sugar and chili powder to the walnuts for a little kick.

Roast Pear and Fennel Salad
The Washington Post, November 17, 2004
Roasting pear and fennel simultaneously concentrates and mellows their flavor. Use only perfectly ripe pears; the heat of the oven may soften underripe fruit but it cannot conjure sweetness.  Since I was cooking for only two of us, I just used 1 fennel and 1 pear.
6 to 8 servings
For the salad
            2 ripe Bosc pears
            2 medium bulbs fennel (about 1 pound)
            1 tablespoon olive oil
For the vinaigrette
            1/2 cup (2 ounces) walnut halves or chopped walnuts
            8 tablespoons olive oil
            3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, preferably aged
            1 to 2 tablespoon maple syrup
            Freshly ground black pepper
For the salad: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Adjust 2 oven racks to the middle and lower-third positions. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.
Quarter the unpeeled pears lengthwise, remove and discard the cores and then, using a sharp knife or a mandoline, carve each quarter into slices about 1/4 inch thick.
Trim the stems from the fennel, cut out the cores and remove the tough outer layers. Slice the fennel lengthwise into thin, sickle-shaped slices or crosswise into round slices between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick.
Place the pear slices on 1 sheet, drizzle with about 1/2 tablespoon oil, season lightly with salt and toss or turn to coat. Place the fennel on 1 sheet, drizzle with about 1/2 tablespoon oil, season lightly with salt and toss or turn to coat.
Roast the pear and fennel, turning the slices once, until they turn splotchy golden brown at the edges and across some of the surface, 15 to 25 minutes, depending on the thickness. The fennel will probably be done before the pear. Watch carefully; the slices go from golden to burnt in a matter of minutes. Set aside to cool slightly or to room temperature.
For the vinaigrette: While the pears and fennel are roasting, in a skillet over medium heat, heat the walnuts and oil, shaking the skillet occasionally, just until warmed, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the walnuts to a plate; reserve the oil. If desired, chop the walnuts. Set the walnuts and oil aside to cool.
Strain the cooled oil into a bowl. Add the vinegar and syrup to taste. If desired, season with salt and pepper to taste.
To assemble, divide the pears and fennel among individual plates, alternating slices. (You may not care to use all of the fennel.) Scatter some walnuts over the slices and drizzle with the vinaigrette. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Cast-Iron Apple Cobbler

This Apple Cobbler pairs perfectly with a scoop of Purely Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert.

Cast-Iron Apple Cobbler

1.5         cups flour, divided
12          cups thinly sliced peeled apples (recipe suggests Fuji)
2/3         sugar, divided
2            tablespoons soy butter, melted
2            teaspoons vanilla extract
¾           teaspoon salt, divided
½           teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼           teaspoon nutmeg
½           cup water
2            teaspoons baking powder
1/3         cup chilled soy butter, cut into small pieces
1            cup low-fat vegan buttermilk  (1 cup nut or soy milk with teaspoon apple cider vinegar)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Combine ½ cup flour, apple, ½  cup sugar, 2 tablespoons soy butter, vanilla, ½ teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large bowl, tossing well. Spoon into a large cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven.    Add ½ cup water.

Combine remaining 1 cup flour, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; cut in the ¼ cup soy butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Add soy buttermilk; stir until just moist. Drop batter by tablespoonfuls over apple mixture.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour or until bubbly and browned.  Serve warm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

This soup turned out really thick but just add a little water or vegetable stock to thin it to your liking.  The homemade croutons are a must!

Squash Soup – Ina Garten (modified)

2            tablespoons soy butter       
2            tablespoons oil
2            cups onions
1            Butternut Squash – diced
15 oz.    pumpkin puree
3            cups vegetable stock
2            teaspoons salt
½           teaspoon pepper
1            cup soy/rice or almond    milk  (added after soup is blended)
              Homemade Croutons

Croutons:  Melt 1 T. soy butter,  cut up bread in big chunks and scatter on baking sheet. Drizzle soy margarine on all pieces.  Add salt and pepper and broil until crispy.

In large soup pot, add diced onion to oil.  Cook until onions are soft.  Add diced Butternut Squash and cook with onions for 10 min.  All vegetable stock and cook until Squash is tender.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Let soup cool a bit then puree.  Add one cup soy, rice or almond milk.  Top with homemade croutons.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Luscious Raspberry Parfaits

I'd much rather indulge in a fruity dessert than a chocolate dessert, which Kevin just doesn't understand. This makes a nice dessert for a dinner party, or for secret snacking at midnight.

**Web address for recipe below picture.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Split Pea and Zucchini Soup

Split Pea and Zucchini Soup (Best-Ever Vegetarian CB)

2            cups dried yellow split peas
1            medium onion, finely chopped
              olive oil
1            tablespoon soy butter
2            medium zucchini, finely chopped (reserve handful)
½           baking potato, diced
6            cups vegetable stock
½           teaspoon ground turmeric
              salt and pepper to taste

Cook onion in oil and soy butter, cover pot and cook until soft.  Reserve handful of zucchini to use later. Add remaining zucchini, and rinsed yellow split peas.  Add touch of salt and sauté for 5-7 minutes.  Add stock, turmeric, and diced potato.  Reduce heat, cover an simmer for 40 minutes.  Turn off heat and let cool down, add salt and pepper to taste.  Puree soup and add reserved zucchini to each bowl.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter Garden Polenta

Comfort food at its best!

Winter Garden Polenta (modified from Better Homes & Gardens recipe)

½           cup oil-packed dried tomatoes
5            cups boiling water
1 ½        cups coarse polenta or cornmeal
½           cup soy parmesan cheese
1            tsp. dried basil, crushed
¼           tsp. crushed red pepper
              garlic powder
½           onion, sliced
1            8  oz. pkg. sliced fresh mushrooms
4            cups packaged fresh baby spinach
1            Tbl. soy margarine

Drain tomatoes, reserving 1 T. oil.  Chop tomatoes and set aside.

Boil 5 cups water then add cornmeal, slowly.  Stir constantly to avoid lumps.
Once smooth and creamy, add tablespoon soy margarine, basil, red pepper, a
dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper and reserved tablespoon of dried tomato oil.

In separate pan, cook sliced onion in oil until caramelized.  Set aside.  Add a bit more oil and cook mushrooms and spinach.  Add salt & Pepper.

Plate Polenta, top with mushroom/spinach mixture and finish with caramelized onions.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Kale Chips

There are many different types of seasoning you can add to the Kale or you can keep it pretty basic with just salt and pepper.  I like baking the Kale because it's so quick but I've also used a dehydrator.

Kale Chips  (baked)

1       bundle kale, torn to chip sized piece
         olive oil – or olive oil spray
         kosher salt, or other seasoning like Spike
         Version:  try sprinkle of red wine vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet and kale pieces very lightly with olive oil spray.

Sprinkle lightly with Kosher salt.

Bake until edges turn slightly brown and chips appear crispy.

Note:  If you want to keep this snack raw, you can place on a dehydrator tray for 8 – 10 hours.