For some reason, I thought this would be one of those recipes that makes you sigh a heavy sigh once it’s finally done, and you finally get to sit down and enjoy it. Instead, it seemed too easy. When we … Continue reading →
These cookies are legitimately one of my favorite recipes for chocolate chip cookies, if not the absolute best, I’ve ever tasted. And it’s vegan! And you do well to freeze the dough before baking: and since it’s vegan, let’s just say it’s guilt-free enjoyment if you aren’t up for baking or just want some doughy goodness. Being pregnant, that means I find this even more exciting than the average Joe. No salmonella fears! Just delight.
Anyways, it’s a recipe that I suppose has been adapted a good bit and improved in the process. The first time I made these, I didn’t really feel like standing there with my electric mixer for 4 minutes each of the two times you’re supposed to do that – but the second time, I sucked it up and waited and timed it. The first batch? Delicious, but pretty flat. The second? Wonderfully fluffy and with such volume you’d never guess it was egg-free. The first time I also toasted the nuts longer (the appropriate time!) and I think that added a bit more complexity of flavor and scrumptiousness. The second time, I used only whole wheat pastry flour and you can’t tell. So, slight adaptations may alter the taste a smidge, but I’ve been happy with every outcome.
All in all, I think vegans and non-vegans will both find this to be an incredible recipe. It does take a little more work than some other versions of chocolate chip cookies, but it’s not hard and it’s totally worth it. Let’s pretend I didn’t double the recipe this time, okay? 😉
My only beef (ha!) with the recipe is that the amounts of ingredients are listed pretty separately from the instructions, so you have to keep scrolling up and down and to see the right part as you go. Definitely not a bad complaint about a recipe, but I rewrote the directions below for you with the amounts easily viewed with the step, and my own pictures of the process.
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or butter), at room temperature
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (lightly packed)
1/2 tbsp egg replacer + 3 tbsp warm water, mixed [Bob’s Red Mill is good]
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste (or you can use another 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract)
3/4 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt, plus more for garnish (if desired)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and processed
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and processed
1/2-3/4 cup dark chocolate (chopped) or chocolate chips (I used chocolate chips)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and toast the cup of mixed nuts on a baking sheet for 8 minutes exactly; once they’ve cooled, grind them finely in a food processor.
Pecans and Walnuts! Yummm (pre-toasting)
2. In a small bowl, mix egg replacer and set aside (1/2 TBSP egg replacer with 3 TBSP warm water).
3. In a large bowl, use electric mixer to beat Earth Balance for 60 seconds. Add brown sugar (1/2 cup) and regular sugar (1/4 cup + 2 TSBP), and continue mixing until smooth – and for at least 4 minutes.
Before mixing for 4 minutes (with egg replacer mix in the background)...
After mixing... Possibly with the vanilla-"egg" mixture? Honestly, I forget. But you can tell the difference!
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients (3/4 cup white flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour OR 1 and 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour; 1/2 TSP salt; 3/4 TSP baking soda; 1/4 TSP baking powder). Gradually add into the wet, fluffy mixture, mixing so that it is all incorporated but not over mixed.
5. Fold and mix in chocolate chips and processed nuts with a spatula.
Folding in the vegan chocolate chips and processed nuts.
The delicious dough.
6. Portion out cookie dough into balls for freezing (I found using a heaping, round tablespoon measurer worked well for creating small, round cookie dough portions). I used aluminum foil, but if you have seran wrap that would be easiest, though you could also try just portion-ing them into a larger freezer safe container.
All lined up for freezing. (I covered them with another sheet of tin foil and rolled it up. Worked well!)
7. Wait 8-12 hours before baking – or enjoy as dough! When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 10 minutes. Amazing!
I wanted to make a vegan Spinach and Artichoke dip because it’s definitely a favorite of Matt’s (if it’s on the menu at a restaurant, he’ll order it. Well, pre-vegan Matt, anyway) and I love it, too. I took a look at some recipes online but none of them seemed as easy and sure-fire delicious to me as I wanted. So, I just made something up. And it was ridiculously amazing. Though I purposely made “a lot” of it, apparently it wasn’t that much because Matt had some for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and soon it was all gone.
Another bonus? Super easy, and not expensive like it usually is at restaurants! I wish I’d gotten a better picture of it, but we just ate it too darn fast. It’s too tasty to last for photographs. It doesn’t take skill or much time, either! I think it probably took me 10 or 15 minutes total, and Matt was stealing bits of it before I’d even finished 🙂
Here’s the recipe:
-1 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for using in the pan)
-16 oz. bag of frozen spinach
-8 cloves of garlic, minced
-2 cans of artichoke hearts, pureed in a food processor
-4 TBSP nutritional yeast (adds a saltiness &Vitamin B12!)
-4 TBSP veganaise* (don’t buy the cheaper brands, they just aren’t very good… )
-4 TBSP vegan* cream cheese
(*if you aren’t vegan, use your favorite regular kinds)
-Fry the minced garlic in the olive oil over medium heat as you add the pureed artichoke and frozen bag of spinach. Stir on occasion until everything is well mixed and the spinach is no longer frozen.
-Add the nutritional yeast, veganaise, and vegan cream cheese. Stir well.
-Return the entire mixture to a food processor or blender and pureed to your liking. Serve warm, and watch it disappear!
“I was on a bus and some girl sees me blowing my nose,” Harrelson is saying of his early years trying to make it as an actor in New York. “I had acne all over my face, which I’d had for years and years. And she’s like: ‘Hey, you’re lactose intolerant. If you quit dairy, all these symptoms you got will be gone in three days.’ I was like twenty-four. And I was like, No way. But three days later: gone.
“So I started thinking to myself, Jeez, I’ve always been told nothing but ‘Milk does a body good.’ It’s a fundamental thing. So from there it was like, What else are they lying about? I just started realizing: There are all these things we’re brought up to believe that are just a total hoax, just bullshit advertising, you know?”
Please excuse the profanity there, but I think I’ve felt similarly since I started out on my journey to really learn about good nutrition and how to eat healthfully instead of with a reward/punishment or good/bad view. I also like what the articles says in describing him: “He doesn’t eat sugar or flour. He doesn’t eat dairy. He doesn’t consume meat. He looks more like thirty-nine than fifty.”
I must agree with age suggestion. I had no idea he was actually 50 years old! How incredible. Though at least at this point, I don’t imagine myself going to the extreme that he has and sticking to it as a lifestyle, but I find it impressive and admirable that he has changed his life so much and clearly is much healthier as a result. I mean, how can you argue with someone who looks as youthful and alive as he does at 50, and for a contrast of the sexes, someone like Carol Alt – who is also a raw vegan and was declared to be “the most beautiful woman in the world” by both Life and Playboy magazines, amongst other accolades!
Granted, I don't know when this photo taken, but none of her photos I can find online make her look anything over like 30 or 35, tops. This is seriously what she looks like... and she's FIFTY-TWO!
I find it really interesting as I begin to get more in touch with Vegan culture, to learn about how many celebrities and affluent, “important” people choose to be vegan as well. For some reason, I guess I assumed that the really affluent would want to live decadently and just pay for really good medical care to combat any health issues they might have… but I realize now that they probably feel much the same way I do: grateful that despite having been ignorant about and turned off by veganism for years, I am now benefitting from it and enjoying it as a lifestyle. Of course, they probably have the money to REALLY enjoy it, but nonetheless 😉
I wanted to make another Vegan Vanilla Bean Cake, but realized after having become committed to the idea that we out of two significant ingredients for it: non-dairy milk and maple syrup. Since I knew I’d have to change it anyway, I wanted to use more real vanilla bean and also add more complexity. I wanted a full on luxurious dessert, not a lightly sweet, pancakey cake. So I threw some dark chocolate shavings into the batter, made sure to make it plenty sweet, and did my best to saturate it just enough that it’d be fluffy and soft instead of hard and dry… And I also love raspberries and thought that raspberries with vanilla bean and chocolate sounded pretty darn fabulous.
Despite forgetting to test the cake before taking it out of the oven (I was a little bit too excited to eat it) and having to put it back in to fully cook it… It was awesome. My husband was a big fan, even with my dilapidated efforts and my having had to cook it more because the first slice was gooey inside! I look forward to making this again, probably soon, and seeing how it turns out the second time. Surely it’ll be even more delicious (and hopefully, adequately baked)!
1 cup water (I had no soymilk or non-dairy milk available)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil
2 teaspoons white or apple cider vinegar
chopped up dark chocolate or chocolate chips to your preference
Insides of 1 real vanilla bean (removing the beans and leaving the stalk for other use)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
8 oz frozen raspberries (or to preference; I enjoyed some on the side as well!)
chocolate shavings or chips to top off the cake
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round or square cake pan using canola oil spray. Set aside. In a large bowl whisk everything – except the raspberries and additional chocolate – together (I felt lazy and figured hey, why not?). Pour half of the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle frozen raspberries over the batter, saving some for later use. Pour in the rest of the batter and cover the raspberries. Sprinkle chocolate chips/shavings over top of the batter mixture. Bake approximately 45 to 50 minutes, or until done when tested with a toothpick. (Be sure to test first!) Once the cake is done, add additional raspberries to the top or side, and enjoy!
My mom loves traditions. Humorously enough, though, she seems to only really acknowledge traditions that have not yet been done or are based on the idea that we did it once before. In other words, she has a desire to have big, fancy traditions that are pre-determined before we’ve even tried them. Usually, this seems to backfire and our “new tradition” is only done once, at a big holiday, one year. The traditions that I think we have are ones that speak to the priorities of my parents and have come more naturally as the result of regularity and routine. It may not be glitzy and impressive, but I’m quite fond of them.
Me and my mom in 2008
Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about food as I prepare it. Not just what to do next or how to chop a vegetable to suit the meal well, but about how the nutritional information I’m learning collides with everyday realities and routines. I’ve found myself thinking fondly of how my mom is absolutely enamored of “big salads” – to the point that we have funny stories and happy memories around my mom’s love of a massive salad; thinking of how growing up, I was mostly vegetarian and thus turkey was never something I really got excited about for Thanksgiving – I didn’t eat it – but I’m quite sure that regardless of where I might be eating for Thanksgiving, I will always be sure to have our family’s “sweet potatoes”. I put that in quotations, because most often we’ve been eating yams, not actually sweet potatoes. Anywho, it’s a mix of mashed sweet potatoes with some fresh squeezed orange juice and zest, baked with marshmallows on top. My brother or I always had the honors of covering it with the big, fat, fluffy marshmallows.
Our first formally turkey-free Thanksgiving was this past fall: note the sweet potatoes! 🙂
Those aren’t the only traditions I think of in my family of origin surrounding food. I fondly remember many nights spent around the dining room table, sharing our days, laughing over memories, learning new things, and occasionally getting in arguments. Throughout my childhood, my parents made family dinners a priority. When I was in high school and my brother was in college, family dinners weren’t quite the same. I would often eat my favorite chinese take out (Kouth Tae Bean Curd!) at the kitchen counter if my mom had a busy day or wanted to treat me. We were no longer having long, luxurious, more sit-down dinners at the dining table, but that tradition was warmly engraved in our hearts, and the value of sharing food together was clear.
Just a usual family sit-down dinner... Kidding! This was taken when we were visiting my brother in Japan years ago. We totally don't sit on tatami mats every night. Or eat Japanese food everyday. (Photo taken by my mom)
Since I got married a few years ago, occasionally my mother has had my husband sit in the place that is reserved for my brother. When my brother’s not present with us, it doesn’t seem to be of note. But I have noticed that when we are all together (all five of us: my parents, brother, husband and I), my brother is offended if we let that happen. I think he’s starting to move on, but it reminds me of how much it has meant to my brother and me to have these rituals around food.
We don’t have many non-food-related traditions in my family of origin, and they aren’t big, fancy and impressive. But I treasure them, and rather prefer them that way. They are comfortable, known, and loved. They’ve helped to strengthen our bonds as a family, and I think that’s quite a feat on the part of my mother – especially as someone who doesn’t naturally love to cook or be “domestic”. She was the backbone of those traditions, the one who got us all to get our butts in the chairs and stay there while we ate – regardless of what other things might have been calling to us at dinner time. (Including the phone – only when I was in high school did my mother begin picking up the phone if someone called us during “dinner time”.)
All this is to say that I find myself thinking about what it is like – and what will be like – to raise a vegan child. Maybe we won’t be strict vegans for all of Eden’s childhood, but maybe we will. I have been so moved and compelled by the information I’ve been learning about health and nutrition, and the power of what we consume to either give us life and good health or to take it away, that I wonder how our children will come to understand our decisions about food. I hope to pass on fond memories around eating – not of comfort food and unhealthy indulgences, but of feeling content around the dinner table with people who love you, of feeling nourished by nutritious food, and of feeling connected to one another through the routine of regularly enjoying sustenance with deep relationships.
I hope that Matt and I will be able to communicate and pass on to our kids what we have learned about healthful eating and an enjoyment of the meals we love, in a way that fosters long, happy, healthy lives for kids filled with many a sweet memory. I may hate the dishes that build up from just one night’s meal preparation in our home, but I love the great reward of sitting down together to enjoy our life-giving meal.
Admittedly, I hadn’t yet expressed this goal of mine publicly, but I have hoped to update this blog around lunch time (while my daughter is napping, in other words!) during the week days with my latest favorites. I fell behind due to feeling a bit under the weather earlier this week and also because I made up a few recipes on my own (that turned out wonderfully – all this cooking and baking is somehow affecting me!), and wasn’t sure if I ought to share them or not since they’re not as well manicured as the average recipe in a cookbook 😉
As I felt remorseful about not posting any deliciousness yet this week, I found myself drooling thinking about the incredibly easy, fast, and delicious Artichoke Pesto Pasta I made a while back. This has GOT to be a recipe I make many more times, and keep a close grip on… It was awesome. So, clearly, it’s the first thing I’m going to post now that I’m back!
It’s almost absurd how easy it is to make. You essentially process some ingredients together while making pasta, and then mix it all up and VOILA! Delicious, seemingly fancy meal with lots of raw ingredients to give you fresh nutrients from greens as well as healthy fats from raw nuts! Paired with whole grains, and it’s a definite winner. If you want to make it seem all the more luxurious, I think sprinkling some smaller basil leaves in it would be a beautiful touch of color and extra taste.
1 lb or more of whole wheat/grain pasta of your choice
1/3 cup pecans, chopped (or any raw nuts – I used a combination of walnuts and pine nuts)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 (14 oz) cans of artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
8 fresh basil leaves (minimum! I vote for more), chopped
2 tablespoons fresh or dried parsley, chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (if you aren’t vegan, you could use parmesan)
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and ground black pepper, optional & to taste (I don’t think I used any – the yeast added enough saltiness)
1/4 to 1/3 cup reserved pasta water
1. Cook pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, begin sauce by pulsing nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped and blended.
2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until it becomes a smooth sauce. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired. Reserve some pasta water before draining pasta.
3. Drain pasta and put it back into the pot it cooked in. Pour the sauce over the pasta. Stir together, adding pasta water as needed to thin the sauce to cover the pasta and keep sauce consistency creamy. Best when served immediately, but also keeps in the fridge for little while – though I wouldn’t know how long, because it doesn’t last in our home for long!
I’ve been trying to do more and more reading about veganism: nutritionally and otherwise; so that I can hopefully only grow more committed and excited about what we’re eating (and doing) – but also so that we can be sure to raise Eden healthfully as her needs change as she grows and to be able to adjust to this new way of life. One of the books I read recently is called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Vegan Eating for Kids. They cover a lot of ground quickly in the book, and include some recipes. Since we go grocery shopping on Fridays and have completely run out of breakfast options (we usually have a fruit-spinach smoothie or oatmeal with nuts and raisins), I decided to try a recipe I had noticed in it that sounded quite good to me and like it required ingredients that we already had. I am often put off by the use of lots of sugar, oil, and white flour in a lot of vegan recipes, so I once again adapted it to suit my preference for a healthier item.
Super delicious. Definitely a yummy bread!
After mixing all the ingredients, I realized that I didn’t have a 9×5 bread pan (WOOPS!), so I used two small loaf pans. Not really that great for bread, especially since it forces major muffin top -but it turned out so well that I thought of our friends who had a baby earlier this week and whom I’ve been meaning to bring some food over for… So Matt and Eden tasted our loaf first, and both enjoyed it; Matt said it does pass the wow-your-friends test rather than making a non-vegan consume it and think “gosh, why would anyone be vegan!?” so we figured we’d drop it off for them. However, upon returning home, I realized that we only had about 1/8th of our little loaf left because Eden adored it so much. Ha! I have a feeling we’ll be making this again…
Ahh the gift of bread.
Hawley’s Adaptation of Pumpkin Raisin Bread
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (we used Bob’s Red Mill)
1/3 cup rice or soy milk
1/4 cup canola or other light vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp molasses
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins
walnuts for putting on top, if you like
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray or coat a 9×5″ metal bread loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine all but one cup of the flour and the raisins, stirring as you go. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat for 2 minutes or until well blended.
Add remaining cup of flour and raisins, stir briefly. Pour batter into pan, trying to avoid batter dripping.
I'd bet no one would taste this and have any other thought than "Ohhhh yeeeah"
Muffins? Mmmm pretty sure I’d say they’re basically cupcakes. Or just really delicious and delightful muffins, that seem to surpass the amount of enjoyment one is supposed to have from consuming it. Whatever you call them, they’re freaking good. And easy! I think the only challenge in our house is keeping them around and not having my toddler throw mini tantrums wanting more. She clearly is a big fan, to put it one way.
Anywho, I figured I’d share my adaptation of Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffins, adapted with a combination of this vegan remake by Sarah and it’s non-vegan original, by Nigella Lawson. Essentially, I wanted it to be vegan but still really moist, a little bit healthier, still sweet, and still low on oil.
That bird got close for it's bird's eye view
Here’s what I did – I’m sure I’ll be doing it again, because it came out deliciously fluffy and yummy, with a crisp outside. Absolutely perfect.
Vegan Chocolate Chip Muffin-Cupcakes (?!?)
1 cup whole wheat flour + 3/4 cup all purpose flour OR 1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar + 1/4 cup maple syrup (you might also substitute agave nectar or just use less refined sugar)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup non-dairy semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup soy milk
1 TBSP egg replacer + 3 TBSP oil (or any egg replacement equivalent to 1 egg)
Mix dry ingredients first, then add wet ingredients.
Stir until well combined.
Pour into 12 muffin cups. (I used silicone reusable wrappers and had no problem)
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Cool, and try not to eat them all at once.
Close up as I was finishing sautéing the fajita "meat"
I don’t think of myself as a chef, and didn’t expect to share any recipes with you that I made up myself… but I did make something yesterday that resulted in yesterday’s lunch. Then dinner. And lunch again, today. And I enjoyed it every single time. So, I figure hey. Maybe the little guys out there like me might like this, as well, despite my lack of culinary expertise or prowess. I do have a good ability to eat, and I like tasty foods. So, hopefully that lends itself fairly well to simple recipes? And hey. If I can make it and enjoy it without much worry, mess, or time then surely YOU can make an easy and delicious dinner out of it, too! 🙂
Anywho, I wanted to make a vegan portobello fajita that would be fast, easy, delicious, and nutritious! So here’s what I did.
Couldn't wait to eat it before I shot a pic. So, I unraveled it to show you the insides 🙂
Takes about 20-30 minutes. Serves about 6. (Confession: If you aren’t vegan, well… I have to admit that shredded mexican cheese would probably taste pretty fantastic with this, but I’m not going to talk about that! haha)
6 portobello mushroom caps
1 red onion
1 red pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 bunch of cilantro
Olive oil to your preference for sautéing
1 jalapeno, minced (or to your preference for heat)
6 whole wheat flour tortillas
salsa for topping
fresh lime, for squeezing overtop (I didn’t have this on hand but I think that would be DIVINE!)
Prepare the vegetables first: Wash and slice the portobello mushrooms into long strips. Slice the onion into moon shapes (rather than chopping or dicing). Wash and slice the red pepper, either into long, thin strips or chopped pieces. Chop cilantro and mince the jalapeno & garlic, setting them aside in separate containers.
Place the mushrooms and onions in a large frying pan or skillet with some oil and let cook until the mushrooms approach tenderness. Add the garlic, chili pepper and paprika and let cook some more.
Once the mushrooms and onions are sautéed to your liking, add the cilantro and jalapeno, and mix.
Warm your tortillas. I did this by microwaving them for 15 minutes on a plate, individually.
Serve some of your vegetable mixture onto each tortilla and add salsa, lime and extra cilantro if you like; Enjoy!
It’s absurdly easy and also tastes great when you warm up leftovers!