Archive for the ‘Recipe’ Category

This is one of those things I threw together for dinner based on what was left in the pantry and it turned out so good I had to share (or at least document for myself so I can make it again!)

Nathan and Jane both loved it, and weren’t put off by the bright orange color.  We served it over pasta, but it’d be just as good mixed with any other grain or as a dip for veggies.  It’s so rich and creamy it’s hard to believe it’s made up of about half veggies, lots of protein, and just a bit of good fats.

White Bean Carrot Cream Sauce

-5 medium carrots, peeled and steamed a few minutes until soft

-1 can white cannellini/great northern beans, drained and rinsed

-1/4 cup raw cashews

-1 T nutritional yeast

-1 T olive oil

-2 T lemon juice

-1/2 t salt

-1/2 t Italian seasoning (or just a few shakes of thyme/oregano/rosemary/basil if you don’t have a mix)

-1/4 t fresh ground pepper (I also added a bit of cayenne to my bowl)

-3 T water, or more for desired consistency

Directions:  Put everything in high powered blender (I used the tamper with my Vita-Mix) or food processor and blend until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, amounts are approximate, I just dumped some of each in and it turned out great the first time.


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Whenever I tell people I put sauerkraut in my salads, I get strange looks.  So here’s the recipe I threw together the other day that was particularly delicious:

-half a cucumber, diced.

-half cup black beans, heated.

-half cup homemade raw sauerkraut

-1/4 an avocado

-tablespoon nutritional yeast

-few shakes garlic powder or cayenne

That’s it!

I’m home alone tonight with Nathan at a guys’ weekend and Jane at Oma’s.  It’s nice but I’m looking forward to having them back.  Jane has been so hilarious lately and so fun to do stuff with.  She’s just getting so big and able to carry on conversations and even tell jokes!  She started imitating my sister (and I guess sometimes me)  who always says “wasssup girlfriennnnd?”

We were getting ready to leave yesterday and I said I needed to pack the chickpeas and a couple minutes later when she was helping me pack she said “Got your chickpeas, girlfriennnnd?”  I told her to say it again for the camera:


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Almost a year ago I was at Trader Joe’s browsing all the fun foodstuffs to make x-mas gift baskets and on a whim I bought a jar of coconut oil for myself because I’d been seeing it mentioned on a lot of blogs.

Yeah, you can see how quick I am to be adventurous in the kitchen (and why I rarely post recipes…)

I was finally inspired by a recipe I saw in a cookbook and made these sweet potatoes.  Two nights in a row.  They are amazing.  Nathan formerly “didn’t like sweet potatoes” and now he does.

Your house will smell lovely and coconutty, but you can’t really taste coconut in the potatoes.  Strange stuff, coconut oil.

Indian Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Oil

-Two really big sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes (btw anyone have a recommendation for a good potato peeler?  I used a cheapo standard carrot peeler and my hand felt sore after just two potatoes.)

-3 T coconut oil (melted in the microwave, 40 seconds or so)

-2 t curry powder

-1 t turmeric (this spice is already in a lot of curry powders, but it’s supposed to have wonderful health benefits so I added more.)

-1 t salt

Toss potatoes with all other ingredients and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until easily pierced with a fork and starting to brown.

And here’s one of Jane, because I miss keeping this blog as a diary of life.  She’s getting so big and talking so much and loves to put on anyone’s shoes and shuffle around the house.  Here she is in my flowered Doc Martens (circa 1997) that I took out for the first time this fall.  Yup, nothing says fall like sweet potatoes and pulling out the old boots.

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I’ve been craving this recipe since last weekend when we were at my parents’ house and my Dad agreed that packaged lunchmeat is icky, but “what am I supposed to eat for lunch?”.  This was the first thing that came to mind as something he might like instead, and I had planned to make it and bring him a sample today, but of course when I was at the store the other day chickpeas were the one item I forgot.

So now I’m enjoying it all by myself.  Friday night, Nathan went to a friend’s, Jane is sleeping, and I don’t feel the least bit lame for planning to go to bed early.  Looks like I really have come to accept this parent lifestyle.

Anyway, this salad is awesome.  Very easy, very cheap, and easily customizable, hence my lack of specific measurements.  Really all you need is the chickpeas, a crunchy veggie, mayo, and some spices.  Otherwise, you can make is as healthy (lots of veggies, less mayo), creamy, salty, or spicy as you want.

I had mine in a salad over some spinach, but of course in a wrap or sandwich would be great too.

Vegan Chickpea “Chicken” Salad Recipe

– 1 15 oz. can chickpeas (about 2 1/2 cups)

– 2 large celery stalks, diced

– 1/4 cup sweet onion, diced

– 1 big pickle, diced

– 2 big spoonfuls vegan mayonnaise (I use Vegenaise but have heard Earth Balance is very good also).

– 1 big spoonful tahini (I was running out of mayo and thought this would be a good sub, but you can use all mayo too!)

-1 T nutritional yeast

– few shakes garlic powder

– few shakes mustard powder

– little shake cayenne

– salt & pepper to taste


1.  Drain & rinse chickpeas, then put in pot with water and boil for about 15 minutes, so they’re soft & easy to mash.

2.  Chop veggies, mix in mayo & spices.

3.  Drain warm chickpeas again and mash in pot with potato masher or fork, then mix in with veggies & mayo.


P.s. I have to include some baby updates too.  Jane has learned how to “hug” and it is so, so sweet.  You’ll say “Janey give Mama a hug!” and she’ll lay her head down sideways on your chest.  She’s never been a cuddler so it’s really extra sweet =).  Also, my parents gave us their piano (which really hasn’t been used since I moved out a decade ago) and we finally got it moved to our house…  I haven’t played much at all, but Jane does every day:

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Every year for x-mas my grandma makes a calico bean dish that has the most addictive flavor.  Unfortunately it also has a bunch of ground beef and bacon, as do most calico bean recipes.  I used textured vegetable protein (another great veg food with a horrible name!) in place of the meat and it turned out wonderful.  Nathan, my trusty carnivorous food judge, was in love with it and said the flavor was exactly as he remembered it.  The texture of tvp is similar to ground beef, it’s nutritious, inexpensive and quick cooking, give it a try!

Nana’s Calico Beans (Vegan Version)

Serves 12

3 T Earth Balance Butter

2 yellow onions

6 cloves garlic

3 (16 oz.) cans vegetarian baked beans

2 (16 oz.) cans kidney beans

2 (16 oz.) cans butter beans

1 (16 oz.) can great northern beans

3 cups (reconstituted) textured vegetable protein

1 1/4 cups ketchup

3/4 cup brown sugar

6 T white vinegar

2 T liquid smoke

2 t mustard powder

salt & ground pepper to taste

Directions:  Sautee onion with butter in large pot until starting to brown, add garlic for a minute until fragrant, add rest of ingredients and simmer for about an hour.

Our x-mas was plenty fun, doing the routine of stops at both sets of parents, food, & presents.  Just a little more hectic with one little girl who wants to chew on every electronic in sight:

The “highlight” of the night was when I fell off my barstool while leaning to read what my sister was texting after several brandy & cokes, and hurt my arm:

Sad, but oh well it was pretty funny.  I have an awesome yellow bruise on my entire forearm now.  Happy New Year!

The offending bar & stools:

My Dad is so awesome, he built this house 28 years ago and designed a lower level with a full bar.  You can see my mom’s shotglass collection all along the side & back wall.  (And her in the background looking like she just took one, ha!)

Of course Jane was fast asleep during the above shenanigans, but she had lots of fun too:

Chewing tinsel in a tutu from Oma:

Happy New Year, Happy end of the holiday season!


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I’ve failed to post regularly about my food club on here, but we’ve done it every month for the past eight months.  I’m so happy and impressed by this, because it seems in this era that people can be flaky about on-going commitments, but our group is awesome and enthusiastic about doing the dinners each month.

The last time I hosted we ate outside on the porch and dinner was simple falafel sandwiches and homemade chocolate pudding, but this month was more elaborate.

First of all, we don’t have a dining room, we have a kitchen nook that doesn’t comfortably sit eight people.  So I borrowed a nice long folding table from my M.I.L. and a tablecloth from my mom to turn our “middle room” into an appropriate dinner party space (tiny house tour posts to come…)

I decided to go with a Mexican theme, figuring people could use a break from Thanksgiving food this time of year.  Besides I had already tried the main dish recipe twice and knew even non-veg people liked it.  Here’s the complete menu:


White Bean and Roasted Tomato Dip (served with toast crackers and raw veggies)

-3 1/2 cups white beans

-1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes (including liquid)

-1/2 cup nutritional yeast

-2 large garlic cloves

-1 t chili powder

-1/4 t onion powder

-salt & pepper to taste

Directions:  Blend everything together.  Reserve about half of the tomato liquid so the consistency isn’t too runny, then add more at the end if needed.  The recipe as written isn’t heavily spiced, so taste test and add more as desired.

Salad:  A mix of romaine lettuce and coleslaw mix, toasted pumpkin seeds, and very easy Creamy Orange Lime Cilantro Dressing (I subbed cilantro for the basil and added a few shakes of cumin also.)

Main:  Bean & Corn Tortilla Lasagna with Avocado.  Yum.  The flavors and textures in this dish are excellent.

Dessert:  Mexican Chocolate Cake with Warm Chocolate Sauce.  Ok so usually I don’t like spicy foods and was skeptical of ruining a nice chocolate dessert by adding cayenne, but whoa this was amazing.  The cake was the easiest I’ve ever made, and the chocolate sauce made it really amazing.  (Note:  I used less than 1/2 t cayenne in the cake and none in the sauce.  The quality of the chocolate also probably matters, I used Baker’s Bittersweet chocolate squares.)

The only food picture of the night, and it wasn’t even me who remembered to take it… the cake not-so-elegantly dusted with powdered sugar (hey, I was in a hurry and had already had my fair share of wine at that point…) and red sprinkles, pre-sauce:


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Who out there thinks “Bars” are a Minnesotan thing?  I’ve heard people mention this many times.  Either way, I can hear my northern accent come out when I say the word…

I’m still going strong on the pumpkin kick – have made the smoothies several times and they’re still delicious, and made these bars for the second time today.  The response from both groups of (non-veg) people I served them to was overwhelmingly positive.

These are easy to make, have just the right amount of sweetness, and an amazing chewy texture without being too dense.

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

-2 cups flour (I used all purpose unbleached)

-2 tsp pumpkin pie spice mix (you can sub a combo of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, etc., just google “pumpkin pie spice mix”)

-2 tsp vanilla extract

-1 tsp baking soda

-3/4 tsp salt

-1/3 cup canola oil

-1/3 cup applesauce

-1 1/4 cup sugar

-1 Tbsp ground flax seeds

-3 Tbsp water

-1 cup canned pumpkin

-12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips**


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and oil or spray a 13 x 9 in. baking pan.

2.  Mix flaxseed and water in a little bowl and set aside so it can thicken.

3.  Mix flour, spices, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

4.  In large bowl, mix sugar, oil, and applesauce.  Add vanilla and flax mixture.  Add pumpkin, then gradually stir in flour mixture until well combined.  Then mix in chocolate chips and bake until knife comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Let cool before cutting, or you will have very messy bars.

**I personally thought this was too many chocolate chips and next time would either just use a bit less or sub half with pecans.

Jane helping by clearing off the pantry shelves:

What Whaaaat Pumpkin Butt?!

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There’s a definite downside to introducing Jane to delicious new foods.

This is what happens when there is none left (or when you want to have the rest of your breakfast to yourself…):

I picked up a can of pumpkin puree on a whim from Trader Joe’s last week, because it’s just that time of year when you’re supposed to make something with pumpkin, yeah?  Also, it was more than a buck cheaper than the stuff I’d seen at the co-op.

I used a cup of it yesterday to make pumpkin cornbread, and some of the leftover today to make this amazing smoothie:

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

-1 banana

-1 big scoop pumpkin puree (1/4 cup?)

-few shakes cinnamon

-splash maple suryp

-enough soymilk for desired consistency (1/3 cup for mine?)

-5 ice cubes

Directions:  Blend!  Enjoy in solitude or be prepared to share…



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This was the first year we grew chives in our garden and I keep forgetting about them!  Rediscovered them again today while picking tomatoes so thought I’d (finally!) try to make some salad dressing with a rarely used jar of Vegenaise (vegan mayonnaise) sitting in the fridge.  (I like the stuff and bought it for…something I can’t remember….but I don’t really make sandwiches so what else do you use mayo for?)

Anyway, this dressing was so easy and delicious.  You could substitute any herb you like for the chives, basil or dill would be good.

Easy Vegan Creamy Chive Dressing

Makes 2 Servings

– 1/4 cup mayo

– 2 T honey or agave

– 1 T lemon juice

– 1/2 T olive oil

– 1 T finely chopped chives

– salt and pepper to taste

Directions:  Whisk everything together in a bowl.

Just for fun and unrelated to the above, here are some pics of Jane and I sharing a bagel:


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I haven’t posted anything about my food club for awhile, but it’s still going strong.  I’m continually impressed by our ability to get everyone together each month, we completed five months with five dinners, one member hosting each.

Unfortunately this month we lost one gal who moved away for grad school – D you cannot be replaced! – but, if there happens to be anyone reading in the twin cities who’d like to join, here’s your chance…

Last month’s dinner the host had an awesome “make your own pizza” set up complete with a contraption to cook them over a grill – and a luau theme:

For our September dinner, I wanted to find a recipe to use up all the kale we have growing in our garden.  Usually I just rip it into big pieces and throw it into whatever I’m making for myself, but not everyone has the same tolerance for hearty greens as I do.

I made this Cosmic Cashew Kale recipe from the very reputable Fat Free Vegan blog.  The sauce is so easy and really does a great job of making the kale taste great for people who might not otherwise like it (ahem, husband…)  Nathan did love this though!


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