Sunday, April 29, 2012

French Toast

I have really loved waking up on a Sunday morning and having a nice breakfast. Normally I just eat a banana or an apple for breakfast so I can get extra sleep on my busier days. I still work on Sundays but don't go in until noon. That leaves all morning to relax :)

This week's Sunday morning breakfast was french toast. This was my absolute favorite breakfast food growing up. Actually, it still is. I freaking love french toast. I was really excited when I found a vegan recipe for it in my favorite cookbook, Get Healthy, Go Vegan. I adapted it to suit my obsession with cinnamon and vanilla with the result of amazing vegan french toast!

Vegan French Toast
What You Need:

  • 8oz/1 pkg silken tofu
  • 1/2 cup vanilla soy/almond milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • Sliced whole wheat bread
The Process:
  1. Add all the ingredients, except the bread, to the blender. Blend on low until it is a smooth liquid. 
  2. Dip the bread slices into the mixture and place onto a heated pan. Cook on each side for about 3 minutes per side. 

I had mine with maple syrup and a glass of soy milk. It was a wonderful start to the day! 

Friday, April 27, 2012

Flower Power

Once, at a party where I knew next to no one a girl walked up to me and asked "Are you a hippie?". I wasn't wearing tie-dye and I didn't have flowers in my hair but Chris quickly answered "Yes, she is." What makes someone a 'hippie' these days? Is it because I like to garden and don't eat meat? That seems silly to me. But, I will say that I do love a good flower halo.
My great-grandmother, fittingly nick named "Wowee", taught me how to make a flower halo when I was about 8 or 9 years old. I think of her every time I make one. She told me she and her friends would make them all the time when she was a little girl. 

If being vegan makes me a hippie then by golly I'll take it. This vegan version asparagus pizza is to die for! I found it here at Dainty Chef and adapted it to suit my needs. The main difference is that I used garlic hummus in place of spreadable garlic herb cheese. I wish I had had the time to make my homemade pizza dough but exams week stress struck again and we just went with a store bought one. 

Asparagus Pizza
What You Need: 
  • Pizza dough
  • Asparagus spears
  • 4 oz shredded (vegan) mozzarella
  • 4 tbsp garlic hummus
  • 1/2 spinach leaves
  • Olive oil for brushing
The Process: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, or according to the packaging. 
  2. Brush the dough with the olive oil. Spread the garlic hummus across the dough. Then add the spinach. Top with the mozzarella and the shaved asparagus (you can shave the asparagus spears using a vegetable peeler). 
  3. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Spinach Baked Ziti

I'm pleased to announce that I have gone local and haven't been to Starbucks in days! Days yall! That's a long time for me during exams week. Instead, I have been going to a new coffee shop downtown called the Scullery. It's quieter than Starbucks, therefore, more conducive to studying and writing papers. And, of course, it's a local business.

And all of that has nothing to do with the recipe I'm sharing today. Today I'm sharing spinach baked ziti. I use to make it all the time and it was always a huge hit and impressed my (college) friends. I made it so often that I grew tired of it and just now made it for Chris for the first time, and we've been together for nearly three years. Chris devoured it so I'm assuming it was a huge hit for him as well.

Spinach Baked Ziti
What You Need:

  • 1 lb/1 package ziti
  • 8 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed
  • 8 oz chopped mushrooms
  • 8 oz shredded (vegan) mozzarella 
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 1 lb tofu, mashed
The Process: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook ziti according to packaging. 
  2. In a large bowl mix the spinach, mushrooms, 1/2 of mozzarella, 1/2 sauce and the tofu. Once pasta is cooked, add it to the mixture. 
  3. Put the mixture into your casserole dish. Cover with the remaining pasta sauce and top it with remaining cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes. 
We had ours with a whole wheat Italian bread loaf and a spinach salad. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Feeling Crafty

It's exams week. Ugh. I know I'm stressed when I cry in the library. So, when I came home I looked in my craft bag/closet (it started as just a bag of craft supplies in a closet but the supplies have taken over the entire closet) for something I could do tonight as a stress reliever. I know yall might be surprised to learn that I usually craft a lot more than I have in the past few months. In my bag/closet of crafts I found some paint, rope, a canvas and some paint pens.

The blue paint is one that I also used to paint part of a piece of furniture in the kitchen. Eventually that project will make it to the blog, but for now you should know that white and blues are the main two colors we want to have in our kitchen with an intent on a "beach cottage" feel. So the rope obviously was going to make the perfect "frame" for the canvas. I attached it using a simple hot glue gun.

I was SUPER excited because while watching Forks Over Knives I discovered my new favorite quote and wanted to incorporate it in the kitchen somehow. I don't know why the letters look yellow, but I used a white paint pen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Broke Man's Dinner

Rice and beans. If you've ever been in a tight spot financially you have probably been told you should eat more rice and beans. I once ate this for dinner every night for a week. Last summer, while I was in Spain, Chris asked what he could make for $5 and still have leftovers. I told him my special rice and beans recipe. He liked it so much he started making it all the time while I was away. You can eat it as is, or in a burrito, or with chicken on top.

Tonight, we chose to eat it in burritos. 

Rice & Beans:
What You Need: 
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked brown rice
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
The Process:
  1. Cook the rice according to the packaging. To make it a quick meal, use instant brown rice. 
  2. In a pan mix the rice, beans, salsa, and chili powder. Let simmer until the mixture is warm. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yummy Breakfast

Hello again, I feel like I haven't posted in ages. I've been working more and cooking less so I felt like I had nothing to contribute. But today, I have a delicious oatmeal breakfast to share with yall! I found the original recipe here at Kate's Recipe Box and just knew I had to create a vegan version.

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal
What You Need:

  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup (almond) milk
  • 1/4 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 2 tbsp melted (vegan) margarine
  • 1 large apple or two small apples, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup raisins
The Process:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray your casserole dish with cooking oil. 
  2. In a medium bowl mix the oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In a small bowl mix the syrup, milk, applesauce, and margarine.
  3. Put the apple pieces on the bottom of the dish along with half of the raisins. Cover with the oat mixture the distribute the milk mixture over the oats. Top it off with the remaining raisins. Bake for 35 minutes. 

I especially loved how the house smelled while it was baking. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Productive Weekend

Chris and I started on our backyard project this weekend! We have a weird area that won't grow grass so we've decided to do a stone pathway. Just from the first stones, I can tell I'm going to really like it! It'll take a few weeks to finish due to our busy schedules but I'll show yall once it's finished :)

I also started studying for finals and worked this weekend so I'd say the past couple of days were a success! Again, I decided on a quick meal for dinner. Are you surprised? Start to finish, this one took 30 minutes. It's an adaption of a recipe from my favorite cook book, Get Healthy, Go Vegan.

Artichoke Fusilli
What You Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups uncooked whole wheat fusilli
  • 1 can artichoke hearts, cut into quarters
  • 1 medium tomato, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine (I used a chardonnay) 
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • pepper to taste
The Process:
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package.
  2. Heat the broth over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes. Add the tomato, artichoke hearts, wine and black pepper. Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in the basil.
  3. Serve the artichoke mixture over the cooked pasta and enjoy with a nice glass of wine :) 

Friday, April 13, 2012

A New Favorite

I can always tell when a new recipe is a hit by how little of the meal is left the next day. Last night's Veggie Baked Ziti was a new favorite of Christopher's. He made up his mind before he even tasted it, silly goose.

I especially like this baked ziti because it has so many different types of veggies in it. It's great for the same reason Rainy Day Soup is great, you can use up all of those left over vegetables in your fridge! I didn't make as many quesadillas as I expected (turns out they're more filling than they look) so I had a lot of squash and zucchini left over. Combine that with my recent craving for baked ziti and I give you Veggie Baked Ziti!

Veggie Baked Ziti
What You Need:

  • 2 cups uncooked ziti
  • 1 large summer squash, sliced
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 jar spaghetti sauce (I used a garden medley sauce)
  • 1 package (vegan) mozzarella cheese
The Process: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and cook the pasta according to the packaging.
  2. In a heated, oiled skillet add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft. 
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta, onion and garlic mixture, chopped veggies, spaghetti sauce, and 3/4 cups mozzarella cheese. Mix all together and scoop into a casserole dish. Top with all remaining cheese.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. 

Eventually I'll master taking good pictures of casseroles. It's way harder than it looks. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Yet Another Quick & Easy Dinner

I am seriously all about dinners that are ready, from start to finish, within 30 minutes. Especially now that it is warmer outside, I'd rather be spending my evenings taking a walk with Chris and the dogs than cooking dinner for hours. Last night's dinner was no exception. We had vegetable quesadillas, ready in just 15 minutes! I love that these quesadillas have the squash in them because it compliments the cheddar cheese really well.

Summer Squash Quesadillas
What You Need:

  • 1 package whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 package (vegan) cheddar cheese
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 8 ozs mushrooms
  • 1 summer squash, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • (vegan) sour cream and salsa to top it off
The Process:
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While it is heating, chop up all the vegetables that you would like to put on your quesadilla. 
  2. Put 1/4 cup of cheese on a tortilla. Add the vegetables and then add another 1/4 cup of cheese over the vegetables. Top with the second tortilla and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. 
  3. Serve with salsa and sour cream. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Date Night

Tonight, on a whim, we decided to have a date night. It had been a month since our last one so we were pretty excited. We went and saw Hunger Games, which was awesome! I'll definitely need to read the books to find out what happens next. After the movie, Chris noticed that there was a frozen yogurt store, Loreta's, next to the theater. I begrudgingly agreed to go in, thinking there would be nothing I could have there. I happily admit that I was wrong. Loreta's had a delicious strawberry sorbet!

You get your own soft serve dessert and then go to the toppings bar to add toppings to your heart's desire :) We will definitely be going back.

We came back home for dinner and I made a creamy pepper pasta. I use to eat pasta nearly every day so I was thrilled to have a creamy pasta tonight to finish off our date night.

Creamy Pepper Pasta
What You Need:

  • 1 lb/1 package fettuccini pasta
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon: zest from the lemon and 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups (soy) milk
  • 1 cup (vegan) cheddar cheese
The Process:
  1. Cook the pasta according to the packaging.
  2. While the pasta is cooking slice the peppers and cook them in the oiled pan at medium heat. Add the lemon zest, pepper, and lemon juice and cook for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the pasta, milk, and cheese. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the milk mixture is creamy rather than watery. 
We served ours with a french loaf. Chris also had his with broccoli and cheese stuffed chicken that he bought from our grocery. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Sloppy Joes

Before we get to the recipe, I'm excited to say that Chris and I have figured out what we want to do to improve the backyard and it should cost less than $50! We currently have a weird spot that won't grow grass, a dirt pathway, and then another weird spot that won't grow grass. Hopefully we'll be tackling this project next weekend and I can show yall.

Now on to the sloppy joes! Sloppy joes has always been a favorite of mine. After becoming vegetarian I tried a few different recipes before deciding I preferred lentils for my joes and to make them the way I use to, just with lentils now.

Lentil Sloppy Joes
What You Need:

  • 4 cups cooked lentils
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
  • 3/4-1 1/4 cups ketchup
  • 2 tbsp (vegan) Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • Whole wheat buns
The Process:
  1. The easiest way to prepare for this meal would be to soak the uncooked lentils over night. If you do this, it will only take you about 5 minutes to make this meal. If you choose to cook them the day of, be prepared to let them cook for a couple of hours stove top. 
  2. Chop up the celery and green pepper.
  3. Once the lentils are ready, add them to a large pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Add the condiments, celery, and green pepper. Mix all together and let sit in the pan until warm. 
  4. Serve on toasted hamburger buns. 

Friday, April 6, 2012

Easter Already?

That's how I felt when I looked at the calender today. And then I had a smack my head moment since just yesterday we decided to do baskets for each other on a budget of $20 each. Panic mode! So after work I hit up Dollar Tree and Target and completed the basket in less than an hour. Yay me! Although, I might cheat and make it $30 because I really want to get a nice beer to go with the basket.

What's in it, you ask?

  • Wooden brain teaser, $1
  • Cadbury eggs, $3
  • Peeps, $1
  • Plastic eggs, $1
  • Chocolate bunny, $1
  • Basket, $1
  • Mrs. Fields mini chocolate sampler, $1
  • Beer mug, $1 (why I want nice beers to add to it)
  • Grass, $1
  • Jelly beans, $1
  • Chocolate eggs, $1
  • Bubble bath, $5

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Grilled Cheese Upgrade

Remember when you were younger a grilled cheese sandwich was super fun! Yup, they still are! But now, they are upgraded with nicer cheese and avocado. Now it seems nice enough for dinner but still ready in 15 minutes :)

Avocado Grilled Cheese
What You Need:

  • shredded (vegan) cheddar and Monterey jack cheese
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 package sun-dried tomatoes
  • whole wheat bread
  • (vegan) margarine
The Process:
  1. Heat the pan on medium-low. Spread the margarine on one side of each slice of bread. And slice the avocado into thin slices. 
  2. Put the bread, butter side down, onto the pan. Add 1/4-1/2 cup of cheese, avocado slices and sun-dried tomatoes to each sandwich. Top with another slice of bread, butter side up. 
  3. Cook on each side for about 3-5 minutes. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My First Feature!

This past week I had my first feature! I am thrilled! Savannah's Savory Bites featured my Mexican Casserole. If you're interested in seeing the Feature Friday I was featured in just click here.

Tonight, Christopher made dinner because I was nervous about it. We had an adaption of Spicy Beans on Baked Sweet Potato from Vegetarian: Tasty Recipes for Every Day. I am sad to say I have never cooked a sweet potato before. After watching Chris do it, I now know it is way easy and I can't believe I was afraid to cook this.

Spicy Beans on Baked Sweet Potato
What You Need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 13 oz can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 large zucchini, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 2 cans red kidney beans
  • (vegan) Sour cream and (vegan) shredded cheddar cheese for toppings
The Process: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Rinse the sweet potatoes, add slits with a knife and place them on a baking tray. Bake for 1-1.5 hours, or until soft. 
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the onion over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and spices, and cook for another minute.
  3. Add the tomato, stock, vegetables and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover, increase the heat slightly, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. 
  4. To serve, cut the cooked sweet potatoes in half lengthways. Spoon the vegetable mixture over the top. Finish it off with the sour cream and cheddar cheese. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sunday Morning Breakfast

I made a breakfast! I baked! I am so excited! When I originally decided to become vegan I knew my biggest hurdle would be learning how to bake again. I love baking so this was monumental for me. I made homemade vegan cinnamon rolls! I found this recipe on pinterest but you can find the original source here.

They were really easy to make! From start to finish it only took me 40 minutes to make these. Perfect for a Sunday morning breakfast :) Soy milk was the perfect compliment to these cinnamon rolls. We will definitely be having these again soon!

The only tweak I will be doing for the next batch is doubling the filling (the cinnamon, sugar and margarine mix). It was delicious the way it was but I LOVE extra filling in mine.