I'm finally back into the blog grind! After the holidays, I needed a break from everything. Although I didn't stop making delicious food, I just didn't have the energy to post. Fortunately, I have some more free time and the will to eat healthy foods for the new year.
I always thought of myself as a generally healthy eater, but when the weather gets cold I tend to get lazy. I always fall back on easy, warm meals. Lately, I've been noticing that I've been eating more processed vegan foods than I really want to. Although they're delicious and easy, they aren't a good "all the time" food. So, to remedy my poor choices, I've started eating more whole plant foods. I've been making sure to stock my kitchen with as much produce as I can. In the winter months (it's almost spring, but still pretty chilly here), I usually choose produce that has a longer shelf life. My favorites as of late have been root veggies, onions, apples and pears, and so on. When I buy more delicate vegetables like greens, I try to eat them as quickly as possible so they don't go to waste. Salads for days, in other words.
Anyway, I've made my own salad dressing for a very long time. For the most part, I always hated buying dressing from the store because it was always too much. Am I every going to really use all of that ranch? No. And now, I don't even like ranch.
There were always at least 3 bottles of old, opened salad dressing in my fridge growing up. My mom would buy some when we needed it, and then we would eat salad for a while and it would sit. Forever. When I moved, I swear I threw away 8+ year old dressing. 😷😖
After that, I made a promise to myself that I would just make dressing if I ever needed it. The great thing about salad dressing is that it literally takes 2-3 ingredients to make (plus salt and pepper if you're doing it right). Those ingredients are staples every kitchen should have: fat (oil/nut butter/"mayo"/non-dairy product) + acid (vinegar/citrus juice) + binder (mustard/seeds/nuts/pureed fruit or veg).
You can even get away with leaving the binder out. I like it because it thickens the dressing and helps it bind to whatever your putting it over. In this recipe's case, I used chia seeds because they're delicious, healthful, and add some texture to the salad. They helped thicken the dressing really well after sitting for only 10 minutes. If you don't have them, ground up flax would also work. You can also omit them if you want. They're pretty optional.
These are the basics of my dressing: apple cider vinegar (which I lovingly refer to as ACV, the miracle liquid), pomegranate juice (you can sub any other juice if you wish), and Just Mayo (or any preferred vegan mayo option/non-dairy yogurt). Then, the chia!
If you sub the vegan mayo for non-dairy yogurt, you may want to scale back the vinegar. The vinegar makes this dressing taste like yogurt when it's completed, so if you add the entire amount, it may be too "tangy" for your liking. If you like tang, dump that ACV in there! 💃
I used this dressing for a simple apple salad with mixed organic greens topped with cranberries and nuts. It was perfect for a light lunch. The dressing made it look adorably pink. Feel free to use it on any salad you desire and enjoy! 💝
Chia Pomegranate Salad Dressing
Yield: 1 serving
Free from: Gluten, Nuts, Refined Sugar, Soy*
*Use a soy-free product
I've been slaving away all day to make edible gifts and treats for my two Christmas gatherings in the next few days. I've decided to do what I did for Thanksgiving this year and post all that I made for your enjoyment. Now, without further blabbering, here are the delicious cookies I've prepared today as my gift to you for reading my recipes! It really means so much to me! Happy Holidays and have a lovely weekend! 🍪🎄🎁
Peanut Butter Biscoff Cookies
Yield: About 43 cookies
Free from: Gluten*, Soy*, Refined Sugar*
*Use apropriate ingredients for these options.
Preheat oven 375 F.
Chocolate Hazelnut Chip Cookies
Yield: About 24 Cookies
Free of: Gluten*, Soy*
*Use apropriate ingredients for these options
Preheat oven 375 F.
In addition to these cookies I've shared with you, I also made my gluten-free snickerdoodles and mint chocolate pixie cookies. I also dipped some pretzel crisps in chocolate and candy cane pieces for fun. 😉 Recipes for the snickerdoodles and pixie cookies are available on the blog under the Cookie category for your convenience. 🤗🍭
This cookie recipe is one from my BHG archives. My mom and I always used their "New Cookbook" (published in the early 90's I believe) for our Christmas cookie recipes back in the day. This cookbook has any type of cookie you could possibly desire with easy and simple to follow recipes. Making their baking recipes into vegan versions isn't so difficult anymore, especially if you use aquafaba. 😋
These cookies are as low maintenance as you can get: one bowl, use your mixer for easy clean up and easy mixing, and no rolling required! As cute as cutout cookies are, they are time consuming and temperamental. This dough comes together quickly with the help of a mixer and paddle attachment, if you have one. Once it's done, chill it for about 20 minutes while you heat up your oven and then use a mini ice cream scoop or teaspoon to portion out cookie drops.
The original recipe (linked at the beginning of the ingredient section) calls for banana butter icing. Instead of going through the trouble of making icing, I decided to make these cookies interesting by transforming them into "chunky monkey" cookies. There are chocolate chips and walnut pieces inside each little cookie, which offer crunch and richness. If you prefer to keep these cookies more simple, you can omit the chocolate and nuts.
Also, these are great to make for a last minute cookie swap or holiday get together if you have a spare banana lying around like I usually do. 😅 Enjoy and grab one for yourself. 💝
Yield: About 24 Cookies
Adapted from: Better Homes and Gardens Banana Drop Cookies
This weekend and upcoming week will surely be hectic for everyone preparing for the holidays. I've been doing some last minute chores today and suddenly realized I had skipped lunch. 💀
Since I knew I couldn't starve in the name of gift wrapping, I whipped up a single serving of peanut noodles and decided to share the recipe with you! It's a quick and easy meal or snack for when you're home alone or just in the mood for some noods. I'm always up for noods. 😁
These noodles are creamy yet light at the same time. They can be oil-free, in fact, if you omit the sesame oil garnish. I love the taste and aroma of sesame oil, so I drizzled a little on my plate after cooking everything. If you wish to make this dish without the oil, the sauce will still be decadent and satisfying while also providing you with protein. For the noodles, I used brown rice with green tea from Star Anise Foods. I love their products. Some of their noodles come with soup base, which I think is genius for a quick weeknight meal. I also love their name...so cute! ☺️
Peanut Noodles for One
Yield: 1 serving
Free from: Gluten, Refined Sugar*, Oil-free option
This is a very short post that features a simple yet indulgent recipe for one. I woke up today craving sweets, which isn't normal for me. What more could I do but make cake inspired breakfast treats? 😻🍰
These pancakes are about silver dollar sized, slightly pink thanks to beet juice, and somewhat healthy! The batter is: oil free, refined sugar free, gluten free and full of vanilla flavor. If these are too girly for you or your guests' taste, you can certainly omit the best juice and opt for plain looking cakes.
I topped mine with a huge dollop of frosting, which you can use whatever you like for the fat component. I used vegan butter but feel free to make it healthier by subbing coconut oil, nut or seed butter, coconut cream or aquafaba. I kept the portion small for a single serving. If you plan to serve more than one person, double or even quadruple the recipe! Serve with smiles. 😊💕
Pretty in Pink Pancakes
Yield: 4 Silver Dollar Pancakes
Adapted from Homemade Dorayaki
Free from: Gluten, Soy*, Refined Sugar**
▫️1/4 cup gluten free AP flour
▫️2 Tb brown rice flour
▫️2 Tb tapioca flour
▫️1 1/2 tsp stevia
▫️ 2 tsp baking powder
▫️1/4 tsp salt
▫️1/4 tsp xanthan gum
▫️1/3 cup non dairy milk* Use soy-free if needed
▫️2 Tb maple syrup
▫️1/2 tsp vanilla extract
▫️Measure all dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.
▫️Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry briskly until no lumps remain.
▫️Heat some coconut or other oil of choice in a medium or large skillet on medium-low heat.
▫️Cook about 2 Tb of batter at a time for about 1 minute per side. Let cool on a plate until ready to serve if using frosting or eat right away!
▫️For the frosting (no recipe required), just whip 1/4 cup of fat of choice (vegan butter*, nut/seed butter, coconut cream, aquafaba) until smooth. I used a hand mixer but you can use a food processor, blender, or stand mixer. Add 1/2 cup of vegan powdered sugar** and beat until fluffy. Thin out with non dairy milk or vanilla extract if desired.
▫️Garnish with sprinkles or fresh fruit and enjoy. You deserve it. 😘💖🍰☕️
**Omit for truly refined sugar-free
Holiday baking is something that I normally go overboard on...but I feel so behind today! I know it's only the Monday after Thanksgiving, but I feel like Christmas is already here. Lights and decorations are going up all around me and all I have to show are two dish towels with reindeer on them. 😳
#firstworldrpoblems, I guess...
I decided to bake some quick, easy, delicious and somewhat healthy cookies for this post. I'm a huge fan of Chocolate Covered Katie, one of the best dessert blogs I've ever encountered. She makes easy recipes that have accessible ingredients, delicious crave-able flavors, and offers all the substitutions you never knew you needed. Her blog was one of the first ones I read when I started to experiment with vegan baking. I had no idea what stevia was and had no clue that you could bake a cake in the microwave. She showed me the truth and I am bestowing my knowledge unto you now.
Behold! My recreation of a recipe from CCK's cookbook (which you should probably buy):
These pixie cookies are delicate and fluffy drops of cake-like chocolate with a hint of cool peppermint and rolled in powdered sugar to make them look like they've been on a romp in the snow. ❄️☃ These take only 12-15 minutes to bake and they are small, so if you are feeding a crowd of up to 9 people, you're perfectly fine without doubling the recipe. Also, if you have peppermint extract (or peppermint stevia at your own risk), you can whip these cookies up any time because they only use staple pantry ingredients. My rendition has a few minor changes so make sure you check the ingredients in case you need to plan ahead. Otherwise, whip up a batch now and join me in cookie heaven! 🍪🍫😇💖
Mint Chocolate Pixie Cookies
Adapted from Chocolate-Covered Katie
Free from: Gluten, Refined Sugar, Nuts, Soy*
Yield: About 18-24 cookies
I'll spare you the anecdotes and get right to the Thanksgiving food porn. I've listed everything I made for my first Thanksgiving dinner here. I will be seeing my immediate family this weekend where a second feast will take place. I'm blessed to have amazing family and friends who allow my boyfriend and I to bring our own food. I'm also grateful for my mom and dad who make sure that all our sides are vegan so that I can eat everything I want!
I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a festive weekend. I hope for those that work, you take a moment for yourself in any way you can. You deserve it.
Now, feast your eyes...😳😍🍂🍃🦃🍁🌳💝
Purple Sweet Potato Pie Bars
Mini Pumpkin Pies
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
No recipe for this...I literally threw it together. But, if you want a good homemade recipe recommendation, see The Minimalist Baker. We made this version last year and it was delicious. This year, i just approximated everything. It's a very forgiving dish. Also, we used an entire container of fried onions because it's time to feast.
Rustic Mashed Red Bliss Potatoes
Again, no real recipe. I can tell you roughly how I did this:
For my "fall tradition", I'm featuring pecan pie!
My mom's birthday is about 2 weeks before Thanksgiving. She's never been much of a sweet lover. She doesn't care for cake either. She does, however, love pecan pie. When I first went vegan, I started making pies for her birthday each year. I usually matke everyone in my family their birthday treat...it's sort of my thing. 😉
I was initially afraid to make pecan pie as a new vegan. I had also never made it before, vegan or otherwise. Regular pecan pie calls for tons of eggs and butter. I was happy to replace those with other ingredients, but unsure of where to start.
I usually mix up what type of flavors I add to the pie I make every year. I've listed a few examples below. However, I always come back to the same base recipe that I used initially when I was a lost baker on a mission: The Post Punk Kitchen's. Isa Chandra is a bit of a vegan icon and she was my go-to source for all vegan baked goods and food staples, like tofu scramble and homemade seitan. I knew I could count on her pecan pie recipe to be amazing.
The filling is great. It's basically a caramel with some thickeners added to create that crispy, chewy and molasses-infused goodness that suspends the pecans as they brown in the oven. It's quite amazing how something so simple can taste so complex after being cooked. Over the past few years, I've used coconut palm sugar instead of cane sugar and the result has been incredible. I definitely recommend trying it!
For my crust, I stick to basic one. I have a great recipe for one here on the blog for your reference, or you can use your own tried and true crust recipe (or store bought). 😛
So, here they are in all their glory. My pecan pies from this year and years past. Enjoy and maybe whip one up yourself for Thanksgiving. 🤗
This is 2015's chocolate pecan pie. The crust was to die for! 🍫
And, this year's. I used coconut oil in the crust this time...not my favorite texture, I must say. The filling was great, though. Other than the cinnamon and coconut sugar on top, there's nothing out of the ordinary about this one.
Today's color scheme is "goth" inspired...I went with purple, since I happened to find a bag of organic purple sweet potatoes one day. It was a very exciting find. I've never tried these little guys before...I'm sure I'll love them just as much as their orange and white cousins! Sweet potatoes are a food that I began to love as a vegan moving in a more health conscious direction.
To go with my potatoes, I've added other wonderful purple produce: onion (or red, I guess), cabbage and eggplant. My favorite way to eat eggplant is in curry, so I spiced them with garam masala, chili pepper, and black salt. This soup doesn't take very long. You can have it finished in about an hour if you use pre-made stock or bullion cubes. All you need to do is wait for the potatoes to soften and you're good to go!
For even more gothic charm, use the optional red wine while you saute the onion and cabbage.
Gothic Purple Soup with Eggplant Chips
Quite simply, I thought this meal would look fabulous in black and white, as well as in color. These ingredients jumped to my mind when I saw this prompt so I ran with it.
This is a quick blog post, as it's mainly about the picture!
The recipe follows if you'd like to make some at home. The croquettes are a winner, I must say! If you don't want to fry them, you can try baking them, but I cannot vouch for the results. I would maybe oil them a tad just do they don't burn. The vegetable broth I've included is just to give the noodles a slightly soup-y texture, so it's optional. Enjoy!
Forbidden Ramen and Black Bean Croquettes
This is my very first food blog! I post revised conventional recipes of foods that I hold near and dear to my heart. My cooking here is all gluten-free and cruelty-free, but full of flavor and comfort.