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
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
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:
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
Today's prompt is "favorite food", which, if you've ever seen my first year participating in Vegan MoFo, you would know is Japanese Food!
I love to cook Japanese inspired dishes that combine the American hodgepodge, often unorganized style of cooking with traditional ingredients and simple flavors. I love food that is prepared in a minimal way that emphasizes the individual ingredients. Although, sometimes I like to get complicated when I bake. 😅
This dish is a rendition of one of my favorite college breakfasts: an omelette on top of rice with some vegetable. I love eating out of bowls...the act of digging into my food is appealing some how. I bought eggs quite a lot in college since I was poor and a vegetarian still. Now, I usually substitute tofu for eggs and it suits me perfectly fine. I made my tofu a little more robust so I could fry it into an omelette shape. The result is nice savory croquette of "egg" like flavor and texture, although it is much drier than an omelette would be. It's still delicious!
I sauteed some white button mushrooms on the side for a meaty addition that offers protein and earthy flavor. My grandmother always made her omelettes a little sweet by adding a pinch of sugar and soy sauce to her eggs before she cooked them. I added a little mirin into the mushrooms, which create a wonderful sauce in the pan as they cook. For an interesting depth of flavor, spoon some of the sauce onto your rice for a finishing touch. It's a wonderful departure from your generic tofu scramble and toast. 🤓🍳🍞
Japanese Omelette with Sauteed Mushrooms
Fusion food day is here!
Last year, I made some risotto with a Mexican twist. It was quite magical. For some reason, I can't stay away from that theme so here I am again. I'm fusing the burrito and spicy chipotle flavor with the Philly staple: the cheesesteak.
Cheesesteak was always something I disliked, even when I ate meat. The ones they served in elementary school for lunch always put me off...something about the gross fake cheese. 😖
Now, I figured I should give cheesesteak another go, but with some conditions: no cheese, no steak. Sounds great! 👍 I replaced the steak with nutritious portabella mushrooms. You can also use a vegan meat substitute if you like. I tried to keep this recipe as clean and healthy as possible. I also love the meaty and earthy taste of mushrooms. I can't get enough of them.
The cheese sauce is made with sweet potato for extra flavor and nutrition. I think it makes a wonderful counterpart to the spices in the mushrooms. I wrapped the whole mess up in a gluten free tortilla. This would also be wonderful on bread...or on rice...or any old way, really.
Dig in and try to forget about the election. I know I haven't, but this food might help me get there a little. 😜🌶🌯🍄
Chipotle Portabella Cheesesteak Burritos
Free from: gluten*, refined sugar
Yield: About 3-4 servings
Sweet Potato Cheese Sauce Ingredients
Today's recipe is a simple one that I love. I almost never make Korean inspired food. I also can't really go out to get it since Korean restaurants are typically not vegan friendly. When I was younger, I ate at a few Korean BBQ restaurants with my family. One of those restaurants was in Japan, believe it or not! There was a big beautiful yellow lab parked outside to greet customers. She was their mascot and the inspiration for their name, too.
My favorite part about Korean BBQ is the marinade, which is the case for many people, I would assume. For those who eat meat, they may feel differently. I took the simple yet flavorful marinade and slathered it on some tofu for a quick and absolutely delicious meal. No need for meat here. 😉
I served the tofu with some rice and pajeori. Pajeori is a dish I had never heard of before. It's a beautiful salad of julienned scallion and spiced with Korean chili flakes. If you don't have the Korean variety, just substitute regular dried chili flakes.
I cooked my tofu in a pan with some coconut oil. You can absolutely bake or grill it for a sightly charred effect. I wish I could grill mine, but it is quite chilly where I live! (Also, no grill. 😅
Any way you cook it, give it a try! Tofu is good any way you cut it, so spice it up next time you need a quick meal. Let's begin a love affair with Korean food together! What d'ya say? 😍🌶🍚
Korean BBQ Tofu with Pajeori
Free from: gluten, nuts, refined sugar
Yield: about 4 servings
Adapted from My Korean Kitchen
This MoFo prompt is my kind of low-key meal!
I love to cook, don't get me wrong. 😉
But, some days and nights are busy. I hate to make a ton of dirty dishes just to feed myself. My favorite quick and easy food used to be instant ramen in my younger days. This bowl of rice noodle soup is similar in taste but much healthier!
I've given you some photos of the most simple way to make rice noodle soup with basic pantry ingredients (well, if you keep these in your pantry...which you should!). Having tamari or soy sauce on hand will really help make your broth flavorful and rich. If you have liquid aminos, that will do just as well! I also dissolved some white miso into mine for extra flavor, salt and health benefits. This is optional, unless you have miso lying around!
The point of this meal is to be easy, right? I say, if you've got it, throw it in! I had some leftover strips of carrot that I had cut up, some baby kale, wakame, and some spices (garlic, lemongrass, chili flakes). You can throw frozen veggies in, tofu, tempeh, or whatever you fancy. 😍
When I add miso to a soup, I always take a spoon and dilute it with a little of the hot water. This helps the miso dissolve into the soup evenly and avoids it clumping up and sinking to the bottom.
Finished product! 😋
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.