Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Countdown to Thanksgiving--Part 4 (stuffing)


Haha, yes that was the best way I could come up with to start this entry.  Unfortunately stuffing mixes across the board tend to not be vegan, as they contain "chicken flavor".  Whole Foods makes a great Vegan stuffing mix though, (365 Everyday Value® Organic Vegan Stuffing) that, mixed together with a few extra ingredients, will make a fantastic vegan stuffing for you and your family to enjoy!

**Side note:  Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving food.  To know I wasn't going to be able to have my grandmother's stuffing whenever I came home to have Thanksgiving with my family... well lets just say "devastated" doesn't come close to how I felt.  This recipe, it's not my grandmother's but... I still chow down on it because it's VERY similar... Leftovers do not happen for me with this recipe.  (...Maybe I shouldn't have put that last part...)

1 bag 365 Everyday Value® Organic Vegan Stuffing
1/2 white or red onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, sliced into rounds
6 TBS + 1-2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper
granulated garlic
onion powder
2 cups Better Than Bouillon No-Chicken Base  

In a medium pan saute the onion, carrot, and celery in the 1-2 TBS of olive oil, with salt and pepper to taste.   

In a medium pot, bring the remaining oil and prepared bouillon to a boil remove from heat.  Add in stuffing mix and veggies.  Stirring until all stuffing has been coated with liquid, cover.  Allow to sit covered for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork. 

Then DEVOUR!!!! nomnomnomnom!!! I'm ready for Thanksgiving already!!! BRING ON THE STUFFING!!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Chocolate Boxes

You asked for it and it is FINALLY here!!! I apologize for the delay, I made these once about a year and a half ago and really had to rack my brain about what all went into these and what I did to make them!

These little desserts are SUPER SWEET so they would be great to make for a dinner party or even a wedding/bridal/baby shower where there are a lot of people (one box per person will be enough).  It's a time consuming dish but they can definitely be made ahead of time and filled just before serving.

There are some shortcuts you can take with this to save time: using raspberry preserves (or another type of fruit preserve), and/or using store bought whipped cream.  But I can't make any comments about how any of that would effect the outcome of this... It would probably still be tasty... Just not as tasty as my recipe :-)

Alright here we go, hopefully I can remember everything!

Chocolate Boxes with Raspberry Coulis and Coconut Whipped "Cream"

1 Box of Chocolate Cake mix (Duncan Hines Devil's Food is yummy)
1 cup water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
Ener-G Egg replacer for 3 Eggs

Prep according to the box in a 13x9 baking pan. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes.

At this point you can leave it in the pan to cool completely or you can turn it out of the pan and let it cool completely.

When cooled completely, cut a half inch off of each side, creating a 12x8 rectangle of cake (makes for easier measuring when cutting slices into cubes for the boxes).

Cut cake into 2x2 in cubes.  Depending on how high you cake baked, you may want to cut it in half so it's 2-in wide x2-in long x 1-in high.

Coconut Whipped Cream:
1 can FULL FAT Coconut Milk (don't use lite coconut milk or this won't work)
1/4-1/2 tsp vanilla
2-3 TBS confectioner's sugar

Place the coconut milk in the fridge overnight.  Crucial!! This allows for the cream and liquid to separate and the cream to harden enough for this to work.  Put a bowl in the freezer 5 minutes before you're ready to whip so the cream stays cold!

Upon removing the can from the fridge, carefully turn the can over.  Open the can and pour out all the liquid. (either throw this away or use in another recipe) The cream at the bottom of the can is what you need to whip!

Spoon the cream into the cold bowl and whip with hand mixer until fluffy.  

Add confectioner's sugar and vanilla and whip again making sure it's evenly distributed.  

Cover and Chill until ready to use.

Chocolate Panels: 

2 bags of Ghirardelli Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Melt the chocolate chips (I suggest over a double-boiler.. it just melts more evenly).  Spread an even, approximately 1/8 in thick, layer on a piece of parchment paper

Allow to harden in a cool room.  When the chocolate is just set, cut the chocolate into 2-inch squares,(see where I'm going with this?) place in the refrigerator until ready to use

Raspberry Coulis:

1 1/2 pints of fresh raspberries (can use about a bag of frozen raspberries if fresh ones aren't available)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 tsp cornstarch + 2 tsp cold water

Put the raspberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice into a small-med saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Reduce to med low and cook until the sugar is dissolved and the berries are very soft (about 10 min).  

Sprinkle the cornstarch over 2 teaspoons cold water and stir to dissolve. Pour into the simmering raspberry mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes.

Strain through a fine-mesh wire sieve into a medium bowl; discard the seeds. Cool completely, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Now that you've made all the components, here's how to assemble the boxes!

With a pastry brush, brush raspberry coulis onto the 4 sides around the cake, leaving the top and bottom without. 

Press a chocolate panel onto each side that has been brushed with coulis, allowing the chocolate panels to be flush with the cake at the bottom of the box. The top of the box will have an inch of panel "overhang".  When all four panels are intact, pour a thin layer of coulis in the "well".  Chill for at least 20 mins (this is where you can stop if you are making these ahead of time)

Top with about a  whipped cream, a drizzle of raspberry coulis (if you have leftovers) and a raspberry if you want.

I'm thinking about making these again now that I've finally remembered all my ingredients and the process... Maybe I'll do it for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  The boxes are so cute and everyone gets their own, like a little present!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Vegan Month Challenge!

Alright here we go! November 1 is World Vegan Day which kicks off Vegan Month too!  As we jump into Vegan Month, I have a couple of challenges for you... Try as many as you like and leave us a comment either here or on my Facebook page, let me know how you did!

  • If you are not vegan, I challenge you to try to eat vegan AT LEAST ONCE this month! Sounds like no biggie right?  Click around on here, find something that sounds yummy and try it! 
  • If you can accomplish that, you can try the next challenge: Eat Vegan for a whole week!

  • Not challenged enough? Then I challenge you to have a vegan meal with your non-vegan friends! Invite everyone over with the idea that you found this new recipe and want to get a couple opinions on it from everyone.  Suggestion: Don't tell them it's vegan.. Make it, watch everyone devour it, and then at the end of the meal tell them it was vegan... For whatever reason, people FREAK OUT when they know ahead of time that something is vegan.  If you tell them after they eat, you are more likely to get great reactions/comments about the meal.

  • First few seem it's too easy?  Why not try to eat vegan for 21 days of the month? Or even more extreme... Have a Vegan Thanksgiving! 

I'm on my own little mission to prove that eating vegan--even if you only do it a few times a month can get you a healthier body (you can see all the research on documentaries like Forks Over Knives, Vegucated, Engine 2: Kitchen Rescue, Hungry for Change, or Food Matters) but it can also taste delicious!  

Challenge yourself and your friends! Share this blog post and lets see how many people will try to accomplish at least one of these challenges! :-)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This coffee cake comes from a recipe I got from The Joy of Vegan Baking.  I specified some of the unspecific ingredients that I choose to use and added a few extra spices that I like.  I make this coffee cake a lot.  Especially on Christmas morning! It fills the house with the spicy smells of cinnamon and ginger and is the perfect sweet treat to have while enjoying a cup of coffee and watching everyone open their presents.  Have family in town?  This is a great breakfast that everyone can enjoy without people knowing that it’s vegan. 

Why is it that whenever you tell someone who isn’t vegan that they food you made is vegan they FREAK OUT?!  I typically just go the sneaky route: make it vegan, call it something generic (Cinnamon Coffee Cake), watch people dig in, then serve myself.  IF they realize that the only vegan in the room is eating it too, they may say something along the lines of, “wait, you can eat this??” to which I respond, “Ohhh yeah, did I forget to mention that this is vegan?”  Then they respond, “BUT this is so good…” SURPRISE YA WHACKOS, VEGAN FOOD IS DELICIOUS!!! It just comes with a weird stigma that omnivores have so sweetly labeled all things vegan with.  Thanks, but I’ll just continue to impress you with vegan food until you decide to stop being stupid… Sorry crazy rant over… here’s the recipe:


1 cup unsweetened almond milk (can substitute other unsweetened non dairy milk)

1/3 cup canola oil

1 TBS white distilled vinegar

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp salt


3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1-2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground ginger
a pinch of nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1/3 cup Earth Balance Coconut spread, melted  (can sub other non-dairy butter or canola oil)

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 9-inch square baking dish/cake pan.

For the cake: Combine milk, oil and vinegar in a bowl and set aside.  In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add the milk mixture and stir until just combined.  Pour into the prepared baking dish.

Crumble Topping: in a small bowl combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and walnuts.  Add the butter/oil and use your hands to thoroughly work it into the dry ingredients.  Spoon crumble on top of the batter, covering the entire area.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Let it cool slightly, and serve warm or at room temperature.

So yummy!  Definitely put this in your recipe book. Good for breakfast, brunch, or after dinner coffee.  Covered tightly with foil, it'll last about a week... If you can keep your hands off it that long!

(FINALLY GOT A PIC OF THIS!!!! You're welcome) 

My Vegan Favorites

I wrote this post for a friend of mine (Shout out to @whosthatcurl ) who was trying a vegan diet for at least a week.  I was trying to decide what the best way to help her venture out into vegan food when she lives back in KY and I'm now in DC.  Well, what better way than to post a list of my favorite products that I use almost every day!?  This is helpful not only to her but to anyone who wants to make some changes in their diet whether it be temporary or permanent!  I know when I became vegan I felt like it was really hard to find a source that suggested products to try/use in my new lifestyle, hopefully I can be that resource for anyone who is new to vegan eating! :-)

Some of these products are becoming more widely available in stores other than Whole Foods, some can be found at natural food stores, but if you can't find something at your store of choice, ask the store manager or submit a product request.  The worst they can say is no and you may have to shop at 2 different stores.  Most of my stuff I do get at Whole Foods just because they tend to have a bigger variety than our regular grocery store.  Okay here it goes, and I HAVE LINKED MOST OF THE PRODUCTS TO AMAZON WHERE THEY ARE AVAILABLE IN BULK!!!!!!:  (I update this list a often to make it as thorough as possible! So keep checking back!)

Milks:  I tend to stay away from soy milk.  I use Silk vanilla flavored almond milk mainly for cereal but protein shakes as well. I like to have individual SoDelicious chocolate coconut milks on hand for a sweet treat (esp tasty in a pb banana smoothie!). Lastly most of my cooking is done with the whole foods brand rice milk. Another cool product is MimiCreme (find it on the shelf with shelf stable vegan milks) made from different kinds of nuts. This really does "mimic cream" and can be used in coffee, creamy soups, mashed potatoes or whipped into whipped cream*.  *not yet tested in my kitchen but read somewhere that it was possible!

Cheese: My favorite product that I have found is Daiya cheese. They currently make 3 flavors that are available at many stores: Mozzarella, Cheddar, and Pepperjack. They also have cheese "wedges": blocks of cheese available in Jack, Sharp Cheddar and Jalapeno Garlc Havarti, they also have slices in Provolone, Cheddar, and Swiss, I LOVE THESE FOR GRILLED CHEESE or really any kind of sandwich.  Galaxy Nutritional Foods makes "American cheese" style vegan cheese.  But make sure you get the one marked vegan as some of their cheeses contain milk or casein.  They also make a vegan Parmesan cheese (find it on the shelf not the fridge section).  But again, check the label to make sure it's vegan if it doesn't say on the front label.  For "cream cheese" and sourcream I suggest Daiya and Tofutti brands, respectively.  The sour cream is definitely good in dips like onion dip.

Yogurt:  Again I suggest SoDelicious as they make soy-free kinds that are made from coconut or almond milk!  They have a ton of varieties and have a Greek style!!!

Ice Cream: Back to SoDelicious!  I can't get over how wonderful their products are! They truly satisfy any of my "dairy" cravings.  Look for their coconut milk ice creams! They are sweeter than the soy milk based ones, and a little creamier.  I love the chocolate with peanut butter swirl, mocha almond fudge, and cookie dough flavors.  They also have mini fudge bars and ice cream sandwiches!! Who says you can't have ice cream treats when you are vegan!? (Check out what they make and where to get em: Here)

"Meat":  I SWEAR by gardein!  They have so many meat replacements that I don't miss meat at all.  They really focused on texture as well as taste so it's not mushy like tofu can be!  I worked with their products in so many ways you can really just sub it in wherever you would put meat!  Check their website for their full line (THEY STARTED SELLING VEGAN FISH STICKS WHICH ARE AMAZING!!!!) but I'll let you in on what I almost always have on hand:
Frozen products- ultimate beefless burger (best frozen burger on the market), chick'n scallopiniseven grain crispy tenders, beefless tips, buffalo wings, barbecue wings, barbeque riblets, sliders (chick'n and beefless), crispy chick'n patty, mandarin orange crispy chick'n / sizzling Szechuan beefless strips (for when I don't feel like Chinese take-out/when I'm making fake-out), and stuff'd turk'y breasts/holiday roast (only available during the holidays though so STOCK UP!) I also love their Breakfast Patties and Meatless Meatballs!
New Products- New products from gardein that I haven't tried yet: Veggie Burger (different from the beefless burger), Meatless Meatloaf, or the Ultimate Beefless Ground.

Condiments/Miscellaneous:  I use Earth Balance soy-free natural buttery spread in place of all of my butter needs.  But on top of that, I also get their coconut spread.  Made from coconut oil it's a little sweeter so it is great on sweet things like pancakes, cinnamon toast, and anything else that can needs to be slightly sweetened.  They also make "vegan buttery sticks" which are great for baking because they are easier to measure.  
Earth Balance's Mindful Mayo  and Hampton Creek's Just Mayo are my picks for my mayo fix. 

Vegans only eat salads right?  WRONG but when I do, I love Annie's Natural Goddess Dressing on my salads. And recently I've been OBSESSED with Organicville's Vegan Ranch Dressing. 
Nutritional Yeast.  It looks and smells weird, at first...  But trust me if you're going to eat a plant based diet, you should definitely have this in your kitchen.  Its a great source of B-12 and can be used to make sauces taste cheesy.  (see my Mac-No-Cheese recipe)
Baking something and need to use eggs?  Have no fear, there's a replacement for that too!  I use Ener-G egg substitute that is a powder, made from potato starch, that when you mix with water, provides to your baked good what an egg would.  However it cannot be used in recipes like scrambled eggs, for that you should use tofu. (I have a recipe for a breakfast scramble that I need to upload to this blog!)

Other items I always have on hand:  Zico Coconut water (natural and chocolate flavors), pasta (check the labels as some may contain egg), rice (white, brown, sushi), quinoa, couscous, cans of beans like: chickpeas/garbanzo beans, black beans, kidney beans (light and dark), and black eyed peas, pretzels, a cornucopia of spices, Braggs' Liquid Aminos, mustard (pretty sure I have like 8 varieties in the fridge right now), big cans of diced tomatoes, canned tomato sauce, jars of pizza sauce and spaghetti sauce (check the labels to make sure there is no cheese or meats in the sauces), peanut butter (big jar and to-go packs), popcorn, vegetable broth, jars of Better Than Bouillon (vegan chicken broth) oatmeal, dried lentils, tortilla chips, red curry paste, cans of baby corn/water chestnuts/bamboo shoots.

Veggies/Fruits I always have: potatoes, onions, cucumber, lettuce, kale, leeks, butternut squash, corn (frozen),  peas (frozen), edemame (frozen), Portobello mushrooms (grill for a tasty sandwich or use in place of meat in other recipes), bell peppers, celery, carrots, garlic-fresh, minced, and powdered (SO IMPORTANT!), eggplant, tomatoes, cabbage (red, green, savoy), apples, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, broccoli, cauliflower, bananas (I put most of them in the freezer for smoothies), fresh basil, and zucchini (try cutting in half lengthwise brushed with oil salt and pepper then grilled until soft--AMAZING!).

I'm pretty sure I've just told you everything that is or has ever been in my kitchen... I'm still trying new things and will try to remember to update this if I find anything else I like.  As always if you have question about anything, or you're not sure what to do, just ask! :-)  I will answer you questions to the best of my ability.  

I hope this helps anyone trying to switch to a vegan/plant based diet or if you just want to add some vegan eats to your menu.  Be sure to browse the site for recipes to try.  I am trying to get better about posting more often.  Seems as though when I do post, I post a few in a row then nothing for a while.  Here's my challenge to you:  get an item (vegetable, fruit, meat substitute) that you aren't used to or don't typically like.  When cooked in a new way you may find a different taste/texture about it that you didn't know was possible and could end up liking it! 

Good luck and remember, Just Ask! I'm always here to answer any questions I can!
Happy Vegan Eating!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Kung Pao Chick'n

Thanks to @gardein for their wonderful vegan meat substitutes for making this recipe and most of my others beyond possible!

As you may know, I have recently added a facebook page specifically for this blog where I post pictures of food that I have made for myself but haven't blogged about.  This allows followers of the page to request (by "liking" or commenting on the photos) a recipe.  Well, this recipe is a result of that.  4 people liked this photo just minutes after I posted it, so I knew I had to get to blogging the recipe!  **You can thank them for this :-)

1 pkg gardein Chick'n Scallopini, thawed & cut into chunks (or 2pkg mandarin crispy chick'n)
1/4 cup roasted cashew pieces (can replace with 3 TBS roasted peanuts)
8-12 dried red chilies, seeded and cut into halves

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 small onion, roughly chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
5 slices peeled fresh ginger, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced

1 stalk scallion (chopped)
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine (rice wine cooking wine)
1 teaspoon oil

1 1/2 tablespoon light soy sauce
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon vegan Worchestershire sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon corn starch

Marinate chick'n chunks (or chick'n pieces) with the ingredients above for 30 minutes.

Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Heat up a wok with one tablespoon cooking oil and stir-fry the marinated chick'n until they are almost fully cooked.  Remove from wok and set aside

Clean the wok and add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of cooking oil until it smokes.

Add in the ginger, garlic, onion and bell pepper and do a quick stir before adding in the dried red chilies.  Stir fry the dried red chilies until aromatic and they smell spicy, then add back in the chick'n chunks.

Do a quick stir before adding in the roasted cashews and continue to stir a few times. Add in the sauce and stir continuously until the chick'n is evenly coated with the sauce. Add in the scallions and stir to combine then serve.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Note From the Blogger

WOW! I want to thank everyone for all the support!  Last night before I went to bed, this blog had been viewed 9,076 times!!!  THAT'S SO AWESOME!!! 

To keep up with the excitement, I've created a Tasty Kaiti's Facebook page which can be accessed through the blog (see the facebook badge on the right >>) or via !  On the page you can communicate with me easier, ask questions (with asap responses), see pictures of other creations that haven't made it to this blog yet, as well as request recipes for those pictures or of things you'd like to see.

ALSO, there was a request (Hi Kayce) for easier ability to share this blog.  Well, now, if you hover over an image with you mouse/cursor, you will see a "Pin It!" button in the top left corner so you can share it on your pinterest.

I really have to thank you all again.  Without your shares I don't think that I would've made it to this point!  I have a few ideas that I am exploring and will work harder on/announce when I hit 13,000 views.  So GET SHARING!! :-)

Y'all ROCK!!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Stuffed Squash

It's is the most wonderful time of the year!  Well, in my book it is.  I love everything about fall.  Endless apple/pumpkin flavored things, leaves changing colors, cooler temperatures, sweaters, boots, and of course football!  One of my favorite foods is also found in greater quantity in the fall as they are harvested now and as it continues to get cooler.  Winter Squash!  Winter squash can be anything: Butternut, Acorn, Spaghetti (Squash not the pasta made of dough), Kabocha, Calabaza, etc.  and it can be made into so many things (right now I'm working on a squash mac no cheese).  Squash is one thing that many may find on their Thanksgiving tables and that was one of my inspirations behind this recipe.

This stuffed squash play with flavors that are sweet, sour, and salty, as well as textures that are both crunchy and creamy.  It's sure to delight your taste buds, stuff you as full as it comes stuffed, and provide you with a lot of vitamins and minerals!

2 Acorn Squash, halved and seeded
1 box 365 Long Grain & Wild Rice, Naturally Flavored Mix
1 3/4 cup prepared Better than Bouillon No-Chicken Broth
3/4-1 cup diced carrots
3/4-1 cup diced celery
1 onion, diced
1/3 cup chopped dried cranberries
2 TBS Earth Balance margarine
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper
Thyme, to taste
Pinch of Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees with the rack in the middle.  Drizzle the acorn squash halves with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place cut side up onto a pan.  Roast in oven for 30min-1hr, until the flesh is fork tender.  Remove from oven and stuff.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot over med-hi heat, melt the Earth Balance and add in the wild rice mix.  Stirring occasionally, toast the rice until it starts to smell nutty.  Add in No Chicken Broth, rice seasoning packet, and suggested amount of olive oil.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.  Cook for time based on packaging instructions.  The last 2 minutes of cook time, add in the dried cranberries. (This will help them to plump back up and not be so chewy.)

While the rice is cooking: Saute the celery, carrots, and onion in a large pan with few TBSP of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Add in a few shakes of thyme.  When the rice is finished, add it to the veggies, mixing well for equal distribution.  Finish with a pinch of nutmeg.

TO ASSEMBLE:  There are really 2 ways to do this.  You can scoop out the flesh of the acorn squash, give it a rough chop, and add it to the rice/veggie mixture before stuffing the shell or you can just stuff the squash without adding the flesh to the rice mix.  Make sure to really pack the squash with stuffing and you can even mound it up on top with an ice cream scoop.  To heat up the squash and rice to eat you can toss them back in the oven for a few min, covered.  Or just sprinkle the rice mix with a few tsp of water and pop them into the microwave for a min or two.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

7 Layer Taco Dip


You know what that means...  Tons of opportunities to make a dish to your tailgate or living room party, to share with everyone there.  Well lets get real for a sec... How many vegans eat something more than chips and salsa at a football game party?  Well when my college team kicked off this year, I was determined to bring a bunch of vegan friendly snacks so that I could be satisfied during a game for once... The trick was, making everything soo tasty that the omnivores wouldn't notice it was vegan.  Mission ACCOMPLISHED!  I made this VEGAN 7 layer "taco" dip and people loved it!  It's so easy to put together and the taco "meat" and my not so cheesey "Queso" made this dip an MVP!

1 can Amy's Vegetarian Refried Beans
1 pkg gardein meatless grounds
1 pkg your fav taco seasoning
1 pkg Daiya Cheddar style wedge
1 pkg Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti style wedge
Guacamole (homemade or store bought)
Shredded lettuce
Chopped tomatoes
Sliced black olives

Prepare the meatless grounds with the taco seasoning as instructed.

Warm the refried beans through

In a double-boiler (or in the microwave at small time increments) melt together the 2 types of daiya wedges.  Keep warm until ready to use

In a glass baking dish first spread the refried beans, top with taco "meat" and queso.  Stop here if you're making this ahead of time.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  (Just warm it up in a 350 degree oven when you're getting ready to serve.)

Top with guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, and olives and serve with your favorite kind of tortilla chips!


Cat's outta the bag Matt... you and your guests had a vegan football party :-) 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Scones

This recipe is the lovechild of my two favorite breakfast treats.  Labor intensive sweetness meets quick flaky, crumbly pastry.  With this recipe you get all of the flavor of a cinnamon roll without having to be up super early to let the dough rise (and without eating the kind from the tube... you know what I'm talking about).  I think that this recipe, start to finish, took me an hour... And that's because I was creating the recipe as I went along, taking notes, using social media to document what I was using/doing, etc.  If I had to time this recipe with out all of the added busy work, my guess is this is a breakfast meal that could be featured on RR's 30 Minute Meals!

This recipe makes 8 scones... But be warned, they are super yummy... both my parents each had two. 

1 egg replacer (I use Ener-G so 11/2 tsp powder mixed with 2 TBS warm water until frothy)

2 1/2 c AP flour
1/3 c sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup non-dairy butter (Super Cold! leave in refrigerator until ready to use)
1/2 cup non dairy milk

2-3 TBS Dark Brown Sugar
1 TBS Sugar
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
2 shakes Ground Cloves
2 shakes Ground Ginger
2 TBS non dairy butter, melted

1 c confectioner's Sugar
2 TBS non dairy milk
2 TBS non dairy butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 425 and grease a cookie sheet.

Combine the scone's dry ingredients.  

Cut in cold butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives, until the butter is no bigger than the size of a pea.  

Add in milk and egg replacer and mix until just moistened.  

Gather the dough into a ball and divide in half.  Wrap lightly and put dough in the fridge while you prep the filling*.  This chills the butter again after it's been exposed to your hands heat.  Chunks of butter in your pastry are what helps to create a flaky texture.

Evenly spread one half of your dough into the bottom of an 8-in round cake pan.  Top with Filling and the rest of the dough.  Turn out onto a floured surface and check around the edge to make sure top and bottom layers of dough are connected.  

Cut into 8 triangles place on cookie sheet and bake for 13 minutes.  Top with glaze** to serve and enjoy!

*Filling, combine the sugars and spices until thoroughly mixed.  Add in butter and mix until filling looks like wet, crumbly sand.

**For the Glaze, whisk all of the ingredients together until smooth.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Asian Pesto

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything.  Truth is, I haven't been making anything new... Which makes me sad.  But today at work I got to help my boss make a delicious Asian style pesto sauce and I had to share it.  This pesto comes from the cookbook Simply Ming.  The book recommends putting it on grilled shrimp or chicken with salad or pasta.  But I think it would be fantastic on any soba noodles or grilled veggies (mm brushed with some sesame oil!)

It also suggests mixing some of this pesto in with chopped shrimp as a filling for dumplings... Hmm maybe with some oyster mushrooms..?? Either way this pesto is super easy to make and would be great on just about anything... hmmm veggie sandwich instead of mayo/mustard?  So many ideas to try this pesto on that I'm going to have to make it again very soon!

2 jalapenos, stemmed and seeded
8-10 garlic cloves (depending on their size)
1 TBSP sugar
1 heaping TBSP ginger, peeled and minced
1 cup roasted salted macadamia nuts or roasted salted peanuts
Zest of 2 lemons
2 cups Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup fresh basil leaves, packed
1 cup fresh mint leaves, packed
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, packed
salt and pepper to taste

 In a blender or food processor combine jalapenos, garlic, sugar, ginger, nuts, zest, and 1 cup of oil and blend until smooth.  Add in the herbs and blend, slowly adding the remaining oil until it has become a thick puree. Season with salt and pepper.  Store in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

It's that easy! :-) 

Let me know what you try it on!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Paula Deen Goes Vegan!? (okay not really but this is adapted from her recipe)

Hi, I’m Kaiti, and I’m a Food Network JUNKIE… haha no but seriously, I kinda am.  Food Network is pretty much always on my TV, even at one of my jobs (I babysit a lot of babies… #winning)
So the other day I was watching the woman (who despite the recent controversy) I would love to be related to but bless her heart, woman uses so much butter, cream and bacon… I couldn’t share a kitchen with her.  I’m talking of course about Paula Deen!  

Well she made an amazing looking Panzanella (bread salad) that was completely vegetarian… which makes my job of vegan-izing SOOOOOO Much easier!!!  Well, I made it tonight… And GOLLY GOSH GEE WHIZ WOW IT’S SOOOO YUMMY!!!!!  I L-O-V-E grilled veggies so this was definitely huge hit! Not to mention... it's summer and tomorrow's the Fourth of July... HELLO GRILLING IS A MUST RIGHT NOW!

I could care less if you try my other recipes but you HAVE GOT TO TRY THIS ONE!
**quick side note: Be careful choosing you cornbread mix as some have buttermilk or lard in them! Use a larger pan (13x9) when baking the cornbread so that your chunks aren't too huge or they will soak up all the dressing and will be hard to eat!  I'm also including a link to a cornbread recipe if you feel like making it from scratch! Mmkay GET COOKING!**

    2 (6-ounce) packages cornbread mix (or try this recipe!)
    4 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
    1 large sweet onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
    1 red bell pepper, cut into wedges, seeds and membranes removed
    1 green bell pepper, cut into wedges, seeds and membranes removed
    1 yellow bell pepper, cut into wedges, seeds and membranes removed
    2 yellow squash, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
    1 zucchini, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
    3 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
    Lemon Vinaigrette, recipe follows
    Chopped fresh parsley leaves, for garnish (you don't have to use this... I hate parsley...)
Prepare the cornbread mix according to package directions/recipe. Bake according to the directions on the box or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely. Invert the cornbread onto a cutting board. Cut the cornbread into 1/2-inch cubes and arrange them in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with melted butter, tossing gently to coat. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until the cornbread is toasted, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool. *Side note number 2: you could also drizzle with butter/oil and grill the cornbread... or in true Paula Deen style, you could fry them up in a pan with some oil....

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.
Combine the onion, peppers, squash, and zucchini in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and toss gently to coat. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Arrange the onion slices on the preheated grill, cover with the grill lid, and cook for 3 minutes per side. Remove the onions from the grill, chop and set aside. 
Arrange the pepper wedges on the grill, cover with the grill lid, and cook for 8 minutes per side. Chop the peppers, and set aside. Arrange the squash and zucchini on the grill, cover with the grill lid, and cook for 2 minutes per side. Chop the squash, and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all the chopped vegetables, tomatoes, and cornbread squares, Add the Lemon Vinaigrette and toss gently to coat. Garnish with chopped fresh parsley leaves, if using, and serve immediately.
Lemon Vinaigrette:
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    2 tablespoons vegannaise
    1 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, parsley, mustard, mayonnaise, pepper, and salt. Gradually whisk in the oil until combined. Cover and chill until ready to use.
***Side Note Number 3 (and last one I promise!): I also diced some avocado to put on top, it was really yummy**
How yummy does that look? And that’s just the grilled veggies!!
Happy and Healthy (wow with a PD recipe?!) Eating!!

Homemade Cornbread

These days people go for whatever is easiest... which is fine (I do it sometimes too...) BUT this recipe is for delicious, sweet, moist, cornbread which is something that is hard to buy in a box... especially if you're vegan.  These days most boxed cornbreads contain LARD or BUTTERMILK... This vegan friendly recipe will be a hit with anyone and is great with Chili, as a side to any summer BBQ dish, or in my rendition of Paula Deen's Grilled Veggie Panzenella!

1 cup cornmeal 1 cup all purpose flour 2/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup vanilla nondairy milk (I used soy) 1/2 cup water - See more at:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup vanilla coconut milk 
1/2 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of baking dish with a little oil. I used an 8 X 8" glass dish, but this works as muffins too and if you need thinner cornbread use a larger baking dish and reduce cooking time, just keep checking it!
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl with a fork or a whisk. Stir in wet ingredients but don't mix too much.
Pour into baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges are a little brown and tests done with a toothpick.
Take out and let cool for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Boom! Easy peasy lemon squeeze-y! 

**UPDATE**  I made this cornbread for 3 omnivores and myself to accompany the loaded veggie chili that can be accessed via the above link... THEY LOVED THIS CORNBREAD!!! (Like to the extent that we were just eating it straight from the pan!)  I promised a shout-out to the two boys so: "Hi Matt and Will!!!" I'll be making another pan (maybe 2 or maybe a bunch of mini muffins) of this cornbread for Notre Dame's kickoff game in 16 days!
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom of baking dish with a little oil. I used an 8 X 8" glass dish, but I'm sure this would work as muffins just as well. 2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl with a fork or a whisk. Stir in wet ingredients but don't mix too much. 3. Pour into baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the edges are a little brown and tests done with a toothpick. 4. Take our and let cool for 15 minutes or so. This is excellent with some margarine when it's fresh. I like to eat the leftovers for breakfast with maple syrup. Source of recipe - See more at:
1 cup cornmeal 1 cup all purpose flour 2/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup vanilla nondairy milk (I used soy) 1/2 cup wate - See more at:
1 cup cornmeal 1 cup all purpose flour 2/3 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/3 cup vegetable oil 1/2 cup vanilla nondairy milk (I used soy) 1/2 cup wate - See more at:

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