Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top 25 Power Foods!

This list of power foods helped please the scientist in me, and I hope it will please the foodie in you! Also, it doesn't really include "new" foods like chia seeds (which are super awesome) or anything from the rainforest.


01. Apricots
The Power: Beta-carotene, which helps prevent free-radical damage and protect the eyes. The body also turns beta-carotene into vitamin A, which may help ward off some cancers, especially of the skin. One apricot has 17 calories, 0 fat, 1 gram of fiber. Snacks on them dried, or if you prefer fresh, buy when still firm; once they soften, they lose nutrients.

02. Avocados
The Power: Oleic acid, an unsaturated fat that helps lower overall cholesterol and raise levels of HDL, plus a good dose of fiber. One slice has 81 calories, 8 grams of fat and 3 grams of fiber. Try a few slices instead of mayonnaise to dress up your next burger.

03. Raspberries
The Power: Ellagic acid, which helps stall cancer-cell growth. These berries are also packed with vitamin C and are high in fiber, which helps prevent high cholesterol and heart disease. A cup has only 60 calories, 1 gram of fat and 8 grams of fiber. Top plain low-fat soyogurt or oatmeal (another high fiber food) with fresh berries.

05. Cantaloupe
The Power: Vitamin C (117mg in half a melon, almost twice the recommended daily dose) and beta-carotene - both powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from free-radical damage. Plus, half a melon has 853mg of potassium - almost twice as much as a banana, which helps lower blood pressure. Half a melon has 97 calories, 1 gram of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Cut into cubes and freeze, then blend into an icy smoothie.

06. Cranberry Juice
The Power: Helps fight bladder infections by preventing harmful bacteria from growing. A cup has 144 calories, 0 grams of fat and 0 fiber. Buy 100 percent juice concentrate and use it to spice up your daily H20 without adding sugar.

07. Tomato
The Power: Lycopene, one of the strongest carotenoids, acts as an antioxidant. Research shows that tomatoes may cut the risk of bladder, stomach and colon cancers in half if eaten daily. A tomato has 26 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Drizzle fresh slices with olive oil, because lycopene is best absorbed when eaten with a little fat.

08. Raisins
The Power: These little gems are a great source of iron, which helps the blood transport oxygen and which many women are short on. A half-cup has 218 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Sprinkle raisins on your morning oatmeal or bran cereal (especially during that time of the month!)

09. Figs
The Power: A good source of potassium and fiber, figs also contain vitamin B6, which is responsible for producing mood-boosting serotonin, lowering cholesterol
and preventing water retention. The Pill depletes B6, so if you use this method of birth control, make sure to get extra B6 in your diet. One fig has 37 to 48 calories, 0 fat and 2 grams of fiber. You can also use dried figs as a fat substitute in baking, just blend a few figs with a little water until you get a paste-like consistency. Use it for half the amount of fat called for (instead of 1 c. margarine, use 1/2 c. + 1/2 c. figgy paste).

10. Lemons/Limes
The Power: Limonene, furocoumarins and vitamin C, all of which help prevent cancer. A wedge has 2 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Buy a few of each and squeeze over salads, beans, and vegetables for fat free flavor.


11. Onions
The Power: Quercetin is one of the most powerful flavonoids (natural plant antioxidants). Studies show it helps protect against cancer. A cup (chopped) has 61 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Chop onions for the maximum phytonutrient boost, or if you hate to cry, roast them with a little olive oil and serve with rice or other vegetables.

12. Artichokes
The Power: These odd-looking vegetables contain silymarin, an antioxidant that helps prevent skin cancer, plus fiber to help control cholesterol. One medium artichoke has 60 calories, 0 fat and 7 grams of fiber. Steam over boiling water for 30 to 40 minutes. Squeeze lemon juice on top, then pluck the leaves off with your fingers and use your teeth to scrape off the rich-tasting skin. When you get to the heart, you have found the best part!

13. Ginger
The Power: Gingerols may help reduce queasiness; other compounds may help ward off migraines and arthritis pain by blocking inflammation-causing prostaglandins. A teaspoon of fresh gingerroot has only 1 calorie, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Peel the tough brown skin and slice or grate into a stir-fry.

14. Broccoli
The Power: Indole-3-carbinol and sulforaphane, which help protect against breast cancer. Broccoli also has lots of vitamin C and beta-carotene. One cup (chopped) has 25 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Don't overcook broccoli - instead, microwave or steam lightly to preserve phytonutrients. Squeeze fresh lemon on top for a zesty and taste, added nutrients and some vitamin C.

15. Spinach
The Power: Lutein and zeaxanthin, carotenoids that help fend off macular degeneration, a major cause of blindness in older people. Plus, studies show this green fountain of youth may help reverse some signs of aging. One cup has 7 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Add raw leaves to a salad or saute with a little olive oil and garlic.

16. Bok Choy (Chinese cabbage)
The Power: Brassinin, which some research suggests may help prevent breast tumors, plus indoles and isothiocyanates, which lower levels of estrogen, make this vegetable a double-barreled weapon against breast cancer. A cup will also give you 158mg of calcium (16 percent of your daily recommended requirement) to help beat osteoporosis. A cup (cooked) has 20 calories, 0 fat and 3 grams of fiber. Find it in your grocer's produce section or an Asian market. Slice the greens and juicy white stalks, then saute like spinach or toss into a stir-fry just before serving.

17. Squash (Butternut, Pumpkin, Acorn)
The Power: Winter squash has huge amounts of vitamin C and beta-carotene, which may help protect against endometrial cancer. One cup (cooked) has 80 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber. Cut on in half, scoop out the seeds and bake or microwave until soft, then dust with cinnamon.

18. Watercress and Arugula
The Power: Phenethyl isothiocyanate, which, along with beta-carotene and vitamins C and E, may help keep cancer cells at bay. One cup has around 4 calories, 0 fat and 1 gram of fiber. Do not cook these leafy greens; instead, use them to garnish a sandwich or add a pungent, peppery taste to salad.

19. Garlic
The Power: The sulfur compounds that give garlic its pungent flavor can also lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, lower blood pressure and even reduce your risk of stomach and colon cancer. A clove has 4 calories, 0 fat and 0 fiber. Bake a whole head for 15 to 20 minutes, until soft and sweet and spread on bread instead of butter.

Grains, Beans and Nuts:

20. Quinoa
The Power: A half cup of cooked quinoa has 5 grams of protein, more than any other grain, plus iron, riboflavin and magnesium. A half-cup has 170 calories, 5 grams of fat and 5 grams of fiber. Add to soup for a protein boost. Rinse first, or it will taste bitter.

NOTE: Some brands of quinoa, such as Bob's Red Mill, prewashes and dries the quinoa for you so you don't have to bother rinsing those itty-bitty grains.

21. Wheat Germ
The Power: A tablespoon gives you about 7 percent of your daily magnesium, which helps prevent muscle cramps; it is also a good source of vitamin E. One tablespoon has 27 calories, 1 gram of fat and 1 gram of fiber. Sprinkle some over soyogurt, fruit or cereal.

22. Lentils
The Power: Isoflavones, which may inhibit estrogen-promoted breast cancers, plus fiber for heart health and an impressive 9 grams of protein per half cup. A half-cup (cooked) has 115 calories, 0 fat and 8 grams of fiber. Isoflavones hold up through processing, so buy lentils canned, dried or already in soup. Take them to work, and you will have a protein packed lunch.

23. Peanuts
The Power: Studies show that peanuts or other nuts (which contain mostly unsaturated "good" fat) can lower your heart-disease risk by over 20 percent. One ounce has 166 calories, 14 grams of fat and 2 grams of fiber. Keep a packet in your briefcase, gym bag or purse for a protein-packed post-workout nosh or an afternoon pick me up that will satisfy you until supper, or chop a few into a stir-fry for a Thai accent.

24. Pinto Beans
The Power: A half cup has more than 25 percent of your daily requirement of folate, which helps protect against heart disease and reduces the risk of birth defects. A half-cup (canned) has 103 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of fiber. Drain a can, rinse and toss into a pot of vegetarian chili.

25. Yogurt
The Power: Bacteria in active-culture yogurt helps prevent yeast infections; calcium strengthens bones. A cup has 155 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 grams of fiber. Get the plain kind and mix in your own fruit to keep calories and sugar down. Luckily for us vegans, soyogurt contains the same active bacteria cultures as dairy yogurt, thus providing the same health benefits.

Reproduced from

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Spiced Banana Pancakes

I freaking love pancakes, and I'm not ashamed to admit it! They're like another food group for me. Seriously. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and probably once a week. They're so quick and easy and filling. Pancakes can be fattening, but I've lightened up these a little. I never add any oil to my pancakes (you know, cause they're cooked it in), and as long as I make them in a nonstick with some cooking spray, they never stick. These pancakes work out to be about 110 calories and less than a gram of fat per pancake (about .75 g). Served with a touch of vegan margarine (just a touch!) and a serving of real maple syrup, you're looking at a dang tasty supper. That won't put a lot on the middle (a far cry from the egg-dairy-fat laden pancakes at a restaurant).

So yeah, done with my pancake rant!

Banana pancakes was seriously the first thing I ever made as a new vegan, and I will always conjure up memories of those days when I eat these. :)

(Lightly) Spiced Banana Pancakes:
1. Combine these ingredients in a medium bowl with a whisk (kinda works like a sifter):
1 c. unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour or graham flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
a few shakes cardamom (can get overpowering if you use too much)

2. Combine these ingredients in a small bowl:
1 large, very ripe banana, mashed
1 Tb. brown sugar
1 1/4 c. soymilk
1/4 tsp. vanilla (just a touch, use between 1/8-1/4 tsp.)

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined. If desired, thin with a little soymilk.

4. In a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray, cook the pancakes a couple at a time over medium-ish heat. When the pancakes are slightly dry around the edges and a few bubbles form in the center, flip with a spatula, and cook a couple minutes more.

5. Repeat with remaining batter.

NOTE: These pancakes are a wee bit thick, so they may not bubble that much. However, they still cook pretty fast (about 3-4 minutes), so keep your eye on them.


Holiday Rice

I adapted this recipe from last October's issue of Vegetarian Times. I saw the recipe for the Wild Rice Autumn Rissoles and I really wanted to make it. I bought all the stuff to make it (though most I had on hand) and instead of making a cooked patty (the recipe originally called from 3 eggs), I made a holiday stir-fry. It rocks. When me and my boyfriend were snowed in last week, our Christmas dinners got canceled so we wound up having to "make-do" with the holiday flavors of this. We were delightfully surprised at it, and will definitely make it again.

Suggestion: In order to make a super awesome one-dish skillet meal, I recommend browning and crumbling half a tube of Gimme Lean sausage, then going on with the recipe as usual. It makes it more hearty that way. Serve it with a winter salad and some cranberry sauce (yup... it's real good with the rice) and you got yourself a well-rounded meal.

The flavors of the cranberries and pecans add nice texture while the traditional herbs give it that holiday flavor. I was going to make it with half wild rice and half brown rice, but the wild rice had a stranger-than-usual funk about it. I normally love wild rice, but I couldn't stomach it this go round so I just doubled the brown rice.

Holiday Rice:
2 c. cold, cooked brown rice (nice and fluffy)
2 leeks, washed well, white and light green parts chopped
1/2 c. dried cranberries
3 artichoke hearts (about half a 6 oz. jar. NOT MARINATED), chopped
1/4 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 tsp. EACH dried sage, thyme, and rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a warm skillet, toast the pecans until fragrant, a couple minutes. Then set aside.

2. Using a little oil, saute the leeks and artichoke hearts, about three minutes.

3. Add the spices and stir until fragrant, about one minute.

4. Add the rice, cranberries, pecans, salt, and pepper. Stir until heated through.

5. Serve with cranberry sauce, enjoy!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Pantry Challenge

Alright. Christmas just passed... it's the end of the year... time for another pantry challenge!!

I have an abundance of delicious things in my pantry: bulgur wheat, brown rice, polenta, quinoa (he he, I like my grains), diced tomatoes and tomato sauce, aduzki beans, pinto beans, black beans, macaroni, dried nuts, raisins, figs, coconut, lentils, vegetable broth... the list goes on and on.

I have a habit of grocery shopping when I'm hungry, I suppose.

So, in an attempt to make up for any um, budget shortfalls, next month I'm going on another pantry challenge. I'm going to try to use up most of the items in my pantry while making sure that I only go to the grocery store for necessary things, like soymilk and fresh produce. Hopefully, I can trim my food costs down for about a month or so (I'm hoping to save about $50-100). Also, I hate to throw food away and I got a few items getting close to the end of the line.

A few ideas:
Spicy vegetarian chili (made with bulgur... I have so much of that stuff!).

Indian-style peppers and onions with tofu and coconut rice.

My personal favorite: Black beans with caramelized onions and fried polenta! That's home-cookin' right there.

And well... that's mostly what I got for now. I was also thinking of a few casseroles, subbing the bulgur wheat for ground meat. And maybe a butternut soup. And possibly a few things with coconut milk? I'll definitely be doing some posting of recipes soon. Hope everybody enjoyed their holidays!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time for some food porn!!

Picture 1: Corncakes with blueberry syrup. There isn't a single decent vegan corn (pan)cake recipe out there that was what I was looking for. I was wanting something sweet, not savory and I was wanting it soaked in blueberry syrup. I created my own recipe and it tasted great... except for
the fact that I accidentally cooked it in my cast iron pan that's reserved for olive oil... Needless to say, sweet corncakes cooked in olive oil and served with blueberries didn't do much for the palate. I will be perfecting this recipe and reposting it, but in the meantime, we shall just look at pictures of it.

Picture 2: This was super delicious green curry, with a thick, coconut cream sauce. It was definitely the best curry I've ever made, and I know I've got the recipe around here somewhere. It involved cooking the spices in the coconut cream before adding the rest of the milk to the sauce. It was very good. When I find the recipe I shall surely post it!

Picture 3: Ah, yes. More tofu, this time it's stir-fried with peppers, onions, and mini cabbages, topped with roasted peanuts and served over rice noodles. I'd like to try this recipe again (the original one I created needed a little tweaking), maybe using actual bok choy this time. And actually, when I ate the leftovers over quinoa (with some extra brown sugar and tamari...) it was better. It's pretty amazing over quinoa... though pretty much anything with quinoa is amazing!

Oh, yeah. I'm also going to be making a wedding cake! Unfortunately, it won't be vegan, but never the less I get to test my skills as a baker. I've been reading "The Joy of Cooking" (the 1962 edition) and believe it or not, I've been learning a LOT of stuff... stuff that I think a lot of cooks have forgotten about. SO I shall be putting my skills to the test, but in return you'll be getting some kick-ass recipes, in all their delicious (vegan) glory!

Spicy Baked Asian Tofu

I think that baking tofu is the best way to go. Hands down. I always bake my tofu, because it's kind of a super easy-quick way to marinate it. It's only after it's been baked do I toss it with some noodles or wok it in a stir fry. I think the flavor and texture of it is superior to just plain stir-fried, and I always have a hard time trying not to munch on these things when I see their baked deliciousness sitting in the fridge.

It's Asian because it's Thai-ish, but believe me if I didn't live it a culturally defunct little town I would be cooking these babies up with some Kaffir leaves, tamarind, and lemongrass. So, I guess I have to settle with my chili paste and tamari (though I did drive over an hour to get to that paste).

Either way, this is my favorite kind of tofu.

Spicy Baked Asian Tofu:
3 Tb. low-sodium tamari
1 Tb. peanut oil
1/2 Tb. Thai chile-garlic paste
1/2 tsp. chili oil
1/2 tsp. ginger (powdered)
1 block of firm or extra firm tofu

Preheat oven to 375.
1. Press tofu for about 15-30 minutes (I usually put it between two plates and then place my flour canister on top. It's heavy, but it doesn't make the tofu split).

2. Combine all other ingredients in a shallow baking dish (it probably won't completely cover the bottom, that's ok).

3. Cube the tofu and add it to the baking dish. Give it a stir so that all the cubes are coated with the marinade.

4. Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to an hour. Stirring it occasionally. I like it best when the edges get a little crusty. It's soooo good. You now have tofu you can eat cold right out of the fridge add to anything! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pesto Pasta Skillet

This was fun to make and I enjoyed eating it! I love macaroni noodles, but yeah. This was fairly easy to make. It didn't take that much time and my boyfriend said he'd like me to make it again. That's always a good sign! Most of it was gone the first night. I served it alongside garlic-butter asparagus and garlic bread (both made with vegan margarine). Good stuff. Basil was just what I needed.

Do this recipe in parts:
1. Make pesto first, then place in refrigerator.
2. Cook vegetables and pasta concurrently, then mix together right before serving.

1 1/4 c. fresh basil, packed (cut off the big stems first)
1/4 c. toasted pine nuts (or sunflower seeds, they taste the same)
2 Tb. olive oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
Sea salt to taste

1. Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. I would do the nuts by themselves first and get them kinda paste-y, unless you don't mind little pieces of nuts in your pesto.
2. Refrigerate.

Pesto Pasta:
2 c. dry macaroni
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 - 1 Tb. vegan margarine
1 tsp. garlic

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
2. Meanwhile, over medium, saute onions and garlic in margarine until almost soft.
3. Add chopped tomato and cook through until everything is a nice golden color.

4. Drain the cooked pasta and add to the onion/tomato mixture.
5. Add refrigerated pesto to skillet and stir until all is combined well and heated through. Enjoy!

I'm definitely going to make this again, but I think I'll make it with 2 cups of basil then. I love that stuff!

Four (very big!) servings: 340 calories each

Black Bean Burgers

I love these things. They're really easy to make and they're real good for you. You can choose to top your with lettuce, tomatoes, and onions or you can be lazy and use salsa. Either way, it's full of deliciousness.

Black Bean Burgers:
2 (15-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 c. dried bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Whole-wheat buns, plus toppings.

1. In food processor, combine the beans and onions until they're thoroughly mashed. Add bread crumbs, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Pulse until well-combined.
2. In a skillet sprayed with cooking spray, spoon bean mixture into patties. Then cook about 8 minutes on each side or until browned and heated through. Enjoy!

I can't remember how many this makes. I think 6. So in that case, calories are 160 per serving (not including buns or toppings).

UPDATE: I've made these burgers on many occasions and a long time ago I posted this recipe on VegWeb (an awesome vegan/vegetarian recipe collection). I've upped the beans, but the original recipe is still pretty much the same. If you would like some reviews on the tastiness of this recipe, click here. Also, the reviewers are right. If you freeze them a little bit before you cook them they'll stay together better.

I just have an aversion to frozen things. Lol.

Chocolate Cake with Mousse Frosting

I made this cake for my nonveg roommate's birthday. They liked it, but they're more of a cake-from-a-box type of people. They like that spongy, air type of cake, whereas I'm more of a cake-from-scratch type of person (I like that dense, cakey texture). They loved the icing though! AND even better, this cake will make a layer cake. It has the perfect texture and crumb for it. I really wanted to layer it, but alas, I had no cake box to store it in after frosting...

I thought this cake was pretty magical. I ate it for breakfast with some strong coffee (my favorite way to enjoy desserts!). I will definitely make it whenever I need me some chocolate cake.

Also, a trick to vegan cake baking is to bake it as soon as possible. As soon as that batter is mixed, get it into the oven. The vinegar and the baking soda react together to create the rise, so if you take too long getting it into the oven, it will go flat.

Chocolate Cake:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. cocoa
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. vegan chocolate syrup (most are vegan, even Hershey's)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. soymilk
1 tsp. rice vinegar

Preheat oven to 350.
1. Mix soymilk and rice vinegar. Set aside and let curdle.
2. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. I like to whisk it together because it gives it a nice, sifted texture.
3. In a small bowl, combine the oil, chocolate syrup, vanilla, and soymilk mixture.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine well.
5. Pour batter into a greased and floured 9 x 13 x 2 in. cake pan and bake for 30-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Let cool completely before frosting.

Chocolate Mousse Frosting:
1/2 c. vegan margarine
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 Tb. soymilk
2 Tb. chocolate syrup

1. Beat margarine, powdered sugar, cocoa, and salt until smooth and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla, soymilk, and chocolate syrup, then beat until well-combined and still fluffy.
3. Spread over cooled cake.

Cake + Frosting: 16 slices/250 calories for a slice. NOT BAD for a cake, huh? Cake by itself is only 130 calories a slice.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Citrus Greens with Cranberries

I love me some greens, and I kid you not, this is probably one of the best recipes for them I've ever tasted!

I love Thanksgiving. It's probably one of my all-time favorite holidays. I love trying new recipes, spending time with friends and family, getting a day off work and school, and truly giving thanks for all that seems to be going right with my life. That being said, I also love food. I love, love, love eating food on Thanksgiving. The thing with Thanksgiving though, is that everyone seems to focus on everything but the vegetables (mashed potatoes don't counts because they're all over the place). There's that horrid green bean casserole that everyone makes and then maybe, if you're lucky, some roasted squash or carrots. This dish changes all that. It has a wonderful flavor and texture with just a hint of sweetness from the cranberries. Not to mention, it's got that festive holiday coloring too. This is a "make the day ahead" dish, but you could simmer it on low on a back burner or put it in a slow cooker overnight as well.

If you haven't had greens before, I'd recommend turnip greens. They're not as bitter or um, pronounced, in their flavor as other varieties can be. Also, please use an actual orange and not orange juice to make this recipe. Orange juice in a carton never has the right flavor when you cook with it.

To prepare the greens, wash several times in cold water or until there is no longer any grit or dirt in your sink. After removing the greens and water is clear, tear the leaves away from the hard, middle stem (though they usually cook tender unless they were picked after their preferred picking time). Stack them on a plate, roll them up, and slice into 1/2 inch slices.

Citrus Greens with Cranberries:
2 lbs. turnip greens, washed and trimmed
1-2 Tb. olive oil
1/2 Tb. minced garlic
3 shallots, finely chopped
1/2 tsp. sea salt
juice of one juicy orange
2/3 c. dried cranberries
4 c. vegetable broth
Toasted almond slices, opt.

1. Wash and trim greens; set aside
2. In a large stock pot over medium heat, saute the shallots and garlic in oil until softened and fragrant, about five minutes.
3. Add sea salt, the juice of an orange, and the cranberries, and let simmer a minute.
4. Add the vegetable broth and greens.
5. Let the greens cook down a bit before covering. Then, cover and simmer on medium-low for about two hours, stirring occasionally. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Coming Soon...

I got some food porn I'm going to post some pictures of, I also have a few recipes up my sleeve (in addition to the ones I mentioned a little while back). I will be moving to a new apartment in two weeks and I seriously need to cook out all the stuff in my pantry, especially since I'll be going from living alone to living with two other people who want pantry space also! So here's what I got going on:

Mayan Stew with Savory Pumpkin Cornbread (I want this in my belly now!)

Good ol' fashioned Pumpkin Bread

Split Pea Stew of some sort

Lentil stew of some sort

Baked tofu of some sort

I need collard greens and I need them now!! Ahem... yes, those as a side

I also really want to cook up some seitan and make a few dishes with that.

Mmm.... I'm gonna go make some food.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

S'mores Cupcakes!

And people whispered that it couldn't be done...

These were so freakin' good. I made them for a friend's birthday and they vanished! The frosting especially got some rave reviews! It's so soft and fluffy, yet rich and decadent. I used a pastry bag to fill the cupcakes and to top them.

I was really surprised when I found out that Smucker's Marshmallow ice cream topping was vegan. I checked the label for myself and sure enough, it is. I sprinkled the top of the cupcakes with a "graham dust" to get that s'more-sy effect. When I subbed some of the graham cracker flour for the regular flour I didn't notice any difference in taste so for the sake of easiness I just went ahead and made a batch using regular flour.

They're soooo good! And they very much remind me of s'mores. Goal achieved!

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 1/2 c. soymilk
2 c. flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tb. cocoa
1/2 c. coconut oil, warmed until liquid
2 Tb. chocolate syrup (most are vegan, but double check)
1/2 Tb. vanilla

Marshmallow ice cream topping. You'll use about half the jar, I suppose.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 c. vegan margarine, softened
2 c. powdered sugar
1/4 c. cocoa powder
dash of salt
1/2 Tb. vanilla
2 Tb. soymilk
1 Tb. chocolate syrup
1 Tb. marshmallow ice cream topping

3-4 vegan graham crackers, ground to a powder in a coffee grinder/food processor

To make the cuppy cakes:
1. Combine the rice vinegar and the soymilk in a bowl and set aside to curdle. About 5 minutes.
2. Combine the flour, white sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa in a large bowl. I ususally use a whisk because it does a real good job of "sifting" and breaking up any clumps.
3. To the curdled soymilk add the liquid coconut oil, vanilla, and chocolate syrup.
4. Mix the soymilk mixture in with the dry mixture and stir until combined.
5. Place into sprayed muffin tins or paper cups and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack or on their side so that the bottoms don't get soggy.

To make the frosting:
1. Beat the margarine until fluffy.
2. Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt, and beat a little bit more until combined.
3. Add the soymilk, vanilla, chocolate syrup, and marshmallow topping. Beat some more until combined.

Once the cupcakes are COMPLETELY COOLED, fill the pastry bag with marshmallow ice cream topping. In each cupcake, poke the pastry bag in and give a good squeeze to fill the center of the cupcake. Try not to overdo it.

Once all the cupcakes are filled, use the pastry bag once again to frost all the cupcakes. Then sprinkle the graham cracker dust over the top of them all.

Ta-da! Now go enjoy your cupcake-y goodness!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tofu Fried Quinoa

Ahh, leftover foodstuffs are a great thing!

I like my fried rice with a little heat and not a lot of sweet, but full of veggie deliciousness and quinoa goodness. It's best to have all the veggies chopped up and ready to go because this meal just takes a few minutes to prepare. I tried to take a picture but alas, I have a really crappy camera and the steam just kept messing everything up. And I was hungry. Just saying.

Tofu Fried Quinoa:
1 c. cold, leftover quinoa
1/4 c. green pepper, chopped
1/4 c. red pepper, chopped
1/4 c. onion, chopped
1/4 c. fresh or frozen peas
1/2 carton or 1 slab pre-cooked/leftover tofu
2 mushrooms, sliced
1/8 c. tamari
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. chile-garlic paste
drizzle of agave nectar

1. In a small bowl, combine tamari, ginger, chile-garlic paste, and agave nectar. Set aside.

2. Over high heat, saute red and green pepper, onion, and tofu for about 3-5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and peas. Saute another minute or until mushrooms start to soften.

3. Add leftover quinoa to the skillet and stir.

4. Add tamari mixture and stir until sauce is well-distributed and coats everything pretty evenly. Enjoy.

On another note: I'm making those s'mores cupcakes Friday! They're gonna be delicious!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

It's Coming...

I'll keep this short and simple:

Maple-Oat-Walnut Scones

Mallow Cream Filled S'mores Cupcakes (I've actually been commissioned to create these goodies!)

Thai-Spiced Stir Fry with Tofu and Baby Cabbages

Pumpkin Spice Morning Muffins

Cornmeal Pancakes with Blueberry Syrup


I'm making a vegan zine for my newly veg aunt! The cover has some killer tofu leading an army of black-eyed peas... I'll post up it up, just for fun.

This moist, cool, and windy Midwest October weather has got me baking, cooking, and creating. I love fall! Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Yay! and some updates!

A quick update:

1. My favorite magazine in the world, BUST, has added Isa Chandra Moskowitz (of PPK and Vegan with a Vengeance fame) to their new food column, "Nickel and Dined". If you haven't read this magazine before, I highly encourage it. This is one of those magazines that actually makes you feel good reading it. It's "for women with something to get off their chest" and it's chock full of music, news, indie culture, and d.i.y. There's never a column telling you to lose weight or to get this season's $3500 Prada bag, or what you should change about yourself to get a husband. I'm sure you'll be hooked like I am.

2. I knew it was a good day to go to the thrift store! I found a book called "Sweet Temptations" and it's chock full of completely raw desserts! It has recipes for pies, tarts, cookies, candies, cakes, and more, all 100% raw with easy to find ingredients and easy to prepare instructions. I'm dying to try some of these fabulous-sounding recipes out, and any winners I'll post online!

3. I have the BEST IDEA EVER for some cupcakes. I made a batch of those chocolate cupcakes with chocolate buttercream frosting and they were a huge hit! My dad, a real meat and potatoes guy who's not that keen on sweet stuff, absolutely loved them! I wish I had an outlet for my baking other than special occasions and holidays. I absolutely love baking up big batches of scones and cupcakes, but it's usually just me around and what in the heck am I gonna do with two dozen cupcakes? I guess I can just hope for a neighborhood with a large abundance of children, lol. But as I was saying, I recently had a sugar-high induced revelation involving cupcakes... mallow cream filled chocolate s'mores cupcakes, perfect for fall/Halloween. I've also been wanting to make some pumpkin-spice and carrot cake healthy muffins, for when I'm too lazy to put bread in the toaster before class...

4. My mom has gone off to Florida for two weeks to help care for her cousin who's having some serious surgery done. I'll probably be spending some more time at my parent's house making sure my dad doesn't starve to death while she's gone (lol) so it might be awhile before I get to update again.

Anywho. I hope you're enjoying this beautiful fall weather as much as I am. Some advice for the season: take a walk and eat some soup! :)

Friday, September 25, 2009

Aloo Matar Curry

I love, love, love Indian food! I love the vegetables, the aromas, the combinations of spices... and the fact that the majority of recipes are vegan and/or easy to veganize is a relief.

This recipe is for Aloo Matar Curry, or Potatoes and Peas Curry and it's adapted from The Spice Box, Vegetarian Indian Cookbook by Manju Shivraj Singh (a very good cookbook, indeed!). It's a mildly spicy dish because of the cayenne, but I've reduced it a little for this version (the original called for 1 tsp. of cayenne but I'm not that brave). The small amount of lemon juice helps cut any bitterness the cayenne might have, as would a good vegan raita. You could serve this with basmati rice, but I think it's equally good by itself (though some nice, hot naan is always good!).

Aloo Matar Curry:
2 Tb. oil
2 medium onions, sliced
1 tsp. turmeric
1/3 c. water
3 medium raw potatoes, peeled and diced
1 c. fresh or frozen peas
1 fresh green chili, seeded and chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. coriander
1 c. water
1 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. lemon juice

1. Heat oil and brown the onions. Add turmeric and 1/3 c. water. Fry for 1 minute or until the water evaporates. Add the pototoes, peas, and chili.

2. Add salt, cayenne, and coriander. Fry for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

3. Pour in 1 c. water, cover with a lid, and simmer on low heat until the water has evaporated and the potatoes are done.

4. Once the pototoes are cooked, remove from heat and add garam masala and lemon juice. Enjoy!

4 servings / 165 calories each

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hint o' Chipotle Black Bean and Vegetable Soup

Oh, soup! How I love you!

I had a hankering for some bread and soup today for lunch. I made some homemade bread (anything to put off doing some homework!) and made a nicely flavored soup to go with it. Feel free to add any veggies you want, seeing as there's plenty of end-of-the-summer veggies still floating around. Also, I find that the Tabasco sauce has enought salt in it that you don't really need to add any. Enjoy!

Hint o' Chipotle Black Bean and Vegetable Soup:
1/2 Tb. oil
1 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/3 bag baby carrots, diced (2/3 cup)
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 (32-oz) carton vegetable broth (probably only need about 3/4 the container)
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. coriander
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/2 - 1 Tb. Chipotle Tabasco sauce (depends on your tastes)
Additional salt, if desired

1. Saute onion, celery, and carrots in oil until slightly soft, about 10 minutes. Add dry spices and saute another couple of minutes or until fragrant.

2. In a large saucepan, combine sauteed veggies, tomatoes, black beans, vegetable broth, and Tabasco sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer about 35 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add salt to taste, if desired.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

I'm totally into cupcakes. They're just perfect! Little pieces of glorious dessert that you're able to hold in your hand. What's not to love?

Just so you know... it's only been recently that I've decided to give vegan cupcakes a try. I was a little nervous about substitutions in baking and whatnot, but now I finally feel confident enough that I know what I'm doing to get the taste that I desire.
Luckily, my assumptions about my skillz were correct, because these suckers are good. The frosting is super rich and delicious and the cake has a nice texture and isn't too crumbly or too moist. My sister and mom, both non-veg (and the former is extremely picky) loved them ("these are vegan? What's vegan? There better not be anything weird in here"). I plan on doing lots of experimentations with cupcakes in the future... with particular fondness towards an almond/coconut hybrid or maybe a chocolate-hazelnut or perhaps a strawberry-lime. Oooh!!

Chocolate Cupcakes:
1 Tb. rice vinegar
1 1/2 c. soymilk
2 c. flour
1/2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
5 Tb. cocoa
1/2 c. coconut oil, warmed until liquid
1/2 Tb. vanilla
1. Measure vinegar into a measuring cup and fill with milk to make 1 1/2 c. Set aside and let stand about 5 minutes.

2. Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix soymilk mixture, coconut oil, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just blended.

3. Pour into baking cups or sprayed muffin tins and bake 15-20 minutes at 350. Cool on a wire rack until ready to frost.

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 c. vegan margarine
1 c. powdered sugar
1/8 c. cocoa powder
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tb. soymilk

In a bowl beat together vegan margarine, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until smooth. Add the vanilla and soymilk and give it another quick whirl with the beaters. Use it to frost the cooled cupcakes.


Saturday, September 5, 2009


Mabon is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not pagan, but most of my friends are, so we all gather together and I cook them up a good feast. It's kind of like a witch's Thanksgiving, and any holiday centered around food and reflection with friends is enjoyable to me! I look forward to it starting in August and I seriously start planning weeks before the event. In addition to the food I go all out, I decorate the place with the appropriate items and colors and I also whip up a batch of herbal incense. When the day comes, I cook all day and I'm a little stressed and a lot hungry, but enjoying this meal with my friends makes everything worthwhile!

A little history:

Mabon - Autumn Equinox, 2nd Harvest, September 21st

Mabon, (pronounced MAY-bun, MAY-bone, MAH-boon, or MAH-bawn) is the Autumn Equinox. The Autumn Equinox divides the day and night equally, and we all take a moment to pay our respects to the impending dark. We also give thanks to the waning sunlight, as we store our harvest of this year's crops. The Druids call this celebration, Mea'n Fo'mhair, and honor the The Green Man, the God of the Forest, by offering libations to trees. Offerings of ciders, wines, herbs and fertilizer are appropriate at this time. Wiccans celebrate the aging Goddess as she passes from Mother to Crone, and her consort the God as he prepares for death and re-birth.

At this festival it is appropriate to wear all of your finery and dine and celebrate in a lavish setting. It is the drawing to and of family as we prepare for the winding down of the year at Samhain. It is a time to finish old business as we ready for a period of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

Symbols of Mabon: wine, gourds, pine cones, acorns, grains, corn, apples, pomegranates, vines such as ivy, dried seeds, and horns of plenty.

Foods of Mabon: Breads, nuts, apples, pomegranates, and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, and onions.

Colors of Mabon: Red, orange, russet, maroon, brown, and gold.

Considered a time of balance, it is when we stop and relax and enjoy the fruits of our personal harvests, whether they be from toiling in our gardens, working at our jobs, raising our families, or just coping with the hussle-bussle of everyday life.

So, basically, it's a Harvest Festival. I make a lot of Thanksgiving-esque foods that are coming in to season. While I haven't quite decided on all the foods I'm going to be making, I do know that I will be making these delicious items:

Pecan-"Sausage" stuffing (a real hit at last year's!).
Rosted Vegetable medley
Apple Tart
Chocolate-Nut Tart
Mulled Cider

There will also be copius amounts of wine and a main dish that I haven't quite decided on. Ahh! I'm so excited! The stuffing and vegetable medley recipes I've already posted, but the others will be new additions as soon as they've been taste-tested!

Have a great day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Indian-Spiced Lentil Stew

This ingredients (other than the spices) to this stew aren't exactly authentic, but what you get is a hearty, filling stew for a cool, autumn night. Seeing as autumn hit us quite early this year, I plan on making quite a few warm and filling stews!

I often serve this with a vegetable dish on the side. Sometimes a cucumber-onion-tomato-soyogurt salad (always a winner) and sometimes with a steamed vegetable. I happened to go with some lightly steamed and sea salted zucchini slices. They go perfect with lentils!

This recipe is pretty easy and calls for ingredients you probably already have on hand. I've also included a recipe for Garam Masala from Sarah Kramer's La Dolce Vegan because when you live in a small place in the Midwest like me, you can't always find dem der exotick spices... Anyway, enjoy!

Kitchen Cupboard Garam Masala:
2 Tb. cumin
2 Tb. coriander
2 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. allspice

In a small jar, combine all ingredients. Cap and shake well before using. Makes about 1/3 cup.

Indian-Spiced Lentil Stew:
1-2 Tb. olive oil
2 celery stalks, diced
1 small onion, diced
10 baby carrots, diced (or 1 large)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. ginger
3 c. veggie broth + 1 c. water
1 c. dry red lentils, rinsed and sorted through
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pita chips, pappadam, or crackers, toasted until crispy
Nonfat soyyogurt (opt.)

Spice mix:
1/2 Tb. mild curry powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1. Heat oil in a lare saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add diced vegetables and saute about 2-3 minutes, or until the veggies start to soften. Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir. Cover and cook veggies for about 10 minutes, or until softened.
2. Mix the spice mix together and stir into the vegetables. Cook another 5 minutes more or until fragrant.
3. Add lentils, vegetable stock, and water. Bring to a boil and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and stir in lime juice.
4. To serve, ladle stew into bowls, top with 1-2 Tb. of soyyogurt (if desired), and toasted pita chips (crumble them up a bit). Enjoy!

105 calories for lentil soup per 1 cup serving
110 for pita chips/serving
20 for two Tb. soyyogurt/ per serving

235 a hearty bowl per serving

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches

When I bit into these, I knew I did something good!

I was looking through an old September 2008 issue of VT when I found this recipe for "Spanish Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches". I veganized it and simplified it a little and I have come to the conclusion that I need to make this sandwich for everyone! The original version called for goat cheese and fresh basil, but since fresh basil is a little expensive for my budget and goat cheese is out of the question, I swapped them for some roasted garlic hummus (which turned out to be a really good idea!). I really think you'll enjoy these!

They really don't take too much prep work or time to make either. The whole meal will be done in about 30 minutes. You can also throw in some zucchini, sliced lengthwise. I was going to, but I came home from the store only to find that I had accidently bought rotten zucchini...

Roasted Vegetable Sandwiches:
2 yellow squash, sliced lengthwise
1 medium eggplant, sliced lengthwise
1 medium red onion, sliced
8-10 large button mushrooms, sliced
1 large red pepper, sliced
3 Tb. sliced almonds
1/2 Tb. red wine vinegar
1 tsp. minced garlic

Roasted garlic hummus
Green leaf lettuce
4 multigrain rolls, split horizontally, toasted if you like (I used mini ciabiatta rolls, also a good idea!)

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Spread squash, eggplant, onion, and mushroom in single layer on a baking skeet and spray with cooking spray. Roast 15-20 minutes or until tender.
2. Once the veggies are out of the oven, place the roasted red pepper slices in a food processor with the almonds, vinegar, and minced garlic. Puree until smooth and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Spread bottom halves of rolls with about 1/2-1 Tb. of hummus (depends on the size of the rolls). Top with lettuces. Divide the roasted veggies over the lettuce. Spread roasted red pepper mixture on top halves of rolls, and press together to adhere. Enjoy!

About 400 calories per sandwich.

My mom was really impressed with these. We had some mother-daughter bonding over sandwiches that day. :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So I've been intrigued with raw foods for awhile, though I haven't actually attempted to make a raw dish. However, to kick start my cooking of raw foods I've signed up for a cooking class that teaches all the basics. It's all about nuts, and soaking, and seeds, and blending, and all that good stuff. It's not until October, but I'm already looking forward to it! Hopefully, I'll get some good recipes I can share with you all!

Black Bean Chili with Dark Ale

Thanks VT, for the awesome picture.

This is a recipe from Vegetarian Times' March 2009 issue. It's delicious! I make up a pot and then I use leftovers for such things as burritos and baked potatoes. The original recipe called for canned chipotle chiles, but I can never use those things fast enough (I'm told you can freeze them... I just hate freezer food though) so I substituted Chipotle Tabasco sauce. The key to keeping this recipe vegan is to make sure you use a vegan beer. VT suggests New Belgium 1554, but I often use local vegan microbrews for cooking. Vegan beer lists are available online if you'd like to check on your preferred brands.

Black Bean Chili with Dark Ale:
2 Tb. olive oil
2 Tb. cumin
1 onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 Tb. minced garlic
1 Tb. Chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 (14-oz) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
24 oz. dark beer
1 (14-oz) can diced tomatoes
3/4 c. fresh or frozen corn

1. Heat oil in 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Saute onions, bell pepper, and garlic about 5-7 minutes or until soft. Add cumin and cook for 1 minute more or until fragrant.

2. Stir in Tabasco sauce, beans, beer, tomatoes, and corn. Bring chili to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, or until thick.

Let it simmer the whole time. This really helps get it thick enough and helps to balance the flavors. Enjoy!

To take a look at the original recipe, please click here.

Pasta Primavera

I've been neglectful of my blog for quite some time. I did some research this summer for school, and it kept me busy all summer long! I can't even tell you how many bowls of cereal and celery sticks with peanut butter and nectarines I went through! Now that my busy season is pretty much over with, I finally feel like doing some cooking!

This is a quick and easy version of pasta primavera. I've never been fond of heavy cream-based sauces (even before I went vegan), so this lighter version suits me well. I hope you enjoy it.

Pasta Primavera:
1 Tb. olive oil
1 Tb. vegan margarine
3 c. mixed, sliced veggies such as red and green bell peppers, onions, zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, and asparagus
2 Roma tomatoes, diced
2 tsp. minced garlic
3/4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. plain soymilk
1 - 2 tsp. arrowroot
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/2 (12 oz.) bag farfelle (bow tie) pasta
Vegan parmesan, optional

1. Cook pasta according to package directions.

2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute all vegetables except the tomatoes in the olive oil/margarine for about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and garlic and cook another 3 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the vegetable broth, soymilk, salt, basil, and Italian seasoning.

3. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the arrowroot until you reach your desired sauce thickness (it doesn't take much).

4. Drain and rinse the pasta and stir it in with the vegetables. Sprinkle with vegan parmesan to serve.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May Update

So, it's been pretty sporatic around here lately. I was real busy with school since I had a lot of finals. I'm a biology major so sometimes those finals get a little intense. I then followed that with a period of extreme laziness, so it's not until now that I'm finally tired of being lazy and am ready to do stuff. However, from here on out I'm gonna be busy all over again! How does that happen?

For starters, I'm going to take a canning class. They have one coming up next week where they teach you all about canning. Since meat and dairy don't can well, I don't have to worry about us learning how to can non-veg stuff. I'm also looking forward to getting a bunch of salsa and pickle recipes...

I'm also going to Schwagstock here in about a week. I love it. It's a hippie music festival with a Grateful Dead tribute band as it's headliner. We basically just camp there for 4 days (it's down in a secluded part of the Missouri Ozarks) and listen to music and have a good time. Heck, I'm looking forward to the road trip just as much as the festival itself! I plan on taking some veganized Chex mixes and various other snacks with me, so I'll post those recipes (it might not be until I get back though. I work 9-hour shifts the entire week before I leave).

I've also sent in some paperwork to be a volunteer at my local animal shelter. Since I can't have animals in my apartment, and I dearly miss having a dog around, I thought this would be a good idea. I'm thinking I'll do it every Tuesday or so. I just hope I don't get too attached to any of them!

AND I've also be asked to do some undergraduate research this semester. I'm really nervous about it because I've never really done any research before. This particular research is on the determination of pollinator guilds for native wildflowers on northwest Missouri praries. It'll last about eight weeks and when I'm done I have to present my findings. When all that's done I'll have about a month before school starts again, and I have a full courseload once again. I'm trying real hard to graduate in four semesters. This fall I'll be taking two gen. eds. and two majors classes (chemistry, anthropology, sophomore literature, and plant physiology). I'm technically a biology major with a botany concentration, as plants are my specialty!

So yeah. I'll be busy, and the busier the schedule the quicker the meals. More on that later.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Schwagstock 40

Schwagstock 40

May 22-24, Memorial Day Weekend
Camp Zoe, MO

More peace, love, music, and camping!

I will be going to this one. I hope to see you there!

For more info:

Here are some photos from my awesome adventure at Schwag:

This is me, grooving the night away in front of a cozy fire (not pictured, lol).

Me, and my best friend (you may know her as the Wandering Hen), and her brother.

Hanging out in the sunshine. I love South Missouri!

Me and my friend, dipping our feet into the Current River. The Current River is part of the Ozark Scenic Riverways in Missouri. It's a beautiful, clear river with a white rocky bottom. This particular bend is nice and shallow. It was still too cold to swim, but it felt great on my feet!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sticky Buns!

I made these amazing vegan cinnamon rolls for my omni friend's birthday. She loved them! They're really not that hard to make, and if you'd like, you can top them with some sort of glaze or cream cheeze frosting. We just ate them plain, and they're real good with a hot cup of coffee! Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups warm soymilk (110 degrees F)
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast (or 1 pkgs)
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1 1/2 Tbs. vegan margarine, melted
a little less than 1/2 Tb. salt
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegan margarine
2 1/4 c. cinnamon
1/4 c. sliced almonds (opt.)

In a large bowl, mix warm soymilk, yeast, and sugar. Add 2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly. Mix in melted vegan margarine and salt. Stir in 1 more cup unbleached flour. Flour a flat surface and knead a few times (dough will be soft). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 45 minutes).

On a floured surface, roll dough out to about 1/4 in. thickness in a rectangle. Spread the vegan margarine all over the surface, followed by the brown sugar, cinnamon, and almonds. Be sure to leave about 1/4 in. edge. Using the long side, roll up the dough in a jelly roll-like fashion and smooth dough to seal. Using dental floss, cut into 12 rolls. Place on a sprayed baking sheet, cover with a towel, and let rise another 30 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. As soon as I take them out of the oven I usually flip the rolls over to let them cool. This helps keeps the delicious ooze from running out all over the pan. Flip them back over when they're cool. Top with a glaze, if desired.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Salad Daze

All I've been wanting is salad, salad, smoothies, salad, salad, grapefruit out the wazoo, and more salad. This is one of my favorites. To save time and money, I bake my own tofu and cook the rice ahead of time. I also waited patiently until the salad greens and mixed veggies went down in price. Yesterday I went out and stocked up on fruits, veggies, and tofu. Everything I bought was on sale for very good prices. I was so happy! I plan on eating delicious meal-sized salads for the next month. The weather got cold again, so eating all these fresh greens is a nice way to put a little spring back in my life. This particular salad is simple, tasty, and by far one of my favorites. It's also quite easy to make it into a whole meal for only a few calories (gotta work on that winter pudge).
Simple Asian Salad ("simple" because it doesn't use any fancy dressings)

Baked Asian-style tofu, diced
Leftover rice, quinoa, or other grain of choice
Red onions, thinly sliced
Red pepper, thinly sliced
Sliced almonds
Mandarin oranges, each segment halved
Mixed salad greens (I like to use a mix of frisee, baby romaine, baby spinach, mache, parsley, etc. No iceburg for me).

Feel free to add:
Some thinly sliced carrot
Thinly sliced celery
Snow peas

I like to layer mine up then I sprinkle it with just a little bit of tamari and rice vinegar for flavor.

When made using: 4 oz. baked, marinated tofu; 1/4 c. no-sugar-added mandarin oranges, 1/2 Tb. sliced almonds, 1/2 c. cooked rice, and 1/2 Tb. tamari over about 3-4 c. mixed greens, you're only looking at about 400 calories. This salad makes a great lunch. If I get hungry later on in the day around 3 or so, I usually follow this up with a healthy smoothie. Delicious.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Peanut Butter Monster Cookies!

I'm not gonna lie. These are probably the best cookies I've eaten in a long time (not including my Flarts, that is). To me, a Monster cookie contains a variety of goodies. In this case, I filled the cookies with oats, nuts and coconut. You won't eveb be able to tell they're vegan!

These peanut butter wonders are best eaten warm with a nice glass of soymilk!

NOTE: The peanut butter I use is Skippy All-Natural creamy. It already has sugar in it. If you're using peanut butter that's basically smashed peanuts and oil (check the label) you will probably want to add some additional sugar. But that's up to you.

Also feel free to leave out the pecans, coconut, and cocoa and substitute with 1 c. vegan chocolate chips. Or leave all the extras out and make regular, old-fashioned peanut butter cookies.

1 1/2 c. unbleached flour
1/2 c. rolled or old-fashioned oats (though I'm pretty sure I used quick)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. light brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening
1/4 c. oil
1/4 c. creamy peanut butter
1 Tb. milled flax seed + 5 Tb. hot water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. chopped pecans
3 Tb. unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tb. cocoa

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

In a small bowl or cup, combine the milled flax seed and the hot water. Stir; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat the brown sugar, shortening, and oil with a mixer until it's smooth and fluffy. Add the peanut butter and mix until it's well combined. Add the flax seed/water mixture and the vanilla to the brown sugar mixture and beat until smooth.

Beat in the flour mixture until combined. Add the pecans, coconut, and cocoa and stir until well mixed (I add the cocoa and this step in order to give the dough a nice peanut butter/chocolate swirl look).

Make tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2-3 inches apart. Press down to about 1/2-inch thickness with a fork (you won't know they have peanut butter in them unless they have the fork marks!).

Bake about 12 minutes, or until cookies are golden and dry on top. Cool on the baking sheet a couple of minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Quick Pineapple Quinoa Stir-Fry

This was very, very good. It will definitely be a repeat recipe around this house! The sweetness from the pineapple and the hint of BBQ from the hoisin sauce go very well together. By using leftover quinoa and chopped veggies, this recipe can be assembled very quickly.

1 c. leftover quinoa
1/2 block of extra-firm tofu
1/2 red pepper, cut into large chunks
1 small onion, cut into wedges
1 c. chopped broccoli florets
1/2 c. walnuts, chopped
1/2 small can of pineapple, drained and chopped
1/2 Tb. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 Tb. minced garlic
4 dried red chili peppers (arbol)
Oil and chili oil to saute

1/3 c. hoisin sauce
1 Tb. tamari
1/2 Tb. lime juice
1/2 Tb. seasoned rice vinegar
A few shakes toasted sesame oil

Press and drain tofu until no more water comes out (about 10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, toast walnut pieces in a dry skillet. Set aside.

Cut the tofu into very small dice and saute in some oil and chili oil with two of the dried peppers until browned on all sides. Remove from heat.

In the same skillet, adding a little more oil if necessary, saute the red peppers, onion, remaining dried chiles (2), and broccoli with the garlic until crisp-tender; about 3 minutes. Add the cooked tofu, chopped pineapple, and sauce. Heat another minute or so or until sauce and pineapple are heated. Add the leftover quinoa, sesame seeds, and toasted walnuts. Mix all ingredients until quinoa is throughly coated with sauce and heated. To serve, remove the chili peppers. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Simple Whole Wheat Bread

I love baking bread and I'm always trying out different recipes. This recipe bakes a white loaf and it's the first white bread I've made homemade. I use whole-grain unbleached white flour and regular whole wheat flour when making it. I don't generally buy bread flour, so I added vital wheat gluten to help with its texture. It makes a more tender loaf with a larger crumb.

This is probably the best bread I've ever made. With this bread, I've made the resolution to wean myself off of store-bought bread. I also hope to start experimenting with various grains, nuts, seeds, and spices. Even sprouts! Give this recipe a try and see how much better bread can be!

Simple Whole Wheat Bread:
3 cups warm water (110 degrees F)
4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast (or 2 pkgs.)
1/2 cup sugar
5 cups whole wheat pastry flour or whole wheat graham flour
2 Tbs. + 2 tsp. vital wheat gluten
3 Tbs. vegan margarine, melted
1 Tb. salt
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Tb. vegan margarine, melted

In a large bowl, mix warm water, yeast, and sugar. Add 5 cups whole-grain unbleached white flour and vital wheat gluten, and stir to combine. Let set for 30 minutes, or until big and bubbly.

It should look like this after a couple of minutes:

It looks deceptively like a tasty chai tea.

Mix in melted vegan margarine and salt. Stir in 2 cups whole wheat flour. Flour a flat surface and knead with whole wheat flour until not real sticky - just pulling away from the counter, but still sticky to touch (this may take an additional 2 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover with a dishtowel and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about an hour).

Punch down, and divide into 2 loaves. Place each loaf in a greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pan, and allow to rise until dough has topped the pans by one inch (another 45 minutes to 1 hour).

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes; do not overbake. If it sounds hollow when you tap on it, it's done. Lightly brush the tops of loaves with 2 tablespoons melted vegan margarine when done to prevent crust from getting hard. Cool completely before storing.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hemp Muffin Madness!


In addition to it's uses for fuel and fiber, hemp is also a food product, and it just so happens, that it's VERY good for you too. Hemp seeds are one of nature's best sources of plant-based protein. It contains all of the essential amino acids the body needs, making it a complete protein. 2 tablespoons give you a mere 50 calories with 7 grams of protein, 216 miligrams of Omega-3, 4 grams of fiber, and 10% of your RDA of iron. Yes, my friends... in just 2 tablespoons. Did I mention it was also a complete protein!? It's also gluten-free.

You know what? Baking with hemp is delicious. Mariah adores these muffins and I like them too. She wants me to make them again and again, so I guess that means they're worthy of posting. They're very good, and good for you. They make a good breakfast when you pair them with some soymilk and some fruit. Enjoy!

This recipe is courtesy of Bob's Red Mill Hemp Protein Powder. Good stuff.

Hemp Muffins:
1 1/4 c. unbleached white flour
1 c. wheat bran
1/2 c. Hemp Protein Powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 c. no-sugar-added applesauce
1 1/4 c. soymilk
2 Tb. oil
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Additional brown sugar for topping (opt.)
Shredded unsweetened coconut for topping (opt.)

Mix the flour, wheat bran, hemp protein, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the applesauce, soymilk, oil, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined (about 50 strokes).

Spoon into greased muffin tins, filling 2/3 full. Sprinkle tops of muffins lightly with brown sugar and coconut.

Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

NOTE: If you use paper muffin cups, the muffins will stick to the paper when they're warm. Once they've fully cooled, they come out of the paper just fine.

If you make 12 muffins, they are 125 calories each (includes opt. brown sugar and coconut).
If you make 15 muffins, they are 100 calories each (includes opt. brown sugar and coconut).

FYI: Hemp protein powder is sometimes expensive, and that's probably because its production is highly regulated by the DEA. There are so many restrictions placed on the hemp-grower that your average, everyday farmer can't afford to grow it (what with all the security and fences and stuff). Not only that, but hemp has VIRTUALLY NO THC. You CANNOT get high from smoking it (THC content is altered by the growing process. Most "commercial" weed is manipulated to have a high THC content).

Hemp does so many wonderful things, and yet it's still controlled. What a terrible shame. It could really save the world.

More on that later. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Split Pea Soup

This soup was actually created by Mariah. Mariah is actually a very good cook and she'll cook me up something every once in awhile, but it's not a hobby for her like it is for me. She made this soup the way she likes it: simple and velvety. This was the first time I had ever had split pea soup, and it was absolutely delicious! This simple recipe is a nice reminder that sometimes it's just as delicious going back-to-basics.

It goes well with a nice crusty bread.

Basic Split Pea Soup:
1 c. split green peas
2 c. water
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 tsp. minced garlic
Vegetable broth

Rinse and pick through the peas. Bring the water to a boil, add the peas, boil for 2-3 minutes, then cover, and set aside for an hour.

When you're ready to cook the peas, change the water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until peas are soft.

When the peas are almost done, saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until nice and caramelized.

When the peas are completely done, add the onion and garlic, and using a hand blender or a regular blender, blend until nice and smooth. You will need to add the vegetable broth before blending to help it smooth out. The amount of vegetable broth you use will depend on how thick you'd like your soup to be (Mariah likes it to be a real thick, spoon-coating soup). Return to the pan to reheat a little if necessary and to serve. Enjoy!

We made this again, except we tossed in a couple of handfuls of fresh basil to the onions and garlic, and then proceeded with the recipe. It was great!

Quick n' Easy Green Curry with Tofu

Mariah loves anything that I make that involves tofu and coconut rice, in this case it's a curry. Green curry is milder than red curry. This is also a Thai-insprired version, rather than an Indian one. To make it vegan, fish sauce was omitted. Also, take care when selecting a curry paste. I use the brand Thai Kitchen because it's vegan and doesn't contain any preservatives. Using Jasmine rice (which is traditional in Thai cooking) also saves time because it only takes about 10 minutes to cook. This dish takes about 30 minutes to make.

Serving this dish over plain Jasmine rice is also a very tasty alternative (1 c. rice to 2 c. water).

Coconut Rice:
1 c. Jasmine rice
1/2 (regular-sized) can coconut milk
1 1/4 c. water
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. turmeric

1/2 can coconut milk
1 1/2 Tb. tamari or soy sauce
1 Tb. brown sugar
1/2 Tb. Thai Kitchen green curry paste
1 tsp. chile paste (such as Sriracha)
1/4 tsp. turmeric
2 small dried red chiles

1 block extra-firm tofu
1 onion
1 c. mixed frozen veggies (an Asian blend without water chestnuts is good)
1 tsp. minced garlic
oil to saute + 1 tsp. chile oil
2 small dried red chiles

Press tofu for about 15 minutes, or until water stops coming out, then pat dry, cube, and brown on all sides in a skillet with the oil, chile oil, and dried chiles. Set aside. In the skillet, saute the onions and frozen veggies (I always steam my veggies first to make sure they taste okay, since they're frozen and all, but I'm weird like that) with the garlic and a little more chile oil if you'd like.

Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients. When the veggies are halfway-done, add the tofu and the sauce to the skillet, along with two more dried chiles. Cover and reduce to a simmer (this will simmer while the rice cooks).

Rinse the rice and place it in a pot along with the coconut milk, water, salt, and turmeric. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce, and simmer about 10 minutes. Let stand for 5 more minutes before serving.

To serve, place the curry on top of the rice. Feel free to garnish with a little cilantro or shredded unsweetened coconut. Enjoy!

Food Update... well, mostly

A lot of recipes have been floating around my brain. Last night I made some Hemp Muffins. They were very good. Mariah loves them, but they're not quite what I was wanting. I think a few carob chips are necessary! Also, I used shredded wheat cereal instead of bran because that was what I had on hand. It worked well, but I'd like to try it with the bran.

Also, I'm thinking about making some scones. And some Pineapple Black Bean Enchiladas. And maybe something with applesauce in it. And my favorite black beans over caramelized onions and polenta... so much good food! A friend of mine has a birthday this month and I've pledged to make whatever main dish and dessert suits her fancy. Luckily, she's fond of most my health food and I think she's liked about all my sweet stuff. We have a living room now, so I'm finally ready to start having company over!

I'm also looking forward to going to the farmer's markets this year. The organic and whole food movement is FINALLY starting to seep into this city and I'm so relieved. Driving an hour to buy produce kind of defeats the purpose of buying locally... Heck, I've been waiting almost a year for a store to get some hemp protein powder. It's ridiculous. This city has such a small-town attitude and it's so resistant to change, when in reality it's not that small. It just keeps cutting itself off from any potential growth. I read an article today in the newspaper that made me roll my eyes. It was about an organic food co-op. The article keep going on and on about all the good reasons why someone should join, but then you get to the very last sentence and it says, "no new members are being accepted". Puh-leeze. In a city of almost 80,000 people you wouldn't think these kinds of barriers still exist (especially in such an agriculturally-oriented Midwestern state)... but they do.

You know what though? They can buy all the organic bread they want... my homemade stuff still tastes better. :)

Anyway, as I was saying, this month is going to be full of various black bean and tofu recipes. I also have a bag of unsweetened shredded coconut that's daring me to use it, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Springjam 5

APRIL 17+18, 2009
Click here for more info:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Early Spring Update

So, March is a good month. Near the end of February I always get crazy for spring. I'm constantly pointing out to people that clumps of grass are starting to turn green and that buds are forming on the trees. I couldn't believe it yesterday though. Mariah went out side to start the car but came back in and said, "there's a foot of snow on the ground!" We were shocked! While a foot of snow is a slight exaggeration (it was only about 4-6 inches), it all literally happened overnight. Not only that, but I think the highest it got yesterday was 18. Just two days before we were driving with our windows down in 70-degree sun! Missouri is a crazy state. You really can't predict the weather. Mariah, who lived half her life in Montana and the other half in upstate New York, thinks the weather here is nothing short of crazy (last summer she thought she was going to die when the heat hit 104 [heat index 112]. ) But anyway. March is the month of spring, and I'm ready for it!

Remember that farm I always wanted?

I have one. 40 acres of one to be exact. It's all paid off and ready to go. I couldn't believe it! This has always been a dream of mine (ours) and now it's attainable!

Now the planning begins.

We're going to build a small cabin with a loft and a porch. A nice outhouse. A greenhouse. A cellar. There's going to be fruit trees. Nut trees. Vegetables. Herbs. Berries. A well. So much planning and thinking and preparation needs to be done! We've got bonds to get us going and from here on out it's scrimping and saving. They'll be extended camping trips to get us used to the place, and once we're up there permanently, we'd like to get us a few animals. Mostly a couple dogs, a cat, a couple goats, a few chickens. Mariah wants a cow. I'd like a sheep. Solar panels. A wind turbine. We'll see where this goes. The first step has been taken, but many more follow.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Easy Weeknight Asian - Pad Thai

I love Pad Thai. It's quick and easy, fun to eat, and very versatile. This is another weeknight meal that only takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish. Real Pad Thai uses fish sauce, so I substituted for tamari. I also left out the egg.

2 1/2 Tb. lime juice
1/2 Tb. lemon juice
2 Tb. sugar
2 Tb. tamari
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. Thai chili paste

1/4 box (about 2 oz.) thin rice noodles
1 Tb. oil
1/2 bag broccoli slaw
1/2 block smoked tofu
1 tsp. minced garlic

Green onions, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Unsalted, roasted peanuts, chopped
Toasted sesame seeds
Additional chili paste
Lime wedges

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add rice noodles and stir. Turn off heat and let sit for about 8 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, heat a skillet with oil. Add slaw, tofu, and garlic and saute until crisp-tender, about 3-5 minutes. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, tamari, garlic, and chili paste. Add it to the stir-fry and simmer another minute or two. Remove from heat. Drain and rinse the noodles and return to the pot. To serve, place hot rice noodles on a plate, top with stir-fry, and then top with desired toppings. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Easy Weeknight Asian - Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Tofu

I'm going to post two of my favorite recipes. I often make them in the same grocery period (the two weeks between each payday...) because I can split some of the same ingredients up for another meal later in the week (hooray for Pad Thai!). This first recipe is a real quickie, only about 15 minutes from start to finish. To help cut time I buy smoked tofu and broccoli slaw mix. Around here the price slaw mix is comparable to buying all the fresh veggies and making it yourself. Anyway, this dish really isn't that spicy, even with the chili oil. It also has a nice peanutty flavor and provides a satisfying crunch.

Udon Noodles with Peanut Sauce and Tofu:
Peanut sauce:
1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar
2 Tbs. smooth peanut butter (I use Skippy Natural. It's good stuff).
1 Tbs. soy sauce
1/2 Tb. agave nectar
1 tsp. chili oil
1 tsp. minced garlic
A few shakes of toasted sesame oil

1 Tb. oil
1 tsp. chili oil
1/2 bag of shredded broccoli slaw
1/2 block smoked tofu, diced
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 (8 oz.) pkg. udon noodles

Green onions, chopped
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Unsalted, roasted peanuts, chopped
Toasted seasame seeds

Bring a pot of water to a boil, add the udon noodles, and cook for 5 minutes or until tender. Meanwhile, add oil and chili oil to a skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Add slaw mix, tofu, and garlic and saute a few minutes or until crisp-tender. While all this is going on, make peanut sauce by whisking all the ingredients until smooth. When noodles are done, drain and rinse. Add the noodles, along with the peanut sauce, to the stir-fry. Turn off the heat and mix to coat the noodles with sauce. Divide into bowls and sprinkle with green onions, cilantro, peanuts, and sesame seeds to serve. Enjoy!


I adore freshly made pico de gallo! It's quick, easy to make, and good on just about everything. Here's a basic recipe to begin with, but feel free to adjust to your liking. I like mine a little sweet, a little salty, lime-y, and with a good heat! I also choose to use Roma tomatoes because they have a good flavor, but are low on seeds and pulp. Enjoy!

5 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, minced (remove the seeds for a little less heat)
1/4 c. cilantro, losely packed, chopped
juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Prepare all ingredients. I also roll my lime around on the table until it's soft to release all its juice. In a bowl, mix the tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, sugar, and salt. Mix well. You can also store it covered in the refrigerator for a couple days.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

St. Valentine's Day Dinner, Part 2


I'm sure most of you are not familiar with Flarts, and well, I've kind of created them after seeing them on tv. There's this amazing cartoon called "Chowder" and it plays on Cartoon Network. It's about this little boy who's an apprentice to a chef named Mung Daal (all the characters have food names). It's a really funny cartoon and it has a cult following. There's lots of references to things older people would get (like songs or movies), the concept is ridiculously cute, and Chowder (along with Mung Daal and Schnitzel) are just plain loveable. 


In the famous, "I'm Not Your Boyfriend" episode, Panini (a girl character) gives Chowder some Flarts, which are like a heart-shaped cookie. He munches on them throughout the episode. I love this cartoon so much I decided to pay homage to it and make this cookies. After all, they are famous for romance...

This show is pretty quirky, and some of the food items have funny names. There's a dish called "froggy apple crumple thumpkin" as well as "old thyme cow pie". Then there's "grabbles" (a fruit), "slomatoes" (a vegetable), "grubble gum" (a candy) and so on. I really love this cartoon! It's such a nice change from all the other cartoons you see on tv nowadays.

1 1/2 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
1/3 c. vanilla soymilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 small jar (10 oz.) organic raspberry preserves

1. Whisk together the white flour, wheat flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 

2. In a large bowl, beat margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. 

3. Gradually beat soymik, vanilla extract, and almond extract into the margarine mixture until combined. Beat in flour mixture until a soft dough forms. 

4. Pat the dough into a ball, cover it well with plastic wrap, and then place it in the refrigerator to chill for a least an hour. If you skip this step, the cookie down will be extremely hard to work with. 

5. After removing the dough from the fridge, turn out onto parchment paper and roll out until the dough is about 1/8-1/4 in. thick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, press hearts into dough, making them as close together as possible without overlapping. DON"T PULL APART. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes. You can skip the re-chilling if the dough is still nice and firm and they seem to pull off the paper easily without ripping.

6. Preheat oven to 325. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and top with cut-out hearts. Bake for about 15 minutes and let cool on the pan (to crispen them up).

7. In a small saucepan over low heat, cook raspberry preserves until reduced to about 1 cup. It should take about 15 minutes or so. When cool, place about 2 tablespoons jam on one heart cookie and top with another to make a "jam sandwich". 

There you have it! My vegan rendition of "flarts"!

This recipe makes a delicious sugar-type cookie. You can cut them out in shapes, or roll them into balls, bake them soft or bake them crispy. You can morph them into thumbprints or snickerdoodles, or roll them out and ice them like a traditional sugar cookie. Have fun! 

Sorry I don't have a picture of any "flarts", but I do have a recipe modification!

Jam Thumbprint Cookies:
To make jam thumbprints, prepare the recipe as above. Starting from Step 4: 

After removing the chilled dough from the fridge, roll pieces of dough between your hands to get balls about an inch or so in diameter. 

Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and using your thumb, make a little indentation in the center of each ball.

Fill each ball with about 1/2 tsp. of preserves of choice (I usually use raspberry or blackberry), basically just enough to fill the well you made. 

Bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheet for two minutes, then let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!