Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)

Christmas morning seemed like the perfect time to experiment a bit with making cinnamon rolls. I've made them before, but I wanted to create a vegan version. These turned out exquisitely well - some of the best whole wheat cinnamon rolls I've ever had! Some of the filling bubbled out making almost a caramel like substance on the bottom of these. I was skeptical at first, but I really think that is what made these so delectable.

 I didn't have any powdered sugar, so I enjoyed these without any icing. Jeff, however, said they were good, but that icing would make them even better!!
Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens | Whole Wheat Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)
Cinnamon Rolls (vegan)
Yield: 12 rolls

Banana Bread

I made this banana bread over a month ago. I'm not sure where I found the original recipe, but I modified it to make it vegan. I pretty much ate the entire loaf. Oops!
Tale of Two Sisters and Their Kitchens | Banana Bread (vegan)
Banana Bread
Yield: 1 9-inch loaf

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Little Bit Healthy, A Little Bit Sneaky Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I was uber-blog surfing yesterday. 
I would comment on a blog, and then go visit the blog of the person who commented just before me. Leave a comment, visit previous commenter, and on and on and on. It was lots of fun! I stumbled upon a lot of fun running blogs and a LOT of What I Ate Wednesdays (WIAW) posts. Like I said, lots of fun!

In my meanderings, I stumbled upon the blog Eat. Move. Balance. 
Eat whole foods. Move every day. Balance your life. 
Sounds like a great mantra/motto. In exploring that site a little, I found this recipe for some sneaky cookie bars. They sounded so good that I couldn't wait to give them a try! I didn't have all the ingredients, so I had to make a few modifications.

These turned out so delicious! In fact, even Jeff said he liked them. Yes, the entire pan was completely gone in less than 24 hours. Oops!

A Little Bit Healthy, A Little Bit Sneaky Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
vegan chocolate chip cookie bars
  • 2/3 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup (or 1/2 15.5oz can) chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used ones that were dairy, nut and soy free)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8x8 baking pan.
  2. Combine the oats, flour, chickpeas, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Process until fine.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the applesauce, vanilla, and sugar. Stir until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  4. Pour into prepared pan, making sure dough is evenly distributed.
  5. Bakes for 25 minutes. Allow to cool before cutting into delicious squares.
vegan chocolate chip cookie bars

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Whole Wheat Oat Bread

I've made this bread twice now since starting this post. The first time I didn't take any pictures, but wrote up the post. The second time I remembered to take pictures, but it took me forever to edit them and put them in the post, but the wait is over! 

This bread turned out great! Even my husband, who prefers everything store-bought, agreed. The problem with homemade bread, of course, is that it doesn't last as long a store-bought. I mean, we eat it SO fast! I'm not going to complain, though - at least the house smells really good while it's baking. Yum!
Whole Wheat Oat Bread
Whole Wheat Oat Bread

Yield: 2 9-inch loaves

  • 2 cups warm water (95F-100F)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 pkg active yeast
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1 T vital wheat gluten
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
Cooking Directions
  1. Dissolve honey in warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle package of yeast on top of water mixture. Do NOT stir in yeast; simply let it sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast softens and forms a creamy foam.
  2. dissolve yeast for bread
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the flours, oatmeal, gluten, and salt. Form a well in the center and add the yeast mixture. Stir until it all comes together.
  4. making bread dough
  5. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 12-15 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
    Tip 1:To determine if yeast dough is kneaded enough, break off a small walnut-sized ball of dough. Stretch the dough; much like stretching a balloon or a piece of bubble gum. If the dough is kneaded enough, it will be tear easily and a translucent membrane will be visible. This is known as a gluten window.
    gluten window
  6. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat it with oil. Cover with a light cloth and let rise until doubled - about 45 minutes.
    Tip 2: I shared this tip before here, but to determine if the dough has doubled in size, gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.
  7. Grease two 8x4-inch loaf pans. Punch down dough and turn it out onto a lightly-floured surface. Use a knife to divide the dough into two equal parts - do not tear. Shape the dough into loaves and place in prepared pans. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes.

  8. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake loaves 25-30 minutes until top is golden brown and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing from pans onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Whole Wheat Oat Bread

Friday, October 19, 2012

chickpeas anyone?

I have been intrigued by this next recipe I am going to give. I have seen it on cooking shows and on the web. I even got a can of chickpeas aka garbanzo beans. But I never got the gumption to try it. I am talking about roasting chickpeas. They are suppose to be incredibly healthy and a nice nutty snack. Someone had the audacity to say that they are better than potato chips. I KNOW that is quite the statement isn't it. I have a hard time believing anything tasting better than a good ole fashioned potato chip. So, finally last week I decided to do it. I was going to actually roast this can of beans I have had in my cupboard for over 9 months. It was time to get adventurous. I cracked open the can and just dug in! They smelled wonderful while they were in the oven. Then it was time for the taste test. Could it be that they were better than the crunchy goodness of a potato chip? Could it be possible?


No they were NOT better. They were...how should I say this? They were OK. Not great, but they did not live up to the hype that it was given. I was a little disappointed, but maybe this is an acquired taste. Maybe different seasoning combinations would help. Maybe they just aren't for me. But I think that I get an "A" for effort and for trying something out of my comfort zone. I think that some people will LOVE these. But, they just aren't for me. I might try them again though with some more intense flavor combinations and see if that changes my mind! So give it a try, I think this is the type of food you either love or hate. But you will never know unless you try it! Step out of the norm of everyday cooking and try something different. You never know, you might find something that you LOVE and never knew because of the fear of trying something different.

With that, here is the recipe for the roasted chickpeas.

1 15 oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Drain the beans and rinse with cold water. Remove excess water by patting with a paper towel. In a mixing bowl coat beans with olive oil. Add spices and mix well. Spread on a large baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until beans are completely dried and crunchy. Check often at the 30 minute mark, you do not want to burn them.

I think that you can mix up different flavor combinations and it would help immensely. I think I might try a sweet one with brown sugar and cinnamon maybe. We will see!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A perfect 10 Pretzel

Yep, it is another post from "other" sister. I know, I know, 2 posts in a week from me is CRAZY. It is great to have a working computer and the time to do this! I have been enjoying spending time in the kitchen and trying new recipes I have wanted to make but didn't have the time to do so. I have been toying with the idea of making homemade soft pretzels for awhile, but it seemed like a daunting task and I just never took courage to do it. But I got it in my head on Sunday night that I was GOING to make them, no excuses. I do have to admit though that I cheated. Just a little. I needed to make them a lunchbox snack so I made pretzel BITES instead of the cool braided looking pretzels. In this case, form had to follow function, and if it happened that it made it a little easier...hey I can't help that! Let me tell you something, my husband couldn't stay OUT of these! They were almost all gone before the night was over! I always ask him to rate my recipes 1 to 10 with 10 being the best and I have never gotten a 10. I have a lot of 8's and some 9's but never a 10. UNTIL NOW. I got a perfect score on this baby and the accompanying dip that went along with it. I am still on cloud nine! Or should I say cloud TEN! So here it is, the perfect chewy pretzel recipe! Hope you all enjoy! By the way, they were NOT hard at all! Pretty easy actually, so that is a plus!

Chewy Pretzel Bites

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup very warm water

1/2 cup warm water
2 Tablespoons baking soda
Coarse salt (optional-I used regular)
3 Tablespoons melted butter


In a large bowl combine the flour, salt, sugar, yeast and 2 1/4 cups flour. Mix to combine and then add the water. Mix well, adding the remaining flour as needed to form a soft, smooth dough that clears the sides and bottom of the bowl. Knead the dough by hand or mixer for about 5 minutes until it is soft and smooth and elastic. Lightly oil a bowl and put dough in rolling around so it is coated with the oil. Cover and let rise for about 60 minutes. (until about doubled in size)

Preheat your oven to 475 degrees. Lightly oil two cookie sheets. Transfer dough to a lightly greased work surface and divide into about 4 equal pieces. Roll each piec into a one inch diameter rope. Allow the pieces to rest for 5 minutes uncovered. While dough is resting combine the 1/2 cup warm water and baking soda in a bowl deep enough to dip the pretzel pieces into. Stir until the soda is dissolved.

Cut each rope into 1 to 1 1/2 inch pieces.
Dip each piece into the baking soda solution and place them on the cookie sheets. Allow to rest for another 10 minutes. Bake on sheet at a time for 5 - 7 minutes or until pretzels are golden brown. Remove from oven and brush them thoroughly with melted butter. Sprinkle with salt.

Onion Cream Cream Cheese Dip

4 oz cream cheese softened
1/2 half onion chopped
2 Tablespoons butter

Saute onions and butter until onions are soft and translucent. Combine cream cheese and onions until well blended and smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Biscuit loving.....in 6!

Ok so now I have a computer back....I can't find my camera....oh moving is so fun isn't!!!! I am so lucky right now in my life because I am back to being a stay at home mom. WHICH MEANS???????!!!! Why more baking and cooking time. Of course, it also means a little tightening of the budget but I am finding it to be a pleasant challenge....makes me feel so good when I create a great tasting low costing meal.

I have a confession to make. I have had a secret love affair since my son got his ipad. I am and probably will forever on be addicted to FoodGawker. I love it and have "hearted" thousands of recipes that I probably will never be able to begin to make. These people are AMAZING bakers and chefs, if I could be even a smidgen as good as them I would be happy as a clam! So I was taking my nightly looksie and found this AMAZING recipe for super tasty and tender biscuits. I am a BREAD addict, I swear I have one whole organ in my body solely devoted to use of Bread products....there is a reason it is called the staff of life!! If I don't have bread or a dog in my house I am one UNHAPPY camper....SO to find a quick fix for it and in such a nice batch size I was all over this recipe. As my dad would say, like a chicken on a june bug. I made these little lovelies and was NOT disappointed. Neither was my son or my husband, which is amazing because my hubby is not one for bread or any of its relatives. He ate 2. Seriously no joke! So I thought to meself, it is time to post on the blog. BUT HOW???!?? I have no pictures of my own to show...true, but this is the internet, with a click of a button you will be sent to this amazing recipe complete with picture and all in less than 20 seconds!! I will continue with my search party for my camera as of tomorrow....my upstairs is full of surprises yet to be uncovered! Until then, enjoy this recipe, and head over to foodgawker too....it is AMAZING....way better than Pinterest....seriously!

PS Make sure you use REAL buttermilk for these. VERY important:)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Pasta turned Soup

I needed to make something for dinner. I thought pasta with red sauce sounded good, but, of course, I didn't have any red sauce on hand. I did have some veggies and tomato sauce. I could make a sauce from scratch. Without a recipe. Right?

Turns out, nope.

It turned out way too thin, so I improvised. Instead of serving it like a regular pasta, I served it like a soup. It was delicious!
Veggie Pasta Soup
Veggie Pasta Soup

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/4 medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (8oz) can water
  • 1 (15.5oz) can black beans
  • seasoned salt
  • dried oregano
  • dried basil
  • crushed red pepper
  • 6 oz elbow macaroni
  1. Heat oil in large skillet. Add celery, onion, and carrots. Saute until slightly soft. Add garlic and saute for another minute or so.
  2. Add tomato sauce, water, black beans and seasonings (to taste).
  3. Meanwhile cook macaroni according to package directions.
  4. Combine sauce and pasta and simmer for at least an additional 10 minutes to allow the flavors to combine.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Easy Pineapple-Coconut Cake

Yesterday, we were invited to dinner with some friends. I offered to bring dessert. Unfortunately, I got wrapped up in a little blog clean-up and waited until the last minute to find a recipe. Fortunately, I found this recipe over at allrecipes.com.

All ingredients on hand? Check!
Easy to put together? Check!
Relatively short baking time? Check!

Easy Pineapple-Coconut Cake

Easy Pineapple-Coconut Cake

Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30-35 min
Yield: 1 9-inch round cake

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 (20oz)can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • cream cheese frosting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and baking powder. Add egg and mix until well blended. Fold in the pineapple, coconut and walnuts. Pour into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until center springs back when lightly touched or an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  4. Spread cake with frosting, once cool.
Easy Pineapple-Coconut Cake

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Fluffy French Toast

I wanted something different for breakfast this morning. Actually, I was out of cereal and didn't feel like eggs. How about french toast? Yeah. That sounds good! Besides, I had some hamburger buns in the cupboard that were nearing the end of their lives, so this would be perfect. I hit to the Internet and found a recipe to try. I modified it ever-so-slightly and was very pleased with the result. 
Fluffy French Toast
Fluffy French Toast
Yield: 2 servings (2 slices per serving)

  • 1 T + 1 tsp flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 3/8 pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • cinnamon
  • 4 thick slices bread (I used hamburger buns.)
  1. Measure flour into a bowl. Slowly whisk in the milk. Whisk in the salt, eggs, vanilla extract, and sugar until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Soak bread slices in mixture until saturated. Sprinkle with cinnamon, to taste. Place bread on hot pan, cinnamon side down. While cooking first side, sprinkle top with more cinnamon. Flip once bottom is golden brown, and cook second side until golden brown. Repeat for all 4 slices of bread.
  4. Serve hot with syrup or toppings of your choice. 
Fluffy French Toast
Original recipe can be found on Allrecipes.com. Fluffy French Toast by Bonnie.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Cheezee Sauce

Want to be vegan, but can't give up cheese? Here is a great recipe for when you need a cheese sauce substitute. We had this on top of Salsa Rice and Red Beans and it was TASTY!! It's even Jeff approved. Now, it's not exactly like cheese, but it's very good. Go ahead. Give it a try.
Vegan Cheezee Sauce
Cheezee Sauce
Yield: 1 1/4 cups

  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast*
  • 1 1/2 T cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup plain coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp yellow mustard
  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the yeast, cornstarch, salt, and garlic powder. Whisk in the water and coconut milk, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until the sauce thickens, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Remove from the heat and stir in the oil, lemon juice, vinegar, and mustard. The sauce is now ready to use. if not using right away, refrigerate the sauce in a container with a tight-fitting lid, where it will keep for several days.
Recipe Credit: Cheezee Sauce. Vegan on the Cheap. Robin Robertson. pg. 36

*Nutritional yeast is not the same as the yeast used in baking bread. It can be found at most natural food stores I think in the bulk section.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Ok. Seriously. I have not to start eating better and healthier and MORE. I do recall that last week was a pretty bad day. Today, too. BUT Tomorrow is another day, right? A fresh start...
Three Bean Loaf with melted cheese
Peanut M&Ms not the whole bag, thank goodness!
Sandwich Creme Cookies more than I should've had.

What did you eat today (or last week)?
Head over to Peas and Crayons where I'm sure you'll find far more inspiring eats.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Salsa Rice and Red Beans

Another Vegan score for dinner tonight!! This was very tasty, and bonus - Jeff really liked it! Of course, he did add some Frank's Red Hot sauce to it, but he adds that to everything. I no longer take any offense. :-) Seriously, though, this was super easy to make. You won't be disappointed. The original recipe said it yields 4 servings, but I think it yields closer to 6.
Salsa Rice and Red Beans

Salsa Rice and Red Beans
Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 T Olive oil
  • 1 med yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 cup long-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2 (15.5-oz) cans dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (4-oz) can diced green chiles, drained
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Cheezee Sauce, optional (recipe coming soon)
  • 1 large ripe tomato, diced
  1. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer. Stir in the rice and water. Add salt to taste, cover, and simmer until the rice is tender, 35 to 45 minutes.
  2. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, chiles, chili powder, oregano, cumin, and pepper. Simmer to heat through and blend the flavors, about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if necessary.
  3. Serve hot, topped with the diced tomato and drizzled with the cheezee sauce, if using.
Recipe Credit: Salsa Rice and Red Beans. Vegan on the Cheap. Robin Robertson. pg 132.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Three-Bean Loaf

Once again, I did not have the right size pans or bowls to make this, and, of course, I didn't adjust the recipe quantity. In the midst of preparing this, I had to put it on hold, run to Wal-Mart, and buy large pans and bowls. Oops! BUT now I should be all set for future recipes. Yay!

I thought this was quite tasty! Jeff didn't care for it nearly as much, so I doubt I'll be making it with any frequency. The thing with a bean loaf is to remember that it is NOT meat and will not likely have the same consistency or flavor. If you're expecting meat, you might be disappointed. If you're expecting flavorful beans in a different form, then you might be pleasantly surprised.
Three-Bean Loaf
This was actually taken the next day, after I'd warmed up a slice in a fry pan.
Three-Bean Loaf

  • 1 T Olive oil
  • 1 med yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 celery rib, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (15.5oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15.5oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup wheat gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T yellow mustard
  • 1 T brown sugar
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. 1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly oil a 9-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Cover and cook until softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Place the three varieties of beans in a large bowl. Mash well, leaving some texture. Add the onion-carrot mixture, then stir in 1/4 cup of the ketchup, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Add the bread crumbs, oats, flour, and parsley. Mix until well combined. Spread the mixture evenly in the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  4. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup ketchup with the mustard, sugar, and vinegar. Mix well. Spread the topping mixture over the loaf. Bake until firm, 50 to 60 minutes. If the top begins to brown too much, cover loosely with foil. Remove from the oven and set aside on a wire rack for 10 minutes before slicing.
Recipe Credit: Three-Bean Loaf. Vegan on the Cheap. Robin Robertson. pg 155.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I can't believe it's been nearly 8 months, since I participated for the first time. I thought I'd make this a regular  thing, but I guess I dropped the ball.

Here's to trying it again...

What I Ate ... Last Wednesday

cereal + a glass of OJ
Orange juice
Kashi cereal
Almond milk
Sliced banana
Garden Rotini & Chickpea Salad
Garden Rotini and Chickpea Salad
Better Bean Burger + Doritos
Better Bean Burger on a whole wheat bun
Pickle spear
Marble Cake
Marble cake (2 slices)

Writing up this post, it certainly seems like I would have had more to eat, but I'm positive this is all I had. Must have been all the water I drank. :-) I did include a few bad-for-you splurges, but overall I'd call it a relatively healthy day. 

How will I do this week?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Pasta e Fagioli

This one comes with a bit of a funny story. When we left MN, we anticipated being on the road for a long time and space was very limited. We got rid of most everything - including most of our kitchen stuff. We kept one small fry pan and one small pot (2qt). I didn't think much of it when I began making this recipe, but when I still hadn't added the pasta, I was in some trouble. I had to get a little creative. It was humorous (at least to me). I had to try to divide the partially cooked ingredients between a bowl and the pot and hope I got it divided evenly. It was a mess! :-)

The end result was really tasty, though. This comes even Jeff-approved. Don't forget the salt and pepper!

  • 2T olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (15.5-oz) can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 8 oz elbow macaroni or other small pasta
  • 1 tsp dried parsley

1. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the tomatoes. Add the beans, oregano, basil, bay leaf, stock, and salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat for about 20 minutes.
Directions for Pasta e Fagioli
2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the macaroni over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until it is al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain well and add to the bean mixture along with the parsley.

3. Simmer gently to blend flavors and finish cooking the pasta, about 10 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and discard. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary, before serving. Serve hot.
Pasta e Fagioli
Recipe credit: Pasta e FagioliVegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. Pg 64.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Better Bean Burgers

The last time I attempted to make non-beef burgers, Jeff thought they were disgusting. I, of course, loved them! When I found this recipe for black bean burgers, I thought it was worth a try. We both enjoyed them this time. Score! The consistency is slightly different from a regular burger, but the taste was good - especially with the condiments. :-)
Better Bean Burgers

  • 1 (15.5oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 T wheat gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • 1/2 c dry bread crumbs
  • 1/4 c red onion, minced
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 burger rolls
  • Condiments of choice

1. Place the beans in a medium bowl and mash well. Sprinkle the flour on the beans and mix well to combine. Add the bread crumbs, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Use your hands to shape the mixture into 4 patties, no more than 1/4 inch thick. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the burgers, cover, and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover, use a spatula to flip the burgers, and cook, uncovered, for an additional 5 minutes.

3. Serve on burger rolls with your favorite condiments.

Recipe credit: Better Bean Burgers. Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. Pg 178.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Garden Rotini and Chickpea Salad

Yesterday, I actually sat down and planned out a week of menu ideas. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to hit the grocery store until today. Still, here is my first vegan dish. I thought it was very tasty! Jeff enjoyed it, too, but I didn't realize that he doesn't care much for pasta salads. Oh well, more for me! :-)
Garden Rotini and Chickpea Salad

  • 8 oz rotini
  • 1 (15-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium carrot, shredded
  • 1 celery rib, chopped
  • 1/2 roma tomato, diced
  • 2 radishes, cut into 1/4-inch slices
  • 1 cucumber, diced
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • Annie's Natural Goddess dressing

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook rotini according to package. Drain well and rinse with cool water. Transfer to a large bowl.

2.  While pasta is cooking, prep vegetables. Add all the vegetables to the cooked pasta. Drizzle with 1/3 to 1/2 bottle of dressing  and toss gently to combine.

*Recipe adapted from Garden Rotini and Chickpea Salad with Inner Goddess Dressing. Vegan on the Cheap. pg. 85.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

challenge accepted!

I have accepted my sisters challenge!! I am even starting out with a meatless side dish just for her!!!! I found this recipe on allrecipes.com and LOVE the difference mayonnaise changes the taste of scalloped potatoes! I did tweak it just a little...one cannot conform too much I say!!! So here is scalloped potatoes and onions! YUMMY!!!

  • 5 large potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter or margarine
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Paprika
  • 1 cup shredded cheese

In a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish, layer potatoes and onion. In a saucepan, melt the butter; stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add broth, mayonnaise, salt and pepper; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thick and bubbly. Pour over potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika. Cover and bake at 325 degrees F for 2 hours or until tender. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!! Not only was excellent it uses basic pantry ingredients and is relatively cheap too!!!!!

Off Track

Since leaving MN, we've gotten way off track with our eating. A few months prior to leaving, we made the choice to become Vegan/Vegetarian - if not always, at least primarily. There are many reasons behind this choice. I'm not going to get into them right now.

Right now, I'm just going to share with you my excitement at the future.

Like I mentioned before, since leaving MN we haven't been very good about living this new lifestyle. We've even *gasp* gotten into the habit of choosing convenience (i.e. McDonald's) over healthy.

This needs to STOP!

Over the past couple days, I've searched online for Vegan or Vegetarian dining options and resources in the Vegas area. That got me excited, but I knew it wasn't enough. We can't afford to eat out every meal.

So, where does a Vegan newbie go? Amazon.

I found a couple cookbooks that, I hope, will help me learn to be a better Vegan. I'm so excited for these two titles to arrive.
1,000 Vegan Recipes
Vegan on the Cheap

In the meantime, I also purchased a few Kindle cookbooks (for free!) to help me get started.
48 Breakfast Vegetarian Recipes
Easy Vegetarian Recipes
Vegan Desserts
10 Quick Vegetarian Burger Recipes

I can't wait to get back in the kitchen and try some new recipes, expand my taste palate, and share my new adventures with all of you.

Note: If you're not into Vegan eating, do not worry. While I'll be primarily posting Vegan or Vegetarian recipes, I'm sure my sister will continue to post her favorites recipes here.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Going Green

I love playing outside and the many activities that I can do right in my backyard (so to speak).

You can definitely say that I've gotten on the going green bandwagon, so when I hear about companies that are making sustainability a priority, I get excited.

Now, wines are going green, too? Excellent!

Personally, I'm not a big wine drinker, but here's a cool graphic demonstrating just how wineries can be green.

It looks like they're making some progress.

If you're a wine drinker, why not try a greener wine next time you shop.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sometimes, it takes me FOREVER to put a post together. Here's a recipe for some cookies I made for my last day student teaching. Yes, I made muffins for the morning classes and cookies for the afternoon. :D The kids were all pretty modest about eating my treats (only taking one each!), so there were lots leftover. Jeff and I both really enjoyed these cookies. Hope you do, too!
Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup shortening
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2T cornstarch + 6T water (or 2 eggs)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).
2. In large bowl, beat shortening, sugar, cornstarch+water, and vanilla until light and fluffy.
3. Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt; stir into the butter mixture until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
4. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or just until set. Cool slightly on the cookie sheets before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.
Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Saturday, May 12, 2012

3 Kinds of Muffins

Because of the way the schedule was at my host school for student teaching, I really had two last days. I wanted to bring in some treats to each of the classes that I taught. Since I taught an 8:30am class both of my final days, I thought muffins would be perfect!

Since we're working on clearing out our cupboards in preparation for our big move, I wanted to use some of the flour that's been around for nigh on to too long.

Here are the three different kinds of muffins I made: Rye Raisin, Fruit, Chocolate Chip, and Rye Raisin/Craisin. They were all so good!!
Chocolate Chip Muffins, Fruit Muffins, and Rye Raisin/Craisin Muffins
Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup rye flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T cornstarch + 3 T water (or 1 egg)
  • 3/4 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Raisin Rye Muffins
  • 2 cups rye flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup raisins (or 1/2 cup raisins + 1/2 cup dried cranberries)

Fruit Muffins
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 c butter, melted
  • 1 T cornstarch + 3 T water (or 1 egg)
  • 3/4 c almond milk
  • 1 (15-oz) can lite fruit cocktail, well drained

Directions (for all 3 varieties):
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or shortening.
2. Mix dry ingredients in large bowl, mixing well.
3. Whisk wet ingredients together. Add to dry ingredients, stirring just until moistened. Stir in chocolate chips, raisins, or fruit cocktail - depending on the desired muffin variety.
4. Fill greased muffin tin 2/3 full. Bake at 400°F according to chart below.

Muffin VarietyBaking Time
Chocolate Chip
18-20 min
Raisin Rye
15-20 min
about 25 min

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Moving Sale

**I know this post isn't related at all to cooking or the kitchen, but we're really trying to get the word out about our moving sale.**

Visit Our 20 Day Apartment Sale!

To explain, we are selling everything we own,
so we can travel around in our van.
We will be posting items on Craigslist,
but you can see everything at once on
our yard sale blog, and on May 24th and 26th
we will be having actual yard sales at:
2057 Laurel Ave, St Paul MN 55104

Everything is being sold at cheap prices,
and every price is negotiable (obo).
What doesn't sell will be donated to charity.

Here is a small sampling:

Decoration = Prices vary

4 Shelf pantry cabinet = $10

Abstract painting on stretched canvas 48" x 24" = $40

Locking hasp = $3

Running belt with water bottle = $10

Life jacket = $10

Work lights = $10

Shop broom = $15

Captain's chairs and back bench seat from Dodge van = 
Best offer

See Post

Ergonomic highly adjustable office chair = $250

Office chair = $10

Bookcase = $40

Telescope = $150

There's plenty more to see, and more posts are coming.
Come take a look:


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