Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip

When I was just a vegetarian, spinach and artichoke dip was my favorite! When I went out to eat at places like Olive Garden and Chili's, I often ordered it in place of my meal.

Since going vegan 5 years ago, I have been experiementing with different recipes, trying to come up with the perfect vegan spinach and artichoke dip. I wanted to make one that was pretty close the ones I had at restaurants.

I was finally successful!

Hope you guys like it as much as I do!

Vegan Spinach and Artichoke Dip


Serves 6 (at least!)

2 C Daiya Mozzerela Shreds (1 bag)
16 oz. Tofutti Sour Cream
8 oz. Tofutti Cream Cheese
1/2 C Earth Balance Buttery Spread
10 oz. Frozen Spinach (thawed, drained, squeezed)
14 oz. Can Artichoke Hearts (chopped, leave a little chunky)
4 oz. Can Diced Jalapenos (It is a little spicy, 1-2 oz. for less spice)
2 Cloves Garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast (optional, but recommended)
1/4 tsp. White Pepper
1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

Melt sour cream, cream cheese, and butter in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Whisk together until combined.

Add your cheese. Daiya melts best at higher temperatures. Temporarily increase your heat while whisking until cheese is melted.

Lower heat to low-medium. Add in the rest of your ingredients. Whisk until combined.

Let cook on the stove, while stirring frequently, for at least 15 minutes. The longer the dip cooks/sits the quicker the flavor comes out.

(The first time I made the dip I ate it right away and it didn't have much flavor, but the next day it did. This last time I made it, I let it cook on the stove longer, and the flavors came out right away.)

Serve with chips, crackers, on sandwiches, in wraps, or however you please!

Enjoy!

*This dip is a little spicy! I love it that way. If you don't like spicy, then you could do 1/2 the jalapenos, or none at all. I have never tried it that way, so I can't promise you anything. The jalapenos really give it a lot of flavor, so I recommend using at least some.



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Monday, August 26, 2013

Tuscan White Bean Soup

I have been on a "Spending Fast" - you can read more about it here if you'd like. I'm no longer eating out, and always cooking my own meals. I try to make meals that will have leftovers that I can take to work. I also try to make meals with the healthiest ingredients, for the lowest price. 
This is my go-to recipe. I make it 2-3 times a week, and take the leftovers to work.
 

Tuscan White Bean Soup
1 Tbsp. (or more if needed) Butter, or Oil
½ Cup Onion, chopped small (any kind works)
1 can Diced Tomatoes (sometimes I blend them, if I do I add 1 additional cup of broth)
4 Cups Better than Bullion No-Chicken Broth (brand makes a difference)
1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 can White Beans, drained and rinsed (black beans are good too)
1 tsp. Dried Basil
¼ tsp. Black Pepper
¾ Cup Uncooked Small Shell Pasta
3 Cups Spinach
*Variations: We have added a can of green chilies if we add black beans. Sometimes we add a can of corn (drained). We have also added potatoes. I have done 1 cup of quinoa instead of pasta (cook quinoa separately, then add at the same time you would the pasta), with celery, corn and potatoes. You can get pretty creative.
Sauté the chopped onions in butter or oil. Once they are transparent, add the minced garlic and sauté for another minute (don’t burn). Add broth, diced tomatoes, beans, and spices. Bring to a boil, and then add pasta. Let cook for 12 minutes. Add spinach, and let wilt for a minute or 2. 
Adapted from this recipe. My photo (also shown above) has become the default photo on the site.

(the above photo has blended tomatoes, and a can of corn)

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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Vegan Brie from Artisan Vegan Cheese


 I have been snacking on this delicious vegan brie for the last few days. I was a little skeptical about making at first, because it takes a while... like a week (or longer!) just to make it. I decided to give a try, and it was worth the wait!

Miyoko Schinner's Artisan Vegan Cheese recipe book is amazing! Granted I have only made one recipe, but it is the best vegan cheese I have ever tasted. I have made several homemade vegan cheeses, from several different cookbooks, but this is by far the best. I should add right about now, that this is not a sponsored post, I have had no contact with the publisher, and I bought this book with my own $$$.

In her recipes, she uses techniques I have never come across before in vegan cheese making. I have never made dairy cheese, but it seems as though she has taken the process of aging "real" cheese, and implementing it in a vegan way. Very creative, and honestly pretty brilliant!

I can't wait to try out more of her recipes!

If anyone reading this has made any of the recipes from this book, please share your thoughts. I have no idea which recipe to try next.

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Vegg Cookbook!



I got a little surprise in the mail yesterday! My copy of The Vegg Cookbook had arrived! As thrilled as I am to have a copy of The Vegg's cookbook, I am even more excited to have one of my own recipes in the book! If you turn to page 70 you will find my Spiced Vegg Nog recipe! It looks beautiful! I'm so in love with this book! And if you didn't notice from my past reviews of The Vegg, I am in love with it too.

Check it out!


To see all of the ways to purchase the book (and maybe even get a deal) go to TheVegg.com!

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Monday, May 20, 2013

I'm back! Baby Lemon, food, and more!

I can't believe I haven't blogged in 6 months! I have missed it! I have been incredibly busy with being a new mom, working full time, and going to school full time. I'm currently trying to get through my prerequisites so I can apply for a nursing program. It seems like it is taking forever! Last semester I definitely took on WAY to much and now have to repeat a couple of classes. Didn't see that coming! Anyway, after 2 very heavy semesters, I decided to take the summer semester off. I'm going to be spending a lot more time with Lemon, crafting with my mom, making lots of food, crocheting, and watching The Office.

For now, here is a quick picture update of a few things I've been up to over the past little while.

>>

MY BABY! She is the sweetest, happiest, easiest baby in the world. I love her more than anything.

She loves her dog Jay more than anything! They are best friends. He is always close by making sure she is okay.


She loves to play with my yarn! Silly girl!


We took a trip on the Front Runner train up to Salt Lake City last week. She loves being in her carrier.
 

Tim bought her a Foofa doll! She loves Yo! Gabba Gabba and her Foofa!



I've also been making some food!

I have seen many non-vegan versions of a jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwich on Pinterest, so I thought I would give it a try. It's basically just vegan sour dough bread, buttered with Earth Balance Buttery Spread, a thick layer of Tofutti Sour Cream on one side, then Daiya cheddar shreds and some of my mom's jalapenos she canned last year. It was amazing! I could eat it everyday! I'll get a better pic next time and post an official recipe. I'll chat with my mom about how she canned her jalapenos too.


I've also been making cupcakes! Surprisingly I think I went a full year without making any! I have been too busy! Cupcakes are the easiest and tastiest treat to make though, I should be making them a lot more!

My mom and I threw together these cinnamon banana cupcakes using an altered version of one of Isa's recipes. We substituted the oil for a mashed banana and added about a 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon. For the frosting we made it very vanilla-y and added nuts and cinnamon and sugar. TASTY!


For these ones, we used this recipe, then made my regular cupcake frosting but added leftover raspberry pie topping from a cheesecake I made on Mother's Day instead of the normal amount of plant milk. They were so good, and super rich! BTW: This recipe is very similar to Isa's style of cupcakes, but it has more flour, salt, baking soda, powder and oil. They are a bit more dense, but really good! They claim to make 14 cupcakes, but it worked perfectly for 12 in my opinion.


This is kind of an awful picture, but worth talking about. My brother and I made this recipe for Cookie Dough Dip.... but it's made with chickpeas! Pretty weird, but also really good! For the most part it is really healthy. Try it! We also made some green juice and added spirulina - all while listening to Andrew Bird.


My mom, Lemon, and I rode the Front Runner to SLC to eat at Este Pizza. We had the vegan garlic knots and the vegan white pizza. It was really good! They have other vegan options too. Excited to try more.


Last - I have been rewatching all of the great food documentaries on Netflix. This is a shot from Forks Over Knives (my fav), I also love Vegucated, Food Matters, Hungry for Change, A Beautiful Truth, Dying to Have Known, and Food Inc. I feel like I am forgetting some...



Anyway, that is what I have been up to. Hopefully you will see more posts from me in the near future! We are planting our garden, and sprouting seeds, so I will definitely have some garden posts soon!

Until next time!


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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Best Vegan Cheesecake You Will Ever Taste!

CHEESECAKE!




1 Store Bought Vegan 9" Crust (or you can make your own)
3 (8 oz.) Containers of Tofutti Cream Cheese
3 Ener-G Egg Replacer "Eggs"
1 C Sugar
2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
Fruit Topping Filling (optional)


Crust - I'm all about EASY
You can use a store bought crust and leave it like it is - if you do this, use this recipe instead. If you are using a spring-form pan you can either make your own recipe, or do what I did - buy a store bought crust, crush it up, add some melted vegan butter (a couple tsp.) and then reshape it back into your spring form pan. For this recipe, I used the Oreo store bought crust.


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare your Ener-G "eggs," be sure to whisk together thoroughly until they are very fluffy.  In a large bowl combine your cream cheese, Ener-G mixture, sugar, and vanilla and mix until thoroughly combined.
Pour your mixture into your spring form pan, or ready made crust, leveling it with a butter knife.
 
See "Tip" below...  
 
Cook in the oven for 55-60 minutes.  To check to see if your cheesecake is finished, tap the side of your pan or pie tin with a knife, if the middle still jiggles then it is not finished cooking.  It should start to turn a very light golden color.
 
When your cheesecake is done, let it cool for 30 minutes.  Then let it chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.
Top with fruit topping before serving if you wish.
Enjoy!
 
TIP: If you want a smooth cheesecake (no cracks) wrap tip foil around the bottom of your pan creating a bowl type shape.  Then place on a cookie sheet.  Fill your cookie sheet most of the way full with water.  The tin foil will keep any water from getting to your cheesecake.  This keeps the oven humid, so your cheesecake won't crack.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Spiced VEGG Nog ( + Review )

Like I mentioned in a previous mini review - I love eggs!  I don't eat them of course because eggs are in no way cruelty-free.  Although you may think, "I'm not actually killing an animal" that is just not true.  If you want to learn more about the process of getting eggs to your plate, click here!

If you are like me, and love eggs, but don't eat them... you are in luck!  The Vegg is a new(ish) product that is like egg yolks.  Basically you add The Vegg mixture to water, blend and you have a runny, delicious yolk mixture.  Not only can you make the yolk, but you can also make french toast, scrambled eggs, omelets, quiches, and more.  There are a bunch of Vegg tutorials on YouTube, check them out!  I can't wait to try scrambled Veggs and an omelet. (more posts and reviews to come later on those).

I was trying to think of something that needed egg yolks that another egg substitute couldn't make.  I know there is pre-made store bought nog out there, but I wanted to try and recreate the actual egg nog, with eggs!  Plus I have never made my own nog of any kind, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I was thrilled with the results!


Spiced Vegg Nog

Serves 3-4

2 C Soy or Almond Milk
2 C Silk Creamer (original)
1/2 C Vegg Mixture (1/2 C water, 2 tsp. Vegg, blended)
2/3 C Sugar
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp.Nutmeg
Rum (optional, to your liking)

In a small pot heat your milk and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Once dissolved, add the rest of your ingredients besides creamer and rum.  Heat while stirring frequently for 20-25 minutes.  Stir in creamer.  

If you are adding rum to your nog, add right before serving.

Garnish with nutmeg.

Vegg Nog can be served warm or cold!

Enjoy!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dr. Woods Soap - Review

     I recently had the opportunity to try out Dr. Woods soaps and facial cleanser!  I am soooo picky about my beauty products, and find it so hard to find good options that are vegan sometimes - especially with facial cleanser.

     Since I gave birth, my skin has been breaking out every now and then.  It's so frustrating because sometimes I feel like there is nothing to do about it!  I started using Dr. Woods Tea Tree Facial Cleanser for about two weeks and my skin looks great now!  The wash has a clean and cool feeling on your skin after you use it, it's great!  Tea tree oil has a tendency to dry your skin just a little bit and get rid of excess oils, which is what finally got rid of my break outs.  It doesn't dry it enough to steer clear if you have dry skin, but just enough to help heal any acne.

From Dr. Woods: "Our Anti-Oxidant Facial Cleansers do wonders for your complexion, leaving your skin with a healthy, radiant glow. We guarantee it! Both contain gamma tocopherol, botanical extracts and organic shea butter to neutralize free radicals, heal blemishes and regenerate skin cells."

     Dr. Woods raw bar soap is great too!  I tried their garden cucumber raw shea butter soap and it had a fresh, light feel to it.  I highly recommend it.  Not only is Dr. Wood's soap vegan, it has other great perks too, such as:

All natural
No animal ingredients
No artificial colors
Not tested on animals
pH balanced
Biodegradable
No lauryl/laureth sulfates
Paraben and phthalate free

From Dr. Woods: "Our Garden Cucumber Soap with mint leaf exfoliant gently cleans and rejuvenates your skin to a fresh garden glow. Organic shea butter, crushed mint leaves and Vitamin E complement this refreshing fragrance with antioxidants and natural soothing properties that maintain your skin’s health and youthful clarity."

I highly recommend trying Dr. Woods products.  They are a great company, with great values and very friendly staff! 

Dr. Woods' Philosophy: "We want to feel good in all ways – from what we put on our skin or in our body, to how we treat others and our environment. We want to feel special and indulged, without being wasteful of robbing future generations of our natural resources.

That’s why we strive to use only the most natural, effective and sustainable ingredients we can find.

We make everything here in the USA, but search the world sourcing the finest ingredients for our products to create a brand we believe in… a brand that makes a difference by doing what’s right for you, your family and our planet."

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 18 - UNCLE EDDIE'S VEGAN COOKIES


THE BEST COOKIES IN THE WORLD!!!

Seriously, that is all I really need to say!  They are soft, chewy, and delicious!  If you can find these, you will be addicted!  I have tried all of the flavors, but Chocolate Chip with Walnuts are my favorite!  They are a little pricey ($7 ish, sometimes $5 on sale though) but they are worth every penny.  You get a bunch in each bag.  Check out their other products and flavors here!

YUM 
YUM 
YUM!




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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 17 - PREGO TRADITIONAL SAUCE



I am all about easy meals!  I used to buy Ragu's spaghetti sauce when I was vegetarian.  I was surprised to learn that most spaghetti sauces have cheese in them.  I was a little sad to stray from the familiar flavor of Ragu, but once I tried the Prego Traditional Sauce I was sold - it's so good!  Anyway, this is great for quick meals, or when you are having a dinner with mixed diets.  I eat it a few times a week!  It's also great in veggie lasagna, dip for sour dough toast (my fav!) and vegan mozzarella sticks!  Love this stuff! 

I get asked all of the time what kinds of meals I eat - just think of what meals you ate with meat, and which can be made without.  Spaghetti, lasagna and other pastas are really easy ones to make without meat.  Add a bunch of veggies in there too and you have a pretty healthy meal!

FYI - As far as I know, this is the only Prego sauce that is vegan.  There could be others, but check the ingredients first.



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Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 16 - GARDEIN CHICK'N PATTIES


I went to CA a couple years ago and had the best vegan chick'n sandwich and vegan chick'n tenders I have ever had at Evolution Fast Food!  My husband's band was doing a mini tour through the San Diego area at the time, so I just picked his up to go.  He tried it and said, "I think this is wrong, I'm pretty sure I just ate real chicken!"  So if you liked chicken, or miss the taste of chicken - this is what you should buy!


THEY ARE AMAZING!!!  Check out this delicious chick'n sandwich and yummy chick'n tenders!  (both Gardein brand)



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Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 15 - DANDIES VEGAN MARSHMALLOWS


Some people don't realize that marshmallows are not vegan - they are not even vegetarian!  Marshmallows contain gelatin... which is nasty, yuck!  Luckily there are a few alternatives.  Dandies are my #1 choice for vegan/vegetarian mallows, and they act the exact same in recipes as 'regular' marshmallows.

I buy a bag every now and then, but hardly end up using them to actually make something because I end up snacking on them.  My 5 year old nephew is obsessed with them!

I have seen Dandies at every health food store I frequent, big and small.  There are other brands like 'Sweet & Sara' (which are delicious too!) but I have found they are much harder to come by.

 
Check out my yummy rice krispy treats!  They are better than the traditional ones because Dandies have that yummy vanilla flavor!

I can't wait to try this recipe using Dandies - did you know Oreos are vegan too?!

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Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 14 - ENER-G EGG REPLACER

 

This stuff is awesome!  I use it for all of my favorite recipes that normally have eggs, and they always come out right. (well, I had one batch of disaster brownies once...) Anyway, I use them to make cookies, cakes, breads, coatings (for deep frying) and more!  There are tons of other egg substitutes but this one always works great for me!



A few of my recipes that use Ener-G Egg Replacer:

Raspberry Cheesecake
Fried Zucchini
Chocolate Zucchini Cake
Simple Sugar Cookies
















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Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 13 - BETTER THAN CREAM CHEESE


Tofutti's Better Than Cream Cheese is so yummy!  I put it on bagels, in creamy soups, in dips, cheese balls, and even make delicious vegan cheesecake with it.  

Right now I am working on spice mixes to sell in my store to add to this yummy stuff - any suggestions?


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Monday, October 15, 2012

Vegan MoFo - Highlight # 12 - NUTRITIONAL YEAST



Ever wondered what the heck people were talking about when they start talking/writing about Nooch?  Well it's just a short name for Nutritional Yeast.  Nutritional Yeast is yellowish flakes that taste nutty or cheesy with no dairy, gluten, or sugar - low in fat and sodium.  If you want to know more about how it's produced, check out this link. I'm not a huge fan of the stuff, but most vegans are (pretty sure I'm the only vegan who isn't).  I prefer Daiya when it comes to cheesiness.  

You can use nutritional yeast to make just about anything, soups, sauces, tofu scramble - I've seen people sprinkle it on pastas (like parmesean) or sprinkle it on popcorn to get a cheesy type popcorn.  I always add some to gravy, for mashed potatoes and gravy.  It really takes it up a notch, and adds a yummy creamy flavor!

Unlike a lot of the faux cheeses out there now, Nutritional Yeast is higher in nutritional value, and ofter fortified with B12.

I usually just buy mine in the bulk bins at Whole Foods, but there are several brands that sell it packaged as well.  If you are buying it for nutritional content, I would recommend buying a prepackaged version.  They are a bit more expensive, but worth it.

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