Monday, December 26, 2011

Feliz Navidad

We enjoyed our annual traditional tamale feast this Christmas! Please see last year's blog for full details on how to make these amazing Vegan Tamales! The Salsa Fairy visited us too this year, the perfect accoutrement for our tamales.

For Dessert we enjoyed Christmas Cookies (see last year’s post for recipe) and Pumpkin Cheesecake.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
from The Joy of Vegan Baking page 92 (I made some modifications)

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4 1/2 tsp Ener-G-Egg replacer
6 tbs water
16 ounces nondairy cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree

Graham cracker or pecan.(I used graham crackers)

I added caramelized pecans

Preheat oven 350 degrees
Combine all ingredients and mix with a hand mixer.
Pour into prepared crust
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes
Then reduce to 325 and bake for 20 minutes
Let cool and top with pecans.....


Happy Festivus!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Real Men Aren’t Afraid of Tempeh

Tonight my hubby is cooking! J Thank you A.P. and The 30-minute Vegan cookbook for this awesome and quick recipe. He modified the tempeh enchilada recipe into a Tempeh Enchilada Casserole:

What you need:
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 green bell pepper diced
1/2 red, 1/2 yellow, 1/2 orange bell peppers diced
2  8 oz packages of Tempeh*
1 can of Hatch Enchilada sauce (or make your own. Beware most sauces contain chicken broth so read labels. Hatch is a very common brand sold almost anywhere)
And some added spices:
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 garlic cloves crushed

What you do:
Mix all of this in a large bowl. Use your hands to break up the tempeh into little bits.

Grease the bottom of a 9X13 casserole dish.

Create a layered casserole by alternating layers of corn tortillas and tempeh mix.

Dip the corn tortillas in enchilada sauce and place in the bottom of the dish. Spoon some of the tempeh mixture across the tortillas, add another layer of tortillas, add more tempeh, then add one more layer of tortillas and one more layer of tempeh.

And optional toppings:
IF you want a cheesy topping --- then top with Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese.
Sprinkle with chopped green onions and black olives.

Bake uncovered at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Dig in!

Adults: 2 thumbs up!
Children: 4 thumbs up!

*For those who don’t know, Tempeh is naturally fermented soybeans and therefore like Edamame packed full of fiber and protein. It is sold in the refrigerated aisle by all the tofu products, however it has a very different texture than tofu, more firm and nutty. Just like my husband. J (he doesn’t read my blog)….

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Turtles for Sea Turtles!!!

I love making turtles. So easy and delicious!
All you need are pecans, vegan caramel, and some vegan dark chocolate. I use raw or the spicy pecan halves from Trader Joe’s. I buy my vegan caramels online through JJ’s Cocomels (although you could make your own – many recipes online). Most dark chocolate would work, I use the semi-sweet chocolate chips from Trader Joe’s.

Melt your caramels in the microwave or on the stovetop. Melt your chocolate chips in the microwave. Next, arrange your pecans on wax paper and then top with caramel, then chocolate….. Let cool and devour!

This year while eating your turtles, think about saving some sea turtles!!!
There are many conservation groups, rescues, and charities focused on helping these beautiful sea creatures.
If you would like to help out, you can search online or visit my favorite Sea Turtle Rescue: the Sea Turtle Restoration Project at


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mega-Bean Soup!! (more like Stew)

I decided to take the basic Lentil Soup recipe and add some more super beans and super grains!!!! This resulted in a delicious and hearty stew! So easy to assemble and perfect for that cold winter day (even in Arizona!).


1 large onion, chopped
3 carrots, peeled and sliced
3 celery stalks, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, mashed
2 tablespoons olive oil

½ cup brown lentils
½ cup red lentils
¼ cup black beluga lentils
½ cup yellow/green split peas
¼ cup black eyed peas
¼ cup mung beans
¼ cup wild barley
½ cup wild rice

10 cups of vegetable stock
3 cups of water
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp chili pepper
½ tsp pepper
2 tsp salt
1 tsp paprika
½ cup parsley
1 cup cherry tomatoes chopped


Sauté the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and olive oil in your soup pot.
Then add the vegetable stock and water.
Add all the beans and grains (make sure to have rinsed them first)
Cook for approximately 1 hr (till all beans and grains are tender)
Then add spices, tomatoes, and parsley
Serve hot!

Adult: 2 thumbs up
Kids: 4 thumbs up

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Spicy Apricot and Sunflower Seed Hummus

I recently found a most delicious hummus, Spicy Yellow Lentil Hummus with Sunflower Seeds and Apricots, by Eat Well Enjoy Life…. However, I was disappointed to see several added preservatives. I spend so much time reading labels and eating healthy that I couldn’t make an exception with my hummus, especially since there are plenty of other brands that are preservative free! So I decided to try and make my own version of this unique hummus!!!

I began with a basic chickpea hummus and use apricot preserves to sweeten it…. I was surprisingly pleased with my results!! It was spicy and sweet just like the store bought version!


3 cans of chickpeas (I cooked mine from dried chickpeas ~ 2 hrs to cook)
4 tbs tahini
4 garlic cloves
3 tbs lemon juice
8 tbs WFs apricot fruit spread
2 tbs roasted red bell pepper olive oil
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
1 tbs crushed red pepper flakes
½ tsp paprika
½ tsp cumin
Water for desired consistency
Salt and pepper to taste

To do:

Place all ingredients in your food processor EXCEPT the sunflower seeds.
Blend until smooth (2-3 minutes)
Then add the sunflower seeds and stir – leaving a chunky consistency.
Next time I might add some chopped dried apricots too…..

Enjoy with your favorite veges or pita bread!

Adults: 2 thumbs up!!!
Kids: too spicy!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tiramisu Cupcakes……..and Cake

You had me at Tiramisu…… I am a lover of anything Tiramisu! And I am so excited to have found another amazing version of Tiramisu! I was a little worried these cupcakes might turn out soggy, but of course not, another amazing recipe from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World! They took over my kitchen, my tummy, and my heart!!!! And they passed the test of my good friend (KC), who IS the expert on Tiramisu!!!

Hope you all enjoy them too!!!

Basic Vanilla Cupcake

          Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)
·        1 cup soymilk
·        1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
·        1 ¼ cups flour
·        2 tablespoons cornstarch
·        ¾ teaspoon baking powder
·        ½ teaspoon baking soda
·        ¼ teaspoon salt
·        1/3 cup canola oil
·        ¾ cup sugar
·        2 teaspoons vanilla
·        ¼ teaspoon almond extract or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract       

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with paper liners.
Whisk the soy milk and the vinegar together and let sit a few minutes until curdled.
Beat together the soy milk mixture, oil, sugar, vanilla, and other extracts, if using, in a large bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt and mix until no large lumps remain.
Fill cupcake liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 20 to 22 minutes till done. 
Transfer to a cooling rack.

Frosting (I made a variation to the recipe in the book)
·        1 cup vegan butter
·        ¼ cup vegan cream cheese
·        2 cups confectioners sugar, sifted
·        2 tsp TJ’s bourbon-vanilla extract
·        1 tsp hazelnut extract
·        3 TBS TJ’s Sipping Chocolate Hot Chocolate powder

Assemble the Cupcakes:

1/3 cup Kahlua and 1/3 cup espresso (set aside)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder and 1 tsp cinnamon (for dusting)
Chocolate chips to decorate

To do:
Use a small spoon to scoop out a small hole in the top of the cupcake (save this to decorate with later).
Pour 1-2 tablespoons of the Kahlua mixture  into the hole.
Fill your pastry bag with your frosting and then pipe it into the hole to fill it.
Place the cut-out cupcake part on top.
Decorate the rest of the cupcake with frosting however you desire and add a chocolate chip on top.
Dust with the cocoa/cinnamon mixture.


…… but wait there is more…..

Tiramisu Cake….

I had leftover frosting and Kahlua mixture so I thought – why don’t I make a cake!!!!
My kids love chocolate cake therefore I whipped up the basic chocolate cake from The Joy of Vegan Baking and poured it into my new heart-shaped bundt pan (350 degrees for 30 minutes).
  • 1-1/2 cups (188 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 cup (235 ml) cold water
Then while the cake was fresh and hot out of the oven, I flipped it onto a platter and poured the Kahlua mixture all over it…. then I thought if a little Kahlua is good – why not more?… I poured another ¼ cup of Kahlua over it. Let it cool then piped some frosting décor all over it, dusted with the cocoa/cinnamon mixture and then had to immediately try it!

And like usual it became my FAVORITE!!!

I know I say everything is my favorite but truly these cupcakes and cake are amazing (if you are a Tiramisu lover like me!!!)

Too drunk to vote….
The kids will sleep well tonight….

Sea Salt and Caramel Brownies

In the last few years I have discovered that I love salty and sweet and the best way to combine these flavors (in my opinion) is salt with caramel or salt with chocolate!

I made these sweet brownies yesterday for my close friend’s baby shower and they turned out to be quite a hit (with the bun in the oven too). J

Here is my very simple (and semi-homemade) creation:

Step 1

You need 1 box of Ghirardelli’s Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix (yes, vegan ingredients)
Follow the directions but replace the eggs with Energy Egg Replacer or Ground flax seed (1 TBS with 3 TBS water)

Step 2

You can make your own vegan caramel (there are plenty of varieties on the internet) or if you are lazy like me then buy online from JJ’s Cocomels -- a Boulder, CO small business that makes their cocomels from coconut milk and sell many assorted varieties. YUM!

Place 5 cocomels in a dish and microwave for only 20-30 seconds (they melt fast). Drizzle this over the cooked brownies. I discovered that when it was time to cut the brownies the cocomels had returned to a semi-solid chewy state making it difficulty (messy) to cut the brownies. So in retrospect if you are going to drizzle over them do it in thin strands OR cut the brownies and then place a dollop of the melted cocomel on top!!!! I think that would work best!!
Step 3

Sea Salt! Any brand or variety you choose and as much or as little that your palette desires!!!

Then enjoy!
So simple, so yummy!!!

Ladies: all thumbs up
Bun in the oven: some kicks and flips.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In a Galaxy far far Away.....

There were these fun vegan Star Wars Cupcakes!!!!

Thank you to Chef JS for the ideas! Of course you are more talented than I and your Princess Leia more life-like!

These are very easy and fun to do. Here are the recipes:

Chocolate Cupcakes: (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

Ingredients: (makes 12)
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, chocolate extract, or more vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, Dutch-processed or regular
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners.
  2. Whisk together the soy milk and vinegar in a large bowl, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle. Add the sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and other extract, if using, to the soy milk mixture and beat until foamy. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add in two batches to wet ingredients and beat until no large lumps remain (a few tiny lumps are OK).
  3. Pour into liners, filling 3/4 of the way. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool completely

Butter Cream Frosting: (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World)

Ingredients: (for 12 cupcakes)
  • 1/2 cup nonhydrogenated shortening
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted if clumpy
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain soy milk or soy creamer
    1.  Beat until fluffy. (So easy!)


Darth Vader:
Bought these Darth Vader face rings and light sabers through Amazon
Separate the buttercream frosting and add lots of black food coloring!
Frost and place the rings and sabers on top

Storm Troopers:
Bought these Storm Trooper face rings through Amazon.
Frost and place on top.

Princess Leia:
For her brown hair you can make chocolate buttercream frosting or I just added several tablespoons of cocoa to make it more brown.
Frost her face first then add a heart sprinkle for her mouth and either brown frosting for her eyes or chocolate chips.
Then frost her hair along the top and frost one side of a Chocolate Jo-Jo cookie (Trader Joe’s or Oreo’s would work) and press against the side of the cupcake. Miraculously it sticks!

Then Enjoy!!!

Adults: 2 light sabers up!
Kids: 4 light sabers up!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Got Vampires?

Here is your solution:

Several garlic cloves

Olive oil, salt, pepper and dried basil

Heat in the oven for 2 hrs at 300 degrees
(in a garlic roaster or cover with tin foil)

 Some french bread, vino and  there you have it.

Happy Halloween!!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The TLT is the new BLT

Just like 40 is the new 30, the TLT has replaced the BLT.

T= Tempeh
L= Lettuce (spinach, kale.... you pick)
T= Tomato

While eating tofu came naturally for us, tempeh did not. I must admit, we were a little frightened by it. Finally after learning more we took the plunge and have been enjoying it ever since!
Tempeh is sold in several varieties, plain or seasoned. For TLTs, I recommend these smoked varieties!

So simple and quick to make!

1) Toast your bread (we use multigrain)
2) Slather on the Vegenaise (or try Wildwood's Garlic Aioli!! Sold at WFs).
3) Warm the Tempeh in your skillet
4) Slice your tomatoes
5) Prepare your lettuce (we use spinach)
6) Assemble!

Tempeh is delicious and nutritious! Don't be afraid!


Adults: 2 thumbs up!!
Kids: 2 thumbs up (the other 2 aren’t fans of the smoked tempeh)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

More S'mores!

No need to go camping to have these yummy treats! Once again Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (authors of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) have out done themselves! I was a little skeptical at first when I saw graham cracker crumbs were part of the cupcake, but boy oh boy were they moist and delicious!
These cupcakes have taken over my kitchen (and belly!). J
Here is their recipe (with only a few modifications):

What you need for the cupcakes:

3⁄4 cup Brown Sugar
1⁄2 cup Canola Oil
2 Tbs Molasses
1⁄4 cup plain Non-dairy Yogurt
1 1⁄4 cup Non-dairy milk (soy, almond, or coconut)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1⁄2 tsp Baking Soda
1⁄2 tsp Cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp Salt
1⁄2 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

What you do:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners.

2. Mix brown sugar, oil, molasses, yogurt, milk and vanilla in a large bowl.

3. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt into a separate bowl and mix. Add graham cracker crumbs and mix it up.

4. Add dry ingredients to the wet in three batches, mixing well after each addition.

5. Fill cupcake liners full. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Let cool completely before decorating.

6 Graham Cracker Rectangles, broken in half
Dandies Vegan Marshmallows

Quick Melty Ganache
3 Tbs Non-dairy milk (soy, almond, or coconut)
1/3 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips

Combine milk with chocolate chips and microwave for about 45 seconds. Stir till creamy. Set aside till ready to decorate.

Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting
1⁄2 cup Non-Hydrogenated Shortening
1⁄2 cup Non-Hydrogenated Margarine (Earth Balance)
3 1⁄2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 1⁄2 tsp Vanilla Extract
1⁄4 cup Plain Non-dairy Milk

Beat shortening and margarine together until well combined and fluffy. Add sugar and beat for about 3 more minutes. Add vanilla and non-dairy milk, beat for another 5 to 7 minutes or so until fluffy.

To Assemble
Spread the chocolate ganache over the top of the cupcake. Then spread or pipe a thick layer of Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting onto each cupcake. Place a graham cracker and marshmallow on top. Sprinkle with chocolate curls. Then gobble them up!

Adults: 2 thumbs up!
Children: 4 thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let Them Eat Cake!!!

The Secret to an Awesome Chocolate Cake…..

… coffee!!!  I never knew this till I recently read a recipe for Mudd Pie from Chef Chloe:
She mentions using espresso powder to make the chocolate sauce more decadent….

Then I found this recipe from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau for Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache (The Vegan Table page 146) also with coffee in the cake…..

So I decided I had to try this!!
I modified the recipe a little bit b/c I was missing some ingredients and I doubled the amount to make it a double layer cake. Also, I added some liquor to my ganache (b/c I am a lush)……. J

And it turned out to be the BEST Chocolate cake ever!


Chocolate Cake with Coffee Ganache (my modified recipe)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 cups evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
½ cup cocoa powder
1.5 cups non dairy milk
1 cup dark coffee
2/3 cup canola oil
2 tbs white vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Glaze: (I omitted this b/c I didn’t have it on hand)
1 cup apricot preserves
2 tsp water

2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup evaporated cane juice (sugar)
2 tbs dark coffee
1 stick Earth balance butter
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs Amaretto di Amore (omit this or use any liquor of your choice)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line two 8 inch cake pans with parchment paper
Combine flour,sugar,salt,baking soda, and cocoa powder
Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients
Add the milk,coffee,oil,vinegar and vanilla.
Stir until all mixed together
Poor into pans and cook for 30 minutes.

Make the ganache by placing ingredients in a sauce pan
Heat on low, constantly stirring till it is creamy and shiny
Set aside

Once the cake is done, let cool.
Then flip cakes out onto a cake pedestal
Pour warm ganache over the top
Decorate with whatever you like, I added chocolate chips
Serve warm…… ahhhhhhhh.

Adults: 2 thumbs up
Children: 4 chocolaty thumbs up!

The Black and White Cake
(Recipe from Have your Cake and Vegan too, page 86)

This cake is amazingly delicious! The oreo cookie frosting is to die for!


3 cups flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
2 cups evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1 2/3 cups soy milk
½ tsp vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup baking cocoa (sifted)
3 tbs soy milk

½ cup Earth Balance vegan butter
½ cup shortening at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar
1 cup crushed Trader Joe’s Joe-Joes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans
In a small bowl combine: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt
In a large bowl cream the oil, sugar, milk, vinegar and vanilla
Incorporate the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
In a separate bowl combine the cocoa and 3 tbs milk
Transfer half the batter into the cocoa/milk mixture
Then pour the plain batter into one cake pan and the chocolate batter  into the other
Bake for 30 minutes
Let cool for 30 minutes
Make the butter cream frosting by whipping the above frosting ingredients – at the end add the crushed cookies.
Assemble cake, frost and serve!!!


Adults: 2 thumbs up
Children: 4 thumbs up and yee haw!

Red, White and Blue Cheesecake

I just saw this recipe in some magazine and had to make it. I modified it to my liking…. And boy did I LIKE it!!!!!

2 cups ground cinnamon graham crackers
½ cup pitted dates
½ cup almonds
1 cup melted Earth Balance Butter

5 packages (8 oz) soy cream cheese
1 cup evaporated cane juice (sugar)
¼ cup coconut milk
3 tbs flour
½ tsp lemon peel
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs (or Energy Egg Replacer)
1 cup fresh, crushed strawberries
1 cup fresh, crushed blueberries

What to do:

Make Crust by:
Combine all the above dry ingredients in your food processor
Add the melted butter and mix
Then press into the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan
Bake for 5 minutes at 400 degrees and then set aside

Make Filling by:
Beat cream cheese and sugar till smooth
Add in the milk, flour, lemon peel, salt and vanilla
Then beat in the eggs (or egg replacer)
Divide the batter in half
Fold the crushed berries into one of the batter halves
Pour this into the crust.
Top with the remaining plain batter.

Bake at 400 for 10 minutes.
Reduce to 300 degrees and bake for 70 minutes.
Let cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes.
Refrigerate for several hrs before serving.
Garnish with assorted berries.

Adults: 2 big thumbs up!
Children: only 1 thumb up (clearly the other 3 are not mine)  J