Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Veggie Calzones with Tofu Ricotta

Calzones! Calzonezzzz! 

We've never made calzones before and come to think of it I'm pretty sure I've never eaten one either. They were a big deal at my high school but cafeteria food is not my jam so I never took part in the phenomena. 

These calzones were BIG! They were super filling and filled with lots of good stuff! Once again we used store-bought dough. To be honest homemade dough is a bit frightening - we'll get there one day.

We did make this Tofu Ricotta with pine nuts and it was personally the highlight of the calzone. It tasted pretty legit too!! Pine nuts are supes expensive! Why? Does anyone know the answer to that?? 

We dipped our calzones in pasta sauce and it was magical. I honestly don't know what I'd do without things like pizza and pasta and now calzones!

Veggie Calzones with Tofu Ricotta
1 bag of pizza dough, cut in four
1 tbsp olive oil + 1 tbsp to brush on top
2 bell peppers, cut into strips vertically then chopped horizontally
1 large zucchini, cut into matchsticks – not too thin
4 cloves of garlic, diced
1 bag of spinach
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
1 package of soy crumbles
Tofu Pine Nut Ricotta (recipe below via The Shrinking Kitchen)
1 cup of pasta sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degress F.
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large sauté pan. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Next, add the peppers and cook until softened. Add the zucchini and stir everything together until the zucchini has softened a little then add the soy crumbles. Season with salt and pepper, oregano, and basil. Lastly, add the spinach (you might have to do this in two stages). Cook until all the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat.

In a small blender or Magic Bullet, add 1 cup of pine nuts with 8 oz of extra firm tofu plus the juice of one whole lemon.Season with salt and pepper. Blend until smooth – it’s okay if it’s less than smooth.

Roll out each piece of dough into an 8-inch circle or square (hah that’s what I did but it would have been better to do a circle). Fill with the veggie-soy mixture and add a dollop of ricotta. Throw on some cheese too if you’d like, such as Daiya. Place on a baking sheet that is lined with parchment paper or greased. Brush the tops with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 20 min or until golden brown. Serve with dipping sauce.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Vegan Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato Topping!

This is a super simple meal idea and it's filling too! We put a little spin on the typical shepherd's pie (I was tempted to call it a Shepherdess Pie like in Veganomicon because I think that's brilliant) by adding a sweet potato mixture on top! I think it's a nice improvement.

This is one of those dishes where you can really add any veggies you like to it. Don't feel confined by the standard carrots, corn, and peas. Get daring! LOL. 

Yves products aren't really my favourite but it's really the only thing we get in these parts so, we have to make do. I dream of a better selection of soy products.

Moving on... the sweet potato topping really enhances this dish because it provides a sweet compliment to the savory bottom. It adds much more depth, I believe. But by all means, see for yourself! ;)

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato and Yam Topping
2 Jamaican Sweet Potatoes, cubed
1 Yam, cubed
1 package of soy crumbles, like Yves Veggie Ground Round
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp margarine
1 onion, diced
4 small/medium sized carrots, diced
¾ cup frozen corn
½ cup frozen peas
2 tsp salt
Generous cracking (or dash) of pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp poultry seasoning 

Place the sweet potatoes and yam a large pot and fill with water. Bring to a boil and cook until they can easily be pierced with a fork. When they’re done, strain off the water and add margarine and 1 tsp of salt. Check the seasonings to make sure it’s the way you like it.

Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Place a Dutch oven or similarly oven safe cooking vessel on the stovetop at medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add the onion and carrots and cook until the onion is translucent and the carrots have softened. Next add the soy crumble, 1 tsp of salt, and the pepper. Brown the soy crumbles a bit before adding in the corn and peas. Add the paprika, coriander, oregano, and poultry seasoning. Give it all a good stir so that everything is well seasoned. Cook for 5 mins, stirring every once and a while.

Remove from the heat and add the sweet potato mixture to the top. Sprinkle a little paprika over the top and place in the oven for 20 mins or until the top browns a little.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Waffled Vegan Sugar Cookies

I made these cookies from The Frosted Vegan but instead of making my own cashew cream, as per the directions, I went lazy stylez and used MimicCreme instead (which apparently doesn't exist anymore, I guess that's why it was at Big Lots). I think this is why the cookies turned out SUPER hard. Maybe because of the extra sugar or something? 

Anyway, I'm sure if you follow the recipe and make your cashew cream these would be seriously awesome. I mean they look really cute. I love the waffle-ization! These cookies totally embodied the "cute but deadly" expression. It worked out alright if you dunked them in some hot tea or doused them in almond milk.

I will say these cookies not only looked cute but they also tasted really good. So, if you have the chance to try this recipe, you should. I guess it would also be helpful if you have a waffle maker too ;)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Roasted Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

We couldn't have envisioned a better pizza!! Caitlin and I were craving a "homemade" thin crust pizza with roasted veggies as the star topping and this pizza definitely delivered, it was everything we wanted and more! I use quotation marks around homemade because the pizza dough was store-bought. One day we will give homemade pizza dough a try. Oh yeah, and the tomato sauce wasn't homemade either. 
I have no regrets!

You see that Booster Juice cup in the corner? That's what hungry grrrls drink while preparing dinner, haha. Our favourite is Sonic Soy - sooo good. 

Oh ma'am! just looking at these pictures makes me want a slice right now! PIZZA IS MY FAVOURITE FOOD. The roasted veggies were so buttery soft and the hint of garlicky tomato sauce was perfect. And of course, the thin crust! It's been so long since I've had a good thin crust pizza. It was back in the day when I also had cheese on my pizza :O

You can totally use homemade tomato sauce and dough. Plus, you can use whatever vegetables you'd like. We're here to inspire tasty pizza everywhere, LOL. I always feel weird giving a recipe for something that's pretty intuitive so don't feel confined by my instructions, okay?

Roasted Veggie Thin Crust Pizza
Olive oil
2 medium eggplants
2 medium-large zucchini
½ cup of cherry tomatoes
tomato sauce
pizza dough*

*We were able to get three pizzas out of our dough but that all depends on how thin you roll out the dough and everything.

Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

Slice the eggplant into 1” rounds. Quarter the zucchini lengthwise and then cut it in thirds or fourths, depending on the size. You don’t want the zucchini to be cut too small because it roasts down quite substantially. Cover the bottom of a baking sheet with olive oil and place the eggplant and zucchini on it. Cover the tops of the veg generously in olive oil. You will most likely need more than one baking sheet or to simply roast the veggies in batches. Roast for approximately 40 mins or until golden and soft. It's probably better if you just keep an eye on them so flip the veggies around every 15 mins or so. Add the tomatoes about halfway through cooking.

While the veggies roast, cut your dough into thirds and roll it out to about a quarter of an inch thick. Spread a thin layer of sauce along the surface of the dough.

When the veg is ready, divide it among the pizza crusts and then cook the pizza for approximately 20 mins but it all depends on the dough you’re using so just keep an eye on it. 

Here are a few words of wisdom a la Parks and Recreation:

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Oat Flour

I'm a cookie kind of gal. Some people like fancy desserts but cookies will do just fine for me thanks. Don't get me wrong I like a fancy dessert every now and then but the humble cookie is what I really enjoy.

These cookies are soft and chewy with great peanut butter flavour. Truth be told, I much prefer peanut butter chocolate chip cookies over regular chocolate chip cookies. Firstly, I love pb and secondly, I don't like eating bites of regular chocolate chip cookies that don't have any chocolate chips. With pb cookies the whole cookie is tasty not just the parts with chocolate chips.

Plus, these cookies are made with oat flour which helps to give that chewier texture. Who doesn't like a chewy cookie, even if it's just slightly chewy? I love to eat peanut butter cookies that are made with heartier flours, how about you?

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Oat Flour
1 cup natural peanut butter
1 cup cane sugar
1 heaping tbsp molasses
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup oat flour (use gluten free oats for gf)
1 tsp baking soda
¼ cup Silk Coffee Creamer (or any non-dairy milk)
1/3 cup chocolate chips or more if you prefer

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat.
Mix the sugar and molasses together in a large bowl until the molasses is well incorporated within the sugar. Next, add the peanut butter and cream the sugar and pb with electric beaters. Add the vanilla and beat a little more. Add the oat flour and mix to combine; it can get a little messy with beaters so if you have a strong arm you might want to abandon them at this point. Add the non-dairy milk of your choice and chocolate chips until just combined.  
Roll the dough into small balls and flatten in the palm of your hand. Place them ½ inch apart on the sheet and bake for 8-10 mins. After a few minutes remove them baking sheet and place on a cookie rack.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Beanball Sandwich with Artichoke Hearts

I love beans and beanballs are even better. This sandwich was so good. You can use homemade tomato sauce or store-bought. For store-bought sauce we love Victoria's All Natural Marinara Sauce, which you can find at Costco.

I heated a few artichoke hearts that I had chopped up and added them to the sandwich. They gave the sandwich a nice savory/brine-y flavour that cut the sweetness of the beanballs and the tomato sauce. 

You could, of course, add lots of toppings to this sandwich to make it pretty deluxe. Sauteed rapini or spinach, romaine leaves, chopped olives, sweet peppers... whatever you like! 

I substituted chickpea flour for the vital wheat gluten that the original recipe calls for, this made for softer beanballs. Using vital wheat gluten is ideal for a more or less true meatball texture but using chickpea flour (or even regular flour for that matter) doesn't affect the flavour by any means. Additionally, if you don't use vital wheat gluten these can easily become gluten-free beanballs!

Beanball Sandwich
Adapted from Veganomicon

1 20 oz can of red kidney beans
2 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2 tbsp ketchup or tomato paste
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
½ cup breadcrumbs or gluten-free breadcrumbs
¼ cup chickpea flour or vital wheat gluten
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 375° and grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

Mash the beans with a potato masher, make sure you break down any whole beans but don’t leave yourself with complete mush, keep some texture. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix through so that everything is incorporated well. Roll the bean mixture into walnut-size balls.

Place the beanballs on the baking sheet and drizzle or spray a little olive oil on top. Bake for 15 mins, they should be lightly browned. Flip them and place them in the oven again for 10 mins. Pour ½ cup of marinara sauce on top of the beanballs and make sure they’re coated. Bake for another 5 mins.

Warm some extra sauce in a saucepan and slice a couple of submarine buns in half. When the beanballs are ready remove them from the oven, spread some sauce on the buns, and add the beanballs plus any toppings.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vegan Carrot Cake Cupcakes - Springtime Special

With it being Spring and everything I decided to make carrot cake cupcakes. Easter Bunny approved ;)

I just love Spring so much, it is truly a wonderful time of year. I also love the pastel colours that are out at this time of year, too. You just can't beat the pretty factor of pastels. That's why it was so fun to decorate these cupcakes! Hooray for Spring!

It's so beautiful and balmy today, it's totally caught me by surprise! I love balmy weather. It's the absolute best, haha. I love saying balmy too. Cheap thrills here. 

These cupcakes are sooo good! They've got a great, subtle sweetness and a light carrot taste. I used an extra fine grater so these don't have an overpowering carrot flavour but you can see little specks of orange which let you know they're carrot. These are also pretty fluffy cupcakes, maybe the extra fine grate on the carrot helps? 

I didn't go with a traditional cream cheese frosting because right now the only cream cheese we have on hand is this nasty Daiya variety. I mean yuck! So, I went with a regular vanilla frosting and added a dash of cinnamon. I've never been a big cream cheese fan anyway.

I really enjoy these cupcakes - their seasonally appropriateness and their delicious flavour!

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Adapted from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World
2/3 cup cane sugar
1/3 cup avocado oil
1/3 cup vanilla
1 cup soy yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup AP flour
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1 cup finely grated carrot
¼ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners and spray liners with cooking spray/oil.
In a mixing bowl, mix together sugar, oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Sift in dry ingredients and combine until smooth. Fold in carrot and walnuts.
Fill the liners two-thirds of the way and bake for 26-28 mins. Let cool and then frost.

Vanilla and Cinnamon Frosting*
¼ cup margarine
1 cup powdered sugar
Splash of original unsweetened almond milk like Silk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp cinnamon

Beat margarine and ½ cup of powdered sugar together (it will be paste-like but don’t worry). Add the remaining sugar, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat with a whisk.
*This doesn't make a lot of frosting so you can easily double it if you’d like.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Vegan Strawberry Coffee Cake

Coffee cake is the perfect afternoon snack and with the holidays fast approaching this might just be the dessert you've been searching for.

Also, it's a great use for those strawberries that are a little less than perfect this time of year! Or just those rotting strawberries in your fridge.

Lately, we've very much been feeling the fruitier desserts rather than just chocolate, chocolate, chocolate. Maybe it has something to do with Spring being upon us and the warmer weather that is approaching, or at least the presence of the sun since we're still below normal temps here. 

Here's a song I like to listen to during Spring.

This is a nice, moist cake, probably due to the substitution of yogurt for almond milk in the original recipe. It gives the cake more of a sponge-y texture that the addition of buttermilk normally yields. In that case this coffee cake is very close to that of a traditional, non-vegan coffee cake. 

Vegan Strawberry Coffee Cake
We used an old family non-vegan recipe and veganized it 


2 cups fresh strawberries, diced
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup water
2 tbsp corn starch
¼ tsp lemon zest

½ tbsp apple cider vinegar (ACV)
½ cup vanilla soy yogurt
1 tbsp ground flaxseeds
3 tbsp hot water
1 ½ cup AP flour
¾ cup natural vegan cane sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ cup chilled non-dairy butter
½ tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat strawberries and sugar over medium heat in a sauté pan with half of the water. Bring to a boil and lower heat, stir occasionally. Make a mixture of the remaining water and the corn starch, make sure corn starch has dissolved. Once the fruit has broken down add the corn starch mixture and stir until the berries have thickened slightly. Remove from heat and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350˚F and take out an 8 x 8 in baking dish. Miraculously you do not need to grease it (I was skeptical too but it is true).

Pour ACV and vanilla yogurt into a liquid measuring cup, stir and let sit until curdled. Mix flaxseed and hot water together, also let sit until thickened. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Cut in the margarine until crumbly. I just used a fork here and it worked well but you could use two butter knives. Add the flax egg and vanilla extract to the yogurt, stir and then add to the dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, the dough will be clumpy.

Spread half of the batter along the bottom of the baking dish. Pour the strawberry mixture on top, followed by the rest of the batter – just dump spoonfuls of it on top of the berries, no need to smooth it out. Place it in the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be golden. Let cool for 30 mins.    
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