Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chewy Chickpea Blondies

How do you feel about beans in your brownies? Or blondies? I feel pretty good about the latter. This blondie recipe is the reason why.

Aaaand the only reason I feel pretty good about beans in my blondies and not my brownies is that I haven't tried the right recipe yet, but I know it exists!

Chewy and dense like a decadent treat. Except it's not! Are they healthy? Not exactly, but these babies are sure a heck of a lot better than most dessert options. If not for the fact that they've got so much more protein than the average vegan baked good.

Sure, go ahead, call them healthy!

You can use any nut butter you'd like in these blondies but something like almond butter seems a little more "neutral" to me, flavour wise. If you were to use peanut butter it might become all about the PB, if you know what I mean? I wouldn't be able to just call these Chickpea Blondies, they'd have to be called Peanut Butter Chickpea Blondies because the PB flavour would be so obvious.

So, have you found your go-to bean brownie or blondie recipe? What's your verdict on beans in dessert? Do you find peanut butter works well in a recipe like this without being overpowering?

Chewy Chickpea Blondies
adapted from Ambitious Kitchen
1 can of chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed well and drained
½ cup nut butter, like almond
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8x8 inch glass dish. 

Add all of the ingredients, minus the chocolate chips, to a food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and add the chocolate chips. You’ll need to use your muscles to evenly distribute the chips throughout the batter.

Dump the batter into the baking dish and smooth out the top. It’ll pretty much look the same before and after baking so just try and get the top as smooth as possible; that’s only if you like a smooth top to your blondies.

Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out more or less clean. It may not appear to be done but you don’t want to dry out your blondies either. Place the dish on a cookie rack and let cool for 20 minutes. It’ll continue to cook a little in case you’re worried they don’t look done.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Rigatoni, Vegan Sausage, and Broccoli Rabe Bake

Give me pasta any day and I'll be a happy lady! This is a colourful and hearty dish and it's sure to please anyone to which you serve it. Veggies, sausage, and cheese. What could be better?

I'm not a huge fan of Tofurky sausages so I probably would've enjoyed this dish more had we made our own sausage but sometimes life doesn't grant you the luxury of making homemade vegan sausage. C'est la vie! 

But, without making your own sausage this dish is fairly quick to prepare and the payoff is substantial! Full stomachs all around the table! (whoa, why does stomach look like such a weird word right now?)


Rigatoni, Vegan Sausage, and Broccoli Rabe Bake

1 large bunch of broccoli, chopped and using the upper half of each stalk
1 package of rigatoni
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 large can of diced tomatoes
3 tbsp tomato paste
½ tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 package of Daiya Mozzarella shreds
2 -3 vegan sausages, like Tofurky Italian Sausage, cut in half lengthwise and then into bite-sized pieces

Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch casserole dish with olive oil.

Boil a large pot of water. Add the broccoli rabe and blanch for 1 minute. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon. Rinse in cold water. Add the pasta to the pot and cook according to the package. When it’s done drain and return to the pot.

Add the sausage to a pan over medium heat. Toss them around until heated through.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Add the olive oil to a pan and heat over medium heat. When the oil is heated add the onion and pepper, cook until tender. Add the can of tomatoes and break up the tomatoes further with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and make sure it is completely dissolved. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the sausage and veggie sauce to the pot with the pasta. Add in 3/4 of the bag of Daiya cheese shreds. Mix it about so that everything is evenly distributed. Place it in the casserole dish and then in the oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese and bake for another 5 minutes or until the cheese on top is melted.

Let sit for a bit before serving.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Oatmeal Berry Smoothie with Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water Ice Cubes

I would like to start this post by asking a question. Why are glass straws so gosh darn expensive? I mean can you help a sister out and bring down the price tag a few notches?

I know when you think of the benefit to the environment ten bucks for one straw is really an insignificant price to pay. Plus, it's basically a one time investment deal. But on the flipside, in order to incentivize people to make environmentally-wise choices I think a drop in price would be beneficial for all, planet and wallets. 

Okay, I'm done with the glass straw talk.

Now, let's talk about coconut water.

Have you tried coconut water? We all know Rihanna has. I tried some variety once at Costco, very glamorous. But have you tried Cocozia coconut water? I hadn't until they contacted us. It's pretty good, very refreshing. We got a 12-pack of the on-the-go type containers. Very handy for those busy working folk. Each container comes with a straw, but not a glass straw ;)

It's readily available on Amazon, which is really helpful. No scrounging the shelves of your local health food store.

To be honest I'm not the biggest fan of coconut water, in general. The flavour is just something I can't quite get into. I know there are great benefits to it so, I find other ways to incorporate it into my daily life. My preferred way to enjoy coconut water is to freeze it into ice cubes and then use them in a smoothie. I find that it rounds out the flavour of any smoothie. It's hard to explain but it adds this great icy yet creamy texture to smoothies. I just love it! 

I just noticed on the website that Cocozia has chocolate coconut water!! Oooh and a pineapple one. Those sound intriguing! 

I like thick smoothies. None of this thin, juice-like stuff for me thanks. I want some substance! The addition of oats is essential in making a nice thick smoothie. They add protein and fibre too so, what's not to love?

You may be wondering, do you really drink your smoothies with that narrow little straw? And the answer is yes, yes I do. I like the challenge. The challenge of trying not to slurp down my smoothie in 0.005 seconds.

Oatmeal Blueberry Smoothie
1 to 1 ½ cup(s) non-dairy milk + more if needed, I used Silk Original Soy Milk
2 tbsp oats (certified gf for those gluten-free)
1 tsp chia seeds
1 tsp hemp hearts
2-3 Cocozia 100% Organic Coconut Water ice cubes 
1 scoop vanilla vegan protein powder
1-2 tsp nut butter, I used peanut butter
¾ cup frozen fruit, I used a mix of strawberries and blueberries with a piece of frozen watermelon
½ banana, frozen

Add your non-dairy milk to your blender followed by the oats, chia seeds, and hemp hearts. Let those sit in the milk to soften for 5-7 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

Sidenote: We recently got a Ninja Duo Blender with Auto IQ and although it sounds like a rocket launching, it's been serving us well. It's a heck of a lot cheaper than the almightly Vitamix but blends pretty darn well (the chia seeds were completely blended away). I'll say it's quite a step-up from the Magic Bullet!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Vegan Thai Tofu Noodle Soup

There is something magical about noodles and tofu together. Thai dishes are where I get my fix when I'm looking for some tofu-noodle love. Sometimes I find pad thai too heavy and starchy so this soup is the perfect alternative. The fresh, crunchy snow peas, carrots and pepper in a coconut milk broth finished off with a squirt of lime make my heart and belly happy. You can put in more or less noodles to your taste. I put in a lot... like the whole package because I just felt like it. This soup comes together so quickly so it makes for the perfect weeknight dinner but it's delicious enough to serve at anytime. 

Thai Tofu Noodle Soup

block of tofu, cut into triangles
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 sweet onion, roughly chopped 
1 cup carrots, chopped into bite sized pieces 
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup snow peas 
4 tbsp red curry paste (we used Thai Kitchen brand) 
1 can coconut milk 
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth 
thin brown rice noodles
1 tbsp red pepper flakes 
squeeze of half a lime

In a non-stick frying pan, fry tofu triangles until golden on both sides. Approximately 5 minutes per side will do the trick. Once done, set aside.

Pour 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large pot, then sauté yellow onion until golden. Add carrots, red bell pepper, and snow peas. Stir 4 tbsp of red curry paste and let it cook with the vegetables for a minute. Pour in coconut milk, vegetable broth and bring to boil. 

Once boiling, add noodles and turn down to a simmer. Let the noodles cook in the soup until softened, usually about 4-6 minutes. 

Garnish with red pepper flakes and fresh lime juice and serve hot!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Vegan Apple Butter Spice Cake


That's seriously all I can say about this cake because it is so incredible I'm speechless. 

Okay, okay maybe I can expand a little more.

First off, this is quite possibly the best thing we've ever baked. Possibly! So, you must bake this cake, too.

If it's too seasonally inappropriate for you, stash this recipe in your back pocket because, trust me, you NEED to bake this. 

Let me give you the low-down on what makes this so good.

I'll start with the texture. It's unlike any I've experienced before in a cake. It's soooo soft and moist yet doesn't at all taste dense, heavy, or wet. 

Next, flavour! This cake is sooo flavourful; it has the perfect mix of spices. This is a warm and comforting cake and I think that's thanks to the spices.

Finally, the glaze just puts this cake over the top! It adds a little sweet crust that compliments the overall softness of the cake.

This cake is a dream. MMmmm!

Vegan Apple Butter Spice Cake
 adapted from At the Immigrant's Table

2 cups AP flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ground cloves
½ cup cane sugar
¼ brown sugar
½ cup vegan margarine, room temperature
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp water
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup apple butter
½ cup vegan yogurt

For the glaze:
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp unsweetened original almond milk, like Silk

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a loaf pan.

In a medium bowl mix together the flour through to the spices.

With an electric mixer cream together the margarine and sugar in a large bowl.

In a small bowl mix together water and vinegar then add the baking powder. Stir until the mixture froths and is well-mixed. Add the baking powder-water mix to the large bowl with the margarine and sugar then add in the apple butter. Stir to combine.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet alternating with the yogurt. Make sure to end with the dry ingredients. Fold the ingredients together but don’t over mix.

Transfer the batter to the greased loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes (long but worth it). Once you remove the cake from the oven allow it to sit for 5-7 minutes before removing it from the pan and placing on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the milk until you have a nice viscous mixture. Pour over the cake while it is still warm. To avoid a mess, place the cake on a plate before glazing.

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