Monthly Archives

January 2012

Moody Mondays

January 30, 2012

Today’s Moody Monday theme is ‘eating outdoors’. I am in love with being outside (when it’s nice out. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to snow). Anyways, nothing makes me happier than to spend a free afternoon lounging around on a blanket while eating some grub and hanging out with friends.

Top left: This picture was from  my birthday last year when I had a bunch of friends over to grill n’ chill (arg, isn’t that a Dairy Queen slogan?). I have an amazing porch that is perfect for grilling, eating, and beer pong. I am sooooo excited to be hanging out on this porch and am looking forward to spring!

Top Right: Winter picnic with my boy. My favorite type of picnics are waterfall picnics (I don’t know anyone else who makes subgenres for picnics but I love them so much that we must categorize and theme them). Anyways, I got an awesome thermal set that just had to be christened with a picnic. This waterfall is amazing because it’s beautiful, you can get right up next to it, and it’s so far in the podunks of Indiana that it’s never crowded.

Bottom Left: Lake Monroe is one of my favorite parts about Bloomington. Growing up next to Lake Michigan, I felt alittle landlocked when I moved down here because I couldn’t go to the beach after school. Luckily, Lake Monroe filled any longing I may have had for the water. There is this awesome place that all the college kids hang out at called ‘Flat Rock’ which is super secluded and you never have to worry about being bothered. In this picture we are having a ‘Whiskey Cider’ picnic to keep us all warm!

Bottom Right: Campfires! AHHHHH, I love camping so much! This is me in Acadia National Park in Maine which was one of the best trips I have ever taken. Maine is absolutely gorgeous and I am a little bit in love with it (luckily, I’ve heard about their winters so I’m not going to be running away to there anytime soon).

yup. So these are a few memories/favorite things that I am hoping will carry me through the gloomy Monday. Oh also, sneak peak action- I made homemade pasta with my roommate yesterday and am hoping to post about it later tonight! So so so yummmmy.

PSS Oh and this

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies

January 29, 2012

There are several things that sparked the inspiration for these cookies. Where to begin?

First, I’ve been on the hunt for a cookie jar for months now. Goodwill always has loads of them but they are always disgusting or characterless and I had practically given up on the idea of ever falling in love with one…until the other day. While out “window shopping” (which usually immediately leads to purchasing things) I came across a massive sale at [undisclosed store] (I don’t like to admit that I shop at this store because they can be obscenely expensive and the amount of money that I give to this place is undesirable) I found this gem. Not only was this cookie jar exactly what I had been dreaming about but it was also 3 dollars. This immediately ended my “window shopping” and sparked the consumerism in me.

Since then I’ve named him Velvet and he lives on top of our microwave. He’s an awesome addition to the family but I needed to christen him with a batch of fresh cookies so that all my roommates would have to marvel at  (or at least interact with) him in order to get to the baked goods. But then I came to the dilemma of what kind of cookies should I make?

There were two factors that came into play when deciding to conquer these trailmixers. First, I’ve been doing this yoga class and it’s totally brainwashed (or inspired?) me into trying to be a healthier and more conscious person, which means I’ve been replacing all my refined sugar with agave nectar as much as possible. So I needed a recipe that used agave. Next, I’ve had this terrible yearning for summer…beaches, picnics, grilling, tans, etc. So as soon as I saw Isa’s version of this cookie it immediately reminded me of taking hikes at Griffy lake and living off of trail mix for 4 days straight at Bonnaroo.

And let me tell you, no cookie has ever tasted so much like summer as this one! These guys are loaded with chunks of chocolate, cranberries, and peanuts, melted together with a gooey chocolate center. I cannot wait to replace all my other picnic fare with these guys. And they are semi-healthy too!

 

Vegan Trail Mix Cookies

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 2/3 cups canola oil
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3.4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips (or m&ms)
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts (or any nut you’d like!)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and prepare two baking sheets with wax paper.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the almond milk, flax seeds, oil, agave nectar, and vanilla.  Next slowly add in the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Once everything in well combined, fold in the chocolate chips, peanuts, and cranberries.

Spoon tablespoon size chunks of dough onto the baking sheets (they don’t spread out much so don’t worry about putting them too close together) and bake for 12 to 14 minutes.

Artichoke and Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

January 28, 2012

I’ve had half a bag of red lentils sitting around my kitchen for months now and in an attempt to be resourceful (aka too lazy to go to the store) came across this idea of using them to whip up a quick pasta sauce. I was weary at first because of the texture I thought the sauce might create but it ended up being very creamy and flavorful. The lentils are an excellent source of protein so don’t feel bad about skipping meat for this meal (not that I ever feel bad about skipping meat)!

This recipe takes a half an hour (at the most) so don’t hesitate to whip it up any night of the week. I served this with bread and a small salad but feel free to make some soup or cutlet or whatever floats your boat. It made lots of pasta though so expect yummy leftovers!

Artichoke and Red Lentil Pasta Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons mustard seeds
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup dried red lentils
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 pound of [whole wheat] pasta (I used angel hair but feel free to use whatever you’ve got on hand)
  • 1 small jar of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

In a saucepan (with a lid!), add the mustard seeds over medium heat and let them cook until they begin to pop (make sure there is a lid on it so that they don’t pop all over your kitchen!). Next, add the vegetable broth, lentils, garlic, and onions. Turn the heat down to medium low and let cook, covered, for 20 minutes. Make sure to check and stir it around every couple minutes.

While that is cooking, prepare the pasta according to it’s package directions. Once the pasta has been cooked and drained, mix in the artichoke hearts with it.

Remove the lentil sauce from heat after twenty minutes and use a wooden spool to break the lentils down into a sauce (add more broth if it’s too thick).

Top pasta/artichokes with lentil sauce and season with salt and pepper. Munch down.

Oh and listen to this cute song while making it! (Arg, my girl singer weakness is shining through with this recommendation):

Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

January 26, 2012

I just want to start out by apologizing. I realize that I have talked about bread excessively lately and I can’t help it. I’ve been on a major bread making kick lately…but this one doesnt involve the breadmaker so everyone can be included! Yay!

Anyways, this week has kicked my ass. Between switching to working full days, having classes from 9 to 9 on my days off, my boyfriend’s birthday (which was yesterday and was a success. Cake-recipe-post soon), and tonight I have to go to Indianapolis to support my boyfriend’s band…I have had noooo time for cooking or grocery shopping or sleeping. BUT this blog is not here for me to complain so I love my life and am hoping to do some major catch up with it this weekend. New header is currently in the making and lots of recipes will be made this weekend as well!

Okay.. these oatmeal molasses rolls. I made them expecting a sort of dessert roll (you know. buttery, cinnamon roll-esk) but they were really just savory dinner rolls with the slightest hint of molasses sweet. And damn, they were amazing. Soft, melt in your mouth and full of flavor. I would recommend serving them as a side to a pasta dish or even meat (if you swing that way) or soup. I served them with a yummy bowl of Annie’s Chickenless noodle soup and it was perfect.

Oh also, make these on the weekend or super ahead of time. Since they don’t involve the bread machine, there is a lot of rising time (on two separate occasions) so prep the dough the night before or start in the AM so you can check back on the dough through out the day. I adapted this recipe from Food52 which is a plethora of bread recipes so browse it sometime if you are as dough loving as me. And I promise promise promise they will be worth the extra effort!

Oatmeal Molasses Rolls

  • 1 packet of yeast (or about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 3 Tablespoons molasses
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 egg
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 sticks of butter +2 tablespoons of butter (to brush on top of rolls)

Phase ONE: Dissolve the yeast in a small bowl with the warm water. Set aside so that it can react and bubble and do it’s thing.

Heat the milk in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Once the milk has warmed up slightly, add the butter and stir until it has melted completely. Remove from heat and add in the brown sugar, oats, molasses, and salt. Stir until well combined then set aside to cool to luke warm temperatures.

Add the eggs to a large mixing bowl. Once cooled, add the milk mixture and the yeast mixture. Slowly add the flour until it creates a large ball and all the ingredients stick together. If it’s too sticky then add a tiny bit more flour. Place the dough in a greased bowl and roll it around until the ball is greased on all side. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours.

Wait. wait. Go play with kitty. Take your puppy for a walk. wait. read some of your favorite blogs. wait.

Phase TWO: Divide the dough into 12 balls and place in a greased, 9 inch pan. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter and coat the tops of the buns with it. Sprinkle with some extra rolled outs and then cover with a towel. Let rise (again, I know. I know.) for another two hours in a warm place.

Wait more. Read a book. Watch some Anthony Bourdain. wait more.

 Phase THREE: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.

Serve warm with butter and honey.

Moody Mondays

January 23, 2012

So I came up with this idea from Much Love Monday where she posts pictures of hearts to keep moral up on gloomy Mondays. I am going to try to post a picture every monday of something that keeps me happy so that I can stay positive through the week.

Yup.

1. Playing with my food. I love that adding neon food coloring to everyday foods make it extra fun and extroadinary

2. My vintage vinyl player creates the best “crackle” to complement my more abstract 7″

3. My brat of a cat, Sophia Marvelous. She’s cute and snobby and I love her.

4. Fresh produce from our garden! It’s not the season for it right now but having my massive garden to look forward to this summer is what is keeping me through this winter.

 

Yup. That’s all for now.

Breadmaker Jalpepeno Cheddar Bread

January 23, 2012

As a follow up to my Sandwich Sass post, here is the bread I used to for the veggie stackers and the bohemian BLT. I’m sure if you don’t own a bread maker than my constant bread posts are getting irritating but there is just nothing better than a warm loaf of bread to dip into sauces, wedge veggies between, and enjoy with your favorite jam lathered all over it. I swear, you need to jump on this bandwagon!

Anyways, I am done defending myself and it’s time to get back to the point of this post. So this weekend we had an ice storm that basically had us locked in our house for the past two days. A positive to this is that I live with four friends so what do I need to even leave the house for? The negative to this was that we had a party last weekend and were lacking in alcohol (we made due with brass monkeys). the end, I spent alot of the weekend cooking, playing America trivia drinking games, and watching samurai movies. Overall, great way to escape from the ice and cold (if I do say so myself).

And to end the weekend I made this wonderful bread (AGAIN!) so that I can make some part 2 lunch sandwiches during the week. This is also an attempt to destress myself since I start my new position at the record label tomorrow (get my own desk and all!). Anyways, I’ve never had a “9-5″ job before (hey, I am only 22 and still in college) so this will hopefully make some lunch breaks less stressful by having the sandwiches already prepped.

Okay, too much talking and blabbing about my life in this post. Apologies. Please try this bread if you have a breadmaker. It’s super soft and the hint of spice from the jalapeno gives your sandwiches the perfect extra kick. And it has cheddar in it. Everyone knows that anything with cheese baked into it is going to be amazing. Come on, you know I am right.

Jalepeno Cheddar Bread

  • 1/4 cup jalapenos, chopped and from a jar (reserve the brine)
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 cup of reserved brine juice
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 1 packet of yeast (or 1 1/2 teaspoons)

Add into bread machine in the order listed. Press ‘Regular’ or ‘White’ mode and start.

Go off and play with your kitty, watch some Anthony Bourdain, or tend to your cactus collection for a few hours. When returning to your kitchen, there should be soft and warm homemade bread waiting for you to gobble up!

Oh and if you are looking for ideas to use the bread with, I suggest loading it up with every possible veggie you can find in your kitchen and topping it with some tangy honey mustard!


Sandwich Sass

January 20, 2012


I’ve been on a sandwich kick this week. It sparked last weekend when we ate lunch at our favorite sandwich spot in Bloomington and had a long talk about how amazing sandwiches are because of their versatility and fresh flavors. This conversation caused an immediate chain reaction to run out to the local co-op for sandwich goodies on the way home (sandwich goodies= fresh veggies, supplies for homemade bread, vegan fakin’ bakin, and sandwich sauce). We then proceeded to make some homemade jalapeno bread (recipe coming soon!) and created sandwich masterpieces for the rest of the week!

Here were my four favorites:

Veggie Stacker (top left): Lettuce, tomato, onion, green pepper, avocado, swiss, salt, pepper, dried basil, dried oregano, crushed garlic, roasted red pepper aoili on homemade jalapeno bread

Rich Girl’s PB&J (top right): Organic honey roasted almond butter, All Natural Strawberry Rhubarb jam on sprout bread

The Elegant Egg (Bottom left): Scrambled egg, pesto, swiss, salt, pepper on a homemade biscuit

Bohemian BLT (Bottom right): Lettuce, tomato, veganaise, Tempeh Bacon on homemade jalapeno bread

Glad to share my sandwich lust with you and hope to have some real recipes back up this weekend!

Simple Butter Sage Sauce

January 19, 2012

Sorry for my site being down all day but I hope it gave you a chance to check out what this new “policy” could mean for the internet and how it could affect us bloggers personally. If you missed it, here is a link to learn more about the SOPA Strike.

On a happier note, there are lots of changes going on around the site these days! New layout, color schemes, and picture links. I’ve only started to scratch the surface with what I’d like to accomplish so here are some future goals for the site:

  • updated header
  • new background
  • picture category links
  • a ‘links’ page
  • and many many more aesthetically pleasing tweaks!

I must say, I started this…renovation (if you will) at a bad time for school is back in session (last semester ever, wooohooo!) and I just got promoted at label (also WOOOHOO) so I am becoming busy busy busy again but I am hoping this will be a great creative outlet to come home to in the evenings.

As for food, I have something very very simple for you today! It’s just a quick three ingredient sauce that can be lathered on anything (and everything). I have the sauce pictures (below) with some butternut squash ravioli but feel free to pair this guy with vegetables or any pasta or whatever you can get your hands on. The earthy flavor of the sage really complements sweet well so I’d recommend pairing it with some sort of winter squash or sweet potatoes (although what does my word mean? Go experiment!)

Simple Buttered Sage Sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • half of a lemon, squeezed

Add butter to a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir continuously until all the butter has melted and has turned slightly brown. Once browned, remove from heat and immediatel add the sage leaves. Wait for the temperature to cool (or else the acidity of the lemon will make the butter sizzle and you could burn yourself! My boyfriend discovered this first hand…no good, you dufus!). Then add the lemon juice and turn the mixture until everything is well combined.

Pour over everything. Then eat everything you’ve lathered it with.

Perfect. Amazing, Beautiful. Am I right?

Homemade Beer Bread

January 16, 2012


Let me start off by warning you that I am currently enrolled in a photoshop class so I have been obsessed with photo editing lately and trying out new tricks. Also, I love everything vintage so this whole concept of making my food pictures vintage is blowing my mind and will probably be run into the ground. I guess what I am trying to say is be patient with me if you find all these “side note” photos obviously. Oh, and I am also saying that you should get excited because I am planning and am in the process of a major blog make over so stay tuned for lots of fun add ons! Oooooooh yeahh!

So, as I’ve mentioned loads of times before, we are obsessed with making homemade bread. I understand that women are suppose to crave chocolate but nah, give me a loaf of fresh and steaming bread instead! Hah, yeah. Anyways, so sometimes we crave bread but don’t feel like playing the 2 hour waiting game for it to rise and what not so that’s when we turn to our beer bread recipe. It’s seriously the simplest bread recipe to ever exist and no need for yeast or “resting time” or any of that jazz. Just let the beer do it’s natural yeast-fermenting-thing and pop it straight into the oven!


We like to use our beer bread for a nutritious and exotic dinner consisting of grilled cheese and tomato soup. Our favorite version beer bread + mustard + grilled onions + cheddar +swiss. Oh damn. But of course, you can sandwich this bread with loads of healthy toppings too like sprouts, lettuce, carrots, veganaise, cucumber, hummus, etc etc etc…I think you get the point.

Oh and one last point. You should use cheap beer. The flavor of the beer honestly does not affect the final project so use that crappy beer you’ve been avoiding in your fridge for months now.


Homemade Beer Bread

  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz bottle of beer
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted

Grease a bread pan and preheat oven for 375 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Then make a well in the center of the bowl and pour the beer in the middle. Fold the dry ingredients into the beer until well incorporated.

Put the batter in the greased bread tin and top with melted butter.

Cook for 40 minutes (or until a tooth pick comes out clear).

Let cool for 10 minutes and then make whatever you’ve like out of it! Or just top with butter and serve warm. Mmmmmmm

PS

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Samosa Patties

January 14, 2012

Here in Bloomington, we have an entire street dedicated to ethnic restaurants. It’s really an amazing experience…it’s like walking into another country and it’s just down the street. They’ve got Thai, Indian, Turkish, Mediterranean, and so much more. I had never even had good Indian food before I moved to this town four years ago but this street has certainly allowed me to make up for lost time. My boyfriend use to work at one of the Indian places so he can make a mean curry and I myself have become pretty addicted to this cuisine.

We’ve gone through phases of making curries every weekend and homemade naan and homemade hummus. However, we’ve never managed to master samosas which is suuuuch a shame because they are so dayuuum good. It’s just such a tedious process that it’s fun for a special occasion but not something you’d wanna whip up every weekend. Anyways, so I came across this recipe in my Vegan Brunch cookbook and this solved all of our samosa problems.

These patties literally taste like the inside of a samosa and are half the hassle of making real ones. These are great to serve as a side with some curry or eat as a main with some sweet sauce. They are chocked full of veggies and spices that will fill you’re palette with amazing Indian aromas.

Samosa Patties

  • 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 1/8 cup canola oil + 2 Tablespoons
  • dash of turmeric
  • dash of salt
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup carrots, grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • extra oil for pan frying

First, add the potatoes to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until you can stick a fork through the cubes and they are soft. Drain and return to pot. Mash well and add the 1/8 cup canola oil, turmeric, and dash of salt.

Preheat a large skillet (with a lid) over medium heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of canola oil and the mustard seeds. Cover with the lid and let the seeds pop for about a minute. Once the popping has settled, add the carrots and onions. Saute for about ten minutes and then add the garlic, ginger, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Cook for another few minutes and add water if it’s dry.

Back to the potatoes, add the onions, peas, and veggie mixture. Lastly, add in the flour and season with salt.

Now for the disappointing part (the waiting game- one of the worst games ever). You’ve gotta let the mixture cool completely or else it will fall apart. So I reccommend sticking it in the freezer for 20 minutes but feel free to pop it in the fridge for hours (if you prepare it in advance).

Once cooled, take chunks of the batter, roll them into golf ball size balls, and then flatten slightly. Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and saute the patties on each side for three minutes or until they have browned. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve warm and with other yummy Indian dishes.

Oh and these are my roommates trying to tell me what they have in their hands is much more interesting than taking photos of my pancakes.

Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

January 13, 2012

So it’s my roommate’s birthday tomorrow and she’s had this big party planned for weeks. My other roommate and I had this big cookie cake planned to make her until she informed us Monday that she has a chocolate cake picked out that she wants made (she’s a bit of an over planner, if you can’t tell) and since it’s her birthday we have to make what she wants. Soooo we decided to make her this cookie one yesterday as a sort of pre-game to tomorrow (a little overboard of us, I know) but either way we wanted it and her birthday sounded like the perfect excuse to make it.


Giant Chocolate Cookie Cake

For the Cookie:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda

For the Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 2 cups confectioner sugar
  • 1 8 oz cream cheese package, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two pie dishes with wax paper.

Beat the butter and sugar together. Then add the eggs and vanilla. Next, blend in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Mix until well combined.

Divide the dough into two and press into prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before assembling.

To prepare the frosting, beat the butter and confectioners sugar until well incorporated. Next, add the cream cheese and melted chocolate chips. Mix until it becomes a light, fluffy texture.

Spread half the frosting on top of one of the cookies and then top with the other cookie. Spread the rest of the frosting on top and decorate with sprinkles/m&ms/butterscotch chips/chocolate chips/swedish fish/skittles/anything colorful you can find in your kitchen.


But be careful because you could even devour half of it before giving it to the birthday girl!



Ella Baby lovin’ her cookie

Squash Casserole with Blue Cheese, Sage, and Tomatoes

January 13, 2012

Sadly, this week was my first week back to school which means lots of less cooking and less time to devote to fun things like my blog. Oh well, it was bound to happen eventually, right? and it’s my last semester EVER of school so I need to enjoy it (which I think I will with my Rock and Roll history and Photoshop classes). Anyways, I good thing about this is that some of my friends that went home or to visit family over the holidays are finally back (AKA Kelsey) so back to having girl friends and not having to glop onto Wyatt’s guy friends.

 

Kelsey and I decided to have a cooking night earlier this week and this delicious casserole was the outcome of it. I’ve recently read a lot of recipes where vegans (and health nuts) will substitute cheese for pureed butternut squash to make a mac n cheese like pasta dish. Going into this recipe, that was kind of what I had in mind but once we started making this  I realized it wasn’t trying to be like that at all. It’s just a casserole with a bunch of really yummy ingredients incorporated into it. The butternut squash made the “sauce” part pretty thick but not in a discouraging way, just in the “don’t have to eat much” filling sort of way. We served this with garlic toast but feel free to make a salad as a side if you’ve got fresh veggies on hand!


Squash Casserole with Blue Cheese, Sage, and Tomatoes

 

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups whole milk
  • 2 pounds butternut squash, peeled and chopped into cubes
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 cups dried pasta
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 oz blue cheese, crumbled

 

First, we must prep the butternut squash. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Put cubes on a oiled baking dish and took for 20 minutes or until they are soft and can be pierced with a fork. Then remove them from oven and puree in a food processor or blender until smooth (If using a blender you may have to add alittle milk to get the blending process to begin).

Next, bring a large saucepan filled with salted water to a boil. Cook dried pasta according to directions on package. Drain, put pasta back in the large sauce, and set aside until ready to use.

Bring oven temperature down to 375 degrees and oil a casserole dish.

In another  large pot, heat butter over medium heat.  Once melted, add the onions and saute until they turn translucent and soft. Next, add the garlic, sage, and red pepper flakes and cook (WHILE STIRRING) for another few minutes (AKA let the garlic smell up your kitchen with it’s yummy aroma!)

Stir in the flour and let cook for another three minutes. Slowly stir in the milk 1/4 cup at a time. FInally, whisk in the squash puree and stir until smooth. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

Add the squash mixture to the pasta. Then fold in the tomatoes and cheese until everything is incorporated. Transfer to a casserole dish and cook for ten minutes.

Serve warm and enjoy with friends (its a big casserole! Why not?)

 

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

January 9, 2012

Wyatt and I usually devote Saturday afternoons to thrifting. We do this because 1) we love wearing vintage clothing 2)we are big consumers but poor college students so thrifting is a fun way to save money 3)we have an etsy store for all the clothes we find that are too amazing to not buy but just don’t fit us (CactusCaravan).

We decided to try out a new Flea Market in the neighboring town on Saturday and came out empty handed. I fell in love with a huge vintage vinyl player cabinet (it had pointy legs and huge 50s speakers) but was sadly already sold and Wyatt found a great deal on a VHS player (why he collects VHS tapes, I have no idea) but that too was sold.

Needless to say, after a long day of sorting through gems, junk, and crap we were in need of some serious grub. I made these muffins to dip into my Black Bean Chili and they were fantastic! I usually stick to my traditional vegan cornbread recipe that I’ve used for years but I was cravin’ some cheddar so I decided to stray and play around with this recipe. The straying was well worth it and I was not only pleased at the way they tasted but they were also really damn cute!

Anyways, I’d recommend cutting down on how many jalapeno’s you use if you don’t like things spicy (I only topped half the peppers with the pepper garnish because I’m a wimp).

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread Muffins

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of pepper
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk but you can use regular)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar (plus more for topping the muffins)
  • 3 jalapenos, 2 diced and one sliced for garnish

Grease a 12 muffin tin with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (flour, corn meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and pepper). In another bowl, stir together all wet ingredients (sour cream, oil, milk, and egg). Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and slowly pour in the wet ones. Fold the dry mixture into the wet with a spatula until well incorporated (don’t over mix! Just get it moist). Fold in the cheddar cheese and diced peppers.

Cook for 2o minutes. When five minutes are left, top them with more cheddar and the sliced peppers and put back into the oven for the remaining five minutes.

Let cool and serve with yummy, warm chili. Probably while snuggling under a blanket with your favorite person and a board game.


And lastly, unrelated to anything in this post, I am soooooo excited to start a new science project tonight!

Black Bean Chili

January 8, 2012

Whoever said that chili without meat isn’t chili lied to you. The black beans in this recipe make it so filling and the spices make it so flavorful that you might be able to convert a carnivore with this recipe. Well…maybe. Probably not but it’s worth a try, right?

This has been my “go to” chili recipe for years. My former friend (now current roommate) and I originally tackled this guy (guy=recipe) when we were sophomores in college and just getting use to finding our way around the kitchen. This means that it’s a recipe for even the newer cooks. We have made this recipe dozens of times and have been tweaking it to our liking since, so for the experienced cookers, feel free to add/remove and tweak whatever you’d like for this recipe!

Black Bean Chili

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups onions, chopped
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder (use red pepper flakes if you like a kick- I’m a wuss)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3- 15 oz. cans black beans, drained (but liquid reserved)
  • 1 14.5 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup liquid reserve from black beans
  • 8 oz. jar salsa
  • 1 can corn

Garnish options:

  • sour cream
  • cheddar cheese
  • cilantro
  • avocado

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.

Saute onions, peppers, and garlic for first ten minutes. Next, mix in chili powder, cumin, oregano, cayenne, beans, reserved liquid, tomatoes, salsa, and corn.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.

Top with loads of cheese, avocados, cilantro, and anything else scrumptious. Also, serve with cornbread (which I made but we’ll have to save that for a future post!) Soooo simple right? Piece. of. cake. Well…chili cake? Yeah, I’m done.

Homemade Pierogies

January 6, 2012

My family is German…both sets of my Grandparents are German and their parent’s are German and so on. But for some reason, my mother and I make this Polish tradition every year. I’m not sure how it started but homemade, fresh pierogies are so amazing that we make sure to take time to whip these up during the holidays. I’m a student who has two jobs so I can’t say that I get home very much but when I go, I do make sure to make time for these guys.

We’ve tackled this recipe for so many years that we are able to whip several dozen of these out in less than two hours but you should plan on spending a few hours on this recipe (or do half the recipe and only make a few dozen which should just take over an hour). We always make the 4 dozen and freeze most of them for a later date.

Every August, a nearby town hosts ‘Pierogi Fest’ which is exactly what it sounds: a weekend long food festival dedicated to these tasty dumplings. They have dumplings filled with cheese, sauerkraut, veggies, blueberries, raspberries, and so on. Basically, it’s amazing. And is probably what originally inspired us so many years ago to start making these things.

I suggest you saute them in some olive oil with some onions and peppers. Or in butter with Swiss cheese and shallots. So the next time you have a relaxing, rainy (or snowy) Saturday, take the afternoon to make these with a friend or your Ma or your boyfriend. Whip up some mimosas, turn that vinyl player on, and enjoy the cooking process.

Homemade Pierogies

Dough:

  • 6 cups flour
  • 2 Tablespoons salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 2 eggs

Filling:

  • 8 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced

Start by preparing the filling. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and peel and chop the potatoes into 1 inch chunks. Boil the potatoes until they are soft and a fork can easily pierce them. Drain and then mash the potatoes with a masher or hand mixer until smooth. Then fold in the cheddar and garlic until they are well incorporated. Set aside to cool while you prepare the dough.


Now it’s time to prep the dough! Doing it in two batches,  add all dough ingredients into a food processor and pulse until well combined.

If the dough is super sticky, add a bit more flour and if it’s too crumbly, add more milk.

Next, you are going to roll the dough on a floured surface. We take chunks of the dough (just like my Ma is doing in the picture below) and roll it in parts but feel free to do whatever works best for you. Also, you can definetely use a rolling pin to roll out the dough but we’ve discovered the amazing cooking secrets of the pasta maker. If you do use a pasta maker, I recommend keeping it on the 7 setting and just running it through two times to achieve a smooth texture.

Resist the cute begging dog (with the ridiculous joker collar. Poor guy- what are my parent’s thinking?)

Next, place the dough on a pierogi mold which looks like this:

Fill the pierogies with a tablespoon each of the filling and then place another thin layer of dough on top of the filling and roll a rolling pin over to seal the dumplings.



Repeat with the rest of the filling/dough. Should make around 4 dozen pierogies. Bring a large pot to a boil with salted water. Drop the dumpling in the water for about 3 minutes or until they are floating in the water.

Enjoyed boiled or saute them in butter with onions and bell peppers. Feel free to freeze a couple dozen of them for later use. And don’t forget to share with that begging puppy.

Veggie and Tofu Pot Pie

January 4, 2012

Well, after enjoying 40 and 50 degree weather for all of November and December, the winter is finally here and we are officially in the jittery January months with 20′s and below temperatures. This means the excitment of wearing layers of sweaters and scarves has worn off and my day dreams are wondering to Florida beaches and porch nights. The only thing I am still excited for this winter is cooking winter things…you know, stews, chili, warm biscuits. And the time as finally come for me to stop denying that it is winter and start cooking.

So I started off my acceptance of January by whipping up some tofu pot pies. I made it a personal goal to make pot pies after eating Bloomingfood’s tofu pot pies at the farmers market over the summer. I also waited five months to actually make them because I had hoped to have stolen the Bloomingfood’s recipe by now but it seems that they keep those recipes on lock down and I am too much of a wimp to go snooping. Anyways, I decided it was time to make my own recipe and stop day dreaming about theirs. And it was honestly just as good (if not better- if you ask me!).

Anyways, so about the recipe: feel free to substitute whatever veggies you have on hand (because that is what I obviously did! I mixed canned, fresh, and frozen so do whatever you’re feeling). Also, I made the filling in the morning and stuck it in the fridge (because I’ve been working at the record label in the afternoons) so that when I got home for work all i had to do was whip up the crust and pop them in the oven. Yeah, the point of me telling you this is to let you know that you can make the filling ahead of time. Yup. Oh, and I made 6 mini pies with this recipe and froze 3 of them (but feel free to make pie size pot pies- I’d just recommend cutting the crust down).

 

Veggie and Tofu Pot Pie

Filling:

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large potato, cubed
  • 1 carrot, cubed
  • 1 can peas
  • 1 can corn
  • 1 small can of mushrooms
  • 1 package tofu, drained and cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth

Crust:

  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/3 cup shorting
  • 1 cup water

For the Filling:

Warm the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and saute until they become translucent (and start to have that amazing aroma smell. you know what I’m talking about!). Next, add the vegetable broth and cubed potato and cook for five minute. Finally, add everything else that is in the filling and cook, covered, for 30 minutes. Make sure to check it after 20 minutes and if it seems dry then add a bit more water. After 30 minutes, remove from heat, take out the bay leaves, and set aside while you prepare the yummy crust!

For the crust:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the flour, salt, and shortening in a mixing bowl with your hands or a pastry blender (I obviously used my hands because I’m a college student and things like ‘pastry blenders’ don’t exist to me yet). Next, add the water in parts to achieve the right dough consistency.

Divide the dough into six parts (if you’re making miniature pies- otherwise divide it in half). Using a rolling pin, roll the dough ball until they are long enough to fit into your pie pan. Layer the pie dough, filling, and then top with another layer of dough. Press the edges with a fork and cut a few slits in the top dough so that the filling can breath (yes, it needs oxygen too!) while cooking. Repeat with the rest of your dough and filling.

Cook for 20 to 3o minutes or until the tops have browned.

Serve warm while staying cozy and warm under a blanket with your kitty.

Vegan Chocolate Surprise Cookies

January 2, 2012

Since yesterday was National Hungover Day (because who doesn’t drink on New Year’s Eve REGARDLESS of what commitments you have made for the following day), Abby (my wonderful, goofy, and hung over roommate) and I decided to spend the whole day baking. We had this vision of creating a cookie buffet (for no particular reason) that ended up consisting of sugar cookies, fruity pebble rice crispy treats, five layer bars, and these little guys. Although we baked dozens of cookies, these were the winners.

We decided to make these because we both have a fear of fillings. The idea of making a filling for a cookie, donuts, or pies just SOUNDS intimidating and after several minutes of discussing visions of turkey basters and jelly injecting,  we came to the conclusion that the cookie buffet would not be complete without filling. And luckily, these cookies did not demand either of those things.

The filling was actually really easy to tackle and it did not take much longer than a normal cookie would. The cookies were adapted from Isa Moskowitz’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar and I want to let you know that we used half sunflower seed butter and half peanut butter for the filling section but feel free to use all peanut butter if that is what you have on hand.

Chocolate Surprise Cookies

For the cookie:

  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons Almond milk (or soy milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the filling:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seed butter (or more peanut butter)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons almond milk (start with 2 and add another if mixture is too dry)
  • dash of vanilla extract

Mix the oil, sugar, maple syrup, milk, and vanilla extract in large mixing bowl until it forms a smooth, caramel paste. Next, add in the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt and mix until it forms a thick, moist dough. Set aside.

In another bowl, use a hand mixer to cream the peanut butter, sunflower seed butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract. The dough should be thick enough for you to form but still a little gooey so it has a yummy texture!

Now, preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease two baking sheets (or line them with parchment paper). Prepare the inside filling by forming 20 small balls using the palms of your hands. Place them on a small sheet of wax paper.

Now go back to the outer cookie dough and take heaping tablespoons of it at a time. Form a ball by using the palm of your hand and then flatten. Place the peanut butter filling in the center and fold the chocolate dough around it. Roll in your palm a bit more to reform the ball and place on the cookie sheet. Repeat with the other 19 balls and put them about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheet because they will expand.

Cook for 10 to 12 minutes (depending on how big you ended up making them). Let cool for at least five minutes so they will harden up and the cookie will have a crunchy shell with a soft, gooey center.

Munch down and share with all your grateful, hungover friends/roommates/boyfriends/pets (but hopefully your pets are not hung over!)