Entries Tagged as 'Breakfast'

Baked Vegan Maple Bacon Donuts

Posted on: March 10, 2014

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I’d like to think I live in a pretty progressive town for it being smack-dab in the middle of cornfields (also known as the ‘meat-and-potato region’). Bloomington, Indiana is home to around only 40,000 people (80,000 if you count the students from the university) yet we have 4 co-op grocery stores, an entire street dedicated to ethnic restaruants, a vegan diner, numerous international grocery spots, a bike trail that runs the length of the city, and bakery dedicated to only serving vegan goodies.

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I bring this up because our local vegan bakery specialized in baked (or cake? I’d like to think they are the same thing but my boyfriend said this is 100% false) donuts. Theres always an array ranging from traditional toffee to more unique lavender-lemon. My usual go-to (after the huge cinnamon rolls and buckeyes) is always their maple bacon donut. They are wonderfully sweet with a hint of smoke from the coconut bacon.

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Honey Roasted Citrus & Thyme Popsicles

Posted on: February 23, 2014

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As mentioned in my previous post, we’ve been in Florida for the last week as an attempt to relieve ourselves from the negative temperatures that the Midwest can’t seem to shake. The week has been filled with lazy mornings at the beach, afternoons by the pool, and early evenings were spent exploring the Everglades.

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More on our adventures later this week after I finish editing all the photos I managed to snap. As for now, I tried to spend the whole week relaxing but couldn’t resist the urge to document these popsicles to share with all of you. I received both an ice cream maker and popsicle molds for Christmas and although I’ve played around with a few recipes, the Midwest ground has been covered in snow since December and our home has maybe seen the sun half a dozen times since the new year. Thus, ice cream cravings have been at a standstill (well, at least until last week when we headed to the coast).

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Chai-Spiced Citrus & Apple Breakfast Crumble

Posted on: January 26, 2014

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I knew this was going to be a tough post to write when I spent over an hour debating on just the title. It went a little something like this: Is this recipe a cobbler or crisp? What even is the difference between a cobbler and a crisp? Is Huffington Post an accurate source for telling me what to name my recipe? Well, if it is an accurate source then neither of these names are correct. According to the good old Huff’ Post, a cobbler must have individually dropped biscuits while a crumble is a fruit based dessert topped with an oat mixture and a crisp is similar to a crumble but won’t have any oats involved (Did you get all that?). Huh, who would have known? Do you believe them? Yeah, I don’t know if I do either but I also don’t have the answer so we are sticking with it.

Well, now that we are talking about the title of this post, why not keep going? What else were we even going to chat about today? I can’t seem to remember anymore either. You are wondering what makes this a breakfast recipe? Cool. Let’s chat about that.

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Breakfast, for me, is a pretty routined affair. During the week I eat granola/yougurt or oatmeal and during the weekends it’s usually biscuits & gravy (per the boyfriend’s request). That’s it. And maybe a boiled egg or banana mixed in there every once and awhile for variety. So why, you ask, did I make this breakfast cobbler (whoops – I mean ‘crumble’)? Well, it wasn’t really intended to be a breakfast thing at all. I’ve been trying to incorporate more whole foods into my diet and fruit has been a particularly challenging one. Every time I eat an apple or orange or any fruit really, it reminds me of apple dumplings or crumb cake or cobbler. My body has obviously been neglecting fruit in its original state because all fruit triggers a craving for some sort of baked good.

So my desire for fruity baked goods grew every time I enjoyed another apple for a snack or a banana as a post-lunch dessert. The desire grew and grew until I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. I didn’t want to shatter all this healthy whole food eating with a thick sugary dessert so I set out to make a ‘healthified’ version. One that could be made almost completely out of unrefined sugar and loaded with tons of oat fiber and fruit nutrients.

This crumble was the outcome. It doesn’t have the gooey inside consistency that most traditional crumbles have but it’s still packed full of just as much flavor while leaving you feeling lighter than any traditional recipe. To compensate for the lack of gooeyness, I mixed in part of the oat mixture with the apples to create a creamy oatmeal consistency while still topping the cobbler with the rest for a crispy oat outer layer.

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Spinach & Avocado Stuffed Cornmeal Crepes with Curry-Lime Cream

Posted on: January 5, 2014

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How is your 2014 so far? Are you finally feeling back to normal after a 3 day hangover from all that sugary champagne? I, surprisingly, did not drink that much on New Years this year and woke up feeling recharged and ready to start a fresh new year. My college self would be so bummed at how ‘lame’ I’ve already become at 24 but sometimes a girl just wants to snuggle inside with her dog and boyfriend to watch the ball drop with Carson Daly. Oh wait, or are you a Ryan Seacrest kind-of-person? If so, I feel so so so very sorry for you.

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Just like every American this time a year, I’m taking another stab at eating health[ier]. I’d like to think we don’t eat terrible around here (no heart-clogging meat, minimal processed foods, no sugary drinks) but there is always room for improvement. I’m particularly bad about incorporating fresh vegetables into our diets this time a year – a salad feels very unappetizing (and usually pretty unnatural when its 10 degrees out and the produce was shipped in from 5 states over) so most of our vegetable intake is in the form of stews and soups and curries. And because of that, I can’t help but notice that our leafy green in-take has slowed down to a minimum. So alas, I decided to start the year off with a recipe that could highlight raw vegetables in another form other than smoothies and juice cleanses (since, you know, sometimes it’s so cold outside and the thoughts of downing a ice cold smoothie is about as appetizing as eating yellow snow).

If possible, choose cornmeal that is whole and not degermed to gain as much nutrition of it as possible. Whole cornmeal is chocked full of amino acids, vitamins (b-6, K), minerals (potassium, zinc, copper), and have been linked to benefiting your colon.

These crepes can be stuffed with whatever you are feeling but I highly recommend trying out this savory version and picking a few favorite vegetables to chop up for the insides. I choose spinach because of it’s well known benefits of having a high ratio of nutrients to calories (we are talking vitamin A, K, D, and E as well as omega 3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory antioxidants).

I’ve also been on a curry kick lately but feel free to use whatever sauce you are feeling – perhaps a cilantro sirarcha sauce? Or even a peanut lime sauce for a protein boost?

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Chocolate & Spiced Chai Biscotti

Posted on: December 24, 2013

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MERRY CHRISTMAS [EVE] (or, to all of you who don’t celebrate Christmas, HAPPY TUESDAY!). I love Christmas eve just as much as I love Christmas day. This is because, growing up, my parent’s were divorced so we always had Christmas with my Father ‘s family on the 24th and then had ANOTHER Christmas with my mother’s family on the 25th. I never could relate to those kids who were so excited to get to open ONE present on Christmas Eve to hold them over – I always received DOZENS of gifts on Christmas eve followed up lots more gifts on Christmas day. As I’ve aged, I’ve toned down a little (just a little!) on my excitement for a double dose of gifts but have learned to find joy in so many other wonderful aspects of having two Christmases in a row. Double the santa cookies. Double the Christmas movies. Double the Yule log playing in the background on your tv (speaking of that, I’ll be playing Lil Bub’s yule log video this year – if my family doesn’t think thats too weird).

But, to be completely honest, this biscotti has nothing to do with Christmas and I really just chatted about Christmas Eve because I’m just so darn excited its finally here. This biscotti is actually about having 11 days off of work in a row – which is the longest vacation time I’ve had in 2013. It’s about finally having lazy mornings after lazy mornings of sipping coffee in bed and enjoying a favorite magazine while munching some biscotti. It’s all about mastering the technique of getting the biscotti soggy enough in your coffee that it doesn’t crumble all over your sheets but firm enough that it’s still crunchy when take that first bite. But don’t worry, it’s okay if it takes you a few days to master this technique – we’ve still got loads more days off ahead of us!

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Gingerbread Syrup /// DIY Gifting

Posted on: December 9, 2013

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Yikes, another sweets recipe? The holiday season has once again taken over and I can’t seem to get my mind to focus on anything else. I feel a little guilty about how sugar-laden VV has been over the past month (I’m not exaggerating. don’t believe me? Look here. and here. and even here). I feel like I’m setting a bad example after I went on that long rant last week to you guys about how switching to a vegetarian lifestyle is a healthy choice. So, I guess, what I’m trying to say is that for every sweets recipe I post on here, there are 10 salads being eaten in the days between which are not getting photographed / recorded. And that being a vegetarian is not an excuse to skip dinner because there is meat in it and jump right into dessert. But… do you know what is an excuse for that? The holidays! And they are here – so why don’t we just indulge for a little longer? Come on – what do you say? Well stuff our faces with fresh lentil soup and kale smoothies come the New Year – I promise!

My initial thought when deciding to make this syrup was that I could use dates as the sweetener and do a little bit of healthy twist on it. But I also wanted to make this syrup for far-away friends and I was worried about the dates not being able to travel halfway across the country without spoiling, ya know? What an awful greeting to an old friend – ‘Hey! Here is a package of spoiled baked goods for you! Enjoy! Hope ya don’t get too sick’. It just didn’t seem worth the risk. So, instead, I stuck to the good ‘ole fashion recipe that we’ve been making every year around this time. Silky and sweet – so you only need a few teaspoons. Perfect in your hot cocoa or morning cup of coffee. A great addition to a festive cocktail or to drizzle over baked goods. When deciding that I wanted to make some festive care packages for old friends, I couldn’t think of a more versatile gift.

In addition to this syrup, I’m including some homemade vanilla extract (that has been aging for 5 months now), my Sweet & Salty Curry Molasses Popcorn, and Baker Royale’s Cookies & Cream Bark (which was really just an excuse to buy another package of Newman-Os) in the goodies I’m sending to friends.

Next up – family packages! What are you DIY gifting this year? I need some more inspiration!

***REMINDER: Don’t forget to enter to win the book bundle I am giving away! Entries will be accepted until next Sunday so hop on over here and sign up!***

 

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Vanilla Bean & Espresso Granola

Posted on: November 3, 2013

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Keeping it simple for today’s post. Sometimes you have the energy to make a 20 step breakfast recipe and other times you just want to be able to throw something together in five minutes, stick it in the oven, and crawl back into bed with your coffee for another hour. Yeah, I don’t care if that makes me sound lazy. You think I’m lazy now, just wait until the frigid months of January and February roll around. Ha, no but on a serious note – I’ve just been super busy getting some really great guest posts together for the month of November (more on that in the coming weeks).

I actually made this granola recipe back in September and am just now getting around to posting it. I originally had made it for my stepdad’s birthday (I made him a bunch of baked goods and sent out a little care package). However, I had been putting off posting this because I really wanted to make my own coffee extract first. Have you ever made coffee extract? I’ve only ever made vanilla but it seems silly to not experiment with other ones. Unfortunately, so far I’ve been pretty un-enthuised with the end results for my coffee extract. I really wanted to be able to make an extract out of leftover coffee grounds but have been unsuccessful as of now. So, for the time being, I am sticking with using part of an espresso shot in the recipe below.

 

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Blueberry Pistachio Parfait with Quinoa Granola and Maple Cashew Cream [Vegan]

Posted on: September 1, 2013

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There is so much fall going on around Pinterest these days; I find it to be both appalling and kind of exciting. Maybe it’s this streak of 90 degree weather or my longing for copious amounts of curry in my stomach or the desire to wear knee high socks but I am feeling ready for it. [Heck, maybe I even already bought a can of organic pumpkin for vegan fall baking].

My brain feels so fried from this heat that I’ve managed to stumble into a mundane food routine of salads for lunch and veggie sandwiches for dinner. That is about it….Well, almost it. The other summertime food that has been a regular lately is greek yogurt and homemade granola. So much so that I am starting to think we may need to take some time off from each other soon or we may not be able to stay friends.

Thus, in an attempt to keep yogurt off my long list of hated foods (right next to beets and jello), I decided to try cashew cream in my breakfast parfaits. I originally made the cashew cream to lather on eclairs (…more on that in the coming days) but haven’t looked back at yogurt in weeks.

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The cashew cream only takes a few minutes to whip up and usually lasts me 3 to 4 servings of breakfast. It’s sweeter than yogurt but not so much that you feel guilty about enjoying it for breakfast. Feel free to enjoy with whatever granola you have on hand but I highly recommend trying out this quinoa version. The toasted quinoa gives the granola a crunchy texture unlike any kind of granola I’ve had before. And it’s a complete protein so you’ll be really ready to start your day right. ‘Nuff said?

 

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Blueberry Pistachio Parfait with Quinoa Granola and Maple Cashew Cream

Inspired by Gourmande in the Kitchen & Cashew Cream adapted from Oh, Ladycakes

For the granola:

  • 1 cup tri-colored quinoa (or 1/2 cup red + 1/2 cup white), rinsed super well
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • dash of cinnamon & nutmeg
  • vanilla bean, seeds removed and pod discarded (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (or any baking oil you’d prefer)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or more maple syrup to keep vegan)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, divided & lightly crushed

For the maple cashew cream:

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water overnight
  • 4 dates, pitted
  • 2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you want to make it)
  • about 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pint blueberries

Submerge cashews in water and let soak overnight.

Remove pits from dates and let soak with the cashews 30 minutes prior to making the cream.

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine the quinoa, rolled oats, cinnamon, nutmeg, and the vanilla bean seeds in a mixing bowl. Fold in the oil, maple syrup, and honey. Transfer to a baking sheet and spread out as much as possible. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to keep from burning. After 30 minutes, add 1/4 cup crushed pistachios to granola and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Drain cashews / dates and place in a food process or blender. Add the maple syrup and 1/4 cup water. Blend. If too thick, gradually add more water a tablespoon at a time until a desired consistency is reached (I like mine at the consistency of greek yogurt – thick and sustainable but a little fluffy).

To assemble: Layer the cream followed by the cooled granola followed by blueberries and garnish with crushed pistachio and cinnamon.

 

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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Vegetables & Chimichurri Ramps

Posted on: May 1, 2013

My daily posts have turned more into weekly posts as thing have become a bit hectic around here. There are so many things I’ve wanted to share without over sharing on a food blog…which then usually just turn into not sharing them at all. So, instead, I’m just going to give off a short list of excuses that have been both tearing me from this blog and keeping me occupied in my “real” life:

1. I got a new day job / promotion. I was promoted from indie-rock-princess to indie-rock-queen. Hah, no. But I did go from a glorified secretary to being in charge of over 200 of our music client accounts. So, needless to say, I’ve been working 9+ hours a day trying to figure out everything that goes along with this new job.

2. It’s spring! And I’ve been putting most of my free time energy into prepping my garden. What good is a food blogger who can’t even grow her own produce to write recipes with?

3. My grandma passed away. I realize that this is a normal occurrence for people over the age of 80 but that does not make it any less unsettling. I don’t care how old you are – it’s very upsetting to watch a wonderful person have everything ripped away from them.

4. My boyfriend is obsessed with the X-Files. And not only is he obsessed but he is determined to watch EVERY SINGLE EPISODE. So starting at season one in Februaray, he has constantly had that on the TV…which has been…very distracting. Do you know how many episodes of the X-Files there are? HUNDREDS. There are NINE seasons. Do you realize how many hours have been wasting getting sucked in by that when I could have been cleaning my stove-top or seasoning my cast iron or making butterscotch cookies?!

5. Remember that Lemon Thyme Butter I posted about last week? OH MY! I’ve discovered that it’s pretty much amazing on everything. Melt it over pasta or spaetzle and thank me later. You’re welcome.

Okay, enough about me. Let’s talk about YOU! I have an ice cream recipe for YOU. Yup, that is right – homemade ice cream. And it’s filled with the most delicious…well I can’t tell you. But it’s sweet and savory and creamy and Middle Eastern. And it’s going to be posted on VV soon…how soon? I can’t tell you that either (can’t ruin the fun now!) – you’ll just have to check back.

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Now back to ramps. Yes, that is right. I am posting ANOTHER ramps recipes. Two in a row, really? Well if we compare it to how many pizza or tofu recipes I’ve posted then it’s really not that bad. Ramps are new to me…and I’m pretty obsessed. I know they are going to start disappearing from the Farmer’s Market just as quickly as they appeared. This means, I’ve been cooking them up like crazy while I can!



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Cornbread Waffles with Roasted Veggies & Chimichurri Ramps

Makes 2 generous servings

Cheddar Cornbread Waffles:

  • 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cups milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese

Roasted Vegetables:

  • An assortment of your favorite vegetables to roast (I used 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, 1 diced onion, 1/2 diced small sweet potato, 2 chopped carrots)
  • 2 springs of fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper

Chimichurri:

  • 1 bunch of ramps (about 10 stalks)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 red pepper flakes
  • dash of pepper

 

To roast the vegetables: Preheat oven to 400 and toss the veggies with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Lay in a even layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the vegetables have softened and just started to brown.

To make the chimichurri: Rinse the ramps and cut off the roots and any rough tips.  Slice into big chunks. Blend all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) until a smooth paste forms.

To make the waffles: Preheat your waffle maker. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the egg yokes, milk, and butter. Fold the dried ingredients into the liquid until incorporated. In another bowl, beat the egg whites with a mixer until stiff but not dry peaks form. Fold the egg whites and grated cheese into the batter.

Ladle 1/2 cup (more or less depending on how big your waffle maker is) of the batter onto your preheated waffle iron and cook according to manufacture’s instructions (mine usually takes around 3 minutes).

Pile high with roasted veggies and chimichurri.

 

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Berry Brioche Muffins

Posted on: April 9, 2013

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I love making bread. On any given rainy Sunday, you will most likely find me in the kitchen kneading up something delicious. Whether it’s beer bread or pumpernickel or cinnamon rolls will all depend on my mood. There is something I find soothing about watching the dough slowly rise. Or kneading the batter with your bare hands. Or feeling like you are conducting a science experiment in your kitchen. Or starting with a huge pile of flour and ending with a crusty ball of deliciousness. Whatever it is, it soothes me and I find myself turning to bread making in moments where I crave relaxation the most.

This is also the reason I often times make the same cinnamon rolls or beer bread. When relaxing, I don’t want to have read through a 3 page recipe four times over. I want to be able to get lost in stirring and pound of my frustration through kneading.  I had come across a brioche recipe in a Food Network cookbook a few months back and it was 5 pages long. FIVE. The ingredients list was extensive and there were several randevues with the mixer (sorry but I prefer the old fashion way. This both makes me lazy because I don’t want to clean the mixer and a BA because I knead the dough by hand). It left a bad taste in my mouth and made me write off sweet brioche as too much work.

That was until Pinterest told me last week that I could make brioche in a slow cooker. In a slow cooker, really? How hard could a slow cooker recipe be?! So that triggered lots of brioche research (AKA google searching) and I came across Artisan Bread in Five. It’s a wonderful resource for any breadmaker and lays out some of the best instructions on how to make delicious bread I’ve ever come across. I’ve only gawked at their blog but am very excited to try out some of their cookbooks as well. I can only imagine!

I suggest making the dough the night before so you can just let it rise for an hour in the muffins pan the next day and bake them right up. That will cut down on 2+ hours of rising time.

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Berry Brioche Buns

Dough adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 tablespoon yeast
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Mixed berries
  • 1/4 sugar

Mix the yeast and warm water in a bowl. Let sit for five minutes or until it starts to foam. Add in the salt, eggs, honey, and butter. Add 4 cups of flour and mix with a spoon until incorporated. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for two hours.

After it has risen, chill the dough so that it is easier to work with. I let mine chill overnight but feel free to just let chill for an hour or so.

Grease a 12 muffin pan and divide the dough evenly between the tins. Cover with a clean dish towel and let rise for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press a few berries into each muffin (make sure to really get them in there so they don’t pop out) and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 minutes or until the brioche is brown on top.

Remove from oven and let cool. Sprinkle with cocoa powder or powdered sugar.

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Chickpea Magazine Winter 2013 /// February Recap

Posted on: February 28, 2013

Good afternoon! Before I get to the monthly recap, I wanted to share my excitement with you guys about receiving the new Chickpea Quarterly in the mail yesterday. I have an article on DIY Kitchen Staples (Homemade Vegetable Broth, Vanilla Extract, and Almond Milk) in it. Also, It’s chocked full of vegan recipes, beautiful photography, and oh so much inspiration that I am grinning from ear to ear just looking at it. I thought I was ready for winter to be over but the magazine has re-sparked my cold weather senses. Here are a few highlights (and yes, those are BOURBON CHOCOLATE CAKE POPS pictured below…)

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Okay, enough drooling over my favorite magazine – it’s time for a recap! No offense but I am SO glad that February is only 28 days long. With spring on the mind since January 1st, I have been having trouble getting through this month while still feeling present. Instead, my mind has been wondering to beaches, beeragritas, and long bike rides. Here are a few recipes that have helped me kick the winter [mind] wandering..

 

   

 

1. Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Gingersnap Crust – Comfort food with a fancy twist. And by fancy, I mean crumbling cookie bits on top of my already insanely indulgent dinner. Not bad…not bad at all…

2. Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits – these were my ‘pride and joy’ of the month. One of those ideas that comes to you at a completely random time and you start to obsess over it until the recipe is executed. Veggie Sausage or Bacon? Scones or Biscuits? Cheddar or Tomato Scones? Southwestern or Indian Tofu Scramble? Mushroom or Pepper Gravy? So many combinations to choose from and the product was an irresistible combination of everything amazing that comes to mind when you think ‘Vegan Breakfast’.

3. Heart Shaped Polenta Crostini with Roasted Tomato & Goat Cheese – Three of my favorite things all in one bite. And SO simple to make. How can it get any better than that?

4. Cinnamon Quinoa Granola – New breakfast go to. Chocked full of fiber, protein, and antixidents. The texture from the quinoa bring a whole new level of granola and this stuff keeps me filled all morning long.

 

Okay, well GOODBYE February and HELLOOOO March. I’m thinking [hoping] March will be filled with more outdoor adventures, road trips, and garden prepping. Yesss!

 

Song Pairing:

Baked Blueberry & Lemon Donuts

Posted on: February 27, 2013

Okay, so I totally lied to you guys. I told you that I would have this donut recipe for you yesterday and it did not happen. It’s not my fault – Tuesdays are my downfall and I should have known I wasn’t going to have the time to post about donuts. I’m sorry. Forgive me? Cool.

What I won’t apologize for are these donuts. Yes, they are chocked full of sugar and flour. BUT, they are ALSO full of blueberries (antioxidant heaven), cinnamon (regulates blood sugar), lemon zest (vitamin C), and are BAKED. See, why not look on the positive side here before you get worried about starting your day on a sugar high. But really, if you are concered, these make great afternoon snacks, lunchtime dessert, 2nd breakfast treat, and nightime dessert. So versatile too – I know! Crazy.

These donuts are a product of what was once a breakfast loaf. Filled with lemon and blueberries (as mentioned above), I topped these little guys with cinnamon and sugar to give it that streusel style topping. Pretty much irresistible anytime of the day, I’d suggest whipping up a batch of these the next time you get a sweets craving.

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Baked Blueberry Lemon Donuts

Makes 6 baked donuts (or 12 small baked donuts)
  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 4 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • zest from 1 lemon

 

topping:

  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a donut pan. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, sugars, and vanilla extract.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and stir until just combined. Add in the melted butter and then fold in the blueberries and lemon zest.

Baked for 20 minutes or until the tops have browned (baking time will vary greatly depending on the size of the donuts / your oven). Once browned, remove from oven.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon for the topping. Dip the donut tops in the sugar/cinnamon mixture while they are still warm. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

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Song pairing:

Cinnamon Quinoa Granola

Posted on: February 22, 2013

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Every winter, I become less into making oatmeal for breakfast than I had been the previous winter. Truth is – it’s just too time consuming (I know, I know – Ms. Lazy) in the mornings and I end up quickly going back to my granola. The transition to year round granola has urged my need to get creative with the stuff. Eating the same thing ever day? Booooring.

And let me tell you…oh my goodness. I can not remember the last time I was this obsessed with a granola. Bringing quinoa into the equation changes everything. It adds a texture depth that goes beyond anything I’ve experienced in granola. Even if your cinnamon oats end up soggy then you are still left with crunchy and toasted quinoa bits. This recipe can, of course, be adapted to your liking. Add more fruit or spices depending on what you are into.

I’ve played around with quinoa dozen of time (see: Southwestern Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Nuggets, or Fall Quinoa Salad) but have never been as excited about it as I am with this recipe. Toasting quinoa? Who would have thought! And the extra protein quinoa brings into this breakfast will help you feel full longer [which means no more 10:45 munchies runs to the vending machine in need of some Cheetos].

Don’t forget to rinse your quinoa SUPER well – you want to make sure all of that bitter outer coating is removed for maximum indulgence potential. This recipes makes about 3 cups so store  leftovers in an airtight container. Or be a good friend and share a bag. Or even freeze the stuff if you won’t use it in a timely fashion. Love granola but hesitant about this quinoa business? Then maybe you should start with this Spiced Pumpkin Granola instead.

 

 

 

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Cinnamon Quinoa Granola

 

  • 2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4 cup pecan, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, in liquid form
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and spread evenly onto a cookie sheet. Cook for 30 minutes and stir 3 times throughout the cooking process. Remove from oven and let cool completely before moving to an airtight container.

Serve over yogurt, milk, or fruit. Or just eat it by the spoonful.

 

Song Pairing:

Chocolate Chai

Posted on: February 11, 2013

chocolatechai

 

Hello, Monday. I can’t say I was entirely prepared for you. Can’t say I’m really that crazy about you in general. Sooo….how to make Monday a little less gloomy? How about adding some chocolate to our morning chai? WOAH, what a magnificent way to treat yourself! If I do say so myself…I’d have to call this a ‘YOLO’ moment. I can feel a new Monday tradition coming on…

 

chocolatechai33

 

Chocolate Chai

  • 2 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 bags of black tea (or loose leaf black tea)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I like to use unsweetened almond milk to keep it vegan)

Place cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, cocoa powder, black peppercorn, cloves, anise, and ginger in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring water to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes (more or less depending on how strong you like your chai). Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let tea steep for about 5 minutes.

Strain liquid into a mug and discard leftover spices (or save them for a later use). Rinse out the saucepan and add milk to it. Let the milk come to a simmer and use a whisk to make the milk frothy. Top off the chai with milk and serve warm.

chocolatechai

 

Feeling a little bratty this morning:

Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits

Posted on: February 4, 2013

The title of this post is a bit misleading. These biscuits are not actually stuffed with real vegans…unlike how you probably read it the first time. There was just no easy way to throw a title together for this. I could have put ‘Stuffed Breakfast Biscuits’ but then people would have wondered where the eggs and sausage was? Or I could have wrote ‘Tofu Scramble Scones’ but that would have seemed like the tofu goes along side the scones… which is not correct either. What I really wanted to put was ‘Peppered Gravy & Tofu Hash Scramble Stuffed Biscuits That Are Vegan’ but oh goodness…look at how long that title is. I don’t think that title would have fit on one line…and maybe not even on two. So I settled for ‘Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits’…I am sorry if it’s misleading and you conjure up thoughts of cannibalism instead of wonderfully flaky, warm biscuits oozing with peppered gravy and filling tofu goodness. See!? Do you see why it took me 20 minutes to settle on a title for this post?

I guess it makes up for the fact that it took about 20 seconds to know that I wanted to make these. I love the Morningstar breakfast sandwiches as a treat every now and then but couldn’t help but wonder…could I make fresh ones that are probably 10000xxx times better? After searching around on the web and failing at finding any recipes that matched the vision in my head, I decided to make it up myself. This recipe is a mutant product of my favorite tofu scramble recipe and tomato scones recipes found in Isa’s Vegan Brunch. And a simple peppered gravy recipe that we often times to turn when we need some thick and flavorful gravy in a hurry. And then I threw in some hashbrowns because…welll…what is breakfast without hash browns?

So…in turn, this recipe is Delicious? Yes. Freezable? Yes. Easy to prepare the night before? YES. Portable? YES. Everything you’ve ever wanted in a breakfast rolled into one pocket of deliciousness? YESSS. Why would you not make these for a vegan potluck or freeze a batch for a quick breakfast on the go?!

 

Vegan Stuffed Brunch Scones

 

Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits

For the Gravy:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1+ teaspoon salt / pepper

 

For the Tofu Scramble:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Salt / Pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes, optional (because I like lots of veggies)

 

For the Biscuits:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

 

  • 1/2 russet potato, diced very small

 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add in the potatoes. Cook until they are soft but not mushy (about 10 minutes depending on how small you diced them).

To make the scramble: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add onions and saute until soft (about five minutes). Add garlic and saute for another minute. Next, crumble the tofu and add into the skillet along with the cooked potatoes. Saute until the tofu has browned and add in the water, tumeric, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and cumin. Saute for another five minutes or until the water has evaporated (if the tofu seems dry then add a bit more water and let it cook down). Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes.

To make the gravy: combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until thickened (about ten to fifteen minutes). Season with more pepper (if necessary) and pour over the tofu scramble. Mix until everything is combined.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Vegan Breakfast Biscuits

To make the biscuits: Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add wet ingredients. Fold dry into wet until a soft dough has formed. Flour a surface and roll out half of the dough into an inch thick (make sure to keep everything very well floured because the dough is super sticky). Cut out desired biscuit sizes using a biscuit cutter and then flatten the dough to about 1/2 inch (you can use your rolling pin or your hands here). Place a heaping tablespoon of the tofu/gravy mixture in the center and fold the edges into each other until you’ve made a sealed round ball. Transfer to a greased cooking sheet. Roll out the rest of the dough and repeat.

[This is where you can wrap them in an airtight container and stick in the fridge overnight if you are preparing ahead of time]. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are firm and the insides are warm.

Enjoy hot or freeze for later breakfasts!

 

Vegan Brunch Biscuits

 

 

‘Detox Affair’ Juice

Posted on: January 28, 2013

jjuicing

 

EVERYONE in my office is sick and it makes me crazy paranoid. I feel like I can’t even go to the bathroom without fearing that I’ll catch the plague. I know it’s not a big deal but being sick really brings me down (as it does most people, I’d assume). And it makes me feel like I “lost” – I know that sounds crazy but I try so hard to take care of myself and my body. It just seems like my body would be telling me ‘Nope. You failed!”. Arg, shut up body and keep absorbing that Emergencee (Vitamin C tablet) I fed you an hour ago!

Anyhow, I know what you are thinking… “A Juicing Recipe, REALLY? How trendy are you?!”. But guess what…I live in the middle of the Midwest and Juice Bars have not taken over yet. Most people don’t even juice around here [yet] so, technically, I am still ahead of you, Midwest!

Also, I’m not here to tell you that juicing will change your life. Or that you should go on a juicing cleanse. Or that you should spend your entire paycheck (which I would probably have to) in order to juice 4 times a day. In fact, I don’t even know if I’m that crazy about juicing yet. I mean there is soooo much fiber that is lost in the process and it seems like a good chunk of the fruit / vegetable is wasted.

Soooo…if I’m so skeptical then why do I do it? Well, for one, I LOVE green smoothies but can’t seem to handle / bring myself to enjoy the heaviness / texture / cold of them in the dead of winter. With juicing, it’s light and packed full of flavor and easy to down in 5 seconds. Plus, I have x10 more energy in the morning if I start with this drink.

This is what I call my ‘detox affair’. I usually whip it up if I wake up feeling a sore throat coming on, drink a little too much the night before, or am having mad anxiety about getting the plague.

Interested in learning more about juicing? I find this post and this post to be particularly helpful.

 

 

 

jjuicing2

 

Wash everything and make sure to use organic produce. Peel the citrus and core the apple. Stick everything through a juicer. Perfect for one big glass or two small ones.

 

Something to juice to:

Sweet Potato Biscuits with Peppered Sage Gravy

Posted on: January 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Sage Gravy

Biscuits and Gravy are a pretty re-occurring theme here on VV (see here. And here. And here). It’s not my fault… It’s my boyfriend’s favorite food to ever exist. And it’s pretty much the only way I can get him to help me in the kitchen. He LOVES making the gravy (probably because it means that I won’t get the chance to change it up). However, that gives me authority over the biscuits and an opportunity to experiment on that end.

Each time I choose a different biscuit recipe, I make a goal…last time I was determined to make sky high biscuits that rise for days. This time? I was feeling biscuits that were big (always an essential for biscuits) and moist. Flaky can sometimes lead to dry and I was determined to have none of that. I had recently read that cooking with potatoes help to keep bread moist… and needed to find out for myself. The verdict? OOOOH YEAHHH! Sky high, flaky, and moist?! Absolute heaven!

Oh, and as for the gravy…my boyfriend knows what he likes and refuses to do anything else besides this sage recipe. I’ve posted it on the blog several times (here and here) but he still claims its a hassle to find so I’m going to post it again. It is pretty delicious…and it’s ridiculously easy. Even your kitchen-illiterate boyfriend will be able to handle it.

PS: If you aren’t into sage then you could try out this mushroom or chickpea gravy!

 

Sweet Potato and Peppered Sage Gravy

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits and Peppered Sage Gravy

For the Sweet Potato Biscuits:

  • 1 small sweet potato, cut into small chunks (the smaller they are the faster they will cook)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk (I made my own)

 

For the Peppered Sage Gravy:

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 cups almond milk (or regular)
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon butter

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the sweet potatoes and cook until you can pierce a fork into them (the amount of time will completely depend on how small you diced the potato…mine took about 15 minutes). Drain and use a fork to mash. Measure out 1/2 cup and reserve the rest for another use.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Use your hands or a pastry knife to cut the butter into the dough until a coarse meal has formed. Fold in the mashed sweet potatoes and buttermilk (the dough will be very sticky – that is okay).

Transfer dough to a floured surface and knead for about five minutes. Continue to add a little more flour if the dough is sticking. Use a round cookie cutter to cut out the biscuits. Transfer to a greased cast iron skillet or pan (make sure the biscuits are close together so they will rise). Bake for 15 minutes or until the biscuits are browned on top. Serve warm.

 

Sweet Potato and Sage Gravy

 

To make the gravy:  Whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, and milk together in a large skillet. Whisk until a smooth consistency and then add in all the spices. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Next, add in the butter and reduce to medium low. Whisk often until the gravy has reached your desired thickness. Remove from heat and season to taste.

 

Sweet Potato and Peppered Sage Gravy

 
Track of the day:

Caramelized Banana Scones with Whiskey Chocolate Drizzle

Posted on: January 22, 2013

If you follow VV on facebook then you heard me lusting over scones yesterday. I LOVE LOVE LOVE scones and am always finding new inspiration for flavor combinations. Last time I made those [drool] Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones and this time I continued with the chocolate /// fruit theme. We’ve got chunks of sugary and melt-in-your-mouth caramelized banana s topped with boozy dark chocolate drizzle. Think of these as a fantastic mix between your favorite morning banana pancakes (you know that texture – where the bananas start to caramelize on the bottom of the pancake) and that chocolate covered banana that you always crave after watching Arrested Development. Oh.. and then throw a warm and flaky scone into the mix [and maybe some coffee on the side]. BOOM. So amazing.

 

bananascones4

 

Caramelized Banana Scones with Whiskey Chocolate Drizzle

basic scone recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
  • 2 bananas, peeled and cut into chunks + 1 Tablespoon sugar + 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar + more to sprinkle on top
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 Tablespoons cold butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg

For the drizzle:

  • 2.5 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1/4 cup milk (+ a few more tablespoons to thin it to desired consistency)
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey

Start by caramelizing the bananas: Melt 1 tablespoon butter over medium low in a small skillet. Roll the bananas in the tablespoon of sugar and transfer to skillet. Let the bananas caramelize until they start to brown and break down but remove from heat before they become mushy.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda. Use your hands or a pastry knife to incorporate the butter until a coarse dough as formed. Mix in the egg and milk until just incorporated (don’t overmix!). Fold in the bananas and transfer dough to a floured surface. Flatten dough and make an inch thick dough. Cut the dough into 6 pieces (like a pie!) and transfer to a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and cook for 30 minutes or until firm.

 

bananascones2

 

To make the drizzle: In a double broiler, melt the chocolate, milk, and sugar. Whisk constantly until everything is combined and remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature and whisk in the whiskey. If too thick to drizzle, add a little milk (a teaspoon at a time) until your desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm scones.

 

bananascones3

 

Track of the day:

Wake up with Mascarpone: Breakfast Bowl & Breakfast Sandwich

Posted on: January 10, 2013

Usually when I purchase mascarpone, I use it up in one sitting by making a fruit dip or smothering on top of cookies. However, this time I’ve been savoring it by throwing a tablespoon or two into pretty much ever meal. Pasta? Sure, why not!? Granola. Yes, please! blondies? Why not dip them in mascarpone? It’s been wonderful to open up the fridge and wonder “what can I douse in mascarpone today?”.

This intention has caused the creation of two delicious, quick breakfasts. I am the type of person who wakes up 20 minutes before she has to leave for work and needs a breakfast FAST. The first one is an indulgent twist on my usual morning granola and yogurt. And the second is a bit more YOLO (do you say that? I don’t actually say that…I just could not think of a better describing word. Thank you mainstream media for RUINING MY VOCABULARY).

Let me elaborate a bit more on my contrast between these two breakfasts. I have a [wonderful] boyfriend who is so skinny that you could probably see threw him when he turns to the side. This really irritates me when we eat 80% of the same foods (the other 20% is him getting a side of fries when I get a side salad) and it’s like he is getting skinnier as I am getting bigger! This is good in the aspect that it strives for me to constantly eat better as to not become the husky one in this relationship. But, at the same time and out of frustration, it also makes me want to down an entire jar of nutella when he is not looking. So this week’s breakfasts have consisted of ‘Morning bebe. Here is a big bowl of Granola / Mascarpone / Fruit that I made us for breakfast” and “Oh, you aren’t awake yet? Well I’m downing this Nutella / Ciabatta / Mascarpone sandwich before you get up” [I mean the Nutella has been in that cabinet for far too long...it could go bad soon! I'm only eating this as to not waste food...maybe...no, not really].

So, whether you are feeling like treating yourself or giving your body a good foundation for the day, one of these breakfasts should satisfy your needs. I’d suggest you whip up a batch of your own mascarpone so you can have yummy, creamy breakfasts to look forward to all week as well!

 

MascarponeBreakfastBowl

 

Mascarpone Breakfast Bowl

Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrap out the seeds. Discard the pod and transfer seeds to small bowl with the mascarpone. Whisk until combined and then pour in granola. Top with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey.

 

MarcaponeBreakfastSandwich

 

Mascarpone Breakfast Sandwich with Nutella & Fresh Fruit

  • 1 slice ciabatta bread
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Nutella or any hazelnut spread
  • 2-3 Tablespoons fresh mascarpone
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Fresh fruit

Slice the ciabatta bread in half and spread the Nutella on one side and the mascarpone on the other. Sprinkle the cinnamon on both sides and spread a single layer of bread. Fold the two pieces into each other and set under the broiler for a minute (or until your desired warm/crispiness is achieved). Eat immediately [preferably before anyone else sees you or else you may have to make more].

 

 

Daily dose. Why wake up slowly? Let’s get this day going:

Homemade Mascarpone

Posted on: January 9, 2013

Homemade-Mascarpone

This post has been a long time coming. I promised myself I would make homemade cheese back on my [cringe] summer to do list. And then again [eeeep!] in the fall…and then I stuck it on my winter one. And guess what?! I FINALLY DID IT! And although making my own cheese was both enjoyable and delicious, it kind of made me hate myself more. It was so ridiculously easy to make…probably easier than 80% of the recipes on here…that it really really bugs me to know it took 6 months to get around to making it.

Before you start, make sure you have a candy thermometer and cheese cloth. It’s very important to keep the milk at a stable temperature so it doesn’t burn or not stay warmed up long enough. But other than that, you only need 2 (yes, 2!!) ingredients. Doesn’t it kind of make you mad to think you’ve spent all that money on mascarpone in the past?

Anyhow, this recipe is oh so easy! Just make sure you give yourself enough time for the cheese to strain overnight. I’ve been mixing my mascarpone into almost everything! I stuck it in some homemade ravioli, pasta, and even with my morning cup of granola and fruit! So creamy and delicious!

 

Mascarpone

 

Homemade Mascarpone

  • 2 cups heavy cream (NOT ultra-pasteurized)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

 

In a small saucepan, slowly bring the heavy cream to a small simmer (the temperature should climax at 180 degrees and the goal is to try to keep it around there). Let simmer at 180 degrees for about 3 minutes and add in the lemon juice. Simmer for another 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature (best to just step away for a half an hour).

Fill a small strainer with several (I used 3) layers of cheesecloth and put a small bowl under the strainer. Pour the cooled mascarpone mixture into the strainer and stick in the fridge overnight (mine only strained a few tablespoons of whey but the mascarpone came out thick and creamy in the morning).

Add to your pasta, granola, or elaborate desserts! Store in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a week.

 

 

Homemade Mascarpone

 

Song inspiration (classy but still a bit scandalous):

Mini Winter Fritattas with Sweet Potato, Onion, & Parmesan

Posted on: January 7, 2013

I’m a big quiche fan and would be lying if I didn’t mention that I was rather hesitant to get on the ‘fritatta’ bandwagon. But as I cook with eggs more and more, I realize comparing a quiche and fritatta is like comparing whole wheat oatmeal cookies and double chocolate chip cookies. Quiches are rich and full of heavy cream and eggs piled on top of a buttery crust. Fritatta is like the healthy crustless sibling to the quiche with its easy preparation and delicious vegetable filling.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE me a cheesy and buttery quiche. But frittatas have been making their way into my daily routine more and more because of their simplicity. I don’t have to spend time making a crust or hoping I have heavy cream on hand (which I usually don’t). I can just stick in whatever vegetables I may have on hand and whisk up some eggs. So simple!

 

winterfrittata2

 

Read More

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones

Posted on: November 12, 2012

Morning, Morning! Let’s start out by having me fill you in on a few things, shall we? If you are an avid read of VV then you may have noticed the inconsistency of VVs’ regular columns as of lately (Moody Mondays, Searchable Saturdays, etc). This is because this whole redesign has triggered us stepping back and re-evaluating our style around here. As I was updating the Recipes/Archives page (man, I’m only about 1/5 done with putting in our back catalog of recipes! HTML is a TEDIOUS process…), I noticed that a lot of the pictures were all over the place and VV does not necessarily have a specific ‘style’ or ‘branding’ technique (does branding sound too official? Yeah, I think so too. Maybe this is all just an excuse for me to start another pinterest board…). So, as I spend more time on the redesign of VV, I am also going to try to develop more of a signature style/aesthetic. This may mean eliminating some regular columns or adding some or doing the exact same thing we have always done around VV [who knows at this point? I certainly don't]. Anyhow, just wanted to fill you guys in on all the shifting happening around here.

Oh! One last thing, tomorrow is the last day to sign up for the Country Crock Giveaway so don’t forget to hop on over and leave a comment. I mean, let’s be real, who DOESN’T want free kitchen bake ware?!

______________________________

Saturday I woke up to the sun shining through the blinds, a warm breeze, and the birds (!!!) chirping. This morning, I woke up to pitch black and snow. What. Is. Going. On?! I’m not complaining about being able to hang out at the lake in November but my body is in shock. All that sun-induced serotonin needs a replacement ASAP or else I might find the winter blues coming early this year. Answer to it be being cloudy? Chocolate. Answer to it being coldy and cold? Dark Chocolate with raspberry chunks. Answer to it being cloudy, cold, and snowy? Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones lathered in butter. Check.

These little scones are the answer to any weather-induced-bummer-mood. They are warm, speckled with caffeine, and bursting with chunks of chocolate/raspberry. I feel like I don’t even need to say anything else. But if I really must, they are so flaky and buttery that they even melt in your mouth when fresh from the oven.

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones

 

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar (+ more for sprinkling on top)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground espresso
  • 6 Tablespoons butter, chilled
  • 3 ounces of dark chocolate with raspberry chunks (or any flavor you like), chopped into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Almond milk (any milk will do)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used my homemade kind)

Preheat oven to 400 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and espresso. Cut the butter into the dry mixture until it resembles coarse meal (I just use my hands to do this and work the butter between my finger tips until everything is combined). Next, fold in the chocolate.

In a small bowl (or just use the measuring cup you poured the milk into), whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla.

Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and pour wet ingredients in. Fold dry into wet until everything is combined (don’t over mix!).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about an inch thick (make it thinner if you like them crispier and thicker if you like them big and fluffy – just keep it consistent with whatever you do!) and use a biscuit cutter to cut circular shapes. Place on the prepared parchment paper and repeat with the rest of your dough. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar.

Cook for about 20 minutes or until the top has browned.

Serve warm with butter or jam or by themselves while watching the snow fall.

Moody Monday // Bannock Bread

Posted on: November 5, 2012

So I started my day a bit bummed out. In addition to it being Monday (yuck), I also received some news that my designer working on the new blog layout had some family things come up and she will not be able to follow through on my redesign! It’s a total shame and sort of got me down (I had been looking forward to this redesign since September!). However, after much consideration, I have come to the conclusion I was meant to do this one myself. I started this blog as a creative outlet and for me to hand off one of the biggest parts of the creative process for a blog (designing it!) seems a bit silly. Yes, it’s going to take many hours of drinking ginger-lemon tea and watching youtube videos to figure out how to transfer all my information into a self-hosting site and to learn what the html code is…for well, pretty much everything…. but it will be a rewarding learning experience. I had been feeling in a bit of a blog rut lately and this will be good to step back from my daily posting routine and a chance to get creative on a different level.

 

 

Anyhow, enough about that – how was your weekend? I picked up the What Katie Ate and Homemade Winter (I made those delicious Gingerbread muffins from her last book!) for some weekend inspiration. This recipe for bannock is out of the Homemade Winter book and it was oh so delicious with some butter and strawberry jam. Think a hybrid of a savory scone and crumbly pancake. Got it? Now you want to make some? Okay, cool. Here is the recipe:

 

 

Bannock Bread

adapted from Homemade Winter
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, cold and sliced
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own)

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Next, cut in the butter and slowly add the buttermilk until the mixture is just combined (don’t overmix!).

Heat a skillet over high heat and melt a tablespoon of butter and then turn down to medium-high heat. Form the sticky dough into a large ball and place on the skillet (flatten it a bit but not so much that it’s touching the edges). Let cook on that side for about 5 minutes (turn down the temperature a little bit if it’s cooking too fast – I almost burned mine the first time around) and then flip to cook on the other side for another 5 minutes.

Remove from pan and let cool slightly. Serve with butter and jam or cream cheese or syrup or whatever you can find that looks tasty in your fridge!

October Highlights

Posted on: October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! I usually do my monthly wrap ups on the first but VV is participating in a virtual potluck tomorrow (more on that…well…tomorrow) so let’s talk October today. Cool? Cool.

Did everyone have a wonderful October? I don’t know what it is but my only association with Fall is Late September/October. I am really hoping that the crisp fall feeling doesn’t fade into winter just yet…oh November, you sound so…dark. Am I the only one feeling this way? Well, in an attempt to hold onto my favorite season as long as possible, I will be keeping the pumpkin recipes coming! At least until I have to pull out my winter jacket…
And now for some October Highlights!

 

 

1. Muesli Bread – by far my favorite recipe from the month of October. Not only was this bread melt-in-your-mouth delicious when fresh out of the oven but it was also loaded with healthy (and yummy!) pumpkin seeds, almonds, and dried cherries!

2. Curried Butternut Squash Soup with Goat Cheese Croutons – Goat cheese croutons might be the best winter food ever to exist. Bringing these into my world has opened up so many new ways to jazz up ordinary soup.

3. Spicy Jalapeno Corn Hummus – Hummus has been my go to snack for years now and my recent attempts to play with its flavors have been delightful. The extra kick that the jalapeno gives really brings new flavor to standard hummus

4. Homemade Caramel Corn – Your movie nights will never be the same again! The recipe makes a lot but it’s the perfect snack for a crowd or if you are craving some seriously delicious caramel treats in your life.

 

Lastly, don’t forget to check out my collaboration with Dishes Undressed on Bread Pudding and the October Giveaway that VV is hosting (ends Friday!).

 

And as for November? Well, I am hoping (have I said this before?) to have my new blog makeover up and running this month! And will probably send the next 3 weeks drooling over Thanksgiving recipes. Ah yes, it won’t be such a bad month after all!

Chai Latte Pancakes + A Giveaway

Posted on: October 26, 2012

Okay, so I have a confession. I don’t really like water…I know that sounds weird and maybe it’s because the water in my town is HEAVILY polluted but it just does not do it for me. Soo…bland. I’ll drink it if it’s boiled and has tea steeped in it..or if it’s gone through the process of being brewed into coffee. Other than that, I stick to sparkling water. The heat wave that struck the Midwest this July really got me addicted to canned seltzer water…and to flavored fizzy water. And here I am, 3 months later in a bit of a rut with my 4 cans of flavored sparkling water a day. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my sparkling water but, for a change of pace, I was very excited to try out this new all natural bubbly “soft drink” that Cascal approached me about it.

Cascal All Natural soft drinks are crafted with natural juices (no added sugar except from the juices) and fermented for fuller flavor. At first, I was a little put off by the word ‘soft drink’ because sugary pop comes to mind and I do not usually drink soda. However, this stuff is not the average soda you are used to getting at McDonalds. It reminds me of a mix between my beloved seltzer water and a sparkling juice. The end results are just terrific.

A few of my favorite parts about this soda? Well, they have AWESOME and intriguing flavors. My favorite was the Crisp White which had notes of Pear, Apricot, and Magnolia. Even the one with a chocolate note (Ripe Rough with notes of Chocolate, Rose, and cherry) had a refreshing and not overly sweet flavor to it. And if I have not convinced you already, each can is only 60-80 calories. 60-80 calories for a soda? Ohh yeah!

Anyhow, if you are into trying these out, head to your nearest Whole Foods to pick up your favorite flavor or enter my giveaway for a chance to win a sample pack! The sample pack will have the following five sodas in it:

Crisp White – With notes of pear, apricot and magnolia

Ripe Rouge – With notes of cherry, rose and chocolate

Fresh Tropical – With notes of mango, jasmine and kaffir lime

Bright Citrus – With notes of lemongrass, tangerine and pineapple

Berry Cassis – With notes of black currant, tangerine and lemon

And now for the fine details…

How To Enter:

Leave a comment below telling me your favorite fall soup recipe.

For Extra entries:

Like Cacal or Vegetarian Ventures on Facebook and leave a comment below saying you did

OR

follow Cascal (@CheersCascal) or Vegetarian Ventures (@shellywester) on Twitter and leave a comment below saying you did!
***Make sure to include your email in the comment below so I know how to get a hold of you! This giveaway will be closed on Friday, November 2nd at 10 PM Eastern time and is (sorry!) open to US residents only.***

This is now closed!

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Oh, also, shifting topics…I have a recipe for you! Here is a recipe for some vegan chai latte pancakes that I created using a combination of Isa Chandra’s Chai Latte Cupcakes and Perfect Pancakes recipes!

Perfect way to brighten up your morning on these gloomy fall days!

Chai Latte Pancakes

  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 Tablespoons canola/vegetable/coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 black tea bag or 2 teaspoons loose leaf tea
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • dash of vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, heat the milk until just boiling. Remove from heat, add in tea bags, and cover. Let steap for 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and cloves. Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and add the oil, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet until everything is well combined.

Heat a large skillet over medium and pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet (you should be able to make 2-3 at a time depending on the skillet size). Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Serve warm with cocoa powder and syrup.

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