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Apricot Barbecue Sauce [Vegan Option]

September 14, 2014

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Well, the first week into being 25 has been quite the unfortunate whirlwind; It’s bizarre how this crazy world works. Two Fridays ago, Wyatt and I were enjoying our last day at the cabin with an early morning canoe trip. The air was slightly crisp, the water completely calm, and not a soul was in sight; the whole experience reminded me of a family summer vacation we took when I was 7 up to the boundary waters for a week of backpack camping. The feeling of awe and excitement that I felt as a little kid on that trip was all rushing back to me that morning as I scanned the rocky shores that drifted by parallel to the canoe. All these memories from the trip that I hadn’t thought of in at least a decade were coming back — bathing in the ice cold Canadian waters with endless wilderness as our backdrops, stopping for lunch on islands along the canoe route, giggling as my brothers attempted to chase a family of moose, and watching the sunsets over the wild wilderness along the shores of our campsite. On that early morning canoe trip, I felt overwhelmed with gratefulness that I was able to have those experiences growing up and so proud that motion of paddling felt more natural than driving a car. That morning, I was thinking of the family I had spent that canoe trip with: my mother whom had grown up in the city but had come to love the wilderness due to marrying my stepfather, my brother who can get me more annoyed than anyone on the planet but who I suddenly missed terribly, my stepbrother whom I had drifted apart from almost a decade earlier, and my stepfather who was always so strong and the leader of the bunch on our outdoor adventures.

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Chickpea Dumplings in Curry Tomato Sauce

September 22, 2013


I know you were starting to worry. You were starting to wonder if my diet really could consist of sugar and alcohol based on the recipes that have been posted on VV the last month or so. So, in an attempt to show you a some-what ‘normal’ side of my diet, I’m posting this dumpling recipe which is an evening go-to in our home. Curry is always welcome around here and we tend to make it about once a week in the cooler months. I like this recipe because it breaks up the usual vegetable-sauce-rice ratio and has protein-rich dumplings cooked right in. Also, the best part about the dumpling literally steaming into the sauce is that it doesn’t take any longer than it would for you to simmer a pot of homemade curry sauce.

This recipe is traditionally prepared by frying the dumplings but I’ve chosen to steam them in the tomato sauce instead for both time and health sake. Think of it as an Indian-curry version of chicken and dumpling stew. Except the sauce plays a much more flavorful part than in our traditional comfort stew. The dumplings end up gooey and steaming them in the sauce lends to the dumplings soaking up the flavors around them.

We serve ours over basmati rice but you can make it a little bit healthier by substituting brown rice. We also like to top ours with greek yogurt for an extra creamy consistency but it’s plenty flavorful without the yogurt if you are trying to keep it vegan.


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

September 1, 2013


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.


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?



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.



Homemade Enchilada Sauce

July 8, 2013


I don’t know about you but the term ‘enchilada sauce’ doesn’t exactly conger up fresh and summery images. It mostly makes me think of that dark, musky isle in the already dingy international grocery store where you have to brush the dust off the can before picking it up and throwing it into your cart. This off-putting imagery doesn’t happen with all mexican food. In fact, tamales conger up wonderful memories of watching my step-mother whipping up several dozen in our kitchen when I was little. And tacos make me think of fresh grilled pineapple and strong margaritas. But I don’t know – there’s something about that enchilada sauce…something about the old-fashioned design on the cans that make me think it’s been on the shelf since that art was in style in the 80s (maybe even 70s?).

That was until I decided to start making my own. And everything changed in the enchilada world for me. It doesn’t taste like the enchilada sauce from the can…it taste so much fresher. And though it’s not the flavor your tongue is expecting at first, you will glow with the realization that this is how enchilada sauce is supposed to taste. Fresh and spicy. A little tomatoey, peppery, and full of heat. Of course, the amount of heat you’d like to create is up to you. Different peppers will result in different spice levels so go ahead and get acquainted with what peppers work for you (okay, so maybe that link is a little over-kill but it’s sort of fun to realize that all these peppers exist..)

This recipe isn’t challenging but there are lots of little steps – mostly simple ways to remove the outer peels from the tomatoes and peppers to create a creamier sauce. Don’t feel discouraged by the wordy directions below – it won’t take long and you’ll have deliciously fresh enchilada sauce in no time!

PS – Oh…and it’s vegan!



Homemade Enchilada Sauce

  • 2 fresh red chilis, sliced in half with the seeds removed
  • 1 1 /2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 2 large tomatoes, cut a large X in the bottom of both
  • 2 jalapeños (or 1 poblano pepper)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chopped oregano
  • salt/pepper, to taste

Add vegetable broth to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add chili peppers and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat but DON’T drain the broth. Set aside.

Chard the jalapeños by placing them directly over a gas burner flame until blackened on all sides (or broil in your oven). Remove from heat and immediately transfer to a plastic sandwich bag. Let steam in the bag for about 15 minutes and peel the skins right off. Cut in half and remove seeds. Set aside.

Bring another saucepan full of water to a boil and get a bowl full of ice water ready. Add tomatoes and blanch for a minute or two or until the skins peel right off. Remove from heat and transfer tomatoes to the bowl of ice water. Peel tomatoes and then dice.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until translucent (about 7 minutes). Add tomatoes, tomato paste, chillis with the vegetable broth liquid, jalapeño, oregano, and cumin. Let simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat. Once slightly cooled, transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.

Use right away or store in the fridge for up to four days.




Homemade Mustards: Honey Curry & Beer Thyme

April 16, 2013


As spring approaches, I get the “grilling craving”. You know what I’m talking about – where not only the smell of blooming flowers is in the air but also the smell of charcoal and kabobs. This is usually also the time of year that I  get the urge to make a new condiment. For me, condiments will always be associated with summer outdoor cookouts. A veggie dog is just not the same without relish, ketchup, and mustard. But woah, have you seen all the preservatives that reside in your standard ketchup bottle? Its a sight for sore eyes!

This is usually why I like to make a few batches of homemade condiment to last me through the summer. Two years ago I posted about Ketchup, last spring was Barbecue Sauce, and this time around I am trying my hand at Mustard. The idea, for me, is that if I make it in the spring then I’ll have the condiments around in the fridge for grill outs and social gathering all summer long.

I’m pretty excited about this mustard because it will last in your fridge for up to 3 months. That means months of veggie dog toppings and Brie Grilled Cheeses! In addition, it makes plenty to share and you get to show off your fancy cooking skills to all your friends. What’s a better conversation starter than ‘Oh, here is where I put that homemade mustard. Yup, I said homemade’ ?

The trick for these recipes is to use enough vinegar that you get a bit of tang with each bite but also don’t use so much that the vinegar becomes overpowering (which can happen pretty quickly). Also, another thing to note, is that whole mustard seeds are super spicy. Like…way more spicy than most people ever realize. This means that you may need to add LOTS more sweetener at the end to get the desired flavor profile you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to mix in some more honey or agave to make it sweet. Or even more curry powder or thyme if you aren’t tasting the added ingredients as much as you’d like. Homemade cooking is all about experimenting so play around with this recipe and figure out what works best for your taste palette.


Homemade Honey Curry Mustard

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (plus more for the end)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon curry powder
  • salt

Homemade Thyme Beer Mustard

  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • salt

For both or either recipes: Place all ingredients for each recipe into two separate bowls (or just use one bowl if you are only making one of the mustards). Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.

The next day, transfer everything to a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached (I like to keep a few mustard seeds whole but do whatever fits your fancy). Taste to season and add more honey if it’s too spicy or salt/pepper to help bring out the flavors.

Eat right away or transfer to an airtight jar and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

*Please note that the mustard seeds are like a sponge and will absorb any liquid around them so if your mustard becomes dry from sitting in the fridge, just add a few teaspoons of water to reach your desired consistency again


Guest Post: Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce by Leanne of Healthful Pursuit

April 8, 2013

Good morning! I am thrilled to introduce you all to my friend Leanne from Healthful Pursuit

Leanne Vogel is a holistic nutritionist and the girl behind the healthy living blog, Healthful Pursuit. Whether youíre sensitive to dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, grains, or sugar, or are just interested in eating healthy, Leanneís fun and simple healthy recipes; of which she has more than 550 on her blog, are a great resource for everyone.




Nut-free Vegan Cheese Sauce (34)


Thanks for the introduction, Shelly – and a big hello to all of you!

Do you like cheese sauce?

I do. On pasta, veggies, nachos, a spoon… I’ll take it any way that I can. But… I’m allergic to dairy.

I know, it’s tragic.

Dairy gives me headaches, bloating, ear infections, sinus infections, weight gain and acne. As much as I love it, it’s evident that it just doesn’t love me back. So, I live a life without the good stuff.

Once I removed dairy out for good about 10 years ago, I replaced my infatuation with dairy with a major reliance on expensive store-bought replacements like artificial, soy-based sour creams, cheeses, yogurts and milks. I was spending a lot of money on groceries and had a sneaking suspicion that the artificial dairy products weren’t so good for my health. So, I started figuring out ways that I could make my own yogurts, creams and dips that were made from real food, saved me money, and made me feel great… and that’s how my Done with Dairy Toolkit was born.

My Done with Dairy Toolkit is the ultimate (free) guide to living dairy-free. It’s loaded with dairy-free recipes, tips and recommendations on how to thrive on a dairy-free diet - love every meal, snack, and dessert you prepare yourself without feeling limited in your options.

To give you a little taste of the types of recipes you’ll find in the handy-dandy guide, I’ve created a nut-free, vegan cheese sauce for you!

Nut-free Vegan Cheese Sauce (17)-3

Nut-Free Vegan Sauce

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Add water, sesame seeds and lemon juice to the jug of your high powered blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes, until smooth. Set aside.


Add oil to a medium saucepan or frying pan and melt on medium-low.

Add nutritional yeast and stir with a fork until all yeast is covered in oil.


Pour in sesame seed mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.

Add in remaining ingredients: mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in your favorite cooked pasta or serve warm with veggies.


Feel free to replace the coconut oil with whatever oil you have on hand. The great thing about using coconut oil is that, when heated, the sauce is runny and perfect “cheese sauce” consistency. But when chilled, it is similar to a cheese spread. If another type of oil is used, this may not be the case.

Nut-free Vegan Cheese Sauce (7)

Are you rockin’ a dairy-free life or know someone who is?

Do you get overwhelmed with all of the substitutions you have to make to a recipe to make it dairy-free?


Author bio: Leanne Vogel is a holistic nutritionist who has chosen to celebrate her allergies, overcome her food restrictions, release her negative relationship with food and live freely. You can find her living out her journey as she documents her latest adventures on her blog,

Connect with LeanneÖ

Facebook: healthfulpursuit



Basics: Homemade Tomato Sauce

March 7, 2013




I’m not going to lie to you. It’s the last leg of winter and I am feeling as uninspired by food as is heavenly possible. I’m over root vegetables. And citrus cakes. And winter squash curry. At first, I was pretty bummed out by this realization. But in retrospect – it happens and it’s a good learning experience to look for inspiration in more than just pretty produce and cleverly flavored recipe combinations.

So, I am taking this lull as an opportunity to hone in on basics in the kitchen. If you’ve ever owned a food blog then you’ve probably noticed that there are certain standards that are expected of you. You’ve probably been at a gathering or in a kitchen with someone while they were cooking and everyone turned to you for advice. “Oh! Shelly owns a food blog – ask her!”. I mean, yes, I have an unhealthy obsession with food but that does not make me the best cook in the kitchen. Heck. The whole reason I started this blog was to push me to become a better cook.

Sometimes the goals off VV can get lost in the trends of fun flavor pairings and exotic ingredients. So, as mentioned, this is my opportunity to hone in on basics ranging from nut butter to standardizing a soup recipe to making pasta sauce. The Kitchn recently posted a few articles about recipes you should know by heart. Do you have a basic pizza dough recipe you always turn to? Or minestrone recipe? Or a mindless recipe work that you can just whip up without having to read through 3 pages full of instructions? Knowing a few recipes and basic kitchen skills will help you to be confident next time everyone turns to you in the kitchen.

Often times we get so used to the convenience of buying things at the store that we forget about how simple they really are. I was reminded of this when making vegetable stock and again with this pasta sauce. Did you know you can make your own pasta sauce in about the same amount of time it will take to boil that big pot of water and cook your pasta? Crazy! And you can probably make it with ingredients right from your pantry.

So, instead of tackling that daunting step-by-step on how to make your next elaborate meal…why don’t you take an evening to perfect your own tomato sauce recipe that can be replicated over and over again?



[Oh and side note. I’ve also been taking this time to do a little clean up around VV. I’ve put some energy into giving VV’s Facebook Page a small makeover and started re-doing my ‘Recipe’ page [which is a loooong ongoing process]. If your into random recipe suggestions, links to weird / funny / encouraging articles, and the occasional puppy pic – then head on over to Facebook and like VV. Okay, that was my oooonly and last plug-in for the day. But…to be fair, I don’t have any annoying advertisements flashing all over my pages so a quick suggestion won’t ruin it. Maybe? Hopefully? Please, don’t leave!.]

Basic Tomato Sauce

  •  1 16 ounce can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Italian herbs (basil, oregano, thyme – dried or fresh)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • red wine , optional




Step one: Chop and prepare your veggies / herbs.




Step 2: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add onions and saute until translucent (about five minutes). Add garlic and saute for another minute.




Step 3: Add wine (if using) and turn heat up to high. Let the wine simmer until almost all the liquid is evaporated. Next, add in the tomatoes and use your [clean hands] to break apart the tomatoes (I like my sauce chunky but it all depends on personal preference). Let simmer under the sauce is thick and has reached your desired consistency.

Serve over pasta, ravioli, gnocci, or on homemade pizza!


tomato sauce


Cilantro Couscous Salad with Roasted Carrots & Chickpeas

January 23, 2013

I have had a seriously absurd addiction to couscous lately. Ever since I received that tagine for Christmas, I’ve been throwing everything over the stuff. My go to for dinner is often times roasting whatever veggies / beans / tofu I have on hand with garlic then throwing it over some type of starch. It used to be rice or pasta but lately… it’s been all about the couscous. This has actually caused a battle in our house…Wyatt is a basmati rice lover and he has not happy about all this couscous trend. It’s been a fun challenge to see who can get to the simmering water first and what gets thrown in.

I ate this salad warm and also cold the next day (which was probably even more flavorful the couscous and veggies absorbed the dressing). This salad is a ridiculously delicious lunch and super portable (cannot wait to start bringing it on picnics). Feel free to substitute whatever veggies you have on hand and experiment! Root vegetables seem to be the appropriate option this time of year but I cannot wait to try a summer version with roasted tomatoes, corn, and basil.

The carrots are roasted in olive oil and honey which helps bring out the tiniest hint of sweet in the overall salad. The chickpeas are a great addition (warm or cold) and help to keep you feeling full for longer. Feel free to experiment with other beans you have on hand as well.




 Cilantro Couscous Salad with Roasted Carrots & Chickpeas

  • 4 carrots, sliced into chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons honey (or agave to make vegan)
  • 1 preserved lemon, skin only and sliced very thinly (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, cooked
  • 1 cup couscous

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 Tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
  • lemon juice from half a lemon
  • 1/8 cup olive oil (may need a little more to thin out the dressing)
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • dash of paprika
  • salt/pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combines the carrots, 3 garlic cloves (whole), half the olive oil, honey, and a dash of salt in a bowl. Spread out into a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until the carrots are browned and tender (I like mine with a little crunch but keep in for longer if you like them more roasted). Remove from oven and let cook slightly. Once cool enough to touch, squeeze out the garlic from the outer cloves and mix in with the carrots.

Make the dressing while carrots are roasting: In a small food processor, blend together half the cilantro (1/4 of a bunch), cumin seeds, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic clove, and paprika. Pulse until a smooth paste has formed. Add in more olive oil if it is too think. Season to taste and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan over medium. Add in the couscous and cook until toasted (about five minutes – stir frequently). Add in 1 cup of boiling water and simmer for about ten minutes or until the water is absorbed and the couscous is cooked all the way through.

Combine the couscous, carrots, chickpeas, preserved lemon, leftover cilantro and dressing. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy warm or stick in the fridge for a refreshing snack later.




Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

January 15, 2013


If close up pictures of french fries doesn’t make you want to ditch your soup dinner plans and run out to the nearest diner then I do not know what does. Sorry that I just ruined your diet with this photo. Don’t worry, you can start again tomorrow.

I grew up a firm believer that ketchup was for eggs and barbecue sauce was for french fries. Although I’ve grown out of lathering ketchup all over my morning scramble, I still cannot resist a big side of tangy barbecue sauce to accompany my french fries and tofu nuggets (yes, I am guilty – I do enjoy those processed fake chicken nuggets that you can find in you organic freezer section at Kroger).

Although I am known to still down the occasional fry or chicken-less nuggets, I do try avoid the processed and high-fructose packed condiments that fill our grocery stores. Have your REALLY looked on the back of that condiment jar in a while? It’s a rather upsetting sight. Instead, I usually whip up a batch our this barbecue sauce  and it usually holds me through all summer (and I participate in A LOT of grill outs every summer).

I decided to mix it up and try a new bbq sauce this time around. It’s definitely not the traditional bbq sauce you are used to (I’d suggest using this recipe if you are looking for that) but it’s a great sauce to use for special occasions. It’s a wonderful way to add new flavor to your condiments or to fancy up a side of fries at a party. The bourbon gives it the inevitable and sophisticated alcoholic aroma while the honey helps sweeten and tone it down.

I made this in my slow cooker so I could walk away and not worry about it. But it would probably be made just as easy in a saucepan by throwing in all your ingredients and letting it simmer down to your desired consistency (bet it wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes!).




Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce, optional
  • salt, to taste


Heat the olive oil over medium in a small skillet. Add onions and sauté until translucent (about five or so minutes). Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and turn the slow cooker on low. Let cook for 8 hours. If the sauce is too thin after 8 hours, remove the lid and let cook down to desired consistency.

Use an immersion blender to blend into a smooth sauce or leave the small chunks of onions (they are delicious!).

Serve right away or transfer to an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If you’d like to keep it longer, freeze it in ice cube trays for easy access to later.





Because Nobunny is both saucy and probably a bit alcoholic (yeah -  not really sure what that means either):

Harissa Paste

January 4, 2013

Happy Friday! Any big plans for the weekend? I didn’t start my work week until Wednesday so this week kind of feels like cheating…did I really earn weekend already? I could get use to this 3 day week thing! As for my weekend? The only thing I have planned to to make some homemade ravioli (now if I could only decide on ONE filling option…).

Continuing with my New Years resolution to eat less processed food, I decided to make my own harissa paste instead of heading to the specialty market to pick up a bottle of it. I needed some harissa paste because I received a beautiful Tagine for Christmas and have been cooking in it non-stop. It’s such an easy, delicious, and ridiculously healthy way to whip up a batch full of hearty veggies drenched in flavorful Middle Eastern or African spices.

So what exactly is harissa paste? It’s a condiment made out of chiles that will have varying ingredients depending on location. It’s been known to be used in African, Moroccan, and several other Middle Eastern countries. I added a few teaspoons of it to a butternut squash, raisin, and shallots combination I made the other day and it was delightful. I plan to use the leftover paste as a condiment on sandwiches (adding a little bit of honey bring the spice level down without compromising the wonderful flavor). I’ve also heard of peopling dipping fresh bread into it or adding it to cooked couscous.

This recipe can also be made with fresh chiles (just omit the soaking process). I am eager to grow some in my garden this summer so we can experiment more!





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Honey Pepper Vinaigrette

December 7, 2012

The word ‘vinaigrette’ always throws me off…I always have to look up how to spell it EVERY time I use it. You’d think that common kitchen words would be automatic in my vocabulary but damn, that is a weird one. Why in the word of it not just be spawned from vinegar and be vinegarrette? Am I crazy? I guess so.

Well, last week I had the November Wrap Up and one of my winter goals from that post was to start making my own salad dressing. What can I see? I am crazy about homemade staples (see homemade vegetable broth, DIY ketchup, DIY BBQ Sauce, etc etc etc). There is something so satisfying about knowing exactly what is going into your food and to realize how something is actually SUPPOSE to taste instead of what it’s additive infested counterpart has conditioned you to be use to. Take, for example, the homemade ketchup I posted about over a year ago (woah! Such a loooong time ago), you can actually taste that the sauce was made from tomatoes. Crazy, huh?

This dressing is wonderful. The honey adds the slightest bit of sweet to the otherwise savory salad dressing giving a wonderfully subtle and delicious overall flavor. I topped this over raw kale, carrots, pecans, and onions but I bet this would be great lathered over some grilled asparagus or roasted winter squash!



Honey Pepper Vinaigrette

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup vinegar (white, sherry, etc)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons mint, minced

Combine everything in a container with a lid and shake vigorously until everything has blended together. Store in the fridge for up to a week.


Spicy Orange Tofu

October 24, 2012

Orange tofu! The name sounds kind of weird but it’s a spin off of the famous Orange Chicken that you can get at your local Chinese take-out. Chinese take-out is something I ate a lot growing up so the cravings for it are more frequent than I’d like to admit. Although I can’t get it at most restaurants anymore (they only serve chicken versions), I can make my own! Which is probably for the best because all that MSG makes me soooo sleeepy anyways….zzzzzzz

This recipe is super similar to my General Tao Tofu recipe but with a different sauce. As I’ve mentioned before, I make that General Tao a lot.. so sometimes it’s nice to mix it up and this recipe was the perfect answer to that. It’s a bit sweeter but the srihacha gives a lingering kick to leave you feeling oh so satisfied.

So there it is! Recipe number 2 on this “Tofu Adventure” was a success [although...was this cheating since this method of preparing is already my go-to tofu cooking method? Ah, whatever. Let's count it as a win]. If you’re into tofu like I am, feel free to check out the first part of “Tofu Adventure” where I made some delicious Pesto Tofu Scramble!



Spicy Orange Tofu

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
  • 4 Tablespoons water
  • 1 pound of extra firm tofu (drained and cut into 1-inch cubes)
  • 3/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons canola/vegetable oil


  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of sriracha (more if you like it spicy!)


  • Rice
  • Steamed broccoli
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, for garnish


Start by making the sauce: Whisk together the vinegar, brown sugar, orange juice, ginger, garlic and sriracha. Taste test and add more sriracha is it needs more spice. Set aside.

In another small bowl, whisk together the egg replacer with 3 Tablespoons water. Dip tofu in this mixture until completely coated and then sprinkle 3/4 cup of the cornstarch over the tofu until it’s completely coated.

Next, In a large pan fry the tofu by added them to a medium heated pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in it. Flip the tofu after about 2 minutes or until it is browned on all sides. When done, turn heat down to medium-low and pour in the orange glaze. Fold the glaze into the tofu and cook down to desired consistency.

Serve warm over rice and with steamed broccoli. Top with sesame seeds and perhaps find some vegetarian crab rangoon to top it all off!


Baked Potato Chips with Avocado Dip

September 12, 2012

Oh man, it’s only Wednesday? This weekend needs to come sooner so I can spend time browsing the Farmer’s Market, drinking cocktails with my Ma, and making pumpkin cinnamon rolls.

However, with that being said, I am enjoying my week. I’ve been waking up early everyday to do Yoga before work which has been very energizing. And last night we went out to see one of our favorite musicians – Nobunny…which was both amusing and enjoyable. And I have a craft night scheduled tomorrow to finally made those billy buds I’d been thinking about for 4 months now. I must say…not too shabby of a week so far. How is your week coming?

Oh! And…before it becomes too much of old news and pointless, I have pictures that I was going to share from my “birthday hike” last Tuesday. Wyatt, Tuko, and I headed a bit north to check out a state park we had never been to. It was a bit muggy and buggy but none-the-less beautiful and quiet. In fact, we did not come across one person on our whole journey through the park…perhaps this place is a beautiful secret that many people around here have still not yet caught onto!

And we all know that after you go on a several mile hike that you need a post-hiking snack….right? Or is that just me? Anyhow, we whipped up these baked potato chips with avocado dip for an afternoon snack. And let me tell you….damn! I wish that I could spread this avocado dip on EVERYTHING. Think…guacamole but creamier. And dipping crispy, warm chips that were fresh from the oven was a perfect accompaniment.

Baked Potato Chips with Avocado Dip

Adapted from Food For My Family
  • 2 russet potatoes, thinly (and evenly) sliced
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • Salt/pepper

For the dipping sauce:

  • 1 avocado, peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh chives
  • 1 Tablespoon dill
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all the dipping sauce ingredients together. Place in fridge until ready to serve (the longer it sits the more time this will give the flavors to blend together!).

To make the fries: preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place the sliced potatoes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush both sides of the slices with oil and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in 15 minute segments and flip every 15 minutes. It took me about 40 minutes for all the potatoes but I checked frequently and removed the thinner ones that cooked faster.

Enjoy with yummy dipping sauce as a snack! Or enjoy alongside some Veggie Sloppy Joes, Southwestern Sliders, or Black Bean and Goat Cheese Quesedillas!

BBQ Eggplant Tacos with Peach Salsa and Fennel Sour Cream

August 22, 2012


I finally finished reading Plate to Pixel by Helene Dujardin. It was a super fast read with lots of informative tips about how to photography food. I suggest it for any food blogging looking to expand their photography skills. There are loads of great tips that I will be incorporating into my photo taking.


On another note – If your CSA box is anything similar to mine then you are probably overflowing with eggplant right now. I have officially exhausted roasting and sticking them on my lunch sandwich. As in attempt to branch out, I whipped up a big batch of eggplant tacos and they were delicious! I’ve used tofu to make bbq things before but eggplant was a whole new territory. It worked out great because unlike most vegetables, eggplant has that “meaty” texture to it that almost mimics pulled pork in this recipe.

Also, I ended up cooking the fennel a tiny bit to create a more mild flavor than that sharp licorice flavor raw fennel usually has. Feel free to skip this step if you are in absolute love with the taste of fresh fennel and want to just mix in pieces of it with the sour cream

Hope everyone’s week is going well! I am off to an evening of wining and dining with some label reps.



BBQ Eggplant with Peach Salsa and Fennel Sour Cream

Inspiration from Veggie with a Cause


For the Eggplant:

  • 3 medium eggplants, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ~1/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used my homemade sauce)
  • Salt


For the Peach Salsa:

  • 2 peaches, skins removed and diced
  • 1 small jalapeno, diced
  • 1/4 cup red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon honey


For the Fennel Sour Cream:

  • 1 Fennel bulk, diced
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • Tortillas


To make the eggplant: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the eggplants in two and evenly coat with olive oil and salt. Place in a single layer on baking sheet and cook for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and use a spoon to scoop out the insides. Discard the outside and massage (I used one of those little grill brushes) the bbq sauce into the eggplant filling. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes.



To make the salsa: While the eggplant is roasting, dice the peaches, jalapeno, pepper, garlic, and onion. Mix in a bowl and top with lime juice and honey. Stir until combined and stick in the fridge until ready to use.

For the sour cream: Discard the top parts of the fennel. Cut the fennel into small pieces and stick into a small saucepan. Drizzle olive oil over the top and saute over medium for about 4 minutes or until the fennel has softened. Remove from heat and let it come to room temperature. Mix it with the sour cream and stick in the fridge until ready to use.


Finally! Combine all ingredients into softened tortillas and munch down with a side of chips and guacamole (and maybe a beergarita!). Mmmmmm


Breakfast Pizza Part 2: Blueberry Lime Pizza

June 21, 2012

And here we are…onto Part 2 of Breakfast Pizza! This one is a sweet pizza with layers of sweet crust, lime flavored cream cheese, and topped with blueberry syrup. Delicious? I’d say so!

There is something very elegant about mixing blueberry and lemon…it just feels like it would be the flavor you order at an expensive bakery or a wedding reception. But Blueberry lime? That is a whole different story! That screams “playful” to me and I immediately conger up images of laying on the beach in Key West or enjoying a waterfall picnic. Maybe that is just my skewed since of association but I’m stickin’ with it!

Blueberry Lime Breakfast Pizza

Sweet crust:

  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 teaspoon yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1/8 cup oats
  • dash of cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg

Blueberry sauce:

  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 Tablespoon potato starch (you can use cornstarch, as well)
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 cup warm water

Lime Cream Cheese Spread:

  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 Tablespoon honey


In a small bowl, combine the warm water and yeast and let sit for about five minutes. In a mixing bowl with a bread hook attachment, toss in the ingredients for the crust and mix on low. Once combined, turn the speed up to medium and mix for about 5 minutes or until a gooey dough forms. Roll into a ball and place in a greased bowl; cover the bowl and let rise for about a half an hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Roll out the dough and place in a 9 inch round pan. Bake for ten minutes or until golden brown.

To make the lemon cream cheese: cream together all the ingredients with a mixer until smooth. set aside while you make the blueberry sauce so the flavors can mend together.

And for the blueberry sauce: In a small saucepan, add blueberries, honey, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. In a small bowl, combine the warm water and starch together before adding it to the simmering mixture. Then combine all and simmer for a minute or two or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat.

Once everything has cooled, assemble by spreading the cream cheese on top of the crust and then topping with the blueberry sauce.

Enjoy immediately with other yummy pizzas and  while relaxing on the porch!

Polenta and Veggie Lasagna

June 7, 2012

This was one of those recipes that spawned from me standing in front of the pantry going “what can I make for dinner with what I have?”. It’s a rather daunting question and there have been many failed meals that ended in last-minute pizza ordering because of this question. That however, was not the case this time around. Using the basic structure of what you could put in lasagna, I managed to whip up this twist on the famous Italian dish and may never look back.

‘Grits’ was always a bad word for me growing up. I would always have visions of white mush that was pushed out-of-the-way at ‘Crack Barrel’. Polenta, however, was a different story. Polenta meant slices of warm and crusty Italian deliciousness fried up on a skillet by itself or layered out under a pile of cheesy breakfast eggs.

I don’t know exactly how to pin my finger on it but there is something so amazingly satisfying about the comfort of vegetables cooked in olive oil and the savory flavoring of warm polenta. From the very first bite, this recipe pulled at my ‘comfort strings’ and left me craving for leftovers for the rest of the week.

Polenta and Veggie Lasagna

  • 1 cup dried polenta
  • 8 ounces chevre cheese (or goat cheese)
  • 1/8 cup Parmesan
  • 1/8 cup Gouda (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 5 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1- 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • handful of fresh basil or oregano, for garnish
  • salt/pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil and cooked the polenta for five minutes. Once cooked, pour onto a cookie sheet lined with tin foil (to create a “sheet” of polenta). Set aside while you prepare the veggies so that it can harden up (or stick in a 350 degree heated oven for about 10 minutes if you want your polenta a little crispy- this will also help it harden faster!).

In a large skillet (or saucepan), heat one tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add in the onions and cook for about five minutes or until they begin to soften. Add in the garlic and cook for another two minutes.

Next, add in the pepper, zucchini, celery, and carrots. Cook for about 15 minutes or until everything has softened up.

In a small bowl, whisk together the stock and tomato paste until well combined. Add to the cooking veggies and bring to simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the mixture has become very thick. Season with salt and pepper.

To assemble: Grease the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch pan. Cut the polenta in half and place a sheet of it snuggly in the bottom of the pan. Using half the goat cheese/chevre, spread a layer of it on top of the polenta. Next, layer on half of the veggie mixture. Repeat with another layer of polenta, chevre, and veggies. Finally, top with gouda, parmesan and fresh basil/oregano.

Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until everything is heated throughout.

Serve warm with garlic bread or by itself! Enjoy while watching an episode of ‘Mad Men’ or listening to your favorite David Bowie album.

PS You should consider following me on Facebook for updates about new posts! I am currently trying to branch out with my social network skills!

Dinner Picnic Part 2: Southwestern Veggie Sliders with Avocado Mayo

June 1, 2012

Continuing on with our discussion from Dinner Picnic Part 1, let’s chat about the main course! I don’t know about you guys but for me summer means sangria, grill outs, picnics, and veggie burgers. I love Morningstar’s Black Bean Burgers when I am in a hurry but I find too much processed food to be a big no-no for my diet. This has led me to experimenting loads with veggie burgers and often times ending up with negative outcomes. I mean, I understand what kind of veggie combination I enjoy but getting the correct consistency with a veggie patty is wayyyy harder than you’d think! I’ve made sweet potato burgers which where so mushy that I should have served them as mashed potatoes and I’ve made really damn good chickpea burgers (but I had to have them sit in the fridge overnight to firm up – very time consuming). After many discouraging endeavors, I discovered the perfect ratio between vegetables, beans, and the ingredients that mend everything together (with a bit of help from this recipe).

These sliders are going to be my new go-to burgers when it comes to grilling. Not only is the patty absolutely delicious and stays together firmly, but the avocado mayo is amazing lathered on it them (and on pretty much everything else you happen to be serving!).

Southwestern Veggie Sliders with Avocado Mayo

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drain and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup salsa OR salsa verde
  • olive oil, for cooking
  • 12 Hawaiian rolls
  • pepper jack cheese, sliced

For the avocado mayo:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt/pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 or so minutes or until they start to soften. Add the bell pepper and saute for another two or so minutes.

Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl. Add the corn, carrot, black beans, bread crumbs, and cornmeal. Fold in salsa until everything is combined.

Divide the mixture into 12 equal parts and form patties. Heat another 2 Tablespoons of olive over medium heat and cook each side of the patty for about (depending on how hot your skillet gets) 2 minutes on each side.

To make the sauce: mash together the avocado, mayo, garlic, and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

To assemble: Slice each roll in half. Lather the avocado mayo on the bottom with a slice of cheese and then stick the patty on. Feel free to top with tomatoes, lettuce, or whatever else you’d like. Enjoy warm and on a beautiful porch or blanket outside!

PS Or feel free to cook these on the grill outside as well!

Saucy Saturdays: Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

May 26, 2012

And Saucy Saturdays is back! After a three-week hiatus because of our little road trip to Arizona (and our lake trip last weekend), I refused to let another busy weekend get in my way! To be honest, I am actually probably on my way to Northwest Indiana as you read this post but knew I should write it ahead of time or else it would never happen.

I don’t know about where you live but it’s managed to get hot and muggy (suppose to hit the 100′s here – helloooo….May?) so I thought something light would hit the spot!

Strawberries are also popping up everywhere! Wyatt has a bunch of wild strawberries (they are so little and adorable!) growing in his backyard (AKA Tuko’s playground). Nothing like fresh strawberries (particularly when they are in season) and one of my all time favorite salads is a simple spinach salad with pecans, strawberries, and balsamic.

This sauce is super simple and great to drizzle on top of a spinach salad or just enjoy on top of some fresh fruit!

Strawberry Balsamic Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Dash of Salt/Pepper

Whisk together in a sealable jar and VIOLA! Fresh and homemade dressing for all your fruit and green eating needs!

Have a fantastic Memorial Day weekend!


Saucy Saturdays: Sweet Pepper Aoili

April 28, 2012

To continue on with our ‘Saucy Saturdays’, I’ve decided to make a dressing that is perfect both as a dip or lathered on veggie sandwiches. Aioli is just really a fancy word for ‘flavored mayo’ but it really does bring new meaning to mayonnaise. I never have been a big mayonnaise fan until I discovered garlic aioli to dip onion rings in or spicy aioli to dip carrots into.

This dip was ridiculously easy to make and I was hoping to save it for upcoming lunch sandwiches this week but I already ate half of it with wheat thins! I used some mini sweet peppers I had lying around but feel free to use regular sweet peppers instead (I’d say use two). This sauce would be really great on grilled burgers or hot dogs and I can only imagine that this will be made again and again this summer.

  • 6 – 7 small sweet peppers, any color (I stuck with red so that the end product would be a solid color)
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • dash of salt/pepper

First, roast the peppers: Preheat the oven to 475 degrees. Place bell peppers on a foil lined baking sheet and brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil onto the peppers. Roast for 10 minutes on each side (or until each side is very browned). Place in a plastic bag for 5 minutes and then remove skins.

Add the peppers along with the rest of the olive oil, mayo, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper to a small food processor (or blender). Pulse until everything is well incorporated (about five minutes). Season more with salt/pepper.

Serve with french fries, crackers, vegetables, on sandwiches, or whatever you have lying around in your fridge that needs a layer of sauce on it!

a few ideas of what to dip into it.

Pizza Party: BBQ Tempeh Pizza vs. Creamy Purple Potato Pizza

April 25, 2012

I live about two blocks from my favorite house in Bloomington. This house is actually a HUGE old historic home that was converted into 4 businesses. The business in the basement is a coffee shop that is just too quirky not to love; I probably owe my degree to this place since it gave me a place to actually enjoy going to when I had to write awful papers for classes. Soma is filled with old TV-turned-fish tanks, mannequin’s dressed as 80′s drag queens, and map murals all over the walls. I find all of it’s charm to be very inspiring and often times write these blog posts there to get the juices flowing!

Anyways, in the “attic” is a very awesome consignment shop that has shelves and shelves of cute vintage clothes. And next to that is a stone shop that sells adorable jewelry and gems. Lastly, there is a burrito shop called ‘Laughing Planet’. This place only serves local meat and everything is organic. On top of these healthy ingredients, they always come up with the most creative combination for burritos. For example, for Thanksgiving they have a burrito that is filled with mashed potatoes, corn, vegan gravy, turkey or tempeh, green beans, and served with a cranberry salsa. Sounds weird…which it is but also surprisingly delicious.

Oh yeah, the point of this story? I was eating lunch there last week with Kelsey and we decided to try their special of the week which was a ‘grill out’ themed burrito. It was filled with sweet potatoes, kale, corn, bbq tofu, and black beans. Absolutely delicious. And this burrito was the first thing I thought of when I realized how much homemade bbq we had leftover from Kristin and I’s cooking adventure the other night.

I wanted to do something besides Mexican since we just made tacos the night before so I decided to try to turn it into a pizza! This, for some reason, led to Wyatt wanting to compete with my pizza idea and make it into a competition.  So off we went to Bloomingfoods and he managed to snatch up some beautiful purple potatoes and locally made Alfredo sauce for his pie.

Both the pizzas turned out delicious. I have to give Wyatt some credit for coming up with such a delicious recipe on a whim (and one that definitely photographed better). Neither of us would budge on which pizza was better so you guys will just have to whip these pizzas up and decide for yourselves!

Pizza Dough

  • 2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups of flour
  • corn meal, for dusting

In a mixer with a dough hook (or a large mixing bowl if you don’t have a mixer), combine the yeast, sugar, and water and let sit for 10 minutes (this gives the yeast time to start reacting).

Next, add in the salt and olive oil. Turn the mixer in low and start adding the flour a half a cup at a time (or use your hands to mix in the flour). Start with 3 and a half cups of flour but add more if the dough is still too sticky that it’s not turning into a ball. Mix on high for five minutes.

Place in a oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for about an hour or so.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Dust your surface with cornmeal and use a rolling pin to roll out two pizza crusts with this dough. Place on an oiled cooking sheet and set aside while you prepare the toppings

BBQ Tempeh Pizza

  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 4 oz tempeh, cut into small pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup kale, chopped
  • 1/4 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 sweet potato, diced
  • 1 cup Gouda, shredded

Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium. Add the tempeh and saute for about five minutes. Mix in 1/4 cup of bbq sauce and cook for about a minute. Remove from heat.

Bring a large pot to a boil. Boil the sweet potato chunks for about five minutes or until they become a little soft (cooking time will depend on how big or little you made the chunks – make sure you don’t let them get mushy though!).

Lather the rest of the bbq sauce on the pizza. Top with the tempeh, kale, frozen corn, sweet potato, and gouda. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the cheese has browned.

Creamy Potato Pizza

  • 1/2 cup Alfredo sauce
  • 3 ounces of Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup cheddar, shredded
  • 1/2 Tablespoon dried Dill
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Dash of fresh pepper

Lather Alfredo sauce on top of dough. Then top pizza with everything else and stick in the oven for 15 minutes or until cheese has browned.

Saucy Saturdays: DIY Barbecue Sauce

April 21, 2012

I’ve been wanting to start ‘Saucy Saturdays’ for while now because I am a veggie sandwich nut. I eat one for lunch everyday and my pooooor poooor boyfriend has to deal with the same thing to eat all the time. I try to mix it up with different veggies, bread, and condiments but I feel like we’ve tried every bread in Bloomington and I’m weary about the hidden calories (and preservatives) in a lot of condiments. So, as a goal for this summer, I am going to try to make a new sauce/dressing every week to bring variety of flavors to my fresh salad and sandwiches. We shall see how long I keep this up but I am excited to try to knock off another healthy goal on my summer list.

Anyways, I begin with the first sauce as a homemade version of my absolutely favorite type of  sauce ever: BBQ! There is something about bbq that just compliments so many things…the fact that it’s tangy and can be sweet or spicy just counteracts all those hardy grilled goods. This version is exceptionally tangy with a subtle kick of sweet.

I have a new blog (as a side project to this one, of course!) on the horizon that I am collaborating on with my friend Kristin. We had a meeting last night which actually just turned into us making this barbecue to lather all over Mexican style tempeh tacos. Mmmmm, Not only did the tacos turn out amazing but this recipe made enough sauce for us both to walk away with about 4 cups each. So you are warned…this sauce makes a lot and be prepared to be cooking with it for weeks after! Or whip this up when you have a big grill out coming up to serve to your guests. Nothing is better than fresh condiments on grilled goods!


DIY Barbecue Sauce

Adapted from Ina Garten’s recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • I can of tomato paste, 6 ounces
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 Tablespoons ground cumin

In a large saucepan, heat the vegetable oil over low and add the onions and garlic. Cook for ten minutes or until the onions are translucent.

While those are cooking, mix together all the rest of the ingredients in a bowl. Add the mixture to the onions when they are ready and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes.

Lather all over tacos, pizzas, veggie burgers, and everything else.

Store in the fridge if using within a couple of weeks or freeze some for future use (or give some away to your amazing Ma or grumpy neighbor or whoever’s day you are trying to make).