Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Posted on: December 12, 2012

So I curated (doesn’t that sound so much more important than planned?!) 90 percent of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner menu this year. The only thing I did not pick out was the Wild Rice Stuffing which my aunt made. And it was probably my favorite thing that was served that day. I don’t really have much experience with wild rice and I was blown away by the added texture it gave to the stuffing.

And so this experience made we realize I want more wild rice in my life which led to me making these stuffed squashes. And let me tell you….this stuffed acorn were great but I probably ended up eating 50% of the wild rice mixture before I could even get around to sticking  it in the acorns. It was chewy and savory and sweet (thanks to the maple syrup!) and oh so addicting. I’m already dreaming of quick winter salads that are really just a healthy (throw the term ‘salad’ at the end of anything and it becomes guilt-free) way to talking about this wild rice mixture!

 

 

Anyhow, this is great as a side dish or even as a main vegetarian entree at your next dinner party (which, according to The Kitchn, are dead these days)!

 

 

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serve 2 as a side. Adapted from My Daily Morsel
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced in half
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (I used my own from this recipe)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit), chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • Juice from half an orange
  • salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet and place squash cut side down. Cover the squash with tin foil and roast for 40 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

In the meantime, prepare the inside. Heat oil over medium in a large saucepan. Add onions and saute until soft (about five minutes). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, wild rice, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the stock has evaporated/ been absorbed (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Remove from heat and fold in the pecans, scallions, cherries, maple syrup, and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Once the acorn squash is finished cooking, stuff with the wild rice mixture and enjoy warm!

 

 

Peppermint Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread

Posted on: December 11, 2012

We put our tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving but my Christmas spirit didn’t really kick in until I whipped up these cookies. There is something so calming about waking up on a sunny, snowy day and hiding from the cold in your warm kitchen with the lingering smell of butter cookies. We haven’t had any snow yet here but the weather was certainly chilly enough for me to stay inside and bake this past weekend.

We had a few friends over on Sunday night to watch ‘Christmas Vacation’ and I made these cookies to go with it. Nothing like a Christmas comedy and overloading on sugar to get you ready for the holidays! The movie put me in the spirit and I am now ready to Christmas shop, wrap gifts, and drink peppermint lattes. Hmmm… if only my family would tell me what they want already….

 

 

Peppermint Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread Cookies

  • 2 sticks of butter (1 cup), divided & at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 box of peppermint candy canes, unwrapped and crushed
  • 8 ounces of white chocolate

Start by browning half (one stick) of the butter. Place butter in a small saucepan over low heat and let cook until small brown flakes form. Stir often so the bubbles don’t bubble over the pan or so that it doesn’t burn. Once the butter has browned, immediately pour it into a glass cup and let cool completely.

Beat together the butter (browned and regular) and the brown sugar. Next, add in the flour and salt and continue to beat until a thick ball of dough forms. Wrap dough (with parchment, wax paper, etc) and let chill for at least 30 minutes (this will help keep the dough together).

Once chilled, transfer dough to a floured surface and roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Use a biscuit cutter or the top of a round glass to cut out circular shapes. Transfer to a greased cookie sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the cookies in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes while the oven preheats (this will help the cookies keep their shape). Cook cookies for 15 minutes or until they are golden brown around edged. Let cool completely.

Crush the peppermint candy canes anyway you see fit. I put mine in a ziploc bag and went to town using a meat tenderizer (also known as the kitchen hammer!) until they were in tiny pieces.

Melt the white chocolate in either your microwave or over a double boiler. I don’t have a microwave so I used the double boiler method which consisted using one saucepan inside the other and letting water simmer under the first pot while I constantly stirred the white chocolate over it until melted (this was a terrible explanation. If it is your first time using a double boiler, use this as a reference). Once melted, dip half the cookie into the chocolate and then roll in the peppermint chunks. Place on wax paper (this prevents sticking) and repeat with the rest of the cookies. Let cookies chill in fridge for 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.

Enjoy with a peppermint latte or some eggnog and baileys!

DIY Kitchen Article /// New Chickpea Quaterly

Posted on: December 10, 2012

 

 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday. I have some exciting news! The preview winter issue of Chickpea Quarterly is finally done and viewable online! I have an extensive article in it on how to stock your kitchen with homemade staples. My article has recipes for how to make homemade almond milk, vanilla extract, and vegetable broth so hop on over to check it out. Oh, and there are some other AMAZING recipes for cookies, winter stews, holiday gifts, and so much more! Plus, the photography is oh so gorgeous and inspiring.

Okay, enough ranting about how much I love Chickpea. But honestly, it’s a beautiful magazine and I love being a part of it. Okay, done (for real this time). I’ll be back tomorrow with a new and delicious recipe for you!

 

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: December 8, 2012

Oh man, I have not been this excited for a free weekend in a long time. This week was super exhausting and I can not wait to spend today getting my life back in order and (of course) cooking up some delicious things in the kitchen.

Here are a few links I found inspiring this week…

 

1. Making some holiday treats for friends? Here are some adorable gift tags to jazz them up!

2. I’ve been intrigued by making cocktails lately and am working on making some bar staples. Has anyone had any experience with making homemade bitters? I am thinking about trying out these Fig Orange bitters? What about homemade Maraschino Cherries.

3. I stumbled upon this super comprehensive guide to doing your own screen printing. New winter project? Why not?!

4. VV was on TheKitchn again (YAY!) this week. The link is here (along with several other tasty recipes!) if you want to check it out.

5. Love the style of this recipe card on how to make Midnight Milk Punch!

6. Scared you might eat all that Trader Joe’s cookie butter with a spoon the night you get it? Turn it into cookies and share with all your friends!

7. Drank all the alcohol in your house during that little get together you had last Friday? Here is a great article on substituting when recipes call for alcohol!

 

Well, I’m off to start my day. Going to take this cold/wet weather as a sign to be productive. Christmas shopping time? I think so! Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend.

Honey Pepper Vinaigrette

Posted on: 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.

 

Cheddar Corn Biscuits

Posted on: December 5, 2012

How has your week been going? Mine has been fine but I know it’s been a little quite around here. I’ve done a bit of traveling this week and have more to go which is a nice change of pace but can also be exhausting. It’s the type of exhausting that makes me want to just curl up on the couch with my leftover chili and watch Veronica Mars (corniest 90s show ever but we are addicted) all night. Sorry VV, you take up too much energy for me right now.

But I promised and I usually like to be a girl of my word. So here I am! And as I promised, here is the buttery and addictive biscuit recipe that complaints that healthy Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili recipe perfectly. If you missed the chili recipe, it’s featured on The Kitchn today so hop on over and check it out!

We even used leftover biscuits to make biscuits and gravy with Wyatt’s favorite Sage Gravy! Mmmmm. And I have a feeling that breakfast sandwiches are in our very VERY near future. Breakfast for dinner? Well hello evening plans!

 

 

Cheddar Corn Biscuits

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup frozen corn (or fresh!)
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cubed
  • 1 cup buttermilk (I made my own out of the milk I had on hand)

Grease a baking sheet (it may take 2 sheets depending on how thick you make the biscuits). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, black pepper, baking powder, and baking soda. Next, add in the butter and use your hands to incorporate the butter into the dough until it resembles a coarse meal.

Next, fold in the cheese, onions, and corn. Finally, add the buttermilk and mix until just combined (don’t over mix or the dough will become tough).

Transfer dough to a slightly floured surface and roll out to about an inch thick (more or less depending on how you like your biscuits) and use a cookie cutter or glass to circle cut outs. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and repeat with the rest of the dough.

Stick the cookie sheet (with the prepared dough) into the fridge and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Let the biscuits chill while it is preheating because the cold butter will help to make the biscuits flakier.

Bake for about 25 minutes (mine took 30 but my oven ALWAYS takes longer than what a recipe recommends so check often).

Serve warm with soup or gravy or by themselves with a little butter!

 

 

Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili

Posted on: December 3, 2012

 

Morning, Morning. Can you believe it is already December? It sure does not feel like it. I don’t know about where you live but I’m located in the Midwest and we are suppose to have some 70 degree weather today (such a weird introduction to winter…). Not that I’m complaining but I would have considered making something a little more…light and refreshing had I known it was going to be so warm. Ah well, this chili is oh so delicious regardless of the temperature.

I’m not going to lie. I am really proud of this recipe. It’s packed with so much nutrients I can hardly wrap my head around it. We are talking loads of protein, fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium, vitamin A, etc etc etc. The list goes on and if you make the beans from scratch… this chili is packed full of fresh and non-processed foods as well. I’ve never felt soooo good about gobbling down a bowl of food. And not to mention, it is absolutely delicious. The wheat berries give it slight chewy texture while the cocoa powder (learned that trick thanks to a very good friend of mine) bring a new complexity to the flavor.

Oh and don’t worry! If my over zealous attitude towards super healthy eating is freaking you out – I made some oh so irresistible Corn Cheddar biscuits to go with packed full of two sticks of butter and loads of gooey cheese [recipe on that to follow tomorrow!]

This recipe is vegan (unless you add cheese and sour cream) and makes about six serving. You could even double the recipe and plan to have leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.

 

 

Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili

adapted from Eating Well
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups black beans, cooked (I used dried but feel free to use canned)
  • 1 24 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries, cooked*
  • Juice of 1 lime

 

  • Avocado, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • cilantro for garnish, optional

Heat olive oil over medium in a large pot. Add in the onion, carrots, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until all the vegetables has softened. Next, add in the tomatoes, broth, black beans, and cocoa powder. Bring the chili to a bowl, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add wheat berries and let cook for another two minutes.

Remove from heat and squeeze in lime juice. Serve with garnish options (avocado, sour cream cilantro, plain yogurt, etc).

*To cook 1 1/2 cups of Wheatberries: Rinse 3/4 cup of berries and letting them simmer for 45 minutes or until softened.

 

 

 

 

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: December 1, 2012

Okay, let’s try something different. So I’m a visual person and there is a good chance that you are too. I resisted using photos in my Searchable Saturday’s posts for a long time because 1. I feel uneasy about using other people’s work and like to try to keep it strictly original around VV and 2. I am very particular about all the photos being uniform and the same size, shape, etc.

But you know what? Screw it. There are some REALLY gorgeous photos from the links this week and I’m going to show them off.

1. Already prepping for the Holidays? Me too! Click here are some beautiful (and free!) printable gift tags for all your holiday gifts!

 

 

2. I call myself a baker but have never made a pie with a lattice top. Shameful? Probably. Perhaps this tutorial is just what I need to push my baking boundaries….

 

 

3. This week I have been enormously inspired by Cannelle et Vanille’s food photography. As I continue the journey to find my aesthetic and grow my photography, I’ve noticed (thanks to Pinterest) that I am drawn to “busy” food photography overloaded with colors, shapes, and textures.

4. I’ve been craving some DIY projects in my life. Adding making this geometric garland to my weekend goals!

5. Don’t know the difference between bread and pastry flour? Check out this great quick flour reference for all your flour needs!

Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! I’m off to pick up my winter CSA box…

November Wrap Up

Posted on: November 30, 2012

…And there goes another month. Isn’t it crazy how fast time seems to be going by? Thanksgiving has come and gone, the Christmas shopping is underway, and holiday cookies are on the mind. How about a quick recap of the past month before we jump into cookie cutters, green/red sprinkles, and chocolate covered everything?

 

Some favorite highlights from the past month:

     

1. Rosemary Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread – Fresh bread and a hearty vegetable soup. Cannot think of a better way to bring in the cold evenings.

2. Cranberry Mojito – Festive and delicious! This drink was the perfect starter at our Friendsgiving party.

3. Pumpkin Dog Biscuits – Tuko turned 1 so I had to spoil the crap out of him with homemade biscuits and a new sweater. Believe me, I will be making these again very soon for Christmas gifts for all the adorable pups in my life.

4. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones – they were an extra amazing breakfast treat! The flavor was rich and complex with a flaky texture that was pretty much irresistible!

 

And that sums it up!

 

Moving forward… here are a few winter goals I am planning to tackle in the dark, cold months ahead:

1. Make homemade ricotta cheese (this has been on my list forever and I am going to do it this time!)

2. Get into a morning yoga routine

3. Make more homemade salad dressings

4. Work on my photography skills // work on lighting

5. Learn basic CSS (or at least enough to get my logo up in that corner where the V is!!)

6. Get into Twitter

7. Make homemade cleaning supplies

 

Okay, that is a start. Should keep me busy for awhile [I hope]. What you are hoping to accomplish this winter?

 

Boozy Stout Brownies

Posted on: November 28, 2012

I was soooo excited to receive the newest edition of Chickpea Magazine in the mail last week that I instantly had the urge to start cooking out of it. I could have chose the healthy Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash or the hearty Butternut Squash Fennel Lasagna but instead I was drawn to these Boozy Stout Brownies. Alcohol and chocolate? Go figure.

These vegan gems were extra rich and gooey. I’d suggest munching down on these with a big glass of Homemade Soy Milk and plan on sharing them with your friends. These are perfect for that Holiday vegan potluck coming up or to bring in to work (Am I the only one who works with handful of vegans? I bet not!).

 

 

Boozy Stout Brownies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola or coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup stout beer
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, yogurt, and beer. Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Fold dry into wet until a thick batter has formed. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and cook for 30 minutes or until the center has set.

Let cool slightly and serve warm!

 

 

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

Posted on: November 26, 2012

Did everyone [From the US] have a wonderful long weekend? Are you all busy Cyber Monday shopping for the best holiday deals instead of working right now? Don’t worry. I won’t tell! I would be as well but I spent all my money on Black Friday (yup – I’m one of those that goes out at Midnight to save myself 50 bucks). Ah well. It’s all part of the adventure, right?

Oh! Please disregard the shamble that is my ‘recipes’ page right now. It’s in the process of being re-vamped and should hopefully be back to normal tomorrow. Cool? Cool and thanks for being so patient!

Anyhow, wanna talk hummus? Remember when I made that amazing Spicy Jalapeno Corn Hummus? Damn, that stuff was sooooooo good. Well, I’m back with more funky flavors and this one might take the cake. The soft sweet potatoes create the perfect texture for a creamy and flavorful dip. Seriously, this stuff is crazy good. And smother it on top of those homemade Sesame and Poppyseed Crackers and you are golden!

Impress your guests at your next holiday party with not only homemade crackers but homemade dip as well! Or save it all for yourself….that is what I did.

 

 

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I made mine from dried beans but feel free to use canned)
  • 4 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (you may need more if the hummus comes out thick)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lower to medium low and add in the sweet potatoes. Cook until softened (about 10 to 15 minutes). Strain and let cool.

In a large blender or with a food processor, blend all the ingredients together until a desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more olive oil if dry, more sriracha if not spicy enough for you, or more lemon juice to bring out the flavors more.

Serve with homemade crackers!

 

 

 

Sesame & Poppyseed Crackers

Posted on: November 23, 2012

…And it’s over. All the planning, cooking, over-eating, and family time is done. Now…time for a detox. Haha, Just kidding! Time to start planning for December holidays!

These crackers are awesome with some homemade hummus (sweet potato hummus recipe to follow soon!), baba ganoush or with that leftover brie from Thanksgiving (who are we kidding…who ever has leftover brie?!).

 

 

Anyhow, these make several dozen so plan to serve them at a holiday party (Ugly Sweater party, anyone?) or nibble away at them slowly as long as they are stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Easy, right?

Also, feel free to get creative with the seed combinations. I used Sesame and Poppy because that is what I had on hand but feel free to use all sesame or flaxseed or sunflower…whatever you are feeling!

 

 

Sesame & Poppyseed Crackers

adapted from Salty Snacks
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Combine the flour, seeds, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the water and olive oil. Fold dry ingredient into wet until combined (don’t overmix or it’ll become tough!)

 

 

Roll out in sections (I divided my dough into 4 parts) using either a rolling pin or your pasta maker. If using rolling pin, I would just roll as thin as possible or until desired thickness. Cut squares out of the dough using a cookie cutter and move prepared squares to the baking sheets.

 

Working in batches, cook for 12 minutes or until browned and crisp. As this round is baking, prepare more crackers with the rest of your dough. Repeat until all the dough has been prepared and cooked.

Let cool completely, serve with dips, or transfer to an airtight container for up to two weeks.

 

Cranberry Mojito

Posted on: November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Do you have the Tofurkey prepped, table set, and diagram of the seating chart made? Then let’s celebrate the calm before the store with a drink, shall we?

I made this cocktail for our Friendsgiving Potluck over the weekend and as I was sipping on it and watching the mint / cranberries swirl around in my glass…I couldn’t help but feel like this would have been even more appropriate for a Christmas gathering. My thought process was fresh cranberries —> cranberry sauce —> Thanksgiving. Boom! Cranberries are served at Thanksgiving and therefore this a great Thanksgiving drink (which, don’t get me wrong, was a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving drink). But the red [cranberries] and green [mint] staring back at me in my glass was filling my head with thoughts of pine trees, sugar cookies, and candy canes.

So let’s agree that this is a great SEASONAL drink and would be smashing at any of your chilly weathered events!

 

 

Cranberry Mojito

adapted from We Are Not Martha
  • White Rum
  • Ice
  • Seltzer Water
  • Lemons
  • Mint leaves

 

For the cranberry simple syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (+ more for garnish)

 

To make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cranberries. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low. Let simmer for about ten minutes and remove from heat. Let cool completely and then strain (OR for a more intense flavor move to the fridge for a few hours or overnight before straining).

To make the cocktail: Mix 1 ounce of rum, 1 ounce of cranberry simple syrup, and a splash of lemon juice. Fill the remaining space in your glass with seltzer water and ice. Garnish with mint leaves and cranberries.

 

Tuko Turns 1 // Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Posted on: November 20, 2012

Woah, time has really flown fast since I posted about Tuko turning 6 months. Since then, we’ve moved into a new house, I graduated from college, and Wyatt started a new full time job. Also, I should mention that Tuko has doubled (if not tripled) in size since then. And he just keeps growing!

For his birthday, we got him a cute little American Apparel sweater and made him some homemade dog biscuits. Spoiled little thing.

 

 

These dog biscuits are packed full of pumpkin and peanut butter. Peanut butter is his favorite…in fact he thinks it is exclusively his food. I cannot pull the stuff out of the cabinet without him pawing at me to get a spoonful (again, spoiled little thing).

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

adapted slightly from A Beautiful Mess
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup orangic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a thick dough forms. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll out onto a floured surface (roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick) and use cookie cutters to make desired shape. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until the treats are golden on top.

Shower your dog with warm treats and then store the rest in an airtight container for up to a week.

Parker House Dinner Rolls

Posted on: November 19, 2012

Morning, Morning! Are you ready for this week? It’s Monday but it feels like it’s Wednesday since most of us (US folks) have Thursday and Friday off. So really…it’s already hump day! Yay!

Anyhow, Wyatt and I hosted a wonderful “Friendsgiving” potluck over the weekend. I was amazed and overwhelmed by all the delicious food that everyone brought! We are already having turkey (well…Wyatt is. I’m holding off for my Tofurkey on Thursday) leftovers and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet! I will admit, having a Thanksgiving celebration a week early did kind of throw me off…I woke up Sunday ready to put on my favorite Elvis Christmas vinyl and wanting to put the Christmas tree up.

We made lots and lots and lots of food for the potluck. First up – Parker House Rolls. I’ve heard a lot about these things little bundles of dough – from instagram pictures of people cradling them (kind of weird) to the Joy The Baker podcast last week…seems like these are a MUST for the Thanksgiving table. After much research (thanks, Wikipedia), I discovered that they were first invented in Boston at the Parker House Hotel and traditionally are served folded in half. I went simple with mine (no folding, thanks) and they were melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Soft, salty, and begging to be lathered in gravy.

 

 

Parker House Rolls

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed (to about 100 degrees)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon of active dry yeast
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter + 4 more tablespoons (all of it should be melted)
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

 

In a large mixer with a dough hook, combine the warmed milk and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes so that the yeast can activate and foam. Next, add in the flour, butter, salt, and sugar. Turn mixture on low until everything is combined and then increase speed to medium high. Let mix for about ten minutes or until the dough is very soft.

Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for one hour (or if making the dough ahead of time – let rise for an hour and then put in the fridge overnight. The next morning, bring dough back to room temperature before continuing with the recipe).

Next, grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan and move the dough onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for a minute or until all the extra air is released. Divide the dough into 24 balls and place in the prepared baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise for another hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and Brush rolls with 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Brush with remaining butter and a little bit of salt.

Serve warm with gravy or butter or jam or all three!

 

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: November 17, 2012

 

Good Morning! Do you have big weekend plans? We are hosting a Friendsgiving this evening so I am planning to spend the rest of the day cooking, baking, photography, and cleaning [when did I become so domesticated?]. Anyhow, here are a few links I found to get my creativity going this week:

1. I have been developing a mood board to better try to understand what VV’s photography aesthetic should be. I found this beautiful food photography blog while doing some research for the board this week. So gorgeous!

2. Make your own flavored coffee? I’m in.

3. Vegetarians live, on average, 8 years longer than meat eaters? I’ll take that!

4. Freckled Mag is my new favorite online magazine. The photography is stunning and the art is beautiful. Very inspiring!

5. An informative (and not overwhelming!) intro to Illustrator. Love it!

6. Finally! I super easy widget for instragram that updates the feed as you post.

7. VV was on TheKitchn this week! How cool is that?!

8. This Dulce Delight video!! Everything from the bright colors to the beautiful typography to that accent! So good!

 

For more inspirational links, check out VV on Pinterest!

 

Lake Day in November

Posted on: November 16, 2012

The recipe posts have dwindled to only a few a week since the summer because the lack of daylight is really cutting into my ability to photograph everything I create/munch down on. However, have no fear because we are hosting a Friendsgiving tomorrow so I plan to spend the whole day in the kitchen cooking (and hopefully photographing!).

Until then….

Last weekend we had a random spell of 70 degree weather which meant we HAD to adventure out to the lake one last time before the winter consumed us. Here are a few snapshots from our lake picnic:

VV’s Thanksgiving Suggestions

Posted on: November 15, 2012

Okay. So I’m not gonna lie. I am starting to get REALLY excited about Thanksgiving. Not only does it mean a  5 day weekend (!!!) but also implies copious amounts of amazing food. My mother emailed me the final menu for the big day this morning and now all I can think about is mushroom gravy, purple mashed potatoes, and Cappuccino chocolate cheesecake. I helped curate the menu (with recipes from some of my favorite blogs like Love & Lemons, SpoonForkBacon, and JoyTheBaker) and cannot wait to spend an entire day cooking in the kitchen.

Anyhow, while my spirits are high on Tofurkey, I thought I’d share a few VV recipes that would be perfect for your big Thanksgiving day!

 

     

1. Oatmeal Molasses Rolls – Soft, gooey, and irresistible when fresh out of the oven

2. Glazed Honey Mustard Brusses Sprouts - tangy and crunchy will help bring variety to your meal

3. Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Pops – perfect little appetizer when entertaining guests! Super mobile, bite size, and delicious!

4. Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary - cooking with wine always makes things fancier, right? And these colorful carrots will for sure stick out on your holiday table!

 

 

Also, if you feel like adventuring outside of VV, I highly recommend checking out some of these thanksgiving recipes:

Collard Greens & Blue Cheese Salad (The Healthy Foodie)

Honeycrisp Bourbon Cider (SpoonForkBacon)

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere (Feasting at Home)

Autumn Brittle (Adventures in Cooking)

Bailey’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie (She Wears Many Hats)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

Posted on: November 13, 2012

Well, I think I’ve finally accepted that winter is here and we won’t be experiencing any more 70 degree days. Ah, this a very bittersweet realization. On one hand, it means endless cups of chai tea, lazy mornings under the covers with favorite novels, all day bake-a-thons, and soup soup soup. On the other hand, this means six more months before lake adventures, cross country road trips, and waterfall picnics.

And with this new acceptance comes a soup recipe! I’ve already made a few soups this season (see: curried butternut squash soup) but the weather had me craving a hardly soup packed full of starchy potatoes and earthy flavorings. This soup did the trick! Along with some simple (and delicious) rustic bread, this soup filled us up and will be making leftover appearances for the next two days!

As for the rustic bread…so simple and soft with a crisp outer crust. I’ve discovered (after trying it for the first time with my Muesli Bread) is the trick to REALLY delicious bread baking is to have a pot of steaming water under the bread while it’s cooking. This helps keep the bread soft and full of moisture. Oh so delicious! Perfect side to this soup. And let’s be honest, the only reason we even make soup is for an excuse to make homemade bread to go with it. Right? Or is that just me?

So what I am are trying to say is you should embrace that the cold and darkness is forcing you to stay inside and spend a few hours in your kitchen…perhaps whipping up this comforting and hardy dish?

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

For the bread:

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon of active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water

 

For the soup:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 springs of rosemary
  • 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (with stems removed)
  • Salt/Pepper

 

Start with the bread: In a small bowl, combine the yeast and water and let sit for five minutes (this will give it some time to start foaming and activating). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the water/yeast mixture. Mix until combined (the batter will be VERY sticky – don’t worry! It’s suppose to be like this). Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour. [Start on the soup while this is rising]

Once it has doubled in size, knead the dough a few times and move to an oiled baking sheet. Let rise on this sheet for a half an hour. Sprinkle with flour and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet or pan on the bottom rack of the oven and let it heat during the preheating process. Once the oven is ready, place the dough (on the baking sheet) on the top shelf of the oven and pour a cup of warm water in the skillet below (it will steam and this is exactly what we want to happen). Let cook for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the soup: Heat the olive in a large stockpot over medium. Add in the onions and cook for about five minutes (or until translucent). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add cubed potatoes and celery and then season with salt / pepper. Next, combine in the tomatoes, rosemary (throw them in whole and then take out the twigs at the end), white wine, water, and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a bowl, cover, and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Once ready to serve, chop the kale and add at the last moment (this keeps the kale a little crispy) and season again with salt/pepper.

Serve warm with fresh bread!

 

 

 

 

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?!

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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.

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

Posted on: November 9, 2012

Oh my goodness, it’s Friday! I hope you are as excited as I am. Last weekend we had daylight saving (turned the clocks back an hour) so it has been pitch black every night this week when I leave work. Total bummer. But the great thing about it being Friday is tomorrow I can play outside in the SUN all day! And it’s suppose to be in the high 60′s and sunny. You know what that means? It means I’ve already planned a full menu for a lunch picnic with my puppy and boyfriend.

Anyhow, here is a simple and quick recipe for vegan pumpkin ice cream! I used bananas as the base which made the ice cream thick but the banana taste was masked by the pumpkin and cinnamon. Have you tried this trick before? Frozen bananas blended taste super similar to ice cream…it’s awesome. Whoever thought of this was a serious genius. I cannot wait to experiment with this concept more (I’m thinking…chocolate, banana, and peanut butter in our near future?!).

 

 

Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream

Makes about 2-3 servings

  • 3 bananas, frozen and peeled
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Serve right away (it will have a texture similar to soft serve) or let freeze for 2 hours to make firm.

Enjoy with warm pie or as a late night snack (and don’t even feel guilty about it!)

 

PS: Don’t forget to check out the wonderful giveaway I am hosting this week!

Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary + Giveaway

Posted on: November 7, 2012

 

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Now that the official stuff is out of the way, let’s talk a bit about the changing happening around VV before we get into food. So, I’ve transferred my site and have the backbone of what it will become but this is only the beginning. Now it’s time to fix [many] bugs/broken links before I continue on the design process. Please feel free to shoot me an email at vegetarianventures@gmail.com if you happen to see something funky going on and update your RSS feeds to direct to my new site (most should automatically but if you followed VV through wordpress.com they WILL NOT. Consider switching to following VV on bloglovin or facebook!). Anyhow, just wanted to give a little update on how the process is coming and let you know that things will  be moving around within the site for the next week weeks.

 

 

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And now let’s talk about the greatest holiday to ever cross foodie’s paths – Thanksgiving! I, personally, love that there is a specific day dedicated to taking work off, cooking dozens of recipes, and eat mass quantities of delicious food. Am I the only one? Didn’t think so. And now that it is November, it’s time to start recipe experimenting for the big day! A group of wonderful bloggers and myself are teaming up with Country Crock to cook up some of the best Thanksgiving side dishes imaginable. What does this mean for you? It means that I have another wonderful giveaway for all of you (more on that later in this post!) and a list of delicious side dishes for your inspiration (click here to see what everyone is coming up with!).

As for VV, we decided we wanted to showcase this wonderful carrot recipe. Why? Because it would look absolutely stunning on your Thanksgiving table (look at all those colors!) and its super simple to make. So simple that you can pop these in the oven in 5 minutes and then spend the rest of your time worrying about the 100+ other things going on in your kitchen. Not to bad, eh?

Also, did I mention this recipe is delicious? The minimal amount of ingredients help bring out the true flavors of each component. Roasting makes the carrots slightly sweet while the rosemary brings in the savory and the hazelnuts give it a crunch. Plus, added bonus, the rosemary makes your kitchen smell like the holidays! So comforting.

Oh, and guess what!? I also have a giveaway for all of you! Because you are awesome and Country Crock was kind enough to supply some beautiful cookware.

Enter for a chance to win an Italian Scalloped Baker (10″ x 6″) in the color of your choice! Click on over to the Sur La Table website to see all the color options.

Here is how to enter:

1. Like VV on Facebook or follow on Bloglovin.

2. Leave a comment telling VV what your holiday dish/recipe is

That’s it! For extra entries, follow VV on Twitter and leave a comment saying you did so!

The giveaway will be open until next Tuesday (November 13th) at 2 pm (Eastern Time). Please make sure you leave a valid email address for me to get a hold of the winner!

Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary

  • 2 bunches of carrots (preferably multicolored but orange will do)
  • 1 Tablespoon County Crock
  • 2 Tablespoons white wine
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper
  • a few (3-4, depending on size) springs of rosemary
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts

Preheat oven to 425. Wash and prep the carrots (if they are super dirty then peel them) and place them in a single row on tin foil. Place another piece of tin foil over them and roll up three of the sides to create a pouch. In the opening, stick the rosemary, country crock, white wine, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Seal the pouch, give it a gentle shake (to help mix everything together), and then place on a baking sheet.

Cook for 25 minutes or until the carrots are soft. You can check this by opening one side of the pouch and seeing if a fork can pierce through the carrot. While those are cooking, lightly toast the hazelnuts by putting them into a skillet over medium low heat and stirring until fragrant (3 to 5 minutes).

Sprinkle hazelnuts over carrots and serve warm.

 

Thank you to Country Crock for being a sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. All opinions expressed here are my own.

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!

Searchable Saturdays

Posted on: November 3, 2012

Heyyya! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend planned! After this post, I am planning on taking a walk down to the Farmer’s Market to pick up my first winter CSA share (!!!) and then spend the afternoon cooking! There is also a new dog park in town so we’ll probably be taking Tuko to socialize this afternoon followed by seeing Wyatt’s band play a show tonight. What are your plans this weekend?

In addition to all the pinterest finds from this week (is anyone else ridiculously obsessed with this website? It’s managed to pull at my desire for organizing all the creative links I’ve ever come across. Seriously dangerous), here are a few inspiring links:
1. Okay, I’m a dog lover so this kind of pulls at me extra hard but have you met Maddie? Oh my goodness…this website is amazing. Beautiful photography + awkward dog pictures = my new favorite thing.

2. Smitten Kitchen was one of the first food blogs that I started to read on a regular basis so you can only imagine my excitement when I found out she was coming out with a cookbook. And at long last, the cookbook is out and there is a bunch of wonderful publicity around it like this wonderful article with pictures from her tiny tiny tiny NY kitchen!

3. Design Sponge did a wonderful round-up of international recipes that are oh so inspiring. I love cooking international grub as a way to get out of my comfort zone in the kitchen.

4. We’ve all seen them…those beautiful winter wonderland pictures with the twinkling lights in the background which sets the mood just right. But just because you’ve seen it, does it mean you know how to recreate that twinkling with your own photography?

5. I’ve been on the hunt for a beautiful cake stand but it’s been a way bigger commitment that I had expected! Cake stands are almost as expensive as mixers, blenders, and other kitchen gadgets. I’ve been lusting over this one but am not sure if I’m ready to make 100+ commitment on a glorified plate…

Anyhow, off to the market! Have a wonderful weekend!

 

Colorado Exploring

Posted on: November 2, 2012

Heyya! No recipe today. Just a few snapshots from our Denver trip last weekend. Hope everyone is gearing up for a fantastic weekend!

 

PS It’s the last day for my Cascal Giveaway so don’t forget to sign up before it’s too late!

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