Rustic Vegan Calzones

What does the word rustic mean to you?  When I hear a food is rustic I immediately think it will look like crap, but taste good. So I consider my vegan calzones very rustic. They are completely delicious, and don’t look like anything special. We like to dip them in warm marinara sauce. These vegan calzones are delicious fresh out of the oven and also freeze well.  I make a large batch and freeze half for future meals.

Vegan Calzones Pintrest

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Ranch Saltines – salty & savory snack

I was diagnosed with an autonomic disorder last year and it has thrown my life for a loop.  One of the side effects is low blood volume so I need to eat a lot more salt.  Another side effect is poor digestion which means I need to eat lower fiber foods when I’m not feeling well.  Enter saltines…salty and very easy to digest. I have taken to doctoring up the “mini saltines” to make them more interesting.  Recently I created a “ranch” version that is delicious. Trey loves having them as a small snack if he is hungry before dinner.  I have brought them to parties and barbecues. Both kids and adults enjoy these vegan ranch saltines.

Vegan Ranch Saltines Close Up

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The Ultimate Vegan Breakfast Burrito

“This would be good in a burrito” is one of my husband, Harrison’s, ultimate compliments.  The guy LOVES his burritos.  For years he took Trey to San Francisco for “Dadurday”.  Every Saturday they took BART to the Mission and had burritos at his favorite spot, Pancho Villa.  Sometimes he gets 2 burritos – one for lunch and one for dinner. A friend of his asked me once, “Doesn’t he ever get tired of burritos?”.  The answer is most definitely, “No!”. To say Harrison was excited when he saw we were having burritos for dinner last week is an understatement.  He hasn’t been to San Francisco in awhile and needed a burrito fix. These Vegan Breakfast Burritos hit the spot.

Vegan Breakfast Burritos 2

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Mini Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you remember “Soft Batch” chocolate chip cookies from back in the day? My Mom always had cookies on hand for dessert. I absolutely loved when she started buying the soft batch chocolate chip cookies.  The texture was the perfect balance between a cookie and raw dough. I recently saw a recipe on Pintrest for Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies. I decided to make a vegan version, because they looked so much like my beloved “Soft Batch” cookies. The recipe was very easy to veganize and the resulting vegan mini chocolate chip cookies are fantastic.

Mini Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies 1

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Vegan Chex Mix Methodology

One of my favorite things about high school was the access to vending machines.  My mom fed us healthy food at home and packed our lunch every day.  When I arrived at high school and realized I had access to vending machines anytime I was hungry I was in heaven. I loved to buy a Diet Coke and Chex Mix for my morning snack. In retrospect I can’t imagine why I was so damn tired by lunch, but hey I didn’t know any better. Now that I do know better I like to recreate healthier versions of my old favorites.  I came up with a basic Vegan Chex Mix recipe that I like to use with whatever cereal, snacks or nuts I have on hand.

Vegan Chex Mix Bowl

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Hot Mess Vegan Ice Cream Pie

My sister, Hanna, and I have very different personalities.  As kids we fought constantly and generally drove each other crazy until I went to college. Much to my Mom’s chagrin once we no longer lived under the same roof we had a ton to say to each other. Suddenly we were racking up huge long distance phone bills.  Two people with such different personalities don’t make great roommates, but fortunately we are great sisters. Now that we are older we can laugh about our personality differences and all of our childhood arguments…including when Hanna dumped orange juice on my head…I deserved it!  At Christmas this year Hanna and I decided to collaborate and make dinner for our family the night after Christmas.  The dinner turned out well, but the dessert was a vegan ice cream pie that could only be described as a hot mess.

Vegan Ice Cream Pie 4 (1)

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Mini Vegan Pancakes perfect for sleepovers

What about parties and sleepovers?  How and what to serve non-vegan children that come into your vegan house can be a concern.  No one wants to be the parent where kids don’t want to come over because of the “weird” food. Vegan and plant-based food can seem very strange for children who aren’t accustomed to it.  My solution is to serve kids foods they are already familiar with.  That includes things like muffins, fruit, veggies & hummus, rice & beans, or PB&J.  None of those foods seem unusual and kids typically eat them with gusto. Last summer I saw a recipe from The Pioneer Woman for Mini Pancakes.  She cooked pancake batter in a mini muffin pan.  These mini muffins looked perfect for a breakfast post sleepover.  I decided to come up with a mini vegan pancake version.

Vegan Pancakes Labeled

My go to pancake recipe didn’t work all that well in the mini muffin pan.  I felt like it needed more of that “fluffy” texture that pancakes made with eggs have.  I veganized the Pioneer Woman’s pancake recipe and it was a success. Trey and his friend inhaled quite a few of these mini vegan pancakes after a sleepover.  They loved dipping them in little bowls of syrup.  I felt extra victorious since his friend is a picky eater.  With the mini pancakes and fruit I knew he had a decent breakfast to start his day.

Vegan Pancakes Pre Bake

When making this recipe be sure to let the batter sit for 10 minutes before scooping it into the muffin tins. That 10 minutes allows the ground chia to go to work.  The ground chia gives the pancakes a nice fluffy texture.  If you don’t want to see any specs of chia in your muffins use White Chia seeds.  You will see the chia seed specs in the batter, but not in the final product.

Vegan Pancakes Close

Feel free to add blueberries or chocolate chips to some of your mini vegan pancakes.  Trey prefers the plain version, but we have tried them with both blueberries and chocolate chips successfully.  You can also offer vegan whipped cream for dipping if you are looking for an even more decadent breakfast.  These keep well in the refrigerator for several days.  I warm them up in the toaster oven and then serve them to Trey with his breakfast smoothie during the week.

What is your favorite food to serve sleepover guests?

Mini Vegan Pancakes
 
Miniature vegan pancakes that are perfect for dipping into syrup or vegan whipped cream. A great breakfast for little hands to enjoy after a sleepover.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups Flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1.5 cups Unsweetened Almond or Coconut Milk
  • 2 teaspoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Ground Chia Seed
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tablespoons Earth Balance or Non-Dairy Butter of choice, Melted
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray or grease a mini muffin pan with a neutral oil (such as canola oil) and set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Set bowl aside.
  3. Stir together the almond or coconut milk and vinegar and let it sit for 1 minute. Whisk in chia, vanilla and melted Earth Balance.
  4. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients. Whisk until smooth batter forms. Let the batter rest for 10 minutes.
  5. Fill the mini muffin tins ⅔ full with batter.
  6. Bake for 11 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Let pancakes sit in the pan for 1 to 2 minutes, then turn them out of the pan. Use a knife around the edges to remove any muffins that are stuck in the pan.
  7. Serve with maple syrup and or vegan whipped cream for dipping.

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Vegan Coffee Cake full of nostalgia

Have you ever lost a favorite family recipe?  One of my favorite recipes as a kid was my family’s coffee cake.  My mom or my great aunts would make it for holiday mornings or get togethers.  This coffee cake had a light texture and a rich, nutty topping.  When the cake baked the whole house smelled like cinnamon.  For years I thought the recipe was lost.  I tried making various other coffee cake recipes (both before I went vegan and after), but none measured up.  The cake was never as tender, the topping not as flavorful.  Just never quite right.  About a year and a half ago my sister found a digital copy of family recipes my cousin put together for my aunt.  Lo and behold the coffee cake recipe was there!  I immediately veganized the recipe, threw it in the oven and crossed my fingers.  I was ecstatic when I bit into this vegan coffee cake.  Just like I remembered.  Now I make it for my family as often as I can.

Vegan Coffee Cake Slice

I will warn you that there is nothing healthy about this recipe.  It calls for a hefty amount of sugar and oil.  I have used applesauce for 1/4 cup of the oil in the past and it worked out well.  I want the coffee cake as close to the original version as possible, just without any animal ingredients, so I make it with all of the oil and sugar listed.

Vegan Coffee Cake Topping

The recipe uses a unique technique for making the topping and cake.  As you will see in the recipe below you mix the flour, sugars, spices and oil all together and form a crumble.  You take out 1 cup of this crumble and that becomes the topping.  The rest of the “crumble” is mixed with the remaining ingredients to make the cake.

Vegan Coffee Cake Pre Bake

For the topping you can add nuts if you like.  I normally add finely chopped walnuts or pecans.  In the version I baked last week I left off the nuts so Trey could take small pieces of the cake to school as a treat.  He loves this cake as much as I do.

Vegan Coffee CakeI assure you no one will ever know this is a vegan coffee cake.  It is fantastic to take to a holiday brunch, potluck or breakfast meeting.  Any mom in your life will appreciate waking up to the smell of this baking in the oven on Mother’s Day.

4.4 from 14 reviews
Vegan Coffee Cake
 
A tender vegan coffee cake with a crunchy cinnamon topping. No one will ever suspect this cake is missing animal ingredients. They will be too busy devouring each bite.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Ingredients
  • 2½ Cups Flour
  • ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • ½ Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon, plus more for topping
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ¾ Cup Canola Oil
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk (or non-dairy milk of choice)
  • ¼ Cup Plain Coconut or Soy Yogurt
  • 1 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
  • ½ Cup Finely Chopped Nuts (optional)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x11 or 8x8 inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Sift flour, sugars, nutmeg, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and salt into a large bowl. Add oil and mix well until all oil is absorbed. Mixture will be crumbly. Take out 1 cup of mixture and set aside in a smaller bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl or measuring cup stir together almond milk, yogurt, vinegar, vanilla extract, baking soda and baking powder. Stir until combined. Add this liquid mixture to the large bowl of the flour mixture. Mix well and then pour the batter into the greased pan.
  4. If using chopped nuts add them to the 1 cup of set aside crumble mixture. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the batter in the pan. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes for a 9x11 inch cake. If using a 8x8 inch pan cooking time will be 35-40 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

 

Vegan Quesadillas to save your meal plan

The vegan quesadilla has been saving my meal planning lately. I grew up with my mom planning out a week’s worth of meals and she made those meals each night as planned.  No food wasted, no questions asked.  I plan out my meals just the way she did, but inevitably something comes up 1-2 nights a week that throws the whole thing off.  I need at least one meal that is fast, easy and the whole family will eat.  The vegan quesadilla has become my savior.  I keep all of the ingredients on hand.  I add 1 “free” night to my meal plan where I don’t plan anything.  I know that I can make these if needed.  It is easy to customize to everyone’s preferences and is ready in less than 20 minutes.  I can also make them ahead if Trey has a game or a late practice.  He can inhale them in the car either before or after.

Vegan Quesadilla Group

Last night was definitely a vegan quesadilla night.  I was exhausted and everyone was starving.  The first thing I did was cook a package of Beyond Meat Feisty Crumble.  It adds a lot of flavor to the quesadillas and makes them hearty enough for Harrison.  While that was cooking I made black beans using the method for my Black Bean Tostadas. Last week I used the Pacific Foods Refried Black Beans I bought at Target for the quesadillas.  That is definitely the way to go since the whole idea is to make this meal easy and streamlined.  I’ll be stocking up on those for my pantry!

Vegan Quesadilla

Once the “beef” (or “meatish” as Trey calls Beyond Meat) was cooked and the beans were ready I started to assemble and cook.  I take flour tortillas from Trader Joe’s and spread each one with Earth Balance while I heat up my cast iron skillet.  Each of us likes different fillings.  Harrison’s started with a layer of black beans, then Papalote Salsa (available at Whole Foods), then Daiya cheddar shreds, the Beyond Meat and finally sliced avocado.  I cooked the quesadilla on the first side for 4-5 minutes and then flipped it over and cooked it for another 3 minutes until crisp.  Harrison likes his quesadillas topped with Tofutti sour cream and pickled jalapeños.

Vegan Quesadilla 2

I cooked Trey’s, decidedly more plain, quesadilla at the same time Harrison’s was cooking.  All Trey wanted in his quesadilla was black beans, salsa and cheese.  He did top his with sour cream and pickled jalapeños after we sat down.  The kid loves his spice!  He also loves to take these quesadillas to school for lunch.  I am a big fan of cooking lunch and dinner at the same time.

Vegan Quesadilla 3

I made my quesadilla on the panini press to save time.  That let all 3 of our quesadillas cook at the same time.  This panini move was a mistake though.  It makes the quesadillas too flat and gives them a weird texture.  I filled mine with beans, salsa, cheese and  sliced sweet potato that I had left over from earlier in the week.  Aside from my panini error the flavors were good.  Next time I’ll be adding the Beyond Meat to mine as well.

These quesadillas would be awesome for Cinco de Mayo next week…with margaritas of course!

Vegan Lasagna in a heat wave

My husband, Harrison, is baffled by the fact that I don’t check the weather regularly. He loves looking at the weather on his phone, watching storms come in on the doppler radar and even watching the Weather Channel.  I like to wake up, look outside and move on with the day.  I blame this on the fact that I grew up in Northern California and Harrison grew up in Seattle.  Our Bay Area weather just isn’t that exciting.  To me it is either raining or it’s not, no more data needed.  Every now in then my lack of interest in the weather comes back to bite me.  Wearing flip flops when it starts to rain an hour after I leave the house is a key problem.  The other issue is my decision to cook the wrong food for the weather.  Yesterday I planned to make a lasagna using my bolognese sauce.  Too bad it was 88 degrees out!  I ignored the weather and made a tasty vegan lasagna, but it was a sweaty endeavor that I wouldn’t choose to repeat.  Assuming it is below 80 degrees where you live try this vegan lasagna before the summertime weather kicks in!

Vegan Lasagna

This lasagna was very easy to put together as I used the “No Boil” lasagna noodles from Whole Foods, Vegan Bolognese I had in the freezer and an easy Truffled Cashew Cheese.   To start I sprayed a large 13×9 inch pan with canola oil.  (I used this lasagna pan)  I spread a cup of bolognese in the bottom of the pan and layered it with 4 of the No Boil noodles.

Vegan Lasagna Noodles

The only thing I had to make yesterday was the truffled cashew cheese from Dreena Burton.  Her recipe is fantastic and can be used for stuffed pastas like this or served as a spread for crackers and crudite.  I often bring it as a spread to parties and it always receives rave reviews.  I prepared the cheese quickly in my food processor and spread half of it on the first layer of noodles.

Vegan Lasagna with Truffled Cashew Cheese

On top of the cashew cheese I layered 1.5 cups of the bolognese.  Then I repeated the layers (noodles, remaining cashew cheese and another 1.5 cups of bolognese).  I added a final layer of noodles, the remaining sauce and topped the whole thing with 1.5 cups of Daiya mozzarella cheese.  I cooked the lasagna, covered in foil, in a 385 degree oven for 40 minutes.  After the initial cooking I took the foil off and bake it uncovered for another 10 minutes.  At that point I removed the lasagna from the oven and let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Vegan Lasagna in pan

I served the lasagna topped with minced parsley and a green salad.  The dinner was a hit with both Harrison and Trey.  It will also make great leftovers during the week.  The actual baking took awhile, but it was very quick and simple to assemble on a weeknight.  If you make my vegan bolognese be sure to double the recipe and freeze half.  It is fabulous in this lasagna…just check the weather before you put it on your weekly meal plan!

Vegan Lasagna

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