Lime Quinoa Salad

Lime Quinoa SaladI never knew the joys of lime on, well, anything until I lived in Thailand after college. It had always been lemon. Traveling in Thailand I would see "lemonade" on a menu and would end up with limeade. Most noodle dishes came with slices of lime. Hostels would have crepes with "lemon" and sugar on a menu but again lime would show up on the table. It ends up lemons are not so easy to get in Thailand, but I'm not so sure why lime in Thai did not ever get translated into lime in English. Regardless, I fell in love with lime. I get excited when I go out to eat here in the states and a slice of lime shows up. So in my first quest to make quinoa I decided to use lime. And you know what? I love quinoa and lime. Who would have guessed.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups stock 
1 clove of garlic minced
1/2 teaspoon lime zest
1/4 teaspoon salt

3 scallions chopped
1/2 cup red pepper
1/2 cup green pepper
3/4 cup sweet corn
1/4 baby lima beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
1/4 teaspoon dried cilantro
pepper to taste

Add quinoa, stock, lime zest, garlic, and salt to a pot and bring to a boil. One you hit a boil bring the heat down and cover the pot. Cook for about 15 min, or until all of the stock is absorbed.  While the quinoa is cooking chop up the scallions, red pepper, and green pepper into small pieces. I used frozen corn and lima beans so at this point I microwaved them to defrost them. 
Once the quinoa is finished cooking remove from heat and mix in olive oil, lime juice, cilantro, and pepper until the quinoa is well coated. Finally, toss in the scallions, peppers, corn, and lima beans. Enjoy immediately, at room temperature, or chilled! 
Lime Quinoa Salad


Vegan Peanut Butter Truffles

Vegan Peanut Butter TrufflesIn addition to the previous Chocolate Cashew Cream Truffles I also made my husband peanut butter truffles for Valentine's Day. Boy did he get a lot of truffles, which I will gladly help him finish of course. These are just as simple to make as the cashew cream truffles and I can't decide which ones I like better. They are both so good!

1/2 cup soy milk
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whatever toppings you so desire: Cocoa powder, crushed nuts, sprinkles, melted chocolate, etc.

Heat the soy milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once at a boil mix in the peanut butter and then remove from the heat. Immediately stir in the chocolate. Once the chocolate is melted and the mixture is well blended stir in the maple syrup and vanilla. Pour the mixture into a flat pan and place in the fridge for 1.5 to 3 hours. The mixture should be firm like fudge. Before you start forming truffles make sure your toppings are ready to be rolled in. I used cocoa powder and placed it in a bowl.  Now it's time to get messy! Use a teaspoon or melon baller to scoop a small amount of the mixture out. Roll between your hands to form a ball and roll in whatever topping(s) you want. Place in a small muffin liner or whatever else you may have. Enjoy! Be sure to store in the fridge.


Vegan Chocolate Cashew Cream Truffles

Vegan Chocolate Cashew Cream TrufflesThis post is a few days past Valentine's Day but for good reason. I made these for my husband and since he reads my blog I couldn't post them until after he got them. These are the first of two different truffles I made. They were so simple and easy to make. And they look pretty! Truffles usually require cream but a healthier and vegan option is to make a cream out of cashews. You may say, 'But I just want chocolate truffles, no nutty flavor!' and I assure you that these taste nothing more than pure chocolate. Fudgy balls of goodness! 

1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips 
3 tablespoons maple syrup

Anything you want to coat the truffles in: cocoa powder, sprinkles, crushed nuts, powdered sugar, crushed cookies, melted chocolate, etc.

The first step is to make a cream out of your cashews and water. Blend the two in a food processor for about 4 minutes, until you have what looks like cream. 
Cashew Cream
Next you want to melt your chocolate. You can do this in a double broiler or in the microwave like I did. If you do it in the microwave, make sure to stir it every 30 seconds or so. Once the chocolate is melted stir in the maple syrup and the cashew cream. 
The mixture now needs to firm up before you can form the truffles. You can just put the bowl in the fridge but it might take awhile. I transferred the mixture to a square pan so that it was more spread out and would firm up quicker. It will take anywhere from 1.5 to 3 hours in the fridge to get firm enough, depending on you refrigerator temperature. 
Once the mixture is firm it is time to shape the truffles. This will get a little messy because you are rolling chocolate in your hands. Make sure anything that you are rolling your truffles in is ready to go. Since I rolled some of my truffles in pink sugar and some in cocoa powder I put each of those things in their own bowl. Now for the messy part! With a teaspoon or melon baller scoop a small amount of the truffle mixture out and roll between your hands to form a ball. You can then roll the truffle in whatever coating you choose. Place the finished truffle in a mini muffin liner or anything else of your choosing. Store the truffles in the fridge and try not to eat them all at once! 
Vegan Chocolate Cashew Cream Truffle
Stay tuned for the next post on the other truffle I made...Peanut butter truffles! Mmmm....


Ginger and Garlic Cashew Stir-Fry

Ginger and Garlic Cashew Stir-Fry
When I decided to make this stir-fry I had no idea it would end up with such flavor in the end. I was just trying to find a use for the rest of our green beans, cashews, and red pepper. The combination of fresh ginger, garlic, sesame oil, and scallions really brought an exciting flavor. Little did I know I would stumble upon something that I am actually craving again at the moment! 

2 carrots
3 scallions
1 small red pepper
1/2 cup of green beans
1/2 cup of cashews
2 teaspoons grated ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 cup of short-grain brown rice
 Start cooking your rice before doing anything else since the rice is going to take the longest. While the rice is cooking you can prepare the stir-fry.
Chop up the carrots, green beans, red pepper, and scallions. You want to make sure the carrots are not too thick or else they might not cook all of the way through. Grate the ginger and press or mince the garlic. Heat up your pan on high with the canola oil. The next part is fairly easy. Throw in your green beans, carrots, scallions, red pepper, ginger, garlic, cashews, sesame oil, and soy sauce all at once! In other words, throw in everything! Keep stirring it all around for 10-15 minutes, or until your carrots are tender. Serve over your cooked rice and enjoy!


Cookies 'N' Cream Cupcakes

cookies 'n' cream cupcakesI was anxious to try another recipe from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the Worldand decided to go for the cookies 'n' cream cupcakes. I made the basic chocolate cupcake batter and mixed in a cup of Hint O' Mint Newman-O's that were crushed in the food processor. I then made half of the recipe of the fluffy buttercream frosting and mixed in 1/4 cup of the crushed cookies. Mmmm....


Vegetable Alphabet Soup

Vegetarian Alphabet Soup
Soup is one of those things that I always thought would be difficult to make before I actually made it. It's great for a chilly day or when you're fighting off a cold. If my husband and I want to make a no fuss soup that doesn't require a food processor or different pots and pans we usually go for a vegetable soup. And the last couple of times we made it we decided to throw in alphabet pasta.  Because it's cool. And it works well in soup because the letters are small. There really isn't a recipe we follow but I kept track of everything we used this time for the sake of writing out a recipe. The vegetables and seasonings can all be changed to your liking but this is the gist:

3 medium potatoes 
3 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 zucchini
1 shallot
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon tomato paste
5-6 cups of vegetable stock
5 oz alphabet pasta (Again, this doesn't need to be exact but I just used half of a 10 oz box)
Yoda with Alphabet Pasta, Tomato Paste, Vegetable Stock
The first step is to chop up all of the vegetables. Cube the potatoes, carrots, celery, and zucchini. 
Chopping Zucchini
Mince the shallot and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Throw in the potatoes, carrots, celery, zucchini, shallots, and garlic at once. 
Vegetables Sauteing
Cook over medium high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring once in a while. Stir in the stock, tomato paste, salt, and pepper. If it looks like the stock is not covering your vegetables, just add more. 
Bring the soup to a boil. Once it is at a boil add the pasta and cook for 20 minutes. Stir frequently as the pasta tends to stick to the bottom. Enjoy with some warm bread. We like sourdough! 

Helpful Hints:
-The alphabet pasta we use has a cooking time of 20 minutes so if your pasta has a different cooking time adjust when you put the pasta in. 
-If you didn't add enough stock your soup probably looks like condensed soup at the end. Don't panic, this is easy to fix. Just add some more stock or water.
-Remember that this is just an approximate recipe and you can put in as many or as little vegetables as you want. You just need to adjust the amount of liquid you use.


Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie
After seeing the Skillet Gardener's Pie on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen I just couldn't resist trying it. My husband and I often make veggie pot pies so I figured this would be a nice break from the pie crust and a chance to make some mashed potatoes. The recipe was pretty straight forward and worked well. It is also a recipe that you can play around with a bit and still have a good result.
I wanted to stick close to the recipe since this was my first time making it. I did however leave out the mushrooms and added a zucchini. I also used lentils instead of the kidney beans. 
The recipe called for leaving the vegetable mixture in the skillet and placing the mashed potatoes on top of it. To make it easier to store (I knew we would have a lot of leftovers) I transferred the vegetable mixture to a different pan and then coated it with the mashed potatoes. I also broiled that for a few minutes to get the top of the potatoes a little crispy and brown.  The result was a hearty and filling dinner!
Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie Potato Crust


Carrot Zucchini Muffins

Carrot Zucchini Muffins
My breakfast routine is pretty redundant and doesn't vary much. It's sad. Yesterday I decided I would make some muffins. But I wasn't in the mood for muffins that would make me feel like I'm eating dessert. I wanted something not too sweet. I found a recipe on the Whole Foods website for Carrot Apple Muffins and used that as a starting base. I changed the recipe by making it vegan and adding zucchinis. They came out moist and definitely not too sweet!

1/2 cup shredded carrot
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 6 tablespoons water (mixed)
1/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup soy yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Carrot Zucchini Muffins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a muffin pan. Combine the carrots, zucchini, flaxseed mixture, soymilk, yogurt, vanilla, and applesauce. In a separate bowl mix the flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add half of the wet mixture into the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the other half of the wet mixture until well blended. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake for about 20 minutes.

Carrot Zucchini Muffins


Sushi Salad

I've never made sushi but have always wanted to try to. And then I saw this recipe for sushi salad on Fat Free Vegan Kitchen and thought I can put off the actually sushi for awhile. This was such an easy and creative recipe! 
Sushi Salad
Seasoned rice vinegar gives the rice salad the sushi flavor. I used edamame and carrots (both steamed for about 10 minutes), red peppers, cucumbers, almonds, and sesame seeds like the recipe suggested. Instead of making the prepared mushrooms I substituted zucchini that was prepared the same way. I would have used mushrooms if it weren't for the fact that my husband doesn't like them. Boo! Regardless, this was very easy to make and pretty much fool proof. And it tasted pretty darn good.

Vegan S'mores Cupcakes

Vegan S'mores Cupcakes
I finally caved in and bought the book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World. And boy am I glad I did, if only for the S'mores cupcakes I just made! I'm not going to post the recipe (since it's in the book) but pictures I do have.
So basically there is the graham cracker cupcake:
Then I chose to cover that in the Rich Chocolate Ganache Topping. The recipe recommended sprinkling the frosting with chocolate shavings or drizzling the frosting with chocolate. I however wanted more chocolate. After all, real s'mores have pieces of chocolate bars in them!

On top of that I put a spoonful of the Vegan Fluffy Buttercream Frosting, or "the marshmallow":
Finally, I sprinkled graham cracker crumbs on top:
 My husband said they looked like they were toasted marshmallows. I think I'm in love with a cupcake.
Vegan S'mores Cupcakes


Arugula Walnut Pesto

Arugula Walnut PestoMost people think of basil and pine nuts when they think of pesto sauce. And there's nothing wrong your pesto being made up of basil and pine nuts . I like it quite a bit. But sometimes you need a change. Or the pine nuts are just too expensive and the basil doesn't look so hot. I've played around with different pestos and I find that arugula is a pretty good substitute for basil and toasted walnuts are a good compliment to replace the pine nuts. Not to mention the omega-3s in the walnuts and the multiple vitamins in arugula.

5 ounces of arugula (about 4 or 5 cups)
1/2 cup crushed toasted walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
pepper to taste

Combine the walnuts, salt, garlic, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor until smooth. Add the arugula about a cup at a time, scraping down the sides as necessary. Add pepper to taste.

I tossed about three servings of whole wheat linguini with some of the pesto and there is still about half of it left. As for the rest...I'm thinking it might taste good smothered on some bread, on a wrap with sauteed vegetables, or maybe just some spinach pasta.


Vegan Spinach and Walnut Risotto

I've always made risotto out of a box. You know, the kind where you mix a powdered flavor packet in with the rice. I would try to fancy it up by using vegetable stock and adding vegetables or nuts at the end. It was good. But I wanted to see if it really was that difficult to make risotto from scratch. And it turns out it's not that hard. A lot of risotto recipes call for cheese or butter or both but I wanted a healthier recipe. I found a vegan recipe on The Post Punk Kitchen and decided that was the one. It's a pretty basic recipe that lends itself to infinite variations. 

I knew that once I started stirring the cooking risotto I wouldn't be able to stop. Therefore, before I started I toasted about 1/3 cups of crushed walnuts and defrosted about half of a bag of frozen spinach. I would say that it is definitely wise to prepare any additions before you start. 
The actual process of making the risotto was pretty simple. Basically, stir stir stir! The recipe said that the whole process of adding stock should take about 15 minutes but it took closer to 25 minutes for me. I mixed in the spinach before I started adding the last cup of broth. As for the walnuts, I mixed them in at the very end with the olive oil. The result was a pretty nice and tasty risotto if i do say so myself. I will be making it again!


Lentil Almond Burgers and Orange Green Beans

After seeing a recipe for lentil almond burgers on Care2.com I was super excited to try them out. I followed the directions but they didn't quite work out as I expected. I was able to make them into burger shapes and get them onto the frying pan but once there they wouldn't stay together for me. I did substitute flaxseed meal and water for the egg. Maybe that was my downfall? A few stayed sort of together and they tasted ok. Not wonderful but ok. We'll see how the leftovers taste. 
On another note, I looooved the green beans I made with them. And they took about 1/12 of the time that the burgers took, if that. I've had lemon and almond green beans before but I decided to try orange this time. And I don't think I will ever go back to the lemon. This was too good. You don't really need to be exact with the ingredients but here is the gist:

Orange Green Beans with Toasted Almonds

.5 lbs green beans
1 tablespoon olive oil
.5 teaspoons orange zest
.25 teaspoons salt
.25 cups of toasted sliced almonds 
pepper to taste

Steam the green beans until tender. This will take about 6-10 minutes. Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a pan on low-medium heat until the almonds start getting slightly brown (about 5 minutes or so). Be sure to stir the almonds around frequently. In a bowl, combine the olive oil, orange zest, salt, pepper, and toasted almonds. Add the green beans, toss, and serve!


Peanut Ginger Soba Noodles

Ok, I seem to be using peanut butter a lot lately for some reason. Keeping up with the trend, I made these peanut soba noodles last night. It was pretty quick to make (maybe 15 minutes?). I followed a recipe from The Post Punk Kitchen  and didn't really need to change much. The original recipe called for steamed broccoli but my husband doesn't like broccoli so I used zucchini instead. He did offer to pick out the broccoli but that just seemed silly. This is how I did it:

1 package of soba noodles
1/3 cups soy sauce 
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon of grated ginger
1 small clove of garlic minced or pressed
1/2 green pepper thinly sliced
1 medium zucchini sliced up 
sesame seeds and sliced green onions for garnish

Cook the soba noodles according the package. Saute the zucchini in some olive oil until tender (I did it until a few of them started to brown). Meanwhile, combine the sesame oil, peanut butter, water, garlic, and ginger. After it is thoroughly combined mix in the pepper. Once the noodles are finished and drained mix them in with the sauce. Finally, toss the cooked zucchini in. I sprinkled the sesame seeds and sliced green onions on top of each individual plate. 


Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

This has definitely become my default chocolate chip cookie recipe. They're chewy but not cake-like. Yum.  I found it on VegWeb but usually modify it slightly. Today I made a peanut butter version:

.75 cups raw sugar
.75 cups light brown sugar
1 cup vegan butter substitute
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cups applesauce
2 tablespoons of peanut butter
1 cup white flour
1.25 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
12 oz bag of vegan chocolate chips (it's a lot of chips for the batter so less than 12 oz would be fine)

Preheat the oven to 370 degrees. Combine the sugars, butter substitute, applesauce, vanilla, and peanut butter. In a separate bowl mix the flours, baking soda, and salt together. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. After the dough is well blended stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 10-15 minutes. They should be golden brown. 


Tomato Basil Sauce with Cashews

I love this sauce. Really love it. And it's so easy to make. I found the recipe at Vegan Yum Yum and I think my husband and I have eaten it at least twice a month since it was posted. I've made it with whole wheat spaghetti but this time I used the Whole Food's brand spinach penne. I also didn't have fresh basil so I used dried basil this time. It was just as yummy! 


Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Well, this is my first post!

Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour (I used 1 cup of white flour and .5 cup of whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cups applesauce
1/4 cups canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup water
1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons vinegar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line or grease the cupcake pan.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Now add the applesauce, oil, vanilla, and water. Mix well. At this point the batter is going to be split up to make separate peanut butter and chocolate batters. Take about 1 cup of the batter and put it into another bowl. Mix the peanut butter into this batter. In the other batter, mix in the cocoa. Finally, add 2 teaspoons of the vinegar to the peanut butter batter and mix quickly. Then add the remaining 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon of vinegar to the chocolate batter and mix quickly.
Divide the chocolate batter evenly into the cupcake pan. Then pour the peanut butter batter on top of the chocolate batter. Bake for 20 minutes.

Chocolate Frosting

1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cups vegan butter substitute
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 tablespoons water

Mix all ingredients well. Frost cooled cupcakes!