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!