31 March 2011

Cookies in My Mailbox!

When my friend/twin, Meagan, sent me a text asking how much fresh jalapeno to put in a batch of cookies, I was intrigued. Then, I started craving jalapenos. The texting went a bit further and she said they also had jalapeno flavored potato chips in them. Then, I started craving jalapeno potato chips. Damn her creative cookies. Anyway, as the conversation progressed, I was informed that I would be receiving some of said cookies in my mailbox. OMG. I couldn't wait! I thought about them all weekend and just got them today. She was kind enough to sneak some chocolate chip cookies in for me, too...along with a couple other goodies. But, since this is primarily a food blog, I'll share the cookies with you. Well, not really "share" per se, but show you a photo and let you drool all over your keyboard..

They're the most unique cookies I've ever had. And I love them. They have a touch of sweet and a touch of spice...Mmmm. I will definitely be making a batch of them soon. The chocolate chip cookies were also excellent, but the jalapeno ones hold my heart! Here is the link to her recipe: Vegan Jalapeno Cookies

30 March 2011

French Toast ala Happy Herbivore

So, I finally tried it. I made the french toast from The Happy Herbivore Cookboook. And it was quite tasty. I was skeptical, but it turned out to be very good. And, really, rather healthy as far as calories and fat go.  Although, to be honest, I don't care much about counting calories and fat. I eat what I like and I get exercise, so whatever. But, that's just me though. Maybe you are obsessively counting every calorie, in which case, you probably aren't eating carbs so you wouldn't even be looking for a bread recipe. I digress.

I was quite surprised at how much the taste and texture resembled the french toast I used to make years ago. I like mine a little crispy around the edges and a bit mushy in the middle, which is exactly how this turned out. I also served it with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and a tiny bit of maple syrup. Yum yum. I actually did change a couple of things about the recipe, which I should note for you.
  1. I didn't use nutmeg because I don't really like it.
  2. I added extra cinnamon because I love it.
  3. I used almond milk because I don't enjoy soy milk, though I did accidentally purchase it when the grocery store moved it next to my almond milk. Damn them!
  4. The recipe doesn't say what temp to cook your toast at, so I used medium and it worked perfectly.
  5. I also flipped mine several times to make sure it cooked to my liking.
The recipe isn't mine to share, so if you'd like the recipe, you should definitely snag the cookbook from your local bookseller or (my personal favorite) your local public library. It's definitely worth it!! The recipe for the French Toast is page 24 of The Happy Herbivore Cookbook: Over 175 Delicious Fat-Free & Low-Fat Vegan Recipes.

Also, this is my Marley and she is cuter than yours. hahaha!

29 March 2011

Potato-y Soup for One

My pal, Meagan of Experiments in the Kitchen, posted a potato soup for one recipe on her blog a few days ago, and it sounded really good, so I had to try it...but altered. I can't help it! I can never follow a recipe exactly. It's my own brand of OCD, I suppose. Anyway, I needed some warm, comforting soup and this absolutely fit the bill. It's thick and creamy and downright tasty. Not to mention the fact that it takes only about 15 minutes start to finish.

  • 1 large red-skin potato, peeled and diced 
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 cup cooked navy beans
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2/3 cup soy or almond milk
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne
  • dash sage
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • dash oregano & thyme
  • 1 tsp flour
  • 1/4 cup Daiya mozzarella (I would've used the cheddar if I had any)
  • salt and pepper
  1. In a small pot, boil the potato and carrot in some salted water. 
  2. While the potato and carrot are boiling, heat the oil in a small skillet (medium heat) and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is softened and transparent. I added the spices to the cooking onion. Then set aside. 
  3. Drain the potato and carrot, and mash with a potato masher or a fork in the pan you cooked it in. Add half of the beans, and mash a bit more. Then add the onion/garlic to the mashed mix. Add the milk, cheese and flour and mix well. Return the pot to the heat, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the soup is thickened and the cheese melted. Adjust your seasonings and pig out.

27 March 2011

Moroccan-ish Quinoa & Roasted Veg

I really hate wasting food, so I got creative with some veg I had in my fridge.  I won't lie and say this is totally original, but it's something I like to make every once in a while. And, it is really good left over the following day. There really isn't much for me to blab on about as I have a horrific headache today, so here's the recipe. Prepare yourself for the complete awesomeness that is Moroccan-ish Quinoa & Roasted Veg!

Makes enough for 2-4 as a main dish, depending on the size of your servings.

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/4 cups uncooked quinoa
  • 1-2 TB Earth Balance or other vegan butter
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1/3 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp coriander
  • 1 pinch of sage
  • 1 dash cinnamon
  • S&P to your tastes
  • 1 1/2 TB olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut into 1/4 to 1/3 inch cubes
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 3 carrots cut into thick slices
  • 1/2 large Spanish onion, cut into a large dice
  • 1 medium squash, cut into large half-moons
  • 1 medium summer squash, cut into large half-moons
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Put the cut veggies on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat the veg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then put on a rack in the lower half of your oven. These will need to cook 30-40 minutes total, after gently turning them about halfway through cooking. When these hit the halfway point, you'll want to start the next step, which is cooking the quinoa.
  3. Heat the broth, Earth Balance, cumin, saffron, sage, coriander, salt and pepper in a 2-qt pot over medium or high heat. Bring to a boil, then add the quinoa. Stir well. Place the lid on and leave heat on medium. Let cook until the liquid is dissolved and the quinoa is easily fluffed with a fork. This will take about 15 minutes. 
  4. Now, just serve it all up and enjoy a healthy, delicious and filling meal. The hardest part is chopping the veggies.
Here's the saffron. In my mind it is worth the exorbitant cost every once in a while, and in this dish, it is perfect! Mind, it is not the size of the bottle. The bottle contains a tiny resealable plastic bag containing less than 1/5 of an ounce. This cost me $10.00. But, I have made this dish without the saffron and it was still excellent!

22 March 2011

Black Bean Tacos (my latest addiction)

You may or may not realize that I am a complete and total taco junky. I could pretty much eat tacos everyday and never tire of them. You can make them so many ways with different spices, toppings and fillings that the combinations are virtually endless. Wow. I sound like a commercial. But, really, you can make them however you want, made with whatever you want. And that always makes me a happy chickpea because I am so ridiculously picky about my food. Yes, I am quite demanding, too. I like things to be my way or the highway, as the saying goes.

If you insist, I suppose you could use canned beans to make these yummy concoctions, but I do suggest soaking/cooking them yourself. They just seem to have so much more flavor and texture than the canned beans. But, by all means, do what you want. I can't make you do it my way...though I do know that my methods are far superior. Ha. While I'm thinking of it, you could use a powdered taco spice mix packet from the grocery store if you don't have the spices onhand. See! I am so helpful! Though, I will caution you that not all of those packets are vegan, so read the ingredient list well. If you're unsure about some of the ingredients, @VeganMachine prints tiny guides and mails them for free. They fit perfectly in your wallet or pocket for easy reference. I use mine all the time at the grocery store.

Depending on how full you fill your shells, this recipe easily yields 8-12 tacos. And it re-heats nicely in a covered bowl the next day.

  • 2 cups cooked black beans, semi-mashed (you can leave them whole, but they'll fall out of the shells)
  • 1 1/2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB Braggs or soy sauce
  • 2 TB medium taco sauce
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (I maybe added more....)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/8 tsp sage
  • salt and pepper to your tastes
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes, onion and jalapeno. Saute about 4 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir and cook another 2-3 minutes. Then lower heat just a smidge.
  2. Add all of the other ingredients and stir regularly, cooking about 10-15 minutes. Taste occasionally and adjust spices as needed. Make sure it's heated through and serve up on warmed taco shells.
Done. Easy as can be. Add whatever toppings you want and you're all set. You're welcome. Hahaha

    14 March 2011

    Chickpea Noodle Casserole (like tuna...only not)

    My pal posted a recipe for a mock tuna casserole yesterday, and I was instantly intrigued. As I read the recipe, I thought, "Chickpeas. Pasta. Peas. How could it possibly be bad?" To tell the truth, it really is quite delicious. I didn't follow the original recipe exactly, but I used it as a starting point because I can never bring myself to exactly follow any recipe...ever. It's a weakness. Or a strength. I'm not really sure which yet! 

    I really really liked this casserole! I'm typically not the biggest fan of casseroles as many tend to have no texture whatsoever, but this one did from the chickpeas and even from the peas. Really, it's great. You can add other veggies, but I stuck to peas as my add-in because I LOVE PEAS. And if you don't, well, that's just sad. I found some generic pasta that somewhat resembles the old egg-noodles most of us grew up on. You really could use any pasta you want. 

    This makes about 5-6 big servings.

    • 1/2 lb pasta of your choice
    • 2 cups cooked chickpeas, pulsed a few times in your food processor, DO NOT PUREE
    • 6oz fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced and chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/2 cup diced onion 
    • 1 cup frozen peas
    • 3 TB olive oil
    • 3 1/2 TB flour
    • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
    • 1/2 cup veggie broth
    • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • 3-4 TB nutritional yeast
    • 1 TB garlic salt
    • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
    • salt and pepper to your tastes
    • 1/2 tsp coriander
    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. Cook your pasta according to package directions. Then drain and set aside. While pasta is cooking, start on step 3 below.
    3. Heat 1 TB oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add onions, and saute for 5 minutes, or until softened. Then add the fresh garlic. 
    4. Whisk some flour into the garlic onion mixture, and add 1 TB oil. It'll be really thick. Now, whisk in the milk and broth. Keep whisking until the sauce thickens somewhat. 
    5. Lower the burner to medium-low heat. Now add in the chickpeas, coriander, nutritional yeast, onion powder, mushrooms, and garlic salt. You will want to keep whisking so nothing burns to the bottom of the pan., but continues to thicken somewhat. Taste for salt and pepper and adjust accordingly.
    6. Fold in the peas and the pasta and cook another minute or three.
    7. Pour the mixture into a casserole dish. 
    8. In a small bowl, combine the last 1 TB of oil with the breadcrumbs. I added some salt and pepper to the bread crumbs because I pretty much always do. Now, mix well and spoon over the casserole, covering the entire surface if you can.

    9. Cook on the middle rack for 20-30 minutes, or until the breadcrumbs get toasted and the sauce is bubbling. Mine took exactly 25 minutes. This is what it should look like:

    There you have it! Super tasty and really filling. And, the sauce is delicious. Tuck in, dude.

    12 March 2011

    Banana Nut Pancakes

    I have really been addicted to making pancakes lately, and really, who the hell doesn't love pancakes? They're so easy and so tasty, and leftovers heat up nicely in the microwave. You can use any fruit you have laying around, I guess, but an overripe banana add sweetness without having to add additional sugar. Plus, I am always looking for recipes to use up the bananas I forget to eat. Additionally, I had a handful of walnuts that were close to their expiration date, too, so I used them up. Thus, Banana Walnut Pancakes were born! I will definitely make these tasty babies again soon. They taste a bit like banana nut bread in pancake form...YUM! You can't resist. Really, you can't. I've embedded this page with hypnotic messages that you can't ignore. Muahaahaaaaaa! My evil plan is coming together nicely.

    As always, they are probably tasty drizzled in maple syrup, but I am not much of a sweet breakfast kind of girl. So, I just slather on a little (or maybe a lot) of Earth Balance and chow down. You may do whatever you want. I guess. But, just so you know, if you ask me I will tell you that my way is best. Because it is.

    This recipe will make about ten 4-inch pancakes

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp vegetable or canola oil
    • 1/2 tsp (heaping) cinnamon
    • 1/8 tsp salt
    • a shake or two of nutmeg
    • 1 over-ripe banana
    • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (I toasted mine in the oven for about 10 minutes @ 350 degrees F)
    • 1 cup almond milk
    • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
    •  Ener-G egg replaceer totaling 1 egg, mixed and ready to be used
    • cooking spray or a bit of Earth Balance to grease the pan
    1. Mix your flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon in a large bowl.
    2. In another bowl, mix your milk, oil, vanilla, and egg replacer well.
    3. Mash your banana very well with a fork and add to your wet bowl. Mix well.
    4. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredient bowl. I used a whisk to combine until there were no dry powders visible. Be careful not to overmix or else your pancakes will not poof up when you cook them. Your batter should be kind of lumpy.
    5. Fold in your walnuts.
    6. Heat a non-stick skillet/frying pan over medium heat for 1-2 minutes before adding batter. Spray with your cooking spray or a drop few small dabs of Earth Balance where you will be pouring your batter.
    7. Using a ladle or measuring cup, pour your batter onto the hot pan. Once the batter starts to get medium-sized bubbles in their middles (about 3-4 minutes), gently use your spatula to flip the pancakes over. Cook another 2-3 minutes or until the bottoms are browned to your liking.
    8. Serve the pancakes up with some butter and maple syrup (if you must). 
    If you use maple syrup, let me know what you think of it. Also, I'd like to know: do you smother with syrup or just drizzle some on top? I'm inexperienced in such syrupy matters.

    06 March 2011

    Veggie Fried Rice (It was my first time)

    Do not mock me when I tell you this secret! I have never ever made a fried rice dish until tonight. How very un-vegan of me, I know. I originally wanted to make something lentily. Yes, lentily is a word! I wouldn't lie to you. However, nothing really sounded good and I didn't have much in terms of fresh veg that I could cook it with. So, anyway, back to the dinner. I had some cooked brown rice (brown basmati, to be exact) in my fridge and I hated to let it go to waste, so I decided to do something ricey. Again, it's a word. Deal with it!

    Now, I've made loads of stir-fries in my day, as most vegans have. But, I always just served them with a side of rice, didn't even think to mix them together while cooking. How very lame and un-creative of me. I'm thinking next time I may be tempted to add some water chestnuts and a bit of shredded cabbage along with anything else I may have lying around, which was definitely not much today. That's primarily because I haven't been much in the mood for a big grocery shopping trip as this Chickpea has been avoiding going into the cold because I am boycotting Winter. Sadly, Winter doesn't seem to notice or care that I am eager for Spring. Whatever. Winter is an old jerk. Bring on the Spring says I!

    One tip: I heated my rice in my microwave for 90 seconds (prior to frying) with 1 TB of water and covered in plastic wrap as it had dried out a bit. So, you may want to try that, or just add some water to the skillet when you add the rice. Whatever floats your kayak.

    Serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side.

    • 1 1/2 cups cooked brown rice or rice of your choice
    • 1 heaping cup frozen edamame (I only buy the already shelled kind)
    • 1/2 small red onion, diced small
    • 1 medium carrot, very thinly sliced
    • 5-6 large button mushrooms, roughly chopped
    • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
    • 2 TB sesame oil
    • 2-3 TB Braggs or soy sauce to your tastes
    • 3/4 tsp rice vinegar (optional)
    • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/4 tsp onion powder
    1. Heat a large nonstick skillet or wok over medium heat. Add the red pepper flakes to the oil. After 3 minutes, add the carrot and onion, and stir. Cook 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the frozen edamame and garlic and cook 2 minutes. 
    2. Add the mushrooms, 1 TB of the Braggs, rice vinegar, and spices and mix well. Cook about 3 minutes, stirring regularly.
    3. Add the rice and the rest of the Braggs and mix well. I cooked mine about 7 minutes so the rice could absorb and meld with the flavor of the sauce and veggies. I spritzed a bit more Braggs on mine once I served it. I am a Braggs addict! I literally cannot resist. Gotta problem with that?
    Feel free to add in whatever else you might want. I'm sure it would be very yummy. And if it isn't, well, that's all your fault. Hahahah!

    04 March 2011

    Spicy Pintos

    Pinto beans...they're not just from a can anymore! That's right; I have made the yummiest spicy pinto beans ever, and if you disagree, then you can leave now. Take that! Not really. I'm thankful that you're here, but being sassy is my thing. So, yes, the beans... Really, though, these pintos are killer. I will not be going back to buying canned "refried" beans again. They have far too much sodium and are pretty oily. And, if you don't buy ones that specifically say "vegetarian," you're eating lard. No joke. Really. Look at the cans next time you hit the bean aisle. Gross, dude.

    So, I have a little crockpot, which is what I used to heat the (already-cooked) pintos and the sauteed other veg. You could cook yours on a pot on the stove with a lid as I'm assuming it would come out the same. Though, don't blame me if it doesn't. I haven't made them that way. So, yeah. That's my story. Beans. They're yummy. Make them. Or not. It really doesn't matter to me. I know they're excellent and you'll never experience the joy of my spicy pintos if you don't make them. Your loss.

    Makes enough for 3-4 as a side.

    • 1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
    • 1/2 jalapeno, seeded and minced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1/4 cup white onion, diced small
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cumin
    • dash cayenne
    • water as needed (I like my beans hearty and thick, so I added about 2 TB, add more to thin them out to your preferences)
    • salt
    1. Add the beans, lemon juice, cumin, cayenne and 2 TB water to a small crockpot on low or regular pot (with lid) over a low heat.
    2. Heat a small non-stick skillet, over medium heat. Spritz pan with a tiny bit of cooking spray. Add the onion and jalapeno. Cook, stirring, occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Then add the garlic. Cook about 2 minutes.
    3. Add the onion/garlic/jalapenos to the beans and stir well. I used a potato masher and partially smooshed the beans. I like some whole beans to give it texture, but you can completely smoosh if you want. Add any additional water if you want to thin the beans out. Cook about 45 minutes. Add some salt to your tastes. And, you're done. 
    Easy and delicious. It's my specialty. Or whatever.