Vegan mac & cheese!

Hey all!

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? Life has been busy & crazy in all sorts of ways. I moved to a new state with my partner, had other relationships begin & end, and done quite a bit of self exploration in various forms. But I’ve decided I would like to get back to posting some recipes on here. I’ve cooked some really delicious things lately, and it’s only fair to share, right? 🙂

This recipe is something I discovered lately and I am in love with this sauce! So healthy and yet so yummy. Pasta is my favorite way to eat it, but I’ve also used it for some delicious nachos, a cheesy hashbrown casserole, and philly cheese sandwiches (with portabello mushrooms, mmmm).

I don’t have a picture with this one, but I plan to get some more pretty pictures and posts on here soon.

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Vegan mac & cheese (adapted from Veg News)
8 ounces pasta
2 potatoes
1/2 cup carrots
1/3 cup butter/Earth Balance (not needed if trying to be extra healthy, but certainly adds a yummy buttery taste)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 can coconut milk
1/4 tsp garlic
1 tsp minced onion
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp cayenne
1/4 tspn paprika
1/8 cup nutritional yeast (optional as well, but adds a bit of extra cheesiness)
Salt to taste
Add in veggies as desired! Broccoli is my favorite.

  1. Cook pasta on stove.
  2. Cook potatoes in microwave for several minutes until soft.
  3. Saute carrots until soft as well. Add all ingredients to blender, add about 1/3 cup of the can of coconut milk, and blend.
  4. Add more coconut milk as needed until sauce is smooth and still relatively thick. A little water can be added as well if the sauce is still a bit thick. Taste and adjust spices as necessary.
  5. Saute whatever vegetables you want to add in to the pasta and then heat everything together in one big pot on the stove. You can also throw it in a baking pan, add some breadcrumbs on top and put it in the oven if you want a baked version! (350 degrees for 30 minutes)

Homemade oreos

I love the fact that I have ridiculous amounts of free time at the moment. It’s so fun to be spending my time making food, reading novels, & pondering future life choices (graduate school in Europe perhaps??). My life is pretty wonderful indeed!

Also, these oreo cookies are just amazing. Mmmmm. They taste like coconut-y oreos, which I’m totally fine with.

The filling is made from either coconut cream or coconut milk – the difference is simply that coconut cream has a bit more of the coconut meat that you will be using for the filling, whereas the coconut milk has slightly less coconut meat and more of the coconut water in the can. For desserts, I recommend using the coconut cream because it has a slightly sweeter flavor & has more coconut meat, but you can use whatever you can find in your area!

Enjoy these cute & simple cookies!

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Homemade oreos (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)
Cookies:
1 1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup sugar (or xylitol)
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup milk of choice
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup or agave

Filling:
3/4 cup powdered sugar (or to taste)
1 tsp vanilla
2 cans coconut cream (or coconut milk)

  1. Combine first 4 ingredients.
  2. Combine all liquid ingredients for the cookies. Mix wet into dry.
  3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before baking – this will keep the cookies nice & soft!
  4. Preheat oven to 300 F.
  5. Meanwhile, make the filling. Scoop the white cream from on top of the coconut cream. Leave the watery liquid for later – you can use this like milk in other baking recipes or add it to smoothies.
  6. Whip together cream with vanilla & powdered sugar. Put in fridge as well.
  7. Take cookie dough out of fridge & roll out thin. Use a cookie cutter or the bottom of a glass to cut circles.
  8. Bake on a greased cookie tray for 10 minutes – they will look underdone but take them out anyway.
  9. Let cookies cool completely before trying to remove. Spread filling on cookies & top with another cookie for oreo perfection!
  10. Store in the fridge so the filling doesn’t get runny.

Lemon dill tofu

So, I have this huge jar of tahini in my cupboard that I’ve been trying to use up for forever.

Also, my dill plants have been growing like CRAZY. Seriously, what am I supposed to do with all that dill?

This recipe was really a way of me throwing all that stuff together to get rid of it, while also making something delicious. I’m pretty happy with the result!

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Lemon dill tofu (adapted from Oh She Glows)
1 package tofu, extra firm
1/2 tsp minced garlic
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp water
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup fresh dill, chopped finely
Salt & pepper to taste

  1. Press tofu using tofu press or just a bunch of books.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  3. Meanwhile, mix remaining ingredients together to make coating for tofu.
  4. Cut pressed tofu into cubes and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip over, then bake another 15 minutes.
  5. Toss baked tofu with lemon dill coating.

Chili with sweet potatoes & quinoa

Mmmm who doesn’t love chili? A simple hearty meal that is incredibly comforting and delicious.

This chili has quinoa added for extra health benefits! Yum! You can leave it out though if you want to save a little money.

I had some leftover vegan sour cream from another recipe, and I highly recommend adding a dollop of that to the top of your chili. Also very, very delicious.

This chili is crazy simple and very yummy. Enjoy!

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Chili with sweet potatoes & quinoa (adapted from Fort Mill SC Living)
3/4 cup quinoa, uncooked
1 medium sweet potato, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp vegetable bouillon
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp  oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced onion
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cans diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 can kidney beans
1 can pinto beans

Other ideas for extra veggies: zucchini, yellow squash, corn, mushrooms, eggplant, carrots

  1. Make quinoa – 3/4 cup quinoa + 1 1/2 cups water.
  2. Meanwhile, saute sweet potato & green pepper with some olive oil for a few minutes.
  3. Add in all ingredients except quinoa. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Add in cooked quinoa and simmer just until warm.

Bread pudding

I have not made a dessert in quite awhile, but I finally have some free time after graduating this month, so I am going to be cooking up crazy dishes all the time! 🙂

So, desserts & appetizers will be happening too, which is very exciting given my usual habit of just making a big one pot meal.

Anyway, I love love love bread pudding. It’s so wonderfully delicious that I’ve been wanting to try this recipe for quite awhile.

It was perfect timing too, since I just bought a ridiculous amount of hamburger buns for a cookout I had with my psychology honor society & faculty. Not as many people showed up as we thought, so I came home with a lot of extra bread.

Best idea of what to do with extra, mediocre bread? Make bread pudding.

This version is vegan & way healthier than most bread puddings since there is no added cholesteral from eggs or butter. I even reduced the amount of sugar by half from the original recipe. And trust me, it still tastes heavenly. I’m very proud of this one. 🙂

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Bread pudding (adapted from about.com)
8 cups day old bread, cubed
6 cups milk of choice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp caramel flavor (optional)
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped almonds or pecans (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Dump bread cubes into a large pan.
  3. Stir together remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over bread.
  4. Stir everything to combine.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes in oven.

Asian style quinoa

Friends, I have a few staples that I love to make a lot – pasta, pizza, soup, tofu, and quinoa. I just love this fancy superfood that is so easy to make into so many different dishes. The classic vegetarian staple is often grains + veggies, and quinoa is definitely my grain of choice. I’m not a huge rice person, so quinoa is pretty much where it’s at for me.

I have been looking into experimenting with different grains in future recipes though, did you know there are so many grains that people hardly ever talk about? There’s millet, farro, barley, buckwheat, the list goes on. I want to try them all! So, stay tuned for that happening. 🙂

Anyway, it’s about time I made another Asian dish, so here you go! This one is simple & delicious – hardly any prep time required.

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Asian style quinoa (adapted from Overtime Cook)
1 1/2 cups raw quinoa
1 pound stir fry vegetables (I used a frozen mix that I left defrost on the counter)
1/4 cup sesame oil (or just use olive oil with 2 tsp sesame seeds, though the flavor is different)
2 1/2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp honey or agave
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp ground ginger

  1. Cook quinoa – 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa + 3 cups water.
  2. Meanwhile, mix all other ingredients (except veggies) to make the sauce.
  3. After quinoa is done, add in veggies and sauce. Heat over low for just a few minutes or until vegetables are warm.

New & improved potato pizza

So, awhile ago I made a vegan version of my favorite Toppers pizza.

It was pretty yummy, but I’ve learned a lot since then! Introducing, the new & improved potato pizza. =)

This recipe is certainly not quick & easy, but I promise you the delicious end result is totally worth it! Stick with me, and you will understand what I mean. Mmmm.

Feel free to buy vegan cheese or pizza crust to speed this up, as making everything by hand does take a bit of time. You could also make some of these things ahead of time! Whatever works best for you.

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Potato topping
2 medium potatoes, cooked in the microwave
Olive oil
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp Italian seasoning
3/4 tsp dried minced onion
Salt & pepper to taste

2 green onions, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 500 F.
  2. Cut cooked potatoes into small cubes.
  3. Combine potatoes with olive oil and seasonings.
  4. On a prepared pizza crust, layer coconut milk cheese, followed by this potato topping. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melty and crust is a golden brown. Top with chopped green onions and eggplant bacon. Serve with vegan sour cream.

Eggplant “bacon” (adapted from Post Punk Kitchen)
1 medium eggplant
2 tbsp honey or agave or maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika (or just regular paprika will suffice)
pinch black pepper

  1. Prepare eggplant for baking by salting it to remove moisture & increase crispiness — cut it into slices, put slices in colander over sink and salt generously. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Mix sauce ingredients and pour in a small pan.
  3. Rinse eggplant with cold water and press with towels to get out any extra moisture.
  4. Layer eggplant in pan filled with sauce and let sit for several minutes to absorb flavor.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  6. Spray cookie sheet with lots of olive oil. Layer marinated eggplant slices on sheet.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, flipping over halfway through. You want them to be super crispy. It’s okay if a few spots get burnt, they will still taste quite good!

Vegan sour cream (adapted from food.com)
1 package of silken tofu
3 tbsp olive oil
3-5 tsp lemon juice
1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Pinch of sugar or honey (optional)

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Start with the minimum amounts of lemon juice & ACV, then add more slowly if desired.