Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Slowcooker Red Beans and Rice

My mother recently got me a slow cooker at the church yard sale for $3. $3 seems to be the price for us when it comes to used kitchenwares- our air popper and toaster oven were both $3 as well, though admittedly from the thrift store! After a few goes with it, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with it, so I have been a happy user of it recently.

Green peppers were recently on sale at Aldi and I remember my sister in law mentioned making crockpot red beans and rice, so I decided to give it a go. I utilized a couple different recipes, specifically using Dianne's DishesFat Free Vegan, and Little Magnolia Kitchen for inspiration.

The end product was delicious. We served it with some extra Tabasco and I think some people might find some extra salt tasty, but it was awesome, and unsurprisingly even better the day(s) after!

1 lb dried red beans
4 1/2 C water
1 green pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced (I used roasted!)
2 T Cajun seasoning
1 t liquid smoke
2 t Better than Bouillon No Beef Base
1 T Tabasco

Sort through beans. Combine 4 cups of water and red beans in crockpot and cook on high for 4 to 5 hours until the beans are tender (mine were plenty tender at 4). Add the seasonings, vegetables, and 1/2 cup of water. Cook on high for another 1 to 2 hours (mine was plenty finished at 1 hour). Add more water if desired and season with salt and pepper to your liking.

Guten Appetit!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Five Spice Apple Muffins

I have been gone for a while, but I'm back! In the last few months I have started working (a few part time gigs), we celebrated our first year of marriage and went on a cruise, we have moved (about 10 minutes away), my husband started a new job, and I turned 27! So, lots of exciting changes!

One of the most exciting things is a new kitchen! It is bigger with more storage and I love it desperately. In the process of setting up our new kitchen I decided to buy some spice jars in an attempt to organize my spices which were in bags and jars of varying shapes and sizes. While doing this, I came across some Chinese Five Spice powder and realized I hadn't used it for a while!

My husband was in training for his new job and I decided to send some baked goods with him- nothing helps making friends like food! I decided based on what we had in the kitchen to send him with some apple muffins and used my Whole Wheat Apple Bread as the template. 

The recipe turned out great! The muffins were hearty and the spiciness of the pepper was a nice surprise. I'd never used Chinese Five Spice in sweet things before, but will definitely in the future!

3 C whole wheat flour
1 T Chinese Five Spice Powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 T ground flaxseed
1 1/2 C turbinado sugar
1/2 C apple sauce
2 t vanilla
1/4 C water
2 C chopped apple

Preheat oven to 375 and grease 12 cupcake liners. In medium bowl, combine dry ingredients minus the sugar. In a large bowl, stir to combine sugar and wet ingredients. Add dry ingredients to wet mixture and stir just until combined. Evenly distribute the batter into the 12 cups (I find this is easiest to do with a ice cream scoop). Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Guten Appetit!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Pizza Crust

For the Super Bowl I decided to go the pizza route. The pizza was great, but we ended up resorting to watching a Netflix movie than finishing the game.

I decided to try a new recipe for dough. I usually don't stray too far from my Whole Wheat and Agave Crust, but what's life if you don't take a few chances? I wanted to stick with whole wheat, but sometimes whole wheat can feel a little heavy. I had recently made some cornmeal pancakes and knew that occasionally it ends up in pizza dough and decided to resort to the Google. Also, I bought five pounds of it a few months ago and needless to say... I haven't made my way that far through it.

I did some google searches with "whole wheat" "cornmeal" and "pizza dough". Success! I came across this recipe and decided to make it vegan (agave for the honey) and make it 100% whole wheat (whole wheat pastry flour for the AP flour).

The resulting dough was great. It was easier to work with than the whole wheat pizza crust I usually use and it was lighter and crispier. It took a little bit more preparation, but I'd say it was well worth it.

I used this to make one 10 inch round pizza and one 9 by 13 rectangular pizza and it worked perfectly. We topped our with mozzarella Daiya, artichokes, roasted peppers, and homemade pepperoni seitan. I paired it with a homemade ranch sauce and hot sauce (I love hot sauce on pizza!). 

1 T active dry yeast
1 T agave
1 C warm water
1/2 C cornmeal
1 1/2 whole wheat flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t kosher salt
1 T olive oil

Combine the agave, yeast, water and olive oil in a large bowl and stir to combine. Pour in the additional  dry ingredients and stir to combine ingredients. Move to a flat surface and knead about 5 to 8 minutes until elastic. Place in a oiled bowl and cover until doubled, about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Split dough according to your wishes. The dough will work perfectly for two 12 inch pizzas, one 16 inch pizza, or a variety of other sizes. Poke with a fork and bake for 7 to 10 minutes. Remove, top with toppings and bake at 500 F for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. 

Guten Appetit!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Southwestern Mac and Cheeze

So this isn't the prettiest dish in the world, but it's super tasty!

I soaked and cooked a bunch of black beans and with a few cups in the freezer, I decided to handle the rest sooner rather than later. After black bean soup, I decided to go a slightly different direction and ended up deciding that I wanted to do a mac and cheese (or shells in cheese in my case) with black beans. I did some googling which confirmed this wasn't that crazy of an idea and other people had done similar things.

I looked at some vegan recipes, but they used vegan cheese. I love vegan cheese, don't get me wrong, but I'm kind of against using it in large quantities for one dish other than pizza. Mostly because it's expensive (which is no doubt surprising to any one who has read any of this blog).

While thinking of my options I thought of the ever popular Nutritional Yeast Queso Sauce from VegWeb and after confirming that other people had made "queso mac and cheese", I decided that's the direction I'd go. I'm not the biggest fan of the taste of nutritional yeast, but I've always enjoyed this queso sauce, which I figure is a positive sign. I knew that the queso itself would probably be too overwhelming and thick, so I decided to add some milk, in this case home made cashew milk.

You can see some little black beans hanging out in there.

So I added in some spinach to the sauce and then before eating it myself cut up a few cherry tomatoes. They warmed up a little in the sauce and were pretty tasty, in the event anyone is interested :)

My husband admitted after he'd eaten a bowl and a half that he was very skeptical of this recipe when I told him what was dinner, but! that he loved it. I used a medium salsa, so this is very easy to vary based on how spicy you like it.

This is a super easy recipe, so have at it!

1/4 C flour (I used rice)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 t paprika
1 t kosher salt
1 C water
1 C non-dairy milk (I used homemade cashew milk)
1 1/2 C salsa
1 C blackbeans
1 C fresh spinach

In a sauce pan combine all the dry ingredients. Whisk in the water and stir constantly over medium heat until the sauce has thickened and is boiling slightly. Add in the non-dairy milk, salsa, and black beans and stir occasionally until heated to a simmer. Add in fresh spinach and stir until wilted in the sauce. Turn off heat.

Serve with pasta, in our case, whole wheat!

Guten Appetit!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Bell Pepper Cornbread Muffins

I worked at a restaurant in Alabama that served cornbread with peppers and honey butter as a starter for everyone. Lots of people were afraid that they were jalapenos, but all of the peppers were just various colored bell peppers. The corn bread was tasty and the peppers mostly added some pretty color, rather than additional flavor. They were mostly the inspiration for the googling that lead to making these.

That googling led me to this recipe over at amybites for Jalapeno and Bell Pepper Corn Muffins.  And all 9 got eaten by my husband and I at dinner. Oops?

Obviously there was a little bit of tweaking done for this recipe. As mentioned, they weren't spicy, so they just had bell peppers in them. Second, I obviously didn't use egg or dairy milk. I depended on my go-to ground flaxseed for the egg and unflavored soy for the milk. Also, you'll note this recipe includes cheese. I was considering leaving it out, but I had some Daiya in the freezer, so I decided to throw it in. I don't really know how much of a difference it actually made, but it was kind of fun to use.

I will note, that my batter looked tons thicker than the batter from the original website.

I was a wee bit worried when I put them in the muffin tins, but they turned out great, so perhaps my worrying was unnecessary.

And they turned out super! They were moist, a nice hybrid cornbread-muffin combo, that tasted hearty and paired perfectly with our soup. They were super easy to make and I think corn kernels would be a perfect addition, but unfortunately my husband does not. 

You'll notice that I have paper cups (the white ones) and silicone cups (the green ones). I really, really like silicone baking cups for muffins/cupcakes. They come out so unbelievably easy and the cleanup is a breeze. They are also perfect for freezing small amount of liquid in the freezer as anything inside of them pops out easily and you can throw them in a bag or container for storage.

With that aside out of the way... the recipe!

1 C white whole wheat flour
3/4 C cornmeal
2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
1 T ground flaxseed
2 T agave nectar
1 C non-dairy milk
2 T neutral flavored oil (I used sunflower)
2 T water
1/4 C chopped red bell pepper
1/4 C chopped green bell pepper
1/4 vegan cheese (I used Daiya Pepperjack Style Shreds)
Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 F. Prepare 9 muffin tins with silicone cups, paper cups, or bare. Spray tins with cooking spray. Combine dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl; make a well in the center. In a small bowl, combine non-dairy milk, oil, and water. Add to dry ingredients and stir until mixture is just moistened. Stir in the chopped bell pepper and vegan cheese.

Spoon ingredients into prepared tins. Bake at 425 for 10 to 15 minutes or until tops are slightly browned. Cool on wire rack for about five minutes. Serve with vegan butter or alone. 

Guten Appetit!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Noochits & Cheezy Crunchy Snack Mix

I'm not sure I can really call this a recipe, but! I am including how I do the crackers (I've adjusted my ingredients some), so I'll say it counts.

First of all, the crackers:

One of the downsides to a vegan diet is that it can make snacking a little more difficult and my husband is one heck of a snacker. I made Have Cake Will Travel's Cheezy Quackers a few years ago and he loved them. The problem with my husband loving something is that it disappears very quickly. They are seriously an awesome substitute for Cheez-its, plus I'd like to think they are a little healthier.

I totally took this picture September 2010.
They are super easy to make and bake. Sure, they require rolling out, but it's not like a pie crust in that you mess up and have to roll it out twice and the texture is all wrong. Yay! A recipe that's super hard to mess up!

One of the ways that my recipe differs from Have Cake Will Travel's is that I went with shortening. Why? I had it on hand, mostly. I cut down the shortening to 3 tablespoons from the 4 tablespoons butter from the original recipe (or oil from the spelt recipe) and it wasn't missed at all. I bet it would work similarly with coconut oil, though I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make with a purely liquid fat.  

All rolled out!

All cut up! The main other difference is, as suggested in the original recipe, I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose pastry. Still super tasty and a bit more hearty.

Also: I've been baking a lot more by weights, rather than by volume lately. Number one reason: less baking cups and spoons to clean afterwards! One discrepancy I found with this recipe was the nutritional yeast. The recipe called for 1/3 cup or 40 g. If you look at the weight to volume estimations provided by Bob's Red Mill, you see that there is no way in the world that 1/3 cup would be 40 grams.  As I was pouring in the nutritional yeast as I went, I was noticing it looked like a whole lot more than a third of a cup and this seems to agree with that. Perhaps this is because I was using flakes, rather than powder? With that in mind, my recipe includes a whole lot more nooch per volume, but sticks with the weight measurement.

Onto the mix:

Every time I have mentioned making them since then he has gotten really excited, which is always a good sign for a much loved dish. I made them recently and he suggested that I make sort of a snack mix for him to take to work and while these ingredients were pretty much all I had on hand (roasted and salted almonds and bite sized pretzels), they work quite well together. My favorite way to eat it is one cracker, one pretzel, and one almond thrown into my mouth at once :)

So my version of the crackers, I shall call them:


1 C whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 C (40 g) nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 t black pepper
1 t kosher salt
3 T all-vegetable shortening
5 T water

Combine flour, nutritional yeast, pepper, and salt together until well mixed in a mixer bowl. Cut in shortening until everything has the appearance of crumbs. Add water and turn the mixer on low until the dough forms a ball. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick. Cut a a grid with lines about an inch apart perpendicular and horizontal on your dough. With remaining dough that doesn't end up as squares, roll it out and cut another grid. Repeat until there is no more dough.

Place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bottom of the crackers is lightly browned.

Cheezy Crunchy Snack Mix

1 C pretzels
1 C roasted and salted almonds
1 C cheezy crackers

Combine all ingredients and mix until all snack types are evenly distributed. Eat!

Guten Appetit!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Southwestern Pot Pie

This dish had a few circumstances that resulted in it's production. First of all, I had a bunch of celery and a few green peppers that were nearing the end of their lives. Second, I ended up with a large quantity of Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages. Third, I received my Secret Santa gift from the Reddit Secret Santa exchange and it was a fluted pie plate and a pie bird and I wanted to use it right away!

Now, I myself had never heard of a pie bird, so I did some googling and was excited with what I read. They help the release steam from the filling of the pie so that it doesn't boil over and to keep the bottom crust crispy. Wowwy! Pretty neat.

So, with all of that to deal with I did some googling and came up with this dish.

(Just to indicate my thought process and googling results, I didn't really use this recipe for any measurements or ingredients really, but I did look over Rachel Ray's Mexican Chicken Pot Pie recipe for a bit of reassurance that it could be done and inspiration.)

Now, on some level, I don't feel right calling this a pie. It is in a pie plate, sure, but the crust is a whole lot more like a flat bread, than a pie crust. This is largely due to me not wanting one serving to have me consuming a whole tablespoon of Crisco and wanting it to be whole wheat. I ended up using this recipe from Hodgson Mill for a Whole Wheat Pie Crust and was quite pleased with the end result. It was crispy and hearty and worked great with the meal. I look forward to using it for other pot pie like dishes.

Other points of note:

I used Field Roast sausages for this. I have never actually purchased anything Field Roast myself, largely because they are more expensive than I am willing to invest in fake meat and I think I make a mean fake meat myself. But, I will take things that are heading toward the trash as these were. So! if you do not have any Field Roast on hand, really any seitan (Mexican/Southwestern flavored or not) will do.

I make my own taco seasoning. I generally use this one from Allrecipes and just leave out the salt, so that I can salt to taste the dish I'm making. For that reason, in this recipe, I am able to use bouillon easily. If you use a taco seasoning with salt, I would recommend leaving out the bouillon as it would probably make it too salt.

This would no doubt work wonderfully with any other pie crust. I was really just feeling something a little healthier.

I didn't take any pictures of the finished product cut. That was largely because it was getting devoured, but I'll just say it was super delicious! 

 Ready for the top crust!

Ready for the oven!

Now for the recipe/s:

For the Filling:

1 1/2 C water
1/2 C (56 g) raw cashews
1 t Better than Bouillon No Beef base
2 T ground chia seeds (2 T cornstarch could substitute well)
2 T salt free taco seasoning
1/2 C carrots, diced
1/2 C onion, diced
1/2 C celery, diced
1/2 C green pepper, diced
2 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages, chopped (or about 6 1/2 oz other seitan)

Preheat oven to 425 F.

In a sauce pan over medium heat, cook vegetables with a small amount of water or oil until carrots are cooked, yet still firm, about 10 minutes. 

Combine the water and cashews (and if you don't have pre-ground chia seeds, add chia seeds in this step as well) in a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Add taco seasoning and bouillon base (and ground chia seeds or cornstarch) and blend until combined. Pour into the sauce pan with the vegetables and stir until mixed.

For the pie crust:

2 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 T shortening
1 T baking powder
1/2 C + 1 T water

Combine the flour, baking powder, and shortening until crumbly. Blend in the water just until combined and knead on a floured surface about 5 times. Split the dough into two balls and roll out each about two inches larger than a 9 inch pie pan.

Place one rolled out dough into a 9 inch pie pan. If using a pie bird, place in the middle of the pan. Pour in the pot pie filling and top the the pie with the second pie crust, seal the edges, and cut away the access dough. If not using a pie bird, place some slits in the top crust. Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until top crust is browned.

Guten Appetit!