Thursday, October 30, 2008


I have so much pumpkin, I don't know what to do with it all. We've been getting giant pie pumpkins from the CSA every week!! I've done pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cupcakes, and pumpkin cake. I've also made pumpkin sauces for pasta. Now I still have about 4 cups of pumpkin puree in the refrigerator, and TWO more pie pumpkins sitting on the counter! Luckily winter squashes will last on the counter for awhile (because I also have butternut squash, carnival squash, and sweet dumpling squash), but at some point I'm going to have to cook those pumpkins. I'm open to any suggestions and the way, does pumpkin puree freeze well??

Anyway, while I like lots of savory squash dishes, I really do like pumpkin best in sweet, dessert type dishes. Following are my "veganizations" of two pumpkin recipes I love.

Pumpkin Crumb Bars

1 1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 1/4 cups flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup Earth Balance, room temperature

2 cups pumpkin puree (or one 16 oz can)

2/3 cup hemp milk (or other non dairy milk of your choice)

1/3 cup light brown sugar

Ener-G egg replacer for 1 egg

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

3/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp ground allspice

Preheat oven to 375. Combine oats, flour, 3/4 cup brown sugar, salt, baking soda and Earth Balance in bowl of stand mixer. Mix until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups crumb mixture and press remaining mixture into a 13x9 baking dish that has been sprayed with canola oil. Bake crust for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare filling. Combine pumpkin, hemp milk, brown sugar, egg replacer and spices. Beat until smooth and well blended. Spread over crust, sprinkle with remaining crumb mixture. Return to oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until filling is set and crumb topping is golden brown. Cool in pan and cut into bars. These can be served at room temperature, but I prefer them after they've been refrigerated.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup unbleached bread flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cloves

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 Tsp canola oil

1 6 oz container vegan yogurt (I used vanilla Coconut Milk yogurt)

1/4 cup + 2 Tbs water

1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. In bowl of stand mixer combine dry ingredients. Mix to combine well. In a small bowl whisk together all wet ingredients. With stand mixer running, pour wet ingredients into dry. Combine just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour batter into 9x5 bread pan that has been sprayed with canola oil. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack until completely cooled.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Cooking with Apples

I had a big (huge) bag of apples that we bought at Huber's the other week, and it needed to be used up. I'd planned to make apple butter with it, but time got away from me, apples were eaten as snacks, and eventually there weren't enough to make making a batch of apple butter seem worth it, so instead the remaining apples were cooked up with our dinner this weekend.
First, I made some Maple Baked Lentils with Apple. I started by pre-cooking 1 1/2 cup lentils with one bouillon cube. While the lentils were cooking I peeled and diced 3 large apples, 1 carrot, 2 ribs of celery, and 1/2 large onion. When the lentils were tender, I combined those (drained from their cooking liquid), with the chopped veggies and apples in a baking dish, and mixed in about 1 tsp dried thyme leaves. I added about 1/4 cup apple cider and 1/4 cup pure maple syrup and baked at 350 until veggies were tender and juices were starting to bubble. We had the lentils served over a mixture of brown basmati rice and bulgur, with a side of Roasted Squash Rings from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan (I could eat the whole squash prepared this way), and a salad of mixed greens from the CSA with Annie's Goddess Dressing. This was delicious, and perfect on a cool Autumn night. But, truth be told, I thought the lentils were actually better as leftovers for dinner the next day.

Fast forward a few days, and the apples were out for dinner once again. This time I made "Sausage", Apples and Onions with Apple Cider Sauce. For this dish I used Tofurky Kielbasa style sausage, but you could use any vegan sausage you like. I browned the sausages in a little olive oil in a large skillet. When the sausage is browned, remove it from the skillet and set aside. Add to the skillet 2 large apples (sliced) , and 1/2 large onion (sliced). Saute apples and onions for a few minutes until apples begin to soften (don't let them go too far, you don't want them to turn into applesauce), return sausage to the pan then add in about 1 cup apple cider vinegar that's had about 1 tsp arrowroot powder whisked into it. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for a few minutes until sauce begins to thicken. I served the sausages on top of a heaping mound of mashed potatoes with a side of cornbread. Again, another perfect autumnal meal. The sweetness that the apples and cider added to the sausage was perfect. My picky eater, Mairin, gobbled up every bite of sausage!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp is so you can see, we couldn't even wait until the photo was taken before we dug right in. It's a wonderful dessert any time, but especially great when the local apples are in season and it's made with apples fresh off the tree. I used Jonathan apples, but any tart/sweet cooking apple will do. I make my apple crisp with the skin on the apples, because the pectin from the skin helps to keep it thick. I'm sure most of you have an apple crisp recipe floating around somewhere, but some of them can require quite a lot of ingredients. This one is simple to assemble, with only a few ingredients, and bakes up in about 40 minutes. It's perfect served with vanilla vegan ice-cream or drizzled with vegan vanilla yogurt (preferably coconut milk yogurt).

Apple Crisp

4-5 large cooking apples, cored and cut into bite sized pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

dash nutmeg or allspice

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup rolled oats

1 stick Earth Balance margarine, cut into pieces

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

Preheat oven to 350. In a 9x9 baking dish combine apples, 1/4 cup brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. In bowl of food processor combine flour, oats, Earth Balance, and rest of brown sugar. Pulse until margarine is broken down and mixture is crumbly. Sprinkle crumb topping over apples and bake for about 40 minutes until you see some juices of the apples bubbling up around the edges, and crumb topping is golden brown. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Pasta e Fagioli

As the weather is getting colder and colder, soups and stews are becoming more frequent on my menus. Just a few weeks ago, The Urban Vegan posted about her pasta fazool, reminding me that it had been ages since I'd made or eaten pasta e fagioli. I'm so glad she reminded me. It's warm, hearty, and so comforting. I won't post a recipe, because I'm sure you all have your own recipe for this dish already (and if you don't, I'm sure you can find one quite easily on the internet), but I hope I've reminded you that it's time to make pasta e fagioli for yourself.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Southern Comfort

Food that is....sorry if you thought this was going to be a post about that spicy, fruity whiskey drink. Nope, this is a post about beans, greens, and cornbread. It doesn't get any better than that, now does it. Ok, so I guess it depends on who you are husband and kids would probably disagree, but hey, they don't do the cooking do they? Seriously, I could eat beans and greens until I was sick, I love them that much.

When we were up a Huber's a few weeks ago I picked up a jar of their Chow-Chow. I've been meaning to make my own, but I'm just too damn lazy these days, and when I saw it on the shelves I had to buy it. I mean, locally grown, locally produced, and locally canned, it doesn't get any closer to homemade.

In the south chow chow is typically served over pinto beans, but I didn't have any of those, so I cooked up a big batch of black eyed peas and served the chow chow over that. Rob is usually not a fan of beans as a main dish, but he indeed liked them when served with a big spoonful of chow chow on top. Mairin claimed to not like them, and Stella preferred hers without chow chow....oh well, that leaves more for me I guess.

To go along with the beans I cooked up some greens, loosely based on Chessa's ravings about these smoky greens. Now I say loosely, because I was actually missing most of the ingredients and I didn't have collards. So, my concoction was a combo of mustard greens and kale from the CSA, I didn't have mushrooms, and I didn't have chipotle in adobo (but I did have bottle of Frontera chipotle sauce which is basically ground up chipotle in adobo, so I used that), and finally I didn't follow any of the measurements in the recipe because I didn't have 5 lbs of greens, so I just threw things in here and there. I have to say, the results were damn good. These were by far the best greens EVER!! I can't wait to follow the recipe and find out what the actual results are.

And, what's a southern Beans and Greens dinner without cornbread? Well, it's not complete, that's what I say, so of course, there was a big pan of cornbread to accompany the meal. Oh, and some southern fried potatoes and onions from the CSA as well.

Just look at that feast, it really doesn't get any better!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Now I Know My ABC's.......

I don't often make things that are considered kid friendly meals. Both girls have pretty sophisticated palates for children, so for the most part they eat, or at least taste, whatever I've prepared. This meal however was prepared specifically with the kids in mind. Mairin has been begging for "Alphabet soup", so I obliged with this version that is reminiscent of what your mother used to pour out of that little red and white can. This meal went over really well with the girls.....Stella called hers "elephant soup"!!

I wanted the soup to be kid friendly, and I didn't want the vegetables to overshadow the small alphabet pasta. Therefore, this recipe does require some tedious chopping. But your kids will feel so special that you've made a meal "just for them".

Alphabet Soup

2 Tbs Olive oil

1 onion, diced small

2 ribs celery, diced small

2 carrots, diced into small cubes

3 small yukon gold potatoes, diced into small cubes

3 cloves garlic, minced (optional only if your kids like garlic)

2 bay leaves

1 tsp thyme leaves (dried)

1 tsp oregano (dried)

1 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with juice

6 cups good quality vegetable stock

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 cup frozen corn kernels

8 oz alphabet shaped pasta, cooked and drained

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large soup pot. Add onion, celery, carrots and potato and saute until veggies are becoming soft. Add minced garlic, bay leaves, thyme and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss around in pan until fragrant. Add tomatoes and their juice, using juice to de-glaze pan if needed. Add vegetable stock, peas, and corn and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve. Check seasoning and add extra salt if needed. Just before ready to serve, add pasta to pot, stir to heat through. For the adults, I added a few Tbs of chopped fresh parsley to brighten the flavor a bit.

To finish the meal I made the classic childhood favorite, Oatmeal Raisin cookies. I used Dreena's wheat free recipe from Eat, Drink and Be Vegan. These cookies are absolutely perfect. They taste exactly like a cookie your grandmother would have baked for you when you were a child.

So, get cookin', and make a special meal for you kids tonight!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Nachos with ques"no"

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at Huber's. We picked pumpkins from the pumpkin patch (we got two quite large ones, and one baby). We shopped for deliciously fresh apples (after a while in the pumpkin field we didn't think the girls were quite ready for picking their own yet), and the best apple cider you'll ever drink. Then Rob and I shared a bottle of wine as we watched the girls frolicking in what will surely be one of the last 86 degree days we'll see for awhile. After a long and restful afternoon in the sun I didn't feel much like cooking when we returned home.

A while back when I was reading over at The Veggie Patch, I saw a link to a recipe for vegan queso. I also received my VegWeb weekly recipe e-mail and there is a very similar recipe there as well. Now, I haven't really missed cheese at all, except for queso. There have been a few times that we've eaten at Q-doba and I have longed to dip my chip in some of that warm, gooey queso. There happen to be lots of vegan queso recipes that involve melting soy cheese (which can sometimes prove tricky, and quite honestly, just grosses me out a little), or involve some combination of ground nuts. Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon a soy free, nut free cheese recipe!! I put it on my list of things to make soon, and a day when I didn't feel like cooking felt soon enough!! I whipped up some of the queso (which takes about 5 minutes), poured it over a pile of tortilla chips, with some black beans, diced onion, black olives, and chopped cilantro. Voila, nachos!!!

This queso is fabulous!! It has been awhile since I've had queso, but I do think this one is very close in flavor and texture to it's dairy laden counterpart. It hasn't been quite so long since Rob's had queso, and he too thought this one was amazingly close to dairy queso. I've got so many ideas for this deliciously cheesy dip, you can expect that it will be made around here quite often. And as an added don't feel fat, gross, and guilty after you eat this queso, even if you eat a ton!!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Happy Birthday........ Adventures in Vegetarianism. This blog turns 1 year old today. I can hardly believe it’s been a whole year since I started this. And it’s even more unbelievable that I’ve been able to keep up with it!! Little did I know when I started this blog that it’s birthday falls during Vegetarian Awareness Month and VeganMOFO…….so, we’ve a lot to celebrate this month.

This year has been quite and Adventure indeed. This started out as a vegetarian food blog, and has now morphed into a vegan food blog. As I learned more and more about the effects of farming both on the animals and the Earth, I couldn’t help but take the next step and switch to Vegan. I feel better both physically and spiritually for having made the switch, and I can’t imagine ever going back. I’m now living an almost entirely vegan lifestyle (save for a few exceptions, like my non-vegan deodorant that I just can’t find a good replacement for). Rob has converted to vegetarianism 100%, and both he and the girls are embracing veganism with only a few exceptions (like I still can’t convince them to order pizza without cheese). I’ve even convinced a few people to try out more vegan and vegetarian options.

I’ve learned a few things along the way as well. First, I’ve learned that being vegan isn’t nearly as hard as everyone assumes it is. I’ve learned that I love seitan, but that I prefer not to make it from scratch. I’ve learned that pizza is good……maybe even better…….without cheese. I’ve learned that vegan eating in Chicago is fabulous, but in Indianapolis, not so much. I’ve learned not to be afraid to scramble tofu, it’s really good, and really easy. I’ve learned that I LOVE vegan cupcakes. And finally, I’ve learned that I’m much more creative in the kitchen than I thought I was!!

In short, it’s been a great year. This blog has served it’s purpose well, and I look forward to sharing another year of my Adventures in Vegetarianism with you.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Split Pea - Barley Soup

I love it when my family surprises me!! I threw together this split pea soup thinking that I was going to be met at the table with an awful lot of grumbling. To my pleasant surprise, there wasn't one single grumble to be heard. In fact, second helpings were had all around, and Mairin requested the leftovers in a thermos for her school lunch!!

There really isn't a lot to this soup. It's very minimalist on the seasoning allowing the wonderful flavor of the split peas to shine through. Even without extra spices and seasonings it's still bursting with heart warming deliciousness.

Split Pea - Barley Soup

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced

2 large carrots, sliced

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 tsp Hickory Flavor Liquid Smoke

1 tsp tarragon leaves

2 cups green split peas, rinsed and picked over

4 cups vegetable stock + 2 cups water

1 cup pearled barley, uncooked

3 cups water

1 vegetable bouillon cube

1 large radish, thinly sliced

In a soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrot and celery and saute until tender. Add liquid smoke, tarragon, some salt and pepper and stir to combine. Add split peas, veg stock and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer until peas are tender. In the meantime, bring barley and 3 cups of water to a boil with bouillon cube. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover and let simmer until liquid is absorbed and barley is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove barley from heat and set aside. Once peas have become tender, transfer soup to food processor and puree until smooth and creamy (this may need to be done in batches, depending on the size of your food processor; alternatively you could use a hand blender to get the job done). Add barley to pureed soup and stir to combine and heat through. Season with salt and pepper, if needed, to taste. Ladle to bowls and garnish with radish slices in the center.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Squash Enchiladas

The acorn squash used for this dinner was intended to be stuffed squash, but I knew that wasn't really something that was going to excite the masses. Not to mention, it was back up to around 85 degrees today and stuffed squash just didn't seem appropriate for the weather. Hence the acorn squash became enchilada filling. All I can say is, great idea!! Pureed roasted acorn squash mixed up with some sauteed veggies made for a fantastic enchilada. Both the sauce and the poblano pepper I diced into the filling added some heat, but even so these were deemed likable even by the kiddos!!

Acorn Squash Enchiladas
makes 9 enchiladas

1 acorn squash

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 Tbs olive oil

1/2 large onion, diced (or one small I guess)

1 medium poblano pepper, seeded and diced

8 oz white button mushrooms, chopped

9 8-inch whole wheat tortillas

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves

Preheat oven to 350. Cut squash in half, remove seeds, and place cut side down in a baking dish with 1/4 inch water. Cover tightly with foil, and bake until soft, about 30 minutes. Remove squash and let cool. Once squash is cool enough to hold, scoop flesh into bowl of food processor, add chili powder, and salt and process into a smooth puree. Meanwhile, saute onion, pepper and mushrooms in olive oil. Add pureed squash to sauteed veggies and stir to heat through. Coat bottom of 9x13 pan with a few Tbs of enchilada sauce. Divide squash mixture evenly among tortillas and fold enchilada style (leaving one end open). Place tortillas side by side in baking dish and cover with remaining enchilada sauce. Place in 350 oven and bake until sauce is bubbly, and enchiladas are heated through, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cilantro.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Vegan Planet

You may remember awhile back when I posted about my copy of Vegan Planet missing an entire section, and when I contacted Robin Robertson about it she arranged to have a new copy sent to me. Well, that copy arrived and I've made 2 recipes from the missing section (which happened to be the pasta section). Both were a total success.
First, I made the mac and cheese. This dish was a big hit with the girls, which is always fabulous. They both requested helping after helping of this incredible shells and cheese. The recipe makes a ton of mac and cheese, so we actually had this two nights in a row. It was just as successful on night number two, which isn't usually the case around here. Honestly, Rob and I both preferred it the second night over the first.
Next up I made the Pad Thai, as a "date" meal for Rob and I one evening after the girls were in bed. Now, Pad Thai isn't usually the first dish I go for on a Thai menu, so it's been quite some time since I've had Pad Thai. Therefore, I can't vouch for the authenticness of this recipe. However, I can tell you that it is fabulous. As you know, our house is nut free, so it is of course missing the peanut garnish. It's also missing the bean sprouts, as I did my grocery shopping a week before I prepared this dish and bean sprout setting around in the fridge for a week just kind of grosses me out. My local grocery doesn't carry such "exotic" things as bean sprouts, so I just opted to omit them. Still delish even if it's missing 2 main ingredients!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Fall Cupcakes

In keeping with my fall themed cooking of late, I decided to make some fall themed cupcakes to accompany.

When I think of fall I think of cool weather, vibrantly colored leaves and bon fires. Of course, no bon fire is complete without S'mores.....................hence, S'mores cupcakes from VCTOTW. These are definitely reminiscent of S'mores, but they aren't spot on. I think they could be improved with a bit of Marshmallow Fluff (do they make vegan Marshmallow Fluff??) instead of the buttercream. Another idea might be to attempt to melt down some vegan marshmallows to drizzle on the tops. Maybe a vegan marshmallow hidden in the center of each cake? I don't know, they just need a little more marshmallow-y-ness!! Also, if you decide to make these, don't fill the muffin tins full, as directed......these babies rise and the result will be less than pretty tops (see photo below).

S'mores Cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.

And of course, like everyone else on Earth, I think of pumpkins when I think of fall. So, it only made sense to try out the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing from VCTOTW. Isa and Terry dare anyone to call these a muffin. I'm a girl that likes a dare, and I dare say, these are really more of a muffin than a cupcake. Nonetheless, they are out of this world. The sugar and spice is just right to allow the pumpkin and chocolate combo to shine through. And just like Isa and Terry say, the icing just adds a little somethin' somethin'. We did eat them as cupcakes for dessert one night, but I must admit that Mairin and I played "pretend" and ate them as muffins the next morning!!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Cinnamon Icing
from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.