food

Journey to Vegan

Today I’m over on Celeste’s blog chatting with her and my friend Katrin from Land of Candy Canes about our vegan journeys! Lots of people are full of questions about the “why” and “how” of making the leap from a regular diet to a vegetarian/vegan one, so if you’re interested in our stories, I’d love it if you checked out Celeste’s post (here). She did a great job putting together the questions for this post!

Vegan red velvet white chip cookies (February Recipe Writers)

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I admit I’m a day late with this delicious Valentine’s recipe, but when I got home from work yesterday and got out my mixing bowl I realized I didn’t have an essential ingredient: cream cheese (vegan, natch). And there was no way I was going back out to the store for one item.  So apologies for the delay, and I hope the deliciousness makes up for it!
I first got to thinking about red velvet when it started popping up all over my Pinterest board for Valentine’s Day. Chiefly in mind was this recipe from the blog New Mama Diaries–it looked so simple to prepare (always a good thing). But of course, I had to veganize it before I could try it…so here are my results. I bet if you serve these to family and friends, they’ll never guess that they lack eggs and real cream cheese!
What you’ll need:
One package of red velvet cake mix
1/2 cup coconut oil
One 8-oz. package cream cheese
Two cups (or one package) white chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Use a hand mixer to cream together the coconut oil and cream cheese. Add in the red velvet cake mix and beat until ingredients are thoroughly blended; stir in the chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheets in rounded spoonfuls; bake at 375 for ten to twelve minutes. Allow to cool before serving (the cookies will be too gooey to pick up when they’re fresh out of the oven!).
A note on ingredients: Many vegans find the Duncan Hines cake mixes to be acceptable, but if you’re looking for a brand that says “vegan” on the box, check the baking aisle of your local health food store (mine has tons of such items that I have not found through online sellers). Alternatively, you could whip up a from-scratch recipe–it will take a little longer than using a box mix, but it will still taste good. Just remember that a wet cake batter won’t need added coconut oil, and you’ll need to adjust the wet-to-dry ratio so the batter won’t be super-runny.
Vegan cream cheese is pretty easy to find at health food stores and even some regular grocery stores. Vegan white chocolate chips can be harder to find, but if you don’t have any on hand, regular chips will work fine too–the taste will be slightly different, but the cookies will still be delicious!

February Recipe Writers: Valentine’s Day Goodies

Welcome to another monthly round of Recipe Writers! Last month’s recipes were fabulous. They inspired us all to eat healthy (if we actually ate healthy throughout the entire month is a different story entirely) and showed us how to combine ingredients in new ways. Did you try my Kale, Quinoa and Sweet Potato soup, Jenn’s ideas for Spaghetti Squash or Kelly’s Protein Nut Butter Balls? Yum!
I’m sure you had a clue as to what this month’s theme would be…because let’s be honest, it is all over Pinterest right now:
Valentine’s Day Goodies

(Super-cute Valentine’s DIY from Amanda’s blog! Find it here.)

 

Even if you don’t get heavily into the Hallmark side of things, I think Valentine’s Day is a great holiday–it’s the perfect excuse to eat lots of chocolate and treat yourself to a fancy dinner, a day at the spa, or some other luxury experience that you’d normally not spring for. Since Valentine’s Day recipes can include anything from a decadent dessert to a perfect dinner for two, the theme this month is any recipe for Valentine’s Day. Whatever you have to share, we’re excited to see!
Here is how Recipe Writers works: At the beginning of every month we will introduce a new theme and all share our recipes here. The link party will close on the last day of the month. This way you will have time to share a recipe before and after the holiday (if there is one) so others can try it, check out other recipes to try yourself and impress your family and friends with the delicious flavors of the season. For example, November was Thanksgiving Favorites, December was Christmas Cookies and January was Healthy Eating!
Co-hosts:
Amanda Rose from Sew Much 2 Say
 
Remember, this link up is open until the end of the month and we will have a new one next month starting on the 1st.  Don’t forget to check in next month to see if your recipe was featured. So, what are you waiting for? Make your favorite recipes, blog about it and share them with us!

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Healthy eating: kale, quinoa & sweet potato soup

Today I have an easy, healthy and tasty recipe to share with you: kale, quinoa and sweet potato soup. This dish requires only four ingredients, freezes easily, and is not only vegan but also free of soy and gluten. The combo of ingredients stuffs a ton of protein, fiber, iron and other vitamins & minerals into a fairly low-cal package, making it a great healthy option for “diet” days or anytime you need to get the maximum nutrients possible from your meal.

You’ll need:

  • Three quarts vegetable stock (about twelve cups)
  • Several cups washed chopped kale
  • Five or six large sweet potatoes
  • Cooked quinoa–I cook a 26-oz. package of Bob’s Red Mill Organic Quinoa, which yields about twelve cups

 

Peel and chop up the sweet potatoes and add them to the vegetable stock. Cook over medium high heat until potatoes are nearly tender; add kale and cook an additional ten minutes. Dish quinoa into bowls and ladle soup over the top; add salt & pepper or other seasonings to taste.

Obviously this makes a LOT of soup. If you’re cooking for one or don’t plan on freezing any of the soup for a later date, then you might want to halve this recipe to avoid soup burnout. I prefer to store the soup and quinoa in separate containers in the fridge so the quinoa won’t soak up all of the broth overnight, but if you’re ladling this into single-serve Ziploc containers to freeze for later then I wouldn’t worry about separate storage.

So now you know what I’m eating this week! Do you have a healthy dinner recipe to share with me? (Don’t forget, you still have time to add your healthy recipes to the January Recipe Writers link-up!)

Random Thursday: My favorite snack food

I should probably list something healthy, right? Since I’m on this New Year’s health kick? But don’t worry, I won’t be that person. While I do love snacking on oranges and apples with peanut butter, I have plenty of perfectly unhealthy snacks to share with you, including but not limited to…

  • Chocolate. In just about any form–in a pinch chocolate almond milk will do.
  • Ice cream. The coconut milk kind is the best.
  • Chips and dip. I rarely buy chips because I have trouble sticking to the serving size.
  • Root beer. I’m not a soda person per se and almost never drink any, but I could guzzle this by the two-liter bottle.
  • Strawberry lemonade. Which is weird, because I’m not big on regular lemonade.
  • Tapioca pudding. 
  • Oreos.
  • Homemade chocolate chip cookies.
  • Cereal. 
  • Bagels with vegan cream cheese. Another thing I try to buy very rarely, so I won’t overindulge.

What are your favorite snack foods?