Breakfast Cupcakes

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March 20, 2015 By

Are you allowed to eat cupcakes for breakfast? I guess so, but it’s highly frowned upon. If you tell someone that you ate a cupcake for breakfast, you will probably get scolded for it. It’s the dessert label, or high sugar content, that turns people off.

Despite the sugar that exists in both pancakes (with maple syrup) and yogurt, they’re both considered to be acceptable breakfast options. I suppose the fat and sugar content isn’t as high in these two items.

What if I were to tell you that you can have your cupcake (for breakfast), and eat it, too (without being judged or berated by others)?

If you have pancake batter, a mini muffin tin, an oven, and yogurt, you have the makings of breakfast cupcakes!

 

Breakfast Cupcakes

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 17 minutes

Yield: 48 mini cupcakes

 

Ingredients

For the Pancake Batter:

Dry:

  • 1 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

Wet:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nondairy milk mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I used coconut milk, which made the mix sweet and thick)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

For the Yogurt “Icing”:

You may use any yogurt you’d like, but I recommend nondairy Greek yogurt (you’ll see why later).

I created my own concoction. If you’d like to use my recipe (as seen in pictures), use the following ingredients:

  • one container of nondairy Greek plain yogurt (I used the brand So Delicious)
  • 4 small strawberries
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

 

Step 1: Mix your nondairy milk with the apple cider vinegar.

Guess what? You don’t need butter to create buttermilk! I love this part. It’s very science-y!

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Step 2: Add the buttermilk, oil, and warm water into a mixing bowl.

Mix!

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Step 3: Whisk the dry ingredients together.

Do this in a separate bowl.

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Step 4: Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients until full incorporated.

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Step 5: Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan.

Grease up your mini muffin pan. Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into the mini muffin pan. Fill the cup 3/4 of the way.

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Place this in the oven at 350°F for 17 minutes. There’s a good chance that they’ll look like perfect puffballs of golden perfection when they’re done cooking.

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Step 6: Gather/create your yogurt icing.

If you just plan on plopping your yogurt on top, that’s perfectly legal! I guess all you have to do is take it out of the fridge.

If you plan on using the yogurt from the package, there are two roads you can take. To Greek, or not to Greek? That is the question.

If you want a more “glazed” cupcake (as seen in my photos), go for non-Greek yogurt. If you’re looking for the normal cupcake look, go with Greek yogurt. Here is a picture from my Instagram of an instance where Greek yogurt was used with minimal modifications:

A photo posted by Kristen (@thisvegangirl) on

That looks cool, too, right? It’s all about preference.

However, I must stress that if you plan on using the yogurt icing recipe I have provided on this page, you MUST use Greek yogurt. If you use non-Greek yogurt, the result will be way too runny. The strawberries carry water that that waters down the Greek yogurt.

For those of you using the yogurt icing recipe, place all ingredients in a blender and mix until fully incorporated. While waiting for the pancakes to finish cooking, place in the refrigerator or freezer after mixing to cool down the mixture. The pancakes might be a little warm, and we don’t want the warmness of the pancakes to melt the yogurt even more.

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Step 7: Put the icing on the cupcake!

Wait for your pancakes/cupcakes to fully cool down before placing on your icing. You don’t want the yogurt to melt even more on top due to the heat.

Use this opportunity to get creative here. You can choose the classic frosted look:

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You can dip your pancakes into a yogurt pool:

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You can even dress them up elegantly with a topping of your choice:

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This recipe allows for you to get inventive and use your imagination! If you’re on Instagram or Facebook, take a picture of your breakfast cupcakes and tag me in your post so I can see your unique result!

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Savory Green Beans

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February 19, 2015 By

You’re probably here reading this because you love green beans as much as I do. I love this versatile… vegetable? legume? Who cares? Green beans are delicious and so adaptable. They can stand alone as a side dish or be mixed in with a main dish. They can be heavy or light. Salty, spicy, or sweet. Green beans are the ketchup of the vegetable world (by American standards, anyway).

This is my go-to recipe if I need a scrumptious side dish. It’s packed with flavors you love and it makes your house smell amazing. It also looks pretty, which impresses guests. Ultimately, perhaps the best thing about this side dish is that it only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

 

Savory Green Beans

Click here to print out this recipe!

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: side item for 2-4 people

 

Ingredients

  • 12oz of fresh whole green beans, stems removed
  • 4 tablespoons grape seed oil OR melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoons of soy sauce or Tamari (gluten-free)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • Shaved almonds (garnish)
  • Sesame seeds (garnish)

 

Step 1: Boil and blanch the green beans.

Green beans are delicate, meaning that it is imperative that the cook time is taken very seriously. If not, you’re either going to end up with an under cooked, uncomfortably crunchy green bean; or an overcooked, unattractively limp, and mushy green bean.

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Boil a pot of water. Once the water has reached a rolling boil, add the green beans, boiling for 4 minutes. While the green beans are boiling, prepare a large bowl full of ice water.

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Once the green beans have finished boiling, place the beans in a strainer, strain the hot water, and immediately dump the green beans into the ice water. If you’re new to the green bean scene, placing the hot green beans in ice cold water is called blanching. The reason for blanching is to halt the cooking process of the vegetable, as the heat from the green bean will continue to cook the green bean after you remove it from the boiling water. Blanching leaves you with a perfectly crisp result.

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Step 2: Create the savory sauce.

This step can be done while the green beans are boiling. Heat up a skillet on the stove at medium heat.

After that, combine the oil, Tamari (or soy sauce), garlic cloves, and sesame oil in a small bowl. To bind the oils and Tamari, whisk the ingredients quickly for 30 seconds.

Look what happened when I tried to take a photo of this!

Look what happened when I tried to take a photo of this!

Step 3: Pan fry the green beans.

Once the green beans have been blanched and the savory sauce is ready, place the green beans and pour the sauce into the skillet. Have the green beans cook for 7-10 minutes, moving the contents around with a spatula every few minutes to avoid sticking/burning. Your end result should not yield limp green beans; however, you are wanting the green beans to have absorbed some of the liquid.

Step 4: Garnish and serve.

Once the green beans are finished cooking, serve. Garnish the beans with sliced almonds and sesame seeds for added crunch, flavor, and beauty.

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Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Vegetable Lo Mein

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December 23, 2014 By

This dish took years to perfect. Yes, YEARS. I’ve been so annoyingly critical of this dish every time I’ve sat down to eat it. Too salty. Not enough flavor. The wrong flavor.

I think I’ve finally found it, though. The secret ingredient is nori, otherwise known as the seaweed that keeps your sushi tucked in so nicely. I bought a pack of nori, milled it up in my blender, and sprinkled some in this sauce. The result was nothing short of a vegan miracle; I was tasting that glorious flavor of the ocean that I haven’t tasted in years. As someone who used to love seafood, it was marvelous to acquire that taste again without harming any of our ocean friends.

Combining the fishy taste of nori, the natural sweetness from coconut oil, and the saltiness of Tamari (or soy sauce), you’ll be on your way to making this delicious vegan lo mein!

 

Vegetable Lo Mein

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2-4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 3 tablespoons Tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of nori, milled
  • 1 teaspoon powdered ginger

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of carrots, diced
  • 1 cup of celery, diced
  • 8oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 pound of rice noodles
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped, for garnish
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

 

Step 1: Chop and cook your vegetables.

The vegetables don’t HAVE to be the ones mentioned above. In fact, use this opportunity to get rid of whatever you have available. I like to use this dish as a fridge-clearer. Nonetheless, the ingredients above are my favorite ones to use.

Set 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a wok/deep skillet on medium heat. Once the oil is melted, add in the celery, carrots, and mushrooms. Stir occasionally. After about 5-7 minutes, your vegetables should be cooked down properly. Reduce to low heat.

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Step 2: Create the sauce in a blender.

While your veggies are cooking down, start by milling up the nori into a pulp in your blender or food processor. I usually mill the entire nori package at once and store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for future uses.

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Once the nori is milled, combine all the sauce ingredients in the blender until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add this sauce to the vegetables on low heat. Cover the wok/skillet.

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Step 3: Cook the rice noodles.

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Boiling the noodles isn’t normally the final step, but lo mein is a little different. The noodles need a chance to cook in the sauce for a bit; therefore, the sauce already needs to be ready. This will ensure that your noodles will be full of all the delicious flavors of the vegetables and sauce.

Start a pot of boiling water on the stove. Once the water is boiling, place in your noodles. Whatever the package of your noodles recommends for cook time, think about reducing that time by a few minutes. Drain, add the noodles to the wok, stir, cover, and let it cook for another few minutes. The idea is to start cooking the noodles in boiling water and to finish them off by having them soak up the flavors in your wok.

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Step 4: Garnish, serve, and enjoy!

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If you like what you see here, don’t forget to:

  • take a picture of this meal, upload it to Instagram, and tag me @thisvegangirl or #thisvegangirl so I can see how it turned out for you
  • add me on Facebook
  • follow me on Pinterest
  • comment below with feedback/results

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Linguini Puttanesca in a Meat(less) Sauce

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November 21, 2014 By

As a vegan, you sometimes have to take a deep breath and go to a normal restaurant. I met up with my sister at a local restaurant in Stuart, FL at a restaurant in the downtown area called Eighteen Seminole Street Italian Bistro. Italian restaurants are almost completely safe for vegans, as you can always settle for spaghetti and veggies if they don’t have much to offer.

They had a dish called Linguini Puttanesca, which was the only menu option I could eat. I’ve never had it before. Linguini alla Puttanesca is literally “linguini of the whore” in Italian. Well, smack my ass and call me a whore, because this dish was fantastic. It was salty and tangy, which was a fun change from the plain ol’ spaghetti sauce I’ve been eating for 25 years.

Here is my version, “fattened up” with some lentils to give it a meaty texture. This one is A+ husband/boyfriend approved. It’s so easy to make: in fact, this recipe is only broken up into 3 steps! Enjoy!

 

Linguini Puttanesca in a Meat(less) Sauce

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

 

Ingredients

For the food processor:

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 oz, or 1/2 cup, tomato paste
  • 3 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 1 tbs, or 1 sprig, fresh oregano
  • 4-5 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Other ingredients:

  • 1 pound of pasta (I use Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Quinoa Linguini)
  • 1 15oz can of lentils, drained
  • 1 cup of Castelvetrano olives, pitted and cut into thirds
  • 2 tsp capers
  • basil, for garnish (optional)

 

 Step 1: Make the tomato sauce.

Throw in all the food processor ingredients into your food processor. Mix until fully incorporated.

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Traditional Italian cuisine dictates that Puttanesca is made with olive oil. However, since Puttanesca is a salty dish, I decided to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. The coconut oil has a subtle sweetness that can help offset the tang a bit, so it complements the sauce well. Not only that, but apparently, olive oil doesn’t do well in high heat, but coconut oil does. I’ve been trying to mix up my recipes to only use olive oil in raw dishes.

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Once your sauce has been mixed, pour the sauce into a sauce pan set at medium heat. When the sauce starts bubbling, set heat to low.

 

Step 2: Cook your pasta.

In a separate pot, boil your pasta until cooked. Strain and rinse your noodles when finished. Set aside, if necessary. Normally, my everything seems to be finished by the time the noodles are finished cooking, so I jump right in and serve!

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Step 3: Add the olives, capers, and lentils to your sauce.

I’m an olive snob; I only buy my olives from Whole Foods’s olive bar. These were the olives that turned me on to liking olives in the first place, so it’s been hard to endure low-quality olives when I’ve already had the best. Therefore, I refuse to buy my olives anywhere else. Their Castelvetrano olives are out of this world!

I also buy my lentils canned. It sounds sketchy as f, but it’s actually not that bad! The lentils are organic and come in a non-BPA lining can, so I trust the source. A sad amount of attempts were made (years of trying) to try and transform dried lentils into that texturally-perfect plump consistency, but it never, ever worked for me. Ever since I’ve found organic canned lentils in my local grocery store, it has changed my life. It’s quick, easy, delicious, and perfect for a perpetual lentil failure like me.

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Anyway, add in the olives, capers, and lentils. Mix. Cover the sauce and let it sit until your pasta is ready.

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Step 4: Serve!

Pour some sauce on top of the pasta, garnish, and serve!

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Before you go…

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Quiche Bites

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September 26, 2014 By

When it comes to my own recipes, sometimes I need to get Pinspired. I follow a lot of vegan recipe boards on Pinterest, which allow me to step out of my comfort zone and make something I’ve never made before. These recipes aren’t for my blog, though. It’s just for me to enjoy.

However, there are the rarest of occasions when I step out of the vegan realm, put on my big girl pants, and reluctantly creep into a scary world: the vague search option Food & Drink. Anyone who is vegan knows that just looking at the Food & Drink option on Pinterest without anything in the search bar is very, very difficult. The worst, even. Recipes oozing with cheese and countless amounts of other options I can’t indulge in flood my feed.

But there’s a method to my madness: the Barney Stinson in me is bored and wants to challenge himself by looking for something to veganize.

Sure enough, a few days ago, I came across this famous pin from The Kitchen is My Playground:

Quiche Cups 1

They’re called Individual Veggie Quiche Cups To-Go. Woah! That’s cool! My Gluten-Free Pancake Bites have probably been my most popular recipe to-date, so I am a huge fan of the cute little to-go breakfast treats! Unfortunately, the quiche recipe above has egg and cheese in it.

Challenge accepted, I told myself.

My first attempt at the recipe you are about to see was a huge success. Don’t you love it when that happens? Who knows… maybe I’m just getting better at this stuff!

Anyway, I’m very impressed with the taste and texture of these Quiche Bites. I can picture them as being an awesome hors d’oeuvre. I just relocated to a new Florida city, so I’m thinking about making these when I attend my first vegan potluck!

 

Quiche Bites

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes (depending on which oil you use)

Yield: 24+ mini quiches

 

Ingredients

For the food processor:

  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs grape seed oil or coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 heaping tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 12oz package of extra firm tofu, cubed

To (finely) chop:

  • 1 cup spinach (or any dark leafy green)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 1 cup mushroom
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup green onion

 

Step 1: Blend the food processor ingredients.

You want to start out with the cashews. Just the cashews. My food processor is pretty weak, so here are the results it yielded:

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DSC_0005As you can see, the cashews aren’t ground into a fine pulp. Rather, it’s broken down to tiny little bits. It’s good for the texture we’re looking for.

After that, add all the other food processor ingredients (oil, milk, nutritional yeast, salt, smoked paprika) but the tofu. We’ll save the tofu for last.

As far as oil preference, I’ve found that different oils produced a different quiche. If you’re looking for a light, airy quiche, use  grape seed oil. The batch containing coconut oil was more moist and hearty, so if that’s what you’re all about, use coconut oil. The ones photographed here contained coconut oil, but I’ll admit that I prefer the taste/texture/results of grape seed oil in this recipe.

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Now, what I like to do with the tofu is plop in the cubes while the food processor is turning. I don’t know if it does anything special, but I like to think that it’s less overwhelming for my appliance.

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Once all the tofu is mixed in, you’re going to be left with a strange concoction: the base! Pour/gloop the base into a big bowl. Set aside.

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Step 2: Place chopped veggies in the bowl.

If you haven’t chopped your veggies yet, now is the time to do so.

I’m proud to share that my green onions are doing very well! I’m using them for today’s recipe. All of these have grown just by placing the white bulbs in soil… that’s it!

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Just to let you all know, you don’t have to do use these particular vegetables. You might want to take this opportunity to clear out the refrigerator by using veggies you have on-hand. In my previous batch, I used arugula instead of spinach, white onion instead of green, and didn’t use any mushrooms at all. It still tasted marvelous. Use whatever you’ve got, and I’m sure it’ll be yummy.

Once your vegetables are chopped, place them in the same bowl as your base. Mix.

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DSC_0053I know, it doesn’t look beautiful. Trust me, though; it really is.

 

Step 3: Pour and bake.

I need you all to know that I used a mini muffin pan for these Quiche Bites. Using a regular muffin pan will not yield the same fantastic results; it’s too heavy and thick, causing the quiche to fall apart. However, if you have a round pie dish lying around, you could probably yield some nice results from that.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Get out your mini muffin pan. I didn’t use muffin cups for this recipe, but hey, that’s up to you. Also, I didn’t grease my muffin pan, as the mixture has enough oil in it to moisturize the pan with minimal stickiness.

Take a tablespoon and try to neatly spoon your mixture inside the divots. Here was my best attempt at cleanliness:

DSC_0062Lol, I know. Horrible.

I really, really wanted to only do only one batch of these, so I stuffed and stacked them high. If you have enough patience to do another batch, by all means, do that. You’ll get to see my results in a few seconds, anyway.

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If you used olive oil or grape seed oil, your bites should be ready in 40 minutes.

If you used coconut oil, bake them for 45.

Take them out and let them cool down for 5 minutes. They’ll seem a little moist when you first take them out, but the cooling process will help them harden a bit.

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It's easy to see which quiches were overstuffed… oops!

It’s easy to see which quiches were overstuffed… oops!

 

Step 4: Spoon out quiche bites and enjoy!

Actually, I “forked out” my quiches (with a fork). It won’t be perfect, but that’s the glamorous life of someone who doesn’t like to buy cupcake cups!

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These little babies are SO GOOD! They’re the perfect breakfast treat for those of us who miss omelets!

If you decide to make the best decision of your life and try these out, make sure you let me know how your dish turned out! You can comment below, tell me on Facebook, or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl on Instagram. I update the blog once a week, but I post on Instagram several times a day. Also, you can follow my board on Pinterest. I post my own recipes there, but I also post other recipes that tickle my fancy.

 

Happy baking,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

 

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The Best Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese!

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September 14, 2014 By

When I first became vegan, I tried to substitute a lot of food I was previously addicted to (namely cheese). I bought all the fake cheeses at the store, and almost every single one disappointed me. I tried to substitute the taste I missed so much.

Here I am, a year and a half later, and I don’t have those cravings anymore. I guess you can say I’ve weaned myself off of my former addiction to cheese. Although I make cashew cheese now (my latest obsession), I’ve accepted that they are two different tastes. In fact, I love the way my cashew cheese tastes, and I feel good about the benefits.

This recipe is an upgrade from my last macaroni and cheese entry, which I deemed to be “The Best Vegan Macaroni and Cheese.” No, lol. Just no. It was not the best macaroni and cheese. I know this now because THIS is the best macaroni and cheese. 

Here is a picture of my former macaroni and cheese, including a list of why it wasn’t the best:

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  • It was sticky. Macaroni and cheese shouldn’t have the consistency of white rice. It should be oozy.
  • It was processed. Adding the Tofutti cream cheese gave the mac n’ cheese a processed flair that I didn’t care for.
  • The flavor still had room for improvement. It could still afford to be cheesier.

Rest assured that this entry right here is the cure to all of your vegan mac ‘n cheese woes, including the ones listed above. To make the dish more oozy, I added more oil and milk and took away the water completely. I formerly used Tofutti cream cheese to improve texture, but it turns out that if I added more cashew cream, Tofutti wasn’t at all necessary. Finally, to improve flavor, I used some different spices, which includes a perfected medley of nutritional yeast, sea salt, and smoked paprika.

So come on down and try the best vegan mac ‘n cheese you will ever try in your life. Yeah, performed that song and dance before, but that was then and this is now. I guarantee you that this is the last time I will ever change this recipe, because now, it’s perfect the way it is.

 

The Best Vegan Mac ‘n Cheese!

Click here for a print-out version of this recipe!

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4 full servings or 8 side-dish servings

 

Ingredients

In the skillet:

  • 1 cup russet potatoes, chopped (any white variety will do)
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 2 tsp grape seed oil

For the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked** for 8 hours prior to use OR milled)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbs of grape seed oil
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk or almond milk
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Other ingredients:

  • 1 pound of your favorite noodles (I use gluten-free quinoa pasta from Ancient Harvest)
  • 1 head of broccoli, de-stemmed and chopped

** If you soak your cashews, use 3/4 cup of raw cashews instead of 1 cup, as the cashews will expand.

Step 1: Cook the skillet ingredients.

Cut up the potatoes, carrots, and onion. Don’t peel your potatoes; keep those nutrients in! Place these items in skillet with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Initially, place the items on medium heat. Once the contents start crackling, turn the heat down to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.

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Step 2: Boil the macaroni noodles.

Don’t worry about cooking them al dente. I have found that the al dente noodles tend to get a little crunchy in the oven, so I always cook my noodles until they are squishy, but not mushy. Nobody likes mushy.

Once you strain the noodles, rinse them off with cold water. This prevents the noodles from cooking themselves longer from the heat they retain during boiling.

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Step 3: Prepare the cashew cream.

I have a NutriBullet, which has a milling blade that grinds cashews to a flour without the need for soaking. If you place the raw cashews in a strong food processor, blender, or coffee grinder, it will probably work. The result you’re looking for is the cashew pulp, seen below. For the non-soakers, blend your cashews first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Pre milling

Post milling

For most of you, you will need to soak your cashews for 8 hours prior to making this meal. Once the soaking is over, drain your cashews. Make sure you have a strong blender or food processor to avoid chunks of wet cashews (ew). For the soakers, you’ll probably need blend the cashews and coconut milk first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Once you have blended the cashews, add the rest of the cashew cream ingredients. It will look something like this:

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Step 4: Blend the skillet and cashew cream ingredients in a food processor.

Your skillet time should be up. Dump both the skillet ingredients and cashew cream ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

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Step 5: Mix the noodles, cheese, and broccoli together. Cook.

I cook for only two, so this recipe is excessive for us. We are huge leftover fans, so I put half of the noodles in one baking dish and half in another. I do the same with the cheese and broccoli. One dish will be cooked now; the other will be placed in the fridge and will be cooked tomorrow.

Splitting it in half

Splitting it in half

Yay for delicious leftovers!

Yay for delicious leftovers!

If you live in a house of 4 or more, you’re probably intent on cooking all of it at once, and that is a splendid idea! Oil your favorite baking dish(es) first. Place your noodles in the baking dish. Dump the cheese on top, sprinkle your broccoli pieces, and stir it all up.

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Place your dish(es) in the oven at 350º for 30 minutes.

See? No more sticky noodles. Only the yums.

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If you’re looking for more cashew cheese recipes, you can check out Quesadillas with Monterey Jack Cheese, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, and Balsamic Basil Chickun Wraps with Cashew Cheese.

Also, as always, make sure you let me know how your dish turned out! You can comment below, tell me on Facebook, or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl on Instagram. I update the blog once a week, but I post on Instagram several times a day. Also, you can follow my board on Pinterest. I post my own recipes there, but I also post other recipes that tickle my fancy.

Connect with me!

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Happy reinventing,

thisvegangirllogo

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Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

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August 15, 2014 By

Ever since I defied the “sucky vegan cheese” odds with my Quesadillas with Monterey Jack Cheese, I’ve been trying to think of new ways to use my invention.

This past week, I have been surrounded by children. My cousins (ages 11-12) came down to visit from Delaware, which allowed me to channel my inner tween. I also babysat my former colleague’s little girls (ages 6 and 8) for the week, for whom I was a personal chef of mini treats.

Surrounding myself around young ones all week put my mind in a juvenile place. It wasn’t surprising that by the middle of the week, I was having an intense craving for the ultimate American young’un meal: grilled cheese and tomato soup. And now, with my new discovery of melty vegan cheese, I could finally pull off this gem! Don’t forget to check out my Tomato Basil Soup, which goes perfectly with the grilled cheese sandwiches!

 

Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Yield: 4-6 grilled cheese sandwiches (depending on the size of the bread)

 

Ingredients:

For Cheese:

  • 4 handfuls raw cashews (milled, OR soaked for 8 hours, then drained)
  • 4 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

Other Ingredients:

  • your favorite bread (I used Trader Joe’s gluten-free vegan Brown Rice bread)
  • grape seed oil or coconut oil, for frying

 

Step 1: Blend the raw cashews.

Let’s get the most difficult part out of the way first, and that’s the cashew cheese. I have a NutriBullet, which has a milling blade that grinds cashews to a flour without the need for soaking. (Seriously people, buy a NutriBullet. They’re the best.) I believe a coffee grinder will do the job, as well. For the non-soakers, blend your cashews first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

Pre milling

Pre milling

Post milling

Post milling

For most of you, you will need to soak your cashews for 8 hours prior to making this meal. Once the soaking is over, drain your cashews. Make sure you have a strong blender or food processor to avoid chunks of wet cashews (ew). For the soakers, you’ll probably need blend the cashews and coconut milk first before adding the rest of the ingredients.

 

Step 2: Blend the rest of the cashew cheese ingredients.

Blend ingredients until you have a smooth, thick consistency. This cheese is really thick and oozy.

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mmmmm… cheesy!

 

Step 3: Scoop cashew cheese onto your bread slices.

If you’re using frozen gluten-free bread like I did, you’re going to want to toast your bread before you scoop. Don’t cook the bread fully, but toast it just enough to evaporate the wetness and make it warm throughout. (Disregard if you’re not using frozen bread).

Lay out your bottom slices and scoop 2-3 heaping tablespoons of cashew cheese onto your bread. Our bread is small, so we use 2 tablespoons of cheese per sandwich. If you’re using bigger bread slices, feel free to use three, or even four, scoops of cashew cheese. With the back of your spoon, spread the cheese evenly throughout the bread slice.

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Once the cheese is on the bottom slice, place your top slice on top of the cheese, making the sandwich kiss. Resist the urge to smoosh the sandwich down, as we don’t want the cheese to drip down the bread.

DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR SANDWICH!

DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOUR SANDWICH!

 

Step 4: Fry your sandwiches on both sides.

In a frying pan on medium-low or medium heat, pour about 2 tablespoons of oil onto the pan. Place your sandwiches onto the pan. I like to shake the pan around for a few seconds to help move the oil throughout the bottom of the bread.

Keep checking the face-down part of your bread every minute or so. When your bread becomes golden brown, flip the sandwich over. You might want to pour another tablespoon of oil onto the pan and mix it around again, just as an added measure to prevent break stickiness (the worst). Your bread should be ready to remove from the pan within the next few minutes.

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Step 5: Slice in half and enjoy!

I paired this bread with my Tomato Soup recipe, and oh my goodness, it was a dream. It was the perfect thing to dip my sandwich into! I haven’t enjoyed this treat in so long, and it was such a treat to indulge in this cruelty-free delight.

You gotta slice it in half!

You gotta slice it in half!

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Pair it with my tomato soup!

Pair it with my tomato soup!

If you make the grilled cheese sandwiches, I have an amazing Tomato Basil Soup (seen above) to pair it with! Also, don’t forget to take a picture of it, post it on Instagram, and use the hashtag #thisvegangirl so I can see it. I’d love to see your grilled cheese sandwiches and how you decide to present them. Speaking of Instagram, follow me! I post my day-to-day meals, if anyone gives a crap. I’m also on Facebook, too. Thanks for all your support!

 

Happy reminiscing (whilst cooking),

thisvegangirllogo

 

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Creamy Dreamy Garlic Pizza

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July 1, 2014 By

I love experimenting with vegan pizza. This is my fourth pizza on the blog, officially making pizza the most versatile dish ever. It’s all about the base.

My other three pizzas include:

And now, the latest edition to the vegan pizza brigade: the creamy garlic base!

I’m proud of this one. The creaminess imitates the presence of cheese. I’m also thrilled by the fact that this is soy-free and free of processed ingredients!

 

Creamy Dreamy Garlic Pizza

Prep Time: about 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes (most can be done during prep time)

Yield: 8 slices

 

Ingredients

GF Pizza Crust: (see recipe here) (optional)

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 3/4 cup Water (warm)
  • 1 tbs flax seed mixed with 3 tbs warm water
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1-1/2 cups GF all-purpose baking flour
  • 2 tsp xanthan gum
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Cashew Cream Base/Drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, milled (or soaked in water for 8 hours)
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/8-1/4 cup water (depending on how thick you want it. I opted for 1/4 cup.)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Pizza Toppings:

  • 4oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • 10 grape tomatoes
  • 1 small handful of arugula
  • 1 small handful of pine nuts

 

STEP 1: Make the pizza crust or knead your dough. 

For all the glutards out there (don’t worry, guys… I’m a part of the community, so it’s cool), I have provided a great gluten-free recipe hereIt’s from Bob’s Red Mill’s website. I have tried more than a handful of different pizza crust recipes, and that one is by far my favorite one.

GF pizza crust works way differently in terms of how it’s handled. Regular dough requires kneading to spread it onto a pizza pan. GF pizza crust is more of a smoothing process, as the dough doesn’t “bounce back” like normal dough does. A great tip for smoothing the GF dough onto a pan is to keep your hands wet.  This prevents your fingers from transforming into those of a dough monster.

GF crust needs to go through a preliminary cooking stage before any toppings go on. Place the crust in the oven at 425 degrees for 7 minutes. Take out and set aside.

 

Pre precook

Pre precook

Post precook

Post precook

 

STEP 2: Prepare toppings that need to be cooked down beforehand.

After the mushrooms and onions are chopped, let them simmer in the coconut oil until they are sweating, which will take 5-7 minutes on medium heat. Spritz them with lemon juice during the last minute. Set aside.

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STEP 3: Prepare the cashew cream. 

This is a great step to tackle while Step 1 and 2 are cooking.

If you did not soak your cashews and have a very strong food processor or milling device (I use my Nutribullet milling blade. A coffee grinder will probably work, too.), mill the cashews and garlic before adding the rest of the ingredients. Mix until creamy and smooth.

If you did soak the cashews, drain the cashews and mix well in the food processor with the garlic. Once the cashews are completely liquified, add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until creamy and smooth.

If you want a thick cream, opt for 1/8 cup of water. I wanted my base to be the consistency of a drizzle, so I measured out 1/4 cup instead. It’s all about preference.

 

Milled garlic and cashews: The Bold and the Beautiful

Milled garlic and cashews: The Bold and the Beautiful

 

STEP 4: Put the crust with base and precooked toppings in the oven.

Start with pouring the cashew cream on the crust and spreading it to the edges. Make sure to save some for the drizzle at the end! Sprinkle on the mushroom/onion mixture as the topping. Place in the oven for 6-7 minutes at the same temperature.

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STEP 5: Chop and prepare raw toppings. 

I love mixing fresh, raw toppings with cooked toppings on pizza! Grape tomatoes and arugula worked very well with this recipe. Complete this step while your base is still cooking.

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STEP 6: Once the base is done cooking, dress up the rest of your pizza! 

Add on the tomatoes and arugula, along with pine nuts and drizzle. Slice it up and enjoy!

Pre drizzle

Pre drizzle

Post drizzle

Post drizzle

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So, I went to sit down in front of the TV to relish this tasty lunch I made when I found THIS. TWO SLEEPY BEEPY BABIES.

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Be still my heart.

 

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

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Lemon-Garlic Rosemary French Fries

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June 17, 2014 By

I think I have a poser green thumb. I love nature, and I desperately want to have my own garden. However, it seems that I have a knack for killing plant life. Quite a dilemma indeed. Whatever I touch seems to turn to shit. Dead shit.

Okay okay, I’m exaggerating a bit. The truth is, growing plants is not easy. Sometimes it takes the plant wilting or drying up before I realize how much sunlight/water it needs. I’ve gotten a lot better about it. Now, I research what the plant needs as soon as I get it, as the wait-and-see approach seems to have failed me time and time again.

Through my wannabe green thumb ups-and-downs, the only plant that has seen me through is my rosemary. The ironic thing is that rosemary is an herb mostly used for meat, so I haven’t used it very much. That is, until recently, when I realized it pairs well with potatoes, too.

French fries are my ultimate weakness. In a world full of restaurants that have items I can’t eat, you can bet that the one thing I CAN eat are those french fries. Matt is a fanatic, too. Celiac people are strangely addicted to potatoes, which I suppose is a result of the lack of starches in their lives, I guess. I digress, potatoes rock.

We have combined our love for french fries and rosemary and created these kickass fries.

 

Rosemary French Fries

Prep Time: Less than 10 minutes

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

Yield: 2 large servings (for the massive french fry lovers) OR 4 small servings

 

Ingredients

  • around 6+ red potatoes (medium sized)
  • 1 tbs coconut oil + 1 tbs coconut oil (used in different parts in the recipe)
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt (1 tsp seems like a lot, but potatoes easily absorb salt, making it seem like less. Use to your discretion.)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

 

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 425 and start chopping your potatoes.

I’ve always had trouble with this until Matt, the potato guru (Mr. Potato Head himself) came along. He showed me step-by-step on how to perfectly chop potatoes to create french fries.

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Slice them vertically, like so…

DSC_0006… until the entire potato looks something like this.

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Then, take each potato slice and slice them about a quarter inch thick, and there you go! Awesome fries!

I suppose you could skin your potatoes prior to slicing, but why would you go and strip the potato from its nutrients? We’re a pro-skin household, so we prefer to keep it on.

 

STEP 2: Grease the baking pan.

Take 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to grease up the baking sheet you will use.

STEP 3: Make the seasoning in the food processor.

Start off by throwing the rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic into a food processor. Grind it up until everything is minced. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can certainly chop by hand. It just doesn’t become as small as I would prefer.)

Add in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the food processor with the rosemary mixture, and process it a little more. (If no food processor, just mix it all together by hand.)

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STEP 4: Place the fries on the baking sheet.

Gloop the rosemary mixture on top of the fries. Using your hands, work the mixture and the fries together until every fry is coated.

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STEP 5: Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Use the extra time to clean your kitchen and basque in the wonderful aroma that will be wafting through the house. I prefer to dance with my golden retriever Mia during this time.

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Beautiful, tasty fries! GET IN MY BELLY, NOW!

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By the way, I am actively using Instagram as a way to connect with me. If you’re interested in seeing what I eat day-by-day, you can connect with me by clicking the Instagram icon on the sidebar to the right. Use the hashtag #thisvegangirl to show me recipes of mine that you’ve done!

I’m also available on Facebook, which you’ll see on the right sidebar as well. It’s probably the easiest way to see that I’ve updated the blog.

 

Happy cooking,

thisvegangirllogo

 

 

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Gluten-Free Pancake Bites

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June 10, 2014 By

For a teacher, summer vacation is a time of pure bliss.

Now that I have my mornings available, I am switching my mundane breakfast routine. No longer do I need to resort to a quick bowl of cereal while standing up. Now, I have the time to get creative with breakfast (and sit down while eating it).

Looking for something new, I found this on Pinterest:

gross

The idea is ingenious, but instant pancake mix? Ugh. So much no is happening here. I know, no one likes the judge-y vegan girl, but come on. The ingredient list is so nast. And no, it’s not perfect for kids.

Needless to say, it was a recipe that was easy to top.

I used a tried-and-true GF pancake recipe with this creation, and it came out great. GF pancakes are a lot heavier, so these pancake bites aren’t as airy as “normal” pancakes are. However, they still stay intact, and will deliciously fill up your belly.

I love this recipe because it’s so versatile! Pancake bites are perfect for any breakfast situation, whether it be on-the-go, a cool breakfast side, a bake sale item, or a trendy item for brunch entertaining. It’s also versatile in the way that there are so many different items you can throw in. Fruit, chocolate chips, spices… the possibilities are endless!

It’s summer, so it’s berry season! I tried four different fruits to see which pancake bite was the yummiest. Scroll to the bottom to see the winner! LET THE HUNGER GAMES BEGIN!

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Head to head, fruit against fruit. Who will win?

 

Gluten-Free Pancake Bites

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes per batch

Yield: 50+ mini muffins

 

Ingredients

Dry:

  • 1 1/2 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/4 cup teff flour
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1/4 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum

Wet:

  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nondairy milk mixed with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I used coconut milk, which made the mix sweet and thick)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

Add-ins:

  • blueberries
  • raspberries
  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • But honestly… do what you want!

 

STEP 1: Mix your nondairy milk with the apple cider vinegar.

Guess what? You don’t need butter to create buttermilk! I love this part. It’s very science-y!

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STEP 2: Add the buttermilk, oil, and warm water into a mixing bowl.

Mix!

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STEP 3: Whisk the dry ingredients together.

Do this in a separate bowl.

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STEP 5: Combine the wet and dry ingredients.

Slowly add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients until full incorporated.

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STEP 6: Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the batter into a mini muffin pan. Fill up the batter 3/4 full.

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STEP 7: Add in your add-ins!

Push them down into the batter. I put my four contenders in their own rows.

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Bake your pancake babies in the oven at 350° for 15 minutes, or until your pancakes are golden brown.

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So, which one was the winner?

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Actually, they were all delicious, but think I’m going to have it to give it to Strawberry. Despite being the least aesthetically-pleasing bite, the juices leaked into the batter during bake time, making it irresistible. I think that fruit was in its peak ripeness compared to the others, which also tipped the scales in its favor. They were all fantastic, though. Great work out there, fruits.

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Happy baking/making,

thisvegangirllogo

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