Sunday, December 30, 2012

Food That Did Not Make the Codex This Week

I've decided to post photos of foods and links to recipes we made this week that did not make the Codex.

Vegan Eggnog Pudding in Raw Ginger Cookie Cups

Single-Serving Pumpkin Microwave Cake

Vegan Christmas Dinner: Tofurky Roast with potatoes, carrots and onions, Gravy, and Mashed Potatoes


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Cookbook Review: 30 Day Vegan Challenge

This book spent less than a year on the bookshelves, which is really too bad. It has a lot of excellent reviews, so I'm not sure why it came off the shelves in such a short time. I managed to get an e-book version from my local library. I had been reducing my meat intake for about a year, became vegetarian, and then read this book. I first read it cover to cover, and then I used it for my first 30 days of being vegan as a guide.

The days are split into different topics to help educate the new vegan on many aspects of lifestyle choices, nutrition, and animal rights. The challenge lies firmly in the ethical vegan camp. Yes, there are health benefits to becoming vegan, but it's for the animals that Colleen Patrick-Goudreau challenges people to become vegan. 

There were many full color photos of the food, many recipes, and a guide at the end of the book for suggestions of what to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the 4 weeks of the challenge. 

I tried many recipes in this book. Some were good, some were not. The levels of difficulty ranged from easy to difficult. Unfortunately, Ms. Patrick-Goudreau does write on the assumption that you have been cooking for yourself for some time and can throw stuff together with a just a skeleton of an idea of a recipe. This may or may not work for some people.

About a year after this book was published, Colleen Patrick-Goudreau started a multi-media program by the same name, The 30 Day Vegan Challenge. It's a fantastic program and worth the cost. I began during an initial offering of $20. I think the regular price is $35. For all the recipes you get, the support, and guidance, if you are vegetarian, this is worth taking a look, if you are considering going vegan, this is worth taking a look, and if you are related to someone who is vegan, this is worth taking a look.

The topics by day are:

Upon Sign-up – Welcome Message from Colleen
- Day 1 – Taking “Vegan” Out of the Box
- Day 2 – Stocking a Healthful Vegan Kitchen
- Day 3 – Reading Labels
- Day 4 – Getting to Know the Grocery Store
- Day 5 – Eating Healthfully Affordably
- Day 6 – Trying New Foods
- Day 7 – Making the Time to Cook
- Day 8 – Starting the Day off Right: A Bevy of Breakfast Ideas
- Day 9 – Eating Out and Speaking Up
- Day 10 – Packing Lunches
- Day 11 – Rethinking Meat Cravings: Fat and Salt Taste Good
- Day 12 – Discovering there IS Life After Cheese
- Day 13 – Cutting out the Middle Cow and Getting Calcium Directly from the Source
- Day 14 – Plant-Based Milks
- Day 15 – Putting to Rest the Great Protein Myth
- Day 16 – Better Baking without Eggs
- Day 17 – Strong Like Popeye – Increasing Your Iron Absorption
- Day 18 – B12 - A Bacteria-Based (Not Meat-Based) Vitamin
- Day 19 – Finding Abundant Options while Traveling
- Day 20 – Skipping the Middle Fish: Getting Omega 3s from the Source
- Day 21 – Keeping Things Moving with Fiber
- Day 22 – Demystifying Tofu: It’s Just a Bean
- Day 23 – Special Considerations for Particular Groups
- Day 24 – Eating by Color
- Day 25 – Eating Confidently and Joyfully in Social Situations
- Day 26 – Finding Harmony in a Mixed Household
- Day 27 – Compassionate Fashion: It’s Cool to Be Kind
- Day 28 – Understanding Weight Loss – Part One – Calorie Reduction
- Day 29 – Understanding  Weight Loss - Part Two – Calorie Expenditure
- Day 30 – Keeping it in Perspective: Intention Not Perfection
- Wrap Up and Reflection

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Onion Strings

I'm going through the Codex to find what I can make vegan. For my birthday, I thought onion strings would go well with my BBQ sandwich. So I took Ree's Onion Strings and easily changed it to vegan by making 1 alteration.

1 whole Large Onion
2 cups Coconut Milk (So Delicious)
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 Tablespoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Canola Oil (enough to create a decent fry depth)
Black Pepper To Taste


  1. Slice onion very thin. Place in a baking dish and cover with coconut milk and soak for at least an hour. The longer the better - be sure your onions are well separated for soaking.
  2. Combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. Heat oil to 375 degrees.
  4. Grab a handful of onions, throw into the flour mixture, tap to shake off excess, and place into hot oil. Fry for a few minutes and remove as soon as golden brown.
  5. Repeat until onions are gone.
Other Details:

  • Be sure your fry oil is fresh for these.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

White Bean Burger Patty

A great alternative to frozen patties, bean burgers are not difficult to make. I highly suggest giving them a try. You can double the recipe below. I got the original recipe at Florida Coastal Cooking.

1 cup cooked white beans, such as butter beans or great northern (I used canned)
1/6 cup rolled oatmeal
1/2 tsp poultry seasoning 
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp olive oil


  1. (Made mine in toaster oven - worked great.) 
  2. Preheat broiler to high.  
  3. Process the oatmeal to a powder in a food processor.  
  4. Mash  beans and oats together and add seasoning, salt and oil in a medium bowl; divide in half; shape into burgers by hand.  Spray burgers with cooking spray, place on baking sheet and broil about 5 minutes per side or until browned.

Other Details:
Original Recipe

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cookbook Review: Real Stew

We found Real Stew in the in the clearance bin at Half Price books. We should have just left it there. It seemed like the recipes were good and interesting, but they weren't. We tried a few recipes from this book and assuming that most recipes are representative, they were a lot of effort, with a lot of ingredients, and not very good. It was a big disappointment.

The book is about 388 pages, in brown and yellow and no photos of the stews. A good cookbook really should show photos of at least some of its recipes. This just has drawn pictures of various types of dutch ovens and pots to make stew in.

Overall, we don't recommend this cookbook.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Dessert: Peanut Butter Cheesecake Brownies

Ryan made these one evening to use up the cream cheese he had purchased. They were a hit and he's made them a couple times. He found this recipe at Pinch of Yum.


Cookie Dough:
1 stick butter, unsalted (1/2 cup), softened
½ cup white sugar
⅓ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt 
½ cup rolled oats
1 cups chocolate chips

Cheesecake Filling:
1 cup Reese's peanut butter chips
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla


  1. Make the cookie dough: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Cream the butter, sugars, and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture in with the butter and sugar, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the oats and chocolate chips.
  2. Make the cheesecake filling: Cream the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla until smooth.
  3. Press half to two-thirds of the cookie dough in the bottom of a 9-inch square baking dish. Pour the cheesecake filling over the dough. Crumble the remaining dough and sprinkle over the top, OR roll it into a flat layer and place it over the cheesecake layer.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes; remove foil and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until tops is lightly browned and cheesecake layer is set. Serve warm or cold and store leftover bars in refrigerator.

Other Details:

  • Original Recipe
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Serves 16

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Side: Baked Sweet Potato Chips

I made these Baked Sweet Potato Chips twice in 2 weeks they were so good! The first time I hand cut and had inconsistent sizes, leading to some not-quite-done and other over-done chips. The second time I used the food processor to cut evenly sized chips, which worked out much better. I used the "medium" slicer, but I think I'd use the smallest size next time. I saw this recipe at the Minimalist Baker.

2 large sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 300º.
  2. Rinse and dry your sweet potatoes and slice them as thin as you wish. You want consistent sized slices. Keep the skins on.
  3. Toss your slices in a bit of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt. Lay out in a single layer on baking sheets and bake for 1.5 to 2 hours, flipping about every 30 minutes to ensure even cooking. You may also need to rotate your pans around depending on your oven. Be careful not to burn – they tend to go from light brown to dark brown rather quickly so check often.
  4. Remove once crisp and slightly golden brown. They shouldn’t be too dark.
  5. Serve immediately as they are best when fresh. Will keep for a day or two after cooking.

Other Details:

  • Prep Time 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 1/2 - 2 hours
  • Serves 3 (or 1) 
  • Original Recipe

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Pumpkin Muffins with Streusel Topping

These are fantastic pumpkin muffins! The streusel topping is very good, the muffins are dense and yummy. I ate 2 straight out of the oven and several more throughout the day. The kids really enjoyed them as well. I adapted the recipe from May I Have That Recipe.


1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk 
2 tbsp flax meal
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 tbsp maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup sugar in the raw
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Streusel Topping:
1 tbsp coconut oil at room temperature

2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp flour

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with foil liners and spray them lightly with cooking spray.
  2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and flax meal. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Add almond milk/flax mixture and mix well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, salt and walnuts. Slowly add to pumpkin mixture, whisking gently until just incorporated. Set aside.
  5. In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients, mixing gently with your fingers or a fork.
  6. Spoon batter evenly in muffin cups. Sprinkle tops with streusel mixture. Bake at 350ºF until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Other Details:

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20-25 minutes
  • Yields 12 muffins
  • Original Recipe

Friday, December 14, 2012

Dessert: Peanut Butter Frosting

I had this frosting on my birthday cake. The cake could be more chocolatey, but the frosting was fantastic! 


1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup vegan margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp soy milk


  1. Whisk or blend together all ingredients until smooth and creamy, adding more or less soy milk to achieve the desired consistency. 

Other Details:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brown Sugar Jack BBQ Sauce

I wanted to make my own barbecue sauce for my barbecue sandwiches. Jack Daniels sauces are usually popular, so I made this one.

1 cup ketchup
1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup Jack Daniel's Tennesse Whiskey
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons (vegan) Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoons Tabasco® sauce


  1. Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. 
  2. Bring to a boil, then simmer about 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened. 
Other Details:

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Entree: BBQ Sandwich

This is a vegan BBQ sandwich. I had my first pulled "pork" sandwich at Portage Bay Cafe. The consistency was very true to a pulled pork sandwich. I wasn't a fan of their sauce, but I took note of the description and decided to give it a go on my own.

First, you need young green jackfruit. The ripe jackfruit is a fruit like any fruit and is sweet and often served for dessert. However, I found at Uwajimaya the canned young green jackfruit in brine. You can also find it on amazon.

Second, you pick your favorite BBQ sauce. I made a Brown Sugar and Jack Daniels Stillhouse Sauce. I think having some acidity is key. This sauce ended up being slightly too sweet on the jackfruit, so I still need to find the right one. This aspect is so individual, that it really does matter on your own taste.

2 cups barbecue sauce of your choice
2 cans of Young Green Jackfruit, drained and rinsed


  1. Combine sauce and jackfruit in a slowcooker and cook on low for 4-5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. Eventually, the fruit start to fall apart.
  2. Use forks to "pull" the jackfruit.

Other Details:

  • Serves 4

Monday, December 10, 2012

Promised Pumpkin Pancakes

Awhile ago, I made some Lazy Morning Pancakes from The Lotus and the Artichoke. I was pining for some pumpkin pancakes, and felt this recipe could easy be modified. I mentioned this multiple times and it took a couple months, but I finally did it. Here's my original recipe for these Promised Pumpkin Pancakes. 
Ingredients at the ready!
Wet ingredients into dry.
Ready to eat!
1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsp chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar in the raw
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 2/3 cups soy milk (or a nut milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp canola oil


  1. Mix all dry ingredients (flours through cinnamon) in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add remaining wet ingredients into the dry. Whisk until batter is mostly smooth.
  3. Heat a cast iron griddle, if you have it, or your favorite pancake pan over medium heat. (My gas stove was hot enough at medium-low, but some ovens may need medium-high.)
  4. Oil the griddle with a few drops oil rubbed in with a paper towel or use cooking spray (my preference). Re-oil between pancakes. The pan is hot enough when a drop of water sizzles on the surface.
  5. Pour about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the pan. 
  6. When bubbles form consistently on the edges and in the center of the pancake, check underside to see if it is ready to flip. This should occur within about 2 minutes at the appropriate heat. Too hot and you'll have a black rather than golden brown surface without the interior of the pancake cooked through.
  7. Flip the pancake over and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  8. Transfer finished pancake to a plate in a warm oven to keep warm until serving.
  9. Serve with powdered sugar, nuts, and/or maple syrup for the Perfect Promised Pumpkin Pancake.

Other Details:

  • Makes about 10 pancakes.
  • Can be frozen and toasted & reheated in microwave later.
  • These are the ingredients I used. I used King Arthur's Unbleached All Purpose Flour. You could substitute granulated sugar for sugar in the raw or a nut milk for the soy milk. I used canola oil, but a vegetable oil would also work fine.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pumpkin Shake

I love pumpkin. You may be able to tell by all the pumpkin that appears on this blog. I also love to try pumpkin shakes. I used to drink pumpkin shakes during the season. I especially liked Culver's pumpkin shake and would reward myself after an 8 mile or longer run with one.

Now I have a pumpkin shake recipe for at home! I made one of these and the boy tried it and also loved it. It does require just a bit of prep. But it is so well worth it! This is another recipe from The Family Kitchen.

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree, unsweetened
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
a few pinches of salt
1 cup soy milk ice cubes, vanilla
May need additional liquid soy milk for blending.


  1. Add all ingredients to blender. Close lid and turn blender on low. If necessary, slowly pour in soy milk until the blend starts moving. Add in small splashes to keep a super thick texture. 
  2. Taste your shake and add more sweetener or salt as desired.

Other Details:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Vegan 5 Can Chili

This is the vegan version of the 5 Can Chili Enhanced posted last year. This is an easy, 10 minutes to make recipe. The key is to find components you like. I ended up with a slightly spicier than I prefer chili because I didn't realize the components were that spicy. The ingredients are straight forward. 

1 can (15 oz) vegetarian chili 
1 can (15 oz) mixed veggies, drained
1 can (11 oz) whole kernal corn, drained
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1 can (10 oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies


  1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients, heat through, about 5-10 minutes.

Other Details:
  • Makes about 4 -1 cup servings.
  • We like Rotel's diced tomatoes and green chilies, but I couldn't confirm they are vegan.
  • Because this is vegan, obviously check that all the components are vegan. The chili and the tomato soup are the two items you need to be most careful.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dessert: Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups

Inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie's Pumpkin Pie Peanut Butter Cups, but not liking the result of making hers here is my own version of Pumpkin Peanut Butter Cups. By the way, now that I know the basics of how to make homemade peanut butter cups (and it isn't hard), I will be making them to my heart's delight!

12 oz semi-sweet chocolate (or your favorite chocolate)

For filling:
1/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Melt 12 oz chocolate over water. Fill only the very bottom of 12 lined cupcake pans with melted chocolate. Freeze 8-10 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, mix together remaining filling ingredients. Scoop evenly into the chocolate bottoms, leaving room at the edges. 
  3. Cover with more chocolate and freeze until solid.
  4. Keep frozen, as with Reese's (R) Peanut Butter Cups, these are best that way.

Other details:

  • Use the chocolate you like most. You can sweeten the chocolate with a little sugar or other sweetener. A liquid sweetener, such as maple syrup or agave is acceptable. Add 1 tablespoon at a time. Watch the chocolate's consistency.
  • If the filling looks familiar, it's from Peanut Butter Pumpkin Dip.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sweet Potato Sandwich Spread

I'm not much of a sauce or spread person. But, since becoming vegan, I have embraced it a little more. Making your own spreads at home really helps. I'll add some notes at the bottom, about specific use and taste, but let me just say that when I spread this on a roll, added Tofurky, grape tomatoes, spinach, and a bit of Daiya Mozzarella-style shreds, I had one of the best sandwiches ever. All those flavors really melded together with the sandwich spread. The spread is okay on its own or just spread on bread or crackers, but it shines in a full-on sandwich.

I am a fan of Finding Vegan and saw the recipe originally posted through their site. This is a The Family Kitchen recipe. The recipe below is exactly how I made it.

1 large baked sweet potato, flesh only (producing about a cup)
1/2 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
pinch fresh ground pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp canola oil


  1. Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix, blender or food processor until smooth.

Other Details

  • Makes about 1 cup
  • Original Recipe
  • I think the original recipe used yams (based on the color of orange in the photo). Yams and sweet potatoes are often considered interchangeable. I baked my sweet potato fresh, but you can use leftovers. If using sweetened leftovers, do not add additional sweetener.
  • Make the spread more hummus-like by using 1/2 cup canned chickpeas instead of walnuts, or try another nut. The walnuts gave it a great nutty flavor.
  • You can use red pepper or another spice instead of cinnamon. You are making this spread for you, so make what you like!
  • Pick your favorite oil. If you use an olive oil or a truffle oil, you will add that flavor. (Now I'm thinking I should have used the Riesling oil we have - it's just a drizzle of oil really.)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Side dish or Entree: Spinach Artichoke Pasta

This is like having spinach artichoke dip on pasta - and it's really tasty. I would like to play with the recipe a little more because it was a little strong on the artichoke. Suggestions in the comments are welcome. I got this recipe from That Was Vegan.

1 bag baby spinach
1.5 tsp dried minced garlic
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and sliced in half
1 Tbsn vegan butter (Nucoa, Earth Balance)
1.5 Tbsn flour
1.5 cups So Delicious coconut milk
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp onion powder
3/4 tsp sea salt (more to taste)
1/2 bag Daiya Mozzarella shreds
6 oz Campanelle pasta, cooked per package instructions
1/4+ cup panko crumbs
salt and pepper to taste


  1. Water saute the baby spinach with the garlic and artichoke hearts over medium heat until it’s wilted, 1-2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Add vegan butter to pan and allow to melt, then stir in the flour. Stir until it’s combined and very thick (this is your roux). Pour in the milk and stir until mostly smooth and heated through, then add in the cheese, salt, onion and chili powder. If it gets too thick, add water.
  3. Fold in the cooked pasta, artichokes, spinach and crushed red pepper flakes, stirring gently. When ready to serve, add the panko
Other Details:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Breakfast: Pancakes

Yes, I keep posting pancake recipes. These were really flavorful pancakes - almost tasted like French Toast pancakes. They were "normal" pancake level, which means they weren't just throw everything together blend, and cooking is easy. They do require some time paying attention to how they are cooking and getting the color and cook just right - like most pancake recipes require. These are from The Lotus and the Artichoke. The recipe below is how I made them.

1 1/2 cups flour
1 Tbsn chickpea flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsn sugar
1 tsp flax seeds ground
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 tsp oil


  1. Mix floursbaking powdersugarflaxsaltcinnamon in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add oil and milk. Whisk only until batter is mostly smooth. Some small clumps are okay. Do not overmix!
  3. Heat a frying pan, preferably a well-seasoned cast iron pan on medium to medium high. 
  4. Put a few drops of oil on the pan and rub it all around with part of a paper towel. Cooking spray can also be used. Do this before each pancake.
  5. When a drop of water sizzles and dances on the surface the pan is ready.
  6. Pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of batter onto pan. Pour directly from your bowl if it has a spout, or use a cup or ladle. Batter should run out and flatten slowly. If too thick, add more liquid. If too thin, add some flour. Stir a few turns and try again.
  7. When bubbles form consistently on the edges and in the center of pancake, check underside if ready to flip. Lift an edge with a spatula, look for that golden brown color. If this takes longer than 2 minutes, turn up the heat slightly.
  8. Flip the pancake over and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
  9. Transfer finished pancake to a tray or plate in a warm oven or another pan on low heat and cover. Sparsely re-oil pan, do next pancake.
  10. Top them with butter, powdered sugar, fruit, nuts, syrup and serve.
Other Details:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Contest Photos

I entered a food photography contest where I made six recipes and photographed them. I did not win on any of them, and despite an announcement three weeks ago about the new photos being revealed, I can't find the winning photos where they are supposed to be.

Part of entering the contest required we not reproduce the recipes in any way. Two of the recipes I did really like and have made the unpublished Codex. The other four were not quite up to par for the Codex. And one of those four I already had a recipe that I liked better.

Obviously, with the contest, I worked harder at setting up the photos and striving for a story. What I've decided is that I need a higher calibre camera and I am going to be more careful with the food photos on my blog. Hopefully you'll find higher quality photos from now on out.

Without further ado, here are the photos.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

Coconut Red Lentil Dal

Lentil Mushroom Barley Stew

Mexican Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Frosting

No Bake Apple Crumble

Tofu Scramble

Friday, November 23, 2012

Dessert: Mini Pies!

Ryan made these mini pies with both a pumpkin and an apple filling. Kids and Ryan both loved them. The original recipe is from Heather Christo Cooks.

Best Crust
2 1/4 cups flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, very cold and cut into pieces
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup ice water

Pumpkin Vanilla Bean Filling
15 oz can pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbs vanilla bean paste
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 nutmeg
1/2 ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup cream
2 eggs
1 quart vegetable oil for frying

Best Crust
  1. In a food processor, add flour, sugar and salt. Pulse to combine. 
  2. Add butter and shortening. Pulse until the dough resembles coarse crumbles.
  3. Add water a little at a time and pulse until the dough comes together. Stop adding water once the dough has come together.
  4. Transfer dough to a sheet of wax paper.
  5. Gently press dough into a disc, wrap it in the paper and chill for about 30 minutes.
  6. Take half of the recipe for pie dough, and using a small amount of flour, roll out the pie dough into a circle in between two sheets of wax paper.
  7. Gently peel back one side of the wax paper and law over a pie dish.

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a 9x9 baking dish, add all the filling ingredients.
  3. Combine until smooth.
  4. Bake the pumpkin filling for 45 minutes. Take the filling out and leave until cooled.
  5. Using a 4-inch cookie cutter, cut circles out of the chilled pie dough.
  6. Spoon the chilled filling into the center of the circles.
  7. Fold the pie dough over and pinch and fork tine the edges. Chill in the refrigerator while you heat the oil.
  8. Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium heat.
  9. Gently fry the pumpkin mini pies until the dough is golden brown.
  10. Drain for a moment on paper towels and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Other details:
  • Preparation time: 20 minutes
  • Cooking time: 1 hours
  • Makes 12 pies

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Side or Entree: Chicken Parmesan Balls

Ryan wanted to make something similar to chicken parmesan, but wanted it in meatball form, so he made these up: Chicken Parmesan Balls. They are just as much effort as chicken parmesan, perhaps more. But, they were generally really popular.

ground chicken (~1 pound) or 3 chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4 tsp ground oregano
mozzarella, 1 block cut into 1/2 cm cubes
2 eggs
1 Tbsp water
dash salt
2 cups Panko-style bread crumbs
1/4 cup parmesan
pinch salt
pinch ground oregano
canola oil for frying


  1. Grind chicken breasts using meat grinder attachment on Kitchen-aid mixer, or just use purchased ground chicken.
  2. Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and 1/4 tsp oregano to the ground chicken. Mix until well combined.
  3. Roll into balls about 1.5" in diameter. Flatten ball.
  4. Place about teaspoon of mozzarella cubes in center and roll chicken around cheese, as a ball.
  5. Beat eggs, water, and dash salt in a bowl with a fork.
  6. Mix Panko bread crumbs, parmesan, pinch of salt and oregano until well combined.
  7. Roll your chicken cheese balls in the egg and then toss in the panko crumb mixture. You will have to squish the panko crumbs around the balls for full coverage.
  8. In a deep pan (we used our Dutch oven), pour enough oil to cover balls. Heat oil to 350º (using a candy thermometer to check temperature.)
  9. Fry the balls until golden brown and cooked through, approximately 5 minutes. CHECK! The 5 minutes is purely an estimate. Do not allow any pink left in the balls. Cheese will be melty.
  10. Serve with pasta and sauce. (Spaghetti noodles with marinara or pasta Alfredo makes a good compliment to these.)

Other details:

  • Makes about a dozen balls.
  • Nutrition Facts are per ball.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dessert: Tweed Cake

Ryan saw this and decided to make it mid-October. A great cake that is really rich, and while it has 3 components, each component is not that difficult, so overall probably an intermediate cake recipe.


3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs separated, whites & yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 ounce dark chocolate, grated

Vanilla Frosting
1 1/2 cups butter
6 1/2 cups icing sugar
3 tbsp milk

Chocolate Ganache
2 cups chocolate chips
1/2 cup whipping cream


  1. Grease, flour and line the bottom of two 9 or 10 inch cake pans with parchment paper. 
  2. Sift together and set aside flourbaking powder, and salt.
  3. Beat the egg whites and sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside.
  4. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and beat until creamy. 
  5. Add the flour mixture in 3 equal portions alternating with milk. Add the milk in two equal portions in between the flour mixture additions, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Do mot over mix.
  6. Gently fold in the beaten egg whites and sugar.When the egg whites are almost incorporated fold in dark chocolate.
  7. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 325ºF or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be careful not to over bake the cake portion. Cool completely on a wire rack. Top with vanilla frosting.

Vanilla Frosting
  1. Cream together butter, icing sugar, vanilla extract, and milk.
  2. You may add a little milk a teaspoon at a time, if the frosting seems too stiff to be spreadable. This should be quite a thick frosting with plenty of vanilla flavor. You can add a little more or less mik or icing sugar to get it to a proper thick but spreadable consistency. Frost the middle and sides of the cake and chill for a couple of hours before adding the chocolate ganache finishing layer.

Chocolate Ganache
  1. Melt together in a double boiler over low heat the chocolate chips and whipping cream.
  2. Cool to lukewarm and spread quickly over the chilled frosting. Let the chocolate set before cutting and serving. 

Other Details:

  • Original Recipe
  • 12 servings gives a good size piece that is enough but not too much

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Entree: Cheesy Spinach Noodle Bake

This is a good, vegan noodle bake that takes a little less effort than putting together a lasagna. I didn't like the original recipe from This Can't Be Vegan as written, so I've modified it.

8 ounces elbow macaroni or shells
12 ounces grounds 
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
26-ounce jar marinara sauce (use a flavored one)
2-4 tablespoons spinach, chopped
2 cups vegan shredded mozzarella cheese, divided 
1 cup nondairy sour cream 
1/4 - 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350º. 
  2. Cook noodles until al dente; drain and set aside. 
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, add grounds, garlic, salt, and pepper, stirring frequently until heated through and slightly crisp, about 10 minutes. Add marinara sauce and spinach, stirring until spinach is wilted and everything is well combined. Remove from heat. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine cooked noodles, 1 cup shredded cheese, sour cream, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and fresh parsley. Stir until ingredients are evenly distributed and noodles are well coated. 
  5. Spoon mixture into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top evenly with marinara mixture and remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, or until bubbly around the edges. Let stand for 15 mins before serving. 

Other Notes:
  • Serves 8.
  • Nutrition based on 8 servings