Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

My friend Julia said she wanted to make a cake the first night I was up in Seattle for one of her friends. This was just a perfect excuse to try one of the many olive oil cake recipes I'we been seeing lately.

It turned out delicious! My friends liked it ^_^

Lemon Olive Oil Cake
from I nom things

8 oz. flour
8 oz. soy milk
4 oz. sugar
4 oz. olive oil + some for oiling up the pans
4 oz. silken tofu
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
one lemon
about 3/4 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350F, oil up 9 slots in a regular-sized cupcake-tin.
2. In a blender, combine olive oil, tofu, soy milk, and sugar and blend until smooth.
3. In a large bowl, combine baking powder, flour, and salt together.
4. Add the wet olive oil-tofu mix into the dry mix. Over the large bowl, zest the lemon and combine into batter.
5. Pour the mix into the 9 oiled cupcake cups, and bake for 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Vegan Chocolate-chip Cookies

This is Julia's fall-back recipe for cookies. A classic!

Vegan Chocolate-chip Cookies
adapted from a Unbelievably Delicious Vegan Cocount Cookies


2 sticks margarine
1/2 bag vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/4 cups flour
1 packed cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 t. salt
1 t. baking soda
2 eggs worth egg replacer
1/2 T. water

1. Heat oven to 375 F.
2. Combine flour, salt, and baking soda.
3. In another bowl, cream all sugar and the margarine.
4. Add egg replacer, vanilla extract, and water to sugar mix. Stir
5. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and beat until combined.
6. Make small golf-ball sized dough balls, placed a golf-ball's length away from other dough balls on the cookie sheet.
7. Bake until golden-brown, about 14 minutes.

Chocolate-Covered Corn Chips

While in Seattle, I was presented with corn chips and dark chocolate. My first thought? Cover them!

Corn chips
Dark chocolate


1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
2. Line a cookie sheet in wax paper, wax side up.
3. Cover as much of the chip as you want in chocolate. Possibly, double dip.
4. Place covered chips on the wax paper in a single layer. Once finished covering the chips, place the cookie sheet into the freezer until chocolate has hardened.

Vegan Lasagna

While staying with my friend Julia in Seattle last week, I decided to make lasagna. Not only did it have home-made noodles, it was completely vegan! Very exciting. It turned out well, and I'm excited for my future lasagna exploits.

Vegan Lasagna
adapted from All Recipes

1 jar tomato sauce
6 fresh lasagna noodles
1 package firm tofu
1 package soft tofu
1/2 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
2 T. olive oil
1 package fresh spinach

1. Heat oven to 375 F.
2. Place the olive oil and the spinach into a skillet over medium heat, and stir until all spinach is limp and dark green.
3. Place all tofu, salt, pepper, and spinach into a bowl. Mash tofu with fork, and mix all together until desired consistency (mix less if you like texture in your sudo-ricotta layer, or mix more if you like smooth ricotta like in manicotti)
4. Place a layer of tomato sauce in a 9x13 plan. Then place a layer of three noodles across, then all the tofu mix. Alternate another layer of sauce, noodles, and top with more sauce.
5. Place in oven, and bake for 50 mins.

Vegan Lasagna Noodles

Inspiration for this recipe was needing some vegan lasagna noodles, and not having any! They were pretty simple to make, and I'd like to try and improve on this recipe. They came out a decent texture, too, even though I didn't use semolina flour.

Vegan Lasagna Noodles
slightly adapted from ehow

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. Italian herb mix
1/4 t. garlic powder
3/4 cups warm water

1. Mix dry ingredients
2. Add water to dry ingredients, and stir until as well mixed as possible.
3. Place dough on floured surface and work dough until there is an even texture in the dough and it's all one piece.
4. Cut dough into 6 pieces, and roll each one out so that it's a foot long and three inches wide.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ginger Tea

While in Hawaii, I went to the farmers' market there. So excellent, with all the fresh foods, fruits, and vegetables all year around! Not to mention the truly gorgeous orchids and hibiscus flowers for sale, and the largest avocado's you've ever seen. Unfortunately, a lot of the products seen there were imported and there was tons of prepared food, instead of a plethora of farmers with their produce. None the less, it was a great experience, one that I would like to enjoy again in the future.

From the market, I got probably 2 lbs. of ginger for 2$. That, I'm sure, was local. I got it onto the air plane back home (I don't know for sure if it was contraband or not), and now have some great, fresh, juicy ginger to work with. One recipe I stumbled across in my Vegetarian times for ginger tea. This is very simple, as you'll see below, but quite tasty. My suggestions, though: put the ginger in a tea-brewing ball, or strain the tea after letting it seep for a time. It will turn into a nice yellow-y color, like yellow curry. It gets incredibly strong if you simply let the ginger sit at the bottom of your cup the entire time you're drinking it. It gets pretty intense.

Ginger Tea
Recipe as found in Vegetarian Times May/June 2009 edition

2 t. grated ginger
1 cup boiling water


To grate: peel ginger by using fingernail to peel off outer skin. Then grate with the large-hole part of the grater. If you try to use the small-holes to grate, the ginger just turns to juice in your hands. Also, if strings start to build up at the grating end, I just cut those off and include them in the grated pile.

1. Place ginger into a standard tea-cup. Fill with the 1 cup boiling water, and let steep.
2. When the flavor is to taste, remove the grated ginger by straining.

Hint: the 2 t. of grated ginger easily makes 2 cups of tea. Make sure to re-use it! Ginger is expensive in the Midwest

Vegan Pizza

Alas! Another pizza post. But, this one's vegan! So it's different and interesting... right? I wanted to review some vegan products. So, this pizza gave me a chance.

Daiya: This cheeze was very interesting. If you're expecting the taste/texture of mozzarella, you're not going to find it. It has an almost sour taste, and a thick creaminess when it melts. It's not bad, but not my favorite. Worth a try. I can see myself buying this again when I try a month of vegan-ness (next school year!)

Yves pepperoni: I greatly enjoyed this product. I placed it on top of the pizza, and it got nice and crunchy. It has good flavor, and I see myself buying this product in the future.

(in breakfast cereal commercial voice) Part of this complete vegan meal!

Vegan Pizza: vegan cheeze, pepperoni, spinach, and walnuts

Yves vegan pepperoni
daiya mozzarella style shreds
hy-vee (or any other brand that makes a vegan crust) pizza crust
any vegan pizza sauce
3 T. toasted walnuts
small handful spinach

1. Heat oven according to crust package instructions
2. Use entire bag of cheeze, pepperoni to taste, pizza sauce to taste, and all walnuts and handful of spinach.

Hard-boiled egg and Avocado Sandwich

This was an accidental discovery. On the plane on the way to Hawaii, I had an avocado, a hard boiled egg, some salt and pepper, a plastic knife, and bread. I thought, hey, why not make a sammich! Surprisingly delicious. So much so, I thought I would share with the world. : )

Hard-boiled egg and Avocado Sandwich

1 avocado
1 hard-boiled egg
1 slice of bread of choice (or bagel half, etc.)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut avocado in half, removing pit. Put salt to taste inside each of the avocado halves, and mash avocado with fork in the skin. Then, paste onto the slice of bread.
2. Slice the hard-boiled egg, and layer across the avocado.
3. Sprinkle pepper on top to taste.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Farro and Roasted Acorn Squash

This recipe came on the bag of Farro I have. Every time I take out something from the cupboard, the recipe just stares at me. I finally decided to take action.

Farro and Roasted Acorn Squash
Modified slightly from recipe on back of Eartly Delights Italian Pearled Farro bag

1 cup farro
1 t. salt
2 1/2 cups water
2 vegetable bullion cubes
1 acorn squash, peeled and diced into 1/2" cubes (okay if larger, just adjust cooking time)
1 white onion, cut into 1/8ths
1 1/2 T thyme
1 1/2 T olive oil
1/2 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts
1/8 cup goat cheese

1. Heat oven to 350F.
2. In sauce pan, combine farro, salt, water, and bullion cubes, cover, and simmer over medium heat for 20 mins.Toss squash
3. combine squash and onion on a rimmed baking pan. Combine olive oil, balsamic, and thyme in a small bowl, mix, and then pour over squash and onions. Give them a good stir, then roast for 20 mins in oven (adjust time if your squash is cut into large chunks, or if you just like more roasted veggies)
4. During the last 5 mins of baking, spread walnuts on a baking sheet, and place in oven to roast them.
5. Combine farro and squash mix in a bowl, and garnish with feta and walnuts.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

(Almost) Naked Juice Orange Mango

I was inspired to make my very-own naked juice when I saw how few ingredients there were on the label. You'll need a juicer for this (and a blender). On the label it says mango and banana puree, and apple and orange juice, so I blended and juiced those fruits together (respectively). There's also 'natural flavors', so that could be anything. Overall, I didn't have quite the same texture as naked juice, nor the same flavor. I believe I added too much banana (compared to theirs), and I'm almost positive they sifted some of the pulp out of their banana-mango puree (but not enough so it counted as juice... I don't know the technical regulations on that). It turned out pretty well, it was fun to make, but I don't think I'd make it again. Too much work for little return. It's, alas, easier just to buy the pre-made naked juice.

Yeay dishes!
Mango-banana puree
apple-orange juice

Orange Mango (Almost) Naked Juice


1. Combine banana (I used 1/3 a banana) and mango (peeled) in blender, and blend until pureed.
2. Place orange slices (peeled) and apple slices (cored) in juicer, and juice.
3. Pour juice from juicer into mango-banana puree, and blend until smooth.
4. Enjoy! (chilling optional)

Spicy Vegetable Soup

This is a pretty basic soup, but delicious none-the-less! Great use of veggies, delicious, low-cal, and as spicy as you want it. If you want more interesting soup, try adding spices that won't be over-powered by the sriracha sauce (or don't add the sauce if you choose to add other spices).
^^ Size of pan you want to use
White and translucent onion/garlic/celery mix

Cute little bullion cube! I searched so long for vegetable bullion... Thank you new downtown grocery store!

Spicy Vegetable Soup

1 T. butter
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 white onion, diced
6 stalks celery, sliced 1/2" thick
5 small potatoes, cubed
6 small vegetable bullion cubes
sriracha sauce (to taste)


1. Heat the butter in a large pan over medium heat.
2. When butter is melted, add garlic, onion, and celery. Sauté all until white and translucent.
3. While the veggies are sautéing, microwave the potatoes for 2 mins 30 sec on high heat.
3. When sautéing is done, add 8 cups water, the bullion cubes, and the potatoes to the pot. Set on high heat. Let the broth reach boiling, then turn off heat.
4. Add sriracha sauce to taste. (I added 2 T. to my soup)
5. Let soup cool for a bit, then serve. Top with cheese tortellini if desired

Vegetable fajitas

This is a dinner I make whenever I have onions and bell peppers at the same time. It's so easy and delicious. I like my fajitas veggies to be super limp, so I cook them for a long time. If you like your veggies more firm (and less caramelized), simply adjust the cooking time. If you like yours spicy, or more flavorful, feel free to chili powder, jalapeños, or any of the other spices that come in fajitas powder mixes. I personally like to have plain veggies for fajitas, so I only add salt.

Vegetable Fajitas

1 zucchini
2 bell peppers (one green, one yellow)
3/4 white onion
2 T. olive oil
spices (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a pan on medium heat.
2. Slice all veggies length-wise.
3. Once pan is up to heat, place vegetables in pan, sprinkle with salt (and optional spices), cover with lid, and let caramelize for 40 mins or so, stirring every 5-10 mins.
4. Remove from heat, and serve with fajitas tortillas and toppings

Avocado, tomato and pesto-mayo grilled cheese

This is pretty much the most epic grilled cheese I've made in my entire life. Super, super delicious. It came out of an effort to clean out the fridge.

Epic Grilled Cheese


1 ripe tomato, slices (I used heirloom)
1 ripe avocado
2 T. pesto-mayo-sundried-feta sauce (equal parts)
2 oz. Irish cheese
2 slices English muffin bread
butter for spreading
a pinch of salt

1. Heat skillet on medium heat. Then, butter both bread slices on one side, spread the pesto-mayo spread on the non-buttered side of one, then layer the tomato, then the cheese on. Place other on top.
2. Once grill is hot, place sandwich on grill, cooking each side until golden brown (1 min per side)
3. Cut avocado in half and remove pit. Sprinkle the pinch of salt evenly between the two halves, and then, with a fork, mash inside the skin (saving you a dirty bowl).
4. When the sandwitch is done cooking, take off heat. Carefully, so as not to disturb the layered ingredients, open the top and layer the avocado mash ontop of the cheese (using a spoon to dish out from avocado skin). Place top bread slice back on, and enjoy.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes

Tonight was the MAA (math association of America) club Poker Tournament which I and one other member planned. It was so much work! But definitely worth it. We had a great turnout. Beside ordering pizzas, we had chips, sodas, fresh veggies with dip, grapes, and, at my suggestion, homemade deserts from the members! I dislike processed deserts (overlook the oreos in this recipe), so I thought having everyone make something would be a great way to get variety and give everyone an excuse to cook! For my desert, I decided to make this super tasty recipe I found.

Mini Oreo Cheesecakes
Adapted from Handle the Heat

42 Oreos (regular-sized package)
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275F. Beat cream cheese in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer until all cream cheese is out of its shape.
2. Beat in sugar. Then the vanilla extract.
3. Next beat in the eggs, followed by the sour cream. Add the pinch of salt.
4. Crush 12 of the cookies, and then fold that into the mixture.
5. Line regular-sized cupcake tins with cupcake papers, and place one oreo in the bottom of each cup. Fill each cup up to the top (there should be just exactly enough mix). Bake all for 30 mins, turning halfway through the baking.
6. Refrigerate mini cheesecakes for at least two hours, to let set up.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Carrot Cream Pasta

This is a delicious pasta dish, using pretty standard pantry ingredients. I generally don't go out of my way to buy heavy cream, but recipe just looked so good when I found it, I went ahead and made a store run. I was not disappointed!

Carrot Cream Pasta

Adapted from Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice

1/3 cup heavy cream
1/6 cup Irish cheese (or Parmesan), grated
1/2 lb. shaped pasta
1/2 lb. carrots
1 T. olive oil
1 t. Thyme
dash salt and pepper
1 large clove garlic (2 medium cloves)

3/4 cup pasta water, reserved

1. Preheat oven to 400F. Slice carrots into equal sizes. Mince garlic. Combine carrots, garlic, oil, salt and pepper onto roasting pan. Toss until carrots are evenly coated. Cook in oven for 45 mins.
2. Set pot of water to boil. Once carrots are done, start to cook pasta to package instructions. While pasta is cooking, blend heavy cream, cheese, and carrots together.
3. When pasta is done, drain pasta, reserving 3/4 cups pasta water. Slowly add water to carrot blend, until desired consistency (I prefer thick). Add pasta and carrot-cream mixture back into pot, stir, and serve with additional cheese on top.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Annie's Rice Pasta and Extra Cheesy Sauce

Annie's rice pasta is probably my favorite annie's mac-and-cheese like product I've tried thus far (and I've tried many different ones). The reason for this is, the sauce is premixed and comes in a packet. The other sauces were my source of disappointment for the Annie's product. This is a pricey item, so I would not recommend for those on a budget, but if you need gluten free foods, this is a quick and delicious dinner.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Pesto-Mayo

Even though it's Halloween, it was still warm enough to go outside and grill! Connie and I made DELICIOUS grilled veggie sandwiches. Like, better than any other grilled sandwich I've ever had, and I've had a lot seeing as it's generally one of the few options at restaurants.

Grilled Veggie Sandwiches with Pesto-Mayo

Veggies of choice (zucchini, mushrooms, green bell pepper, onion, grape tomatoes)
Olive oil
2 T. mayonnaise
1 T. pesto
3 sun-dried tomatoes, minced
1 T. crumbled feta
2 T. butter
olive oil
Italian bread

1. Set up grill: put coals into charcoal chimney, light with cardboard underneath, and let burn until coals at top turn gray on top (15 mins). Then, pour coals evenly in bottom of grill, spreading out with a stick if they pile. Wait until all charcoals have stopped flaming entirely.
2. Slice zucchini, green bell pepper, and onion in to lengths. Quarter mushrooms, and quarter tomatoes.
3. Make a boat with tin foil. Put on grill, place butter, onions, and mushrooms in.
4. Lay on grill over coals the sliced zucchini and bell peppers. Brush with olive oil. Slice bread into sandwich-sized pieces, and brush with olive oil on cut side.
5. After letting the zucchini and other veggies grill for 7 mins or so, flip peppers and zucchini. Give the mushrooms and onion a stir, and place bread cut side down on grill. Grill all for another 7 mins.
6. Combine mayo, pesto, feta, and sun-dried tomatoes.
7. Take veggies off grill (we left our veggies all on the grill, and put them in the tin foil so they would stay warm for round 2 of sandwiches). Assemble sandwiches, spreading with mayo-mix, and layering with zucchini, onion, tomatoes, mushrooms, and bell peppers. Enjoy!