Did you know that Ignacio Anaya invented the first plate of nachos? Yep! He did it for a group of hungry military spouses in Mexico. Bam! Thank you 1943. I am an avid eater of nachos, although, these days my nachos look more like salads with lettuce as the chips, but you know what? Every now and then, we make the most delicious batch of baked nachos.
My favorite way to make nachos is with vegan ground "meat", black beans, olives, and avocado. I've provided our recipe and a few ideas for variations. Bake them on a huge baking sheet and put it in the center of the table for everyone to enjoy.
Somehow I managed to fit bananas, pumpkin, soy milk, chocolate, and flour into these brownies that are TO DIE FOR. The kids will be thrilled that you gave them brownies that have less sugar than the average brownie and manage to stuff them with vitamin A and potassium. Bwa ha ha.
BBQ Seitan Sandwiches
As a kid, my mom used to make BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches. The chicken was tender and the barbecue sauce perfectly sticky and sweet. I ate those sandwiches up.
From plants, grains, and seeds. I make my own tofu. I make my own seitan. I make my own everything. We do not eat a lot of processed foods.
Note: Since this post, we have removed wheat and many other processed foods from our kitchen, but I still wanted to share our story and recipe with you all!
Vegan Double Chocolate Cookies
Cookies do not make a visit to my house regularly. But every now and again, I stare into the cupboard at the chocolate chips and just can't help myself. These cookies are vegan.
This double chocolate chip cookie doesn't taste vegan, though. It tastes delectable. This recipes hails from a billion places and eventually has become my own as I have rearranged to fit our lifestyle.
Cookies can be really 'bad' for you. Loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat. Tons of added sugar. Ew. When I make cookies, I make yummy, good for your soul cookies.
For these cookies, I use coconut oil, bananas, almond flour, and almond milk in exchange for the 'normal' ingredients. Don't worry. These cookies turn out just fine. If you are not used to using these ingredients feel free to swap in what you have.
I have a confession to make. I'm not a HUGE fan of corn. At least, I don't like corn from a can or corn as a side dish...unless it is fresh-from-the-stalk corn. And I get that because I grow corn in my spare time. Seriously. This means that I only eat corn in the late summer and early fall.
And I really only like corn prepared a few ways. First, I love to saw it off raw and throw it in a salad. And then I love corn in a chowder. But my FAVORITE way to eat corn is roasted and on the cob.
Since I don't feel this is a "recipe" in the traditional sense of the word, I am going to keep this short and savory.
The warm fire and the cozy sweater that my nanny got me for Christmas was all that I needed this morning to make a fresh loaf of banana bread Goodness, do I live for baking. The combination of measuring ingredients out as a chemist would in a lab alongside the musical stylings of AWOLnation just gets me worked up. And not to mention greasing my favorite bread pan...the one that I bought ten years ago when I began baking.
This banana bread follows a standard recipe that I created years ago for cranberry walnut bread. That is the beauty of the recipe. It interchanges without fail and can be a staple for any design that you create (hello, zucchini bread, carrot bread, and even lemon poppyseed lavender bread). My suggestion for this bread is to watch the oven carefully to avoid burning the bottom of the delectable bread.
Black beans are a staple in my home. Whether it is a bowl of seasoned black beans with broccoli for breakfast, or a piping hot mug of black bean chili for dinner, black beans are here to stay. My favorite way to cook black beans is with a spoonful of feta and a sprig of cilantro. What can I say, I'm fairly boring.
But not tonight. Tonight this lady is going to be fancy because black beans were on SALE last week. Okay, so I'm cheap too --oh god, that extra two cents toward saving for a house -- and so I bought 10 pounds of them.
Yes. Ten pounds. Don't worry, the house doesn't stink like poo. I used my stock pot with a LID to keep that stench in the pot...at least until I turn up the heat. When you eat enough beans, you stop tooting.
This is my recipe for chunky black bean soup. It is vegan, but you could switch it up by adding chicken or steak to it if you must. My mom always adds cheese to hers...
Vegan Chocolate Mousse Pie
Shoot me in the head and call me crazy. This might be my favorite recipe ever! And that is saying a lot because I love to cook. After reading several vegan cookbooks such as Forks Over Knives, Veganomicon, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I recreated bits and pieces of pies and mousses to make this oh-so-delightful dessert.
Since I have a little helper who loves loves loves to "stir" everything that I am cooking, I knew that this chocolate mousse would be the perfect dessert to make...it really is great for kids.
The wonderful asset about this mousse is that it is quick to make and so good after any meal. We made it to be served after a light white bean and kale soup.
Ultra-Portable Bread: Pita Bread
Portable food is a must in my house. Not because we are all over the place or anything, but because I need go-to food at a moment's notice...I have one of those kids who is always hungry, you see.
And having something on hand is makes feeding such a child efficient. She can go into the fridge and grab a wrap, a burrito, or a sandwich without having to ask me about it. When she has eaten two bites because that's all she ever eats, she can put it back in the container and get it again later.
No fuss for me. No grumbling tummy for her. Win-win.
Since we make so many on-the-go meals, I have found it better to make the wrap at home. We save a lot of money doing this since I can make a dozen or more pita breads on Sunday and freeze half of them for the second week. Easy peasy.
My pita recipe comes out warm and delicious every time and you can easily make this recipe in your kitchen too. The pita bread is a little time consuming, so I recommend making it on the same day you do meal prep. Preferably start it in the morning, let the dough rise while you are grocery shopping, and then come back to finish the bread.
Roasted cauliflower, carrots, and spinach go into this warming red curry made completely vegan and completely good-for-your-soul. When I lived in San Francisco, I was able to stop into any of the hundred Asian market to pick the ingredients, but now, I have to make a solid effort to find these ingredients. In my hunt to make this Thai soup, I was able to source the lemongrass and ginger from a small market with the rest of it from the local market.
So, I always have them in stock. My kitchen is very rustic, Asian-inspired, and a little wacky. This curry is spicy, but in a warm sense and will appease kids and adults. Your entire home will smell of lemongrass, ginger, and meaty roasted cauliflower.
Healthy Make-Ahead Potstickers
Potstickers make a meal that adults and children can both fall in love with. Potstickers can be eaten with a fork, chopsticks, or cute little fingers. They can be baked, broiled, fried or steamed, and then dipped into a variety of sauces.
Perfect way to teach kids how to cook too.
I love potstickers. In my home, we make potstickers every week because I am a ninja. Actually, at the beginning of every month, I make a batch of 200 potstickers and freeze them.
Talk about hard work, but it definitely pays off on those nights that I have nothing left and am on the verge on committing fast food suicide. And then a child reminds me that she "sure wishes that she could just have a potsticker" and BAHM...dinner is done.
Once you have mastered this recipe, you will find yourself doing all sorts of good and not-so-great variations. Honestly, I like to think of potstickers as teeny tiny vegetable delivery pouches. Kids and picky adults love love love them.
Need I say more? I guess I should. If you thought that I liked oats, well you'd be surprised to discover that I love peanuts even more. Peanut butter is my very best friend. And I don't care how much Paleo folks tell me peanuts are "bad for me" because peanuts and I will not be parted.
I wake up every morning and scoop a spoonful of peanut butter into my mouth. I use peanuts to make fresh peanut butter. And I stockpile peanut butter (the kind made with JUST PEANUTS) when it goes on sale at the store. I have an entire cupboard dedicated to my peanut butter "habit".
Needless to say, I love peanut butter. I also love chocolate. I'm not sure which one I like more, but I am pretty sure it is peanut butter. But the combination of peanuts and fudgey chocolate make it hard to decide. When I am unsure if I want a scoop of peanut butter or a tablespoon of chocolate chips, well, I'll just have my cake and eat it too.
My peanut butter fudge brownie bites are ideal for quick fixes, lunch boxes, and more. Heck, after I make these, I wrap them up and put them in the freezer for a "rainy" day...which is all of the time where I live. Bonus points for living in the PNW.
Enjoy the recipe!
Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
Did you know that January is National Oatmeal Month? Thank god because all we do in this house is eat oatmeal. And to make it extra special this month, I am going to feed my kids cookies for breakfast. At least that's what they think they are...but not to worry-- these aren't your traditional, sugar-loaded cookies
My vegan oatmeal cookies are loaded with protein and packed with fiber. And you know what? My kids love them and they make great portable meals for when we are out and about --- because I have one of those kids who grazes all freaking day long and she is never not hungry. Seriously. The kid has a six pack too! Geez...
These oatmeal cookies contain protein powder, peanut butter, oats, honey, soy milk, vanilla, and raisins...which are totally optional because I hate raisins. Just swap it out for dark chocolate.
And if you are concerned about soy in the diet, take a look at this article to a fuller view on the current soy information.
Raw Red Beet Salad
Call me crazy, but I love beets. The red, staining root that is beet is one of my favorite winter treats. Each winter, after the beets have grown big, red, and juicy, I pull them from their cozy homes and make raw red beet salad.
That's right. Raw. Acidic. Surprisingly cleansing.
This red beet salad is loaded with vitamins. I combine grate beets, apples, and chopped celery tossed in olive oil and apple cider vinegar to create a stunning side salad that will detoxify your blood.
Ever been to an elementary school's cafeteria? If not, then you will surprised to discover that much of what the schools serve is downright unhealthy.
Case in point: Two weeks ago, I had lunch with my twelve-year-old sister, who brings lunch to school, and I noticed that most of her friends were eating cafeteria food. The choices were grim: nachos, hamburgers, and a plethora of fat and sodium-laden side dishes. Sure, the children could choose the vegetarian option, but how many children do you know that would choose a salad over chili cheese fries!
To avoid children eating these unhealthy lunches it is better to send your children off to school with a nutritious brown bag lunch. Here are some wonderful and nutritious lunches that will have your child begging for home cooked food over cafeteria junk---
Pumpkin Sweet Potato Soup
Today was the first day of school for the little genius and I thought that it would be appropriate to celebrate with pancakes. But wait! These pancakes aren't the kind that cause a sugar rush or interfere with attention spans or anything...they are delicious, protein-packed pancakes with a few butterscotch chips tossed in (literally, 5-6 per pancake).
These are the sort of pancakes that make you smile. They are sweet and salty and hit that "gotta have carbs" spot in your belly...or in my case, in my heart. Because I love carbs. Carbs love me. It's a win-win situation.
Anywho, let's get straight to the point because I hate those bloggers that go on and on and on with their story about their pancakes. You want the recipe. Let's do this thing. The recipe DOES NOT require bananas or any special egg tricks, but it does require protein powder. If you don't have protein powder, I would add a few tablespoons of flour, but no guarantees here.
**Because I love you, I have placed links to the ingredients that we used. Of course, you can use what you want, but as you know, I am an Amazon addict and these are the best deals for this stuff. GF cooking is freakin' expensive.
Kalamata Olive and Corn Salad
Take the sweetness of autumn corn and toss it with the tang of kalamata olives, and you get a delicious corn salad. I love this salad because you can turn it into a main dish or hell, get crazy and make it a dip by skipping out on the lettuce.
I love to make this whenever I am strapped for time but still want something that uses all of the fresh produce and takes great. Place this along side a roasted turkey or butternut squash soup.
Nectarine Raspberry Smoothie
Okay okay, so you all know that I live for a smoothie in the morning. I mean, I practically sleep with my blender. Smoothies are a great way to get a HUGE amount of nutrients into your body in one go. Most of my smoothies have some veggies in it, but this one doesn't.
The nectarine raspberry smoothie is my sweet tooth option for mornings that I need to energize. And energize quickly. The smoothie blends together pears, nectarines and raspberries together for the ultimate breakfast treat.
Vegan Peanut Butter Fudge
Fudge! I came across a little fudge shop near Seaside, Oregon this weekend and I got inspired to make fudge that didn't make me break out or give the kids a whopping headache!
I did some research in old cookbooks, looking at the standard ingredients. After a bit of time, I developed a peanut butter base and stuck to simple ingredients like coconut oil and maple syrup.
Crustless Vegan Pumpkin Pie
When the holidays are over and I am savoring the memory of sitting around the table for Thanksgiving, I can almost taste the pumpkin pie on my lips. Pumpkin pie is perhaps my favorite holiday dish. And my pumpkin pie is not-so-traditional (go figure!). It's made with coconut milk and pumpkin puree. No eggs or dairy, and barely any sugar at all. I love pumpkin as it was meant to be eaten.
BUT my most favorite thing about pumpkin pie, or any pie for that matter, is the crust. A good, cold butter crust made with just the right amount of flour and salt. Not mixed too much and generously pressed into a pan. Mmmm....crust. I could totally make a pie crust and eat it raw without any filling. I could half bake it and eat it without filling. I really love pie crust.
Woe is me though...I only have pie crust a few times each year. The rest of the year, I must go without it. That can be really difficult when I am dying for a slice of pumpkin pie. Not to worry though! I've come up with a way to enjoy pumpkin pie without the crust...and I usually eat it for breakfast.
This is a peanut buttery take on cold oats. I love to make this breakfast because it keeps me going until dinnertime, which can be important on some days when I don't have time to eat lunch. The oats are layered with chia seeds, peanut butter, and cocoa! Tastes like a peanut butter cup, but better.
You could omit the cocoa powder if you want.
If there was a food that I could marry, it would be stuffing. Boxed stuffing; homemade stuffing; stuffing at a restaurant...Fuck, it is so delightful. The way the toasted bread soaks up the broth and herbaceous flavors. The way it tastes even better the day after you make it. I think I like stuffing so much because I don't eat a lot of bread. And by that, I mean that you will not find a loaf of bread in my cupboard, ever. Bread enters my house on special occasions. That's final. I could tell you all about that on another day...get the stuffing recipe below.
National Taco Day is on October Fourth, and my family LOVES tacos. Okay, I love tacos. This year I am cooking tacos two ways: traditional shrimp verde tacos and a tofu taco salad. I don't have recipes for these....I just make them.
BUT, if you want to do something awesome for National Taco Day this year, I've compiled my favorite taco recipes right here!