Vegan Comforts
January 2, 2011, 9:24 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes, side dishes and salads | Tags:

Today is January 2nd, 2011.  What that means is that it’s the day I remove all traces of Christmas 2010 from the Jones residence.  Taking down all of the festive holiday stuff, paired with the fact that all of the excitement of the season is now a memory sort of makes me sad.   It happens every year, and though I’m happy to have a living room that has once again seemingly doubled in size, it also makes me long for just a touch more comfort food.

Today I decided to try some vegan cornbread stuffing, some crunchy roasted potatoes with garlic, and a nice salad to round it all out.

I started with the roasted potatoes.

Crunchy Roasted Potatoes with Garlic

2 large baking potatoes

olive oil

Salt, pepper and cayenne pepper

6 cloves of garlic

Preheat oven to 375.

Wash and scrub two large baking potatoes and cut into cubes.  Toss them with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sea salt, fresh ground pepper and cayenne pepper (to taste).

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven, sprinkle with a bit more olive oil, and add approximately 6 medium to large cloves of garlic, sliced into smallish pieces. 

Use spatula to turn potatoes to brown on other sides.  Add garlic to baking sheet and return to oven for additional 20 minutes or so.

The result should be some nicely browned, crispy potatoes and some delicious roasted garlic.  Mmmm…


Vegan Cornbread Stuffing

1 bag Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing

1 T. vegan margarine (Earth Balance)

1 T.  olive oil

1 small red onion

1 c. chopped celery

2 c. vegetable stock

3/4 T. poultry seasoning

salt & pepper

In medium to large skillet, melt vegan margarine with 1 T. olive oil.  Add poultry seasoning, celery and onion and saute until softened.

In casserole dish, put cornbread stuffing mix, celery and onion mixture and 2 c. vegetable stock.  Stir to combine and moisten all of the stuffing mix.

Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.


Rise and Shine Vegan Muffins
December 15, 2010, 10:57 pm
Filed under: Breakfast

So I made the leap.  I’m not sure for how long.  I’ve done cleanses where I would eat a vegan-only diet for up to a month at a time, but I’ve never truly considered doing it permanently.  Then, the other night I saw some doc on some cable channel about eating close to the earth, and there were many interviews with chefs from the finest restaurants in Manhattan, all the way to food trailer owners in Oregon who were all touting the importance and benefits of a plant-based diet.  They were talking about the changing face of the restaurant industry, etc., etc., and I thought “if I can do it for a month, why can’t I…”.  Why indeed!?  So here I am.  No promises, no excuses, but I’m giving it a go and we’ll see where we end up.

In the mean time, I have to share with you all one of my favorite breakfast items.  I love these little chock-fulla-good-stuff muffins, and they are ridiculously easy.  Check it out…

Rise and Shine Vegan Muffins

1 1/3 c. whole wheat flour

3/4 c. brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. salt

2 whole bananas, fork mashed

1/3 c. organic cinnamon applesauce

1. tsp. olive oil

1 apple, cut into small pieces (I don’t even peel it, and I like a tart and sweet, uber firm apple like a pink lady, jazz, or well….whatever you like, really)

1/2 c. walnuts


Stir together all dry ingredients in a medium size mixing bowl.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir thoroughly.  Spoon mixture into muffin pan or muffin inserts (I like them in paper so I can grab ’em on the go in the a.m. and eat in the car with a nice Starbucks sugar free hazelnut soy latte).

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for around 25 to 30 mins.

Mmm…so healthy, so low in fat, and soooo delish!!!

P.S.  I didn’t take a pic of them because they are just muffins.  You know what those look like, right?  Okay then.

Halloween Baking

We are hanging out at home today, trying to lay low until trick-or-treating time because Cooper has been sick this past week and we’re trying not to overdo it.

In the interest of A.  using up some bananas that really need to be used up, and B. finding something to do other than clean my house, I decided to bake. 

First up:

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

I tried to go not super-sweet and as healthy as possible in the hopes that Coops would eat some of it.  I think I was pretty successful.  Here it is…

3 T. mostly melted butter (I put it in the ‘wave for about 30 sec or so)

2  1/2 c. white whole wheat flour

1/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

1 egg

3/4 T. vanilla extract

3 medium bananas, fork mashed

1/4 c. milk

3/4 c. mini chocolate chips


Preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease, butter, or spray a regular loaf pan. 

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl.  In separate bowl, beat together bananas, egg, milk, vanilla and butter.  Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until well combined.  Then add mini chocolate chips and stir until mixed in.  This batter is very thick, but make sure everything is moistened.  If necessary, splash in a little more milk, but mine was fine.

Spoon the batter into your loaf pan and bake until lightly browned on top and a toothpick comes out clean.  Mine took about 35 mins or so.  Let rest for a few minutes after removing from oven, and then flip out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Next, I decided to use one of my big, lovely, organic Honeycrisp apples to try something completely new.  I started adding my favorite ingredients and this is what I came up with.  I must say, these aren’t the prettiest little mini muffins, but wow are they delish!

Mini Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Chip Muffins

4 T. melted butter

2 c. white whole-wheat flour

1 c. quick-cooking oats

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c. cinnamon chips (found in the chocolate chip aisle)

3 tsp baking powder

1 egg

1/3 c. milk

1 large honeycrisp (or any kind) apple, coursely grated

1 tsp. vanilla


Preheat to 350 degrees.  Grease, butter or spray a mini muffin tin. (You could use a regular sized one, as well). 

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.  Beat together egg, milk, vanilla, apple and butter.  Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine.  Then stir in cinnamon chips until well mixed.  Spoon batter into mini muffin tin, filling each cup up to slightly more than 3/4 full.  You should completely fill one mini muffin tin (12 muffins).

Sprinkle top of each muffin with brown sugar.

Bake until toothpick comes out clean.  About 20 minutes or so.  Remove from tin and cool on rack.

Tempeh Ruebens
January 10, 2010, 1:43 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

One of my husband’s favorite things to order in restaurants that have them, are tempeh ruebens.  They always look delicious, yet I’ve never ordered one along with him.  For a while now I’ve been thinking about trying to perfect one at home so we can have them whenever the urge strikes and tonight, I think I got it right.  They turned out absolutely delicious…warm and filling on a cold Minnesota night.  

Tempeh Ruebens

8 oz. tempeh (I used 5-grain, but plan on experimenting further with wild rice, etc.)

3 T. light miracle whip (you could use vegan mayo and make this vegan)

1 1/2 T. ketchup

1 T. sweet pickle relish

2-3 T. peanut oil

salt and pepper

1 1/2 T. butter or margarine

4 slices bread (rye or pumpernickel would make it more traditional, but I used whole grain)

1 c. sauerkraut, drained


In a medium saucepan, simmer enough water to cover tempeh.  Simmer for about 30 minutes.  Remove tempeh from water and drain on paper towels, patting dry.  Slice into as thin of slices as you can without crumbling it.

In a small bowl, combine miracle whip, ketchup and relish and set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat peanut oil over medium heat.  Add sliced tempeh and fry on all sides until golden brown.  Remove from skillet and drain on paper towels.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Wipe out skillet and set aside. 

Butter each slice of bread on one side.  Return skillet to stove over med to low heat.  Add one slice of bread, butter side down.  Spread slice of bread with dressing mixture, then top with tempeh slices and sauerkraut.  Take additional slice of bread, spreading with dressing on non-buttered side and laying slice, dressing side down, on top of sauerkraut. 

Cook sandwich until brown on bottom side, then flip carefully and brown on second side.  Remove from skillet and slice. 

Repeat all steps for second sammie and then dig in!

**For those of you not familiar with tempeh, it is a soybean product sort of like tofu, but made from the whole soybean.  It has a high content of protein, dietary fiber and vitamins, and once fried, it gets nice and crisp on the outside, while still staying soft on the inside.  The flavor is nutty and more apparent than a tofu.**

Back in the Game & Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
January 6, 2010, 12:44 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Over the holidays there was the usual baking of Christmas cookies and other various treats, but I also found myself in a slump of “easy food”.  Things that are not usually staples in our home became far too common.  Things like veggie chicken nuggets, fish sticks, and lots and lots of grilled cheese sammies.

Granted my pregnancy took me from extreme nausea in the fall months, to exhaustion as I now enter my 3rd trimester.  Throw in a bout with pinkeye for both my son and I, and well, I guess I had some valid excuses, but still….yuck.

Double yuck after I finally got a chance to watch Food Inc. the other night.  Wow.  I mean, I had a good idea as to what was going to be covered, but boy…it was the motivation I needed to hit the organic section of the store today and plan our meals for the week to get back in the healthier choices swing o’ things.

First on our list today was for my 3 year old and I to bake a “healthier” version of one of my faves…banana bread!  With the added bonus of a little chocolate…well, ya can’t go wrong.

Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (based on recipe from 1000 Vegan Recipes by Robin Robertson, but mine wasn’t vegan)

1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large ripe bananas

1/3 c. apple juice

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

3 T. canola oil

3/4 c. semisweet chocolate chips (I used the really tiny ones)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil loaf pan and set aside. (make sure this is done well because it will definitely stick). 

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and then set aside.

In separate mixing bowl, combine bananas, apple juice, vanilla and oil and mix with hand mixer until well blended. 

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and fold in chocolate chips, stirring gently until the flour is just moistened.  Do not over mix.

Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and bake approximately 45 to 50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in to center comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack for about 20 minutes before slicing.


Ghiradelli Grand Fudge Cupcakes
November 3, 2009, 4:00 pm
Filed under: Desserts


Yesterday was my Dad’s birthday.  I already know he doesn’t really want “gifts” in the usual sense.  He much prefers just having his kids and grandkids come visit, or sharing a burger for dinner or something.  He’s also a man who loves his desserts.  When he was younger, the man could put away an entire sheet cake in a day or two and never gain a pound.  What ugly twist of fate occurred that I inherited none of those genes!?

I saw a recipe on a Ghiradelli cannister of unsweetened cocoa that I had in my cupboard for Ghiradelli Grand Fudge Cake.  It’s a two-layer cake covered in Ghiradelli buttercream frosting.  Sounded delicious, but honestly, at 6 in the a.m. yesterday with a cranky child who woke up at 5 a.m. thanks to ridiculous daylight savings, I just didn’t have it in me to do a layer cake.  I decided on cupcakes with the same frosting.

They turned out magnificently!  I don’t do cupcakes very often, so I was worried, but they were the most moist, rich, oh-so-chocolatey cupcakes I’ve ever attempted…and a big hit with the birthday boy, which was most important!

Ghiradelli Grand Fudge Cupcakes

2 c. all purpose flour

3/4 c. Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. butter, softened

1 3/4 c. sugar

2 tsp. vanilla

2 large eggs

1 1/3 c. milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add liners to cupcake tin.

In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.  In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low and add vanilla and eggs one at a time, scraping bowl after each addition.  Alternately add flour mixture and milk (starting and ending with the flour mixture), while mixing on low speed.  Continue to mix until smooth.  Spoon into muffin liners.  Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Ghiradelli Buttercream Frosting

6 T. butter, softened

2 1/3 confectioner’s sugar

1/2 c. Ghiradelli Unsweetened cocoa

1/3 c. milk

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In bowl, beat butter until light and fluffy.  In separate bowl, mix confectioner’s sugar with cocoa.  Blend sugar mixture with butter alternately with milk, beating well after each addition.  Beat until smooth.  Blend in vanilla.

My dad is also a huge fan of coffee, so at the end, I grated an espresso chocolate bar over the top for a little added flavor….


Game Day Artichoke Dip
November 2, 2009, 1:27 am
Filed under: side dishes and salads

Today was a day to splurge on some serious game day less-than-fat-free chow, as I knew I was going to be able to celebrate my Vikes schooling the Packers.  Plus, my husband is a Packer fan, and I thought he might want a little something to eat while he cried in his beer.

This scrumptious, rich and delicious recipe was taken from the Food Network website here, and is Paula Deen’s Three Cheese Hot Artichoke Dip.  I made some very, very minor modifications for personal taste which I’ll list below.  Hit the link above if you want Ms. Paula’s original.


Hot Artichoke Dip 

8 oz. softened cream cheese

1 c. mayonnaise

14 oz. can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 small bunch of green onions, white parts chopped (about 6 onions?)

1/2 c. grated parmesan

1 c. shredded mozzarella

Approximately 6 shakes of Tabasco

1 dash of Worcestershire


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth.  Add mayo and again beat until combined.  Add all other ingredients and stir together until well combined.  Transfer to a pie plate or baking dish.  Bake about 40 minutes until bubbly and top is lightly browned.  Serve with crackers or veggies.  I served it with Triscuits, which was delish!