Papa’s Pizza
July 27, 2009, 2:59 am
Filed under: Pizza Sundays, restaurants

D.Jones, Cooper and I were heading home from an exhausting day at a truck and tractor pull yesterday.  And yeah…you read that right.  It’s crazy the things we will do for our truck-obsessed boy!

Anyway, like I was saying, we were headed home from the uh, “fun”, when we remembered a pizza place that a good friend had recommended.  Pizza sounded fabulous, so we quickly took the proper exit off of 94 and headed toward Papa’s Pizza in Camden.

The place was easy to find, even though we are not at all familiar with north Minneapolis (and it helped that D.Jones was on the phone with an employee there, who kindly talked us through the directions).  Once we arrived, we wandered in a door that led us through a small deli with a few choices of gelatos, some imported cheeses and meats.  Then, through a small hallway where some statues of the Rat Pack pointed us in the direction of the dining room.  Now, we’ve been in some pretty dark and dingy family run Italian spots, between here and Wisconsin, but this dining room was light and bright, and even offered patio dining.  We opted to stay indoors after a long day in the sun, and ordered up a medium vegetarian ‘za for D.Jones and I, and a kid’s cheese pizza for Coops.


We watched the guys in the back tossing our freshly made crust and not too much longer, our pizza arrived looking absolutely delicious!  There is no grease to this pizza pie, and we tore right in!  The crust is sort of bready and is a great foundation for all of the super fresh toppings.  The sauce was more like fresh tomato sauce than a spicy pizza sauce, and was mild and good.  I added a few shakes of pepper flakes to mine because I like a little spice, but it was absolutely fine straight up.

I also sampled the kid’s cheese pizza, which allowed more of the flavor of the sauce to shine through and you could detect the oregano and spices more than on the vegetarian pizza.  Both were great.

Papa’s is located at 4159 Thomas Ave N. in Minneapolis, or you can check out their website here.

It’s a family-run place which is one of the things that makes us happy to give them our business.  Bonuses are that they have an excellent kid’s menu, as well as a beer & wine list for the bigger kids.  Oh, and they offer Surly beers! 

We’re planning on going back to check out their signature Tomato Pie straight outta Jersey~


Vegan Banana Crumb Muffins
July 27, 2009, 2:45 am
Filed under: Breakfast, Desserts

Usually banans disappear quickly in our house, but with an accidental “over-purchase” of fresh summer fruits a couple of weeks ago, we’ve had a few hanging around for way too long.  Late last week I decided to finally do something about them so they wouldn’t go to waste, and ended up with these scrumptious little goodies.  A little sweet for breakfast, but hey, I’m not one to complain about sugary yumminess.

Vegan Banana Crumb Muffins


1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 large, overripe bananas

3/4 c. sugar

Egg replacer, equivalent to 1 egg

1/3 c. melted vegan margarine

1/3 c. sugar in the raw (see note below)

2 T. white whole wheat flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 T. vegan margarine


Line muffin pan with muffin papers and preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In large bowl mix together 1 1/2 c. flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In seperate bowl, mash bananas with fork and then add in egg replacer, sugar, egg and melted butter.  Mix until relatively smooth.  Then blend into flour mixture until combined.   Spoon into muffin cups.

In small dish combine crumb topping ingredients of flour, cinnamon and sugar in the raw.  Then, using a fork, add in the tablespoon of vegan margarine and smash together with fork.  Sprinkle over muffins.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

**I found that the sugar in the raw, which is large granule sugar, was a bit heavy for the muffins and the middle of some of my muffins sunk.  A possible substitution would be to use brown sugar in place of the sugar in the raw**

Arugula Salad and Puff Pastry Pizzas
July 24, 2009, 7:50 pm
Filed under: Main Dishes, side dishes and salads

I’ve been eating a vegan diet for some weeks now and haven’t found it too difficult to maintain, honestly, until today.  Today I thought I’d make my cheesehead hubby a nice little treat before I had to run off to class and leave him with the wild child.  My husband hasn’t protested one bit about not having anything other than soy cheese  in the house lately, though I know it’s a hardship for him.  The man loves his cheese, and truth be told…I’m guilty as well.

So, in good faith I made these little puff pastry tidbits and next thing ya know, I was diving into the gouda.  I’m so ashamed.  Not really.  It was delish.

Anyway, I figure I’ll just limit that kind of stuff and still try to eat conscientiously for the most part.  Thankfully I never did place a title on anything I’m doing as far as eating and/or lifestyles, so I’m not a cheating vegan or anything, I’m just a girl who doesn’t want to do any harm, but can’t always give up the goods.  🙂

Kay, here’s what we had for dinner last night that caused my downfall.  The salad was good, but honestly, I prefer spinach to arugula, or a nice mix of both.  Arugula alone to me is just too much.

Arugula Salad

1 package of organic pre-washed arugula leaves

1/2 large while onion, thinly sliced

2 med tomatoes, cut in wedges


2 T. olive oil

1 T. lemon juice

1 T. white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

Combine arugula, onion & tomato.  Whisk dressing ingredients with a fork or small whisk and drizzle over salad.  Toss gently.


The salad was nice and light, and I love using the fresh, sweet, summer tomatoes.  Which leads me to “the” pizza bites.  Mmm…worth every minute of the cheese consumption.

Meditteranean Puff Pastry Pizza Bites

1 sheet of puff pastry dough (if frozen, thaw according to directions)

3/4 c. shredded gouda

1 diced tomato

1/3 c. kalamata olives, pitted and chopped

1/2 c. crumbled feta

minced basil for topping, if desired

Unfold puff pastry and cut sheet into 16 squares.  Transfer squares to greased baking sheet.  Sprinkle squares with gouda, then top with tomatoes, olives and feta.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 18 minutes or until beginning to brown on edges and bottom of puff pastry.

Sprinkle with basil, if using, and serve warm. 


Vegan Frosted Cupcakes
July 16, 2009, 7:42 pm
Filed under: Desserts

I have a family member who makes some ridiculously fabulous cupcakes.  I have been dreaming about tearing in to a scrumptious, beautiful little one myself for a few months now, after reading about all of the wonderful flavor combinations she comes up with to try.  Alas, they are far from vegan, so I made it my mission to come up with a good substitution.  So far, the front runner is a basic chocolate cupcake with some decadent vanilla frosting on top.  These are seriously amazing.

Vegan Cupcakes

1 c. vanilla soymilk

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/3 c. canola oil

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 c. white, whole wheat flour

1/3 c. Ghiradelli cocoa powder

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt


Preheat to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin pan with liners. 

Whisk together soy milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside. 

In seperate bowl, use a fork to combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. 

Return to first bowl containing soy milk/vinegar mixture and add sugar, oil, and vanilla extract and beat until foamy.   Begin adding flour mixture in small batches and stir to combine.  Once all flour mixture is added to the soy milk mixture, beat until creamy.

Pour in to liners about 3/4 full and bake for approximately 20 minutes. 

Remove from oven and let cool while you make the frosting.


Decadent Vegan Frosting

1/2 c. nonhydrogenated vegan shortening

1/2 c. vegan margarine (Earth balance)

3 1/ 2 c. powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 c. vanilla soy milk


Beat shortening and margarine until fluffy.  Add sugar and beat again until fluffy and well combined.  Add vanilla and soymilk and beat again until fluffy.   Done.  That one is simple!

Once cupcakes are cooled, add frosting and if desired, a sprinkle of some pretty colored sugar.  Store in airtight container. 


Donuts – Round 1
July 16, 2009, 12:50 pm
Filed under: Breakfast, Desserts

I have been looking at vegan donut recipes online for a couple of weeks now.  I do miss a good breakfast pastry, especially with one of the best bakeries in the city right in my backyard.  Ugh…the temptation!

Many of the vegan donut recipes seemed just so precise, though, and very involved.   One I read actually had a disclaimer after every step that was something like  “**if you do not follow this step exactly, they will not turn out!**”.  Man, if that’s not a “Do Not Enter” sign for a recipe, I don’t know what is!

What I ended up doing was combining the easiest steps of a handful of recipes and trying one out.  I basically just crossed my fingers since I’ve never made donuts at all before, much less Vegan Baked Donuts.  I did have to make one quick trip to Kitchen Window in Uptown, too, to purchase a donut pan, but it was only around $15.

Here they are:

Vegan Baked Donuts

1/3 c. Earth Balance vegan margarine

1/2 c. sugar in the raw (any sugar is fine, it’s just what I used)

Equivalent of 1 egg for egg replacer (ener-g) 

1 1/2 c. white whole wheat flour

2 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 c. vanilla soymilk

Cream butter, sugar and egg replacer.  Mix in dry ingredients and soy milk and mix well.  Spray donut pan lightly with olive oil and then spread donut batter into donut rounds, not quite to the top of the mold. 


 Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.


Turn out onto cooling rack.

Dip donuts in melted Earth Balance spread and then into cinnamon and sugar in the raw mixture. 

Next, just enjoy with a big cup of coffee.  Mmmm…warm donuts in the morning.  Makes for a lovely start to the day~


Scrumptious Smashed Bean Something
July 14, 2009, 3:26 am
Filed under: Main Dishes

I’m not sure what to call this dish, but it was what was for dinner and it was delicious!  I thought about calling it a “stewp” like Rachel Ray calls anything thicker than a soup but not quite a stew, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.    It’s really just my own take on a vegetarian cassoulet dish that I read about on epicurious one time. 

Regardless….it’s good.  Check it out~

Smashed Bean Something

2 medium sized leeks, cleaned and chopped into pieces (white parts only)

10 to 15 baby carrots, cut into small rounds

3 ribs of celery, chopped

1 can white Cannellini beans

1 quart of vegetable stock

olive oil

salt & pepper

1 T. Herbs de Provence

3 cloves of garlic


In large skillet, add about 2 T of olive oil, chopped leeks, carrots, celery and garlic (put through a press or diced finely).  Cook the vegetables in the olive oil, stirring periodically, until the celery and carrots begin to soften.  Add T. of Herbs de Provence and stir in to mix.

Add vegetable stock and can of beans and reduce heat to a simmer, uncovered.  Continue stirring peridically for 10 to 15 minutes as carrots, celery and leeks continue to soften and vegetable stock begins to reduce.   While mixture is simmering, begin to make the breadcrumb topping below.

Once carrots are softened and mixture is beginning to reduce and thicken, use a fork to mash the beans to further thicken the mixture. 

Bread crumb topping

1 baguette

olive oil

2 cloves of garlic


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Slice half of the baguette into crostini for toasting. 

Process other half of baguette in food processor to make a course bread crumb mixture.    Put bread crumbs into an oven safe baking dish and toss with 1 or 2 T. olive oil, and 2 cloves of garlic, put through a garlic press.  Toast mixture in oven, stirring periodically, until bread crumbs begin to brown and crisp.

I took my crostini slices from the other half of the baguette, drizzled lightly with olive oil and toasted them next to the bread crumb mixture until crisped.


Once vegetable mixture is thickened to your liking (like a stew thickness), serve in soup bowls topped with garlic breadcrumb mixture with crostini on the side.


Can’t Stay Away & Chocolate Chip Cookies
July 14, 2009, 2:55 am
Filed under: Desserts

So, from June 1 to July 13th, I took my hiatus, but I can’t stay away.    Not a day goes by that I don’t try something new, or make something new and think “I should blog about that!”.   Okay, maybe one day or two goes by that it doesn’t happen, but for the most part, I miss posting stuff about the food I love here, so I’m back.

A few things have changed since I left.  One is that my friend Jenni talked me in to re-trying the Quantum Wellness 21-day cleanse that I attempted at the same time last year.  The deal is that it is a vegan, caffeine free, alc0hol free, gluten free, and sugar free cleanse to clear your mind and body.  Last year I made  it about 6 days.  This year?  About 8.  Better, but still not 21 days.  That’s crazy…

I did, however, realize that the vegan diet part of the cleanse felt good to me.  I haven’t turned back, so although I’m enjoying the vino that I love so much, and a wonderful warming hot mug of soy vanilla latte in the a.m., I have stuck to the vegan eating regimen for over three weeks now and I feel great!

I’m not sure if I can actually call myself a vegan because I do love my leather shoes, but does it count if you already own them?  Huh.  Good question.  But either way, I’ve found some awesome vegan recipes that I’m looking forward to sharing with you, and also maybe a miss or two, too….but I’ll be honest and let you know about those as well.

Sorry for the hiatus, but I’m so happy to be back that I’m going to get right back to it and kick off this party with the vegan chocolate chip cookies that I baked tonight.   They turned out pretty good and definitely hit the spot during my viewing of The Bachelorette~

Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup vegan margarine (I used Earth Balance sticks)

 1/2 cup sugar

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup vanilla soy milk

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

3 cups quick  cooking oats

1 cup vegan chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat sugar, brown sugar, margarine, and vanilla until smooth.  Add soy milk and beat again until well combined.

Add flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and stir into sugar/margarine mixture.   Add oats and chocolate chips and stir until well combined.

Drop by tablespoon onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake approximately 12-16 minutes or until beginning to brown and they hold together nicely when removing from cookie sheet with spatula.