Hello, friends! It’s been a long, long time since my last post and for this, I apologize! Life has been overwhelmingly busy with work, with friends, with my newly adopted crippled hamster (yes, a hammy!), and with studying for the veterinary technician national exam. There have also been some recent changes to the way I feel comfortable creating recipes so, finding myself in the recipe writing, experimenting, and cooking “mode” is rare. Hopefully for all, posting this recipe will help me get back to form. So, as you can imagine, with the precious little time I have to cook for myself, when I do cook, it’s almost always easy, filling comfort food. Usually that means a massive, loaded salad, but every once in a while, it’s a pasta dish. I love pasta almost as much as I love casseroles and anything that requires an oven to cook.
Recently, I posted a photo of the less involved version of my Sweet Potato Baked Mac N Cheese on my personal Facebook page that got quite a bit of attention and requests for the recipe so, here it is, folks! This is a “staple” recipe in my book and one that I turn to whenever I need something quick and filling and good enough for lunch the next day. As far as I’m concerned, it gives its maddeningly unjust, sad, and fat laden dairy counterpart a swift kick in the arse–mostly because it’s free of animal exploitation (awesome!), and obviously because it’s delicious. Feel free to add vegan sausage, hot dogs, or broccoli–if you’re so inclined–to make it more hearty. I also recommend adding crisp tempeh bacon or barbecue spices if you like, to make it more “smokey.”
Until we meet again…enjoy!
I spent enough time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day for both holidays so, with Christmas coming up in just 1 day, I figured I’d take it easy and work on a whole meal consisting of appetizers (okay, maybe there’s a lasagna in my family’s future too). Anyway, a few days ago, my housemates and I celebrated the first night of Hanukkah. One of my housemates brought almond butter stuffed dates to the table. They were so delicious and easy that I started thinking of other ways to enjoy them and make them more presentable, if you will. So this is what I came up with. I’m simply just sharing this for the sake of sharing yet another super easy vegan delight that will have everybody at your party thinking, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?!”
As of late, dates have been my go-to source for dietary fiber and potassium. They also pack a powerhouse of good carbohydrates; the kind you need in the middle of a long day of work. Fill these with whatever you fancy. I found that the yogurt filled dates were my favorite. I highly recommend So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt if you can get your hands on it and, if like me, you try and stay as far away from the grittiness of soy based yogurts. Another way to enjoy the yogurt filled date is to add some freshly grated citrus like lemon or orange to the top. If you want a combination of sweet and savory, try filling these with vegan cream cheese. If you have kids, this is probably a really good way to get them to sneak something super healthy into their snacking habits! Enjoy!
Alright, MoFo‘ers, recipe number three features the all-time Fall favorite: pumpkin. I went through hell and high water to get my hands on canned pumpkin just to make this. It begs the question, is there a shortage of pumpkin this year? The stores were wiped clean! I had to seek out this golden gem from a small, relatively unfrequented natural foods store. I know what you’re thinking. “Buy a pumpkin and make your own damned puree!” I would, but I just don’t have the patience to cut and especially peel my own pumpkin. I’m going to have to get over it if I’m going to want to make use of this fabulous gourd.
Ok, so let’s talk quickbreads! We only need to say that they’re like cake without the frosting. And for me, that’s pretty much heaven. Up until I had pumpkin bread, I didn’t think I’d ever love anything more than banana bread. I think it has to do with the fact that pumpkin spices are just crazy delicious and, at least for me, they evoke a certain sort of longing for and comfort from Autumn. I think that’s why a lot of places exploit ‘pumpkin spice this’ and ‘pumpkin spice that’ around this time of year. Doesn’t it just make you want to throw on a flannel and go for a foliage hike? Is that just a New England thing? Maybe.
Anyway, this quickbread is all sorts of fabulous. It’s easy to make, it’s moist, but not too soft and cake-like, as a quickbread should be. And it’s heavy on the pumpkin flavor (just like I like it). It also features the almighty chocolate chip, which only heightens its awesomeness by giving it a sweet chocolate crunch. I like the way the orange color and chocolate chips contrast one another — it’s very Halloween-y. This bread went over so well with my family that there was barely any left for me. My only regret is not having made two loaves!
As promised, here’s another salad sandwich recipe just in time for beach season here in New England or for lunch wherever you are. This recipe is so simple and easy, it only has two directions! I was going to use tofu or mashed chickpeas instead of tempeh, which seems to be a more traditional way of making vegan tuna, but tempeh once crumbled really does seem to have a similar texture to canned tuna. It is also a wonderful source of protein – the highest in a vegan diet per serving — and an invaluable resource to vegan cuisine because like tofu, it is a versatile “stand in” and it takes up flavor phenomenally!
In any case, if you prefer to use mashed chickpeas or tofu, you can. I am seriously in love with how easy and delicious this recipe is. Tuna sandwiches were my favorite when I was growing up, but this just hits the spot better than any fish could. I honestly feel like I just want a child to feed this to. So if you have kids who’ll like this, please feed it to them and tell me about their smiles because I need to live vicariously through you. I hope you’ll enjoy it too!