Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sweet Tooth... Peanut Butter and Jam Cookies

Winter is on the way, actually its below freezing here now! Chilly weather always makes me feel like baking cookies so when I was alone in our rather drafty house I decided to take random ingredients from our kitchen: ripe bananas, peanut butter, oats, etc. and attempted to make a somewhat healthy cookie.

The result, which was delicious by the way, was devoured by Mr. Liu's work colleagues.


1 1/4 Cups Flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons vegan butter 
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup vegan white granulated sugar or turbinato sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
vegan egg replacer = to one egg
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups oats
Strawberry jam

Peanut Butter Glaze

3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons almond milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon and set aside. 

2. Whip out your stand mixer. In the bowl combine butter and sugars and mix until smooth. Add peanut butter, vanilla, maple syrup, and egg replacer. Combine until smooth. Then add the mashed banana and mix until smooth. 

3. Slowly add the flower mixture and stir or mix until combined. Then stir in the oats. 

4. Drop cookie dough in heaping spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet spread at least 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven. Create a small indentation with a spoon. Fill with vegan jam. Place cookies back in oven and bake for 3- 7 minutes or until golden. Remove the cookies from the pans and cool on wire racks. 

5. To make the glaze combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, almond milk, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk until smooth. If it is too thick or too thin add more almond milk or powdered sugar. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies. 

Mmmmmm.... grab a glass of soy or almond milk and enjoy!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

How to Convert a Carnivore- Vegan Bacon Cheddar Mushroom Cheeseburger Pie

When I met my husband for our first date at a French-Thai fushion restaurant I ordered a delicious vegan pad Thai with tofu. He selected a cut of beef from the menu. While he has many many virtues, unfortunately a plant based diet is not one of them.

Since our first date I have tried to maintain a respectful distance from his meat eating ways, while gently giving him information concerning the health benefits of a vegan diet.

He recently agreed to participate in meatless Mondays- an agreement that I am very excited about! Once the pact was struck I began to research and create "meaty" vegan recipes worthy of any carnivorous palate.

For this Meatless Monday I created vegan bacon cheddar mushroom cheeseburger pie. I was skeptical. When I first heard of meat pies I was disgusted and I did not think that the concept would translate well into a vegan dish, but oh was I wrong!



1/4 cup mushrooms
1 cup vegan ground beef ( I use Boca)
3 strips of vegan bacon
1 cup vegan cheddar (I love daiya)
1 can diced tomatoes, drained with liquid set aside
1 yellow onion, diced
2 potatoes cut into cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder


2 cups flour
1/3 tsp salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/8 cup baking powder
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 cup soy or almond milk
1 egg's worth vegan egg replacer

Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Add onion and potatoes. 

Cook until onions are soft and translucent then add mushrooms, cook until mushrooms are soft

Add the vegan bacon and cook until warm and evenly distributed

Add the "ground beef" and stir. Cook until the beef is cooked through

Add the can of tomatoes with 1/4 of the saved liquid from the can. Add s dashes of liquid smoke.

Stir to distribute evenly, add the seasonings and stir. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

To prepare the crust- mix together the dry ingredients, add butter and stir until it forms a crumbly dough. Use your hands to distribute the butter thoroughly. Take 1/2 cup of the dough and place in a mixing bowl. Set the remaining aside. (can be refrigerated for up to 3 months and used as a bisquick replacement) Add soy milk or almond milk and egg replacement and mix until combined, adding additional bisquick like mix until the dough is sufficiently thickened.

Add vegan cheese to the top of the skillet and cover with dough batter. Place the skillet in the oven uncovered and bake for 20-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Serve with ketchup and enjoy!

I think my husband, Lei, is already looking forward to next meatless Monday. He gave the dish a glowing review and even said that if he didn't already know that the dish were vegan he would have never guessed. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Easy as Vegan Pie

A surplus of apples and a fierce sweet tooth led me to create one delicious apple pie. I completely forgot to take pictures of the process, but I did take the time to snap a photo of this slice



2 1/2 Cups flour plus extra for rolling
1 cup vegan butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
6 to 8 Tablespoons cold water


1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup  vegan butter
2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/3 cup flour
8 apples, sliced
2/3 Cup white sugar
2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon 
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Make sure you start making the crust in advance as it will require at least one hour to chill in the fridge. Combine flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Cut in the vegan butter and combine until the mixture resembles damp sand. Add cold water 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture holds together. If you pinch the dough and it retains its shape the dough is ready. If it is not ready add more water. 

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface for a few minutes. Wrap or cover the dough and place in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour. 

After the dough have chilled remove from the fridge and roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface. Roll until the dough is approximately 1/8th inch thick. I like to have my pie plate sitting on the counter as I roll the dough. Then I know what size circle I need to create! 

Place the dough in the pie plate carefully pushing the dough into the sides. Trim off excess dough around the pie plate and roll out into a circle to create the top of the pie if desired. 

To create the filling combine brown sugar, white sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the apple slices, maple syrup, and  lemon juice. Stir until the apples are completely covered. Cook the apple mixture in a skillet over low heat for approximately 8 minutes or until the apples are soft. 

Pour the filling into the pie plate. Cut a pretty design into the pie cover to vent any steam during baking. My grandmother always sketches an apple so that is what I attempted to do. Place the cover over the pie filling and bake for 30 to 45 minutes at 350 degrees F. 

The filling was delicious and caramel goodness. All that anyone could really ask for in a pie :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Cook Truck

The Upstate New York town of Binghamton (the place I am currently calling home) is not known for innovative vegan cuisine...perhaps until now!

When I spotted this brightly colored truck from the road when I was driving home this last week. I was surprised to see something new along our corporate dominated parkway, but I discounted it immediately, assuming it was another meat-tastic BBQ joint. 

When I returned home I was quick to check their website and found to my surprise, that yes, they do in fact have vegan options on the menu. Several in fact! I just had to give it a go!

I started with the tofu tacos. Try deliciously marinated tofu in a subtly spicey barbeque sauce with a Korean inspired fresh vegan cabbage and carrot slaw. The tacos were served in soft corn tortillas and garnished with fresh cilantro and scallions- delicious! 

We finished the meal with a side of fall vegetable kimchi rice. At only $3 the plentiful side dish was a bargain and definitely hit the spot! The fall root vegetables were really the star, giving the rice a rich earthy fall flavor. 

The Cook Truck offers a menu that changes weekly and is sure to offer more vegan options in the future. My husband I and I will definitely be back to try the amazing Cook Truck again. If you are in the Binghamton area be sure to stop by and give it a try. You will not be disappointed!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Vegan Pizza Party

Nothing says weekend to me like pizza, but in my small city there are no restaurants offering vegan pizza so the perfect pizza night requires a little preparation, but its definitely worth it!


Vegan or non-dairy pizza sauce (recipe to come soon)
Vegan mozzarella cheese( I love Daiya) 
Olive Oil
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
Sliced mushrooms
Sweet onion sliced
Green Bell Pepper sliced
Tomato sliced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Sea salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive Oil

Vegan Pizza Dough

1 envelope pack active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon maple syrup 
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup vegan butter
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix 2 cups flour with salt. In a separate bowl place the maple syrup and warm water. Stir the honey and water together. Place the yeast in the water. Wait for 10 minutes or until water appears frothy. 

Combine the flour and salt mixture with the olive oil and butter. Once combined gradually add the water and yeast mixture. Knead dough adding flour as needed if too sticky. Wrap your dough and toss it in the fridge or you can leave it in the bowl covered in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Take the dough out the fridge and roll out on a floured surface with a rolling pin. Place the dough on a pizza pan or stone. Brush the crust with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and place in the oven for 8 minutes at 350 degrees.

Remove the dough and sprinkle with the chopped garlic. Spread the pizza sauce across the dough.

 Add vegan cheese and toppings. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano. Then drizzle olive oil across the top of the pizza and place in the oven for approximately 20 minutes. Oil covering the surface of the pizza will help the cheese to melt. 

Remove, slice and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Easy Pleasy Wednesday Dinner- Vegan Creamy Tomato Artichoke Pasta

Sometimes I do not have time to cook an elaborate meal. There are some days when I just want delicious warm comfort food, especially when there is a huge snow storm coming! Nothing says comfort food more than pasta- especially creamy tomatoey pasta with artichokes!

I am a huge fan of thin pastas so I chose a thin whole wheat spaghetti for this recipe. I have differing levels of success with whole wheat pasta so make sure you select a reliable brand :)


1 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
Thin whole wheat spaghetti
1 can of quartered artichoke hearts (non-marinated)
1 can of diced tomatoes, low sodium
5 cloves of garlic, diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/3 cup vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup vegetable stock
vegan parmesan 
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
3 tablespoons Olive Oil

 Heat vegan butter, olive oil over medium-low heat until melted and combined. Once all of the butter has melted nicely add the diced onion and cook until the onion is soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook over low heat for about 1 minute.

Boil 3 cups of water, or enough to cover your pasta, on high heat. Reduce heat once water begins to boil and add the pasta. Cover and allow to simmer for 7-8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain pasta and toss with vegan parmesan, set aside.

Add the tomatoes, artichokes, salt, and pepper. Cook for 15 minutes covered, adding a little veggie stock if needed

Add vegan cream cheese and veggie stock. Cover and allow to simmer, stir to combine and recover to cook for 15 minutes. Add pasta to pan, toss with sauce to combine

Toss pasta with parsley with tongs and serve. Enjoy! So prefect for a busy cold winter night. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Chilly Weather Calls for Chili

When the air is crisp I crave chili! This traditionally beef laden dish is one of my husbands favorite dishes. Since we were only just married in September of this year he is still getting used to my vegan dishes. Chili remains one of my favorites.

This chili contains a lot of flavor and kick while still retaining the hearty "meaty" texture that my husband's palate prefers.


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 sweet onion diced
4 cloves garlic
3 scallions diced
1 carrot
3 serrano peppers
1 habanero pepper
1 can red beans or kidney beans
1 can black beans
1/2 cup corn
1 can tomatoes
1 cup cubed butternut squash
2 tablespoons chipotle chili powder
1 block seitan
1 tablespoon cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
3 cups low sodium vegetable stock or water
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
vegan sour cream to garnish

Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pan. I love my dutch oven! I start with the chopped onion, scallions, and peppers. Throw the ingredients in, stir to evenly distribute the oil and cover with lid. Cook until the onions and peppers are soft (about 3-4 minutes). Throw crumbled seitan in the pot and saute until lightly browned (3 min). Add garlic and stir, cook for 1 min. I LOVE garlic, the more the better! This will create a nice base to anchor our chili. 

Once the base is sufficiently softened pour in the contents of the cans of red beans, black beans, and tomatoes, liquid and all. Add the corn and butternut squash and stir to combine.

Throw your spices on top and stir away! 

Add vegetable stock or water and stir. Yum! Cover and allow to cook covered on low heat for 30 minutes. Uncover and cook for at least an additional  30 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.

The chili will reduce and become a beautiful dark red hue. Add the cilantro and stir. Serve garnished with vegan sour cream and scallions. Yum! Enjoy!

Instead of our usual corn bread I decided to serve this chili with a light avocado salad. Recipe to come later! And a note of caution: My husband and I love spicy food. Please adjust the spices/peppers according to your taste.