Thursday, November 14, 2013

My First Guest Blogger Rachel Chambers!

I have known Rachel for like, geez, 10 years? She is an amazing person, a hopless romantic, with the biggest heart, and she is so beautiful, but foremost she is an excellent cook. I adore her in every way and was so excited when she agreed to guest blog for me!

From Rachel:
I love to cook, and I love my sweet friend Vanessa almost as much Her quest for healthy eating and the vegan lifestyle is a choice that I wholeheartedly support! I love creating new, delicious dishes that fit into her diet. I am a firm believer that vegans and vegetarians can be as satisfied, if not more so in the healthy food choices that they make; fall treats are no exception! Having been a vegetarian for a number of months, I know how hard it can be to BAKE as a vegan. The use of eggs, milk, and other crucial ingredients, makes it hard to come up with a perfect product. Cooking is different, because it's about preference, not science. But baking is all about the science. Leavening and texture cannot be compromised. And there is a challenge of changing age old recipes into something delicious and animal product free. I love butter, I love farm fresh eggs, I love the textures that they create. But, for my love of Vanessa and her appreciation for my food, I set aside my favorite ingredients to create this delish crumb cake! It was a winner from my first go! Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Crumb Cake with Pecan Streusel Time: 1 hour 10 minutes. Pecan Streusel: 1/4 cup all purpose flour 3 Tablespoon brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon allspice 1 Tablespoon coconut oil 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans Cake: 1 (15 oz) can of pumpkin puree 3/4 cup almond milk 3/4 cup coconut oil 1 1/2 cup sugar in the raw 3 Tablespoon maple syrup 2 teaspoon vanilla 2 2/3 cup all purpose flour 1 Tablespoon baking powder 1 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon allspice 1/8 teaspoon cloves Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly grease an flour an 12 inch round cake pan. For the streusel: In a small bowl, mix the flour, brown sugar, and spices. Drizzle in the oil and mix with your fingertips until crumbs form. Add the chopped pecans and mix. For the cake: Combine the pumpkin, milk, oil, sugar, syrup, and vanilla. Mix well. Add half the flour, the baking powder, salt, and the spices. Use a fork to fold everything together. Add the remaining flour and mix gently until combined. Don't use a hand mixer for this, as pumpkin can get gummy if it's mixed too aggressively. Fork blending maintains texture. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and spread evenly. Scatter the streusel on top as evenly as possible. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until a knife inserted through the center comes out clean.

And she is correct! It was just so frickin good. It is definitely a must cook!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vegan Soft Pumpkin Cookies with a Maple Glaze

I told you, all things pumpkin. All day.


  • 2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine, softened or 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
  • 2 cups Libby's canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease baking sheets.
  3. Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, clove and salt in medium bowl.
  4. Beat sugar and Earth Balance in large mixer bowl until well blended.
  5. Beat in pumpkin, applesauce and vanilla extract until smooth.
  6. Gradually beat in flour mixture.
  7. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
  8. BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm.
  9. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes;.
  10. Put on wire racks to cool completely.
  11. Drizzle glaze over cookies.


 Combine 4 Tbsp Maple Syrup, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract

Now these were just ok. I think these would rank at "Zombie Grumbles." They were not nearly pumpkin enough. I would maybe go so far as to double the pumpkin. They were very cake like so I think adding more pumpkin would make them more dense and more delicious. The glaze also needed some work. It didn't harden up the way I was hoping so that could use some tweaking. I was thinking next time I may roll them in Maple sugar instead of having a glaze. 

Anyways, play with this recipe and let me know your results!


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Vegan Creamy Curried Butternut and Acorn Squash Soup

So, I know there is no pumpkin in this recipe but I have to admit that I have fallen HARD onto the "pumplkin everything" bandwagon. Trader Joes is my worst nightmare right now with all of their pumpkin foods. There I said it. Don't judge. That being said, I got these beautiful local butternut and acorn squash from Relay Foods (if you haven't tried them yet, you're missing out-they even have 30$ off your first order of 50$ + with code SAVE30 and no, they didn't tell me to say that) and so I was looking for something to do with them. 

Hands on time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour (Squash + Soup Times)
Calories: wait for it... 101 calories per CUP! Dig in y'all!

  • 2 medium butternut squash
  • 2 small or 1 large acorn squash
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance buttery spread or stick
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 package Vegan Cream Cheese (whatever you have, I used Daiya Chive and Onion because it was in my fridge!)
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder (or more to taste- I used 3)
  • 1.5 Tbsp. garam masala (or more to taste- I used 2)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon



  1. Preheat oven to 375. 
  2. Carefully divide squash lengthwise and place face-down in a large, sprayed baking pan.
  3. Bake until a fork easily pierces the skin (appx. 45 minutes).
  4. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then scoop out seeds and discard, and scoop out the middle and discard the skin
  1. Melt Earth Balance over medium heat.
  2. Saute diced onion until translucent.
  3. Mix squash in with onion and Earth Balance
  4. Add curry,garam masala, nutmeg and cinnamon; stir well.
  5. Add broth and stir well. 
  6. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  7. Add Tofutti and stir well. I didn't have an entire package of vegan cream cheese in my fridge so I used half vegan cream cheese and half vegan sour cream and it came out perfect. Play around with this part.
  8. Blend with immersion blender (or transfer in batches to regular blender) to fully integrate cream cheese and smooth the texture of the squash.
  9. Garnish with cashews, cilantro, or an extra dash of garam masala when serving.
So good y'all, and it made my house smell seriously wonderful.
Diana and guest taster Lucas, both gave this soup a solid "Yup, Alright."  My personal rating was somewhere closer to "Shivers." I feel the need to disclose that Lucas doesn't like squash and yet he ate a bowl and a half.


Explanation of Diana's "Yum Scale"

See, I told you, meat lover. That's a bacon mustache in case you were unsure. Today I figured it was time to give you a cheat sheet on Diana's scale of emotional eating, since I use it to tell you how good my food is. 

This is straight from the meat lovers mouth. When I asked Diana to try to explain her scale, she said " I can't, it's all in here" and pointed to her heart. I made her explain it. Here it is.
  1. Yuk. This one is self explanatory. It's simply gross. Though my guess is that she is too kind to ever tell me that my food is "yuk"
  2. Zombie Grumbles  "Hmmm. Hmmmm. Uhhh."  This comes with a shrug, and a "yup, that's food."
  3. YUP. ALRIGHT. This is where we move into the "would eat again" category. This is accompanied by a solid repetitious nod. 
  4. Shivers. For some reason, Diana's body responds to the food she eats. If she loves it she gets the shivers and goosebumps. Literally. 
  5. Tears. Yes. If a food is rated tears, that means ACTUAL tears fell from her eyes because the food she consumed was sooooo good. This rating is obviously the goal.
I hope that this clears some things up for you. I know that interpreting the beautiful mind that Diana has can be a little daunting for us mere mortals. Consider yourself enlightened.

Vegan Garden Lasagna

This second post about lasagna may have helped you understand that I have a Garfield-like obsession with lasagna. This lasagna is so simple it literally took me 10 minutes to prepare and will last me a whole week of lunch/dinner.


  • 12 whole wheat no cook lasagna noodles
  • 1 jar Classico tomato basil spaghetti sauce
  • 2 medium zucchinis sliced
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1 medium white/yellow onion, diced
  • 3 roma tomatoes sliced
  • 1 bag of daiya mozzarella style shreds (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Pour 1/4 of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 pan 
  3. Add a layer of the lasagna noodles 
  4. Layer 1/3 of zucchini and top with the carrots
  5. Add a layer of the lasagna noodles
  6. Pour 1/4 of sauce over noodles
  7. Layer 1/3 of zucchini and top with sliced tomatoes
  8. Add a layer of lasagna noodles 
  9. Pour 1/4 of sauce over the noodles
  10. Layer 1/3 of zucchini and top with diced onions
  11. Add a layer of lasagna noodles
  12. Pour 1/4 of sauce over noodles
  13. Spread Daiya cheese over the top
  14. Cover with foil, bake for 40 minutes then remove foil and bake for 5-10 more minutes
Ok, I swear that's the last lasagna recipe. At least until I try something totally crazy, like cashew "cheese." I actually made some cashew "cheese" for this lasagna but I got so grossed out by the smell that I couldn't put it in. I really need to try it though, because I bet it isn't half bad. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Vegan Pumpkin Muffin Deliciousness

It's FALL! Happy October! In the spirit of things I thought that I would try my hand a a vegan Pumpkin Bread that I turned into muffins...It's a portion control thing. They are in the oven as we speak, smelling up my house real good. Look at these.

Vegan Pumpkin Bread
Prep time:  
Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 18 muffins or 1 loaf
Calories per serving: 166

  • 1 3/4c flour
  • 1 c dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 c pumpkin purée
  • ½ c oil
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 3 Tbsp chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease and flour a loaf pan.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together flours, sugar, soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, syrup, and water.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry; combine until just moistened. The batter will be very thick; don’t worry!
  6. Pour into prepared pan or muffin pan and bake 45-50 minutes for bread or 20 for muffins or until top is browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  7. Add chocolate chips to the tops of the muffins.
  8. Let cool 20 minutes; use a butter knife to gently loosen bread from sides of pan, then invert onto a cooling rack.

Diana tested these and she actually startled me by the volume at which she screamed "Oooooooh Yeah! That's goooooooood"  On her scale of yuk to tears she said "That was shivers. Fluffy shivers."
Happy Fall everyone!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vegans are pretty too!

Next week I will be launching a new addition to the blog, Vegans are pretty too! Once a week Diana and I will be introducing a new vegan beauty product via vlog! *Warning- Diana and I are hilarious* Check back!

Peanut Butter "Chocolate Chip" Flax Granola Bars

So, mostly the same story as the granola here. It's hard to find without high fructose, blah blah blah.
Here is my homemade granola bar recipe!

2 Cups oats
3T chia seeds
3/4 cups organic unsalted peanut butter ( I like crunchy style)
1/3 cups vegan chocolate chips (check the labels!) or Sunspire carob chips
1/2 cup maple syrup (increase to 3/4 for chewier bars)
1/4 t sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl
3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread mixture over the sheet to your desired thickness
4. Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the parchment paper from the baking sheet let cool for a couple minutes and put in the fridge for 15-30 minutes to harden

Then enjoy!

Diana's review: "Does this have peanut butter in it? You know I don't like peanut butter. But, I feel like I should keep eating it after my run. I like the chocolate chips" 
Sounds like it might pass a picky kids test?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Vegan 13 Bean Chili

So this recipe has been with me for several years. 6 I think. It was a trial and error process, and I've finally gotten it perfect. I have had more people ask me for this recipe than any other recipe aside from my amazingly non-vegan lasagna.

1 3/4 cups Bobs Red Mill 13 Bean Soup Mix (I start with this and then add whatever beans I want more of)
2 cans of diced tomatoes (you can always dice up your own!)
2 cans tomato sauce (again, making your own is so easy)
Fresh spinach I use a whole bag of organic spinach
1 can of sweet corn or frozen sweet corn. My favorite is TJ's super sweet frozen corn.
2 fresh jalapenos, chopped or sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
Cumin to taste
Chili powder to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste (I usually add this per dish)
Tofutti sour cream (optional)
Fried onion strips (optional, we like the added crunch)

1. Soak the beans 24 hours.
2. I like to cook the beans a little before I put them in the slow cooker because it speeds the process up, you can skip this step.
3. Add all ingredients into a crock pot.
4. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6-7 hours.

Enjoy! It's amazing.
Diana says "It's gooood" (She said be sure to squint one eye and talk out of one side of your mouth, while saying that like a German man yodeling.) I think she likes it.

Vegan Homemade Apple Cinnamon Granola

I love granola. A lot. I never eat it however, because its hard to find a) without raisins b) without high fructose corn syrup and c) without pretty much being candy. For some reason though when I would think of making my own, I would always let out a daunting sigh. I have news for you. It's SO EASY!

4 cups old fashioned oats
1/4 cups flax seeds
2 T cinnamon
1/3 cups applesauce 
1/3 cups brown rice syrup (or agave nectar-maple syrup would be good too!)
1 1/2 cups chopped dried apples (I like TJ's because they have 1 ingredient-apples)

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees.
1. Mix together all the dry ingredients. 
2. Stir together the apples, brown rice syrup and applesauce. 
3. Pour applesauce mixture over dry ingredients. 
4. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the granola over the baking sheet.
5. Cover the baking sheet with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 more minutes. 

Five steps! That's it. Five. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Vegan Peach Crisp

Here it is, the delicious Peach Crisp. I found a recipe for Vegan Peach Crisp and tweaked it to fit the things I had in my pantry. I had just gotten a peck of peaches from a local orchard and was looking for things to cook. I had originally wanted to make a Peach Cobbler, but I make my own granola and so I had a surplus of Oats. Therefore, Peach Crisp was born. 

Prep Time: 15 Minutes 
Cook Time: 45 Minutes

1 cup Oats (I like Old Fashioned)
1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour
1/2 T Cinnamon
1/2 t Salt
3 T Agave Nectar
2 T Evaporated Cane Sugar (maple sugar would be a great sub)
1 t Vanilla Extract 
2 T Earth Balance, melted (you can sub in coconut oil)

7 Large Peaches, sliced (don't bother to peel them!)
3 T Agave Nectar
1 t Cinnamon
1/2 t Vanilla Extract
1 T Water

Preheat the oven to 350.
Mix the Peaches in a large bowl with the agave nectar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and water. Set aside. 
In a medium bowl mix together the oats, whole wheat flour, cinnamon and salt. Add in agave nectar, evaporated cane sugar, vanilla and melted earth balance. Stir together until lumpy and thoroughly mixed. 
Spread the peach mixture into greased (I use Trader Joe's coconut oil spray) 9x13 pan. Spread the topping mixture over the peaches.
Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking for 20 minutes. 

I gave the lovely Diana some Peach Crisp topped with a smidge of SoDelicious Soy Vanilla Ice Cream.
Her words: "On a scale of Yuk to tears, this is goosebumps." As you will come to learn, to Diana, that means pretty damn good. 



a little on my back story.

11 days ago I began my journey on a vegan plant-based lifestyle. In those 11 days, I have lost 13 pounds, and gained so much energy. Last night while eating dinner I got a couple requests for recipes I had cooked so naturally I thought "Why not start a blog?" Then I thought why not ask my amazing roommate Diana to taste all the things I cook, and give me her feedback. Let's be honest. It's fairly rare that an entire household wants to eat this way, so why not have a meat lovers opinion. So, here begins the journey and I hope you enjoy it! This is my roommate Diana, you'll be seeing a lot more of her.