Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rich Sweet Potato Stew

This stew is rich, flavorful, and packed with nutrients!

I don't know what happened to the pictures I took, so you get no useful photo. I'll take one next time.
Sweet potatoes!


1 TBS canola or peanut oil
1 large onion, diced
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried jalapenos or crushed red pepper
2 TBS curry powder (I use Maharajah Curry from Penzey's)
1 TBS minced ginger
4.5 cups of water
2 unchicken bouillon cubes
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped (pieces should be like an actual die. I got about 2 lbs from 3 average-sized sweet potatoes)
1/3 cup coconut milk
4 cups shredded kale

Heat up the oil in a big pot (this makes about 10 cups when finished). Add the onion and saute for about 10 minutes, then add in the spices and cook for another minute. Pour in the water and crumble in the bouillon cubes, then stir in the tomatoes and peanut butter. When that's combined, toss in the sweet potato chunks and cook for about 20 minutes, then add the kale and coconut milk, continuing for another 10 minutes, making sure the sweet potato pieces are soft enough to smash easily with the back of a spoon. If they're not soft enough, keep going until they are! Add water if needed and stir often.

Serve on a bed of couscous. I made mine by boiling a cup of water, adding in a tablespoon of roasted peanut oil, and a half an unchicken bouillon cube and mixing until dissolved, then I poured in a cup of couscous, stirred, and removed it from the heat. This makes 4 servings.

Nutrition (per cup of stew)

Calories: 199
Carbs: 28 g
Protein: 6 g
Fat: 7.3 g
Fiber: 5.2 g (21%)
Sugars 10 g (25%)
Vitamin A: 374% (yeah, really!)
Vitamin C: 50%
Calcium: 8%
Iron: 13%

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Unchicken Caesar Salad

It's been a really, really long time since I had Caesar dressing, but when I was a kid, it was the only one I thought wasn't disgusting. However, I never would have eaten this because it would have been weird for me to combine the cold lettuce and the warm "chicken". I was a very, very picky eater (sorry, mom)! I have come a really long way!

I love this salad, it's a family favorite and it's pretty easy, too!

Prep the lettuce: Buy one of those packs of romaine hearts and chop up and wash the leaves (you don't want to use the hard core here). Set that aside in a colander so it can drip dry or use a salad spinner if you have one.

Start the "chicken" baking - I used Gardein Seven Grain Crispy Tenders and baked like the package said. Easy stuff.

Now make the dressing:

4 TBS dijon mustard
4 TBS nutritional yeast
4 TBS ground almonds
4 TBS ground macadamia nuts or cashews
7 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of water
2-3 TBS lemon juice (to taste)
1/2 tsp kelp granules (optional)
1 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS vegan mayonnaise (I like Just Mayo or Follow Your Heart)
1 tsp ground black pepper

Put everything in the dressing ingredient list in a blender and blend until smooth. Set aside in the fridge to thicken.

In the last 4 minutes of baking the "chicken", brush some of the dressing onto each strip and continue baking. The dressing will bake in a little bit.


Split the lettuce into even servings, then drizzle 2-3 TBS of dressing on the lettuce. Add the "chicken" and a few twists of freshly ground pepper. You're going to have extra dressing. You won't be sad about that.

I had some extra ground macadamia and almond blend, so I added a little nutritional yeast and salt to that and blended to make a pseudo parmesan topping and tossed that on there as well. If you're into croutons, you can knock yourself out and add some of those now, too.

This would be killer with a side of garlic bread sticks.

Per salad with 3 cups lettuce, 2 TBS dressing, and 3 "chicken" tenders:

Calories: 346
Carb: 25 g
Protein: 21 g
Fat: 13.6 g
Fiber: 4.1 g (16%)
Sugars: 2.8 g (7%)
Vitamin A: 280%
Vitamin C: 48%
Calcium: 7%
Iron: 15%

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stuffed Peppers

I had a few things in the fridge I wanted to use up, so I decided to stuff some peppers. I always hesitate to make them because they feel like too many steps, but it worked out to be worth it, in my opinion!

4 large bell peppers, any color - make sure they stand upright for best results
1 cup cooked orzo, mixed with 1/2 TBS olive oil or margarine
1 TBS olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 medium zucchini, peeled and diced
1 medium summer squash, peeled and diced
9 white mushrooms, stemmed and diced
3 TBS chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (more or less, to taste)
1 tsp Herbes de Provence (I added more to taste, about another 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp mushroom salt (or regular if you don't have mushroom)
2 cups marinara sauce

1 recipe macadamia cream
(1 cup macadamia nuts, 1/2 cup water, 2 tsp lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp salt blended until rich and creamy)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. While that's coming to temperature, carefully cut the stem off each pepper (it's like cutting the stem off of a jack o' lantern, but easier). carefully pull out seeds and pith, leaving the pepper intact.Boil each pepper for about 3 minutes, then set aside.

Preheat the oven to 350.

Put the olive oil and onion in a large pan over medium-high heat, and cook until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add in garlic, zucchini, and summer squash and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Toss in the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the wine, red pepper, Herbes de Provence, and olives and cook for a few more minutes, then add in the orzo for 2 more minutes, stirring often.

Place one cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of an 8x8 baking dish, then put the peppers on top of that, upright. Fill each pepper with 1/4 (about 1.25 cups) of the vegetable-orzo mix, then add 1/4 cup of marinara sauce, then 2 TBS of macadamia cream.

Bake for 30 minutes at 350, then turn the oven to broil and broil for a few minutes to get a little charring.

Serve by scooping 1/4 of the marinara from the pan and pouring it on top of the pepper.

They're heavy enough that one pepper is a solid meal. You can round it out with a nice salad if you want, but these are very satisfying on their own.

Nutrition, per pepper

Calories: 404
Fat: 24 g
Carbs: 36 g
Fiber: 11 g (42%)
Sugars: 8.6
Protein: 9.5 g
Vitamin A: 19%
Vitamin C: 336%
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 38%

Friday, December 5, 2014

Oreo Cupcakes

My daughter has a friend over tonight and I overheard them talking about Oreos. I decided it might be fun to make Oreo-inspired cupcakes.

The cupcake part is pretty easy, just take a standard chocolate cupcake recipe and replace the cocoa powder with black cocoa powder. Black cocoa powder is a little harder to find, but it transforms the flavor and will seriously remind you of Oreos.

My taste-testers gave it rave reviews.

Make the cupcakes and while they're cooling, make the frosting.

Here's a simple cupcake recipe if you don't have one you like:

1.5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
3 TBS black cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp Mexican vanilla (regular works too, but use this if you have both)
1 tsp vinegar (apple cider or white)
5 TBS canola oil
1 cup cold water


Preheat the oven to 350. Line a muffin tin with liners. In a large mixing bowl, mix all dry ingredients (flour through salt). Make three wells in the flour mixture. In one well, place the vanilla, in another, add the vinegar, and add the oil in the third. Pour the cold water over the whole thing, then stir until combined (no large lumps). Pour about 1/4 cup into each liner and bake for 20 minutes. It's done if you can insert a knife and it comes out dry.

Filling recipe:


1/2 cup vegetable shortening (I like Spectrum)
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla extract (if you don't have it, regular will work)
1 TBS non-dairy milk (I used plain coconut beverage)
1/8 tsp salt


Beat the shortening until fluffy, about a minute. Then add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar, beat until incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and another 1/2 cup, and beat until incorporated. Finally, add the tablespoon of non-dairy milk, the salt, and the last 1/2 cup of powdered sugar and beat until thick and slightly fluffy. You may need to add a little more liquid to get the texture right, but it will remind you of Oreo filling.

Push a hole into each cupcake and place about 1/2 TBS of filling inside each hole. You could choose to scoop out a bit of each cupcake, but that's a total waste. Just push it aside and preserve the whole cupcake.  Serve with a side of extra filling.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Bubble Lassi

I was in the mood for the kind of bubble tea that's like a drinkable dessert with no actual tea. You know the kind.

I eyed a big can of mango pulp and decided I'd make a fusion of mango lassi and bubble tea. It was SO GOOD. I only got a terrible picture of it because my phone was nearly dead and had to be plugged in while I took the photo, so I had to take the picture in a weird place at a weird angle. Do not let this terrible image dissuade you - it is SO worth making!


1 cup quick-cooking boba pearls (these are the tapioca-based black 'bubbles' - you can get them in Asian markets or online)
1 TBS sugar
1.25 cups sweetened mango pulp (you can get this in Indian markets or online)
1.5 cup of coconut milk-based vanilla yogurt

Boil the boba until cooked, drain, then add the sugar and enough cold water to cover them. Let that cool down.

Mix the mango pulp and yogurt with crushed ice. A blender would produce better, thicker results, but Aaron was sleeping and I didn't want to wake him by running the lovely but loud Vitamix, so I just stirred in some crushed ice after stirring the heck out of the mango and yogurt mix. I didn't measure the ice, so you'll have to get it to where it's nice and thick and cold. Place 1/3 of the bubbles in each glass, then add 1/3 of the mango mixture. Serve with giant bubble-friendly straws.

I promise, it is delicious!

Nutrition (per 1/3 of recipe): 

Calories: 214
Fat: 3 g
Carbs: 47 g
Fiber: 2.3 g
Sugars: 18.5 g
Protein: .5 g
Vitamin A: 7%
Vitamin C: 5%
Calcium 10%
Iron 4%

Sunday, November 30, 2014


Being a vegan or vegetarian at Thanksgiving does not need to mean deprivation!  In recent years, I have been fortunate enough to have two feasts; one my mother cooks up and one I host for my friends.

My mom is awesome because she has figured out how to make a tasty green bean casserole and doesn't mind making changes to other staples, like making stuffing with vegetable broth and mashed potatoes with margarine and non-dairy milk. She also makes sweet potatoes and rolls that are vegan and will get one of the many easy turkey substitutes for the main dish (this year we went with this: http://gardein.com/products/savory-stuffed-turky-seasonal/). My step dad makes a vegan pumpkin pie and pie crust pinwheels that are addictive and dairy free as well. I know I am lucky!!
A plate of goodness from my mom's feast!
These cinnamon pinwheels are a thing of beauty, aren't they?

My feast started as a way to make sure my vegetarian and vegan friends could enjoy Thanksgiving because not everyone has a family who will make changes to leave out the meat/dairy. It eventually started to include a few non-vegetarian folks, then finally got to where it is today; about 50/50.

Things have changed with the recipes through the years, but I now have a solid bunch of staples I don't think I'll tinker with in the future unless new friends bring new food needs.

I always make a pair of faux turkeys (a slightly modified version of Bryanna Grogan's soy & seitan "turkey"), mashed potatoes & gravy (from the Compassionate Cook cookbook, but without mushrooms and swapping cornstarch for flour to make it gluten free), sweet potato casseroles (a recipe I may give out someday, if you're really lucky), two green bean casseroles (another secret recipe). The green bean casserole is best topped with homemade fried onions - do not let the gluten free label turn you away, they are really good! (http://thecountrybasket.com/gluten-free-crisp-french-fried-onion-topping-recipe/ with unsweetened soy milk and Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour mix), stuffing, rolls (from a photocopy of a recipe my mom gave me), and impossible pumpkin pie (this one, but with canned pumpkin, mace instead of nutmeg, and no clove: http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2006/10/and-answer-is.html). This year, Emma made the rolls start-to-finish (they were PERFECT) and peeled all of the potatoes and sweet potatoes.

The table at my house is almost ready!

Fried onions

Sweet potato casserole with topping

Gluten-free green bean casserole

Faux turkey with stuffing

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Vibrant Vegan Chili

This is a favorite of mine (and of a few friends of mine) but my daughter hates tomatoes and my boyfriend doesn't like chili so I rarely make it. They're missing out! I made this for a chili competition at work, though I'm not competing, just entering it as a non-competitive dish.


1 bag of Boca "beef" crumbles (other vegan ground beef substitutes can work, but this is the best)
1 large onion, diced
1 TBS olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1.5 TBS regular chili powder
1/2 TBS hot chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Mexican oregano
1/2 tsp salt (optional, to taste)
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp epazote (this is an herb that's supposed to prevent stomach distress when eating beans!)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, to taste)
1 large can (28 oz) of fire roasted crushed tomatoes (note - I like a very thick chili. If you like yours soupy, add more tomato (a 15oz can of tomato sauce will work), then add a few pinches more of chili powder and cumin)
1 can (15 oz) of dark red kidney beans
1 can (15 oz) of light red kidney beans

Heat the olive oil and add the onions. Cook for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent. While that's happening, measure out the spices (garlic through cayenne) and set them aside in a small bowl. Add the Boca crumbles to the pan, cooking until browned, then add the spices. Stir the spices in, then add the crushed tomatoes. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring often to prevent burning. Add beans and cook for another 20 minutes, still stirring frequently. Simmer for 15 minutes or more to allow flavors to meld. I love serving it with little slices of avocado or with vegan sour cream, but it stands alone pretty well, too.

Nutrition (per 1 cup)

Calories: 209
Carbohydrates: 33.3 g
Fat: 2.7 g
Protein: 16 g.
Fiber: 50% (12.5 g.)
Vitamin A: 28%
Vitamin C: 65%
Calcium: 10%
Iron: 20%

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Polenta with Mushrooms

I was having a friend over for brunch and wanted to make something a little different. I went for polenta two ways and smoothies. The other polenta didn't turn out like I'd hoped - it was in the pressure cooker and I forgot the salt, so it got clumpy. But it was a sweet polenta and I made a dark cherry sauce to go with it. The smoothies were pretty simple concoctions of frozen pineapple and strawberries, some soymilk and silken tofu, a bit of agave and a splash of lemon juice and vanilla extract. My guest does not typically enjoy tofu, but she said she could not tell it was in the smoothie. :)

I only took pictures of the polenta with mushrooms, but it was definitely the best part of the meal anyway. I was working with mushrooms I had on hand, but I am sure anything would work fine here. You need about 5 cups of mushrooms. For me, it was a bag of frozen Trader Joe's variety mushrooms and an 8 ounce container of fresh baby bellas, but I am sure that any mushrooms you like would be good!

Polenta ingredients:

1 cup polenta (the big dry grits, not the prepared or instant cornflour kind)
2 cups vegetable or mushroom broth
1 TBS olive oil
1 TBS margarine (or more olive oil)
3 cloves of garlic
2 cups plain coconut beverage or plain soy milk (don't confuse this with coconut milk! Coconut beverage is much lighter and has no coconut taste. This is what I'm talking about: http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-beverages/original)
1-2 cups of water, as needed

Mushroom Topping Ingredients: 

5 cups of mixed mushrooms (frozen or fresh! If using dried, you need to reconstitute them first)
1 cup of finely diced onion (two small onions yield the right amount)
1 TBS olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 TBS balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Herbes de Provence

First, you need to start the polenta since it takes some time. Add the polenta and broth to the pan and bring it to a rolling boil, whisking often to keep it clump-free. Add in the oil, margarine, and garlic and cook over low heat while adding the coconut beverage slowly over about five minutes, whisking in each addition. Continue to cook for about 40 more minutes, whisking frequently and adding water as needed (it'll thicken a lot as you go). It should be thick and creamy when you're done.

While that's happening, make your mushroom topping!  Since I used a combination of fresh and frozen mushrooms, I added them in phases, but you can put it all together if you're using all fresh or all frozen.

I added the oil to the pan, then added in the onion and diced fresh mushrooms. I cooked that for about 5 minutes, cooking off some of the mushrooms' liquid. Then I added in the garlic and frozen mushrooms and cooked for another 5 minutes. Finally, I added in the vinegar, sugar, and herbs and cooked for another 5 minutes.

Top the polenta with the mushrooms and serve with fresh black pepper and mushroom salt if you have it (or ordinary salt if you don't!)

Nutrition (for 1/6)
Calories: 240
Fat: 9.5 g
Carbs: 30 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 5.2 g
Protein: 4.2 g
Vitamin A: 3%
Vitamin C: 7%
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 11%

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pasta e Fagioli

I built my menu for the week and noticed that nearly everything started with the letter "p". My friends helped suggest options to fill out the week and pasta e fagioli was mentioned by the lovely Brian K.

It's a nice easy weeknight meal that comes together in about 30 minutes AND it tastes good.


2 TBS olive oil
1 large onion
6 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
4 cups of vegetable or unchicken broth
1 can (~15 oz) of northern white beans
1 can (~15 oz) of dark kidney beans
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp parsley
1/4 tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 cup uncooked ditalini (or other little pasta)

Heat up the olive oil and pan fry the onion until translucent (not browned). Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add all of the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the pasta.

Cook for about 20 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.

After 20 minutes, you can use a stick blender (aka immersion blender) to pulverize some of the beans and tomatoes to give it a thicker, creamier consistency. This is optional, but it makes the soup feel more substantial. You can also just add a cup or two to a regular blender, whirr until thick and creamy looking, then add back to the pan.

Add the ditalini and cook for 8 minutes or so. Check the label for cooking time and follow that, but check to make sure it's not crunchy. I had to add 2 minutes to  the suggested time to get it just right!

Serve with warm bread.

Nutrition (per cup - makes 7 cups)

Calories: 231
Fat: 5.1 g
Carbs: 37.2 g
Fiber: 8.5 g (34%)
Sugars: 5.5 g
Protein: 9.6 g
Vitamin A: 14%
Vitamin C: 22%
Iron: 15%
Calcium: 9%

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Soy Curl Pepper Steak

I haven't been able to find my favorite steak substitute anywhere lately. I'd put pepper steak on my menu for the week, but forgot that I'd never located the Gardein beef tips. I decided to see what I could do with some soy curls, since they're a pretty versatile substitute. This was really tasty!!! It got a 5 out of 5, which is super rare! It's not low fat AT ALL, but it is high in protein, fiber, iron, and vitamin C and it still beats takeout from pretty much anywhere.

Sauce Ingredients:
3 TBS tamari
4 TBS rice wine
2 TBS corn starch
1/3 cup low sodium faux chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS freshly ground black pepper (yes, a whole tablespoon!)

Into the wok, in this order:
1 TBS peanut oil
1 TBS canola oil
4 servings of soy curls, soaked in hot mushroom bouillon (faux beef would work, too)
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced ginger
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1/2 cup of chopped leeks
1/4 cup raw cashews

First, make the sauce. Just put everything into a bowl, whisk it together, and set it aside. 

Add the peanut and canola oil to the wok and get it super hot. Drain and squeeze the soy curls, then toss them into the wok (carefully) along with the garlic and ginger. Cook for about 3 minutes - the soy curls should brown. Add the peppers, onions, leeks, and cashews and cook for another 3 minutes. Add the sauce and cook for 1 more minute, 

Serve on top of a bed of rice. 

Nutrition (per 1/5 recipe - about 1 cup each serving):

Calories: 235
Fat: 14 g
Carbs: 15 g
Fiber: 16%
Sugars: 6.39 g
Protein: 9.5 g
Vitamin A: 16%
Vitamin C: 87%
Iron: 69%
Calcium: 1%

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Yeti Spicy Split Pea Soup

Yeti soup? Is that vegan? I decided to call it yeti soup because it is impossible to photograph properly. I do not know why, but cameras go all blurry when attempting to take a picture of it! Any clearer pictures just didn't look...right, much like the famous fuzzy being.

Blurry, but I promise it tastes better than it looks!

Anyway, this soup is SPICY! I wasn't expecting it to be so spicy because dried peppers, especially jalapeno peppers, lose their heat when cooked for long periods. I think the pressure cooker does something special with this. I love it, but it you don't order your Thai food in the neighborhood of medium + to hot, you're going to want to tone it down a bunch! It was excellent and flavorful, which is never really my expectation with split peas, to be honest.

1.75 cups of yellow split peas, picked through for stones
.25 cups of red lentils, picked through for stones
1 large onion, diced
1.5 cups chopped carrots
4 cubes of un-chicken bouillon (or enough to make 8 cups of broth, if that's not 4 for the brand you have)
8 cups of hot water
1.5 TBS minced garlic (about 6 cloves)
1 TBS jalapeno (if you like it hot!)
1.5 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp Rogan Josh seasoning (a standard curry powder would probably stand in here just fine)
1/4 tsp Berbere (I'm not sure what would be a good stand in here, but in a pinch you could use more Rogan Josh or curry)


Place all of the ingredients into the pressure cooker, making sure to stir to get the bouillon cubes to incorporate into the water. Then cook on low pressure for 35 minutes. Release the pressure instantly, stir, and serve. It thickens as it sits, but never gets as thick as traditional split pea soup. Don't add salt before you taste it; it's salty enough.

Nutrition (per 1/5 of the batch, about 2 cups in each serving)

Calories: 256
Carbs: 53 (18%)
Fat: 2.8 g (6%)
Protein: 18.5 g (24%)
Fiber: 20 g (82%)
Sugars: 6 g (16%)
Vitamin A: 160%
Vitamin C: 14%
Calcium: 5%
Iron: 18%

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Berry Smoothie and Spoonbread

Spoonbread is a different take on cornbread. It's soft (you could eat it with a spoon, hence the name), it's savory, and it's versatile. This spoonbread recipe requires a small amount of blended soft silken tofu - about 1/4 of the block. I've put the other 3/4 of it away "for later" so many times, and I never seem to get around to using it. This morning I decided to use it as a smoothie base. For any tofu-phobic people out there, you really can't taste it in either recipe! It adds body (and protein) to both recipes, but the flavors around the tofu dominate.


1 cup cornmeal
1 cup hot water
2 TBS margarine
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup of soft, silken tofu puree (just stick the block in the blender and blend until it's smooth and sorta fluffy looking, then take 1/4 cup of that)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 TBS flax meal mixed with 1/4 cup water and set aside to set up

Heat oven to 375. Mix the cornmeal, water, and margarine, whisking until the margarine has melted. 
Add remaining ingredients, then pour into a greased 9x13 pan and bake for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 slices. You can make it in a smaller pan for thicker, even softer slices, but you may need to increase the bake time. Serve with maple syrup, margarine, jam, or whatever you fancy. I love strawberry conserves on mine, personally!

Berry Smoothie: 
I don't know how I managed to have no bananas in the house, but it happened! I used the agave to give the sweetness, but if I'd had a ripe banana, I'd probably have used that instead and increased the liquid.

Remaining tofu from recipe above (approximately 3/4 of a block)
1 bag of mixed berries (I used a 16 oz bag of Berry Medley from Trader Joe's)
3 TBS agave nectar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious coconut beverage) 

Add agave and milk to the tofu that's already in the blender, then add the berries on top (putting liquids in first makes the whole thing easier). Blend until smooth, then serve!

Spoonbread Nutrition 
(for 1/12 of the pan)

Calories: 71
Fat: 2.5
Potassium: 22 mg
Carbs: 11 g
Fiber: 1.2 g
Sugars: 1.2 g
Protein: 1.5 g
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin C: 2%
Calcium: 1%
Iron: 2%

Smoothie Nutrition
(for 1/3 of the recipe)
Calories: 188
Fat: 3.7 g
Carbs: 33.4 g
Fiber: 7 g
Sugars: 20 g
Protein: 6 g
Vitamin A: 8% 
Vitamin C: 45%
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 12%

Monday, July 7, 2014

Tasty Sweet & Sour Stir Fry

My daughter's post-camp dinner request was sweet and sour stir fry, which is one of her favorite things. I like it because you can choose almost any vegetable and it will work (we've used broccoli, button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, regular bok choy, kale, onions, peppers, celery, and anything else I've had on hand, really). I often use pan fried tofu, but this time I used Soy Curls. Soy Curls are REALLY GOOD and if you see them, they're worth picking up. They're shelf-stable, have a nice texture, and take on the flavor of whatever it is you're putting them in.

1 TBS sesame oil
3 servings of soy curls, soaked in hot water for 10 minutes
2 cups carrots, sliced
1 cup shelled edamame (green soybeans)
2.5 cups chopped baby bok choy
2 cups shredded cabbage (I used bagged coleslaw shreds)
1 TBS sesame oil
1 TBS cornstarch
1 cup vegetable broth
3 TBS rice wine vinegar
1 TBS sugar
1 TBS catsup
2 TBS tamari (or soy sauce)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp onion powder


Mix together the ingredients for the sauce. Make sure the whisk the broth into the cornstarch slowly so you don't get any clumps. Set aside.

Heat 1 TBS sesame oil in a large pan, then add the soy curls and carrots. Cook for about 8 minutes until the carrots have softened somewhat. You may need to add a few tablespoons of water to the pan to prevent sticking/burning while you cook. Add the baby bok choy and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the edamame and cabbage and cook for another 5 minutes. Cook until everything is softened sufficiently, then stir up the sauce and pour it onto the vegetables. Cook for another few minutes until the sauce is thick and the flavors have come together. Serve over rice or rice noodles with some Sriracha on the side.

(for 1/3 of the pan - a large serving)
Calories: 338
Fat: 17 g
Carbs: 28 g
Fiber: 11 g
Sugars: 12.7 g
Protein 21.1 g
Vitamin A: 175%
Vitamin C: 109%
Calcium: 17%
Iron: 102%

Friday, July 4, 2014

Lemon Pepper Garlic Scape Pasta

The first time I encountered garlic scapes was in a produce box from the CSA I belonged to at the time. The winding tendrils and subtle garlic fragrance enchanted me and I was eager to use them in everything. I rarely see scapes, but when I do, I always have to buy some. I wanted to make a quick dinner before going out to watch fireworks, and pasta is always good for that.

3 servings of pasta, cooked and set aside
2 TBS margarine (olive oil would work, too, but you'll want to add a little salt)
1 bunch garlic scapes, flower and soft tendril part diced - about 1/2 cup (there's a stiffer part like on asparagus and you just need to snap it off. It's good for use in vegetable broth making, so set it aside for later if you make broths). 
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 cup peas
1/3 cup white wine
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp Parisien Bonnes Herbes
1/2 tsp cracked pepper (or more to taste)
1 TBS nutritional yeast

Heat the margarine or olive oil in a large pan over medium heat, then add the garlic scapes and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, then add the peas, wine, lemon juice, and herbs to the pan. Cook until the peas are done, then add the noodles to the pan, stirring to ensure each noodle is coated. Add in the pepper and nutritional yeast and coat the noodles once more, making sure everything is heated through. Serve! Garnish with a large scape segment and more pepper, if desired.

Berry Nutty Oatmeal

I once had a stepfather who liked to say something (or someone) was "pretty twice: pretty ugly, and pretty likely to stay that way." This oatmeal could easily be described as such, but it's a third and fourth kind of pretty: pretty tasty and pretty healthy, too!

It's a simple, filling breakfast for when you want something interesting, but you don't want to put a lot of time into it. I made one serving because I'm the only oatmeal lover around this morning, but the recipe would easily double (or triple or quadruple). It's heavy, but I like a big breakfast. If you don't, you could probably eat half and be satisfied.

1/2 cup rolled oats (aka old fashioned oats - these are the oats with the 5 minute cook time. Other oat types will be way less awesome here, I promise).
1 cup water
2 TBS walnut pieces
1/2 cup mixed berries (I used Trader Joe's organic mixed berry blend)
1/2 TBS agave
1/2 TBS coconut shreds
1 TBS flax meal

Bring the water to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, then add the oats and walnut pieces. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the berries and cook for about 3 more minutes, until the berries are warm and the liquid has largely evaporated. Drizzle on the agave, sprinkle the coconut and flax on top, then eat! You can add almond or soy milk if you'd like, but I enjoyed it without that. The picture I took after I added the flax meal was too blurry, so this is before the flax:

Nutrition (for entire recipe)
Calories: 379
Fat: 16 g
Carbohydrates: 50.7 g
Fiber: 12 g (48%!)
Sugars: 13.3 g
Protein: 10.3 g
Vitamin A: 5%
Vitamin C: 30%
Calcium: 5%
Iron: 20%

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tomato Rice Soup and Grilled Cheese à la Melanie

What makes the grilled cheese special? Well, first it's on the best kind of bread - thick, caraway-laced rye. It also uses Daiya cheese and dill pickles. Yes, pickles! I don't know why I started doing this, but I started adding pickles to my grilled cheeses when I was a picky child who considered grilled cheese to be a food group. Add them when you add the cheese  - it's good, I promise! Do not use bread and butter pickles or any other sweet pickle; I have tried it and it's not something I would repeat.

Hey look, it's another recipe with tomatoes! 

This tomato rice soup is very good - it was rated a 5/5!


2 TBS olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 stalk of celery, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 large tomatoes (about 2 lbs) peeled*, cored, and chopped
1 tsp Parisien Bonnes Herbes
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
6 cups of broth (I used 6 cups of water,  1 cube of mushroom bouillon and 1.5 cubes of not-beef bouillon, but pretty much anything should work)
1/2 cup uncooked jasmine rice

*Peeling tomatoes is easy! Boil enough water to cover them, make a little X on the bottom, put them in the water for 90 seconds, then drop them into an ice water bath. The skins peel off very easily!

Heat the oil and add the onion, carrots, and celery. Cook on medium for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened.  Add the garlic, spices, and tomatoes and cook for 10 more minutes, stirring regularly. Add the broth, stir well, and cook for 20 minutes on low, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Take an immersion blender and blend the soup briefly (you can also add about 2 cups to a blender if you don't have an immersion blender). You want to leave most of the texture, but blending it a little makes it thick. I served with black pepper and a sprinkle of dill weed.

Makes 6 1-cup servings

Nutrition (per cup):

Calories 131
Calories from Fat 46
Total Fat 5.1 g
Potassium 395 mg
Carbohydrates 20 g
Dietary Fiber 4.8 g
Sugars 4.9 g
Protein 6.2 g
Vitamin A 77%  
Vitamin C 36%
Calcium 1%
Iron 12%

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Spicy Oven Roasted Tomato Scones

My daughter hates tomatoes, so I only cook with them when she's not around (or I use tomato paste/sauce which she doesn't mind). Since she's at camp, the idea for this savory tomato-laden scone came to mind as I was thinking about what to make for breakfast this morning.

This one is SUPER good!! I asked Aaron how it was and he said "It was excellent. You should sell those." :) They're not terribly healthy - they're scones - but they're so satisfying that when paired with a serving of veggie sausages, one is enough! The list of ingredients is long, but it really comes together quickly!

1 TBS flax meal + 3 TBS warm water, whisked together in a small bowl and set aside
2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1 TBS sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1.5 tsp red pepper flakes (use less if you're not into spice)
1 tsp jalapeno flakes (optional - adjust for preferred level of spice)
1 tsp cracked black pepper
2 tsp dried basil
1 pinch ground fennel or pizza seasoning
5 TBS Earth Balance (or other vegan margarine)
1/2 cup Kirkland Oven Roasted Tomatoes (from Costco - this is what I used) or sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, chopped into little pieces
1/2 cup plain soymilk

Preheat your oven to 400 and get a baking sheet ready (I use parchment for anything that goes in the oven under 420 degrees).

In a large bowl, add the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and all of the herbs and spices (garlic to fennel). Mix it well, then cut in the margarine using a pastry blender or forks until it looks pebbly. Add in the tomatoes, the flax/water combo, and the soymilk and mix - you'll probably need to use your hands to get it to mix fully. Then knead it for a minute. Form into a circle on the baking sheet, then cut it like it's an 8-slice pizza. Put it into the oven for 15-18 minutes, then serve hot.

per scone
Calories: 204
Fat: 9.4 g
Carbs: 26 g
Fiber: 2.1 g
Sugars: 3.6 g
Protein: 4.3 g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 5%
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 8%

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gobi Matar Palak Masala (Spiced Cauliflower, Peas & Spinach)

I came home with the idea of making something of the baby bok choy in my fridge, but then I spotted the cauliflower and I knew I needed to use it soon. I didn't eat much during the day, so I wanted something that would really fill me up. I decided to make a spicy cauliflower, peas, and spinach concoction. It was very flavorful and made 4 large, vitamin-rich, low-cal portions. It would be just as good without the spinach, so if you don't have any on-hand, you can easily skip it.

2 TBS canola or coconut oil
3 small onions (or 2 medium onions), diced
1 head cauliflower, chopped into florets
1.5 tsp garam masala
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch of ginger, grated/minced
1 tsp brown mustard seeds
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
.5 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste - if you don't love spice, start at 1/4 tsp and work your way up!)
1 tsp turmeric
1.5 cups vegetable broth
1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 cup green peas (I used frozen)
3 oz baby spinach
salt to taste (taste it first; I barely needed any)

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the onions and cauliflower and cook for about 10 minutes, or until softened. Add in all of the spices and mix it up. It's going to be all pretty and yellow and dotted with seeds! Add the tomatoes and the broth and simmer for about 30 minutes, covered. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Then add the peas and cook for 5 more minutes and toss in the spinach for a final 5 minutes. You know it's ready when the cauliflower is falling apart or is at least easy to smash with a spoon.

Makes 4 satisfying servings (about 1.5 cups each!) and is tasty over basmati rice.

Nutritional Information (for 1/4 of recipe)

Calories: 198
Fat: 7.3 g
Carbs: 27.6 g
Fiber: 9.5g
Sugars: 11.3 g
Protein: 6.7 g
Vitamin A: 81%
Vitamin C: 171%
Calcium: 9%
Iron: 17%

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Banana Muffins for Everyone

So many of my weekend brunch recipes contain banana. This is largely due to the fact that bananas have only a brief time in the zone of perfection and then they become way too ripe overnight. I buy them fairly regularly and wind up with brown mushy bananas pretty often. So what to do?

Banana pancakes are good for when you only have 1-2 ripe bananas and not much time, banana muffins are good for when you have 3 to 4 and more time, and banana bread is for when you have 3-4 and plenty of time. Smoothies are also a good option, if you're feeling like not turning on the oven at all! You can peel and slice the bananas, then stick them in a bag and put them in the freezer for later use in smoothies, too, if you're not in a banana mood.

So nutty! Just right for me, perfectly repulsive to the rest of my household!

Today, I made banana muffins for everyone. Why are they muffins for everyone? Because you can pick the toppings at the end to customize for your own preferences! I live in a house full of nut haters, but I LOVE banana bread with walnuts or pecans, so I can sprinkle nuts on top and have it my way. My boyfriend and my daughter are really into chocolate with everything, so I add chips to the tops of theirs. I usually make a few Switzerland muffins with no toppings so everyone can enjoy them! 

2 tablespoons flax meal + 6 tablespoons water, mixed together in a small bowl and set aside
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups well-mashed bananas (about 3 or 4 bananas)
1/2 cup applesauce (you can add a 1:1 ratio to make up 1/4 cup of the banana if you don't quite have enough)
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
chocolate chips (optional)
Preheat your oven to 350.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt and set aside.

Grab another mixing bowl and mash the banana in it. I used to use a fork, but it's easier to use a potato masher if you have one. If you can't get it to a pureed sort of state, you'll want to get a fork and make it so.  Add in the flax stuff (should be thick), apple sauce, brown sugar, oil, and vanilla, stirring well.

Pour  the liquid ingredients into the bowl with the flour and mix until totally incorporated (don't over-mix!)

Grease a muffin tin - you don't want to use the paper liners for this one.

Then place a little more than 1/4 cup of batter in each (this fills my medium muffin cups to the top).

Top with walnuts, pecans, or chocolate chips (if desired), then put into the oven for about 20 minutes (start checking around 17 minutes, especially if your oven runs hot). They're done when a knife stuck into the middle of the tallest muffin comes out clean and they're very slightly browned on top. Let them sit for a few minutes so they don't fall apart when you try to get them out of the muffin tin.

Nutrition (not so healthy, but hey, it's brunch and 2 will definitely fill a person up!)
Per 12th of the recipe without optional toppings:
167 calories
6.3 g fat
25.8 g carbohydrates
2 g fiber
7 g sugar
3.5 g protein
6% vitamin C
1% calcium
5% iron

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tropical Black Beans

I waited too long to start dinner, so I decided to make something really quick and easy. This fits the bill!

I served it over pressure cooker polenta. If you have a pressure cooker, start it before you even cut a vegetable. Just add 4 cups water or broth (broth is more flavorful, but water keeps it totally neutral if you want to make a big batch for other uses) to 1 cup dry polenta, stir, and cook for 9 minutes on high pressure. Let the pressure release naturally while you're cooking the rest of the meal.

1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 TBS olive oil
1 cup mango chunks (I used frozen, but fresh would be wonderful)
1 cup pineapple tidbits (I used frozen, but canned or fresh would work well)
1 can (~16 oz) of black beans, drained
2 teaspoons minced ginger
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp lime zest
1 pinch saffron
1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional - to taste)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup orange juice

Pan fry the pepper and onion in the olive oil until softened. Add in the mango and pineapple and cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Add in the rest of the ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced and the flavors start to come together (about 10 minutes). Serve on polenta, rice, or quinoa and dinner is done!  

I sprinkled extra lime zest and crushed pepper on top and added a generous bit of hot sauce (Pukka scotch bonnet sauce is REALLY nice here if you like spicy stuff). 

Nutritional Information for 1/4 of the recipe of tropical beans:

186 calories
36 g carbs
7 g protein
4.1 g fat
7.4 g fiber
13 g sugar
9% Vitamin A
168% Vitamin C
5% Calcium
14% Iron

1/4 of the polenta adds:

130 calories
 27 g carbs
 3 g protein
 0 g fat
 2 g fiber
7% Iron

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stuffed Shells

My mom made stuffed shells while I was growing up and they were a favorite dinner of mine! This is really different since it's not stuffed with dairy products, but it definitely hits the spot for me!!

Preheat the oven to 350. Grab a jar of your favorite pasta sauce (or 3 cups of good homemade stuff) and pour about a cup and a half into the bottom of a 9" x 13" baking dish. Set that aside. Note: If you like spicy things, a fra diavolo or arrabbiata sauce is super good here, because it really stands out next to the creaminess of the shells. I love Delallo Pomodoro Fresco Arrabbiata. It's a bit pricey, so I always pick up several jars when I find it on sale. It's SO flavorful and most people think it's VERY spicy.  

For the filling:

1 block of extra firm tofu, liquid drained off
1/2 cup of raw, unsalted cashews
1/2 TBS lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt (do not use salt if your cashews are salted!)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 TBS olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
1 tsp basil (optional)
1/2 tsp oregano (optional)

Put cashews in a pan with 1 cup of water and bring to a boil, allowing them to soften. Boil for 5 minutes, then cover and let sit for at least 10 minutes (you want the cashews to soften). Now's a good time to boil the pasta!

Once the cashews have gotten softer, put them in a high-powered blender (Vitamix, Blendtec, etc) along with the water that you boiled them in. Blend until smooth and creamy. If you don't have a strong blender, they may need to soak much longer, even overnight. You'll want to add water if this happens - the result should be a thick, creamy, and totally smooth puree. To that puree, add the tofu, lemon juice, salt, nutritional yeast, olive oil, and garlic, plus the spices if you're using them. Get this all nice and smooth too. It'll be very thick - you want that!

For the pasta: 

This makes enough for 20 shells (usually labeled as jumbo shells), so boil 24 shells. There will always be a few that self-destruct and this helps so you don't have to worry about that. If you've been a known destroyer of noodles, maybe make 26. Or heck, make the whole box and save the extra noodles for something else! Once they're done cooking (15 minutes, usually) you can drain them and set them aside.

For the finished product:

If the shells are hot, run cool water over them. Grab either an 1/8 cup measuring cup or a tablespoon, get the shells, filling, and the baking dish nearby, and pick up your first shell. You'll put 1/8 of a cup (or 2 TBS) of filling in each shell, then set it aside seam-up in the sauced baking dish. Keep doing this until you have a tight little bundle of 20, then cover with the rest of the sauce. If you're better at scraping out your blender than I am, you might have a little filling left over, and if you do, I recommend topping the shells with dollops of that excess. If you like Daiya or another vegan mozzarella, you can add it to the top now. It's not necessary, though, but it kicks the decadence level up a notch.

Bake for 30 minutes, then serve! If you added cheese to the top, you may want to broil it briefly to get it melted in nicely.

Nutritional Information:
This whole recipe makes 20 shells and I usually go for 3 for myself. The nutritional info is for 3 shells in their portion of the sauce!

Calories: 334
Carbs: 31 g
Protein: 13.3 g
Fat: 16.3 g
Cholesterol: 0
Sodium: 443 mg
Fiber: 3.5 g
Sugar: 5.4 g
Vitamin A: 21%
Vitamin C: 52%
Calcium: 10%
Iron: 17%

Monday, June 9, 2014

Strawberry Shortcakes With Coconut Whipped Cream

One of my favorite desserts growing up was my mom's strawberry shortcakes. Here's a tasty vegan version. I advise you to make sure others are around when you make this or you are likely to eat a great deal more than one serving. It's so rich, I don't recommend that!

This recipe has 3 components. You'll want to do step 1 the night before you want to make this. Really, I promise this matters. Step 2 requires an hour of waiting. In other words, this recipe isn't the right thing to make if company is about to come over on short notice. 

1. Refrigerate an unshaken can of full-fat Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk overnight. 
2. Wash, hull, and slice a quart of ripe strawberries. The redder, the better! Add them to a bowl, then add 1/3 cup of sugar. Mix it up and set it aside for an hour. 
3. Make the shortcakes!
4. Serve!


1 can of full fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk (no shaking!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS powdered sugar

1 quart of ripe strawberries
1/3 cup sugar

2 cups of all purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup shortening (I use Spectrum)
3/4 cup non-dairy milk of your choice (I picked vanilla soy)

Heat oven to 450. 

Mix flour, 2 TBS sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
Cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like little pebbles.
Add the soy milk until just blended, then turn out onto a floured surface.
Knead it for a few minutes, then roll to about 1/2" thick and cut with a 3" cookie cutter (or just use a glass like I do). I often make mine a bit thinner and smaller so I can get more cakes, but it's all in what you like! 
Place the disks on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (they'll be lightly golden)

While that's cooking, turn the can of coconut milk upside down slowly and gently, then open the can from that end. Gently pour off the easy-to-pour fluid, leaving behind very firm coconut milk goodness to scrape out. Scrape that into a medium-large bowl and beat it with a hand mixer until it starts to look a little whipped. Add in the vanilla extract and the powdered sugar and keep beating until it looks right. DO NOT TASTE IT because you will EAT IT and then you won't have any left for the shortcakes!

As long as it's been an hour since you started the strawberries on their journey toward awesomeness, you can now serve your treat! Split open a shortcake, take a tablespoon or two of the coconut whipped cream and slather it on there, then cover in about 1/3 cup of strawberries and the sweet liquid they made! 

If you make them flatter, you can get 12, but if you make them big and fluffy, you'll get fewer cakes, obviously.

Springy Orzo

This orzo was a huge hit! It's hearty and flavorful.

(makes 9 1-cup servings)
12 oz orzo
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into small pieces
1 TBS olive oil
1 small onion
1 leek, cleaned carefully (they get dirt in the layers somehow) and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup of mushrooms, diced
14 oz can of artichoke hearts in brine (drained and rinsed, then torn into smaller bits)
1 lemon, zested and juiced (you'll need about 1.5 teaspoons of zest and about 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil (separated into two 1/4 cup portions)
3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped finely
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional, but it adds a nice cheesiness)
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
Salt to taste (if you have mushroom salt, I HIGHLY recommend using it here)
Pepper to taste

Cook the orzo and steam the asparagus while you prepare the other vegetables. When the orzo is fully cooked, stir in 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes in oil. This keeps the orzo from clumping.

Place the olive oil in the pan, then add the leek, onion, and pepper. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes, then add the mushrooms, artichokes, garlic, and 1/4 cup of the sun dried tomatoes. Once the asparagus has softened from the steaming, add the asparagus to the pan. Add the cooked orzo to the pan along with the parsley, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 1.5 teaspoons of zest. Let the flavors blend. Add in nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper, and top with a portion of the pine nuts (scant one tablespoon).

I served with a fun new (to me) green called mache. It's nice and nutty and flavorful. I used a little olive oil, a little of the lemon juice, and a bit of garlic to make a very simple dressing for it, and it turned out great.

Nutrition Facts (for the orzo)
Serving Size 1/9 of the recipe (1 cup)
Calories 249
Total Fat 7.5g
Sodium 496mg
Potassium 156.2mg
Carbohydrates 38.2g
Dietary Fiber 5.5g
Sugars 5.8g
Protein 7.3g
Vitamin A 7% • Vitamin C 56% Calcium 4% • Iron 24%

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Unpretty Uncheese Unsteak

My daughter encouraged me to pick this blog back up, so I'm making an effort!

This meal is so very simple and so very ugly, but MAN is it tasty!

I am not sure why the idea of cheesesteak popped into my mind when planning the week's meals, but that was the inspiration for this dish. I know this is nothing close to traditional, but this fixed my craving.

(makes 4)

1 package Gardein Beef Tips
2 bell peppers, diced (I used yellow, red, and green because I had them, but any color will do)
1 large onion, diced
1 package Teese cheddar sauce (any vegan cheese will do, but if it's in shred or block form, you'll need to add some soy milk to thin it a little)
1 TBS olive oil
A few dashes of cayenne - optional
4 Buns! Traditionally, you'll want a hoagie bun, but I used pretzel buns and this was tasty

Cook the beef tips in a pan with a few drops of the olive oil (reserve the rest of the tablespoon).

When it's done (about 6 minutes), set it aside, then use the same pan to heat up the rest of the olive oil, the onion, and the peppers. While they're cooking, dice up the cooked beef tips.

Once the onions and peppers are soft and caramelized, add 1 cup of the Teese sauce (or 1 cup of other vegan cheese plus a tablespoon or two of plain soy milk), then add in the diced beef tips. Toss on a little cayenne if you like things spicy, then serve atop toasted rolls.