Monday, April 29, 2013

Breakfast Quesadillas

This is a ridiculously easy breakfast (or breakfast-for-dinner). It's not a recipe, just a recommendation born out of my deep love of Reyna's corn tortillas. 

Prepare one egg per person in whatever way you like. 

Take two tortillas per person - using a hot griddle or skillet (clean - no oil), place one tortilla on the skillet and cover with a thin layer of cheese, then top with the other tortilla. Cook for about a minute on each side or until the cheese is melted. 

Take it off the heat and top with an egg and whatever else you've got: salsa, cilantro, green onions, more cheese, black beans, veggies, pre-cooked meat, etc.


Frozen Peanut Butter Pie

Back during our cross-country days, my friend Lacey introduced me to Nutter Butter peanut butter pie. She brought it over for the annual sleep over and it was gone in less than 5 minutes. I didn't even get to try any! The next time she made it, I made sure to grab a piece. It's completely addicting and very light. I decided to try and make it healthier so this is my version!

20 Newman O's (vegan and flour free oreos)
2 cans coconut milk
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 vegan peanut butter cookies (Liz Lovely's cookies are great)

In a food processor, blend the oreos until they resemble coarse crumbs. Then press the mixture into the bottom and sides of a deep ceramic baking pan. Then whisk the coconut milk and peanut butter together until combined. Then add the brown sugar, vanilla, and salt. Crumble the peanut butter cookies and set aside.
Place the coconut milk mixture in an ice cream maker for 20 minutes. If you don't have an ice cream maker, just whisk the mixture until it is light and fluffy before pouring onto the crust. Once thick and creamy, add the crumbled peanut butter cookies. Then pour the mixture on top of the crust and place in the freezer for a couple hours. Thaw for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Strawberry Cake

At least the way mine turned out, this is like a delicious fruity pie/cake. I think the strawberries are supposed to sink into the cake, but mine just hung out on top, pie-like, which is fine with me. The vanilla cake is so simple and perfect, and with strawberries and whipped cream on top, it's a whole cake of strawberry shortcake. Also, it's not too crazy sweet so I'll definitely be having a piece for breakfast.

From Two Peas & Their Pod (originally from Martha Stewart)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup buttermilk (I used greek yogurt)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced (I used 1/2 lb)
2 tablespoons turbinado (or normal) sugar, for sprinkling on top of cake

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Gluten-Free Brownie Cups

These were made a couple of weeks ago for Nick's birthday. The recipe is from Gluten Free Goddess. My brownies sank, possibly because I used a flax egg for one of the eggs since I ran out! The next time I make this, I will follow the recipe more closely. They still turned out nice and fudgy. Yum!


6 ounces dark chocolate
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 white chocolate bar


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with 12 paper liners.

Melt the chocolate over low heat. Set aside to cool. In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, flours, salt, and baking soda together with a wire whisk. Beat the eggs, then add the vanilla and oil. Then add the melted chocolate in gradually. Add in the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Divide the batter into the cupcake pans. Then drop in some white chocolate pieces in the center for a surprise! Bake for 20 minutes, or so. Take them out of the oven when the middle is still a little runny, and set aside to cool. The brownies will continue to cook while they are cooling, so just remember this!

Brittany and I filled the little cupcakes with some salted caramel topping! I knew there was a reason for messing up the recipe and having the centers sink in.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Vegetable Gumbo

I helped a friend make this soup for dinner last week. It was so great, I decided to make another batch! The recipe is from Vegetarian Times. We just harvested some leeks from the farm, so I threw those in too. Did you know you can eat the green part of leeks? They are tender and delicous when they are young.


1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup gluten free flour mix (Bob's Red Mill is great)
1 medium onion chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 -28 oz. can fire roasted, diced tomatoes
4 carrots, sliced
3 leeks, sliced
3 jalapenos, diced
2 vegan Italian sausage, sliced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
cajun spices


Stir together oil and flour in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot until smooth. Cook over medium high heat 10 minutes, or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly. The roux will start to give off a nutty fragrance as it is cooking.
Add onion, carrots, bell pepper, and celery to the roux and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.

Make sure to keep stirring. Add the spices and cook for one more minute. Then add in all remaining ingredients and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and a cajun spice mix.

I served this over wild rice. It's also great with some shrimp too!

Raw Oats and Blueberries

Nick and I took a road trip this weekend for my little cousin, Aiden's baptism. It was wonderful and the baby slept during the whole ceremony. Anyways, since we left early Saturday morning I wanted to make sure we had a hearty breakfast for the car ride across the state. These overnight oats from My New Roots seemed perfect to make so we could just hop into the car and go.

Overnight Oats

1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 heaping tablespoon raw almond butter
1 cup blueberries
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 cup vanilla almond milk

Layer the ingredients in a mason jar. I started with the oats, then the cinnamon, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almond butter, blueberries, and then the honey.

Then pour enough almond milk just to the level of the top of the blueberry layer.

Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Thai Chicken & Coconut Soup

This soup is one (not at all traditional) version of tom kha gai, a very popular Thai soup, adapted so you don't need things like fresh galangal and kafir lime leaves. I pretty much always get tom kha gai when I go to Thai restaurants, so I've been working on different home versions for a while. 

It's such a light, tasty soup. And like most soups, it's flexible. This time I added in cubed tofu, green onions and baby bok choy to make it even more filling. You could also try brocoli, carrots, radishes, definitely mushrooms... Or just add in everything in the produce section of Lotus, the Asian store at the Strip where you can get the lemongrass and fish sauce.

I've made another shrimpy version where I did a shrimp broth with the shrimp shells, and it was really really good but I'm not sure where I got that recipe from. If I find it, I will make it again and post it!

  2. From Food & Wine
  3. 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3), cut into 2 1/2-by-1/4-inch strips
  4. 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nam pla or nuoc mam)
  5. 1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice
  6. 1 quart plus 3/4 cup canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
  7. 3 stalks lemongrass, bottom third only, peeled, smashed, and cut into 2-inch pieces, or three 3-inch-by-1/4-inch strips lemon zest
  8. 1 1-inch piece peeled fresh ginger, cut into thirds
  9. 1/2 cup long-grain rice
  10. 1 3/4 cups unsweetened coconut milk (15-ounce can)
  11. 2 fresh red chiles or jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, cut crosswise into thin slices (or Sriracha hot sauce to taste)
  12. 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nutella Banana Bread

The inspiration from this bread came from Laura! Her recipe looked so great that I wanted to make my own version without butter. After some searching, I came across a site called the Big Bake Theory. It's so cute! Her version is vegan but I opted for some eggs instead of coconut milk.

2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
4 very ripe, medium-sized bananas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanillla
1 cup homemade vegan nutella

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together dry ingredients with a wire whisk.
Mash bananas with a potato masher in a large mixing bowl. Then add the oil, eggs, and vanilla until combined.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients a little bit at a time until incorporated.
Mix 1 cup of the batter with the nutella in a separate bowl.
Spoon the batter into a greased bread pan, alternating with spoonfuls of the nutella batter. Swirl the batter with a butter knife to give a marbled effect.

Bake for one hour and 15 minutes until a toothpick can be removed cleanly from the center. Serve it with some extra nutella.

Vegan Nutella

This awesome recipe is from Chocolate Covered Katie, a healthy dessert blog. There are some delicious recipes on there! You all should definitely check it out.

2 cups raw hazelnuts
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 packet stevia
3 tablespoons raw cane sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tablespoon cacao butter, melted
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk

Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes at 400 degrees on a baking sheet. Check them constantly after 5 minutes to make sure they don't burn. You want them to be a light golden brown color. The skins will be a darker brown. Let cool a little, then rub them together in a paper towel to get the skins off. If some of the skins don't come off, just leave them on.
Then in a food processor, blend the nuts until they’ve turned to butter. It really doesn't take too much blending to get to this point. Then add all other ingredients and blend until smooth. I felt like the mixture was a little more runny than Nutella, so I would add less almond milk the next time I make this.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Pad Thai Take Two

If you all haven't heard the news yet, Brittany, Linda, Laura, Nick, Twilly, and I are all moving in to a big house in Highland Park together in May! Yay. The house is gorgeous and we get a backyard! I'm already planning the garden : )
Anyways, we're trying to use up all of our food in the apartment before moving. I found an old box of Pad Thai noodles and decided to make this dish for Nick's birthday. I like this recipe (from Alton Brown) better than the last one I made in December.

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings)
  • 1/3 cup tamarind concentrate
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 packet stevia
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping tablespoon peanut butter
  • 8 ounces Pad Thai noodles
  • Tempeh plus hoisin sauce to marinate
  • 1 bunch chopped scallions, divided
  • 3 large cloves minced garlic
  • 1 inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 small head green cabbage
  • 7 shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 large bunch bean sprouts
  • 1 lemon, halved

Slice the tempeh into 1/2 inch pieces and marinate with a mixture of hoisin and soy sauce overnight.

Stir the tamarind into the boiling water. Add the peanut butter and stir until incorporated. Add the fish sauce, stevia and rice wine vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

Place the rice noodles in a large mixing bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside.

Place a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add some coconut oil. Cook the tempeh until golden brown, moving constantly, for about 5 minutes. Add the cabbage and saute until very softened, about 3 minutes.

Add 2/3 of the scallions and then the garlic and ginger, cook for 10 to 15 seconds. Break the eggs directly on top of the cooking vegetables; once the eggs begin to set up, about 15 to 20 seconds, stir to scramble.

Add the remaining ingredients in the following order and toss after each addition: noodles, sauce, and 2/3 of the bean sprouts and shiitake mushrooms. Toss everything until the mushrooms are barely cooked, about 2-3 minutes.

To serve, drizzle some Sriracha sauce and some fresh lemon juice over the Pad Thai. Garnish with the extra scallions and fresh lettuce.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Potato Corn Chowder Soup

Insanely creamy and delicous. Enough said.

2 pounds mixed baby potatoes
1 medium yellow onion
6 stalk celery
4 carrots
1 small bag frozen corn
1 1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
2 vegan boullion cubes
1 tablespoon dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Soak the cashews in water overnight. This is becoming a trend for me I think. Put the corn into the refrigerator to defrost.
Dice the onion, celery, and carrots. Place into a crock pot. Chop the potatoes into small cubes and add into the vegetable mixture. Add the 2 boullion cubes, herbs, and enough water to just cover the vegetables. Cook all day while you're gone at work or overnight. The soup is ready when the potatoes are fork tender. Blend the cashews in about 1/2 cup of water until smooth and add to the soup. Then mix a tablespoon or so of water into the cornstarch to form a slurry and mix into the soup. Stir until the soup thickens. Then add the corn and nutritional yeast. Season with salt and plenty of black pepper.

I served this soup with crusty bread full of whole grains from Allegro Hearth Bakery and garnished with some shredded cheddar and gruyere cheese.

Raw Blueberry Cardamom Pie

After making the meyer lemon raw cheesecake, I've been obsessed with trying different flavor variations of these raw cakes. This is my latest adventure.  The recipe is from the blog, Sweetly Raw. Check out the site for some gorgeous pictures.

For the Crust:
1 cup pecans
7 pitted and halved Medjool dates
1 pinch salt

Blend ingredients in the food processor until dates are well chopped and the pecans are crumbly. Press mixture into a baking pan.

For the Filling:

3 cups blueberries (if frozen, defrost first)
1 1/2 cups cashews
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 lemons, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cacao butter

Soak the cashews in water overnight. Melt the cacao butter slowly in a double boiler over low heat, then set aside.
In a blender, blend the cashews with the maple syrup and lemon juice until smooth. Add the blueberries, cardamom, vanilla, and salt. Blend again until very smooth. Add the cacao butter and blend again.
Pour the mixture over the crust.
Chill in the freezer until firm for at least a couple hours. Let sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before cutting into bars and serving.

Blueberry Avocado Smoothie

Since warmer weather is finally here, I have been making lots of smoothies. Mostly after yoga class. Best combination ever!!! Yoga + smoothies = happiness. I made this one for Brittany and myself, but I ended up drinking both servings. Whoops. I added some raw, local honey to help with my allergies this time of year!

makes 2 servings
2 heaping cups frozen blueberries
2 ripe avocadoes
1 tablespoon raw honey
1 packet stevia powder
2 cups vanilla almond milk

1. Slice the avocadoes in half, and then scoop out the pits. Then use a spoon to scrape out all of the pale green flesh. Throw into the blender.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. You have to make sure to blend really well when using blueberries since they can end up kind of chunky.

3. Pour into pint glasses and enjoy!

Ham & Asparagus Quiche

A pretty classic and delicious spring quiche! It's good for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Post-walk under-table lounging. He would really like some ham.
Adapted from Simply Recipes

1 pie dough for 9" pan (I used this recipe for pate brisée)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, finely sliced
1 bunch asparagus, roughly chopped
1 cup ham (cut up deli slices or diced baked ham)
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 eggs
1 cup Swiss cheese, grated or cut up slices)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

This recipe is from Nigella Lawson's website. It is not quite vegan but still phenomenal. This was made for Derrick's birthday party. We had a great time celebrating at his house on a day that was finally not freezing! Yay, Pittsburgh Spring is here! I personally love the fruity taste of extra virgin olive oil, so I didn't mind the extra flavor in the cake. For less flavor, use normal olive oil.

1 cup good cocoa powder
½ cup hot coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ½ cups almond meal
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup raw cane sugar
3 large eggs
cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large pinch of salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Grease a 9 inch round baking pan. Line the bottom with wax or parchment paper if you plan to unmold the cake.
  2. Measure the cocoa powder into a bowl and whisk in the hot coffee until you have a smooth, chocolatey mixture.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the almond meal with the baking soda and pinch of salt.
  4. Put the sugar, olive oil and eggs into a large mixing bowl and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a thickened cream. I personally just mixed until my arm hurt and then called it a day. Then add in the vanilla.
  5. Add in the cocoa mixture until well mixed. Then add the almond mixture a little bit at a time until it is all incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the sides are set and the very center still looks slightly damp. A toothpick should end up mainly clean but with a few sticky chocolate crumbs clinging to it.
This cake is so great while still warm. It sinks a little in the middle so it makes a perfect little well for toppings. We drizzled some salted caramel spread on top of the cake because that's the kind of cake Derrick asked for! It was perfect and we ate it up pretty quickly!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Vegan Meatloaf

I'm in the mood for something hearty. When I came across this recipe from Oh She Glows, I knew it would be the perfect dinner for a chilly Spring day. I only ended up making a couple adjustments, including adding psyllium husks to bind the meatloaf together. The apple glaze has a great flavor. This is great served with lots of salad greens and some homemade polenta. I also doubled

  • 1 1/4 cup uncooked French green lentils
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 3 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp pysyllium husks + 1/4 cup water 
  • 1 head garlic, minced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced 
  • 3 carrots, diced 
  • 1 apple, unpeeled and diced
  • 2/3 cup whole oats 
  • 2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour (can use breadcrumbs) 
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme 
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • plenty of black pepper 

Balsamic Apple Glaze:
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup sweetened apple butter 
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1. Cook the lentils in 5 cups of water in a slow cooker on low overnight. The lentils will be done in the morning. Drain the excess water from them and set aside to cool down. Ideally, they will mash easily so that the loaf will hold together.

2. Grind the flax seeds in a food processor until almost powdery. Whisk ground flax with warm water in a small bowl until the mixture is thick like egg whites and set aside.

3. Heat some water in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the garlic and onion for about 5 minutes. Now add in the diced celery, shredded carrot, and apple. Sautee for about 5 minutes more. Remove from heat.

4. In a large mixing bowl, mash the lentils. Stir in the cooked vegetables. Then add in the flax mixture, psyllium husks, water, walnuts, seasonings, oats, and flour. Adjust seasonings to taste.

5. Grease a baking pan. Press mixture firmly into pan. Whisk glaze ingredients and then spread one fourth on top of loaf. Reserve the rest for a dipping sauce.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, uncovered. Edges will be lightly brown. I kept the loaf in the pan to serve since it was easier than unmolding it.

Raw Almond Butter Cups

This was one of the first recipes that I saw on my new favorite food blog, My New Roots. I made them as a gift for a friend that was hosting me in Erie this past weekend. They are filled with lots of vitamins and minerals so you can feel good about yourself for eating them! These are so delicious, you can't even taste that they are healthy.

1/2 cup melted coconut oil
3 Tbsp. melted cacao butter
1 cup raw cacao powder
1/3 cup raw honey
2 Tbsp. maca powder (can substitute with same amount of cacao powder)
¼ tsp. sea salt 

Nut Butter Filling
1/2 cup almond butter
1 Tbsp. raw honey
1 Tbsp. lucuma powder (add 1 Tbsp. of sweetener if not using)
sea salt to taste

1. In a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water on low heat, melt coconut oil and cacao butter together. Add honey to the mixture. Remove from heat and stir in cacao, maca and add sea salt until no lumps remain.

2. In silicon muffin cups, (These are so great. I borrowed mine from a friend.) spoon enough liquid chocolate to cover the bottom. Place in the fridge and cool until set for about 15 minutes.

3. Stir all the filling ingredients together with a spoon in a small bowl. Season it how you like with salt.

4. Spoon the nut dough into ½ tablespoon amounts, roll into balls, and flatten between your palms to just under the size of the chocolate in the cups. (Nick and I made a mess doing this, but it was a lot of fun.)

5. Add nut butter filling to each cup on top of the solid chocolate and drizzle the remaining liquid chocolate on top, making sure to cover the filling completely.Place in the fridge to harden for at least one hour or overnight.

6. Remove the chocolates from the molds. This is probably the most satisfying step! Keep them refrigerated.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Fritada de gallina

I've been thinking about Ecuadorian food lately, and so I'm very lucky to have found the blog Laylita's Recipes, which has pretty much every recipe I'd ever want to make and wish I'd gotten from my host moms. It's amazing. I've made a lot of things from it before, but it's been a while. I really like how she usually has an intro explaining the Ecuadorian context. She explained in the intro for this dish that while a traditional fritada is usually pork, this is a similar chicken version that would also work for rabbit and guinea pig (cuy). 

It would normally be made with chicha (a fermented corn drink), but that's hard to find around here so you can substitute wine or beer. (Interesting background of chicha: "The original method for making chicha was by chewing corn in one’s mouth, then spitting the chewed corn into a clay pot with spices, fruit juices, water and herbs, where it ferments for several days. The current day method uses ground corn flour (instead of chewed).") When I was making my final project in Ecuador I stayed in a small village for a couple weeks and while I was there some ladies made chicha and roasted cuy for a party - it's at at 5:30 in my video project! Warning: the cuy roasting is pretty graphic for anyone who's ever had a guinea pig for a pet! Beware! :)

This chicken is so tender and the marinade simmers down to a great thick sauce. I served it with llapingachos, a curtido of onions and tomatoes and a salad. And lemonade!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Strawberry & Spinach Grilled (Goat) Cheese

A beautiful spring-y grilled cheese! Normal grilled cheese is great with tomato soup on a nasty cold day (like every day for the past million years or so...) but this grilled cheese is for spring.

Adapted (a lot) from Cookie + Kate

Double or triple, etc., for more than 1 sandwich

2 slices bread 

1.5 oz goat cheese (on sale at GE!)
2-3 strawberries, sliced
1/4 white onion, sliced
5-6 leaves fresh spinach
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 tsp butter

Slather goat cheese over one side of each slice of bread. Either scrape the other side with butter or just coat your skillet or griddle with butter. (I use a cast iron skillet.) 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Cream of Spinach Soup

I had a craving for this soup the other day, and I finally got around to getting some spinach to make it. When I studied abroad in Ecuador, my favorite host mom in Quito made this soup (crema de espinacas) a few times. And you have to serve it with a bowl of popcorn in the middle of the table! Use the popcorn like croutons in tomato soup - it's not that weird when you think of it like that, is it?

Adapted from Simply Recipes

2 cups chopped fresh spinach, packed (or 1 10-oz package frozen spinach, thawed) 

3 medium potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 pound)
3 cups chicken or veg broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup sour cream


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