Mexi-Flare Mini Pizza

pizza2Pizza is such a versatile food & definitely not something you need to give up when you go vegan! I really enjoy making different plant based pizzas, and it’s amazing how great they taste even without non-dairy cheese! This one is loaded with refried beans, tomatoes, zucchini, and fresh peas – much of which came from my local CSA share****link What’s not to love?

*Please note the nutrition facts may change based on the crust you use.

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Mexi-Flare Mini Pizza

Yield: 3 servings (1/3 pizza each)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made 9” vegan pizza crust
  • ½ cup refried beans
  • 1.5 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup fresh shelled peas

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven as directed on pizza crust package – if you are using raw dough, you may need to pre-bake the dough for a while before adding toppings.
  2. Spread refried beans thickly over entire crust
  3. Sprinkle zucchini, tomatoes, and peas over bean “sauce”
  4. Bake as directed on pizza crust package, or until crust begins to brown and veggies are soft.

I enjoyed mine with a few dashes of hot sauce on top; yum! Let me know what you think of the recipe in the comments below! Positive or negative, your feedback is always appreciated!

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Little Bit of Everything Raw Smoothie

Great raw smoothie that really does have a little bit of everything… I loved the flavor that resulted. This is a 2-serving batch, so if you’re blending for yourself, you can halve it. Or you can always freeze the rest, have it later in the day, or give it to someone you love ❤

Snip20151027_8 smoothie1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup kale
  • 2 bananas,
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes
  • 1 big dash of ginger
  • 1 big dash of cinnamon
  • 2/3 – 1 cup of water

Directions:

  1. Cut the green tops off your strawberries, de-stem your kale, & peel your bananas – compost the refuse!
  2. Throw all ingredients into a high-powered blender or food processer & blend until smooth. Add additional water until it reaches your desired consistency.

Magnificent Mango Salsa

mangosals1I’ve always had trouble with fruit. The textures in fruit just don’t sit right with me & I’m always concerned on the hit or miss with flavor. Will it be sweet? Will it be sour? Why did this berry taste WAY different from the last one I pulled out of the same container? Needless to say, the only fruits I’ve consumed in the last almost 20 years were always bananas, apples, and grapes. For me these were the most consistent fruits in both taste and, especially, texture. I would sometimes eat other fruits in smoothies or pies where I could obliterate their texture or drown them in sugar, but for the most part my fruit intake was very limited.

Thanks to a wonderful vegan friend from college, this summer I realized that there are others out there like me who avoid certain foods for a variety of reasons (see Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder). It’s usually associated with children & most people seem to grow out of it as they age, but I did not.

Rather than avoiding fruit like the plague for the rest of my life, this summer I finally decided that I need to step out of my comfort zone and play around with fruit more. In the last few months, I’ve fallen (hard) for mangoes. I found mango to be very sweet & somewhat slimy, but my immediate thought was: I need to make mango salsa!

So, without further adieu, here is my very simple mango salsa recipe! I used Tapatio for the hot sauce & pre-made lime juice, but use whatever you have on hand. Yields 4 servings with 75% of your daily vitamin C each. Obviously fresh, organic, and local ingredients are the absolute best.

Ingredients:Snip20151027_7

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, give it a few stirs to combine.
  2. Enjoy!

Softest Goey Pumpkin Cookies

Tomorrow marks 4 weeks vegan for me! Though I’ve been “vegan” on and off before, this is my longest stint to date & this time it feels permanent, which is AMAZING. Clearly, this is cause for celebration & what better way to celebrate than with two of my favorite things: pumpkins & cookies. I adopted this recipe from “Melt In Your Mouth Pumpkin Cookies” posted on Crissy Page’s blog Parent Pretty found here (http://parentpretty.com/pumpkin-cookies-recipe/).

cookies1The original recipe was not vegan, but easily veganized by a few swaps: vegan buttery sticks for dairy butter, banana for eggs (helps keep them even more moist), and soy milk for dairy milk. I also used real pumpkin – from an actual pumpkin squash ~ oh my! – instead of the canned crap. My pumpkin yielded what I guessed was close to 3/4 of the 15oz can they suggested, so I reduced the other ingredients by 1/4 as well. I also chose to use less frosting than the recipe yielded, because my cookies would have been drowning in frosting if I’d used the entire batch. Yikes! All in all my recipe yielded about 40 cookies at around 160 calories a piece with frosting. How’s that for a miracle?!

If you’re limited to a toaster oven – like me – try halving the batch… otherwise you’ll be doing many, many trays in and out of the oven. Another helpful tip: place your butter on your stovetop/toaster oven while it preheats (or while you bake your pumpkin) to help soften it!

As always, comment, share, and most importantly… enjoy!

Softest Goey Pumpkin CookiesSnip20151027_2

Yield: 40 cookies

Ingredients (Cookies):

  • 1.5 cups vegan butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 small to medium sugar pumpkin
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

Ingredients (Frosting): 

  • 1/4 cup vegan butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/8 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1.5 cups powdered sugar
  • ground cinnamon sprinkled on top (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Slice sugar pumpkin in half & remove strings & seeds with a spoon, being careful not to scrape out the flesh. The seeds can be washed & roasted with salt & pepper for a tasty snack – don’t waste them!
  3. Place the pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil. Roast at 350 degrees for approx. 40 minutes. The pumpkin flesh should come out very soft, you may need to check it periodically if you’re using a toaster oven or if your oven cooks faster. When the pumpkin is ready, pull it out & set the tray aside so the pumpkin can cool. Keep the oven on to bake your cookies.
  4. Mash the 1.5 cups of butter with a fork until smooth. Add granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg & beat until combined.
  5. Beat in banana & vanilla until combined. Then, using a spoon, scoop out pumpkin flesh from skins & combine with batter until smooth.
  6. One cup at a time, beat in flour until it’s reached a non-lumpy consistency.
  7. Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto uncreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake 10-12 minutes or until browning just slightly then remove & place on a cooling rack.
  9. For the frosting, place 1/4 cup of butter & brown sugar into a saucepan. Heat until melted & smooth.
  10. Pour butter/sugar mixture into a medium bowl & add milk & vanilla, mixing well. Add powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until well combined & smooth.
  11. When cookies are cooled, drizzle a dollop of frosting over each & top with a sprinkle of cinnamon, if desired.

Lemon Pepper Green Beans

NL_lempeppgreenOh, Pinterest, how I love thee so… Yet another Pinterest snag from: http://serendipityandspice.com/sautee-green-beans/#_a5y_p=1106900. I used frozen green beans for this one because I had an abundance, but the recipe would work fine with fresh ones, too. I also subbed in seasoning salt for Mrs. Dash. Again, easy & delicious; that’s how we do it around here! This recipe yields 6 servings.

Lemon Pepper Green Beans

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Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of frozen green beans (or fresh take about 10 minutes longer)
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. lemon pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp. seasoning salt

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a skillet
  2. Add green beans, sprinkle with spices.
  3. Cook for about 10 minutes or until green beans get to desired softness.

5-Star Sautéed Carrots

IMG_0888To quote my best friend, “This is probably the best dish you make.” I’m taking that as a compliment that these are super good, rather than saying my other dishes are sub-par. In all seriousness though, these are probably the most delicious & easy way to prepare carrots that I’ve found. I make them at least weekly & my best friend requests that I make them every time we have dinner together. Not to mention I brought them to Easter & they were all gobbled up there too!

The seasoning that I usually use for them is Kirkland’s Signature “Rustic Tuscan Seasoning.” It’s a blend of roasted garlic, bell peppers, rosemary, basil, oregano, sea salt, black pepper, green onion & lemon. You could probably get similar results from adding those ingredients in one by one, but the pre-made spice mix is just so much simpler. Plus they sell it in large quantities, so it’ll last you forever! I have a 13.5 oz container that I’ve had almost 3 years & it’s finally on the last fourth. It’s a good spice to use on any vegetable, but I especially like it in mashed potatoes & on these carrots.

Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Kirkland-Signature-Seasoning-13-5-oz-plastic/dp/B00649KLRS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428507500&sr=8-1&keywords=rustic+tuscan+seasoning

If you aren’t able to get ahold of that seasoning, try using some of the spices you have on hand! I’ve used random combinations of seasoning salt, lemon pepper, dried oregano, rosemary, & garlic salt in the past & they’ve all turned out great as well. This recipe yields about four 1/2 cup servings.

5-Star Sautéed CarrotsNL_5star

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 1 Tbsp. Kirkland Signature Tuscan Seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. vegan butter (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of water as needed

Directions:

  1. Heat a skillet to medium heat, melting butter in pan if using it
  2. Add chopped carrots, 1/4 cup of water & seasoning
  3. Cook carrots about 10 minutes or until they’ve reached desired tenderness, stirring occasionally & adding remaining water as needed to prevent sticking

Easy Vegan Pasta Salad

Sorry for the poor quality photo; we ate most of the salad before I remembered to snap a picture!
Sorry for the poor quality photo; we ate most of the salad before I remembered to snap a picture!

This recipe is so simple & delicious; definitely a must-have for BBQs & potlucks this summer! Another great find out of my Ten Talents cookbook (my #1 recommendation for plant-based recipes). The original recipe is called “Bow Tie Garden Pasta Salad,” but why limit yourself to one type of pasta? This recipe is verstile & I chose to use a tricolor rotini wheat-pasta, but use whatever pasta you have on hand! I do think that smaller pastas would probably work better than long ones – i.e. use rings, macaroni, bowties, penne over spaghetti, vermicelli, lasagna, etc. Also feel free to play around with the type of salad dressing & veggies you use.

I also added 1 cup of canned beans to the recipe to get some added protein in there for us plant-based eaters! Feel free to use any type that you like, I used organic salad beans which have a mixture of kidney, garbanzo &  pinto.

Easy Vegan Pasta SaladNL_easypastasalad

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. favorite pasta, uncooked
  • 1 cup of favorite canned beans
  • 1 cup bell peppers, chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 cup black olives, sliced or chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 cup onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. Italian parsley, minced
  • Vegan Italian salad dressing to taste (I used Kraft Zesty Italian Dressing)

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions & drain
  2. Rinse with cold water & drain again
  3. In a large bowl combine pasta with remaining ingredients & toss gently to coat
  4. Cover & chill at least 2 hours

Yes, it’s really that simple!