Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sweet Potato Peanut Curry

I was almost off of our sweet potato kick, until I smelled the most amazing sweet potato dish earlier. Today I had the pleasure of attending the public announcement of the Healthy Food Initiative at the Capital Area Food Bank. As a part of a cooking demonstration to highlight quick, healthy and inexpensive dishes chef Kate Sherwood prepared this amazing dish that unfortunately had chicken. But it smelled so good that I had to run home and adapt it to make it mine.

1 Sweet Potato
1 Onion
3/4c unsalted peanut butter
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp chili powder
1 can of no salt diced tomatoes
1c red lentils
1c green beans (I used frozen)
water (as needed)

Browned onions

Sauteed onions, peanut butter and spices.

Simmering with tomatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils.

  • Brown onions.
  • Add spices.
  • Add peanut butter and some water.
  • Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes and lentils.
  • Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and stir in string beans.
  • Salt to taste.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Taco Pizza

I worked my first Tiny Chefs birthday party on Saturday and although it was work I had so much fun! The girls had a great time too and although quite a few claimed that they "hated beans" they devoured all their taco pizzas. The recipe looked so good that as soon as I left I headed for the grocery store to make my own versions of the pizza. Saturday night quick comfort food this recipe is quick, easy and delicious.

The pizza we made at the party had ground meat on it, so I omitted that and made both vegan and vegetarian pizzas that were pretty well received, as in no leftovers! I will definitely be making this again (maybe this week even).

Refried beans spread on dough.

1 can of vegetarian refried beans
1 premixed pizza dough (got ours from Harris Teeter)
Mozzarella Daiya (vegan) or "Mexican" shredded cheese mix

Optional Toppings
Vegan Sour Cream

Vegan pizza ready to bake.

Vegetarian pizza done.

Vegan pizza done.


  • Roll out pizza dough
  • Spread refried beans over dough (leaving about 1 in from the edge)
  • Add Daiya/cheese
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust is browned.
  • Let cool and then add toppings.

MJ's slice topped with salsa!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet Potato Biscuits

I had one large sweet potato left from my last big farmer's market trip and after using half for more overnight oatmeal I had to decide between making sweet potato biscuits or pancakes. Somehow I was just so intrigued with the idea of sweet potato biscuits that I knew I had to look for a recipe. I altered the original recipe slightly and came up with some pretty tasty biscuits that can be paired with sweet or savory, but we ate them by themselves. These were a household favorite and I would definitely double the recipe next time. 12 biscuits wasn't enough!

Adapted from My Vegan Cookbook

Rolled Out Dough
 Ingredients (Makes 12 biscuits)
1/2c baked sweet potato
3/4c almond milk
1 1/4c whole wheat flour
3/4c spelt flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp canola oil

Our friend helping us cut out the biscuits.

One sheet going in to bake.


  • Bake sweet potato and mash.
  • Mix together almond milk and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit to curdle.
  • Mix together dry ingredients.
  • Puree/blend sweet potato and almond milk mixture.
  • Add sweet potato blend to dry ingredients.
  • Add oil to dough and hands, then kneed.
  • Spread dough out on floured surface to about 1/2 inch thickness.
  • Cut dough into circles with a cookie cutter (or a cup like we did)
  • Bake in oven on 350 for 12-15 minutes or until browned on top.

Ready to Eat!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Autumn Overnight Sweet Potato Oats

Yes, another sweet potato recipe! I have been hearing about overnight oats for a while now and I decided to taste it out. I am a convert it was really convenient for on-the-go mornings and delicious too. Even if your love of sweet potatoes doesn't run deep like mine overnight oats is a great meal.

1/2 baked sweet potato
1c oats
1 banana
3/4c almond milk

  • Bake sweet potato
  • Puree sweet potato and banana
  • Pour into container.
  • Add oats, milk and spices.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Mix it up, heat up (optional) and serve.


  • Top with nut butter, granola, fresh fruit, etc.
  • Add yogurt instead of almond milk or in addition to.
  • Use pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin instead of sweet potato if you are partial to pumpkin.


35 seconds in the microwave and breakfast is ready! 1 jar made enough for 3-4 MJ sized bowls or 2-3 grown up bowls.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Happy Fall! Officially and I am in a whirl of sweet potato obsession. I made sweet potato tahini burgers again yesterday with this huge sweet potato I got from the market. (Sidenote: I went at the end of the market day and the man was literally throwing so much produce at me that he didn't want to have to bring back. Great market tip. I have collards galore, sweet potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes and peppers.) Anyway, I baked an extra sweet potato with the intention of making sweet potato smoothies. I had the idea in my head and saw people making pumpkin pie smoothies. I'm not really a pumpkin pie fan, but sweet potato pie is right up my alley.

1 1/2c baked sweet potato
1/2c dry oats
1/2 banana
1/2c almond milk
1/4 dates
splash of orange juice
splash of vanilla extract
all spice
4 ice cubes


  • Blend oats and dates together first.
  • Add the remaining ingredients until smooth.
  • Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sweet Potato French Toast

My sister was telling me about some fantastic french toast she made using tofu instead of an egg wash. With dinner overdue I decided to use some of the tofu I had stored away and try it out. Unfortunately I had frozen all the tofu! I had already gotten in the mood for breakfast for dinner and with no time to thaw out the tofu I had to get creative. I had one sweet potato that I knew I wanted to use and so I went for it and this recipe was born!

Sweet Potato Puree Mix

Ingredients (Makes 6 slices of French Toast)
1c vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp milled flaxseed
1/2 c baked sweet potato
1 tbsp orange zest
dash of cinnamon, nutmeg & vanilla extract

Earth Balance or oil (I found that Earth Balance cooked the bread better)
Stale whole wheat bread (or whatever you have on hand)

It looks so messy, but oh so delicious!


  • Bake sweet potato for 30 min at 350
  • Combine all ingredients in blender
  • Pour into a bowl
  • Dip bread into sweet potato mix
  • Add Earth's Balance or oil into heating pan.
  • Cook on both sides until browned.
  • Serve with whatever toppings you love! (We ate ours both plain & with maple syrup, but fruit would be great too!)

First batch got eaten before photos, so this is the second batch.

And third batch.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Children, Body Politics & Exercise

Reflecting on some conversations I've read about Michelle Obama criticizing her "Let's Move" campaign as not focusing enough on body acceptance I think that perhaps people are generally overcritical when it comes to children, exercise and weight. While there are campaigns that are intentionally body shaming, “Let’s Move” is not one of them. 
There is nothing wrong with promoting exercise to children in a way that is fun and entertaining by infusing Beyonce songs and spotlights on exercise into favorite children’s tv shows. When people talk about the fact that there also needs to be a component of body acceptance, I agree, but I think MOST important is offering exercise as a choice to every able child.
As someone who has worked extensively with children and seen the various ways that children are continually shamed and mistreated by parents, students AND teachers I know that the need is real for some sort of comprehensive health programming (but then again when basic needs for education aren’t being met let’s be realistic about the chances of that happening).
Exercise for children is about much more than simply their weights or BMI, it is about promoting a lifestyle which many children do not actively see, it is about engaging them in an activity when many low-income and urban schools have cut all gym programs. Have you ever seen how a child behaves when they have gone through a full day of school without any exercise? I’ll give you a hint: everyone suffers. Exercise is a fundamental part of childhood that is increasingly being replaced with screen time. 
Anyone who has started (or maintains) an exercise regimen can attest to the fact that it is more than just about their body. Exercising releases endorphins and regardless of your weight/size can make you feel more positively about yourself. This is especially true of children. Exercising is mental as well as physical. 
I completely understand the fact that people are unhappy with the execution of “Let’s Move,” but there is nothing wrong with the message that exercise is an important life tool that is necessary for children.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Sweet Potato Tahnini Burgers

I seriously have been cooking up a storm lately. It might be to keep myself busy (although MJ is pretty good at doing that) or it might be because we have a house guest, which means finally another adult who is a willing taste-tester to my kitchen creativity. I only trust MJ's opinion as far as I can trust a 1 year old (although we usually agree on what recipes have failed and succeeded). Anywhoo, I am cooking at a rate that my fridge is constantly packed with leftovers and I cook more than I can blog about, but this is a recipe we all loved and didn't make it past a day in the fridge. I had sweet potatoes on deck and adapted a great recipe! Now that I think about it as soon as I finish this blog post I am going to run to the kitchen and make some more. Mmm...blogging has me working up an appetite.

1 large sweet potato
2 cans pinto beans
2 tbsp tahini (can substitute peanut butter)
2 tsp agave
1 tsp lemon pepper
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
dash of cayenne
1/4 cup wheat flour

panko crumbs (I used almost the whole box, so you need a lot!)
coconut oil

A little help mashing from our friend Morgan


  • Bake sweet potato on a cookie pan for 35 minutes at 450 or until soft.
  • Peel & mash in a bowl.
  • Mash drained beans into sweet potato.
  • Add seasonings and flour and mash together.
  • Mixture should be soft, but able to form patties. If necessary add extra flour.
  • Coat patties in breadcrumbs.
  • Add oil to the pan and cook patties until browned on both sides.
  • Let cool.
  • Then devour.

Pan frying (L: done on one side, R: uncooked)

MJ's burger topped with a little mashed avocado

Grown-up burger: On a whole wheat sandwich thin with Romaine, sliced Avocado, Honey Dijon & Sriracha.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Almond Milk & Almond Pulp Crackers

After a semi-intense re-organizing of the cabinets I realized I had a large amount of almonds that I could do something with. I have been curious about making my own nut milk so that seemed like a pretty good project. Although I do not have a Vitamix or one of those high end blenders I figured mine could do an adequate job for a first timer.

Ingredients makes 2 mason jars of almond milk
1c almonds (soaked overnight)
3c water
optional: spices-cinnamon sticks, cloves, vanilla beans, etc.


  • Soak almonds overnight to soften. Discard soaking water and rinse almonds.
  • Blend almonds and water for a few minutes or until well blended.
  • Place filter (I used a coffee filter, but cheesecloth or nut milk bags work better) over container and slowly pour mixture into it.
  • Strain the milk until only the pulp is left.
  • Squeeze filter to get all the milk out.
  • Add optional spices and refrigerate
Finished almond milk with a cinnamon stick.

I absolutely hate to waste anything, but especially food. As soon as I decided to make almond milk I knew I also needed to find a recipe to use up the pulp. One of the most common ideas I saw floating around was almond pulp crackers. Although I don't have a dehydrator I decided to go for it.

1c packed almond pulp
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tbsp. oregano
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. ground flaxseed

  • Combine all ingredients
  • Spread evenly on baking sheet or foil.
  • Cut into squares
  • Bake on 150 for 20 hours!
And devour!!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Raw Lavender & Lemon Cheesecake delicious.

I had to start with a picture because from the description I'm sure you are a little taken aback. Don't worry I was too. Raw? Vegan? Cheesecake???? How is this possible. Well it is trust me. And it is amazing!

While I was with my sister in Portland earlier this summer in line for sorbet at Salt & Straw I discovered a few things I had never known before:
1) MJ loves lemon basil sorbet (whaaaat?)
2) Lavender is edible.

I'll be honest, these two discoveries were made on two different visits. Don't judge me! Now both of these discoveries were pretty surprising to me, but I took the discovery that lavender flavors as well as it smells to heart. I came home and have been on the hunt for a recipe to use lavender in that would be nearly as good as the sorbet MJ let me have half a bite of. Well, not only did I find the perfect recipe on Raw Food Love, but I also think that any vegans missing the creamy, deliciousness of cheesecake will find that this is a perfect substitute and non-vegans can indulge too knowing that the delicious fattiness comes from nuts rather than processed junk. This recipe was a little bit time consuming (including the wait time), but very simple and well worth the waiting.

1/2c dates
1 1/2c nuts (I used almonds)

3c cashwers
3/4c lemon juice
2/3c agave
3/4c melted coconut oil
1 tsp salt
3 tsp dried lavender
1 tsp vanilla extract

The crust
  • First things first, soak both the nuts in water (separately) for as long as you have. My blender is pretty janky so I soaked both the almonds and cashews overnight in the fridge to get them as soft as possible, but 3-4 hours is okay too.
  • On to the crust! Combine soaked almonds (or your nut of choice) with dates in a food processor until you get a crumbly but sticky mixture. Pat down onto bottom of pan like so (see above, I used tin foil because that's all I had on hand but wax paper would probably be easier) and pop into the freezer while you work on the filling.
  • For the filling simply combine all the ingredients and stick in blender until it reaches a smooth consistency. Taste it! Mmm delicious right? (It tasted a bit sweeter before I set it though so don't be too concerned if it tastes TOO sweet.)
  • Pour filling into pan over the crust and freeze or refrigerate until it reaches the desired hardness.
  • That's it! So simple. So good, so bad, but the good kind of bad!
The filling ready to be frozen

So rich & fulfilling.

Spicy Chorizo Sausages

I have been getting so many great recipes from the book Vegan Brunch that I may just have to purchase it to add to my small cookbook collection. However, despite the many great recipes this is definitely one of our favorites. I was initially skeptical because my initial forays into "fake meat" making had been disastrous (Tempeh Crabcakes were a huuuuge disappointment and had to be thrown out. This is coming from someone who HATES to throw away food. If I can reuse it or improve it I will do it.) But I am very comfortable with beans and the recipe looked so easy and didn't have any one-time use ingredients so I decided to give it a try. Wow, did it pay off. These were excellent and so versatile. We ate them with brunch AND dinner. As my friend Mike discovered they taste amazing dipped into Sriracha (his condiment of choice). In the interest of full disclosure, I have never had any pork products before I do not know how they compare to "real" Chorizo sausages.

(Makes 4 large sausages)

1/4 cup cooked pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons lemon zest
2 garlic cloves (minced)
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon dry rubbed sage (not powdered)
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenn
Getting ready to be steamed
After steaming

  • Combine all ingredients until well mixed
  • Form into 4 sausages (they don't have to be perfect)
  • Wrap in foil like a tootsie roll (see photo)
  • Steam for 40 minutes
  • Let cool and grill or saute for a little bit before serving

Sauteed in olive oil

Completed sausage slices

Brunch! Paired with Cheesy Grits, Smoky Mushrooms & Caramelized Onions

Dinner! Paired with Sauteed Vegetables, Potatoes and Sriracha to dip.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Tofu Frittata

Another tofu creation! I was at the library last week and stumbled upon the cookbook, "Vegan Brunch" by the woman who co-authored one of my favorite cookbooks Veganomicon. Of course I had to check it out to see what quick, delicious recipes it contained! I have flagged a few, but the first one to catch my eye was the recipe for 'Tofu Frittatas,' because I had all the ingredients already! It was very quick and simple to make and most importantly MJ has been gobbling these up all week. I'd call them a success :)

 8 oz pkg tofu (drained & pressed)  
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4c vegan mozzarella (I used daiya shreds)
1c spinach
1/2 onion
1 red pepper
2 tbsp rice milk

  • Press tofu for 30-60min
  • Heat oven to 350
  • Chop spinach, onions and pepper
  • Combine all other ingredients in blender or food processor until smooth
  • Mix spinach, onions and peppers into the tofu mix
  • Scoop into greased mini muffin pans
  • Cook for 20-30 minutes (until tops are browned and frittata is firm)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Coconut Tofu with Vegetables and Quinoa

I froze so much food before leaving and now I come back to a full freezer! I am literally throwing meals together! Here is one that was a delicious hit (not going to post my miserable fail from yesterday).

I have 5 frozen containers of tofu in my freezer, after I giving 2 away I'm left to come up with 3 dishes. I'm still a tofu-newbie, but WIC gives us 8 packages a month so I am upping my skills (Yes! WIC gives tofu AND soymilk if you get a Dr's note).

Anywho, I had defrosted a package of tofu and was pressing it in between my cutting boards with some cans on top. One of those cans happened to be coconut milk...

Tofu and vegetables simmering in coconut milk
8 oz package of extra-firm tofu
1c canned coconut milk
1 1/2c (+) mixed vegetables
2 tbsp tahini
Olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce
1c quinoa (pre-cooked)
Dash of chili powder (add more to increase spiciness)

  • Press tofu between paper towels & two plates to get excess water out for 30 minutes.Then cube (lucky me mine came pre-cubed!)
  • Add tahini & olive oil into skillet (or wok if you've got it like that)
  • Sauté vegetables 2-4 minutes (or until thawed out if using frozen vegetables).
  • Add cubed/pressed tofu to pan tossing in oil.
  • Add coconut milk, soy sauce and chili powder. Simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Using a slotted spoon remove tofu and vegetables.
  • Stir quinoa into leftover coconut milk and remove from heat.

Ready to eat.

-If you want to cook more quinoa simply increase the amount of coconut milk you add.

-I cook the quinoa and tofu/vegetables separately because I've found that they keep longer that way and I can always use the quinoa in another dish.

-When reheating I added a little leftover coconut milk and reheated it in the skillet rather than microwaving.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Avocado Vinaigrette

I fell in love with a restaurant called the Laughing Planet while in Portland. While they aren't a vegan restaurant i believe every meal can be made vegetarian or vegan. Anyway they are awesome! I recreated this salad I got there myself and attempted an avocado vinaigrette to pair with it. I loved the way it turned out so I used it for a spread on MJ's bread or mixed with vegetables.

2 ripe avocados
1/3c white rice vinegar
1/2c olive oil
1 juice from a lime
5-10 sprigs of cilantro (chopped)
Salt & Pepper

Combine all ingredients (except S&P) in food processor or blender until smooth. Add salt & pepper to taste.

So green and delicious!

I used this on salads for myself, but spread it on bread for MJ or as mixed with some vegetables.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Banana Bread Smoothie

Sorry for the long absence! We've been on the road so much this summer it has been hard to cook like I do at home. This has been difficult, but has helped me to share some of the quick on-the-go recipes MJ & I have come to love. Here is a protein packed smoothie that has helped keep us cool & full on these sweltering afternoons or starts us off with a power packed breakfast.

3/4-1c unsweetened almond milk (more for a thinner consistency, less for thicker)
4 pitted dates
1 1/2 c ice
2 bananas
sprinkle of cinnamon & nutmeg

Makes 2 servings

Blend everything together & that's it. Freezes well & tastes great.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Carrot Juice Waffles, West African Jollof Rice & Mini Broccoli Quiches

Breakfast: Carrot Juice Waffles
adapted from Fork & Beans

(Recipe makes 4 waffles in waffle maker)

1c carrot juice (store bought works, but not as good)
1c carrot pulp (or grated carrots if you don't have a juicer)
1c rice milk
1/4 c coconut oil
1 1/4 c Bob's pancake mix
1 1/4 c white rice flour
1/2 tbsp nutmeg
1/2 tbsp cinnamon

I made these almost a month ago & never blogged about it, but I remade them because we loved the recipe so much. They also make a great snack & I froze a couple too :) These sugar free waffles are naturally sweet & even got MJ's omnivore cousin's seal of approval [without ANY syrup!] MJ's been sick the past week or so and this was such a low-key easy food for him to feed himself at his own pace.

  • Combine wet ingredients [juice, pulp, oil, milk]
  • Pour flours & spices on top and fold [do not mix] the flour into the carrot mix
  • Mixture should be smooth & stores nicely for later usage.


With a delicious natural orange color!

Lunch: West African Jollof Rice

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 cans kidney beans
2-4 c vegetable broth
1/2 green pepper
1 c frozen peas
1/2 onion
1 c brown rice
2 cloves minced garlic
1/4 inch peeled & grated ginger
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp thyme
pinch of crushed red pepper
pinch of salt
olive oil

It feels like 10 different people were talking about Jollof rice last week & you know what? I had never even heard of it! So, I decided to try my hand at a vegan version. Not sure if it is true to the taste of traditional West African Jollof Rice since I've never had it, but I did like the combination of cinnamon & ginger in the mix. MJ was a little iffy about it, some days he devoured it and some days he refused to even take a bite. Not sure if that has to do with him being sick or not generally liking the meal. Anyway, I invite any of my West African friends (or Jollof Rice connoisseurs) to come try my rice and see if it is anyway authentic to true West African Jollof Rice :)

  • Saute onions & herbs in olive oil until onions are soft.
  • Add chopped green peppers & diced tomatoes cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Stir in rice, tomato paste and vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  • Simmer for 45 minutes or until rice is fully cooked (adding vegetable broth as needed to keep rice from sticking 1c at a time)

Dinner: Mini Broccoli Quiches 
(makes 24 mini muffin quiches)
adapted from Including Cake

½ tsp garlic powder
½ cup chickpea flour (make your own by sticking dry chickpeas into the food processor)
1 tbs potato starch
3 tsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp mustard
pinch paprika
Large pinch baking powder
1 tbs olive oil
1 cup water
1 grated head of broccoli florets
 I'm going to have to add this to my regular recipe list. Easily takes less than 10 minutes to make this recipe and they were delicious. I actually didn't completely follow the recipe correctly and combined my vegetables in, aesthetically they probably aren't as nice, but the taste was still awesome. I listed the recipe as I made it, but included the original suggestions as well.

  • Combine all ingredients (mixture will be thin)
  • Dish into mini cupcake tin
  • Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees
  • For a more quiche-like appearance combine ingredients (minus vegetables), spoon into mini muffin pans filling halfway, THEN add vegetables on top. This gives more of a crust look.
In the mini muffin pan

Delicious cheesy broccoli bites