Vegan Pizza

One of our favorite Friday night meals (ok let’s be for real…really any night meal) is Pizza.   But because we are eating vegan now, eating pizza is a no go.  But this past week was a long week, and I decided to attempt a vegan pizza recipe.  There were a bunch of recipes.  Some used gluten free flours.  Others used cauliflower. Mother majority replace the eggs in the crust with either flax eggs or chia eggs.    Which is just a 1:3 ratio of flax seed or chia seed to water.  You let it sit and it turns into an eggy type consistency.  I decided to go with a more veggie based crust…the cauliflower crust.  Typical cauliflower crust calls for cheese and eggs as a binder.  It’s truly one of my favorite crusts.  So delish.  Since I love it so much, I hoped this vegan approach would turn out equally as well.
Here is the recipe that I went with, from Detoxinista.com —> Vegan Cauliflower Pizza Crust.  This crust takes a bit of time to make.  But easy nonetheless.  The pic below is of the crust after it came out of the oven.  Note the really dark spots.  I did not press my dough uniformly and so the spots that were too thin got really dark.  Oops!


Once the crust came out, it was clear that it wasn’t going to be as sturdy as my usual cauliflower crust.  So I opted not to load it with a bunch of veggies, that would really only make it more soggy.  It was clear, this pizza was going to be eaten with a fork.  I put pizza sauce and vegan cheese shreds by Go Veggie on the pizza to finish it off.  Then back in the oven to cook for just 10 more mins.  Voila….pizza is served!

All in all, I didn’t care for this pizza.  Between the fake cheese and the moist crust, I forced myself to eat my couple slices.  The crust tasted good but because of its sogginess, I won’t be using it again.  If a moist crust is ok with you, try it, but for me, this recipe doesn’t stick.

A tale of three vegan cookies

So for the past month, hubby and I are eating more vegan/vegetarian.  Last night he turned to me and asked if I could make something sweet for him…like a cookie.  Up until now, the only sweet treat we’ve had is some “nice cream”.  Which isn’t really ice cream.   You take frozen bananas and blend them up and it becomes the consistency of soft serve ice cream.  Tastes delish.  But hubby was wanting more…something chocolatey.  

Enter in my quest for a vegan chocolate chip cookie.  I immediately started searching Pinterest and YouTube.  Surprisingly, there are a large number of recipes out there.  I found recipes that followed more of a traditional approach, using all purpose flour and simply substituting the eggs and dairy.  I also found recipes that really pushed the boundaries and whose ingredients were surprising, going with a gluten free approach.  And then I found ones that were very simplistic and that sparked my interest as well.  So since I couldn’t decide on just one, I decided to make all 3!  And this the tale of 3 vegan cookies was born!

So for my first cookie, the more traditional cookie recipe, the one I tried was from Food52.com.  Here is a link to the recipe —> Vegan Salted Chocolate Chip Cookie.  It was suggested to let the dough rest for 12-24 hrs for maximum deliciousness.  I refrigerated mine for 15 hrs.  I thought that was a good compromise.  The dough looked very much like a traditional cookie dough.  And yes, I tasted it raw, and it tasted like your typical raw cookie dough recipe.  This recipe really mirrors a traditional cookie recipe, just no eggs or butter. Here’s a pic of the dough before baking.

I did make a minor change to the recipe, in that I used a mixture of dark chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips.  But that’s it.  Otherwise, I followed this recipe to a tee!  The recipe even calls for freezing your dough for 10 minutes before baking.  I did just that.  And the result?  This delicious cookie that was crunch on the outside and moist on the inside.   This cookie does not taste vegan at all!

The next recipe was from a site that I’ve gone to before for vegetarian recipes, Detoxinista.com.  This recipe I used as a base and then added a couple different ingredients to make it a bit different.  Here is a link to the recipe –> Gluten free chocolate chip cookie.  The recipe called for the surprise ingredient of chick peas.  Yes…Chick peas!  I know you are probably thinking what I did.  How in the world is that going to taste good?!?  Well all I have to say is….try it!  Since this recipe is also gluten free, it uses oat flour instead of regular all purpose white flour.  So the dough is a bit gritty and not as smooth as a traditional dough.  In my cookie, I followed the directions exactly.  But instead of just chocolate chips, I decided to make the batter a chocolate cookie dough with the addition of cocoa powder.  I then substituted the chocolate chips with peanut butter chips.   Here is a pic of the cookies before they went into the oven.  They look wet because I wetted my fingers to press down the dough before baking.  The dough doesn’t spread so I wanted to achieve the shape I wanted before baking.

 The result?  A soft cookie with a yummy taste!  This recipe sticks for sure!  Who would’ve thought I’d ever be baking with chick peas!?!  I am now!  Thanks to Detoxinista!  Here is the final product!


Delicious!

Now my final cookie was the most simplistic recipe that I found.  It comes from the site, Powerhungry.com.   It is a Two ingredient cookie.  Oats and Banana.  My first thought was….how can you make a cookie with just two ingredients?  Well I’m here to tell you that you can!   Here is a link to the recipe –> Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie.  Now on her site, she tells you that you can doctor them up anyway you’d like.  And she gives a number of options on what she likes to do with it.  I decided to stay true to the chocolate chip and left it just to that.  But I must admit that adding some coconut and cranberries definitely was on my list for next time.  I did add some vanilla and cinnamon for flavoring.  Here’s what they looked like going into the oven.  Sorry the one pic is blurry.

The final product? To my surprise, they were delicious and totally felt like an oatmeal cookie.  I’m still shocked that they turned out like a cookie.  For me, this one is the ultimate vegan cookie.  It’s simple.  No added sugar.  The least unprocessed out of all of them.  But It does lack that texture that you look for in a cookie.  But don’t get me wrong.  I loved it!  Perhaps using oat flour instead of plain oats would achieve that texture to make it more cakey.  I’ll play around with it.  Now the one that tastes more like a true chocolate chip cookie would be the one from Food52.  But I prefer to stay away from white flour.  So for me, I’ll be using either Detoxinista’s recipe or the Powerhungry recipe.  All in all, I’d say all 3 tales….stick and you can’t go wrong with any of them.  Enjoy!!

Mushrooms mushrooms oh how I love thee!

I do love mushrooms.  I’m pretty sure I’d be happy eating mushrooms for every meal of the day.  Being that we are eating vegan for the month, I set out looking for a yummy mushroom pasta dish.  I came across this recipe from the Wholefoods Market website and decided to give it a try.  Here’s a link to it —> Mushroom Stroganoff.  

Normally a stroganoff is made with sour cream.  This recipe gets that same creamy texture by utilizing a cashew cream.  Let me tell you….I love cashew cream!  I put it in my coffee to replace regular dairy creamer….it is divine!

Now because my husband hates anything with mustard, I opted to leave the mustard out.  So I really just made a yummy, creamy mushroom sauce.  It’s now a go-to for us.  Hubby literally kicked his plate after he had seconds.

The recipe calls for mushroom broth or vegetable broth.  I decided to make my own mushroom broth. I bought dried chanterelles, dried shiitakes and dried porcinis.  I put them in water and boiled them for about an hr.  Added some salt.  Voila!  The perfect mushroom broth.  I then added the reconstituted mushrooms to my sauce at the end.  Perfection!

I forgot to take a pic of the final product.  Too busy eating it!  Haha!  But trust me, it is in my top 10 of things I’ve ever made!  This is seriously a great vegan recipe and a must try if you love mushrooms!  This one sticks for sure!  This pic below is the pic from the WholeFoods website.  Mine actually looked deeper in color but I think that’s cause of my really yummy broth!  Try it!!  You will love it!!

  
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Vegan Blueberry Pancakes

So after a summer filled with yummy delicious and not so good for us treats….we are back to eating better.  First up, some yummy vegan pancakes.  I found this recipe.  It’s from the Minimalist Baker website.  Tons of delicious recipes there.  Check it out.  Here is a link to the pancake recipe that I used –> Whole Grain Vegan Pancakes

Here’s a  pic of how they turned out.  I put some blueberries in them and topped with a homemade blueberry syrup.  Sooooo delicious!

The pancakes were a bit dry but that could’ve been the chef and not the recipe.  ;-)  And certainly the syrup masked that so it wasn’t an issue.

 
This recipe is a definite thumbs up!

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Zucchini Tater Tots

Lately I’ve been obsessed with zucchini.   I recently purchased a spiralizer and it’s been fun using it with zucchini.  Although my latest recipe that I tried, did not require the use of the spiralizer.  I only needed my handy dandy box grater, some spices, an egg and cheese.  All of which I thankfully had in my fridge.   I love it when I don’t need to make a trip to the grocery store to make a recipe!

The recipe I found when I was looking for a recipe that utilized coconut flour instead of breadcrumbs.  I came across this recipe on Southernkissed.com.  Here is a link to the recipe –> Zucchini Tater Tots.

If you’d prefer a recipe that includes breadcrumbs, here is the original one that got me wanting to try out zucchini tater tots to begin with, Zucchini Tater Tots.  The site is one that I use frequently, Skinnytaste.com.  She has tons of great recipes on that site.

Here’s a pic of my tots before they went into the oven.


And here’s what they looked like out of the oven.  Soooo yummy!  I did change a couple things.  I added some garlic powder, I mean everything should have garlic in it in my opinion.  I also used Parmesan cheese instead of cheddar because that’s what I had on hand.  But I’m sure cheddar would have been even better!   For my next batch, I am planning on adding some cayenne or hot sauce.  I like my food with a little kick.

  
 So overall…this recipe rocks!  It’s sticking for sure!  Enjoy!

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Zucchini Au Gratin

Hubby and I are back to eating low carb.  So I was on the hunt for a low carb recipe for these organic zucchini’s that I bought at the grocery store.  Well after hunting on the Internet, I found this delicious sounding recipe on a site called mylife-blogged.com.  Here is a link to the recipe —> Zucchini and Squash Au Gratin.

  
Because I only had zucchini on hand, I made the recipe solely with zucchini.  But I’m sure adding squash or any other veggies would be super delicious too!  The recipe is extremely simple.  In fact, both my boys, ages 9 and 11, helped me.  I used my mandolin to cut the zucchini and then laid the zucchini evenly in my dish before putting the cheese and cream in.  But honestly what I think set this apart, was the sautéed onions.  The recipe calls for shallots which I am sure would give it the perfect added sweetness to the dish.  But since I only had onions on hand, that is what I used.  It really gives a great flavor to the dish.  Here is a pic of my finished product.

  
As you can see, I cooked it just a tad longer than I wanted.  I was running out the door to pick up my daughter from school, so I left it on the oven and turned the oven off.  Came home and it was darker than I’d like.  But man…it tasted Ahhh-mazing!!!!!  

This recipe is a winner for sure!  It’s gonna stick plenty in my house.  What a hit!  You have got to try it!

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Low Carb Crab Cakes

A few weeks ago, we decided to have a typical Maryland style crab feast.  Having grown up in Maryland, both my husband and I, just love, love, love crabs.  Well we had a ton of crab leftover, so my daughter asked me to make crab cakes.

Well days went by and then weeks and I never made the crab cakes.  The other day I came across the extra crab meat in the freezer, and we decided to throw it out since it was old.  It may have been ok, but we didn’t want to take any chances.

Needless to say, I was feeling guilty for not making the crab cakes.  But today, I lucked out!  I was grocery shopping at The Fresh Market and they had Lump Crab Meat on sale 20% off!  I took it as a sign from the Universe.  Time to make crab cakes!

I googled a low carb recipe and came across a crab cake one from the blog, IBreatheImHungry.  She has lots of great gluten free and low carb recipes.  Here is a link to it –> Low Carb Crab Cakes.
 

I’ve seen a number of recipes from this blog and they’ve always looked delish.   Not to mention, this recipe is very close to how I usually make my crab cakes.  But I’ve never tried making them low carb before.  So why not.  I figured I’d give it a go. 

The surprise ingredient is Coconut flour, which replaces the white flour and breadcrumbs as the binding agent.  I found that as a binder, it just doesn’t keep the crab cake together as well as white flour and breadcrumbs would.  But that didn’t matter to me at all.  The flavor of these cakes is super delicious!   I did not miss the typical breadcrumbs or flour at all.   In fact, I will probably opt to make this recipe over my typical crab cake recipe from now on!

Here’s how my cakes looked before cooking.

   
 
And here’s now they looked after cooking.  

  

You can really see how they didn’t hold together.  But they browned up beautiful in the coconut oil and the flavor is just spot on!  My daughter asked for seconds and didn’t want to stop eating it!

All in all…this recipe definitely sticks!  You have got to try it for sure!

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