Chocolate Peanut Butter Drop Cookies

pb choc cookieOMG.  Don’t know what else to say!  These are so delicious they literally melt in your mouth (and your hands)!  They are vegan, gluten-free, and have no added butter or oil.  I wish I could bake them and eat them every single day.

  • 1/2 c sugar
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/4 c agave nectar
  • 1/2 c cocoa powder
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 T ground flax seed mixed with 3 T water (let sit for 5 minutes)
  • 3/4 c vegan chocolate chips

Combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.

Stir in chips.

DSC_0126Dough will be very thick and gooey.  Don’t worry if it is not all fully incorporated.  I actually like it when you can see streaks of yummy peanut butter in the cookies!

Form into a ball and wrap in wax paper to freeze for 15 minutes.DSC_0129

Form into 1” balls and place on baking sheets covered with parchment paper and very lightly oiled.

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Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

Makes 18 cookies.DSC_0140

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Creamy Carrot Soup

DSC_0130While I love ice cream (non-dairy of course) in the winter, for some reason I don’t really love hot soup in the summer.  Summertime for me is gazpacho and other cold soups with fresh from the garden fruits and veggies.  So, I have been making lots of my favorite soups lately since the cold weather will soon be gone.  This carrot soup is so healthy, so easy to make and has so much flavor, but my favorite thing about it is the texture.  It is not a broth and not really thick, but somewhere perfectly in the middle.  You have to try it to understand.  It is really that good.  And because it is so delicious it is a great way to get kids to eat their vegetables.  My kids were eating this and loving it at a very young age, and are still enjoying it now.   And best of all, the health benefits of carrots are remarkable!  Carrots are rich in anti-oxidants.  They are loaded with beta-carotene which easily changes in our bodies to Vitamin A, essential for healthy cell growth.  Carrots have been shown to lower cancer and heart attack risk, to nourish the skin, and even to improve night vision in some people.  So here’s to Bugs Bunny – and here’s to your health!

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs baby carrots
  • 4 c vegetable stock
  • 1 1/4 c water
  • 3 T uncooked long grain white rice
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/4 t pepper
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 t agave nectar

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the agave, stir, and increase the heat to high. 

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Once boiling, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer 30 minutes.  Discard the bay leaf.  Let cool a bit and puree in a blender or use an immersion blender.  Stir in the agave and add more salt and pepper if desired.

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Scalloped Tofu Scampi

scal tofuThere are so many foods from my pre-vegan days that I remember loving, but I would not want to eat them today.  I think I am actually more fond of  the memories that are attached to the particular foods, rather than to the foods themselves.  That’s why this dish is perfect for me – it evokes the memories I have of scallops, namely family dinners out at favorite seafood restaurants, yet I don’t have to contend with that chewy texture, which never really appealed to me at all.  The taste was what I liked and I think I captured that here, although the seafood taste is very mild and if you are looking for something that has the texture of real scallops, this is probably not the recipe for you.  If, however, you enjoy having fun with food, and creating interesting and visually pleasing dishes, then this may be the best dish you ever make.  There certainly were a number of fans eating it for dinner in my home!

  • 2 14 oz. packages extra firm tofu – pressed
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bulb garlic, pressed
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1 t kelp granules
  • 1 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 2 t salt, divided
  • 2 T vegan butter
  • 1/4 c white wine
  • 3/4 c vegetable stock
  • 2 T italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 16 oz. linguine – cooked as per package
  • juice of 2 lemons

Cut tofu in half widthwise.  DSC_0035

Cut circles into the tofu.  I use a cap from a spice jar and I am able to get 6 circles from each piece of tofu, so 24 in all.  Don’t throw away the in between pieces!  Just like munchkins are just as delicious as donuts, the odd shaped pieces taste great too.  I just cook them in the same pan once I remove the “scallops.”  And if you are short on time, forget the circles completely and just cube all the tofu.

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Sprinkle tofu with almost all of the paprika, kelp, 1 t salt, onion powder and garlic powder.  Save a bit for the other side.

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Heat olive oil in a large pan and place the tofu seasoned side down.  Sprinkle the remaining spices on the top.  Cook over medium high heat for 3-5 minutes per side until golden.  Remove tofu.

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Melt the earth balance in the same pan.  Add onion.  Cook until translucent.  Add garlic and cook 2 minutes more.  Add the wine, and turn up to high heat to burn out the alcohol for about 3 minutes.  Return heat to medium high and add stock, remaining t salt (unless you are using a high sodium broth) and the juice of 2 lemons.  After a few minutes, add the breadcrumbs and stir well.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley.  Pour over cooked linguine and top with “scallops.”

scallops

Serves 6-8

Mango Ginger Swirls

Mango Ginger Swirl with Coconut Ice Cream

Mango Ginger Swirl
with Coconut Ice Cream

Yes vegans are healthier!  Yes we eat plant-based foods that are nutritious and we love quinoa, kale, beans and tofu!  However, there are still those times when I crave a dessert that is really decadent.  Something really incredible.  This is not to say that raw desserts and really healthy vegan desserts are not wonderful – they are (I absolutely adore raw brownies made with only dates, cocoa powder and walnuts!)  But sometimes I like to make something like this crazy good swirl and I promise, there are no animals harmed in the making of it!   It seems like a long recipe, but it is actually pretty quick to put together and the best thing is you can pop it in the oven while you are eating your dinner and voila, warm dessert is awaiting when you’re ready to indulge!

Mango Ginger Swirls

  • 2 large, ripe mangoes
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c agave nectar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 3/4 c water
  • 1/4 c vegan butter
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 2 c + 2 T flour
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 3/4 c vegan shortening
  • 2/3 c soy milk
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 t ground cloves
  • 3/4 t ginger powder
  • 1 t sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Peel and dice the mangoes.  In a small bowl, combine the mango with ground cloves and ginger powder and set aside.

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In a medium saucepan, combine the cup of sugar, brown sugar, agave, water, vegan butter, and cinnamon.  Bring to a boil and keep boiling for five minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

boiling the caramel sauce

boiling the caramel sauce

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt.  Use fingers to blend in shortening until mixture is crumbly.  Add soy milk and vanilla and stir until just combined.

Dough should be crumbly before adding liquids.

Dough should be crumbly before adding liquids.

Lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough 10 times.

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Roll it out into a 12” x 12” square.

Sprinkle mango over the dough and sprinkle the 1 t sugar on top.

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Roll up into a log, and don’t worry about the mango that will be squeezed out at the end.

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Cut into 12 pieces and place in a 9” x 13” pan.

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Pour enough of the caramel sauce into the pan to come up almost to the top of the swirls (you should have some left over).

Bake for 50 minutes.

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Serve warm.

Great with coconut or vanilla bean non-dairy ice cream!

Serves 12

Garlic Ginger Tofu Cakes

Garlic Ginger Tofu Cakes

Garlic Ginger Tofu Cakes

I get frustrated when people poke fun at tofu.  It really is a wonderful protein source and so easy to cook with.  I do, however, always make sure to buy organic and non-GMO tofu.  It is so healthy, especially the new, sprouted varieties like Nasoya’s, which contain sprouted soybeans that allow even more absorption of nutrients, and are even easier to digest.  It is also a good source of vitamin K and calcium, as well as protein.  Tofu, aside from being so nutritious, is also simple to make taste delicious!  Before becoming vegan, I used to have a recipe for Asian Tofu cakes that was a great, quick dinner, but it contained egg whites and lots of butter.  Here I have veganized that recipe and spiced it up a bit and I hope you enjoy it!

  • 1 16 oz package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 4 T flour
  • 2 T soy sauce
  • 2 T potato starch
  • 3 garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1/2 t Chinese five spice powder
  • 1/4 t turmeric
  • 1 t ginger powder
  • 2 T scallions, chopped and a bit extra for garnish
  • 2 t canola oil
  • 2 t sesame oil
  • toasted sesame seeds for garnish

Sauce

  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 1/2 t sesame oil
  • 1/2 t rice vinegar
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t ginger powder

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In a large bowl, mash the tofu with a fork.  Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well.  Divide into 8 small cakes.  Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Brown the cakes for about 3 minutes per side.  Garnish with sesame seeds and scallions.

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Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and serve alongside the tofu cakes.

Serves 4

Garlic Ginger Tofu Cakes, lima beans and rice

Garlic Ginger Tofu Cakes, lima beans and rice