Roasted Butternut Squash & Pesto Pizza

Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

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C’mon, admit it: you KNEW this was coming. Every time I find myself with an abundance of produce, I invariably figure out a way to put it on a pizza (P.I.Z.Z.A.).

Before trying my hand at a butternut squash pizza, I did a little googling to see what others have done; this is kind of a mashup of some of the ideas I found. The roasted squash was heavily influenced by the Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan from The Oh She Glows Cookbook – and the Farfalle with Zucchini, Mint, and Almonds from Vegan Italiano provided the inspiration for the pesto recipe, which is much more moist than usual. The liquidy pesto is insurance against the oven, which always dries my pesto pizzas out more than a little bit.

The result is hella tasty, and definitely one of my best uses of butternut squash to date.

(More below the fold…)

Greek Creamy Lemon Rice Soup with Yogurt Naan Griddle Bread

Sunday, October 12th, 2014

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One upside to the end of VeganMoFo? I can finally turn my attention back to the many other tasks I neglected throughout most of September. Like finally reviewing that copy of Vegan Eats World that Da Capo Press sent me all those months ago! (I’m so sorry you guys, really. The time just got away from me!)

Since the weather’s starting to turn chilly, I decided to concentrate on the soups: starting with this Creamy Lemon Rice Soup! Subtitled “‘No’ Govlemano,” this is a veganized version of the “zesty [Greek] classic egg-lemon chicken soup.” Which I’ve never had (I don’t think I ever tried an egg-based soup in my omni days!), so I can’t really comment on its authenticity vis-à-vis the original – but I can say that it’s delicious: thick and creamy, with pureed white beans and both orzo pasta and arborio rice, the pairing of which adds multiple textures to the dish. And the lemon is unexpectedly awesome.

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I decided to pair it with naan bread, mainly because I wanted to see if I could do it. I don’t have such a hot track record with breads, you see. But the naan turned out to be super-easy to make, even if baking it in the cast iron skillet did smoke up the house a little. (Worth it!) I couldn’t find any vegan yogurt locally – it seems to have plummeted in popularity lately – so I used this recipe at Oh She Glows to make my own. I know, right! How cool is that?

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The leftover naan is perfect for baking individual quickie pizzas, pita pizza styley. The bread is a little thinner than pita and results in a floppier crust, but no complaints here.

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Incidentally, the flexibility of the bread also makes it awesome for hummus wraps. (Or is this considered a sammie?) Naturally I overdid it with the fillings, so that the bread stood no chance of staying put when folded, but trust me when I say that it works even better for this purpose than the (thicker, less pliable) pita bread I normally use.

This is definitely a recipe that’ll be entering into regular rotation ’round these parts. Ditto: the soup.

Fall Harvest Butternut Squash with Almond-Pecan Parmesan

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

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You guys, if I hadn’t already given The Oh She Glows Cookbook five stars, I’d do it on the merits of this recipe alone. SO GOOD! Yet so simple!

It’s basically just butternut squash (duh!), diced and roasted with garlic, parsley, kale (not pictured here; I was all out!), and a chunky parmesan mixture of nutritional yeast, almonds, and pecans. Since I omitted the kale and roasted the nuts ahead of time, I was able to skip the second, shorter round of roasting altogether.

Liddon recommends serving this with Field Roast’s Smoked Apple Sage Sausage to upgrade it from a side to a meal, but I found that Tofurky’s Chicken Apple flavor works just as well. Simple pan-fry it, fold into the finished squash, and enjoy!

Serves two very hungry, very gluttonous adults.

Mac & Cheese & Butternut Squash

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

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So this past VeganMoFo I bookmarked a ton of recipes to try – but unlike years gone by, I actually did it! And in a timely manner! Yay me!

Necessity was the deciding factor here, as I had a ton of butternut squash from my garden that needed to be eaten stat. When I saw House Vegan’s Baked Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese, I knew it was meant to be. Her recipe was in turn inspired by the Butternut Squash Mac ‘n Cheeze at Oh She Glows; after comparing and contrasting the two, I ended up doing a sort of mashup, with roasted (vs. steamed) squash like in the original (fewer dishes, yo!), but baked with a panko topping similar to House Vegan’s version.

I also doubled the because hey, I am a growing girl and need my carbs!

But not the pasta! I only increased that by a cup, for extra-awesome creamy cheesiness. I think it turned out to be a pretty killer pasta-to-cheese ratio in the end. But you can go with a full four cups of pasta if you’d rather! Be your own decider person.

While it’s not as amazing as the processed, junky stuff, the butternut squash cheese sauce is still hella tasty, and makes for a rather satisfying macaroni and cheese. And the parmesan topping? Out of this world. Just be sure you supervise it during the broiling phase, lest you come dangerously close to charring it like I did. Learn from my mistakes!

(More below the fold…)

Cookbook Review: The Oh She Glows Cookbook, Angela Liddon (2014)

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Deliciously Wholesome Vegan Food

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review at the publisher’s behest.)

Let me begin by thanking Penguin Books for sending me a copy of this cookbook for review about a month prior to its publication date. (Before it was even on my radar, actually.) As an avowed junk food vegan, it’s probably not something I would have picked up on my own – but I’ve discovered more than one new favorite dish in The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

As fans of the Oh She Glows website and blog already know, Angela Liddon focuses her culinary efforts on plant-based, healthy whole foods, free of chemicals and additives. Continuing this tradition, The Oh She Glows Cookbook includes 75 new recipes, as well as more than 25 fan favorites from her blog. Recipes run the gamut, from “power snacks” to smoothies, juices, and teas, as well as breakfast foods, appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, sides, and desserts. There’s a fairly wide variety of dishes to be found, from vegan versions of American favorites (Lentil Walnut Loaf, Grilled Portobello Burger, Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries) to more international meals (Creamy Vegetable Curry, Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole, Quick & Easy Chana Masala). Many of the recipes are gluten-free, or include gluten-free substitutions; and Liddon sometimes offers soy-free alternatives, too.

I tried just over a dozen recipes in preparation for this review (and, let’s be honest, because my stomach compelled me to!), including the following:

(More below the fold…)

Immunity-Boosting Tomato Sauce with Mushrooms

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

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and lentils and chia seeds and basil and garlic and – well, you get the idea. Angela Liddon packs her tomato sauce with savory goodness.

So, I’ll be honest: this isn’t my all-time favorite pasta sauce. But to be fair, I am super-Italian, and have been enjoying pasta at least once a week my entire life. I have long since perfected my own dream red sauce recipe. (Spoiler alert: it involves roasted red peppers.) But I have to admit, I love the idea of adding red lentils to pasta sauce, and the chia seeds are a nice extra too.

Well done, even by own fussy standards.

And this is the last recipe on my to-do list before I review The Oh She Glows Cookbook! Check back Monday for the review.

Our Favorite Veggie Burger with a side o’ Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

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Two recipes, one oven! Actually that’s not totally true; while the bake times are the same on the Our Favorite Veggie Burger and Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries (both from – you guessed it! – The Oh She Glows Cookbook), the temps are slightly different, and so I ended up baking the burgers in the toaster oven. It totally worked though! Perfect if you’re only serving one or two. The veggie burger batter makes eight patties, so you can just store the leftovers in the fridge for another night. Half a week’s dinner in one fell swoop!

So these veggie burgers are seriously good, y’all. They’ve got black beans (but not enough to upset my uber-sensitive tummy – yay!), grated carrots, sunflower seeds, breadcrumbs, rolled oats, onions, garlic, and some other goodies that don’t come immediately to mind. I topped mine with some sliced tomatoes and pan-fried mushrooms and onions (insert hrng! gif here!).

The fries are rockin’ too. There’s this arrowroot/oil coating that gives the outsides an interesting texture. It’s similar to the Roasted Home Fries, only the Crispy Baked Fries get crispier on accounta they’re easier to spread out on a baking sheet. No overlapping mushiness, yo!

Anyway, if the burritos didn’t sell me on the OSG cookbook, this veggie burger sure did. Gonna go collapse into a food coma now, mkay.

Loaded Savory Oatmeal & Lentil Bowl, The

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014

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I totally expected to dislike this dish (fussy eater problems!) but, much to my surprise, I loved it. Like, finished the bowl and licked it clean loved it. It’s even better than the Apple Pie Oatmeal, yo! Plus it’s quick to whip up – just 15 minutes, and it’s so unfussy a recipe that I was able to remove it from the stovetop mid-cooking so that I could feed the dogs their dinner. Very cool.

Shane enjoyed his with the recommended hummus and avocados, while I went with crackers, chia seeds, and avocado toast. This was also my first time trying mashed avocados as a spread, and I was again pleasantly surprised; avocados don’t have a super-strong flavor, so really the spread tastes like whatever seasonings you put on top. In my case, salt and pepper.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook Release – and a Recipe for Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

Those of you who have been following along with me as I cook from The Oh She Glows Cookbook will be happy to know that it finally drops today! That’s right – as of this morning, you can snag a copy for your own bad self.

And to celebrate, the publisher has been kind enough to share a recipe for Angela’s Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip. I haven’t tried it yet – but how can you go wrong with cheesy cashew sauce? (Answer: You can’t. It’s impossible.)

Enjoy, and keep an eye out for my review. Coming soon to an interweb near you.

 

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life-affirming warm nacho dip

FOR THE CHEESE SAUCE:
1 cup (250 mL) raw cashews
1 cup (250 mL) peeled and chopped carrots
2 tablespoons (30 mL) nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons (30 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 large clove garlic
1 1⁄4 teaspoons (6 mL) fine-grain sea salt
3⁄4 teaspoon (4 mL) chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon (2 mL) onion powder
1⁄4 to 1⁄2 teaspoon (1 to 2 mL) cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)

FOR THE DIP:
1 cup (250 mL) chunky marinara sauce
1 cup (250 mL) finely chopped sweet onions
2 to 3 handfuls of baby spinach (about 3 ounces/85 g), roughly chopped
1⁄3 cup (75 mL) crushed corn chips or bread crumbs
1 to 2 green onions, finely sliced, for serving (optional)

Tortilla chips for serving

You’d never know there isn’t a lick of dairy or oil hiding in this mouthwatering hot-out- of-the-oven dip! This dish is always a crowd-pleaser. It’s best when hot, so serve it on a plate warmer or pot holder so it stays warm for as long as possible. I like to bake it in a cast-iron dish, which keeps it warm for almost an hour.

Serves 8

PREP TIME: 25 to 30 minutes, plus soaking time • COOK TIME: 25 to 30 minutes

gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free, sugar-free, grain-free

(More below the fold…)

(Sunday Morning) Sunrise Scramble with Roasted Home Fries

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

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I’ll be honest: the tofu scramble recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook isn’t my favorite. That said, it’s still a tofu scramble, and tofu scrambles fucking rock.

My main problem? This one’s got both mushrooms and spinach, the excess moisture of which can prove difficult to cook off. As usually happens when I get ballsy and try to put shrooms in my scramble, the tofu ended up a bit wet and mushy.

Plus, this recipe’s a little different from standard scrambles. There’s no tumeric! (I added a dash, hence the yellow eggy color. Couldn’t help myself!) No soy sauce! Only a touch of nutritional yeast! And not a whole lot of spices to speak of!

Still, given the lack of spices this scramble ended up tasty enough. I probably won’t make it again, but I can hardly call it a disaster.

The home fries, on the other hand? Awesome. These are way easier to make than hash browns (I’ve yet to produce a properly crispy batch) and every bit as tasty.

Luxurious (Read: Cheesy!) Tomato-Basil Pasta

Saturday, March 1st, 2014

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I’m pretty sure the “Luxurious” in the Luxurious Tomato-Basil Pasta (found in The Oh She Glows Cookbook) is code for cheesy. And if it’s not, it should be. Put vegan cheese on ALL the things!

This dish is reminiscent of the Spaghetti Cake from Bake and Destroy (and before that, the Spaghetti Pie from American Vegan Kitchen) – only it’s not cooked, of course, and the white sauce is made of cashews instead of tofu. Naturally, the white sauce is combined with red marinara sauce to make a delicious hot pink (traffic cone orange?) mess.

So good, and super-easy to make. The cook time on this one is just 30 minutes, so you can whip it up in a snap. (Though I prefer to let my tomatoes simmer for awhile so that they get nice and tender.)

Apple Pie Oatmeal

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

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Another day, another recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook. This stovetop oatmeal dish is packed with hearty goodness: rolled oats, fresh apples, chia seeds, nondairy milk, applesauce, walnuts, coconut shreds, you name it. It requires more energy than I’m capable of mustering first thing in the morning, but seeing as I’m a breakfast anytime kind of girl, this also makes a wonderfully quick lunch or dinner.

The one thing I’d change? Instead of cooking the apples with the rolled oats, I think I’d rather add them to the oatmeal near the end, so that they’d still nice and crunchy and raw.

Supposedly it only serves one, but one batch is more than I can eat by my lonesome.

Also, bonus point for moi: I think this is the closest my food will ever come to looking like the pictures in the cookbook!

Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

(Say that five times fast…and you get a cookie!)

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So this was my first time making gluten free-cookies – or at least that I’m aware of – and I’m happy to report that it was not, in point o’ facts, a disaster. Actually it was super-easy, so much so that the fact that these cookies are GF didn’t even register until the next day. (I know, tsk tsk on me for not reading the entire recipe before tackling it! IT SAYS SO RIGHT IN THE INTRO!)

I was more worried about using the hand mixer, since we don’t exactly have an amiable relationship. Seriously, most of our outings end up with a kitchen covered in cookie dough/mashed potatoes/whathaveyou and me crying on the floor. Usually Shane has to step in to finish the job and prevent me from having a breakdown. But this time around? Smooth sailing. Maybe the beaters just prefer almond and oat flour to whole wheat? Who knows!

These Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are so good that they almost (almost!) make up for the fact that they are the only cookies to be found in The Oh She Glows Cookbook (boo! cookies are the only dessert worth making! I’m telling Cookie Monster on you!). In place of wheat flour, there’s almond and oat, along with almond butter and chocolate chips. Mine came out thin, with just the right crispy-to-chewy factor.

You’re supposed to roll ’em into balls, but the dough was sticky enough that I spooned it instead, with no real issues. I guess they’re not as perfectly round as they could be, but who cares? My taste buds sure don’t.

Chickpea Salad Sammies

Saturday, February 22nd, 2014

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Another winner from The Oh She Glows Cookbook: Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwiches! The best part about this recipe is how quick and easy it is to prepare – I think I spent more time mashing chickpeas than anything else – thus making it perfect for a weeknight meal in a pinch, particularly when you’ve had a hard day at work and need to smash some of the aggression out. The secret is in the dill – well, assuming you don’t hate the stuff – so don’t skimp!

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15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

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Wow.

I’ve enjoyed avocado pasta before, but this is just…WOW.

The sauce is deliciously simple: avocados, garlic, basil, lemon. (The lemon? It downright OWNS the pasta.) Blend in a food processor, mix with the pasta, and serve.

The hardest part about this dish is the timing: since avocados oxidize quickly (thus turning an unappetizing shade of brown), you want to use the sauce immediately. Or at least if you want to snag a halfway decent photo of it.

This is another recipe from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, but – yay for you! – it’s also available on Angela’s website.

Go! Blend! Eat!

No regrets.

Well, maybe just one: I don’t have any leftovers!

Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

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This was my first time making roasted chickpeas EVER (!), and now I’m totally kicking myself for not trying them sooner. They’re really tasty and easy to make and – here’s the best part – NO SKINNING REQUIRED!

The Oh She Glows Cookbook contains two recipes for roasted chickpeas: a basic version and a salt and vinegar flavor, which you see here. The vinegar flavor comes from cooking and then soaking the chickpeas in white vinegar. (The salt, obviously, comes from salt.) Just the thing if you love salt and vinegar, which I totally do.

(The dogs? Not so much. Finnick and Mags have even been knows to turn up their noses at my salt and vinegar flavored popcorn. In their defense, I’m so heavy-handed with the spices that even Shane has been known to complain.)

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Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos

Saturday, February 15th, 2014

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I don’t know why I don’t have burritos more often; aside from pizza, they’re pretty much the flyest finger food out there, and soooo much fun to eat. Seriously, I think the last time I made burritos was for a cookbook review more than a year ago! Such a shame. Note to self: must rectify this immediately.

So I wasn’t quite sure how these Broccoli & Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos from The Oh She Glows Cookbook would turn out. I really don’t eat quinoa very often – I’m still working on a two-pound bag I bought several years ago – so yeah. I figured I’d either love it or hate it. (In which case there’s a 99% chance that Shane would be more than happy to eat the extras. Human garbage can, that one.)

Well, I’m happy to report that option A prevailed. As in, this is totally one of my new favorite recipes! The combination of broccoli, sundried tomatoes, onions, and quinoa is tasty, but it’s the cheesy cashew sauce that really takes this burrito to the next level. (Yeah, I left out the celery. Sue me!)

Mine looks nothing like the burrito portrait in the book but I suspect that’s because I’m an amateur when it comes to wrapping burritos. Consider me flummoxed.

As a Saturday Raturday Bonus: A shot of Finnick, begging for food right next to a picture of him begging for food in nearly the exact same spot. How meta.

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P.S. If you’d rather not use quinoa, I bet plain old rice would make an excellent substitute. I’ll give it a try next time around and report back to you. Deal? (The things I do for you people!)

These pretzels are making me thirsty!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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So I started off slow this afternoon with a batch of Classic Hummus from The Oh She Glows Cookbook.

(Actually, I also made those Broccoli and Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos for dinner as promised – BUT my pictures turned out kind of blah, so I’m gonna take another stab at it tomorrow. Sorry but no burrito post today, folks. I will say that I’m happily stuffed. Spoilers!)

I’ve never been able to replicate the smooth creaminess of store-bought hummus…until now! Well, sorta. Liddon recommends removing the skins of the chickpeas for a smoother blend. And it worked! Mostly. It’s close to the commercial blends, but not quite as creamy. Maybe 90% there. Which isn’t bad…

Only it took forever to skin all those chickpeas. (I wasn’t even aware that chickpeas had skins. YOU LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY.) As in nearly an hour! It almost would have been faster to make the 45 minute trip (one way!) to the nearest Price Chopper to buy a tub of Sabra Hummus. Egads.

Luckily, the hummus turned out wonderfully after all that tedium. Normally I like my hummus with a little extra flavor – roasted red peppers, sundried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, you name it – but for a “plain” hummus, this is pretty damn tasty. Definitely worth it for those days when you find yourself snowed in and chasing a hummus fix.

The Oh She Glows Cookbook!

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

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Yesterday morning I awoke to an unexpected surprise on my doorstep (thank dog Shane shoveled a path for the delivery peeps over the weekend!): a copy of Angela Lidden’s upcoming release, The Oh She Glows Cookbook. Promptly I sat down and came up with a list of recipes that I just have to try: The Lentil-Wanut Loaf with Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes. Perfected Chickpea Salad Sandwich. Lightened-Up Crispy Baked Fries. Marinated Italian Mushrooms. Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. (Cookies.)

As for dinner tonight? I think I’ll make the Broccoli and Cashew Cheese-Quinoa Burritos. That, or the 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta. TOO MANY CHOICES.

The cookbook doesn’t come out until March 5th, so until then you’ve no choice but to live vicariously through me. I may or may not post the results as I cook my way through the book. (I guess it all depends on how busy foster pony keeps me.) But there will be a review, probably some time in March.

Thanks for thinking of me, Penguin!