Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hazelnut Chocolate Cheap-o-chino

Here's another flavor of not-expensive frozen coffee. Add more cocoa if you'd like it more chocolatey.

If you make it the way it is in the recipe there is just a hint of chocolate and it almost tastes like Baileys. Now I can see why many of the vegan Baileys recipes add hazelnut creamer now.

Since I added extra flavored creamer I found no need to add extra sweetener. You can certainly add extra sweetener if you like your sweeter. Taste after blending the main ingredients (before the ice) and add the sweetener at that time, if you want.

Hazelnut Chocolate Cheap-o-chino

Makes about 2 to 3 servings
soy-free, gluten-free
  • 1/4 cup (63ml) cold brewed coffee concentrate (or 1 cup (250ml) regular brewed coffee) 
  • 1/2 cup (63ml) So Delicious Coconut creamer hazelnut flavor 
  • 1 cup (250ml) Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk 
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or 1 teaspoon pectin (do not leave out - it holds it together!) 
  • 1 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups ice (use less with a not-so-powerful blender)
In a blender mix everything except for the xanthan gum and ice.

Then add xanthan gum (or pectin) and blend. This will keep the different ingredients from separating.

Add the ice. Depending on your blender you may have to add it 1/2 cup at a time. I have a really powerful one so I can blend it all in at once.

You can add more coconut milk if it's too thick or you can add more ice if it's too thin.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Come with Me to Food Blog South!

Okay, so Vida Vegan was beyond awesome but next year we're without our beloved conference. Come with me to Birmingham in January. It looks like a great conference and I'd love to not be the only vegan there. (Plus I miss all of you and it would be a great place to catch up!)

There's even a class about honing your media skills that's the day before the conference. Use the code IReadBV  for 10% off and that works even for the early bird price! (It is only good for the conference and not the media class the day before it.)

Here's what they have to say about the conference (quoted from their site):

Join us in Birmingham, Alabama on January 28 for Food Blog South 2012! This year’s going to be jam-packed with sessions for beginning and experienced food bloggers, and plenty of time to meet and mingle with fellow bloggers.

Learn how to take awesome food shots with your cameraphone.
Get an inside scoop on hot food trends for 2012.
Watch a blog redesign—live—and get the best design ideas for food bloggers.
Learn how to build your brand and how to make money blogging.
Come a day early for a session on honing your media skills with Lisa Ekus andVirginia Willis.

Our speakers include Kat Kinsman, managing editor of CNN’s Eatocracy; blogger, book coach, writer, and editor Dianne Jacob; bloggers Hélène Dujardin (Tartelette) and Jay Ducote (Bite and Booze); and Ale Sharpton of the online show Cruisin’ for a Brewsin’.

Ready to sign up? Standard registration is $150 per person. But register by October 28 and you’ll save $25! (Need more incentive to be an early bird? Be one of the first 15 people to register, and your blog may get a new look—live!—during our blog-design session.) And, we’ve arranged for a discounted rate for rooms at Hyatt Place in downtown Birmingham.

Interested in sponsoring FoodBlogSouth? Get details here.

Proceeds from FBS2012 will benefit the Desert Island Supply Company. For information about FoodBlogSouth 2012, sign up for our mailing list, check the news section, follow us on Twitter, or like us on Facebook.

Have a question? Email us.

Please note: Registration fees are not refundable after January 1, 2012.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Cheap-o-chino for Vegan Mofo

I'm celebrating the first day of Vegan Mofo (Month of Food) with this fall flavored frosty coffee. Not only is this one tons cheaper than your national coffee chain's, this is actually vegan.

Yes, the pumpkin spice syrup at Starbucks actually has dairy in it!

Oddly enough, it seems to be the first chilly day of fall where I live, so I'm wearing a sweatshirt while I drink mine.

If you are a coffee hater leave it out and enjoy a pumpkin pie shake instead.

Vegan Pumpkin Spice Cheap-o-chino

Makes about 2 to 3 servings
soy-free, gluten-free
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (make it from scratch if you want)
  • 1/4 cup (63ml) cold brewed coffee concentrate (or 1 cup (250ml) regular brewed coffee) 
  • 1/4 cup (63ml) So Delicious Coconut creamer original flavor 
  • 1 cup (250ml) Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cardamom
  • pinch cloves
  • pinch allspice
  • pinch nutmeg
  • Sweetener to taste: brown sugar, stevia, agave nectar, or maple syrup, etc. (I used 1 packet Nu-Stevia) 
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or 1 teaspoon pectin (do not leave out - it holds it together!) 
  • 2 cups ice
In a blender mix everything except for the sweetener, xanthan gum and ice. Taste and adjust sweetener as needed. Remember this is a concentrated flavor so it needs to be a little sweeter now to be just right later.

Then add xanthan gum (or pectin) and blend. This will keep the different ingredients from separating.

Add the ice. Depending on your blender you may have to add it 1/2 cup at a time. I have a really powerful one so I can blend it all in at once.

You can add more coconut milk if it's too thick or you can add more ice if it's too thick.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Celebrate National Coffee Day with a Peppermint Mocha Cheap-o-chino and a Giveaway

Happy National Coffee Day! Isn't about time for your afternoon coffee break or after dinner coffee/dessert? It's still warm in Durham, so I needed a nice cold frozen coffee drink. I'm really hoping for fall and I hear it might peek out this weekend.

In my opinion the best way to make an iced coffee or frozen coffee is to use homemade cold brewed coffee concentrate. See the link in the recipe for a how-to. It's easy to make in a French Press and you can make enough for the whole week on the weekend. Then you can just grab some from the fridge when you feel like a treat. Plus it won't melt your ice and it's easier on your stomach. 

If you hate coffee leave it out and add another 1/4 cup creamer. You'll have a (so) delicious chocolate -peppermint shake!

The Giveaway: This is separate contest from the giveaway on HealthySlowCooking - you must leave your comments here to be entered!

 I have coupons for a couple of free So Delicious products and some cents off coupons to giveaway to one of you. To enter leave a comment on this post. I will post a winner on Sunday. Good luck!

To get extra entries do one of the following and leave another comment on this post for each one you do.
  • Tweet the following (including the link) one time: It’s National Coffee Day! Join @geekypoet, have a Peppermint Mocha Cheap-o-chino and enter the giveaway!
  • Tweet one time: @so_delicious is my favorite coffee creamer!

Peppermint Mocha Cheap-o-chino
Makes about 2 to3 servings
soy-free, gluten-free

  • 1/4 cup (63ml) cold brewed coffee concentrate or 1 cup (250ml) regular brewed coffee
  • 1/4 cup (63ml) So Delicious Coconut creamer original flavor
  • 3/4 cup (188ml) Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk
    (can use vanilla or plain just adjust sweetener)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • Sweetener to taste: brown sugar, stevia, agave nectar, or maple syrup, etc.
    (I used 1 packet Nu-Stevia) 
  • 1/8 teaspoon xanthan gum or 1 teaspoon pectin (do not leave out - it holds it together!)
  • 2 cups ice
  • crushed peppermint candy for topping (optional)
In a blender mix everything except for the xanthan and ice. Taste and adjust sweetener as needed. Remember this is a concentrated flavor so it needs to be a little sweeter now to be just right later.

Then add xanthan gum (or pectin) and blend. This will keep the different ingredients from separating so it will look just like a drink that you paid lots of money for!

Add the ice. Depending on your blender you may have to add it 1/2 cup at a time. I have a really powerful one so I can dump it all in at once. You can add more coconut milk if it's too thick or you can add more ice if it's too thick.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vida Vegan Giveaway Winners Announced...

Congratulations Cindy Lou Who and Amy!

I'm not sure if blogger changed, but I do not have the emails of the winners and neither person has a blogger profile up. So winners please email me at with your mailing address so I can send your goodies out.

I also put the comments next to the name so you can be sure it's you.

Keep an eye out for more giveaways!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Vegan Greek Yogurt Review and a Giveaway!

Since I've been writing recipes for, working on the launch of The Vegan Slow Cooker, and getting goodies ready for Vida Vegan I've gotten behind on my blogging at Busy Vegan. I guess I'm making sure the name fits!

Last week I went to Vida Vegan, the vegan blogger's conference. It was so amazing meeting some of my internet friends and heroes. I got to try new products, meet more vegan bloggers, and get even more ideas for projects.

I have a ton of reviews coming your way in the next few months. 

Today I'm starting off with a product by one of my very favorite manufacturers, So Delicious. When they mentioned Greek yogurt and a new coconut nog I couldn't wait to try some. Then I waited and waited...until I thought I might never see it in the wild.

My friend Gail of So Delicious (and Hungry Vegan) brought us all a yummy surprise to Vida Vegan. It was amazing enough to have a vegan breakfast buffet every morning, but seeing the elusive vegan Greek yogurt on it made me jump up and down.

My first taste was of their blueberry variety. It was super creamy and thick just like I was hoping it would be. There weren't chunks of blueberries, but there was enough blueberry puree to give it that blueberry flavor in each bite. 

Next I tried the plain. I liked eating it by itself, and I think it would be easy to add into baked goods and sweet desserts. I think it may be a little sweet to try in a few of the savory applications that I have in mind. But I still have to get some in my own kitchen to do some experimenting. 

I completely understand how hard it is to make a non-dairy yogurt. Last year I was working on one for the book, but never got past a kiefer stage. Since cow milk already contains sugar in it that feeds the cultures, non-dairy milks have to add a sweetener to create the yogurt with all that friendly bacteria that we're looking for.

I was a little worried that the texture might be like Amande's, the almond milk yogurt. Amande reminds me more of a pudding than a yogurt because of the way they have implemented the thickeners. Don't get me wrong, I like Amande and eat it fairly often. I just prefer it as a snack or dessert over breakfast.

But as you can see below So Delicious got the texture spot on!

There is no doubt that I'll be having So Delicious Greek yogurt at least a few times a week once I can get my hands on it!


Now about the giveaway. Did you miss Vida Vegan? I put a few things in the swag bag to promote my book, The Vegan Slow Cooker, and I'd love to give them to you too.

There is this super cool OXO peppermill, some tasty peppercorns to fill it from My Spice Sage, and a postcard with my recipe for Slow Cooker Tempeh Braised with Figs and Port Wine.  I have a few extra coupons I'll be adding too and a few other bonuses too.

Each of the following things will get you one entry. You must add a comment for each one that you do. So if you do 4 things you make 4 separate comments. Got it?
Good luck! There will be two winners and I will post them next Monday morning - so you have a week to enter.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elegant Eggplant Appetizer

This is a great alternative to cooking a full meal on a hot day or the perfect appetizer at your next cocktail party. It goes well on crostini, crackers, and even as a spread on a sandwich. Serve with a green salad and you've got yourself a full meal without all the sweat.

You could probably make this in a slow cooker if you added about 1/2 cup water. Next time I'll try that method and post the recipe with any needed changes for the slow cooker.

I want to let you know I have a few other recipes coming up soon. The Not-fried Southern Summer Squash and a Not-Quite Nicoise Potato Salad were my quick and easy successes last week and are perfect for a weeknight meal.

Elegant Eggplant Spread
Makes about 2 cups
soy-free and gluten-free
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup (160 g) minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup (149 g) minced sweet or bell pepper
  • 2 cups (164 g) minced eggplant
  • 1/4 cup (13.5) sun-dried tomatoes, minced in food processor
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) red wine
  • salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Then add the peppers, eggplant, sun-dried tomato, tomato paste and red wine. Cook until the eggplant is soft and cooked through. Add extra water or wine if the mixture gets to dry before the eggplant is completely done.

Serve warm or cold with crackers or toasted thinly sliced baguette. Use leftovers as a tasty pizza topping!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vegan Product Review: So Delicious Mint Chip Frozen Dessert (No Sugar Added)

You all know how much I love So Delicious products, so as new ones come out I can't help but try them. (I'm still waiting for the Greek Yogurt coming out in the summer...)

Please note that I did get some coupons from So Delicious to try some of their new products for free. But honestly if I don't like it I certainly won't tell you I do. Luckily So Delicious seems to have product developers that are after my heart! 

Like other products by them, this is soy-free and gluten-free. You need to check the labels for each flavor for other allergens. This one is nut free unless coconut counts as a nut. Thinking about that makes my brain hurt, so if you know the answer please leave me a comment.

It's the usual 2 cup package with 4 1/2 cup servings. Each serving is 120 calories and has 11 grams of fat. It's sweetened with a combination of monk fruit and stevia extract. There was absolutely no bitterness from the stevia which happens in some products. I don't know much about monk fruit, but you can get more info at

I didn't think it tasted like a sugar-free product at all. And by that I mean it tasted very good. Their other "ice creams" are sweetened with agave syrup and are 170 calories a serving with 9 grams of fat. I thought the texture and richness was the same between the two.

Why am I using a stock image? Because when I was down to the last serving I added some unsweetened coconut milk and mixed it with a fork to make a thick and creamy milkshake. I used my favorite glass straw and drank it straight from the carton. I just didn't want you to see me (or the carton) like that. But it was very, very good. 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Beyond Easy Vegan BBQ Tofu Pizza Topping

This seems too simple to even write down and to call it a recipe is a stretch. So, if you are looking for a culinary challenge you may want to move along.

However, if your week is overwhelming and you're just too tired to make dinner -  this is perfect for you. I was lucky enough to get a dinner invite on my hectic Monday. My friend, Brit, was experimenting with pizza dough and I was also invited to bring my own topping if I wanted. She was providing the pizza crust!

I definitely wanted to make my own topping. I have a special place in my heart for bbq pizza. It's actually close to an obsession, but at least Mellow Mushroom has bbq tofu on their menu. But this is so much cheaper it's ridiculous!

If you are avoiding soy you could certainly use seitan or add extra veggies in place of the tofu. To make it gluten-free simply buy or make gluten-free pizza shells. This is also good on English Muffins, flatbread, and light toasted tortillas.

BBQ Tofu Pizza Topping

Makes about 4 mini pizzas or 1 large

1/2 block tofu
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 cup fresh pineapple, chopped 
1/4 to 1/2 cup Pepper Jack Daiya (more if you want)
Approx. 1/4 to 1/2 cup of your favorite bbq sauce (use more or less depending on how saucy you like it)

Press the tofu to get all the water out and give it a very firm texture. Chop the pressed tofu, red pepper, and pineapple. Add to a bowl and mix together. 

You can either put the Daiya on top of this mixture on your pizza or mix it in before hand. I think Daiya melts best with a little liquid so I mixed mine in.

Spread topping on pre-made crust(s). Bake in oven at 425 until crust is done. Time will vary wildly depending on the thickness of your crust.

If you are bringing this to a make your own pizza party make a little for the non-vegans. They will be curious and want to try some. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vegan Carrot Dogs with Oh So Delicious Cole Slaw

This may sounds like one of my weirdest recipes, but trust me, it really works. I ran across the concept on one of my research binges. I read about someone eating a carrot dog on a vacation and they raved about it. I was fairly skeptical, but I loved the idea of having carrots in place of the much processed veggie dog.

Obviously a carrot is the same shape and close enough in color to make a decent hot dog substitute. But the real question is about the taste. The marinade really takes it to the next level. I think the sesame oil does it, but the vinegar gives it that "cured" flavor too.

Marinated Carrot Dogs
soy-free gluten-free

Serves 4 but can be easily doubled or even tripled.

4 carrots

1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar and a dash of salt)
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons coconut aminos (can sub soy sauce but use unseasoned vinegar)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1/2 clove garlic minced)
a dash or two liquid smoke
pepper to taste

Fill a pot about half-way full of water, heat it on high until it boils. Turn down to medium heat and add the carrots. Cook until you can just pierce it through with a fork. You want it to still have a snap when you eat it. Run cold water over them to stop them from cooking more.

Combine the other ingredients to make the marinade. Use a container that has a tight lid so you can easily shake it without spraying it all over your kitchen. Not that it ever happened to me... ; )

Put the carrots in the container and marinade for a few hours to up to a few days. If you marinate them longer they take on more of the vinegar flavor. If the carrots are very skinny I would not marinade them for more than 1 1/2 days so they don't taste too sour.

To serve heat the carrots in a 350 degree oven or on in a grill pan on a hot grill until heated through. It should take about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve in a toasted hot dog bun with your favorite toppings. They're great topped with cole slaw! Prep these on a weekend and you're ready for the night you don't really want to make anything.

Oh So Delicious Cole Slaw Dressing
soy-free gluten-free

1/2 cup vegan mayo
1/2 cup Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut milk
1 teaspoon agave
salt and pepper to taste

Whisk everything together and mix in with shredded cabbage and carrots. I used a yellow carrot with green and red cabbage. You can vary the veggies to make your own version. Try Swiss chard, collards, or even kale.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Super Easy Vegan Almond "Parmesan" Cheez

This year summer moved spring aside like a grade school bully. It's just June, the beginning of June even. It's been 100 degrees in North Carolina the past few days. It makes me very afraid of what the hot part of late July and most of August will feel like!

When the temperature rises I become very lazy and won't go outside until the sun goes all the way down. I put together the easiest dinners I can think of. This week I found myself craving my favorite college dish - pasta with Parmesan, herbs, and olive oil. (Back then it was dried herbs, who knows what kind of oil, and very cheap Parmesan.)

I've tried a few vegan Parmesan substitutes and haven't found them that tasty. They can also be ridiculously expensive. This recipe is so easy to make and isn't very expensive (especially if you have the almonds on hand already). I love the way it tastes and you're guests or picky eater won't even be able to tell it's vegan.

Vegan Almond "Parmesan" Cheez
soy-free and gluten-free*
Makes about 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (the ones without the skins)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast 
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • a small amount of olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to your taste)

I use my small food processor to make this. I think it holds 3 cups. Put the almonds, yeast, and garlic powder in the food processor.  Pulse until it looks like a grain. I add a drizzle of olive oil and processor more until the granules became very small (note: pic is zoomed in).

Taste, add salt, blend - repeat until it's just the way you like it. I like to make mine very salty because I use the mixture instead of salt in recipes.

Honestly, you want it to look like that Parmesan grated topping you used as a kid. Store any leftovers in the fridge.

To make the pasta simply boil up some whole wheat angel hair, toss it with some olive oil and a handful of finely chopped herbs, and a handful of the Vegan Almond "Parmesan" Cheez. I used oregano, thyme, parsley, and one leaf of rosemary this time, but I just grab whatever I have the most of in the garden. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Exotic Vacation in a Glass" So Delicious Coconut Milk Smoothie

It's always hard to kick start a week that begins on a Tuesday. I decided that my mind and taste-buds would stay on vacation!

I used to resent the people who posted Vitamix recipes. I wanted to know who these people were with $300.00 blenders!

No, I didn't buy one. Cheryl wanted a new tv and I said she could get it if she bought me a Vitamix. I thought I won that argument right then and there. Instead we have a new fancy TV and a Vitamix!

You can do most of what I can do in a home blender, just not as thick or as smooth. If that's not worth the money to you, don't get one.

I do really love mine though, so if you can get someone else to buy it for you make sure you do!

Part 1: Make the So Delicious Milk Turn Green

  • 2 cups Unsweetened So Delicious
    (Vanilla works well too** - just make sure to taste before adding sweetener)
  • 5 cups assorted baby greens and/or lettuces, loosely packed
    (I used red cabbage, chard, pea shoots, kale, and lettuce)
  • 4 large sprigs parsley
  • 4 large sprigs fresh mint
    (I used lavender mint)
Add all of the above to a blender and blend until it is just a green liquid with no (or very few) chunks. after all, you don't want to clog up your smoothie straw!

Part 2: Make It Thick and Sweet

I use all frozen fruit to get an almost ice cream texture. I like it very thick, but I also use a Vita-mix. If you are using a regular blender use the smaller amount of pineapple and you may need to up the liquid amount too.

You can use only fresh fruit or a combination of frozen and fresh depending on what texture you prefer.

  • 1/2 to 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 heaping cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon orange flower water (food grade)
  • 1 teaspoon rose flower water (food grade)
** leave out sweeteners below if using vanilla So Delicious only add after tasting
  • 1/2 packet Trader Joe's stevia **
    (each brand is different - use a small amount and add a dash at a time)
  • 1/2 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon agave (optional)**
If using a Vitamix use the plunger to mash all of the fruit to the blades. Depending on your blender you may need to add extra liquid. Err on the side of caution if you have a more delicate blender. No one wins with a broken blender!

Part 3: The Transfer

Blueberries can be a dangerous thing in the morning. I've stained more than a few shirts doling these out before I leave to go to work.  Avoid that “oh crap” moment by wearing  an apron or stash a “smoothie shirt” in the kitchen to change in during  the transfer of smoothie from the blender into glasses. Trust me it’s really worth it!

Part 4: The Drive to Work

As you slip the smoothie into your cup holder there is no doubt you are getting your day off to a good start. It was worth the effort. Go ahead, enjoy feeling a little smug and self-satisfied for a minute or two. Your smoothie will never tell!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spicy Seitan Flautas

Sometimes things just get away from me and my to-do list (and avoidance of it) finally catches up with me. So I've been doing paperwork and other dreaded tasks the past week. And I actually had something to reward myself for!

Of course that called for a dinner worth celebrating - without wearing me the heck out in the process. These flautas really exceeded my expectations. They were easy and tasted like a Mexican fiesta was going on in my mouth!!

If you are avoiding fat just add a splash of nondairy milk and some blended silken tofu to replace the vegan cheeses. I would recommend starting with half the amount called for and adding more if the filling needs it.

You could make these with refried beans or add cooked veggies if you want. I started planning my next batch while I was finishing these! 

Spicy Seitan Flautas
(see ** for gluten-free alternative ingredients)

Makes: 8 (can make 10 if you ration out the filling very carefully)
Cooking Time: about 15 minutes in a preheated 425 degree oven

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped seitan (**use pressed tofu for a gluten-free version)
  • 3 tablespoons salsa 
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (or blended silken tofu)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Daiya Pepper Jack Cheese, chopped fine (it's gluten-free!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • a few dashes Tabasco (Use Garlic Tabasco if you can find it)
  • 1 package small 6 to 8 inch flour tortillas (preferably whole grain or **gluten-free tortillas)
    I used the reduced carb ones form Trader Joe's - there are 10 in a pack

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Take out a large sheet pan or a couple of small ones and spray a very light coating of oil on them. This is just so they don't stick, so if you have nonstick pans you may be able to skip this step.

In a large bowl mix the seitan, salsa, cheeses, and spices. You want the seitan and Daiya chopped small so you can distribute it evenly on the tortillas.

On a cutting board lay out a tortilla, take about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons filling and spread it in a line in the first third of the tortilla. 

The Trader Joe's tortillas I used are super moist and easy to roll right out of the package. If yours are stiff you can either warm it a little in a saute pan (or in the microwave if you own one).

Start with that end and wrap the tortilla tightly (but not so tight you squeeze all the filling out). Place seam side down on your sheet pan. These can be fairly close, but don't let them touch.

Cook until they are slightly brown and mostly crunchy. This will take about 15 to 20 minutes depending on your oven and how moist your tortillas were to begin with. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Romaine Strawberry Salad with Roasted Asparagus and a Surprising Crouton

If you are having a spring brunch this weekend, this salad is a perfect addition. Roast a few spears of fresh asparagus in the oven, chop up some of the first strawberries, and cook up a few croutons. All of your guests will be impressed.

I had a few stale hot cross buns on hand (they really go stale quick). I chopped one into small cubes, placed the cubes on an oiled pan, then cooked them in a 425 degree oven for about 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure to mix them around ever few minutes so they don't burn. I was surprised at how light and crunchy they were!

But for me a salad isn't really a salad until you toss it in a nice dressing. This dressing is very intense and I only needed to use a teaspoon per serving.

I always toss my salad greens in the dressing before serving. I find that you use much less dressing that way. You also get a consistent amount of dressing instead of a bite with none and another with too much.

This recipe featured over at

make sure to check out the other asparagus recipes!

Also at Delightfully DowlingMidnight Maniac Meatless Mondays, Hey What's for Dinner Mom, From My Tiny Kitchen, My Sweet and Savory, A Southern Fairy Tale.

Strawberry Mint Balsamic Salad Dressing
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    (2 tablespoons lemon balsamic and 1 tablespoon plain if possible)
  • 3 to 5 tablespoons olive oil (to taste - I used all 5)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Crofter's Strawberry 'Just the Fruit' Spread
  • salt and pepper to taste

Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until everything pulls together. It will emulsify and get thicker once it's ready. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

Store leftovers in a closed container in the fridge.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Beluga Lentil Stew over Fresh Spinach

Happy Meatless Monday! Make sure to check out my other blog, Healthy Slow Cooking. Later today I will be launching my first giveaway and getting some of my favorite So Delicious products for free! (I'll probably announce it on this blog too. After all, I wouldn't want you to miss out!)

I love lentils because you don't need to plan ahead to have them for dinner. They cook up in about a half an hour, so you can cook them after you get home from work.

I serve this lentil stew over so it's like a warm salad. You can serve as a stew without the spinach though and it's just as good.

I put a pan seared Gardein chick'n over the top to make it a very filling and hearty meal. But it works fine without it too. You could also pile up steamed veggies like asparagus, cauliflower, and broccoli too.

Beluga Lentil Stew over Fresh Spinach

Makes 3 to 4 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup beluga lentils (can sub brown or French lentils)
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons chick'n bouillon 
  • 1/2 cup carrots, chopped small
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped small
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (can sub chipotle or smoked salt)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • drizzle of balsamic (I used juniper berry balsamic)
  • 3 cups baby spinach (optional)
Heat oil in a medium sized pot. Add onion and cook until transparent, then add garlic and cook for 3 minutes more. 

Add lentils, water, bouillon, carrots, celery, sprig of rosemary, and liquid smoke. (If you are substituting smoked salt do not add it now, instead add it after cooking.)

Turn the heat to high and bring to a boil. After boiling for about a minute, turn it down to a simmer. Cook 20 to 30 minutes or until lentil are tender.

If there is still too much liquid for your liking, turn the stove back to medium high and cook until they are the way you like them. Conversely feel free to add more water if they are getting too thick during cooking.

Remove from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Ladle over about a cup of fresh baby spinach and drizzle each serving with balsamic. This will lightly cook the spinach. I love it this way! Top with a cooked vegan chic'n patty to make it a hearty meal if you're really hungry or serving non-vegans.

Hey What's For Dinner

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sun-Dried Tomato White Bean Wheat Balls

These bean balls are inspired by Isa's bean balls, but aren't everyone's? I wanted to do more of a mock turk'y meat ball so I used white beans instead of kidney. Plus those were already waiting in my pantry. I have a rather large amount of sun dried tomatoes I preserved last year that I obviously forgot about - so be ready for more recipes for them in the near future.

Make sure to check out the recipe for the Slow Cooker Hide and Seek Veggie Pasta Sauce on my other blog, Healthy Slow Cooking.

You might be able to do a gluten-free version by leaving out the wheat gluten flour and using pre-cooked rice in its place in the food processor. I have a sausage recipe in my book that uses walnuts and rice and it works great. I would probably make them patties rather than balls, but you could make a mean bean patty Parmesan.

Sun-Dried Tomato White Bean Wheat Balls


Makes 2 dozen
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes 
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans, or 1 (15 ounce) can drained 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, or broth 
  • 1/4 cup almonds 
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour 
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (or 2 cloves minced)
  • salt and pepper to taste (I used smoked salt)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup oat bran (or bread crumbs, wheat germ, etc.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a food processor pulverize the sun dried tomatoes (or puree if they are packed in oil). Add beans and 1/4 cup of the water and puree. 

Add everything except the oat bran and process until well combined. You will add the extra 1/4 cup water if needed, but leave out if the mixture is a just right. At this point you want to be able to knead it and roll into balls.

Spread 1/4 cup of the oat bran on a cutting board. Dump the ball mixture onto the cutting board and knead for a minute or two until all of the dough is the same consistency. 

Cut the dough into 24 similar sized pieces. I use a dough cutter, but a dinner knife works just fine. Roll into balls and then roll into the remaining cup of oat bran.

Place the ball on a greased sheet pan and cook for 15 minutes, then turn them over and cook them for 5 to 10 minutes more.

Serve on top of pasta covered with pasta sauce, or in a hoagie roll covered with tomato sauce and Daiya mozzarella shreds. I'm thinking of some other interesting ways to use the leftovers, so stay tuned!

Hey What's For Dinner

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cherry Pomegranate Gardein Beefless Tips Over Cauliflower Mash

Another quick and easy weeknight meal. A simple and nutritious cauliflower mash is the base for the beefless tips in a cherry pomegranate savory glaze. The sauce/glaze has red wine, pomegranate balsamic vinegar and Crofter's Organic Europe Superfruit Spread.

The plan for this complete meal is to start the cauliflower mash once you get home. While the cauliflower is cooking you can start the beefless tips. You can also steam some green or broad beans in the time it takes everything else to cook. It only takes about 20  minutes start to finish.

Gardein has soy and gluten. To make it soy-free use seitan. To make it gluten-free you could use chunks of pressed tofu, chopped mushrooms, or even kidney beans in place of the Gardein.

Cauliflower Mash

Serves 4 to 5 (Cut this recipe in half if you don't want any leftovers.)

1 head cauliflower, chopped into medium pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons Earth Balance
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 to 1 cup Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot add cauliflower and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes until cauliflower is tender. Pour into a colander to drain off water and then return to hot pot with the Earth Balance, nutritional yeast, and 1/4 cup of the coconut milk.

Puree with an immersion blender adding more coconut milk if needed. They should be thicker than what's in this picture. I used my vitamix this time and it was very smooth. I actually prefer it a little lumpier - it mimics mashed potatoes better that way.

Cherry Pomegranate Gardein Beefless Tips

Serves 2 to 3
3/4 cup red wine (I used Trader Joe's Nouveau)
2 tablespoons Crofter's Organic Europe Superfruit Spread
2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar (or plain balsamic)
1 package Gardein Beefless Tips
salt and pepper to taste

In a large saute pan add wine, superfruit spread, and balsamic. Heat over medium high heat and whisk to incorporate the ingredients as it reduces by half. This will take about 10 minutes.

Add the beefless tips and cook for 4 to 5 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The sauce will reduce more during this and you can add more wine to thin if needed. You can keep it saucy or let it reduce to a glaze depending on your preference.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Penne with Fresh Peas Topped with a Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

This is an easy dish to throw together on a busy week night. It's a perfect place to use up some fresh summer peas and any leftover dried tomatoes you have on hand. I like to add some extra nutrition by using whole wheat pasta and flour. 
You can use any pasta you have on hand instead, just make sure to add the fresh peas in the last 5 minutes of cooking. It's also ok to substitute the nondairy milk that you have on hand. I prefer the So Delicious Coconut Milk because it is already has such a great thick texture.

This recipe is listed on Pennywise Platter, check out some of the other yummy recipes.
Penne with Fresh Peas Topped with a Creamy Sun-dried Tomato Sauce
soy-free and gluten free * with suggested substitutions
Serves 4
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons) minced sun-dried tomatoes
    (I used the food processor since mine were really dry)
  • 2 cups Unsweetened So Delicious Coconut Milk
  • 7 ounces whole wheat penne (* use a gluten-free pasta)
    (about 1/2 a box)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups fresh shelled peas, rinsed
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (* use a gluten-free flour or cornstarch)
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large pot half way with water, cover and bring to a boil. By covering you slow the evaporation of the water and can buy some time for the sauce if needed.
Heat the oil over medium heat then add the garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. (You can use a non-stick pan and leave out the oil if you are reducing fat and/or calories in your diet.) Add milk and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer for 10 minutes. Add pasta to boiling water now.
The pasta will cook about 12 minutes. After it cooks for 7 minutes, add the peas. The pasta and peas should be tender in about 5 minutes.
Once you add the peas to the pasta, go ahead and sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the flour over the sauce mixture. Raise the heat and mix using a whisk. The sauce should thicken, but you can add the other 1 tablespoon of flour if needed. Mix in mint and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Strain the pasta and peas together in the strainer, then mix the pasta and peas in with the sauce in a pan, pot, or serving bowl. Top with extra lemon zest and a sprig of fresh mint.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I'm glad that you've found my newest blog, Busy Vegan. In the past year I have been using my slow cooker more than not since I was writing my first book The Vegan Slow Cooker.

I'm not ever going to stop using my slow cooker but I need a place to put my non-slow cooker recipes. Plus I really need some incentive to start menu planning again.

I'm working on some basic menu planning and pantry info that I will be posting soon. I'm planning on posting my weekly menus along with updates on how I did and what didn't work so well that week.

I'm still writing for my other vegan blog, Healthy Slow Cooking, so stop by there for some slow cooker recipes and tips.