Sunday, December 30, 2012

Veggie-stuffed Shells

 Okay.  Not to toot my own horn, but these are the first stuffed shells I've made without a tofu mixture, and they are pretty darn amazing.  The filling is mostly just veggies and beans!  I basically took a bunch of stuff in my fridge, sauteed it all together and stuffed it in the pasta shells.  If you follow this recipe and don't have some of the ingredients, add whatever you have and enjoy!


1/2 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup kale, chopped
2 tablespoons sun dried tomatoes in oil
1/2 cup spaghetti squash (left over from Christmas dinner)
1 cup black beans
1/2 cup Daiya vegan cheese (I used the cheddar flavor because that's all I had)
1/2 cup cheesey sauce (leftover from the mac and cheese I made for Christmas dinner)
1/2 jar traditional marinara sauce from Trader Joe's

1/2 box jumbo pasta shells


Saute the onions, garlic and kale until soft.  Add the rest of the ingredients for the filling, and half the Daiya vegan cheese.

Carefully spoon the filling into the shells.  Cover dish with tomato sauce and sprinkle the other half of the Daiya vegan cheese on top.

Bake at 375 for 30 minutes.

Spinach-Artichoke Dip

As we know, this is one of my favorite things to make.  I've never followed the same recipe, and it's different every time.

This is what I did this time:


 2 tablespoons oil
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 1/4 cups artichoke hearts, canned or jarred
4-5 cups fresh spinach
2 tablespoons Vegenaise
1 tablespoon Tofutti Cream Cheese


Over medium heat, saute the spices, onion, and garlic until soft.  Add the artichokes and stir well.   When the artichoke mixture is nice and hot, add half of the spinach, and mix until the spinach is wilted.

Meantime, put the rest of the spinach in a large bowl with the Vegenaise and Tofutti cream cheese. 

Add the hot artichoke and spinach mixture to the large bowl and mix everything well.

Serve hot or put in fridge and serve cold.  It's amazing and totally dairy-free either way. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012


For the past three years, we've skipped the airport crowds and just stayed here in San Diego for the holidays.  Last year, my parents were here, but this year it's just us again.  (My brother and sister-in-law arrive here on Christmas day.)

For Christmas Eve, we like to stay in and watch a Christmas movie while feasting on a smorgasbord of very simple hors d'oeuvre's.  It's easy, and we love it, and it's a tradition.

Our smorgasbord usually includes all or some of the following:

olives, black and green
roasted red peppers
crackers and hummus
chips and salsa

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Black Bean, Kale and Zucchini Soup

What's better than soup on a cool winter's eve in December?  I'm pretty sure nothing.  Well if we want to get specific, then bean soup.  My favorite kind.

This time, I added sauteed onions, zucchini, and threw in some kale right at the end.  I served it over red quinoa, and it was delish! 

Sorry, no detailed recipe.  It was one of those times where I kind of just threw a bunch of things from fridge together and out came a yummy, hearty soup.  Basic ingredients:  Black beans, onions, zucchini, and kale.  Add seasonings and some vegetable broth and there you go.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


 We went camping at Pismo Beach this weekend, which was awesome and so much fun.  We were literally camping right on the beach.  It was pretty cold, but we still managed to make some "gourmet" meals in our little camper-trailer. 

Pictured above, you see our fancy gnocchi dinner.  It was so cold, I couldn't get it to stop steaming for the picture.  All I did to make this was saute some onions, add a jar of traditional marinara sauce, and boil the gnocchi according to the package.  I added some spinach salad and done.  Dinner is served.  Camper style.

Easy Peasy (Cheesey) Pasta

I think I must have mentioned before that after every time I babysit, I always want mac and cheese so bad!  I always make it for the kids, but can't have any and it looks so good that I have to immediately come home and make a vegan version.

Well, this time I didn't exactly make mac and cheese, but instead I followed a Chloe's Kitchen recipe that I've made before.  See original post.  It's almost like mac and cheese, and just as good.  It's supposed to be a pasta salad recipe, but we eat it hot and it's so delicious.  FYI, we ate the entire pot.  I put our first servings in ramekins and browned them a little in the oven.  After that, we pretty much just ate the rest right out of the pot like savages or something.  I mean, seriously.

Easy Peasy Pasta


1 small new potato, red or white, peeled and quartered
1 pound pasta (I used Quinoa pasta this time)
1 1/2 cups frozen peas
1 clove garlic
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon drained capers
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 heaping teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup cold water
2/3 cup olive oil


Place potato in a small saucepan and cover with salted water.  Bring to a boil and let cook until tender.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and let potatoes cool completely.

Cook pasta according to package.  Add frozen peas to the boiling pasta right before draining.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain again.  Transfer pasta and peas to a large serving bowl.

Meanwhile, combine cooled potatoes, garlic, tomato paste, mustard, capers, oregano, basil, salt, and water in a food processor.  Slowly add the oil in a thin stream and process until smooth.  Toss pasta and peas with sauce, and adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.  (Remember, I served mine warm/hot and it was great.)

Indian-Spiced Bean Soup

I made this bean soup from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living, and as much as I love bean soup, this one was just okay.  I followed the recipe exactly, but it was super spicy and bland at the same time.  Hmm, not sure what went wrong, but oh well.  Here's the recipe if anyone else wants to try.  We still ate it, we just had to add more salt and mix it with a lot of rice and pita bread for the spiciness.


  • 1 tablespoon safflower oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic (from 4 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • 1 or 2 green Thai chiles, jalapeno chiles, or other fresh chiles, finely chopped, plus more, sliced, for serving
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 can (15 ounces) peeled plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped, with juice
  • 4 cups cooked beans, plus 2 cups cooking liquid
  • Pinch of coarse salt
  • Yogurt, cilantro sprigs, and pita chips, for serving


  1. Heat oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Add ginger, chopped chiles, and spices; cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes and their juice, beans and their liquid, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
  3. Coarsely mash a third of the beans in pot using a potato masher or an immersion blender; stir to blend into soup.
  4. Top with yogurt, cilantro sprigs, and sliced chiles, and serve with pita chips.

Chocolate-Pumpkin Cake

Sometimes a vegan just needs some cake.  Am I right or am I right?  This is the easiest vegan cake recipe in the world.  And although it's not from scratch at all, it's super quick and simple to make, and when the craving for chocolate cake hits, it's perfect.  If you're against packaged and processed foods please skip this post.


1 box of chocolate cake mix (read the labels to find one that doesn't contain dairy ingredients)
1 can of 100% pumpkin

--Mix the cake mix and pumpkin together well
--Pour into cake tins
--Bake according to cake mix package

That's it.  Seriously

I also added some icing from the container (because, yes, it's technically vegan) and sprinkled crushed almonds and chocolate sprinkles on top.

And it's A-MAZ-ING.

Brussel Sprout Salad

I made this salad for Thanksgiving dinner (yes, I know that was ages ago) and my family raved about it.  It is another no-fail recipe from Whole Living magazine.  And it is now my new favorite salad.  I love brussel sprouts, but who would have thought of using them like this in a salad.  Yum.


  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon (1 teaspoon) plus 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, leaves separated
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 1 avocado, sliced


  1. Whisk lemon zest and juice and mustard in a small bowl. Gradually add oil, whisking to emulsify, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Toss dressing with brussels sprout leaves and pumpkin seeds. Gently stir in avocado and adjust seasoning.