Takeout Fakeout: Vegan Pizza

Ok, so pizza doesn’t really need too much of an in-depth recipe post, but today happens to be “National Vegan Pizza Day.” I thought it would be fitting do do a pizza recipe post, regardless of the simplicity. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy looking at food photos? For those of you who aren’t vegan, think of today as a guilt-free excuse to indulge in pizza if you don’t normally 😉

I have to admit: I cheated and bought my crust in a package. (Fun fact: I happen to love a thin crust and can never get it right when I buy my own raw dough, so pre-made is the way I always go). Opt for a whole wheat crust if you can—I just happened to have this original one on hand. Making pizza isn’t exactly rocket science, but in case you’re wondering what I’ve put on the one pictured above, see the rest of the post below:

Ingredients + Toppings

  • ∞  1 pizza shell (I typically buy 16″-18″)
  • ∞  1 tbsp EVOO (may need more depending on size of pizza shell)
  • ∞  Green / Red bell peppers, sliced to your liking
  • ∞  White mushrooms
  • ∞  Kalamata olives + Black olives
  • ∞  Fresh tomatoes, cut into wedges (used as a replacement for actual sauce)
  • ∞  Baby spinach, prepped by microwaving for 15-20 seconds before putting on pizza
  • ∞  Daiya vegan mozzarella cheese
  • ∞  Fresh parsley
  • ∞  Fresh rosemary
  • ∞  Dried spices: Crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, + dried garlic

  1. Preheat oven to 450° and prep your toppings
  2. Coat your pizza shell evenly with Extra Virgin Olive Oil—this will help to brown your crust
  3. Add veggies to the pizza shell, distributing evenly…or not, if that’s how you like it
  4. Add cheese…I like a really cheese-y pizza, so I used the whole bag of Daiya
  5. Add fresh herbs and spices
  6. Place pizza in the oven for 15 minutes, but make sure to check after 8 minutes to rotate if needed. Tip: Put directly on the metal rack for a crispier crust.
  7. Remove from oven, and allow to cool for about 5-10mins.
  8. Devour to your heart’s content

All Instagrams are my own

Post-Holiday Holiday Meal

While you may want to block out your holiday experience from the past month or so (“stressful” doesn’t even come close), there is one thing that I love about that time of year no matter how much it makes me want to pull my hair out. It is a designated time for bringing people and loved ones together, despite our personal schedules. To keep that yule tide going, I whipped up my own mini-holiday meal after the holidays to do just that: bring friends together. Below are four yummy recipes to enjoy any time of year, stress free!

Spicy Butternut Squash Cubettes

  • Ingredients

  • ∞  1 package cubed butternut squash (Trader Joe’s has the perfect size!)
  • ∞  1 tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
  • ∞  1 tsp ground cinnamon (or more to taste)
  • ∞  1 tsp cayenne (or more to taste)
  • ∞  Maple syrup
  • ∞  Canola oil
  1. Preheat oven to 400º F
  2. In a plastic gallon-size seal-able bag mix a tablespoon or 2 of canola oil, all spices, and squash in bag, making sure to blow air inside bag before sealing (almost to full capacity). Once bag is sealed, start turning the beach-ball like bag of ingredients around and around until squash cubes appear to be evenly coated.
  3. On a cookie sheet lined with foil, evenly distribute the squash to create a single layer. Drizzle a coating of maple syrup to your liking.
  4. Bake at 400º F for 35mins. Remove baking sheet from oven; flip or rotate squash cubes.
  5. Lower oven to 350º F for 20mins.
  6. Take out to let cool. Enjoy!

Garlicky Kale

  • Ingredients

  • ∞  1 package prepped green kale “cooking greens”
  • ∞  5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ∞  1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used low sodium)
  • ∞  1/4 slivered yellow onion (I prefer a very slender cut for onions)
  • ∞  EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
  1. In a large skillet, heat 2tbs EVOO over medium heat. Sautée garlic and onions until simmering and slightly browning.
  2. Add kale and broth, making sure to lower heat and toss to coat kale with garlic evenly.
  3. Lower heat and simmer. Taste to see if its your preferred crunchiness. If you want a softer kale, continue to cook another 5-10mins, adding a tablespoon extra broth or water to the skillet.
  4. Taste test again, and enjoy!

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

  • Ingredients

  • ∞  2 cans cut green beans
  • ∞  5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ∞  1 slice vegan butter 1/4″ thick (I prefer Earth Balance buttery sticks)
  • ∞  2 tbs salted soy sauce (low-sodium will not taste the same! I made that mistake once before—not bad, but not the same)
  • ∞  1 cup unsweetened soy milk
  • ∞  3 spoonfuls of flour
  • ∞  1 can fried onion topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350º F.
  2. In a medium saucepan on the stove. Over a medium temp, heat the garlic, vegan butter, soy sauce, soy milk, and flour. Stir until mixture is liquid.
  3. Once the mixture turns into a sauce and is thoroughly heated, add in the green beans. Stir until beans are coated.
  4. Transfer mixture to casserole dish, top with fried onion topping. Put in oven and bake at 300º F for 20mins.
  5. Take out and enjoy!

High-er Protein Mashed Potatoes

  • Ingredients

  • ∞  1-2 packages of small potatoes (think fingerling size. I used red new potatoes)
  • ∞  3-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ∞  EVOO
  • ∞  1/2 can Cannellini beans
  • ∞  1/4 yellow onion, cooked (use the other half from the garlicky kale)
  • ∞  1c unsweetened soy milk
  1. Bring at least 6 cups water to a boil in a large pot.
  2. Add all potatoes to pot. Boil for 20mins.
  3. Sautée onion and garlic in 1-2 tbs EVOO in a small pan until golden and slightly browning
  4. Combine onion, garlic, boiled potatoes into blender. Add 1/2 cup of unsweetened unflavored soy milk. Begin to purée. NOTE: You will want to at least cut the cooked potatoes in half so they will puree easier in your blender.
  5. Add the cannellini beans and puree again, adding additional soy milk to the blender as needed.
  6. Puree to desired texture. Serve and enjoy!

Photos via my Instagram account

The Dreaded New Years Resolution

I hope everyone had a safe and happy NYE celebration! Now that 2013 has officially begun, what is your New Year’s Resolution?

I always used to make resolutions I would forget about as soon as March rolled around. Since I turned 20 I’ve been making a conscious effort to make resolutions that are legitimate things I’ve wanted to change about my lifestyle for the better. For instance, last year my resolution was to take a daily multi-vitamin plus a hair, skin + nails supplement. To this day, I have kept that resolution.

This year I’m torn between two resolutions I should really make: 1. Faithfully do yoga or some sort of physical activity for at least 20mins 3 days per week, and 2. Decrease my frequency of online shopping and make the effort to go into the store to purchase. That last one is a huge challenge for me; the majority of my online shopping is on sites that don’t have retail stores (Zappos anyone?) or stores that are based in the UK. It’s less of a resolution and more of a way to keep my shopping addiction in check. Typing that, I can already tell the first one is going to be the one for 2013 😉

If you’re unsure of what to make your resolutions about, see my breakdown of worthwhile and waste-of-time resolutions below. If you’re the type that writes off New Year resolutions…why are you reading this post?

Resolutions that are Worth Making:

Lifestyle Changes

Legitimate changes that you will stick to because of health, environment, social good—something with an incentive for you or for a cause you believe in.

  • ∞  I will take public transportation twice a week to decrease my gas expenses and consumption
  • ∞  I will eliminate all fast food, or fried food, from my diet
  • ∞  I will donate the money I would have used for a daily Starbucks run to a charity of choice (may be best to save up over the course of a week or a month to make an impressionable donation)
  • BBBBB• If you’re not in the position to give away money (yes, college readers I’m talking to you) then simply use the money from one Starbucks trip to buy a bag of coffee/box of tea and save the money from your daily Starbucks addiction for something more worthy of your money: a bus trip to visit your friend? A graduation dress? A manicure?
  • ∞  I will make sure to wash off all makeup before bed EVERY NIGHT to decrease my acne from sleeping with makeup on and getting clogged pores
  • ∞  I will make a conscious effort to recycle all plastic, glass, and metal waste I produce

 

Resolutions to Stop Kidding Yourself Over:

Dietary Changes

If you still refer to changes in your food consumption as “going on a diet” then it’s not a resolution. It’s a short-term temporary change that you won’t commit to. Once you stop putting a label on the changes you’re making to your diet you will have less of an ability to brush them off. For instance, people often say “Oh, I was bad: I broke my diet this weekend.” If you’re making a legitimate change to your eating habits then its becoming part of your normal routine, not a temporary fix to shave off a few pounds. Fun fact: ____% of people who “go on a diet,” gain all the weight right back after their diet ends. The solution: make your “diet” a permanent lifestyle change. That’s the best way to keep those lost pounds off, and to make a permanent healthy change (NOTE: consult your physician for an optimum diet change, if you’re unsure).

Habit Changes

It takes 6-8 weeks for an action to become a habit. If you honestly think telling yourself that  “I’m going to work out more this year” is going to get your butt off the couch, think again. If you honestly do want to start working out more, find what you’re comfortable with first. Working out doesn’t mean you have to join a gym—I work out in my living room! You just need to find what you’re comfortable with: running, strength training, yoga, Pilates, dance classes, cycling, whatever it may be test the waters to find your perfect fit, no gym membership fees required. Once you find your niche start out doing it 2-3 days a week to make sure you like it enough to stick with it. From there, just have fun with it!

Vague Statements

Saying “I’m going to swear less” or “I’m going to work out more” is a nice thought, but unless you give yourself a bit more structure to the statement, you’re going to forget about it and no change will be made. Instead, try “I’m going to swear less. To ensure this happens, I’m going to keep a ‘swear jar’ and every time I say a profanity, I contribute a minimum of ____ cents/dollars.” If you give yourself a monetary punishment/reward system you might feel more inclined to stop that bad habit, especially if it comes to a point of “I can’t buy my morning coffee—I swore too much this weekend,” Ha!

Photo via

Takeout Fakeout: Veggie Lo Mein

While some of us count down the days ’til Christmas morning, are others counting down the days until Chinese restaurants and a day at the movies? For my non-Christian readers, I have a special treat just for you. After hearing for ages that Chinese restaurants are packed on Christmas day, I thought I’d offer you an at-home version of my favorite dish: Vegetable Lo Mein. Typically serves 4 (all depends on how many veggies you add!)

Ingredients

  • ∞  1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • ∞  4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ∞  2 tbsp canola oil
  • ∞  1 small red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ∞  1 small yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ∞  1 package white mushrooms, sliced to your liking
  • ∞  1 baby bok choy (both stalks and leafy tips), thinly sliced on an angle
  • ∞  5-8 baby carrots, thinly sliced
  • ∞  1 cup snow peas (trim the ends, first)
  • ∞  1 cup mung bean sprouts
  • ∞  1 package lo mein noodles (you will use half)

Sauce Ingredients

  • ∞  3 tsp grated ginger (I buy this tube instead of grating fresh ginger)
  • ∞  2 tbsp vegan fish sauce
  • ∞  2 tbsp Hoisin sauce
  • ∞  1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • ∞  Sriracha hot sauce to taste

  1. Prep your ingredients.
  2. In a large skillet saute the onion and garlic in canola oil until onions are translucent.
  3. Add only the crunchy veggies to the skillet. They take the longest to cook, so cook ’em first! This would be all bell peppers, bok choy stems + leaves, carrots, and snow peas. Cook until carrots are tender.
  4. In a separate sauce pot, bring half a pot of water to a boil. Since Roland’s brand of lo mein noodles comes in bunches of 4 per package, use 2 bunches. Cook according to package instructions. Set aside.
  5. In skillet, add in the softer ingredients: mushrooms + bean sprouts. Before mushrooms are fully cooked, add the cooked lo mein noodles to your skillet. NOTE: Be careful, your skillet will be VERY full.
  6. Add in sauce ingredients one by one. I never pre-make a sauce and add it; I always add each ingredient then taste-test to adjust. The measurements I’ve listed above are generally what I do (sometimes I like it more ginger-y or spicier). Thoroughly stir all ingredients in the skillet after each addition to ensure that everything gets coated.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

There are so many variations you can try, it’s all in the ingredients! To try your own variation, consult the list below or come up with your own. You may know of/prefer ingredients I haven’t listed!

Other Additional Ingredients

  • ∞  1/2 can green peas
  • ∞  Broccoli florets
  • ∞  Cauliflower florets
  • ∞  Water chestnuts
  • ∞  Bamboo
  • ∞  Sriracha
  • ∞  Meat substitutes: cubed tofu, seitan strips
  • ∞  Meat: chicken, pork, beef, shrimp

Enjoy!

 

 

Instagrams are my own

 

Vegan Hot Chocolate Recipe

The stress of final exams, the minor stress when realizing senior year of college is half over, and remembering “Sh*#—I’m still not done Christmas shopping” just makes me want to crawl into bed with a cup of hot cocoa and a good book. Today’s post can achieve half of that! I present you with…my new favorite Vegan Hot Chocolate recipe! I made my version with sweetened almond milk, but feel free to try sweetened soy milk, cashew milk, etc. if you prefer.  I recommend making this in a pot on the stove so the cocoa powder can fully mix and dissolve in the liquid. [NOTE:] The following ingredient list contains vague measurements because when you’re in the mood for hot chocolate it’s all about taste testing to get it just right 🙂 This recipe makes 1 serving:

  • Ingredients
  • ∞  1 1/2 – 2 cups sweetened almond milk
  • ∞  1 spoonful vanilla extract
  • ∞  2-3 spoonfuls of cocoa powder (I used unsweetened)
  • ∞  1/2 – 1 spoonful of sugar (adjust according to your taste)
  • ∞  Sprinkling of ground cinnamon (adjust according to your taste)

Pics L->R: My size “spoonful” of cocoa powder, The ingredients I used, The amount of sugar in my “spoonful of sugar”. CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE
  1. Pour almond milk into small pot over medium heat on the stove. Stir in vanilla extract.
  2. Add in cocoa powder, making sure each spoonful is thoroughly mixed before adding the next.
  3. Mix in a spoonful of sugar based on your taste, and a sprinkling of cinnamon if you’d like.
  4. Heat over medium heat, stirring, until ingredients are thoroughly mixed and liquid is at ideal temperature.
  5. Pour into favorite mug. Sit, sip, enjoy!

Pics L->R: Make sure to stir the cocoa often, WARNING: If you let the cocoa simmer, it has a tendency to overflow, Enjoy your creamy hot treat in your favorite mug. CLICK ON PICS TO ENLARGE

 

If you like this recipe, make a batch with your own spin on it! Try adding:

  • ∞  Marshmallows
  • ∞  Chocolate chips
  • ∞  Mint leaves
  • ∞  Pumpkin Spice
  • ∞  Coffee (flavored or not)
  • ∞  Cayenne Pepper + Cinnamon
  • ∞  Alcohol of your choice

 

Other Hot Chocolate Recipes to Try:

 

Banner photo via, Instagram pics are my own. My variation was based on this original recipe.