The Bestest Vegan Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

In truth, I was tempted to not write “vegan” in the title of these chocolate chip cookies because they are amazing, vegan or otherwise. This is another recipe that comes from my boss (and friend) and just knocks it out of the park. Matt and I have been on this fitness kick and haven’t been eating much of this sort of thing, but if i’m going to feel guilty about something, these are worth it. The only drawback about these is that you do need to plan slightly ahead, because the dough needs to refrigerate for 12-24 hours. On the plus, prep time is minimal, so you just have to know how to ignore the pile of cookie dough in the fridge all day… ahem…

INGREDIENTS:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 dark chocolate chips (double check the ingredients to make sure they’re vegan if thats important to you)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup olive/canola/grapeseed oil
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
Coarse grain sea salt (garnish)

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips to the flour mixture and toss to coat. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugars briskly with the oil and water until smooth and incorporated. Add vanilla. Stir. Add the wet and dry ingredients until combined, do not over mix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 12-24 hours. (NO CHEATING!) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two pans with foil (spray with a little olive oil) or parchment paper. Remove dough from the refrigerator and use an ice cream scoop (or spoon) to portion into 2 inch balls. Freeze the balls for 10 minutes; this will help them retain their shape better when baking. Sprinkle the balls of dough with coarse sea-salt and bake 12-13 minutes until golden. Careful not to overbake.

 

Spicy Ginger & Coconut Stew (v)

Something about overcast days that just scream stew. Seeing as though I don’t eat meat, and I try to avoid large amounts of potato, I had to come up with something that still satisfied the cravings; I’m pretty proud of this one. I have made it unapologetically twice over the last two weeks, and warmed it as leftovers for myself a handful of times after that. You can easily spice it up or keep it mild, and this easily makes plenty to eat tomorrow. On with it…

Makes 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS:
1 tbsp coconut or olive oil
1 med. red onion (chopped)
1.5 lbs brussel sprouts (halved or quartered if large)
2 tbsp ginger (minced)
4-5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 large sweet potato (peeled and diced 1/2 inch)
1 zucchini (green beans are good too)
4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 can coconut milk
1 can chickpeas (rinsed/drained)
Juice of 1 small lime
Zest of 1/2 lime
Salt/pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
In a large pot, saute onions in oil until lightly brown. Add brussel sprouts and cook on med-high until most have some brown on them (4-5 minutes). Add ginger, garlic, and red pepper and cook for another minute. Add the vegetable broth, zucchini (quartered and sliced), and sweet potato and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add chickpeas and lime zest and reduce heat to simmer. After about 5 minutes, add lime juice and coconut milk. If you’re like me, add a shit ton of salt and pepper. Simmer a few more minutes to allow all the flavors combine. Thats it.

Spicy Red Pepper Jelly

Dear Red Pepper Jelly,

We love you.

Sincerely,
Me

This recipe (and plenty others) have come from my most favorite boss (and friend) at work. In our house, this stuff is like liquid crack. After I have fought the darkness for 30 minutes and Kennedy has fallen to sleep, this is often the reason I find to remove myself from the warmth of the bed.This, with some Point Reyes Original Blue, has been a staple on Game of Thrones nights. Red Pepper Jelly is really easy to make, and doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or effort. Before I found this recipe, a lot of the red bells from the garden were going to waste because they all tend to ripen at the same time… and it was a great excuse to use some hot peppers too. Anyhow, I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as I do.

INGREDIENTS:
3 Red bell peppers
A few red hot peppers
1 cup white vinegar
3 cups sugar
1 tsp. salt
(Pectin is quicker, but optional)

DIRECTIONS (makes 3-4 jars):

  1. Remove the seeds and veins from the bell peppers and pulse them in the food processor until the bell pepper is finely chopped (not paste).
  2. Combine peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a low boil. Continue to cook until the mixture has thickened to your preference (about 30 minutes) and put in canning jars. You can test the thickness by putting a little on a dish in the freezer for a few minutes, to see how it looks. The Jelly will thicken as it cools. If you prefer to use Pectin, skip this step and do number 3 (below) instead.
  3. Combine peppers, vinegar, salt, and sugar and bring to a rapid boil for 5 minutes. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of Sure- Jell (I prefer the pink no-sugar) box, and return to boil for 2 minutes. Put in canning jars.
  4. Seal and process jars for 15 minutes in a water bath.

FYI: I would error on the side of adding more hot peppers than you think you will need; it has never turned out as hot as I expected.

Homemade Grape Jelly

Who doesn’t love grape jelly? Me! Uh… Well… Ok. I can’t say I LOOOOVE grape jelly, but I like it, and when you have a bathtub full of grapes that will go bad before you can eat them, then you learn to LOOOOVE grape jelly. This recipe is fairly standard, tastes great, uses less sugar than other recipes, and is pretty freaking simple. I did write this under the assumption that you have a large pot for canning, the basic tools, and have read at least a basic guide to canning that can be followed. Basically, what I’m saying is, I’ll tell you what to put in the jar, and you have to know how to make the jar seal. mmmmkay.

INGREDIENTS:
5 cups grape juice (approx 5lbs grapes)
1 1/2 cups water
1 box Sure-Jell no sugar needed pectin (Pink box)
3 1/2 cups sugar

DIRECTIONS:
1. Be a Martha F’n Stewart and grow yourself about 5 pounds of grapes.
2. Beg others to remove grapes from stems; I recommend children and in-laws, but anyone with hands will do. Please note, those are not my hands (Thanks Bronda!).

3. Rinse off all signs of squirrels, birds, rats, and other grape thieving beings. No joking. If I recently gave you grape jelly, I watched rats feasting on them last week. Do you trust me?
4. Blend in food processor and add to pot with 1 1/2 cups water. Boil 10 minutes.

5. Strain and squeeze out the grape vomit until you have 5 cups juice.
6. Return juice to pot and add 1 box pectin. Mix.
7. Bring back to a boil, add sugar, boil for one minute, and remove from heat.
8. Add to 8 oz jars, seal, process in a water bath for 5 minutes.

BAM!

Cucumber Watermelon Fruit Salad

There is a such thing as bad fruit salad, even when all of the fruit is in-season and ripe. This is our go-to for fruit salad, and without fail, if I bring this to a potluck someone will always ask for the recipe; it’s that good.

INGREDIENTS:
1 small-medium sized watermelon (small soccerball)
1-2 basket strawberries
1 cucumber (large hump toy)
12-15 leaves Thai Basil (shredded)
1 lemon (zest only)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

DIRECTIONS: I almost feel ridiculous writing the directions for this, but I’ll go ahead and waste your time. Cube the watermelon. Quarter the strawberries. Hack up the cucumber (skin on). Shred the basil. Zest the lemon. Throw it all into a bowl. Add Olive oil. Wiggle. Shake. Stir. Wiggle. Wiggle. Wiggle. (Your butt looks great by the way).

Eat.

Vegan Italian Sausages

Speaking of poop, this sausage recipe looks like shit… but it is super! The first time I made it I screwed it up by adding 2 cans of beans instead of 1/2 cup. No bueno. The second time I had Kennedy helping me and I was sure I measured everything right, except the dough was really wet and I must have screwed up measuring the liquid (That’s what happens when you have to measure with smaller measuring cups because the 1- cup measuring cup was being used as a drum and is lost in the deep unknown of the toy box).  But the third time, without Kennedy’s fine cooking skills and her being distracted by The PowerPuff Girls, it turned out amazing. I really love this sausage recipe.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup cooked great northern white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed, crushed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Several dashes fresh black pepper

DIRECTIONS
Before starting, set aside five sheets of tin foil, each about 4-5 inches wide. Additionally, you’ll want to place the steamer in a large pot with water filled just up to the bottom of the apparatus, and bring the water to a boil. In one bowl, mash beans into a pile of mush. Add vegetable broth, tomato paste, soy sauce and garlic. Combine and set aside. In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Merge the wet and dry ingredients and divide into 5 poo-logs. Wrap each individual turd with foil, place in steamer, and put the lid on. Steam for 40 minutes. Usually after 20 minutes I am paranoid that the water has burned off and boil some additional too add, just in case. For the record, I’ve always had plenty. After 40 minutes, I usually will just turn off the heat and walk away for awhile to let them cool, unless I plan on eating them at that moment. Before serving, throw a little oil in a pan and saute them. That’s it. When I don’t feel like cooking, I’ll throw this and a little BBQ sauce on a sad piece of bread, and its the best thing ever.

Sweet Potato Tacos (Vegan)

I cannot possibly tell you how much I love these tacos without it sounding like i’m either completely overstating the truth, or completely understating just how great these really are. But, let me tell you, I LOVE these. They are easy, and quick, and really really stinking good… Do it!

INGREDIENTS (serves 3):
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb peeled and shredded)
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 Tbsp Hot sauce
1/3 tsp cumin
1/3 cup Texture Vegetable Protein (TVP)
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1/3 cup corn
Salt & Pepper
8 corn tortillas
2 limes
3 Tbsp Cilantro
Pico de gallo (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Cheater warning: Instead of the fresh onion and bell peppers, I usually add 1/2 of the frozen fire roasted bell pepper/onion mix from Trader Joe’s (don’t judge).

DIRECTIONS:
Peel sweet potatoes and shred (either with box grater or in Cuisinart). Combine sweet potato, TVP, garlic, cumin, hot sauce, and salt and pepper (be generous). Stir and set aside.

In a large pan, add oil and saute onion, bell peppers, and corn until soft (about two minutes, or five if you are a cheater and use frozen like me). Add in the sweet potato mixture and cook for 6-8 minutes, or until cooked. Salt/Pepper. Squeeze 1/2 of a small lime over it all and stir.

In a separate pan, warm up each of the corn tortillas with a little oil. Fill the shells with the sweet potato mixture, and top with lime and cilantro. Add Pico de Gallo and Sour Cream, if desired.

Original Recipe here