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.

 

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

Homemade Butter

Homemade butter is so incredibly easy to make, it almost feels silly to buy it after you make it the first time.

INGREDIENTS:
Whole Cream
Sea Salt
Love

Step1:
Pour whole cream into a pint-sized jar (or any size jar) with a tight fitting lid. We usually fill it about half way.

Step 2:
Shake it! It takes about 8-10 minutes of shaking, so be patient. Of course, you could just use a mixer, but what fun would that be. For Kennedy we bought one of the cheap plastic containers from Target (the one with the plastic straw and lid with a hole) and used a regular Kerr/Mason jar lid on it. Keep shaking! There will come a point where it wont feel like the liquid is moving anymore, keep going! It will separate into a large lump.

Step 3:Separate the Buttermilk from the Butter. Don’t worry about getting all of the liquid the first time. We don’t generally cook with Buttermilk, so we often just throw this away, but if you do make sure you have a jar or something to save it in. After separating, you will want to add water to the jar and shake it again (a few times) until the rinse water runs mostly clear. You don’t need to shake it long, just a few seconds.

Step 4:
By this point, you have officially made butter, now you just need to do what you can to get as much of the the liquid out as possible. We generally will put it into a large strainer (not necessary) and then put it into a large bowl. You can turn the butter with a spatula or wooden spoon, and strain off the excess liquid as you go; do this until most of the liquid has been removed.

Step 5:
All that remains is to add in any salt/herbs/honey that you choose (or nothing at all). We bought these four wide-mouth 8oz. Kerr Mason Jars for less than 5 dollars from Target. The one 1-liter whole cream container managed to fill two of these, with a little to spare. We love doing this as a family and we hope you will too.

Low-Carb Summer Garden (Zucchini) Pasta with Chili Shrimp

(Serves 4-5)

INGREDIENTS
2    Large Zucchinis
1    Med. Yellow Onion
5    Sweet Peppers
½   Pound Snap Peas
2    Cups Cherry Tomatoes
5    Cloves garlic
1    Lemon (zest)
1    Bunch Cilantro
1    Bunch Green Onion
1    Pound Med. Shrimp
2    Tbsp Thai Chili Paste
1    Tbsp Sesame Oil
2    Tbsp Rice Vinegar
2    Tbsp Fish Sauce
1    Cup Vegetable Stock
Salt/Pepper to taste

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:
Spiralizer
Zester

PREPARATION:
Use Spiralizer to create long zucchini noodles
Mince Garlic
Slice Peppers and Green Onion
Julienne yellow onion

DIRECTIONS:
In a large pan, sauté yellow onion, peppers, and cherry tomatoes on med-high heat for five minutes. Add garlic and sweat for an additional two minutes. Remove from heat and set aside. Sauté shrimp with chili paste for two minutes. Add Vinegar and reduce for one minute. Add fish sauce, sesame oil, and vegetable stock and combine with previously cooked vegetables. Add zucchini noodles and cover. Allow the zucchini to steam for 2-3 minutes. Split the zucchini between four plates. Top with the shrimp, vegetables, and broth. Finish with fresh cilantro, lemon zest, and green onion.

This is easily one of my favorite low-carb dishes that Matt makes at home (I made him write it down). Try it, and let me know how it turned out. It should not disappoint. Total prep and cooking time is less than 30 minutes.

Pear (or Apple) Coffee Cake

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After going to the farm and picking a bag of pears, we decided that we needed to bake something delicious. I’m sure that you could use apples instead of pears for convenience, but the pears worked out really great. The recipe only took about 20 minutes to prepare, and was very simple. Enjoy.

Pear Coffee Cake ———–

INGREDIENTS
Cooking spray / butter
1 tablespoon(ish) of flour to dust the pan

Cake:
1/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups diced skinless pears
½ ripened banana

Topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray an 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray or butter; dust with 1 tablespoon flour. Beat ¼ cup butter and ¾ cup brown sugar together with an electric mixer in a large bowl until light and fluffy. The mixture should be noticeably lighter in color. Beat egg into butter mixture. Add sour cream and vanilla extract to the mixture; beat to integrate. Stir 1 cup flour, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl; add to the butter mixture and beat to combine into a batter. Fold pears into the batter. Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Mix ¼ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup flour, 2 tablespoons butter, and ½ teaspoon cinnamon together in a bowl using a fork to achieve a crumbly consistency; sprinkle over the top of the batter. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before removing to cool completely on a wire rack.

That’s it. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this and Matt has already put in his request for this to be his birthday cake next year.