Sweet and Tangy Baked Beans

These baked beans are incredible. No joke. And they happened to already be vegan! My mom always made baked beans this way when I was growing up. When I had just plain beans out the can at my friends’ houses, I would think why? why would you eat something so boring? Michael loves them too. I could make these everyday and he wouldn’t complain. I could go on and on, but please make them for yourself and see. 

This recipe makes 6 serving.

Baked Beans
55 oz can vegetarian baked beans 
8 oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1/2 white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 tsp mustard powder 
Salt and Pepper, to taste as needed 
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Make sure you work in the mustard powder, painful to bite into a pocket of that stuff. 
Baked for 30 minutes, or until bubbly. 
It it cool slightly before serving and then enjoy! It’s a great summertime treat, I took a big tray (made 3 times the amount) to a family picnic. I love it with a juicy Tofurky Brat

Insanely Moist Carrot Cake

First off, I have some exciting news! I had my baby! Jack was born two weeks ago and he is perfect. Check out my other blog for his full birth story
My mom came for a month to help take care of us—for which I am insanely grateful. She left today and I wish she could come back already. She took care of all the cooking so I apologize for not having any new recipes lately. However, she made me an awesome treat for Easter that I wanted to share.
Carrot cake will always remind me of my grandmother. No one else in my family likes carrot cake but me, so she only made it when I was visiting. Sweet carrots, rich cream cheese frosting, and the smile on her face when I took the first bite. Such happy memories. Then my mom burst my bubble few years ago and told me she used a box mix. Oh well, I still cherish those memories. At least she would doctor it up with extra carrots, walnuts, and raisins.
So I asked my mom if she would make me a carrot cake for Easter. She also used a box mix but doctored it up. Now, no offense to late grandmother, but my mom’s cake was AMAZING. Light but insanely moist. Just the right amount of sweetness with light creamy frosting. 
This recipe makes one sheet cake. Because this cake is vegan and does not have eggs, it will not rise significantly. As a result, I would not suggest making this into a layer cake. 
Carrot Cake
Cake
1 box carrot cake mix (check to make sure it is vegan)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 can crushed pineapple in juice
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Frosting
1 container of vegan cream cheese 
1 cup powder sugar 
Pre-heat the oven to temperature for a sheet cake as specified on the box. 
Spray a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together all the cake ingredients. Use the whole can of pineapple, juice included. 
Bake according the the directions on the box. However, since there are no eggs it may take a bit longer. Adjust the time as needed. Like a regular cake, a toothpick inserted in the middle should be clean when removed.
Once the cake is cooled, make the frosting. Mix together the cream cheese and powder sugar. It will just be a light frosting/glaze. 
Spread on the cake and let it set. 
It’s so insanely moist, I love it. Maybe Jack will take after me and love carrot cake too. Maybe he can have happy memories eating it with his grandma too. And maybe you can bake up this treat and make memories of your own.

Homemade Applesauce

This recipe to accompany my last post, Vegan Potato Pancakes. Applesauce is soooo easy to make. And it tastes so much better fresh. I used Golden Delicious apples because they are my favorite, but any red apple will do. I also don’t use that much sugar because I honestly don’t think it needs it. Apples are sweet enough as it is, just a little bit more sugar makes it a treat.

This recipe makes 4 servings, but can be easily multiplied to make more.
Applesauce

6 red apples (I used Golden Delicious)
1 cup water
2 tbs of sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Peel the apples and cut the fruit off the core. Chop the apples. Don’t worry too much about size and evenness at this point, just get them smaller.
Put the apple pieces and all remaining ingredients in a pot. 
Bring it to a boil, reduce to a simmer then cover.
Cook for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the apples are so tender you can’t even stab them with a fork without them falling apart. 
Remove from the heat and let it cool completely.

You can leave it this if you want it really chunky. For smoother sauce, pulse it in the blender for minute. I left a few chunks in mine.

Serve it as side dish, a snack, or even dessert!

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes

This is a delicious but simple breakfast I like to make weekend mornings. I used Bisquick (it’s vegan), but you can use any other pancake mix or make them totally from scratch too. I add pumpkin puree to this recipe for more fiber. And acts as a binder. Plus it gives them a lovely golden color.

This recipe makes 6-8 pancakes and will serve two people.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Pancakes
1/2 cup low or no sugar strawberry jam or preserves (also make sure it has no high fructose corn syrup)
1/4 water
2/3 cup Bisquick
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
4 tbs peanut butter, chunky or smooth is fine
1/4 cup soy milk, as needed

In a small sauce pan over medium-low heat, mix together the strawberry jam and water. Heat up it, but do not let it boil. It should be runny is like syrup, not thick like jam.

Cover the pot and turn off the heat, set aside.

In a mixing bowl, add the Bisquick, pumpkin puree, and peanut butter. Mix together well, trying to work out all the lumps. Add a little soy milk at a time to help it smooth out. The batter should be smooth but still on the thicker side.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat.

Once the pan is heated up, pour on the batter. I like smaller pancakes so I used about 1/4 cup of batter per pancake. If you like bigger ones, do as much as you like.

These will not bubble up like traditional pancakes, so you will need to check the bottoms occasionally to see when to flip. Once the bottom is slightly browned, flip.

This side will puff up like a traditional pancake, but still check the bottom occasionally until it’s slightly browned too.

Plate up your pancakes and drizzle on your jam syrup.

Now dig in and enjoy! A very filling and comforting breakfast.

Chai Chaos Smoothie

Chai pumpkin, vanilla, and strawberry? I know that sounds weird, but that is what I wanted this morning (hey, I’m pregnant, give me a break). It was actually really good! I am in love with smoothies right now. Michael found a NutriBullet on a special sale at Target (they were out of some toaster so they restocked it with a NutriBullet for that price, making it around 40% off). I am in love! It’s so much easier to use than blender and cleans way easier than my food processor.

Even if you don’t have a NutriBullet, try this smoothie, no one flavor over powers the other.

This make one of the tall NutriBullet cups, could be a meal for one or a snack for two (Michael and I shared one on the way to work).





Chai Chaos Smoothie
4 tbs of Tazo Chai Tea Pumpkin Pie Concentrate 
1/2 frozen strawberries
2 scoop vanilla soy protein powder (I used Trader Joe’s brand and any type of plant-based powder is fine)
2 cups soy milk (any non-dairy milk is fine)

Add all ingredients into the your blender or NutriBullet, and blend until smooth.

Pour into a glass or twist on your lip rings.

Now enjoy the spicy sweet, and creamy treat! Makes a great wake-me-up on your way to work.

Apple Walnut Salad with Tofu

Part of my prenatal care includes a nutritionist, which I think all prenatal programs should have. An expert separate from your OB/GYN that just focuses on how you are eating and proper weight gain. As knowledgeable and beneficial my nutritionist is, I am kind of annoyed with her. I told her I was vegan—no animal products, honey, or eggs. Then we went over my diet. She said it was one of the healthiest she has seen in awhile. Then she went over my blood work. Again, is was amazing. And she had no complaints about my weight gain so far. Then she hits me, “I am sorry, but legally I need to classify you as nutritionally high risk.”

WHAT? High risk nutritionally? Because I chose to break from the standard American diet and not to eat meat loaded with fat and antibiotics? Or dairy loaded with hormones?

Then she reassured me that I am healthy and the baby is healthy, so all that matters. It’s just a legal term. Her only suggestion was I eat one more serving of leafy greens every day. So I have made this giant, veggie-packed salad for lunch most days now.

And yes, this salad has plain tofu. If you do not like the taste of plain tofu (I actually do), you can marinade and cooked it first. But honestly, with all the dressing and veggies, you don’t even notice the tofu.

Apple Walnut Salad with Tofu
3 cups leafy greens (any combination of dark lettuce, spinach, kale, arugula, etc.), washed and dried
1/4 cup carrots, chopped or shredded
1 Fuji apple, chopped
1/4 small red onion, chopped
1/4 cup raw walnuts, chopped
3 oz extra firm tofu,  drained and cubed
2 tbs Annie’s Lite Goddess Dressing
Cracked black pepper, to taste

In a big bowl, mix together all the ingredients. It’s that easy!

You can use any dressing you like, but Lite Goddess is amazing! This is just not for pregnancy, but make a great lunch for everybody. The nutrients of the dark green vegetables, vitamin C from the apples, vitamin A in the carrots, and healthy fat from the walnuts. I even suggest throwing in some avocado chunks too. High risk pregnancy my ass…

Vanilla Pancakes with Apple Compote

I just made this recipe up Sunday morning for a nice treat. It’s easy and came together quickly. I used the Mexican Vanilla my mom brought back from her trip to Mexico.  I make small pancakes because they are easier to manage.

This recipe makes two servings, 5-6 small pancakes total.

Vanilla Pancakes
1 cup Bisquick
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tsp Vanilla

Spray a pan with cooking spray.

Heat the pan over medium heat.

While it heats, mix together all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix just until combined, it is okay to have a few lumps.

Once the pan is hot, pour about 1/6 of the batter into nice circle on the pan.  Repeat 2 to 3 more times, depending on how much space you have on the pan.

Once the bottom browns lightly, flip and brown lightly on the over side.

Repeat the previously two until all the batter is gone.

Apple Compote
2 Honey Crisp apples, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup sugar
1.5 cups water
1 tbs cornstarch
Dash of salt

In a small sauce pan, add the chopped apples, sugar, and water.

Bring the pan to boil over medium-high heat.

Continue to boil until the apples soften slightly and turn a light golden color.

Reduce the heat and add the cornstarch and salt.

Cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Then remove from the heat and top your pancakes with it.

Flavorful and fluffy pancakes with sweet crisp apple compote, good way to start the day! I had some soy bacon on the side.

Vanilla Apple Pie

What does a nerd do when it is her day off and Pi Day? Make a Pie to celebrate!

Speaking of work, you may have noticed that I have not been posting as much lately. I got a new job, and it is great but very busy. I will get better about posting as I settle in more. Michael started a new job too, so I decided to make us both something special tonight for all our hard work.

I thought a pie for Pi Day would be nice, but a giant pie for the two of us is just impractical. So I made two mini pies. Michael requested chocolate or apple pie, and I went with apple because it is easier to make.  My parents went on a trip to Mexico a few weeks ago, and my mom send me some Mexican vanilla extract, and I have been wanting to use it all week.  I thought it would be a nice addition to classic apple pie.

Vanilla Apple Pie
1 pie crust, frozen or homemade (I used frozen)
4 Fuji apples, pealed and cubed
1.5  tbs vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tbs cornstarch
Pinch of salt

If using frozen pie crust, let it thaw first.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Spray two small ramekins with cooking spray.

Roll out the pie crust on a well floured surface. Cut circles out of the pie crust that are a half inch larger than the radius of the ramekin. It’s okay if they are not perfectly round and there should be left over crust pieces.

Press the crust circles into the ramekins, reshaping them to fix it if need be. Make sure you press them in firmly and seal the edges as best you can.

In a small bowl, mix together the cubed apples, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, cornstarch, and salt. Taste and adjust as necessary to your tastes.

Fill each ramekin with half of the mixture. They should be filled to the very full.

Take the remaining crust pieces and shape them into two circles large enough to cover the top of the ramekins with some overlap.

Now cover the ramekins with the pie crusts and seal the edges firmly. I crimped the edges with a fork to  make sure it seals properly and to make it look pretty.

Cut a small X on the top.

Sprinkle the crust with a little extra sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling starts to bubble up.

Let cool and enjoy a piece of 3.14159265….that’s as far as I know off the top of my head!

Orange Waffles with Blackberry Sauce

I actually made this breakfast back on Halloween, but have not had the time to post it yet. Like I mentioned before, Michael loves waffles, and also loves the Giants. So to celebrate them winning the World Series, I made orange and black waffles.  Rather than use chemical food coloring or artificial flavoring, I decided to use fresh fruit. These came out so good that I am adding them to my regular breakfast rotation.

I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic Pancake and Waffle mix,  but you can use any mix you like. Or you can  make them totally from scratch. This makes four waffles.

Orange Waffles with Blackberry Sauce

Sauce:
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup fresh blackberry
Juice from half an orange
pinch of salt

Waffles:
1 and 1/2 cup waffle mix ( I used Bob’s Red Mill Organic 7 gain Pancake and Waffle Mix)
1/2 cup apple sauce
3/4 cup soy milk
1 tsp oil
Juice from half an orange
Zest from one whole orange

For the sauce, in a small pot over medium,  add all the ingredients for the sauce together.

Bring to boil, the reduce heat to a simmer.

Let it cook down until it reaches desired consistency. I like mine a little on the runny side.

For the waffles, heat up your waffle iron according to the directions.

Mix together all the ingredients just until combined.

Pour the batter into the waffle iron and cooking according to the directions.

Once the waffles are done, drizzle on the blackberry sauce and enjoy!

A lovely hot waffles, loaded with antioxidants and vitamins. Great way to start the morning and celebrate the Giants!