A vegan lunch for old college housemates

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I really lucked out when I shared a house with two girls while going to college at the University of Arizona. I found the house on the dreaded Craigslist, met the owner of the house, but did not meet the girl who would be living across the hall and sharing a bathroom with me until after I moved in! Here we are today, graduated, doing big things, and still friends. What could have turned out to be a miserable year turned out to be the beginning of a great friendship and a bond created over both of our love for FOOD. Devynn Hawley, your the best!

On December 29th, 2012, we made plans to get together for lunch, coffee, whatever… we just knew we wanted to see each other. Sure, we keep in touch through facebook, etc, but there is nothing like an in-person hangout.

I decided I would cook lunch for my amiga – just like old times! We both wanted something light and healthy after overindulging over Christmas. So, what better than a nice, nutrient-filled, vegan lunch? I decided to make acorn squash filled with a whole wheat couscous mixture of cranberries, walnuts, parsley, and green onion. I paired this with my favorite spinach salad that I used to make for Devynn all the time at the old house. It consists of grilled or sauteed onions, spinach, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and a simple dressing of apple cider vinegar and olive oil (oh, and salt and pepper of course).

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To wash it down, I made a mocktail of Trader Joe’s Cherry Cider, Hansens Diet Soda in Tangerine-Lime, and apple slices. For dessert, we had a couple of those no-egg chocolate chip cookies I made the night before.

A vegan lunch for old college housemates

It was awesome catching up and gossiping about boys and such. I made a friend for life while living in that house and at the core is, once again, food.

Let me know if you want any of these recipes and I will gladly post them!

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Chocolate chips cookies and a tip if you don’t have eggs

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“Good food makes everything better”
A quote from my brilliant son. It is so true! Tonight the bf is sick so I made a delicious dinner and finished it up with these bad boys here shown in the picture. Chocolate makes everything better in my world plus it’s national chocolate day so I figured, sure why not? Plus I still had a bag of chocolate chips in the cabinet.

I had just creamed the butter and sugars to perfection in the stand mixture when it occurred to me… I have no eggs! The recipe called for 2 eggs! What’s a girl to do? So, being the skilled problem solver that I am, I took from my experience with vegan baking and poured some apple cider vinegar into about a half a cup of milk. I let it sit for about 5 minutes and then beat it into the butter and cream mixture. I followed the recipe as usual after that.

To my relief the cookies came out amazing! I much prefer them without the eggs now.They are not as cakey and still slightly chewy in the middle. They also are a little thinner and I like them like that. This recipe could have easily been made vegan if I had Earth Balance available instead of regular butter.

So there you have it. Don’t be afraid to be daring and take risks in the kitchen. You might discover a new trick or shortcut for something you have made million times before.

If you want the exact recipe for these chocolate chip cookies, just let me know!

My Experience Going Vegetarian, Then Vegan

My Experience Going Vegetarian, Then Vegan.

This blog post was inspiring to me because I have been flirting with the idea of going Vegetarian and Vegan for a long time. Especially now, after bowl after bowl of posole, ham and more ham, tamale after more tamales, I am feeling the side effects of extreme overindulgence. I need to get back on track not only with my diet but also with my running. I feel the best when I am running 3-4 times a week and the last few months it has been 3-4 times a month (embarrassing!). New running shoes have been ordered online, re-joined my gym, and now all that’s left is what I put in my mouth.

Yeah, I’m one of those that can’t doesn’t want to give up cheese and ice cream, but I totally think I should. The very idea of what dairy is makes me kind of sick but I separate myself so far away from the idea when I’m digging into that bowl of cookie dough ice cream or cheesy pasta. And meat… well, my body doesn’t like when I eat it but eat it anyway.

I have pulled out my Skinny Bitch book to re-read and I think I will watch Forks Over Knives again for some more inspiration and a good kick in the ass.

Manny’s hash browns

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Like mother like son. My son, Manny, loves to cook. Today he made his famous hash browns for an afternoon snack. He used three large russet potatoes, bell peppers, hatch chile, garlic, green onions,white onions and cilantro. We cooked them first with the top on the skillet and then the last few minutes with the top off to let them crisp up. I enjoyed mine with a Blue Moon and it was awesome.

Mom’s cinnamon roll French toast

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This morning, the day after Christmas, my mom made this delicious creation. It’s already made cinnamon rolls- you know the ones in the can that pops open- cut in quarters, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and egg. She topped them with sliced almonds and baked them at 400 degrees for about twenty minutes. When they were done, they were like a cross between French toast, custard, and cinnamon rolls. They were so good with our morning coffee! Thanks, Mom!

P.S. I have a lot of catching up to do on posting so stay tuned!

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin on the Food Network

Scalloped Potatoes Au Gratin on the Food Network.

Making these tonight! I always like how Ellie Kreiger makes lower calorie recipes but still uses some really good ingredients – like Gruyere cheese! I’ve never made Potatoes Au Gratin so I hope they turn out delish.

Does Giada di Laurentiis have a scalloped potato recipe? If she does I couldn’t find it (sad face).

Vegan Holiday Kitchen

Vegan Holiday Kitchen.

This is a must have for your cookbook collection – vegan or non-vegan.

The Shepherds Pie is sooooo good! I make it all year and it freezes really well if you wanted to put it in individual ramekins (?sp).

Post-run snack

Post-run snack

After a late run last night, I was craving something a little salty but light. I made a quick miso soup with mushrooms and green onions and it was perfect!

Sticky buns!

Sticky buns!

Mom making sticky buns for me on Thanksgiving morning. She said she used a recipe from Ina Garten. I saw her use pre-made pastry dough, brown sugar, butter, pecans, walnuts, and cranberries.