Friday, January 27, 2012

Vegan Apple Sauce Pancake with Berries

If you are looking for an easy (and beautiful!) breakfast, this is it. 

This pancake is made up of 1 cup whole wheat flower, 3/4 cup vanilla soy milk, 1 tbsp baking powder, and of course 1/4 cup applesauce. Spread on some Earth Balance and top with your favorite berries! Yum! 

Pretty food is always better!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

French Onion Soup in a Whole Wheat Bread Bowl!

A few months ago, a friend and I decided that we wanted to see the movie One Day. But, knowing it was based off of a book, we agreed to read the book first. Somewhere along the line, we decided on one winter's night we'd need to get together for dinner and watch the movie with a meal--soup in a bread bowl. Don't ask me why, but soup in a bread bowl just seemed the perfect choice of meal to pair with a movie based off of a book.

We made this plan before I became a vegetarian; before I started making just about everything from scratch. Tonight, we finally got around to seeing this long awaited movie--and I had an excuse to make and consume an entire bowl of bread. The movie was barely okay, but the meal was pretty awesome.

I found the recipes here; and while I think I'd use less onion next time--I enjoyed it all the same. There is something about homemade food that tastes so much better than anything you can get when you're out somewhere. I would definitely give these recipes a try the next time you're craving comfort food on a cold winter evening!

I made croutons out of the bread bowl filling so I can sprinkle them over the top of my leftover soup tomorrow. And now, I'm officially taking a break from the kitchen--at least until tomorrow!


Cinnamon Applesauce

Three words: De-Lic-Ious.

Homemade Cinnamon Applesauce:


7 apples (I used 4 Gala and 3 Golden Delicious, because I like sweet apples!)
1 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg


1. Cut and peel your apples of choice.
2. Combine apples with the rest of the ingredients in a pot, and cook over medium heat until the apples are soft; about 20 minutes.
3. Mash! I put mine in a blender, because I don't like chunky applesauce--but you could use a potato masher, too.
4. Enjoy! I tried it when it was warm--it smelled so good I couldn't wait. It was delicious. I'm sure it'll be just as tasty cold, too.

I'm on a roll today. Stay tuned! French onion soup in a made-from-scratch bread bowl, coming soon!

Homemade Frozen Yogurt

In just a couple of days, I'm getting my wisdom teeth taken out. Most of my friends have horror stories associated with their experience of the extraction of their third molars--but I'm hoping I won't have any to report. And while I'm hoping and praying that everything goes smoothly, I'm well aware that my eating habits are going to have to be tweaked, just a little bit, while my mouth heals.

My friend, and author of Just Nourishment, has been looking forward to my surgery--not for any malicious reason having to do with the pain, or anything, but because she's gone through the experience and has volunteered to be my caretaker the day of. Her favorite part about getting her teeth removed was all the frozen yogurt she got to consume while she was healing; getting to hang out with me as I recover has given her the excuse to indulge a little more!

Now, you know me. I'm a very intentional eater. (I actually realized the other day that I'm kind of a food snob; I never meant to become that way--but now that I make pretty much everything I eat with my own hands, I'm reluctant to eat a lot of things...anyway!) While I know that most people eat lots of mashed potatoes and frozen yogurt and--well, that's all--for the first few days after surgery, I can't do that. I require a well-rounded diet, to satisfy me both mentally and physically. So, over the next couple of weeks, I plan on trying a few new soup recipes, I'm going to make applesauce for the first time, I'm pretty stocked up on ingredients to make smoothies, and I'm good on soft fruit--like bananas and pears. Of course, I will be sharing with you my cooking experiences as I try out new recipes that hopefully yield some delicious light meals. But for now, I'd like to tell you about the frozen yogurt I just made.

It should come as no surprise that I've opted to make my own frozen yogurt instead of going to the store and picking up a carton or two. Homemade frozen yogurt is doable--so I couldn't help myself. For the past couple of days I've been doing a little research. I found a couple of recipes, read a couple blogs, went to the grocery store, bought some ingredients--and this morning, I just winged it. There were a couple things I had mentally jotted down as I started throwing things into my blender. I remember I read somewhere that the yogurt mixture should be sweeter than you'd usually like, because when it's frozen it'll be less sweet; I remember reading someplace else that I had to make sure I had good chocolate if I planned on making chocolate frozen yogurt; and I remembered that--since I don't have an ice cream maker--that I was going to have to be patient and persistent for a few hours, in order for me to end up with my desired sweet treat.

I made two different kinds. And, while they are in the process of freezing and I haven't had the chance to try the finished product, the mixes tasted pretty good. I'm hoping they are just as delicious when they're frozen. Here are my recipes:

Homemade Vanilla Frozen Yogurt:

32 oz plain, low-fat, Greek yogurt
5 tablespoons agave nectar (which probably equals an easier measurement, like a forth of a cup, but I was winging it, remember? So I just kept adding until it was as sweet as I liked. You can do the same!)
3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Mix all the ingredients together (I used my blender, but I'm sure you could just do it in a bowl). Then, stick it in the freezer.

Like I mentioned before, I don't have an ice cream maker. So, for the next couple hours, I have to keep an eye on my dessert; every hour I will take it out, scrape the frozen mixture from the sides with a fork, and then stir it vigorously. I think in 2-3 hours it'll be set. If you do have an ice cream maker, I'm guessing you can just put the mixture in there and you'll have yourself some frozen yogurt in no time.

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt:
(because I'm a sucker for chocolate/peanut butter ice cream...)

32 oz vanilla, non-fat, Greek yogurt
1 bag of good semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons agave nectar
5 tablespoons peanut butter (I use the creamy Earth Balance brand)

Melt 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips; take the melted chocolate and mix it with the remaining ingredients. (Again, I used a blender--and for this one, it'd probably be easier than mixing by hand.) Take the left over chocolate chips and mix it with the yogurt mixture, then freeze!

Now, I did a little math and got a calorie count for you. For the vanilla frozen yogurt, if you break it down into about 8 servings, it's about 130 calories. For the chocolate peanut butter, if you break it down into about 10 servings (because it yields more), it's about 290 calories. Not bad, eh?

Well, I'm off to go stir my freezing yogurt. I'll be back to let you know how it turns out!

Update: So, the chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt turned out to be oh-my-goodness tasty! The vanilla turned out...well, like vanilla; next to the chocolate peanut butter, it didn't compare--so I tossed in a cup of milk chocolate chips to give it the necessary chocolate kick. And then I thought, Well...I could have done the healthy thing and thrown in some fruit, instead. That's when it hit me--You still can! So, I took a cup of frozen raspberries, tossed them in the microwave for a couple minutes, mashed them up really well, added a little agave nectar, and mixed it into the frozen yogurt. BAM! Raspberry, vanilla frozen yogurt with chocolate chips, for the win! 


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chick Pea Taco Salad

This recipe was inspired by one of my favorite vegetarian cooks on the web, the Happy Herbivore. She has a recipe for chic pea tacos, and I thought, mmm taco salad! So here we have it! Chic pea taco salad, using our own spices to make a delicious taco seasoning and a little bit of salsa and ranch for the dressing. The only cooking you need to do is pour the chic peas in a small pot to heat them up. Add in the taco seasoning and stir! Pretty easy! 

Cheers to a quick and easy meal!

Overnight Oats


Just wanted to pop in and share a recipe with you.
You know how I've got this ongoing love affair with sweet potatoes? Well, I had a little left over and was trying to figure out what to do with it. Then I remembered, overnight oats... I've never tried them, unsure how I would feel about cold oatmeal, but decided that I was feeling brave last night. I was pleasantly surprised this morning! And I plan on concocting a few more overnight oat ideas to add to my menu. It makes for a truly quick and easy, yet filling and nutritious breakfast.

Sweet Potato Overnight Oats

1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup pureed sweet potato
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
spoonful of chia seed

Mix it all together, and let it sit in the fridge overnight. Then, ta-da! Breakfast.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Late night in.

It’s Friday night. I’m twenty-four years old and single...
Where do I find myself? My kitchen. 
And I love it.

As unappealing as it may sound to some to come home from an eight-hour day at work and spend four hours in the kitchen, it’s the best way for me to unwind—to set my mind free. Or, one of the ways. And seeing as how, not long after dinner, I finished the first novel of a series to which I don’t yet have the second, tonight was the perfect night to accomplish something in the kitchen.

In the past forty-eight hours, I have made Carrot Apple Oatmeal muffins (click for the recipe!), Potato Focaccia bread, Whole Wheat Cheese Ravioli, White Bean Basil Hummus (definitely click for this recipe!) and Whole Wheat Graham crackers (try this one out, too!). It’s nearing one o’clock in the morning, I’m tired—but I’m content.

Now, there is no way I’m going to be able to blog about every single thing I made—I’m already behind, Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls and Rosemary Focaccia bread adventures currently simmering on the back burner for when I have a chance to share the experiences with you, so I’ll just say a little something about each creation.

The Carrot, Apple, Oatmeal muffins and Potato Focaccia bread recipes were found while I was at work—scouring the internet for ideas; the best thing about these two recipes is that I had all the ingredients; furthermore, I was seeking ways to get rid of the ingredients before they went bad and I couldn’t use them anymore. I ended up doubling each recipe, in order to use up the potatoes, carrots, and apples that I had in mind to utilize, but that just means I got to stock up my freezer a bit!

Speaking of freezer—I had a container full of white beans I had made a while ago that I kept looking at every time I opened the freezer. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to use them in, until today! I discovered the hummus recipe and thought I’d give it a try. What I love about making hummus is that it’s so easy—throw everything into the blender…and blend. And, let me tell you, when I took a spoon and tasted the delicious dip—I literally stopped dead in my tracks. It’s so good! I didn’t know you could make hummus with any other bean besides a chickpea; now that I know, I may have a hard time being loyal to the original recipe!

The Graham crackers—remember when I made the Sweet Potato Cheesecake? I made graham crackers then and told you I wasn’t so sure I liked them; turns out, I love them! I just don’t enjoy them warm. They are way better the day after. So, I used the same recipe and ended up with a couple bags full of these babies. Yum! (Double yum if smothered in peanut butter.)

Last, but certainly not least, the ravioli! The real reason I wanted to write this blog. I’ve been thinking about making homemade ravioli for a couple weeks, now, and I decided I needed to just make it happen. However, I’m still in a squash phase, so tonight I made the ravioli and stuck it all in the freezer. Turns out, I have enough ravioli to last me about, oh, eight meals—and enough leftover filling to fill at least three more batches. (I definitely overestimated how much filling could fit in each ravioli square…) They turned out very pretty and I’m hoping they cook well and taste just as great as they look! I plan on playing around with how, exactly, I’ll serve them—hopefully I’ll come up with a few good and creative ideas. I’ll definitely keep you posted on how it all turns out--and I’ll post the recipe when I’m sure it’s worth sharing!

For now, though, I should really head to bed!
Goodnight—er, rather, good morning,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Winter Squash

I've dedicated the next couple weeks to squash.

Well--that was my original plan. Now that I've delved into the world of winter squash, I may be dedicating the next few months to squash.

My last grocery trip left me with a couple acorn squash, a couple butternut squash, and spaghetti squash. I had every intention of making soup, stuffed squash, and--well--spaghetti. Now, only a couple days into it, I find myself scouring the internet for new and appealing ways to use the lovely winter vegetable! I can't wait to have the chance to try out as many squash recipes as possible.

I've heard people rave over squash for a while now, especially after I became a vegetarian; but, having never really cooked with it before, I avoided it. My last post? Stuffed butternut squash? That was the first time I had ever made any sort of squash. I decided that things needed to change. I needed to branch out and continue trying new and delicious recipes. Boy, am I glad I decided to explore the various types of squash right smack-dab in the middle of their favorite season.

Squash is good. Really good. You should definitely be eating some, this winter.

Now, before I drive myself crazy from using the word squash too many times, I'll tell you about tonight's dinner.

Last night I made spaghetti squash. I didn't do much to it, besides add some sauteed onions, peppers, and garlic, but I enjoyed the spaghetti so much, I could have done without the added veggies. Tonight, however, I wanted to liven it up a little--add some protein or some bulk. So, I made some quinoa. Best idea I've had all day.

I won't post a recipe, because it was really just thrown together, but I'll tell you what I used! Spaghetti squash, of course, quinoa, onions, peppers, garlic, Italian seasoning, a little salt, and olive oil. Now that I'm thinking about it, I bet it would have been even better with tomatoes and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese! Next time...

That's all for now,

P.S: Rumor has it, butternut squash can be substituted for pumpkin or sweet potato in certain bread or dessert recipes. The internet really shouldn't have told me that....more experiments coming soon!!!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Dinner for two

I had an old friend over for dinner the other night. We haven't seen each other in a while--a while dating back to before I started making just about everything from scratch and before I became a vegetarian. It was her idea that we get together for dinner so she could try one of my dishes. The only problem was, my mind has been in leftover mode for the past four weeks--which has been incredible for my pocketbook, but not so great for my imagination. It was time to break out the recipe book I've been keeping. I wanted to make something good, something simple, and something new. My stepmom had given me a recipe a while back for Pilaf Stuffed Acorn Squash. It looked good, so I thought I'd give it a try. But, having never had an acorn squash before, I decided to use butternut squash, instead. It ended up being pretty, simple, delicious, and oh-so-filling! Next time I plan on trying it with acorn squash, now that I know what it looks like...I'll let you know which way is better--although I'm sure both ways are worth a try.

Here's the recipe:

Stuffed Butternut Squash
1 butternut squash, halved
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup uncooked wild rice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 c golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped pecans

Salt (to taste)
2 oz shredded cheese (I used gouda

Heat oven to 400.

Place squash halves cut side down in ungreased shallow baking dish, adding 1/2 cup of water; bake at 400 for 40 to 50 minutes, or until tender.
Meanwhile in medium saucepan, cook the wild rice, adding a tablespoon of olive oil. When it's tender, remove from heat and add raisins and pecans. (I'm going to be honest. I used a rice cooker--I have never made rice without one before and, therefore, have no idea how to make it in a sauce pan--either way you feel comfortable cooking the rice, great! Just as long as it's cooked.) Salt to taste. 
Turn squash cut side up in baking dish. Empty the shell of the squash, leaving just enough for it to keep its shape. Mix the squash with the rice mixture and then spoon it back into the shells; sprinkle with cheese. 

Bake at 400 until cheese is melted and rice mixture is hot.

There you have it. Dinner for two. And it cost less than $10!
That's all for now,

the scratch kitchen Copyright The Scratch Kitchen 2012