Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Well, I didn't really intend for my own desire to make a new recipe everyday to be part of Vegan MOFO (read about it here if you don't know what it is) but here we are!

I am busy working on trying to start my own home baking business (I got my business cards today!) and it's fun but I realize how much goes into doing this but hey, that's why I saved all this money from my temp job. I love life and I love what I'm creating so this is all worth it for me.

On to the food! So I'm going to try really hard to make all 31 days vegan but I am not promising anything (hence why I'm not affiliated with VeganMOFO). So here is what I had for Day #1 and #2. This also means I'm going to try (goddess willing) every day so I can make sure I am back in action on this blog (because I miss it.)

#1: No Bake Cookie Smoothie! (Vegan)

2 T. oats
1 c. ice
3/4 c. vanilla almond milk (or milk of your choice!)
1 T. brown sugar (or sweetener of your choice!)
1 T. cocoa powder
2 T. peanut butter

Dump in blender. Whir. Enjoy!

#2: Pumpkin Almond Granola (Vegan)

I used Everybody Likes Sandwiches adapted recipe and cut it in half and omitted the dried fruit. It was so crunchy, slightly sweet and so perfect for a dreary fall day.

I'm desperately trying to have better pictures even with my Android phone but making a DIY light box really helps! I had so much fun being crafty and making something I will use daily. Now just to get some cute vintage plates to take pictures on.....

See you again tomorrow with two new recipes! (I skipped yesterday so I had to make up for it.) Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Raspberry Key Lime Pie 5/5 Spoons

Whew. Well yesterday was a rough one guys. I lost my job and I'm still kind of confused and wondering what to do. I will say though, that I'm mostly glad. I really didn't enjoy my job and after finding out some dirt on the position, I didn't want to be involved in that company anyway. So to celebrate the end of my crappy position and the new job that my roommate is starting, I made this Raspberry Key Lime Pie!

I was watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (don't judge) and some cafe made a Raspberry Key Lime Pie and I was inspired. I've never made a Key Lime Pie and kind of had an itch to do so (with some serious prodding from my roommate's taste buds). I adapted the pie recipe but made up the raspberry and whipped cream topping. There are a lot of parts but they are all easy and come together fast. Here we go!

Ooh la la right?

Adapted from Emeril Lagasee's Key Lime Pie recipe:

Graham Cracker Crust:

1 1/2 c. graham crackers (crushed, this is about one packet of graham crackers)
4 T. butter, melted
1/2 c. sugar (it seems like a lot but it really caramelizes in the oven and holds the crust together)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mash and smash the graham crackers until tiny and add butter and sugar. Mix. Pat into a 9-inch pie plate and bake until the crumbs are brown. About 20 minutes. Let cool before adding the filling.


1 c. key lime juice (those little guys are hard to juice BUT it's worth getting the real thing if you can, they also have it bottled at most grocery stores)
2 cans sweetened condensed milk (14 ounce cans)
2 whole eggs
1 T. lime zest (I added it to the batter instead of putting on top for maximum lime flavor!)

Mix all the filling ingredients together and pour in cooled crust. Turn oven down to 325 degrees and baked pie for 15 minutes. Let cool for awhile on counter and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Raspberry Topping:

1-12 ounce bag frozen raspberries, thawed and drained
1/4 c. sugar
1-2 t. lemon juice
2 T. cornstarch

Let raspberries thaw and let them drain over your cooking pot to get out as much juice as possible. Put the juice in a measuring cup and add enough water to it to make 3/4 cup. Put all ingredients in a pot on the stove and cook on med-high until it is thick and bubbly. Make sure to keep stirring so it doesn't burn. Strain in a colander and push on the raspberries to get the delicious juice but not the seeds. Let cool before adding it to the pie.

Okay, so once this is cool, top the pie with it as much as you can. There might be too much so just spread it out to the edges. Now for the whipped cream!

Whipped Cream:

1 c. heavy cream
1-2 T. confectioner's sugar
1/2 t. vanilla

Make sure your stainless steel bowl and beaters have been in the fridge for awhile otherwise your cream won't whip as well. It will take awhile but whip, whip and whip your cream, add the sugar and vanilla in while whipping. It might seem like it won't happen but then all of a sudden, whipped cream! Don't over beat it though, because you will end up getting weird butter.

So yeah, decorate as you wish. Or just spread the cream over the top to make a beautiful layer on layer pie. Here is the inside:

I feel so excited to be back on here and have more time to do something I love. I am actually considering try to apprentice with a local bakery because I need to see this whole no job thing as an opportunity to work on me and do what I love. I hope you make this pie and share it with people you love!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Instagram Pics!

I feel terrible that I haven't been on here in forever. Here are some Instagram pics with some of the stuff I've been eating and loving and enjoying in the past few months. I promise I will be back soon but working full-time has crushed my spirit a bit (I don't mean to sound depressing, it will all be okay). Enjoy!

Seitan Pepperoni pizza (homemade whole wheat crust, Yves pepperoni, spinach and pineapple)

Chocolate Fun Cake w/ Peanut Butter Frosting

Coconut layer cake w/ Blueberry filling and Blueberry Cream Cheese frosting (for a special friend's birthday!)

Portuguese Orange Olive Oil cake (I will definitely be making this again)

I started making my own veggie broth (and it's so good and so easy and nice to know that I can control my ingredients!)

I'm usually pretty good about health lunches for work like this one: Brown basmati rice w/ tamari glazed tofu and broccoli. So easy and so filling.

Vegan S'mores Pizza from Dimo's Pizza in Chicago

I promise I will be back soon. Thanks for hanging in there everyone!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Please support me in the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals!

Hi all,

I know no one likes to ask for money (me included) and that even fewer people like to give their money away (me included) but this is for a really great cause. I am walking because I love and respect animals and really hope that just this little effort will help abused, displaced and sick animals at Farm Sanctuary. This is something that means a lot to me and if you can give anything (any amount is great!), I would be so grateful. Here is a link to why we walk for farm animals because I think Farm Sanctuary can say it better than I ever will.

Thanks and once I reach my goal, there will be another giveaway! Take care of yourself and others.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Yeah, yeah, we've heard it all before Jackie. You are going vegan. You tried and failed. You've gone off the deep end.... again!

Well, I realize that as a creature of habit (like we all are) that going vegan cold Tofurkey is not the greatest idea for me. I always felt like if I had to quit something, I had to do it right then and there. We all know diets don't work that way and neither do lifestyle changes. It's okay that I'm still eating cheese pizza or having creamer in my coffee. I don't beat myself up over it. I know these changes will make me happy and better the planet, so it's part of my plan in my 30th year. I may never be totally completely vegan (I hope I will be) but I'm making it easier for myself to lead down that path. Here are some of the products that are helping me along the way too!:

365 Everyday Value Organic Unsweetened AlmondMilk

Wow, you guys. This stuff is amazing. My friend Kris Anne was the one who had me try this first over a year ago and I just never remembered how amazing it was since then. I was at Whole Foods the other day and grabbed a carton. I used it for baking but didn't try it on my cereal. I thought "What the hell?" and put it on my Cheerios. Wow, it is so close to the real thing I couldn't believe it. The real thing to me is skim milk, it will not be a good alternative to people who drink thicker and fattIer milks. I loved the slightly nutty flavor and how it didn't taste so milk-y. I know, milk should taste milk-y but I get so icked out by too much dairy. I can't wait to have a glass of this with chocolate chip cookies and use it in my smoothies and in creamy veggie soups. The only problem is that I don't have a convenient Whole Foods near me but I guess I can stock up on the aseptic boxes, I hope!

Earth Balance Organic Whipped Buttery Spread

As someone who had quite the love affair with butter in the past year, I was astounded by the flavor of this spread. I use the buttery vegan sticks for baking but this is a whole other ball game. It is so light and downy but with tons of salty buttery flavor. I love spreading it on dark breads like rye or pumpernickel or on some warm, crunchy pancakes. This is the real deal.

So take it from someone who is still a dairy eater, I recommend both of these things HIGHLY. I wouldn't steer you wrong my loves. Soon, there will be a review for vegan meatball subs! Take care and enjoy the weather!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Vegan Espresso Buttercream Frosting 5/5 Spoons

So it's been almost two months since I've written here. I feel just terrible. I started a new job and neglected something I love, something that makes me feel whole. I promise to be here more often and to just cook more often. Yeah, I'm too tired usually to make anything exciting besides tacos, pasta or a frozen pizza most nights. It is really unlike me but I'm aware of it now and will work to make my dinners (and other meals) way better.

Now on to a recipe review! I made these cupcakes for a get together but did not end up going (don't ask), so lucky me and my roommates! We get to eat a bunch of cupcakes. Not gonna lie, these did not last until the next day. I think these might have been some of the best cupcakes I've ever had (vegan or not). Here is the one picture I got (but they don't look too shabby!):

I found this recipe for the cupcakes and tweaked this recipe for the frosting. Here are my notes for both:

Cupcakes --

- I used vanilla almond milk instead of soy milk. It's what I had on hand.
- I only used vanilla extract.

Um, that's it. These were SO tender and fluffy. The batter was really liquid-y and I was afraid it wouldn't turn out but it was the total opposite. I dare say these were the most moist cupcakes ever. Ever ever.

Frosting --

- Well since I wanted these to be vegan, I used Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. Since my favorite grocery store now carries their sticks (ahem, because I requested them, you're welcome Chicago!) I have stocked up like crazy.
- I definitely used more espresso than was written in the recipe. I think about 2 1/2 t. dissolved into the vanilla extract. I needed that extra coffee kick.

So yeah, make these. I know everyone says this but I could not recommend these more.

Hopefully I will get back in the groove more and be able to post once a week. Take care my loves and you will see me again soon!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vanilla and Chocolate Layer Cake with Raspberry Filling and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting 5/5 Spoons

Obviously you guys, this is not something I make everyday. My roommate and friend Billy's 30th birthday was on March 7th and he requested I make him a beautiful layer cake. This is how the conversation went:

B: I want you to make me a layer cake. With some kind of fruit filling.

J: Okay.... can you elaborate more? What kind of cake? Frosting? What kind of fruit?

B: I don't care, just make it good. And if you make raspberry filling, I don't want seeds.

Yup, that was our conversation. Luckily I have a very creative mind and a willingness to mess up someone's 30th birthday wish. Good thing it wasn't messed up because the birthday boy was VERY impressed with my cake. There it is, down below.

I have extolled the virtues of America's Test Kitchen time and time again. And there is a reason for that; their recipes never fail. If you follow directions, they won't fail. These people get paid to repeat and repeat and repeat all of the recipes so that they are perfect when they get to you. The only thing I changed about these recipes for Old Fashioned Chocolate Layer Cake and this Classic White Cake was to cut them both in half (oh and a few tweaks to make my life easier that you will see compared to the original recipe). I decided to have a chocolate and vanilla layer each so this was the only way to do it. To make this easier for you, here are my directions the way I revised it.

Chocolate Cake:

6 T. unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c. + 2 T. unbleached all-purpose flour
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/8 c. cocoa powder
¼ c. hot water
3/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
3/4 t. baking soda
½ - 1 t. kosher salt
½ c. buttermilk
1 t. vanilla
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease one 9-inch-round by 2-inch-high cake pan with softened butter; dust pans with flour and knock out excess. Combine chocolate, cocoa powder, and hot water in a microwave safe bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir. Repeat that step with 10 second intervals in the microwave until the chocolate is almost melted. There might be a piece or two left but just stir it and the residual heat will melt it for you. Add 2 T. sugar to chocolate mixture and stir until thick and glossy, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Combine buttermilk and vanilla in small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk eggs and yolks on medium-low speed with your hand mixer until combined, about 10 seconds. Add remaining ¾ c. sugar, increase speed to high, and whisk until fluffy and lightened in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cooled chocolate mixture to egg/sugar mixture and mix on medium speed until thoroughly incorporated, 30 to 45 seconds, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula as needed. Add softened butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing about 10 seconds after each addition. Add about one-third of flour mixture followed by half of buttermilk mixture, mixing until incorporated after each addition (about 15 seconds). Repeat using half of remaining flour mixture and all of remaining buttermilk mixture (batter may appear separated). Scrape down sides of bowl and add remaining flour mixture; mix at medium-low speed until batter is thoroughly combined, about 15 seconds. Fold batter once or twice with rubber spatula to incorporate any remaining flour.

3. Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool cakes to room temperature before frosting, 45 to 60 minutes.

Classic White Cake

1 1/8 c. cake flour
½ c. whole milk, room temp
3 egg whites, room temp
1 t. vanilla
3/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 – 1 t. kosher salt
6 T. unsalted butter, softened
1. Set oven rack in middle position. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray one 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour to coat; tap out excess.

2. Pour milk, egg whites, and extracts into 2-cup glass measure, and mix with fork until blended.

3. Mix cake flour, sugar, baking powder, and with a hand mixer at slow speed. Add butter; continue beating at slow speed until mixture resembles moist crumbs.

4. Add all but 1/4 cup of milk mixture to crumbs and beat at medium speed for 1 1/2 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup of milk mixture and beat 30 seconds more. Stop mixer and scrape sides. Mix at medium speed 20 seconds longer.

5. Pour batter in cake pan; using a rubber spatula, spread batter to pan walls and smooth tops. Bake until thin skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes.

6. Let cake rest in pans for 3 minutes. Loosen from sides of pans with a knife, if necessary, and invert onto wire racks. Let cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.

So yeah, the cakes were easy enough. Follow the directions! Make sure they cool well before doing anything else.

Here is the recipe I used for the Seedless Raspberry Filling. The only thing I changed was leaving out the liqueur. I just didn't feel like buying an unnecessary ingredient. This turned out wonderful and was just tart enough to combine well with the sweet cake and frosting.

(Here is it is in its unexcited decoration glory.)

And for the frosting, I used this recipe for Classic Buttercream Frosting. I used 3 c. of confectioner's sugar which is usually more than I would but I wanted the frosting to be thick and perfect.

As for decorating, I had a rotating cake stand and an angled spatula to help me out. It's really not that hard. I just placed one cake on a 12" round with a little dab of frosting to help it stay where it's supposed to. I piped some frosting all the way around the first cake so that there was a barrier to hold the filling in. I poured the filling in and it was like a perfect amount. I topped this with the next cake and started to frost all around. I basically wanted to make sure the sides were covered so I paid extra attention to that and then worked my way up. I am not a huge frosting fan and either is Billy, so were on the same page here. There was just enough frosting to get your fix without going into a sugar coma. I even got one of those "fancy" plastic containers to hold the cake so it wouldn't dry out. I really need one of these in my life.

Here is a delicious piece I cut from it and trust me, this cake did not last long. Even with 3 people.

Up next, Penne with Roasted Asparagus and Balsamic Butter. Yummmm!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Beef" and Kale Enchiladas 5/5 Spoons

Here is one of my own mad creations! It mostly comes from me wanting to use up the almost not okay to eat kale that was in our fridge and wanting to have some Mexican food. I think it was a great way to combine those two desires. I actually cut this recipe down a bit because one of my roommates is out of town and she likes my cooking more than the other roommate. (AKA - the big carnivore). This was not something pretty to take a picture of so enjoy this insane drawing I found!

(Thank you VelvetMinxx5)

“Beef” and Kale Enchilada Bake

2-3 T. vegetable oil
½ c. onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
½ green pepper, diced
1 c. (1/2 bunch) kale, chopped roughly
A few glugs of veggie broth or water (about ½ - ¾ c.)
Jackie’s Taco Seasoning (recipe below)
1 package MorningStar Farms veggie crumbles (or tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc.)
1 can small can hot enchilada sauce (or make your own! I do this sometimes, but definitely not today.)
1 8 - ounce package sharp cheddar cheese
6-8 small corn tortillas
Salt and pepper to taste

1 T. chili powder
1 t. cumin and oregano
¼ t. garlic powder, onion powder and cayenne pepper

Throw in a container and shake. You can double, triple, etc. this and save it for the next time you make tacos!

Set your oven to 375. Grease a 3 qt. casserole dish with cooking spray or oil. Open the can of enchilada sauce and put about 1/3 of the contents in the bottom. Spread the sauce around so it evenly coats the bottom of the pan.

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the onions, garlic, green pepper and kale. Cook until onions are translucent and the kale wilts down quite a bit (about 5-10 minutes). Add a few glugs of broth/water, the veggie crumbles and taco seasoning. Crank the heat up to med-high and let it simmer for about 5 minutes until the liquid has dissipated.

Lay 3-4 tortillas in the bottom of the pan and add ½ of “beef” mixture. Cover with ½ of cheese and top again with 3-4 tortillas. Add the rest of the “beef” mixture and cover with the rest of the enchilada sauce. Top with remaining cheese.

Place in top half of your oven for about 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. Place in lower half of your oven for 10 more minutes or until the cheese on top is crusty and crunchy.

Once again, something I love about this dish is that it is easily customizable. Throw in some corn, pinto beans, black beans, leftover potatoes and rice, etc. The sky is the limit. I topped mine with sour cream but it would be bitching with some avocado, cilantro, lime, blah blah. You know what goes good with Mexican food, don't ya?

I promise to write about the EPIC birthday layer cake I made (Vanilla and Chocolate with a Raspberry Filling topped with Vanilla Buttercream frosting anyone?) Until next time, take care!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Happy Chicken Tortilla Soup 5/5 Spoons

Q. Why is the chicken happy?

A. Because it's alive!

Okay, I've never claimed to be funny. But this soup is cruelty-free so the chickens must be happy!

(Look how happy!)

This recipe is adapted from Brown Eyed Baker which has been adapted from Max & Erma's recipe. I've decided to go the way of other bloggers and just like adapt recipes myself and keep track of all of my findings. I mean that's the way forming recipes of your own happens, right? So I wanted this recipe to be vegan and I think with just some tweaks it was super easy to do. And delicious of course. It almost tasted like a dip but in soup form. So here is my adapted recipe:

Feeds 4-5

2-3 T. olive oil
1/2 c. onion, diced
2-3 garlic cloves, diced small
2 Anaheim peppers, seeded and diced small *
2 1/2 T. cornstarch
1 qt. Imagine Organic No-Chicken Broth
1 c. vegetable broth
4 6-inch corn tortillas, cut into small pieces
1 lime, juiced
1 ear of corn kernels cut from the cob or about 1/2 - 1 c. frozen/canned corn
1 - 14 ounce can diced tomatoes
1 can drained and rinsed black beans
3/4 t. cumin
3/4 t. oregano
1/2 t. cayenne
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (I like it spicy, so cater to your own needs)
Salt and pepper to taste

* Anaheim peppers are not hot like jalapenos, so don't substitute habaneros, etc. The point of these peppers is to get the flavor and not the heat so if you need to substitute use a Poblano or a Peppadew

1. In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the minced onion, pepper, and garlic and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes, or until the minced onion begins to turn translucent.

2. Whisk the cornstarch into the broth, then add the broth mixture to the pot, along with the minced tortillas, lime juice, corn, diced tomatoes, black beans, cumin, cayenne pepper, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Increase the heat to medium and stir occasionally. The soup should not take too long to come together and heat through (about 10 minutes). Garnish with diced avocado, tortilla chips, green onions, extra lime juice, etc.

(Photo courtesy of Brown Eyed Baker)

From start to finish, this soup took 30 minutes. Honestly. From the first cut of my onion to ladling soup into my bowl, 30 minutes. So this is something that you can easily throw together especially since it is so versatile. Think of anything you love in your favorite Mexican food, salsa, guacamole, mole, etc. and you can toss it in this pot!

And I have some huge news to share, I have a job! And one that like, I really want! I will be working production with Upton's Naturals which is a Chicago based 100% vegan company that makes delicious seitan and seitan products. I will get the industrial kitchen experience I've been wanting and get to work for and with cool people who are committed to a cruelty-free lifestyle as much as I am. I've toyed with the idea of going vegan for a long time now but realize how hard it is to do while living with omnivores who basically pay for my groceries. This is one step towards living a truly vegan lifestyle and there are only more steps to come!

Up next, I will probably be reviewing my roommate's epic layer birthday cake that I will be making next week. Until then, enjoy the beginning of March my loves!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

French Silk Cheesecake 5/5 Spoons

Okay, so I love cheesecake and I love chocolate. So it is always only logical to throw the two things together and make something so decadent, delicious and INSANE that you will dream about it.

I am entering a cheesecake this summer into the Great Wisconsin Cheese Festival and have started to work on and think about what I could make so I can win! I mean as a first-time entrant, I doubt I will win, but it doesn't hurt to try! So one morning I was watching Cook's Country and they made French Silk Pie. Whoa. I haven't had a slice of French Silk Pie since going to Perkins in high school. I was sitting here and thought to myself, "What if I made a layered French Silk Cheesecake???" and thus a star was born. That one right below.

The French Silk Pie was no bake so I had to find a no-bake Cheesecake recipe that would mimic the smooth, mousse like texture of the chocolate and found this one. Although there were a few steps to making, waiting and assembling everything, overall every step was easy. You just need patience and when it comes to something as delicious as this, I had no problem waiting.

Here are my notes:

Cheesecake part -

-- Um, nothing. It's perfection, don't change it.

French Silk pie part -

-- I cut the recipe in half because I didn't want an extremely tall cheesecake and I think it worked out well. I cracked three eggs in measuring cup and only poured half into my bowl. Make scrambled eggs with the rest!
-- Make sure your bowl and beaters are very cold. Put them in the fridge for 10-15 minutes before beating your cream. Trust me, it helps a lot.
-- Use good chocolate. It will be worth it. I used a 4 ounce bar of Ghirardelli's 60% Bittersweet Chocolate. It's my (affordable) favorite. (Oh use baking chocolate instead of chips, chips have stabilizers and you don't want anything potentially ruining your silkiness.)
-- Wanna hear something dumb that totally ended up being absolutely okay? I forgot to add the butter. I could not even believe it. I took such time to get the butter at room temp and I forgot it! But to be honest with you, the French Silk mousse was AMAZING. So yeah, I recommend doing it my way because I just saved a lot of calories getting rid of those 4 T. of butter, ha.
-- So, I didn't bother to bring my egg mixture to 160 degrees. Yup, I was sick of hand mixing it over the stove and potentially electrocuting and setting myself on fire at the same time. I mixed it for about 7 minutes until it was light and fluffy and then mixed again for about 2-3 minutes off the heat. I am not worried about raw egg like perhaps I should be, but we only live once right?

The only negative I will say is that I think the chocolate overpowers the cheesecake part too much. They are delicious but I found myself eating the chocolate part and then the cheesecake part. That is not going to fly at the festival. So back to the drawing board. But if you want an insanely impressive dessert with not a ton of fuss but with a lot of fancy, I would recommend trying it my way.

PS - A springform pan is kind of the best thing in the world. And I found mine for $3 at a thrift store!

Up next, something healthy! I swear.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Etsy Shop!

Check out my Etsy shop! There is only one thing there now but there will be more to come soon. Pass it on!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here are my beautiful cupcakes!

I used Joy the Baker's Red Velvet Cupcakes recipe (really the Hummingbird Bakery's recipe) and my own Cream Cheese Frosting recipe (with beautiful Wilton's pink food gel!) Here is my frosting recipe:

1 8 ounce package of full fat cream cheese, room temperature
4 T. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 t. vanilla
2-3 T. milk
1 c. confectioner's sugar

Beat the cream cheese and butter until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and milk and beat again. Slowly add sugar while you are beating the mixture, mix for about 1-2 minutes or until thick and creamy.

These were beautiful AND delicious. Happy belated Valentine's Day everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Honey Buttermilk Cornbread 5/5 Spoons

(Check out that chili. Gahhhh, so good.)

So, I've made an obscene amount of cornbread in the last few years. Today I made Whole Foods Vegetarian Chili (which is by far my favorite chili ever) and made my own cornbread to go with it. I feel confident enough to make cornbread and pizza dough without a recipe anymore. I've made cornbread before but this one is better, trust me. And this recipe is like really not that bad for you which is a bonus. Here is my recipe:

1 c. all-purpose flour (I might try bread flour next time, we shall see)
1. coarse cornmeal
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil (or any oil of your choosing)
1 egg

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease a 9-inch pie/cake pan or line a 12 cup muffin pan.

Add all dry ingredients (through salt) into a large bowl and whisk until combined. In another bowl or measuring cup combine all wet ingredients and whisk. Add wet to dry and mix until combined but not beyond that. It will be thick like a cake batter. Add batter to the pan and place in top 1/3 of your oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean or when you press the top it is firm yet yielding. Let cool for a few minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack. This is great warm or cold. Wrap your leftovers in some aluminum foil/plastic wrap. It will only last 1 or 2 days before getting pretty dry.

(Yeah, I should have taken a picture of my cornbread, but this one from Hungry-Texan is pretty close to mine)

So, you could add tons of things to this. Green onions, cheddar cheese, cracked black pepper, soyrizo, corn kernels, jalapenos, etc. The world is yours! I'm going to try making this vegan so I will get back to you all on that soon. This is a incredibly tender but not wet cake that is wonderfully sweet and corn-y.

Enjoy! And I hope you are all looking forward to my Valentine's Day dinner/dessert post this week. It will be sickeningly cute, trust me. ; )

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Vegetarian Corn Chowder 4/5 Spoons

The other day I was cleaning my room (pre-Spring cleaning?) and found my swimsuit. I held it in my hands and stared at it. I miss summer. Only a few more months, I can make it. I am also excited for juicy berries and fresh sweet corn. This soup would be amazing in the summer with freshly shucked corn cut right off the cob. Ahhhh, I'm drooling.

Well, it is February not July so I made this soup with frozen corn. It was really good but this would be bumped up to 5 spoons with the substitution of fresh corn.

(Photo courtesy of Two Peas and Their Pod)

Here are my notes:

-- I skipped the butter, it seemed a tad unnecessary.
-- I didn't have a red pepper, so I doubled the carrots and celery.
-- I omitted the poblano pepper but threw in a few dashes of red pepper flakes.
-- And instead of all skim milk, I had like 1 c. of half & half in the fridge and used that. It made it deliciously creamy.
-- The thyme was not enough flavor for me so I added like 1/4 t. cumin, a lot of black pepper and a dash of paprika.

I served this with a spinach salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette and some whole wheat dinner rolls. It was really delicious and all 3 of my guests thought so as well! I saw the end of the pot within like 45 minutes. So I would say that is a successful meal. It had a nice sweet flavor with a hint of smokiness from the added cumin. This is something really easy to make and a real "toss everything you have in the fridge" kind of soup. My favorite kind of meal!

Up next, this will be epic. Pumpkin Spice Latte Cheesecake!

.....the lovely Miranda!

Congratulations Miranda! I will be sending out your treats soon so that you will have them by Valentine's Day!

And the rest of you lovely contestants, don't be sore. There are always new contests coming up (like one in May for my 30th birthday)! Thanks for entering and reading my blog!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

One Year Anniversary No Meat Mama Giveaway!!!

So, for some reason, I love Valentine's Day. I'm a single (& happy) lady who just loves love. I smile when I see happy couples holding hands and just believe that if you put out love, you get it in return. It's a simple and maybe a little naive concept but in this crazy world, we all need a little blind faith, right?

In that spirit, I am giving away (2) Sweet & Sara Heart Shaped Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Marshmallows! One for you and one for your sweetie! (Or grandma, brother, co-worker, whoever you love!) This a wonderful vegan and ethical company based in Long Island, New York. Here is a blurb from their website:

Sara Sohn has been vegan for 20 years. A few years back, she decided it had been way too long since she’d had one of her favorite childhood snacks: the rice crispy treat. With no culinary background but a lot of determination (and vegan sweets on the mind), Sara began her quest to create a vegetarian and vegan marshmallow, “the Holy Grail of animal-free sweet treats.” Food scientists warned her that her attempts would be futile and that reproducing the properties of gelatin in marshmallows would be impossible. More determined than ever, after ten months of tireless experimentation, Sara finally came up with a recipe for the perfect marshmallow: rich, creamy, mouthwatering, and completely gelatin-free!

The rules!

You must enter by midnight, Wednesday February 1st CST. Leave a comment here telling me what you love/hate about Valentine's Day or on No Meat Mama's Facebook page or on Twitter (but only one comment will apply per person). I will only be shipping within in the US, sorry my lovely foreign readers. Along with your comment, leave your name + e-mail address so I can notify the winner. I will ship the treats out late next week so you get them in time for V Day! Spread this link around, I want to share the love!


No Meat Mama

Saturday, January 21, 2012

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Friday, January 20, 2012


This past Christmas, I received a lot of amazing gifts from my beautiful parents (HI MOM!) like this, this and this (among many other awesome things as well). But I think the present I was most excited for was the Hamilton Beach 4-Quart Ice Cream Maker! I had never made homemade ice cream before and I was so stoked to get it and make this dream come true.

I will back track and say that ice cream has never been my favorite dessert. Sure, I love it but not as much as a cupcake piled high with cream cheese frosting or a warm, buttery chocolate chip cookie. But I live with serious ice cream lovers and it has really grown on me as well, so I wanted to make this dream a reality. So far, I have made three different kinds of ice cream. One was this lemon recipe from Epicurious, espresso from Ina Garten via Food Network and lastly (and the most exciting) was the vegan Coconut Milk ice cream adapted from this recipe. I will briefly review each one and just let you know what I think about the ice cream making process and obviously the best part: eating the ice cream.

First off, I will review the ice cream maker. Since I have no frame of reference, I would say this ice cream maker is pretty bad ass. It is easy to manuever, easy to clean up and is pretty self-explanatory when you open it up. The only thing I would say that is unpleasant about it is the noise. It is REALLY LOUD. For me, I didn't mind so much because I put it on a blanket in my room and shut the door and let it do its thing. But if you have neighbors who already hate you or a baby sleeping, I would not suggest using this machine. Now moving on to the good stuff!

Ice Cream #1: Lemon

So I will start with my least favorite. And I only say least favorite because the other two were SO GOOD that this just happens to be third. It is fantastic ice cream so don't let me putting it in third deter you from making it. I am a lemon fiend so this was fantastic for me. It was so tart but still totally sweet and did not leave you looking for that lemon flavor. The only thing I changed about the recipe is that I used 1 c. of heavy cream instead of all half & half per reviewer's notes. I would say just stick with the recipe like it is. I made the espresso ice cream with all half & half and the texture was pretty stellar. I definitely used 1 c. of sugar because I was afraid to stray in fear of my lemon ice cream being way too tart. So yeah, basically stick with the recipe, that's my words of wisdom.

(I don't have pics of the ice cream, so deal with this cartoon that for some reason made me giggle. Who knew lemons were so funny?)

#2 Ice Cream: Espresso

So, I have severe problems with Ina Garten but that woman makes a damn fine ice cream. Or at least her underlings do and she just shows us how to do it on TV. The only thing I changed here was not adding in the chocolate covered espresso beans, which I'm sure is fantastic but would have been overkill in my eyes. And like, I didn't want to spend the money on them (let's be totally honest here). This had such a wonderful coffee flavor without being "too much" of a good thing. It smells weird once you cook it and strain it and let it sit in the fridge. I'm not sure why it smelled weird but I went with it anyway and it ended up being my favorite ice cream of them all. This one went the fastest. And since I still have half & half in my fridge, I will probably be making this again. (Ooooh, and another gift I received via Amazon gift card was instant espresso powder by Ferrara, so good.)

(Another photo that is not mine from Sugar Crafter)

#3: Vegan Coconut Milk Ice Cream

So yeah, the vegan ice cream is an elusive she-goddess. I know there are tons of awesome vegan ice creams out there (So Delicious, Tofutti, etc.) but I just haven't been really keen on any of them. As someone who still eats dairy, I guess I was looking for something that mimics the real thing. I realize how ridiculous that is but this Coconut Milk Ice Cream was like a godsend to me. So to start, I used one low-fat and one full-fat can of coconut milk. It's what I had on hand and it worked great. I left the banana out because I wanted pure coconut flavor and instead of arrowroot powder, I used cornstarch. And I wanted a "tropical" element (because we need it in Chicago in January) to my ice cream so I added fresh pineapple. I put it in a strainer for about an hour to drain the juices and then patted it dry with a paper towel. Okay, so everything went swimmingly when I made the base but note to everyone if you make this: DO NOT ADD IN THE PINEAPPLE UNTIL AFTER THE ICE CREAM IS DONE CHURNING. I stupidly put it in the canister with the coconut milk base and it froze up (from the residual water in the pineapple) after about 25 minutes. It churned enough where I could just put it in a container and freeze it and was still wonderful but learn from my mistake. Put your add-ins at the end, not the beginning. Despite that mistake, albeit a delicious one, this ice cream was off the charts. It had that silky mouth feel you get from dairy desserts and a wonderful subtle coconut flavor. I think next time I might throw in some toasted coconut at the end as well. So much better than store bought!

(Photo courtesy of The Whinery 2.0)

Whew! That's a lot of words. Thank you reading this all if you got through it. I know this may not pertain to all but it is worth checking out a cheapo ice cream maker to make these recipes. If you have recipe suggestions, I'd love to hear them! Beyond the espresso recipe again, I'd love to try a strawberry cheesecake or peach melba. Yum. Enjoy! And keep warm!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

African Sweet Potato Stew 5/5 Spoons

I thought this recipe was gone forever. After moving this past March, I figured I would never find this beautiful, delicious recipe ever again. The other day I was searching for a purse and a piece of paper fluttered to the ground. It was crumpled and dirty and I thought to myself, "God, I'm a slob." BUT NO! I was smart and kept this recipe (even if it was a dumb place). I think I found this recipe in a vegan newsletter somewhere sometime in my life but the details are kind of sketchy. It doesn't matter, I found the recipe again! I've seriously tried to find it online but it was all for naught. Now I do have some sweet soup making skills but I couldn't remember everything that was included in this magical stew. It has been found and now I can share it with all of you!

2 T. olive oil
1 red onion, diced small
2-3 garlic cloves, diced small
1 red bell pepper, cored and chopped
2 celery stalks, diced
Handful of celery leaves, chopped
1 jalapeno, cored and seeded, diced small
2 small zucchini, diced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and diced
5 c. water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
1 t. oregano
1/2 t. dried ginger (1 t. if you are using fresh)
1 t. cumin
1/2 c. quinoa
1/2 c. peanut butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Red pepper flakes, to taste

Heat your olive oil on medium heat in a dutch oven or heavy soup pot and throw in the onion, garlic, celery and red pepper. Cook for 10 minutes until the veggies are soft and a tad golden. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the last three (PB, S&P and pepper flakes). Bring soup to a boil and lower the temp to a simmer and cover. Cook about 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Stir in peanut butter, salt & pepper and pepper flakes and simmer for another 5 minutes until the peanut butter is melted into the soup. Serve with some crusty bread and enjoy!

(That's how I feel about sweet potatoes too.)

So I have no pictures of this stew but TRUST ME. I dare say that this is my favorite soup. I do not take soup lightly, so I really think you should believe me on this one. Quinoa is amazing and a complete protein so it is great for us veg heads.

What are some of your lost and found recipes? Or favorite quinoa recipes? I'd love to know! And I'm still working on my one year anniversary giveaway, so keep reading. I will be reviewing something sweet next time you see me!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Vegan Hungarian Goulash 4/5 Spoons

I've never had goulash before. In fact, I don't think I ever once thought about it. My roommate told me she loves goulash but she had only had a meat-filled version and I was willing to try and make her a cruelty-free version. So since I had no frame of reference, I like to think this turned out pretty well. It wasn't my favorite thing in the world but it was hearty, delicious and made everyone in this apartment full and happy.

(Photo courtesy of Saveur)

Here are my notes:

-- I think I only used one onion, two onions kind of seemed insane considering the size of the ones I can find at the grocery store.
-- Instead of beef, I used Gardein's Beefless Tips. I think this was my favorite part. I actually fried them in a shallow pan separately and just added them over the goulash when I was about to eat. Since we aren't using animal parts that need to be cooked down for a long time to release their fat and make them tender (ew), this really cuts down on the cooking time. Make sure to fry these nice and crispy because then they really stand up to the potatoes and other strong flavors.
-- Paprika is what makes goulash well.... goulash. I was so freaked out to use 1/4 c. of any spice but it works, trust me. It imparts a spicy intense flavor that is not too overwhelming. Make sure to get Hungarian paprika too, I think it really makes the difference. Often times you can just find it at your grocery store and it's not crazy expensive, so go for it!
-- As for an Italian frying pepper, I used a Cubanelle. I think you can use whatever mild pepper you can find at your local store.

I served this goulash over a heaping pile of pasta but I've seen it being served over rice or mashed potatoes as well. Since there were already potatoes in it, I figured pasta would be a good addition. I really enjoyed this dish and probably will make it again (mostly because I have a bag of Hungarian paprika to use, ha). I have no idea if this authentic in any way but it sure was delicious. A lovely vegan friend of mine has a recipe for a Goulash with mushrooms instead of a beef substitute. I look forward to trying that as well, check out the link.

So, blogging in 2012 is feeling pretty good. I can't wait to continue reviewing awesome recipes for you all and I swear the giveaway will be coming up soon!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Caramel Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting and a Salted Caramel Topper 5/5 Spoons

Look at that name, what a mouthful!

So I made these gorgeous cupcakes for a New Year's Eve party and I think they turned out quite professional looking if I do say so myself. Although it's never my intention to be "professional" per se but I like knowing I can make a beautiful product that appeals to the eye.... and the stomach.

The cupcakes orgininally were part of a Salted Caramel Trio and I only used the cupcake and caramel topping component in my dessert. The cupcakes were really moist and delicious and full of that dark, caramel-y brown sugar that I love. As for the Chocolate Buttercream frosting, I kind of tweaked this recipe a bit to make it less sweet (the way I like it). Here are my notes:


-- Um, I honestly don't think I changed anything here. I would say to up the salt component a tad more but beyond that, I loved these.


-- My recipe plays off of this one but I cut the cocoa down to 1/2 c., the sugar down to 1 1/2 c. and use a thicker milk. Honestly this last time my butter was too soft so I had to bump the sugar up to 2 c., so just be careful about that. And this is a really good vegan frosting, just so you know.

As for the Salted Caramel topper (see link above), that was probably my favorite part. I was so freaked out I was doing the caramel wrong but it just look a little while for it to get going. Once caramel starts, it stops for no man. Keep an eye on it. Once it starts to get just a tad golden brown, PULL IT OFF THE STOVE. There is so much residual heat in your pan that it will keep cooking until it is perfectly set. I didn't do the fancy parchment paper over the rolling pin thing. I just took a piece of greased parchment paper and drizzled the caramel all over with a spoon. Make sure to salt (or sugar) the candy before it completely sets or it will all fall off. It was so much fun to make candy and I look forward to doing it much more.

So overall, amazing recipe. It really only has one more component than a regular ol' cupcake but that extra 10 minutes is so worth it.

And I promised to have a giveaway for my 1 year anniversary but lo and behold, I have none. I am working on figuring out what I want to give away, so be patient and keep reading! Happy New Year folks!

Check out my recipe at Sweet as Sugar Cookies along tons of other delicious recipes as well! Just click above. : )