Advances in Veggie Science

When I first began my vegetarian journey back in high school there were very few veggie options out there.  You could have a Boca burger, a Boca burger on a salad, a Boca burger on pasta, etc.  I’m still amazed to this day how many meat alternatives are available at pretty much every grocery store.  These days it is incredibly easy to make a solid vegetarian/vegan meal that even the most devoted and adamant carnivore can enjoy.

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One product I’m super excited about are these Beyond Meat Sausages.  We’ve only tried the Hot Italian version of these but they offer a few other types of sausage and I’m going to assume they are excellent as well.  These sausages are a little pricy (usually around $8 a pack) but I have found they are often on sale, especially at Whole Foods.  They can be grilled and served on a bun with peppers and onions, sliced and simmered in a red sauce to be topped on pasta, the list really goes on.  My brother came over for dinner the other night and I served these with pasta.  That night was a bit of an adventure since we had to run out with the baby and head to the ER (he had croup, he’s fine) and my brother ended up sleeping on Soy Bean’s floor (it was quite a night!).  Had that night not have so…hectic…I would have asked for his solid opinion.  We’re just going to say he loved it.

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Another new product we’ve tried recently is Miyoko’s Fresh Vegan Mozz.  I’ve tried Miyoko’s cream cheese before and throughly enjoyed it so I thought I would give this cheese a try.  I was actually looking for Daiya cheese but I couldn’t find it, I’m glad I tried this!

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Friday night is pizza night at our house.

If you’re used to working with Daiya cheese, the Miyoko’s cheese is a very different texture.  I actually grabbed my cheese grater before I opened this but then I realized how soft this cheese was and it could be pulled apart.  I used the whole package to make two pizzas and spread them out in little mozzarella balls.  It looked super authentic in my opinion.  Once it cooked it had a nice bubbling appearance to the cheese.  If you don’t like nuts I wouldn’t recommend this cheese, but luckily we are big fans of the cashew in our house. The second ingredient in this cheese is soaked cashews.  While it had a slightly nutty taste to the cheese it wasn’t overwhelming.  This is the unofficial best pizza I’ve ever made.

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Pizza with garlic and lots of red pepper flake. Sorry I didn’t get a better picture!

Christmas Recap

I cannot believe how quickly the holiday season flew by this year!  Thankfully we were able to fit in a lot of Christmas cheer in a short period of time (and with a minimal amount of meltdowns to boot!).

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Breakfast with a view at Indian Head Resort.

We kicked off the season by heading up to Indian Head Resort.  This is the third year we have stayed there while picking out our Christmas tree.  If you want to time travel to the 1970’s I totally recommend this place.  If you want to stay somewhere luxurious, I think you should look elsewhere.  Personally, we really like staying at Indian Head.  Our trip is always some sort of adventure….but the kids love it and they have both an indoor and heated outdoor pool.  As a parent you can’t beat that.  They do offer Christmas packages, which includes the price of a tree, wreath, and your meals.  We opted out of this package this year and just booked the hotel room.  Honestly, the food is pretty subpar there and the service is pretty horrendous.  We heard some nightmare stories from other guests who ate there on Friday night.  After a minor series of disasters we ended up getting Subway.  We do however, enjoy the breakfast buffet mostly because it’s pretty difficult to screw up a buffet and this year especially because we were given a free breakfast because our room was not ready until 7 pm.  With three kids that curveball was an adventure but we pulled through.

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Ride up to NH. Isn’t it beautiful?

Our favorite part of the trip, besides spending copious amounts of time together, is venturing out to get our tree.  We headed to The Rocks in Bethlehem, NH. What a beautiful spot!  And you actually get to cut down your own tree.  This year it was exceptionally cold but we were able to pick out the perfect tree and load it up on top of our car.  If you ever find yourself up in this area during Christmas time I highly recommend this place for a beautiful Christmas tree.

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View at The Rocks.
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All three boys and the tree made it home.

Dylan and I hosted our annual Deck the Halls Christmas party the following weekend.  We usually like to host this the Saturday after Thanksgiving but with the shorter season this year we decided to get our tree earlier and switch weekends.   I always love the opportunity to make food and hang out with friends.  We were lucky a lot of people were able to take time out of their busy schedules to hang out and have some food and margaritas/sangria with us.  Plus it’s an excuse to dress Sophie and Daisy up in their Christmas best.

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Daisy is feeling pretty….

Along the way we were able to see lots of family, friends and of course Santa.  The kids (well not so much Baby C) enjoyed opening their gifts and we were able to spend the day with both my family and Dylan’s.

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Baby’s first Christmas.
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Soy Bean was slightly overwhelmed.

I’m kicking off my second week of vacation with one sick child and one healthy child (50/50 isn’t bad right?) and looking forward to creating a delicious vegan spread for New Years Eve although I am doubtful we will be awake for midnight.  Baby C has been a super wonderful and amazingly easy baby.  The last two nights he slept about 10 hours straight which outdoes his older brother.  He’s so sweet and loves to smile and we cannot be happier that he is part of our family.  It’s amazing to think just last year he was making me queasy and keeping me from toasting with champagne at midnight.

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Baby C feeling cute.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I get a lot of requests from family and friends to make these cookies.  Today (Friday, I’m running behind!) my husband suggested that we make them.  I think there’s no better time to indulge than a snowy weekend so why not?

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We’re enjoying a very unexpected long weekend here.  The hubby and I had our first snow days of the year on Thursday and Friday.  Woohoo!  Perks of having a June baby, I probably won’t be making up these days!

Pregnancy + snow day = lots of baking.

I currently have a cake in the oven because the baby is craving cake and I don’t want to deprive my son, but let’s talk cookies.  These chocolate chip cookies are vegany deliciousness.  Simple, easy, and a crowd pleaser.  Best of all y0u probably have all the ingredients in your kitchen right now!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup melted vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 flax eggs (1 tablespoon flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water = 1 egg)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 bag vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 1/4 cup of flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup of water

Ok maybe you don’t have vegan chocolate chips in your pantry right now, but they’re not too hard to find.  You can usually pick some up in the earthy crunch section of your local grocery store.

In a separate bowl, stir together your flax seed and water.  Set aside.  While your flax eggs are setting whisk your salt, baking soda, and flour together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together your sugars, melted butter, vanilla extract and flax eggs. Slowly pour in your wet ingredients into your dry mixture and stir together. Add in the half a cup of water.  Fold in your chocolate chips.

Have your oven preheated to 375 degrees. I scooped out my cookie dough with and ice cream soup and spread my cookies about two inches apart on my cookie sheet. I covered my pan with aluminum foil because I have a cheap cookie sheet and I was afraid they would stick. I cooked my cookies for about 25 minutes.

One of the best parts about making vegan cookies…the cookie dough is totally up for grabs since there no raw egg!  Happy baking.

 

Cranberry Orange Scones

I’ve been on a scones kick, that’s for sure.  I guarantee I’ve eaten more scones in the last five months than I have in my entire life.  Scones are awesome and super easy to make!

I haven’t been too daring in my scone pursuits, mostly sticking to blueberry scones, but last weekend I took a risk.  I decided it was time to attempt some cranberry orange scones.

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I’m a good New Englander, so of course I need to cook with cranberries.  I love the tartness of cranberries.  I decided to attempt some cranberry orange scones.  I was quite please with how they came out!

Ingredients

4 cups of flour
6 tablespoons of sugar
4.5 teaspoons baking powder
2 flax eggs
1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of cold vegan butter
1 cup of fresh cranberries
1.5 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons plain almond milk
3 tablespoons fresh orange juice + the zest of one orange
For the glaze

1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. First, make your flax eggs (three tablespoons of water and one tablespoon flaxseed meal = one egg) and set aside in a bowl. In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients. Take a fork and cut up the butter until your mixture resembles wet sand. Whisk together 3/4 cup of milk and flax egg and add to the bowl. Mix together and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of almond milk and orange juice. Fold in your cranberries and orange zest. On a well floured surface kneed your dough and flatten into an about 8 inch circle. Cut your dough with a pizza cutter into eight triangles. Place the individual triangles on a baking sheet. I lined mine with aluminum foil lightly coated with flour. Bake for 30 minutes.

Call me bias, but these came out pretty good.  I love taking one of these to work everyday to enjoy with my coffee.  Enjoy!

 

Oatmeal Stuffed Pancakes

Very hungry pregnant lady here.

Very hungry.

Today I learned that hungry+pregnant+grocery shopping = $40 over budget.  Oh well, it was totally worth it.  I loaded up on lots of veggies, fruit, tofu, and lots of other healthy foods as well as some not so healthy items (vegan ice cream, ramen, etc.)

My grocery run/shopping spree was fueled by a delicious breakfast I made this morning.  Way back in the day, I used to go out to brunch with friends a couple of times a month.  We frequented this (what we considered) fancy place is Wellesley (of course everything is fancy in Wellesley).  Anyways, this spot had an awesome brunch menu.  This was before my vegan days so I indulged in almost every meatless option on the menu.  The other night their oatmeal stuffed pancakes popped into my head through the magic of Facebook.

Pregnant Sarah loves pancakes.  Non pregnant Sarah liked to subject her family to tofu  scrambles and tater tots (and mimosas for the 21+ crowd), but non pregnant Sarah has a sweet tooth.  I haven’t heard any complaints…

I tried my best with these pancakes, the whole “stuffed” factor was the trickiest part, but if I can do it you can too, trust me.  If the “stuffing” proves too difficult you can always make the oatmeal pancakes and top them with the fruit of your choice, but come on, take the risk.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 3/4 cup old fashion oats
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1 1/4 cup water

For the filling

  • 1 1/5 cup fruit of your choice (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

First I mixed together my oats and almond milk and set it aside.  Next mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.  Add water, oil, and soaked oats to your bowl and stir together.

In a sauce pan over medium heat add fruit and sugar and let the fruit cook down.  I used a frozen berry mix we had on hand.  I thought it came out pretty good.  I think this could be great with fresh blueberries or strawberries.  If my husband wasn’t so grossed out by bananas I would give those a shot too.

I used my cast iron skillet and coconut oil for cooking our pancakes.  I dished out about 1/4 of a cup of pancake batter onto the skilled and let that sit until I could see bubbles in the bater. Next I added a spoonful of my fruit filling and topped the pancake with some more batter enough so that it covered the filling.  I let that cook slightly longer then flipped the pancake.  It took a couple of minutes to cook each pancake, use your best judgment.  The nice part about vegan pancakes is that you don’t need to worry about raw egg!  It’s important not to let your pancake cook too long before you add the filling and top it off or else your pancake will be very uneven.

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I topped these off with some maple syrup and powdered sugar.  I loved this breakfast, I think the oats added a nice texture and richness to the pancake.  I will be making these again for sure.  Anyone want to come over for brunch?

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Blueberry Scones

We’ve been enjoying The Crown at our house, I introduced my husband to crumpets, and I’ve been drinking lots of tea.  I guess we have a bit of a British theme going on here.

I was inspired to make some scones today, and I’m pretty proud about how they came out. Now that I’m feeling better I’m back in the kitchen, I also have a bit of a sweet tooth this pregnancy and have been gravitating towards baking.  We have lots of blueberries in our freezer so yesterday I cranked out some blueberry coconut pancakes and today I felt inspired to make some scones.

I love a good scone.  Apparently so does Soy Bean.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 6 tablespoons of sugar
  • 4.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons of cold vegan butter
  • 1 cup of frozen blueberries
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 cup and 2 tablespoons plain almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the glaze

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  First, make your flax eggs (three tablespoons of water and one tablespoon flaxseed meal = one egg) and set aside in a bowl.  In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients.  Take a fork and cut up the butter until your mixture resembles wet sand.  Whisk together 3/4 cup of milk and flax egg and add to the bowl.  Mix together and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of almond milk and lemon juice.  Fold in your blueberries.  On a well floured surface kneed your dough and flatten into an about 8 inch circle.  Cut your dough with a pizza cutter into eight triangles.  Place the individual triangles on a baking sheet.  I lined mine with aluminum foil lightly coated with flour.  Bake for 30 minutes.

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Once your scones are baked and cooled, combine powdered sugar, fresh lemon juice and coconut oil to make a glaze.  Top your scones with the glaze, try to do a better job than I did.

I was pretty proud with how these came out. My husband and split one to taste test, he approved.  I think I will be looking forward to breakfast this week!  Enjoy!