Tag Archives: food

Baked Vegan Macaroni Casserole


I made this macaroni casserole a couple of weeks ago to satisfy an urge for comfort food.  It hit the spot!  Although I will not claim that it is exactly like it’s non-vegan equivalents, it is pretty darn good all the same.  I served it with my Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup for the ultimate cozy Sunday afternoon meal.  Recipe below!

Baked Vegan Macaroni Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb cooked Macaroni noodles (I used whole wheat and it tasted fine in the casserole!)
  • ½ c raw cashews, processed into a powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 medium chopped potato
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • 1 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 c non dairy milk
  • Juice of half of a lemon
  • 3 T corn starch
  • 1 tbsp oil/earth balance
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ t Dijon mustard
  • ½ t tumeric
  • ½ t onion powder
  • ¼ t black pepper
  • 1/8 t cayenne
  • dash of soy sauce
  • **Garnish:  Paprika, bread crumbs, ground almonds
  • **Optional:  Peas and halved cherry tomates

Instructions:

  1. Grease a large casserole pan and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Cook your macaroni noodles according to the package instructions and drain.  Put in casserole pan and set aside
  3. In a food processor, blend the raw cashews with the carrots, potato, and garlic, and process until well combined.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients (except for the macaroni, the garnish, and the optional ingredients) to the food processor and process again until a smooth “cheese” sauce forms.
  5. Pour the “cheese” sauce directly onto the macaroni noodles and toss to coat the noodles evenly.  If you want to add optional ingredients to your casserole, now is the time to do it!  I added a bag of frozen peas and some spare, halved cherry tomatoes for color and nutrition.
  6. Top with paprika (for a little kick), bread crumbs, and crushed almonds (for some crunch).
  7. Cook for 30 minutes.
  8. Serve!  This recipe makes enough to serve about 4-6 people, depending on how hungry everyone is.

-Dominique

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Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup


We’ve had a couple of cold weekends in Pittsburgh lately, so I decided to throw together some tomato soup out of two cans of plain tomato sauce I had in my pantry (which is actually just my dining room floor…college kitchens are tiny!).  In my pre-vegan days, I would have let heavy whipping cream give this tomato soup it’s comforting creaminess, but I veganized it with some full fat coconut milk and added thickness by blending it with carrots and potatoes.  I wouldn’t skip the the Herbs de Provence, they really elevate the flavor, adding an air of French sophistication (maybe?)

Anyways, the result is a thick and creamy tomato soup that even my tomato soup hating boyfriend and roommate really enjoyed.  Recipe below!

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • 3 large cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 chopped carrot
  • 1 small chopped onion
  • 2 t Herbs de Provence
  • 1 t basil pesto
  • ½ t nutmeg
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 c vegetable broth
  • 1 medium chopped potato
  • 23 oz (for me, one small can and one regular-sized can) of plain tomato sauce
  • 4 T full fat coconut milk
  • salt and pepper to taste (wait until the end to add)

Instructions:

  1. Coat a medium saucepan with olive oil and sauté garlic on medium heat until fragrant.  Add the onion and carrots and turn heat to low.
  2. Add the spices and combine, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  3. Add the vegetable broth, potatoes, and tomato sauce.  Turn the heat to medium, and wait until the soup starts gently bubbling and potatoes are tender (for me this was conveniently the same time).  Take the soup off of the heat and allow it to cool down a bit.
  4. Put the soup in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.  Pour it back into the saucepan and heat on low.
  5. Slowly add the coconut milk while stirring the soup.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

Enjoy!

-Dominique

3 Commercial Break Snacks with Avocado


A small Italian market near my house always sells avocados (not really Italian, right?) for a dollar each, so I can never resist buying at least two a week.  Avocados are really filling and are loaded with fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and Vitamin K, and they add a delicious creaminess to almost anything (soups, smoothies, spreads, pasta, and more!).  Plus, they just look cute, kind of like the Weebles of fruit.

All three of these yummy snacks can be thrown together in under 5 minutes.  I actually made the guacamole and soft serve during commercial breaks!  Can’t beat those quick, healthy, and delicious  snacks when you’re a college student.

Easy Guacamole

1. Cut one avocado in half, remove pit, and scoop flesh into a bowl.

2. Add spices and a few drops of lime juice. I used onion and garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper, but feel free to use whatever you have on hand! My mom uses Old Bay seasoning, which is always delicious in guac.

3. Add a couple of spoonfuls of salsa (yes, from a jar)! If you want to make homemade salsa and add that, that’s awesome, but I didn’t have time. Jar salsa works great in a pinch to add more flavor and texture to your guacamole.

Avocado-Banana Soft Serve

Inspired by Averie’s Vanilla Avocado Banana Ice Cream

Throw a chopped banana, the flesh of an avocado, half a can of full fat coconut milk (this is what made the soft serve, in my opinion), a few drops of vanilla, some almond milk, a pinch of salt, and sugar (to taste) into your food processor or blender.  Blend, transfer into a tupperware container, and freeze overnight.

You Don’t Need a Recipe to Make Toast…

…but this toast made an amazing study snack.  I toasted some whole grain bread, and then layered three tasty, savory spreads.  First, homemade paprika hummus, then half of a mashed avocado, and finally some hot pepper jelly (from local company The Berry Patch, find them at the Pittsburgh Public Market in the Strip if you’re in the area!).  So delicious and filling.

Those are just a few of the easy avocado snacks I’ve been eating in the last couple of weeks…what’s your favorite way to use avocado?

-Dominique

Spicy Homemade Falafel Recipe


Today, after I took my first final, I needed to relax and forget about studying for a bit!  For me, relaxing usually means whipping something up in the kitchen.

I wanted to make something that I could enjoy now, but also freeze and eat throughout the next week.  I was craving Middle Eastern food to go with some hummus I needed to use up, so I figured I’d try my hand at making falafel.  This isn’t the most traditional of falafel recipes; I usually find falafel to be pretty bland so I added extra cayenne and red pepper flakes to give it a little kick!  If you don’t like spicy food, omit the red pepper flakes and cut down on the cayenne to mellow it out a bit.  Also, I had a bell pepper that I needed to use, so I threw that in the food processor too!  Yum.

Spicy Falafel

Yield:  Between 18-24 falafel balls, depending on how big you make them.

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (15 oz) of rinsed and drained chickpeas
  • 1/3 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped (I used an orange pepper, but whatever you have on hand is fine!)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 7 T flour (or more, if it isn’t forming a doughy enough texture)
  • 2 T tahini
  • 2 t cayenne pepper
  • 2 t cumin
  • 1 t coriander
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t dried parsley
  • 1 t baking powder
  • hot pepper flakes, to taste
  • oil for frying (I used vegetable oil)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all ingredients except oil in food processor.  Pulse until it turns into a wet “dough”.  Some chunkiness is fine, depending on how you like your falafel.
  3. Put vegetable oil in a skillet and heat at medium.  While oil is heating, grease a large oven pan and flour an area next to the stove (you’re setting up your little falafel factory’s production line!)
  4. With some flour on your hands, start scooping falafel out of the (unplugged!) food processor and shaping it into patties or balls.  Set on floured surface.
  5. Drop falafel balls into the oil, cooking for about 2 minutes on each side to make the outside nice and crispy.  Don’t worry about cooking the falafel through, you’ll do that later!
  6. Transfer cooked falafel to lightly greased pan, and put it in the oven for 10 minutes.
  7. Remove falafel from pan, and use a towel to absorb excess grease.  Enjoy!

Notes:

  • If your falafel isn’t sticking together in the oil, add more flour to the “dough”.
  • If you have extra time, you can refrigerate falafel balls before frying them.  This may also help them stay together.  (I was impatient and took my chances, but it worked fine anyways)
  • If you don’t like to fry foods (it can be scary in a multitude of ways, hot oil freaks me out sometimes), feel free to bake these falafel balls or patties in your oven!  10 minutes on each side should do it.

Enjoy!

-Dominique

Back to Blogging!


So much has happened since I last blogged!  I moved into the best house ever with my two best friends, got to know and started dating Adam, finished my first semester of my sophomore year at Pitt, started (and stopped) training for the Pittsburgh Half-Marathon, found a church in Pittsburgh that I love, completed a semester of psych research for the Pittsburgh Girl’s Study, and decided to go to Uganda for two weeks in the summer!  It has certainly been an eventful couple of months, but the biggest thing that happened to me was that I discovered a newfound love for food and cooking!

This semester I took an awesome class called “The Politics of Food and Gender”, where I started actually examining and thinking about what I eat and how I eat it.  Preparing all of my own meals in my own South Oakland kitchen gave me a newfound interest in cooking, and it quickly became a new hobby (or maybe obsession…?).  For the month of April, my roommates and I decided to become vegans (crazy, I know!) to try and be more intentional about our food consumption.  All of these things  made me want to come back to blogging, so I can share my recipes, crafts, adventures, and mishaps with anyone who wants to listen (that means you, mom!).   Expect more recipes, more ramblings on food, and more Pittsburgh adventures.  Thanks for reading! 🙂

Scotland Recap: Edinburgh Eats!


In contrast to Campbeltown, there was such a large selection of restaurants in Edinburgh! It was almost overwhelming to choose which ones to go to, but with the help of our Lonely Planet tour book, we narrowed it down to some great places. Here are my favorite meals, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in Edinburgh!

For breakfast, I loved the Urban Angel Cafe (also serves lunch and dinner). It was cozy and hip, and boasted local, organic, free trade produce. Gotta love that!



To drink, my mom and I ordered tea

Chai tea with Honey and Steamed Milk


and Nicole and Gigi got smoothies.

Smoothie #1 (Strawberries and Fresh Squeezed OJ)

Smoothie #2 (Berries and Yogurt)


To eat, my mom got mueseli,

Freshly Made Muesli!


Nicole and Gigi got French toast,

French Toast (with Homemade Bread) and Bacon


and I got Eggs Benedict. The Hollandaise sauce was PERFECT, tangy and creamy!

Eggs Benedict

The only thing about Urban Angel was that it was definitely overpriced for what it was. That’s the cost of organic, local eating, I suppose.

My favorite lunch was at the Deacon’s House Cafe, a small cafe built in the space that used to be the infamous Deacon Brodie’s workshop! TO give you the reader’s digest version, Deacon Brodie was an upstanding cabinet maker by day and a thief by night. When he was finally caught, he was hung on gallows he designed himself. Pretty cool, huh? We actually just walked into the cafe on a whim, but it turned out to be quite good, and you all should know by now that I love anything of historical significance.

Deacon Brodie was the inspiration for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde


I got some delicious soup and a cheese scone…a very Scottish lunch!

Vegetable Soup and a Cheese Scone from Deacon Brodie's


Nicole opted for a BLT on a bagel and some hot chocolate, both of which she said were great as well!

Nicole with her BLT bagel and hot chocolate at Deacon Brodie's

My favorite dinner, and probably favorite meal in all of Scotland, and one of my top five restaurant meals EVER, was at Mums.

I left my heart at Mums ❤


Mum’s motto is “Eat Great Comfort Food”. As soon as I read that, I knew I was in for a treat. I am the comfort food queen!

My new life motto!


The restaurant itself was small, but cozy. Selections of the day were written on chalkboards, and the waitstaff and cook were very friendly and helpful!
EVERYONE’S food looked delicious.
Nicole’s Mac and Cheese was perfectly cheese and creamy, and so filling that she couldn’t finish! And yes, those are hand-cut homemade chips.

Mac and Cheese with Chips


Dad’s special ordered lamb pie (the chef didn’t want to make it at first because she didn’t think it would taste good, but finally she caved under my dad’s begging). The pastry was as big as a whole loaf of bread! He was like a kid on Christmas morning.

Dad feasting on a lamb pie


Delicious Lamb Pie is Revealed!


I got the classic “Sausages with Mash and Gravy”. They had a huge selection of sausages, even vegetarian ones, all made fresh. I opted for a one chicken and blue cheese sausage, and one classic Mum’s sausage (pork and herbs). Both were equally delicious! There were also tons of mash (mashed potatoes) options! After a long deliberation period, I chose cauliflower and cheese. And I went with classic gravy.

My Sausages and Mash (pre-gravy)


My Sausages and Mash (Post-Gravy) with Dad's Veggies

I have never been so full or so happy finishing a meal. Mum’s is truly the best of British comfort food!

Cute postcard and candies with our check!

Keep reading to find out about all the amazing sights we saw in Edinburgh!

-Dominique

Vacation is Over (With Never-before-Seen Photos!!)


A 10 hour car ride and 30 minutes of unpacking later, vacation is over!  I had a blast at Myrtle Beach with my family, but I’m glad to be home.  I love Doylestown!

Here are some things I’ll miss about vacation…

  • My grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins
  • Runs on the beach
  • Swimming in the ocean
  • Big family dinners
  • Playing cards, minigolf and other games
And here are some bonus pictures that I didn’t really know where to post during the week!

Homemade Meat and Cheese Raviolis! (My favorite)

Homemade Deep Fried Pierogies!

Me with Violet

Me with Violet...again (Can you tell I'm in love?)

Nicole and I before Dinner at Islamorada

GO PITTSBURGH!!!

That wraps up Myrtle…next up, a KiD CuDi concert and Emma’s birthday celebration weekend!

-Dominique