Carrot Cake Pancakes and Easter goodies!

I’m sorry for the lack of posts, school has me pretty busy when I’m not in work. I have more posts coming for you and will be working on that this week! Until then, here are some of my favorite vegan suggestions for Easter weekend!

Carrot Cake Pancakes!

This is how I plan on starting our Easter:

1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup vanilla almond milk
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
dash of powdered ginger
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 cup finely shredded carrots
Optional garnish: chopped walnuts

A pre-heated non-stick pan is great here, but if you don’t have one, just lightly oil a skillet and preheat.
Combine dry ingredients and mix well until there are no clumps.
Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Fold in shredded carrots.

Pour about 1/4 cup batter per pancake and cover. Let cook several minutes, just past when it bubbles. The pancake will look slightly cooked on top. Flip, cover, and allow to cook for a couple more minutes until lightly browned. Repeat until batter is used up. Makes about 6 pancakes.
I recommend topping with some toasted chopped walnuts, earth balance buttery spread, and pure maple syrup! Enjoy!

Now those pancakes are going to do a little sweet tooth satisfying, but I think a bit more sugar is expected during these festivities! Chocolate Covered Katie has a fantastic list of recipes to cover you on that:

Chocolate Covered Katie’s healthier swaps for your favorite Easter treats! I can’t wait to make some peanut butter eggs!

I will be making this magical PPK recipe:

~10 small yukon gold potatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for at least 2 hours
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3/4 teaspoon fine pink Himalayan salt
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
A big pinch black pepper

For garnish:
Sweet paprika
Fresh dill

Follow the link for directions and a pretty tempting picture of these lovely babies!

Given the chance, there will be a bit more playing in the kitchen this week. Hopefully I’ll have more new recipes for you soon!

Fried Tofu and Waffles!

I’ve heard how great chicken and waffles is so many times, but I never really thought much of it. Maybe it was just that it’s such a non-vegan dish, and one I’ve never had before, but it was never a food combination I paid much attention to. I feel like I’ve been seeing it more and more and started wondering about vegan versions. I decided to try a fried tofu and waffles.

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Drain 1 package of extra firm tofu and press.
Cut into 6 slices long wise,  and then cut those in half so you have 12 squares of tofu. Lay them out on paper towels for about 20-30 minutes to help them dry out more.
Combine in a bowl:
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp Cajun seasoning  (I use Tony Chachere’s )

After letting the tofu sit out, individually toss each piece of tofu in this mixture and place on a baking rack or surface where excess powder can fall off. If you have extra left over just toss them again. Let them sit for another 20 minutes.

Prepare a skillet with canola oil, vegetable shortening, or whatever you prefer to fry with. Set it to medium heat and get ready for coating your tofu.

In a small dish, combine 1 1/2 tbsp ground flax seed with 5 tbsp water and mix well.

In a separate dish combine:
1/2 c cornstarch
1/2 c plain bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp parsley
1/2 tbsp onion powder

Dip tofu in flax mix and then into the cornstarch/bread crumb mix, tossing to coat. Sprinkle some cornstarch on the oil, if it sizzles it’s ready for your tofu. Place a few pieces in at a time, leaving plenty of space between pieces. Cook until golden brown and flip. Once cooked, put on a paper towel covered plate.

For the waffles:
I started my waffle mix after doing the first cornstarch dip so that everything would be ready about the same time.

6 waffles ( in 2 square waffle waffle iron)

1 1/2 c unbleached all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c melted Earth Balance buttery spread
1 c vanilla almond milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together dry ingredients and then add all wet ingredients and mix well. Cook per your waffle iron’s instructions.

Enjoy the waffles with some Earth Balance buttery spread,  a couple of pieces of fried tofu, and some maple syrup! I now understand this delicious combination and look forward to having it again soon!

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Chick’n Tortilla Soup

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Super easy and so delicious! This filling soup is perfect for a chilly night.

6 cups  vegan chicken broth ( or water)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, diced
1 jalapeño,  chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes
1 14 oz can corn
1 14 oz can black beans
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning
2 bags Gardein Chick’n Strips chopped/shredded (set sauce aside, will not be used in this dish)
1 lime
Cilantro
1 cup shredded vegan Mozzarella
1 avocado, diced
Tortilla chips

Preheat and add oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, jalapeño,  and garlic and cook for several minutes. Once onions are seen through,  add your broth and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, add tomatoes, beans,  and corn, and lower to medium heat. Add seasonings and stir well. Add chick’n.
Cook for about 10 more minutes. Lower heat, cut your lime and squeeze the juice into the soup. Chop up as much cilantro as you prefer and add to soup.
Spoon into bowls, add avocado and cheese upon serving, and crumble tortilla chips into soup before eating.
Enjoy!

Festive Pancakes

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This weekend I was looking forward to a nice stack of pancakes for breakfast, but wanted to make them special.
I had made decorative pancakes for my nephew’s birthday recently and wanted to play with making certain shapes instead of just designs in the pancakes.
It ended up being very easy! Using a squeeze bottle“> I was able to easily make shapes that the batter fit into.

1 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp raw sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup almond milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat an oiled skillet over medium heat.
Combine dry ingredients,  mix well until there are no clumps.
Add wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Pour a portion into the squeeze bottle. Draw an outline of whatever shape you’d like to make, and any decorations you’d like in them. let it cook until bubbles appear on the top, and then pour the batter inside of the outline, spreading any batter within the outline. Cover skillet and cook until the top bubbles, flip, and cook for several minutes on the other side until lightly browned. Enjoy!

Coconut French Toast and Easy Chickpea Salad

After a long week, a lazy Sunday was just what I needed! After a little sleeping in, a lot of cuddling with my pup and cat, I decided to make myself some French Toast. It’s been so long!
I toasted a few slices of bread since I didn’t have any stale bread at home.
This is what I used, but it’s really easy to play with this recipe, different creamers, different extracts, easily modified! This could be fun during the holidays when So Delicious has flavors like Nog and Pumpkin Spice.

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1/4 cup So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Creamer
1/4 cup So Delicious Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tbsp chickpea flour

Combine all ingredients in a wide bowl and mix well. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and coat with coconut oil.
Soak bread slices in mixture and move to pan, cooking each side for a couple of minutes on each side, until nice golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, grab your maple syrup or pure cane syrup, and enjoy!

^This recipe comes from years of loving this recipe: The PPK Fronch Toast! and the modest alterations I have done throughout my adoration of it!

After that filling and delicious brunch, I just wanted something nice and simple for dinner yesterday. Scoping out what I had on hand I decided I could probably make an amazing chickpea salad in no time! I must say that I think it was accomplished, and I hope you feel the same.

I toasted some bread for a sandwich, chopped some lettuce to go with it, and threw the following in the food processor:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp relish
a few dashes turmeric
several dashes pepper and salt
1 sheet nori, shredded
1/4 c Vegenaise
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
Blend, taste to adjust seasoning as you see fit, and enjoy!

D.I.Y. Vegan Bath Salts and Mouth Wash

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Lavender Vanilla Bath Salts

2 cups Epsom salt
1 cup coarse sea salt
1 tbsp Lavender buds
1 tbsp almond oil
1 tbsp vegetable glycerin
15 drops vanilla essential oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
Optional food coloring

Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl,  mix well. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well mixed. Store in jars or bottles and enjoy about 1/2 cup at a time.

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Mouth Wash

1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
1/4 cup witch hazel
1 tbsp baking soda
7 drops peppermint essential oil
3 drops orange essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a bottle or jar and shake well.

Products I love

I often find myself trying to rattle off product recommendations to people who are looking into cutting out dairy, find meat alternatives, or just try out some awesome vegan goodies, which is a big part of why I started this blog. I can’t believe I haven’t done a post like this yet, I guess partly because my list of loves are constantly growing because there’s always something new to try! So here we go, these are some of my favorite replacements and products as of right now:

Almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I love almond milk!! Great flavor, works well in recipes, and way better for you. Vanilla flavored lends itself beautifully to cereals, smoothies, and coffee!

Coconut milk for making ice cream! I was recently gifted an ice cream maker (thank you thank you thank you, JeAnne!), and am pretty hooked. My first attempt made me ridiculously happy ( http://wp.me/p4n65h-3C <– recipe!), and I’m constantly excited to try more. 1 can of coconut milk, a little pure cane syrup, a bit of vanilla, and maybe some mix ins and you have 2 servings of delicious vegan ice cream!

Daiya Cheese! I’ve mentioned Daiya in a few of my recipes before, but have I told you how wonderful I truly think this vegan cheese to be? It has brought vegan cheese to a whole new level, and it’s awesome. It melts, it spreads, it tastes great. You can get shreds, slices, spreads, and each one has things that it seems like it was made for.
Shreds- pizzas!
Spreads- melts beautifully. I love the spreads on sandwiches or even melted over pasta.
Slices- also melts so so nicely. I made a grilled cheese recently with 2 slices of Daiya Cheddar and it was almost too much ooey gooey melty goodness. It was way cheesier than my boyfriends non-vegan grilled cheese!

Follow Your Heart Cheese- Having a block of Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella makes me so happy. It is the only vegan cheese I have found that I will eat as is. I will just slice off pieces and dream of the day they turn it into string cheese!

Cream Cheese- Toffuti!! Available more widely than I expected, I can run to Winn Dixie bright and early before Whole Foods opens if I crave a spread for my bagel.
Daiya- oh the cream cheese flavors they have! So so good, big fan of the strawberry! These are a vegan cheesecake makers dream come true 🙂

Sour Cream- Toffuti! I love having Toffuti Sour Cream on hand for when I randomly decide to make lentil tacos. Again, available at a variety of stores.

Just about anything Gardein. Have someone in your life that loves chicken tenders and you’d love to make them their fave food, but can’t bring yourself to make something as sad as chicken products? Get yourself to your nearest Gardein carrying store (Whole Foods, Roberts at Carrolton and Claiborne, Winn Dixie on Tchoupitoulas) and get their chicken tenders. They’re amazing. I don’t know how they make all of these meat alternatives, but wooo! Absolutely delicious and while I’m not the best judge of how much something tastes like meat, I hear they’re pretty darn close!

Vegenaise– Oh, Vegenaise. You little game changer you! This delicious spread tastes better than mayo without any of the cruelty or cholesterol. Multiple flavors available.

Tofurky products- This could be a whole blog in itself. Tofurky clearly loves us all, have you had one of their frozen pizzas? Ever want a cold cut sandwich but wish that no one had to die for it? Tofurky has you covered with a great selection of vegan deli slices at great prices. They now have pot pies and I can’t wait to try one!

Amy’s Kitchen– Speaking of pot pies, Amy’s has vegan ones! (Watch out though, not all that is Amy’s is vegan!) They have some great frozen meals and burritos, but be sure to read the ingredients, which if you’re vegan your probably do by habit anyway. Their stuff can be a bit pricey, but it’s delicious!

Sophie’s Kitchen– when I was kid I loved fried shrimp! I haven’t had it since I was 11, and while I am of course fine without it, the little shrimp loving kid in me did quite a happy dance when I saw Sophie’s Kitchen’s products. Vegan. Fried. Shrimp. Yep. Vegan crab cakes. There’s more but those are my favorite, and both very much enjoyed by my omnivorous sweetheart.

Field Roast-most veg*ns know Field Roast for their awesome holiday items. If you don’t, I recommend checking em out! In addition to that they have a line of vegan sausages! My favorite is the Apple Sage, although their newly released Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage is pretty fantastic and makes for a great addition to biscuits and gravy!

So Delicious– this brand lives up to their name. Their frozen desserts are amazing.
2 words: Pomegranate. Chip.
those not do it for you? Cookie. Dough.
Mint. Chip.
Vanilla. Bean.
We can keep this going for a while because they have a huge selection of magical vegan ice cream alternatives.
They even have ice cream bars and sandwiches. Things that a lot of vegans probably just never even expected to have again. Thank you, So Delicious. They also have vegan nog, which is lovely, coconut and almond milks, creamers, yogurts, and more. If you haven’t tried out their products, it’s time you do!

GoodBelly– delicious probiotic beverages that I often use in smoothies. Tropical Orange and Blueberry Pomegranate are my favorites.

Earth Balance– my butter alternative favorite. Available in sticks and tubs with a variety of types (olive oil, soy free, omega-3, organic whipped)
They’ve recently come out with your vegan alternative to a certain blue box of mac and cheese you may have grown up with. I love this stuff. It’s something super easy I can pack if I’ll be away from home w kitchen access. This is a new go to for when staying out of town at a friends. Toss it in the bag, no need to refrigerate, and it’s there if I need it!
They’ve also mastered a cheesy little square cracker you may have missed. Absolutely delicious when paired with Toffuti Garlic & Herb Better Than Cream Cheese.

This is just a few of the many amazing things out there making life easier and tastier for vegans. While I don’t recommend basing your daily diet on these foods, and think eating more whole foods is the way to go, these are awesome things to spice up your meals and snacks!

A couple quick links before I wrap this one up that make life easier:

Happy Cow Restaurant Guide!

And saving the best for last, if you live in New Orleans or plan on visiting our lovely city, this lady’s amazing blog will be a life-saver. It even has an interactive map!!
New Orleans in Green!