Vegan Collegiate Does Italian

Like most Americans, I am a descendant of practically every mix of European countries, although about 50% Dutch. However, I have always been confused by the fact that I am in no ways Italian even though Italian food may be my most favorite type of dish. My parents know that when I come home for vacations the first restaurant I want to go to is the adorable little Osteria in our town, owned by first generation Italians. I’m pretty sure I could out eat anyone I know in a pasta competition. Thus I am always looking for new ways to eat Italian food and this fact combined with the grape tomatoes going bad in my fridge lead to the creation of a truly delicious tomato sauce. With a little addition of some hot sauce this is perfect to add to some whole wheat pasta with any vegetables you could want. I actually used my favorite cut carb trick with this – zucchini noodles. I just peeled off layers of zucchini into pasta-like strips, chopped up the core of the zucchini, added broccoli and warmed the whole thing on medium heat until everything was cooked through. I added the sauce and viola – a perfect, easy, college dinner.

Easy Spicy Tomato Sauce

Three tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves of garlic

1 pint of cherry tomatoes

Quarter of a medium sized yellow onion (about the size of a tennis ball)

2 tsp of salt

Tablespoon Tabasco sauce

Heat oil over medium heat until hot then add minced garlic. Once the garlic has begun to brown add the rest of the ingredients. Keep on medium heat for five minutes then pop all the cherry tomatoes. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 40 minutes.

Tomatoes before squishing

Zucchini pasta with spicy tomato sauce and broccoli

Enjoy! Perhaps a pizza recipe is soon to follow 🙂

Advertisements

Figuring it Out

It’s taken a little while but I’m finally feeling more comfortable cooking my own food in this abominable kitchen. It really is an important skill I need to learn as next year I won’t have a choice but to cook when I’m in my own apartment.
In this post I’m going to start a list of things that work well made before hand/frozen and a list of things that don’t work as well…
Successful pre-made meals:
Brown rice
Pasta
Spreads like my vegan Nutella

Unsuccessful pre-made food:
Sweet potatoes- I made some sweet potato fries on Monday and ate them Tuesday. Even in that short amount of time they started to get green spots and tasted much less flavorful than when I first made them. Fortunately making the fries takes no time at all so that’s an easy side to make when I want them.

Things I want to make and refrigerate:
Lentils
Soups
Whole meals?

I also have some refrigerated pre-made chickpeas so I’ll let everyone know how they are!

Some last thoughts…
I made an amazing curry last night with brown rice I made ahead of time, some button mushrooms sliced up thin, and frozen peas. I unfortunately caved and used the canned curry sauce I got from Trader Joe’s but to be honest it was amazing and I wouldn’t have been able to make anything nearly as good without a good amount of time or spices.
Here’s a picture!

Mushroom and pea curry!

So what do you guys usually make and then refrigerate?

I’ll continue to add to the list… as I figure it out!

My Addiction

It has been a great weekend for cooking and college veganism… parents weekend! Which means my darling mother came and took me grocery shopping. With no budget I got to by as much brown rice, pumpkin butter, and sweet potatoes as I could possibly want. And with so much food around I felt inspired to use it. I pre-made chickpeas with peanut sauce, brown rice, even sweet potato fries. But more importantly I took advantage of a slower week to make my favorite creation… vegan nutella!!

As a side note before I begin I also want to add I had my first vegan candy bar… Go Max Go’s Joker, or basically the vegan version of a Snickers. It was amazing, of course.

Now, onto bigger and better things. Vegan Nutella. The combination of my two favorite things. I took advantage of my mom being here to buy fancy, organic hazelnuts. OK to be honest I didn’t actually want to buy $12.99 a pound nuts but apparently these guys are hard to find anywhere! They didn’t have any at the local Trader Joe’s and only the over-priced ones at Whole Foods. But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. So I bought the hazelnuts.

This, like most of my college recipes, is going to be a bit experimental because of my lack of preparation, time, and resources. Adopted from Chocolate Covered Katie’s healthy Nutella this is a bit less complicated but I think equally delicious. I also consider this to be my first own recipe as it really is using my knowledge of cooking!

Ingredients

2 cups hazelnuts

1/4 cup carob powder

1/2 milk

Three packets of Sweet n’ Low (I’m sorry for this one but it was literally the only sweetener I had…)

Directions

Toast hazelnuts until lightly toasted (watch them carefully! They burn easily) at 400 degrees. Scrub the skins off of them and blend in blender for about a minute and a half, or until they’ve made a sort of butter. Then add rest of the ingredients and blend until mixed well. It helps to blend a little and then stir with a spoon to make sure everything is mixing well.

Delicious. Of course I promptly ate a disgusting amount of it (can anyone say Sophomore 75?). A few adjustments I would make… A little more sugar. It doesn’t need it but to really seem Nutella like it could have been a little sweeter. Also be careful of how much carob you put in… I don’t actually have measuring cups so I put in a little too much and it covered the hazelnut more than I would’ve wanted. All in all I don’t think it needs much more added. I know some people put oil in to make it smoother but I think these just add unnecessary calories.

Here are some pics of the process!

Pre blending

 

Post blending

Finished product… Almost gone already

Enjoy!!!

College Kitchen Conundrum

I had this whole post worked out that would show off my latest baked good – Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread. Unfortunately, the whole loaf was gone before I could get a picture. Actually, my friend and I made two half loaves — one gluten free and one glutenous. I really applaud those of you out there who can do gluten-free, the taste really does not do it for me. However, I believe both loaves turned out great. We used to Happy Herbivore recipe. Be warned, these are delicious but they aren’t the buttery, calorie laden breads that Momma makes. They taste healthy. Also, if you do gluten-free flour, add a teaspoon of xantham gum per cup of flour, and it will take extra time to bake. Here is the glutenous recipe:

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup plant-based milk
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice
  • 15 ounces pumpkin
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or spray a standard bread pan. Whisk non-dairy milk and lemon juice together until bubbly and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, cream pumpkin, sugar, syrup and extract together. In a large bowl, whisk pumpkin pie spice, flour, baking soda and baking powder together. Pour wet mixture into dry mixture and stir until just combined. Pour into bread pan, using a spatula to evenly distribute and smooth out the top. Grab a large piece of aluminum foil and make a tent over the pan. Bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If using icing, prepare while bread is baking. Once the bread has cooled but is still slightly warm, gently remove it from the pan and on to a serving plate.

However, on to other things. Like my kitchen. As I’ve mentioned before, my kitchen is tiny and practically useless. There is no counter space, no oven, no microwave. Of course, you gotta work with what you got and I’ve been trying. I’ll be honest, I think I’ve made my own meal twice in the past month. Not exactly working that hard. But I’ve turned over a new leaf, and I’m going to make a valid effort to make most of my own meals. Today? I’m two for two. Not that mixing a cup of Cheerios with a tablespoon of strawberry jam is exactly trying, but I’m also working with limited ingredients. That’s been a big issue — ingredients. If anyone has recommendations for what I should have stocked that would be great! Remember, all I have is a toaster oven and a stove top. Also, things go bad quickly and I’m working on a budget.

Anyways, I included some pictures of my kitchen to give you an idea of what I have to deal with. I did manage to saute some veggies today with marinara sauce that made for a good wholesome lunch, but sauteed veggies is a bit dull huh. I’ll update you all soon on my cooking conundrum!

Image

Image

Return of the Midterm

Hello everyone! Again I have been a terrible blogger, but getting situated back into school has been hectic. But now that the first batch of midterms are over I can finally get back to baking and blogging! And speaking of batches (sorry for the lack of wit), here is my latest creation!

As I have mentioned before, I don’t actually have a real kitchen here at school so I use upperclassmen apartments. Luckily for me one of my close senior friends is always ready to make. However, she is gluten free. So it has become our own adventure to craft vegan and gluten free goodies. Thus far we have decided muffins are our specialty. First we made vegan, gluten free banana chocolate chip muffins and they were amazing. Last week we made vegan (but not gluten free sadly) blueberry lemon muffins!

I’ve included the recipe as well as a picture!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. chia seeds (mix the seeds with 2 tsp. of hot water in a small bowl and set aside)
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup water

1 tbsp. vanilla

1 heaping cup of fresh blueberries

zest of 1/2 a lemon
Preheat your oven for 325*F and line 12 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk in oil, agave, water and vanilla. Add blueberries and lemon zest and fold in with a spatula (be careful not to break up the blueberries too much–they are good when they are kept whole!). Scoop 1/4 cup of the batter into each muffin tin. Bake for 22 minutes. Makes 12 awesome muffins.
Tonight we are making pumpkin bread to get into the fall mood! I hope you all have been enjoying pumpkin lattes as much as I have recently. Be prepared for a plethora of pumpkin recipes to follow 🙂
Happy eating and veganing everyone!