Back At It- Tomato Chickpea Soup

Well it’s certainly been a while! Lots of updates (obviously the biggest being the fact I am no longer vegan, hence the name change).  But no time for that now when I have a recipe to share… ironically, it’s vegan! I’ve been craving soup a lot since there has been a never-ending amount of snow. So here is something I threw together that ended up being absolutely delicious and healthy. It’s also incredibly easy to make, and it’s a one-pot deal.

vegan, plant-based

Ingredients:

Tomato Chickpea Soup

Two tablespoons of oil

Clove of garlic, minced

Half a white onion, diced

One cup of chicken stock

One cup of water

One 18 oz can of diced tomatoes

One 15 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed

One cup of quinoa

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning

Directions:

1. Heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic.

2. When garlic is lightly golden, add onions. Cook until soft and golden.

3. Add chicken stock, water, salt and pepper, and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil.

4. Add tomatoes, chickpeas and quinoa. Bring to a boil again then let simmer until the quinoa is completely cooked (15-20 minutes).

Bon appetit!

 

 

Back to the Good Stuff – Hot Chocolate Pancakes

After last week’s somber post I thought it was time to talk about something a little happier. And what is happier than vegan chocolate pancakes. To me there is something really fun about breakfast for dinner, or in this case breakfast for dessert. Maybe that’s because vegan breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. And chocolate is good anytime of day.

vegan hot chocolate pancakes

These vegan pancakes are incredible. Literally one of the best things I’ve ever made, behind the mint chocolate chip cookies (maybe). And I have to credit this deliciousness partly to Paula Dean. The women truly has found the secret to life in butter. She just needs to switch to vegan butter. So don’t for a moment think these pancakes are healthy. They aren’t terrible for you but they are certainly a dessert. But sometimes in life when bad things happen the best cure is chocolate, not matter how bad.

vegan hot chocolate pancakes, vegan pancakes

Ingredients:

Vegan Hot Chocolate Pancakes (adapted from Chocolate Covered Katie)

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp vegan hot chocolate mix (I used Starbucks)

1 tbsp brown sugar

1/16 tsp salt

1 and 1/2 tbsp melted vegan butter (I used Earth Balance)

5 and 1/2 tbsp milk of choice (I used Silk soy milk)

DSCN0199vegan hot chocolate pancakes, vegan pancakes

Directions:

1. Heat pan to medium.

2. Mix dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients.

3. Once well combined, spoon onto pan.

4. Cook until top starts to bubble, then flip (about 4-5 minutes, as these are small pancakes)

5. Cook for another minute or two until pancakes are cooked through.

For me this recipe made 3 small pancakes. These are delicious on their own but if you wanna take it to the next level, layer the pancakes with this vegan hot fudge sauce…. Equal parts hot chocolate mix and melted butter, heated over the low heat. Be careful cause this burns quickly!

vegan hot chocolate pancakes, vegan pancakes

Seriously though add the hot fudge… it melts into the pancakes and makes for pure heaven.

vegan hot chocolate pancakes, vegan pancakes

Just a quick running update… I’ve started my six month training plan, which you can find here. I just want to say thank you so much to the support I received from that post, it means the world to me and my city. We are so fortunate that they found the perpetrator so that justice can achieved. #bostonstrong

vegan hot chocolate pancakes, vegan pancakes

Portland Farmer’s Market – A Guest Post

This week I welcome back Becca, my guest blogger from December (here’s her first post, Tour of the Freshmen Cafe). Today she writes about cooking while at home in Oregon, and gives us her recipe for her veggie saute using ingredients from a local farmer’s market. Baltimore has lots of farmer’s markets, unfortunately none of which I’ve managed to get to (mostly because the only one within walking distance closes by 12 on Saturday. I’m usually still sleeping). Hopefully I’ll get myself over there soon and get a review! Now here’s Becca:

This blog post has been in the works since the holiday break! Sorry Liza for being a lazy guest poster!

I was home over break studying for the MCAT, which I didn’t even end up taking, though it drove me completely insane. Though I was going crazy with stress, I did very much enjoy being home in Portland, OR, and enjoying the company of my family and friends, as well as presence of what I’m still convinced is the BEST farmer’s market scene in the whole entire world.

My mom, sister, and I have a tradition of making a farmer’s market run every Sunday to load up on our week’s fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s become more than a “grocery run” but rather a fun way for the three of us to spend quality time together. With my sister in school in New York, my parents living in Portland, OR, and myself in school in Baltimore, it’s rare we are all together in one place. We make a morning of our farmer’s market trips…loading up on gluten free treats at our favorite bakery stand and eating them with coffee at the park next to the parking lot the farmer’s market makes shop in.

We always end up leaving the market with bags and bags full of local, fresh apples, seasonal berries, and assorted vegetables. My mom is the sauteed veggie master and her skills along with the remarkable fresh vegetables we get weekly combine to make one of my favorite dishes….a simple veggie saute:

brussel sprouts
chopped butternut squash
red beets
rosemary
olive oil
salt
pepper

Put all chopped and uncooked veggies in a big mixing boil and apply olive oil liberally, add rosemary, salt, and pepper to taste. Pour into wok pan and allow to satee on high heat until tender (normally 10ish minutes). SUPER EASY!vegetable saute, farmers market, portland vegan, vegan cooking

You can seriously use any veggies…but make sure they are as fresh as possible! This makes the dish!

Now that I’m back at school, fending for myself on the food front, I miss my mom’s cooking more than ever! I also can’t tell you how much I miss my hometown of Portland and it’s amazing farmer’s markets and fresh food I become accustomed to. If you ever make it to the west (BEST) coast, make sure to check out the farmer’s market scene…it’s rampant all up the coast.

It’s always nice to hear about vegan cooking from all over the states. As always, if any of my readers are interested in doing a guest post for the Vegan Collegiate, just email me at vegancollegiate@gmail.com with your idea!

Happy eating!

Sweet and Refreshing – Junior Mint Oatmeal Cookies

I’ve realized when it comes to cooking, I learn the most by trial and error. Now having made pasta with some kind of faux meat and vegetables about 4 times a week, I’m an expert at timing and it comes out delicious every time. Similarly, vegan brownies from the box are my specialty now that I’ve made them too many times to count. But for something like Junior Mint Oatmeal Cookies, a couple more tries would probably benefit this recipe.

vegan junior mint oatmeal cookies

To be clear, these tasted incredible, evaluated by some frat brothers. But the process and end appearance needs some work. As I probably would’ve realized if I was a chemistry major rather than creative writing, I would have predicted that the centers of the Junior Mints would melt into sticky peppermint liquid that sticks great to a cookie sheet. I think the solution to this would be to make a cookie pie so that the peppermint would just go back into the dough when it melts, without covering my friend’s cookie sheet (and requiring a serious arm workout to remove it later). Also I would suggest adding the Mints on the dough after its already been placed in the pie tin.

But regardless of how they looked this time around, they tasted great. If I can drag myself out of the sunshine that just seemed to appear in Baltimore this week I’ll try the pie version. For now here is my original.

vegan junior mint oatmeal cookies

Ingredients (makes 12):

1/3 cup vegan butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 tbsp white sugar

1 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 and 1/3 cup quick cook oats

1 package of Junior Mints

3 tbsp water

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C)

2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Add cornstarch and water.

3. One well mixed, add flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats and Junior Mints. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: To adjust to my recommendations, do not mix in Junior Mints. Place dough in ungreased pie pan, then put Junior Mints on top.

vegan junior mint oatmeal cookies

Now I’m off to enjoy Spring Fair activities! Maybe a post on surviving fair food next week?

Nothing Better than Spring Snow and Ice Cream

So I’ve already  talked about my addiction to Nutella. And considering how long it has been since I’ve enjoyed my favorite chocolate hazelnut spread, it’s still at the top of my list for favorite cravings. But a close second is definitely ice cream. I have been known to eat entire pints in one sitting, including a certian occasion where I was bet five dollars in scratch tickets that I couldn’t do it. Oh but I did, in under 15 minutes, and walked away with 13 dollars in winnings. So nobody needs to question my addiction to the frozen treat.

DSCN0154

But it’s no secret that it’s not the healthiest of foods, even the vegan versions (if you haven’t yet, try any So Delicious flavor. A pint of their Cookie Dough ice cream became victim to my addiction this Spring Break). This fact, combined with the new Pinterest fad floating around for banana ice cream, was the inspiration to this recipe. Peanut Butter Banana Cap’n Crunch Ice Cream. PBBCCIC for short. Or may Peanut Butter Banana Crunch. Take your pic.

Banana Peanut Butter Crunch

Banana Peanut Butter Crunch

Basically the idea is that when bananas are blended into a cream, combined with some toppings (in this case peanut butter and Cap’n Crunch), then frozen, it becomes a low cal substitute for ice cream. Lo cal ice cream? That’s a dream came true.

But like many Pinterest fads, this one isn’t perfect. This is not an ice cream for people who don’t like bananas, because unlike the rumors, this will taste like bananas. Maybe I should have tried a less ripe fruit but I’m sure it still would have the flavor. Fortunately I love bananas and peanut butter together so this was fine with me. Other than that, this stayed true to Pinterest promises. It thickened up into a delicious “ice cream.”

DSCN0179

Just a few suggestions before hand:]

1. Remember to peel the banana before freezing it. (common sense I know but this is something I lack during midterm period)

2. Add the Cap’n Crunch at the very end and blend just enough to make sure they’re spread evenly with the banana-peanut butter cream. The bigger the chunks of Cap’n Crunch, the better.

3. Get creative! There’s an endless number of toppings that could be added to the banana.

Peanut Butter Banana Crunch “Ice Cream”

DSCN0153

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana (unpeeled!)

1 tbsp peanut butter

1 tsp agave nectar

1/4 cup Cap’n Crunch

Action shot

Action shot

Directions:

1. Blend banana on high until it has been completely creamed (2-3 minutes).

2. Add peanut butter and agave, blend until well combined.

3. Add Cap’n Crunch and blend for as short amount of time as possible, just until the cereal is spread throughout.

4. Put into a freeze safe container and freeze until the “ice cream” is at a desired consistency. Make sure to cover the container so that the banana does not brown (it’s really ugly)

How banana should look when blended

How banana should look when blended

DSCN0163

Prefreezing

Prefreezing

As the title suggests, we just got SNOW in Baltimore. It’s practically March. I am very not OK with this. Maybe the weather is better wherever you are. Crossing my fingers for a change in temperature over the next week so I can enjoy some Peanut Butter Banana Crunch outside.

DSCN0181

Enjoy!

Vegan Gluten Free Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies

There has been far too much healthy stuff being posted recently.Time to delve back into the dessert world. And the best part? These aren’t even that bad for you. And they’re amazing. I’d say one of the better things I’ve made, especially considering most other times I’ve tried to make cookies without flour has turned into a bubbly mess. I think the key is putting the dough in the refrigerator for a little bit, even if it’s not for more than hour. But these did not turn into boiling pools of sugar as I’m accustomed to so you should probably start baking now.The other best part? You probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen. And they’re gluten free. And processed sugar free. And oil free.

IMG_2450

Also, just to make sure I’m making it clear that these are good, I made them for a sorority bake sale. Most times vegans urge that if you’re baking for others try to keep is as close to non vegan as possible. These aren’t your usual peanut butter chocolate cookies, but that sets them apart. And I wouldn’t put my baked goods out there against girls who are some of the best chefs I know if I didn’t have faith. But you can decide for yourself.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Cookies {Vegan, Gluten-free, Oil-free} {Adapted from Averie Cooks}

Ingredients:

1 cup + 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (I used Jif)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

3/4 banana

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

IMG_2447

Directions:

1. Combine peanut butter, sugar, banana and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined and the mixture is no longer granular. You can use a stand mixer but I enjoyed the nice arm workout.

2. Add cocoa powder and baking soda. Mix until a dough has formed. The mixture may be a little crumbly, so feel free to add extra peanut butter to make it stick together more. I added some melted vegan butter but that was also to make it a little more appealing to the non vegans.

3. Refrigerate for around an hour, up to over night. I only did it for about half an hour and it was fine but better safe than sorry.

4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

5. When the cookies are chilled and the oven is preheated, roll dough into small balls and then press flat on baking sheet (make sure sheet is either greased or has aluminum foil on it).

6. Bake for about 10 minutes. The cookies will still look soft in the middle but let them sit for about 15 minutes and they become chewy and delicious.

IMG_2448

Mix before adding cocoa

 

Mix after adding cocoa

Mix after adding cocoa

Makes about 20 small cookies.

And yes it’s ok to eat all of them in one sitting.

IMG_2452

 Some other cookie recipes I’ve made:

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

DSCN0028

Healthy Banana Brookies

DSCN0078

Spring Semester and More Things with Peanut Sauce

Hello my patient readers! I’ll apologize now for my lack of posts in the last week, but I’d like to think the start of second semester is a worthy excuse. It’s definitely going to be a busy one, with sorority rush, internship applications, study abroad applications, and regular school work. I’m excited to say that I’m actually taking a class on blogging this semester, so maybe there will be some new tricks coming up in future blog posts.

I hope everyones New Year’s resolutions have been going well. I’ve gone to the gym almost every day since coming back to school and I feel as if I’ve been eating healthier. However, it’s restaurant week here in Baltimore so eating out is a must. I’ve already gone to The Dogwood in Hampden, and it was great. I got their vegan caesar salad and a powerhouse sandwich. Both were great.

For those of you who are getting sick of juice cleanses and new diets, I have a great low-carb and delicious meal idea. I think I’ve wrote before about my love for zucchini noodles. And I know I’ve written about my love for peanut butter sauces. So why not combine the two?

DSCN0114

 

DSCN0117

Pad thai is one of my favorite dishes, mostly because of the peanut sauce. So here is my healthy take on peanut sauce. Most recipes I see on the internet have way too much peanut butter, which makes for a sauce high in fat. I think the balance between agave and peanut butter in this version makes for a great sauce. Paired with zucchini and broccoli, this dish becomes a perfect and fast weeknight meal.

Peanut Sauce:

DSCN0107

Ingredients (makes 3/4 cup):

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1/8 cup sesame oil

1/4 cup agave

1 tbsp. water

3/4 tsp. ground ginger

DSCN0108

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix until well combined. Taste sauce, add salt and pepper to taste.

This sauce can be refrigerated for about 3 days, just microwave to soften before using.

Zucchini Noodles (individual portion, I used about two tablespoons of the peanut sauce)

DSCN0105

1. Peel one zucchini until you feel the peeler scraping the seeds.

2. Toss the noodles in about a greased saute pan over medium heat for about 4 minutes.

3. While the noodles are cooking, chop the rest of the zucchini and then add this to the noodles.

4. Saute until the zucchini is warmed through but not mushy. It should not be very hot.

5. Toss with peanut sauce and whatever add ins you like. I used broccoli, but edamame, peanuts, bean sprouts etc would all be great.

DSCN0113

 

DSCN0115

These noodles are a go to for me for a low carb way to curb my pasta craving. I plan on trying shirataki noodles next. Anyone have some suggestions for recipes?

Hopefully I won’t drown in reading and will continue to be active on the blog. Also what does everyone think of the white background for the blog? I’m trying a minimalist theme now, but I’d love criticisms or suggestions!

DSCN0116

 

Back In Balty and Maple Apple Granola

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Oats are one of my favorite foods. I can’t explain it but something about their chewiness and wholesome taste is completely addictive. So of course I also love granola. But granola is one of those foods that I get upset about – something that should be so healthy usually is full of sugar, process, high fructose corn syrup and fat. And even when it’s not over processed it’s usually chock full of nuts. Not that I have anything against nuts and they are healthy in moderation. But in case it hasn’t become really obvious to my readers, I don’t “do” moderation. And 1/4 of a cup of granola is never filling enough for breakfast anyways, let’s be honest. So my solution? Make my own granola!

My dog Charlie, licking her chops thinking about my granola

My dog Charlie, licking her chops thinking about my granola.

I scoured quite a few granola recipes, considered what my favorite additions tended to be, and did quite a lot of Foodgawker stalking. Finally I decided that I wanted a granola with a good amount of oats, obviously, some protein, and have it be sweet and filling. Quinoa has been popping up in a lot of granola recipes, and to me it was a perfect way to get some protein in without being to calorie dense. For the sweet I decided on maple syrup and apple sauce, a dash of almonds for extra protein, and to make it a little more filling? Cheerios! 100 calories in a cup, so it’s perfect to add some volume without guilt. The Cheerios actually toasted up perfectly in the oven too. All in all, I thought my granola tasted amazing and is way healthier than any store bought kind I’ve seen. If you have any suggestions for me though, please share!

DSCN0138

 

DSCN0135

DSCN0144

In other news, I’m finally back at Hopkins. With a full week before classes start I’ve been doing a good amount internship work as well as figuring out study abroad for the Fall (!!!). Unfortunately this means I’m back to my crappy kitchen, but hopefully I’ll still push myself to make more recipes. I’ve gotten quite a few recommendations to make so be on the lookout for reader’s choices!

Maple Apple Granola for Two (feel free to double or triple the recipe, but I have to make small batches because I’ll eat all of it)

DSCN0120

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Cheerios

1/8 cup rolled oats

1/8 cup white quinoa (rinsed well to get rid of the bitterness)

1/8 cup crushed almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce

3 tablespoon maple syrup

DSCN0142

DSCN0143

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix until well combined.

3. Grease shallow baking pan and pour granola onto it. Don’t spread the mix too thin because you want everything to stick together. See pictures for a reference.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for the first 5-7 minutes, then take out and mix around. Put back in the oven at 300 degrees.

5. Bake for another 15-20 minutes, taking out every 5-7 minutes to mix. If it seems like it’s getting burnt turn the temperature down even more.

DSCN0122

DSCN0126

 

DSCN0128

 

DSCN0130

DSCN0146

Notes: The applesauce adds a lot of moisture so be patient when baking. You want *most* of the moisture to be gone by the time it’s done. If you think it’s getting burnt but is still too wet, just take out of the oven and let it cool. This tastes amazing with soy milk and makes the milk taste all mapley and delicious.

DSCN0140

The weather is so beautiful here in Baltimore, I hope everyone else is enjoying a mild January.

DSCN0131

Color pre-baking.

Color post-baking. See how nice and golden it's become?

Color post-baking. See how nice and golden it’s become?

DSCN0149

 

Review of Canyon Ranch (Rejuvenation, Relaxation and Really Small Portions)

Okay, I was bad. I spent four days and three nights at Canyon Ranch and took only three pictures for this blog post. And only one of those was food. But in my defense, this vacation was all about relaxing, focusing on my healthy and reenergizing my desire to work out. And it definitely did all three of those things. How could I really relax if I had to keep taking pictures of all the delicious food I was eating? Don’t answer that.

Fortunately for everyone, Canyon Ranch has almost all of their recipes online with some pictures. So I am able to not only post some pictures on here of some common food I ate there, but also link you to the recipes! How great is that. There must be about 50 pages of recipes too so definitely browse around. The majority aren’t vegan but there is not a lack of plant based recipes and definitely some that are easily veganized. As a side note, does anyone have a good recommendation for substituting greek yogurt? Other than soy yogurt. So many recipes that are lower fat now have non fat greek yogurt in them and I never know how to work with that.

But back to Canyon Ranch. It’s located in Lenox, Massachusetts and is open year round. The idea behind the resort is that you’re supposed to get healthy, whether that be getting you into exercise classes or giving you perfectly portioned meals. Some people stay for MONTHS at this place, which I think is pretty excessive. It’s not the cheapest vacation in the world, and honestly, if I had to focus on only exercise and food for months on end I’d probably go crazy.

The resort was built off an old mansion

The resort was built off an old mansion

But I took full advantage of the time I was there, and picked up a few good habits/recommendations. The resort offers a varied number of classes, ranging from ab classes to Zumba to yoga and interval classes. I did Zumba (of course I did, I’m a 19 year old girl, Zumba was made for me), some abs classes, a ballet barre class (by far the hardest but one of the most enjoyable), and a rejuvenating yoga class. The latter was basically a lie down in relaxing poses for 45 minutes, and after a day of being in the gym or in a class it was great.

Of course there is also a spa, and yes I did get a massage. I love massages, like a lot. Nothing beats getting rid of all that tension and stress and knots in the back. There’s an indoor pool, a hot tub, various saunas, and even a Eucalyptus Steam Room. Not too bad of a way to pass the time.

Pretty Berkshire Snow

Pretty Berkshire snow

And finally the food. Salad bar at every meal, lots of vegan options and good service. The amount of food they give you is also a good reminder that we all over eat, everything. Seeing the proper food portions definitely will help me work on that at school. For the most part the food was really good. I had a delicious curry one night with pineapples and veggies, a bean quesadilla for lunch another day (the only food I took a picture of) and they offered some of the best granola-crunch I’ve ever had. But you can definitely tell it’s healthy food. When they offer steamed vegetables, they mean steamed vegetables. No spices, no seasoning, nothing. I appreciate the detox idea behind this but it also meant some of the dishes fell flat. I had a chipotle bean soup one day that basically tasted like beans floating in water. The pasta sauce I got for dinner the first night tasted like it was store bought. But the more interesting the dish sounded the better it was. Also the veggie burger was one of the best vegan burgers I’ve had.

Black bean quesadilla, only food picture I took

Black bean quesadilla, only food picture I took

Over-all? I’d definitely give the experience a thumbs up. It helped remind me to drink more water, work out more, and eat in moderation. Would I want it to be every vacation I went on? Probably not. But it’s a great way to kickstart healthier habits, especially in the New Years resolution frenzy right now. I’m actually excited to head back to the gym when I get back to school (tomorrow!). If you’re looking for a similar type of break, this is definitely the place. If you think vacation should be reserved for time whens you can indulge and pretend calories don’t matter (I mean it’s true, calories obviously don’t count in the Caribbean), this probably wouldn’t be your style.

Well I hope this was interesting! Below are links to recipes, including some pictures (all from the Canyon Ranch recipe site). Get ready for a return to my own creations soon. And it includes peanut butter. Just saying.

Canyon Ranch Recipes I Had:

Pumpkin Crunch… Probably my favorite thing I had the whole time I was there

Pumpkin crunch_Hero_0

Mongolian BBQ Marinated Tofu… I had this quite a few times and although the tofu itself wasn’t seasoned the sauce was quite good

Vegetarian Bean Chili… Thick, tomatoey and delicious

Miso Soup… Not the most flavorful soup but for only 45 calories I’ll take it

Flat Bread… I had it with tomato sauce, mushrooms, zucchini and peppers

Flatbread_hero_0

Canyon Ranch Recipes I Want to Try:

Edamame Pot Stickers

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup