Chilly Weather/Chili Weather


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Today we’re sharing the perfect meal for blustery winter nights- chili! Hopefully by now you have cleared out the Thanksgiving leftovers and are ready to take on the next rush of holidays! Winter nights mean cooler temperatures and less time for dinner prep! I don’t know about you, but we definitely don’t feel like coming home after a long day of holiday shopping and trimming the tree to prep a super-involved dinner! Chili is one of our favorite go-to easy and hearty meals. Today Nikki shows you how to make a tomatillo and white bean chicken chili while Jess shares a classic vegan chili recipe full of protein and veggies.

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Follow along as we show you, step-by-step, how to make a simple and substantial winter-time meal. Click the link below to see the recipes!

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Thanksgiving Series: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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I’m so excited to share quite possibly my favorite dish ever! I grew up eating the omnivorous version of this every Thanksgiving and requesting it for any special event. When I first went vegan 4 years ago I was surprised and delighted at how easily this dish was made vegan. This is a great replacement and step up from the standard mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s creamy, cheesy, salty and just delicious.  All of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste; increase any ingredient you feel is lacking. You can also choose to serve this as stuffed potato skins instead of a casserole. I think the skins are great as an appetizer or snack before dinner. Depending on how many people you’re serving (and/or your love of leftovers!) you may want to double the recipe. This dish can easily be made the day before Thanksgiving and reheated right before dinner.

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In case you missed it, on Sunday we started Thanksgiving Series off with a Pomegranate Mule. We have 3 more delicious recipes to share over the next week, so stay tuned! Also check out last year’s Thanksgiving Series where we shared vegan Green Bean Casserole, Nikki’s Mac and Cheese, and a vegan Pecan Pie!

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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 6 russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
  • 2 slices of veggie bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkle of pepper

I know faux meat and cheese vegan products can be pretty polarizing. I’ve tested just about everything out there in this recipe, and these are my favorites. Sometimes I leave the bacon out, especially if I can’t find a brand I like.

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Preheat oven to 400. Wash potatoes well, and poke several deep holes in them with a fork. Bake at 400 for 1 hour.

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Remove potatoes and allow to cool or use an oven mitt to handle. Lower oven temp to 350. Slice the potatoes in half and scoop the insides out into a casserole dish or mixing bowl. If you’re making potato skins or restuffing the potatoes preserve the skins.

IMG_4484Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Mix in all ingredients well. If you’re serving right away evenly spread the mixture in a casserole dish and put back in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Optionally, you can add extra cheese and bacon to the top before baking.

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If you’re going the twice baked potato/potato skin route restuff the potato skins with the mixture and add extra chopped bacon and green onions to the top. Pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with a side of vegan sour cream or ranch.

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Grown-Up Granola Bars

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing an easy recipe for what I like to call, Grown-Up Granola Bars. This nutrient-packed snack is so easy, with just a few ingredients and no baking required. They make a great mid-day snack that feels like a guilty pleasure without all the added sugar and calories. I know kids and adults will equally enjoy them. The agave and vegan chocolate chips sweeten them up but don’t be fooled! They are also full of a lot of protein and fiber. Let’s get started!

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NO BAKE GROWN-UP GRANOLA BARS (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (can also use creamy almond butter)
  • 1/2 cup agave (can also use honey if you are not vegan)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips, like these
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, like the one found here
  • parchment paper
  • 9×13 baking pan

Directions:

  1. Measure out the agave(1/2 cup) and sunflower seed butter (1 cup).

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2. Mix the agave and sunflower seed in a small pot over low heat until combined and smooth. Remove from heat.

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3. Meanwhile, prepare a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Spray the corners of the pan with nonstick spray so the parchment paper sticks to the pan.

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5. Mix the mini chocolate chips and the oats together in a large bowl.

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6. Pour the agave-sunflower seed butter mixture in with the oats and mix until evenly combined.

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6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press down with the back of a spoon to spread evenly.

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7. Sprinkle shredded coconut over mixture.

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8. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and lay flat. Cut the mixture into bars with a knife. Enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: Tostada Salad

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Hi there! I hope all of you had a wonderful and safe Halloween with family and friends. Personally, I consumed one-too-many pieces of Halloween candy and I’m trying to get back on track this week.

Today, for our Meatless Monday meal, I’m sharing a fresh and flavorful “tostada” salad that is full of fresh produce yet still fills you up. It is topped with a tasty chipotle-agave vinaigrette. If you’re looking for an easy dinner that is healthy yet satisfying, look no further!

While there is not a lot of cooking and/or time needed for this salad, most of the work involves washing and chopping the salad ingredients, which can be tedious. So, get your best knife and cutting board ready!

TOSTADA CHOPPED SALAD (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 3-4 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 4 radishes, sliced and cut into quarters
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, each tomato cut in half
  • 2 fresh corn on the cob, shucked with kernels cut off
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup tortilla strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar or dairy free cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons agave (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo with 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves

Note: Feel free to add more chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce if you like things spicy! As is, the dressing does have a kick to it.

Directions:

First, wash and chop all the salad toppings: romaine, radishes, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro.

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Next, drain and rinse the black beans under cold water.

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Now, it’s time to roast the corn. Cut the corn off the cob. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.

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Add the corn kernels and chopped cilantro, stirring to mix. Continue to stir until corn is roasted to a golden brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.

Next, we make the dressing. This dressing is so good and much better than store-bought with all of those added preservatives. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Combine all the salad ingredients in a big bowl. Top with pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips, and cheese or non dairy cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Enjoy!

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Overnight Oats

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As we delve into the busy fall season, I am always searching for easy breakfasts that require little-to-no prep. These overnight oats could not get any easier! They basically make themselves while you are resting away. Also, I found this great Super Seed Blend at Trader Joe’s that is totally optional but makes for added nutrition and deliciousness with cranberries, coconut chips, chia seed, buckwheat, and hemp seed. You can add whatever you’d like to your oats when they’re done, including cinnamon, honey, nuts, dried and fresh fruit, almond butter- the options are endless. I used steel-cut oats for this recipe, but you can use traditional rolled oats instead, just cut back on the amount of almond milk you add.

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OVERNIGHT OATS (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Super Seed Blend (optional, can also use plain chia seeds)
  • 1 large Tupperware/food storage container, with lid
  • fresh fruit for topping

Directions:

  1. Mix the oats and almond milk together in a large bowl. Transfer to a large food storage container.
  2. Sprinkle Super Seed Blend on top of the oat and milk mixture. Seal container with lid.
  3. Refrigerate oats overnight.
  4. When ready to eat, warm up oats in the microwave and top with fresh fruit or any other desired toppings.

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Meatless Mondays: Hearts of Palm Tacos

Happy New Year! Apologies for us being M.I.A. the past few weeks, the busy holiday season sure got the best of us! We hope all of you had a wonderful holiday full of love and lots of delicious food!

Now, back to business, today we are starting a new weekly feature here on the blog: Meatless Mondays! Every Monday we will feature a vegan or vegetarian dish tasty enough for both our omnivorous and vegan readers. If you’re like us, you probably over-indulged a bit during the holidays (by a bit we mean three-too many Christmas sugar cookies and ten-too-many glasses of champagne, but you know, who’s counting?). It can be difficult to get back into a healthy eating routine and Meatless Mondays are an effortless way to cut calories and add some more plant-based nutrition back into your diet. For us omnivores this might seem scary (my carnivorous boyfriend wasn’t exactly thrilled at the idea), but incorporating a meat-free night into your weekly dinner plans is both healthy and good for the environment, and can be delicious, too!

This week, we are sharing a healthy, vegan and gluten-free take on tacos! Instead of meat we are using hearts of palm. If you’re unfamiliar with this fibrous vegetable, it is the edible inner portion of a cabbage Palm tree. You can buy them at most grocery stores and they come in a can. Their taste is very similar to that of an artichoke heart. This simple recipe requires shredding the hearts of palm, which can be a bit tedious. However, the rest of the recipe is a piece of cake (vegan, gluten-free cake, of course)! The shredded hearts are marinated in a mixture of chile in adobo sauce as well as a chipotle cooking sauce that can be found at most grocery stores. Not a lot of work here, which is ideal for a Monday night. Let’s get started.

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HEARTS OF PALM TACOS

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (14 oz.) hearts of palm
  • 1/4 cup chipotle pepper in adobo sauce with chipotle chopped
  • 1/2 cup Herdez cooking sauce available at most grocery stores
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • tortillas
  • avocado and pico de gallo for topping (optional)

The prep for this recipe requires chopping the onions and garlic as well as shredding the hearts of palm.

Here is the star of the show: the hearts of palm!

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Typically, about four hearts come in a can which is enough to fill about 6 tacos. Here is where the tedious shredding comes into play. If possible, I recommend doing this the night before to save yourself some time after a tiring workday. To shred the hearts of palm, pull back the layers of the hearts and shred like you would a cheese stick. It takes some practice but you’ll get the hang of it after the first one, and of course it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look something like this when you’re done shredding:

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After shredding, sautée the onions until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes or so.

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Next add the shredded hearts of palm to the onion and garlic mixture and cook for a few minutes so the onion flavor can be absorbed.

Now add the adobo sauce and Herdez cooking sauce and stir. Also add the salt and cumin here.

Let the hearts of palm and onion and garlic mixture cook for about 5-7 minutes, just until everything is nice and hot.Spoon the mixture into your favorite taco shells (these are my favorites right now, I also like to fry them in a pan with a bit of oil for some extra crispiness) and top with fresh pico de gallo and avocado! Time for a Monday night fiesta, enjoy!

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Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti and meatballs is one of our favorite comfort foods. But with all the heavy eating and drinking that goes on during the holidays (not complaining!), a high-calorie bowl of spaghetti isn’t exactly helping us fit into our Christmas dresses! Have no fear, spaghetti squash is here! Spaghetti squash is a low calorie, nutrient rich vegetable that tastes a lot like spaghetti with the same texture as pasta (more of an Angel Hair texture, if you ask us).  Spaghetti squash is the star of this post and we’ll show you everything you need to know to make this guilt-free comfort food. Today we share two recipes, as usual, a vegan and  non vegan take on spaghetti squash with meatballs and homemade marinara.

Let’s eat!

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First we must complete a proper introduction. Meet spaghetti squash! Located in the produce department of most grocery stores, near other squash like butternut, delicata, and more.

There are many ways to cook spaghetti squash, but the most frequently used approaches are roasted in the oven, and for those of us who are more pressed for time, the microwave!

To prepare in the oven place the squash in a shallow pan and poke with a fork a few times. Bake at 350 for one hour.

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Let the squash cool enough to handle, and slice in half.

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Scoop out the seedy middle and use a fork to scoop the spaghetti like strands out.

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Click the link below to find our recipes for marinara sauce and meatballs!

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