Even More E2: 3 Bean Chili, Two Ways

I realize as I type this that I still need to make the E2 meatloaf. I just get side tracked! And this week I was put off my meal planning by the GIANT ENORMOUS POT OF CHILI that I made from this recipe. It says that it feeds 6 to 8. 6 to 8 what? Obviously not humans. Maybe professional wrestlers. Or Hulks. But this made easily 8+ servings for us, plus 2 quart-size freezer bags of leftover chili. I’m pretty sure that my grandchildren will be eating that chili someday.

As you can plainly see, this chili is not sexy (which begs the question: can chili be sexy?). But it is packed with basically every form of protein they could think of, with three different beans and a whole pound of tofu. As for taste? It has a lot of ground coriander, but no cumin, so it doesn’t exactly taste like traditional chili. It’s sweet from the addition of carrots, apple (see? What isn’t in this chili!), and molasses. It’s not something I would necessarily make again–probably because if you’ve made it once, you have enough leftovers to never need to make  a second batch!

To use up even more of this chili, I decided to make chili dogs for dinner this week as well. Because the texture of the original version is so…chunky…I ran it through the blender a bit to get it the right texture for hot dog chili. Behold!

The daiya really made the difference, giving it an authentic chili dog flavor. And I made the buns myself, using the same recipe for rolls from Thanksgiving. I’ve made that bread twice since we had it on November 24th, so you know I love it. Or I just love carbs. Whatever.

Recipe from the Engine 2 Diet.


Epic Fall Dinner!

So, with the leaves blowing around in the backyard, the smell of woodsmoke in the air–you know it’s fall, people. And I love fall. So, what says autumnal dinner more than butternut squash soup and tofu-turkey cranberry sandwiches?

The turkey is made from the Torkey recipe in the Happy Herbivore. So good. My house smelled like Thanksgiving the whole time it was cooking. And guess what? It’s got a parsnip in it! And it still tasted good!

The *awesome* cranberry sauce is from the November issue of Vegetarian Times magazine. Warning on the sauce–you must enjoy tart cranberries to like it. It overpowered my husband, and he had to scrape a bunch of it off.

And the Butternut Squash & Apple soup is from…of all things…Parents magazine (October issue). I know! But the recipe was pretty vegan already (they used chicken broth–why? It makes literally no sense), so it was an easy switch. Okay–you may remember me saying that I don’t like butternut squash. But it was really great in this soup! So maybe my tastes are changing? Or I had a bad squash before? Anyway, it’s butternut for me, baby!

Gingerbread Muffins

Basically, this is the Happy Herbivore Apple Muffin recipe, but with a twist. Is that twist a good one? We haven’t decided yet. It does taste just like gingerbread, if that gives you any clues.

What happened is this: I didn’t have apples, so I just doubled up the applesauce. And I didn’t have brown sugar, so I doubled the regular sugar and added a little molasses. And then, what the hell, I threw in some vegan bacon bits I had hanging around. I thought maybe they would apple bacon cinnamon muffins of wonder and delight.

Mostly, they were just…weird. And I’m not sure if it’s all my subs, or the fact that fat-free and low-fat baking gives you much different results than it’s fattier cousins. I think we’re going to have a muffin round two on this, without all the substitutions!


Pancakes! Pancakes for Everyone!

First of all, I’d like to point out that these weren’t burned. They’re just darker because of the wheat flour and the spices! And that I cook with a cast iron skillet that tends to make everything look a little…done.

So, yay! I busted out the Happy Herbivore cookbook, and messed around with her pancake recipe. With great results! I have a tub of applesauce just sitting in my fridge, so I really wanted to use it to flavor these a smidge. And it’s about 100 degrees AT NIGHT in Kansas right now, so I don’t know why I was craving fall-centric foods, but there you go. These are totally tasty!

Apple Spice Pancakes (makes 6-8 flapjacks):

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Pinch of ground cardamom
  • 1 cup unmilk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 T maple syrup

Cook pancakes over medium heat in a well greased skillet or griddle. I usually spray with cooking spray between flips, just to make sure everything turns out well. As I’m sure you know, pancakes are ready to be flipped when they have popped bubbles in the center of the cake. Don’t flip before that! You’ll be sorry!

I usually serve with Earth Balance and more syrup. My husband smothers his in jam. Weird, right?

Three Cookbook Pie

It’s the pie that three separate cookbooks built!

I had a lot of organic apples that were just starting to get mushy, so I thought–oh! There’s a great recipe in Vegan with a Vengeance for roasted applesauce! I’ll make that!

Cut to me, unable to actually make the apple smoosh into sauce. I didn’t have a good food processor at the time, so I just froze my apple concoction with the hopes of someday making it into a pie. That day arrived!

Step two was defrosting, and mixing the apples with a can of drained tart cherries and about 1/4 cup sugar. After they boiled away on the stove for about 10 minutes, some of the liquids had thickened up and made a nice sugary syrup.

I used the pie crust recipe from Veganomicon–it turned out much better than my previous crusty attempts. I don’t even think I did it correctly (my dough was a little on the dry and stiff side), but it still rolled okay, and made a nice flaky crust.

And since I like my pies to have a crumble top, I whipped out Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar and halved the Blueberry Crumb Cookies recipe. It still made a little more crumb than most people like, but I’m a streusel girl, and I loved it!Now I kind of want to make a berry pie, with every berry I can get my hands on. I can’t wait for summer!

For recipes, of course, buy the books! Or at least check your local library.

Six Layer Dip & Pretzel Cookies

We were invited to an Easter party (yay!) so I got the chance to try out some of my newfangled vegan cooking skillz. Also, since it was a BBQ with hot dogs and hamburgers, I needed to make something for myself to eat that would be both a complete meal and not make it seem like I was avoiding their food.

My favorite moment? When a guy with his girlfriend showed up, and they all announced, “Oh, the vegetarian is here!” I ran in the house, pointed out my vegan food, and told him that he rocked.

I’m gonna go step by step on this so you don’t miss out on any delicious layers! First, though, you need to get out a 2.5 quart dish. If you had a classy glass one, it would look even better.

Layer 1–bring on the hummus!

For this layer, I used the recipe from Appetite for Reduction. I made the jalapeno & cilantro hummus following the directions exactly. Smooth onto the bottom of the dish.

Layer 2–beans! Beans! Beans!

This layer features the Unrefried Beans from Appetite for Reduction. So simple! So classy! So gassy.

Layer 3–WTH? More beans?

Yes! Now, we get to my part. MUWAHAHA! For this layer, I followed the spirit of the Unrefried beans, but instead used these ingredients (I changed all the spices, so just use what I have listed here):

  • Black beans instead of pinto
  • Shallot instead of onion
  • Smoked paprika (1/2 tsp)
  • Cumin (1/2 tsp)
  • Chili Powder (1/2 tsp)
  • Garlic Salt (1/2 tsp)
  • Dash of Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/4 cup of corn

Then just make them the same way you did the previous layer.

Layer 4–the unexpected potato

Yep, potatoes. I know, that seems crazy right? They. Were. Awesome.

First, you want to dice three tiny (think fingerling) yukon gold potatoes really small. Toss them with 1 tsp of olive oil. Then, add the same mix of spices for the black bean layer, though you’ll probably want a tad more salt. Mix until well coated, then bake at 450 degrees for 20 mins, or until they are rather crispy on the outside and totally cooked.

Here they are before going into the oven:

Layer 5–Guacamame!

Did I spell that right? No matter. Just follow the directions in Appetite for Reduction. I leave out the tomato, because whatever I’m making is already so tomato-y that I don’t need it. Same here.

Layer 6–mmmm…salsa

And now I just use the salsa dressing recipe from Appetite for Reduction (I really need to think of a shorter way to write that without sounding like Rachael Ray). I used my food processor this time, because leaving the tomatoes in big chunks isn’t great for dip. It’ll smash your chip! I also took the vinegar down to one teaspoon.

Top it all off with two chopped up green onions, and it’ll look fantastic! Pleased the vegans and nonvegans, too. And the unethical ones.

Special Bonus time!

I also make the Pretzel-Apple-Peanut Cookies from Vegan Cookies Take Over Your Cookie Jar. They were a pretty big hit! Mine came out kinda on the crunchy side, I’m not sure if that’s the way they should be. Lots of work, but great for a party when you want people to be surprised by what you’ve made.

For all the cookbooks mentioned here, just go to powells.com…shhh…I love them.