Monthly Archives: February 2013

Asian-Spiced Mushroom “Burgers”

Sometimes, a burger is EXACTLY what you crave, even if you’re vegetarian or vegan.  I have a habit of watching Food Network while on the treadmill.  I know!  Seems like an oxymoron to watch yummy food being prepared while trying to counter the effects of eating-sins past.  Anyway, at one of those times, Anne Burrell prepared the yummiest sounding turkey burgers since using the Turkey Balls recipe in burger form.  These turkey burgers had all sorts of Asian ingredients and spices, and I just knew I could vegan-ize them, as well as keeping them low-fat.  So, so yummy!


I had to do a bit of shopping for things not usually in my pantry.


  • 1 (14 oz) package Gimme Lean Ground Meat  (This is a soy-wheat gluten product–find it at a natural foods market)
  • 1 package mushrooms, chopped into 1/4 inch pieces.  (I get sliced, because I’m lazy.  These are creminis, but button mushrooms would be yummy, too)
  • 1 onion, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 TBSP sambal oelek, optional, but really yummy (This spicy hot sauce is found in the Asian foods area of a grocery)
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3 TBSP cilanto puree (From a tube found in the produce aisle) or 1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 (8oz) can sliced water chestnuts, chopped into 1/4 inch dice
  • any burger-y condiments you like–buns, mustard, red onion, tomato, lettuce…..

Saute onions, garlic, salt and pepper in a 1/4 cup-ish of veggie broth until translucent–about 3 minutes.

saute onions and garlic

Add mushrooms and cook until softened and the water they release is cooked off.

add mushrooms

Place all the ingredients in a bowl (except condiments) and mix with your hands to combine.

mix everything

Flatten the mix in the bowl and mark grooves to indicate portions.  I thought 4 would be perfect–this made really large burgers–not that there’s anything wrong with that!  6 might have been a little easier to work with.

score into portions

Lightly spray a non-stick fry pan with cooking spray and place it over medium heat.

Form each portion into a burger and place into the pan, working in batches as needed.  Cook 4-5 minutes, and flip, cooking 4-5 minutes on the second side.  (If you really want to cut the fat, bake them on a cookie sheet, lined with parchment or a silicon mat.)


Place on a bun, top with your favorite burger stuff and voila!  Just what you needed!  Such a delicious combination of flavors, with a bit of crunch from the water chestnuts.  I’ll be making these again for sure!


After dinner was all cleaned up, I got to thinking about this mixture, and how yummy it would be transformed into little appetizer meat(less) balls, baked, skewered on decorative picks, served with some sort of dip–maybe a hot sauce, maybe more soy.  OR!  Maybe serve the little meat(less) balls in butter lettuce wraps, maybe with an Asian slaw….what do you think?!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian

Vegan Triple Chocolate Cupcakes

Low-fat vegan baking is a challenge…well, for me anyway.  I have trouble achieving the texture and mouth feel of the baked goods I’ve always made.   Happily, a friend posted this link on her Facebook page, just in time for Valentine’s Day.  I adjusted just a couple of things for my personal taste, and ended up with a real Ta-Da moment!


Do you like moist, tender chocolate cake topped with melty chocolate?!  If you answered yes(!), line yourself a cupcake pan with 12 liners and get a-bakin’!


  • 1/4 cup mini vegan chocolate chips, plus more for topping (find these at a natural foods store) 
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk, such as soy, room temperature
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I like organic–it’s not as processed)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp espresso powder (optional, but really intensifies the chocolate flavor)
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I used white whole wheat)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips in a double boiler, or microwave.  Since it’s such a tiny amount, I chose microwave.  Place in a microwave-safe container, cook for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between, until melted.  Set aside.

melt choc chips

Whisk the non-dairy milk with the vinegar in a large bowl and let sit for a couple minutes.  The vinegar will “curdle” the milk a tiny bit–but not in a bad way.  🙂

combine wet ingredients

Stir in the sugar, vanilla, applesauce and melted chocolate.  (I attempted this using milk straight from the fridge.  When melted chocolate met cold milk, the chocolate solidified!  I fixed this by microwaving the wet ingredients for 20 seconds or so.  Lucky this recipe has no eggs!)

add chocolate

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, espresso powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

combine dry ingredients

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches.  I used a hand mixer to get everything well mixed.

add dry to wet

Scoop the batter evenly into the 12 cupcake liners.  I used these pretty ones I got at an after Valentine’s Day sale last year.  Very pretty, but hard to get the batter in them because they are so tall!  Bake 18-20 minutes; until a toothpick comes out cleanly.

place in cupcake liners

Remove from oven and place the pan on a cooling rack.


Top with more of the mini chips while cupcakes are still hot.  That way, the chips will melt onto the tops of the cupcake.  Yum!

top with a few chips

Cool completely, about 20 minutes.  Ummm….the ones that were allowed to cool came out of the papers better….they were awfully yummy still a bit warm.  I didn’t mind scraping the wrapper for a few little chocolatey bits.  🙂

yum1After they’d cooled a bit, I wrapped up some as Valentine surprises for the neighbors–one set of neighbors are vegan, the others aren’t.  These cupcakes were a hit with everybody!

gifts for neighbors

I decided to call them triple chocolate, because there are two kinds of chocolate inside the cakes, and more on top.  Whatever you call them, you’re gonna love them!

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Filed under comfort food, dessert, food gifts, Potluck, recipe, Vegetarian

Sweet-Tooth Saturday: Happy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe comes from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook; a cookbook full of yummy, low-fat, vegan recipes.  So,  I’m calling them Happy partly because of that, and partly for the Happy that appeared in my kitchen when these little yummies came out of the oven and found themselves on a plate with a glass of (non-dairy) milk.  And finally, the Happy that radiated through me as I enjoyed my first soft, melty bite.milk and cookies

These amounts make a nice small batch (16-20 cookies) that you can whip up in no time.


  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat flour!  Recently discovered it at my regular grocery store.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • a few dashes of cinnamon  (My applesauce had cinnamon in it, so I didn’t add more.)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips  (Find these at a natural foods market.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicon mat, or grease it.

In  large bowl, combine the sugar, applesauce, vanilla and non-dairy milk.

combine wet ingredients

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cornstarch and cinnamon (if using).

combine dry ingredients

Add the dry mix to the wet mixture in 2-3 batches.  Stir until almost combined.

mix dry into wet

Fold in the chips.

fold in chips

Drop by tablespoon-fulls onto the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 8-10 minutes for soft cookies, a bit longer for crispy ones (being careful to not burn them!).  I opted for soft.

place on prepared sheets

Cool on pans for a few minutes and then transfer to racks to cool completely.

cool on racks

Of course, here is where you want to eat one.  OK, maybe two.  Did I actually eat more than that?  Maybe….


The Happy Herbivore herself warned these are addictive fresh from the oven.  Um….yup.  I’m making a double batch next time!


I decided to photograph them with a glass of milk (flax milk), so I couldn’t help but have the milk with a few cookies.  I was instantly transported back to my childhood, having milk and cookies for an after-school snack.  Yummy.  Happy.


Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dessert, food gifts, recipe, snack

Whole Lotta Love Very Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna is popular around my house.  It’s one of those meals with a whole lotta love baked right in.  Where does that love live?  In the tomato-y sauce?  The savory fillings?  The cheese?  I worried a bit that the love came from the cheese, when I decided to make a vegan pasta.  Once assembled, baked and tasted… more worries!  All the love was still there.


I gathered up a rainbow of veggies from my fridge, noodles, sauce and nutritional yeast and tofu for the spectacular roasted cauliflower “ricotta.”


For the ricotta: (From a recipe in Appetite For Reduction)

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp salt (I used my current fav ingredient–truffle salt!)
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • cooking spray

For the rest of the lasagna:

  • Your choice of veggies that YOU like.  For example, I used:
  • 1/2 each 4 different colored bell peppers, rough chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 small zucchini, chopped into quarter-moons
  • 1 small yellow squash, chopped into quarter moons
  • 2-3 cups assorted sliced mushrooms (I have button, cremini, and shitake)
  • 9-12 lasagna noodles, cooked according to package  (These rice noodles were more narrow than the noodles I usually use, so I needed 12 rather than the usual 9 to cover the width of my 9×13 pan for the three layers)
  • 1 quart prepared pasta sauce  (I used my zesty pasta sauce)
  • 1 package vegan alfredo sauce, prepared according to the package (optional)
  • veggie broth for sauteing veggies

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a sided baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicon sheet or spray with cooking spray.

Prepare the lasagna noodles according to the package instructions, drain and set aside.

Prepare the vegan cheese sauce, if using, and set aside.

Chop the cauliflower into 1/2-ish pieces.

chop cauliflower

Place on prepared baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt.  Toss with your hands to distribute the salt evenly.  Spray with cooking spray one more time and spread in an even layer and bake for 10 minutes.

season and roast

Flip it with a spatula, and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes–until lightly browned, tender and yummy.

perfecty roasted

While the cauliflower roasts, drain the tofu, squeezing out as much of the moisture as you can.  Wrap in in a clean kitchen towel to squeeze out some more.  I’m learning that the key to tofu is getting it as dry as possible.

press moisture from tofu

Use your hands to crumble the tofu so it resembles ricotta.  Add another 1/4 tsp salt, the nutritional yeast, lemon juice and pepper. Mix and set aside.

season crumbled tofu

Remove the cauliflower from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 375 F.

Add the roasted cauliflower to the tofu crumble and mash it into the tofu with a fork or a potato masher.  (Steal a little taste here, this is yummy enough to eat by itself!)  Set aside.

mash cauliflower into tofu

Heat about 1/4 cup veggie broth in a large skillet.  Chop the veggies and add to the skillet.  Saute until they’re cooked to your liking.  I like them just getting soft, but with a little crispness left.  Aren’t all the colors pretty?  It’s super healthy to eat lots of different veggie colors.  Season with salt and pepper.

saute veggies

Add the mushrooms and cook til almost soft.  Add additional veggie broth as needed.

add mushrooms

Lightly coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with cooking spray.  Spread 1/4-1/2 cup of the pasta sauce over the bottom of the pan.

spread sauce in pan

Stir the rest of the sauce into the veggies.

add sauce

Form a layer of noodles (3 or 4 depending on the size of the noodles) and top with 1/2 of the veggie-sauce mixture.

layer noodles and half veggie sauce

Form another layer of noodles and spread about 3/4 of the ricotta evenly over the top.

layer noodles and most of ricotta

Add one more layer of noodles and top with the other half of the veggie mixture and the remaining ricotta.

top with remaining ricotta

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove foil and spread the vegan cheese sauce on top, if using and bake an additional 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes.


Cut into the size pieces you want and enjoy!


This lasagna is vegan, low-fat and gluten-free, due to the rice noodles.  No meat.  No dairy.  No gluten.  Very little fat.    Absolutely no loss of yum.  This is some seriously healthy, seriously yummy, whole lotta love lasagna.


Even better the next day.  What veggies will be in YOUR lasagna?

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Gluten-free, recipe, restaurants, Vegetarian

Baked Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

I know where the clearance areas are in every store I usually shop.  I love to find little bargains, sometimes things I need anyway, and sometime things I didn’t know I needed.  Last weekend I found a discounted package of prepared polenta, basil-garlic polenta–yum!  It’s been hanging out in the fridge, waiting for inspiration.  Inspiration struck from the memory of a dish I’d had at a local restaurant, a gnocchi with mushroom sauce.  Polenta could be the gnocchi, right?  Yes!  Earthy, rich, perfect balance of flavors.  Quick and easy enough for a weeknight, thanks to the prepared polenta.  I’ll be making this again….


Such a luxurious dish from such basic ingredients.  Serves two as an entree, 6-8 as an appetizer.


  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used creminis and shitakes)
  • salt and pepper (I used truffle salt–really ups the mushroomy yum factor if you can find some)
  • veggie broth for sauteing
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2-3 TBSP fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • a dollop of plain soy yogurt
  • a few grinds of dried porchini mushrooms, optional  (My wonderful sis-in-law found this porchini grinder on Amazon and sent it to me.  Adds a depth of flavor to the sauce, but still optional.)
  • 1 (18 oz) package of prepared polenta

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicon baking mat, or spray with baking spray.

Cut polenta into 1/2 inch thick slices.  Lay on the prepared  baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

slice polenta and bake

Meanwhile, start some veggie broth heating in a large skillet.  Mince the garlic and add it to the pan.

saute garlic

Clean and slice the mushrooms.  Shitake caps can be stacked and sliced.  (Shitake stems are woody, discard them or save them to make mushroom broth later.)

clean and slice mushrooms

Add mushrooms to the pan when the garlic becomes aromatic.  Add salt, pepper and dried porchini, if using, to taste.  Saute until softened.

add mushrooms

Deglaze the pan with the wine, stirring to pick up any yummies sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add parsley and simmer to reduce the wine by half.

add wine and parsley

Add milk and stir, bringing the sauce back up to a simmer.  Stir occasionally as the sauce reduces and thickens.  Taste the sauce and adjust seasonings as needed.

add milk

Stir in a dollop of yogurt to finish the sauce.

add yogurt

Place polenta slices on plates and spoon the mushroom sauce over the top.  Sprinkle chopped parsley over the top and voila!  (A sprinkle of parmesan would be perfect!)


Simple, earthy, date-night-worthy.  Perhaps even Valentine’s-worthy.   It’s that kind of yummy and decadent. With as low-fat as this dish is, you’ll have plenty of calories to spend on a killer dessert–bonus!  Check out a few from Somethin’ Yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Holiday foods, recipe, Vegetarian

A Sweet Valentine’s Day Collection

Remember making valentines in grade school?   Hearts made from doilies, pink and red construction paper, stickers, some Elmer’s glue and a bit of glitter.  Valentines are still fun to make–the paper kind and the chocolate, or decadent ice cream kind!  I’ve gathered up a yummy collection of recipes from Somethin’ Yummy for you to make for your valentines, including yourself.  ❤

Easy Chocolate Truffles.

Your valentines will love the rich, melty chocolate and the cute, cute toppings!

heart tin 3

Red Velvet Cupcakes, Poppers and Trifles

Such a classic flavor and the perfect color for Valentine’s Day!

cupcakes poppers trifles

Chocolate Shortbread Cookies (Gluten-free version, with instructions to adjust for regular flour.)

These melt-in-your-mouth cookies have a wee bit of pepper in the batter.  OMG, so, so yummy!

perched on coffee cup

Flourless Chocolate Cake

This rich, dense cake is simple to make and quite the “Ta-Da” dessert.

pwdered sugar

Decadent Dark Chocolate Tart with Gingersnap Crust

Chocolate bliss spiced up with ginger.

chocolate tart

Sweetheart Chocolate Waffles

A perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast, and super yum with ice cream in a Sweetheart Sundae!


Chocolate-Covered Salted Caramels

A bit of effort, but so, so worth it!

brie box1

Carol’s Frozen Mango, Raspberry and Vanilla Mosaic

A superbly yummy treat if chocolate just isn’t your Valentine’s Day desire.  Drizzled in raspberry liqueur for extra valentine-y-ness!

carols mosaic

Still not finding something to your liking?  Type dessert or cookie or cake in the search window for more sweet ideas!  Have a yummy Valentine’s Day!  Be my Valentine?!

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Filed under comfort food, dessert, food gifts, Holiday foods, recipe

Vegan Posole-Posole

Oh how I love posole.  The rich and spicy broth, the succulent shredded pork, the hominy, the yummy toppers….mmmmmm.  I came across this vegan version, and with high hopes of a posole-posole, I gathered up ingredients, chopped, opened cans, took pictures (doesn’t everybody?!), adjusted for my personal taste and pantry, and simmered away.  The verdict?  Oh.  Yeah.  It’s Posole-Posole!


This is another soup that comes together quickly enough for a weeknight, and perfect for that big football party you’re planning.


  • 1/2 cup enchilada sauce (I had about a cup leftover from making enchiladas a couple days ago.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups No Chicken Broth (or veggie broth)
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted are fabulous in this recipe)
  • 1 TBSP dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (15 oz) can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 (15 oz) cans hominy drained and rinsed  (color of your choice–I like yellow for the happy color it adds)
  • juice of two limes

Heat 1/4 cup of the broth in a large pot over medium heat and add onion and garlic.  Saute until onions are translucent, about 2 minutes.

saute onion and garlic

Add oregano, salt, tomatoes and broth.  Stir and bring to a simmer.

add oregano salt tomatoes and broth

Add pinto beans and hominy.  Bring back to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.

add beans and hominy

Add enchilada sauce and lime juice.  Stir, taste and add additional sauce, lime juice or salt if needed. Simmer for another 10 minutes for flavors to marry.

add lime juice and enchilada sauce

Serve with a variety of toppings.  I used cilantro and chopped scallions, with baked corn chips on the side.  Have whatever sounds yummy though: avocado, sour cream, cheese, limes, extra hominy, tortillas,…..


This soup is definitely going into a regular cool weather rotation.  Hearty, healthy, easy-peasy and yummy.  Just what you need.  🙂

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, lunch, recipe, Vegetarian