Category Archives: Recipes

Simple Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

February 4, 2014

If I had to document my life based on one type of food, chocolate chips cookies would be it. For such a simple cookie, these bad boys sure come packed with a lot of memories. Childhood consisted mostly of Grandma’s cakey chocolate chip cookies. It seemed like she always had a tupperware full of them on the counter or a bowl of cookie dough waiting for us to lick clean. I’d pick out the chocolates and just eat the dough. 

Coming home from school, my brother and I always demanded snacks and Mom rarely failed us. She’d make crispy chocolate chip cookies and we’d tease her for not being able to get them chewy and fluffy. They always tasted the best dunked repeatedly in a cup full of milk. 

When asked what my first kiss was like, I always tell people it was like eating a chocolate chip cookie…he had just inhaled a handful of fresh cookies and then felt the need to kiss me. 

Procrastination in college meant baking cookies late at night. Holly’s cookies were the favorite and they guaranteed to make tests, hard workouts, breakups, and hangovers better. 
This is just one reason why I adore food – it is so powerful.  The memories it instantly locks within us change the way we think about that food, the people we shared it with, and how we feel.
Simple Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Coconut Oil 
Flax Egg (1 TB ground flax + 3 TB Water)
1/2 cup Almond Milk
2 cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Vanilla
Vegan Chocolate Chips
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix your flax egg together and set aside. You can either just soften coconut oil or warm it to liquid. If you choose to just soften it, decrease your flour to just 1 1/2 cups. Cream sugar and coconut oil together, adding flax egg and almond milk. Sift dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Slowly add to wet ingredients, making sure not to over mix. Using a spoon, scoop out a full spoonful and using your hands roll it into a ball. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the bottoms are brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes. 
What food would you say documents your life? 

Spicy PB & Jelly Tofu Sandwich

January 29, 2014

Lately I’ve been reading several books and articles about the notion of simplicity. How so often we think of living “simple” in terms of having a lack of material possessions. While this is a great aspect of living this way, I am finding that this isn’t the hardest part of maintaining that lifestyle… it’s the complicated aspects of our social life, career, and endless responsibilities we put on ourselves that prevent most of us from that simple existence. With all the amazing technology at our reach to help us to become more efficient in our daily routine, you’d think we’d live a simpler life. Far from it. It seems like with this technology more distractions persist and the need to do more, because we can, is always chipping away at us. In an effort to become less stressed, better focused, and more efficient with my time I’ve started to pay attention to aspects of my day where I truly can simplify. For me that means not using social media as much, paring down my goal lists, stop multi-tasking, not attending every event I’m invited too, and cooking less fancy meals.

I once thought that a great cook (and wife) would never make the same meals over and over. That in order to become better at cooking I had to experiment all the time with different foods. As fun as that is, it’s time consuming. When you don’t know a recipe by heart, you can’t just whip up dinner. So I’m stripping it all away. Going back to the basics. Because at the end of the day, we just want food in our bellies. No frills, just food. 

In my mind, sandwiches are the easiest thing in the whole to make; anyone can do it! You really can’t go wrong with peanut butter and jelly, but for those days when you just want something more – spicy pb & jelly tofu sure doesn’t disappoint. I know, it sounds bizarre, but if you love combining sweet, spicy, and savory flavors, you’ll dig this guy. Not to mention, it makes a killer breakfast sandwich, so don’t forget the coffee!!!

Spicy PB & Jelly Tofu Sandwich
Ingredients
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 TB Tamari or Soy Sauce
3 TB Rice Vinegar
1/2 TB Agave
5 TB hot sauce
1 pkg Firm Tofu
Greens
Peanut Butter
Jelly/Jam
Crusty Bread 
Directions
Press tofu for at least 15 minutes to drain water out of it. 
Combine garlic cloves, tamari, rice vinegar, agave, hot sauce, and mix well. 
Cut tofu into desired pieces. Arrange tofu in a baking dish and cover with marinade. 
Marinate for 15-30 minutes. Lightly oil a skillet and pan fry the tofu until the outside is well browned. Toast your bread then spread peanut butter on one or both bread pieces. Add lettuce and tofu, covering the tofu with lots of jelly. If you added more hot sauce, the jelly helps tame the spice! 
What’s your go to sandwich?

Messy Vegan Chocolate Praline Cake

January 20, 2014

I’ve shared countless times how my mother has & always will be a source of inspiration for me… Well this lady is another year older and I wanted to celebrate her birthday with our family’s favorite Chocolate Praline Cake. My mother is always up to something, so when we discussed a baking contest she was thinking about entering, I immediately thought of this cake. So the challenge is on! Mom, a vegan chocolate praline is sure to win; you just have to make sure it is prettier than mine!
 Sometimes messes are for the best, because this cake beats out the non-vegan version that I grew up on. Chocolate, caramel, and coconut whipped cream – yeah that’s basically heaven. Also, this cake taste even better the second day, especially if you make a messy version and let the coconut cream harden in the fridge.
Messy Vegan Chocolate Praline Cake
Cake
1 cup almond milk
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
Praline
4 TB vegan butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans + extra for top
Whipped Cream
1 can coconut cream/milk (refrigerated overnight)
2 TB powdered sugar (optional)
1/4 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together almond milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes. Add oil, sugar, and extracts. Mix well.
In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add wet ingredients and mix until no large clumps are left.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together. Cook on low until the sugar is dissolved. Throw in the pecans and mix.
Grease a cake pan (I used two souffle dishes, but you can easily use a 8in springform pan) and pour praline mixture in and then batter. If you forget to do this (like I did!) you can easily pour the praline mixture on top of the cake once it’s baked for 5-10 minutes so it doesn’t fall through the cake. Bake for 25-30 minutes (longer if you are using springform or until the center is baked.)
While cake is baking, beat the coconut cream in a mixer. Slowly add in the extract and powdered sugar. Whip until fluffy. Unfortunately for me, my coconut cream didn’t whip up as nicely as it has in the past… hence the messy version!
Let cakes cool before removing them from the pan and adding whipped cream to first layer and then second. Add pecans to the top & enjoy!
Note: if you are using a springform pan and are making two cakes to layer, you will need to double the praline recipe for both pans.

Weekend Adventures // Birthday Brunch

November 22, 2013

They tell you you’re supposed to make a wish on your birthday. The cake arrives with candles randomly place amongst thick colored icing; each flame marking the years of your life. At seven, I wished to be nothing more than a Disney princess. At 16, a car, so I didn’t have to ride the bus to school anymore. At 21, a new boyfriend was all I wanted. If maturity is measured by your wishes, this year I think I’ve grown up a lot. For my 27th birthday, all I wished for was a weekend spent with my lover, some great friends, and good brunch. 
Wish granted. 
You can’t do brunch without home fries. They are my jam. Slathered with ketchup or hot sauce, these crispy taters never stay around for long. Brunch isn’t complete without something sweet to nibble on in between coffee slurps. I haven’t made muffins in a while, so maybe I’ve forgotten or just have progressed in my baking abilities, but I was so impressed how easy these vegan banana walnut muffins came together. 

Moments spent around our dinner table that morning consisted of storytelling, awkward pauses, lots of mimosas, and mouths full of food. Eventually the conversation turned to running, something everyone of us have in common. It’s a comfortable place to be, surrounded by runners. Brunch and runners, that’s what I want for every birthday. 
That and more mimosas.  

Gotta give props to Kelsey for thinking to add the orange juice to my original pear mimosa recipe. It jazzed it up a notch and to be honest, tasted way better than just the pear by itself. 
Pear & Orange Mimosa
Ingredients
champagne
 pear nectar
orange juice
 lime, cut into slices
Directions
You can either buy pear nectar or make your own. 
To make your own, peel and core about 4 cups worth of pears. Puree the pears in a food processor. In a saucepan add 3 cups of water, 3/4 cups of sugar, and the pureed pears. Cook on medium until the sugar is well dissolved and the pears have cooked down some. Pour out the mixture through a sieve to strain out the lumps. Pour in a jar and store in fridge. 
To make your drink – fill your glass halfway with champagne, top the glass off with half pear nectar and half orange juice. Squeeze and drop in a wedge of lime. 
Then get your brunch on. 

Roasted Squash, Kale, and Walnut Crumble Pizza

November 13, 2013

“Just like becoming an expert in wine – you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford – you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. Then you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.” -Julia Childs
 Even in the midst of our chaotic kitchen renovation, there will always be time to cook. At moments, it seems like an obstacle… the kitchen is covered in plaster dust, but we are hungry, so therefore I cook. But more often than not I carve out time because I relish it and I want to continue developing this skill. To analyze the food, share it with my loved ones, and explore those experiences; that is my wish. 
Spending the whole afternoon cooking, styling, and photographing food with my mom is one of those experiences that is meant to be explored again and again. Not only do I learn immensely from her, but there is also a craft to cooking with someone else. Clear communication, mutual respect for each other’s suggestions, and an open mind compose a beautiful cooking relationship. It’s a wonder when you can create something by yourself, but the reward is tenfold when it is done with someone you love. 
This pizza is to die for. My luck with pizza crust is hit and miss, so when I saw Kate’s recipe for an easy pizza dough, I knew my mom and I had to test this out. Combined with an original pizza sauce recipe and killer toppings, this is my go-to pizza for this fall.  

Roasted Squash, Kale, and Walnut Crumble Pizza
Ingredients

Pizza Crust – adapted from Cookie & Kate
1 cup water, heated to 110 degrees
1 TB sugar
1 TB olive oil
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 whole wheat pastry flour
1 3/4 all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Squash Pizza Sauce
1 golden acorn squash (about 1 1/2 cups), roasted
1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp thyme (sage works just as well) 
1 head of garlic, roasted in olive oil (using only 3-4 in sauce)
Pizza Toppings
1/2 cup walnuts
1 1/2 TB Braggs (or soy sauce) 
4 cups kale, roughly chopped, sautéed
1/2 onion, chopped and caramelized
4-5 cloves from rest of roasted garlic head
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
2. Mix water, sugar, oil, and yeast together. Set aside for 5 minutes on oven to warm & let proof. 
3. Mix flours, salt, and water together in food processor or knead by hand until combined. 
4. Dust your counter with flour and either roll or hand shape the dough. I prefer this method
5. Transfer dough to a lightly greased baking sheet. 
6. Pre-bake on 450 degrees for 5 minutes. 
7. While the pizza is baking mix squash, salt, nutritional yeast, thyme, & 3-4 garlic cloves in food processor. 
8. Puree and slowly add in water to your desired consistency. 
9. Spread sauce over pre-baked pizza crust. 
10. Process walnuts until you get small “crumbles.” 
11. Mix Bragg’s or soy sauce into walnuts and saute light on medium heat. 
12. Add sautéed kale, roasted garlic cloves, caramelized onions, and walnut crumbles to pizza. 
13. Bake for 12 minutes or until crust is crispy at 425 degrees. 

Sweet, Savory, & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

November 7, 2013

I’m so bad at celebrating any kind of holiday. This year for Halloween Zach really wanted to get a pumpkin to carve and light for when we had trick-r-treaters… all I wanted was the pumpkin seeds and the leftover candy. Priorities, people! Needless to say, I hoarded the seeds (and some candy) to make a toasted pumpkin seed trio that next day.

Sweet, Savory, & Spicy Pumpkin Seeds
Ingredients
Sweet – 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds & 1/4 cup maple syrup
Savory – 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 TB oil, 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Spicy – 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, 1 tsp wasabi powder (mixed with water), dash of sesame seeds
Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Mix pumpkin seeds with desired flavorings. 
Spread pumpkin seeds evenly on a baking sheet. 
Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crispy.  

Poached Pears & Pistachio Pie

October 30, 2013

Oh Pears, you are definitely the understated fruit of Fall. 
It’s hard to imagine how this curvy bounty could have been overlooked for so long, but this year I’ve got a couple bushels sitting on our front porch, waiting to be devoured.   
This last month I’ve really enjoyed my time off of running to explore hobbies that usually gets pushed aside. Photography has always been a passion I’ve wanted to develop deeper, but have never really taken the time to do so. After reading several food photography books, one of which displayed a beautiful photo of a pear and pistachio tart, I was instantly motivated and inspired to do the same. This pie has the best of both worlds, sweet pears mixed with salty pistachios. Watch out apples and pumpkins, pears are going to kill it this season. 

Poached Pear & Pistachio Tart
adapted from Bon Appetit

Ingredients
Poached Pears
4 cups water
1 1/4 sugar
4 pears, peeled

Crust
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
8 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter
1/4 salt

Pistachio Cream
1 cup pistachios
2 poached pears, chopped
1/4 cup water
1/4 maple syrup

Caramelized Pistachios
3 TB sugar
2 TB water
1/4 – 1/2 cup pistachios

Directions

Heat water and sugar in a deep sauce pan until sugar dissolves. Add whole, peeled pears to water. Simmer pears for 40 minutes or until tender all the way through. Set aside to cool. You will be using two pears for cream and two for the topping. Once cooled, slice pears lengthwise.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Start preparing pie crust. In a food processor combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Once mixed, add butter and blend until mixture looks like coarse meal. Pour into 9″ springform pan and press dough down into pan. Freeze for about 10 minutes. Pre bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Set aside. 

To prepare the caramelized pistachios, add water and sugar in saucepan and cook on medium heat until sugar dissolves. Turn heat up until the sugar starts to caramelize. Add pistachios and stir to coat fully. Transfer to a baking sheet to cool.
Next, work on the pistachio cream. Blend pistachios in food processor to a fine grain, adding pears, water, and maple syrup. Blend until the cream is smooth. Pour cream into crust. Take sliced pears for topping and arrange on top of cream. Sprinkle caramelized pistachios on top. 

Bake on 375 degrees for another 10-15 minutes or until crust is brown.

How Make Your Own Kombucha

August 28, 2013

So there has been a little hiatus from the blog, one which I didn’t really plan on. At the beginning of this month I decided I wanted to challenge myself with my cooking. As Zach and I ramped up for some of the biggest training days of our running career, I knew we’d need to be eating like mad men; so I figured I might as well challenge myself to learn a new recipe or at least cook a homemade meal every day. Thus, the #dailyrecipechallenge began.
I’ve put a lot more time into this than I had hoped, but the rewards are bountiful. I could have easily stayed stagnant in my cooking, but that in itself is not what cooking is about! I wanted to better myself as this is a craft that I will never put down, one where I hope to someday become a master at. 

Even though I’ve made Kombucha several times already this summer, it was definitely a recipe I couldn’t forget to make during this challenge. So here is what you’ll need: 
Ingredients: 
6 cups of distilled water
1/2 cup of sugar (I use turbinado) 
2 TB of loose leaf black english breakfast tea
1 scoby (you can grow your own or purchase one) 
1 cup of starter tea (you can use apple cider vinegar if you don’t have this) 
On the stovetop bring 2 cups of water, ½ cup of turbinado sugar, and 2 tablespoons of loose leaf black english breakfast tea to a boil. Turn off heat and let steep for a few minutes. You can steep for up to 30 minutes if you like, but I usually don’t have that much patience.

Strain tea making sure no leaves are left. Pour into 1/2 gallon glass Ball jar. Let cool! To help move this process along you can fill the jar with some cold distilled water. Wait until tea is around 85 degrees or room temperature before adding the rest of the water (you will be adding 4 cups of water total).

Once the tea is at correct temperature, add 1 cup of starter tea and your scoby. Top the rest of the jar off with room temperature water if needed. Leave about 2 inches of room for the tea to breathe. Cover with coffee filter and date it. In 10 to 14 days it should be done! Taste test to see if you want to wait longer for a more “vinegary” taste.

To add flavor: Put fruit or herbs in after you take the scoby out. Put cap on for carbonation and leave in cabinet for second fermentation. (another 10-14 days or whatever your taste buds prefer!)
Have you made Kombucha before? 
Do you prefer plain or one spiked with flavors?

Mixology Night // Raspberry Mint Summer Shandy

July 16, 2013

You guys, it’s been hella humid here. 
The stickiness and sweltering air immediately takes me back to high school summers of cross pollinating corn. Illinois weather is just a tad hotter and more humid than Michigan, so add that on top of walking thru corn fields with jeans on and you’ve got a really awful summer job. Good news, I don’t have to do that anymore, but if I did you can bet your ass I’d be coming home and making a summer shandy every night. 
I love how simple this drink is. You can make homemade lemonade, but if you are in a hurry concentrate works just as well. To allow for the perfect beer to lemonade ratio, let your guest pour as much beer as they want in their cup, topping it off with the lemonade. Adding the frozen raspberries instantly takes it up a notch and makes it super pretty. 
Have you enjoyed a summer shandy yet?  
For those who don’t like the taste of beer, I suggest you try this out and add lots of lemonade and berries! You’ll be surprised how yummy and easy it is to drink! 

Raw Berry Cheesecake

June 21, 2013

It’s been a rough week. Life has been challenging and I’ve felt myself become more and more internally unruly. Forgoing my usual “me time,” I’ve felt out of sync for several months now. This week just happened to be the last straw – pushing me to tears and ridiculous mood swings. I can’t say that I feel better right now, but it is Friday, and for that I’m grateful for a weekend of no plans.  
A weekend to rest up and take care of myself. 
A weekend to adore my wonderful husband and pup. 
A weekend to cook, bake, and eat homemade food. 
A weekend to make cheesecake. 
Raw Berry Cheesecake
 adapted from Caitlin Van Horn’s recipe
Crust
2 cups raw almonds, soaked overnight
1 cup dates, pitted
1 cup non-sweetened coconut flakes
Filling
3 cups raw cashews (soaked for at least 2 hours)
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
1/2 cup agave
3/4 cup raw coconut oil
1 1/2 tsp pure almond extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
Topping
1 bag/16 oz of frozen berries of your choice (I used blueberries)
1/4 cup agave
1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 lime)
1/3 cup water to thin mixture out
Cover 9 inch spring pan with coconut flakes to prevent the crust from sticking. Mix dates and almonds in a food processor till all is well combined. Scoop the mixture on top of the coconut flakes. Using a spatula or your hands, press down until the mixture is spread out and flat. Put crust in fridge while you make the filling.
Warm coconut oil until it becomes liquid – add agave and mix. Combine cashews, lemon juice, salt, coconut oil, agave, and almond extract in food processor. Blend until creamy. This took me a couple minutes in my food processor, so be patient if the filling is still grainy feeling. You want this as smooth as possible. Pour mixture on top of crust and stick back in the fridge.
Place berries, agave, lime juice, & water in a high speed blender and blend until smooth. You don’t want to puree it until it’s a liquid, more like the consistency of ice-cream. Pour mixture over filling.
Place the cheesecake in freezer for at least three to four hours or overnight. Take pan out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving.