Friday, August 31, 2012

Chocolate Trifle Cake

I'm still relatively new to the blogging world, but by far one of my favorite discoveries is the amazing people I've met. When you first start a blog it is easy to feel a little bit isolated, but there are so many wonderful bloggers that share my love of food and that stop by here to chat, and I am so happy to have met you all! One of my fabulous new blogger friends is Heather from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. She and I were matched up in the vegan food swap a few months back, and from there we decided to swap guest posts. If you missed her Coconut Cinna Ring last week, stop whatever you are doing and go drool over it!

Today my recipe for Chocolate Trifle Cake is over at Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes. I hope you will go check it out, and while you are there be sure to take a look around Heather's blog for wonderful recipes and inspiring photos. I know you'll love it just as much as I do!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Vegan Food Swap: August 2012

It's time for the August vegan food swap reveal!

The vegan food swap is a wonderful idea created and organized by The Verdant Life.
You get matched up with a person and send them a box full of your favorite vegan foods. It's a great chance to try new things and meet other bloggers!

This month I sent a box to Kyleigh at The Only Vegan I Know. Hope you liked it Kyleigh!

I received my box of vegan food from Stephanie at Vegan Mainstream. Check out the great snacks she sent me:

Here is a list of what was in my box:

• Go Raw Pizza Flax Snacks
• Evelyn's To Go Cookies
• Fruit Bliss Apricots
• Just Great Stuff Superberry Acai Bar
• Candice Foods Chocolate Fudge Energy Bar
• Justin's Maple Almond Butter
• Panda Raspberry Licorice

My favorite was definitely the Evelyn's cookies. They were like a cross between oatmeal raisin and spice cookies -yum! The flax snacks are very tasty crumbled on top of salads, too. Thanks Stephanie!

If you want to join in on the vegan food swap fun, you can sign up right here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Black Bean Burgers and Bell Pepper Rings

I decided I couldn't let the summer end without trying my hand at making homemade veggie burgers. These black bean burgers were really tasty, and they even held up great on the grill! I also somehow got the idea to make bell pepper rings. Like onion rings, but with bell peppers. I got some worried looks from my family who was over for dinner, but in the end I think they got on board with the idea. Don't worry, I made the onion rings too if you are scared!

 Black Bean Burgers
makes about 5 patties, adapted from the innocent primate

1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 red bell pepper
1/2 medium onion
1 can corn
1 carrot
2 C panko bread crumbs
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp chili powder
salt, to taste
buns, tomato slices, lettuce

Roughly chop the bell pepper, onion and carrot. Saute along with the corn for about 6-8 minutes.
Throw all the vegetables into a food processor along with the black beans. I ground my vegetables up pretty small so they would hold together well.

In a large bowl combine the vegetable mixture, bread crumbs, flour, chili powder and salt. Mix well.
Form into patties and refrigerate (or freeze) until you are ready to grill. These worked perfectly straight on the grill - just cook until both sides are browned. They would also work great in a skillet over the stove top. Top with your favorite burger toppings or try it with some salsa!

Bell Pepper/Onion Rings
serves 4, adapted from the vegan stoner

2 bell peppers
1 small onion
1/4 C flour
1/2 C almond milk
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 C panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 450.

Slice the onion and bell pepper into thin rings.

In one bowl mix together the flour, cornstarch and milk.
In a second bowl mix the olive oil, salt and bread crumbs.

Set up your assembly line - dip the rings into the flour mix, then the bread crumbs, and then place onto a baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.

I really enjoyed these burgers and am already excited to try the bell pepper rings again.
Even though summer is almost over, I think there is still time for another cook out or two!

What fall foods are you looking forward to? I love a good chili night myself. Lots of baking too, of course!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Coconut Cinna Ring by Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

Happy Friday Everyone! I have a very special treat for you all today. My friend Heather from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes and I decided to swap guest posts. Her amazing recipe is here today and mine will be up on her blog next week. I KNOW you all are going to love this beautiful treat she cooked up! Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes is an amazing blog with very inspiring recipes and photos, and I'm sure most of you have already visited many times, but if not you should definitely check it out! You can also stop by and say "Hi!" on her facebook page. I'm already getting hungry seeing this delicious recipe, so without further ado, here is Heather!

Guest posts make me a bit anxious – for me, it’s like going into someone’s house unsure whether or not they have a no shoe rule. Do I take them off or do I leave them on? If you are anything like me you actually have a sign in your mudroom telling guests exactly what they should do – in a nice way of course.

I am so excited to be guest posting here on Vegan Fling; I absolutely adore Melissa and her space. I have been following her blog for so long know that I have no clue how we even met. I just remember falling in love with her easy recipes and clean pictures. So how excited was I when she & I were paired as a match for vegan foodie pen pal – super excited. From there the idea of a Guest Post was born. So take your shoes off, leave them at the door and join me in Vegan Fling’s virtual kitchen as I share my tasty & totally acceptable for breakfast Coconut Cinna Ring.

I am a perfectionist, totally type a. I wanted the recipe to be close to perfect – you know, putting my best foot forward. Melissa always has so many amazing sweets so I thought I would share with you something a little sweet along with a new technique that I pinned a while back.

This ring of goodness is refined sugar free utilizing maple syrup and coconut sugar as its main sweeteners – certainly you can sub in dark brown sugar if you are lacking in the coconut sugar department. 

With each bite you get a little burst of coconut that is on the edge of being addicting.
The process of making the ring is quite easy, I would however recommend using a piece of parchment paper as your work surface; it wasn’t much fun trying to slide the ring onto parchment after the fact.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did making it!
Justin recommends a Maple Glaze as the finishing touch but feel free to make any glaze you and your family enjoy!

Coconut Cinna Ring
Serves 12
You will need:
For the sweet dough:
  • 3 1/4 cups spelt flour
  • 2 tsp package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt
For the filling:
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
For the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • Combine 1-1/2 cups of the flour and yeast; set aside. In a saucepan heat milk, 1/3 cup butter, sugar, and salt until warm (120 F. to 130 degrees F) and butter is almost melted. Add to flour mixture along with soy yogurt. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed 30 seconds, scraping bowl. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3 to 5 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (1 to 1-1/2 hours)
  • Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Follow these instructions to make the braided ring.
  •  Cover and let rise until nearly double (about 30 to 40 minutes)
  • Brush the ring with the remaining filling. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Cool slightly.
  • In a medium bowl combine powdered sugar & maple syrup. Whisk until smooth, adding additional powdered sugar if needed to reach desired consistency - drizzle onto ring just prior to serving.

Make-Ahead Tip
Up to 24 hours ahead, make and shape rolls. Cover with oiled waxed paper; then with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours. Before baking, let stand for 20 minutes at room temperature. Uncover and puncture any surface bubbles with a greased wooden toothpick.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm not really sure if I should call these cookies or not. The consistency makes them more like cake or muffins. When my family tried them we were brainstorming some new names: cakelets, muffies, and cakies were all tossed around. Whatever you call them, they are delicious! I know what treat I'll be making over and over again this fall.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 2 dozen cookies, adapted from carla's confections

1.5 C all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 C packed brown sugar
1/2 C vegetable oil
1.5 C pumpkin puree
1/4 C applesauce
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together the oil and the brown sugar. Add in the pumpkin, applesauce, and vanilla and combine. In another bowl mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix well. Stir in your chocolate chips.

Using a spoon or cookie scoop, drop the cookie batter onto a greased baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Yum! I used the "mega chucks" instead of regular chocolate chips so that is why the chocolate pieces look so huge. I would also imagine you could make this with coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, but I ran out. These cookies barely lasted a day in our house.

There is a blog relay making the rounds that asks the receiver to write about hope. Heather from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes passed the baton to me. (By the way, she will be here tomorrow with a AMAZING guest post - so be sure to come back to check it out!)

I've been thinking on this for a few days now, and to me having hope is hard to attain without another thing - optimism. To be optimistic about the events in your life, the things the future may bring, and to know that whatever life throws your way you can get through it and gain something from it. Sometimes in the middle of a difficult or stressful time it can be hard to think this way, but if you can look to the future with optimism it will make the hard times easier.

Now it's my turn to pass the hope relay on to some inspiring bloggers if they feel like participating. (No pressure!)

Cooking with Lysa
Fragrant Vanilla Cake
The Fig Tree Blog
The Bear and the Blackberry
The Only Vegan I Know

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Sloppy Joe Lentil Sliders

If you would have asked me a year ago If I would ever get really excited over a recipe with lentils, I probably would have said "no way!" or even more likely "wait, what's a lentil again?"

Well, the times have changed and here I am with some delicious lentils in the form of sloppy joe sliders!

Sloppy Joe Lentil Sliders
makes 12-15 sliders, or 6 normal sized buns
adapted from namely marly

3 cups dried red lentils, cooked
1 T oil
1 carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 C tomato paste
2 T chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1/2 C corn meal
Buns and toppings of your choice

Cook your lentils according to package directions, and set aside.
Saute the oil, carrot, onion, bell pepper, and garlic over medium heat until everything is tender.
Still simmering over medium heat, add the cooked lentils, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices and stir well. Mix in the corn meal and let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
Spoon your sloppy lentil mixture onto slider buns of your choice and top with ketchup, mustard, pickles or whatever you like.

This was an easy and tasty meal that I think even kids would enjoy. Lentils: not just for soup! I'm totally on board now. What is your favorite way to eat lentils?

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Flashback: Keystone

Last weekend, we took a little trip to Keystone, CO. It's a ski town, but in the summer it's uncrowded and offers some beautiful mountain views. We had a great time relaxing and escaping some of the super hot weather in Denver this summer!

I found a great little cafe and coffee shop called Inxpot that had several vegan options on their menu! I went with the vegan chicken salad sandwich which was great. If we had stayed longer, I would have definetly returned to this place!

For dinner we found a pizza place near our hotel that was pretty good. I was able to create my own veggie pizza without any cheese, so I was happy.

I think this will be our last little vacation for the summer. I have some big plans for the rest of the year to look forward to though - Philadelphia and PARIS! I can't wait.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Quinoa Salad Wraps with Peach Salsa

Sometimes life gets busy and all I really have time for is a bunch of yummy things thrown into a tortilla wrap. I made a big batch of this quinoa salad and have been eating it all week. It is really easy and is colorful, too!

 Quinoa Salad Wraps with Peach Salsa

Quinoa Salad Wraps
enough for about 6 small wraps, adapted from cafe johnsonia

1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small avocado, diced
juice of 1 lime
2 handfuls of baby spinach, shredded
tortillas or wraps of your choice
Peach Salsa
adapted from keepin' it kind

1 peach, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
juice of 1/2 lime
salt to taste

Cook your quinoa according to package directions. Cook the beans over medium heat until heated through.
Mix all salad ingredients together. Place in a tortilla, top with the peach salad, wrap up and enjoy!

I love when something I make will last me through the week. I always take leftovers for lunch to work, but my husband almost never does. I wonder how much of that is just habit? What are your favorite things to pack for school/work/to-go lunches?

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Squash, Pepper and Black Bean Nachos

Here's a quick and easy snack or dinner. I have a weakness for tortilla chips, so I love any excuse to eat them as a meal! These blue corn tortilla chips are my new favorite.

Squash, Pepper and Black Bean Nachos
serves 2 as a meal
 2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 summer squash, sliced
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tomato, diced (I used a yellow tomato!)

Serve with:
tortilla chips
sliced avocado
vegan sour cream

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the garlic until slightly browned. Add in the bell pepper and squash and cook until tender. Add in the black beans and heat through.
Put tortilla chips on a plate and top with the bean mixture, then add on the diced tomato, avocado, salsa, vegan sour cream or your own favorite toppings. Enjoy!

This would also be great on top of some lettuce for a taco salad, or what about over some rice or quinoa? I may have to make this again soon!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Friday Flashback

1. Great recipe for Asparagus Linguine with Almond Crisp (I added yellow tomatoes!)
2. Falafel from one of my favorite quick-food places, Garbanzos.
3. No cheese vegetable harvest pizza from Mod Market
4. Kitty toes!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Banana Avocado Dip

I found these plantain chips at my local grocery store, and I had to try them out! They are really good and I bet would be even better if you made them yourself. But sometimes I'm lazy. I did make a dip for them though!

Banana Avocado Dip
makes about 1/2 cup, adapted from martha stewart

1 ripe banana
1 small ripe avocado
2 tsp lemon juice
dash of salt and pepper
dash of garlic powder 


Peel and pit the avocado, then mash it up in a bowl. Add in the banana and mash them all together. Add in lemon juice and the spices, and combine. Serve with plantain chips, tortilla chips, fruit and veggie slices, or anything else you'd like!

This was really good! I think this dip would also be good with different spices in it. What about a little cinnamon and sugar instead of the garlic? Hmm... guess I'll need to try it out!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vegetable Paella

This is a great summer dish chock full of vegetables! My mom actually found this recipe and made it when we came over for dinner this past weekend.

Vegetable Paella
serves 6, adapted from vegweb

1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 tomatoes, sliced into wedges
2 bell peppers, cut into strips (We used one red and one yellow)
1/2 cup thawed, frozen peas
1/2 cup cooked green beans
1/2 cup of cut broccoli
1 large portabello mushroom, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup uncooked long grain rice
1 cup of vegetable stock
pinch of saffron
chopped parsley
lemon juice

Fry the onion and garlic in a big, deep skillet with the olive oil. When it starts to wilt and turn yellow, add the cut vegetables and cook for about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the rice and saffron.
Mix well and add the broth. Cook on low to medium heat stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes or until rice is cooked according to preferred consistency. Do not overcook, but add a bit of water if it gets too dry. Before serving add some chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Everyone really liked this dish! If you have meat eaters in your family like I'm sure most of us do, this is a good dish to make for a crowd because other people can add something else on top of it but everyone can still eat the same meal (and you don't have to feel like the loner grilling your veggie burger.)  :)

 What is your favorite dish to feed a crowd?

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Friday Flashback

1. Delicious Avocado Strawberry Quinoa salad
2. Minnie!
3. Is it sad to admit I like frozen pizza on my recipe blog? Well, I like this one. For emergency no time to cook nights, of course. :)

4. My new favorite snack - smashed avocado on toast with cracked pepper.
5. My produce delivery this week featured some pretty heirloom tomatoes.

Have a great weekend!
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