Cacao Bean Memorial Cookies

I baked these cookies for the memorial ceremony for my beloved friend and chosen-family member, Bean. I wanted to do something with beans to honor my friend, but trialing a recipe with a bean-based batter at a memorial ceremony with 100+ guests seemed like a bad move, so…cacao beans. 3 batches of these yielded 75 cookies, which I set out on the food table at the event when I arrived. Luckily I had taste-tested one the night before, because by the time I got back to the table, they had all been eaten.

1/2 cup softened soy butter or coconut oil
1 cup brown sugar OR 1 cup white sugar + 1 Tbsp maple syrup
1 heaping Tbsp applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt (you can omit this if using salted butter or if you just don’t want to use it)
1 heaping Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup cacao nibs

Preheat oven to 375F. Beat the butter/oil and sugar/syrup together using a mixer or sturdy spoon, until smooth. Add applesauce and vanilla and mix those in. Stir in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together, then add the oats, chips, and nibs. Scoop dough into balls (I think I did large teaspoon scoops and got about 2 dozen cookies per batch) and place on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes (13 was our sweet spot).

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Pumpkin Tofu Scramble

Back in my early days of having this blog, I tried a recipe that a friend invented for a pumpkin tofu scramble. I even posted about it right here, with a link to the original recipe. At the time, I planned to continue playing around with the recipe and eventually post my version. Then a long time went by! I still make this fairly often, I’ve pretty much settled on a favorite way to do it, and recently a friend asked me for a tofu scramble recipe for a new vegan, so I decided it was time to finally get this post up. Here it is! It’s really the unique combination of spices that make this recipe a favorite of mine, but in your kitchen you should try spice combos that make you happy!

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 block (12-14oz) extra firm tofu
10-12 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp sage
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp thyme
1/2 – 1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
tiny pinch of cloves
1 can pumpkin puree
several handfuls of chopped kale or other leafy greens
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar + more as needed
1/4 – 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
soy sauce, hot sauce, etc to taste

Heat the oil over medium heat in a pot or large pan. Saute the garlic for about a minute. Crumble the tofu with your hands (or mash it up in a bowl first if you’re not into that) and stir it in with the garlic. I usually try to cook the tofu till it’s slightly browned, but that can take a long time and/or lead to burnt tofu, so if it doesn’t quite get to the point…it’s okay, you tried. While the tofu is cooking, you can combine all your spices and then add them all at once when ready. Now add the entire can of pumpkin puree, kale, and apple cider vinegar. Stir this all together. Turn the heat down a bit and let it continue cooking till the kale reaches the texture you’ll want in your mouth. Add more apple cider vinegar if it seems to be getting too dry (or add some soy sauce now if you like). Stir in the nutritional yeast. Add soy sauce and/or hot sauce to taste.

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Black Bean Soup with Roasted Butternut Squash

I made a tasty new fall soup tonight!

1 butternut squashed, cubed
pinch of salt + pepper
1-2 Tbsp olive oil plus some to drizzle on the squash
1 medium onion, diced
12-15 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 heaping Tbsp sage powder or equivalent in fresh sage
1 tsp chipotle powder (just leave it out or use sweet smoked paprika if you’re not into heat)
6 cups veg broth
1 can beans
splash of apple cider vinegar
nutritional yeast to taste

Preheat the oven to 425F. Drizzle some olive oil on the cubed squash and add a little salt and pepper. Roast for 20-30min, stirring occasionally.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Saute onions for about 5 minutes, then add garlic and cilantro. Add sage and chipotle. Pour in the veg broth and add the roasted squash cubes. Bring the heat down to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes. Add black beans and simmer for another 10 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar and nutritional yeast. I served it with quinoa, use whatever you like!

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Purple Pasta!

Hi, I’m Danni and I really really like purple.

I saw a video on Facebook that was like, hey, get all these purple vegetables and make purple pasta!

So I got all these purple vegetables
[image: from left to right – purple cabbage, purple cauliflower, purple kale, several beets (roots and greens), jar of kalamata olive tapenade, purple carrots bunched together in a purple rubber band, red onion, eggplant]

and made purple pasta!

I chopped the eggplant, beet roots, 3 of the carrots and 1/2 of the onion, coated them in olive oil (about 2 Tbsp), added salt (a pinch), pepper (about a Tbsp) and Vulcan Fire Salt (1 tsp – use whatever you like to use to make things hot, or don’t if you’re not into that!) about 16 cloves of minced garlic, and roasted them at 400F for 30 minutes, stirring about halfway through the roast time.
[image: chopped veggies on a baking tray]

While they were roasting, I boiled the water and cooked the spaghetti (about 1lb uncooked).

Once the roasted veggies were done, I let them cool for a little while so they wouldn’t explode my blender. I chopped the other veggies while the roasting ones were cooling — the other 1/2 onion, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale — and started sauteing the onion, followed by the cauliflower and cabbage, in some olive oil.

I put the slightly-cooled veggies in the blender with about 1 cup of veg broth and 1/2 cup lemon juice (I started with 1/2 cup broth and 1/4 cup lemon juice, but it really needed more). You might find a food processor is better for this step — I have a REALLY good blender and it took a fair amount of effort to get everything blended (though ultimately it did work!)
[image: blender full of bright purple sauce]

Then I mixed everything together — sauteed veggies, kale, spaghetti, and sauce!
[image: bowl of spaghetti with purple sauce, with specks of green which are the kale leaves]

I thought about adding black beans too, and probably will do that next time.

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Cream of Arugula Soup

I had an abundance of arugula and I wanted do something new with it, so this creamy soup idea was born. I don’t usually put carrots in soup because I dislike the texture of cooked carrots, but I had some I needed to use up and once they’re pureed I’m happy to eat them (I like the taste, it’s just a texture thing!). It came out pretty yummy, though I was surprised the color didn’t end up greener! I served it with quinoa.

3/4 cup cashews, soaked for a couple hours, then rinsed/drained
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp lemon juice + more to taste
2 Tbsp soy butter or olive oil
1 large red onion, chopped
3 large carrots or equivalent in baby carrots
9-12 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb arugula
1 bunch parsley (chop it if that’s easier on your blender)
any other greens you might have lying around
4 cups veg broth
Kidney Beans, Smoked-Ham Style
black pepper and nutritional yeast as desired

Combine the soaked cashews, water, and lemon juice in the blender. Blend till creamy. Set aside. Don’t worry about it if there are still some cashew chunks — it’s going back in the blender once more before you’ll serve it!

Melt the butter / heat the oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and carrots for a few minutes, then add the garlic and keep it going a few more minutes. Add arugula, parsley, any other greens you’ve got, and veg broth. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the greens are tender. Stir in the cashew cream. Remove from the heat and let cool for a bit so your blender doesn’t go KABLOOPF (unless you’re using an immersion blender, in which case, have at it). Blend in batches, then return to the pot. Stir in the kidney beans. Add lemon juice, pepper, and nutritional yeast to your heart’s content!

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Kidney Beans, Smoked-Ham Style

I’ve been experimenting with adding this to soups and all kinds of things that are improved by a “smoked ham” flavor and texture. It’s my new favorite food magic trick!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 can kidney beans, rinsed/drained
1 Tbsp smoked paprika
pinch of black pepper

Heat olive oil in a pan, over medium heat. Saute the beans for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once they’re starting to get a little crispy, add paprika and pepper. Continue sauteing until they’re the texture you want. If I’m adding them to soup, I like to cook them so they’re a little crisper than I want them, since they will lose some texture once added to the soup.

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Review: Tofurky Deli Slices

When I find a food I really like, I tend to stick with it. Years ago, I discovered that I really like Tofurky brand Peppered Deli Slices, and that’s what I always put on my sandwiches. Last week when I went to the store to buy them, there were none on the shelf. Rather than despairing, I decided to take the opportunity to try some new flavors and review them for the blog.

Oven Roasted: This one is the “plain” flavor. It really is quite plain. It is very salty though, and there’s just not much other flavor besides the salt. It’s not bad, perfectly suitable for some low-intensity meaty sandwich slices.

Hickory Smoked: I almost couldn’t tell the difference between this flavor and the Oven Roasted. It’s maybe a little bit smokier, but not dramatically. The ingredients list is identical to the Oven Roasted.

Italian: The texture of the sun-dried tomatoes in the slices was so off-putting for me that I couldn’t really tell whether I otherwise enjoyed the flavor, unfortunately.

Bologna: These actually taste better than they smell, which was a relief once I put one in my mouth. I’d only ever eaten bologna a couple of times before I went vegan, and only vaguely remember what it tasted like, but this seems like a pretty close match to what I remember. I don’t love it and probably wouldn’t buy it again, but I wouldn’t turn down a sandwich with this on it if someone handed it to me.

Roast Beef: This one was probably the best of the bunch. It doesn’t really resemble what I remember of roast beef, but the flavor is still pretty tasty. I also probably wouldn’t buy this again, but I’d pick this over the bologna for sure.

Smoked Ham: This one was nearly inedible. I had to force myself to finish a single slice. I think it might actually taste like ham, which may have been why it was off-putting to me, but I can’t say for sure as I don’t actually remember having ever eaten ham in my life. If you like(d) ham and want to try this, let me know what you think!

In conclusion, the Peppered slices are still by far my favorite, and I hope they’re back in stock soon.

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