Sept 23: Best Vegan Chocolate Chip recipe

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Tonight the kids were begging me to make cookies. The chocolate chips I bought had been opened and were almost half gone, so it was just a matter of hours before there would not be enough left in the bag to make cookies. Are we the only ones with this problem?

I googled best vegan chocolate chip cookies, and voilà! This recipe only took about 10 minutes to put together, and I had all the ingredients on hand. Best of all, when you make vegan cookies you can eat the batter without worrying about salmonella! I have to say, not sure why the egg is needed. There was nothing to replace it, no extra oil or anything.

Somehow I always end up modifying the recipe, usually because I don’t have something. This time, I used one stick of earth balance shortening that I had on hand instead of the coconut oil it asked for. My coconut oil was hard as a rock from being in the fridge. After I made the batter, it seemed good, but I like a little more texture to my cookies so I added 1/2 cup oatmeal, and about 1/4 cup coconut flakes to add some flavor. I feel like you could make this recipe your own by adding nuts, dried fruit or whatever you like.

Result: Everyone loved them! Started with 3 dozen, and ended up with only a dozen since the warm cookies were so enticing. No one would guess they were vegan for sure.

Check out the recipe here, and I look forward to seeing their other recipes!

Sept 22: Chimichurri Soba noodles

Tonight’s Meal Mentor dinner was judged a success by all. I blended up a chimichurri sauce in the Vitamix using garlic, parsley, cumin, coriander, lemon, paprika, and some veg broth. It was supposed to have 2 cups of fresh cilantro in it, but mine had gone bad, so I just added more parsley and some dried cilantro.

Next, boiled up some noodles- and since I didn’t have soba noodles, I used somen. Those were much thinner, like angel hair. At the end of the boiling you add a bunch of kale and cherry tomatoes. Lastly, add the chickpeas.

Since I had to make so many changes, I want to try this again using soba and cilantro. My sauce ended up being less of a paste than the recipe described.

Everyone liked it, so in the end that is all that matters. Very flavorful with absolutely no oil.


Sept 21: Thai Sloppy Joes (and bulging binders)!

So, I am still cooking vegan dinners daily. This one was another Meal Mentor with onion, garlic, green pepper and lentils sautéed together with coconut milk and red curry paste.

It came together quickly as we were heading to our son’s middle school open house night. It gave me the strength to go to all his classrooms and realize how different school is now, and how he is not organized enough to manage all these websites and planners (and neither am I). Thanks to the new way math is taught, I don’t even understand how to help him. Not to mention that he takes Japanese (immersion since age 4) and… no.

Rant/whining aside. This one was not a winner for me, although not terrible. Hopefully, this veganmofo month has gotten me into the habit of blogging daily, and I will be able to share some recipes that I absolutely love soon!


Sept 20: Bahn Mi Lettuce Cups

I made this recipe from my Happy Herbivore Meal Mentor plan. We are starting week two, and I am really excited about the exotic choices this week.

My first meal I made was the bahn mi lettuce cups which were not difficult but had a lot of steps.


Sauté the portobello mushrooms in a delicious broth, pickle carrots and cucumbers in rice vinegar, cook some brown rice, and whip up easy siracha mayo.


By the time I had done all these steps, and washed the romaine lettuce leaves, it was time to go to the NW Veg potluck. It was very well-attended, and there were so many delicious dishes to try there!

I set up all my bowls and created a couple of sample cups, but you can guess what happened. Some people took the sample cups and many didn’t know how to assemble them.


Probably not the best choice for a large potluck, but I definitely will make them again for a small gathering where I take the time to assemble them myself or can explain it! The only changes I will make are to use the smaller cucumbers (found in Vietnamese grocery stores) sliced even thinner, and look for smaller lettuce leaves as cups.

I’m very proud that this time I took some photos!

You’ll have to sign up for meal mentor to get this particular recipe, but I found a great website with 20 different wrap ideas, and you may find a recipe that appeals to you even more from Nori wraps to Southwest tortilla-style!

Sept 19: Tofu scramble


This is the ubiquitous vegan breakfast. There are so many variations on this recipe. The one I used from Meal Mentor had me sauté a whole onion to start it, with some garlic, peppers, spinach, sweet potato and of course a lot of spices to make the tofu flavorful.

I even tried to take a picture of it. It is easy, quick and cheap. I’ve chosen a recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen as a starting point that gives some flexibility. I think tofu scrambles might be almost impossible to mess up!

Tofu Scramble
Serves 4

Eat it with toast, as a bowl, or in a burrito!

2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon salt (use kalak namak salt if you have it for an eggy taste)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1/2 cup onion chopped
1 cup of whatever fresh veggies you like: torn spinach leaves, thinly sliced red pepper, broccoli in small pieces, chopped mushrooms, etc.
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Fresh black pepper to taste

Optional: avocado, salsa, tortillas

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Sauté the garlic and onion in olive oil. Add the spices and cook a few minutes.  Break the tofu apart into bite sized pieces and sauté for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. The tofu should get browned on at least one side.

Add the fresh veggies of your choice, nutritional yeast and fresh black pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm with salsa and avocado if you like.


Sept 17: Slow Cooker Burrito Soup

Tonight C and I were lucky enough to go visit a newborn baby AND have homemade Indian food. My sister’s in-laws are visiting Portland from Chennai to meet their newest grandchild. After meeting this sweet baby with a full head of thick black hair, we were treated to three kinds of chutney: mango, onion, and coconut with sanbar, dosas, and gulab jamun for dessert. There was also a special root vegetable dish, and we couldn’t figure out what we call it in English.

Meanwhile, I had made slow cooker burrito soup for J and G since they weren’t able to come. It came together quickly and easily (another Meal Mentor dish). This had diced tomatoes, onions, green pepper, beans, brown rice, corn, kale and spices simmering on the stove into a thick stew. I don’t have a slow cooker anymore, but it worked out fine. It was filling and healthy, but C and I definitely got the better dinner tonight!

Although I like the planned dinners for week nights, I felt even more inspired to keep trying to make more exotic meals on the weekends.


Sept 16: Rigatoni

This post is just to keep up, and be consistent for my VeganMofo daily food blogging. Truthfully, I want to get back to blogging about issues and ideas even more than writing about food.

This recipe was good, but nothing extraordinary. However, that is the point with the meal plans- keeping it simple and easy. What I liked about this recipe is that once again it used no oil (almost everything on this plan uses broth to sauté). I also like that it was not particularly vegan- in fact, it was a very nice Italian sauce. You could make this for people who don’t want unusual substitutions. It was a sauce with onion, garlic, tomato paste, sauce, basil, balsamic vinegar and red wine. I added some olives which made it a bit salty.

Back to work on my Pups for Pigs project. Stay tuned!

Sept 15: Chickpea tacos

I have some important issues to write about, but have been busy with family in town. I’m still cooking really good vegan dinners every month, a feat of which I am very proud.

Tonight we tried the chickpea tacos from Happy Herbivore meal plan. I wasn’t sure if the kids would like this one- it has quinoa, roasted chickpeas, onion, tomato and a “Caesar” dressing. I realized I was short a tomato, but just stirred in some salsa and served it up with some guacamole which was key to the kids liking it.

It was good, and we’d make it again. I’m very interested in how these very simple recipes are so filling, healthy and easy. The only challenge I am having is pleasing the picky one. I made enough quinoa that this stretched enough to make leftovers that we can have for lunch the next day too.


Sept 14: Portobello mushrooms with mac n cheez

I stuck with our meal planning and made the mushroom burgers with mac n cheez as a topping. Sounds strange, but was actually quite good. Everyone liked them except my anti-mushroom girl. No surprise there, if you don’t like small mushrooms in anything, a giant mushroom is not acceptable.

So far I am liking how simple these recipes are. Best of all, I have all the ingredients ready to go. Including a photo so hopefully in the future I can take good photos and see how far I have come.


Sept 13: SO. MUCH. frosting!

I mentioned in the last post that the red velvet cake recipe used a lot of vegan butter/shortening, and I had a lot left over. Well, it turned out I had more than enough to generously frost 2 dozen cupcakes.

First, I made a simple chocolate cupcake since I had depleted my red food coloring. This recipe was super easy, quick, and was not overly sweet. I ended up giving all those away by 1pm to my kid’s friends.

There was still a lot of frosting left, but now I was out of cocoa powder. For this batch, I used a vanilla recipe. I actually preferred this cupcake and it tasted really good with the cream cheese frosting. Those cupcakes were destined for dessert at a friend’s house.

I still had leftover frosting which my husband wisely advised to throw away. Step away from the oven and put down the muffin tin. I may be a bit sleep-deprived from the shrieking that teen girls make past midnight.

In addition to the bake fest, I made two recipes from Meal Mentor: a “lobster” roll and sweet potato salad. For lunch, I made the lobster roll using artichoke hearts that were sautéed with seafood-friendly spices, lemon, kelp (I used nori), and then tossed with celery and vegan mayo.

I have to say, I really liked it! Not sure how the kids felt about it, but I will be keeping that unusual and healthy recipe.

For dinner, I roasted sweet potatoes, then mixed them with black beans, fresh corn, avocado, red pepper and lime juice. It was pretty tasty, and easy to make.

So far, enjoying having my dinners planned out and knowing I have the ingredients. The biggest challenge so far is to make sure the kids will eat them! Not a problem with the cupcakes.