Saturday, November 19, 2011

Vegan Lace Cookie Crisps

These were one of my favorite kinds of cookies...way back when.
But they were loaded with butter, other dairy, refined sugar...maybe even corn syrup and processed salt.

I was searching for a new cookie recipe to try out for a vegan cookie swap we have coming up and I thought... just maybe... I could recreate these.

OMG!! Success! You HAVE to try these. So easy and addicting.
I know it looks like a lot of directions but they are really simple.
I pieced this recipe together from several I found online.

Lace Florentine Cookies
Let me know what you think!

1 ¾ cup sliced almonds
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cups non-refined sugar
2 tablespoon non-dairy milk (we used unsweetened  coconut milk)
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
5 tablespoons non-dairy “butter” (we used Earth Balance)
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

·         Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
·         Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
·         Pulse almonds in a small food processor until finely chopped, but not in a paste
·         In a bowl combine chopped almonds, flour, zest and salt
·         In a small sauce pan put milk, sugar, “butter” and the brown rice syrup. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally. Sugar should dissolve completely. Let the mixture boil for 1 minute.
·         Remove the mixture from heat and add vanilla
·         Pour the sugar mixture over the almond mixture and stir until well combined.
·         Set batter aside for 15-30 minutes to cool and thicken a bit
·         Using a ½ teaspoon, spoon tiny, rounded balls of dough onto the cookie sheet.
·         These spread! I suggest only cooking 6 balls of dough per large cookie sheet.
·         Place the cookie sheet in the center of the oven
·         I recommend cooking one sheet at a time
·         Bake for 4 minutes and (for even cooking) rotate the cookie sheet and bake for another 4 minutes
·         Remove from the oven when they are fully spread and a light golden brown
·         Put the second cookie sheet in the oven while the first sheet of cookies cools for a few minutes.
·         When you are able, transfer them to a wire cookie rack to cool completely.
·         Load up the (now empty) cookie sheet with six more balls of dough
·         I used the same parchment paper for the entire batch of dough
·         About that time the second batch should be done in the oven  and you can switch…
·         Keep alternating  until the batter is gone.
·         Store in an airtight container
1.       Find the cooking time “sweet spot” for your oven…they are too sticky if not golden enough…and too brittle if too well done.
2.       You can drizzle melted chocolate over the cooled cookies if you like, we preferred them plain
3.       Try and eat just one!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Vegan Chocolate Chipper Cookies

I LOVE chocolate chip cookies...I always have, but I don't eat pre-made, processed, conventional ones anymore because of some food allergies and personal ingredient choices. 
After experimenting with many cookie recipes over the last 8-9 years, I feel that this is the best at-home, veganized one so far.
I think that these really tatse like warm, yummy chocolate chip cookies and not like a bad, sad reproduction!
Let me know what you think...
Vegan Chocolate Chipper Cookies
½ cup vegan butter substitute, like Earth Balance
¾ cup organic sugar of choice
2-3 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 (or more) tablespoons of water
2 cups whole grain flour
½ cup finely ground walnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ to ½ cup vegan chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350
In a large bowl, blend the butter substitute, sugar, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of water until well mixed.
Stir in the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt. Keep stirring until it forms together like dough. If it is too dry and crumbly add more water one tablespoon at a time, just until a small piece of the dough will hold together when formed into a little ball.
Form small dough balls and press onto an ungreased cookie sheet. When pressed, cookies should be about ¼” thick.
Bake for about 15 minutes and check. They should hold together but be sure the bottoms are not burning. My batch took a bit longer and I checked them about every 2 minutes.
Let them cool on a wire rack and enjoy!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mexican Madness Vegan Layered Dip

It was super simple to veganize this old favorite with just a few substitutions. This is ideal to bring to a party that has both veggies and non-veggies, as no one will EVER know it is animal friendly!

As with most whole food recipes, this is just a guideline to get you started. It is completely flexible and customizable to specific tastes, diets and available ingredients.

Mexican Madness Vegan Layered Dip

Dip Base:
1 Can of refried beans (I use refried black beans)
1 Can whole beans ( I like whole black beans)
1 tub of vegan sour cream
1 packet of taco seasoning
about 1 cup of your favorite salsa

Topping Options:
1 tomato, chopped
about 1 or 2 cups of vegan shredded cheese
Chopped black and green olives
Avocado or guacamole (drizzle lime juice on chopped avocado to keep it from turning brown)
Chilies or jalapeno peppers

* In a small bowl mix the vegan sour cream with about half the packet of taco seasoning. It is best to start with less and add to it, based on personal taste. Set aside.
* Rinse the whole beans and then in a separate bowl mash them with a fork
* Add the cup of salsa and the refried beans to the mashed beans and mix together
* Spread the bean mixture evenly along the bottom of a shallow casserole dish or pretty bowl
* Pour the sour cream mixture over the bean mixture and carefully spread to cover
* note - if you are adding guacamole, you can refrigerate the dip base a little to firm it up and then spread the guac right over the sour cream layer
* Then just sprinkle your favorite optional toppings on top and you’re done

Cover and refrigerate until it’s time to enjoy!

You can serve this with chips, small tortillas, veggies, etc…

bean mixture
spreading the sour cream mixture over the beans
your dip base...waiting for toppings!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sunbutter Bombs

These are SO good! Like healthy little brownie nuggets…no baking, super easy and all natural ingredients!

This recipe is all approximate! I do it by “feel” but this should give you somewhere to start. If it seems too dry add more liquidy stuff like dates, vanilla or agave…if it is too sticky add more dry stuff like ground nuts.

Play with it a bit until the little bombs hold together with out being oily, crumbly or loose.

Sunbutter Bombs

2 cups of nuts of your choice. I used pecans.
1 to 2 cups of pitted soft dates
3 to 4 teaspoons of vanilla
½ to 1 cup of sunflower seed butter
1 to 2 tablespoons of agave syrup
2 to 4 tablespoons cocoa (optional)

* grind the nuts finely in a small food processor or a high speed blender
* move the ground nuts to a separate bowl

For the next steps, start with the smaller amount of each additional ingredient that is listed above…
* Put the dates into the food processor or high speed blender and blend until chopped very small and sort of chewey
* Add the ground nuts to the chopped dates (if you want you can reserve a small amount of the ground nuts to dip the bombs in after they are rolled)
* Also add the vanilla and agave
* Add the cocoa if desired
* Blend all until it binds together…add dry or wet ingredients as needed
* Roll into small balls and dip in ground nuts if desired.
* Refrigerate until ready to enjoy!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Quickie Quinoa Summer Salad

I just whipped up this super simple recipe for lunch. It was so light and cool on a hot, summer day. I combined what sounded good to me at the time, so be flexible and listen to what your body needs. Add or delete anything that seems right to you. I really loved the creaminess of the avocado with the snap of the quinoa.

Also, because I just threw this together, all measurements are approximate. It’s always a good idea to start with less and add to, it if needed

Quickie Quinoa Summer Salad

3/4 cup of cooked quinoa, at room temperature
1 teaspoon veganaise
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
A drizzle of good quality olive oil
½ of an avocado, chopped into small chunks
½ of a tomato, chopped into chunks
A BIG handful of fresh basil, washed and chopped
*Optional – a few black olives, chopped
Sea salt and pepper to taste if desired ( I didn’t use any and it was still really tasty)

Gently toss all ingredients together in a pretty bowl and enjoy!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sensational Smores - Gluten Free and Vegan

All I can say is yum!

While I can't really call these "healthy"...
they are certainly a much healthier version of traditional smores.
I promise you will never miss what's not in here.
These products can be found in most health/whole foods stores.
I melted the vegan chocolate chips on the crackers and then added a dollop of the Ricemellow.
Topped it with another cracker and instant Sssssmores!
Let me know what you think.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cold Rescue - Green Smoothie Recipe

This is a combination of a couple of recipes I found online and just using what I had at home.
I was all sniffly, sneezie and congested and I wanted a green smoothie to help my body fight off whatever was attacking.
This did the trick.

It was soothing and I knew that all of the goodness in these ingredients would be hard at work fighting evil!

Cold Rescue Green Smoothie

1 Ripe banana
2-3 handfuls of frozen green grapes
2 large kale leaves, with the stems
2 handfuls of butter lettuce (or any other leafy green you like)
Finely grated fresh ginger to taste (ginger is strong so start with a little and build up)
Just enough water to make your blender work

Blend it all until smooth and pour it in a pretty, colorful cup to lift your spirits!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chi Chi Chickenless Salad

I LOVE this recipe! It is super simple and surprisingly hearty. I saw the idea for this in a book put out by PETA. The book was geared towards college aged vegans with little time and few resources.
I tweaked it a bit to suit my tastes and added a special ingredient that I use to add to real chicken salad…way back when I ate that.

This recipe is VERY loose…no real measurements. I make it to ‘feel”.

Chi Chi Chickenless Salad

1 can of Garbanzo Beans (AKA: Chi Chi beans, Chick Peas, etc…) rinsed and drained
1 or 2 small handfuls of celery, finely chopped
1 – 2 small red apples, finely chopped
Lemon Juice
Veganaise to taste/texture preference
Sea salt and pepper to taste

With a fork, slightly mash the Garbanzo beans in a medium sized bowl. Add the Veganaise, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches your desired consistency. Sprinkle some lemon juice and then toss in celery and apples. Add sea salt and pepper to taste.

That’s it! So easy.

I like to just eat it with a fork but you could stuff a pita with it too…


NEW Web Address!

Hello all,

Just a note that I have changed the web address of this site.
The new address will be

Please share it!

Helen's Kitchen - Garden Steaks ...mmmm

HANDS DOWN…our new favorite veggie burgers!

Awesome texture - no more mushy, crumbly mess

Great flavor – delish on its own "as-is" or can be transformed by any other ingredients

Versatile – leave it whole on a bun, cut into strips for a stir fry or chop into cubes for a shish-kabob

Ideal any time of day – it can taste like a breakfast sandwich, afternoon grilled burger or hearty dinner entrĂ©e

You can find these winners in the frozen foods isle.

Click Here to go to the Helen's Kitchen Website


Versatile Vegan Creamy Herb Topping

So, we were having veggie burgers the other night and I felt like having something creamy and herb-like on top of mine. After doing a quick recipe search online, I created this super simple spread. It hit the spot…and worked as a yummy dip for our fries too!
I put the remainder (covered) in the fridge and it became even more flavorful the next day

Versatile Vegan Creamy Herb Topping

½ Cup Softened Vegan Cream Cheese
½ Cup Vegan Sour Cream
1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
½ Teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ - ½ Teaspoon dried Dill
Sea Salt to taste

Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl and then add sea salt to taste.

You could really add any herbs that you like…it is a nice blank canvas.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Zippy Dip and Dressing


Zippy Dip and Dressing

I really, really love artichokes and I was looking for a new option for dipping the perfectly steamed petals into. I sometimes like an Italian type dressing or melted (vegan) "butter" but this time I was craving something creamy.

I was visiting my parents in California and had purchased a yummy new Miso Ginger salad dressing. I decided to mix a bit of that into a small bowl of Vegenaise... Voila! A smooth, creamy, tangy dip that didn't overpower, but actually complemented the buttery flavor of the steamed artichoke. I didn't really measure...just did it to taste.

Since creating this concoction, I have gone on to use it as a topping for veggie burgers, a spread on sandwiches or wraps and as a creamy salad dressing...mmmmmm.

I preferred this exact combination of these brands and specific flavors but you could switch it up...try other favorite brands or ingredients ...let me know what YOU discover!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Super Simple Creamy Vegan Pesto

I was craving something creamy and fresh last night and I whipped up this vegan version of a creamy pesto sauce. It was yummy and super simple! Let me know what you think...

Super Simple Creamy Vegan Pesto

A large bunch of fresh basil, washed
2 cloves of garlic
About 6 tablespoons of walnuts
Sea salt and black pepper to taste
2-3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
8 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of vegan sour cream
2 tablespoons of vegan parmesan “cheese”

Process the first 5 ingredients in a food processor until creamy. Add the last 3 ingredients and continue processing until blended. Serve as a sauce over warm pasta, as a dip for veggies (especially tomatoes!) or as a spread for sandwiches or crackers.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Heavenly Vegan Eggs-Free Benedict

Since finding an awesome Veg-friendly restaurant in Providence, RI called “Julian’s”, where I have had the most amazing Vegan Eggs Benedict, I have been on a hunt to make a great vegan hollandaise sauce at home. I have used a recipe in the past that called for vegan sour cream as a base, but it didn’t taste authentic…more like a creamy cheese sauce. Not bad but not like the beautiful sauce at Julian’s.

After playing around and combining several recipes that I found on the web, THIS IS IT! In fact, I loved it so much, that the first time I made it, I didn’t even wait to photograph it! I had to make it again for my husband so I could take pictures.
It might seem like a lot of work at first, but like most of the recipes I post, once you make them they are pretty simple to recreate.

This sauce would be great over asparagus too!

Let me know what you think.

Heavenly Vegan Eggs-Free Benedict

Step 1: Vegan Hollandaise Sauce

2 tablespoons vegan margarine. I use Earth Balance
3/4 cup + 1/4 cup unflavored nondairy milk, divided, I used Soy Milk
1/8 cup or less lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
teaspoon sea salt and pepper to taste
dash cayenne pepper
dash dry mustard
2 dashes turmeric
1 tablespoon cornstarch

In a small sauce pan, melt 2 tablespoons margarine. Stir in 3/4 cup nondairy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, sea salt, pepper, cayenne, dry mustard, and turmeric. Simmer. Mix the tablespoon of cornstarch with the soy milk you had set aside until all lumps are gone. Add this mixture to the sauce, and bring to boil. Keep stirring consistently as sauce will thicken quickly. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

Step 2: Tofu Poached “egg”
So easy and versatile!

Any firm Tofu (I use Sprouted Tofu)
Nutritional Yeast
Sea Salt and Pepper to Taste
Shoyu (Wheat Free Soy Sauce)

Drain and pat the tofu dry. Cut a small chunk off, the size is personal preference. Mine is usually about ¾” thick by the width of your tofu block.

Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of Nutritional Yeast on a plate or shallow bowl. Add Sea Salt and Pepper to taste and mix. Gently press all sides of the cut tofu blocks into the powdery mix.

Heat your oil of choice in a small frying pan. Carefully place coated tofu blocks in the heated oil and brown on both sides. They tend to splatter. When they are almost don, drizzle a few drops of Shoyu on the tops. Drain on a paper towel, if need be.

Step 3: Some Add-on Ideas

Sauted spinach
Vegan “meat” – Canadian bacon, sausage

Step 4: Assemble

Toast your choice of bread or English muffin
Layer your add-ons, tofu egg and drizzle (or if you are like me, pour) Hollandaise on top

The biggest inspiration for my version of Vegan Hollandaise: submitted by oliviabeans