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Category Archives: Desserts

Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie and Cranberry-Raspberry Compote

So, it has been a really long time since I have posted.  During my pregnancy, I just overwhelmingly didn’t feel like posting anything.  Now, of course, with a 4 month old, I have very little time to write anything.  In the beginning, I was sleeping while she slept, like everyone suggests, but these days I try to get stuff done or get ready for work while she’s sleeping.  While she’s awake, though, I want nothing more than to stare at her little beautiful face and blow raspberries on her little baby belly.  She’s such a doll and I’m so happy to have her in my life.  She’s got such a personality and is generally a very, very happy and very perceptive baby.  We are really very lucky.

Charlotte | A Vegan in Progress

I happen to have this week off (my office is closed), so I thought I would try to get my momentum back.

I made this Oh She Glows Chilled Dark Chocolate Pie for this past Thanksgiving and it was so popular with my family that it was requested I make it again for Christmas.  Luckily for me, it’s pretty simple, especially with a tweak for the lazy.  I simply got store-bought pie crust from the frozen section (they came two to a package – more pie!) rather than making my own.  This pie is very likely the best vegan dessert I have ever had, let alone made myself!  Don’t let the coconut cream scare you away if you aren’t a huge coconut fan.  It’s not the overwhelming flavor of the dessert – that would be yummy, yummy chocolate.

Dark Chocolate Pie | A Vegan in Progress

Rather than make the strawberry vanilla compote from the Oh She Glows website that I’m sure is delicious, I felt that a cranberry-raspberry compote would be more fitting for the season.  I did a quick google search, then chose a recipe that looked the easiest (that’s usually how I work) and ended up with this one originally from Bon Appetit.  I would make this 100 times over – it was that good.

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Vegan Thanksgiving

For many years, my youngest sister, Allison was the only vegan in the family.  However, for the last two years, we have been lucky enough to celebrate cruelty-free as a family.  I thought I would share our recipes for a tasty, cruelty-free Thanksgiving.

Vegan Thanksgiving | A Vegan in Progress

 

Moist Stuffing with Quinoa

Thanksgiving Stuffing | A Vegan in Progress

This is a very simple stuffing recipe, with a little interesting addition of quinoa.  I love stuffing this way, with a little vegan gravy.  Some people may be interested in making a from-scratch stuffing (it’s certainly healthier that way), but as you may know, I’m more of a semi-homemade cook.  My mom also made a drier, from scratch stuffing for those in our family who prefer it that way.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box of Mrs. Cubbison’s Classic Dressing (I found this brand at Ralphs, but any vegan box stuffing will work)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup (1 and a half sticks) of Earth Balance butter (the recipe calls for 1 cup, or 2 full sticks, but that felt like too much and this tasted perfectly fine)
  • 1 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegan chicken flavored boullion
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth for the quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon vegan chicken flavored boullion for the quinoa

Directions:

We are going to make the quinoa first.  I think the instructions found here make the best quinoa, I have just made a couple of changes below, based on what I did.

  1. Cover the one cup of uncooked quinoa with cold water, enough to wash it thoroughly.
  2. Then drain through a fine mesh strainer.  Allow to dry for 20 minutes to remove all the water (I just propped the strainer up over the sink to drain).  Don’t skip this step because it will come out mushy.
  3. Toast clean, dry quinoa in a dry pan until you can smell the nutty flavor that has now been brought out in your quinoa, about 5 minutes.  This also removes any additional water that may have been left behind by the rinse.  This is a good time to start the stuffing if you want to be time-efficient (instructions below).
  4. Remove quinoa from the pan, set aside.  Add 1 1/2 cups of vegetable broth and 1 tablespoon of vegan chicken flavored boullion to the pan.  Stir until the boullion dissolves.  Bring broth to a rapid boil.
  5. Add toasted quinoa to the broth and cover, leaving the lid at a slight angle to vent steam.  Reduce your heat to medium-low and maintain a strong simmer.
  6. Cook for 16 minutes or until all the broth is done.  Remove from heat and remove the lid.
  7. Allow to cook and rest for ten minutes and then fluff with a fork.

Next up, stuffing.

  1. In a large pot, melt vegan Earth Balance butter on medium heat.  Add chopped onion and celery and saute until translucent.
  2. Gradually stir 2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 tablespoons of vegan chicken flavored boullion into the pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Cover and reduce heat to simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Turn off heat, add both bags of stuffing mix and blend lightly.  Cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
  5. Blend in the quinoa and fluff the stuffing with a fork.

 

Vegan Gravy

Vegan Gravy | A Vegan in Progress

I have never made gravy myself and didn’t want to attempt it this year.  I got a 24 ounce tub of Shallot & Thyme vegan gravy at Whole Foods for $5.99 and felt it was worth it to not have to make it myself.  It tasted great, but if you are interested in making your own, this recipe from Our Veggie Kitchen looks good and relatively easy.

 

Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto

Butternut Squash Risotto | A Vegan in Progress

This recipe can be found in The Vegan Slow Cooker by Kathy Hester.  It is made in a slow cooker, making it great for multi-tasking in the kitchen, but I also found it helpful to have something that could be warmed up and served in a slow cooker rather than on the crowded range or in the oven once we got to my parents’ house.

My only complaint was that the risotto came out a bit bland.  I think some more (and fresh!) seasoning would have helped.

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1 can (15 ounces) cooked butternut squash or 1 1/2 cups pureed cooked fresh
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

Add the water, rice, squash, nutritional yeast, thyme, sage, and rosemary to the slow cooker.  Cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours (I cooked for 2 hours, checked it, then added half an hour), until the rice is cooked through but still al dente.  Stir every 20 to 30 minutes, adding extra water if needed.  Season with salt and pepper and taste and adjust the herbs.  This makes 6 servings, so I doubled it to make plenty for Thanksgiving.

 

String Beans with Vegan Garlic Butter Sauce

Ingredients:

  • About 1 1/2 pounds of fresh green beans, cleaned, with the stems cut off
  • About a handful of wax beans (yellow string beans), cleaned, with the stems cut off
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted vegan butter, I used Earth Balance
  • 2 tablespoons of minced garlic
  • A dash of salt

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, heat minced garlic and butter until butter is melted.  Let it sit while you cook the beans, making the flavors meld completely.
  2. Fill a large, separate pot about halfway, add a dash of salt, and bring to a boil.
  3. Put cleaned beans into the boiling water and cover, cooking for 5 to 7 minutes.
  4. Drain beans, toss them in the butter sauce, and add a little more salt to taste.

 

Vegan Crescent Rolls

Pillsbury Crescent Rolls | A Vegan in Progress

This is pretty self-explanatory, but Pillsbury Crescent rolls are vegan, so I just made a batch of those.

 

Mini Alfredo Pot Pies

Mini Alfredo Pot Pies | A Vegan in Progress

My mom made mini pot pies using Beyond Meat chicken-free strips, Victoria Vegan alfredo sauce, puff pastry, and fresh veggies typically found in pot pies.  They were really cute and tasted great.  However, I always feel like Beyond Meat strips are huge, so they probably would have been better had she cut those smaller or removed them altogether, because the pot pies would have tasted great, even without meat replacement!

 

Purple Mashed Potatoes

Purple Mashed Potatoes | A Vegan in Progress

Rather than the same old, predictable mashed potatoes, just veganized, my sister Samantha made purple mashed potatoes!  It certainly helps the overwhelmingly brownish/beige plate trend that you usually see at Thanksgiving.  There’s no specific recipe that she follows, but here are the general directions.

Directions:

Wash and peel purple potatoes.  Boil until fork tender, then process in food processor until creamy.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Mashed Parsnips

Mashed Parsnips | A Vegan in Progress

In an effort to have a dinner full of variety, Samantha also mashed parsnips.  Again, no real recipe here, but general directions are below.

Directions:

Wash and peel parsnips.  Boil until fork tender.  Roast fennel and garlic, then place in food processor with parsnips.  Process until creamy, then add some dill, black pepper, and sea salt.

 

Maple Glazed Brussels Sprouts with Candied Pecans

Brussels sprouts | A Vegan in Progress

Samantha introduced me to brussels sprouts this year!  They were pretty good actually, I thought they had a flavor like broccoli.  I’m already thinking that a balsamic vinaigrette brussels sprout dish would be great.

Directions:

Wash sprouts and remove any loose or wilted leaves.  Cut them in half and toss in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven, then toss in maple syrup and roast in the oven for another 10 minutes.

 

Sweet Potato Soup with Ginger & Vanilla

Sweet Potato Soup With Ginger & Vanilla | A Vegan in Progress

Allison used this recipe from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Post Punk Kitchen.  It was very flavorful and was a nice, little addition to the meal, again, adding variety.

 

Orange Cranberry Sauce

Allison made this special version of cranberry sauce.

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • 1/3 cup agave syrup
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tbsp fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Zest from an orange, to taste

Directions:

  1. Place cranberries in a saucepan with water and cover. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, remove from heat.
  3. Mix in agave and oj and let sit for 5 mins.
  4. Garnish with zest.

 

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie | A Vegan in Progress

Lastly, Allison made a tasty pumpkin pie using this recipe, again from Post Punk Kitchen.

Give these and other cruelty-free recipes a try this Thanksgiving!  The animals and your guests will thank you!

Vegan Recipe – Chocolate Pillsbury Crescents

Sometimes I think I should have called my blog “Semi-Homemade Vegan” because I’m not a from-scratch cook on a day-to-day basis.  I like to challenge myself and try tougher recipes from time to time, but in general I like to make it easy on myself.  My cooking style often reminds me of that of Sandra Lee with the Semi-Homemade cooking show on the Food Network.  However, she can take it to the extreme.  I once saw her take a perfectly good store-bought pumpkin pie and scoop out the pumpkin filling for use in another recipe.  Talk about wasteful and expensive!  Especially when canned pumpkin pie filling can be found at every grocery store in the Fall.

Anyway, this is a very simple and impressive recipe that’s good for morning pastries, snacks, or dessert.  It’s not particularly healthy, but can be thrown together in minutes.

CrescentsIngredients are simple, one roll of Pillsbury Crescents – they are accidentally vegan! – and one bag of vegan chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.

Simply unroll the dough, top the short side of each dough triangle with a handful of chocolate chips, then roll the short side over the chocolate chips toward the point.  Follow the regular Pillsbury Crescents instructions.

When done, eat the crap out of these warm, gooey treats!

Crescent Rolls | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Chocolate Ice Cream

My mom has been experimenting with different vegan ice cream and cheese recipes lately and, man, are we lucky to be her taste testers.  On Labor Day, she served up some Chocolate Vegan Ice Cream, adapted from the cookbook, The Vegan Scoop: 150 Recipes for Dairy-Free Ice Cream that Tastes Better Than the “Real” Thing by Wheeler Del Toro.  It was the best vegan ice cream I have ever had.  I definitely recommend giving it a try.Mom's Chocolate Ice Cream | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup chocolate soy milk, like Silk chocolate soy milk
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 cups soy creamer
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cocoa powder (the original recipe calls for 1/4 cup, but we found that it gave the ice cream a slightly gritty texture and figured that it was too much)
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup soymilk with arrowroot and set aside.
  2. Mix soy creamer, remaining 3/4 cup soymilk, sugar, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips in a saucepan.  Stirring frequently over low heat, melt chocolate chips, then bring to a boil.  Once mixture begins to boil, remove from heat and immediately add arrowroot cream.  This will cause the liquid to thicken noticeably.
  3. Add vanilla extract.
  4. Refrigerate mixture until chilled, approximately 2 to 3 hours.  Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

YIELD:  1 quart

Vegan Recipe – Vegan Chocolate Shake

This is not a real recipe post.  I’m just sharing a delicious treat that I made recently.  It has been super hot in Southern California recently… it’s one of the things that I hate about living here.  Our summers are seemingly endless days of 90-112 degree weather.  So anyway, I bought some Almond Dream chocolate ice cream and by the time I got home, a chocolate shake sounded even better.  I got out the blender and plopped the whole tub of ice cream in at once.  I added about a cup of Almond Breeze original almond milk and blended it, taking care not to over mix it.

It was enough for two good-sized shakes or one giant one (which was my choice on this hot day).  I sprinkled some chopped nuts on top and added a cute reusable straw.

Vegan Chocolate Shake | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan Recipe – Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am a big fan of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s cookbooks… her Fronch toast recipe is the best French toast I’ve ever had.  So when I felt like trying my hand at a vegan chocolate chip recipe, I went directly to her website for a recipe.

These cookies are actually quite simple to make and come out very soft and puffy rather than other cookie recipes that come out crispy and flat.  They were very tasty as well – try them out!

Chocolate Chip Cookies | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your favorite non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca flour (you can use cornstarch or arrowroot instead – I used cornstarch)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cups chocolate chips (I used chocolate chunks)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).  Lightly grease two large light metal baking sheets.
  2. Mix together sugars, oil, milk, and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl.  Use a strong fork and mix really well, for about 2 minutes, until it resembles smooth caramel (or beat it in your mixer as I did).  There is a chemical reaction when sugar and oil collide, so it’s important that you don’t get lazy about that step. Mix in the vanilla.
  3. Add 1 cup of the flour, the baking soda and salt. Mix until well incorporated. Mix in the rest of the flour. Fold in the chocolate chips. The dough will be a little stuff so use your hands to really work them in.
  4. For 3 inch cookies, roll the dough into about ping pong ball size balls. Flatten them out in your hands to about 2 1/2 inches. They will spread just a bit. Place on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes – no more than 9 – until they are just a little browned around the edges. I usually get 16 out of these so I do two rounds of eight cookies. Let cool on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack.
  5. For 2 dozen two inch cookies roll dough into walnut sized balls and flatten to about 1 1/2 inches and bake for only six minutes.

Vegan Recipe – Easy Vegan Brownies

Posted on

I promised a brownie recipe and I am here to deliver!  This recipe (originally found here) is relatively simple and is made mostly with regularly stocked pantry ingredients.  I added a melted chocolate topping to the brownies because that is how my mom has made them since I was a child and her brownies are loved by everyone who is lucky enough to try them.  They were yummy and gooey and certainly curbed my chocolate cravings.  My only complaint is that they were pretty crumbly and definitely needed something to get them to stick together.  I have added an egg replacer to the recipe below.  You could easily use different types of sugar and flour to make this sinful recipe a bit healthier.

Easy Vegan Brownies | A Vegan in Progress

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ener-G egg replacer + 2 tbsp warm water
  • Handful of vegan dark chocolate chips or a few pieces of vegan dark chocolate bar (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a small bowl, mix together egg replacer and warm water. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour in water, vegetable oil, vanilla, and egg replacer; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9×13 inch baking pan.
  3. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until the top is no longer shiny.
  4. (Optional) Sprinkle chocolate chips /place chocolate bar pieces evenly on top of warm brownies.  Let them melt on the hot brownies, then smooth with a butter knife.
  5. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares.