Weekend Goodies

We had a really busy weekend so I threw together things that were easy and quick to put together. On Saturday night we got together with 20ish family members and they had BBQ so I wanted to bring something that was similar, but easy to make. Luckily I had a can of Trader Joe’s organic baked beans in my pantry so it was perfect! I paired that with brown basmati rice and roasted brussel sprouts and carrots.

Baked Bean Bowl

Baked Bean Bowl

Baked Bean Bowls

1 can organic baked beans (TJ’s)

2 cups brown basmati rice, dry

1 tbsp vegetarian Better than Boullion chicken flavor

1 bag brussel sprouts, cleaned and halved

2 cups baby carrots, halved long ways

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper to taste

  1. Put rice, water, and bouillon into your rice cooker and cook. This gives the rice a really savory, delicious flavor.
  2. Preheat oven to 400* and put brussel sprouts and carrots on a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with seasonings and bake 30ish minutes until golden brown and tender.
  3. In a small sauce pan heat up baked beans.
  4. Scoop rice into a bowl, top with  roasted veggies, and warmed beans.

For appetizer I made a huge batch of oil free hummus and it was a hit! I got several comments about how good it was and it only takes a few minutes to make and SO much cheaper than grocery store hummus. You jazz it up with some spices on top and it looks pretty and feeds an army. I made 3 cans of chickpeas, but I’ll make the recipe for 2 because you might not be trying to make it for the year.

Garlic Oil Free Hummus

Garlic Oil Free Hummus

Garlic Oil Free Hummus

2 cans garbanzo beans, reserve liquid from half of 1 can, drain the rest

1/2 can aquafaba (chickpea liquid)

1.5 tbsp tahini

2 heaping tbsp minced garlic

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp salt

juice of one lemon

  1. Combine all ingredients into your food processor and put on high until smooth. It should have a thick consistency.
  2. Sprinkle with cumin, smoked paprika, and Everything but the Bagel Seasoning (TJ’s). (optional) You can top it with any spices you like!
  3. You can store in the fridge up to a week.

Last night I made a crispy kale and roasted veggies thin crust pizza, and we might have eaten the whole thing…but it was healthy so it’s fine right? I bought a pack of two sprouted whole grain pizza crusts at Trader Joe’s and topped them with oil free marinara, roasted mushrooms and onions, cherry tomatoes, kale, and cashew parmesan. The crust got really crisp as well as the kale so it combined some of my favorites, kale chips and pizza!

Crispy Kale and Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

Crispy Kale and Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

Crispy Kale and Veggie Thin Crust Pizza

1 sprouted whole grain pizza crust

1/2- 2/3 cup Organic Marinara Sauce (TJ’s) fat free

10 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

3 handfuls chopped kale

handful of cherry tomatoes, halved

few tbsp of cashew parmesan

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp garlic powder

salt and pepper

  1. Preheat oven to 375* and add mushrooms and onions to a parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with oregano, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Roast for 20-30 minutes. After removing veggies, turn up oven to 450*.
  3. Spread marinara on one pizza crust and top with roasted mushrooms, onion, kale, and tomatoes.
  4. Sprinkle cashew parmesan on top and bake until crispy. Watch kale because it cooks so quickly.

Super Bowl Food

Buffalo Chickpea Taquitos

Buffalo Chickpea Taquitos

Well it wasn’t the yummiest assortment I’ve ever made, but I tried to come up with some oil free Super Bowl foods that would fit within the starch solution guidelines. Chili was something simple that is healthy and can be made without oil, but I just threw a bunch of beans and diced tomatoes in my crockpot with spices and it was okay..not like my Bad Billy’s Bean Chili. Also, I baked potatoes then scooped the insides out for later in the week and sprinkled the skins with salt and pepper then put them under the broiler to make potato skins. They’re alright, I think oil free potato skins aren’t as crispy but they did have the chewy factor. I put the chili into the potato skins like a boat and topped with scallions.

We went over to my parents for appetizers and drinks and watched the first half of the game, so I brought the appetizers. I last minute decided to make buffalo chickpea taquitos so I made them up as I went and used what I had. I mixed a can of chickpeas with shredded zucchini with garlic powder and buffalo sauce. I wrapped them up in corn tortillas and then baked them on 400 for 20 minutes until crunchy. They would be better with some sort of creaminess that would cut the buffalo, so maybe if I find an oil free vegan ranch or cream cheese to throw in they would be better. Testing is important! I also made oil free tortilla chips (my dad thought they were stale, but you just have to know before you’re not going to get the same texture as a fried chip) by cutting corn tortillas into wedges and sprinkling them with spices then baking them on 400 until crisp. I served them with salsa and TJ’s guacamole.

Overall, not super impressed but at least we had something to eat on Super Bowl that still made me feel guilt free because I stayed in the guidelines. I can work on improving these things in the future. If you want to use the recipes and test them out and add what you want to, feel free!

                                                       Buffalo Chickpea Taquitos

12 corn tortillas, Mission super soft

1 can chick peas, mashed

2 small zucchinis, shredded and squeezed liquid out

4 tbsp Frank’s buffalo sauce

1 tsp garlic powder

  1. Preheat oven to 400* and mix the chickpeas, zucchini, garlic, and sauce together. Lay out the tortillas and put a small scoop on each and tightly roll, try not to crack.
  2. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until brown and crunchy then serve immediately.

Easy Bean Chili

1/2 yellow onion, diced

1 tsp minced garlic

2 cans diced tomatoes, no salt added

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 can white northern beans, drained and rinsed

3 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp cumin

1 tsp onion powder

1 cup water

2 bay leaves

1 tbsp Vegetarian Beef Better Than Bouillon

  1. I dumped everything in the crock pot and turned it on high for about 5 hours. I know, I’m brave to use my crockpot on the same night as the This is Us Superbowl episode..
Bean Chili Boats

Bean Chili Boats


New Year’s Football Party Food: Vegan Chili, Cornbread, and Brownies, oh my!

Bad Billy's Bean Chili

Bad Billy’s Bean Chili

For the football games on New Years Day, my parents had friends over for a viewing party and so I wanted to make something that we could eat. What goes better with football than chili? Not much. My dad has been making the same chili recipe for as long as I can remember and it’s been passed down in his family so it’s famous in our house. It has lots of meat in it however, so I decided to use the recipe and just modify it to make it with just beans instead. I threw everything in the pot and let it simmer for a few hours until it was dinner time and now I have the Allen’s secret chili recipe, and now you’ll have it too. There’s a special spice blend that you’ll need to make beforehand and then use it in the chili, but it makes enough to last you about 30 batches. This chili is a little spicy, filling, packed with flavor and fiber, and perfect for the frigid temperatures we’re having right now. It’s written as Tokyo Tom’s Chili recipe, so the modified name is now named after my dad; Bad Billy’s Bean Chili. Nice ring to it, huh?

Bad Billy’s Bean Chili

1 tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 tsp Robert’s spice blend

1 tbsp cumin

6-7 tsp chili powder

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

sprinkle red chili flakes

2 tsp minced garlic

1 15 oz can tomato sauce

2 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 bay leaf

4 cups vegetable broth

3 cans of tri-bean blend, mine had black, kidney, and white beans I think? or you can just add 3 cans of your favorite beans

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium heat and add onions and peppers and cook for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices, and let them bloom until fragrant.
  2. Pour in the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, and beans then add the bay leaf.
  3. Stir and let it simmer up to 3-4 hours until it’s thickened.
  4. Serve topped with diced avocado or vegan cheese shreds, both were good.

Those are the original recipes, and here’s the recipe for the Robert’s Spice Blend:

4 tsp onion powder

1 tbsp paprika

2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp celery salt

1 1/2 tsp garlic salt

1 1/2 tsp ground white pepper

1 tsp ground mustard

1 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 1/2 tsp thyme leaves

Combine all spices and store in an airtight container.

I brought my homemade hummus over for an appetizer and luckily someone brought cowboy caviar so we had enough snacks. Also I made Vegan Cornbread as our side and it was delicious, especially warm and crumbled up in the chili!

Easy Vegan Cornbread

2 boxes of Vegetarian Jiffy Cornbread mix

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

2 flax eggs (2 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 6 tbsp water, sit and let bloom)

2 tbsp Earth Balance vegan butter spread

few sprinkles of vegan cheddar shreds

  1. Mix all ingredients until well combined and pour into a greased baking dish.
  2. Bake according to the box instructions for about 25 minutes or until edges are getting brown.
  3. While it’s warm, I use a little more vegan butter and spread it on top and it melts to give it a more buttery flavor and gives it a little more moisture.

I also attempted to make one of my old dessert staples, Peanut Butter Brownie Bites but they definitely didn’t add up to what I used to make. I need to figure out how to make vegan brownies because using flax eggs instead of real eggs made my batter boil and it’s like it never really rises or cooks through. It seemed really oily while baking, so I drained some oil off and after I let them cool, I moved them to a paper towel to drain any excess oil. I added some baking powder to the next batch to see if it would help, and all it did was create brownie lava explosion all over the muffin tin. Maybe try a mashed banana next time? What I was left with a very crunchy exterior and a gooey interior. I just decided to keep going with it and see who wanted to be my guinea pigs and gave them a warning about their crunchiness. Surprisingly, people at them and my mom said she really liked them. They are chewy almost like a caramel, but super crispy when you bite into them. I’m not saying they’re the best, but if you want to try them here’s the recipe. Brownies are also something else I need to work on this year! But the best part was the batter, it tastes just like brownie batter and it doesn’t have eggs so you can lick the bowl worry free!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownie Bites

Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

1 box Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, or look for one without milk or egg ingredients

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup oil

2 flax eggs

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

1/4 cup mini Enjoy Life chips

  1. Spray a mini muffin tin with oil and preheat oven to 350*
  2. Mix together the brownie mix, water, oil, and flax eggs.
  3. Use a small ice cream scoop to fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Remove from muffin tins and drain any excess oil on a paper towel and use your finger to make a small divot in the middle of each brownie bite.
  5. Heat peanut butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds until it’s melted and use a spoon to fill each divot on the brownies with a small amount of melted peanut butter.
  6. When cooled, top with some vegan mini chips.

If you’ve figured out the secret to easy vegan brownies, please let me know!


New Year’s Eve Epic Fail


As I said in my prior post, I was so excited to make dumplings from scratch for New Year’s Eve again this year because last year they were amazing. Well… this year’s were so bad they ended up in the trash. I can probably count on one hand the times that has had to happen and it made me even more thankful that it was just Josh and I, and I didn’t make them for a crowd. I used the ingredients that I saw for vegan dumplings and then watched a youtube video on how to make dumpling wrappers. I made them the other day and was so proud of how they turned out! IMG_9951.jpgCornstarch was key on keeping them from sticking together and I stored them in Tupperware in the fridge until I was ready for them last night. I rolled them out even thinner, thinking how much I hate doughy dumplings, but apparently you CAN make them too thin because some started ripping with the filling inside. The wrappers turned out well, but I should have watched a video on how to seal them because my dumpling press was too small for the size of the wrappers so I just started closing them however I felt like… and they weren’t very pretty. Thankfully I had prosecco, because frustration was setting in. IMG_9967.jpg

I should have followed the directions for the filling using the recipe instead of thinking I could use some creative changes. I like the filling to be fine and paste-like, so I added the cabbage, shiitakes, scallions, and red onion to my food processor and it took forever for it to combine, and by then the mushroom part in the bottom was way too fine so I kept some cabbage out to chop by hand and combine to the paste mix to give it some texture, but after combining and sitting for a few minutes it started getting watery and smelled strongly of cabbage. YUCK. I should have known then it would be a fail. I pan fried them with sesame oil then added water to steam them then added to a platter with a soy dipping sauce I made. After about two dumplings, I just decided to throw them away instead of suffering through it and thankfully I had some TJ’s gyozas in the freezer so I pan fried those and they were ready in about 5 minutes. Times like these I wonder why I even take hours to try and make something, when the frozen gyozas were way more delicious and took 5 minutes. UGH! IMG_9972.jpg

Luckily, I also made a honey garlic cauliflower and it was pretty tasty. I roasted cauliflower florets and while they roasted I made the soy, honey, garlic sticky sauce on the stove. Once it was thickened with a cornstarch water mixture, you mix it with the warm cauliflower and I topped with scallions. It looked great when I first put it in the serving bowl, but I covered it with foil to wait until the dumplings were done and we could eat both together and that was another mistake. The heat made it steam and cook further, and made the sauce melt into a puddle. Recipe: https://kirbiecravings.com/2015/05/roasted-honey-garlic-cauliflower.html

Honey Garlic Cauliflower

Honey Garlic Cauliflower

Well New Years is a time for learning and resolutions, right? Here’s what I learned:

  1. Don’t roll dumpling wrappers too thin, and learn how to close them.
  2. NEVER, I mean NEVER, put cabbage in a food processor. My kitchen still smells.
  3. Don’t cover cauliflower with foil and eat right away.
  4. Always have TJ’s gyozas on backup.
  5. When in doubt, prosecco.

Hopefully this year I’ll learn to make delicious dumplings! Goals! If anyone has any advice, please let me know. Happy New Year! I hope your night was more successful than mine!IMG_9977.jpg

Classic*ish* Hummus

Classic*ish* Hummus

Classic*ish* Hummus

I feel like hummus has become my new staple snack for any occasion: after school, at parties or get togethers, and sometimes it’s even lunch. It’s simple, naturally vegan, healthy, and you can pretty much use anything as a dipper and it’s delicious. Hummus can get expensive when you buy it at the grocery all of the time and it can get, let’s face it, BORING. I decided to start making my own because it gives me the freedom to experiment with any flavor combinations I’m in the mood for that week, it’s cheaper, and it’s definitely yummier. I made a classic version for snacks this week, and I’ll probably bring some to my parent’s football party tomorrow as well. As long as you have food processor or a blender, you can make some too in about 5 minutes! I serve it in a decorative bowl (because it’s beige) and top it with a drizzle of EVOO, and sprinkle of sea salt and whatever spice you used in your recipe, this time it was smoked paprika.

Classic *ish* Hummus Recipe

1 15 oz can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

2 tbsp EVOO

3 tbsp tahini

3 tbsp water

2 tsp minced garlic

Squeeze of lemon juice

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp smoked paprika

Sea salt to taste

  1. Add everything to your food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Serve with a drizzle of EVOO, sea salt, and spice or your choice. Serve with pita chips, veggies, pretzels, anything!

    Classic *ish* Hummus

    Classic *ish* Hummus