The Great Vegan Adventure

Let the Adventures Begin


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Oatmeal, Walnut, and Dried Plum Cookies

On Monday, the crazy weather knocked out our power. We had no heat, 40 mph winds, subzero wind chills, and an indoor temperature that was plummeting fast! My power was out for six hours, but my in-laws regained their power after three hours and let us hang out with them until ours came back on. With that in mind, my daughter and I made these cookies from The Kind Diet as a thank you to my wonderful in-laws!

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Raisins that look like chocolate chips in cookies are the reason I have trust issues. Have you ever heard this before? There’s nothing more disheartening that biting into a cookie, expecting an explosion of sweet chocolate, only to encounter the chewiness that is unmistakably a raisin. For this reason, I substituted the dried fruit with vegan chocolate chips and I also substituted the walnuts with pecans.

My daughter, A, always gets super excited when she sees me getting ingredients out of the cabinets. She is always my helper. I put her in charge of stirring the dry ingredients and I manage the wet ones.

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Mixing it all together is a mommy job, though. This dough is really stiff!

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After I scooped the balls of dough onto the cookie sheet, A pressed them down. I think she enjoyed getting to play with the dough!

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After nine long minutes in the oven, these babies were finally ready to come out and be placed on a cooling rack. It took a lot of willpower, but A and I managed to wait until Daddy came home before we indulged in these yummy treats! They were also a big hit with my in-laws.

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Cheesy, Oozy Guacamole Bean Dip

This recipe,from The Kind Diet, is really easy and fast to prepare. I made this to take to a Halloween party last October, but the ninth month of pregnancy caught up with me and I decided to stay home. It was really delicious! I think that the people at the party wouldn’t have even guessed that it was vegan. Well…I would have been the one bringing it, so they would have had their suspicions, but anyway, you know what I mean. This is a perfect dish to take to a potluck or gathering! I think all the different layers make it beautiful and difficult to resist for meat eaters and vegans alike.

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Pumpkin Bread

I absolutely adore pumpkin! Autumn is my favorite season. I love the gorgeous foliage, the slight chill in the air, and most of all, I love the abundance of pumpkin. This passed fall, despite being in my final months of pregnancy, I went to the farmers market and bought a huge pumpkin to make the pumpkin bread recipe from The Kind Diet.

I have played around with this recipe a little bit, changing which nuts I use mostly. The recipe calls for macadamia nuts, but I think those taste really buttery and that just grosses me out! I have found that I prefer to use walnuts in this bread and that makes it perfect. It makes two loaves, which makes it ideal for freezing one for later. I just recently thawed out the one I froze in October (I think) and it is still pretty tasty.

My whole family loves this bread because of the vegan chocolate chips, who doesn’t love chocolate? I love to make this the most when I can get my hands on fresh pumpkins.I tend to make this recipe in large batches and freeze multiple loaves so I can eat them throughout the winter months. This pairs well with a nice cup of coffee. Just don’t forget to admire the beautiful leaves as you enjoy this seasonal treat.

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Creamy Sweet Kabocha Squash Soup

This is one of my favorite Kind Diet soups to make because it is so easy! All you have to do is cut up the squash, put it in a pot, cover with water, and add a pinch of salt. Once the squash is tender, I purée it up in a blender and serve. It is very sweet and a fantastic side with a sandwich or wrap. I ate this a lot while I was pregnant because it helped me meet my daily intake of liquids….you need a ton of liquids when you’re preggers!

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Crispy Peanut Butter Treats with Chocolate Chips

This dessert is a total winner in my home! Whenever I tell B I plan on making it, he pesters me until I do….often driving me bonkers in the process.

I love this recipe because it only takes four ingredients and I can prepare it in about fifteen minutes. I always make these in a 9’by13′ baking dish because they are really thick…I can’t imagine what the 8′ by 8′ ones are like!

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B told me I should take pics while I’m making these recipes, so I’m going to do my best to follow his advice. First, I heated the brown rice syrup until it liquified. Then, I added the peanut butter and let that melt into the syrup.
Next, I added the syrup concoction to the bowl of brown rice crisp cereal. I use the one with the kola on the box. I have to hide it from A or else she’ll tear into it before I make the treats!

Finally, I added the nondairy chocolate chips. In The Kind Diet, Alicia says that you can use carob chips instead of chocolate chips if you want. Have you ever tried carob chips? I have and let me save you the trouble….they are really gross! Maybe I just got a bad batch, but I thought they tasted like dirty feet smell so I am not a fan. Anyway, you are supposed to wait until the mixture cools before you add the chips, but I always get over zealous at the thought of peanut butter and chocolate and add it in too early. It results in the chips melting and coating the cereal. That’s fine with me because that means there will be chocolate in every bite! Divine. Simply divine. Thank you Kind Diet!

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Millet and Sweet Vegetable Porridge

Have you ever heard of millet? Me either. In The Kind Diet, Alicia states it’s

“Naturally alkalizing, rich in B vitamins, and soothing to the stomach, spleen, and pancreas.”

I tweaked this recipe a little bit because two out of the three solid food eaters in my house hate onions with a passion. Instead of onions, I used four stalks of celery and four carrots.

My husband and I enjoyed this. A ate this dish very reluctantly. B and I had to keep pointing out that it had veggies that she like in it, like carrots and celery. I’ve been told that all toddlers are picky eaters and not to get too frustrated and discouraged. After all, she is eating more vegetables than the average toddler, so I’m thrilled with that.

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Tofu Scramble

This is my family’s new favorite meal! In The Kind Diet, Alicia puts this in the breakfast section. However, my family prefers this for dinner. I use cabbage, carrots, celery, snap peas, and broccoli for the veggies in this recipe. A loves it! She calls it “tufu” and she gobbles it up. I do believe this has become a weekday staple in my household.

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Azuki Beans with Kabocha Squash

This meal has replaced chicken and dumplings as my favorite comfort food. It only has four ingredients, which makes it insanely easy to make, and it is deeply revitalizing.

When I first decided that I wanted to prepare this dish from The Kind Diet, I wasn’t expecting to go on a quest for the holy grail, in this case azuki beans. I could not find these mythical beans anywhere! I searched the local grocery stores, health food stores, and even my beloved Whole Foods without any luck. I was totally discouraged because even if I substituted these beans with something else, such as black beans, I knew it just wouldn’t be the same as Alicia’s dish. I had to find these damn beans!

I vowed to never give up and I continued to search for this key ingredient….and I finally found it! It was hiding at my local farmer’s market. Elated, I grabbed the beans and joyously returned home to prepare this meal.

I loved the way this smelled while I was cooking it. It reminded me of the ocean because of the kombu and I couldn’t stop smiling. I feel like it transported me to a warm, serene beach instead of the snowy Midwest.

I also really loved the soft texture of the dish. The squash gave this recipe a sweet flavor. My husband and I both enjoyed this, but my toddler,A, was less than thrilled. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting her to be a fan because what three year old likes beans? Not mine,anyway.

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Chili Chili Boom Boom

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On my birthday I made up my own recipe for chili… and it turned out delicious!! Here it is.

Ingredients

2 cans red kidney beans
Grapeseed oil
1 package Gimme Lean ground beef
3-4 carrots, thinly diced
3-4 stalks of celery,thinly diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 tablespoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 can diced tomatoes
Chopped scallions, for serving
Shredded vegan cheddar cheese, for serving
Diced avocado, for serving

Directions

Heat about 1-2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pot. Add the carrots, celery, and pepper to the pot and sauté for about 7-10 minutes, until mostly tender. Add the chili powder, salt, pepper, oregano, and cumin and cook for 1 minute.
Next, add the Gimme Lean beef to the pot and break it up into small crumbles. Add the 2 cans of red kidney beans and the can of diced tomatoes and cook until heated through, about 10-15 minutes.
Served garnished with scallions, avocado, and vegan cheddar cheese with a side of vegan cornbread. Yum!


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Seitan Piccata with White Wine and Capers

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This sounds really intimidating, but it’s not that hard! Once again I made a recipe from, surprise, surprise, The Kind Diet.

My husband and I made this one together, so I had a total blast! We laughed the whole time and, I know this sounds hokey, but I feel like you could taste the love and joy in the dish. This was so much easier than the other night when I made the pasta. Mostly because I had help! He helped chop the parsley while I breaded and fried the seitan. He also grabbed any ingredient that I needed while I was busy whisking away on the stove. I think we both felt a feeling of accomplishment when we finished the sauce and poured it over the fried seitan. (She made me be her soux chef – B)

We both agreed that the seitan tasted fantastic! Much better than my earlier attempt with the Pecan-Crusted Seitan. Oh well…I tried. The sauce reminded me a little of mayo, but I loved how it was so creamy.

We also made roasted sweet potatoes to go with our meal. This part was super easy and everyone always fights over who gets more of the sweet potatoes! These are probably my favorite comfort food. When I eat these, I feel like I’m getting a big hug!

I cut 2-3 sweet potatoes into large chunks and toss them in some olive oil. Next, I sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Then, I put it in a 400 degree oven and roast for about 30 minutes. Be careful not to let them burn, you want them to brown on the bottom because that makes them sweet and delicious!