The Great Vegan Adventure

Let the Adventures Begin


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Chickpea Broccoli Casserole

The dreaded polar vortex has descended upon us here in Michigan once again! That means that we are stuck indoors until temperatures rise above -40 degrees. So, I have continued my ongoing quest to find some delicious vegan cuisine that will help me forget the frozen wasteland outside my door. This is a comforting recipe from Vegan With A Vengeance that I cooked up one chilly winter evening as the gusty winds howled outside my window.

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I was actually pretty frazzled while I was making this and I totally forgot to put the carrots and onion in the picture.

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First, mash up three cans of chickpeas with a fork. This was quite a pain! Next time I’m going to use a food processor to help with this part.

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Next, add your veggies and mix.

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Then, add your bread crumbs and mix.

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Add your olive oil and mix one more time. Then, pour it into a 13×9 inch pan and put it into a 350 degree oven for one hour.

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Ta da!

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B and I really enjoyed this dish. It had really simple flavors. It was also warm and soft, making it ideal for babies and the elderly to enjoy! However, my baby wasn’t too impressed. Neither was my pre-schooler. I plan to make this again, but not often because half of my household doesn’t like it.

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Beefy-Cheesy Mac

I made this dish one night when my husband was working late and it was just me and the kids. I wanted to make something that I could throw together really fast and something that was still healthy and kid friendly. This is a recipe from Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food and it said that it was inspired by Hamburger Helper. Before I had children or went vegan, I used to make Hamburger Helper at least twice a week because it was so fast and easy to prepare. But once I went vegan, HH nights were no more. And to be honest, I never really missed them.

Anyway, this was pretty simple to prepare. The most difficult part was chopping an onion, so that was good news because I had to keep track of two wild and hungry kids.

Heat the oil, sauté the onion, add the TVP (oh god, TVP! My kids will never go for this, let alone my picky eater of a husband!) Anywhoo, add the liquids and the noodles and cook until noodles are tender. Then, add in the sour cream and milk. This looked really gross and runny at this point (son of a b**ch! This looks like weird vegan food! I don’t even want to eat this)

I put on my brave face and served it up to my family, knowing I would hear whining (why do I have to eat this? It’s gross! Why can’t we eat normal food like my friends at school? Sara never has to eat TVP!!)

But guess what I heard instead! “Mommy you should try this! It’s really yummy!” Even the baby wanted to eat it, TVP and all. Color me shocked! Then I tried it…they were right! It was yummy! It was creamy and hearty and didn’t taste anything like the “weird vegan food” that so many meat eaters make fun of us for eating. B didn’t get any of this meal because we ate it all before he got home and got a chance to taste it. I plan on making this again and B will be pleasantly surprised because you can’t even tell that there’s TVP in it!

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Banana Split Waffles

Yes, you read that right. Banana Split Waffles for breakfast! I usually reserve pancake and waffle mornings for the weekend when B is home to help entertain the kids while I make breakfast. This is a recipe from Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort FoodI was so excited to make this for breakfast. I waited for days for my bananas to get ripe enough to make a yummy waffle. The riper the banana, the more flavor it adds to your baking.

I loved preparing this recipe because it was extremely simple. Combine all of your ingredients in a food processor and purée until smooth. Allow to rest for 15 minutes while your waffle iron preheats. Then, pour your batter into the waffle iron and bake until done. I topped these with Cool Whip and chocolate chips! Three of the four of my clan loved this. It was so sweet that we didn’t need to add any syrup. The waffles were soft and chewy, but if you prefer crispy waffles, you could probably pop them in the toaster to crisp them up a bit. These are prefect for weekend mornings and I will definitely make this again.

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Creamy Butternut Squash Risotto

This is another recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker. I have always been very intimidated by risotto because it seems to be quite labor intensive, standing in front of the stove, frequently stirring it, adding water, don’t let it get too hot too fast, make sure to get it hot enough at the right time so the rice will cook,etc. It just always seemed to be too much work for me…but, I have always wanted to try it. So, when I saw this recipe in my slow cooker cook book I couldn’t wait to try it! I have a lot of canned pumpkin on hand, so I substituted it in place of butternut squash.

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This was so easy! Add everything to the slow cooker and cook on high for 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours. Make sure to stir every 30 minutes.

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I always line my slow cookers with Renyold’s slow cooker bags and it makes clean up insanely easy. I just love it.

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I was really disappointed by the way this dish turned out. The flavor was ok, very savory, which neither of my kids liked. For whatever reason the rice was really gritty. Is Arborio rice supposed to be like that? I’ve never cooked with it before. I hate throwing away food, but I just couldn’t make myself eat this dish and B outright refused to eat it. It was a good try, but I don’t think I’ll be making this recipe again.


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Easy Veggie Chickpea Biryani

I made this dish from The Vegan Slow Cooker on a Sunday as my mother-in-law was taking A out the door to church. Sunday is A’s “Grandma Day,” so my MIL picks her up in the morning, takes her to church, takes A back to her house, feeds her, then brings her home for dinner. Sounds like I have a lot if free time on Sundays, right? Nope! I still have one adventurous toddler with a thirst for thrills and danger. So, I say to The Vegan Slow Cooker, bring on the slow cooker recipes!

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The entire family loved this, which is extremely rare. The aroma that filled my house while this was cooking transported me to an exotic land of delicious wonder. I loved the flavors of the cumin and ginger with the chickpeas and sweet potatoes. And when you got a bite with some of the rice?! Amazing! This was a very filling and satisfying meal, especially on a cold winter’s day. The next time I’m in need of a flavorful pick me up, this is the recipe I’m going to make.


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Slow Cooker Banana Bread

This is a recipe from The Vegan Slow Cooker. Banana bread in a slow cooker? Heck yes! This sounded super easy and fast….so I thought.

It started out easy enough, grab all your ingredients.

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Then mix your ingredients together.

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Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and put it in the slow cooker.

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Place a wooden spoon in place to allow heat to escape and not allow condensation to form on the lid.

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This was supposed to only take a few hours, but after four hours, the bread still wasn’t cooked all the way through. It was also a complete mess!

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I made this bread in a loaf pan instead of the slow cooker because I wanted to keep my slow cooker clean, but the batter overflowed the loaf pan and made a big mess of both the loaf pan and the slow cooker.

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The flavor of this banana bread was ok, but the texture was way off. It was everything that a non-vegan would expect vegan food to be like. It was gummy and kind of gross to eat. I was really disappointed with this recipe. I really wanted a bread that I could throw in the slow cooker and would come out delicious and perfect. However, I guess I will just have to continue that vegan quest because this was not the bread I was looking for.


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Bacon and Lentil Pot O Stew

This is another recipe from Home Cooked Vegan Comfort Food. I really like this cookbook so far! Anyway, I tend to gravitate towards stews and soups during the winter months, and where I live it’s winter 7-8 months out of the year. B always gets excited at the mention of the word “bacon,” so of course he marked this recipe with a neon green post-it to let me know he wanted me to make this stew.

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This recipe was very easy to make. Chop your veggies, make your lentils, grab your fake bacon bits, mix them together and you have created delicious stew! We all enjoyed this dish very much. B added in more fake bacon, J only ate the veggies, and A and myself enjoyed the stew without any add-ins. This was a very filling meal and it made the house smell really yummy while it was simmering away on the stove.

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Concert Cupcakes

Last week tickets for my favorite band went on sale! The night before the presale, I baked some cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World. This is my go to cupcake recipe. They are classic chocolate cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting. I usually make peanut butter frosting, which is absolutely phenomenal, but I wanted the writing to show up really well.

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The cupcakes are moist and full of chocolate flavor. The buttercream is rich and flavorful. My favorite thing about these cupcakes is that no one can tell they are vegan! Everyone is always astounded when I tell them I didn’t use dairy or eggs to make these treats.

The cupcakes were a huge hit, as always. My husband got a kick out of it, A was thrilled when I made these, Baby J still isn’t a fan of sweets and I got my tickets. Overall, I would say this was one successful cupcake recipe.

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The Captain’s French Toast

My husband B went through all of my new cookbooks and marked all of the recipes that he wanted me to make for us. I thought this one sounded good because it uses crushed up Captain Crunch cereal and it claimed to be “fast and easy.”

The night before I put most of the box of cereal into a food processor and pushed pulse until it resembled flour. It smelled like my childhood!

The next morning I assembled the rest of the ingredients. The batter was thick and gloppy, even after adding extra soy milk to try and thin it out a bit. I ended up having to spread it on with a spoon and my fingers. It was really sticky and made it difficult to go from putting the batter on the bread, to putting the bread in the pan, then back to a new piece of bread.

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This was a real pain in the ass to make! The authors of this book need to stop, drop, and roll because their pants are on fire (for saying this recipe was fast and easy). It was really stressful for me because I had two grumpy and vocal children wanting breakfast fast and a husband who is not a morning person. I hate cooking things that make me this stressed out, so I probably won’t make this recipe again…even though it was pretty tasty. Three out of the four of us enjoyed this recipe from Home Cooked Vegan Comfort Foods. I think it was a little too sweet for Baby J.

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I had forgotten how sweet captain crunch is! However, I think it was a perfect match for a cup of coffee…but then again, isn’t everything?


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Chick’n and Dumplings

I grew up in the kinda south, and my parents were both from the south, but they never made me chicken and dumplings. I had to go to Cracker Barrel to get my fix! Actually, now that I think of it, my mom never really made anything from scratch…most of my meals growing up came from the freezer or a box….or a drive thru. Anyway, I grew up, moved out, got a cookbook, and taught myself how to cook for my family. And this recipe is one that we all love!

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This recipe comes from The Vegan Slow Cooker. The majority of it was pretty easy to make, chop up veggies, put it in the pot and let it be. Then I read the end of the recipe. To make the dumplings, you need to mix together the dough, roll it out and cut it into rectangles. Ugh! How I loathe rolling out dough! It wasn’t so bad and my father-in-law was in the kitchen keeping me company, so that was kind of fun. My furnace had gone out, not so fun, and he was waiting for the repair man with me. My father-in-law didn’t stay for dinner, but I bet that if he had he would have enjoyed my cooking. This dish was very comforting to me because it had all of the tastes and textures of the real chicken and dumplings. I’m sure that I will make this again on another winter night sometime soon.

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