italian orzo soup.

orzosoupThis soup is adapted from a recipe I kept seeing on pinterest. Its perfect for the colder weather we have been having and very easily customizable to your liking. I definitely think I’m going to add some chickpeas next time for some added protein.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced celery
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 6-8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, pureed in blender before adding
  • 1 1/2 cups orzo pasta
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 4 cups loosely-packed spinach
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • salt and black pepper

Directions:

  • Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 4 minutes, until soft. Add carrots, celery and garlic and saute for an additional 3 minutes. Add vegetable stock, tomatoes, thyme, oregano, and nutritional yeast and stir to combine. Bring soup to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or so. Add the orzo and cook another 10 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the spinach and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is bright green and wilted. Season with salt and black pepper to taste (if needed). Serve warm with some crusty bread.

dog snood.

snood

Cold weather is coming, which means time to get stella’s wardrobe up to date! I saw these adorable dog snoods on etsy and it took every ounce of resistance NOT to buy her one! Luckily, there was a pattern for sale! So i opted to buy that instead, break out my circular knitting needles (knitting is not my favorite task, especially knitting in the round). It was super easy and I made her one with some yarn I had laying around. She seems to like it too, despite her serious face above (thats her modeling pose!)  I do have some trouble with the binding off process. I think im rusty and not doing something correctly, but overall the knitting part itself is pretty easy and a beginner could totally do this.  Now I gotta figure out how to make her one with the little ear holes! So cute!!

toilet paper bats.

bats
This is a simple halloween project you can make using old toilet paper tubes.
You will need:
Toilet paper tubes
black paint
black construction paper
googly eyes
elmers glue
hot glue
String

1. Fold the ends of your toilet paper tube in.
2. Paint your tubes black. Let dry.
3. Cut out bat shaped wings and glue on the back.
4. Glue on googly eyes.
5. Using hot glue, affix some string to the back of your bats and hang.

tofu and black bean enchiladas.

enchiladas

I struggle with making enchiladas; they always come out dry and just not right. I really love Trader Joes black bean and corn enchiladas. They are saucy, full of vegetables and satisfying. So on a whim, I decided to try to recreate something similar, and I think i succeeded.  I wish I had taken a photo, but my lunch leftovers will have to do.

Half a block of tofu, diced small
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small zuchinni, grated
Few handfuls of baby spinach
One ear of corn, with kernels removed from the cob
1 onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tspn cumin
2 tspn chili pepper
black pepper
daiya vegan cheddar cheese (optional)
Corn tortillas (i also did half with flour b/c thats what the husband likes!)
2 10 oz cans enchilada sauce

Preheat your oven to 375.
Add some oil to your pan, and add the tofu. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, then add onions and garlic and continue to cook until the onions start to wilt.  Add the cumin, chili powder and pepper; mix well. Add in the zuchinni, spinach and corn; cook for a few minutes until the spinach starts to wilt; then add in the black beans and cook until beans are heated through.

Coat the bottom of a 9×13 pan with plenty of enchilada sauce. Fill each tortilla with the filling and some daiya cheese if you are using it, and roll tightly.  Top with more enchilada sauce and bake for 20 minutes.

banana bread granola.

granola
More granola! What can I say? I’m on a granola kick!
This one is adapted from shutterbean’s recipe, found here.

  • 5 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, toss oats, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon and brown sugar together and set aside. In a small bowl mash bananas and stir in maple syrup & olive oil until thoroughly mixed. Pour wet mixture over the oat-nut mixture and stir until oats are well saturated. Spread the oats on a parchment lined baking sheet and cook for 30 minutes, stirring mixture every 10 minutes until oats are nice & golden.  Let granola cool and transfer to an airtight container.

paper no-sew stuffed animal

IMG_3128
Another great creation that milo’s friend and I made last week when she was over. This was totally her idea. You can make a stuffed animal out of paper, who knew?!  With a little assistance from an adult, its super fun for kids and it turned out really great. She made a teddy bear!

you will need:

Paper
Scissors
Markers, crayons, paints or any other embellisments
Stapler
Stuffing

Trace your animal on two sheets of paper and cut.
Draw a face or decorate to your liking one of the shapes.
Staple the edges closed, leaving a small space to fill with stuffing.
Fill with stuffing and staple clothes.

Viola!

taquitos.

taquitos

Taquitos! These are one of my family’s favorite things that I make so I figure its about time I document it.

1 package uptons chorizo seitan or ground seitan
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 T vegan cream cheese
1/2 red bell pepper
spinach (optional – i add this to sneak some greens into it; i dont add a ton, maybe a few handfuls, chopped really good)
Green onions
2 tspn chili powder
Juice of half a lime
1/3 cup salsa (I  highly recommend trader joes salsa authentica for this)
Vegan cheese (we use daiya)

Flour tortillas

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare a 9×13 pan.

Saute your seitan; when it starts to get warm, add all the rest of the ingredients, except for the vegan cheese. mix well and cook for a few more minutes until the vegan cream cheese is all melted.

Warm your tortillas and line each tortilla with some vegan cheese; Place a heaping tablespoon full or so of the filling. Roll tightly and put into the pan. Continue until you run out of filling. you dont want to fill them too full because you want to be able to make sure to roll them nice and tight.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, flip and bake for about 5 minutes more until crispy.

Top with guacomole, vegan sour cream and more of that delicious trader joes salsa!

plush racoon.

IMG_3123
We looked after milo’s friend and his big sister on sunday for a bit – so I wanted to get some crafting in to keep her occupied. I showed her my pinterest boards and asked her to find something that looked fun – she loved the idea of making her own plushie, and decided that this is the one we would make.

We made ours out of felt, printed and cut all the pieces and sewed away. She was  big help with cutting and trimming, while I did all the major sewing. She was so tickled with her pink raccoon and couldn’t believe we made our own stuffed animal! It took us a little less than two hours start to finish. I think hes rather cute, don’t you?!

Pattern and instructions found here.

peanut butter granola.

PBGRANOLA

Oh, this recipe had me at peanut butter. And it only had a few ingredients, all of which I had on hand AND came together quickly. SOLD. This granola tastes like a deconstructed granola bar.  I added chocolate chips, unsalted peanuts and toasted coconut chips. I think banana chips would be so good too!  This makes a terrific (watch out, im addicted) snack. I can’t get enough of it!

3 cups old fashioned oats
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1/4 cup creamy natural salted peanut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup toasted coconut chips
1/3 cup unsalted peanuts

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine oats and sugar.
  3. Warm peanut butter, oil, and maple syrup or agave in a small skillet or saucepan until thoroughly combined and pourable.
  4. Pour over oats and quickly toss/stir to combine.
  5. Spread evenly on a large baking sheet and bake for 18-22 minutes, or until evenly golden brown. Watch closely as it tends to brown quickly near the end. IMPORTANT: Toss once around the 15-minute mark to ensure even baking.
  6. Remove from oven, toss gently to release heat and let cool completely on the pan.
  7. Transfer to mixing bowl or storage container and add chocolate chips, coconut and peanuts (banana chips too maybe?!) and stir or shake.

smores cake.

smores
Although I didn’t do alot of baking and cooking this summer, i DID manage to whip up this smores cake for a dinner with friends one night. I woke up the next morning wishing we hadn’t eaten it all. It was a fun take on the classic smores (which is one of my most favorite deserts ever).

The cake recipe comes from the smores cupcake in vegan cupcakes take over the world.
(Shutterbean recently made a smores cake and posted a recipe here – No doubt hers is delicious!)

I poured the recipe into a 8×8 pan and baked it for 20 minutes.
After it cooled I made a chocolate ganache

1/3 cup almond milk
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

In a small sauce pan, bring the almond milk to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer and add the chocolate and syrup. Mix with a rubber spatula for about 30 seconds. Turn heat off, continue stirring until the chocolate is fully melted and the icing is smooth.

Ice the cake and then top with dandies marshmallows. Put back in the oven for about 3 minutes, but watch closely so your cake doesnt overcook and your marshmallows dont burn!

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