10.31.2012

Whose kitchen will be welcoming a new crock pot?

It's hard to believe the end of VeganMofo 2012 is here. Somewhere in the middle you just settle into the swing of things and get the hang of blogging all day every day. OK, I'm exaggerating there.

I hope that all of you have had as much fun as I have this time around. It's only my second VeganMofo, but I hope it's something that I get to continue for the long-run. I figure if I can make it through a month of cooking and blogging while I'm giant pregnant (around seven weeks to go!!!) then there's not a whole lot else that will be able to deter me.

Before I get to the point and announce the big winner of the Crock Pot voucher, I wanted to just say thank you times a million if you're new to my blog and plan to hang around (gory pregnancy details and adorable trick-or-treat photos to follow!) while we welcome the new addition to our family! And thank you times a million to all my veteran readers who have hung in with me for this long! Being vegan can make it hard to find others who understand and follow your lifestyle, so the fact that I've connected with the hundreds of you that can at the very least relate, makes it feel far less lonely being cruelty-free.

If you've perused through my site and found there are some areas where I haven't really touched base on some vegan or family issues, feel free to reach out and let me know what you want to see more of. Sometimes I have a tendency to yammer a lot, so be glad most of you are only connecting with me virtually and don't have to hear me blabber on in person :)

AND NOW ...

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone that entered to win this, we saw a huge response to this over Twitter as well. You guys and gals are great at spreading the word! Thanks to the powers of Random.org, the winner of the Crock Pot giveaway is ... Molly Robbin. The first thing she plans on making is the vegan pizza dip (which I recommend everyone try, but if you get addicted and end up making it once a week don't blame it on me!!)

That's all I have for you today folks, I hope my followers in the New England area are safe and sound from Hurricane Sandy's wrath and I hope you all stay tuned! From more giveaways and vegan pregnancy gossip to a few vlogs created by yours truly, we've got a lot of fun headed your way in the next few months!

10.29.2012

Vegan pumpkin pie, minus the crust AND oven

My first vegan Thanksgiving was less than successful.

Instead of trying to come up with our own tradition or awesome dishes, I basically just made a bunch of mock meat and dairy dishes and expected them to taste the same.

Note to vegans out there, it doesn't matter how much you may love Tofurky products, the good-ole fashioned "Tofurky" does not really resemble turkey, at all. 

I'm not bashing the stuff, it's good in its own right, but when it comes to losing your vegan Thanksgiving virginity, trying to eat a fake turkey just isn't the way to go. 

I imagine the stuffing and mashed potatoes were salvaged (probably because my husband made those), but one thing was most certainly destroyed that Thanksgiving.

Pumpkin pie. 

It was so bad in fact, that I haven't made it since that fateful first Thanksgiving nearly six years ago. 

Until this past weekend, when I decided it was time to conquer my fear and make it again. OK, so I'm really not that brave, I just figured if it came out a disastrous mess I could just blame it on the fact that I cooked it in my crock pot. 

To my surprise (and my husband and daughter), it actually came out not only edible, but seriously tasty. And seriously reminiscent of the old school pumpkin pie you make in your oven. 

This is a crustless version, but I just made my recipe for pie crust and cut it into "chips" that could be dipped into the finished product. It made it more hands on and "modern" feeling all in one. 



Crock pot crustless pumpkin pie
(serves 10-12)
Ingredients:
1 BIG can of pureed pumpkin (like the 29oz variety)
1 1/2 cups vanilla almond milk
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp ginger
1 TBS cinnamon

Crust ingredients: 
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1/8 cup sugar
1 stick vegan butter
3/4 cup vegetable shortening
1 cup cold water
Cinnamon & sugar to grind on top!

Directions: 
In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, almond milk, applesauce and vanilla extract. Stir in sugar, baking powder, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cinnamon. Mix in flour. Use a hand mixer to blend until completely smooth. Grease crock pot and pour batter in. Cook on high for three hours and then low for one hour. (Check after a few hours to make sure nothing is burning and all that good stuff).

While the pumpkin pie is cooking, get your crust ready. Mix all purpose flour, pastry flour, salt and sugar. Add in softened butter, shortening and water. Knead until firm, but easy to manipulate. Roll into a ball and refrigerate for 15 minutes. When you're ready to bake (about an hour before pumpkin pie is done), roll out the dough and cut into whatever pretty shapes you want. Brush a little melted butter over the shapes and then sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar over them. Bake for about 15-20 minutes on 350 degrees. 

This recipe is for a 6-7 quart crock pot. Cut it in half and cook around the same time (checking to make sure nothing is overcooking for a four quart crock pot). It honestly turned out really, really tasty. It cooked almost perfectly all the way through (except a tiny, golf-ball sized middle). I imagine you might have better luck halving the recipe and cooking in a smaller crock pot.

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10.26.2012

Celebrating pumpkin awesomeness this Fab Five Friday

I'm not sure if fall is my favorite season because of the cooler temperatures, the ability to wear hoodies and your most comfortable pear of jeans, the pretty leaves or the pumpkin flavored everything.

From homemade pumpkin lattes and pumpkin pie oatmeal to pumpkin spice cinnamon buns and pumpkin macaroni and cheese, there has been no shortage of crazy delicious pumpkin recipes churning out of my kitchen.

Except, apparently, there has.

After perusing through fellow Veganmofoers' blogs, I stumbled across two more pumpkin recipes that never even crossed my pumpkin-obsessed mind.

Over at Fo Reals Mom, she's been busy professing her love to pumpkin goodies and fall weather as well. In addition to professing her love, she also was kind enough to provide a recipe for Pumpkin gnocchi with spicy  pepita pesto. Holy moly I can only say it certainly looks as good as it sounds. This might be one of those savory pumpkin recipes I just have to try for myself. Because seriously, can you ever go wrong with gnocchi?

And after I eat a heap of that pumpkin gnocchi, I figure it's only fair to follow up dinner with a pumpkin dessert as well. I'm not going to lie, I don't think I have yet to actually make a successful vegan rice crispy treat. I should probably divulge that it has less to do with them being vegan and more to do with my inability to follow a recipe. But TahiniToo's Pumpkin Rice Crispy Treats just might be enough to persuade me into trying to make these sticky, but oh-so-delicious squares one more time.

Once I fall into a sugar coma, I'll probably need some ridiculously tasty muffins to wake me up from it. Have I mentioned lately my addiction to muffins. They're like the marriage of something sweet but something that "sounds" like it's good for you. (Definitely note the quote marks). Kirsten's Kitchen's fruit explosion muffins are no exception to this rule. They look absolutely amazing. And with all that fruit jam-packed in (see what I did there?) how can they not be at least a little bit good for you?

After I drooled over all these pumpkin and fruit dishes, I stumbled across Colorado Vegan's Freestyle Edamame Dip. My little girl Pearyn is basically obsessed with all things edamame, so I can hardly wait to try this out as a sandwich spread for her preschool lunches. Not to mention it wouldn't hurt me to eat a few more green veggies/protein anyhow.

And since I included something remotely healthy in this round-up, I figured it would only be right to move onto a dessert again. Not only was I basically in love with the name of this blog, but the pictures of Veg*n Amuse Bouche's Ponche Cupcakes left me with the urge to run out and buy all of the ingredients needed to make these. I'm not sure what Ponche means, but it has something to do with utterly delicious orange and cinnamon together, so it can't be wrong.

With less than a week left of VeganMofo 2012, I can't help but wonder what the rest of you have in store for the remaining days.

Tune in here for more crock pot recipes, I'll be rounding out with dessert ones, not to mention I'll be announcing the winner of my free crock pot giveaway!

10.25.2012

Simple sweet and sour tofu

SO despite being years deep into my vegan lifestyle, I'm still incredibly hesitant when it comes to tofu. It's not even that I don't like it, because let me tell you, there are some Thai places in the area that can do magical things with a block of soybeans.

I, on the other hand, am less of a connoisseur when it comes to whipping those soybeans into something that even closely resembles food. I'm great if we're just blending up some silken tofu and adding it to a dessert, but usually, the fanciest I get when it comes to dinner tofu is again, blending it up and making vegan "egg" salad out of it. 

But sometimes, and by sometimes I mean basically the last nine months, you get a serious craving that you can't ignore. Today, was one of those cravings. 

My mind was made up, we were going to eat sweet and sour tofu and since this is VeganMofo after all and I owe you lovely readers a crock pot recipe, I decided to knock both these things out at once.

If you're the kind of person that digs tofu all on it's own, you can skip the step where I dredge it in some cornstarch and lightly brown it in a skillet with some butter. I'm just the kind of vegan that can't seem to get down with naked tofu.


Simple Sweet and Sour Tofu
(serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
1 block of extra firm tofu
1 head of broccoli
3 bell peppers (I went with red, yellow and green)
1 large onion
3 carrots (I cut them into inch-long strips)
1 can of pineapple chunks (this can be small or large depending on your love of pineapple)
Brown rice (or whatever kind of grain/vessel you'd like to put your sweet and sour tofu on)
Cornstarch (you're going to roll your tofu squares around in this)
2 TBS butter
1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

Sweet and Sour sauce ingredients:
1 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
3 TBS ketchup
1/4 cup pineapple juice (you can use the juice from the canned pineapple if you want to get wild and crazy)
4 TBS cornstarch 
2 TBS soy sauce

Directions:
We'll start with the sauce so we can give it some time to thicken. In a small saucepan on medium heat, stir the rice vinegar, ketchup, pineapple juice and soy sauce. Add in the brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring the sauce to a low boil and quickly whisk in the cornstarch. Once fully mixed. remove from heat and let it sit. 

Next, dice up your broccoli, carrots, onion and bell peppers. Turn your crock pot on low and allow the veggies, pineapple chunks and soy sauce to warm. Now it's time to pay attention to your tofu. Squeeze out the extra water (I use a kitchen towel) and then cut the tofu into smaller squares (your personal preference here). Pour the cornstarch into a small bowl and roll the tofu squares around, allowing a light dusting to cover each side. Set the tofu aside.

In a skillet, melt your butter on medium heat. Toss the cornstarched tofu squares in and let them lightly brown, turning with your spatula only enough to brown each side. Once lightly browned and slightly crisp, toss this into the crock pot. Pour the sweet and sour sauce all over and stir. Cook on high for three hours, stirring occasionally. Next, cook on low for five hours. 

You can adjust the cook time as you see fit, this allowed for most of our bell peppers, onion and broccoli to soften, but still left the carrots on the crisper side, which was a nice texture with all the other smooshy stuff.

Serve over your favorite rice, grain or whatever you'd prefer!

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10.24.2012

Crock pot full of chick peas AND a marinade recipe

There's not really a super fancy intro to this recipe. Probably because this recipe isn't exactly fancy. It's more a hodgepodge of food we had that needed to be eaten.

Sometimes, you just need a recipe that you can throw together with the ingredients in your pantry, on your counter or in your freezer.

This seems to happen a lot when you're as giant pregnant as I feel these days. We're 32 weeks and less than two months away from our due date, it's an incredibly frightening thing to think that in just eight weeks time we could be a family of four.

The following recipe was one that I threw together because I'm ridiculously obsessed with chick peas, pitas and anything you can throw into the crock pot and forget about. It's nothing super fancy, but it was Chubby Vegan Husband and Pearyn approved, not to mention I made a super tasty marinade to soak and cook it in.

At the very least you're going to get a fabulous marinade recipe out of this.



Crock pot chock full of chick peas
(serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
2 cans of chick peas
1 16 oz bag of frozen carrots (you can use fresh, but I usually try to have frozen around for emergencies)
10 oz of sliced mushrooms
1 large red onion diced up
1 cup prepared instant mashed potatoes (or 1 cup of mashed potatoes you made, again, I was lazy)
(These are the veggies I had off hand, you could easily add some broccoli, squash, zucchini or asparagus)

Lemon herb marinade:
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp basil
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp horseradish (for some zing)
1 tsp onion powder

Directions:
Take the chick peas, frozen carrots, sliced mushrooms, diced up onion and instant mashed potatoes and toss them into your crock pot. Mix together the marinade and pour half over the veggie mixture. Cook on high for three hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the rest of the marinade and cook on low for another hour to an hour and a half (depending on how you like your mushrooms done).

Serve with rice, quinoa, on bread or in a pita. If you've got a particularly odd craving (like a 32-week pregnancy one), I recommend serving it with some homemade vegan tartar sauce!

Not a fan of cooking with your crock pot yet or don't have one to experiment with? Make sure you enter to win my free crock pot giveaway! The winner will be announced in a week!

10.23.2012

Homemade vegan ham, just in time for the holidays

A little more than a year ago my husband and I ventured into the world of making our own seitan. We weren't sure if it was hard or not, but we tried a few different methods and found (you guessed it) the crock pot to turn out the absolute best results. I use a 7 or 7 quart crock pot to make both of these roasts, so if you're working with some smaller space I'd halve the recipe. I haven't tested cooking times on just one roast yet, so stay-tuned.

After spending several holidays trying out different versions of premade "roasts," we decided last year to try our own hand at making vegan ham. And sure enough, after a few trials and tribulations, we found the best method and flavor profile to remind you of the brown-sugar and pineapple-crusted ham of your childhood. (Minus the atrocious cruelty and all that).

The majority of this roast will be cooked in your crock pot, however it will spend a little quality time in the oven to allow that sweet glaze the opportunity to create a candied rind.



Candied Vegan Ham
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients: 
3 cups vital wheat gluten
1 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB liquid smoke
2 TB pure maple syrup (don't skimp here, get the good stuff)
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cloves
1 can veggie broth

For the glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 stick vegan  butter
2 TBS Dijon-style mustard
1 TBS molasses

Directions:
Spray/grease your crock pot and turn it on low. In a bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, black pepper, onion powder, paprika and cloves. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup and water. Mix and knead for 2 minutes. The mixture should be slightly damp and sticky. Form two round loaves and place in crock pot (if you try just one big ole' roast it probably won't set right). Pour vegetable stock over and cook it on low for two hours and then cook it on high for three hours.

Once your "ham" has cooked, place the loaves in a greased casserole dish. "Score" the ham (just make not-to-deep slices into the roast) and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, mustard, pineapple juice, melted vegan butter and molasses. Pour this glaze over your roasts and stick in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Let it sit for 15 minutes and then enjoy the heck out of it, hot or cold!

10.22.2012

Pumpkin isn't just for sweets, it's for mac and cheese!

I absolutely adore pumpkin anything.

For the most part, however, my pumpkin admiration was mainly dedicated to sweets. I had never really tried any sort of savory dish with pumpkin, unless you count roasting the seeds and throwing some cajun or garlic spice on them.

So after drooling over recipe after recipe on Pinterest, I finally decided the first savory pumpkin dish I should try would most definitely be a macaroni and cheese bake. Seriously, it's macaroni and cheese, how can it ever go wrong?

Turns out, it doesn't, even when you do it in the crock pot and forego the whole following a recipe thing (I wasn't uber impressed by most of the ones I saw when thinking about translating them into veganism).

And besides, it's October, it's a little early for pumpkin pie, but I bet you've got a few cans of the pureed stuff laying around anyway.


Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
1 16 oz box of your favorite pasta (I went with whole wheat wheels, man, because they're cool)
1 medium sweet onion
1 can pureed pumpkin
1 stick vegan butter
1 container vegan cream cheese (I opted for Trader Joes brand, but you're more than welcome to make your own!)
1 wedge of Daiya cheddar cheese
1 cup Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
Salt or pepper to taste

Directions:
Cook your pasta according to the box. Turn your crock pot on high, dice up your onion and add it and the pasta to the crock pot. Stir in pureed pumpkin, cream cheese (softened) and butter (softened).

 Chop up your wedge of Daiya cheddar (I wouldn't recommend trying to use a grater, it's much too soft for this. Just cut it up as tiny as you can without wasting a ton of time. You WANT to use the wedge for this recipe because it's super creamy and adds the perfect texture.

 Stir all of this together and add a dash of salt and pepper.

Allow this to cook on high for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally, then stir in the panko breadcrumbs (if you just put them on top they won't really cook much). Sprinkle the one cup of cheddar shreds on top and cook on low for another hour.

Serve with some sort of green vegetable, because this mac and cheese is SO rich you're going to want something healthy to go along with it!


10.19.2012

Week three VeganMofo Fab Five Friday

Something incredibly odd happened this week.

While I perused through page after page of drool-worthy photos, I found myself craving more savory dishes than sweet! (Can we just go ahead and chalk that up to a pregnancy craving?)

I'm so blown away by what everyone is coming up with, half of the recipes I came by I had to do a double take because they didn't even LOOK vegan!

So with two months left to carry around this growing child, apparently I'm going to need a lot of savory vegan food, who wants to come over and cook for me?

For starters, I think my husband would love me more if I made Baker Bettie's Vegan Cheddar Ale Soup. I'm not even kidding about this folks. I seriously think he would award me the "Wife of the Year" award if I made this soup just ONCE. Between his love of ales and my love of cheddary soups, I'm pretty sure if I ever find myself in the dog house I can quickly get my exit if I whip up a batch of this stuff.

And if that's not homey, curl up on the couch enough for you, then the vegan corn beef on rye at Inspired Vegan Eats will probably fit the bill. I seriously stared at this photo for at least five minutes trying to figure out how on earth it could be vegan. I thought I was in Heaven when I figured out how to make my own seitan, but I'm pretty sure that we'll be making this recipe at least 1,000 times before St. Patricks Day even rolls around.

And just because I'm not completely devoid of ingesting something sugar-filled, I can't help but mention the Jolly Fox's Vegan Apple Sour Cream Pie. I'm not going to lie, I am pretty confident in my vegan apple pie. It's the first pie I learned to truly make from scratch and I'm damn proud of the lattice crust I can whip up for it. But I have never, ever even thought about adding some sour cream to it for a different flavor profile, and now I can't stop thinking about how much richer it will make it.

Now that we've tackled a fabulous compilation of comfort food, I challenge everyone to take a peek at North Vancouver Vegan's Baked Vegan Schnitzel. Between the (genius) tahini batter to the crushed pretzel "breading" this vegan spin on a traditional German meal had my wishing I was sitting in her kitchen. Not to mention the awesome-looking asparagus with a really simple, but delicious looking cream sauce on top. Talk about a 30 minute taste of Europe!

The last dish that caught my eye this week was the allergy-friendly pesto from Mary Alice Nests (how cute is that name?). I have yet to actually try making my own pesto, although I know many a vegan swear by it, but I'm a sucker for a delicious basil-based sauce on top a bed of rotini. Um, yum. And I have a feeling I'll be following her suggesting and trying this on a pizza as well, because it looks to good not to!

What were some of your favorites this week? I'm having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that VeganMofo2012 is more than halfway over.

Speaking of over, have you entered to win my super awesome free crock pot yet? Do it, do it!

10.18.2012

Vegan pizza dip, perfect for any party

When I first went vegan, I relied heavily on mock meat products and fake cheeses to get me through a meal. I never really drank milk to begin with, so it wasn't as hard of a transition. But I can't lie, I liked me some burgers and macaroni and cheese.

As I further explored the vegan lifestyle, I soon became open to trying new things, from tofu to tempeh and from nutritional yeast to nut cheeses.

By the time I gave birth to Pearyn, we had gotten rid of most of the processed mock meat products in our house. Don't get me wrong, I'm not an anti-mock-meat vegan, but from a nutritional standpoint I was already obsessed with vegan ice cream and cookies, I figured this was one area where I could make a few changes (not to mention save a few bucks, that fake meat is expensive!!)

Soon we found ourselves subbing lentils for ground meat in things like "meatloaf" and now we use chick peas in place of chicken in wraps. I'm still a sucker for Daiya though, I don't think there's any avoiding that.

Every now and then, however, you come across a recipe that in order to veganize, you've got to just use a hodgepodge of mock meat and vegan dairy products, and you've got to be OK with it.

And I promise you, one scoop of this pizza dip and you will absolutely swoon. You won't care that it's loaded with vegan cream cheese or mock pepperoni, all you'll be concerned with is grabbing another bread stick to scoop up all this deliciousness. The best part about this recipe is that you can cater it to whatever your pizza preferences are, from pepperoni to sausage to all veggies!


Crock Pot Pizza Dip
(serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
20 oz pizza sauce (I strongly encourage you to use pizza sauce, not spaghetti sauce)
12 oz vegan cream cheese (don't like the commercial kind? Try this homemade version!)
1 package vegan pepperoni (we used Tofurky because it's seriously magical)
1 medium sweet onion
1 1/2 cup chopped up mushrooms (we used baby bella)
1 TBS garlic
1 1/2 cups Daiya mozzarella cheese

Directions: 
Warm the cream cheese and then mix in the pizza sauce (you can do this right in your crock pot or a medium bowl, whichever.
Chop up vegan pepperoni, onion and mushrooms and stir into cream cheese pizza sauce mixture. Add the minced garlic.
Cook this mixture on low for two hours. stirring every 20 minutes. (You don't want this to stick to the sides and get all burnt on you). Add the vegan mozzarella on top (sprinkle a little Italian seasoning on top if you want to get wild) and cook on low for another 30-45 minutes (or until the cheese is melted to your liking).

Serve with bread sticks, vegan cheesy garlic bread or some vegan naan if you want to get crazy. No matter what you put this stuff on you're going to eat all of it, I promise.

10.17.2012

Slow cook your way to a free Crock Pot! Don't miss this giveaway!

With only two weeks left until VeganMofo 2012 comes to an end,  I decided now would be the absolute perfect time to introduce my last and biggest giveaway (trust me, you're going to want as many chances to enter this as you can!)

In case you're a stranger to my theme this year, it's centered around slow cooking all the time! From your favorite breakfast foods to dips, dinners and desserts, we're going to tackle all those pesky recipes that require your attention and turn them into the kind of think you can just throw into your Crock Pot and forget about for a few hours (as a work-from-home mom with a toddler and one on the way, being able to forget about dinner without burning down the house is a serious vacation for me).

Don't have a slow cooker of your own? No problem!

To help you try out some of these super yummy recipes I've been testing out on my family, I've partnered with the generous makers of THE Crock Pot to give one lucky reader a voucher to pick out a Crock Pot brand slow cooker of their choosing (up to a $50 value) at a local store that sells kitchen appliances!

You read that right. We're talking about a FREE Crock Pot.

Already have a slow cooker of your own? Maybe you've upgraded your family and now you need a bigger one or maybe you just want something fancier, I'm not judging. I'm just telling you that this is the kind of giveaway you don't want to miss out on! Seriously, who can turn down a FREE kitchen appliance?

Wondering what $50 could get you? There are a plethora of options, from programmable Crock Pots to the big ole' six-quart Cook 'N' Carry one we own. (It's red, pictured above and oddly enough, was a Valentines Day gift FOR my husband!)

Ready to win? I thought so!

All YOU have to do is click that awesome little "follow" button at the top right of this blog and become a Chubby Vegan Mom member. You can do this using your Gmail, Yahoo, Aim or Twitter account. Once you become part of the clan, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog letting me which recipe I've veganized that you want to try in your very own FREE crock pot!

Already a follower? (Thanks!) Then leave a comment answering the above question and you'll be automatically entered to win! (Got to love the random number winner generators!)

Want more chances to win? Spread the word! Simply click the little "tweet" button located in the right corner of this post (make sure you're on this individual post and not the Chubby Vegan Mom homepage) and tell everyone you just entered to win a free crock pot and they should too! You can do this once a day to increase your odds of winning! 

Winner will be chosen on Wednesday, October 31 (Happy Halloween!) by random and announced that night (we're going to go out with a bang this VeganMofo!).

Well, what are you waiting for, enter to win already! 

10.16.2012

Slow cooker applesauce, a side dish you don't want to miss

My husband and I grew up quite differently.

He lived in the middle of nowhere, in a town where the closest McDonalds was 45 minutes away (seriously, that's what qualifies as middle of nowhere), on enough land that has family maintained a small farm for their own goods.

He had foods straight out of his ground and apple pie and applesauce straight from a tree.

I, on the other hand, have lived within 10 minutes of at least three McDonalds my whole life.

I couldn't tell you the first time I was on an actual farm and my apple pies usually consisted of the drive-thru McDonalds variety (don't lie, they WERE delicious) and my applesauce from good ole-fashioned Motts.

To be honest, I didn't understand why on Earth someone would want to make their own applesauce. It seemed like an awful lot of work to go through cooking the apples, spicing them right and smashing them all up (I picture the grape stomping scene from "I Love Lucy") all by yourself to just have applesauce at the end of it. Now to bake a homemade apple pie, well I would have grown the apples myself.

And then, my slow cooking VeganMofo theme happened and I decided it was time to simplify the whole applesauce making. Thanks to my Crock Pot and my stick blender I'm ready to admit it.

I'm a homemade applesauce conformist.

This recipe is seriously so easy and so much fun to doctor to your own tastes, I have a feeling you'll wonder what took you so long to leave the applesauce on the shelf.


Slow cooker applesauce
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
8 large apples (if you have to ask yourself if they're large enough, they're probably more medium.), try to ignore the stigma of "eating" vs "cooking" apple here. We're going to throw them in a pot and cook them forever, get wild. I used two honeycrisp, two jonagold, two gala and two fujis.
2 TBS butter (I know, it's weird, it's not normally in "applesauce," but I feel like homemade applesauce should be eaten warm and what better way to enjoy it than with a few pads of butter?)
1/4 cup almond milk (this mixed with the butter allows the apples to not stick and burn anywhere)
2 TBS brown sugar (just to add a bit of sweetness)
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice from one lemon

*Side note: This can be successfully made using just apples and a little lemon juice, just make sure to grease up the crock pot before hand. Being the Chubby Vegan Mom I had to take applesauce and try to make it taste like pie*

Directions:
Peel and chop up all the apples into quarter-size pieces. (The smaller you make them the shorter the cooking time).

Slice a lemon in half and squeeze the juice out (be careful not to drop lemon seeds in there!). Quick tip, to get the lemon juice all flowing, before cutting the lemon just roll it on the counter a few times with your hand, applying slight pressure. When it starts to get squishier the juice will come out easier.

Add in your butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Stir around and make sure all the apples are coated. Add brown sugar and cinnamon powder.

Cook on high for three hours, stirring  3-4 times to keep the apples cooking evenly.

After three hours, take your stick blender (we got ours at a second-hand store for $5, woot!) and pulverize the apple chunks until they reach your desired consistency (we like it pureed). You could also do this by hand (it would result in slightly chunkier sauce or in your blender, which would seriously mix it).

Serve with a little brown sugar on top if you've got a sweet tooth like me or for a splash of color and something fun, add some broken cinnamon candies into the sauce and stir. You can keep this stuff in the fridge for two weeks (although it probably won't last that long) or you can freeze it in separate containers to use for baking or just one-time serving needs!

Seriously, if you can peel an apple, you can make homemade applesauce. Trust me.

10.15.2012

Soups, stews and buffalo chick pea chili, oh my!

Happy VeganMofo Week Three! (Holy cow, have we really finished two weeks already?)

When I first got hip to Pinterest, I went a little wild and pinned SO many recipes I don't think I'll ever actually make it through them all unless I made 15 meals a day. So after I got over my pinning obsession, I went through and decided to keep the recipes I was really going to make and to get rid of the ones that sounded good but I knew wouldn't be happening in this lifetime.

If you follow me on Pinterest, you might notice I don't pin a lot of actual vegan recipes. Instead, I pin all the food that sounds ridiculously amazing and decide I'd prefer to do my own vegan version of it. (This helps a lot considering I have a serious issue trying to follow recipes anyway).

When I came across a recipe for buffalo chicken chili, I knew it was something that had to be veganized. Aside from the chicken part, there really wasn't a whole lot of anything special this recipe needed. And while there are a plethora of awesome vegan chicken options, I decided against using the mock protein and opted to use chick peas instead. (We tend to use chick peas in place of chicken and lentils in place of ground beef for most of our recipes).

The best part about this chili isn't just that you can put it in your slow cooker and forget about it, but that you can get super fancy if you want and set out a whole smorgasbord of topping options to garnish this utterly amazing chili with. I highly, highly recommend some ranch vegan sour cream, but you could get crazy and add some cheddar shreds, chives or "blue cheese" crumbles too.



Buffalo chick pea chili
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
1 32 oz container of no-chicken stock (vegetable stock will totally work here too)
3 cups of water (you can add a little more/less depending on what consistency you like)
2 15 oz cans of diced tomatoes (or you can be old fashioned and dice your own, whatev)
1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
1 15 oz can of kidney beans
1 15 oz can chick peas (we went low or no sodium for all of the above canned goods)
8 oz of your favorite pasta
8 oz frozen cauliflower
1 16 oz bag sweet white corn
1 large onion diced up
1/4 cup minced garlic
3 TBS chili powder
2 TBS cumin
1/2 cup buffalo sauce (or more to taste, we picked this up at our local health foods store, but you can make your own simple version by mixing your favorite hot sauce with some butter, a tiny bit of sugar and a splash of ketchup if you want to make it fun)

Directions: 
Boil your pasta on the stove (yeah, the old fashioned way).
Turn your crock pot on high and dump the no-chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato sauce, kidney beans, chick peas and buffalo sauce in.
Dice up carrots, onion and peppers and toss them into the crock pot. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin. Toss in the pasta once it's done and cook all these on high, stirring occasionally (every 15-20 minutes) for an hour. Cook on low for another hour.
Serve with your favorite chili topping!

*I plan on doing a recipe during dinner week which utilizes dry beans in the slow cooker, I'm sure you'll all be drooling in anticipation until then!*

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10.12.2012

Fab Five Friday ... My Favorite VeganMofo Recipes

In case you missed it, last week I reinstated my Fab Five Fridays. What the heck is a Fab Five Friday? Other than being an awesome alliteration (which I adore), it's basically my way of giving a shout out to some of the hard work that all you other vegans are doing.

The best part of October is when I'm stuck on a weekly meal plan, I hop on randomofo.com and peruse all the crazy delicious food ya'll are coming up with. So far we've made caeser "chicken" wraps, potato kale pizza, broccoli cashew tofu and pancakes, all of which have been inspired by YOU!

One of the recipes I came across this week that I had to run out and buy ingredients for was coldandsleepy cooks' Nutty Pumpkin Pie Dip! I'm not going to lie to you folks, the way to my stomach is through something sweet or something pumpkin-pie flavored, so when I saw this dip I had to have it myself. Using a blend of nuts, pure maple syrup and pumpkin puree, this is the kind of dip you serve with apples and tell yourself not to feel sleepy about? Best of all? This recipe is super kid approved, seeing as how coldandsleepy cooks' little one loved this stuff and mine gobbled it up! Hurray for pumpkin AND protein!

Another recipe that caught my sweet tooth by storm was Vibrantlea Vegan's Lemon Mousse Cake. Not only does the lemon cake look moist and spongey and perfect, the mousse on top looks both fluffy and weighty at the same time. How something can look heavy and delicious, yet airy I don't know, but Vibrantlea achieves this. Not to mention the fact that this cake is made using almond meal and quinoa flour, which means it sounds so much more healthy (regardless if it actually is or not). I have a feeling this will be a hit at Coffee Saturdays with the women folk of my family.

Aside from letting my sweet tooth guide the way, I actually did come across two savory recipes I found myself virtually earmarking so that I could add them to our menu plan (when I'm not busy abusing my crock pot in the name of Veganmofo).

If you're in need of a breakfast with some serious protein behind it, might I recommend Vegan Noms' Tempeh Scramble and Savory Nooch Sauce. Made up of tempeh (one of my most favorite things in the world), peanut oil and kale, not to mention a plethora of veggies and a super helping of nooch sauce (shout out to nutritional yeast, it's magic!), this is the kind of breakfast you eat so much of that you actually skip lunch. And if the recipe itself isn't good enough, this blogger cooked it up in her Akron kitchen, let's raise the roof for all us Ohio vegans! (I had to go there, ignore my terrible slang).

And when it comes time for dinner, I know I'll be checking out the "heavy duty comfort food," Not Beef Stew, Vedged Out is cooking up in their kitchen. As if it doesn't sound delicious enough, scrolling through the photos you'll see that it's even served in a bread bowl. I can't tell you the last time I had an amazingly yummy soup served in a bowl that I could eat. Call me lazy, but it's been at least six years because I haven't had it since going vegan. (Shock, AWE!) This not beef stew is going to change that, I promise you.

So because I can't talk about dinner without thinking about dessert, I finish this second VeganMofo Fab Five Friday with some of bite me (I'm vegan's) Lemon-Almond Blueberry Thumbprint Cookies. To be completely fair, it was almost impossible to choose only one recipe from bite me (I'm vegan's) posts this week as the theme was "blueberry and lemon" flavors paired up. Fortunately for you all I'm very unskilled in the thumbprint cookie making department, so when I saw these nutty little, pop-in-your-mouth cookies I couldn't resist including them in this round-up.

So while I may be just a little blogger myself, I figure dedicating VeganMofo Friday's to some of the super things I've seen is like paying an homage to all the hard work we're going through. Every week I feel like I've missed oodles of amazing recipes, so if there's one you think is to die for leave a comment and I'll make sure to stay tuned to that blog next week!

10.11.2012

Vegan parmesan potato wedges and a book for the kids

There are a few nice things about making all of your meals in a crock pot. For starters, the dishes are usually very minimal, as most recipes allow you to dump everything into your slow cooker and let it ... cook ... slowly. Secondly, you hardly have to put any effort into the meals, you just throw the ingredients in and let it go. And lastly, you usually have leftovers, for days and days and days.

So while we've been choosing from a plethora of options, I've been getting by lately on throwing some side dishes into the crock pot to serve with all our leftovers. 

Today's side dish is inspired by an email I got a few days ago from a vegan artist and children's book author, Alexis St. John. She recently released a children's book "Yukon's Halloween Party" that will be available for FREE download on your Kindle for today (October 11) only!

The best part about St. John's book is that rather than pounding out a very vegan message on every page, the story instead teaches children to treat all forms of life with respect, including humans and animals. It also encourages healthy eating habits with a party snack like edamame - a particular favorite of our very own Pearyn.

It's a good story for younger kids, especially ones that may not have a full understanding of what being vegan or vegetarian means, but will understand that we love animals and don't believe in harming them. The designs are cute, but not over-the-top and there were little details that made Pearyn ask to read this story over and over again (like a hidden owl, cat, bat and crow). 

So in the spirit of Yukon's Halloween Party, I decided to provide all my fabulous readers with a recipe for Vegan parmesan pepper potato wedges ... the kind that don't burn in the stove and don't need to be checked on constantly. (That's my kind of potato!)


Vegan Parmesan Pepper Potato Wedges
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
3 lbs of red potatoes (sliced into wedges)
1 large sweet onion, diced thin
1/2 stick of butter (or 1/4 cup)
1/3 cup vegan parmesan (you can use store bought OR make your own quickly using a cup of raw cashews, 1 tsp salt, 2 TBS nutritional yeast, 1 tsp onion powder and 1 tsp of garlic powder, pulsed in a food processor)
1 TBS lemon extract
2 tsp oregano 
1 tsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
Olive oil (to dress/taste)

Directions:
Coat your crock pot with some cooking spray. Cut potatoes into wedges (leave skins on!) and throw in a large bowl. Toss with lemon extract and olive oil until just a tiny bit shiny (you don't want them super soaking or anything). Dice up onion and add oregano, salt, black pepper and vegan parmesan. When the mixture is all tossed up, dump it into your crock pot and top with 1/2 stick of butter cut into small slices. Cook on high for four hours, stirring occasionally. 

10.10.2012

Let your crock pot do the work: Vegan cheesy garlic bread

A few months ago I made my first batch of vegan monkey bread ever. Actually, I made my first batch of monkey bread ever  (vegan or not).

It was basically by luck that I stumbled across accidentally vegan refrigerated biscuit mix, but because I don't   like to rely on those types of things I decided to try a dinner version of monkey bread with my own dough mix.

And because I've got a lot of crock pot soups and dinners in your future, I figured it'd be rude not to provide you with this uber delicious vegan cheesy garlic pull apart bread ... courtesy of your crock pot.

So this recipe CAN be done if you can get your hands on three small canisters of vegan refrigerated biscuit dough, but if you've got some extra time, just give this homemade version a whirl.


Vegan Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread
(serves 6-8)
Ingredients:
3.5 cups all purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1 stick vegan butter (any kind will do)
2 TBS minced garlic (more or less to taste)
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (I used Galaxy Foods Vegan Sprinkles)
1 TBS Italian seasoning

Directions:
Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Cut in vegetable shortening until the mixture is coarse crumbles. Stir in milk and knead for three to five minutes. Roll into 1/2 inch thick dough and then using a cookie cutter or knife, break off 50-cent sized pieces of dough. Coat your crock pot with cooking spray and then align the pieces along your crock pot. My crock pot is a biggie, so I don't really have to layer very many of these pieces. If you do, it's not a big deal, just add 30-60 minutes to your cooking time.

Once the pieces are layered, take a stick of butter and melt it in your microwave. Add the minced garlic into melted butter and pour over your dough mixture in the crock pot. Top with parmesan cheese (feel free to add more or less to taste) and Italian seasoning.

Cook on high for three hours or until the edges and top of the bread is golden brown. (It took my crock pot about two hours and 45 minutes, but a friend who has a smaller one needed almost four hours).

10.09.2012

When someone gives you chocolate, you eat it

A little over one week ago I got the email most vegans dream of.

Someone fabulous from Vegan Cuts wanted to know if I'd be interested in reviewing some of the products that appear on the website. Needless to say, after I got done jumping up and down on my bed, I immediately said "heck yes!"

What is Vegan Cuts you might ask? Well, if you're not hip to it yet, you will be after this, trust me. It's a website that offers a wide range of vegan products, from beauty to food items, usually at a "special offer" rate. Think like a morally-charged spin-off of Groupon or Woot for vegans. Who said vegans didn't have a place of their own?


As if being offered to review stuff wasn't awesome enough, I soon received an email that said the first item I would get to review would be chocolate. Dark, organic, gluten free chocolate from a little company known as Brooklyn Dark. (Apparently you all have been listening when I talk about my love of anything sweet. Oh who am I kidding, I love anything that has to do with food).

Before I indulge about how absolutely delicious this stuff was (and trust me, I'm not just saying this because it's a review), I have to shout from the rooftops what made me fall in love with Brooklyn Dark.

Not only are they environmentally sound and loaded with awesome things like hemp, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and cranberries, they're pretty straight forward when it comes to their stance on why their chocolate is vegan: "Dairy is harmful to humans and to the animals involved in its production. We at Brooklyn Dark seek to maximize good decisions to help make society more humane."

The company currently offers four different chocolate bars: Moroccan Spice, Open Sesame, Orange Silk and Classic Hemp. Weighing in at a little over two ounces each, they all contain 63% cacao, no preservatives and are 100% vegan. How do you not fall in love with an ethically sound company?

The best part? Being moral actually tastes as good as it feels, particularly when it comes to this product. Even more exciting than this? Vegan Cuts is offering a Brooklyn Dark Chocolate Sampler deal at 30% off the normal price.

And if that's not generous enough, you can save an extra 10% off your order (not valid on shipping) by entering the discount code "BLOGFRIEND" when checking out through October 31, 2012. (See, who said it didn't pay to be a reader of Chubby Vegan Mom?)

You'll be lucky enough to receive all four of these flavors, because honestly, you'd have a hard time picking which one to get. My favorite was hands down the open sesame bar, which had the same rich, dark chocolate bar the classic hemp flavor offered, but had a fair share of sesame seeds poking through the super gorgeous exterior. Think a more sophisticated chocolate crunch bar.

Chubby Vegan Dad and daughter each preferred the classic hemp flavor, although orange silk was a close second. While the classic hemp bar is smooth and rich throughout, the orange silk bar has surprise pockets of orange, cranberry and sunflower pieces throughout.

And seriously, you don't want to forget the moroccan spice bar, which was by far the most unique of them all. This bar is for the person you can never find the right gift for. It's dark chocolate which seems more refined and gourmet by nature, but with spices like black pepper and cumin mixed in, it makes for an awesome experience and a chocolate flavor you've never had.

Before Chubby Vegan Dad and daughter wolfed down all of my classic hemp bar, I was able to use some of it to make my VeganMofo crock pot inspired hot chocolate. Be forewarned, this is not your run-of-the-mill hot cocoa. This is rich and amazing and will probably ensure that you never make the regular old cocoa powder variety EVER again.

Crock pot hot chocolate
(serves: 4-6)
Ingredients:
2 cups vanilla vegan creamer
1 cup vegan whipped cream (I like to use the Healthy Top variety)
3 cups vanilla almond milk
8 oz of chocolate shavings/chips (I used about 2 oz of my Brooklyn Dark chocolate bars, diced thin, 2 oz of vegan white chocolate chips and 4 oz of vegan chocolate chips).

Directions:
Plug in your crock pot and turn the settings on low. Stir in creamer, whipped cream and almond milk until fully blended. Add chocolate chips/shavings and stir. Cook this mixture on low for two hours, coming back to whisk every 15-20 minutes.

This recipe is perfect for family gatherings when you're going to be serving oodles of hot chocolate to kiddies or adults (I don't judge). Instead of splashing it all over the stove you can just plop these ingredients into your crock pot and check back periodically. Minimal fuss and minimal mess.

Once it's blended turn your crock pot to warm and enjoy a cup of super fluffy, frothy hot chocolate with your favorite garnish, whether it be more vegan whipped cream or vegan marshmallows.

10.08.2012

Vegan mushroom barley soup ... with a secret ingredient

Happy VeganMofo week two! Hard to believe we've already got one week down and now we're diving headfirst into the second one!

Last week I showed you guys three of the most awesome breakfasts you can make in your crock pot, including: pumpkin spice cinnamon buns, cheesy crack potato casserole and pumpkin pie oatmeal.

In fact, last week I even kicked off VeganMofo with my first giveaway, a copy of Kathy Hester's book The Vegan Slow Cooker, which will be announced later this afternoon, so hurry up and enter now!

Congrats to Trisha Silver, who was chosen by Random.org to receive a free copy of The Vegan Slow Cooker! Her favorite thing to make in the crock pot is enchiladas, and I can't say I blame her! I'll be contacting you later for shipping details. Don't be discouraged if you didn't win VeganMofoers, I've got an even bigger and better giveaway planned for the end of the month. The free-kitchen-appliance kind of giveaway if you know what I mean!

The next few weeks, we'll take on some soups, stews and sides, all of which would make the perfect starter to your dinner or an ideal lunch to pack for the office. Basically, these are dishes that can even be dinner if you want, but they'll make so much you can have them for lunch the next day too!

Since those of us in the Buckeye State are in the throes of fall, I decided the perfect recipe to kick of this week slow cooker meals is Vegan mushroom barley soup.

I know what you're thinking, "but Chubby Vegan Mom, I've had mushroom barley soup, it's not really hard to make vegan and it's not very special. Why should I bother trying your recipe?"

I have two reasons you MUST run out and bother buying all the ingredients to make this recipe. For starters, it's SO much more delicious than any other version you've EVER had. And secondly, it's so flipping easy it's the perfect starter meal to ease your way into the chilly weather.

SO just go out and do it. You won't be sorry and it'll make so much soup that you'll be able (and you'll want to) eat it for a few days after!


Vegan Mushroom Barley Soup
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
1 pound sliced baby bella mushrooms
1 medium to large sweet onion, cut up into smallish chunks
1 16 oz bag frozen carrot coins (you can use fresh, but we usually have a bag of frozen carrots on stand by)
2/3 cup diced celery
1 1/2 cups pearl barley (you can add another 1/2 cup if you like your soup extra thick)
6 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 packet of powdered mushroom gravy (I use Roads End, don't skip this part, it seriously MAKES the dish)
2 TBS vegan worcestershire sauce
3 TBS minced garlic

Directions:
Pour vegetable broth, water, worcestershire sauce, minced garlic and powdered gravy mix into the crock pot. Add sliced mushrooms, onion chunks, frozen carrots, diced celery and pearl barley (aka, everything else). Stir super duper well. Put the lid on your crock pot and cook on low for five-six hours. Stir and check on soup every two hours.

Serve with your favorite bread (or stay tuned for an awesome garlic-butter pull apart bread you can make in your slow cooker as well!) and enjoy for the next few days. It's light enough to squelch that soup craving you have, but not so heavy you won't want to eat the leftovers!

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10.05.2012

The First Fab Five Friday of VeganMofo 2012

This first week of VeganMofo 2012 has been a seriously stellar one.

From cupcakes galore to everything pumpkin-flavored under the sun, you, my fellow veganmofoers, have not let ANYONE down this week.

I spent hours on end scrolling through the various blogs, lusting after recipes and drooling over photos. If I've learned anything in my second VeganMofo, it's that things really can get better with time.

Because I know how much darn effort I put into planning out my weekly meals (not to mention the amount of time it takes to take a photo of a dish of food 90 bajillion times to end up with just a mediocre shot, I figured I'd bring back my Fab Five Fridays from last year's mofo to highlight the top five food posts I found myself obsessing over this week.

The very first dish I found myself excited over was the Whiny Vegans' Potato Kale Pizza. It's a simply beautiful slice of pizza and it combines two of my favorite things in this whole wide world: pizza and potatoes. Our two-year-old goes absolutely gaga over any green vegetable (particularly peas, we're still trying to figure out where this comes from), so I'm pretty sure I could put kale on top of anything and she'd gobble it up. They step this recipe up a notch though and take it from pizza to something with a little more pizzazz ... by adding a drizzle of fancy nut or truffle oil. I'm pretty much on board with all of the above.

The next recipe I stumbled upon was was VeganFling Caeser Salad Tofu Wraps. Not only did I find myself enamored with all the amazingly decadent photos that appeared on this blog, my 29-week-pregnant self hauled my butt to the grocery and bought the ingredients to make these bad boys on the giddy up. And let me tell you, not only are they as easy and delicious as they look, they were a serious hit with our little one and Chubby Vegan Dad alike. That's what we call a win in my book.

And because I've got a really, really massive sweet tooth, it didn't take long for me to stumble upon a cookie recipe that basically rocked my socks off, just by reading the TITLE. Leaves and Flours was not playing around during this first week, when she unleashed a vegan-adapted Caramel-Stuffed Apple Cider Cookie. This recipe calls for one of the most awesome fall ingredients of all - apple cider - and then leaves readers wanting to hop online and order the first batch of vegan caramels they can fine. You'll be happy to know I'm heading out in search of some at my own health food store this weekend.

But because I can't just have my cookies and eat them too, I found myself perusing through blogs in search of something savory, but not too complicated. I fell in love with Fried Dandelions' Seitan Scallopini as soon as I saw the word "seitan," but after viewing the photo and reading over the recipe I can't wait to give this one a whirl. Between utilizing a homemade seitan recipe and indulging in some crimini mushrooms, I have a feeling I'm going to be dedicating our next date night to this recipe!

And because I haven't stumbled across all the ingredients I need to make that caramel apple cider cookie, I found myself drawn to the super scrumptious, but doable recipes and amazing photos on Hell Yeah it's Vegan's website. I'm the kind of woman who will forever be in search of the most utterly perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, and although there have been a few times I thought I might have nailed it on the head, seeing these photos made me realize I still have so much further to come in my cookie baking expertise.

I'm sure there are so, so, so many recipes I missed in this first week; I can hardly wait to see what my fellow bloggers come up with next week.

With so many delicious things to start working on already, I can't help but wonder, what have been your favorite recipes so far?

10.04.2012

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns, courtesy of your crock pot

Here's the thing about making cinnamon rolls in your slow cooker.

It's basically the best idea anyone had. 

Ever.

It only takes about an hour and a half in your crock pot and they come out super duper perfect. 

Like, gooey, sweet and deliciously fluffy perfect. 

You might be wondering why you'd want to spend 90 minutes making something you can bake in 20, but I really encourage you to give this recipe a whirl. Unlike the 20-minute, pop-in-the-oven method, it's really, really hard to overcook (aka dry out and make brick like) these cinnamon buns in the crock pot.

And in the spirit of all things fall, October and wonderful (not to mention a half a can of pumpkin sitting in my fridge begging to be used), I've decided to put a fun spin on this breakfast and make it pumpkin spice cinnamon buns with cream cheese frosting. You won't be sorry.



Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Buns
(Makes 12-14 rolls)
Ingredients:
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
1 Flaxseed egg (1 TBS flaxseed to 1 1/2 TBS warm water, let it sit for 5 minutes)

Filling Ingredients:
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp ground gloves

Icing Ingredients:
4 oz vegan cream cheese, soft
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 stick vegan butter, soft
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and yeast. Fold in almond milk, water, pumpkin, flaxseed egg and oil into try ingredients. Form into a ball and let it sit in bowl, covered with a towel, for 30-45 minutes.
Once dough has settled, roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. 
Mix together filling ingredients and baste rolled rectangle dough with sugary, pumpkin spice mixture. Roll long side to long side, pinch ends and then cut into 12-14 slices. 
Place in greased crock pot and cook on high for 60-90 minutes (perform the toothpick test to determine doneness. If it comes out clean, you're good to go!)
Mix up icing/glaze and pour over hot rolls to create an ooey, gooey, perfectly moist cinnamon bun. Top with pecan pieces if you're feeling wild.

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10.03.2012

Let's get this VeganMofo cooking with a giveaway

As if connecting with hundreds of other cruelty-free writers wasn't already good enough, VeganMofo is basically Christmas for vegan bloggers with all the goodies others are giving away.

In case you've missed the first few days, I'm dedicating VeganMofo 2012 to all things cooked in the crock pot. I've started the first two days off with crack potato casserole and pumpkin pie oatmeal, and I've got a few more breakfast ideas in store, so don't you worry.

In return for all the love you've shown my blog the last few days, I want to give you something. This something is going to have you showing your crock pot a little extra love too. 

I've got a serious, must-have vegan cookbook for your shelves friends. Not only is it all vegan, all the time, it's all vegan, ALL in the crock pot. 

That's right, readers. One of you will be lucky enough to win Kathy Hester's book The Vegan Slow Cooker, completely scotch free. This book is perfect for beginning vegans to beginning crock pot users. And it includes special sections that let you know what recipes you can prepare the night before so they'll be ready to go the next day. This is any procrastinator's dream!

All YOU have to do is click that awesome little "follow" button at the top right of this blog and become a Chubby Vegan Mom member. You can do this using your Gmail, Yahoo, Aim or Twitter account. Once you become part of the clan, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog letting me know what your favorite crock pot meal is of all time OR a recipe you've been dying to crock potize. 

Already a follower? (Thanks!) Then leave a comment answering the above question and you'll be automatically entered to win! (Got to love the random number winner generators!)

Want more chances to win? Spread the word! Simply post this tweet for another chance to enter: This #Veganmofo, I want to #win 'The #Vegan Slow Cooker' from @Chubbyveganmom. You can too! http://www.chubbyveganmom.com/2012/10/lets-get-this-veganmofo-cooking-with.html

The winner will be announced Monday afternoon (when I kick off a week of slow cooker sides, soups and dips!). Please make sure to register an email with your account or leave it in your comment so I can notify the winner!

Don't have a crock pot? Then I recommend you tune back to Chubby Vegan Mom at the end of the month for a really big, don't-want-to-miss, kitchen appliance kind of giveaway.

10.02.2012

Vegan pumpkin pie oatmeal ... overnight

It's no secret that I'm pretty much obsessed with all things pumpkin. From pumpkin cream cheese muffins to homemade pumpkin pie coffee syrup, I'm always willing and ready to do sneak pumpkin into somewhere.

And if I can make it taste like pie? I figure that's just a bonus.

So while coming up with some seriously worth-your-time (but takes no time at all) slow cooker recipes, I knew I had to tackle some form of oatmeal. And with a good 10 cans of pumpkin puree hanging out in my cabinet (I wasn't kidding about the really, really linking pumpkin part) I decided there would be nothing more taste than a dollop (or half a can) of pumpkin puree in your morning oatmeal.

And if I'm going to use pumpkin? I might as well make it taste like pie.

So without further ado, I introduce (and STRONGLY encourage you to make) pumpkin pie overnight oatmeal.


Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oatmeal
(Serves so, so, so many, like at least 8-10)
Ingredients:
3 cups water
2 cups steel cut oats
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown rice syrup (I prefer this to maple syrup due to the likeness of honey)
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground ginger
(you can get less fancy and just use premade pumpkin pie spice in place of all these)
1 tsp sea salt
Graham crackers and walnuts for garnish (and a boost of flavor/crunch)

Directions:
Add all of the ingredients above to the slow cooker (except for the graham crackers and walnuts) and mix together. Put your slow cooker on low and cook overnight (or for about eight hours). *Disclaimer: if you know your crock pot is ridiculously hot and burns things easily, I suggest doing this early morning and cooking for about five hours instead. You know your slow cooker better than I do, therefore, Chubby Vegan Mom is not held accountable for burnt pumpkin pie oatmeal.*

If you're nervous about leaving it overnight I suggest prepping it after dinner and serving the next morning. It reheats SUPER well and tastes just as delicious.

To eat, I recommend a dash of your favorite almond milk (seriously, like 1 TBS tops), a handful of walnut pieces and half a graham cracker smashed up on top.

This was a hit with Chubby Vegan Mom, Dad AND daughter, not to mention Baby B bouncing around in my belly!

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10.01.2012

Vegan crack potato casserole a la crock pot

If you were to search the term "crack potatoes" on say Pinterest, you'd be overwhelmed with a copious amount of crazy delicious looking potato casserole dishes. We're talking potatoes every style, from roasted to mashed to hashed, smothered in layers of sometimes cheese, meats and other cholesterol-ridden items.

Lucky for the cruelty-free folk, crack potato casserole is oh so easy to veganize now that Daiya has blessed us with wedges.

So for my very first recipe of VeganMofo 2012, I decided to kick things off with a really cheesy, really decadent, perfect for Sunday morning when you just don't care how many calories are in your crack potato casserole.

The best part about this recipe? You just pop it in the crock pot and call it day, seriously, it's that easy. This is one recipe that requires very, very little supervision (which is kind of essential when it comes to being the work-from-home mom of a toddler with another one on the way in December).


Vegan Crack Potato Casserole
(Serves 8-10)
Ingredients:
2 lb bag of frozen potato variety of your choosing (I opted for hash brown)
1 12 oz container of salsa (I say splurge on the fresh variety with extra cilantro)
1 Daiya jalopeno garlic wedge (go all out and use the WHOLE thing)
1 container or 12 oz sour cream (vegan, of course, Tofutti is my go-to)
1/2 cup plain almond milk
1 garlic glove minced

Directions:
Coat the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray or butter (vegan of course) and dump your frozen potatoes in your crock pot.Turn it up on high. Stir in sour cream, salsa and garlic. While it sits, grab your Daiya wedge and cut into thin, thin slices (like really thing rectangles).

Slice thin rectangles into tiny strips. (I wouldn't advise using a shredder for Daiya wedges as they're really soft and creamy, you'll get more buildup than it's worth. Also, use the wedge, it's way creamier and makes for a more gooeyfied casserole as opposed to the shreds). Stir in the entire cut-up wedge. Pour the milk over the potatoes and place the lid on your crock pot.

Let it sit for two hours.

Take a peek at it (let the smell invade your house), stir to make sure there's nothing too crunchy on the sides and splash a little more almond milk on top if it looks dry (but it really, really shouldn't). Turn on low and let it cook for one more hour with the lid off.

Pair with your favorite vegan breakfast item, like a pudding pancake or some pumpkin bread (since it is fall after all) or just completely stuff your face with this. Either way, it's going to become your favorite guilty breakfast item yet.