'But I Could Never Go Vegan!' + Cookbook Giveaway!
I've been a fan of Kristy's creative recipes and drool-worthy photos, taken by her talented husband Chris, for a long time. Her blog Keepin' It Kind is full of tasty treats & restaurant reviews, presented with descriptive photography and a focus on eating kindly, which I think is something we could all do a bit more of. Kirsty has some food allergies driving her eating habits, but she presents her recipes and writing in such a sweet, girl-next-door fashion you feel like she's already your best friend. She makes veganism accessible with recipes that'll leave meat-eaters wondering what hit 'em and fellow vegans praising whatever god(s) they believe in. And her new cookbook aims to to just that; 'But I Could Never Go Vegan!' is a work of art against excuses. The chapters are literally named after common lines people like to use when faced with making the transition to a plant-based diet. Titles like: "Tofu doesn't taste like anything!", "Where would I get my protein?", and "Vegan cooking is too hard!" beg the reader to dive in and prove the naysayers wrong. Kristy's book proves that you really can live without cheese, it's not all rabbit food, and your friends will still come over for dinner!
I just love this cookbook. Its lay-out is well thought out and organized with both an appendix in the front and an index in the back, so you can always find what you're looking for. Did I mention there's a whole section on just PIZZA? Like the Buffalo Cauliflower Calzones with Cashew Blue Cheese. I'll take 6, thanks!
We've made at least a half dozen recipes from Kristy's amazing cookbook, but keep finding new ones we have to have. When we made the Maple Baked Bean Casserole, though, we just fell in love. Its such a simple recipe, perfect for a gathering or dinner party, and was PERFECT Superbowl food. I consider myself a comfort food aficionado but Kristy just stepped the game up a notch. Smokey baked beans topped in a sweet, buttery cornbread crust...I'm ready for some leftovers! And in case you are already drooling all over your keyboard about where you can get this good-food goldmine (your local bookstore?) you can enter to WIN a FREE copy below! Just read through the scrumptious recipe and enter your heart out, babydoll. Before we get to the recipe though, a note from the Kristy herself on this cozy,home-cooked meal: I’m just going to come right out and say it: I love casseroles. I was raised in a casserole-lovin’ family and in my pre-vegan days, a rectangular dish filled with something cooked in a can of condensed soup and topped with potato chips or corn flakes or bread crumbs was the epitome of comfort. If you’re like me, never fear—since going vegan, the casseroles have only gotten better. Take this casserole of smoky, barbecue-y, maple-y beans baked with a layer of cornbread on top. Now imagine digging into a bowlful while sitting at a table with your loved ones, the sound of familiar voices and laughter dancing in your ears. This casserole has “cozy” written all over it.
INGREDIENTS Maple-Baked Beans:
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Two 15-ounce (425 g) cans navy beans, rinsed and drained
One 15-ounce (425 g) can unsalted diced tomatoes, with liquid ⅔ cup (160 ml) Barbecue Sauce ⅓ cup (80 ml) maple syrup
2 tablespoons tomato paste
tablespoons apple cider vinegar
tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon liquid aminos (or tamari or soy sauce)
1 teaspoon sriracha
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
½ teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
A few dashes of nutmeg
1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast, optional
Salt and black pepper to taste
Cornbread: 1 ½ cups (375 ml) non-dairy milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons warm water
2 cups (280 g) cornmeal (fine or coarse grind)
1 cup (130 g) whole wheat pastry Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cayenne powder, optional ⅓ cup (70 g) melted vegan butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup
DIRECTIONS 1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Lightly spray a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with olive oil.
2. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion starts to become translucent. Add the beans, tomatoes, Barbecue Sauce, maple syrup, tomato paste, 1. tablespoons vinegar, mustard, liquid aminos, sriracha, liquid smoke, cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast (if using), salt, and pepper. Remove from the heat.
3. While the beans are simmering, make the cornbread batter. In a measuring cup, combine the non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon vinegar. In a small bowl, combine the flaxseed meal and warm water. Let both mixtures sit for at least 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, paprika, nutmeg, and cayenne. Add the milk mixture, flaxseed meal mixture, melted vegan butter, and maple syrup. Mix until just combined.
5. Pour the beans into the prepared baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, spread the cornbread batter on top. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cornbread comes out clean. Remove from the oven and serve warm. Leftovers can be covered and chilled 3 to 4 days. (Scroll down for disclaimer.)
You made it! If you've got a casserole in the oven, you're extra lucky. If you don't, treat yourself by entering to WIN your own copy of Kristy's book in our giveaway! Don't wanna wait? We can't blame you! You can buy a copy here from Kristy's publisher and should absolutely check out her blog, which is regularly updated with some serious eats that you'll definitely wanna make for your Valentine. On the other hand, you could just enter to win below and give THAT to your Valentine. Whatever. Thanks again to Kristy for writing this flavor bible and letting us review it for her AND give away a copy. She rocks. Entries open to US & Canada only please. Sorry, mates. Good luck!
Yep. Yesterday, this happened. We couldn't decide what to have for breakfast and we were out of the usual- beans and rice and potato breakfast bowls, covered in cumin and avocado. So we got creative; and by we, I mean Alex. Sometimes he pushes food boundaries justttt far enough, into deliciousness. I always underestimate his food imagination. This time though, it led us straight to rich, smoky, chocolatey pancakes- and that was before we added maple syrup to the equation. As they were cooking, we were drooling. Perfectly golden pancakes with melty chocolate and sprinkled with salty coconut bacon? Yeah, okay, Alex won this one. Maybe I'll start trusting his food cravings more often.
We always keep a jar of coconut bacon handy. Its one of the most popular recipes on our site, and we use it on everything- sandwiches, salads, ice cream, and now pancakes. We're hooked! Its the perfect substitute for anything 'bacon'-y, saves real baby piglets AND is totally cholesterol free- what's not to love? Plus, if you make a whole batch of coconut bacon and use only enough for this recipe, you can save your un-used coconut bacon in an airtight container indefinitely in the fridge or pantry. If it gets a bit soft overtime, simply bake it for a few minutes in the oven to re-crisp it, and GO! Now, let's eat!
Ingredients: 1 1/4 cup gluten-free all purpose flour OR whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons organic sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xantham gum (only if using GF flour)
1 1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/4 cup chocolate chips OR chopped bar chocolate
1/4- 1/2 cup coconut bacon
Instructions: First, if necessary, prepare a batch (or 1/2 batch) of coconut bacon. (You can buy it online, but you save TONS of money making it yourself and you'll have leftovers!). Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and xantham, if using. Stir together, then use the spoon or whisk to form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, pushing the flour mixture to the outsides of the bowl. Pour in the water and oil and whisk together completely. (If batter seems a bit thin, add a little flour. If batter seems a bit thick, add a little more water.) Once batter is ready, mix in chocolate chips.
Heat a greased skillet over medium. Pour 1/4 cups of batter onto the skillet, and sprinkle with coconut bacon. Gently pour a little bit more batter (about a tablespoon) over the coconut bacon layer, and let cook until bubbles form and edged begin to crisp. Flip pancakes once, allowing the bottom side to cook until golden before removing from the skillet and serving. Makes about 6 medium sized pancakes. Serve with maple syrup (the real stuff!) and a little vegan butter, and enjoy!
Valentine's Day is almost here! Alex and I are 6 days from leaving our little farmhouse in Maine and heading back to the West Coast, so things here have been a little hectic with all the organizing, packing, and insane excitement. This is our 4th V-Day spent together and I know exactly what my Valentine loves to get. He's not much for chocolate, but LOVES fruit and anything ice cream-esque, so to make him happy, I came up with this recipe. Its super simple, healthy, and a guilt-free sweet treat you can snuggle up & enjoy with your love after that romantic dinner.
Before we go any further though, a couple of notes on coconut milk:
-Coconut milk has a tendency to melt in heat. For best results, keep ice cream in the freezer until you're ready to eat so it doesn't get too soft.
-You can keep this recipe sugar-free by completely removing the sugar suggested or using a sugar substitute, such as stevia.
-Coconut milk is a tricky thing. Oh, Ladycakes did a great tutorial on making coconut whipped cream and how to avoid disaster. Some highlights: before buying flip your can and listen for a slight gurgle. If it sounds like there is room to slosh there is excess air-which you want to avoid. Refrigerate your can, untouched, overnight before using. Scoop gently, and use only the thickest, hardest, whitest part from the top. Keep the leftover coconut milk and toss it in a smoothie or at the very least, the compost. Also, I usually buy Thai Coconut brand because its consistently good and easy to find, but most other 100% full fat coconut milk cans will work.
2 - 15 oz. cans full-fat organic coconut milk
2 cups frozen strawberries
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Refrigerate the cans of coconut milk on a stable shelf overnight. When ready, open the can and scoop the full-fat, thick white layer off of the top half of the can and into a high speed blender or food processor. Save the clearish liquid at the bottom to use in smoothies, oatmeal, or anything else that requires a milk substitute.
Add the strawberries, sweetener, and vanilla to the blender and start to blend, slowly at first, faster as the strawberries break down. Blend it all together about 1 minute, or until all the ingredients are completely combined in a soft-serve texture. Scoop the mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl or loaf pan and toss it in the freezer for at least 3 hours, but preferably overnight. Stir the mixture about every hour or so to aerate the ice ream and make it easier to scoop later.
When ready to eat, let it sit on the counter for 5-10 minutes to soften up enough for serving. Scoop out into bowls, top with sprinkles if desired, and share with your Valentine! Saves in the freezer indefinitely if stored in a sealed container. Makes about 4 servings.
Chia seeds are a powerhouse of nutrition, and largely considered a 'superfood', which basically means its the best of the best as far as eating goes. Chia seeds pack a whopping 11 grams in fiber and almost 5 grams of protein per ounce, are filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, and have been shown to stabilize blood sugar levels and help you fight snack-y hunger. We love that you can turn something this crazy healthy into sweet, decadent PUDDING. I know, it sounds weird, and the texture?! But trust me on this one- its delicious. The seeds absorb up to 10x their weight in water and turn into a softer, cohesive gel-like substance that is easy to flavor even easier to eat. Sweet, light, satisfying- the perfect replacement for a sugary dessert. Try it, I think you'll dig it.
1/2 cup chia seeds
2 cups coconut milk (any non-dairy milk will do)
3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup strawberries (fresh, frozen or thawed)
sprinkle of chopped almonds (optional, for topping)
In a large glass jar (quart sized works perfectly), combine chia seeds, milk, maple syrup, & vanilla. Put the lid back on and vigorously shake the jar until everything is well mixed. If large chunks of chia seeds seems to be stuck to the bottom (which sometimes happens and is totally normal), open the jar and use a spoon to scrape the chia seeds off the side, and shake again to reincorporate them. Put the jar in a cool place, like the fridge (or if you live where I live right now, outside on the porch will be cold enough) and let it sit and gelatinize for at least 2 hours. Once ready, pull the jar out, give it one more good shake, and pour into a serving dish. Top with strawberries and a sprinkle of almonds, and enjoy! Makes about 4 servings, saves in the fridge for about a week.
Everybody should have a good balsamic vinaigrette recipe on hand, and we think the one we use is pretty great. Its sweet and tangy,with hints of garlic and maple. Its great on butter lettuce or a spicy herb mix, and our go-to green topper. I especially like to use it as a dip for raw apple slices. Weird? Maybe. Delicious? YES. Just 5 ingredients & no refrigeration required. What more could you ask for in a salad dressing? And one last thing, before I get any OIL IS BAD comments, let me please say this: Some HEALTHY fats, like the organic, cold-pressed EVOO we use in this recipe, are FINE! In fact, they are good for you and necessary for a healthy heart & body; they control metabolism, stave off hunger, and protect & insulate your vital organs. So, lets eat!
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon vegan dijon or spicy mustard
1/4 teaspoon each salt & pepper
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
In a blender or food processor combine everything but the oil and mix on high until combined, about 30 seconds. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, continuing to blend the mixture until desired consistency is reached. Serve over salad, fruit or tomato-based dishes like bruschetta. This recipe is easily double or tripled when larger amounts are needed. Save in a sealed container, like a glass jar, for up to 1 month on the counter or in the refrigerator. If its in the fridge, be aware that the oil may solidify between uses. If that happens, let it come to room temperature before using, or re-blend. Separation is natural, so shake the jar to reincorporate ingredients before each use. Enjoy!
Keeping up with healthy, clean eating recipes we present our go-to travel favorite: Homemade Granola! We make this recipe all the time and jar it up for easy eating on-the-go, but its just as good in a bowl, on your couch, while watching Saturday morning cartoons (Is that still a thing? We don't have cable.)
Either way, the cashews & almonds keep you full and the light smattering of agave will help curb that sweet tooth. Its the kind of snack you can feel pretty good about snackin' on. And if you like dried fruit (raisins, craisins, ect.) feel free to toss in a handful when its cool. I prefer a few slices of fresh strawberry on top with a little coconut milk, but Alex goes for the raisins every time and swears by it.
3 cups GF rolled oats
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup cashews, roughly chopped
1/2 shredded coconut
1/4 hemp seeds
1/4 flax seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
Optional Add-Ins (AFTER granola has cooled):
1 cup raisins or craisins
1/2 cup chocolate chips or cacao nibs
1/2 cup goji berries
a handful of sunflower seeds
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl combine everything but the oil & agave (or maple syrup). Mix well to combine. Add in the liquid coconut oil & sweetener and mix very well, so everything gets coated evenly. Spread onto a large, ungreased baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring about every 5-10 minutes as needed. Granola cooks quickly and even crisps up a bit after being removed from the oven, while sitting on the pan cooling, so remember to pull it from the oven before it gets too dark. Once you have removed the pan from the oven, let it cool for at least 20 minutes. Once cool, add in any additional little bits (i.e. the cacao nibs, dried fruit, or whatever) and move to a sealed storage container, like a glass jar or large plastic bag. Stays fresh for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!
With just under a week left until Thanksgiving, we're rounding up the last of our favorites- the ones that are making the table this year. Part of our planning includes making a few dishes the night before the big day. It's considerably less stressful the morning of, and reduces the chances of an ingredient being forgotten in a dish
(which always happens, and is the worst).
I know by about 1 pm I'll be dizzy from whisking things into deliciousness. Hopefully by 3 pm I'll be enjoying a holiday libation and relaxing. When you prepare dishes like this ahead of time, though, you might even get to drink before 3.
Did we mention there are just 5 magical ingredients in this zesty, chunky sauce? Its vegan, gluten-free, and uses real maple syrup to sweeten things up. The secret ingredient, sweet white miso, adds a little earthy taste to the sweet maple undertones and chunky, tangy cranberries. The lemon compliments the cranberries beautifully and keeps the whole dish from being overly sweet. We hope it finds a nicy, cozy corner on your Thanksgiving table this year. You deserve to treat yourself to some of the easiest, best cranberry sauce you've ever had.
1 twelve ounce bag fresh cranberries
1 cup water
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons sweet white miso
Rinse and drain cranberries.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together water, lemon juice, maple syrup, and miso until miso has completely dissolved. Add cranberries, bring to a boil, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until about 3/4 of the cranberries have popped open and the juices are beginning to thicken. Turn heat to low and cook for 5 more minutes, whisking several more times.
Remove from heat, let cool, and refrigerate at least two hours to set before serving.
Garnish with grated lemon peel tendrils, a few whole cranberries, or a lemon twist.
Can easily be made the night before and refrigerated until ready to be enjoyed.
Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to two weeks.
How much do you associate the flavors of apple & cinnamon with fall?
For me, its a nearly impossible combination to avoid as the temperature drops and the leaves fall. Something about the warm, cozy smell of spicy cinnamon and nutmeg and crisp, sweet baked apples makes me swoon. I love everything about fall in Maine- the leaves changing and falling, tons of squash and pumpkin for dinner, and of course, apple picking in Baileys Orchard.
Apple pies and crumbles are great- just a littttle overdone. Google 'vegan apple pie' and girl, you will be waist deep in results from all over the world in seconds. I wanted something special, and in brainstorming apple blondies, apple crisp, and apple cheesecake crossed our minds. But I am so glad we made this, instead.
I love the simplicity of one pan baking -and using cast iron contributes to iron intake. (As vegans, we tend to run a little anemic.) Plus, less dishes to wash at the end!
This cake is perfect for fall-themed parties and will definitely be making an appearance on our Thanksgiving table this year.
We hope it'll be on yours, too!
Deep Dish Apple Cinnamon Skillet Cake Ingredients:
1 cup coconut oil or vegan butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar or sucanant
2 flax eggs* or egg replacers
1/2 cup nut milk
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups GF all-purpose flour
(or your favorite blend--we used 1 cup teff & 1 cup white rice flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 cups peeled and diced apples
(in my opinion, the crisp, tart ones are best)
*a single flax egg is made by combining 1 tbls ground flax with 3 tbls warm water
and letting it gelatinize for about 5 minuntes
Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Grease a large cast iron skillet and set aside. We used a deep dish, 9-inch cast iron skillet. This cake doesn't rise a ton, so alternately you can bake the batter in a regular 9-inch or larger skillet and it'll work just fine. Just be sure to adjust the cooking times so it isn't undercooked or overcooked- you can check the done-ness with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, you're good. Any batter on the stick means it needs a little longer.
In a mixing bowl beat together butter or softened coconut oil and sugars until fluffy. Add the “eggs” and whisk until completely combined. Add milk & vanilla; stir until a goopy batter starts to form.
In a separate, medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, xantham gum, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Add dry to wet and combine. Add diced apples and mix well.
Pour batter into pan and bake for 45-55 minutes, until toothpick comes clean. Makes 1 large 9-inch skillet of cake- make as many servings out of that as you like. Can be served from the skillet and kept on the counter, covered for up to 3 days or in the fridge, covered about 10 days.
Maple Vanilla Glaze Ingredients & Instructions:
1 cup raw soaked cashews
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup to 2/3 cup water
In a food processor or high speed blender combine cashews, syrup, & vanilla. Begin blending, adding water until desired consistency is reached. Add frosting to cake just prior to serving. Stays saved in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
This recipe has been a long time in the making. Four tries, at least, until I was happy enough to share. The other couple tries ended in me smuggling ziploc bags of crumbly blondie squares down to the cabin before anyone could see how much I'd messed them up. I'd wait till 11 pm rolled around and I'd munch away the evidence.
I'm happy that this version worked so nicely: I can't afford to keep hoarding baked goods and waking up in a pile of crumbs.
Even if the crumbs do taste buttery, rich, and oh-so nutty...
Maple and pecan go together so well. I had originally envisioned these to have macadamia nuts mixed in, but I like my recipes to be accessible (not everyone can find macadamia nuts in their local market- or afford them!) and simple. The pecans accent the buttery, decadent maple flavor beautifully. I made these little beauties using fresh, homemade pure maple syrup from the Maple trees tapped on my family's property. It is so, so good.
Being that I am from Maine and have access to a substantial amount of maple-y things, I also topped my blondies with a little pure maple sugar. It adds just a little texture and sweetness to the top, but is certainly not necessary.
If you are interested though, you can get some here.
I've been experimenting a lot with gluten-free flours and making my own gluten-free flour mixture. There have been a lot of mistakes and missteps, but I'm starting to get better at making gluten-free baked goods that don't suck. And when I perfect my homemade gluten-free flour mix, I'll let you know. In the meantime, Bob's Red Mill works fantastically. Or, if you have a favorite all purpose gluten-free baking mix of your own, use it and let me know how it turns out!
You could also probably sub out the gluten-free flour mix and xantham gum for regular ol’ whole wheat and get the same results, only more glutinous. I haven’t tried it, but usually whole wheat will bind anything.
1 cup vegan butter or shortening
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
3/4 pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon maple extract (optional)
2 flax eggs (2 T. ground flax+ 1/3 cup warm water)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour mix (see note above)
1/4 tsp. + a pinch of xantham gum
1 cup chopped pecans
pure maple sugar, for sprinkling (optional)
Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare flax eggs in a small dish and set aside to gelatinize, about 5 minutes.
In a mixer, combine butter, vanilla, sugar, maple syrup, and extract if you’re using it. (I’ve made it both with and without and think its maple-y enough without it but if you LOVE maple, add it.)
Add flax eggs and continue to mix on medium speed until combined. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking soda & powder, and xantham gum. Add dry ingredients to wet slowly with mixer on low.
Mix until uniform in consistency, then remove the mixer bowl from the stand, throw in the pecans and give it a good stir. Pour batter into a greased or floured 9x13 in. baking dish. If you have it, lightly sprinkle pure maple sugar over the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges of the blondies start pulling away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely before cutting. Makes 12-16 squares, depending on how big you cut ‘em.