Slowcooker Chili

Soup season is upon us in Pittsburgh as the weather cools and the leaves change colors. While chili may not technically be a soup, it still makes for a hearty, warm bowl full of comfort on a cool day. It is also a great vehicle for seasonal veggies and it’s relatively healthy too. This is also a super easy recipe that doesn’t require a ton of work outside of prepping the veggies that will have your home smelling delicious.

This recipe makes several servings and freezes well, but can also be halved if less chili is desired. Leftover chili is also great served over macaroni and cheese (which you can find a great recipe for here).


Slowcooker Chili

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: easy
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8 hour cooktime is based on cooking on low setting, if you would like to cook faster, cook on high for 4-6 hours.

Ingredients

  • 1 large Japanese sweet potato
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 cups dry beans, soaked
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 5 medium jalape├Ás
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups TVP
  • 2 Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon Cubes
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 Tbsp. dried oregano
  • 4 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Wash vegetables, scrub and peel Japanese sweet potato and carrot. Dice potato, bell peppers, onions and jalape├▒os (remove ribs and seeds for a milder flavor).
  2. Use a grater to shred carrot and celery over crock pot.
  3. Press garlic into a paste and add to crockpot.
  4. Add canned tomato paste, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes to crock pot, as well as soaked beans (for this recipe we chose to use a mix of 1 cup black beans and 1 cup of kidney beans, though you can mix it up if you’d like to).
  5. Add TVP, 2 Edward & Sons Not Beef Bouillon Cubes and 2 cups water as well as ground cumin, dried oregano, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper.
  6. cook in slow cooker on low for at least 8 hours. check on your chili every hour or two and if it starts to look too dry feel free to add some additional water to the pot.
  7. Serve in bowls with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, and green onions as a garnish.

Mongolian BBQ Inspired Seitan Kabobs

The weather has been rapidly cooling down the past month in Pennsylvania. As we get ready for fall temperatures we’ve been trying to seize as many grilling opportunities as we can. I love Mongolian BBQ, but unfortunately I haven’t found any restaurants around Pittsburgh that do a vegan version of it. I was particularly craving the flavors, so I crafted a great marinade for these Mongolian BBQ inspired seitan kabobs. If you don’t have a grill you can use this recipe to marinate your seitan and veggies, and cook them up in a skillet or a wok. They’re delicious either way, but grilling allows you to impart a nice charred flavor.

Mongolian BBQ Inspired Seitan Kabobs

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Feel free to use additional veggies on your kabobs. These are the ones we found at the local farmers market, but bell peppers, hot peppers, and other squash are all good options for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 6 oz Uptons Seitan
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 8 oz baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tamari
  • 2 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tsp chili garlic paste
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped scallions
  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice

Directions

  1. Cube seitan into large chunks. Keep in mind they’ll need to be sturdy enough to be skewered. Place into a large bag or reusable container.
  2. Cut mushrooms in half. Place into the same bag or container you placed the seitan.
  3. Cut down zucchini into disks that are about an inch wide. Cut each disk in half. Place halved disks into the same container as the other ingredients.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine all of the other ingredients. Whisk together well, and then cover seitan, mushrooms, and zucchini with the marinade.
  5. Marinade in the fridge for at least an hour, or overnight.
  6. Remove seitan, zucchini, and mushrooms from the marinade, and place them on skewers. Save the remaining marinade in a heat resistant bowl to brush onto the kabobs later.
  7. Grill on a hot grill until the ingredients are completely heated through and have nice char lines on each side. This should take between 5-15 minutes depending on the heat of your grill. Brush the kabobs with the marinade periodically as they cook, so that they do not dry out.
  8. Serve with a side of brown rice, or other grain of your choice.

Baked Cauliflower Wings

When I was a kid cauliflower was on my list of vegetables that I absolutely hated. I always thought of it as a bad, less flavorful version of broccoli. It wasn’t until I had my first fried “cauliflower wing” that I was introduced to the transformative qualities of cauliflower. Sure, it might not be super flavorful on its own, but it soaks up other flavors like a sponge. Much like tofu, this quality makes it easy to make it taste like whatever you want. While I might not be a big advocate for things like cauliflower rice, or cauliflower pizza crust, I’ve grown to love cauliflower on its own. My favorite ways to prepare cauliflower are roasting it with a variety of spices, or breading it and serving it up with some of my favorite sauces for cauliflower wings.

Today I’ll share with you my quick and easy recipe for breading cauliflower wings. It’s super simple, and allows you the versatility to bake them, or fry them if you’d prefer. You only need a few ingredients and your favorite wing sauce/s. In this recipe we used vegan buffalo sauce, and BBQ sauce to coat ours. Feel free to experiment with some other great flavors like Thai Chili sauce, or a garlic non-dairy butter. Just make sure you check the ingredient label. Some buffalo sauces contain dairy, and some BBQ sauces contain anchovies.


Baked Cauliflower Wings

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • one head of cauliflower
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, we used panko
  • 1/4 cup of BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 cup of Buffalo Sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • canola oil spray (optional)
  • parchment paper

Directions


1. Wash and dry the head of cauliflower. Break it down into bite sized florets.
2. Set up three bowls. In the first bowl add all of the milk. In the second bowl add all of the flour, salt, and pepper and mix. In the third bowl add the panko.
3. Dredge each cauliflower floret, and then set aside on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. To dredge them first place a floret in the non-dairy milk. Remove it allowing excess milk to drip back into the bowl, and then place it in the flour mixture. Make sure it is coated well with flour, tap of excess, and place it back in the milk. Remove it from the milk, and finally coat it thoroughly in the panko. Repeat for every floret.
4. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
5. Spray the florets with just a little bit of canola oil. This will help them brown in the oven.
6. Bake the wings for 30-35 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.
7. While the wings bake place whatever wing sauce you’ll be using in a large mixing bowl, so it can warm to room temperature and won’t make your wings cold.
8. Melt butter in a separate bowl in the microwave, and add to the wing sauce/s. Mix thoroughly. This will help the sauce coat the wings nicely, and adds an extra fatty richness. If you’d like to you can skip this step.
9. Once the wings have baked toss them in the desired wing sauce/s until they’re thoroughly coated. If you choose to only use one sauce double it from a 1/4 cup to a 1/2 cup.
10. I recommend serving with a dipping sauce, and a side salad.

Easy Trail mix

When I was growing up I regularly played sports, and was an active member of the Girl Scouts of the USA. I was on the go a lot, and frequently away from home for long periods of time. I learned that quick, filling, and nutritious snacks are a necessity when you’re active. Troop and activity leaders frequently provided trail mix to meet this need, and it’s continued to be a long time favorite of mine.

Trail mix offers a lot of versatility. You can add dried fruit, veggies, sesame sticks, nuts, pretzels, and even chocolate! This makes it ideal for even the pickiest of eaters. Trail mix makes it easy to pack a lot of nutrients into a small container to take with you wherever you go.

The recipe that I’ll share today has been our go to trail mix for the past year or so. It’s easy to make, and affordable. You can make the exact recipe, or use it as an outline for a basic trail mix and add whatever you want. Our trail mix contains almonds, dried fruit, and sometimes chocolate. I advise buying dried fruit that doesn’t contain any added sugar, or dehydrating your own fruit if you happen to own a dehydrator.

Easy Trail Mix

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almonds or other nuts (you can use a variety if you wish)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried coconut strips
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried bananas
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried strawberries
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened dried blueberries
  • 1 tbsp vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Directions

  1. Measure out all ingredients into a container with a lid. We used a ball jar.
  2. Shake well to integrate.
  3. Store trail mix in original container, or portion out into smaller to go containers/bags. Enjoy.

If you do choose to add vegan chocolate chips we recommend that you refrigerate your trail mix until serving if it’s hot outside.

Healthy-ish Chocolate Shake

undefinedI used to drink smoothies a lot. It’s a great way to make sure you’re getting enough servings of fruits and veggies in your diet. I had an Oster Blend-N-Go which was perfect for making smoothies for one, but isn’t the best for making multiple servings. A few months ago we purchased a semi-decent Hamilton Beach blender, and our smoothie making has increased a lot since then.

undefinedIn a moment of ingenuity I invented this chocolate banana “milkshake” in an effort to use up a sample of Orgain plant based protein powder. It has since became a regular breakfast staple in our house.

This shake recipe is so decadent you won’t even realize that it’s actually kind of good for you. It makes a great breakfast, or dessert.


Healthy-ish Chocolate Shake

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: easy
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The coconut whipped cream is optional, but highly recommended.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of oat or other nondairy milk
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries (optional)
  • 2 tbsp creamy almond or other nut butter
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp orgain or other plant based protein powder (optional)

Directions

  1. Cut ripe bananas and strawberries into small chunks and freeze.
  2. Place frozen fruits in the blender
  3. Add in two tablespoons of almond butter, cocoa powder, and protein powder (if desired).
  4. Pour oat milk over top of the other ingredients.
  5. Blend on high until smooth. Add more milk while blending if necessary.
  6. Pour into glasses, and top with non dairy whipped cream, and/or fresh fruit.