Silky Tomato Soup with White Beans and Garlic Oil

This soup was really good. It didn’t take too long to make, and hey, it’s vegan! The beans really made this tomato soup different, and when I had leftovers the next day for lunch, it was even better than before.

rating: 9

Silky Tomato Soup with White Beans and Garlic Oil
(Cooking Light, Sept. 2016)

serves 6


3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
8 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (14.5-oz.) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup chopped sweet onion
1/2 cup chopped carrot
2 thyme sprigs
1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste
1 cup unsalted vegetable stock
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
3 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 ounces whole-wheat bread, torn


1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil and garlic in a skillet over medium for 4 minutes or until garlic is golden. Add red pepper and beans; toss.

2. Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high. Add onion, carrot, and thyme; cook 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste. Stir in stock, salt, tomatoes, and bread. Bring to a boil; cook 5 minutes.

3. Discard thyme sprigs. Place tomato mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Divide soup among 4 bowls; top with beans.

FullSizeRender (6)

Posted in soup, vegan | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Corn Salsa

These were surprisingly good! My 9 year old said they were one of the best things I have ever made (!) and had seconds! These were easy to make and held together well while frying. My only complaint is that I felt they needed a sauce of some kind (they were a tiny bit dry). These would even be good as a sandwich.

rating: 9

Black-Eyed Pea Cakes with Corn Salsa
(Cooking Light, Sept. 2016)

serves 4


2 (15.5-oz.) cans unsalted black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained, and divided
1/2 cup whole-wheat panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions, divided
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


1. Place 1/2 cup peas in a bowl; set aside. Place remaining peas in a food processor; pulse until coarsely mashed. Combine mashed peas, panko, 3 tablespoons onions, 1/2 teaspoon salt, red pepper, and eggs in a bowl. Divide and shape pea mixture into 8 (3-inch) patties.

2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium. Add 4 patties to pan; cook 5 minutes on each side. Remove patties from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and remaining 4 patties.

3. Increase heat to medium-high. Add corn to pan; cook 2 minutes. Place corn in a bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

4. Add reserved 1/2 cup peas, remaining 1 tablespoon onions, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, and remaining ingredients to corn, stirring to combine. Spoon evenly over cakes.


Posted in main dish, side dish | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orzotto with Peas

I really thought my kids would be all over this. They were not. Husband and I, however, thought it was great! This is almost like risotto. It’s very creamy and rich-tasting. I had some leftovers for lunch and it was even better. If you don’t like peas, you could substitute other veggies.

rating: 9

Orzotto with Peas
(Food Network magazine, Sept. 2016)

serves 4
time needed: 30 min.


2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups orzo or pearl barley
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock) – I used vegetarian “chicken” stock
3 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth – I used vegetarian “chicken” stock
1/2 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil – I omitted
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, plus the juice of 1 lemon
Salt and freshly ground pepper


Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the orzo and toast for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the wine (or stock) and cook until absorbed, about 1 minute.
Gradually add 3 cups chicken stock, stirring frequently. Bring to a simmer, then lower the heat and cover. Cook until the liquid is almost absorbed and the orzo is tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Stir in the peas, Parmesan, basil, heavy cream and lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with more Parmesan.

FullSizeRender (1)

Posted in main dish, side dish, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Lime Sauce

These tacos were great, but these black beans, WOW! These are the best black beans I have ever had! I am making a big batch of these beans this week to eat on top of my salad every day! The beans are easy to make and are so flavorful. The tacos were really good and everyone but my 6 year old loved them. Once you have the beans made, the tacos can be made very quickly. The only thing I didn’t love was the avocado-lime sauce. It was too sweet for my taste, and I would have just preferred guacamole or plain avocado slices.

rating: 9.8

Crispy Black Bean Tacos with Avocado-Lime Sauce

makes 12 tacos

Avocado-Lime Dipping Sauce

Prep time: 5 mins
Total time: 5 mins
Serves: 2 cups


2 avocados
½ bunch of cilantro
3 limes, juiced
1 jalapeno, seeded if desired
⅓ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon taco seasoning
1 pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water


Add all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth.



Crispy Black Bean Tacos

Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 12 tacos


3 cups Best Ever Mexican Black Beans
¾ cups Mexican Cheese Blend
12 corn tortillas
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, separated


Heat 1½ tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add two tortillas to the skillet and allow them to heat in the oil for about 10 seconds.
Cover one side of each tortilla with ¼ cups of beans, and top beans with 1 tablespoon Mexican Cheese Blend.
Using a spatula, carefully fold the tortilla in half, on top of itself and press down with the spatula to shape the taco.
Cook 3-4 minutes, then using a spatula flip the tacos and cook an additional 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned.
Continue the process until all the tacos are done, adding additional oil as the pan dries out.
Serve immediately.



Best Ever Mexican Black Beans


2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons taco seasoning
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 15.5 oz cans black beans, rinsed and drained
5.5 fluid ounces (about 2/3 cup) tomato juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro

In a non-stick skillet, over medium heat, heat olive oil, garlic, taco seasoning, and onion powder for 2-3 minutes.
Add black beans, tomato juice, and salt and stir until combined.
Let beans cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
Remove from heat, stir in cilantro, and serve immediately.

FullSizeRender (4)

Posted in main dish, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Product Review: Hampton Creek Just Cookie Dough

I had the rare opportunity to go grocery shopping by myself last weekend, so I had more time to browse the aisles. These caught my eye. I love everything I have had from Hampton Creek so far, so I decided to buy the chocolate chip cookie dough. Then I saw they had other flavors, too, so yeah, I just bought one of each flavor. Along with the chocolate chip, I also got peanut butter and birthday cake. This is a vegan cookie dough that comes in a little tub with a screw off lid. You keep it in your fridge for when you have a craving. You just put a spoonful on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes and you have AWESOME warm cookies! So far, I have made about 6 cookies every night. My 9 year old loves the peanut butter the best, and my 6 year old loves the birthday cake the best. Me? I love the chocolate chip, once I have sprinkled some crushed nuts on top. These are excellent with a glass of almond milk. Note: I don’t have a pic of the birthday cake ones, but trust me, they are really good!

rating: 10

FullSizeRender (6)

FullSizeRender (7)FullSizeRender (8)


Posted in product review, Uncategorized, vegan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Baked Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash

This was great, but it was a little messy. My squash weren’t perfectly level, so the cheese-cream mixture spilled out a little on the pan. I thought these were a great main dish, but husband considered it a side dish and wanted more food. He was hesitant to eat this at first, but with each bite, he liked it more and more. I would make this recipe again and double it!

rating: 9

Baked Four Cheese Garlic Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash
5 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled (I used a vegetarian “chicken” boullion cube)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup of Four-Cheese Italian White Cheese Blend (Mozzarella, White Cheddar, Provolone, Asiago)
Fresh thyme
Fresh ground pepper
Parsley or chives or green onions, finely chopped


1. Preheat your oven to 400°F(200°C). Grab your spaghetti squash firmly and chop off the tip and tail. Cut in half length-wise and scoop out the innards and seeds. Place both halves on a baking sheet, maintained by a small foil ring to ensure stability. Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over each half.

2. In a large bowl, combine minced garlic, heavy cream with 1/4 cup water, crumbled bouillon cube, chives and fresh thyme. Mix well.

3. Sprinkle a first layer of grated cheese in the cavities of each squash halves. Divide the cream mixture on top of cheese in each halves, then top with additional cheese.

4. Roast in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the flesh of the spaghetti squash is very tender when poked with a fork. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Note: You can cut baking time by half if you’re in a hurry. Put raw spaghetti squash halves face down in a shallow dish with a bit of water. Then microwave for 8 minutes (less or more, depending on the size of the squash). The flesh will be almost cooked through. Proceed with the remaining steps and bake for only 20-25 minutes in the oven.


Posted in main dish, side dish, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Baked BBQ Tofu

Man, I had high hopes for this dish. The cheese sauce tasted great by itself, but once I add the pasta it became very bland! The tofu was bland by itself, but was good combined with the pasta. I probably won’t make this recipe again.😦

rating: 5

Smoked Cheddar Mac & Cheese with Baked BBQ Tofu


1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, divided
8 ounces elbow macaroni, cooked according to package
2 cups reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste


Press tofu for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the tofu into 1-inch cubes. Transfer it to a bowl and toss it with 1/4 cup of the barbecue sauce, then place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the tofu for 20-30 minutes, or until it’s browned on the edges, stirring halfway through cooking time. Put the tofu back in the bowl and toss it with the remaining barbecue sauce.
While the tofu is baking, start the mac & cheese. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until warm, then reduce heat to low. Stir occasionally to prevent film from forming.
In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the flour and whisk it into the butter. Continue to whisk until the mixture is golden brown, 3-5 minutes.
Slowly pour the warmed milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly. Once the sauce is smooth, let it continue to cook until it’s slightly thickened, about 3 minutes, continuing to whisk constantly.
Remove the sauce from heat and whisk in the smoked cheddar. Fold in the macaroni, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Divide the mac & cheese into 4 bowls, then top each one with 1/4 of the baked tofu.

FullSizeRender (4)

Posted in pasta, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment