And the VeganMofo winner is ...

First off, tens of thousands of thanks to everyone that entered! Dessert is one of my favorite things to veganize, so it's wonderful to see that so many others enjoy it too!

Enough with the blabbering.

The winner of a cookbook of their choosing is ... 


VeggieJead tweeted and left a comment on the blog asking for "the Joy of Vegan Baking! I'm trying to transition to an egg free and dairy free diet, so I think this book would be a great jumping off point!"

Congratulations! I will email you shortly for details!

Again, thanks to everyone for entering and for sticking around with Chubby Vegan Mom this whole VeganMofo.

I promise to give away something uber fun next month too!


Fab Five Friday ... the LAST VeganMofo

Well folks, it's been real.

It's been fun.

It's been real fun. (I know that's totally overused and cliche, but I'm in an overused and cliche sort of mood!)

We are literally just days away from the end of VeganMofo 2011 (I know I'm sad, who's with me?), which means we're also concluding our special VeganMofo edition of Fab Five Friday.

On a serious note, I'd like to just throw a huge thank you out to all the new followers who have taken an interest in this Chubby Vegan Mom and an even bigger one to all my fellow vegans who participated in VeganMofo. It's so flipping wonderful and inspiring to read about all the positive things other vegans are doing all around the world. So give yourself a pat on the back because we kick ass. All of us.

And now, without further ado, I present the conclusion of VeganMofo Fab Five Fridays!

No. 1) Barefoot and Frolicking presents us with a super yummy recipe for Apple flip flapjacks which use two of my favorite (and severely underused ingredients) -- buckwheat flour and quinoa! Not only do these fluffy disks look absolutely delightful, but they've actually got some bulk (aka really good for you) ingredients to them! Besides, who wouldn't benefit from a little extra buckwheat in their morning?

No. 2) Kohlrabi and Quince baited me with her love of tiny foods. Aren't all things better in miniature form? She focused her post on mini coconut cream pies (and even noted that apparently vegan meringue is possible, who knew?), which had ridiculously flaky and delicious-looking crusts.

No. 3) Cookies for alligator dedicated a post to another one of my favorite vegan tricks, Black bean brownies, proving yet again that we vegans are absolutely amazing at hiding good-for-you ingredients into not-so-good-for-you desserts. But don't worry folks, she doesn't actually feed any cookies to any alligators.

No. 4) I'm basically a new stalker of the My Peanut Butter's Tachy blog. She's a med student and a vegan, which happens to be a pretty sweet combo if you ask me. If you surf her page you might find some posts on what being a med student is like (even a vegan one), in addition to some super yummy recipes she tests out eats! Her most recent food audit on Slow cooker pumpkin white bean lasagna still has me drooling.

No. 5) The Awesome. Vegan. Rad. blog is literally everything it claims. It's awesome, vegan and rad at the same time. I couldn't help but notice an even more awesome, vegan and rad recipe for Ripoff Curried Mango Tempeh Salad. And if the crazy yummy photos don't do it for you, this chick's reasoning for spicing food up is pretty concrete ... "just because, duh." I couldn't agree more!

That's it y'all.

Flawless fudge (sans cruelty)

What can I say? I'm a sucker for vegan marshmallowey goodness, this recipe pays homage to vegan "fluff."

I've never made fudge in my life.

While I've tackled multiple layer cakes, cupcakes with fillings, frostings and ganache galore, even pies with homemade crusts, dizzying lattice weaves and complicated crumbles.

But I've never, ever made fudge.

Supposedly there's an art to it. A magical time that signifies the chocolate goop is ready to become a real, live block of fudge. But apparently if you so much as blink, this streak of fudge perfection will pass you by and you'll be stuck with a very unhappy, not delicious glob of burnt sugar and chocolate.

It's a really good thing I didn't read all of that "fudge lore" prior to making this fudge, because I might have been too scared to try it.

And then, I wouldn't have ended up with this ridiculously fabulous, almost sickeningly sweet pan of fudge.

Flawless Fudge
(Makes 9" baking square of fudge)
2 1/2 cups sugar (certainly can't go wrong with a recipe that starts like this)
12 oz bag of chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life because I have the best results with this company)
7 oz marshmallow fluff (I use Ricemellow from Heaven for all my vegan fluff needs)
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup almond milk (although I imagine coconut milk would have been fabulous too, just nothing too watery like rice milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt

Grease a 9" baking square and set it off to the side.
In a large saucepan, stir sugar, salt, butter, almond milk and fluff on low heat until melted and blended.
Increase to medium heat and stir mixture into a boil (a consistent boil, not a "air bubble or boil" boil).
Boil slowly and stir for about 3-5 minutes (shouldn't go over 5 minutes).
Try the "soft ball test." This is that magical moment of fudge puberty I was referring to. Basically all you do is take a glass of ice water (minus the ice, you just want it that cold) and dribble a few drops of this fluff mixture into it. After letting it cool in the water for 10-15 seconds, you should be able to take it out of the glass and roll it into a small ball. If it seems too melty still, allow it to boil for the full 5 minutes (total, not additional).
Once the fudge passes the test, remove it from heat and stir in the vanilla and chocolate chips.
Stir until you can stir no more.
Pour into baking square and allow it to sit. (Throw it in the fridge if you're really impatient).

You can add nuts and all those goodies, but I prefer good old fashioned, clean fudge.


Bite-sized cheesecake (need I say more?)

I am a huge fan of any cheesecake-based dessert.

Whether it's actual cheesecake, cheesecake muffins or cheesecake-chunk ice cream, you can pretty much sign me up if the words "cheese" and "cake" are smushed together.

These little bite-sized cheesecakes were a lot easier to deal with than one big-ole-pan-o'-cheesecake, especially when it came to the little bite-sized, homemade (aka squashed by hand) graham cracker pie crusts.

Speaking of graham cracker crusts, do not try to go the easy way route on this recipe and use a premade one, you'll be sorely, sorely mistaken. This quick and (almost) painless method of a super rich, slightly sweet and salty graham cracker crust construction is seriously essential in relation to the over-indulgent cheesecake portion.

Bite-sized cheesecake
(Makes 24 mini-muffin-sized cheesecakes)
8 oz package of vegan cream cheese (we used Tofutti because we love it)
1/4 block of silken tofu (don't you skip this ingredient, it helps bind the fluffy deliciousness together)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS butter (it gives it a little richness)
Any kind of pie filling, fresh fruit or chocolate to drizzle on top

Pie crust Ingredients:
6-8 graham crackers (you may need a few more, it depends how good you are at crumbling them and how thick you like your crusts, you be the judge)
3/4 stick of vegan butter (softened)
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt (this adds a whole new dimension of flavor to the crust!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Take a masher, a sealed ziplock bag or your hand and start crumbling up the graham crackers in a smallish bowl.
Once crumbly (I like my crust to have a little texture to it, that and I'm lazy) add in the sugar, salt and softened butter.
Mix together until easy to pack and slightly crumbly.
Line two mini-muffin tins with mini-muffin wrappers and then take about 1 1/2 tsp of graham cracker and pack it in the bottom of a mini muffin. We like our crusts a little thicker so I packed a little more. Again, you be the judge of this. Some smaller chunks are OK and will work, but try not to have too many or else the crust won't stick together.
In a medium bowl, whip softened cream cheese, sugar, butter and tofu together. Add in extract and lemon juice and blend (I use the whisk attachment on my mixer) until fluffy, light and hard to resist.

Spoon filling into muffin tins about 2/3 full and then bake in the oven on 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Take out and let the little bite-sized pieces of Heaven cool for AT LEAST an hour. They get super hot, super melty and gooey and need a little extra time to sit and regather their composure. Respect your cheesecake's needs for a little alone time. Read a book, eat some celery or build a sand caste, whatever. Just let these bad boys rest.

Top with your favorite pie filling, fresh fruit or chocolate sauce. I guarantee you won't be able to have just one!


Chunky monkey oatmeal cookies

I know what you're thinking.

Chubby Vegan Mom, are you getting dull on us?

 You've tackled Banana polentaCaramel apple french toast and Curry vegetable pitas, not to mention an incredibly out-of-the-box, choose-your-own Vegan dessert cookbook giveaway, but for the last week of VeganMofo AND a week you're totally dedicating to desserts, you pick oatmeal cookies?

Yes, friends, I did.

But fear not, this isn't your run-of-the-mill oatmeal raisin cookie, this is a banana and chocolate chunk filled, chewy oatmeal cookie of goodness. This will seriously have you hopping on the oatmeal cookie train in an instant.

Plus, oatmeal cookies are deceiving. It doesn't matter that they're riddled with butter, chocolate chunks and loads of brown sugar, they have oats in them, so they have to be healthy, right? Which means it's OK for me to eat 15 of them after dinner, right? Which means I'm not going to gain 10 lbs from VeganMofo dessert week, right?

Probably not.

At any rate, I'm a big fan of throwing bananas into cookies, especially if it means saving them from the fate of not being used! They're great binders and they add a new flavor to ho-hum cookies.

Chunky monkey oatmeal cookies
(Makes 18-24 cookies, depending on how much size matters)
1 stick of vegan butter, softened
1 large banana, mashed
2/3 cup brown sugar
Flaxseed "egg" (2 TBS flaxseed, 3 TBS warm water, let it sit for 10 minutes)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chunks (we've been enjoying the heck out of Enjoy Life's chocolate chunks)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cream together all the "wet" ingredients (banana, butter, extract, "egg"). Stir in brown sugar.
Mix in dry ingredients, starting with flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and then oats. Add in chocolate chunks last.
Spoon onto greased baking sheet (golf-ball size), squish down a little and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until bottoms start to get golden brown.
Cookies will firm some after sitting.

Serve with a glass of your favorite nondairy beverage and call it a night, y'all.

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Vegan S'mores ... sans campfire


They're this rare and elusive vegan item. I can say without a doubt that they don't have any in-store vegan marshmallows within a 100-mile radius of my home (possibly even further, I'm just being lazy and not doing the math here).

I had my first vegan marshmallow last Valentine's Day. My husband was sweet enough to order some of the Sweet and Sara variety and let me tell you, they were oh so magical. Are they going to turn a marshmallow nonbeliever into a believer? Maybe not. Are they going to soothe your craving for sugary, puffy goodness? Definitely.

And now that we have vegan marshmallows, there's nothing we can't do!

Including s'mores, a campfire favorite.

Only, I was campfireless, so we melted these bad boys down instead. And they turned out as ooey and gooey as you could imagine.

S'mores sans campfire
(Serves 10-12)
6 ounce package of marshmallows (we wanted the traditional s'more flavor so we went with vanilla)
1/2 stick butter
1 cup chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life makes a super awesome "chunk" variety)
4 cups graham cracker cereal (we found a non-honey variety at our local health food store)

In a saucepan on low-mediumish heat (we're talking like a 3 or 4 on a stove that goes to 9), melt butter and marshmallows.
Once a delicious, sugary goop, remove from heat and stir in cereal and chocolate chunks. Feel free to add chocolate chunks if you're a chocohalic.
Line a casserole dish or round cake pan with parchment paper (DO NOT skip the parchment paper. It will be a seriously sticky mess you don't want to deal with) and pour s'mores into it, pack down. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, then serve.


What do YOU want to win? Vote for next week's giveaway!

We're going out with a big ole' VeganMofo bang here at Chubby Vegan Mom. To celebrate our week four theme (dessert!!!), to finish up this month of food on a positive note and to thank all of you who have recently become a fan of Chubby Vegan Mom, I'm going to give you what you want.

Is you cookie jar in need of some invading? Or perpaps your cupcakes aren't quite ready to take over the world? Maybe your babycake is craving some babycakes? Whatever dessert book you're hankering for you're going to win.

There's only a few exceptions: it has to be a vegan dessert book, it has to be shipped to the United States and it can't be over $25 (I've got a child to feed, y'all). In the meantime, weigh in on my poll and see if you're craving something everyone else is, too!

To enter, simply become a "follower" of Chubby Vegan Mom using the "follow" button in the right panel (it's easy and you can do it using your Gmail, Yahoo, Twitter or Aim account) and leave a comment explaining why you want what you want!

Already a follower? No problem! Simply tweet the following: 
I want to win (Insert your desired book here) from Chubby Vegan Mom! You can win too: http://chubbyveganmom.com/2011/10/what-vegan-sweets-book-do-you-want-to.html.

A winner will be chosen at random on Monday, October 31.

What vegan sweets book do YOU crave?

Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World 
Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar 
Vegan Pie in the Sky 
Are You Sure That's Vegan? Vegan Clones of your Fav Desserts 
The Joy of Vegan Baking 
Babycakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten Free and (Mostly) Sugar Free 
Sinfully Vegan
Quick and Easy Vegan Bake Sale 


Do you like how I used y'all up there? I think it's an incredibly underused word, personally.


Fab Five Friday: VeganMofo Week Three

Can you believe we're already ending our third week of VeganMofo? Even though it's demanded my attention a little more than I could handle at times, I can honestly say I'm going to be sad to see it end. Not only has it been amazing to expand and test my cooking abilities, I've gotten interested in so many new and exciting vegan blogs throughout the month of October (and hopefully a few of you have found mine!)

Speaking of new and exciting bloggers, this week's Fab Five Friday will take a closer look at some of the kick-butt recipes VeganMofo has seen over the last few days.

Settle in and get ready to be seriously hungry, here are my fab five picks for this week (in no particular order): 

No. 1) Vegangela's blog about homemade vegan cheese left me literally drooling. While her transition to a vegan diet may not have revolved around cheese, mine definitely did and still does, so I can't wait to give this baked wheel a whirl. I need to get me some agar on the giddy up.

No. 2) Veggie Terrain's chickpea salad sammies look like the perfect vessel to melt some of the prior-mentioned cheese on. Chickpea melts anyone? My husband and I have toyed around with chickpea spreads, but we haven't seen the results Veggie Terrain did. Pair a quick and yummy recipe with stunning photos and you've got a seriously winning blog.

No. 3) The Tofu Cottage's recipe for acorn squash risotto looks like the perfect dish for this dreary, chilly fall day we're facing in Ohio. Not to mention I'm a complete sucker for risottos - who isn't? They sound so grown up and fancy, but their ingredients are usually clean and delicious. Plus, who can resist a creamy full-of-fall-flavor dish?

No. 4) Just do yourself a HUGE favor and wander on over to the Fork and Bean blog. I can't even pick between all the crazy amazing homemade vegan candies this woman is churning out. You can't go wrong with any of the posts at Fork and Bean. This blog appeals to my curiosity in the vegan candy making process and my incredible sweet tooth.

No.5) Different Shades of Green is cooking up some pumpkin and black bean enchiladas. I'm a big fan of pumpkin in my desserts and baked goods, but I've been a little hesitant to incorporate them into my savory dishes. These enchiladas might just be the transition I need. And let's just give her photography a little shout out, because I'm convinced she could make anything on a plate look good.

Think you have a recipe that I'm absolutely crazy not to try? Email me at Amanda@chubbyveganmom.com and you just might see your dish featured next Friday!

Don't forget to tune into Week Four of VeganMofo here at Chubby Vegan Mom, we'll be going out in style, with desserts and a super awesome giveaway! 

Upside down cornbread beanie and weenie casserole

I am a big fan of upside food.

Whether it's cakes or pizza pies (you better believe it), there's something daring and risk-taking about eating food the wrong way up. And doesn't everything taste better when it's daring and risk-taking?

We're also really into beanies and weenies here at the Chubby Vegan household. In fact, even our tiniest member devours bowls of vegan baked beans and smart dogs like they're going out of style.

So we had the ingredients, we just had to figure out what we could turn "upside down."

And what's better than cornbread? It goes so well with chili, it would naturally taste good with beanies and weenies, right?


It's simple, quick and really hits that comfort-food craving you've been having. I recommend saving it for a chilly night as well.

Upside down cornbread beanie and weenie casserole
(Serves 6-8)
28 oz can of vegan baked beans
4 vegan hot dogs cut into coins (we used Lightlife smart dogs!)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 stick of vegan butter
1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup agave syrup
2 flaxseed eggs (2 TBS flaxseed and 3 TBS warm water, mix and let it sit for 10 minutes)
2 TBS oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix together cornmeal, flour, butter, almond milk, agave syrup, flaxseed eggs and oil. Batter will be lumpy and coarse.
Grease a 9x9 casserole dish and pour baked beans into bottom. Next, add hot dog coins. Top with cornbread batter.
Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown all over.
Scoop out and serve in a bowl with a smidge of sour cream or butter. Yum!


Make it a taco ... pizza night!

I am a girl who likes her tacos.

Whether they're lentil, quinoa or rice and bean tacos, we have some sort of taco-esque food at least once a week in the Chubby Vegan Household.

I am also a girl who likes her pizza.

We don't actually have this as much as I'd like to, mainly because I'm lazy and I don't feel like making the pizza crust from scratch, but too frugal and don't want to buy one.

But for week three of VeganMofo, I decided it was time to bust out the big guns.

We talking taco pizzas (on freshly baked naan bread), stacked with a "cheeze" sauce, soyrizo, black bean and corn salsa and shredded lettuce.

Let's just say these got several thumbs up from Chubby Vegan Dad.

Taco Pizza
(Serves 6)
See the Naan ingredients and directions here. Only change: Sub the cumin and tumeric with 1 TBS of taco seasoning.
Jar of salsa (we chose black bean and corn because it's our favorite)
2 cups shredded lettuce
1 cup soyrizo
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
3 1/2 cups water
1 TBS lemon juice
2 TBS chipotle hot sauce
1/2 cup oats
2 TBS vegan sour cream
2 TBS taco seasoning
2 TBS corn starch
1/4 cup garlic

Make the naan as directed on the page above.
In a skillet, cook soyrizo for 10 minutes in a thin layer of oil.
In a food processor, blend nutritional yeast, water, oats, lemon juice, hot sauce, sour cream, corn starch taco seasoning and garlic.
Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil for three-five minutes, stirring constantly with a whisk (so nothing sticks to the bottom!) until thick.
Spread a layer of cheeze sauce on the naan and top with soyrizo, salsa and shredded lettuce.

This recipe is specifically Chubby Vegan Mom and Dad approved (the little one liked it too, of course).

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A childhood favorite, minus the cruelty (AND freezer burn)

I'm not sure we ever actually ate these when I was little. Sometimes it's hard to understand the line between what  we really consumed and what it seemed like every other American family was.

You know them from nearly every sitcom (about middle class families that is) or possibly more familiarly from your television dinners.

Fish sticks.

Crispy (usually burnt on one end and still frozen on the other), greasy, right out of the freezer, fish sticks.

For a long time after going vegan my husband and I had given up on mock seafood. There was no convincing us that some dry seaweed and lemon could do the trick. Turns out, all it needed was a little extra malt vinegar.

Tofush sticks
(Makes 14 'sticks')
1 16 oz package extra firm tofu
1 cup Malt Vinegar
1/2 cup Olive Oil
2 TBS lemon juice
Old Bay seasoning
Cajun seasoning
Garlic powder
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Corn flake bread crumbs
1 cup Vegenaise (for tartar sauce)
1/4 cup relish (for tartar sauce)

Cut tofu into fish stick sized strips.
Lay between paper towels and depress excess water from it.
Dust a liberal amount of Old Bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning and garlic powder. (See picture for an idea of "liberal.")
Add malt vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice to a dish or bowl and allow tofu sticks to soak for two hours (flip halfway if they're not full submerged).
After they've marinated, warm one inch of canola oil on medium heat in a frying pan.
In a bowl, mix together corn flake breadcrumbs, more Old Bay seasoning, Cajun seasoning and garlic powder.
Dip (or "batter") tofu sticks until covered in crumby deliciousness.
Drop in the oil and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Allow to cool on a plate with a paper towel underneath (to absorb excess oil).
To make tartar sauce, simply mix together Vegenaise and relish with a fork.

These were an absolute hit with not only the Chubby Vegan Mom and Dad, but our Little P as well.

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Cheeseburger lentil loaf, it's magical

I wish I had a big fabulous prelude to this recipe, but I don't.

It's basically vegan cheeseburger meatloaf. Only, we're trying to reduce our intake of fake meat and super processed foods, so we sub lentils for the "meat" part. If you've never tried making a lentil "meat" loaf, I highly recommend it. It's almost impossible to botch and with the right seasonings you can hardly tell the difference.

But this "Cheeseburger" lentil loaf appeases those cravings when regular meat loaf just won't do.

Caution: you're probably going to eat the entire loaf.

In one sitting.

This recipe is Chubby Vegan Mom tested and Pearyn approved!

Cheeseburger lentil loaf
(Serves 4)
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cooked rice
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used panko because I'm cool-o)
1 onion, diced
1 packet of meatloaf seasoning (you can make your own and it's probably way better, but I was a lazy Chubby Vegan Mom today)
1/2 bag of cheddar Daiya cheese
3/4 cup vegenaise
1/4 cup mustard
Ketchup, to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Once you've cooked your rice and lentils, mix them together in a medium bowl.
Add breadcrumbs, seasoning, onion, Daiya cheese, vegenaise and mustard.
Blend until lentils are mashed and the mixture is sticking together.
Either place in a greased loaf pan or form into round/ovalish loaf and place in a greased casserole dish.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, broil for three minutes if you like the top a little crispy.


Italian Wedding Manicotti (let's call it a soup face lift)

The next recipe I've tackled for week three of VeganMofo is a veganized Italian Wedding Soup Manicotti.

Let's be honest here. Who needs a clear, brothy soup when you can have parmesan sausage and escarole stuffed manicotti, baked in a creamy "chicken" rue?  

I know what you're thinking -- what the heck is escarole?

I don't really have the answers for you, I could pretend to and go Google it, but I'd rather not lie to you. I can tell you this much, though; it's green, looks a little like curly bib lettuce and people use it a lot in Italian Wedding Soup. 

Escarole not tempting enough? Picture this: your favorite creamy, homey, chicken noodle soup with (surprise!) savory sausage and a rich paremesan flavor. Ready to try it now? Good. 

Italian Wedding Manicotti
(Serves 4)
One box of manicotti (mine came with 16 in it)
1 package of Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage (probably my favorite sausage replacement)
32 oz carton of Imagine Organic No Chicken Broth (this is essential, plain old veggie broth just won't do)
1 cup shredded escarole
1/2 cup vegan parmesan (or nutritional yeast suffice)
1 large onion diced (I used the sweet variety)
4 TBS vegan butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup minced garlic
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

Boil your manicotti (mine took seven minutes). Once cooked, allow to bathe in cool water for two minutes. Drain and get ready to stuff!
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a medium to large saucepan, bring your butter and no-chicken broth to boil. Whisk in whole wheat flour and stir constantly for 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat. (Your liquid should be getting creamy). Stir in salt and pepper to taste. 

In a small bowl, mix gimme lean sausage, Italian seasoning, diced onion, shredded escarole, parmesan and minced garlic. Mash all the ingredients together until well blended.
Take the sausage mixture and roll into an oversized golf ball, then roll into a link, see picture below. (I know, it's a little on the chunky hot dog, kind of phallic side of things).

Place sausage link into the empty manicotti and then place in a greased casserole dish (mine was a 9x13). Continue until all the shells are stuffed. 
Pour creamy chicken rue on top and bake for 20 minutes.

Make this for your friends and astound them with your thinking-outside-of-the-box mentality.


Bananas and coffee for dinner? Oh my!

The Chubby Vegan Clan has returned from their fabulous beachy vacation. Don't tell anyone but we're actually still trying to catch up on all the sleep we lost during our 5 p.m.-5 a.m. commute. Trust me, with an incredibly busy and bounce 17-month-old we didn't want to risk driving during too much daylight, it would be a recipe for disaster.

What wasn't a recipe for disaster, however, was our attempt at tackling the second VeganMofo Iron Chef Challenge. While I was busy dreaming up heavenly desserts and scrumptious breakfast ideas, my bubble was quickly burst when I realized this is Week 3 of VeganMofo, which means I'm featuring dinner (aka NOT dessert and NOT breakfast). 

How the heck could you eat bananas and coffee for dinner?
Thank Heavens for that 12-hour drive to figure it out and my husbands idea for a killer coffee barbecue sauce! 

Coffee BBQ baked banana polenta with carrot mash
(Serves 6)
Polenta ingredients: 
2 cups water
1 cup almond milk
1/2 stick vegan butter
1 ripe banana
1 cup corn grits
1/2 cup corn meal
1 tsp salt

Carrot mash ingredients:
1/2 pound baby carrots (we used fresh but frozen would work)
8-10 large yukon gold potatoes 
1 sweet onion
1/2 stick butter
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 TBS minced garlic

Coffee barbecue sauce ingredients:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup molasses
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup spicy brown mustard
1 TBS vegan steak sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp blackened seasoning
1/4 tsp hot sauce (we used chipotle Tabasco)
1 TBS coffee extract

Dice carrots and potatoes and boil (together) in a large pot for 20-25 minutes or until tender. Once cooked, either use a hand masher to mash them together (if you like them chunky) or throw them in your favorite food processor to form an even blend. 
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Peel one ripe banana and smash with a hand masher until gooey and chunk-free.
In a medium saucepan, boil two cups water, one cup almond milk and 1/2 stick butter. Add mashed banana, corn grits, corn meal and salt. Reduce heat to low and stir for five minutes. Let sit for five minutes. 
Grease a casserole dish (I used a glass 9x9) and spread polenta mix evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm on the outside. Cut into six slices. 
In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the barbecue sauce (in no particular order). 
To plate, spoon a layer of carrot mash, followed by a slice of baked banana polenta. Drizzle or (pour) coffee barbecue sauce on top.

Side note: If you've been buying barbecue sauce, stop, now. It's SO easy to make and you probably have most of the ingredients on hand, PLUS you can make your own variation by swapping out steak sauce for other sauces, like teriyaki or buffalo). If you don't have molasses on hand, buy some to keep in your pantry, it's not just great for sauces, but pies and cookies.


Not your momma's coleslaw

Yesterday you might have noticed this giant mound of deliciousness on the plate next to my curry pita. Don't remember and too lazy to scroll down and look for the picture?

I'll refresh your memory.

It looks so creamy and normal, it's hard to believe it's vegan.

But don't be mistaken. This isn't your mother's coleslaw. This is a flavorful, Asian-fusion slaw which balances out the almost sickeningly creamy vegenaise base with a tangy white rice vinegar and just the right amount of sesame oil. Add some bok choy stalks, a little fresh ginger and your run-of-the-mill coleslaw ingredients and you've got yourself a new spin on a family favorite. Even Little P couldn't resist this delicious coleslaw and its extra zip, and she doesn't even like vegenaise!

Not your momma's coleslaw
(Serves 6-8)
2 bags coleslaw mix (because I was lazy and didn't want to deal with the cabbage in head form)
1 cup shredded carrot
1 large onion diced
2 stalks bok choy
2 TBS sesame oil
3/4 cup white rice vinegar
1 cup vegenaise
2 TBS sugar
1 TBS dry mustard
1 TBS cumin

Dice veggies and toss them together in a large bowl.
Add sesame oil, vinegar, vegenaise, sugar, dry mustard and cumin. Fold ingredients until all the veggie are coated in a creamy-tangy layer.
Place in a food processor and "process" or "blend" for a few seconds (this will result in a super tiny, all the ingredients blend together) type coleslaw. (Just don't overpurify and end up with a goopy mess)!
Place in the fridge for one hour and serve.


Fab Five Friday: the second VeganMofo edition

Despite my measly three recipes this week for VeganMofo lunch, I'm still taking VeganMofo very seriously. (In case you didn't know, the Chubby Vegan Clan packed their bags and headed south to Hilton Head for a week-long vacation). So the fact that I was able to cook up THREE homemade vegan meals while being 700 miles away from my kitchen says a lot.

That, and on my last day in Hilton Head I've devoted nearly two hours to scouring other VeganMofo bloggers looking for this week's Fab Five Friday recipes. (All while I should be packing. I was about two seconds away from hauling my laptop to the beach, but decided I'd probably end up with sand in the keyboard and crabs in the motherboard).  

So without further ado, here are my picks (in no particular order) for this week's Fab Five VeganMofo Friday. And thanks again to all you VeganMofoers for making it so difficult to pick!

No. 1: Veggie Converter's recipe for bacon cheeseburger soup. Um, can we say holy yummy? It doesn't matter that I'm in 80-degree, sunny, beach weather, Veggie Converter just took two of my favorite things and made them ridiculous easy to eat: bacon and cheeseburgers, in liquid form. And mad, mad bonus points to Veggie Converter for using a lentil-rice blend as the "burger" meat. You rock!

No. 2: Growing up Veg's recipe for vegan spaghettios. Are you kidding me? For the last four years my husband and I have (lazily) sought already-made, straight-from-a-can, reminiscent-of-our-childhood vegan spaghettios, without success. And while I knew it was probably pretty easy and quick to make our own batch, I never really went to the trouble of doing it (I have a bad habit of mixing up tomato paste and tomatoe puree). Growing up Veg took all the guesswork out for me (thank you), so now my daughter won't be deprived of a traditional childhood meal. 

No. 3: Operation Veggie's veganized spinach and pepperjack hot pockets. Who doesn't like spinach and pepperjack cheese all wrapped up in a flaky, crust of deliciousness? Crazy people, that's who. And I'm not crazy, so you better believe this Chubby Vegan Clan is going to be testing out a few delicious hot pocket recipes of our own. Maybe you'll even be lucky enough to see a few next week, when I take on dinners for VeganMofo. 

No. 4: Awkward Vegans' recipe for tempeh chili. Apparently, I'm craving some serious soupage for my chilly departure from the beach (well, that might make sense, except I think it's actually been hotter in our Ohio hometown than our beachy getaway). The Chubby Vegan Clan seriously digs chili, but I have yet to ever make a tempeh version (which is silly, because I love me some tempeh)! I think I have some smokey barbecue and maple tempeh calling my name for this recipe. 

No. 5: My Fab Five VeganMofo Friday wouldn't be complete without a dessert and Bite me (I'm Vegan)'s Caramel Coffee Cake seriously fits the bill. In fact, Bite me (I'm Vegan) had me at hello (or caramel, whichever). This cake looks moist, fluffy and covered in just the right amount of caramel. But let's be honest, can you ever go wrong when you pour caramel all over something? 

Think you have a recipe that I'm absolutely insane not to try (or feature!)? Email me at amanda@chubbyveganmom.com and you just might see your dish featured next Friday! 

Collecting the currage to tackle curry (yes, I meant to spell that wrong)

For the last four years, I've been afraid to tackle anything curry, Thai or Indian related. While I absolutely adore the food, I was pretty sure that I couldn't even begin to understand the mysterious ways of all those spices, coconut milk and curry.

So for the last four years of my vegan life (because I didn't know Thai or Indian existed before then), I've been quenching my thirst for spicy and flavorful food by ordering out. A lot.

I'm lucky to have a few pretty kick-butt Thai and Indian places around my city, but since I've been trying to slim our food budget down, our take out consumption has as well.

So finally, with some inspiration from my friend, The Tofu Princess, I decided to tackle a delicious Thai dish of my own.

Disclaimer: I do in fact know there is a considerable difference in Thai and Indian food (particularly their curries). But because the ingredients I had on hand were more Thai-like, we went ahead and rolled with it.

This is shown with some tangy vegan coleslaw, tune in tomorrow for this recipe!
Curry currage wraps
(Serves 4-6)
1 onion diced up
1 lb bag of frozen vegetables, I used the typical broccoli, carrot and cauliflower concoction (you can of course use fresh, but we're on vacation and I'm lazy)
15 oz can chickpeas (because seriously, they make everything better)
2 tsp tumeric
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp corriander
1 TBS curry powder
1 tsp fresh ginger
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup minced garlic
15 oz can coconut milk
2 TBS sugar
2 cups cooked brown rice
6-8 pita wraps (tortilla would work too)

Boil the frozen veggies and carrots for about 5 minutes (we want to start the cooking process, but we don't want to complete it).
Throw them in a wide saucepan and mix in coconut milk, curry, corriander, tumeric, cumin, ginger, garlic, sugar, salt and chickpeas.
Cook for 10-15 minutes on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally.
Let cool for 5 minutes and then toss some brown rice and curried veggies in a pita and you're done!

This is a seriously simple curry dish for those who are fearful of all it's powers (like me). Don't be afraid to give it a try!


One MAJOR reason to get in your car and drive to Hilton Head, right now

I'm serious folks.

You need to drop whatever you're doing, hop in your car, plane or bus, and get your fancy selves down to Hilton Head, South Carolina.

What's the emergency you may ask?

It's a vegan one.

An amazing vegan one, to be exact.

Robert Irvine, star of "Dinner Impossible" and "Restaurant Impossible" has an ultra cool, super trendy, crazy stylish restaurant in this peaceful beach town -- Eat. (Yes, I want you to eat, but his restaurant is actually called 'Eat').

To the naked eye, there is nothing even remotely vegan on the menu. You're surrounded by filet mignon, blackened grouper and cheesy mushroom crepes (not to mention bread pudding with Tabasco ice cream that could sway even a veteran vegan -- no, we didn't go against our vegan ways, so quit your judging), there isn't a butter-free vegetable or plain pasta dish in sight.

Don't get us wrong. We usually prefer hole-in-the-wall cafes to this type of dining experience. But there's one really nice thing about ultra cool, super trendy, crazy stylish restaurants -- they have ultra creative, super talented, crazy chefs that are often willing to think outside of the box for us outside-of-the-box eaters.

Case in point this ridiculously amazing Cilantro lime seared tofu on a bed of citrus pumpkin and potato dice.

I kid you not, this is hands down the BEST tofu dish I have ever had in my four years of veganism (because you know, I didn't dare eat tofu before I went vegan). My only complaint was that I wanted more, like four dinners worth more, which really speaks to my gluttony and the chef's mad tofu skills.

The even better part? There wasn't one cube of tofu on the menu. This is something they just have "in case" a vegan or vegetarian with a hankering for tofu just strolls on in. On an island that has been nearly-nightmarish to find vegan fare, this famous chef-douting, fancy grassfed meat and organic cheese carrying restaurant kept tofu nearby "just in case."

That gets like 40 thumbs up in my book.


The perfect side for your perfect picnic

About a month ago my husband and I decided to step out of our boring rut we'd found ourselves in and started going on more picnics. On Mondays and Tuesdays - days when my husband and I both get out early enough to enjoy the day still - we found ourselves packing the same boring things: lunch "meat" sandwiches, fruit and carrot sticks. Seriously, we were one milk box shy of being in fourth grade all over again.

So finally I started recreating picnic favorites from our past, things like macaroni and fruit salad and chocolate chip cookies.

We definitely spiced up our picnics with things from our past, so here's a macaroni salad to take you WAY back.

Pasta from your past
(Makes a WHOLE bunch)
1lb cooked pasta of your choice (elbow macaroni if you're really throwing back)
2 cups Vegenaise
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
4 roma tomatoes diced up
1 large onion diced up
2 cucumbers diced up
1 can chickpeas
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tsps mustard powder

Boil the pasta (al dente) and then fold in vegenaise. Add vinegar, sugar, salt, pepper and mustard powder. Dice up veggies and add tomatoes, onion, cucumbers and chickpeas. Refrigerate for an hour and then enjoy! 


The lemon chickpea patty that could ...

I apologize friends, but I'm probably going to neglect my personal anecdotes when it comes to week two of VeganMofo. The Chubby Vegan Clan packed up, hauled off and is spending a week-long vacation in Hilton Head.

So far we've gotten wild and crazy strolling on the boardwalk and chilling by the pool (the indoor one because it hasn't stopped raining since we got here, figures).

But fear not friends, I happened to cook up a few things before we left the Buckeye State and will be entertaining you with delicious lunches all week. And who knows, considering how anti-vegan this island is, we just might cook up some Chubby Vegan lunch, vacation-style.

Stay tuned.

Lemon Chickpea Patties (that can ... and do)
Serves (4-6)
2 15 oz cans chickpeas
1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 TBS olive oil
Juice of one lemon & zest (use two lemons if you REALLY dig citrus)
Half a bunch of cilantro, diced
1/2 cup Tofutti sour cream
2 flaxseed eggs (2 TBS flaxseed and 3 TBS warm water, LET IT SIT)
Salt & pepper to taste

Smash up chickpeas (I don't like to blend or purify them, you want a lumpy, gritty texture), stir in sour cream, lemon juice, zest, olive oil, flaxseed eggs, cilantro, salt and pepper. Fold in panko bread crumbs and cornmeal.
Roll into a ball and squish down, forming smallish-sized patties.
In a skillet, warm a thin coating of oil on medium heat.
Once hot, cook each patty for 2-3 minutes on each side.
Let rest on a paper town for five minutes, then enjoy on a sandwich, in a pita or by itself!

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Ooey gooey cinnamon rolls mom would NOT approve of

Let's face it. There's absolutely no point in eating cinnamon rolls if they're not ooey, gooey, sticky and so full of sugar you feel like they're giving you a cavity right there on the spot.

And not only are the dry, low-fat, "healthy" versions of these bad boys fail to excite the taste buds, cinnamon rolls are a pain in the butt to make.

I get a craving for cinnamon rolls at least once a month, but because they require so much effort I usually settle for toast with butter and cinnamon sprinkled on it. It's not so much that they're hard to make, there's just a real process to doing it right and I usually don't start making them early enough to qualify as "breakfast."

But for the special occasion when I make these sugar-filled, doughy, rolls of perfection, (for visitors, Saturday coffee with the women folk), they come out flawlessly.

A little more high maintenance of a breakfast, but so worth the effort when you've got an insatiable craving.

Ooey gooey cinnamon rolls
(Makes 12-14 rolls)
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup applesauce
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

Icing Ingredients:
4 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/4 cup almond milk (you want this icing to be a sort of glaze.)

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and yeast. Fold in almond milk, butter, applesauce, 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.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Once dough has settled, roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. Mix together filling ingredients and baste rolled rectangle dough with sugary, cinnamon mixture. Roll long side to long side, pinch ends and then cut into 12-14 slices. Place in greased cake pan (so the dough can soak up the gooey inside) and bake for 15-20 minutes. 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.

Now this my friends, is the RIGHT way to end week one of VeganMofo.


Fab Five Friday -- the VeganMofo edition

I couldn't sleep very well last night.

It could have been the thousand cups of coffee I'd had with my super yummy homemade pumpkin pie coffee syrup, but I think it was because I was conflicted about my Fab Five Friday posts during VeganMofo. I'm already blogging like 435% more than I normally do, so was I really going to do TWO full-fledged Friday posts?

I'm dedicated to my blog routines, however, so I decided the best and fairest way to represent both Chubby Vegan Mom AND VeganMofo would be to marry the two posts. 

So for the month of October (aka the month of kick-ass vegan food), I've decided to dedicate my Fab Five Friday posts to some of the scrumptious and amazing things my fellow vegans are cooking up. Every Friday you'll find me perusing the blogroll on VeganMofo and picking out some of the crazy delicious things I want to try. And then, I'll highlight them here! 

Without further ado, here are my five picks (in no particular order) for the first week of VeganMofo:

No. 1) The Vegan Version's recipe for Black bean and corn pie. This is something that I need to eat, like now. It started out as a hodge podge of treats from the garden and ended up a super savory pie! Dinner pies totally appeal to this Chubby Vegan Mom, mainly because I'm lazy and it allows me to throw our protein, grains and veggies all into one tasty circle!

No. 2) A,B,C Vegan's recipe for veganizing a pecan pie. I know, you're thinking "But Chubby Vegan Mom, it's just a pecan pie, what's so special about that?" I'll tell you what I find so miraculous and special about a pecan pie. It's basically the one dessert I refuse to make. A few years ago I was determined to make one as delicious as my aunt and sister-in-law's nonvegan versions were and I failed. We're talking super, mondo, EPIC failure. Since then I've reserved my pecans for muffins and nonsugar-goo based pies. So seeing this pie reminds me of what all my terrible veganed out pecan pies could have been.

No. 3) The Tofu Princess' homemade recipe for Baingan Bharta has me ready to whip up a batch of naan and call it a night. I've been incredibly scared to make Indian food from scratch (except for the naan), mainly because it's full of curries I can't make taste right and spices I don't know how to use. But this recipe is far more intriguing than scary ... although, it could just be the "baingan" photos she has to go with it, ha, I'm hilarious.

No. 4) Down Home Vegan's recipe for Not chicken enchilada soup makes me crave a chilly fall night and a vegan churro (anyone got a recipe for one of those?). Or maybe I just need to get some Mexican food in me ASAP, who knows. But I've been wanting to try this "reconstructed" enchilada turned soup for a long time, and Down Home Vegan does an excellent job of detailing exactly how I should go about doing that.

No. 5) While Little House on the Vegan Prairie has a ton of recipes that I'm drooling over, I couldn't resist the chance to recognize the peanut butter pumpkin dog treats she wrote about yesterday. Not only do they include pumpkin and peanut butter (some of my favorite fall flavors), but they celebrate a very large put of our veganism -- the animals. Why not show our companion animals a little love this VeganMofo and cook them up a batch of Little House on the Vegan Prairie's dog treats?

Think you have a recipe that I'm absolutely crazy not to try? Email me at Amanda@chubbyveganmom.com and you just might see your dish featured next Friday! 

Seriously suspicious sausage gravy (it's just that good).

When I was still a, flesh-eating, zombie (a time I lovingly refer to as my childhood), we used to go to Bob Evans for family breakfasts, softball tournaments and really any time that warranted pancakes.

On the off chance I wasn't stuffing my face with a stack of pancakes (have you noticed that the only way I'll actually entertain the thought of eating breakfast is if it's a dessert?), I was probably filling up on their super savory sausage, biscuits and gravy.

This recipe is a serious, country-road-take-me-home quality breakfast.

And it's brought to you by the Chubby Vegan Dad. He has been cooking this up (as breakfast, lunch OR dinner) for the last few years and because he does such a kick-butt job with it, I designated him the sole sausage gravy chef.

Seriously suspicious sausage gravy
(Serves 4-6)
1 "tube" of Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage (SO good)
2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (you can add a little more depending on what texture you're desiring, the more flour, the more thick and lumpy)
Handful of minced garlic
LOADS of pepper (to taste, but hubby puts a serious grind on our black pepper for this recipe)
Cajun seasoning (to taste)
If you're lazy in the morning like I am and don't feel like baking biscuits, a package of crescent rolls

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and bake crescent rolls for 10-15 minutes.
Tear "sausage" into chunks and cook in a skillet with garlic on low-medium heat until browned.
In a saucepan, mix butter and almond milk and bring it to a low boil. Add in whole wheat flour and whisk on a low boil for a few minutes, reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken. Stir in as much black pepper and cajun seasoning as your palette prefers.
Mix sausage and garlic into gravy.
Smother crescent rolls in sausage gravy.

Drool. A LOT.


Your five-minute pumpkin pie fix

It's day six of VeganMofo and I'm already sleep deprived.

Don't worry faithful readers and fellow vegheads, I'm not complaining, I absolutely adore everything VeganMofo stands for. 

I do not, however, absolutely adore my decision to make my first week of my first Veganmofo dedicated to breakfast. Do you know how much earlier you have to get up in the morning to make breakfast?

Things in our house are hectic. Chubby Vegan Hubby is away on a business trip, I'm busy wrapping up three different projects at work (not to mention starting like eight new ones) and somewhere in between all this chaos we're supposed to be raising a functional future member of society AND packing for our week-long getaway to Hilton Head. 

So what is a Chubby Vegan Mom supposed to cook for breakfast when she has no time (or patience, sense and focus)?

Make coffee. Big, giant pots of coffee. 

But in the spirit of VeganMofo and my favorite season in the entire world, I'm going to bless you with this super yummy, super simple pumpkin pie flavored coffee syrup recipe.

A five-minute pumpkin pie fix
(Makes 2 cups)
4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream (yes, this is crucial! We use So Delicious Coconut Vanilla Bean)
1/2 cup water
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
In a saucepan, bring all the ingredients to a simmer over low heat. Whisk to keep from sticking/burning.
Cook until the sugar and pumpkin is completely dissolved into the syrup. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then pour into an airtight container. Refrigerate and use within 10 days.


The sausage, egg and cheese biscuit, reconstructed

Lets face it. While most things are pretty easy to veganize, scrambled eggs are a little bit trickier to mock and a lot of people are scared of tofu. I was afraid of tofu for the first year of being vegan, until my husband started making this delicious tofu scramble blend. So for my VeganMofo breakfast week, I decided to tackle at least one recipe that was an "eggy" dish AND one that wasn't a dessert. Ha.

My parents gave us an idea to make a vegan version of their go-to breakfast biscuit, so we added a little tofu scramble, some crumbled "sausage" and vegan cheese to a simple Bisquick drop biscuit recipe. The result is a crunchy, golden brown exterior with a soft, hearty interior. This recipe makes about 20-24 biscuits, so feel free to freeze the leftovers for a quick and easy breakfast on the run.

Drop Breakfast Biscuits
(Makes 20-24 biscuits)
For the Tofu Scramble:
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon thyme, crushed with your fingers
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Old Bay blackened seasoning

For the scramble:
1 lb. extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1 "tube" Gimme Lean Sausage, crumbled
1 tablespoon olive oil
2-3 shallots (or you can use a medium onion, we think shallots have a sweeter flavor)
Minced garlic to taste (we use around two tablespoons)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 cup cheese (we use Daiya because it's crazy delicious and has a great stretchy quality)

For the biscuit:
4 1/2 cups Bisquick mix
1 1/3 cups almond milk

Blend the ingredients in a bowl, mix in a crumbled sausage and add Daiya cheddar cheese.
Tofu mixture should be crumbled but still chunky.
In another bowl, mix together Bisquick mix and almond milk. Mix together to form a sticky batter, don’t knead.
Stir the tofu scramble, sausage and cheese mixture in with the biscuit batter.
Using a large spoon, drop large scoops of batter onto a lightly-greased pan.
Bake for 10-15 minutes on 450 degrees, or until golden brown. The bottom will brown before the top, so don’t overcook!
Let cool for 5 minutes then enjoy a cruelty-free, cholesterol-free, not-quite-healthy-or-unhealthy breakfast!


Apple Pie a la Muffin

Let me tell you how my morning went.

For starters, I went to bed way too late. Why is it that I decide at 11 p.m. that all the dishes in the sink need to be washed, the overflowing pile of laundry laundered and the war-zone of Pearyn's toys tamed? Apparently I'm a glutton for punishment (or I just suffer from serious micromanagement, whichever).

So I get up and stumble into the bathroom to try and conquer my morning breath, which, is pretty normal, except while picking fuzz (dear God I hope it was just fuzz) out of my hair I drop a giant blob of bling-blinging white toothpaste on my favorite, cozy, wear-every-single-night-if-it's-not-dirty tank top. Ladies, you know which one I'm talking about. It's worn in (but not so worn in that it looks sloppy), it's comfortable and it makes you look good. This is essential for me in the mornings. And now, I'm going to have to wait a good two-three days to wash said heavenly tank top because as I said earlier, I already tackled our mountain of cloth diapers, hubby's work uniforms and my random items of casual business attire.

I know, it's another one of Chubby Vegan Mom's drawn out, has-no-point stories.

Except I do.

So while I absolutely detest, seriously detest breakfast and all things morning food, I decided the only way to turn my day around was to start it off with some super scrumptious, dessert-disguised-as-breakfast, snack. That's right, friends. I ate dessert for breakfast two (count them), two days in a row (oh no she didn't!)

And while your sweet tooth probably doesn't rival mine, I guarantee you're going to want to save this recipe for one of your rainy days (or you know, one of those "drop a giant glob of toothpaste on your favorite tank top" days).

Apple Pie a la Muffin
(Makes 24 mini-muffins, because everything is better mini)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (lets get a little goodness in there)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 cup almond milk (with a tablespoon of lemon extract added to it, let it sit for 5 minutes)
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups diced apple (I used pink ladies because their super sweet and crisp)
2 tsp vanilla
1 TBS cinnamon (plus some to sprinkle)
Hazelnuts (to sprinkle on top)
Raw, big, fat crystal sugar (to sprinkle on top)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Take one large or two medium apples and dice them up super tiny.
Throw them into a pan with 1 stick of butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Cook on low heat for 10-15 minutes. (You're essentially creating the "apple pie" filling here.
In a bowl, mix flour, white sugar, almond milk, apple juice, applesauce, vanilla and 1 TBS cinnamon.

Fold in gooey, buttery, baked apple mixture. Spoon into greased mini-muffin tins. Top with crunchy sugar and hazelnuts to taste (or whatever nut your heart desires).
Bake for 12-15 minutes (or until golden brown on the outside and springy in the middle.

Now, what was I complaining about?


Start your Monday morning off right (with dessert!)

I have a confession.

I am the Chubby Vegan Mom and I do not like breakfast.

That's really why this VeganMofo thing is such a challenge to me. I hardly ever cook anything delectable for breakfast or lunch, mainly because I'm not hungry until noon and I'm kitchen-lazy until dinner. This basically means a lot of skipped meals (but not pounds, since people who eat breakfast are less likely to be overweight) and bland bean and rice tacos for lunch.

The beauty of making Week One of my VeganMofo journey breakfast? 

I'm taking myself out of my comfort zone. 

So in true VeganMofo fasion, one fabulous vegan I'd never met before left a comment on my blog. I went ahead and cruised over to hers (because isn't that what we do, we want to know exactly who is checking us out), when I came across a post about her love of honeycrisp apples, I decided to take a walk on the wild side and try something new too (with said honeycrisp apples).

And that is how my caramel apple french toast was created. 

I'm not going to lie to you folks. I severely under-anticipated the skill level required to make this breakfast food. An hour and a few batches later, I finally got the hang of it and ended up with something not just edible, but ridiculously good. 

Caramel Apple French Toast
(Serves 4)
8 slices of Texas Toast (big, thick, bread-on-steroids)
An undetermined amount of cinnamon
1 1/2 cups almond milk
Raw, big, fat crystal sugar for a crunchy topping
3 honeycrisp apples (or your fav, I encourage you to give a new apple a whirl)
1 stick of butter (plus a little extra to cook the apples in. Also, I've had questions from readers about what butter I use and for this it was Blue Bonnet Light*). 
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract 
3 TBS cornstarch 
Powdered sugar (for topping, if desired)

Peel three apples, cut them into smaller wedges and cook them on low-medium heat in butter (about 1/2 a stick). Sprinkle a little cinnamon on top. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until apples are golden and soft.
While the apples are cooking, start your caramel sauce in a small sauce pan. Melt one stick of butter and stir in 1/2 cup of milk and 1 tsp vanilla extract. Add in brown sugar and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, for three minutes. Whisk cornstarch in and then turn heat off, allowing caramel sauce to thicken as it cools.

For the French toast, pour 1 cup of milk into a bowl (large enough for you to dip your bread in) and mix in remaining tsp of vanilla. Do a quick dip on both sides (letting it sit will cause soggy bread, I learned the hard way, so take my word), then top one side with a raw, big, fat, sugar crystal topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon. In an oiled pan, cook french toast on each side for two minutes (or until crispy brown on the outside).

Place on a plate and top with cooked apples and caramel sauce. Both hubby and I were only able to put back a few pieces each because of how stunningly sweet this breakfast was. 

But for a fall morning? The calories, effort and sugar are more than worth it. 

*Blue Bonnet Light was confirmed as having no animal ingredients, but the regular version DOES have a milk ingredient, so be careful!


Do YOU VeganMofo?

Hurray! It's here! The most magical time of year! Time to get my cooking into gear! But never fear! My counter top is clear!

I'm going to stop rhyming now, because it's not catchy, just lame.

It's midnight, I have a small child that has been asleep for four hours and will undoubtedly rise far too early tomorrow morning, so why am I still up you might ask?

Because I'm dedicated ... or crazy, whichever.

It's October 1, which means it's VeganMofo. Oh, you're not in the cool, elusive community who knows what the heck VeganMofo is? It's one entire month dedicated to none other than vegans, vegan food and vegans blogging about vegan food. It's my first year participating and I'm a combination of abashed, anxious and ecstatic.

So what exactly are you in store for?

Lots and lots of Chubby Vegan Mom in the month of October. Probably more Chubby Vegan Mom than any one person can handle. But we'll take it day by day and you just might find I'm not so bad after all.

What on Earth will I find to blog about for an entire month?

Well, not to spill the beans, but here's a sneak peek!

Week One will focus on certified, country-fied (not fried, fied), Vegan breakfasts. We're not talking about those flimsy pancakes fast food chains serve. We're talking fluffy, pillowy pancakes and super savory sausage and gravy.

Week Two will focus on light lunches and snacks. Whether it's throwing something yummy into a pita pocket or whipping up some macaroni salad, this Chubby Vegan Mom promises to provide you with a variety of simple lunch ideas and kid-friendly snacks. Lunch is an incredibly neglected meal at our house, so this will be the real challenge for me.

Week Three will feature - you guessed it - dinner, with some kick-butt appetizers to boot. Here in the Chubby Vegan Mom household, dinner is the one meal a day that we usually get to spend together. So we gather round the table (or have a living room floor picnic if the little one is being difficult) and nosh on some seriously scrumptious and seriously vegan food. You can be on the lookout for some yummy pizza ideas and maybe even a Not-BBQ seitan sandwich, the perfect dinner for friends, patios and a few cold beers.

Week Four will assure a strong VeganMofo finish, as it'll be seven glorious days of vegan desserts. Death by chocolate desserts, extravagant cupcakes and maybe a pie here and there, and I promise you this week will not disappoint. Because honestly, everything really is fine in moderation and with regular exercise and lots of water. Always drink water.

As usual, the recipes that appear on Chubby Vegan Mom are all kid-tested, kid-approved and will have mom and dad licking their plates. They're that good.

And be forewarned, excuses are not accepted. I am in no way, shape or form what one would consider a chef. So if it can be done by me (a self-declared Martha Stewart of baked goods, but more tv dinner in the kitchen) it can be done by you.