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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Crock pot full of chick peas AND a marinade recipe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vegan crack potato casserole a la crock pot

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

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

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

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

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

Directions:

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

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

Let it sit for two hours.

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

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

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

My husband and I grew up quite differently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a homemade applesauce conformist.

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

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

2 TBS brown sugar (just to add a bit of sweetness)
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
Juice from one lemon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple sweet and sour tofu

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

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

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

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

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

Simple Sweet and Sour Tofu

(serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

1 block of extra firm tofu

1 head of broccoli

3 bell peppers (I went with red, yellow and green)

1 large onion

3 carrots (I cut them into inch-long strips)

1 can of pineapple chunks (this can be small or large depending on your love of pineapple)

Brown rice (or whatever kind of grain/vessel you’d like to put your sweet and sour tofu on)

Cornstarch (you’re going to roll your tofu squares around in this)

2 TBS butter

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

Sweet and Sour sauce ingredients:

1 cup rice vinegar

1/3 cup brown sugar

3 TBS ketchup

1/4 cup pineapple juice (you can use the juice from the canned pineapple if you want to get wild and crazy)

4 TBS cornstarch 

2 TBS soy sauce

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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When someone gives you chocolate, you eat it

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Vegan pumpkin pie oatmeal … overnight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns, courtesy of your crock pot

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

It’s basically the best idea anyone had. 

Ever.

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

Like, gooey, sweet and deliciously fluffy perfect. 

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

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

 

Pumpkin Spice Cinnamon Buns

(Makes 12-14 rolls)

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 package active dry yeast

1/2 cup vanilla almond milk

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup pureed pumpkin

1/2 cup canola oil

1 Flaxseed egg (1 TBS flaxseed to 1 1/2 TBS warm water, let it sit for 5 minutes)

Filling Ingredients:

1/3 cup butter

1/3 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp nutmeg

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp ground gloves

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

1/2 tsp lemon juice

 

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and yeast. Fold in almond milk, water, pumpkin, flaxseed egg and oil into try ingredients. Form into a ball and let it sit in bowl, covered with a towel, for 30-45 minutes.

Once dough has settled, roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface. 

Mix together filling ingredients and baste rolled rectangle dough with sugary, pumpkin spice mixture. Roll long side to long side, pinch ends and then cut into 12-14 slices. 

Place in greased crock pot and cook on high for 60-90 minutes (perform the toothpick test to determine doneness. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go!)

Mix up icing/glaze and pour over hot rolls to create an ooey, gooey, perfectly moist cinnamon bun. Top with pecan pieces if you’re feeling wild.

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Vegan pizza dip, perfect for any party

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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