Vegan pretzel dog bites and beer cheese (we’re knee deep in baseball season)

It’s the most magical time of the year again! No, I’m not crazy and stuck in a winter wonderland, it’s baseball season folks.

Every baseball season my husband and I try to celebrate it with some of our favorite ballpark foods — veganized of course. One year we did chili cheese fries, the next chili cheese dogs, heck, we even ate peanuts out of the shell once (we’re dedicated, what can I say).

So this year it was kind of challenging trying to come up with something to top all our other favorites. Instead of focusing on just traditional ballpark fare, why not try to go a little more upscale on our first-pitch favorites. (Bet you’re wondering how many cliche baseball references I can squeeze into this one recipe, aren’t ya?)

Well, lucky for you, I’ve got plenty more under my ole’ cap, and this is actually going to be TWO recipes in ONE blog post.

I know, right?

OK, all kidding aside, if you’re a fan of America’s favorite past time, if you just like hot dogs rolled up in pretzels or hell, maybe you like eating food made of beer, I don’t know; you should really, really, really give this recipe a try. Total moment of honesty here: I’ve never made my own pretzels before, let alone shoved a hot dog in the middle of one.

But this was much easier than I ever dreamt it could be and the result was SO so SO so good. I was seriously leery of even attempting my own pretzel dough because, well, sometimes I don’t have the best luck with dough. Crazy, right? And when I started reading more about pretzel dough and how you achieve it’s pretzelness, I was seriously confused. But I promise you. Just follow these directions and you will be so happy you have these little bites a shot!

Partner them with the ever-sophisticated beer cheese dip and you’ve got yourself the perfect pair to take you out to the ball game (you can even have some Cracker Jack after because they’re accidentally vegan)!

Vegan pretzel dogs and beer cheese dip
(serves 3-4)
Pretzel dog bites ingredients:
1 cup warm water
1/2 stick of vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)
4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 TBS light brown sugar
2 tsps active dry yeast (or almost the entirety of one little package)
2 tsp salt
1 package vegan hot dogs (we used the Lightlife Smart dogs, the regular ones, with 8 in a package)
Oil to lightly coat bowl
Water to boil
1/2 cup baking soda
Coarse kosher salt to top pretzel dogs

Beer cheese ingredients:
1 bottle beer (I chose Eurotrash Pilz)
3 cups shredded vegan cheese (I used cheddar Daiya shreds)
8 ounces vegan cream cheese (we used the Trader Joes variety)
1 TBS garlic, minced

Directions:
In a mixing bowl, stir together warm water, melted vegan butter, brown sugar and yeast. Mix in stand mixer or with hand mixer until fully combined (a couple of minutes usually). Add salt and flour (cup by cup), either stir by hand or on low with your stand mixer. Repeat until all the flour is added. Knead the dough until it pulls away slightly from the bowl. If the dough is too sticky and damp, add 1 TBS of flour until you achieve the stretchy, doughy consistency we want.

Set your dough aside in a ball-shape and lightly oil a clean bowl. (Just a thin coating). Place your dough ball in it, cover with a damp kitchen towel and place in a war spot for 45 minutes. The dough should double in size.

Once your dough is ready, boil a medium or large pot of water on high (I think I used around 8 cups of water). Stir in the baking soda until it’s dissolved.

While you’re waiting on your water to come to a boil, cut your hot dogs into thirds. Next, tear your dough ball into four different smaller dough balls. On a lightly floured surface, roll your dough into a large rope. You’ll cut this into six different pieces. Take one piece and wrap around a vegan hot dog third. Make sure to pinch the beginning and end of the pretzel dough together on the dog. Repeat with all the dough balls until all your hot dog bites are covered.

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

Next, drop your hot dog bites into the boiling water (I did about four at a time) and leave them in for about 30 seconds. You’ll notice they’ve puffed up some. Take them out and place on a greased baking sheet, sprinkling with coarse salt while they’re still damp. Bake them in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until they achieve the brown-doneness you like in your soft pretzel! Take out and let cool.

The beer cheese is ridiculously simple. In a medium saucepan, bring the bottle of beer to a simmer. (Note, a full bottle of beer in this recipe WILL leave a strong beer taste. If you don’t like that I suggest halving it and adding a couple tablespoons of butter to substitute.) Next, stir in the vegan cream cheese until smooth. Add in the shredded vegan cheese and mix until creamy and silky.

Share and impress all your friends or fight with your loved one over the last dog!

Regardless of what you do, this recipe is sure to be a home-run! (Hey I had to sneak one more in there!)

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Heat up your night … with vegan jalapeno popper dip!

I promise that despite having a slightly fussy baby, we’re actually all alive and pretty well in the Chubby Vegan household. Some of my posts might indicate otherwise, but that’s really just because I need somewhere to vent. I imagine my close girlfriends, husband and mother are tired of hearing from me, so I figure I’ll pollute the blogosphere with ramblings of a tired mother and colicky baby. (Lucky you guys!)

So as a break from my cranky pants whining, I decided to delight you all with a ridiculously delicious recipe inspired by my cousin — Micki. And when I say inspired, I mean she told me about it at our last Saturday coffee and I just had to figure out a way to veganize it. 

Jalapeno popper dip. 

Yes, it’s as delicious and amazing as it sounds. 

I’m not really one for spicy foods, but Chubby Vegan Dad absolutely adores it, and since he’s had to deal with his fair share of me being a hormonal nightmare, I decided to trick him into remaining in love with me through means of his stomach. 

In case you’re wondering, it totally worked.

I served this with pita chips because they’re easy to make and customize to your desired bakedness, but really any grain will work here, especially some crunch sliced baguette breads! This would be absolutely perfect for a football party or just to spice up your weekend routine!

 

Jala(you still love me)peno Popper Dip

(Serves 4-6)

Ingredients:

2 8-ounce tubs of vegan cream cheese (or if you’re feeling fancy, make your own!)

1 package of Daiya havarti-style wedge cheese (omg so good)

1 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (we used Trader Joe’s brand because it melts so perfectly for a dip)

1/2 tub vegan sour cream (we used Tofutti)

2-3 jalapeno’s diced up (or you can be lazy and use a four-ounce can or two, I won’t judge you)

1 small onion diced up

Panko breadcrumbs for topping

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Soften the cream cheese in the microwave until it’s smooth and easy to stir. In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese, sour cream and half your shredded mozz cheese. Take your havarti wedge and cut it up into small cubes, mix this into your dip. Dice up your jalapeno peppers (or add the canned pickle variety), adding or taking away depending on how much heat you like, onions and add them to your mixture. Scoop into a small casserole dish (I used an 8X8) and top with the rest of your shredded cheese and enough panko breadcrumbs to make an even coating on top. 

Bake for 30 minutes (the mixture will be all bubbly and start to brown on the outside) and broil on high for an additional two-three minutes if your breadcrumbs haven’t browned yet. 

If you want this dip to be pretty, let it sit for at least an hour. If you don’t care and you just want to eat it, dig in! This is even better the next day after it’s had time to sit, soak in the flavors and reset! 

You’re welcome. 🙂

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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.