Saturday, January 26, 2013

Healthy Spinach Artichoke Dip

A few years ago, when we were still lacto-vegetarians, I found a recipe by Men's Health Cook This, Not That for a healthier version of Spinach-Artichoke Dip.  From the first time we made it, it was a favorite.

I have since converted it to vegan and made it a little healthier by omitting the Veganaise/Mayo.  It is still a favorite and is quite low calorie.



4 Large Whole Wheat Pitas (fluffy ones not split)
1 Onion, peeled and chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 - 12-16 oz jar Artichoke Hearts, drained and chopped
1 - 16 oz pkg frozen Spinach, thawed and drained
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 - 4 oz can Roasted Green Chilies
2 Tbsp vegan Cream Cheese
2-3 Tbsp unsweetened Soy Milk (or)  2 Tbsp Veganaise


1.  Preheat oven to 400˚F (205˚C).

2.  Cut pitas into wedges or rectangles and arrange on baking sheet.  Bake for 5 minutes or until crisp.

(Cut pitas prior to baking)
3.  Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes or until softened.

4.  Add artichokes, spinach, chilies, cream cheese, lemon juice and Veganaise if using it.  Mix and cook until warmed through.  Add soy milk to desired consistency. Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

(Add soy milk or extra Veganaise to desired creaminess)
5.  Serve in small bowl with pitas on the side.  This makes 4 small servings.  We enjoy this for dinner on a regular basis and will usually serve pickled beets on the side.

6.  To use for a party or a group, serve in one large dish or hollowed out loaf of sourdough bread warmed in the oven.

- Bon Apetit

"Life is like eating artichokes, you have got to go through so much to get so little." - Thomas Aloysius Dorgan

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chocolate Chip Scones

Often on Sundays I like to bake something for breakfast.  We usually sleep late and it ends up being brunch, but it is a break from the usual weekday breakfast of a protein smoothie or peanut butter on toast.

Last Sunday I made chocolate chip scones.  I took a plain scone recipe from an old 1992 Company's Coming cookbook and modified it to be vegan, adjusted some of the ingredients and added chocolate chips.  This is the result.


2 cups All Purpose Flour (I use half whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup Turbinado or Raw Sugar
1 Tbsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks
1-1/2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
2 Tbsp warm water (for egg replacer)
2/3 cup Unsweetened Soy Milk
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (most are vegan, but not all)
      **  Soy milk for brushing tops and extra sugar for sprinkling


1.  Preheat oven to 425˚F (218˚C).

2.  Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in large mixing bowl.  Cut in buttery sticks until crumbly.  I use a pastry blender to do this.  Add chocolate chips.

(Your mixture should resemble this)
3.  Mix the egg replacer with water and set aside.  In small bowl, mix the soy milk and vanilla and add the egg replacer mixture.  Beat slightly.  Add to dry mixture and stir with fork to make a soft dough.  You may need to turn it out onto the counter and knead it a few times to incorporate all of the flour mixture. Form into a ball and divide in half.

(Form into a ball and divide in two)
4.  On a floured surface pat each half into a round approximately 3/4 to 1 inch thick.  Brush with soy milk and sprinkle with sugar and cut into wedges.

(I cut each round into 4 for a total of 8 scones)
5.  Place the wedges on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 425˚F for 15 minutes until risen and golden brown.

(Scones just put in the oven)
6.  Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.  They are particularly good while still a little warm so the chocolate is gooey.

(Mmmmm scones)
- Bon Appetit

" Chocolate is the perfect food, as wholesome as it is delicious, a beneficent restorer of exhausted is the best friend of those engaged in literary pursuits." - Justus Liebig

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Gnocchi, Brussels Sprouts and Mushrooms, oh my!

A year or two ago I found this recipe on the Vegetarian Times website, printed it out and thought I'd make it one day.  From the first taste, it has been a favorite of both mine and Troubadour's. Here is a link to the original recipe although it does look like there are errors in it now. ----> LINK

I haven't changed too many things with it except to eliminate the cheese and make it vegan.  Sometimes I'll add sliced onions to the brussels sprout mix and most often I will put in a drop or two of liquid smoke while cooking the brussels sprouts to mimic a bit of bacon taste.

I use vacuum packed gnocchi found in the pasta aisle.  I cannot find the frozen kind here.  I have read some tips that they turn out crispier when used from frozen, but they work fine thawed. I have made homemade potato gnocchi, which tasted fine but the texture wasn't quite right.

NOTE - Not all gnocchi is vegan, check for dairy ingredients.



1-16 oz pkg Gnocchi
4-5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 lb Crimini mushrooms, quartered (I prefer brown mushrooms)
1 lb Brussels Sprouts, ends cut off, outer leaves removed and sliced thin
2 cloves Garlic, minced
2 drops Liquid Smoke
fresh ground black pepper to taste
     Optional - 1 Onion, sliced thin


1. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil to a large pan on medium high heat.  Add gnocchi and fry until crispy then set aside.

(Gnocchi frying in the pan)
2.  Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pan.  Add mushrooms and saute.  If the pan gets a bit dry, do not hesitate to add a little water to prevent sticking and burning, it will evaporate.  When desired doneness, set aside.  I prefer them a little al dente.

(Mushrooms sauteing in the pan)
3.  Add the remaining tablespoon or two of olive oil to the pan and then add the brussels sprouts and onions if using.  Saute stirring often.  If using liquid smoke and garlic add them now and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.

(Brussels sprouts sauteing in pan)
4.  Brussels sprouts taste better when not overcooked.  Al dente is best.  When cooked to desired doneness add cooked gnocchi and mushrooms back to the pan.  Toss to mix and warm ingredients.

(All ingredients back in pan)
5.  Place in bowl or platter for serving.  Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

(A plate of yumminess)
- Bon Appetit

"  We kids feared many things in those days - werewolves, dentists, North Koreans, Sunday School - but they all paled in comparison with brussels sprouts." - Dave Barry, Comedian