K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Spaghetti!

kiss

This is a quick & easy but super flavorful pasta that I make when I have little time or am craving something savory with a kick! The ingredients are very simple & basic (hence the “keep it simple” idea) and you can totally add to it like lemon zest or other fresh herbs. Because it’s super simple, there are no exact measurements for the ingredients. Enjoy with a glass of red vino!

Servings: about 6-8 (depends on how much pasta you like as a serving ;))

Ingredients:
1 package of spaghetti (16 oz)

Olive oil

4-5 cloves minced or 1-2 tbsp of garlic powder

Crushed red pepper

Handful of fresh parsley, chopped

Salt

Pepper

This is how we do:
Start by cooking your pasta until it’s al dente. Whenever cooking pasta, I always add a a few dashes of salt into the boiling water as it adds flavor to the noodles. I also stir the pasta quite frequently to prevent it from sticking. I used to add oil to the boiling water as I once heard that it helps the pasta from sticking together, but it actually just creates really oily noodles.

Once the pasta is done, drain it but reserve about a 1/4 cup of the water.  In the same pot, toss the pasta with the pasta water & olive oil over medium heat and saute. Add more salt, pepper & the garlic and continue sauteing. Add the crushed red pepper a dash at a time (be careful not to add to much of this as it can make your pasta VERY spicy). Turn the heat off and add the fresh parsley and toss everything together some more. Plate & enjoy! 🙂

 

 

 

Mexican Corn!!

Mexican corn
When the weather gets warmer & corn is available at every store & farmer’s market you go to, it’s time to make this! Eating grilled corn this way totally reminds me of 2 happy moments in life: 1) when I was a kid, a man would sell corn in my neighborhood and slather it with butter, mayo, chili powder & cotija! 2) Eating this with my trouble maker buddies, Jerelynn & Heather in NYC at Cafe Habana. Below is my veganized version of it. Please enjoy and IT MUST BE SERVED WITH A BEER. If you don’t eat this with beer, La Llorona will get you!!!

Servings: 4 corn cobs (I might say this is a serving for one….)

Ingredients:
4 ears of corn

Vegan butter

1/4 cup of veganaise 

Chili powder

Nutritional yeast powder

1 lime

This is how we do:
Grill your corn! While those guys are getting their grill on, mix the following in a small bowl – the veganaise, zest from the lime & the lime juice. Once your corn is done grilling, smother it with some butter and then the veganaise mixture. Dust nutritional yeast & chili powder all around. CHOW DOWN!

Banana Cupcakes With Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting

Banana Cupcakes with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter

Recently, my friend Jenn Palbusa introduced me to a product I now refer to as “crack” – Peanut Butter & Co.’s Dark Chocolate Dreams.
If you have not tried this yet, I would recommend that you do but only if you are willing to forever be addicted to a product that will make you eat spoonfuls of peanut butter throughout the day and dream of endless ways you might incorporate it into your food. My mouth is watering just talking about it now! Ok, so because a person can only eat so many spoonfuls of peanut butter daily without getting looked at funny, I decided I need to figure out some alternatives to eat this. After tons of ideas and more spoonfuls, I finally made this banana cupcake with peanut butter frosting. The cupcake recipe is a veganized & slightly adjusted version from THE MARTHA because you know, she does everything perfect. I hope you guys enjoy it but please be warned it is SUPER decadent & rich. Definitely not for the faint of heart!

Servings: about 11 cupcakes (I know almost a dozen!!!)

Time from start to plate: 50 minutes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

3/4 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure it’s a full teaspoon because vegan cupcakes can get all the rising help they can get)

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda (again, make sure it’s a full 1/2 teaspoon)

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/2 cup of melted coconut oil

1 1/2 cups of pureed very ripe bananas (I took 4 super ripe bananas and gave them a party in my food processor until it was smooth and creamy)

Vegan egg replacer (the equivalent of 2 whole eggs)

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Ingredients for frosting:

1 cup of Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chcolate Dreams Peanut Butter

1/2 cup of vegetable shortening

1/2 cup of powdered sugar (or more depending on how much sweeter you want your frosting to be)

This is how we do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, add all of your dry ingredients (everything in the ingredients list for cupcakes from flour through salt). Mix all of the dry ingredients together thoroughly. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients mixture and add the coconut oil, pureed bananas,  egg replacer and vanilla frosting. Mix everything together.

Fill your cupcake liners with the batter up to 2/3 or 3/4 full (your batter should allow you to fill up 11 cupcakes). Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes. Make sure to check on your cupcakes towards the last 5 minutes & do the toothpick test – if you can stick a toothpick in the center of the cupcake & pull it out without getting any cake or batter sticking to it, then it’s ready! Set aside to cool!

While your cupcakes are baking, make your frosting. In a medium bowl, add together all of the ingredients – the peanut butter, shortening and confectioner’s sugar. Using a hand mixer, mix everything thoroughly. Adjust your frosting by adding more of any of the ingredients.

Once your cupcakes have cooled down, frost those bad boys and then enjoy! Don’t forget to share though! Baked goods always make an awesome gift!

Instant & Cheap Wardrobe Update: 25 Ways To Wear A Scarf!

Ever wanted to update your wardrobe or add a little extra to your outfit? This video will help you do just that with the scarves you already have!! It’s very inspirational, educational and just all around amazing!! The stylist in the video also has a very cute site you need to check out – Wendy’s Lookbook. I have it officially bookmarked on the YouTube app on my iPhone so I can watch it in the mornings while I get dressed and figure out which style I want to tie my scarf! Can we say upcycle all of your old scarves? 🙂

Potato Salad

Recently, my lovely friend Juliette told me about a French-style potato salad that her mother always made her. She described a very light & delicious dish filled with potatoes, onions, mayo & vinegar. I then remembered the Japanese-style potato salad I grew up with – potatoes with peas, cucumbers, carrots, mayo and a hint of hot mustard. I then thought, why not create a mixture of both! Below is the recipe I came up with. It combines the light, yet creamy sauce of the French-style, while adding texture and kick from the Japanese-style. I hope you guys try it out and enjoy! 🙂

Servings: 6

Time from start to plate: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

About 1 lb. of potatoes, cubed (I used fingerlings)

1 cup of peas

1/2 an onion sliced very thinly

2 cucumbers (peeled and thinly sliced)

1/2 cup of vegan may (I LOVE Vegenaise)

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar (you can try white too, I just had this variety on hand)

1-2 tsp of hot mustard

salt & pepper to taste

This is how we do:
Boil potatoes in salted hot water for about 10 minutes or until they are ready (you’ll know they’re ready when you can pick a piece out, rinse under cold water, and easily bite into it). When your potatoes are ready, drain and rinse under cold water. Let cool for a few minutes. In a bowl, add the potatoes, onions, peas, cucumbers and mayo. Add a little by little the vinegar and hot mustard and mix. If you want the sauce to be lighter and acidic, add more vinegar. If you want more of a kick, add more hot mustard. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once you have the right consistency and amount heat desired, EAT!!!

Smore Bites


smores

The hubby and I have been on vacation (hence the long break in between posts) for the past two weeks. We started out our time off in Mendocino with our pups. Mendocino is a very dog-friendly and gorgeous place to visit. If you want lots of nature, beautiful oceans and to be able to bring your best friends, I highly recommend it! In Mendocino, we stayed at this very charming and cute lodge called The Andiron Inn. It’s extremely affordable and you can rent out individual cabin-like rooms. Each room is decorated in a very playful theme AND it’s dog friendly. 🙂 When we first arrived, we were greeted with a handwritten note welcoming us and two bite-sized smores. Of course, I had to recreate this treat and make it myself! This is very easy to make and is great to prepare when you have guests coming over or want to whip something up for a party (and again, it’s my favorite kind of desert – the kind that requires no baking :)). I made a ton and stored them in the freezer. They didn’t last very long though, when someone kept going back every 10 minutes to grab and eat one.

Servings: 1 dozen smore bites

Time from start to plate: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

12 graham crackers

1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips

24 Dandies vegan marshmallows (these are SUPER awesome)

This is how we do:
In a microwave-safe bowl, place the semi-sweet chocolate chips. Microwave for about 1 to 2 minutes, checking and stirring a couples of times to ensure that the chips are melting and not overcooking. Once you’ve melted down the chocolate, dip a graham cracker in and cover it completely. Place the chocolate-covered graham cracker on a parchment lined baking sheet and place 1 to 2 marshmallows on top. Once you’ve done this with all 12, place in the freezer for about 5 to 10 minutes (until the chocolate hardens).


When you’ve confirmed that the chocolate has hardened, take a match or a lighter and hold it against the marshmallow to create those burnt edges. Beware of the hubby monster that will eat them before you’re done!smore

Oatmeal Risotto with Peas and Lemon Zest

oatmeal risottoI know, I know, you’re probably thinking, oatmeal risotto?!?! Savory oatmeal?! When I first heard of this idea, I too thought, wait a minute, could it be? A different way to eat the grain that is usually reserved for breakfast and made bland or sweet?! NO WAY! When I first saw someone make this on an old episode of Chopped, I knew I had to try it. I have since seen it occasionally on a few restaurant menus, and maybe it’s trending? It definitely came out yummy and Zak has now claimed this as his favorite. It’s definitely a VERY EASY meal to make and you don’t feel super guilty enjoying it as everyone knows, oatmeal is good for you! 🙂 Plus the ingredients are usually items that you may already have in your pantry! This recipe is super basic and you can add other items into it like herbs, other veggies or cheeze! If you choose to add other veggies, add them in with the onions to saute a bit. If you choose to add fresh herbs or cheeze, add those items in last. Enjoy and go for seconds (because it’s sorta guilt-free)!

Servings: 4

Time from start to plate: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

2 tbsp of Earth Balance butter

1 onion chopped (you can use shallots or any other onion-like veggie)

1 cup of steel-cut oats

3 cups of veggie broth (I love to use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base – once you use this stuff you will be hooked and never use anything else)

1 cup of frozen peas (place in warm water and let sit while you are prepping your ingredients and starting your cooking, when you are ready to use them, drain them before placing them in your mixture)

zest from 1 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

This is how we do:
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add your chopped onions and saute for about a couple of minutes until they start to sweat. Stir in the steel-cut oats and continue to coat them in the butter/onion mixture. Continue to saute and stir over the medium heat for about a minute. Add in one cup of broth and stir. Let the broth simmer but stir constantly so that the broth absorbs evenly in your mixture. When it looks as through the broth has been absorbed, add another cup of broth and stir again while it simmers. Do this one more time with the last cup of broth. Once the broth has been absorbed and your oats are thick in consistency, add the drained peas and stir. Add the lemon zest and stir again. Add salt & pepper to taste and serve!