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Baked Shells Stuffed with Cheesy Butternut Squash

These baked shells are packed full of creamy, cheesy, herby butternut squash goodness in every bite. This dish is easy to throw together and easy to customize.IMG_5250 _Snapseed

First I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. Then I sliced a whole butternut squash down the middle and de-seeded it. Wash the outside of the butternut squash and nuke it for 3 minutes to make cutting easier.IMG_5202 _Snapseed

I roasted the butternut squash for about 45 minutes (until tender). While it was roasting I prepared the macaroni shells, the big kind used for stuffing. I just followed the directions on the package.IMG_5212 _Snapseed

After the butternut squash got all tender and delicious, I scraped both sides all out into a bowl. I then mixed in 1/2 cup of pre-made cashew cheese (recipe below), a handful of chopped basil and chives and salt and pepper to taste.  You don’t have to use basil or chives, get crazy and try different herbs, use more, use less…don’t use any at all. I used what happened to be in the fridge. You also don’t have to use butternut squash, try pumpkin like I did here.butternut_squash_cheese_mix

Then I stuffed ‘dem shells and placed them in a baking pan. The amount of filling I made stuffed about 12-14 shells. I poured some store-bought marinara sauce over it and baked it at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.pre_bake_shells

And then I stuffed them stuffed shells into my mouth. These were so flippin’ delicious. It’s really the cashew cheese that brings this dish to that next creamy delicious level. The recipe (below) for the cashew cheese is based on Tal Ronnen’s but without having to prepare it for days because I don’t use probiotics.
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Cashew Cheese

  • 2 cups soaked cashews, drained (A couple of hours is best but it works just as well if you only soak it for 20-30 minutes and use a high speed blender)
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1/2 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Throw everything in food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Stick it in the fridge and use in meals like above or as a veggie dip or cracker spread.

These count as breakfast, right?

I’ve been on a real chocolate kick since like, um, I don’t know…forever! Thank goodness there are clever recipes out there that include chocolate disguised in a breakfast-y like package. Here are two that I made recently.

Marbled Banana Bread from Post Punk Kitchen. This looks real fancy but was so simple to make!
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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. These were the perfect portable breakfast sweets.IMG_5009 _SnapseedThere’s a part of my brain that knows these sweet dessert-y foods should not be the meal I start my day off with. But then there’s another LOUDER part of my brain that is saying “Get in mah belly!”

Nacho Ordinary Sandwich!

This nacho-cheese, tempeh-bacon and guacamole grilled sandwich is one of THE best sandwiches I have ever eaten.  Every bite is bursting with a wonderful combination of Mexican flavors. It was inspired by this non-vegan version. Read on to see how simple it is to make.

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The first thing I did was grill up some store-bought tempeh bacon. Homemade is cool, but store-bought can be a good time-saver if you’re a poor planner like me.

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For the cheese, I made a batch of “Nacho Mmmm Sauce” from Peas and Thank You. Neal’s step-mom sent me a newspaper article from The Seattle Times that included four different Mmmm sauce recipes. I’ve tried most of them and the nacho is my favorite.
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I slathered a thick layer of the nacho sauce on one side of each bread.IMG_4887 _Snapseed

Then I added a thick, generous layer of homemade guacamole. I didn’t follow a recipe for the guac. It’s just two ripe avocados (mushed) mixed with about a 1/2 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes (seeds removed), a handful of chopped cilantro, some diced red onions, minced garlic (clove or two), lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper.IMG_4888 _Snapseed

Next, I layered on the grilled tempeh bacon, closed the sandwich and grilled it for about 4 minutes on each side to heat it through. While it grilled, I lightly patted down on the bread to get the nacho cheese and guac to mush together.

I cut the sandwich on the diagonal and then asked if it was ready for its close up.
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This is a great sandwich for summer and is lovely with a cup of lemonade and some tortilla chips on the side.  No napkins are needed because you’ll want to lick your fingers clean.IMG_4889 _Snapseed

Come back Saturday for the Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 edition! There will be plenty of vegan food to go around from bloggers all over the world!

Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

This rich, decadent, vegan raspberry chocolate sauce made an appearance here awhile ago on pancakes. It was so good that I made it again, but this time I actually sorta paid attention to what I was tossing into the magic bullet.

Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 tbs extra virgin coconut oil
  • 3/4 to 1 tbs of cocoa powder
  • 2 tbs of agave
  • 8 raspberries

I dumped all of this in our magic bullet (mini-blender) and blended it until smooth. This makes a single serving amount so it won’t blend well in a big blender. If I were to use a bigger blender I would at least double the ingredients.

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This sauce was the perfect topping for The Vegan Penny Pincher’s vegan chocolate crock pot cake, but is also delicious on pancakes, vegan ice cream or anything really! Because everything is better with chocolate.

Triple A

Athens

Neal had to deliver some screen printed posters to a band in Athens, GA Saturday night, so I went with him and we ate at The Grit– an all vegetarian diner with vegan options.

I got the vegan Bahn Mi with wasabi mayo, pickled veggies and hoisin seared seitan, IMG_0390 _Snapseed IMG_0395 _Snapseed

while Neal got the deluxe grilled sandwich with grilled seitan, and sautéed onions, mushrooms and peppers. And we both got sweet potato fries.IMG_0391 _Snapseed

We were stuffed but we couldn’t leave without dessert. We got the grasshopper cake (chocolate mint) and chocolate cake to go!
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Award

I was so pleased to receive an award from The Vegan Kat this weekend alongside some purty fabulous bloggers! So this is how this award works:

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and a link back.
  3. Answer 10 questions given.
  4. Nominate up to 12 bloggers for Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  5. Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.sisterhood-of-world-blogger-award

10 Questions:
What is your favorite color?   orange
Your favorite animal?   hard to choose…I like all animals
Your favorite non-alcoholic drinks? tea! any kind of tea…I’m addicted!
Facebook or Twitter?  going rogue here, instagram!
Your favorite pattern?   stripes a la Jean Seberg in Breathless
Do you prefer getting or giving presents?  giving
Your favorite number?   44 
Your favorite day of the week?    Any day I don’t have to go to work!
Your favorite flower?    orchids
What is your passion?   creating

My nominees:

  1. ASTIG vegan
  2. The Opinioness of the World
  3. Life of Kylie
  4. Rambling Vegans

Anticipation

This Saturday marks the third Virtual Vegan Potluck! I’ve participated since its inception by the amazing Ann over at An Unrefined Vegan. This year I intend to visit each and every blog which is going to be crazy because the list of participants is growing! In fact, enrollment goes through May 6.

I’m bringing a salad…what are you bringing?

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