iHeartVeggie - Lifestyle and Food Blog

Join the iHeartVeggie Mailing List

...for updates, new postings, and product reviews!

Please prove that you are not a robot

About iHeartVeggie
Thanks for checking out my iHeartVeggie blog about yet another of my passions!  I find myself sitting around thinking about (and eating) food so often that I decided to start the New Year 2017 off by exploring more about wonderful recipes and products that follow a vegetarian lifestyle.  I have been a vegetarian practically all of my life (since the age of 4 when I discovered where my hamburger came from) and since then, it has been the most natural thing to just not eat meat, plain and simple, and try to be more aware of foods and products that are harmful to animals.  I find a vegetarian lifestyle to be rewarding, healthy, and delicious!  My hope in doing this blog is to explore more about food, recipes, and animal friendly products so that I may grow, be healthier, and wiser, and that I may connect with other people or share tasty recipes to encourage or even introduce a veggie based diet to others!  I do not promise to be completely organic, completely healthy, or completely anything, but I do hope to become a better and more informed human through this exploration!  Thanks for any ideas and comments and have a wonderful day! 

Sarah Ragsdale is a singer, pianist, composer, and vegetarian since childhood.  www.sarahragsdale.com 

Craving Sugar Cookies! ...and Vegan? 

So, it's that time of year that everybody is throwing their "Christmas Cookies" around..they're everywhere: tv shows, movies, blogs, instagram, facebook, you get the point! And of course, I want some!  But alas, all recipes are calling for butter, eggs, and milk..sigh...which doesn't work so well with my vegetarian preferring vegan lifestyle.  Luckily, there are many vegans out there who love yummy food, and so I found a few recipes and compared that with what's in the cupboards. (Two recipes that I relied on came from "Minimalist Baker" and "Loving it Vegan" ..thanks guys!)  And... Voila! Vegan sugar cookies!  It is possible, my friends, and here is my experience on how it turned out...

*Disclaimer: Please remember, I am not an expert chef/baker/cooker/kitchen person...just an impatient person trying to create some cookies, fast!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegan butter (like Earth Balance) 
3/4 cup brown sugar 
1/4 cup pumpkin puree (from the can) 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract 
1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda 
1/4 tsp salt 
2 tsp soy milk (or any other dairy free milk)

Step 1. Add softened butter, brown sugar, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and soy milk.

Step 2. Mix well

Step 3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 4. Roll the cookie dough into small balls and place on a baking sheet. (This recipe should make about 12 cookies.)

Step 5. Flatten the cookie dough balls (I did it with the end of a glass) and then sprinkle some sugar on top of each.

Step 6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Step 7. Take out and enjoy!

So, overall, I think they are pretty tasty and definitely took care of my sugar cookie craving!  Some things I might try differently are adding some almond extract, cornstarch for binding, and trying applesauce instead of the pumpkin puree.  I would also like to try using regular cane sugar instead of the brown sugar which may make a difference in the taste and color.  Also, I would recommend using a mixer to make a very smooth dough.  I would like to take the time to flatten the dough and make some cute cookie cutter shapes as well as add some decorative and yummy vegan frosting in the future!  The cookies are quite fluffy and soft, so some flattening would not hurt.  But, overall, I like!  And, I look forward to trying again!

 
 
 

Vegetarian Dog Food (Huevos Sweet Potatoes) 

So, I'm going to share something a little different this time for my iHeartVeggie posts... DOG FOOD!  So, you see, I've tried several dog foods under vet supervision - even prescription foods - for my little pup (ok grown young woman pup)- a morkie, Daisy.  She has allergies - itchy eyes and scratching around her face.  After so much time reading ingredients and researching dog allergens, I finally thought, well let me simplify the ingredients and do it homemade. The vet gave me the ok on this, instructing to stay away from that certain 'NO' list of food items for dogs -chocolate, onions, garlic, seeds, etc (this is by no means a complete list of 'no' foods here, so please don't use this as a comprehensive list).  But the vet (and actually he is the second vet to tell me this) also said to always make sure that she is not getting any chicken as, surprisingly, this is the food that causes the most allergies for dogs.  So... I don't want to pretend to be an expert in this, but I want to share my experience creating this recipe based on my research and professional advice, and finally, see how Daisy reacted! :) 

Disclaimer: As I don't claim to be an expert on this myself, I just want to provide a link to this article on PETA that discusses dog and cat food needs: PETA  They also suggest reading the book "Vegetarian Cats & Dogs". Obviously, please discuss your homemade dog or cat food with your vet for their specific dietary needs!

I learned that many dogs out there actually go vegetarian due to a variety of dietary restrictions or allergies. It is important to make sure that any homemade dog food recipe includes protein, carbs, fats, vitamins and minerals.  So, I created a recipe that checks that list off. Still working on the exact ratio...

This recipe is based off some tasty seasonal vegetables/fruits and I call it "Huevos Sweet Potatoes"!

1. 3/4 cup plain cooked rice

2. 1 small sweet potato boiled, peeled, and finely chopped

3. 1/4 cup chopped fresh spinach leaves (NO MORE THAN THIS AS SPINACH MAY BE TOXIC IN LARGE QUANTITIES)

4. 1/2 pealed and finely chopped apple (NO SEEDS INCLUDED AS THEY ARE EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO DOGS)

5. 1 tbsp creamy plain peanut butter

6. 2 hard boiled eggs broken into small pieces

7. 2 tsp olive oil 

I mixed all of these ingredients together and cooked on top of the stove on low for several minutes just to blend well and warm.  

Then, I mixed about 1/3 cup of this new homemade food with the food she has been eating as the best way to change foods is to introduce by mixing a little more in each day. I save the rest in the refrigerator for the rest of the week!

Well, I have to say, she absolutely LOVED it! I'll mix in a bit more tomorrow and little by little see how it goes!

 

 

Blueberry Banana Nut Chocolate Chip Bread (And it's Vegan!) 

This is seriously now my very favorite sweet baked bread treat - and it's especially great now that blueberries are in season!! If you like banana bread, you will LOVE this recipe - I guarantee it! This unique recipe happened by adding some fun ingredients to regular banana bread, and making some vegan substitutes to the classic recipes. And this is really my favorite over any other classic banana breads I've tried! I usually make a couple loaves at a time, but here’s the recipe for just one in a standard 8.5” x 4.5” baking pan. 

Ingredients: 

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour 

1 tsp baking soda 

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon 

1/2 tsp salt 

1 tsp vanilla extract 

1 cup sugar 

2/3 cup applesauce 

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

3 bananas, very ripe, mashed 

1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 

1/2 cup fresh blueberries 

1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips 

 

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 

Step 2. Put your very ripe bananas in a large mixing bowl and mash with a fork. 

Step 3. Sift your flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt into the bowl. 

Step 4. Add the applesauce, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. 

Step 5. Mix (well by hand with a large mixing spoon is usually fine) 

Step 6. Add walnuts, chocolate chips, and blueberries. 

Step 7. Gently mix to even out the last added ingredients. 

Step 8. Lightly coat baking pan with vegetable oil (or lightly with non-stick spray) 

Step 9. Pour mixture into pan 

Step 10. Bake bread (uncovered) on middle rack for approximately 45 minutes 

 

Enjoy for breakfast, snack, or dessert! I have not met a person yet who did not like this!

 

Preacher Cookie Recipe - No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe (Vegan) 



So my all time favorite flavor combinations are chocolate and peanut butter and so these are some of my favorite sweet treats!  And, added bonus, I love these cookies because they add a quick burst of energy to my day - I guess the sugar and dark cocoa at first, and then the oats and peanut butter that sustains a bit longer.  So easy to make, although I do confess that finding just the right magical moment to remove the concoction from heat is key to having a cookie that will not just stay gooey for several days (although it's still chocolate and peanut butter, so it tastes good with a spoon too) ;).  And, also easy to do non-vegan with a few substitutions, but it's so easy to make vegan, and so yummy, so that's the choice for me! Ok, here's what I do...


Ingredients:
-3 cups oats (rolled for a more chewy texture, but quick is great for a softer texture)
-1 1/2 cups sugar
-4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/3 cup vegan spread (I love love Earth Balance!)
-1/2 cup almond milk
-pinch of salt
-2/3 cup peanut butter (I think creamy is the best, but crunchy can be used too!)
-1 tsp vanilla extract


I have seen a variety of suggestions on how to mix all the ingredients together, and I have tried a variety of methods, but here's the one I used this time and seemed to work well!

Step 1. Bring almond milk, vegan spread, and sugar to a boil and immediately remove from heat.

Step 2. Combine oats, peanut butter, and cocoa powder in large bowl.

Step 3. Pour the boiled mixture into the bowl with other ingredients and mix.

Step 4. Now with a spoon, lay out on wax paper and wait a good 30 minutes for your cookies to harden (although I love them still warm and soft!)

Step 5. Basically eat them any time, chocolate and peanut butter, can't go wrong! :)

Mexican Bake 



I've been making this dish for a little while now - it's easy, festive, and delicious - so it has all the characteristics of a perfect Super Bowl dish!  With so many yummy Mexican flavors in one dish it is like a 'party in a pan' ;). Obviously, specific ingredients and amounts can be left up to your personal or dietary preference.  OK, let's make it! Prep time: about 10 mins, Baking time: about 40 mins

Ingredients:
1 large bag of tortilla chips, at least 10 oz bag (I mixed blue and yellow corn chips which was fun!)
shredded Mexican blend cheese, 2 cups
meatless grounds, 1 cup
sweet corn, 1 cup
black beans, 1 can
salsa, at least 30 oz
sliced black olives, 1/8 cup
cilantro (a couple sprigs optional to season)

Cooking ware: saute pan/skillet and baking dish (I used a 9x9x1.5 inch pan)

The key is just layering and mixing in the chips, cheese, and salsa amongst the other ingredients where possible!

1. Cook meatless grounds and corn.  In a skillet, mix meatless grounds and corn with chopped up cilantro. Cook on medium heat for about 4-5 mins.2. Line baking dish with a layer of tortilla chips (about 2 chips deep)
3. Add a layer of about 1/2 cup cheese and cover with a few more chips
4. Layer about a 1/4 of the salsa
5. Layer the corn and meatless grounds mix
6. Layer about a 1/4 of the salsa
7. Layer of chips
8. Layer about 1/2 cup cheese
8. Layer the full can of beans
9. Layer about a 1/4 of the salsa
10. Layer of chips
11.Layer about 1/2 cup cheese
12. Top with the rest of the salsa
13. Sprinkle with the rest of cheese, a few chips to top, and olives (if desired)
Cover and bake for 30 mins at 350° , then bake uncovered for 10 mins.




























Serve with sour cream and guacamole!

Shiitake Mushroom Avocado Alfredo 



I absolutely LOVE alfredo, BUT I also love the idea of staying away from so much milk and cream in alfredo sauce.  My dreams have finally come true in the form of a VEGAN alfredo that actually tastes SO GOOD and is MUCH HEALTHIER!  I found a few different pasta and alfredo recipes online and then decided to experiment to find the combination of flavors that I thought was just right, and now, satisfied with the final product, I can share!  FYI, You have the option here to substitute your choice of milk or cheese if you prefer dairy. In any case, I hope you enjoy!

Ingredients

8 oz. fettuccine noodles

For sauté mushrooms:
8 oz. container shiitake mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil, extra virgin
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh basil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
black pepper to taste

For sauce:
1 cup milk of choice (I used almond milk)
1 avocado mashed
1/2 tsp salt

For garnish:
1/2 cup grated parmesan (I used vegan parmesan)
1/4 cup fresh basil


Step 1. So the first thing you want to start is cooking the pasta.  Boil those fettuccine noodles! (Start Step 2 while noodles are boiling). When noodles are tender and ready, strain, and set aside back in the pot with just a tiny bit of olive oil mixed in to keep the noodles from sticking.












Step 2. Start sautéing the mushrooms.  To do this, first make sure your mushrooms are rinsed and stemmed. In asaute/frying pan set to low heat, add  your old, mushrooms, minced garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Add a 1/4 cup of chopped up pieces of the fresh basil.  Stir occasionally. Mushrooms can sauté on low for approximately 10-15 mins.













Step 3. Make the sauce. First, mash the avocado.  Add your choice of 1 cup milk to the mashed avocado and mix. You have the option of using a blender or food processor for a creamier texture. Place the smooth mixture in a sauce pan and stir in the salt.  Bring this to a boil and stir.  Then pour in with the sautéed mushrooms.








Step 4. Poor your shiitake mushroom avocado alfredo sauce into the pot of noodles and mix together. 








Step 5. Serve with bits of fresh basil (the basil really adds a lovely fresh taste!) and your choice of parmesan cheese. 


Enjoy! :)

Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate 

 

It's a New Year 2017!  Wow, which means, I need to find some tasty and sweet comfort drinks to warm up to on these cold blustery days.  And although I do love sitting in Starbucks or my local coffee shop to do some work, sometimes it's great to not have to make the trek out - and be able to cuddle up with my pup.  And so, after some searching of tasty wintry drinks, some selections of my favorite flavors, a tiny bit of creativity, and most importantly, some inspiration and help from my pup Daisy and her pretty little 'gingerbread sweater', I decided to try out my own version of "Gingerbread White Hot Chocolate". And, I'm so glad that I did because this one is SERIOUSLY SO GOOD!! Ok, so let's get to it..here's the easy recipe and a few pics along the way.

Ingredients:
-2 cups milk of choice (I used plain unsweetened Almond Breeze today)
-1/4 cup white chocolate morsels (heaping is fine :) )
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp ground ginger
-1/2 tsp cinnamon
-1/4 tsp cloves
-1/4 tsp nutmeg
-1 tsp maple syrup


Now, it's so simple, just put the stove on low heat, and start adding these ingredients one by one and stirring along the way until it's nice and hot with a bit of steam starting to show.  In the end, you'll have enough for 2 servings.  Pro tip: Add a bit of espresso for an extra little kick!