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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!


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!


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

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!

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's the easy recipe and a few pics along the way.

-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!