Pumpkin Baked Ziti with Caramelized Onions and Sage Crumb Topping

This is one of my favorite recipes from “Veganomicon” — the picture doesn’t really do it justice. Penne pasta is tossed with a cashew ricotta that is mixed with pumpkin, spices and caramelized onions. Walnuts are toasted with breadcrumbs and sage before being added to the top of the penne mixture. The entire thing is baked in the oven until it’s bubbly and delicious. It’s such a comforting dish.

I was able to find the recipe online here, but the cookbook itself is definitely worth the money.

I hope you all are well!

Pumpkin Pie Brownies

We’ve been wanting to make these brownies ever since we picked up our copy of “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar” a few years ago (sorry for the crappy picture). And these bad boys were made by my husband. I provided the taste testing and they were outrageously good. Rich chocolate brownies are topped with a pumpkin-pie-style topping. It’s a great dessert to follow a pot of chili (I’ll have a recipe for that posted soon), which is how we spent our lazy Sunday. That and back-to-back classic horror movies, such as “The Wolf Man” from 1941.

I love this time of year. I hope you all are well!

Menu for the Week: Pumpkin Muffins, Chickpea Salad and Sesame Tofu

Hello there! I hope you all are well. I’ve been in kind of a cooking rut the past few weeks, but the cooler temperatures are inspiring me to get back into the kitchen. Thank you for being patient with me.

I don’t have any food pics just yet, but I thought to get started I’d post my menu for this week with the hope that maybe it will help you plan yours. One day, when I win the lottery and don’t have to work, I’ll actually be able to put together full menus and grocery lists like I intended with this blog, but, for now, this will have to do.

Anyway, here are my planned meals for the next week and I plan on taking pics of each to post on here soon:

Breakfast:

Pumpkin Bran Muffins — from “Vegan Brunch
Oatmeal and toast w/ pecans and maple syrup
Yogurt w/ Maple Almond Granola — from “Vegan Soul Kitchen

Lunch:

Chickpea salad sandwiches w/ tortilla chips — my own recipe, which I’ll post soon
Split Pea and Apple Soup w/ cheese and crackers — from “The Vegan Slow Cooker

Dinner:

Sesame-Crusted Tofu  w/ Lemongrass-Orange Reduction, served w/ brown rice, edamame and gyoza — from October Vegetarian Times
Chickpea Tomato Soup w/ grilled cheese and pickles — from “Vegan Yum Yum” (She’s back, by the way!!)
Tempeh Helper w/ salad — from “Appetite for Reduction

Happy (Vegan) Thanksgiving!

Sorry, my pictures turned out a little blurry.

I know it’s the day after, but Happy Thanksgiving! For years, my husband and I have talked about making a 100 percent vegan Thanksgiving spread, and this year we finally got around to doing it. I’ve never made a full spread of food before, and I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to be able to pull it off. But I have to say, it turned out really well. In fact, it was downright delicious!

For our first-ever vegan Thanksgiving, I decided to veganize traditional dishes: green bean casserole, maple sweet potatoes, stuffing, and mushroom gravy. We also picked up a Celebration Roast and rolls from Whole Foods, as well as a can of cranberry sauce (I can’t help it—I love the kind that looks like a can).

For the green bean casserole, I used Lauren Ulm’s alfredo sauce recipe for the base, and added sautéed onions and cremini mushrooms. I used frozen haricot vert because they are a little more tender than regular greens beans. Plus, it saved me a little prep time. I also added roasted garlic, lots of pepper, and, of course, fried onions throughout and on top. I baked it in the oven for 50 minutes total, but removed the foil and added fried onions to the top for the last 10 minutes.

For the sweet potatoes, I simply peeled and cut them into small, uniform cubes, and boiled them until tender. After that, I placed them into a casserole dish and tossed them with brown sugar, Earth Balance, maple syrup, and pecans. I topped them with Dandies Vegan Marshmallows and baked them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

The stuffing, though tasty, was the one dish that I felt could use some more tweaking. I first cubed day-old whole wheat sandwich bread and spread the cubes out onto a baking sheet. I placed them in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes to dry them out a bit. While they were in the oven, I sautéed lots of onion and celery. I also made about 8 cups of vegetable broth using Better Than Bouillon and lots of sage, thyme, and pepper. (I used some of the broth to baste the Celebration Roast to keep it moist while it warmed in the oven.) I mixed the onions and celery with the bread cubes and ladled the broth onto the bread mixture. I baked it alongside the green bean casserole for 50 minutes. The end result was a little too moist for my liking, but I was able to toss in some extra bread cubes to soak up some of the broth. Next year, I’d like to play around with the recipe a bit and add some different ingredients.

The gravy recipe came from Veganomicon and it was fantastic! The only difference was that I splashed in some red wine instead of white because that’s all I had on hand. Also, the recipe made a ton of gravy, so I will probably cut it in half the next time I make it.

And, finally, what Thanksgiving would be complete without a pumpkin pie?

I used the pumpkin pie recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking, which was incredibly easy and ridiculously good. Instead of making my own crust, I went to Whole Foods and found a pre-made spelt flour crust that was all-natural and free of animal products. It worked perfectly. We topped the pumpkin pie with soy whipped cream.

With the help of my husband and some good music on the record player, the whole meal took about 3 1/2 hours to make. I made the pumpkin pie first, then I made the green bean casserole and stuffing and baked them at the same time. While they were baking, I made the sweet potatoes and threw them in the oven, too. I threw the rolls in at the last minute to warm them a bit.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your friends and family!

Please Stand By

Wow. I kind of suck at this food blog thing right now. Sorry for that. I hate making excuses, but things have been busy lately. My brother got married and I got a new job (yay!!). The new job is going to require some creativity on my part when it comes to putting food on the table, but I think it’ll be a good thing for this blog. I see a lot of make ahead meals and quick dishes in my near-future, which I think will appeal to lots of readers.

Anyway, I do plan on making a pumpkin ziti recipe this evening, and I plan on posting it on here as soon as possible. So, please stand by!!

Update: So that pumpkin baked ziti I was supposed to make? Well, I made it, it was delicious, and we ate it before I had a chance to take pictures. But I promise to make it again soon and post it on here!! For real!