September 25, 2012

Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Pancakes

These pancakes are rich, chocolatey, delicious, and jammed full of fiber. Top with a pat of vegan butter and some pure maple syrup. How can you go wrong?
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unbleached white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax meal
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon stevia (or preferred sweetener)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups soy milk
1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Mix all dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 
  • Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the vanilla and one cup of soy milk. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until just mixed. Add the remaining soy milk, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition. 
  • Fold in the chocolate chips. 
  • Drop onto a pre-heated/pre-greased griddle and cook until bubbles start to form, just one or two minutes. Watch closely! Then flip and cook on the other side for another minute or so. 
  • Enjoy!
This recipe makes a lot! I use this recipe to feed a family of three, and we usually have enough leftovers for at least one of us. So, if you're only cooking for one, or don't want any leftovers, you might want to cut the recipe in half. If you don't mind leftovers, your extra pancakes will keep well in the fridge (in an airtight container, o' course) and can be quickly reheated in a warmed skillet or toaster oven.

September 22, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning

In my experience, the best way to save money is by doing stuff yourself instead of paying someone to do it for you. I'm sure that might have elicited a few "d'uhs" from the crowd, but I felt it was worth saying. I mean, why pay a corporation to slap a fancy label on a spray bottle of chemically-toxic window cleaner when you can squirt some vinegar on the glass and get the same result, minus the lung irritation?

So, I'm going to intermittently start posting DIY-style recipes for all kinds of great stuff, particularly stuff that leeches money out of your wallet unnecessarily. From cleaning products to spice mixes, just keep tuning in and start taking notes. I've got some great ideas to share with you!

To start with, here's an easy recipe for homemade taco seasoning. The ingredients are inexpensive and you can make up a nice big bowl of this stuff for what you might pay for just a few packets of the store-bought mess, and you won't have to worry about MSG and anti-caking agents. It's a win-win!

2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

Here's what the finished product will look like.
  • I recommend sprinkling in about 3 tablespoons of seasoning per pound of veggie crumbles, and maybe drop in a teaspoon or two of water as well. 
  • Enjoy!

September 21, 2012

Quinoa with Roasted Corn and Cilantro

My husband, believe it or not, does the majority of grocery shopping for our family. My daughter goes with him and they make it a fun outing, which gives me a nice little break every week. But it also means that I sometimes wind up with weird stuff, and missing some key items too. No offense to my shoppers, they are great! There's just a gap in the way I shop and the way my husband shops. He has to have a definitive list, with every detail on it, or he will not pick up what might be missing in a future recipe. Like, I might see quinoa on the grocery list, and I will immediately know that I want to make quinoa-tabouleh salad and, even if the remaining ingredients aren't on the list, I still know what else to grab. He doesn't shop like that. But that's okay because, really, the wonderful thing about it all this shopping business is that it often forces me to be creative, and it is this exact thing that most often helps me to create new recipes. Like this southwestern version of my quinoa-tabouleh salad. I wasn't sure that cilantro was going to taste good with quinoa, but when I found three full bunches of cilantro, which is easily my favorite summer herb, in my fridge, I knew I had to find more ways to use it than just slapping it into my homemade pico de gallo. That's where this new quinoa salad comes in. It was really light and delicious, oil free, and perfect for any end-of-summer shindigs you might attend.

2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup quinoa
1 large ear corn, roasted (I roast mine right on the gas burner)
2 cloves garlic, minced
Big handful of cilantro leaves (about half a bunch), coarsely chopped
Juice from one large lime
Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Bring vegetable stock to a boil. Add quinoa. Stir, reduce heat and allow to simmer (stirring occasionally) until quinoa is soft. Set aside and allow to cool.
  • Use a sharp knife to saw the kernels off of your corn. Don't cut yourself!
  • Add all ingredients to quinoa. Stir well. Cover and refrigerate.
  • Enjoy!