Pasta E Fagioli with Spinach

Monday, April 2, 2012

I made this dish last night, and although it isn’t a recipe of my own, I wanted to make sure you could enjoy it, too! This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, Appetite for Reduction. I HIGHLY recommend that this book become a staple in any vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian kitchen. The recipes are simple, use ingredients that are easily found in any market, and are very low-cal/diet friendly. This pasta is literally a foodgasm and a half!

Pasta E Fagioli with Spinach:
From “Appetite for Reduction” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz (get it here!

Active Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes
Serves 4
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 6 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 pounds plum tomatoes, chopped roughly
• 1/4 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
• 1 teaspoon dried oregano
• 1 teaspoon dried thyme
• A few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 (15-ounce) can navy beans (about 1½ cups), drained and rinsed
• 8 ounces whole wheat small shells or orecchiette
• 1 pound baby spinach leaves, washed well

Bring a pot of water to boil for the pasta and preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

In the pan, saute the garlic in oil for about 1 minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the tomatoes, wine, oregano, and salt. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the beans and then lower the heat to medium. Cook until the tomatoes are broken down and the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, add the pasta to boiling water and cook according to the package directions. Once the sauce is thickened, simmer over low heat to keep warm.

Drain the pasta. In a bowl, alternate adding batches of pasta, beans, and spinach to the sauce, stirring with a pasta spoon to incorporate, until the spinach is completely wilted. Mix well and serve.

Per Serving (1/4 Recipe):
Calories: 440; Calories from fat: 30; Total fat: 3.5 g; Saturated fat: 0.5 g; Trans fat: 0 g; Totalcarb: 85 g; Fiber: 21 g; Sugars: 9 g; Protein: 23 g; Cholesterol: 0 mg; Sodium: 690 mg; Vitamin A: 250%; Vitamin C: 110%; Calcium: 25%; Iron: 45%

Valentine's Cupcakes!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

I made these cupcakes yesterday because I wanted something that would be "pink" to go with the spirit of Valentine's Day! Not only are they insanely easy, but they're insanely delicious as well! So, here's my simple recipe for Vegan Strawberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting!

Danielle's Strawberry Cupcakes

2/3 Cup Vegan Granulated Sugar
1/3 Cup Sunflower or Canola Oil
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
1-1/2 to 1-3/4 Cup pureed strawberries (I thawed frozen strawberries and threw them in the food processor for a bit)
1/2 Tsp. Salt
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1-1/2 Cups Flour, double sifted

Preheat oven to 325 and line a muffin tin with cupcake liners. In a food processor, combine sugar, oil, vanilla, and strawberries until mixed well. Sift together the remaining ingredients (salt, baking powder, flour) in a large bowl. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix until well-combined, but avoid over-mixing so your cupcakes are light and fluffy. Pour batter into cupcake liners. Put in oven for 22-25 minutes, or until you can insert a toothpick in the middle of the cupcakes and remove it clean.

Set aside and allow to cool while preparing the frosting.

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

3 Cups Vegan Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup Vanilla Almond Milk
1/2 Cup Soy Free Earth Balance Margarine
1-1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract

Cream margarine, vanilla, and milk together with a small handheld mixer. Slowly mix in powdered sugar until frosting reaches proper consistency.

(For the pink, I added just two drops of red coloring while mixing).


Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Yes, it's been quite some time since my last post. My mother is still in a very critical state of being, and the kind words of encouragement on this page, my facebook page, and my email have been overwhelming and very meaningful. I've been working on a recipe that is Christmas-y, while incorporating some of my mom's favorite things to make for her this holiday season, and I think I have finally created the "Mom's-favorite-things-Christmas-Dessert"! So without further adieu, I give you my Red Velvet Brownies with White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting!

3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 oz red food coloring **sidenote, look for a red food dye that is made with Red #40...this is derived from coal and not insects)
2 tsp pure vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup (8 tbsp) Earth Balance, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated vegan sugar
2 egg replacements (I use Orgran Gluten-Free No Egg, but a lot of folks like Ener-G egg replacement as well)
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup (8 tbsp) Earth Balance, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 oz vegan white chocolate, melted (I used Vegan Sweets Vegan White Chocolate Chips)
1 – 2 tbsp vanilla almond milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8″x8″ baking pan with non-stick aide.

In a small bowl, slowly stir together the cocoa powder, food coloring, and 1 tsp vanilla into a thick paste, almost like toothpaste. Set aside.

With a hand mixer or bowl mixer beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add egg replacement, then stir in the remaining 1 tsp of vanilla. With the mixer off, add in the cocoa mixture, then turn the mixer to medium and beat the two mixtures together until they are one uniform color. Slowly add in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, just until combined. Do not overmix.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir up the batter with a rubber spatula once or twice just to ensure all of the flour has incorporated from the sides of the bowl and there isn’t anything stuck on the bottom of the bowl. You’ll want one uniformly colored (red) batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of the brownies. Allow brownies to completely cool in the pan on a baking rack, about 45-60 minutes.

Cream butter until soft and fluffy then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time; allow the sugar to mix in before adding the next 1/2 cup. Once all of the sugar has been added, beat on medium speed for 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the melted white chocolate and beat on medium speed until incorporated. With the mixer on low, add in almond milk 1 tbsp at a time and beat at medium speed until the frosting has reached your desired consistency.

The Big C

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I'm sure most of you have noticed, but the blog has been pretty....well....blank lately. I do apologize, but there have been a great many things that have been keeping me from keeping it updated. So, here goes...

My mom has cancer. Not just any cancer either. She has been diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is one of the rarest forms of cancer, only affecting around 150 people a year WORLDWIDE. Of that small group of people, only 1-3 people diagnosed with it are over the age of 12, so her being an adult makes it that much more rare. Because of how rare it is, it was very difficult for the doctors to figure out what was wrong with her, but as her body continued to grow tumor after tumor, they knew it was SOMETHING. Now, my mother has been fighting this thing like a true champion, and really taking it head-on. But she's only fought the first few battles in this epic war against her body's attackers, so there's still a long way to go.

My mother is my best friend. When life goes awry, she's the one person who has always had my back...even when I have made that hard, haha. She's even written a guest blog on my blog, which you can read here. She is the most important person in the world to me.

Anyway, I'm telling you all this because I'd love your help! One of my mothers' friends entered her photo on the "Stand Up to Cancer" fan page on Facebook. Every time someone clicks "like" on her photo, $1 is donated to aid in Cancer research. That's it! You don't even have to "like" the page, just the photo. I mean, how hard is that?! I'm asking all you wonderful readers to just click the link, and like the photo...five seconds...for my mom, and for the millions of other brave, strong people out there fighting this awful battle.

Thank you so much for reading, and I promise, when things get better (and they will, I know it), I'll be back to blogging more frequently.

Here's the link!,id_1131

Here's the link!,id_1131

Here's the link!,id_1131

Here's the link!,id_1131

Here's the link!,id_1131

My 3-Day Kaeng Raeng Raw Vegan Cleanse!

Friday, June 17, 2011

If you're a reader of Alicia Silverstone's website, The Kind Life, then I'm sure you've seen her rave about the Kaeng Raeng system numerous times. Well, I am happy to say that, I was the winner of the last giveaway on her site, so I got to try the 3-Day Cleanse for free! Now, I'd been wanting to try this for a long time, but I'm wary of cleanses, mainly because so many of them are terribly unhealthy and very hard on your body. Upon receiving my system in the mail, I read all of the nutritional info, and was SHOCKED at how absolutely full of vitamins and nutrients this program be honest, it was probably more nutritionally "full" than my daily diet is!

The packets were clearly labelled and you drank 3 a day, and could incorporate raw fruits and veggies into it as well. You could also mix the packets with non-dairy milks or juices for different tastes and such, which made this not feel like a "fast" or any other "cleanse" I'd ever been on. So, I stocked up on fruits and veggies, got my juicer ready to make some pure orange and apple juices to blend my mixes with.

Day 1:
I started my morning in a bit of a rush, so I wasn't able to juice. I mixed my first packet, which was the blueberry one, with ice and water and a banana and tossed it in the blender quick. Maybe it's my slight aversion to blueberries, but I was not a fan...HOWEVER, it did keep me extremely fact, by the time lunchtime rolled around, I still had about a quarter of it left and I was STUFFED!

Lunchtime, I had the Mango Peach Pineapple pack, once again just mixed with ice and water. Now this one, I could get into! As full as I was from breakfast, I wanted the full effect of this so I really guzzled my 32 ounces down. I loved the fact that there were chunks of real fruit floating in my made it feel much more wholesome!

Dinner: For dinner, I had the raspberry and strawberry pack, and I blended it with some fresh strawberries, ice and water for a delicious, almost dessert-like, dinner. I went to bed completely full and not feeling like I was lacking a thing, and I didn't even have to supplement with additional foods, aside from the banana and strawberries!

Day 2:
I got through the blueberry smoothie much easier this morning after blending it with fresh orange juice. It is still my least favorite, which is why I continued to drink it in the morning, so I could "get it over with" essentially! I blended my lunch drink with orange juice as well for something a little different as well.

This day, I did get the munchies between lunch and dinner...probably more out of the need to "chew" on something, so I snacked on an apple and some carrots in between.

Dinner, I threw a banana into the mix and it was super delicious as well.

Day 3:
Day 3 was the hardest, as it was the day before my birthday, and I started dreaming of birthday cake...hahaha. But, I successfully made it through, with a banana, apple and carrot snack in between each "meal" and all blended with homemade OJ.

I woke up on day four feeling so much...cleaner, clear-headed, and rested...and the 4.6 pounds lost wasn't bad either! The great thing about it was the weight lost wasn't just "water weight" but it was all the toxic junk that was stored up in my body, because once I started eating again I didn't gain it back like you do with water weight. It stayed off and really did help me jump-start my weight loss!

Overall, I give the Kaeng Raeng 3-Day cleanse an A-, and the minus is only for the fact that I'm picky and didn't really care for the blueberry drink mix! I HIGHLY suggest this cleanse to anybody out there looking for something to detox their system jump over to their website *here* and give it a shot!

Easy Cream Cheese Banana Bread!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Alright, so I've definitely been having my share of fun with this next recipe...using it to make bread....muffins...adding get the picture!

So the other day, I had a terrible craving for pancakes, but I wasn't feeling too well and didn't feel like whipping them up from scratch, so it was off to the grocery store for me to track down a vegan pancake mix. I stumbled across Aunt Jemima's Whole Wheat Blend mix, saw that it was vegan and brought it home. Well, by the time I got home, this Gemini mind of mind had changed and didn't want pancakes anymore! So now I have this box of pancake mix that, unless I do SOMETHING with it, will sit in my pantry from now until eternity. So, I started rummaging around the kitchen looking for something to do with it, and let me tell you, not only did I have major success, but everyone I work with was absolutely salivating over these muffins they were so delicious! So without further blabbing from me, here's the super-easy recipe!

Danielle's Cream Cheese Banana Bread (or Muffins, your choice!)

2-3 bananas, ripe
8 oz. (1 container) Galaxy Cream Cheese Alternative
2 egg replacers (I use Orgran Gluten-Free No-Egg but I know lots of people like Ener-G too)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. vegan white sugar
2 c. Aunt Jemima's Whole Wheat Blend Pancake Mix
1 tblsp. Cinnamon
Chocolate Chips (Optional)

Preheat Oven to 350.

Soften the cream cheese and mix with the sugars until smooth and creamy. Add in your bananas and your "eggs" and mix until smooth and well incorporated. Add in pancake mix, cinnamon, and anything else you care to add (walnuts, chocolate, etc.) and mix well.

Pour into breadpan or muffin pan. For one loaf of bread, bake for 45-50 minutes. For muffins, bake for 18-20 minutes.


(For the glaze that I made on the muffins, I used 1 c. vegan confectioners sugar (I find it at Whole Foods) and mixed it with 3 tablespoons of organic apple juice....delish!)

Nutrition Facts Per Serving (surprisingly low-cal!)

Calories: 186
Sodium: 415 mg
Fat: 6g
Protein: 3g
Fiber: 3g
Carbs: 29g

Cream Cheese Mexican Pizza!

Friday, June 3, 2011

(Sorry for the crummy photo, had to take it on my crummy phone because my crummy camera didn't feel like turning on :-()

So I was rummaging through Whole Foods the other day, and noticed that they sold vegan pizza dough made in-store! Obviously, being the pizza fiend that I am, I HAD to pick some up! I decided to make a Mexican-style pizza with a cream "cheese" base instead of sauce and it was to...die...for! So, here's what's included:

Cheesy, Creamy Mexicali Pizza
Whole Foods Vegan Pizza Dough
Galaxy Cream Cheese Alternative - 1 Container
Taco Seasoning (many have milk products, so make sure it's vegan!)
Black Beans (I used canned this time, because I found some canned with jalapenos!)
Rotel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles - 1 Can
Lightlife Mexican Style Grounds - 1/2 package
Galaxy Rice Vegan Cheddar block
Chipotle-Style Tabasco Sauce

Preheat your oven to 425.
Roll out your pizza dough into whatever shape you can get it (I can't make mine round for some reason, so I mold it into a baking sheet!).
Mix about half the packet of taco seasoning with the container of cream cheese until incorporated. Spread evenly on pizza crust.
Spread the beans, tomatoes and green chiles on the pizza.
Mix the remaining half of the taco seasoning with half a block of the Smart Grounds. Toss onto the pizza.
Shred about half a block of Galaxy Rice Vegan Cheddar and sprinkle on your pizza. Drizzle with some Chipotle-Style Tabasco sauce and toss a few sliced olives on there, if that's your flavor.
Throw in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is a golden brown.

Throw down some tequila and enjoy!

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