Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Taco Pasta

Yesterday evening while waiting for my son to wake up from his nap, I was browsing on Pinterest. I came across this pin for Taco Pasta. Noodles with a Mexican-style meat sauce. It looked so good and I hadn't had an actual home cooked dinner since my mom left a week ago. So I decided to quickly make a vegan version of it before Jack woke up.

I did not use a taco seasoning packet like in the original recipe. I never buy spice packets like that, too high in sodium and you never know what else in there exactly. Just make your own spice blend with your own fresh spices.

Taco Pasta
5 oz Penne 
Olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped fine 
1 clove if garlic, minced 
1 package of vegan ground beef (I used Tofurky Ground Beef Style
1/4 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 
1/2 tsp garlic powder 
1/2 tsp Mexican oregano 
1/2 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp ground cumin 
1 tsp chili powder 
1 cup salsa (I used pico de gallo) 
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese ( I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/2 cup vegan sour cream 
Vegan cheddar cheese, optional 

Cook the pasta according to the direction on the package. 

While that cooks, add a little olive oil to a large skillet. Heat over medium heat. 

Add the onions and sauté until soft. 

Add the garlic and the ground "beef". Cook until the "beef" is slightly browned. 

Add the salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Cook until fragrant.

Turn the heat to low. Add the salsa, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix well and cook until heated through. 

Once the pasta is ready, drain and return to the pot. 

Add the "meat" sauce to the pasta and stir together well. 

Serve it up and add a sprinkle of cheddar cheese on top if you wish.

Michael was really happy to have a home cooked meal and so was I. This was so filling and tasty after several says of frozen food and sandwiches. I love the tang from the sour cream.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Insanely Moist Carrot Cake

First off, I have some exciting news! I had my baby! Jack was born two weeks ago and he is perfect. Check out my other blog for his full birth story

My mom came for a month to help take care of us---for which I am insanely grateful. She left today and I wish she could come back already. She took care of all the cooking so I apologize for not having any new recipes lately. However, she made me an awesome treat for Easter that I wanted to share.

Carrot cake will always remind me of my grandmother. No one else in my family likes carrot cake but me, so she only made it when I was visiting. Sweet carrots, rich cream cheese frosting, and the smile on her face when I took the first bite. Such happy memories. Then my mom burst my bubble few years ago and told me she used a box mix. Oh well, I still cherish those memories. At least she would doctor it up with extra carrots, walnuts, and raisins.

So I asked my mom if she would make me a carrot cake for Easter. She also used a box mix but doctored it up. Now, no offense to late grandmother, but my mom's cake was AMAZING. Light but insanely moist. Just the right amount of sweetness with light creamy frosting. 

This recipe makes one sheet cake. Because this cake is vegan and does not have eggs, it will not rise significantly. As a result, I would not suggest making this into a layer cake. 

Carrot Cake
1 box carrot cake mix (check to make sure it is vegan)
1/4 cup applesauce
1 can crushed pineapple in juice
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 container of vegan cream cheese 
1 cup powder sugar 

Pre-heat the oven to temperature for a sheet cake as specified on the box. 

Spray a baking sheet pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together all the cake ingredients. Use the whole can of pineapple, juice included. 

Bake according the the directions on the box. However, since there are no eggs it may take a bit longer. Adjust the time as needed. Like a regular cake, a toothpick inserted in the middle should be clean when removed.

Once the cake is cooled, make the frosting. Mix together the cream cheese and powder sugar. It will just be a light frosting/glaze. 

Spread on the cake and let it set. 

It's so insanely moist, I love it. Maybe Jack will take after me and love carrot cake too. Maybe he can have happy memories eating it with his grandma too. And maybe you can bake up this treat and make memories of your own.