Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

Puppy chow!! Aka muddy buddies (apparently). Aka the best darn sweet crunchy snack of all times ever period!I remember puppy chow sales being a thing when I was little. Were they a thing where you grew up? Because when I went to college I realized they aren’t a thing everywhere. In fact all 3 of my freshman year suite-mates hadn’t heard of puppy chow. How sad, I know. MuddyBuddys_Katherine_baker

I think Puppy Chow is a Midwest thing. I could be wrong. All I know is that everyone I know from the Midwest knows what it is, and I’ve met lots of coasties who do not. But that could be an anomaly.

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If you look on the back of a Chex box for a puppy chow recipe, you may notice that that recipe contains butter and vanilla. I find these additions to be unessential. Like, when you’re eating puppy chow, I feel like they don’t add much. IMG_5461

At least to me. I just use peanut butter, chocolate, powdered sugar, and cereal, and I don’t miss anything. So I reason I’ll save vanilla and butter for instances where it really does add shine. Gotta save those valuable baking resources, amiright?

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So here is my coincidentally, stripped-down, bare-bones, completely delicious vegan puppy chow recipe. If you’ve never had it, make it right the fuck now. Trust me. KatherineBaker_Chocolate_peanutbutter

This is another adapted recipe I posted on Spoon University, but here you’ll find it completely unabashedly dairy-free and with slightly different photos. Enjoy!

-Kbakes

PS: If you want more p chow in your life, check out this Puppy Chow Granola post!

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Easy Vegan Puppy Chow

  • Prep Time: 15-20 mins
  • Cook Time: nada
  • Servings: varies on how much you can eat at once (I can eat a lot of this at once)

Ingredients:

  • 6 cups Chex or other plain cereal
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter or other nut butter (almond or sunflower seed butter would also be yummy)
  • 1 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (I use Trader Joe’s) or chopped dark chocoalte
  • 1/2-3/4 cup powdered sugar, depending on if you’re one of those people who likes a little or a lot of powdered sugar on your chow

Method:

  1. Melt the chocolate in a large microwave safe bowl by heating in 30-second increments in your microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring between each until chocolate is almost (but not completely) melted. Add peanut butter to the bowl and return to the microwave and heat for an additional 30-60 seconds, until peanut butter is also melty.
  2. Mix those two together. Enjoy the views and the smells.
  3. Add cereal to bowl and mix gently. You want to coat the cereal with the chocolate/peanut butter mixture, but also want to be careful as to not crush the cereal.
  4. Transfer to a large zip-lock, add powdered sugar, and shake it up until cereal is coated with powdered sugar.
  5. Eat the shit out of that delicious puppy chow.

Easy Homemade Pico

Got another one for ya. Something to pair with those chipsIMG_5497

I’m pumping out some adapted recipes I’ve shared on Spoon on the blog while I’m working on some other content projects I’m SUPER excited to share over here and on another platform/medium that I’ve been wanting to try for so very long!IMG_5481

I’m excited and nervous and finally ready to explore a new medium of creativity, and really give it a shot. Any guesses what format? 🙂 IMG_5478

Other life updates: So about 10 years ago at poms camp someone stepped on my big toe and ripped off the big toe nail completely. It’s never been the same. It’s cracked off a few times since then, and has always been kind of discolored and funky.  Last week my toe really started to swell and get painful. Like,all around the nail it was like elevated and puffy and it hurt to put on shoes or walk.IMG_5503

Cue me going to a walk-in clinic feeling like a hypochondriac. Turns out I wasn’t a hypochondriac. Next thing I know, I’m in podiatry getting my big toenail removed and nail bed dug out (there was a lot of scar tissue and pus down there). IMG_5487

I opted to watch the mini surgery. I regret watching the mini surgery. Anyways, they put me a giant dose of antibiotics and I’m pretty sure my gut flora is not pleased. I honestly JUST got off antibiotics for a throat infection 4 days prior to this experience, and I’m kinda worried I will have no good flora left by the end of this course (in like….another week and a half -__-). At least it’s an excuse to buy ALL the booch? 🙂HomemadeBakedTortilalChips_KatherineBaker

Anyways back to pico. Because I bet that story DEFIANTLY made you hungry. For some fresh tomato-y pico. Tehehe #sorryiovershareeverythingIMG_5494

Other notes/truth time: the herb in these photos is not actually cilantro. It’s parsley. Don’t tell anyone. It’s what I had on hand. That’s also the case for this entire series, and somehow thankfully, no one has ever noticed and come for me after it. Which means I don’t think anyone noticed. Since people on the internet are very quick to be mean.

Without further adieu, here is modified pico from my post for Spoon University:

Easy Homemade Pico De Gallo

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Servings: 2-5 ? Eat what feels good to you

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh diced tomatoes (about 2 medium or 1 small container cherry tomatoes)
  • 1 small red or yellow onion, or 1 shallot
  • 1/3-1/2 cup cilantro leaves, chopped finely
  • 1-2 fresh jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Sriracha (optional)

Method:

  1. Dice tomatoes and onions into small pieces. If you like bigger tomato chunks (I do) feel free to leave ’em a little bigger
  2. If you’re fancy, chiffonade the cilantro. If you’re not fancy, just chop it up into really small pieces. Add to bowl.
  3. Remove stems and if you’re sensitive to heat, remove seeds from jalapeños.Dice jalapeños and add to bowl.
  4. Juice one lime and add to bowl. Add a generous amount of salt. Mix well.
  5. If you’re like me and a spiciness fanatic, feel free to add a squeeze of Sriracha to up the spice game.
  6. Enjoy. Maybe with these chips.

 

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

Greetings! Again, sorry for the lack of recent content. I had a random surgery need pop up (more on this in my next post), and between work and the meds I’ve been on, have been drained of energy. HomemadeBakedTortilalChips_KatherineBaker

So! I’m going to share a series of adapted recipe pieces I wrote for Spoon University on the blog. Starting with these tortilla chips. (The recipes on the blog will be slightly different than those on Spoon)HomemadeBakedTortillaChips_Baker

I’m not a huge chip person. I can take or leave potato chips. Which is honestly kind of strange considering how much I LOVE potatoes. But I do like tortilla chips sometimes. Especially if they’re extra salty and not too greasy and served with guac. Or chocolate. (Trust me, tortilla chips + chocolate = a great combo).HomemadeBakedTortillaChips_Baker_Katherine

These chips are wonderful because they’re the perfect way to use up staling tortillas. And we all know how much I despise food waste. You can also make these in the microwave by microwaving each side for about 30 seconds-1 minute until crispy. It works way better than I expected it would.HomemadeBakedTortillaChips_KatherineBaker

So here is a link to the post on Spoon, and here is the recipe, below:

Homemade Baked Tortilla Chips

  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time:12 mins
  • Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 8 corn or flour tortillas
  • 1-1.5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • lots of salt
  • lime juice (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Brush each side of each tortilla with just a wee bit of oil.
  3. Cut tortillas into 8 equal wedges (or 6 or 4 wedges, if you’re into bigger chips).
  4. Place tortilla wedges on baking sheet, spacing evenly and ensuring that none overlap. If you want to add lime juice, now’s the time to brush it on.
  5. Sprinkle a generous amount of salt over the chips.
  6. Place chips in the oven for 8-12 minutes, until golden and crispy, flipping halfway through, if desired.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Add more salt if you’d like. Enjoy 🙂

Soy Ginger Maple Baked Tempeh

This right here is my recent go-to baked tempeh recipe. It’s the perfect combination of savory umami flavor, with a hint of maple sweetness, and a bit of heat from ginger. You can up the spice level with some Sriracha, but more on that later.Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 11.37.38 PM

Never had tempeh? Well perhaps you should give it a try.  Two important things about tempeh: 1) tempeh is made out by fermented soybeans into a weird dense cake thing, and 2) tempeh is way better than I just made it sound.

When I try to describe tempeh to people, I usually go with “it’s kinda like tofu, but heartier and with a toothier texture.”  If you’re looking for a cheap ($1.99 for an 8-ounce package at TJs!), versatile protein, give tempeh a try. It’s great on salads, in grain bowls, or in tacos.

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Someone recently asked me on Instagram how I make my tempeh, and actually this is a question I get a lot when I recommend it to people: “Like, what do I do with that log thing made of soybeans?”

Personally, I love tempeh so much, I can eat it cold, plain, and with salt. But for those less obsessed than I, here is one of my favorite ways to prepare it:

Prep Time:  5 minutes + at least one hour to marinate
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: at least 90 minutes, the longer you marinate, the more intense the flavor
Servings: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces tempeh
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce, liquid aminos, or tamari
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon sesame or other neutral vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger, or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger (depending on desired level of ginger-heat)
  • 1/2 tablespoon Sriracha (optional)

Method:

  1. Cut tempeh into slices, cubs, or triangles (however you desire it)
  2. Mix soy sauce, maple syrup, oil, ginger, and Sriracha in a small bowl.
  3. Place tempeh in a small shallow dish and pour marinate evenly over the tempeh.
  4. Place tempeh in the refrigerator for at least 40 minutes, up to 24 hours. The longer it sits, the more intense the flavor becomes.
  5. When ready to cook, preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Place tempeh on a backing sheet lined with parchment paper. Pour extra marinate from the pan over the tempeh.
  7. Bake for 22 minutes, then flip, and bake an additional 18-25 minutes, until desired texture is reached.
  8. Remove from oven and enjoy!

Peanut Butter & Sriracha Veggie Sandwich

Hello and welcome to a recipe post that probably sounds very strange at first. But bare with me. Let me walk you through my logic.

Vegan Peanut Butter and Sriracha Veggie Sandwich

Behold the PB&S. PB&S? Can we make that a thing? Okay great. Because it’s surprisingly delicious. Sure, the combination sounds weird and perhaps even a bit icky at first, but think about it: do you like pad thai? Of course you do. Pad Thai is delicious. Pad Thai also has a peanut butter-based sauce. And is spicy and has veggies in it and is paired with carby noodles.

So why not pair peanut butter and Sriracha (or not if you don’t care for spicy) with some crunchy veggies on bread, add some cilantro, and call it lunch?

So here we are. A savory veggie-packed peanut butter sandwich. This is a highly satisfying combination, and makes for a fun way to switch up your lunch time game. I suggest pairing it with a nice crunchy apple with additional peanut butter for dipping.

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And then eat something sweet for dessert. Maybe a cookie. Or maybe a marshmallow fondant covered spotted dick. Have you been watching Great British Bake Off on Netflix?

I can’t stop. I binged the entire three seasons available on Netflix in 4 days. And now I’m rewatching it. If you haven’t seen it yet, you simply must. It makes every other food show feel inferior. I don’t think I’ll ever look at the Food Network again.

Vegan Peanut Butter and Sriracha Veggie Sandwich

There’s just something about how compassionate the contestants are towards one another that is simply beautiful. Also, the hosts are hilarious.

Would anyone reading this be interested in me diversifying my content? Because that’s what it’s about to happen. I realized I like blogs that share things like daily life info and eats so I’m going to try and experiment with that soon, instead of just recipe post after recipe post.

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Also, I apolotize that pictures look blurry on WordPress lately. All of them look crystal clear on my computer, but WordPress keeps distorting them. So I’m working on figuring out how to fix that since it’s been stopping me from uploading content. So for now just deal with my blurry pics plz.

Anywho, happy spring. And on your mark, get set, MAKE (a sandwich) !

Peanut Butter Sriracha Sandwich

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: ~5 minutes
Servings: 1 sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons natural peanut butter
  • Sriracha (as much or as little as you please)
  • 3/4 cup chopped vegetables of choice  (I used carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and lettuce, because that’s what I had in my fridge, but any of your favorite crunchy veggies would do)
  • small handful of cilantro (optional)

Method:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. Spread peanut butter on both pieces of bread.
  3. Chop vegetables and cilantro and add to bread.
  4. Drizzle with Sriracha.
  5. Assemble sandwich and enjoy.

3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheerio Bars

Hello! It me. I bring to you another dessert recipe from Wisconsin since my flight to NYC was canceled this morning due to the wind! Blah. I suppose this means even more time to experiment with dessert recipes since I will no longer have the opportunity to stuff myself with Van Leeuwen vegan ice cream this weekend (my absolute fav).easy-vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

Now I will preface this recipe by acknowledging that I’m aware I did not break any culinary boundaries in creating these. And that’s fine. But these bars are beauties because they’re super duper easy and super duper delicious. They’re also vegan and gluten-free, if you’re into that kinda thing.

They’re also highly addictive. My mom ate like 3/4th of the tray in one sitting. We are definitely related. Chocolate is a food group, according to us. vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

So a lil history on these bars: they came about because as a constantly-on-a-budget TJs fanatic, I am always looking up ways to create cheap after-dinner sweet snacks. In grad school I starting buying bags of chocolate chips for $1.99 (yup, TJ’s chocolate chips are vegan) and boxes of TJ’s Joe’s O’s (which are the Trader Joe’s equivalent of Cheerios) also for $1.99. I would mix chocolate chips and Joe’s Os in a wee little bowl and nibble on the mixture while studying.

The mix is a bit sweet, a bit carby, chocolatey, and crunchy. It’s highly satisfying, easy-to-prepare, and cheap as can be! It really stretches out a bag of chocolate chips, and has the added bonus that Joe’s O’s are decently not-too-shabby-for-you, making it a snack that’s easy to eat every night without feeling icky.

Then one day last month, I  was making puppy chow for my sister when she was in town, and I ventured to the grocery store to get a box of Chex. And then I got home and saw my Cheerios and I was like…I wonder if….!

And so this month, I tried it. I basically used the puppy chow idea (melted chocolate + pb) with Cheerios in place of Chex, but pressed them into a pan instead of coating them with powdered sugar.vegan-gluten-free-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars

The result is a crunchy, easy peasy snack that satisfies any crunchy chocolate peanut butter craving. They’re just damn good and damn delicious.

Anyways, without further audieu, I present to you…

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Vegan Salted Coconut Milk Caramel

Caramel! Do you say it “CARA-uh-mel” or “CAR-uh-muhl” or “KAR-mul?” I say it “delicious,” and something I enjoy swirled into my ice cream or as a dipping sauce for a hot doughy pastry (hello, mini churros).yummy-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

So once upon a time I found and fell a bit infatuated with these vegan caramels made from coconut milk. Me being me, I instantly starting working on how I could recreate something similar.

I typically make my vegan caramel from dates, which is delicious, but this was a fun new challenge and I can’t wait to bake with this stuff and incorporate it into other fun desserts and treats.coconut-milk

What are you up to right now? As I’m typing up this post, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules. It’s the best worst show ever.

Life is still a bit of a doosey for me lately. I’m experiencing multiple transitions and am exploring new platforms for freelance, and in the meantime I find I have a lot of create energy and am unsure where to place it. It feels like I’m going to pop creative juice all over the carpet. So when this happens I end up baking breakfast cookies and making homemade vegan caramel. I need a life. Or a friend who will eat my food that isn’t my dog.vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

In other news, I am experiencing a really adorable adult acne breakout. This acne does not help me in the she-looks-like-a-teenager-don’t-take-her-seriously-department. Which is starting to get a wee bit frustrating. But that’s okay. I recently read a tweet from a vlogger I follow about letting people who doubt you and try to take advantage of you be your motivation to succeed. So I’m going to try to go this route. Which I guess means caramel, among other things.

Enough of my talking. On to the caramel:delicious-vegan-coconut-milk-caramel

It’s easy, delicious, and has a lovely coconul undertone. It’s wonderful swirled into yogurt, on top of ice cream, AND in the recipe I am going to post next (stay tuned ~ I’m really excited about this one).

Oh, and if you’d like the mini vegan churros recipe here it is: 1) Go to Trader Joe’s. 2) Buy frozen mini churros. 3) Eat.

Prep Time:  2 mins
Cook Time: 35-40 mins
Total Time: ~40 minutes
Servings: ~1/2 cup caramel sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Method:

  1. In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar.
  2. Heat mixture to a boil over medium heat. Maintain slow boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, roughly 35-40 minutes. Stir in coconut oil and vanilla and remove from heat.
  3. Transfer caramel sauce to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!