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.

Baker_Katherine_puppy_chow_mix

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?

PuppyChow_KatherineBaker

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!

PuppyChow_KatherineBaker_

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.

 

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…

vegan-3-ingredient-peanut-butter-chocolate-cheerio-bars-gf

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!

Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Sliced Lemon

I’m going to keep this quick because my life is an exploding hot mess of busy these days. More on this in tomorrow’s post. Stay tuned.

Avocado Iron Salt Toast

Now moving on to HAPPY THINGS. Like the fact that my dog is still cute. And the fact that salt exists. I love salt. Salt is arguably the greatest flavor enhancer of all times. It’s like the auto-tune of food.

iron salt avocado toast with lemons and radishes

Let’s also talk about iron, shall we? As a vegan, people always give me that annoying “BUT HOW DO YOU GET ANY PROTEIN?” stuff and I roll my eyes back into my head so far I can see my brain. Besides whole grains, nuts, vegetables (kale has 3 grams protein per cup!), tofu, etc etc, it’s truly not a concern. More concerning for vegans? B Vitamins and iron. At least according to my nutrition professors and to my opinion.

iron salt avocado toast with lemons & radishes

I actually do make an effort to get enough iron and B vitamins from foods. And so when my friend John approached me with this cool Iron Salt he’d created, I thought it was awesome. Each 1/4 teaspoon has 10% DV of salt. And as a bonus it’s pretty and pink and tastes great. COOL. I love it. And no I’m not just saying that. I’m a woman of honesty. And it’s also made in Brooklyn, which instantly makes it trendy and hip. #cool

iron salt avocado toast with lemons and radishes

Anyways, I made some recipes with the stuff and genuinely do love the product! You can order it here.Look out for some of my recipes that will be popping up on the Iron Salt Blog, which I’ll also share here. The first of which is this Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Sliced Lemon. It’s satisfying, tangy, creamy smooth, and totally rad (not just rad-ish ;-)). The radishes add a nice sharp flavor, and the lemon makes them sparkle. The Iron Salt brings it all together by highlighting each flavor, tying them all together, adding a nice crunch, and obviously, making it look really pretty.  It’s a nice way to mix up your avocado toast game. Enjoy! HAPPY SALT!

Avocado Iron Salt Toast 3

Salted Avocado Toast with Radishes and Lemon

This toast is refreshing, different, and filling, yet light. The Iron Salt highlights the earthy flavors of avocado, while the radishes and lemon provide an intriguing and fresh flavor contrast. An delightful dish for breakfast or as part of a light lunch, this toast is truly a nutritional powerhouse. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil if desired. If you don’t have radishes or lemon on hand, sub fresh tomatoes and basil, or cilantro with red peppers and lime juice.

Serves one.

Ingredients:

  • 1 slice whole-grain bread or gluten-free bread
  • ⅓ avocado
  • 2 radishes
  • ¼ of a small lemon
  • ½ teaspoon Iron Salt, divided
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

Directions:

  1. Toast bread.
  2. In a small bowl, mash avocado and add ¼ teaspoon of Iron Salt. Spread on toast.
  3. Thinly slice radishes and lemon. Layer radishes and lemon on toast. Garnish with remaining iron salt. Drizzle with additional lemon juice and olive oil, if desired.
  4. Enjoy

Best Ever Banana Bread {with Flax} – Vegan & Gluten-Free

Holy buckets I have not blogged in quite a little bit! This may be the longest blog break I’ve taken in a year! Wowza. Where oh where have I been?

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Welp, the month of July was insanely busy. In one short month I managed to go to New York, Chicago, Quebec City, attend two weddings, helped out with a fabulous bridal shower, attend Accepted Student’s Day at Columbia University in the City of New York (yup, that’s right, I’m heading back to NYC for grad school!) and spend a surprise night at a Ramawada Inn in Newark, NJ due to a clusterfuck of a travel situation heading back from Quebec.

Banana Bread with Flax - Vegan & Gluten Free

When I wasn’t traveling, I was working working working! I’ve been trying to work at Trader Joe’s as much as I can while still establishing a balance for free time/sanity, which between travel and some other freelance projects I’ve had this month, has been quite the juggling act. But exciting things are coming and happening and it’s been a busy but fun month – despite the fact that it completely flew by!

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

So today, July 29th, I had off. Free of all obligations, duties, travel agendas, work, and any other sort of obligation that would require me to be wearing real pants at a certain time and place. Aka utter BLISS.  Millie (bless her soul) of course decided woke me up at 5:34am on the dot. 5:34 am seems to be her favorite time to wake mommy up to go to the bathroom, eat breakfast, and promptly climb back into bed, leaving me up and awake for the day.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread

I’m naturally an early riser, but sometimes, sometimes, I fantasize of sleeping in til 6am on my days off. I guess I should just keep dreaming, right?

Getting up early isn’t always a bad thing – I’m most awake and productive in the early morning and it allows me to get things done before the rest of the world wakes up to distract me. The only downside is that often times I want to get errands done but things like the post office and Target aren’t open until several hours after I rise (-__-). Sometimes this leaves me time to do other things. Like bake.

Banana Bread with Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

This morning, I baked some banana bread. Can I tell you a secret? For YEARS I have had the hardest time perfecting banana bread. I just couldn’t do it! I don’t know why. It was always too dry, too wet, too clumpy, or the texture simply wasn’t correct.

Banana Bread - Easy, Vegan & Gluten Free !

I know, I know how can this be? I can make homemade Cronuts and elaborate cakes with my eyes closed, and I’m a well-known banana fiend, but for reasons beyond my explanation, I couldn’t make a decent banana bread to save my life. Well, recently, I am happy to say, I conquered the banana bread beast. Yes, I won. I won at life.

Banana Flax Bread - Vegan & Gluten-free

This recipe is several years and about 200 loaves of mediocre or failed banana bread in the making. But here, right in front of your eyes, is the best-ever, hearty, moist, pleasantly filling / not junky vegan and gluten-free banana bread. I think two major keys to perfect banana bread are almond flour and coconut oil. I really have tried this recipe with peanut butter and almond butter, but to me, texture and flavor wise, coconut oil (though boring) reigns supreme.

Banana Bread w: Flax. Vegan & Gluten Free

Winning at this recipe was a major hurdle for me to overcome in my life. I finally feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my culinary shoulders. In a sense, accomplishing this banana bread was a pleasant reminder that if I bust my butt hard enough, I can overcome any life obstacle. Which, when you’re moving halfway across the country again to throw yourself into grad school after some relaxing time off, is a pretty good reminder.

Vegan & Gluten Free Banana Bread with Flax

Onwards and upwards, friends! Happy banana bread to you. 😀 And in the words of Apu from the Simpsons, “Hallelujah, we have banana bread.”

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 60-80 minutes
Level: easy

makes one 12 inch loaf, serves about 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 3 large very-ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub peanut butter or almond butter, but I like coconut oil best)
  • 1/3 -1/2 cup maple syrup (can substitute 1/2-3/4 cup brown sugar or raw sugar)\
    • adjust amount based on desired level of sweetness
  • 1 cup almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (any kind will do)
  • 1 1/4 almond flour / almond meal (can sub oat flour)
  • 1 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats (can sub more oat flour)
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed (can sub more rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (optional, but highly recommended)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. In a cup, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle, at least 10 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, melt coconut oil or nut butter in a large bowl. mash bananas and add to melted coconut oil. Stir will. Add maple syrup. Mix well.

4. Add almond flour, oat flour, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice. Fold into banana mixture. Add almond milk mixture and 1/4 cup walnuts and fold into batter. Mix until just combine.

5. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and top with remaining 1/4 cup walnuts, and bake for 60 – 80 minutes, or until bread becomes browned and until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean upon removal. Allow to cool and serve with coconut oil, jelly, or more nut butter :-D.

Vegan Falafel Sliders

Happy July! It’s July already?!? Yeah, I don’t know how that happened either. June flew by. Last thing I knew it was Jimmy’s birthday and now suddenly Summerfest is half over and everyone is getting ready for the 4th.

Vegan Falfel Sliders!

Ahh yes, the 4th of July. Just the mention of such a holiday fills me with Katy Perry song-spirit. The 4th of July means food, and fun, and BBQ. It’s a great excuse to get outside with friends and family and come together to eat good food, enjoy the sunshine, play some weird outdoor games while half drunk, and explode things in the sky.

Falafel Sliders

Personally fireworks confuse me from a waste and ecological standpoint. I just don’t think they’re worth it. Also, they sound funny and my dog doesn’t like the loud booms. But you don’t care about my opinions anyway, do you? You care about what most people care about on the 4th of July which is tacky patriotic outfits and food. Fun food. Party food. Grilled food. Finger food. Basically, ALL DA NOMS.

Vegan Falafel Sliders

When it comes to being a vegetarian or vegan at a BBQ, things can get awkward. I’ve gotten used to the BYOVB (bring your own veggie burger) way of life. Which works for me. I’d rather bring something and know I have a good option than show up to a sad empty bun with a side of grapes, and/or a grilled portabella “burger,” Ugh. No thanks. I have nothing against portabella mushrooms, but I cannot stand the whole portabella mushroom “burger” concept.I kind of wish I did like it, because it’s so often offered to me at BBQs. But it’s just not my taste. Pass me the veggie burgers, plz & thank you.

Falafel Sliders with Muhammara Sauce - Vegan

So I usually come with my own veggie burger (or 4) in hand, and have a happy time. But last night I was eating falafel from Trader Joe’s on pita bread with simultaneously eating these amazing dinner rolls I had. And then it hit me – I could make falafel sliders! What a cute, delicious finger food for the 4th of July or any party! Or my lunch! Excitement flooded my entire being as I stuffed myself with falafel-y goodness.

Vegan Falfel Sliders !

You can also use Trader Joe’s frozen falafels as an excellent shortcut in making these babies. You simply microwave them and they are pretty damn tasty. You can also make your own. These Waffle’d Falafel Patties I made last year would work great. As would other pre-made falafels, or whatever falafels you make from your favorite recipe.

Falafels from Trader Joe's

The concept here is pretty simple: a falfel patty on a little dinner roll with whatever fixin’s and toppings you’re feelin’. I added lettuce, tomato, and a sauce I whipped up using Trader Joe’s Muhammara spread and unsweetened plain coconut milk yogurt. This was a delicious, flavorful, slightly spicy yet cool and creamy topping for the sliders. If you haven’t had the new(ish) Trader Joe’s Muhammara spread, you must.

Muhammara - Trader Joe's

I don’t really mean to tell you that you absolutely need this in your life to survive, but the truth is you actually really need this in your life to survive. Holy yum. It’s a hummus-like spread made of walnuts, roasted red peppers and pomegranate juice. It’s basically a spreadable flavor bomb.

Falfel Sliders - Vegan

If you can’t get access to this, you can sub roasted red pepper hummus. And/or any other spread you may like on your falafels. Like tahini or tzatziki. It’s up to you. Anyway you sauce, these falafel sliders are the boss. They’re tasty, satisfying, and obviously mini and adorable. Cheers to you and happy 4th of July!

Vegan Falafel Sliders

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10-20 minutes (depending on falafels used)
Level: Easy!

makes 8 falafel sliders

Ingredients:

  • 8 dinner rolls
  • 8 cooked falafel patties – [ I bought the frozen ones from Trader Joe’s which are vegan and quite good for a quick shortcut; you can also make your own – I recommend this Waffle’d Falafel Balls from last year (#tbt) and/or any other recipe you may already like 🙂 ]
  • 2 small roma (or other) tomatoes, sliced
  • lettuce
  • 1/2 cucumber, sliced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Muhammara – (so, so good; can’t stress this enough. can also sub roasted red pepper hummus, and/or any hummus of choice, and/or sub with 2 tablespoons hot sauce)
  • 1/4 cup lain unsweetened coconut milk yogurt or other unsweetened yogurt (I used this one)
    • note: if you can’t find these ingredients, and/or are not dairy free, feel free to mix equal parts roasted red pepper hummus or any hummus with any unsweetened plain yogurt of your choice, or a few tablespoons hot sauce with any neutral base like unsweetened plained yogurt or veganaze, for your own dipping sauce. you could also sub Tahini sauce or Tzatziki Sauce – it’s all up to you!) 

Directions:

1. Prepare falafel according to instructions.

2. Prepare sauce by combining Muhammara (or roasted red pepper hummus) and unsweetened coconut milk yogurt in a small bowl and mixing well.

Vegan Falafel Sliders

3. Cut dinner rolls in half. Slice tomatoes, cucumbers, and lettuce into small slices. Place a piece or two of lettuce, a piece of tomato, and a cucumber slice on each bun. Add one falafel to each sandwich. Top with a dollop of sauce and place top of bun on falafel.

Falafel Sliders

4. Place a toothpick in each slider and serve. Happy summer fun! 🙂