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 🙂

Homemade Chocolate Coconut Macaroon Larabars

Two non-related thoughts: 1) The holidays are here! 2) Larabars are delicious, but can be expensive. What do these thoughts lead someone like myself to do?! DIY, of course.

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Tis both the season of giving and eating. I knew I wanted to have an excuse to bake or create something in my kitchen, and thought it would be nice to gift something that’s not super-overly-indulgent, figuring that with the holidays as they are, everyone is drowning in plenty of gluttony and may actually be lusting for a healthy snack in the next few days.

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So I made some homemade Larabars. Actually, what also inspired me to make these bars is my sister. She LOVES Larabars. So does a toddler I know, who calls them “Spongy Cakes” which is so cute that I almost pass out every time I hear it. Anyways, I’ve wanted to try making homemade Larabars for my sis for a while, and since last night I was angsty and bored and didn’t feel like sitting still, I took pantry inventory and decided to make some and add them to the other food gifts I’m giving. I’m also giving some Chocolate Bark with Figs, Nuts and Sea Salt very similar to this recipe. And some Gingerbread Granola, which I’m planning to also post the recipe for within the hour.

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I’d like to say I chose to copy the Chocolate Coconut Macaroon flavor of Larabars because it fits so well with the holidays like Haunnukah and blah blah blah and honestly that was a partial deciding factor but if I’m honest, they are kind of a result of what was in the pantry, per usual.

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These babies have 4 ingredients: Cashews. Dates. Coconut Shreds. Dark Chocolate. That’s it. Plain and simple just like the OG Larabars themselves. They turned out really well and quite similar to a Larabar in texture, flavor, and yumminess. The key is not over-pulsing the nuts or chocolate in your food processor. Leave them a little crumby, just like the real ones.

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You can even use holiday cookie cutters, and/or wrap them up like wee little gifts if you’d like:

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Make these babies, customize them as you’d like, gift them, or keep them. They’re a perfect yummy high-energy sweet treat to keep your blood sugar stable through the holidays and beyond. Happy holidays and happy eating!

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes (but require at least 20 minutes to set in fridge)

Level: Easy

makes 8 mini-Larabars or 6 regular sized bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or 2 oz dark chocolate

Directions:

1. Pulse cashews in food processor until a fine, crumby powder. Make sure you don’t overdo the processing, you don’t want a nutbutter, rather a fine sticky dust. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Pulse chocolate in food processor until chocolate is a similar crumb to the nuts. Add chocolate to bowl with nuts.

3. Place dates and coconut in food processor. Puree until mixture reaches a fine paste. If it’s lumpy, add a small bit of water, 1-3 tablespoons, 1 tablespoon at a time.

4. Take date/coconut paste and add to bowl with nuts and chocolate. Mix with a wooden spoon and/or knead until well combined into a cookie-dough-like ball.

5. Line a small baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Transfer Larabar mixture onto sheet and spread until about 1/4th inch thick. Press with hands to create a smooth surface.

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6. Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes, preferably an hour. Slice and enjoy! 🙂

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Homemade Vegan Cheetos

There are so many great things about being a pet owner. I’m sure many of you can relate. But there are also many stressful things about being a pet owner. For example, occasionally (read: today) you get awoken by the sound of your little chiweenie puking all over your bedroom floor. Instantly, depsite the fact that it’s 1:40am and you’ve only gotten 2 hours asleep, you are awake with adrenaline pumping, wondering what on earth is happening to your wee little nugget of joy!

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You stand up. And watch your dog (clearly embarrassed) try to hide under the bed to conceal the fact that she is, in fact, puking piles of foamy chunky goo onto your carpet. Isn’t this an appetizing intro to a food blog post? Thought so. Anyways, if you’re like me, your dog puking on your carpet (followed closely by stuff coming out the other end) results in staying up for the remainder of the night/morning carefully watching and overanalyzing every move of your pup.

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So yes, that was my morning. Dog poop and vomit on the floor. Fun stuff. The wee morning hours crept by, and around 5:15am, I made some peanut butter and banana oatmeal while watching the Duggars. I love the Duggars. Anyways, as I reached for my cinnamon shaker, I reached right past the nutritional yeast in the cabinet. I’ve always thought nutritional yeast to look like Cheetos Dust. I mean, doesn’t it? It totally does. So sometime between cinnamon shaking and JimBob fixing his combover, I decided I was going to make vegan Cheetos today.

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And so I did. Here’s the recipe. They don’t taste exactly like Cheetos, which in my opinion is a good thing. They do, however, taste like cheesy straw-like crackers with cheesy dust. And really, it’s all about the dust. If you don’t have nutritional yeast, well then I suggest you buy some. A ~*~complete*~* protein with all 18 amino acids and all the B vitamins including B12 which is hard for a lot of veggies to get, it’s probably one of the most nutritious things you can add to your diet. Also it tastes good. It’s nutty and cheesy and after a while you just sort of start to crave it and put it on errything. Like these Cheetos. Which are also much better for you than regular Cheetos. They have nothing fake in them (!!) at all. They’re also whole wheat. How do you like them apples, erm…or Cheetos.

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Anyways, I now sit in my kitchen, delusional from lack of sleep, and I hereby present to you my recipe for homemade whole-grain vegan Cheetos. Eat on, homies! And have a nice weekend. #cheetodust

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Level: Easy

Ingredients – Cheetos:

  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 6 oz non-dairy cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard (can substitute with 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Ingredients – Dust:

  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • dash salt
  • dash cayenne pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.In a large bowl, mix together the corn meal, flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cayenne pepper, and cream of tartar. If you’re using mustard powder toss it in here, too. Mix well.

3. Cube cheese and place in a food processor. Grind until a doughy cheesy paste forms. Add mustard. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the cheese blend, about 1/4 cup at a time, pulsing to combine after each addition. Add oil and continue to pulse until a cheesy putty dough forms. If it’s a bit dry, add a teaspoon or so more oil or water.

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4. Remove from food processor, and roll out dough into long tubes. Break apart with fingers in about 2-3 inch pieces, to resemble cheetos. They don’t have to look perfect, mind you, cheetos do not.

5. Place in the oven and bake on a lower rack for 12-15 minutes until the bottoms become a bit crispy and brown and the Cheetos are hollow sounding if you pick one up and tap it on the pan.

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6. Allow to cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk dust ingredients, and sprinkle all over your Cheetos. Cheeto Dust = lol. Link your phalanges. Eat Cheetos. Contemplate life. Eat more Cheetos.

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Fudgy Vegan Double Chocolate Muffins – with a Surprise Ingredient [Watermelon!]

I like chocolately muffins. I like to dip them in almond or soy milk, or mash them up into Greek Yogurt. It makes a great substitute for a froyo creation when I’m too lazy to seek it out. I kind of like those VitaTop muffin things. The chocolate ones. But they’re expensive and I tend to only buy them when they are on sale at Target. So that’s a bummer. But I can get by.

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In addition to chocolate muffins, I also like the challenge of vegan baking. I always have. No, I’m not currently vegan. I am, however, a vegetarian of f 13+ years and recently have been progressing towards a more plant based diet.  Lately I’ve just been more and more into earthy stuff and the challenge of creating things with stuff straight from motha nature (also this book doe…). Now I know that baked goods aren’t something you’d typically pick off a tree, but I really genuinely do enjoy vegan baking sometimes. Buttercream is a beautiful thing and if you follow me on Instagram you know I’m a bitch for ice cream, but there’s something to be said about vegan baked goods. Sometimes, without all the mingling flavors of eggs and butter and other stuff, I believe you can actually taste the flavors more intensely. In fact, some of the most pure tasting and flavorful ice creams/gelatos and pasteries I’ve had have coincidentally be vegan. So be open minded, friends. And open mouthed.

These muffins, like a lot of other vegan baked goods, are rly fudgey and intensely chocolatey. Both great things.

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I’ve seen a lot of vegan baking recipes that use applesauce to add sweetness and texture to baked goods. This is a great trick. I do it all the time. And I almost did for these muffins. But then I also realized I had a boatload of watermelon which I happened to be snacking on while I started baking. So I decided to experiment with pureeing some up and using it instead of applesauce in my recipe. Why? Why the hell not. It’s nutritious and delicious just like applesauce added some natural sweetness and tons of moisture and a springy bite to the muffins.

Do these taste like watermelon? No. Not really. They mostly just tasted really chocolately. That’s not the point though. The point is that I like to experiment and this substitution happened to work splendidly. It also has inspired me to play around with baking with watermelon. Perhaps I will actually try to use it as a flavoring agent in a future baking project. Anyways, happy eating.

[Ps – there’s a half marathon recap after dis recipe.]

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 1/2 cup coca powder
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 cup almond or soy milk (can use regular if not going for vegan)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 cup pureed watermelon
  • 1 + 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (double check for non-dairy if you’re vegan, or don’t if you don’t care)

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, combine almond milk and vinegar and set aside for at least 10-15 minutes. This will allow it to curdle. It’s like DIY buttermilk. It will provide leavening and acidity to the final product.

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3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flours, sugar, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Whisk to combine.


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4. Use a food processor or blender to puree a cup of cubed watermelon.

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5. Combine dry and wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Add one cup chocolate chips.

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7. Line a muffin tin (tray? whatever) with 12 muffin cup things. Spoon batter into each. It may help to use an ice cream scoop for this. Trust me here it’ll change your life.

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8. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup (or more) chocolate chips all over the top of the muffins.

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9. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Meanwhile, clean bowl with spatula via your mouth. Your dog may park herself in front of the oven and watch you do this.

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10. Cool completely and eat. These taste better cold. I would recommend storing them in the fridge. They taste fudgier that way.  And/or mashed up into Greek Yogurt.

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Sweet Potato Latkes with Curried Ketchup

Here is yet another article I wrote for NYU Spoon that I was asked to come up with for the collision of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah or whatnot. I’m not Jewish. But people sometimes tell me I look Jewish. And hand me Jewish pastry things in the streets on Jewish holidays. I tell them I’m not Jewish and they usually just give me stuff anyways. I’ll take it. I grew up an a religious free household so I’ve always been weirdly fascinated by different traditions and holidays and what have you. In fact I took a Jewish literature class at NYU. I was the only non-lit and non-Jew in the class. So that was interesting. Anyways I learned a lot and read a lot. Also a lot of comic books. Apparently those were big in Jewish American lit at some point. All of which have nothing to do with this recipe. Minus potentially relation to Hanukkah.

ANYWAYS….re: the latkes… to be honest I wasn’t sure how’d these turn out in the oven, but I was really lazy, home for like 2 days, had a lot of other stuff going on that weekend. and didn’t want to clean up the mess of pan-frying. So I baked them…and they turned out better that way. Less messy, less greasy, and more delicious?! I’m in. I thought this might be a personal preference since I tend to not like greasy food in general, but even my mom preferred the baked over fried.

The curried ketchup is a must. Not just with these but with sweet potatoes and pan fried potatoes and basically anything and everything you’d usually put ketchup on. I like ketchup. A lot. I used to not like it when I was little. Same with cream cheese. Now I’m overly friendly with the two. #judgeme

So here it is…plugging away another spoon piece. Original link here:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20-50 minutes
Total Time: 35-65 minutes
Servings: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes (2-3 medium sized sweet potatoes)
  • 1 shallot or 1/2 medium onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons canola oil (if using pan-fry method)
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder (more if you’re like me and a freak) [side note: Archer Farms by Target makes *the best* curry powder. i’m serious check it out)

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Directions:
1. If using baking as your cooking method, preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Dice the shallot or onion into small pieces and place in a medium bowl.

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3. Crack the egg into a separate small bowl, and whisk.
4. Peel sweet potatoes and using a cheese grater, grate the sweet potatoes into the bowl with onions. Add the flour, baking powder, and cumin and mix well. Add the egg and mix all the ingredients together until all potato shreds are coated with moisture and mix is well combined.

Image5. If using the pan-fry cooking method, heat 2 tablespoons canola oil over moderately high heat in a skillet or fry pan. Once hot, reduce heat to moderate and scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture from the bowl and form into a flat patty using hands. Lower gently into oil using a slotted spoon metal or wooden spoon or a pancake flipper. Allow to fry until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Flip the patty and allow the other side to brown for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from oil and place on a paper towel. Pat excess oil from the latke and season with salt. It is possible to cook 2 latkes at a time, but take care not to overcrowd the pan. Repeat with remaining batter.

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6. If using the baking method, line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of the potato mixture from the bowl and form into a flat patty using hands. Place patties on the baking sheet, with at least an inch between all patties. Bake for 35 minutes, then using a metal tongs, flip each patty and bake an additional 8-15 minutes or until patties are lightly browned. Remove from oven, season with salt, and allow to cool.

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7. To make curried ketchup, place ketchup in a small bowl, add curry powder, and stir until well combined.  Proportions of ketchup and curry powder can be adjusted to taste.

 

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8. Serve latkes with curried ketchup for dipping.

 

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