bird watching BG

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Simple vegan brownies

This is my favorite recipe.
Its easy.
Its delicious.


  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
In large bowl- stir together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Pour water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well blended. Spread evenly in a 9x13 inch baking pan
Bake for 25-30 minutes in the preheated oven until the top is no longer shiny.
Let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.

I made these before a photoshoot that I had a couple months ago with the beautiful, glowing expectant momma and not only did she enjoy one herself, but I snapped a few pictures and I think they're adorable. :)

Thanks to AllRecipes for this one.

Amazing Cinnamon Rolls


Cinnamon rolls:
3/4 cup nondairy milk
1/4 cup margarine, softened
2 3/4 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 (1/4 ounce) pack fast rise instant yeast
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine, softened
1/2 pecans or vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Optional icing:
1/4 cup margarine, softened (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon nondairy milk (I use soy)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan, heat the milk and 1/4 cup margarine until boiling. Remove from heat and cool until only warm. In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 1/4 cup flour, yeast and white sugar, and whisk to get all the lumps out). Add water and milk/margarine mixture to the dry mixture and whisk just until it forms a rough dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Add nuts and chocolate, if using.

2. Dump dough onto a floured board (or clean counter), and knead in the remaining half cup of flour. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes (pressing up with palms and folding again and again) until the dough is perfectly smooth. Put the dough in a slightly oiled bowl, cover it with a clean, slightly damp towel and let it rise for 10-15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the counter with flour and using a rolling pin, roll dough out to a 9X12 rectangle. Combine 1/2 cup margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon and spread over the entire top surface of the rectangle. Start with the long part of the rectangle and roll it up the short side. Using a serrated knife, cut each cinnamon roll about 1 inch thick.

4. Place cinnamon rolls into a greased pan, (9"X13") Cover with a damp towel and let rise for 10-15 minutes. After cinnamon rolls have risen, bake for 15-20 minutes, depending how gooey you like them.

5. For icing, combine all ingredients. It will be very creamy and taste just like regular cinnamon roll icing. Spread on icing

Makes: makes 12 BIG cinnamon rolls, Preparation time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 15 minutes

Thanks to vegweb

The Best Vegan Mac And Cheese

This is probably the best vegan meal Ive ever made (or tasted). And Steve and Levi agree. I usually make 3 dishes of it at a time and keep it in the fridge to eat throughout the week, that is how much everyone loves it. Levi has eaten more of this than anything else. Its amazing.

The best part is.... there is NO vegan cheese in it (i have still yet to find a vegan cheese that I love). Its incredible.
You must must try this.... even meat lovers can appreciate this!

What You Need:
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 8 ounces macaroni
  • 4 slices of bread, torn into large pieces
  • 2 tablespoons + 1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
What You Do:
  1. In a large pot, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add macaroni and cook until al dente. In a colander, drain pasta and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, make breadcrumbs by pulverizing the bread and 2 tablespoons margarine to a medium-fine texture. Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, add shallots, potatoes, carrots, onion, and water, and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.
  4. In a blender, process the cashews, salt, garlic, 1/3 cup margarine, mustard, lemon juice, black pepper, and cayenne. Add softened vegetables and cooking water to the blender and process until perfectly smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, toss the cooked pasta and blended cheese sauce until completely coated. Spread mixture into a 9 x 12 casserole dish, sprinkle with prepared breadcrumbs, and dust with paprika. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cheese sauce is bubbling and the top has turned golden brown.

Thank you vegnews for this amazing recipe

Delicious banana carrot zucchini muffins

1 medium-large overripe banana
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup unrefined sugar
1/4 cup nondairy milk
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup unbleached whole wheat flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8-1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 cups grated carrot and/or zucchini


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mash the banana in a medium bowl. Add the oil, applesauce, sugar, and milk. Stir and set aside.

2. In a separate, large bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Slowly fold in the banana mixture. Combine with the veggies. Add a splash of milk if the final mixture is too dry.

3. Grease a muffin tin with a little oil. Spoon the batter into the pan, about 1 spoonful for each muffin (about 3/4 to all the way full.)

4. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Makes: 12 muffins, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Cooking time: 25-30 minute

Banana Applesauce Cake with Banana Glaze

Sugar Free Banana Applesauce Cake
8oz (2 cups) whole wheat flour
1 tbsp wheat germ
1tsp baking soda
6 medium, ripe bananas - mashed
8 fl oz (1 cup) sugar-free applesauce
2-4 fl oz (1/4 to 1/2 cup) soy milk (I prefer almond or rice milk)

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F (160 deg C). In a bowl, combine the flour, wheat germ and baking soda. In a separate bowl, combine the applesauce with the mashed bananas and milk. Pour the applesauce mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Pour into a greased pan and bake for around 1 1/2 hours. The cake is ready when a sharp knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Banana Glaze-
1 mashed banana
Lemon juice (enough to make the glaze a bit watered down)

This recipe is from Homemade Baby Food Recipes!

Rice and Bean Pilaf

Rice and Black Bean Pilaf
2 teaspoons olive oil
cooking spray
3/4 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 cups uncooked rice
14 oz vegetable broth
1 (15.5 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 cup shredded vegan cheese (optional)

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat.
Add celery and onion; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add rice and next 6 ingredients; stir gently. Bring to boil; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Add lime juice and mix gently.
Sprinkle with cheese before serving.

(this picture is from when I made it and I ate cheese- and believed that nothing could taste good without it but since then I have made it tons of times without cheese and its still equally delicious)


Im sure you're wondering why. Why did I become vegan? What radically changed my mind?

Well here's the deal... I ate incredibly unhealthy. And my husband? Even worse. If you knew us a few years ago.... well you'd know that we ate fast food ALL the time and way too much meat and soda and sugar in general. Then.... I got pregnant and it got WORSE. I kept McDonalds in business. Big Mac, large fry-make that two, and a large coke, please. I said this way too many times.
Fast forward to November 2009. Levi is around 7 months old, still not eating solids yet ( I am thinking how I want to raise him to eat healthy when he starts solids) and here I am eating a couple double cheeseburgers from none other than McDonalds, on my way home to watch whatever movie came from Netflix. To my surprise, Food Inc. was in the mail box (I had heard about it and convinced Steve to watch it with me) and we watched it. And I will never be the same. After that I looked at Steve and said "I will never eat meat again." Im still not sure if he believed me (he says he did but I doubt it) and I know a lot of other people thought it was something that would fade over time. But I can say that I have never eaten another living animal (other than fish) since that night.

So I gave up meat. That was easy. Steve supported me (and supported the idea of raising Levi a vegetarian) and our deal was that I would cook what I wanted and he would eat it as long as it was "good and filling" and I have lived up to that. He still occasionally ate meat when we went out but never brought it in the house or asked me to cook it. It was a fine compromise and we were both happy.

I will also say that during this time, I ate A LOT of cheese. And I did say a few times "I could never go vegan. I just couldnt give up cheese". HA! So anyways, I lost some weight, got healthier and felt a little better.

Then I read the book Skinny Bitch ( I know, stupid name but AWESOME book). It was very informative, to the point and I loved it. And it was almost enough to convert me but not quite. Living vegan is a little more difficult and requires you to actually check ingredients sometimes (God forbid you actually want to know what you're putting in your body) and it is harder to eat out sometimes. SO the vegan part took me a little longer. It was definitely a process.
Then I watched some videos on youtube and one in particular called Meet Your Meat was enough.
And that was it.
I have never felt better. I am slowly lost all the weight from my pregnancy (and more). I weigh less now that I did at 17 (and on my wedding day). That is exciting. But what's even better is how great I feel. Seriously, I dont feel gross and sluggish after meals anymore. I love it.

So I will be sharing lots of recipes, tips and tons of pictures (I am a very visual person so Ive got to have some pictures).

Another blog...

So if you know me and know my other blogs, you are probably wondering WHY? Why another blog?

Well, Ill explain. I am a tad bit OCD and I would rather keep my blogs separate and organized... its kind of like eating food. I would rather use a plate with separators so that my food doesn't run together... my blogs are a little like that. I have a photography blog, a crunchy mom blog (which does include some cooking/baking/food stuff) and this blog.

Of course I think all my blogs are great but this blog...
well this blog is fantastic and the reason I am creating this blog is because I have had a lot of requests for me to share the recipes of some delicious, fantastic foods that I have been making.

So.... waaaalaaa.
I have decided on the name This Is Vegan because the other night, after making some delicious blueberry muffins, my fantastic husband tried them and with a smile of satisfaction on his face said "wow, this is really good. This is vegan?" and I said "yes. even THIS is vegan."
Of course he knew it was vegan since that is the only way I cook and bake and he is used to that but it is true that sometimes, these things taste so delicious, its hard to remember (or believe) that they are actually "vegan".

After all, isnt "vegan" gross?
Wait, aren't all vegan people hippies who dont shave and live in tents?
Isn't it so hard?
Doesn't it mean you have to give up all the good food?
Oh you probably cant have any sweet things anymore since everything is made with dairy and eggs?
How do you eat anything?
I bet you miss all your old food!

Okay well heres the deal.
No it isnt gross.
No not all vegans are hippies... although I will admit I think Im becoming more of a hippy each and every day. But I dont have harry legs and I dont live in tents (not that either of those things are bad).
No, its not that hard (some things are harder to give up than others but its worth it and I'm definitely not crying over it).
No, I havent given up good food. Ive found even better food.
Actually I eat more sweet things that I used to... I have found some amazingly sweet recipes that I will more than gladly share with you.
I actually eat a lot... if you haven't noticed, I am not withering away. Im probably the chubbiest vegan I know ;)
I dont miss my old food. I have missed cheese.... but other than that, I love my new food even more.
And heres the best part.... i feel GOOD after I eat. I dont feel gross and bloated. I dont get cramps and feel nauseated or run to the bathroom after eating a meal.
Its fabulous.