Liebster Award Nominations

Liebster Award Nominations

I know I’ve been falling behind on updating with new recipes, but I promise it is only temporary! In the meantime, check out this new recipe I’m working on for spicy pineapple habenaro black bean chili and get to know a little bit about the person behind The Veggie Slaughterhouse.

A few days ago, I received a message from a blogger that I follow, Put On Your Cake Pants , saying that she had nominated me for a Liebster award! (P.S. All I can think of when I see that name is, Put On Your Cake Pants and Dance! I don’t know why…) Anyway, I’ve received something very similar to this before but didn’t have the chance to fill it out. So, this time, I’m jumping on the opportunity!

The Rules:
Answer the ten questions given to you by the blogger by whom you were nominated.
Share ten random facts about yourself.
Nominate 3-11 up-and-coming bloggers with fewer than 200 followers.
Generate 10 questions to be answered by those whom you nominate.
Contact your nominees to let them know the news.

Ten Questions

1. What is the meaning behind your blog name and where did it come from?
I wanted to come up with a name that was fun and memorable, and I didn’t want it to be too serious. I feel that a lot of vegetarians and vegans take themselves too seriously and I wanted to show that there’s a fun, lighthearted side to cooking without meat. I posted a question on facebook about what I should name my vegetarian cooking blog, and that helped me come up with the name for it.

2. What is your first memory?
I remember walking up to my dad and telling him that I was 3 years old while holding up 2 fingers. I remember him giggling and correcting me with the right number of fingers.

3. Dogs or cats?
OMG, YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE ME CHOOSE??!?

4. Favorite meal?
Hmmm, that’s really a tough one. That depends on so much. Fall/ winter time? My favorite meals revolve around squash (with an egg in it, duh), soups and stews, anything involving a mushroom cream sauce, and so many different casserole dishes. Spring/ summer time I love making kale apple and swiss salads, chilled avocado soups and anything over the grill. My favorite food can also change with my mood. So, ask me tomorrow. I might tell you something different.

5. Favorite thing to do to relax?
Cuddle with my dog or play bass.

6. Pet peeve?
Spilling the water out of tofu containers while trying to open them and water goes flying everywhere. Grrrrr.

7. If you have the house to yourself, what do you do?
In all seriousness, I cook. It’s therapeutic for me to cook by myself sometimes.

8. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be able to fly with the birds.

9. Favorite quote or piece of advice?
This one comes from Anna Harouvis, owner of Anna In the Raw, “Being happy is being healthy no matter what size your pants are.”

10. On a rainy day would you rather watch movies or play cards/board games?
Movies all the way. With a bowl of soup, too.

Ten Random Facts

1. I didn’t learn to cook anything other than pancakes and mac and cheese from a box until a year or two after I stopped eating meat (which wasn’t until my early twenties. And that’s gross that I can say early twenties like I’m an old lady or something).
2. I worked as a coffee barista for 2 years just to feed my caffeine addiction. It’s still one of my favorite jobs ever.
3. I was 21 when I made stuffed peppers for the first time. It’s a weird, random memory for me.
4. I used to be the pickiest eater, EVER. Eggs freaked me out, especially the runny ones. Now I couldn’t imagine eating acorn squash without a delicious runny egg baked in it.
5. I became a vegetarian in middle school just so I didn’t have to eat the types of meat that I didn’t like. I still pigged out on bacon and chicken. And ham. And turkey. And who knows what else.
6. My sister once chased me around the house with a hot dog just because she’s a jerk. Now she barely eats meat herself.
7. I play bass guitar and joined an all girl band a month after I started playing. That band taught me so much and I owe a lot to those girls ❤
8. I think about 80% of my conversations with friends revolve around food and I'm totally ok with that.
9. I hate baking sweets.
10. I am from Cleveland, Ohio and I'm DAMN proud of it!

I wanted to nominate so many good blogs, but one rule is that they must have 200 followers or less. Unfortunately, I've had a really hard time finding blogs that I follow that fall under that category, so for now, I am going to post this and continue to look for more "up-and-comers" that are deserving of the Liebster Award! Thank you!

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Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

Vegan, Gluten Free Mushroom Gravy

This hearty and savory mushroom gravy holds its own against it’s meaty counterparts. Arrowroot powder substitutes flour in this recipe and also makes it safe to eat for anyone with a gluten intolerance or gluten allergies. Cornstarch would also be a great alternative if you can’t find arrowroot powder. So vegans and the gluten intolerant, don’t spend another holiday meal suffering through dry mashed potatoes! Smother them with this gravy that both meat eaters and vegans alike will love! Makes 2 cups of gravy.

What you will need:
medium to large pot
10 oz of your favorite mix of mushrooms (I used crimini and shiitake), sliced or chopped. If using shiitake or oyster mushrooms, remove the stems as well.
1/2 of an onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 tbs earth balance buttery spread
1 1/2c vegetable stock
1/2c almond milk
3 tbs arrowroot powder
1/4c nutritional yeast
2 tbs Bragg’s liquid amino acids
1 tbs Italian seasoning
a twist or two of the lemon pepper grinder (if you don’t have this ingredient, that’s ok)
fresh sprig of rosemary
liquid smoke

In a pot over medium heat, melt earth balance buttery spread. Add your sliced mushrooms and onions and continue to cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms start to reduce and release some of their liquid. Add your minced garlic and continue to cook for another minute. Add your vegetable stock. Turn the heat on high and let the gravy start to boil. While continually stirring, slowly add the arrowroot powder, making sure to not let it stick and clump together. Once the powder is mixed in, turn down the heat and continue to stir. Add the almond milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, Bragg’s, lemon pepper, rosemary and a couple of drops of liquid smoke and stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve over mashed potatoes or any other part of your holiday dinner.

Acorn Squash Baked with Eggs in a Savory Basil Rosemary Mushroom Sauce

Acorn Squash Baked with Eggs in a Savory Basil Rosemary Mushroom Sauce

Here’s another recipe from the ongoing series called “Eggs in Holes”! Acorn squash is a very easy squash to work with; you can use all sorts of different butters and sauces with it (a creamy spinach sauce would work great, too) AND it already comes with it’s own perfect little serving bowl. Leftover cream of mushroom soup works as a great base for the sauce (btw, the sauce for this turned out AMAZING). You can doll it up with fresh herbs and a little lemon garlic sea salt from the herb grinder. You can also go for a sweeter version by making a sauce out of honey, cinnamon, brown sugar and nutmeg. Recipe makes 1 acorn squash.

What you will need:
roasting pan
1 acorn squash
1 egg

The sauce:
1/8 c olive oil
1/4 c (well rounded) Amy’s condensed cream of mushroom soup
fresh basil
fresh rosemary
a couple turns of the lemon garlic and pepper grinder
a sprinkle of asiago cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Carefully cut the top off of the acorn squash, remove the seeds, and place both pieces face down in a baking sheet filled with 1/4 inch water (we don’t want the acorn squash drying out!). Bake for an hour or until squash is soft. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce, stir, and set aside. Once the squash is ready, remove from the oven and turn down the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Use a spatula to turn the squash over (careful, it will be really hot!) and start scooping the squash away from the flesh. Combine the squash with the sauce. Leave a “hole” for the egg and crack the egg over the squash. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes at 350 or until the egg is white and set. Garnish with fresh rosemary and serve as a main course.

Cauliflower Bread Sticks

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My first attempt at making cauliflower bread sticks has been a total SUCCESS! I wanted to come up with a gluten free, grain free, crust that my grandma can enjoy for the holidays (she has celiac disease and gluten is a no-no). This recipe is still a work in progress (I have a second batch baking in the oven for pizza right now), so bare with me. I’m still experimenting with cooking time, temperature and even the consistency of the cauliflower (should I make it more of a “rice” consistency? I don’t know). But I guarantee that these cauliflower bread sticks are amazing no matter what!

What you will need:
Food processor, mixing bowl, large pot for steaming, baking sheet
1 small head of cauliflower (it weighed just over a pound at the store)
1 egg, lightly beaten
1  c cheese (I used fresh Asiago, Parmesan and mozzarella)
about 1/4 c fresh basil, shredded
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt
butter to coat the baking sheet

Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease the baking sheet with butter. Chop or break the cauliflower into small florets and add to the food processor. Blend the cauliflower until it is smooth (well, as smooth as you can get it). Steam the cauliflower for 5-7 minutes and set aside to let cool. Once it has cooled, make sure to squeeze out any excess water in the cauliflower, otherwise, your bread sticks won’t stick together or crisp up as nicely. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the egg. Again, strain any excess water from the cauliflower, add it to the mixing bowl along with the cheese, Italian seasoning, fresh basil, crushed red pepper, garlic and salt and stir. Form into 1/4- 1/2 inch thick bread sticks and bake for 40 minutes or longer until the edges are golden brown and the bread sticks are firm and stay together. Dip them in marinara sauce or olive oil and balsamic vinegar with herbs or eat them just as they are. Serve to your friends and see if they can tell the difference between the cauliflower bread sticks and the real thing!

Thanksgiving Leftovers- Baked Potato Soup

Thanksgiving Leftovers- Baked Potato Soup

Keep the Thanksgiving feast going by turning leftovers into veggie baked potato soup! Do you have leftover gravy? What about all those sweet potatoes and baked potatoes? And (this wouldn’t happen in my house, but…) leftover stuffing? Throw it all in there! The more, the merrier, right?

I started off this soup by melting butter over low heat and caramelizing onions and celery with it. I then added about 2 cups of water with a packet of dry onion soup mix. You can also use vegetable stock. Now, if you have leftover gravy, you might want to skip the onion soup mix or vegetable stock all together and just use water (it’ll end up really salty otherwise). Start pouring in any leftover mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, veggies, cheese and any meat substitutes and let simmer for at least 15 minutes. Serve with scallions, sour cream, cheese, or bake the last of the stuffing in the oven and make croutons! Enjoy!