i’m loving … chocolate covered katie

As you know, I’ve been doing the vegetarian thing for awhile now. Lately, though, I’ve been feeling as though I should go the extra mile and banish all animal products from my diet, including eggs (no big loss there) and dairy (nooooooo!). The thing is, I love cheese. And (milk) chocolate. And cheese. Did I say cheese?

Anyway.

The other day, I found a pretty darn good non-dairy mozzarella cheese substitute to put on my whole wheat flatbread pizzas (which I call pita pizzas because it’s just catchier). So, the cheese objection crossed off my list, I moved on to the chocolate conundrum.

via Chocolate Covered Katie

And then I found Katie.

Everything she makes looks amazing—and it’s all vegan. She’s even got sugar-free, gluten-free and even raw variations.

But the proof is in the pudding—or in my case, in the blondies (that’s them in the picture; mine didn’t turn out that pretty looking, but they sure taste good!). I’d had some problems making conventional (from-a-box) desserts and subbing in egg replacer and soy milk instead of eggs and cow milk, so I was ready to tackle making some desserts from scratch. And, honestly? These were easier to make than Betty Crocker’s brownies. Including the prep work and bake time, it took me maybe 50 minutes to make these—and I had them in the oven for 38 minutes.

Oh, and the taste? Out of this world. I made them last night, and I’ve already eaten half the pan.

But the best part (beside the taste and the vegan thing) is they’re healthy. Everything on Katie’s site is. And that means dessert doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure anymore; it can just be something to enjoy. Awesome.

Next up? I’m going to try the cake batter shake.

what’s for dinner

So, I decided to try the Mexican chopped salad with crunchy tortilla strips Jen of Jen Loves Kev posted on her blog awhile back.

It. Was. AWESOME.

There is a ton of chopping and prep work involved, so it’s not a meal to take on if your hands are hurting. But the outcome is delicious. I used fresh sweet white corn that I chopped off the cob, and it really made the salad. I doubled the amount of dressing made, and if there’s any left over, it will make an amazing marinade later in the week. Tim put some chicken he’d made up earlier in the week and some goat cheese crumbles and he said it tasted really yummy as a non-vegetarian salad that way.

Anyway, here’s the recipe:

Tortilla strips

1 t canola oil

3 6-inch tortillas (I used whole wheat ones, and they were delish)

chili powder

salt

Salad dressing

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cloves garlic

2 t cumin

2 t coriander

1 t sugar

1 t salt

1/3 cup lime juice

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

pinch cayenne pepper (I just used more chili powder)

Salad

Romaine & spinach (I just used spinach)

2 medium tomatoes, chopped

1 avocado, sliced (I used two because I love avocado)

3 celery stalks, sliced (I left this out by accident. Oops!)

1 cucumber, diced

1 cup corn (I used about four cobs, minus a handful that I just ate)

1/2 cup cooked pinto beans

1/2 cup cooked black beans

1 red pepper, sliced

1/3 cup red onion, sliced (I didn’t feel like cutting red onion, so I cut up the rest of the green ones.)

Prep

1. To make the tortilla strips: Preheat oven to 350*. Brush the tortillas with the canola oil. Cut in half, then into 1/4-inch strips. (I used a pizza roller for this, and it was super easy.) Spread on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and chili powder. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes.

2. To make dressing: Heat olive oil, cumin, coriander, garlic, salt and sugar in a saucepan on low heat for two to three minutes. Blend remaining ingredients with oil mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth.

3. Combine everything and toss the salad with the dressing.

And that’s it!

It was super tasty and pretty easy, too. I’m super excited about the leftovers I get to bring to work tomorrow (as you can see).

Nom nom nom, indeed.

I’m noticing now that I’ve made the jump back into being a vegetarian that I’m cooking more — and enjoying cooking, too. I like seeking out recipes that appeal to me, sure, but I’m also on the lookout for those that I could easily turn into a non-vegetarian dish for the mister. It’s an interesting challenge, but I’m definitely liking it.

So, I would love to hear your vegetarian recipes! What have you found works and what doesn’t?