Smokey ‘Mater & Merlot Soup

We made some soup the other day. It was smokey, earthy, and delicious.


  • 2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 heaping (or 2) tsp smoked pepper
  • 1 heaping (or 2) tsp paprika
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 small shallots diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 3-4 small carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 cup merlot (or other earthy red)
  • 12-14 large tomatoes cored and cut into slices
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme
  • 3/4 cup of fresh cilantro chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Heat a large pot to medium heat. Melt the butter and add the onions, shallots, garlic, carrots, paprika, and smoked pepper. Cook until carrots are soft and onions are translucent. Add the red wine, bring to a boil, and simmer until the wine has reduced completely. Add the tomatoes. Cook until the tomatoes are fully cooked and can easily be blended, about 20mins. Lower the heat. Using an immersion blender (or food processor/standing blender) blend the tomatoes and other veggies. Add the fresh herbs (cilantro and thyme), cook for a few more minutes, add salt and pepper to your taste preference. Serve.

by Valerie | 09.10.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

Easter cupcakes

Easter Cupcakes

We didn’t dye any eggs today, but Ryan did make these awesome Easter egg inspired cupcakes. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Easter Cupcakes

by Valerie | 04.24.11 | For Funsies, Holidaze | No Comments »

Mmmmm beer-battered tempeh

Beer Battered Tempeh

So I had a craving for some fried food, and thought I would try something new…beer-battered tempeh. Its kind of like chicken tenders without the chicken. They were pretty tasty morsels and packets of fried nutty goodness, but then again most fried food is delicious, so try them out for yourself.

beer battered tempeh ingredients:

  • 1 package tempeh (we used Light Life Garden Veggie)
  • 3/4 cup beer of your choice (sorry vegans I used Guinness, but I am certain any good stout would work)
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup flour for batter + additional flour (1/2-1 cups) for dredging
  • 1 tsp course ground black pepper
  • 1/2 -1 tsp mace
  • 1/4 tsp (give or take) onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp (give or take) garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • canola oil for frying (or other oil of your choice)
  • salt and pepper

Combine the beer, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp of mace, and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the pepper, the remaining paprika, any additional mace you want, onion powder, garlic powder, and additional dredging flour. Cut the tempeh into thin strips, about 1/4″ thick.

Fill a large frying pan with canola oil, about 1/2″-3/4″ deep. Heat over medium heat. You can take a bit of the wet batter and drop it in, if it sizzles and rises to the top you’re ready to cook. Once the oil is ready to rock, dip a tempeh strip into the wet ingredient batter, shake it off some, then dredge it in the dry mix, toss into the oil and watch it sizzle. You can do this in small batches of 6-8 strips at a time. Cook until golden brown, flipping once during cooking. They cook pretty quickly about 3-4 minutes. Once cooked, place them on a plate with paper towels on it (helps soak up the oil), add additional salt, pepper, and any additional seasoning.

You can eat these bad boys any way you want. If you want to eat them like nuggets, pour some bbq-sauce or ranch in a cup and dip away, If you are the vinegar type, try sprinkling on some malt vinegar. I had mine in sandwich form. For the sammich, use any bun or bread of your choice, top with  some sautéed onions (make sure they are nice and caramelized), add some fresh lettuce, and a couple slices of tomato (or ditch the lettuce and tomato for some Brussels sprout slaw!!!). A good side dish is also recommended. Fried food loves to be paired with more fried food so some chips (aka French Fries) would be appropriate. I had mine with some mac ‘n’ cheese.

Oh, and why mace you ask? Apparently mace is often found in another fried delicious thing called the doughnut. I use it typically as a spice rub for barbecue. It has a sort of sweetness and spiciness to it, like nutmeg, only lighter. I figured if it is good enough for doughnuts it would make a pleasing addition to tempeh batter.

Beer Battered Tempeh

by Ryan | 04.23.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

Cupcakes x4


Our dear friend, Ken, celebrated his graduation (Master’s Degree in Arts Management) from EMU last weekend & Ryan made, yes, count them, four different types of cupcakes for the party. Ryan’s vegan, gluten-free cupcakes never disappoint & these were amazing, as usual! Using our Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World cookbook, he made Coconut Lime, Chocolate Chocolate Chip with Vanilla Buttercream, Chocolate Peanut Butter, & Banana Split cupcakes – yum!




by Valerie | 04.23.11 | For Funsies | No Comments »

Homemade Pasta with Awesome Sauce

Homemade Pasta

So I don’t know exactly what awesome sauce is; I first heard it the phrase while watching a video of a laser cutter playing the theme song to Super Mario Bros. That was definitely awesome. When Val tasted the sauce, it set her mouth ablaze with spiciness and flavor, and she claimed this sauce was “awesome.”

pasta ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of semolina flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • 1 tbsp of dried herbs (I used our Rosemary Rapture blend)
  • a pinch of salt

ingredients for awesome sauce:

  • 1 red onion diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 head of garlic roasted
  • 1 tsp of dried crushed red pepper
  • 1 tsp of hot sauce (I used Cholula)
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of butchers pepper
  • 1 heaping tbsp of dried Italian seasoning
  • 6 tomatoes on the vine, cored and deseeded
  • 1 small can of tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine (we used a Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • 1/4 cup of veggie stock
  • kosher salt

Homemade Pasta

To make the pasta start by mixing the dried ingredients on a smooth surface. Form a well in the middle of the dried ingredients. Crack the eggs on the counter and break the shell over the well. With a fork start whisking the eggs and incorporating the flour. Continue mixing the flour and eggs, add the olive oil and water as needed. Work the mix until it begins to form a stiff dough. Once formed, put aside for about 30 to 40 minutes.

Homemade Pasta

To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling add some salt. Add the pasta and cook until tender, about 2-3 minutes. Drain the pasta and lightly drizzle some olive oil on the pasta so it doesn’t stick.

To make the sauce, pre-heat an oven to 450 degrees. Roast the garlic head in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the garlic is soft. Once cool to the touch, or cool enough to handle, peel the skin off of the roasted garlic. In a blender (or with an immersion blender) puree the roasted garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, veggie stock, and wine to a slightly chunky consistency. Set the puree aside. Heat up a large sauce pan or skillet to medium heat. Add the olive oil, heat for a minute or two. Add the onions and minced garlic cloves. Cook until the onions are translucent. Add the dried herbs, the crushed red pepper, butcher’s pepper, balsamic vinegar, and hot sauce. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Simmer the sauce for 10-15 minutes or longer. Salt to taste. Note that this sauce has quite a kick to it, so if you don’t like it spicy you might want to leave out some of the pepper or hot sauce here.

Put the pasta in a bowl, top it with some sauce, consider sprinkling some parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy.

A note about making your own pasta:

I’m not entirely sure if making your own pasta is worth it. While the taste of fresh the pasta was great, it did take a great deal of effort to make. The bulk of the effort was not in forming the dough, but forming the noodles themselves. We used our friend’s Kitchen Aid mixer attachment that extrudes noodles. Our first attempt with making linguine yielded noodle mush. So we reformed the dough and used the spaghetti extruder. As the noodles came out the pasta would stick to itself and we had to pull the noodles apart. It was a lot of effort, for something very simple. I don’t know if I needed to have the pasta dough cooler, a bit more flour, etc., who knows. If it wasn’t for the fact that sorting the noodles was like pulling apart several bags of pull-n-peel twizzlers it would be something worth doing all the time. I’ll do some more testing in the next couple week to see what I can do and if I can get it to be a bit easier. If  I can get the noodle part down I think we would fully switch to making our own noodles.

Homemade Pasta

by Ryan | 04.16.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

I was craving a blueberry banana smoothie today & so that’s just what we made. This is so healthy, refreshing, simple, & delicious!


  • 1 bag of frozen, wild blueberries
  • 2 bananas
  • Approximately 2 cups or so of soy milk
  • Agave nectar (to taste)

Combine everything in a blender & pulse until it’s blended. Pour it in a glass & drink it up – yum!

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Blueberry Banana Smoothie1

by Valerie | 04.10.11 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

Blueberry Lemon Creme Cupcakes


As you should already know by now, if you’re a regular reader of our blog or you know Ryan & I personally, Ryan is a fantastic cook & an excellent baker. When he asked me what kind of cupcakes I’d like him to make me for my birthday, I decided I wanted him to make something different & that he’d never baked before from our Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World cookbook & I selected these Blueberry Lemon Creme Cupcakes (which he made both vegan & gluten free). Blueberries & lemon & cake (three things I love!) – I chose wisely, because these were pretty amazing; yum & happy birthday to me!

If you’d like this recipe, I highly recommend you buy the book; the cupcakes are amazing & you won’t be disappointed! Some of my other, personal favorites from this book are Banana Split Cupcakes, Coconut Lime Cupcakes, Maple Cupcakes with Creamy Maple Frosting & Sugared Walnuts, Chai Latte Cupcakes, Apple Cider Cupcakes, & the list goes on…

by Valerie | 04.03.11 | For Funsies, Recipes | No Comments »

Creamy-ish tomato soup w/special guest grilled cheese

Tomato Soup

Val can’t handle cream soups, her lactose tolerance stops at cheese. I was craving tomato soup (particularly tomato bisque), and having only made tortilla soup thought I’d give it a try and make a creamy tomato soup. So, borrowing a bit from this vegan yum yum recipe for pasta, we substituted cashews for cream to make this delicious concoction.


  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp of butter (or buttery spread)
  • 1 heaping tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup white wine
  • about 15 tomatoes on the vine, cored and deseeded and sliced
  • 2 cups veggie stock
  • 3 or 4 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 1/2 unsalted cashews (super finely grounded)
  • 2 heaping tbsp of fresh thyme, minced
  • salt and coarse ground pepper to taste

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, and dried oregano and cook until the shallots are tender (about 3-5 mins). Add the wine and bring to a boil. Cook until the wine reduces. Add the tomatoes, veggie stock, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and cook until tomatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add the ground cashews. Using an immersion blender (or blender, or food processor), blend to a fairly smooth texture. Add the fresh thyme, salt, and pepper (to your liking). Serve.

This tomato soup enjoys being paired with a grilled cheese sandwich made of fresh rye, cheddar cheese, and smoked gouda. It will bring you much joy and happiness to partner it with a grilled cheese sandwich (any kind will do, but I recommend using rye or challah). For those who do not eat dairy, just know this soup is very forgiving and will bring love to even those who don’t eat it paired with grilled cheese.

by Ryan | 03.31.11 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

Peppery Green Lentil Soup w/ Seitan Sausage

Lentil Soup

Apparently I’ve been on a pepper kick lately and this latest batch of soup definitely has a kick to it. ‘Nuff said.


  • 1 1/2 cups of French green lentils
  • 6 cloves of garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 yellow onions chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 bulb of fennel chopped
  • 4 sticks of celery chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 2 oz of tomato paste
  • 8 cups (or a little more) veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp of butcher’s pepper (or less if you want less zang!)
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh thyme minced
  • 1/2 tsp of ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp dried Herbs de Provence
  • 1 package of seitan, italian sausage flavor crumbled
  • salt

Start by putting the lentils in a large bowl and then cover with boiling water. Let sit for 15 minutes then drain and rinse; set aside. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until translucent. Add the carrots, fennel, celery, and pepper. Cook until carrots and celery begin to soften. Add the white wine, bring to a boil, and let reduce until it is nearly completely evaporated (about 10 minutes). Add the veggie stock, tomato paste, and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce to heat a simmer and let cook for about 45 minutes. Add the fresh thyme, dried herbs, and salt to taste.

In a skillet heat the remaining olive oil up over medium heat. Add the seitan and cook until completely cooked through. We kept the seitan separate until we were ready to eat because we didn’t want the seitan to absorb too much of the broth. Serve the soup in a bowl, add some seitan, and chow down.

by Ryan | 03.12.11 | Recipes | No Comments »

Roasted tomato orzo soup

Roasted Tomato Orzo Soup

Val was craving soup, and I was feeling inspired to invent something in the kitchen, the orzo had been sitting in the pantry and needed to be used, so this soup was created.


  • 2+ dozen tomatoes on the vine (we used 27, many were small)
  • 1 package of orzo
  • 2 tbsp buttery spread (Earth Balance)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
  • 2 tbsp butcher’s pepper
  • salt
  • fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional

Begin by roasting the tomatoes in the oven at 450 degrees. It will take about 35-40 minutes to roast them, or until the skin starts to peel and brown here and there. Make sure to flip them half way through. Once finished, set aside to cool so that you can handle them. Once cooled enough to handle, remove the core and most of the seeds place in a food processor and puree.

In a pot, cook the orzo following the instructions on the package. Set aside when finished.

Heat a large soup pot to medium heat. Add the buttery spread and melt it. Add the garlic and sweat for a few minutes, about 3-4. Add the celery, onions, and carrots, and cook until the celery and carrots are cooked through and begin to be tender (they don’t need to be completely soft). Add the wine and bring to a boil. Let it boil and reduce, about 10 minutes. Once the wine has reduced add the tomato puree and the veggie stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for about 5- 10 minutes. Add the orzo, fresh thyme, butcher’s pepper, and salt to your taste. Serve and enjoy.The pepper is key, it adds a nice zang to the soup. Top with a little grated parmesan cheese, chow down.

One quick note, the orzo will absorb a fair amount of the liquid over time. If you want it more broth-y, just add some more veggie stock and tomato puree. This soup is best on a relaxing weekend and eaten while inside the comforts of a blanket fort.

Roasted Tomato Orzo Soup

by Ryan | 02.27.11 | Recipes | 1 Comment »

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