Monday, December 31, 2012

Guest Post: Vegan Lentil Chili

Do you remember my friend, Ben, who made the delicious veggie quesadilla a few weeks ago? He's back with a cozy vegan chili recipe for us!
It is the holidays, which means it is chilly outside and what better way to combat the cold than with some delicious, hearty chili. Now that I got the obligatory “chilly/chili” joke out of the way I can say that this recipe really was a true delight. I wanted something new and was lucky to stumble across this recipe online. I should note that their recipe calls for quinoa and I am using French lentils because I thought I had some at home and did not feel like returning to the grocery store. Lentils proved to be an excellent substitution. I will be trying it with quinoa in the near future to compare. The recipe you read below is pretty much straight from their website. I just made adjustments to mirror my cooking style.

This does produce a lot of chili, but the great part is that it freezes well. So if you are having a get-together, this will certainly satisfy the masses and be a crowd pleaser. I was able to serve 2 others and still have a plethora leftover, which I divided up into small plastic bowls and put into the freezer. Again, I was blown away. Growing up with one of the best chilis (my dad’s) out there, it was hard to believe that another recipe could be as delectable. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Creamy Ricotta Pasta

This pasta dish is very creamy without being too high in calories. It's really easy to throw together and you can toss in whatever veggies you have on hand. It is served warm, so it is perfect for these winter months. Here is the original recipe. This recipe serves two to three.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Guest Post: Vegan Vanilla Almond Sandies

Please welcome Tiffany for my next guest post! She made these awesome vegan sandies for the holidays. Thanks, Tiffany, for the contribution! Remember, if you also want to guest post, please don't hesitate to contact me.

I don’t know about you guys, but this time of year I get the baking-bug. I rarely bake any other time of year, but with all the gatherings and celebrations these days I feel like I’m a baking machine! If you haven’t caught the baking-bug, you should force yourself to make these anyways, I promise you won’t regret it.

Now, I’ve cooked many a vegan recipe but never have I attempted to BAKE a vegan recipe. So anyone who equates ‘vegan’ with ‘super-complicated-and-probably-includes-ingredients-I-can’t-find-or-afford’, don’t. These are simple, and depending on how well stocked your kitchen is, you may have all of these ingredients on hand anyways. Another plus for vegan baking? You can eat all the cookie dough you want without fear of salmonella poisoning!!

To be honest, this is the second time I’ve made these cookies in the past few weeks. The first time was successful, but I learned a few things. So now, you guys get the super deluxe version of the recipe…make sure to read the tips/notes before you begin! This makes about 20 cookies and here's the original recipe, in case you're wondering.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Homemade "Cream of" Soup

There are a lot of great recipes out there that call for "cream of" soups. Unfortunately, the canned "cream of" soups (usually Campbell's, or something comparable) are not so healthy, have a lot of preservatives & sodium and don't have an authentic taste. I always thought it'd be really difficult to create homemade "cream of" soup, but it's actually not at all. There this really awesome website that helps you make "cream of" soups in any way that you'd like (vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, organic, low-fat, and traditional). I made a vegetarian cream of potato for my hash brown casserole and it was great. This recipe makes about 1 1/2 cups. You can use it right away, freeze it, or keep in the fridge for up to four days.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Guest Post: Veggie Quesadilla with Baja Sauce

Here's another guest post, this time from the wonderful Ben! There is more information about Ben at the end of this post. Thanks so much for sending this recipe in, Ben. I hope you all enjoy!
Quesadillas are my comfort food. I love that there are so many possibilities and you can cater to a wide variety of cravings. Having the quesadilla in my corner is very comforting since I can often use extra ingredients from previous recipes. Using as much of the vegetables in the refrigerator's crisper before it spoils for as many meals as possible is both exciting and frugal. So once a week, I can usually clean out my crisper and have a delicious meal in the process.

For this week, I had several bell peppers, an onion, a handful of mushrooms, and some cheese, all of it leftover from a pizza I made. I also had some leftover corn and rice from a meal the other day so I reheated that for a side. The ingredients below made two large quesadillas. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cheesy Hash Brown Casserole

It's both finals week and holiday party season. Casseroles are, in general, perfect dishes for busy weeks because cooking them doesn't require constant attention, they're filling, and you'll have tons of leftovers! Since they're also great for holiday parties, I figured I'd bring this one to share at work. This hash brown casserole tastes just like the dish at Cracker Barrel (meaning that it is both amazingly delicious & probably not-so-healthy). I actually made this the night before the party & heated it up in the morning.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Cranberry Brie Grilled Cheese

I'm a huge fan of grilled cheese and am always looking for new ways to try it. I saw this recipe online & couldn't resist. These sandwiches were made for cozy winter nights. This recipe makes two grilled cheese sandwiches.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Spaghetti Squash topped with Maple-Glazed Tofu

After my last spaghetti squash recipe went so well, I definitely had to do it again. This time, I decided to search for a different topping and found maple-glazed tofu. Magical. Also, if you sub the butter for vegan butter, it is a completely vegan meal. This recipe makes about three to four servings (depending on the size of the squash).

Monday, December 3, 2012

Circus Animal Cookie Truffles

I saw this recipe on Pinterest and was immediately interested because of my childhood love of these sugary cookies. I brought these to a friend's event & people really seemed to like them. This recipe makes 30 truffles.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Guest Post: Kale, Mushroom & Sage Risotto

Hey all, here is the first post from a guest blogger. Everyone welcome MV Banks! If you're interested in learning more about her, see her bio at the end of the post.
When I went gluten-free by doctor’s orders about a year ago, risotto was there for me when all other tasty carbs abandoned me.  Risotto is a time-intensive, but worthwhile dish, that has no gluten whatsoever, but still allows me that familiar Italian style that I find myself craving without pizza and pasta in my life. I love it because it allows me an excuse to hover over a warm stove when I refuse to turn the heat up in my apartment.  I love it because I can throw questionably turning vegetables in and no one is the wiser.  

I’ve had some kale from the market in my fridge for a while now that was becoming a little undesirable. I figured I’d
sautée what was salvageable and throw it into a risotto of some sort.  Due to the regularity with which I make risotto, I can’t say I took this from any particular recipe.  At this point, I essentially have the necessary ratios memorized and throw in whatever suits my fancy on that particular day. Today, my fancy included kale, mushrooms and sage.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Call for Guest Posts!

I’m always open to guest posts for my blog and, since I'm starting to slowly revamp my blog, this would be a great time to start cultivating new bloggers!

Here are the requirements for your post:
-It must be a vegetarian or vegan recipe that I have not already posted.
-Please include a short bio, your photo, and any links you’d like me to promote (your blog, Twitter, etc.) so I can post that on there as well so you get your credit. If you’d like to remain anonymous, just let me know that too.
-If the recipe is taken from somewhere else (like another website), please send me the link so we can give credit where credit is due.
-Take photos! I like to have 2-4 photos of each recipe. Take as many as you like and we can whittle down to the best ones. I usually like 1-2 “finished recipe” photos and 1-2 “process” photos.
-Please follow the content format of my blog (don’t worry, though, I will actually format it into the blog). Your post should include: a short intro, prep/cook times, ingredients, directions and (if necessary) any special tips for this recipe.

Remember, be creative and feel free to (and please do) branch out from the things that I normally make. I cannot wait to see what you have to contribute! Please email all submissions to: and attach any photos or additional necessary information to your email message.

Thank you so much & I look forward to hearing from you!

Ann Marie

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Biscuits

I'm traveled for Thanksgiving this year, so I wasn't really involved in making any food. I did really want to be put in charge of something, so I made biscuits. Because of that, this holiday turned into that episode of Friends when Monica lets Chandler make the cranberry sauce and he makes too much of a deal about it. That's me. With biscuits.

I made two different kinds for dinner: cheddar and cranberry cream cheese (original recipes linked). Between the two recipes, this makes 24-30 biscuits.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Pizza

Grab all of your Thanksgiving leftovers and read on. This pizza was born last year post-holiday, and the tradition continues this year.  Also, I was in a land of no WiFi over Thanksgiving and was unable to get a bunch of recipes out to you, so keep an eye out all week for new ones! Hope your holiday was filled with good company and delicious food.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

White Bean Soup

Another soup to add to the Autumn Soup Exchange list! This one was really quick to make; about 20 minutes. It's a nice, light recipe and was perfect for lunch. This recipe makes three to four cups. The recipe's original source is here.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Best Food Blog

Last Wednesday night was the Baltimore Sun's Mobbies award show. If you've been following my blog, you know that I was promoting the Mobbies a couple weeks ago. The award show is always a good time to meet other bloggers, tweeters, and social media nerds, in general. It was a great time (the Baltimore Sun knows how to throw a party!) and I am proud to announce that I won Baltimore's Best Food Blog!

I am totally overwhelmed with how amazing this is because there were so many other awesome food blogs nominated (please check them all out here)! Plus, being up on stage with all of the other winners was totally cool (& you can - and should - check out all of their blogs).

Photo by Steve Ruark, courtesy of Baltimore Sun

Not to mention, I got to wear a moustache with the lovely @lizrawr.

Photo by Steve Ruark, courtesy of Baltimore Sun

With that, I want to thank all of you who read my blog regularly, those that drop in every once in awhile, and everyone who voted for this blog! I look forward to posting more recipes that I really hope you dig.

Thank you again; you guys are all the best!

Ann Marie

Monday, November 12, 2012

Buffalo Cauliflower Bites

I was never a huge fan of chicken wings, but my partner is. And because he just started eating totally meatless, I decided to make these roasted cauliflower bites covered completely in buffalo sauce. They turned out very tasty, but we did have some hiccups (see the "Tips" section at the end of the blog post). One cauliflower can yield up to 30-40 bite-sized pieces. Here's the original recipe for reference.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Miso Soup with Udon Noodles

This is a brothy, vegan soup to keep you warm and full in the colder months. This recipe creates six to seven cups of soup. Here's the recipe's original source.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spaghetti Squash & "Meatballs"

I have heard of this mythical vegetable called the spaghetti squash, but I didn't know that it actually existed until today. It is surprisingly easy to prepare, and it is a perfect substitute for actual spaghetti noodles; it is a healthy (read: lower calories & fat) and tasty alternative. I am not yet ready to completely give up pasta, but this meal has really changed the game for me. This recipe makes four servings.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Mobbies

Click here to vote for my blog ... early and oftenThe Mobbies are annual Baltimore Sun-promoted social media and blogging awards. This year, I am so excited to be nominated for three categories (this blog has been nominated for two!). Each person out there (you don't have to live in Baltimore) can vote once per day between now and November 9th to choose your favorite blogger out there. Here's what I've been nominated for:

Best Food Blog -- Let's Give Peas a Chance
Best New Blog -- Let's Give Peas a Chance
Best Personal Twitter -- @annmariebrok

Click on the image above or follow this link and vote today!

Please feel free to vote for me in any or all of these categories; it'd be much appreciated!

Ann Marie

Vegetarian Chik'n and Waffles

I've been wanting to make this recipe for a long time, but was utterly overwhelmed with how difficult I thought it would be. It's actually fairly easy; definitely a lot easier than I thought it'd be! While this is a vegetarian recipe, it is not vegan because of the eggs that I use for both the chik'n and the waffles. If you have a great egg-substitute, you can easily make this vegan and just as delicious! This recipe feeds two people.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blueberry Cream Cheese Purses

These little blueberry purses are so easy and are so delicious. Like, party-in-my-mouth delicious. This is a great breakfast, brunch or dessert item to serve for just a couple people or an entire house. I'm sure that if you're not a huge fan of blueberries (gasp!) you can also swap out any fruit that you'd like. Keep in mind that this recipe equals four purses.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Apple-Cinnamon Crumble Muffins

These muffins were a product of my apple-picking day last weekend and I'm so glad that I made them. They were delicious and I was able to share them (muffins make wonderful gifts!). Don't be afraid of this recipe; I know there are a lot of ingredients, but most of them are dry ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. This recipe will make about 16-18 muffins. The original recipe can be found here.

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

For muffins
Two (2) cups of all-purpose flour
Two (2) cups of finely chopped, seasonal apples -- Your apples should be peeled and cored. Then, use a serrated knife to chop very finely.
One (1) teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of butter
One (1) cup of granulated sugar

Two (2) eggs, beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon

For crumble topping
1/3 cup of light brown sugar
One (1) tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon of butter

Preheat your oven to 375F degrees.
In a mixing bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a separate larger mixing bowl, beat together butter, vanilla, sugar and eggs until smooth. 
Gently mix the chopped apple into the larger bowl.

Slowly and incrementally mix the dry ingredients into the larger bowl.
Spoon the mixture into a greased muffin tin.
In a smaller separate bowl, mix brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and small pieces of butter. This will create a chunky, crumbly topping for your muffins. Sprinkle over the muffin batter.
Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Let muffins cool and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Miniature Quiche

Like I mentioned previously, I am currently trying to eat a bit healthier. These mini quiches are perfect to eat on your way out of the door in the morning and really help me portion (because I can honestly eat half of a full-size crusted quiche if you let me). Make these on a Sunday night and keep them in your fridge all week or freeze them until you're ready to eat them. This recipe make six mini quiches.

Prep Time
: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes

Saute your veggies!
Four (4) large eggs
One (1) cup of fresh spinach
1/4 cup of red onion, diced
1/4 cup of sun-dried tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup of shredded cheese -- I used mozzarella and sharp cheddar
One (1) garlic clove, minced
One (1) tablespoon of olive oil

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Heat garlic and olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
Before baking.
Add onions and sun-dried tomatoes to pan. Saute.
Slowly add spinach and cover until the leaves wilt.
Pull the pan off of the heat and set aside.
Whisk eggs together in a mixing bowl and add the sauteed vegetables.
Portion into a greased muffin tin. This mixture should fill six muffin cups.
Sprinkle cheese evenly over each mixture.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Eat right away, or save for later!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cinnamon Apple Chips

I went to a Pick-Your-Own farm yesterday and came back with local pumpkin, squash, green tomatoes, and apples. I am all pumped up over making meals from each of these things, so keep an eye out; autumn recipes are coming! These cinnamon apple chips take awhile to bake (because you're essentially dehydrating them in your oven), but they are very delicious and healthy. Enjoy!

Prep Time:
10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours


Three (3) seasonal apples
1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Two (2) tablespoons of granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 200F degrees. Don't increase the heat because you want to decrease the cook time; we are dehydrating the chips, not cooking them.

Slice apples thinly with a mandolin or sharp knife.
Lay the apple slices out on a parchment paper-covered baking pan.
Mix cinnamon and sugar in a separate bowl.
Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar mixture lightly on the apple slices. Flip them over and sprinkle the other side as well.

Bake in the oven for one hour, then flip the apple slices and bake for another hour.
Remove from oven and let cool for a delicious snack!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Tomato Chickpea Pesto Soup

This soup is hearty, flavorful, and perfect for my Autumn Soup Exchange. You can add your own spices to personalize the taste. The garlic, salt & pepper, and pesto really added enough flavor for me. This recipe makes 6-7 cups of soup.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

One (1) medium onion, chopped
Two (2) cloves of garlic, minced
One (1) 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes -- You can make this at home, but canned works well too.
One (1) 15.5 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
One (1) tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
One (1) cup of water
Five (5) tablespoons of basil pesto
One (1) teaspoon of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
Pepper to taste

In a saucepan, use the oil to saute the onions first, and then add the garlic. Cook until onions are soft.
Add the water and the crushed tomatoes. Heat until lightly boiling.
Stir in sugar, salt, and pepper. Reduce the heat.
Add the chickpeas and let simmer for ten minutes.
Finally, add the pesto. You can either dollop pesto on each serving or stir in if the soup will be refrigerated.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Vermont Cheddar Apple Soup

A good friend of mine and I are doing an Autumn Soup Exchange and I couldn't be more excited. She is also vegetarian, which works out really well. This recipe is my first of the exchange. I will be posting all of my soups on here (and she might guest blog too!), so you'll see one or two soup recipes every two weeks.

This recipe makes about six cups of soup. When I made this recipe last week, I didn't have a food processor (but that has all changed now!), so it was more of a boil down and strain thing, but you can process all of the veggies to make a thicker broth (the original recipe using the food processor is here). I hope you enjoy!

Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes

One (1) stick of unsalted butter
One (1) large leek, chopped finely -- use the white part only
One (1) medium carrot, peeled and finely chopped
Two (2) medium celery stalks, finely chopped
1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
Four (4) cups of veggie stock -- Whole Foods also sells a "Chik'n" stock, which is vegetarian chicken-flavored, and that works well too.
One (1) cup of soy half-and-half creamer 
1/2 pound of Vermont white sharp cheddar, shredded
One (1) teaspoon of dry mustard
One (1) teaspoon of vegan Worcestershire sauce
One (1) apple, peeled, cored and finely diced -- I used a Honeycrisp apple because they're in season and delicious!
Pepper to taste

Melt three-fourths of the butter in a pot over medium heat.
Add the leeks, carrot and celery and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add the flour into the mixture and stir for 3 minutes. Cook evenly.
Whisk in the vegetable stock, and bring to a boil.
Once you've reached a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes.
Strain the vegetables out of the soup and keep the broth in the pot. Simmer.
Add the cream, cheddar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until the cheese is melted.
Season with pepper. Set aside.
Melt the leftover butter in a separate pan and sauté the apple pieces. Make sure that they are slightly crisped on each side.
Add the apples to the soup. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Goat Cheese, Tomato & Pesto Pizza

This pizza is easy, delicious, and a great serving size for one. Of course, there is ample opportunity to make this more homemade (by making the pesto or naan yourself). My way is, obviously, a little faster, so you can get that pizza into your mouth more quickly! Enjoy.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes

One (1) piece of naan bread -- I used garlic naan
1 1/2 tablespoons of basil pesto
2 1/2 tablespoons of goat cheese
A small handful (3-5) cherry tomatoes

Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
Place naan on a baking sheet.
Spread basil pesto over naan. Trust me, get all the way to the outer edges!
Sprinkle goat cheese in an even layer.
Slice cherry tomatoes into halves or thirds and place in an even layer across naan.
Bake for six minutes.
Remove, let cool, and devour.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pasta topped with Asparagus & Egg

This is a flavorful, quick dinner. This recipe is great because, even though you're dealing with pasta, you won't need any sauce, because the egg yolk serves as the sauce. This recipe makes enough for one person.

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

One (1) cup of fettuccine noodles
1/2 bundle of asparagus
Two (2) cloves of garlic, minced
One (1) egg 
One (1) tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil

Cook pasta according to directions on box.
About ten minutes before pasta is done, heat oil and garlic in frying pan.
Toss in asparagus and saute until slightly soft.
Set asparagus aside on a plate.
In same pan, without cleaning the oil and garlic out, fry one egg.
Strain pasta and place on plate with asparagus.
Once the egg is fried soft, place it in the middle of the dish.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Black Bean & Pineapple Tacos

I just started a Biggest Loser-style competition in my workplace. You may have figured by reading this blog that, while I don’t eat meat, I don’t always eat healthy (see the beer mac & cheese or all of the homemade biscuits I've been devouring). This program will be a great opportunity to start eating better. This lunch was filling and high in protein. This recipe makes two tacos, which are served at a cool temperature.

Prep Time: 10 minutes (if pineapple is already prepared)
Cook Time: None

Two (2) small fajita-sized soft flour tortillas
Two (2) tablespoons of black beans, drained and rinsed
One (1) tablespoon of tomato, chopped
One (1) tablespoon of fresh pineapple, in chunks
1/2 tablespoon of goat cheese

Heat tortillas on the stove.
While tortillas are heating, mix black beans, tomato, and pineapple in a mixing bowl.
Once tortillas are warm, spoon mixture into tortillas.
Top with goat cheese.