Category Archives: Vegan

Boom Boom Boom

Tofu Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry


Happy 4th of July and with that, welcome to July’s installment of the Secret Recipe Club!  This month I got to visit Alaska by way of Anna’s Cheese with Noodles Blog.  I loved her in her intro she was up front about blog pictures, something that I’m so bad about that I have my husband do it for me!   I found so many incredible recipes on her blog including baked tofu bites and a corn pudding recipe so amazing it survived a divorce.  In the end however I couldn’t move past her Pork Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry after reading that it’s so good it should be in a restaurant.  I swapped the pork for tofu and waited until the end to season the dish as tofu has a tendency to go from just right to over salted super easily.  I also used baby bella mushrooms as my store was out of the full size variety – luckily Anna’s recipe included the weight so that was a super easy swap to make!  She didn’t say what type of cabbage to use so I went with red over Chinese but either would work.

Tofu Mushroom Cabbage Stir Fry


2 Tbsp sesame seeds

2 Tbsp vegetable oil

16oz tofu, pressed and cubed

1 small red cabbage, cored and chopped into 2 inch pieces

1/2 lb baby bella mushrooms, cut into quarters and sliced (this was 1/2 lb)

salt to taste

for the sauce:

1/3 C water

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp soy sauce

2 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp red pepper flakes


  1. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium and add sesame seeds. Cook and stir frequently until seeds are lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Remove seeds to a small bowl.
  2. Add a tbsp of the vegetable oil to the skillet, raise heat to medium-high, and add the tofu. Cook until golden brown on each side, about four minutes, then remove to a plate.
  3. Add another half tbsp of oil to the skillet then slowly add in the cabbage, being careful to not overcrowd the pan. Stir fry until tender then remove to the plate with tofu.
  4. Add remaining oil to the skillet along with the mushrooms and cook until tender then add the cabbage and tofu back to the skillet and cook until heated through.
  5. Meanwhile, stir up the sauce ingredients in a small bow then pour into skillet and stir fry about two minutes. Season to taste with salt, soy sauce, and or siracha
  6. Serve over rice or with rice noodles and Enjoy!

Another fabulous dinner thanks to the secret recipe club!  I also reserved a bit of the red cabbage to steam with some apples and ginger for baby girl’s dinner and she was also a huge fan!  I’m also in the process of joining some other food groups – hoping that eventually my cooking spark will come back as little one gets older.   I still enjoy spending time in the kitchen but it’s no longer the sanctuary it once was.

Flying Free

Austin Black Beans


Hey everyone!  Only a week since my last SRC post thanks to May’s bonus week.  This week is my “normal” group A post – but there is nothing normal about the blog I was partnered with.  I’m very lucky in that I’ve had Leslie’s Cocina de Leslie blog twice so far, once as my regular assignment and once when I decided to adopt a blog while 38wks pregnant.  Leslie’s blog has soooo many amazing recipes that when the powers that be offered to switch me for a “new” blog I told them there was NO NEED to be hasty – that I could happily and easily find something new to make.  With that, this post was supposed to be all about her Mole Ranchero.  While the ingredient list is a bit daunting, the dish came together in no time at all.  However my camera man got a bit peckish and ate the sauce set aside for the photo as a post dinner snack.  So…back to my very long list of recipes!  I had marked her Austin Black Beans when I adopted Leslie’s blog so was thrilled that some nasty weather made it the perfect time to give them a whirl.  I used the vegetable oil instead of lard and left out the lime juice due to my allergy.   I also added the cilantro straight to my bowl as it tastes metallic to hubby and totally omitted below.

Austin Black beans

Serves 4-5


1 lb. dried black beans

1 vegetable oil

1 medium spansih onion, finely chopped

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 canned chipotles

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tablespoon chipotle adobo sauce

Salt (to taste)


  1. Rinse and clean the beans, then place in a large pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes, then drain and rinse and set aside.
  2. Add the vegetable oil to the same large pot the beans were cooked in and turn heat to medium. Add the carrot and onion and cook 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  3. Return the beans to the pot along with the chipotles and 8 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium and simmer for 90 minutes or until beans are soft. Add remaining ingredients then season to taste with some salt.
  4. Use an immersion blender to mash some of the beans then simmer for a final 30 minutes.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!

 Another great recipe from Leslie!  So glad there was an oops and that I got another excuse to explore her blog – think I have a good dozen recipes to try! This meal would also freeze well for the slow cooker, just add the 8 cups of water directly to the slow cooker along with all the ingredients.  Instant dinner!!!

In my Head

Sugared Wine Grapes & 

Garlic Chive Fries 

fries wine-graps

Welcome to a special themed edition of the Secret Recipe club!!!  Whenever a month has 5 weeks the 5th week gets a special theme and is open to members across all of the groups!  The special theme for today is Picnic/BBQ which is rather perfect for Memorial Day.  I was given The Cookaholic Wife which is run by Nichole who is “owned” by Gidget and Itty von Kat – her adorable cats!  I might be a dog person but totally understand the concept of being owned by a pet 😀  I totally failed this month at picking one recipe – but it’s a special day so that makes it okay to do two, right?!?!?  First up: garlic-chive fries!  Garlic + potatoes = WINNER!!!  We had friends over for dinner and these fries were devoured in minutes – and for once my hubby didn’t feel the need to coat his fries in Old Bay.   Next up: Frozen Wine Grapes.  These were the dessert for the same dinner and omgoodness they just made the entire dinner seem so fancy.  The best part is I was able to make them during baby’s morning nap, freeing me up in the afternoon to tidy up the place.  Love love love anything that can be done in advance!

Garlic Chive Fries

Serves: Serves 4


2 large russet potatoes

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. fresh chives, chopped

1 tbsp minced garlic

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. pepper


  1. Cut the russet potatoes into fries using a sharp knife or mandolin - making them as even as possible.
  2. Preheat oven to 450
  3. Place into a bowl and add the remaining ingredients tossing well to make sure the fries are coated. Pour onto a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes then flip and bake a final 12 minutes.
  4. Allow to cool slightly then serve and Enjoy!!!

With the fries the only change I made was using minced garlic in place of the garlic salt while the grapes were perfect as is so head over to Nichole’s blog for that recipe!!!   These grapes could also be added to a sangria to give it an extra punch or as a practical alternative to a travel ice bag to make sure your food stays cool while heading to a bbq or picnic.

A bonus reason why you should check out Nichole’s blog?!?!  She’s another Maryland blogger!  I’ll overlook that she prefers Delaware to MD’s Eastern Shore, after all nobody is perfect!  I’m actually finishing this post up from MD’s Eastern Shore so I might be a bit partial.

Lost and Alone

Vegetable Chili


Another one of my awesome freezer meals – this time one that also doubles as a great way to clean out the fridge/freezer!  Once we had finished prepping my list of meals, I checked what I had left and decided I could squeeze out at least one more meal.  This hodge podge of ingredients was fantastic last weekend when Mother Nature decided we needed another round of cold weather, to include snow!

Lost and Alone

Serves: Serves 5-6


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 zucchini, diced

2 carrots, round sliced then quartered

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

4 cups black beans, presoaked

1 can (28 ounces), crushed tomatoes

2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toss all the ingredients into the slow cooker and set for low. Cook for 7hrs - or cook on high for 3hrs.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper, or more chili powder!

We topped this with cheese but chives, sour cream, guacamole or nothing would also work.  As for the vegetables, whatever you have on hand will work.

So Save



Spring it starting to make it’s appearance, and with that soup season is slowly coming to an end.  We had a chilly blast this past weekend so I decided to do up a batch of minestrone – which is about as simple as it gets.  The ingredients are ones I almost always have on hand, if anything just have to buy the tomato juice.  Which makes it perfect for the “it came from a can” challenge over that /52weeksofcooking.  Instead of using frozen vegetables, just use a can of each: peas, corn, carrots, lima beans, etc – the point of this soup is to show that simple can be tasty.


Serves 4-5


1 tbsp vegetable oil

1 white onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, diced

2 sprigs rosemary, diced

1/2 tbsp fresh thyme

1 bay leaf, crushed

1 lb bag of frozen mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, corn, etc)

3 cups V8

2 cups vegetable stock

1 can crushed tomatoes, Italian style

1/2 cup acini de pepe (or other small pasta)


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot or dutch oven. Add the garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, until lightly golden. Add the herbs and cook for another 2 minutes, stirring to prevent the herbs from burning.
  2. Add the mixed veggies, V8, stock, and crush tomatoes and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, then turn heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. Add the pasta and continue simmering for a final 20 minutes, or until pasta has cooked. Season to taste with salt/pepper.
  4. Serve and Enjoy!

Nothing like a dish that comes together in record time and only requires one pot.  I know that some people aren’t a fan of cooking pasta in soups but I love how doing so gives the pasta some extra flavor.  Plus the smaller pasta holds it shape better than the larger guys and don’t get as mushy.  However, for those who want more of an al dente taste – cooking the pasta per instructions and then place in the bottom of a bowl before pouring the soup over top.  For a real protein punch, add some garbanzo or great northern beans when adding the pasta or use lentils in place of the pasta.