{Vegan} Eggplant Parmesan

Happy Sunday! Sunday at our house is our favorite day to meal plan and cook. We often make this eggplant “Parmesan” on Sundays since we have more time to cook and relax.

This recipe does take a while so plan for 30-45 minutes of active time and 20 minutes of cook time. But for how long it takes to cook is well worth it. We have had traditional (read: dairy filled) versions of eggplant parm before and they don’t taste nearly as good as this. This isn’t soggy and isn’t loaded with (too) many calories. Served over a garlicy red sauce and noodles, it is a comfort meal worthy of a Sunday dinner.

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

Sundays during the summer often call for BBQ ribs and pork belly, but in our house, Sunday is comfort food day. We (meaning my husband) bakes bread, I make cookies and meal plan, and we have a dinner together that took effort to make. During the week we rush around and I plan “quick” meals for every evening, but Sunday is full of taking our time and enjoying the processes of cooking.

This eggplant parm is vegan, however if you’re a dairy-holic, you can sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top of the eggplant and bake an additional five minutes after the regular cook time is over. I suggest that you serve this with a fresh salad and oven roasted veggies. The oven is on already, might as well make the most of it!

This recipe has multiple steps which will require you to use a lot of your kitchen. You will need a colander, 3 small to medium sized bowls, parchment paper, large cookie sheet, a spatula or tongs, a pot for the pasta, and a pot for the sauce. Enlist your significant other or kids to help clean up as you go!

Eggplant Parm {Vegan}

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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Get ready to impress with this non-dairy eggplant parm. It is warm, comforting, and easy to make.


Ingredients

– 1 large eggplant
– 1 c. all purpose flour
– 1 tbsp. arrow root or cornstarch
– 1/2 c. dairy free milk (I used almond milk)
– 2 c. panko bread crumbs
– 1 16oz can tomato sauce
– 1 package spaghetti
– 3 cloves garlic
– 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
– 1 large carrot, diced
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 3 tsp. paprika, separated
– 1 tbsp rosemary
– 1 tbsp thyme
– pepper to taste
– salt to taste

Directions


1. Preheat oven to 425F. Fill a large pot with water and place on stove to heat up to a boil.
2. Take your washed eggplant and cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices (coins). Lay the eggplant slices in the colander, trying not to overlap too much. Lightly run cold water over the eggplant for a few seconds and then heavily salt. Let stand for 10 minutes.
3. While your eggplant is resting, get three small bowls ready. Bowl 1 will be milk and 1 tsp paprika, bowl 2 is flour, arrowroot, and 1 tsp paprika, and bowl 3 is panko and 1 tsp paprika.
4. After 10 minutes is up, lightly rinse the eggplant and lay flat on a clean, dry towel. Make sure the eggplant slices are fully dry before starting the dredging process.
5. To completely dredge the eggplant, dip the slice in milk, then flour, then milk again, and finally dip it in panko. In each bowl, make sure to completely coat the slice. After it is completely coated in milk, flour, and panko, place the eggplant on a large, parchment paper covered baking sheet.
6. Once all slices are on the baking sheet, bake in oven for 10 minutes.
7. During the first half of the bake, saute garlic, onion and carrot with olive oil in a deep saute pan. Once the vegetables have started to caramelize, add in canned sauce along with the rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Let simmer until the eggplant is done cooking.
8. After the first 10 minutes of cook time, pull the eggplant out of the oven and flip over each slice. Place back in the oven and cook for an additional 10 to 12 minutes. Put spaghetti in water to cook.
9. Once your timer goes off after 10 minutes, the eggplant, spaghetti, and sauce will be finish. Serve immediately.

Easy Vegan Baklava

I have a new love that is phyllo dough. Which probably means I’ve been watching too many episodes of The Great British Baking Show. I was so excited to make something that I absolutely love! I also thought I was going to make my own phyllo dough. HA! Just get store bought. I looked at many recipes for homemade phyllo and oh my stars… I’ll be the first to tell you that I am not patient enough to roll the dough that thin.

Trader Joe’s has the best/least expensive phyllo out there that I know of. The sheets of dough are perfectly flat, not torn, and smooth. The best part? Dairy and eggs aren’t listed in the ingredients. Hooray!

There are a few tricks to working with phyllo. You’ll want to prep every other element of this dessert before you even think about taking that dough out of the package. That package will need to set in your fridge for at least 30 minutes before use. To keep the dough from drying out when you are using it will require a damp kitchen towel and cling wrap. After the dough is cut to the size of your dish, you will lay out a piece of cling wrap on your counter and place the dough on one side and loosely cover it with the rest of the wrap. On top of that you will put the damp dish towel. While you’re working you will need to keep it covered like this.

Easy Vegan Baklava

Work fast my friends!

Easy Vegan Baklava

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 4.5 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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This wonderfully simple, but oh-so delicious baklava is a dessert to impress with it's many flakey layers.


Ingredients

– 1 package of store bought frozen phyllo dough, defrosted in fridge
– 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips, roughly chopped
– 1 cup mixed nuts, finely chopped (I used peanuts and almonds)
– 1 cup melted nut butter
– 1/2 cup melted  vegan butter
– 3/4 cup water
– 3/4 cup sugar
– 1 tbsp. liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup)

Directions


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly oil a 9×9 baking dish and set it a side in an easy to access space.
2. Chop chocolate chips and nuts. Mix in a small bowl. Warm nut butter in a separate bowl in microwave until just melted. Warm butter in a small dish in the microwave until melted. Set the chocolate chip mix, the nut butter, and the oil aside near your baking dish at your work station.
3. Pull the phyllo dough from the fridge. Prep your station to keep the dough from getting dry. Cut the dough down to the size of your dish.
4. The first layer is six sheets deep. Pull two sheets of dough from your pile, holding the sheets together butter one side. Place the butter side down in the dish. Repeat 2 more times.
5. Evenly distribute 1/3 of your chocolate chip mixture and nut butter mixture on top of the last layer of phyllo in your dish. Take two sheet of phyllo, holding the sheets together butter one side, place butter side down in the dish. Repeat two more times with the remaining mixture.
6. Repeat step #4 to create the top layer of your baklava. Lightly brush the very top layer of exposed phyllo with butter.
7. In a diagonal motion, cut the baklava into diamonds. Place in the center of your oven for 40-45 minutes or until the top of the baklava is golden brown and starting to flake.
8. While the baklava is baking, mix the sugar, water, and liquid sweetener in a saucepan over medium high heat, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for at least 15 minutes. It is best to do this toward the end of the baking time so it is hot.
9. Bring the baklava out of the oven when it is done and carefully pour your hot sugar water over the baklava. It should bubble in the dish from the heat. Leave to rest and cool for at least 3 hours before serving.

Sweet Potato and Red Bean Kale Hash

Even though we have been vegan for two years now, we still get the question “So… what do you eat? There’s like, nothing out there for you. It’s all just fake versions of what I eat.” WRONG! There are so many amazing foods that vegans eat (it’s called vegetables!). Flavor and nutrition shine in vegan cooking and baking.

To prove that we do eat real, amazingly delicious food, I am committing to writing and posting one vegan recipe a week. It may be my vegetable stock that just costs pennies to make or baklava that melts in your mouth. Whatever it is, I promise it will be delicious and easy to make!

Sweet Potato and Red Bean Kale Hash

This is such a simple recipe that you can flavor however you like. I like the sweet and heat route for this dish that comes from the agave and chipotle powder. The spice works very well with the sweet potatoes that absorb it. Or you could use rosemary and thyme instead of chipotle powder and agave.

A cast iron skillet will work best for this recipe but it isn’t completely necessary. I have made it in a regular, large skillet and in cast iron. The cast iron, in my opinion, turned out better but it is completely up to you.

Warning: everything will have a very similar texture if each element isn’t cooked properly. By saying this I mean DON’T OVERCOOK YOUR POTATOES! You steam them first, but you really have to watch them to make sure they are just fork tender before you add them to the skillet. Same thing with the kale (unless you love super wilted kale). You add it in last and cook it down unless just wilted and still crunchy.

Sweet Potato and Red Bean Kale Hash

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Time: 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: easy
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Proving that vegans eat more than just rabbit food, this dish features sweet agave and spicy chipotle flavors that add a punch to your regular sweet potato.


Ingredients

– 3 medium sized sweet potatoes, diced to 1 inch cubes
– 1 15 oz can red beans (or 1.5 cups cooked red beans)
– 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely diced
– 3 large lacinto kale leaves, chopped and ribs removed
– 1 tsp ground chipotle powder
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
– Olive oil for cooking

Directions


1. Steam sweet potatoes until fork tender (about 15 minutes over water on stove top). While potatoes steam, cook onions over medium heat in cast iron skillet with olive oil as needed. Sauté until translucent and fragrant (about 3-5 minutes).
2. Add steamed sweet potatoes to the cooked onion in the skillet. Cook on medium low heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add oil as necessary to keep potatoes from sticking. Potatoes should start to brown on the sides.
3. Once the potatoes are slightly browned, add the red beans. Cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. While the beans are cooking, add the chipotle powder, agave, and salt. Stir to combine and evenly coat.
4. Add kale and cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.
5. Serve immediately.

5 Tremendous Ways to Save on Your Professional Wardrobe

You can easily spend hundreds of dollars on clothing for your work wardrobe every month. It seems like a money pit sometimes. You buy a pair of pants that you love and look great!… but you can only wear three tops with it. So you buy more tops to wear with the pants and then you need a blazer… and shoes… and accessories. I get it.

Like for real, I get. it.

I work in a 52 story office building downtown and my floor is filled with important executives and professionals. I have to look 100% put together every day. 20% is my hair, 70% is my clothing, 10% is my accessories. It can be incredibly stressful in the morning to think about what to wear and how to do my hair and make up and what shoes I’m going to wear.

Since working in an office environment, I have learned a few things, what’s important and what isn’t. Here are a few tips to help you look professional for less!

Stockholm

Buy secondhand. This won’t be for everyone because some have germ phobias. BUT the savings are tremendous!!! We’re talking HUNDREDS of dollars can be saved this way. I’m not talking Good Will or Salvation Army shopping. I’m thinking of upscale second hand stores (it’s a thing, I promise).

In Tulsa we have Echo Shops. The carry high-end designer fashion for women and men. Last time my husband and I went we spent about $60. We bought a cardigan, a blazer, brand new jeans, and a pair of chinos. I Googled the brand of jeans and they retailed for close to $75. While the jeans and chinos aren’t professional, I have worn the blazer and cardigan 4 to 5 times each month since I bought them. Score!

There is also a website that gives you great deals and helps schools all across America. Schoola donates a portion of the profits from the clothes it sells to schools. The catch? All of the clothes are donated by people like you! You can request a free bag to ship the clothes, send it off with the school of your choice’s name, and the school gets a check once your clothes sell. Currently, they are offering $10 in Schoola Cash to new customers. Click this link to sign up! You can get a lot with that! They had a sale over President’s Day and I bought 6 (SIX!!!) blazers, 2 dresses, 1 top, and 1 skirt for $30. What a steal! They carry clothes for everyone so the whole family can benefit.

Buy the best and make it last. I know I can’t afford to replace my blazers or shoes every few months after I wear them out so I buy the best I can and them keep them at work. This won’t work in everyone’s favor but it has worked well for me so far. I keep 3 pairs of nice shoes and my best blazer at work. I have had the same pair of Gianna Bini shoes for 7 years and I bought them secondhand! The reason I’ve had them for so long? I keep them nice. I don’t wear them outside unless I’m walking to a different building during work hours and I certainly don’t scuff my shoes along! I put them on when I get to work and take them off when I leave. I wear an inexpensive pair of flats walking to the building and to my car. I’d rather have those dirty than my nice shoes.

Sign up for email lists. Create an email address just for website mailers. I have one that I use for Soma, Ann Taylor, JCrew, Anthropologie, JC Penny’s, Macy’s, etc. I check that email once a week to see if they’ve mailed me some coupons or if they are having an amazing sale. They even know I love a good sale!

Don’t worry about the latest trend. This is, of course, if you don’t work in a trend induced environment. I learned not to care about leggings or lacey tops or how wide the flare on my slacks were. I bought things that looked good on me and stuck with it. I buy a trendy accessory every now and again but never a full trend inspired outfit. You won’t get a promotion based on what trend you best wore this season.

Shop your own closet. I spent several hours a few weekends ago trying on all my clothes. It sounds silly and it kind of was, but it helped me create new outfits. I was in a serious wardrobe rut. I tried on all my dresses with each of my cardigans and blazers and determined what worked and what looked wrong or sloppy. I gave a way a lot of clothes that I thought to myself “Why did I even buy this??”. It helped me realize what the pieces were that I need to invest in and what my wardrobe was missing.

Hopefully you get inspired by this tips to rock your work wardrobe!