Rosemary Sweet Potato & Mushroom Pasta

Ohio has some of the most bipolar weather I have ever seen. One morning I wake up to a thick layer of snow out my window and by the end of the day it's all melted and birds are chirping. It's a little confusing.  

It is still staying consistently chilly, which means I continue to crave warm and comforting wintery flavors- like this pasta! I made this dish from the random leftovers in my fridge (seems to be how most of my best meals are created...) and it came out so delicious. The earthy flavors will melt away any lingering winter chills!

Rosemary Sweet Potato & Mushroom Pasta

serves 2

1 sweet potato, baked (or microwaved), peeled and cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
about 8 mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp brown sugar
2 tsp dried rosemary
salt and pepper to taste
~6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti, or pasta of your choice

Boil water for the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. While the it's boiling, heat up the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. 

Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onions begin to turn transparent. Toss in the mushrooms and cook until they get juicy, then add in the sweet potato, brown sugar and rosemary. Heat for about 5-8 more minutes, stirring gently so you don't break up the sweet potato too much. 

Serve over prepared pasta with salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. 

Quick and easy pasta dishes are my favorite.


Whole-Wheat Apple Ginger Muffins

The skies have been pretty grey around here lately and I don't know about you, but if it's cloudy for too long I tend to fall into a slump. This month, though, I have vowed to keep myself out of those rainy day blues by doing little things to cheer myself up once in a while! Here's what I've come up with:

-Exercise every morning
-Listen to songs that take me back to really happy moments in my life
-Watch Breakfast at Tiffany's
-When I study, relocate once in a while to somewhere across campus to get a change of scenery plus a refreshing walk
-Wear lipstick (silly, but I've found that a little glamour always helps)
-Reserve a studio and dance around for an hour 
-Make an effort to prepare myself a good breakfast to start the day on the right foot

As far as breakfast goes, my favorite thing to do lately is bake a big batch of muffins or scones, freeze them and then heat one up in the microwave in the morning. Voila! Instant, delicious baked-goods. These yummy apple ginger muffins have kept me going for about a week now, and I'm still not sick of them :)

Whole-Wheat Apple Ginger Muffins

makes 12 muffins

1  1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup canola oil (can be replaced with applesauce for a fat-free version)
1 apple, peeled and grated

1. Preheat your oven to 375º and line a muffin tin.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the almond milk with the lemon juice and let it curdle for a minute or two. Whisk in the ginger and canola oil. 
3. Add the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. Fold in the grated apple. Distribute the batter evenly between the muffin liners and bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

What do you do to cheer yourself up on grey days?


Golden Scones

A miracle has happened in these past few weeks: I have become a morning person.

I used to be that person that called getting up any time before 10am "early," but now here I am, up and at 'em at 7am every day. I've found that it makes me more productive. Not only do I get to see the sun rise, but I finally have time in my day to read books for fun, journal a bit, write more blog posts, and bake scones! 

Even if you are not a morning person, the promise of these delicious and crumbly scones might just get you to roll out of bed. 

Golden Pumpkin Scones (adapted from Students Go Vegan Cookbook)

Makes about 8 medium scones

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup canned pumpkin (or fresh pureed)
3/4 cup soy milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup brown sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling

1. Preheat your oven to 450º and lightly oil a baking sheet.
2. In a large bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and stir well. In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, soy milk, oil and brown sugar. 
3. Add the wet into the dry and mix until just combined. Plop the batter onto the baking sheet in 8 equal dollops. Bake for about 12-15 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. 

Not only are these perfect for breakfast, but they would be amazing alongside a bowl of my pumpkin and black bean chili, or any other soup you like :)

What do you wake up for?


Simple Orange Tofu

Every semester I tell myself "Okay, this semester I'm not going to overbook myself- I'm going to try to stay sane." So far, I have failed. There is just always so much to do and so little time! Luckily, everything I'm doing is something that I genuinely want to do. My classes are all pretty awesome (dance and the camera, dance history, a Shakespeare English class, and chemistry and the environment), plus I'm choreographing a dance, performing in another dance, and I still have my great waitressing job. So much for not overbooking myself.

I have been living up to one of my goals for the year: really setting aside time to cook myself quality meals! All you need is to get some good, versatile ingredients that will last you a couple weeks and then set aside half an hour to whip up something delicious. 

This is the first time I've tried cooking tofu by myself and I must say, it went really well! I think this dish is going to become a week-night staple. It's delicious and uses very basic ingredients that I almost always have on hand. 

Orange Tofu with Rice

makes about 4 servings

1 block extra firm tofu
1 orange
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 cup prepared brown rice (I used Trader Joe's Brown Rice Medley)
optional: cooked spinach or peas to throw in with the rice

Note: If you are making this tofu for dinner, I would recommend marinating it around lunchtime. If it is for lunch, let it marinate overnight.

1. Drain the tofu and wrap in a paper towel. Squeeze the excess water out of the block of tofu and cut it into triangles or cubes.
2. Peel your orange and smash it in a medium-small lidded bowl, getting it nice and pulp-y. Stir in the soy sauce, garlic and 1 tbsp of the oil. 
3. Place your tofu into the marinade, cover with the lid and shake gently so that every piece is covered with the sauce. Let it marinate for at least 2 hours.
4. Once the tofu is done marinating, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick pan over high heat. Add the tofu (but save the marinade!). Cook for a couple minutes on each side and flip. Repeat until the edges begin to brown and get slightly crispy. 
5. Serve warm over rice with a little extra sauce poured over the top. 

If you have leftovers, these little wedges would be excellent tossed into a salad, served in a wrap with some hummus and veggies, or just eaten plain as a snack! 


Happy Valentines, Have a Cookie!

Things I Love:

-listening to music and reading in a warm and cozy coffee shop
-laughing so hard you cry
-the feeling you get when a plane is taking off- like your stomach is dropping and your body is lifting. weird, but I love it.
-having picnic dinners on my living room floor with my family
-watching bad movies with best friends
-dancing so hard that you forget your feet hurt 
-my cats
-staring out at the ocean
-classic love stories
-the smell of cookies fresh from the oven....

Orange Spiced Sugar Cookies with Cinnamon Icing

makes about 8 large hearts


1 1/2 cups white unbleached flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
zest of 1 orange
1/2 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water (replaces an egg)


2 tbsp soy milk
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and orange zest. In a measuring cup, stir together the remaining ingredients.
2. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and combine using a wooden spoon or your hands. You may need to add a little bit of water if the dough is too crumbly. Form the cookie dough into a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate it for about an hour.
3. Begin to preheat your oven to 375º. Once the dough has chilled, let it soften and warm up a bit, then roll it out to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut out desired shapes (hearts for today, of course) and place on a greased cookie sheet. 

4. Bake cookies for about 8-10 minutes, or until the bottom edges begin to turn golden brown. Let them cool for at least 10 minutes before icing.
5. While the cookies bake, prepare the icing by whisking together the ingredients in a medium bowl or in a food processor.

6. Ice the cookies, let them harden for about 10-15 minutes, and share with everyone you love!



Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes for My 50th Post!

You know how everyone is talking about the winter that wasn't? Well, now it is. I woke up this morning to find a blustery winter wonderland outside of my window and even though it feels about 2 months too late, I'm not complaining. I woke up my friend at 9am this morning so we could venture out into the blizzard together for brunch and a steaming cup of coffee. I love snow :)

On a different note, I can't believe I'm already on my 50th blog post! I guess that's not a whole lot in the long scheme of things, but when I started this thing up I had no idea how far it would go. I am so flattered and grateful for all of the support I've received from friends and readers who continue to follow That's So Vegan! I wish I could send you each one of these cupcakes... but somehow they magically vanished. Oops. 

Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Banana Glaze

makes 1 dozen cupcakes


1 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup mashed raspberries


1 ripe banana
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 350º and grease or line a cupcake tin.
2. To make the cupcakes, combine all of the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add the dry to the wet and stir until just combined. 
3. Pour the batter into your prepared pan- about 3/4 of the way full for each cupcake. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
4. While the cupcakes are baking, make the chocolate banana glaze by mashing the banana with a fork, then whisk in the vanilla and cocoa powder. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, whisking as you go. Once it is all added, stir until smooth.
5. Let the cupcakes cool for about 10 minutes, then spread the glaze on top. Enjoy!

These cupcakes are sweet, tart, moist and delicious. If you don't like bananas (aka if you're crazy), they would also be awesome with cream cheese frosting. 

I hope everyone has a great pre-Valentines weekend!


My Love Affair with Upside-Down Cake

I have this thing for upside-down cakes. You could call it a crush, but I'm pretty sure it's become more than that. I've started daydreaming about the different possibilities of flavors and imagining that beautiful moment when you bite into the perfect combination of fruit and cake and it just melts in your mouth...

Yeah, I am officially having a love affair with upside-down cake.

I realized I've been holding out on you guys- I made this gingerbread and pear cake about a month ago when I was still home for winter break! It was a parting gift to my family, but let me tell you, that cake was hard to leave behind. 

Gingerbread Pear Upside-Down Cake (inspired by this recipe on Epicurious)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup earth balance
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup applesauce
3 tsp ener-g egg-replacer
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1 1/2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 pear, peeled and sliced thinly
1 tbsp melted earth balance
1 tbsp brown sugar

1. Preheat your oven to 350º. Line the bottom of a 9" round pan with parchment paper and grease the sides. Pour the melted earth balance into the bottom of the cake pan and swirl it around so it covers the whole surface. Arrange the pear slices on top and sprinkle them with brown sugar.
2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda and spices in a medium bowl. Melt together the butter and water and combine the egg-replacer with the other 1/4 cup of water.
3. Beat the molasses and brown sugar together, then stir in the applesauce and egg-replacer. Once smooth, add in the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Finally mix in the butter/water mixture, ginger and vinegar. 
4. Pour the cake batter on top of the pears and place the cake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes. Promptly lick the bowl. Don't even fight it, it's impossible to resist. 
5. Once the cake is done, let it cool for at least 10 minutes, then carefully flip it over onto a plate. Serve warm and enjoy :)

Freshly flipped

This cake is perfectly moist, rich and sweet. The fresh ginger also gives it a kick that you don't get with powdered ginger- it's incredible. It would be really great served with vegan whipped cream or coconut ice cream!


Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili

How did I end up in rural Ohio? 

This is the question I have been asking myself for the past 3 days.
Don't get me wrong, I love my school, but after being in California for a month, this place looks a little bleak. No more morning walks on the beach, no more farmer's markets open year-round, no more sundresses in January... Oh well. I'm just going to take advantage of everything this school has going for it and head West the minute I graduate. That's the plan.

In the meantime, I will keep myself sane by periodically redecorating my room...

and making soup.

This pumpkin and black bean chili is the perfect college meal. All you need is an onion, some fresh garlic and three 15-ounce cans and you have a flavorful, hearty winter soup that will feed you for a few days. Cheap, healthy, and did I mention it tastes like spicy pumpkin pie? Yum. It can't get better than this.

Pumpkin and Black Bean Chili (adapted from Keeping it Real Food)

1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can black beans
2 cups diced tomatos
2 cups pumpkin puree
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 cups water

1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add the onions and garlic. Saute until the onion becomes transluscent. 
2. Add in the black beans, tomatoes, pumpkin and spices. Stir well for about 2-3 minutes, then pour in the water.
3. Put on some tunes and take a dance break while you let the soup simmer for 40-60 minutes. 
4. Serve with sliced avocado (smuggled back from Monterey), coconut shavings, vegan sour cream, or just keep it plain and simple!

Oh wow, I can't believe classes start in just 2 days. Wish me luck for my incredibly daunting add/drop period!