Homemade Hummus

Hummus & Cracker

There are jokes and memes about vegans and hummus for a reason. We like it, we eat a lot of it, and if you ever attend a vegan potluck, you should expect to see approximately one container of hummus for every three people in attendance. It happens: occasionally we live up to the stereotypes.

Of course you don’t have to be vegan (yet 😉 ) to enjoy hummus.

It’s been popularized as a dip for bread, crackers, or crudités, but it can be so much more. You can slather it on sandwiches or wraps, add it to your avocado toast, dollop it on bowls or salads, dilute it into a dressing, or eat it straight up with a spoon (or your fingers if you’re a certain, less-discerning 3 year-old). Not only is it versatile, it’s both delicious and nourishing. Could you ask for more?… 

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Vegan Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies1I wasn’t looking for a great chocolate chip cookie recipe. All I wanted was a decent-looking ingredient list that I could tweak and muck up into a fun Halloween treat for a party we were attending back in October. I started with this recipe and, at first, I did just that—turning out a spirulina-tinted, ghoulishly green treat speckled with vegan white chocolate chips. The result was downright delicious. I could tell from the fab taste and texture, however, that if I backed out my spooktacular additions, I might just have a really awesome, straight-up chocolate chip cookie on my hands.

So I took two steps forward and one step back in adapting and arriving at this recipe, but it was totally worth it.


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Homemade Soy Yogurt

Soy Yogurt

For many, maybe even most people, cheese is the one thing that is most difficult to imagine giving up when considering going vegan. Fortunately, there are so many awesome and uncannily-similar-to-dairy vegan cheeses on the market these days that there’s little to miss out on in this department anymore. About as often, though, I hear another reason for which I’ve been able to offer little recourse: yogurt.

I so get this. For many people, yogurt is a breakfast staple. It’s lighter than oatmeal and cool on those days when you’re not in the mood for something hot, yet is still a solid base for all the same sorts of toppings. There actually are several dairy-free yogurt options on the market, but few of them are very good and not all of them are reliably vegan. I’ve personally only ever found two store-bought vegan yogurts that I wholeheartedly enjoyed*. The first was a brand called Whole Soy & Co, a soy-based yogurt with a nice texture that wasn’t intolerably sweet. I appreciated that it came in a plain variety and, though I was never able to find it, plain unsweetened as well. Unfortunately, this yogurt disappeared from the shelves shortly after I found it, made a brief and glorious comeback, and now seems to be gone for good (you can read the details here). The second brand is Anita’s Creamline, a coconut yogurt made with coconut milk, coconut water, and cultures—and that’s it. It’s unsweetened, free of additives and thickeners, and has a creamy, indulgent texture and a lip-smacking tang. The problem with this brand is that it’s on the pricey side, only locally available (so I can’t widely recommend it), and difficult to find consistently even at the locations that stock it.

So, last summer, in the midst of an Anita’s shortage and before Whole Soy made their fleeting reappearance, I decided to begin working on a homemade dairy-free yogurt…. 

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Banana Oat Snack Cookies

Banana Oat Snack Cookies

These scrumptious little snack cookies are the result of a handful of overripe bananas and a simple google search for “banana cookies”. (Heads up: I have a few banana-based recipes in the works right now, so get to ripening! Apologies, banana-loathers.) The recipe below is a complete bastardization of the original, but definitely found its inspiration there.

I obviously adapted them to be gluten-free, but also skipped the oil, added a bit of flax for binding/fiber/omega-3 goodness, and swapped the refined sugar out for pureed dates. That’s right, these cookies are made without refined sugar! Excepting the chocolate chips, of course, but you could easily use grain-sweetened chocolate chips or something else entirely if you wanted them to be totally refined sugar-free.

Snack cookie ingredients2


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How to Freeze Bananas for Smoothies

Frozen bananas for smoothies

Freezing bananas for smoothies is nothing new. It’s something that many people already do on a regular basis and I’m sure my method isn’t especially innovative. It has definitely improved my smoothie routine, though, and wasn’t something that I actually thought to do until fairly recently, sometime within the last year. So I’m going to share it with you in case it hasn’t occurred to you yet either, or in case you just need a little inspiration to get your freeze on.

I first started doing this in response to a minor mommy problem. Roman loves bananas and asks for them often. I never know, however, whether he’s going to eat a small chunk and be done with it, or if he’ll polish off three of them and ask for another. So there are times when I’m left with a partially eaten banana, and I’m not always up for finishing it myself. Instead of counting it as a loss and composting the remains, I began freezing them and tossing them into smoothies later.

After seeing how awesome it was to have a stash of frozen bananas on hand, I decided it was something that I needed to have available at all times. And thus, the freezing of the bananas began.

So let’s talk for a quick second about why you might want a stash of bananas in your freezer:… 

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Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Potato Leek Soup

Since December, maybe even November, we’ve been getting emails from our CSA letting us know that sign up is open for the 2015 season. Normally, a second after that first email hits my inbox, I’m forwarding the message to Chris and asking him what method of payment we should use. But this time, I paused.

I love being part of a CSA so much. I love the community feel and supporting a local, organic farm run by chill, down-to-earth people. I love getting a ton of produce every week and being surprised by things that I wouldn’t have thought to grab from the market stand otherwise. I love the challenge of coming up with recipes based off of those wildcard items.

Except that, well, that’s not all entirely true—at least not anymore…. 

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Veggie Mac — Vegan Mac & Cheese

Veggie Mac

When I decided to participate in NaBloPoMo this past fall, I assumed that my biggest takeaway would be habit, that I’d come out at the end of those 30 days with the itch and ability to maintain a daily (or near daily) posting routine. This was an ambitious and probably unrealistic expectation, especially considering where I’m currently at in my life. Needless to say, it didn’t exactly happen. I did walk away from the experience, however, with something that I’ve found to be much more valuable. I learned that I need to trust myself.

Since starting GF in the City way back when, I knew that writing a blog was something I enjoyed deeply and wanted to pursue. That said, I never found it to be particularly easy. I’ve always felt discomfort at putting the things I create out there in a visible way—some fear of being seen or of being small and getting lost—and blogging was no exception. From day one, this terrible anxiety caused me to freeze up every time I went to publish a post. It was so intense at times that I would put off pressing the button on an otherwise totally finished piece for anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks.

This sort of petrified, self-doubt-filled procrastination doesn’t fly when you’ve committed to publishing a post every single day for a month.

Veggie Mac Ingredients

So I had to get over it. I had to create something and then trust that it would be enough, which is ultimately the same leap I have to make when I sit on a post for two weeks anyway. Like checking the position of your mirrors before backing out in a car, I’d confirm that all the elements of the post were where they needed to be, take a breath, and hit publish.

Today I’m exercising this newfound trust on a recipe that I’ve been both incredibly excited and terrified to share for almost a year now. I love, love, love this recipe. Chris loves this recipe. Roman loves this recipe. This is the recipe for our go-to vegan mac and cheese, or, as we’ve come to call it ‘round these parts: Veggie Mac…. 

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Pumpkin Chai Smoothie

Pumpkin Chai Smoothie3

Every year, fall doesn’t really feel like fall to me until I’ve had my chai. For some people, it’s the pumpkin spice latte that marks the turn of the season. But once those leaves start to turn and the air takes on a chill, I am all about the spicy sweet warmth of the chai.

I will admit that this year I’ve also been all about the pumpkin. From pumpkin butter, to cake, to cereal, to pumpkin mac (oh yes, folks, there is a mac), to half a dozen other applications, it seems I too have caught the pumpkin bug…. 

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Pumpkin Apple Chia Cereal

Pumpkin Apple Chia Cereal

I have a confession.

You know how Amazon has that “look inside” feature that lets you preview the content of a book? Often, when I’m considering a cookbook by an author that I’m not familiar with and this feature is available, I’ll page through to get a sense of what their recipes are like and whether I might actually like them. Then, sometimes, if I come across a recipe that looks particularly good, I’ll take a screenshot of it so I can make it later.

Is that bad? It feels sort of naughty every time I do it. I mean, they’re making the content available so it should be okay, right? And, in all fairness, if I try the recipe and like it, I’ll usually buy the book. I guess there’s just something about saving it that feels a little dirty.

Glad I got that off my chest.

P.S. Don’t judge me.

P.P.S. I also have a recipe for you…. 

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