Tag Archives: soy-free

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Chili


I’ve been working on a Vegetarian Chili recipe for quite a while. After a lot of back-and-forth on the ingredients, and a bit of debate on slow-cooker vs. stew-pot, I finally settled on a recipe I was content with and put it to the test. I know, you’re thinking summer doesn’t exactly scream chili, but I decided to try this dish served cold with some tortilla chips. I am quite pleased with the results and am happy to share this recipe with all of you.

Vegetarian Slow Cooker Chili
Recipe from Handmade By Tracie

2 15-oz cans Red Kidney Beans
1 15-oz can Cannellini Beans
1 15-oz can Black Beans
1 15-oz can Diced Tomatoes
1 28-oz can Crushed Tomatoes (I prefer Tuttorosso as they’re nice and thick)
1 or 2 6-oz cans Tomato Paste (depending on how thick you want your chili)
1 32-oz box Pacific Organic Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
1/2 cup Green Lentils (dried)
1/4 cup French Lentils (dried)
1 large Cooking Onion, diced
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Small Head of Celery, diced
4 Carrots, peeled & diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1 Small Zucchini (or 1/2 large), diced
1 Small Yellow Squash (or 1/2 large), diced
1 Small Eggplant (or 1/2 large), diced
1 Small-Medium Sweet Potato, peeled & diced
3 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Paprika
1 1/2 tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 1/2 tsp Salt
2 Bay Leaves
1 1/2 Rapunzel Vegan Vegetable Bouillon Cubes with Sea Salt
Dried Chili Peppers, Red Pepper Flakes or Diced Fresh Chilis to kick this up from mild to spicy

Prep Note: Most of the vegetables were diced “bean size” except the squashes and eggplant which were a bit larger since they shrink down a little during the long cooking process.

Instructions: Add all cans to the slow cooker, saving one can of red kidney beans and tomato paste to add later. Add all vegetables and lentils to the cooker.

In a small bowl, mash your bouillon cubes with a fork. Add a little of the vegetable broth and mix together until the bouillon starts to break up. Add in the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper and mix together to form a paste. Add more broth until you have a soupy consistency, then pour in your slow cooker. Add the rest of the broth to the slow cooker along with the bay leaves. Mix everything together and set your cooker to High. (Above is a photo of what your chili will look like before it starts cooking.)

Stir every couple of hours throughout cooking process.

Once everything has cooked down a bit and some of the liquid has evaporated, go ahead and add your last can of beans and some tomato paste to thicken the mixture.

Your chili will be ready after about six hours, or once it gets to the consistency you’re looking for. I wanted a thick chili so mine actually cooked for a full seven hours. The longer it cooks, the thicker it becomes and the more the flavors meld together.

Remove bay leaves before serving. Serve either hot (great with warm biscuits) or cold (great with tortilla chips).

Cooking Tip: After working with onions or garlic, wash your hands with some lemon to help neutralize the odor. After juicing a lemon for my tea or water, I usually toss the empty rind into the sink so it’s handy for such a situation.

This dish is very flavorful and quite filling. The texture is great and I dare say that if I gave a bowl of this to my meat-loving father, I don’t think he would even notice it was “missing” any meat! Personally I don’t like spicy food so this is a very mild recipe in the spice department, though it is still chock full of flavor. I added optional ingredients for those of you who love some heat. So, test this recipe out and come back to tell me what you think of it!


Wild Rice and Mushroom Stew


With the cool weather in sight, that crock pot will soon be getting plenty of use! I recently made this wild rice and mushroom stew for my sister and I. It is pretty delicious and you can really use any kind of mushrooms that you like.

Recipe from Handmade By Tracie

1 bag Lundberg wild and brown rice
1 32 oz box of Pacific organic low sodium vegetable broth
1 Rapunzel vegetable bouillon cube with sea salt
1 lb carrots
2-3 leeks
1 pkg (5 oz) of sliced shitake mushrooms
1 pkg (5 oz) of sliced crimini mushrooms (also referred to as “baby bellas”)
1 pkg (5 oz) of sliced white button mushrooms
A few Tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper

1. Pour the bag of rice into your slow cooker.
2. Peel and slice the carrots into coins, saute with olive oil, bouillon cube salt and pepper. Add to slow cooker on top of rice.

3. Saute sliced mushrooms in same pan you used to cook the carrots – no need to add any oil as there will be a slight amount left from the carrots plus mushrooms quickly produce their own juices. When slightly browned after approx 3 minutes, add to slow cooker on top of carrots.

4. Slice leeks very thinly using white portion and part of light green portion (discard leaves or save to make soup stock later). Saute in pan with salt and pepper. Add to slow cooker on top of mushrooms.

5. At this stage add the vegetable broth into your slow cooker. Liquid should cover the rice and veggies completely. If it does not, you can add water or additional broth. DO NOT STIR.
6. Turn the slow cooker on – this will cook for about 5 hours, depending on your cooker’s settings. Check after about two hours to see if you need to add any more liquid; don’t stir, just use a fork and check the rice. Sometimes towards the end, if the rice is not done cooking yet, the liquid may have disappeared and you will need more to finish cooking the rice and prevent it from sticking.
7. When done cooking, fluff with a fork. Serve warm and enjoy!

What I’m listening to as I write this post: Shooby Taylor

Unbirthday Cupcakes


My friend comes to town a few times a year. She wasn’t around for her birthday, so we decided to celebrate this summer with brunch at Isabella’s, a walk through the park, a trip to MoMA, and some yummy cupcakes for dessert. A very merry unbirthday to her!

Recipe from Wild About Cupcakes: Over 130 Recipes

For Cupcakes:
3 oz. Dark Chocolate
1/4 cup Unsalted Butter
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
3/4 cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/8 tsp Salt
1 cup Milk
1 cup mixed berries

For Frosting:
3 oz. Dark Chocolate
1 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
1/3 cup Heavy Cream (I subbed 1/2 & 1/2 since I didn’t have heavy cream)
Additional berries to top the cupcakes
2 Tbsp Confectioner’s Sugar to dust (I omitted this)

Preheat oven to 325* and place liners into cupcake pan.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler over barely simmering water until smooth. Combine the flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Pour the melted chocolate and the milk into the mixed dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir the 1 cup of berries in by hand. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups about 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes until risen and firm to the touch. Transfer muffin tin to a wire rack and let cool completely before removing the cupcakes.

Melt the chocolate, butter and cream in a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool and thicken. Spread the frosting over the cupcakes and top with extra berries. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

From Wikipedia: The phrase mad as a hatter is likely a reference to mercury poisoning, as mercury-based compounds were once used in the manufacture of felt hats in the 18th and 19th century. (The Mad Hatter character of Alice in Wonderland was almost certainly inspired by an eccentric furniture dealer named Theophilus Carter. Carter was not a victim of mad hatter disease although Lewis Carrol would have been familiar with the phenomenon of dementia that occurred among hatters.)

Homemade Fig Newtons


I have been searching for a few years for just the right Fig Newton recipe. As posted a few weeks ago, I was excited to find one that sounded delicious!

Named for a small town in Massachusetts, Fig Newtons are a cookie made with an outer dough and a delicious fig filling. You can also jazz up the filling adding apples, raspberries or any other flavor you like.

The Oh Nuts blog posted this recipe recently and I had to try it out.

I made a couple of adjustments:
1. In the dough I used about 75-80% zest of one orange instead of 50%. This gave a stronger orange flavor. The dough was so perfect (way better than store bought Fig Newtons).
2. In the fig filling I omitted the orange zest and instead added the juice of 1/2 an orange. (I drank the juice from the other half. Fresh squeezed and delicious!)

I never use apple juice so buying it specifically for this recipe I did not want to get an entire bottle. It turns out that the little Apple & Eve juice boxes contain exactly 1 cup! Perfect! They sell them in a 3-pack so I still have 2 left to use for future baking endeavors.

The cookies really are better the day after. They have that crisp texture the first day and in comparison to the cookies on the 2nd day, the cripsness almost overtakes the cookie. I didn’t realize how great the dough and filling were until the 2nd day.

I put some in a ziploc in the freezer and so far they are freezing quite well. To be determined if they thaw well and still taste the same…

Date Nut Bread


I love date nut bread. It is delicious! I was at Wegman’s bulk section and couldn’t resist the beautiful dates they had. It is so easy to pit the dates that I would much rather buy from the bulk section (where the only ingredient is dates) vs. buying pre-packaged on the shelf where all they had was Dole (lots of unnecessary ingredients added to the dates).

This recipe has been in my family ever since I can remember. My grandmother got the recipe from Lucille.

Recipe from Lucille

8 oz Chopped Dates
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 1/2 cups Boiling Water
2 cups Flour
1 1/2 cups Sugar
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Eggs, separated
1 cup Walnuts, chopped
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
Dash of Salt

Sprinkle baking soda over dates. Add boiling water. Let stand until cool. Mix Sugar, butter and beaten egg yolks. Mix with flour and salt. Add date mixture, vanilla and nuts. Beat egg whites to stiff peaks. Fold egg whites into flour mixture. Bake at 325* for about an hour. Yield: 2 loaves **Note: It is important to butter and flour the bread pans so that the date nut bread does not stick.

My family’s usual way of eating this is to spread a little (reduced-fat) cream cheese on top. It also goes great with coffee or tea.

Boston Cream Banana Pie


I wanted to make a special dessert for my sister-in-law’s birthday. I had bananas and cocoa powder so I pulled out the Hershey’s 100th Anniversary: 100 Years of Hershey’s Favorites book in search of the perfect recipe. (You should check out that Amazon link I posted – they have copies of the book as low as 14 cents!)

I found a recipe for “Classic Boston Cream Pie” which sounded delicious. This is a layer cake so I knew it would be easy to incorporate the bananas I wanted to use.

The recipe called for a 9″ pan, but I only had an 8″ round cake pan. This made the cake layers pretty thick… if you only have an 8″ pan I would suggest not using all of the batter.

After cutting the cake in half, I layered bananas before putting on the cream layer. Looking great already!

I added the top layer back on the cake then I poured the chocolate on top. Into the refrigerator it went! Couldn’t wait to try this one. It was pretty great and I really loved it with the bananas.


1/3 cup shortening (I used canola oil, but you could easily use softened butter.)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
Rich Filling (recipe follows)
Dark Cocoa Glaze (recipe follows)

Heat oven to 350*F. Grease and flour 9″ round baking pan. In large mixer bowl, beat shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking poder and salt; add alternately with milk to shortening mixture, beating well after each addition. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Note: Since I used an 8″ pan and all of the batter, my cook time was a good 5-7 minutes longer. Again, this ended up with a very thick cake so I would use less batter if going with an 8″ pan. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Meanwhile, prepare Rich Filling. With long serrated knife, cut cake in half horizontally. Place one layer, cut side up, on serving plate; spread with prepared filling. Note: Before spreading the filling on the cake I cut 2 bananas into thin slices and covered the top of the cake. I added the filling on top of the banana layer. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down. Prepare Dark Cocoa Glaze; spread over cake, allowing glaze to run down sides. Refrigerate several hours or until cold. Garnish as desired. Refrigerate any leftover pie.


1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbs corn starch
1 1/2 cups milk
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

In medium saucepan, stir together sugar and cornstarch; gradually add milk and egg yolks, stirring until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cover; refrigerate several hours or until cold.


3 Tbs water
2 Tbs butter
3 Tbs Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In small saucepan over medium heat, heat water and butter until mixture comes to a boil; remove from heat. Immediately stir in cocoa. Gradually add powdered sugar and vanilla, beating with whisk until smooth and of desired consistency; cool slightly.

Homemade Goldfish Crackers


I posted two weeks ago about this recipe on Miss Anthropist’s blog. My sister-in-law was over for a visit and we went to work on it!
First we worked on making our little cookie cutters.

We made goldfish (of course) in three different sizes. We also created a couple of stars for the holiday.

I picked up some delicious vegeratian white cheddar from Whole Foods (uses vegetable rennet instead of animal rennet). I love the Whole Foods cheese department. The people who work in the fromagerie have a list behind the counter of which cheeses are vegetarian.

We made the dough in the food processor and it took less than 5 minutes! We added in 1 tsp of baking soda and subbed a pinch of garlic powder for the onion powder. Then I wrapped the dough and put it in the refrigerator. We didn’t roll it out until the next day.

Since this dough was made with white cheddar, it would be very easy to add a few drops of food coloring to create colorful crackers. Red and blue stars for any patriotic holiday, colorful goldfish for your kids, green Christmas trees, orange pumpkins, or anything you can imagine!

The next day we rolled the dough out to cut up the crackers. Tip: when the dough comes out of the refrigerator it will be crumbly and hard to roll out. I found that working it in your hands for a minute to soften and bring it together made for a much easier time rolling out the dough.

After cutting the crackers out, they were placed on a silpat mat on a cookie sheet and into the oven they went.

For the first tray I put the timer on for 3 minutes less than the recipe called for to check on them and they were overdone! The second tray I cooked for a minute or two less.

The crackers were very good. They were definitely crispier the first day. Stored in a ziploc bag, they were softer the next day… but still a great snack for walking around Central Park!

Independence Day Chocolate Berry Torte


On July 4th I went to The Berry Farm to pick some fresh red and black raspberries.

This place has great fruit and everything is chemical & pesticide free!

Freshly picked black raspberries! Half of these are destined to become dessert at our family dinner.

Next time I may have to try this jam recipe. This was posted on the back of the berry stand.

Or maybe the pie recipe will come next… this was painted on the door of the berry stand.

The above photo is the final result of my Independence Day dessert! I modified the “Cherry Glazed Chocolate Torte” recipe from Hershey’s 100th Anniversary: 100 Years of Hershey’s Favorites recipe book to suit the freshly picked berries I had on hand. And check out those amazing biscotti my sister got from Del Ponte’s Bakery!

I made the following torte recipe with modifications as noted below.

(ie: Independence Day Raspberry Chocolate Torte)

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Hershey’s cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Cream Layer (recipe follows)
1 can (21oz) cherry pie filling, divided (I made my own berry topping instead of using the pie filling – see below.)

Heat oven to 350*F. Grease bottom of 9-inch springform pan. In large bowl, stir together butter, sugar and vanilla. Add eggs; using spoon, beat well. Stir together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; gradually add to egg mixture, beating until well blended. Spread batter into prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes or until cake is set. (Cake will be fudgey and will not test done.) Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Prepare Cream Layer; spread over top of cake. Spread 1 cup cherry pie filling over Cream Layer; refridgerate 3 hours. With knife, loosen cake from side of pan; remove side of pan. Serve with remaining pie filling. Garnish as desired.


1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened (I used the reduced fat version.)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup frozen non-dairy whipped topping, thawed (I substituted 1 cup dairy whipped cream.)

In small mixer bowl, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until well blended. Fold in whipped topping.


1 – 1 1/2 cup raspberries
1 – 2 tsp sugar (I added this because black raspberries are a bit more tart than red. If I used red raspberries I would not have added the sugar.)

Mix items in a small pot. Heat over med-low heat until berries cook down a little, for about 10 minutes or until desired consistency. (You still want good-sized berries, but sitting in a little sauce.

The torte was delicious! The perfect ratio of chocolate, berries and cream.

We ended the day with a walk down to the boardwalk to see the Asbury Park fireworks. We were a couple of towns down, but still had a decent view. As we were getting ready to leave we saw some of the Point Pleasant fireworks going off to the South.

Cinnamon Raisin Bread… Yum!


My sister-in-law and I got together in the Fall and we made this delicious Cinnamon Raisin Bread!

Cinnamon Raisin BreadI found the recipe on allrecipes.com, but we added a lot more raisins than suggested.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadMixing the dough.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadRising dough. This really became big! It rose over the sides of the bowl.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadCinnamon added, rolling up the dough.

Cinnamon Raisin BreadReady to bake!

Cinnamon Raisin BreadFresh out of the oven. It smells amazing!

I highly recommend this recipe. The bread is so delicious when served warm. You can also freeze it and toast up the slices.

The base dough is also great and would lend well to sweet or savory recipes. I can see making plain dough and rolling it up with all sorts of fillings… olives, caramelized onions, or anything you like!