Mega Veggie-Loaded Nachos

Mega Veggie-Loaded Nachos

It’s time to stuff your face folks.  Have a crowd to feed?  Need to use up a bunch of vegetables?  Got a hangover that needs curin’?  This will do the J.O.B.  It’s summer comfort food at it’s veggie best!  These nachos are piled high with tons of fresh summer vegetables and layered with ooey-gooey-melty shredded cheese.  Top them with your choice of condiments and it’s a gosh dang party in your veggie-lovin’ mouth!

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Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel Corn

Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel Corn

How’s about a little sweet treat to go with your St. Patrick’s Day eats?  This caramel corn is freakishly easy to make and only takes about 8 minutes to prep!!  With a hint of warm cinnamon in the boozy caramel sauce and a sprinkling of course sea salt, it’s hard to resist this salty-sweet Irishy treat!

Vegetarian & Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

Shepherd's Pie Potato Skins (Vegan & Vegetarian versions)

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and every year my husband and I throw a party to celebrate the awesome food, music, and jovial spirit of the Irish!  Some of our favorite musicians (Imelda May, The Tossers, The Pogues, Glen Hansard) will fill the air of our house as we join in merriment with our dear friends.  And of course, one of my favorite parts about it is the food!  I love to come up with variations on Irish dishes and this year I’ve turned the quintessential Irish dish — Shepherd’s Pie — into an appetizer.  I did a vegetarian version (topped with Irish cheddar cheese) and a vegan version (topped with mashed potatoes)…they’re both insanely delicious and will have you tapping your toes to an Irish jig!

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Lately, I’ve been falling back in love with my crock pot.  I tend to use it in cycles – I go for months without thinking about it and then all of the sudden it becomes a near-permanent fixture on my counter top.  I decided to lug it out recently to get better at using the many pounds of dried beans I have, one of my New Year’s cooking goals.  The wonderful thing I’ve discovered is that there’s no need to pre-soak the beans!

I’ve been cooking different kinds of beans overnight in the crock pot, then leaving them in the garage until I get home from work (it’s been cold enough for that lately!).  When I get home, I use them in soups, salads, or to make veggie burgers.  This recipe came about in a slightly different way…snow days!!  Stuck inside for days, I was craving chips and dip.  I wanted something hearty, warm, easy, healthy, and spicyish.  Refried beans sounded perfect, and would make a dent in the 5 lb. bag of dried pinto beans I’ve got…bulk buying!

DIY Flavored Coconut Butters – Sweet and Savory

DIY Flavored Coconut Butters - Sweet and Savory
Easy.  Delicious.  Nutritious.  Affordable.   Skip those $10 – $15 jars of expensive coconut butter and DIY it!  I bought a 5-pound bag of organic unsweetened shredded coconut for $13 and made my own jar of coconut butter for about 60 cents!  It’s easy and you can add all kinds of flavorings to suit your condiment needs.  I made a Vanilla Cinnamon version and a Yellow Curry version.  Sweet.  Savory.

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Lemon Thyme Polenta Bites with Arugula Pesto & Mushrooms

Lemon Thyme Polenta Bites with Arugula Pesto & Mushrooms

Hello and welcome to the 2014 Virtual Vegan Potluck!  I’m so excited to be part of the VVP this year and want to give a huge shout-out to Annie, Angela and Poppy for organizing this worldwide virtual foodie event!  Be sure to check out all the awesome vegan recipes by way of the Go Forward/Go Backward buttons at the bottom of this post.  You can also go back and start at the beginning of the potluck chain.  Have fun, get hungry and enjoy!

Curried Apple Chutney

Curried Apple Chutney

If you’re looking for a recipe to have fun with, to play around with, chutneys are the way to go.  They’re incredibly versatile and very forgiving; you really can’t mess them up.  They’re also a great way to use up a variety of fruit and vegetables you may have on hand.  Have an overload of apples you need to use up?  Some peppers that are beginning to wrinkle?  Make this!

Radish Top Pesto

Radish Top Pesto

It’s taken me a little while to do anything with radish tops.  They kinda make me nervous.  I think it’s their prickliness.  But in my past two CSA boxes there have been some beautiful bunches of radishes attached to these soaring magnificent green leaves.  I just couldn’t toss them into the compost bin anymore, I had to figure out something to do with them.  And as one does with many peculiar greens they’re unsure of what do with, I made a pesto.  It turned out delicious!

Apricot Brie Arugula Baguette Sandwiches

Apricot Brie Arugula Baguette Sandwiches

Sometimes you just need something quick.  Maybe you’re busy getting chores done around the house.  Maybe you’re running low on energy or culinary get-up-and-go.  Or maybe, the weather outside is so nice and you’re seriously whooping your hubby’s butt at a game of Bags and don’t want to lose your mojo by stopping to make dinner, so you slap together some bread, jam, cheese, and arugula for a super quick and easy baguette sandwich supper.  Yep, that’s the one.