Simple Snacks are the Best

Sometimes we often overlook the simple things in life for the more flashy, sophisticated things. But sometimes the simple things are the best.

When I was younger, my mom used to make this snack that she simply called “Oats”. Technically, you could call it granola, but we always just called it “oats”. Recently I was thinking about them, and made her dig out her old recipe card. And when I call it old, it’s old.


See what I mean? All smeary, and even some sort of stain. I think it’s vanilla. Anyway, there weren’t a lot of instructions on this index card. Actually, there were none. I added the 1/4t of salt (Never trust a recipe that doesn’t have salt in it.) and the “350 for 20-25min”.

They were delicious. Most of it comes out in these chewy, granolay chunks, and then theres a little left at the bottom that’s perfect over yogurt, in a smoothie, or with milk as cereal. It’s like two snacks in one! The spice is pretty basic, but there’s lots of room to change things up!! How much fun would it be to add cocoa powder and some cayenne pepper?


Mmmm. Check out those clumps of granola!!

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Salsa Stuffed Avocados

Hey Ya’ll!! Thanks for all of your comments on my last post. I’m glad not everyone thought my New Years plans were lame. (Or if you did, thanks for not mentioning it, haha)

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m not doing New Years resolutions like I have in the past. It just gets too overwhelming, so I’m making a few small goals each month. This way, hopefully I’ll get these things in my system, and they’ll become second nature once the month is up, and I’ll continue to do them, as well as making new goals.

Speaking of goals, one of my goals for January is to try at least one new recipe each week. (To blog about.) This either means a new to me recipe, or a recipe that I’ve created.

I kicked things off by making a variation of this Baked Avocado Salsa the other night for dinner. They were AMAZING. Her photos are better, but I’ll show you one of mine:


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Almost A New Year

So it’s been a while. I don’t know why I say that. It’s always been a while with me and posting. I don’t know why I don’t blog more. I really do enjoy it, and I love reading all of your blogs even more.

Anywho, What’s new with me you might ask? Not a whole lot. But first things first, a correction needs to be made. Do you remember this guy? (That was rhetorical, how could you not remember such a cute face?20121229-103803.jpg

I know what you’re thinking. And the answer is yes, I am 24 years old and yes, I do have a pirate pillowcase. This would also be an awesome time to comment on how my computer matches my bedding. I’m going through a turquoise phase.

Back to the point. I mentioned in a previous post that this guy’s name was Balto. But after careful consideration, we changed his name to Dwight. We called him Balto for the first couple of days, and it just didn’t really fit. I’ve also always wanted to name a pet Dwight, because I love The Office and Dwight K. Shrute.

Now onto some of the few photos I took over my Christmas vacation. I always wondered how so many bloggers could take so many photos during the day and blog about them and still be able to live their life, and then I got a smart phone (I know, finally! Welcome to the 21st century Liz.) and I was like oooohhhhh. That’s how. They make things so much easier!!20121229-103856.jpg

Here are the yummy chocolate orange gluten-free cupcakes I made for dessert. I don’t know how much my extended family liked them, but I needed something gluten-free. (And mostly dairy free, there was margarine in the frosting). Over Thanksgiving I overdid it, (gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol) and I ended up in the emergency room just a couple days later. (A health update will come in a later post, It was nothing life threatening, just unbearable pain!!)



Our family does a dinner of appetizers on Christmas Eve as well as New Years Eve (My favorite meals of the year, hands down) so I made these cute little cucumber cups. I filled them with my Aunt’s Corn Salsa Dip. They were amazing, and everyone really liked them! Definitly healthier than eating it with tortilla chips.


Pretty baked oatmeal!! I used this Stuft Mama recipe. I am in love with it and eat it almost every morning. For the holidays, I added some festive sprinkles!! The only changes I made was I used a packet of stevia, and instead of putting nut butter in the middle, I just added a tablespoon of PB2 chocolate powder to the mix.


Amazing Christmas presents from friends and family!!! One of my college roommates/best friends knitted me this awesome scarf!! And she works as a baker at Panera, so she got me some gift certificates!! She knows me well.

Another awesome present that I got was VINTAGE 70’s PYREX MIXING BOWLS. My boss is amazing. I love old pyrex stuff, and I guess she actually listens to me when I talk. Who knew??


Here’s a present that I gave. I made some cute chocolate lolipops for my cousins’ sons, and put them in these cute reindeer baskets I found in the Target dollar section. (Or better known as, my favorite place in the world.)


I’m not a very fashionable person, so I don’t post a lot of clothes related things on this blog. (for good reason.) and if I could, I would dress like Jenna everyday, but I’m not that fashionable.  I did recently buy some polka dotted jeans that I’m in love with though . (Ignore my hair and mismatched socks in this photo.) I’m just starting to feel out the colored/patterned pants and jeggings trend. (I’m always late.)

And this is the last photo, I promise. But here’s another one of Dwight.


When he’s sleeping I can’t help but take a million photos of him.

So that’s what’s been going on with me! I hope (I know, I know, I say this EVERY time) to get better at posting, and I’ve even got a few recipes to share! Shocker, I know. We haven’t seen one of those in a while!

How was your Christmas/Holiday? What was your favorite part? 

It’s Virtual Vegan Potluck Time!!

I am so so so excited for this you guys. The first time Annie over at An Unrefined Vegan hosted one, I was like, I gotta get in on that. But I ended up being to lazy and never signed up. This time, I was not about to not participate.

I whipped up an awesome dessert to share with you guys today, but first, some introductions! I love the idea of this potluck, because I am hoping on finding about a bazilion fun new blogs to read. Some of you are probably new to my little corner of the blog world, so let me introduce myself. I’m Liz. You can read more about me here. But that’s not important. I want to introduce you to my plus 1 for this potluck. (Potlucks have plus one’s, right? He’s really cute. I promise.)

This is my new kitty, Balto.

I told you he was cute. Sometimes he likes to pretend he’s a book and hang out on the bookshelf.

Anyway, now onto the food! (Making new friends is fun, but food is the best part of a potluck, amiright?)

I’m pretty proud of this recipe, it’s my first official try at from scratch gluten-free baking since I was told I was gluten intolerant. And it’s delicious and vegan! What more could you ask for? (Answer: harsher punishments for parole violators, Stan. And world peace. That’s what more you could ask for. maybe?)

Donuts! Delicious fluffy pumpkin donuts with fudgey chocolate frosting, and fall sprinkles!

But before we dig right in, can we get off track for a moment? I’m sure a lot of you have Vitamix blenders. I’ve had one for a while now. But I have never used the “dry” blender attachment until this recipe. And criminy you guys, why didn’t anyone tell me it worked that well? I wanted to whip up some quinoa flour for this recipe, and I was almost a little annoyed because I had to get the blender out, and then I was going to have to wash it. I think it took me longer to get the thing out than it did to actually grind the quinoa into flour.


Nooooowwww time for the recipe. I promise! This recipe is adapted from the Vanilla gluten freedom cupcakes from this amazing book. The frosting was as well!

Baked Pumpkin Donuts with Fudgy Chocolate Frosting
Makes 12 delicious donuts

For the donuts:
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 T ground flax seed
1/3 cup almond meal
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1t baking powder
1/2t baking soda
1/4t salt
1/2t pumpkin pie spice

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease your donut pan. (Mine is nonstick, but I grease it anyway.)

In a mixing bowl, combined the coconut milk, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add the tapioca flour and flax seed, and stir it up.

Add the almond meal, white rice flour, quinoa flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Mix the crap out of it. For like 2 minutes. Or thee. It’s your call. (Let’s say 2 1/2?)

Fill your donut pan about 3/4 full. They don’t raise an awful lot, but you don’t want them splooging out of the pan or anything. Then you’d have funky donuts. But I promise you, they’d still taste good.

Bake these for about 15 minutes, until they bounce back when you poke them. (Or, just BAKE THEM UNTIL THEY’RE DONE. That’s what my chefs in culinary school always told me. It drove me crazy.)

When you take them out of the oven, let them cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Then, remove them, and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Now it’s time for the best part, the frosting!

Fudgy Chocolate Frosting

2T vegan butter substitute (I use Earth Balance sticks)
1/4 cup agave syrup
1t vanilla extract
3T cocoa powder
1/4 cup soy milk powder
3T coconut milk
Optional- a pinch of ginger

Whip the futter (That’s what we call vegan butter, or “fake butter” over here at A Tablespoon of Liz) with the agave and vanilla until it’s combined and there are no awkward chunks of futter hanging around.

Add the cocoa powder, and once it is mixed in add the soy milk powder and ginger. Then beat it, beat it, and beat it. until it gets lighter in color and fluffy. As you do this you’ll want to add the coconut milk, one tablespoon at a time.

Then bam, all you have to do is frost your donuts! And before you know it, there will only be a few bites left because your family will have eaten them all.


Thank you all so so so much for stopping by for a bite! Continue the party by going forward or backward to see who else joined the potluck!!


It Warms the Cockles of Your Heart

Has anyone else heard that phrase before? Does anyone else think the word “cockles” sounds gross? I had a friend in college tell me that about the chili she was eating once, and I was like wwwhhhhaaaatttt? Whatever a cockle is, I don’t want them, and I don’t want to warm them. But then I googled it and don’t worry you guys, it’s legit.

I know I’ve made chili here on the blog before, but I’m totally disowning that chili. I’m not even going to link to it. This stuff is the real deal.

I know what you’re thinking. Liz, that looks like real cheese and sour cream on your chili there. Aren’t you lactose intolerant? Both of those answers is YES. But you guys, when I have real cheese and sour cream in the fridge I can’t just not eat it.

I had these things in the fridge because this chili was for a chili contest I was participating in at work and we wanted to have fancy toppings. We got 4th place, out of 8, but I’m pretty proud. This was vegetarian chili, and I don’t know if you’ve ever been to central Indiana, but people don’t take kindly to vegetables here. One man wouldn’t try it because it had “too many vegetables in it” I was like, YOU’RE A 30 YEAR OLD MAN AND YOU’RE AFRAID TO EAT A SPOONFUL OF VEGETABLES?” If I didn’t have to be polite, I would have called him a coward.

Oh well. We did have people come over and say, “I hear you guys have a really good vegetarian chili.” I was like uuummm, no. We have a really good chili. period. Whatevs. There was one vegetarian girl there who kept coming back for more. She was excited.

So much chili you guys!

And thanks to my awesome boss, for not giving me crap about not putting meat in it. She sometimes gives me a hard time, but she’s really respectful of my foodie choices.

bubbling away

I ended up making 2 batches of this stuff. It could feed an army. Everyone also said that it would win the award for most colorful, prettiest, and healthiest. After all, we do eat with our eyes! Also, it had beer in it. What more could you ask for?? I was looking for a darker beer, but my local Krogers had this stuff, and I was like ohmygoshIhavetotrythatit’sglutenfreeyougys! I needed 2 for the chili, and drank the other 4. Out of all the things that are gluten free that I wish would taste like their gluteny counterparts, beer is not the first on the list. But this stuff tasted just like beer.

So since this is 4th place award winning (4th place is an award, after all) chili, I’m assuming you guys want the recipe. I got my inspiration for this from the many “vegetarian chili” recipes my boss printed out while we were supposed to be working. I took things from each one that I liked. I’ll give you the amounts for just one recipe, if you want to feed an army, just double it.

4th Place (but really, way better than that) Chili

3- 15oz cans diced tomatoes
1 can kidney beans
1 can black beans
2 cans pinto beans
7oz can diced green chilis
1-2 chilis in adobo sauce (Sooooo spicy!)
3 cloves garlic
2 onions
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 red pepper
1 orange pepper
1 T olive oil
1 bottle beer
2 cups vegetable stock
1 T chili powder
1 t salt
1 T oregano
1 T cumin

Optional: some grinds of Trader Joes everyday seasoning, and South African seasoning (I like the South African one because it’s smokey!!)

1. Chop the onions, and peppers. (You can use all green peppers if the other ones are crazy expensive, but they do make it so pretty and colorful!) pour the tablespoon of oil into a big ole pot and add the onions and peppers once it’s hot. Let them hang out for about 10 minutes. You don’t want to overcook the onions. Everyone is going to get to know each other in the pot. (Virtual high five if you can tell me what TV show that’s from!!!!) 

2. Chop the garlic, and chiles in adobo sauce, and add them to the pot with the green chiles, and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer.

3. Once the mixture is simmering, ad the spices, beer, and veggie stock. Simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, stirring every once in a while.

Feel free to add some veggie meat crumbles to the recipe if that’s your thing! You can serve this with sour cream (real or soy) cheese (or cheeze!) green onions, and crushed tortilla chips. It is a little spicy, so if you want it to be less spicy, take out some of the green chilies, chiles in adobo sauce, or chili powder. If you like it super spicy, add more!

Have you ever entered any form of cooking or food contest? 

Also, please tell me someone knows the onion/chili reference I mentioned earlier?!


Pronounced: “Kitta-yh” of course.

Isn’t she adorable? Sadly, she isn’t mine. She’s our neighbors cat, and is extremely friendly. With everyone. I call her (Pardon my French!) The kitty whore of the neighborhood. She gets around. Meowing outside everyone’s doors and windows. But I love her anyway.

She loves rolling around, and playing with my mom’s laser pointer. (Where does that red light come from? Regardless, she can never catch it. It drives her crazy!)

Our neighbor told us her name, but I can’t remember it. So I just call her Kitta-yh. It fits. I love it when she meows outside my window!

I asked if I could get some treats for her, and the neighbors said it was ok! I looked at the grocery store, and all of the brands contained some sort of chicken or fish “meal” and while I know that cats need meat in their diet to survive, I just don’t want to take part in it. She can get her meat from her food. I looked at Whole Foods, and they didn’t have any cat treats! I decided I would make her some, but can’t find a good recipe.

Does anyone have a vegetarian cat treat recipe? 

(Crappy photo of a) Whole Foods salad, for the win!!! I only get these about every six weeks, so I pile those veggies on! I was a little upset, they didn’t have the normal tags listing the ingredients up, so there was a few things I didn’t get, as I was afraid they had gluten in them. : / Oh well. I think I got enough!

I also got these at Trader Joes… I had no idea what they were! They’re alright.  And very spicy. I don’t think I would go out of my way to get them again. I don’t know what it is, but for some reason I’m craving ethnic, particularly Thai food lately. Maybe it’s because most Thai “ramen” instant noodle bowls use rice noodles and are gluten free. I’m a sucker for simplicity.

I have another thing I need your guy’s help with. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but my chocolate mint plant, (Yes chocolate mint! It’s a little more mellow on the mint with just a teensy tiny hint of chocolate…) is taking over my yard. Case in point:

Does anyone know a good way to ship fresh herbs? Because if I find a way that works, I’d be totally willing to send some to whoever wants some! (Provided the demand’s not too high and I’ve got some left) I thought about just drying it all, but dried herbs only last about a year, and fresh herbs are so much fun. So I wanted to share. Let me know if you have any ideas!

Lastly, THIS is the greatest blog I’ve ever seen. I’ve got a whole new respect for Suri Cruise. (Even though I know she’s not the one who’s really writing it.) Have you ever seen “Suri’s Burn Book” before?

Summer Lovin’

And by lovin’ I mean eating. Duh.

Summer is the time for….

Corn on the cob! And of course, french fries (Garlic fries from Trader joes. Has anyone had these? They are amazing!! And unfortunately for me, contain wheat. Something I did not know until I stocked up on a few more bags. lame. bye bye fries.) and, veggie dogs! Do you like my array of condiments? I can never decide.

Fresh Veggies! Fun story, when I was younger, I hated asparagus. I thought it tasted like cat pee. (Don’t even ask how I knew what that tasted like, I don’t think it was from personal experience) But, my cousin roasted some up on Easter, and I can’t get enough of the stuff now! I dress ’em up real simple, just 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil, salt, pepper, and Trader Joes everyday seasoning. I know roasting isn’t’ really a summer cooking method, but I never seem to do what’s normal.


(veggie) Burgers! On a bed of lettuce, onion, and slathered in condiments. Sometimes, I think I’m just in it for the condiments.


Veggie filled salads! Plates like these are my favorite. I just pile a million veggies on, and I’m all set. This one is a romaine salad with onions, walnuts, strawberries, and golden raisins. On the side is a garlic dill pickle, half an avocado, more strawberries, carrot chips, cucumber, and hummus with some tahini. yummy.

Fresh fruit and berries! Summer is pretty much the best time for fresh everything. here, I’m lovin’ (No spell check, not “login'”) some fresh raspberries, puffins cereal, and coconut milk yogurt.


This last picture isn’t really a ‘summer’ thing, but I thought I would show you how I used up some of the leftovers from the Taco Tuesday I told you about yesterday. More taco salad! I love it. I think this one had chips crunched up on the bottom with refried beans on them, then piled in lettuce and veggie goodness, before being doused in sour cream and salsa. When I get on a taco salad kick, it lasts for days.

What are some of your favorite foods? What foods are you looking forward to eat once fall arrives? I know you can eat pumpkin and hot cocoa and apple cider year round, but they’re just better in the fall. One thing that makes me super sad about fall is Shipyard Pumpkinhead Ale hits stores. And sadly, this is the first fall I won’t be able to partake in it’s pumpkin pie like goodness because I’m g-free now. : / I’m definitly going to have to explore some gluten free beers soon!