Fresh Apple Cookies

A rite of passage from summer to fall, these cookies were a favorite growing up. They are autumn spiced and full of good stuff like apples, raisins and walnuts. I can remember helping my mom stir the batter. It gets really stiff at the end. We’d take turns. These delicious, cakey cookies were worth the extra effort.

I think my favorite thing about these cookies are the strong flavors of clove and nutmeg. These two spices, who usually are back up singers to cinnamon, have equal footing in this cookie. Totally delicious and a little unexpected.

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Tofu and Seitan “Turkey”

My carnivore boyfriend (boyfriend carnivorus) said that there was no way to get a good photo of seitan and tofu “turkey”, a.k.a. loaf. I wasn’t so sure. The worst you can say about loaf’s looks is that they’re bread-like, which sounds a-ok to me. It’s also tasty. And with the photographic evidence above, I dare say photogenic. What more could you want in a main course?

I know some meat-eaters are confused by things like this. I can understand that. Why stop eating turkey just to go through all the trouble of creating a fake one? Protein, for one. Just because you give up meat doesn’t mean you don’t want that hearty, dense, toothy feel of protein. It helps you feel satisfied and keeps hunger at bay long after the dishes are done. I also think it’s comfort. I want to make the recipes I loved as a kid. Ninety percent of my favorite pot pie recipe is naturally vegetarian. Swapping in a little diced loaf for the turkey doesn’t seem all that different than subbing mushrooms for lima beans.

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Tofu Scramble

If tofu had a gateway recipe, it would be tofu scramble. It’s easy to make. Familiar. Highly customizable. It calls to you on rainy Sunday mornings. It gets you hooked and then suddenly you’re like a five-star tofu chef — freezing it and marinating it and making fancy things out of it.

Thank goodness tofu scramble has vegetables in it. Because if deep fried tofu nuggets were the easy thing to make with to tofu, we’d all be in trouble. Golden brown, crunchy trouble. But no! There are vegetables here. As many as your pan can accommodate. And they can be whatever combo floats your boat. Boat floating. That’s what tofu scramble does. That’s why it has a place in our hearts.

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Lemon and Lavender Coffeecake

This cake is divine. The lemon and lavender perfectly compliment each other. Total BFFs. My house smelled like some sort of high end bakery-spa for a whole day. Are there bakery-spas? Because there should be.

I was lucky enough to stumble upon a recipe for this coffeecake in the Macrina Bakery Cookbook. Macrina is a Seattle favorite. Artisan breads, amazing cakes and muffins, decadent cupcakes and generous slices of some of the best coffee cake and quick breads you will ever find anywhere ever. All are lovingly served up in the most darling little bakeries tucked away in a handful of Seattle neighborhoods. I’m lucky enough to live in one of those neighborhoods and the three mile round trip walk almost makes up for the big ol’ slice of awesome I munch while there with a cup of peppermint tea.

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Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Back in the olden days of being a vegetarian not only did we have to walk uphill both ways to hippy school but we didn’t have things like Morningstar Farms or Amy’s. Being a vegetarian wasn’t about convenience! It was about combining beans and rice for every meal so your muscles didn’t atrophy. If you wanted a hamburger you had to make one out of tofu. These were tough times, people. Tough times.

But not anymore! Want a hamburger? There are like 30 vegetarian options to choose from! How about a breakfast sausage? There are 30 of those, too. Is this good? Well, I don’t know. It’s surely highly processed but for the occasional craving, I give in. For the day to day, I make my own seitan and am pretty adept at working tofu into something delicious. Moderation. It is key.

Enter Sloppy Joe — one of my favorites as a kid and Smart Ground makes it devilishly easy to whip up a batch without much fuss at all.

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