once a week vegan – week 4

New to this? Check out what it’s about here. Past posts/recipes found here.


All Things Beans!

I kind of hinted two weeks ago (no post last week as I was in study mode!) that I would be using beans. Although, I did use some, I didn’t use all that I had planned to use (ie: adzuki beans being the neglected ones). And by use I mean take dried beans, soak them and then cook them – we’re not talking opening a can here people!

I did manage to successfully go through this process for black beans.

If you don’t have the time to do all this prep to turn dried beans into cooked beans, I can see how much of a pain it can be. It can also be a huge pain if you forget to start the main step (ie: soaking the beans overnight because this is how long they need) to begin with – this for me was the mornings I woke up thinking ‘crap, I forgot to soak my beans last night!

So, as long as you commit (and don’t forget!) to doing the prep work, you can have amazing tasting beans in virtually no time – the actual work you put into turning dried beans into cooked beans is minimal; it’s just the waiting time that takes up this time frame!

And, you can’t beat the price. Seriously, a good cup or two of dried beans from the Bulk Barn cost me under $2.00!

Just to put it into price comparison:

  • 1 cup of dried beans turns into 3 cups of cooked beans –> approx. $1 (steep end) for that 1 cup of dried beans
  • 1 can of beans = approx. 1.5 cups –> price can be anywhere from $1-2 depending on whether you buy generic/brand/organic/etc.
  • Dried beans = approx. $0.33/cup vs. canned beans = $1.33/cup – so about $1 difference per cup!

That just shows you how you can save money by cooking your own beans. I know it’s not a huge price difference, but if you’re in a money crunch, dried beans can come in handy for the pocketbook

Now let’s get to some bean focused recipes!

Recipe #1: Black Bean Nachos

Not appealing? Jump to recipe #2.

There is no specific way to make good nachos – they just kinda happen! The way I like my nachos may not be the way you like your nachos, so for now, I’m going to go over what works for me.

My nacho add-ons:

  • corn
  • peppers (red or green or yellow)
  • sweet onion
  • jalapeno (sometimes deseeded, but I like the heat!)
  • Daiya cheese (omit until before baking – sprinkle on last)
  • black beans (my pre-soaked and boiled beans, but sub in canned if you like)

First, I combine all these chopped ingredients in a bowl, then add my mix-ins:

  • cumin
  • chili powder
  • lime juice
  • salt and pepper

There are no proper measurements – it’s all about taste! Once you get the mixture the way you want (give or take a few ingredients), spread your nacho chips out on a baking tray, add your mixture on top the of nachos (along with the Daiya cheese now) and back in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 350F.

Once they’re done baking, dip in your sauces of choice. Mine are:

  • salsa
  • homemade “guacamole”

Homemade “guacamole”
There really is no secret to make guacamole. In fact, I can hardly call my guacamole, guacamole! I basically take 2 or 3 ripe avocados, mash them up in a bowl with a fork, add some lime juice and salt and pepper. If you have fresh cilantro on hand, it’s also a nice touch to chop in, but really, avocados are so good on their own (apparently an aphrodisiac?!), that they don’t need much to taste amazing!

Next, enjoy nachos with some wine and husband. If you don’t have either, don’t worry, you’re not really missing out 😛 I kid!


Recipe #2: Refried Beans

Doesn’t appeal to you? Jump to recipe #3.

What you’ll need:

  • 3 cups soaked and cooked pinto beans (or 2 cans)
  • 3/4 – 1 cup water (+ more depending on thickness)
  • 1.5 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp chili powder (I used hot)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
  • 1 cooking onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

1. Take your soaked and cooked beans (or canned) and place in a food processor along with 1/2 cup of water. Combined until beans are processed and smooth.
2. Meanwhile, in a frying pan over medium-high heat, place oil in plan and add garlic and onion. Fry for a few minutes.
3. Next, add processed beans along with spices + brown sugar and more water as needed. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes.
4. Add in corn. Once everything is heated through, transfer to a plate. Garnish with scallions and chopped cilantro.

Serve next to rice or make into a Mexican dish! Either way, they were fab…but you know what they say about beans!!


Recipe #3: Fake Out Mac and ‘Cheese’

Recipe from here.

You’re probably wondering how a mac and cheese made it into the beans post…well I have news for you!

What I liked about this recipe:

  • Unlike ‘regular’ mac and cheese (I put regular in quotations because I really can’t justify how this could ever be good for anyone), this one actually packs nutritional value to it…
  • It contains sweet potatoes and beans – white kidney beans to be exact!
  • Has same saucy feel to it and same tang as cheese would give to the dish.
  • It taste delicious with vegan cheese melted on top and red chili flakes added.
  • It provides enough to have for leftovers.

To be quite honest, I can’t really compare this to other vegan mac ‘n’ cheeses because this is actually the first one I’ve ever attempted. Having said that, I’m glad it was the first one to try because it definitely has encouraged me to try more. Not only did I like it, but the husband enjoyed it too! Would I make it again? Yes, most likely, just because of how good the ingredients are (take a look for yourself by clicking on the link above), but I most definitely have another one in mind for next time!


I also soaked and simmered some chickpeas this past week and have plans to use them – this dish came at the perfect time!

Sorry that I didn’t post last week, but now, I can officially say I am chem free! That, along with stats, assignments, labs and questions due put me a little off schedule, to say the least. I only have one more week to make it through before going on reading week (which I’m pretty sad to say that I’m not doing anything for it), and then I will have a lot more free time!

Wishing everyone a great weekend and good week ahead!


smoothies and iced coffee

There are a lot of issues I could address right now…

Like our stove cutting out mid preheat and never regaining life, forcing us to not prepare any cooked or baked meals for the past few days;

Or the temperature ‘feeling like’ 29 degrees C (or 84 degrees for the USAers) at 8am, with humidity of 70% for the day, with no pool insight;

Or starting a new addiction to iced coffee since hot tea just doesn’t sound so appealing when dealing with the above temperature.

Yes, these are all things I could go on about for (let’s face it) days, but instead I’ll leave my resentment where it belongs…in the lifeless oven.

Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the things that make the above issues bearable. Minus the new coffee addiction, because bearable is nowhere close to what that iced coffee is doing for me – it’s fixing issues and starting new ones!

My lack of work (17.5 hours this week, whaddup!), has caused me to look for other options to fill my free time. I don’t know if you’re like me, but if I’m working, I wanna work. So, only having 17 and a half hours to fill up my time is making me a little crazy.

I had been given the opportunity to pick up some hours at a local smoothie shop (I know the owner and she’s awesome), so I said yes with no hesitation!

Making ice-cold smoothies in the heat (fighting issue #2…check!) and getting a hopped up smoothie at the end of shift to combat hunger (sayonara stove!) are both no-brainers for some extra work. Not only is working in a smoothie shop super sweet, but totally helps with my foodie identification (open a smoothie shop…new goal?). The owner asked if I wanted to come back on Thursday; you know my answer…

Yesterday I walked out after work with this sweet concoction:

  • peach & apricot base
  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1/2 tbsp maca powder
  • 1 full scoop of protein powder
  • 1 tsp bee pollen
  • a little splash of rice milk
  • lots o’ ice

Blend. Enjoy. Drink responsibly. 

It was perfect for the hot, hot heat! Unfortunately, having finished work at 2pm meant I still had to think up something to prepare for dinner.

I had rinsed some black beans the other day in hopes of making a cold black bean salad (cause really, what other options am I left with…). So I traced back to what ingredients I was missing in order to make the salad, and headed to the grocery store to nab them.

And here you have it.

Black Bean and Corn Salad with Lime

Taken from here.

  • 1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (or go crazy like me and add more!)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • Sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine all together.

It was good, but totally should have adapted it.

Next time I would:

  • add mango
  • add avocado (this is a must in my opinion)
  • remove the oregano – reminds me too much of Greek, and with the black beans I think it should be more Mexican-y, and maybe even remove the basil
  • keep the cumin, and add some chili powder and go in that direction

It still was pretty good, just not my cup of tea for flavouring with the veggies and beans that went into the dish.

Speaking of tea, I totally ditched it for iced coffee instead. I’m a tea girl, but something about this heat made me think coffee today. Iced coffee. Then it was confirmed that this is what I must make when Julie briefly spoke about it in her post. Sign from the Coffee Gods!

Move over tea, coffee is here temporarily to stay! When your first attempt at iced coffee (and pretty much coffee in general – seriously didn’t know how much to put in to properly brew a good batch…scary, I know) taste this good, you know you have a new addiction coming on.

I used Nabob Medium Roast Breakfast Blend which is Rainforest Alliance Certified.

In a glass, I filled most of it with ice, pour coffee in (about 80% of glass), topped it off with some original coconut milk and a tsp of natural cane sugar.

It was delish to say the least. And I’m actually tempted to have a second glass before work. Now if I only had a pool to distract me from iced coffee, we’d be laughing.

I’ll be back later with my WHT! It’s a childhood one!