Beyond Beef Goulash (vegan & easily gluten free)

You may be wondering why I’m posting a recipe for goulash in the middle of the summer. Yes, this is usually something we’d eat in the middle of winter when we want to be at home all cozy and warm. But you know what? I’ve learned that you can really eat whatever you want, whenever you want! I’m slowly, but surely changing my ideas about how some foods are only for certain meals of the day – or certain times of the year.

This goulash recipe was a favorite of ours in our omnivore days. I don’t know what took us so long to make a vegan version, but I’m SO glad we finally did. This is soooo good. It’s delicious the day of, but it’s also great as leftovers. It’s spicy, comforting and just plain delicious.

Goulash (vegan, gluten and soy free)

recipe adapted
Cooking spray
1 1/2 bags Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
1 onion, chopped
1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 – 14.5 oz can tomato sauce -OR- 1 – 14.5 oz can pizza sauce (we used 1/2 of each)
1 1/2 T liquid aminos (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked whole wheat elbow macaroni (or sub gluten free elbow macaroni)
Fresh basil, optional

In a large Dutch oven, heat over medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Brown the Beyond Beef about 8-10 minutes (or until heated through). Add the onion; cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the macaroni. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Stir in the macaroni; simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and let the goulash stand (covered) for 20 minutes before serving. Garnish with fresh basil.


Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies (vegan & soy free)

Oh, cookies. They make me so happy. But I’m also pretty particular about my cookies. They have to be a certain texture or I’m over it. I stumbled across a non-vegan recipe recently that used cake mix for part of the flour. I thought that sounded pretty good, so I took the recipe and veganized it. They were delicious! I had a few snafus (as usual when changing a recipe – at least for me!), but they were awesome. So, of course, I wanted to take something great and make it even better.

And I think I did! These cookies are not only the perfect amount of chocolate-ly goodness, but they’re soy free as well! How awesome is that? I know that’s an issue for a lot of people, so I’m always trying to push myself into trying different ways of making a recipe.

Chocolate cake batter cookies (vegan & soy free)

Instead of using traditional chocolate chips, I took a couple of Enjoy Life’s Ricemilk Crunch Bars and chopped them up. WHOA, mama. Delicious! I love them on their own anyway – and they also make an awesome s’more! – and so why not add them to a cookie? The result is delicious. The cookies are perfectly crisp on the outside and nice and chewy on the inside. The best part is that the dough freezes well and so you can keep some for a cookie emergency! Oh, you don’t do that? Well, you should. I’ve got two kinds in my freezer right now! You never know when you might have a cookie craving!! ;)

Chocolate Cake Batter Cookies
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups chocolate cake mix (I used this one)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) soy free earth balance buttery sticks, at room temperature
1/2 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 flax “egg” (I used 1 T golden flax + 3 T warm water, whisked together)
3 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 Enjoy Life Ricemilk Crunch Bars, chopped

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment an set aside. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cake mix, baking soda and salt. (This will ensure there aren’t any cake batter lumps in your cookies!) Using a mixed fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the soy free buttery sticks and sugars together until well combined. Add in flax “egg” and vanilla. Mix to combine. Slowly add the dry mixture, making sure to mix well before each addition. Once all the dry mixture is incorporated added, mix in the chopped chocolate. Scoop cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Chocolate cake batter cookies (vegan & soy free)

Transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.

Chocolate cake batter cookies (vegan & soy free)

Eat and enjoy!
Chocolate cake batter cookies (vegan & soy free)

“Interrupted” – with more to come!

In February I attended the IF:Gathering through IF:Local at a local church here in town. There were a lot of amazing speakers, powerful worship music and lots of fun extras that I wasn’t expecting. To be honest, I’m not always a fan of these types of conferences because they can seem a little too scripted or fluffy for me, but this one was really convicting and I enjoyed it a lot.

My favorite speaker from the weekend was Jen Hatmaker. I had heard her name in passing, but had never heard her speak, or read any of her books. She was AMAZING. Not only is she sarcastic and hilarious, she has an amazing heart for Jesus and for making Him known here on earth. One of my favorite quotes from her talk that weekend was “you cannot think yourself into a new way of living, you have to live yourself into a new way of thinking.” WHOA. That one hit me right between the eyes. What better way to show those around me Jesus’ love than with the way I treat them and live my life?

Last week I received an email from Jen (you can sign up for her emails on her website) offering up an opportunity to bloggers to review her newly revised and expanded book “Interrupted”. I, of course, sent my credentials in asap and was SO excited to learn that I had been selected! I just downloaded the electronic copy to my Kindle last night and I can’t wait to get started!

I have a feeling that “Interrupted” is truly going to interrupt my life and really make me examine how I live my life. I’m excited! Keep an eye out for my review that will be headed your way soon!

If you’re interested in joining me in reading Jen’s new book, you can snag it now for 20% off!

My surprise trip to Beyond Meat (Plus giveaway!)

Last week I had the pleasure of going to LA for work. Its been 10 years since I’ve been to LA, and I’m not really certain why its been that long, but for a variety of reasons I just haven’t been back. I was pretty excited to be headed back out though. California folks know and understand a thing or two about being vegan. Its just more readily understood and I was excited about the prospect of some good food. I didn’t make it to many places that I was hoping would be within reach, because of work, but I’ll be back. That being said, I did have some great experiences. At the very top of this list is my surprise visit to Beyond Meat.

The first day I was in town the rest of the group of guys I was with went to the California Fish Grill but I was quite alright with that because 2 doors down was Veggie Grill. I was EXCITED! I loved Veggie Grill the one time that I went in Seattle. So I went in, ordered up some food and of course Instagramed a picture of the entrance. I also shared that to twitter, and later in the day, Jackie was SUPER excited and raving in text form that I had to go check the Twitter notifications. Beyond Meat had responded and told me that I totally had to come check them out. Here I was staying in El Segundo and I had NO idea that Beyond Meat was headquartered there. We’re talking such a cool thing to get a personal shout out.

I wasn’t sure anything was going to work out, I mean I was in LA to do work, so I was kinda bummed and figured that it just wasn’t going to work. The next day I worked all day, but got done about 5:30. I went to the hotel and changed into some running gear and figured I’d go and see where the building was. That would still be neat to me. I ran 2 miles and finally found it. It looked like it might be closed so I snapped a picture and went around the side, and low and behold there were a few people still milling around.

Beyond Meat

I said hi and explained that I was told on Twitter to come check them out. Justin runs the social media area of Beyond Meat and was out for the day, but these guys were so gracious. They talked to me, told me a bit about the company, and got Justin on the phone. He was so excited and asked me to try to come back later in the week. I said I’d see what could happen but I just wasn’t sure I could make it work. They hooked me up with a t-shirt though and I went on my very happy way back to the hotel.

Fast forward to Thursday. Jackie had been making a twitter post back to Jimmy Fallon’s Hashtag of the day and got a response from Beyond Meat asking what in the world happened (6 years ago camping we had some flooding and our car broken into in the same day… crazy), so they wondered where it happened since I had been in LA. (The joys of sharing a twitter account.) They responded to her and told her to get me a text and tell me to get back there because they had some stuff for her and me. And they wanted to introduce me to the whole team.

I managed to find a way over lunch to get back there.

Beyond Meat

The people are so great, I got to meet the entire team which genuinely seemed very happy to have me there and get a bit of a lay of the land. I talked to Justin for a good half an hour. The picture below is a selfie of me and Justin… What a great guy (in the half hour I got to talk to him. :))

Beyond Meat

I’m so excited about the Beyond Meat product and after meeting the people behind it, I’m even more excited. They’ve got some cool things coming, and I’m going to keep trying to make killer recipes using it. I got home and had to make something using Beyond Meat. So I took Bake and Destroy’s Totcho Recipe, changed a few minor things with her normal Cheeze sauce and put it all together with Fiesty Beyond Beef. EPIC!

Beyond Meat

It was a really great surprise and a highlight of my trip. They’ve hooked me up with a bunch of coupons for free product, and I want to pay it forward. Leave a comment with your favorite Beyond Meat creation or what you’d like to try with the product (Please leave an email address as well) and I’ll pick a random winner Friday, July 18th that will get a couple of them sent to you in the mail. For those of you that don’t win, have no fear, we’ve got a link here to save you some valuable dough on Beyond Meat products as well.

What are you waiting for, get out there and get cooking…Oh and bring on the BEAST!