Cookbook Review: The Homemade Vegan Pantry

Hello everyone,

And happy long weekend! How are you spending it? Finally getting that household project done? Relaxing? Visiting with friends? I’ve been in cleaning mode, but it inspired me to rearrange my dining room and break out my sewing machine. I’m so excited to finally make something with the most adorable cat fabric I found at a small shop in Denver last fall. Wish me luck. One other thing Cory and I have been up to—making crackers! In the past we’ve made homemade pita bread and a simple crusty bread. Those are both wonderful recipes, but when you’re looking for something to go with your fresh bruschetta or faux cheese, nothing beats a crunchy cracker.

Last summer, I attended the Cleveland Vegan Festival. Not only was it an amazing day filled with food demos, vegan treats and free swag, but I also got to meet Miyoko Schinner! If this name is new to you, you are missing out. She is the queen of vegan cheese and even wrote the book on it!

I absolutely love her vegan butter and rustic “cheese” wheels. They are so good it will fool all of your non-vegan friends and family members! I was so excited to see Miyoko’s cheese demo and to meet her afterwards. Admittedly, I actually went a little speechless.

Once I snapped out of it, I purchased her classic book, The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples.” This book is the perfect “how to” guide for anyone seeking to learn how to make classic staples right at home. I know, I know. Why make pantry staples at home? Especially, when you can go to the store and buy them for reasonable prices. But I have to tell you, it just isn’t the same. Homemade food is fresher, healthier, and you know exactly what you’re eating! Plus, Miyoko’s book is proof that homemade, rustic staples don’t have to be a pain. Anyone can make them with a little time and practice.

This  book is chock full of thick, smooth paper with beautiful color photos to accompany many of the recipes which will inspire you to get ready to roll up your sleeves and cook. The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples includes everything from homemade vegan butter or mayo to pizza dough or other breads, to granola and breakfast sausage. These recipes pack a punch, but don’t require a chef’s expertise. Most ingredients are common and can be found in your local grocery store, but a handful of recipes require some more unique finds like yuba, aka tofu skin.

Cory and I have made Miyoku’s cracker recipe no less than four times the past month! It’s so simple, with just five required ingredients! Plus, you can customize it according to your own taste preference. The first batch we made was spiced with oregano and thyme. For the next batch we went with a slightly cheesy taste by using nutritional yeast. The best part—this recipe takes under an hour to make from start to finish.

Vegan Pantry

Why not check out The Homemade Vegan Pantry: The Art of Making Your Own Staples the next time you’re in the market for a cookbook? You won’t regret it!

In the mean time, what’s your favorite staple to make at home?



* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate and referral links. I may earn a commission or bonus if you click through to make a purchase.  All opinions are my own. I only work with companies and brands I personally support.


The Impossible Burger: My 5-Minute Review

Hello everyone,

Staying warm? Enjoying the snow? I don’t know about you, but when it’s cold outside I crave comfort food. One of my favorite comfort foods is a hearty vegan “burger.” That’s right—a faux meat patty topped with gooey, melty vegan cheese, Heinz ketchup, banana pepper rings, and a dollop of Just Mayo. It always hits the spot! Well, I’ve been hearing buzz about the Impossible Burger for months and months, so I finally decided to find one nearby to give a try. Today I am here to finally provide The Impossible Burger: My 5-Minute Review.  

After years of research and $180 million in funding, the Impossible Burger debuted in the summer of 2016 in NYC at Momofuku Nishi. Now, this restaurant is not a burger joint. It’s an asian fusion restaurant. Possibly an odd place to launch a veggie burger, but it worked! People were lining up hours before the restaurant opened to get a bite of the Impossible Burger.

So why was everyone in a tizzy? Well, the Impossible Burger is a plant-based burger that looks and cooks like ground beef. These qualities are supposed to make it satisfy vegans/ vegetarians and omnivores alike. How does it achieve this? It includes heme—a molecule extracted from fermented yeast that mimics the same molecule that’s found in animal blood. This enables this meatless burger to “bleed” and sear, just like animal-based burgers.

Impossible Burger

Now, these qualities are off-putting for many vegans/ vegetarians, but considering I didn’t cook the burger, I didn’t mind it. The Impossible Burger looks like a medium cooked  regular burger, but so do many other veggie burgers. In fact, I found it to be similar to Beyond Meat’s Beyond Burger in both flavor and texture. The Impossible Burger tasted juicy and a bit greasy, with a slightly crispy exterior and soft center. I ate mine topped with pickles, vegan cheese, lettuce and ketchup, and boy, did it hit the spot! Continue reading “The Impossible Burger: My 5-Minute Review”

Restaurant Review: Apteka, Pittsburgh


Hello everyone!

I recently went to Pittsburgh to visit my family, eat some good food, and play pinball! While I was there, we decided to get dinner at a brand new restaurant from Pierogi Night founders, Kate Lasky and Tomasz Skowronski. Last year, they launched a Kickstarter campaign for a brick and mortar restaurant named Apteka. The restaurant recently had its “soft open” and is located between Bloomfield and Lawrenceville. Apteka serves up polish delicacies which are common in certain neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, but the difference is, their menu is 100% vegan. And boy, is it good!


FullSizeRender_6Upon walking into Apteka, the first thing I noticed was the casual atmosphere, with low lighting, open brick walls, and tall ceilings. I also couldn’t ignore the music. It was a little odd—a cross between ambient sounds and animal noises that you might expect to hear at a meditation center or spa.

A large handwritten menu hangs on the wall as soon as you walk through the door. While I found this aesthetically pleasing, it was dinner time, and there were three other dinner parties standing in the small doorway trying to view the menu. Having a few small loose menus to pick up from the counter would be ideal. Then again. This place is pretty casual.

Once you are ready to order, you simply walk up to the counter and place your order. The server will give you a numbered card for your table, silverware, your glasses and water carafes to take back to your table.

While I went to Apteka to try the Pierogi, I knew as soon as I saw the Kanapki, I had to try that, too! The Kanapki is basically a set of three tartines. One with carrot pate + radish pickle; another with a leek + apple + mint puree; and the third with celeriac + pickle + apple + dill. The third tartine was the stand out for me. The “polish” salad mix was acidic and fresh, and kept me wanting more! I must admit, it was hard to choose. I liked all three! I sincerely hope this item becomes a menu staple!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Pierogi was a beautiful dish. The vibrant colors of sauerkraut and greens, coupled with the yogurt and mustard sauce over lightly browned peirogies made for a simply stunning plate of food. There were two types of pierogies included with the order—one with sauerkraut and mushrooms and the other with smoked potato and parsnip. The smoked potato pierogi was my favorite. It had a powerful flavor, but was also close enough to a traditional pierogi to taste comforting and familiar.


Every single bite of food was better than the last! The sauces and herbs elevated the natural flavors in each dish. This food tasted like it had been perfected by true pros. Everyone at my table was highly satisfied with their meals, and nothing on the menu was more than $11. This restaurant has hit the mark on affordable food with fine dining flavor and plating!

Don’t hesitate to head to Pittsburgh and give Apteka a try. You won’t regret it, and your wallet and your tastebuds will thank you!