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Friday, December 14, 2012

Flax Meringue

Flax Meringue

Light, fluffy, airy, and wonderful for lightening up tofu-based puddings. The only shortfall is that it doesn't hold up to heat, so you can't bake it.

1/3 cup flax seeds
3 cups water

Combine the water and flax seeds in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, turn down heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes until it is thick and gloppy looking. Strain through a sieve. You should have about ½ cup.
Allow to cool completely. This can be stored in the refrigerator for one week.

When you are ready to whip it, place the mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip on high for about 7 – 8 minutes until it resembles meringue. Fold gently into puddings, mousses, or purees to lighten and add an airy texture. If desired, you can sweeten it with a little maple syrup or powdered sugar to taste.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pumpkin Black Bean Tacos

Pumpkin Black Bean Tacos
Vegan; 30 minutes or fewer

When I made these, I really wished I would have had some cashew cream made to use as a sour cream and some salsa made. This was kind of a last minute idea, SO next time I make this I'll be more prepared. This takes a new twist on black bean tacos.... I hope you enjoy! I served these with green chili tortillas for extra kick!

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin (ground)
1 15 oz. can black beans
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (chopped) {For less spice, use 1/2 a pepper}
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
6 tortillas


1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.

2. Add the chili powder, and cumin and saute for about a minute. Add the beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until most water has evaporated.

3. Remove the beans from the heat and mash half of them with a fork. Mix the pumpkin puree, chipotle peppers and cilantro into the black bean mixture.

4. Heat the tortillas and place some of the pumpkin black bean mixture into the tortilla and wrap it.

Top with salsa, shredded Daiya cheese, cashew sour cream etc.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Some Tricks of the Trade....

Some Tricks of the Trade....

Alright, over the weekend I spent close to 36 hours in the kitchen. Getting ready for the holiday season, my family always gets baked goods. Turning the family favorites vegan, is not that difficult if you know what you're doing. So, I'm going to share these tips in hopes that it makes a holiday special and animal friendly....

Eggs: This is a fairly easy one. There are a lot of good egg replacers on the market. I like Bob's Red Mill. Most vegan recipes will call for Ener-G egg replacer. Sometimes, depending on what you're making, you can use bananas or applesauce.

Egg Whites: What I do is soak over high heat, 1/4 cup to 3/4 cup (if making a meringue go with 3/4 cup) of flax seeds over medium-high heat for 20 minutes. You'll get a thick egg white like texture and using a fine strainer, over a bowl you'll be able to dip/whip/or dunk the "egg white". When making a meringue, whisk on high until fluffy. Add some powdered sugar and/or maple syrup to sweeten.

Egg Yolk: There is a wonderful product call The Vegg. It can be used just like eggs in recipes, from baked goods to breakfast and dinner. A teaspoon with 1/4 cup water will act as the egg yolk. I used this in my cookies over the weekend, and it was perfect! I had no problems with binding and it smells just like a cracked egg. I will use this the next time I make latkes, since the potato starch didn't hold them together....

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Yucca and Spinach


Yucca and Spinach
Vegan; Serves 4; 30 minutes or fewer

So, I've made this before for Bruce, and I'm surprised that I've never posted this. The original recipe calls for Yukon Gold potatoes from Vegetarian Times. However, I love this SO much more with yuca, it seems to have more of the perfect balance and texture. Yuca is often used a substitute for potato. Hope you enjoy!

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 lb. Yuca, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/4 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced (1½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. zested fresh ginger
1 jalapeño chile,finely chopped (1 Tbs.)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
1 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Steam yuca in steamer basket set over simmering water 10 minutes, or until just tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Add steamed yuca, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, to coat with spices. Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup water, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.

3. Stir in spinach, garam masala, and 1/4 cup water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Gifts That Show Love Through the Year

The Gifts That Show Love Through the Year

Sevenly.org

This Company has several designs a week that support wonderful causes. Don't get too attached to the designs, though. They come out with a new cause and different deigns each week. With the purchase of every shirt, the company gives $7 dollars of the purchase to that weeks organization. You are able to keep up with the organization, to see how funds are being used....



I've gotten 4 shirts from them, and they're a great quality. Super soft!

For some in my family, I'm sponsoring rescued animals for a year. With some organizations you'll receive a letter and photo. (If you're looking for a throughout the year letter and photo, double check. Some will only do one.) Again, this is great looking into for kids that may have too many toys, but are still wanting to open something. Plus, this teaches about being responsible with animals/kids and that there is more to life then toys/games.....



For the loved ones in our families, that may not see eye to eye on our views. (My friend gave me this idea.) She will fill up a reusable bag with documentary of choice and then add items that go along with it. For example, she gave a documentary about energy, filled up the bag with CFLs and information on doing a home energy audit. Peaceable Kingdom is a good choice. It's about farmers that once ate meat and gave it up, either because of health, environment or the love of their animals and the rose colored glasses being removed.....


No Oil Tomato Sauce

No Oil Tomato Sauce
Vegan

This is for everyone that is watching their oil intake. This comes from Whole Foods Health Starts Here, and is really good with the pasta or ravioli filling of your choice.

3/4 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/3 cup onion, diced
1/3 bell pepper, diced
5 cloves of garlic, minced
pepper to taste
3 cans diced tomatoes (no salt)
2 cans tomato paste
1 can of water (from the diced tomato can)
2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
1 bay leaf
dash of crushed red pepper

1. In a large sauce pan, saute vegetables and garlic in vegetable broth.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.

3. Remove bay leaf and serve over pasta.

Pumpkin and Apple Sauce

Curried Pumpkin and Apple Sauce
Vegan

This is the sauce that I made to go with the ravioli. Bruce loved it, and no surprise that the boys didn't. Needing to use pumpkin, that has moved from the fridge to the freezer, it takes a starring role in this spicy sauce.

2 Tablespoons low-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder (you can use mild or spicy)
1 cup pureed pumpkin
1 sweet apple, peeled, cored and chopped
2 1/2 cups water
pepper, parsley and salt to taste

1. Warm vegetable broth in large pot over low heat. Add onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Add curry to onions, and simmer for about 5 more minutes.

2. Add pumpkin, apples, and water to the pot. Cook over medium heat for about 20-30 minutes, or until the apple is soft.

3. Process in a blender to puree the sauce to a smooth consistency.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Ravioli Fillings~ Just To Name A Few

Ravioli Fillings~ Just To Name A Few

The first one listed is what I used in the ravioli the other night. The nuts give it more of a meaty taste and feel. I made the sauce to go with the raviolis, but that will come after these....

Triple Nut Pesto:

2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons hot red pepper flakes
5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups mixed whole raw nuts, such as pine nuts, walnuts, and cashews
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
salt to taste

For the Triple Nut Pesto, use a food processor, combine garlic, hot pepper flakes, olive oil, nuts and mint. Pulse to make a smooth paste (a slightly coarse nut butter). Season with black pepper to taste and set aside.

I was able to sneak the second one past the boys in the calzones the other night. I would pair this with a tomato sauce....

"Ricotta" and Spinach:

1 8 oz. package of firm tofu (pressed-see tips in the blog)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of spinach, wilted

1. Mash the tofu with a fork and add the garlic. Set aside.

2. In a medium pan over high heat, wilt the spinach by adding a Tablespoon of water at a time. Continue to add water, so that the spinach doesn't stick to the pan and it has become wilted. About 5 minutes. Mix in with the "ricotta" and set aside.

Wild for Mushrooms:

1/2 lb. of mushrooms, mix between portobello, creminis and buttons (should make 1 cups when finely chopped, about 3 caps)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 leek, diced
1 Tablespoon of each almond/nutritional yeast mix (half nutritional yeast, half finely milled almonds)
2 Tablespoons parsley (fresh or dry works with this measurement)

1. In food processor, pulse mushrooms in batches until finely chopped-almost paste like.

2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2-3 mins. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3-5 mins. Add to mushrooms, ground almonds, nutritional yeast and parsley; let cool.



Basic Homemade Ravioli

Basic Homemade Ravioli
Vegan

I made these the other night, and Bruce LOVED them! The boys liked the raviolis, but did not like the sauce. The sky is the limit on these, since you can make whatever kind of filling and pair them with whatever kind of sauce. I'll post some different fillings and some different sauces following this recipe. I used a ravioli maker, so I cheated a bit.... Hope you enjoy!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 cups semolina flour
3/4 cup of water
1 tsp extra virgin olive oil


Directions

1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes, adding more flour if sticky or more water if the dough won't hold together well. (You can also use a bread maker.)

2. Once you have kneaded it into a smooth ball, cover with plastic wrap in a slightly greased bowl and let rest for 30 minutes.

3. Once your dough has rested, divide it in half or in quarters, for easier rolling and begin to roll each piece on a well floured surface. Continue rolling until it is about 1/8 inch thick. Once all the dough is rolled out, its time to start assembling them. You can go about this several different ways.

**The first way would be to lay out one sheet of pasta and place about 1/2 tsp of filling, two inches apart. Brush the first layer with water around the edges, then place another sheet of pasta on top and press down around the outside edges of the dough, to seal. Cut out each ravioli using a ravioli cutter or a pastry wheel.

**The second way would be to cheat and use a ravioli maker (I use this one). You basically do the same as above but using one of these helps to get each ravioli to the exact same size.

4. Place one piece of dough and fill each ravioli with filling of choice.

5. Brush the first layer with water around the edges and place the top layer over the bottom layer.

6. Press and seal the outside edges of the dough, using your fingers. Roll across the top dough to cut out. Flour the ravioli and set out to dry a little making sure to keep each ravioli separate from the others because if they touch they will stick like crazy.

7. Once done, place in a pot of boiling water and cook until al dente, 7-10 minutes. Remove and drain well.

To Serve - Place in a large bowl and add the sauce of your choice. Divide the raviolis among four plates.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Bruce and I spent it with friends eating a ton of great vegan food... Some friends opened their home for a potluck, and about 30 of us showed up and laughed over new stories and sharing memories from the year. I have to admit- it was really nice spending a holiday, that is surrounded by food, with friends that have the same mindset and views. Sometimes we have family that sees us as more of the odd man, then understanding that we see the environment, animals and our fellow humans are not for us to exploit....

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3 Bean Chili

3 Bean Chili
Vegan

Needing to cook some butternut squash and sweet potato, and looking for something that the boys would eat I made this. They liked since I heard no complaints, and ate some as left overs. I served this with some pearl barley and blue corn tortilla chips....

2 red bell peppers
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 15 oz. can ranchero beans
1 sweet potato, cubed
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, diced
1 cup of vegetable broth, plus 2 Tablespoons (divided)
1 cup of no-chicken broth (I ran out of veggie broth)
1/2 Tablespoon thyme
1/2 Tablespoon sage
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat broiler.

2. Cut bell peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes. Place pepper halves, skin sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 15 minutes or until blackened. Place pepper halves in a zip-top plastic bag; seal. Let stand 15 minutes. Peel and chop peppers.

3. In a large pan or dutch oven, over medium-high heat, combine the 2 Tablespoons of vegetable broth, garlic and onion. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the onion becomes translucent. Stir in cumin and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add bell peppers, broth, squash, sweet potato and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans; simmer 25 minutes or until slightly thick, stirring occasionally. Chili will be ready when the squash and sweet potato are tender when pierced with a fork.

Monday, November 19, 2012

How To Prepare & Freeze Fresh Pumpkin The Easy Way

How To Prepare & Freeze Fresh Pumpkin The Easy Way

I found this from the Farmers Almanac. Coming home from Hawaii, I had 2 small pumpkins that needed to be processed. Being afraid that they were turning, I followed the steps and it was SO easy! Hopefully this helps you as much as it helped me. I went ahead and pureed all 8 cups of pumpkin, and have been finding lots of recipes for it, let's just hope that I won't get tired of pumpkin.... ~_^

To Prepare Fresh Pumpkin for Baking and Other Uses:
Cut a pumpkin in half and then into fourths.

1. Use a large spoon or scoop to remove the seeds, and set aside (Seeds are edible and nutritious too. Save for roasting.)

2. Place the pumpkin skin-side down in a roasting pan. Add a little water to cover the bottom of the pan and cover.

3. Place in a 300°F oven. The pumpkin will take about 1 hour to bake, unless you are working with a small one.

4. Test the center of the pumpkin for softness with a knife. When the pumpkin is done, it will slice easily. Remove pumpkin from the oven when it's ready and uncover.

5. Allow to cool slightly to the touch. Cut the fleshly part away from the hard outside shell. Chop the fleshy part into 2” to 3” inch chunks.

6. If the pumpkin will be used solely for pies or breads, process the pumpkin cubes in a blender or food processor until smooth.

7. Store pumpkin in the freezer for future use. Freeze in storage containers or pressure-can in pint-canning jars.

To Freeze Fresh Pumpkin

You can enjoy baking your favorite pumpkin pies, pumpkin bread, pudding and pancakes just by freezing your fresh pumpkin. Here’s how:

1. Once the fresh pumpkin has been cooked and processed in a food processor, measure quantities for your favorite pumpkin recipes, usually 1 to 2 cup portions.

2. Measure pumpkin into freezer storage bags.
Label contents, date and quantity and store in freezer until ready to use.

To Defrost Frozen Pumpkin:

Fresh frozen pumpkin defrosts nicely and should be ready to use in only an hour after removing from the freezer. To expedite the thawing process:

1. Rip plastic freezer bag open and place pumpkin on a glass pie pan in the microwave.
Defrost 2 to 3 minutes or until soft.

2. Use defrosted pumpkin for any recipe that calls for pumpkin. It's a great substitute for the canned product.

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacony Bits

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacony Bits
Vegan; Serves 4; 30 minutes

2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Bacony Bits
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If sprouts are very small, cut in half; otherwise cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.

2. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until soft but not browned, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme (or savory) sprigs, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add the Brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until tender and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the bacony bits, thyme (or savory) leaves and lemon juice, if using, and toss.

Pumpkin Burgers


Pumpkin Burgers
Vegan; Makes 6 patties

With all of the pumpkin I still have, I'm finding different recipes for it. I made these last, and they are really good! Since my pumpkin had already been pureed, these didn't take very long to make. I served these with an old favorite, chipotle mayo and Brussels sprouts on the side (recipe will follow).

1 15oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced (add more if you like onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (if you like it a little hotter add 1 teaspoon)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Saute garlic, onion and red bell pepper, until soft. About 5 minutes.

2. In a food processor, add chickpeas, egg replacer, cumin, chili powder, and coriander. Pulse until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, chickpea mixture and pumpkin until mixture is stiff enough to from and hold patty shape. In a skillet (I used a little oil to coat the pan) over medium high heat, cook patties until golden brown. About 5 minutes on both side.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Vegan "Caramel" Fruit Dip

Vegan Caramel Fruit Dip

For those who will entertaining over this up-coming holiday season, this is perfect to set out with cut up fruit. This is also perfect for those with little ones, watch out though, there is a lot of sugar. The boys LOVED this one!

1 cup dates
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup hemp milk

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth and chill until ready to be served.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Green Pea Poulourie

Green Pea Poulourie
Vegan; Can be made Gluten Free

Having an abundance of green split peas came in handy for this recipe! Bruce and I both had a bag when we combined kitchens. This recipe came out more falafel like, so I served them with Tzatziki sauce and flat bread.

1 (14 ounce) bag dried green or yellow split peas
3 cloves garlic, crushed (I had to use garlic powder since I ran out of fresh garlic)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 serrano pepper, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus additional (use gluten free flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
oil for frying

1. Pick through the split peas removing rocks, then rinse. Soak, covered by 2-inches of water until soft enough to be broken with your fingernail, 3 hours to overnight. (Short on time, I put the split peas in the rice maker and put the setting on Brown Rice. It worked pretty good.)

2. When soft, drain peas, then puree in 1 cup batches in a food processor or blender until smooth along with the garlic, curry powder, salt, and serrano pepper. Add water as needed to make a thick paste. Sift baking powder and 1/2 cup of flour into a large bowl then stir in the pea puree, adding additional flour to make a stiff batter.

3. Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4.Form into small patties and place into the hot oil in batches for about 10. Turn when the bottoms turn brown, and continue cooking to brown the other side, about 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels, and sprinkle with additional salt if desired.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

As these were baking, both Choxie and Fortune were in the kitchen watching the oven. Somehow they knew these were being made just for them. Grant actually tried one, and liked it. He asked what smelled good. He shared his cookie with Choxie and Fortune, but did take the last bite. So there you go..... Not only Puppy Friendly, but kid friendly too!

Egg replacer equivalent to 2 eggs
1 cup fresh pureed pumpkin
2 tablespoons hemp milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3 1/2 cups gluten free flour (you can use all-purpose)
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In large bowl, whisk together egg replacer and pumpkin to smooth. Stir in hemp milk, vanilla, sea salt, and cinnamon. Add flour gradually, combining with spatula or hands to form a soft, dry dough. Briefly kneed and roll out into about 1 inch balls.

3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the 1 inch balls on the cookie sheet and press down. (Like a peanut butter cookie.) Poke holes with a fork and bake (in batches if needed) for 20 minutes until golden.

Pumpkin Spice Almost-Raw Cheesecake

Pumpkin Spice Almost-Raw Cheesecake
Vegan, Gluten Free, Almost Raw

Getting back from vacation, I was able to finally get to the pumpkins that I thought were going to go bad. Ending up having almost 8 cups of pureed pumpkin, I'll be posting the next few recipes calling for pumpkin. I took this to a potluck on Sunday, and didn't even get a slice since it went SO fast! Adapted from Addicted to Veggies.

Crust:

1 cup Walnuts
1 cup Dates
1 pinch of salt

Filling:

1 cup Cashews (I soaked overnight)
1 cup Macadamia nuts (I soaked overnight)
2 cups fresh/raw pureed Pumpkin Flesh
1/2 cup Coconut Sugar plus 3 heaping Tbsp
1/4 cup Coconut Oil- liquefied
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp ground Allspice
1/2 tsp ground Cloves
1/2 tsp Ginger Powder
2 pinches Salt

1. Combine walnuts, dates and a pinch of sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Press mixture very compactly into the bottom of a spring-form pan. I used the back of a spoon and my thumb to press the crust down, and it worked perfectly.

2. Take all filling ingredients and blend in food processor until smooth. Just let it go for a few minutes…. the texture should be nice and creamy. (I had to add a little bit of water, so I didn't burn out my food processor motor.)

3. Pour filling on top of crust and spread out until smooth. Cover with foil and freeze overnight. The freezing process will re-harden the coconut oil and set up the cake. After it is frozen you can refrigerate and it will be ready to serve after about one hour. Even though you have to freeze this cake to set it up, it is not a frozen cake… once refrigerated, it takes on an extremely similar texture to a regular old cheesecake.

World Vegan Day

World Vegan Day

November 1st was World Vegan Day and it wraps up the month of Vegetarian Awareness Month. Starting off with World Vegetarian Day and World Farm Animal Day, this month is a long celebration has been created to share wisdom, compassion and educate all of us to rise to the next level....

I have been busy with protesting a Bison and Cow meat packing plant, and socializing with friends that share the same thoughts. As much as being active making a difference in the world has great impact on all, we need to be able to take those much needed breaks and recharge....

So, in this up coming holiday season. Seek out the friends who make you laugh and smile, along with making new friends. Continue to make a difference for those you love or those who have no voice.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Cardamon Oatmeal Fig Cookie

Cardamon Oatmeal Fig Cookie
yields about 16 cookies

By replacing the cinnamon and raisins, and using figs and cardamon you find yourself with spicy and earthy flavors in your mouth! Finding this recipe was a blessing, since I had figs in the fridge that were going to turn at any moment. Bruce loved these and in fact, I offered one to my boss and he liked it! My boss is the "we have to eat meat" kind of guy, so there you go.....

Ingredients:

2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
2/3 cup gluten-free flour mix, such as Bob’s Red Mill (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp egg replacer
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 T coconut oil, melted
2 T unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cup fresh figs, stems trimmed and chopped into chunks (use at least one cup)


1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, egg replacer, baking soda, salt, cloves, cardamom and oats together until thoroughly combined.

2. In a smaller bowl, mix together the brown rice and maple syrups with the coconut oil, applesauce, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix together. Fold in the fig segments. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.

3. Once the cookie dough has chilled, preheat oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheets, keeping in mind that these cookies will spread out (so don’t crowd them together).
Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until cookies have firmed and are golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and let sit on the baking sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. Let cool completely before serving. Enjoy!

Found: Keepin' It Kind

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seitan Gyros

Seitan Gyros
Vegan; 30 minutes or fewer

After having a REALLY hard day (started with a root canal at 7:30 am and ended with picking my car up from the shop, with work in between)! I was not really wanting to do a gourmet meal, so this was SUPER quick.... I served these with Falafels to make the meal feel more complete. Grant did mention that this was his favorite meal, so endorsed from the pickiest eater!

1 package of Seitan
1 cup of spinach
1 tomato sliced
4 pieces of naan bread, heated (worked just like pitas)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and heat up the naan.

2. Over medium to medium-high heat, cook the Seitan. I bought mine in strips, so all I had to do was start cooking....

3. Place toppings in naan (just like a taco) and serve with the vegan Tzatziki Sauce!
Enjoy...

Tzatziki Sauce

Tzatziki Sauce
Vegan

When you're craving Greek food, one simply cannot forego the Tzatziki sauce. I made this last night to go with the Seitan Gyros, and even Grant said "this is his favorite dish, and really likes the sauce." This took the longest....

1 cup cucumber, finely diced or minced
1 cup soy yogurt
1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 oven roasted garlic clove, minced (I had left over from the pizza)
1/2 a large garlic clove, minced (I had this left over, too)
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of parsley (I used dry)
1/4 teaspoon of paprika
1/8 teaspoon of dill
1 pinch of sea salt
a dash of Cayenne pepper

1. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and chill until ready to use....


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tools of the Trade & How to Care for Them

Tools of the Trade & How to Care for Them

Alright, for those who have followed me for a while. I haven't posted one these in about a month or so. Well I've found some tips that are worth sharing and I'm excited (I'm a kitchen nerd~that's right I own it!)....


How to clean cast iron: We ALL know how using soap is bad for cast iron, and this is one of the main reasons people protest to using them. And we've ALL had someone we love use soap on our cast irons. I've had to re-season mine once or twice...

Scrub your cast iron with coarse salt and a soft sponge. The salt is a natural abrasive and will absorb oil and lift away bits of food while preserving the pan's seasoning. Rinse away salt and wipe dry. FINALLY!!!! I've been doing this for about a month, and IT WORKS!!!!!

How to re-season:

1. Wash the cookware with warm, soapy water and a stiff nylon brush. Rusty? Scrub it with steel wool. Rinse and dry thoroughly.

2. Apply a thin, even coating of vegetable oil to the entire surface of the pan (inside and out) using a paper towel. Set pan aside.

3. Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of your oven to safeguard it from oil drips. Heat oven to 350°F.

4. Place the pan upside down on the top rack of the oven. This will allow the oil to drip down and coat the entire pan. Leave the pan in the oven to “bake” for one hour.

5. Turn off the oven and let the pan cool in the oven, or remove it with mitts and place it on a wire rack to cool for an hour. Store your newly re-seasoned pan uncovered in a dry place.


Cutting Boards: Since moving to Colorado, my beloved cutting board was splitting. I later found out that Bruce was not drying it after cleaning it.

Well, one should always completely dry the cutting board after using. If you do find yours splitting, add some sweet almond oil to it and moisturize the board.

Clean your cutting board with hydrogen peroxide. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and rinse clean. This helps kill bacteria that might be in deep cuts in your board.

Monday, October 22, 2012

White Pizza


White Pizza
Vegan; 1 hour 10 minutes

I made this last night for more me then Bruce, but he LOVED this! He may not even have to fight with me to make it again! The longest part is the oven roasting the garlic, and trust me, it's worth it! Humor me on the coconut cream, you cannot taste coconut. I cheated with the pizza dough. I did post a recipe, but I found fresh vegan pizza dough at Whole Foods and all you have to do is roll it out! Saved me some time, since Bruce and I have only had yesterday to ourselves....


Roasted Garlic Coconut Cream
1/2 head garlic
1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened

Toppings
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes (I used the packed in oil, so I didn't have to re-hydrate)
1/2 cup artichoke hearts
a few sprigs fresh thyme
a few sprigs fresh rosemary

1. Chop the top (of garlic) off to make them easier to extract later. Place them in aluminum foil and cover with a little olive oil. Roast at 375F for about an hour until light golden brown.

2. When they are cool enough to handle you can pop the cloves out with your fingers. Mince them and blend them with the coconut milk and set aside. (I plan on using the other cloves in a different dish.)

3. Turn the oven up to 475F. Lightly flour a large baking pan, then sprinkle the top of the dough and your hands. Lightly flour the dough again if needed and press out to a large oval, slightly thicker around the edges. (I used my rolling pin to get the right size.)

4. Lightly pour the cream across the crust, then dress with the sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, rosemary and bits of fresh thyme. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly brown around the edges and the cream is starting to bubble.

Cut up and enjoy immediately!


Basic Vegan Pizza Dough

Basic Vegan Pizza Dough

Make any type of vegan-pizza with this basic dough. If you’re entertaining a crowd or just want to prepare extra dough for freezing, double the recipe (pizza dough freezes very well for up to a month).

Ingredients:

1 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar (optional)
3 cups unbleached all-purpose bread flour, plus more as needed
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil (plus extra for greasing bowl)

1. In a measuring cup, place warm water. The water should be warm to the touch but not too hot (water that is too hot will kill the yeast; and water that is too cold will not activate it).

2. Sprinkle the yeast into the water, add sugar, and stir gently until both ingredients dissolve (about 1 minute). When yeast is mixed with water at the proper temperature, a smooth, beige mixture results.

3. Let stand for 5 minutes, until a thin layer of creamy foam covers surface, indicating that the yeast is effective. (Note: If bubbles have not formed within 5 minutes, discard mixture and start over with a fresh package of yeast).

Found: Vegan-pizza.com

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Spiced Pears and Pomegranate Seeds

Spiced Pears and Pomegranate Seeds
Vegan; Raw; 15 minutes; Serves 4

This dessert is more spicy then sweet. The boys drizzled maple syrup on their portions, and used less cinnamon than the recipe called for. Another great topping is vanilla almond non-dairy ice cream (had friends over that loved this!)... I picked 2 pomegranates up originally for Bruce to enjoy fresh squeezed pomegranate juice with some organic vodka.

3 pears, cored, peeled and sliced into wedges
1 pomegranate, skin and membrane removed
1 Tbs. lemon juice
2 Tbs. brown sugar
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/3 t. cinnamon
2 Tbs. ground almonds
4 sprigs fresh mint, sliced for garnish

1. Place the sliced pears and pomegranate seeds into a bowl. Toss with lemon juice to coat. Combine the brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small cup or bowl, then mix into the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving to blend the flavors. Serve in individual dishes, and garnish with a sprinkling of chopped almonds and a sprig of mint.

Found: Allrecipes.com

Mixed Dal with Tomato Tarka

Mixed Dal with Tomato Tarka
Vegan; 1 hour and 30 minutes

So, humor me here. Bruce loved this and amazingly enough, so did Max. Grant, I had to mention that "if you're full, then you don't get dessert.". That worked! Since it has been crazy in the house, with football, hockey and Bruce traveling. I wanted a nice dinner where we sat at the table like a family.... Well worth the wait, I may have cut a step out still resulting in a tasty meal!

1/2 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup green split peas
3 Tbs. melted Earth Balance (I used about 2 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. fresh grated ginger (finding my ginger expired, I used powdered), divided
1 tsp. turmeric
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp. salt (I omitted)
2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, diced
cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

1. Rinse and drain the split peas; place in a large bowl and soak for 30 in hot water. Cover and set aside.

2. In a large sauce pan (I used my large cast iron skillet) combine drained pea mixture 1 Tbs. of Earth Balance, 1 Tbs. of ginger, tumeric and 6 cups of water; and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour, or until the peas are very soft. Wisk with a fork to break up the peas, this didn't take very long. Add spinach, salt (if using), cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.

3. While the peas are cooking, heat the remaining Earth Balance in a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds; cook for about 30 seconds or until brown (darker). Add onion, garam masala, and cayenne pepper and 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are soft and begin to brown. Stir in garlic and remaining ginger; cook for one minute. Add tomato, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

4. Stir tomato mixture into split pea mixture. Season with pepper, if desired and garnish with cilantro if using.

I served this with some garlic naan. Enjoy!

Adapted from Vegetarian Times November 2012


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tatale (Ripe Plantain Pancakes)

Tatale (Ripe Plantain Pancakes)
Vegan; about 30 minutes

Since Bruce and I had a Saturday morning without having to make a mad dash out the door to football, I decided to make these for him. This recipe comes from Ghana, so I adapted it for what I had in the kitchen. If you want use rice flour for the corn meal and replace the whole wheat flour with cornmeal! I also served these with strawberry candied jalapenos....

3 or 4 large over-ripe plantains, about 1 1/2 lbs. after peeling), or about 3 cups when sliced
1/3 onion, or shallots, minced or finely chopped
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 t dried ground red cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
3 t fresh grated or ground ginger
about 1/4 cup of oil for pan frying
1/4-1/2 t salt (optional)
1 cup of water

1. Cut the ends off, slice them into slices about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Traditionally these would then be pounded in a mortar with a wooden pestle, however, I mashed mine with a fork (since my potato masher is still in storage). It should not be completely smooth.

2. Stir in the grated ginger, cayenne pepper and onions. Add the cornmeal and wheat flour. Add the water and stir again.

3. Over medium-high heat, heat a heavy frying pan or griddle as you would for regular pancakes (my cast iron skillet worked perfect). I used enough oil to coat the pan, then drop the batter onto the griddle (either small, like "silver dollar" pancakes, or somewhat larger, say using 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter).

4. As soon as the tatale is firm enough to turn without breaking, carefully turn it over with a pancake turner and press the turner down firmly on the pancake to flatten it. Continue doing this every few minutes while the pancakes cook.

5. Drain the pancakes on paper towels and add a little more oil to the pan for each batch of tatale. Avoid stacking them--spread them out to drain, and serve them on a large platter. The tatale can be made in the morning and kept warm in a low oven, but will become tough if heated too long. A better alternative is to zap them briefly in the microwave to heat them before serving them.

**NOTE**It's good to let the mixture sit for 20 - 30 minutes before you cook the pancakes. The batter can actually be made a day ahead and refrigerated until you're ready to cook the tatale.

Original Recipe Found: BetumiBlog

Monday, October 8, 2012

Butternut Squash Alfredo Sauce


Butternut Squash Alfredo Sauce
Vegan; Serves 4

In honor of fall and it being cold outside, this is one of those perfect comfort foods! I paired this with a white wine and added crushed red pepper....

2 1/2 cups hemp milk
2 cups butternut squash puree (I made mine the same night, so oven roasted for 30-45 minutes)
1 cup shredded style cheddar Daiya cheese
1/2 small onion, chopped
1/2 teaspoon crushed black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
1 tablespoon Earth Balance Soy Free Spread

1. Set a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, add oil and Earth Balance, add onion, saute until soft and opaque, about 1-2 minutes. Add hemp milk, butternut squash, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, black pepper, and nutmeg.

2. Whisk vigorously or use a hand held immersion blender to blend until smooth, cook for 4-5 minutes. Then add maple syrup and Daiya cheese, stir until smooth. Take off the heat.

3. Add to pasta and enjoy! (A spinach or a garlic parsley pasta would be wonderful with this). I served it with some crusty garlic bread.....

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Date Paste

Date Paste

This recipe yields roughly 2 cups of Date Paste. If you think this may be too much then you can freeze half of the batch. I find that using a ziplock baggy will allow you to break off the amount that you need. Date paste will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer! Found from The Chalkboard Mag.

Step 1: Prepping your Dates:

1. Soak 40 dates in warm water until your Dates are tender/soft. Remove your dates from the soaking water. Remove the seeds by hand – make sure to get all of them!

Step 2: Making your Date Paste

2. Combine dates with 2 Tbsp Water and puree in a food processor until smooth.

No-Bake Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Bites
Vegan; Raw; Gluten Free

I made these for Bruce, since he left out of town this morning. These are great snacks for on the go, and really easy to make. Since it has been crazy in the house lately! Between work, cleaning, hockey practice, football practice, and my own extra curricular activities-it has been CRAZY!!!!

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked oatmeal (I used old-fashioned oats)
2/3 cup toasted coconut flakes
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed or ground almonds
1/2 cup carob chips (optional)
2/3 cup date paste
1 tsp. vanilla

Method:

Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until thoroughly mixed. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. Once chilled, roll into balls of whatever size you would like. (Mine were about 1″ in diameter.) Store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Makes about 20-25 balls.

Tomato Tofu Feta Open-Faced Sandwich

Tomato Tofu Feta Open-Faced Sandwich
vegan, makes four slices

Last week, when Bruce was leaving for out of town, I made these for a light brunch. Since we had tomatoes that needed to be used, this was the perfect recipe! Bruce LOVED it and I know that I'm going to have repeat this recipe!

4 slices rosemary sourdough bread, toasted
1 large heirloom tomato, sliced into half moons (or a few small)
1/2 cup tofu feta (recipe in blog)
2 handfuls of mixed greens or herb salad
white wine vinegar
white pepper over top - to taste


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place bread on a cookie sheet, and place 2 tomato slices on each slice. Top with tofu feta and drizzle with white wine vinegar. Add white pepper and toast till heated through, about 10 minutes.

3. Serve over greens on plate and enjoy!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Buffalo Tofu Bites


Buffalo Tofu Bites
Vegan; 1 hour

With an hour being the time, I promise-this is the type of recipe that is not as hands on. Step number 3 is what may take the most hands on, however I promise this is worth it! Grant and Max liked it, and this is perfect for any tale gate parties that are coming up!!

1 cup of hemp milk
2 tbsp corn starch
1 15 ounce block of firm tofu (organic), pressed to remove excess water
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup Earth Balance butter, melted
1/4 cup Saso Roasted Red Pepper Chipotle Sauce
1/2 tbsp of garlic powder
a dash of black pepper

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. In a medium sized bowl mix the hemp milk with the corn starch and set aside.

3. In another medium sized bowl mix together the flour, paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and salt. Next, cut the tofu in triangles; to do this first slice the tofu in half so that there are now 2 slabs of tofu, then cut each slab into thirds on the short side, then cut in half on the long side. Now you should have 12 small squares of tofu, slice each one of those on an angle to get triangles. See images below.

4. Now place the tofu triangles into the milk mixture and coat them, then dredge them into the flour mixture and get each side covered completely. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for an hour.

5. In a large bowl whisk together the melted butter, hot sauce, garlic powder and black pepper. Dip each piece of tofu in the mixture and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Bake for about 30-35 minutes turning halfway through. If you want them crispier just bake them a little longer. I served these with a vegan ranch dressing.

Ranch Dressing

Ranch Dressing
Vegan; Makes about 1 cup

There are some things with going Vegan that I miss, and this is one of them. I made this to go with the tofu buffalo bites and bacony stuffed dates. Even Grant and Max liked it...

1/4 cup hemp milk
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion powder
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon parsley (fresh or dry)
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Chill until ready to use.

Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Dates


Bacon and Cheese Stuffed Dates
Vegan; 30 minutes or fewer


Alright, I found this recipe off of foodgawker (my new addiction) and it sends me to This Can't Be Vegan. Well, you know I had to try it, and it was REALLY good! Me being the person that I am, had to modify the recipe to fit my budget and shopping.... Originally (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

6 tablespoons non-dairy cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
6 stalks of chives, thinly sliced
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons imitation bacon bits (WayFare bacony bits)
Black pepper, to taste
12 Medjool dates

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together cream cheese, Dijon mustard, garlic, and bacon bits. Fold in green onions. Season to taste with pepper.

3. Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise slit in each date. Spread open slightly and remove pits. Fill each date with about a tablespoon of cheese mixture. Place dates filling side up on a baking sheet. Bake, uncovered in the preheated oven for 5 to 8 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm. Makes 12 pieces.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Zucchini Fritters


Zucchini Fritters
Vegan; Serves 4; 30 min. plus baking

I comprised this recipe from 3 different ones, taking the best out of each and then making the recipe vegan. I could have used 1 more grated zucchini, but they still came out tasty! Bruce told me that he would love to have these again, so I may even surprise him with a repeat! ~_^

2 cups grated zucchini squash
4 Tablespoons all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 egg replacer
2/3 cups tofu feta
1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper (depending on taste)
Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Place zucchini inside a tea towel or flour sack towel and squeeze out excess moisture.
In a bowl, add the ingredients adding the zucchini last. The mixture with be sticky and thick. Continue to stir, it will thin down. You want it to look like a thick cake batter.

3. On a parchment lined baking sheet, divide batter into 6 mounds on the parchment using a spoon or ice cream scoop. Then flatten each mound with a spoon or your hand to form 4 inch rounds.
Bake for 15-18 minutes or, until the fritters are deep golden brown on the bottom. Then turn to broil and place on the second highest rack in your oven. Broil on high for a few minutes, you want to crisp them up but watch carefully so they won't burn (I skipped this step). Served with cashew cream or marinara sauce.

Recipe adapted from The Yellow House.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kitchen Tips....

Kitchen Tips

Well, over the weekend I helped with a Plant-Strong presentation. And this question came up (and has a lot in the past) "How much time do you spend in the kitchen?" So here is a list of tips that help me get through the process (especially when I'm making on average 2 new recipes a night). Yes, there is a fight (not really-but yes) for Bruce to get a repeat recipe. Most of time it will happen when I'm at a loss or just tired....

I measure everything out... (What I mean, is: the spices that go into the recipe together, will go into a bowl or a cup together.)

I will do the soaking or the shredding in the morning... (I'm a morning person so I get started with the prepping in the morning. This also works if you are a night owl, get it started the night before.)

Make a Meal Plan... (I go to the farmers market and then plan out my meals in my head. I have friends that make out the meal plans and then go shopping. If that means buying the already cleaned and sliced veggies, then do it-it may be more expensive.)

Ask for help... (I think one of the most intimate things people can do is cook together.
I will ask Bruce to help to chop, or I'll help my friends during a girls night in.)

I've learned 2 recipes are the max that I can do. If I shoot for 3 I tend to get frazzled, now if I can get the boys (Bruce included) to keep the fridge clean, neat and tidy. I can tell you, I get frustrated when I get covered in olive juice....

Kitchen appliances to invest in:

Food Processor (I use mine almost all of the time. When I say that, I've used up to 4 times in one day. Anytime a recipe calls for something roughly chopped, I pulse it in the food processor. I love it and not really sure why I put in the pantry.)

Rice Maker (Moving to Colorado, I haven't been able to master the art of making rice, pearl barley or quiona. My mom was never able to master it either, however in Texas no problems. Bruce invested in one for me, so I wouldn't have to stress over the fillers in certain dishes. Plus, mine shuts off by itself and is one last thing I have to worry about.)


A Nutty Kind of Pesto

A Nutty Kind of Pesto
Vegan

This is the adapted pesto recipe that I put with The Sweet Potato Chickpea Salad. I call it kind of nutty, since I 3 different kind of nuts. I didn't have hemp nuts on hand, so I substituted pine nuts. I used olive oil, but you can always use vegetable broth if you are watching your oils....

Ingredients:
2 large cups of basil leaves
1/8 cup cashews
1/8 cup pistachios
1/8 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 clove of garlic
1 T lemon juice
3 Tablespoons olive oil (you may need more)
salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste

Instructions:
Combine the first 6 ingredients (basil through lemon juice) in a food processor and process until fully blended. Slowly add olive oil until the desired consistency is reached. Add salt, crushed red pepper and pepper to taste. Use immediately or chill until ready to use. Enjoy!

Pesto Sweet Potato Mushroom Chickpea Salad


Pesto Sweet Potato Mushroom Chickpea Salad
Vegan; Serves 6; 30 minutes

Already having my zucchini shredded for the fritters I was planning on making for dinner, I didn't have a side dish. So, my quest begins (knowing I that I found the perfect recipe-taking the best of 3 different recipes).... I found this while surfing pinterest and foodgawker (my addictions)! I made these to fit mine and Bruce's taste! Enjoy and remember, a recipe has no soul until the chef gives it one....

Ingredients:
1 medium sweet potato, sliced
2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
2 Tablespoons Safflower oil
salt and pepper to taste (I put about two pinches of both sprinkled over)
1 14.5 oz can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Pesto Recipe will follow in the blog

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the mushrooms and potatoes out on the baking sheet.

2. Lightly drizzle with safflower oil and add salt and pepper to taste. Toss to fully coat each piece. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15-18 minutes, until the largest chunk of potato can easily be pierced with a fork. Remove and set aside to cool.

3. While your mushroom and potatoes are cooking, you can prepare your pesto.

4. Once the mushrooms and potatoes have cooled for about 10 minutes or so, place them in a bowl along with the chickpeas. If you want it really “pesto-ey”, dump all of it in. Otherwise scoop it in by the spoonful, tossing the salad to combine between each spoonful, until all the pieces are coated to meet your pesto preference. You can serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes or more before serving. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Mushroom "No-Meat" Balls

Mushroom "No-Meat" Balls
Vegan; Makes about 24

I made these to go with some mushroom pasta that Bruce and picked up while shopping at the Farmers Market. I made a simple tomato sauce and garlic bread with a tofu feta and artichoke heart topping.

3/4 cup cooked brown rice
1 lb. Portobello mushroom caps (should make 2 cups when finely chopped, about 3 caps)
4 tsp. olive oil
1/2 leek, diced
1 vegan egg (EnerG egg replacer works great)
1 cup dried Italian bread crumbs
1/3 cup almond/nutritional yeast mix (half nutritional yeast, half finely milled almonds)
1/4 cup parsley (fresh or dry works with this measurement)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper


1. I had Bruce help me out and get the rice started for me in the rice maker. This gave me time to get the mushrooms started and the tofu feta for the side dish. In food processor, pulse mushrooms in batches until finely chopped-almost paste like.

2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, 2-3 mins. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated, 3-5 mins. Add to bowl with rice; let cool.

3. Preheat oven to 400F. Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Add vegan egg, breadcrumbs, almond/nutritional yeast mix, parsley, and salt to cooled rice mixture and mix well. Form mixture into about 24 oval-shaped nuggets, each about 2 by 1.5 inches.

4. In clean large nonstick skillet, heat remaining 2 tsp olive oil over medium high heat; tilt to coat bottom. Add half the nuggets and cook until browned on one side, about 2 mins, and sprinkle black pepper over the nuggets. Turn nuggets over onto prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining nuggets. Bake until nuggets are browned and firm, 15-20 mins.

Found and Adapted from: Vegetarian Times

Spinach Artichoke Dip


Spinach Artichoke Dip
Vegan; Gluten Free;Serves 8

Along with everything else, that I made the other night, this was one the dishes.... I used my food processor to coarsely chop the spinach, artichokes and garlic. I didn't have fresh lemons on hand, so I used dried lemon peel from my spice rack. (I have quite a collection!) Since football season is here, this is a great dish to take to any of the tale gate parties!

1 recipe of cashew cream (I actually used less, since I made cashew cream filled strawberries)
1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of packed chopped spinach leaves
1 can of large artichoke hearts, chopped
1 small leek, sliced into rings
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.

2. Stir together cashew cream, vegan mayonnaise, nutritional yeast, garlic, chopped spinach, chopped artichoke hearts, leeks, lemon zest, and black pepper and combine well. (**Note: I placed the spinach, artichoke hearts and leeks in my food processor and pulsed a few times until coarsely chopped.)

3. Bake for 25 minutes. Turn the oven to broil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the top becomes golden brown and crispy. Serve hot with your favorite dipping chips or crackers.

Found: Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats by Allyson Kramer

Portobello Wellington


Portobello Wellington
Vegan; Serves 2

Imagine my surprise when Bruce told me that he had never had beef wellington, nor did he know what it was. Well, I told him and I made this (the best thing, since no one had to die). I ended up needing to make my puff pastry since I was unsuccessful of locating it in the city.... I served this with the balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts. Adapted and inspired by Virtually Vegan Mama.

2 portobello mushrooms
1 sheet vegan puff pastry (see recipe in blog)
1/2 cup of white button mushrooms
1 cup of baby spinach
2 small leeks (or small shallots, peeled), and roughly chopped
1 large cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1 sprig fresh tarragon, stemmed
1 3/4 cup(s) of no salt added vegetable stock
2 pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of red wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons of white wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Directions:

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. For the Duxelles: Add spinach, button mushrooms, leeks or shallots, garlic, and tarragon to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add 2 tsp. Earth Balance Butter to a large sauté pan and set over medium heat. Add the mushroom mixture, 1/4 cup vegetable stock and sauté for 10 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with a pinch of black pepper and set aside to cool.

3. For the Portabello Mushrooms: Gently scrap gills from Portobello mushrooms with a spoon. Place mushrooms on baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes, set aside. Cut pastry sheet into 4 equal parts (save and use 2 for later). Using a spoon, cover each mushroom with a layer of duxelles (make sure to fill the back cavity of the mushroom with the duxelles). Fold pastry around the mushrooms and enclose entirely, press down lightly with fingers to make sure it is sealed completely. Place mushrooms, with folded side down, on baking tray lined with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat. Bake mushrooms in oven until pastry is golden brown for 20-25 minutes.

4. Whisk together vinegars and olive oil. Drizzle over mushrooms.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Puff Pastry

Puff Pastry
Vegan

This was actually not as bad or as hard as I thought it was going to be. This did take up the bulk of dinner making, but everything was ready at about the same time.... This recipe comes from Holy Cow! Vegan. I ran out of all-purpose flour, so I used 1 1/3 cup all-purpose and the rest was whole wheat flour and the original recipe calls for 2 sticks of Earth Balance (I also ran out of).

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance + 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
Water as needed

1. Place the two cold sticks of butter, straight out of the fridge, on a chopping board or the kitchen platform. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour over it and, using a rolling pin or something heavy, beat the butter until it flattens out quite a bit but is still quite solid.

2. Pat the edges of the butter to form a square. Place in a container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

3. In a bowl, place the 2 cups of flour, salt and, using enough water, knead into a smooth and pliable dough.

4. Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes, then roll it out into a square large enough so you can wrap the square of butter in it.

5. Once you have wrapped the butter, making sure it is well-sealed, then roll out the dough into a rectangle about 7 inches wide and 10 inches long. Do this preferably on a metal baking sheet so you have a cool surface and also so you can easily transfer the dough to the fridge. The rolling might take a little work because the dough can be resistant, but be patient.

6. Now lift the edges of the rectangle along the long side and fold over one another so you have three layers. Place the sheet with the puff pastry in the fridge and let it stand for at least 15 minutes. Then remove and roll out again and fold again to make three more layers. Repeat four more times.

Cashew Cream Stuffed Strawberries


Cashew Cream Stuffed Strawberries
Vegan; Gluten Free; Raw

Well, these little red creamy jewels are truly the taste of the summer sun.... Super easy to make, use the cashew cream (I used 1/3 of the recipe for this recipe and the rest for spinach artichoke dip) in the blog, adding sugar to it.

1/2 pound of strawberries, cleaned and hulled
1 cup cashew cream (with 1 teaspoon of sugar)
2 Tablespoon almonds
1 teaspoon sugar

1. Clean the strawberries and hull "hollow" the strawberries. Fill with prepared cashew cream.

2. In a coffee grinder (this seems to be my best method, so if you have one make sure it's a clean one) put almonds and sugar. Grind until coarsely ground and sprinkle on top.

Enjoy as a snack or as a light dessert!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Double Carob Cherry Muffins


Double Carob Cherry Muffins
Vegan; 1 hour 30 min; 12 (or more)

Depending on how big your muffin pan is, you may get more then 12. I got about 20, but this just means more to share.... I ended up having to add more hemp milk at the end, to get the right consistency, since I live in a higher altitude.Feel free to use semisweet chocolate instead of the carob. Since I have a food allergy, I used the carob with great results!

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 sugar
1/3 cup carob powder
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
pinch of cinnamon
1 cup soy yogurt
1/2 cup hemp milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil`
egg replacer the equivalent of 2 eggs
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups fresh dark sweet cherries, pitted and chopped
1 cup miniature carob chips

Directions

1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease 12 jumbo (3 1/2-inch) muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

2. Stir together the flour, sugar, carob powder, baking powder, pinch of cinnamon and salt in a separate large bowl, and make a well in the center; set aside. Whisk together the soy yogurt, hemp milk, vegetable oil, egg replacer, and almond extract in a bowl until evenly blended. Pour the soy yogurt mixture into the well, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the cherries and carob chips. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, filling half full.

3. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack. Store tightly covered at room temperature.


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Natural Cleaners for the Deep Clean of the House....

Natural Cleaners for the Deep Clean of the House....

When I found this, I thought "oh WOW!" Then I tried it for the oven and wasn't so impressed. However, the cleaning solution redeemed its self on the stainless steel sink and the glass top stove. I've been trying to find something natural for the glass top sink for a while. Everyone up here lives by a product that tests on animals and isn't environmentally friendly.

This is the recipe:

I put about 1/4 cup of baking soda in a small glass bowl and squirt in hydrogen peroxide until it makes a nice paste. Then I rub it on the offending dirt/stain/grease…whatever! I usually just use my fingers…but I also use a small sponge at times as well.

We all know how vinegar is great for cleaning! But, if you're anything like me, I can't stand the smell of plain white vinegar. So this is perfect! From the FrugalColumbusMom.blogspot.com

Orange Vinegar cleaner - Add orange peels (or any citrus peel) to a quart of white vinegar in a closed container and let it set for two weeks. Combine citrus/vinegar solution half/half with water and use for cleaning. Works on floors, tile, fixtures, etc. Smells good and is tough on scum! Best of all there are no chemicals.

Since everyone in the house has been sick recently, Bruce and I are doing this over the weekend

Mix baking soda with TBS of fabric softener and spread on mattress every one or two months. Leave on an hour and vacuum off. Kills dust mites and freshens the mattress. It does work and it smells so good!

In the high traffic areas of the house, I've used this a few times. This also helped getting olive oil out of the carpet, too!

Magic Carpet Cleaner - Baking soda, vinegar, dishwashing liquid & warm water!!

Jalapeno Basil Pesto


Jalapeno Basil Pesto
Vegan

This one is adapted from Show Me the Curry. In this household, we tend to like food on the spicy side. This is the perfect pairing with jalapeno fettuccine and some garlic bread.

1 cup tightly packed fresh basil Leaves
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic
1 jalapeno pepper–or to taste, roughly chopped
1/4 cup almonds
1/4 cup vegan Parmesan cheese
Olive Oil – 1/4 cup plus additional as needed for serving
Salt – to taste
White Pepper – to taste
Lemon Juice – to taste

Method:

1. Remove Basil Leaves from the stems and wash well. Place them on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel, cover with another towel and dab dry.

2. Heat 1 tsp Olive Oil in a skillet and quickly saute Garlic and Jalapeno on high heat. Remove into another plate to cool when Garlic turns light brown and Jalapeno skin starts to blister.

3. In a food processor, add almonds and pulse lightly. Add cooled Jalapeno and Garlic and pulse lightly. Add Basil Leaves and pulse until roughly chopped.

4. Add Olive Oil slowly while continuing to pulse. Add vegan Parmesan Cheese and process for about 15 seconds until mixture is smooth but still has a little texture.

5. Remove into a bowl and add Salt, White Pepper and Lemon Juice to taste.

Green Chile Stew

Green Chile Stew
Vegan; 45 minutes or longer

Bruce and I served this over baked butternut squash. We had gone out shopping earlier in the day and bought some fresh fire roasted green chilies. Since most of my ingredients were already sliced, this is a super great recipe for left overs.

5 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1/4 diced onion
2 cloves minced garlic
1 diced potato (I used half a sweet potato and 1/2 a blue potato-left overs from a prior dish)
1 can no-salt diced tomatoes (I used a can that had green chilies)
1 can no-salt pinto beans, rinsed
8-10 fresh chilies or 2 cans green chile
1 Tablespoon cumin
1 Tablespoon thyme (I added a little of rubbed sage to the thyme)
2 cups cooked quinoa (I spiced mine with cumin and curry-left over from a prior dish)
1/2 zucchini, sliced (also left over from a prior dish)

1. Sauté 1 cup of veggie broth, onion and garlic for about 10 minutes.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer over medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour (depending on how big/thick you cut your potatoes) until potatoes are tender.





Sunday, September 9, 2012

Basic Tofu Scramble

Basic Tofu Scramble

Well the below are the measurements that I use for this (typical) Sunday morning. I jazz it up with tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, asparagus and spinach. Pretty much whatever I have on hand. Bruce has come to love this as either a sandwich on rosemary sourdough or on an everything bagel. I serve this with a tempeh bacon, and the combinations are pretty endless.

Ingredients:

1/2 yellow onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1 block organic tofu, drained and pressed
2 tbsp oil or earth balance
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)

Preparation:

1. Slice the tofu into approximately one inch cubes. Then, using either your hands or a fork, crumble it slightly.

2. Sautee onion, pepper and crumbled tofu in oil for 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium and allow to cook 5-7 more minutes, stirring frequently and adding more oil if needed.

3. Wrap in a warmed flour tortilla with a bit of salsa for a breakfast burrito or top with soy or dairy cheese. Serves two.

Per serving provides approximately: Cal.: 365; Cal. fr. Fat: 220; Tot. Fat: 24.5g; Tot. Carb.: 18.9g; Chol.: 0mg; Sod.: 484mg; Dietary Fiber: 4.8g; Prot.: 24.2g; Vit. A 19%; Vit. C: 100%; Calcium: 39%; Iron: 33%

Found: About.com

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Conflicts of the Congo~Beyond Blood Diamonds & Minerals

While we’re watching the presidential candidates speak about the issues we feel are important. And, some of them are, don’t get me wrong. Elephants are fighting to just survive on the land that has been their home for decades.

On Tuesday, I read an article in The New York Times about elephants being slaughtered and poached at an alarming rate. While I was at work (on my break) reading the article in NYT, I’m crying. Yesterday, I read in Treehugger.com and CNN a “cliff notes” version of the same information. Elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory, to be sold in China. Like every commodity that Africa has, diamonds, minerals (used in our electronics), ivory is being used to fund corrupt government officials, the L.R.A. (Lord’s Resistance Army) and Joseph Kony funding some of the major conflicts of the Congo, and becoming his new lifeline. Joseph Kony is using guns like AKs, G-3s, PKMs and FNs, killing up to 10 elephants at times for the ivory to fund his atrocities on animals, humans and the environment.

While the NYT article went in to gory details about the poaching and implicating that even organized crime is involved. Stating that during the smuggling process, the ivory is being packaged in chilies to throw off the scent of sniffer dogs. Read the whole article here: www.nytimes.com/2012/09/04/world/africa/africas-elephants-are-being-slaughtered-in-poaching-frenzy.html?pagewanted=all

The reason I’m SO upset, is that the article didn’t mention what we can do…. In fact, all of the e-mails flooding my in box on this topic (since there are many) don’t mention what we can do. How do we, as citizens, take action? I already boycott items made in China, so much so that I work for a company that doesn’t purchase materials made in China to make the products we manufacture. How can I sleep at night knowing that this is happening and I have no idea where to begin as an activist?! In the ‘80s, when elephant poaching was at its peak, elephants still had a fighting chance. Today, some of the people hired to help them live, flourish and survive are partaking in the poaching. Today, poachers are using helicopters and scaring them into a contained area on the protected land. Today, weapons are being used that didn’t exist in the hands of poachers and today we are looking at 15-20 years of elephants in peril and facing extinction.





Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Creamed Spinach Sauce Over Sliced Mushroom Burgers

Creamed Spinach Sauce Over Sliced Mushroom Burgers
Vegan; 45 minutes; Serves 4

I made these last night and served them with blue baked potatoes. Bruce was SO thrilled with these, I think since there were so many different flavors in this dish....

Creamed Spinach
Makes 2 cups
1/2 teaspoon earth balance
1 Tablespoon minced onion
1 clove of garlic minced
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 cup hemp milk
1/2 cup low-sodium not-chick'n broth
kosher salt and black pepper
pinch cayenne
pinch nutmeg
garlic and red pepper to taste
4 cups chopped fresh spinach

1. In a large pan, over medium high heat, heat broth, hemp milk, spinach, garlic and onion. When the spinach starts to wilt (about 5-8 minutes), whisk in flour and spices. When the sauce starts to thicken, lower the heat to simmer until all the spinach has wilted.

To Make the Sliced Mushroom Burgers
Vegan; Serves 4

8-10 button mushrooms (depending on size); cleaned and sliced
olive oil to coat
balsamic vinegar to coat
dry white wine to coat
1 clove of garlic, minced

1. In a shallow glass dish, marinade mushrooms in oil, vinegar and white wine for 15-20 minutes.

2. Over medium-high heat, in a small pan, pour the mushroom mixture and heat until the mushrooms turn brown. Then lower heat to a simmer for about 5-7 minutes, and serve on toasted buns with the cream spinach mixture.










Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vegan Key Lime Pie


Vegan Key Lime Pie
45 minutes

I made this for a potluck on Sunday, and I didn't even get to make it out of the house before all but 2 slices were gone. Rave reviews from the entire party, so I know this is a hit! Super Easy, I had it assembled in about 30 minutes and froze it for about 8 hours with about a 30 minute commute in between. In a perfect world maybe freezing over night would work, but when your short on time, this still makes a spectacular presentation!

Ingredients:

Crust
1 cup almonds
1 cup dried Medjool dates
pinch of sea salt

Filling
3 1/2 cups raw cashews -soaked over night
3/4 cup fresh lime juice
3/4 cup agave
1 cup organic, unrefined coconut oil- liquefied (see below)
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
for extra lime flavor, I added about a 1/4 lime zest (optional)

Directions:

To melt coconut oil, if solid:

Measure out 1 cup of solid coconut oil and place in shallow bowl of warm water. As it softens, stir. Replace the water in the shallow bowl with fresh warm water and repeat until all is melted. I only needed to have the oil sit in the water for about 10-15 minutes to make it reach a fully liquid state.

To make crust:

Blend almonds, dates and a pinch of sea salt in a food processor until finely chopped. Press mixture very compactly into the bottom of a spring-form pan. I used the back of a spoon and my thumb to press the crust down, and it worked perfectly.

To make filling:

Take all filling ingredients and blend in food processor until smooth. Just let it go for a few minutes…. the texture should be nice and creamy.

To assemble:

Pour filling on top of crust and spread out until smooth. Cover with foil and freeze overnight. The freezing process will re-harden the coconut oil and set up the cake. After it is frozen you can refrigerate and it will be ready to serve after about one hour. Even though you have to freeze this cake to set it up, it is not a frozen cake… once refrigerated, it takes on an extremely similar texture to a regular old cheesecake.

Found and inspired by Manifest Vegan and a fellow Pinterest.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Banana Oat French Toast

Banana Oat French Toast
Makes 6 slices; Vegan

Serve this delicious, heart-healthy French toast with maple syrup and fresh fruit.

1 cup fortified vanilla soymilk
1/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1 medium banana
6 slices whole-grain bread
1 vegetable oil spray

1. Combine soymilk, oats, and banana in a blender. Process until completely smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a shallow dish.

2. Soak bread slices in batter until soft but not soggy. The amount of time this takes will vary depending on the bread used.

3. Cook over medium-high heat in a vegetable oil sprayed non-stick skillet until first side is golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn carefully with a spatula and cook second side until brown, about 3 minutes.

Per slice: Cal.: 126; Fat: 2.1 g; Sat. Fat: 0.4 g; Cal. from Fat: 15.2%; Chol.: 0 mg; Prot.: 5 g; Carb.: 23.5 g; Sugar: 6.9 g; Fiber: 3.2 g; Sod.: 173 mg; Calcium: 74 mg; Iron: 1.6 mg; Vitamin C: 1.8 mg; Beta Carotene: 6 mcg; Vitamin E: 0.7 mg

Source: Healthy Eating for Life for Women by Kristine Kieswer; recipe by Jennifer Raymond, M.S., R.D.

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Vegan; 45 minutes

This is great as a side dish, and use flavored infused balsamic vinegar. I used a serrano pepper (which I ran out of) and then used a white wine balsamic vinegar. These came out SO good, use the ingredients below as the guideline-using as much or as little....

Ingredients:

Brussels sprouts
garlic, minced
Olive Oil
Freshly Cracked White Pepper
Sea Salt
Balsamic Vinegar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Trim the stem end off the rinsed Brussels sprouts, remove any bad leaves, then cut the sprout in half lengthwise.

2. Place in a bowl and add enough olive oil to lightly coat them – just a tablespoon or so – again depending on how many you are making. Now add a tablespoon or two of balsamic vinegar – about the same amount as the olive oil, garlic, sea salt and white pepper. Marinade for about 5 minutes.

3. Toss this all together well and place on a non-greased baking sheet cut side down. Place in oven and roast 15 minutes. Then turn the sprouts over and cooking another 15 minutes. If your sprouts are large you may need a little more time. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Vegan Chick-fil-A Sandwiches

Vegan Chick-fil-A Sandwiches
Vegan; Serves 4

This is for the people out there that are trying to have a smaller carbon footprint, needing something that is kid friendly (that are transitioning to a kinder lifestyle) or are boycotting for support of gay rights! I've found this posted on several sites including The Kind Life and PETA....

4 vegan chicken cutlets (try Gardein Chick'n Scallopini)
3/4 cup plain, unsweetened soy or hemp milk
1/4 cup pickle juice
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 Tbsp. powdered sugar
3 cups peanut, canola, or vegetable oil, for frying
Olive oil cooking spray
4 buns
16 dill pickle chips

1. Defrost or thaw the chicken cutlets if frozen.

2. Combine the soy milk and the pickle juice in a bowl and mix well. Set aside.

3. Combine the flour, salt, pepper, onion powder, paprika, dry mustard, and powdered sugar in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Set aside.

4. Warm the peanut oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Dip a "chicken" cutlet into the wet mixture, coating evenly on all sides. Toss into the flour mixture and coat generously. Repeat with the remaining cutlets and set aside.

5. Place one cutlet in the frying pan using a pair of tongs. Flip occasionally to ensure even cooking. Allow to cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, or until the outside is crisp and golden brown. Allow to drain on a paper towel. Repeat with the remaining cutlets.

6. Lightly spray the buns with the cooking spray and place in a frying pan over low heat until slightly toasted.

7. Place 4 pickle chips on the bottom half of each bun, then top with the fried "chicken." Serve immediately.

Strawberry Mousse Cupcakes

Strawberry Mousse Cupcakes
Vegan; Makes 16

Speaking of birthdays, I made these a few years ago for mine. So, these were my "Stuck in the Middle with You" cupcakes to with my Quentin Tarantino themed party. These turned out really good, my non-veg friends were very impressed! I warn you, there are a lot of steps-so worth it!

For the Cupcakes:

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups vanilla soy milk
2 cups plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. organic sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a cupcake pan with cupcake liners.

2. Mix the vinegar and soy milk together and set aside.

3. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and set aside.

4. In another bowl, stir together the soy milk mixture, the canola oil, and the vanilla extract and add to the dry ingredients, mixing well.

5. Fill each cupcake liner about two-thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cupcake comes out clean.

6. Let cool in the cupcake pan for 5 minutes, then remove and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely before frosting.


For the Strawberry Filling: (This part can be cut in half, I had WAY too much left over)

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup organic apple juice
1/4 cup organic unbleached granulated sugar
4 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup water

1. Place the strawberries and apple juice in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the strawberries soften.

2. While stirring, slowly add the sugar. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add to the saucepan. Heat until thickened, being careful not to boil.

3. Remove from the heat. While still warm, blend briefly with a hand blender, creating the consistency of a very thick purée. If you do not have a hand blender, use a traditional blender instead.

4. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, until jelly-like.

For the Strawberry Mousse:

1 cup vegan margarine
1/4 cup nonfat soy milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4-5 Tbsp. prepared strawberry filling
5-6 cups organic powdered sugar
1 drop red food coloring (optional)

1. Beat the margarine until creamy. Add the soy milk, vanilla, and strawberry filling and mix well. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in the food coloring, if desired. Beat for 5 to 10 minutes.

To Assemble:

1. Cut a cone-shaped piece out of the top of each cupcake. Fill with 1 to 2 teaspoons of the strawberry filling. Replace the cupcake top and frost with the strawberry mousse.

Found: PETA

I'm So Blue Mashed Potatoes

I'm So Blue Mashed Potatoes
Vegan; Serves 4

While shopping at the farmers market on Saturday, I was able to find more of my favorite blue potatoes. Since it's Grants birthday, and needing a kid friendly side to go with the portabella mushroom steaks, I made these. Several years ago, I made these for a holiday dinner-the color is a beautiful blueish purple.... Loosely use the measurements below, every taste is different.

1 pound blue potatoes, scrubbed and semi skinned-cut into large-medium chunks
(I like to leave some of the skin on, so they don't fall apart-more rustic)
1-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1-1 1/2 cups hemp milk
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
1-2 teaspoons garlic powder
1-2 teaspoons rosemary
sea salt and black pepper to taste (I used 2 pinches of sea salt)

1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add potatoes and cook until tender, about 15-20 minutes. Drain.

2. In a large bowl, combine vegetable broth, hemp milk (a little at a time, about 1/2 a cup) with the potatoes. (I used my hand mixer, since my potato masher is in storage.) Using a hand mixer, on the lowest speed mix until liquid is gone. Add earth balance, rosemary and garlic. (Here is where you taste it to see if you need to add more, to get the flavor and texture you want.)

Serve warm and enjoy!