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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Spinach Phyllo Spanakopita

Spinach Phyllo Spanakopita
Vegan; Serves 4

With all of the steps I took to make this, it truly is a labor of love. The tofu feta recipe and the cashew cream was used with this. Bruce loved it and the boys really liked it. So, the next time I make this; I will have to triple the recipe. I adapted this recipe from Martha Stewart's Spinach Phyllo Pie....


2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
1/4 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby spinach, sliced in 1 inch slices
1 cup crumbled vegan tofu feta (4 ounces)
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons roasted garlic and bell pepper seasoning
Coarse salt and ground pepper
10 sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a medium pan, heat oil over medium-high. Add onion and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Cook spinach, adding 1-2 Tablespoons of water, tossing, until wilted. Stir in pine nuts and add roasted garlic and bell pepper seasoning. (To store, refrigerate, up to 2 days.)

3. Unroll phyllo. Place 1 sheet on a work surface (keep remaining sheets covered with a damp kitchen towel to prevent drying); brush with oil. Lay another sheet on top and brush with oil. Repeat until you have 10 layers of phyllo. Spread spinach mixture and tofu feta lengthwise down middle of phyllo stack. Roll into a log, brushing the seam with oil before sealing. Brush log with oil. Using a small sharp knife, make 8 diagonal cuts on top.

Serve with Cashew Cream

Tofu Feta

Tofu Feta
Vegan; Gluten-Free

I made this (again) to go with the fabulous meal for Bruce and the boys. Even Bruce mentioned that this wouldn't slip past a Greek, but it was an amazing meal.

1 block extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed to remove any extra water (see notes in the blog for an easy tip)
3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 Tablespoons kalamata or other olive juice (from a jar or can of olives packed in water, not oil)
4 Tablespoons of lemon juice
2-3 teaspoons sea salt (I used pinches instead of teaspoons)

1. The night before, freeze the pressed tofu overnight in a freezer safe plastic bag.

2. The next day, let the frozen tofu thaw for about 4 hours and then press again to remove any moisture. (When I did this, I hand squeezed it and there was a lot of moisture.) Crumble into 1/2 inch chunks into a medium bowl.

3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive juice, lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of the sea salt. Drizzle over the tofu and stir to combine.

4. Let rest in the fridge for 1 hour (I let it sit for 30 minutes), stir again and let rest 1 hour longer (I skipped this "rest" step). Add the remaining teaspoon of salt to taste, if desired.
**Will keep fresh in an airtight container for 1 week.

Found: Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats

Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream
Vegan; Gluten Free; Prep Time: 6 hrs.; 10 minutes

I made this to go with the fabulous meal for Bruce and the boys. When I made the recipe originally I followed it to a "T". I felt like it called for way too much lemon juice, so in the post it I'm adjusting the lemon juice. If you feel you need more add an extra tablespoon. To make sweet add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar.

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in 4 cups of water for at least 6 hours, then drained
1 cup cold water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Dash or two of sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth, about 5 minutes.
**Will keep fresh for one week in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

Found: Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats

Monday, July 30, 2012

No Orinary Hash-browns

No Ordinary Hash-browns
Vegan; Serves 2

Hash-browns tend to be a very southern dish. I'd never even heard of it till I had been living in San Antonio, TX for a while. Instead of potatoes, jicama takes the place. This dish has the same texture with a tiny bit of an extra crunch and less calories.....


2 cups of jicama, peeled and grated
1/2 onion, chopped
1 Tbs. oil or earth balance
1/4 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon vegan Parmesan cheese

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the jicama, nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan cheese, and pepper and cook until brown. Add as a side to mixed fruit and soy vanilla yogurt or some tofu scramble....

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Not Your Traditional Waldorf Salad

Not Your Traditional Waldorf Salad
Vegan; Serves 6; 30 minutes or fewer

When my sister had asked me to find recipes for jicama, I knew the perfect recipe to try out. Using what Bruce and I like instead of what is called for in the true Waldorf Salad, this is a tasty light meal. Serve with some garlic bread, but better yet, use it in a sandwich and it's good eating.....

1/4 cup broken pecan nuts
1/2 jicama, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 bosc pears, cored and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup red grapes
1/2 a pound of spinach

1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 Tablespoon parsley

1. To Make Salad: Preheat oven to 350. Spread pecans on baking sheet and toast 8 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Set aside to cool.

2. Combine jicama, pears, grapes and toasted pecans in a large bowl.

3 To Make Dressing: Stir mayonnaise, lemon juice, maple syrup and parsley in a small bowl. Season with black pepper, if desired.

4. To Serve: Arrange a handful of spinach on each plate or bread and top with 1 cup of salad and other slice of bread, if making a sandwich.

Adapted from The Classic Waldorf Salad

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Not Your Mothers Potato Salad

Not Your Mothers Potato Salad
Vegan; Serves 4

Using the Chipotle Mayo (recipe in the blog) as the perfect pairing to this recipe.... Depending on if your taking this to a picnic or a potluck, adjust the measurements accordingly.

1/2 a pound of blue potatoes, scrubbed, peeled and chopped
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
zest and juice of 1/2 a lime
2 Tablespoons of chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tablespoons of chipotle mayo
2 Tablespoons of WayFare Pig Out-Whole Grain Bacony Bits (I picked up from Nooch in Denver, CO)

1.Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Place blue potatoes in a small to medium casserole dish. Drizzle with oil. Bake for 50 minutes or until tender. Transfer to a bowl, and prep the rest of the ingredients.

3. Make the chipotle mayo and mix in with the potatoes, until well coated. Add the lime zest, lime juice and the cilantro, mixing again. Toss bacony bits and serve warm or room tempature.

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini
Serves 4

When I made this the other night, I only scooped out 1 zucchini. However, I'm finding large ones at the Farmers Markets. I ended up forgetting to add the tomatoes while cooking the veggie mix, so I added it at the end with bread crumbs and the crushed red pepper. Bruce loved the non-dairy cream cheese mentioning that it made the dish. You decide.... Happy Wednesday.....

1 large zucchini, sliced in half lengthwise and the "meat" scooped out and chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 tomato, diced
3 large button mushrooms, chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup onion, chopped (I used the green tops-leaves from the one I picked up from the farmers market)
2 Tablespoons Italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 8oz. container of non-dairy cream cheese, (I used Follow Your Heart; Vegan Gourmet)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil in glass casserole dish. Set aside.

2. In a medium sized skillet (I use my beloved cast iron) over medium-high, heat remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic and onion, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes. Add the red bell pepper and mushrooms, cooking for about 3 more minutes. Finally add the zucchini (and tomatoes) cooking for about 2-3 minutes, adding the non-dairy cream cheese and black pepper. Once the non-dairy cream has melted, stuff the zucchini shells.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, and at the ten minutes sprinkle with bread crumbs and crushed red pepper. If you forget the tomatoes (like I did) sprinkle the tomatoes on first, before the other toppings. Chopped walnuts are nice too....

Serve with some crusty garlic bread and some dry white wine.... Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Looks Not So Simple-Very Simple Cherry Pie

Looks Not So Simple-Very Simple Cherry Pie

When I made this for Bruce, he instantly fell in love with it. So much, that he didn't even share with his boys. Since my oven had been on ALL day, earlier I made 9 dozen dog biscuits for a fund raiser, my crust edges ended up being darker then I would have liked.... I used a small star cookie cutter for the design.

Two rolled out basic pie dough (see recipe)
1 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups (1 1/2 pound) drained jarred or canned pitted sour cherries, plus 1/3 cup cherry liquid
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon cold earth balance

1. Fold 1 dough round in half and carefully transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Unfold and ease the dough into the pan without stretching, patting it firmly into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Using kitchen scissors or a knife, trim the edge of the dough leaving a 3/4-inch overhang. Refrigerate the dough lined pan and reserved dough round till ready to use.

2. In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Place the cherries in a large bowl. Sprinkle with the sugar mixture, tossing to cover evenly. Add the vanilla and mix well. Pour the cherry mixture into the prepared pie crust and dot with earth balance.

3. Lay the second pie dough on a lightly floured work surface and cut a pattern using a small cookie cutter. Or, cut into strips to make a lattice pattern using a sharp paring knife. If using a cookie cutter, save the shapes for decorating the top. Fold the dough in half and carefully position over half of the filled pie. Unfold the dough, and fold the edge of the top dough under the edge of the bottom dough. Crimp the edges with a fork. Apply cutouts to the top of the dough, applying a dab of water to the bottom of each cutout to help them stick. Refrigerate pie until the dough is firm (about 30 minutes). Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

4. Bake pie for 15 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake until the crust is golden and the filling is thick and bubbling. About 40-50 minutes longer. Let cool completely to set the filling. Warm pie again before serving.

Adapted from Willams Sonoma Fruit Desserts

Friday, July 20, 2012

Basic Pie Crust~Vegan Style

Basic Pie Crust

I'm old school, so I always make my pie crust from scratch. However, to make this recipe even more simple you can buy prepared pie crust-just make sure to read the ingredient list.

Here is the basic pie crust recipe-double it for both layers.
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold earth balance, cut into cubes
3 Tablespoons cold water (being in a higher altitude, I keep having to add more liquid)

1. Stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using two knives, cut the earth balance into the flour mixture until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with earth balance pieces are no larger than small peas. Add the water a little at a time and mix with a fork just until the dough pulls together.

2. Transfer the dough to work surface, pat into a ball and flatten into a disk. Lightly flour the work surface, then flatten the disk with six to eight gentle taps of the rolling pin. Lift the dough and give a quarter turn. Lightly dust the top of the dough or the rolling pin with flour as needed, then roll out the dough into a round disk about 12 inches in diameter and about 1/8 inch thick.

**Note: Pie crust can be frozen for up to two months. To freeze, place dough on a 12-inch cardboard circle and wrap it well with plastic wrap.

Adapted from William Somona Fruit Desserts

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms

Italian Stuffed Mushrooms
Vegan; Serves 2; 45 minutes

So, I made these 2 nights ago, and they came out fabulous. However, the one complaint from Bruce is "You don't make enough food!" I only had 8 mushrooms, so a girl works with what shes got.... To turn this into a main dish, use more little mushrooms or the large portabella mushroom caps.

8 open-cap mushrooms (I used button)
4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1/3 cup dry white wine, divided
1/3 cup onion, diced
1 large clove of garlic, minced-divided (or 2 small cloves)
1 zucchini, chopped (I used 1/2 a yellow and 1/2 a green)
1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
2 Tablespoons pine nuts
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella cheese
parsley and crushed red pepper to taste
black pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Remove the stalks from the mushrooms and chop finely. Reserve the caps.

2. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil and 1/2 white wine in a cast iron skillet. Add the onion and half the garlic and onion, sauté till the onion becomes translucent (about 2-3 minutes). Add mushroom stalks and zucchini, cook for about 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally.

3. Stir in bread crumbs, basil, tomato paste, and pine nuts. Spoon mixture into mushroom caps. Sprinkle parsley, crushed red pepper, black pepper and cheese.

4. Place mushrooms in oven-proof dish and pour the rest of the oil and wine around them. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until stuffing is cooked trough and cheese is melted (if you have extra stuffing, sprinkle around the mushrooms in the baking dish). **NOTE: IF the mushrooms are drying out drizzle some olive oil half way through the baking time.**

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Blueberry-Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping

Blueberry-Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping

These are by far my mom's favorite muffin recipe! When I worked at the CPA's office in SA, I would bring these in on those deadline days, and they would be devoured (by non vegans)! Super easy to make and they go quick, this is one of those perfect recipes for super ripe bananas....

3 ripe bananas
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour, divided
3/4 cup fresh or unthawed frozen blueberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 Tbsp. nondairy margarine

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with the oil and sugar and mix well.

3. In a small bowl, sift together the salt, the baking soda, and 2 cups of the flour.

4. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture and stir by hand until the two are thoroughly combined. Fold in the blueberries.

5. Pour the batter into a lined muffin pan.

6. In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of flour, the brown sugar, and the nondairy margarine. Stir until the mixture forms coarse crumbs, then sprinkle the crumbs onto the muffins.

7. Bake the muffins for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Makes 10–12 muffins


Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
Vegan; makes about 16

For all of those hikers out there, these are the perfect snack to take with you. For all of you busy parents, these are a perfect quick snack to take while running errands. Try different jams to fit your kids or your tastes.... Happy snacking and 4th of July!

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (you can find gluten free on the market)
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup earth balance, softened
egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 cup strawberry jam
1/2 cup mixed nuts (I used a mix of chopped pecans, walnuts and almonds-optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Coat a 9" square baking dish with cooking spray.

2. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in egg replacer, vanilla extract and almond extract until smooth. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; mix until combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups oats and nuts. Spread 2/3 of batter to prepared baking dish. Spread strawberry jam over the batter using the back of a spoon. Add remaining 1/4 cup oats to batter, then crumble over the strawberry jam.

4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cool. Cut into bars.

Per bar: 232 cal.; 3 grams prot. (more if you add nuts); 7 grams total fat (more if you add nuts-but good fats) 4 grams sat. fat; 41 grams carbs.; 23 mg chol.; 85 mg sod.; 1 gram fiber; 26 grams sugars.

Adapted from Vegetarian Times July/August 2008

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tofu Vegetable Hash

Tofu Vegetable Hash
Makes 8 1-cup servings

Make this once and eat it for several days! This makes a lot of food, I cut the recipe in half and still had SO much food!

2 russet potatoes, scrubbed and diced
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
2 1/2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 pound firm reduced-fat tofu, rinsed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 bunch fresh basil, stemmed and chopped
1/2 cup water, divided
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cups broccoli florets
2 heads baby bok choy, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Steam potatoes until they are just tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet, then add onion and mushrooms. Cook over high heat, stirring often, until onion is golden and mushrooms are brown, about 5 minutes. Add tofu, basil, and 1/4 cup water. Cook 3 minutes over high heat, stirring often and adding small amounts of water if needed to prevent sticking. Reduce heat to medium and add tomatoes, broccoli, bok choy, soy sauce, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup water. Stir gently to mix, then cover and cook until broccoli is just tender, about 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Per 1-cup serving
Cal: 141; Fat: 4.6 g; Sat. Fat: 0.7 g; Cal from Fat: 29.7%; Chol: 0 mg; Prot: 8.7 g; Carbs: 19.1 g; Sugar: 3.4 g; Fiber: 5.5 g; Sod: 249 mg; Calcium: 159 mg; Iron: 4.3 mg; Vit C: 53.3 mg; Beta Carotene: 3038 mcg; Vitamin E: 1 mg
From Turn Off the Fat Genes by Neal D. Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Jennifer Raymond M.S., R.D.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Elephant Awareness Day

Dear Editor,

Why Colorado Springs should join the ranks of Los Angeles, CA; Dane County, WI; Hollywood, FL; and other localities with bans on elephant acts.

On Saturday, June 10, 2012 a whistle blower alerted People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) of an elephant chained by two legs being struck six times by a trainer using a bullhook with full force.

While Ringling Brothers Circus shows exploit elephants, horses, and large cats and rakes in annual profits of $500 million to $1 billion USD; the care for these animals are dismal at best. From the lack of clean water, being locked in small cages and the severe beatings, we as a community would never stand for this if they were children or our companion animals. So why elephants?

Last year Ringling Brothers were fined $270,000USD for a similar case while performing in Colorado Springs at The World Arena. When we continue to give our money to establishments like this, we condone abuse as entertainment, and our city will continue to be tainted by the realities of the ugly underbelly that is behind the curtain.

Los Angeles will be celebrating Elephant Awareness Day on August 3, 2012 and National Elephant Appreciation Day is September 22, 2012. We should make one of these two days our goal to ban the Saddest Show on Earth.

Your Reader,