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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!