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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

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

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

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 Pasta

Basic Homemade Pasta

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! **UPDATE : I used this recipe in making my homemade tortellini which is in the picture**

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


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.