Friday, July 30, 2010

Semi-homemade Blackberry Napoleon With A Sweet Strawberry Reduction

Morgan, from Little House of Veggies, and her family, recently met up with me and my family, to do some berry picking at a local farm.  I thought it would be fun to make something out of the berries for my blog.  Originally, I was thinking I would make something with the strawberries alone.  That is however, until I tried the blackberries straight off the bush.  They were amazing!  I think I ate 2 cups worth right then and there.  The flavor and texture were perfect.  I came up with this super easy, semi-homemade blackberry napoleon.  I didn't want to leave the strawberries out completely, I mean, they were good too.  So, I made this sweet strawberry reduction.  Just a little goes a long way.  I have a lot left over, so I think we will just put it on our toast for breakfast this week.

Sweet Strawberry Reduction

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2 cups fresh strawberries
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
4 tablespoons Earth Balance 'Butter'

Directions
1.  Bring water and berries to a boil.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
3.  Using a hand blender, blend until smooth.  You could use a food processor or stand blender as well.
4.  Pour through a strainer to get out any big chunks.
5.  Return to pot and add sugar and 'butter' and cook over medium heat.  Stir until the sugar is dissolved and the butter has melted.
6.  Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes.
7.  Remove from heat to cool.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Puffed Pastry

Ingredients
1 package frozen puffed pastry dough (I used Pepperidge Farm brand.  It's vegan!)
1 tablespoon Earth Balance 'butter', melted
4 tablespoons turbinado sugar

1.  Thaw puffed pastry.  It takes about 45 minutes.
2.  Using a cookie cutter (I used a cup/glass), cut out circles in the dough and place them on a greased cookie sheet.
3.  Brush the tops with butter and then sprinkle the sugar on each.
4.  Bake in a preheated 400 degree F oven for 10-12 minutes.
5.  Remove and allow to cool before serving.

Whipped 'Cream'

Ingredients
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pint of MimicCreme Healthy Top (This product is 100% vegan and so cool.  I haven't been able to find it in any health food stores near me, so I order it online.  P.S. I have a few recipes that use their regular unsweetened 'cream' and I love that too!)

Directions
1.  Put the 'Healthy Top' in the freezer for about 25 minutes before you are ready to whip it.
2.  Whip the 'Healthy Top' with the vanilla until it reaches your desired stiffness, or about 4 minutes.

Assembly

Ingredients
Whipped 'Cream'
Sweet Strawberry Reduction
Puffed Pastry
2 pints blackberries

Directions
1.  Open your puffed pastry like a sandwich.
2.  Put a spoonful of the 'Healthy Top' on the bottom half of your pastry.
3.  Top with about 6 blackberries.
4.  Place the top halt of the pastry on the berries and add another dollop of 'Healthy Top'.
5.  Top with 1 or 2 more berries.
6.  Around the napoleon, drip about a spoonful of the strawberry reduction and serve.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Greek Infused Red Quinoa, Hummus And Vegetable Stuffed Cabbage

I love the idea of stuffed veggies.  I just think it is a fun and flavorful way to serve a dish.  I drew from the flavors in a dish that I love from one of my favorite restaurants, Native Foods, and adapted them to fit nicely in a cabbage leaf.  I am going to be thinking of a dozen other ways to stuff a cabbage leaf because it was so fun to make and it turned out so great.  I could give my family a culinary world tour in a cabbage leaf...  Stay tuned...

Prepping The Cabbage

Ingredients
Large head of green cabbage
Large pot of boiling water

Directions
1.  Remove the core from the cabbage.
2.  Place the cabbage in the boiling water.
3.  As the leaves soften and pull away from the head, pull them out of the water and set them aside.
4.  Repeat until all the leaves are removed.

The Red Quinoa

Ingredients
1 cup red quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Directions
1.  Combine all ingredients, except lemon juice, in a pot and bring to a boil.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer for about 17 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
3.  Toss quinoa with the lemon juice.

The Vegetables

Ingredients
2 cups carrots, chopped
2 cups cauliflower, chopped
2 cups zucchini, chopped
2 cups Swiss chard, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
1.  Over medium high heat, saute garlic in olive oil until golden.
2.  Reduce heat to medium and add carrots, cauliflower, kale, salt and water.  
3.  Cover and cook for 3 minutes.
4.  Add zucchini and cover and cook for 1 more minute.
5.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Stuffing The Cabbage

Ingredients
Cabbage Leaves
Red Quinoa
Vegetables
Your favorite hummus
Green onions, ends trimmed, boiled for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes and blanched

Directions
1.  Spread a spoonful of hummus in a line at the bottom of the cabbage leaf.
2.  Top with equal amount of red quinoa and vegetables (I did about 2 spoonfuls of each).
3.  Roll the leaf half way and then tuck the sides in and continue to roll.
4.  Tie a green onion around the cabbage to secure it closed.

       

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whole Wheat Linguine And Bell Peppers With Spicy Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce is something that my hubby, Dr J. and I are picky about.  I think that there are a lot of ways to make it, and there's a lot of personal preference involved.  Last Sunday night we set out to master our own perfect peanut sauce.  We threw out our first attempt... it was a little salty and the sesame oil was too overpowering.  The second go, we lessened the amount of soy and eliminated the sesame oil altogether.  The result was just what our taste buds were looking for... our very own perfect peanut sauce.

Spicy Peanut Sauce

Ingredients
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons red curry paste
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
salt to taste

Directions
1.  Over medium heat combine oil, garlic and ginger until aromatic.
2.  Reduce heat to low and add remaining ingredients, stirring constantly.

Cooked Bell Peppers and Onions

Ingredients
1 large yellow onion
1 tablespoon olive oil, or enough to coat a large saute pan.
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions
1.  Heat oil in pan over medium heat.
2.  Add onions and cook until translucent.
3.  Add remaining ingredients and continue to cook for about 6-7 minutes.

To Assemble The Pasta Dish

Ingredients
Cooked bell peppers and onions
Spicy Peanut Sauce
Whole wheat linguine noodles, cooked al dente

Directions
Toss the noodles in your desired amount of the spicy peanut sauce.  Add veggies and gently toss to evenly distribute them throughout the noodles.

     

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Better For You Scotcharoo

If you haven't ever had a scotcharoo, well, let me just say, they are yummy.  These treats do have a few downsides.  First, whenever I make them, I end up eating half the pan myself.  Second, because they are so sweet and I consume so many of them, my mouth hurts for a day or two after eating the last one.  This can't be good... and with all the corn syrup and refined sugar the original recipe calls for, they certainly aren't good for you.

So, here is my attempt to make them better for you.  I used a lot less sugar than the recipe calls for, and I substituted blue agave nectar for the corn syrup.  Also, I used organic whole grain puffed rice instead of 'Rice Krispies' or similar cereals.  Now, because of these changes, the texture is not exactly the same... but the flavor profiles are.  Dr. J and the kiddos loved them, and I won't feel so bad about eating half the pan myself...

Peanut Butter Puffed Rice

Ingredients
5 cups organic whole grain rice puffs
1 cup peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural Creamy)
1/3 cup blue agave nectar
2/3 cup turbinado sugar

Directions
1.  Over medium low heat, combine the sugar and agave nectar until the sugar is dissolved.
2.  Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the peanut butter.
3.  Add in the rice puffs and stir until they are evenly coated.
4.  Pour the rice puffs into a lightly oiled 9x13 pan and spread them out evenly.

Chocolate Topping

Ingredients
1 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon imitation butter flavor
2 tablespoons agave nectar

Directions
1.  Over low heat combine all the ingredients and stir constantly until all the chocolate chips have melted.
2.  Pour over the pan of puffed rice and spread evenly with a spatula.
3.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator prior to cutting into squares and serving.

       

Monday, July 26, 2010

Spicy Curry 'Chik'n' Salad

There was a restaurant where I grew up that served a salad similar to this.  Unfortunately, it closed a few years ago. Luckily, my mom had the recipe!  This is my version, with a few changes of course...

And just to give you an idea of how yummy this is...

My friends and family are usually more than willing taste testers.  I do have a 'meat & potatoes' brother-in-law who was over at our house the other day, who tends to shy away from trying my meatless recipes.  I did however, get him to try this... and... HE LOVED IT!

Ingredients
8 oz. of your choice of vegan 'chik'n', prepared according to package, roughly chopped into bite sized pieces and cooled (I used the Morningstar Farms Mealstarters Chik'n Strips)
1 cup celery, diced
1/3 cup red onion, diced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 1/2 cup red grapes
1 cup cashews, roughly chopped or left whole depending on your preference
2/3 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Directions
1.  In a small bowl mix mayo, parsley, curry powder, white pepper and red onion.
2.  In a larger bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
3.  Combine the two bowls and serve.  My favorite way to eat this salad is on a sandwich, but it's also good on a plate full of salad greens.

     

Friday, July 23, 2010

New Mama Banana Nut Cookies

After I had my first child, my mom came to stay with my husband and I to help out for a week.  She cooked and cleaned and held my new baby while I slept or showered.  She gave me advice with breastfeeding and caring for this new little life, of which I had no experience.  It is one of my favorite memories.  During that visit she expressed how important it was to of get good nutrition in order to keep my milk supply up.  Before she left, she wanted to make sure I had enough good food that was readily available to snack on.  She made me about 4 dozen banana nut cookies to keep in my freezer so I could pull a few out as I needed them.  Ever since, I have made it tradition to make some banana nut cookies to have in my freezer to snack on when I have a new baby.  Last April, when I had baby #3, I even took some with me to the hospital and my hubby and I could snack on them.  In my recipe, not only do they taste good, but they are good for you.  The coconut oil is one of the best oils out there, and with the whole wheat pastry flour and the flaxseed meal, you are getting a lot of fiber.  The nuts add protein and good fats, and we all know bananas are good for you!  So, new mama or not, these are an awesome treat for everyone.

Ingredients
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
3.  In another large bowl mix oil, vanilla, cinnamon, bananas, flaxseed meal and sugar.
4.  Once the wet mixture is combined, add in the bowl from step #2.
5.  After the dough is mixed, stir in the chopped pecans.
6.  Place spoonful sized dough balls on a nonstick cookie sheet.  If you don't have a nonstick cookie sheet, you may need to lightly oil yours to keep the cookies from sticking.
7.  Place cookies in oven and bake for 8-10 minutes.
8.  Once they have cooled, I like to freeze some of them to pull out as-needed.  That's my secret to keeping myself and my family from eating them all at once.

      

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cilantro-Lime Edamamus

The first time I ever tried edamame was at a friend's house, when I was a teenager.  My dad and one of my sisters are allergic to soy, so we never ate any soy growing up.  Boy, am I glad I'm not allergic to it!  (Sorry, Sis.)  It's just such a great snack.  Not only does it taste good, but it's really good for you.  Soybeans are rich in carbs, protein, fiber and omega 3's.  I still think that just boiling the soybeans in salt is the best and easiest way to eat them... but I did want to get a little creative with this healthy snack food, so I made this hummus-like dip.  It turned out great and added a little variety to our snacking.

Ingredients
2 tablespoons minced red onion
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red curry paste
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lime juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 cup edamame, cooked as directed on package, cooled and removed from pods

Directions
I could tell you that I put each ingredient in the food processor a certain way, but I didn't.  I just threw everything in and let her process until everything was well combined.  You could serve this with chips, pita wedges, veggies or as a spread on a sandwich or wrap.

      

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Balsamic Glazed Portobello Sandwich With Lemon Basil Aioli

I think it is safe to say that portobello mushrooms are one of my favorite foods.  Right up there with chocolate, believe it or not!  Not only do they have an amazing flavor, but they are hearty.  My meat-eating father-in-law's comment after eating this mushroom-filled sandwich, was that he didn't miss the meat at all.  I give the credit to the mushrooms.  I also have to give them credit for making my journey back to a meat-free lifestyle an absolute pleasure.  I have come across people who assume that not eating meat means you are depriving yourself.  I think that I deprived myself more when I did eat meat because I didn't take the time to taste the foods that the earth herself had grown for us and all of the exciting and diverse flavors that exist out there.  So here is one of my favorite recipes that always reminds me of why I prefer to eat the way I do.


Lemon Basil Aioli

Ingredients
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
3/4 cup vegan mayo (I use Follow Your Heart Vegenaise)
juice from 1/2 lemon
2 cloves garlic

Directions
Toss ingredients in a blender and blend until well combined.

Balsamic Glazed Portobellos and Veggies

Ingredients
4 portobello mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
2 red onions, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions
1.  Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.
2.  Add garlic and onion and saute until translucent, about 7-10 minutes.
3.  Add remaining ingredients and cook for another 7-10 minutes, stirring occasionally to cook evenly.

The Sandwich

Ingredients
Lemon Basil Aioli
Balsamic Glazed Portobellos and Veggies
Your favorite roll, sliced bread or bun

Directions
Spread a generous amount of the aioli on your bread and top it with as much of the portobellos and veggies as will fit.  Grad a napkin and enjoy!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Dr. J's Tropical Granola

My hubby loves granola.  While he was in dental school, he left our apartment every day before 5:00am and didn't return until late in the evening.  Because of his schedule, he found it hard to eat normal meals, and because we were living on such a tight budget, he rarely bought food at school.  This is where granola saved him.  He could easily take it with him and it gave him protein from the nuts and carbohydrates from the oats which helped to get him through the day.  Because he ate it so much, we had to mix it up.  Sometimes he even would make his own granola bars.  Usually he liked some form of chocolate in his granola, but I wanted to branch out a little with this recipe.  He does have a soft spot for dried pineapple, so I added that to satisfy his sweet tooth.  This is easy to make and the added bonus is it makes your house smell phenomenal for hours!

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup shaved coconut
1 cup dried pineapple
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1.  In a large bowl, mix almonds, cashews, oats, coconut, and brown sugar.
2.  In a separate bowl, mix maple syrup, oil and vanilla.
3.  Pour wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir to coat.
4.  In a preheated 250 degree F oven, bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes to make sure it cooks evenly.
5.  I added the pineapple to the granola the last 20 minutes because I wanted it caramelize a bit, but you could just add it after you take the granola out of the oven if you prefer it just as it is.

 

Monday, July 19, 2010

Vegan Alfredo Sauce With Whole Wheat Pasta And Broccoli

If you were to ask my kids what they wanted to eat, no matter the time of day, 97% of the time, they would say, "Noodles".  Their love of noodles is borderline addiction.  And not just any noodle and sauce will do.  My sister made my 5 year old boxed mac and cheese once and my daughter told her it wasn't flavorful enough.  How rude!  I've spoiled them because I always make the sauces from scratch.  They just taste so much better that way, and they are usually just as easy to make.

Ingredients
1/2 stick of Earth Balance Buttery Stick
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 cup cashew cream (I used this recipe)

Directions
1.  Over medium heat, melt 'butter'.
2.  Add garlic and cook until it starts to brown.
3.  Add cashew cream and stir in remaining ingredients.
4.  Cook over medium, stirring with a whisk until the sauce is combined and reaches your desired temperature.
5.  I like to pour it over whole wheat pasta and add a veggie with it.  Broccoli, or "little trees", as my kids call them, is what I usually use.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Teacup Chocolate Beet Cakes With 'Cream Cheese' Frosting

The first time I cooked with beets, it was a disaster.  At the time, my husband and I were newly married, poor college students, and I was inspired by a cooking show I watched every Saturday morning, on one of the only channels that we got via out TV antenna.  It was an episode of New Scandinavian Cooking hosted by Andreas Viestad where he made an authentic borscht.  It was one of those dishes that just looked like it tasted amazing.  Well, I attempted to recreate it and it was not amazing.  It was so bad, I have not touched a beet since... that is until last weekend at our local farmer's market, when I decided to give this root another try.  I did, and this time it was amazing!

Beet Puree

Ingredients
4-5 beets, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch cubes
water

Directions
1.  Place the beets in a pan and add just enough water to cover them.
2.  Bring to a boil and cook until beets are tender.  They should feel similar to a boiled potato when they are done.
3.  Drain beets and place in a blender.
4.  Add 1/4 cup water and blend until it becomes the consistency of applesauce, adding more water as needed.

Teacup Chocolate Beet Cake

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups beet puree
1/2 cup applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 3/4 turbinado sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
1.  Combine beet puree, applesauce, vanilla, sugar and cocoa powder and mix until combined.
2.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients, except chocolate chips.
3.  Slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture and combine.
4.  Mix in chocolate chips.
5.  Fill teacups just over 3/4's full with the batter and bake in a 325 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.  (Because teacup sizes vary, make sure that once you hit the 30 minute mark, you test the cakes every 3-5 minutes with a toothpick to check for doneness.  When the toothpick comes out mostly clean, the cakes are done.)

Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients
1/2 cup Earth Balance 'butter'
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup plain Tofutti 'Cream Cheese'
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
1.  Cream together the butter, coconut oil, vanilla and 'cream cheese'.
2.  Slowly add the powdered sugar and blend until smooth.
3.  Frost on cooled teacup cakes and refrigerate any left over frosting.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Homemade Cashew Butter

One day when I was in a hurry, I managed to purchase a $12.00 jar of peanut butter.  I didn't realize it until I was checking out, and of course at that point my kids were losing it, so I just bought it anyway.  It was 'natural' and 'organic', which I know, can raise the price...but the taste wasn't anything to write home about.  Ever since this experience I have been meaning to try to make my own nut butter, in attempts to make it the best quality, best tasting and less expensive nut butter.  Mission accomplished!  My 5 year old picky eater practically licked out the remaining cashew butter in the food processor when I let her try it.

I decided to use coconut oil in this recipe... mostly because I am in love with coconut oil at the moment.  Not only do I adore the taste of coconuts, but I've been researching all the amazing benefits of using coconut oil.  Read more about it here.

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups raw, unsalted cashews
1 tablespoon blue agave nectar
4-6 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions
Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Start with 4 tablespoons of oil and add more if you want your cashew butter to be creamier (I used 6 tablespoons in mine).  Blend ingredients until it reaches your desired consistency.  At this point, taste it, and if you want it to be sweeter, go ahead and add more agave nectar and blend it to combine.  You will need to refrigerate it because there aren't any preservatives.  As it chills it will become more solid, so before you are going to use it again, scoop out the desired amount and allow it to become closer to room temperature so you can spread it more easily.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fresh Veggies On Red Cabbage And Romaine With 'Chik'n', Crispy Bean Noodles And Spicy Mango Dressing

You read it right... it's another mango inspired recipe.  I tend to use an ingredient once, and then I get a ton of ideas of how I could create other recipes with it.  Mango's are a perfect example of that!  So bear with me, on the mango front.  This salad just sounded so good to me, with all the fresh veggies and the sweet spice of the mango dressing.  I promise, after this i will give mangos a break.

Spicy Mango Dressing

Ingredients
10 oz mangos, cubed
3/4 teaspoon red curry paste
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons blue agave nectar
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
juice from 1/2 lime

Directions
Put everything in a blender and blend until smooth.  It is a thicker dressing, and I like it that way, but if you want it to be thinner you could add more almond milk at this point and blend it again.  You want to make it just before you eat because when you refrigerate it, the coconut oil will make it thicken up.

The Salad

Ingredients
4 baby cucumbers, sliced
1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 cup red cabbage
1 cup bean sprouts
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 head of romaine lettuce
bean threads, fried in 2 inches of hot oil, until expanded (I found these in the Asian section of my grocery store)
4 'Chik'n' cutlets, prepared as directed on package (I used the Quorn Naked Chik'n Cutlets)
Spicy Mango Dressing

Directions
1.  Layer the veggies on a bed of romaine and cabbage.
2.  Place sliced 'chik'n' on veggies and top with the bean threads.
3.  Serve the dressing on the side and sprinkle the cilantro on top.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Broiled Grapefruit With A Maple Sugar Glaze

I am very blessed to live in a place where citrus trees thrive.  I only have to walk out into my backyard to find lemons, oranges and grapefruit.  Our grapefruit tree is a bit of a phenomenon... it produces so much fruit we can't eat it fast enough.  We guessed that in a season, it produced well over a hundred grapefruits... and they are delicious.  I love eating them just as they are.  The other day, I did however want to mix it up a bit, and wanted to try them broiled.  They turned out really good, and it's super easy!

Ingredients
1 grapefruit, halved
pure maple syrup
turbinado sugar

Directions
1.  Set oven to broil.
2.  Brush the top of each grapefruit half with the maple syrup.
3.  Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.
4.  Place grapefruit halves on a cookie sheet and broil for 3-5 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Sweet Mango Coconut Sticky Rice

My hubby loves rice.  We joke that he would eat cardboard over rice and enjoy it.  He makes this yummy rice dessert for us every once in a while, and the kids and I devour it.  Who knew rice could be such a divine dessert!

The Syrup

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar

Directions
1.  In a small pot, combine ingredients and boil until sugar is dissolved.  Set aside.

Sticky Rice

Ingredients
3 cups Botan Calrose Rice
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 cups water
Syrup (water sugar mixture)

Directions
1.  Combine ingredients in pot and bring to a boil.
2.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the liquid is just below the level of the rice.
3.  Add the syrup and simmer until the liquid is below the level of the rice again.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Coconut Sauce

Ingredients
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

Directions
1.  Combine coconut milk and sugar and bring to a boil.
2.  Reduce heat and add cornstarch mixture and stir until sauce thickens.
3.  Remove from heat

To Serve

Pour Coconut Sauce over the Sticky Rice and top with fresh mango slices.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Vegan Ginger Cookies

Unfortunately, I am not one of those women who manage to make it through a pregnancy without experiencing morning sickness.  In fact, it hits me pretty hard, and trust me I tried everything and anything in attempts to lessen the nausea.  Nothing was the cure-all.  However, once I was past the worst of it, I did try to incorporate ginger into my diet.  It just seemed to settle my tummy.  Throughout my most recent pregnancy I made these ginger cookies a lot.  They are soft in the middle and crunchy on the outside and the ginger flavor really stands out.  So, if you are pregnant, or you just like ginger, give these cookies a try!

Ingredients
2 1/4 cups whole grain pastry flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup vegan margarine
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup turbinado sugar for the tops of cookies

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream together margarine and sugar.
3.  Add vanilla, applesauce, molasses, ginger, cloves, water and cinnamon.  Mix until combined.
4.  In a separate bowl mix the salt, baking soda and flour.
5.  Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
6.  Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and dip half the ball in turbinado sugar.
7.  Places the dough sugar-side up on cookie sheet.
8.  Bake for 11-13 minutes.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Licorice Lemonade

I am always on the lookout for good black licorice.  It's one of those things that I like to have in my cupboards for when I need a little something sweet.  I thought up this lemonade in attempts to use up the lemons on our tree and satisfy my love of licorice.  And with the temperature here pushing 110 degrees Fahrenheit, an ice cold glass of anything, really hits the spot!

Lemonade Starter

Ingredients
2 1/2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice

Directions
1.  Mix water and sugar in a pot over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved and set aside to cool.
2.  Once the water/sugar mixture has cooled, add remaining ingredients, and stir.
3.  Store mixture, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Licorice Lemonade

Ingredients
5 cups water
3 licorice herbal tea bags(I use the Stash Licorice Spice)
Lemonade Starter
lemon slices
ice

Directions
1.  Boil 5 cups of water in a pot.
2.  Remove from heat and add tea bags.  Allow to steep for 3-5 minutes.
3.  Discard tea bags and chill.
4.  Once it has chilled, add the Lemonade Starter and desired amount of ice.  
5.  Garnish with lemon slices.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Thai Red Curry 'Chik'n' And Vegetables

My family loves this meal.  It's sweet and spicy and just plain satisfying.  I love all the colors from the red onion, bell peppers and zucchini.  And just wait until you start cooking and all of the aromatics get going!  This dish is what my 91 year old grandmother would call, "Food for the Gods".

(This recipe easily serves 6 people, with some leftovers.)

Ingredients
1 large red onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
2 yellow bell peppers, sliced
2 zucchini, sliced in rounds
1 cup cilantro, chopped
juice from 1/2 lime
2 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon red curry paste, found in the Asian foods section of your grocery store (I like the Thai Kitchen brand)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed to a paste with 2 tablespoons water
8 Quorn Naked Chik'n Breasts(or your brand of choice, plain meatless chicken), prepared as directed on package and sliced into strips
4 cups cooked Botan Calrose Rice
2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions
1.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2.  Add garlic, onions and red curry paste.  Cook until onions are translucent.
3.  Add the red curry paste and cook until aromatic.
4.  Add coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar and cilantro and bring to a boil.
5.  Add the peppers, zucchini and salt.  Cover and reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 10 minutes.
6.  Add the cornstarch/water mixture and stir until sauce thickens.
7.  Add your prepared 'Chik'n' and cook uncovered for about 1-2 minutes, or until your 'chik'n' is heated through again.
8.  Serve over rice.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Stuffed Mushrooms Topped With Sliced Grape Tomatoes And Mixed Baby Greens

My dad is a veterinarian, and when I was growing up, every year around Christmas we attended his clinic's Christmas Party.  It was at one of these potluck parties that I tried my first stuffed mushroom.  I remember the smell was what convinced me.  Ever since, they have remained my appetizer of choice.  In my recipe, the flavors in the stuffing are so rich and creamy, I decided adding a mini salad on top would lighten them up a bit, and create the perfect balance.  Not only does it taste great, but I think the colors in the baby greens and tomato make it look amazing, and not like your average stuffed mushroom.

Ingredients
24 mushrooms, stems removed and hollowed out
1/2 cup Tofutti Plain 'Cream Cheese'
1/4 cup shallots, finely diced
1/4 cup mushroom stems, finely diced
2 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance 'butter'
8 grape tomatoes, sliced
1 cup mixed baby greens, finely chopped

Directions
1.  In a small pan, melt Earth Balance 'butter' over medium heat.
2.  Add shallots, garlic and mushroom stems and cook until onions are translucent.
3.  Remove from heat.
4.  In a small bowl, mix Tofutti Plain 'cream cheese' and the cooked shallots, mushrooms and garlic.
5.  With a small spoon, stuff the mushrooms and place them on a baking sheet.
6.  Cook in a preheated, 350 degree F oven for about 10 minutes or until the tops get slightly golden.
7.  Top each mushroom with a small amount of baby greens and one slice of tomato.  Serve and enjoy!


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Carrot Walnut Chocolate Chip Muffins

I think it's safe to say I'm on a muffin kick.  These were a hit with Picky Eater #1(my 5 year old).  Of course I just told her they were chocolate chip muffins.  I feel so sneaky that I got her to eat her carrots without her even knowing it... and before lunch!

Ingredients
1 cup fresh carrot juice
3/4 cup almond milk
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground flax seed meal
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
2.  In a bowl, combine carrot juice, almond milk, applesauce, vanilla extract, sugar, and ground flax seed meal.
3.  In a separate bowl combine whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
4.  Slowly add dry mixture to the wet mixture and stir until combined.
5.  Spray a muffin tin with nonstick spray and fill each cup 3/4 full with the batter.
6.  Bake for 15 minutes.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Semi-homemade BBQ 'Beef' and Creamy Coleslaw Sandwich

Being a mom to a 5 year old, a 2 year old and a 2 month old, there are days I rely on the talents of others and the products they sell to make my family dinner.  On these particular days I make semi-homemade meals, and boy am I glad for the help!  My husband loves BBQ, so I came up with this easy, quick, semi-homemade version of a BBQ and coleslaw sandwich.  The best part?  The prep time is about 15 minutes!

Coleslaw

Ingredients
1 package shredded coleslaw and carrots
1 cup Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon almond milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Directions
1.  Whisk all ingredients, except the coleslaw and carrots.
2.  In a large bowl top the coleslaw and carrots with the dressing and toss until well coated.
3.  Set aside.

BBQ 'Beefless Tips'

Ingredients
1 package of 'gardein home style beefless tips'
Bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions
1.  Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat.
2.  Add 'beefless tips' and cook until heated through.
3.  Remove from heat and roughly chop.
4.  Place 'beefless tips' back in skillet on low heat and add desired amount of BBQ sauce.  Mix until well coated and cook about 2-3 minutes, or until hot again.

To Assemble

Ingredients
BBQ 'beefless tips'
Coleslaw
Hoagie rolls or buns of your choice

Directions
Top sliced hoagie roll or bun with 'beefless tips' and coleslaw.  That's it!  Enjoy!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

I have been trying to create a vegan version of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  This is the closest I've gotten to the original.  The texture of these reminds me of a Chips Ahoy cookie.  Because they can handle the moisture, my favorite way to eat them is to dip them in almond milk.  Oh, and feel free to eat the dough!

Ingredients
1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs equivalent of Ener-G egg replacer
1 small package of instant vanilla pudding
2 1/4 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 package of vegan chocolate chips
Nuts are optional

Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Cream the 'butter' and sugars.  Add the vanilla and egg substitute.
3.  In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients together, and then slowly add them to the wet mixture.
4.  Mix in chocolate chips and nuts(optional).
5.  Drop 1 tablespoon size balls onto a cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.  Keep an eye on the first batch, just to see if you need to make a time adjustment for your oven.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

Pineapple, Coconut, Mango Salad With 'Yogurt' And Mint

Ten years ago, the thought of mixing fresh mint with fruit would not have appealed to me.  Today, this minty fruit salad is one of my favorites.  It is such a refreshing treat on a summer day, and I love that it isn't a fruit salad that anyone would expect.

Ingredients
1 pineapple, cut into 1 inch cubes
3 mangos, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup Flaked coconut (I like to use the sweetened coconut.  It is just the right amount of sweetness to go with the tartness of the pineapple and mango)
1 6 oz container PLAIN So Delicious Cultured Coconut Milk (If you get another type of Plain 'Yogurt', you may want to add some pure maple syrup or honey to sweeten it.  The cultured coconut milk is already a little sweet)
4 mint leaves

Directions
1.  In a large bowl, mix pineapple and mango.
2.  Mince the mint leaves.
3.  Top the fruit with coconut flakes and mint.
4.  Drizzle the Cultured Coconut Milk over the top.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Vegan Crepes Filled With Strawberries and 'Cream'

Crepes are a staple in our home.  Be it for a meal or dessert, my husband seizes every opportunity to whip up a batch.  I think that crepe making takes a great amount of patience and a steady hand.  I do not posses these talents, but my husband does, so here is his recipe.  It's a vegan version of one of his favorite recipes from TV Chef, Alton Brown.  You can find Alton's recipe here.

Vegan Crepes

Ingredients
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water
3 tablespoons vegan butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup flour

Directions
1.  Melt butter and put in a blender.
2.  Add all other ingredients except the flour and pulse in blender for 10 seconds.
3.  Add the flour and pulse for 10 seconds.
4.  Scrape the sides of the blender with a spatula and pulse for another 20 seconds.
5.  Put batter in the fridge for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
6.  Heat a non-stick skillet over medium.
7.  Dip a paper towel in 2 tablespoons of melted vegan butter and lightly coat the pan.
8.  Pour batter in pan to make a 5-6 inch crepe.  Lift the skillet and swirl to spread evenly.
9.  Cook 30-40 seconds on the 1st side and then flip and cook 10-20 seconds on the 2nd side.
10.  Remove the crepe and lay flat on a cutting board to cool.

Strawberries and 'Cream'

Ingredients
3 cups fresh strawberries (frozen will work as well)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup vegan sour cream (I use the Tofutti brand)
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon powdered sugar

Directions
1.  In a small bowl, mix vegan sour cream, honey and powdered sugar and mix until well combined.  Set aside
2.  Put remaining ingredients in a pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
3.  Use a potato masher and roughly mash the strawberries.
4.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes.

To Serve

Fill crepes with equal amounts of strawberries and cream down the center and gently fold the sides over.  Lightly dust with powdered sugar.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Creamy Basil and Balsamic Tempeh Salad Sandwich

When I was in high school, over 10 years ago(YIKES!), I started eating at Native Foods... In my opinion, the best vegan restaurant around!  Tanya, the chef made this amazing tempeh salad, that I would buy a la carte and eat on sandwiches during the school week, for lunch.  It's one of those foods and flavors that transport you back to another time in your life.  So good!  Here is my Mediterranean variation on her tempeh salad.

Prepping The Tempeh

Ingredients
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/4 cup water
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 clove garlic
2 - 8 ounce tempeh patties cut into thirds, or 3 patties each

Directions
1.  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
2.  Place tempeh patties in the pan and saute until golden, or for about 1-2 minutes on each side.
3.  While tempeh is browning, quickly mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl.
4.  After tempeh is browned on both sides, add the mixture to your pan.  It will pop and sizzle when you do this.
5.  Turn your heat down to low and when all the liquid is absorbed, remove the tempeh.
6.  Once it has cooled enough to handle, chop/crumble the patties and set aside.

The Tempeh Salad

Ingredients
3/4 cup Vegenaise(or your choice of vegan mayo)
1/4 cup and 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
prepped tempeh from above

Directions
1.  Whisk the Vegenaise and balsamic vinegar until smooth.
2.  Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

The Sandwich

Ingredients
tempeh salad from above
whole grain bread or baguette
mixed greens
sliced tomatoes

Directions
1.  Spread tempeh salad generously on one side of your desired bread.
2.  Top with a handful of greens and 3 thick slices of tomato.