Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blueberry Maple Nut Breakfast Couscous

This is one of my very favorite things to eat for breakfast.  My whole family are big fans of it as well!  The best part is, it is sooooo easy!  Perfect for lazy Saturday mornings.  You can switch it up with fruits and nuts of your choice.  This is my favorite combination at the moment, but I am always finding ways to switch it up.

1 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup couscous
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
1/2 cup fresh blueberries

1.  Bring the soy milk and water to a slow boil.
2.  Add the remaining ingredients except the blueberries, stir, cover and remove from heat.  Allow it to sit, covered for 10 minutes.
3.  Add in blueberries and serve.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Homemade Thick Crust Veggie Pizza

I was having a pizza craving the other day and came up with this recipe.  I made the dough and then let my kids top their own.  I try to get my kids involved in the kitchen, when I can.  I've noticed that they are much more likely to like eating something when they have had a hand in making it.  So, not only were these good to eat, but we had good fun making them!

The Dough

1 1/2 teaspoons evaporated cane sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour

1.  Dissolve the sugar in the warm water.  Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
2.  Mix in the remaining ingredients and knead until the dough forms, usually 8-10 minutes.
3.  Cover and allow it to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
4.  Using a rolling pin or using your hands on a well floured surface, form your pizzas.
5.  Bake in a preheated 500 degree F oven for 5 minutes.

The Pizza

Brussels sprouts, cut in halves
tomatoes, diced
black olives, sliced
red onion, sliced
mushrooms, sliced
broccoli, chopped
soy 'mozzarella'
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon evaporated cane sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 teaspoons olive oil

1.  In a small pot, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium high heat.  Add garlic and saute until golden.
2.  Add the can of diced tomatoes and the sugar and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes.  
3.  Using a hand blender, puree the sauce until smooth.  Set aside.
4.  In a large saute pan, heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil over medium high heat.
5.  Add onions and saute until they start to become translucent about 5 minutes.  Add broccoli, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the veggies are al dente.
6.  Top each pizza with sauce, soy 'cheese' and the veggie toppings of your choice.
7.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for 18-20 minutes.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pistachio Sugar Cookies

Dr. J's family owns a pistachio farm in central California.  And it seems like there is a never ending supply in our cupboards... especially around the holidays.  The bummer is, I'm actually allergic to them.  When I was about 4 years old, after opening all our presents on Christmas Day, my mom and dad found me red faced with my hands in the pistachio nuts.  Now, my face wasn't red because I was caught, I was actually having an allergic reaction.  I stayed away from pistachio's altogether until  Dr. J and I were on our honeymoon and we ordered a dessert that had them in it.  I actually didn't have an allergic reaction to them, and it's a good thing because a trip to the ER is the last thing you want to be doing on your honeymoon!  I still don't eat them often or in large quantities, but once in a while, who could resist having them!  So, my 'once in a while' was in the form of a pistachio sugar cookie.... and what a great 'once in a while' they turned out to be!  Yum!

1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
3/4 cup evaporated cane sugar
3 teaspoons EnerG Egg Replacer
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raw pistachio nuts, shelled and chopped
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened soy milk

1.  In a small bowl, combine the EnerG Egg Replacer and the water.
2.  Add in the remaining wet ingredients and mix well.
3.  In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients.
4.  Add the wet to the dry and mix to combine.
5.  Form the dough into balls.  I rolled them in some evaporated cane sugar to give them a little sparkle and topped them with a pistachio.
6.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

This is one of my very favorite soups.  It is so rich and creamy... perfect for a cold rainy day.  Although, it hit 110 degrees F here the other day when I made it and it was still divine.  My 5 year old picky eater loves it because there aren't any chunks in it and the rest of us love it because it is absolutely delicious!

1 cup yellow onion, chopped
1 cup leeks, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 head of cauliflower
5 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
cashew cream (I order this brand online and keep a few boxes on hand)
green onions, diced for garnish

1.  Saute the onions, leeks, garlic, thyme, oregano and salt in olive oil over medium high heat until onions are translucent.
2.  Add in remaining ingredients, except the cashew cream and green onions, and bring to a boil.
3.  Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until cauliflower is tender.
4.  Using a hand blender, puree the soup until creamy.
5.  Stir in desired amount of cashew cream and top with diced green onions.
6.  Serve with your favorite bread.  My kids LOVE dipping their bread in this creamy soup.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet & Spicy Asian Pasta Salad

I love Native Foods.  When I was a teenager I would ditch class, take a good book and go eat there.  One of my favorite things to order was the 'Chinese Save The Chicken Salad' with seitan.  I loved this salad so much and I could literally drink the salad dressing!  Which is why I have created a handful of recipes that incorporate Tanya's(Native Food's founder and chef extraordinaire) incredible dressing.  This is my pot luck pasta salad.  I've made it quite a few times and it's always a big hit.  I usually serve it up family style in a big bowl, but I felt a little fancy the other night and hollowed out some bell peppers to put it in.

Sweet and Spicy Asian Dressing

1/2 cup orange juice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 tablespoons grated ginger
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

Place all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.

Pasta Salad

2 red bell peppers, chopped
3/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup carrots, shredded
1 cup bean sprouts
1 15 oz can of yellow corn
1 lb pasta of your choice, cooked al dente and cooled
Sweet & Spicy Asian Dressing
2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1.  Toss all ingredients except the sesame seeds in a large bowl to combine.
2.  Top with sesame seeds.


Friday, August 20, 2010

One of my favorite things... Mini LARABARS

I'm always on the look out for things that will make my life easier and thought I would share some of my favorite finds with you.

These Mini LARABARS are my favorite on-the-go snack!  They are about 100 calories each, and 100% real food.  Just as an example, the Cherry Pie Bar is made with dates, almonds and unsweetened cherries... and that's it... and they are yummy!  I always keep a couple in my bag just in case one of my kids or I get hungry when we are out.  I can't tell you how many times these have saved me!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zucchini 'Faux-Apple' Pie

(As I was trying to get the perfect picture, my little man snuck in the shot.  I thought it was pretty cute, so I thought I would share.  I'm pretty sure he's thinking, Enough pictures, Mom!  Cut me a piece already!)

Now, don't judge this recipe too quickly.  I know the thoughts of zucchini replacing the classic 'apple' in an apple pie, may incite doubts... but just give it a chance!  I made this the other day, and my kids and hubby included, gobbled it up without even knowing they were eating their veggies!  You really wouldn't know it wasn't an apple pie, and it's a delicious way to use up all of your summer zucchini.

My Go-To Vegan Pie Crust

1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons evaporated cane sugar
1 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
6 tablespoons ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose white flour

1.  In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
2.  Using a pastry blender, cut in the Earth Balance a little bit at a time until the dough looks like pea sized crumbles.
3.  Add in the vanilla and the water and continue to cut the dough.
4.  Split the dough into two balls and refrigerate for 30 minutes before use.

Zucchini 'Faux-Apple' Pie Filling

1.  8 cups zucchini, peeled and sliced into half moon, apple-like slices
2.  4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups evaporated cane sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons white all purpose flour
2 tablespoons corn starch

1.  Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add zucchini, lemon juice and salt.  Cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.  In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients.
3.  Once the zucchini is done, add it to the dry mixture and combine.

To Assemble And Bake

Zucchini 'Faux-Apple' Pie Filling
Pie Crust
1 tablespoon evaporated cane sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons coconut oil

1.  Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and roll out one of your dough balls for the bottom crust.  Fold it into quarters and transfer it to your pie pan and unfold and press down.
2.  Pour your filling into the pie pan.
3.  Roll out your top crust and cover your pie, pressing the sides together to seal it.  Cut holes in the center of your top crust in order to allow the heat to escape while cooking.
4.  Brush the top lightly with coconut oil.
5.  In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle it on your top crust.
6.  Bake for 25-30 minutes in a pre-heated 400 degree F oven or until golden.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Couscous Salad

Recently, Dr. J and I went to a local Moroccan restaurant for date night.  Ever since, I have been daydreaming about the Couscous Salad that I had.  I decided to try to recreate it the other day for my dad when I was over at his house.  My mom had been out of town for a week and the poor guy was left to fend for himself in the kitchen.  So, I whipped this up for us to eat for lunch.  He loved it!  I even left him a container full of leftovers to get him by until my mom returned home.  It is so easy to make and it tastes light and fresh and down right delicious!

8 fresh mint leaves, minced
1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
5 cups couscous, cooked according to box and cooled
3/4 cup red onion, diced
20 oz. grape tomatoes, halved
2 zucchini squash, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
salt to taste

1.  In a small bowl, combine olive oil, lemon juice and black pepper to create a dressing.
2.  In a large bowl mix all remaining ingredients, except the salt.
3.  Toss the salad with the dressing and then add salt to taste.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Asian Marinated Tofu Sandwich With Teriyaki Aoili

This is a perfect summertime sandwich.  You will love it!  I made this for lunch yesterday.  Princess M was at school and my 2, almost 3 year old was swimming at Grandma's... so I decided I would actually make myself some lunch.  It seems like most days I just eat on the go.... a smoothie, a Lara Bar, a handful of this or that are my most common lunch items.  But, yesterday, I took a little time for myself and had a great lunch!  I wasn't totally kid-free... I did have my 3 month old sous-chef, but he's pretty low key.  All in all, this mama had a great meal and this sandwich was the key ingredient!

Teriyaki Aoili

2 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
1/2 cup vegan mayonaise
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced

Combine ingredients and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Asian Marinated Tofu Sandwich

Fresh bread of your choice
6 oz extra firm tofu, cut into thin slices and patted dry with a paper towel
1 cup teriyaki sauce
teriyaki aoili
tomato, sliced
red onion, sliced
2 teaspoons olive oil
salt to taste

1.  Marinate tofu in your favorite teriyaki sauce for a few hours.
2.  Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add tofu and cook until golden.
3.  Layer veggies on one side of your bread.
4.  Top with tofu and drizzle with your teriyaki aoili.  Close sandwich and enjoy!


Monday, August 16, 2010

Portobello Biryani With Cilantro-Mint 'Yogurt'

Dr. J and I decided to have date night at home this past weekend.  We thought it would be fun to make some Indian inspired food and attempt a vegan Biryani.  As I was preparing this meal, my mind wandered to my Swiss, cheese-making, great-great-grandfather and wondered what he would think of his great-great-granddaughter cooking with all these exotic spices and flavors.  I'm not a spice expert, but I doubt many of these spices were readily available in the Swiss Alps.  Anyhow, this was my go at Biryani.  Although, I'm pretty sure, just the fact that I have a Swiss, cheese making ancestor, I can't call this authentic... Anyhow, it sure was tasty!

Cilantro-Mint 'Yogurt'

1 cup plain soy yogurt
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon fresh mint, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1.  Combine ingredients.
2.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors before you serve.

Herb Infused Cooking Water

4 cups water
1 stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 vegetable bouillon cubes

1.  Combine ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.
2.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

Portobello Biryani

Herb Infused Cooking Water
3 cups portobello mushrooms, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups potatoes, diced
1 red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups plain water
2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, minced
1 teaspoon saffron (Saffron can be expensive and hard to find, so if you don't want to use it, I am sure it will still be tasty!)

1.  In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat and add onions and garlic.  Cook until translucent.
2.  Add in veggies, red pepper, plain water and salt.  Cover and cook for about 3 minutes.
3.  Add in Herb Infused Cooking Water and bring to a boil over high heat.
4.  Add in the rice and saffron, reduce heat to medium and cover.  Cook for 10 minutes.
5.  Reduce heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes or until the rice is tender and the water is absorbed.
6.  Serve with fresh Naan Bread and Cilantro-Mint 'Yogurt'.  There's a great recipe for vegan Naan Bread here.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cafe Rio Inspired Tostada With Creamy Tomatillo-Cilantro Dressing

One of my favorite places to eat, back when I was a young college student, was Cafe Rio.  I would wait in Disneyland-long lines just to get my hands on one of their tostadas.  Dr. J thought I was crazy.  Well, for some reason, I've had them on my mind lately... so, for dinner last night, I made my own vegan version... and there were no lines to wait in, which Dr. J much appreciated.  I could seriously eat the dressing with a spoon.  It was sooooo good!

Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
2 cups brown rice
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic
1 lime
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon sugar

1.  In a large pot, bring vegetable broth, olive oil, water, garlic and juice from 1/2 a lime to a boil.
2.  Add brown rice, reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
3.  Remove from heat and stir in cilantro, sugar and juice from the other 1/2 lime.

Black Beans

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can yellow corn, drained
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon cumin
2 cloves garlic

1.  In a large saute pan, heat olive oil, garlic and cumin over medium heat until aromatic.
2.  Add remaining ingredients, stir and continue to cook until heated through.

Creamy Tomatillo-Cilantro Dressing

1 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 clove fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
2 teaspoons minced dried onion
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
2 tomatillos, husk removed and chopped
1 bunch of fresh cilantro leaves
juice from 1 lime
1/2 to 1 jalapeno pepper
kosher salt to taste

1.  Place everything except the jalapeno and kosher salt, in a blender and mix.
2.  Cut the jalapeno into 4th's and add a section at a time, blend and taste as you go to get your desired amount of heat.
3.  Add salt to taste and blend until combined.

Assembling The Tostada

Black Beans
Cilantro Lime Brown Rice
Creamy Tomatillo-Cilantro Dressing
Romaine lettuce
Tortilla of your choice
4 Roma tomatoes, diced
lime wedges

1.  Layer beans, rice. romaine lettuce and tomatoes on a tortilla.
2.  Drizzle the dressing on top and serve with lime wedges.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Gooey S'more Bars

It was a sad day indeed, for me, when I found out that marshmallows weren't vegan or even vegetarian friendly.  You would never know, tasting them in all their sweet fluffy deliciousness.  Needless to say, I was in mourning for weeks.  Then, one day not too long ago, I noticed they carried gelatin free/vegan marshmallows at my local health food store.  I was so excited, I began plotting how I could use them... and after much planning and trial and error, I came up with these gooey, sticky, chocolatey, bars full of marshmallow goodness... and just in time for us to celebrate National S'mores Day yesterday!  Of course, holiday or not, we will definitely be enjoying these all year round...

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon molasses
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
2 tablespoons water
1 10 oz bag of vegan marshmallows  (I used the Dandies brand)
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2.  Combine flours, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix the oil, vanilla, water and molasses.
4.  Pour the wet mixture in the bowl with the dry ingredients and combine.
5.  Once everything is mixed, add the Earth Balance and mix until incorporated.
6.  Line an 8x8 pan with aluminum foil and lightly oil it.
7.  Divide the graham cracker dough in half and pat down half of it in the bottom of the baking pan.
8.  Top with the chocolate chips and then the marshmallows.
9.  Roll the remaining dough into about 4 flat pieces and place them on top of the marshmallows to create the top layer.
10.  Prick tiny holes in the top crust and sprinkle lightly with granulated sugar.
11.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Cover with foil the last 10 minutes so the top won't burn.
12.  Once cooled, you can lift the bars out of the pan by the foil and cut to serve.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

No Sugar Added, Nectarine Fruit Leather

I am a huge fan of Trader Joe's dried fruit bars.  I'm not a huge fan of paying fifty cents a piece for them.  I decided over the weekend I'd use up the nectarines in my fridge in an attempt to create something similar.  My 2 year old and I loved them.  Dr. J thought they were a little 'toothy' for his liking. I like them that way, so I am happy to eat them all up.  I put a bag of them in my purse so I would have a healthy snack, on hand, if I got hungry throughout my day... which is fairly often for this nursing mama!

4 nectarines, pits removed and chopped (I left the skin on for the extra fiber and nutrients)
1/8 cup orange juice

1.  Heat oven to 140 degrees F.  If you have a convection or dehydrate option on your oven, use it.  If not, it will still work on bake, it just might take a little longer to dry out.
2.  Puree nectarines and orange juice in a food processor or blender.
3.  Cover a cookie sheet with raised edges, or a baking pan with parchment paper.  Pour the puree into the lined sheet or pan.
4.  Dehydrate in the oven for 8 hours.  At the 8 hour mark, check the fruit for your desired 'toothiness' as Dr J. would say, and continue to cook if necessary.  I had mine in the oven for about 12 hours.
5.  Peel the fruit leather off the parchment and use a pizza slicer to cut them into strips.  Happy/healthy snacking!

P.S.  It was 110 degrees F here today, in my neck of the woods... well, more like desert.  I read that in the olden days, you just covered your fruit with cheese cloth and left it outside to dehydrate.  Next time I think I might try that.  I will definitely let you know how it goes...


Monday, August 9, 2010

Saffron Cupcakes With Coconut 'Cream Cheese' Frosting

I've had some saffron threads burning a hole in my spice cupboard.  I finally figured out what I wanted to make with them and wanted to share the flavorful experience with my parents.  When I told my mom I was making vegan saffron cupcakes I immediately saw a look of worry on her face.  I think saffron is most often associated with savory dishes, but this spice works surprisingly well in desserts.  The smell of these cupcakes cooking was amazing, and they definitely lived up to their heavenly aroma!

Saffron Cupcakes

1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 cup lite coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup white flour

1.  In a small pan, cook saffron threads and coconut milk over medium/low heat for about 5 minutes.  Set aside to cool.
2.  In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
3.  In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients and the coconut and saffron mixture and combine.
4.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.
5.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 18-20 minutes.  Check for done-ness by inserting a toothpick in the center of one of the cupcakes and if it comes out clean, it is done.

Coconut 'Cream Cheese' Frosting

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
2 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup vegan 'cream cheese'

1.  Cream together the shortening and Earth Balance.
2.  Add sugar and mix well.
3.  Add remaining ingredients and continue to mix until smooth.


Friday, August 6, 2010

Elise's Sweet & Spicy Vegan Chili

I first made this recipe last October for a Halloween party.  It was a hit with everyone, and that includes my meat-eating friends.  Dr. J even heard that some preferred it to the traditional meat-full chili.  The only problem was, back then, I never wrote down my recipes (one of the main reasons I started my blog).  The good news was we never ate the same thing twice... the bad news was we never ate the same thing twice.  Dr. J has been begging me for months to recreate this chili and last night I did.  It was just as delicious as it was the 1st time, and now I have it written down, so I can make it over and over again.  I have to tell you, this recipe makes a lot.  It probably serves 12-14, and that's with hearty portions.  We are going to be eating it all weekend, but it is so yummy, no one is complaining!

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups chopped carrots
2 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1/8 cup minced garlic
2, 4oz cans diced green chilies
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground thyme
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon (I used the Edward & Sons brand)
64 oz vegetable broth
1 tablespoon hot sauce
1, 15.5 oz can of black eyed peas
2, 15 oz cans of white beans
1, 15.5 oz can garbanzo beans
1/4 cup flour
1/2 stick of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1 cup coconut milk
12 oz frozen sweet corn

1.  In a large pot heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots, garlic, diced green chilies, salt, white pepper, cumin, thyme and vegetable bouillon.  Saute 7-9 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften.
2.  Add vegetable broth, cilantro and corn.  Cook for 10 minutes.
3.  In a small pot melt Earth Balance and whisk in the flour until there are no lumps and flour is slightly cooked about 3-4 minutes.  Add a cup of the chili to the small pot and mix with the four mixture until smooth.  Pour contents of the small pot back into the large pot with the chili.
4.  Add in the coconut milk, hot sauce, white beans, garbanzo beans and black eyed peas.  Stir to combine and allow it to cook another 8-10 minutes until the chili is heated through.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.
5.  Serve with your choice of corn chip and a dollop of vegan sour cream.


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Princess M's Tea Time Cucumber Sandwich

Today was Princess M's 1st day of kindergarten (excuse me while I wipe away a tear... kinda bitter-sweet), and I have been preparing for it in many ways... particularly in regard to her lunches.  I want her to eat a healthy lunch, but not have her feeling deprived when she sees the other kids whip out Twinkies and Cheetos.  On Monday, I had my mom watch my two youngest while I took her shopping.  We went to 3 stores in search of her favorite lunchbox worthy foods.  I bought her Trader Joe's Dried Fruit Bars, Trader Joe's Cinnamon Schoolbook Cookies, fresh strawberries, edamame, Trader Joe's Organic Popcorn With Olive Oil (our favorite!), peaches (Princess M's favorite fruit), salsa, tortilla chips and a few other things.  As far as her sandwich goes, this was a little tricky.  She is so picky, I've been troubleshooting some of my ideas with her over the past few weeks.  This cucumber sandwich was #1 on the list.  I'm a little shocked, as she only has a handful of veggies she likes, and the ones used in this sandwich weren't on her list.  I did tell her that Queens and Princesses eat these when they have tea parties, so that may have been a big selling point.

It was great to see her so exciting about packing her princess lunch box with her favorite things... and it felt even better to know that what she would be eating everyday was soul satisfying and good for her!

3 tablespoons thawed frozen chopped spinach
2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
8 oz vegan 'cream cheese' (I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese)
1 English cucumber, cut into thirds and then sliced lengthwise
whole wheat bread

1.  Mix spinach, red onion and 'cream cheese' and spread a little on each slice of bread.
2.  Place a layer of cucumber on one of the slices.
3.  Close the sandwich and slice.  I you wanted, you could use cookie cutters to make different/fun shapes.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Serendipitous Crispy Lavash With Olive Tapenade, Topped With Mixed Baby Greens And Sliced Cherry Tomatoes

This recipe was the result of a disaster.  I started out making Baba Ganoush  for my spread.  I had roasted eggplant with red onions and garlic, mixed a few other things in the food processor.  Well, the end result was not good.  I hate to waste things, but this could not be salvaged and rather than make Dr. J and the kids choke it down, I decided to scratch it altogether.  Seeing how dinner was fast approaching, I searched my cupboard for something that could replace the Baba Ganoush.  I saw some black olives, and then glanced behind them to find some green olives with pimento.  I'd never attempted a tapenade, but thought I'd give it a whirl, as I was in a bit of a pinch.  It turned out really great.  Dr. J loved it as a light dinner, and it would work great for an appetizer.  All I can say is, what a serendipitous recipe!

Olive Tapenade

2/3 cup black pitted olives
1/3 cup green olives with pimento
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
dash of salt

1.  Combine ingredients in a food processor and pulse until you get your desired consistency.

To Assemble

Olive Tapenade
lavash (I bought mine at Trader Joe's)
mixed baby greens
cherry tomatoes, sliced
extra virgin olive oil

1.  Cut the lavash into 3 inch squares, or your desired size and shape.  Brush the top with olive oil and place on a cookie sheet.
2.  Put the lavash under the broiler and watch it closely until it begins to brown and gets crispy.  I burned my first batch because I didn't realize how fast these can burn.
3.  Remove lavash and spread a spoonful of the Olive Tapenade on each.
4.  Top with baby greens and tomatoes.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Honest Apple Crisp

Last night for Family Night we taught our kids about the importance of being honest.  I found a great story about a boy who, while walking home from school one day, stole three apples from his neighbors orchard.  By the time he got home he had a terrible tummy ache.  Lying in his bed that night, he decided that he would earn the money to pay the farmer back for the stolen apples.  Before he could earn all the money, his family moved unexpectedly.  Years later, as an adult he returned to the apple orchard and found the farmer and paid him for the apples plus one extra.  He said that apple was the sweetest he had ever tasted.  For our treat, I wanted to make something sweet with apples in it, to go along with the story.  I came up with this warm apple crisp and it was delicious.  I had enough to make 6 individual apple crisps, and before I knew it, Dr. J ate two!  It's ok though, because I probably would have eaten them for breakfast.

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
pinch of salt

1.  Place the apple slices about 3/4 full in ramekins, or layer in an 8x8 pan.
2.  In a bowl, mix remaining ingredients.
3.  Spoon mixture evenly over the apples.
4.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
5.  Serve with your favorite vegan ice 'cream.  My favorite is Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Portabello, Pepper And Caramelized Onion Stuffed Potatoes

Dr. J is a bit of a potato know it all.  He knows which work best for what, and loves trying different preparations.  He did most of his research while trying to master the perfect hash browns a few years back.  Anyway, while browsing the Internet one day last week, he came across this idea of hollowing out a potato with an apple corer and thought it would be fun if I created a new potato dish with this concept.  We stopped by our local Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up an apple corer, and decided to make these for Sunday dinner at my parents'.  They came out of the oven looking amazing and then lived up to their looks in flavor with the sweetness of the onions and the earthiness of the mushrooms.... sooooo good. They were a big hit!

Caramelized Onions

2 yellow onions, chopped
2 tablespoons Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

1.  Melt Earth Balance in saute pan over medium heat.
2.  Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.  Add in remaining ingredients stirring occasionally until the onions caramelize, about 20 minutes.
4.  Remove onions from pan and set aside.

Portabellos and Bell Peppers

1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
2 cups portabellos, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic, minced

1.  In the same pan that you cooked the onions, add all of these ingredients and cook over medium heat until vegetables become tender.
2.  Remove from heat and add to the onions and stir to combine.

Stuffed Potatoes

Portabello, Pepper and Caramelized Onion mixture
5 lbs Yukon Gold Potatoes, peeled (according to Dr. J, these are the best for the job)
fresh basil, chopped
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
olive oil
vegan 'sour cream'

1.  Boil the potatoes in lightly salted water for 5 minutes and remove from the water to cool.
2.  Using a circular apple corer, create a cylindrical tunnel through each potato.
3.  Stuff the mushroom, pepper and onion mixture in each potato and place them on a cookie sheet.
4.  Brush the top of each with olive oil and top with a sprinkling of kosher salt, pepper and fresh basil.
5.  Cook in a preheated, 390 degree F oven for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the potatoes are lightly golden and tender.  The time may vary depending on the sizes of your potatoes, so make sure you check them as they cook.
6.  Serve them with a dollop of vegan 'sour cream' on the side.