Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Meal Plan #10

Ok, I am back at it this week, sorry for the delay!  A week of easy meals that can be prepped ahead of time, is what I am after.

3.  Burritos

4. Tempeh Lettuce Tomato Sandwhiches
     -recipe to come!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bean Quesadillas with Corn Salsa

Baseball season is upon us, so that means later than usual dinners!  Its my hope to really plan ahead and make sure I have easy meals ready to go, so we are not scrambling at 7pm to figure out what is for dinner.

These quesadillas are easy, quick, filling and delicious!

makes 8 quesadillas

16 corn tortillas (flour or wheat is fine too)
2 cans of refried black beans
1-2 tsp cumin
1/3 cup chopped green onions (some reserved for the salsa)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (gives a great cheesy flavor, but can omit)

2 ears of corn, kernels cut off
1/2 of a bell pepper, diced
extra green onions
1/4 cup of your favorite salsa verde

Additional toppings:

hot sauce


Place corn kernels in a bowl and add in bell pepper, reserved green onions, salsa verde and s/p.  Stir to combine.  Set aside.

Scoop beans into a large bowl, along with cumin, green onions, nutritional yeast and s/p.  Stir until fully incorporated.

Spread bean mixture on one tortilla and top with another one.  Heat in a dry skillet until golden brown and slightly crispy.  Top with corn salsa, and serve!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kale, White Bean and Roasted Garlic Pizza

Oh man, is this pizza good?!? The smashed white beans add the protein and the kale is perfectly crispy and delish!  The recipe calls for nutritional yeast, which I HIGHLY recommend, but it you can't find it, or can tolerate dairy, parmesan cheese would work well too.

1 package of pre-made pizza dough
1 Tbsp cornmeal
1 head of garlic
4-6 cups, fresh kale, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 can of white beans, I used cannellini 
1 Tbsp tomato puree or paste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp dried thyme (if using fresh bump it up to 2 tsp)
1-2 tsp lemon juice
red chili pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the top of the head of garlic off, place on a square of foil and drizzle with evoo and sprinkle s/p.  Wrap it up tightly and roast for 25-35 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let cool before handling.

Read the directions on your pizza dough, because you may need to let it rest for 30 minutes before using.  This would be perfect to do while the garlic is roasting.

Bring a large pot of water to boil and put kale in.  Let it cook for 1 minute and remove to a colander.  Drain off excess water and wring in a dish towel to dry completely.  Toss with a bit of evoo and s/p.  Set aside.

Place beans in a bowl, along with roasted garlic, tomato sauce, thyme, nutritional yeast, 1 Tbsp evoo, red chili pepper flake and s/p.  To remove the garlic, simply squeeze from the base all the way out of the opening.   Using a potato masher, mash all ingredients together until incorporated.  

On a floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/4" thickness.  Place on a cookie sheet that has been sprinkled with cornmeal.  This will prevent sticking.  Brush the outer edges of the dough with evoo.  Spread bean mixture over entire surface, leaving some room for the crust.  Finally top it with seasoned kale.  

Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes, or until dough is cooked and kale is crispy!

Monday Meal Plan #9

There is rain in the forecast, so comfort food it is!

1) Fried Rice with tofu

2)  Veggie Pot Pies

3)  Spicy Lentil Dahl with naan and roasted veggies

4)  Yummy Vegan Mac n' Cheese

Monday, March 19, 2012

Sweet and Sour Tofu with Veggies

serves 4 but doubles easily!

This is a great make ahead meal.  You can prep the veggies, pineapple and even cook the tofu before hand.  Then before serving, prepare the quinoa or brown rice and the sauce.  Actual cook time is really only about 10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Adapted from Peas and Thank You:

1 whole pineapple, cleaned and cut into bite sized pieces (canned only as a last resort, reserve the juice)

3/4 cup pineapple juice (reserve a few spears of pineapple and place in a high powered blender with 1/4 cup water. Blend until smooth)

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp dried ginger

freshly ground black pepper

1/4-1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (rice wine vinegar is fine too, or a combo)

1 package of tofu, drained and pressed

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 Tbsp honey

1 bell pepper, chopped

4 stalks of celery, chopped

3 carrots, chopped

1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped

quinoa or brown rice

Make quinoa or brown rice according to package directions.

Press tofu for at least 20 minutes.  Pour 3 Tbsp soy sauce and honey  in a shallow dish.  Whisk to combine.  Cut lengthwise into equal slabs and place in dish.  Marinate for 15-30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly spray a cookie sheet and place tofu on it.  Cooke for about 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown and firm. flipping once.  Cut into bite sized pieces and set aside.

Mix soy sauce, pineapple juice, cornstarch, dried ginger, and black pepper until combined.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat.  Add 1 Tbsp oil and then add in veggies.  Cook for about 3 minutes, or until just tender.  Pour sauce mixture in and heat until bubbly and sauce starts to thicken.  Add in pineapple and tofu.  Cook just a minute more or until heated through.  Serve over brown rice or quinoa.  Season with s/p.

Monday Meal Plan #8

I am going to be trying out some new recipes this week, so stay tuned!

1) Cast Iron Pizza 

2) Refried Bean Quesadillas

3) Vegan Saag Paneer

Friday, March 16, 2012

Moroccan Lentil Stew with Chickpeas and Prunes

I originally planned on making Moroccan Quinoa Salad this week, but with the forecast of rain all week, I quickly scratched that idea and opted for a warm, comforting stew instead!  The lentils in this are delicious and add extra protein, but if you are wanting to omit them, thats fine, just reduce the amount of stock and add an extra can or two of beans. 

1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 tsp ground ginger or 2 tsp fresh ginger (or more to taste)
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
8 cups of veg. stock
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed and picked through
3 cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
1 cup dried apricots, chopped
4 large carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into 1" chunks


dry roasted cashews
lemon juice

Heat 1 Tbsp evoo on a large dutch oven or stock pot, over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic and ginger.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until translucent and tender.  Next, add in spices, bay leaf, cinnamon stick, tomatoes, s/p, stock and lentils.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer partially covered for 15-20 minutes, then add in chickpeas.  Continue simmering.  You can keep this on a low simmer for awhile, until you are ready to serve.  About 10-15 minutes before serving, add in dried fruit and carrots.  Garnish with chopped cilantro, dry roasted cashews and a squirt of fresh lemon juice.  Make sure to taste and season with s/p and remove bay leaf and cinnamon stick!  If you need a little more substance, try serving a top of quinoa or cous cous!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Carrot Coconut Cookies

WOW!  These cookies are unbelievably delicious and addicting!  Beware, these cookies will preform their own magic trick and disappear! 

recipe from You Won't Believe It's Vegan

1 cup spelt flour (all purpose is fine)
3/4 cup grated carrots
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 cup coconut crystals (or sucanat/brown sugar)
1 cup oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil, melted (vegan butter is fine too)
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, carrots, coconut, sugar, oats, baking powder, and salt.  In a smaller bowl, whisk together coconut oil, water, oil and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until incorporated.  Stir in pecans and chocolate chips.

Using a large spoon, drop mounds onto prepared cookie sheet.  Flatten with the palm of your hand and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden and just set.  Cool on cookie sheet before transferring to rack.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Red Lentil Soup with Cilantro Oil

This soup is smiling, and you will smile too, after you taste it!

1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1" hunk of ginger, peeled and mined or grated
1 1/2 pounds of butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2" cubes (optional)
3 large tomatoes, diced
3 large carrots, chopped
8-10 cups of veggie stock (or 1/2 water)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin (more or less according to spice level)
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp curry powder (more or less according to spice level)
3 cups red lentils, picked over and rinsed
1-2 tsp lemon juice (optional but waay recommended)

1/2 cup cilantro
1/4-1/2 cup flavorless canola oil

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat 1 Tbsp evoo over medium heat.  Add in onions, squash, carrots, garlic, and ginger.  Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add in stock, bay leaves, spices and lentils.  Season with salt and pepper.  Bring soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until lentils are tender, roughly 30-45 minutes.  You can blend the soup at this point, or continue to simmer to allow the flavors to deepen.  If you choose to simmer longer, you may need to add more stock/water to avoid over thickening the soup.

To blend the soup, you can use either an immersion blender or a regular high powered blender.  For the immersion blender, simply put blender in the soup and puree until smooth.  If you are going to use a free standing blender, make sure you blend in batches so the hot soup doesn't explode.  Return soup to pot and heat through before serving.

To make the cilantro oil, simply blend cilantro and oil in a high powered blender, until fully incorporated.  Drizzle over the soup along with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Monday Meal Plan #7

Here's whats going on in my kitchen this week!

1.  Udon Noodle Soup and edamame

2.  Moroccan Stew with Chickpeas and Prunes with a side of roasted vegetables

3.  Sweet and Sour Tofu
     -recipe to come!

4.  Enchiladas with chips and quac!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hawaiian Portabella "Burgers"

I have Hawaii on the mind... but when don't I really?!?  I can't even contain my enthusiasm that we are going to Maui the end of June, seriously June can't come fast enough!  But until then, these "burgers" will have to suffice.  And let me tell you, they more than suffice!  They are sweet, tangy, fulfilling and delicious!  Also, this same concept would be great using this Black Bean Burger recipe or any frozen veggie burger patty.

4 large portabella mushrooms, cleaned
1 pineapple, cut into slices, core removed*
teriyaki sauce

any toppings you desire:

sliced tomato
red onion

You can make this on the BBQ or on the stove in a grill pan.

Place cleaned mushrooms in a shallow dish and drizzle a little teriyaki sauce over, toss to coat.

Place pineapple rings on grill for about 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove from heat.

Place mushrooms on the grill for about 5-7 minutes per side.

Assemble burgers as you wish, making sure to drizzle more teriyaki sauce over it all.

* To cut the pineapple:  Cut off top and bottom, making a secure flat bottom for your pineapple to be able to stand upright.  Now, slice down the sides from top to bottom, cutting off the rough outer layer.  Do this all the way around until it is smooth and no brown patches remain.  Lay pineapple on it side and slice into 1/2" rings.  To remove the core, simply cut around it and punch it out.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mango Sticky Rice

Good dessert...bad picture!

1 c. sweet Thai rice (I used Thai Jasmine)
1-2 mangos, sliced
4-5 Tbsp coconut crystals, sucanat or brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 can of good quality, full fat coconut milk

Soak 1 cup of rice in enough water to just cover the rice for at least 20 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Do not drain the water.  Add 3/4 cup more plus 1/4 of the can of coconut milk, salt and 1 Tbsp sugar.  Stir to combine.

Bring rice mixture to a slow boil, the cover partially with the lid.  You need some steam to escape.  reduce it to a simmer.  Simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.

Turn off the heat and fully cover the pot with the lid and leave on the stove.  Let it sit for 5-10 minutes.

Warm, NOT boil, the rest of the coconut milk for 5 minutes, then add in the rest of the sugar (you may want to add even a bit more sugar to make it a tad sweeter)...stir until its dissolved.

Scoop some rice into a bowl and top with sliced mangos.  Pour some coconut sauce over the top and serve.

OR... you can mix the remaining coconut milk with the prepared rice, then scoop and serve.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Meal Plan #6

Here we go, another week!  Fortunately for us it is a short school week and up to the mountains we go!!!

1. Lavash Pizzas
     -super easy!!!  Take a slice of Lavash bread (from Trader Joes) and spread it with your favorite sauce     and top with veggies.  Bake at 425 degrees for 5-7 minutes, or until crisp.

2.  Red Lentil Soup
    -recipe to come! But expect, some curry, and ginger involved...

3.  "Hawaiian Burgers"  aka Portabella Burgers with homemade Teriyaki Sauce and Pineapple

4.  Teriyaki Bowls with leftover teriyaki sauce

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Pad See Ew aka Thai Noodles with Broccoli and Tofu

Serves 4-6

Pad See Ew is my all time favorite Thai dish, with Pad Thai a close second.  Chewy noodles in a sweet and savory sauce is my idea of comfort food.  I have been wanting to tackle this dish for awhile, but honestly I was intimidated.  But after making it, I am no longer afraid!  It was fairly easy and crazy delicious!

If I can do it, you can too!

1 head of broccoli *
1 (14 oz) package of organic tofu, pressed and sliced **
14 oz of dried flat rice noodles ***
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 Tbsp oyster sauce
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
vegetable oil
cracked black pepper
2 large eggs (optional)

In a medium sized bowl, whisk together oyster sauce, soy sauce, sugar, rice vinegar and garlic and a few cranks of a pepper mill.  Taste the sauce and adjust to your liking.

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Cook rice noodles according to package directions.  When they are done, drain and toss with a little oil to prevent sticking and set aside.

Pour enough oil in a wok to coat the bottom and turn it on to high heat.  When is just starts to smoke, add in the broccoli.  Cook for just a few minutes until it turns bright green and is tender.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.  

Wipe out the wok, if needed.  Pour a bit more oil back in and return to high heat.  Place pressed, sliced tofu into the wok and stir fry until crispy.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.  

Add in a bit more oil and if using eggs, crack them in and when the set, scramble them with a wooden spoon.  Pour in the precooked noodles and let them cook for about 1 minute.

Toss broccoli and tofu back in and drizzle sauce over everything.  Stir fry until everything is coated and noodles are done.  Serve immediately!

*Chinese broccoli is preferred, but regular will do just fine.  When slicing the broccoli you want to leave some of the stalk with it.  

**To press the tofu, line a cutting board with clean dish towel and place tofu on top.  Cover the tofu with the towel and place another cutting board over that.  Now you need to "press" it by placing a heavy pot or a stack of plates on top of the cutting board.  Since tofu is packed in water, this helps drain out most of it.  

*** Ahh, these noodles were the death of me...just kidding.  I set out in search of the super wide noodles that most Thai restaurants use, but was striking out.  I finally sent my sweet husband two towns over to an Asian market thinking for sure they would have them...but no!  The best we could do was what is pictured above, and it worked out fine.  Come to find out after the fact, you can buy rice sheets at the Asian market and slice them to your desired width.  Oh well, next time!  Also, some directions say you can just soak the noodles in cold water for 15 minutes, instead of boiling them... disregard that, it doesn't work!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Yummy Vegan Mac n "Cheese"

makes one 9" casserole dish

1 lb. macaroni pasta

For the "Cheese" Sauce:

1 c. non dairy milk (unflavored, unsweetened)
1 c. nutritional yeast
3/4 c. water
3 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
2  tsp paprika
2  tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 oz. tofu
3/4 c. canola oil
1 tsp dijon mustard (optional)

1/2 c. bread crumbs, seasoned with salt and pepper

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, and cook pasta according to package directions.

While water is coming to a boil and noodles are cooking, prepare the "cheese" sauce.

Are you ready for this one???  Pour all the "cheese" sauce ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.

Drain noodles and pour into a baking dish.  Pour sauce over top and stir to make sure all noodles are feeling the love.  Sprinkle bread crumbs on top.

You can either eat it like this, sans bread crumbs, or proceed to baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbly and topping is golden and crisp.

Bam, its THAT easy!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Monday Meal Plan #5

I am back home from an amazingly spontaneous weekend trip and reluctantly forcing myself back into reality.  On tap for the day is a trip to the store to stock up my barren fridge and pantry, which I raided for our last minute road trip! These are the meals I will be cooking up for the week!

1. Baked Potatoes topped with Chili

2.  Pad see ew
     -our favorite Thai dish... I will post the recipe later!

3.  Vegan Mac n' Cheese
     -Working on a recipe as we speak...recipe to come!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Meal Plan #4

This is what I'll be cooking up in my kitchen this week:

1. Black Bean Burgers with beet fries and a salad
     -for the beet fries, wash, peel and slice beets into wedges.  Toss with evoo, s/p and roast at 400 until        crispy and tender.

2.  Curry and Butternut Squash Soup with naan

3.  Lentil Salad

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Vegan Mango Cake

I originally made this cake for a friend's Cuban themed party, and it was a delicious hit!  

For the Cake:

21/2 cups mashed fresh mangos
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups evaporated cane juice (sugar)
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs (or equivalent egg replacer)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together mangos, sugar, "eggs" and vanilla.  Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry into the wet ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Pour into two prepared 8" round pans and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Let cool in pan for 15 minutes before removing.  Cool completely before frosting.

For the Frosting:

8 oz vegan cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup vegan butter substitute, softened
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup (or more) powdered sugar

Beat ingredients together until light and fluffy.  You may need to add in more powdered sugar, in small increments to achieve desired fluffiness.  Frost cooled cake and top with sliced mangos.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Vegan Broccoli Soup with Homemade Croutons

Perfectly healthy and comforting, this soup is a winner with little and big kids alike! Oh, and it's relatively inexpensive.  So, you may want to double this recipe and freeze some for a rainy day!

olive oil
1 1/2 pounds of broccoli
1 onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small carrots, chopped
3 Tbsp flour
4 cups of veggie stock
1/2 cup cashew cream (optional)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional but highly recommended)

day old french bread
olive oil

For the cashew cream, blend together 1/4 cup cashews and 1/4 cup water.

In a dutch oven or large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in broccoli, onion, carrots and s/p.  Cook for 5 minutes and then add in flour.  Cook for another minute.  Pour in veggie stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.  Pour in cashew cream and nutritional yeast.  Puree with an immersion blender or in shifts in a high powered blender.  Season to taste with s/p.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make the croutons, cube the french bread, drizzle it with olive oil and season with s/p.  Place on a sheet pan in a single layer and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meyer Lemon, Thyme and Olive Oil Cake

makes one 9" round cake
if doubled makes a beautiful bundt cake

Nothing beats eating foods when they are in season!  This cake celebrates the wonderful meyer lemon which is in season December through April.  If you haven't tasted a meyer lemon before they are sweeter than regular lemons and less acidic.  They have been described as a cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.

11/2 cups flour ( I used spelt, but all purpose would be fine)
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
3 tsp meyer lemon zest
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 cup plain soy yogurt (I used 1/2 cup almond milk with a splash of lemon juice = "buttermilk")
1 Tbsp meyer lemon juice
1 cup sugar
3 "egg" substitues (or eggs)
1/2 cup good olive oil
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup meyer lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9" round baking dish.  I made mine in a bundt pan, which looked beautiful, but I realized I needed to double the recipe in order to fill it up.  So make note of that!

In a large bowl whisk together yogurt/"buttermilk" sugar, egg substitutes, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and olive oil.

In another bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, sea salt, lemon zest and thyme.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.

Pour into prepared pan.  Bake until firm to the touch and cake bounces back when presses, about 20-25 minutes.  If you double the recipe you will need to increase the baking time.

Cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes.

Whisk together lemon juice and powdered sugar.  Turn cake out onto a plate and poke holes in it using a skewer.  Pour sugar/juice mixture over the cake and let it rest another 10 minutes before serving.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Meal Plan #3

1. Lentil Sloppy Joes

2. Vegan Broccoli Soup with Homemade Croutons
  -recipe to come

3.  Naan Pizzas

Curried Lentil Shepherd's Pie with a Sweet Potato Mash

The only traditional thing about this shepherd's pie is how comforting it is!  You will be pleasantly surprised by it's flavorful makeover and creamy sweet topping.  This meal is perfect for a cold night, and it literally begs you to eat it while curled up in front of the fireplace!

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup dry lentils
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated (dried ginger is fine too, just use 3/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp corriander
1/2 tsp tumeric
1-2 tsp curry powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
3 Tbsp whole wheat flour
2 cups veggie stock
3/4 cup frozen peas
3 medium sized sweet potatoes
dash of non-dairy milk
pinch of dried ginger

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash, dry and poke holes in the sweet potatoes.  Place them in the oven to roast until tender, about 45 minutes.  You may want to line the bottom of your oven with foil, because the sweet potatoes will leak.

In a small sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water to boil, and add in rinsed lentils.  Boil for 10-15 minutes.  You may need to drain out excess water before adding to the rest of the dish.  Keep in mind the lentils will continue to cook in the oven, so just boil them until al dente.

While the lentils are cooking, add olive oil to a large cast iron skillet or dutch oven and heat over medium heat.  Add in onion, garlic, ginger and carrots, saute for about 5 minutes.  Add in precooked lentils and spices and flour.  Stir to coat and cook for another minute.  Pour in veggie stock and stir until thickened, about 3 minutes.  Season with s/p.  Finally, add in the frozen peas and stir to combine. Transfer to a lightly sprayed 9x13 baking dish.

Take the sweet potatoes out of the oven and carefully peel them.  Drop oven temperature down to 375 degrees.  Place the sweet potatoes in a medium sized bowl and mash.  Stir in soy milk and ginger and a tiny pinch of salt.  Spoon over lentil mixture.

Bake uncovered at 375 for roughly 45 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown.  You may need to bump up the temp to broil for the last minute or so to brown the sweet potatoes better.  Remove from the oven and let the casserole set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pea Pesto Ravioli

I was inspired when I saw Joy the Baker's blog about these homemade ravioli that she made.  I knew that I wanted to try them and adapt them to my diet.  These raviolis are so light and delicate and pair perfectly with a delicious marinara sauce or simply a drizzle of good olive oil and lemon zest.

1 package of Wonton wrappers
2 cups fresh peas (you can use frozen when peas are not in season)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp lemon zest
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup bread crumbs (or a piece of bread toasted and torn in small pieces)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
small bowl of water

Boil peas for 2-3 minutes, or just until done (or a few more if cooking from frozen).

In the bowl of a food processor, add in peas, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, bread "crumbs" and nutritional yeast.  Pulse to combine, then drizzle olive oil in and blend until "pesto" comes together.  Taste and season with s/p.

Now comes assembly time.  Keep in mind this is a tedious process, so don't try to rush it.  Note:  I cut my wonton squares down because they were too big and weren't in a perfect square shape and made it difficult to "wrap."

Place a wonton sheet in front of you in the shape of a diamond.  Spoon a small teaspoon amount of pesto on the bottom half of the wrapper.  Dip your fingers in a little bit of water and rub them on the bottom perimeter of the wrapper, this serves as the glue to hold the ravioli together.  Now, press the upper half onto the bottom.  Make sure that you have made a good don't want any leaks.  Now, take the two outside corners and bring them together and seal with a bit of water.  The finished product should look somewhat like an open envelope.

You could also make more traditional raviolis by placing a bit of pesto in the middle of a square and covering over it with another wonton wrapper and sealing it with water.  Then either using a ravioli cutter or a sharp knife, cut along the outside of the seal.

Keep assembling until all the pesto is used up.  You will want to make sure that you store the raviolis in a single layer, with no overlap...they will stick together.  You can freeze them at this point and save for a later time.

To cook, bring a large pot of water to a slow boil and add salt.  Very gently place the ravioli in the water and cook just until they surface in the water.  Carefully scoop them out and toss with olive oil.  Take care when cooking them because they are tragically fragile.

Place in a bowl and toss with warm marinara sauce and serve!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Banana Bon Bon Bites

Ok, by now you may have noticed... I have a slight, but healthy, obsession with all things peanut butter and chocolate.  You throw a banana in the mix and I am over the moon!

 I saw this idea floating around on pinterest and I knew I had to make them.  Words are not'll understand as soon as you pop the first one in your mouth!

natural peanut butter (if its unsalted, and you are crazy cool like me, you may want to sprinkle the smallest amount of sea salt on it... you wont be sorry)
chocolate chips
1 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)

Melt chocolate chips in either a double boiler or in the microwave.

-To do a double boiler, heat water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Place a glass, heat proof bowl over the top of the sauce pan, making sure that bottom of bowl does not touch the water.  Add in chocolate chips and coconut oil and stir until melted and shiny.

-If using a microwave, add chocolate chips and coconut oil to a glass bowl.  Heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between.  Heat until melted and shiny.

Slice bananas into bite sized pieces.  Spread a layer of peanut butter on top of banana (sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt), and drip/dunk/drown in melted chocolate.

Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and stick in the freezer until hardened.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Monday Meal Plan #2

Here it is friends!  I hope you all had a relaxing weekend!  We have a busy week ahead and are recuperating from a little bug, so I wanted to keep it simple and nourishing.  These are the meals I am planning on making throughout the week, but the order is yet to be determined.

1. Fried Rice with easy miso soup
2. Curried Lentil Bake and sweet potato fries
    -recipe to come
3. Millet Meatballs over whole wheat spaghetti and a garden Salad
4. Burrito Bowls with chips and quacamole

In order to save time, I plan on prepping some of the components ahead of time.

-chop veggies for fried rice and maybe even cook rice
-slice sweet potatoes and keep in cold water
-make millet meatballs and store in fridge or freezer

(Pea)Nut Butter Shortbread with Chocolate Ganache

Get ready to have a party in your mouth!  These bad boys are heavenly and sinful at the same time.  They are definitely rich, so make sure to cut them small (or not)!

3/4 cup nut butter of your choice ( I used equal portions of almond butter and peanut butter)
1/3 cup canola oil (or coconut)
1 cup sucanat (or brown sugar)
1/4 cup  (unsweetened) almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour ( I used spelt)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

For the ganache:

1/2 cup soy milk
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a square, metal baking pan.  An 8x8 will result in a chewier more brownie like cake and a 9x9 will give you more of a shortbread consistency.  You really can't go wrong either way.

Put nut butter in a glass bowl and microwave for 30 seconds, just to warm it up and make it easier to mix.  Add the remaining ingredients in and mix until well combined.  Keep in mind, this is a drier batter than most brownie recipes.  You may find it easiest to use your hands and knead it so it comes together better.  Then press the mixture into greased pan.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm to the touch and slightly golden brown.  Cool completely in the pan.

Heat soy milk in microwave or stovetop, until just before boiling.  Pour over chocolate chips.  Let it stand for 10 minutes, then whisk to combine.  Place chocolate mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour, or until hardened.  Stir the ganache and spread over completely cooled shortbread.  Cut into squares and serve!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sweet Potato Falafel with Vegan Tzatziki Sauce

Oh yum, this meal is sure to be a crowd pleaser!  My one bit of advice is to read through all the directions first, because there are some "time sensitive" steps.  Please don't let this deter you...because with a little planning this is a great make-ahead meal!  Also, this meal freezes really go ahead, double it, I did!

For the Falafel:

(makes a lot, so feel free to halve the recipe)

4 medium sweet potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork
3 tsp cumin
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tsp corriander
1/4-1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
juice of a lemon
1 3/4 cups of chickpea flour ( I used spelt)

sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Roast sweet potatoes for 45 minutes to 1 hour.  Cool and peel.  While potatoes are roasting, make the tzatziki sauce and set refrigerate.

Place peeled sweet potatoes in a large bowl, along with cumin, corriander, garlic, cilantro, lemon juice and flour.  Mash until relatively smooth and no large chunks remain.  Chill in the fridge for 1 hour or in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.  You want the mixture to firm up, otherwise its too sticky to form the balls.

Reheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly spray a cookie sheet (or two).  For this part, you will need two spoons and to channel your inner Iron Chef!  (You are going to form the falafel the way many chefs serve ice cream.)  First, you take one spoon and scoop up some of the mixture.  Now, taking the second spoon, you are going to use the concave side to scrape down next to the other spoon, and form the sides of the balls.  You may need to do a few passes of this spoon scraping dance to form a nice (football-shaped) ball.   Place on cookie sheet and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional).

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or until firm to the touch and golden brown.

For the Tzatziki Sauce:

1 cup raw cashews (soaked in warm water for 15-30 minutes)
1/2 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
juice of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp corriander
1 clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup water
a handful of fresh mint

Drain cashews and place them in a high powered blender or food processor, along with 1/2 cup of water and garlic.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  Pour into a small bowl and add in, cucumbers, lemon juice, corriander, s/p, and mint.  Season to taste.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate Chili

This recipe is a nice deviation from the typical spicy and acidic chili.  It is smooth, smoky and mellow.  The chocolate adds a depth to the flavor without overwhelming it.

1 Tbsp olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
6-8 roma tomatoes, diced
4 cans of chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
4 cans of kidney beans
4 cups veggie stock
2 Tbsp cumin
a dash of cayenne or chipotle chili powder (optional...will add some heat)
1 1/2 - 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate

optional toppings:
hot sauce
 lime wedges

Heat oil over medium heat, in a large dutch oven or stock pot.  Add in onions and garlic, cook for about 5 minutes.  Add in bell pepper and cook an additional 3 minutes.  Toss in the diced tomatoes, beans, spices, s/p and veggie stock.  Bring to a boil and then turn it down to a simmer.  To speed up the cooking process, boil uncovered until veg stock is absorbed.  If time allows, cover and let simmer for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  At the last minute before serving, add in the bittersweet chocolate and stir until melted and fully incorporated.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Udon Noodle Soup

Warning: this recipe makes a TON!!!  I pretty much cook every meal with the intentions of freezing half of it.  So, feel free to do the same, or cut the recipe in half!  Also, for most of my soups, I use vegan boullion cubes, instead of boxed vegetable stock.  I find that this cuts my cost down significantly, since good organic stock can cost up to $5 a carton.  I get my boullion at Whole Foods and I think it is about $4 for 8 cubes which equals about 8 cartons of stock... pretty good deal if you ask me!

1 Tbsp sesame oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1" hunk of ginger (1/2 grated and 1/2 thinly sliced)
3-4 large carrots, sliced
6-8oz sliced crimini or shiitake mushrooms
1-2 cups chopped kale
1/2 cup sliced green onion (reserve 1/4 cup for garnish)
2 Tbsp miso paste (dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water)
3 veggie boiullon cubes, mixed in 10-12 cups warm water
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups cubed tofu
splash of rice wine vinegar (or juice from 1/2 a lime)
udon noodles
freshly ground black pepper

In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic and ginger.  Cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Toss in carrots and mushrooms and cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add in all the liquids, tofu, and 1/4 cup green onions.  Simmer for at least 15-20 minutes.  The longer it simmers, the more the flavor develops.  At the last few minutes, add in desired amount of udon noodles and cook a couple minutes more.

Serve hot and top with green onions.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Meal Plan Monday #1

Hi Guys!

I am going to try something new!  I have had a few people ask about my meal planning so I thought I would start posting my meal plans for the week.  Now, there are a few things I should mention regarding my meal plans.  First is that my husband does not have a typical work schedule, so often the nights he works, I plan for leftovers or something SUPER breakfast for dinner!  The other is that  I cook (the majority of) my meals to be doubled and frozen, because I cook and bring meals to my grandparents.  So that is why many of my recipes make enough to feed an army! Along with that, I also just plan on making about 4 meals a week, factoring in eating leftovers and eating out.

When I sit down to meal plan, I write out our schedule for the week.  This helps me get a better idea of what kind of meal I need depending on how busy or day is, or if my hubby is working, and  eliminates the "what shall we make for dinner tonight" game.  I also try to plan things that have some overlap of ingredients so that I am not buying one whole head of cabbage and only using a little bit for one meal.  This saves money and ensures that we are eating up all of our food and not wasting it!  Before meal planning, inevitably I would be throwing away produce at the end of the week and having to make multiple trips to the grocery store to pick up random items.  This way I make one trip (occasionally 2) to the store a week, saving time, money and energy!

Without further ado, here is my plan for the week:

#1. (Fish) Tacos with a cabbage slaw and a side of black beans
     -We eat primarily vegan, but one of my sons begs for fish constantly, so I will be making this for him!
     - no recipe on the blog yet, sorry

#2. Peanut Noodle Bowls

#3. Chocolate Chili with cornbread
#4. Pasta with roasted broccoli and walnuts
     -recipe to come later this week!