Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Green Smoothie



This green smoothie recipe is a must-have in our house.  I make a huge blender-full every morning (or the night before) and we drink it throughout the day.  Smoothies are such a great way to cram in important nutrients that can be hard to get in during the day...especially for little (or big) ones who turn their noses up at the idea of vegetables.  We've been known to get crazy with what we add into smoothies, I think one time we counted over 23 ingredients.  However, that can be daunting to keep up with, so this recipe is tried and true, delicious and simple!

makes 2 adult and 2 kid servings

1 c. water
1 c. O.J.
4-5 kale leaves
handful of spinach
2 Tbsp protein powder
3/4 c. frozen mango
3/4 c. frozen pineapple
1 banana

Blend together in a high power blender, such as a Vita Mix.  Cover any unused smoothie to enjoy it later.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Moroccan Quinoa Salad



makes a LARGE salad, perfect for entertaining.


2 cups dry quinoa
1 tsp cinnamon
4 small english cucumbers, chopped
1 small red onion, thinly chopped
1/3 c. dried apricots, chopped
1/3 c. raisins
1/2 c. sliced almonds (raw or dry roasted)
handful of mint, chopped
handful of basil, chopped
1/2 inch chunk of ginger, grated
2 lemons, zest and juice
1/4-1/2 c. olive oil
s/p
1 c. cherry tomatoes, quartered

Cook quinoa according to package, but add in cinnamon to boiling water.  Let stand and cool.

Place chopped onion in a bowl with cold water.  Allow to soak for 10-15 minutes.  This takes out the real tangy bite of the onion (and stinky breath), but keeps all the flavor.

Place all chopped veggies (excluding tomatoes), herbs, dried fruit and nuts, in a large bowl with the cooled quinoa.  Stir in lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil and s/p.  Mix gently and taste for seasoning.  Feel free to add more to your liking.  Before serving, fold in chopped tomatoes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

serves 4-6

This is a hearty, yet light, meal, perfect for warm nights.  This is also a great way to use up the bounty of zucchini that so many summer gardens leave us with!  

1/2 of a yellow onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/4 c. crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 of a red bell pepper, finely chopped
2 T. flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 T. basil, chopped
3/4 c. of strained tomatoes
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 T. nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese) plus more for topping- (optional)
1 1/2 - 2 c. grains of your choice (I used Trader Joes Harvest Grains, but quinoa, millet, or even orzo would work)
salt and pepper
dash of red chili pepper flakes (optional)
4 large zucchini

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice zucchini in half, lengthwise.  Take a spoon and scoop out seeds, this will be the "boat" for your filling.

Cook grains according to package directions, set aside.

In a large cast iron skillet, heat a little olive oil over medium heat.  Add in onion and garlic, saute until translucent.  Add in mushrooms and bell pepper, cook another 3-4 minutes.  Finally, add in herbs, tomatoes, lemon juice, s/p, nutritional yeast/cheese, red pepper flakes and grains.  Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until filling has absorbed some of the liquid from the tomatoes.

Fill each zucchini boat with veggie-grain mixture and season with s/p (if you are using parmesan cheese, sprinkle extra on top). Place in a baking dish and then in oven.  Cook for about 30-40 minutes, or until zucchini is tender but not mushy.  Sprinkle with a little extra nutritional yeast and serve!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Farmer's Market Fajitas with Homemade Spelt Tortillas




I love going to the farmer's market and seeing what is in season and planning my meals around it.  This meal was almost 100% seasonal and local and, boy, could you taste the freshness!  For this meal, I got the bell peppers, zucchini, corn, cilantro, and onions all from my favorite organic stand, and the black beans and ingredients for the tortillas came from my pantry!


serves 4-6

olive oil
2 onions, thinly sliced
2 large bell peppers, thinly sliced
2 ears of corn, kernels cut off the cob
2 small zucchini, diced
small bunch of cilantro, chopped
2 cans organic black beans, rinsed and drained
dash of cumin
dash of coriander
s/p

tortillas:

3 cups spelt flour
3 tsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1- 11/4 cup warm soy milk (or other milk)

To  make the tortillas, mix together the flour, oil, salt, and baking powder.  Slowly pour in the warm milk and stir until it forms a loose, sticky ball.  On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for two minutes. It is done when you can press a finger into the ball and it bounces back quickly.  Put the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towel for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, section the dough off into 12-16 balls, depending on how big you want your tortillas.  Roll the small sections between your hands to form little balls.  Place the balls on a large plate, making sure they don't touch each other.  Cover with the damp towel again and let rest for 10 more minutes.  Its super important to let the dough rest each time so that it will become elastic and roll out well.  Once the dough has rested for the second time, take each ball and roll it out until it is about 8''.  At first I thought I was making mine too thin, but they were actually perfect.  If they are too thick, it will be more like a flat bread and not much of a tortilla.  You may want to roll one out and cook it up immediately, to make sure the thickness works for you.  To cook them, heat a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat and cook for about 20-30 seconds per side.  Keep them covered after they are cooked.  If you need to make them ahead of time, just simply reheat them on the skillet before serving.

For the fajitas, add 1 Tbsp oil to a large cast iron skillet and add in onions and peppers.  Cook until onions are slightly brown and tender.  Season with s/p.  Remove from pan and add in diced zucchini.  Cook for just about 3 minutes, or until turning golden brown.

Heat beans in a small sauce pan, and add in dashes of cumin, coriander and s/p.  Cook until heated through.

To assemble.  Take a fresh tortilla and place black beans on top, layer with onions and peppers, next sauteed zucchini, fresh corn and top with chopped cilantro.

You could also top with homemade guacamole or salsa, but we loved them simple and fresh just like this!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Vegetable Chow Mein


serves 6-8

Forget take-out... this chow mein cooks up in just minutes and is so healthy and sans MSG!!!  Feel free to half the recipe, it makes a lot...but then again, leftovers are soo good!!!
Once again, no exact measurements for the veggies.  Just use what looks good to suit your appetites.


1 pkg. Chow Mein noodles- cook according to package
shredded carrots
cabbage (chinese, napa or purple)
bell pepper
edamame, shelled
shiitake mushrooms

SAUCE:
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. rice vinegar
3 Tbsp. sesame oil
1/2c. vegetable oil

Combine all ingredients for the sauce in a bowl and stir well.  In a large wok or skillet, heat 1 Tbsp of oil over medium heat.  Add in veggies and cook for about 2-3, or until just barely tender.  Dump in the cooked noodles and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Pour in the sauce and stir to combine.   

See, I told you it was easy peasy!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mango Lassis



This creamy Indian drink is the perfect summertime treat!  It is quite possible that after you make your first one, you will become addicted...but don't worry...it is actually super healthy for you!

serves 2-4

3 mangoes, peeled, pitted and cut into chunks
1 cup yogurt (I love Organic Whole Soy Vanilla)
1/2 cup crushed ice
1/2 water, or milk of your choice
sugar or agave is optional (we didn't use any because the mangoes were soo ripe and sweet!)

Place ingredients into a high powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy!

Friday, July 1, 2011

chocolate cranberry scones


makes 12-16 scones

These scones are heavenly... Seriously, they are so good!  Sweet, but not too sweet, tangy, but not too tangy, fluffy and altogether delicious.  They are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee, or even with a scoop of ice cream!  You could add nuts and then they would be like a "trail mix" scone.  The batter for these scones is like a blank canvas... you can make them into whatever you desire or have on hand.  My next combo will be lemon zest and fresh blackberries!  

3 cups flour (I used all-purpose, but will try with spelt next time)
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup coconut sugar, sucanat or brown sugar (plus more for sprinkling on top)
1/4 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk, almond milk, etc..
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and spray 2 baking sheets with non-stick spray or line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.

In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, sugar, syrup, soy milk, vinegar and vanilla extract.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and using a rubber spatula, fold the wet mixture into the dry, just until combined.  Do not over mix!!!

Drop the dough into 1/4 cup scoops onto prepared baking sheets.  Sprinkle with a little extra coconut sugar.

Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until slightly golden brown and firm to the touch. 

Cool on wire racks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Peanut Noodle Bowls




serves 4-6

This is a perfect meal for a busy weeknight!  The sauce whips up super quick, the noodles take about 3 minutes to prepare and then, really all you have to do is chop veggies!  Go ahead, make this this week... you deserve a "night off!"

Peanut Sauce:

1'' chunk of ginger, peeled
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2-4 Tbsp warm water
1/4-1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 Tbsp sucanat (sugar)

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth and creamy.  For a thinner, more dressing-like sauce, add more warm water.

1/2 pkg Cappellini noodles (super thin spagetti-like noodles)


Toppings:

cucumber
bell pepper
shredded carrot
cabbage
peanuts
cilantro
tofu (or protein of your choice)
steamed broccoli
snap peas
scallions

Cook noodles according to package directions.  Drain and toss with a little peanut sauce.  I  like to arrange the toppings on a platter and then fill everyone's bowl with noodles.  I then let them choose their own toppings (pending clean hands...) and put it on top of their noodles.  Its a neat way to get kids involved in what they're are eating, and its surprising how excited they get!  And, of course, top with more yummy peanut sauce!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quinoa Rice Bowl with a Soy Ginger Dressing


serves 4-6

This meal was inspired by a grab-and-go meal that I got at Whole Foods awhile back.  Its so fresh and healthy and super simple!  You could use brown rice, millet or another starch of your choice.  Anyway you choose, you won't be disappointed!

Soy Ginger Dressing/Marinade:

4 cloves of garlic,  finely chopped
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
3 Tbsp honey
1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients into a glass jar with a tight fitting lid.  Shake well to combine.  Remove lid and heat in the microwave for 1 minute, to dissolve honey.  Make sure to let it cool.  Shake well before serving.  You can keep it stored in the fridge, covered, for 2 weeks.

Quinoa Rice Bowl:

4 cups cooked quinoa
2/3 cup shelled edamame
2/3 cup bell pepper, chopped
shiitake mushrooms, sliced
tofu
sunflower seeds

Wrap tofu in a towel and place a heavy plate on top of it.  Let in stand for 5-10 minutes, to allow some moisture to drain out.  When done, slice tofu to desired thickness.  Pour some of the dressing over and let it marinade for at least 10 minutes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Saute mushrooms until tender, remove from heat.  Add a little more oil and cook tofu for 5 minutes per side, or until golden brown. 

Fill a bowl with desire amounts of quinoa, edamame, bell pepper, mushrooms, tofu and sunflower seeds.  Top with the soy ginger dressing.





Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Vegan Spring Risotto


This dish really celebrates Spring, by using fresh, organic vegetables that are in season!  Every bit of produce was purchased at my local farmers market!  Don't skimp on the basil... it is soo good!

serves 4-6


12 oz Aborio rice
olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
3-4 small carrots, diced
4-6 kale leaves, ribs removed and chopped
1 cup (+/-) asparagus, chopped
white wine (optional)
4-6 cups veggie stock
1/4 cup nutritional yeast *, or parmesan cheese (obviously it won't be vegan if you use cheese)
basil, thinly sliced
2-4 green onions, sliced
s/p

Heat veg stock in a sauce pan over medium low heat and bring to a simmer and keep it warm.

In a large cast iron dutch oven or stock pot, heat a splash of olive oil over medium heat.  Add in rice and cook until golden brown and slightly toasted, about 5 minutes.  Pour rice into a bowl and set aside.  Add a splash more olive oil and saute onion, garlic and carrots until tender, about 5 minutes. Season with s/p. Toss in the kale and asparagus and cook for 1-2 minutes more.  Pour the previously cooked rice back into the pot and add in just enough warm stock to cover the rice and veggies.  Cook and stir until the stock is absorbed.  Add in a splash of wine (optional) and another ladle full of stock.  Stir until absorbed.  Continue adding ladles full of stock one at a time until rice is tender and fully cooked.  Make sure to keep stirring, this helps bring out the starch in the rice, resulting in a creamier risotto.  When fully cooked, add in yeast/parmesan and season with s/p.  Stir to incorporate.  Top with basil and green onions.

*Nutritional yeast is a wonderful addition to vegan/vegetarian cooking.  It is super rich in B-vitamins which mostly found in red  meat.  It has a delicious cheesy, salty flavor to it!  We add it to soups, pastas, salads and I gobble it up on popcorn drizzled with olive oil!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Vegan Broccoli Salad


serves 6-8 as a side portion
WARNING: no exact measurements, improvise as you go!

I'm pretty sure I ate 90% of this salad in one sitting.  I kept going back for "one more scoop,"  and next thing I knew, it was gone!  It has a perfect combination of crunchy, sweet, tangy and its soo healthy!  I plan on making a double portion and having it on hand for easy lunches throughout the week.

1-2 large stalks of broccoli, chopped.(including the stems)
2-3 green onions, chopped (for more bite, you could use red onion)
shredded carrots
raisins
raw sunflower seeds
olive oil
champagne or white balsamic vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
s/p

Toss everything in a bowl and stir to combine.  Keep in mind that you want enough dressing to coat everything, but not be soupy. I think I used roughly 1/4 cup evoo and a few tablespoons of vinegar. 



Monday, May 16, 2011

Mango Salsa

This salsa is super simple and crazy delicious!  I put it on top of our black bean burgers the other night and it was amazing, but you could top tacos, enchiladas, a simple rice bowl, etc.  Try this one out, you will NOT be disappointed!

makes about 2 cups

2 mangos, peeled and diced
1/2 a red pepper, diced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
2 green onions, chopped OR 1/2 of a red onion, diced
1/2-1 jalapeno, seeded and diced, optional
2 limes, juiced
s/p

combine all ingredients and season to desired flavor.  Feel free to add more of anything if you want more of a bite.  The salsa is great the next day as well!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tabbouleh Salad



In honor of warmer weather and the possibility for picnics, I thought I would share with you my favorite tabbouleh salad recipe.  If, you can tolerate cheese, I HIGHLY recommend sprinkling on some feta... oh how I miss feta!

I am just going to give you ballpark measurements for this one. 

INGREDIENTS:

cooked quinoa (for smaller portions maybe 3-5 cups, for larger 6-8)
tomatoes (I like using cherry tomatoes and quartering them)
cucumber (peeled and diced)
flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
lemon juice (juice from 1-3 lemons depending on how tart you want it)
feta (optional)
olive oil
s/p

Once the quinoa is cooked and cooled, toss it with a little olive oil.  Squeeze in lemon juice and add in tomatoes, cucumber and parsley and s/p.  This is where you eyeball it.  If it looks like you could use more veggies or parsley... by all means add them in.  If you taste it and think it needs more lemon juice, add it in.  You really can't mess this one up!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Meatless Millet Meatballs



One of my husband's (old) favorite meals is spaghetti and meatballs.  So, I set out to make a healthier alternative and I am extremely pleased with what I came up with.  They had all the characteristics off a good meatball, crispy outside and flavorful and soft inside.  I used millet as the main ingredient, but you could use brown rice.  Millet is a gluten free grain that is high in protein and lots of other nutrients.

1 1/2 -2 c. cooked millet (or brown rice)
olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 large, or 2 small carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten (or egg replacer)
s/p

In a medium sized sauce pan, heat a splash of oil over medium heat.  Add in onion, garlic, carrots and celery.  Saute until veggies are tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together (most of the) millet, egg and salt and pepper.  Add in veggies and parsley and stir until well combined.  You want the mixture to be moist, but not runny.  So, feel free to add in more millet to thicken it up.

Scoop a rounded tablespoon sized portion and roll it into a ball.  Continue until all the mixture is used up.  Now, at this point, I placed the balls on a wax paper lined cookie sheet and placed them in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.

When you are ready, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is hot, add in the balls.  Allow them to brown on one side before turning them.  Be careful to not over crowd the pan.  If you do, the meatballs will steam instead of brown.  When all sides are browned and heated through, remove to a plate covered with a paper towel.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mega Protein Snacks

makes about 2 dozen


I adapted this recipe from another one I found here. They are simple to make and so convenient.  I store mine in the freezer and they are ready to go anytime! Despite how they look, I know what you were thinking... they taste great and are loaded with protein!

1 c. oat flour (whole oats blended in a food processor or blender)
2/3 c. protein powder (we use a hemp blend found at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods)
2/3 c. ground flaxseed (grind them in a coffee grinder or food processor. don't buy pre-ground, it looses        its nutritional benefits.)
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. almond butter (or peanut butter, or a combo.  fyi: if you heat it just a little, it makes mixing much easier)
1/2 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. chocolate chips

Line a cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper.

Toss all ingredients into a large bowl, and mix your heart out.

Wet hands and scoop a large tablespoon heap into your hands.  Roll into a ball and place on cookie sheet. When all the batter is rolled up, place cookie sheet into the freezer and chill for at least 30 minutes.

When the snacks are frozen you can transfer them to a freezer bag for east access.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Breakfast Scramble with Spinach and Chickpeas

serves 2-4

6 eggs (organic and free range...please)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup chickpeas (garbanzo beans, you could also use black beans)
1 large handful of spinach
1/2- 1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp corriander
pepper
*salsa verde to top it off (optional)

Heat your pan over medium heat and add in a tablespoon of oil.  Saute the garlic and add in whisked eggs.  Toss is beans and spinach and sprinkle is spices and seasoning.  Stir and cook until done.  Top with your favorite salsa!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Zucchini Apple Bread

makes 2 loaves

This bread is sweet, slightly spicy, and the perfect texture!  I doubled the batch and made 4 loaves and all were devoured in as many days!  Feel free to get creative and add in whatever you have on hand.


1 1/2 cups grated zucchini
1 1/2 cups grated apples
2 cups sugar (I used sucanat)
3/4 cup oil (canola, coconut, etc)
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (spelt, whole wheat, all-purpose)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is best)
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips, carob chips, walnuts, dried cranberries, etc

Preheat the oven to 350 degree.  Grease 2, 8 inch loaf pans.  You can also make these into muffins, just shorten the baking time.

Beat together, sugar, oil, vanilla, eggs, zucchini and apples until well combined.  Sift together dry ingredients and add to zucchini mixture.  Stir just to combine, do not over mix, or you will get a really dense bread.  If you are adding in any chocolate chips or nuts, just fold them in carefully.

Pour into prepared pans and bake for about 50-60 minutes.  Around 50 minutes, keep a close eye on the loaf.  It is done when a toothpick inserted into the middle come out clean.  Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn it out and transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Moroccan Medley

serves 4-6

This dish is so incredibly filling and comforting!  Nothing like a warm bowl of goodness to melt away your winter blues!

2 1/2 cups Grain of your choice: quinoa, millet, cous cous, etc ( I used Trader Joes Harvest Grain Blend... LOVE IT)
1 large onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp chopped fresh ginger
4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
4 cups veggie stock
1/2-1 cup orange juice
zest of 1 orange
s/p
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp cumin (or more to taste)
1 tsp paprika (or more to taste)
1 tsp tumeric (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (bump up to 1 tsp if not using fresh ginger)
1 can garbanzo beans
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large stove/oven proof pot, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat.  Add in onions, garlic, fresh ginger, and carrots.  Saute until veggies are tender, about 5-10 minutes.  Add in grains and spices and stir to coat.  Finally, add in apricots, garbanzo beans, stock, o.j., and orange zest.  You want to make sure that the liquid covers the grains and veggies, but doesn't drown them.  You may need to adjust the amount of liquid for your needs.  Place large pot, uncovered, in the oven.  Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are tender.  This could take anywhere between 25-50 minutes, depending on the type of grain you use.

To serve, garnish with chopped cilantro and almonds!

Friday, February 18, 2011

BBQ "chicken" Pita Pizzas



Ok, first off, I can not take full credit for this recipe.  Not too long ago, I stumbled upon this blog, Peas and Thank You and have really enjoyed it.  The author is a mother of two youngins, like me and is a vegan, like me... so naturally I'm hooked.  She has lots of great, easy, everyday vegan meal ideas and this recent one for pita pizzas was no exception.  So, below is my adaptation of it.  Keep in mind, this is "pizza," which means there are no limits or boundaries... knock yourself out with the variations, go crazy, break all the "rules!"

Makes 6 individual sized pizzas

1 package of whole wheat Pita Bread (6 pitas)
BBQ sauce (my fav is from Trader Joes)
1 can of black beans (these beauties take the place of chicken:))
2 stems of kale (washed, stemmed and roughly chopped)
1 bell pepper (thinly sliced)
1/2 c. pineapple (small cubes)
4 cloves of garlic (chopped)
dashes of dried oregano
olive oil

Super Easy Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the pitas on a cookie sheet and toast in the oven for 3 minutes.  Remove them and smother with BBQ sauce.  Sprinkle on kale, black beans, bell pepper, pineapple, garlic, and oregano.  Drizzle tops of pizza with just a bit of olive oil.

Bake in oven for 5-10 minutes, or until heated through and pita is crispy.  You may want to turn your oven to broil for the last minute, if needed.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Burrito Bowls



This is my take on our favorite Chipotle burrito bowls.  We may or may not go there once a week...


serves 4

3 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
juice of one lime
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 small can of diced green chilies (optional)
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp corriander
1 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, sliced
1 large bell pepper, sliced
3 kale leaves, stemmed and roughly chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
quacamole (if you are feeling lazy, like I was, you can use the store bought yumminess)

Cook quinoa according to package directions.  When done add in chopped cilantro and lime juice.

Heat beans in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Add in spices and bay leaf.  Simmer until ready to use.

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add in sliced onions, bell peppers and kale.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Add in garlic and saute until veggies are tender.

Layer in a bowl and top with quacamole!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Vegan Gluten Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies



Beware, for as healthy as these cookies are they are soo good and addicting!

makes 4 dozen

3 Tbsp oil (olive, canola, grapeseed, coconut)
2 c. raw nuts (I used a combo of almonds, sunflower seeds and walnuts)
1 c. sucanat (brown sugar)
1/2c. hot water
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 c. oat flour (blend oats in a food processor) or spelt flour*
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 c. oats (to make it GF, choose a certified GF brand of Oat, like Bob's Red Mill)
1 c. vegan chocolate chips (carob chips)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray, or line with parchment paper, cookie sheets.

Blend nuts in a Vita Mix blender or a food processor with oil until it reaches a chunky peanut butter consistency.

Heat 1/2 cup water and pour over sucanat, stir to dissolve.  Pour sucanat mixture over nut butter and blend a little more to combine.  Add in vanilla and stir until smooth. (Mixture will be thick)

Whisk together oat flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Add in nut mixture and stir until incorporated.  At this point let the dough cool for 5-10 minutes, so the chocolate chips don't melt.

Fold in oats and chocolate chips.

Scoop up a Tbsp of dough and roll between hands to form into a ball.  Place balls 2 inches apart.  Before baking, dip the bottom of a glass into a little water and flatten each ball.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until tops are firm*.  Cool on the baking sheets for 3-5 minutes before transferring to wire racks.

*Do not be alarmed if some of the carob chips melted onto the pan.  Once cookies are cooled, just simply break the melted pieces off.

-adapted from Vegetarian Times Magizine

* Spelt flour is not considered gluten free and if you have severe allergies to gluten, is probably not an option for you.  However, for some who have a slight intolerance to gluten, spelt may be tolerable.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Quinoa, Avocado and Citrus Tofu Wrap



These wraps are so versatile, nutritious and filling.  They make a hearty lunch or a light dinner.

makes 6 large wraps, or 12 smaller ones.

Tofu Marinade:

1/2 c. orange juice
1/4 c. lemon juice
3 Tbsp agave or maple syrup
1/2 c. fresh cilantro
1 tsp olive oil
1 Tbsp cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt

14 oz extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4 inch slices

Wraps:

3 ripe avocados
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp lemon juice
s/p
2 c. cooked quinoa
cherry tomatoes, halved
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced in strips
handful of spinach
6 pieces of wheat lavash bread

To make the marinade, place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth.  Pour over tofu and marinate for 1 hour.  Heat a tad of oil in a pan over medium heat and shake off excess liquid and cook tofu until brown on both sides.  Remove from the heat and cut slices into thin strips.

Mash avocados in a bowl and add in lemon juice and cumin, s/p and stir to combine.

To assemble wraps:

Spread 1/6 of avocado mixture over the lavash bread.  On the right hand side of the bread, press in 1/3 cup of quinoa.  Top with spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and tofu.  Start rolling from the side with the quinoa and firmly roll as you go.  Slice the wrap in the middle on a diagonal.

Best Ever Vegan Chocolate Cake!!!


I made this cake for my husbands birthday last month, and it was a hit with both vegans and omnivores alike! I adapted the recipe from the cookbook, You Won't Believe It's Vegan,  it's written by the chef/owner of one of our most favorite vegetarian restaurants in Oakland, Encuentro.  This cake would be perfect for any birthday party , as a special Valentine's Day treat, or for no other reason that you want to eat a scrumptious chocolate cake!

Cake Ingredients:

2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c. sucanat (brown sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. canola oil
1 c. vanilla soy milk (I used regular soy milk with 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 c. water
1 c. maple syrup
1 Tbsp chocolate extract (I omitted this and it was great without)
2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Frosting Ingredients:

2 c. chocolate chips (vegan chocolate chips are called carob chips)
1 c. vanilla soy milk (again, I used plain soy milk and added vanilla extract)

Directions:

You may want to make the frosting first because it has to chill for at least 1 1/2 hours before using.

Put chocolate chips in a heat-proof bowl.  Slowly and carefully heat the soy milk to right before its starts boiling.  Make sure not to scald it.  Pour milk over chocolate chips and let it sit for 1-2 minutes.  WHen the chips are softened, whisk it all together for 2 minutes until smooth and glossy.

Chill for at least 1 1/2 hours, or until solid.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Oil two 9-inch round cake pans and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, sucanat, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and stir.

In a separate bowl, mix together oil, soy milk, water, syrup, extracts and vinegar.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until incorporated.

Divide the batter equally between the two prepared pans, and bake for 18-22 minutes.  You will know they are done when you press on the middle and it bounces back.  You can also insert a toothpick and if it comes out clean, the cakes are ready.  Cool the layers in their pans on racks for 10 minutes, then remove from the pans and cool completely.

Frosting the Cake:


When its ready, remove from fridge and stir to soften it up.  Place one layer of cake on a cake plate and frost with 1/2 inch layer of frosting, then top with the second layer.  Frost the sides and tops of the entire cake.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Soba Noodle Salad



serves 4 really hungry people

I hope you enjoy this meal, we sure did!  When I made it, I was hoping for leftovers for lunch but no such thing happened...we all literally licked our plates clean!

sesame oil (about 2 tsp. for oiling the pan.  Can use evoo as well)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 red onion, chopped and (1/2 for sauteing, 1/2 for garnish)
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp ginger, chopped
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms, sliced
8 oz. baked tofu, (TJ's has a great organic, baked, teriyaki tofu...so delish) cut into small pieces
1 c. shredded or julienned carrots
1 c. sliced or julienned apples
1/4 c. sliced green onions
1/4 c. sliced almonds
loads of fresh spinach, for the bed of the salad
6 oz. cooked soba noodles

sauce:
1/3 c. low sodium soy sauce
1/4 c. sesame oil
1/4 c. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp chopped ginger

Heat small amount of oil in pan over medium low heat. Add in onion, garlic and ginger.  Saute until tender.  Add in sliced mushrooms and tofu and a splash of soy sauce.  Cook until mushrooms are tender and tofu gets a crispy edge, about 7-10 minutes.  Set aside.

To make the sauce:

Whisk together all the ingredients.  Make sure to taste and add more of something if needed.

Cook soba noodles according to their package.  Drain, rinse in cold water and set aside.

To Assemble Salad:

In the bottom of the bowl, put down a hefty bed of spinach.  Next, layer on soba noodles, followed by cooked veggies and tofu.  Add on carrots, apples, almonds, set aside red onions and green onions.  Drizzle with dressing.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Best Banana Bread Recipe EVER!!!


makes 1 loaf or 1 dozen muffins



These are soo good, especially if you can get your hands on coconut oil.  mm mmm,  I think I am going to make some right now...

1/2 c. melted vegan butter, melted regular butter, melted coconut oil, canola oil (or if you need another option... 1/4c. of any of the above and 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce)
3/4 c. sucanat, brown sugar, or regular sugar
1 1/2 c. flour ( I use spelt, but you can use all-purpose or whole wheat)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
3 VERY ripe mashed bananas ( the more ripe, the more flavor!)
2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8x4 loaf pan or muffin tins.

This is a one bowl wonder, which makes clean up nice!  In a large bowl, mash the bananas.  Add in all the ingredients and mix until well incorporated.  Do not over mix or your bread will be dense.  Pour batter into prepared pans and bake.

If you are making a loaf, bake for about 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you are making muffins, these typically take about 18-20 minutes.  Maybe a tad more, just keep an eye on them.

Cool to a wire rack and enjoy

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls



FIrst off, I apologize ahead of time... you will become addicted to these and eat way more than you should.  Ok, now you can't say I didn't warn you!

I call these cinnamon rolls, my "redemption rolls!"  Why, you ask?  I set out to make cinnamon rolls for a Christmas morning treat for my family.  I got up super early, slaved away in the kitchen, cleaned up the huge mess (p.s. there is a mess to be made, just another friendly warning), put the rolls in the oven, and... YUCK-O!!!  They were hard, not very flavorful and all together disappointing.  So, I made it my mission to redeem myself, and I did!  Thanks to my talented friend, I was able to make some deliciousness!

Here is my adaptation of her sticky bun recipe:

2 1/4 tsp yeast
1/4 c. sucanat (or brown sugar)
1 room temperature egg
warm water, roughly 110 degrees (about 1 cup)
3 c. flour (I used 1/2 spelt and it worked great... next round I will try all spelt)
3 T. evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp oil
1/4 c. room temperature earth balance vegan butter (or reg. dairy butter)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 c. evaporated cane juice (sugar)
1/4 c. melted earth balance (butter)
1/2 c. sucanat (brown sugar)

glaze (optional)
powdered sugar
soy milk

Directions:

In a small bowl, combine, 1/4 c. sucanat (brown sugar), and yeast.  Crack an egg into a glass measuring cup and whisk gently.  Add enough warm water to the egg to fill it to 1 1/4 cups.  Pour this water/egg mixture over the yeast and sugar, cover and set aside for 15 minutes.

In a mixer, fitted with a dough hook, add in flour, sugar and salt.  Whisk to combine.  Slowly add in the yeast/water mixture and oil.  Mix with dough hook until the dough forms a ball and comes together.  (I had to add a smidge more flour to help mine form a ball).  Place dough ball into a well oiled bowl, cover, and place in a warm area.  It needs to rise until it doubles in size.

Flour a flat work surface and place risen dough on it.  With lightly floured hands, flatten out dough until it is roughly a 12x18 rectangle.  Spread room temp butter over dough and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar. Now it's time to roll!  You are going to roll it into a long log, so take the long edge that is nearest to you and roll it backwards.  To cut the rolls, start by using a sharp knife and make a mark in the middle of the roll.  And from there, mark off 12-14 spots to cut.  I found it best to gently saw back and forth instead of pressing down and smooshing the roll.

Pour melted butter in a 9x13 dish and sprinkle with remaining sucanat (brown sugar).  Place the rolls in dish so that you see the spiral and leave a little space between each roll.  Let them rise in a warm area for about 30 minutes.

Place rolls in a preheated to 375 degree oven and bake for 25 or until golden brown.  While they are baking, whip up the glaze by adding roughly 1 cup powdered sugar to a bowl and about 1/2 cup soy milk.  Whisk until smooth.  These measurements are approximate, you may need to add more sugar if it looks a little runny.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, wax paper or foil and turn rolls over onto it.  Once they have cooled a tad, drizzle glaze over them.  Ready, set, go...  DIG IN!!!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roasted Beet Salad





Some friends of our made this for a Christmas party, and it knocked my socks off!  It was smoky, sweet, tangy and perfect.  I found out that it was a Rick Bayless recipe and wanted to try it myself!  It is a perfect side dish to any festive mexican dish, and cold leftovers make a yummy snack the next day!

serves 6 as a side dish

1 1/2 -2 pounds of small beets (well scrubbed, both ends trimmed, and quartered)
1 large red onion, sliced 1/4'' thick
1-2 poblano peppers (I roasted both, but ended up only using 1) -optional
2-3 Tbsp worcestershire sauce -optional
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
3 Tbsp chopped cilantro
2 onces manchego cheese, shaved -optional

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.  Whisk together olive oil, worcestershire sauce, s/p in a small bowl.  Put beets, onions and peppers into a large bowl and toss with mixture, making sure to coat everything well.  Pour onto a rimmed baking sheet and into the oven to roast.  Stir every 10 minutes or so, making sure to turn the peppers, to the skin blisters evenly on all sides.  This will take about 20 minutes.  Remove the peppers and continue roasting for another 20-30 minutes more, stirring every 10 minutes, until the beets are tender.  When the peppers are cool enough to handle, peel off the blistered skin, the stems and seeds. Rinse to get off any left behind seeds, then chop them up.

In a wide shallow mixing bowl, combine beets, onion, and poblanos.  Drizzle with lime juice and sprinkle with cilantro.  Season to taste with s/p.  If you are using cheese (which I recommend, but just unfortunately can't eat), take a vegetable peeler and shave it over the salad.

Easy Pomodoro Sauce with Arugula



This recipe came out of desperation.  It was a night where my hubby was at work and we were bone dry on groceries.  So, out of my pantry and a few straggler ingredients in the fridge, this mouthwatering but simple dish was born.  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

makes enough sauce for about 6 people.

2 boxes of POMI chopped tomatoes
5 cloves of garlic, chopped
1-2 handfuls of arugula
a splash of balsamic vinegar
s/p
1 box of your favorite spaghetti, cooked according to directions


In a medium size sauce pan over medium low heat, heat 2 cartons of POMI chopped tomatoes.  Add in the chopped garlic, arugula, vinegar.  Cook until warm throughout and until the arugula has wilted down.  Season with s/p.  Spoon over cooked spaghetti.  Devour it, but save some for leftovers... you will thank me the next day!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

vegetable polenta lasagna

finished product, that's my portion on the right

all the veggies and beans cooking


serves 6

I used to make a polenta dish that had italian sausage, lots of onions and red bell pepper, it was so hearty and delicious!  My hubby requested that I make a veggie version of it, because had a craving.  So I kept the same idea but added a ton of extra veggies and even some beans and the verdict is.... we LOVED it even more than the original.  We put cheese on 1/2 of ours and left some without, for ME!!!


2 tubes of polenta (I got mine at Trader Joes), cut into 1/4'' slices
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1 cup or so of sliced crimini mushrooms
a couple handfuls of spinach
1 can of garbanzo beans
1 can of kidney beans
10 or so leaves of basil, roughly chopped
dash of red chili pepper flakes (optional)
1 jar of marinara sauce (or a little less)
6-10 slices of mozzarella cheese (optional)
s/p


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet or in a dutch oven.  Add in the sliced onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Then add in the bell pepper and saute for another 2 minutes or so.  Next, add in the garlic and mushrooms.  Cook until the veggies are tender.  Finally, add in the spinach, beans, basil, s/p and red chili flakes.  Cook and stir to combine.

Pour a little marinara sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 casserole dish.  Place polenta discs in the bottom of the dish, covering it, but not overlapping.  Spoon 1/2 of veggie mixture over the polenta and then cover with 1/2 the marinara sauce. Repeat with another layer of polenta, veggies and sauce (note: using the whole jar of sauce makes it pretty saucy, if you prefer a less saucy lasagna, just use less than the whole jar).  If you are using cheese, layer your slices on top.

Cook uncovered for about 25-30 minutes.  If you put cheese on top, you may want to broil it for a minute or so, to get the cheese nice and brown and bubbly.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Grown Up Mac & Cheese


This pasta dish is a real crowd pleaser.  I have made it for large groups, as it is real easy to double and even triple the recipe.  It is not the healthiest meal, but it sure is tasty!


1 stick of unsalted butter
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp of flour
4 cups of milk at room temperature (any fat content of your choice.  I use non-fat and it works great)
pinch of nutmeg
s/p
1 cup grated fontina cheese (i use a blend of fontina, asiago, and parmesan)
1 pound dried rigatoni noodles


Preheat the oven to 425 degree.

In a medium sized saucepan, melt 1 stick of butter over medium heat.  Once it is melted add in the flour, whisking constantly.  (If you have a flattened whisk, this is a great time to use it.  It helps keep the bottom from burning.  If not, just make sure to really get to the bottom of the pan, so it doesn't burn.)  Carefully pour in the room temp milk and keep on whisking...don't stop! (If you forgot to set the milk out to get it to room temp, you can nuke it for a minute or two before pouring it in.  This is an important step in ensuring a creamy bechamel sauce.)Simmer until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.  (To do this, just dip the spoon in the sauce and when you lift it out, wipe the back of it with your finger.  If the line stays and does not drip away, then you are good to go!)  Remove from the heat and stir in nutmeg and 1/2 of the cheese and season with s/p.  Set it aside while you boil the noodles.

Bring a large stock pot full of water to a boil.  Add salt and the rigatoni.  Cook only for about 5-7 minutes.  Do not overcook the noodles, because they will finish cooking in the oven.  Return the pasta back to the pot and pour the sauce over it.  Stir to combine, until all the pasta is covered.

Grease a 9 x 13 dish and pour the pasta and sauce into it.  Cover with the remaining cheese.  Bake in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until its golden brown.