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I originally made this cake for a friend's Cuban themed party, and it was a delicious hit!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

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
s/p
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)
s/p
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 seal...you 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 necessary...you'll understand as soon as you pop the first one in your mouth!


Bananas
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 well...so 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)

s/p
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
s/p

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)
s/p
1 1/2 - 2 ounces of bittersweet chocolate

optional toppings:
hot sauce
cilantro
 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.