Monday, August 13, 2018

Chickpea Salad Pita or Sandwich

This is an adaptation from two recipes found in Jennifer McCann's Vegan Lunch Box. Nutty and crunchy with lots of possible variations for additional nuts and dried fruits, while packed with protein and flavor.  A great plant based/vegan replacement for a chicken or tuna salad sandwich.



2 cans garbanzo beans - drained, with juices reserved
2 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. sea salt
2 T. coconut milk cream

Combine ingredients in a bowl and gently toss.
Bake on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet at 425 for 25 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes.

Allow to cool.

1/2 - 3/4 c. reserved chickpea/garbanzo bean juice (commonly called aquafaba and used as egg white replacement)
2 T. toasted sesame seeds
1/2 cup toasted pecans
1/2 cup finely diced onion
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1-2 T. diced jalapeno
1/2 t. salt (to taste)
1 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. dijon mustard
1/2 t. ground ginger
1-2 t. maple syrup (to taste)
1/8 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. smoked paprika or liquid smoke - to taste
1-2 T. vegan sour cream or plain yogurt


Place reserved bean juices into a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high until the mixture reaches soft peaks (similar to egg whites). Mix in mustard, ginger, nutmeg, sesame seeds, salt and paprika to taste.

Combine roasted chick peas, pecans, sesame seeds, nutritional yeast and garbanzo bean juice mixture in food processor and process until garbanzos and pecans are coarsely broken.

Place mixture in medium bowl and mix in jalapeno, onion, and cilantro. Add sour cream/yogurt if needed to add moisture then add maple syrup and additional salt - to taste.

Serve in a pita, or as a sandwich with mixed greens, arugula, spinach, kale, avocado, tomato, sprouts etc. with lightly toasted wheat or sour dough bread.

Variations:
Sunflower seeds
Grapes
Dried Cranberries
Raisins
Dried Blueberries
Tart dried cherries
Dill pickles (add a bit of pickle juice to the mixture too)




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Grilled Plant Based Pizza

Oh my goodness! In our quest to find a plant based pizza that we actually like, we may have hit pay dirt. It's been a long time since we've had a pizza that we liked. We've tried lots of different recipes, tweaking things here and there, and then....we decided that it would be fun to experiment with making pizza on the grill (which we had heard about, but never actually tried).  Our pizza stone actually broke...so there was something about desperation being the mother of invention going on as well here folks - just keeping it real.


Although there was some trepidation at first, we were so surpised at how much we loved grilled pizza. The best thing about this pizza (other than that it tastes awesome) is that the cooking time is less than 10 minutes max, once it hits the grill, and it doesn't heat up my oven and home in the summertime.
Note however that it takes some advance preparation to allow the dough to rise, and to prepare the tomato sauce, and cheese.  All of these can be made in advance.



Dough: Use THIS recipe, adapted from Plant Pure Nation for the Pizza Dough
Optional Tomato/Marinara Sauce: Use THIS recipe for the tomato/marinara sauce
Cheese: Use THIS recipe from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken for the nut based vegan mozzarella cheese
Additional Chopped veggies of your choice
Olives, onions, mushrooms, artichokes, basil, peppers, pineapple, spinach, tomatoes....

Speed is of the essence once you begin to cook the pizza so make sure to have everything prepared and ready to go before putting it onto the grill.
When making the Mozarella cheese, do not cook it all of the way. Allow it to begin cooking, but before it gets too gooey, remove it from the heat. 

Prepare the breadstick dough recipe, stopping before step 10.
Prepare the tomato sauce and have it on hand.
Prepare the cheese sauce, slightly undercooked

Preheat grill, with closed cover, until it reaches between 475-600* F.

Once the dough has risen, make sure to cover the parchment paper well with coconut cream.
Place dough onto parchment paper and smooth out into pizza shape, using hands or rolling pin. I prefer the rustic style, since it gets a little mishapen when being placed onto the grill anyway. 


  • Carefully slide or flip pizza dough from parchment paper, directly onto the grill. Quickly adjust or arrange as neeeded. 
  • Close cover and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Make sure that the upward facing side (which will be the bottom) has also been coated with coconut cream, and carefully flip pizza over to the other side. 
  • Quickly spread the cheese sauce upon the dough using a spoon or rubber spatula, followed by the optional tomato/marinara sauce. 
  • If the tomato sauce is desired, add it on top of the cheese, rather than under it. Also, if left off the pizza at this point, it can be used as an excellent dipping sauce once the pizza is cooked.  
  • Quickly add all desired veggies and close lid. 
  • Allow to cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until cooked through. 
  • The mozzarella will not look stretchy or melty like animal based mozzarella. 
  • Carefully remove from grill, sliding onto a serving plate or pan. 
  • Immediately slice and serve. 







Bread Sticks - Plant Based

What started out as a pizza dough recipe, turned into breadsticks that we couldn't leave alone. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside - these have been a hit with all of the eaters in our home. 
(Adapted from Plant Pure Nation's Pizza Party). 


Pizza Dough 
(Note - I usually double this recipe)
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 ¾ teaspoon Bob's Red Mill Egg Replacer (mixed with 1 Tablespoon water)
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more
3 cups unbleached, white whole wheat flour (you can also use whole wheat flour here too)
1/2 cup cream from coconut milk (refrigerate or lightly freeze coconut milk beforehand so that cream will rise to the top)
Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and maple syrup. Let stand until frothy.
  2. Stir in the egg replacer, flour and salt. Knead for 6-8 minutes, until smooth.  Add more flour as needed if dough is too sticky to knead.
  3. Place the dough in a bowl and cover with a damp towl. Set aside in a warm place to rise, until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
  4. Punch down the dough and allow to double in size again, about 30 minutes.
  5. During the second rise, preheat the oven to 450-500 degrees. Leave your pizza stone in the oven during the preheating. Preheat oven for 45 minutes!!
  6. Place coconut cream into a glass dish or ramekin and lightly melt in microwave (10-20 seconds). 
  7. Spoon a bit of the coconut cream onto a large piece of parchment paper, and smear around with hands - covering palms in process. 
  8. Remove dough from mixing bowl, and pat out into a rectangle with hands. Use additional coconut cream to prevent sticking. 
  9. Roll dough out to be  ¼ inch thick. 
  10. Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into slices that are 1/2-1 inches wide, and 6-8 inches long. Shape or roll into breadsticks as needed by hand.
  11. Place close together, but not touching on silpat, parchment paper, or hot pizza stone. 
  12. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until lightly browned. 
  13. Remove and immediately brush with the remaining melted coconut cream and lightly sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Optional - Sprinkle with garlic powder for a garlicky breadstick
Serve warm - excellent with this Marinara sauce 
 *Note - this recipe works great for a grilled pizza dough recipe as well.

Amazing Carrot Cake - Oil, Egg, Sugar, & Gluten Free (but it still tastes terrific) Plant Based Cake

It has almost been two years since we started our plant based journey, and in those (almost) two years, I've made and tried some really bad cakes. I had pretty much given up even considering making cakes - even for birthdays, until I came across this recipe from Straightupfoods.com.



As I was making this recipe, I had some confusion reading the recipe and did a couple of things incorrectly. I also added some additional ingredients. Following is my adaptation, which we loved. 


·       3 cups nondairy milk
·       8 ounces pitted dates (14-16 Medjools or 28-32 Deglet Noor), chopped
·       1 very ripe banana
·       1 cup raisins - divided
·       2 teaspoon vanilla extract (or seeds from 1 vanilla bean)

·       3.5 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
·       4 teaspoons cinnamon
·       4 teaspoons baking powder
·       2 teaspoon baking soda
·       2 teaspoons sea salt
      1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·       1 teaspoon salt
·       1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

·       3 cups grated carrots (4-6 medium)
·       1 cup chopped walnuts
·       ¾ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, plus more for the garnish (lightly toasted if desired)

·       Vanilla Frosting (below)
Heat oven to 350*F.

Place oats in blender, and blend until a fine powder is formed. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

Place milk, dates, banana, raisins and vanilla in blender and blend until smooth. (Soak for 15-20 minutes first to soften if not using a high powered blender.)

Add cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to the oat flour and mix with a whisk to incorporate.

Mix in the contents from the blender.

Mix in the carrots, remaining raisins, nuts, and coconut.

Line 2 nine inch cake rounds with parchment paper, and divide batter between the two pans.

Bake for 40-45 minutes.

Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
Remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.

Serve with vanilla frosting (Double this recipe), and garnish with toasted coconut flakes.


Sunday, July 1, 2018

Plant based "cracker jack" popcorn

I found this simple, five ingredient recipe online and adapted it, making it plant based. While it takes a while, I will definitely double the recipe next time since hungry hands couldn't keep out of it, each time we stirred it.

4 quarts popped popcorn
1/2 cup oil from the top of a can of coconut milk (I prefer Trader Joe's as it is organic and only contains water and coconut)
1/4 cup raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Using a saucepan, bring honey and coconut oil to boil over medium heat. Add vanilla and salt.
Divide popcorn into two bowls, and evenly divide the honey sauce-pouri g it over the popcorn. Toss to coat.

Pour popcorn onto a parchment lined baking sheet or pan.

Bake at 250* for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes.
Allow to cool (if possible)

Monday, March 19, 2018

Plant Based Fajitas

Fajitas! They are back - I wasn't sure how they would turn out without meat, but these were a hit! With this recipe, we discovered a happy use for soy curls. We weren't quite sure how we would like them as a meat substitute, but they provide a nice mouth feel - similar to meat, but without the animal. This recipe can also be adapted to omit the soy curls if desired. 
They come together in approximately 15-20 minutes.  
                                     


Thanks once again to my friend Whitney from Plant Pure Nation who introduced us to soy curls. Although I had read about them, I was dubious and skeptical. However, we've been pleasantly surprised with the many different meals we have been able to produce with this ingredient.  

                                                 
tumbling jerky

Tonight, we were craving fajitas, and loved how quickly these came together. 

2 cups soy curls
3 cups water
1 cup thinly sliced bell peppers
1 medium onion - thinly sliced
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
4 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon coconut milk cream (the solid cream at the top of a coconut milk can)
1 Tablespoon 100% maple syrup
2 Tablespoons soy sauce (divided)
2 teaspoons liquid smoke, or smoked paprika (divided)
3 Tablespoons taco seasoning  (divided)
2 Tablespoons Chile powder (divided)
2 Tablespoons Cumin powder (divided)
2 teaspoons salt (divided)
Corn Tortillas


Place soy curls in a bowl and cover with water, plus 1 inch. 
Add half of the taco seasoning, soy sauce, chile powder, cumin, salt, and liquid smoke to the water. Mix and allow to rehydrate for 15 minutes. 

While the soy curls re-hydrate, slice and prepare the vegetables. 

Heat a wok or frying pan on high, then add vinegar followed by the vegetables and the coconut creat. Toss and heat vegetables. 
Working quickly, squeeze water from soy curls and add to the vegetables. 
Add remaining spices, soy sauce, liquid smoke, and syrup. Season to taste (spice measurements are approximations - adjust to taste). 
Stir and heat just until soy curls are heated through. 
                                                   

Serve in warm corn tortillas, topped with avocados or guacamole. 










Sunday, March 18, 2018

Plant Based Tamales - Oil and Lard Free

We experimented making tamales this weekend. We were thrilled to find that we could make them quickly with an Instapot. 
    
As with most whole food, plant based recipes, this recipe is time intensive and requires a couple of steps.  For best results, proceed in this order: 

Prepare Husks
Submerge corn husks in water - place a pot or plate on top of them to keep them submerged. Allow to soak for several hours while preparing the other steps. 

Red sauce 
10-15 Hot New Mexico Chile Pods with stems and seeds removed (they are dried and in bags) 
3 c. water +/-
3 whole tomatoes
1 whole onion (3/4 chopped)
1 tsp oregano
1 -2 cloves garlic
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt

Boil chilies, and tomatoes until soft, and then blend together along with a 1/4 of an onion and 1 tsp oregano and a clove or two of garlic, and salt. Strain with a sieve. Mix in tomato paste.  Set aside. 

Filling
1 medium sized sweet potato (cooked, or microwaved for 6-10 minutes, then peeled)
1 can black beans (drained - juices reserved)
1 small can whole green chiles, drained and diced
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 can jackfruit in brine, drained and chopped
1.5 Tablespoons 100% maple syrup
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 cups Red Sauce (see above recipe)

Saute onion and green chiles to soften. Add garlic, black beans and sweet potato. Use a bean or potato masher to combine mixture. 

Add red sauce, one cup at a time, adjusting for consistency. Add syrup, cocoa powder, and salt to taste - mix well. 
Mix in jackfruit. Set aside until ready to assemble tamales. 




Masa
6 cups maseca flour
6 cups vegetable broth (more as needed, or water)
1/2 cup reserved black bean juice
1-2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons chile powder

Mix dry ingredients together. Then add wet ingredients and mix thoroughly - the consistency should be like peanut butter. 

Additional Tamale Fillings:
Roasted red peppers, pitted prunes, green olives, black olives, raisins, etc. 



To Assemble Tamales: 
Tear several corn husks into strips to tie tamales with. 
Place steam basket into instapot, and add 1 cup of water to the bottom of the instapot. 

Place corn husk onto a flat surface with the widest, flat edge at the bottom.
Place a dollop of masa one inch above bottom of the corn husk. 
Spread out to 1-2 inches (depending on size of husks). 
Add filling to the middle, and additional desired fillings. Additional red sauce may be added if desired. 


Lightly press edges of the masa together then fold and wrap husk, overlapping sides. 
Fold bottom section up. Secure with strip and tie, leaving flat edge open. 


Place into a steam basket in the instapot, standing with open side up. 



Once instapot is filled, close lid, close the vent, and steam on low for 20 minutes. Allow to release steam naturally for at least 10 minutes. 

Remove tamales, and allow to cool. 
They will continue to firm up as they cool. 






Store in airtight container and refrigerate. 

*Guatemalan tamales traditionally have a prune/plum and a green olive which provide both a sweet and sour flavor. 





















Rich Plant based Brownie Bites (Gluten, Dairy, Oil & Sugar free - and delicious!)

A friend introduced me to these and I couldn't believe how rich they are - and how much they taste just like baked brownies. I love that they are plant based, super quick and only require a few ingredients.


1.5 cup walnuts
1 cup dates (soft, or soaked in hot water for 15 minutes to soften and drained)
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder (or cocoa nibs - blended to powder in a vitamix)
1/2 - 1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
A dash (or two) cinnamon
A dash (or two) cayenne pepper 
(this brings out the flavor and adds depth and richness)

Blend ingredients together in blender (such as a vitamix) until it forms a mass. 
Add water by the teaspoon if needed to slightly moisten. 

Scoop out of blender.


Shape into brownie sized bites




2 (Or 3) ingredient plant based yogurt

Oh my! I honestly thought that I would never eat yogurt again when I adopted the WFPB lifestyle. While there are a couple of commercially made vegan yogurts, I haven't been able to find any that don't have sugar, oils, natural or artificial flavors in them. 
And 1 year and 6 months without yogurt can be hard on a girl who loves yogurt.

My friend Whitney from Plant Pure Nation told me that they had a recipe for plant based yogurt, and she introduced me to a local shop where I could find the soy milk, and she helped me find the right acidophilus capsules.  
I love that this recipe is either two simple ingredients, or three - if you want it sweetened. 
We tweaked the recipe (oh so slightly), and hope that you love it too! 

I love that this recipe takes a mere 5 minutes to put together, and then cooks overnight and is ready in the morning! Super easy!

Besides an instapot electric pressure cooker, here are the three ingredients you'll need


***Note, for this recipe, you do need an instapot electric pressure cooker (it has a yogurt setting)

Acidophilus tablets 

I found these at Amazon.com

We find this jam at Trader Joe's - it is sweetened with fruit juice rather than processed sugars


This is the soy milk that you need - the ingredients are...wait for it....
Water, and soy beans.
Yep, that's it. 


Recipe:
Pour all of the soy milk into a mixing bowl.
Empty the contents of 4 acidophilus capsules into the soy milk.
Mix thoroughly


Place a spoonful (or two) of jam at the bottom of 5-6 half pint jars


Pour soy milk mixture into jars, and place into the bottom of the instapot


Cover with the lid, leave the vent open and set the yogurt setting for 10 hours. 
This is great to make overnight.

Refrigerate. 
Whey (liquid) may form - this can be discarded or mixed back in. 

Serve with maple syrup, fruit, granola, etc. 
If made without the jam, this is also a great sour cream substitute in cooking.


Granola, maple syrup and yogurt bowl

**Special thanks to Plant Pure Nation and Recipes for help with this recipe
**Special note - make sure that your instapot rubber seal, and the lid are free of any odors. We learned (the hard way) that the yogurt will absorb any flavors or odors from the pot. Curry flavored yogurt was not a hit in our home! 

Plantains a la "Gloria"

I probably shouldn't talk about how my husband and I ate the entire pan of these - inhaled! The other inhabitants of our home were only slightly "put out". 

When I lived in Guatemala, I fell in LOVE with plantains, or platanos as we called them. It didn't matter how they were cooked...we would be walking down the street and we would catch wafts of air, full of sweet platains. Then, we would have plantains on the mind. Mmmmmm
Baked, fried, boiled, microwaved, black & moldy (which makes them super sweet), green or in between - it doesn't matter how you cook them, plantains are super versatile and delicious! 

This plantain recipe is a knock off of a treat Guatemalan friends made for me while I lived there - with a couple of my own twists. 


For this recipe, you will want ripe plantains. If you can't find ripe ones, you'll have to be patient. You can put them in a brown paper bag and in a cupboard for several days (or weeks) so that they can ripen. 
To test for ripeness, they should be soft to touch, almost to the extent of a banana that you would throw out for being too soft - almost. 
They may also be black and a little moldy on the outside - this is okay, softness is the key indicator (just depending on how they have ripened, they may get black, and they may not). 

4-6 medium to large plantains
1/2 cup coconut milk
1-2 Tablespoons coconut sugar, or 100% maple syrup
Salt
Cinnamon
Ground Cardamon

Trim both ends of the plantains, then run a knife along the length of one side. Use this slice, to open and peel plantain. 
Slice into slight diagonals just shy of 1/2" slices. 
Place in the bottom of a baking dish.
Sprinkle with salt - think of salted caramel, the salt makes the sweet "pop".
Sprinkle with cinnamon, and ground cardamon.
Pour coconut milk over, then sprinkle with coconut sugar. 
Cover with foil, and bake at 350* for 30 minutes. 
Remove foil and allow to cook for an additional 10 minutes. 

*Fresh pear slices can also be added to this treat 


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Christmas Breakfast Berry Strata, Vegan, Dairy free, and Plant Based

One of our Christmas food traditions is a breakfast strata. This is a simple breakfast casserole that we make the night before, refrigerate, and then pop into the oven to bake while we open Christmas gifts.  Just as we are ready for a break, it is done, hot and delicious! 
Here's our new favorite, and it is vegan and plant-based too! 


We used tofu to replace the cream cheese (softer tofu may work even better but we had firm on hand), coconut milk replaces the milk, coconut cream (from the coconut milk) replaces the butter, and aquafaba replaces the eggs. 

1 package 16 oz firm tofu, drained
1 can coconut milk (refrigerated so cream on top separates)
1/2 c 100% maple syrup
1/3 c. coconut sugar
1 1/2 loaves day old sourdough bread
Aquafaba (juice) from one can of garbanzos beans (about 3/4 c.)
1-2 cups frozen blueberries or berry mix
2 bananas, sliced
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Place aquafaba in electric mixer and beat until stiff peaks are formed (7-15 min).

Using a spoon, scoop out and separate coconut cream from milk. Heat the cream in the microwave in 15 second intervals until melted.

Line a baking dish (9x13) with foil, and evenly spread 1 tsp. of coconut cream over the bottom of the  foil in the baking dish to prevent sticking.

Cut bread into squares or 1-2" cubes. Place in large bowl.

Add remaining coconut cream to bread chunks and toss to coat evenly.  Place tofu, coconut milk, syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla and spices in blender or food processor and mix. This can be either smooth or slightly chunky depending on your preference - we are not big tofu fans, so we prefer smooth.

Pour mixture over bread chunks, then add bananas and berries and toss all to coat. Add aquafaba and gently fold in.

                                 


Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.



Bake at 350* covered for 45 min. Remove foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until some of the bread chunks are lightly toasted and browned.

Serve with maple or berry syrup.


















Friday, December 29, 2017

Red Lentil Stew-Plant based

I loved making this stew today. It was made with simple ingredients, all of which I normally have on hand. It used two pots, a knife and cutting board, and came together quickly without a fuss. We loved it over quinoa with hot, crusty sourdough bread.

1 quart canned tomatoes and juices 
2 cups rinsed red lentils
1 quart water
1 quart vegetable broth
1 medium onion, diced
4 celery stalks, chopped
5 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 Tablespoon grated turmeric (or 1/2 t. dried and ground)
2 Tablespoons liquid aminos
1/4 cup 100% maple syrup
1/3 cup lime juice
1 Tablespoon Chile powder
1/2 Tablespoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt to taste
Black ground pepper to taste

After rinsing lentils, place in a pan with 1 quart water. Bring to a boil. 
Once boiling, cover with a lid, and remove from heat. Allow to sit for 20 minutes. 
In the meantime, saute celery, onions and garlic in 1-2 Tablespoons of water, until soft. 
Add tomatoes, use potato masher or fork to break into smaller chunks. 
Add broth, lime juice, aminos, and spices. 

Add lentils, then add maple and salt to taste and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to reduce liquid and blend flavors. 

Serve over grain (rice or quinoa), along with hot crusty bread. 
Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and ground black pepper. 





Friday, December 22, 2017

Tomato Mac or pasta

I have a Blue Jeans pressure cooker cook book and came across this recipe tonight and was pleased with the outcome, after a few twists to make it plant based.
The author states that this is a comfort food from Quebec. I was surprised at how much I liked it-it has a similar, yet lighter taste than the red pepper pasta.



1 onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, smashed and diced
3 celery stalks, diced
2 quarts canned tomatoes (or equivalent) with liquid
1/4 cup fresh basil
1/2-1cup water
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (plant based link)
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 cup raw almonds
1 cup water
3 garlic cloves
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 cups whole wheat pasta
2 Tablespoons tomato paste

Saute vegetables in 1-2 Tablespoons water until tender.
Add tomato paste, and spices. Stir to mix them in.
Add tomatoes and pasta, and cover and cook for 5 minutes.
Allow to quick release of the steam.

I'm the meantime, blend and, 1 cup of water, add additional garlic, bouillon, and smoked paprika, basil and salt to taste.

Once pasta has cooked, stir in almond mixture and serve..

Thursday, December 21, 2017

2 minute Good (not your momma's gluey) oatmeal

                       Here's a super quick, easy, and delicious way to add some oatmeal to your life.
                                                   
I grew up on oatmeal, and hated (insert many other strong words here) oatmeal. And some people in our house used to save and freeze the leftovers and serve them up later in the week too (bless them for trying to save a penny, but it put me off of oatmeal for years).
Then, several years later, I was at a friend's house and she was headed out the door and said, "just grab some oatmeal for breakfast." She was a tough fire fighting, plane jumping chick, and I was amazed she would eat oatmeal every day. I saw a canister of oats on her counter and was puzzled. I asked how she usually made it, and she shared the following recipe with me.

And if you've never liked oatmeal-you just might like this. I like the 2 minutes and 30 seconds bit.
Pay attention here-its pretty slick.

1 handful oats. (I buy the double box of Quaker oats at Costco-they aren't blended and broken down to bits already)
                                                 
By the way, my handful is approx 1/2 cup. The quantity doesn't matter, but that's the perfect amount that fills me and isn't too much.

Place oats into a microwaveable bowl.
Cover with water, then add 1/8-1/4" more. So it's just over the top.
                                                 


Microwave for 2 minutes.
While it is cooking, crush some nuts, get out some fruit, sweetener (if you need it - I like maple syrup) and a dash of salt.

I like blueberries or raisins usually. Sometimes I add a little nutmeg or cinnamon.

Another option is to smash up one banana in the bottom of a bowl. Add a handful of oats and mix in. Add enough water to cover plus 1/4". Microwave for 2 minutes. Add walnuts and cinnamon and it tastes like banana bread or a muffin.

So many options... And only 2 1/2 minutes!
                                                

We use plastic cups to send this out the door with our kids in the mornings too!



Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Thai Butternut Soup

This soup is a perfect all season soup.  It isn't too light or too heavy. Served with crusty bread it is bursting with flavors and ever so satisfying. 

4-6 cups roasted butternut squash (I pressure cook, OR quarter and scoop out the insides, then bake with a bit of water in the bottom of a baking dish, covered with foil until tender- usually about an hour at 350*). 
1 yellow onion
1 head fresh garlic- peeled & crushed
1 quart vegetable broth
5 cups water +/-
1 Tablespoon soy sauce or aminos
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 can (14 oz) coconut milk
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1 Tablespoon 100% maple syrup
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Salt to taste
Cayenne or red pepper flakes to taste

Place onion and garlic into sauce pan and saute over medium high heat with 1-2 T. water until soft. 
Scoop flesh from squash skin and place in blender. 
Add sauteed vegetables, and blend, adding enough water to allow squash to puree. 
Once smooth, pour mixture into pan, adding additional water (for desired consistency), lime juice, aminos/soy, maple syrup, and spices. Heat over medium high heat.
Once heated, add 3/4 can of coconut milk. Reserve remainder for serving. 

To serve garnish with chopped cilantro, roasted ground peanuts, and drizzle remaining coconut cream, black and cayenne pepper and salt to taste. 




Sunday, November 26, 2017

Kale and avocado "massaged" salad

When my friend told me about this salad, I was pretty dubious. It just sounded weird. But oh my! Love this one and will definitely be making it again!
4-6 cups kale (roughly chopped (stalks discarded
1 medium avocado
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon minced garlic (fresh)
1/2 t. Cumin powder
1/8 t. Cayenne pepper
2-3 Tablespoons lemon juice

Place kale in large bowl, add avocados and massage the avocados into the kale with hands. The kale will begin to shrink and will almost wilt. 
Add remaining ingredients and massage into kale until thoroughly mixed.


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

We love tomato soup at our home-especially made from home canned tomatoes. My grandmother taught me to make this as a child, and here's my plant based version.

1 quart tomatoes (or canned equivalent)*
4 garlic cloves
1/2 medium onion
1-2 Tablespoons basil
1/4 t. Cayenne pepper
Black pepper and salt to taste
2 teaspoons plant based chicken bouillon
1 cup raw cashews
4 cups water

* If using store bought canned tomatoes, add 2 additional teaspoons of 100% maple syrup or sweetener  (to taste) and 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and additional salt as needed.

Place tomatoes, spices and seasonings into a blender (I prefer a Vitamix) and puree until smooth.

Pour mixture into a large pan and heat on stove.

Add cashews and water to blender and process until smooth and creamy.

Add to tomato mixture in pan on stove and whisk until well combined. Continue to whisk as mixture heats-just below a boil. 
The cashew milk will thicken soup, thin if needed with water.

Garnish with freshly ground black pepper and fresh basil.

Serve warm



Sunday, September 10, 2017

Plant Based Lasagna

Lasagna has always been a family favorite, and I've had to try several recipes until I found a combination of two different recipes which we like. I've tweaked these recipes to my family's tastes, and omitted the oil and sugar from the original recipes. 

Here's a close up showing all of those lovely layers! 

While it takes a bit of time, and is done in 3 steps - Marinara, Ricotta Sauce, then the actual assembly, this recipe is probably my kid's most requested meal, and it feeds a crowd. 



Marinara

1 cup red lentils 
2.5 cups water
1/2 t. salt
Rinse lentils in a sieve, then combine ingredients and heat in a pan, boil in water for 15-20 minutes. 
Set aside. 



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1 medium onion - chopped
1 medium red, orange, or yellow bell pepper - chopped
5 large mushrooms - sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1 quart canned tomatoes, or equivalent (including juices)
1 six oz can tomato paste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1-2 Tablespoons 100% pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon oregano
1.5 teaspoons fennel seeds - crushed
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 Tablespoon basil
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste - optional)
black pepper - to taste, optional
Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add oregano, paprika, fennel & basil and toast lightly, stirring constantly. Add fresh veggies and red wine vinegar. Saute until softened. Add water if needed to keep ingredients from sticking. 
Add tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Use a potato masher to break tomatoes down to desired chunkiness if needed. Season to taste. 
Simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally for 30 minutes. Add additional water to thin if needed, or blend if a thinner consistency is desired. 
Add 3 c. cooked lentils to marinara, mix thoroughly.  Set aside.



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Cashew ~ Tofu Ricotta


1.5 cups raw cashews
16 ounces of firm tofu, cubed
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (optional)
3 garlic cloves
1 teaspoon smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon oregano or Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
Place cashews in blender or food processor, process until ground to a medium fine consistency. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Set aside. 


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Lasagna


1-2 packages whole wheat or 100% semolina durum lasagna noodles
3 cups fresh spinach or greens
Preheat oven to 350* F. 
Line a large baking casserole dish with foil. 
Cover the bottom of the casserole dish with a thin layer of sauce. 

Arrange noodles in a single layer in casserole dish. Gently break off corners of needles if needed to make fit.

Using a spatula, spread a layer of ricotta over noodles. 

Cover noodles with a layer of spinach or greens. 
Cover greens layer with a layer of marinara sauce. 
Continue layering in this pattern until last layer. 
For the final layer spread ricotta onto the noodles, then cover with a final layer of marinara.
Sprinkle with finely grated cashews.


Bake for 1 hour. Allow to rest for 10 minutes prior to serving.