Latest Posts

My son is turning six this week, and he wants to celebrate with his class at school. Since we are not having a big birthday party outside of school, I thought this would be a nice way for him to celebrate with his friends.

We had lots of ideas as what to bring, I was pushing for homemade popcorn in fun party hats, but my son settled on pumpkin cupcakes. I think this was a great choice. These are really more of a muffin, although they look like  a cupcake to a six year old. Luckily no one in his class has any special dietary needs, so we didn’t have to worry about anything too unusual. However, this recipe is great for those with restrictions, as it can be made Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free, Soy free and Nut Free. All you have to do is change the type of  flour used and omit the frosting. For his class I am going to go with the basics. Feel free to change it as you need to. I doubled the recipe for his class, and filled the muffin tins fuller to make a larger more “cupcake”  like muffin.

Pumpkin Muffins:

makes 12 muffins

  • 1 1/2 Cup all Purpose flour, a mixture of whole wheat and white works too. Or substitute All purpose Gluten Free flour. If using a GF flour be sure to add 1/4 teaspoon Xanthum if your mix does not already have it added.
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 Can  packed pumpkin puree, You can use homemade just make sure all the water is removed.
  • 1/3 Cup oil
  • 1/4 Cup applesauce
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 C pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

 

For the frosting:

  • 1 1/2 cups cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

To make frosting:

If you have the time, soak the cashews in water for about 1-3 hours first. Drain off any excess liquid.

In a high speed blender (this works best) or  food processor, combine all the ingredients. Blend until smooth and creamy. This could take up to five minutes depending on the type of blender/food processor you have, and a little patience too. Once the mixture is smooth and creamy place it in an air tight container and refrigerate until chilled through, about one hour. The mixture will thicken as it gets cold to make a more frosting consistency.

To make muffins: 

Heat oven to 350, Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients; the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg. In another bowl mix together  the remaining ingredients. Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ones, being careful not to over mix. Scoop the mixture into the muffin tin until about 2/3 full, I like my muffins to puff over the top of the liners to create a crown so I fill them a little fuller. You could fill them half way and create smaller muffins. You would yield about 15 muffins by doing this.

Bake the muffins at 350 for about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack for cooling.

IMG_6176

IMG_6177

After the muffins have cooled you can frost them. The cashew mixture works best as a frosting when it is still chilled, so it is best to frost the cupcakes right before they are served. If you have room in your refrigerator for the cupcakes after you frost them that works too.

IMG_6198

 

 

Zucchini is one of the more versatile vegetables that comes out of the garden. The flavor is pretty mild and can be used in various recipes, sweet or savory. I’ve used them in everything from summer lasagne to chocolate cake! They really are an amazing vegetable. Plus with their mild flavor it is pretty easy to get the kids to eat them.

One of my favorite ways of eating zucchini is as a fritter. They make and excellent side dish, although I often eat them as my main course. Much like Potato pancakes, zucchini fritters as best enjoyed hot and freshly made.

I typically do not like to “fry” foods. I find it makes them heavy. But, there is something about a fritter that needs a crispy edge.

Zucchini and Chard Fritters:

  • 1 pound of Zucchini, about 2-3 medium sized
  • 1tsp salt
  • 3-4 large Chard leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 glove of garlic, minced
  • 3 green onion, white and green parts thinly sliced
  • 1/2 Cup Chikpea flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Tapioca starch
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh Cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut Oil for pan frying

 

Trim the edges of the Zucchini and shred using a box grater or food processor. Place in a large bowl and toss with 1tsp of salt.  Let sit for about 10 minutes. After 10 minutes gently squeeze the liquid out of the zucchini. You can also place in cheese cloth or paper towels to remove the moisture. You do not need it completely dry, just remove the excess moisture.

Place zucchini in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss well to coat.

In a heavy bottom skillet heat about 2-3 Tablespoons of coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot begin adding  small bunches of the mixture into the pan. Do not over crowd the pan. Cook in batches of 2-3. Let cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes, then flip and repeat on the other side.

IMG_5416

Briefly drain on a paper towel.

Serve immediately or place in a warm oven until ready to serve.

 

I like to serve mine with a little homemade creamy garlic lemon dressing, but you could serve it with almost any kind of sauce.

 

Summer meals around our house typically feature whatever we received from our CSA that week, or what is ripe in the garden. I love cooking this way, as it means everything is really fresh and tasty. This last week we received a large amount of greens, which is pretty typical this time of year. We also received some nice basics; cauliflower, beets, carrots, some early potatoes and herbs. Our Own tomatoes have started coming in and our herb garden is in full swing. So needless to say we have enjoyed quite a few salads over the last few days. When it came time for dinner tonight I was contemplating what to cook when my 5 years old chimes in that he does not want anymore salad tonight. I had to laugh. He is normally very open to anything and loves his greens, but I guess 5 days straight is enough to turn him off, at least for tonight. So no salad it is. This posed a slight problem as it is very hot out and we do not have central air, so the thought of heating the kitchen up with the stove was not an option. Then I realized I recently bought a nice little slow cooker.

It was one of those things I bought on a whim. I was pretty inexpensive, 18 bucks, and seemed nice enough. As we don’t eat meat I didn’t need anything fancy. I really have only used it for making baked potatoes, and a couple times for chili and soups. It has worked out nice enough. The great thing about a slow cooker is that it doesn’t heat up the house, and yet you get a warm tasty meal. No slaving over the hot stove. So I set to work. I started grabbing whatever hardy veg I had leftover from the CSA and with a few additions from the pantry we have a delicious meal.

Red Lentil Curry and Jasmine Rice:

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small sweet potato, diced ( I also added a small red potato. I had one left and wanted to use it, not necessary though)
  • 1 small head of Cauliflower, or half of a large one cut in smaller chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 quart of tomatoes and juices, you could use canned or fresh, chopped , diced, whatever!
  • 4 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 Cup dried red lentils, washed and rinsed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp red curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder. I used the Frontier organic Vindaloo Curry. This can be pretty spicy, so adjust to your liking
  • 1Tbs chopped Cilantro
  • 1 Can coconut milk

 

The thing about slow cookers is that you can pretty much add all your ingredients, set the temperature and go. However, I find it is best to get things started a little. This requires a little pre-cooking, 10 minutes tops, then you let the cooker do its thing. And remember cooking in a slow cooker is a little like a pressure cooker, every time you open the lid you release the steam/heat and it cools the cooker and you have to wait until the temperature rises again.

In a large skillet heat the oil, saute the onion 2 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil, lower and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from stove and pour into your slow cooker. Make sure your crock is already warmed up. If you started the process late in the day cook on high for about 3-4 hours depending on the vigor of your cooker. Otherwise you could set it on low and cook for about 7-8 hours.

When done cooking stir in the can of coconut milk just before serving and garnish with the cilantro. Serve over rice, with bread, over quinoa, or however you wish. You can also had your favorite hot sauce if you want a little kick.

 

 

 

 
P1040680

Kimchi

On April 12, 2012, in dairy free, Food, Recipes, Uncategorized, vegan, by Mary
1

If you have ever tried Korean food, you have probably tried or at least heard of Kimchi. It is the pungent pickled vegetable dish that is often served with rice.  Studies have shown that aged Kimchi helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure and that is also has disease fighting antioxidants and well as digestion aiding probiotic bacteria. With so many beneficial properties it is no wonder that Kimchi has an age old reputation of boosting longevity!

Aside from all the health benefits, Kimchi just tastes good! A good Kimchi will be well balanced. Sweet, salty, sour and spicy. The longer the vegetables sit the more developed the flavor becomes. You can use a variety of vegetables, but Napa Cabbage tends to be most widely used and is usually the heart of the dish. Often times Kimchi is cured using fish sauce, but this vegan version taste just as delicious. You can use the following recipe as a jumping off point and adjust the spice level for your liking. Experiment with different veggies, like bok choy,cucumbers, radish and turnips until you find the perfect flavor combination that suits your liking.

Kimchi

enough to make one quart jar

  • 1/2 Cup Salt
  • 1 small head of Napa Cabbage, or half of a large one. Chopped into 2inch pieces
  • 8 chilies de arbol
  • 1 daikon radish, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 Carrots, peeled and diced
  • 6 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch length
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2-3 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp sugar

In a large glass bowl dissolve the salt in 3 cups of water. Place Napa Cabbage into the water and let soak overnight. Drain the water. Transfer the cabbage to a clean bowl. Grind the chilies using a spice or coffee grinder. Add the chilies and remaining ingredients to the bowl with the cabbage. Using rubber gloves, toss the cabbage and goodies until well coated. Transfer into a clean 1 quart canning jar. Pack it in tightly( it will all fit you just need to pack it down). Seal with lid and let sit at room temperature for 2-3 days. Turn the jar upside down a few times each day to make sure the pickling liquid is coating all the cabbage. After the 3rd day store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

 

Enjoy as is or add it to rice or quinoa. Use it to top veggies burgers, add it to stews. Really most anyway.

 
P1040518

Cashew Cheese Spread

On March 9, 2012, in dairy free, Food, Recipes, vegan, by Mary
0

Cashews are my new go to favorite in the pantry. They are super versatile and absolutely delicious!

Often times when I hear people talk about elimination diets they complain they can’t find a proper substitute, or something doesn’t taste the same as the original. Well, it won’t! As it shouldn’t. If you are going through an elimination diet, than the foods you use to eat are probably not that great for you, and chances are, the” mock” substitute won’t be either. Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly have those days that I would LOVE a cheesy pizza, gooey and warm, and would love a great healthy substitute, but usually the moment passes and I rememeber all the other great things that I have come to enjoy. I don’t want it to sound like I am against making new versions of your old favorites, please by all means do. I have.  I have also found that by branching out to new flavors I am introduced to new ways of cooking with simple foods. It has also allowed me to introduce my children to a variety of flavors and they have a better appreciation of food for it.

I use Cashews for everything from creamy dressings, gravies, fluffy topping, cakes and yummy deserts to cheese. Well, something that looks like cheese. Its more of a creamy spread, but it does wonders for crackers, pitas, bagels and veggies as a dip. The following recipe is more of a boursin style spread.  It helps if you have a high powered food processor or blender. A normal one will work as well, but it will take a little longer.

Cashew  ”Cheese”

  • 1 1/4 Cups Raw Cashews
  • Enough water to submerge the cashews
  • 1/4 C. water
  • Juice from 1/2  of a small lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Dill
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic
  • black pepper to taste

 

Place the raw cashes in a bowl and cover completely with water. Cover and let soak for a least 6 hours or better overnight.

Drain the cashews and place into food processor. Add the lemon juice and begin to pulse. Slowly add in the water a little at a time while the food processor continues to run. The mixture should become smooth and creamy. This can take 15 minutes or more depending on the power of you food processor. Once creamy add in the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Place the creamy mixture into an air tight container and let stand on the counter overnight. This allows the flavor to fully develop. (although I have been know to eat it right away!)

 

Spread on whatever your heart desires or eat it straight out of the container! Will keep in an air tight container for a week refrigerated.

 

 

 
basic seitan

Homemade Seitan – Basic

On October 29, 2011, in Food, vegan, VeganMofo, by Mary
0

I call this my basic seitan recipe because I use this as the base for lots of other seitan dishes. Making the seitan this way, as opposed to baking or steaming it, makes it a little more versatile for future use. After making the basic cutlets you can slice it, fry it, shred it, chop, etc.. so many possibilities.

Homemade Seitan

  • 2 Cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 tespoon sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 Cups water

Broth

  • 4 Cups Vegetable broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons Black strap Molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons Tamari

In a heavy bottom stock pot combine all the ingredients for the broth and bring to a simmer

In a mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients. Add the  Water into the dry ingredients and mix. Work the dough until the gluten develops, about 2 minutes. The dough should be sponge like, but not too wet. If needed, add a bit more vital wheat gluten. Form the dough into a thick log. Using a sharp knife slice off pieces, about 1/2- 1inch thick, depending on how large you want you final pieces to be. Place the slices in the simmering broth. Cover and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours, lowering the heat as needed. The pieces with puff up while cooking just poke them back down and stir them back into the broth.

When the setian is done you can use it right away, store it in an airtight container or freeze for later use. When storing, cover the seitan pieces with the broth you used for cooking. The broth has lots of flavor and can be used for later applications. I like to use these pieces as cutlets. Pan searing until they are crispy on the outside. I then use the broth as a base for mushroom gravy and smother the cutlets with this.

Tagged with:
 
P1030773

Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble

On October 25, 2011, in dairy free, Recipes, vegan, VeganMofo, by Mary
0

Today is my husbands birthday. As with every birthday, I let the birthday boy or girl pick what kind of “cake” they want. It doesn’t have to be cake by the way, just whatever yummy treat they want to celebrate their big day. My husband isn’t much of a traditional cake person. He prefers pies over cakes any day ( maybe I need a copy of Vegan Pie in the Sky) . Last year he chose a pumpkin pie, but this year he wanted a fruit pie. Since I have an abundance of tasty apples in the house. A sweet apple pie was made.

Apple pie is one of those traditional american deserts. It is usually a buttery crust, layers of apple and cinnamon and a touch of ice cream to finish it off. This is sort of like that, just kicked up a bit.

Apple Pie with Pecan Crumble

Apple Filling

  • 6 Nice sized apples of choice, peeled, cored and sliced very thin
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 1 tablespoon earth balance

Crust

  • 2 Cups flour, I use 1 cup whole wheat pastry and 1 cup all purpose
  • 7 tablespoon earth balance buttery sticks
  • 6-8 Tablespoons ice cold water

Crumble

  • 1/2 Cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 Cup Pecans, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons cane sugar, or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

 

Begin by preparing the crust. Dice the cold earth balance spread. Using a fork, or pastry knife, fold into the flour until it resembles coarse corn meal. Slowly add the cold water a little at a time until a ball forms. Cover with plastic and set in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Pre heat oven to 350

Prepare you apples, peeling, coring and slicing very thin. In a large mixing bowl combine all the apple filling ingredients, coating all the apples.

In another mixing bowl combine all the ingredients for the crumble, making sure it is all well incorporated.

When the dough has chilled  roll out into a large round circle large enough to cover your pie pan. Press into the pie pan and leave a small crust around the rim.

Pour the apple filling in the prepared crust and top with the crumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bake 350 for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Checking at the 1 hour mark to make sure the crust isn’t too brown. If it is getting too brown turn the heat down to 325 and bake the remaining 15 minutes. Let cool about 10-15 minutes before serving, or serve at room temp.

 

Tagged with:
 

Tonight was one of those nights that we needed something quick,  easy and filling for dinner. We have had house guests for the last few weeks and we just wanted something pretty chill with limited fuss. I also needed something that the kids would approve.

Tofu is always on the top of my quick and easy list.  As I was allowing my tofu to drain on the kitchen towel I was searching the fridge and pantry for something to go along with it. I had an eggplant that needed using and a pre-made red lentil soup. So I decided to do something with a little Indian flare and started throwing things in the pan. I must say it turned out pretty tasty and took just about 30 mins to prepare.

*Although pressing tofu makes it a little easier to cook and allows it to absorb flavor, it’s not always necessary. In this dish I just do a simple press with a clean kitchen towel to drain off the excess water

Curried Sesame Tofu and Eggplant

  • 1 medium sized eggplant
  • 1 block firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon sesame seeds, add more or less based on your taste

Peel the eggplant and dice into bite sized pieces. Toss with the olive oil and slat. Heat a heavy bottom pan, I use cast iron, over medium heat. When hot, add the eggplant. Cover with lid and let cook 3-4 minutes checking to make sure it doesn’t burn and adjust temperature as needed. Move the eggplant to one side and add the tofu, tamari and curry powder. Cook over medium heat until the eggplant is soft and tender and the tofu is browned, turning as needed. When the tofu and eggplant is almost done toss in the sesame seeds and mix around until well distributed in the tofu. Cook an additional minute to allow the sesame seeds to toast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I served mine with a pre made Red Lentil Curry soup and everyone ended up tossing the eggplant and curry inside to make it a one dish meal. Yum!

 

 

Tagged with:
 
quinoa

Simple Quinoa

On October 20, 2011, in Recipes, vegan, VeganMofo, by Mary
0

Quinoa is such a simple thing to make. In itself it is pretty flavorless, maybe a little nutty, but nothing real strong. The misconception with Quinoa is that it is a member of the grassy family, linked to wheat and other grains. In actuality it is closer related to Beets, Spinach and Tumbleweeds. Quinoa is another nutritional powerhouse. It contains essential amino acids and lysine. Its high in fiber and high in protein. It also has significant amounts of magnesium, phosphorus and calcium. Quinoa is considered gluten free and thus easier to digest.

I love quinoa for all of its nutritional goodness, but also for its versatility. I use it in salads, as binders for burgers, its great as a base for curries and Mexican food and can be served hot or cold.  Tonight I made it up as a simple salad and served it along two of my other favorites, roasted yams and steamed broccoli.

Simple Quinoa Salad 

  • 1 Cup Quinoa, cooked according to directions on packed and chilled
  • 2 Tablespoons minced cilantro
  • 2 stalks of green onion chopped
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 can of black olives,  drained rinsed and sliced
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

After the Quinoa has a chance to chill, combine all the ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Tagged with:
 
P1030700

Black eyed pea croquettes

On October 17, 2011, in dairy free, Recipes, vegan, by Mary
3

I have been reading a new cookbook over the last week, The Kind Diet, and have been trying some of the recipes out of her Vegan and Superhero sections. There are a lot of great recipes in there and some great tips for eating a variety of healthy foods. I really like her book because it doesn’t have a whole lot of meals that are centered around “meat” or cheese replacements. She focuses more on healthy, wholesome foods and new ways to use them.

I found the recipe for these croquettes in this book and was initially skeptic. I was unsure how they would taste, especially since you don’t precook the black eyed peas. I was also a little aprehensive of the frying. I am not someone who likes fried food and I am not very good at it either. However, I was pleasantly surprised. They are light and airy. The texture and taste are wonderful and the dipping sauce is delicious.  Plus, black eyed peas are a nutritional powerhouse. A 1 cup serving packs in almost 20 grams of protein and 9  grams of fiber!

The recipe is pretty much as it was from the book. I didn’t have Shoyu, so I subbed in my favorite Tamari.

Black Eyed Pea Croquettes

  • 2 cups dry black eyed peas, soaked 8-10 hours
  • 2 Tablespoons Cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Tamari
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • oil for frying

Dipping Sauce- whisk together 

  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

Drain the soaked peas and place in the food processor. Add all the ingredients, except the oil of course. Blend until the peas are well chopped, but not a paste.

In a cast iron skillet, or heavy bottom pan, heat 1inch of oil until it is approximately 350.

Form the pea mixture into oblong shaped balls and fry 4 or 5 at a time until they are nice and golden brown.

Serve with the dipping sauce.

I served mine along side some asparagus and a cashew carrot ginger soup.

 

 

Tagged with: