FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy
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Cauliflower “Rissoto”… a healthy Italian makeover: Day 75 of my 90 Day Food Journey

March20

Well, It’s been a loooong journey… but it’s still going. To say that I am busy right now is an understatement. I WISH WISH WISH I had more time to post everyday. Mostly because it helps stay me focused on what I’m eating and how my body and mind are changing for the better, but life happens while you’re making other plans, right? I have so many things I want to talk about, and about 10 draft posts waiting to be written, but I’m going to put up a quick post about a fantastically healthy dish my husband made the other night… Because at the end of the day – I hope to remember, inspire, and share our healthy food choices. So here it is…

Cauliflower “Risotto”

deliciously created by ForkandBeans.com

This dish is vegan, grain and gluten-free.  Good start.  Zeke made it pretty close to the original recipe and I loved it.  BUT I have made a few changes to this recipe as I think I would have loved it even MORE if it had these tweaks.  My changes are in bold in case you want to omit them and try it the Forks and Beans OG way.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 medium head of Lightly Steamed cauliflower, chopped in a food processor (or your VITAMIX!)
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • 1 can white beans, rinsed and drained, divided (I prefer Great Northern Beans) we used Garbanzo/Chick Peas
  • 1/2 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tb sundried tomatoes (we used Oven Roasted Tomatoes now on sale by the jar at Costco – thank you Costco – I will always love you)
  • 1 Tb capers (I love capers like they are candy – I added about 1/4 cup to my plate  – I may have an olive problem)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme, or 1 tsp dried
  • toasted pinenuts, optional

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium-sized pot, heat 1 Tb olive oil on medium heat until warmed. Place the shallots, garlic, and thyme inside and saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and translucent.
  2. Place 1/2 the can of beans and vegetable broth into the pot and simmer for 5 minutes!
  3. With an immersion blender (or if you do not have one, use a regular blender or your Vitamix!), gently blend all of the contents together in the pot until creamy and smooth.
  4. Add grated cauliflower, sun-dried tomatoes, remainder beans, and spinach. Cover with a lid and allow to heat through for a good 5 to 15 minutes. Waiting to throw the spinach in until 5 min before you’re ready to serve.
  5. Add the capers before you serve and garnish with toasted pine-nuts.

The main thing I want to stress about this dish is that if the cauliflower is raw it really doesn’t feel like Risotto.  It’s still GREAT, but I don’t think it should be called Risotto because then your brain in disappointed.  If the cauliflower was lightly steamed before chopping and THEN steamed longer at the end I am confident that it would be truly a perfect Faux Risotto.

 

This dish is very similar in flavors and texture to an amazing NON-vegan dish I have made many times in the past By Giada De Laurentiis: Veronica’s Veggie Meatloaf with Checca Sauce.
Giada’s has cheese – a LOT of cheese, and also takes a long time to make. It’s very prep heavy. I have made it for many people many times and everyone loves it, but I don’t make it that often anymore, because there’s no time for all that prep AND I am no longer eating cheese. Details, details. Honestly, I have missed this dish, but NO LONGER!! Because the Cauliflower Risotto gives me the exact same Italian fix and comfort food feelings that I need and crave!! I am so excited about this. Thanks to my husband for continuing on the hunt with me for great new healthy, vegan food we can easily make at home.
Try this!! You will be amazed. I promise. I was.

The journey is NOT over yet…. Stay with me!

D-

Husband Rating 4 stars:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star stars : “It’s a pretty good replacement for Risotto”
Kid Rating 2 smiley faces: “Thumbs up Papa! this is so yummy! Mommy, can I have a banana? ”

The Vitamix has arrived! Day 56 of my Food Journey.

March1

Well… Everyday my intentions are good in that I will put up a quick Food Journey Post – and everyday seems to be crazier and crazier. Sadly, this blog is the very last thing to get done, as you can see by my 2 week absence. Actually – my nails are the very last thing to get done, but it’s been so long since that’s happened it’s not even on the list anymore.  But here’s the latest up-to-date goings on regarding the clean, vegan, organic, sugar-free food in The Kamm Fam household.

If you know my husband Zeke, then you already know that he can get intense about things.  More intense than me, which is pretty darn extreme. He recently decided that we need, let me stress NEED, a Vitamix Blender.  Well, right this moment money is tight, and those babies are not cheap – and we already have a blender, food processor, mixer, and juicer, so do we really NEED another appliance?  Turns out we do. As my husband puts it: “we are losing money by NOT having a Vitamix.”  A bit overboard, but he’s very persistent when he has his mind set on something.  Well, turns out my always thoughtful and generous In-Laws, Mark and Angela, have been waiting for the perfect thing to give us as a housewarming gift, and after finding out that Zeke was on a mission, they decided to save me from one more argument about needing to wait.  I love them for many reasons.  This is just another one.

So last Tuesday, while Zeke and I were eating our way through Portland on a  business trip, our brand spanking new (refurbished) Vitamix arrived on our doorstep! Needless to say, we celebrated by eating yet another fantastic meal in one of Portland’s countless vegan restaurants.  I love living 3 hours from the only city in the world to have animal-free fine dinning everywhere you turn.  Pure coincidence? I think maybe the universe is just looking out for us. I love Bend, but most of the food in our town is meat and potatoesque.  Paleo athletes everywhere you turn and beer drinking bar-food everywhere else.  Happy and fun, but not our idea of clean eating.  Sorry Bend, it’s the only thing you are lacking.

What started out as a 90 day Food journey has just been combined with a 30 day Vitamix Journey to finish it smoothly.  Literally – super smooth style.

Me with the newest member of our Kitchen.

Me with the newest member of our Kitchen.

We have already used our new gadget 7 times in the last three days.  Have we saved money yet? Probably not, but it’s been really fun trying out all the features and options and learning how to make new things that simply weren’t possible before.  It really isn’t just a blender.  It’s a Food Transformer!  We already have made smoothies, milkshakes, soup, and sauces.  Last night I made a cheese sauce for the Vitamix Macaroni and Cheese that was SO good, I felt like I was back at Dodger stadium pumping guilt-free Velveeta Cheese sauce all over my nachos.  You won’t believe the recipe.  It’s so easy and so good… it’s totally worth the half a grand my wonderful In-laws dropped on this machine.  Here it is – straight off the Vitamix website:

Not-So-Cheese-Sauce

notsocheesesaucemainjpg

 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) water
  • 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup (50 g) canned pimentos, drained
  • 2/3 cup (70 g) whole raw almonds
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/4 cup (30 g) nutritional yeast
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid.
  2. Select Variable 1.
  3. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 10, then to High.
  4. Blend for 3 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid.

Okay – so that’s it.  3 Minutes.  4 if you count the time it takes to squeeze the lemon and put everything in the container. Can you believe it?  I made TJ’s Brown Rice Penne Pasta, Steamed Broccoli and Blanched Kale to go under this sauce. We also added some Field Roast Frankfurters cut up for fun (and extra protein.) Half way through the meal I decided I wanted extra sauce for the steamed broccoli.  How indulgent!  Extra cheese sauce to smother my veggies with?  Teaching my son to cover up his greens?!?  Well did you see that list of ingredients?  Next to actual fresh broccoli and kale, there really isn’t a list of healthier foods around.  How amazing.  I am totally sold on this thing and, once again, my husband was right.  I am going to make this sauce tomorrow night for my annual Oscar party with my Mom. I’ll be bringing tortilla chips and nacho (or “not-so”) cheese sauce to try out on her, as she is one of the best cooks I know, and is always happy to try new things.

If you have any great vegan Vitamix recipes that you want to share… PLEASE let me know .  I am all over this appliance.

Until I can pull it together again for another post… Happy Clean Eating!
D-

Husband Rating 3.5-4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star stars : “It’s like a cheese milkshake. I love this Vitamix!”
Kid Rating 2 smiley faces: “Pretty good – but too lemony”

My World Famous, Multi-Grain, Homemade Pancakes

January20

I have been making a lot of pancakes lately for a lot of people.  Not exactly sure why, but it’s helped me to refine my recipe.  So here it is in case you want a healthier version of the traditional fluffy, white, buttermilk pancakes you’re used to eating.

Truth be told, these cakes are not white – or fluffy.  They are dense and brown.  Sounds appetizing, eh?  Try them anyway – you’ll be surprised how your eyes trick you into thinking they look terrible, but your brain tells you they taste great!  I actually adapted this recipe from my trusty little cookbook that came with my Kitchen Aid Mixer.  The recipe in the book looks nothing like mine, but it was a great starting point and I still open the book before I make any pancakes or waffles.  I just change EVERYTHING about the recipe while I’m making it.  So here’s my version:

First off – get yourself an Iron Skillet if you don’t already have one.  You must make pancakes, and everything else in your kitchen in an iron Skillet.  If I could do it all over again I would ditch my (very expensive) All Cladd pans and get every shape and variety Iron cookware (very inexpensive compared to most good cookware)
You have your skillet out? Heat that girl up on Med-Low. Let it cook for a while before you put anything in it. It’s like a slow moving barge – it takes a loooooong time to really get going properly.
Combine the following ingredients in a mixer or by hand if you don’t have a mixer:
1/2 cup Spelt Flour
1/2 cup Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Almond Flour, Quinoa flour, or Millet flour or any combination of those
1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce (no sugar added – just apples please!)
1 1/4 cup rice milk or Soy Milk
3 tablespoons Shortening – melted (Please don’t melt your shortening in the microwave! Get a little pan out to melt it in and do the extra dishes – it’s worth it and it takes no time at all)

Now your ingredients are combined, crank your skillet up to medium heat and spray some cooking spray on it. Pour about 1/3 cup batter for each pancake. Cook 2-4 Min or until the little bubbles start to pop and the cake looks dryish on top. Flip and cook other side about another 2-4 min.

I always preheat my oven or warming drawer to 170 and throw the cooked pancakes onto a cookie sheet to keep them warm. Works great and then everyone gets to eat together.
I also always heat my plates in the 170 degree oven and Maple syrup too. We usually make a Blueberry or Strawberry (if in season) compote to pour over them. Basically we throw some chopped fruit (or whole frozen blueberries) into a saucepan. Dissolve about 1.5 tablespoons of Agar Agar (or corn Starch) with some water and add to the pan. Add a little sweetener of your choice – I use coconut palm sugar, my husband always uses Maple Syrup. bring to a boil and then let it simmer and reduce and thicken. Stir a lot. The Agar Agar will clump, as will Corn Starch, so keep stirring until it’s thick and yummy. Then you can let it sit until you’re ready to serve. I like to put the compote in a gravy boat so you can just pour it over your pancakes. Yum.  This recipe usually makes just enough for the three of us.  So if you have more people double or triple it!  They also reheat nicely in a toaster.

As always – let me know if you like it! The comment section should be working now – so fire away!!
D-

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star gold-star stars : “Guilt-free breakfast happiness.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces: “Mommy, can you make pancake’s for breakfast – pleeeeeeeeeeease!”

Savory Beer Batter Crepes… Newport Market Foddie Contest Entry!

June17

Well – I did it… I entered a Foodie Contest.  I’m not sure why or what I expect to get from this, but it was fun and I think overall it came out pretty good (the video that is.  The recipe came out amazing!  Seriously.) So here is the 5 minute video and the recipe that I made up to enter with.  This is one of the best dishes I have ever concocted.  So give it a try!!  (and while the contest is running you can vote for my entry once a day – see link above.)

This is a multi step meal.  You can replace or skip almost any of these steps and I think it will still be pretty good.  But it might not be a fantastical work of art.  Here is the recipe step by step:

  1. Beer Batter Crepes
  2. Mushroom Paste/Sauce/Gravyish thing
  3. Beer Soaked Tofu
  4. Sauteed Veggies
  5. Garnish

Step 1- Beer Batter Crepes:

1 Cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup Soymilk
1/2 Cup Beer (I used Deschutes Brewery’s Mirror Pond Pale Ale brewed right here in my hometown, Bend Oregon! Don’t drink the rest just yet – you will need more later.)
1/4 Cup Melted Earth Balance
1 Tsp Coconut Palm sugar
2 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
1/4 Tsp Salt

Mix all Ingredients together on med-high in a mixer or mix it GOOOOOD by hand with a whisk. Refrigerate for at least an hour, while prepping the filling. If it stays in there for more than a few hours you will most likely need to think it out with some soymilk.

Step 2 – Beer Soaked Tofu:
1 package of Firm or Extra Firm Sprouted Tofu (Regular Tofu will work, but it’s not very good for you and they taste the same. Choose Sprouted… always!)
1/4 Cup Olive Oil (I didn’t measure so this is a guess. Do what looks good to you)
1 Tsp Garlic Powder (again – I never measure so you be the judge on what smells good to you.)
1 Tsp Onion Powder (guessing still)
1 Tsp Salt (you see where I’m going with this?)
1 Tsp Dried Thyme
1/4 Cup leftover Beer from bottle used for Crepe batter

Cut tofu into 1/4 inch (or so) fillets. Drain them by putting a kitchen towel on a cookie sheet, place all tofu slices on towel. Put another towel on top of the tofu and then another cookie sheet on top of that. Then put something very heavy on top of the cookie sheet-tofu sandwich and let it absorb the moister for about 15-20 minutes. Longer if you are still prepping other things.
Dice tofu into 1/2 inch pieces (the size is not critical – don’t stress about this.) Whisk all ingredients except beer in a bowl. Add tofu and pour beer on top of tofu then gently mix to coat tofu as evenly as possible. Set aside until ready to cook… about 15 minutes or more.

Step 3 – Mushroom Sauce:

1/2 8oz container of Crimini Mushrooms – sliced
1 Medium Yellow Onion – Diced
3 Cloves of Garlic – chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Thyme removed from stem
3 Tbsp Earth Balance Butter
Salt to taste

Saute mushrooms and onion in a skillet on Medium until translucent (and the kitchen smells awesome.  that’s usually when I know it’s ready.) Add garlic and thyme cooking about another 5 minutes. Blend in a food processor adding about 1/2 of Soymilk to thin. If it still seems to thick continue to add hot water until the mixture is smooth or at a texture that looks like a thin paste or thick gravy. Set aside.

Sautee tofu and all its marinade in the skillet until the tofu is browned and slightly crispy – about 10-15 minutes. Remove from skillet. Set aside.

Step 4 – Sauteed Veggies:
1 Zucchini – chopped
1 Large Shallot – sliced thin
Remaining 4 oz of mushrooms cut into quarters
4-5 Cups (one tub or package is fine) Spinach – reserving small leaves for garnish.
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

Saute mushrooms and shallots in skillet on med heat for about 5 minutes then add zucchini. When zucchini skin is soft add spinach leaves and cover with lid if you have one. Let spinach wilt slightly and remove from heat. Gently mix all veggies together until spinach is completely wilted. Remove from skillet. Set aside.

Step 5 – Cook , fill and garnish Crepes:
Heat a large frying pan on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Spray cooking spray to coat bottom of pan and then ladle approx 1/4 cup batter into pan and swirl to coat entire pan with batter. Cook until top appears dry – about 3-4 minuets. Gently flip with a large spatula and cook for another 2-3 minutes or until it looks slightly browned.
Put Crepe on a plate and using a tablespoon spread one large spoonful of mushroom sauce evenly around the middle of the crepe. Add veggie mixture and tofu mixture careful not to overfill. Roll Crepe on plate until the seam side is down. Garnish with fresh thyme removed from stem and reserved baby spinach leaves.  Serve!

Healthy Side Note:
This entire dish is Vegan and if I never told you that you would never know notice the difference.  Unless, of course you couldn’t understand how it could be the best savory crepe you ever had. There IS a beautiful culinary world out there that does not require animals, and I think this dish falls into that category.  Don’t you?

Enjoy!
D-

Husband Rating 4.5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star“Infinitely better than pancakes and beer separately.”
Kid Rating: NO smiley faces –  “I do NOT like this at all and I’m not going to eat it.” (Pretty sure he just wasn’t actually hungry – but that meant more for us!)

The Quickest, Easiest and Healthiest meal you can make from scratch!

May18

The meal in this picture is the standby – go to – get centered and back on track meal in our house, that we try to eat at least once a week if not more. It’s basically a standard plate from a Macrobiotic diet. If you don’t know about Macrobiotics, don’t worry… You wont turn into the six million dollar man, or the terminator, or R2D2 if you eat this. It’s not a fancy as it sounds. It’s actually the exact opposite. Thanks to our very good friends James, Allison and Lydia Taylor, we were turned on to and subsequently adopted a Macrobiotic approach to life when I became pregnant with my son in 2008.  Over the last 4-5 years I have learned A LOT about the fundamentals and principals of Macrobiotics – both the food and the lifestyle, and it has served our family incredibly well.  But you don’t need to know any of that to eat this easy simple HEALTHY meal. So don’t worry about it too much. Just eat!! If you love it and it speaks to you every time you eat it, then you can look for more information on your own or email me and I’ll help you with what I know.  Here is all you need to know right now:  Macro=BIG   Biotics=LIFE.  This meal is about eating food that is full of “Big Life.”  Why? Because there is nothing in it except whole foods that are steamed or simmered. Clean clean clean.  Give your body a rest from the barrage of oils, salts, seasonings, sauces, etc. that you find even in healthy, organic, vegan food.  This is the highest octane food your body can eat and it will LOVE you for it.  Trust me – we prove it to ourselves every time we eat this meal…

Here are the basic elements of a simple, balanced plate of macrobiotic food:

  • Organic BROWN Rice (Brown short or long grain is the most basic and common.  But Sweet brown or Brown Basmati are also good)
  • Organic dried Beans that have been soaked and slow cooked (IE: NOT canned or microwaved!!) I used lentils here because I didn’t have time to soak anything and they cook pretty fast – around 30 minutes, but you want to try to soak dried beans overnight  if you can plan it out.  Try Adzuki Bean, Mung Beans, Chickpeas, Black Soybeans… There are so many great beans!  Just try some out – who cares!  It’s one time.
  • A Variety of Steamed Veggies – I have super basic veggies on this plate (for fear of scaring you away)  Broccoli, Carrots, Purple Cabbage, Kale, Onions (always throw an onion in – they are SO GOOD FOR YOU!!!).  But here are some other great choices that will expand your palate and up the health (make you feel good!!) Diakon Radish, Lotus root, Parsnips, Bok Choy, ANY AND ALL leafy greens, Winter Squash, Brussel Sprouts, Cauliflower, Turnips.  Basically – if they don’t sell it in Safeway, Vons or Costco, try it.  It’s most likely something your body desperately needs. And try to stay away from night shades for this meal: spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, or anything in the nightshade family.  Why?  Eh – It’s complicated.  If you REALLY want to know Google it.  You’ll get tons of info!!!
  • Organic Fermented Veggies like sauerkraut, or Kim-Chi. ( I buy these.  I know you can make them pretty easily, but they take many days to ferment.  I have only ventured into this world once and it was an inedible disaster.  One day I will try again, but for now I buy it.)
  • Additional Organic Protein optional like Sprouted Tofu or Temphe cut into bite size chunks or pieces.
  • Bonus Items if you think you can’t handle it THAT plain can be lemon, Nato Miso, Tekka (miso condiment), Apple Cider Vinegar or Umoboshi Plum Vinegar, Olive Oil lightly drizzled.  I usually stick to Lemon and Tekka on everything, but I love the other items I listed too.  My 3 year old will eat a plate full of leafy greens if they have lemon juice squeezed on it, so you can too!!

There are many many many incredible foods that fall into a macrobiotic diet, but this is not that site (although I think sometimes it should be) I posted this meal for two reasons only:

  1. It’s the quickest, easiest meal I make all week.
  2. It’s the cheapest, cleanest, most balanced and nutritious combo of foods I know of and it always makes us FEEL good.

Don’t worry about how you cut or prepare any of it.  It’s very hard to screw up steamed veggies.  I usually start with the things that take longest to cook and throw the rest in one by one as I clean and cut them.  (ie: carrots, then the onions, then brocolli, then cabbage, lastly the greens, tofu doesn’t need to be cooked so I just heat it real quick after I turn off the stove)  As long as you don’t overcook everything they are perfect.  Same with the rice and beans.  Just double the water to the dried amount, bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes (45 for rice.)  Always wash your grains and beans before you cook them.  If you have time to soak the rice too, go for it – it makes it extremely easy for your body to pull out nutrients and digest it efficiently, making it great fuel for your body.

Another nice thing to try is switching up the grain.  Instead of brown rice, which after a while gets too repetitive, try quinoa, millet, or barley.  And a great trick I learned early on is that you don’t have to refrigerate grains for a least 24 hours after they have been cooked.  So I cook them whenever it’s convenient and leave them covered in the pot on the stove until I am ready to serve it.  They are usually very good at room temperature and I love that I don’t have to clean another dish or put it BACK in the pot to reheat it.  It’s a time saver.  I do the same with beans as well.

Side note for emphasis: NEVER use a microwave to cook your food and ALWAYS buy organic.  Please.

Try it!!  You will be amazed at how easy it is and how happy you feel afterward.
Happy Clean Eating!
D-

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star gold-star“You’ll love how good I feel after you eat this dinner.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces a magical combination of food that makes him clean his plate every time.

Chocolate Sesame Cookies for my girls (all three of you)

April28

My amazing friend Ellen has just requested this recipe, but I know Erin and Madey have also asked for it – and since you are my girls, I am posting it before all the other stuff I have drafts of….. These cookies are crazy good. I have done them both vegan and non vegan… Here’s how:

8oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (this is one time I make a sugar exception, but London doesn’t like these so it’s fine)
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
3 Tbsp. Tahini (Organic only if possible!!! Seeds are very heavily sprayed)
2/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour (I have also used Spelt and Quinoa mixed)
1/2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Salt
1/2 Cup Applesauce (*or 2 eggs – more on this later)
3/4 Cup Coconut Palm Sugar
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1/2 Cup Toasted Sesame Seeds

Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan over low heat stirring frequently. Remove from heat RIGHT after it is all evenly melted (if you wait it starts to harden/thicken) and add in the Tahini. Set aside.
Combine flour(s) baking powder and salt in a small bowl – set aside.
in a large mixing bowl or Mixer beat together applesauce, sugar, vanilla, then add chocolate mixture. Beat in flour mixture until just combined.
Cover and chill in Fridge until the dough hardens up… anywhere between 1/2 hour to an hour.
Preheat oven to 350°. Toast Sesame seeds in a flat iron skillet or frying pan until slightly brown and they start to pop out of the pan.  Let the seeds cool off a bit.  Roll dough into small balls (I use a small ice cream scooper when I am NOT using eggs, but with eggs you can make them bigger balls) Roll the ball in the sesame seeds to coat. Place them on a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for around 10-15 minutes. If using applesauce you may need to bake them for up to 20 minutes.  You will know they are done when they bounce back slightly when touched OR when they just don’t depress when touched and don’t look wet anywhere.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.

*Note about the eggs – the first time I made this I used eggs because I had them in the house from a friends Chickens down the street (I don’t usually purchase eggs. Terribly cruel industry – I can’t support it) SO they remained balls and came out almost like a brownie ball. I also made them much bigger – about 2 inches in diameter. They were admittedly amazing. However when I made them without eggs and used applesauce instead, they came out like flat, thin, chocolate brownie cookie crisps and they were also amazing. So I think both are great, but I prefer not buying, eating, or using eggs, so I opt for the vegan version. The applesauce version also took longer to cook which surprised me. Just go with the flow and let the cookies tell YOU what to do. Don’t be afraid. Even if you screw it up, it’s still gonna taste good and then you can change it next time. Baking is not THAT much of a science (like I was raised to believe.) Experiment and enjoy eating the fruits of your brave labor!

Let me know how they work for YOU!

D-

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star gold-star“Open your mouth Sesame – cuz these are delicious.”
Kid Rating 2 smiley faces “Mommy – I don’t like those seeds on there.”

Vegan Souvlaki with Cilantro, and Cucumber Tomato Feta Salad

August1

Okay – I made this two nights ago and I really really liked it – I found to recipe for a chicken version in one of my many many many magazines, and thought I’d see what happened if I used tofu instead.  It worked.  It was super good.  Here it is:

1 package of Organic Extra Firm Tofu (cut into cubes wide and thick enough so they don’t fall off a skewer on the bbq)
8 warmed pita breads

Marinade:
small bunch of fresh mint chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
Juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon coriander Seeds
1 teaspoon tumeric
1 cup plain soy yogurt
1/4 cup olive oil
salt & pepper

Dressing
large bunch of fresh cilantro, plus extra for serving
1 cup plain soy yogurt
juice and grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tablespoons of olive oil

Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add Tofu to the bowl and smother with marinade. Cover and chill overnight or longer – up to three days if possible.
Preheat your BBQ and set to medium heat. Thread tofu chunks onto skewers leaving space in between. Cook them until they look yummy and charred, about 7-10 minutes turning a few times so all sides get some direct heat. It’s not meat so you can’t undercook them, but the longer you can leave them without burning the juicer and crispier they will be. Push tofu off skewers into a bowl.
Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until it forms a smooth green sauce.
I cut thin slices of raw onion and had chopped cilantro on the table too. Then I put all the parts on the table (pita, tofu, dressing, cilantro, onion) and let everyone build their own sandwich! I also had a simple cucumber salad that we ended up adding to the sandwich because it was so so good. Here’s what I did for that:

1 cucumber chopped into quarter slices
1 heirloom tomato diced into big chunks
1/2 medium onion sliced thin
oregano (I never measure – sorry)
Feta Cheese crumbled (if you’re going for the Vegan version obviously leave this out. It really doesn’t need it.)
mix together and serve in a bowl.

That’s all there is to it – it was really easy and I have to say – I was shocked at how great it came out. Most meat recipes that I replace with tofu don’t come out like the original meat version of the recipe. This totally did and I would even go so far as to say it was better. That’s right – I said it.
Sorry I can’t credit the magazine or chef who made this recipe – I cut it out and only kept the parts I needed. But I can say – I didn’t change anything except replacing the dairy and meat. That’s rare for me. I WILL be making this again only next time I’m going to try to make my own pita bread. I can’t find a good organic pita bread and it will make or break the dish.

Husband Rating Souvlaki 3 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star “So close to 4 stars, but the Pita Bread taste like a USPS Priority box .”

Husband Rating Cucumber Salad 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Delicious Refreshing. Too Good to call salad.”
Kid Rating 4 smiley faces “ooooh this tofu is so yummy.”

Quinoa Cabbage Salad

July28

Oh my – this was a total serendipitous, no-plan, thrown together, cleaning out the crisper drawer dish, but MAN was it GOOOOOOOOOOOD!  It’s my new favorite salad of the year.  Here goes:

This was super easy and fast…

Cook 1 cup of Quinoa (Rinse 1 cup Quinoa and add to a sauce pan with 2 cups cold water.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for about 20 minutes.)

Steam 1-2 sliced carrots and thinly shredded Kale (about 4-5 medium sized leaves with steams removed from entire length of leaf)

Shred or cut up about 1/2 head of green cabbage

Shred one carrot

Chop about 1/2 cup of Italian Parsley

Combine all ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. (Give or take a little on the Quinoa – I didn’t really measure and I had some leftover)

Combine about 1/2-3/4 cup Veganaise with about 1 cup or so of Braggs Liquid Amino Acid.  Whisk to combine well.

Add the dressing to the salad and mix well, leaving some reserve for people like my husband who like to drown their food!

I only served it with fresh corn on the cob, and we were still full! I think it would be great with some fresh baked bread though like this one: Country Style Yeast Free Bread.  Enjoy!!!

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “I would have given it a 4 1/2, but there was too much parsley for me.”

EASY Chocolate (Vegan) Pudding!!

April19

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything.  I moved, got busy learning all the things that go with being in a new state, went on a few trips, joined a few bands, got the Whopping Cough, recovered, all while taking care of my boys, maintaining our company, and trying to figure out how to decorate 1400 more square feet with no extra money.  Poor me.  Life is good, but it’s in no small part due to the beautiful, (ORGANIC!!) delicious food we eat!!

I originally started this blog so that I would have my recipes with me everywhere and anywhere.  It quickly turned into a great way to give them away when someone asked me how I made something – now I just send them here.  But I’ve been recently inspired by my cousin Ciddy who is an active and very vocal Vegan.  Although I’m not quite as committed as she is to spreading the word, I do believe that a big part of the reason people don’t eat Vegan is simply because they don’t know how.  They think it’s carrots, celery, iceberg lettuce and french fries.  So I’m going to try to start posting more of my ideas and recipes – some of which I have spent months figuring out… like this one!!!

Vegan, sugar-free, protein heavy Chocolate Pudding! My son LOVES it and I make it for him about twice a week, especially at those times when I just can’t get him to eat a balanced diet.  He can be so “2” sometimes!

Here it is – SUPER easy – takes about 5 minutes to make, and once you do it you can adjust all the amounts to suit your taste.  I actually never measure – I just throw stuff in and use my nose to figure out what I need more of.  But here’s a good start:

1 – 14oz package vacuum-packed firm silken tofu (Note: it must be Silken and I would stay away from any brand other than M0ri-Nu.  I have tried other brands and they end up tasting and smelling WAY too Tofu and not like a desert at all.  Pretty gross actually.  Mori-Nu is what I use for my dressings and other creamy dishes.  It’s good stuff – you can keep it in the cupboard for months and it’s high-high in protein.  I usually get it from Whole Foods.  It’s in the Asian Foods isle with the macrobiotic stuff.)

3 TBSP Organic Cocoa Powder

1/2 Cup Organic Maple Syrup or Organic Raw Dark Agave or any combo of the two

1/4 TSP Organic Cinnamon

Dash of Sea Salt

Dash of Organic Cayenne Pepper to taste (optional)

I put all of these ingredients into a glass Pyrex measuring bowl and use a hand blender to emulsify it.  You can use a regular blender, but it wont come out as smooth.  I emulsify it until it’s SUPER creamy and pudding like.  I don’t think you can over do it – but I wouldn’t try.  Once it looks creamy and puffy and smooth you’re done.  Then I usually pour it right into individual dessert dishes and refrigerate, but sometimes my son eats it right when I’m done and he doens’t seem to care that it’s room temperature.  I have also found that you can freeze it for an hour or so and it tastes more like frozen chocolate yogurt.  I love it like that.  Freeze it too long and you’ll have to let it defrost a bit before you eat it – but it’s good that way too.  This recipe makes about 3-4 servings. I usually just get 3 servings, but you could stretch it to 4 if you had to.

Here’s a picture of my beautiful boy enjoying his favorite part of dinner…

One of these days I’m going to try it with banana instead of chocolate.  If you do let me know how it comes out and what you did.

Enjoy your guilt-free, good for you pudding!!

Husband Rating 4 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “Beats the pudding out of the $8 M Cafe version.”

REALLY good mushroom side dish

January10

I found this recipe online and tried it for Valentines Day dinner. Needless to say – I loved it. I think Zeke did too.
The leftovers were sampled by my good friend Christina two days later and she got the recipe from me immediately. Here it is…

Sliced Shallots sauteed in butter (I use Earth Balance butter or Olive Oil)

add one package of regular old mushrooms (I try to only use organic – of course) quartered and continue to saute until they look yummy.  You’ll know.  Salt away around now too.

When you think it’s done throw in some Vermouth, and cook it down a bit,  This is a good time to deg-laze the pan if you used a nonstick – I recommend NEVER using nonstick – but that’s a different post) add some lemon juice (I used one whole lemon) and some paprika (just throw some in – don’t overdo it – but don’t be afraid to season either.)

in another pan throw in some butter and chopped Hazelnuts (also called Filberts if you can’t find “Hazelnuts” at the store) and toast them until they are golden brown.

Mix everything together and serve it on a Crostini or bread.  SO good!  And pretty easy to make.

Here’s where I got the recipe from I didn’t change it really at all besides the butter…

http://www.foodnetwork.com/roasted-mushroom-crostini/video/index.html?nl=ROTD_021210_9

Husband Rating 4 ¾ stars:gold-stargold-stargold-star gold-star “Can I say “It’s Nuts how good this is!”?”

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