FOOD fit for a Rockstar

Deena Kamm's recipe book and always evolving food philosophy

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!”

Today is a good day for soup… Day 6 on the Food Journey

January10

Soup is SUCH an easy standby for a healthy balanced dinner. My 5 year old will eat just about any vegetable I puree in the form of soup. So will my husband and myself for that matter!  And since it’s cold and wintry and dark out there right now, we should all be making homemade soup at least once a week! It’s so easy! Who’s with me??!!??

I really get bored with the same 25 things I tend to cook and need new ideas all the time.  Here’s a healthy recipe that my friend Sue, who’s way way way down in Los Angeles, emailed me so I could post it on the blog way over here on the World Wide Web. It looks pretty darn delicioso (that’s Spanish for delicious – in case you’re not from LA like me and Sue) and I am going to make it for dinner in the next few days. NOTE: This is a plan ahead recipe so… plan ahead.

Ingredients
1 cauliflower head, roasted
1 sweet onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts, chopped
1 cup celery (about two stalks), chopped
1 head roasted garlic, peeled
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs unsalted butter (for Vegan try using Earth Balance or Coconut Oil)
1 tbs fresh parsley, minced
3-4 sprigs fresh thyme, removed from stems
4 cups vegetable stock
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
Optional: (not for Vegans obviously – and not needed if you’re trying to health it up!)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Instructions
In advance -up to a day ahead- roast the cauliflower: Preheat the oven to 375º. Meanwhile, break down the head of cauliflower into individual florets. Layer the cauliflower on to a large, rimmed sheetpan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes, until the cauliflower is fork-tender and begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool.
In a large stock-pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add the onion, leeks and celery, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent. Add the garlic, and using a wooden spoon, smash the garlic into a paste. Add the butter, parsley, thyme, salt and pepper. Stir to combine and let cook until the butter melts.
Add the roasted cauliflower and vegetable stock. Stir to combine. Let the soup come to a boil, then turn the heat to low, and let simmer 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, and using an immersion blender, blend the soup to a smooth consistency.
If using, add the cream and/or Parmesan, and stir to combine. Serve hot with crispy bread or fresh croutons and a sprinkling of fresh parsley.

Then Sue tops it with her own creation of curry croutons: take day old crusty bread and cut into cubes then in a pan melt 2T butter and a little olive oil add 1T curry power then add bread and cook until toasty!
Smart – and it sounds like a delicious addition, but I think I will opt out on this for my 90 day food journey and keep it in mind for another time.

As a Thank You gift to Sue M. who offered up her recipe (I honestly don’t know where she got it from, but I’m not getting paid – so who cares) I have purchased her this fine piece of Addict apparel:

cauliflower_addict_tshirt

I hope you love it Sue – wear it proudly!
D-

Someone finally got Kale Chips right…

October22

I got this recipe from another site – here: A Cup Of Jo: The Best Kale Chips
They were the best I’ve had/made yet! Thanks A Cup Of Jo!  I’ll keep this one on hand… here on my blog.

You’ll need:
A bunch of kale (either curly or lacinato—they’re both good, but texturally, I prefer curly), center stems removed, washed and dried thoroughly
About 1 tbsp. sesame oil or olive oil
1 to 2 tsp. soy sauce
About 1 tbsp. sesame seeds

What to do:
Preheat your oven to 350F.

Tear the kale into large pieces and place them in a bowl. (NOTE: I have to stress how important it is that your kale is dry. Otherwise, the chips will turn out soggy.) Next, add the oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds, and toss it all together with your hands. You want each piece to be glistening, but not so much that any of the oil or seasoning pools at the bottom of the bowl. You can also taste a piece at this point. It shouldn’t be too salty, because the taste will condense in the final chip. Feel free to add a little more soy sauce if you’d like, though.

On 1 or 2 baking sheets (with or without parchment paper), lay the pieces out flat.

Bake 6 to 7 minutes. (Note, however, that these aren’t hard figures because I know my oven is hotter than average. I’ve seen times ranging from 6 minutes to 12, so the first time you make these, keep a close eye on the chips. You want to take them out before they’re completely crisped—they’ll still be a little soft in the middle.) You may need to experiment a little with the timing to get it right.

The Quickest, Easiest, and Healthiest BURGER you can make from The Quickest, Easiest, and Healthiest LEFTOVERS!

June8

If you saw and subsequently tried my previous post about a basic Macro Meal… you inevitably made too much. Don’t feel bad – this is a common problem with such a basic meal.  You think there’ s NO WAY in Bend that food is going to fill you up so quickly and for so long… so you overdid it.  You threw in 3 carrots instead of one.  The entire bunch of Kale instead of a few leaves and then you excitedly made 2 cups of rice because it’s so cheap – what’s the difference? Right?  Face it – you got overzealous and were feeling really good about the prospect of feeling really good.  I know how it goes…  I am always SO gung ho because we love that meal so much, and it makes us feel SO happy and healthy and wise…. then the next day… the day after that… and the dreaded day after that… I can’t bear the idea of opening the fridge to see what’s in there to eat, let alone eating leftovers AGAIN!!!! So before you let that “kids are starving all over the world” guilt kick in and then hover shamefully over the sink shoving perfectly good food down the garbage disposal, try this one out!

Deena’s “Macro Burger” in 10 easy steps.

1.)  Get out your Food Processor.
2.)  Throw everything in there – beans, rice, veggies, tofu, temphe… all of it.
3.)  Pulse.
4.)  Add olive oil if the mixture is too dry or bread crumbs if it’s too wet (you’re looking for burger consistency somewhere in the middle)
5.)  Mold it into small patties that will fit perfectly onto your whole grain organic bun (preferably one without added sugars) or toast.
6.)  Fry in a skillet with a little Safflower or Sunflower oil – An Iron skillet works great for these and there’s no worry about how long to cook them – just cook until it looks good to you and you think it’s burger worthy.  Everything is already fully cooked so you really can’t screw this part up!

  
7.)  Add whatever you would normally have with burgers ie: sauteed mushrooms and onions, avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, condiments, sauces, WHATEVER!
8.)  Don’t tell you’re family it’s leftovers.
9.)  Enjoy
10.)  (This is my favorite and most ironic part)  FREEZE the leftovers!!! The leftover burger leftovers reheat great anytime you need a quick meal!!  I often put them in my sons lunch the next day – he thinks it’s fun times.

London would not sit still for this picture. But this WAS his second burger and he was all hopped up on health.

 

Now you are the star of the kitchen and your family just ate the healthiest burger you can possibly ever have. Win win win win win! It’s like being in Vegas without the cigarette smoke.  Right?
As always I can’t stress enough – don’t be afraid… I figured this out by just throwing stuff in and giving it a literal whirl. They are slightly different burgers every time because you’ll never have the exact same ingredients twice, but they always work and they are always good.

Try it out and tell me how it goes!
D-

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star“Can I pour my Agave BBQ Sauce all over it?  Then yes, 5 stars.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces  “Mommy – can you make them look like Chicken Nuggets?”  He has no idea what that actually means.

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 Lemon Squares

February24

These are NOT the ones I made, but if you use regular sugar I'm sure they will look just like this!!

I made these for our impromptu New Years Party this year because they are so quick and simple to make, and although they are sugarless and vegan, they were still pretty good. I actually didn’t think I would bother making them again because although they were good – they weren’t my favorites. BUT My Mother in law is in town and she isn’t eating sugar or eggs, and it’s her birthday, so I thought I’d try these again and while I’m at it, why not post it??
They came out better this time. Maybe because I wasn’t focused on anything else AND I wasn’t drinking while cooking them.  (It was New Years Eve last time , don’t forget.) I replaced sugar with Coconut Palm Sugar and it changes the color from yellow to caramel color. So you have to tell your brain you are eating lemon or it won’t recognize it. Weird how that works. These are another great treat for my boy who LOVES them and rarely gets to eat stuff like this.
I hope you like them too! They are almost completely guilt free. Hooray.

You can see the original recipe here: Veg-Web Time Warp Lemon Squares (odd name, right??)

Crust:
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 tablespoons Earth Balance Butter
1/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (I grind this with my Morter and Pestal to be a little finer)

Filling:
4 1/2 teaspoon Ener-G Egg Replacer
6 tablespoons water
3/4 cup Coconut Palm Sugar (I grind this too, with my Morter and Pestal to be a little finer)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2-3 lemons, zested and juiced

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For crust, in a bowl, combine crust ingredients and press into 8 X 6″ pan. Bake for 15 minutes.

2. For filling, while crust is baking, beat the Ener-G Egg Replacer  and water in a mixer (if possible) until foamy. Add the remainder of the filling ingredients and mix together on a lower (mixing) speed. Pour over the crust, and bake 20 minutes more, or until set. Cool.

Enjoy them!!
D-

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-star “ These are good.  I will eat them.”
Kid Rating 5 smiley faces “Yay!  I love those Lemon Squares! I’m so happy it’s Nonnie’s birthday.”

GUEST POST!!!! Kei’s Temphe Burgers!

February8

Kei Ogawa is a good friend of mine from California. She eats like we do (only better) and we used to compare notes all the time before we moved to Oregon. I recently saw this info on her husband Donny’s facebook status and asked her to give me the recipe for my blog. So here it is… Thanks Kei!!!!

Hi mamas. Here is the recipe for you! It is super easy to make.

Tempeh Burger (one person)

Tempeh – 1
Bun -1
Veggie Mayo
Lettuce
Avocado
Sprouts
Mustard

(Sauce)
Warter-1/2cup
Veggie concentrate powder -1tsp
Tomato puree or ketchup -2tbsp
Beet sugar -1/2tbsp
Vinegar -2tsp
Tamari-1/2tbsp
Garlic(grounded)-1/2tsp

Panfry tempeh (I cut a TJ tempeh in a half thickness so that it absorbs the sauce easy) with olive oil until the both sides get brown. Heat up all sauce ingredients and once it’s boiled, add tempeh and turn the stove to low. Keep boiling until it gets less watery. I have made it without garlic and it still tastes good! Sorry that this is not a good recipe for Pitta people like Don though!

I personally have not tried it yet – but judging by the recipe and what I know about Temphe and how much I cook Temphe, it looks good.  I will be making it for my Temphe-Crazed husband, Zeke just as soon as he gets back from his trip to China (where they eat battered and deep fried cuckoo bird!!  WTF?????) So for now our husband rating is being taken right off Donny’s post as testimonial of this delicious meat alternative!!

Enjoy! (Should be easy to do when there are no beaks, eyes, flesh, etc… ugh.)
Deena

Husband Rating 5 star:gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star “ My wife just made the most kick a$$ tempeh burgers! Seriously and you’re not vegetarian why again? You think you’re going to miss out, but you’re really missing out right now.”

 

Thanks for the contribution, Kei and Donny!  Give that baby a kiss for me.

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