Category Archives: Gluten Free

VeganGR Blog Take Over Part 2: Quick Sauerkraut

You know you have good friends when they take a veggie gift and your smartass comment about blogging for you and actually do it. So Jon and Kolene over at VeganGR have been the recipient of some ridiculous veggies from my summer surplus…Jon, the resident chef, and Kolene, the photographer came up with Sauerkraut when faced with a do or die cabbage situation a few weeks ago. Here’s what happened, according to Jon:

Faced with an exorbitant amount of cabbage (I mean, A TON of cabbage. See previous post about Adrienne’s gift of 40lbs of veggies), there was only one choice.

Sauerkraut.

Now, let’s be clear about this. I am lazy, and I hate waiting. I also have a mild fear of home fermentation.  Recent attempts at rejuvelac based cheese turned into a science experiment into mold than a delicious vegan chèvre. I am determined to plod on, but until I become the king of producing lactic acid, I needed another solution.

A Google search for “quick sauerkraut” turned up far fewer hits than you’d think. This recipe looked promising, so I went with that.

I didn’t have apple cider on hand, ‘cause like, who does? So I doubled the water. To balance and bring in the sugar I think the cider was intended to, I added a little sweetness. The result was really nice, and the hit of a recent summer barbecue!

Ingredients:

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 onion, sliced very thin
  • 1 medium green cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1 ¼ C apple cider vinegar
  • 1 C water
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seed
  • 2 T sugar

Directions:

  1. Heat oil in pan, and add onion. Cook over medium heat until onion turns translucent.
  2. Add rest of ingredients and bring to a boil. Cook covered over low heat for 30-45 minutes. You want the cabbage nice and tender. Keep an eye on it, you may need to add a little more water.

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Lost an hour? Gain a few back.

Forget about Daylight Savings Time. The Happy Herbivore, Lindsay Nixon, fellow chickpea lover, has found a way to give you back a few hours of your week. Previously, I would spend a few hours a week, typically either on a Sunday as a diligent planner, or via freaking out when I get home from work worrying about what will go on the grocery list, or what I will cook for dinner, etc. The Happy Herbivore has eliminated the planning, digging, guessing, grocery list making, contemplating out of my weekly food equation with 7-Day meal Plans.

With this service, which is around $20.00 a month, I get a pdf link weekly with a calendar for meals, all the recipes in one place, a premade grocery list, calorie counts for all food consumed, and suggested snack ideas. Each day falls into the 1,200 calorie range so you can add snacks or decrease snacks as needed and the meals are interchangable with other weeks and other meals. She does a pretty good job of recycling ingredients through the week in different ways so you don’t feel like you are always eating say quinoa in the same way. Today for example, we ate quinoa for breakfast in chocolate *pudding* form with blueberries. Even I was skeptical, and I spend most of my waking life thinking about what I am going to next eat. Turns out, taking the thinking portion out of food is what I need during this part of life. I sometimes don’t want to make another decision that day which typically translates into take-out which is not good for my weight OR my checking account.

The Happy Herbivore has cookbooks too of course, so you could pull out a recipe and swap it for another if you so choose. At any rate. I’d be happy to share a week with you if you are scared of the initial investment-just leave me a comment including your email address below and I’ll send it out to you. Just one per person though, I want this service to continue and for that to happen, Lindsay has to be compensated for her time. I’m sure you will find, it’s worth all $18.88 per month to regain a few extra hours a week and a plan after you try.

Curious what Chocolate Espresso Quinoa Pudding is? Try it.

  • 1/4 C quinoa (rinsed)
  • 3/4 C unsweetened chocolate almond milk
  • 1 1/2 T pure maple syrup
  • 1 T unsweetened cocoa powder (I mixed 1/2 special dark and 1/2 regular)
  • 1/8 tsp espresso powder
  • 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C blueberries (fresh or frozen)

In a saucepan, combine quinoa, chocolate milk and espresso. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce to low and simmer until quinoa is cooked and fluffy, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, and cocoa [I made a quick paste of this before putting into quinoa], plus another splash of chocolate milk. Taste, add more maple syrup if you need it a little sweeter. Top with fresh fruit. Serve warm.

Talkin’ Tempeh

I recently found an article, it’s an oldie but a goodie.  I liked so much I thought I reproduce a part of it for you, my faithful followers.  I get bored of tofu this and tofu that and sometimes I just want something toothsome and jerky like.  This texture usually helps make my TLTs a little more BLT if you know what I mean.  Tempeh while it’s my newest taco go-to…it’s still an odd vegan duck.  Here are some ways to break it in a little, making it less weird and more yum.  Give it a try.

Methods To The Madness
Tempeh is so so versatile, it takes to just about any cooking method you throw its way. Here are a few methods, along with recipes, to get you started. But feel free to use some of your favorite marinades in place of these. All of the following recipes are for 8 ounces of tempeh and serve 2 to 4 people.

Basic Baked Tempeh
This marinade of basic pantry ingredients works well with any of the cuts of tempeh. Try sandwich slices or serve slabs over a salad or alongside mashed potatoes, gravy and greens.

8 oz tempeh
Marinade:

  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Here’s what you do:
Mix together ingredients and marinate tempeh for at least an hour or up to overnight.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a baking sheet. Place tempeh slices on sheet in a single layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping once. Spoon extra marinade over tempeh a few times during baking.

Hot Sauce Grilled Tempeh
This tempeh is excellent served with sauteed greens and mashed sweet potatoes. Use a cast iron grill for best results indoors.

  • 8 oz tempeh, in slabs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup Louisiana hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, if you like a little extra heat)


Here’s what you do
:
Mix together ingredients and marinate tempeh for at least an hour or up to overnight.

Preheat a greased grill pan over medium-high heat. To grease it, brush lightly with olive oil or if you have a spray bottle of olive oil, that works, too.

Grill each side for 5 minutes, until dark grill marks appear. When the second side is almost done, spoon some of the marinade over the tempeh and let cook for 30 more seconds.

Sauteed Tempeh With Chard
I’m kind of cheating here because when I serve this for dinner I call it “sauteed,” but when I serve it for brunch I call it “scrambled.” Either way, it’s wonderful paired with roasted butternut squash. For this recipe, cubed tempeh is perfect.

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 16 oz tempeh, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red onion, thinly sliced (about 1/2 a cup)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme, or 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh black pepper
  • 4 large leaves Swiss chard, or any leafy green, torn into pieces

Here’s what you do:
Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan (preferably cast iron) over medium heat. Saute in 2 tablespoons olive oil for about 7 minutes, stirring often, until lightly browned. Add red bell pepper, and red onion and drizzle in remaining tablespoon of oil. Saute for about 5 minutes, veggies should be softened but still have a bit of crunch.

Add garlic and thyme, saute for two minutes more. Season with salt and pepper. Add swiss chard and saute just until wilted. Serve immediately.

Tempeh Sausage Crumbles
These are perfect for topping pizza or serving over pasta. No need to steam the tempeh for this recipe.

  • 8 oz tempeh
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried margoram or oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Here’s what you do:
In a saute pan, crumble the tempeh and add enough water to almost cover it. Over high heat, steam the tempeh until most of the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Drain the remaining water, add the rest of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.

Tempeh Bacon
Tempeh bacon is great alongside scrambled tofu and home fries, served over a salad or make a TLT with some vegan mayo – Veganaise grapeseed mayo is a favorite. Use tempeh strips for this.

8 oz tempeh
Marinade:

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • To cook: 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Here’s what you do:
In a wide shallow bowl, mix together all the marinade ingredients. Add the tempeh slices and marinade for about an hour.

Preheat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Pan fry the tempeh in oil for about 7 to 10 minutes, flipping occasionally and adding more marinade as you cook. Tempeh is done when it is browned and crispy to your liking.

Pesto, hold the Parm…

Pesto.  No cheese.  Just make it.  So good and simple, saying anymore would spoil the beauty.

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 C washed, loosely packed stemmed fresh herbs- basil, cilantro, parsley, mint
  • 1 C shelled, roasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • 6-7 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good tasting extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Big pinch of red pepper flakes
Instructions:Combine the fresh herbs, nuts, red pepper flakes and garlic in a food processor and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal.Slowly add extra virgin olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off. Process until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Add enough olive oil to keep it moist and spreadable.

Season with sea salt, to taste.

Immediately use over fresh pasta or on toast.  I put the leftovers in ice cube trays top with a drizzle of olive oil and cover with plastic wrap.  When they are frozen, pop them out and wrap them securely with plastic wrap by the one cube and then toss all the cubes into a plastic freezer bag and you have summer pesto in the winter months.

Inspired by : glutenfreegoddess.com

Quick Pickled Peppers

Even Peter Piper couldn’t pickle a pepper faster than these babies turn out.  I had a few jalapenos leftover from making jalapeno jelly, so I put them to work in a bath of pickling spices.  I can’t wait to try these on a BBQ pizza, nachos or in chili.

  • 1 + 1/4 C water
  • 1 + 1/4 C distilled white vinegar
  • 3 T white sugar
  • 3 T kosher salt, this is NOT the same as iodized or table salt
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 3 tsp dried epazote
  • 3 tsp dried cumin seeds, crushed a little
  • 10 large jalapeno peppers, sliced into rings
  • 2 large red bell peppers, sliced into strips

Directions

  1. Combine water, vinegar, sugar, kosher salt, garlic, epazote, cumin seeds, and oregano in a saucepan over high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, stir in jalapeno and red peppers then remove from heat. Let mixture cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Pack peppers into jars using tongs, cover with vinegar mixture, cover, and refrigerate until needed – should keep for up to 6 months.

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This recipe for me yielded 5 (12-oz) jelly jars full of peppers and pickling juice and 2 (12-oz) jars of extra juice that I dropped some baby carrots into for an experiment.

Adapted from Chef John

Vegan Black Bean Brownies

These vegan brownies are gluten free, vegan and totally delicious. They taste like any other brownie you may have met, except have a more complex and deep taste associated with the chocolate, almost a savory sweet.  They are also not dry, which is more than I can say for most other brownies I’ve experienced of the non-veg variety.  This is another one of those recipes that you may as well just double and bake off another batch for the masses.  They freeze well and keep in the fridge for a long time so you can enjoy them longer.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 of a 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 flax egg (1 T flaxseed meal + 2.5 T water)
  • 1 T coconut oil (or other oil)
  • scant 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • dash salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/2 t baking powder
  • heaping 1/2 t finely ground espresso powder or instant coffee granules
  • 1/4 c semisweet chocolate chips (dairy free for vegan)*

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 6 muffin tins. Prepare flax egg by combining flax and water in small bowl and letting it rest for 3-5 minutes. Combine black beans through instant coffee in a food processor (sift in sugar if clumpy) and puree. Then stir in chocolate chips. Pour batter into muffin tins and smooth the tops with a spoon. Bake for 17 minutes or until tops are dry and starting to pull away from the sides. Let cool for 30 minutes before removing from pan (I baked mine in cupcake papers so I didn’t have to mess with clean up and I baked another batch in mini cupcake tin form).

*PETA happens to have a very good/searchable data base on their website for vegan products to sub for regular products.  I understand they are polarizing but they also have the mad money to make tools that are incredible for people searching for animal safe items.  Despite the fact that they sell half shirts still (thanks Pamela Anderson), I really like the info they have available on their site.  If you just can’t bring yourself to check out the tools, typically you can find Ghiradelli Chips at the grocery store which are accidentally vegan.

Recipe courtesy:  Dana Schultz

Vegan Crunch Bars

Go ahead and double this.  Save yourself the re-make dirty dishes you will have to wash when you eat the first batch and need to whip up a second batch.

  • 1/4 cup rice crispies (brown or white, or gf)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
  • Sweetener to taste-I used 1 1/2 T Agave (options include: pure maple syrup, NuNaturals alcohol-free vanilla stevia drops, or agave. I haven’t tried granulated sugar or powdered stevia in this recipe.)
  • tiny dash salt (makes the flavor pop)

Combine coconut oil and sweetener. Stir, then add cocoa powder and rice crispies (If needed, add 3 tbsp water or milk of choice, only if using stevia.). Stir until it gets thick. Pour into any flat container (or candy molds, or smush between layers of wax paper or in ziploc bags). Freeze until solid, and store in the freezer.

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recipe courtesy of:  http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

Fried Rice

I typically make grains on the weekend to avoid the time it takes to prep them during the week.  There is nothing worse than a 30 minute meal, that takes an hour and a half because you need to account for the brown rice to cook.  I have gotten in the habit of planning out a week of meals at a time because as you have probably noticed about me by now, I hate the friggin’ grocery store.  So I shop once a week, get my CSA’s two times a week and that generally allows me to be pretty prepared for all lunches and dinners for the week.
Now sometimes, those made-ahead grains get lost in the back of the fridge.  When that happens there is no better time to use up the rest of your CSA, freezer stuff, and pre-made brown rice, than in fried rice.
Ingredients
  • 3 C cooked brown rice (day old or leftover rice works best!)
  • 3 T sesame oil
  • 1/2 C shelled fresh or frozen peas
  • 1/3 C frozen shelled edemame
  • 1 C shredded carrot
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten (omit if vegan)
  • 1/4 C Tamari (to keep it gluten free; okay to use soy or Bragg’s Aminos if you are not concerned about gluten)
  • 1 bag Quorn strips (if vegan omit)
  • 1 handful roasted, salted peanuts
On medium high heat, heat the oil in a large skillet or wok.  Add the peas, carrots, edemame, onion, Quorn*, and garlic. Stir fry until tender. Lower the heat to medium low and push the mixture off to one side, then pour your eggs on the other side of skillet and stir fry until scrambled*. Add the rice and soy sauce and blend all together well. Stir fry until thoroughly heated.
*To keep this recipe vegan, omit the egg and the Quorn of course.
Recipe adapted from Life as a Lofthouse

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Bitchin’ Pantry Raid Granola

My friend Julie and I are addicted to granola.  Too bad all the store brands are made with crap.  I set off to create a better-for-us-granola.  I concocted this from the combo of several other granola recipes before me, the result was delish.  Now that I have the hang of it…I have lots of flavor combos in mind.  Stay tuned.

Ingredients:

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Now prepare yourself…this next part is very complicated…combine all items in a bowl and stir.

Pour out granola onto a baking sheet with sides and bake for about an hour, stirring every 10 minutes, checking that the granola is crisping, not burning.  Remove, let cool totally and enjoy.

This recipe makes 3 1/2 C of granola with each 1/2 C serving costing you 337 well-worth-it calories.

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Gluten-Free Banana Oat Pancakes

I’ve been on a banana kick lately.  Here is the latest feel good pancake recipe in my recipe box.  Don’t be put off by the make your own oat flour portion, you just whirl it around in your food processor or blender for a second and voila’ you have flour.
Ingredients
  • 3 small bananas (9.5 ounces), mashed
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (about 1 small lemon, juiced)
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
  • 2 eggs**
  • 1 cup oat flour (1 cup oats processed in your food processor for about a minute-be sure these are GF oats. I suggest Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1/2 cup whole oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, stir together the mashed bananas, coconut oil, lemon juice and maple syrup.
  2. Beat in the eggs. If your coconut oil goes back to its solid state like mine did at this point, just warm the mixture for short 30 second bursts in the microwave, stirring between each, until it is melted again.
  3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the oat flour, whole oats, baking soda, salt and spices.
  4. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. With a big spoon, stir just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened. Do not overmix or you’ll run the risk of getting tough pancakes!
  5. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes. The book notes that you may want to thin out the batter a bit with a touch of milk or water, I did not.
  6. Heat a heavy cast iron skillet (or nonstick griddle) over medium-low heat. If necessary, lightly oil the surface with vegetable oil or cooking spray.
  7. Once the surface of the pan is hot enough that a drop of water sizzles on it, pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the pan. Let the pancake cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cake.
  8. When the pan is just beginning to set, flip it with a spatula and cook for another 90 seconds or so, until golden brown on both sides. You may need to adjust the heat up or down at this point.
  9. Serve the pancakes immediately, topped with cut up bananas and shredded/toasted coconut, or keep warm in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven until ready to serve.
**To make Vegan, substitute your fave egg replacer such as flax in for the eggs.

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Adapted from Cookie + Kate

Garlic, Chickpeas, Broccoli and Politics

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Previously, the only thing that George HW Bush and I had in common was our dislike of broccoli.  I’m proud to say that after eating this dish from Appetite for Reduction, I can distance myself a little  more from HW, with only a slight dislike of broccoli and have narrowed it down to  when it is 1) overdone or 2) raw.  I love broccoli in this dish.

Warning, this is one ugly dish.  I mean, there isn’t a food blog around that would claim this dish a beauty.  So maybe not on the top 5 of dishes to serve when say the Queen is coming to dinner, but certainly a fail-safe dish for a busy week day dinner.  After you roast this off the possibilities are endless, it would make a great soup with some veg broth added, perhaps toss it on a piece of naan for a sandwich, over rice, lentils, quinoa, etc.  Or do as I do and just eat it off the baking sheet as you don’t want to dirty another dish.  I won’t judge you.

  • 1 lb broccoli, cut into large spears and stems chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (around 9-10 cups) – I really hate the spears, so I used just florettes out of a bag, 2 bags worth.
  • 10+ cloves garlic, peeled and smashed-use what you want.  I’ve done up to 20 and an no worse for the wear.
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (or a 19-oz can, rinsed and drained)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp lemon zest (zest from 1 lemon) reserve the juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano or 3 tsp fresh
  • 1 cup vegetable broth

Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the broccoli, garlic and chickpeas in a 9×13 inch baking pan. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, chili flakes, lemon zest, oregano and black pepper to taste. Toss to coat and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes, flipping once.

After 30 minutes, mix broccoli and chickpeas again and add broth, deglazing any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue to bake another 15 minutes until the garlic is tender and the broccoli is browned in some places.

I finished this dish with the lemon juice from the zested lemon, and baked for another 5-10 minutes until it was absorbed.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction

Leftovers Pita with Hummus

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I’m rather impressed with myself right now.  I made that delicious quinoa bowl  and had lots of leftovers, so I engineered this dinner the very next night, followed by another quick dinner the night after that, stretching the sauces out over three days AND more importantly using them up, instead of wasting them (which in cooking for 2 people I’m prone to do).

This leftovers pita with hummus, takes the Tahini sauce from the quinoa bowl, and whirls it around in a food processor with 1 cup of cooked chickpeas to fatten it up a bit-making hummus.  I added just a pinch of salt and had a spread to use with the leftover bowl materials (kale, red onion, chickpeas) and pan fried some tofu in sesame oil to add a little more substance.  Served it on a whole wheat pita that I just warmed in the oven while I fried up the tofu.

Gluten Free Vegan Banana Oat Cake

I work in a diet-diverse office, mostly omnivores; however, I have one gluten free coworker, a dairy free coworker, a vegan coworker and me, a vegetarian dabbling in the world of veganism.  Every now and again, I find a recipe on  a blog or try to veganize something and can usually hit on most of the dietary restrictions, but this cake hits on ALL!  Even the lady that hates peanut butter, liked this cake, just omitted the “frosting”.  This recipe credit belongs to Oh, She Glows.  Visit her blog for a smattering of vegetarian and vegan deliciousness.

Cake:

  • 2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free regular oats, processed into a flour (locally these are available at Harvest Health & Horrocks perhaps even Meijer)
  • 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free regular oats (not processed)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed firmly
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8th tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/16th tsp ground cloves (optional)
  • 1/16th tsp ground ginger (optional)
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar (or regular white)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted (or other light tasting oil)
  • 2 medium very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup applesauce (I used sweetened and backed down the white sugar above)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Fold in: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips; 1/4 cup walnuts (optional), chopped; 1 ripe banana, cut into chunk

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a 8 inch (4 cup) casserole dish or 8” cake pan. Take 2 cups of regular oats and process them in a food processor until flour like in consistency.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (processed oats, regular oats, sugars, spices, baking powder, and salt).

In another bowl, mix together the oil, applesauce, almond milk, and vanilla. Add in the two peeled bananas and smash into the wet ingredients until smooth.

Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until just combined. Now fold in the chips, optional walnuts, and the chopped banana.

Spread into prepared pan and bake for 36 minutes at 350F or until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake must be cooled for at least 15-20 minutes before attempting to remove.

Once fully cooled, slice and top with PB Banana Glaze. Store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  I found that this also freezes beautifully.

Frosting:

  • 1 ripe banana (but not too ripe, you still want it solid!)
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter (I used Koeze’s crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of kosher salt, to taste

Mash banana in a bowl until smooth. Add in peanut butter and mash until combined. Sift in the salt and icing sugar and stir until fully combined. Makes about 2/3 cup glaze. Store in fridge in a sealed contained for 1-2 days.

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Simple Solution – Veg Broth

It has been a busy few weeks at the nonprofit I work for, so mostly dinner has been take out or warming up stuff out of the freezer, and plenty of veggie burgers (on buns, on tortillas, on naan), not a ton of creativity going on in the kitchen.  With that in mind, my CSA share and Doorganics delivery look limp and sad, but not rotting in my fridge, I decided to get ahead of the game and make veg broth to store in my freezer for the upcoming soup season.  Making your own veg broth is cheap, and a good way to use up items that are unsavory for cooking at face value but are still wonderful for a broth base.  During the summer, I keep a freezer bag full of items that would make good broth like the stems of mushrooms, the tops of radishes, celery greens, washed carrot peels, the ends of onions, parsley and the like then when I get a few extra seconds, I dump it in a soup pot cover it with water, add whatever fresh herbs I have in the fridge if any, and let it boil away.  I store it in 2-cup measures in freezer bags marked with the date and freeze flat, that way whenever I need a quick base for soup, I have a lightly flavored, sodium free, cheap alternative to store-bought broth.   Since the consistency of the veggies doesn’t make a difference in the taste of the broth, the freezer step doesn’t hurt, I promise.

My current batch of broth has in it:

  • celery greens
  • celery
  • portobella mushroom stems (trimmed and washed)
  • red bell pepper (seeds and all)
  • carrot shavings (cleaned)
  • turnips, quartered
  • onion ends & parts
  • garlic cloves
  • peppercorns
  • rosemary
  • thyme

Put all the items into a soup pot, cover with water and let it simmer away for an hour or so.  Remove from heat, let cool for hours and hours, then pour into labeled freezer bags (label them before you pour into them) and freeze flat. Remember this will not have salt added as is, so when you add to soups be sure to season well.

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Pectin Free Blueberry Jam

Short and sweet.  This was a small batch I used to experiment with the ratio of sugar to Berries.  I think I can still make it with less sugar.  I’ll let you know what happens with a less sugary recipe later in the month.

If you have excess blueberries, save summer by making Blueberry Jam.

  • 4 C Blueberries, mashed
  • 2 C sugar, white
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced

In a dutch oven over medium heat, cook mashed berries until they boil add sugar, boil while stirring until sugar dissolves, then turn heat down to low and simmer mixture for up to 60 minutes, stirring every few minutes until it reaches your desired jam thickness.  Once you hit the thickness you desire, for me this was 40 minutes, add the juice of 1 lemon and its zest, turn up to medium, bring back to a boil and then shut off heat.

Remove from heat, pour into canning jars and either freeze or if you have done the boiling canning method, seal and keep at room temp.

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Veganized BerryCakes

I just finished watching the most disgusting video (I didn’t embed it it’s so violent) regarding the treatment of pigs and piglets on a large factory farm in Pennsylvania, seriously don’t watch it if you aren’t ready to make a lifestyle change.  Suddenly I don’t miss bacon anymore.  Which then made me again question why it is I’m NOT vegan.  All I can come back to is cheese, which is lame because I can find a sub for that.

Today I decided it’s time to embrace faux cheese and gradually veganize my kitchen, and make a bigger attempt at exempting animal products one at a time.  Recently I stopped in at Saffrons-A Gluten Free Marketplace which is a local (to West Michigan) place and to my surprise ended up speaking with the owner for a while.  In addition to the ENTIRE store being Gluten Free, he has a delightful array of vegan food products.  I bought some Daiya which I’ve had before and liked as far as faux cheese goes; I also got some coconut milk, coconut milk ice cream (which frankly tastes better than regular ice cream to me), quinoa pasta, “chicken less” vegan cubes of lower sodium bouillon for soups (it’s not soup season but it’s hard to find this stuff in the winter), an egg replacement (to see how it tastes) and Vegenaise.  The owner and I had a conversation about the varying Vegenaise types (he carries the hard-to-find Soy Free variety ), I settled on the reduced fat variety.  He mentioned how excited he was to attend a food show recently, and had the opportunity to sample a new Follow Your Heart product:  block cheese.  We talked fake cheese for a while and I mentioned he should carry Teese, from Chicago Soy Dairy our neighbors to the West, it’s amazing and used widely in even the most traditional deep dish pizza joints to help their vegan customers stay loyal.  He noted the name brand and said he’d try to get some in soon.  Talk about a delightful shopping experience.  Not only did I get to meet the OWNER, but he is going to look into one of my suggestions for a product to carry in his store?  Nice.

So what’s the point Adrienne?  Oh, yes…the point is today, I veganized my pancake recipe using coconut milk, earth balance, and ground flax seeds in place of cow milk, butter and eggs, and here it is for your animal-cruelty free enjoyment.

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Vegan Pancake Batter

  • 1 1/2 C all-purpose whole grain flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 T sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 1/4 C reduced calorie coconut milk
  • 1T ground flax seed and 2T hot water, mixed together and let set for about a minute or longer
  • 3 T melted Earth Balance spread
Whisk together the dry ingredients, make a well for the wet ones, and then incorporate them all to make a batter.  Pour by 1/4 C onto a griddle you have preheated to 350-365 degrees.  Flip when the pancakes rise and bubble let cook for about a minute more and then serve.
If you want to add fruit to your pancakes like I have done in the photo.  After you pour the batter onto the hot pan, wait until it rises slightly to put a handful of fresh but dry (not DRIED, just not wet) fruit onto the cake.  I have found this helps them cook through better than adding right after you drop the batter.  Keeps them looking like pancakes and less like sloppy pancakes.

Replace Gluten AND Eggs? It’s Worth A Try.

Warning:  I’m not a *real* chef, AND I got a C+ in organic chemistry, B+ in inorganic chemistry.  Proceed with caution.

Excess zucchini means science experiment time!  I have lots of vegan friends and recently a handful of gluten free friends, so I decided to see if I could please both of them with a summertime staple:  zucchini bread.

First, the research for a gluten free bread recipe was pretty easy, but…wait Xanthan Gum?  What is that?  I had an idea of what that did in gluten free baking but no idea where it came from or where even to get such a thing, certainly I wasn’t going out for it.  Thanks to Wikipedia I again know way more about an ingredient than I care to, thus, had to find a replacement which WAS NOT a chemical.  It dawned on me that flax basically can be used as a sub for anything….so why not as a sub for xanthan gum.  Turns out, lots of people think xanthan gum is icky like I do, and use flax as a sub, teaspoon for teaspoon.  Now…in my vegan banana bread recipe, I also subbed flax and water for eggs, decided to try that in this one too.  Science experiment complete.  I crossed my fingers hoping it would taste okay and had SUPER results!

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This bread came to work with me to our staff meeting and noshers said it was super moist, and slightly spicy.  I particularly appreciated the crispy exterior and the chewy interior.  Bonus is that it didn’t need a spread of any kind, it stands on its own two feet.

This recipe makes one loaf.

  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups freshly shredded zucchini
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs (or to Veganize it: 1T flax seed ground with 3 T hot water)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla (check this, some have gluten in them-gross)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ½ cups GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill chickpea and fava bean)
  • 1 teaspoon flax sprinkles for each cup of flour
  • up to 13 teaspoons hot water (I know this sounds random, but it depends on the type of gluten free flour you use how much water you will need)

Shred the zucchini, allow it to rest on paper towel to reduce moisture and chop the walnuts in a food processor or by smashing them in a plastic bag and set them aside.

Use a mixer to beat the flax/water mixture and add the sugar, oil and vanilla. Add the baking soda, cinnamon, salt and baking powder. Slowly pour in the flour and flax sprinkles (dry) until well mixed. Now if you have made bread before, you will know that the end consistency is not thick like cookie dough, but rather, thicker than cake batter, so to get from cookie dough to almost cake batter, slowly add hot water 1 teaspoon at a time until you have a workable quick bread viscosity.  For me, that took 13 teaspoons.

Last, by hand, mix in the zucchini and walnuts. Pour in greased & floured loaf pan and bake at 350F degrees for 55-75 minutes. Let cool.

DIY Sushi

Mr. Wonderful and I are crazy about sushi, you can typically find us at either XO on a Tuesday night (half off), or Tokyo Grill on a Friday night (best selection in town, plus crack ginger dressing for salad).  We are sushi-at-home amateurs, but that doesn’t stop us from trying to do this every now and again.  The end results taste a lot better than they look.

Here is a top secret recipe from the waitress from XO:

Spicy Dynamite Mayo

Japanese mayo differs from regular mayo in that it’s made with rice wine vinegar.  You can just as easily use regular or low fat mayo here but I wouldn’t mess with fat free.  Get serious.  You are basically eating negative cals with sushi, so do it up with a delish sauce.

Mix together the above ingredients.  Serve with rolls, on rolls, inside the rolls…basically you might consider this for a mask at some point too.  It’s pretty delicious.

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Red Thai Tofu with Sesame Rice Noodles

I love it when I can grab a bunch of stuff out of my fridge and create a great recipe.  Turns out Isa Chandra Moskowicz and I obviously share an icebox.  I got into Isa’s cookbooks only recently as I am not Vegan, only Vegan-ish.  I’m considered Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, so it was just a bit ago that I discovered that her TV show Post Punk Kitchen is now available on Google Video.  As a side note, I’m happy to say that this Oprah mainstream stuff did not inspire me to go Veg or Vegan for that matter and I don’t rely on a personal chef to cook my meals for me.  Hell, if I have a personal chef, of course I’d be Vegan!!!!!  I’d also have a personal trainer, a car service, a magical camera to make me look skinny from all angles, the list goes on, and on.  However, I don’t live on Fantasy Island and I certainly do not have humpback whales to give each of you just for reading this blog, nor do I plan to build a school in Africa or buy a TV channel.  Sorry guys, I can see me slipping from your good graces one-by-one.  I want to be able to thank Oprah for the Vegan push, but I feel like she probably just bought the Teese Vegan Cheese Company (yeah, they are in Chicago) and wants to increase sales or something.  I know.  Glass half full as usual.

At any rate, back to Isa, goddess of Vegan cooking.  Here is what I most recently made as inspired by her highness:  Red Thai Tofu from her newest and greatest Appetite for Reduction.

Red Thai Tofu with Sesame Rice Noodles

I used Tamari in place of soy sauce in this recipe to make it Gluten Free

  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into triangle pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 C sliced shallots (which is a TON of those little buggers)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbs Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 C warm water
  • 2 Tbs Tamari (or soy sauce)
  • 1 Tbs light agave nectar (or maple syrup, or honey would be fine too)
  • 15 leaves fresh Thai basil
  • 1/4 C roasted salted cashews, chopped

Preheat a cast iron grill pan (or any heavy non-stick skillet) over medium heat.  Add the tofu and cook for about 10 minutes, careful not to burn, just brown both sides.  Take care while flipping the tofu in cast iron not to tear it, use a thin spatula, metal works better than plastic here.  About half way through, drizzle with 2 tsp of the tamari and turn to coat.

Remove tofu, set aside and saute’ the red pepper, shallots, garlic, and ginger in the oil that is left, careful not to burn the garlic.  Cook until translucent.  Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the curry past, water, tamari, and agave.  Add tofu back to pan with the curry mix and cook for another 5 minutes or until the sauce is thick.  Add Thai basil, toss one last time and serve.

Okay, so when I was looking at this finished dish, it needed a bed of something.  Serve this on greens, or any grain you like, it goes well with everything.  I grabbed some leftover stick rice noodles, cooked them in hot water per the package instructions, then drained them and tossed with 2 tsp of roasted sesame oil-this made a delish bed for the tofu.

Lastly, there were two other things I was going to toss on top of this delicious mess, fresh bean sprouts and a bit of chopped red onion, but I of course forgot them as I was so excited to eat 🙂

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