Category Archives: Less is more

Wanted: Vegan Sandwiches

In a recent poll of the Wonderful residence…we miss sandwiches. Two recipes to fix that situation follow for bread spreads. These taste equally as good on crackers or straight from the bowl around midnight. I mean if you say had a hunger pang in the night.

From Happy Herbivore (pictured):

“Tuna Salad”

  • 15 oz chickpeas (canned or from dry) rinsed and drained
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and diced
  • 1 – 2 T pickle relish or sliced pickles
  • 1 tsp onion flakes or powder
  • 2 T nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 T low sodium soy sauce or Tamari
  • 3 T vegan mayo (I used half and still had great consistency)
  • 1/2 tsp kelp powder (this is the “fishy” salty flavoring)
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice 
  • pepper and salt to taste

I deviated  a little from the original instructions provided as I like a specific texture of spread. Mash chickpeas in a large mixing bowl OR pulse 3-4 times in a food processor-do not puree, or make hummus instead, you can’t really go wrong here I guess. Dice celery into bite sized pieces. Chop up pickles into small dice too. Add all ingredients to the large bowl, stir, stir, stir. Add more mayo or kelp as needed to taste.

IMG_7306 IMG_7304 IMG_7305 IMG_7302 IMG_7297 IMG_7303 IMG_7300 IMG_7301 IMG_7299 IMG_7298

“Tuna” Salad

Courtesy of Jon Dunn at VeganGR:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 2-3 T Vegenaise
  • 1-2 T sweet pickle relish or pickle chopped
  • salt pepper to taste
  • 1/2 t dulse or kelp granules or other “fishy” seasoning (optional)

Send chickpeas through a couple of pulses in food processor (can be done by hand by the less lazy). Mix blended peas with the Vegenaise, sweet pickle and seasonings. EAT ON ANYTHING.

**note – all of the following ingredients are really to personal taste. Some people like green onion, mustard, or all sorts of other stuff in their tuna salad. Basically, you’re following whatever recipe you would with tuna, but using chickpeas instead.

Roasted Veg Mini Pizzas

Shocked that I might be full after just half of this serving size. I continued to eat of course until I was stuffed of this goodness. Another yummy Happy Herbivore meal plan recipe that will now be a weekly staple at the Wonderful residence: Roasted Veg Mini Pizzas (serves 1)

  • 2 whole-wheat Pita Pockets
  • 1/2 C marinara sauce
  • 1 C zucchini
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 3 1/2 T nutritional yeast or vegan parm
  • sliced black olives (optional)

Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce over the top of each pita. Not too much or you will just have soggy bread, icky. Top with squash, tomato and onion. Bake in 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes (check at 5) until everything is warmed and browning slightly. I placed my pitas directly on the oven rack to get a crispy “crust.” Sprinkle with olives, nutritional yeast, or vegan parm (shown in photos). Don’t forget the Frank’s Red Hot!

IMG_7310 IMG_7311 IMG_7308 IMG_7309 IMG_7307

418 calories for 2 pita pizzas, 4.8g fat, 77g carbs, 24g fiber, 20g sugars, 30g protein.

Chana Palak Masala – Easy for YOU to say!

I talked about the Happy Herbivore meal plans a few weeks ago in a post and I will again sing the praises that just $19.00 a month can bring you a little more peace into a crazed life by just telling you what to do and when to do it. I often like it when there is ONE area of life I don’t have to make yet another decision during they day and Lindsay Nixon is my beacon of hope in that regard.

Sometimes I look at a recipe in the meal plan and think, how in the world will that taste good? Fortunately I’m kinda brave and will mostly eat anything, this recipe surprised me at 1) how few calories it has, 2) how filling it is, 3) it really is delicious and 4) you can eat take-out like food at home in under 30 minutes.

Enough of my blabbering, here’s the recipe (2 servings):

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 12 oz peeled whole or diced tomatoes (canned)
  • 15 oz chickpeas (canned), drained and rinsed
  • 10 oz frozen baby spinach (fresh okay too)
  • 1 C low sodium veg broth or water
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp mild curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger (or double it with fresh)
  • dash of red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (optional, but use it…it makes it better)
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Make magic:

In a large pot, saute’ onions and garlic with a few tablespoons of water, instead of oil. Once the onion is translucent, add spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes with juices and broth. Cover and cook over medium until the spinach cooks down [I used frozen and didn’t drain and it came out fine]. Uncover and break up tomato bits. Add all spices except garam masala, add lemon juice at this point. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Add 1/2 garam masala and cook for 2 more minutes more. Taste, adding additional garam masala if desired plus salt and pepper if needed. Turn heat off and allow to sit for 5 or so minutes. The dish will thicken as it stands. Start to finish, this took me about 30 minutes. I served about 1/4 of this recipe over brown rice.

Per serving: 283 calories, 58g carbs, 3g fat, 10g fiber, 7g sugar, 12g protein

IMG_7312 IMG_7314 IMG_7313

Butternut Black Bean Tacos

I could eat tacos every. single. day. Honestly.

Tacos as we know them in the Wonderful residence, typically are born from whatever is leftover in the fridge, or what can be tossed together before it goes bad in the fridge. I had a few onions that were about to sprout and take over the cupboard, so I used those for the base of these tacos. PS: anything on a tortilla tastes good. Knock yourself out in your own kitchen.

  • 2 C butternut squash mash (pulled from freezer) – okay to use from freezer section at store-cubed is fine too; heck use sweet potatoes if you want
  • 2 C black beans, cooked (pulled from freezer) – okay to use canned
  • 2 large yellow sweet onions
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp powdered garlic
  • 1 tsp powdered cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • corn or flour tortillas, your choice
  • topping [obviously pickled jalapenos, arugula, salsa, and taco sauce]

Saute onions in olive oil until transparent or bronzed. Add smashed or cubed butternut squash and black beans to this mix along with all spices. Warm through. Serve on a tortilla.

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.

Vegan Baked Oatmeal

I’m on a little oatmeal kick recently…well, at Costco I bought about a zillion RAW oatmeal packets that come together in a jiffy and have quinoa, chia, flax, oats and great taste without all the sugar that Quaker has.  I came across this idea from a friend’s Facebook page today while procrastinating.  I made it and LOVE it.  If you are a non-oats person because of the texture of hot or cold oatmeal, this will cure you of your oat-phobia (yes, of course that is a technical term).  A quick, warm breakfast on a cold day is possible.  Try it for Christmas morning so you can dedicate time to your gifts and not the prep of your breakfast.  With this in your belly in the AM, it’s basically permission to eat cookies for the other two meals of the day.  Cheers!

Baked Oatmeal

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond or coconut milk (any nondairy milk should work here, I used unsweetened nonflavored almond)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (any nut will work)
  • 1/2 cup dried Michigan cherries (or other dried fruit of your choice)
  • 1 large un-peeled Honey Crisp apple, grated (apple should be firm)
  • 2 TBSP pure maple syrup (you choose, but use natural, not a syrup made with artificial sweeteners-Agave is a good sub here)
  • Cooking Spray

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Coat a 3 quart (large) casserole dish or baking pan with cooking spray
3. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl
4. Place mixture in the casserole dish
5. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes

Feel free to toss Chia or Flax in there too…a little sprinkle won’t hurt.

*Makes 6 1-cup servings (divide other servings into small containers for a quick grab-n-go breakfast next week for work!!!)

Sriracha Tofu

Tofu glazed srirachaBorn from boredom as most delicious things are.

Are you ready for the recipe?

Smoking hot pan. Canola and sesame oil splashes. Drop cubed and pressed tofu into pan. Brown on all sides. Toss in one turn of mirin cook till evaporates. Toss in two turns of tamari and one inch of chopped ginger. Cook till tamari evaporates. Add as much Sriracha as you can tolerate cook one more minute and remove from heat.

This photo has wilted kale underneath that was just kale and about a teaspoon of evoo cooked together till wilted-toss in some garlic if you are feelin’ feisty.

Vegan Pancakes

I’ve tried many recipes for vegan pancakes, all have left me feeling full, but had a texture that was flat, and dense-unpleasurable.  Apparently Isa had the same problem.  So, puffy pillow pancakes were born.  So far, I can’t argue with this recipe.  It’s everything a vegan pancake should be…including normal.

  • 1 1/2 C all purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 C almond milk (or soy milk)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 C water
  • 2 1/2 T canola oil
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center.

Measure the milk into a measuring cup. Add vinegar and ground flax seeds, and use a fork to vigorously mix the ingredients until foamy. This will take a minute or so.

Pour the milk mixture into the center of the dry ingredients. Add the water, canola oil and vanilla and use a fork to mix until a thick, lumpy batter forms. That should take about a minute. It doesn’t need to be smooth, just make sure you get all the ingredients incorporated.

Preheat the pan over medium-low heat and let the batter rest for 10 minutes.

Lightly coat the pan in oil. Add 1/3 cup of batter for each pancake, and cook for about 4 minutes, until puffy. Flip the pancakes, adding a new coat of oil to the pan, and cook for another 3 minutes or so. Pancake should be about an inch thick, and golden brown.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Adapted from PPK

Maple Mustard Vinaigrette

A Thanksgiving miracle…two blog posts in one week.  I dare you not to put this on everything at your Thanksgiving meal.

Pretty great dressing or dip.  Pretty good FOR you too.

Enjoy.

In a food processor or blender, blend the following until pureed:

  • 2/3 C. maple syrup
  • 1/3 C. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. coarse mustard
  • 1/2 Tsp. salt
  • 1 Tsp pepper
  • Slowly add 1 C. extra virgin olive oil.

I served mine over just about everything from quinoa and chickpea bowls, to brussels sprouts to a salad of roasted squash, onions, apples and pears (shown).  Try it out at Thanksgiving dinner.

Courtesy of Jen & Company, a food and fitness blog.

Butternut Coconut Rice

Good use of leftovers here.  Had brown rice, marinated tofu, and roasted butternut squash in the freezer, so just had to chop up some ginger, garlic and shallots.  Had this dish on the dinner table in under 20 minutes.  YUM!  This rice dish freezes well after you put it together too-add some more veg broth and coconut milk, maybe a little curry powder and you have soup.  So many possibilities.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c brown basmati rice (I used pink rice)
  • 2 c water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 lbs butternut squash
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 c sliced shallot
  • 1 tbl minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 c light coconut milk
  • 1/4-1/2 c veg broth (I just used water)
  • 1 tbl freshly squeezed lime juice

Directions:

  1. Cook rice (add rice, water and pinch of salt)-I pulled this pre-made from the freezer
  2. Preheat oven to 400, bake squash for about 45 minutes-you could microwave this too if you are in a big hurry
  3. When squash is cool to handle, preheat a large skillet over med-high heat. Sauté shallot in the oil for about 7 minutes. Add ginger, garlic, lime zest, red pepper flakes and salt, saute for 2 minutes, turn heat to low
  4. Scoop the flesh out of the squash into the pan, add the coconut milk. Mash into a creamy consistency. Add rice and stir well. Add 1/4 c veg broth (or water) and mix well. You can add up to another 1/4 c of brother to get a creamier consistency if you want. Add lime juice, salt if needed and enjoy!

Recipe courtesy of Appetite for Reduction, my most used and abused vegan cookbook.  Go get it.

Tamarind Tempeh BBQ with Sweet Potatoes

If you haven’t already been ruined by the appearance of sweet potatoes in just about everything except for your toothpaste, do give this recipe a try.  It’s bbq like all vegans truthfully do miss when no longer eating meat.  Isa delivers another recipe that kicks total ass, it’s all things bbq should be…sticky, tangy and satisfying.  Track down tamarind paste at an ethnic grocery or just stop working do damn hard and order it from Amazon.com already.  It will be on your doorstep in two days which is actually less time then it would take you to drive around until you found it anyway.  Happy lip-smacking.

  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 2 tsp arrowroot dissolved in 1/4 cup of water
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp tamarind concentrate (Indian spice)
  • 3 tbsp of agave or maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 12 oz Tempeh cut into 3/4 inch chunks
  • 1.5 pounds sweet potatoes also cut into 3/4 chunks

Spray a 9X13 inch glass casserole pan with non-stick cooking spray. Avoid glass. In medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together all the sauce ingredients. Make sure the tamarind is dissolved. Place the sweet potatoes and tempeh in the prepared pan. Pour the sauce over them and use your hand to coat well. Let marinade for an hour at least. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cove the pan with foil and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and toss out the foil. Flip the tempeh and sweet potatoes, making sure to scrape the bottom with a spatula in case anything is sticking. Bake for another 30 minutes, flipping everything once. The sweet potato should be tender but not mushy, the sauce should be thickened and coating everything. Serve.

Number of Servings: 4

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

It’s tailgating season that means…Sloppy Joes.  Last year I posted a recipe using TVP which fooled the meat-eaters for sure, this year I’ll be taking Lentil Sloppy Joes.  Very similar recipe, as I finally got the flavor right, so now, moving on to lentils.  These have a bit of a kick to them, so easy on the chipotle en adobo if you like things a little more mild.  I think dijon, brown, or whole grain mustard would be a great sub for the peppers if you want a kick but no heat.  We shall see how this goes.

Filling:

  • 2 C dried lentils, your choice of lentil
  • 6 C water
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 head garlic

So this part cooks itself.  Take your lentils, give them a hearty rinse under cool water until the water runs clear.  Dump them into your slow cooker with the water, bay leaves and head of garlic with top cut off (keep it intact, so you can drag it out later).  Depending on your lentil, your water will absorb completely, or you will have to strain them before combining with other items below.  Either way, you want to cook your lentils until they are al dente (like pasta), not mush.  For me, in a slow cooker cranked up to high, it was just 3 hours.  I cleaned the house while they cooked.  When they are done, drain the excess liquid from the lentils, toss the bay leaves and garlic, then return the lentils to the slow cooker pot, you will finish cooking this dish in the slow cooker after you assemble the items below.   Next…

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1/2 C coarsely chopped onion
  • 1/2 C coarsely chopped bell pepper (your choice of color)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 4-oz can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 C water
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 T packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sriracha
  • 2 whole chipotle en adobo, chopped finely
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 4-6 large hamburger buns or rolls or 10-12 slider buns

Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet (I used a wok) over medium-high heat.  Cook the onion, bell pepper and garlic through until the bell pepper is tender (8-10 minutes).

Stir the remaining sandwich filling ingredients together in a medium bowl.  Add this mix to the cooked and DRAINED lentils in the slow cooker, stir until the mixture is well combined.  Set the slow cooker to high for faster results or low if you have all day and let the mixture thicken.

To serve, spread filling onto a bun and enjoy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sriracha Tofu

I was thinking of a recipe that might be similar in sushi for spicy tuna and this is pretty close.  One night when we were out at Tokyo Grill, I asked the sushi chef what made up the spicy sauce for the tuna and it’s just Sriracha and mayo mixed together.  I bet the texture could be achieved if you cubed the tofu very, very small.  This can be used for make at home sushi or over rice in a bowl, which is a go-to meal for us during the work week with some steamed or stir fried veggies.  This is spicy.  So if you want to dial it down a notch, half the Sriracha or even quarter it depending on your tolerance.  I like this with avocados and kale over brown rice.  It cools it off a little but still tastes tangy.

  • 1 12-oz. pkg. extra-firm tofu, drained and patted dry, cut into ¼-inch cubes
  • 3 T low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 T Sriracha
  • 1 T white wine vinegar (or rice wine vinegar)
  • 1 T mirin
  • 1 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 T vegan mayonnaise

1. Heat nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and add half of tofu cubes. Cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until cubes are golden, stirring occasionally. Transfer tofu to plate, and repeat with remaining tofu.

2. Stir together soy sauce, Sriracha, vinegar, mirin, maple syrup, sesame oil.  Return all tofu to pan, and add soy sauce mixture. Bring to a simmer, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in mayonnaise. Serve warm or chilled.

Adapted from vegetariantimes.com

Seasonal Pesto Pasta

Last week’s vegan (cheeseless) pesto recipe gets a workout here on a hodge-podge salad from seasonal veggies.  A “clean out the fridge” recipe that turned out pretty delish.  This could easily be made vegan or gluten free with the appropriate pasta.

  • 1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 3-4 cubes pesto
  • 2-3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 small zucchini
  • 1 C toasted walnuts
  • 2 C white beans
  • 2 C arugula or other seasonal greens, hand torn
  • 1/2 C packed fresh basil, hand torn
  • 1 pound rotini pasta, cooked al dente
  1. Select a large bowl or rectangle pan for the elements to be assembled.  As the ingredients are finished with their first phase you can just toss them together as you go to avoid destroying the integrity of the veggies by trying to stir or toss together at the end.  The pesto will incorporate easily this way as well.  You do not want a huge bowl of mush at the end.
  2. Tear arugula and basil into pieces and put in the bottom of this large bowl or pan.  The warm ingredients added will wilt this for you saving you a cooking step.
  3. Boil water and cook your choice of pasta noodle, al dente, drain water and toss back into warm pan with pesto cubes, juice and zest of two lemons.  Turn noodles to coat.  Toss into big bowl-this will wilt your greens easily.
  4. Warm a little olive oil (1 tsp or so) in a wok or fry pan, toss in walnuts and toast until slightly browned and super crisp.  Toss into big bowl.
  5. Cut zucchini into little wheels of uniform size.  In the same pan without adding more oil, saute the bite-sized squash pieces for a few minutes, then add the juice and zest of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  Do this over high heat and don’t let your zucchini get soggy.  Remove when it still has a bite to it and toss into the large pan with the other ingredients.
  6. Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Toss into big bowl.
  7. Finally add your two cups of white beans.  Mine usually come from the freezer as I bulk make beans every few weeks, but using canned is cool with me.  If you do so, be sure to rinse them well, to get all the unnecessary ick off them.
  8. Toss all ingredients together and serve.  This makes a TON of salad.  It keeps well in your fridge for up to a week if you don’t let it dry out.  I make sure plastic wrap is touching the leftovers and that seems to keep it fresh, not dry.  If yours becomes dry, refresh with a little bit of olive oil, water or lemon juice before serving.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Raw Tomato Sauce

What to do with a bazillion tomatoes, some fresh basil and a hungry husband? Make dinner.  My first thought was bruschetta!  Then I thought about the naked pasta in the fridge so I warmed up the noodles in some hot water, you know the way Olive Garden does it (start rant-no, they don’t make their own food in the restaurant.  I know I just broke your heart.  It comes to them from some industrial kitchen, off a truck, in large Ziplocks they toss in hot water, warm up then put on a nice plate.  You are so distracted by “neverending salad and sticks” that you don’t notice the food is gross and reheated-end rant).  I served this sauce over top, not to make a statement, but mostly because I was too lazy to put this sauce on simmer at like noon, so what’s the point to heat it up at 7pm?   No point.  I give you raw tomato sauce.

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, about 3 large tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound spaghetti (grab vegan version if you like)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving (omit if vegan)

Preparation:

Option 1-as shown in pictures:
Combine diced tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, red peppers in a bowl, toss to form the sauce.  Serve cold sauce over hot pasta.  Add grated cheese if interested.  Adjust seasonings to your preference.
Option 2:
If desired, peel tomatoes; remove seeds, straining juice into a bowl. Save the juice and discard seeds. In a food processor, combine garlic, tomatoes with juice, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and basil. Pulse quickly to chop roughly. Pulse more for a smoother sauce, if desired. Transfer to a bowl, add salt and pepper and let stand to marinate for about 20 minutes.  Serve over pasta.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Peach Pie

Fruit this summer was super duper expensive in Michigan due to premature 90-degree days in April followed by a super freeze that was experienced which sadly killed most of the premature fruit buds.  Michigan produces 70-75% of US cherries and this year, crop was at a loss of more than 90%.  This of course put a premium on fruit including blueberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples, well you get the idea, Michigan produces a ton of fruit.

While in Hart for a Girls Get-a-Way, I was lucky enough to grab a bag of Starfire peaches and nectarines which cost me a pretty penny, but the sweet treat was WELL worth the premium.  I crammed most of them in my face over the first two days, then let the last of the fruit ripen over the course of the week.  Today, I made a simple peach pie so no peach was left behind.

  • One nine inch pie crust, Pillsbury (accidentally vegan)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 7 cups fresh sliced peaches, 7 or 8 medium peaches
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Put pie crust in nine ince pie plate. Prick crust with a fork to prevent bulles during baking and flute edges.
  3. Mix sugar, flour and cinnamon in large bowl.
  4. Stir in peeled and sliced peaches and lemon juice.
  5. Pour into pie plate. Put foil around edges of pie to prevent burning. Remove the foil during the last 8 minutes of baking.
  6. Bake about 45 minutes or until the filling is bubble and the crust in golden brown.
  7. Let set for 30 minutes before serving.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

Roasted Beet Sandwich on Naan

I love naan.  I love it a little less now that I’ve investigated what it is that I am actually eating.  It’s not exactly health food.  I have been buying these delicious commercial naan bread that I typically see at my deli counter and now they are available at Costco, double whammy.  After I made this sandwich, I started researching recipes online for a healthier, more importantly vegan naan and I came up with a few that I will be trying for my next foray into sandwich-making.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sometimes not eating meat poses problems in the sandwich area-going to a deli can be less than successful most times.  Instead, you have to make up for it in your own kitchen.  Pictured is a toss together sandwich made from Tin Foil Beets and various other items found in the fridge.  These items would also make a great salad with a squeeze of lemon or orange juice for the dressing.  Contents of the sandwich on naan bread are:  smear of hummus, fresh baby spinach, avocado with lemon juice and roasted beets.  I serve this in a pocket sometimes with sprouts, arugula and carrots.  A Mr. Wonderful fave and perfect beach food as they travel well.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Chickpeas, please.

Ever since I began making chickpeas from a dried state, I have been obsessed with them.  I eat them by the handful like they are popcorn.  They’re delicious, nutty, versatile, freezable, and CHEAP (check them out at a Supermercado near you).

Here’s a super quick, frugal recipe to laugh Asian take-out prices right out the door.  It keeps well in the fridge for about a week and tastes AWESOME inside of a flour tortilla too.

Island Chickpeas

Adapted from Happy Herbivore

  • 4 C chickpeas
  • 1 1/2 C teriyaki sauce, use your fave from a bottle or better yet, make it
  • 2 T Szechuan sauce
  • 4 C cooked brown rice
  • 2 bunches Kale
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • lime wedges
  • canned mango salsa
Combine chickpeas, teriyaki sauce, Szechuan sauce in large frying pan or wok.  Allow to marinade for 5 minutes.  Cook over medium heat, stirring regularly, until almost all of the liquid has been absorbed.  Remove from heat.
In  a saute’ pan, heat oil and garlic until sizzling, add the kale.  Saute’ until bright green and just wilted.
To plate, take 1/2 cup of brown rice, top with some kale a scoop of chickpeas and a squeeze of lime.  I also put a dollop of leftover mango salsa on mine.  Delish.
Pictured under the chickpeas is a Boca chicken patty as well.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Not Labor Intensive, Labor Day Chickpea Burgers

I get sick of always eating frozen veg burgers, while they are convenient, sometimes you just need something fresh.  This recipe gives you all the satisfaction of prepping burgers for the grill without the icky hamburger stuck under your nails at the end of the day.  I baked mine in the oven but you could just as easily grill these on a very hot grill…don’t mess with them too much or they will crumble apart.  Served on slider rolls, the kids didn’t miss the moo.  These would freeze nicely as well.

Chickpea Burgs

  • 2 1/2 cups canned garbanzos, drained and rinsed
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • Grated zest of one large lemon
  • 1 cup micro sprouts, chopped (try broccoli, onion, or alfalfa sprouts – optional)
  • 1 cup toasted (whole-grain) bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (or clarified butter)

Combine the garbanzos, eggs, and salt in a food processor. Puree until the mixture is the consistency of a very thick, slightly chunky hummus. Pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the cilantro, onion, zest, and sprouts. Add the breadcrumbs, stir, and let sit for a couple of minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture (this part is CRITICAL to your success). At this point, you should have a wet mixture that you can easily form into twelve 1 1/2-inch-thick patties.  Err on the side of moist here, you can always add more bread crumbs a bit at a time to firm up the dough if need be. Conversely, a bit of water or more egg can be used to moisten the batter.

What Adrienne did:  preheat oven to 375, put burgers onto a lightly greased, foil lined baking sheet, bake until firm turning once during cooking time so as to brown both sides of the burger.  Top with your fave burger accessories.  I ate mine with a squeeze of lemon, sprouts, tomato, and a dollop of ranch dressing.

Heidi Swanson’s directions: heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium low, add 4 patties, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms begin to brown. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes. Flip the patties and cook the second side for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Carefully cut each patty in half, insert your favorite fillings, and enjoy immediately.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Makes 12 mini burgers.

Inspired by 101cookbooks Heidi Swanson

Soggy Baby Cukes Remade Into Crisp Quick Pickles

I’m a pickled veggie snob.  I will spend $12.00 on a jar of pickles.  I will eat one a week so as not to get rid of them too soon, savoring every bite, then I will keep the jar of juice and dump baby carrots into the remaining sea of spices until I drain the jar dry.

Today I noticed some very much neglected pickling cukes in the back of my crisper, not looking so much crisp as sad.  Here is my science experiment and foray into quick pickles.  I hope you like it spicy.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Pickles:

  • 6 baby cucumbers washed and cut into rings
  • 1 habanero pepper cut into 4ths
  • 2 jalapeno peppers cut in half
  • 2 whole cloves garlic smashed
  • Handful kosher salt

Brine:

  • 1 1/2 C white vinegar, cause I’m old school
  • 1 C water
  • 1 1/2 T garlic chopped
  • 5 bay leaves, whole
  • 2 T dried dill, or 4 T fresh dill
  • 1 T black peppercorns
  • 1 T agave nectar
  • 1 T cumin seeds, whole
First, prep the cukes.  Cut into rounds, place in colander, salt generously, let sit for 15-30 minutes.  This should perk up your cukes if they were a little sad like mine.  Place cukes, peppers, and garlic cloves in a couple of jars you have lids for, it could be a jam jar for all I care, just make sure it’s clean.  Since we are not “canning” here, it doesn’t make a difference.
To make the brine, boil for 15 minutes the ingredients listed in brine list.  Remove from heat, pour over veggies in the jars.  Let cool on counter, then pop in the fridge. 
Eat these little guys within the week.

The Gift That Keeps On Givin’

Mr. Wonderful and I have a very, very large raspberry bush.  Since raspberries last for about 10 seconds after you pick them, I picked a few large batches and then cooked like crazy.  The next few posts are all about the Raspberry.  First up, Raspberry Jam.

  • 4 C mashed fresh raspberries
  • 4 C white sugar

No need for pectin here people, finally a use for the seeds!

Use a VERY large pot, like a dutch oven, add to it the mashed raspberries.  Cook over med-high until the jam reaches a full rolling boil.  Boil x 2 minutes.  Add sugar and stir well.  Bring back to a boil, stirring consistently, boil x 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Beat with rotary beater x 4 minutes.  Pour into jars, either sterile and shelve when proper seal has been achieved, or pop into plastic containers and freeze.

*5# of berries is approximately 9 C crushed berries.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.