Category Archives: Quick Cooking

Garlic OCD

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I might judge you if you don’t cut off the little dry nubs at the end of the garlic cloves before using…so you probably should. I’ve always had this hangup, this thing, this annoyance with garlic. When it comes right off the bulb, the little clove has one delightful and beautiful smooth side and then this incredibly gross, haggard, dry, crackled side that makes me hate it. I cut that piece off every, single, time. You should too-it creeps me out.

 

Ceci-Roasted Red Pepper Soup

New Year’s Eve is for two things:  1) resolution making and 2) drinking, heavily.  The day after your first thought:  1) resolving to not EVER drink again….like for real this time, ever.  Right?  So for your hangover cure I did a little research and decided that one of my fave soups can be your cure for what you overdo on NYE.

Nutrient-rich foods that are good to eat with a hangover are bananas, red peppers, broccoli, nuts, and oats. A banana smoothie is an excellent choice, as it acts as a natural antacid as well as replenishing vitamins and minerals. To make one, blend together one ripe banana, one a half cups of nondairy milk, and two tablespoons of honey or agave (for those of you that are strict vegan).

This soup is great.  Protein, vitamins, sits on stove all day without getting icky so you can eat when you get that small window of opportunity when you feel “better” than you did when you woke up at Noon.  Tastes excellent with saltines…see, it’s like perfect.  Take care.

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. rosemary, dried
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 c. tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 3 c. vegetable broth
  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Cut out the stems of the peppers and discard along with the seeds. Stand the peppers in a small baking pan to roast the peppers for 35-50 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and let cool, additionally, I removed the skin, then cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Saute the onion in a large pot in very little oil (or none at all if you like) for 5 minutes until translucent.
  5. Add garlic, rosemary, salt, and black pepper to pot and saute for another minute.
  6. Mix in tomatoes (canned are okay here too, let’s be honest you aren’t going to cut up tomatoes hungover) and stir for another minute.
  7. Add coriander, vegetable broth, and chickpeas and stir.
  8. Bring contents of pot to a low boil and cook covered for 15 minutes or all day…whatever you need/want.
  9. Add the roasted peppers.
  10. Blend half the soup with an immersion blender OR blend about half the soup in a blender, being careful not to let the steam build up in the blender while you are blending, add the blended soup back to the pot.
  11. Let soup sit for a few minutes, taste for salt, and serve.

Adapted from Appetite for Reduction; shown here with bread and goat cheese (omit goat cheese for vegans).

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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!!!)

Vegan Pumpkin Pancakes

Because there is NO way you are sick of pumpkin yet, right?  This recipe is a blend of 3-4 Spark People recipes for pumpkin pancakes.  The combo of baking soda and baking powder give you fluffy and lighter pancakes despite the heavy pumpkin and whole wheat flour (you could sub white too I suppose).

  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup mashed, cooked pumpkin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar (or white if necessary)

Combine soy milk with the tsp vinegar in a separate bowl. Give it 5 minutes to curdle – you have just created vegan buttermilk. Stir together pumpkin, spices, water and soy milk in mixing bowl. Add in remaining ingredients and stir JUST UNTIL MOIST, NO LONGER or your batter will become flat, dense and lifeless, like your ex-husband. Let sit 5 minutes to rise and lightly stir again. Let rest 5 more minutes and cook them up as you would regular pancakes.

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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.

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Adapted from PPK

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.

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.

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Vegan Pear Ginger Muffins

Sometimes what I make is determined by what is available in my kitchen at the moment (then I don’t have to go to the grocery store).  So many pears lately hanging around, hence, vegan pear ginger muffins found their way into the oven.  I was delighted at how little sugar went into these and how they still managed to be slightly sweet, not over- or underwhelming.  The pear makes a for a great break from squash and pumpkin during the fall months.

(make 18 muffins, or 12 muffins and 1 small loaf of bread)

  • 3 C whole grain flour
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C brown sugar, packed
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 ½ C unsweetened almond or soy milk
  • ½ C canola oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 pears, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 – 3/4 C crystallized dried ginger chopped fine

1. Preheat oven to 400° and line a muffin tin with paper cups.

2. Mix all the dry ingredients together, then add the wet. Stir until just combined.

3. Fold in the chopped pear and pour batter into prepared pan or cupcake wrappers.  Bake for about 20 minutes, check to see if they are done with a toothpick, you don’t want to overbake else they become dry.

These freeze brilliantly.  I don’t know if I’d let them go longer than about a month, but they will get you through a few weeks of breakfasts nonetheless.

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Many thanks to Gosh, that’s so vegan for the inspiration on the muffins.  I was all pumpkin’d out and pears hit the spot.

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

Barley Burgers

Tree Huggers is one of those happy places.  So.  Much.  Happy.  I basically stalked the owner and demanded that she be my friend.  Hey, whatever works. Angela Topp is a lover of vegan eats, IPA and dogs, she’s lovely and skilled at creating partnerships in the Earth-friendly community.   This recipe share is the result of Tree Huggers partnership with Bartertown Diner.  Once a week (in the evening) a chef from Bartertown works at Tree Huggers prepping recipes straight from ingredients available from the cooler (yes, RIGHT IN THE STORE) and then shares a tasty animal-free dish with you.  You can walk out with everything you need to make it from the help of the Bartertown chef as your personal shopper.  How cool is that?!

Enjoy a burger on the grill that didn’t come from a the screaming death of a helpless animal.  Yeah, I just said that.

Black Bean Barley Burger

  • 2 C cooked black beans
  • 2 C cooked barley
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 T Braggs liquid aminos
  • 1 T oil
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • Little rooster vegan buns
  • Ham Family Farm Tomato

1. Cook barley, set aside and allow to cool to a handleable temperature.
2. Cook black beans until soft, mash using a fork or food processor, set aside.
3. Finely chop onions and garlic, Sautée until translucent.
4. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mix well.
5. Preheat your oven to 350
6. Form mixture into sizable patties on a greased baking pan.
7. Bake for 30 minutes, flipping once halfway through.
8. Allow patties to cool, this helps with binding.
9. Now you have patties for dinner and leftovers for the week!

Feel free to experiment with your own blend on spices.

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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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 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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Kohlrabi Tofu Scramble

This is a twist on a previous post:  Curried Tofu & Wilted Arugula Scramble .  I won’t bore you with the details, but this update is awesome when you add the garlic scapes and kohlrabi it turns slightly more sweet than the original.  Proof that really you can toss anything into a tofu scramble and it will taste good.  Flex your imagination, or simply look into your CSA bag for inspiration.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp canola or olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced finely
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 garlic scapes, minced
  • 1 medium sized kohlrabi, peeled and diced into 1/4 to 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 large handful, pea pods
  • 1 1/2 T fresh ginger, peeled and diced
  • 1 block extra-firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1/4-1/2 inch dice
  • 2 tsp regular (sweet) curry powder
  • 1 tsp hot curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • a few pinches of freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-3 C baby arugula or spinach
  • 2 T crushed roasted peanuts
  1. Preheat a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat. Saute the onion and kohlrabi in oil for about 4-6 minutes covered, until translucent and tender. Add the garlic, scapes, and ginger, saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add tofu and pea pods to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often, until the tofu has browned on some of the sides.
  2. Add the curry powder, cumin, salt, pepper, lemon juice & a few splashed of water if it’s too dry. Mix in the arugula. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the arugula is wilted (cover if you want this to go faster).
  3. Taste for spices and add another teaspoon of curry powder if needed. Plate, add crushed peanuts on top and serve!

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Quinoa Black Bean Salad

I’m already thinking of dishes to take to 4th of July festivities.  So many salads have mayo (gag) in them and have a short potluck shelf life.  This one can stay at room temp indefinitely.

I could eat this every single day of the summer, mixing and matching veggie add-ins.  It’s really THAT good.

Adapted from the NY Times.

Try it for yourself.

For the salad:

  • 1 cup uncooked red quinoa
  • 1 (14oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh corn (optional) *see note
  • 1 small avocado, chopped into 1 inch pieces

For the dressing:

  • 4-5 tbsp of fresh lime juice (juice from 2 small limes)
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin, or more to taste (I used 1 tsp, I love cumin)

Directions:

1. Cook 1 cup Red Quinoa according to package directions.

2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare the chopped vegetables and whisk together the dressing.

3. Allow quinoa to cool after cooking for about 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Add the beans and vegetables and toss well.

4. Drizzle dressing over salad and toss well with salt and pepper to taste. Bring salad to room temperature before serving. Keep fresh in a sealed container for 1-2 days. Makes about 5 cups.

Note: I defrosted and drained frozen corn before adding it to the salad, but the result was rubbery corn. I painstakingly picked out every, single, kernel after that eff up.  I would suggest using fresh corn only, if the season applies, otherwise I wouldn’t bother with the frozen stuff.

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Quick Grilled Bok Choy

I haven’t posted in two weeks!!!!!  Eek!  I have so many backlogged I must remedy this situation immediately.  I’ll start with one of my fave items from our first CSA jackpot from Blandford Nature Center.  Bok choy.

There are about a thousand ways to spell this little veggie wonder.  I’m going with ‘bok choy’ for purposes of this post.  High in vitamin C, antioxidants, folic acid, and potassium yet low in cals and carbs makes bok choy an eat-until-you-are-stuffed candidate for low guilt and high yum.

Ingredients:

  • 3 baby bok choy, cut in half length wise
  • 1 T roasted sesame oil (garlic oil, chili oil, walnut oil, anything would be great here)
  • 1 tsp hot pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

This is a no-brainer.  Heat grill to let’s say, hot…I just turned it all the way to high and waited like 5 minutes.  I know, scientific eh?

Drizzle bok choy halves with oil, sprinkle hot pepper flakes, salt and pepper on top.  Toss on HOT grill until charred.  Mr. Wonderful said, “if more people could experience charred greens, they would LOVE them.”  I would have to agree.

I served this next to brown rice, mandarin orange chick’n and a few crushed up cashew bits I had lying around.  Quick meal, as the rice was in the freezer just waiting for a chance to shine.

Baby Bok Choi Recipe

Recipe adapted from: Simply Recipes.

Here is another recipe that I’ve wanted to try for a while now too:  Sesame Coconut Bok Choy.  If you make it let me know how it turns out.

Vegan Num Num Bowl

I really, really wanted this to be mind blowing.  Sadly it wasn’t.  I don’t even have any witty commentary to present about this recipe.  If you should choose to make it.  Fix it up a bit.  As is, Vegan Num Num Bowl is actually, yuck yuck.  Sometimes recipes fail to meet expectations.  This is one of those recipes.

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1 Block Extra Firm Tofu, pressed, cut into small squares
1 tbs Canola or Peanut Oil
2 tsp Soy Sauce
2 tsp Mirin
Broccoli, steamed
1 Carrot, peeled and shredded
Peanuts, crushed (optional)
1 Cup Dry Brown Rice

Peanut Dressing
1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
1/4 Cup Water (or coconut milk if you have it!)
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Soy Sauce
1 Tbs Seasoned Rice Vinegar
1 tsp Hot Chili Oil
1 Pinch Salt

Start cooking your rice. Mix sauce ingredients until smooth (be patient, it’ll look like hell at first) and set aside.

Pan fry tofu in the oil over high heat in a non-stick skillet until browned on both sides. Drain and return to hot pan (turn off the heat). Mix soy sauce and mirin together and pour over tofu, mixing well. It will bubble up and form a light glaze.

Plate rice, add broccoli, tofu, carrot, and crushed peanuts. Drizzle with sauce and serve.

Chickpea Tacos

So many friends have been asking for quick, kid-friendly meals.  I have no idea what kid-friendly means…I mean, feed them what you eat, then if you eat this, logic dictates kids friendly, right?  This one is just as delicious as the lentil taco recipe from earlier in the month; however, when you mash up the chickpeas…they actually take on the texture of shredded chicken (or what I remember shredded chicken to look like).  It will fool your friends and kiddos too.  If your kids have delicate palates, adjust the salt and spices accordingly.  Go ahead, play with your food.

Adapted from The Snarky Chickpea

Ingredients:

  • 6 taco shells or tortillas
  • 1/3 lb dried chickpeas (I think it made about 1.5 cups after cooking)-you could use 1.5 cans of chickpeas here if you like, just drain them before using and give a good rinse
  • 2 TB Braggs Liquid Aminos or soy sauce/tamari
  • 1 1/2 TB lemon juice
  • 1 TB chili powder
  • 1 TB garlic powder
  • 1 TB onion powder
  • 1 TB red pepper flakes
  • 1 TB cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ancho chile powder
  • 1 tsp fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • taco toppings: lettuce, onion, tomatoes, taco sauce, etc.

Method:

  1. Cook your chickpeas for about 90 minutes over a medium or medium-low heat (you could also use canned).
  2. In bowl, combine Braggs, lemon juice, and all spices. Mix well.
  3. In a saute’ pan, add chickpeas and pour the liquid spice mix over the chickpeas in the pan and mix well-mashing down the chickpeas so you have some whole and some smushed for texture.  The chickpeas will start to suck in the spice mix which is total noms.
  4. Heat through on low-medium, stirring well.
  5. Remove from heat and add to your shell of choice, top with your fave veggies, salsa, etc and shove in your pie hole.

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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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A Tale of Two Lentil Taco Recipes

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only (A Tale of Two Cities-Dickens-opening paragraph).

If I haven’t lost ya yet, now you have some trivia knowledge and two taco recipes coming right up!  See this is why we are friends!  Speaking of friends that tolerate me, my friend Angela asked me about these lentil tacos I keep talking about.  I went to direct her to my blog and realized, crap, I have never shared them on my blog.  Here you go Angela!  I have no pictures for you, but the recipe needs to get out into the universe.  We all know that pink slime, er beef is bad; love on a lentil instead.

Recipe One:  Lentil Tacos

Adapted from Isa Chandra.

2 teaspoons olive oil (you can do this oil free if you add a smidge of water to the onion when it starts getting sticky from sauteing it)

  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked lentils (from about 1 cup dried)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce (preferably Cholula)

Spice mix:

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground ancho chile
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

First combine all of the ingredients for the spice mix and set aside. Also, keep a cup of water within reach, you’ll need to add splashes as you cook.  You can totally put in taco sauce or salsa for the hot sauce and chili powder for the ancho pepper in the spice mix to make it less of a shock.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sautee the onion and garlic in the oil with a pinch of salt for about 3 minutes, until lightly browned. Add spices and toss them for 30 seconds or so to toast.

Lower heat to medium, add lentils, a few splashes of water, tomato paste and hot sauce; use a spatula to mash them a bit as they cook, until they hold together. If your spatula isn’t strong enough to accomplish this, just use a fork. Do this for about 5 minutes, adding splashes of water as necessary if it appears dry. Depending on the type of lentil you land, it will take more or less time to cook.  Taste for salt and seasoning; you may want to add more spices or hot sauce. And that’s it, time to serve!

Lentil Tacos Take Two

Adapted from the recipe above based on what I had in my kitchen

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 12 taco shells
  • shredded lettuce, chopped fresh tomato, vegan cheese, avocado, limes

In a large nonstick skillet, saute the onion and garlic in oil until tender. Add the lentils, chili powder, cumin and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes or until the lentils are tender.

Uncover; cook for 6-8 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Mash lentils slightly. Stir in salsa.  Stuff in your shell of choice and serve with toppings as you have them available.

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