Monday, January 23, 2012

VEGAN PANCAKES

We like pancakes. A LOT. So, it was really important to be able to revisit them as a vegan. In celebration of my son’s love of everything Star Wars, we made Yoda, Darth Vader and Storm Trooper pancakes from molds I picked up the other day. Character themed things makes everything taste better to a child!

Ingredients:
1 Tbs. flaxseed meal
2 Tbs. water
2 cups flour
3 ½ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
¼ cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 ½ cups coconut milk (I use SO Delicious)
1 tsp. vanilla
3 Tbs. Earth Balance (butter substitute), melted
 
Directions:
In a small bowl, mix flaxseed meal and water and let sit 10 minutes. Mix all dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour ½ cup portions onto a greased pan and cook on medium-low heat until golden brown on both sides (you know it's time to flip when you start to see little bubbles form on the tops). Serve warm.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

CHERRY PORRIDGE

Tis the season for warm breakfasts (which you likely know now that I have been on a posting rampage). It is also the season for cherries (in Australia).  I have both in my house, and I am ready to make breakfast! My children are more likely to eat their food if we read a book during meal time. As a result, sometimes the book dictates the food we eat, which keeps me on my toes. As you can guess, this breakfast pairs well with “Goldilocks and the Three Little Bears.” Hopefully, it will be just right…

Ingredients:
1 cup mix of wild & whole grain brown rice
2 cups coconut milk
¼ tsp. cinnamon
18 cherries, pitted and quartered
2 Tbs. honey
½ cup pecans, coarsely chopped

Directions:
Place rice, milk, vanilla and cinnamon into rice maker and cook according to directions (or on the stove if you don’t have a rice maker). When done, add cherries, honey and pecans. I like to toast my pecans, but you don’t have to. To toast them, just place them on a cookie sheet in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. Voila! My little bears are ready for their porridge!


Monday, January 16, 2012

OH DEAR... GUACAMOLE

You could feed me a stick if it were slathered in guacamole, or anything avocado for that matter. Today, I decided that we are going to have taco salad for lunch, which cannot exist without some fresh guacamole. My kids are not too keen on jalapeno-type of heat, so we had to forego that for this recipe and replace it with a bit of smoke. It makes this recipe more Tex-Mex than truly Mexican, but we are all happy nonetheless.

Ingredients:
1 ripe avocado, peeled and mashed
2 Tbs. red onion, finely minced
1 Tbs. lime juice
2 Tbs. cilantro
1 tsp. garlic, minced
3 dashes of smoked paprika
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup tomatoes, chopped
 
Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and serve. Mmmm… my guacamole hankering is satisfied.

GREEN EGGS

My son is still enamored with the story, “Green Eggs and Ham”, and I am pretty sure Dr. Seuss is directly to blame for my son’s deep love of ham. Given that we do not have eggs in our house, this one took some creativity on my part (to say the least!). If this dish looks disgusting while you are making it, then you are on the right track!

Ingredients:
1 bunch Swiss chard, red stems removed
¼ cup nutritional yeast
¼ tsp. garlic powder
¼ tsp. onion powder
½ tsp. salt
2 dashes smoked paprika
2 Tbs. water
2 Tbs. olive oil
12.3 oz. pkg. extra firm silken tofu (I like the Mori-Nu one in the aseptic box)
2 slices vegan cheddar cheese, cut into a total of 4 rounds (for the yolks)

Directions:
Place chard, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, paprika and water in a blender and puree until you have a smooth green sludge. Cut the tofu into 4 slabs (lengthwise). Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil in a large frying pan over medium high heat. Add tofu steaks and cook until brown and crispy on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn tofu over and spread chard mixture over tops. Place cheese circles on the middle of each steak. Place lid on pan and let cook for an additional 5 minutes. Cut the corners off the tofu steaks so that they resemble an egg and serve. I know, the look is a little off-putting, but my kids LOVED this and it really was quite flavorful (not to mention healthy)!

AMARANTH ORANGE CREAMSICLE

How do I get my people to eat their grains when I have all of these tempting clementines just laying about the house, luring them in with their citrusy goodness? Well, I combine the two, of course! Do you remember those little cups of orange sherbet and vanilla ice cream, swirled together? Do you remember eating them on warm summer days in the lunchroom with the little tiny wooden spoon? I do, and those are fond food memories. While I neither anticipated nor dreaded most of the other cafeteria food offerings, the orange creamsicle was a winner for me. I would have eaten a bowl of raw brussel sprouts if it meant getting an orange creamsicle. These are the memories that inspired this morning’s breakfast. In keeping with my goal of getting more protein-rich grains in our diets, amaranth became our new best friend. And, we don’t even need to wait until summer to appreciate this dish!

Ingredients:
½ cup amaranth
1 ½ cup coconut milk (I use SO Delicious or Silk brands)
¼ tsp. orange extract (not flavor – extract, my friend)
Pinch cardamom
2 Clementines, sectioned and each section cut in ½
Zest from 1 clementines (about ½ tsp.)
2 Tbs. honey
2 Tbs. vanilla coconut yogurt

Directions:
In a sauce pan, combine amaranth, coconut milk, orange extract and cardamom. Cook over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Add clementine zest and honey and stir well to incorporate. Add clementines and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Top with a dollop of yogurt.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

HAMBURGER CRUMBLES

I am now entering into the foray of homemade meat substitutes. I found out the other day that my beloved Quorn was not vegan! WHAT?! Needless to say, I was crushed. But, I have been meaning to make more of my own meat substitutes anyway, so this just pushed me a bit harder. I want to move away from processed stuff. My plan is to make large amounts at a time and freeze it into smaller servings so that I can just grab it and cook like I did before. (The picture is after it is crumbled, but before it has been browned).

Ingredients:
1 tsp. whole fennel seed
¼. Tsp. coarse black pepper
¼ tsp. whole caraway seeds
1 tsp. coriander
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 ½ tsp. brown sugar
¾ cup water or mushroom broth
2 Tbs. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
4 cups vegetable broth + 2 cups water for cooking
¼ cup onion, coursely chopped
 
Directions:
In a small grinder (I use a coffee bean grinder), add the fennel, pepper, caraway and coriander and grind until smooth. Combine gluten flour, dry spices and brown sugar in a medium sized bowl. In a separate bowl, mix Liquid Aminos and ¾ cup broth or water. Add liquid to dry ingredients and stir gently to combine. After a few initial stirs, you’ll probably need to use your hands for this. (It is supposed to have a rubbery texture). Once mixture is well combined, knead seitan 10 times, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then knead 5 more times. Separate your ball of gluten into 3 pieces. Stretch each piece into a flat cutlet, around ¾” thick. Add seitan to broth, water and the onion in a large pot and bring to a slow simmer. Cover pot and allow to cook for an hour or more. Seitan is done cooking when it has firmed up and expanded. Remove from broth, allow to cool and then chop up (I used my apple corer thingy and chopped up the pieces into smaller pieces, then I used my large knife to finish it off until it resembled crumbles). Freeze for next use. Brown like you would the other crumbles. I am so proud of myself! Yeah!!!

CABBAGE CILANTRO SLAW

I love coleslaw. I always have. Even when I was little and it consisted of nothing more than chopped green cabbage and mayo – lots of mayo. Maybe because the cabbage was always fresh from my mother’s garden. Maybe because it was slathered with generous amounts of mayo (which this version is not). Whatever the reason, coleslaw has a special place in my culinary heart. This is a slight elevation of my childhood experience (a few more flavors and not so gloppy), but not such a deviation that it leaves me hankering to revisit my childhood slaw. These flavors are fresh and addictive, the dish is pretty, and this is a wonderfully healthy raw side dish. Mmmmm…. I can feel the squishy dirt from my mother’s garden under my feet…

Ingredients:
1 small head red cabbage, chopped or grated (whatever you prefer)
½ bunch cilantro, chopped
½ cup onion, finely diced
1/3 cup Veganaise
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. dried sage
½ tsp. dried dill
¼ - ½ tsp. garlic salt (depending on your love of salt)

Directions:
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, cilantro and onion. In a separate small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour over cabbage mixture and incorporate thoroughly. It’s ready to eat now or tomorrow. I think it tastes better when the flavors have a chance to develop. Cheers to my coleslaw-loving self!

TEENY TINY TEFF FOR BREAKFAST

My two-year-old daughter has decided that she does not like meat or meat substitutes. I don’t think that is too unusual (although my son’s favorite food remains sashimi – raw fish meat). For the most part, she prefers fruits, veggies and dairy (which the kids and my husband eat), which is great, but not complete. My mother pointed out that she needs more protein! So, this one is for you, Mother (and every other mother out there screaming the American motto of “Eat More Protein!”)! I am on a mission to incorporate more teff and amaranth into our diets. They are both great sources of protein and calcium – both of which are essential for vegans and non-vegans alike. They are also super interesting. How could you help but to be enamored by these teeny tiny little grains. They are so small that they are endearing. Teff has a nice flavor – mild and a tiny bit nutty. It retains its crunch, even when cooked. It is also a very versatile grain. So, take out your big bowl, your big spoon and your big breakfast appetite for this big whollup of teeny tiny grains of protein (and calcium).

Ingredients:
2 cups coconut milk (I use SO Delicious or Silk)
1 cup teff
Pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. maple extract
2 Tbs. packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. Earth Balance (butter substitute)
½ cup raisins
½ cup walnuts, chopped

Directions:
Pour coconut milk and teff into medium sauce pan. Cook over medium high heat until it starts to boil. Add salt, vanilla extract, maple extract and brown sugar. Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Add maple syrup, Earth Balance, raisins and walnuts. Cook for another minute or two. Remove from heat and serve. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

CHICKEN FRIED SEITAN

Lately, I am craving everything bad – from bacon to fried things – but still feeling very vegan. Oh, the quandry in which I find myself… If you are like me (good intentions, evil cravings), you will probably like this simple dish of fried seitan. It is easy to make and satisfies your chicken fried whatever craving you may be experiencing at the moment. Feel free to get crazy with the herbs. I had fresh thyme in the refrigerator, but you can use dried (if you do, reduce the amount to 1 tsp.). The more the merrier – think of this as your very own chicken fried party.

Ingredients:
¾ cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stems and chopped
1 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. paprika
16 oz. seitan, cubed (torn into smaller chunks)
3 Tbs. olive oil
 
Directions:
Mik flour, nutritional yeast, thyme, garlic salt and paprika in a gallon-sized ziploc bag. Add seitan and shake until the seitan is well coated. Heat oil in large frying pan. Add seitan and cook until browned on all sides. Don’t stir too much as you don’t want the coating to come off the seitan. Enjoy!

CREAMY MAC N' CHEESE

I love anything with cheese. Usually, I make a roux of oil and flour and then add the faux cheese. However, this time, I nixed the flour and oil. The avocado and sweet potato make this a super creamy, super rich texture without the added foods devoid of nutritional stuff. If you are hankering for some good old fashioned comfort food (but still vegan), you have come to the right house for dinner tonight!

Ingredients:
6 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1 ½ cups plain coconut milk
1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. paprika
1 avocado, peeled
10 oz. macaroni pasta
8 oz. cheddar cheese substitute

Directions:
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain. Place sweet potato in a microwave safe dish and cover with water by 1”. Microwave for 6 minutes. Drain. In a blender, add all remaining ingredients and mix until well-blended. Spoon over pasta and stir until the pasta is evenly coated. Oh boy! This one had my kids screaming (in delight, of course)!

BLAT SAMMIE

I love Bacon-Lettuce-Avocado-Tomato sandwiches. This is a fun twist on the typical offering. Probably don’t need a recipe for this, but if I don’t put it down, you might not think of it. So, enjoy!

Ingredients:
Smart Bacon Strips (Lightlife)
1 Tbs. olive oil
Tomato, sliced
Avocado, sliced
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Vegenaise
Dijon mustard
Organic buckwheat wildberry waffles

Directions:
This is pretty straightforward. Fry the “bacon” in the olive oil until crisp. Toast the waffles in the toaster, then slice in half horizontally. Spread mayo and mustard on waffles and assemble remaining ingredients.