January 29, 2010

A Little Love from the Bakery

The Wholly Wholesome Baked Goods Co. liked my last post so much that they featured a link to it on their Facebook Fan Page!
Check it out right here...
Wholly Wholesome Facebook Fan Page
And they put a link to the Easy Mixed Berry Pie recipe on their website too!
Check it out here...
Thanks, Wholly Wholesome! I really appreciate the love.

January 28, 2010

Easy Mixed Berry Pie

This pie is so easy, just mildly tart and delicious, it will probably get gobbled up in one sitting. But, that's okay because you can make another one! No biggie.

First, buy or make a pie crust. The one I buy is perfect, if you can find it. It's from the Wholly Wholesome Baked Goods company. It's whole wheat, vegan, trans fat free and really wonderful. It won Fifth Place in Good Housekeeping Magazine's Pie Crust Taste Test (the traditional Wholly Wholesome crust won First!) and First Place in the Epicurious Whole Wheat Pie Crust Taste Test. It comes two crusts to a pack and costs three bucks and some change. You seriously can't beat it. I was not paid or bribed to say any of this, I swear. I just really love this crust!
But, regardless of whether you find this crust or not, have a favorite of your own, or prefer to make one yourself, go ahead and have your crust baked up and ready to go before you start the filling. Now, on to the recipe...

1 10-ounce bag of frozen strawberries
1 10-ounce bag of mixed berries
2 1/2 tablespoons corn starch
2/3 cup maple syrup or agave nectar (if sugar is preferred, use 3/4 cup)
2/3 cup water
2 tablespoons vegan butter
1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Let berries thaw on the counter top for a while before you begin the recipe.
  • In a medium saucepan, whisk together the corn starch, agave and water.
  • Add the berries and stir over medium heat until the sauce begins to thicken.
  • Once the berries are hot and the sauce is nice and thick (it will have the consistency of a thin pudding) turn off the heat and add the butter and lemon juice. Gently stir everything together.
  • Allow the berry mixture to cool for about half an hour, uncovered. Then pour it into your prepared pie crust.
  • Stick it in the fridge, covered (I use an overturned dinner plate to cover mine - plastic wrap and tin foil are a waste of money and can't be recycled), and leave it until it has set, which will probably take several hours. I usually make my pie in the evening and then leave it in the fridge overnight. I'm not going to lie to you - it makes an awesome breakfast!

January 27, 2010

Onion Soup with Croutons and Vegan Mozzarella

This soup is so perfect for a cold winter day. While I ate it, my daughter kept coming by the table and plucking the croutons out of it. She'd stick one in her mouth and run back to Yo Gabba Gabba on the TV. When she was finished with one crouton, she'd come back for another. Great stuff! Here's the recipe...

4 C vegetable broth
1/2 C plain soy milk
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced (or more, to taste)
1 bay leaf
2 T dried or fresh parsley
1 T olive oil
1 T fine sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Several pieces of bread (I used the 3-seed bread from Central Market)
1/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded (optional)
  • Toss everything except the bread and mozzarella into a large pot. Heat to a boil, stirring occasionally. 
  • When the pot boils, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for half an hour.
  • While the soup is cooking, cut the bread up into large pieces. Place it on a cookie sheet in a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes.
  • When everything's cooked up, remove the bay leaf and discard. Then just top the soup with croutons and mozzarella. It's so yummy! Beware wayward toddlers as they will steal your croutons.
Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons
The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go
Forks Over Knives - The Cookbook

January 25, 2010

The Enchilada Experiment, Part 1


I love enchiladas, and before I became vegan I often indulged in the cheesy, gooey tastiness of the family enchilada dinner from a restaurant called Pulido's just down the street. Since turning vegan it's one of only a very few things that I miss, and I have yet to find a great substitute. So, I am experimenting on my own, looking for a way to make healthy vegan enchiladas that satisfy my Mexican food cravings.

This first experiment was based strictly upon what I happened to have on hand in the kitchen. I didn't have anything to make a sauce from, and I really missed having it, but I managed to turn out some fresh and yummy enchiladas anyway. In future experiments I might try adding soy crumbles or refried beans, or maybe even avocados (if they ever go down in price, ugh...) and I definitely want to try it with sauce. Perhaps a tomatillo or red sauce of some sort. I'll be sure to post all future experiments here for you to try too! Eventually, I know I shall achieve vegan enchilada perfection. *flexes muscles* But, in the meantime, enjoy Part 1 of The Enchilada Experiment...

2 T olive oil
Half a large white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
2 T dried or fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T lime juice
1 T paprika
1 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Dash of cayenne pepper, to taste
16 corn tortillas
1/2 block of vegan cheddar, shredded (I used Vegan Gourmet)
  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Then saute the onions and garlic until soft. 
  • Add squash and zucchini, and saute until soft.
  • Add remaining veggies and spices. Cover and simmer until everything's nice and steamy, about 10 - 15 minutes.
  • While your enchilada innards are heating up, go ahead and shred your cheese. You may want more or less, depending on your taste preferences. We love the stuff around here. Lila eats handfuls of it whenever I have a bowl of shredded laying around. The Vegan Gourmet claims to melt, but I haven't been able to make it melt. It still tastes pretty good, though, and it's a lot cheaper than its counterparts! 
  • In a large casserole dish, start rolling your enchiladas. Just spoon about a third a cup of veggie mix into a tortilla, then roll it up and flip it over in your casserole dish so it can't come undone. Or, if you prefer, you can do it taco-style, like this...
  • Sprinkle with cheese (I added vegan mozzarella to the batch in the picture up there) and bake for about 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven.
  • Enjoy!

January 20, 2010

Nutty Carrot, Raisin and Flax Muffins

These are super-duper healthy and tasty good. I only used 1/4 cup of maple syrup to sweeten, so they're refined sugar-free and, thank to the flax seed, full of fiber and omega 3's. I adapted this recipe from one I found in my Quick and Easy Vegan Comfort Food cookbook and I'm so glad I did! The whole family loved them - my daughter kept shoving a bite into her mouth and then running out of the room. I take that as a toddler thumbs up! Here's my adapted recipe...

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2/3 cup plain soy milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrot
3/4 cup raisins soaked in warm water for 10 minutes and drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan with oil or line with paper baking cups
  • Mix the flours, flax seed, baking soda and cinnamon in a large bowl.
  • Create a small well in the center and add agave nectar, soy milk, oil and vanilla.
  • Hand-stir until smooth. 
  • Fold in the carrots, raisins and walnuts.
  • Fill the muffin tins three-quarters full. (I used a large cookie scoop)
  • Bake for 20 minutes.
  • Enjoy with vegan butter! Delicious!
150 Best Vegan Muffin Recipes
The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes
The Joy of Vegan Baking

January 12, 2010

Coconut Curry Quinoa


That's fun to say, huh? Coconut. Curry. Quinoa. Coconut Curry Quinoa. Now five times fast!
This dish is so easy, amazingly healthy and delicious in the extreme. Give it a try. You'll love it!

2 C water
1 C quinoa*
1/8 C oil (I used sunflower)
1 block firm tofu, drained and cut into small squares
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2 stalks fresh kale, chopped
1 large carrot, diced
1 large zucchini, diced
1-2 large cloves garlic (to taste), minced
1 can coconut milk
1 Tbsp red curry paste
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp fresh or dried parsley
2 tsp fine sea salt
1-3 Tbsp fresh or bottled lime juice, to taste
  • Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until soft and water is not present at the bottom of the pan. Usually about 15 minutes.
  • In a large skillet or saute pan, place oil and carrot. Saute over medium heat for a few minutes, then add the onions. After one or two minutes add the zucchini. Once it's moderately soft, add the kale. Kale only needs to cook about 30 seconds. The idea is to add the longest-cooking veggies first.
  • Add tofu, coconut milk, curry and all spices except lime juice.
  • Add cooked quinoa and stir. Allow to simmer only a few minutes, until everything's nice and hot.
  • Serve it up in a bowl and sprinkle bottled lime juice over the top, or squeeze the juice of one or two lime slices over the top. Delicious! And it feeds an army, so get ready for leftovers and midnight snacks too!
Here's my daughter enjoying the batch I cooked up this afternoon...

 So good you don't need a spoon. Just use your hands!

*Bankrupt Vegan Tip: I've noticed the little one pound bag of quinoa that Target sells runs at almost $12. WOW! That's expensive. But my local health food store sells organic quinoa in bulk for only $4.49 per pound. Nutritional yeast is a lot cheaper in bulk too. If you haven't already, I suggest you look around in your town for a health food store that supplies dry goods in bulk (most of them do). You will save a ton of money!

January 3, 2010

Jason's Whole Wheat "Bro"scuits

My husband, Jason, is the bread man. He loves fresh bread more than just about any other food, and he loves experimenting with bread recipes.

Here he is modeling some French "bro"guettes he made last week...

 They're shaped weird because our oven is small, but trust me they were awesome!

Jason's "Bro"scuits are super easy and crazy-tasty. The current recipe is still being partially made with white flour, but when we run out of the white stuff he's going to start experimenting with healthier, whole grain alternatives. When he finds a winner, I'll post the "Bro"scuit Redux recipe for you.

1 C whole wheat flour
1 1/4C unbleached all-purpose flour
1 T + 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp agave (or preferred sweetener)
5 T sunflower oil (or preferred oil)
3/4 C + 3 T soy milk (oat milk works too)
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Whisk together flours, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  • Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour agave, oil and milk into the well, then whisk into a mealy dough.
  • Knead dough gently in the bowl for one minute.
  • Dust a flat surface with flour and hand-press (or roll) dough to about 1.5-inch thickness.
  • Use a biscuit cutter or glass top to cut out your biscuits.
  • Roll remaining dough into a ball (do not re-knead) and re-press and cut more biscuits. Continue until all dough is used.
  • Oil and flour a medium cookie sheet (or mist with baking spray) and place biscuits on it.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes, until they turn golden brown and scrumptious. 
  • Enjoy fresh from the oven with vegan butter, agave and cinnamon or fruit-sweetened jam. Makes a great complement to my Tasty Tofu Scramble too. Yum!!

    January 2, 2010

    Roasted Acorn Squash with Walnuts

    Remember the six acorn squash I picked up at the salvage grocery for only 29 cents a pound last week? Well, here's what I did with them, and they were delicious!

    1 acorn squash
    1/4 C chopped walnuts
    1/4 C agave nectar
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    • Cut squash in half horizontally, removing the seeds and string. I like to chuck the seeds out into my side yard, in the hopes that one of them will root and grow some free squash for me next year! So far, no luck...
    • Place squash upside down in a shallow pan with 1/4 inch of water. Bake for 35 minutes.
    • Pour off the water and turn over squash. 
    • Sprinkle walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg on top, then drizzle with agave. Feel free to adjust amounts based on your personal taste.
    • Place under broiler for 5 minutes.
    • Enjoy!!

    January 1, 2010

    Classic Black-Eyed Peas


    I've made a lot of resolutions this year, both personal and family-related (meaning my husband and I thought of them together and they concern our whole family) and, naturally, quite a few of my resolutions concern food. Since this is a food blog, I won't bore you with the details of the non-food related resolutions, but I thought I should include you in those concerning food as they will obviously affect the types of recipes I will be posting. Here's what we're looking at for the coming year...

    • Go sugar-free, replacing sugar with stevia and agave whenever possible. I want to experiment with brown rice syrup, maple syrup and date sugar too.
    • Go caffeine-free, period.
    • Experiment with raw food recipes.
    • Eat every meal at the table, eating slowly and savoring, remembering all the while to be thankful.
    • Stop using the microwave (I'll explain this in a later post). 
    • Stop using white flour. Experiment with whole grain flours. My husband and I both really want to learn how to bake healthy breads, and I want to learn how to do the sprouted grain thing too.
    • Make Sunday our food prep day. Pre-cut veggies and pre-mix sauces based on a pre-planned menu. My husband and I are going to sit down weekly and sort out a menu together before going grocery shopping in the hopes that this, combined with 'Food Prep Sunday,' will make our lives just a bit easier during the week.
    • Gifts for friends and family will consist of things we make or bake. We spent way too much money we didn't really have on gifts this year. I have some excellent vegan cookie recipes that I want to try out as gifts for friends. I'm also thinking of bottling my Corn & Black Bean Salsa as a gift. We had  friends visiting from Austin right before Christmas this year and they went nuts for the stuff. I think they'd probably appreciate homemade salsa more than some dust-collecting trinket I might pick up for them at a store any day!
    • And, lastly, I want to clean up my herb garden and make better use of it in the coming year. I've had a lovely herb garden growing in my back yard for the last six years, but ever since my little one came along, I've let it get overgrown and I haven't been using the herbs much. The garden contains oregano, rosemary, chives, mint, and Italian parsley. I will teach Lila how to garden and we'll make a fun game of it this Spring!

    Well, I know that's quite a handful of foodie resolutions, but they are all very doable and are going to lend to my ultimate goal of getting healthier, feeling better, and teaching my daughter how to live simply. So, they're totally worth it! In the meantime, here's my simple recipe for Classic Black-Eyed Peas. Ya gotta eat your black-eyed peas on New Year's Day for luck!

    16oz dried black eyed peas
    32oz (1 QT) vegetable broth (I used Imagine Organic Low-Sodium)
    2 C water
    1 large white or yellow onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 T paprika
    1 T dried or fresh parsley (I used dried)
    1 T salt (use fine sea salt if you have it)
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/2 tsp marjoram
    1 bay leaf
    Pinch of cayenne pepper
    • Sort and rinse your beans. I sit at the table and scoop the sorted beans right into a collander a handful at a time, then go straight to the sink with 'em. 
    • Place beans into a large soup or stock pot and cover with about two inches of water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover. Just let them sit for an hour or so. This is the "quick soak" method.
    • Drain beans into collander and rinse again.
    • Now throw all of the ingredients listed above into the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, covered, for three to four hours or until beans reach desired consistency for you. I like mine really soft, so I let them cook for a long time.
    • Be sure to remove the bay leaf before serving!
    Quick & Easy Vegan Celebrations