March 23, 2010

Creamy Peanut Soup

I seriously can't get enough of this soup.  Everyone in my house (including the wee one) goes nuts for the stuff. Try it, you'll love it!

1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped and seeded
2 medium russet potatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 quart (4 Cups) no-chicken or veggie broth
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Dash of cayenne (optional)
roasted peanuts, chopped, to taste (optional garnish)
  •  Place onions, potatoes, garlic and bell pepper in a large pot with broth. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until veggies are soft.
  • Add the peanut butter.
  • Either stick a hand-blender right into the pot and blend until creamy, or transfer in small batches to a blender.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as nutritional yeast and cayenne (if using).
  • Makes about 4 large servings. Top each bowl with chopped peanuts. Delicious!

March 18, 2010

Easy 3-Bean Chili

This takes only a few minutes to get it going, it's jam-packed full of fiber, and it's delicious! What more can you ask for?
If you're really daring, pile in some corn chips for an old-fashioned Southern Frito Pie.

1/8 C olive oil
1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
2-4 cloves of garlic, minced, to taste
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
1 15oz can black beans, drained
1 15oz can kidney beans, drained
1 15oz can pinto beans, drained
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp all-purpose seasoning (I used Simply Organic)
1/2 tsp powdered cocoa (just trust me on this)
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
dash of ground black pepper
vegan cheddar cheese, shredded (optional) 
  • Heat olive oil in a large saute pan or skillet. Add onions and garlic, cook until soft.
  • Add remaining ingredients.
  • Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. 
  • Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until desired consistency is reached. I usually let it simmer for about half an hour, but you probably don't have to wait that long if you're really starving!
  • Ladle into bowls and top with shredded vegan cheddar, to taste.

March 13, 2010

Pretty Little Peanut Butter Cookies

This peanut butter cookie is great because it's gluten-free, and free of refined white sugar as well (though they're not "sugar free" per se, just sans the yucky, over-processed stuff). Now, if you don't have any sucanat on hand, and you aren't worried about using processed sugar, you can substitute half a cup of white sugar and half a cup of brown sugar for the one cup of sucanat I put in the recipe. You could also try substituting 3/4 cup of agave or maple syrup, but I haven't tried it yet, so you're on your own with that one.

If you've never tried sucanat before, here's a bit of info I found on Wikipedia:
"Sucanat (a contraction of "Sugar Cane Natural") is non-refined cane sugar. Unlike refined and processed white sugar, Sucanat retains its molasses content; it is essentially pure dried sugar cane juice... Of all major sugars derived from sugar cane, Sucanat ranks the highest in nutritional value."

1 cup sucanat (or sub white and light brown sugar)
1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1/4 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons soy or nut milk (I used almond milk)
1 1/2 cup rice flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Throw everything into a large bowl and mix it with a beater until well-blended.
  • Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out the dough, leveling the dough on the side of the bowl as you scoop. This ensures that every cookie is the same size. You want them to be "pretty" after all!
  • Place dough balls 2 inches apart on an un-greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
  • Allow to cool for 1 or 2 minutes on baking sheet before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
  • Gobble 'em up!

March 10, 2010

Easy Peasy Granola Squares

Forget store-bought granola bars. They're overpriced and junky. These granola squares are healthy, super-easy to concoct, and make your whole house smell amazing while they bake!

2 C old-fashioned oats
3/4 C toasted wheat germ
3/4 C chopped walnuts
3/4 C raisins
1/2 C maple syrup or agave nectar
1/2 C canola or vegetable oil
2 Tbsp sucanat (packed light brown sugar will work too)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp flax meal
4 Tbsp warm water
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13" baking pan with non-stick baking spray, or lightly oil and flour the pan. 
  • In a small bowl, combine flax meal and water. Stir until no lumps are present. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the mixture forms a soft gel. 
  • Combine all remaining ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well-mixed.
  • Add flax meal mixture to large bowl and combine all ingredients.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and bake, uncovered, for 30 - 35 minutes, or until golden brown and crisp.
  • Cool in pan on a wire rack. 
  • Do not cut until mixture has cooled.
  • Enjoy!

March 1, 2010

Country-Style Mac and "Nooch" Casserole

This delicious dish came about completely by accident when I was trying to make my classic Creamy Mac N "Nooch" Casserole and discovered that I had run out of soy sauce. Instead of dashing to store to buy some, I made a few adjustments and turned out what tastes like something you'd eat at a country barbecue picnic. It was really yummy! Give it a try.

1 lb macaroni noodles (quinoa elbows work great!)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
1 cup veggie or no-chicken broth
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or whichever oil you prefer)
1 1/2 cups nutritional yeast ("nooch")
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/8 cup fresh or dried parsley (optional)
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
1 tablespoon salt
1 box silken firm or extra-firm tofu
1/2 cup Japanese bread crumbs
5 slices of cooked vegan bacon, chopped
Dash of cayenne pepper
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees
  • Prepare noodles according to package directions.
  • In blender combine all ingredients (except noodles, bacon and bread crumbs)
  • Pour liquid mixture over cooked noodles and stir together. 
  • Put the whole mess into a casserole dish and top with bread crumbs and chopped bacon
  • Stick in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Remove and enjoy.