Friday, May 3, 2013

Perfect Brown Rice

This post came out of desperation. What I mean by that is that I was scrambling to get dish together for my class this week. And, of course, I was wanting to do a dish for Cinco de Mayo and was failing terribly. Then I remembered how much I L-O-V-E the rice that Chipotle's serves. It is their cilantro lime rice. And I know there are variations on a theme, so I began to Google away. I found this truly simple recipe and thought how could I not try this and see how ti comes out. The worst that can happen is that I do not make it again. Best case scenario, it is a hit.

Trust me (I do say that quite a bit in my recipes) when I tell you that I will never make any style of brown rice any other way but this way. So let's quit with the chit-chat and get down to this recipe....shall we?

1 cup long rain brown rice (basmati, jasmine, or regular)
1 t oil or vegan butter
1/2 t sugar of choice
2&1/2 cups water
Juice from 2 limes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat frying pan to medium heat and add oil or butter. Add the rice and sugar and stir constantly until the rice is thoroughly coated. Add rice to cooking pot or rice cooker and cook as you normally do until rice is tender.

Once rice is finished cooking add lime juice and cilantro. Serve hot.

I loved this dish, but I know in my house we would add more lime juice and cilantro. But if you are not a lover of cilantro then cut it in half and substitute the other half with parsley. If you ABSOLUTELY have not lime juice then I guess you can you lemon juice, but I would not recommend it unless you have no option. Please make this and you will see, as I did that each and every rice grain falls off thee other ones. And remember,!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups

Now I am all about being healthy. But every now and then I like to indulge. And even if I do so with my recipes, it is nowhere as bad as what is out there being sold to the general population. So my occasional peanut butter cup is AOK with me.

I scoured the internet until I found one with all thee ingredients I have at home and it had to be simple as well. TADA!! I found it. It took me about 30 minutes to put together, save for the freezing time of the chocolate. Again, a very adaptable recipe. Have fun with this and watch the memories form your childhood come flooding back.

7-8  oz chocolate, melted
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (can use crunchy)
2 T vegan butter, softened
1/4 + 2 T powdered sugar, sifted
Set up a double boiler and place your chocolate in the bowl. Watch the chocolate and stir it occasionally. While that is going on you can work on the peanut butter mixture and line your muffin tins.

In a separate bowl whip together with a hand mixer, the peanut butter, powdered sugar and softened butter. Set aside.

Once the chocolate is fully melted, you can add about a 2 T amount into the lined muffin tin. It will not expand easily, so you will have to tap your muffin tin on the counter a few times. You will see how easily to chocolate moves around. Once that is done, move your muffin tins to the freezer for about 15 minutes. Clean up while you are waiting.

Remove the tins form the freezer and add about 1 T of the peanut butter mixture to the frozen chocolate.You may have to tap the tins again or take a spoon and flatten out the peanut butter mixture to lie a bit flatter.

All the while you have kept the chocolate on a low simmer. Now is the time to top the peanut butter mixture with the rest of the melted chocolate. Tap again and hit the freezer for about 15 minutes.

Had I know this was so easy I would have definitely made these gobs of goodness earlier. But it is what it is and now they will be made much more often. And you know my motto.!!

Slow Cooker Oatmeal

There is only one reason I made this, and that is for my husband. Five days a week he gets up at 3:15a.m. to got work. So making something for himself is pretty much out of the question. We both love oatmeal and I am the one who likes to experiment with each and every recipe. I like adding nuts, spices, fruit. But he seems to like plain ole oatmeal. Just a bit of brown sugar and vegan butter and he is good to go. Not me. I want my oatmeal to be a party going on. Not that I do not like plain oatmeal. It is fine and dandy, but nothing wrong with adding a little zip to your breakfast.

The recipes I initially searched for all used steel cut oats. And those things are grand, but I don't have any in my cupboard. I have may own bucket of oat groats and then I roll them with my machine. I figured out after a few searches that I had to redefine the search to include 'rolled oats'. Once that was done I got to about the third recipe and Whamo, we were ready to slow cook.

This is one of those recipes as with pretty much any oatmeal recipe that is very flexible. you can add spices, change the fruit and so on and so on. Make this recipe first and then start playing with different ingredients. But trust me when I say that this one is perfect as is. Now, on to the recipe.

2 apples, peeled and chopped
1 t cinnamon
1/3 cup brown sugar (I misread that and used much less and it was still fine)
2 cups rolled oats (but not quick)
4 cups water
dash of salt (I did not use this)
In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside. Add chopped apple to the bottom of the slow-cooker/crock pot. Evenly sprinkle the brown sugar mixture over the apples. Add the oats and water. This is going to be the difficult part, DO NOT STIR!  It will be the most difficult thing for you not to stir it all together. But trust me when I say that the cooking process will do that for you overnight.

I stared my crock pot on high for a few hours, then before I went to bed I checked on it and saw that it was doing very well. So I turned it down to super low and by the time my husband got up to go to work, he was good to go. I love this option so now he can have many more morning with a healthy start to his day. And as I always say,!!

Healthier Ambrosia

Where I found this recipe I am not sure, but it looks like it may have come from the Hallelujah Acres Diet website. If you have not been there, then go and take a gander. They have some really great things over there. I made this at one of my cooking classes (on a raw class) and let me tell you this was fantastic, and for many reasons. It has basic ingredients and is simple to make. Plus, it is not overpowering to the taste buds. Let me explain that last statement.So many recipes can be in-your-face, but not this one. This is delicate and simple  But simple in a good way,  not a plain boring way.

Make this and use it at anytime you desire. It could easily go form a breakfast food to a dessert. Top it with some cashew cream...yummo. So now let's get down to business.

1 apple chopped
1 orange, peeled seeded and chopped
1/4 cup blueberries
1/2 cup raisins (or any small dried fruit)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans will do in a pinch
1/2 cup flaked or shredded coconut

3 T agave or sweetener of your choosing
Juice form 1 lemon
1 T chia seeds
combine all salad ingredients in one bowl. In a separate bowl whisk together the agave and lemon juice.Stir in the chia seeds and pour over the salad. this si divine and so delicious. It is one of my favorite dishes to prepare. And as always,!!

Healthier Catalina Dressing

That is not really the title of the dressing in its original format, but this is what I am choosing to name it. And for those of us who still remember what processed foods tastes like this will definitely spark your memory. When I make things that are supposed to remind me of a dish from my past, it had very well taste like I remember. This was a happenstance of making this dressing.

For those of you who know me, I am not a lover of salads. Now now, let me explain. I love them, but not as a last ditch alternative. Let me set up a scenario for you:
Random friend: Hey, want to go out to eat?
Me: Where do you want to go?
Random Friend: How about Red Lobster?
Me: Thanks but no thanks, there really isn't much for me to eat there.
Random friend: You can have the salad.

What is screaming in my head is this:  IF THE SALAD IS SO BLINKING GOOD, THEN YOU HAVE IT!!!

But I keep my wits about me and keep quiet. Why do us vegans come off as salad loving idiots. Yes I love a good salad, but not like everyone thinks that I do. There is so much more to us than iceberg lettuce and 1,000 Island Dressing (unless you have made yours from scratch). But I am always looking for new and different dressings, so that when I do make a salad for dinner, it is not them same old thing staring us in the face. With that said, let's see what Dr. John McDougall has in store for us. I found this in a cookbook of his that I got at a flea market for $2. Worth every penny I spent on it. Now, on to the recipe.

1 t Dijon mustard
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup soy sauce (tamari or liquid aminos is my preference, since we technically do not use soy sauce any longer)
A few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a jar and shake well. I know this is a complicated dish, so if you have any questions on how to prepare this, please get in touch with me...I am here to help. REALLY!? Get one of your unused pint-sized mason jars and purchase some matching lids and rings (there are some that are quite decorative out there. Now you don't have to purchase a new-fangled bottle for dressing and you can use it over and over. AND, they are made from glass. And that is a sure sight better than using plastic.

Even my husband agreed that it reminded him of Catalina Dressing. So go and make this and as always,!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Sweet & Sour Dressing

I love finding a good bargain. And today I did. I visit flea markets, garage sales and the withdrawn section of the local library. You never now when a little gem will turn up. I was at my local flea market and they have an extensive used book section from the local county library. And they have the place nicely sectioned off. So even within the cookbook section I was able to go right to the vegetarian section. I looked through every one of them and found only one that I wanted to take home. It was only $1, so even if I got it home and hated it, I only spent a dollar and even then it was going to a good cause.

I only skimmed through the booklet and saw a few I could already use. The book was published in 1987, but if I feel the need I will make them a bit healthier, but so far so good. This is a simple recipe and here is where my DUH moment happened. I think of myself to be a decently bright person, not super intelligent, but bright. I have been racking my brain on different containers that I can store my from scratch dressings in. Then it hit me. I have tons of mason jars in my patio. Some are pint sized and others are quart sized. I saw this recipe and used on of the pint sized ones and it is a match made in heaven. So now on to the recipe.

2-3 T sugar (I used granulated)
1 t dry mustard
1/2 t salt
1/2 celery seeds
1&1/2 t minced onion
1/4 cup white vinegar (We used rice vinegar)
1/2 cup oil
Combine all thee ingredients in a jar. Cover and shake well until everything is combined. Chill and shake again. Serve over your favorite salad. I tested it before I put it on the table. It has such a good little zing. I will definitely makes this one again. And as always,!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Really Good Soup

I found this recipe like I find most of mine, either through books I have, whether they be brand new or from some place like a flea market, garage sale, or the reduced section at your local library. Scour these places folks, there are treasures EVERYWHERE!

This book was actually given to me by a friend who was cleaning out her closet and definitely not a vegetarian. The title is The Farm-Vegetarian Cookbook Revised Edition. This is a community in Tennessee that is for the most part, a commune. Oh man, what I would not give to live in a community of vegans. I wold be in hog heaven (pun completely intended). But on to this recipe.

I look at recipe sometimes, and mostly when I am in a pinch for time and see if I have all thee ingredients. Whamo, the cooking begins. Well, this was one of those recipes. I hope you like it. My husband said it reminded him of the chicken soup that his mother use to make. High praise, for my mother-in-law is a great cook.

1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 T oil
5 cups boiling water
1 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
1/4 t celery seed
1/4 cup dry TVP
1 t liquid aminos
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 T vegan butter
1-1&1/2 cups cooked brown rice
Saute onion in the oil until soft. Bring the water to boil and add salt, black pepper, celery seed, TVP, and liquid aminos. Turn down immediately and add onion. Simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the nutritional yeast, vegan butter, and rice.

This soups is so simple that is scares me. This would also do well in a slow cooker once it is cooked through. The longer it sites, the better it tastes. Great when you are feeling sick or on a cold night. Get a great slab of bread or crackle some saltines on this and go for it. And remember, as always,