Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tomato 'Can Style' Soup

It is so ironic that I found this and that it is so close to the real thing. I have a couple that comes regularly to my cooking classes at the health food store where I work. And they were looking for a tomato soup that tasted like the one they use to eat when they ate a terrible diet that included canned soup (pure garbage, all of them). And here I have found it. Is it 100% identical? Nope, but it is so close that I am truly in love. So let's get to the recipe and see what you all think. And with us in full swing of soup season, this will fit right in.

1-8oz can tomato sauce
2 cups non-dairy milk (unsweetened)
1 T cornstarch or flour
1 t crushed red pepper flakes
2T catsup
1 t onion powder
1 t chives or oregano
Salt and pepper to taste (about 1/3 t salt and just a splash of pepper)
Milk all ingredients together in a pot. Whisk constantly while you bring it to a boil. Then quickly bring it back down. Do not stop stirring, for it may spill over. Keep a close eye on it.

The catsup is what makes this dish. And you could make a thinner soup and use water instead...but why would you? I love a thick creamy soup. And if you want a thicker soup, make sure that you use cornstarch instead of flour. They both work well, but the cornstarch will definitely give it a bit more thickness.

And you might think to cut back on the pepper flakes, but don't for if you do, then you will need to increase the salt, and you do not want to do that. I grind fresh pepper in my bowl and not into the soup directly. But do what works for you. And remember, Make...eat...enjoy!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

1,000 Island Dresisng

I am rediscovering salads. Yes, most non-vegetarians assume that those of us who are, live on rabbit food. Ahhh, not true. But I have been on a salad kick lately and experimenting with some dressings and this one hit the spot I remember oh so well.

I was never a super-duper fan of 1,000 Island Dressing, but every now and then I would get a hankering for some and this brings me back to the days of eating the old fashioned stuff. So give it a try and tell me it does not taste like the real deal. And once it sits overnight...watch out!

1 cup vegan mayonnaise(we use Veganaise)
1T sweet relish (NOT dill)
1/2 cup catsup (yep I spell it that way)
1 t onion powder (do not omit)
Throw all ingredients into a food processor and have at it. You will love this. And so much better the next day. If it were me, I would double this one right form the get go, that way you do not run out when you really need it! Make...eat...enjoy!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Vegan 'Egg' Nog

A long while back, Vegetarian Times did a survey and asked its' readers what they most would like to have converted to vegan. And the #1 requested dish was egg nog. Who'd a thunk it? And yet, you can now purchase them right in your grocery store or make your own. And making your own is so simple that it is scary. So let's get down to business...shall we?

2-10.5 oz packages, silken tofu(soft)
16 0z milk alternative (pick which one you like)
1T+1t vanilla extract
1/4 cup sugar(I, myself would bump it up a wee bit for my next time out)
2T brown sugar
1/4t ground turmeric
1/2-1 cup brandy(optional)(may need more depending on the company you have)
Nutmeg, for garnish
In a blender of food processor, combine all ingredients:except for nutmeg.  Blend thoroughly, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the blender or processor. Chill and serve. And as always, make...eat...enjoy!

Spicy Moroccan Carrots

I cannot beleieve how I have neglected ny blog. But I hope to get back in the game. I have been teaching vegan classes (both raw and cooking) at my local health food store (where I work) and they have been jammed. What a joy to see so many faces out there trying to change how they eat. And the dishes we have made recently have been dead on fantastic. Meaning, that they have been super delicious.

I have been making holiday dishes since October and what a treat for all of us. For I have had to do some research and step up my 'A' game to make sure that what we are making is presentable to new friends and family. There is nothing more depresisng to try and show non-vegetarians how good our food is when you have no new or good dishes to pull from. Hopefully I can help you all with that. So now on to these unbelieveable carrots.

We found these Thanksgiving morning and knew we had to make them. We did and have never looked back. Make these for your friends and family and they will love you forever.

1&1/2 -2 pounds carrots (sliced, with some thickness to them)
6-7 cloves garlic, minced (do not skimp on this)
1/4 t cayene (anymore will take away from the joy of this dish)
1T cumin
1/2 bunch parsley, curly or flat will do
1 bunch cilantro
Juice of 1 lemon
2T vinegar (we prefer a lighter version. I would not use red wine vinegar)
1T olive oil
Salt to taste (you do not need much)
Clean carrots and chop as desired, we do not peel ours, but you can if you wish. You can boil in 1/2 cup of water for 7-10 minutes or put them in a steamer. which ever you prefer. You do not want them mushy.

While this is going on, take all the other ingredients and throw them in the food processer. Whirl until you have a well bleneded sauce. Remember to keep scraping the sides of the bowl down. We have made this both hot and chilled, either is fine and dandy. My personal preference is the hot dish, but I would not push away them as the chilled version.

So remember, make...eat...enjoy!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Citrus Dressing

We were making dinner last night and cleaning out the fridge and the produce bin, trying to use up as much fresh produce before we had to put it in the compost bin or in the freezer for future soup stock.

With that in mind I picked through and weeded out all the veggies in the drawer and had a salad, ready to go. Except for one thing. I was not in the mod for bottled dressing. Even if you go with the 'healthier' versions, you are still eating processed food. But I knew I could find something better.

I had quite a few oranges left over from my organic produce co-op and did not want to lose them. So, through the power of the internet, I started searching for a citrus dressing. On about the 3rd hit I found one I liked and had all the ingredients for(very important in this house). I did have to alter one ingredient though, for I do not use honey, but thank the stars above for agave. This was so simple and the lightness and freshness was unbelievable. So here goes. And trust me when I say this will be a staple for my salads.

1/3 cup agave
1/3 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 1 good orange)
1/4 Dijon style mustard
1-2 T olive oil (optional)
Add the first three ingredients in a bowl and whisk together until well blended. Then slowly drizzle in the oil and keep on whisking. That is it.

This one is so simple it scares me. And this is what I keep telling folks who are moving over to a healthier diet. Do-it-slowly! You did not get unhealthy over-night, you will not get healthy over night. But think of how good you will feel once you get there. So go make this and remember, make...eat...enjoy!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pumpin Pie Smoothie

It can be Thanksgiving all year round...if you want it to be. Well, I am about to show you how this can be done. By making this pumpkin smoothie. I do not remember how I came across these 2 women, but suffice it to say they are a hoot. They are the kind of people who make you want to eat healthy. With that said, let's start gearing up for the holidays and try some new and tasty foods. Let's begin...shall we? But before I let you read the recipe I want you to know where I found this great smoothie. I got it from The Plant Based Dietitian. They have so many little videos and so easy to follow. You cannot resist these two women. They are real and just so full of life. You will see once you visit their website.
16 ounces-unsweetened almond milk
2 bananas-frozen
Dates to taste (I am going 4-5ish)
1T alcohol free vanilla
1-14oz can pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1T pumpkin pie spice (or 2T cinnamon & 1/2 t nutmeg)
Ice-if needed
Throw all of these things together in a blender and viola, it can be the holidays all year round. I have made this and my husband and myself did not leave any for my children to sample...Awwwwww! Ain't that a shame? Not! So give this a try and you will see just how refreshing yet soothing this lovely little gem truly is. Make...eat...enjoy!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Raw Chocolate Fruit Balls

A little piece of heaven I shall call these globes of goodness. I made these tonight for my raw food class and they went wild. Now, I have made a few different variations of these and bar none, these have been the best thus far. Trust me on this one. I found these on VegWeb. A truly great site for those new to veganism. They have tens of thousands of recipes to pick from. And how they have them broke down is just a breeze to sift through. So go take a gander at the site, you will not be disappointed.
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
1 cup nuts (choose any combination you so desire)
1/2 cup chopped dates (use medjool dates and you can soak them for a little bit so they puree better)
1/2 cup apricots, chopped
1/2 cup raisins
2 T unsweetened cocoa powder (use nibs if you want a bit more texture)
1/8 t almond extract
1 T fresh orange juice
Mix the coconut and cinnamon together and set aside in a small bowl.  Place all thee other ingredients in the food processor, except for the orange juice. Process, adding the OJ until you get a firm not but hard dough mixture.

Have a small bowl of water near by to be able to dunk your hands in so not to have the dough mixture stick to your hands. If you want to help keep the size of the balls even, you can use a tablespoon measure and then roll out the balls in your hand, then roll them in the coconut mixture.

Transfer to a plate and refrigerate for at least 1 hour so they have time to chill and firm up a bit. Serve and watch the smile creep onto folks faces. Make...eat...enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spicy Hashbrown Soup

This is one of those that has an odd ring to it, but if you give it a chance, it just might grow on you. I loved this from the get go, but no one here liked it at all. I will make it again, but I won't have to share. Awwww, ain't that just too bad.

1&1/2 cups hash browns(we shredded our own potatoes)
1-2 T olive oil
1 cup water
3-6 pickled jalapeno slices
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
In a skillet heat oil if you are NOT using a non-stick skillet, to a medium-medium high heat. Heat potatoes until they are crisp on both sides.

Add water, jalapenos and nutritional yeast and stir until the flakes are blended.

Let heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add slat and pepper to taste.

This is so simple it scares me. And even though my family did not like this one. I loved it for its taste and quirkiness. So try it and see what you think. and as always, make...eat...enjoy.

Everything Jumbalaya

I promised this to a customer I spoke to in connection to my health food store. I surely thought I had posted this,but alas, that was not to be. So here I am after a day of playing catch-up from a want-to-be migraine and now I am on a roll of so many chores that have just fallen by the wayside, and this blog being one of those chores.
So on to this delicious dish. Who doesn't love jambalaya. I use to, until I became a vegetarian. Traditional jambalaya is racked with animal products. But my daughter happened upon a great dish she snatched form The Food Network and we veganized it. And what a lovely dish it is now. I know those who consume traditional jambalaya will say this dish has to have meat to survive. We have disproved that saying and gone one step farther. Ours would stand up against any traditional jambalaya on any day of the week. So go ahead, make this dish and say I am wrong. And for the record, I usually do not like complicated or lengthy recipes, but every once in a while there is one that falls into its own category...this is one of those dishes. so save it for a special occasion or when company comes over and you will not be disappointed.

2 cups brown rice(uncooked)
1 T olive oil
1 T vegan butter
1 block of extra firm tofu(pressed & cubed)
1 package of sausage(Italian if you have it, we use Tofurkey, but use your favorite)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 ribs of celery, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Several drops of hot sauce or 2 pinches of cayenne pepper
2-3 T all-purpose flour
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice
1 (14 ounce) container vegetable broth(or your own homemade)
1 t cumin
1 rounded t chili powder
1 t poultry seasoning(there is no meat in poultry seasoning)
1 t vegan Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped scallion for garnish(optional)
Fresh thyme, chopped for garnish(optional)
Cook rice according to directions.

Place a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and butter to the pan. Add cubed tofu to heated oil and butter. Brown tofu for approx. 3-5 minutes. Add onion, celery, green pepper, bay leaf and cayenne.

Saute vegetables for 5 minutes. Sprinkle flour over pan and cook for 1-2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and broth. Season with cumin, chili powder, poultry seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Bring liquids to a boil. This is best when it slow cooks for a few hours. But be careful for the tofu has a tendency to fall apart if cooked too long. so no more than a few hours on a low slow heat. And served over rice it delicious.

If you want to jazz it up a bit, add some wild rice to your regular rice and have even more fun. So make...eat...enjoy!

A Dear Passing

Well I am ready to get back to posting more. I have been dealing with some life issues. For one, my sisters husband passed away very unexpectedly and it was due to his health. She had begged him for years to take off the weight (which he was morbidly obese), but he never did.
His entire family had serious weight issues and not one of them did a darned thing about it, and it killed them all. And to add insult to injury, two of them got so huge in their final years that they could not even got off the recliner, for the most part. that is not living, that is existing.

So not only is my sister going through the normal anger that goes along with grieving, she is dealing with a second anger, which is related to his not heading her words to get the weight off.

I still hear people say that heart disease runs in my family. Well that is the biggest lie this side of the Mississippi. Heart disease runs in those who eat garbage. And my brother-in-law proved that...with his life.

I am on a deeper mission to get myself even healthier now. I was never worried that I would perish form any of the diseases brought on by eating incorrectly, but I need to step it up a bit. So get ready for some new and as always healthy recipes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vegan Ranch Dressing

To say I was a ranch dressing fan would be a false statement. Does that mean I never used it on my salads? No, I would occasionally use that flavor, but if I had other choices, I would opt for something else. With that said, I would like to introduce to you one of thee best vegan alternatives to traditional ranch dressing. I, of course, found it on VegWeb. But I found it quite by accident. Yes, I was looking for a new dressing, but not a ranch one in particular. But there it was staring at me and I had all of thee ingredients.
I am giving you thee altered recipe, for thee original was a bit too runny for all our tastes. And if I had read the reviews, then I too would have seen that the general consensus was the same as mine. But you do not have to go through that same mistake, I am giving you thee updated version. So try it and see how truly right I am.

1/4-1/2 cup non-dairy milk(use plain unsweetened if you have it)
1 cup vegan mayo(We use Veganaise)
1 t each, garlic and onion powder
2-3 T red wine vinegar
1 T fresh or dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Throw all ingredients into a blender/food processor and whirl until smooth.
If you like it thicker, and more like a dip, then stick closer to the 1/4 mark of milk. But if you prefer it more like a dressing, then go closer to the 1/2 mark.
I tell you that is all you have to do. And both my husband and daughter could not believe how close to the real thing it truly was. When all three of us agree on something, we know we have a winner. So, make...eat...enjoy!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Golden Spicy Cauliflower

Wow, I cannot believe I have not posted in such a long time. Never fear, all is good. But suffice it to say I have been very busy, and in a good way. But you don't want to read about all the fun stuff in my life, you want new recipes, and man do I have more than a few to add here. So let's get started.

I have rejoined an organic co-op. It is a bi-weekly pick-up and the produce rotates every time. the prices are very comparable to what is out in the store, but what I like most about it, is that every time you are getting different items. Which means you are forced to try new dishes. Awwwww, what a shame. NOT!

I have already gone through at least 1/3 of my produce already and 1 week has not gone by. I may have to bump to an every week pick-up. But now on to this lovely new dish I discovered. Cauliflower. LOVE-IT! In any way, shape, or form. But I of course, wanted something new and different. Enter Dr. John McDougall. I had picked up one of his and his wife's cookbook at a flea market. Best $2 I ever spent.

I went scouring for something with cauliflower and found it, but I was on crunch time and had to make sure I had all or at least most of the ingredients. Viola! In comes this recipes, save for the onions, I had everything in my pantry or fridge. Wow! I loved this dish. I got home late last night after having made the dish, ran out for a meeting that ran Waaaay too late and had dinner at 9:30 at night. Served it over some brown rice and I just may have it for breakfast this morning...just kidding.

Make this, but do not be fooled by how spicy it looks, for the flavors end up melding together and coming off brilliantly for sure. Make it and call me in the morning.

1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2-3 T grated ginger
1 cup water
2 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 bunch scallions, chopped
2 T rice vinegar
2T soy sauce
1/2 t ground turmeric
Freshly ground pepper

Place the cauliflower, garlic, and ginger in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of the water. Cook, stirring, occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes longer. Stir occasionally during cooking to prevent the cauliflower from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Now, one would think that with not 1 drop of fat in this dish it would taste bad. Oh no, this was divine and I cannot wait to make it again and again and again. Make...eat...enjoy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Spinach Hummus

Well, who knew spinach could be made into hummus? I didn't know. But I do now. This last Raw Class I was scrambling at the last minute, which I usually try not to do. And when I do look for recipes for my class, I definitely keep them simple and gadget friendly. Meaning, I do not use recipes that use dehydrators, or high-powered blenders. I want people to see that eating healthy DOES NOT have to be expensive, save for the food itself.

I would rather spend a little extra now then be pumped up on TONS of medication the pharmecuticals fell we need. But if we just changed how we ate, we would not be in the mess of health this country is in. Look at all thee other countries around the world that live on whole foods. You do not see their countries ravaged with obesity, cancer or diabetes. Why is that? Well, it is because so many compnaies here are trying to sell you a load of crap and tell you that Cheerios is a nutritional breakfast. Have fun with that. It is a business and if they do not sell their product they have no jobs. So they will bend the facts so far past realism that you would think eating insect wings is good for you, because they paid some scientist to say it is so.

You know what has to be done, go with your gut (no pun inteded) and just eat whole, organic food and the rest will take care of itself. Now on to this delicious reipe. I will not acept any mariage proposals after you have made and eaten this. And I do want to give credit where credit is due. I found this lovely gem at VegWeb! I love that place.
1 clove garlic (put through a press)
2 to 3 cups spinach
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 to 4 tablespoons raw tahini (or regualr tahini if you are not a hard core raw foodist)
olive oil, as needed (mine equaled about 1 T)

Place garlic and spinach in food processor and process until minced finely.  Add lemon juice and tahini and blend until the consistency of hummus. You can add olive oil if needed, but the spinach and tahini should be enough.  For me I needed just a very small touch of oil.

I have fallen in love all over again with this recipe. I already love spinach, I just love it more now. Make...eat...enjoy!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Breakfast Quinoa

Well I will openly admit that for the longest time I was not a huge fan of quinoa. Yep, I will openly admit it now. And I know what the problem was. In the beginning I was not cooking my quinoa long enough. Now I know better. With that said, let me inform you that if your quinoa has not opened up its little tail and separated form the grain itself, then you have not cooked your quinoa long enough.

I was looking for some new breakfast cereal (not boxed) and I am so over all the tried and true we have here. In walks quinoa. I was looking through Sarah Kramer's book, 'La Dolce Vegan' and looked through the breakfast section and out pops this quinoa recipe. I had all thee ingredients ( a big one in my home) and viola, 15 minute later we were eating breakfast.

So let's make this dish and you can thank me in the morning.

1&1/2 cups non-dairy milk
1/2 cup quinoa (remember to rinse VERY well)
1/4 cup raisins (I would add more next time)
1/2 cup fresh fruit (your choice)
Ina medium saucepan on high heat, bring the milk to a boil. Reduce heat immediately and add the quinoa and raisins. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes. Remember, once the tail has separated from the grain, you are good to go. Add a touch of sweetener (if you like) and maybe a dab of vegan butter and or some nuts of your choice.

This was beyond scrumptious. I would make this again in a heart-beat. And now I have one more hot grain I can add to my already lengthy hot cereals for my morning food. Make...eat...enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

That's Life

I can hear Ole Blue Eyes singing away. But that is not what I am referring to. And for those of you who may not know who ole blue eyes is referring to...Google the name. With that out of the way, let me tell you that I found this recipe quite by accident. And some times the best things come from accidents. AND, I found it on VegWeb, one of my most loved sites to find recipes.

My husband is home with a small injury. He is fine...hopefully but with him being home, he is getting cabin fever and if I do not have some healthy things for him to munch on, he may start asking for someone to bring home crappy snacks, hence my making 2 desserts today. One of them was my black bean brownies. And if you have not made them yet, then please do so, you will not regret it. And thee other was this new recipe I found.

If I am making a new recipe, and moreso on a whim, thee only thing I am looking for is if I have all thee ingredients...nothing more...nothing less. Well, this such a recipe fit that criteria. Now, is it the healthiest recipe in the world? Nope, but we all have our vices, plus hubby was/is not feeling well, men are such babies, and in the marriage contract I agreed to make him sweets when he was sick. Naaah, just kidding, but it sounded good. So now, on to this recipe.

1 cup cinnamon flavored cereal(I used Cinnamon Life)
1/2 cup sugar (I used succanat)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup nondairy milk (I used Almond Breeze Vanilla flavor)
1 t vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets. In a large bowl, with a potato-like masher, mash the cinnamon flavored cereal until it resembles crumbs. Mix in the sugar.

In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add and combine the dry ingredient mixture to the cereal and sugar mixture.

Add the vegetable oil, milk, and vanilla extract into the rest of the ingredients and mix together until no more flour-powdery-substance is visible.

Spoon cookies onto prepared cookie sheets, and roll each cookie into a round ball. Bake for about 15 minutes (give or take), depending on your oven. Rotate cookie sheets between upper and lower oven racks halfway through baking.

Now...I did find these just a wee bit on the crumbly side. But no so much so that I would not make them again. And, if they are too crumbly for you, as a cookie, then let them be crumbles and sprinkle them on top of vegan ice cream. Ahhh, what a shame for a cookie to have to top ice cream, Ahhhhhhh!! Make...eat...enjoy!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creamy-Not Always Coleslaw-Dressing

That 'Not Always' part, I added myself. I wanted a homemade salad dressing that my husband will eat. He is still buying bottled dressings. And from Kraft of all companies. Ick! Anyhow, I was going through La Dolce Vegan who is the How it All Vegan authoress', and found this oh so simple dressing. Yes yes, it is meant for coleslaw, but where in the world of veganism is there a rule book that says this 'has' to go over shredded cabbage...yeah, just what I thought.

With that said, I loved this recipe. It has a wee bit of a bite to it, but best of all, my hubby loved it!!! So make it and love me for it later...and Sarah Kramer also.

3/4 cup vegan mayo
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 T sugar (your choice, just not brown)
1 T fresh parsley, minced (we were out and it was still great)
1 t dried oregano
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground black pepper
 In a jar or dressing bottle, combine all thee ingredients. Shake well, with the cap on of course and pour on your favorite salad. Makes about 1 cup. My hubby liked this one, as did I, this one will definitely be made again, for sure. Make...eat...enjoy!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cucumber-Cilantro Soup

I am definitely making up for lost time. I am always scouring sites for recipes I can use when teaching my raw food classes. I happened upon this really great recipe on, of course, VegWeb. The ease to this recipe is scary. And that is what is all about for me at least in the raw world.

So many people want to try it, but feel if they do not have a $700 dehydrator, or a $600 blender, that they cannot go raw. Yes, it is great to have those items, but for those of us who cannot then it is still do-able for sure. In walks the Cooking Lady.

Think gazpacho when you eat this soup. It is cold but it could be served at any time of the year, and more so if you live in Florida. Try this and trust me, you will not regret it one little bit.

2 cups chopped cucumber (about 1 large cucumber)
1 & 1/4 cups water
1 avocado
1/2 cup cilantro
1 T lemon juice
2 t agave or any liquid sweetener
2 t apple cider vinegar(If you have not tried Braggs vinegar, then do so)
1 clove garlic (run through a garlic press)
1/2-3-4 t salt
Now here comes the complicated part. Put all ingredients in a food processor and process until ingreditinets become smooth.

That's it. Please make this. It is so simple and so enjyoable. You will not regret it. Make...eat...enjoy!

Best Vegan Mac & Cheese

What has to be thee ultimate comfort food? Macaroni and cheese, without a doubt. And I have been searching high and low for one that fits the bill. We were doing all right and doing with, but I had just not found that real gutsy, stick-to-your-ribs type of mac and cheese. Step back folks for I have found the perfect recipe. Oh no, I did not do this one on my own, for I am still dabbling with this veganism. But there is a cute story to go with this recipe (as with so many of my dishes).

I was at work (my local health food store) and I always look at what folks purchase. And when I see enough veggie stuff, the first question I ask them is, 'Who is the vegetarian/vegan in the house?' and they usually tell me...conversation started. So this one young woman came through and we started up a lively conversation and I informed her that the one dish I had not quite mastered as a vegan yet was mac & cheese. 'I have the perfect recipe for you.' she tells me. 'There is this site you have to go to and check it out.' And of course I ask which site and she tells me VegWeb. I tell her to stop right there, and that I already know which recipe she is talking about.

Right about that time we both quote the recipes title. Waaait for it: Best Vegan Mac and Cheese In The Entire World...Seriously. I am not kidding that is the title. And they are so correct. So many poeple have altered the recipe but I have not. Thee only thing I have done is cut back just a tad on the say sauce and thee oil. But other than that keep it as it is, unless you find you want to change it after you have made it a time or two.

I would be hard pressed for anyone not to go back for seconds or thirds for that matter. And when the kids go back for more, then you know you have a winner.

1&1/2 pounds macaroni (dry)(preferably elbows)

Cheese Sauce:
1 & 1/2 cups 'unsweetened' non-dairy milk
1 & 1/2 cups nutritional yeast
1 cup of oil
1 cup water
1/3 cup soy sauce or tamari
1/4 (12 ounce) block firm (not silken) tofu
1 T garlic powder
1 T paprika
1/2 T salt (may eventually use less)
Dollop of mustard (Use whatever you have on hand)
Boil your macaroni according to package direction. While the pasta is boiling, make your sauce. Once the pasta is drained, pour into a large lasagan pan. Add all cheese ingredients to a blender or food processor and whirl until blended.

Pour cheese sauce over macaroni. Here is where it gets a little different. You will need to fold the sauce into the macaroni. Meaning that you to turn it over and over until it is thoroughly combined. This will take more than just a few stirs. Rotate the pan if you have to, but do it.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Yeah, you heard right 15 minutes. This dish is the Rachel Ray of healthy food. Make...eat...enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ginger 'Chicken'

Yeah yeah yeah, you all know I do not eat chicken. But when you are transitioning form eating meat to vegetarianism and then from vegetarianism to veganism, you still want that connection the things you remember eating. that does not mean you want to remember how those meals got to you plate, they were familiar to you and most of the times there were good memories involved around eating time (hopefully).

With that said, I found this little recipe quite by accident. At the health food store I work at, there is a rack of books that I browse through when it is slower. I take away tid bits of information from these cookbooks and sometimes I fall upon a recipe that piques my interest so much that I know that I just have to make that recipe. Well this is that recipe.

This one is not very complicated and if you are already on the road to health then thee ingredients will not come off as odd. I have all these items in my pantry 99% of the time.

I will, however, admit that this is a bit time consuming. So be ready to be in the kitchen. This is one of those meals that you make to show folks just how good vegan food can truly be. From beginning to end, you are looking at about 1&1/2-2 hours. that is from start to dinner table.

Please read thee instructions carefully. I did not on my first time. I did not ruin the dish, but it got better the second and now even the third time making the dish. I love this dish. But the one thing I have not done is change the spices. The spices you see here, give it a classic chicken feel/flavor. And if you are someone who is in the kitchen then you will recognize by name and then by smell the traditional poultry seasoning spices. Ahhh, the small of is intoxicating. Reminds me of Thanksgiving. Anyhow, on to the recipe.

I almost forgot, I found this in the How It All Vegan 10th Anniversary edition book. Excellent book. I can't wait to add it to my collection. Read on-make-eat-enjoy.

Mock 'Chicken':
1 cup wheat gluten 'flour' (may need to purchase at a health food store)
1 cup water

4 cups water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1/4 cup soy or tamari sauce (we use low sodium versions)
2 t onion powder
2 t dried sage
1 t dried thyme
1/4 t salt

Ginger Dish/Sauce:
3 3-inch pieces of fresh ginger, peeled into paper-thin coins ( I minced mine)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup soy or tamari sauce
2 t corn starch
1/4 cup water
2 green onions, finely chopped

In a medium bowl, stir together the wheat gluten flour and water until it becomes elastic. Knead for 5 minutes and set aside.

In a large saucepan, bring all the broth ingredients to a boil. Slice gluten into 1 inch chunks(or strips, whatever style you want is fine) and drop carefully into broth. Reduce heat, cover with lid and let simmer for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until broth has reduced.

In a large pot on medium-high heat, saute the ginger in oil for 3-4 minutes or until ginger starts to soften and change color. Add 'chicken' chunks and saute 2-3 minutes more, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add the say sauce, cover pot with lid, and turn down heat to medium. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the sauce evenly coats the ingredients.

Once the 'chicken' is cooked, stir together the corn starch and water in a small bowl. Add to pot and stir together well until sauce is thickened. Place 'chicken' in a large serving bowl, garnish with green onions, and serve with rice. You can also add some steamed veggies and have a very colorful meal. Please enjoy, we always do.

Friday, January 7, 2011

All American Cole Slaw

I cannot believe I have not posted this recipe. I looked all over my own blog, for I was wanting to make it thee other day. And since we are revamping our recipe book here at our house, our papers were a bit scattered. Since I did not find it here, I had no choice but to ruffle through the papers. Luckily for you folks we found it.

This is as All American as you can get. I have always loved cole slaw. But they are either dripping in regular mayonnaise, or made by companies I no longer support. (Case in point, KFC)

When we found this, oh so long ago, we fell in love. The simplicity and thee ability to veganize it was simple stupid.

1&1/2 pounds green cabbage(purple if you feel adventurous)
3 T malt vinegar (I have substituted with rice wine)
1/4 t salt
2 medium carrots, peeled and grated
2/3 cup vegan mayonnaise (We use Veganaise)
1-2 t celery seed (Optional, but I find it is must)
In a small bowl, mix together the vinegar, salt, mayo and celery seed. Set aside. This way it mixes more smoothly into your slaw.

Chop or process your cabbage to the consistency your family likes. Add to a medium/large bowl. Pour your mayo mixture over the slaw. I recommend at least 30 minutes of sitting time, but you can just as easily put it right on the table. Enjoy this, we love it here.

Sweet And Sour Sauce

One of the easiest and quickest ways to get veggies into your system and diet is via a stir fry. We could live on them here, in this house. They are easy to prepare, but do require quite a bit of chopping. Depending on how much you make, you can use the modern conveniences of man and whirl stuff down in a food processor. I still do some chopping thee old fashioned way...by hand. I can see putting a half a green pepper in a chopper.

My daughter usually does the stir fry. However, she was working a bit of a later shift and I was off. And, it being her first day of college, I asked her what she wanted in way of special dinner. Egg rolls she said, not batting an eye. Her and my husband are not vegans. So, when I went to purchase egg roll wrappers I read thee ingredients and I knew then it would just be stir fry for me. And that was not a complaint. I had some vegetables in the fridge already but did pick up a few more. We, in this house, find that any stir fry needs to have cabbage...color irrelevant.

What I was needing, was a stir fry sauce, for my daughter has her stir fry sauce in her head and she was working. So off to VegWeb I go. It takes very little to find recipes there, for they are easily divided into categories. And categories they have. If they don't have it, you don't need it.

I am just about to the point now that I can look at a recipe and see if it is going to work or not. I took the plunge. I will 'NEVER' make another sauce for my Asian food again. This was incredible. And I served it over brown jasmine rice. I can now die a happy woman. Make this and know you have experienced Nirvana.

1T cornstarch
1/3 cup vegan brown sugar
1/2 t freshly grated ginger (either use a microplaner or hand grater)
1 T soy sauce or tamari
1/4 c rice wine vinegar (well worth having in your pantry)
1/4 c veggie broth
Mix together the tamari, vinegar and broth. Set aside. Mix separately the brown sugar and cornstarch. Add the corn starch mixture to the liquids. Once mixed thoroughly add the grated ginger.

If you mix this early enough, you can keep stirring it every time you pass the bowl, making sure the sugar is completely dissolved, but not a necessity. Plus the flavors marry. Pour this over the veggies you are cooking up for your stir fry. It will thicken pretty quickly. but that is to be expected.

I am still happy and am looking forward to left-overs today. Eat this, and often.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bran Muffins

Most folks do not get enough fiber in their diets. And yes, you can buy that powdered crap, but who wants to drink that goo. I say bring on the bran muffins.

Here is where a few folks make a very big mistake. Yes, add fiber to your diet. Yes there is more than one way to add fiber to your diet. Yes, muffins are fun to make and eat, for they are so interchangeable. But, what you have to remember, is that fiber pulls moisture/water from your system. So, if you are not drinking enough water to flush the fiber through your system, you are going to get clogged up. Yeah, no one likes to talk about poo, but it's a fact of life, we all have to go poo. And we all know it is much nicer when we go more easily. So there I said it. Eat more fiber, while drinking enough water to flush fiber and your poo is better.

Now let's make some muffins.

1 & 1/2 cups oat bran
1 & 1/4 cup liquid, (non-dairy milk, water, juice)(I used milk)
1/3 cup liquid sweetener such as agave or maple syrup (adjust to taste)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup flour (preferably a whole grain flour)
1 T baking powder
1/2 cup fruit (optional)
1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 400.

Mix together the bran, milk, sweetener, and oil. Let stand for a few minutes. Sift in flour and baking powder. Mix thoroughly. Add nuts and fruit.

Spoon into your muffin tins. Oil slightly if not using muffin paper. Bake for 22 minutes or until slightly browned on the top.

These came out tasting great, but just a wee bit dry. But not so much that I would alter the recipe. I might add some applesauce next time to add a bit of moisture to them, but not necessary. Enjoy them. We are.

Lemony Lentil Soup

I love soup. And for many different reasons. First off, I did not find my love for soups until I lived up north way back in the day. Yes, this native Floridian was transplanted to the great white north for about 3 & 1/2 years. And I loved it tremendously.

You have to keep in mind that I only knew of snow and the such through movies and post cards. So for me to see it first hand was just an incredible experience. I think everyone should experience snow. It is truly amazing.

Back to food. Soups. Ahhh, yes, these lovely little concoctions can be a meal in and of themselves. You got that right. If you have enough goodies in them, all you need is a beverage to wash it down and lest we for get thee ever popular bread on the side. Pick a bread...any bread and you are good to go. There may be more than a few who feel that this is just a precursor to an entire meal. Hogwash I say. If you look at some soup recipes, you will see for yourself that that are a meal in a bowl Alllriiight, serve it over some noodles or rice, which ever suits your fancy. But know this. It is not necessary. And as of late, I found this one on VegWeb.

1 cup green or brown lentils (dry)
4-6 cups veggie broth
1 bay leaf
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
1/2 t salt
1/2 t curry powder
1 medium onion, about 1/3 cup, finely chopped
olive oil as needed
1/2 - 1 cup brown rice (uncooked)
1 - 2 lemons
Pick through lentils, clearing out all debris. Then rinse thoroughly. In a large soup pot, add your broth along with your lentils, bring to a boil.

Lower the heat to a low steady full boil, but not a full rolling boil. Add the bay leaf, oregano, curry powder, pepper, and salt. Cover and cook for 25 minutes.

While the soup is cooking saute the onion and rice in your olive oil. Coat your pan with enough oil that the rive and onion do not stick, but not so much they are swimming in thee oil. About 5-6 minutes. Once your timer has gone off, add your rice/onion mixture and cook for another 20 minutes. Remove bay leaf.

Serve hot and with a dash of lemon. If you think lemon sounds odd in this soup. Put your wrinkled nose aside and trust me on this one. Once you have had this soup, you will not be able to eat it without the lemon. Now go make this and name your first born after me as thanks.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Vegan Potatoe Pancakes

I hope everyone is having a safe and healthy New Year. I know I was in bed early on the eve for I had laryngitis to deal with. Plus, I had a 2 hour drive down to Miami on the 1st. With that said, I have been looking over my recipe box on the VegWeb website and I have been making about one new recipe per week, sometimes more. I feel very good about that. Be honest with yourself when you answer this question.

When was the last time you made a new dish? How long ago was that dish? And what are you doing to find and make new dishes? Well, once you find your answer may I suggest you get off your duffs and start scouring my blog. I have hundreds of recipe all falling into a multitude of categories. And I am adding new categories all the time. that means, to me at least, that I am expanding my cooking realm.

But let's move on to this oh so simple recipe. Many of my recipes are a last minute effort to put something on the table that I have most of the ingredients for. This is one of those that i usually am not without...potatoes. We live on potatoes. So many folks are fearful of carbs. I embrace them. People say we shouldn't eat so many carbs. Well yeah, if you are eating Wonder Bread and McDonald's french fries. But if you consume complex carbs, you are going to be fine. Trust me, I just proved it.

I am not one to step on a scale, and I don't think I have stepped on one in over 1 year. But in order to join the high school kids on the food journal I had to punch in some statistics. My weight being one of them. So, I broke out our homes old scale, stepped on, stepped off, stepped back on, stepped off, then called my son. I asked him to step on so I could see his weight. And sure as all get out his weight was correct. Well that made me tickled pink. that meant that since going vegan I had dropped 10 pounds without even trying. So there you have it, from a woman who LIVES on carbs, you can still take off the weight and have your carbs. If anyone tells you otherwise, they are bold face lying to you.

2 egg replacers (4 T water, 4 t baking powder, and 2 T olive oil)
2 T flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/4 t ground pepper
4 potatoes, peeled and shredded
3 t onion powder or 1/2 onion minced
1/4 olive oil
Mix together the egg replacer in the order it is given, taking care to let the baking powder and water stop fizzing, then slowly add your oil. then set aside.

In a large bowl, add the 'eggs', flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Add the onion powder or your onion, mix until combined. Add your potatoes.

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Carefully drop about tablespoon size batter balls into the grease. some folks suggest to flatten your mixture, but I did not feel the need to do this. Turn once bottom side has browned, making sure not to let them burn.

these were great, simple and quick. what more could you ask for? Nothing!!