Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegan (AND RAW) Citrus-y Salad

Where I live we have this great Natural Foods Grocery Store that has a little hot bar, deli, and prepared salads area.  Well, let me tell you, if I could afford it, I would eat there EVERYDAY!!!  They have this "salad" that they call "Citrus Greens"  It's kale, some chunks of citrus, a great, light dressing.  The best part is, the health factor!

Kale, is one of the healthiest vegetables as it has so many nutrients that help to lower cholesterol, cancer risk, plus it's chock full of antioxidants and helps aid the body in natural detoxification.  Not to mention the 3 kinds of citrus fruit in this salad.  Can you say Vitamin C?! Lypocene also comes in this salad, which helps the body fight off free radicals that can cause cancer. So, make this salad and eat it a lot I promise you won't feel guilty eating it!  I'm going to try and get some nutrition facts on this salad too so you can see just how healthy it is.  I changed the recipe a little (from their website) to work with what I had in my kitchen, still came out great.  I will post my substitutions in parentheses, in case you don't have some of the ingredients on hand.

1 Red Bell Pepper, Julienned 1/8" (I used a yellow one)
5 Bunches of Kale, Cleaned & Trimmed with Ribs Removed (2lb bag of chopped kale)
1/2 lb Grapefruit, Peeled & Seeded Cut into 1/2" Pieces (1 large grapefruit)
1/2 lb Oranges, Peeled & Seeded Cut into 1/2" Pieces (4 oranges)
2 TBS White Wine Vinegar (2.5 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar)
1/4 c Lemon Juice
1/4 c Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp White Pepper
2 TBS Agave Nectar

In a large (very large) bowl combine bell pepper, kale, grapefruit, and oranges.

In a food processor combine the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and agave nectar.  Blend
until completely emulsified.  Pour the dressing over the salad and toss to dress.  Allow it to sit for at
least an hour before serving, doing so allows the dressing to "break down" the kale which removes
the overly bitter taste raw kale has.

Side Note:  I plugged this recipe in to a calorie counter online.  If you were to eat this as a side, (so that this makes enough for 10 servings) 113 calories per serving, 6 grams of fat, 2 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrate. 149% Vitamin A, 176% Vitamin C, 11% Calcium, and 6% Iron.  So yeah, I'd say eat up because this is super healthy.  Not like when you go to a salad bar and douse it in super fatty salad dressing!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

Ice Cream.  The bane of my hips' existence! I love ice cream... probably a little too much.  I admit that I am guilty of buying a carton of ice cream, sitting down to a good chick-flick, and realizing halfway through the movie, that I am out of ice cream.  

Becoming vegan, didn't change my love for ice cream.  So I went straight to the freezer section of my grocery store and found So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream.  IT IS SO GOOD!! Try the mocha almond fudge flavor.  DELICIOUS.  But tonight after dinner BF and I were in the mood for something sweet and cold (we do live in Florida).  Unfortunately we didn't have any ice cream in the freezer.  I remembered reading about people making ice cream from frozen bananas.  Well frozen bananas we did have!  So we attempted our own frozen banana ice cream and it was AWESOME!  The other thing that was so great... one batch equals just enough for one serving.  No more overeating!!!  Are you drooling yet?  Good!  Go stick some bananas in your freezer right now! (they need to be completely frozen for this to be right... overnight is best)  This chocolate flavor has 3 ingredients and takes 3 minutes to make!

2 Frozen bananas 
2 TBSP cocoa powder
1 TBSP maple syrup

Chunk the bananas and put them in a food processor with the cocoa powder and maple syrup.  Pulse until consistency of soft serve ice cream/frozen yogurt.  Scoop out with a spoon or ice cream scoop and enjoy!! 

Another great thing about this is it's super versatile!  I added about a TBSP of peanut butter in mine.  But you could add chocolate chips, omit the cocoa powder & maple syrup (syrup was added to offset the bitterness of the cocoa), add the contents of a vanilla bean, bourbon (only if your of drinking age!), other fruits like strawberries or cherries, nuts, etc! The possibilities are endless!!! 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Cold Sesame Noodles

I had a very busy life growing up between school, dance, homework, my parents both worked full time, swim/dive practice in the summer... sometimes my parents needed a break from slaving away in the kitchen!  We were guilty of going to the grocery store deli and getting deli "salads".  You know what I'm talking about: macaroni salad, potato salad, etc.  but our favorite was the cold sesame noodle salad.  We would stock up on that stuff because we would devour it in a min!

Well I've moved away from that grocery store and now live in the sunny, hot Florida.  I want to have a night where the meal I make doesn't cause my apartment to make it unbearably hot/uncomfortable to be in.  Unfortunately I've yet to find a local grocery store that makes and sells those delectable noodles... So into the kitchen I went!  Now this does have some cooking in it... BUT it's only enough time and heat to make the noodles.  Then everything after that gets COLD!  I searched and searched online but nothing sounded just right so I combined a few and doctored it up (or as my late uncle would say: I "gourmet-ed" it) to make it just DELISH!  Also I put at the end of the ingredients list 2 things that I didn't have on hand but that I remember being in my old grocery store bought noodles, but this salad is good with or without them!

Give it a try on your hot summer night!

1lb spaghetti
5 TBSP toasted sesame oil (Divided 2T and 3T)
2 TBSP tahini
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1 1/2 tsp distilled white vinegar
2 1/2 TBSP sugar
3 TBSP sriracha, more or less to taste
1 cup vegan chicken broth (1 cup of water and 1 tsp better than boullion no chicken base)
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 shakes granulated garlic
2 shakes ground ginger
1/2 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1/2 cucumber, diced
2 scallions, trimmed and minced (optional)
1/4 cup, minced cilantro (optional) 

Boil the noodles in a large pot of well-salted water until tender. Drain, cool thoroughly in cold water, and drain again. Toss the noodles with 3TBSP sesame oil. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.

In a large bowl, combine the rest of the sesame oil, tahini, peanut butter, vinegar, sriracha, sugar, vegan chicken broth, ginger, garlic, and white pepper. Add the cold noodles and toss well. Add the cucumbers, carrots, scallions, and cilantro, toss well, and serve.  Top it with more carrots and some toasted sesame seeds.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patty's Day

First off Happy St. Patty's Day!!! I hope everyone has had a safe and fantastic day.  St. Patty's Day has always been a big holiday for my family and me.  My favorite uncle was born on St. Patty's Day and would have been 46 today.  I know he's keeping an eye on me from up there and it is with his memory in mind that I bring you this recipe.  

We would always have Corned Beef and Cabbage with Red Potatoes for dinner on St. Patty's Day, and I attempted a vegan version last year.  Unfortunately it didn't have the same effect on me as the real thing... But this year, I may have solved that issue!  Tonight I made a version without any vegan meat substitutes but it tasted just like I'd made the real thing!  It's so simple and delicious that I think the BF and I have agreed it's going to be a meal we make often (it's super cheap to make!).

I double my recipe for homemade vegan beef broth and added a few extra cups of water to be sure the veggies would be covered enough to cook.  Below I've got the DOUBLED recipe for the broth and the recipe for the veggies.  I hope that you enjoy and make this your new go to meal for St. Patty's Day!

"Beef" Broth
(makes 2 cups of broth)

2 TBS soy sauce
2 TBS nutritional yeast
1 tsp vegan Worchestershire Sauce
1/2 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1/2 tsp garlic powder (granulated) 
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp pepper
Salt, to taste 
2 cups Water

Put all of the ingredients into a medium saucepan and stir until well combined.  Bring to a boil and simmer for about a minute.  

1 head Cabbage, cored and cut into 8 "chunks"
8 red potatoes, quartered
2-3 Carrots, chopped
2 cups water
2 cups "beef" broth
1 TBS pickling spice

Put all of the ingredients into a large pot/stockpot.  Bring to a boil and simmer until all of the veggies are tender.  Serve with some Earth Balance buttery spread, salt and pepper and maybe some hearty bread to soak up the broth!  It is sooo good!!!!  ENJOY!

Vegan "Beef" Broth

::UPDATE:: GUYS! Holy crap! This post has been visited over 6,000 times! I can't even believe it! I wanted to update this because I realized it was so widely viewed and it's so simple! You can use it for so many things but my favorite is simmering tempeh in this broth. Makes it super meaty! I always cook my Philly "Cheese Steaks" in this and would be awesome to do a Seitan French Dip!  <--- omg I'm a genius! I need to make this as soon as I get paid!  -End of Update. Stay Tuned and Stay Hungry! 

Original Post:

You know what stinks... when there are soups made with veggies but are in a beef broth.  My dad LOVES French Onion Soup, but alas it contains beef broth, which means I won't be making in my kitchen... Until now!  I have a great recipe for a vegan broth that tastes remarkably similar to real beef broth!  You've gotta try it!

(Makes 1 cup of broth)

1 TBS tamari 
1/4 tsp garlic powder (granulated)
1/2 tsp onion powder (granulated)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
A few turns of fresh cracked pepper
Salt, to taste
1 cup water

In a medium saucepan, whisk all of the ingredients together until well combined.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for about a minute.

Then you're done!  You've got a cup of "beef" broth that is absolutely delish!  Use it in recipes wherever beef broth is used and you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chipotle Inspried Vegan Fajitas!

Let's be honest who doesn't love a meal where you put things in a tortilla roll it up and eat?! And one of my favorite places to get goodness in a tortilla: Chipotle!  BTW Some Chipotle's are now serving gardein as an option for the vegetarian/vegan community! (check gardein's website to see where you can get it.)

Well a while back I did some serious research (IOW I went to Chipotle about 5 times in a week...)  I was trying to figure out the flavors that I was tasting so that I could recreate the yumminess.  I think I was successful.  Here's what I came up with:

1 Green Bell Pepper, sliced

1/2 Red Onion, sliced

1-2 Portobello Mushroom Caps

Use 1/2 TBSP of vegetable oil per vegetable (you really should saute these separately so they still have a little crunch. (as they all have different cooking times)  While the veggies are cooking, add about 4 shakes of dried oregano.  That’s it. TAH-DAH!!! Fajita Veggies!

Want that delicious Cilantro Lime Rice that they have at Chipotle?  Check it out!

1 tbsp oil (canola/vegetable)

2 tsp fresh cilantro, chopped fine

1/2 lime, juiced

1/4 lemon, juiced

½ tsp salt (kosher or sea salt)

1 cup long grain white rice (or basmati, if you can bear the funky smell)

2 cups water

Sautee the rice in oil until almost translucent (as if you are making a risotto).
Add water, bring to a boil.  As soon as the water begins to boil, turn the heat down low.
Simmer, covered for 15-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed.
Turn off heat. DON’T PEEK. LEAVE IT COVERED for 30 minutes (this makes the rice super fluffy).  You won’t be happy with yourself if you don’t do this. Be patient. Good things come to those who wait.
Remove lid, let some of the steam out. It may be helpful to transfer rice into a mixing bowl for the next step.
Mix salt and juice of key lime together until salt is dissolved.  Pour it over rice, fluff with a fork.   Sprinkle in cilantro, and toss well to evenly coat with cilantro and lime mixture.

To assemble the fajitas, it  couldn't be easier:
Tortillas (try whole wheat ones and make sure they don't have lard in them!)
Fajita Veggies
Other toppings you like (lettuce, tomato, fresh onion, Guacamole (see 2 versions here), salsa, etc)

Steam your tortillas... Easiest way: wet 2 paper towels, put one on a plate, then the tortilla(s), then the other paper towel.  Heat in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.  If you steam more than 2 tortillas you may want more wet paper towels layered in between them.  This makes them more pliable.  

Add some rice, then the veggies, toppings then roll up and enjoy! :-)

***Side Note:  If you want to add a spicy kick to it, add some cayenne pepper to your veggies OR find a vegan friendly fajita spice mix, coat pieces of gardein chick'n scallopini with the spice mix, slice into strips and cook in a pan on medium heat with a little bit of oil.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vegan Pancakes

The I have been craving pancakes recently and so I looked on here to see if I had my vegan pancake recipe posted...  It wasn't on here!! Had to change that before I head to bed so I can make some pancakes in the morning.  This recipe was created because I couldn’t find a recipe for vegan pancakes that seemed as though it would taste like real pancakes… so I took a regular pancake recipe and converted it to vegan pancakes!

1 cup all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon white sugar 
1 teaspoon baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
1/4 teaspoon salt 
1 cup unflavored rice milk 
1 egg replacer (I use Ener-G: so 1 1/2 tsp replacer and 2 TBS water) 
2 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Preheat a lightly oiled griddle over medium-high heat. 

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the center. In a separate bowl, beat together egg replacer, milk and oil. Pour milk mixture into flour mixture. Beat until smooth. 
Pour or scoop the batter onto the hot griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Now, most people like to use butter on their pancakes… me, I’m daddy’s little girl, so I use Peanut Butter like daddy does!  I made a simple syrup by heating vegan sugar and water (equal parts first then a little extra water if more dissolving is needed) it satisfied the syrup taste for me, which is good since I haven’t bought syrup in I don’t know how long because I rarely eat pancakes/waffles as I'm hardly ever home/awake to eat breakfast.

There you go my friends!  I hope that this helps satisfy your pancake craving... You could make a few batches, cook them up, throw the cooked pancakes on a cookie sheet and freeze then put into freezer bags.  Then just like Eggos you can toast them up whenever you want them!  :-)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Smoothie Kick

Okay so whats easier than putting a few things in a blender, pushing the on button, pouring it in a glass and slurping down the sweet nutritious goodness through a straw?!  I've been on a smoothie kick for the past few days as I've been fighting bronchitis and the frozen concoctions felt really great on my throat! I don't have pictures because they were too delicious to waste any time devouring them!  One of the best ideas is freezing fruit so that you don't have to water it down your smoothie with too much ice!

Orange Banana Smoothie:
makes 1 smoothie
1 seedless orange, peeled
1 frozen banana
1/2 bottle Zico coconut water (natural flavor)
4 ice cubes

Put in a blender and blend till smooth! DONE!

Tropical Smoothie:
makes 2 smoothies
1 small bag of tropical blend frozen fruit from whole foods
1/2 bottle zico coconut water (natural flavor)
1/4-1/2 cup orange juice
1 TBSP sugar
4 ice cubes

Put everything in a blender and blend  until smooth!

More to come! Mixed berry and peach flavors!

CPK wannabe Thai Crunch Salad

As I think I've mentioned before I'm not a completely strict vegan.  While I don't eat any dairy, eggs or meat, I do still eat honey.  Honey to me is a vegan anomaly.  Vegan's don't consume animal products.  Honey is made by bees.  Bees are technically insects not animals... but for my case, I don't eat dairy, eggs, or meat due to the reaction I get from my body after consuming them.  I don't get that reaction from honey so I still use it in recipes and my tea.  This recipe contains honey.  You can try to replace the honey with agave nectar... but I don't know how it will turn out.  This is my favorite salad to order when we go out to dinner at CPK.  On the menu it comes with chicken and wonton strips.  Just ask the server to sub in avocado for the chicken and remove the wonton strips (and if you don't mind honey, you're good to go!)  A lot of ingredients but you can make it ahead of time as long as you don't dress it and add the crunch until you're ready to eat!  So yummy!

For the Salad:
(THIS MAKES A LOT! LIKE OMG A LOT.  Divide it into small containers w/o dressing for better portion control! see note)
1 head Napa cabbage, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 small head red cabbage, cored and chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and julienned
2 bunches scallions (green onions), thinly sliced (white and pale green parts only)
1 large English (hothouse) cucumber, peeled, cored and julienned
1 large bunch cilantro, chopped
2 cups cooked shelled edamame (soybeans)
2 cups roasted peanuts
Avocado (I do about 1/2 an avocado diced per salad)
1 cup lime-cilantro dressing
2 cups crisp rice sticks
2 ripe Hass avocados, peeled, pitted, cut into 1/2-inch dice (optional)
1/2 cup Thai peanut dressing

Place cabbages, carrots, scallions, cucumber, cilantro, edamame and peanuts in very large mixing bowl and toss to mix.  Divide into proper portions for you.  The full size at CPK would be 1/4 of the salad made (in other words 3 cups of salad!)  Divide it into smaller portions in tupperware for an easy take-to-work lunch (leave out the peanuts, rice sticks, avocado, and both dressings until ready to eat!! )

Mix lime-cilantro dressing:
1/2 Cup vegetable oil
1/4 Cup rice vinegar
1/2 Cup coarsely chopped cilantro
1/4 Cup minced red bell pepper
1/4 Cup honey
4 Teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 Teaspoons sesame oil
2 Teaspoons lime juice
2 Cloves garlic
Dash salt
Dash ground black pepper
Put everything into a blender and blend on high speed for 20 seconds, or until cilantro is chopped fine but not pureed.
Make Thai Peanut Sauce:
1/2 Cup crunchy peanut butter
6 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons light brown sugar
1 Tablespoon chili sauce (or chili-garlic sauce)
1 Teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 Teaspoon minced ginger
1/2 Cup water
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium/low heat. Heat until sauce is hot, but not boiling, and sugar is dissolved. Pour mixture into a blender and blend for about 20 seconds. Cover and chill. Bring to room temperature before drizzling over the salad before eating!

When ready to eat,
Add peanuts to salad, adding enough that they are present but not overwhelming.  Pour some of the lime-cilantro dressing over the salad and toss to mix thoroughly (salad mix should be coated with dressing).  Top with crisp rice sticks. Cut avocado into a large dice and top the salad. Then use a squeeze bottle or syrup dispenser to drizzle Thai peanut dressing over rice sticks. Serve immediately.

Like I said, this makes A LOT of salad!  If you divide it into 1.5 cup servings in zip lock bags, not only will you save space in your fridge but it's also handy to grab in the morning before work!  To mix it at work, bring about 3 TBSP of Lime-cilantro dressing to toss with salad.  Prep bags of rice sticks, avocado chunks, and peanuts.  You probably want about 1.5 TBSP of the peanut dressing to drizzle on top.  I suggest snack size zip-lock bags to transport the avocado, peanuts, and rice sticks.  To transport the dressings, look for tupperware that are about 1 oz in size.  Bring a salad bowl size tupperware to mix it all in. 

YUMMM It's like eating out without the cost!  A full salad at CPK costs about $12 or $13!  I've yet to fully add up how much this whole salad costs... but I think it's like $13 for 5-8 salads!

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