Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Feel Strong and Powerful!........Strawberry Power Balls

I bought a case of strawberries a few days ago so I have been coming up with fun, creative ways to use this delightful fruit.

Of course, adding strawberries to a fresh salad or mixing into a parfait are easy and tasty recipes, but I wanted to do something a bit different and kid friendly.  Because we do not eat meat, it is important that I make sure me and my baby get ample protein!  And I always like to have things that are ready to just grab if we are on the go.  So these Strawberry Power Ball are great!  They contain rolled oats, chia seeds and raw almond butter to give you that extra protein.  The binding agent is raisins.   Though, if you want to splurge, you can always use medjool dates.

My intentions were to have these be a raw snack, but they did not hold up after I ran all the ingredients through the food processor so just popped them in the oven instead.  Penelope and I just finished a few for our midday snack and they were a complete success!

Strawberry Power Balls

Ingredients/Directions (yields 6 balls)

1 c rolled oats
3/4 c raisins
5 large ripe strawberries
1 tbsp raw almond butter (or butter of choice)
1 tbsp chia seeds

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Grilled Blackened Tofu with Vegan Yogurt-Dill Sauce and Roasted Vegetable and Bulgur-Quinoa Salad

This easy meal is to die for!  The grilled tofu has a nice punch to it, while being tough and "meaty", and the yogurt dill sauce is a perfectly smoothy, creamy, cooling pair.

The funniest thing happened as I started preparing this dish.  Penelope was becoming fussy, so I knew it was time for her to have some nibbles.  She first had tofu months ago and I thought that she liked it, but it has been awhile and she has had so many flavorful things since there.  So as I was draining and straining the tofu, I decided to strap her into her hight chair and chop her up some pieces of just plain tofu.  Every little piece she placed into her mouth was immediately spit out.  I realized this baby is just like her momma.  She wants food with a flavor punch!  I looked at a few spices I had on the counter and thought "meh, lets see what a little lemon pepper would do".  Jackpot!  This baby is one little fancy eater!

The trick to getting that perfect steak-like consistency of the grilled tofu is to strain it in paper towels for a few hours while putting a heavy book (or any heavy object on top of it).  This allows all of the excess liquid inside tofu to completely drain.  Then, once you apply the rub and little oil, the tofu steak cooks slow and steady on the grill on a medium temp, for roughly 10 minutes on each side.  I like to use a grill mat for tofu to ensure it does not stick, and then the last minute place the tofu directly on the rack to get those beautiful grill marks.

Including the barley-quinoa salad makes a complete meal with this grilled tofu.  You don't need a salad or any other side with this nutrient packed meal!  The mixture of bulgar and quinoa is a perfect blend of protein packed grains, and I will definitely being using them together again!  The contrasts of textures and flavors really work well together!  The bulgur is tender and chewy, with an earthy taste, whereas quinoa is nutty and a bit fluffier texture similar to couscous. 

Well, enough talking here....lets get into the specifics!

Grilled Blackened Tofu with Vegan Yogurt-Dill Sauce 
and Roasted Vegetable and Bulgur-Quinoa Salad

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

for tofu:
1 block tofu, cut into slices and drained/ strained for a few hours
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tbsp evoo

for sauce:
1 - 1.5 c vegan plain yogurt
1 bunch dill, finely chopped
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

for barley-quinoa salad
1 c quinoa
1 c barley
1 small head broccoli, cut into florets
1/2 c cubed eggplant
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 c chopped fresh parsley 
1.5 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp white vinegraitte 
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
nutritional yeast to taste (optional)


for the barley-quinoa salad:
Preheat oven to 400.  In two small pots, boil 2 cups of water in each pot, add in quinoa in one pot, the barley in the over, cover and simmer.  Barley cooks in roughly 10 minute, quinoa cooks in roughly 15 minutes.  Once done, transfer to bowl, toss with evoo and set aside.

Place broccoli, eggplant and tomato on a baking sheet, drizzle with evoo and roast for 15-20 minutes.   Transfer roasted vegetable to the bowl with the mixed grains and add remaining ingredients.  Season to taste.  Set aside and let cool to room temperature.

for the dill sauce:
Simply mix all the ingredients in a bowl or blend in your favorite machine.  Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

for the tofu:
Heat grill to medium (roughly 300).
Once the tofu has been drained and strained, mix the seasoning with evoo and brush the mixture generously over each slice of tofu.  Place tofu on the grill, or on a grill mat if you have one.  Cover and let cook on one side for about 8-10 minutes.  Flip and repeat.  Brush more of the blackening seasoning if you desire.  Transfer to the actual grill and let cook on each side for about a minute in order to obtain those beautiful grill marks.

Now, place roasted vegetable and grain salad on a plate.  Set tofu on top and finish off with the yogurt dill sauce.  Complete meal!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Refreshing Chilled Cantaloupe-Cucumber-Basil Gazpacho

It felt great to get back to posting new recipes, so lets keep the momentum going!  Today I took an hour long walk with Penelope in some muggy, 90 degree weather.  I was sweaty, hungry and parched.  I thought of everything that I had in the "plantry" and in the refrigerator, but nothing seemed light enough and/or refreshing.

I love healthy, bright chilled gazpacho in this kind of weather, but I was also out of tomatoes, and to be honest, I kind of pooped myself out on all the traditional gazpacho I have made this summer.  Then, I came up with a great new recipe.  I remember once in Madison, a place had a green grape gazpacho.  I thought of what fruit I had, and thought that lovely, juicy cantaloupe would be perfect!

Not only was this tasty, refreshing and uplifting but it also literally took minutes to make!  Can't complain about that when you are hungry, hot and tired!  The soup is both sweet and savory and the squeeze of lime at the end really brightens up the dish!  This is also baby approved (although this baby seems to eat everything)!  You can even serve this in shooters for a great party appetizer!

Refreshing Chilled Cantalope-Cucumber-Basil Gazpacho

Ingredients/Directions (serves 4):

1 cantaloupe, seeds removed and chopped
1 cucumber, cut into large pieces (save a few slices for garnish)
1 handful fresh basil
pinch of salt
pinch of garlic powder
1 lime, sliced

Place all the ingredients (except for cucumber slices) in blender and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.  Squeeze a piece in lime in each bowl or glass and garnish with cucumber.  YUM!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Roasted Mediterranean Broccoli, Kale and Chickpea Salad with vegan Yogurt-Tahini Dressing

Sarah's Plantry Raid has been on a hiatus since the birth of our beautiful daughter, Penelope June.  I cannot believe she is already 10 months!

The last year has definitely been a life changer in the best way possible!  I have never been so in love!

Now that she is a bit older and I have a solid grasp  on the whole parenting thing, I am ready to get back into some of my passions and projects.  It is time to re-commit myself to my blog and my massage therapy.   The good thing is, is that I never stopped cooking throughout the pregnancy, so I have a Rolodex of tasty recipes to recreate, enjoy and share with all of you.

One of my favorites that I have been dying to share is a Roasted Mediterranean Broccoli, Kale, and Chickpea Salad with a vegan Tahini-Yogurt Dressing.  I must admit, Ryan is not overjoyed by vegetables and salads, but he absolutely loves this one!  Protein packed and rich with flavor, this recipe will never disappoint!  It is a perfect addition to a spectacular Mediterranean meal!  Throw in some delicious falafel and some roasted red pepper baba ghanoush and you will be in heaven!

Roasted Mediterranean Broccoli, Kale and Chickpea Salad
with Vegan Yogurt-Tahini Sauce


for the salad:
1 crown broccoli, chopped
2 c kale, chopped into pieces and stems removed
1 c cooked chickpeas
garlic powder
3 tbsp evoo

for the dressing:
1/3 c tahini
1/3 c vegan plain yogurt
1 tbsp sriracha
garlic powder
water (amount dependent on desired consistency)

Preheat oven 400.  In three separate bowls, toss the broccoli, chickpeas and kale with 1tbsp evoo each.  Season and set aside.  You want to toss them separately because the roasting time is different for each vegetable.

In a small bowl, mix all the contents of the dressing together.  Add small amounts of water at a time, until you reach your desired consistency.  Refrigerate while roasting vegetables.

Lay out the seasoned chickpeas, broccoli and kale on a roasting pan and roast each for the following time.  Kale:  15-20 min, stirring every 10 min.  Broccoli:  20-25 min, stirring every 10 min.  Chickpeas: 25-30 min, stirring every 10 min.

Remove from oven, transfer to plate and drizzle dressing over.  Enjoy one of our family's all time favorite dishes!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lychees are not just for dessert!.....Vegan Coconut-Lychee Curry!

I have been a bad bad blogger lately.  For the last few months, my focus has shifted to mommy mode and nesting.  Unfortunately, this put my cooking creativity on the back burner.   Now that we are well into the third trimester, I am ready for my precious to arrive!  I'm little Ms. Antsy-Pantsy over here!  Clearly I need to keep busy these next 5-6 weeks or I may lose it!

People don't lie when they say pregnant women get heartburn.  And, this heartburn does NOT mess around!  My new remedy for the most nauseating heartburn is raw apple cider vinegar.  Without it, I would not be able to enjoy this delectable lychee-coconut curry!  Not to say that this dish is overly is actually quite mild for my taste buds.  Though, sadly enough, my esophagus does not agree!!!  That is definitely one thing that I will not miss after the arrival of my baby girl!

With all of that said, my taste has shifted a bit over the course of my pregnancy.  While typically I am a savory person, the sweet side has arisen and spoken with a vengeance.  It has been unseasonable cool here for the last few days, so I thought to run with it and make a nice, warming curry.

 I have had this over-sized can of lychees taking up prime real estate in my cupboard that just stares at me every time I reach for something else.  I thought, we wouldn't lychees and a bit of lychee juice work in a coconut curry?  Heck, pineapple is added all the time!  And, guess what?  It was fan-flipping-tastic!  Add in some veggie protein and a bunch of veggies, and you are all set!

 Now, what makes this recipe easy (or much easier than most of my curries) is that I am using a blend of dried spices for the curry, instead of making my own curry paste.  This is a great option if you are pressed on time or do not have access to international markets to grab specific items!

Vegan Coconut-Lychee Curry! 
1 can coconut milk
3-4 c vegetable broth or vegan chicken broth
1 can lychee, drained and sliced (reserving the liquid)
1 block tofu, cubed
1 red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 handful snow peas
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and sliced
1/2 c sliced mushrooms
1/2 tbsp minced galangal or ginger
1 garlic clove minced
1 tbsp curry powder
1/2 tbsp - 1 tbsp sambal (or your preferred hot chili paste)
 1 tbsp sesame oil

Drain tofu, cut into slices and press each slice with paper towels.  To remove more excess liquid, wrap the tofu in multiple paper towels, place a heave book or pot on top, and let sit for at least an hour.  For me, I like a nice firm piece of tofu, so I tend to let the tofu sit for a few hours to remove as much liquid as possible.

After you have removed desired amount of liquid from the tofu, cut into cubes and set aside.  In a large pot, heat sesame oil over medium heat, and add in minced garlic and galangal and the sliced jalapenos and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add in broth, coconut milk, chili paste and about 1/4 c of the lychee liquid.  Bring to a boil, turn down, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Once all of the flavors have developed, add in the remainder of the ingredients, stir and cover for an additional 10 minutes.  Adjust flavor and heat level to your taste preference and serve with steamed rice.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chill out this summer with this....Chilled Chili Spiked Avocado-Lime Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

I must apologize for the lack of posts lately, but my MIA status is warranted, I promise!  Ryan and I are preparing for our first baby!  With that said, there have been some alterations around the household and within our daily lives.  I cannot wait to meet our little munchkin....October/November can not come any faster! 

Of course, being pregnant, I have had my fair share of cravings, food aversions and crazy indigestion.  I have realized that sure, you can read all the prenatal meal planning you desire; What you should be eating, when you should be eating, how you should be eating.  But, lets be honest, everyone is different!  Whether you are pregnant or not, these guidelines are not going to work for everyone!  I have realized it is really crucial to listen to your body.  You are truly the only person who knows how you feel and how to cater to those internal needs.  For instance, I have realized eating large meals three times a day simply is not going to work for me and my little P.  With that said, my baby and I love munching on healthy vegetables, vegan "beef" jerky, nuts and peanut butter....lots and lots of peanut butter.  As long as you are obtaining all your crucial vitamins and nutrients, don't change what works for you!

We are now into our second trimester and mommy is started to feel better, more invigorated and a bit more inspired to start posting some delicious and inventive recipes I have whipped up lately....starting with a Chilled Chili Spiked Avocado-Lime Pasta Salad!

I particularly like this recipe because it is different than any other pasta salad I have had before.     Lets be honest, you cannot go wrong with anything avocado....especially in the summer heat!  Making the "sauce" or "dressing" from a beautifully ripe avocado and vegan yogurt is smooth, luscious and won't weight you down!  The fresh herbs and lemon and lime juice really brighten up your everyday pasta salad and the addition of roasted cherry tomatoes gives it a splash of color and an additional burst of flavor.  But, the kicker is the diced jalapeno!  This inclusion really gives the chilled pasta salad an extra bite to it!

And, I know what you may be thinking:  Will this pasta salad last more than one day or will the avocado oxidize and turn brown?  Honestly, that oxidation is a heart breaker and has happened too many times to a killer batch of guacomole.  But, this did not happen with the pasta salad.  I had leftovers refrigerated in an air tight container for two nights, and each day the color was still a beautiful pale green.

Chilled Chili Spiked Avocado-Lime Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes

4 servings cooked pasta of your choice (I used gluten free rigatoni)
1 ripe avocado
1/4 plus 1 tbsp vegan plain greek yogurt
1 lime, juiced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped basil
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1 small garlic clove, minced
s+p to taste
10-12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tbsp evoo

Preheat oven to 400.  Toss halved cherry tomatoes with evoo and roast them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until they begin to "prune".

If you have yet to cook your pasta, do so now according to package instructions.  Set pasta aside to cool. (HINT: toss with a touch of evoo so the pasta will not stick to each other)

In a blender, take the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT for the diced jalapeno and puree until smooth.  If you need the sauce to be "saucier", simply add more lemon juice or a touch of water until you reach your desired consistency.  Season to taste and toss the avocado-lime.  Sprinkle in the diced jalapenos and mix thoroughly.  When cherry tomatoes are done roasting, toss them into the mix to finish off the salad.  Transfer to refrigerator and chill until serving time.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Three Peas In a Pod..... Vegan Sweet Pea Ravioli with Pea Pesto and Vegan Pea-Butter Sauce!

It is April...the rain is falling, the temperature is rising and the plants are coming to life!  Green is all around us, or at least will be soon!

One of the great things about the changing of the seasons is that our taste buds change with them!  In the fall and winter, we start to gear towards those warm, earthy and hearty vegetables/dishes, such as squashes and stews.  It is almost as if our body wants us to feel warm and secure in order to bare those cold winter nights!

Then, once the sun starts shining and the temperature rises, we crave those light and bright ingredients and dishes, such as fresh peas, ramps, arugula....I mean I could go on!  As for me, I prefer spring and summer....for both the weather and local ingredients!  Both just make me feel light and energized!

With that said, lets play with a versatile and easy spring peas!  It is always fun to use one ingredient and turn it into multiple elements in a dish.  For this pasta dish, we created 3 different and diverse ways to use peas:

1.) Ravioli with pea and tofu "ricotta"
2.) Vegan Pea and Basil Pesto
3.) Vegan Whole Pea and "Butter" Sauce

This recipe is bright, diverse and bursting with flavors that all come from the same ingredient....WHAAAA????

Vegan Pea Ravioli with Pea Pesto and Vegan Pea-Butter Sauce!

Ingredients/Directions for the Ravioli with peas and tofu "ricotta":

store bought or homemade ravioli dough, rolled and cut into squares
1 c tofu ricotta
1/2 c green peas (thawed if frozed)
1 garlic clove, minced
s+p to taste
1 flax seed egg, mixed with water

In a blender, combine tofu ricotta, green peas, minced garlic clove and seasonings until smooth.  Set aside.

Now time to assemble the raviolis!
Before you  roll out and cut pasta dough, make sure you lightly flour your surface.  Once dough is cut, mix together your flax seed egg mixture and brush the outer edges of each ravioli square.

After completed, spoon in about 3/4 tbsp of the ricotta/pea mixture on one half of the ravioli square.  Gently fold over the other half of the ravioli to envelope the filling.  Seal the ravioli tightly by pinching with fingers.  Repeat until each is completed.  Boil until rise, or lightly flour and set aside until ready to cook.

Ingredients/Directions for the Pea and Basil Pesto:
1/2 c green peas (thawed if frozen)
1 hefty handful of fresh basil
2 tbsp evoo (plus more if pesto needs more liquid)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 garlic clove, minced
s+p to taste

Simply throw all the ingredients in a blender until smooth!  Adjust seasoning to taste!  That is it.  Serve with the ravioli at room temperature.  ****NOTE**** this is great to freeze and use at a later date!

Ingredients/Directions for the Vegan Pea-Butter Sauce
1/2 c green peas (thawed if frozed)
3 tbsp vegan butter

Simply melt butter over medium-low heat (do not brown!).  Add in peas, and you are done!