Sunday, June 30, 2013

Baked Zucchini/Sweet Potato Fritters with Agave-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Little delicate discs of deliciousness!  Never knock those recipes that do not call for a lot of ingredients!  Sometimes keeping things simple can go a long way!

Of course these would be great if you pan fried the fritters, but who wants to feel greasy and weighed down????...especially during these hot and humid months (depending where you reside)!!!  Not me!
Keepin' it light, clean and sexy with great taste is what I am about!

I played around a bit with this recipe because these fritters can be quite delicate in regards to keeping their form.  I added in some TVP (textured soy protein) in order to maintain shape, though if you are soy free and/or do not have this in your "plantry", I would suggest additional whole wheat flour or your choice of bread crumbs (my go to bread crumb is panko).

 Ingredients (yields 6 fritters):
1 zucchini
1/2 sweet potato
1 tbsp sriracha
s + p
1 tsp vegan egg replacer powder mixed with water
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 c panko crumbs or 1/4 c TVP  (adjust to water content)

raw agave nectar

 Preheat oven to 375

Shred zucchini and sweet potato with a cheese grater.

Make sure that after you are done shredding your veggies that you squeeze tight the shreds to eliminate the water content.  Paper towels work great to soak up the extra water.   Zucchinis hold in a lot of water and will definitely affect the baking process if you do not dry out!  You don't want a sloppy mess when baking these little guys.

After taking out the natural water content, throw your shreds in a bowl and mix in flour, panko, sriracha, salt, pepper and egg replacer.  Form into flat discs, place in a lightly oiled baking dish and bake for 30-45 min.  Flip once very carefully with spatula.
In meantime, mix together mustard and agave nectar.

And there you have it!  Enjoy as an appetizer or an entree.

Baked Zucchini/Sweet Potato Fritters with Agave-Mustard Dipping Sauce

Friday, June 28, 2013

Vegetable Stack with Red Pepper Coulis and Vegan Pesto and Vegan Smoked Mozzarella!!

In the mood for something visually beautiful and mind-blowing to your taste buds?  Pick me! Pick me!
This recipe entices your taste buds AND will impress foodie enthusiasts with the gorgeous presentation.  Granted there are many steps to this recipe, so I recommend making the Pesto and/or Coulis ahead of time.  And, if you don't have time, there is nothing wrong with buying your vegan sauces at the store.

Vegetable Stack with Red Pepper Coulis, Vegan Pesto and Vegan Smoked Mozzarella

You can definitely eliminate the vegan mozzarella if your up for the challenge, or you can buy vegan cheese at the store and just add in some liquid smoke to give it that smokey essence.

Also, I am not a fan of pine nuts, so I used walnuts in my pesto instead.  

sliced eggplant
whole portobello mushrooms (stems and insides scraped out)
orange or yellow bell pepper (quarted in large pieces)
large tomato slices
sliced red onion
1 tbsp evoo
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
red pepper coulis
vegan smoked mozzarella

vegan pesto:
1 package basil
1 small package chopped walnuts
2 garlic cloves chopped
s + p
evoo (enough to your liking- I tend to use less than more)

Heat grill.  Brush all your veggies with evoo and balsamic and season with s + p.  Grill until all veggies soft.  Note:  Eggplant and tomato take less time to grill due to their water content, so you may want to wait to throw on grill until the other veggies are half way done.
In the meantime, blend all your basil ingredients until smooth.
Stack your veggies to your liking.  I alternated the coulis sauce and basil sauce to every other veggie for an additional taste with every bite.  Garnish plate with pesto and coulis.  Top the stock with the vegan smoked mozzarella..

Dig in!  Don't be afraid to knock your tower down to indulge!!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Vegan Cheese? Yes Please!!.... Vegan Smoked Mozzarella

Yup, I said it-  Here is my vegan version of smoked mozzarella.  I decided to venture out of my comfort zone to see if I could come up with my own vegan cheese.  All the vegan cheese store bought products have never really impressed me.  So, why not try and wing it and see what I come up with?  I went with ingredients that made sense to me to try and emulate that yummy, smokey mozzy flavor.  Then end product?  Better than store bought!!

 Vegan Smoked Mozzarella

Ingredients: (yields 4 generous slices of mozzarella)

1/4 block firm tofu (water removed and pressed)
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon juiced
1/4 c raw cashews (soaked at least 2 hrs)
sea salt
2 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp corn starch (or Agar Agar-see tips if use)

Combine all ingredients in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Spoon delicately on plate and place in freezer until firm. 
tip: if using agar agar, it is not necessary to freeze.
Remove from freezer and let thaw until room temp.  Serve with your favorite Vegan dish!!!!

Lets Talk Sauce.... Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

As most of you know, I love sauce.... All sauces!  This recipe is beautiful, fresh, clean and tasty with only 2 ingredients!  It's easy, relatively fast and versatile.  Even if you are not vegan, you can enjoy this!  Goes great with veggies, polenta, gnocchi, or just some bread sticks!  If you eat fish, this would be a great sauce for seared scallops, crab cakes or swordfish (I can't tell you what that would taste like, but from my experiences in restaurants, I would imagine it would be tasty).

So, how easy is this delicious sauce?  Easy as one, two, three!

Roasted Red Pepper Coulis

2 red bell peppers (cut in half and seeds removed)

Heat oven to 425.  Roast bell peppers for 20 min.  Remove from oven and place peppers in zip lock bag.  Let "sweat" in the plastic baggies for 15 minutes.  Peel off the blackened skin and whip out your blender.  Blend peppers with a few tbsp's of water until spoon.  Season to taste if desired.  For me, I think the natural roasted red pepper flavor speaks on its own.

Match this with your favorite vegan recipe or go off the vegan grid, and pair with some seafood or fish!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wait, What did you Say?....Rice Paper Vegan Lasagna

Why???  Vegan, Soy free and Gluten free while still tasting just as good, if not better than your typical veggie lasagna.  I promise you, you will have no idea that you are eating a dairy free lasagna!  And, the great thing about the rice paper, is that it is not overwhelmingly filling!  You can eat an entire serving or two without feeling heavy and weighed down!  Enjoy the flavor without the guilt.

I actually thought about making this because I am on a budget and want to use what is in the "plantry".  Plus, I just really wasn't in the mood to go to the store today.  I recently made Summer Spring Rolls, so I had plenty of the rice paper wrappers left over.  What else to do is use this as a lasagna pasta?  Who wouldn't do that?

In all actuality, it was delicious.  Unlike typical lasagna noodles, using the rice paper in place created a very creamy, gooey texture that I really enjoyed!

6 sheets of rice paper (if circles, cut into rectangles and keep as is, do not soak!!!)
1 jar of your favorite gluten free tomato sauce
2 c raw cashews (soaked at least 2-4 hrs)
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon juiced
4 handfuls raw kale, divided
1/2 c sliced button mushrooms
1/2 sliced red onion
3 cloves garlic chopped, divided
touch of evoo

 Preheat oven 375.  After your nut have been soaked, start your "ricotta" by combing cashews along
with some of the water you soaked them in, nutritional yeast, and lemon juice in a blender until smooth.  Add s + p to flavor.  Spoon into mixing bowl and set aside.

n medium saute pan, heat evoo and saute 1/2 of your chopped garlic and 1/2 of the chopped kale.  Saute for roughly 3-4 minutes.  Add into your "ricotta" mixture and stir thoroughly.
Using same saute pan (you don't want to wash more dishes than you need to!), heat and add remaining chopped garlic, kale, mushrooms and onions.  Season and saute until soft.  Set aside.

Take out your baking dish, and lets start creating the layers of this lasagna!  Start with spooning your gluten free vegan tomato sauce at the bottom (roughly 1/4 c).  Then place 2 sheets of the rice paper and place on top.  Then, evenly spread your cashew ricotta/kale mixture on top of rice paper.  Make sure that you have enough for at least one more layer of this!

 Take your tasty and beautiful sauteed veggie mixture and spoon over the "ricotta" mixture.  Never feel bashful about the quantity!  They are just veggies!  All you need to make sure is that you have enough.

Repeat all layers again, starting with the tomato sauce.  Make sure your final 2 components are rice paper topped with little sauce.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes and serve!!!!

Rice Paper Vegan Lasagna

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vegan Sliders with Carmelized Onions/Mushrooms and Chipotle Aioli

Itty bitty bites of yummy-ness.  Sometimes one large vegan bean burger can become a bit much.  When in slider form, you are able to get more of the different flavors rather than just focusing on the burger itself.

This recipe is very similar to the meatloaf when it comes to the patty part.  This is because I still had leftover cooked lentils and kidney beans.  Just wanted to take advantage of what I have and let little go to waste.  It's always fun to mix and match different kinds of sliders for variation and "sampling" fun.  But for all intents and purposes, I will only include one kind of slider.

Vegan Slider with Caramelized Onions/Mushrooms and Chipotle "Aioli"

I couldn't find slider buns, so I just took a large deli roll and cut into quarters-  worked perfectly!

If you just want to do a regular sized burger, just combine into one large patty.  This recipe is for 4 sliders or 1 big burger.  So versatile!

1/2 c cooked kidney beans
1/2 c cooked green lentils
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 c panko crumbs
4 sliced button mushrooms
1/4 yellow onion sliced
1 garlic clove diced
2-3 tsp raw sugar
s + p
1 large deli roll

canned chipotle peppers (with the sauce)
2 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp veganaise

Preheat oven 450.  In a blender, mix first 8 ingredients.  Just like the meatloaf, this does not have to be pureed.  Transfer to a mixing bowl, add in panko crumbs, mixing with hands.  Form into 4 evenly sized sliders.  And throw in oven for roughly 20 minutes.  In the meantime, heat saute pan with evoo, add garlic and cook for 2 minutes.  Add in onions and red onions, raw sugar and s + p.  Cook until soft.
Slice deli roll into quarters and lightly toast if desired.
For the sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth.
Everything is now ready to go!  Top each of these sliders with your carmelized onions and mushrooms, with a dollop of chipotle aioli.  To make sure they stay in full form, hold together with a bamboo skewer.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Let's get Poppin! Vegan Jalapeno Popper!!!

Who doesn't love the classic jalapeno popper?  Well guess what?  You are going to love it even more now that this version is actually healthy for you!!!  There are always ways to make your favorite, unhealthy "cheat" food vegan AND healthy without missing out on the flavor.

How is that possible you ask?  Easy peasy!  First off, we are going to replace the cream cheese with a vegan version that is equally as tasty and creamy as the real things.  Secondly, we are going to bake these suckers and go oil free! 

So what I love the most about this recipe is the dipping sauce.  In college, my husband and I would always order poppers when we wanted to "treat" a hangover.  In retrospect, this theory makes no sense- why fill your body with more crap when you feel crappy??  You live, you learn.  Anyway, it always came with a strawberry jam.  Ever since, I can never even imagine another dipping sauce to use for these little pieces of heaven.  The combo of sweet and spicy hits home!

 Vegan Jalapeno Poppers

 Don't feel like torching your taste buds?  I have a trick:Just boil and simmer those peppers!  Directions below....(if desired)
I consider myself a heat freak, but would rather choose the method of reducing the heat level to enjoy a yummy finger food. 

whole jalapenos cut length-wise and de-seeded

1 cup raw cashews
1 lemon juiced
2-3 tbsp water
2-3 tbsp nutritional yeast

To Dredge:
1/4 panko crumbs
1 tsp egg powder replacer and 2 tsp water
2 tsp nutritional yeast
s+p (to your taste)

Strawberry Sauce:
1 c quartered strawberries
1/2 c sugar
1 lemon juiced
Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Heat on medium until the juice from the strawberries start to excrete, then turn on low and let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.  Lightly blend if desired.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Meatloaf...and no I'm not talking about the band....Vegan Meatloaf!!

I felt a bit adventurous today and wanted to emulate a meatloaf with just lentils and kidney beans.  Plus, I have had kidney beans in my "plantry" for months and really just wanted to do something with them.

I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I had any sort of meatloaf; veggie or pre-veggie days.  But, by the looks of it, it sure does resemble the real thing!  A good and simple and protein driven comfort dish, for sure!  Plus, no oil and no soy.  This is all about taking what you have in your plantry and making the best of it!

I used a small 5 x 3-ish in aluminum foil loaf pans because my husband was taking it to work.  They are a personal loaf size.  Cute and good  to take with you to work for lunch or dinner

 Vegan Meatloaf

 For this specific recipe I used dried kidney beans, soaked them for four hours and than simmered them for one hr after bringing to boil.  Do your self a favor though, just buy the canned kidney beans!  Not worth doing all that for this home, down to earth meal.

1 cup cooked kidney beans
1 c cooked green lentils
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp organic ketchup
1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 tbsp sriracha
s + p
1 tbsp liquid smoke
extra ketchup for the topping  1 large portobella mushroom chopped
1/4 diced yellow onion
1 large carrot diced
3/4 c panko crumbs
powder egg replacer mixed with water

Preheat oven 450.
In a blender, blend everything except for the last 5 ingredients.  You do not need to blend completely.  It is ok to have some whole kidney beans and lentils.  Transfer to a bowl and stir in mushrooms, onion, carrots, panko crumbs and mixed powdered egg replacer.  Spoon mixture in loaf pan and douse ketchup on the top.  Bake for 1 hr.  If you want all edges to be a bit crispier, remove loaf carefully from loaf pan, place on a cookie sheet and put back in oven for another 10 minutes.

Slice and dig in!  Vegan comfort food at it's best!

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Proof is in the Pudding!....Strawberry Spiked Coconut Rice Pudding

Vegan?  Gluten Free?  Love deserts?  Well here is a great treat to enjoy and satisfy your sweet tooth!  If you do not have white rice in your "plantry" you can easily substitute it with brown rice.  Some people aren't a big fan of rice pudding.

As for me, I love it!  I think I fell in love with this treat when I worked at a Turkish restaurant all through college.  It's funny how you become creative with foods that you are around day in and day out.  I have definitely come up with some odd concoctions over the years at restaurants!

Strawberry Spiked Coconut Rice Pudding

Feel free to play around with this recipe.  I chose to spike it with homemade strawberry syrup/jam because of the abundance of strawberries I had in my "planty".
Also note: I call this a mix between a jam and syrup because I did not use a thickening agent to create that gelatinous texture.

And, if you are not a fan of coconut flavor, you can always omit this and sub in almond milk and vanilla extract.


3/4 cup uncooked rice
30 ounces unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp coconut extract
2 tbsp raw agave nectar
strawberry syrup (directions to follow)


In a large saucepan, stir together rice, salt and 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until rice is cooked and water has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Stir coconut milk, sugar, coconut extract and agave nectar into medium heat for 15-20 minutes, until thickened.
Pour pudding into a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing plastic directly onto surface to prevent a skin from forming. Serve warm or at room temperature, or refrigerate to serve cold.

For strawberry jam/syrup:
1 c quartered strawberries
1/2 c sugar
1 lemon juiced

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.  Heat on medium until the juice from the strawberries start to excrete, then turn on low and let sit for about 30 minutes, stirring once in a while.  Lightly blend if desired.

In a bowl or serving glass, drizzle jam/syrup around the outside and then scoop in your rice pudding.  Top with strawberries and dig in!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Tastes like Chicken, But is It Chicken?...Heck No! Vegan "Chicken Soong"

It is scary how much this looks and tastes like actual chicken soong.  To make this vegan and soy free, I used diced mushroom and chopped walnuts to emulate the look of crumbled chicken.  This recipe is popular in Chinese cuisine and is a vegan tribute to my good friend and amazing chef,  Paul Wildermuth, who sadly passed a few years ago.  Although he always teased me "you don't make friends with salads", I think my vegan version would make him smile.

In simple, laymen's terms, chicken soong is simply a lettuce cup filled with goodness.  And of course, there are always sauces to dress it with!!!  The combination of sweet, savory and spice really makes this dish burst with flavor.  And, the lettuce cup is a perfect counterpart.  It brings a clean, fresh element and nice crunch to counterbalance all those bustling flavors.

Vegan "Chicken" Soong

You can easily make this dish RAW by marinating the diced mushrooms and walnuts in soy sauce, raw brown sugar and sriracha for a few hrs until soft.

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)
leaves of iceburg lettuce, cut into cup form
2 c chopped mushrooms
1/2 c chopped raw walnuts
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp sriracha
2 tsp evoo
1 minced garlic clove
sweet soy
hoisen (store bought)
1 scallions chopped (garnish/optional)
1/2 lime (optional)

For creating your lettuce cups follow directions here and set aside.  In a bowl, combine chopped mushrooms/walnuts with soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, red wine vinegar and sriracha.  Heat sauce pan with evoo and saute garlic until brown.  Add your mushroom/walnut mixture and saute until soft.  Drizzle in a touch of sweet soy.

To serve, you have two options:  Make your own or already prepared.  For make your own, stack lettuce cups on one side of plate/platter and put the "chicken" mixture in a bowl.  For prepared version, spoon in mixture into each cup.

Drizzle with your favorite Asian sauce and garnish with scallions.  Don't be shy!  Pick that baby up and crunch in!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

So fresh and so clean!....Vietnamese Summer Spring Rolls

No kidding- these spring rolls are bright, vibrant and fresh with such clean flavors!  I personally can just eat these as a meal, but are definitely a nice light start to a multiple course lunch or dinner.  A great alternative to the typical fried rolls and is perfect for warm weather!

You can also serve this with varieties of sauces.  Of course, for my meal, I needed 3 different serving sauces.  What can I say?  I'm a saucey Sarah.  What I made was Thai peanut sauce, sweet Thai chili sauce, and sweet soy (recipe to follow) for drizzling.  If you aren't up for that much work, you can always find these sauces at your local grocery store.

Vietnamese Summer Spring Rolls

These are great because you can really play around with what you put in them.  For example, for one I did strawberry, basil, mango, jalepeno, and scallion.  I wanted to feature those fresh summer tastes.  Then I did a traditional carrot, avocado, cucumber, green onion and spinach one.  Just be adventurous and creative and have fun with it!

Ingredients (definitely play around to what you like!)
1/2 cucumber julienned
2 carrots julienned
1 avocado julienned
4 strawberries sliced
1/4 mango julienned
2 green onion julienned (just green part)
1 jalapeno diced
handful basil leaves
rice paper (can be found in the "ethnic" aisle or at any asian market)

sweet soy ingredients:
1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp agave nectar
1 tbsp brown sugar

One at a time, soak one piece of rice paper in warm water for about 5 seconds, remove and fill the paper with your favorite veggies/fruits.  Make sure you place them about 1/4 way in of the wrapper so that you can roll them properly.  To roll, make sure it is tight and tuck in the filling as you roll and squeeze firmly.  Repeat this process for each roll.  Cut into pieces.

Sweet soy:
In a sauce pan, combine all ingredients and heat on medium until combined and disolved

Lightly drizzle on your summer spring rolls and serve with Thai peanut sauce and sweet Thai chili. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Sweet w/ some spice & everything nice....Grilled Sweet Thai Chilli Tofu w/ Rice and Veggies!!

Perfect example of how to take advantage of what's in your "plantry"!  I had left over eggplant and tofu, along with some green bell pepper and mushrooms, so why not make something tasty before those yummy veggies go to waste?!

I love dishes that combine sweet and spicy elements!  The best part is, is that this is equally delicious served warm, room temp, or even cool!  And, if you aren't in the mood for soy product, sub tofu for a meaty portabella mushroom!  These mushrooms can easily replace grilled steak strips!

Grilled Sweet Thai Chilli Infused Tofu w/ Brown Rice and Veggies

If you do not have access to an outdoor grill, a double sided Foreman grill works perfectly.  What makes this dish a crowd pleaser, are those sexy grill marks on your tofu (or whatever route you may choose)!

1 c brown rice
2 c water
1/2 block firm tofu cut into quarters (nice even thick slices)
1 green bell pepper
1/4 c cherry tomatoes
1/2 c sliced red onion
1/2 c cubed eggplant
1/4 c sliced button mushrrom
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp evoo or coconut oil

sweet thai chilli sauce ingredients:
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1/2- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 table spoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

for rice and veggies:
start your grill or foreman grill.  in a pot, bring rice and water to boil, then simmer for 20 minutes, in meantime, saute garlic and ginger for 2 minutes in evoo or coconut oil.  Add pepper, tomato, eggplant, red onion and mushroom and saute until soft.

for sauce:
In a blender, blend garlic, red pepper, sugar, and salt. In a saucepan, bring the sugar mixture, 3/4 cups water and white vinegar to a boil and then lower the heat to simmer for about 3 minutes or until the sauce starts to thicken slightly. In separate bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of water and whisk into the sauce and continue to simmer for another minute or two. The cornstarch will thicken up the sauce.

Combine your rice in veggies in your saute pan and add in 1/4 of sweet thai chilli sauce.  mix and heat until distributed.

For tofu, douse sweet thai chilli sauce on pieces of tofu and grill until you achieve those grill marks.  Add more sauce if needed!

Serve tofu on top of your bed of rice.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Perfect Picnic in the Park Take 2.....Grilled Tofu Skewers and Eggplant!

Here's take two of our lovely family picnic in the park.  Nothing better than celebrating father's day by grilling and enjoying a gorgeous evening outside!  Hey- nobody said being a puppy dad, isn't being an actual father!

I already posted the Raw Strawberry Kale salad, so I will entail the recipe for Grilled Tofu and Eggplant with homemade Memphis style BBQ sauce. 

Of course, you can always go with your favorite store-bought BBQ sauce, but it's fun making your own!  I actually used liquid smoke for the first time and am a new big fan of it.  The bonus is that this stuff is inexpensive and of course, 100% vegan!

And, if you are soy free, don't stress!  The eggplant is great and you can always throw in your favorite grilling veggies as well!  I like going the skewer route because it is easy to grill all at once without creating a mess.  Also great for having parties so guests can grab, walk, talk and eat easily.

Grilled BBQ Tofu & Eggplant with Memphis style BBQ Sauce

 Ingredients: (yields 4 servings)
1 eggplant sliced
1 package firm tofu cubed
1/2 red onion sliced

bbq sauce ingredients:
1 tbsp evoo or coconut oil
1 garlic clove chopped
1/2 c chopped yellow onion
2 c ketchup
2 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp sriracha (or hot sauce)
3 tbsp raw agave nectar
2 tbsp brown sugar
s + p
3 tsp liquid smoke

Heat Grill and skewer your cubed tofu and red onion.  Set eggplant and tofu skewers aside.

BBQ sauce:  In a sauce pan, saute onion and garlic until soft and brown, add in all remaining sauce ingredients except for liquid smoke and simmer 15 min.  Add in liquid smoke.

Generously douse the tofu skewers and eggplant with your BBQ sauce and throw on grill.  Cook until eggplant is soft and tender and the tofu has those beautiful grill marks.
Brush on more sauce if desired. 

And, of course, because I love sauce, I always serve with additional BBQ sauce on the side for dipping pleasure!

Summertime Strawberry Crisp!

The strawberries were screaming at me in the store today.  "Eat me!  Eat me!"  So, clearly I listened to them and bought a bunch.  May, June and July are the best time for strawberry picking.  So, if you live near a strawberry field, get out there and do some picking!

So what to do with these plump, red and juicy berry?  Tons of things!  Tonight I really wanted a nice summertime desert after enjoying a perfect picnic in the park.  What sounds better than a vegan strawberry crisp and a scoop of coconut vanilla "ice cream"?!?!  Seriously, if you don't enjoy this desert, there may be something wrong with you (unless you are allergic to strawberries).

Vegan Strawberry Crisp

I added walnuts for additional textures.  If you are allergic to nuts, this is not a make or break deal!  The recipe is still lip smacking good without nuts!

16 oz strawberries (hulled and quartered
1/4 c raw agave nectar
1/4 c chopped raw walnuts
2 tbsp flour (optional)
1/2 c organic brown sugar
1/2 c rolled oats
1 tbsp vegan butter (softened)
1 tsp cinnamon

preheat oven 350.  In a bowl, combine strawberries, agave nectar and walnuts.  The berries and walnuts should be glistening for the nectar.  Transfer into baking dish and spread evenly.
For the "crisp", add all remaining ingredients and mix until crumbly.  Even distribute the "crisp" on top of strawberry mixture.  Back for 40-45 minutes.
Serve with Coconut Non-Dairy Ice Cream!

Deliciously sexy strawberry desert!  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Perfect Picnic in the Park! Strawberry-Kale Summer Salad

It was the perfect day to cook a nice, healthy and fresh vegan dinner, pack it up and stroll to the park with my two favorite guys.

What's makes a gorgeous day, a picnic, a handsome hubby and a silly dog better??  A vegan heart healthy meal is what!

I still have tons of strawberries, so why not make a nice summer raw salad?  Delicious, light and stimulating to the taste buds.  Kale is one of my favorite foods and is always in my plantry.

There is so much talk about it being the "Queen of Greens" or the a "nutritional powerhouse".  And there are tons of reasons why.  Low in calories, high in fiber, zero fat and packed with antioxidants, iron, calcium and vitamins A, C & K.  On top  of that it is an anti-inflammatory and is great for cardiovascular support.

Raw Strawberry-Kale Summer Salad                                     

Because of the high fiber content, you may want to dress this salad an hour before you serve.  This will allow the kale to wilt a bit and taste much better!
Salad Ingredients/Directions
2 c kale (de-stemmed)
10 strawberries (quartered)
1/4 red onion sliced
1/4 c blanched raw almonds

mix all together in a bowl and dress with homemade dressing (recipe to follow)

Salad Dressing
1/4 c evoo
1/4 c balsamic
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp raw agave syrup
1 sliced scallion.

throw all ingredients in a blender and serve with salad

Super-Food-A-Liscious!.. Quinoa-Kale Stuffed Peppers!!

Who wouldn't love this recipe?  Heart healthy and scrumptious!  This contains 2 "superfoods" that have become ever so popular over the last year or two.  I for one, have sworn by kale for years.

I was preaching about kale before it ever become this huge phenomenom in the health/fitness world.  To tell you the truth, I made myself kale every night for years.  This leafy green leaves you full and satisfied and is great for the digestive system!  Trust me, you will be seeing many other kale recipes in the future!

The great thing about quinoa is that it is a complete protein, high in dietary fiber AND gluten free!  And, here is a little secret:  It is technically a fruit, although it has the nutritional and culinary qualities of a grain or seed.

Ok, enough about that, lets get into the yummy factors of this recipes!
 Quinoa-Kale Stuffed Peppers

Because I like all things saucey, I made a basil "creme fraiche" sauce to accompany the stuffed peppers.  But technically this is delicious with or with the sauce.

4 yellow or red bell peppers
1 c quinoa (i used black and white quinoa)
2 c veggie broth
1/4 c blanched and sliced almonds
1/2 red onion sliced
1 c kale
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 chopped garlic clove
2 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp balsamic vinager
s + p
chopped basil

1/4 c vegan sour creme
6 basil leaves
1/2 lemon
s + p
2 tsp sriracha
1/2 tomato
2 tbsp water

preheat oven to 350.  place blanched raw almonds on pan and sprinkle with sugar and salt.  cook for 5 minutes, remove.  Now preheat oven to 400.
In a small pot, bring veggie broth and quinoa to a boil and then simmer for 15-20 or until fluffy.  In the meantime, carmamelize red onions by sauteing in pan with evoo, sugar and salt.  Add garlic and kale and saute until wilted.  Add salt to taste.  Combine quinoa, toasted almonds, and the onions/kale.
Cut tops off of bell peppers and discard the seeds.  Spoon in your quinoa mixture into peppers and cook in oven for 40-50 minutes.

Enjoy this SUPER recipe!!!

For the sauce:  combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Getting "stuffy" again!!.....Vegan "Ricotta" Stuffed Shells

It has been quite some time since I have made any sort of stuffed shell.  But, I love variety and was craving some comforting "Americanized" Italian food.  I actually spent a half a year in Italy and can honestly say that I never once saw stuffed shells.  But hey, they still taste damn good.

You can actually buy vegan ricotta at Whole Foods or a health food market, but I came up with a recipe using tofu that tastes even better!  It is similar to the one that I used for the eggplant rollatini.  I just made some minor adjustments.  And, if you have a somewhat well-stocked "plantry", this recipe is fairly inexpensive. 

Vegan"Ricotta"Stuffed Shells

It may seem like a lot of work to make your own mock vegan ricotta, but it is really simple and in my mind it's pretty cool.  Yes, this definitely makes me a dork, but every time I make it, I think "wow, that's amazing how close this tastes like the real ricotta".  "I rock" sad, that is literally what I say out loud. 

Adding fresh basil to the "ricotta"  really adds freshness to the entire dish.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)
10-12 jumbo shells
1/2 block soft tofu
1/2 lemon
1/4 c nutritional yeast
6 leaves fresh basil
s + p
garlic powder
5 sliced button mushrooms
1/2 c baby spinach
1/4 chopped onion
1 garlic clove diced
1/2 tbsp evoo

Preheat oven 400.  In pot, boil shells for 9 minutes.  In a blender, combine tofu, lemon, nutritional yeast, basil and seasonings until smooth and set aside  Saute garlic, mushroom and onions in the evoo for about 5 minutes, and spinach and cook for 1 more minutes.  Add to the "ricotta mixture.  Once the shells are cooked, spoon in ricotta mixture into each shell.  In a baking dish, cover the bottom with tomato sauce, place shells on top, and cover with more sauce and sprinkle with vegan mozzeralla.
Bake for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

This Just In-The Mediterannean Diet...Israeli Couscous with Mediterranean Flare!

Move over pasta salads, egg salads and potato salads.  A new summer picnic dish is in town.  And guess what?!  It's not going to go bad in the heat and sun either!  Replace all those heavy, mayo based traditions with a fun, light and tasty couscous salad!  This one definitely does not lack flavor due to the Mediterranean flare of balsamic, kalamata olives and other goodies.  All vegan and made for everyone to love!

There is so much talk right now about the Mediterranean diet.  The main objective is to emphasize healthy fats, fruits and vegetables and to limit your meat intake and moderate your fish and dairy intake.  Of course, this is not as healthy as us vegans, but at least major scientific organizations are noticing the benefits of lowering or removing such foods from our daily diet. With this particular diet, research has shown that it reduces the risk of heart disease, cardiovascular mortality, cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.   

Vegan Mediterranean Israeli Couscous Salad

Israeli couscous is also known as "pearl couscous".  Unlike familiar small, yellow semolina-based North African couscous, this one is twice as big and is toasted rather than dried. This gives it a nutty flavor and a sturdy composition that gives it a chewy bite similar to that of a pasta or orzo.

Ingredients (yields 3-4 servings)
1 1/4 c Israeli Couscous
1 3/4 c water
1/2 eggplant cubed
mixed colored cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1/2 zucchini sliced
1/4 sliced red onion
1/4 c kalamata olives (cut in half)
s + p
garlic powder
1 tbsp evoo
2 tbsp balsamic
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

preheat oven to 400.  In a bowl, toss cherry tomatoes and eggplant in evoo.  Place in baking dish and bake for 15-20 minutes.  In meantime, toast couscous in a small pot with evoo until browned, then add water, bring to boil, cover and simmer 12 minutes.  In a small saute pan, quickly saute zucchini for about 4 minutes (I did not use oil here).  Once everything is cooked properly, add in a bowl and mix.  Add all the seasonings to the salad and adjust accordingly.  Let cool to room temperature or place in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Holy Flaming Balls....Kimchi RIce Balls with Scallion-Sriracha-Cilantro "Aioli"

Hard exterior with a soft and spicy interior?!  Yes please!  This recipe is a take on the Italian dish, arancini.  Though, I switched it up with a traditional Korean side dish and opted to bake not fry it!

Basically, what this recipe really is, is transforming kimchi fried rice into a crunchy ball form so that you can enjoy this as an appetizer with a group of people.  Grease free, mess free!  Just pick one up, dip and pop into your mouth. 

Some people either love Kimchi or are on the fence about.  I particularly love it!  But either way, when you mix it with the rice, the kimchi flavor is very subtle.  Just be careful for all you vegans out there, if you opt to buy this instead of making it yourself (note:  it takes weeks to make due to the fermentation process), make sure you read all ingredients.  Traditionally, kimchi is made with fish sauce or anchovy sauce, though I have found some brands that are 100% vegan.  You can find one at Trader's Joe's.

Kimchi Rice Balls with Scallion-Sriracha-Cilantro "Aioli"

This is perfect if you have left over cooked white rice!  Simple, quick and easy.

Keep in mind that Kimchi can have a very strong odor due to the cabbage and fermentation.  If you have some leftover, be sure to store it in a air tight container in the fridge!

Ingredients  (yields 10 "balls")

for the rice balls:
2 cups cooked white rice
1 cup chopped Kimchi
1 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 chopped scallions
1/4 panko bread crumbs
1 tsp powder egg replacer

for the "aioli"
1/2 avocado
3 tbsp water
2 chopped scallions
handful of cilantro (or to taste)
1 tbsp sriracha (or to taste
1 tbsp rice vinegar


Heat pan and saute ginger and and chopped scallions for about 1 minute.  Add kimchi and cooked white rice and mix thoroughly.  Place mixture in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until cool.
In the meantime, take your blender and blend all the ingredients for the aioli.  Adjust to taste and refrigerate until serving time.
Once your rice/kimchi mixture has cooled, preheat oven to 400.   Mix your egg replacer with a few splashes of water, mix until powder is dissolved and add to the rice mixture.  Sprinkle in just enough panko crumbs so that your mixture is firm.  Form into small balls, then coat each ball with panko.
In a baking dish, cook for 10 minutes, then turn up heat to broil and place onto top rack.  Broil, turning each ball to make sure every side is golden brown (about 7 minutes total).

Have fun and share with friends!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Things are getting a little spicy! Thai Red Coconut Curry with Vegetables!!

Filled with flavor and packed with a punch!  This recipe covers all the taste profiles...sweet, salty, sour and bitter.  It is rich yet light, and The acidity from lime juice really offsets the heaviness of the coconut milk.

Don't be intimidated because this is an ethnic dish and you are not familiar with the flavor profiles.  As long as you have the basics, you really cannot go wrong.  Typical ingredients in curry are galangal (Thai ginger), lemongrass, garlic, cumin, coriander, kaffir lime, and spicy red paprika.

But, don't fret if your local grocery market does not have these exotic ingredients!  There are easy ways to make this authentic dish!
In almost every large grocery store, you will find this little jar in the "ethnic" aisle.  Here is your headache free trick to spicing things up and making them sexy in you kitchen!

Thai Red Coconut Curry with Vegetable
Remember to make sure that you are buying the low fat coconut milk in the can, and not the regular canned coconut milk.  That way you are cutting out those unnecessary calories and fats!

Also, it is always easy to adjust the spice levels to your preference once you pour into your own bowl.  For instance, my husband isn't big on heat, and I am a freak with spice levels!  Always important to have your Sriracha on hand!

Ingredients:  (yields 2-3 servings)
1 cup white rice
2 cup water
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 clove chopped garlic
1/2 head cauliflower florets
1/2 eggplant cubed
1/2 green bell pepper sliced
1/2 red bell pepper sliced
1/2 sliced zucchini
1/2 c baby spinach
2 chopped green onions

1 can low fat coconut milk
3 tbsp red curry paste
splash of soy sauce
juice from 1 lime
sriracha (to taste)
salt (to taste)
3 tbsp brown sugar

in a pot, add water and white rice and bring to boil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, take a large wok (or large sauce pan) and saute garlic and ginger for 1-2 minutes, then cauliflower and bell peppers and saute for an additional 4-5 minutes.  Add in the zucchini and eggplant.  Mix all veggies thoroughly until slightly soft.  Add the coconut milk, red curry paste, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and sriracha.  Bring to boil and then turn to simmer.  Add in baby spinach and let everthing simmer together until veggies are nice and soft.

Ladle into you favorite bowl and serve with your white rice.  Garnish with chopped scallions.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

SOBAlicious!....Cold Sesame Soba Noodle Salad!

I love love love this recipe.  I typically tend to stay away from carb-driven foods, though when it comes to these Soba Noodles, I can barely tell the carb content.  Maybe this is because it is served cold???  Or maybe it is because it is so damn delicious???  Or maybe because it is gluten-free as well!

For this recipe, I used Buckwheat Noodles w/ yam (Yamaimo Soba brand).  I was interested to see the health benefits of these noodles, and upon my research it turns out that buckwheat products are in fact gluten-free.  That made me an even happier "plantry" fanatic.

I ate this as an entry, but this would also be a great side dish as well!  And because this is served cold or at room temperature, it is great for outdoor summer parties.

Ingredients: (yields 4 servings)
1 package Japanese Buckwheat Soba Noodles (cooked until tender and then soaked in ice water)
1/4 c shelled edamame (thawed)
1 bunch asparagus
1 sliced bell pepper
1 sliced zucchini
2 carrots peeled into fine slices
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1 garlic clove chopped
3 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce (gluten free)
2 tbsp green onion (garnish)
3 tbsp chopped peanuts (garnish)

Cook soba noodles according to package, drain and place in ice water.  In an oiled wok or hot saute pan, saute garlic and ginger for about 2 minutes, then add asparagus, bell pepper and zucchini.  Cook and toss for about 5 minutes.  Add in thinly sliced carrots and cook for an additional minute.  Transfer your cooked veggies and noodles into a bowl and combine with your sesame oil and soy sauce.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  When serving, top with green onion and peanuts.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Granola is not just for hippies!....Choco-coconut Granola

Great snack with just 7 ingredients!  I actually hate the stereotype that vegans or vegetarians are tree-hugging hippies.  That is why I came up with "keeping vegan sexy".  You can definitely make your plant-based diet something modern, sleek and sexy AND still taste damn good.

This easy recipe is perfect to pack in a little baggy and snack on it throughout the day.  Definitely should be a staple in your plantry as well! 

Choco-Coconut Granola

You could actually even eat this in the morning for breakfast.  Just add in almond milk or whatever dairy-free milk you prefer!

2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup natural peanut butter
2 tbsp coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut shreds
1/4 cup crushed cashews
1/4 cup carob chips

preheat oven to 350.  Quickly warm oil and peanut butter in a sauce pan or microwave until smooth.  Then, mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Transfer to a baking dish and cook in oven for 20-25 minutes.  Let the granola cool for 10 minutes.  That's it!  Who said cooking is difficult?!?!?!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Happy Fry-Day!.....Tofu Satay

I am typically not one to use a fryer or use much oil, but sometimes a little isn't a bad thing.  It is all about moderation and listening to your body.  If you are craving that certain something, go for it!  Just don't over-indulge!
In this case, my husband and I woke up and thought "We want some delicious Thai food".  Any time we order Thai delivery we always request a side of spicy peanut sauce.  So clearly, my mind went straight to that.  The sauce is really what makes the dish!

Tofu Satay

 I am typically not a huge tofu/soy eater, but in moderation it is great!  Plus, us vegans do need a good source of protein!

Surprisingly I have never seen tofu satay on any menu.  Usually it is Chicken Satay, which just really means grilled chicken on a skewer.  I thought that this is a fun and appealing take on that.

Ingredients:  (yields 4 servings)
 tofu skewers:
1 package firm organic tofu sliced into cubes
2 tbsp agave nectar
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp sriracha
1 diced scallion (garnish)

peanut sauce:
4 tbsp natural peanut butter
4 tbsp unsweetened coconut milk
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sriracha
1/2 lime

For the tofu skewers, combine the agave nectar, soy sauce and sriracha and mix.  Marinate the cubed tofu in the mixture for roughly 20 minutes and put on skewers.  Heat deep fryer (can use oiled pan as well).  Once hot, fry tofu for 3 minutes or until golden brown.  Pat cubes dry, serve with peanut sauce and scallions for garnish.

For peanut sauce, in a sauce pan, heat and mix all ingredients till smooth.  Add a pinch of sugar if you prefer it on the sweeter side.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Simple, Sexy and Ready for the Summer! Avocado-Mango Salad with Mango-Lime Vinagrette!

If this salad doesn't scream summertime, I don't know what does.  It is super light, well balanced and super easy to make!  I think it took me under 5 minutes to make both the salad and the dressing.

Every time I eat this salad, I picture myself on a beach in Mexico, enjoying the fresh mangoes and avocados that fell right from the tree.  Or at some sort of spa right on the ocean.  Enjoy this with your detox water and you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated!

Avocado-Mango Salad with Mango-Lime Vinagrette

 Again, I went with an oil-free dressing.  A tip for those making these salad dressings:  I put them all in squeeze bottles and refrigerate them so I can use them throughout the week.  That way, you don't have to take out the blender ever time you want your favorite salad dressing.

1 bag baby spinach
1/4 sliced avocado
1 sliced avocado
1 sliced mango

1/4 mango
1 lime
garlic powder
1/4-1/2 c water

In a bowl, toss all salad ingredients together.  In a blender, mix all dressing ingredients together, starting with 1/4 cup of water.  Add more if it is too thick.  Pour your dressing on your salad and serve!  That's it.
Told you- under 5 minutes!

Easy Peezy Cheezy Vegan Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza?  Yeah, that's what I thought.  Although, I must admit; I have had my fair share of sub-par vegan's a hard sell without all that yummy cheese!!!

But, alas there is hope... I have found a few brands of vegan cheeses that don't make you want to run in the opposite direction.  Daiya cheese is a good one and Follow Your Heart is another great brand. These vegan cheeses stretch and melt just like the real thing which makes them perfect for pizzas. Note: make sure you look at the ingredients on the back.  Some of these vegan cheeses contain casein, which is in fact a dairy product and what some researchers believe causes cancer.

Vegan Pizza

I actually like to make my own dough, but if you are pressed for time, you can always buy pre-made pizza dough at your grocery store.  I usually buy Trader Joe's dough that can be found in the vegetable section.

For the Crust: (yields 2 large pizzas)

1 Tbs. active dry yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
2 Tbs. olive oil
1½ tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ to 2 cups bread flour
  1. Mix yeast with 1/2 cup warm water in a small bowl, and set aside until yeast begins to foam, for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Add remaining water, olive oil and salt, and stir to combine. Using a portable or standing mixer, add flour by cupfuls until a sticky dough comes together. Knead by machine, or put dough on lightly floured work surface and knead by hand for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Put dough in a bowl, cover with a clean towel and let rise in a warm place for 1 to 11/2 hours, or until doubled.
  3. Punch dough down, and form into equal-sized balls for 2 large or 4 small pizzas. Spray pizza pans or baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray, or rub with olive oil. Let dough rest for 30 minutes, shape into pizza crusts and place in pans or on sheets.
Now It's Time to Make the Pizza!

store bought pizza sauce (again I prefer Trader Joe's Brand)
Daiya vegan Mozzarella Cheese
your favorite veggies!!!

Preheat oven to 425.  Spread sauce on rolled out pizza dough, leaving about 1/2 around the outside for the crust.  Toss shredded cheese on top of sauce...don't be bashful!  The more, the better!  Then add your favorite toppings.   Bake for 16-20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

tip:  For extra deliciousness, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your slice!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

You don't have to pull any strings with these beans! Roasted String Bean Snacks!

Another vegan, healthy snack for everyone!  And I mean everyone!  Yes, that means you too, meat eaters!  Light and crispy with a combo of sweet and salty.

You can find these at grocery stores, but if you make them yourself it comes about to be about a quarter of the price!  The other benefits of DIY-ing these babies is that you can control the calories.  The ones you can by in the store tend to be a bit on the oily side, increasing the calories by almost 2 times the amount.  I like to use a small amount of oil...just enough to coat the beans.

These are obviously great as a snack, but also try them broken up into smaller pieces and mixing them in with a salad!  This will give an extra texture to any salad and definitely add a fun little element to it!

4 cups green beans (cut off ends, rinse and pat dry)
evoo (just enough to lightly coat beans)
himalayan salt
garlic powder (optional)

preheat oven to 400.  Toss green beans with evoo and seasoning and bake on cookie sheet 30 minutes.  Make sure to stir frequently.  Remove them when they are crispy.

An easy, delicious recipe with no strings attached!!!  Snack away!

Let's Get Comfy!....Lentil-Mushroom Shepherds Pie

Get cozy and comfy and enjoy some good ole' home-style comfort food.  Everyone loves the classic shepherd's pie, well aside from those who have never had the classic dish.  Or maybe I have had it very early on in my childhood and just can't remember.  Anyway, my husband has always loved it. Now that he has become vegan and we can share food, I understand why this one of America's top comfort dishes.

Instead of the meat, I substituted in lentils and mushrooms.  The secret is to make the lentil/mushroom mixture as savory as you can get it.  I achieved this by using vegetable broth, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar and just have all of those flavors marinate with the mixture.  For this part of the recipe, you really just have to trust your taste buds.  Add in more or less to fit the flavors you really want to achieve.  I personally like bold flavors and the savory aspect that this dish delivers.

What I really enjoy about my interpretation on this, is using cauliflower mash instead of the typical mashed potatoes.  This makes it lighter and sexier.

Tip:  I use individual aluminum pie molds so everyone can have there own little dish.  You can always opt to use a baking dish and pile on the layers, but this does get a bit sloppy.  Also, the individual throw away molds are perfect for those that take their lunch or dinner to work with them!

Ingredients:    Yields 4 servings
2 cups mushrooms of your choice (chopped)
2 cups cooked lentils (boil the simmer 1 cup lentil and 2 cups water for 20 min)
EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 cup vegetable broth
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4-1/2 c chopped carrots
1/4-1/2 c chopped yellow onion
1 c peas (frozen and thawed)
1 head cauliflower
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c unsweetened coconut milk
s + p
vegan butter (optional)

Preheat oven 350.  In a saute pan, saute mushrooms with a touch of EVOO over medium heat until soft, add in cooked lentils, veggie broth, soy sauce and balsamic.  Let heat up and then simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  Add in more broth, soy or balsamic to your liking (I like the consistency to be a bit "juicy").  In the meantime, start steaming your cauliflower and garlic in a large pot. At the same time, saute your chopped carrots and onions in evoo for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Once you can cut threw the cauliflower easily, transfer that and the garlic to a blender, add coconut milk and vegan butter and blend.  Do not entirely puree though, I think it tastes better with a few chunks.  Add s+p to taste.
All of your elements should be complete.  Grab your individual molds, and start spooning in the lentil/mushroom mixture,  then the carrots/onions, peas and top with cauliflower mash.
Throw in oven for about 30 minutes.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Add A Bit of Spice to Your Life !.....Sriracha Spiked Roasted Chickpea Snacks

Great snack to munch on!  If you know me, I put sriracha on everything, and I mean Everything.  I honestly don't think my taste buds can feel spiciness.  I thought that I would combine two of my favorite ingredients for a healthy snack.  The best part is, this literally costs about $1 for 4 servings.  I mean, you can't do much better than that!

If you don't have Sriracha at home, try using another one of your hot sauces.  Though, trust me when I say, you will not be sorry if you pick up this rooster sauce next time you are at the grocery store.  A helpful hint for those of you whom have never bought this before:  You can usually find the bottles in the "ethnic" aisle and have a green top or spout.

Sriracha Spiked Roasted Chickpea Snacks

There are a few reasons why I am such of fan of the almighty chickpea.  For one, it is ever so versatile.  You can make hummus or falafel or include it is salads or stews.  The flavor is pretty mild, so it is easy to manipulate.
Also, these little guys are rich in fiber and protein.  This will enable you to curb your hunger, while at the same time getting your nutrients.  A perfect reason why this quick and healthy snack is great to have.

1 can Chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
1 tbsp sriracha
1 tsp lemon juice
pink salt
1 tsp garlic powder
cayenne or paprika to taste

Preheat oven to 400.  Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and adjust seasoning to taste.  Note: the sriracha will soak into the chickpea, so you may need to add more after it has been roasting for 10-15 minutes.  Place on parchment paper and roast for 35 minutes.  Be sure to stir around a few times and to check on their crunchiness.
Let cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's Getting Corny up in Here.....Chilled Sweet Corn Soup

This is one easy, quick, inexpensive and super healthy recipe!  The best part is is that it is bursting with those summertime fresh flavors. 

We start seeing sweet corn on the cob right about now in the grocery stores.  This is the perfect time to take advantage of this produce and impress your friends with a light, sexy little starter.  All you really need is a few items in your "plantry".  This would also be really cute if you are entertaining a larger group of people and put them in shooter glasses for a little passed app.

Chilled Sweet Corn Soup

Keep in mind that this recipe is 100% raw.  If you are not looking for a raw recipe and just want a simple healthy meal, you can always opt for canned sweet corn.  This would also be tasty if you made it on the stove and enjoyed it on a cold, dreary day accompanied with some crusty bread.

Ingredients (yields 4 servings)
4 fresh cobs of corn
1.5 cup raw cashews
1 c spring water
1 garlic clove
2 tsp thyme
pinch paprika
cilantro-lime dressing (recipe to follow)
sriracha (garnish)
scallions (garnish)

Soak cashews for at least 2 hrs.  Shuck your corn and remove kernels with knife (do this carefully!)  Save about 1/4 cup of kernels for garnish.  In a blender, blend corn, cashews, water, garlic, thyme, paprika and s + p.  Add more seasoning and water to taste if need be.
 Once blended, chill soup for about 30-60 minutes.  Garnish with swirls of your cilantro-lime dressing, sriracha, scallions and corn.  

***Cilantro-Lime Oil Free dressing.
In a blender, combine the cilantro, juice from 1 lime, sugar, salt, 1/2 avocado and about 3/4 c of water.  Blend.  Alter your seasonings by taste.

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'....Rolled Oats Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Banana Bites!

Whew that sure is a mouthful and your mouth will be very happy once these are tasted.  Really simple, healthy and 100 % oil free with no added sugars.

There are so many options at grocery stores now for granola bars or meal replacement bars.  But, have you really looked at the ingredients in each one.  Of course, there are some that are good for you, but most (especially the leading brands) actually contain more harmful ingredients than beneficial. 

By making your own bars (or bites in this case) you are actually saving money and know exactly what goes into each little treat.


This is such a perfect treat to bring on the go or just enjoy as a snack at home.  They can serve as a granola bar or a cookie.  It really just depends on how you choose to form them or cut them.  In this case, I opted to make little bites.  Great to bring to a picnic with a bunch of friends and definitely kid friendly!

2 cups rolled oats
1 mashed banana
1/3 c agave
1/4 c natural peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c carob chips

Preheat oven to 350.  In a bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Spoon mixture into a baking dish and spread evenly.  Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.  Once removed, let cool for about 10-15 minutes and then cut into desired shape.  Then place in freezer for about 10 minutes to let them keep form.  I tested this method out and it seemed to work brilliantly.

Remove with spatula and enjoy.  These can enjoyed as a snack or a treat.  Such a good healthy recipe without adding any extra preservatives, oils, flour or animal products! 

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It's time to get Raw Again....RAWsome Fettuccine Alfredo

Yes, yes...I do love my raw recipes.  Such a great alternative to something that is typically carbohydrate driven.  So this is the raw variation of the mushroom alfredo pasta I made yesterday. 

Something to note about raw recipes:  It is all about preparation.  Of course you will not be "cooking" anything, but you will have to let your ingredients sit and rest in order to achieve the desired consistency.  So in all actuality it is quite simple to make and requires very little hands-on time!

Raw Fettuccine Alfredo

What is great about eating raw, is that it is so light and delicious you have the option of making multiple variations of a pasta dish, without feeling full and over indulgent.

But, for all purposes of this recipe, I will just concentrate on the Mushroom Alfredo "Pasta".

2 zucchinis
1 cup raw cashews (soaked at least 2 hrs)
1 clove garlic
1/4 c nutritional yeast (optional b/c not entirely raw)
1/2 c water
s + p
nutmeg (optional)
onion powder
evoo (extra virgin olive oil)
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
chopped basil

Begin with soaking your cashews for at least 2 hrs.  With a mandolin or veggie peeler, slice zucchini into thin strips.  Lightly salt and let stand for about an hour.  In the meantime, marinate mushrooms with evoo and balsamic vinegar.  Let sit until soft.

In a blender, mix your cashews, garlic, nutritional yeast, water, s+p, thyme, nutmeg, onion powder until smooth.  Adjust the consistency to your liking by adding in more water or a touch of evoo.

Mix your zucchini noodles with your "alfredo" sauce and garnish with fresh basil.

And there you have it!  A light, sexy and tasty "pasta" dish.