Thursday, February 27, 2014

Simple and Sexy Sesame Vegetable Salad

This is such a simple, yet delicious salad and is a great accompaniment to any Asian entree.  This recipe is raw and gluten free if you use tamari instead of soy sauce.  Of course, if you do not have tamari or do not necesarily need raw or GF, then go ahead and use soy sauce.

The main difference between the two is the use of wheat in soy sauce.   Tamari is made with 100% soybeans, whereas soy sauce uses 40-60% wheat, and the remaining soybeans.

Sesame Vegetable Salad

1 cucumber
2 carrots peeled
1/4 red onion
1/4 c raw peanuts

1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce)
1 tsp chili oil (optional)
2 tsp sesame seeds

With a mandolin, slice cucumber and then halve each piece.  Slice the red onion with the mandolin as well.  With a food processor or vegetable peeler, cut carrots into small shreds.  Toss all the vegetables and peanuts in a bowl.
In small bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients and toss over the salad.  Bam!  Delicious and fast! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac 'N "Cheese"!!!

Sweet Potato Mac N' "Cheese" for your sweetie!  Love, love, love is in the air with this new version of a traditional comfort food.

Who knew that a smokey, sweet potato sauce  paired with a bit of truffle oil could be so sexy?  It almost seems luxurious and indulgent with every bite!

 But wait, it gets better!  Using a whole wheat pasta brings much more health benefits than the refined white stuff.  You obtain much more natural fibers and micro-nutrients, which in part, fills you up faster and prevents you from "over-eating".  On top of that, the fiber contributes to a healthy digestive system.

 You can either make individual ramekins of the mac n' cheese for a more personalized meal, or serve in a baking dish.  Either way, everyone will be smiling while enjoying a transformed comfort food.

Vegan Sweet Potato Mac 'N "Cheese"

2 c elbow macaroni
1 cooked sweet potato
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk (or your choice of non dairy milk)
1- 2 tbsp miso paste (depending on your taste)
1/2 tbsp dijon mustard
3 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp white truffle oil
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 lemon juiced
1 garlic clove
1 tsp cayenne pepper

for the bread crumb topping:
1/2 c panko bread crumbs
3 tsp evoo
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil

Preheat oven 350.
Cook elbow macaroni according to directions, drain in colander and set aside (toss with a touch of evoo to prevent sticking).
Place your cooked sweet potato (you may either bake it or boil),  in a food processor with almond milk, miso paste, dijon mustard, liquid smoke, truffle oil, lemon juice, garlic and seasoning.  Puree until smooth.  Add in more almond milk to achieve your desired consistency of the sauce.  Adjust seasoning to taste.
Mix together cooked noodles and your sauce and pour into either individual ramekins or baking dish.
Mix together all the ingredients for the bread crumb topping and spoon over the mac 'n "cheese" mixture evenly.  Bake for about 20 minutes.
Love, love, love!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Eating Clean!....Vegan Curried "Cream" of Celery Soup

I think most of us can agree that this winter is just ridiculous!  How much more snow and negative degree weather can we get?!?!  Hopefully just one more month of winter!

But, since we are still knee deep in this crap, warm up your body and boost your immunity with a curried cream of celery soup.  There are many health benefits of curry.  It has been said to reduce inflammation, so if you have joint pain or arthritis, look into curry recipes!  Also, as I mentioned, it boosts your immunity, burns fat and is rich in antioxidants.

Vegan Curried "Cream" of Celery Soup

Also this is an incredibly simple soup to make!  Just some savory vegetable broth, celery, onions and spices.  Go a step further to impress and garnish with a light, fresh and crispy apple salad using the leaves from the celery stalk.  Again, no waste in this plantry!

Plus, the crunch and sweetness of the apple gives it a whole other dimension.

Ingredients (yields 4-6 servings):
1 package of celery chopped
1 yellow onion chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
6 c veggie broth
1/4 c unsweetened original almond milk
1-2 tbsp curry powder (amount according to your taste)
2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp evoo
1/2 lemon juiced

for the garnish:
1 apple chopped
handful of the leaves from the celery stalk
1/2 lemon juiced

In a large pot,  heat evoo on medium-high and saute celery, onion and garlic for about 10-12 minutes or until hot.  Add in curry powder, cumin and s+p and stir completely.  Pour in vegetable broth and almond milk.  Bring to boil, then cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes.  Transfer to blender and blend until smooth.  Return to pot to keep warm.
For the garnish, simply toss the celery leaves and chopped apple with lemon juice.
Ladle soup into bowl and top with apple garnish.

Raw Pasta with Avocado-Walnut Cream Sauce

I've been working out a lot lately.  Having a workout facility across the street is too good to pass up.  Like many people, I used to have the nasty habit of throwing away money at those big, corporate, testosterone driven gyms.  I would honestly say that a few hundred dollars went down the drain until finally canceling.

But now that the city park district is right across the street, I have access to the gym and pool for next to nothing a month.  Sure it may not be the most updated facility, but I get in a good workout at least 3-4 times a week.

 Sooo......with all that mumbo jumbo said, I really feel that I need to eat clean and super fresh to maintain staying fit.  I always teeter between vegan and raw.  I have been eating raw for the last few days and really feel great!  Full of energy, feel light and energized.  Best part is, you can just really eat all day without feeling guilty!

I think what makes it most difficult is to be creative with raw foods.  And with this creativity, also means that it can be somewhat timely.  Fortunately this recipe is pretty quick and easy!

I have done raw pastas before, but what is different here is the sauce.  Usually I use cashews for the "cream" like texture.  But, this time I went with avocados and walnuts, plus some fresh basil, lemon juice and pepper.  Creamy, nutty, and herbacious.

I promise, you can eat a large bowl of this pasta and not feel heavy at all!  It is bright, clean and best part, tasty as heck!

Raw Pasta with Avocado-Walnut Cream Sauce

Ingredients: (yields 4 servings)
4 zucchinis
2 ripe avocados
1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
1/2 c raw walnuts
handful fresh basil
1 large lemon
1-2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 vine ripe tomatoes
extra walnuts for garnish
s+p to taste

Directions:  With mandolin or spiralizer, slice zucchini into long spaghetti like strips.  Throw in a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt and set aside.  What this does is releases some water from the zucchini, making the pieces soft like cooked noodles.
With a food processor or blender, combine avocados, almond milk, walnuts, basil, lemon, garlic and nutritional yeast until smooth.  Add in water if the mixture is too thick and add in seasoning.  Blend again until combined.
Drain zucchinis noodles, removing excess water.  Toss with your avocado cream sauce and garnish with chopped vine tomatoes and raw walnut pieces. 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Good Ole' Fashioned....Vegan "Chik'n" Pot Pie

It's that time of year lovely, handsome husband's birthday time!  I asked him this morning what he would like for his birthday dinner.  After much thought, his answer was "chick'n" pot pie and, sigh, vegan german chocolate cake (not a fan of baking).  Neither one of these choices were surprising...the man is a lover of comfort food.

 I was pretty excited to make the pot pie because I have fallen deeply in love with Edward & Son's Not-Chick'n Bouillon cubes.  If you read my recipes, I am sure you are well aware of this.  I also adore Soy Salud's Carne de Soya, which is tvp that you rehydrate.  Combining both of these two products is simply the best fake chicken taste I have had!  Because the tvp is so porous once rehydrated with the "chick'n" broth, it certainly does emulate that chicken taste and texture!

As far as the dough goes, keep it simple on yourself!  Of course you can always make your own dough, but I opted to use the refrigerator crescent rolls.  The are perfectly flaky and crisp.  Just pinch together the periferated cuts to form a nice square and place over the pot pie.  Delicious!

Vegan "Chik'n" Pot Pie

1 c soy dehydrated chicken (or your preferred vegan chicken product)
1 not-chick'n bouillon cube plus 1.5 c water (or 1.5 c preferred broth)
1 garlic clove minced
1 c chopped yellow onion
1 c chopped carrots
1 c chopped broccoli
1 c frozen peas thawed
1 tbsp fresh thyme minced
1.5 c original/unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c flour
1 tbsp evoo
1 tsp cayanne
Pillsbury Crescent rolls

Preheat oven 375.
Bring water with bouillon cube to a boil and add in tvp chicken.  Turn off heat and let rehydrate for about 10-14 minutes. 
In meantime,  heat evoo in saute pan on medium-high heat and saute garlic, onion and broccoli for about 7 minutes or until vegetable are soft.  Add in peas, and almond milk and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and stir in flour and nutritional yeast until fully combined.  Add in seasonings and the rehydrated chicken AND the liquid.  Season to taste.
With an oven safe bowl, ladle in enough of the pot pie mixture just to the top of the bowl.  Cover each bowl with the crescent roll doughs, pinching the edges to the bowl.
Bake in oven for 16-19 minutes or until golden brown.
Now that is some good ole lovin' comfort food!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Curried Israeli Couscous with Apples and Raisins!

Lets be honest, just the smell of walking through the automatic doors of Whole Foods brings a wave fresh produce, flowers, herbs and cooked goods that consumes my senses.  But walking by multiple rows of the salad bar is downright shocking.  Shocking because clearly there are some remarkable salads and toppings to run through, but also because they charge at least $10.99/lb.  I mean come on!  Yeah, there specialty salads are good, but we can all make them equally, if not better AND for much cheaper!  

I flipping love Israeli couscous, so when I saw a curried Isreali Couscous I their store, I knew I wanted to do a play on that.  So, there is so simple to make!  All you need is pearled couscous, apples, raisins and possibly a few different fresh herbs if so desired! 

Curried Isreali Couscous with Apples and Raisins

Ingredients/Directions: (yields 3-4 servings)
2 c israeli couscous
2.5 c water
1-2 apples roughly chopped
1 c raisins
1 c water (to boil raisins)
handful of chopped parsley (optional)
1-2 tbsp curry powder (or combo of cumin, coriander, tumeric, dry mustard, cayanne)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp evoo

In a pot, combine couscous and water and bring to boil.  Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.
While cooking couscous, plump your raisins by boiling them for just a few minutes.  Strain and set aside.
Once couscous has finished cooking, transfer to bowl, mix with evoo, and add seasonings.  Toss in the apples, raisins and parsley.  Season additionally to taste and let cool.  
This is perfect for any season!