Browsing Category

Vegan

Mango Cucumber Salsa

May 22, 2013

It’s finally time! After five loooong, cold months – fresh produce is back! And I’m not talking about those root vegetables that taste like dirt (sorry, beets. You just don’t do it for me). I’m talking about spinach that was picked earlier that day and strawberries that were carried on a truck from down the street.

This salsa is great in it’s simplicity. It’s wonderful when produce is so fresh that you don’t need a ton of added ingredients. Dip this salsa in tortilla dips or use as a topping for tacos, veggie burgers, or anything else that sounds delicious!

mangosalsa3

Cucumber Mango Salsa

  • 1 mango, peeled and diced (pit removed)
  • 1 red chili pepper, diced
  • 1/2 english cucumber, diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • juice from half a lime
  • 10 mint leaves, chopped
  • squirt of sriracha (optional, add if you’d like to add a hint of heat)

Combine the mango, pepper, cucumber, cumin and mint in a bowl. Squeeze the lime juice over the salsa and stir until everything is coated. Season with salt and sriracha.

 

cucumbermango4

Strawberry Rhubarb with Ginger Crumb Pie [Vegan]

May 12, 2013

strawberryrhubarb3

I had making a pie on the mind all week. I don’t get this urge very often (mostly because making a pie for two is just plain irresponsible) but decided to let myself indulge this time. My original thought was a blueberry basil pie but I was going to be open to whatever the farmer’s market would supply me. The only fruit I ended up finding at the market were strawberries and I knew I had to get them. They were petite and had the irresistible rustic appearance that wild strawberries often times have. This led to an internal struggle though…what other flavor combination would I use with strawberries? There was no basil at the market so that was out. I knew that rhubarb was the right choice (being in season and because strawberry rhubarb makes everything taste like a fruit roll up – in a good way) but I didn’t want to admit it at first. The ground breaking culinary discovery that rhubarb and strawberries were made for each other happened long before VV came around. What would make my pie different from the 100 million other recipes out there?

strawberryrhubarb

After racking my brain & running through every spice and herb imaginable in my head, it clicked. Ginger. Ginger had become my BFF over the winter (when I was constantly warding off a cold with Ginger Lemon Tonics). I immidetely imagined a gingerly zing hitting the tongue moments after the strawberry rhubarb kicked in for a second layer of flavorings. And you know what? I was right. I am SO glad I was right. Thank you, ginger. Strawberry Rhubarb pies will never be the same.

strawberryrhubarb2

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie with Ginger Crumble

Adapted from Vegan Pie in The Sky

For the Crust:

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup cold vegetable shortening
  • 4 Tablespoons ice water
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:

  • 2 1/2 cups rhubarb, cute into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 3 1/2 cups strawberries, cut into 1/2 in chunks (fresh or frozen)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 1/3 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan butters or regular butter if not wanting to make vegan)

 

For the crust: Combine the sugar, flour, and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry cutter (or your clean hands) cut in the shortening to the mixture until  coarse crumbly dough as formed.

In another small bowl, combine the ice water with the vinegar. Drizzle 1/3 over the water over the flour mixture and stir. Drizzle another 1/3 over the mixture and stir again. Drizzle the rest of the water over the dough and form a soft dough ball. If the mixture hasn’t come together, add another tablespoon of ice water. If it’s too wet, add a tablespoon of flour. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Let sit in the fridge for an hour.

For the filling / crumb: Combine all the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside. For the crumb, combine the flour, sugar, salt, ginger, and nutmeg. Drizzle in the butter with one hand and swish around the mixture with a spatula with your other hand. Mix until large crumbles form.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Roll the dough out on floured parchment paper (this will help you transfer it to your pie to the pan). You’ll want to make a 12″ circle with the dough. Quickly flip the dough into your pie pan and remove parchment paper. Add filling over dough and then spread the crumble evenly over the top.

Cover with aluminum foil and poke a few holes to let steam escape. Bake for 20 minutes and then lower heat down to 350 degrees. Remove foil and let cook for another 30 minutes or until the topping has browned.

Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

strawberryrhubarb4 copy

Homemade Mustards: Honey Curry & Beer Thyme

April 16, 2013

homemademustard2

As spring approaches, I get the “grilling craving”. You know what I’m talking about – where not only the smell of blooming flowers is in the air but also the smell of charcoal and kabobs. This is usually also the time of year that I  get the urge to make a new condiment. For me, condiments will always be associated with summer outdoor cookouts. A veggie dog is just not the same without relish, ketchup, and mustard. But woah, have you seen all the preservatives that reside in your standard ketchup bottle? Its a sight for sore eyes!

This is usually why I like to make a few batches of homemade condiment to last me through the summer. Two years ago I posted about Ketchup, last spring was Barbecue Sauce, and this time around I am trying my hand at Mustard. The idea, for me, is that if I make it in the spring then I’ll have the condiments around in the fridge for grill outs and social gathering all summer long.

I’m pretty excited about this mustard because it will last in your fridge for up to 3 months. That means months of veggie dog toppings and Brie Grilled Cheeses! In addition, it makes plenty to share and you get to show off your fancy cooking skills to all your friends. What’s a better conversation starter than ‘Oh, here is where I put that homemade mustard. Yup, I said homemade’ ?

The trick for these recipes is to use enough vinegar that you get a bit of tang with each bite but also don’t use so much that the vinegar becomes overpowering (which can happen pretty quickly). Also, another thing to note, is that whole mustard seeds are super spicy. Like…way more spicy than most people ever realize. This means that you may need to add LOTS more sweetener at the end to get the desired flavor profile you are looking for. Don’t be afraid to mix in some more honey or agave to make it sweet. Or even more curry powder or thyme if you aren’t tasting the added ingredients as much as you’d like. Homemade cooking is all about experimenting so play around with this recipe and figure out what works best for your taste palette.

homemademustard

Homemade Honey Curry Mustard

  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon honey (plus more for the end)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon curry powder
  • salt

Homemade Thyme Beer Mustard

  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 cup yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped shallots
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • salt

For both or either recipes: Place all ingredients for each recipe into two separate bowls (or just use one bowl if you are only making one of the mustards). Cover and let sit in the fridge overnight.

The next day, transfer everything to a blender and blend until desired consistency is reached (I like to keep a few mustard seeds whole but do whatever fits your fancy). Taste to season and add more honey if it’s too spicy or salt/pepper to help bring out the flavors.

Eat right away or transfer to an airtight jar and keep in the fridge for up to 3 months.

*Please note that the mustard seeds are like a sponge and will absorb any liquid around them so if your mustard becomes dry from sitting in the fridge, just add a few teaspoons of water to reach your desired consistency again

homemademustard3

Guest Post: Nut-Free Vegan Cheese Sauce by Leanne of Healthful Pursuit

April 8, 2013

Good morning! I am thrilled to introduce you all to my friend Leanne from Healthful Pursuit

Leanne Vogel is a holistic nutritionist and the girl behind the healthy living blog, Healthful Pursuit. Whether youíre sensitive to dairy, gluten, soy, eggs, grains, or sugar, or are just interested in eating healthy, Leanneís fun and simple healthy recipes; of which she has more than 550 on her blog, are a great resource for everyone.

 

vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv

 

Nut-free Vegan Cheese Sauce (34)

 

Thanks for the introduction, Shelly – and a big hello to all of you!

Do you like cheese sauce?

I do. On pasta, veggies, nachos, a spoon… I’ll take it any way that I can. But… I’m allergic to dairy.

I know, it’s tragic.

Dairy gives me headaches, bloating, ear infections, sinus infections, weight gain and acne. As much as I love it, it’s evident that it just doesn’t love me back. So, I live a life without the good stuff.

Once I removed dairy out for good about 10 years ago, I replaced my infatuation with dairy with a major reliance on expensive store-bought replacements like artificial, soy-based sour creams, cheeses, yogurts and milks. I was spending a lot of money on groceries and had a sneaking suspicion that the artificial dairy products weren’t so good for my health. So, I started figuring out ways that I could make my own yogurts, creams and dips that were made from real food, saved me money, and made me feel great… and that’s how my Done with Dairy Toolkit was born.

My Done with Dairy Toolkit is the ultimate (free) guide to living dairy-free. It’s loaded with dairy-free recipes, tips and recommendations on how to thrive on a dairy-free diet - love every meal, snack, and dessert you prepare yourself without feeling limited in your options.

To give you a little taste of the types of recipes you’ll find in the handy-dandy guide, I’ve created a nut-free, vegan cheese sauce for you!

Nut-free Vegan Cheese Sauce (17)-3

Nut-Free Vegan Sauce

  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

 

Add water, sesame seeds and lemon juice to the jug of your high powered blender. Blend on high for 2 minutes, until smooth. Set aside.

Nut-free-Vegan-Cheese-Sauce

Add oil to a medium saucepan or frying pan and melt on medium-low.

Add nutritional yeast and stir with a fork until all yeast is covered in oil.

Nut-free-Vegan-Cheese-Sauce2

Pour in sesame seed mixture and stir until it comes to a boil.

Add in remaining ingredients: mustard, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.

Cook for 1-2 minutes until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in your favorite cooked pasta or serve warm with veggies.

Notes:

Feel free to replace the coconut oil with whatever oil you have on hand. The great thing about using coconut oil is that, when heated, the sauce is runny and perfect “cheese sauce” consistency. But when chilled, it is similar to a cheese spread. If another type of oil is used, this may not be the case.

Nut-free Vegan Cheese Sauce (7)

Are you rockin’ a dairy-free life or know someone who is?

Do you get overwhelmed with all of the substitutions you have to make to a recipe to make it dairy-free?
Leanne_HealthfulPursuit

 

Author bio: Leanne Vogel is a holistic nutritionist who has chosen to celebrate her allergies, overcome her food restrictions, release her negative relationship with food and live freely. You can find her living out her journey as she documents her latest adventures on her blog, www.healthfulpursuit.com.

Connect with LeanneÖ

Facebook: healthfulpursuit

Twitter:@be_healthful

 

Cinnamon Quinoa Granola

February 22, 2013

quinoagranola

 

Every winter, I become less into making oatmeal for breakfast than I had been the previous winter. Truth is – it’s just too time consuming (I know, I know – Ms. Lazy) in the mornings and I end up quickly going back to my granola. The transition to year round granola has urged my need to get creative with the stuff. Eating the same thing ever day? Booooring.

And let me tell you…oh my goodness. I can not remember the last time I was this obsessed with a granola. Bringing quinoa into the equation changes everything. It adds a texture depth that goes beyond anything I’ve experienced in granola. Even if your cinnamon oats end up soggy then you are still left with crunchy and toasted quinoa bits. This recipe can, of course, be adapted to your liking. Add more fruit or spices depending on what you are into.

I’ve played around with quinoa dozen of time (see: Southwestern Quinoa Salad, Quinoa Nuggets, or Fall Quinoa Salad) but have never been as excited about it as I am with this recipe. Toasting quinoa? Who would have thought! And the extra protein quinoa brings into this breakfast will help you feel full longer [which means no more 10:45 munchies runs to the vending machine in need of some Cheetos].

Don’t forget to rinse your quinoa SUPER well – you want to make sure all of that bitter outer coating is removed for maximum indulgence potential. This recipes makes about 3 cups so store  leftovers in an airtight container. Or be a good friend and share a bag. Or even freeze the stuff if you won’t use it in a timely fashion. Love granola but hesitant about this quinoa business? Then maybe you should start with this Spiced Pumpkin Granola instead.

 

 

 

quinoagranola2

 

 

Cinnamon Quinoa Granola

 

  • 2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and patted dry
  • 3/4 cup pecan, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, in liquid form
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar

 

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and spread evenly onto a cookie sheet. Cook for 30 minutes and stir 3 times throughout the cooking process. Remove from oven and let cool completely before moving to an airtight container.

Serve over yogurt, milk, or fruit. Or just eat it by the spoonful.

 

Song Pairing:

Coconut Curried Carrot Soup with Spiced Chickpeas

February 21, 2013

carrotsoup

 

This is usually the part of winter where I get fed up. At this point, I am over root vegetables and kale salads and chili and stews. At this point, I’m usually throwing in the towel and ordering take out, frozen pizzas, or milkshakes for dinner. It’s that last leg before spring food hits the produce isle and I can’t help but find it hard to stay inspired after four months of the same thing being in season.

Not this year. This year I was determined to not get bored with dinners. This year, I constnaly have been reminding myself how much I long for minestrone or curry when it’s 90 degrees out. This year I’ve added fun new techniques to my winter routine – like my tagine and slow cooker. I’ve added things into my soups to make them more interesting – like those insanely delicious goat cheese croutons.

And now I’m back with another soup recipes with a fun addition: spiced chickpeas. These chickpeas are…woah. It was hard to save them for dinner because there was so much munching I should have been making the soup. Wash the vegetables, eat a few chickpeas, simmer, eat a few chickpea, season, eat a few chickpeas. You get the idea. So addicting.

I’m pretty excited to start adding these chickpeas to my afternoon snack routine. It will be a nice change from greek yogurt or nuts. I found this great resource of different seasonings for your chickpeas over at MPMKs – cannot wait to try them all!

 

 

thaicarrotsoup

 

Coconut Curried Carrot Soup with Spiced Chickpeas

  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 8 medium carrots, diced
  • 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 1 15 ounce can of coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ginger powder
  • Salt / Pepper, to taste
  • Feta, optional

 

  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • dash of salt

 

To make the chickpeas: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients together and put in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 20 to 30 minutes or until the chickpeas are crispy. Remove from oven and let cool.

 To make the soup: Heat olive oil over medium in a large saucepan. Add onions and saute until translucent (about ten minutes). Add the carrots and cook for another five minutes. Pour in the stock, coconut milk, ginger, and curry powder. Cover and cook for about ten minutes (or until the carrots are soft).

Once all the vegetables are soft, remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender. Season with salt, pepper, and maybe a little hot sauce (if you like a kick). Top with feta and chickpeas.

 

Citrus Pisco Negroni

February 13, 2013

-1

I don’t have a very sophisticated palette when it comes to alcohol. When sampling something, I would know the difference between red and white. Between gin and vodka. And between spiced rum and whiskey. That is about it. It’s not by choice…I love the idea of knowing how to tell where a wine is from based on the type of grapes that were used. Or being able to predict how old a whiskey is based on the bite it gives. It’s just not a skill that I have activity seeked out [ yet? ].

So I was pretty excited when Wyatt received a nice bottle of Pisco as a birthday gift (Thanks, Ma!). Pisco?! What’s that you ask? It’s a Chilean (or Peruvian) grape brandy that is usually clear or yellowish in color. How sophisticated does that sound? I can already sense my alcohol knowledge expanding as I type this.

We’ve tried a couple cocktail recipes and this one is by far my favorite. It’s very alcoholic yet mild tasting (if that makes sense). I like to add a splash of sparkling water because I’m a wimpy drinker (which my Mother likes to remind me every time we have a family gathering. Thanks, again, Ma..) and I like a bit of fizz in my cocktail. Wyatt prefers the drink without the water so feel free to adjust depending on how strong you like your cocktails.

Whip these up for guests next time you feel like showing off to your guests. “Ohh, I just can’t get over how much I’ve been into this Peruvian grape brandy lately…”

 

Citrus Pisco Negroni

Serves 2
  • 6 Tablespoons Pisco
  • 1/4 cup Campari
  • 1/4 cup sweet vermouth
  • 8 drops orange bitters
  • sparkling water, optional
  • cherries, for garnish
  • Orange peel, for garnish

Add Pisco, Campari, sweet vermouth, and bitters to a shaker. Shake well. Fill 2 glasses with ice and add Pisco mixture. Add a splash to sparking water and garnish with cherries and an orange peel.

 

-2

 

 

 

Salted Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Bites (Vegan)

February 7, 2013

nobakesaltedchocolate2

These are what I call the ‘I just did my taxes and need some chocolate’ cookies. They were a little ‘guilt free’ reward that was needed after sifting trhough document and papers and receipts and bank statements. It’s a shame really…I went to yoga right before sitting down to do my taxes in hopes that it would leave me in a state of calm. But after all questions after questions about loans / checks / wages…I needed some chocolate.

I decided to go the healthy and lazy (no bake) route with these. A whole lot of protein with a bit of sweet (from the dates) and some natural fats (from the nuts). They are totally indulgent but not in a ‘oh shit, I’m going to have to spend an extra 3 hours on the treadmill’ sort of way. They are rich and gooey but also filling and…dare I say, practical? As a vegetarian, I can pretty much convenience myself that anything with 5+ grams of protein is an acceptable snack / breakfast / lunch / dessert.

 

nobakesaltedchocolate copy

 

Salted Dark Chocolate & Almond Butter Bites (Vegan)

Inspired by The Sprouted Kitchen and Oh, Ladycakes
  • 1 cup nuts (I did 1/2 cup pecans and 1/2 cup almonds)
  • 1 cup dates, pitted (soaked in water for 10+ minutes)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (or peanut or sunflower or cashew, whatever you are feeling)
  • 1 ounce dark chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • Sea Salt, to garnish

 

Throw everything into a food processor and pulse until a thick dough forms (if its crumbly then add a tiny bit of water). Roll dough into tablespoon size balls and place on waxed paper. Smash the dough balls down slightly with clean fingers or a fork. Sprinkle with  sea salt . Stick in the fridge for an hour or enjoy them right away [in their prime gooeyness].

Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits

February 4, 2013

The title of this post is a bit misleading. These biscuits are not actually stuffed with real vegans…unlike how you probably read it the first time. There was just no easy way to throw a title together for this. I could have put ‘Stuffed Breakfast Biscuits’ but then people would have wondered where the eggs and sausage was? Or I could have wrote ‘Tofu Scramble Scones’ but that would have seemed like the tofu goes along side the scones… which is not correct either. What I really wanted to put was ‘Peppered Gravy & Tofu Hash Scramble Stuffed Biscuits That Are Vegan’ but oh goodness…look at how long that title is. I don’t think that title would have fit on one line…and maybe not even on two. So I settled for ‘Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits’…I am sorry if it’s misleading and you conjure up thoughts of cannibalism instead of wonderfully flaky, warm biscuits oozing with peppered gravy and filling tofu goodness. See!? Do you see why it took me 20 minutes to settle on a title for this post?

I guess it makes up for the fact that it took about 20 seconds to know that I wanted to make these. I love the Morningstar breakfast sandwiches as a treat every now and then but couldn’t help but wonder…could I make fresh ones that are probably 10000xxx times better? After searching around on the web and failing at finding any recipes that matched the vision in my head, I decided to make it up myself. This recipe is a mutant product of my favorite tofu scramble recipe and tomato scones recipes found in Isa’s Vegan Brunch. And a simple peppered gravy recipe that we often times to turn when we need some thick and flavorful gravy in a hurry. And then I threw in some hashbrowns because…welll…what is breakfast without hash browns?

So…in turn, this recipe is Delicious? Yes. Freezable? Yes. Easy to prepare the night before? YES. Portable? YES. Everything you’ve ever wanted in a breakfast rolled into one pocket of deliciousness? YESSS. Why would you not make these for a vegan potluck or freeze a batch for a quick breakfast on the go?!

 

Vegan Stuffed Brunch Scones

 

Vegan Stuffed Brunch Biscuits

For the Gravy:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1+ teaspoon salt / pepper

 

For the Tofu Scramble:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 block extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup diced onion
  • 2 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • Salt / Pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes, optional (because I like lots of veggies)

 

For the Biscuits:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

 

  • 1/2 russet potato, diced very small

 

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add in the potatoes. Cook until they are soft but not mushy (about 10 minutes depending on how small you diced them).

To make the scramble: Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium. Add onions and saute until soft (about five minutes). Add garlic and saute for another minute. Next, crumble the tofu and add into the skillet along with the cooked potatoes. Saute until the tofu has browned and add in the water, tumeric, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and cumin. Saute for another five minutes or until the water has evaporated (if the tofu seems dry then add a bit more water and let it cook down). Remove from heat and stir in the tomatoes.

To make the gravy: combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat until thickened (about ten to fifteen minutes). Season with more pepper (if necessary) and pour over the tofu scramble. Mix until everything is combined.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Vegan Breakfast Biscuits

To make the biscuits: Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and stir together. Make a well in the center of the bowl and add wet ingredients. Fold dry into wet until a soft dough has formed. Flour a surface and roll out half of the dough into an inch thick (make sure to keep everything very well floured because the dough is super sticky). Cut out desired biscuit sizes using a biscuit cutter and then flatten the dough to about 1/2 inch (you can use your rolling pin or your hands here). Place a heaping tablespoon of the tofu/gravy mixture in the center and fold the edges into each other until you’ve made a sealed round ball. Transfer to a greased cooking sheet. Roll out the rest of the dough and repeat.

[This is where you can wrap them in an airtight container and stick in the fridge overnight if you are preparing ahead of time]. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the tops are firm and the insides are warm.

Enjoy hot or freeze for later breakfasts!

 

Vegan Brunch Biscuits

 

 

Leblebi // Chickpea Stew

January 31, 2013

Chickpea Stew

The fascination with my Tangine has really morphed my cooking this past month. I didn’t even use the tagine for this recipe but was drawn to it since the recipe is so similar to the other Tunisian dishes I’ve been playing around with. Who knew 2013 would be the year of preserved lemons, harissa paste, and spicy stews? Well, the first few months of 2013 at least. Can’t predict past that.

I am sooo in love the contrast that is created when you mix spicy harissa paste with sweet honey and lather it all over vegetables / beans. Oh my goodness! Do you know what I’m talking about? Well, you should. And here is a perfect starter recipe for it. Harissa paste is super easy to make (check out the recipe here) or you should be able to find it at any international market store. As for preserved lemons? It took me a long time to come around to them and I would recommend slicing them VERY thin until you get use to their intense flavor. But with that said, they really do add a depth of flavor that could not be achieved by this simple stew without them.

 

Chickpea-Stew

 

Lablabi / Chickpea Stew

Serves 2

  • 3 cups cooked chickpeas (about 2 cans drained)
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 preserved lemon, sliced thinly
  • 1 roasted bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 teaspoons capers, rinsed
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • dash of salt
  • Day old Bread

Simmer the chickpeas in the vegetable broth until heated through. Whisk together the olive oil, honey, garlic, cumin salt, and harissa paste in a small bowl. Fold in the capers, lemon, and red pepper to the dressing.

Tear the bread into large chunks and divide between two bowls. Spoon the chickpeas and broth over the bread and top with dressing / lemon mixture. Serve right away so the bread doesn’t get soggy.

 

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

January 15, 2013

HoneyBourbonBarbecueSauce

If close up pictures of french fries doesn’t make you want to ditch your soup dinner plans and run out to the nearest diner then I do not know what does. Sorry that I just ruined your diet with this photo. Don’t worry, you can start again tomorrow.

I grew up a firm believer that ketchup was for eggs and barbecue sauce was for french fries. Although I’ve grown out of lathering ketchup all over my morning scramble, I still cannot resist a big side of tangy barbecue sauce to accompany my french fries and tofu nuggets (yes, I am guilty – I do enjoy those processed fake chicken nuggets that you can find in you organic freezer section at Kroger).

Although I am known to still down the occasional fry or chicken-less nuggets, I do try avoid the processed and high-fructose packed condiments that fill our grocery stores. Have your REALLY looked on the back of that condiment jar in a while? It’s a rather upsetting sight. Instead, I usually whip up a batch our this barbecue sauce  and it usually holds me through all summer (and I participate in A LOT of grill outs every summer).

I decided to mix it up and try a new bbq sauce this time around. It’s definitely not the traditional bbq sauce you are used to (I’d suggest using this recipe if you are looking for that) but it’s a great sauce to use for special occasions. It’s a wonderful way to add new flavor to your condiments or to fancy up a side of fries at a party. The bourbon gives it the inevitable and sophisticated alcoholic aroma while the honey helps sweeten and tone it down.

I made this in my slow cooker so I could walk away and not worry about it. But it would probably be made just as easy in a saucepan by throwing in all your ingredients and letting it simmer down to your desired consistency (bet it wouldn’t take more than 30 minutes!).

 

Honey-bourbon-barbecue-sauce

 

Slow Cooker Honey Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 ounces of tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • dash of hot sauce, optional
  • salt, to taste

 

Heat the olive oil over medium in a small skillet. Add onions and sauté until translucent (about five or so minutes). Add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Remove from heat.

Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and turn the slow cooker on low. Let cook for 8 hours. If the sauce is too thin after 8 hours, remove the lid and let cook down to desired consistency.

Use an immersion blender to blend into a smooth sauce or leave the small chunks of onions (they are delicious!).

Serve right away or transfer to an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. If you’d like to keep it longer, freeze it in ice cube trays for easy access to later.

 

honey-bourbon-barbecue-sauce

 

 

Because Nobunny is both saucy and probably a bit alcoholic (yeah -  not really sure what that means either):

Harissa Paste

January 4, 2013

Happy Friday! Any big plans for the weekend? I didn’t start my work week until Wednesday so this week kind of feels like cheating…did I really earn weekend already? I could get use to this 3 day week thing! As for my weekend? The only thing I have planned to to make some homemade ravioli (now if I could only decide on ONE filling option…).

Continuing with my New Years resolution to eat less processed food, I decided to make my own harissa paste instead of heading to the specialty market to pick up a bottle of it. I needed some harissa paste because I received a beautiful Tagine for Christmas and have been cooking in it non-stop. It’s such an easy, delicious, and ridiculously healthy way to whip up a batch full of hearty veggies drenched in flavorful Middle Eastern or African spices.

So what exactly is harissa paste? It’s a condiment made out of chiles that will have varying ingredients depending on location. It’s been known to be used in African, Moroccan, and several other Middle Eastern countries. I added a few teaspoons of it to a butternut squash, raisin, and shallots combination I made the other day and it was delightful. I plan to use the leftover paste as a condiment on sandwiches (adding a little bit of honey bring the spice level down without compromising the wonderful flavor). I’ve also heard of peopling dipping fresh bread into it or adding it to cooked couscous.

This recipe can also be made with fresh chiles (just omit the soaking process). I am eager to grow some in my garden this summer so we can experiment more!

 

 

HarissaPaste

 

Continue Reading…

Vegan Gingerbread Biscotti

December 21, 2012

And its time to push on with the holiday baking! Yesterday I posted about those beautiful candied orange peels and last week there was the Peppermint Dipped Brown Butter Shortbread cookies…and now I’m here again with some biscotti! Are you sick of all the sugar yet? Yeah, me neither!

This is a perfect accompaniment to your morning cup of coffee [or tea] for you to enjoy on your lazy holiday mornings. They are firm but soften up beautifully when dunked in a big cup of coffee and give a wonderful gingerbread flavor tint to your cup of joe! I topped my biscotti with frosting since I had just made some for sugar cookies but feel free to drizzle with chocolate or caramel or whatever you are feeling!

 

 

Vegan Gingerbread Biscotti

adapted from Isa Moskowitz
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 4 Tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used my homemade stuff)
  • 1 3/4 cup of flour
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a baking sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the molasses, sugar, flaxseed, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Pour the dry ingredients into wet and stir until combined and crumbly. Finally, add in a the milk a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together (you want to keep the dough on the dry side so you may not use all 4 tablespoons).

Roll the dough out into a 11 inch by 4 inch long and place on greased cooking sheet. Cook for 30 minutes or until the edges just start to brown. Remove from oven and let cook for an hour.

Reheat oven to 325 degrees and use a sharp knife to cut diagonal strips into the biscotti log. Turn the pieces so that the inside part is facing up (this will help dry out the middle) and stick back in the oven for  20 minutes. Let cool completely to reach that desired crispiness.

 

 

Candied Orange Peels

December 20, 2012

 

If you live in the Midwest (like myself), you may be bracing yourself for the big Draco Storm (when did they start naming thunderstorm? I get naming hurricanes and tornadoes but T-storms?) that is planned to hit within the next two days. We had our first wave last night with constant rainfall all night long. What does this mean? It’s time to lock myself in the kitchen and get Christmas baking!

This is the first time I’ve ever made sugared peels and I was pleasantly surprised with the process. Yes, it takes awhile but it’s not labor intensive at all and is a super easy project to have on the side while you bake up other Christmas goodies.

I made these to go into a little gift box that I’m making for Wyatt. He loves getting an Old Fashioned cocktail when we go out for fancy dates so I thought it would be fun to make him a little kit for home. I’ve included a nice bottle of bourbon, bitters, some fancy maraschino cherries, and now these homemade orange peel. Even if these peels are too sweet for him to put in his cocktail, I’ll enjoy the extra touch of sugar when he makes mine!

I highly recommend using organic oranges for this. Since you are using the peel any sort of pesticides used to grow the fruit will have seeped onto the peel…better to be safe than sorry!

 

Candied Orange Peel

  • 4 organic oranges
  • 3 cups sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cloves

Start by cleaning and scrubbing the oranges very well to scrap off any dirt. Next, cut through the orange in four different sections by slicing into the peel and pith but not going all the way through. Peel the oranges and set the insides aside for a different use (my “different use” was munching on them for an after dinner snack and again for breakfast).

Add the orange peels to a saucepan and fill with water until they are all covered. Bring the water to a boil over medium high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 20 minutes and remove from heat. Strain the water and let the peels cool until they are okay to touch.

Okay, this is the trickiest part! It’s time to remove the pith from the peels (the white part) or the end result will be tart. I used a spoon and scrapped off the pith as much as possible (don’t feel like you have to get the white part COMPLETELY gone but the more you scrape away the sweeter they will be). Cut the orange peels into long, thin strips.

Next, add 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir often until the sugar has dissolved (about five minutes). Add in the orange peels and let simmer for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and let the peels cool in the sugar water (I let them cool for about an hour so they could continue to absorb the sugary syrup).

Once cooled, combine 1 cup sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a shallow dish. Using a fork or slotted spoon, remove the peels (one at a time) and dip in the sugar mixture. Transfer to wax paper and repeat with the rest of the peels. Let them sit out at room temperature overnight to harden.

Enjoy as a snack or dessert or in your next fancy cocktail!

 

Homemade Grenadine // Tequila Sunrise + Shirley Temple

December 13, 2012

 

Okay, I have a confession to make. I grew up on Shirley Temples. Any fancy occasion that I was out with my family and my Grandma would order her ‘Manhattan’, I would proudly announced my ‘Shirley Temple’ drink order. They would bring it out in a fancy cocktail glass and it would be garnished with a few cherries. Ah, I felt like such a sophisticated ten year old.

But this is where my confession comes in. I went the first 23 years of my life thinking that grenadine was cherry flavored syrup. Wrong. How can you blame me? After all, they did always garnish those Shirley Temples with cherries! It’s actually pomegranate syrup! Who would of thought I was so health trendy in my tweens? If only I knew French then I would have known that grenade means ‘pomegranate’. Ah well. Silly me.

Anyhow, so I’ve been on a drink kick lately. More specifically, I’ve been on a booze kick (see Boozy Stout Brownies, Cranberry Mojito, etc). And my fascination with simple syrups started this summer when I first whipped up that delicious Sparkling Blackberry Lemonade. And then the Rosemary Lemonade. and then the Lemongrass cooler. and so on. You get the point. So when I found out that grenadine was just an over-produced, over-sugared version of pomegranate simple syrup….I knew I had to try my own.

 

 

If you are use to making your own simple syrups, you will notice that this process is a bit different because we are starting off with pomegranate juice instead of having the fruit boil and steep into a juice. But anyhow, it’s not complicated and more on that later. Oh! And last thing – don’t wear white while making this. The juicing part is both fun and messy.

 

 

 

Homemade Grenadine

method adapted from Reclaiming Provincial
  • 2 pomegranates
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you like your syrup)

 

First, the fun [and messy] part! Making the juice. I used a citrus squeezer and sliced the pomegranates into quarters to juice them. You could use a hand held squeezer if you have it or even a zip lock bag (break the seeds up as much as possible and then strain out the seeds). The goal here is to get as much juice out of the pomegranate without 1. breaking the tiny white seeds within the red seeds because they will release a bitter flavor (hence why a blender wouldn’t work) and 2. separating the juice from the tiny seeds and whites of the pomegranate. If you don’t have a juice squeezer, this may take some creative thinking on your part but it’s not impossible. Using my citrus squeezer yielded about 2 cups of juice from 2 pomegranates so try to achieve around that amount.

 

 

Next, transfer the juice to a small saucepan and add the desired amount of sugar (I started with a cup and a half).  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then immediately remove from heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved (if it has not dissolved already). Let cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

 

Annnnd, in case you were wondering what MY favorite ways are to use grenadine are…

 

Shirley Temple

  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • ginger ale or lemon-lime soda

Place the grenadine and cherries in a glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with ginger ale / soda and enjoy!

 

Tequila Sunrise

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces grenadine
  • Orange Juice
  • maraschino cherry or orange slice, for garnish

Place grenadine and tequila in a cocktail glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with orange juice. Garnish with cherries or orange slices.

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

December 12, 2012

So I curated (doesn’t that sound so much more important than planned?!) 90 percent of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner menu this year. The only thing I did not pick out was the Wild Rice Stuffing which my aunt made. And it was probably my favorite thing that was served that day. I don’t really have much experience with wild rice and I was blown away by the added texture it gave to the stuffing.

And so this experience made we realize I want more wild rice in my life which led to me making these stuffed squashes. And let me tell you….this stuffed acorn were great but I probably ended up eating 50% of the wild rice mixture before I could even get around to sticking  it in the acorns. It was chewy and savory and sweet (thanks to the maple syrup!) and oh so addicting. I’m already dreaming of quick winter salads that are really just a healthy (throw the term ‘salad’ at the end of anything and it becomes guilt-free) way to talking about this wild rice mixture!

 

 

Anyhow, this is great as a side dish or even as a main vegetarian entree at your next dinner party (which, according to The Kitchn, are dead these days)!

 

 

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serve 2 as a side. Adapted from My Daily Morsel
  • 1 acorn squash, sliced in half
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (I used my own from this recipe)
  • 2 scallions
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (or any dried fruit), chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • Juice from half an orange
  • salt/pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet and place squash cut side down. Cover the squash with tin foil and roast for 40 minutes or until cooked all the way through.

In the meantime, prepare the inside. Heat oil over medium in a large saucepan. Add onions and saute until soft (about five minutes). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper, wild rice, and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cook until all the stock has evaporated/ been absorbed (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Remove from heat and fold in the pecans, scallions, cherries, maple syrup, and orange juice. Season with salt and pepper. Once the acorn squash is finished cooking, stuff with the wild rice mixture and enjoy warm!

 

 

DIY Kitchen Article /// New Chickpea Quaterly

December 10, 2012

 

 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Monday. I have some exciting news! The preview winter issue of Chickpea Quarterly is finally done and viewable online! I have an extensive article in it on how to stock your kitchen with homemade staples. My article has recipes for how to make homemade almond milk, vanilla extract, and vegetable broth so hop on over to check it out. Oh, and there are some other AMAZING recipes for cookies, winter stews, holiday gifts, and so much more! Plus, the photography is oh so gorgeous and inspiring.

Okay, enough ranting about how much I love Chickpea. But honestly, it’s a beautiful magazine and I love being a part of it. Okay, done (for real this time). I’ll be back tomorrow with a new and delicious recipe for you!

 

Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili

December 3, 2012

 

Morning, Morning. Can you believe it is already December? It sure does not feel like it. I don’t know about where you live but I’m located in the Midwest and we are suppose to have some 70 degree weather today (such a weird introduction to winter…). Not that I’m complaining but I would have considered making something a little more…light and refreshing had I known it was going to be so warm. Ah well, this chili is oh so delicious regardless of the temperature.

I’m not going to lie. I am really proud of this recipe. It’s packed with so much nutrients I can hardly wrap my head around it. We are talking loads of protein, fiber, vitamin C, iron, potassium, vitamin A, etc etc etc. The list goes on and if you make the beans from scratch… this chili is packed full of fresh and non-processed foods as well. I’ve never felt soooo good about gobbling down a bowl of food. And not to mention, it is absolutely delicious. The wheat berries give it slight chewy texture while the cocoa powder (learned that trick thanks to a very good friend of mine) bring a new complexity to the flavor.

Oh and don’t worry! If my over zealous attitude towards super healthy eating is freaking you out – I made some oh so irresistible Corn Cheddar biscuits to go with packed full of two sticks of butter and loads of gooey cheese [recipe on that to follow tomorrow!]

This recipe is vegan (unless you add cheese and sour cream) and makes about six serving. You could even double the recipe and plan to have leftovers for lunch the rest of the week.

 

 

Black Bean & Wheatberry Chili

adapted from Eating Well
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cups black beans, cooked (I used dried but feel free to use canned)
  • 1 24 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth (I used homemade)
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked wheat berries, cooked*
  • Juice of 1 lime

 

  • Avocado, optional
  • sour cream, optional
  • cilantro for garnish, optional

Heat olive oil over medium in a large pot. Add in the onion, carrots, bell pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes or until all the vegetables has softened. Next, add in the tomatoes, broth, black beans, and cocoa powder. Bring the chili to a bowl, cover, and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 30 minutes. Add wheat berries and let cook for another two minutes.

Remove from heat and squeeze in lime juice. Serve with garnish options (avocado, sour cream cilantro, plain yogurt, etc).

*To cook 1 1/2 cups of Wheatberries: Rinse 3/4 cup of berries and letting them simmer for 45 minutes or until softened.

 

 

 

 

November Wrap Up

November 30, 2012

…And there goes another month. Isn’t it crazy how fast time seems to be going by? Thanksgiving has come and gone, the Christmas shopping is underway, and holiday cookies are on the mind. How about a quick recap of the past month before we jump into cookie cutters, green/red sprinkles, and chocolate covered everything?

 

Some favorite highlights from the past month:

     

1. Rosemary Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread – Fresh bread and a hearty vegetable soup. Cannot think of a better way to bring in the cold evenings.

2. Cranberry Mojito – Festive and delicious! This drink was the perfect starter at our Friendsgiving party.

3. Pumpkin Dog Biscuits – Tuko turned 1 so I had to spoil the crap out of him with homemade biscuits and a new sweater. Believe me, I will be making these again very soon for Christmas gifts for all the adorable pups in my life.

4. Dark Chocolate Raspberry Espresso Scones – they were an extra amazing breakfast treat! The flavor was rich and complex with a flaky texture that was pretty much irresistible!

 

And that sums it up!

 

Moving forward… here are a few winter goals I am planning to tackle in the dark, cold months ahead:

1. Make homemade ricotta cheese (this has been on my list forever and I am going to do it this time!)

2. Get into a morning yoga routine

3. Make more homemade salad dressings

4. Work on my photography skills // work on lighting

5. Learn basic CSS (or at least enough to get my logo up in that corner where the V is!!)

6. Get into Twitter

7. Make homemade cleaning supplies

 

Okay, that is a start. Should keep me busy for awhile [I hope]. What you are hoping to accomplish this winter?

 

Boozy Stout Brownies

November 28, 2012

I was soooo excited to receive the newest edition of Chickpea Magazine in the mail last week that I instantly had the urge to start cooking out of it. I could have chose the healthy Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash or the hearty Butternut Squash Fennel Lasagna but instead I was drawn to these Boozy Stout Brownies. Alcohol and chocolate? Go figure.

These vegan gems were extra rich and gooey. I’d suggest munching down on these with a big glass of Homemade Soy Milk and plan on sharing them with your friends. These are perfect for that Holiday vegan potluck coming up or to bring in to work (Am I the only one who works with handful of vegans? I bet not!).

 

 

Boozy Stout Brownies

  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup canola or coconut oil
  • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt
  • 1/2 cup stout beer
  • 1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, oil, yogurt, and beer. Make a well in the center of the dried ingredients and add in the wet ingredients. Fold dry into wet until a thick batter has formed. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour mixture into prepared pan and cook for 30 minutes or until the center has set.

Let cool slightly and serve warm!

 

 

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

November 26, 2012

Did everyone [From the US] have a wonderful long weekend? Are you all busy Cyber Monday shopping for the best holiday deals instead of working right now? Don’t worry. I won’t tell! I would be as well but I spent all my money on Black Friday (yup – I’m one of those that goes out at Midnight to save myself 50 bucks). Ah well. It’s all part of the adventure, right?

Oh! Please disregard the shamble that is my ‘recipes’ page right now. It’s in the process of being re-vamped and should hopefully be back to normal tomorrow. Cool? Cool and thanks for being so patient!

Anyhow, wanna talk hummus? Remember when I made that amazing Spicy Jalapeno Corn Hummus? Damn, that stuff was sooooooo good. Well, I’m back with more funky flavors and this one might take the cake. The soft sweet potatoes create the perfect texture for a creamy and flavorful dip. Seriously, this stuff is crazy good. And smother it on top of those homemade Sesame and Poppyseed Crackers and you are golden!

Impress your guests at your next holiday party with not only homemade crackers but homemade dip as well! Or save it all for yourself….that is what I did.

 

 

Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus

Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon
  • 1 large sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas (I made mine from dried beans but feel free to use canned)
  • 4 Tablespoons tahini
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil (you may need more if the hummus comes out thick)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha
  • dash of nutmeg
  • dash of cinnamon
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Lower to medium low and add in the sweet potatoes. Cook until softened (about 10 to 15 minutes). Strain and let cool.

In a large blender or with a food processor, blend all the ingredients together until a desired consistency is reached. Taste and add more olive oil if dry, more sriracha if not spicy enough for you, or more lemon juice to bring out the flavors more.

Serve with homemade crackers!

 

 

 

Sesame & Poppyseed Crackers

November 23, 2012

…And it’s over. All the planning, cooking, over-eating, and family time is done. Now…time for a detox. Haha, Just kidding! Time to start planning for December holidays!

These crackers are awesome with some homemade hummus (sweet potato hummus recipe to follow soon!), baba ganoush or with that leftover brie from Thanksgiving (who are we kidding…who ever has leftover brie?!).

 

 

Anyhow, these make several dozen so plan to serve them at a holiday party (Ugly Sweater party, anyone?) or nibble away at them slowly as long as they are stored in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Easy, right?

Also, feel free to get creative with the seed combinations. I used Sesame and Poppy because that is what I had on hand but feel free to use all sesame or flaxseed or sunflower…whatever you are feeling!

 

 

Sesame & Poppyseed Crackers

adapted from Salty Snacks
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup poppy seeds
  • 1/8 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a baking sheet.

Combine the flour, seeds, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the water and olive oil. Fold dry ingredient into wet until combined (don’t overmix or it’ll become tough!)

 

 

Roll out in sections (I divided my dough into 4 parts) using either a rolling pin or your pasta maker. If using rolling pin, I would just roll as thin as possible or until desired thickness. Cut squares out of the dough using a cookie cutter and move prepared squares to the baking sheets.

 

Working in batches, cook for 12 minutes or until browned and crisp. As this round is baking, prepare more crackers with the rest of your dough. Repeat until all the dough has been prepared and cooked.

Let cool completely, serve with dips, or transfer to an airtight container for up to two weeks.

 

Tuko Turns 1 // Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

November 20, 2012

Woah, time has really flown fast since I posted about Tuko turning 6 months. Since then, we’ve moved into a new house, I graduated from college, and Wyatt started a new full time job. Also, I should mention that Tuko has doubled (if not tripled) in size since then. And he just keeps growing!

For his birthday, we got him a cute little American Apparel sweater and made him some homemade dog biscuits. Spoiled little thing.

 

 

These dog biscuits are packed full of pumpkin and peanut butter. Peanut butter is his favorite…in fact he thinks it is exclusively his food. I cannot pull the stuff out of the cabinet without him pawing at me to get a spoonful (again, spoiled little thing).

 

 

Homemade Pumpkin Dog Biscuits

adapted slightly from A Beautiful Mess
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/3 cup orangic peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until a thick dough forms. Wrap in foil and refrigerate for at least one hour (or overnight).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a large baking sheet. Once the dough has chilled, roll out onto a floured surface (roll the dough to about a 1/2 inch thick) and use cookie cutters to make desired shape. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheet and cook for 25 minutes or until the treats are golden on top.

Shower your dog with warm treats and then store the rest in an airtight container for up to a week.

VV’s Thanksgiving Suggestions

November 15, 2012

Okay. So I’m not gonna lie. I am starting to get REALLY excited about Thanksgiving. Not only does it mean a  5 day weekend (!!!) but also implies copious amounts of amazing food. My mother emailed me the final menu for the big day this morning and now all I can think about is mushroom gravy, purple mashed potatoes, and Cappuccino chocolate cheesecake. I helped curate the menu (with recipes from some of my favorite blogs like Love & Lemons, SpoonForkBacon, and JoyTheBaker) and cannot wait to spend an entire day cooking in the kitchen.

Anyhow, while my spirits are high on Tofurkey, I thought I’d share a few VV recipes that would be perfect for your big Thanksgiving day!

 

     

1. Oatmeal Molasses Rolls – Soft, gooey, and irresistible when fresh out of the oven

2. Glazed Honey Mustard Brusses Sprouts - tangy and crunchy will help bring variety to your meal

3. Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Pops – perfect little appetizer when entertaining guests! Super mobile, bite size, and delicious!

4. Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary - cooking with wine always makes things fancier, right? And these colorful carrots will for sure stick out on your holiday table!

 

 

Also, if you feel like adventuring outside of VV, I highly recommend checking out some of these thanksgiving recipes:

Collard Greens & Blue Cheese Salad (The Healthy Foodie)

Honeycrisp Bourbon Cider (SpoonForkBacon)

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere (Feasting at Home)

Autumn Brittle (Adventures in Cooking)

Bailey’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie (She Wears Many Hats)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

November 13, 2012

Well, I think I’ve finally accepted that winter is here and we won’t be experiencing any more 70 degree days. Ah, this a very bittersweet realization. On one hand, it means endless cups of chai tea, lazy mornings under the covers with favorite novels, all day bake-a-thons, and soup soup soup. On the other hand, this means six more months before lake adventures, cross country road trips, and waterfall picnics.

And with this new acceptance comes a soup recipe! I’ve already made a few soups this season (see: curried butternut squash soup) but the weather had me craving a hardly soup packed full of starchy potatoes and earthy flavorings. This soup did the trick! Along with some simple (and delicious) rustic bread, this soup filled us up and will be making leftover appearances for the next two days!

As for the rustic bread…so simple and soft with a crisp outer crust. I’ve discovered (after trying it for the first time with my Muesli Bread) is the trick to REALLY delicious bread baking is to have a pot of steaming water under the bread while it’s cooking. This helps keep the bread soft and full of moisture. Oh so delicious! Perfect side to this soup. And let’s be honest, the only reason we even make soup is for an excuse to make homemade bread to go with it. Right? Or is that just me?

So what I am are trying to say is you should embrace that the cold and darkness is forcing you to stay inside and spend a few hours in your kitchen…perhaps whipping up this comforting and hardy dish?

 

 

Rosemary & Vegetable Soup with Rustic Bread

For the bread:

  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon of active yeast
  • 1 1/2 cup lukewarm water

 

For the soup:

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 potatoes, cubed
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 cups vegetable broth
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 4 springs of rosemary
  • 2 cans of fire roasted tomatoes (14 ounces)
  • 1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped (with stems removed)
  • Salt/Pepper

 

Start with the bread: In a small bowl, combine the yeast and water and let sit for five minutes (this will give it some time to start foaming and activating). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the water/yeast mixture. Mix until combined (the batter will be VERY sticky – don’t worry! It’s suppose to be like this). Place in an oiled bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise in a warm place for an hour. [Start on the soup while this is rising]

Once it has doubled in size, knead the dough a few times and move to an oiled baking sheet. Let rise on this sheet for a half an hour. Sprinkle with flour and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a cast iron skillet or pan on the bottom rack of the oven and let it heat during the preheating process. Once the oven is ready, place the dough (on the baking sheet) on the top shelf of the oven and pour a cup of warm water in the skillet below (it will steam and this is exactly what we want to happen). Let cook for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

To make the soup: Heat the olive in a large stockpot over medium. Add in the onions and cook for about five minutes (or until translucent). Next, add in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Add cubed potatoes and celery and then season with salt / pepper. Next, combine in the tomatoes, rosemary (throw them in whole and then take out the twigs at the end), white wine, water, and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a bowl, cover, and lower to a simmer. Let simmer for about 40 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.

Once ready to serve, chop the kale and add at the last moment (this keeps the kale a little crispy) and season again with salt/pepper.

Serve warm with fresh bread!