Vegan & Gluten-Free Mini Quiches

quichesI’ve been wanting to figure out how to make vegan mini quiches for a while now, but I wasn’t sure where to start. Do I use tofu? Flour? Wave a magic wand? Well, when I came across this recipe, I knew my search was over. I only made one modification and that was to add the veggies to the batter instead of just topping the batter with them. Doing so, will give you about 4 more quiches (16 instead of 12). That works great as long as you have 2 muffin tins. Otherwise, you could add your veggies just to the tops. I was thoroughly impressed with these. They taste like a cross between an actual egg-y quiche and a biscuit. They’re packed with protein and make a great quick breakfast on the go—just zap in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’re good to go. (These are especially ideal for a post-workout snack).

INGREDIENTS:

2-1/2 C garbanzo/chickpea flour (I also had some garbanzo & flava flour mix that worked great, too)
3 C cold, filtered water
3 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp salt
Cooking spray

Veggies/toppings:
Use your favorites, but I like to use 1-1/2 to 2 cups of chopped . . .
spinach
tomato
mushrooms
green onion
cilantro
Other options: veggie bacon or ham, bell pepper, sauteed garlic, broccoli, sun-dried tomatoes, arugula, basil, Swiss chard, shredded (and squeezed dry) zucchini, peas, . . . the list is endless.
Note: I used sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil) in a batch and I recommend easing up on the oil in the batter by at least a tablespoon. Also, throw in some chia seeds. Pepitas or sunflower seeds would also be great additions.

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 500 and lightly spray the muffin tins. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, water, oil, and salt. Be sure to whisk until all the lumps are gone and  you have a smooth batter. You can then pour the batter evenly among 12 muffin cups and just add your veggies to the top, OR (as I would recommend) add the veggies to the batter.

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Fill the muffin tins . . .

DSC08149Bake for 14 minutes, then crack the oven door slightly, and cook another 11 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so, and remove with a knife. Enjoy!

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Fruity Snack Balls

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These are such a great snack and take minutes to make! I LOVE these (and so will kids). They come from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores and the only thing I added was about 2 tablespoons of chia seeds. I try to throw chia seeds in all kinds of dishes, especially breakfast/fruity/smoothie things. Check out these 10 reasons you should eat them. You can use just about any dried fruit or nuts for these, such as apricots, apples, raisins, even dried blueberries. I also think mixing in a tablespoon of almond butter or peanut butter would be dee-licious! The original recipe says it makes a great crumbled cereal topper as well. The recipe also says it makes 2-1/2 dozen, but I got exactly 2 dozen–just depends on how small you make them.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C unsweetened shredded coconut

3/4 C dried cherries

1 C dried mango

1/2 C dried cranberries

1 C sliced raw almonds

2 Tbs chia seeds

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DIRECTIONS:

Toss the first four ingredients into the food processor and blend for a full minute.

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Add the almonds and blend again for another full minute.

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I then transferred the mixture to a bowl and stirred in the chia seeds.

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Take small handfuls and squeeze, then shape into a ball. Repeat. Enjoy!

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Soy Yogurt Covered Blueberries with an Unexpected Ending

I was very excited to try making yogurt-covered blueberries . . .

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So how did they go from this . . .

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. . . to this?!

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Easily. Nondairy yogurt just doesn’t set up like regular yogurt. Either that, or there’s more to the ingredient list than just yogurt and blueberries that companies use to make them turn out like this . . .

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Has anyone had luck making these with nondairy yogurt? Do share!

Anyway, they certainly made great smoothies.

Vegan Pigs in a Blanket

I can’t say I recall having pigs in a blanket much when I was a kid, although I’m sure many of you grew up on snacking on these. Even vegan, they’re  probably not the healthiest, but that’s ok–there’s nothing wrong with some Pillbury Crescent Rolls once in a great while. The Seventh-Grader really wanted to try these, so after a tiny bit of prep, we had a quick snack. I added a little Daiya cheese to one, just to see how it tasted and it was pretty darn good!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Pillbury Crescent Rolls (8)

4 Smart Dogs (or other veggie dog of your choice), cut in half

Daiya cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350. Unroll the dough and separate each piece. Roll up one of the dogs, starting at the wide end.

Mine with cheese…

Bake for 11-12 minutes, or until golden brown.

These are great served with ketchup, horseradish, mustard…you name it. Enjoy!

Baked Truffle Polenta Fries

This is a first for me. I’ve never eaten polenta at home, but I’ve ordered it in restaurants. I decided to try making polenta fries, but the easy way . . .

Ancient Harvest

This is certainly an ideal way to make fries: crack open a polenta log, slice, season, and bake!

INGREDIENTS:

 1 tube of polenta

1/8 C olive oil

2 Tbs truffle oil

Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450. Combine the two oils in a small dish. Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with some of the oil mixture. Slice the polenta into 1/2″ slices.

Then cut each slice into thirds.

Place the slices on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the oil mixture; season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, turning once halfway through. Enjoy!

Papaya Trail Mix

The Seventh Grader is on a school hiking trip this week, so it gave me an opportunity to make some homemade trail mix that has everything he likes; nothing gets picked over. I also used butter-flavored olive oil that a friend gave me (it’s dairy-free) and works perfectly for trail mix. The subtle buttery taste is amazing. (It works great on pasta, too). Mine is from Rocky Mountain Olive Oil Company in Fort Collins. After the family had some of the mix, I got, “This is all you made?” I’ll be making another batch today.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C almonds, raw and unsalted

3/4 C walnuts, raw and unsalted

1/2 C pumpkin seeds (with the shell), unsalted

1/2 C dried papaya, cut into chunks

1/4 C chocolate chips

Butter-flavored olive oil

1/2 to 1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with a little cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts. Drizzle with the olive oil—just enough to lightly coat the nuts. Do the same with the salt. Mix well. Layer onto the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through. Since most ovens tend to run different, check often—don’t let the nuts burn.

Let cool for just a minute or two and combine the nuts and papaya in a bowl.

Once the mix has cooled completely, stir in the chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Granola Bars

These are packed with nutty love! They’re also simple to make and grab while you’re on the go. You can sub in your favorite nuts, dried fruit, or even some chopped coconut. Go wild!

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C quick oats

2 Tbs brown rice flour

2 Tbs quinoa flakes

1/2 C nuts, chopped (I used peanuts and pecans)

1/4 C sunflower seeds

1/4 C chia seeds

2 Tbs flaxseeds

1/2 C dried fruit, chopped (I used Craisins)

1/2 C dark chocolate chips

3 Tbs almond butter

1 small avocado, pitted

2 Tbs brown rice syrup

3 Tbs almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine the oats, flour, quinoa flakes, nuts, seeds, fruit, and chocolate chips.

Using a fork, mash up the avocado. Add the almond butter, almond milk, syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients and thoroughly combine. Lightly oil an 8″ baking pan and press the mixture evenly in the dish.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown.

Cool the pan on a rack, then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Lemony Quinoa-Almond Granola

Ok, yes, this is from Big Vegan again. And no, I won’t be posting every single recipe from this fabulous cookbook. I just saw this and had to make it. I’ve been needing to get more creative with breakfast and this recipe jumped out at me. I made it last night so breakfast would be a snap this morning. It has a bit more oil and sugar than my granola recipe so I won’t be replacing it with it, but it’s certainly a nice change! The only thing I might add next time is some chopped coconut flakes, otherwise, it was perfect with some soy yogurt and fruit.

INGREDIENTS:

3 C rolled oats

2 C quinoa flakes (look in the cereal aisle)

1/2 C whole wheat flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1-1/2 C all-fruit lemonade concentrate, thawed

1/2 C brown sugar

1/2 C vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp almond extract

1 C almonds, chopped

1 C apricots, chopped

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300. In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa flakes, flour, cinnamon, and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the lemonade, sugar, oil, and extracts. Pour into the dry ingredients and using your hands, combine thoroughly. Let it sit for 10 minutes to absorb the liquid.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Since I don’t have rimmed baking sheets, I used foil to create small sides on the pan. Spread the granola on the baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, turning it over with a metal spatula every 15 minutes.

I added another 5 minutes to the last 15. Ovens temps vary, so check often.

Let the pan and granola cool on a rack, then stir in the apricots. Stored in a ziplock or airtight container, the granola will last for 2 weeks at room temperature. Enjoy!

Fruit and Nut Energy Bars

I came across these all natural energy bars on Oh She Glows. I made a couple of alterations like using almonds and sunflower seeds instead of walnuts, and using brown rice flour instead of kamut flour. They are chewy, crunchy, a little bit sweet, and ideal for on-the-go. They’re also great for munching on while you’re hiking. The only thing I found was that they didn’t hold together very well for cutting them up. I think part of it, is that I used too small of a pan even though I went with the size recommended in the original recipe. I suggest using a shallow baking sheet, not a 8″ baking dish.

INGREDIENTS:

1/3 C brown rice flour

1/8 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/3 C brown sugar

1 C almonds, toasted

1/2 C sunflower seeds, toasted

1/2 C dried cherries or craisins

12 dates (about a cup), pitted and chopped

1 C apricots, chopped

1 flax egg: 1 Tbs flax meal + 3 Tbs warm water

1 Tbs almond milk

1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 9″x13″ baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Toast the almonds and sunflower seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often until golden brown. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the nuts and fruit.

Combine the flax mixture with the vanilla and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add the flax meal and almond milk to the dry mix and combine well. Spread the mixture onto the prepared pan. You can press down pretty hard—I would say until the mixture is about a 1/2″ thick.

Bake for 33-35 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool for 10 minutes.

Return it back into the pan and place in the freezer for another 10 minutes. Remove from the freezer, cool for 10 minutes and then cut into squares. I’m not sure what the rationale behind this cooling process is, especially since they still fell apart a little when I cut them, but that’s just what the recipe says to do . . .

No matter how they’re cut, they’re delicious. Enjoy!

Reboot Wrap-Up

So I did about 6.5 days of the reboot and I feel GREAT! I won’t lie . . . it wasn’t easy, but it was well-worth it. I’ve lost about 6 pounds, too. This reboot is a great way to jump start you into healthier eating habits. As much as I loved my vino, I actually didn’t miss it since there were so many other things I couldn’t eat. I discovered new foods and learned to love those green smoothies every morning. I also really loved this mango-strawberry-pineapple-avocado smoothie:

This morning, we headed over to one of our favorite restaurants, The Rainbow.


Restaurant breakfasts can be tough since most items have egg, milk and meat in them. But The Rainbow offers some great vegan items.

As you can see . . . about 98% of the vegan items on the breakfast menu are under “Light & Healthy.” Hmmm . . . what does that tell you? ;) Anyway, I usually get Dan’s Groatmeal. It’s amazing! It’s a bowl full of oatmeal, granola, fruit and you can order soy milk to go with it. I highly recommend it! Oh—and they also make a vegan coffeecake that is to die for!!

One thing this reboot taught me, was that I needed a new blender. Mine sucked. I had an old Hamilton Beach and the only good thing about it, was the pitcher was glass. That’s how old it was. Anyway, I went shopping at Bed Bath & Beyond and after talking with the electronics guy who went through all the specs of all the blenders, I settled on the Ninja.

This thing is amazing and highly satisfying to use. For $80 (I used one of their 20% off coupons), it comes with a 1000 watts and features a vertical 3-blade system. It crushes ice like nobody’s business. When I fired it up to make smoothies for a picnic this afternoon, The Husband remarked that it sounded like a jet plane taking off. The Seventh Grader joked, “I thought ninjas were supposed to be quiet.”

Mango-Strawberry-Cherry smoothies

For the picnic, I also made some hummus and crock cheez and instead of eating them with bread or crackers, we brought cucumber slices, celery, and yellow & red bell peppers with us.

We also picked up some noodles with sesame oil, cucumber, and cilantro from Whole Foods.

It’s been a delicious day . . . and Moe enjoyed the picnic, too.


Pumpkin-Peanut Butter Dog Treats

These are similar to the other dog treats I made, but this time I added pureed pumpkin. I meant to add some fresh parsley and mint, but completely forgot—next time, I guess. We’ll just have to continue to deal with Moe’s stinky breath until it’s time to make more treats. Since commercial treats are full of artificial ingredients, preservatives and animal products, we prefer to make his own treats. It’s especially convenient since Moe has been working on his Canine Good Citizen training so that he can be a therapy dog. Lots of training means lots of treats, so I feel better about loading him up with these and not the gross store-bought ones. I also froze the remaining pumpkin puree to use the next time I make treats.

INGREDIENTS:

1/4 C peanut butter

1/4 C canned pumpkin (make sure it’s just the puree and not the pie-filling that contains spices and other stuff)

1 C water

2 Tbs oil (flax, omega, olive, or vegetable)

1-1/2 C flour

1-3/4 C whole wheat flour

1/4 C fresh mint, minced (optional)

1/4 C fresh parsley, minced (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Using an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter, pumpkin, water, and oil. If using, you can throw in the parsley and mint here, too. Combine until smooth. Slowly add the flours and mix until well combined.

Divide the dough in half. You may want to cover the portion you’re not using, as it will start to dry out. Working with half the dough at a time is easier. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/4″ thickness. I then used a pizza cutter to make small squares.

Place the pieces onto a large baking sheet. Yes, this step is time-consuming (a great job for the kids to help with!), and you can cut them into any shape and size  you’d like, but this size works great for training and you don’t have to break them up. If you cut them like I did, you’ll get just over 2-1/2 of the baking sheets of them. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

They come out pretty crispy, so I pour them into a large metal bowl so I can reuse the pan. Once they’ve cooled, store them in an air-tight container and they will last up to 6 weeks.

They are Moe-Approved!

Baked Fries with Sea Salt and Truffle Oil

Here I go again with the truffle oil . . . guarantee you’ll love these! Truffle oil on French fries just go together like PB&J. I brought these to a get together and they were gone in minutes! You can peel the potatoes if you’d like, but I’m not fond of the peeling process. If they don’t have to be peeled, you can bet I won’t do it. So it’s up to you.

INGREDIENTS:

6-7 small to medium russet potatoes

Truffle oil

Sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Scrub and/or peel the potatoes. Cut into fries and place in a bowl. Coat with the truffle oil. I didn’t measure it out—I used just enough to coat the fries, a little over a tablespoon. Sprinkle with salt—again, to taste and enough to coat the fries. I set the bowl aside for about an hour to let them marinate for a bit.

Line a large baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. After letting the fries sit for a while, the bowl had a lot of liquid from the potatoes. Use a slotted spoons or your hands to layer the fries on the baking sheet. I drizzled a bit more truffle on top and sprinkled a little more salt on them.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, then turn the fries as best  you can. There’s no magic way to do this—just flip and move them around so that they don’t stick to the foil. Bake for another 15-20 minutes. For the last few minutes of baking, I switched to broil and browned them a tiny bit. I think they’re tasty on their own without any sauces, but either way, you’re sure to enjoy this decadent treat!

Chocolate-Espresso Balsamic Granola

Oh, my. This is good. This is similar to my original granola recipe, but tweaked a little. Flavored oils or balsamic vinegars are ideal for granola. I don’t care for overly sweet granola, so this Chocolate-Espresso balsamic vinegar adds just the right amount of sweetness. Great for cereal, on top of yogurt, or with ice cream. A new olive oil/vinegar shop recently opened up downtown and a friend and I spent at least 45 minutes tasting all their different varieties. I found what I was looking for. A little pricey at $15, it will be slowly savored.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C oats

1 C coconut, shredded

1/2 C wheat germ

1/2 C each: walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds

1 tsp salt

1/4 C flavored balsamic vinegar

1/8 C brown rice syrup

1/4 C almond milk

1/8 C olive oil

6 to 8 oz dried fruit, such as craisins or cherries

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300. Line a large baking sheet with foil, and mist with cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine the oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, oil, brown rice syrup, and almond milk.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well. Spread the granola mixture on the prepared baking sheet; spread it out evenly.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until it begins to brown. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in the dried fruit. Once it has cooled, store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter, Chocolate & Cherry Granola Bites

Jess at Healthy Exposures posted these last week, and I knew right away I had to try them. I made a few changes, just based on what I had on hand and on my taste preferences, such as subbing brown rice syrup for the molasses, as I’m not big on molasses. You can see her original recipe here.

INGREDIENTS:

3/4 C quick oats

2 Tbs brown rice flour

2 Tbs wheat germ

1/2 C peanuts, chopped

1/4 C sunflower seeds

1/4 C chia seeds

2 Tbs flax seeds

1/2 C dried cherries, chopped

1/2 C dark chocolate chips

1/2 a banana

2 Tbs brown rice syrup

3 Tbs almond milk

3 Tbs peanut butter

1 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a mini-muffin pan (genius idea, Jess)! Set aside. In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, wheat germ, peanuts, seeds, cherries, and chocolate chips.

In a smaller bowl, mash the banana with a fork add the syrup, almond milk, peanut butter, and vanilla. Whisk thoroughly and combine well with the dry ingredients.

Fill the muffin cups with the mixture, pressing down firmly with a spoon. I didn’t fill them quite to the top, but you can—they won’t overflow when they bake. Depending on the size of muffins cups you use, the number you get will be different; I got 15.

Bake 15 minutes, or until the tops turn a golden brown. These make such a great little snack and I imagine, a heck of a lot healthier than store-bought granola bars. As an alternative, you can use a 8″ baking pan and then cut them into squares after they bake. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy them, especially since they’re so simple to make.

 

 

 

All-Natural, Vegan Dog Treats

Sorry, these may not look appetizing to you, but your dog will love them! Have you ever looked at the ingredients in some commercial dog treats? They are packed full of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and animal products. They’re pricey, too. Save your money (and your dog’s health) by making your own—they’re so simple. Our dog, Moe (a 90-lb lap dog) LOVES peanut butter and as much fun as it can be to watch him try to lick it off the roof of his mouth, biscuit treats are a much simpler (and less messy) alternative. These would be cute cut into the shape of dog biscuits, but since we usually only give him small treats at a time, making these bit-sized ones were ideal. The recipe is from All Natural Dog Treat, offering lots of different recipes, including a grain-free peanut butter recipe. These treats will keep at room temperature for 2-3 weeks, or 6 weeks in the refrigerator. They are also freeze-able and . . . Moe-Approved.

Sorry about the duck, folks. But Moe knows we don’t eat meat and that his birthday present—turned 4 earlier this month—is just for pretend. :)

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 C whole wheat flour

1-1/2 C white flour

1/2 C organic, all-natural peanut butter

1 C water

2 Tbs oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Using a mixer, combine the water, oil and peanut butter; cream until mixed well. Add the flours one cup at a time. You will have a crumbly mixture. This is where Moe poked his head into the kitchen, fully aware that I was making something with his most favorite and beloved ingredient. He stuck by my side in the kitchen until The Husband took him for a walk.

Press together tightly to form a hard ball.

I then divided the dough in half so that it’s easier to work with. Just work a little quickly as the other half of the dough will start to get a bit drier. Roll out to a 1/4″ thickness and cut into 3-4″ shapes. I used a pizza cutter to make little squares. Obviously, feel free to make any size or shape that your pup’s little heart desires.

This is just half the dough—I ended up with twice this much. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Hopefully, the peanut butter smell in the house isn’t torturing Moe, but at least he gets these all-natural treats to make up for it!

My First Guest Blogger! Vegan, Wheat-free, and Nearly Sugar-free Blueberry Muffins

I’m very excited to introduce you to my first guest blogger, Kerrie Flanagan, director of The Northern Colorado Writers and freelance writer-extraordinaire. Kerrie has been a great sport when testing out some of my vegan creations. Some have been great, others not so much. She’ll even manage to smile when choking down one of the not-so-much ones. Thanks for being here, Kerrie!

Kerrie and I

I am thrilled to be the guest blogger today for my good friend and roof buddy (long, but fun story) April and take a break from working on my writers conference. When it comes to food, April and I agree on a few things; we both like to cook, we both want to provide healthy meals for our family and we both like to experiment in the kitchen. But when it comes to what we eat, we are on different sides of the fence. I am not a Vegan. I do eat meat (but I buy it from a local rancher and it is all free-range, grass-fed beef) and dairy. But I have the utmost respect for April and other Vegans. I love sampling her amazing food and trying some her recipes on my family.

So why am I here on the Epicurean Vegan? (besides the obvious, that I want to help my friend) it is because of my teenage daughter. Her acupuncturist wanted her to go on an elimination diet. So for 6 weeks, Delaney was to avoid wheat, dairy products and refined sugar. This was not an easy task, but we are on week 6 and she is doing great. One of the biggest things she missed was baked goods. The dairy part was no problem, the wheat; a little more of a challenge, but the sugar free part; nearly impossible. I am happy to say though, I found a recipe for muffins with oat flour and made a few adjustments (with April’s help) to substitute the dairy products. Delaney gave them a thumbs up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup oat flour

1 cup rolled oats

3 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

3 Tbs honey (or 1/2 cup sugar if you want them sweeter)

2 tsp lemon zest (or 1/2 tsp. lemon juice)

1 tsp egg replacer + 2 Tbl water (whisk together)

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup Almond milk

1 cup blueberries (thawed frozen, or fresh)

DIRECTIONS:

Combine everything except the blueberries in a large mixing bowl and mix with a whisk. Don’t use a mixer, as it will chop up the rolled oats.

Cover the bowl and set it aside for 10 minutes to allow the batter to thicken. Once complete, fold in the blueberries with a spoon. Grease a muffin pan with baking spray or use paper baking cups and fill 2/3 full with batter.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 15-20 minutes until  golden brown. Makes 12 muffins.
*These were a little crumbly straight out of the oven. Once they cooled they were fine. You might want to try increasing egg replacer a little bit.

Cheddar and Rosemary Crackers

Vegan MoFo, Day 22

Monet, at Anecdotes and Apples Cores, made some cheddar and rosemary biscuits that had me salivating! They also reminded me of an old recipe for crackers that I made a million years ago. I will however, try her recipe (and veganize it), but for now, enjoy some amazing crackers!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C vegan cheddar, shredded

3-ox Tofutti cream cheese

1/2 C Earth Balance margarine

1 tsp sweet red chili sauce

1-3/4 C flour

2 Tbs sesame seeds

4 Tbs fresh rosemary, chopped

Salt, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325.  In a food processor (with the dough blade) combine the cheeses. Add the butter.

Add the chili sauce, then flour, 1/4 cup at a time. Once combined, add sesame seeds and rosemary.

Divide dough in half and roll out. Now, you can decide how big you want to roll them out. I wanted to make tiny nibblers, but you’re welcome to make larger crackers. Once you made that big decision, wrap in plastic wrap and chill. I stuck mine in the freezer for about 20-25 minutes, but if you have extra time, go ahead and just refrigerate them. Slice them as thick or as thin as you want. I find that somewhere between 1/8″ and 1/4″ is best.

Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with a smidge of salt, if desired.

Bake for about 10 minutes—just don’t let them get too browned. The bottoms will a little, but taken them out before the edges brown. Enjoy! (Thanks for the inspiration, Monet)!

 

Cashew Cheese Nachos

Vegan MoFo, Day 17

The Sixth Grader loves nachos and loves cashew cheese, so this is an ideal after-school snack for him. I still had some cashew cheese in the freezer,  so I left it in the zip lock and placed it in some warm water for about 10 minutes. It’s best if it’s still a little frozen for grating it. I recommend using the microwave—at first I used the oven on a low broiler, but the chips were browning before the cheese was melting.  Other ingredients to try: tomatoes, salsa, or refries.

INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla chips

Hard cashew cheese, shredded

Green onion, sliced

Black olives, sliced

Avocado, diced

Tofutti sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

I like to have a layer of chips, some cheese, then another layer of chips and the rest of the cheese. Sprinkle on the green onions and olives. Zap in the microwave for about a minute, then add the avocados and a dollop of sour cream. Enjoy!

Buttered Party Mix

Vegan MoFo, Day 16

So easy! And a great way to grab some protein. You can sub in pecans if you’d like—I’m just not a big fan. These are for an artist reception at the Northern Colorado Writers Association that is tonight. I’m also bringing my favorite hummus. The artist happens to be my mother-in-law, watercolorist-extraordinaire.

INGREDIENTS:

4 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, melted

1 Tbs garlic salt

1/2 tsp cayenne, or more for taste

1 C raw, unsalted cashews

1 C raw, unsalted walnuts

1 C raw, unsalted almonds

1/2 C sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300 and line a baking sheet with foil. In a medium bowl, combine the nuts, garlic salt and cayenne. Add the margarine and thoroughly combine. Layer onto the lined baking sheet and bake for about a half an hour. Stir and flip over the nuts. I know, that’s not easy, but you’ll be able to tell which side is which since the cooked side will be dry-looking. Bake another 20-30 minutes. Let cool, then transfer to an air tight container if not eating right away. Enjoy!

Tofu Fries

These are inspired by Home on the Range and I just had to try them. You can use any kind of seasoning you choose and Dale, of Home on the Range, lists several different spices you could use. These were super crispy on the outside and chewy, soft on the inside. I served these with some paninis and it made a great meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg 14 oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1/4 C cornmeal

1/4 C brown rice flour

2 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning

1 tsp salt (optional)

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Cover a baking sheet with foil and brush with oil.  Slice tofu into fries and in a ziplock bag, combine flour, cornmeal and seasoning. Add tofu slices (about 5 at a time) to the bag and dredge with the mixture. Place slices on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. These are great with some vegan ranch dressing. Enjoy!

Balsamic Strawberries

Wow, talk about a smorgasbord of flavors! I was very intrigued when I saw the recipe—balsamic vinegar, sugar and pepper, so I had to try it. These are delicious by themselves, but spooned over some soy vanilla ice cream is absolutely to die for!! Great as a quick summertime dessert.

INGREDIENTS:

16 oz fresh strawberries, halved or quartered lengthwise

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1/4 C granulated sugar

1/4 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Place strawberries in a bowl. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with sugar. Stir gently with a rubber spatula to combine. Cover and let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour, but not more than 4 hours. Just before serving, grind pepper over berries. Enjoy!

Recipe source: The Vegan Table

Rosemary Roasted Almonds

My neighbor brought these over the other night and I loved them! There are so many reasons to eat almonds: vitamin E, protein, zinc, iron, and monounsaturated fats. They make the ideal snack because just a handful will satisfy your hunger in between meals. The recipe calls for 2 cups of almonds, but I had about 2-1/2 cups, so I added the extra–they came out perfect! Eat ‘em while they’re warm, too.

INGREDIENTS:

1 Tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp chile powder

3/4 tsp kosher salt

Dash of ground red pepper

1 (10-ounce) bag whole almonds (about 2 cups)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl; toss to coat. Arrange nut mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake at 325  for 20 minutes or until lightly toasted. Cool to room temperature.

Recipe source: Cooking Light

Peanut Butter Hummus

I think this is a great hummus variety, especially for kids who aren’t crazy about regular hummus. Spread this on a tortilla with sprouts and veggies and it’ll make a healthy lunch. It’s also great on apples or celery.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can garbanzo beans

1/3 C warm water

4 Tbs peanut butter

2 Tbs olive oil

3 Tbs lemon or lime juice (I used lemon)

1 clove garlic

I added 1/2 tsp of cumin

DIRECTIONS:

Add all ingredients into a food processor and blend well. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Enjoy!

Recipe source: About.com

Crispy Kale Leaves

“They’re weird, but I can’t stop eating them.” This is what my husband said. It’s so true–they’re like paper thin potato chips! They kinda just melt in your mouth but certainly have a crunch–and so good! And did you know…kale is considered an aphrodisiac? Just so you know! ;) This recipe comes from Vegetarian Times.

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb kale, rinsed and patted dry

2 Tbs olive oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray (I used foil). Tear kale into 3″ pieces, removing tough stems. Transfer leaves to a bowl. Toss kale leaves with the oil, until well coated.

Spread on a baking sheet and bake 15 mins. (I did 10). Turn kale with tongs and bake another 10-15 mins (I did 7 more mins) or until edges are browned and leaves are crispy. Sprinkle with salt. Serve warm or cold.  Enjoy!

Pita Chips

I can’t remember where I got this recipe–I thought it was from the Sonoma Diet Cookbook where I got the fabulous hummus recipe, but nope…anyway, doesn’t matter. They’re wonderful and not hard to make at all. And the great thing, is that you can make as little, or as much as you want. You can also use flavored olive oils, too. If you’re ever in St. Helena, CA there is a great shop there–Oliver’s Napa Valley…they make the greatest dipping oils, made right there in Napa Valley.

I like to use both wheat and white pitas and on one 14″x14″ baking pan, I can get 2 whole pitas. That’s 32 pitas chips on one pan.

INGREDIENTS:

2 pkgs pitas

1/4 C olive oil

Dried basil

Garlic Salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 450. Slice the pita in half, then each half into 4 triangles. Then take each triangle and pull them apart to make two triangles. You should get 16 triangles from one pita.

Pour the olive oil in a small bowl and lay the pita pieces on the baking pan, brush with olive oil, sprinkle with the garlic salt and basil.

Bake for 4 mins.

We’re having friends over tonight and I can’t wait to dig into these and the hummus. I also have some great black olive tapenade that my sister gave me that I think will be very tasty with these pita chips. Enjoy!

Crispy Tofu Slices with Orange Dipping Sauce

Holy…mackerel, I have never seen 8oz of tofu disappear so fast. This is was outstanding–I just wish I had made more!

INGREDIENTS:

1-8oz pkg savory-flavored baked tofu (I used Westsoy Sesame Peanut flavored and the picture only shows about 1/4 of that)

1/2 C corn flour

1/2 C brown rice flour

Safflower oil

2/3 C orange juice

1/3 C maple syrup

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the baked tofu into slices about 1/4″ thick. Mix the flours together in a shallow bowl. Pour enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan with a thin layer and heat over medium heat. Dip each of the tofu strips into the flour mixture, coating well on all sides. Place the tofu strips in the skillet, and cook until lightly browned on both sides, about 3 mins per side. Transfer the fried tofu strips to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Stir together the orange juice and syrup in a small bowl. Serve the tofu strips with the dipping sauce along side.

So delicious!

There was quite a bit of leftover flour, so I saved it for another batch, but I would recommend using 2 packages of tofu because there was also quite a bit of sauce left, too. With the orange juice and maple syrup dipping sauce, it would be delish for breakfast. Or try a tamari and brown sugar combo, or teriyaki sauce…the possibilities are really endless and I can’t wait to make more!

Recipe source: The Kind Diet

Sunflower Cherry Oatmeal Bars

These are delicious! And simple to make-taking only about 10 mins to prepare. These would be great with a scoop of soy ice cream or a dallop of vanilla soy yogurt on top. These also taste great after being the fridge for a while–they’re a tasty snack that will keep you going when you’re on the run.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup rolled oats, either quick cooking or old fashioned
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup packed natural brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup expeller pressed canola oil
5 tablespoons orange juice, divided
1/2 cup fruit sweetened black cherry preserves

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine oats, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, sunflower seeds and cherries in a large bowl. Add oil and 3 tablespoons orange juice, mixing well until all ingredients are fully combined. Reserve a half cup and press the rest into a lightly oiled 8-by-8-inch baking pan.

Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons orange juice with the cherry preserves and spread evenly over the oat mixture in the pan.

Sprinkle reserved oat mixture over the top and press down lightly with fingers.

Bake for 35 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool in the pan on a wire rack then cut into bars or squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

Recipe source: Whole Foods

Tempeh Spread

I spent one day experimenting with tempeh for quick and easy appetizers and I love what I came up with! It’s also very versatile, so feel free to add your favorite other ingredients.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz pkg tempeh, original
1 small carrot, grated
1 small red onion, diced
2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp curry powder
2 Tbs vegetable stock powder
1/4 C Veganaise
Parsley, garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Cut the tempeh into small cubes and steam for about 10-15 mins. In the meantime, add carrots and onion to a food processor and chop up until they are very fine. Scoop out into a large bowl. Add the steamed tempeh to the food processor and chop up until fine as well. Combine the tempeh in the bowl with the carrots and onions and add the lemon juice, celery salt, curry powder, vegetable stock powder and mayo. Mix well. Scoop into pre-made phyllo shells and garnish with some parsley.
I halved the batch and after chopping up about a cup of mushrooms and 1/2C of spinach leaves in the food processor, I added them to one half of the batch for a variation. They’re both delicious! You may want to add more spices to taste. Enjoy!

My Favorite Hummus and Pita Chips

I make this hummus all the time. It’s inexpensive, high in fiber, packed with protein and delicious! It’s also easy to change it up with other flavors such as olives, roasted red pepper or artichokes. In fact,  in one of my recent magazines, it was listed as one of the ten best foods you could eat. (For the life of me, I can’t find the magazine, but as soon as I do, I’ll post it!). This from About.com: “Chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, are the main ingredient in hummus. One cup of chickpeas contains 286 calories and 5 grams of fat. This is relatively low considering when made into hummus, the calories and fat become much lower per serving. Chickpeas have no saturated fat, and no cholesterol. They aid in improving blood sugar levels and help fight cholesterol. They are also high in protein, making them a perfect addition to a vegetarian’s diet or one who would like to cut back on red meat.”  Also… ” Tahini [ingredient in hummus], like chickpeas, is a great source of protein, and calcium. The fat contained in tahini is mainly unsaturated fat, rather than the more unhealthy saturated fat.”
So dig in!

INGREDIENTS

1 15-16oz can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed and drained
1/4 C Tahini (sesame seed paste)
3 Tbs water
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbs chopped parsley (I tend to leave this out)

DIRECTIONS

In a food processor combine garbanzo beans, tahini, water, lemon juice, oil, garlic, salt, cumin and cayenne pepper. Cover and process until smooth. Transfer to medium bowl, stir in parsley. Makes 1 3/4 C
Pita Chips: Cut pita bread in half, then cut each half into 4-5 wedges -peel apart so they are one layer. Place on a cookie sheet, brush with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt and dried basil. For a variation, use a flavored olive oil, or one with the herbs already in it to cut back on prep time. Bake 4-5 mins at 400. They are delicious right out of the oven with a bit of hummus!

Recipe source: Sonoma Diet Cookbook

Easy, Healthy Granola

This is inspired by my mom’s granola recipe, however, she uses 1-14oz can of condensed milk, so I had to come up with an alternative. There are recipes to make a dairy-free condensed milk using soy milk powder and sugar, but it looked like a bit of work, plus I couldn’t find soy milk powder. So…with the need for sugar and milk in her recipe, I decided to use maple syrup and soy milk. You can also use brown rice syrup as well. Log Cabin makes a nice maple syrup that has no high fructose corn syrup, which I like. This isn’t a super sweet granola, so if you prefer it be sweeter, add 1/4-1/2 C brown sugar to the mix or a tsp of cinnamon, which happens to be rich in antioxidants. Don’t forget, sunflower seeds, walnuts and almonds are a great source of calcium and protein. Plus, wheat germ itself is miracle-working superfood!
Check out the benefits here.

INGREDIENTS:

2 C old fashioned oats
1 C shredded coconut
1/2 C wheat germ
1/2 C chopped almonds
1/2 C chopped walnuts
1/2 C sunflower seeds
1 tsp salt
1/4 C maple or brown rice syrup
1/2 C soy milk
1/8 C vegetable oil
1-6oz bag craisins (try orange-flavored craisins–they add just a bit more sweetness)

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 300. Combine oats, coconut, wheat germ, nuts and salt. Stir in syrup and soy milk and add oil and mix. Spread evenly on a large greased and foiled pan. Make sure you grease it well, or it’ll “stick something awful”, as my mom said.

Bake until it starts to brown, 45-50 mins. Transfer to a large bowl and add the craisins. Makes about 8 C. Store in an air tight container. Serve over vanilla soy yogurt, soy ice cream, in a bowl with some soy or rice milk, or just snack on it! Try other dried fruit like blueberries, apricots, apples, cherries…you name it! Enjoy!