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.

DSC08148

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!

quiches2

Quinoa-Rice Salad with Tempeh and “Feta”

20130704_172152

We had a fabulous July 4th holiday feast with great friends and family. Our friends made these incredible grilled vegetable sandwiches and an outstanding gazpacho! (recipe soon to come, for sure).

20130704_185522

Cold quinoa and/or rice salads tend to be ideal for outdoor get togethers, plus, being vegan AND gluten-free, makes it so everyone can enjoy. Granted, there was a lot of prep work for this salad, but you can save yourself some time by making certain things ahead of time. I love the different flavors in this salad, as well as the crunch from the nuts. I made quite a big batch, so feel free to halve the recipe for a smaller crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

Salad:

2 C wild rice mix (cooked in 2-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1 C quinoa (cooked in 1-1/4 C vegetable broth)
1-1/2 C dried apricots, diced
1-1/2 C toasted nuts, chopped (I used walnuts and pecans, but I think pepitas and almond slivers would be great too)
1 C fresh parsley, chopped

Tempeh + marinade:
8-oz pkg. tempeh, cut into small cubes
1/4 C tamari
1 Tbs vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced

Tofu “feta”: (adapted)
1 14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/4 C cashews
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp yellow or mellow miso
2 Tbs reserved marinade (below)

Marinade:
3 Tbs lemon juice
5 Tbs white wine vinegar
1-1/2 Tbs yellow or mellow miso
1 tsp salt
2 garlic cloves, minced

Dressing:
1/2 C lime juice
4 Tbs red wine vinegar
4 Tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

I recommend making the feta and marinating the tempeh ahead of time, even a day or two ahead if you can. I didn’t, and I think the salad still turned out great, but it’ll bring out the flavors even more. We’ll start with the feta.

20130704_172139

Slice the tofu into 1/2″ slabs and place into a large dish. Whisk together the feta marinade and coat the tofu thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for several hours, or preferably over a night or two. Next, blend the cashews, olive oil, miso, and reserved marinade. I used my blender, but I couldn’t get a smooth consistency, so I transferred the mixture to a mortar and pestle, to mash it up even more.

20130704_171252

Crumble up the tofu with your fingers, then add the cashew mixture; combine well. Keep refrigerated in an airtight container.

To make the tempeh, combine all of the marinade ingredients in a medium zip bag and add the tempeh. Let it marinade for several hours to overnight.

20130704_112510

When ready, heat a tiny bit of olive oil to a small skillet and add the tempeh. Saute over medium heat until the tempeh has crispy edges.

20130704_122131

Meanwhile, cook the rice and quinoa (separately) according to package instructions. I tend to use veggie broth for added flavor. I also used what quinoa I had: some red, some regular.

20130704_113419

Combine the two in a large bowl and refrigerate until cooled. (Be sure to place a hot pad or trivet underneath the bowl when placing directly onto a cold, glass refrigerator shelf.) Once cooled, fold in all of the ingredients: nuts, feta, parsley, tempeh, and apricots. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the salad; fold gently to incorporate everything. Enjoy!

20130704_172158

Polenta Marsala

20130701_191659

It’s great to be back with a new recipe! I haven’t worked with polenta much, so I decided to take the easy route and use the pre-cooked version.

20130701_175550

It’s great when you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Having always liked Marsala-anything, I wanted to give it a try with polenta, another new favorite around here. The recipe calls for flour, but feel free to make this meal gluten-free by using another type of flour, such as rice flour. The Husband called this “f***ing brilliant.” Need I say more?

INGREDIENTS:

1-18oz tube of pre-cooked polenta (I used the basil garlic variety)
1-2 Tbs olive oil
2 C mushrooms, sliced (I recommend cremini or baby portobello)
1/2 C green onion, sliced
3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour, any variety
1/2 tsp marjoram
1/4 tsp black pepper
1  to 1-1/4 C vegetable broth
1/4 C Marsala cooking wine

DIRECTIONS:

Slice the polenta into about 18-19 slices.

20130701_182025

In a small bowl, combine the flour, marjoram, and pepper; set aside. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the polenta slices. You may have to do a couple of batches, like I did. Brown the polenta, about 5-7 minutes on each side.

20130701_184508

Once they are all browned, set aside. Wipe out the skillet and add the Earth Balance. After it melts, whisk in the flour mixture. Over medium heat, add the broth and Marsala, little by little, continually whisking until it’s smooth. You may have some extra broth leftover at this point, but hang onto it in case you need to thin the sauce out more later. Add the mushrooms and green onion, and mix together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the mushrooms cook down a little. You may need to add a little more broth to thin the sauce.

20130701_191043

Add the polenta slices to the pan and carefully fold them into the sauce. Simmer on low until the slices are heated through again. Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Burrito Bowls with Avocado-Lime Rice

DSC07555

This is my new favorite versatile meal. I saw this recipe for the avocado rice, where they also suggested making burrito bowls using it. Obviously, I wasn’t keen on their meat and dairy version, so I made my own, healthier ones. I also made some changes to the rice recipe by using this awesome rice from Lundberg. The guys tend to be white rice kind of men, but there were no complaints! It’s a blend of sweet brown rice, short grain brown rice, long grain brown rice, whole grain Wehani (brand) rice, whole grain black Japonica (brand) rice.

DSC07544

And I have to mention the quite ingenious Velcro re-closeable bag!

DSC07545

This is such a fresh, simple, and healthy meal where everyone in the family can create their own with their favorite fresh ingredients. Now, my new favorite ingredient . . . is this tri-bean blend. Organic and on sale for $1 a can! Love these. Packed with protein and fiber.

DSC07541

So, on to the recipe!

INGREDIENTS: (Makes 6 bowls)

Rice:

3-1/2 C water

2 C Lundberg Jubilee rice

2 avocados, mashed

1/2 C cilantro, chopped

zest and juice from one lime

The beans:

3 cans tri-bean blend (black bean, pinto, and kidney)

2 tsp cumin

2 tsp Ancho Chili pepper

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/3 C water

The rest (toppings):

Green onion, sliced

Tomato, diced

Daiya cheese

Sour cream

Lettuce, chopped

Salsa

Corn tortilla crunchies/chips

DIRECTIONS:

The rice will take 35-40 minutes, so you’ll want to get that started first. Bring the 3-1/2 cups of water to a boil, add the rice, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Check after 30 minutes.

DSC07551

Meanwhile, in a small to medium saucepan, add the beans, seasonings, and water. Heat on low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

DSC07549

When the rice is done, stir in the mashed avocados, cilantro, lime zest, and lime juice.

DSC07552

Fill a bowl with about 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the avocado rice . . .

DSC07554

 . . . layer on some beans and toppings and enjoy!

DSC07556

Homemade Gluten-Free Ravioli

DSC07517

Nothing says Easter like ravioli, right? Well, if you’re vegan and some of your dinner guests can’t eat gluten, then yes, raviolis are an ideal Easter meal—or for any occasion, actually. In all of the excitement, I didn’t get a good picture of the finished product with the amazing garlic-butter-walnut sauce, but I did get one with some regular raviolis that I made as well.

DSC07521

In addition to the raviolis, one guest brought some delicious vegan horseradish mashed potatoes, roasted Brussels sprouts with pecans and another guest brought this incredible corn and avocado salad.  So, I was living on the edge when I decided to not do a test run on the gluten-free dough before the big day. Luckily, it turned out ok, but not before having a slight meltdown when the GF dough wouldn’t fully cooperate with me. First off, don’t try using your pasta maker; the dough will fall apart. You’re better off using a rolling pin and lots of GF flour to roll it out. Believe me, it’s doable and worth the extra effort; just be patient. I also recommend using a ravioli plate like this one—and that goes for any type of raviolis—it just makes life easier. For the filling, I made two: pureed beet/cashew and tofu ricotta with spinach and mushrooms. Make it easy on yourself and prepare these fillings ahead of time and refrigerate until ready to use. If I was unable to eat gluten, I would miss homemade pasta, especially raviolis, so I’d be making these all the time. Our GF guests loved them and happily took the few leftovers home with them. My friend Kerrie gave me a conversion for GF flour and regular flour a while back and uses it for most things, so I thought I’d give it a whirl for pasta. Basically, for every 1 cup of regular flour, use 7/8 C of rice flour and 1 teaspoon of xanthan gum—worked like a charm.

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

1-3/4 C white rice flour

7/8 C brown rice flour

3 tsp xanthan gum

1 tsp salt

1 C warm almond milk

2 Tbs olive oil

Spinach-Tofu-Mushroom Filling:

14-oz pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/3 C nutritional yeast

2 Tbs lemon juice

3 C fresh spinach, chopped

3 mushrooms, diced small

Beet/Cashew filling: see link above

Garlic-Butter-Walnut sauce: (I was feeding a crowd, so for 3-4 people, you may want to halve the sauce recipe)

1-1/2 C walnuts, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed or minced

1-1/2 C Earth Balance margarine, cut into pieces

DIRECTIONS:

To make the spinach filling, puree the first 9 ingredients in food processor. Set aside, or refrigerate until ready to use. The beet filling will take just over an hour to prepare, so keep that in mind if using that one. (click on link above to see instructions).

DSC07511

To make the dough, combine both rice flours, xanthan gum, and salt in a bowl of a stand mixer. On medium speed, slowly add the oil, then the warm almond milk. When it’s fully incorporated, form it into a ball and refrigerate if not using right away. The dough will probably work better if it’s room temperature.

DSC07516

On a constantly-floured surface, roll out the sections of the dough into long pieces, big enough for your ravioli plate. I wouldn’t bother using the plastic mold part, as it will easily break through the dough. Gently use your fingers to create a small dip where the filling will go. Fill each dip with about a teaspoon of the filling. If using the spinach one, place a few pieces of mushroom on top of the filling. Roll out another long piece of dough and place it carefully over the top of the filling and gently press down. You can use the rolling pin to then finish the process. (This is a great YouTube video showing how to use the plate). Here’s a pic of the regular dough with the fillings:

DSC07520

I was pleasantly surprised at how well they turned out. A couple of them had some a filling peeking out, but they still cooked up great.

DSC07517

Let them sit for 20 minutes. While this is happening, prepare the sauce. In a medium, dry saucepan, add the walnuts and brown them over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes, then add the Earth Balance. Stir over low to medium heat until the butter is melted and reduce the heat to low.  To cook the raviolis, boil them, about 4-6 at a time, for 3-4 minutes, or until they float to the surface. I usually give them a minute more, just to make sure they’re heated though.

DSC07522

I’m happy to tell you that none of them fell apart and they were delicious. The regular ones seemed to taste a little sweeter, but otherwise, they tasted very much like regular raviolis! Top them with a ladle of the garlic sauce and enjoy!

Quinoa Pasta with Kale and Mushrooms

DSC07295

 

This is a very quick and healthy lunch. It’s also a good idea to munch on if you’re feeling under the weather since it has immune-boosting ingredients like kale, mushrooms, garlic, and pepita seeds. Regardless, it’ll hit the spot!

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz quinoa pasta, veggie curls (I used Ancient Harvest brand)

2-3 C chopped kale (I used red kale)

2 C diced or quartered mushrooms

1/2 C green onions, sliced

1/2 C pepitas seeds

1 Tbs olive oil or 2 Tbs Earth Balance

2 cloves garlic, minced or crushed

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. You don’t want to overcook quinoa pasta, as it tends to get mushy if you do. Drain and set aside.

DSC07294

Using the same pot, heat the olive oil or Earth Balance and add the garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale, mushrooms, and green onions and cook 5-7 minutes, or until they soften.

DSC07293

 

Once the veggies are cooked down a little, stir in the pasta and pepita seeds. Season with salt and pepper and enjoy!

Quinoa with Dried Apricots and Black Beans

DSC07228

The next time someone asks you, “Where do you get your protein?” you can (politely) point out this dish as one of numerous options. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 amino acids essential to human health. It offers up roughly 8 grams of protein per cup and also passes along calcium, iron, folate, manganese, and other vitamins. Black beans also carry nearly 15 grams of protein per cup, so add some veggies and you have healthy lunch!

INGREDIENTS:

1/2 C red quinoa, rinsed and drained

1/2 C regular quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 tsp Better than Bouillon paste

1-1/2 C water

1 C fresh cilantro, chopped

1 C green onions, sliced

1 C dried apricots, chopped

1/3 C pepitas (toasted pumpkin seeds)

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp lime juice

2 Tbs red wine vinegar

2 Tbs olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium sauce pan, whisk together the bouillon and water; bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, cover and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the cilantro, green onion, apricots, pepita seeds, salt, lime juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil.

DSC07226

Once the quinoa is finished, add it, along with the black beans to the bowl.

DSC07227

Combine well and enjoy! (You can also chill it in a covered dish and serve cold).

Quinoa with Walnuts and Spinach

DSC07134

 

I hope everyone had a happy and safe holiday! For the first time in many years, we had snow falling on Christmas Eve! You wouldn’t think that’d be such a rarity in Colorado, but a drought will do that to ya. It’s even snowing as I type! So I wasn’t sure what to call this dish because it has more than just walnuts and spinach it—it’s loaded with veggies. I served this warm, but I think it would be tasty cold as well.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C regular quinoa

1 C red quinoa

2 tsp Better Than Bouillon

3 C water

1 C spinach, chopped

4 green onions, sliced

4 mushrooms, chopped

1/3 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 Tbs chia seeds

1/2 C walnuts, chopped (and toasted, if you’d like)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

2 Tbs lemon juice

DSC07129

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium or large saucepan, whisk together the bouillon and water and then bring to a boil. Add the two quinoas (you can also use tri-colored quinoa if you’d like), stir, reduce heat, and cover. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until just a little bit of liquid remains. Stir in the spinach, green onion, and mushrooms and let cook for a few minutes—just enough for the spinach to wilt and the mushrooms to cook down a little.

DSC07130

Stir in the salt, pepper, chia seeds, and lemon juice. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and walnuts. Enjoy!

 

Black Rice Salad

I was thumbing through Party Vegan for Halloween foods and I was thrilled to find this salad that was not only delicious, but gluten-free as well. It was perfect for our Halloween party. I recommend making the rice ahead of time since it needs to cool in the fridge. It also would hurt to chop up the veggies and cook the sweet potatoes ahead of time, too, so you save yourself a headache of trying to get all done right away. I doubled the recipe, but I’ll list the original recipe amounts below. Also, the original recipe suggests serving the salad on a bed of shredded lettuce, but I opted to serve it in a bowl, sans lettuce.

INGREDIENTS:

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2″ dice

1/4 C + 1 Tbs olive oil

Salt and pepper

2 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium orange bell pepper, finely chopped

1/4 C minced onion

2 Tbs fresh parsley

15-oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

3 C cold cooked black rice

3 Tbs lemon juice

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dry mustard

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Spread the sweet potatoes on a lightly greased baking sheet; drizzle with 1 Tbs of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and roast for 15 minutes. I recommend turning them once halfway through, otherwise, they’ll get too browned on one side.

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, bell pepper, onion, parsley, and garbanzo beans.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp black pepper.

The recipe only says to combine the cooled sweet potatoes and rice together, but doesn’t indicate when to mix them in with the rest. But I think I’m a pretty smart cookie and combined everything and tossed it all with the dressing. Enjoy!

Product Review: Edward & Sons Brown Rice Snaps

I discovered these crackers a few months ago, and I’ve been buying them ever since. They’re made by Edward & Sons and come in a variety of flavors including vegetable, toasted onion, and black sesame. I’ve only been able to find the vegetable and toasted onion ones at the store, but you can order the other varieties HERE. Of the two, the vegetable flavored one is my favorite. These are vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and 96% organic. Ingredients: Organic Brown Rice Flour, Organic White Rice Flour, Organic Expeller-Pressed Sunflower Oil, Carrots, Garlic, Onions, Red Bell Peppers, Tomatoes, Sea Salt, Citric Acid, Green Bell Peppers. Dehydrated vegetable powders. It ain’t easy finding a tasty vegan and gluten-free cracker, but it looks like Ed and his sons have done an excellent job!

They’re ideal with Daiya cheese!

Wine and Words

For the second year in a row, I catered Wine & Words, a fundraising event for the Northern Colorado Writers. I love this event and I definitely love showing people that vegan food is delicious! You’ve seen the gluten-free & vegan cupcakes and I’m excited to show you what else I made (and about 95% organic, too!)

Quinoa Salad

I cooked 2 cups of quinoa in 2-1/2 cups of vegetable broth. I let it cool in the fridge for a day, then added 1 chopped up cucumber, two chopped tomatoes, a chopped red onion, 1 cup of chopped parsley, and a cup of toasted pinenuts. In a small bowl, I combined 3 Tbs of ume plum vinegar with 2 Tbs of olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of black pepper, then mixed it into the salad. Easy!

Field Roast-Stuffed Mushrooms 

These were gone in minutes! I cooked up a diced green pepper with a small chopped onion and added four ground up Field Roast sausages, Italian flavor. I could make the stuffing a day ahead, so that helped out. I then used about 60 mushrooms and lightly sauteed them in Earth Balance and garlic. Don’t cook too much, just enough to soften them up. Just before the event, I heated up the stuffing in a pan on the stove and stuffed the mushrooms.

Pesto Potato Bread Sandwiches

I LOVE this bread for these finger sandwiches. The recipe makes two loaves, so I made two different kinds of sandwiches. I did, however, use a seasoned cream cheese (Tofutti mixed with Good Seasoning dressing mix) on both. On one, I had cucumbers, tomatoes and fresh basil. On the other, I used  roasted red peppers and avocados.

Fruit Cones

I figured this was a great way to eat fruit! I dipped the tops of ice cream cones in melted chocolate, then poured sprinkles around the top. Initially, I was going to fill them with fruit to serve, but it made more sense to let guests do it. That way, they can be picky about what fruit they want, and then the fruit wouldn’t make the cones soggy. I also recommend spooning a bit of chocolate into the bottom of the cone for added chocolate goodness!

I also made a huge batch (not enough!) of Avocado Bruschetta and served them with tortilla scoops and gluten-free crackers. The Spinach Dip was also a hit and I served it with cut up peppers, cucumbers, and celery. Olives and a green salad rounded it out and made for a fabulous event!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Cupcakes (Vanilla and Chocolate-Almond)!

Last weekend, for the second year in a row, I catered Wine and Words, a fundraising event for the Northern Colorado Writers. (Hence, the Scrabble-like tile cookies on top). I wanted to be able to provide not only vegan food, but lots of gluten-free options as well. I think these cupcakes came out pretty damn good. Granted, they’ve got plenty of sugar, but vegan and gluten-free is certainly on the right track (especially since they have flax in them)! The original recipe is from Living Without magazine, but I altered several ingredients and steps. The baking mix is a great base for GF muffins, cupcakes, and cakes. One batch makes 24 cupcakes. I made two batches: one vanilla, one chocolate.

INGREDIENTS:

Flour mixture: (makes 7.5 cups)

3-3/4 C chickpea a.k.a garbanzo flour

2-1/4 C potato starch

1-1/2 C tapioca flour

The cupcakes:

6 Tbs water

2 Tbs flax meal

1 C almond milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

3-1/2 C of the baking mix (use 3 cups for the chocolate ones)

1 Tbs + 1 tap baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

1-1/2 C granulated sugar

1/2 C vegetable shortening

2 tsp vanilla (use almond extract for the chocolate ones)

Also, add 1/2 C baking cocoa to the 3 cups of baking mix if making chocolate ones)

Sugar cookie tile:

7/8 C rice flour

1 tsp xantan gum

1/2 C Earth Balance

1/2 C sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

zest from one lemon

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, whisk together the three flours for the baking mix. Store in an airtight container. Preheat the oven to 350 and line two 12-cup muffin tins. In a small bowl, combine the almond milk and cider vinegar and set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the water and flax meal; set aside.

In large bowl, combine 3-1/2 cups of the baking mix (again, use 3 cups of flour mix + 1/2 C cocoa for chocolate ones) with the baking powder, baking soda, and xanthan gum.  Using a mixer, beat the shortening and sugar together until well combined and fluffy.

Add the flax mixture and vanilla (again, use almond extract for chocolate cupcakes). Next, alternate adding the dry ingredients with the milk/cider mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

You will have a very thick, but moist batter. When I fill muffin cups, I tend to hold them in my hand to fill them up—it makes for a cleaner process with less chance of dropping globs of batter everywhere. This batter is pretty thick though, so you’ll have more control with these. Fill the 24 muffin cups evenly; about a 1/4 C in each.

 

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

To make the sugar cookies, combine the sugar and Earth Balance. Add the vanilla and combine well. In a separate bowl, combine the rice flour, xanthan gum, baking powder, and lemon zest. Shape into a ball and chill for at least 2 hours. Using a light rolling pin (not a marble one if you can help it), roll out about half of the dough.

I used a pizza cutter for the “tiles.”

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

I used a gel frosting for the lettering . . .

I didn’t have the patience to put the number in the corner like an actual Scrabble tile, but you get the idea…

I made some butter frosting for the cupcakes and topped with the letter or some sliced strawberries.

Enjoy!

Avocado and Pinto Bean Enchiladas

These are probably some of the tastiest enchiladas I’ve had. The original recipe is from eat, drink & be veganI made a couple of minor changes because I couldn’t find one of the ingredients, added some green chilies, but also made a bigger batch (inadvertently). Her recipe yielded 10-12 enchiladas, but I ended up with 17—if my pan was bigger, I would have got 18. I’m glad that I bought extra enchilada sauce because of this. I’m not sure if I just didn’t fill the tortillas up enough, but I definitely had lots of filling left over after the first dozen tortillas. In any case, they were delicious. I was really intrigued with the 1/2 cup of cashew pieces the recipe requires and I have to tell you, they’re fabulous—they add just a little crunch. I highly recommend using them. Below is how I made these, but click on the above link for the original recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

16-18 corn tortillas

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 C onion, thinly sliced

1 tsp Ancho chili powder

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp salt

1/8 tsp black pepper

2-1/2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 can pinto beans, drained

1/2 C cashews, chopped

2 Tbs lime juice

2 avocados, peeled and pitted

1-1/4 tsp salt

2 19 oz cans enchilada sauce

1 small can diced green chilies, mild or hot

Optional ingredients: Daiya cheese, cilantro, and vegan sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions, chili powder, cumin, allspice, the 1/4 tsp of salt, and the pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes.

Add the mushrooms, beans, and cashews and cook another 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool a few minutes.

Meanwhile, mash the avocado with the 1-1/4 tsp of salt in a bowl, or use the food processor. The avocados I had weren’t completely ripe so I used the food processor. I probably got them a little too mashed, but it turned out just fine.

Stir in half a can of one of the enchilada sauces and the green chilies, into the avocado mixture.

Blend the avocado mixture with the onion/mushroom mixture. At this point, I heated some water in my steam pot to steam the tortilla shells. Place a tortilla one at a time in the pot–it’ll only take about 15-20 seconds per side to steam the tortilla. Pour the rest of the enchilada sauce from the first can on the bottom of a 15″ baking dish (you can also use some from the other can. I also started out with a 9×13 and realized it wasn’t going to be big enough, so I added an 8×8″ baking dish). Fill each tortilla with about 4-5 tablespoons of filling, roll up, and place fold-side down in the pan. Repeat. Pour the remaining sauce on top.

Cover and bake 16-18 minutes. Remove the foil and top with cheese (if using) and bake another 10-12 minutes.

Top with cilantro and sour cream. Enjoy!

 

Cabbage and Portobello Tacos

Sorry for the absence! I’m back and ready to cook! These veggie tacos were certainly well-received last night by the family. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had much time to cook for them lately, but whatever the reason, they made this vegan trio happy.

INGREDIENTS:

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 Tbs olive oil

3 large portobello caps, sliced

1 medium onion, sliced

2 medium zucchinis, cut into matchsticks

3 C red/purple cabbage, sliced into wide strips

Corn taco shells

Seasonings: (mild)

1 Tbs chili powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

The rest (optional): fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, salsa, or avocado slices

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the garlic and olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Add the onions, zucchini, and cabbage; cook 10-12 minutes, or until they begin to soften and brown. Combine the seasoning ingredients and add to the pan along with the portobellos.

Thoroughly combine everything. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook the mushrooms until they soften and reduce in size, 7-9 minutes. You may want to cover the pan and let them cook.

Serve in warmed corn taco shells and top with any of the optional ingredients. This is a fabulous (and quick) gluten & soy-free meal! Enjoy!

Gluten-Free Tetrazzini-Stuffed Peppers

The Seventh Grader wanted spaghetti for dinner; I wanted stuffed peppers. We compromised, which turned out to be a very delicious compromise! You’ll only need 4-5 ounces of spaghetti to fill 6 halves of peppers, but I used 8 ounces and had some leftover tetrazzini for a future lunch. Otherwise, I find 3 ounces of dry pasta, useless. I made these gluten-free by using quinoa pasta, and rice flour, but feel free to use any variety you’d like.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz quinoa spaghetti

3 bell peppers, cut in half, stems removed and cleaned out

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

1 medium zucchini, diced

1/4 C onion, diced

1/3 C rice flour

2 C almond milk

1/4 C nutritional yeast

1 Tbs onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 C panko

Daiya cheese, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 375. Break the spaghetti into thirds and cook according to package instructions. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onion and zucchini; cook until softened.

In a blender, combine the rice flour, half of the almond milk, nutritional yeast, and seasonings. Blend until smooth. Add the sauce to the veggies and over low to medium heat, stir, adding the rest of the almond milk. This should only take a few minutes.

I used kitchen scissors to cut the drained spaghetti a bit more, then added it to the sauce. Combine well.

If you’d like, sprinkle some Daiya cheese in the bottoms of the peppers, then stuff with the spaghetti mixture. Top with some panko, then cover with foil.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy! 

Vegan Scalloped Yams and Zucchini

I found myself with several yams and sometimes, I don’t always know what to do with them. So why not scalloped potatoes? I threw in some zucchini and onions, and topped it with some Daiya and panko. Delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 large yams, peeled and sliced thin

1 small onion

1 medium zucchini, sliced, then quartered

1 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp garlic, minced

2-1/2 Tbs arrowroot

1/4 C nutritional yeast

2 C almond milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 Tbs fresh rosemary, minced

1/4 C panko

Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Boil the yams in a large soup pot for about 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the onions and cook 3-4 minutes. Add the zucchini and cook until softened. Add the seasonings.

Whisk together the milk, arrowroot, and nutritional yeast. Pour it into the skillet with the onions and zucchini. Stir continuously until the sauce begins to thicken.

Layer half of the yams into an 8″ baking dish. Pour half of the onion mixture on top and spread evenly around. Layer on the rest of the yams, then the mixture. Top with some cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with the panko and bake another 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

Gluten & Soy-Free Pizza with Caramelized Onions

Crash Test Vegetarian posted a pizza recipe with caramelized onions. It took me back because we used to always put caramelized onions on our pizza, along with toasted walnuts and (at the time) Gorgonzola cheese. Oh, how things have changed!  It got me craving our old pizza recipe. I decided to change things up though with other ingredients, but those onions were a must!

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Pizza Dough Mix (see my earlier review)

1 large onion, sliced into strips

2 Tbs olive oil

1/4 to 1/3 C balsamic vinegar

1 tsp sugar

Toppings: sliced mushrooms, torn spinach, tomato slices, Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare the crust according to package instructions (it will need to rise for 20 minutes). To caramelize the onions, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and cook until they tenderize and start to turn brown.

Drizzle balsamic vinegar and sugar on the onions, and combine thoroughly. Cook until brown and shriveled.

Layer your toppings on the prepared pizza crust (Bob’s Red Mill makes (2) 12″ or (1) 16″). Bake for 15-18 minutes. Enjoy!

Chili Stew

The weather has been a bit cold and windy these days, and last night was no exception. On nights like that, a hearty soup or stew hits the spot. I threw in tons of different things in this chili and I think this one is my favorite version so far. It’s also great to scoop onto tortilla chips. I had three avocados I planned on dicing up to top the chili, but each one was bad! Total bummer. Crash Test Vegetarian used olives and roasted red peppers in her chili recipe, so I owe her a big thanks for the idea!

INGREDIENTS:

1 large onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs olive oil

2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced (1/2 C of barley is a good substitute)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes, drained

4 C low-sodium vegetable broth

2 C water

1 6-oz can black olives, sliced

1 small can tomato paste

3 jarred roasted red peppers, diced

1/8 C lime juice

2-3 Tbs Ancho chili powder

1-1/2 Tbs cumin

1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper, to taste

4-5 green onions, sliced

Fresh cilantro, chopped

Optional: Daiya cheese, diced avocado, Tofutti sour cream

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil and garlic in a large soup pot. Add the onion and cook for 7-8 minutes, or until tender. Add the broth, water, potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are slightly tender, about 20 minutes. Add the seasonings, roasted red peppers, olives, and lime juice. Simmer another 15-20 minutes and stir in the lime juice. Sprinkle servings with green onion, cilantro, cheese, and sour cream, if desired. Enjoy!

Chickpea Salad

I got this recipe from Luminous Vegans who called it “Chick-Peace Salad.” Great name—I didn’t want to steal it, so mine’s just plain old Chickpea Salad. Regardless of the name, it’s a delicious vegan version of tuna salad. LV added crumbled up nori to the mix to give it that tuna taste, but I didn’t have any. I still think it had amazing flavor without it. I did add some carrots and parsley. Just because. I also used Earth Balance’s vegan, gluten-free, and soy-free mayo that my good friend, Angela of The Veracious Vegan turned me on to. It’s fabulous!

I also served the salad on Food For Life’s brown rice tortillas.

I have to say, they’re ok. Heated up, they’re better, but you have to eat it fast before it gets crispy and falls apart. I’m wondering if steaming them would be better, or make it worse. The taste is chewy, but crunchy at the same time. Is that possible? Apparently so. Anyway, they’re not horrible, but they made eating this sandwich a bit tough because they tend to crack and split.

INGREDIENTS:

1 15-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed

2 stalks celery, chopped

2 green onions, chopped

1-2 Tbs fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbs fresh parsley, chopped

1 carrot, shredded

2 Tbs vegan mayo

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1-1/2 tsp lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

Veggies, crackers, tortilla, etc

DIRECTIONS:

Mash the chickpeas. I used a pastry blender. You can also pulse them in the food processor.

Stir in all of the other ingredients and combine well. I layered the salad on some lettuce inside one of the tortillas and added some sliced cucumber and tomato.

This salad would also be great on crackers, or sliced veggies. Enjoy!

Vegan & Soy-Free Ricotta Cheese

I am so excited to share this recipe with all of you! Having to give up soy is a little less traumatic now that I’ve come up with a delicious soy-free ricotta cheese. After I made the switch from no wheat and no soy, The Seventh Grader wanted stuffed shells. Of course. And . . . like the power of suggestion, I wanted stuffed shells in the worst way. So I couldn’t use my go-to riotta cheese, nor use regular jumbo shells. Thankfully, I found these “Grand Shells” from Tinkyada.

The ingredients are simple: brown rice, rice bran, and water. They’re a little smaller than the typical flour-based jumbo shells . . .

. . . but it’s not a big deal. They also don’t fold over like regular shells do either. Again, no biggie. Also, cooking these are a bit different. Bring water to a boil, add the shells and cook 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let the shells sit for 20 minutes. The shells definitely aren’t mushy like some brown rice pasta can be. In fact, they’re pretty al dente—almost too much. If you want them a little softer, I’d leave them for 25-30 minutes. Overall, very impressive! I thought they were delicious.

So onto the ricotta. This recipe makes quite a bit—great for a big pan of lasagna. Feel free to half it for a small portion, otherwise, it makes almost 4 cups.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C blanched almonds

1 C cashews

1 C cold water

1/8 C olive oil

3-4 Tbs lemon juice

1/3 C nutritional yeast

1 C fresh basil

1 Tbs fresh rosemary

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1/3 C Daiya cheese,  Mozzarella flavored

DIRECTIONS:

I threw the cashews in a bowl of water while I blanched the almonds. Soaking the nuts are not necessary, unless you have the time and want a really smooth ricotta. Add them to the food processor.

Add the water, oil, and lemon juice. Puree until smooth. This may take a few minutes to get it real smooth, especially if you opt not to soak the nuts overnight, which I did not. It just depends on your preference. I happen to like the nutty texture.

Next, add the basil, rosemary, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, pepper. Blend until well combined. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese.

I had some jumbo shells as well as tofu-ricotta in the freezer, so for the guys, I made them regular stuffed shells. Since I don’t have celiac disease and not concerned with cross-contamination, I combined both in the pan.

Layer on some sauce and Daiya cheese and you’re good to go. Bake covered for 25 minutes at 375.

Enjoy!

Stuffed Portobellos and Steamed Bok Choy

Portobellos are such a versatile fungi.

They make great burgers, a main stir-fry ingredient, and of course, an ideal vessel for other veggies. I wanted to make something wheat and soy-free, which is tough as a vegan, but these really fit the bill. But what to have with them? Before, I would have served bread, but since I that’s out, I decided to steam some bok choy. By the way, you’ll be seeing more wheat and soy-free recipes (although I may use miso from time to time) on my blog, as I am working on eliminating these from my diet. Why? Well . . . you see, I have endometriosis, something I’ve had to deal with for the last seven years, and I’ve now opted to treat it with diet, herbs and acupuncture. Endo is an inflammatory disease, so processed flour aggravates it. It’s also said that estrogen feeds the disease, so there goes soy with its natural estrogen!

TMI? Sorry. I won’t go on about it, but I wanted to explain my reasoning for my decision and to also let other women know that it’s possible to live with endo and not rely on drugs and/or  surgery (at least, that’s my plan). Otherwise, I want to make clear that I have nothing against soy. In fact, it’s worth pointing out that Dr. Neal Barnard has determined that soy consumption is not only safe, but highly encouraged. Oh, and I want to make clear, I’m steering clear of wheat, not necessarily gluten. There’s a difference between the two, so fortunately, whole grains aren’t out of the picture for me, just processed wheat.

So, on to the recipes!

INGREDIENTS:

4 portobello caps, washed and stems and gills removed

1 box Near East Long Grain & Wild Rice mix

1 small red onion, diced

1 small zucchini, diced

1/2 C fresh parsley, chopped

2 tsp olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Daiya cheese

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare the rice mix according to the package instructions. This will need to cook for 30 minutes. When the rice has about 6 minutes of cooking time left, heat the olive oil and garlic. Add the red onion and cook for about 3 minutes. Then add the zucchini and cook another 3 minutes or so.

Stir in the cooked rice and parsley; season with salt and pepper.

Place the portobellos upside down in a large baking dish. Sprinkle some Daiya cheese on the bottom and fill each mushroom cap evenly with the rice mixture, piling it high.

Pour a little water into the bottom of the pan. This will help steam the mushroom caps. Bake for about 15 minutes, then top with a little Daiya cheese and bake another couple of minutes.

While these are baking, I got started on the bok choy.

I think this veggie is so underrated. Low in calories, this lightly sweet and crispy veggie is loaded with vitamins C and A as well as calcium. I cut up some mushrooms and together, steamed the veggies with some (soy-free) Earth Balance for about 7-9 minutes.

Enjoy!

Quinoa with Mushrooms and Spinach

Occasionally, there are nights I don’t cook dinner for the fam. Either we have lots of leftovers, or everyone is doing their own thing, so we fend for ourselves. Tonight was one such night. But when The Husband saw what I made, he kindly asked if I’d share. He said this was one of his favorites dishes—we both loved it. And so easy! Throw this together in 20 minutes and you have a healthy, protein-packed meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C quinoa

2 C water

1 vegan vegetable bouillon cube

3 C fresh spinach

3 C fresh mushrooms, sliced

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, bring the water with the bouillon cube to a boil. Stir it around so the cube dissolves completely. Stir in the quinoa, reduce heat to low, and cover for about 15 minutes. When the quinoa is almost done—just a tiny bit of water left—add the spinach, mushrooms and seasonings; combine well.

Turn the heat off, cover, and let the spinach and mushrooms steam a bit—5-7 minutes. You may need to drizzle with some water if there isn’t enough moisture left. Once the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms are tender, serve and 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!

Gluten-Free & Vegan Mexican Casserole

I’m fortunate I don’t have a gluten intolerance (even though seitan bothers me). I can’t imagine eliminating gluten from my diet as well, but I am starting to realize that it’s not that difficult to make something vegan and gluten-free, like this delicious casserole.

INGREDIENTS:

8-oz quinoa pasta, any variety

3 bell peppers, diced (I used one red, one yellow, and one orange)

1 medium red onion, diced

2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 15-oz can diced tomatoes

1 15-oz can black beans, drained

1 6-oz can tomato paste

4-5 green onion, sliced

1-2 Tbs olive oil

Daiya cheese, any flavor

2-1/2 C Corn chips or gluten-free crackers

Optional ingredients: 1-2 C fresh chopped cilantro, 1-2 C black olives, diced avocados, salsa, jalapenos, green chilies, Tofutti sour cream

Taco seasoning packet or make your own: (This is a mild version, so you may want to add more chili powder for a added kick)

1 Tbs chili powder

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. If making the seasoning, combine the ingredients and set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8-10 minutes—not too long, or it’ll get mushy. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the peppers and onions.

Cook for about 10 minutes, until they are slightly soft. Add the mushrooms and half of the seasonings; cook another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the tomato paste and diced tomatoes until well combined. Stir in the black beans and the rest of the seasonings. Stir the tomato mixture into the pepper mixture and combine well.

Using the same bowl as the tomato mixture, combine the pasta and vegetable mixture and stir well to combine. Line the bottom of a 15″ baking dish with corn chips or gluten free crackers, then spread on a layer of Daiya cheese. Pour the vegetable mixture on the chips.

Top with more Daiya cheese and green onion. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with a dollop of Tofutti sour cream and enjoy!

Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cupcakes

I used the same recipe for these, as the red velvet cake I made a couple of months ago. I wasn’t sure how making the batter into cupcakes would work out, but in the end, they  were delicious!! To begin with, it’s never easy to figure out how full to fill the muffin cups. I went with about 2/3 to 3/4 full, and I got 23 cupcakes. They puffed up a bit, so I recommend filling them halfway which will probably yield more than 24. These are certainly sinful and not something I recommend making on a weekly basis, but rather to enjoy as an occasional treat!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C gluten-free vanilla rice milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

2-1/2 C Betsy’s Baking Mix (recipe below)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 C palm oil shortening

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1-oz red food coloring

1/4 C + 3 Tbs unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs distilled white vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

1 recipe butter cream frosting (below)

Betsy’s Making Mix: this makes 7-1/2 cups–remember, use just 2-1/2 cups of it.

3-3/4 C garbanzo bean  flour

2-1/4 C potato starch

1-1/2 C tapioca starch/flour

Buttercream Frosting:

1 C Earth Balance margarine

4 to 4-1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

Vanilla rice milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Make your baking mix first: Combine all the flours in a large zip-lock bag. Using a whisk, blend them well. Then seal tightly and shake it vigorously for 1 minute. This mix will stay good for up to 3 months. Place muffin liners into muffin pan and set aside.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the rice milk and cider vinegar to create “buttermilk” and set aside. In a small bowl, use a spoon to combine the cocoa powder and food coloring. (Keep in mind that 1 ounce is a full-sized bottle of food coloring). It will form a paste:

In a large bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups of the baking mix, salt, and xanthan gum. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and palm oil shortening. Add the applesauce and vanilla and cream everything together until mixture is light and creamy. Add the cocoa paste and mix well.

Alternately, add the dry ingredients and the “buttermilk” mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the white vinegar into a small cup and sprinkle the baking soda over it. Immediately pour the fizzing combo into the cake batter and thoroughly mix it in.

Fill each muffin cup about halfway with batter. I find that it’s easiest to hold the muffin cup in my hand and use a small spoon to drop filling in the cup. I then place it into the muffin pan. Works great and you can avoid getting batter on the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Let cool completely before frosting.

To make the frosting cream the Earth Balance until smooth. Little by little, add the confectioner’s sugar. Add the vanilla rice milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you reach a thick consistency. I beat this for several minutes to not only cream all the Earth Balance, but to make it good and fluffy.

Layer the tops of the cupcakes with some frosting and enjoy!

Vegan & Gluten-Free Red Velvet Cake

Some of you may recall when I made this cake about a year ago, I put in way, way too much of the flour mixture and a friend, who I had served it to, joked that I made him eat a brick. The cake was a disaster and apparently, it took me a year to get over it, but here it is. Wow, what a difference correctly following the recipe makes! ;) This cake is outstanding! You’d never know it was gluten-free AND vegan! The cake was soft, moist, and not too sweet. (The icing will sure make up for that)! This is now going to be the family birthday cake for a while—it’s that good! Plus, I’ve completely redeemed myself and my friend told me he can no longer tease me about serving him a brick!

INGREDIENTS:

1 C gluten-free vanilla rice milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

2-1/2 C Betsy’s Baking Mix (recipe below)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

1-1/2 cups sugar

1/2 C palm oil shortening

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 oz red food coloring

1/4 C + 3 Tbs unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla

1 Tbs distilled white vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

1 recipe butter cream frosting (below)

Betsy’s Making Mix: this makes 7-1/2 cups–remember, use just 2-1/2 cups of it.

3-3/4 C garbanzo bean  flour

2-1/4 C potato starch

1-1/2 C tapioca starch/flour

Buttercream Frosting:

1 C Earth Balance margarine

4 to 4-1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

Vanilla rice milk

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Make your baking mix first: Combine all the flours in a large zip-lock bag. Using a whisk, blend them well. Then seal tightly and shake it vigorously for 1 minute. This mix will stay good for up to 3 months.

Grease 2 9″ cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, then grease the parchment paper; set aside. In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the rice milk and cider vinegar to create “buttermilk” and set aside. In a small bowl, use a spoon to combine the cocoa powder and food coloring. (Keep in mind that 1 ounce is a full-sized bottle of food coloring). It will form a paste:

In a large bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups of the baking mix, salt, and xanthan gum. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and palm oil shortening. Add the applesauce and vanilla and cream everything together until mixture is light and creamy. Add the cocoa paste and mix well.

Alternately, add the dry ingredients and the “buttermilk” mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the white vinegar into a small cup and sprinkle the baking soda over it. Immediately pour the fizzing combo into the cake batter and thoroughly mix it in. Evenly divide the batter into the two cake pans.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool completely on a rack before turning them out of the pans.

Once cooled, turn over the pans and remove the parchment paper. Take a large plate and place it upside down on the bottom of one of the cakes (that will be upside down on the rack). Flip over so the cake is face up on the plate.

To make the frosting cream the Earth Balance until smooth. Little by little, add the confectioner’s sugar. Add the vanilla rice milk 1-2 tablespoons at a time until you reach a thick consistency.

Frost the top and sides of the cake that is on the plate. Lay it pretty thick, especially on the top. Carefully place the 2nd cake on top and frost that one.

Slice and enjoy! Cover the leftovers and store in the refrigerator.

Recipe source (cake only): Living Without

Product Review: Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Pizza Crust

I’ve been wanting to try gluten-free pizza crust for quite some time now. I’d like to reduce to the amount of gluten I eat, so I was anxious to try this mix from Bob’s Red Mill. The mix requires water, oil and eggs. However, it suggests using 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water as an egg replacement. I used Ener-G Egg Replacer. The package also comes with a yeast packet. The crust makes 2 12″ pizzas, or one 26″ pizza. Since The Husband is in San Francisco for work, the Sixth Grader and me decided to make a couple of pizzas tonight.

This is a simple process: combine the egg-replacer with water; set aside. In a large bowl whisk together 1-1/2 cups warm water with the yeast and let it sit a few minutes. Add the egg-replacer mixture and 2 Tbs olive oil to the yeast mixture. Stir in the pizza crust mix. I don’t recommend a whisk, as the dough will collect inside of it; use a wooden spoon. Divide the dough into two, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 20 minutes.

The dough didn’t rise all that much after 20 minutes, but it could be that the dough wasn’t placed in a warm enough area. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a baking sheet/pizza pan and wet your hands with some water. Spread the dough onto the pan. The dough will have a spongy-mashed potato texture and having wet hands is critical when trying to spread it out. Bake for 7-9 minutes.

Top with your favorite sauce and toppings. The kid went with Tofurky Italian Sausage and FYH Mozzarella:

I also like to use Contadina sauce:

The directions said to bake for 16-18 minutes. About 14-15 minutes worked for us, but ovens run differently, so keep an eye on it.

I debated on what kind of pizza to make, but in the end, I went with spinach and mushrooms with truffle oil (big surprise, huh?)

So the verdict is . . . great. We really liked this crust a lot. The edges are crispy, like a crusty bread and the rest if softer and chewier.  The crunchy edge is really the only difference from regular pizza crust. I would regularly use this mix as an alternative to regular pizza dough. I think using this mix is much easier than making your own gluten-free pizza crust and highly recommend this one.

Creamy Tofu-Port Spread

I love experimenting with making vegan cheeses and spreads and this one is so easy and delicious. It’s ideal as a sandwich or wrap condiment, or a dip for crackers and veggies (particularly, veggie crackers)! I also think it’d be great on a toasted bagel, English muffin, or toast.

INGREDIENTS:

14-oz tofu, drained, pressed, and cubed

2/3 C nutritional yeast flakes

3 Tbs yellow or red miso (I used yellow)

3 Tbs tahini

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 C port wine

Salt, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Add everything into the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Makes about 2-1/2 cups. Enjoy!

Chickpea Havarti Spread

This spread can easily be called a dip as well. It almost has a chowder-like taste to it. From the Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook, this recipe is simple and delicious! This would also make a great condiment for sandwiches or wraps, too.

INGREDIENTS:

1 C water

2 C drained cooked or canned chickpeas (one 15 or 16 oz can)

1/2 C raw cashews

1/3 C nutritional yeast flakes

2 tsp onion powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp ground dill seed

1/2 tsp whole celery seed

1/4 C lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Transfer to a medium sauce pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often until very thick, about 15-20 minutes.

Remove from heat and cool a few minutes. Pour into an air tight container and chill for several hours to overnight.

Enjoy on crackers, as a vegetable dip, or as a sandwich condiment. Makes 2 cups.

Tomato and Cheez Souffle

We’ve all heard about disasters involving souffles, but this is one souffle that’s pretty difficult to screw up. This comes from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook and it really can’t get any easier than this. The recipe calls for a 2-quart baking or souffle dish. A square 8″ baking dish is 2 quarts, but I soon realized that the sides need to be higher. I ended up using less bread and tomatoes, but the same amount of sauce. Next time I’ll use a bigger baking dish,  but it still came out amazing. The taste and texture is a lot like lasagna and I think adding some spinach and mushrooms would be ideal!

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/2 C water

1/2 C roasted red peppers (skins and seeds removed) or pimento pieces (I used a mixture of both)

1/2 C raw cashews

3 Tbs nutritional yeast flakes

3 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs nonalcoholic white wine (I used white cooking wine)

1-1/2 tsp onion powder

1-1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp dry mustard

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Black pepper, to taste

6-9 slices whole-wheat or rice bread (easily make it gluten-free)!

3 ripe tomatoes, sliced

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375. In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the bread and tomatoes. Lightly oil a 2-quart souffle dish. Layer 2-3 slices of bread on the bottom, followed by sliced tomatoes. Pour 1/3 of the sauce on top and repeat layers two more times.

Bake until lightly puffed and golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. It’s that easy!

Product Review: Solterra Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pizza

First I saw “Vegan Cheese Pizza”, then I saw it’s made with daiya cheese and I knew, this pizza had to be mine. Well, mine and the kid’s. We are always on the lookout for vegan pizzas, but I think we’ve had pretty good luck so far with the Tofurky one. From Solterra, this gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free 8″ pizza will run you $4.99 at Whole Foods (and probably at least a buck cheaper in other places) and offers a unique way of cooking it. You leave the pizza in the packaging, just peel back the front/top paper to reveal a plastic window over the pizza.

At 450 degrees, place the pizza directly on the oven rack and bake for only about 5-7 minutes. After about 6 minutes, it didn’t look done, but I think it was–just was hard to tell through the plastic.

I ended up burning the edges quite a bit, so I just cut those off–the rest of perfect. In fact, it was pretty darn good! We liked the thin crust and of course, the daiya cheese.

I would certainly buy this pizza again and next time, I won’t over cook it! Solterra’s products are all gluten-free, soy-free, and nut-free, with several products that are dairy-free as well. Click HERE for nutritional information.

Product Review: Lillabee Classic Yellow Cake Mix

Vegan MoFo, Day 8

I picked up this dairy-free, gluten-free cake mix in Boulder a while back. In fact, Lillabee is a Boulder-based company. In addition to having no dairy or gluten, this cake mix is soy-free and all natural, meaning non-GMO. When I picked up a bag, I didn’t realize that the recipe requires 2 eggs, but thankfully, Ener-G Egg Replacer came to the rescue!

Lillabee’s aim is to provide delicious baked goods you make at home that are allergy-friendly. Other products include: Fudgy Brownies, Anytime Muffins, and Perfect Pancakes/Waffles.

So included in the bag is a sugar mixture (about a cup’s worth), the baking mix and directions:

Required ingredients: 2 eggs (3 tsp egg replacer + 4 Tbs water), 6 Tbs Earth Balance margarine, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 3/4 C non dairy milk, 2 tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and an 8″ cake pan or muffin pan. It was a breeze to throw together–about 5 minutes using the mixer, then 45 minutes in the oven.

It smelled quite delish as it baked! I let it cool for about an hour and then sliced it up. It was wonderful! Very sponge-y and sugary and quite delightful. You can also add things to the batter before baking it, like blueberries, or other fruit.

So where can you find this decadent vegan dessert? If you live in Boulder (or close by) you can purchase it at Dish Gourmet and Caffe Victoria. But you can also order directly from Lillabee.  I was very impressed and next time we’re in Boulder, I will definitely pick some more up.

Product Review: Amy’s Non-Dairy Pizza with Rice Crust

I cruised the frozen section of my favorite health food store for something new to try that promised to be vegan deliciousness. I came across Amy’s Gluten-Free and Non-Dairy Cheeze Pizza with Rice Crust. Sounded promising, especially since Amy scored with the non-dairy mac and cheeze. I decided to overlook the $6.99 price tag and give it a try.

I preheated the oven to 425, as instructed and inspected the 7″ pizza. It looked enticing with more cheese than I was expecting—most frozen pizzas can be sparse on the toppings, as was the case with Amy’s No Cheese Pizza.

The instructions suggest baking the pizza for 8-10 minutes, then “carefully remove pizza directly under the broiler. Broil for 45-60 seconds, just enough to melt cheese.” Well, this isn’t easy to do. I don’t recommend holding it up to the broiler–too hot. So I left the pizza on the rack, closed the oven door and let the broiler work its toasting/melting magic. The results were less than stellar. It’s pretty hard to melt the cheese without burning the crust in the process.

(Yes, the above pic is the baked pizza–I know, kind of hard to tell . . . see burnt edge of crust).

Anyway, I never let a little charred bread get the best of me, so I sliced it up and dug in. Drumroll, please. . .

It didn’t  move me. I did not do my happy vegan food dance that I am known to do when yummy vegan food leaves me speechless. This left me wanting some flavor. I was tempted to sprinkle on some Daiya cheese and throw it back in the oven, but after spending $7, I wasn’t going to add more to it by using up some of my coveted vegan shreds. (The back of the box even says, “And of course you can add your own favorite toppings!”) Not for that price. The crust was ok–a little too soggy in the middle. There just wasn’t any flavor—nothing. Pretty disappointing, especially for the cost. Oh well. So far it seems Amy can’t quite master the vegan pizza—but I will say, that’s not an easy task. However, I wonder since they use Daiya in the mac and cheeze, why can’t they use it for the pizza?

Click HERE for a list of the ingredients.

Product Review: Amy’s Rice Macaroni with Dairy Free Cheeze

When I saw that this product made it as a readers’ fave in the latest issue of Vegetarian Times, I did a tentative happy-vegan-food dance. It sounded promising, especially since it’s made with Daiya cheese. Plus, it’s gluten-free. So I picked one up for $3.69. It was practically burning a hole through my reusable grocery bag on the way home. I couldn’t get it in the microwave fast enough. Then the moment of truth . . .

I did a full-fledged, unadulterated, happy-vegan-food dance like no other. Never in my life would I have thought there’d be a delicious vegan mac and cheese that rivals that of the real deal. Unbelievable. Even The Husband was hovering, hoping that I would share more than just the one tiny bite I had given him. No way.

Oh, man. Good stuff. It took me a few minutes to recover and wipe the cheeze from my face–I was not above licking the cardboard dish clean, nor am I embarrassed to admit that. It was creamy and tasted just like the real thing. You can cook it in the oven for 25-30 minutes (I had no patience for that) or in the microwave for about 4 minutes.

Alas, like everything delicious, it comes with a price. One 8-ounce container brings with it 520 calories (I better go for another run today), but it’s actually comparable to regular mac n’ cheese. Total fat: 22g, 5g of saturated fat and no trans fat Sodium: 740mg, Carbs: 72g, Protein: 8g, but hey, NO cholesterol! :) Overall, with no dairy, no soy and no gluten, it’s an indulgence I can handle every once in a while. (Glad I bought two)!

Red Velvet Cake

Ok, this cake could have been one of the most amazing vegan desserts ever. . . if I hadn’t of screwed it up. Really, it was all my fault. Apparently, I didn’t know the difference between 2-1/2 cups and say. . . 4 cups. Of the dry ingredients. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. Got heavy-handed with the dry baking mix and the cake ended up a bit dense (much like the baker). I thought the flavor was really good and the “buttercream” frosting was delicious! Plus, it’s gluten-free!

So I’ve only posted the winners before, but c’mon—the pictures! I had to post it after all the work and it is my birthday for at least another 45 minutes, after all, so I can do what I want! :) Really, if it hadn’t been for my mistake, I truly think this recipe is a winner. Try it and let me know what you think! If not, enjoy the pictures! (A special thank you to the kind folks who I “tested” this on. . . you’re all good sports)!

INGREDIENTS:

Cake:

1 C gluten-free vanilla rice milk

1 tsp cider vinegar

2-1/2 C Betsy’s Baking Mix (below. . . and this is where I screwed up because the mix makes more than 2-1/2 cups)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp xanthan gum

1-1/2 C granulated sugar

1/2 C organic palm oik shortening

2 Tbs unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ounce red food coloring

1/4 C +3 Tbs unsweetened applesauce

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 Tbs distilled white vinegar

1 tsp baking soda

Betsy’s Gluten-Free Baking Mix:

3-3/4 C garbanzo flour

2-1/4 C potato starch

1-1/2 C tapioca starch/flour

(Combine all ingredients with a wire whisk. Seal in an airtight container and shake vigorously for 1 minute)

Frosting:

1-1/2 C Earth Balance margarine

4-1/2 C confectioners’ sugar

Vanilla soy/rice/almond milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350. Grease two 9″ round cake pans. In a small bowl, make “buttermilk” by combining rice milk and cider vinegar. In a large mixing bowl, combine the baking mix (just the 2-1/2 cups) with the salt and xanthan gum. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the sugar and shortening. Meanwhile, in a separate small bowl, mix the cocoa powder and food coloring to form a paste; set side.

Add the applesauce and vanilla to creamed shortening and sugar blend until the mixture is light and creamy. Add the cocoa powder paste and mix well. Alternately add the dry ingredients and the “buttermilk” mixture to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour the white vinegar into a small cup and sprinkle the baking soda over it. Immediately pour the fizzing combo into the cake batter and thoroughly combine the two mixtures.

(That’s some thick batter)!

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake the cakes for 30-35 minutes. Let cakes cool completely in their pans on a cooling rack. Turn cakes out of their pans.

To make frosting: With a mixer, cream the butter until fluffy. Alternately, add the confectioners’ sugar and enough soy milk to reach desired consistency. Add the vanilla extract and mix well.

Frost the top of each cake layer. Transfer 1 layer to a serving plate and set the other layer on top. Frost the sides of the cake. Store the frosted cake, covered and refrigerate, for up to 3 days.

I think a scoop of soy ice cream on top would have been perfect — and possibly would have even saved me, but of course, I didn’t have any!

Recipe source (cake only): Living Without