REAL Veg, REAL simple !

I dedicate this blog to all those who ask us all the time "What does a vegan/vegetarian eat?" ....
This is it, the food on my plate !

It's not weird, it's not impossible and YES, it is TASTY! .... can't you tell?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Simply Granola

What is there not to like about granola? It's healthy, wholesome, nutty and perfect year round! Let's not forget, about the easiest thing in the world to make. Around here, this goes fast so I make a big batch, but this recipe can be easily halved.

2 lbs. old fashioned rolled oats (Bob's Red Mill is nice)
2 cups sliced almonds
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups walnut pieces
2 cups shredded coconut
1 tsp. allspice
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
1/2 stick nondairy "butter" like Earth Balance
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 molasses

1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In large mixing bowl  combine oats, all nuts, coconut, allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar and salt.
3. In small pot melt butter and add oil and molasses. Take off the heat and let cool for 2 min. Add extracts.
4. Add liquid mixture to oats mixture and incorporate all ingredients thoroughly.
5. In three or four batches. Each time spreading out onto foil or parchment paper lined cookie sheet or large shallow glass baking dish.
6. Set timer and stir around after 8-10min. Bake for another 8 min and check that it is golden brown and take out. Granola is one of those things that will go from perfect to burnt from one minute to the next. So keep and eye on it. I usually spoil the first batch. Oh, well!
7. Store in air tight container.


Can we have stromboli for dinner mama?

Goofus says, "Can we have stromboli for dinner mama?" and it makes me smile and chuckle that my 6 year old one night request stromboli and the next tamales.

1 batch of 5 minute pizza dough
1/4 cup marinara sauce ( I love this one.)
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 package of Match Italian Sausage
1/2 yellow onion chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups Dayia vegan mozzarella cheese shreds
salt and pepper for seasoning

Preheat oven to 375F.
Sautee onion until translucent. Add garlic and italian sausage until browned. Add spinach and stir to heat.
Roll out dough  into a rounded rectangle and spread marinara sauce.

Sprinkle sausage and spinach mixture evenly.

Springle cheese and start to roll tightly. Brush with olive oil and top with a pinch of salt and a pinch of dried rosemary.
Bake for 35 minutes or untiled browned. Let sit for 10 min before slicing and serving.  


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Easy-est pie Pizza

Andria, you are an endless source of inspiration ... have I said that lately? HAHAHA ... I miss you! Ok, enough gooshiness. Since you are so busy, but love pizza I've found a way to get good pizza with a 5 min. investment. It just PAINS me to the deepest of my soul that you go out and BUY pizza dough! PLEASE try this, you will love it. And eventhough this will make you a thinner pizza than the pizza you are used to from me, it still "soft" enough for Mr. Dave.

5 minute Pizza Dough

2 teaspoons of yeast
1 & 1/4 cup warm water (if you don't want to use beer or wine, then 1.5 cups water)
1/4 cup white wine or lager beer (just to add more flavor to the dough)
4 cups of bread flour (preferably, but fine, you can use all purpose)
2 teaspoons of kosher salt
2 tablespoons of olive oil

Mix yeast into water and let it bloom for about 5 min. While the yeast blooms mix the flour, salt and drizzle olive oil over the flour, who cares it's all going to get mixed together anyway. Ok, now that the yeast has bloomed, add the beer, mix it and add to flour mixture. Mix it all with your hands in the bowl, once it has mostly come together you can take it out and finish kneading on the counter. Knead for 2 minutes. If it feels too sticky add more flour by the tablespoonful until it's nice and smooth but still tacky like the sticky part of a post-it. Divide into four for personal size pizzas or into two for one kiddie pizza and one adult pizza. Leave dough to rise in the same bowl you used to incorporate ingredients, just cover to make air tight with plastic wrap. Let rise for AT LEAST 3 hours, if overnight it will be even better. The dough will be super easy to roll out, you can do it will your hands, but make sure that the counter is well floured so it doesn't stick. To bake, preheat oven to 350F and done, top as you wish!

See ... no bread machine ... no multiple kneading and rising times. 5 minutes for incorporating ingredients, 2 min to knead and 30 min. to rise and you're ready to assemble! Now ... please stop buying pizza dough! Your Sicilian ancestors are turning in their graves woman!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tamales anyone?

These are an adaptation from Terry Hope Romero's recipe from her book, "Viva Vegan!".  I stuffed them with soyrizo beans mixture and sides of fresh salad dressed with olive oil, salt and lime juice and sausage chorizo style from SmartLife. The drink, that's up to you! I think most people might think a margarita would be nice, here goes the Mexican culture mini lesson, but they are not really a traditional Mexican drink. Beer is more ... traditional.

This can seem like a daunting process the first time, but once you've done it once you will see there are a few steps but none of them difficult. I multitask. When I want tamales for dinner, I will soak husks during lunch. While kids have their quiet time mid-afternoon I'll set up in the kitchen and listen to an audio book on the ipod or set up in front of the TV and watch the previous night's novela. This of course would be even more fun and more authentic if you get a couple of girlfriends to come over, all be part of the process and you get to chat while you assemble and then share the finished product. That reminds me of making tamales at my grandmother's home in Mexico, different generations of women coming together around the table and making dozens of tamales while we chitchatted (ok, gossiped!).

Ok, go on, get started ... it will be worth sooo worth it!

Soyrizo Bean Tamales                                   
                                                                                      yields +/- 2 dozen
Ingredients for basic dough:
1 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening (Crisco)
1/2 cup Earth Balance "butter" or other non vegan butter
4 1/2 cups Maseca (Mexican corn masa flour)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 qt. vegetable stock
1 package of dry husks

1 1/2 cups cooked pinto beans
3-4 tablespoons soyrizo
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1. Soak about 1/3 of the husks in the package in warm water for at least an hour before you start making dough. You can fill the sink or use a large mixing bowl. Use a heavy lid to hold husks down so they are completely submerged in the water.
2. Use a mixer to cream shortening and Earth Balance until fluffy and light. Sift in the masa harina 1/2 cup at a time. Add baking powder and salt. At this point I like to put the mixer aside and continue the mixing using my hands. Warm the stock in the microwave for 1 min. then pour over the dough. By mixing the dough with your hands you will be able to get a good feel for what the dough is supposed to feel like when it's ready. It should feel like butter cream frosting, maybe a smidgen stiffer, but not much at all or the tamales will be too dry. The final and ultimate test is once you have finished incorporating all the broth, drop 1/2 teaspoon of dough into ice cold water. If it floats, you are good to go.
3. The husks should be nice and pliable by now. Take them out of the water and squeeze as much water out of them as possible. Spread out on a kitchen towel while you start to prepare the bean mixture.
4. Heat olive oil in a large pan add soyrizo and let brown for a couple of minutes. Add cooked beans with a little of their broth so they don't dry out. Once beans seem to be warmed through, turn off the heat and mash them. Set aside.
4. At this point, you can set up your "assembly line" with all the ingredients. Ideally on your kitchen table, assembly will take a while and it will be more comfortable to have more room and be able to sit while you assemble. Yeah, go ahead, go get that Negra Modelo for the complete experience! Set the dry husks, the dough, and the beans all in front of you.
5. You will notice that the husks aren't all the same size. The ideal husk should be about 4 1/2 to 5in across at the bottom. If a husk is smaller than this, set it aside, it won't go to waste it will have a different job in the process. If the husk is 6in or larger you can trim it down by pulling off the sides with your fingers. Grab a husk and with a table spoon spread about 2 tablespoons worth of masa on the husk. The PRO way is the hold the husk in your hand as your spread the dough on it, but if it seem easier place the husk on the table. Either way, it should be pointy side away from you, flat side towards you. Spread dough around leaving about 1/2 inch margin from the bottom. Set it aside. You can pile the husks with dough on top of each other about 6 high until you have used up all the dough.
6. Now it's time for the filling. Grab one of those husks with dough and add one tablespoon of bean mixture in the center of the dough. Fold one side in over the dough, the other side in over the already folded over husk and the the pointy part down over the folded in sides. Check this out:
7. In a LARGE pot with a steamer basket add about 2 inches of water and two coins. If the water starts to run out, the coins will start to "dance", and you will have an alarm letting you know you need to add more water. Set the heat to medium high to start the water boiling, take the steamer section out and put the lid on so the steam doesn't escape.
8. All the too small or rejected pieces of husks from before can now be used to line the bottom of the steamer basket. Only use as many as necessary to line it. Arrange all the assembled tamales in the steamer with the opening of the tamal facing up. If your steamer basket is too big, or if you decide not to cook all the tamales at once (you can place raw assembled tamales in zip loc bags and freeze to cook later), you can wad up a large piece of foil and place in the center of the steamer basket and arrange tamales like a tepee propped up around the foil. Once the water is boiling and the tamales are in the basket, place steamer in pot. If you had more husks left cover tamales with them to trap steam. If not, or in addition to, place a folded kitchen towel, tucked in all around the tamales to trap as much steam as possible and then cover with pot's lid.
9. Steam for about 45-55 min. on medium low heat. Take out one tamal at about 45-50 min. mark with tongs and unwrap it. If the husk peel CLEANLY away from the dough, they are done. But just to make double sure, don't turn off the heat just yet. Let the tamal sit for a minute to cool and take a taste to make sure it's cooked through. If it is... YOU'RE DONE!!!!!


Peaches, peaches and more peaches

Last year was the first year we picked peaches and we only brought home about 5 lbs. I sliced and froze them and had D E L I C I O U S smoothies for months. Peach is probably my favorite fruit and when I ran out of frozen peaches mid winter I wished I had picked more when they were in season. This year I will not live with that regret. I loaded up my trusty companions and we headed to Eckert's Farm again. They helped me pick and carry the box and we came home with about 10lbs this time. I hope I can fit them all in the freezer. Probably slim chance, I keep that freezer like I'm preparing for a hurricane, it must be one of those things that stays with me from living in prime hurricane territory most of my life, HA!

Zofia was quite excited about the peach picking adventure!

 Zuben, like always, being silly pretending to hide from the camera

Did you really think that my peach eating was going to start and end with smoothies?! NOT! I made a whole wheat  peach galette with a layer of almond paste between the crust layer and the peaches. I topped it with homemade vegan ice cream. Recipe below.

Vegan Coconut Milk Pineapple Ice Cream

1 container Tofutti Cream Cheese (8oz.)
1 small can coconut milk (14oz.)
1/2 cup soy milk
2 TB tapioca flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 small can of pineapple juice (6oz.)

Blend all ingredients and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs. Pour into ice cream machine and let churn for 30 min.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Blackberry season ...

Blackberry season is here and since I missed it last year I wanted to make sure I didn't again this year. It was hotter than heck but it is always so much fun to harvest fruit. Next weekend ... PEACHES! Zuben can get into these crazy complaining funks and the elements gave him enough reason to do so the entire time. That is up until about 3 min. before were going to leave and he got into finding the good berries ... I swear!

Just like with the strawberries, if they had weighed Zofia before and after we would have had to pay twice as much for the berries.

Finally we get to the REAL fun stuff .... what to do with the berries.

Berries three ways .... first, I made jam.
4 cups of berries
1/4 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
2 in. peeled cube of ginger
*Put it all in a heavy pot and reduce for about an hour.

Brownie topped with nondairy whipped topping and blackberry jam ... need I say more?

Very Berry Ice Cream with Stracciatella

1 cup of each, strawberries, blueberries and blackberries
1 container of Toffuti cream cheese
1 canof coconut creme
1/2 cup sugar
3 TB. tapioca flour
1/2 cup melted chocolate chips

* Place all ingredients in a blender, cool a couple of hours in fridge then pour into ice cream maker. Five minutes before the end of the cycle pour the melted chocolate through the top opening. Enjoy!

Homemade Blackberry and Cream Cheese Poptarts

Flaky pie dough (your favorite recipe)
Blackberry jam
Tofutti cream cheese

*Preheat oven to 350F. Roll out dough and cut into 5"X5" squares. Place 2 teaspoons each of cream cheese and jam in the center. Fold over and pinch all along the edge with a fork. Bake for 20 min. or until golden but not too brown. When cooled drizzle with confectioner sugar icing.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Regresando y engordando

Despues de haber estado en Tucson por tres semanas sin acceso a cocina regrese con ganas de desquitar por tiempo perdido. Me aisle en la cocina y manos a la obra toda una tarde. No solo para quitarme de encima las ganas de picar, saltear, sazonar y hornear pero tambien para por medio de mi comida agradecer a mis suegros que se quedaron aqui cuidando a mis chiquitos.
Aqui pues esta el resultado ... todo vegetariano claro!
Y antes de que se me olvide, como todavia mi cerebro no sabe si debo hablar español o ingles pues escribire esta entrada en ambos ... =-)

Cannelloni stuffed with vegan cheese, tofu and spinach
Ahorita tengo flojera asi que dejare la receta para otro dia. =-)

Homemade Bread - No Knead  ... can't even start to explain how addictive this bread is. Find recipe here: Except for one thing, the recipe calls for the dough to rest for at least 12 hours, but I've tried it by letting the dough rise only 6 hours and you can see the results below. Nice! (At risk of sounding like a broken record, the $20 investment in a food scale for a recipe like this is totally worth it.)

Vegan Pumpkin Cheesecake
I've been on a pumpkin kick since Thanksgiving. The way I see it, this qualifies as one of my daily vegetables, maybe even two! Right?! Recipe below picture

                                                *inspired by recipe in The Joy of Vegan Baking
1 store bought frozen pie shell, deep dish
1/2 container Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 pkg  (6oz.) vacuum sealed silken FIRM tofu, Mori-Nu brand
1 can (400 gms.+/-)  organic pumpkin puree
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon FRESH ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 350F.
In a blender place cream cheese, tofu, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, maple syrup, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, and cloves. So yeah ... all ingredients except for the pie shell. Mix until you have a smooth consistency. Pour into frozen pie shell and bake for 1 hour or until center looks firm. Cool for AT LEAST two hours before serving. Top with non-dairy whipped topping.


Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cake BakeOff: Vegan baked goods VS All the other sinful stuff

Outdoor Recreation on base held their annual Spring Festival today ands part of their festival they had a Cake Bake Off. Because of my perfectionist nature (doesn't that sound better than saying, weird Type A personality?), I spent days thinking about what kind of cake to make, and how to decorate, etc etc etc. They had several categories: themed, layered, cupcakes, no frosting and specialty (gluten-free, etc.). I was so excited to go head to head against the "regular" baked stuff that has the advantage (?) of getting a lot of its flavor from the fat in it's ingredients. I couldn't decide on which category to enter, that is, until I was told I was NOT limited to one entry or one cake! Woohoo! I made two cakes and at the last minute also entered a cupcake.

This first cake I decided to decorate only with colored white chocolate butterflies. I wanted to keep it simple. But it didn't lack personality, don't let the outside fool you! Cake was vanilla, frosting was cream cheese frosting with lemon zest. It is DELICIOUS!

 View from the top


                                       TA DA!!!! Rainbow on the inside!!!!

Almond Joy inspired cake. Vegan chocolate cake, cream cheese frosting, shredded coconut and toasted almonds. Seriously. This is the least flashy of the three, but honestly it was my favorite. I wish I had a magic wand to eliminate calories and I could just eat the whole thing in one sitting. Hhhmmm....

Just look at this deliciousness!

 Chocolate Tiramisu Cupcakes
These babies where spiked with a little Amaretto, y-u-m! They were the "after-thought" entry. I had clocked in 6+ hours the night before the bake-off making the other two cakes. All from scratch, the cakes... layer by painful layer .. hahaha, I crack myself up! The frosting, the decorative accents, etc. I had a little chocolate batter left so I made 1/2 dozen cupcakes, just to use it up. The next morning, up at the crack of dawn with the kids I figured I had time to put those cupcakes to use. After about 30 seconds of thinking about it, I decided turn them into Tiramisu cupcakes and entered the cupcake category as well. They took all of 5 min.

And the winner is ..............

Cash prize baby! Ok, it was only $25 bucks, but hey .... bragging rights, no?! And the kids were excited about the ribbon I got. Zuben said, "I'm so proud of you mama, I knew you could do it!" So sweet!
I know, crazy ... after all the work and thought I put into the other two cakes, the one that won was the one with the least effort. Is there a lesson here?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Creamy Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pesto

Dinner tonight was whole wheat spaghetti with creamy roasted red bell pepper with sauteed  shitake mushrooms and baby broccoli. At first I was hesitant about the shitake mushrooms because I think they belong almost exclusively with Asian type dishes, but I wanted something "meaty" to stand up to the pasta and sauce. It complimentde the flavors well and the baby broccoli didn't shy away either.

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pesto

2 roasted red bell peppers (fresh roasted or from a jar is fine)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pinenuts or a mix
5-6 tablespoons vegan parmesan
1 tsp each of salt and pepper
1/8 cup unsweetened soy milk
3 tablespoons vegan cream cheese (like Tofutti)
1 clove garlic, minced

1. Place all ingredients in food processor and mix for 2 min. or until you get a creamy sauce.


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Chicken salad two ways ...

Ok, I'll be the first to admit, I'm addicted to Top Chef on Bravo. I love that show and that's where I stole that idea of doing a dish, "two ways" =-) This chicken salad takes about 10 min start to finish, but the flavor develops as it sits overnight in the fridge. This is one of those meals I make at the beginning of the week and eat all week long for lunch because it's tastes so great, it's already made and it's healthy. It fulfills all the requirements!

The first is a simple chicken salad wrap ... ok, I should say that I never take the time to say SOY chicken or SOY milk or whatever the case, because anyone that knows us knows that we don't eat the "real" thing. I take it to be understood that if I say chicken I really mean some type of faux chicken.

Back from the tangent ... this SOY chicken wrap hits the spot for what is a usually hurried lunch.

(Faux) Chicken salad wrap
1 pkg Quorn chicken cutlets, thawed and diced small
1/2 green apple, diced small
1 stalk celery diced small
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans chopped finely
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1/8 cup nondairy sour cream (like Tofutti)
salt and pepper

1. I like to use the chicken the same day I buy it at the store and not give it time to get freezer burn. I let it sit on the counter and once it is completely thawed I start to put the salad together.
2. In a large bowl combine all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper. You can eat immediately, but it will taste better the next day.

This dish reminds me of being a little girl in Mexico and watching my aunts (my mom has 4 sisters) in the kitchen cooking food that looked like this to celebrate some family baby shower or bridal shower. I thought they were such the lady-like food, teeny and delicate. They are so perfect for a girly get together. The cups that hold the chicken salad are made of toasted bread. Food that Fia labels as, "so cute, mama!"

Chicken salad in toast cups
Chicken salad as prepared above
Slices of toast with crust cut off
Salad greens and dressing of choice (Woodstock dressing from Trader Joe's here)
Pine nuts
Carrot ribbons

1. Butter one side of the de-crusted bread slice and carefully shape into a muffin tin. Toast.
2. Assemble salad. Carrot ribbons are simply made by peeling from the half point down of a medium sized carrot. Garnish with pine nuts and dress. A delicate salad in keeping with the feeling of the rest of the dish.


This and that ...

I'm not sure that I know what to call this. It ended up being this and that because he wanted hummus and I wanted to make sure I cooked the kale that had been in the crisper drawer before it went bad. I had never cooked kale before, but I knew I wanted to make a warm side, so I looked up recipes. I saw and like this one by Emeril and of course tweaked it just a bit by subbing some ingredients and adding soy Spanish chorizo style sausage. And used it as a side to warm whole wheat pitas with hummus (recipe below), baby greens, cucumber, tomato and sprouts. It was satisfying and will definately be cooking it again. Emeril's recipe had this without the potato and used pasta instead, sounds good! The finishing touch, and this is very important to tie all the flavors togethe,r is a  few drops of lemon juice over the kale with chorizo sausage.

Kale with chorizo sausage
1 lb of kale, cleaned and hand torn to medium pieces
3 sausages from Lightlife Smart Sausages Chorizo Style, sliced to rounds about 1/4 in. thickness
3 red potatoes, diced small and par-cooked in microwave (1-2 min)
1 yellow onion, sliced to 1/4 in slices
2 garlic cloves, minced
olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil on low heat and add onion. Cover and let caramelize for about 15-20 min. Turn heat to medium and add garlic and sausage and let brown for 3 min. Add potatoes and continue browning for another 3-5 min. Add kale, salt and pepper to taste. Toss in the pan and cover until kale is wilted.

1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
12 oz. chickpeas (can use canned, but if you cook them yourself flavor is SO much better)
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons) more or less to personal taste
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic, minced finely (optional)

1. In food processor, place tahini, chickpeas, 1/2 of the lemon juice and 1/2 of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, start with about 1 teaspoon of each. Blend until a smooth, soft paste starts to form. It may still be too chunky but open up and taste so you can decide to your taste if it needs more lemon juice or not. Add more lemon juice if desired and more olive oil to continue mixing and getting a smoother taste. Same with salt and pepper, taste and determine if you want more or not. Add judiciously, you can always add more but can't take any out. =-)


Chili and Cornbread

Just when we thought we were in the clear .... We had a week of beautiful high 60's and low 70's weather, then we got MORE snow!

So what was I to do? Obviously, go to the kitchen to express my sorrow and comfort my soul! =-) HA!

The chili has quite the protein punch with the combination of both tempeh and chickpeas. Although it is not heavy, all you need is one cup to make a meal. The cornbread is not only the required and quintessential accompaniment, but it is also not dense at all. It has good texture from the medium grind cornmeal but is nice and "fluffy" light!

Here goes ...

Vegan Chili
1 yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 red bell pepper, diced finely
1 pkg of soy crumbles OR 1/2 pkg of soyrizo (soyrizo adds more flavor)
1 pkg of tempeh diced into 1/4 in. cubes
32 oz. can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup vegetable broth
12 oz. cooked chickpeas*
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
2 bay leaves
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. In large heavy bottomed pot (with heavy tight fitting lid), sautee the onion until slightly translucent.Add soyrizo or soy crumbles and brown. Add bell pepper, tempeh cubes and garlic with a sprinkle of salt and pepper and continue sauteing until tempeh is slightly browned.
2. Add tomatoes, broth, cumin, bay leaves and chickpeas. Cook on low heat for at least 45 min. stir every few minutes to keep from sticking to the bottom.

* Canned chickpeas are fine, but if you can cook them yourself the flavor is much better and you cut the price to 1/4 that of canned. They might take a while, so you have to plan for it and cook the chickpeas the day before. Cook 1 cup of dry chickpeas and you will use half for this recipe and you can freeze the other half for later use, like for some home made hummus!

Cornbread (not vegan)

2 cups cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 cups soy milk unsweetened + 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil

1. Preheat oven to 450F. And "grease" with butter a 9 in cake pan.
2. Combine soy milk with cider vinegar and set aside.
3. Mix cornmeal, all purpose flour, almond meal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
4. In small bowl whisk eggs with oil until foamy and then add the soy milk mixture.
5. Combine wet and dry ingredients in batches.
6. Pour into pan and bake in center of the oven for 16-18 min. Let cool before slicing.

Enjoy, you will have enough to share with your neighbors or halve recipe.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Nostalgic for Mexico ...

I miss Mexico all the time, but some days a lot more than others. Days like those I soothe with food that reminds me of Mexico. These tostadas are vegetarian which is not typical Mexican food, but I think they are equally as tasty. These tostadas were actually inspired by some I used to eat quite frequently in a Mexican Vegetarian restaurant in San Diego, CA called Ranchos Cocina. They are topped with tempeh, soyrizo and black bean mixture (recipe below). Y-U-M-M-Y! and ... VIVA MEXICO!

After my tostada y had a steamed beet and fresh coconut salad.Grandma Willa mailed the kids a coconut, I'm not sure why ... I didn't ask. Must have been an grandma and grandkids inside joke or something. Papa cracked it open and I drank the water and ate the coconut meat ... turned out to be more than the gringos could handle. LOL. For this salad I steamed some beets and cut the coconut meat into similar sized pieces.  Dressed simply with lime juice, salt and chili powder. So tasty and so healthy ....

Tempeh Soyrizo and Black Bean Tostadas

1 pkg. of vaccum sealed tempeh (you can find it in natural food stores)
2 cups of cooked black beans
1 pkg soyrizo (Trader Joe's and Whole Foods carry it)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 TB olive oil
Tostada shells ( in Mexican food aisle of most supermarkets)
Tofutti sour cream (in dairy aisle or with soy products in your supermarket)
1 roma tomato, diced for garnish

1. Heat olive oil and brown tempeh cubes. Once browned add green pepper, onion and garlic sautee until onion is translucent. Mix in soyrizo and let cook for 2 -3 min., then add black beans. Cook on medium low until heated through.
2. Spread about one tablespoon of sour cream on tostada. Spoon about 1/4 cup of tempeh mixture on top of sour cream and top with diced tomato. Sprinkle some salt and enjoy!


Vegan Zucchini Blueberry Muffins

Nothing better than to wake up in the morning and grab a cup of earl grey tea and one of these muffins, trust me!

2/3 cup soy milk
2TB flax meal
2 cups grated zucchini (about one large zucchini)
1/4 cup (4oz) apple sauce
1 cup frozen blueberries (I like Trader Joe's organic wild blueberries because they are tiny)
zest of one lemon
3/4 cup canola oil
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1 cup sugar (or for less sweetness and lower glycemic version try 3/4 cup agave nectar)
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cup almond meal (Trader Joe's)
1 tsp. baking SODA
1/4 tsp. baking POWDER
1 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350F. In large bowl combine soy milk and flax meal.
2. In medium bowl SIFT all three flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. To flax meal mixture add grated zucchini, apple sauce, zest, canola oil, extracts and sugar or agave. If the mixture seems too dry add more soy milk one or two tablespoon at a time until it reaches the correct consistency. Tip: When measuring agave, maple or honey first measure the oil and the the syrup so that syrup will pour out more easily without sticking to the sides.
4. Combine dry and wet ingredients in batches. Fold in blueberries.
5. Will yield about 18 cupcake sized muffins. Bake for 23-25 min. Let cool on muffin tins for about an hour before eating.

Falafel bites

It had been years since the last time I made falafel. I had bad memories from the last time I tried to make them. We were living in Omaha. NE and I'm going to take a wild guess and say that there are probably not many people trying to make falafel at home that deep in the Midwest. Anywho... I think the mix was old or something and they would just fall apart completely as soon as they hit the oil. And I've never been brave enough to try to make them from scratch. I might try. In the mean time, Whole Foods has a mix in their bulk bins that does the trick just fine!

When I was making them last night I had started to get pretty hungry so I made myself this little falafel bite. It was a falafel topped with a bit of Tofutti sour cream, then a slice of tomato, a sprinkle of salt and a few drops of lemon juice. It was so tasty that a few of those and a salad ended up being my dinner and I saved myself the carbs and calories from bread. Actually I didn't have pita so I made them in flour tortillas, like tacos, with salsa. Quite the mix of cultures around here!


Carrot cake ... or muffins

I like sweets but have been trying to limit the all-out-sinful ones in an effort to make sure my jeans still fit. So, I try to make my version of baked goods healthier for me and the kids as well of course! This time I made carrot cake, although usually I try to make whatever baked good in muffin form because it is easier to grab and go in the morning. This particular time it was a weekend so I had more time and I was able to accompany my carrot cake (muffin) with a side of pan fried plantains and some soy sausage. Breakfast of champions!!! HAHAHA

The recipe is exactly the same if you want to make it in a cake pan or muffin tins, the only thing that varies is the bake time. I will give those specifics below.

1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp/ baking soda
2/3 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. all spice
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup soy milk
2 TB. flax meal
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup agave nectar + 1/4 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large bowl combine milk and flax meal.
2. In a medium bowl sift flour and add all other dry ingredients.
3. To milk and flax mixture add and combine all other liquid ingredients. In batches combine wet and dry ingredients
4. Fold in carrots and walnuts. Fill lined muffin tins or greased cake tin. For muffins bake for 20-22min. For cake bake for 1 hr - 1hr 10min.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Zofia, if I allowed it, would live off of eating only fruit and bread with butter. The other day we went to Trader Joe's and she went wild putting in the cart every berry that she came across. When we got home I served her a plate of fruit to snack on ... and myself also some fruit ... hhmm .. you'll see...

So this is how Zofia likes her fruit ...

And THIS is how I like my fruit ... yeah ... this is how I roll!

This cake is the E-cakes recipe that I made in a round cake pan instead of cupcakes and the frosting is: 1-12oz. pkg. vacuum packed firm tofu, 2TB maple syrup, 1/4 cup soy milk, 10 oz. melted chocolate chips. Put all ingredients in the blender, and refrigerate for a couple of hours before spreading on cooled cake.

I wanted a for-no-reason-what-so-ever celebratory looking cake that was healthy for the kids (and myself). But if you want to go all out sinful try it with one of the many recipes out there for vegan chocolate cake or cupcakes. My favorite is from "Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World".
The night we had this for dessert, the kids and I sang "Happy Un-Birthday to Us" and dug in!


Monday, February 7, 2011

A quickie for lunch ...

This is was the quickest of quickies in the history of quickies. I had left over chili that my kind friend and most excellent neighbor Ms. Cielo gifted us. I added extra Quorn crumbles to make even heartier. Heated flour tortillas, baby spinach layer first, then added the chili on top. Lastly, slices of tomato and avocado sprinkled with sea salt. DONE! So easy and so tasty and healthy, what could be better?
Thanks, Ms. Cielo!


The simple things in life

Life has to be about the simple things. That means little stress but maximum enjoyment! These chocolate chip cookies are one of those simple things that elevate life. I love to bake them because I have to use a food scale to measure the ingredients and it makes me feel like a professional baker. Plus, it is a great cookie to make with the kids because they get to help measure the ingredients on the scale (squeeze in a math lesson) and they love to mix and have a little taste before they go into the oven. Another great thing about a vegan cookie, not only is it healthier for you but the kids can taste the dough without worries of salmonella because it's egg-free! You don't believe me? Fine, then believe my friend Andria, she says they taste like coffee house cookies. Look at them... they crackle on top!

Inspired and adapted from "The Joy of Vegan Baking" by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

These cookies are quick and easy. But there are two steps that are IMPERATIVE ... I repeat, IMPERATIVE to the success of this cookie. #1 the use of a food scale. If you don't have one, well.. you don't have one. I strongly encourage you to go out and get one. You can find them for $20 and I promise you not only will you feel like a pro, your baked goods will taste like a pro made it. Score! Hey, you think bakers at Parisian patisseries wing it without a food scale? NOT! #2 It is important that you use the melted butter while it is still hot so it will properly melt the sugar. It will result cookie with more "caramel notes" and crispier edges. I know so cause I learned it from America's Test Kitchens, they rock!

4 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
6 tablespoons (90ml)
1 cup (200 g) nondairy butter, MELTED (Earth Balance)
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (120 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (200 g) dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup (180 g) white whole wheat flour
1 cup + 3 tablespoons (100 g) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (225 g) semi-sweet chocolate chips (I'm telling ya, it's gotta be Ghirardelli)

1. Preheat oven to 375F.
2. In the food processor (unless you have Madonna arms and can really put power into the whisk), mix egg replacer and water. 
3. In large sized bowl mix melted butter with both sugars and vanilla extract. Mix for a few minutes until you see the sugars start to dissolve. Incorporate egg replacer mixture.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, SIFT flours. Add baking soda and salt. In 3 batches add flour and incorporate into sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. Place 2 tablespoon-sized dough balls two inches apart on lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10 min. Let cool on cookie sheet for 2-3 min. then transfer to cooling rack.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Empanadas con carne molida - Empanadas stuffed with meat crumbles

Empandas are tasty puff pastry pockets filled with seasoned soy meat crumbles or picadillo. There are different versions of empanadas in different countries of Latin America, my version given the ingredients (and time) available to me has come down to this!

You will need:
1.  One recipe's worth of seasoned soy crumbles (picadillo), same as could be used for tacos or tostadas.
2. One package of puff pastry to make 12 empanadas and you will have some crumbles left for the next day for tacos. Or two packages of puff pastry and you can freeze some empanadas for another day's quick dinner. Or bake them all and give some to your neighbor!

Directions: Defrost puff pastry in the fridge over night.
Half an hour before you will start preparing, leave on counter.
Unfold pastry sheet carefully so you don't stretch it out.
If it is too sticky, it has thawed too much, just stick it in the freezer a few minutes to firm up.
Once sheet is flat, gently roll out with rolling pin just to flatten a bit.
Only extend it about 1/4".
With a pizza slicer, slice pastry dough along the two creases and then once across the middle to end up with 6 pieces.
Scoop about 1-1 1/2 tablespoons of soy crumbles in the center and fold, pressing around the edges.

It took me about 3 years of making these to figure out I could significantly cut on the prep time if I just leave them square. Duh! But if you want them to look a little prettier and more like a traditional empanada, use the pizza slicer to cut the edges and make it half moon shaped.

Place empanadas on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 375F for about 25 min. or until puffed up and golden. Let rest for about 5 min. before digging in because they will be quite steamy inside.

Garnish with soy sour cream, shredded cabbage and REALLY spicy salsa, EAT!