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?

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!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Simple pasta, simple salad ... quick lunch

This is about as healthy, tasty and simple as you can get for a mid week lunch. Usually during lunch there is no less running around than any other time of the day with the kids. We get home from preschool, they run and play around while I fix their lunch, feed them while I clean up and get them ready for nap. The usual right? But I don't like to miss out on a tasty lunch, so I try to prepare something quick that I can eat while they are napping.

For this I will cook up some whole wheat pasta or use up some left over from the previous night's dinner. Sautee a portobello cap, toss with pasta, some olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped parsley and basil. Done! Side salad of baby spinach with heirloon tomato and dress that with simple, light dressing of your choice. Not much better than that to make me feel I didn't ruin my morning workout!


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mamma mia, la mia lasagna!

I'm not in the mood for writting enticing commentary, just look at the picture and get to it.

Vegan Lasagna
                                                                                                                     Serves 6
For sauce:
1 can crushed tomato
1 can fire roasted diced tomato
1/2 small yellow onion, diced
1 carrot. diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 cup frozen peas or 1 cup fresh broccoli chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil

1 block of soy mozzarella style cheese
1 water packed, extra-firm tofu block
1 package lasagna noodles, (no boiling required type, like Barilla)
1 package of soy crumbles, like Morningstar or Lightlife
OR  1 package of Italian sausage crumbles, like Match

Preheat oven at 400F.
Heat olive oil and sautee onion, celery, carrots and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. When onion starts to have brown spots, add both cans of tomato and frozen peas. Let cook for 20+ minutes. Pour into blender and blend. You want to aim for a semi-smooth consistency, but be careful not to blend so much that you end up with baby food. If you have chosen to make this meat marinara like, then while the sauce is still in the blender, reuse the same pot you made the sauce in and brown the crumbles. Turn off heat. Add the sauce back to the pot and mix into crumbles. You will only end up using about half of the sauce for the lasagna. The rest I store in a mason jar in the fridge for a week or you can pour into baggies or freezer safe container and store in freezer for months. Don't worry you won't store for that long, the sauce is good and it's so convenient to have ready made sauce for the mid-week hurry as pizza sauce or over pasta.

For tofu-cheese mixture layer first drain water out of tofu container. Cut tofu block into four pieces and with your hands over the sink, squeeze out as much water as you can. Once you have squeezed out water place tofu in medium sized mixing bowl. Crumble tofu with fork. Shred entire block of soy mozzarella cheese on top of tofu mixture, then mix tofu and cheese together.

In a glass dish ladle some sauce at bottom so the first layer of lasagna noddles won't stick. Next place first layer of lasagna noddles Next ladle a layer of sauce, spreading it out so the layer of noddle is completely covered. Next spread a layer of tofu-cheese mixture. Next another layer of noddles, then sauce, then tofu-cheese mixture again. So on until you end up with tofu cheese mixture at very top. At this point I like to add some extra cheese on top for nice melting effect.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until you can see all cheese has melted and sauce is bubbly.


Monday, July 26, 2010

E-Cakes version 2.0

Can anyone honestly state that after looking at the pictures above you don't want to run to your kitchen in search of your whisk??? C'mon!!!

Back story:
Andria, fellow mom, unconditional friend and also on the eternal search of ways to feed healthy food to her two kids, helped me develop this recipe. She was initially inspired by a non-chocolate "muffin" recipe in one of her sneaky cooking for kids cookbooks. She then tweaked the recipe and turned it into a chocolate muffin and later into a chocolate cupcake. After several tweaks she had make the healthiest covert chocolate cupcake on earth. Perhaps, according to her kids taste, a little too healthy and not covert enough, HA HA! My kids loved every time she baked them and ate them up readily and full heartedly. But her kids were starting to change the name to "Prehistoric Muffins" (she's gonna kill me for that one!) because they were a little "bumpy". This is when I begged for the recipe because I also wanted to have on hand a recipe that would feed my kids veggies and fruits and they would be non the wiser. I took it and AGAIN tweaked it and AGAIN renamed it. They will now be known as .... E-cakes 2.0! (e-cakes got their name from the kids who thought the loops on top look like cursive "e"s) These cupcakes are light, moist and not too sweet. They are only sweetened with the natural sweetness of the fruits and some maple syrup, but if you want more decadence you can always sub the maple syrup with some white sugar.

Finally, the recipe:

Ingredients:                                                                                   Yields 1 dozen
1/4 cup frozen, thawed, pureed spinach
1/4 cup frozen, thawed, pureed blueberries
1/4 cup steamed and pureed sweet potato OR butternut squash
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup/agave nectar (or 1 cup white sugar)
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tsp. flax meal
1 cup white whole wheat flour (King Arthur Brand is best)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour (King Arthur Brand, again)
1/4 cup almond meal/flour (Trader Joe's brand best, Bob's Red Mill second best)
1/3 cup cocoa powder (Penzey's Natural Cocoa best, Ghirardelli's second best)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350F.
1. In a measuring cup measure milk and add apple cider vinegar and flax meal.
2. Peel, dice and steam sweet potato. Thaw frozen spinach and set aside. I cut with sharp knife what looked like plus or minus to be about right amount, then measured it to make sure, then thawed in small bowl in microwave. Thaw blueberries and set aside. Once sweet potato is ready measure and put in blender together with spinach, blueberries, apple sauce and 2 tablespoons of water and blend until you get baby food type consistency puree.
3. To milk mixture add canola oil and extracts. Pour into large bowl and add pureed veggies/fruit mixture. Mix to incorporate.
4. In separate bowl SIFT, SIFT, SIFT, can't stress enough, SIFT all other ingredients: flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In two batches add dry ingredients to wet.
5. Pour into lined cupcake tin and bake for 18-19 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on rack. Assembling direction after ganache and white icing recipes.

1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghirardelli's Semi-sweet is best)
1/2 cup nondairy milk

1. Put both ingredients in a metal or glass bowl and place over pot of boiling water. Don't allow boiling water to tough bottom of bowl. This is called "Bain Marie". Or if you own a double boiler, you could just use that.

White icing for "E"s:
4 TB confectioner's sugar
1 tsp of nondairy milk

1. Whisk in a small bowl and add more sugar or water as needed to get think but still runny consistency. Pour into snack size baggie and snip of just barely the tip of the baggie to pipe out the "e"s on top.

Assembly directions continued:
1. Once cupcakes are cooled and ganache is ready, dip top of cupcakes into ganache and set aside. Refrigerate for 5-10 minutes and take out of fridge to pipe out "e"s. Store in covered container in dry place. Although I wouldn't worry about that too much, they won't last long enough for you to worry about where or how to store them.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Everything Yummy Ultimate American cookie

Again inspired by Isa Chandra's "Vegan Cookies Invade your Cookie Jar" I came up with this recipe to make a more healthful but yet quite indulgent tasting cookie ... Let's Celebrate!

Ingredients:                                                               Yields 30-40 cookies
2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour ( I suggest King Arthur brand)
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup canola oil (when measuring, do oil first then agave nectar and it will pour out without sticking)
2/3 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1 TB ground flax seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (Ghirardelli semi sweet)
1 cup chopped toasted pecan pieces (Trader Joe's sells them ready to use)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. In one bowl combine oats, flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
3. In a second bowl, beat oil, sugar, agave nectar, milk, flax seeds, and extracts. Fold in half of dry ingredients into wet ingredients, once mostly incorporated add second half of dry ingredients. Fold in coconut, chocolate chips and pecans.
4. Drop tablespoons size amount of dough per cookie about 1 1/2" apart. Press down slightly. I fill one cookie sheet with about 20 cookies and bake those for 15 min. Take out and leave on baking sheet until cool.
5.The other half of the dough, roughly another 15 - 20 cookies I drop on a medium baking sheet lined with parchment or foil, do not press down. Place in the freezer overnight and then store in zip lock in freezer. Those will be available for immediate access in case of emergency like your best friend has bad case of PMS or you need to suck up to your neighbor to babysit your kids. Whatever works!


A week of dinners

Grilled unchicken sandwich with caramelized mushrooms, soy cheese mozzarella style, arugula and pesto spread with side of chips ...

Quorn chicken patty topped with marinara sauce, melted soy mozzarella and caramelized mushrooms, sides of broccoli and whole wheat thin spaghetti dressed with olive oil, Parma raw and chopped fresh parsley ...

Quorn chicken pieces in stir fry with baby corn, broccoli, yellow bell pepper, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, hearts of palm slices and water chestnuts with side of brown rice (not pictured) ...

Veggie burger with classic condiments, side of steamed beets dressed with lime juice and salt and side of brown rice with mushrooms, green beans and pine nuts with drizzle of olive oil and salt ...

Hard shell tacos using soy crumbles prepared for "Picadillo" (see recipe), with Mexican red rice, shredded romaine lettuce, diced tomatoes, chipotle salsa, Tofutti sour cream, sliced black olives and sliced avocados ...

Club sandwich with Tofurky oven roasted slices, lettuce, tomato, spinach, onion, vegenaise and mustard on Ezequiel burger buns with side of pesto pasta with cherry tomatoes ...

Nachos (Americanized) using Trader Joe's Long Board tortilla chips, blended a can of pinto beans and cooked with some soyrizo, topped chips with it as first layer, then layer of seasoned soy crumbles prepared "Picadillo" style (see recipe), diced tomato, diced onion, shredded soy cheese and salsa ... dollop of Tofutti sour cream optional =-)


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vegan Chocolate-Banana-AlmondButter Ice Cream !!!!

Keywords: chocolate and ice cream

For Mother's Day I requested an ice cream machine. My reasoning was that making your own anything, is cheaper than buying from the store, which is true. Also,  that it would be healthier because you know exactly what is going into it, and you can pronounce all your ingredients (hopefully), also true. But hey, who am I kidding, I just love kitchen gadgets of all sorts and this is one more for me to make fun stuff to eat, right?!

I was inspired by several websites and their vegan ice cream recipes, but in the end I concocted my own and if I do say so myself it came out delicious. Perhaps beginners luck, since it was my first swing at it. Whatever! It worked and it is pretty tasty.

I will say it is not as firm as store bought vegan ice cream, but I'll try a couple other suggestions/recipes and keep you updated. Or maybe just letting it sit in the freezer for a while longer after it comes out of the machine instead of devouring it straight out of the container might work.The machine's instructions (mine is the $50 one from Cuisinart), suggests at least 10 hours of freezer time for the container. It took mine about 24 hours. Also, do not overflow the container when you put ice cream base in, I almost did. I think I can safely assume, had I put too much, there would not be enough cold to solidify ice cream base as needed.

Anyhow .... recipe, here goes:

1 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 1/2 vanilla soy milk
1/2 vanilla creamer
4 Tablespoons of flax oil
1/2 banana
1/4 cup dutch process cocoa
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon each, chocolate extract and almond extract (optional)
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
2 Tablespoons tapioca flour/starch
1/2 cup extra-firm Mori-Nu  tofu
1/2 cup chocolate chips

1. Put all ingredients in a blender until well mixed. Chill overnight.
2. Follow ice cream machine's instructions
3. During last five minutes add chocolate chips. Total time for my machine was 35 min.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Underwears for dinner tonight!

Calzones in spanish means underwear, plural. Since it was a new item on our dinner menu, I thought I'd have fun with it and get the kids interested. Thus the title ...
They were more than interested. They had fun helping make them and once they were ready to eat, they devoured them! So easy, so tasty, so fun ...!!!
p.s. Thanks to Ms. Andria for being a constant source of inspiration ... ;-)

Ingredients:                                                                                                               Serves 2 adults and 2 kids
One recipe's worth of pizza dough
Kitchen sink marinara or your favorite marinara sauce
Field Roast Italian Style Sausage or vegan meatballs (recommend Nate's)
3 cups shredded nondairy cheese
1/4 medium vidalia (sweet) onion, sliced
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup sliced zucchini
olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 350 F. Cut pizza dough ball in thirds. Then one of the thirds cut in half. Roll out one dough ball and place on either greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
2. Add meatballs or sausage slices, and veggies. Top with a humongous mound of cheese and close dough pocket, pinching the edge. Repeat with other three dough balls.
3. Spray or brush some olive oil and poke holes with fork to allow steam to vent. Bake until golden brown.
4. Allow to cool for 10 min. or so. For the kids I allow to cool 10 min. then slice in half and cool another 5 min. before they dig in.

Here's a couple more pictures, to demonstrate the success of this recipe ...


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Vegan Zucchini Cake

This is a cake, not a bread. It is VERY VERY moist and very light. If you like the denser, more "traditional" zucchini bread, this is not for you. =-) But I highly reccomend that you try it anyway and you may just find yourself eating more than one slice. You can also toast it and spread a little cream cheese on it to accompany your morning coffee, just a thought.
I also gotta warn that the ingredients list may seem a little lenghty, but the actual work of putting them together is a cinch, so it balances out. At the risk of sounding too foodie-snobish, I will say that doing your "mise en place" is very important. That is, having all your ingredients out and set up so you don't run around the kitchen like a chicken with it's head cut off, trying to get your ingredients out one by one as you mix. Just do it, it will make the process more time efficient and make you feel like a pro. Added bonus, you will be verifying that you in fact have all the ingredients you need before you get stuck half way through with not enough baking powder. (wink, wink!) ;-) Here we go...

2 c. grated zucchini (one large zucchini)
1 medium very ripe banana
1/2 cup (4 oz.) apple sauce
juice of one lemon and it's zest
3/4 cup canola oil
1/4 c. soy milk
2 tsp. vanilla
2 TB. flax meal

1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cups almond meal (if at all possible, Trader Joe's brand)
1 tsp. baking SODA
1/4 tsp. baking POWDER
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup brown)

1. Preheat oven to 350. In your liquid cup measure or small bowl combine flax meal and soy milk. Mix and let stand.
2. In a medium bowl combine zucchini, lemon juice and zest, banana, apple sauce and vanilla. Add oil to the flax and soy milk mixture. Mix vigorously and combine with rest of wet ingredients.
3. In large bowl mix all dry ingredients. Fold in wet ingredients. Pour batter into bundt pan. Bake for 1 hr or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool at least one hour before eating.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Breakfast as a 1/2 birthday celebration ...

Goofus turned 4 1/2 and instead of baking a cake, especially since I'd had quite a baking frenzy in the last few days, he was willing to celebrate with a big stack of his favorite breakfast ....

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes
(inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz's recipe, Perfect Pancakes, from her book "Vegan Brunch")

1 cup white whole wheat flour (I use, King Arthur Flour)
1/4 cup almond flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup water
1 1/4 cup rice, almond or soy milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 large banana
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat skillet between medium to medium low heat (at least on my stove medium heat is 1/2 notch too hot, you should know yours).
2. In mixing bowl mix all dry ingredients. In another small mixing bowl mix all wet ingredients. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix, careful not to overmix, just to incorporate. Cut half of banana down the middle lenghtwise,so you have two matching halves. Then with knife slice down each half leghtwise again and then widthwise to dice. Or whatever, just dice the banana! Add banana and chocolate chips to batter and fold in.
3. I use nonstick skillet and have found no need to further spray or grease the skillet. Pour, cook, flip, cook, as you would any other pancake.

These are best enjoyed if instead of butter and honey you simply eat as is, or spread a thin layer of almond butter on top.


Enmolada time!!!!

Sooooooo easy! Enmoladas stuffed with a tofu, onion and soy cheese mixture with a side of Mexican red rice ... yum!


1 jar of Doña Maria Mole (can find in Mexican foods sect of any grocery store)
2 to 3 cups of vegetable broth
1 pkg. of corn tortillas
1/2 pkg (about 8oz.) water packed extra firm tofu
1/2 yellow onion
1 block of nondairy cheese (soy or almond) mozzarella style

1. With a spoon scoop out about half of the mole paste from the jar and put in a medium sauce pan with about 2 tablespoon of oil (any kind you like). Set temperature to medium low and try to break up the paste a little into smaller pieces, then add one cup of the broth and try to mix in until you have completely dissolved the mole paste with the broth and have obtained a thick but smooth consistency. It should look like very thick, gritty chocolate sauce. Continue to heat on low, if consistency seems to start to dry and become more pasty add more broth, it will continue to thicken until you turn the heat off. But you wan to make sure it is heated through and paste and broth are completely incorporated. Turn heat off and cover.
*Note: I know this was a long explanation, it just needs points of reference, so you know what is is supposed to look like, it's actually very quick and easy.
2. Drain tofu and n a medium bowl, crumble half of tofu package with hands or fork. Shred all of nondairy cheese package and add to tofu. Finely dice onion and add to tofu, cheese mixture. Blend all three with fork or spatula.
3. Heat tortillas about three at a time. They cool fast and they are best eaten hot. When the tortillas are heated through but still soft and pliable place on your plate. Add some of the tofu mixture towards the edge of the tortilla and roll to make a taco, set on side of plate with edge down so it doesn't unroll. Repeat with other two tortillas.
4. Once all three tacos are formed, place together and pour some of the mole on top, believe me you want plenty.  Add more of the tofu mixture on top. Accompany with a pan grilled faux chicken fillet and some Mexican red rice (sorry, i guess that recipe is still pending .. rain check!).
* Note that it may be a little spicy, so this may not be suitable for children.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Eggless Egg Salad

All the protein - the fat = healthier faux egg salad ... isn't it just beautiful?!?! Plus it comes together in just a few minutes and you have a quick lunch for a few days after. Believe me, you're not going to mind having this for lunch everyday for three days straight!

1- 16oz. pkg. EXTRA FIRM water packed tofu
1 celery stalk finely diced
1/2 medium yellow onion finely diced
2 tablespoons sweet relish
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup nayonaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice

1. Drain water out of the tofu package and crumble tofu with your own hands as crumbly as you can. I like to put it in a strainer and after I have crumbled it I leave it there for a few minutes or so to keep draining the last few drops. Or if you're too prissy and don't like to get your hands dirty you can always just crumble it in a mixing bowl with a fork. Up to you!

2. Finely dice onion and celery. In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients; tofu, onion, celery, nayonaise, mustard, sweet relish, lemon juice, salt and pepper.That's it, done! Eat! (I will say however, it always tastes better the next day after it has sat in the fridge overnight... )

Another fun way to eat instead of a sandwich is just by diggin in with tortilla chips. These are my current favorites, Trader Joe's longboard chips. Rico!


Sunday, February 28, 2010

Vegan "Spiked" Chocolate Pudding

Ok, this one was overdue. First of all, let me clarify the "spiked" part, no I don't put whisky in it .... although, that might not be such a bad idea ...hhmmm. By "spiked" I mean, it has carrots and sweet potato in it but the kids don't know it. SSSHH!!! Don't tell them!

Here goes ...
1 Mori-Nu (aseptic) Tofu SILKEN, NOT firm
8 oz. vegan chocolate chips (Trader Joe's, and Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet are vegan)
1/4 to 1/2 cup nondairy vanilla milk
1 small sweet potato or 1/2 large peeled and diced small (can omit if you just want all indulgence)
1 medium carrot peeled and diced small  (same as above, can omit)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*optional 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
*optional 1-2 Tablespoons maple syrup

1. Melt chocolate using double boiler method and set aside to cool.

Diced carrots and sweet potato should yield about 1 1/2 cups total.

Steam the veggies until REALLY REALLY soft.

I puree, as if for baby 1st food, with a little milk (always understood that it I mean nondairy!) in Magic Bullet Blender for a couple seconds. At the expense of sounding like a commercial, it is a great piece of gear, because it's really powerful and will give your this beautiful smooth consistency in a couple seconds. Whereas, when I've made the puree in the large blender, it always ends up lumpy, the kids don't mind, but this way it's even more covert.

Now, in the large blender I put the silken tofu, the pureed veggies, melted chocolate and about 1/4 cup nondairy milk and blend until fully mixed. Taste it and see if you like the amount of sweetness. For our taste, the sweetness provided by the veggies is enough and the kids don't know better because they don't really eat very sweet foods and rarely candy. Now, you might have to eyeball it a little bit and see if it needs a little more milk or not, and you have to remember that it will firm up a bit once it sits in the fridge. Refrigerate for at least two hours to allow to firm before serving. DONE!

NOTE: During the summer, use this exact same recipe but pour into Popsicle molds (link to BPA-free, kid size 2oz. molds) and TA-DA!, you got vegan fudgesicles. OR, if you use Extra Firm Mori-Nu and pour into pie shell and refrigerate over night, TA-DA! you got silken chocolate pie. OR, if you use Firm Mori-Nu and one entire container of Tofutti cream cheese, pour into pie shell and refrigerate over night, TA-DA! you got no-bake chocolate cheesecake, top with fruit sauce or nondairy whip, EXCELENTE! Ok, I've got no more annoying TA-DA's left ... GO BAKE!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is one is for Andria ... pasgetti and faux meat marinara

My friend and fellow stay-at-home-mom says, "Why don't you just cook 'normal' food, like spaghetti and meatballs?". Well, Andria, here's to you .... Vegan Spaghetti and Meatballs. The noddles are brown rice noodles, no gluten and more protein. The sauce is my Kitchen Sink Marinara:

1. I sautee almost every vegetable I can find in my fridge: one head of broccoli, 1/2 of frozen peas, 1/2 cup cauliflower, 1 carrot, 1/2 medium onion are the usual contenders.
2. Then add a can of crushed tomatoes and season with salt, pepper, and italian mix dried herbs. Cook for at least 30 minutes.
3. Blend and DONE.

Since this makes quite a bit of sauce, whatever is left I put in freezer bags and save for two more dinners (pasta or pizza works great!). If you want to make it "meat" marinara, I'll use a whole bag of Quorn meat crumbles and sautee in a pan with onion and garlic, then add the marinara and presto!

Dinner tonight was using that sauce and then topped with Parma! raw parmesan, yes, I'm obsessed with it, I put it on EVERYTHING! I also made some fresh bread, ok this may add to the work load, but not by much if planned right, and it's so worth to have fresh baked bread with your italian themed meal.

I use a bread machine to knead the dough, which leaves ZERO work for me after I have put the ingredients in the mixing container. You can get yourself one used from your local Goodwill or any thrift store for about $12, just make sure it has a "dough" cycle.

1 1/8 cups warm water
2 TB. olive oil
2 tsp. yeast
2 tsp sugar
2 cups all purpose flour (recommend you use King Arthur)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. dried onion powder
2 tsp. dried garlic powder

Follow machine's instructions. It will take about 1 1/2 hours to knead. When its done, just take it out, cut in half, place one half in a baggie and freeze for later. You can also just keep in fridge if you want to use the next day. Preheat oven to 375F. Do NOT punch down dough, place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with some olive oil and sprinkle some kosher salt. It will bake for about 20-25 min., but depending on your oven, just keep looking at it, when it looks golden brown (as cliche as that sounds!) it's done. Enjoy with some Earth Balance, "nummy, nummy", says my grumpus!

Now really, that's not so bad ... and it's so healthy and tasty! 'Til next time, Provecho!