Over the past few weeks I have really been lacking in the kitchen; less recipe creating and more eating up grains and veggies. I also have been unable to spend as much time focused on blog writing as I would have liked. This will continue on for a few more weeks. At this point you are probably wondering, well why??? Well I am getting ready to finish up my certification from IIN to become a completely 100% certified holistic health counselor (coach – which term do you prefer?). In addition to finishing up my work to complete the program the Hubz and I have been spending a lot of time working on my new website for my health counseling practice (by the way if you know a graphic designer who would like to do a logo on the cheap let me know).
So between the IIN completion, website launch, working on new ways to expand my business, I have also been working on recipes for the Cookbook Club and on a number of new projects which I will discuss when things become more concrete. Needless to say this is a busy month and I hope that come April things will quiet down a bit more and I can get back in the kitchen working on new recipes, new and interesting blog posts and discuss the new projects.
Lastly, I would like to put it out there that if you have blog post requests please let me know because it really helps to drive me to write more, and to write better posts. I have had a few health and wellness requests lately and will be working on these requests posts- so let me know what you want to read about.
For now I will leave you with a recipe from my last E-book for you to try out:
Over the years it has become a tradition that I cook a special Valentine’s meal for the Hubz. Our first Valentine’s meal that I created for the Hubz was on the Valentine’s of 2007 and I decided that this year I would attempt to recreate that meal. I luckily blogged about the meal back then and was able to help me in remembering exactly what I created as well as see how far I have come.
Back in 2007 I made a 5 course meal that even included RC Cola with heart shaped ice cubes. I re-created the entire meal on Friday night with the exception of the dessert which I was lacking on time to make. Take a look at then and now:
One of the dishes I made on our first Valentine’s Day was roasted red pepper soup; a recipe that I had found on VegCooking.com and now looking back at the recipe I am appalled at how much vegan margarine was in the recipe- gross. For mine this year all I did was saute a diced onion and two diced carrots in 2 teaspoons of olive oil until soft and then added two cups of vegetable broth and brought a simmer for 15 minutes. I then purred it with 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper and added a splash of unsweetened almond milk. Not only is the recipe better and healthier but it looks better too.
Next is the sun-dried tomato pesto pasta- a dish that I made back in 2007 using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, crushed red pepper and Italian seasoning. This year I made a twist on things; I soaked 5 sun-dried tomatoes and 1 dried chipotle pepper in hot water until soft and added it too a mini chopper with 1/4 cup of walnuts, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, 1Tbsp olive oil, 1Tbsp nutritional yeast and about 2-3Tbsp of the soaking water. I tossed the pesto with Jovial Fusilli whole grain pasta. Now this was a huge improvement over my first attempt at sun-dried tomato pesto and the Hubz loved the auce which I will be recreating with a more detailed recipe for the blog.
So this is the dish that I think made some of the biggest improvements, it went from mushroom stuffed crescent rolls to mushroom pate puffs. I sauteed mushrooms, onions, garlic and a little sweet soy, white pepper and salt and then processed until smooth. I spread half the mixture out onto a rolled out piece of puffed pastry and then rolled it up, cut and baked. Easy as that but fancier, tastier and better for you.
For the last dish I made stuffed portobello mushrooms that I marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and stuffed with a mixture of sauteed Gimme Lean Sausage, Italian breadcrumbs (whole foods brand is vegan) and the second half of the mushroom puree. Then I baked at 400F for about 20 minutes. They came out wonderfully.
My Valentine’s Do Over was a fun way to bring us back to our first Valentine’s Day and have a giggle over my blog post from back then and how far my cooking and blogging has come.
In honor of my Fiery Vegan Valentine Contest I decided to try out a few new spicy recipes that I have been working on. Of course I am not entering these recipes into my own contest but if you are looking for some delicious spicy recipes to heat up your Valentines Day meal (or any meal) try these yummy recipes. I have received a number of great recipes for the contest and there is still time to enter!
Spicy Asian Pear BBQ Sauce
Yields 1-1.5 cups
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium asian or bosc pear, peeled & seeded, diced small
1 jalapeno, minced
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1″ ginger, peeled and minced
1/4 cup +1 tbsp lite soy sauce
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp agave
2 cloves minced garlic
Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat and stir in the pear, jalapeno, sesame seeds and ginger; saute for 5-7 minutes until lightly caramelized.
Stir in the 1/4 sup of soy sauce, rice vinegar and agave; bring to a boil, reduce and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half.
Transfer the mixture to a food processor, add the remaining soy sauce and the garlic and pulse until smooth.
Slather tofu, seitan or tempeh with this sauce and bake in a 400F oven for 20-30 minutes until lightly browned.
Almond Butter Sauce
Yields 1-1.5 cups
1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
1″ ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 tbsp chili flakes
2 tbsp lite soy sauce
3/4 cup coconut creamer or coconut milk
3 tbsp almond butter
1 tsp sriracha
2 tsp lime juice
Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat and stir in the onion saute for 5-7 minutes until softened. Stir in the garlic, ginger and chili flakes and cook for 2 minutes.
Whisk in the soy sauce and cook for 1 minute.
Whisk in the coconut creamer, almond butter and sriracha; whisk until smooth.
Whisk in the lime juice. Remove from heat.
Serve this sauce hot or cold over tofu, seitan, tempeh, toss it with noodles or use a dipping sauce for veggies.
I tossed mine with whole wheat spaghetti, shredded kale, green onions and julienned carrots.
Yields 4 servings
1 tbsp lite soy sauce
1 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
4 cups broccoli florets
Pre-heat oven to 400F. Toss the veggies with the soy sauce, sesame seeds and sesame oil.
Pour the broccoli onto a sheet pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until florets begin to brown.
This weekend has been filled with great new recipes, great conversation and the most amazing chocolate I have ever had. On Saturday after a crazy morning filled with bagels, markets and lots of coffee the Hubz and I came home to prepare for our dinner guest. We took a break from cleaning and organizing to enjoy a Dominex Eggplant Burger over greens with tomatoes and avocado served with rutabaga flax fries.
Serves 2- pre heat oven to 425F. Peel and cut 2 small rutabaga into fries and place in a bowl. Toss the rutabaga with 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of flax meal, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon chili powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake for 25-30 minutes until tender and browned.
More cleaning and a little napping happened and then it was time to make dinner for Allie from Healthy Balance, Healthy Life. Allie wanted to make hummus using her new food processor so that set the tone for the entire meal. I decided to go with a Mediterranean themed meal which included lemon-garlic-oregano marinated tofu, tomato, onion and pepper skewers, olives, pita, tahini-parsley dressing and carrot sticks and radishes with Allie’s roasted red pepper hummus.
tofu and tomato skewers
onion and pepper skewers
The marinade/baste for the veggies and tofu included:
1 cup vegetarian chicken broth (could sub vegetable broth)
2 Tablespoon chopped parlsey
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon thyme
2 teaspoons oregano
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
Whisk these all together and pour over skewered veggies and tofu and allow to marinate for 2-4 hours. Remove from the marinade and place on parchment lined baking sheets; pre-heat oven to 425F. Place the remaining marinade in a small sauce pan and place over high heat; bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer until the sauce has reduced by half. Remove from the heat and brush the veggies and tofu. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Remove and baste with more of the reduced marinade; return to the oven and bake for 15 more minutes. Remove from the oven once again and baste the veggies and tofu with the remaining marinade. Turn the oven on to broil and broil on high until the veggies and tofu are lightly browned.
carrot sticks and radishes
yummy mixed olives
tahini-parsley sauce and whole wheat pita
Allie's Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
Serves 4- in a small sauce pan heat 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, add 1/2 a minced sweet onion and saute over medium-high for 5-6 minutes until the onions soften. Stir in the garlic and 1 (15oz) can of rinsed and drained chickpeas; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in 1 (12oz) package of defrosted frozen spinach, 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast and salt and pepper to taste; cook until heated through.
For dessert we enjoyed Lulu’s raw chocolate which is easily by far the most amazing raw chocolate I have ever had. I find a a lot of raw chocolates do not have enough of a chocolate flavor and are sometimes chalky tasting but this chocolate was amazing and not only is the best raw chocolate I have ever had but one of the best chocolates. I will blog about these more once I try the other flavors I have.
After our late night chatting and enjoying Proseco with Allie we dragged ourselves out of bed this morning and headed to my parents house for the day. We enjoyed the day with my parents, grandma and Aunt Carol; we ate, played cards and laughed. When we got home we were hungry and ready to enjoy a nice high-raw dinner. This week we are going to eat high raw in hopes of detoxing our body a bit after enjoying lots of pasta, bread and drinks this weekend.
Dinner tonight consisted of a spicy carrot-avocado soup and raw tuna salad sandwiches which was served on multigrain Manna sprouted bread.
Spicy Carrot-Avocado Soup (raw)
1 & 2/3 cup carrot juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small garlic clove
pinch of cayenne pepper
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.
The Raw Tuna Salad recipe came from Ani Phyo's Raw Food Essentials
You can get the Aioli Mayonaise recipe for the mock tuna sandwich here.
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