Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mac n' Cheese with Peas, PBNAF

Penne pasta made from brown rice, topping is
raw shelled hemp seeds instead of flax for a wild evening.

Our standard household favorite to eat while the big cheese is away is Mac n' Cheese because he does not share our enthusiasm for the dish.  Did I mention my daughter, my Mac n' Cheese partner, is away at college?  It's just me and the dogs.  It's just me and the dogs and the parakeets.  It's just me and the dogs, the parakeets and the fish. It's quiet anyway.

But now that I don't eat real cheese not having a favorite go-to recipe has become a problem because he is away, a lot.  Okay, not a lot but these occasions demand a little comfort food like Mac n' Cheese so it is about time I found a recipe worth blogging about.  I have tried a couple of the vegan versions but none have seemed truly great without a little tweaking to my tastes.  No onion powder please.  No turmeric either.

Shells n' Cheesy Sauce with peas
This is adapted from "Soy-Free Mac n' Cheese Recipe" by Lindsay Nixon.

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups vegetable pasta shells or whole grain pasta of your choice
1 3/4 cups rice milk, low fat unsweetened
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (or slightly less)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Vegan Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon paprika (not smoked)
1/4 teaspoon Bragg 24 Herb Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon Not-Chicken Bouillon
1/4 cup non-dairy cheddar shreds
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 tablespoons miso paste (most common available is made from soy which works for me)
1/2 teaspoon dry parsley flakes
2 pinches smoked paprika
flaxseed meal for topping

Put the water on to boil for the pasta and add it when the water is at a rolling boil.  Let the pasta simmer while you make the sauce.
Sauce:
Pour milk into a large skillet, add the yeast, cornstarch, garlic powder, vegan parmesan, paprika, herb seasoning, parsley and bouillon.  Simmer until thickened, add cheddar shreds.  Remove sauce from heat and add miso paste, parsley and paprika.  Set aside.
By now the pasta should almost be done.  Add the frozen peas to the boiling water and continue cooking until the peas are hot and bright green and the pasta is done.  Drain or scoop out of the water with a strainer and combine with the sauce.  Top with flaxseed meal.

You are done.  Except for the best part which is eating it.  :)

Notes:

  • Never rinse your pasta with cold water because then the starches wash away that help the sauce stick to it.  (Probably something I learned watching the chefs on Food Network...who knows?)
  • Never add miso until the end of cooking because the heat destroys the good stuff in it.
  • "Government Cheese" by Keb Mo is the only song I have with the word "Cheese" in the title.  Somehow it is not festive enough for this occasion so "Wouldn't it be Nice" by the Beach Boys is my recommendation tonight.




Saturday, May 28, 2016

Vegan Blue Cream Cheese



Vegan Blue Cheese
There is a recipe called "Spirulina Blue Cheese" in a cookbook called "Everyday Raw" by Mathew Kenney that is just wonderful and worth the price of the book!

It's made with cashews as the nut base.

I make it, love it, and the next time I go to make it I can't remember where I found the recipe, which book, website, etc. so I am posting this to remind myself where to go and look it up when I need it.
I have the book on Kindle so it is hard to copy the page...

Oh, and the other thing that is worth the price is to purchase a nut milk bag to make this in.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

PB2 Granola

Plant based Granola, before baking

This is a lower fat recipe for granola than most I have found published. I am replacing some of the fat and oil with applesauce and by golly it works!

I bought a lot of PB2 powder and wanted to use it in an energy snack that didn't have too much sugar or fats.
Preheat oven to 275 degrees fahrenheit

Ingredients:
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup PB2 powdered peanut butter, I used the cocoa flavored variety
2/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds
1/3 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup dried blueberries or cranberries
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons oat bran
1/4 cup wheat bran

Stir dry ingredients together and then add wet ingredients to dry ingredients as a drizzle while you continue stirring.

Wet ingredients:
Combine 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/4 cup applesauce and 2 teaspoons vanilla

It works well to heat the liquids together for a few seconds in the microwave to make the mixture more fluid. All ingredients together will seem fairly dry but keep stirring and eventually it will all become sticky.  When you no longer see dry pockets it is ready to bake.

PB2 Granola
Spread out on cookie sheet that has been lined with lightly oiled parchment.
Bake for 1 hour at 275 degrees fahrenheit. This will make approximately 2 1/2 lbs. of dry granola.
It works great as a breakfast cereal.



Friday, April 29, 2016

Zucchini Banana Bread

Vegan Zucchini Banana Bread without eggs or added fat


Dry Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup oat flour
1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup date sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons walnuts

Combine dry ingredients and set aside.

Wet Ingredients:
3 ripe bananas
2/3 cup shredded raw zucchini
1/4 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Combine wet ingredients in mixing bowl at low speed until bananas are mashed.  Add dry ingredients and mix just until all flour mixture is incorporated into wet mixture.  Pour into prepared bread pan, bake at 350 for 30 minutes, turn oven temperature down to 325 and continue baking for additional 40 minutes or until bread pulls away from sides of pan, or when toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Note:  I made a version of this with whole wheat flour and the texture was very different, course and dry.  It also didn't rise as high.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Not Tuna Salad for the plant-based world

This is another re-post to keep some of the best recipes up on top where they belong.

If you are like me you have probably been hearing a lot lately about the benefits of eating seaweed.  Doesn't sound too appetizing, right?  As it just so happens that is a nice ingredient to turn chickpeas into a mock tuna salad.  Tuna was one of my favorite lunches before I read, "The China Study" and "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease" and gave up meat within a couple of days.
Let me reiterate:  I ate meat for 47 years and then quit because the research impressed me so much regarding how much healthier I could be by not eating animal protein or added oils and fats.  There are going to be foods I miss and tuna has been high on the list of foods difficult to mimic.

Here is a way to get yourself back into the zen of a tuna lunch.

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced dill pickle
2 tablespoons Fuero Wakame Dried Seaweed
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
3 tablespoons Walden Farms Miracle Mayo (probably contains soy--isn't clearly marked either way)
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons mustard
1 teaspoon vinegar or pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon Bragg Sea Kelp Delight Seasoning
1/4 teaspoon dill
pinch black pepper


  1. Crush garbanzo beans with a potato masher, set aside.
  2. Chop celery and dill pickle, add to beans.
  3. Crush seaweed together with sunflower seeds in a mortar and pestle, add to beans.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to bean mixture and stir.  
  5. Serve rolled inside Nori Sheets, in a traditional sandwich or with crackers.



Dried Seaweed and sunflower seeds after grinding

Not Tuna Salad 

Not Tuna Salad Sushi Rolls




Friday, April 1, 2016

Almond Chicken for the plant based diet

Soy curls made to taste like Almond Chicken on a bed of steamed kale

No chickens died in the making of this meal.

A plant based version of the standard American Chinese Restaurant "Almond Chicken"
Ingredients:

1 cup              soy curls
1 cup              boiling water
1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, No Chicken Base
2 tablespoons Sliced almonds
1/4 cup almond flour
(or grind up your whole almonds with a food processor)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole grain, dry)
1 cup water
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup almond milk, lowfat
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 tablespoons garbanzo bean flour
1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon, No Chicken Base
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1 tablespoon Miso paste
1 bunch steamed kale 
1.  Dissolve 1 teaspoon of bouillon in 1 cup of boiling water and pour over soy curls to dehydrate.  Let sit for 15 min. or longer while you prepare the other ingredients.
2.  Toast sliced almonds in small skillet until golden brown, set aside to use as topping.
3.  Toast 1/4 cup almond flour (ground almonds), then combine with flaxseed meal and bread crumbs.
4.  Drain broth from soy curls and reserve.  Dredge soy curls in almond flour mixture.
5.  Toast coated soy curls in medium-hot skillet until browned on all sides.  Set aside in warm oven.
6.  Combine sauce ingredients (1 cup water, 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, garbanzo bean flour and 1/2 teaspoon bouillon) in blender or Magic Bullet.
7.  Pour sauce ingredients into skillet and bring to simmer, cook until thickened.  Remove from heat and add almond extract and miso paste, stir to combine.
8.  Place 1 cup of steamed kale or brown rice and 1/4 of the soy curls on each plate, cover with the almond sauce and sprinkle toasted sliced almonds over the top.




8.  Remember to close your eyes with each bite, sigh and be happy and grateful to be alive.  Bless the cook.  Don't bother wiping the grin off your face.

x

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Chickpea Cutlets for the plant based diet

Chickpea Cutlets served on a bed of fresh spinach ribbons with oven roasted baby new potatoes and a lima bean, carrot and mushroom gravy.  Who thought plant-based could be so good?
There is a recipe for chickpea cutlets posted at food.com by Emily Souliere that came from "Veganomicon" By Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.  The original recipe had olive oil as one of the ingredients and then fried.
This is a version of that recipe, but without the oil or frying in my attempt to follow the advice of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn in his book, "Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease".

Ingredients:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup plain nonfat whole grain breadcrumbs
1/4 cup non-fat vegetable broth
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 garlic cloves diced fine
1/2 teaspoon vegetarian "Not-Chicken" bouillon
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon dry sage

Mash the chickpeas until no whole ones are visible, I use a potato masher. (If you use a food processor, be sure to just pulse and not over mix or you will end up with a texture which is completely wrong.)
Add remaining ingredients and knead for three minutes.

Divide dough into four equal pieces and flatten into a
shape resembling a flattened piece of chicken breast, about 4"x6".

Heat nonstick skillet to medium hot and arrange cutlets to cover
the bottom of the skillet. Flip after they have browned (about
4 minutes).  Set cutlets aside and brown two cups of sliced mushrooms in the same skillet.
Add two cups of mushroom broth. Simmer until thickened and place cutlets back into pan. Heat through.
Note that if you let these sit too long in the mushroom broth while you are waiting for that certain someone to finally get home from work, there won't be any broth left.  The patties will have soaked it all up.  Just saying.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Italian Wedding Soup, plant based

Have you ever had Italian Wedding Soup from a can and thought to yourself, "This is good but it could be better"?  I discovered Italian Wedding Soup as an adult so I do not have a family recipe or childhood memories or expectations but it seems to me the soup from a can is basically just meatballs and broth with the occasional piece of celery or carrot swimming by.  Delightful yet lacking.

Italian Wedding Soup before adding fresh spinach

I wanted to take the idea of this soup and turn it into a hearty winter meal.  But I didn't want to stand in the kitchen for hours after work making meatballs.  I also thought it should actually be more like a dumpling, or a wrapped meatball so it would stay intact in the broth.  I also wanted to add some greens to the soup right before serving.  And of course, I didn't want to eat meat or serve meat to people I care about.
Italian Wedding Soup, without added fats or meat

Recipe:

12 cups water
1.5 cups Bob's Red Mill Bean soup mix
1 tablespoon Better Than Beef bouillon
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
a dash of black pepper
     
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup diced celery
1 cup thinly sliced carrots
2 cups sliced mushrooms
Any other vegetable you would like to add such as broccoli, bok choy, etc.

1 bag frozen non-meat meatballs such as Nate's Meatless Meatballs 10.5 oz.
1 package round dumpling wrappers, Twin Dragon Brand 

6 cups fresh baby spinach

Simmer soup mix in water with bouillon for at least 90 minutes before adding mushrooms, corn, peas and celery.  You may have to add more water to maintain a broth.  Simmer another 10 minutes and then add the wrapped dumplings.
To make the wrapped meatball dumplings, take each meatball while still frozen or partially frozen and cut in half.  Wet the edges of a dumpling wrapper and wrap the half meatball to seal and set aside.  When all the dumplings are made, add all at once to the simmering soup and cook until the dumplings are translucent, about 10 minutes.  Add the spinach and stir to wilt.
Serve with a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.