5/26 – Happy Birthday Jasmine!

5/26/15 – Happy Birthday Jasmine!
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Yesterday, well Tuesday (5/26) was our baby’s birthday. Baby…Yeah, wow!… Isn’t it crazy how time flies by? Lately the years just seem to be falling off the calendar. In April we celebrated Megan’s 21st Birthday and now Jasmine turns 11, there are no babies here 😦 …but they’ll always be our babies.
Jasmine my peanut…may you always continue to be blessed. You are a beautiful young little lady. Continue to be my kind hearted, helpful and brilliant little girl. Always seek knowledge and maintain your eagerness to learn. I relish your passion for veganism and your enthusiasm in the kitchen as my Sous Chef. I love you so very much. We love you so very much!
Jasmine
On Birthdays I always take requests from my family. What would you like for your special birthday dinner? or what kind of birthday cake/dessert would you like? I’m always cooking up something. Definitely just simply being vegan for so many years now I’ve grown accustomed to making the birthday cake instead of buying (which would mean traveling to the one of about two vegan bakeries – not quite close by)…so it is much easier to make it and it doesn’t hurt that I love cooking/baking. It is definitely stimulating to create in person a dish/dessert that my hubby or kids created in their minds – like my husband’s taste for Banana Pudding with Vanilla Wafers. Now there is sometimes a misconception that all Vegans eat healthy all the time. Truth be told there are vegan junk food items just the same as non-vegan…Whoa…I know right. Yup, you have Chocolate Cake, Cookies, Cheesecake, Pudding…etc. and so do Vegans. Hey I’ve made my share of some sinful desserts in the past – I don’t want to talk about my son’s birthday cake request from November…I won’t mention the Vegan Cookie Dough filling cake that was sandwiched between Vanilla Cake with a layer of Chocolate icing then topped Chocolate and Vanilla icing that I created…all vegan with all the guilt too. : -/
Jasmine’s birthday request this week was my Smoked Corn Chowder (she LOVES it) and Chocolate Cake with Chocolate filling and icing. I always have a stash of Endangered Species Chocolate around (mommy’s chocolate emergency stash), so I sacrificed one of my bars and shaved some chocolate to top Jasmine’s all chocolate cake. 🙂
Despite what feels like every other thought being that of food (I’m sure I’m exaggerating…maybe? Okay okay it is admittedly excessive) but there is a balance and that balance is my family. I love these guys, they truly keep me going.
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Happy Birthday my little angel! Mommy loves you always.

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Black Rice and Adzuki Bean Salad

Black Rice and Adzuki Bean Salad
(Serves 10-12) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Can be prepared Raw
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I love learning about new foods and trying new ingredients. There are times when I’m just browsing through the aisles and I’ll grab an item that I’ve never tried before. I’ll read about it, learn about it, and then I’ll create a new recipe in my mind. Of course I’m always interested in the nutritional value as well.
I came across Black Rice (Chinese) in the store the other day. Originally I was looking for an ingredient to add into a salad, I considered Couscous or thought about making another pasta salad. Then I came across this black rice. I learned that Black rice is very nutritious. It’s a Rich source of Iron, Protein, Fiber, Antioxidants and Vitamin E. There are more antioxidants in this rice than berries. The flavor was incredible also. The rice on its own had a rich almost nutty flavor, very delicious. I cooked this rice and grilled all the veggies – you can grill an ear of corn then cut the kernels off the cob or use canned corn or frozen thawed corn.
Alternatively, this salad can be made all raw. Soak the rice overnight or for about 10-12 hours, drain then rinse and allow the rice to dry before adding the veggies raw.
It’s Memorial Day today – thank you for all the people who have died in service. This weekend is also a popular day for BBQ’s as a kick-off to the summer season. This recipe makes a nice side dish, main dish (hell my husband had some this morning with his breakfast, lol); it is also great as a potluck item to bring also. Enjoy!
Below are some links that include some nutritional facts about two main ingredients in this recipe that may not be too familiar. Use it as a starting point for your research.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_rice
http://www.lotusfoods.com/index.php/categories/rices/forbidden-rice
https://jarohoney.com/sprouted-adzuki-beans-raw/
http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/nutrition-information-regarding-adzuki-beans-1807.html

Raw Preparation Tips/Links – Black Rice and Adzuki Beans
https://jarohoney.com/sprouted-adzuki-beans-raw/
http://www.vegkitchen.com/recipes/raw-organic-lotus-forbidden-black-rice-recipe/

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Black Rice and Adzuki Bean Salad

  • Servings: (About 10-12) ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Can be made Raw
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: VeganRescue.com

Ingredients:
1 (15oz Can) Adzuki Beans
¼ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3 Tsp Sugar
½ Hothouse Cucumber, chopped
1 Carrot, shredded
½ Pint Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half
1 Cup Black Rice, dry
1 ¾ Cup Water
1 Tsp Salt + Pinch of Salt for Rice
1 Tsp Course Black Pepper
½ – 1 Avocado, chopped
½ Red Onion, diced
½ Red Pepper, diced
1 Can of Corn or 1 ½ – Cups Frozen, thawed
Juice of ½ Lemon
A handful of Parsley, chopped
¼ Tsp Cayenne
¼ Tsp Cumin

Directions:
-Rinse Rice under cool water. Combine Rice and Water with a pinch of Salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Cover then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for 5-10 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with fork and set aside until other ingredients are ready.
-Drain and Rinse Adzuki Beans. Combine in a bowl with Apple Cider Vinegar and Olive Oil.
-Optional: Grill Red Onion, Red Pepper and Cherry Tomatoes set aside to cool then chop.
-Combine and toss all ingredients together to combine. Top with additional Avocado before serving. Enjoy warm or cold!


Next Day 🙂

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Roasted Beet Borscht

Roasted Beet Borscht
(Serves 8-10) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
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This soup may sound difficult or fancy even to some, but it is very simple. If you’re a regular reader of my blog than I’m sure you’re probably noticing a trend of “simple” :0. I like simple flavorful dishes and this is certainly one of them. This soup is like a sweet/sour soup, it is very nutritious and delicious and can be eaten hot or cold. This recipe came about because I was thinking of a good use for the extra vegan sour cream we had in our fridge from Tuesday’s Taco night, I don’t like things going to waste. Feel free to try this soup with a dollop of vegan non-dairy sour cream on top, but it is also fantastic without. A must try. Enjoy your day and weekend everyone celebrating Memorial day here in the states!

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Ingredients:
6 Med.-Large Beets, scrubbed/stems removed
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
½ Head of Cabbage, sliced thinly (shredded)
2 Russet Potatoes, peeled/chopped
2 Quarts Vegetable Broth
3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Ketchup
2 Tbsp Dill
1 Tsp Sea Salt + 2 ¼ Tbsp for Roasting
1 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
3 Tsp Sugar
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Directions:
-Heat oven 425 degrees. Roast Beets (Pictured here – I always follow the same directions for roasting my beets). Essentially remove stems from beets keeping about an inch, and then scrub the beets to remove excess dirt. Grab a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap two beets making a bed/pouch. Divide 2 ¼ Tbsp Sea Salt evenly between the three pieces of foil. Add beets and bring up the sides to close. Place on a baking sheet to avoid beet juice from seeping out. Roast for 1 hour then remove and set-aside until cool to the touch, then peel and dice.
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-In a large stockpot, heat Olive Oil over medium. Sauté Onions and Celery for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
-Stir in Cabbage and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Add ½ Quart of Vegetable Broth and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
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-Add remaining Vegetable Broth remaining 1 ½ Quarts and bring to boil. Once boiling add Potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
-Stir in remaining Seasonings: Vinegar, Ketchup, Dill, 1 Tsp Sea Salt, Pepper and Sugar. Simmer for another minute or two to incorporate flavors.
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-While the last two steps are occurring: Open up the Beets from foil package. Peel Beets, I just remove that first thick layer then chop Beets.
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-Just after the last one-two minutes that seasonings are being incorporated. Turn off Heat. Stir in Beets. Stir well to combine and let Borscht stand for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly before serving and for the flavors to finish combining. Enjoy!
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Roasted Beet Borscht

  • Servings: 8-10 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
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Credit: VeganRescue.com
Ingredients:
6 Med.-Large Beets, scrubbed/stems removed
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
3 Stalks of Celery, chopped
½ Head of Cabbage, sliced thinly (shredded)
2 Russet Potatoes, peeled/chopped
2 Quarts Vegetable Broth
3 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
2 Tbsp Ketchup
2 Tbsp Dill
1 Tsp Sea Salt + 2 ¼ Tbsp for Roasting
1 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
3 Tsp Sugar

Directions:
-Heat oven 425 degrees. Roast Beets (Pictured here – I always follow the same directions for roasting my beets). Essentially remove stems from beets keeping about an inch, and then scrub the beets to remove excess dirt. Grab a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap two beets making a bed/pouch. Divide 2 ¼ Tbsp Sea Salt evenly between the three pieces of foil. Add beets and bring up the sides to close. Place on a baking sheet to avoid beet juice from seeping out. Roast for 1 hour then remove and set-aside until cool to the touch, then peel and dice.
-In a large stockpot, heat Olive Oil over medium. Sauté Onions and Celery for 3-5 minutes until translucent.
-Stir in Cabbage and continue to sauté for another 5 minutes. Add ½ Quart of Vegetable Broth and continue cooking for 5 minutes.
-Add remaining Vegetable Broth remaining 1 ½ Quarts and bring to boil. Once boiling add Potatoes. Reduce heat and simmer for about 7-10 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender.
-Stir in remaining Seasonings: Vinegar, Ketchup, Dill, 1 Tsp Sea Salt, Pepper and Sugar. Simmer for another minute or two to incorporate flavors.
-While the last two steps are occurring: Open up the Beets from foil package. Peel Beets, I just remove that first thick layer then chop Beets.
-Just after the last one-two minutes that seasonings are being incorporated. Turn off Heat. Stir in Beets. Stir well to combine and let Borscht stand for 10-15 minutes to cool slightly before serving and for the flavors to finish combining. Enjoy!

Wilted Iceberg Lettuce and Peas

Wilted Iceberg Lettuce and Peas braised in Olive Oil
(Serves 8) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
Wilted Iceberg & Peas

Yesterday was Taco night…who says Vegans can’t enjoy a good taco night. Anywho, I had left over lettuce since I only used ½ head for the tacos (I stopped buying the bagged lettuce long ago). Certain produce, like iceberg, I don’t like letting it linger around in the fridge too long. This recipe is quick and easy, ready in about 15 minutes or make a Iceberg Wedge salad with leftover lettuce. This is a very simple recipe and makes a great side or main dish and is even perfect for lunch. I served this up with Quinoa (more on Quinoa) on the side. For a Round 2 leftover recipe, I tossed the remaining braised Iceberg and Peas with the leftover quinoa, pictured below!
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Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
1 (16oz Pkg) Frozen Peas, thawed (or sub fresh peas)
½ Head Iceberg Lettuce, shredded, washed/dried
1 ½ Tsp Salt, divided
1 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper, divided
½ Tsp Tarragon
½ Tsp Dill

Directions:
-Remove outer leaves and core of Iceberg Lettuce, chop (shred up) with a knife. Rinse under cool water and dry (I use my salad spinner).
-Heat Olive Oil in sauté pan over medium heat and add onions. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
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-Add: Peas, Tarragon, Dill, ½ Tsp Salt/Pepper and continue to warm through for another 3 minutes.
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-Add lettuce and continue to warm through until slightly wilted. Add remaining salt/pepper and serve. Enjoy!
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Note: You can finish with or add 1 Tbsp of Earth Balance during cooking if you wish also to add another layer of flavor. I was out so this time I used only Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Wilted Iceberg Lettuce and Peas braised in Olive Oil

  • Servings: 8 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: VeganRescue.com

Ingredients:
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Small Yellow Onion, chopped
1 (16oz Pkg) Frozen Peas, thawed (or sub fresh peas)
½ Head Iceberg Lettuce, shredded, washed/dried
1 ½ Tsp Salt, divided
1 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper, divided
½ Tsp Tarragon
½ Tsp Dill

Directions:
-Remove outer leaves and core of Iceberg Lettuce, chop (shred up) with a knife. Rinse under cool water and dry (I use my salad spinner).
-Heat Olive Oil in sauté pan over medium heat and add onions. Sauté for about 3-5 minutes until onions are translucent.
-Add: Peas, Tarragon, Dill, ½ Tsp Salt/Pepper and continue to warm through for another 3 minutes.
-Add lettuce and continue to warm through until slightly wilted. Add remaining salt/pepper and serve. Enjoy!

Quick Biscuits with Capers (Dinner Rolls in 20 minutes!)

Quick Biscuits with Capers (Dinner Rolls in 20 minutes!)
(Makes 10 biscuits) – Vegan
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These are so quick and easy to make. They’re perfect as a quick dinner roll for supper and are excellent also for breakfast/brunch. I made these recently for breakfast and paired it with Tofu Scramble and a Potato Hash that I made. The best thing I can say about these is that they can be made in a flash or a pinch. I whipped these up faster than it took me to make breakfast and guaranteed faster than it typically takes me to make dinner. The Capers are lovely in this recipe; it adds a delicious briny finish. Enjoy!
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Ingredients:
1 ½ Cup Self-Rising Flour
1 ½ Tsp Italian Seasoning
¼ Tsp Salt
2 ½ Tbsp Vegenaise
1 Tbsp Capers
¾ Cup Almond Milk (I used almond/coconut blend)

Directions:
-Preheat oven 450 degrees. Grease muffin/cupcake pan with Earth Balance or vegan cooking spray.
-Combine all ingredients; I stirred the almond milk in last. Do not over mix. –After all ingredients have been incorporated let mixture rest for about 5 minutes.
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-Divide batter evenly – makes 10 biscuits. Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

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Quick Biscuits with Capers

  • Servings: 10 Biscuits ~ Vegan
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Credit: VeganRescue.com
Ingredients:
1 ½ Cup Self-Rising Flour
1 ½ Tsp Italian Seasoning
¼ Tsp Salt
2 ½ Tbsp Vegenaise
1 Tbsp Capers
¾ Cup Almond Milk (I used almond/coconut blend)

Directions:
-Preheat oven 450 degrees. Grease muffin/cupcake pan with Earth Balance or vegan cooking spray.
-Combine all ingredients; I stirred the almond milk in last. Do not over mix. –After all ingredients have been incorporated let mixture rest for about 5 minutes.
-Divide batter evenly – makes 10 biscuits. Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy!

Bucatini with Smoked Tomato Sauce

Bucatini with Smoked Tomato Sauce
(Serves 8-10) – Vegan, Soy-Free
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I love Pasta! There are so many different kinds of pasta. This one I’m using here today is Bucatini – it is a long spaghetti-like pasta with a hollow center. This pasta has a hole running down the center; I really enjoy the way this pasta grabs the sauce with every bite. You can certainly use spaghetti in this recipe. Just like I said in my prior spaghetti post, I never need a reason to make spaghetti! This sauce is more of a smoky sauce you can certainly kick up the heat too by adding additional red pepper flakes or make it sweeter by adding additional sugar. The spinach in this sauce adds a level of sweetness as well. Enjoy!

Bucatini Pasta with Smoked Tomato Sauce

  • Servings: 8-10 ~ Vegan, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Credit: VeganRescue.com

Ingredients:
2 (12oz Pkgs) Bucatini Pasta
4 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil + additional for pasta
¼ Tsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
3-4 Garlic Cloves, minced
8 oz White Button Mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1 (28 oz can) Crushed Tomatoes
1 (14.5oz can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 Tsp Oregano
½ Tsp Ground Pepper
2 Tsp Sea Salt
4 Tsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Liquid Smoke, optional
1 (10oz Pkg) Frozen Spinach, thawed

Directions:
-Bring large pot of water to boil and prepare Bucatini according to package directions.
-Add 2 Tbsp Olive oil to sauté pan and sauté crushed red peppers for about a minute. Add Garlic and continue sautéing for another 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.
-Add 2 Tbsp Olive oil back to sauté pan. Add Tomatoes (both cans) and seasonings, bring to slow bubbling boil then reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Feel free to add more sugar if you’re enjoy a sweeter sauce.
-Prepare Spinach according to package to thaw. Add Spinach and Mushrooms back to sauce and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
-Serve over warm Bucatini Pasta, I toss the pasta in a pan with additional olive oil before topping with sauce to serve. Enjoy!

Chive Pâté (Cashew and Sunflower Seed Dip/Spread)

Chive Pâté (Cashew and Sunflower Seed Dip/Spread)

(Makes about 2 Cups) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Almost Raw
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While I was in the process of creating a recipe the other day (Chive Sauce for Potato Cakes) there was a point during the recipe development that I needed to add a little more water since I was creating a sauce and all. Just before adding more water at that moment the consistency resembled Pâté to me, so I made a mental note at that moment that I wanted to remake the recipe as a Pâté. This dip is phenomenal on crackers, tortilla chips, pretzels, celery etc. Warning – this is addicting. 🙂  Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Cashews, soaked
Juice of ½ Lemon
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3-4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 ½ Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
½ Cup Sunflower Seeds
(.75 oz) Chives, chopped (abt ½ cup packed chopped)
½ Cup Water

Directions:
-Soak cashews, I soaked for about 1 hr or overnight, then rinse and drain.
-Combine all ingredients in high-speed blender (I used my nutribullet). Refrigerate for a couple hours, if you can resist, to allow it to firm up. Serve and Enjoy!
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Chive Pâté (Cashew and Sunflower Seed Dip/Spread)

  • Servings: Makes about 2 Cups~Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Almost Raw (Nutritional Yeast)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Credit: VeganRescue.com

Ingredients:
1 Cup Cashews, soaked
Juice of ½ Lemon
1 Tsp Sea Salt
1 Tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3-4 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 ½ Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
½ Cup Sunflower Seeds
(.75 oz) Chives, chopped (abt ½ cup packed chopped)
½ Cup Water

Directions:
-Soak cashews, I soaked for about 1 hr or overnight, then rinse and drain.
-Combine all ingredients in high-speed blender (I used my nutribullet). Refrigerate for a couple hours, if you can resist, to allow it to firm up. Serve and Enjoy!