Bruschetta with Garlic and Tomatoes

Bruschetta with Garlic and Tomatoes
(Makes about 20-24 pieces)

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Cheers to a New Year. I celebrated a blogiversary recently and I plan to blog about it while highlighting some healthy recipes from 2015.
Bruschetta is one of my favorite appetizers. The typical recipe and preparation of bruschetta is so simple in itself, I kick the ease factor up by using canned diced tomatoes (I use Hunt’s), and yeah I know cheating a little maybe? This recipe is delicious; the fresh basil along with the garlic in this recipe always gets me. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 (14.5oz can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 (14.5oz can) Fire Roasted Tomatoes
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic (I know it seems like a lot… I love garlic!)
1 bunch fresh Basil, chiffonade
Salt/Pepper to taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Fresh Baguette

Directions:
-Preheat oven 350 degrees to toast bread. Slice baguette and place on baking sheet.
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Drizzle with olive oil (picture below). Bake for 10-15 minutes until bread is toasted.
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-While bread is toasting. Drain tomatoes very well. Toss tomatoes and garlic in a bowl to combine, add salt/pepper to taste.
-To chiffonade basil: Remove basil leaves and rinse. Stack leaves about 10 then roll together tightly. With a sharp knife slice into ribbons.
-To Serve: Place tomatoes on toasted bread then top with basil pieces.

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Notes:
-If I’m traveling on making ahead, I prepare the tomatoes and refrigerate ahead of time. Then toast the bread and chiffonade the basil last before serving up.
-I also try and use up as much of the basil as possible, so the tiny piece that you cannot roll up to chiffonade just chop with a very sharp knife.

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We toasted to the New Year with Absinthe prepared traditionally with water and sugar cubes. I look forward to 2016 which is sure to be busier than last year as I continue with our family life and routine, work, college, cooking and blogging. Aside from the aforementioned “the usual”  our plan to publish a book this year (my husband’s book), so many things to toast to…Cheers!
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Bruschetta with Garlic & Tomatoes

  • Servings: About 20-24 pieces
  • Difficulty: easy
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Credit: https://veganrescue.com/

Ingredients:
1 (14.5oz can) Petite Diced Tomatoes
1 (14.5oz can) Fire Roasted Tomatoes
3 Tbsp Minced Garlic
1 bunch fresh Basil, chiffonade
Salt/Pepper to taste Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Fresh Baguette

Directions:
-Preheat oven 350 degrees to toast bread. Slice baguette and place on baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10-15 minutes until bread is toasted.
-While bread is toasting. Drain tomatoes very well. Toss tomatoes and garlic in a bowl to combine, add salt/pepper to taste.
-To chiffonade basil: Remove basil leaves and rinse. Stack leaves about 10 then roll together tightly. With a sharp knife slice into ribbons.
-To Serve: Place tomatoes on toasted bread then top with basil pieces.

Notes:

-If I’m traveling on making ahead, I prepare the tomatoes and refrigerate ahead of time. Then toast the bread and chiffonade the basil last before serving up.
-I also try and use up as much of the basil as possible, so the tiny piece that you cannot roll up to chiffonade just chop with a very sharp knife.

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Raw Energy Bites!

Raw Energy Bites
(Makes 60+ Bites) ~ Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free

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These creamy and decadent bites are a Superfood must try! The ideal fuel for pre/post workout and an excellent snack on the go. This is a kid-friendly super treat; it was hard to eat just one. 🙂 They can be chopped into bite-size pieces or cut into larger pieces for a great breakfast bar. These Energy bites will hopefully satiate your hunger; personally they were very satisfying and filling. Let me know what you think. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1 Cup Whole Raw Cashews, soaked
1 Cup Whole Walnuts, soaked
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Raw Coconut Butter
¼ Cup Raisins (1 oz)
12-15 Pitted Dates, chopped
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp Goji Berries
1/3 Cup finely Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
½ Tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, fine
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil

Directions:
-Soak Nuts/Seeds listed above (soaked) overnight – drain/rinse.
-Pulse together to combine the first five ingredients – nuts/seeds and coconut butter in a food processor.
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-Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.

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(I chop the Dates before tossing in the food processor (a) to be sure they are pitted (b) so they get better incorporated)
Exhibit A below – I found a pit!
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-Add parchment/wax paper to an 11×7 brownie pan. Turn out mixture and press evenly.
-Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight.
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-Remove from brownie pan and cut into bite-size pieces. Today I made 66 pieces.
Enjoy!
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For the Raw Coconut Butter in this recipe – I used two of these little packs that equal 1/4 Cup if you’ve seen these in stores.
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Raw Energy Bites

  • Servings: 66 Bites ~ Vegan, Raw, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Dairy-Free
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Credit: https://veganrescue.com/
Ingredients:
1 Cup Whole Raw Cashews, soaked
1 Cup Whole Walnuts, soaked
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Sunflower Seeds, soaked
¼ Cup Raw Coconut Butter
¼ Cup Raisins (1 oz)
12-15 Pitted Dates, chopped
2 Tbsp Sesame Seeds
1 Tbsp Goji Berries
1/3 Cup finely Shredded Coconut
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds
½ Tsp Himalayan Pink Salt, fine
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil

Directions:
-Soak Nuts/Seeds listed above (soaked) overnight – drain/rinse.
-Pulse together to combine the first five ingredients – nuts/seeds and coconut butter in a food processor. -Add remaining ingredients and pulse to combine.
(I chop the Dates before tossing in the food processor (a) to be sure they are pitted (b) so they get better incorporated)
-Add parchment/wax paper to an 11×7 brownie pan. Turn out mixture and press evenly.
-Refrigerate for a few hours to overnight.
-Remove from brownie pan and cut into bite-size pieces. Today I made 66 pieces.

Smashed Crispy Potatoes with Cucumber Dill Garlic Sauce

Smashed Crispy Cracked Potatoes with Cucumber Dill Garlic Sauce
(Serves 4) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free

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Potatoes are extraordinary. They are so versatile, easy to use and so many potato dishes can be created, try this recipe my spinach cakes or potato leek soup.

Ingredients:
24 oz Fingerling Potatoes (About 2lbs)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 3 Tbsp if Frying
¼ – ½ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:
-In a large pot add Potatoes (cut large pieces in half), cover with cold water then bring to boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.
-Drain Potatoes and let them cool in a colander for 15 minutes.
-Rub Potatoes with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.
-Smash Potatoes down, using small bowl or large mug for example. You can also let them cool and use your hands of course.
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If Frying:
-Heat 3 Tbsp Olive Oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes per side until crispy. Drain on paper towel.
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If Baking:
-Preheat oven 450 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip over halfway through.

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Cucumber Dill Garlic Sauce
(Makes about 1 Cup) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free (use soy-free mayo)

Ingredients:
½ English Cucumber, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tbsp Vegenaise
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tbsp Dill
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
¼ Tsp Salt

Directions:
-Combine all ingredients in high speed blender until smooth. Refrigerate any remaining/unused portion.

Smashed Cracked Potatoes with Cucumber Dill Garlic Sauce

  • Servings: 4 ~ Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

24 oz Fingerling Potatoes (About 2lbs)
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus 3 Tbsp if Frying
¼ – ½ Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper

Directions:
-In a large pot add Potatoes (cut large pieces in half), cover with cold water then bring to boil. Then reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until fork tender.
-Drain Potatoes and let them cool in a colander for 15 minutes.
-Rub Potatoes with Olive Oil, Salt and Pepper.
-Smash Potatoes down, using small bowl or large mug for example. You can also let them cool and use your hands of course.

If Frying:
-Heat 3 Tbsp Olive Oil and fry for about 2-3 minutes per side until crispy. Drain on paper towel.
If Baking:
-Preheat oven 450 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip over halfway through.

Cucumber Dill Garlic Sauce
(Makes about 1 Cup) – Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free (use soy-free mayo)

Ingredients:
½ English Cucumber, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
3 Tbsp Vegenaise
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Tbsp Dill
½ Tsp Smoked Paprika
¼ Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
¼ Tsp Salt

Directions:
-Combine all ingredients in high speed blender until smooth. Refrigerate any remaining/unused portion.

Raw Energy Balls!

There comes a time or two or too many in our busy lives that we need a jolt, boost or uppercut of energy. This week has been one of those times for me. Between work schedules, our two dogs and the kids back to school from winter break we can all use a little pick me up. Whether I pop an energy ball in for quick morning boost or just before a workout these are certainly sure to deliver. This week I have redirected my focus towards more on raw and fresh ingredients. Despite being vegan we too felt the heaviness of all the holiday fare, not to mention, the exhaustion of all the hustle and bustle.

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Raw Energy Balls (Makes about 13 balls – depending on size)

½ Cup Organic Roasted Unsalted Peanuts (Divided)

½ Cup Raw Almonds (soaked, rinsed and drained)

½ Cup Organic Pumpkin Seeds (soaked, rinsed and drained)

1 Tbsp Pure Coconut Oil

1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

1 ½ Tbsp Hemp Seeds

2 Tsp Maca Powder

1 Tbsp (100%) Cocoa Powder Unsweetened

5 (pieces) Organic Turkish Apricots

6 (pieces) Organic Medjool Pitted Dates

¼ Cup Organic Maple Syrup

In this recipe I soak the almonds, pumpkin seeds and (1/4 Cup) Peanuts for about 8 hours (see below for a suggestion and note). Soak in fresh water (filtered if available) with 1 Teaspoon of Salt (I use sea salt). After the seeds/nuts have soaked, drain and rinse in fresh water.

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Directions:

-In Food Processor – place Soaked nuts/seeds; Coconut Oil; Chia Seeds; Hemp Seeds, Maca and Cocoa powder and pulse for about 30 seconds. Add Medjool Dates with Turkish Apricots and pulse for another 30 seconds. Finally, add remaining ¼ Cup of Peanuts and Maple Syrup. Pulse until incorporated this will form a ball or a paste-like mixture.

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(I only add the ¼ cup unsoaked/dry peanuts in the final step, because it adds a familiar peanut taste/texture that we’re used to. However, you may soak all the peanuts (1/2 Cup) in the initial step for nutritional purposes).

-With wet hands grab about 1½ tablespoons, or so, of mixture and roll into 1 inch balls. You may want to wet hands again halfway through.

-Place Raw Energy Balls on cookie sheet lined with parchment/wax paper. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This recipe should produce about a bakers dozen, so if you can’t wait like me, pop one in and call it a dozen! Each ball is about 140 calories.

Store in a sealed container – I like to keep them nestled in the parchment paper. They should remain fresh for 7 days; they typically don’t last that long at home.

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Soaking

Suggestion: If I’m preparing this on the weekend, I’ll put the seeds/nuts to soak the night before and prepare the recipe the next morning. If it’s the weekday, I’ll place them to soak in the morning before I leave for work, so I can prepare the recipe after work. If your initial reaction to soaking is as mine was, that it sounds very time consuming, especially for a quick 10-minute recipe…it’s not so bad. When I plan ahead and use the above system it works for me. There have been a few situations where I forgot to soak or was in the mood (needed) this recipe at an inopportune time; I can say that I’ve made this recipe after soaking for 2 hours and once after soaking for 30mins. to at least softened them.

Note: Soaking seeds/nuts improves the nutritional value – the vitamins, proteins and allows for better digestions. It also removes anti-nutrients/toxins. Place nuts/seeds in warm fresh/filtered water a 2:1 ratio seems to work fine. I typically add a teaspoon of salt.