Archives for category: My recipes…

IMG_1406IMG_1408

Zoodles! 

Tis the season for zucchini, and many times we end up with more than we can handle.  I just love zucchini noodles or ‘zoodles’ as I like to call them.  I was inspired to make a dish similar to a Veggie Bolognese dish that I get at the Amazing Cafe in the South Side.  I used veggies and ingredients that I had on hand to make a hearty sauce, so feel free to sub out some of the veggies and try your own version with what you have at your house!

Ingredients*:

3 zucchini (medium to large size)

I used a spiralizer to noodle-ize my zucchini.  This gadget is well worth the modest price, and it helps to break up some of the perceived monotony and apprehension around eating vegetables.

This is one of my favorite ways to eat zucchini.  The zucchini does not need to be cooked or peeled, so you get all of the benefits of eating raw too.  For this dish, I lightly salted the zucchini after spiralizing then let it sit for about an hour to remove some of the moisture.  This is not a necessity if you are watching your salt intake.  I used three medium zucchini for this dish, and I had enough for two dinners and two lunches.

For the sauce, I combined:

1.5 cups of red sauce (your choice – I used what I had in the fridge.)

1 package of white button mushrooms sliced

1 bulb of fennel sliced

1 onion sliced

1 fresh tomato sliced

1-4 cloves of  fresh garlic – depending on what you fancy

1 TBSP veggie stock concentrate (I use organic Better than Bouillon)

1 TBSP EVOO
1.5 cups of water
1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp fennel seed

1 can of white cannellini beans (cleaned and rinsed)

Salt & pepper to taste

I threw all of the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker, and cooked it for 1.5 hours on high.  Once the fennel and veggies were tender, I let the sauce cool.  I put the washed cannellini beans on top of the zucchini, and the sauce on top of that.

I served this whole dish room temperature on the patio on a warm summer evening.  You could also just serve your zoodles with a jarred sauce of your choice and add some fresh basil if you are pinched for time.  Whatever works for you!

Let me know how your zoodling goes….

*I used all organic ingredients and recommend the same for you.

Advertisements

photo

One of my favorite people in the world, Sara, makes a wonderful Indian pastry called a Shangarah.  I met Sara in college, and her family is from Bangladesh.  They serve up some of the most delicious food that I’ve ever tasted, and I had a hankering for it last week.

Shangarahas are sort of like dumplings in a way – delicious pastry pockets stuffed with potatoes, cauliflower, peas, onion, and tons of wonderful spices.  I had a hard time finding a pastry that did not contain eggs and decided to try a version of Sara’s Shangarahs in the slow cooker instead.  This also helped slow down my busy week.

This dish turned out wonderfully after I consulted with her on the spices.  We had it for dinner and then also had enough for two lunches.  I served it over brown basmati rice with some sweet & spicy chili sauce on the side.  Oh, and fresh lemon is excellent squeezed on this as well.  Thanks, Sara!

Ingredients*

3 cups of water

1 head of cauliflower (I kept stems & leaves in this dish)

4 large potatoes (I used a mix of about 8 small blue & russets leftover from my CSA)

2 onions

1/2 bag of frozen peas (8 oz)

4 garlic cloves

1 TBSP EVOO

2 tsp Onion Powder

2 tsp Garlic Powder

2 tsp Cumin

2 tsp Coriander

2 tsp Turmeric

2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt

3 cups of organic brown basmati rice in the rice cooker

*I use all organic ingredients whenever possible.

Instruction

Thoroughly clean all veggies.

Tear or cut cauliflower into bite sized pieces.  I also kept much of the stem & leaves in the dish.

Cut potatoes into bite sized pieces.

Chop onion and garlic.

Add the liquid (water and oil) first with the spices can help to evenly distribute the spices into the slow cooker.

Then add the potatoes first, then garlic, onion, cauliflower, and peas.

Cook on high for 3 1/2 hours stirring occasionally if you are home.  Stir and serve this dish hot over brown basmati rice.

Mmm…

 

 

 

 

photo

You may have heard of this dish from any low carb dieter or Atkins based menu as it replaces potatoes on the menu.  I think it’s quite delicious, and I have put my own spin on the cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes’ by including the stems and leaves.  This gives the dish a kick, and it has a bite like horseradish.  I also like that it reduces waste.  If you prefer to not use the stems and leaves, that’s cool too.

Some of the benefits of cauliflower are that it’s cancer fighting, contains choline for brain support, and it improves blood pressure and kidney function.  It’s a loaded with Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid.  For more details on cauliflower health benefits, look here and here.

Ingredients

1 head of steamed cauliflower

1 cup of cashew milk (any unsweetened & unflavored nut milk will work)

2 TBSP Vegenaise (this is a vegan form of mayo – check it out here)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

Steam whole cauliflower until it is very easily pierced with a fork.  Cut off any visibly tough or brown parts.

Cut cauliflower, stems, and leaves into small pieces.

Place the steamed cauliflower pieces into your blender.

Add all ingredients and start blending on the low setting.

You will need to use the tamper to press the ingredients down for blending.  Basically, this just means that you open up the blender several times to push the ingredients to the bottom so that they mix.

Once you have a smoother mixture, taste and then season to your liking.

Serve immediately.

About a year ago, we started making our own nut milks instead of buying them.  Honestly, this was one of the last things that I wanted to do.  I kept telling myself that it was just so much easier to buy a boxed brand, and I wasn’t excited about taking this step.  I think this is a step that so many don’t want to take because it seems so cumbersome (but it’s not), AND it’s actually easier than running to the store!  Homemade nut milks TASTE much better than boxed or cartons too. You can even add chocolate, vanilla, or almond flavor if you want.  After our first batch, I was hooked and have enthusiastically continued to make and experiment with nut milks.

After reading up on some of the ingredients in ORGANIC nut milks, I wasn’t thrilled and this fueled the fire to create my own milks at home.  For instance, carrageenan is a common ingredient that is used as a thickener.  Carrageenan has been linked to stomach problems in people producing a colitis like effect.  I actually have a close friend and family member who both experience stomach issues with carrageenan.  Additionally, it causes inflammation in the body and may be carcinogenic. Many doctors would argue that chronic inflammation is the root cause of all disease.  If you are going to continue to buy packaged nut milks, read the ingredients and look for brands without carrageenan and minimal fillers.

For more on carrageenan:

http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/QAA401181/Is-Carrageenan-Safe.html

http://foodbabe.com/2012/05/22/watch-out-for-this-carcinogen-in-your-organic-food/

Anyway, onto the good stuff.  Cashew milk is the easiest nut milk to make because you do not need a nut milk bag or to strain it.  Place all ingredients into a high speed blender, and blend on your highest setting for 3 minutes.  You will have a frothy, creamy delicious dairy-free beverage good for cooking, cereal, coffee, and anything you would use milk or nut milk for.  Once blended, it’s warm from the torque – and this is delicious topped with a bit of nutmeg & cinnamon on a chilly evening.  I store my cashew milk in a large mason jar in the refrigerator, and it keeps for several days.

Not only are they my favorite nut, cashews are extremely beneficial to your health as they are high in copper, zinc, and iron.  Iron supports your immune system and helps destroy infectious diseases.  Zinc promotes healthy cell growth and development while copper aids in energy production.  They contain magnesium which helps muscles relax and can even aid in preventing migraine headaches. Cashews are cancer fighting and also help to protect the skin against UV damage.  For more on cashews, try this article from Dr. Mercola.

Ingredients
1 cup of organic, raw cashews (Raw is necessary for blending.)

3.5 cups of water  (You can add more or less water depending on the consistency that you want – less water produces a more dense beverage.  See my post on cashew cream as a waffle topping on 2/24/14.)

2 pitted dates

1 pinch of pink himalayan sea salt

photo 1-1

photo 4

photo 1

photo

I’m naming this recipe after my mom, Sue, because I just LOVE her cold cucumber salad.  It’s very simple, and I have officially veganized it with a non-dairy version that tastes exactly the same.  This is a quick and easy recipe that is refreshing in warmer weather.  It tastes very similar to a Greek Tzatziki sauce and is good served up with a version of a gyro.  It’s also delicious with hummus and perfect served with some grilled veggies.

Ingredients*

2 large cucumbers

1 large sweet onion

1 cup organic Vegenaise (or mayo like spread of your choice)

1/4 cup cashew milk

1 TBSP Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar

2 pinches Himalayan Pink Salt or sea salt

Ground Pepper to taste

Instructions

Slice your cucumbers and place in a large mixing bowl.  You can also run a fork along the sides or peel every other panel to get a little decor going on your cukes prior to slicing.

Very thinly slice your onion and add to the bowl with the cucumbers.

Mix the Vegenaise, milk, ACV, salt & pepper in a smaller mixing bowl and whisk.

Season to taste, and pour the mixture over the onions and cukes.

Toss with a large wooden spoon and refrigerate with a lid.

This dish tastes best after sitting in the fridge for a few hours to allow the cukes to release some of their sweetness.

Enjoy, and thanks for the inspiration, Suzie-Q!

 

*veggiejane recommends all organic ingredients…

IMG_1169

I kept reading articles and recipes online about baking a whole head of cauliflower.  I just had to do it myself to see how it went.  It was fun, and I think it could really be considered a main course with some fun sides.

Ingredients

1 head of organic cauliflower

2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast

2 TBSP Sesame Oil

2 tsp onion powder

2-3 pinches of sea or pink salt

Fresh Ground black pepper to taste

Fresh lemon to taste

Capers

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel green stems and leaves from cauliflower, and wash well.

Combine dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl that would fit the head of cauliflower.  Stir with a fork to mix well.

Brush cauliflower head with sesame oil until it’s well coated.

Dip the head of cauliflower into the bowl to thoroughly coat with dry ingredients.

Place cauliflower onto a baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes.

Check cauliflower to make sure it’s tender, and if not, bake until it is easily stabbed with a fork. (Your baking time will vary depending on the size of head you chose.)

Once the cauliflower is cooked, drizzle with olive oil and fresh organic lemon.

Cut the cauliflower pieces and sprinkle with the capers.

Enjoy!

IMG_1151

Sweet Potato Boats with Avocado Cream

This dish is simple, and I got FOUR meals out of one sweet potato!

With a little advance preparation on the potatoes and black beans, this meal is quick and easy to assemble after a day of work.  I cooked the black beans with bay leaf, salt, onion and garlic in a slow cooker while I was at work.  I baked the sweet potatoes a day or two in advance when I was doing a bunch of cooking, so they were also done and waiting for me.  All that I had to do was assemble and make the avocado sauce when I got home. Easy!  The trick is to find a few hours when you can do most of your prep work for weekly meals all at once.  This way, cooking does not seem like such a chore.

A little bit on quinoa…Quinoa is an ancient Mayan grain.  It’s really a seed, but we treat is a grain.  Quinoa is the quickest grain to cook, and it’s also one of the most healthy.  Quinoa is packed full of fiber – twice as much as other grains, and it is a complete protein with all nine essential amino acids.  It contains iron, lysine, magnesium, B2 and more.  I made three cups of quinoa and repurposed the extra for breakfast (look for an upcoming post on this).  One of the cooking tricks of quinoa is to rinse it really well.  It can taste bitter if you do not.  So make sure you have a small wire strainer for rinsing your quinoa on hand.

Ingredients*

1 large sweet potato

1 can or 2-3 cups of dried black beans

2 cups of any quinoa (I used red)

Cherry Tomatoes (optional)

1/2 an onion (optional)

4 cloves of garlic (optional)

3 bay leaves (optional)

Directions

Decide in advance if you are using dried beans or canned beans.  If you are using dried beans, cook them in your slow cooker in advance so that they are ready for this recipe.  For this, rinse the black beans well with water and vinegar, then just water. Oil your slow cooker.  Add the beans, onion, garlic, bay leaves, and a few pinches of salt with enough water to cover everything generously.  Extra water will not hurt and makes a nice bit of sauce. Cook on low for 3 hours.  Taste and season as needed.  If you are using canned beans, you can use them right out of the can if you are pressed for time.  If you have more time, you can sauté the garlic and onion, then add the beans to give them more flavor.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, or cook the sweet potatoes in advance.  As I mentioned before, I baked mine a day or two in advance on a Sunday when I do a lot of cooking preparation for the week.

Wash and scrub the sweet potato.  Cut the sweet potato in half, lengthwise.  Bake at 350 degrees facedown for 35 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.  I use USA Pans so that I don’t have to use oil to bake.

Cook the quinoa in your rice cooker (this takes about 10-15 minutes).

Prepare your Avocado Cream (see below for recipe).

Place the sweet potatoes face up on two plates and cut in half again lengthwise.  I ate half for dinner and half for lunch, and so did my husband.  This dish is hearty and wonderful!

Add your quinoa to the split down the center of each potato.

Top with black beans.

Drizzle on the Avocado Cream Dressing (recipe below).

Add your cherry tomatoes.

Salt & pepper to taste.

Avocado Cream Dressing*

This creamy dressing can be used in so many ways from salad dressings, to toppings, dips, on soups, and more. Avocado provides a richness and pairs well with the cashew milk.

Ingredients*

1 ripe Avocado
2/3 cup Cashew Milk (can add more to thin out dressing to taste)
1/2 fresh squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
2-4 pinches of himalayan pink sea salt (start with 2 and then season to taste)
2 pinches of cayenne pepper (1/4 tsp if you like a kick)

Directions

Place all ingredients into a mixing bowl and blend with an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, a food processor or blender will work just fine.

Taste, and tweak to your liking.

 

*Use all organic ingredients as desired.