Monday, November 17, 2008

Potluck Picks

So Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching and you are wondering what to bring to your Thanksgiving gathering that will please omnis and veggies alike, will stand out among the mashed potatos, pumpkin pie, and tofurkey AND won't having you slaving in the kitchen for hours. Check out the two recipes below. They have become my secret weapons of late at a few potlucks.

Red Wheatberry Salad with Pecans and Dried Cranberries
I simply veganized this recipe by substituting agave nectar for honey. The texture of the wheatberries and wild rice, combined with the tang of the lemon juice and tartness of the cranberries...this salad will make you mouth sing with joy!! I can't get enough of it.

1 cup hard red winter wheat berries, soaked overnight
1/2 cup raw wild rice
2/3 cup toasted chopped pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup chopped green onions
3 tbs fresh lemon
1 tbs agave nectar
1 tbs dijon mustard
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1. Soak the wheat berries overnight then drain.
2. Boil the wheat berries in 6 cups of water for about 45 minutes, or until tender. Drain excess water from the wheat berries when done.
3. In another pot, cook the wild rice according to package directions.
4. Combine the cooked wheat berries and wild rice in a large bowl.
5. Whisk the lemon juice, agave nectar, mustard, salt, and pepper to make the dressing. Add the dressing to the wheat berries and wild rice, mix thoroughly.
6. Now add the cranberries, pecans, parsley, and green onions and gently combine.

Coconut Raspberry Squares from The Everyday Vegan by Dreena Burtonclick here to view the recipe

I used Polaner All-Fruit and Bob's Red Mill coconut to make these bars and they turned out incredible. Plan on making two batches as the first batch will be gobbled up within seconds - I promise!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm Back...

Finally, I'm back. The past few months have just flown by. With the days getting shorter, and the weather so much nicer, I have been maximizing playtime with my horses and minimizing time on the computer and time reading cookbooks. Not really a bad thing, though, as I ended up trying some new recipes that came to me via some of my favorite food blogs that I subscribe to. Whoever said that free recipes found on the internet aren’t as good as the ones found in cookbooks? Not me!

So, I have a small backlog of photos to post in upcoming weeks. Click on the name of each recipe to see the corresponding recipe.

First off, a couple of recipes from 101 Cookbooks. If you haven’t checked out this blog by cookbook author Heidi Swanson, I highly recommend that you add it to your blog reading. Although many of her recipes are not vegan, she comes up with some pretty good vegan recipes on a regular basis, which makes it worth taking a look at. Here are two that I have tried recently:

Maple Grilled Tempeh served with steamed veggies over a bed of quinoa. A simple and delicious meal. I’m always looking for uncomplicated marinades for tempeh so was thrilled when I came across this one.Peanut Butter Cookies
I made these with whole wheat pastry flour. Can peanut butter cookies get any easier and healthier than this?

Cauliflower Dal with Panch Phoran from Fatfree Vegan I made this recipe several months ago and quickly became a fan of Panch Phoran. Just as a side note, if your family doesn’t like the wonderful aroma of Indian spices lingering in your house for the week after you make your favorite Indian dish, you may want to turn on the fan over your stove when you make this, especially if you have the heat or A/C on and the windows shut.

And for the grand finale – Julie’s Peanut Sesame Noodles from Everyday Dish TVI prepared this for the first time for our monthly vegan potluck and by the time I made my way through the line to get some for myself, there was literally only one bite of it left! Fortunately I had set some aside for myself, prior to the potluck, (thus the picture), so I can vouch that it was absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I will definitely be making this again.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Helping Others, for Free

Sparkled Ginger Cookies

Prior to adopting a vegan diet over 2 years ago, my absolute favorite cookies in the world were ginger snaps. However, since vegan ginger snaps are pretty difficult to find in stores, I didn't revisit this favorite cookie until a few weeks ago when I made a huge batch for a local vegan potluck. Fortunately for me I ate 5 before they left my kitchen, because they were quickly snatched up at the potluck. If you love ginger cookies, I highly recommend checking this recipe out.

Now that I have your attention, I'll move on to the main topic of this post...helping others.
Maybe it's the social worker in me, but I'm always interested when I hear of ways that I can help others that, well, are basically free and don't require a lot of time. I'm sure there are those of you out there who are feeling altruistic at times but don't have a lot of spare change to give out or very many hours left in your week for volunteer work. Because of this, I thought I would mention 3 ways to donate food or money to some really good causes, for free. Yes, that's right, for free, and with very little committment of time on your part! You're obviously already surfing the web, so surf a little further and check out the following sites. Helping others is just a CLICK away.

Free Rice Improve your vocabulary and help end world hunger. For every word you get right on Free Rice's on-line vocabulary game, Free Rice donates 20 grains of rice through the UN World Food Program. The word game on this site is not only fun, but addictive, so check it out, now!

iGive Next time you decide to make a purchase on-line, sign up through iGive first, purchase through their "mall" and have a percentage of the cost dontated to your favorite charity, animal charities included. Or, search the web through iGive's search engine, and they will donate 1 cent per search to your favorite cause. If you don't see your charity of choice listed, ask them to add it!

The Breast Cancer Site Click on the button and the site sponsors will donate money for education and free mammograms for those in need. They are partnered with the non-profit organization, National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The Hunger Site
Click on the button and the site sponsors donate a cup of food to the hungry through Mercy Corps and America's Second Harvest.

The Animal Rescue Site Click on the button to pay for food and care for animals. This site partners with The Fund for Animals, North Shore Animal League, and

Finally, I would like to end this post by bringing attention to the cute little pink and white "What's for Dinner?" search engine box in the right hand column. This search engine was compiled by Susan V. at Fat Free Vegan who has done a tremendous service to the vegan community by developing healthy, delicious vegan recipes and then making them available via her website and blog, for free. If you'd like to add this search engine to your blog, check out her post here which tells you how to do just that.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Cold Soups

When I was younger I never cared much for cold soups. The whole concept was simply beyond me. I remember being invited over to a friend's house for dinner as a teenager and being horrified when her mother served us cold tomato soup. Thankfully, my food preferences have changed and cold soups are now some of my staple dishes during summertime.

My favorite cold soup recipes come from Nava Atlas' cookbooks. If you're short on time, want something healthy to eat, and require lots of variation in your diet, I strongly recommend that you check out two of Nava's books, Vegan Express and Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet. In recent weeks I have made some of my favorite cold soup recipes from these books:

Cold Tomato and White Bean Soup
from Vegetarian 5-Ingredient Gourmet

This soup is one of my all around favorite recipes. It takes less than 5 minutes to make, is fat free and Eat to Live friendly, and tastes absolutely delicious. You can see the recipe by clicking here. The recipe calls for stewed tomatoes but I use Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted tomatoes instead. I also use canned organic cannellini beans which have no salt added, or cook my own, as they taste much better than their non-organic counterparts.

Cool White Bean and Cucumber Soup
from Vegan Express
Cucumbers, radishes, and dill combine to make this soup amazingly cool and refreshing, not to mention beautiful. I love the colors in this soup. Photos just can't do it justice.

Nearly Instant Thai Coconut Corn Soup
from Vegan ExpressCreamy and delicious, this soup will satisfy you if you're palate is searching for something a little sweet and a little spicy. You can see the recipe by clicking here.

With all this talk of healthy soups, I must confess I have had a bit of a sweet tooth lately, so I'm ending this post on a very sweet and sugar sprinkled note. Ever since going vegan over two years ago I have managed to totally abstain from one of my favorite cookies: snickerdoodles. For whatever reason, my cravings got the best of me in recent weeks. Fortunately Celine at Have Cake Will Travel came to my rescue with a portion controlled recipe for Snickerdoodles, (click here for the recipe). Enjoy!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Cool Eats for Hot Days

It's sooo hot out. Every year I dread the months of July, August, and September. I absolutely hate the heat and humidity and try to avoid cooking over a hot stove at all costs. So, what do I eat? In the upcoming weeks I will feature some of the recipes that have been helping me stay cool, and keeping my taste buds satisfied this summer.

Edamame Dip with Crudites, Wasabi Cucumbers, and Bird's Nest Sushi

A few months ago my mother told me about this recipe from Epicurious, Edamame Dip with Crudites, and I waited way too long to try it. Per my usual ways, I reduced the amount of oil called for in the recipe to only one Tablespoon, and had no problem with the end result. This dip is so delicious that I made two recipes in one week! I just could not get enough of it.
While I was over at Epicurious, I decided to look around for some other recipes to go with the one above, and much to my excitement found Cucumbers with Wasabi and Rice Vinegar as well as Ice Tray Sushi. I made the cucumbers exactly per the recipe instructions which gave me a wonderful excuse to go out and buy a Zyliss Mandolin, something that I have been wanting for a long time. Despite having wasabi in the recipe, the amount is so small that it doesn't burn your mouth or clear your sinuses. The cucumbers are refreshingly crisp and delicious and I know I will be making them many times again this summer.

The Ice Tray Sushi recipe was an inspiration for the little Bird's Nest Sushi I created. I used short grain brown rice and prepared it as if I was going to make sushi. Then I took an 1/8th cup dry measuring cup, packed it 3/4 full with cooked rice, used my thumb to make an indentation in the top, then turned over the measuring cup, tapping it onto a piece of wax paper taped to the countertop until the rice nest fell out. Then I flipped the nest right side up to fill it. For the Bird's Nest Sushi filling I diced green, red, and yellow bell peppers and then combined the diced peppers with 1 1/2 Tbs vegan mayo mixed with 1/4 tsp sesame hot chili oil. These would make great appetizers or a great snack if you're craving the taste of sushi but don't have any nori on hand to make nori rolls. For other filling ideas, check out these sushi filling recipes on The PPK, by clicking here.

In closing, an obvious way to stay cool in the summer is to have someone else do the cooking for you. A few weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Grass Root Organic Restaurant in Tampa. If you are ever in the Tampa area, I highly recommend you visit this place. The atmosphere is absolutely delightful and the food was nothing short of incredible. For my entree I had the Parmesan, which I still can't believe was vegan, it tasted so crispy and delicious! In the photo below you will see a side of house salad and garlic pasta in the background. For dessert I had their famous Key Lime Cheesecake, a must try if you go. I have to say that the texture was nothing like regular cheesecake, it was actually better. Unfortunately , the photo below doesn't quite do it justice due to the dim lighting, but I just had to feature it because I think this was one of the best pies I have ever tasted in my life!
By the way, if you live in the Lakeland, FL area, the owners are opening a restaurant there, too, so no more driving all the way to Tampa to get your fill!
Stay tuned for more cool summer eats in upcoming weeks!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Eat Your Veggies!

I'm always looking for innovative ways to eat more green veggies, especially in the summer months when I shy away from hot, cooked foods. In recent weeks I have made two of my favorite veggie salads, one with kale, one with broccoli, as well as a new one using roasted green beans. I also made a long time favorite, Confetti Corn Toss, which although absent of any green veggies, utilizes fresh corn, tomatoes, and mangoes, which are so plentiful right now at the market.

Kale Salad

1 bunch kale
1 large vidalia onion
10-12 sundried tomatoes (not oil packed)
10-12 kalamata olives, chopped
1 cup water
olive oil spray

Bring water to a boil and remove from heat. Place sundried tomatoes in water to rehydrate while you prepare the rest of the salad.

Tear kale leaves from stems into bite sized pieces. Set stems aside (discard if you don't want to use them, but I like the crunch they bring to this salad.) Wash leaves thoroughly allowing water to cling to leaves, then set aside. Wash stems thoroughly then place them in a bundle on your chopping board and slice them into 1/4 inch pieces. Set aside.

Cut onion into quarters and then thinly slice each quarter. Spray a large skillet with oil and heat on medium-high. Place onions in skillet and saute until golden brown and caramelized. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Saute chopped kale stems in skillet for a few minutes to soften, then set aside. Saute wet kale leaves in skillet on medium high until desired tenderness is reached then place in a bowl with cooked stems. Remove tomatoes from water and chop. Toss onions, tomatoes, and olives in a bowl with the kale and serve at room temperature or place in the fridge if serviing later. This salad really needs no dressing but if you do feel that it needs something, I suggest a light spray of Bragg's liquid aminos.

Roasted Green Beans with Marinated Button Mushrooms

Adapted from the original recipe which you can find by clicking here. I omitted the walnuts called for in the original recipe as I had none on hand. I also used half the amount of mushrooms and marinade called for in the recipe and roasted the green beans for 30 minutes instead of the 45 minutes suggested.

Broccoli Salad with Red Bell Pepper and Water Chestnuts

1 head broccoli, washed
1 red bell pepper, washed, seeded, and diced
1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained
4 Tbl rice vinegar
1 tsp toasted sesame oil (up to 1Tbl if you want more flavor)
1 Tbl minced garlic
2 tsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
sugar to taste (optional)

Cut broccoli florets from stems and set aside. Cut away peel from stems with a knife then slice peeled stems into 1/4 inch thick slices. Steam florets and stem pieces for 5 minutes then rinse with cold water to stop cooking process. Toss broccoli in a large bowl with red bell pepper and water chestnuts. Combine last 5 ingredients to make a light dressing and drizzle on salad. Serve at room temperature or chill for 3 hours, covered, before serving.

Confetti Corn Toss
adapted from a 12+ year old add for Del Monte canned corn

3 cups fresh cooked corn (I boiled 3 large ears and then cut the corn from the cobs)
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
2 large tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 ripe mango, peeled and diced*
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
3 Tbs lime juice
1 1/2 tsp chile powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk together the last 3 ingredients in a separate bowl then pour over salad. Cover and chill about 3 hours before serving.
In place of mango you can use 1 (14 oz) can hearts of palm, drained and sliced, per the original recipe. This will give the salad a different flavor (more tang, less sweet).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Portobello, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwich

It's funny how taste buds change with age. I never really cared for avocados as a child, I think probably because of the color coupled with the large pit, and my young palate certainly had no appreciation of its creamy texture. About a year ago I saw some small organic Haas avocados at the market where I shop. They were so beautiful that I decided I just had to bring one of them home for a try. Once in my mouth, my palate was pleasantly surprised by what the small, green fruit offered in both taste and texture, and my affection for Haas avocados has grown since.

Last week, I arrived home from the market with a sack full of gorgeous locally grown tomatoes, some beautiful portobello mushrooms, and a small, ripe Haas avocado. I decided to make the Roasted Portobello Mushroom recipe from Veganomicon and when I saw the serving suggestion at the end of the recipe, (with lettuce, tomato, and avocado on a sandwich), I just had to give it a try.

Although eating it was a bit messy, (fortunately it was photographed mid-assembly), boy did my mouth sing with joy. It was one of those meals that was so incredibly simple and beautiful, reminding me that some of the most satisfying food in the world does not involve a complicated recipe.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Summer Squash Pie - Veganized

Have you ever been so attached to something that you carry it around with you for years?

In the late 1980's, my mother cut out the Summer Squash Pie recipe pictured above from the "Cooking Light" section of Southern Living magazine. (This was before the Cooking Light magazine even existed.) I remember coming home to visit my parents during university summer break and my mother and I made this pie. It introduced me to the beautiful and delicious pattypan squash (pictured below) and soon became my favorite summer recipe.During the subsequent years I moved around a lot: to Virginia to work on a horse farm, to North Carolina for grad school, to Tampa to work, to Clearwater when I married, and to my current location when my husband decided to go back to school. I kept that recipe safely tucked away like a family jewel, bringing it out only during the summer months when the pattypan squash became plentiful at the farmer's market.

Two summers ago was my first vegan summer. I pulled out the recipe but then tucked it away again, vowing to make it at some point using tofu in place of the eggs called for in the original recipe. After reading about all of the success people were having with Susan V.'s tofu quiches on Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, I realized I needed to give my recipe a go using tofu once the pattypan squash became available. Several few weeks ago I gave it a try and the results were amazing. This recipe is another one that deserves fair warning on the delicious meter. I always eat at least half a pie in one sitting and for that reason, always double the recipe. Enjoy!

Summer Squash Pie

You will need one glass pie plate and a large pot for sauteeing the vegetables. You also need a food processor or blender to blend the tofu mixture.

7 small or 3 large pattypan squash, (1/2 pound), sliced 1/4 thick (across, not stem to navel)
olive oil spray
1/2 pound fresh spinach leaves, washed (I used prewashed baby spinach leaves)
1 medium size yellow squash, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large vidallia onion, chopped
1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 12 ounce pkg lite firm silken tofu, drained
1/4 cup soymilk (I use Edenblend rice soy beverage)
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1 Tbs cornstarch
1 tsp tahini
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 teaspoon salt
vegan cheese slices (0ptional, I did not use any on the pie pictured)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

To begin, arrange your pattypan squash slices around the outside edges and bottom of your pie plate, cutting them to fit (see photo below). These will form your "crust". Spray your pot with olive oil, remove the slices from the pie plate and saute them 2 to 3 minutes on each side until tender and lightly browned. Spray your pie plate with oil and arrange the slices again in the pie plate as shown in the photo below.

Saute your spinach briefly until wilted. Remove from pan, drain any excess water and then roughly chop. Set aside.

Spray your pot again and saute the chopped yellow squash, bell pepper, and onion over medium high heat until tender. Remove from pot, reserving 1/4 of this mixture, and spooning the rest into the prepared pie plate.

In a food processor or blender, process the tofu, soymilk, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, tahini, turmeric, and salt until smooth. Add in the spinach and process briefly to combine or combine by hand in a separate bowl. Pour this mixture over the vegetables in the pie plate. Sprinkle with the reserved squash, bell pepper, onion mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. If you are using vegan cheese slices, cut them into strips and place them on top of your pie about 5 minutes before the pie is done.

For variation I have also made this pie using asparagus or kale instead of spinach, adding in sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives. The combination of vegetables you use are really endless, so experiment a bit and let me know how it goes.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Good Eats from The PPK

When I transitioned to a vegan diet over two years ago, one of the first web sites I encountered on my quest for delicious, yet uncomplicated vegan recipes, was The PPK. What I love about Isa and Terry's recipes is that they make amazing vegan food accessible to people like me with limited cooking skills, a small kitchen with appliances circa 1976, and no Whole Foods Market or gourmet grocery for over a hundred miles. Taking a look through my food photos the other day, I realized that in recent weeks I have made quite a few PPK recipes so decided to do a post showcasing them all. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Cookies - without the walnuts, from Veganomicon. A staple food in our household!

tlT - tempeh, lettuce, and Tomato sandwich made with Tempeh Bacon from Vegan with a Vengeance, served on Ezekiel sprouted grain bread. I capitalize the T in Tomato because that beautiful Tomato is the star here. This is the only time of year that I make tlT's as I despise those pale, grainy tomatoes that one finds in the market the rest of the year, and I'm certainly not going to insult my tempeh bacon by having it share a sandwich with anything inferior!

Almond-Quinoa Muffins - from Veganomicon. The subtle hint of cardamom combined with the delicate crunch of quinoa make my mouth sing with joy! I was out of dried fruit, so simply omitted it from the recipe. See the quinoa peeking through the roof of the muffin?

Broccoli Polenta - from Veganomicon. I have made polenta plain, with spinach, with carrot juice, in my slow cooker, in my microwave, and on my stovetop, but not of my prior efforts come close to comparing with this recipe. If you've never liked polenta before, give it a second chance with this recipe. I don't like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen most days so I simply poured it into an 8x8 glass dish then cut it into rectangles once it set, then served it with Southwest Beans from Fresh from the Vegetarian Slow Cooker by Robin Robertson. I reduced the oil in the polenta by 1 Tbs with no ill effects. Hiding in back are some fire roasted tomatoes and Sour Cilantro Cream, (made without the oil), also from Veganomicon.

Spicy Pinto Sausages - click here for the recipe from the PPK blog. I shaped these into patties before steaming then served them breaded and pan fried, per Julie Hasson's recipe for Spicy Italian Cutlets, along with Julie's sauce from the same recipe, over spinach linguine. Absolutely delicious! No need for spending the big bucks at a fancy Italian restaurant when you have this!!

French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme - from Veganomicon. The recipe can be found here on the PPK website. I love lentil soup but had never made it with French lentils before trying this recipe. The texture of those tiny little lentils combined with the tarragon, makes this no ordinary soup. A must try!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Comfort Food - My Way

Sloppy Lentils and Balsamic Brussel Sprouts

For most people the term "comfort food" conjures up the idea of gravy laden mashed potatoes or a creamy soup, but for me the term brings to mind anything with lentils and greens. Oh, how I love lentils and greens. If you have read some of my previous posts, you may have picked that up by now.

One of my favorite combinations when I'm short on time is Sloppy Lentils from Fresh from the Vegetarian Cooker by Robin Robertson, and Balsamic Brussel Sprouts. For the lentils I simply throw everything into the slow cooker in the morning, (or the night before if I plan on having them for lunch) and set the timer so they're done when I want to eat. I love them served over a hearty bun such as an Ezekiel sesame seed sprouted grain bun.

The brussel sprouts are ready in 9-10 minutes, mostly hands-off time, and actually taste best the next day, chilled, so can easily be made in advance. Fair warning - these sprouts are addictive even if you don't usually like brussel sprouts!

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
1 pound bag of frozen brussel sprouts
1 Tbs water
1 Tbs dijon mustard
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
Combine brussel sprouts and water in a glass, covered casserole dish. Microwave on high for 5 minutes. Stir. Microwave on high for another 4-5 minutes until done. Drain water and toss with mustard and vinegar. Serve warm or chill for later enjoyment.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Don't Know How to Boil Water?

Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Curry
Even if you don't know how to boil water you can still make this amazing slow cooker Spicy Chickpea and Spinach Curry from Epicurious. This is a no-brainer recipe that I love to make when I'm having a crazy-busy week. I use Penzey's garam masala which makes this dish taste out of this world. Served over brown basmati rice, cooked in my Zoji rice cooker - I don't even feel like I'm cooking when I make this!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hummus, Some New Twists

I can never have enough hummus recipes on hand. Now that the weather is warming up, I find myself already craving food that's served at room temperature or chilled. A recent trip over to the Everyday Dish cooking show led me to find a couple of new twists on my old favorite:

Smoky Pumpkin Hummus
adapted from Everyday Dish TV

The original recipe may be found by clicking here. I modified this recipe quite a bit to give it more flavor. I also reduced the amount of tahini by 3 Tbs and added toasted pumpkin seeds. I served this on assorted vegan mini toasts from a local bakery.

2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1/2 can pumpkin
1 Tbs tahini
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice (juice of one lemon)
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp Chipotle Tabasco
1 Tbs Braggs liquid aminos
5 sundried tomatoes, rehydrated
handful of pumpkin seeds, toasted

Process first eight ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Chipotle Lime Two-Bean Hummus
adapated from Everyday Dish TV
I found this recipe on a food blog search that began when I realized I had 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lime juice in my fridge with no place to call home. Since I also had some garbonzo beans and pinto beans, I thought I would give this recipe a try. The combination of chipotle, lime, and cilantro, with the added hint of the allspice, bump this up to a gourmet hummus in my book. I omitted the 2 Tbs olive oil called for in the original recipe and substituted pinto beans for the kidney beans called for.

Since I'm not a fan of all the preservatives found in store bought tortilla chips, I simply toasted some Food for Life sprouted corn tortillas and then cut them with a pizza cutter to make my own healthy chips.

1 cup cooked pinto beans
1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
1 tsp lime zest
1/8 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 Tbs tahini
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp chipotle Tabasco
1 tsp agave nectar
1/8 tsp allspice
1-2 Tbs water (to thin dip as desired)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Combine all ingredients except lime zest, water, and cilantro in a food processor. Puree until smooth adding water until desired consistency is reached. Add lime zest and cilantro and puree briefly.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Citrus Salads

Citrus fruit is an everyday staple for me during the winter. Living in Florida, it's easy to get delicious, fresh citrus very inexpensively, or even for free if you have a citrus tree in your yard. With citrus season coming to an end, I thought I would post two of my favorite citrus salad combinations along with my quick method of "chunking" oranges and grapefruit.

Chunking Citrus

If you are like me and don't like to take the time to "section" your citrus, here is a safe, fool proof method for chunking oranges and grapefruit. I usually "chunk" about a dozen oranges or grapefruit at a time, using an assembly line method. It makes it easier to pack citrus with my lunch for work. (Nothing is grosser than trying to peel and eat an orange at one's desk. No more sticky keyboards!)

Cut the fruit in half, across the center, not navel to stem. Remove any seeds.

Cut each half in half to make 4 quarters.

Using a grapefruit knife, make a U-shaped cut to remove the white center.

Make one more cut to remove the rind and create two chunks.

Orange and Fig Spinach Salad with Walnuts

This salad is a nutritional powerhouse. Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and essential fatty acids are all featured in this tasty combination.

2 oranges
3-4 dried organic Turkish figs
3-4 ounces organic baby spinach
handful of walnut halves/pieces

Chunk oranges. Chop dried figs. Serve on a bed of spinach with walnut pieces. Dress with my balsamic flax dressing, (the saltiness of the dressing will bring out the sweetness of the fruit), or simply dress with a fig or blood orange vinegar if you're watching your fat intake. Serves 2.

Alessi and Cuisine Perel are two of my favorite brands of flavored vinegars.

Grapefruit Salad with Goji Berries and Toasted Coconut

The tartness of the grapefruit is complemented by the sweetness of the goji berries and toasted coconut. Goji berries, also known as wolfberries, are believed to have many health benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which include boosting of the immune system, improved eyesight, and improved circulation.

1 grapefruit, cut into chunks
handful of dried goji berries
2 TBS dried, shredded, unsweetened coconut (I used Bob's Red Mill brand)

Rehydrate goji berries in water or grapefruit juice while chunking grapefruit. Sprinkle grapefruit chunks with rehydrated goji berries. Toast coconut in a toaster oven or oven in a pan at 350 degrees for 1-3 minutes until golden then sprinkle on fruit. Serves 2.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Brownies and Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are two staples in my house as my husband has a major sweet tooth. After trying various vegan brownie and chocolate chip cookie recipes, we have voted these to be the best, hands down. Even our omnivore co-workers gobble them down and ask for the recipes time and time again.

Rusty's Chocolate Vegan Brownies

I found these on Recipe Zaar a few years ago and they are the best brownies that I have ever had, vegan or not. The secret is in the chips and the applesauce. I use Sunspire's Tropical Source non-dairy chocolate chips, organic applesauce (unsweetened), and Edensoy Chocolate Soy Milk.

Click here for the recipe.

Dreena Burton's Homestyle Chocolate Chip Cookies

Featured on Everyday Dish TV, these cookies come together in a snap. I use Sunspire's Tropical Source non-dairy chocolate chips in these as well.

Click here for the recipe.