Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Final Eats!

Happy New Year's Eve! 

For me 2011 was all about settling into a new life in a new city with a new job surrounded by new people.  It also included getting (geographically) closer to family and dear friends from my past.  It's been a busy year full of exploring, meeting new friends, and making a home in Portland.  I'm excited to spend the next year having fun!  I have a mental list of little goals for 2012 and I'll probably try to write them down at some point today, but my umbrella hope for the new year is to continue to have fun doing what I do.

If you have any hopes, goals or resolutions for 2012 I'd love hear about them in the comments! 

Here are some of my final eats for 2011:

Oatmeal for breakfast, pretty much every day.  Sometimes with chia, but I've run out until I get to the grocery store again.  I got these sweet ramekins in a variety of colors for Christmas this year.  Aren't they pretty?

We've been making a lot of pizza.  It's cheap, fast, and so good.  Also, one of my favorite foods.  The chanterelle mushrooms were picked by my parents, which made that pizza even more special.  The olive bar at the grocery store makes for interesting pizza toppers.  And we've discovered that the cheddar style daiya makes an incredible stuffed crust.  Yes, we went there.

And we're still getting greens with giant salads, smoothies and juices.  My craving for fresh greens has come back with a fury.   Seeing amazing green food on blog-friends' posts has helped.  So, thanks for that!

Also, thanks for visiting me here and leaving comments.  I'm grateful for my blog-friends and look forward to spending time with you in 2012.   Have a nice New Year's Eve! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Holiday Treats

Happy Holiday!  This year's festivities have been sweet and mellow.  Just the way I prefer them.  Good company, kitchen time, music and cats have made this weekend memorable and fun.  Here are a few shots of our treats:
Dark chocolate with pistachios and dried cherries.  Easy, pretty, delicious.

Pumpkin whoopie pies.  I added fresh grated ginger to the filling.  Mmmm.

Lower Fat Banana Bread from Veganomicon.
Chocolate Chip Pistachio Cookies from The Joy Of Vegan Baking.

 Matching aprons.  The gun is made of kitchen utensils.
 Watch out veggies! 

I'm feeling very grateful for all of the love and goodness that I get to experience not just on the holidays, but every day.  I was touched and inspired by Gena's post,  where she talks about remembering the animals who are suffering this season.  Sometimes it's hard to feel good about the luxuries of my life knowing that innocent animals are subjected to pain every day in order to feed and clothe humans.  I don't mean to get all gloomy on Christmas, but it's a topic that I wanted to mention.  I'm grateful to all of you who do your part to avoid consuming animal products.  That's the best gift that I can think of.  I thought about it too late this year, but next year I'm going to ask my family to gift me donations to no-kill shelters, animal sanctuaries, and rescue groups.  No gift would make me happier. 

On a lighter note, I hope your holiday weekend has been nice, full of good times and happy memory making.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Cozy Dinner: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes & Maple Tahini Brussels Sprouts

Mmmm, warm and sweet and savory.  Twice baked potatoes are so easy, I don't know why I don't make them more often.  And I've only made Brussels sprouts a few times, but I'm becoming a fan of throwing them in a hot oven until they start to caramelize and crisp up on the outside. 

Jewel sweet potatoes are perfect for this time of year.  The color is beautiful and the sweetness really compliments the creamy and savory mix-ins.  I don't use a recipe for twice baked potatoes.  I just bake the potatoes at 375 degrees until they're soft, cut in half, scoop out the soft insides and mix in whatever I have on hand until it tastes delicious.  Use the mixture to re-fill the potato halves and put them back in the oven until they start to brown.  The filling in this batch has vegan cream cheese, daiya cheddar cheese, soy creamer, sliced green onion, salt and pepper.  I topped them with more daiya cheddar shreds and green onion.

Yum.  Now, the sprouts.  Once again, I have no recipe.  Just cut them in half and toss them in a combo of tahini, maple syrup, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven until tender when poked with a fork and starting to brown and crisp on the outside.  The tahini sauce turns into a cheesy coating that's pretty delicious.  

Sometimes the best meals start with a craving and are put together with what's on hand, without following a recipe.  By taste.  There's been a lot of these types of meals around here lately.  Yum. 

Also, it's been hard not to slip into winter hibernation, but I'll try to get my camera out more often.  Hope you're enjoying the holiday season.  Cheers!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hello, December

December! Happy holiday season to you.  The past month has been full of family time and getting warm and cozy.  I went on a Veganomicon bender and enjoyed some hearty comfort food inspired by two of my favorite cookbook authors, Terry and Isa. 

Leek and Bean Cassoulet with Biscuits

Portobello Piccata with Olives and Green Beans
served on mashed potatoes

As soon as it got cold I couldn't get enough hearty, warm food.  Happens every winter.  This week I'm getting the balance back with fresh fruit (persimmons!) and big salads. 

Look at how beautiful my neighborhood was last month.  I enjoyed many long walks.  
Happy Tuesday and I hope your December is off to a festive start. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Vegan MoFo #22: Fall Inspired Lunchbox

Happy Halloween and final day of Vegan MoFo 2011!  Woohoo!  What a great month.  Even though I didn't end up posting every day, I did post more this month than I have in the past.  And it was fun! But the most fun was reading all the other MoFo blogs, and since I still have plenty to catch up on the fun will continue.

Lunchbox:  Salad with greens, spinach, herbs, avocado, hemp seeds, pistachios and sweet potatoes.  Miso Tahini Magic Sauce, Apple Spice Granola, Fruit, and Chocolate Coconut Buckwheatie Cookies

Now that MoFo's over I'll be posting about 3 times a week, mostly Thursday thru Sunday, because that works best with my schedule.  Hope everyone's Monday is off to a great start!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Vegan MoFo #21: Basic Fall Oats, Raw Or Cooked

Portland finally got a few colder days this week.  And by colder I mean I could wear a sweater and a scarf.  Yay.  This time of year also has me craving heartier breakfasts, sometimes warmed.  Like these oats.  They can be made and soaked overnight, or warmed on the stove top. 

Basic Fall Oats

1/2 cup oats
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons raisins
1/2 cup nut milk
1/2 cup apple juice (I used spiced cider!)
sprinkle of cinnamon
sliced banana and sweetener to taste

Mix together and soak overnight, or warm on the stove until the oats are soft.

My food this past week has been beyond basic.  I've just had other stuff going on.  But these oats were nice, especially made with the apple cider, so I thought they might be worth sharing.  

Hope you've had a happy weekend :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vegan MoFo #20: Apple Granola & Baked Apple Pie

One of my scores from this weekend's adventure was a bag of Newton Pippin apples.  Newton Pippins are a tart green apple that are supposed to be great for baking.  I decided to try them in a batch of raw buckwheat granola and a baked apple pie. 

Apple Spice Granola

3 cups raw buckwheat groats, soaked overnight then rinsed well and drained
2 diced apples
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup flax
2 cups date sauce *instructions to follow
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup maple syrup or agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice

Stir all ingredients together and spread on 2 teflex lined dehydrator trays.  Dehydrate for 3-4 hours then transfer off of the teflex sheets and directly onto the mesh trays.  Dehydrate for 24 hours or until crunchy.

* To make the date sauce soak medjool dates in just enough warm water to cover for an hour.  Blend the dates together with enough water to make it about the consistency of applesauce.

I like to use this granola for snacking, mostly.  But it's also good with some almond milk or raw coconut yogurt or cashew pudding.  And it makes the house smell sweet and delicious while it's drying.

Ok, now for the baked pie.  I used apple pie recipe from The Joy Of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.  It's the ugliest most rustic looking pie I've ever made.  The crust literally crumbled as I was making it and I just patched it together.

 See... rustic.  Haha.  Anyways, it's delicious.  I'll have to work on the crust execution next time.  I really like the Pippins.  They have this old-fashioned tart taste like the apples that used to grow on our property when I was a kid and they held up well in the pie.  I'm looking forward to going back to the orchard for fresh picked apples.  They're the best!

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Vegan MoFo #19: Pumpkin Seed Nori Snax

I've been trying to keep more raw vegan snacks around the house lately.   The dehydrator seems to be a constant buzz in the background, which is good.  It keeps the house smelling nice and our bellies full of nutritious food.  This week, after I made the usual flax crackers and cookies I decided to try something different.  I've seen many of my blog-friends make these, but since I'm not a huge fan of the taste of nori I haven't made them until now.  My boyfriend is very fond of nori and he totally approves of these Pumpkin Seed Nori Snax.

Pumpkin Seed Nori Snax

6 sheets raw nori
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 green onion
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
3/4 cup water

Blend all ingredients except the nori sheets until smooth. 

Spread about 1/2 cup of the pumpkin seed mixture on 3 of the nori sheets.  I got creative so I could fit more on one dehydrator tray and did 1 and a half. 

Top with a second sheet of nori (or fold in half like the one on the right).  Dehydrate for 3-4 hours then cut into squares (whatever size you'd like your snax to be).  Continue to dehydrate for another 20 hours.

We took these on a road trip and they were a great portable snack.  I even ate a few.  They'll definitely be packed into lunches this week if there are any left after today.  

Hope you've had a nice weekend.  I'll be posting about the apples I picked up at a local farm and what I made with them this week.  And about the adorable alpacas I got to meet.  It's been a very Fall inspired weekend and that makes me very happy.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vegan MoFo #18: Chocolate Coconut Buckwheatie Cookies

Today's treat was inspired by the container of Buckwheaties I have in the pantry and the no-bake cookies my family loves to make.  Are you familiar with them?  The ones with oats, chocolate, and peanut butter?  My Chocolate Coconut Buckwheatie Cookies didn't turn out much like the good old no-bakes, but they're chocolatey and chewy with a nice little crunch from the Buckwheaties.

Chocolate Coconut Buckwheatie Cookies

1 cup almond butter
1/4 cup maple syrup, date syrup or agave
1/4 cup cacao powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup water

Stir together the above ingredients in a mixing bowl then add:

1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup Buckwheaties

Shape tablespoonfuls into cookie-shaped rounds.  These can either be chilled for a few hours or warmed up in the dehydrator for a few hours.  I prefer to dehydrate them because they become less sticky and I like my cookies warm. 

Today I'm going on a fruit & pumpkin gathering adventure!  Heirloom apples, pear wine, fresh pressed apple cider, petting cute animals and a corn maze may also involved.  Have you had any fun Fall adventures this year?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vegan MoFo #17: Buckwheatie Breakfast Bowl

Woohoo, it's Friday and I'm back and I have energy!  The past week kind of kicked my butt.  Good thing my body bounces right back from these things and after taking yesterday afternoon and evening off for rest I woke up feeling awesome this morning.  So, let's get back to this MoFo business.  Today's post is a super simple, but awesome, Buckwheatie Breakfast Bowl.

This week was all about the quick and easy when it came to food.  Having soaked & dehydrated buckwheat groats on hand makes for a fast and satisfying breakfast.  I buy buckwheat groats in the bulk section at the supermarket, soak them overnight, drain and rinse really well, then dehydrate for about 24 hours.  The come out light and crunchy and nutty tasting.  Buckwheat groats are gluten free and are a decent source of protein (6 grams in 1 cup) and fiber (4 grams in 1 cup). 

To make a breakfast bowl I sprinkle the dehydrated Buckwheaties with cinnamon, add fresh and dried fruit, and top with agave or maple syrup and almond milk.  I'm not a huge fan of cold cereal for breakfast, but this really hits the spot.  It makes a nice snack too.

I'm looking forward to catching up on some very-missed MoFo action this weekend.  Have any fun plans for the weekend?

Oh yeah!  I made a guest appearance at today that involves chocolate.  Stop by and say hi :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vegan MoFo #16: Monday's Lunchbox & Where I've Been

Monday, how did you arrive so soon?  I missed my MoFo post yesterday, but I'm not going to beat myself up over it because I got called into work both Saturday & Sunday for emergency surgeries.  I did manage to throw together a yummy lunch for today.   Clockwise from top left:  Apple Spice Parfait, fresh fruit, flax crackers, Miso Tahini Magic Sauce, and a hearty Greens & Seeds salad with raisins. 

Now my real work week begins.  Hope yours is off to a great start!  Big apologies to all my blogging friends that I haven't replied to or visited this weekend.  I won't be able to catch up until this Thursday.  Work, work, work... you know, my real job outside of the blogosphere :).  I miss you!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Vegan MoFo #15: Apple Spice Parfait & My MoFo Iron Chef Cupcake

It's another double treat Saturday!  One raw, one baked.  My first treat is a raw, vegan Apple Spice Parfait.  I was inspired by some beautiful local Gala apples I picked up yesterday morning at the market.  And the need for dessert.  Add some raw custard, maple syrup, and spice and it becomes a yummy Fall delight. 

Apple Spice Parfait

First, make the apple filling:

One beautiful apple of your choice, finely diced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup shredded coconut
Stir ingredients together and set aside to marinate while you make the custard.

Vanilla Spice Custard

1 cup cashews
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon maca

1/2 cup + 1/3 cup almond milk
pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil

Blend all ingredients except coconut oil together in a high speed blender until smooth.  Add melted coconut oil.  Blend until creamy.

The makes 2 parfaits.  In each glass layer:

2 tablespoons apple filling
1/4 of the custard  - now put the glass in the freezer for 15 minutes so the custard can firm up.
2 tablespoons apple filling
1/4 of the custard - back in the freezer for 15 minutes
Divide remaining apple filling between the two glasses.

This is best served very cold, so making these ahead of time and allowing to chill for a few hours will give you the yummiest results.  The apples will soften as they marinate.

Now, onto my MoFo Iron Chef challenge.  This week's ingredients are banana and coffee.  I baked mine in a cake:  Peanut butter cupcakes with vegan chocolate cream cheese frosting, banana slices, and coffee ganache.  I know this isn't the most creative entry, but it's what I felt like eating as a special treat this weekend. 

These started with a peanut butter cupcake ala my favorite baking book Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World.  These were topped with a little chocolate cream cheese frosting and a banana slice, like so:

Then topped with more frosting and drizzled with coffee ganache.  MMMmmm.

I love peanut butter & banana together.  And chocolate and coffee.  And peanut butter and chocolate.  So it all works together.  Yes.

Cheers to a super sweet Saturday.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Vegan MoFo #14: Pantry Staple - Miso Tahini Magic Sauce

Today's MoFo is something that I've been using like a fiend for three years.  My Miso Tahini Magic Sauce is a staple in our refrigerator.  It's a dip, it's a sauce, it's a dressing.  Put it on veggies, grains, wraps, bowls, salads, anything you want to become more delicious or possibly addicting.  Sometimes I want a salad just so I have something to put this on.  The best part about it, though, is it's EASY and you probably already have the ingredients on hand.

Miso Tahini Magic Sauce

1/2 cup miso
1/2 cup tahini
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon maple syrup, date syrup, or agave
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 cup water

In a bowl use a spoon  to mix the miso and tahini together.  Add the apple cider vinegar, sweetener of your choice, cayenne pepper and stir until well combined.  Use a whisk to mix in the water.  Store in the refrigerator.  The sauce will thicken after it cools.

This sauce is great with add-in, like fresh grated ginger, garlic, and spices.  Make it your way to make your taste buds happy.  Then put it on everything!  Carry a jar in your purse!  Ok, maybe not, but I wish I could.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Vegan MoFo #13: My Favorite Green Juice

Good evening!  Today's post is being written from my couch, and I'm in my pajamas.  I had a very tired day, spent resting and recovering from my busy work week.  I'm still planning on posting every single day of MoFo so I decided to rely on a good old standard, my favorite green juice.   One reason I picked this is because it gives me a boost when my energy is low. 

The Green Standard:

5-6 leaves Italian kale
1 lemon, peeled
2 apples
1 inch nub of ginger

This can be made in a juicer or blended and strained.  I love the combo of green, sweet, sour, and spice.  Makes my taste buds happy.

Ok, I'm calling it a night :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vegan MoFo #12: Lunchbox

Wednesday!  Lunch is a hearty salad of mixed greens, avocado, nutritional yeast, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, and raisins with a tahini herb salad dressing.  On the side is fresh fruit and a cup of Carrot Ginger Soup.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vegan MoFo #11: Creamy Chipotle Yam Bisque

Good morning, Tuesday.  Here I am with another easy, warming soup recipe.  Avocado is involved. 

Creamy Chipotle Yam Bisque

1 heaping cup diced yam (carrots are a great substitution too)
1/2 avocado
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup warm water

Blend until creamy and warm.  Garnish with more avocado!

I love the combination of spicy chipotle, creamy avocado and sweet yam.  Fall is really great this year.  I'm savoring every moment. 

Monday, October 10, 2011

Vegan MoFo #10: Raw Vegan Carrot Ginger Soup

Aaaaah Monday!  Soup will make it better, right?  I'm kidding, really.  I don't mind Mondays, but I wouldn't mind having a weekend extension.  I'm not kidding about the soup, though.  I'm totally on a soup binge right now.   It's a wonderful, warming way to stay healthy and raw when the weather turns cold.  And it's SO EASY.  Perfect for weekday meals. 

Carrot Ginger Soup

1 cup diced carrots
1/4 cup cashews
1 small clove garlic
1 teaspoon diced ginger
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup water

Blend in a high speed blender until smooth and warm.

This is great with crumbled up flax crackers stirred into it right before serving.  For a high raw option this would be delicious served with a scoop of quinoa or brown rice.

Due to my current obsession with soup I'll be featuring a few more recipes this week.   This is the first time I've been into making raw soup, so it's fun new territory to explore.  Hope your Monday is fantastic.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vegan MoFo #9: Raw Vegan Creamy Tomato Bisque

Slooooow Sunday.  I took the morning off (from being busy) and spent some time hanging out with my main squeeze.  It's overcast and chilly here and I'm completely smitten with Fall.  When I finally made it into the kitchen I was looking all over for inspiration.  Nothing seemed quite right.  Everything seemed too cold.  Then I thought about soup.  Warm, delicious, comforting soup.  My pantry had everything I needed for a raw vegan creamy tomato bisque.

Creamy Tomato Bisque

2 medium tomatoes
1 medium carrot
1 celery stalk
1 green onion
1/4 cup cashews
1 medjool date
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
2 teaspoons miso
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
1/4 cup warm water

For garnish:  4 fresh basil leaves

Blend all ingredients, except basil, together in a blender until creamy and warm.  Garnish with basil chiffonade and fresh ground black pepper.

This is warm and comforting and perfect for lunch on a cool Fall day.  It would be great served with flax crackers or garnished with avocado.  I'm kind of experiencing soup lust now, so don't be surprised if you see more of it this week.

Tomato based soups are my favorite.  What kind of soup do you crave when it's cold outside?  Let me know in the comments and have a cozy Sunday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Vegan MoFo #8: Raw Vegan Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies & Baked Pumpkin Chocolate Dipped Cupcakes

Happy Saturday! For MoFo 2011 I promised a raw vegan Fall inspired food treat every day in October, and I'm sticking with that plan.  However, I made a baked sweet for a party tonight and I'm going to share that one too!  First let's take a look at our raw vegan item for today, mini chocolate chip cookies. 

Mmm, cozy comfort food.  As with all of my cookies, I like to serve these warm from the dehydrator.  Here's the recipe:

Mini Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup cashews
1 cup pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor until combined.  This is a stiffer dough, so you may need to scrape and pulse for a while until the nut chunks are blended together.  Transfer the dough to a bowl. 

Add:  1/4 cup cacao nibs

Mix into the dough.  Using your hands does the trick!  Scoop by tablespoons onto a teflex dehydrator sheet and shape into cookies.  Dehydrate for a few hours until warm.  Enjoy with a cup of tea or almond milk. 

And now for the baked part.  If you don't want to be tempted by unhealthy vegan baked sweet treats you should STOP HERE.  :)

I'm going to a family dinner get together tonight and was assigned to bring dessert.  My favorite!  The crowd I'm eating with would be totally ok with a raw dessert, but I've had my eye on these cupcakes for a while and decided to go with baking.  I think everyone's going to enjoy these:

This recipe came from my favorite vegan cupcake cookbook, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World.  I made the pumpkin chocolate chip cupcakes and left out the chocolate chips because someone eating tonight doesn't like chocolate chips in their pumpkin.  It's ok though, I made up for that omission later.  The pumpkin cupcakes are topped with a vegan pumpkin cream cheese frosting.  Here's where I got to add some chocolate:  I dipped the cupcakes (childhood Dairy Queen memories, anyone?) in a vegan chocolate ganache spiced up with a little cinnamon and cayenne pepper.  I thought the spices would be a nice aftertaste in contrast to the sweet pumpkin frosting. 

Here's to a double-treat Saturday!  Hope your weekend is off to a sweet start :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Vegan MoFo #7: Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Happy Friday!  Who wants a special Fall inspired smoothie this morning?  Once again, this is taste bud trickery because there's no pumpkin in the recipe.  It features garnet yams instead and it's creamy and delicious.  If you have a mega-sweet-tooth like me you'll sip this for breakfast, or you might call it a shake and have it for dessert.

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

2 frozen bananas cut into chunks
1 cup diced garnet yam
1 cup almond milk
4 medjool dates
1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch sea salt

Blend it all up in your high speed blender and enjoy.

So, this brings the first week of Vegan MoFo 2011 to a close. What a fun week!  I'm having inpirational overload from all of the awesome posts from my favorite bloggers and new blogs that I'm finding every day.  I've come across a few recipes that I might try out here sometime during MoFo.   There are so many good ideas out there.  Hope everyone has a fantastic Friday.  I'll be blogging all weekend, so stop by and say hello.