Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Gluten Free/Vegan French Toast with Sauteed Bananas

One of our favorite family treats is breakfast for dinner.  Typically we get out the waffle makers and make gf/vegan waffles, which are out of this world! Tonight I thought I would mix it up a bit and come up with a french toast recipe.  I had just made a fresh loaf of gf/vegan bread that morning, so it was a perfect time to experiment!    This was one of those recipes where I used what I had in my pantry, and it came out great!

( I apologize for not having a photo of the finished dish.  The kids had lacrosse practice and they had to eat and run out the door. )

Ingredients: MAKES 15 SLICES
4 flax eggs (4 tbs ground flax to 12 tbs water)
1 can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 c water
1 c almond milk (or whatever non dairy milk you have)
1 tbs pure vanilla extract
1 tbs cinnamon
1 tbs pure maple syrup
1 loaf of bread (we used gf) make sure it is a firm bread, soft bread will fall apart.
coconut oil for the pan

For Sauteed Bananas
2 ripe bananas
gluten free rice cereal or gluten free flour
coconut oil


In a large mixing bowl, combine the flax and the water.  Gently mix it together and then let it sit for approximately 15 minutes.  Then add the coconut milk and whisk together.  Next add the rest of the ingredients,  (not the bread), and whisk together.   

Heat up your skillet or frying pan to medium.  I put a little coconut oil in the pan so the bread wouldn't stick, you could use cooking spray or vegan butter also.  Dunk a piece of bread into the mixture and then place on the hot skillet.   Flip the bread over when the first side is browned.  Make as many slices as you like, I was able to get 15 slices out of the mix I made.

For the bananas:
Heat a frying pan to a medium high heat.  I put about 2 tsp coconut oil in the pan.  Slice the bananas down the middle and then cut in half. Roll the bananas in the rice cereal or flour.  Put the bananas in the hot pan and flip once to lightly brown both sides.

Serve two slices of french toast topped with two pieces of crispy banana.  Pour some pure maple syrup over top.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Lime Quinoa with Sprouted Tofu & Veggies

A quick, and simple summer dish!
Lime Quinoa with Sprouted Tofu & Veggies


Ingredients:
2 cups rinsed quinoa
4 cups veggie broth
1  red pepper diced
1 green pepper diced
1 large  carrot diced
1 medium onion minced
2 cloves  garlic minced
1 cup  corn
1 cup  black beans
1/2 block organic/spouted tofu cubed
3 tsp fresh cilantro chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea salt 
1/4 Cracked black pepper
1 tbs coconut oil
1/2 of a lime

Bring veggie broth to a boil, add quinoa.  Cook quinoa until liquid is absorbed.  In a saute pan, add coconut oil and garlic and cubed tofu.  Cook until lightly browned, remove from pan.  Add onions and peppers and carrot.  Saute until translucent.  Add the rest of the veggies and spices, squeeze the juice of one half of the lime into the pan with the veggies,  add the tofu back into the pan.  When quinoa is done, pour into bowl and add the tofu/veggie mixture, mix well.  Drizzle the remaining  juice of the lime over top and serve. 
 


Snack Ideas and A Raw Energy Doughnut :)

It's summer!  Around here that usually means lots of days spent by the pool, day trips to do fun activities, and also our annual 12 hour car ride to spend a week at the beach.  With all this summer fun, we need good snacks that travel well.  It's certainly easier to pick up prepackaged junk food from one of those megamart stores, and probably cheaper too.  However, I believe in putting only the best in my kid's bodies,  I don't want my kids to ingest artificial colors or chemical preservatives, which have been linked to all kinds of scary things such as ADHD and even cancer! 

Here are the snacks we eat the most.  I purchase all organic and local if possible:
  • fruit: (whatever is in season is what we stock up on)
  • dried fruit
  • smoothies
  • smoothie ice pops 
  • nuts and seeds
  • raw veggies 
  • organic tortilla chips and salsa
  • homemade hummus and bean dips
  • gluten free pretzels and crackers (organic)
  • raw granola bars and energy doughnuts
  • chocolate charlies
We've long said good bye to the popular "munchkin" doughnut holes and have replaced them with things like these:
These come from my raw snack bar recipe. Instead of making them into squares, I simply roll them into balls, making them bite size and easy to pack and travel with! Here is a link to the recipe and directions for how to make them.......they are a really tasty kid friendly snack, and they work well for summer vacation!  So, instead of jelly doughnut holes and a coffee, have one of these and a green smoothie :)   Happy Summer!


 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Facon-Bacon F.L.T. Sandwiches

I saw someone talking about tempeh bacon recently and my mouth began to water.  From that mouth watering moment on I knew I had to give it a try.  Here is my cruelty free version of the BLT...it's called the FACON LETTUCE TOMATO! 

INGREDIENTS:
1 PACKAGE TEMPEH 
1 CUP FRESHLY JUICED APPLES 
1/4 CUP PURE ORGANIC MAPLE SYRUP
2 TBS GF TAMARI
1/4 TSP CRACKED BLACK PEPPER
DASH OF CAYENNE PEPPER

SLICE THE TEMPEH VERY THIN AND MIX ALL THE INGREDIENTS TOGETHER AND POUR OVER THE TEMPEH.  COVER TIGHTLY AND STORE IN THE REFRIGERATOR FOR AT LEAST 3 HOURS, OVERNIGHT IS EVEN BETTER!

TO COOK:
IN A PAN, HEAT SOME COCONUT OIL AND BROWN THE TEMPEH ON EACH SIDE.  DRAIN ON PAPER TOWEL.  PLACE ON A COOKIE SHEET AND BAKE IN A 350 OVEN FOR ABOUT 15 MINUTE OR UNTIL DESIRED CRISPNESS OCCURS. 

For a really YUMMY gluten free take on the F.L.T, try a rice tortilla with a layer of vegan mayo, tomato and lettuce with a few strips of the facon.  Oh boy, my mouth is watering AGAIN just thinking about how good this tasted!  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vegan (m)Eatballs!

If you are looking for a good recipe that will stand up to burgers and (m)eatballs, this is the one for you.  Not only is it gluten free, but it is also VEGAN!  No animals were harmed in the making of this meal!  Did I mention is is made with veggies :)  My kids love these! I was inspired by this recipe I found on Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes, which is the best homemade gluten free burger we've tried.  I made a few changes to turn the burgers into an Italian flavored (m)eatball!

Ingredients:
makes about 12 (m)eatballs, I usually double the recipe for leftovers! 
2 handfuls baby organic spinach
2 cups cooked black beans (any bean would work)
1 cup gluten free oats
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 medium carrot grated
2 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp crushed rep pepper flakes (more or less depending on your preferences) 
1 tsp salt (optional)
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 sesame seeds

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a saute pan, saute the onion, garlic and grated carrot in water or veggie broth until soft.  In the food processor, pulse the oats a few times.  Add the oats and sauteed mixture to a bowl.  Add the spinach and the beans to the food processor and blend until smooth.  Pour the bean mixture into the oats/onion/garlic/carrot mixture, add the sesame seeds. Add the spices and herbs.  Mix until combined well.  Using wet hands, roll the mixture into balls and place on parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Bake, flipping once, until the (m)eatballs are brown. 

We have found that these are great substitutes for any recipe that calls for (m)eatballs.  Top with your favorite tomato sauce and vegan cheese, and you have a tasty meal!   These can also be made into patties and used as burgers, dropped into soup, put onto a salad, eaten as appetizers....many choices!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Give Away Winner :)

Michelle Lee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 



You won this ------------>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

<<<------------AND this

Inbox me your mailing address and it's on it's way!!

Thanks to everyone who entered!

xoxox
Kristen

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Natures Super Hero!

I mentioned on my facbebook page that when I hit 200 likes I would have another giveaway.  I am now at 201,  so I am officially late.

I was inspired by a conversation we had on The Healing Spoon facebook page for this giveaway, so I hope all those that were part of that conversation will take part in this giveaway!

The theme of this giveaway is COCONUT OIL!!  Some have tried it, some have not.  Click here to read about the MANY uses for this amazing natural gift! The winner of this giveaway will receive:


AND


So, if you would like to enter for a chance to win this, leave a comment HERE or on our FACEBOOK page.  If you leave a comment both places you will be entered twice!  Good luck!  If you haven't yet tried coconut oil for hair and skin, you will certainly fall in love with it!  Plus, it amazing in recipes as well.  I will announce the winner April 19th!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Raw snack bars




Ingredients:
12 organic mejool dates
1/2 c raw organic almonds
3/4 c organic raisins 
3/4 organic gluten free oats
1/2 c organic hemp seeds
1/2 raw pumpkin seeds
1/4 c sunflower seeds
2 tbs organic natural peanut butter
2 tsp raw agave nectar 

In a food processor, toss in the almonds and process until a meal forms.  Then toss in the dates,  (with their pits removed), and 1/2 cup raisins.  Process.  Add the agave and peanut butter and process until a chunky paste forms.  
Scrape the processed mixture into a large bowl. Add the oats, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and 1/4 raisins.   Mix well with a sturdy spoon.  Pour the mixture into two small square pans or a 9X13 in pan.  Press down on the mixture with a rubber spatula until even.  Cover and put in the refrigerator to harden.

I can't wait to have my hubby try them out......what is your favorite snack to make for the ones you love?


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Butter Bean Marinara

Easy, Vegan, Gluten Free, Delicious, and 
Kid Approved!
 Ingredients:
  • one jar of your favorite organic GF tomato marinara
  • one can Eden Foods organic butter beans, drained and rinsed.
  • 1/2 organic onion chopped
  • 1 c raw organic cashews
  • 1 tbs basil 
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy your family likes it)
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  • 1/4 c red wine (or water)
In a food processor, process the cashews until they form a meal.  Pour 1/2 c of the jar sauce into the processor with the cashews and process for about 30 seconds until combined.  Set aside.

Saute the chopped onion,  basil, salt and red pepper in 1/4 cup red wine until the onion softens.  Add the butter beans and saute for a few minutes, stirring frequently, add more wine or water if needed.

Stir in the rest of the jar sauce and cashew mixture into the bean/onion mixture and stir well.  Leave on a low heat for about 15 minutes to let the flavors incorporate.  (stirring frequently)  Serve over your favorite gluten free pasta.

We used quinoa pasta because it has a firmer bite than the rice pasta.  I also steamed some fresh organic broccoli to go along with this dinner.  The kids all really loved it!!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Animal Free -Gluten Free Lunch Ideas

I have been asked this question a few times recently so I thought I would try and put a post together giving some ideas for a vegan/whole food/plant based kid lunch.  Our lunches are also gluten free, but if you aren't ditching gluten then you can just use whatever grain you would normally use!


* (I am not getting paid in anyway to speak of the wonderfulness of the Planet Box, I just really love it!) *

First of all, I really need to tell you about the amazing lunchboxes that I bought the kids.  It is from planetbox.com and the product is amazing.  It is this stainless steel lunch kit that comes with a lunch bag to carry it in.  There are compartments for all kinds of foods.  The kit also comes with to containers, one big one small, to hold food that might otherwise spill.  On the bag there is a spot to hold a water bottle and a pocket to hold extra "stuff", (that is where I put a fresh apple for the kids).  The inside also has a spot for a cold pack.  Really, with my one daughter never able to purchase hot lunch at school, (she has Celiac), having this lunch box allowed me to send her with an amazing meal for lunch!  Oh, I forgot to mention that using this product means ZERO waste!  No baggies, no foil, no wrapping at all!  I even stick in a cloth napkin so there is no napkin waste!!


So, now that I've told you what kind of lunch box I love, let me tell you some of the things that I pack the kids for their lunch. 
 (all items are organic and gluten free unless noted otherwise)
  • peanut butter and jelly sandwich 
  • un-tuna salad sandwich 
  • black beans and rice with baked tortilla chips and container of homemade salsa to dip
  • left over stir-fry with noodles and veggies
  • mac and (no) cheese  with broccoli 
  • shepherds pie 
  • leftover pasta with veggie and tomato ragu
  • gluten free waffle with nut butter and bananas
  • baked pumpkin black bean taquitos on corn tortilla
  • spinach, romaine and bean salad (kidney, black bean, garbanzo bean, etc)  w/cucumbers and a side container of salad dressing to dip
  • apple slices or whole apple
  • baby carrots
  • pickles
  • strawberry salad (strawberries w/blueberries and walnuts)
  • roasted leftover potatoes (white and sweet potatoes w/onions)
  • raisins w/sunflower seeds 
  • air popped pop corn
  • baked tortilla chips
  • Water is their drink of choice.  I send it in a stainless steel water bottle.
*The list could go on and on!  I try to squeeze in a main dish, (sandwich, leftovers, etc..) and then throw in as many fruits and veggies as possible. Two of my kids will eat raw nuts and seeds, so I also include those too. *


What are some of your favorite kid lunch ideas?

Un-Tuna Salad

I used to really enjoy a tuna salad sandwich, I'll be honest.  However, I never enjoyed the idea of consuming dangerous amounts of mercury!  When I stopped eating animal products I never thought I would enjoy something like tuna salad again.  Well, that all changed recently!

The Un-Tuna Salad Recipe!

15 oz garbanzo beans (look for this brand in a BPA free can)
1 pickle chopped
1/2 red onion chopped
2 tbs vegan mayonnaise
1 tsp yellow mustard
sea salt and pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the garbanzo beans.  Using a fork, mash the beans until they form a lumpy consistency.  Add the chopped pickle and red onion. Stir in the mayo and salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Serve on your favorite bread or on top of a bed of greens. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Reinvented gluten free lasanga

     I don't know what it is like at your house, but dinner is one of the biggest questions of the day here.  I literally wake up thinking, "What am I going to make for dinner?". I take the responsibility of dinner pretty seriously since we have gluten free to deal with, and I want to make sure that each bite the kids take is as nutrient dense as possible, especially since it is harder to get veggies into them. 

     Some days I make something that the kids really like.  They have grown to love soup night which always includes a soup made from organic, whole food ingredients.  Black beans and brown rice is another frequently requested dinner.  I have been known to make a wicked kid friendly stir-fry too. However, there are also those nights when I totally bomb with dinner.  I made a tofu bake with veggies one night that absolutely no one, including myself, could eat.  Then there was a lentil loaf that I came up with that goes down in our family history as an EPIC failure.  I think we had peanut butter on toast that night.

     Success and failures combined, I am still amazed that my kids went along with this new way of eating. It is completely different and they had to say goodbye to all processed foods, the traditional staple of American kids!   I think honesty played a huge part in their acceptance and open minds.  They saw how sick their mother was and how it impacted the whole family.  When I told them that I truly believed eating this way would heal me and make me stronger, they were impacted. I used this same lesson to explain to them that eating plant foods would protect them and their father from future diseases too.  Children have a capacity to understand and analyze if you give them the chance!   This discussion then blossomed into the other reasons a plant based diet is so extraordinary. We talked about the impact eating local and vegan has on our world.  We were also honest about the inhumanity of eating other living things and how animals are treated so badly just so people can consume them.

So today I invented this recipe with my kids in mind.  I wanted them to sit down, after a long day at school,  and see, smell and enjoy a fabulous dinner.   I have wanted to make a gluten free lasagna for a while, but I knew it had to be carefully planned to account for the different tastes of my three kiddos.  So, here is what I came up with!  It looks cheesy and gooey BUT there it is TOTALLY vegan, no cheese here friends!


Ingredients:
Two boxes gluten free no-bake lasagna noodles
1 medium onion chopped
3 medium organic potatoes peeled and grated
3 cups organic baby spinach
1/2 package gluten free/organic tempeh crumbled
28oz chopped tomatoes , I use Pompi (look for a BPA free brand like these)
water for cooking onions and potatoes 
sea salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp garlic powder

Cheese Sauce
1 1/2 c organic rice milk (or other non dairy milk)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (make sure it is GLUTEN free)
2 tbs arrowroot starch (or corn starch)
2 tbs liquid aminos
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1 tbs lemon juice

For the lasagna filling:

In a pan, saute the onions and potatoes in water, stirring frequently and adding water when they stick to the pan.  Saute until the potatoes are tender.  Add the crumbled tempeh along with the spices and mix well.  Saute until the tempeh is well incorporated, adding water to prevent from sticking. Lastly, add the spinach to the pan and mix well.

For the cheese sauce:

Pour the milk into a sauce pan.  Heat the milk and whisk in the starch, yeast and remainder of ingredients.  WHISK very frequently until thickened.  Careful it doesn't come to a rapid boil and burn.

To construct the lasagna:

In a 9x13 pan spread some of the tomatoes on the bottom of the pan.  Put your first row of unbaked noodles down.  Spread a generous layer of the filling on top of the noodles.  Drizzle the cheese sauce over top of the potato/onion/tempeh filling.  Layer with more noodles and pour tomatoes over the noodles and add more filling and drizzle cheese sauce.  Continue with the layering.  (You won't use both boxes of noodles completely.  I had to open the second box for two more noodles, so you might use 1 box and only a few from the second box depending on which brand you purchase)  Top the lasagna with a layer of  filling and then generously pour the rest of the cheese sauce over top.  

Bake for 1 hour @ 350.

How did your transition from the SAD (standard American diet) to a plant based diet go?  What kinds of dinner conversations do you have about food?  Let me know if you make the lasagna and if your kiddos like it :)   Peace be with you!


Sunday, February 5, 2012

Steph's Curry

This weekend I prepared a delicious dish that my sister-in-law makes.  I have to say that Stephanie, (my sister-in-law), has been one of my biggest inspirations on this new vegan journey of mine.  She is a fountain of knowledge and is always supportive and helpful.  Have you ever just sat back and realized how blessed you are to have certain people in your life?  I know am really grateful for the universe bringing her to my brother, which also brought her into our family !


Okay, so If you are in the mood for a creamy and spicy curry dish, this one is for you!



Ingredients:
2 cans organic garbanzo beans
2 cans organic full fat coconut milk
1 package organic extra firm tofu (drained) and cubed
1 package frozen organic spinach (or you can use any vegetable you have on hand)
2 large organic potatoes diced
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic minced 
1 jar OR homemade mango chutney
1 jar curry paste (mild or spicy depending on what you like)
(here is a picture of the one I used)










In a large pan saute in 1/4 water: onion, garlic,tofu and 2 tsp curry paste.  Once sauteed, add the rest of the ingredients stirring frequently.  Taste the sauce and add more curry paste if you prefer it spicier. Simmer over a low burner until the sauce thickens and potatoes and beans soften.

Serve over rice with a spoonful of the mango chutney on top.


Choclate Charlies--Raw Vegan "Donut Holes"






In an attempt to serve a nutrition packed kid snack,  I scoured the world of food blogs and was inspired by many raw nutritional bar and snack recipes.  I would say that this recipe was my favorite and most inspirational.  Check out Brownie Fifteens, from an amazing blog called Healthful Pursuit

What I like about the recipes I found  is that it they contain  all raw ingredients and can be adapted to anything you have in your kitchen. Plus it contains a SUPER-FOOD, spirulina! 

Spirulina is blue-green algae and "is a powerful blood cleanser due to its rich source of chlorophyll. It contains roughly ten times the amount of chlorophyll in green vegetables per volume. Chlorophyll helps build red blood cells in the body and provides an easily absorbable form of magnesium. This combination helps oxygenate the blood stream and removes organic toxins.keep reading about spirulina here...

Here is what you will need: (I double or triple the ingredients to make extra!)

(I purchase all organic ingredients)
8 dates (remove pit)
1/2  cup raw cashews
2 tsp spirulina powder
1 tbs raw cacao nibs
1 tbs mini vegan chocolate chips
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic and gluten free rice crispy cereal

In food processor:
Process cashews until they form a meal.  Cut the dates in half and remove pits. Process dates and cashews.  Add the spirulina, nibs, chocolate chips and vanilla. Process until dough forms a ball and comes away from sides of the processor bowl.  Add the cereal and pulse a few time until it is incorporated.   Using a teaspoon, scoop some dough and then use your hand to form balls.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Here are some substitute ingredients in case you don't have the other ingredients on hand.

In place of cashews:                         In place of dates:
Sunflower seeds                                 Raisins
Walnuts                                              Figs
Almonds                                            Prunes
Peanuts                                              Dried apricots

You can also:
* use coco powder instead of chocolate chips.
* use pure maple syrup instead of vanilla
* omit the rice cereal and add some more nuts to pulse in at the end.


Not only are these super nutritious, but they are so delicious and please the palate of my most critical child.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Stuffed Cabbage with Cashew Cream Sauce

The other day I picked up a beautiful organic head of green cabbage.  I didn't have a plan when I bought it and it has just been hanging out in my refrigerator waiting for me to decide on a plan. I love the days when I open my fridge and get inspired by an ingredient, kind of makes me feel all "Iron Chef-like", minus the butchering of animals, that is.

There really isn't much I miss being  vegan. I LOVE all the food I make and feel great about my lifestyle choice to not consume animal products.   However, I must confess that I do get a craving for  classic comfort food now and then, something bubbly and cheesy.  I have sampled some of the nondairy cheeses and they really don't do it for me.  So while I was staring at this cabbage, and longing for something comforting and "cheesy", I decided I would make stuffed cabbage with a luscious cashew cream sauce, and here is what I did:

I couldn't get a good picture.....but trust me, it's SO GOOD!!!

Ingredients:
Stuffed Cabbage:  MAKES 8 ROLLS (double the recipe if you want more rolls)
One head of organic green cabbage
1 package of Light life organic wild rice tempeh
1 large organic onion chopped
1 clove garlic minced
2 organic carrots chopped
1 28 oz container of chopped tomatoes (I use these because they aren't in a can) 
red wine
water

Cashew Cream Sauce: 
1/2 c raw organic cashews
2 c non dairy milk (I used rice)
1/4  c nutritional yeast
1 tbs corn starch 
1/4 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp liquid amino

Preheat oven to 375

Core the cabbage and place into boiling water for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes remove the cabbage and place into cold water to stop cooking.  Gently peel the leaves off the head of cabbage and set aside on a towel to dry. You will need 8 leaves. Keep the rest of the cabbage for salad, juicing or whatever you can think of!  

In a saute pan heat up 1/4 c water and saute the onion and garlic until soft.  Add the carrots and CRUMBLE the tempeh into the pan. Add 1 cup  of the tomatoes.   Add 1/4 c red wine and saute, mixing to coat all the ingredients in the wine.  Add more wine or water if the mixture begins to stick.  Cook until all the ingredients are soft and cooked.

In your 9x13in pan, spread a layer of tomatoes in their juices on the bottom of the pan.  Reserve some of the tomatoes to top the rolls.

Take a cabbage leaf and spread out.  Place about 1/4 -1/2 cup of the tempeh mixture into the center of the leaf. Roll the leaf and fold the ends under.  Place the roll in the pan SEAM side DOWN.  Repeat until you have 8 rolls or used up all your filling.

For the sauce:
In a sauce pan put the milk and whisk in the corn starch. Bring to a boil and simmer until thick.

In a food processor or blender put the cashews.  Blend until the cashews are broken down.  Add the nutritional yeast, onion powder, mustard powder, salt and pepper.  Blend well.  Add the milk mixture to the processor and blend well, you may need to scrape down the sides a few times to get all the cashew mixture.  Add the lemon juice and aminos, blend again until smooth.

Pour the cream mixture evenly over the rolls.  There will be quite a bit of sauce in the pan.  Top the rolls with the remainder of the tomatoes. 

Bake for about 30 minutes and serve immediately.

The sauce on the rolls, combined with the tomatoes, was OUT OF THIS WORLD!  It reminded me of ricotta cheese but SO MUCH TASTIER, (and BONUS, it's not from an animal of course)

My non-vegan parents came for dinner and loved this recipe.  I felt sort of foolish during dinner because every time I took a bite I said, "Oh my goodness, this is so yummy"....really, I hope you like it as much as I did!  I look forward to leftovers!!

Gluten Free/Vegan Carrot Cake w/ Cream "Cheese" Frosting (and a note about gluten free flour)

Baking is one of my favorite things to do now that I feel more comfortable with gluten free flours. As much as I love it, I really try to reserve desserts for special occasions since I am trying to lose weight.  Yesterday my youngest brother and his girlfriend came to dinner so I thought that was a "special  occasion" that warranted baking something yummy! 



Gluten Free Carrot Cake:

(THIS RECIPE PRODUCES A MOIST CAKE!)

2 c gluten free flour mix*
2/3 c non dairy milk of choice (I used rice)
1/4 c organic coconut oil (melted)
3/4 c homemade organic apple sauce**
3/4 c raw sugar or palm sugar
2 tsp organic pure vanilla extract
1 1/2  tsp organic ground cinnamon (more if you love cinnamon )
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
2 c grated organic carrots (I put them in my food processor)

Preheat oven to 350
grease a 9x13 baking dish
Whisk together milk, oil, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, cinnamon  until mixed well.

In another bowl combine flour, salt and baking powder.

Fold the dry into the wet ingredients but DO NOT OVER MIX.  Once wet and dry are combined, fold in the carrots.  Pour the mix into a sprayed baking pan.

NOTE: If your mix seems very wet, mix in 1/4 c flour.  You want the mix to be smooth and on the thicker side,  but not watery.  If it seems too dry, mix in 1/4 c non dairy milk.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the cake.  COOL completely before frosting.  This will be a dense, moist cake!


Frosting:
Combine 1/2 cup earth balance vegan butter, 2  cups confectioners sugar, 2 tsp vanilla, 2 tbs vegan cream cheese and 2 tbs water.  Mix with a mixer on low speed until you end with a whipped frosting.  Smooth out over the COOLED cake.

Put cake into the fridge for about an hour to chill.

**for apple sauce, cut up three peeled organic apples and put them in the food processor until they become apple sauce-----SUPER EASY AND FRESH!  (you can use store bought if you like)

*Gluten Free Flour Mix**
I make a BIG batch of flour mix.  Here is how I make mine:


3 c organic brown rice flour
3 c organic white rice flour
1 1/2 c tapioca flour
1 1/2 c arrowroot flour
1 1/2 c potato starch  (I have also used corn starch in a pinch!) 
1 tbs sea salt
2 tbs guar gum
Make sure you mix it very well before storing it in a container.  I store mine in the refrigerator.  I use this when a recipe calls for regular flour.


A note about gluten free flour
It took me a LONG time to find a baking mix that worked for my recipes.  I don't think that I have tried all the combinations, but after reading endless books and articles I decided that I like this one FOR NOW.  I used it through the holidays for cookies and other desserts and breakfast treats.  I would encourage you to pick up as many different gluten free cookbooks as you can and sample the different flours.

I have learned to keep the following flours, starches and seeds on hand at all times:
brown rice flour
white rice flour
garbanzo bean flour
Bob's red mill all purpose flour
Tapioca flour/starch
potato flour
potato starch
corn starch
arrowroot flour
quinoa to make my own flour
quinoa flakes
raw almonds to make my own almond meal 
flax seeds (can be ground as needed)
chia seeds (can be ground as needed)
guar gum
xantham gum

Gluten free is definitely a learning experience. There were many times when my family would try out a recipe and give it a thumbs down.  Don't get discouraged if you are new to it.  I promise it won't take long until you make tasty food that won't hurt your gluten sensitive body!

Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Positive Affirmation Monday

If You Want to Sing Out
Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) 


Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are

And if you want to live high, live high
And if you want to live low, live low
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are


You can do what you want
The opportunity's on
And if you can find a new way
You can do it today
You can make it all true
And you can make it undo
you see ah ah ah
its easy ah ah ah
You only need to know

Well if you want to say yes, say yes
And if you want to say no, say no
'Cause there's a million ways to go
You know that there are

And if you want to be me, be me
And if you want to be you, be you
'Cause there's a million things to do
You know that there are

Well, if you want to sing out, sing out
And if you want to be free, be free
'Cause there's a million things to be
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are
You know that there are



Sunday, January 15, 2012

Baked Quinoa Falafel with Cashew-Dill Sauce

This is one of my favorites to make!  The recipe idea began when I was trying to make a type of meatless meatball to go over pasta when we first went vegan.  It didn't work out in that dish because when the "balls" got soaked in sauce they fell apart, (but did taste AWESOME).  Anyway, what is the old saying...if you have lemons make lemonade?  So, here goes:

Gotta love the GARBANZO!!!!!!
Quiona Falafel                                                                   
2 cups cooked organic quiona
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans
1 organic onion (rough-chopped)
1 roasted red pepper (rough-chopped)
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 c nutritional yeast2 tbs lemon juice
1 tbs tamari (GF)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 -1/2 c gluten free flour (or flour) 


Preheat oven to 425
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.


In the food processor put the garbanzo beans, onion,  pepper and garlic.  Process until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients,  EXCEPT FLAX SEED, and process until blended.  You should have a thick and smooth mixture. 

In a mixing bowl combine the quiona and garbanzo bean mixture.  Mix with a rubber spatula until well combined. Add the flax seed and flour and mix again.  If the mixture is still very moist add more flour until well combined and slightly less moist.  (If too dry add a tablespoon of water at a time to moisten)  Sample the mixture to check for proper seasoning and add salt/pepper as needed.  Using your hands, take a well rounded tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a well rounded ball.  Place the balls onto the parchment paper.

Bake for about 10-15 minutes.  Check to see if bottom is browned.  If browned, flip.  If not, flip the balls when they brown and continue baking for about 10-15 minutes more.  Once the balls are browned and baked through they are done.  The actual cooking time will vary depending on how moist the mixture was.

Cashew-Dill Sause

1/2 c raw organic cashews
1 garlic clove
2 tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp tamari
1 1/2 tsp dill
sprinkle of salt and pepper
2 tbs water

Put all ingredients in food processor.  Blend until creamy and smooth.  You may need to add more water to thin out a bit.  Taste for proper seasoning, I tend to under salt!

Serving idea:
Romaine lettuce leaves
Cucumber

Spread the cashew-dill sauce on a lettuce leaf.  Add a cut up a cucumber slice and a falafel ball and roll up..............ENJOY a flavor party in your mouth!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Time to Make a Change? (and a giveaway :)

Here we are once again, only a few hours away from a new year.  Everyone you talk to speaks of changes they want to make in their lives.  How many of those do you actually make?  How many of those changes do you actually keep? 

As those of you know who visit my blog or my facebook page, my life has seen some substantial dietary and lifestyle changes over the past year.  My plan is to continue with my healthy lifestyle and also challenge myself a bit more.  In 2012 my goal is to eliminate sugar completely from my diet and to increase my green vegetables.   I'm sure this will be incredibly challenging since I am a sugar addict, but I hope and pray that this time next year I will be able to report success!

So, my question to you:  What changes do you plan on making this year to your diet or lifestyle? Do you have a health challenge you would like to overcome through diet?  Leave me a comment below and let me know your plan and your comment will enter you into my first and last giveaway for 2011 :)

What better a book and resource to have than The China Study to make your choice to follow a plant based diet towards health and wellness. 

 Here is my giveaway:   
The China Study
by T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II 
"The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-term Health"


The winner will be chosen at random and posted here on my blog on  January 14th!   
Rules:  Only one comment per person will be counted in the giveaway....
GOOD LUCK!

My wish for you is a New Year of love, light and excellent health.  
Happy New Year!! 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tortilla Lasagna (vegan/Gluten Free)

Yummmmm! .....enough said!



Ingredients:

Corn tortillas
jar of favorite ORGANIC tomato sauce or homemade 
1 pkg gluten free brown/wild rice tempeh chopped into crumbles
2 cups black beans
2 medium tomatoes diced
1 large onion diced
2 cups kale or spinach (I used frozen organic spinach)
2 tbs tamari (or soy sauce make sure gf if you need it to be)
2 tsp cumin2 tsp chili powder
dash salt & pepper
dash of cayenne

For tofu "cheese"
1/2 block extra firm tofu dried
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbs liquid aminos
1/2 tsp garlic powder
 
 Filling:
In a pan saute onion in water or white wine.  Once onion is translucent add tamari, tomatoes, black beans, kale/spinach and tempeh.  Add all the spices and continue over medium heat until mixture is browned.  You may need to add water or white wine while browning to keep from sticking.  Once mixture is done set aside.

Tofu Cheese:
In a mixing bowl break up the half block of tofu into small crumbles.  Add the liquid aminos, garlic powder and nutritional yeast.  Using your hands, mix until tofu takes on a yellowish color.

In your 8x12 baking dish cover the bottom with enough tomato sauce to coat.  Layer the bottom with the corn tortillas, you can cut a tortilla in half to fill in spaces if needed.  Once you have your first layer of tortillas, spoon some of the filling over the tortillas, then sprinkle some of the tofu cheese, then spread out sauce over the top.  Cover with a layer of tortillas and repeat the filling, cheese and sauce.  Repeat as many times for as many layers as you wish to have.  On the final layer cover the tortillas with sauce and sprinkle any remaining tofu cheese and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast.

Bake on 350 for about 25 minutes or until hot all the way through.