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.