Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spicy Vegan Chili With Cashew Cream

Chili: Step One
2 cups of dried kidney beans
2 cups of dried red beans
1 tbsp sea salt

Chili: Step Two
1 small onion diced
6 small garlic cloves diced
1 small jalapeno diced (or to taste)
6 sun-dried tomatoes diced
1 large sweet potato cubed
1 27 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
1 27 oz can crushed tomatoes
4-5 sprigs of fresh cilantro
2 tsp real mapyle syrup
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cloves (my secret ingredient, it makes this chili really addictive!)

Cashew Cream Topping:
1 cup of soaked raw cashews
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of water (or more)

The night before put all your dried beans in bowl with twice as much water. Let them soak for a minimum of 8 hours. Rinse them well with luke warm water to remove the toxins and digestive inhibitors. Put them in a large soup pot again with twice as much water, bring them to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 2-3 hours to soften them up nicely. Stir every few minutes, you may need to add more water.

When the beans are nice and soft, add the rest of the ingredients except the cilantro. If you want a mild chili I recommend eliminating the jalapeno and using 1/8 tsp of the cayenne pepper. I love spicy but I added a half teaspoon and we were all sweating here! lol Add more water if needed to make sure there is 3-4 inches above the veggies. Bring to a boil then reduce to a slow simmer, again stirring often to make sure there is enough water. Let simmer for 2-3 hours. You can add some cilantro just before serving or just use it as a garnish in your bowls.

For the topping, (make sure to soak the cashews for 2-6 hours, you can start them soaking once you start cooking the beans) add all the cashew cream ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. Store this in the fridge for an hour prior to eating. You can eat it right away too, but it's nice to let it chill a bit first. You meat eaters can easily brown some CLEAN ground beef with the onion and garlic to add to the chili! Serve your chili with some organic corn chips and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Zucchini Noodle Salad With Sun-Dried Tomato Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Today my spiralizer arrived and I was so excited I had to use it right away! Let me tell you, if you are wanting to make zucchini noodles this is the way to go. It makes it so easy to zip out some noodles and it is easy to clean up. And so much less dangerous for your fingers than a mandolin. The great thing is you can get one for about $35. Mine is going to get a lot of use! You can make noodles from squash, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, it also slices and makes curly fries. It's well worth the money! I received mine as a birthday present and I'm pretty happy about that!

4 sun-dried tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp real maple syrup
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
4 tbsp water

2-3 handfuls of mixed baby greens
1 handful of match stick carrots
2 sprigs of cilantro
2-3 sliced mushrooms
1 half slice of red onion
1 half of a zucchini

For the dressing, simply add all the ingredients into a blender and blend till emulsified. Alternately you can mince the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and mix by hand in a shaker or in a bowl. If the zucchini is organic leave the skin on and just wash it well, if it's not I wash then peel it. Then run the zucchini through the spiralizer or julienne it with a mandolin for nice long spaghetti type noodles. Put your salad ingredients onto a plate putting your noodles on top and drizzle with the dressing. This serves one large salad or two small dinner salads. The dressing will be enough for two large salads. I always store mine in a glass container in the fridge for my next salad. It will keep for a few days.

Balsamic vinaigrette is one of my favorite dressingss, but can easily make this salad and use any kind of dressing. I also think a creamy dill dressing would be amazing on it!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Summer Squash Stir Fry with Socca Bread (Gluten-Free)

Stir Fry:
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves diced
2 tbsp gluten-free tamari
1 summer squash sliced
5-6 button mushrooms sliced
1 small jalapeno sliced
handful of carrot matchsticks
handful or two of fresh baby spinach
2 sprigs of fresh cilantro
sprinkle of veggie seasoning
sprinkle of sesame seeds

Socca Bread:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup water
2 tbsp flax seed
2 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tsp sea salt
sprinkle of fresh cracked pepper

The great thing about stir fry is that you can pretty much toss in anything you have on hand. I was craving a mix of veggies that I love to order when I eat at an Asian fusion type of restaurant so I tossed these things together with some socca bread and yum!

You'll want to start with the socca bread first. I had some sprouted chickpea flour that I made handy. Otherwise you can find it at health food stores or online at Amazon. My socca came out a bit thicker than traditional socca, since I made my own flour it was not quite as fine as store bought, but it was really tasty! I like it browned and crispy. The thinner the better! You'll want to mix your water with the flour about a half hour before you start making it to let it absorb a bit. Then mix the rest of the ingredients together but hold 1 tbsp of sesame oil. Heat your skillet (best with an iron skillet if you have one) with 1 tbsp of oil. You'll want your batter pretty thin. When your skillet is hot, pour the batter in spreading it around filling the entire pan like a giant pancake. It's pretty much like cooking a pancake. It will bubble a bit and start to brown. Let it cook for 5-10 minutes till it's toasty brown then very carefully flip it. Toast the other side for another 5-10 minutes. Once it's a bit crispy it's done! Repeat with the rest of the batter. Alternately you can use an iron skillet in the oven, baking it, then turning on the broiler for a few to brown it. You'll get about 3-4 large socca breads out of this recipe.

For the stir fry, start with a tbsp of sesame oil and, when the pan is hot, toss in the garlic and tamari, let that cook until the garlic is soft and starting to brown a bit, add the rest of the veggies and cilantro, and let it cook, stirring frequently till the veggies are tender-crisp. Remove from heat and serve with the socca, top with toasted sesame seeds & veggie seasoning. The stir fry recipe serves one as the main entree.

Chocolate Creme Pie - Dairy & Gluten Free

2 cups of soaked raw cashews
1/2 cup of water
4 heaping tbsp raw cacao powder (chocolate)
3 tbsp real maple syrup (I use grade B)
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 cup of soaked and dried raw walnuts
1/2 cup of raw oats (alternately, oat or almond flour)
4 medjool dates soaked
1 tsp vanilla

Whipped Topping:
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup of almond milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla

Soak and dry your walnuts ahead of time. You can either dry them in a dehydrator or on low heat in the oven. Keep the temp under 115 degrees if you want to keep it raw. Or toast them at 350 for about 15 mins or till they are slightly browned. When they are wet I sprinkle a bit of sea salt over them.

Soak the cashews for a minimum of two hours, 4-6 preferably. Also, soak the dates for at least an hour to re-hydrate them a bit. After soaking, add the cashews and the water (I use the soak water from the dates) to the blender and puree till smooth and creamy. You may need more or less water, but add just a little at a time, you don't want it too soupy. Add the cacao, maple syrup and salt and blend till ingredients are mixed well.

In a food processor, add the pitted dates and pulse a few times. Don't forget they have pits, like me, and wonder what is so loud when you start to pulse them! :) Add the nuts, vanilla and oats and pulse a few times till everything is mixed and forms nicely when squeezed. Press the crust mixture into a pie dish, then scoop in the chocolate creme filling and toss in the freezer to let it set.

For the topping, add all the ingredients to a blender and puree until smooth and creamy. Spoon over pie and put in the freezer till you're ready to serve. Let it sit for at least an hour. I also chopped up some vegan chocolate to sprinkle on top as a garnish. You can keep this in the freezer to keep it firm. 

This is a yummy, creamy treat that you can feel a bit less guilty eating. It is a raw dessert, and all the ingredients are nutritious. It still has a lot of calories though so you can't pig out, but it is a healthy indulgence. Cashews, walnuts, dates, raw 100% cacao and even the grade B real maple syrup all have nutritional benefits. Personally I love the fact that I can eat a decadent dessert that is not empty calories! This recipe was inspired by the many amazing raw vegan desserts created by Emily at This Rawesome Vegan Life. Check out her site for her beautiful, tasty looking recipes!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Cashew Cheese

1 cup of raw cashews soaked (for a couple hours at least)
2 tbsp gluten-free tamari
2 tbsp water
1/2 lemon juice
2 small garlic cloves
2 slices red onion
5 sun-dried tomatoes diced
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp cumin
pinch of sea salt

Add all ingredients except tomatoes to a blender and blend till creamy, add tomatoes and pulse a few times to chop and mix them so they are a little bit chunky. Eat as a spread on crackers, tortilla chips or as a spread on a wrap or dip your veggies in it! This is a very flavorful, dairy free, creamy spread! Add more or less of the garlic and onion to suit your taste. This is delicious right away, but it's best letting it sit in the fridge for a day to let the flavors blend and to thicken. You can add more liquid and blend more to make this super creamy and smooth like sour cream also! It's great either way. The key here is to use raw cashews and let them soak for a minimum of 2 hours, preferably overnight, 6-8 hours is best. Drain the liquid off and give them a quick rinse and toss them in the blender with your other ingredients.

Guilt & Gluten-Free Spaghetti With Zucchini Noodles

This is a pretty basic recipe, but instead of regular, empty calorie, carb filled noodles, I substitue for much healthier zucchini noodles! I still do noodles once in a while, but I do organic, whole grain, gluten free pasta like quinoa or brown rice. They are higher in nutrition than regular wheat pastas, but still are heavy in carbs. Zucchini noodles remove the guilt and are delicious, especially since I love spaghetti!

Now, I am not a calorie counter, I eat for nutrition, but here is a comparison of calories- 1 cup of zucchini has about 30 calories, 1 cup of regular spaghetti noodles is about 220. That is a HUGE difference. Zucchini also has a lot of health benefits, it is very high in vitamin A, B6, and C, it is also high in potassium, fiber and water. I can eat about one medium zucchini cut into noodles with sauce. I think it is fairly safe to plan for about 1 zucchini per person for the average eater when planning a larger meal.

1 jar of your favorite organic spaghetti sauce
10 button mushrooms sliced
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 of a medium onion diced
1 tsp dried basil or a couple sprigs of fresh
1 tbsp coconut, safflower or other high heat tolerant oil

3-4 medium to large zucchini's

Add the oil, onion & garlic to the pan and saute on medium heat until tender. Add mushrooms and saute for about 5-10 minutes until they start to reduce in size. (a healthy tip I learned from The Detoxonista's blog.. instead of adding more oil to the pan if you need more liquid, add a splash of water instead to keep the amount of oil lower) Add sauce and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes to blend flavors and reduce the liquid. Prepare your zucchini noodles while sauce is simmering. You can make your noodles with a spiralizer or julienne them with a mandolin which is what I do currently, or you can cut them all by hand if you don't have either. If you love pasta I highly recommend investing in a spiralizer, you can get one from Amazon for about $35.

When your sauce is ready, toss in the noodles and fresh basil, mix gently. I find tongs to be the best way to manipulate the zucchini pasta. Let this simmer for 5-10 minutes, as soon as the pasta is warm it is ready! You can cook it longer if you like, but I prefer mine crisp and not mushy so I only let it cook long enough to get warm and soften the noodles. They should be "al dente". Zucchini contains a lot of water, so you'll want to keep that in mind anytime you cook them. Cooking them less helps, and making sure your sauces are thicker also helps. They are tasty, pliable like regular pasta, you can spin them around your fork, sauces cling to them nicely, and they are a bit crispy. Caution! You just might get addicted to these once you try them. I know I am, I am so happy I discovered them in my searches for healthy recipes!

I try to eat a least 75-80% raw. Some days I eat fully raw, and other days I will have one meal cooked. After a lot of research on both raw and cooked foods I feel that there are benefits to both. A lot of nutrients are depleted with cooking, but then there are some that are increased, like lycopene in tomatoes, calcium absorption from spinach, the anti-oxidants in broccoli to name a few. I feel to keep things in balance, both cooked and raw are beneficial. Raw has so much to offer with the enzymes, so it's really important to eat plenty of raw fruits and veggies!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Miso Sesame Dressing - Massaged Swiss Chard Salad

This recipe is adapted from Choosing Raw's Outstanding Miso Sesame Dressing's recipe. I had some beautiful rainbow Swiss chard waiting to be eaten. Swiss chard, like kale can be a bit tough when raw so many people make what's called a "massaged kale salad" to help soften it and make it more palatable when raw.  So I went looking for a good dressing to make with the ingredients I had on hand and came across this recipe and YUM! I made some minor changes due to my preferences and on hand ingredients.

1/4 cup chick pea miso (regular mellow white miso works too!)
1/4 cup tahini
1/2" knob of fresh ginger (minced if you don't have a good blender)
1 garlic cloves
pinch of Himalayan salt
1/2 cup water

1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard (or kale)
2 carrots diced
1 medium tomato diced
1/2 zucchini diced
2-3 small sweet red, orange, yellow peppers sliced
sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds

Toss all the dressing ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth and creamy. You can add more or less water to make it the desired consistency. I like mine a bit thick. Alternately you could mince the ginger and garlic and mix by hand. 

For the salad, you'll want to de-stem the Swiss chard, tear it into bite size pieces, dice or matchstick the carrots, slice the peppers, dice tomato and toss them in the bowl with the chard. Scoop on your dressing, making sure not to put on too much. I personally do not like my salads to swim in a thick dressing, yuck! Then mix to coat, wash your hands and dig in to rub the leaves, this softens them. You can serve this immediately or store it in the fridge and eat it later.

Not sure exactly what miso is? It is a fermented bean paste traditionally used in Miso soup. Fermented foods are highly beneficial to our diet. They provide us with beneficial bacteria and are a natural way to add probioctics to our bodies. They can aid in digestion, nutrient absorption and they are a natural way to preserve foods. Here is just one site on fermented food benefits. There are lots of different fermented foods out there.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mushroom Basil Veggie Pizza - Dairy, Gluten & Egg Free

I know... pizza without cheese... I watched my daughter eat it that way for years and thought she was crazy. But now that I am dairy free, I still enjoy pizza! The key for me is lots of good sauce, garlic, mushrooms, fresh basil and a crunchy tasty thin crust! Here I used purple basil so it looks dark in the photos but it's so yummy! I also love artichokes on my pizza, spinach, olives, really there isn't veggie I don't like! This is a personal pan size pizza so it serves only one. To make a larger pizza you could just double the crust recipe and toppings.

1 cup millet flour
1/2 cup oats or oat flour
1 tbsp ground flax
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (not active yeast and this is optional)
1 tsp sea salt
1 sprig of minced fresh rosemary
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water (more or less)

organic spaghetti or pizza sauce
1 sliced fresh tomato (sundried would be delish!)
1/2 cup of sliced marinated mushrooms
1 slice red onion
1 small sliced sweet yellow or red pepper
1-2 sprigs of fresh basil

Marinated Mushrooms
1/2 cup of sliced mushrooms
1/8 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/8 cup of gluten free tamari
1-2 minced garlic cloves

I make my crust in a food processor but you can easily do this by hand. A food processor makes mixing the dough really quick and easy. To start, add the dry ingredients, the flour, oats, flax and salt, I add whole oats and it chops them a bit, rather nicely, Add the rosemary and pulse a couple times to mix it. Then add the olive oil, vinegar and water and mix on slow until the dough starts to ball up. You want to start out with just the 1/4 cup of water, if your dough is not balling up then add more water at a tablespoon or two at a time. You don't want soupy dough. When it's balled up, remove it, kneed it a few times to make a nice ball. You can then roll it out on flour if you like, but if you are lazy like me, then you can toss some flour in a non-stick pan, put the ball of dough in the center and press it out with your fingers. This is quick and easy and less mess. Bake at 325 on a convection setting if you have one, for about 20-30 minutes till it's just about to get crispy. I use an 8 inch non-stick cake pan and bake this in my toaster oven. No sense heating up a huge oven unless you are making more than one or are making a large size! After the crust is baking I slice the mushrooms and add the other marinade ingredients so they can marinate a few minutes. If you've ever tried making your own pizza, you know that when adding fresh mushrooms they sometimes end up a bit dry, this helps them stay moist. Then I slice up the rest of veggies and wait for the crust.

What is nutritional yeast? It is a yeast that is grown on sugar cane and then heat treated to deactivate it. It is a source of protein and really high in B complex vitamins and is a staple in a vegan diet. It also has a really cheesy flavor. It can be used in about any recipe that requires a cheesy flavor.

After baking the crust, add your marinara sauce and veggies, strain the liquid off the mushrooms, add those and the garlic to your pizza. You can always re-use the marinade (or make it into a home made salad dressing by adding some oil & water) Hold the basil until until the last few minutes of baking. Bake this at 350 on a regular setting for about 10-15 minutes then add the basil. Bake another 5-10 minutes and voila! The crust comes out really dense and crispy. I like millet flour and oats, but you can try other gluten free flours. Bob's Redmill has many different kinds of flours and a gluten-free pizza dough mix (not organic that I've seen though). Click the photos for a close up!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Spicy Black Bean Dip

2 cans of drained organic black beans (be sure and squeeze out extra liquid)
1 7oz. can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 fresh seeded, red chili pepper (this is optional, if you want a more mild dip then I suggest leaving this out)
4 red, yellow, orange mini sweet peppers
1/4 red onion
4-5 cloves of fresh garlic
1 medium tomato
4-5 sprigs of fresh cilantro
1-2 fresh limes juiced
Himalayan salt to taste

Add the peeled garlic cloves to your food processor and pulse a few times to mince the garlic, add onion and pulse to dice, add cilantro and pulse a few more times, add fresh peppers and tomatoes and pulse a couple times once again for a salsa like consistency. Add one can of drained black beans and blend until thick and creamy. Add the second can and the can of chipotle peppers and pulse a few times so you have a creamy but slightly chunky texture. If you want it really smooth you can just run it longer till it is completely smooth and creamy. I kinda like getting a chunky bite of the peppers, they have so much flavor! Pair this with your favorite organic corn chip and garnish with some fresh diced tomato and cilantro. This makes quite a bit so it would be perfect for a gathering. The chipotle peppers add a lot of flavor. They are the only thing that was not organic that I added to this, but the ingredients were all simple whole food ingredients. Alternately you could add sun-dried re-hydrated peppers for that deep flavor. You would want to soak the dried peppers in just enough water to cover them till they are soft and drain the liquid before adding. Enjoy!

Chocolate, Coconut, Banana Pudding

Real pudding does not come from a box! :) This is a tasty non-dairy, creamy, chocolaty treat kids would love as well as adults. It's fresh and delicious! Coconut is extremely good for you. Here is a good article on the benefits of coconut.

3 bananas
1 young Thai coconut meat
1/4 cup coconut water
3 tbsp cacao powder
3 tsp hemp seeds or nut butter (optional)

Open your fresh coconut and pour the water into a container to store. Measure out 1/4 cup and add to blender. For the left over, you can drink it or save it and use it in cooking or smoothies. I use mine in smoothies instead of milk to help facilitate blending. Scoop out coconut meat into blender, then add the rest of the ingredients and  blend until smooth and creamy. I do not add any sweetener, the bananas sweeten it enough for me, but if desired you can add some honey, maple syrup, liquid stevia or even a couple dates for that extra sweetness. Then sprinkle with some coconut flakes for garnish if desired and enjoy!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Noodles - Mushroom Stroganoff

I used to make homemade beef-mushroom  stroganoff on a fairly regular basis. It was a favorite around here, and still is with the meat, dairy lovers. Since I love the creamy mushroom sauce, I decided to try coming up with a vegan version and was extremely happy with my results!

This is a pretty simple raw dish really, but very tasty! The sauce after a warm marinating period, becomes like a creamy mushroom soup! You could easily just make the sauce and add more water, the mushrooms and onions and let it marinade for a raw creamy mushroom soup! And you could easily substitute the hemp for soaked cashews, and this sauce would be great over a quinoa or brown rice pasta or kelp noodles. This serves 2, or one really hungry person!

1/4 cup hemp seeds (alternately you could used soaked cashews)
1/4 cup tamari
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp tahini (optional)
2 tbsp water
Sprinkle of cracked pepper

2 large zucchinis
1/8 cup diced red onion
10 button mushrooms

Add all of the sauce ingredients to your blender and puree till smooth and creamy. It should be a bit thick. Slice mushrooms and dice onion and toss them in a bowl with the sauce while you make the "noodles" to start the flavors combining. Use a spiralizor or mandolin and julienne the zuchinni in long narrow strips like spaghetti. Toss noodles into the bowl and mix together. Now, you could eat this just as is, it's already delicious! But it gets even better if you let it marinate for a while. I made mine early and let it marinate in the dehydrator at 105 degrees for about two hours. You can just take it out and eat it at any time after an hour! It's warm but still raw since nothing was heated above 115 degrees! Just like in cooking, the veggies shrink and it makes more liquid which tastes like cream of mushroom soup!

Now, if you don't have a dehydrator, you can still marinate it without the heat. Just put it in the fridge for at least an hour, then gently warm it on the stove top prior to eating. If you have a toaster oven with really low settings, you can marinade it in there in a glass bowl, set at 100 degrees. You do not want to go over 115 degrees.

Photos: Top - Left overs! I ate had some left over so I stored it in the refrigerator and ate it the next day. Middle - Just after mixing and assembling all ingredients. Bottom Left - after marinating in the dehydrator for about two hours. Bottom right - close up of left overs. (click images for a closer look!)