Wednesday, September 25, 2013

savory carrot and rosemary pancakes

little tiny carrots from a friend's garden

I am getting a little creative in the kitchen today. This post may not be for everyone; I can be pretty daring with food and I know that freaks some people out. If you are one of those people, I won't be offended if you don't continue reading, or think to yourself, "gross, I'm never making these." I think savory pancakes are pretty strange too. But the reason this recipe came along was buckwheat flour. I had bought the buckwheat flour to make my mint chocolate truffles, and I've been wanting to make buckwheat pancakes ever since. But we don't really eat pancakes for breakfast, we hardly even eat breakfast together at all! And I'm not really big on having something sweet for dinner, I think its kind of weird. So, the savory pancakes were born.

Its really just your basic vegan pancake, with a twist. I figured that you can add fruit to sweet pancakes, so why can't you add veggies to savory pancakes? It turns out there are no rules when it comes to cooking (well, hardly any), you can throw together just about whatever you want, whatever you have on hand, and make up a name for it. I do it all the time, trust me. How were recipes invented anyway?

So, for the pancakes:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal with 3 Tbsp water
  • 1 cup nondairy milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • small handful chopped fresh parsley 
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper if you desire
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp water

Whisk together the flaxseed meal and 3 Tbsp water and set aside for a few minutes. Sift the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl. Add milk and flaxseed meal mixture, mix thoroughly, try to get rid of any lumps. Add carrots, herbs, and water, mix.

p.s. I did not use the little tiny carrots

In a hot pan or skillet melt 1/2 tsp vegan butter. I never had to re-grease my pan so that is all I used. Pour batter into pan, let cook about 2 to 3 minutes or until little holes start to appear on the top, flip and cook another minute.

I sauteed some rainbow chard with garlic and made my vegan cheese sauce to go on top. It was amazing! They are very filling, but have tons of good nutrients, whole grains, and bursting with flavor!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

cacao + quinoa bars

Now that I am in school, I'm getting comfortable in a new routine. This means my eating routine has become more regular as well. On school days, its always the same; breakfast before I leave the house, a snack after my first class, lunch break, a snack on the way home, and dinner around 7. Its nice to know when I'm going to eat, and planning out what it is going to be.

With my "snack times" scheduled out for me, I really look forward to them! I am such a dork. A dork that is obsessed with good food! So, I have made yet another bar for on the go, cacao + quinoa bars. These puppies are loaded with protein from the quinoa and hemp seeds, fiber from oats, and natural sweet chocolatey goodness from dates, raw cacao, and maple syrup. I love knowing what all the ingredients are, that there are no added colors, emulsifiers, or preservatives. And all the nutrients come in their natural state, not fortified or enriched.

  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • 7 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • shredded coconut for garnish

Combine cooked quinoa, hemp seeds, and cacao powder in a large bowl.

Blend the oats quickly so they are coarsely chopped. You don't want them blended into a flour but you also don't want them all in whole pieces. Add the oats to the quinoa. Next, blend the dates and maple syrup in blender or food processor until smooth. I usually soak my dates first, because I keep them in the fridge and they are hard to blend otherwise. Just a few minutes in hot water does the trick! Add the date mixture to the quinoa mixture. Combine thoroughly. 

Line a square 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper and fill it with the chocolatey quinoa mass. Use a spatula to press the mixture firmly into the dish, you want to compress it as much a possible. Sprinkle some shredded coconut on top and press that in as well. Bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes.  I have also had these the same way but without baking them, just refrigerate for a while before cutting, but they don't stick together quite as well. 

Transfer onto a cutting board and cut into squares! Store in refrigerator, and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

lentil+radish+rosemary salad

What a nice combination. It sounds elegant, and rustic, yet fresh. And it is. I was actually quite impressed with my random combination of things I had in my kitchen (and garden).  The radishes came from Haiku Farm, aren't they beautiful? Radishes contain a lot of roughage, which is great for healthy digestion. They are also cancer fighting and contain plenty of nutrients, including calcium, good for your teeth and bones. We have a whole bag of them so I thought I'd better use em up!

  • 1/2 cup of dry lentils
  • 1 cup of uncooked quinoa
  • 1 bunch of radishes, thinly sliced
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • few sprigs of rosemary
  • small bunch of parsley
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • lime wedges to garnish

For quick cooking, soak the lentils for at least 8 hours. Rinse them thoroughly. In a saucepan, cover lentils with about an inch of water. Bring to a boil for 5 to 10 minutes. You'll need to cook them longer if you didn't soak them, about 20 minutes. When the lentils are done to your desired firmness, drain and rinse them. 

Cook the quinoa as directed. If you can, allow lentils and quinoa to cool a little before mixing in the fresh ingredients. Combine the lentils, quinoa, sliced radishes, chopped green onions, salt, pepper, olive oil, and finely chopped herbs in a mixing bowl. And thats it, easy, simple, lentil+radish+rosemary salad. 

I had mine with a squeeze of fresh lime. 

Monday, September 9, 2013

vegan nachos, oooo yeah

One of the things I love to get if we end up going out to Paia to eat, is black bean nachos from Milagros, a local mexican restaurant. Since I have become more vegan, I haven't have had my nacho fix. Until now. You better believe it, these vegan (and gluten free) nachos are better, yes I said better, than Milagros black bean nachos, without any of the dairy! No cheesey tummy for me!

The cheese sauce is the same as I made for my stuffed portobello mushrooms, with a mexican flare.

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup roasted red peppers (the mexican flare I mentioned before)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

*Notice I didn't add any salt this time. The roasted red peppers actually add a whopping 85 mg of sodium per ounce, so 1/4 cup has almost 10% your daily value of sodium!

Blend all ingredients in a blender, and let set for about ten minutes.

it seriously looks just like the nacho cheese you would get at a football game

Other nacho ingredients:

  • gluten-free corn tortilla chips
  • 1 can black beans
  • sliced black olives
  • diced green onions
  • kale guacamole- 1 avo, 2 kale leaves, lime juice, blend- because every meal should have a leafy green hidden in there somewhere.

Let's just say I'm really full. But I feel way better than I usually do while I'm waddling out of Milagros! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

no bake protein bars

I've started school! It's so good to be working toward something big! Even though its four to six long years until I get my degree (I'm studying nutrition) I'm loving the change and purpose I now have in my life. It's been the perfect amount of time out of school, well, maybe a little too long (8 years!), but I am so excited to be back and studying! I am definitely that older girl in class who has all her homework done early and takes way too many notes. I'm probably the only one in most of my classes who is actually interested in the material. Its awesome.

Anyway, I'm sure you are looking at this post to find a recipe, not to hear what a big nerd I am, so... here it is:

  • 10 dates, soaked for about ten minutes to soften
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (I use the freshly ground 100% peanuts kind)
  • 1 scoop protein powder ( I use Garden of Life original RAW protein powder)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds
Blend the dates (drained), maple syrup, peanut butter, protein powder, and salt in a food processor or blender. Scrape into a large mixing bowl. Next, blend two cups of the rolled oats, just a little, so they are still quite coarse. Mix in the blended oats, the gooey date mixture, and the rest of the oats. Add the almonds (you could really use any nut you want), raisins, hemp seeds, and chia seeds.

Line a glass baking dish with plastic wrap. This is so you can remove it easily from the pan. Press the mixture into the pan, getting out as many air bubbles as possible, and making it as flat and even as possible. Let set in the freezer for about 20 min.

Once its firmed up, flip it out onto a cutting board, use the edges of the plastic wrap to help loosen it. Then cut into desired sized bars! These are super hearty and dense so I cut mine into pretty small squares.

Perfect for an in-between-class snack!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

stuffed portobello mushrooms

The never ending battle of wanting cheese, and not wanting cheese. I'm definitely fighting it today. Thinking about cheesy stuffed mushrooms is making me drool right now! But I don't want the dairy, and all the antibiotics and hormones that usually come with it. So, I am going to make some vegan cheesy stuffed portobello mushrooms that will make you drool. There isn't anything like the real thing, I'll agree with that, but sometimes, you might actually find something better!

This vegan cheese sauce was inspired by a few recipes I browsed through, and my vegan friend George, who is a genius in the kitchen.

It's best to make the cheese sauce ahead of time to let it set in the fridge. It can be kind of runny at first, but the cashews will expand if you give them a chance!

For the vegan cheese sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup cashews
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
so, it looks kind of greenish in this pic, but really its yellow. 
 Put all ingredients except for the lemon juice and nutritional yeast in a blender. Blend until smooth, then add the last two ingredients. Transfer to a bowl and place in fridge to set, it doesn't take long, about 10 minutes will do!

Now for the greens
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh spinach
  • 1 small head broccoli, finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini

To prepare the mushrooms, rinse the tops and gently scoop out most of the gills. This will make more room to stuff the stuffing, and the more stuffing, the better. This recipe was perfect for 3 large portobello mushrooms. Set aside.

Is your vegan cheese sauce ready? It should be about yogurt consistency by now, or even a little thicker. Combine all of the cheese sauce with your veggies...

Now stuff 'em! I cooked mine on my gas grill because I don't have an oven, but an oven would work wonderfully. Just place on baking sheet and bake 400 degrees for about 30 min, or until mushrooms are cooked and filling is bubbling. If you are trying the grill method, they only take about ten minutes, but they don't get that nice crispiness on top. They still turned out fantastic! I served mine with quinoa.

these photos were taken before they were cooked, but they don't change too much.

Notes: If your cheese sauce seems too thick, or you just want it thinner, just add some more water. I went on the conservative side with the water for the recipe because you can't take it out!

If you are baking them in the oven, top with whole wheat bread crumbs for a crispy golden finish! Yum!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

kale pesto + sun dried tomatoes

This is by far the easiest and healthiest pesto I've ever made. I love pesto; on toast, with crackers, tossed with pasta, its just so easy and bursting with flavor. Adding kale to the equation just made it way healthier, and go a lot further!

  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (in oil)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 large kale leaves, de-stemed 
  • black pepper (optional)

Just throw everything in a food processor and blend away! There is no need for nuts or cheese in this pesto, the sun dried tomatoes add tons of flavor and saltiness. You can't even really taste the kale! Its too easy, and its amazing on pasta! I tossed some brown rice penne pasta with the kale pesto and topped it off with some sauteed zucchini last night for dinner, yum.