Saturday, May 30, 2015

picnic perfect bean salad

Summer is fast approaching and that means BBQs, potlucks, and picnics! This salad is a great side to any summer meal, and it only takes a minute to make! So you can focus on the beautiful weather rather than slaving away in a kitchen. (Although I do love slaving away in the kitchen, I can spend all day in there!)

picnic perfect bean salad

  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives or green onions
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black eyed peas

for the dressing:

  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients in a jelly jar. Close the jar and shake it up! This is my go-to salad dressing; simple and delicious.

Chop your celery and herbs. Drain and rinse both cans of beans. Gently fold everything together in a large mixing bowl, including the dressing. You really can't get a bean salad any easier than this!

Try it with different beans or different herbs, anything goes!

Tastes and looks great on my plate from Wings Hawaii :)

Friday, May 22, 2015

vanilla + mint smoothie

There is plenty of protein packed into this puppy! The secret ingredient: tofu! I know it sounds weird but trust me, it's not gross! If you are one of those people who don't like tofu, it's probably because of the texture, right? Well, tofu in a smoothie just makes it more creamy, like a milkshake! Who does't like a milkshake? All I'm saying is; don't knock it 'til you try it!

vanilla + mint smoothie

  • 1 frozen banana (or two small)
  • 1/3 cup tofu
  • 1/3 cup mint leaves
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1-2 curly kale leaves, or 1 cup spinach leaves
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • coconut milk or almond milk (about 1 cup)

Throw everything into a blender (or a nutribullet :)) and blend until silky smooth! Top with homemade granola or hemp seeds for a little more umph!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

sweet potato sushi + citrus soy dipping sauce

I am currently obsessed with vegan sushi. I have always loved sushi flavors; the nori, the wasabi, all the sweet and tangy sauces. But recently I have been more aware of the impact that over fishing has had on our oceans. Just in the last 65 years we have depleted the ocean's fish supply by half!

I have always been an occasional fish eater, or pescatarian, if you will. This is part of my "almost" vegan label I have given myself. Although I don't think I will ever completely stop eating fish, I am cutting down significantly. For every fish that I don't eat, is another fish in the sea, and a step closer to regaining the delicate balance that we are so drastically disturbing on this planet. I want my children, and my children's children, to enjoy the oceans as they are meant to be; full of life and fish! And to enjoy eating it every once in a while too.

With that being said, let's get rolling. Rolling sushi that is!

I have experimented with different veggie combinations and sauce consistencies to find a way to enjoy vegan sushi, without missing the fish!  This week I was given the amazing opportunity to make lunch for the lovely ladies of Wings Hawaii. We ate like mermaids, and felt great doing it. This is one of the recipes from our lunch!

sweet potato sushi:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 3-4 sheets of nori seaweed
  • veggies of your choice: my veggies of the day were carrots, golden beets, green beans, and pea sprouts.

citrus soy dipping sauce:

  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp grated ginger (optional)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp orange juice
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp chopped green onions

Peel, cube, and boil the sweet potato. Save some of the potato water when you drain the cooked potatoes. Mash the sweet potato with a fork or masher, adding the leftover water as needed to get the right consistency. You want enough moisture to not be crumbly but not too much to soggy up the nori. Set aside to cool, hot potatoes are very hard to work with.

Cut all veggies julienne (I have a julienne peeler which I would highly recommend). 

One sweet potato will usually be enough for 3 or 4 rolls. For a more detailed sushi rolling tutorial, check out my earlier post vegan brown rice sushi, it is the same concept but with rice instead of potatoes! 

Make sure your nori is rough side up, spread a thin layer of potatoes on the 2/3 closest to you.

Arrange veggies...

And roll, starting with the edge of the mat closest to you. Keep your thumbs on the outside of the mat and your fingers tucking the veggies in, tuck in the edge of the nori and continue rolling to the other edge. Seal the nori on top of itself by wetting your fingers and running them along the edge. If your roll is a not so symmetrical shape just place it in the middle of the mat, fold the mat over it, and roll it back and forth until it is even. 

To cut the rolls use the sharpest knife you have and slice into 1 inch pieces. 

For the dipping sauce I just put all of the ingredients into a little jelly jar, cover it, and shake it up! Ready to dip! 

Mermaid plates are courtesy of Wings Hawaii! You'll be seeing a lot more mermaids in my photos now! Thanks ladies!

Friday, May 15, 2015

mayan spiced chocolate truffles

Chocolate is so comforting. I am always fighting the habit of eating chocolate every night. It's usually just a square or two of a nice dark chocolate bar, which is full of health promoting antioxidants and flavanoids. But I find the habit of having something sweet every night often leads to other... naughtier indulgences. So, I try to not make it a habit, but that doesn't mean I don't eat my share of chocolate :)

I made two batches of these, one with the spices; cayenne and cinnamon, and one without the spices but a little extra salt. I ended up giving almost all of them away! Thank goodness because my husband is gone right now, which leaves everything that I make up to me to eat! He is usually my number one consumer, taste-tester, and left-over devourer.

mayan spiced chocolate truffles

  • 1 cup of dates, soaked (about 12 dates- soaked in hot water for at least 5 minutes)
  • 3 Tbsp cacao powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp almond meal or almond flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

*If you are not into mayan spices, or if you just want something else to try, replace the cayenne and cinnamon with 1/4 tsp salt for salted chocolate truffles.

Place all ingredient except the oat flour in a food processor and process until smooth. This is to get the dates as smooth as possible, to make it nice and fudgey! Add the oat flour and pulse until incorporated. It should be the consistency of a sticky dough.

Place the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to make it easier to handle. If you don't want to wait, add more oat flour than the recommended 1/4 cup. I have tried it both ways, and I've tried it without soaking the dates, it all works but this works best!

Roll into balls and coat in either shredded coconut or cacao powder. Keep refrigerated and remember to share!

I'd better have one more...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

creamy herbed pasta

I haven't done a dinner post in ages! Sorry! My husband has been gone for three weeks, he is home visiting Australia, so I haven't been cooking much in the way of dinner. It's just been a lot of steamed veggies, baked sweet potatoes, or anything easy that I can make for just one person.

But... I came home from my mom's house the other day with bunches of fresh oregano and basil from her garden, and I knew I had to make a pasta.

I'm not going to lie to you, this sauce is AMAZING! I took a recipe from Minimalist Baker, vegan roasted red pepper pasta, and changed it up a bit. I have made Minimalist Baker's recipe before and it is out of this world, precisely why I made another version of it!

creamy herbed pasta sauce

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt to taste (start with 1/2 tsp and taste after the sauce is heated, add more if necessary)
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 1/2 cups plain almond milk
  • 1 cup fresh herbs (basil and oregano)

Roughly chop the onion and garlic and sauté in the olive oil until soft and translucent. This would be a good time to boil some water for pasta. Any type will do; gluten free, linguine, fettuccine, penne, anything goes.

In a high speed blender combine the rest of the ingredients. Add the onions and garlic and blend everything until super smooth. While the pasta is cooking, heat the sauce-- preferably in the same pan that you cooked the onions and garlic in earlier to save on dishes :)

As the sauce heats up the corn starch will work it's magic and create a luscious creaminess that will easily rival any dairy based pasta sauce. Enjoy! And be sure to share! This recipe makes enough sauce to generously coat four servings of pasta.

Monday, May 11, 2015

rosemary + lentil hummus

Who said hummus was limited to garbanzo beans? Well, it's not! I'm not sure if it is technically called hummus after the bean swap, but I'm not that technical. I have made hummus with pumpkin, black beans, beetswhite beans, peas, and now... lentils. I. Love. Lentils. And if you are vegan, you probably love them too. They are packed with protein and fiber and are extremely easy and versatile.

I have a potted rosemary plant that often gets neglected. Let's face it, all of my herbs often get neglected. But they somehow just keep on producing! I don't use rosemary too often because it's so strong. So when I do use it, I try to use it exclusively, as it tends to over power any other flavors it is paired with. If you like rosemary, you'll love this hummus! Rosemary symbolizes remembrance, which probably stemmed from it's use to enhance memory by increasing circulation to the brain.

rosemary + lentil hummus

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked lentils, or one 14 oz can
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp rosemary petals
  • 1/4 cup water

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. It's important to make sure there aren't big chunks of rosemary in your hummus because it can be overpowering and bitter unless fully incorporated.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

tofu mayonnaise

Another vegan version! Being vegan (or almost vegan) is all about the condiments. Dressings, sauces, dips, and spreads. They are what makes all those veggies taste so good! This recipe for tofu mayonnaise is adapted from The Starch Solution, by John McDougall. It's perfect for sandwiches and wraps, in potato salads, and is easily spiced up as an aioli for burgers! This can be a base for tons of different creamy sauces, so get creative!

tofu mayo:

  • 8 oz tofu (I used firm because that is what I always buy, if you use silken tofu you probably won't need any water)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar (I use coconut sugar because again, it's the only kind I buy!)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water

Drain tofu and cut into chunks. Add all ingredients to a high speed blender and blend until super smooth, the smoother it is, the more mayo-like it is.

Fun additions:

  • a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for an aioli
  • some wasabi for a sushi garnish
  • smoked paprika and a dash of cumin
  • dijon mustard (to make a two in one sandwich spread)
  • and any other flavor combos you want to add to your meal!

Here I have added wasabi to a bit of tofu mayo to go in my temaki! Instead of putting sliced tofu in my sushi hand rolls I just packed them with veggies and turmeric rice, with a dollop of wasabi + tofu mayo on top, yum! 

This recipe is coming soon! Along with some more vegan sushi ideas, so stay tuned :)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

quick strawberry + chia seed jam

It's a test day today! My last chemistry exam! I can't believe that this semester is already over, my first two years of university have flown by! Tom and I are now gearing up to move to the big smoke; Honolulu. I am continuing school at University of Hawaii at Manoa and I couldn't be happier! I have to get through this last week of finals first though, and this breaky is the perfect brain fuel to start the day!

I hardly ever buy jam or preserves. It's just all that added sugar, it's so unnecessary! But I have a beautiful loaf of multigrain seed bread that brought on a toast and jam craving. I have seen chia seed jam done many ways, and a lot of them involve cooking the fruit. But... if you use frozen berries that have been thawed, they are already partially broken down and no cooking is needed!

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries (thawed in the fridge or at room temp)
  • 1 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

Blend these ingredients together in a blender. If you want a few chunks, blend only half of the berries and mash the other half with a fork.

  • 3 Tbsp chia seeds

Now add the chia seeds, stirring or whisking until fully combined. Let this set in the fridge for 20 to 30 minutes.

And thats it! Apply a very liberal amount to your choice of toast, because it's guilt-free; loaded with antioxidants, omega-3's, fiber, and protein!

Friday, May 1, 2015

matcha truffles

Another sweet treat in the shape of delicious little balls! I love having healthy snacks on hand all the time. With a busy schedule it is absolutely essential to have something to grab on the go that fits with my diet. These truffles hold us so well and they have a caffeine kick thanks to matcha green tea! To find out a little more about matcha green tea, visit my earlier post of matcha + greens smoothie.

matcha truffles

  • 1 cup soaked dates
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp matcha green tea
  • 1/2 Tbsp greens powder (optional; Garden of Life Perfect Food or Aloha Daily Good Greens are both good choices)
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • hemp seeds and sesame seeds for coating

Process dates, coconut oil, and salt in food processor until smooth. Add matcha green tea, greens powder, and almond meal and process until fully combined. Add the oat flour a few tablespoons at a time until it gets too doughy for the food processor. Transfer dough to a mixing bowl and add remaining oat flour by hand.

Roll into small balls and roll through chosen coatings; I chose sesame seeds and hemp seeds!

Store in the refrigerator and pack them wherever you go!