Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Coffee Cake

Give me ten minutes of your time and I will give you the most delicious and low fat coffee cake you have ever tasted!  Really :)  Apple sauce is a wonderful egg substitute in vegan baking which allows for moist and fluffy results.  The apple flavor is subtle and pairs extremely well with the cinnamon and almond in my amazing ten minute vegan Coffee Cake.  Go ahead and indulge in this tasty treat.  If you don't eat it all today (good luck with that) then it will be even better tomorrow.  This cake is so light and fluffy it will pair fabulously with a cup of coffee or tea.

2 1/2 cups flour (I use organic, unbromated, unbleached white)
2 cups apple sauce (apples are high on the pesticide list so buy organic)
4 tbsp. coconut oil, liquid
2/3 to 1 cup vegan sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar (you can use less if you want to keep sugar content low)
2 tbsp cinnamon
2 tbsp. vegan butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350℉                 Bake time: 30-40 minutes
1. In a medium bowl, add all the cake ingredients and mix well.  If your coconut oil is solid, place 1/4 cup of solid oil in a small glass jar.  Place the jar on the stove in a pot of water.  Bring to boil and the oil will liquefy. *Handle hot glass jar with care.
2. Use some of the coconut oil to lightly grease cake dish.  Pour cake batter into cake dish.  Use a spoon or spatula to even out the top of the cake so it is symmetrical.
3.  In a small bowl, add cinnamon and sugar.  Mix well.  Add the butter and the vanilla extract.  Using a spoon, blend the ingredients until evenly incorporated.  Add the sliced almonds and use your fingers to coat them with the butter and sugar.  Drop this mixture all over the top of the cake.  This will create a sugary crumb topping.
4.  Place cake in oven and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.  To test the cake, place a tooth pick or kabob stick into the center of the cake.  If it comes out clean, the cake is done.  Enjoy!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Sweet Potato Kale Timbale

Timbales are nothing more than a dish presented in the shape of a mold.  Bowl shapes are very popular and can be in different sizes from small to large.  Even the most sparsely equipped kitchen has a variety of bowls to choose from to make the perfect timbale.  For a party, make miniatures in an ice cube tray or sauce dishes.  As long as you oil the dish first, you'll get a perfectly formed timbale every time!  The possibilities of size, shape, and filling are truly endless and the presentation will always be stunning.  For another timbale idea, check out my Apricot Quinoa Amaranth Timbale and see just how diverse the timbale can be.
For my Sweet Potato Kale Timbale, I've combined the earthy flavor of sauteéd kale with the rich flavor of sweet potato, sun dried tomato, and thyme.  Since sweet potato and kale are always in the store, this dish is a hit all year round.  However, don't hesitate to make this into a season specific celebration of autumn, winter, summer or spring.  Just use whatever is in season at the time.  Try butternut squash, pumpkin, winter/summer squash, or even artichokes to create seasonal variety in this staple of a recipe.  Also, feel free to swap out the kale for whatever dark green you have on hand.  Try spinach, beet tops, or collard greens.  

Yields 4 servings
2 cups sweet potato, washed, cubed with skin on
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup rice (I used brown basmati but any rice will do)
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 to 3 tbsp. sun dried tomato, finely chopped
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
2 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1 tbsp. oil for sauteing (you can also use water)

Ingredients for Basic Sauteéd Kale:
5 cups kale, chopped roughly (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 tbsp. oil (try coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil)
2 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
salt and pepper

Directions for Timbale:
1.  Prepare 4 timbale dishes by lightly oiling.  Try ramekins, small bowls, or even mini loaf pans would be cute.
2. Steam the cubed sweet potato for about 10 minutes or until soft.  Place steamed sweet potato in a bowl and set aside.
3.  In a medium stock pot, add the stock/water and rice.  Bring to rapid bowl.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is soft and tender.
4.  In a large skillet or saute pan, heat the oil/water over medium heat.  Add onion and saute until soft and a little golden, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic, sun dried tomato and herbs and cook an additional few minutes.  Stir well.  Add the sweet potato.  Stir.  Remove from heat.

Directions for Basic Sauteéd Kale:
1. In a large skillet, add oil and bring to medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook till soft but not yet browned.
2.  Bring to high heat, add stock/water and kale and stir.  Cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
3.  Remove cover and continue the cooking process until all the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated.  Remove from heat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembly:  On a plate, add a small circular bed of sauteéd kale.  In a prepared timbale dish, add a layer of sweet potato mixture and pat down to pack in firmly.  Then add a layer of rice and pat tight.  Center bowl over the bed of sauteéd kale, gently place bowl on plate and lift to relase the timbale.  Add another layer of sauteéd kale and garnish with toasted pine nuts.  If you are preparing all four timbales, prepare the timbale bowls first before bedding plates with kale (otherwise the kale will get cold).
Option: Add my Parmesan Cheese (pictured) for additional amazing flavor!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lentil "Meat" Loaf

As a kid, meatloaf was never my favorite dish.  Fast forward 20 years and vegan "meatloaf" is one of my all time favorite foods!  As I've said before, meat (especially ground beef) always grossed me out.  There is just so much stuff in meat, including parts that are a bit tough, chewy, and well, questionable.  As a vegan, I owe it to my sister for forging my path to lentil love.  She loves her lentils and one day she came home from Whole Foods with a lentil loaf in hand.  It was made with TVP and was perfect sliced on a cracker with mustard.  With that first bite, I realized how versatile the little lentil seed truly is.  With black, orange, green, and brown to choose from it is impossible to get bored cooking with and eating lentils.  The best part about this Lentil "Meat" Loaf is the ingredient list has wiggle room.  Whatever you've got on hand, throw it into the loaf!! I'm guessing that's how meatloaf first came about.  Throw the left overs into a loaf pan and toss it in the oven!


Today, I've got lots of kale seeing as it is in season and on sale.  I've used curly kale but any green will do.  I've used swiss chard, spinach, arugula, collards, even beet tops.  Lentil loaf is the all forgiving recipe that holds it all in with a bit of tomato puree!  Seeing as I just whipped up some spicy BBQ sauce (all hail, Sirachia!) I've add it to the recipe.  You could easily use fresh chopped tomato, plain puree, ketchup or my Killer Tomato Sauce.  Have fun, be creative, and always play around with your food.

One of my silly vegan quirks is my inability to separate (in my mind at least) the consumption of meat with Medieval times.  Maybe it was too many trips to Excalibur as a kid or the lingering eeewww factor of seeing those giant turkey legs for sale at Medieval fairs but whatever the cause, it lingers.  So, after attending the local (I swear I'm not a geek!) Medieval festival, I'm somehow hankering for some Vegan "Meat" Loaf and rustic roasted veggies.  After having three servings, I can say that this is one of the best, and therefore post worthy, lentil loafs I have ever made!!  I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did!
My sister and me at the local Medieval Fair! It was really fun and typical of PNW weather, it went from sunny to rainy and back to sunny making it feel all the more authentic! As usual, we held our outspoken vegan tongues as we passed way to many people decked out in period piece costumes complete with (ack) fur and leather.  Sadly, the medieval times were not good for the animal rights agenda.  However, I envisioned the girl with the fox head hand bag as I got a bulls eye in the bow and arrow arena :)  

Back to lentil "meat" loaf.  This recipe is soy free, gluten free, and cruelty free!!  I'm so glad that I live in the 21st century, I doubt I would have gone far as a 15th century Venturing Vegan!

Serving Yields 8 Servings
Loaf Mix
2 cups cooked green lentils
2 flax eggs (2 tbsp. freshly ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup mushrooms, diced
2 cups kale leaf, de-stemmed, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped (or your favorite herb such as thyme or oregano)
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/2 cup almond flour (1/2 cups almonds, put in coffee/nut grinder and you have flour)
salt and pepper to taste

3/4 cup tomato puree
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 garlic clove, diced
1/2 tsp. celery seed
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp. maple syrup
1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. black strap molasses
1 tsp. mustard seed powder
1 tbsp. Siracha (use two if you want it über spicy)

Preheat oven to 375 ℉
- For the sauce, add all ingredients to blender and blend well.  Set aside.
- For the cooked lentil, an average rule of thumb is that 1 cup dried lentil will equal 2 cups cooked.  1 cup dry lentils into the pot with 2 cups water, bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to simmer.  In about 15 - 20 minutes the water will be absorbed and the lentils will be done.
For the loaf:
1. In a small dish, add 1/4 cup water to 2 tbsp. of flax seed.  Whip with fork then set aside and let thicken.
2. In a skillet, bring to medium heat and add 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil.  Add chopped onions and sauté until tender - about 5-10 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add mushrooms and stir.  Cook for about 2 minutes or until the mushroom is tender.  Add the herbs and kale and 1/2 cup of the sauce.  Stir to mix all the ingredients.  Remove from heat.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.  
3. In a blender or food processor, process 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils and 1/2 cup of the oats.  Blend until the mixture is smoothish.
4. In a medium bowl, add the blended lentils and oat plus the remainder of your unprocessed lentils and oat.  Mix well.  Add the flax egg and the almond flour, mix well.  Add the veggies from the skillet.  Mix well.
5. In a 9"x 5" loaf pan, lightly coat bottom and sides with olive oil.  Then spoon a small amount of sauce onto the bottom of the loaf pan.  Into prepared loaf pan, spoon lentil mixture.  Press it in nice and snug so it all smooshes together. The tighter you pack it, the better it will hold when you remove it.  Add the remaining sauce to the top of the loaf.
6. Bake at 375 ℉ for 30-40 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Then flip your loaf pan onto a cooling rack and gently remove.  The loaf should slide right out in one glorious piece. Enjoy!
* you can line the loaf pan with parchment paper and then lift finished loaf to remove as an alternative method. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Cakes

These Italian inspired Cheesy Sun Dried Tomato Quinoa Cakes are full of delicious flavor that anyone will enjoy.  Those who are a little hesitant to try the ancient quinoa grain (well, really it's a seed) will quickly fall in love with these cheesy delights.  Sun dried tomato has a flavor that everyone will love and paired with the Mozzarella Daiya, these little cakes resemble any cheese based Italian dish.  Corn and basil add a hint of fresh sweetness and for those who like the heat, I've added a pinch of red pepper flakes to wake up the senses!

Yields 8 to 12 cakes
3 flax eggs  (1 tbsp. freshly ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water for each egg)
1 tbsp. corn (I use frozen organoc corn)
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup sun dried tomatos, soaked 20 minutes, drained and chopped, reserve soaking water
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
1 tbsp. nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp. Himalayan salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350℉
1.  In a small bowl, using the soaking water from sun dried tomatoes, mix water with ground flax, whip, set aside.
2.  In a medium bowl, add the quinoa, flax eggs, corn, basil, sun dried tomato, mozzarella, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.  Mix well.
3. With slightly wet hands, scoop up a small amount of quinoa mixture to create the desired size of cake.  Cupping hands, start by forming mixture into a ball like shape then flatten with the palm of your hands to create cake.   Yield amount will vary depending on size of cake.
4.  Repeat until all the quinoa mixture is gone.
5.  Place a sheet of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet.  Place quinoa cakes on sheet and place in oven for 20 minutes.  Flip cakes and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until quinoa is golden and cheese is melted and gooey.  Allow to cool before enjoying.  I served mine with some Perfect Pesto but you can also serve alongside tomato soup, salad, or simply enjoy the quinoa cakes on their own!
* For a party, make these little cakes into bite sized balls that are easy to grab and pop in your mouth!!


Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

After lunch and before dinner is the perfect time to feed your afternoon hunger with this satisfying and energy boosting smoothie!  The chocolate pleases your sweet tooth, the banana quenches hunger, the peanut butter gives you energy, and the chlorella adds that extra shoot of nutrient dense goodness.  Combined you get a sinful smoothie that will give you the energy to stay focused and power though the rest of your day.  Since having a sweet start to the day can also help curb late afternoon sweet cravings, it's also a great mid-morning snack. Super easy, super quick, and oh so satisfying, my Chocolate Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie is heaven in a glass.

Yields 2 servings
2 cups Chocolate Almond Milk  
2 Bananas
1 tsp. Chlorella powder
2 tbsp. Peanut Butter

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.  Use cold almond milk or frozen bananas for an ice cold treat.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Raw Pad Thai

In no way am I a raw foodie, I just like to eat raw about 60% of the time.  For some reason, I've become obsessed with the jicama root.  Diverse and delicious the jicama blends incredibly well with any flavor you give it.  For the Raw Pad Thai,  I've chosen to julienne the jicama but after trying it, I'd really suggest using a spiralizer to create noodles.  Taste testers of this dish said the noodles would make it seem more like pad thai and less like a jicama salad!  I like the crispness of the julienne strips but it's up to you and your kitchen equipment!  Since this dish is raw, it calls for cashews but you can use peanuts if you prefer a more traditional taste.  This dish is full of color, great taste, and packs some heat from the thai chili for a distinctive flavor any Thai foodie wil ♥.

Yields 4 to 6 servings
Pad Thai Sauce Ingredients:
2 tbsp raw sesame seeds
1 cup sesame oil
1 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, soaked in filtered water for 2 hours, drained
2 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
1/2 cup Rice Wine Vinegar (RWV)
1 tsp sea salt or Himalayan salt

Veggie Glaze Ingredients:
1/2 cup raw cashew, soaked 2-4 hours, rinsed, drained and chopped
1 cup Braggs liquid aminos, nama shoyu, or Coconut Aminos
1/2 cup lime juice
1/2 to 1 thai chili, de-seeded minced
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp sea salt of Himalayan salt

Pad Thai Ingredients:
1/2 to 1 jicama root, spiralized or julienned
1/4 cup snow peas, julienned or chopped
1/4 red pepper, julienned
1/4 cup mung bean sprouts
Veggie Glaze
Pad Thai Sauce
2 tbsp scallions, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup cashews, chopped

1.  Blend all ingredients for the pad thai sauce in a blender until smooth.  Pour into bowl and set aside.
2. Blend all ingredients for veggie glaze in a blender until smooth.  Add a little water if you want it thinner.  Place in bowl and set aside.
3. To assemble: Toss snow peas, bell pepper, and bean sprouts in the veggie glaze until well coated; set aside.  On a separate plate, make a landing pad of pad thai sauce.  On top of that add your jicama, then top with veggies in their glaze.  Add a little more pad thai sauce, sprinkle with chopped cashews, scallions, and cilantro.  Enjoy!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Potato Cheese Soup

Who doesn't love Potato Cheese Soup?  Most people are probably thinking us poor vegan folk have to live without but who are we kidding!  Ours is better than theirs!!  We can eat our hearts out and still not get fat and bloated with huge amounts of saturated fat and cholesterol from the dairy.  Plus, everyone can eat my Vegan Potato Cheese Soup even if they are lactose intolerant.  Making soup is one of my favorites because you really don't need a recipe.  Just start with the holy trilogy of soup: onion, celery, and carrot.  You can mix it up and use garlic and ginger for an Asian themed soup. Really, just add your holy trilogy, add liquid (water or veggie broth) and add veggies.  If it is bland, add some spices like salt, pepper, garlic powder, or dried herbs.  Soup making is so fun, homey, down to earth and it is so incredibly user friendly.
When I first bought a blender and started to puree my soups, I realized that any creamed soup is as simple as a minute or two in the blender.  Really, the sky is the limit for soups and this one turned out quite well!  When using root veggies like potato, onion, and carrot it is really important to buy organic.  Foods that grow below the dirt are uber susceptible to contamination from toxic pesticides.  Veer on the safe and buy organic when it comes to roots.  Better yet, grow your own. You can even grow potatoes and onions in a bag in your living room, it really is that easy! If you are growing your own, don't forget to save the cut off eyes (the green growths) on the potatoes for your garden!

Yields About 4 servings
4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small onion, minced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 tsp Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt
2 1/2 cups milk (Almond or Soy are good choices.  Don't use coconut, it will taste funny.  Rice milk will be too thin).
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted (optional)
3 tbsp wheat flour (for gluten free, try quinoa flour or chickpea flour)
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Cheddar Daiya Cheese
1 tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1. In a large saucepan or stock pan, add a small amount of oil and lightly saute the carrots, celery, and onion.  Add the potatoes, veggie broth, and salt and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender enough to easily stab with a fork.  This will take about 15 to 20 minutes. 
2.  With a potato masher, mash the ingredients so it is creamy, mashy, and a little chunky.  This is a hearty soup, after all.
3.  Stir in milk.
4.  In a small bowl, mix the melted butter, flour, parsley, and pepper.  Then stir into the soup.  Raise to medium heat and cover until soup thickens.
5.  Stir in cheese until almost melted.  Remove from heat.  Allow to cool for about 5 minutes.  Taste test and add any needed salt or pepper.   Garnish with fresh herbs such as chives, cilantro, basil, or parsley.  Enjoy!

* If you want a white potato soup, use a white vegan cheese such as Daiya Mozarella Shreds.  


Yum Yum Yum Yum!  I really loved these Brownies and so did everyone else!  Now, I'm all for full sugar when I eat out but when I bake at home, I always tweak the recipe to include less sugar.  That's just how I roll.  So, I've included the original recipe and in parenthesis are the measurements for my less sugar options.  When you add less sugar, you get a more cake like texture that is still moist and chewy but lighter due to the lower sugar content.  The result = no tummy ache from eating too many delicious brownies!!  I think I ate like four or five of these guys and I'm not even going to think about how big I cut the brownies!  It's really up to you how much sugar you want to add, both ways are good.  However, I've used honey to help cut down the sugar content and some vegans don't eat honey so you could use maple syrup or another sweetener variety.  Also, when baking you need to make sure your sugar says Vegan on it somewhere.  Totally gross but bone char is used to bleach the sugar thus making is nonvegan.  If you are really lucky, the sugar will be both vegan and organic ♥.

Yields 10 brownies but in my house, it was 5!

  • 1-1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/4 cups white sugar (I used 1/3 cup white sugar and 4 tbsp honey but this will make the brownies fluffy and less dense like a traditional brownie)
  • 1/3 cup and 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil  (I used 1/2 cup liquid coconut oil)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350℉        Bake Time: 25 to 30 minutes
1. Preheat oven to 350℉.
2. In a medium bowl, add the flour, sugar (and honey if using it), cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.  Stir together to mix.  Then add the water, vegetable oil and vanilla; mix until well incorporated.
3.  Grease a 9x13 inch baking pan lightly with oil.  (Really, you can use any size pan).  Pour in the batter and pop into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.  To see if they are done, insert a knife or toothpick into the center of brownies and if it comes out clean, they are done.  You could in theory let them cool before eating them but really, who does that?!  Enjoy!!


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jalapeno Cheddar Quinoa Cakes

When I was in high school and still only vegetarian, I used to walk to the bagel shop by my high school in San Diego and buy the Jalapeno Cheese bagel almost everyday.  The combination of savory and spicy is just too good to pass up.  Hearkening back to my love of cheesy spice, I give you Jalapeno Cheddar Quinoa Cakes.  These cakes are good!  So good that I made six and ate five (someone snatched one) and I'm still thinking about making another batch.  These are spicy and cheesy and have a hint of sweetness from the little bits of corn.  Naturally, a shout out goes to Daiya for making the best vegan cheese on the market because it stretches, melts, and acts just like real cheese!  I hope you guys love these as much as I do!!

2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (use chickpea flour for a gluten-free option)
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup corn (frozen organic corn works really well)
1/3 cup Cheddar Daiya Cheese
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
pepper to taste (about 1/4 tsp)
1/2 tsp paprika (or you can use chili powder)
1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
1 tbsp chopped, de-seeded jalapeno pepper (if you are crazy, then leave the seeds in but you have been warned)

Preheat oven to 350℉
1. The flax and water will make our vegan egg to bind the cakes together.  Add the water to the flax seed and whip to make a moist paste.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flax egg, quinoa, flour, corn, Daiya, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, paprika, cilantro, and jalapeno pepper.  Mix well.
3.  Using slightly wet hands, scoop up a small amount of dough to make a little patty.  This recipe will yield 6 cakes.  Place each cake on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4.  Bake for 15 minutes, flip and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden and delicious.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Killer Tomato Sauce

Really, "killer" is absolutely necessary in this title.  I mean, how often can you say that something is so incredibly good, so utterly delicious as to be without a doubt, killer?  Right.  This tomato sauce will make you forever give up pre-made varieties from the store.  Use it as a pasta sauce, pizza sauce, or for ratatouille and you will be so happy you took the extra few minutes it takes to make this mouthwatering and yet incredibly simple sauce.  My Killer Tomato Sauce will make you feel like a pro in the kitchen and will instantly add a powerful punch of flavor to any dish you put it in.  Guaranteed :)

1 1/3 cups sun-dried tomatoes, soaked 15-20 minutes (I use the Trader Joe's variety from the bag)
1 1/3 cup chopped, seeded tomato (Roma work really well)
1/3 cup soaking liquid from sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 tsp Himalayan salt or sea salt
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried basil (if I have fresh basil on hand,  I'll omit the oregano and just use 4 large basil leaves)
1/4 tsp Herbs de Provence
1 tsp honey, agave, or stevia
Black pepper to taste

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  For pizza sauce and wraps, I add a little less water and for pasta sauce I add a little more water.  Really, this recipe is very flexible and you can mix and match different herbs.  For spicy versions, I add paprika and red pepper flakes!