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M.I.A

Evening!

I am falling way behind on my vegan MoFo duties.. Life has gotten in the way. Some things have come up, and I haven’t had the time to blog.. I will be back on Thursday with some delicious foodstuff! Promise! I have a killer cookie I have been working on.. Think Chocolate, pecans, chocolate, spice, and of course everything nice! Check back Thursday! Have a great Wednesday! Ciao!

 

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MoFO

Good Evening!

As promised, I am back with the recipe for apricot-maple oatmeal cookies I make a week ago. I created this recipe just to use up some dried apricots that were hanging out in my cabinet. I am so pleased with these cookies. I LOVE oatmeal cookies, usually making some variation of oatmeal-cranberry cookies. This time though, I made them with apricot, maple syrup, and Fall spices. I am in love with these cookies. The maple syrup really plays off the nutmeg and cinnamon, while the apricots are a pleasant surprise in the cookie. They are chewy, but crunchy around the edges, and a golden brown! YUM. So here it is!

cookierecipe

Apricot-Maple Oatmeal Cookies

1 “egg” (I used energie egg replacer, you can also use flaxmeal and water)

1/3 c vegan butter (I used earth balance)

1/2 c evaporated cane juice

1/4 c maple syrup

1 t vanilla

1 c all-purpose flour

1/2 t Baking Powder

1/4 t Baking Soda

1/4 t salt

1 t cinnamon

1/4 t nutmeg

1 1/2 c oats, regular, not quick oats

2/3 c. chopped dried apricots

Pre-heat oven to 375*F

In a large bowl, beat softened vegan butter with evaporated cane juice, maple syrup, and vanilla together with a hand mixer until fully combined and creamy.  In a small bowl, create energie egg using 1 1/2 t powder to 2 T warm water and beat until slightly foamy and combined. Add into butter mixture and stir to incorporate. In a separate bowl, combine flour baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and stir to incorporate (or beat with hand mixer on lowest setting). When fully combine add oats and apricots. Stir to combine. If mixture seems too dry, add a bit of non-dairy milk, but you should not have to do this if butter is soft enough!

Form into small balls (about a tablespoon) and place on lightly oiled cookie sheet. Bake at 375*F for 10-15 minutes, depending on how gooey or crisp you want them. They are done when the edges start to turn a golden brown. Remove from oven and let sit for 1-2 minutes on cookie sheet before removing and placing on wire rack to cool completely. OR, pour a glass of almond milk and dig in! Depending on size: Makes 2 dozen cookies

A few tips: If you like your oatmeal cookies a bit more chewy, try adding more oats. This will bulk up the cookie a bit, and create that really chewy texture. If you want a crispier cookie, you may want to subtract a bit of the oats and add a little more flour to compensate the dry ingredients.

These cookies freeze really well, and are perfect for the end of a Fall meal! Enjoy!

cookie recipe 2

Quiz time!

MoFOHello!!

So I’ve got no food today.. Just a food related quiz! I have a lot of school work, and a full day of fun Labs and classes, so I don’t have much time to cook, except if you count my reheated food from last night, or my oatmeal… That’s about it. Nothing fun! Tomorrow I will have the recipe for the Apricot-Maple Oatmeal Cookies! Oh they are so good!! Ok here goes…

1. Favorite non-dairy milk?
I love the new grain milk that is at trader joe’s or the vanilla almond milk, both unsweetened!

2. What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook?
Some form of chili with cornbread, Coconut squash soup, and vegan fondue (so excited about this one)!

3. Topping of choice for popcorn?
Nutritional yeast and a mist of olive oil, or plain, air popped with a touch of salt..

4. Most disastrous recipe/meal failure?

Hmm.. I can’t think of one that was disastrous, but I did make a soup once that was so spicy, my sister remarked that you couldn’t stop eating it, because the burn got too intense! Whoops!

5. Favorite pickled item?
Good question. I would have to say pickled jalapeno

6. How do you organize your recipes?
The ones I create, I have on scrap pieces of paper, hoping to compile them at some point.. The ones I find, either I put a stickie note on them in the book, or add them to my favorites on google reader.

7. Compost, trash, or garbage disposal?
Compost, trash (as little as possible), and garbage disposal only when ablsolutely necessary.

8. If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods… what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?
Pinto or black beans, brown rice, and berries

9. Fondest food memory from your childhood?

I’m not sure.. It is probably our Sunday dinners. Every Sunday, until we moved away, we would all get together for a nice meal and conversation.

10. Favorite vegan ice cream?

The Java-chip I made while working at Chaco Canyon Restaurant in Seattle. It was perfect coffee chocolate ice cream!
11. Most loved kitchen appliance?
I would have to say either my vita-mix, or… nope, my vita-mix. I love the thing!

12. Spice/herb you would die without?
Oh probably cinnamon!!

13. cookbook you have owned for the longest time?
I have a Mickey Mouse cookbook my grandmother gave me when I was like 5. My oldest vegan cookbook is I think the Joy of Vegan Baking (Not so old!)

14. Favorite flavor of jam/jelly?
Blackberry

15. Favorite vegan recipe to serve to an omni friend?
Dessert. Or maybe enchiladas!

16. Seitan, tofu, or tempeh?
Depends on the dish, but I use tofu most often, but I love all three!

17. Favorite meal to cook (or time of day to cook)?
Dinner, or breakfast because that means I have a lazy day ahead!

18. What is sitting on top of your refrigerator?

My canvas shopping bags

19. Name 3 items in your freezer without looking.
Quinoa bread, frozen blueberries, raspberry sorbet

20. What’s on your grocery list?
OH geez, a lot, my fridge is bare!

21. Favorite grocery store?

Trader joe’s for the most part, but I LOVE Whole Foods. I could spend hours in there! Or Madison Market in Seattle!

22. Name a recipe you’d love to veganize, but haven’t yet.

Probably a beef dip. Not for me, but just because my mom loves it and I would like to be able to make a vegan version! Or cheese.

23. Food blog you read the most. Or maybe the top 3?
FatFree Vegan, Eat Live Run, Kath Eats Real Food

24. Favorite vegan candy/chocolate?
Green and Black Chocolate. Oh.So.Good!

25. Most extravagant food item purchased lately?
Ha, trying to stay on a budget.. but I did just buy some saffron, PRI-cy!

26. Ingredients you are scared to work with?
Can’t think of one.. maybe yeast because I don’t have much experience with it, but LOVE bread!!

The Vegan Table: Lasagna

MoFO

Hello!

With Fall coming in full force here in Nevada, the nights are getting a lot colder, and the need for comfort food is rising. Making my weekly meal plan, I find myself wanting easy, no fuss food that warms the belly and fills the house with yummy aromas! Lasagna was on the menu, and boy was I glad! I am not a huge pasta eater (gasp!), but I do love a nice plate of pasta from time to time. This lasagna is inspired by The Vegan Table‘s Spinach Lasagna. I am a student and I work, so sometimes there isn’t a whole lot of time in the day to prepare food. Lasagna is one of those dishes that so many people think requires a lot of time. I am here to tell you that is not true! Much of the time with lasagna is inactive.. the oven is doing all the work. Below I will show you my quick version of this awesome recipe. Ready, go!

lasagna 2

Weeknight Lasagna

1 box, or nine lasagna noodles ( I use whole-wheat)

1 jar organic tomato marinara sauce, about 4-5 cups

4 cups, or 2 cans white beans

1 cup, packed basil leaves

juice of 1 lemon

1 16oz package organic frozen spinach, thawed

1 T agave

5 garlic cloves

1/3 c non-dairy milk

Salt, to taste

Pre-heat oven to 375*F.

While getting ingredients together, put bag of spinach in the sink with warm/hot water to thaw. You could certainly do this in a microwave, but I don’t have one, so the sink it is. Bring water for pasta to a boil. While the water is heating up, place garlic with lemon juice in a food processor or blender and mince. Next, add white beans, milk, basil, agave, and salt, blend or process until smooth. You may want to add the basil with the garlic to puree it a bit more before the addition of the remaining ingredients. By this time, the water should be boiling, salt water, and add pasta. While pasta is cooking, transfer bean mixture to bowl. Remove spinach from package, and press it with paper towels, or a dish towel to remove excess water. Mix together bean mixture and spinach, making sure to taste and season accordingly. I think I used about 1/2 t salt. Make sure to check on noodles, if done, drain, and lay noodles on a sprayed cookie sheet to cool slightly. In baking dish, spread about 1/2 c sauce on bottom. Add first layer of noodles. Top noodles with half Spinach-bean mixture, and then 1-1 1/2 cups pasta sauce. Place next layer of noodles, followed by spinach-bean mixture, and then pasta sauce. Place final noodles on top. If you have remaining bean mixture, smear that on the top, followed by remaining pasta sauce. Bake at 375* for about 45 minutes, or until the edges are darker, and sauce is bubbling!

Lasagna

The cooking time is a while, but putting it all together is a snap. Take the extra 45 minutes to make a salad, have a glass of wine, and relax!

Salad

This recipe is quick, easy, and soy free (depending on the milk and noodles). Served with a salad, it’s healthy too!  You could easily do what the original recipe calls for and use tofu instead of beans, but I really liked the fact that this was a soy-free recipe!

Bonus, since it’s just the two of us, we had this for dinner, then a lunch later in the week, and then dinner again! I think it may have even been better the next day! One quick night of cooking and we got to enjoy it for a few days!

Happy Birthday!

MoFO

Hello!

Sorry for the lack of posting the last few days. It was Nic’s birthday, and so I didn’t have much time on the computer, but we did spend a lot of time in the kitchen! Tonight, I bring you dessert, because honestly what is better than dessert first? For Nic’s birthday, I asked him what he wanted for dessert. His mom (hi Susanne!) was making dinner, which were killer enchiladas, vegan and non-vegan! But I decided to bring a tasty vegan dessert, to do my part! Nic requested cheesecake, and I was glad! I LOVE cheesecake. It is one of my favorite desserts on record, and a weakness of mine! I have been dying to try this cheesecake. I love Fat-free vegan kitchen, and always drool over what can be created with little added fat. YUM. Anyway, since we are coming into pumpkin season, I decided against doing a pumpkin theme, saving the actual recipe for later next month, but I wanted to do a variation.

CheesecakeChocolate on top of Vanilla on top of Oatmeal. The result? Tasty! Now, I used the oatmeal crust from Fat-Free Vegan Kitchen, but subbed my pearsauce for the applesauce and used whole wheat flour. For the cheesecake, I used the base of the pumpkin cheesecake as my spring board, and made a few variations of my own.

Chocolate-Vanilla Cheesecake

12 oz firm silken tofu

8 ounces Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese

1/3 c evaporated cane sugar plus another 1/4 c. reserved

2 T cornstarch

1/2 Lemon, juiced

1/2-1 t vanilla extract

2-3 T unsweetened dutch processed cocoa powder

Pre-heat oven to 375*F

Put tofu and cream cheese in blender or food processor (I used my vita-mix) and blend until smooth. You may want to have the cream cheese soften up a bit if your blender isn’t too powerful! Then add remaining ingredients, excluding 1/4c reserved sugar and cocoa powder. Blend until silky smooth. Pour 2/3 mixture over cooled, prepared crust. Return blender to stand and add cocoa powder and remaining sugar. I would advise to add a bit of cocoa at a time, so as to moderate the richness of the chocolate. I love really rich chocolatey goodness, but I understand not everyone had that kind of passion! Carefully pour mixture over vanilla, spreading with a spatula. Don’t worry if the chocolate and vanilla mix a bit. Hey, if all else fails, run a knife through the mixture in swirls and create a whole different chocolate-vanilla experience!

Place in oven and cook for 45-55 minutes (I am at a high altitude, so baking times may vary slightly). Remove from oven when the edges have begun to pull away from the sides, and it is slightly jiggly in the center (Only slightly!!). Allow to cool at room temperature for a few hours, and then place in fridge overnight.

I cooked mine in a spring-form pan, so serving was super easy. Making this again, I will use less crust because my crust to cheesecake ratio was a little too even.. OR I would double the cheesecake recipe, and keep the crust as is! I thought about making this all lemon cheesecake with a raspberry sour cream topping, or playing with different fruits or flavors. Needless to say, I am really excited about finding a tasty, low-fat, vegan version of an old favorite!! Oh and HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Nic!

cheesecake2

MoFO

pear

Afternoon!

For the last few days, Northern Nevada has had quite a chill going. We’ve gotten snow and rain!!! Two things I absolutely love! Fall is here, and I am a happy lady! Fall to me means comfort. Like I’ve mentioned, I love apples, but I am no picky fruit eater. I love anything really. With the exception of a few I am sure.. Can’t think of anything off the top of my head though! So when I had a bunch of pears that were ripening way faster than I thought they would, I had one thing in mind. Pear Sauce. Like it’s mama, which would be apple sauce, it is perfect to use up all that fruit coming in by the bushel. Now I wish I had fruit coming in by the bushel, but the only fruit tree I’ve got is an apricot tree that I have yet to see any actual evidence of it being, in fact, an apricot tree. SO, when I say fruit coming in by the bushel, I am dreamily referring to the fruit tree I will one day have (yes, that means avocado trees too, Nic)! Anyway, so long story short, I had pears that needed to be used. I have never had pear sauce before, but I imagined it would work about the same as applesauce. So I chopped up the Bartlett beauties, threw them in a pot with some water, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon, and nutmeg….

pears Before

If I tell you that the house smelled so good I couldn’t help but smile, would you believe me?!? It was awesome. I didn’t have any extraordinary expectations for this pear sauce, but holy yum. It was so good. After these babies cooked down on medium-high heat for about 30 minutes, I threw them in my vitamix, making sure to remove the cinnamon sticks, and gave it a whirl. What came out was nothing short of a holiday party in my mouth. The texture was buttery. It was the smoothest sauce I’ve ever had, pear or otherwise. Then, after a few little tasters, it hit me. Almond extract. I will say no more. Try it. Love it.

pearsauce

I can’t believe there’s no sugar, PEAR SAUCE

10 ripe pears, I used Bartlett, if you are using a pear with a thicker skin I would advise pealing(eek) or cooking a bit longer

4-5 cinnamon sticks

1/4-1/3 c. water, or any kind of juice you’d want to infuse the sauce with.. blueberry juice??

cinnamon, to taste (I didn’t use as much as I usually would because the sticks took care of that)

nutmeg, to taste (or omit if you’d prefer)

1/2 t Almond extract ( I may have used a bit more, but I didn’t measure so, start here and add to taste)

Throw all ingredients, except almond extract in a heavy bottom pot. Cover, and turn on heat to medium-medium-high. Let the pears hang out for a while, about 30 minutes, and check for doneness. When the pears have lost their “bite” and reduced down to a nice soft consistency, remove from heat. Let the pears cool a bit, then throw them in a blender or food processor. Blend until desired consistency is reached. I liked it super smooth and creamy. Sometimes though, with applesauce, I like to keep it a little chunky, keeps my mouth guessing. After blending for a minute or so, add the almond extract. This added a whole new level to this sauce. Enjoy!

*On a side note, I didn’t add lemon juice, plumb forgot.. So it may be a good idea to add lemon juice if you plan on having the pearsauce in your fridge for a while, or are going to can it. I don’t think mine will be around long enough to warrant lemon juice. But I’m just saying!

Pears and Almonds have a natural affinity for each other, and trust me when I say that it adds to this sauce immensely. I had some hot out of the blender, which is my prefered way to consume it, but I also have a bunch in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes.. I have big plans for this sauce. Fat-free pear muffins here I come!

MoFOGood Evening!

So, as promised, I am back tonight with something a bit more savory. This stew was inspired by a similar recipe in “The Vegan Table”. I made the actual recipe from the cookbook a few weeks ago and LOVED it.

Last summer, I spent some time in Morocco and fell in love. Morocco had always interested me. It’s blending of Arabic, North African, and European influences converging in a geographically diverse and beautiful location. I wanted to experience everything! I wanted to know all about women in Morocco, food, history, architecture, and the list goes on.

morocco 2

Since this is a food blog, I will stick to food..I loved the cuisine, culture, and philosophy on food. The food memory that sticks out the most to me is the tagine. A tagine is a traditional cooking dish made of clay. The Moroccan tagines look like a cone. They are made for cooking stews and such at low temperatures for a really long time. The first meal I had in Morocco was a tagine of couscous and vegetables. I remember the experience so vividly. I taxi’d to a recommended restaurant in Casablanca, though the name escapes me, it was a plush restaurant, and when I say plush, I mean pillow-y.. Pillows were everywhere, and at that moment I knew I wanted a dining room full of pillows..

But I digress, back to the food.. I ordered a traditional tagine and when it arrived at my table, the top was removed and holy yum. The dizzying aroma hit my nose and I was in heaven. Cinnamon, saffron, cumin, stewed raisins, couscous… Heaven. Oh and vegetables.. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes.. Mouth watering yet?? I know mine is! Anyway, one of my favorite memories was the first bite. I had a cup of sweet mint tea, a loaf of bread, and a vegetable tagine. I set up the perfect bite of couscous and veggies, closed my eyes, and savored the experience. That bite was about the food, but it was also about so much more. I was a single, western female in Morocco. I had arrived solo and was happy for the exciting experience that lay ahead. I was excited for all the things I was going to be doing, but I was also so excited to be eating couscous in Morocco.. And let me tell you, couscous tastes amazing in Morocco.. It is second to none.

So, it was natural that I wanted to recreate this when I got home. I have since made various stews and soups to suit the Moroccan spice blend I love so much. Saffron, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika. So, SO good. Tonight’s dish features those spices, but with a bit of a different take on the ingredients..

My Sweet Potato Stew features carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, green bell peppers, garlic, onions, and of course sweet potatoes.

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Michelle’s Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Stew

2 T water

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Green bell pepper, chopped

3 Carrots, chopped

3 Sweet Potatoes, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, with juices

3 cups chickpeas

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch saffron threads

salt, pepper, to taste

1/4 t ginger

1/2 t cumin

1/4 t paprika

1 T maple syrup

2-3 c. vegetable broth

Saute onions, garlic, and carrots with 2 T of water in a medium-high heat skillet, until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add bell pepper, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and spices. Stir constantly to coat, then add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, maple syrup, and vegetable broth. Don’t worry if the vegetables aren’t fully covered by the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove cover and keep on heat to reduce liquid. In the picture above, you can see quite a bit of liquid, I didn’t reduce the liquid enough and ended up with a more soupy consistency.. I would’ve preferred less liquid.. Serve stew over couscous, brown rice, or quinoa.

This recipe is pretty quick and easy. I like to add whatever veggies I have lying around. White potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, or any other veggies that you may like! The flavor of the “sauce” is the best.. the longer you let it reduce, the richer and sweeter the liquid will become. The grain will soak up the flavors and really add another level to the stew.

I also like to cook my grain with a cinnamon stick to infuse the flavor even more!

Happy Travels!

Morocco 3