Monday, July 28, 2014

Vegan Caprese!

One of our families favorite dishes each summer is Caprese.  Traditionally made with layers of fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomatoes atop bread ~ we had been searching for a way to make this Vegan.

It ended up being very simple! All we had to do was take a block of organic, silken firm tofu, and slice it into thin slices. We sprinkled salt (and our favorite all-purpose seasoning - Spike) onto both sides, then carefully placed it atop the bread that already had a fine drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. We cut up fresh garden basil and sprinkled a generous amount on, before topping with the tomato slices and another drizzle of the EVO and balsamic. We finished everything with another generous sprinkling of chopped basil and.... YUMMY!  (I am so happy that all four of my kids loved it too!)

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I made a Vegan Blueberry Pie with fresh blueberries!

So... Blueberries are on sale... and as much as I hate to admit it... I have never made a pie with FRESH Blueberries...  (I know, it's crazy, right?)  I kept thinking, "Oh it can't be that much better with fresh blueberries." I was very, very wrong. It is FANTASTICALLY BETTER with FRESH Blueberries!*

(As long as you are serving WARM.)

I didn't use a recipe, but I put together my own which I will share with you now.

Mix the following by hand in a large bowl with a rubber spatula/scraper:
1/4 cup Maple Syrup
1/3 cup Organic Sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 1/2 Tablespoons Organic Cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon or more of FRESHLY grated Nutmeg (yes, once again, it does make a difference)

Fold in:

6 cups FRESH Organic Blueberries (more or less)

Place into either a store-bought Graham Cracker Pie Crust Shell (or make your own using these ingredients):

Graham Crackers
Vanilla Extract
Vegan Butter

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
In a Separate Bowl, make the crumble topping:
1/2 cup Vegan Butter
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Rolled Oats
sprinkle of Cinnamon
sprinkle of freshly grated Nutmeg (or more if you are me)

Sprinkle crumble topping over the berries.
Bake for 15 minutes, then turn down oven to 350 degrees bake for approx. 20 minutes (or until topping is turning just barely golden in a few places. Remove from the oven, and cool for just a few minutes. Serve WARM.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Homemade Almond Milk is tasty and environmental!

I enjoy almond milk a lot (both the super-sweet-almost-melted-vanilla-ice-cream kind, and especially the chocolate kind), but when I saw this infographic, I was astounded at the "water footprint" that one glass of conventionally produced almond milk takes.  So I make my own more often now, and it is far more efficient.

In less than 3 minutes I had made my own almond milk (1 cup of raw almonds in the vitamix blender with a couple of cups of water, then squeezed through a "nut bag" and stirred with a pinch of salt and a bit of coconut sugar (feel free to use the sweetener of your choice, or no sweetener at all).

If you want to read the article that contained this info, click the link:
When I read things like this passage below, (discussing different proteins found in cow's milk from different breeds of cows), it just makes it much MORE clear that humans aren't needing to drink another species milk at all.  
"When digested, A1 beta-casein (but not the A2 variety) releases beta-casomorphin7 (BCM7), an opioid with a structure similar to that of morphine.  Studies increasingly point to BCM7 as a troublemaker. Numerous recent tests, for example, have shown that blood from people with autism and schizophrenia contains higher-than-average amounts of BCM7. In a recent study, Richard Deth, a professor of pharmacology at Northeastern University in Boston, and his postdoctoral fellow, Malav Trivedi, showed in cell cultures that the presence of similarly high amounts of BCM7 in gut cells causes a chain reaction that creates a shortage of antioxidants in neural cells, a condition that other research has tied to autism. The study, underwritten in part by A2 Corp., is now undergoing peer review in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. "

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip!

Vegan Spinach Artichoke Dip that tastes as good or better than the dairy-laden, high fat version!
It even fooled people into thinking it was made with cream cheese!
The best part is that it is made quickly from just a few simple ingredients!


2 huge handfuls of raw baby spinach  (OR 1 large package of frozen chopped spinach)

1 large can of artichoke hearts (water or oil packed)

1 T. Olive Oil (use less if using oil-packed artichoke hearts)

1/2 Onion, diced

1 Clove of garlic is optional  (I choose NOT to use it because I often am using oil-packed, flavored artichoke hearts anyway, and I do not care for garlic.)

Salt to taste

Black Pepper to taste

Cayenne Pepper to taste

1 T.  Lemon Juice or to taste

1 Cup Raw Cashews

2-3 Cups filtered water


In advance, soak the raw cashews (or cashew pieces) in a bowl with enough water to cover them for about 2-8 hours. After soaking time, drain and rinse cashews. (If you are in a hurry, simply boil some water, pour over the cashews, and soak for 15 minutes before draining.)

Next add them to a blender with 1 cup fresh water. Blend until smooth and set aside.

Defrost spinach and squeeze out excess water. Heat the olive oil and saute the onions until translucent. Add the garlic if you are using it, and stir for an additional minute.

Stir in artichoke hearts, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and cayenne pepper- and cook until hot.

Add spinach and lemon juice and cook for 2 minutes.

Mix in cashew cream, cook for an additional few minutes and serve hot with veggies, rice, crackers, or bread! This spread is great served the next day on a sandwich or salad!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cinnamon Swirl Bread you can eat every week!

My dear friend Sara introduced me to this recipe, and our family LOVES it so much, that I had to alter it just a bit - I started making it with part whole wheat flour so I could justify serving it all the time!

  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups white flour (add extra as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  1. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar with the warm water in a very large bowl. Add the yeast without stirring and let it sit until creamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Pour into the breadmaker. Add the flour on top of the liquid, and then add the olive oil  and salt. Set the cycle for "Dough" and walk away!
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll each half into a large rectangle. For more tight rolls in the bread, roll the dough thinner. For thicker softer rolls in the bread, roll thicker. It’s up to you and it tastes great either way. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl and sprinkle over each loaf. Be generous. Roll up the loaves tightly and let rest for a few minutes before putting in the oven.
  4. Bake on a cookie sheet or baking stone for 30 minutes, or until it sounds hollow. When in doubt, overbake this one. It might look brown on the outside, but that’s okay because the inside really needs to bake all the way to get the layers filled out. And it’s really really helpful to let the bread cool before cutting into it, otherwise it has a tendency to sink down where you cut it.
  5. OUR FAVORITE WAY TO EAT this is toasting it in the toaster, and putting a bit of vegan butter on it. This recipe also freezes well - meaning you can cut a few slices and put in the freezer for another day when you need a quick bite of cinnamon sweetness!

If you don't have a breadmaker, you can still easily make this bread... this recipe was adapted from:

I have a breadmaker by Rosewill, which I primarily use only for the dough setting, and then prefer to bake all bread in a real oven.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Winter Warm-Up Almond Drink! Try this instead of coffee and see how you feel!

 Recently the Midwest went through an intense cold snap.  You know, the kind that makes you run to the store for ingredients to stock your fridge and cupboards, and then makes you bake and eat nuts and carbs incessantly...  or is that just me? But before all the trips to the store- we have to wake up and get moving, right? Even when the temperature is dropping fast...  everyone was posting all over Facebook about how they were preparing, and a friend of mine mentioned that she might have to leave the house to get strong coffee. 

Someone suggested to her:

"homemade almond milk with date, black or cayenne pepper to get the blood flowing -- no jitters with this and it is so yummy...."

First I should say I LOVE everything almond...  almond wedding cookies, chocolate covered almonds,  almonds in savory rice dishes, in rice pudding, in the crowning glory recipe for almonds - marzipan, and even in my favorite almond body cream and almond hand cream!  I keep a big glass jar of almonds on my counter and my four children are always snacking on them.   So her comment sent me right to my kitchen!

In less than 3 minutes I had made my own almond milk (1 cup of raw almonds in the vitamix blender with a couple of cups of water, then squeezed through a "nut bag" and stirred with a pinch of salt and a bit of coconut sugar.  I tasted it and I really liked it. I hadn't made my own almond milk since summer and I realized how much I missed it. 

So for the hot drink, I simply heated up a cup of it on my stove - I made it with cayenne first - since I am in love with cayenne.  Tasty and intense heat, yet creamy!  Then I tried another cup, this time with black pepper.  I cannot say that it woke me up like coffee, but it was yummy! And it was so filling and truly nourishing too!  Later that afternoon I also made a cup of it with chai spices in it and loved that too!

P.S. Thank you Anne Hirsch for your wonderful drink suggestion!