Classic Comforts

26 02 2012

I had a craving this week for a macaroni salad my Mom used to make when I was a kid, you know the one with the elbow macaroni, peas and onions? One of the challenges of being Vegan is how to get the taste of the comfort foods you remember but in a healthier, vegetable based way. 

Here’s my take on Pea and Onion Pasta Salad – brown rice based elbow macaroni by Tinkyada Pasta Joy (gluten-free), canned organic peas, a little finely diced red onion and Veganaise. Mix and refrigerate for a bit to allow the flavors to blend. Yum! 

That got me on a kick of trying to figure out how to make Vegan Enchiladas. I used corn tortillas (check the label because many brands have some gluten, etc. incorporated) and fried them in a bit of olive oil to soften them, added a mixture of rice and almond based “cheddar” cheeses, and sat them in a bed of homemade enchilada sauce from a wonderful recipe I found online (see: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/easy-enchilada-sauce-recipe/index.html – I just modified this to vegetable broth rather than chicken stock and used organic versions on the canned goods). Place the “cheese” filled rolled tortillas in a baking pan that has some of the homemade sauce in the bottom, cover with a little more sauce, a little “cheese” and place it in a 350* oven for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce is bubbling. Eat and enjoy! 

Tabbouleh is a wonderful staple for lunch. In this version I’ve added up about 2 cups (cooked) couscous (not gluten-free! You can substitute cooked Quinoa for the couscous if you are trying to lose the gluten) according to the package directions. The version I used today had some brown rice, lentils and spices already in the mix. I chopped up one bunch of fresh parsley finely. Make sure and dry it thoroughly before trying to chop it up or you will have a big mess! Two Roma tomatoes finely diced and a little bit of red onion diced. Put all of these ingredients in a large bowl with the juice of one lemon, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and tossed to mix up. 

I’ve been packing up all my food in single serving sized containers so that I can just grab them and throw them in my lunch bag so I don’t have to spend a lot of time cooking during the busy work week!

What’s your favorite comfort food? Have you experimented with making it more vegetarian friendly? Post your comments below!





Magnificent Menus (it’s what’s for dinner this week…)

29 01 2012

I recently received a new cookbook – ‘Thrive Foods’ by Brandon Brazier.  He is a professional Ironman Triathlete who has developed the Vega Optimized Meal Replacement that I have been using for quite some time now. It uses non-animal based protein sources and adds in everything from your daily multivitamin, complete set of essential amino acids, berry complex, chlorella, etc. all in an alkaline base to allow your body to absorb the nutrients more fully. Since taking it, my skin has become softer, my nails have grown stronger and I just feel much better.

I figured he must be “on” to something and so today I attempted a few of the recipes in his cookbook. I’ve been trying to spend some time on the weekend to prep all my vegetables and fruits for the week and pack everything up in single servings so that I can grab and go during the week.

Clockwise from the top we have roasted asparagus and Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower “Rice,” Red Lentil Patties, assorted fresh berries, Summer Succotash with Garlic Rosemary Sauce. All of these dishes are Vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, and full of freshness and flavor.

The easiest of all was the Cauliflower “Rice” – shredded cauliflower (about 2/3of a medium sized head of cauliflower using a medium sized grater) is put in a bowl and tossed with a couple teaspoons of curry powder and some sea salt. It’s then fried in a skillet for about 5 minutes with a little bit of melted coconut oil. It tastes wonderful, and makes a great mock grain to go with the homemade lentil patties! Brendan has done well with that one!

What are your favorite veggies dishes? Post in the comments section below. If you want any of the recipes, you can post that in the comments section as well.

I think I’m going to enjoy this book!





Bread is not Boring!

9 10 2011

“I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life. I am the bread of life.” John 6:47-48   

I had an epiphany while working through my Bible study today that I would love to share with you. It involved bread. It’s always good to study around food, no? It’s probably why I paid attention in the first place…..

There is significance to bread in Scripture. It was used as a staple for nutrition. It was also used as an offering to God in the Old Testament.

In the case of David, we know that when he fled from Saul, he ran to Nod and visited Ahimelech who was fearful of David because he knew of David’s conquest over Goliath. David told him a lie that he was “on a secret mission” for Saul and asked for something to eat.

“Now then, what do you have on hand? Give me five loaves of bread, or whatever you can find.” But the priest answered David, “I don’t have any ordinary bread on hand; however, there is some consecrated bread here–provided the men have kept themselves from women. David replied, “Indeed women have been kept from us, as usual whenever I set out. The men’s things are holy even on missions that are not holy. How much more so today!” So the priest gave him the consecrated bread, since there was no bread there except the bread of the Presence that had been removed from before the LORD and replaced by hot bread on the day it was taken away.” 1 Samuel 21:3-6

During the time of David, bread was offered to God as a way to remind God of the covenant that he made with his people (Israel). This is the “Shewbread” that we see in Scripture. It was placed on the altar, and it was 12 loaves of what is thought to be unleavened bread. It was replaced with fresh bread each Sabbath.  

David was given bread that had been offered to God. There is some meaning to this, it is a reminder to David by God of his commitment and covenant to protect him.

Jesus also used 5 loaves to feed the five thousand.

“When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick. As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food. Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.” “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered. “Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14: 13-21

Jesus reminded the disciples and the crowd that he alone is the provisioner of all our needs. He can and will satisfy and sustain us.

  • Five loaves fed David when he fled from Saul.
  • Five loaves fed the 5,000. 
  • Twelve loaves on the altar of the tabernacle as an offering to the Lord.
  • Twelve apostles.
  • Consecrated bread represents the presence of the Lord. It is this bread of the presence that was given to David to remind him of the promise of God.
  • Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life.
  • We use bread during the communion ritual as a reminder of Christ’s body.

In the Old Testament bread is used to symbolize things beyond the obvious of nutrition; the presence of God, unity among a group, wisdom. In the New Testament, bread represents Christ himself, unity of his Kingdom and the Church.

When Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life, he is telling us in short that he is the embodied presence of God. He is wisdom, and unity, and the ultimate nutrition. He alone can satisfy your needs.

Doesn’t that just stir your soul to no end? I hope so! Bread, indeed, is not boring! Grasp at your bread hungrily and greedily….and maybe dip it in a little olive oil and vinegar with some cracked pepper as you do! May it become a reminder of who your Maker is and what promises he has made to us each and every time you have your daily bread.

Reference:

David: Seeking a Heart Like His  (Beth
Moore)

Holman Bible Dictionary 





Tofu Taco Tuesday!

16 08 2011
Tofu Tacos

Tofu has some great benefits. It is an inexpensive source of good plant-based protein, fairly low-calorie, with some calcium and iron to boot! Check the specific package for additional info.

Now if you’re not a tofu lover, please do try to keep an open mind. It really is a good and simple recipe. I promise! There’s something about draining the water out of the tofu that makes it crisp up really nice. A little slice of heaven!

 Yield should be about 8 tacos

  • Ingredients

1 Extra Firm Organic Tofu, 12 ounce package

1 package taco sized tortillas (about 5”)  (I used La Tortilla Hand Made Style White Corn Tortillas today)

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

Shredded green cabbage

Gringo Salsa (recipe follows)

1 can Pickled Carrots (carrots pickled in a vinegar brine with jalapeños, in the international aisle)

Fresh Cilantro

Directions 

Open the tofu and drain the extra liquid. Slice the block of tofu into 8 equal slices along the long side of the block (so they fit the length of the tortillas best). Drain the tofu slices on paper towel. Blot on all sides to remove as much moisture as possible. This is a really important step! 

Preheat a frying pan with the olive oil. When hot (don’t let the oil steam, that’s too hot!) then place the tofu slices in the pan. Fry until golden brown on both sides. Remove from heat and place on paper towel. 

Warm the tortillas, either in the drained frying pan or in the microwave for a few seconds.

Place a slice of tofu on each of the tortillas, top with the shredded green cabbage, gringo salsa, and pickled carrots, top it off with some fresh cilantro leaves…..and enjoy! 

The ingredients store really well for use the next day as long as you package all of the items separately so nothing gets soggy. 

For the Gringo Salsa

Dice:

  • 2 tomatoes (I used some organic heirloom tomatoes today)
  • ½ of a red onion
  • 1 T. fresh cilantro leaves

Mix and enjoy! You may want to add some diced jalapeno to taste if you prefer more of a kick. 

And you know the minute I took this taco picture, I added about 10 more carrots to each taco before eating!  Craving satisfied! 

P.S…..my dog Sadie seems to have developed a fondness for the pickled carrots as well. She was taking them right and left! Good chow!

Hey…..What’s something odd you’ve craved? Post yours in the Comments section below!





Sweet Potato Turnovers

30 07 2011

Ingredients

2 pounds sweet potatoes, whole and unpeeled

1/4 cup granulated organic sugar

1/4 cup organic brown sugar

1 lemon, zested

2/3 cup almond meal/almond flour (ground almonds, available from sources such as  Trader Joes or Red Mill)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon honey

4 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed (2 packages)

1 egg, beaten

Powdered sugar, for dusting

 Directions

 Preheat the oven to 400*F.

 Put the potatoes in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring water to a boil over medium heat and cook until soft, approximately 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool. When cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. Place in bowl and mash with a fork. Add the sugars and mix thoroughly. Stir in the lemon zest, ground almonds, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and honey.

Unfold the puff pastry and using a 3 to 3 1/2-inch biscuit cutter, cut out as many circles of the dough as possible. If you don’t have a cutter, use a small bowl or glass and cut around it with a knife. Put about a tablespoon of sweet potato filling on each circle, then fold the circles in half. Press the edges together and then crimp with a fork to seal. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush the top of each turnover with beaten egg.  Bake until golden brown, approximately 15 minutes. Watch it carefully! Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes then dust with sifted powdered sugar.

 Yield should be about 20 turnovers

For an extra treat, bake up the extra scraps of puff pastry. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar before baking.

I came up with quite a bit of leftover filling. I put it in a small springform pan (6”) and then covered the top with puff pastry pieces and then sprinkled it with cinnamon sugar. I baked it up for 15 minutes for a crustless sweet potato pie! Yummy!

Recipe adapted from “Outta Sight Sweet Potato Turnovers,” Aaron McCargo, Jr., Food Network.








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