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Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper

25 Feb

A skillet meal the gloved one would be proud of....Lefty, not Michael Jackson. But I bet he'd like it too.

When I was a kid, the sight of few human beings made me as happy as a vision of Betty Crocker’s anthropomorphic meal-time-in-a-box mascot, Lefty the Helping Hand, hanging out on our kitchen counter. Because that meant only one glorious thing: Helper was coming!

As I’ve mentioned before, my mom is not a fan of the kitchen. So Helpers were a common sight in our house — much to the joy of little Bridget. They were so gooey. So noodely. So salty. So yum.

In particular, I adored the 1990 version that featured Lefty wearing a Russian hat:

The Berlin wall is down! Creamy noodley goodness for all!

Anyway, that was 24 years ago. Flash forward through slap bracelets, Tamogotchis, Britney and Justin’s matching denim ensembles, MySpace and the resurgence of all things Apple, and while 29-year-old Bridget no longer eats animal foods, I still cherish the hell out of some Helper memories.

So, not too long ago, I decided I was going to turn this most-dear childhood staple into something a little healthier. The first step? Way less salt. And, obviously, no artificial preservatives. Easy peasy.

Now, your typical stroganoff sauce consists of sour cream, oil, butter, beef broth, onion, garlic powder and salt and pepper. As you know, I don’t play with those first four items. So I improvised. I traded out cashews for the artery-clogging trifecta of cream, oil and butter, added apple cider vinegar for the sour tang, and replaced the beef with a combo of vegan, meatless soy crumble and vitamin-D-packed mushrooms. Mmm, shrooms.

I also felt the need to squeeze some green into my ode to a healthier Lefty. I went with a cup or so of frozen peas, but spinach or kale would be a good plan, too.

The results did not disappoint.

Before I give you the play-by-play on how to whip this up, here’s a little info on why cashews are so awesome:

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

Cashew apples. These are a thing, apparently.

While they’re not fat free by any stretch of the imagination, cashews certainly kick butter, cream and plain old olive oil’s asses. First of all, they’re actually less fatty than some of  their other nut brethren, and they boast unsaturated fat (the kind that’s good for you).  They’re also made up of a bunch of minerals, which make your skin, hair and nails all pretty-like. Plus, cashews provide B vitamins, and they contain several antioxidant compounds regarded as anticancer agents. Also, they’re actually a seed (Mr. Seed to you). Who knew?

And now, let’s pig out!…

Stroganoff Non-Hamburger Helper
Serves ~4

Ingredients

Sauce (makes about 3 cups)

  • 2 cups non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup water or vegetable broth
  • 3 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup soaked raw cashews
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • A generous shake of dried parsley
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
Everything else
  • 6 oz. non-egg noodles
  • 6 oz. vegan meatless crumbles (I used Gardein)
  • 4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup frozen peas (or other veggies, such as kale, spinach, etc.)
Directions
  1. To make them as creamy as possible, soak your cashews for at least a half an hour. If you are lucky enough to own a Vitamix or similarly turbo-powered blender/food processor, then you can skip this step.
  2. Combine all your sauce ingredients in your blender/food processor, and whiz until smooth.
  3. In a non-stick skillet, combine noodles, sauce, mushrooms and peas and heat to boiling, stirring occasionally.
  4. When mixture bubbles, turn heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Dig in!

Bon apetit! 

Alfredo Pizza with Kale, Squash and Mushrooms

6 Dec

Mmm...pizza. Food of the gods.

There’s no point in slicing it. I’m eating the whole thing. In one bite.

This adorable puppy wants you to make pizza.

We all seem to really like puppies, too. But, sadly, this post has nothing to do with them.

There are very few things everyone agrees on. A casual perusal of your Facebook wall ought to make that evident. But one of those rare nouns that can bring us all together in agreement — think Pepsi lovers and cat ladies joining hands with Coca-Cola worshipers and dog people — is pizza. Thanks, Italy!

Pizza is marvelous and simple and brings a smile to peoples’ faces from Japan to Africa to Uncle Sam’s Land.

Of course, there are tons of ways to doctor yourself up a plant-based pie. But this gem is a little non-traditional, using (to die for) cashew alfredo sauce instead of the traditional red, as well as bright and beautiful — and crazy good for you — kale and summer squash, as well as baby bella mushrooms.

Fun facts time. Did you know that mushrooms are the only plant source of vitamin D? And did you also know that summer squash is a rich source of Vitamin A and C, plus magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6? Aaaaand did you know that kale is a demi god? Okay, well not quite, but it can do some amazing stuff for your body.

Alls I’m saying is, this pizza not only tastes faboosh, it’s also good for you. You could amp up the nutrition level by cutting the vegan cheese and using a whole wheat crust, but I chose to go the regular, unbleached white flour route this time, and sprinkle on some Daiya.

FYI, the sauce is also amazing on pasta. Nomnomnom. And it’ll keep in the fridge, covered in an airtight container, for a few days. You can also freeze it for months.

Ingredients

  • 1 prepared pizza crust (my favorite recipe from Veggieful.com)
  • A handful of baby bella mushrooms (or any kind you like), washed and sliced
  • One summer squash, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • A big handful of kale, ripped into bite-size pieces
  • 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella, if you like
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream (recipe below)
  • A splash of grapeseed oil or olive oil (about a tablespoon)
  • A tsp of lemon juice or so (to taste)
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Dried parsley flakes, to taste
  • 2 Tbsps corn meal

How To

As you can see from the ingredient list, I really eyeball this sauce. I didn’t use any measuring cups, but just mixed as I went and kept taste testing. If you think you’d like some other herbs, throw ’em in! Want more pepper? You add that pepper, gal or guy! But here’s the gist:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out your dough onto your pie pan, and lift up the edges to sprinkle the corn meal underneath. I also sprinkle a little bit on the top, too.
  3. To make your alfredo sauce, mix together your 1/2 cup of cashew cream and the oil, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parsley, taste testing as you go, until you have a sauce you like. Then spread it out over your dough.
  4. Top with the sliced veggies, and cheese if you like, and bake for 30 minutes, until the crusts are browned.

Cashew Cream Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw, whole cashews
  • 1/4 cup cold water

How To

  1. Soak your cashews in cold water for six to eight hours, then strain them.
  2. Place the strained cashews in a food process with 1/4 cup of cold water, and blend, blend, blend some more, until it’s smooth as silk — no bits left. If you want your cream to be thinner, just add a bit more water.

That’s it! This will make you a whole cup, but you can store what’s leftover from the alfredo sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer. It makes for a very tasty dill dip for veggies, or salad dressing, too. Just add lemon juice, grapeseed oil, parlsey, a bit of salt and lots of dill.

Bon appétit! 

Kentucky Fried Vegan: Chickun Sandwich, Coleslaw and Biscuit Meal

27 Jul

Chickpea Chickun Patty and Coleslaw

Picnic ready.

You guys, I have good news: It’s totally possible to enjoy the savory and sweet flavors of a meal with the Colonel, minus the part where you actually consume a bucket of fried animal appendages bursting with artery-clogging cholesterol and fat. Because that’s gross.

But you know what’s not gross? Plants. Chickpeas, for example, are super good for you. They’re full of fiber, protein, vitamins, antioxidants and other goodies. And they also lay the foundation for a damn fine chickun patty.

Plus, coleslaw definitely doesn’t require cows’ milk and chicken eggs to do a tasty and cool cabbage-and-carrot dance on your pallet.

And, as it turns out, you can easily whip up a flufftastic buttermilk biscuit without the use of any animals at all. Not a one.

Chickpea Chickun Patties
Serves 4

This recipe is an adaptation of Happy Herbivore Lindsay Nixon’s Chickpea Tenders, which you can find in her fabulous book, “The Everyday Happy Herbivore.” I opted to throw in some paprika and liquid smoke to amp up the flavor. And while I used Lindsay’s poultry seasoning recipe (below), I use a different chicken-style broth powder.

Ingredients

  • 1 15oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp chicken-style broth powder
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning (recipe below)
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp low-sodium tamari (or regular soy sauce)
  • 4-5 drops of liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3 Tbsp water

Poultry Seasoning Ingredients
Grind up the 1 Tbsp of each of the following dried herbs with a mortar and pestle until they’re course, but not powdered:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Marjoram (or oregano)
  • Parsley (or basil)

Step-by-Step

  1. Preheat the oven to 350, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Using a potato masher or a strong fork (my fork kept bending. I am clearly not wealthy), smash up your chickpeas in a large bowl until they’re totally broken down. You don’t want to see any whole peas.
  3. Add in all your ingredients, except the vital wheat gluten and water, and stir until combined.
  4. Stir in the vital wheat gluten and water, until a gooey dough forms.
  5. Knead the dough with your hands for a minute or two, shape it into a ball, and then let it rest for about 10 minutes.
  6. Form the dough into four equal-sized patties, and space them evenly on your cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes on each size, twice, to cook for a total of 40 minutes (so, you flip them over four times).

I wholeheartedly agree with Lindsay that these are great served warm, but they’re even better cold on a sammich with some barbecue sauce or mayo. Nomnom. They would also make fabulous nuggets, I just wouldn’t cook them as long (probably about 20 minutes).

Simple Vegan Slaw
Serves 10-12

Ingredients

  • 3 carrots, shredded
  • 1 head of cabbage, shredded
  • 3 radishes, shredded
  • 1 cup vegan mayo (I used Veganaise)
  • 4 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 Tbsp almond or soy milk
  • A dash of salt and pepper

Step-by-Step

  1. In a large bowl (seriously, go big, because you need room to toss your slaw), combine the mayo, vinegar, sugar, milk and spices, and whisk them together until you have a smooth sauce.
  2. Add in your shredded veggies, and gently toss until they’re all coated.
  3. Cover the dish in plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Serves 6

I cannot overstake the flaky yumminess of these biscuits. You will be amazed, and have an instant desire to buy stock in coconut oil. I found these little gems over at Chez Bettay: The Vegan Gourmet, but I thought the directions were a little hard to follow when broken up by all the delicious pictures, so they’re reprinted here with some notes from B.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sifted flour (I used unbleached white all purpose flour)
  • 3 tsps baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup solid coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsps solid coconut oil for glazing
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Step-by-Step

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and coconut oil in a food processor, and pulse a few times until the flour forms pea-sized clumps. Be sure not to over process.
  3. In a separate cup, stir the vinegar into the milk (this makes the mock buttermilk).
  4. Slowly pour the buttermilk mixture into the processor as you pluse, until it starts to form a dough ball — then stop. You’ll have a sticky lump, and not all the ingredients will be combined, but that’s how it should be.
  5. Dump your dough out onto a floured surface and sprinkle with some more flour.
  6. Roll the dough into a ball, and use your palms to flatten it to a 3/4″-thick circle.
  7. Using a biscuit cutter (or a glass) cut out as many biscuits as you can. (With a 3″ biscuit cutter, I made six).
  8. Place the biscuits on a cookie sheet, and brush with the remaining coconut oil and then bake for 10-ish minutes (until they’re fluffy and golden).

And there you have it, a delicious one-piece meal with slaw and a biscuit, all based solely upon the wonder that is plants.

Bon appétit!

Veggieful Oven-Fried Rice

2 Jul

Veggieful Vegan Oven-Fried Rice

You want me. You need me.

I love rice, but I don’t have a rice cooker, and making it the old-fashioned way just takes too damn long for this baby of the 80s. I want what I want when I want it, which was 10 seconds ago and why are you so slooooooow?!

Much like this little pony, I want it NOW!

But this dish is lickety split fast. If you have the bouillon and soup mixes on hand, it takes less than 10 minutes to throw together. If you don’t have those at the ready, never fear. Just click the links below for some easy make-it-yourself recipes that will only add about five more minutes to the process. You are welcome.

The other great thing about this meal is that it’s a real refrigerator cleaner. Got some veggies that are getting long in the tooth? Throw ’em in here. An old sock you’ll never find the mate to? Toss it in — broth makes everything delicious!

I found this recipe on Food.com, courtesy of TheDancingCook. As it was practically perfect already, I only made one change: add some yummy tofu.

Veggieful Oven-Fried Rice
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole grain brown rice
  • A buttload of chopped vegetables, your pick (mushrooms, carrots, celery, green peppers, onions, frozen peas, frozen corn, broccoli, onions, etc., etc., etc.)
  • 1/2 pound tofu, drained, pressed and cut into cubes
  • 1 packet or preparation of onion soup mix
  • 3 tablespoons vegan chicken bouillon
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari (for a soy free dish)
Oven-Fry it Up
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a 2-quart casserole dish.
  3. Bake uncovered for one hour.
  4. Scarf it all down in one sittingLet it cool and serve.

Bon appétit!

BBQ Mozzarella Black Bean Burger and Oven-Fried Potato Chips

27 Jun

Vegan junk food lives.

Vegan junk food lives.

As is the case with many recipes, this one was born out of a need to clean my refrigerator. I had some barbecue sauce leftover after making a dish of tofubacue, and an almost-empty bag of Daiya mozzarella shreds that didn’t get used up when I last made Alfredo sauce. What was I to do? Squeeze them into a burger, of course.

The result is a sweet, tangy burger (no cow required) that pairs nicely with a toasted bun or bread and a topping of  baby spinach or kale. Added plant-based bonus: black beans are a low-sodium, low-fat source of protein, and they contain bunches of essential minerals, including iron. Get wise to some more rad black bean benefits here.

Plus you can also make a bunch of these and freeze them (uncooked) for postponed munching (like say perhaps at a July 4 shindig, my fellow Americans).

BBQ Mozzarella Black Bean Burger
Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup vegan mozzarella cheese shreds (I use Daiya), plus a wee bit  more for sprinkling
  • Rolled oats, or breadcrumbs, as needed (probably 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup)
  • 1/4 small to medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp barbecue sauce
  • 4 drops Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • A dash of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 4 tsps dried cilantro (or 1/4 cup fresh, minced)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegan BBQ Mozzarella Black Bean Burger Patty

An uncooked patty awaits its fate.

Ready? Set? Patty!

  1. Combine your liquid smoke, herbs, spices, cheese shreds, onions and black beans in a large mixing bowl, and smush the lot together until they’re combined, but the beans aren’t completely broken down.
  2. Add breadcrumbs to the mixture until it’s firm enough (and not too sticky) to shape into three patties.

To cook these little guys, you have two options. You can either go low-oil and bake them, or add a little bit more oil to the equation and fry them. Either way, your last step is to sprinkle a bit more cheese on top for the last couple minutes of cooking. I find they get much crisper when you fry them, but they taste great no matter the method.

Bake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Place the patties on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper (foil will  aid crispiness more so than paper).
  3. Spray the patties lightly with cooking spray (I use olive oil), and bake for 7 to 10 minutes on each side (be sure to spray them again when you flip), until they’re slightly crunchy on the inside and warmed through.

Fry

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the patties to the pan and fry them over medium-high heat until their bottoms are browned and crispy (should take about five minutes).
  3. Flip the patties and cook them for another three to five minutes until they’re crunchy on either side and warmed through.

And what good is a burger without a side of chips or fries? If you muttered “worthless” to your computer monitor, you’d be correct.

Not-Yet-Oven-Fried Potato Chips

Not-Yet-Oven-Fried Potato Chips

Oven-Fried Potato Chips
Serves 1-2

Ingredients

  • 1 large or 2 medium sized potatos
  • Oil spray
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

How to Chip

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a mandolin, food processor, or your own skilled hand, slice your potato into thin chips (pick a thickness you like. I prefer mine to be about 1/16 of a inch thick. Note that skinnier chips will cook faster, so keep an eye on them).
  3. Place the chips on a baking sheet, spray them lightly with oil, and bake for about 10 minutes on each side, turning half-way through (yes, this part is a beyotch). Keep an eye on them to make sure they’re not burning.
  4. Transfer the cooked chips to a paper-towel covered plate to cool off for a moment or two before you start chomping away.

Bon appetit!

The fastest chili mac casserole in the west, plus dairy-free chocolate milk

22 Jun

Delicious. No cows required.

Delicious. No cows required.

If you’re responsible for feeding one or more finicky children (or child-like adults), listen up, because these recipes are made for you.

My chili mac casserole and chocolate milk are omnivore requested, tested and approved, and possibly my most kid-friendly recipes to date. Plus, they both have the added benefit of being stupid easy to throw together, whilst harboring zero animal products or gluten. And, oh yeah, they taste fantastic. Amazing, I know. (Full disclosure time: I grabbed the gluten-free pasta off the store shelf on accident. But, you know what, it turned out yummy. So, there you go).

But before I launch into the recipes, allow me to drop some knowledge about one of the star ingredients in both.

Mmm...HFCS!When people find out someone in their vicinity no longer eats animal products, one of the most common concerns they feel the right need to voice is, “but where oh where do you get your calcium?!” (Because it makes complete sense to pipe up with nutrition advice when a fellow human is noshing salads and tofu, but when they watch you scarf down McGarbage on your way to a triple by-pass at 30, your diet is totally none of their business…) “Never fear,” I tell these folks, “well-rounded plant-based diets contain plenty of calcium. And one of my favorite sources is almond milk.”

It’s creamy, can be used exactly like you’d use cow’s milk in any recipe, and is devoid of lactose (an enemy of many tummies), growth hormones, cholesterol, and sneakily hidden sweeteners. Plus, unlike cow’s milk, almond milk is a rich source of magnesium and vitamin E, as well as selenium, and manganese. And calcium-fortified, unsweetened almond milk has 50 percent more calcium per serving than regular cow’s milk — yet only 30 calories per serving, compared to 90 calories in skim cow’s milk and 150 calories in fat cow’s milk.

Now, some of you might be wondering why I didn’t just drop a blob of Hershey’s chocolate syrup into my milk and call it a day. Because I think high fructose corn syrup is the devil’s sweetener, that’s why.

So let’s all calm down, eat some calcium-rich casserole, and wash it down with a nice, frothy glass of calci-yummy, better-than-moosual chocolate milk.

Chili Mac Casserole
Serves 4-5

Mmm. I wish I could embed scents. You're missing out.

Mmm. I wish I could embed scents. You’re missing out.

Ingredients

  • 2 cans vegan chili (I used Amy’s, medium-level spice. But if you’re less lazy than me, you can use about three cups of your homemade chili)
  • 3 cups spinach, chopped (you could use kale here, too)
  • 8 oz. pasta (I used gluten-free penne, but really, whatever floats your boat will work)
  • 1 batch of Aunt B’s Cheese Sauce (recipe here)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumb topping (optional)

‘Role it Up

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Follow the package instructions to cook your pasta (gluten-free pasta usually has a shorter cook time).
  3. While your pasta is cooking, mix up all the ingredients for the cheese sauce in a blender or food processor.
  4. Dump your drained pasta back in the pot and pour in the cheese sauce, chili, and spinach, and stir until combined.
  5. Pour the whole mixture into a lightly greased (I used olive oil spray) casserole dish.
  6. If you like, top with breadcrumbs for an added crunch factor.
  7. Bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
  8. If you can drum up enough patience, allow the casserole to cool a bit before serving. Or let the kids burn their tongues out of their skulls. That’ll teach ’em!

Non-Dairy Chocolate Milk
Serves 2

Thirsty?

Thirsty?

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsps organic, pure maple syrup
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 drops vanilla
  • 2 heaping tsps pure cocoa powder

Simply blend all the ingredients together and chill in the fridge. If you don’t have a blender of food processor, you can use it whisk, but it might take a while.

Bon appetit!

Pretty Purple Potato Salad

11 Jun

It's purple picnic time, ya'll!

It’s purple picnic time, ya’ll!

Mondays always suck. When I can finally bring myself to pry open my eyes in the morning, I find they are usually fixed into a Mr. Potato Head angry stare for the better part of the day.

No. I don't want to edit the TPS reports.

No. I don’t want to edit the TPS reports.

But, speaking of potatoes, Mondays now blow slightly fewer chunks. At least for me. You see, the first day of the work week is now also my delivery day from Organics to You. They’re a local Portland company that gathers up fresh, organic produce from farms in the area, and then drives around town in their bio-diesel vehicles delivering them to people like me who try to interact with other humans as little as possible.

So that helps.

Along with an assortment of other from-the-ground goodies, this week’s maiden delivery brought a bunch of potatoes and two lovely ears of sweet corn from the farm to my counter.

So I decided to cook up a summer feast: tofubacue, corn on the cob, and a new invention of mine — the pretty purple potato salad.

In case I haven’t been 100 percent clear where I stand on the subject of taters, I LOVE THEM MORE THAN MOST PEOPLE. Indeed, I possibly love them more than my favorite (fictional) person, Harry Potter. (But probably not a whole lot more, because Harry is the fixed point around which my universe revolves. But you know what I mean).

They’re yummy and comforting and come in so many versions: tots, twice baked, mashed, curly fries, hash browns. The list is endless and awe-inspiring. And, you guys, the purple ones are even better.

The tater is way better for you than that purple ketchup every kid freaked out over in the 90s. Man, that stuff was cool...

The tater is way better for you than that purple ketchup every kid freaked out over in the 90s. Man, that stuff was cool…

First of all, they’re purple. I think we can all agree that’s rad. AND precisely because they’re purple, these colorful spuds contain four times as much antioxidants as Russet potatoes. Anthocyanin, the pigment that makes them so prettyfull, is a antioxidant that can strengthen your immune system and help prevent certain heart diseases and cancers. Recent research has also shown they can help lower blood pressure.

FYIzzle, be sure to leave the skin on the taters when you cook them to reap the most nutritional goodness.

And now, the loveliest potato salad you’ve ever eaten.

Pretty Purple Potato Salad
Serves four

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound potatoes, diced or sliced (I used two purple potatoes and two russet potatoes)
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons vegan mayo (recipe below)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice (or to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Salad Away

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Once the water is boiling, dump your potatoes in. Then cook until soft enough to poke with a fork. Usually around 6 minutes.
  3. Immediately rinse the potatoes with cold water, strain them, pour them out into a mixing bowl, and then let them sit for a bit to completely cool off.
  4. Once the taters are room temperature, add all your ingredients to the bowl and mix, being sure to coat the spuds well.
  5. Pop the lot into the fridge to chill before you serve.

Vegan Mayo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound of silken tofu (half a package)
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (or plain white vinegar)
  • A few drops of lemon juice
  • A few drops of agave nectar

Make Some Mayo

  1. Blend the tofu and vinegar together in a food processor (or by hand with a whisk) until you have a smooth, creamy mix.
  2. Add the lemon juice and agave nectar to taste, and blend, until the flavor is up to par with your standards.

Bon appetit!

Portland Observed. And Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Asparagus, Kale and Tomatos

7 Jun

So much yum, yet so few calories!

So much yum, yet so few calories!

Happy Friday, kids! Today I have for you a delectable quinoa treat that recently arose from my imagination (and need to go through a bunch of asparagus and kale before leaving town for the beach this weekend. Hooray!).

It’s full of veggie goodness, quick to prepare, reheats very well, and has a somehow buttery flavor while still managing to be low in calories and good for you. You’re welcome.

But before I get to the recipe fun, I have to share two things: the wonder that is asparagus, and some observations about PDX.

First, did you know that in addition to being jam packed with vitamins and minerals and all that jazz, asparagus may help slow the aging process, even keeping your brain from deteriorating into Grandpa Simpson-dom, as well as fight a bunch of cancers? Yup. It’s true. Plus, it like tastes good and stuff.

Second, I went on a run down my new street in my new town yesterday and noticed some things about Portland: people still sit on their front porches and talk to each other because, even thought it’s 84 degrees, no one believes in air conditioning. There is such a thing as a naked bike ride here, and a “Fascist Architecture Tour.” Portlanders have replaced their front yards with vegetable and herb gardens. This town may have the highest dreadlocks-per-capita ratio in the United States. I’m looking into it. In Portland, people wave to you on the street — people you don’t even know. Some of them will even flash you the peace sign. And grown men ride skateboards here. Like, a lot of them.

You should come visit.

And now, fooooooooood!

Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Asparagus, Kale and Tomatos

Ingredients

  • 6 cloves garlic, stripped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained (if you have a fine mesh strainer, that’d work best)
  • 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar (or a dry white wine or perhaps cooking sherry if you have it)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup chopped kale leaves (you could also use spinach)
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, quartered and de-seeded
  • 8 stalks of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Parmesan cheese

Get Cookin’

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Wrap up the garlic in tinfoil and then bake for a half an hour.
  3. Pulse the roasted garlic in a food processor until it’s gooey.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and red pepper to the pan and cook one minute.
  5. Now add the quinoa to pan and cook another two minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Add the vinegar, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, keep stirring the whole time.
  7. Add the broth and bring the whole mixture to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer 7 minutes.
  8. Add four of the asparagus spears, chopped into bite-size pieces, to the pan, and recover. Simmer the lot for another 7 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
  9. Move the pan off the burner, and stir in the garlic, kale, tomato, and cheeze.
  10. Spray the other four asparagus spears with some olive oil cooking spray and throw them on the grill, in a pan or on your George Foreman (like me) until they have grill marks. Serve these alongside the main dish.
  11. Plate your creation and eat it up! It’s delicious!

This should serve four. Or it will serve just one person four times if her boyfriend refuses to try it.

Anyhoo… I also crunched the nutritional numbers for you guys (okay, I also may have done it for my own benefit, as I’m back on the MyFitnessPal bandwagon):

Nutritional Information

Calories 134.2 Total Fat 4.9g Cholesterol 0mg Total Carbohydrates 34.2g Fiber 2.7g Sugars 0g Protein 3.8g Vitamin A 25.8% Vitamin C 19.8% Calcium 9.4% Iron 10.4%

Bon appetit!

Cauliflower-powered mushroom Alfredo

13 Mar

Cauliflower alfredo with mushrooms and kale chiffonade.

Made with veggies and magic.

I heart alfredo sauce and have missed it sorely since I stopped consuming animal bits. Although the interwebs turned up a few plant-based recipes, none of them were quite able to fill the sauce-shaped hole that buttery, creamy, traditional Alfredo had left in my heart.

Until now.

After my fabulous boss and friend, Marsha, emailed me a pasta recipe that used cauliflower and white beans as a sauce base, I was inspired.

Cauliflower Clark Kent

Get me a phone booth and I’ll turn into Super Man. True Story.

Turns out, aside from being totes good for you, cauliflower can bring the bam to a whole host of recipes (also, just so we’re clear, I don’t care if I’m nearing 30, I’m going to keep saying “totes.” And you can’t stop me). And white beans also pack a serious nutritional punch, especially when it comes to protein, fiber and antioxidants.

Using those two veggies as my foundation, I Frankenstein-ed my own ideal plant-based Alfredo, complete with not one but two vegan cheezes.

Plus, while this is not quite an oil-free recipe (thanks a lot, Daiya mozzarella I just couldn’t part with), it is very low in oil. Where once I would have used four tablespoons of olive oil, I chose vegetable broth and silken tofu. So, this oil-lite sauce contains only 60 fat calories from oil, versus a whopping 480. And Aunt B’s booty is thankful.

Cauliflower-powered mushroom Alfredo
Makes about 4 cups of sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of Cauliflower (about half a head), cut into large florets
  • 1 cup white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 Tbsp silken tofu
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheeze (if you don’t have or want store bought, here’s a super-fast and easy recipe at Veggieful.com that I used)
  • 1 cup vegan mozzarella cheeze (I used Daiya)
  • ¼ tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 large Toscana kale frond, cut into thin, ribbon-like strips (double this if you’re cooking for two)
  • ½ cup thinly sliced mushrooms (double this if you’re cooking for two)
  • Pasta (I rock the whole wheat linguine)

Alfredo time!

  1. Either make your own parmesan cheeze and leave it in the food processor/blender, or pour your store-bought cheeze in there.
  2. Boil the cauliflower in a medium-to-large-size sauce pan for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s soft.
  3. While your cauliflower is boiling, sauté the shallots and garlic in two tablespoons of vegetable broth until they’re soft and yellowing. If they start to stick, add a little more broth or water.
  4. Plop the cooked and drained cauliflower in the food processor or blender, along with the shallots, garlic, beans, milk, tofu, mozzarella, and white pepper and process until you have a smooth sauce.
  5. After you cook and drain your pasta, put it back in the pot and carefully mix in your sauce.
  6. Season to taste with sea salt.
  7. Sauté the mushrooms in the other two tablespoons of veggie broth before folding them into the pasta, along with the kale, and heating the whole lot through.
  8. Serve yourself the yummiest cholesterol-free Alfredo I have ever tasted, being sure to send good vibes my way.

If you made this a meal for one (as I did), you’re going to have about three cups of sauce left over (lucky you). Store it in an airtight container in your fridge, and it’ll keep for a week or so.

As my beautiful roommate Brynn said upon having a taste of this sauce, “you can put this on anything.” And I plan to — broccoli, asparagus, boots. Got any other ideas? I’d love to hear ’em.

Bon appetit!

Tofubacue with home fries and cheezy broccoli

9 Mar

Barbecue tofu bake

Tofu, is that you?

You guys, this is all you need to know: barbecue, taters and cheddar.

Just kidding, there’s a whole dinner recipe a’comin, but weren’t those three words enough to make your tums go, “Um, yes please?” I thought so.

But before I get started, here’s an open letter to tofu:

I swear to you this is edible.

What.Is.This? Seriously. Is this soylent green??

My dearest Tofu,

How I love you. Yes, to the untrained eye you may appear to be an ominously gelatinous and colorless blob of yuck. But I know better.

To begin with, you’re crazy versatile. Should I bake you, fry you, include you in pasta, or turn you into dessert!? I don’t know. I just don’t know. There are so many options!

And you’ve always got my back, tofu. I know that you Judo chop my bad cholesterol and even suit up for the fight against cancer. Plus, you give my bones a boost, help prevent premature aging and come big with the vitamin E. In short, you’re a rock star, tofu, and I’m sorry not everyone knows it.

Forever yours,
Aunt B

So, back to the recipe.

Tofubacue (or TBQ) with Home Fries and Cheezy Broccoli
Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces tofu, pressed
  • 2 cups barbecue sauce (recipe below)
  • 2 cups broccoli, steamed
  • 1 tsp nutritional yeast (if you’re being good) or a handful of vegan cheddar cheese (if you’re being me)

Barbecue Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke

Bake that tofu with your bad self!

  1. Make your barbecue sauce in a sandwich-sized container with a lid, then carefully squish in your block of tofu, cover it, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least a half an hour (flip the tofu over about halfway through). I let mine hang out over night.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or tin foil.
  3. Cut your marinated tofu into eight slices, place them on the cookie sheet, and then smother them with the rest of the sauce.
  4. Bake the tofu for 30 minutes on each side, flipping them over (carefully) halfway through. I recommend spooning some of the sauce back onto the tofu blocks after you flip them over. Waste sauce, want sauce, I always say have never said before.
  5. Either sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your broccoli to give it a cheesy flavor and boost of B12, or throw on a handful of vegan cheddar (such as Daiya) if you’re feeling less responsible.

If you want some potatoes to round out the meal (of course you do), I recommend this lovely recipe for oil-free oven-fried potatoes. FYI: The second time I made these, I let the potatoes marinate overnight (Not on purpose. Some friends called from the bar around the corner, and the meal was, of course, put on hold). Anyway, they came out even more delicious.

Finally, I know I just babbled on and on about how much I love tofu (and I meant every word!), but I think I shall make this with tempeh in the near future. If you beat me to it, let me know what you think.

Bon appetite!

Two Busy Brunettes

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