Tag Archives: Healthy

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! 

Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers

17 Jan

Not pictured: drool.

Not pictured: drool.

Sure, I could have used a fork to crush the crackers. But this was so much more fun.

Did you know that Ritz Crackers are vegan? It’s true. I’m not saying they are in any way nutritious, in fact I’m sure they’re not, but goddamnit they are yummy and made of zero animal bits.

And sometimes, as Donna Meagle and Tom Haverford have taught me, you need to treat yo’ self.

That’s why I was so excited when, while scrolling through the resplendent sea of possibilities we call Pinterest, I happened upon this recipe for crab-cake balls made with Ritz.

“I can soooo sub out chickpeas for crab,” I said to myself, steepling my fingers like Mr. Burns, before adding the image to my “Make it Vegan Challenge” board. “This is going to be awesomesauce.”

And it really was.

In addition to subbing out the crab and egg, I also added in some veggies: onion and celery.

Un-crabby Cakes with Ritz Crackers
Serves 12

Ingredients

  • 1 can drained chickpeas
  • 1 vegan egg replacement (I used this chia-water goop)
  • 1 cup Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2-3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you don’t have any)

Bella and Leo were fooled by the seafood-like smell, and kept trying to sneak off with some cakes. Here they are post discipline, and rightly ashamed of themselves.

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Crush drained chickpeas with a fork or potato masher in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add crushed crackers, Old Bay, parsley, onion and celery to the chickpeas.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine your chia-water goop, mustard, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, and whisk until smooth.
  5. Pour the liquid mixture over the chickpea and cracker mix, and gently combine.
  6. Mold your mixture  into golf-ball sized lumps and bake on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper  for 30 minutes. I also sprayed the balls lightly with some oil before baking, but you could skip that step if you want to stay oil free.

I can’t speak to how long these hold up in the fridge, because Miles and I (mostly me) ate them all within 24 hours. I can, however, tell you they are bomb-ass on salad — particularly when paired with the Deity Dressing from “Everyday Happy Herbivore” (pg. 128). So much noms.

Bon appétit! 

Tangy Mango Guacamole

17 Jul

Aunt B's Tangy Mango Guacamole

Anyone got a chip? Or a spoon?

Nothing completes a sunny summer day (or any day ending in ‘y’) like a glorious heap of guacamole perched upon a perfectly crunchy tortilla chip. And if you want to make your green dip of the gods even more summery, I suggest adding in some sweet and tart mango chunks.

Mmm, mango. As much as I heart avocados, I may love my mangos even more. And they love me right back. A close relative of the cashew and pistachio (somehow), mangos are not just packed with a buttload of vitamin A and C, they also help prevent cancer, they’re good for fighting pimples, and bad cholesterol and diabetes. Check it.

Added bonus: the mango juices also seem to help keep the guac from turning that lovely, unappetizing shade of brown it tends toward.

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 small mangos, peeled and cut into bite-size chunks
  • 2 Tbsps red onion, diced
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Lime  juice, to taste

Squish it!

  1. Throw away the pits and scoop the flesh of the avocados into a bowl.
  2. Add about a tablespoon of the lime juice, and smash it up until it’s as smooth as you prefer.
  3. Carefully stir in your remaining ingredients and taste test. If you like, add in more lime juice.
  4. Max on your yummy dip and bask in your culinary victory.

Thanks for taking pictures of, and eating, my dip even though avocados make your tongue itch, Miles Pfefferle. You’re the bestest.

Bon appetit! 

So Many Carrots Carrot Cake Cupcakes

11 Jul

Calling all sweet teeth.

Calling all sweet teeth.

What do you do when your man buys a five-pound bag of carrots (because he was on a carrot kick), but is unable to consume them fast enough, thus leaving the produce drawer filled with root vegetables on the verge of ruin?

Have you guys met my boyfriend?

Have you guys met my boyfriend?

Some less neurotic souls might let the carrots falter and move on with their lives. But not Aunt B. Because throwing away food makes me irrationally miserable.

So, instead, I made and froze a huge vat of carrot soup, which I plan to consume when it’s not surface-of-the-sun hot outside (recipe coming later), shredded multiple bags of carrots for salads, and whipped up way more carrot cake cupcakes than a household of two requires.

This was not only my first vegan carrot cake, but my first carrot cake attempt period, and also my first go at homemade frosting. So I was a little wary. Luckily, I followed two fantastic recipes from Jannequin Bennet’s “The Complete Vegan Kitchen,” a birthday present from my lovely friend Alex (thanks, Al!), and all was well.

Based on the ingredients I had on hand, I had to make a few slight alterations. But the end result was delightful. These little cakes are not only really moist and flavorful — they’re also a yummy, cool treat on a hot day when you eat one right out of the fridge. Plus, making tiny, adorable frosting carrot decorations was super fun.

Not-a-Pro-Tip: Don’t have a piping bag? No problem. Fill up a sandwich bag with icing and cut off one of the corners. Bingo. You are now authorized to ice.

Big ups to my main squeeze, Miles Pfefferle, for taking pics of my food and really liking carrots. Smooch.

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Makes 18 cupcakes (or two 9-inch round cakes or one 9×13-inch cake)

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chickpea flour (Ms. Bennet calls for soy flour)
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 allspice
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (Ms. Bennet uses the zest of one lemon)
  • 3 Tbsp apple sauce (or canola oil)
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 2 1/2 cups grated carrots (I shredded and the diced mine in a food processor because ain’t nobody got time for grating)

Patty cake, patty cake, baker people…

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spray your cupcake pan (or cake pans).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. In another bowl, combine the raisins, carrots and liquids, and whisk until the mixture is light and bubbly.
  5. Combine the two mixtures (dry and wet) in one bowl, and stir until just combined. Be sure not to over mix.
  6. Spoon the batter evenly into your cupcake wells, and bake for 20 minutes (30 to 40 if you’re making a cake).
  7. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then carefully flip the pan over and dump them out onto a plate to finish cooling.
  8. Once they’re cool, frost them with the recipe below…

Tofu Walnut Frosting

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbps walnuts
  • 1/2 pound tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp shredded coconut
  • 1/2 Tbsp vanilla

How to frosting

  1. Whir the walnuts around in a food processor until they’re a fine powder.
  2. Add the tofu and blend until combined.
  3. Add the maple syrup, coconut and vanilla and blend until combined.
  4. If the frosting seems too thick, add in a little almond or soy milk.
  5. Let the frosting cool off in the fridge for a few minutes before use.

Note: If you’re frosting two 9-inch round cakes or one 9X13-inch cake, double the amounts above.

Bon appétit!

Vegan Brunchapalooza: Hashbrown Tartlets and Cheesy Herb Drop Biscuits

5 Jul

Brunch is served!

Brunch is served!

Allow me to introduce you to what may just become your new favorite way to start the day at noon: hashbrown tartlets and cheesy herb drop biscuits.

Although “tartlet” may hold some dessert-y connotations, versus the obviously eggy “quiche,” I went with it for three reasons:

  1. It sounds adorable.
  2. It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, “Friends.” (For those of you who don’t recall, Jon Lovitz guest-starred in an early episode and wore the word out in a very humorous fashion. Video below for your viewing pleasure).
  3. Whateva whateva. I do what I want.
Click for (hilarious) vodeo.

Remember when Jon Lovitz was Monica’s stoned almost-employer?

Anyhoo, the cool thing about these crustless mini quiches tartlets is that they’re very customizable. You can throw in any veggies, herbs or faux meats you have sitting around. My favorites so far are the fresh chopped dill and mushrooms version, the veggie sausage, red onions and spinach combo (below) and the green pepper and soyrizo version pictured above. You could also add a little Daiya or Teese for some extra cheesetastic oomph.

Hashbrown Tartlets
Serves six (use six half-cup ramekins or one 9″ pie dish)

Ingredients
  • 1 pound extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
  • 2 large potatoes, shredded
  • 1/4 small red onion, diced
  • 14 oz. veggie sausage (I used Gimme Lean)
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsps almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley (or 1 tsp fresh, chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
Tartlet time!
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease your ramekins (or 9″ pie dish).
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat.
  3. Break up the veggie sausage into the skillet, add in the red onions, and cook until the sausage is browned and the onions are soft. Remove from heat.
  4. To make your eggy casserole base, start by taking the drained tofu for a spin in a blender or food processor until it’s broken up into small crumbles.
  5. Start slowly pouring the almond milk into the liquid feeder, until the mixture is the consistency of frosting.
  6. Add in the nutritional yeast, salts, herbs and spices, and pulse a few times until it’s all combined.
  7. Dump the lot into a large mixing bowl, and add in the sausage and onions, shredded potatoes and spinach.
  8. Once the mixture is well combined, scoop equal portions into your ramekins and smooth the tops with a spatula.
  9. Place the ramekins on a foil-lined cookie sheet and bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes. 45 to 50 if you’re using a pie plate.
  10. Let the tartlets cool for before serving.

Cheesy Herb Drop Biscuits
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup all purpose, unbleached white flour
  • 1 Tbsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup vegan butter, melted (or vegetable oil)
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 Tbsp dried dill
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Drop it like it’s hot!

  1. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and whisk together.
  3. Combine the melted butter (or oil) and milk in a separate little bowl, then slowly stir into the flour mixture until just combined. Be sure not to over mix, as your biscuits won’t be as fluffy! Don’t worry, the dough is supposed to be super sticky.
  4. Space eight little equally sized lumps of dough onto the cookie sheet and bake at 475 for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 400 and bake for another five minutes (until the biscuits are starting to brown on top).
  5. That’s it. Eat up!

The One with The Bonus Recipe: Spareparts Breakfast Sammy

The day after your successful brunchapalooza (or later that day), just slice a biscuit in half and top it with a half tarlet popped out of a ramekin. You can also freeze them and heat them up later (thaw then wrap them in foil and bake at 350 for 10 to 15 minutes).

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!

The vegan fried, dippity egg

15 Jun

Dip away, my dears. Dip away.

Dip away, my dears. Dip away.

This is real. And I'm so happy for all of us.

This is real. And I’m so happy for all of us.

I was wandering through a book store in Astoria not long ago, when I happened upon this gem: “Betty Goes Vegan” by Annie and Dan Shannon. Now, on account of recently moving across the country and having to re-buy pretty much everything a house needs, I’m broke. So I didn’t actually purchase the book just then (but I assure you all, I certainly will).

However, I did, while flipping through its magical pages, discover a dish I thought was out of my grasp forever when I gave up animal bits: the dippity fried egg.

You may know them as simply “over easy” or “sunny side up” eggs. But when I was growing up, on the rare occasions when my father would cook the only meal he ever cooked for us (breakfast), he usually made us fried eggs with ever-so-slightly pink yolks — perfect for little rugrats to dip toast into. We loved them and dubbed them dippity eggs. And dippity eggs they will forever be.

As you can probably imagine, I was beyond stoked to find this recipe. I may or may not have skipped across the shop, shoved the book up to Miles’ nose and said the phrase, “lookey lookey!” Despite my lack of funds, I had to get these non-eggs into my belly ASAP.

And so I did.

Ron Popeil sold me through quite a few bouts of insomnia once upon a time.

Ron and his rotisserie got me through quite a few bouts of insomnia once upon a time. Not pictured: Flavor injector.

Annie and Dan’s recipe calls for a flavor injector, a slightly wacky device that some of you might recall from the late-night countertop rotisserie commercials starring Ron Popeil. I know I do. Only instead of pumping a bird’s carcass full of marinade, the Shannons use this little doohickey to pump their yolk replacement (a vegan cheese sauce) into the middle of a tofu block. Ingenious.

Unfortunately, while I’ve placed an order for my very own flavor injector (of course), I was not patient enough to wait for it to arrive before attempting these tofeggs. Instead, I scraped out a couple little craters in my pressed tofu blocks, and filled them with my own yolk sauce (recipe and instructions below). And, my friends, I was not disappointed.

I think the key to the yolk sauce success is black salt. While not aptly named (it’s really more of a reddish brown), it’s eggy, sulfurous smell and taste are pretty much perfect for this application. I got mine off of Amazon, but you might be able to unearth some at an Indian market or health foods store.

In fact, my little dippity tofeggs were amazing, and now that I have a ready supply of yolk sauce, I plan to make them all the time. I hope you like ’em too!

Vegan Dippity Fried Eggs
Makes 4 Eggs

Mmm. Eggy salt.

Mmm. Eggy salt.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 16-oz. block of organic, extra firm tofu, pressed
  • 2 Tbsps olive oil
  • Four spoonfuls of vegan yolk sauce (below)
  • A pinch of black salt

Vegan Yolk Sauce Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 tsps vegan butter (as always, I rock the Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp black salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill gluten free)
  • A dash of turmeric (or until it’s as yellow as you like)

To make the sauce, place all the ingredients (minus the tofu, naturally) in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have a smooth liquid. You’ll have some left over. Store that in an airtight container in the fridge for your next batch of fried dippity eggs.

Two little tofeggs, getting ready for the skillet.

Two little tofeggs, getting ready for the skillet. And, also, a little bit of my thumb. My bad.

Get Ready to Get Dippity!

  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Cut your block of pressed tofu into thirds, set one third aside for other use, and then cut the leftover two blocks in half, length-wise. What you want in the end is four rectangles of tofu that are roughly the size of a fried agg and about 1/2-inch thick.
  • Take a spoon and carve out little yolk craters on each of the tofu blocks. Be careful not to dig through the tofu, or your yolk sauce will escape!
  • Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a cast-iron skillet until it crackles when you toss a drop of water in. Then fry your tofeggs, flipping over occasionally until they start to brown and crisp.
  • Sprinkle the tofeggs with a pinch of black salt.
  • Now, spoon some of your yolk sauce into crater of each egg, and place the skillet on the bottom rack of the oven for about three minutes to set the “yolks” up.
  • Scoop them out of the pan and onto a plate, and serve with some toast for dipping!

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!

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