Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dairy Free 'Butta'

In desperation I searched for a good dairy free butter - something that would stand in for regular butter, especially for topping vegetables, baking, muffins, etc. I wanted a healthier version of the products that we find in the store loaded with tons of ingredients that should NOT be in butter!

And there is that spreadable DF/V product that would mold on me - you read that right - mold! Yes, it was a refrigerated product that was kept in the refrigerator yet had to be tossed before the expiration date!

A few years ago I found a recipe, whipped it up and was very pleased with the results. Either I misplaced the recipe or was just too busy to hunt for it in my massive collection. I knew I would NOT buy anymore products that claimed to be 'healthy' and wanted to bake someone his favorite cookies the way that he liked them - the old fashion way which was NOT going to happen!

Each winter I get venturous and try something new. This winter it is perfecting dairy products and that includes cheeses. 

I am fortunate to live in an area that is very Vegan friendly and attend a monthly vegan supper club where everyone brings a dish to share. Trust me when I say that this is one of the best things I have ever found! One couple opens their home and welcomes everyone who wants to attend. The hostess also teaches classes on how to make different cheeses! Nirvana heaven!

Getting back to my DF butter, I wanted to try the recipe again and found another version that is wonderful. Even HE LIKED IT! Since I don't have a silicone mold, I opted to use bread pans lined with waxed paper.


Vegan Butter 

makes 2cups butter
1/2 cup organic unsweetened soy milk
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. sea salt
1 t. agar agar powder
1 cup refined coconut oil
1 T. organic walnut, sunflower or safflower oil
1 t. liquid sunflower or soy lecithin or (2 t. sunflower or soy lecithin granules)

1) Place the soy milk, lemon juice, agar agar and salt in a food processor and mix to emulsify.
Let the mixture set to thicken for about 2 minutes.

2) Add the refined coconut oil, choice of organic oil and lecithin. Process for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides to thoroughly mix. 

3) Pour the mixture into a covered dish and place it in the refrigerator to solidify for about 10 minutes. 

4) Pour the mixture into silicone molds or waxed paper lined mold and freeze solid. Once frozen, remove from mold and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 months or freezer up to one year. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

RAW Chocolate Brownies with Creamy Chocolate Frosting


When I first heard about RAW Chocolate Brownies with the BEST FROSTING I could not wait to try them. When they arrived at my local health food store I immediately had them hold one for me and sent my hubby to pick up this delicacy! It didn’t matter what it cost – just buy it already!


This was the best and tastiest thing I have eaten since being vegan! 

It was Chocolate Nirvana! 

I just had to make this ‘died and gone to heaven’ dessert! Chocolate (and Raspberries) keeps me going, be it bittersweet, semi-sweet chips (Enjoy Life), Dark Chocolate Chili (Montezuma’s), you name it! 

The label clearly listed everything that was in these raw brownies - SEW - hard could it be? As it turned out, this is one of the easiest and best things I have ever made.


SEW I waited till hubby wasn’t around – he hates trying anything that I say is good. However if I make a dish or dessert for a special occasion and he sees that everyone is eating and raving about it – then he will try it. But DON”T tell anyone there is avocado in the frosting! They won’t believe it!

Are you ready?

Don’t say I didn’t warn you – it is SEW hard NOT to taste it or lick the spoon or eat the whole thing BEFORE it goes into the pan!

Can you tell I miss good chocolate brownies with creamy frosting?

SEW here you are – consider yourself warned!

RAW Chocolate Brownies with Creamy Avocado Frosting V/GF

1 cup walnuts, these really add that buttery taste
1/2 cup dates, pitted (or use 1 cup dates and no prunes)
1/2 cup prunes, pitted
1/3 cup dark chocolate powder

Line a small pan with wax paper.
Process nuts, dates/prunes & chocolate in food processor until it looks like potting soil and just comes together.
Pat into pan.

Frosting – Creamy Chocolate Frosting
1 avocado
¼ - 1/3 cup agave nectar or rice syrup or liquid sweetener of choice
¼ cup dark chocolate powder or chocolate of choice
Dash cinnamon
Dash salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Chocolate Liqueur optional
Dash cayenne pepper/red pepper* optional

Process in food processor until smooth (no need to clean after making brownies) and taste adding more sweetener if desired. Taste again. Go ahead, there’s plenty of frosting – more than you need!

Spread the frosting (if there is any left!) over those bad boys (brownie base) and place in the freezer for about an hour – if you can wait that long. Note – these brownies do not get rock hard.

I have no idea how many servings this makes, only you can decide – one, two, eight or eat ‘em all yourself!

Go ahead – have one! If you can limit yourself . . . 

*You know meIt wouldn't be chocolate without the cayenne pepper!

Enjoy. Now go ahead and make another batch seeing as there are none left! And when you do  – send me one!



Saturday, June 15, 2013

Coconut Crusted Thai Tofu with Mango Salsa

Thinking about the the coconut coating on "Bang Bang Shrimp" that is served at a local restaurant, I have wanted to make something similar. The following is ab-SEW-lutely scrumptious! The Mango Sauce and Peanut Dipping Sauce put this dish over the top!

Coconut Crusted Thai Tofu with Mango Salsa

1 block tofu, pressed overnight
¼ - ½ cup shredded coconut

2 Tbsp liquid aminos
2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp lime Juice
½ tsp Thai curry paste
1/8 tsp Garlic powder
Combine marinade ingredients.

Peanut Dipping Sauce
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp tahini sauce
Remaining marinade sauce
Combine Peanut dipping sauce ingredients and refrigerate.

Mango Salsa
1 mango, cubed
1-2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced
¼ cup onion, minced
¼ tsp cumin powder
¼ tsp crushed red pepper
Garlic to taste
Combine mango ingredients and refrigerate.

Press Tofu overnight. Prepare Mango Salsa and Peanut Dipping Sauce.
Cube tofu into small one inch squares. Marinade tofu cubes 1 hour or longer. Drain removing excess marinade reserving liquid. Add marinade liquid to peanut dipping sauce, stir. Carefully add peanut dipping sauce over tofu, add ¼ cup coconut. Gently stir tofu to coat adding additional coconut if needed.
Broil tofu watching closely, turning tofu to toast evenly.
Serve topped with Mango Salsa, Dipping Sauce and a side dish of rice & vegetables.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bean & Barley Salad

Recently I had a 'Honey' Bean & Barley Salad from a wonderful market that makes some tasty dishes. My attempt to make a similar salad was very good.
I opted not to add additional sweeteners as the raisins gave it all the sweetness it needed. 

Bean & Barley Salad
1 cup cooked barley
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked black or kidney beans
1/2 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup celery, chopped
1/2 cup green onions, chopped
1/2 cup raisins, soaked and chopped, reserve water
Optional: 2 Tbsp - 1/4 cup honey, agave, maple syrup

2 Tbsp canola oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 T lemon juice
2 T rice vinegar
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 - 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2-3 cloves garlic, minced

Combine dressing ingredients and pour over salad mixture. Season as desired. Adjust grains, beans & vegetables as desired.

Serve as a side or as a salad on a bed of kale.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

RAW Lentil Burgers

Lately I have been wanting to do more RAW foods and have been experimenting with a dehydrator. I have a very low end dehydrator but this borrowed one, an Excalibur 4 Tray Dehydrator, is much better and is now on my WANT list! Until then I have been trying different ways to prepare RAW.
Having done vegan pepperoni in the past, I tried it again and was amazed how fast they dried in this Excalibur Dehydrator! And the pepperoni is SEW good!

Next I tried lentil burgers/patties. Wow! I was SEW surprised that they tasted SEW good!

The following is my own recipe.

RAW Lentil Burgers/Patties

1/4 cup lentil sprouts
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1/4 cup chipotle, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried onions
1/4 cup cashews, soaked & drained
1 carrot, shredded
dash Liquid Aminos
dash Miso

Soak cashews at least 4-8 hours, drain and refrigerate or freeze for later use. 
HINT - I soak at least one cup over night, drain & rinse, and after towel drying, I toss the cashews in a ziploc and freeze for later use. 

In the food processor, pulse everything until mixed. Scoop out a large spoonful and shape into patties. Depending on size, makes 2-3 patties. 

These can be grilled, pan fried or dried in the dehydrator. If you have a control setting on the dehydrator, set at 110° - 115° and 'cook' approximately 3-8 hrs. 

Above, This was my first attempt.

And these were the second batch made with 
Lentil sprouts and Mung Bean sprouts. Still good!

From Rbudladi

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Macaroni & Cheese

1 small onion, finely chopped
1/4 cup vegan butter
1/4 cup flour
3 cloves garlic, minced
juice of one lemon
1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons ground mustard
2 teaspoons tumeric
1 teaspoon paprika
1 box pasta
1 tomato, sliced
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 450*.  While cooking pasta according to package directions do the following:

Heat butter in a medium pot over medium heat.  Add onions, a few pinches of salt; simmer until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add flour and whisk to thicken.  Add garlic and cook for a few more minutes on medium low.

Add lemon juice and stir.  Add coconut milk, nutritional yeast, mustard, tumeric, paprika, and a few pinches of salt.  Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.

 Place noodles in a baking dish.  Top cooked noodles with sauce.  Top with sliced tomatoes.  Bake for 8-10 min.

Adapted from http://www.loveandlemons.com/2013/01/31/vegan-mac-cheese/#more-7004
Follow link to see recipe with Panko crumb topping baking instructions.

Grilled Avocado

2 ripe avocados
5 or 6 fresh basil leaves
juice of 1/2 lemon
course salt
4 thick slices of bakery sourdough bread

Preheat grill to medium (375*).  Cut avocados in half and remove seeds.  Place the avocado halves cut-side down directly on the preheated grill or on a vegetable grilling rack.  Cook for 8-10 minutes, until the fruit is lightly charred, then transfer to a plate and let cool slightly.

Spoon the grilled avocado out of the peel and into a medium bowl; mash it with a fork until chunky.  Slice the basil leaves into thin ribbons; add to the mashed avocado along with the juice of 1/2 lemon and salt to taste.  Stir well to combine.  Serve with slices of grilled or toasted sourdough bread.

From Kroger Sizzling Recipes for Grilling

Asparagus Brunch Pockets

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon almond or soy milk
1 tablespoon Vegannaise or Nayonnaise (vegan mayonnaise)
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon diced pimientos
1/8 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pepper
1 tube (8 ounces) refrigerated crescent rolls
2 tablepsoons vegan butter, melted
1 tablespoon seasoned bread crumbs

In a large saucepan, bring 1/2 in. of water to a boil.  Add asparagus; cover and boil for 3 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, milk, and mayonnaise until smooth.  Stir in onion, pimientos, salt and pepper.

Unroll crescent dough and separate in to triangles; place on an ungreased baking sheet.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture into the center of each triangle; top with asparagus.  Top each with another teaspoon of cream cheese mixture.  Bring three corners of dough together and twist; pinch edges to seal.

Brush with vegan butter; sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Bake at 375* for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown.

Adapted from Cynthia Lithicum's recipe in Taste of Home Apr/May 2007, pp. 39-40.

Hoppin' John for Two

1/4 chopped sweet red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vegan butter
2/3 cup canned black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
2/3 cup cooked rice

In a small skillet, saute the peppers, onion, garlic powder and salt in the vegan butter for 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Stir in peas and rice; heat through, stirring occasionally.

Adapted from Taste of Home's Cooking for 2 Winter 2007, pp. 37-38.

Cranberry-Nut Couscous Salad

1 package (10 ounce) plain couscous
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup chopped green onions
3/4 cup chopped sweet yellow or red pepper
3/4 cups slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Prepare couscous according to package directions.  Transfer to a large bowl; fluff with a fork.  Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until chilled.

Stir in the cranberries, onions, pepper and almonds.  In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, oil, paprika, salt and pepper.  Pour over salad and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until serving.

Romaine with Oranges

6 cups torn romaine
2 medium navel oranges, peeled and sectioned
6 slices red onion, separated into rings

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash ground mustard

In a large salad bowl, toss teh romaine, oranges, and onion.  In a jar with a tight fitting lid, combine the dressing ingredients; shake well.  Drizzle over salad and toss to coat.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled; toss before serving.

Adapted from Heather Ahrens' recipe in Taste of Home Feb/Mar 2007, pp. 35-36.

Mushroom & Tomato Bisque

1 1/2 pounds plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup tomato paste
3/4 cup coconut milk

Place tomatoes cut side down in a greased baking sheet pan.  Brush with 3 tablespoons oil.  Combine garlic, salt, basil, oregano, and pepper; sprinkle over tomatoes.  Bake uncovered at 450* for 20-25 minutes or until edges are well browned.

Cool slightly.  Place tomatoes and pan drippings in a blender.  Cover and process until blended; process 1 minute longer.

In a large saucepan, saute mushrooms and onion in 2 tablespoons oil for 5-8 minutes or until tender.  Stir in broth, tomato paste, and tomato puree from blender.  Bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cocunut milk.

Adapted from Connie Stevens' recipe in Taste of Home Feb/Mar 2007, pp. 31-32