Thursday, August 25, 2016

Roasted Spaghetti Squash in Garlic Cream Sauce

1 large or 2 smaller spaghetti squash (4 cups)
5 cloves of garlic (do not remove peel)
1 onion, chopped finely
1 cup cooked fresh or frozen corn
1 can salt-free diced tomatoes, drained
1 bunch chard, chopped into ribbons
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup water
1/4 t. salt
Additional salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Prick spaghetti squash with a sharp knife or fork. Place directly on baking pan (with sides) or on a silpat mat on baking pan.
Place garlic cloves in a piece of foil. Drizzle a small amount of water on them. Then, close the foil loosely and place on pan with squash. Roast the garlic for 45 minutes, then remove from baking tray to cool. Let the squash roast another 30 minutes.
Cut the squash open and remove seeds with a spoon. Use a fork to scrape the squash strands out, setting them aside in a bowl.
Place roasted garlic in the blender with water, 1/4 t. salt, and cashews. Blend until very smooth. Set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet, steamfry onions until very tender. Add water if they begin to stick to the pan.
Add the corn and tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes.
Add 4 cups of the squash and the chopped chard to the skillet. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring to combine.
Add the Garlic Cream Sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine well.
Serve warm!

Serves 4 for a main dish or more if serving as a side dish.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Smoked Salmonless Spread

Before I became plant-based, I LOVED smoked salmon spread. Since I am a believer that it's not actually the food itself you love but rather the flavors and textures, I love to recreate the experience I had with animal-based foods with plant-based ingredients. So, here's my version of smoked "salmon" spread...

1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup unsweetened plain soy yogurt (I used silk) -- do NOT use vanilla!
1 T. ketchup
2 T liquid smoke (yes, TABLESPOONS)
1/4 t. onion powder
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. black pepper
1/8 t. dried dill
1/8 t. sea salt
one 2-inch x 3-inch piece of nori paper

Place all ingredients in blender or food processor EXCEPT the nori paper. Blend on low, scraping down sides often. It will take a while to get the mixture smooth. It should be smooth, thick, and spreadable.
Then, cut nori piece into thin strips with scissors, then again into tiny little squares. Stir by hand into spread mixture. Chill and serve!

Friday, August 19, 2016

No-Bake Chocolate Chip Toasted Almond Granola Bars

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown rice crispy cereal
1 cup almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/8 t salt
2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 coconut sugar or date sugar (optional)*
1/4 cup natural nut butter (any kind)
Splash of plant-based milk

In a food processor, combine the dates, brown rice syrup, sugar, nut butter and a splash of plant-based milk. Blend until smooth and thick (spreadable consistency).
In a large bowl, combine oats, cereal, salt, almonds, and chocolate chips. Stir in date mixture until well combined and the cereal mixture is coated well. This works best using food gloves and your hands.
Press mixture into a wax paper-lined 13x9 oblong pan using a scrap of wax paper to press down firmly and evenly. Keep pressing all around the pan, so the bars hold together well. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before cutting into bars.
Freeze or refrigerate.

* The coconut/date sugar is optional. If you like your bars less sweet, do not include it.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Oil-Free Indian Vegetable Pakora

1 ¾ cup chickpea flour
1 t. baking powder
¾ t. salt (optional)
½ t. garlic powder
1 t. cumin powder
2 t. garam masala powder
½ t. turmeric
1 cup water
1 onion, diced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, shredded finely
1 large carrot shredded finely
½ cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen corn

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Steamfry onion in a small skillet until tender.
Add water to the dry ingredients and stir well to combine.
Add in the steam-fried onion, shredded potato, shredded carrots, peas, and corn and stir together until combined.
Drop heaping tablespoon full of batter onto parchment-lined trays.
Bake for 10 minutes, then flip over. Bake for another 10 minutes or until crispy on the outside and cooked well on the inside.
Serve with tamarind sauce of Sriracha ketchup.

Inspired by Potato Strong - Will Kriski

Monday, August 15, 2016

Quick and Easy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower in the Pressure Cooker

1 head of cauliflower, florets cut off (leave in large pieces!)
3 cloves of garlic, whole
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup cashew milk
2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
salt/pepper to taste

Place cauliflower florets, garlic cloves, and water into electric pressure cooker. Set for 8 minutes with QUICK release.
Drain off water, add nutritional yeast flakes, cashew milk, salt/pepper, and mash with a potato masher or fork. Stir to combine.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Sugar-Free Low-Fat Chocolate Peanut Butter "Nice" Cream Planks

This recipe serves 3.

3 ripe bananas
5 T. cocoa powder
6 T. peanut butter powder

Either mash bananas well in a bowl or blend until smooth in a blender.
Stir in the cocoa powder and peanut butter powder.
Spread mixture EVENLY and THINLY on wax paper-lined baking sheet. Cover with another sheet of wax paper.
Place in freezer for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
Cut and serve (quickly!)!

Originally seen made by Brian Turner on YouTube

Friday, July 22, 2016

Roasted Spaghetti Squash Confetti Fritters with Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Dipping Dipping Sauce

1 spaghetti squash, roasted*
1/2 bag of oil-free frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
1 cup frozen corn
1/2 red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced small
1 green onion (white part only), sliced thinly (optional)
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cups baby spinach, chopped finely
2 cups kale, chopped finely
1 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. black pepper
a few shakes of cayenne pepper, to taste
1 T. ground flaxseeds with 3 T. warm water
1 T cornstarch or arrowroot powder

*To Roast the Spaghetti Squash:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry the squash. Poke holes all over the squash with a fork or small, sharp knife. Place on a baking pan. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cut the squash open and let it cool. Gently scoop out the seeds (which can be roasted later for a snack!) and use a fork to remove the squash strands by scraping in the same direction. Place them in a large bowl.

Directions to Make the Fritters:
Roast the spaghetti squash and add to a large bowl.
In a very small bowl, combine the ground flaxseeds and warm water. Set aside.
Place the frozen hash browns and frozen corn in another bowl and microwave on high for 4 minutes.
In a skillet, cook the chopped spinach, kale, garlic, and bell peppers until just tender. Let cool for a few minutes.
Add the veggies mixture to the spaghetti squash bowl. Add the spices, cornstarch, and flaxseed mixture. Stir together well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes uncovered.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line baking pans with parchment paper. Make patties with the mixture and place close together (but not touching) on the pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Flip the patties (if they are dry enough to flip) and bake for another 10-15 minutes or until drier and crispy outside. Serve with Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Dipping dipping sauce (see recipe below).

Roasted Red Pepper-Garlic Dipping Dipping Sauce:
1 red bell pepper, roasted on non-stick foil or parchment paper for 20-25 minutes, until edges start blackening
1 clove of roasted garlic (roast with pepper)
3 shakes of liquid smoke
¼ t. smoke paprika
¼ t. salt
1 T fresh lemon juice
Blend until very smooth and chill before serving with fritters.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

I'm Confused!

What percentage of fat should I eat? Protein? Carbs? Is it OK to oil my pan before cooking? Do I have to give up salt completely?

With the plant-based lifestyle becoming more prevalent in the mainstream, you're probably reading lots of articles, books, watching videos, or talking to friends about what foods you should or should not be eating. It gets EXTREMELY confusing when you hear one thing is OK, and then you hear from somewhere else that it's not OK.

How do you manage this dilemma?

I, too, have become frustrated lately with the mixed information being shared online. But, there is one remedy for do what works best for you!

Sure, there are some basics that we all know are going to improve our health -- like eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains are generally better for you than white, limit sugar and salt, and beware of processed food. But, there are differing views about what to eat beyond that, and you have to decide for yourself how you're going to navigate those other "seas." Your health is unique. Do what works for you!

If you don't have an addictive personality and can handle chocolate occasionally, it's probably OK for you. If when you bake a banana bread and it just stares you down from the counter until you polish it off, don't tempt yourself by baking! Get to know yourself better! What makes YOU gain weight? What tempts YOU to overeat? What causes YOUR blood sugar to get out of control? What raises YOUR blood pressure. Get real with YOU! 

Yes, we should consider the science and research (UNbiased, of course!). And, we should probably test it out and see if what the research says works for us...and it may! But sometimes, we are the exception and not the rule.

In addition, log your experiences. If every time you eat a certain meal at a restaurant, your blood sugar soars into the 200s or 300s, that meal is probably not a good choice for YOU. If you gain unwanted weight eating unlimited rice and potatoes, you may have to adjust. If having a glass of wine gives you a headache, you may have to cut that out. Mark down what works for you and what doesn't. Design your own specifications within this lifestyle that improve your health and wellness. Don't fret if you're not doing this exactly the way another person is. As long as you're doing what optimizes YOUR health, that's all that matters!