Monday, August 31, 2015

Homemade Veggie Broth

Since I am a plant-based eater, I chop A LOT of veggies! I try to buy organic veggies whenever possible, so I put all of my organic scraps in a gallon-sized freezer bag and just leave it in the freezer until it's full. I try to vary what goes in it--scraps of onions, carrots, leeks, garlic (the tops you cut off when you roast a head of garlic!), zucchini, and mushrooms. When the bag is filled to the top, I throw it in a stock pot with water (slightly above the veggies), add 2 bay leaves and some black pepper. I add a bit of salt at the end so it doesn't dissipate and become too high in sodium. 

If you're making it in the pressure cooker,  cook on pressure for 4 minutes and leave on warm for 1 to 2 hours.  If you're making it in the stove,  bring it to a boil, and as soon as it starts to boil, lower to a simmer and let it cook for 2-3 hours. After it turns a fabulous golden brown,  I add salt to taste. Then, I pour it into containers or ice cube trays and freeze it for future use, or I use it right away. It is THE BEST veggie broth I have ever tasted. And, it didn't cost me a thing! Try it sometime!

Veggie Broth Ice Cubes

No, these are not brown jello cubes! This is how I make "steamfrying" veggies a snap! Since I make my own veggie broth in the pressure cooker from my veggie scraps, I not only fill and freeze containers of it for soups and stews, I also make veggie broth ice cubes! Whenever I need to "steamfry" onions or other veggies, a cube or two is all I need to get them steaming up and not sticking to the pan. Simply pour veggie broth into an ice cube tray, freeze, and store them in freezer baggie. If you open a container of veggie broth and don't use it all up, do the same thing...simply freeze the remainder in ice cube trays. We don't waste anything in this household!

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

It's almost fall and soup is a hot item on the menu! This slightly smoky, spicy, and sweet soup is full of satiating ingredients and flavor.

2 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained (or 3 cups of homemade cooked black bean)
1 large onion, diced small
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 large carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks (I just washed but did not peel them)
½ red bell pepper, diced
½ yellow bell pepper, diced
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
4 cups vegetable broth
2 t. cumin powder
1 t. coriander powder (unless you don’t like cilantro)
½-1 t. ancho chili powder
½ t. salt (or more to taste)
3 grinds of black pepper
2-3 drops of liquid smoke (optional)

Pressure Cooker Instructions:
In your electric pressure cooker, steamfry onions  with a bit of broth or water for about 5 minutes on the BROWN or SAUTÉ setting. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add all of the rest of the ingredients and set the pressure manually to 5 minutes with QUICK RELEASE. Open the top of your pressure cooker and stir the mixture. Remove 2 cups of the mixture and blend in your blender. Return the blended mixture to the soup, stir in to thicken it. Add salt and pepper if needed.

On the Stovetop:
Steamfry onions  with a bit of broth or water for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add all of the rest of the ingredients. Bring the mixture to a slow, rolling boil, then reduce to low heat, cover and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes. Test the sweet potatoes to make sure they are tender. Remove 2 cups of the mixture and blend in your blender. Return the blended mixture to the soup, stir in to thicken it. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Yields 4-6 servings

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Garlic for the Week!

As part of my prepping for the week ritual, one of the things I do is peel garlic. I have a nifty-difty silicone roller that allows me to remove the garlic clove peels super fast. The roller is cheap and well worth the purchase if you cook with garlic as much as I do. It's also a fabulous stocking stuffer!

Anyway, each weekend, I peel a head or two of garlic and simply store the cloves in a storage container in the fridge. All I have to do is quickly grab garlic, ready to go, when I need it. No need to slow down the cooking process to peel garlic!

Corn Bread

To continue with my corn theme today, I decided to make Lindsay Nixon's corn bread. I was watching some of her videos, and this one came up. I put it together in less than 5 minutes, and baked it in my toaster oven in 18 minutes. DELISH! Pairs perfectly with chili!

Watch her video at:

1 cup of whole wheat, whole wheat pastry, or spelt flour
1 cup of cornmeal
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup plant-based milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (or 375 convection).
Stir the dry ingredients together.
Add the wet ingredients and mix well.
Pour batter into a nonstick 8x8" square pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly browned and cracked on top.

From The Happy Herbivore

Mexi-Corn Israeli Coucous Salad

This is a great salad to make for lunches during the week or to take to a potluck. It's the perfect mix of veggies, whole grains, and beans. It will serve 4-5 people as a lunch meal or more if it's served as a side dish.

3 ears of corn, cooked in the husk in the microwave then cooled
1 cup of dry, whole wheat Israeli couscous
1 1/2 cups water
2 small or one large zucchini, diced very small
1 cup of organic cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped into quarters
1/2 yellow bell pepper, diced very small
1/2 red bell pepper, diced very small
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 t. cumin powder
1/2 t. salt-free chili powder
1/2 t. Himalayan pink salt
1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder

NOTE: I buy my whole wheat Israeli couscous from It's Bob's Red Mill brand.

Cook 3 ears of corn according the to link above. Let the ears cool before removing the husk.

Bring the water to a boil and add the Israeli couscous. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes until most of the water is gone. Drain off any additional water. Chill in a large storage container that you will use to store the salad in the fridge.

While the couscous is cooking, chop the veggies and get all of the seasonings measured out. Cut corn kernels off the cobs into a bowl. Rinse and drain the black beans. Squeeze the lime juice.

When everything is cooled, mix the corn, beans, couscous, veggies, seasonings, and lime juice together. Chill before serving.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Mrs. Plant with Lindsay Nixon (The Happy Herbivore) on iTunes!
I was asked to be a guest on Happy Herbivore's Meal Mentor podcast to talk about my plant-based journey and about how we transitioned our dogs to a plant-based diet. It's out today on iTunes! If you search "MEAL MENTOR" on iTunes. I'm on this week's podcast! Let me know what you think!
Or, you can go directly to Lindsay's website at (link at the top of the home page in the orange bar).

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Not-Your-Average Salad

This is one of our favorite full-meal salads because everyone can add what they like to it! We call it Tex-Mex Salad with Oil-Free Catalina Dressing (recipe below). It can be made with lots many great toppings!

Tonight, we had Romaine lettuce, cucumbers, red and yellow bell peppers, grape tomatoes, carrots, fresh corn on the cob (cooked in the microwave IN THE HUSK for 4 minutes! See video on how to do this), black beans, and black olives. We added three Gardein 7-Grain Crispy Tenders, chopped and placed on top just before serving.

Oil-Free Catalina-Style Dressing:
1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. minced onion
1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce 
sprinkling of black pepper
1/4 cup water

Blend all ingredients until smooth in a blender. Add more water if you want the dressing thinner. Chill before using.

NOTE: You can double this dressing and freeze half of it for next time!

Add Gardein 7-Grain Crispy Tenders if you like!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Waffle Iron Potatoes reminded me of making shredded potatoes in the waffle iron. I still have some Hawaiian purple potatoes left, so I decided to try those. Came out GREAT! Just shredded potatoes...NO OIL! Just heat up your waffle iron, place the shredded potatoes on the surface of the iron, close tightly, and leave it there for 15 minutes! Crispy and delish!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Cook Three Recipes with One Pot of Potatoes

Oil-Free German Potato Salad
Because I am trying to share my "making cooking easier" tips with you, a recent post was about cooking one meal for two days. This post is about making three recipes from one pot of potatoes. While you're peeling potatoes, you may as well get a lot out of them!

Today, I peeled, cut up (in 3/4-inch chunks) and pressure cooked 5 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes. All you have to do is add one cup of water to your pressure cooker and pressure cook for 4 minutes with quick release.

Then, I divided the potatoes into thirds. One-third for homemade Oil-Free German Potato Salad to eat along with our veggie burgers tonight, one-third for Spinach-Mushroom-Potato Enchiladas with Salsa Verde Cashew Cream Sauce, and one-third for Bubbles and Mash.
The enchiladas can be made the next night for dinner, and the Bubbles and Mash can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner any night this week (or frozen)! If you don't want to make Bubbles and Mash, you can just whip up the rest of the potatoes with a small amount of unsweetened plant milk and salt for fluffy whipped potatoes!