05 Aug

Vegan Empanadas

Vegan Empanadas

Empanadas are time consuming to make, but are so worth all of your efforts! Since this recipe has multiple steps, I tend to stretch the process out into two days. But don’t let that scare you off! Stay with me now…..Vegan Empanadas

 DAY 1, make the dough and the chimichurri sauce and store in the refrigerator overnight.

Vegan Empanadas

 

Day 2, prepare the filling and form the empanadas. Roll dough out to about 8 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick.

Bell peppers, portobello mushroom, spinach, eggplant, quinoa

Bell peppers, portobello mushroom, spinach, eggplant, quinoa

Fill, Fold, Cut, Press!

Fill, Fold, Cut, Press!

Vegan Empanadas

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 350F for 20 minutes.

Now if you have a little extra dough left over, don’t you worry, it won’t go to waste. My girls love it when I make empanadas because they get to decide what goes into the extra dough. Pizza calzones, PB & J, chocolate & PB, or bananas & chocolate! It’s all about being creative in our house!

Vegan Chocolate Banana Empanadas

Oh no you didn’t, oh yes I did! My girls scored with this combo!

Vegan Chocolate Banana Empanadas

 

Vegan Empanadas
 
Author:
Serves: 11-12
Ingredients
  • Dough
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons grape seed oil
  • ¾ cup water, more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed olive, reserved for brushing empanadas
  • 1 tablespoon paprika, reserved for sprinkling onto empanadas
  • Filling
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 portobello mushroom, chopped
  • 1 small eggplant (2 ½ cups), chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup dried quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 (6 ounce) tomato paste
  • Chimichurri Sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a medium size bowl, mix together flour and oil. Add water to moisten. Add more water if dough is too dry and crumbly.
  3. Form into a ball. Knead on a clean surface.
  4. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature or store in the refrigerator over night.
  5. Rinse quinoa. In a small pot, bring quinoa and 1 cup water to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for about 5 to 10 minutes or until the germ pokes out of the seed.
  6. Remove from heat, strain excess water. Set aside to cool.
  7. To prepare the filling, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add onion. Sauté for a minute. Add red and yellow bell pepper, mushroom, eggplant, and garlic. Cook until tender.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Stir in spinach and cooked quinoa.
  10. Mix in cumin, paprika, oregano, and tomato paste. Stir until combined. Filling will be thick.
  11. While cooling, cut dough into 10 pieces. Roll 1 piece into a 8 inch circle about ⅛ inch thick.
  12. Add 3 tablespoons filling.
  13. Fold dough in half and seal around the filling. Trim uneven edges. Seal with a fork.
  14. Set empanadas onto prepared sheet pans. When ready to bake, lightly brush empanadas with grapeseed oil. Sprinkle with additional paprika to add color.
  15. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden.
  16. While empanadas are baking, prepare the chimichurri sauce.
  17. In a small bowl or food processor, add red wine vinegar, parsley, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
  18. Pulse 2 to 3 times. Stir in olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  19. Sauce can be prepared 1 day ahead and stored in the refrigerator.
  20. Bring to room temperature before serving.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
03 Jul

Cucumber Hummus Pizza

Cucumber Hummus Pizza

What is the Fourth without fireworks! Well honestly, I can do without the fireworks. I was always the kid hiding under a blanket covering my ears during the fireworks show. Times still haven’t changed. I still do not like fireworks. I’d rather go home and sit with my dog and strap an anxiety blanket around us, than go see fireworks. But I hang in there for my kids.

As with fireworks, BBQing is essential on the Fourth. But that doesn’t mean you have to grill animal protein or even veggie burgers. So many vegetables, fruits, and tofu can be thrown onto the grill. One of my favorite easy dishes that I like to make on the BBQ is pizza. Pizza you say? A BBQ is the PERFECT pizza oven during the summer. It easily heats above 400F and won’t turn your house into a sweat box. The trick to a good pizza is making sure you bake it at a high temperature in order to crisp the dough on the outside, leaving it tender on the inside.

mixing sized

Rising dough

Rising dough

Grilling pizza.

Grilling pizza.

Pizza stone vs. the grill?

Either method will work. If you are using a stone, it’s important to preheat the stone on your BBQ. The hot stone is what makes the dough crispy. If you don’t have a stone, don’t run out to buy one right away. Try using your grill. Trust me. Heat your BBQ and toss your dough onto the hot grill. When your dough is baked, you can take it right off using a metal spatula. It really works!

Cucumber Hummus Pizza

Try this easy Cucumber Hummus Pizza that I love to make during the summer. It has the nice contrast of hot pizza dough with cold, crisp vegetables on top. If you don’t want to make your own dough, no big deal. Most grocery stores sell pre-made doughs. Have a safe and happy Fourth!

Cucumber Hummus Pizza
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • Pizza dough
  • ½ tablespoon yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup semolina
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz olive oil
  • Cucumber Hummus Topping
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • ¼ cup parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup hummus
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand until foamy.
  2. Add flours and salt to the mixer fixed with a dough hook.
  3. While mixing, add olive oil and yeast mixture. Mix until the dough forms into a ball.
  4. Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rest until doubled in size.
  5. Roll out the dough onto a surface sprinkled with cornmeal.
  6. Place dough onto a hot pizza stone or grill. Brush with olive oil and season with a little salt. You can skip this step if you are cutting corners with calories.
  7. Bake for 5-8 minutes until dough begins to bubble and brown on the edges.
  8. In a small bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar and olive oil and set aside.
  9. In a medium size bowl, toss together the vegetables with the vinaigrette. Season with salt and pepper.
  10. Store in the refrigerator to stay cold.
  11. Spread cold hummus onto the hot baked dough.
  12. Spoon the vegetables onto the hummus. Serve hot.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
23 Jun

Green Bean Chickpea Salad

Green Bean Chickpea Salad

Recently I was planning a menu for a summer dinner party, when I came across a Martha Stewart Everyday Food green bean recipe. It became my inspiration for this dish. Being summer, green beans and tomatoes are readily available at the Farmers’ market and so deliciously divine.

My little helper.

My little helper.

Ingredients

Ingredients

The recipe wasn’t perfect yet. It looked good, but I thought it could be so much better. I removed a little bit of this….feta and added a little bit of that….quinoa, and came up with my own adapted version below. Now if you are making this on the weekend and are following my “weekday vegan” approach, feel free to add a touch of feta cheese or even burrata if you please. But don’t go crazy and ruin a perfectly healthy plant-based dish with LOTS of cheese. Just a sprinkle. And if you don’t love quinoa like I do, try a different whole grain like millet, bulgur, or barley. That’s why I love cooking so much. You can follow the concept of the recipe in front of you, but personalize it to your liking.

Blanched green beans in ice water.

Blanched green beans in ice water.

When you blanch the green beans, don’t skip the step of dumping them into a bowl of ice water. It’s important to stop the cooking otherwise, your once beautiful bright green beans will become over cooked and turn into a dark green vegetable mush. No one wants to eat mushy green beans. If you do not have ice, running the beans under cold water will work too.

Plating this dish is fun. I like to use my rectangular platters, but a round or square plate would work just as well. You can even serve this dish on individual plates for your guests. This salad is so colorful, it’s hard to make it look bad! Be creative and have fun with it!

Chopped green bean chickpea salad.

Chopped green bean chickpea salad.

If you have leftovers or do not want to platter this salad, make it a “chopped’ salad! Chop the green beans and all of a sudden you had a more casual salad to take on a picnic. I even like to make the “chopped” version and fill a whole wheat pita with hummus and this salad. It becomes a completely different meal! Have it for dinner as a salad, and then as a pita sandwich the next day. Who said leftovers are boring!

Green Bean Chickpea Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried chickpeas, rinsed and sorted
  • ½ cup dried quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. In a large pot, add dried chickpeas and enough water to cover, about an inch.
  2. Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid.
  3. Simmer until chickpeas can be pierced with a knife, between 1 to 3 hours. Occasionally check and stir. Add water if necessary.
  4. If you wish to skip this step entirely, substitute the dried chickpeas with 1 BPA-free can of chickpeas.
  5. In a smaller pot, add dried quinoa, and 1 cup water.
  6. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered until the germ tail has spiraled out, about 10 minutes.
  7. Drain any excess liquid. Set aside to cool.
  8. While the chickpeas and quinoa are cooking, add the trimmed green beans to a pot of boiling water.
  9. Cook beans until crisp-tender, about 2-4 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and add to a bowl of ice water to quickly stop the cooking. Drain and pat dry.
  11. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil.
  12. In a large bowl, toss together the chickpeas, quinoa, tomatoes, red onion, parsley, and lemon dressing.
  13. Season with salt and pepper. Chill in the refrigerator.
  14. On a platter, lay the green beans in a row to follow the shape of your platter.
  15. Spoon the chickpea mixture on to the green beans.
  16. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
24 May

My Veggie Dog

My youngest child loves hot dogs! I know, I am embarrassed to say, she is not entirely on board with being a “weekday vegan”. I don’t know when she was first introduced to a hot dog. At a party? With grandparent’s? With my husband? I don’t know, but she has learned from me, that hot dogs do not provide good nutrition for her body. I have even shown my kids the “How It’s Made – Hot Dogs” clip. My oldest child thought it was disgusting, while my younger daughter, thought it was cool and asked if she could have a hot dog for dinner! Sigh, eye roll, thank goodness she’s loves vegetables and being mostly vegetarian, but show her a hot dog and the carnivore in her roars!

So as summer approaches, and hot dogs are tossed onto the grill, think about what’s in it, the choices you have, and how you should limit it or cut it out entirely from your diet. Remember, eating a plant-based diet is very beneficial to your health, so if you can follow a vegan diet for 5 days and on that 6th day your craving peeks when your friend is grilling up hot dogs, then dig in, but cleanse your body afterwards with plant-based foods and plenty of water.

Veggie dog with a side of fries

Veggie dog with a side of fries

Why are hot dogs, bad dogs?

Sodium nitrate is a preservative that is added to cured meats during the cooking process to keep hot dogs from turning gray and to prevent the growth of botulism. Sodium nitrate converts to sodium nitrite and breaks down in the body, turning into nitrosamines, which in the past, researches discovered that they caused cancer in lab rats, but not in humans, at least YET. Now that doesn’t give you the green flag to start gobbling down hot dogs. They still aren’t a great food for you.

With these added preservatives and salt, hot dogs are high in sodium.The current dietary guidelines recommend eating less than 2,300mg of sodium a day, and less than 1,500 mg if your over 50, have high blood pressure, diabetes, or kidney disease. ONE hot dog can have 500mg of sodium, that’s about ¼ of your daily limit and that’s not even counting the bun and condiments! So, although studies have not yet proven that eating nitrates in meats have caused cancer, they are typically used in FATTY, SALTY, PROCESSED foods that should be AVOIDED or NOT eaten very often.

Let me just throw another curve ball. Some fruits, vegetables, and grains also have naturally occurring nitrates that our bodies digestive system convert to sodium nitrite. You don’t hear any claims saying that they cause cancer! So don’t worry! Don’t stop eating UNPROCESSED, fresh, RAW fruits, vegetables, and whole grains!

My Veggie Dog

What about the “natural” , “no added nitrate”, or “low fat” hot dogs?

The US Department of Agriculture has a safe method of using lactic acid producing bacteria and freezing/refrigeration to prevent the growth of botulism so food manufacturers don’t have to use sodium nitrate and sodium. Some companies label their products as “natural” or “no added nitrites”. But beware, instead they are using celery powder or celery juice, which are naturally high in nitrites and may end up making the food more concentrated in nitrites than the conventional product! It’s the loop hole that food companies use to make the claim on their label. Pretty sneaky! The NY Times called them out back in 2011.  You might also see a “low fat” label on some hot dogs. Yes, they may have cut out the fat, but they keep the flavor by using more salt and seasonings, making the food even higher in sodium. That’s not a good exchange! So read your nutrition labels and ingredient lists. Don’t make your decision to buy a product solely on the health claim on the front of the package.

Chopped up veggie dog!

Chopped up veggie dog!

What about Veggie Dogs?

Even though veggie dogs are not meat based, they are still a processed food. Always read the ingredients, which for some veggie dogs, can easily be confused with a chemistry lab inventory list! When checking out the nutrition label, I have found some veggie dogs that are 50 calories, 2g fat, and 330mg sodium, which are better than some meat dogs, but see if you can recognize the ingredients listed. I don’t know, veggies aren’t suppose to taste like hot dogs, right!

If you still want a hot dog:

As a guide, read the nutrition label and look for products that have less than 150 calories, fewer than 14g fat (less 6g saturated fat), 200mg or less of sodium or not to exceed 450mg sodium per serving. Choose the organic or grass fed dogs without nitrates but check for celery powder/juice.

Lastly, I don’t condone eating hot dogs or veggie dogs, but if you just can’t do without, limit yourself this summer BBQ season and compensate with LOTS of PLANT FOODS!

For more information on food additives, check out the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Chemical Cuisine.

My Veggie Dog
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • Mint Vinaigrette
  • 1 lemon, juiced (about ⅓ cup)
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ⅓ cup fresh mint, minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the "veggie dog"
  • 2 cups cooked white beans or 1 (15 ounce) BPA-free can white beans
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced
  • 4 large cucumbers, scooped out and seeded
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, Dijon mustard, garlic, and mint.
  2. Slowly whisk in the olive oil.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. In another small bowl, mix together the beans, tomatoes, and avocado.
  5. Toss ¼ cup of vinaigrette.
  6. Spoon bean mixture into cucumbers and enjoy!
  7. Chop any leftover ingredients into a salad!
  8. Store any leftover vinaigrette in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
05 May

Cilantro White Bean Soup

Cilantro White Bean Soup

I wanted to make a Mexican style soup for Cinco de Mayo and I immediately thought of my favorite cilantro salsa adapted from Deborah Madison that I posted back on St. Patrick’s day. If you haven’t figured it out by now, I love that cilantro salsa and try to incorporate it into different dishes. For the soup, I grabbed my new favorite heirloom Rancho Gordo white beans that my husband bought for me when he was away on business. I know, my husband rocks for bringing me a gift when it wasn’t even my birthday! Other people might be disappointed receiving a box full of beans, but I am such a foodie, my mind just started racing….yay beans, what should I make?!?! Oh, the possibilities are endless!

Rancho Gordo Beans

And did you know, that you get a nutritious bang out of beans? Beans are high in fiber, protein, calcium, and iron! I’d call that a superfood!

White Beans

So I had these awesome beans and my favorite cilantro salsa and I figured, I couldn’t go wrong combining these flavors into a soup! I added a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and omitted the olive oil from the original salsa recipe while also reducing the amount of mint. For this soup, you only need enough fat to cook the mirepoix of onions, celery, and carrots. Cut out the olive oil from the salsa. You’ll still have some healthy fat from the avocado that garnishes the soup. Don’t skip the avocado because of calories! It adds such a nice creamy texture to every bite, and remember, it is a “heart healthy” monounsaturated fat. That just means, it’s good for you!

Cooking White Beans

If you don’t have an awesome husband bringing you fancy beans, dried beans from the local grocery store will work just fine! And if you are short on time and want to use canned beans, look for BPA-free lined canned beans.

Have a fun Cinco de Mayo! Keep the tortilla chips and margaritas in moderation! Now those aren’t healthy calories, but are so good!

Olé

Cilantro White Bean Soup
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dried white beans, rinse and sorted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded
  • 1 bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 (32 ounce) box vegetable broth
  • 1 cup yellow grape tomatoes, sliced
  • Tabasco to taste (optional)
  • 1 avocado to garnish
Directions
  1. In a large pot, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, carrots, and celery. Sauté until al dente.
  3. Add dried beans and enough water to cover the beans and vegetables, about an inch. Bring to a rapid boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with a lid.
  4. Simmer until beans can be pierced with a knife, between 1 to 3 hours. Occasionally check the beans and stir, adding water if necessary.
  5. While beans are cooking, add the jalapeño, cilantro, mint, garlic, lime juice, cumin, and coriander to a food processor or finely mince with a knife.
  6. When beans are tender, keep the bean water in the pot. Add the cilantro mixture and vegetable broth to the pot of beans. Heat through.
  7. Stir in tomatoes and remove from heat.
  8. Shake in a few splashes of Tabasco for a little kick.
  9. Garnish with avocado.
  10. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  11. If you are using canned beans, sauté only the vegetables until tender.
  12. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil.
  13. Mince the jalapeño chile, cilantro, mint, and garlic.
  14. Stir into the broth. Season with lime juice, cumin, coriander.
  15. Reduce heat, add cooked beans and tomatoes. Heat through.
  16. Remove from heat.
  17. Season with Tabasco sauce to taste.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
01 May

Kale Mango Salad

Kale Mango Salad

Last May I made this salad for a picnic gathering and the crowds went wild. Who knew other people got so excited about kale salad! So to say the least, this recipe has become a staple at most of our spring and summer gatherings. It can be eaten cold or at room temperature, making it a hearty dish that travels well to picnics and BBQ’s.

Kale Mango Salad

What makes this salad so yummy, is the mixture of crunchy kale with cool sweet mango. The mango adds a nice acidic sweetness that balances out the bitterness in the kale. Fresh fruit in green salads are always so refreshing and then when you toss it with this lemon basil vinaigrette, just watch out, you’ll find yourself saying, “mmm” with every bite.

And have I mentioned nutritious! This salad is colorful, clean, and complete. It’s a balanced meal that can fill your entire plate! Trust me, you won’t want to add chicken or cheese to this salad! The quinoa, and edamame, will do the trick! You can even add some avocado if you want a little creaminess!

If you have never cooked quinoa, a gluten free seed, don’t worry. It’s easy peasy. Just like rice, quinoa is a 2:1 ratio. Rinse off the dried quinoa before cooking to get rid of the bitter outer coating, though most quinoa sold in our markets are pre rinsed, I usually just do a quick rinse.

After rinsing, add the uncooked quinoa to the pan and dry cook the seeds for a minute to give them a nutty flavor. Now add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the germ starts to poke out of the seed. Not all of the water may be absorbed. That’s ok, remove from heat and strain any excess water. I like to scoop the quinoa out and spread it on a cookie sheet to cool quickly. You don’t have to do that if you want to skip cleaning an extra pan!

Kale Mango Salad

I like to cube mango by slicing the cheeks off, cutting a grid,  pushing to pop them up, then slice the cubes off. I hope this salad becomes a staple at all of your favorite gatherings!

Kale Mango Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 bunch lacinato kale, ribs removed, julienned (any type of kale works)
  • 2 cups edamame beans, cooked and cooled
  • ½ red onion, diced
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 mangos, pitted and cubed
  • 1 avocado, chopped (optional)
  • 2 tablespoon sliced almonds, toasted (garnish)
  • For lemon vinaigrette:
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about ¼ cup or more)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • ½ cup basil leaves, packed (about 30 leaves)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste
Directions
  1. Add uncooked quinoa to the pan and dry cook the seeds for a minute to give them a nutty flavor.
  2. Add 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid, and cook for about 10 minutes or until the germ starts to poke out of the seed.
  3. Remove from heat, strain any excess water. Set aside to cool.
  4. Make the dressing by adding lemon juice, garlic, basil, and olive oil to a food processor. Process for a few seconds to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a large bowl, toss quinoa, kale, edamame, and red onion together. Mix in vinaigrette to coat. Chill in the refrigerator. This can be done ahead of time.
  6. Thirty minutes to an hour before serving, add the remaining ingredients, tomatoes, mangos, and avocado.
  7. Garnish with sliced almonds.

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
22 Apr

Raspberry Chia Jam

Raspberry Chia Jam with Vegan Chocolate Chip Scones

Raspberry Chia Jam with Vegan Chocolate Chip Scones

“Ch-ch-ch-chia”. Growing up, I loved the chia pet commercials! How cool to have fun ceramic characters that grow crazy green hair. But wait, flash forward a few decades and now it’s trendy to eat these black seeds that were smeared all over these clay figurines. Recently my kid’s Great Grandma actually got them a chia pet! Yes, they have a hip, thoughtful Great Grandma. I think it’s time to pull it out of the closet and watch the magic happen! What do you think? I’ll keep you posted on that!

Raspberry Chia Jam

I was first introduced to chia seeds a few years ago by a friend who read the book, “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougal. In his book, he talks about, well, running. I love to exercise, but I am pretty darn sure I was NOT born to run. I am better off with anything other form of exercising than running. My friend’s biggest take away from this book was the chia energy drink. Basically, it’s water, chia seeds, lime juice, and a little honey for a touch of sweetness. She likes this drink, but truthfully, I had a tough time taking it down. The seeds quickly gel up. So if you like a crunchy, jelly texture, then you’ll love chia drinks. Otherwise, like me, you are better off finding different ways of enjoying these tiny nutrient-packed seeds.

Raspberry Chia Jam

Chia seeds are a whole grain food that our bodies can absorb as seeds, unlike flax seeds, which are better absorbed when ground. Two tablespoons has 137 calories, 4g protein, 9g fat, 11g fiber, plus omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, and other minerals. In other words, they are chalk full of goodness! No wonder chia seeds have so much hype.

I take any opportunity I can to add chia seeds to my family’s meals. They have a very mild flavor and so can easily be sprinkled onto salads, sauces, oatmeal, cereal, quinoa dishes, and made into jams. How do you eat your chia seeds?

Raspberry Chia Jam

Notes about the recipe:

This is such a quick and easy recipe. I love to have this on hand for nut spread sandwiches. Making your own chia jams is one way to cut out some added sugar to your diet. If you have fresh berries, you can skip making jam all together and just smear some nut butter onto bread and top it off with fresh berries for a delicious PB and berry sandwich. Or in 5 minutes or less you can have your own chia jam. Frozen berries work really well, if not better, for this recipe. For this posting, I chose to use fresh berries, well because, they just look prettier for the pictures! If you use frozen berries, don’t add water. I have found that frozen organic blueberries or raspberries are perfect for making chia jams! Really, any fruit can be cooked to a reduction, so go wild! I can’t wait to hear which chia jams you create!

Raspberry Chia Jam
 
Author:
Serves: ¼ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • ¼ teaspoon lemon zest
Directions
  1. In a small saucepan, heat raspberries over medium-high heat.
  2. If using fresh raspberries, add 1 tablespoon water.
  3. As berries begin to cook, reduce heat to a simmer and mash berries.
  4. Cook to a slight reduction.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Stir in chia seeds and lemon zest.
  7. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
09 Apr

Lemon Kale Muffins

Vegan Lemon Kale Muffins

A friend of mine figured out a way to have one kid-free morning a week. That’s like winning a million bucks! During her precious “me time” she likes to hang out at a local coffee hot spot, reading a book and indulge in pastries. Lately, she has become bored of their selection and texted me, asking if I had a vegan muffin recipe to share.

What perfect timing! I had been playing in the kitchen, trying to come up with a moist, healthy muffin I could toss to my kids in the morning or have as an afternoon snack. I was so excited when she asked me for a recipe that I worked on this one for a few weeks and made sure to have lots of taste testers, friends, my kid’s friends, teachers, librarians, even our dog by accident! My testers where opinionated and gave great feedback. After a few revisions, I got thumbs up from all of the adults. Most of the kids asked for seconds, and thirds, jumping up and down as if they were getting chocolate cupcakes topped with plastic characters! But, to be completely fair, I did have a few kids scowl when offered a sample. Well, I am pleased with the outcome and can’t wait to surprise my friend with a basket of muffins she can enjoy during her “me time”!

IMG_6348_Resize

I first wanted to name the recipe, “Apple Kale Muffins”, but even though they are loaded with fiber-rich shredded apples, it’s hard to taste the flavor. Should the muffins be named, Kale “Dates” a Lemon? What do you think? Too corny? I got the eye-roll from my husband. Ok, I’ll stick to “Lemon Kale Muffins”.

Ingredients

Ingredients

Notes about the recipe:

If you have a food processor, this is the time to use it or borrow your neighbor’s! Yes, if you live a few doors down, I’ll share my food processor! It will cut your prep time in half! I first used the the shredding blade and shredded the apples. Set them aside in a bowl. Then change the blade and purée the dates. Scoop out the date paste. Now purée the kale. You can do all of these steps without washing the food processor bowl in between. Once you have prepped all of your fruits and veggie, then tackle the recipe.

For the most part, this recipe is pretty forgiving. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, or whole wheat flour, you can use all purpose flour instead, substituting equal proportions for this recipe. Equal substitutions are usually not the case for flours, but with this recipe it works out.

If you don’t want shredded apples, you can use apple sauce, but use less since it is more fluid than shredded apples. I have not substituted this recipe with apple sauce, so I do not know the exact measurement. 

To keep the muffins lower in processed added sugar, I puréed dates. Dates are a “super” food that are really nutritious, adding fiber, potassium, calcium, and iron to the muffins. Even though they are a much better choice over processed sugar, they are dense in natural sugar and therefor calories, so don’t think you are eating a calorie free muffin! For the most part, when substituting dates for sugar in a baked recipe, I have found equal proportions (1cup sugar = 1 cup pureed dates) work well. I also like to puree the dates. I have found that adding chopped dates don’t evenly melt away and the baked good ends up with chunks of dates. But that can be a good thing if that’s what you are looking for, especially in a fresh pumpkin muffin. I’ll post that recipe next pumpkin season!

Use this recipe as your own guide to create something new and delicious for your family and friends! I can’t wait to hear about your muffin creations!

Vegan Lemon Kale Muffins

Lemon Kale Muffins
 
Author:
Serves: 72 mini muffins or 20 regular size
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons ground flax seed
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 17 dates, pitted (3/4 cup pureed dates)
  • ¼ cup grape seed oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (zest of 1 small lemon)
  • 1 bunch Lacinato kale (about 14 small - medium size leaves or 2 firmly packed cups), ribs removed (1/2 cup when pureed)
  • 5 Granny Smith apples, cored, peeled, and shredded
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (all purpose flour can be substituted)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Line muffin tins with paper liners or grease loaf pans.
  3. Mix together ground flax seeds and warm water.
  4. Beat in sugar, pureed dates, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest to the flax seed mixture. Stir in pureed kale and shredded apples.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until combined. The batter will be thick.
  6. Scoop batter, about 1 tablespoon for the mini muffin tins, or ¼ cup into the regular size muffin tins.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes with convection for the mini muffins and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, for the regular muffins.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.
  9. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month.

 

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
24 Mar

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I know some people are not fans of cauliflower. Probably because they associate it to the raw, white tree-like vegetable on a party platter. I know I am a dietitian and I should LOVE all vegetables, but truthfully, I can’t stand RAW cauliflower. I keep these feelings to myself though, monkey see, monkey do, my kids will eat it raw. I know, strange.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower

Since cauliflower is pretty much sold year round at my local farmers’ market, I use the weather to dictate what I am going to do with it. When it’s chilly out, usually I’ll purée the cauliflower into a soup, bread and bake it, or simply sauté it and serve it with a whole grain. But living with mostly sunshine, my default is this salad.

Roasted Cauliflower

As we enter spring, I’d like to share this simple and healthy salad recipe. I like this salad because it is delicious served warm, chilled, or at room temperature, making timing of preparation easy. So if you are a planner, you can prepare this salad way ahead of time, or if you are like me on a weeknight, the cauliflower is coming right out of the oven and on to the salad. One can only plan so much ahead during the week!

Dijon Mustard Dressing

Dijon Mustard Dressing

The Dijon mustard dressing is “licking your plate clean” good, so feel free to double the recipe and have it on hand to add to roasted vegetables, tofu, or leafy greens. If you want a little more crunch to this salad, add homemade croutons from the butternut squash soup recipe. If you are going to eat this over the weekend, a non-vegan day, and want to add a bit more flavor, shave a little Parmesan cheese over the salad and serve. Enjoy!

Roasted Cauliflower Salad
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 2 medium heads cauliflower, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ ground black pepper
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 (5-ounce package) arugula
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or Champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a shallow roasting pan, combine cauliflower, 3 tablespoons olive oil, salt, and pepper; toss.
  3. Roast uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring once until cauliflower is nicely caramelized.
  4. Remove from oven and cool.
  5. For the dressing, in a small bowl, combine vinegar and mustard. Whisk in ⅓ cup olive oil. Add salt to taste.
  6. In a large bowl, combine cauliflower, onion, and arugula.
  7. Toss with dressing.

 

 

 

 

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS
17 Mar

Cilantro Salsa

Cilantro and Mint

Cilantro and Mint

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to share one of my, hands down, favorite green dips. A few years ago, I stumbled across this recipe by Deborah Madison when I was casually flipping through her epic cookbook, “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”. I decided to make it and smother it over grilled tofu and vegetable tacos. Wow, it was DELICIOUS. The flavor of cilantro became vibrant with the hint of mint, lime, and mild spices. The salsa doesn’t have a lot of kick, so if you want it to be spicy, definitely add some of the jalapeño seeds.

This recipe has become a staple especially when entertaining family and friends. I love the versatility as a dip or a sauce for bean salads, grilled vegetables, or tofu. It can even be used as the sauce for a vegan pizza! The uses are limitless! My best advice, make sure to double the recipe. Your friends will want some to go!

My kid's leprechaun catcher baited with a girl scout cookie!

Leprechaun Catcher!

Have a fun St. Patrick’s day. I hope you catch a leprechaun! Oh, and this last picture is my kid’s leprechaun catcher baited with a girl scout cookie!

Cilantro Salsa

Cilantro Salsa

Cilantro Salsa
 
Author:
Serves: ⅔ cup
Ingredients
  • 1 jalapeño chile, seeded
  • 1 large bunch cilantro, stems removed
  • ½ cup mint leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lime
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Salt to taste
Directions
  1. For a creamy sauce, coarsely chop the chile, cilantro, mint, and garlic, then purée in a food processor with ¼ cup water and the oil.
  2. Add the lime juice, cumin, coriander, and salt.
  3. Taste and correct the spices.
  4. To make the sauce by hand, very finely chop everything, then stir in ¼ cup water, the oil, and the spices.

 

recipe adapted by Deborah Madison, “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone”

Share and Enjoy

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS