Category Archives: gluten free

Butternut Squash & Black Bean Chili

Hey folks! It’s another Dinner and a Movie night! I don’t know about you, but this new year has been keeping me so busy! I’m definitely trying to make time for more blogging and especially for more ‘Dinner and a Movie’ nights! They are our favorites!

This week we watched Tim Burton’s ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ (one of our all-time favorites) and made “Jack Skellington’s Bone-Chilling Chili” (aka Black Bean and Butternut Squash Chili). READ ALL ABOUT OUR FUN MOVIE NIGHT HERE!!

If I have learned anything from having two kiddos, it’s that ANYTIME (esp. Dinner and a Movie night) is a good time to dress up!! So… “don’t be afraid”  to pull out the costumes & the Jack-o-lanterns for this spooky movie night! 😉

Advertisements

Vegan Broccoli and Cheese Soup

IMG_2185

Wow… 2014! I can barely believe it is the start of another new year. I have quite the list of resolutions this year… one is being more consistent on my blog… I know, I know… I’m off to a bit of a late start there, huh?! But for the last couple days, I have been putting some recipes from my newest cookbooks to the test, so I have lots of new favorites to share already. So here goes!

This is hands down one of the best vegan soups I have ever had! Creamy, filling and absolutely delicious. Oh… and did I mention healthy? This soup mimics traditional broccoli & cheese soup yet holds its own by remaking the classic recipe with a fabulous vegan twist. The recipe is from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s newest book ‘Isa Does It’.  We devoured the entire pot (except for one bowl, which I happily took to work for my lunch the next day) – & even my 3-year-old son was a fan! And the best part? It is completely and amazingly 100% healthy. No dairy, no soy, no faux cheeses of any kind… If you would’ve told me I would be eating “cheddary broccoli soup” that contained no cheese at all, I would’ve never believed it could be this good… and neither will you. Thank god Isa was born!

The secret of the creaminess lies within the cashew cream. This cashew cream is amazing stuff. I hope you aren’t allergic to cashews, because the cashew cream train is swiftly chugging along… and I’m hopping aboard! Sorry, I know I can sometimes be a little “cheesy” 😉 I didn’t have any cashews pre-soaked, so I boiled them for 15 minutes and then let them sit for as long as possible, as recommended in the book – worked like a charm.

Oh – two more things – 1) You will need an immersion blender for this recipe, and 2) This AWESOME soup is not only dairy free, but gluten-free as well 🙂 Bring it on!

IMG_2191

Oooooh yeeeeeah. Serve with some homemade bread on the side for complete satisfaction.

Cheddary Broccoli Soup

Ingredients for the Soup:

  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp salt, plus a pinch
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped broccoli – stems and florets
  • 1/2 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3 cups vegetable broth

Ingredients for the cashew cream:

  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours, or overnight (*or the quick boil method I mentioned above)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 Tbsp mellow white miso
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • freshly ground black pepper

Preparing the Soup:

Preheat a soup pot over medium heat and add the oil. Sauté the onion in the oil with a pinch of salt – just until softened, about 3 min. Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or so, until fragrant.

Add the broccoli, carrots, turmeric, remaining 1/2 tsp salt and broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower heat to a simmer. Cook about 10 minutes until the carrots are very tender.

IMG_2187

Can this soup REALLY be this easy?

Prepare the Cashew Cream:

In the meantime, make the cashew cream by draining the cashews and placing them in a blender/food processor with the broth, miso and nutritional yeast. Blend like crazy, until smooth. This can take anywhere from 1-5 minutes. Scrape the sides of your blender down with a rubber spatula every now and then. (Mine was full to the brim! Unless you have a giant food processor, don’t be alarmed if a little liquid leaks out. I just wrapped a towel around the base of my mixer bowl to catch any overflow.). And voila! Cashew Cream!

When the carrots are tender, add the cashew cream to the soup. Use an immersion blender to puree so that only tiny bits of broccoli and carrot are visible. Keep the soup on low heat, partially covered for about 10 minutes, until thickened, stirring occasionally.

Once thickened, add the lemon juice and pepper, taste for seasoning, and serve. It thickens a bit more as it cools, so you’ll probably need to thin out the leftovers, if there are any!

IMG_2192

And there you have it, folks… heaven in a bowl.

On another note, I would like to say, only my latest posts are listed on the sidebar – Don’t forget to try my search bar if you are looking for something in particular! I’ve been writing this blog since 2011 so there’s some delicious history back up in there!

Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

IMG_1929

Wow! These muffins are amazing! I love making muffins because they are a great breakfast, snack and healthy addition to my daughters sack lunches.  I made this recipe gluten-free* and soy-free. I really love using coconut oil instead of canola when I can. In my experience, it makes for a moister bread. Also, the benefits of coconut are awesome!  Next time I think Im going to try to make them into jumbo muffins 🙂

* Spelt flour is a good substitute for people with a low intolerance for wheat, though people with serious wheat allergies, such as those with celiac disease, are also allergic to spelt, as it is not 100% wheat-free. If necessary, you can replace the spelt flour with a 100% gluten free baking mix (most grocery stores carry a blend for general flour replacing).

I have a bit of an addiction of downloading free cookbooks onto my kindle… And it doesn’t have to be a vegan cookbook either – veganizing recipes is fun and usually pretty easy! Yes, you could say I’m  bit of a sucker for a bargain – a trait I definitely acquired from my Dad! It’s a blessing and a curse… I truly love scouring through thrift stores to seek out unique treasures to bring home! (My home is filled with such things!) And yet I am simultaneously trying to declutter! It doesn’t help matters much that I’m also a major recycler… I try to recycle everything. Like sometimes instead of throwing something out, I will try to repurpose it… this may explain the boxes and piles I have stashed away that I often pretend are invisible! Overall, I see my recycling efforts as positive. A lot of good things have come from my repurposing! 🙂

The base of this recipe came from one of the free kindle books I got called ‘Smart School Time Recipes’. The original recipe was from ‘Andrea at Bakerymanis.wordpress’, to give credit where it is due, though I did end up altering it quite a bit.

IMG_1919

I found these adorable Snoopy cupcake liners at Michaels Craft Store!

Banana Coconut Spelt Muffins

  • 2 cups whole spelt flour
  • 1  tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes (I used shredded coconut and browned it in a skillet – watch carefully, it browns quickly!)
  • 1 cup mashed banana (this was about 1  1/2 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup sucanat or brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
  • 1/4 cup soy milk +  1 tsp cider vinegar (I used almond milk)
  • Topping: 1/3 coconut flakes + 2 tbsp. turbinado sugar (I subbed brown sugar  because I just happened to be out of turbinado! It turned out awesome!)

1) Preheat oven to 350. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with baking cups.

2) Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt & toasted coconut) and set aside.

IMG_1913

Toasting the coconut is easy!

3) Peel the bananas and mash gently into measuring cup to make 1 cup. Blend in a food processor along with the oil, sugar, non-dairy milk + vinegar. Blend until smooth.

4) Add wet to dry and mix. (The great thing about baking with spelt is you don’t have to worry about over-mixing as you do with gluten-filled flours!) Fill muffin tins equally with batter and distribute topping evenly among the 12 muffins.

IMG_1914

Before baking…

5) Bake 23-25 minutes until they start to turn golden brown on top. Let cool for several minutes… then DEVOUR!!!

IMG_1916

Yum! Yum!

IMG_1920

I love me some muffins!

IMG_1919

Nori Sesame Dressing

Wow… Spring already? Boy is time flying… and there has been a lot going on at your vegan neighbor’s house lately, which has been making things seem to move along even faster. Most recently, I started working at an awesome little shop downtown. (In fact, it was my first job in town when I moved here 13 years ago!)  It’s great to be back again (despite being away from my kiddos) because I really loved working there and being downtown. I reluctantly let this job go when I got hired to work as the bread baker full-time at the Green Scene Baking Company (a vegan bakery/restaurant), which is no longer in business… not because the food wasn’t great, but because the owner decided to move to California and become a nutritionist! I’m sure all of Athens misses the Green Scene – I know I do!

Anyway, I apologize for not posting for so long – I promise it’s not a sign of things to come!! I just needed some time adjusting to my new schedule and some other changes. And now that I’m a working mom (*all mom’s are “working moms” but what I mean here is outside the home), I will be able to relate more easily to those of you in that position, and I’ll try to post more recipes that will help make dinner simpler for everyone! That said, I am more than ready to start sharing some of my favorite spring & summer recipes with you!

Nori Sesame Dressing

This salad dressing may be familiar to those of you who have actually eaten at The Green Scene. It was one of the most popular salad dressings and was served on a mixed greens salad. (picture coming soon!)

Mix in food processor until clumpy:

  • 3 sheets Nori (look for this in the Asian section of your grocery store)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup toasted sesame seeds

Then add:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup water (I usually add > 1/2 cup, but you may choose to add the other 1/4 cup if you desire a thinner dressing)
  • 3/4 cup sesame oil (drizzle in slowly, last!)

BLEND ~ BLEND ~ BLEND

Apply to greens (with salad toppings of choice) and DEVOUR!

Vegan Broccoli Cheese Grits

065

I suppose if living in the south means I have to like grits, then, well, I have no problem with that!  Grits can really hold their own! They can be breakfast (a giant bowl of grits served with a side of toast is a filling & delicious meal) OR they can sit on the sidelines alongside a tofu scramble or biscuits & soysage.   If your kids like broccoli and cheese rice, you have got to try this recipe!!!

If you don’t have nutritional yeast in your pantry yet, it’s time to break down and go buy some! You wont regret it! It’s delicious! I regularly put it on pasta, popcorn & tofu, just to name a few things. Red Star is a popular brand.  Check  your nearest health food store!

I can’t believe that I had never thought of this delicious & easy addition to traditional grits! Adding broccoli not only increases the deliciousness, but adds tons of nutrients and makes the desire to add cheese obsolete! I used to melt soy cheese into my grits, but I can honestly say, THIS is the way I’m eating my grits from now on! It’s healthier and it tastes better! Win-Win! 🙂

Vegan Broccoli “Cheese” Grits

  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup corn grits (yellow or white) (please note: cornmeal is not the same thing as grits)
  • anywhere from 1/2 – 1 cup chopped broccoli (I like to use 1 cup)
  • 2 heaping Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2-4 tsp olive oil or soy margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1/2 tsp salt

1 – Combine the water and broccoli in a non-stick saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes.

2- Remove from heat and stir in grits with a long-handled wooden spoon. Return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.

3- Stir well, add remaining ingredients and mix. Devour!

062

I enjoyed my grits with some buttered toast & “eggplant” bacon. (Note: the eggplant “bacon”
did NOT turn out as expected! Maybe its just not for me. Or maybe I made it wrong. Next time I’m using my good old reliable tempeh bacon or Smartbacon!)

I saw some new “faux shrimp” recently at the grocery store. It was NOT vegan… It contained egg or something. (It may have been the Yves brand?) It was alongside even more “faux seafood”, which I thought was pretty cool.  If you are vegetarian, you could even make “shrimp & grits”, which is one grit dish I have never had… Honestly, it doesn’t sound very appealing to me… but neither did pineapple on pizza, which is one of my favorite things! (If you ask me, the grocery stores are doing a pretty good job overall keeping up with us vegans! Of course health food stores are still the best places to find what you are looking for, but I was very happy with all the vegan-friendly additions to the natural food section/produce department in the our recently revamped Kroger.)

Man, I wish that all these faux meats were around back when I first went vegetarian! In today’s world, there is really no reason to eat meat! They make being a vegetarian so easy! And more and more stuff is becoming vegan, by demand! Being vegan takes a little more effort – but hey, that’s where I come in, right?!

African Sweet Potato Soup

110

Mmmm… I really love soup, especially when its cold outside! This is the first time I made this African Sweet Potato Soup with Peanut Butter, Black Eyed Peas and Beans and it turned out so delicious! This soup is also gluten free, and makes a great hearty bowl if you are having company.  This could easily be a New Years dish since it contains black eyed peas… Perhaps next time I make this, I may try adding in some greens!

(I slightly altered the recipe below from the original one here @ the gluten-free goddess. The original recipe also includes jalapeno and cilantro. The jalapeno I decided to leave out because my kids don’t usually care for spicy foods, and the cilantro I left out because I didn’t have any! I also used a white onion instead of a red one. What can I say?…. It still tasted absolutely great!)

I was pleased that my kids tried and (more or less) liked this soup.  My son scooped his bowl clean… I think he could sense that it contained peanut butter (hahaha) which is one of his favorite foods! My daughter wasn’t as big of a fan, but she did finish her bowl for me.  I am a sucker for peanuty soups… especially ones like this. It makes about 4 adult servings. We served ours with a side of coconut jasmine rice, which the kids always love! It would also be great with some cornbread. The peanut butter can be substituted for almond butter or sunflower seed butter if you have allergies.

African Sweet Potato Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp red or green Thai Kitchen curry paste – hot or mild, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
  • 1 14-0z can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 14-oz can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 4 cups broth
  • 1/2 cup 100% natural peanut butter + 1/2 cup hot water (to equal 1 cup) I recommend using chunky peanut butter to give it a little  extra texture and crunch in the soup.
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red hot pepper flakes
  • Juice from 1 big lime
  • 2-3 tsp brown sugar (or agave nectar), to taste
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste

1) Heat the olive oil in a soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to mix the pol with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, yellow pepper. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

2) Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth, melted peanut butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

3) Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat. Keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, 25-30 minutes.

4) Stir in the lime juice and sweetener. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with cilantro, if you please!

111

This delicious soup is packed with flavor AND protein!

P.S. This soup could easily make a ‘Dinner and a Movie’ night with Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’.  That was kinda my original plan. My kids love hearing about different places in the world (in this case, Africa) and how different people live  and how our lifestyles are alike or different.  It makes for a great educational conversation!  However, somehow on this night we got sidetracked &  we never got around to putting in the movie!

Vegan Caramel Apples

Just in time for Halloween, I have found a recipe for THE MOST AMAZING vegan caramel apples I have ever tasted. This vegan caramel is even better than the classic non-vegan caramel that I remember from my childhood… which is truly hard to beat! Vegan, soy-free, gluten free… this “caramel” is mostly made of brown rice syrup & coconut milk, so you could almost call it healthy, right?!  I will be making this vegan caramel again very soon to make  old-fashioned square candies, rolo-type candies & more! I can hardly wait to experiment! This stuff is GOOOOOOD!!!!

Vegan Caramel Apples

(makes 4 caramel apples)

  • organic apples
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk (canned)
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • dash salt (about 1 tsp)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp earth balance vegan margarine (the soy free variety if you desire it to be soy free)

1) Wash and dry apples. Remove the stems. Insert a popsicle stick at the stem point. Cover a plate with wax paper or parchment paper and set aside.

2) Combine coconut milk, brown rice syrup and salt in a saucepan over medium heat  and heat until boiling. Whisk constantly to prevent it from sticking for about 10 minutes. It should thicken quite a bit.

3) Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and margarine.

4) Start drizzling the caramel quickly over each apple with a spoon, and spreading it a bit around the apples as you go. (Feel free to sprinkle and press them into chopped salted peanuts or chocolate if you so desire!)

5) Let the apples sit in the fridge for a bit to harden. DEVOUR!

Thank you, Vegan Action, for this amazing recipe! It is magnificent!