Just in case you see me at the grocery store…

29 Apr

We have made a decision to look into other sources of protein for our family’s health.

What have I been up to?

Raw Cultured Butter

Raw Cottage Cheese

Raw Greek Yoghurt and Whey

Sourdough Breads

Homemade Mayo with Raw Eggs

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Local Fish

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Bone Broths

And making bone meal to give back to the earth.

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Whole30

We are resetting our bodies this month. No sugar. No alcohol. No grains. No legumes. No dairy. No additives. No artificial anything. No junk.

After that…

Who knows? We have been researching extensively on different variations of the Paleo/Keto diet, but most specifically the work of Tim Noaks and The Banting Diet. Once we figure it out, then I can refocus on what Mama in the Kitchen will be all about. Till then… thank you for your kindness and patience as we figure it all out.

Vegan Chocolate Protein Truffles

19 Jan

I recently decided to go on a SLOW CARB HIGH PROTEIN VEG regimen in hopes of gaining some muscles and increasing my athleticism. I’m only on my second week and have already seen amazing results. I thought I was eating enough protein on my 80:10:10 Vegan Diet, but maybe not. These last few days have shown me how favorably my body is responding to my new diet changes and it is making me think that my individual constitution may just require more than 10% protein. In short, I am loving what these new Slow Carb High Protein meals are doing for me.

Chocolate Protein Truffles (Makes around 12 pieces)

Today, I missed chocolate. I wanted to make sure my snack was high in protein too and, thus, Chocolate Protein Truffles. These have almonds, cashews, coconut, cacao, maca, flax, pea protein, chicory root fiber, chia seeds, and stevia. Enjoy!

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Mix together dry ingredients in a bowl:

  • 1 scoop Bob’s Red Mill Chocolate Protein Powder Nutritional Booster
  • 1 1/2 T flax seed meal
  • 1/2 T maca
  • 1 T cacao powder
  • 1 T stevia powder

Mix into the dry ingredients by hand:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 – 5 oz (or 8 – 10 T) nut butter, depending on consistency add more if needed so that your truffle balls are just moist enough (I used my homemade almond-cashew -coconut butter)

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Mix well until crumbly. Test by rolling one into a ball. Is it too dry? If so, add a little more nut butter. You don’t want it too moist so that it is too soft. Roll into 12 balls. Sift some cacao powder into a bowl and roll the balls in the powder.

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Refrigerate and enjoy.

Satisfyingly Simple Sweet Potato Soup in the Instant Pot

9 Dec

I have been travelling recently and returned home quite sick and tired of overly processed and seasoned restaurant food. I just wanted something healthy, simple, and pure. Having just been researching more about the Okinawan Diet, I bought a bag of sweet potatoes and wanted water-dense food or in other words: soup. This is so easy to do with the help of my Instant Pot.

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Place all in the Instant Pot in order:

  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 4 celery sticks, chopped
  • 4# sweet potato, peeled and chopped in big chunks (I had a mix of Asian and orange sweet potatoes. Wish I had more purple ones!)
  • 3 tsp dried thyme
  • 8 c water

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Set for 10 minutes. When done, allow the pressure to come down naturally or do a quick release. Then, add:

  • 4 tsp sea salt

Purée with an immersion blender. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, or seeds and serve with your choice of condiments (nutritional yeast, Bragg’s Amino, etc). Or enjoy this satisfyingly simple sweet potato soup as is.

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Easy and Quick Instant Pot Vegan/Vegetarian Locro de Papa (Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Soup)

7 Dec

I was 6 weeks pregnant when I visited the Galapagos Islands and the only soup that made me feel better from first trimester nausea and altitude change was Locro de Papa. Since then, I have enjoyed making it at home. My husband enjoys at least 4 bowls of this soup each time I cook it. My son has learned to LOVE this soup too and we all look forward to Fall when I start cooking soups again after a Summer break.

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This year, I decided to make my life much simpler and adapt most of my recipes for the Instant Pot. It saves so much of my time! I don’t have to sauté or sweat the vegetables and I don’t have to be on standby in my kitchen to watch anything by the stove. Instead, I load up the Instant Pot, set it, and find some extra time for myself. The best thing is the soups come out tasting just as good. Win-Win!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Vegan/Vegetarian Locro de Papa: Ecuadorian Potato and Cheese Soup (8 servings)

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Place in Instant Pot in order:

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3# Russet Potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 c water or veggie broth
  • 1 1/2 c your choice of milk, I used Rice Milk here but have used Soy before. The color and consistency will be different according to the milk you use. The former will be thinner and more translucent in color, while the latter will be thicker and more opaque. The taste doesn’t change that drastically, but it’s prettier with a more opaque milk – but we are trying to avoid Soy.

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Set on manual for 10 minutes. When done, you can allow the pressure to come down naturally or do a quick release. Mash the potatoes well and add to melt:

  • 6 oz your choice of cheese: vegetarians can use queso fresco, while vegans can use a mozzarella type of vegan cheese
  • 2 t sea salt

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Garnish with:

  • lots of avocados
  • cilantro or scallions (I didn’t have either for the photos… but boy would that have looked beautiful)

Enjoy!

Easy and Quick Coleslaw

6 Dec

We’ve been traveling for a week and eating more processed foods than usual. I returned home feeling a little more bloated than usual. On our first day home, my husband and I wanted a big salad each for dinner. Surprisingly, so did our son. He asked specifically for coleslaw. So coleslaw is what he got. This recipe is easy and quick.

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Place in a bowl and mix together:

  • 1/4 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 2 tsp prepared horseradish
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Then, add and whisk in:

  • 1/4 c Vegan mayonnaise

Mix well and add this dressing to 1 package of coleslaw mix. Allow flavors to blend before serving. This is especially yummy with homemade Vegan hot dogs!

Vegan Thanksgiving Apple and Cranberry Crumb Pie

24 Nov

I love experimenting in the kitchen. I especially love experimenting when I host a dinner at my house. Sometimes it is daunting because I want to impress my visitors, but at the same time, the suspense of succeeding/failing at a recipe makes it even more exciting when you can share the journey with other people.

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Tonight’s excitement was my Apple and Cranberry Crumb Pie! I cooked Thanksgiving breakfast, lunch, and dinner for 6 people today. Everything was pretty much planned and I knew my recipes would be just perfect. So, I decided I needed a surprise for myself. I’ve made many Apple Pies before. Many were good, but I wanted to try something different: boiling the apples. I thought boiling might take away the flavors of the apples, but it didn’t. In fact, I think this Apple Pie was THE BEST Apple Pie I’ve ever baked. Everyone raved about this pie and asked for seconds.

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Vegan Thanksgiving Apple and Cranberry Crumb Pie (one 9″ pie)

Crust:

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Work in:

  • 1/4 c coconut oil or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

When the mixture looks like crumbs and the oil/butter is distributed evenly, add

  • 1/4 c cold water

Mix well and form into a ball. Roll out to form a circle and place carefully on to a pie shell. Prick and bake at 400F for 10 minutes.

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Filling:

Bring a pot to boil, add:

  • 6 large Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced
  • 1/2 c dried cranberries

Simmer for 8 – 10 minutes. It will look like mush. Drain well, saving 1/4 c of the apple water and discarding the rest. Mix the 1/4 c apple water with:

  • 2 T arrowroot powder

Simmer until thickened. Take off heat and add while whisking:

  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1/4 c Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

Add in the cooked apples and cranberries. Mix well and pour into the pie shell.

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Crumb Topping:

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour or all purpose flour
  • 1/2 c Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Work in:

  • 4 T coconut oil or Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Sticks

The mixture is done when it looks like crumbs and the oil/butter is distributed evenly. Crumble the topping over the apple filling. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes until golden brown. Allow the pie to cool completely before serving.

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ENJOY and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Purple Sweet Potato Soup

19 Nov

My good friend Barni, the Sexy Chef, recently posted her recipe for Purple Yam Soup and I fell in love with the deep purple color. I knew I wanted to make some ASAP.

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I went to my local Asian shop and found only the frozen purple yams. I bought it and returned home to discover that it contained Blue and Red dyes. Needless to say, I didn’t want to cook it for my family.

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This week, I found purple sweet potato at my local health food store. It was organic too!

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I adapted Barni’s recipe to fit my lifestyle: I wanted to do yoga while dinner was cooking. So, I just put everything in the Instant Pot and used the immersion blender when it was done. Voilà! Comfort food at its greatest!

Easy and Quick Instant Pot Purple Yam Soup (adapted from Barni’s recipe, serves 8)

Place all of the following in the instant pot (Really! There’s no need to “sauté” the onions, ginger, and celery before adding the rest of the ingredients. All the veggies turn to mush while cooking for this long in the pressure cooker anyway.):

  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 1/2 T ginger, sliced
  • 1/2 c celery, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pounds purple yam or sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 c coconut flakes (or substitute with 2 c of coconut/cashew/other vegan milk: simply lessen the amount of water by 2 c and add in the milk after the cooking is done. Just heat the soup for 5 minutes until desired temperature is reached before serving. I have people over right now who have different sensitivities to different vegan milks, therefore opted to using raw coconut flakes to minimize any allergies for anyone. The soup was still delicious.)
  • 8 tsp vegetable bouillon paste, optional (I used Better Than Bouillon’s Vegan No Chicken Base)
  • 8 c water

Set to manual for 15 minutes. Do your yoga and come back when you are done. Purée the soup using an immersion blender. Garnish with:

  • lots of cilantro (this is a MUST! Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, it adds so much to the flavors)

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Nourishing for my eyes and body: this is a very easy and simple soup to brighten your early evenings and warm up your cold winter nights.  This soup reminds me of being with my mother: beautiful and comforting. I am so lucky she’s here today to share this soup with me.

Vegan Char Siu Bao 素叉烧包

24 Oct

Oh these are so delicious! I usually don’t enjoy recipes that take more than an hour, but these are worth it!

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Vegan Char Siu Bao

The Filling

Make 2 recipes of the Vegan Char Siu. After roasting the Seitan, chop them into small pieces and place back into the marinade. Make sure all the pieces are coated well.

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The Bread Dough

This takes a couple of hours but you can refrigerate it after the dough rises until you are ready to proceed.

Place in a bowl:

  • 1 c warm water
  • 3 Tbs Sucanat or other cane sugar

Dissolve sugar and add:

  • 1 1/2 tsp yeast

Stir lightly and leave for 10 minutes until bubbly. Then add:

  • 2 Tbs grapeseed oil

Mix well and add slowly until incorporated and no longer sticky. You may not need all of the flour:

  • 3 c all purpose flour

OR

  • 2 c all purpose flour and 3/4 – 1 c tapioca starch (I’ve tried using 1/3 whole wheat flour in this dough but my family DOES NOT like it. Whole wheat makes it very dense and a darker brown. Using tapioca starch makes this dough less white flour but does not change the color nor make it denser. In fact, tapioca starch creates even thinner buns.)

Knead until smooth and soft. Grease bowl and dough. Leave for 3 hours to rise. Punch down. At this point you can cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough if you are not using it immediately. When ready to use, punch down again. Sprinkle flour on your work area. Place dough on your area and flatten it. Place in the centre of the dough:

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

Gather up the edges and enclose the baking powder. Seal and knead until well incorporated. Divide the dough into 24 pieces. Flatten each piece into a circle and make sure the edges are thinner than at the centre.

Start filling each round with 2 Tbsp of the Vegan Char Siu. Make sure you get some marinade too. Gather up the edges and place on pieces of parchment paper.

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When 12 buns are filled, immediately steam them for 12 minutes. While they are steaming, work on the rest of the buns.

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I wish I had better photos of these Vegan Char Siu Bao after steaming but every time I make them, they are quickly devoured and there is little time for artistic photos. Here’s a photo of one while I take a break from chowing down. Don’t these look delicious?

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If you ever have some leftovers, just refrigerate them until you are ready to serve and simply steam again until hot.

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Enjoy!

Vegan Char Siu 素叉烧

24 Oct

Growing up in Hong Kong was just a gastronomic delight. Of all the foods available there, I probably miss Dim Sum the most. I rarely visit, but when I do, I don’t usually eat my childhood favorite foods because of the meat content. A month ago, I wanted to eat something that reminded me of my younger days and decided to create Vegan Char Siu Bao. First, I made Vegan Char Siu with beans and gluten and then I wrapped it in Chinese bread dough to make Vegan Char Siu Bao. I have made it a couple of times since then and have loved each bite.

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Vegan Char Siu (Makes 1 pound)

This is a flavored Seitan Vegan alternative to the traditional Pork. Place the following ingredients in a food processor with a sharp blade:

  • generous 2/3 c cooked and drained kidney beans
  • 2 Tbs Hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs black bean sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pinch white pepper

Process all together, then add:

  • 1/2 c water

Process together. Then, change the blade to a dough blade. Now add:

  • 1 c vital wheat gluten
  • 3 T tapioca starch

Process until the dough combines and keep processing to knead for a minute or two until smooth. Now form into big sausages and wrap in foil. Sometimes I divide it into 4 sausages, but I’ve also made 2 big ones too. Both work.

Steam for 1 hour. If you have an Instant Pot, you can steam it for around 12 minutes. While the Seitan is cooking, make the marinade.

Char Siu Marinade (enough for 1 pound of Seitan)

Mix all together in a bowl:

  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs maple syrup or your choice of sweetener
  • 2 Tbs brandy or Chinese rice wine
  • 2 Tbs black bean sauce
  • 4 Tbs Hoisin sauce

When the Seitan is done cooking, unwrap it and allow to cool.  Place the Seitan in the marinade overnight.

The next day, take the Seitan out of the marinade. Reserve the marinade. Roast the Seitan at 450F for 10 minutes on each side. If you want a crispier skin, you can roast for an additional 10 minutes each side.

Slice and serve with the reserved marinade over rice.

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Alternative: you can also use this marinade with 1# cooked and drained kidney beans for a bean version to Char Siu. Simmer all together for a few minutes and serve over rice.

Both the Seitan and the beans can be used in my Vegan Char Siu Bao, but my family much prefers the Seitan because it adds a texture that the beans do not.

Enjoy!

 

Quick and Easy Egg-less Salad

10 Oct

So quick and easy!

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Place in food processor:

  • 1 3/4 c cooked chickpeas, drained

Pulse to process until you have a chunky texture. Place in a bowl and add in:

  • 1 scallion, chopped
  • 5 T Vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 T Dijon mustard
  • 3/4 tsp black lava salt or sea salt, whichever you have in the pantry but my friend Tanya suggests that the former adds a complexity of tastes to the salad. I agree!
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika or plain, again whichever you have
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp turmeric, to taste (more gives the salad a yellower tinge)

Mix well to incorporate well.

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Enjoy in a sandwich, over potatoes, inside green lettuce wraps, and more!

The Unpredictably Perfect Vegan Chocolate Pecan Praline

8 Oct

This post is for days when an exact recipe won’t do, when you don’t feel like being predictable, and when you want to play in the kitchen.

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I haven’t eaten Praline Pecans in years. I have cooked them before but with egg whites and butter. I’ve also wanted to buy them many times since turning Vegan (8 years now!) but the ingredients invariably list butter, egg, cream, and/or corn syrup, and I’d put the package back on the shelf.  I decided it was time to make my own Vegan version using better ingredients.

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The Unpredictably Perfect Vegan Chocolate Pecan Praline

I brought out:

  • 16 oz pecans

I lay them flat on a prepared cookie sheet (with a Silpat mat) and toasted them slightly for 5 – 7 minutes at 350F. Then, I poured them in a big bowl and added:

  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed oil

I stirred well to coat evenly, then added:

  • enough maple syrup to slightly coat the pecans (I added around 4 Tbsp, but start with 2 Tbsp and keep adding by Tbsp until you think you have added enough)

I stirred again to coat the pecans evenly, then added:

  • Sucanat, to taste (I added around 1/2 c, but start with 1/4 c and keep adding by tablespoonful until it is just sweet enough)
  • sea salt, to taste (I added around 2 tsp, but keep tasting as you add by the 1/4 tsp)

I stirred to incorporate well. You want to make sure the sugar is sticking to the pecans. If not, you need more maple syrup. Now for the chocolate.*  I added to the bowl:

  • half a bag of Vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips (around 5 oz, but add whatever amount you want)

I stirred one last time to incorporate everything. Taste. Is it sweet enough? Is it just salty enough? Then, I poured it out on the prepared baking sheet, making sure it was in one layer, and baked at 350F for 10 to 15 minutes until fragrant, toasted, and the chocolate chips slightly melted. I took it out of the oven and allowed it to cool. Place in the refrigerator if you can’t wait.

*NOTE: at this stage, you can bake the pecans without the added chocolate chips. After baking, you can then drizzle melted chocolate in fancy patterns over the cooled pecans. The result will be even prettier Pralines but the thought of more washing up put me off this step. It probably would have been worth it though.

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When cooled, dig in. WOW. This was delicious!

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I’ve been nibbling on these Chocolate Pecan Pralines since yesterday. I left a plate out for my husband to try and he finished them off too. I love it when he enjoys my food!

Juicy Vegan Kidney Bean Burgers

2 Oct

I’ve been experimenting with different types of bean burgers lately: black, chickpea, and kidney beans but my family loves my kidney bean burger the best. My son took a few bites of his burger the other night and looked in amazement, “Mama! These taste just like REAL burgers!” With all the condiments and fixings, a Vegan Burger can look, smell, and taste like the real thing.

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Juicy Vegan Bean Burgers (6 Burgers)

Sauté in a pan with a little water:

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

When translucent and fragrant, take off heat and cool. Place in food processor with:

  • 1 c spinach leaves, packed
  • 6 Tbs nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 c cooked and drained kidney beans
  • 3/4 c cooked brown rice

Process until smooth. Place all of this mixture in a bowl with:

  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds (optional or more)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 3/4 c cooked and drained kidney beans
  • 3/4 c quick or rolled oats
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp mustard powder
  • 3 Tbs Braggs Amino or soy sauce

Mix together well. Divide into 6 portions and pan fry the burgers at least 5 minutes on each side on a non-stick or well oiled pan over medium heat until browned.

This burger will be on the wet side and hard to handle at this stage because we don’t want solid rock burgers here, but soft and juicy ones. When both sides have been browned, place in the oven at 400F for 20 minutes or until your desired texture. These burgers will hold well ONLY AFTER they bake in the oven.

To Serve

Serve your juicy patties with your favorite condiments and fixings. We love:

  • whole wheat burger buns – shape into round burger buns instead of hot dog buns
  • lettuce or more spinach
  • tomatoes
  • avocados
  • your choice of cheese
  • mayo
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • and more!

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These burgers are really popular at my house. Hope you enjoy them too!

Got Vegan Chocolate Oat Bars, Will Travel!

1 Oct

When we travel long distances, I usually carry fruits and some food with me. This past year, we have started our journeys in the early morning, so I have prepared many different types of breakfast bars. Some were crunchy and some were sweet. Some had dry cereal in it and most had some type of chocolate. I also made a very plain bread-type oat bar and topped it with jam. Here are some of the bars I’ve made and packaged in the last few months:

My family prefers the lighter, crunchier, and drier oat bars, while I tend to prefer the denser, chewier, and more moist ones. So here are two recipes for Chocolate Oat Bars: one crunchy with double chocolate and coconut, and one chewy with bananas and peanut butter. Both are addicting.

Crunchy Double Chocolate Coconut Oat Bars (Makes 8 bars)

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Heat in a small pot over a low flame:

  • 2 oz cacao butter

When melted, add in:

  • 1/4 c maple syrup or your choice of liquid sweetener
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Set aside. In a bowl, mix together about 2 1/2 c your choice of dry ingredients. My family loves this mix:

  • 1 3/4 c quick oats
  • 1/3 c semi-sweet Vegan chocolate chips (if your family prefers a sweeter bar, increase the chocolate chips and decrease the amount of oats OR add tablespoons of Sucanat, to taste)
  • 1/4 c flax seeds
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flakes
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Place a parchment paper on an 8 x 8″ pan (very important because otherwise the bar will stick to the pan even if it is greased). Place the mixed ingredients into the pan and pat down well so that it is evenly leveled and packed in. Bake for 20 minutes at 350F. Turn over carefully onto another sheet of parchment paper and bake for another 20 minutes. You want to make sure that it is thoroughly cooked and dry. When cooled, place in the refrigerator till it hardens. Slice into 8 pieces. Package or place in a container. It will last longer in the refrigerator, but will do well stored in the pantry for a week as well.

Chewy Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Bars (Makes 8 bars)

Vegan Granola Bars

Mash in a bowl with a fork:

  • 2 large bananas, about 11 oz

Add in and mix to incorporate well:

  • 1/4 c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Now add in about 3 c your choice of dry ingredients and mix well. I love this mix:

  • 2 T flax seed meal
  • 1/3 to 1/2 c your choice of chocolate: cacao nibs, dark chocolate or semi-sweet Vegan chocolate chips
  • 2/3 c chopped dates
  • 2 c rolled oats

Place in a greased (use coconut oil or other oil) 8 x 8″ pan. Pat down well so that it is evenly leveled and packed in. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes or until browned. Cool and place in refrigerator until it is easier to handle. Slice into 8 portions. Store in the refrigerator for a week.

Now that you have two kinds of bars, you’re ready to travel anywhere!

Ready-for-Fall Creamed and Spiced Pumpkin and Apple Cider

20 Sep

Fall is my favorite season. I’ve been cooking apples and pumpkins galore. Here are some photos of our meals these past few days:

Apple and Red Cabbage

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Vegan Apple Crumble Pie

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Nutmeg Spiced Pumpkin with Vegan Thyme Butter

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Sweet Curried Pumpkin Empanaditas with Mango Chutney

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Last night, my family pleaded: “No more pumpkin!” They didn’t like pumpkin to begin with. Really. Not even Pumpkin Doughnuts. I thought I could get them to like it but I was mistaken. So, this morning, I enjoyed the last bit of pumpkin by myself. It was delicious.

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Ready-for-Fall Creamed and Spiced Pumpkin and Apple Cider (Serves 2)

The night (or at least 30 minutes) before you want to enjoy this drink, mix together in a blender:

  • 2 1/2 oz apple cider
  • 2 1/2 oz pumpkin puree
  • 5 oz thin coconut milk (If it’s hot in your kitchen, put a can of full fat coconut milk in the refrigerator overnight. The coconut milk will separate into two parts: thick cream on top and liquid in the bottom. You want to take the cream out and reserve it for later in this recipe. You will be using the thinner liquid here.)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • big pinches of each: nutmeg, ginger, cloves, sea salt

Allow flavors to blend.

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To Serve

You can either drink this Ready-for-Fall Creamed and Spiced Pumpkin Apple Cider hot or cold. Either way, top it with:

  • dollops of thick coconut cream, whisked slightly with a fork (the reserved solid from the coconut milk can above)
  • a drizzle of maple syrup
  • a pinch of cinnamon

 

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Enjoy!

Psst, Pass the Pignoli-Free Vegan Pesto Pasta Please!

17 Sep

No pine nuts here. My son says he doesn’t feel well after eating them. So, why not substitute with our go-to sub for anything nutty: sunflower seeds? Also, no olive oil here. I’m using avocados instead.

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Pignoli-Free Pesto

Put all the ingredients in a food processor:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c sunflower seeds, soaked a couple of hours to soften
  • 2 c mix of basil and spinach leaves, packed in
  • 2 medium small avocados

Blend well until smooth. Add the following to taste:

  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • juice of 1 1/2 lemons
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast

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The Pasta

Cook 16oz of your choice of pasta. Save some pasta water before draining. Add the pesto to the pasta and mix well. Add pasta water to thin the sauce, only if needed.

Note: Raw Vegans, you can use zucchini or kelp noodles instead.

To Serve

At the table, serve with extra:

  • nutritional yeast or your choice of cheese
  • coarse sea salt

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My husband happily eats this Pesto Pasta as is. My son needs more of a cheesy taste. I prefer to sprinkle some coarse sea salt over my pasta and mix it in. The extra salt deepens and enriches the flavors of the Pesto. Enjoy!

Pearls in Our Vegan Strawberry Milkshakes

11 Sep

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I didn’t set out to make Strawberry Milkshakes. I just didn’t know what to do with all the tapioca pearls I had cooked for my Taho, a Filipino version of the Chinese dessert called 豆腐花 or DouFuHua or DouFuFa. Basically, Taho is tofu pudding (like silky tofu) in a sweet syrup topped with tapioca pearls. I loved Taho and DouFuFa growing up and still do. I don’t know if it’s an acquired taste, but my family did not enjoy it at all. Oh well… maybe I’ll have them try it again another day.

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Not wanting the Pearls to go to waste, I decided to make an American Milkshake and mix in the prepared Tapioca Pearls. Voilà! A mix of East and West that the boys couldn’t resist: a Bubble Milkshake! 

Gingered Sweet Syrup

Place in a pot:

  • 1 c coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener
  • 1 c water

Bring to boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave to cool and add:

  • juice squeezed from 2 Tbsp minced ginger

Set aside.

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The Pearls

I only had small tapioca pearls in my kitchen, but if you can get Boba Black Tapioca Pearls then they would be perfect for this recipe. Cook about 1/2 c pearls in 4 or 5 c simmering water until just cooked but not mushy. The time will depend on the size of pearls, around 8 to 25 minutes. When almost done and you can see just a small speck of white dots in their centres, drain, and rinse with cold water. They should be perfectly cooked, round in shape, and not mushy. Once cooled, add to the Gingered Sweet Syrup. You can store them in the syrup for a few days.

Pearls in Our Vegan Strawberry Milkshakes (Serves 2)

Place all ingredients in a high-speed blender:

  • 2 c your choice of milk, I used Rice milk today
  • 2 c fresh strawberries, feel free to adapt this recipe and use another berry or fruit
  • 16 oz frozen bananas or 2 c Vanilla Soy Ice Cream

Purée until smooth. Place in glasses and add in as many Pearls and Syrup as you want. Enjoy!

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Creamy and Rich Vegan Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

10 Sep

Fresh out of college during my omnivore years, I worked in the city and one of my favorite lunches of all time was Curried Chicken Salad. This wonderful blend of salty, sweet, and spicy creaminess was a sublime contrast to my boring plastic work desk. I could eat tubs of this stuff and pretend to be in La La Land.

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Recently, we visited my in-laws and I noticed that my husband ate four chicken salad sandwiches in a matter of a few days. I guess he loves that stuff too. So, it’s been on my mind to create a Vegan version that both he and I would love.

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Success! This Curried Chickpea Salad is just delicious with its complex mix of textures and flavors. This makes a tremendously creamy and rich sandwich that I could probably eat everyday.

Cray-Cray for Curried Chickpea Salad

Mix all together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c Vegan mayonnaise (substitute mashed avocado with lemon juice if you want to stay away from mayo)
  • 1/4 c mango chutney
  • 1 Tbsp curry, or to taste
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Add in:

  • 4 c cooked and drained chickpeas (mash some of the chickpeas so that you get a thicker salad texture)
  • 1/3 c chopped celery
  • 1/3 c chopped scallions
  • 1/3 c cranberries or raisins
  • 1/3 c roasted walnuts, optional

Mix well together and allow flavors to blend for a few hours or overnight in the refrigerator.

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Creamy and Rich Vegan Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches

We have tried this salad mix with whole wheat bread, white bread, hamburger buns, and brioche buns.  Hands down, nothing compares to this winning combination: Curried Chickpea Salad with BRIOCHE BUNS! 

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  • whole wheat bread is too dense for this salad and the subtleties of each flavor are lost. If you insist on whole wheat bread, then I would suggest an open sandwich.
  • white bread is better than whole wheat bread, but not by much.
  • whole wheat hamburger bun is better than either former breads, but the full flavors of the salad does not shine.
  • on a brioche bun… it is AMAZING! The blend of flavors are highlighted throughout each bite. Did I tell you yet that I could eat this for lunch everyday? Try it on my Easy Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Brioche Buns or Vegan Ensaymada.

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I thought I was cray-cray for my Curried Chickpea Salad, but eating it on a Sweet Brioche Bun is dreamy. Gotta go. My La La Land lunch is calling…

Easy Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Brioche Buns

10 Sep

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I have been baking Vegan Ensaymadas this past week and wondered if I could ease the process by using my bread machine. Good news… it works! This method takes 3 1/2 hours instead of 9 hours.

Easy Bread Machine Whole Wheat Brioche Buns

Put all the following ingredients in order in your bread machine:

  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 3 Tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 9 Tbsp water
  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance butter, you need for a buttery taste. If you want to substitute an oil, I would suggest Coconut Oil. This would naturally give your brioche a more coconut flavor, instead of a buttery one. Your choice.
  • 9 Tbsp Sucanat, or your choice of sweetener
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour*
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour*
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast

*I wanted this recipe to be hardier than the light and fluffy Ensaymadas from my previous post: less of a pastry and more of a bread. If you want to create the more fluffier, softer, and lighter Ensaymadas, use unbleached all purpose flour or spelt or whole wheat pastry flour.

Set to dough stage. When done, take the dough out and divide it into 12 portions.

Making the Buns

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To Make Brioche in Brioche Molds:

  • follow this recipe here after the 3 hour rising period. However, allow the brioche to rest uncovered for only 45 – 60 minutes before baking.

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To Make Easy Brioche Buns:

  • roll each of the 12 portions into a ball
  • place on a prepared baking sheet (greased or lined with Silpat mat or parchment paper)
  • flatten into a bun
  • allow to rest uncovered for 45 – 60 minutes
  • bake at 350F for 10 minutes or until golden brown
  • if the under side of the buns are too soft, you can turn the buns over and bake for another 10 minutes. This should crisp all sides of the buns well.

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These whole wheat brioche buns are sweeter, softer, and fluffier than ordinary hamburger or hot dog buns, but hardier than the Vegan Ensaymadas I made earlier. These are perfect for sandwiches with fillings that tend to fall out easily, like Sloppy Joes. I also used them for Curried Chickpea Salad Sandwiches and Vegan Burgers last night.

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Vegan Filipino Ensaymadas

9 Sep

When I worked in the restaurant industry, I was asked to be the Pastry Sous Chef at a well-known restaurant. I was excited at the prospect and my future as a Chef, but I turned it down. I couldn’t justify feeding and serving people dishes high in fat, sugar, and calories anymore. I wanted to feed people foods that helped them become healthy, not unhealthy. Uncertainly, I left the restaurant and started my own personal chef business dedicated to people who had health issues. It has been years since I ran my personal chef business and family life consumes my time now, but my view of food has not changed and has, in fact, become more focused on health as I have become a mother.

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After years of Raw Veganism, I am recently getting back into Cooked Food and have discovered that I still enjoy both cooking and baking (not to mention eating). This past week, I wanted to recreate the Filipino Ensaymada. In high school, our house would smell of these freshly baked Brioche Buns every week. They require hours of time in the kitchen along with sticks of butter, egg yolks galore, loads of white sugar, and more than a handful of cheese. My mother’s recipe creates a golden pastry that is truly decadent and mouth-watering. However, I wanted to create a healthier version using whole-foods and plant-based ingredients for my family. I looked through the dozen Ensaymada recipes in my kitchen and found Pat Limjuco Dayrit’s to have the least amount of sugar, eggs, and butter. I decided it was a good place to start. Thank you Ms. Dayrit! I made changes to your recipe and it worked for this Vegan Mama in the Kitchen!

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Vegan Filipino Ensaymadas (Makes 12 buns)

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1/2 c warm water
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener
  • 1 tsp yeast

Let stand for 10 minutes. Mix in:

  • 1 c flour: unbleached all purpose, spelt or whole wheat pastry flour

Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size. In a mixer, cream together:

  • 6 Tbsp Earth Balance butter, you need this buttery taste. If you want to substitute an oil, I would suggest Coconut Oil. This would naturally give your Ensaymada a more coconut flavor, instead of a buttery one. Your choice.
  • 9 Tbsp coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener

Then add  1/4 c at a time to the creamed butter and sugar, this egg substitute mixture:

  • 3 Tbsp flax seed meal mixed with 9 Tbsp water (I grind my own brown flax seeds. It’s probably more aesthetically pleasing to use golden flax and to grind it better than I did. You’ll see the whole flax seeds in my dough below.)

Change the mixer attachment to the dough hook and add:

  • the flour mixture from above

When well incorporated, add in little by little:

  • 2 c flour, all purpose, spelt or whole wheat pastry flour

Allow machine to knead well, around 5 minutes. No need for extra butter. Cover and leave in a warm place to rise for 3 hours until doubled in size again.

Divide into 12 portions. Now, grease with Vegan butter or coconut oil:

  • working area
  • rolling pin
  • a long wooden stick, optional

Greasing your tools allows you to work with the dough easily and ensures that your dough doesn’t stick to them. Roll each portion of dough into a thin circle. At this point, you can add the following optional fillings to the dough in small amounts. I choose NOT to add anything to the dough, but if you want to, go right ahead. I love it when recipes are personalized:

  • Vegan butter
  • coconut sugar, or your choice of sweetener
  • grated Vegan cheese, if you like
  • other non-traditional fillings could include jam or chocolate shavings or even Nutella, if you will

Carefully roll the dough around the stick. If you don’t have a stick, simply roll it into a very thin and tight mini jelly roll.

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Push the dough off the stick (if using) and coil into a tight circular shape inside a well-greased fluted brioche mold. My molds are about 4 inches in diameter. Allow these rolls to rest and double in size again for 4 hours.

Place molds on a baking sheet and bake in the middle of the oven at 350F for around 10 minutes or until golden brown. Make sure they are baked through because baking with flax seeds requires a slightly longer baking time. You can place a piece of foil on the tops of the Ensaymadas so that they don’t burn while their bases bake longer. You can also use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread: 180 – 190F is good. Take them out of the oven when ready.

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When cool enough to handle, brush with a small amount of Vegan butter and dip the tops in sugar immediately. I use organic cane sugar for looks here but you can go ahead and use coconut sugar too.

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These buns will last a few days if stored in a ziplock bag. I keep them in their molds until I’m ready to serve them, at which time I take them out of the mold and pop them into the toaster oven to bake for about 10 minutes until crisp all over. Serve these plain or with jam.

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These Vegan Filipino Ensaymadas were a hit at our house. Light, puffy, soft, and not at all heavy and doughy like you would expect whole grain breads to be. If you are looking for a healthier sweet bread to serve your family, then I would suggest you try it. They taste wonderful with jam. Tomorrow I think I’ll dip my bun in hot chocolate.

 UPDATE: I have been able to cut down this recipe from 9 hours to 3 1/2 hours by using the bread machine. Check it out here: Easy Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Brioche Buns.

The Easiest and Creamiest Slow Cooker Vegan Filipino Champorado

3 Sep

My son recently read a children’s book about Filipino food. At bedtime last night, he asked if I could make Champorado, a sweet chocolate rice porridge, for breakfast today. Why not? I would love to eat some too. I grew up eating Champorado and always LOVED it.

Vegan Champorado 1

Now, I wanted my Vegan Champorado to be:

  • easy to make –> brought out the slow cooker because who has time these days to stir a pot for 45 minutes?
  • whole foods plant based –> sweet brown rice and almond milk
  • low in fat –> no added oils or butter or coconut cream
  • super creamy though –> I would use my little secret to make a Vegan “condensed” milk
  • just sweet enough –> taste test!

Vegan Champorado 3

 

The Easiest and Creamiest Slow Cooker Vegan Filipino Champorado (Sweet Chocolate Rice Porridge) Serves 4

The night before, place the following ingredients in a slow cooker (no need to grease the pot) and whisk well until incorporated:

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c cacao powder
  • 1/2 c your choice of sweetener, I used coconut sugar
  • 4 c your choice of milk, I used almond

Then add:

  • 1 c sweet brown rice

Mix and set for 8-10 hours on LOW. When it is done the next day, mix well and add:

  • 1/4 c your choice of sweetener, I used coconut sugar
  • 1/2 c to 1 c your choice of milk, I used almond (depending on the consistency you want: for thicker add less milk and for thinner add more)

Serve with Vegan “Condensed Milk” or “Thick Cream”

My secret are frozen bananas! In a high speed blender, purée together:

  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 c your choice of milk, I used almond

Vegan Champorado 5

Garnishes (optional)

  • more coconut sugar or your choice of sweetener
  • cinnamon, optional

Vegan Champorado 6

Now mix it all up and ENJOY!

Vegan Champorado 7

Filipinos love the contrast of sweet and salty and Champorado is traditionally served with tuyo (dried fish). I grew up eating it with bacon crumbles too. I didn’t have tempeh bacon or another Vegan option on hand, but let me know if you try something salty with it. We enjoyed it as is.

Easy Baked Vegan Lumpia Triangles with Sweet and Sour Sauce

1 Sep

I love Filipino Lumpia, but I always found the chopping, rolling, and frying too tedious. How can I make it even easier for me: how about grating the veggies in the food processor, sealing them as triangles, and then baking them instead? Sounds too good to be true? Guess what, my family LOVES them this way. In fact, they don’t like baked Lumpia Rolls because they are too doughy and chewy. Lumpia Triangles, on the other hand, without the excess layers of wrappers are oh-so-crispy, not to mention so much healthier!

Vegan Lumpia

Easy Baked Vegan Lumpia Triangles

Use a food processor to grate any veggies you have in the kitchen: cabbage, carrots, green beans, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, mung bean sprouts, etc. I had the following:

  • 1 potato, peeled
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled
  • 1 celery stalk
  • optional additions if you want to chop them or mince them in the food processor: scallions/onion, garlic, ginger

Place in a bowl and mix with:

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • pepper, to taste
  • 2T arrowroot powder

Fill:

  • each sheet in a package of wonton wrappers with about a tablespoon of filling

Wet edges with water, fold over to make triangles, and seal edges. Place on prepared baking sheet (with parchment paper or Silpat mat) in a single layer without overlapping. Spray with oil, if desired. Bake at 450F for 10 minutes, turn and bake for another 10 minutes.

Vegan Lumpia 3

Sweet and Sour Dipping Sauce

While the Lumpia are baking, make the Dipping Sauce.

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1/4 c ketchup
  • 1/4 c coconut vinegar (or whatever vinegar you have)
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/2 – 1/3 c Sucanat or your choice of sweetener, to taste
  • 1 T arrowroot powder

Heat sauce ingredients until the sauce thickens. Set aside to cool before serving.

Vegan Lumpia 2

Told ya these would be easy! Enjoy!

Grover’s Cheesy Enchiladas

31 Aug

After reading Percy Jackson, my son wanted to try Cheese Enchiladas. Apparently, Cheese Enchiladas are Percy Jackson’s best friend Grover’s favorite food. We have tried many versions since my son’s request, but tweaked it many times along the way. My son prefers his with lots of cheese and lots of enchilada sauce. If you have someone in your house with the same preferences, then this is for you. Note: a bulk of this dish is actually loaded with other healthy stuff too like: whole wheat, brown rice, black beans, and sweet potatoes.

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Grover Likes Enchiladas by nicholaslcha-d4fpzh DeviantArt.net

Grover’s Got an Instant Pot: Easy Rice, Bean and Sweet Potato Filling

Place the following ingredients in the Instant Pot:

  • 1 c brown rice
  • 1 c black beans, soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
  • 2 c sweet potato, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 3 3/4 c water

Cover, close vent, and manually set for 22 minutes. Allow the pressure to come down naturally.

Lots of Enchilada Sauce

While the rice and beans are cooking, heat a pot and add:

  • 1/2 c water
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs smoked paprika (if your family prefers it really spicy, substitute with chilli powder)
  • 4 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 Tbs dried cilantro

When the onions have softened, add:

  • 1 c water
  • 30 oz tomato sauce

Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Take off heat and whisk in:

  • 2 Tbs arrowroot power

No need to heat again as the sauce will be going in the oven and will thicken then.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Rice Enchilada 3

Filling the Tortillas

When the rice mixture has cooled somewhat, add the following to it and mix well:

  • 8 – 12 oz your choice of cheese: grated Mexican cheese or Vegan Shreds
  • 1/2 of the enchilada sauce

Place enough of the remaining sauce to just cover the bottom of a 9 x 13″ baking pan. Using a generous 1/2 c or more of rice mixture, start filling each:

  • 8-10 whole wheat tortillas

Roll and place seam side down on the baking pan. Continue until baking pan is filled. Brush sauce all over enchiladas and pour remaining on top. Cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake for 5 – 10 minutes more.

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Rice Enchilada 1

Serve the Enchiladas

As soon as it comes out of the oven, sprinkle on top:

  • 4 oz grated your choice of cheese: grated Mexican cheese or Vegan Shreds

If you want, garnish with:

  • scallions
  • fresh cilantro
  • avocado slices

Enjoy!

Black Bean, Sweet Potato, Rice Enchilada 2

Cuckoo for Vegan Kuku

28 Aug

One of my mother’s best friends is Persian. Because of Auntie Shahla, my brother and I were introduced to Persian Cuisine at ages three and four and ate Fesenjen, Kebabs with Sumac and various Persian treats like Sugared Citrus Peels regularly. When we both went off to college, my brother and I would deliberately meet at a local Persian restaurant on weekends. Our meals together there always made me feel like we were at our home away from home.

Vegan Cauliflower Kuku 2

Tonight, I initially wanted to make a Vegan Fesenjen but was not sure if sunflower seeds would successfully substitute for walnuts (due to allergies here) in the recipe. So, I decided to make Gormeh Sabzi, Cauliflower Kuku and Whole Wheat Zaatar Lavash instead.

Vegan Cauliflower Kuku

Cuckoo for Vegan Cauliflower Kuku

Persian Kukus are egg based frittata-like dishes. I substitute the egg in this Kuku with chickpea flour to create a Vegan version and it works successfully.

Steam all together in the Instant Pot for 3 minutes:

  • 1# cauliflower florets
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic

When done, release pressure and mash all the vegetables together. Then, in another bowl, mix together the dry Kuku batter ingredients:

  • 1/2 c chickpea flour
  • 1/2 – 1 T curry powder, or to taste
  • 1/2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Add the wet ingredients to the dry:

  • 1/2 c water

Then fold in the mashed cauliflower mix. There are two ways you can cook this Kuku:

  1. bake in a well oiled dish:
    • keep a well seasoned cast iron pan in the preheating oven until the batter is ready to bake
    • when ready, take the cast iron pan out of the oven and place it on top of the stove over medium heat
    • spray with oil
    • add the batter and spread out evenly
    • bake at 350F for 45 to 60 minutes until set
    • set aside to cool down before slicing
    • serve warm or cold. Or,
  2. fry in a pan like you would an omelette or okonomiyaki.

Serve with (your choice of) yogurt and homemade whole wheat lavash bread. I actually love eating this like a sandwich: fold the lavash around the kuku, top with yogurt, and eat heartily. Yum!

Vegan Cauliflower Kuku 3

I just googled the restaurant my brother and I used to frequent over fifteen years ago and it’s still alive and doing well! Amazing!

Update: my son enjoyed this so much that he ASKED for the last leftover slice of Kuku with Lavash for lunch the next day.

Around the World in Mama’s Vegan Kitchen: Ethiopian Tonight

28 Aug

My fourth grader is adventurous when it comes to food. Outside our home, he is interested in trying foods I don’t cook here and/or what friends and family offer him: clams, hamburgers, lobster, steak, junk food, you name it. At home, I sometimes get a frown when he sees “too many vegetables” at the dinner table. However, I have found a new trick: by serving foods in a different way, Vegan meals somehow become a new, exciting, and enticing dining experience for him. We live in Small Town, U.S.A., so as a food-loving homeschool Mama, one way to open up my son’s world view is through his meals. Dinner served in a thali or tagine or Asian bowl suddenly makes my little guy more inclined to indulge in a whole-food plant-based meal. “What are we eating for dinner?” is a question he asks with sincere curiosity these days. I love that my husband heartily eats up what I serve too. Their willingness allows my family to go on an adventure all around the world while we sit happily in my Vegan Kitchen.

Ethiopian Vegan

Tonight I cooked Ethiopian food and my son’s approval and willingness to dig in was no exception. This is not to say he will enjoy every mouthful. He may not. He may like some foods more than others. In my view, this is all OK. The introduction to different flavors, spices and textures are all part of his education at my Vegan table.

Ethiopian Vegan 2

Tips for Cooking Ethiopian at Home

  • the food processor is your best friend: use it to chop onions, garlic, ginger, and carrots quickly
  • measure and chop everything you need before you turn on the heat
  • be ready for lots of washing up: I used 4 pots and 1 pan for this meal (I wish I had 2 Instant Pots!)
  • these were the recipes that I used for:
  • NOTES:
    • no need for oil, just use water to sauté
    • Watch the spices for the Mesir Wat. I have my own Berbere Spice Mix and used only 1 Tbsp, which was spicy enough for my son.
    • I soaked the split peas for a few hours and used the Instant Pot for the Kik Alicha. I reduced the liquid to 2 1/2 c but that was even too much (look at photo, it is too soupy). If you do use the I.P., I would reduce the liquid to 2 c and cook for 13 minutes.
    • Start with Kik Alicha and Mesir Wat as these take the longest, then Atklit Wat, then Gomen, and finally make the Injera.
    • You will have enough food for 8 people or dinner for 3 with enough leftovers for at least one more meal.

Ethiopian Vegan 3.jpg

Success

They ate a lot of it! My family finished off their Atklit Wat and Gomen. My son, who proclaims to not like lentils, ate all of his Mesir Wat. He didn’t care for the Kik Alicha, which my husband liked best of all. They both don’t like the foamy feel of Injera, which is not surprising: it was the same response they had to the bread at an Ethiopian restaurant. I really liked it especially for its distinct authentic sour flavors (YAY!). For me, I enjoyed it all, as well as the experience of eating delicious food with my hands.

I love traveling around the world in my Vegan Kitchen. Not only am I actively advocating for a healthy family, but I am educating my son on the variety of cultural and gastronomical whole-food plant-based cuisines around the world.

Mama Smothered It with Some Vegan Gravy

27 Aug

That’s right, I smothered my Vegan Biscuits and Sunflower Sausage Crumbles with Some Gravy. It was delicious.

Vegan Gravy 2

Just blend and simmer till it thickens. Big on flavor and no added fats. So simple.

Vegan Gravy 3

Easy Vegan Gravy

Place all in a blender and mix well:

  • 2 c your choice of Vegan milks, I have been using Rice Milk
  • 1/4 c unbleached flour
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 -1 tsp sea salt, to taste
  • pepper or hot sauce, spice it up if you want to

Place in a pot and heat until it thickens. Smother whatever you want with the gravy. Serve.

Vegan Gravy

This refrigerates well too. Just heat it up when needed. In fact, I think it was even better the next day.

Mama’s Got Balls: Easy Vegan Meatball Subs

21 Aug

I never knew Meatball Subs existed until my then boyfriend (now husband) and I went to eat at a sandwich place and he ordered a huge foot long Meatball Sub. How can anyone eat such a gigantic meat sandwich? Anyway, I made this Vegan Meatball Sub especially for him in memory of that date so many years ago. And yes, he can eat at least two of these in one sitting. Ummm… actually, so can I.

Vegan Meatballs 3

Easy Vegan Lentil Meatballs

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 2 c cooked lentils, drained
  • 1 c quick oats
  • 1/2 c wheat germ (you can substitute ground sunflower seeds or flax seeds, if you want)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 3 Tbsp tomato sauce (depending on what you are going to do with the meatballs, you can substitute this with ketchup or BBQ sauce or another type of sauce)
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Vegan Meatballs 1

Mix together well to incorporate all the ingredients. Form into balls. There will be around 18 – 20 pieces around 1 1/2″ in diameter. You can make your balls smaller for appetizer portions or bigger for burgers, whatever suits you.

Brown the Meatballs

You could roll the balls in whole wheat flour, but I don’t feel this is necessary because they will be dunked in sauce anyway.

Also, both methods (below) work, but I prefer method 1 because of the way they brown and the way they stay intact once in the sauce. If you don’t have time to keep watch over the stovetop, then method 2 works just fine.

Vegan Meatballs 2

Method 1 Sauté: spray a non-stick pan (I use ceramic and stay away from teflon) with grape seed oil. Cook all sides of the meatballs until browned.

Vegan Meatballs 5

Method 2 Bake: bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 10 minutes. Turn meatballs over on the other side and bake another 10 – 15 minutes until golden brown.

Easy Tomato Sauce

Place in a slow cooker:

  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes with basil (or plain and add 1 tsp dried basil)
  • 1/4 c extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 onion, halved

Cook on low for 3 – 4 hours. Or you can simmer it for an hour or so on the stove. Discard the onions or use in another recipe.

Vegan Meatballs 6

Mix the Meatballs with the Sauce

When both the sauce and meatballs are done cooking, gently combine them to make sure they are heated through. Serve immediately. Do not overcook together as the balls may begin to fall apart.

NOTE: if you want ground meat in the sauce instead of meatballs in your sauce, you can add the meatballs to the sauce in the slow cooker and cook together for an hour or more. The longer you cook the meatballs in the sauce, the more soggy they will get. The sauce will resemble ground meat sauce. Both ways are delicious!

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Mama’s Got Balls: Assembling the Subs

You will need:

  • Vegan Meatballs with sauce (from above)
  • big size hot dog buns from Vegan Hot Dog recipe or your choice of bread
  • your choice of vegetables: caramelized onions, spinach or other
  • your choice of toppings and other sauces

Slice buns, add in your choice of vegetables, Vegan Meatballs with sauce, and toppings. Enjoy!

Other Ways of Serving

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  • with Pasta
  • over Polenta
  • over Rice
  • small balls as Appetizers served with sauce on the side
  • serve with BBQ sauce instead

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Pretend You’ve Been Cooking All Day: Easy Instant Pot Vegan Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine

20 Aug

I have several Moroccan cookbooks, but none with a Vegan Bean Tagine. While I reminisced about my younger days eating at my fave Moroccan restaurant, I did some research online and came up with my own recipe. I love it when experiments work because this Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine is EASY, full of flavor, and kid-friendly all at the same time: just what I wanted for my son’s first Moroccan Vegan culinary experience. He’s had a Chicken Tagine at a friend’s house before, but it didn’t make a big impression on him.

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This Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine was a success! My son finished a huge bowl of it with couscous. He even confided in me at bedtime that couscous, chickpea, and olives together make a perfect combination. I love that I have a little foodie in the house and that he loves his Mama’s Vegan food!

Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine

Easy Instant Pot Vegan Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine

Serves 6

The Beans

Soak overnight:

  • 1 1/2 c dried uncooked chickpeas

The next day, drain and rinse.

The Stew Broth

Mix the spices together in a bowl:

  • 2 T flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • pinch to 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste

To make the broth, whisk the spices with:

  • 2 c vegetable stock

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Beans, Broth and Veggies Go Into the Instant Pot

Place the following ingredients in order in your Instant Pot:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic, minced
  • 2 green chili peppers, optional
  • drained and rinsed chickpeas, from previous step
  • 1 # sweet potatoes, chopped in big chunks
  • 1 pt cherry tomatoes, whole
  • 6 pitted dates or dried apricots
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • all the broth, from previous step

No need to mix. Cover with lid, close off vent, and set to cook for 10-12 minutes. Wow, you’ve got so much time on your hands to do something else. Allow pressure to come down naturally. Season to taste, if needed.

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Garnishes

  • 4 oranges, sliced in segments
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c olives, to taste
  • a handful of parsley or cilantro, chopped

Serve

  • with cooked couscous (I added the excess juices from the oranges in the previous step to the couscous too.)
  • top with garnishes

Serve in a tagine and pretend you’ve been working hard in the kitchen all afternoon.

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I love that this savory, spicy, and sweet flavored Vegan dish has added another exotic  and positive dimension to my son’s Vegan culinary and gastronomic education.

UPDATE: This recipe won in the final week of the #FOKFamily contest! Check it out here!

My Family Loves Eating Vegan at Home Again!

19 Aug

Trying to bring up Vegan kids is tough when family and friends are not. My adventurous and curious son loves to try different foods and I allow him to do this outside our home.  I certainly don’t want him to rebel by forcing him to eat ONLY VEGAN foods when we are with loved ones who don’t follow a Whole-Food Plant-Based diet. Likewise, I prefer that he question my diet choice and come to his own conclusion about what is best for him. That said, I want to make sure that our Vegan food at home is as enticing and delicious as other foods he has explored. Ditto for my husband.

Over this past Summer, I made a conscious decision to transition from RAW (I was high RAW for  over seven years!) to COOKED Vegan. My family had grown tired of RAW Vegan a few years ago, which led to their seeking out a more Omnivore diet outside our home. Maybe I had pushed the RAW agenda too far? Nevertheless, I have discovered that my own switch to COOKED food has had positive impacts on my family’s diet.

  1. My passion for cooking in my kitchen has been reignited. Researching what I’m going to cook next is entertaining, exciting and part of my weekly meal planning. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen and this is rewarding because my family loves my food again.
  2. My family is asking to eat out LESS.
  3. They are asking to eat DAIRY, EGGS, and MEAT LESS. So, we are back to mostly Vegan meals at home.
  4. Our meals seem more gratifying and satiating in that they are snacking in between meals LESS, which means less processed foods.
  5. They are eating more vegetables now than when they were prepared RAW.
  6. They are even REQUESTING certain VEGAN meals MORE!
  7. By cooking wonderful Vegan foods at home, I am less a food police but more a creator of a Vegan movement in my own home. The conscious action to feed my family healthy whole-food plant-based meals creates educational and gastronomical opportunities for my family.

Some of the foods I recently made for my family are pictured here: vegan hot dogs, balsamic strawberries with aquafaba whipped cream, okonomiyaki, loaded nachos, potato cauliflower curry, chickpea broccoli burrito, lentil meatball sub, sweet potato chickpea tagine, cinnamon sugar doughnut, enchiladas, pan de sal, Chinese green beans, black bean burgers, vegan croissants, vegan creamsicles, aquafaba meringues, freshly picked raspberries.

My Recent Successes

  • My son wanted my Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs on Homemade Whole Wheat Buns with Easy Coleslaw and Baked Fries THREE times in a row! And this was a few days after he took one bite of a mainstream meat hot dog served at a party and didn’t like it. So, this was an amazing response from him.
  • A recent acquired bad habit, he now shuns any vegetables served for dinner and cries, “NOOOOOoooooo” but he happily devoured his full share of my Eat-Your-Beans Bibimbap. YES!
  • After seeing a thali for the first time, my son was excited to eat Potato Cauliflower Curry and exclaimed that this is his fave curry ever!
  • Tonight, I made a Sweet Potato Chickpea Tagine and served it in a traditional tagine. This Moroccan fare was new for my son and he loved it. He finished a huge bowl of tagine with couscous. After dinner, he confided in me that couscous, chickpea and olives together make a perfect combination.
  • Of course, like most kids, my son loves the Vegan treats I make on the weekends. Last week at bedtime, he said, “Mama. I’m so excited for tomorrow!” “Why?” I asked. “I can’t wait to eat the doughnuts tomorrow!” He’s so much like me: we are already planning and looking forward to our next meal.

I love it when these little successes happen because I know my son is learning that Vegan foods can be both healthy and delicious too.

As for my husband, he admitted to me that our meals are much better these days. He also says he’s happy if I’m happy doing all this extra work in the kitchen. I think the biggest plus for him is our grocery bills: they have gone down since I chose to eat cooked food again.

Vegan Eat-Your -Beans Bibimbap

16 Aug

When I eat Korean food, I think of my maternal grandmother who treated our family to Korean food several times each month. She lived for food and feeding her loved ones. I’m a lot like her that way. She has been in a coma-like state for two years now and thinking of her makes me both sad and happy at the same time.

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I’ve been cooking different versions of Bibimbap over the years but recently I’ve been adding Korean flavored beans. My family loves Bibimbap this way. In fact, my son could care less for most of the veggies and fills his plate with the beans instead. I would say that without the beans, this dish would be a little boring.

Eat Your Beans Bibimbap (Serves 4 with some leftovers)

Rice

Cook as usual:

  • 2 c sushi rice or other medium grained rice

Beans

While the rice is cooking, bring the following to boil and reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes:

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 1 T Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
  • 3 T soy sauce
  • 3 T your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 2 c cooked kidney beans, drained (you can use other beans if you would like)
  • pepper, to taste

Vegetables

I don’t saute my vegetables because we are cutting down on oils in our house. I also don’t salt them as we are minimizing our salt intake too. So, how do I cook these? I put 2 to 4 Tbs water in the bottom of a big non-stick ceramic pan, bring the heat up and sweat (cover the pan) the veggies until they are tender or wilted and the water has evaporated. If there is leftover liquid, simply drain the veggies. Easy. I use the same pot for all of the veggies but cook them one at a time. I just rinse it out in the sink with a little water in between each vegetable or wipe with a paper towel.

If you want to do it the traditional way, please go ahead and sauté the cucumber, carrots and mushrooms in sesame oil and season with salt. Blanch the mung bean sprouts and cucumber/zucchini and season them to taste.

  • 8 oz mung bean sprouts
  • 1 English cucumber or zuchinni, julienned
  • 1 carrot, julienned
  • 10 oz spinach
  • 7 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced (I add tamari or soy sauce to taste after they are cooked)

Bibimbap Sauce

Mix together:

  • 1 T sesame oil
  • 2 T your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • 4 T Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)

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Now to Serve

Place the rice in the middle of the plate. Now place the beans, vegetables and sauce around the rice.

Garnishes

  • sesame seeds, optional
  • kelp, optional

Enjoy!

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And tomorrow, you can make fried rice with all the leftovers too. If there is anymore.

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This Vegan Eat-Your-Beans Bibimbap is a gratifying Vegan powerhouse that definitely hits the spot.

A Super Easy Vegan Meringue and Cashew Cream Deconstructed Sans Rival Cake

15 Aug

My parents friends would gift us Silvanas and Sans Rival on special occasions. I would look forward to eating either one of them as soon as I could. These extravagant Filipino treats just melt in your mouth and leave you wanting more. Both made from meringue, buttercream and cashews, Silvanas is a frozen cookie while Sans Rival a frozen cake.

After a day of baking and tasting Aquafaba Meringues, I knew I had to try making a Vegan Version of Silvanas or Sans Rival. I decided on something in between: a dessert bigger than a cookie and smaller than a full-sized cake. I also wanted a dessert that would be more meringue and less of the loaded fats.

How about a deconstructed cake? Layers of Vegan Meringue, Cashew Buttercream and Cashews! Perfect.

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Vegan Aquafaba Meringue

This is the exact recipe from my Aquafaba Whipped Cream.

Place the following in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 c cooking liquid of chickpeas
  • 2/3 c granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Whisk in a mixer for 10 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks form. Like the photo below.

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To make cakes: Draw 4 circles around 6 inches or 16 cm in diameter using a bowl or plate on parchment paper. Turn the paper around so that the pencil/ink drawings face the baking sheet. Spoon or pipe the Aquafaba Cream into round cakes on the parchment paper using the outline of circles as your guide. You want them to be around half an inch thick.

Leftover Whipped Cream? No Problem.

You will have some cream left over. You can either save the cream to serve with the cake later on or make small meringue cookies.

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To make cookies: spoon or pipe the cream into small macaroon shaped cookies on a Silpat mat or parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Baking the Meringues

Place the the baking sheets in a preheated oven at 200F. The small cookies bake for 2 hours. Take the cookies out at this time. The bigger cakes bake for 2 1/2 hours, turning the baking sheet around halftime. Turn the oven off and leave the meringue cakes in the oven until it thoroughly dries out (if needed). Carefully peel off the meringues from the parchment paper gently.

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Cashew Buttercream

Soak for a couple of hours:

  • 1 c raw cashews

Drain and rinse cashews. Place in high speed blender with:

  • 1/4 t sea salt, optional
  • 2 T your choice of liquid sweetener, like coconut nectar, maple or agave syrups
  • 1/4 c your choice of liquid, like water, orange juice or even coffee

Blend well to create a vegan buttercream.

Cashews

Place in a food processor and process so that there are both bigger and smaller (almost ground) chunks of nuts:

  • 1/2 c cashews, toasted or raw

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A Super Easy Vegan Meringue and Cashew Cream Deconstructed Sans Rival Cake (Serves 8)

Place the first meringue layer on a plate, top with a thin layer of cashew buttercream and sprinkle generously with chopped cashews. Place another meringue layer on top and repeat layers of thin cashew buttercream and sprinkles of cashews. Repeat with the other two layers of meringues. Freeze immediately. Serve this cold and straight out of the freezer, otherwise the meringue will become soggy. If you have leftover whipped cream, you can serve the cakes with some too.

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My son took one look at the cake and exclaimed: “Couldn’t you have made it with something else other than cashews? I would have loved to eat it.”

Oops, sorry. (He’s allergic to cashews.) I could have made it with hazelnuts or almonds I guess, but it is traditionally made with cashews.

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My husband and I already ate half the cake. It is a luscious mix of cooked and raw deliciousness.

I love my kitchen and I have missed cooking in it. My blog had been quiet for almost 3 years, but changing from RAW to COOKED Vegan has reignited my passion for food. Thank YOU for keeping in touch with me through the silence and stopping by again to enjoy the food on my table.