Tag Archives: Recipe

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.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

Vegan Meatballs 4

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

Vegan Meatballs 7

  • 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.

Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine 2

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

Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine 5

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.

Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine 4

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.

Chickpea Sweet Potato Tagine 3

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!

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.

Balsamic Strawberries with Aquafaba Whipped Cream

14 Aug

Growing up, there was always some type of cream in our refrigerator: clotted, double, light, whipped. You name it, we had it. Our family loved cream with desserts, especially berries.

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After turning Vegan, I sort of missed all that lovely cream but I also knew that it caused my eczema. So I did without because nothing vegan came close to it (ok maybe cashew creams but my son is allergic) until my discovery of aquafaba whipped cream. Unlike dairy-based creams, aquafaba whipped cream is much lighter, not to mention lower in fat and calorie content too. It is airy and fluffy almost like marshmallow fluff and creates the perfect vegan companion to berries. In the following recipe, I combine a traditional Italian strawberry dessert with the cloud-like cream.

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Balsamic Strawberries

Gently toss together in a bowl:

  • 16 oz strawberries, quartered
  • 2 Tbs balsamic vinegar (or lemon juice if you prefer that)
  • 2 Tbs your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • pinch of black pepper (optional)

While the strawberries are macerating for 10-15 minutes, whip up the vegan cream.

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Aquafaba Whipped Cream

Aquafaba is the cooking liquid of beans. I personally keep the cooking liquid of beans as soup stock, but for now soup will have to wait as my family indulges in this vegan 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 peaks form.

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Serve

Place balsamic strawberries in a bowl and top with the aquafaba whipped cream. You can sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar on top and garnish it with mint, if you like. We were too excited to dig in so I didn’t have time to get mint from the garden. It was delicious nonetheless. Enjoy!

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My family thoroughly enjoyed this dessert. I love that I can now have berries and cream again. My son and husband LOVED it too. My son kept saying how the cream tastes like marshmallow and my husband was shocked to hear the cream was made from bean water.

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You can refrigerate the rest of the cream or finish it off or bake them now. As I write, the rest of our aquafaba whipped cream has been piped and is in the oven baking as vegan meringues. We are already excited about tonight’s dessert.

A Homemade Vegan Hot Dog on a Whole Wheat Bun, Cole Slaw and Baked Fries Please

12 Aug

For dinner tonight, I wanted to cook something fun and welcoming, something to celebrate Summer holidays. Something that screamed: COMFORT FOOD!

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You see our flights were cancelled four times in two days as we struggled to return home from three airports hit by storms. By midnight last night, we ignored our hunger for dinner as the wish to be asleep in our own beds grew stronger. We finally made it back today around 3 a.m. hungry but relieved.

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I wanted to cook an easy, comforting, and healthy meal for our first dinner back home together. I thought:

Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs in Homemade Whole Wheat Buns served with Coleslaw and Baked Fries.

PERFECT.

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It was a HIT! Everyone asked for seconds.

PAUSE.

Everyone asked for seconds.

PAUSE.

I love it when they do that!

My family members are elusive when it comes to verbal compliments, but their actions spoke louder than words tonight.

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Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs in Homemade Whole Wheat Buns

Homemade Vegan Hot Dogs

Make TWO batches of FatFree Vegan Kitchen’s Homemade Veggie Dogs so you have enough for a meal, leftovers for tomorrow and a couple of pieces left for the freezer. They are DELICIOUS! I used my Instant Pot to cook my kidney beans (I used red kidney beans instead of pinto. I wanted a deeper red colour to my veggie dogs) and steamed them in my Instant Pot for 12 minutes per batch. So easy. I love Susan Voisin’s Veggie Dogs! These are indeed better than buying the ready made ones at the store. Worth the little effort they require.

Homemade Whole Wheat Buns

Place the following in order in your bread machine:

  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T flax seed meal mixed with 3 T water
  • 3 T your choice of sweetener, I use Sucanat
  • 4 1/2 T your choice of oil/vegan butter, I use grapeseed oil or Earth Balance depending on my mood
  • 1 c vegan milk, I tend to use rice milk these days
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour
  • 1 T yeast

Set for dough stage. When done, divide dough into 9 pieces. Roll each piece into a rope around 6 inches. Then flatten to a rectangular/oblong shape. Place on a prepared baking sheet (lined with Silpat mat or parchment paper) and cover with a kitchen towel. Leave to rest for 20 minutes. Bake (uncovered of course!) in a preheated oven at 400F for around 13 minutes till golden brown.

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Easy Coleslaw

Mix together in a bowl to incorporate:

  • 1/4 c your favourite salad dressing
  • 1/2 c vegan mayonnaise

Add in:

  • 16 oz coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots)

Mix well and set aside until ready to serve.

UPDATE: this recipe of coleslaw is just so much better!

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Easy Baked Fries

On a baking sheet, mix together:

  • Russet Potatoes, sliced into batons (I like to keep the skins on for the nutrients)
  • sea salt, to taste
  • garlic powder, to taste
  • paprika, to taste
  • olive oil, just enough to coat well

Arrange flat on the baking sheet. Bake at 450F until crispy, around 30 minutes or more depending on thickness of your slices.

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Serve All Together with Your Choice of Toppings

My son and I love ours with yellow mustard, ketchup and sauerkraut. My husband prefers his with just yellow mustard and ketchup.

How about you?

Review: Thug Kitchen Eat Like You Give a F*ck The Official Cookbook

5 Aug

“I give this book FIVE STARS!” exclaims my fourth grader.

Just GREAT.


The conservative parent in me wanted to take this THUG KITCHEN: eat like you give a f*ck The Official Cookbook full of curse words away from my son, but the Vegan in me was proud that this was the first ever cookbook he just wanted to read from cover to cover on his own volition. I am not sure if I felt like it was a bad (I shouldn’t have left that book lying around) or proud (vegan ed!) parent moment. Probably both.

As I walked by once or twice, ok maybe five times, my son would point out the paraphernalia in the photos and exclaim, “Mama! I want to shop there! I want that bag!” Or we would laugh as he read a passage or two. At some point, I just joined him as he showed me his favourite parts of the book.

The THUG KITCHEN Cookbook is indeed f*cking hilarious. If you haven’t read it yet, I suggest getting your hands on one just for entertainment purposes. Or check out their website for Vegan inspiration.

How about their recipes? I love reading them. They are funny. I also love how the given ingredients are flexible with a lot of notes too on how to substitute if you are out of them.


I’ve tried one so far and it was a hit at our house: Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burritos. Easy and satisfyingly delicious. 


The Burrito recipe simply required roasting this beautiful mix of onions, garlic, red peppers, broccoli, and chickpeas with spices, then wrapping them in tortillas with your choice of additions. We added avocado, salsa and rice. My husband finished off three big ones, my son finished off one, and I enjoyed every single bite of mine plus licked the leftovers off my fingers.

My son asked me, “So Mama, can we try one of their desserts next?”

Absolutely! 

Instant Pot Vegan Monggo Guisado or Mung Bean Stew

31 Jul

My mother brought me to an orphanage in the Philippines when I was about 9 or 10 years old. I wanted to donate my old clothes and toys to children who were in need. It just so happened that we arrived around lunch time. Although the kids were excited to see me, their eyes sparkled even more at the sight of their food. This particular orphanage was for handicap children and I saw how some ate with their feet or directly with their mouths to the plates. It didn’t matter what their handicap was, they ate heartily and happily.

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“What are they eating?” I asked my mother, “It looks so masarap (delicious)!”

“Monggo Guisado. It is delicious. The best part is that it doesn’t cost a lot for the orphanage to give the children a nutritious meal.” she replied.

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That night, I asked for Monggo Guisado for dinner and remembered the children at the orphanage as I relished each spoonful. I had thought that I would make a big difference in their lives as a deliverer of special, albeit second hand, gifts. Instead, it was I who came away with a lesson in the joy of the simple things in life.

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Everytime I eat Monggo Guisado, I think of that day at the orphanage, the happiness each bite brought to the children, and the nutritious meal I have in memory of them. It is a simple meal that comforts my body and mind.

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Instant Pot Monggo Guisado or Mung Bean Stew

Saute in an Instant Pot:

  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped

Turn off saute and add into the Instant Pot:

  • 1 1/2 c whole green mung beans, not soaked but rinsed
  • 3 c water

Cover lid and set for Bean for 15 minutes. Allow pressure to come down naturally when done. Take off lid, press saute and add in:

  • 4 big handfuls of chopped greens (I had kale)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tbs Bragg’s Amino or low-sodium soy sauce

Stir for a few minutes until greens are cooked well. Turn off Instant Pot. Serve with rice, lime wedges and more Bragg’s Amino.

 

Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Pan de Sal

28 Jul

When I lived in the Philippines, Pan de Sal was almost always in a bread basket at our family’s breakfast table accompanied by butter, local jams and cheeses, condensed milk or Dulce de Leche. Unlike what its Spanish name suggests, it is actually more a Pan “Dulce” than Pan “Salado.” Its crust is thin and slightly crispy while the inside is light and fluffy. I especially loved slathering on my Lola’s homemade mango jam or eating it with quesong puti or dunking it in hot chocolate.

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The Experiment

I was searching for a Pan de Sal recipe for the bread machine, but did not find one. I also wanted to bake a Vegan Whole Grain Bread with a lower fat and sugar content. After an internet search, I found Russian Filipino Kitchen. The comments on her recipe were numerous and positive. Although her recipe was not for the bread machine and used only white flour, it had everything else that I was looking for: vegan, lower fat and sugar content. It was easily adaptable and I went to work, or rather my bread machine, went to work. As you see below: success!

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Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Pan de Sal (Makes 20 rolls)

Adapted from Russian Filipino Kitchen

Place ingredients in order into your bread machine:

  • 2 Tbs vegan butter or olive oil or your choice of oil
  • 1 c your choice of milk or water
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 c sucanat or unrefined sugar
  • 1 1/2 c bread flour
  • 1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
  • 2¼ tsp active dry yeast (or 1 packet)

Set for dough setting. When the dough setting is done, around 1 hour and 50 minutes, take the dough out and roll into a long log. Slice into twenty 1″ pieces. Roll in:

  • whole wheat flour (this is a much healthier option than the traditional bread crumbs and does not sacrifice taste or texture)

Coat well. Place on a prepared baking sheet (with a silpat mat or parchment paper) around an inch apart.

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Cover with a towel and allow to rise for 1 hour.

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Bake in a preheated oven at 375F for 10 minutes on the center rack. Serve warm.

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This Bread Machine Vegan Whole Wheat Pan de Sal, while made up of healthier ingredients, is still thin and slightly crispy on the outside and light and fluffy on the inside.

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The best part: this recipe only takes a few minutes of your active time and the aroma in your kitchen will transport you to a Philippine bakery.

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I couldn’t resist eating one straight from the oven. I ate half of it with vegan butter and half of it with homemade vegan Nutella. No photo of the latter, unfortunately, because it was gone in a second.

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Enjoy!

 

Vegan Modan-Yaki: Yakisoba topped with Veggie Filled Okonomiyaki (Japanese Savoury Pancakes)

27 Jul

I remember walking in Tokyo with my parents when I was little and smelling something amazing. It came from a street vendor cooking something that looked like a pancake but smelled savoury. I knew I had to have some. I patiently waited my turn, which seemed like hours, but it was all worthwhile. As I held my treasured okonomiyaki, I took a big bite. Eyes closed. Umami.

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Tonight, I wanted to experiment with making vegan “omelettes” with chickpea flour. I didn’t want just any omelette. I wanted okonomiyaki. I decided to serve it with yakisoba. That seems like a nutritious full vegan meal to me: noodles, beans and plenty of veggies to go along with it.

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So, here is my version of Modan-Yaki (モダン焼き). Hope you like it.

Easy Vegan Yakisoba (4 servings)

Cook according to package directions, drain and rinse in cold water:

  • a package of yakisoba noodles (I only had buckwheat ramen noodles, but it worked just fine so go ahead and substitute)

While it cooks, saute in 1/2 c water:

  • 1 onion, sliced

When softened, add:

  • 8 oz coleslaw mix or shredded cabbage

Cook until softened. Add the noodles and tonkatsu sauce to taste. You probably will use around half of the sauce below. Mix well. When heated through, take off heat.

Vegan Tonkatsu Sauce (just the right amount for both the yakisoba and okonomiyaki)

Mix together:

  • 3 T sucanat
  • 1/2 c ketchup
  • 3/4 c soy sauce (we use low sodium)

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Veggie Filled Okonomiyaki (Makes 8)

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 2 c chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sucanat
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)

Then add:

  • 2 c water

Whisk together well. Add in:

  • 1/2 c panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 c green onions, sliced
  • 1 potato, white or sweet potato or yam, grated
  • 1 – 2 large romaine lettuce heads, shredded (my family will happily eat lettuce and since I already cooked cabbage in the yakisoba, I thought it better not to cook it again here)

 

Mix well. If there is too much liquid, you can add in more shredded or grated vegetables. Now, heat a non-stick pan and spray on some oil. With your hands, form a ball with the batter and place gently on the pan to cook. I managed to squeeze 4 pancakes in my pan. Cook on medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes until crispy. Turn, pat down gently and cook another 5 – 10 minutes. When both sides are crispy, turn once again, cover the pan with the lid and steam cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes.

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Vegan Modan-Yaki: Yakisoba topped with Veggie Filled Okonomiyaki

By now you’ve got both your noodles and your pancakes. It’s time to serve!

Place yakisoba on a plate and top with one okonomiyaki.

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Now drizzle sauces and garnish with the following toppings:

  • tonkatsu sauce (from above)
  • vegan mayonnaise
  • nori flakes or other seaweed
  • green onions, sliced

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I love chickpea flour!

Orange You a Creamy Strawberry Popsicle

26 Jul

Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? I reserve frozen bananas for raw vegan ice cream! Cool down instead with one of these Popsicle delights!

Orange You a Creamy Strawberry Popsicle

Mix the ingredients together well and pour into 4 popsicle moulds:

  • 1 oz liquid sweetener, like maple syrup, coconut nectar or agave syrup
  • 2 oz your choice of cream (vegan options are soy/almond/coconut cream)
  • 2 1/2 oz strawberries, pureed
  • 2 1/2 oz orange juice, freshly squeezed

Freeze and serve on a HOT day.

Can I dig in now? Not yet let me take a picture. Now? Not yet. Now? OK.

And as he bites and chews the plastic stick in hopes of getting more sweet fruit juice: Mama, I’ll definitely have these again! 

Your Fave Veggie Loaded Summer Pasta Salad

26 Jul

Need a quick but yummy vegan meal for a family picnic on a hot day?

Your Fave Veggie Loaded Summer Pasta Salad

Cook according to box directions:

  • 16 oz your fave kind of pasta

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While pasta is cooking, chop any of your fave vegetables. In the photo, I have:

  • 1/2 c kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 1 big sweet red pepper, diced
  • 2 c cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 to 6 c thinly sliced kale

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Drain and rinse pasta with cold water. Place back in the pot and add:

  • 1/3 c of your fave salad dressing to coat the pasta well

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Then, carefully add all the chopped vegetables, leaving the avocado for the last so that it doesn’t get smashed in the process. Place in a nice bowl and top with avocado pieces. Serve with extra dressing and nutritional yeast on the side.

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Your fave pasta. Your fave veggies. Your fave dressing.

Your perfect veggie loaded pasta salad.

I Love This Vegan Garlic Whole Wheat Bread

25 Jul

Start with one loaf of Homemade Whole Wheat French Bread. Mix the Vegan Parsley Butter. Butter the bread. Then toast. Yummy mouthwatering garlic bread!

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I haven’t eaten Garlic Bread in over seven years since turning raw vegan. Now that I am cooking again, I am savouring all the wonderful tastes that cooked food has to offer. This vegan garlic bread is delicious. It does not sacrifice taste for a healthier choice. In fact, it is both delicious and healthier than many options out there. This is enjoyed by all in my family.

I’m really enjoying cooking again… I’m sure my family is too.

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1 Loaf of Whole Wheat French Bread

Place all in a bread machine in order and set to dough:

  • 3/4 c water
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 c mix of bread flour with whole grain flour, start with 2/3 c whole wheat or spelt flour and the rest bread flour
  • 2 tsp yeast

When dough stage is completed, take dough and roll into a long loaf. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. With a serrated knife, cut the loaf diagonally. Cover and let rise for 1 hour. Lightly brush or spray with water before baking in a preheated oven at 400F for 20 minutes.

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Vegan Parsley Butter

Place in a small food processor to mince:

  • 2 – 4 cloves garlic

Add the rest of the ingredients to create the Vegan Parsley Butter:

  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 Tb dried parsley
  • 1 Tb olive oil
  • 4 Tbs vegan butter, like Earth Balance

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Easy Garlic Whole Wheat Bread

For moister garlic bread slices: Cut the French Bread Loaf into slices almost all the way through so that the loaf is still intact. Fill slices well with Vegan Parsley Butter. Wrap loaf in foil and bake in preheated oven at 425F for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes until crisp.

For toastier garlic bread slices: Slice French Bread into separate slices. Butter the slices, place on a cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes in a preheated oven at 425F till crisp.

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Serve immediately. Enjoy. I love these with homemade kale and bean soup!

Easy and Nourishing Instant Pot Tridoshic Mung Dal Kitchari

23 Jul

For the past ten years or so for a couple times a year, I have enjoyed cleansing my body through mono-diet fasts. I especially do this during seasonal changes to detoxify. During a mono-diet, one would eat only one single (“mono”) type of food allowing the body’s digestive system to rest. This rest allows the healing and rejuvenation of our cells.

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While studying to be an Ayurvedic Nutrition Therapist, I learned about the benefits of Mung Dal Kitchari. Not only is it a complete nourishing food in terms of protein combination, Kitchari balances all types of constitutions and is very easy for the body to digest.

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This week, for my fast, I decided to use my new Instant Pot. I simply dumped all the ingredients into the pot, programmed it on Porridge for 15 minutes, and forgot about it for a while.

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Easy Instant Pot Tridoshic Mung Dal Kitchari

Soak for a few hours:

  • 1 c white basmati rice
  • 1 c whole mung beans

Drain and rinse. Add to the Instant Pot with other ingredients:

  • 1/2 t turmeric powder
  • 1/2 T sea salt
  • 2″ ginger, grated or chopped
  • 3 T dessicated or shredded coconut
  • bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • 1# your choice of vegetables, chopped to bite size (I used cremini mushrooms, a tamasic vegetable (in Ayurveda, this class of food is not the healthiest), but I love mushrooms and it is what I had in the fridge.)
  • 6 – 8 c water, depending on the consistency you want  – 6 c for thicker (like in the photos) or 8 c for thinner kitchari

Place lid on Instant Pot. Lock into place. Press the Porridge button and adjust time to 15 minutes. Allow pressure to release naturally. Serve.

 

 

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It has been a while since I ate Kitchari and I truly enjoyed and savoured every sweet spoonful. In my opinion, this makes a more satisfying meal than Plain Rice Congee.

 

Easy, Quick and Yummy Vegan Crunchy Chocolate Rice and Oat Granola

22 Jul

Love chocolate in your granola? Don’t want nuts or seeds in it? Want it in 15 minutes? No problem. Like all my recipes, this is easy and quick.

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Easy and Yummy Vegan Chocolate Rice and Oat Granola

Mix together in a bowl:

  • 1 c rolled oats
  • 1 c rice cereal (my child loves Envirokidz Chocolate Koala Crisp but any will do)
  • 1/2 c vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 T flax seed meal
  • 4 T your choice of liquid sweetener: like coconut nectar, maple syrup, brown rice cereal or agave syrup
  • 1/2 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t sea salt

Bake for 10 minutes or until toasted at 325F on a prepared (greased/lined with parchment paper/Silpat mat) cookie sheet. Set aside to cool. Keep refrigerated until needed. NOTE: you can make these into delicious travel bars, like my other two, but it will be easier to break.

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Serve alone or with your choice of milk or yoghurt and/or fruit.

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Breakfast Dessert anyone?

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Easy Baked Vegan Potato Tonkatsu

20 Jul

After 7 years of high raw veganism, I am now just exploring cooked veganism again and having a blast. This was last night’s dinner for the family:

Potato Tonkatsu, Spinach Gomaae, Tomatoes over Vegan Ramen with Homemade Broth.

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Cooking food requires much more time than preparing raw meals, but the family seems to really enjoy cooked food much more these days and I find the time spent in the kitchen very rewarding.

For Japanese food, we are really enjoying the recipes from Just One Cookbook. They are easy to adapt to a Vegan diet. I really wanted to create Vegan Tonkatsu Ramen Bowls for my family. I started with Just One Cookbook‘s Ramen recipe using rice milk instead of soy, then her Spinach Gomaae and Tonkatsu Sauce using vegan Worcestershire Sauce and Soy Sauce in place of regular Worcestershire and Oyster Sauces.  I combined all of these with my Baked Vegan Potato Tonkatsu (below) and it was a BIG HIT. My son used to refuse to eat Ramen, but now he asks for it and wants seconds. My husband really enjoys the Tonkatsu on its own just with the sauce too.

Easy Baked Vegan Potato Tonkatsu

Mix together and combine well:

  • 4 cups mashed potato, with skins for nutrients
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Now for the dredging and breading. Arrange 3 bowls with:

  • flour
  • vegan mayo mixed with some water to resemble an egg wash
  • vegan panko crumbs

Form potato patties, coat with flour, dip in vegan mayo mixture and cover with panko crumbs. Place on a greased baking sheet and bake at 400F for 15 minutes until golden brown. This is a versatile dish that you can serve alone with sauce or over rice or with ramen (as above).

The Easiest Vegan Pulled BBQ Sandwich Even Meat Lovers Will Love

12 Jul

Just take a look at this scrumptious looking BBQ sandwich. You won’t believe how easy it is to make nor how delicious. Please read on.

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A few years ago, raw vegan me wouldn’t have thought I would be posting about cooked food, much less something from a can. But never say never. This year, I’ve started adding cooked vegan foods back into my daily diet in a big way.

What I’ve learned during this transition:

  • my body took a while to adjust to different foods: I don’t have sensitivities to certain foods (like wheat) like I once thought. My body just needed time to adjust.
  • I didn’t gain weight. I actually lost weight because my daily raw vegan diet contained too much fats. Although of the good kind, fats are high in calories and are still… fats. I didn’t realise how much of it I was consuming (50% to be exact) until I started using a diet tracking app.
  • I didn’t break out or get sick. I’ve been just fine.
  • I’ve been craving all kinds of crazy foods lately… like this:

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My husband and I really enjoyed this meal last night and today for lunch. In fact, I inhaled my first sandwich and couldn’t get a good photo due to too much yumminess, very sticky fingers, and hunger to finish it off.

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So here’s the easy yummy recipe.

 

The Easiest Vegan Pulled BBQ:

3 ingredients only

Cook in ¼ c water until soft:

2 onions, thinly sliced

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Add and combine together with:

3 cans 14 oz young jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed well (I used the one above)

¾ c your favourite bbq sauce, more at the table

Mash with cooking spoon or use a potato masher to create a pulled meat effect.

Choose 1 of 3 different cooking methods:

Slow Cooker – place all ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 5 hours.

Stove Top – place all ingredients in a pot and heat up. You can cook until heated through or longer so that some parts cook to a crisp.

Bake/Broil – place all ingredients in a cookie sheet and bake/broil. The former heats it up, the latter burns parts of the jackfruit to a crisp to give the ‘meat’ a crunchy.

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The Whole Wheat Burger Buns:

Place the following ingredients in your bread machine and set for dough stage:

1 T flax seed meal mixed with 3 T water

4 ½ T olive oil

3 T sucanat or your choice of sweetener

¾ t sea salt

1 ½ c whole wheat flour

1 ½ c bread flour

1 T yeast

Divide into 9 pieces. Form into round balls and flatten to make the buns. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400F. Bake buns for about 13 minutes.

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Now to serve:

Serve about 1/3 c cooked jackfruit BBQ in a whole wheat burger buns with slices of avocado and additional bbq sauce, if needed. Serves 4-6 hungry people.

ENJOY!

Gentle, Unscented Star Wars Bastille Soaps for Kids

21 Oct

Everything Star Wars here. Why not soap too? Here’s a gentle, unscented recipe for kids of all ages.

IMG_8162005Star Wars Soap Cupcakes

Recipe:

  • 5% castor oil
  • 15% coconut oil
  • 80% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

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At trace, divide up your batch:

  • leave some plain
  • add activated charcoal for Darth Vadar’s helmet
  • add indigo for R2D2 (I still have to find the best way to do this without using synthetic materials)
  • add just a little of activated charcoal for Han Solo in carbonite

Pour into Star Wars molds. You can also add the figures to a fresh batch of bar soaps (photo above and below).

  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

IMG_8165006  IMG_8164004   R2D2, Xwing, Carbonite Soap

Now, who’s got tickets to the new Star Wars film coming out this December?

Sensous Sandalwood Soap

7 Oct

I wanted to create a Sandalwood Soap with the look and feel of wood, as well as the sensual fragrance of sandalwood. Here it is!

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Recipe:

  • 10% avocado oil (for a more moisturizing soap)
  • 25% coconut oil
  • 65% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/3 T Sandalwood fragrance oil/pound and 0.5% of ingredients of grapefruit oil as a preservative. Divide the batch into 3 and to:

  • 1/3, add 1 T activated charcoal/pound
  • 1/3, add 1 tsp red clay/pound
  • 1/3, add nothing.

Sandalwood Soap

I used a cardboard box as my mold and lined the inside with a plastic bag:

  • pour the red clay batch in first
  • top it with the plain and charcoal batches in lines down the mold
  • use a thin tool to make circular patterns on the top of the soap for the design
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut after 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

Amber Crystal Soap

21 Sep

I was really excited about the potentiality of this Amber Crystal Soap project because I love amber crystals and their scent. I prefer to stick to natural products and don’t add unnatural colourants to my soap, so I was uncertain how the soaps would look. Here they are!

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Recipe:

  • 30% coconut oil
  • 30% vegetable shortening for vegans and vegetarians/ lard or tallow for the omnivores out there
  • 40% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/2 T Amber fragrance oil/pound and 0.5% of ingredients of grapefruit oil as a preservative.

I used a cleaned soymilk carton as my mold:

  • pour batch into your mold
  • insert old pieces of soap to add texture and colour to the soap
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold and cut after 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

With my extra pieces of cut soap, I balled them up and rolled them in some turmeric to make Amber Rock Soaps.

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The amber fragrance fills my kitchen as I write and it smells heavenly.

Rose Bastille Soap

17 Sep

I wanted to create Gothic English Rose Soaps, but didn’t think the older ladies in my family would understand it.

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So I have some all white bars and some with a layer of activated charcoal.

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They look beautiful.

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I snuck in some all black Gothic-looking mini rose soaps too.
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Recipe:

  • 20% coconut oil
  • 80% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 1/2 T English Rose fragrance oil/pound. Add activated charcoal to some, if you wish.

My family presented me with a mold recently and I couldn’t wait to use it:

  • pour batch into your mold
  • top with rose petals
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • freeze for a couple of hours (very important as the soap may still be soft and may be ruined during this next process)
  • unmold
  • cure for 4 – 6 weeks

Extra Virgin Olive Oil Castile Soap with Olive Leaf Powder

14 Sep

I read that the quality of olive oil one uses in soaps drastically changes the final product of soap. There is a lot to read about Castile Soaps on the internet, but I wanted to experiment on my own to verify what I read.

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Extra Virgin Olive Oil Castile Soap with Olive Leaf Powder.

Well, it is true: plain olive oil produces a creamier texture, while extra virgin olive oil produces a more brittle soap. I noticed that plain olive oil also creates a silkier finish and is easier to handle. Now, I have 4 to 6 months of curing left before I can actually use them to assess how they differ as soaps.

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Plain Olive Oil Castile Soap (top) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil Castile Soap (bottom)

Recipe:

  • 100% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add 1 tsp olive leaf powder/pound of oils. Olive leaf is said to be anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory. It is also full of antioxidants and helps heal wounds faster.

I used an old soymilk carton as my mold (my fave as there is no washing up and I can still recycle it):

  • pour batch into your mold
  • spray top with alcohol to prevent formation of soda ash
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • remove towel after 24 hours
  • unmold after 48 hours and slice
  • cure for 4 – 6 months

Lemon and Charcoal Bastille Soap: Oriental and Masculine

14 Sep

I asked my brother what kind of soap he wanted me to make him. He chose Lemon and Charcoal Bastille Soap.

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Now, my brother is a very masculine man. He has a strong personality with Oriental preferences and a Zen-like attitude.

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I wanted to create Lemon and Charcoal soaps that reminded me of him, that somehow captured his sensibility.

IMG_7829007Well, here they are!

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Handmade. Just for my little brother.

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Recipe:

  • 30% coconut oil
  • 70% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, divide the batch into 2:

  1. to 2/3 of the batch – add 1 tsp lemon peel powder and 1 oz lemon essential oil/pound
  2. to 1/3 of the batch – add 1 T charcoal/pound

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I used an old soymilk carton as my mold:

  • pour most of the charcoal batch into the mold
  • carefully pour all the lemon batch on top of the charcoal layer
  • use a spoon to slightly mix the two layers together
  • spoon the rest of the charcoal mixture on the top
  • decorate as you wish
  • spray with alcohol to prevent formation of soda ash
  • cover with a towel and allow to gel for 24 hours
  • unmold after 24 hours and slice
  • cure for 4 – 6 months

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Cinnamon Toast Soap

6 Sep

Totally inedible, except for the cinnamon.

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100% olive oil soap.

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Gentle for all skin types.

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Recipe:

  • 100% olive oil
  • water
  • lye (NaOH)
  • run it through my fave soap calculator to get the amount you want

At trace, add:

  • 6g per pound of oils cinnamon sugar fragrance, optional

Use an old cardboard box lined with a plastic bag as a mold:

  • make sure you only pour a thin layer for the “toast”
  • sprinkle ground cinnamon on top for decoration, but not too much as cinnamon can be a skin irritant
  • sprinkle with pieces of grated white soap or baking soda for the powdered sugar effect
  • unmold after 24 – 48 hours
  • cure for 4 – 6 months
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IMG_7794006 Mama, can I have one?

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Why, of course, who did I make these for?

Homemade Moisturizing Hand Lotion

5 Sep

Indulge in your own homemade hand lotion. You can make it as light or heavy as you want. You can personalize the scent and the oils that you use. Best of all, you control the ingredients.

I’m not going to lie and tell you this concoction is not greasy. It is, but only for a while. There’s actually a trick so that it moisturizes well, soothes the skin, and the rich creaminess dissipates into your skin quickly.

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Recipe:

Melt the following in a double boiler:

  • 3T olive oil, extra virgin (don’t even get me started… I ditched all my high-end facial creams for olive oil and my skin is so much happier)
  • 1 1/2 T shea butter, unrefined (great moisturizer for dry skin and reduces inflamed skin reactions)
  • 1 T avocado oil (relieves dry and itchy skin, naturally boosts collagen production, retains water)
  • 1 T jojoba oil (similar to our skin’s natural oils, it is easily absorbed into our skin)
  • 1 1/2 T your choice of wax (there is soy, Carnauba, or Candelilla wax for vegans and beeswax for vegetarians, this is added to help blend and solidify the oils)

Take off the heat, add and mix well:

  • 1T honey, raw (optional, but I love honey on the skin and hair. Honey fragrance is an extra bonus.)
  • 10 drops Frankincense Essential Oil (or choose your own, but if you believe in EO, Frankincense has anti-aging properties and speeds up healing)
  • 10 drops Sandalwood Essential Oil (or choose your own, added for antiseptic, astringent, and amazing fragrance)

Refrigerate for 10 minutes until it solidifies somewhat. Place in your container of choice.

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When you want to use it, simply take a dab or two with a finger. It will feel greasy.
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What you want to do is rub it all over your hands with a few drops of water. It will feel like regular lotion. In this way, you are in control of how light or heavy this lotion will feel on your skin, as well as how much you want. By not adding water to our lotion, we are also preventing mold.

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Enjoy it on your hands, elbows, and knees.

How To Make Liquid Soap from Homemade Bar Soaps

4 Sep

I want to buy LESS stuff from someone else and make MORE of my own stuff. One of the easiest things I have recently discovered is the DIY room temperature method for creating soap bars. I am definitely hooked.

Soap bars are great, but for washing dishes… I prefer liquid.

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I went soap-crazy the other night and decided to bevel my soaps. Don’t they look nicer?

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The result was bowls of little pieces of soaps.

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What to do with them besides making pouches of travel soaps? Liquid soap!

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It’s so simple:

  1. Chop or grate your homemade bar soaps.
  2. Add boiling water on top to cover by an inch or two. It all depends on how creamy or watery you prefer your liquid soap. Less water for a creamier liquid, more water for a more watery one.
  3. Let it sit for a while to cool down a little.
  4. Blend together with an immersion blender. 
  5. Make a week’s batch at a time to prevent mold. Or, make a big batch, freeze in small pieces, and defrost as needed.

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This simple chore gave me a feeling of great accomplishment. Silly, but true.

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