Sunday, January 30, 2011

We all scream for ice cream..

I was very worried that making vegan ice cream would be very difficult and require strange and hard to find ingredients.  It doesn't.  I recently purchased Lick It! Vegan Ice Creams by Cathe Olson.  I tried her recipe for Mint Ice Cream.  At the last minute, I decided to add chopped chocolate chips.  I use Sunspire Dairy Free and Gluten Free Chocolate Chips.  I have to say if this recipe is any indication you should run, not walk to the nearest bookstore and order a copy today.  Every member of my family loves this ice cream.

I will be posting a new recipe in the next few days.  Don't get out in the cold, stay home in front of your ice cream maker.  :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

I always loved a good casserole.

I have to admit I have missed casseroles, especially the cheesy Mexican casseroles.  I have found a solution to this craving and it is good.  The sauce takes a little longer than your standard dump from a soup can type casserole, but in my opinion it is totally worth it if you have leftover textured vegetable protein (TVP) and beans already made.  For a soy free version use two types of beans or beans and seitan, instead of the TVP.

Vegan Nacho Casserole

2 cups Vegan Mushroom Broth
1&1/2 cups Water (For Queso only add 1/2 cup of water or it will be too soupy)
1 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Oregano
2 tsp Cumin
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
4 Tbsp Earth Balance Margarine (soy free if you are allergic to soy or just double the Olive Oil)
4 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 cup Flour
1 cup Red Star Nutritional Yeast
1 14 oz Can Ro-Tel Diced Tomatoes and Green Chiles
optional 3 Tbsp Diced Onion

In a 9x13 inch casserole dish layer Corn Chips, Taco Seasoned TVP, and Beans, then another layer of chips, tvp, and beans.  Finish with a final layer of chips.  Set aside to make sauce.

In a large spouted bowl or very large liquid measuring cup combine mushroom broth, water, coconut milk, and soy sauce.  In a small bowl have your oregano, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper measured and waiting.  Have the flour and nutritional yeast measured and separate from everything.

In a large sauce pan over medium heat melt margarine into the olive oil and then add flour.  Stir continuously to remove lumps.  Let the mixture bubble until it seems to thicken then add liquids and seasonings.  Continue to stir for 10 minutes or until the sauce has the viscosity of a Thanksgiving gravy.  Add nutritional yeast and stir for another 5 minutes.  The mixture should be more like a thick gravy at this point add your Ro-Tel and onions.  Pour sauce over casserole and bake at 375 F for 20-30 minutes or until heated through and bubbling not dried out.

I serve mine in bowls with salad on top.  We really like the cool crunch of the salad with the warm moist texture of the casserole.  Feel free to have the salad on the side or add guacamole if that's how you roll.  Mmm Guacamole, I think I might try that myself next time.

I didn't mention it before but it is good with pinto bean, black beans, probably even garbanzo beans.  Whatever leftover beans or canned beans should be fine as long as you drain off the excess liquid before you add them in.  You can also use the sauce with or without the Ro-tel for nachos that my kids insist are excellent.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Posole on a cold night.

Posole about forty five minutes before done.  When it is ready you mostly just see the hominy on top.
I like to think this is the perfect way to warm up on a winter night. 

I love spicy food, so Mexican stew is right up my alley.  Making this one vegan, simple.  I eliminate the pork and the chicken broth from the traditional recipes, then add mushrooms.  Easy right?  My family, however does not love spicy, in fact they actively avoid spicy foods.  The solution?  I made a very lightly spiced stew and added Cholula Hot Sauce and extra chiles to my bowl.  Everyone happy with one pot of soup and batch of cornbread, priceless.

 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 Celery Stalks, chopped
4 cloves of Garlic, minced
6 oz. Portobella  Mushrooms, sliced into chunks
8 oz. White Button Mushrooms, sliced
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder (Add 1 tsp if you like yours spicy)
1/2 tsp. Cumin
Salt and Pepper to taste
6 Cups Water
2 cubes of Vegetarian Bouillon
16 oz. can Stewed Tomatoes
14 oz. can Ro-tel Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles
2 Tablespoons Chopped Green Chiles (Choose Jalepenos if you like spicy food, Poblano if you don't)
2 lbs. Bag Frozen Posole  (I used Bueno Posole Uncooked Hominy, Nixtamal)

Pour Oil into medium Stewpot over medium heat.  After pan and oil are heated add chopped onions and saute for 3 minutes.  Add celery and garlic, saute for 4 minutes then add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes.  Add seasonings, and remaining ingredients.  Bring to a boil and then simmer over medium heat for 2 hours stirring occasionally.  Serve with cornbread.

You can add a salad or cooked greens to go with this soup for a complete meal.  Spicy or mild this is an excellent soup. My son asked for seconds, and he was very excited to have leftovers the next day for lunch.  My daughter ate hers more reluctantly, but did finish her bowl both meals. The recipe made enough for me to put 4 servings in the freezer after the four of us ate it for two meals.  I am planning to try to cook off the remaining liquid and use the rest as a tamale filling, but that is an experiment for another day.

Monday, January 10, 2011

This is for you, Candi.

I promised I would post my recipe after I finished tweaking it, sorry that it took so long. My family dived into these brownies like ravenous wolves on meat.  Watch your fingers when serving them to young chocolate fiends or you might end up needing band-aids.  I hope you will like it as much as we do.

Vegan Brownies

1/2 cup Earth Balance Margarine, melted (use Soy Free Earth Balance for a soy-free version)
1/2 cup Canola Oil
2 cups Demerara Sugar
1 cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Unsweetened
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2/3 cup Spelt Flour
1/3 cup Coconut Flour
3/4 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Please use Fair Trade Cocoa Powder)
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 9x13 inch baking pan.  Stir together first 5 ingredients in a medium sized bowl or large liquid measuring cup. Set aside.  Sift dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl, then stir in sugar mixture.  Stir until thoroughly combined and pour into prepared pan.  Smooth batter with a spatula to make the surface as even as possible.

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Let brownies cool 10 minutes before slicing.  Should make approximately 20 brownies.

I took advantage of the cold weather to whip up a batch of my Mushroom Posole.  I will try to post that recipe tomorrow.  Stay warm, and try the brownies, you won't regret it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

My Husband wanted me to post this...

He has been singing the praises of Green Smoothies to everyone we know since we first tried one last May. We have been drinking green smoothies for breakfast everyday since then, except for the horrible week we had to return our Blend-Tec blender for repairs. Trust me, we were not thrilled to part with our beloved blender and even less happy to have to suffer through the days without our green smoothie fix. Happily, the blender was repaired and returned to us and we were back in the smoothie groove in no time.

Greens Guide Is a great spot to learn about a few of my favorite greens for adding into smoothies.

They also have some starter green smoothie recipes to try so you can see what you like best. Green Smoothie Recipes

With our Smoothies I rotate the greens we use every week. We also try out different fruits whenever we find some. Kiwi is my son's favorite addition. But our basic recipe is

4 bananas chopped and frozen overnight
1 granny smith apple peeled if not organic (Use your favorite variety of apple)
1/2 cup pineapple chunks (fresh or frozen not canned)
1/2 mung bean sprouts
2 cups greens (collard, baby spinach, kale, mint, basil, etc. try different blends)
16 oz. spring water
optional 8 oz. So Delicious Coconut Milk

Put into high powered blender and blend until smooth. Makes enough for 2 adult servings and 2 child size servings. If your blender is small you might have to blend in batches.

See not scary at all. ;)
Some people do not do as well with fats like coconut milk mixed in. We haven't had any problems with it and the kids prefer the taste and texture with the coconut milk.

My first steps

As a new vegan reworking your old recipes can be a difficult process.  You have to find the right substitutes for your old non-vegan ingredients, this can be filled with pitfalls of disappointment when the finished product doesn't turn out just the way you want.  This took some time and effort but the cornbread tastes just like I remember from my pre-vegan days. :)  Recipe Adapted from Southern Buttermilk Cornbread recipe in Betty Crocker's New Cookbook


Vegan Cornbread
1 1/2 cup Organic Corn Meal
1/2 cup Unbleached All Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Tablespoons ground Flax Seed
6 Tablespoons hot water
1/4 cup Demerara Sugar
1/4 cup Light Olive Oil
1 1/2 cup So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1/2 Tablespoon Lime Juice

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium sized mixing bowl, then set aside.  Stir ground flax seed into hot water and let sit for a few minutes, while you grease a 9x9 square baking pan.  Add demerara sugar into the flax mixture and stir to dissolve sugar crystals.  Add remaining liquid ingredients and pour into the corn meal.  Whisk until well combined and pour batter into prepared pan.  Place pan in oven and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  When done invert cornbread onto wire rack and let cool for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

Now, typically I will be posting pictures with my recipes, but I didn't get a picture before everyone grabbed a slice.  Better luck next time.