Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Simple & Quick Pizza Crust

I use this recipe every time I need something quick for pizza preparation. It reminds me of a biscuit crust. This recipe makes enough for a good thick crust for a cookie sheet size pizza. If you want thin and crispy use this recipe for two sheets or make half the recipe.

We had this last night topped with marinara sauce, spinach, broccoli, garlic, onions, and sliced tomatoes, and a sprinkle of oregano. My children loved it. (See added edited note about photos.)

Simple & Quick Pizza Crust



4 cups whole wheat (or other whole grain) flour, also works with gluten-free flour!
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/3 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Prepare your pizza pan by oiling it. I use coconut oil. You can use cornmeal to flour it if you like as well. Spread, roll out or pat into pan. When rolling, use a glass tumbler to roll right in the pan. Prick with fork. Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, without toppings (or only 5 minutes for a thin crust).

Remove from oven after pre-baking. Then add toppings as desired and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until done. Be sure to watch the thin crust to make sure it doesn't burn on the bottom.

Edited to add: the option of a gluten free crust will work with this recipe. I have now made this successfully at least three times this way. And it is still like a biscuit crust. The photo above shows the gluten-free crust dough waiting to be put on my sheet to prebake. Here it is starting the prebake.


 And then of course, afterward...

So good!
Toppings in the photos: my daughter's pizza sauce, garlic, onions, 3 colors of local bell peppers, a kale and spinach chopped mix, and my favorite - Kalamata olives!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Blog Remodel

It's time for a little cleanup and reorganizing on Vegan Footprints. It will happen over time, so pardon the "dust." It will have a fresh new look and be even easier to find what you need.

I've recently looked at my original focus for this blog and feel that although I have written about those things, I want to take a different direction now. I've been writing this blog for two years and I've gotten a better feel for what I want to focus on.

The recipes will stay! That is the main subject of this blog and I continue to look for more healthy vegan recipes. I am looking for more raw recipes and ideas to include, so look for more of those forth coming.

I will still include ideas that I think would interest others. You will notice links on the side that will take you to other websites that I've learned from. With all internet viewing, please take cautions when needed. People are writing from their perspective only. I write from mine.

My love for vegan food will still be a focus here. As a courtesy, I wanted to let you know things will look different and there will be some "cleaning up." Some things may not be available anymore, but all recipes will stay.

Thanks for your interest in the Vegan Footprints blog. Keep reading! =)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu with Recipes

Songs we sing this time of year remind us to be thankful. We should sing them year 'round, not only when Thanksgiving is near. Gratefulness is something we should practice with every breath.

I was telling our son just yesterday that although I like that we have a special time to remember our American history with a Thanksgiving meal once a year, we should remember to be grateful every day of our life. Our life here on earth is short and we have just a glimpse of eternity from this side. Let us also be thankful for the life that Jesus gave so we could join Him for eternity in heaven. Hallelujah!

Pick from these items for your Thanksgiving menu:

Salads: Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato, Caesar, Green Pea (these also includes dressing recipes)

Other Salad Dressings: Creamy Salad Dressing, Catalina (Red French)

Breads & Spreads : Old World Black Bread (great with Spinach Dip), Raw Flax Bread, Better Butter

Main Dishes: Universal Meatless Burger (made into loaf), Pumpkin Soup

Vegetable Sides: Skillet Brussel Sprouts, mashed potatoes, assorted raw veggies

Sides: Brown Gravy, Vegetarian Stuffing, Blender Cranberry Sauce

Desserts: Applesauce Quick Bread, Ginger Cinnamon Cookies, Basic Honey Vanilla Ice Cream

Another helpful basic recipe: Seasoned Salt

Certainly you can search through the list on the right sidebar of recipe categories, or further down, you can see the list of recipes by name.

From our house to yours, have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Pesto Sauce

Oh the joys of gifted garden produce! This time it was a large amount of basil! I knew it was time to look for a pesto recipe and this one had great promise. Tasting it was heavenly.

The only thing I needed to do was to substitute the pine nuts. They are more than $22 a pound here lately, so I've used cashews instead. I read that you can also use almonds and maybe even walnuts.

Pesto Sauce

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup pine nuts (can use other nuts)
5 whole cloves garlic
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns (or to taste)

In Vitamix: put all ingredients (except salt and pepper) in container and blend on low turning dial up to a "7" while using the tamper to get all the leaves into the blades. Stop when everything is still a little chunky, but blended well. Season to taste.

In food processor: process everything using the pulse setting, following all other instructions above.

Sun-dried tomato option: add 1/2 cup rehydrated sun-dried tomatoes to the ingredients.

Other herb/green options: Can use cilantro or parsley for part of the basil in this recipe. Can also use spinach or kale the same way. Great for stretching a small amount of basil for this recipe...still great flavor.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Almondaise - Raw Mayo!

This recipe is adapted from the book by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, called "Fit For Life II: Living Health". It is a very good substitute for mayonnaise. Great for spreading on sandwiches and in salad dressings.

I posted earlier that we use Vegenaise sometimes, but it is neither soy free nor cheap. Here is a soy free version that is better on the pocketbook. Who doesn't like some mayo now and then?

Almondaise

1/2 cup raw almonds, soaked 4 hours or more, drained, rinsed & peeled
1/2 cup water
1 small sliver garlic (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1 teaspoon (or less) seasoned salt, Spike, or salt free seasoning
2-3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
dash of cayenne (optional)
fresh ground pepper to taste (optional)
2 cups (up to 3 cups) extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil (or a blend of both)

Put prepared almonds and water in blender and blend on high speed until a thick cream forms. You may need to add more water (one tablespoon at a time) to make sure the blades move freely. Then add garlic, seasoning, lemon juice and pepper and blend briefly.

While the blender in on high (or #10 on the lower "I" or "Variable" setting on the Vitamix), remove center plug in blender lid and slowly add the oil in a thin drizzle* (I usually only get the 2 cups to blend in, but if it works for you, go ahead with the third cup). Final consistency should be like a very thick mayonnaise. Store in a canning jar (quart size or two pint size) in the refrigerator. Keeps at least a week.

* Note: The original recipe tells how one may get more oil into the blender. "When mixture refuses to accept any more oil, the oil will begin to sit in a bubble on top of the almonaise. At this point, remove the lid and continue to add oil in a thin stream, beating shallowly with a spoon so that you do not hit the moving blade. This will force more oil into the mixture and guarantee a thicker product." I don't usually try to get more oil in. It is still nice and thick for our tastes.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Almost Raw Carob Chip Cookies

Here's another recipe from the "Everyday Raw" book by Matthew Kenney that I adapted. Again, in the original recipe, he uses raw cacao powder. I use carob powder instead.

Grind your own cashews and rolled oats for the flour called for in the recipe. I used my Vitamix to blend them to flour. Measure the flours after they are ground.

Almost Raw Carob Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups cashew flour, fine ground
1 3/4 cups oat flour
1/2 cup carob powder
1/4 water
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup carob chips
optional extra carob chips

Mix all ingredients together, except carob chips. Then stir in the 1 cup carob chips. Form into 3" cookies and press a few extra chips (if desired) into the tops of the cookies. Dehydrate on screens overnight at 118 degrees. Yields about 2 dozen, more if made smaller.

These taste great warm just out of the dehydrator. They are also great after getting cold in the fridge or freezer (where we put them so a certain little girl in our house doesn't help herself to too many!). =)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Homemade Carob Chips

This is a recipe adapted from the book "Everyday Raw" by Matthew Kenney. In the original recipe he uses raw cacao powder, made from raw cacao nibs (raw chocolate).

This was a fun recipe to make. It takes a little time to get the chips made, but the effect overall was worth it. We later used them to make double carob chip cookies. Yum!

Homemade Carob Chips

(Ready to go into the dehydrator)

1 3/4 cup cashews, soaked 1-2 hours
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup carob powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in Vitamix and blend until smooth. You may need to add some water a little at a time to get the blades to move freely. Place mixture into a piping bag (I used a zipper type quart bag, and then cut a corner off) and pipe out small chips onto a teflex sheet. Dehydrate overnight at 118 degrees. Keep in refrigerator in sealed container until ready to use. Makes about 2 cups or more.

(Dehydrated carob chips)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Real food...refocus

Hello to all of you again, my friends. I want to explain my absence from blogging recently.

To say again, that my busy life has gotten in the way of regular posting, would be true... somewhat. My real reason has more to do with a different direction our food has taken. What I mean is that we have been trying to refocus on more natural and healthful eating. The one thing that stands out is that we have been eating more raw live foods. That is to say that we are not cooking, but eating more unheated foods. So recipes that are heated I am looking for similar ways to enjoy them without cooking or baking.

As you may have noticed, the recipes in the last 2 or 3 months have focused on this. I do not eat 100% raw, so that is why you still see the occasional cooked recipe. I find a balance is nice for us right now. There are still days that things get out of kilter and I find myself eating mostly cooked foods...what is interesting is that those days I don't feel as good as when I am eating mostly raw.

There is something about raw foods that give me energy. Maybe because raw foods retain their enzymes and heated foods (heated above about 105 degrees) do not. Actually, foods start to lose their enzymes when heated above 105 degrees. They are lost entirely when a food is heated above 120 degrees. That is not to say, there is no worth in cooked foods. They retain some, though not all, their vitamins and minerals, when cooked. You will find that the most healthful way to eat is through eating mostly (at least 80% or better) raw foods.

There are those that do eat a diet that is raw and still eat animal based ingredients. I still maintain that the vegan diet helps me to feel my best and eating raw helps me feel alive! I love eating this way.

It does take some preparation in the kitchen...not unlike most cooking, but when preparing raw foods, more time is helpful. Doing simple tasks that really help to set the stage for a great meal. For example, soaking seeds and nuts will help them to be more digestible. And sprouting takes time to produce some added greens for salads and such. Some recipes call for a dehydrator that uses low heat with a fan to "slow cook" a food and that takes longer than cooking or baking would.

Overall, it is fun to be in the kitchen and find recipes that are raw (or almost nearly) and enjoy them. My family is enjoying it with me. Yes, I still cook some. But, we love to find recipes, especially easy ones to replace the old cooked standbys we were using out of habit.

What are you eating out of habit? Is there an even better way to enjoy it that gives you a more alive feeling? Please comment.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Perfect Crock Pot Rice

I have had this recipe for quite a while and, like a lot of recipes I collect, it doesn't ever get made. Until one day, I think, well, I need this for a meal today anyway, why not try this method.

I don't know why I haven't tried it before. It really is good. I used brown rice and it came out soft and sticky. We like it this way. Would have worked great for homemade veggie sushi.

Perfect Crock Pot Rice

1 cup rice (brown preferred)
2 cups water
salt
coconut oil (to coat crockpot)
olive oil (optional, to stir in with rice to make it less sticky)

Rub inside of crock with coconut oil making sure to coat the bottom and sides well. Pour in water, rice and salt (as desired). Stir in olive oil, if using. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 - 2 1/2 hours.

I actually tripled the recipe for my crockpot. If you make one recipe, you should use a smaller crockpot. The day I made it, we actually went away during the time it was cooking. It may have cooked a bit longer, but it still turned out well. Less cooking may have made it less soft, but nonetheless good.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Avocados, Anyone?

Recently we were gifted a great many avocados.




Thirteen cases to be exact. Fifty avocados per case! Folks, that's 650 beautiful avocados!



What to do with so many?

1. Thank the Lord!

2. Give many away. (Our Hispanic friends were very happy!)

3. Keep about 2 cases, give or take a few.

4. Eat some fresh (on salads, in smoothies, oh, so many ideas...).

5. Preserve some by freezing...

First a note about handling...Avocados must be handled gently or your risk bruising them. When you open them later, if they've been bruised, they will have bad spots. So a tip for the store...when you buy, get them firm and ripen them up at home. This way fewer people have handled them and you can ripen them better at home.

(I kept most from ripening by putting them in the coldest part of the house. It happened to be a sealed off room in our basement. Warmer than the fridge, but not enough to ripen. I would bring up a few at a time for salads, etc. Then when I was ready to freeze some, I brought up 25 at a time to ripen in my kitchen. I put them somewhere I won't forget about them!)

First ripen them. You want to test them for firmness and you don't want them mushy. If they are soft like you cheek, they are too soft. If they are hard like your forehead, they are too hard yet. When they are about like the tip of your nose, that's about right. Check them every day, some will ripen quicker than others. You don't want to have to throw any away, because you didn't use them in time!

Wash the ripe avocados. I do this by putting a food safe soap (or even vinegar) on them, then rinsing off. Remember to handle them gently.

To open, I found the best way is to cut around the pit inside, lengthwise (top to bottom and back up). Then twist open. They should be nicely colored green (skin side) to a more yellow color toward the pit. After opening the first thing you do will be to remove the pit. I take my knife and insert the tip into the pit alongside the cut (as if I was still cutting) and then wedge it out.

(By the way, if you peel first, then pit, it will be more difficult to do.)

Then take the skin off. Sometimes it comes off in a couple pieces, sometimes the skin is very thin and will come off in many pieces. Just do your best. I find that if I hold it in one hand (cut, flat side against my hand) and peel with the other starting at the stem end, it goes better.

(At this point you can use it for anything. You could even slice it up to put into veggie sushi, sandwiches...instead of mayo, put on top of salads, add to a favorite salsa, put into a smoothie, etc.)

The best way to freeze ripe avocados is to mash them up. A potato masher works well or even a fork will do the job. It helps to have a container or bowl that has a flat bottom to it, especially if you are using a potato masher. For every 2 avocados mashed, add 1 Tablespoon lemon or lime juice and mix well. Then put into containers and freeze. They say if you use lime juice, it preserves to flavor of the avocado better, than using lemon. Either way works.

I'm hoping to further save space and lengthen freezer time by using my Food Saver vacuum sealer to preserve them longer. I'll pop the frozen large chunks out of their containers and then seal them. Then I can put them back into the freezer.

Now you have avocados ready in your freezer, for guacamole or any recipe calling for mashed avocados.

For more kitchen tips, visit Tammy's Recipes.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Wrap and Spin Tip

I've been aiming for more raw foods in our diet and any easy idea that incorporates that into my life, the better. I have plenty of filling ideas to put into sandwiches and wraps that are raw, but what to put them in? Bread, tortillas, pitas and crackers are baked. Chips, for dipping, are fried. Hmmm...something raw? Well, how about romaine lettuce?

We now regularly enjoy using romaine for wrapping around our favorite filling. Whether the filling itself is completely raw or not, doesn't matter...just knowing that I can enjoy things without heavy breads is quite nice actually.

Now I can have lettuce tacos, or hummus with veggies all wrapped up. And children love having a lettuce "boat" to fill and eat taco style. Your normal salad looks more fun all put into some leafy lettuce or romaine at lunch time. That crunch make you feel like you still ate something crispy like chips or the taco shell you miss.

Nothing beats lettuce washed and then spun dry with a salad spinner. Here's the style we have. I just wish it were bigger! If you eat any salad (and you know you should be!), then you'll need something to dry the leaves so that your dressing sticks better and your lettuce will last longer, should you have leftovers.

You can even spin them out in a clean pillowcase. You put your washed lettuce inside the pillowcase, hold closed with one hand, then spin outside (water the lawn =) or inside a shower (with the shower curtain closed around your arm while spinning). More fun and gets the job done!

You can wash and spin out any greens, herbs and sprouts the same way. Having the right tool to make your food healthier is so nice.

What tool has been helpful to you to make your eating better and easier? Please share.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Be Mindful of What You Eat

You know you're a health nut when...your grocery cart looks different than everybody else's. You buy this ____instead of that ___...

organic popcorn kernels to pop at home
...instead of pre-made & pre-flavored popcorn

rolled oats (old fashioned) to cook, bake or make into granola
...instead of oatmeal packets and a myriad of other boxed cereals

bananas
...instead of yogurt or milk for smoothies and to make ice cream

raw nuts and seeds
...instead of roasted and salted or pre-sweetened

dried beans
...instead of canned and pre-made baked beans, etc.

whole grain products
...instead of white flour products that have been bleached, devoid of nutrition

fresh and frozen whole fruits (nothing added)
...instead of juices and other sweets like: sugar, sodas, candy bars, etc.

fresh and frozen vegetables (nothing added)
...instead of tiny pieces of vegetables in soups, tv dinners, etc. with preservatives

bulk yeast
...to make fresh whole grain breads and pizza crusts at home

honey, maple syrup and stevia for homemade sweets
...instead of sugar, corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, splenda

water filters and purifiers for tap water at home
...instead of other drinks: sodas, bottled water, coffee

leafy greens to put in smoothies and salads
...instead of eating dairy or iceburg lettuce

nori seaweed and brown rice to make veggie sushi at home
...instead of going out for it

raw almonds to soak and make almond milk
...instead of buying soy or rice milk


This is just a small list, but you get the idea. Sometimes it feels funny to check out with others in line that are eating the standard American diet (S.A.D.). But I secretly think that many of them are wishing they bought the same things. Either that or they think I'm on a diet! =)

I will continue to buy food that will help me gain health and will help my family. If you haven't had major illnesses like diabetes or cancer hit your family in some way, then consider yourself blessed. But you are in the minority these days.

Please watch the "Food, Inc." documentary if you haven't already. It will change your mind about mindless eating. It will make you think twice about the mindless consuming of foods we have no idea where they come or how they are made.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Food, Inc." Thoughts

The posters advertising the documentary, "Food, Inc.", show a picture of a cow with a large upc symbol on its side. "You'll never look at dinner the same way again" it promises.

Ever since viewing the French documentary on Monsanto (click here for link to view online), I've been interested in our source of food. If you eat (we all need to) and particularly if you prepare food for others (families, children, etc.), then you need to know how food is grown, brought to market, etc.

I encourage people to watch "Food, Inc." on their own. Even if you borrow it from the library like I did, WATCH IT! It is indeed a must-see film.

I want to highlight some things I saw, heard and read while watching the "Food, Inc." documentary. The film is directed by Robert Kenner. There are some rather interesting things to note about America's meat and plant based food industry. You decide what you think.

You will hear Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation" and Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" in the documentary and others with experience to know what they are talking about.

--------------------

What we believe about how and where our food comes from are obviously two different things if you buy your food in a supermarket.

In the meat industry, farms are replaced with factories. Workers have many things to do in little time making injuries more common and decreasing quality of work overall.

There are a few corporations who are controlling a large part of the food industry.

Industry food really came from fast food demands. The kitchens of fast food brought the factory like atmosphere into the food preparations. They also needed food that tasted the same, looked the same, and was cheap. The demands from fast food, changed how things were grown and processed. They wanted few foods, but large amounts of them to sell to their customers.

"In the 1970's, the top 5 beef packers controlled only about 25% of the market. Today, the top 4 control more than 80% of the market."

Even if you're not a fast food person, the typical person is still eating food processed in this same way.

They are "building" the animals to fit what people want. Larger chicken breasts, faster growing animals, but what is sacrificed is the animals health and the workers who process them.

These processors are setting the standards for how they want their farmers to grow the meat.

"So much of our industrial food, turns out to be clever rearrangements of corn."

It costs more to grow corn, than it does to buy it, because of subsidies. Corn not only can be used directly for food (many times in very processed forms), but also fed to animals. Cattle, pork, chickens and even fish now are being fed corn.

"The average American is eating over 200 pounds of meat per person per year. And that wouldn't be possible had we not fed them this diet of cheap grain."

"Cows are not designed...to eat corn, they are designed...to eat grass. The only reason we feed them corn is because corn is really cheap and corn makes them fat quickly."

There is a link between corn fed animals and E. Coli.

"These regulatory agencies are being controlled by the very companies that they are supposed to be scrutinizing."

The bigger the processing plants, the larger the contamination problem.

FDA doesn't have the power it needs to shut down the plants that have the most contamination. By reintroducing "Kevin's Law" they could.

"If you take feed lot cattle off of their corn diet, give them grass for 5 days, they will shed 80% of the E.Coli in their gut."

Meat is being washed with ammonia to kill E. Coli.

Shopping for food becomes a dollar game, trying to get as much food for less money. The problem is that many cheap foods (heavily subsidized to stay cheap) are not as nutritious as the more nutrient dense foods, like vegetables.

Corn, soy, and wheat are commodity crops and are heavily subsidized.

"One in three Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes. Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2."

"IN 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the U.S. contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contained Monsanto's patented gene."

"...70% of processed foods in the supermarket has some genetically modified ingredient."

"The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful. They think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put out there for them to consume. Trust me it's the exact opposite."

"To eat well in this country costs more, than to eat badly."

You vote with your food dollars every day.

Buy foods in season. Buy local. Plant a garden.

Buy organic. Buy gmo free. Read labels.

Cook at home and eat together.

www.takepart.com/foodinc

If you get the DVD to watch, make sure you watch the deleted scenes and other special features. There is good information in there as well. There is so much I didn't touch on at all. All worth seeing once to decide for yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sweet and Sour Ginger Marinade for Mushrooms

I recently made this as a marinade for mushrooms. I wanted something raw or nearly raw to prepare mushrooms. It's as if you cooked them, without the cooking. Great flavor!

Sweet and Sour Ginger Marinade

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup shoyu (soy sauce)
1/4 cup honey
4 cloves fresh garlic, sliced thin or minced (about 1 Tablespoon)
1 Tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme (1/2 teaspoon dried)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put everything in a jar and shake well. Can use as a salad dressing or use to marinate vegetables, mushrooms or tofu. Makes about 1 1/4 cup.
To marinate mushrooms or vegetables, put into a jar (with tight fitting canning jar lid and ring)together and marinate for 24 hours, turning and shaking every few hours for best flavor. Great right out of the jar.
I was able to pack in a full pound of trimmed and cleaned mushrooms into a quart jar with a recipe's worth of marinade. It took a little waiting for the mushrooms to start absorbing the marinade before I could get them all in, but they finally all went in. I cut them into quarters before marinading. Use leftover marinade as salad dressing.




Thursday, January 28, 2010

May the Lord be with you...

....and also with you.

We are enjoying time with good friends out of state. There's nothing like a refill of friend time and a word of wisdom from one to another. I wish I could take them all home with me just so I could be near them more. Good friends are indeed a treasure. The greatest treasure is one that no one can take away..the wonderful gift of Christ to this soul.

When you are tired and empty emotionally, find a faithful friend to lift you up. The Lord gives a word of wisdom to me through them and I am refreshed. Our time with loved ones is not done. We expect to see more of Him when we spend Shabbat evening with those who love the Messiah!

Wait in expectation of Jesus! We must expect that the Lord will do a good work in us. Not that we "hope" (laced with doubt), but that we know He will! Lift someone else up in prayer today that the Lord lays on your heart. Don't quench the Holy Spirit's prompting in your life.

May all of you experience Jesus in a fresh and new way today.
Blessings.
Loretta

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Caesar Salad with Pine Nut Cheese


I made this salad yesterday for myself and the children. We loved it. I sent my husband to work today with the fixings to make his own today. This is so delicious. Having all the ingredients on hand yesterday (with very little else around), I knew it was the perfect time to try something different. So get out your blender and get to work.

Caesar Salad

1-2 heads Romaine lettuce, prepared for salad
1 avocado, sliced
croutons from whole grain bread*

Pine Nut Cheese

Pulse in food processor until crumbly for salad topping:
1 cup pine nuts
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon flax oil (or Udo's oil)

Caesar Salad Dressing

Blend in blender until smooth:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon Tamari sauce (soy sauce)
2 garlic cloves
juice of 1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
1 pitted date

I built our salads right on our plates. Romaine, avocado slices, pine nut cheese, croutons and then dressing drizzled over all. I ended up with extra cheese and dressing. Put any extra in tight containers in the fridge for later.

*I originally got this recipe from Bev Cook (Hallelujah Acres) at a seminar. The original recipe reads "live croutons, if available" - I didn't have this on hand, so I used a whole grain bread that I toasted and cut into small squares. If you do have some live bread available, this could be completely raw. Delicious either way.

On another note: When I made the pine nut cheese, I used my blender (I have no food processor). It came out a little more like crunchy looking nut butter. It was fine, I just had to put little clumps here and there on the salad instead. Still a great meal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dehydrator Flax Bread

This recipe comes from the Hallelujah Acres magazine, Health News. I was pleased, when I made this the other day, how well it turned out. Flexible enough to be used as a wrap if not dried too crispy. And yet can still be dried a little more for a less flexible option.

No grain, no gluten, no yeast. The term "bread" meaning more about how you use it than what it contains. High in fiber, raw, and high in omega-3 fatty acids, it helps sweep out your colon for better health. Great as a new addition in our house. I can't wait to play with the recipe a little to have other flavor options. Spread with a little raw nut butter and roll it up. Mmmm.

Flax Bread

Mix together, making sure there are no lumps of raisins sticking together and set aside:
2 cups ground flax seeds
1 cup raisins

Put into blender separately:
2 cups water
2 apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Stir all ingredients together. Let stand for about 30 minutes. Spoon 1/3 of the mixture onto a teflex sheet for your dehydrator. Spread it out with a spatula (approx. 1/8" thick, without holes). Push any raisins on the edges more into the center. Repeat with the other portions of the mixture.

Dehydrate at 105 degrees F. for at least 2 hours. Then flip bread over onto the mesh sheet and peel away the teflex sheet from the bread. Leave bread in for another 2 hours depending on how dry you like your bread (make sure there are no more wet looking areas). The thicker the bread, the longer it will take to dehydrate. Don't let it get too crispy. If left more flexible, you can use it as a wrap.

My notes: I put the mixture on parchment paper, as I don't own the teflex sheets (yet) for my Excalibur food dehydrator. I didn't follow the 1/3 mixture idea in the recipe, but rather did more "individual bread slices" amount by eyeballing it (about 4x5" size roughly). This to me was helpful, because when I went to flip them over, some needed more drying time than others. Made this way, you can get about 12 "slices" from one batch.

Initially, I thought it would have a more cinnamon raisin bread flavor. It is not that strongly flavored. It did smell good when dehydrating though. Next time I might add more cinnamon. Pleasantly sweet without overpowering in that department.

I used the darker brown flax seeds, so it looked more like a dark bread. If you used the golden flax seeds, it would be lighter in color. Hard to tell it's made out of flax seeds once you eat it. A plus for people not into the "health" aspect of this bread. Taste? Great!

Monday, January 11, 2010

New Year's Nog

Every new vegan has a few recipes they would like to change so they can still enjoy the flavors they love. Just because someone is not eating dairy products or eggs does not mean that taste can't be replicated at least somewhat. We had this recently (hence the name) and even non-vegans enjoyed the great taste of this "nog" as well.

New Year's Nog

In a blender, mix well:
2 cups almond milk
2 bananas (medium ripe)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Pour into glasses to serve and sprinkle ground nutmeg on top. (Better tasting at room temperature.) Give a toast! =)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Almond Milk

I have been looking for a good non-dairy milk recipe. My friend pointed me to one that uses almonds. It is smooth and not as almond tasting as you would think. The soaking and straining set it apart from other recipes. You may never want any other milk again!

Almond Milk

Soak for 24 hours:
1 cup almonds

Drain, rinse and add:
6 1/4 cup water

Put into blender, blending well. Strain through a nut milk bag. Put strained milk back into the blender.

Add:
10 dates (or as desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt

Blend well. Keeps for about 5 days.

Watch for the famous New Year's Day "nog" recipe forthcoming! Thanks, Kristen! =)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Salty Snack Mix

I have not made the usual party mix for many years. But I came across this "healthier" version recently and really like it. Of course, its a modified version of the original recipe borrowed from a "Hospitality" brand bite size shredded wheat cereal.

I tend to like salty things versus sweet things and I missed the party stuff, so here goes. As with any recipe like this, you have liberties with the ingredients and can change things here and there as you like. It's a basic version of roasting with fat (the oil) and flavoring (the soy sauce and garlic).

Salty Snack Mix

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Combine in a 9x13 baking pan:

8 cups bite size shredded wheat
1 cup cashews (or other nut)

Using a 1 cup liquid measuring cup (clear with 1/4 cup markings), combine:
1/4 cup oil
3 tablespoons Liquid Aminos (soy sauce*)
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Pour liquid over the cereal/nut mix and stir to coat evenly. Use a rubber spatula to remove all the liquid from your measuring cup. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes. Let cool. Store in airtight container.

* - to make a light version of soy sauce, add some water to soy sauce in a separate container in a ratio you like. This lessens the sodium content of the recipe. You can use this "lighter" soy sauce in any recipe, etc.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Simple Fudge

One thing I like is to have a few treat recipes for when the urge comes (read: cravings). You don't need to eat much if its a treat. What makes a treat a "treat" is that you eat it rarely and not everyday.

The following is a recipe for a simple fudge that we like. I actually used macadamia nut butter for this most recently, but you can use any nut butter or even peanut butter if you like. I used raw honey as it tends to be thicker than the usual store variety. The thicker your nut butter, the more solid the end product will be. Although around here, we just eat it straight from the freezer, cut into small cubes and then lick our fingers. =)

If you didn't catch the recipe here, I've posted the following:
Enjoy! =)

Simple Fudge

1 cup nut butter
1/2 cup carob powder (or cocoa)
1/2 cup honey

Mix together and freeze. Slice into small pieces for serving. Can roll in coconut or sesame seeds if desired.

Friday, January 1, 2010

In With the New...Polenta and Tamale Casserole

Often what a cook needs is some new inspiration. I know that I get into cooking ruts and end up making the same stuff over and over. When I see that, then I try to reorganize my thinking and look at some cookbook from the library or recipes already in my collection that I've never tried.

So I've looked up a recipe a friend sent me once a couple years ago (Thanks, Wendy!). It was for something else, but the filling looked good for something I was making. I've made casseroles up and they are usually good. This one is a keeper. Tamale Casserole to the rescue.

First though, you need to cook up some cornmeal as follows:

Polenta

2 cups ground yellow cornmeal
5 cups water (divided)

Put 4 cups of the water into a large saucepan (the higher the sides the better) and bring to a boil. While waiting for the water to boil, take the other 1 cup of water and combine it with the 2 cups of cornmeal mixing well and set aside (this helps to keep from getting lumpy polenta). When boiling, add the cornmeal carefully to the boiling water and whisk together until well mixed. Stir constantly. You will need to have a wooden spoon on hand for mixing once it gets thick and harder to stir. Cook until thick.

For the Tamale Casserole, you will need most or all of the recipe above. If you have extra, you can pour it into a loaf pan, cool and chill. Use this to make corn mush, by slicing (once firm) and pan fry.

Tamale Casserole

1 batch polenta recipe (above)

Saute together in small amount of oil:
2 small or 1 large onion, chopped
4 cups black beans, drained of liquid (or other beans)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano

Add:
2 cups salsa

Take bean/salsa mixture and put into a 9x13 in. ungreased casserole and top with the prepared warm polenta, smoothing out all over. Put into oven at 350 degrees F for about 20-30 minutes.

Toppings to have on the side:
shredded lettuce
vegan mayo/sour cream (if the salsa is a little on the spicy side)
nutritional yeast
hot sauce

Enjoy! I know we did!