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.

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.

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:


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

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!