What happens when you pair a health-conscious, vegan mother of two who has her own diet business with a husband and children who sometimes have other ideas? This blog is a chronicle of my journey to eat and live in a life-affirming way!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Decadent Almond Butter Cups

This week's posting pairs two things near and dear to my heart- almond butter and chocolate!!! When I was a little girl, I used to adore Reeses Peanut Butter Cups so when I came across a recipe for Peanut Butter Cups by the author and chef Christina Pirello on Chloe Jo's The Girly Girl Army, I decided to make some with a few twists of my own!!!
Almond Butter Cups
2 cups organic, unsweetened chocolate chips
1 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons agave nectar
Dash of sea salt

Place cup cake liners in a muffin pan. Melt the chocolate chips over a double broiler. If you don't have a double broiler, place a glass bowl on top of a pot with boiling water underneath. Continue stirring while heating up the chocolate until smooth.

In a separate bowl, mix the almond butter, agave nectar and sea salt.

Pour about 3/4-1 cm of chocolate into the muffin tin and then spoon the almond butter mixture on top in a thin layer. Top with another 1/2-3/4 cm of chocolate until all of almond butter covered.

Place in freezer and let harden well. Take out and enjoy- yum!!! The only problem with these is you want to each them all!!! My daughter, husband and I all devoured them!
Thank you Chloe Jo and Christina Pirello for the inspiration.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Veggie Burgers for the Whole Family

So, you readers out there know that I am all about doubling efforts and not creating two dinners- one for me (who eats raw) and one for the rest of my family. This veggie burger recipe is one of my favorites because you can use anything under the kitchen sink and really clean out your fridge and also you can make one entree and serve it both cooked and raw, satisfying all elements in the family!

Today I had some broccoli, a tomato and some parsely I needed to get rid of so just threw that in. There really is not a veggie that wouldn't work so don't be scared to experiment a bit! I made mine on Manna bread and made my husband's cooked one on an Ezekiel sprouted bun.
Veggie Burgers Two Ways (Raw & Cooked)
1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup flax seeds (ground)
1/2 cup brazil nuts (ground) *you can also use walnuts, almonds, or pecans
1 tomato
4-6 sundried tomatos (soaked to soften, use the water too!)
1/4 cup grated carrots
Handful of parsely
1/2 large red pepper (or 1 whole small one)
3-4 stalks of broccoli (I just used head)
Dash of Nama Shoyu (or other soy sauce variety)
1/2 squeezed lemon
1-2 cloves of garlic (I prefer just one but go for it if you like garlic!)

For toppings (optional): sliced tomato, lettuce, Dayia vegan cheese, veganaise "mayonaise" or mustard Raw "Cheddar Cheese" (see below)

Mix all of the above into a food processor and process until smooth and well mixed together. Shape into patties... and, here comes the fun part!

Raw ones- shape into patties in the dehydrator and dehydrate at 110 degrees for 4-6 hours turning over to make sure both sides done. Serve on a raw bread such as Loveforce bread, a sprouted, organic bread such as Manna bread or Ezekiel or even a collard leaf. I use either the Manna or the Loveforce bread and love to pile mine with sliced tomato and lettuce and my yummy raw cheddar cheese (see below) but accessorize yours as you wish!

Cooked ones- shape into patties and wrap with seran wrap and put in the fridge to "set". When you are ready to cook them, place them in a pan with olive oil and cook on both sides until done. Serve on Ezekiel burger buns. If you want a "cheeseburger," then put the Dayia cheddar cheese on top. These I serve with a slice of tomato, lettuce and a side or organic ketchup and mustard for the kids and my husband to doctor up as they wish!

Raw "Cheddar Cheese"
1 cups raw macadamian nuts (pre-soaked for 4 hours)
Olive oil (add slowly until achieve desired consistency)
Dash of sea salt
Squeeze of 1/2 a lemon
2-4 slices red pepper
Healthy dash of Nama Shoyu soy sauce
Optional: Add Rawmesan (includes Nutritional Yeast)

Add all in the processor adding olive oil slowly until achieve desired consistency. This cheese is delicious and can be used on your burger or even as a topping for broccoli or cauliflower or any other yummy veggie!

Tortilla Chips Without the Guilt!

The chips you buy in the grocery store, even if they are the "healthy" variety are still processed and packaged and sit on the shelves for weeks (if not months!) So, why don't you just make them! Don't have the time? This "guiltless tortilla chip" recipe literally takes under 5 minutes so is well-worth the effort. And, best yet, you always have chips left over to sprinkle over salads, serve with dip or serve as a side to sandwiches or burgers another day! Being a busy working mom, I am all for minimal effort for maximum gain!

Trick number one is to always have a stocked pantry and fridge. We keep Ezekiel tortillas in our freezer at all times. And, when I want to make these chips (or a wrap or quesadillas or something for the kids), I just take them out for a few minutes to defrost. Next, I cut them into triangular wedges and put them on a baking tray with a healthy drizzle of olive oil and dash of sea salt and that is it! Put them in the oven and cook for 350 degrees turning over until both sides toasty and brown. Optional would be to sprinkle them with parmesan, or a vegan cheddar or mozzarella cheese such as Dayia for a more "nacho-y" effect!
Today, I just made them plain and served them alongside a tomato soup for my daughter. Was the soup "homemade"? No, it was Pacifica from a box but we moms can't always do everything!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pasta with Pesto for the Whole Family!

Do you have a problem reconciling the food you prepare for yourself with what you prepare for yourself? Whether you are on a raw food diet, are eating gluten-free or just trying to avoid carbohydrates, I love these pesto dishes! Not only are they dairy and gluten-free but they are packed with iron, calcium, Omega 3's and other vital nutrients.
Also, with this recipe, not only will you get 2 dinners for the time it took to make one, but you will also have leftover pesto to put over vegetables or on a sandwich for another day. I prepare the raw version for myself with the zucchini "noodles" and the regular pasta version for the children. So here goes:

Raw Pesto Sauce
Basil leaves- approximately 6-9 stalks
2 handfuls of fresh spinach
1 1/2 cups cashews (preferably pre-soaked)
Pumpkin seeds (1/2 cups)
1/4 cup olive oil
4-6 tablespoons hemp seed oil (optional)
Blue-Manna capsule (open out of capsule)

Combine all of the ingredients in a food processor and blend! That's it. Serve with:

Raw Option: Zucchini "Noodles" (shown above, made with spirulizer or grater)
or with
Tinkyada Rice Pasta
Either way you serve the pesto sauce is dairy and gluten-free and delicious!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Homemade Walnut Crusted Seitan

For anyone who lives in New York City and has been to Candle Cafe knows that their Pecan-Crusted Seitan is divine! My children and husband are nearly addicted to it and, having gotten tired spending a fortune on take-out, I decided to take matters into my own hands and make my own!

So, out came the Candle Cafe Cookbook, which I find so inspiring when I need some fresh ideas and do not know what to make! Here is my take on the crusted seitan. Instead of pecans, I used walnuts and I made a few changes here and there.

The best thing about making this dish is that you cook one time and get two dinners out of it! One night I served 'Walnut Crusted Seitan' with a side of fresh corn and the next night I made 'Seitan bugers.' Although I still need to prefect my recipe and, apparently my crew thought mine had too much rosemary, overall everybody loved it!!! Practice makes perfect and it is fun to experiment.

See below for both easy recipes!!!

Walnut-Crusted Seitan

2 packages seitan
Olive oil
For marinade:
- 4 sundried tomatos (soaked so soft)
- 1 tomato (roma preferably- in a pinch you can use organic ketchup)
- 1/4 cups basalmic vinegar
- 1/4 cups orange juice
- 1/4 cups umeboshi vinegar
- 1/4 cups soy sauce (preferably Nama Shoyu brand)
- 2 garlic gloves (minced)
- 3 stalks of fresh parsley (minced)
- 2 tbsp tarragon (preferably fresh but dried ok)
- 2 tbsp rosemary (preferably fresh but dried ok)
For crust:
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- Healthy dash of sea salt
- 2 cups coursely ground walnuts
- 2 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

Blend all of the ingredients for the marinade in a blender. Soak the seitan in the mixture overnight or for at least 4 hours. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl and dip the seitan in it covering it on all sides.

Heat up the olive oil in an omlet pan and cook seitan on all sides until crispy. Place on a paper towel to get off excess oil and serve. Delicious!!!!!!!!

Seitan Burgers
2-4 Ezekiel hamburger buns (or some other grainy choice)
Leftover seitan
Onions sauteed in olive oil
Sliced avocado
Sliced tomato
Vegenaise, mustard or organic ketchup

Place all of the ingredients on top of the warm bun and serve. Delicious!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Blueberry Pancakes Without the Guilt!

So, this is what I had for breakfast today before going to the gym: Raw Blueberry Pancakes with organic maple syrup and fresh blueberries!

Hope you will excuse my long absence but I have been taking time to do the really important things this summer like spending time with family and just recharging my own batteries. Now that I feel fully charged and up and running, I hope you will tune into my posts again!

So, I now that I have my two children settled into school, I have been cooiing (or non-cooking) up a storm. Yesterday I made almond milk and had so much almond pulp (and leftover blueberries) and, you know how much I dislike wasting food, so I decided to make my raw blueberry pancake. They are so easy to make, delicious, and a great way to power up your day!

Raw Blueberry Pancakes
1 cups almond pulp (or ground up almonds, walnuts or any nut really)
1/2 cup ground flax
1/2 cup ground chia seeds
2 tbsp hemp powder
1 tbsp maca
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp coconut butter (optional)
Dash or organic, alcohol-free vanilla extract (optional)
Dash of cinnamon
2 tbsp agave nectar
Almond milk (just enough to get mixture a good consistency)
Blueberries, strawberries or bananas (to put on top)

Mix all of the ingredients into a cuisinart or blender. Mix in the berries or other fruit by hand. Shape into pancakes and place into the dehydrator for 6-8 hours and turn them over and dehyrate for an additional 4-6 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator then you can cook the pancakes on low heat in an omlet pan on the stove (technically they would not be raw, though.)

Here are the pancakes in the dehydrator:

When you have finished you will have a decadent, delicious breakfast and feel great and powered up for your day!