Archive for November, 2011
Do you love pie? My husband does. He’s constantly asking me to make him pie. Since this is our first Thanksgiving with everyone in my family eating only a plant based diet my Mom (Kristy) and I decided that we would not only make him a pie but make a pie that is to die for! But you can’t make a pie without a pie crust! If you’ve never made your own pie crust before don’t worry – it’s really easy. The great thing about pie crust is that you can made a double or triple batch and freeze the extra. Just thaw the pie dough in the fridge and you’re ready to bake!
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp raw coconut crystals
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup ice water
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- In a food processor or powerful blender, combine the flour, salt and coconut crystals until well mixed.
- Add the coconut oil and pulse until you no longer see chunks of oil in the dough. It will have a consistency similar to dry sand.
- Slowly add the ice water a little at a time while pulsing the dough until it is evenly distributed and it begins to look like play dough. I needed a full 1/2 cup of ice water. Just be careful and add the water slowly. You do not want the dough to be too wet – it should not be sticky.
- Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a ball. Divide the dough in half, flatten each dough ball slightly and cover in plastic wrap. Place the dough balls in the refrigerator for about 10-15 minutes. You can also freeze the dough and this point for later use.
- Place a sheet of wax paper on a smooth surface. Remove one of the dough balls from the refrigerator and place on the wax paper. Place another sheet of wax paper on top. Using your rolling pin gently roll your dough out into a circle. The dough should be wider than the pie plate, about 11″ in diameter.
- Remove the top layer of wax paper and carefully pick up the dough and flip it over onto your pie plate (as close to the center as you can manage), remove the last layer of wax paper and gently mold the dough into the plate. If your dough starts to crack it might be too cold, let it warm up a few minutes and then try again.
- Using a fork, poke a bunch of little holes in the bottom and sides of your dough. This will prevent air bubbles from forming and help prevent the dough from shrinking.
- Trim any overhanging dough, leaving about 1/2 inch extra around the edge.
- Place another sheet of wax paper on top of the dough and fill with your weight of choice. I used dried azuki beans but you can use any kind of dried beans or rice. I used about 1 1/2 cups of beans. Just make sure the bottom of your pie is completely covered.
- Place your crust in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, remove the beans, and bake again for another 5 minutes. The crust should just start to brown around the edges. Let your crust cool completely before adding your filling. This step helps to prevent a soggy bottom crust once you add a filling to the pie.
Makes 1 pie bottom and top.
Serving size is 1/8 of both the top and bottom crusts.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 378.5, Cal. from Fat: 246, Total Fat: 27.5g, Sat. Fat: 25.5g, Carbs: 29g, Fiber: 5g, Sugars: 0g, Protein: 3.5g, Sodium: 2mg, Chol: 0mg
This recipe makes a traditional top and bottom pie crust. Once you add your filling to the pre-baked bottom crust, simply remove the other dough ball from the fridge. Place the dough ball between 2 sheets of wax paper and gently roll out into a circle slightly bigger than your pie pan. Place the flattened dough on top of the filling, press around the outer edges to seal and gently pierce the top crust with a fork (I use a cookie cutter to cut out fun shapes). Bake according to your specific recipe instructions.
I have often been accused of wanting to put pumpkin into everything. I have to say that it’s probably true. Why not? Pumpkin is the best. It’s low in calorie, high in fiber and full of nutrients. It tastes great with cinnamon and other spices but is neutral enough to sneak into other things so those vegetable haters you might have in your family won’t even notice.
Other than the slight color difference you may not even notice the pumpkin in these rolls. The pumpkin flavor is very subtle and it keeps the bread moist and chewy. The herbs lightly scent the dough and the pumpkin seeds add a nice crunch.
With the holidays fast approaching these rolls with their delicate flavor will be a great addition to any menu plan.
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 tsp raw honey or coconut nectar
- 1 packet yeast
- 1/2 cup unrefined, cold-pressed, extra virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, room temperature
- 1/3 cup raw coconut crystals
- 4 1/2 – 5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp rosemary
- 1/2 cup dry roasted shelled pumpkin seeds (or you can toast raw shelled pumpkin seeds in a dry skillet on the stove)
- sunflower seed oil to oil a large bowl,the baking pans and to brush the tops of the rolls
- Oil a large bowl and 3 9 inch round non stick baking pans.
- In a large bowl combine the warm water with the honey. Sprinkle the yeast over the water. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan on the stove or in a small glass bowl in the microwave. Stir it into the bowl with the yeast.
- Stir in the pumpkin, sugar, salt, thyme, rosemary and 1 cup flour. Mix until smooth.
- Mix in the pumpkin seeds and 3 1/2 cups more of the flour, 1 cup of flour at a time. Mix in additional flour only if the dough is too sticky to knead.
- On a floured surface knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 4-5 minutes.
- Place the dough into the oiled bowl and cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap.
- Place in a warm spot and let rise until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen roll into 2-3 inch balls and place close together into the baking pans.
- Brush lightly with oil, cover and place in a warm place to rise 1 hour.
- Remove towel or plastic wrap and place in the oven preheated to 400 degrees.
- Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and let cool 5 minutes or so before removing from the pan.
- Serve warm.
Makes 24 rolls.
Serving size 1 roll.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 102, Cal. from Fat: 63, Total Fat: 7g, Sat. Fat: 4g, Carbs: 7.6g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: 2g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 66mg, Chol: 0mg
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Thanksgiving dinner without Green Bean Casserole. Now I may or may not be the person that eats all the fried onions off the casserole before dinner even starts. I also might be the person who picks the pecans off the pie. But getting back on track, this green bean casserole is delicious and you won’t find any cans of unhealthy soup in this recipe. I hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving staple as much as my family does. Enjoy!
- 8 cups cooked cut green beans
- 2 1/2 cups Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 20-25 Onion Rings (Amount will depend on the size of the rings you use. I used smaller rings for this recipe and ended up needing just under 30 rings.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix green beans and soup together in a 3 quart casserole dish.
- Place in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with onion rings. Place back in the oven for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
Makes 12 servings.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 92, Cal. from Fat: 21, Total Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 14g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 4g, Protein: 3.5g, Sodium: 170mg, Chol: 0mg
Leftover casserole can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
“I like the things I like, I’m very sure of that. I needn’t ever change because I’m happy where I’m at.” This is a line from one of my kids favorite books – Picky Mrs. Pickle. Mrs. Pickle likes what she likes and doesn’t bother to try new things until her niece makes her an offer she can’t refuse. When Mrs. Pickles finally tries new things she realized that her favorite things aren’t her favorite anymore and the more she tries things the more new things she likes.
More often than I like, I sometimes tend to act like Mrs. Pickles. Before changing to a healthy eating lifestyle I wouldn’t touch wheat bread with a ten foot pole. Don’t even suggest 5, 7 or 9 grain. How about zero grain?! Sweet potatoes – no thanks. I liked what I liked and I didn’t want to try new things. Then I realized how unhealthy my eating habits were and I needed to venture out and try new things. Now the only bread I eat is whole grain – the more grains the merrier and sweet potatoes are one of my favorite vegetables.
When my family switched to a strict plant-based diet one of the things I came across in my research was that the vitamin B-12 was primarily found in animal products and fortified breakfast cereals and we would need to either take a supplement or use nutritional yeast. I believe my first thought when I read that was *cue my Mrs. Pickles moment* “YUCK! Who wants to eat nutritional yeast?”. I didn’t even know what nutritional yeast was but it sounded gross.
Turns out nutritional yeast is freaking yummy! Well, not by itself so much but when mixed into other things. It has great cheesy flavor and is popular in vegan faux cheese dishes. I’ve always liked croutons and I can honestly say these are now my most favorite crouton EVER. My family and I sprinkle these on almost every meal we eat. And because breadcrumbs are pretty much just crushed croutons these are great to use on salads, pastas, mixed into burgers and ‘meat’ loafs.
Nutritional yeast can usually be found in most natural food stores over by the protein powders. You can also order it online if you have trouble finding it in stores.
Please don’t have a Mrs. Pickles moment. Give this fabulous crouton/breadcrumb recipe a try and maybe you’ll find you have a new favorite too!
- 10 pieces of bread (I used a whole wheat bread from a local bakery but any type of whole grain or gluten free bread will work.)
- 10 heaping tbsp nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp garlic salt (if you prefer a less salty crouton use garlic powder instead)
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1/4 cup olive oil or Garlic Gold Oil
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with non stick foil (optional step) and place your slices of bread in a single layer on the sheet.
- Drizzle olive oil over the pieces and place in the oven for about 10 minutes (flipping halfway through) or until the bread is crisp ALL the way through.
- Remove from oven and let the bread cool completely.
- Once the bread is cool, place in a large plastic bag and using a rolling pin or meat tenderizer crush the pieces of bread until you have your desired crouton consistency. (I like mine to be a fine consistency – more like parmesan cheese but if you like larger pieces don’t crush the pieces of bread as much.)
- Pour the crushed pieces of bread into a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. (Please note that if you have larger pieces you’ll want to cut down on the amount of nutritional yeast)
- Stir well and use on salads, pastas or in any of your favorite recipes.
Makes 4-5 cups finely crushed breadcrumbs/croutons.
Serving size 2 tbsp.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 37.5, Cal. from Fat: 16.5, Total Fat: 2g, Sat. Fat: 0g, Carbs: 3.5g, Fiber: 1g, Sugars: .5g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 391.5mg, Chol: 0mg
Leftover croutons/breadcrumbs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Stuffed cabbage rolls are one of those dishes that take a little time to prepare but once it’s put together you can pop it in the oven and move on to the next item on your agenda while it bubbles away. The finished product is so rewarding too. Soft bundles of filling in tender cabbage leaves. Tomato-y sauce oozing all over it. Mmm good comfort food. Nutritious and filling, you might want to make a double batch. They are so low in fat and calories that you might want seconds.
- 8 – 10 large cabbage leaves
- 3/4 cup quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp dried parsley or 6 tbsp fresh
- 1 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 3 tsp fresh, divided
- 1/4 cup dry white wine or white wine vinegar (not distilled white vinegar)
- 1 tbsp raw coconut crystals
- 1 25 ounce jar of crushed tomatoes, divided
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cut out the thick part of the stems from the cabbage leaves, about 2 inches depending on the size of the leaf. Blanch the leaves 2 at a time in the boiling water, about a minute until just softened enough to be able to roll when filled. Lay the leaves out on paper towels to drain.
- Add the quinoa and broth to a medium size sauce pan and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook 15 minutes (or according to the package directions of your quinoa) until the quinoa is translucent and the germs ( little spiral tails) have separated from the seeds. Stir to fluff and set aside.
- Place the carrots, celery and onion in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground.
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet. Add the vegetable mixture and 1/2 tsp salt to the pan and sauté until tender about 5 minutes. Add 1 clove of the garlic and sauté another minute or 2. Stir in the parsley and 1 tsp thyme. Transfer the mixture to the pan with the cooked quinoa and add 1 cup of the crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine.
- Add a little water to the pan the vegetables were sautéed in and wipe out with a paper towel. Place the pan back on medium heat and add the remaining tbsp of oil. Add the remaining clove of garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Hold the pan away from the heat and add the wine or wine vinegar. Place back on the heat and simmer until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Add the remaining crushed tomatoes, 1/2 tsp salt and the coconut crystals to the pan and simmer on low for a couple of minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Place the blanched cabbage leaves one at a time on a flat surface. Spoon about 3 tbsp of the vegetable quinoa mixture towards the stem end of the leaf (the amount of filling will depend on the size of the leaf).
- Roll up, tucking in the sides as you roll and place seam side down in a baking dish (an 8 x 8 square or an 8 x 11 oblong or similar size).
- The rolls should fit snugly together in a single layer in the dish to help keep them rolled up as they bake. Stuff the remaining leaves until the mixture is used up.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls, sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Spoon a couple of the deliciously filled bundles onto a plate and serve.
Makes 8 – 10 rolls depending on the size of the cabbage leaves.
Serving Size 2 rolls.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 389, Cal. from Fat: 117, Total Fat: 12.5g, Sat. Fat: 1.5g, Carbs: 53g, Fiber: 12g, Sugars: 19g, Protein: 11g, Sodium: 580mg, Chol: 0mg
I like to serve the cabbage rolls with mashed, roasted or parsley potatoes. Both are classic comfort foods and seem to pair well together.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
We love pancakes around my house and not just for breakfast. Sometimes Caleb and Keegan will ask for them for lunch and I’ve even been known to eat leftovers cold from the refrigerator with a little peanut butter for dinner. Pancakes aren’t the most nutritious food in the recipe box and while I would add yummy things like pumpkin or applesauce, etc. the kids prefer them plain. That led me to making them with a couple of ingredients to pick up the protein count so now we can have our “pancakes and eat them too”.
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tbsp plain unsweetened protein powder (I use Nutribiotic vegan plain rice protein)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 1 tbsp ground flax seed
- 3 tbsp water
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4- 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
- 2 tbsp sunflower oil plus a little to brush on the griddle
- 1 tbsp coconut crystals or raw honey
- In a small bowl combine the ground flax and water. Stir and set aside for 5 minutes.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, protein powder, baking powder and cinnamon (if using).
- Add to the bowl with the flax mixture the vanilla, milk, oil and sugar. Stir and then add it to the dry mixture.
- Whisk together until mixed. If the batter appears too thick add a little more milk.
- Heat a griddle over medium heat and brush with a little oil.
- When the griddle is hot pour 1/4 cup of the batter for each pancake onto the griddle in even circles.
- Flip when bubbles appear and continue to cook on the other side until the steam stops or the cake is golden brown.
- Top with your favorite topping and dig in.
Makes 12 pancakes.
Serving size 2 pancakes.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 153, Cal. from Fat: 55, Total Fat: 6g, Sat. Fat: .5g, Carbs: 18g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 1.5g, Protein: 6.5g, Sodium: 450mg, Chol: 0mg
This recipe can be doubled for a larger crowd or to have leftovers that can be easily frozen and reheated for a quick breakfast on another day. Just cool the pancakes on a wire rack and place in a zip top freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to 6 months. To reheat just place pancakes on a plate and microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on your microwave.
We had one of those rare rainy days here in sunny southern California the other day. It rained all day so there were no outdoor activities and my grandchildren weren’t feeling well so they stayed home. I didn’t have anyone to play with except my dog Leo but even he was curled up in a ball with his nose under his paw. There was nothing for it but to make a cup of tea and sit down with a good book. The book I was reading was set in New Orleans and I knew that meant there were going to be references to food. I did ok reading about the beignets, gumbo, king cakes and Barq’s root beer but when muffuletta was mentioned I was done in. There was this Italian deli in Grand Rapids, MI near where I used to work that made the best muffuletta. I had to have one, minus the salami and cheese of course. The best part of this sandwich is the olive relish so I knew it would be great anyway and it was. After eating this sandwich I was “singing in the rain”.
For the olive relish
- 1/4 cup green olives
- 1/4 cup black olives
- 1/4 cup roasted red pepper
- 1 pepperoncini (I didn’t have any so I used half a banana pepper)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
For the sandwich
- 1 eggplant
- 1-2 large portabella caps, stems and gills removed
- 1 large or 2 small zucchini
- sea salt (optional)
- 2 tomatoes
- 8 slices whole grain bread
- 4 slices or 1/2 cup shredded Daiya cheese – mozzarella style
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)
For the olive relish
- Place all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you have a coarsely ground mixture. Don’t over process into mush. Set aside.
For the sandwich
- Slice the eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini into thin slices. I had a medium sized eggplant. I cut off the top, bottom and sides to square it up and then cut 4 slices with some left over (save and use in another recipe). I had a large zucchini that I cut it in half before slicing so the pieces would fit on the bread giving me 8 thin slices. You will want about 8 thin slices of the mushrooms as well.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Brush the vegetables with 1-2 tbsp of oil and place on the pan. You can sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt if desired but go lightly as the olive relish is salty too. Grill until tender and you have lightly browned grill marks on the vegetables. Unless you have a large grill pan you will probably have to do the veggies in batches. Keep the grill pan hot but remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside, covered, to keep warm.
- Brush the bread with the remaining olive oil. Place 4 slices on the grill pan oiled side down. Top each piece of bread with 1 slice eggplant, 2 slices of mushroom, 2 slices of zucchini, 1 slice or 2 tbsp of the cheese, 1 or 2 tomato slices and 2 tbsp of the olive relish. Drizzle with the balsamic vinegar if using and then cover with the remaining slices of bread, oiled side up.
- Grill on each side until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.
- Cut in half to serve and enjoy your veggie muffulatta.
The olive relish makes about 1 cup of which a 1/2 cup will be used for the sandwiches. Recipe is for 4 sandwiches, serving size 1 sandwich and the nutrition will vary depending on the bread and cheese that you use.
Store the leftover olive relish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. The relish is great mixed into other dishes. I mixed some in with whole wheat couscous and diced tomatoes for a quick tabouleh style salad.
I’m a horrible procrastinator. I’ll plan out what recipes I want to make for the week, buy all the necessary items and by the end of the week I’m left with a bunch of produce that is about to go bad because I didn’t make any of the things I planned. That’s usually when I throw everything into a big pot, call it soup and serve it for dinner.
Weeks ago, at a little store in downtown Oceanside called Cream Of The Crop, I found a bottle of unrefined peanut oil. I LOVE using peanut oil but finding it in it’s unrefined state is not easy. I had glorious plans of all the recipes I was going to make with this peanut oil (I even bought 2 bottles!). That was weeks ago and I still haven’t even opened the bottle. Cue the trombone – Wah wah wah wah!
Well last night I finally got my butt in gear! Have you ever had sizzling rice soup? They take the crispy rice from the bottom of the bowl and use it in a delicious soup base. I got around to thinking that maybe the crispy rice would taste good in a stir fry. And since we all know I have a love affair with my hand chopper why not throw in some finely chopped veggies and a splash of soy sauce!
I don’t often ‘pig out’ for dinner but last night I went whole hog! After the first round, I went back and made a second bowl and I didn’t even share! My kids loved this dish. The broccoli was so finely chopped that they didn’t even notice it in there. The peanut oil added a great flavor to the brown rice and the touch of soy sauce completed the meal. Did I mention I had this for lunch today and I’m predicting I’ll probably be having it for dinner too? Obsessed, yeah, probably.
- 2 cups cooked short grain brown rice (you can use a medium grain rice but short grain works best), warm or room temperature *see notes
- 3 1/2 tbsp peanut oil, divided
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or tamari (use a gluten free version if needed)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 small onion, finely diced
- 1 cup very finely chopped broccoli
- 1 cup very finely chopped carrot
- Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add 3 tbsp peanut oil to the skillet and once the oil is heated, rock the skillet back and forth to evenly coat the bottom.
- Add the rice to the skillet in an even layer. Let the rice sit, untouched, for about 4-5 minutes. The rice will sizzle but it won’t burn.
- Use a wooden spoon and gently push the rice away from the center of the skillet towards the outer edges.
- Add the remaining oil to the center of the pan. Add the onions and garlic to the oil and let them cook for about 1 minute.
- Add the broccoli and carrots to the pan and stir to combine. Now add the soy sauce and let cook for 1 minute. The steam from the soy sauce actually steams the veggies.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately. This dish is also good served cold.
Makes approximately 4 cups.
Serving size 2 cups.
Nutrients per serving: Calories: 513.5, Cal. from Fat: 214.5, Total Fat: 24.5g, Sat. Fat: 3.5g, Carbs: 63.5g, Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 4.5g, Protein: 8g, Sodium: 759mg, Chol: 0mg
Leftover fried rice can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. The leftovers are also really good cold. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 2 months in a freezer safe container.
You can mix and match the vegetables that are used in this recipe. Cauliflower rice, zucchini or even napa cabbage are a great addition to this meal. Just make sure that whatever vegetables you use that they are chopped very fine. If not you’ll be left with undercooked vegetables. If you want to add larger vegetables make sure they are cooked through before adding to the fried rice. For my husband’s meal I added in cooked edamame and it was a great addition.
Make sure your rice is well done. You do not want to use uncooked rice in this recipe. The drier your rice the better.