Tasty Tuesday Series Part III – The Vegan Mother’s Day Feast

It’s still Tasty Tuesday, sick of me yet? Well you won’t be when I give you the recipes from our Mother’s Day Feast at the end of this post ūüėČ

Vegan Mother’s Day Feast

Frosty Blackberry Lemonade with Mint

Green Salad with Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Avocado and Slivered Almonds (Inspired by this dish at the VVP)

Handmade Artisan Boule

Baked Millet Risotto

Sauteed Green Beans with Radishes (not pictured)

Maple Glazed Seitan Almond Neat Loaf

Orange Infused Chocolate Truffle Tart

Sounds good doesn’t it? This Mother’s Day I wanted to treat myself a special celebration feast. Not just a celebration for being a mother, which is notable on its own, but a celebration of self. You see, I switched my family to a whole-foods-plant-based diet in January, 129 days ago. My first post¬†describes why I went plant-based. Here is a short re-cap. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an¬†Autoimmune Inflammatory Bowel Disease¬†6 years ago. Since that point I have been sick, sometimes so sick that I would have 30 or more bloody bowel movements a day. I couldn’t leave the house without an adult diaper or make it to a bathroom in the house on time. I had constant stomach pain, it would hurt so bad I would often cry.¬†¬†I was on all kinds of medications, many of which were very damaging to my body and had horrible side effects, including a 100 lb weight gain. In addition to that I also had developed some auto-immune skin conditions including facial swelling called angioedema.

Now for the good part of the story. Since switching to a 100% vegan diet, I have completely resolved all my health issues.¬†I am not currently taking any prescription drugs of any kind and my disease is in complete remission. I was only reminded that I even had an autoimmune disease last week when I didn’t sleep enough and had way too much stress going on. My stomach rebelled a little, but nothing at all like it used to. ¬†Diapers and prescriptions did not get involved! There is an important health trio of eating the right foods, getting enough sleep, and keeping stress in check.

My quality of life has drastically improved. I had forgotten what it felt like to feel well, it’s a wonderful feeling. So I wanted to celebrate that, cause I’m pretty dang proud of myself for making myself well. ¬†Here is the plant-based feast I created for myself. (My husband usually prepares the Mother’s Day meal, but was a bit daunted by a plant-based feast, so he watched the children while I spent the afternoon cooking. It was divine (really). The reason some of the photos are in the back of a car is that when we were about to sit down to eat (and I was about to take some photos of said feast) is that I found out there was someone who needed a little mother’s day feast on their table too, so I split our meal in half and did a delivery. Good thing I always make too much food!

Frosty Blackberry Lemonade: from my post for the VVP, using fresh blackberries that were blended with water then strained to remove seeds) instead of strawberries, recipe here

Green Salad with Roasted Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Avocado and Slivered Almonds

2 Sweet Potatoes

2 Beets, tops removed

1 Diced Avocado

Beet greens from above beets

4 C. Romaine or baby lettuces

Red Wine Vinegar

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Salt  & Pepper

Garlic Clove

1/4 C. Slivered Almonds

Method: rinse and scrub sweet potatoes and beets. Leave skins on, Bake on a tray lined with parchment paper in 350 degree oven for 60 minutes or until soft. Let cool. Cut garlic clove in half and rub clove all over the inside of your salad bowl, save clove for another use. Pull skin from sweet potato (it will fall right off), dice sweet potatoes and beets into 1/2 inch cubes. Place lettuce, beet greens, beets, sweet potato, avocado and slivered almonds in salad bowl. Drizzle with a quick drizzle of the olive oil and the vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Toss lightly and serve.

Handmade Artisan Boule: recipe here

Baked Millet Risotto: click here for my recipe

Sauteed Green Beans with Radishes

1 lb fresh green beans, washed and trimmed

1 red onion, cut into slivers

1 bunch radishes, washed with greens removed

1 garlic clove minced – from above salad, saved for another use ūüėČ

Method: Water saute onion and green beans over high heat, adding a couple of tablespoons of water as needed, add radishes and garlic, cook until for a few more minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper to taste

Maple Glazed Seitan Almond Neat Loaf: click here for my recipe

Orange Infused Dark or “Milk” Chocolate Truffle Tart

1 bag (or 2 cups) dairy free dark chocolate chips

1 cup canned coconut milk, warmed till steaming

1-2 packages shelf stable mori-nu lite silken tofu

1 drop wild orange essential oil or 1/2 t. orange extract

6 graham cracker sheets (omit or use substitute for gluten-free version)

2 T. tahini

Method:¬†Process graham cracker sheets with tahini in food processor. Press into bottom of 8 inch springform pan. May be a bit dry and crumbly, that’s okay! The moist filling will adhere to it nicely! Place chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Pour steaming coconut milk over chocolate chips. Stir until melted. In the blender, put¬†1 or 2 blocks of mori-nu silken tofu depending on your chocolate intensity level, 1 block makes a super intense dark chocolate truffle dessert. 2 blocks makes a more mild “milk” chocolate truffle¬†dessert. Pour melted chocolate over tofu, add 1 drop orange essential oil or the orange extract. Blend until thoroughly combined. Pour over graham cracker crust. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight before serving. Remove from springform pan and garnish with chocolate shavings and orange zest strips if desired. Makes 8-16 servings depending on your tolerance for an ultra-rich dessert.

Virtual Vegan Potluck – Beverage: Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

It’s Somer Saturday and the Virtual Vegan Potluck! I am so proud of Annie at anunrefinedvegan.com¬†for putting this shindig together! Isn’t she the best!?!

You can’t get a much more refreshing combo than strawberries, lemons and mint. Somehow together they make a magical frosty drink that is tart with just a hint of sweetness, Most of the sweetness comes from the strawberries, just the way I like it! This is also lovely because it comes together in no time.

Frosty Strawberry Lemonade with Mint

 3 C. fresh or frozen strawberries

1/4 C. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 long strip of lemon zest (use your vegetable peeler) and go around the lemon once to get a strip

5-6 mint leaves

1 packet Truvia, or natural sweetener to taste

1 C. water (2 C. if using frozen strawberries)

2 C. ice (omit if using frozen strawberries)

Blend in high-powered blender until all bits are obliterated. Share, because this is a potluck, or not ūüėČ

I drank most of it down then remembered I might need a photo of the finished product. If making for a real potluck, quadruple the recipe, just not all at once, because your blender will send debris of strawberry and lemon everywhere. Serve in a fancy punch bowl adorned with lemon and strawberry wedges.

Go back to see what awesome beverage Bacon is Not an Herb has brought to the table.

Go forward to see something amazingly refreshing at Tearoom Delights

To start at the beginning of the potluck, click here. Enjoy the virtual feast!!!

And a last but not least thanks to our host website: VeganBloggersUnite!

Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate

Jen here, again!¬† So, I’m just learning to “can” things using the boiling water bath method.¬† I inherited my mother-in-law’s canner last year, along with several dozen jars.¬† And, like I always do, I bought a book to help me learn what to do, Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine (2006).¬† I figured I’d jump in with both feet this winter, and have been trying several different recipes to become familar with the process.¬† I started with grape jelly from juice (and learned I need to use a much bigger pot to boil my mixture in to get it to gel right).¬† I also did a Meyer lemon marmalade using a recipe from The Paupered Chef, but checked techniques with my Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which has several marmalade recipes (including Orange Chili Marmalade and Gingered Zucchini Marmalade).

One that caught my eye, though, especially after I picked up a bunch of regular lemons from Freecycle, was for Strawberry Lemonade Concentrate.¬† It’s simple to make, and tastes wonderful.¬† My cousin asked me for a recipe a couple of weeks ago, so I’m finally getting around to sharing.¬† This week we broke it out when Amanda came to visit, and again for our 10th anniversary.¬† Definitely worth having on hand, especially if you can get lemons and strawberries (I used frozen because it was the middle of February) for cheap.

Strawberry Lemonmade Concentrate (p. 192)

The sweetness of fresh, ripe strawberries adds the perfect balance to tart lemons this recipe.  Preserving the freshness allows you to serve this summertime favorite at any special occasion throughout the year.

TIPS:  Wash berries gently in small batches in a colander under cool running water to make sure you remove all dirt and grit to avoid bruising the soft fruit.

To reconstitute, mix one part concentrate with one part water, tonic water or ginger ale; adjust concentrate to taste.

Makes about seven pint (500 ml) jars

6 cups (1.5 L) hulled strawberries
4 cups (1 L) freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 cups (1.5 L) granulated sugar
  1. Prepare canner, jar and lids.¬† (For more information, see page 415.) [The book has great instructions; I’m not going to include them here.¬† You’ll have to learn basic canning techniques somewhere else, like here – this is a high acid food.]
  2. In a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade, working in batches, pur√©e strawberries until smooth.¬† Transfer to a large stainless steel saucepan as completed.¬† Add lemon juice and sugar and stir to combine.¬† Heat to 190¬įF (88¬įC) over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.¬† Do not boil.¬† Remove from heat and skim off foam.
  3. Ladle hot concentrate into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch (0.5 cm) headspace.  Wipe rim.  Center lid on jar.  Screw band down until resistance is met, then increase to fingertip-tight.
  4. Place jars in canner, ensuring they are completely covered with water.  Bring to a boil and process for 15 minutes.  Remove canner lid.  Wait 5 minutes, then remove jars, cool and store.  (For more information, see pages 417-418.)

When we served the Strawberry Lemonade this week, we mixed one liter of sparkling Caliostoga water with one pint of concentrate, so it made more of a lemonade refresher (and served more people).  It was perfect!

What’s on your Grocery List? Hot Cocoa Mix

It is a rainy day here in the desert. One that calls for cocoa and a good book, but I don’t think I’ll get to the second half, and might only barely get to the first. And even “healthy” moms and kids need treats. Life would be dreadful without them, I’m sure.
It has been a rough few weeks at our house, and while I’m on the mend, we had a night of a sick boy. We’re also cleaning out the fridge for an upcoming trip, so you can imagine it looks a little bare. I thought about coming up with recipe using cabbage, black beans, carrots and whey, but gave up.
I have been looking for Guittard hite chocolate chips for a few weeks, because the stores I regularly shop at don’t carry them, I have had to shop around. I found them yesterday at Harmons (on sale for $2 a bag even) on our way to the park. According to America’s Test Kitchen, of the general brands, they are the best as they actually have white chocolate in them. Imagine that.
As you might know from previous posts, I am always a bit leery of processed food because of ingredients I can’t pronounce or copious amounts of that unsatisfying corn syrup, and in solid form I’m even less pleased with it. And while the white chips have some of those long names, they lack corn syrup and others, and I recognize that occasionally, we have to be willing to give up the battle for the bigger picture. Compare the ingredients of the two below – Swiss Mix versus White Chips.
The recipe originates from Cook’s Country.com, which I love. It calls for Dutch process cocoa, but since I only had the regular stuff, I used it. I’m not sure it is as good, because it has a much stronger chocolate flavor than the dutch process, but because it’s not used for baking, it doesn’t matter chemically, which is when you normally have to pay attention. For more info on the differences, go here.
It makes a lot. A whole lot. It would be great for gifts, and it would also be a better idea to make it at the beginning of winter, rather than the end. I never claimed to be the smartest girl. The recipe says it makes 20 servings of 1/3 cup each, but 1/3 of a cup was WAY TOO much, at least for a sissy like me. I would probably start at 2 tablespoons and work my way up until I was happy. It is rich, easy and delicious.
Best-Ever Hot Cocoa Mix (from Cookscountry.com)
Makes about 20 servings
3 cups nonfat dry milk
2 cups confectioners’ sugar (this was the recipe amount, but next time I might try regular sugar and add a touch more)
1 1/2 cups Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
1/4 teaspoon salt
Combine ingredients in large bowl – this may be your only chance to mix them. Working in two batches, pulse ingredients in food processor until chocolate is finely ground. This could take awhile and your house might fill up with a fine, light cocoa-y powder. That’s not bad.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months. To make hot cocoa, stir 3 T to 1/3 cup of this mix into 1 cup of hot milk. Water might also work in a pinch or if traveling. Top with whipped cream or mini marshmallows.
**We tried it with just water, and it was better than packets of the stuff for sure. My only advice would be to add a teaspoon or so more sugar and top with whipped cream if you can.