Raw Vegan Sour Cream

cute nephew, right?

My nephew is almost 12 now, (5 in the picture above), but when he was 2 and more than a handful (no, seriously, he was tough), we lived in his basement. Sometimes, to give his parents a break, we’d have him down to visit and he’d help us make dinner. One of our common meals was guacamole and chips – super healthy, I know, in which we used just a “dollop” of sour cream.  My husband had a bit of a love affair with sour cream, so he’d always lick the spoon afterward. One time my cute nephew said, “I wike it, Nutsy!” anticipating a taste too, and so we gave him a little spoonful to try. Cute nephew gleefully took said spoonful into his mouth and immediately thereafter did that kid thing of just letting the food fall out of his mouth and said, “I don’t wike it, Nutsy!”

raw sour cream mimi kirk

We all miss sour cream just a little. I am not saying we’d take a spoonful like we used to, but it’s such a useful and versatile ingredient in baking, cooking, and adding just that little bit of tang to things like baked potatoes and burritos. I haven’t been happy with any of the store-bought ones, nor any of the recipes for tofu ones. So, a couple of weeks ago, I picked up Mimi Kirk’s “Live Raw” at the library (and one day I’ll own it) and flipping through found a recipe for sour cream.

mushroom stroganoff strawberry broken heart cake

So, I made it. And I didn’t soak my cashews because I have a Vita-Mix and that’s its job. And the second batch was better than the first for reasons I couldn’t tell you. And I used it a week and a half later and it was still fantastic – I think the probiotics actually make a big difference in curing it. And I only took a few pictures because I’m lame like that. But I have since used it in mushroom stroganoff (angels singing above), a strawberry coffee cake (I made two in three days and ate both of them), and topped potatoes (so good with chives!), burritos, and tacos happily with it. And Mimi said I could share it – thanks Mimi, you’re beautiful!

Raw Vegan Sour Cream


1 c. cashews, soaked for 4 hours (optional if you have a power blender)
½ t. probiotics, for curing – I emptied two New Chapter probiotic capsules
1 t. light miso paste
¼ t. salt
3 T. lemon Juice
¾ – 1 c. water


Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding more water if necessary. Place in a covered container and store in the refrigerator. Mixture thickens as it chills. To thin, add more water. To thicken add 2 T. Irish moss paste. Use anywhere you would sour cream.


VVP: Cranberry Maple Compote

It’s that time again, bring on the VVP!
Who’s coming to the table:  The bright and beautiful cranberry.

Through the years, cranberry sauce has gotten a pretty bad wrap.  Give thanks to the trusty can o’ cran that plops out a gelatinous cylinder of cranberry goo with a nice, big “schluup.”  Great entertainment, but just not appetizing.

A couple years ago I discovered this little recipe.  No, big recipe.  It is chock full of goodness!  Made with fresh cranberries, pecans, fresh and dried fruit and the fabulous fall flavors cinnamon and nutmeg.  One taste and I was in love.

The only problem with the recipe is the large amount of sugar, especially being on an alkaline vegan diet.  So this year the cranberry compote recipe has gotten a facelift.  Welcome maple.

Cranberry Maple Compote

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled and pureed in the blender
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 c water
1 c chopped dried fruit (mix it up and have fun!  we love dried pineapple, cherry, cranberry if you’re sticking with the theme, I think a little crystallized ginger could be good for an added kick)
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
maple syrup, to taste (I used 1/4 cup but my sweetness sensor is pretty low these days.  You could add anywhere from 1/4-3/4 c maple)

Bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and add all other ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the cranberries burst.  Remove from heat and let cool.

I made a double batch this time around, measured it into 1 1/2 c portions, and stored it in the freezer.  Great to pull out for the holidays.

Some other ways to use your super delish cranberry sauce:

Eat it with a spoon!
Make a parfait with your favorite plain yogurt and granola
Layer on top of crackers and vegan cream cheese for finger foods
PB+Cranberry Sandwich?  Potential…
I’m thinking a ginger graham cracker crust with vanilla bean vegan ice cream topped with cranberry sauce.  Mmmmmm.
Mix in your morning oatmeal
Use as a topping for pancakes or filling for crepes
A tart spread for a savory sandwich

So there you have it.  Cranberry Maple Compote.  Love it.

Go Back

The previous VVP dish is found in Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen here:

Go Forward
Cook to Love is the blog next in the potluck.  Visit it here:

Kalmata Cannellini Bean Dip, Ab Fab Bug Spray, and a little Special Sauce

Vegan week 5 and loving it!  Our kitchen is exploding with produce, the crockpot is cooking up a veggie soup, the cuisinart just knocked out “larabars” three ways, fresh salsa on the cutting board and more goodness in the works.   And grilled veggies have been lovely with this old time (since freshman year in college- don’t ask) favorite seasoning.  Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt is amazing on roasted potatoes as well.

Funny thing.  My husband ate olives.  And liked them.  Shhhhh- he doesn’t know it yet.  He swears he never will.  Hates the suckers.  Not that I wouldn’t tell him if he asked, but he hasn’t so neither have I.  They were mixed in this yummy bean dip:

Kalmata Cannellini Bean Dip
(a fresher version of the Engine 2 Diet recipe)

2 cups Cannellini Beans, cooked in crock (or 1 can, drained and rinsed- I like fresh much better)
1 clove Garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tblish lemon juice (to taste)
1 tsp fresh thyme (yay for gardens!)
1tsp fresh rosemary (yay again! rosemary loves UT soil)
1/4 tspish sea salt (to taste)
4 Kalmata olives, roughly chopped

Blend.  I like to see bits of olive so I don’t over puree it.

Serve with pita chips or as a fresh veggie dip.  Or on a sandwich.  Or as an appetizer spread.  Possibilities.

Up next:  Homemade Insect Repellant!  This concoction was born last year as my sister and I perused the aisle with natural bug sprays.  As I read the ingredients and looked at the prices, I knew I could do better.  This is what we ended up with.

Two spray bottles (actually 3, my sister took one out into the field with her- she’s a wilderness therapist.)
Olive Oil– you could use any oil carrier you like.  The olive oil goes on quite nice.  And it looks pretty in a clear bottle. 😉
Essential Oils-
Tea Tree, Lemongrass, and Citronella.

Easiest recipe ever.  Ok, maybe not ever, but pretty close.

2 oz carrier oil
20 drops lemongrass
20 drops citronella
10 drops tea tree

Multiply for larger batches.  Mix.  Pour into bottles.  Yup.

This bug oil is absolutely fabulous.  It smells yummy, goes on smooth, moisturizes summer tanned skin, and most importantly, KEEPS THE BUGS AWAY.  One full year of use later, I will never even consider putting the evil DEET on my children.  Remember how I mentioned my sister took a bottle?  It worked so well being out in the woods for days at a time that she came back for a refill.  Ab fab my friends, ab fab.

And lastly, a little flavor for your ears- a little somethin’ somethin’ to put on as you get ready to sauce it up in the kitchen:  Baby’s Got Sauce by G-Love and Special Sauce.

Chocolate Sauce is what’s in the works. This recipe reminded me more of a hershey syrup more than fondue like I hoped.  Amanda’s Magic Shell made with coconut oil (why can’t I find the recipe on the blog?!?) is a thicker chocolate dip than this turned out to be, but still it was tasty with strawberries, even tastier with cherries and extra delish drizzled over Peanut Butter Chocolate So Delicious Ice Cream with sliced bananas.

Once again, found this in the Engine 2 Diet cookbook.  Yeah Rip.

Chocolate Sauce
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 c water
2 Tbl cocoa powder
3 Tbl agave nectar or maple syrup (I used maple agave, thinking I would be doubly awesome, but my awesomely talented taster *Amanda* decided the agave left it a bit bitter- going maple next time)
1 tsp vanilla

Mix the cornstarch with a small amount of water until there are no lumps.  Whisk in the remaining water, sweetener, and cocoa.  Cook in a heavy saucepan over low hear, stirring continuously until the sauce thickens.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Drizzle.

We’ve got sauce.


Somer Saturday – Jam Packed Post

It’s Somer Saturday! Amanda recently said in an email to us girls at GCF “I’m not sure we can contain Somer in a single day.”  Indeed, I can hardly contain myself! We were recently nominated for TWO blogging awards: Drumroll Please….

First, Jason at Jason and the Veganauts nominated us for the Reader Appreciation Award. If you haven’t visited his stellar blog, do it now and you’ll find the coolest Atkins to Vegan dude that you ever met. Doesn’t hurt that his posts are so funny that he often leaves you in stitches with laughter tears running down your face. Good times. Thanks Jason. Pure worship to my veganaut brother from another mother!

Then the gracious Lucy at Lucy’s Friendly Foods nominated us for the One Lovely Blog Award. Aw, shucks! *Blush* Lucy is a Cordon Bleu trained Chef/Mom that has taken the vegan cooking/baking/you wanna reach into the computer and take the food in her photos and eat them world by storm. I’m hosting a birthday party this weekend, and I’m pretty sure most of what I’m serving will be Somerized interpretations of something dizzyingly delicious from her blog. Check it out now. Really. You won’t be sorry! So thank you to Lucy and Jason! You’re my faves too!

Where was I? Oh yes, not only can I hardly contain myself, but I’m bursting at the seams and this week my kitchen was overflowing with fruit. I had cherries, raspberries, pomegranates, blueberries and strawberries to name a few. What to do with so much fruit? Why I needed to make jam of course, not just any old jam, but Antioxidant Chia Jam. Adapted from this fabulous pectin free recipe here at OSG.

Antioxidant Purplicious Chia Jam

3 C. Pitted Cherries

2 C. Raspberries

1 C. Blueberries

1 C. Strawberries

1/2 C. Pomegranate Arils

1/2 C. Pure Maple Syrup

5 T. Chia Seeds

Dash Cinnamon

Method: Combine fruits, pure maple syrup and cinnamon in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook until it reaches a low boil. Mash a bit with a potato masher, add chia seeds and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often until nicely thickened. Remove from heat and ladle into jars. Share. Keep refrigerated, will stay fresh for a week or two.

Now you need to make this nut butter, also adapted from this recipe here at OSG (can you tell I’m in love with Angela lately?)

Super-Powered Nut Butter

2 C. Raw Almonds

2 C. Raw Cashews

1 C. Raw Pecans

1/2 C. Sunflower Seeds

2 T. Hemp Seeds

2 T. Sesame Seeds (I used black and regular)

2 T. Flax Seeds

2 T. Chia Seeds

1/2 C. Unsweetened Dried Shaved Coconut

1/4 C. Pure Maple Syrup

2 t. Kosher Salt

Ok, ok, so just really use whatever nuts and seeds you have, I know this list is a bit ridiculous, but my pantry is pretty awesomely stocked at the moment. You may also need to halve this recipe if you have large food processor envy. Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, roast nuts all nuts and seeds on a large baking sheet (except coconut) for 5-7 minutes, stirring once. Add shaved coconut to the nuts and seeds and roast for a few minutes more until the coconut turns golden. Remove from oven. Let cool briefly. Add to food processor and let ‘er rip. You may have to scrape down the sides a couple of times but in 5 minutes or so it should start to come together and stop looking like very finely ground nut flour. When that happens, add the maple syrup and the salt. If you notice steamy fragrant luciousness emitting from your food processor, you’re not the only one, and no the motor isn’t malfunctioning, the nut butter is heating up under blissful pressure. Process for a couple more minutes until delicious. Eat while gooey and warm and turn into a veganaut superhero.

Add pretzel rolls, I know you haven’t forgotten these from my carb loading post, neither have I 😉

 Instant Picnic!

Don’t forget to make yourself a vegan pizza for dinner tonight for Vegan Pizza Day! Ideas here and here!

And finally, if you haven’t entered my Cafe Rio Giveaway, DO IT NOW! Winners to be announced on Tuesday!

We be Jammin’ – the Vegan Aebleskiver Edition

It’s very late on a Somer Saturday and sometimes life gives you strawberries instead of lemons. In those times, one must make freezer jam.

I have always used a low sugar pectin recipe in the past, and had no idea I could make freezer jam without sugar. Now I knew that some people made it using Splenda, but why on earth would I want to make jam out of something that is scientifically formulated by combining chlorine bleach particles with sugar particles? Ew!

Then one day Jinji over at jinjisfoodlove.wordpress.com set me straight. She told me freezer jam could indeed be made without sugar and that she has had success making it with just apple juice?!? Intriguing you say? Well I thought it was a fantastic idea.

I couldn’t immediately locate the pectin she directed me to use, so I had to improvise. I also wasn’t brave enough to use apple juice in its un-concentrated form, mostly because I didn’t have the said ‘magic’ pectin and was horribly afraid of  set failures. Now I understand that apple juice concentrate is just sugar in another form, but it’s significantly less sugar then I have used in previous recipes, and that makes me happy!

Apple Juice Sweetened Strawberry Freezer Jam

1 2/3 C. Mashed Strawberries

2/3 C. Apple Juice Concentrate

2-3 T. Ball Real Fruit Pectin

Combine above ingredients in a bowl and stir for a couple of minutes until pectin is completely dissolved. I used 3 T. of pectin because I like a firm set jam, but 2 would also work nicely.

I made several batches (making a bigger batch all at once can cause set failures with this particular pectin). They all turned out fabulous.

As luck would have it, Erika brought me some of the magic Pamona’s Pectin from Whole Foods, so I shall let you know how I like it when I next make jam. Amanda has all ready used it and was able to make a quadruple batch of strawberry freezer jam with 2 1/2 c of honey to 16 cups of mashed berries. A girl after my own heart. Can you tell we really love freezer jam?

Now when you have lots of strawberry freezer jam, you must make Aebleskivers (Danish pancake balls).

When I was a teenager, I visited Solvang California while on vacation with my family. We ate Aebleskivers at a restaurant there and we haven’t been able to stop eating them since. They have become a Holiday or special occasion breakfast tradition. They take a little practice to learn to make properly and in my previous omnivore life, I was quite the little aebleskiver maker. Sadly, when I went plant-based, I thought that I would never eat another aebleskiver again. They rely on white flour, egg whites beaten stiff, melted butter and buttermilk for their fluffy tenderness. I thought they couldn’t be veganized. Thankfully, I thought wrong. That darling restaurant in Solvang gave my mom their aebleskiver recipe (sorry, don’t know how to give them proper credit, It’s been too many years and a Google search reveals there are many little such restaurants in Solvang). I have a copy of it in my heavily abused used family cookbook, it just needed a little modification 😉 Note to self: these are a special treat, and because they use oil and earth balance, remember not to make them every day or Dr. Esselstyn won’t be your friend anymore.

Vegan Aebleskivers

2 C. plain soymilk + 4 T. lemon juice, mixed and set aside (vegan buttermilk)

2 c. white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour. I processed the measured flour in my blendtec for a minute or so to get it as fine as possible to mimic the tenderness of white flour

3 t. enerG egg replacer mixed with 4 T. water

2 t. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2 T. pure maple syrup

4 T. Earth Balance, melted

1 T. vanilla

vegetable oil of your choice for aebleskiver pan

Method: preheat aebleskiver pan over medium heat before mixing all ingredients, if it’s not hot, your aebleskivers will be  a disaster. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the wet ingredients and stir just until combined.  Put 1/2 t. vegetable oil in the bottom of each aebleskiver pan cup. Pour 2 T. (I use an 1/8 cup measuring cup) of batter into each cup.

After about 30 seconds, Turn the aebleskiver halfway out of the cup using a knitting needle, crochet hook or chopstick. The batter will pour out of the cooked portion and start to form a ball. Cook 30 more seconds and turn another quarter turn. Cook 30 more seconds. The final turn should have the cooked side facing entirely out and the batter forming the last bit of the ball in the bottom of the cup. Place cooked aebleskivers in a warm oven to keep them crisp while cooking the next batch, you will need to add more oil to each cup in between batches to keep the batter from sticking. Split open and serve hot with a dab of earth balance (if you must) strawberry freezer jam and a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Laugh at guests who ask for maple syrup.

 Try not to eat the whole batch by yourself

Tasty Tuesday Series – In a Minute Blender Salsa

It’s Tasty Tuesday!

I will be posting my favorite recipes from the last week every Tuesday. I have posted the recipes individually so that they will be more recipe page friendly. So keep browsing down to get all the deliciousness!

Here is a bonus Tasty Tuesday Recipe:

Fresh Salsa is one of my favorite things in the world. Unfortunately, in the winter, store bought tomatoes just aren’t that tasty. I make my favorite salsa in the Summer-time when my next door neighbor’s garden is bursting with beautiful orange sun-sweet tomotoes. This is what I make in the off season. It is (nearly) as good! Comes together super quickly because you don’t have as much chopping to do!

In a Minute Blender Salsa

1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes (fire roasted ones are extra tasty)

1/4 C. roughly chopped red onion

1/2 C. packed chopped cilantro

1-2 roughly chopped jalapenos (depending on how much heat you like, use just 1 and remove seeds and ribs for mild salsa)

2 T. lemon juice (yes, real-lemon in a jug works great in a pinch)

1 t. salt

2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped.

Method: Chuck all in blender and pulse gently until just combined and roughly chopped.

I love this on my easy mediterranean tofu scramble

Favorite Meals and Recipes so Far

I know, I’m posting a lot, just trying to play catch up since I have been doing this now for nearly eight weeks and have a lot of recipes/ideas backlog. So here are my favorites and yes, some of the recipes use some oil, not there yet! Feel free to omit the oil or replace it! I have been water sauteing my veggies or sauteing them in vegetable stock the last couple of weeks. For baking I have been using applesauce or bananas to replace equal parts oil. Getting the hang of it!

Moroccan Lentil Soup
2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil (can be omitted)
2 large onions, chopped
2 large carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaped t. ground coriander
2 heaped t. ground cumin
1 t. turmeric
1 t. smoked paprika
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
6 C. vegetable broth (I love better than bullion’s vegetable base, just mix with water)
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 C. dry red lentils, rinsed and picked over
1/2 C. chopped parsley
1/4 C. chopped cilantro
Juice of one lemon
Cook all ingredients except last 3 on stove-top for 30 minutes in large saucepan or in crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours. For texture variation you can pulse it a few times with a stick blender. Add lemon, parsley and cilantro just before serving. This recipe is adapted from my husband’s sister. She made it at our house one time, it was utterly divine. It is one of my favorite meals, I could eat it at least once a week. I really like sticking it in the crock-pot because it saves kitchen time and it thickens really beautifully.
Flax Pancakes
1 to 1 1/2 C. Almond Milk (depending on how thick or thin you like your pancakes)
2 T. Flax seed
1 banana, quartered
1 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (regular whole wheat flour works too)
1 T. Pure Maple Syrup
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. kosher salt
Blend first 3 ingredients in blender until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and pulse til just combined. Cook 1 minute each side in medium-hot skillet. Serve with sliced fruit and drizzle with a little pure maple syrup. My daughter came home from school the day I made these and wanted me to make them again for an after school snack!
Vegan Bechamel
2 T. Earth Balance Spread (or vegan margarine of your choice)
2 T. Cornstarch
3 C. Unsweetened Almond milk or non-dairy milk of choice, just not sweetened!
4 T. Nutritional Yeast
1 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. pepper
1 minced garlic clove
Melt earth balance spread in small saucepan. Add minced garlic and cook til soft. Combine soy milk and cornstarch in a small bowl, then pour into saucepan. Stir until slightly thickened. Add remaining ingredients.
Uses: Crumble a block of tofu into this to make the white layer for lasagna (or blend it together for smoother texture), I made this with a red Portobello mushroom sauce and whole wheat noodles and it was lovely. Add a couple more tablespoons of nutritional yeast for macaroni and cheese sauce. For stronganoff add 1 T. Dijon mustard and serve with fettucine whole wheat noodles and sautéed onions and mushrooms.
Insanely Good Vegan Bear Claw Ice Cream (Dark Chocolate Ice Cream with Cashews and Chocolate Chips)
1 C. Coconut Milk (from a can, not a carton)
1/4 C. agave, or pure maple syrup
1/3 C. Cocoa powder
4 dates, pitted
1/2 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
3 C. ice cubes
1/2 C. roasted, salted cashews
1/4 C. dairy free dark chocolate chips (at health food store or ghiradelli, just read the label)
I used my blendtec to make this but you can probably still make it in a food processor if you don’t have the blendtec or vitamix. Blend or process all the ingredients except ice, cashews and chocolate chips until smooth. Add ice and blend or process until smooth. Stir cashews and chocolate chips in by hand. If its too soft, freeze for 30 minutes then enjoy!
Garbanzo Bean Salad
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 minced clove garlic
couple of fresh basil leaves torn (if I don’t have basil, I will just use the dried herb)
2 T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste.
Combine all in a bowl. I could eat the whole thing for lunch! You can also add celery, cucumber or any other crunchy stuff. Really light and refreshing.
BBQ Seitan Mock wRibz
I originally got this off a blog called fatfreevegan.com– they got it from veganchef.com I adapted the recipe after making it a few times. I usually double the recipe because we really like it and it makes tasty foccacia rib sandwiches for the next day-  I can’t get enough of it. Usually seitan has to be endlessly boiled or steamed. This recipe you just bake it. Super Easy. It doesn’t taste exactly like meat, but is meaty enough to almost feel guilty. The kids like it too.
1 C. vital wheat gluten
1/2 C. almond meal (leftover from making homemade almond milk)
2 t. smoked paprika
2 T. nutritional yeast
2 t. onion powder
1 C. water
2 T. almond butter
1 T. liquid smoke
1 T. soy sauce
1 t. crushed dried thyme
1 t. kosher salt
1 t. spike
about 1/2 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce, I LOVE bull’s eye, it has sugar, but is one of the only store brands that doesn’t have high fructose corn syrup and tastes amazing, but I know I need to make my own healthier version…
Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly spray an 8×8 baking dish with canola oil. When I double it, I bake it on a big cookie sheet. The original recipe calls for hand kneading. I’m too lazy and dump everything in my food processor with the dough hook. Do not put the BBQ sauce in the seitan, its for brushing on top.  Once fully kneaded, dump it into your pan and press it down until it meets the edges. Cut into 16 strips. Bake for 20 minutes. Slather with BBQ sauce and broil for 5 minutes or until it the sauce starts to darken and form a nice glaze. Serve with baked potatoes doused with vegan ranch and a green salad or some steamed broccoli. Have also made oven fries a few times with this.
Mexican Mountain 2.0 with 2 enchilada sauce options
this is a recipe my dad made all the time when I was growing up. It’s kinda like a mexican lasagna. I just adjusted it so that I could still make it without the meat and without the cheese, sigh. I make either enchilada sauce depending on whether or not I have fresh salsa. This would also work with tomatillos for a green sauce…. Yum. I also used this same recipe last week and did enchiladas instead of layered tortillas. Both versions were big hits with the whole family.
enchilada sauce 1
2 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder
3 c. veggie stock (i use better than bullion vegetable base for everything now, it is currently at costco!)
1/4 C. tomato paste
1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
salt and pepper to taste
brown spices in small saucepan until fragrant. Add veggie stock and flour then stir in tomato paste. Cook until thickened. Add salt and pepper to taste if necessary
enchilada sauce 2
2 cups fresh (or in my case often freshly prepared salsa that was then frozen and defrosted) salsa (salsa is just tomatoes, onions, jalapeno, cilantro, lemon, salt)
1 1/2 C. water
1/4 C. whole wheat pastry flour
2 t. cumin
1 T. chili powder
salt and pepper to taste
Cook the same as above.
Creamy Sauce and other layers
1 block silken tofu
1 clove minced garlic
1 can black beans drained and rinsed (can also use refried beans)
whole wheat tortillas or corn tortillas
4 T. nutritional yeast
1 t. garlic salt
cilantro for garnish
sliced olives
diced green onion
blend silken tofu with garlic and 1.5  cups of the enchilada sauce you made (whichever option you choose) add nutritional yeast and blend until incorporated.  Season with salt and pepper to taste. Put some enchilada sauce in the bottom of a round pyrex. Layer tortillas with black beans or refried beans and some enchilada sauce. Add tortilla, layer with creamy sauce. keep layering until you run out of ingredients. Last layer has enchilada sauce topped with creamy sauce. Cover with sliced olives, green onions and cilantro. Bake 350 for 30 minutes. Serve with guacamole and green salad.
Engine 2  Panini’s
Watched Rip make these on “Engine 2 Kitchen Rescue” It’s kinda like a “Fork’s over Knives part 2″ and is currently streaming on Netflix and is a quick watch at 52 minutes. He says to use whatever veggies you have, so this is our variation. So So tasty, the hummus really does melt and taste like cheese.
2 slices whole wheat bread (I use a softer variety like Harper’s Homemade that is still 100% whole wheat)
Kale or spinach
shredded or matchstick carrots
sliced zucchini
sun-dried tomatoes
lemon zest
Layer the bread with a THICK layer of hummus, top with veggies of your choice, sprinkle some lemon zest on. Squish together and put in a hot frying pan (yes, you really don’t need to add oil, the bread browns beautifully without) Put a plate or round casserole dish on top of your sandwich and weight it with something else heavy. Rip uses a 15 lb weight in the film, I used my glass container full of dried black beans. After about a minute check it to see if it’s browned enough, flip and brown the other side. Really satisfying, really, really good.
Eggplant Sourdough Lasagna
Yes it’s eggplants and sourdough, in a LASAGNA. It’s a divine trilogy of 3 of my favorite things and no, sadly,  I wasn’t the creator. The recipe is here http://veganyumyum.com/2009/05/rustic-bread-eggplant-lasagna/ The only things I would do differently next time is use a homemade whole wheat sourdough and try to roast the eggplant without oil, I think the recipe could handle it. Pure Genius Lolo!
15 Minute Veggie Pizzas
Sun dried tomatoes
tomato paste
italian herbs, fresh or dried
sliced zucchini
sliced mushrooms
sliced red onion
whole wheat greek style pitas
baby spinach
julliened carrots
diced tomato
bell pepper slices
garlic salt
nutritional yeast
This is great for nights when you are in a hurry, when you haven’t got time to make a homemade whole wheat crust and you have lots of veggies you need to use up. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Top greek pita with a spoonful of tomato paste, sprinkle with garlic salt and italian seasonings or fresh herbs. Use whatever veggies you have and go to town, above is just a short list of toppings I have used. I let my kids create their own. Top off with a good sprinkling of nutritional yeast. Bake for 10 minutes until veggies are  lightly browned.
Maple Glazed Seitan Almond Neat Loaf
Can I just say wow? I finally figured out the seitan thing! This is SOOOO good. I paired it with Baked Millet Risotto and Wilted Spinach Salad (below). It was one of those dinners where everything came together beautifully and made me really really happy!
2 C. vital wheat gluten
about 1 C. almond meal (I used the leftover almond meal I had strained from my homemade almond milk, see Amanda’s recipe here), you could also just process 1 c. raw almonds really finely then omit the almond butter below.
4 T. nutritional yeast
2 t. smoked paprika
1/2 t. pepper
1 C. almond milk
4 T. ground flax seeds
2 T. soy sauce
2 t. Dijon mustard
2 t. vegan Worcestershire
2 T. almond butter
2 t. liquid smoke
1 onion, finely diced
2 minced garlic cloves
1 t. dried thyme
1 t. kosher salt
couple dashes of hot sauce
Yes, this is A LOT of ingredients, but each add their own component and make the dish AMAZING. Water saute the onions and garlic with the dried thyme until translucent. Then combine the onions with the rest of the ingredients in the food processor using a dough hook. Process until smooth and all ingredients are well mixed. Divide into 2 pieces and form 2 loaves. Place on a foil lined baking sheet. Glaze with half of the following: 1/2 C. heinz organic ketchup, 1/4 C. pure maple syrup, 1.5 T. braggs raw apple cider vinegar. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, brush on remaining glaze and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Baked Millet Risotto
4  1/4 C. water mixed with 1 1/2 T. better than buillion vegan no chicken base
2 bay leaves
1 T. earth balance spread
1 finely minced onion
2 C. millet
2 minced garlic cloves
1/8 t. turmeric for color
1/4 c. dry white wine or veggie broth (yes, I confess sometimes I sin when i cook)
2 T. nutritional yeast
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine water, buillion, nutritional yeast and bay leaves in a small sauce pan. Let simmer on low while you prepare the other ingredients. Melt earth balance in large saucepan, add onion and cook until golden. Stir in garlic, turmeric and millet. Cook and stir for a couple of minutes until fragrant. Add white wine and cook until absorbed. Spread millet mixture in a round casserole dish. Pour liquid stock over. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove bay leaves before serving. The millet is lovely and nutty, with a tiny bit of crunch. It’s a nice alternative to brown rice.
Wilted Spinach and Roasted Vegetable Salad
1 summer squash, sliced
10-15 grape or cherry tomatoes
1/4 red onion, finely minced
2 T. olive oil
salt and pepper
6 C. baby spinach
1 t. red wine vinegar
1 t. agave
Combine squash, tomatoes, red onion, salt and pepper and olive oil in a small baking dish. Bake at 400 degrees until veggies start to brown. Remove from oven. Combine with spinach in a large bowl. Drizzle with red wine vinegar and agave. Salt and pepper to taste again. Serve.
Roasted Ratatouille
This recipe is adapted from my America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
2 globe eggplants, peeled, cubed and salted, then put in a strainer while you prepare the rest of the veggies
3 zucchini or summer squash cubed
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 28oz can diced tomatoes, drained with 1/3 c. juice reserved
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
5 minced garlic cloves
1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
Drain and rinse eggplant to remove any bitterness. Combine all ingredients except basil and toss in large bowl to coat. Roast 60 minutes in a 400 degree oven until golden and browned, stirring once halfway through. Can be served over rice or noodles, but we like it best on homemade foccacia as roasted ratatouille and foccacia sandwiches.
Fast Foccacia
2 C. unbleached flour (I like king arthur or wheat montana)
2 C. whole wheat pastry flour or white whole wheat (wheat montana)
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 T. active dry yeast
2 T. Vital wheat gluten
2 t. kosher salt, divided
1.5 C. warm water
dried italian seasonings, rosemary
I cheat on this recipe (ok, all my bread recipes) and use a old bread maker that I bought at Savers. It just kneads  really well and when it’s done kneading, I take my bread dough out and bake it in my own oven. Now you all know my bread secrets. Shhh! Combine flours, water, gluten, yeast, half the salt and half the olive oil in the bread maker. Let knead until a lovely dough forms.  At this point, you can continue to let it rise in the bread maker or you can remove it and let it rise in a bowl on the counter-top, I typically leave it in so I don’t end up with more dirty dishes. After the dough has doubled in size (about 30-40 minutes) I punch it down and smooth onto a large baking sheet that has been lightly oiled. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.  Roll out if necessary to reach edges. put divots in the dough with your index finger. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with remaining salt and the italian seasonings and rosemary. Put foccacia in the oven and turn the temperature off. Let rise for 15 to 20 minutes more. Without removing the bread, turn the oven to 350    degrees and bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top.

Lemon Curd

This is just a brief post on how to make microwave lemon curd. I wish I had taken pictures, but I made it on one of those manic cooking/baking days and so the camera was kept far from my sight for the sake of safety. As it is, this page in my cookbook is smattered with sticky.

Lemon curd is one of those strange condiments that doesn’t know what to be … a jam or a pudding or a sauce? It never has decided, but it’s delicious nonetheless. I most recently put it on pancakes, but my sister puts in on bagels with cream cheese. I made mine with Meyer lemons, so it wasn’t as tart as it might be with regular lemons. I like it better with Meyer lemons.

This is a recipe my sister recommended from the book “The complete Book of Small-Batch Preserving.” This is at least the second recipe I’ve tried from this book since I got it two weeks ago, and both have been a success (imagine pineapple-orange rosemary freezer jam – it’s GOOD).

Microwave Lemon Curd
Be careful not to boil or overcook or it may separate. You can substitute limes, tangerines, oranges or unsweetened cranberry juice. See instructions below on how to can.

yield: 1 2/3 Cups

* 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 – 3 lemons)
* 1/4 cup unsalted butter
* 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I used evaporated cane juice and it worked great)
* 2 eggs

1. Finely grate thin outer rind of lemons. Squeeze lemons. Measure 1/2 cup lemon juice into a 4-cup microwavable container.
2. Stir in the rind, butter and sugar. Microwave, uncovered, on high (100%) for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes or until butter is melted and mixture is hot.
3. Beat eggs in a bowl. Gradually add hot lemon mixture to eggs, stirring constantly. Return mixture to the microwavable container and microwave, uncovered, on Medium (50%) for 1 to 2 minutes or until just thickened, stirring every 20 to 30 seconds. Do not allow to boil; the mixture will thicken as it cools. Let it cool.
4. Pour curd into a tightly sealed container. REFRIGERATE and use within 2 weeks, or freeze for longer storage.

Multipurpose Berry Topping


This berry sauce is super easy but gets loads of compliments.


Frozen Berries (I use the mixed berries at Costco)


Pour desired amount of berries into sauce pan, keeping in mind that they cook down.   Defrost on medium-low heat, stirring often.  Add honey and cinnamon to taste, that simple. 🙂   Great on pancakes or as a dessert topping on vanilla ice cream.

What’s on your grocery list? Basic tomato sauce for Pasta

The other day I realized we were out of jarred tomato pasta sauce. So I did the first thing I could thing of – write it on the list. And there it sat on the list, waiting for the next trip out. But I’d catch myself wondering why I didn’t just figure out how to make one I liked, rather than risk disappointment from the grocery store. The last two we’d tried were awful. AWFUL.
It couldn’t be that hard, right? It’s just tomatoes, and a few flavoring ingredients, right? And if you have any love for Costco, you probably have boxes of cans of diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in your basement, and if you don’t you will soon, because they are ridiculously cheap and very versatile. Look out for the coupons for the diced tomatoes throughout the year, and you can get some great deals for stocking up.
About a week ago, I made my first batch, and Matt gave it an 8 on a scale of 10 for basic marinara. I added other vegetables – sauteed onions and mushrooms – after making the sauce. And then, yesterday, I made a mondo batch of sauce with a friend for freezing – we’re talking a total of 14 quarts between us. Both were delicious, so I will include both recipes. The first one was probably easier, and the second one had more vegetables and made A LOT of sauce, which is now freezing up nicely.
And to prove that even the second one with more ingredients was still easy, you will see that my friend Charlene did most of it with a 5-month old on her hip, with our two toddlers running around leaving destruction in their paths. Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of the first batch, but it’s so easy and so fast, and I’ll include my modifications in [brackets] to show how flexible this recipe is.

Quick Tomato Sauce
from the America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook [ATKFC]
3 T. extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced [pressed in garlic press]
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes [1 14.5-oz can diced tomatoes, pureed + 1 14.5-oz (or so) can tomato sauce]
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes
3 T. minced fresh basil [1 1/2 t. Italian seasoning]
[1/8-1/4 t. crushed red pepper]
1/4 t. sugar [honey]

1. Cook the oil and garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Stir in the crushed and diced tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a simmer and cook until slightly thickened, 15-20 minutes.
2. Stir in the basil [Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper] & sugar [honey]. Season with salt to taste.
3. When tossing the sauce with pasta, add some of the pasta cooking water to loosen the consistency of the sauce.
MONDO batch of Tomato Sauce
makes 7 quarts
If you have fresh tomatoes and fresh herbs, by all means use them, but fresh tomatoes will take a lot longer to cook down.

1/4 – 1/2 c. olive oil
7 onions, diced small
7 carrots, diced small
7 stalks celery, diced small
14 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 – 2 T. Italian seasoning
1/2 – 1 t. crushed red pepper
2 #10 cans crushed tomatoes from Costco [106-oz each for $2.69]
1 5-oz can tomato paste
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1-2 t. honey, to taste

1. Vegetables can be treated one of two ways. I like mine chunky, so I chopped all of mine with a knife. Charlene liked her’s a bit more smooth, so she threw them all in the food processor, processing each vegetable separately, adding them to the pot after round.
2. Heat oil in giant pot over medium to medium high heat. Add carrots, onions, and celery, and let gently cook until soft and fragrant, 10 minutes. If you want more moisture, cover it during this time, but if you want a more caramelized flavor, leave the lid off. I did a little of both. Add the garlic and seasonings and let cook one more minute.
3. Add tomatoes as gently as you can, but you might end up splashing. That’s normal. I actually used 1 #10 can, 2 quarts of my homemade crushed tomatoes, and 2 cans diced tomatoes. Add tomato paste, and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to keep it at a low, gentle simmer. Let the whole mess simmer for 15-20 minutes, then add salt, pepper, and honey to taste. The honey helps mellow the acidity of the tomatoes. Adjust seasonings to your liking. You may let this continue to simmer until you are happy with the consistency, or you can be done here.
5. Cover and let cool. When cooled enough, pour into either 1-qt freezer bags or storage containers. I like bags, because they freeze pretty flat, are easily identifiable, and stack nicely in my freezer. Defrost and use like any other sauce.