Monday, July 30, 2012

Coconut Almond Joy Bites

If you read this blog entry before 7/31, you might have seen my long, drawn out post about a cleanse I started.  I wanted to separate my cleanse posts from the recipes.  I did this so that it's not so annoying to come here for a recipe and have to scroll down through lots of stuff you might not be interested in reading first.  ;-)  (By the way, I'm on Day 2 and it was a lot harder than yesterday.  I'm still going strong though!)

I made these last night because I had some leftover dates that I wanted to use and well, I knew they would come in handy when I was craving something sweet!  They're delicious!   

Coconut Almond Joy Bites
(yields about 20 bites)
2 cups fresh dates, pits removed
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup shredded coconut

Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.

Place dates and almonds in food processor/blender and blend until a sticky dough forms.  

Add coconut and pulse to combine

Place dough mixture into medium bowl and knead with hands to fully combine all ingredients and get a good, sticky dough.

Press mixture into baking dish and evenly distribute

Refrigerate for one hour.  Remove from fridge and cut into bite sized pieces.

If you like these, you might also like my Peanut Butter & "Jelly" Energy Bars, and my Vanilla Almond Date Balls.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

(Aunt Maryann's) Homemade Iced Tea

I recently got to spend some time with my wonderful Aunt Maryann at her home.  Always the thoughtful and gracious host (and amazing cook!!), she had prepared a delicious vegan spread for lunch, as well as homemade iced tea.  She said her mother (my grandma, who is no longer with us) used to make it for her, my father and their siblings when they were children.  I guess you can call this a family recipe!   It was so good, I asked for the recipe to share!

It's not really a complicated recipe, but it's so good and refreshing, and it sure beats the chemical laden iced tea powders at the store!   

Please see my notes that follow the recipe.

(Aunt Maryann's) Homemade Iced Tea
2 green tea bags 
3 regular tea bags
1/4 cup lemon juice (juice of 1 lemon)
1/3 cup sugar
honey (optional)
8 cups water, divided

Boil 5 tea bags in 6 cups of water.  Once boiling, remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes.  Remove tea bags & set aside.

In a pitcher, combine 1/4 cup lemon juice and remaining 2 cups of water.  Add boiled tea and combine.

Add 1/3 cup sugar and desired amount of honey.  Stir until dissolved. 

Cool in refrigerator, serve & enjoy!

*I personally use decaffeinated tea bags.

*I broke my "no refined sugar" rule with this recipe.  But, realistically, although I'd like to eliminate it completely from my diet, that hasn't happened yet.   A natural, homemade drink like this is okay by me from time to time!  I use organic, pure cane crystals that are certified vegan.

*Honey is not considered vegan.  Some vegans use it and others don't.  This recipe is just fine without it (which is how I made it).  But I didn't want to eliminate that ingredient from the original recipe for those who choose to use it.  Buy organic!

*When adding the boiled tea bag/water mixture to your pitcher, make sure it's a pitcher that can handle that type of heat!  If you don't have one, you can mix all the ingredients in the pot you use to boil the water, and then let the pot sit in your fridge until the mixture cools enough to add to your pitcher.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fresh Veggie Wrap w/Peanut Sauce

The internet is a wealth of foodie inspiration!  I'm not sure why, but I always struggle with ideas for summer dishes.  I'm more into warm foods that requires the oven to heat up my house.  On a 90+ degree day, I like to avoid that if possible!  

I wasn't sure exactly what to make for dinner (totally unlike me, but that's another story!), but then I came across a post from some fitness gals that I follow online where they shared some wraps they bought from Whole Foods.  I don't have a Whole Foods around my area, but I've heard good things.  They showed a picture of the wrap and a few details about what was in them.  It sounded delicious and it was (or, *is*).   Below is my version!

Fresh Veggie Wrap w/Peanut Sauce
(Yields 4 servings)
For the Peanut Sauce (adapted from here)
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup light coconut milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp ground ginger

For the Fresh Veggie Wrap
2 carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
1 small cucumber, diced
3/4 cup shredded cabbage
1 avocado, sliced
4 tortilla wraps

For the Peanut Sauce:
Place all ingredients in a medium sized sauce pan and heat over medium heat.  

Once mixture starts to bubble, reduce heat to low and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring  frequently.  

Once thickened, remove from heat and allow to cool off a bit.

For the Fresh Veggie Wrap:
Place carrots, cucumber and cabbage in a large bowl.  

Add peanut sauce and stir to combine.  

Scoop mixture into wraps and top with sliced avocado.  

You can pair this dish with some fresh, sauted veggies on the side.  I had mine with fresh corn on the cob and it was a nice, satisfying meal!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Maple Nut Spread

I'm not a tofu kind of gal!  I guess I assume it's sort of a "go to" for vegetarians/vegans, but maybe I'm wrong?  Are there others like me that just don't like it, except for miso soup?

I've been longing for a "cream cheese" alternative for toast and such, but most recipes seem to use tofu.  This recipe that I adapted was no exception.  I decided to get creative though and use cashews instead.  I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out, but this was one risk that was worth the reward!

This is a dense and creamy spread that's just the right amount of sweet!  It doesn't taste like cream cheese, but it's a nice alternative!  It almost looks like cake when it's done baking, but once it cools off, it spreads nicely.  Give it a try!

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

Maple Nut Spread
(yields 8 servings, or 2 cups)
1/3 cup raisins, soaked
hot water
1 cup cashews
1/4 cup basic homemade yogurt (or store bought if you prefer)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tahini
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp flour
Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 1 quart baking dish (I used a 2 quart because I didn't have a 1 quart and it worked fine).

Place raisins in a bowl and pour hot water over them (enough to cover).  Set aside to soak.

Place cashews, yogurt, maple syrup, cinnamon, tahini, vanilla and flour in a food processor/blender.  Blend until well combined.  

Drain raisins and add to food processor/blender.  Pulse several times to chop them up and blend them into the cashew mixture.

Pour cashew mixture into baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes, until set.  Cool completely before serving.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

French Toast

As I've mentioned in previous breakfast recipe posts, I typically eat the same thing almost every morning.  I love oatmeal and smoothies so I don't experiment too much beyond that.  I do love french toast though for an occasional treat (like the weekends!) and have yet to try a veg recipe, until today!  This turned out better than I'd hoped, as I was a bit skeptical.   It was actually quite delicious!

This recipe is adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies.

French Toast
(makes 8 slices)
2 large, ripe bananas
1 cup rice milk (or other non-dairy)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp ground flax-seed
1/2 tsp vanilla
8 slices texas toast (I used my homemade bread, sliced thick)
Organic, Grade B maple syrup

Place bananas, rice milk, nutmeg, cinnamon, flax-seed and vanilla in a blender/food processor and blend until smooth.

Pour batter into a shallow 8x8 baking dish (or any type of shallow dish)

Heat a pan (or griddle) over high heat until drops of water splatter when flicked on the pan.

Dip both sides of bread into batter and transfer each slice to the griddle.  Lower heat to medium and cook on one side for about 2 minutes.  Flip and cook on the other side for about 3 minutes more.  

Serve french toast with maple syrup and enjoy!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Baba Ganoush... Ghanoush... Ghanouj

What is up with the (at least) three different ways of spelling this dish that I came across online?  I always wanted to try a recipe for Baba Ganoush since I love Mediterranean food! I could live on things like this, hummus, falafal, pitas, etc.  I don't know what took me so long, but here it is!  

My main inspiration for this particular recipe came from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies, but I changed it a bit after reading through other recipes online and decided, among other things, to add chickpeas.  Then came the thought of coming up with my own quirky name for the recipe like Baba Ganummus, or Baba Hunoush (for Baba Ganoush + Hummus).  I quickly realized it probably wouldn't be such a good idea.  Some things work, and some just don't.   I didn't want to take that chance. ;-)

Baba Ganoush
1 medium eggplant
1 cup cooked chickpeas
3 tbsp tahini
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.  

Slice eggplant in half lengthwise and place both halves in the baking dish, insides facing down.  Cover with foil and cook for 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and allow it to cool off before handling.

Remove seeds with a spoon, and the outer skin with a paring knife (it should be easy to remove).

Place eggplant, chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic in food processor/blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer mixture to a serving bowl and let cool for 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(No Bake) Patriotic Strawberry Pie

Happy Independence Day!

I wanted to make something red, white & blue for July 4th and since, obviously, I am not a fan of food dye, I thought I'd go with the always reliable multi-colored fruit dish!   I really like this recipe that I came across because it's made with fresh ingredients.  I adapted it quite a bit to make it my own and to make it red, (almost) white and blue.  Yes, technically bananas are yellow, but please humor me.  ;-)

This recipe is adapted from VegNews.

(No Bake) Patriotic Strawberry Pie
(serves 6)
For the crust
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla

For the pie filling
3 cups strawberries 
5 pitted dates, soaked in water for 10 minutes, drained
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

For the topping
1 cup blueberries
*1 medium banana, sliced thin

Place almonds, pecans, 1/2 cup dates, raisins, maple syrup and vanilla in food processor.  Process until well combined and a sticky dough forms.  

Press the mixture into a 9-inch pie dish until evenly distributed. 

Arrange 2 cups of sliced strawberries on top of the crust in a circular pattern and set aside.

Place remaining cup of strawberries, dates and lemon juice in food processor. Process until well combined and smooth.  Pour sauce mixture over strawberries and refrigerate for up to 1 hour to set before serving.

After pie is set, add blueberries to the top left corner to form a square.   Slice bananas and line the slices horizontally from left to right, leaving 1 inch spaces in between each row.

*Don't add the bananas until you are ready to serve.  If you refrigerate them, they will turn brown.