Cold Cucumber Soup

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Gardens are overflowing! The CAS is sending home multiple cucumbers and my friends are desperate to find others who want cucumbers. I needed to do more than just keep making salads and eating slices with hummus. I started looking through cookbooks for cucumber soup and was shocked to find how involved many of the recipes are. This inspired me to simplify. If you like cucumbers, this is worth a try. What you will need:

3 large cucumbers, peeled and cored

1 cup plain coconut yogurt

1 cup vegetable broth

1 avocado

1 tsp fresh dill

Stick it all in a blender and blend until your desired consistency. Place in fridge and chill for at least 8 hours. Yum!

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Tings

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About 10 years ago I came across these yummy Tings. I loved them so much I ate bags and bags until I got sick of them. Crazy, right? I had to stop eating them for a bit, but they are super yummy. Very crunchy with a cheesy taste. Worth trying out.

I wrote about Pirate’s Booty from the same company back in March.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

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Fall has officially begun and thus I am now dreaming of holiday feasts.

I have tried various ways to note holidays with vegan cooking. Certainly bringing vegan options to a non-vegan family or friend dinner has happened and people are always surprised at the yumminess. I have also hosted vegan feasts with family and/or friends. The most interesting adventure was several years ago when I learned about a vegan Thanksgiving feast in a nearby town. I remember paying a nominal fee and then showed up to multiple yummy options and an afternoon with vegans I had not met before. It was very enjoyable. If I ever find one of those again, I will certainly go.

Anyway, enough storytelling, with feasts coming soon, I thought it might be helpful to start sharing some vegan options. This cheesecake is super easy and delicious. What you need:

12 oz firm silken tofu

8 oz non-hydrogenated vegan cream cheese, I like Tofutti

1 cup canned pumpkin, not spiced

1 cup sugar

3 TBS white whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 prepared graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 350. Puree all filling ingredients in a food processor. This can be accomplished in batches if, like mine, the food processor is small. Pour into crust and bake for 50 minutes. Allow to cool for 30 minutes, cover, and refrigerate at least six hours or overnight before serving. Yum!

Breakfast

Every once in a while I am asked what I eat for breakfast. I thought if people ask me this in person, it might be a good thing to share here too.

I don’t like to eat the same thing each day, so I mix it up a bit. If a weekday and I have time, I will make a smoothie of soy or almond milk, silken tofu or almond butter, kale, spinach, chia seeds, banana, and whatever fruit I have on hand. These are delicious and I don’t get bored since the fruit and protein always change. If I have more time, I will make toast with freeze-dried wheatgrass and almond butter. If less time, make instant oatmeal that doesn’t have any sugar in it and add some nuts. With the least time, I have protein powder and soy or almond milk. Protein powder is difficult for me because I don’t like the taste of most of them. There are a couple I can tolerate and if I ever come across one that I think is extra yummy, I will share.

On the weekends, if there is time, I will make something more special like pancakes or waffles, but those are certainly a rarity.

So, there it is. Not super exciting. But I have found that by getting protein and vegetables first thing in the morning, I stay full longer and have more energy. I exercise first thing each morning, so eating afterwards is a good thing. I have tried eating uncooked oatmeal mixed with fruit and non-dairy milk or juice. I am not a big fan, but every person likes different things. You may really enjoy it.

What do you normally eat for breakfast?

Chokeberry Bread

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Aronia berries, also known as chokeberries or even choke cherries, grow wild and have a bitter flavor. The CSA delivered about a cup worth, much to my surprise and excitement. I had been hearing about these since moving to the midwest, but had never seen or eaten them. Of course, once I had some, I had to figure out what to do with them. I’m always up for a cooking challenge and this bread was excellent. What you need:

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 cup unbleached flour

1 cup sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

2 TBS butter flavored non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening

2 TBS cold water

The zest from one orange

The juice from the same orange + 1/4 cup fresh orange juice, from an orange

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup fresh chokeberries, sliced in half

Canola oil spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bread pan with canola oil. Pour dry ingredients into a bowl and stir to mix and add air. Add shortening and mash with a fork until well mixed. Stir in orange zest. Add water and orange juice and mix well. Stir in pecans and chokeberries. Pour into bread pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool a few minutes before turning over to separate the bread from the pan. Yum!

Tip: If you get whole pecans like I do, place the amount needed in a small paper or plastic bag, seal, and run over the nuts with a rolling pin until the nut size desired is created.

 

Easy Potluck

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Sometimes when I hear the word potluck, I panic just a bit. I want to bring something that everyone will enjoy, but I don’t always have time to make something incredible. This was very true a few weeks ago.

I came up with this solution and had very little to bring home with me. I thought, everyone likes fruit, but fruit trays don’t always do well. What if I present the fruit a little different and add some different yummy nuts? It worked great. I used fresh red grapes, cut the stems so that four to six grapes could be picked up at a time, beautiful fresh strawberries, and sweetened dehydrated cranberries. To these I added plain pecans and tamari cashews. Then, to add a little extra sweet, dark chocolate covered almonds. It was a big hit and I was less stressed.

Polenta and Sausage

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I’m not a huge fan of faux meats, but every once in a while I crave this dish. It’s very simple and a great complement to vegetables that have been simply prepared, such as corn on the cob or steamed broccoli. This is what you will need:

1 tube polenta, I usually get a garlic and/or basil one, this is what a tube looks like, diced

1 package faux sausage, I usually get Tofurky Italian Sausage, sliced into circles

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tsp Avocado oil

Place everything in a pan and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until things start to brown. Serve right away with lots of fresh vegetables. Enjoy!

Avocado Oil

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You probably already know this, but avocado oil has a very high smoke point and mild flavor. I love cooking with it for these reasons. It also goes a long way, so very little is needed when sautéing. I highly recommend trying it.

I get ours from a local oil and vinegar store where I know the owners, but health food stores often carry it too.

Cabbage Salad

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The CSA kept giving us these beautiful heads of green cabbage. I decided to make a slaw of sorts and it turned out amazing. Here is what you will need:

1/2 a head of a small to medium green cabbage or one tiny cabbage, shredded

1 green bell pepper, diced

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 ear of sweet corn, the corn cut off

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp sugar, I used coconut sugar because it’s what I had

1/2 tsp fresh dill, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Put it all in a glass bowl and stir. Cover, place in fridge, and let ferment at least 8 hours; overnight if possible. Remove from fridge and stir again. Taste to make sure the flavor is just right then serve. Enjoy!