Açaí Bowl

I adore açaí bowls. So yummy that I decided to figure out more on what it means to make and eat one.

Açaí is similar to other berries in that it has lots of antioxidants. But if really wanting high antioxidants, go for the wild blueberry. Açaí can be found in a powder or as a pulp in the freezer section.

The other thing I learned is that many bowls have quite a bit of sweetener added. It makes the experience taste like ice cream, but be mindful of the sweetener. An açaí bowl that is more true to the flavor of the açaí fruit will be more tart.

I picked a tart approach and this is what you will need:

2 sleeves of frozen açaí pulp

1 ripe banana divided in half

1/4 cup milk alternative, I used soy

Toppings, I used a 1/2 Tablespoon of chia and 1/4 cup of my oil free granola

Blend half the banana with the açaí from 2 sleeves of frozen pulp and 1/4 cup soy milk until smooth. Pour blended açaí into bowl and slice the other half of banana onto the top. I made a row of banana slices down the middle of the bowl. To one side of the banana I added a row of chia and the opposite side got a 1/4 cup of oil free granola.

There is lots of room to be creative with the toppings of an açaí bowl. All kinds of fresh and dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate can be added to the top. Have some fun with it. Yummers!

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Oil Free Blueberry Chia Granola

I’m trying to cut oil out of my diet to see what happens. It gets me closer to a Whole Foods Plant Based diet and has so far been a fun journey. I’m not an extremes person, so it’s just a fun personal challenge.

Hubby really enjoys granola for breakfast and I adore it on an açaí bowl. But most granola has oil and the few I have tried that didn’t, were not very tasty. I thought maybe I could figure this out myself. It’s yummers!

What you need:

1 and 3/4 to two cups rolled oats, uncooked

1 cup puffed rice cereal

1 Tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 cup freeze dried blueberries, any dried fruit will work

1/2 cup quality dark maple syrup

If you want cinnamon, I didn’t, then a 1/2 teaspoon will work

Preheat oven to 375. Mix everything together in a large bowl so there is plenty of room to get maple syrup on everything.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and pile on the granola. Try to get about a 1/4 inch layer. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes. Until the edges begin to brown.

Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break up everything with fingers and move to an airtight container.

As with most things, the longer you take to eat it, the more stale it will get. Especially since there are no preservatives or oil.

Yummers!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I adore winter squashes and end up buying several without a plan for how to use later. This acorn squash had been sitting on my bar for a few weeks and hubby was wondering when we would eat it. I decided to make something pretty, easy, and yummers.

What you will need:

1 acorn squash, washed

1 cup uncooked rice, I used Jasmine

1 bouillon cube, I used vegetable with herbs

1 4oz can diced hot green chilies

1 small onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, seeds removed and diced

1 Tablespoon minced garlic

1 small box of button mushrooms, washed and sliced/chopped

1 Teaspoon avocado oil, or other oil you prefer. The chilies and vegetables provide a lot of moisture, so not much oil is needed

1/2 cup pine nuts

Cook the rice with the bouillon cube, according to the directions that accompany the rice.

Toast the pine nuts in a small pan over medium heat until slightly browned, set aside.

Place the squash in a microwave safe glass dish with lid. Cook on high for 10 minutes. If soft when touched, it is ready. If still stiff, cook another 2 minutes.

Sauté all other ingredients in a large pan on medium until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat. Add pine nuts. Add rice when it is ready and stir all together.

Once squash is cooked, slice through the middle and let cool for a couple minutes. Careful, it’s very hot. Using a spoon, remove the seeds from each half. Place each half on a plate and spoon in the rice mixture to the squash crater. Place more rice mixture on plate and serve. Yummers!

Tip: This makes enough stuffing for two acorn squashes.

Chili

When I first started this blog I asked my friends, because of course I started by sharing this with friends, what they would like to see. A dear friend I have known since 1996 requested a chili recipe. I honestly cringed. Every chili attempt I had made was mediocre to not great. Every recipe I explored had so many ingredients that I was uninterested. So I just didn’t do anything with that request, but kept it in the back of my mind.

I’m happy to say that I have cracked the code to easy and delicious chili. It fills my home with a smell that makes my mouth water. I place everything in my crockpot and come home at the end of the day for yummers!

What you will need:

1 and 1/2 cups dried beans, your favorite, or two cans of your favorite. I like to mix it up. Red beans, black beans, white beans, kidney beans, and garbanzo beans all work well.

1 4oz can diced green chili, Hatch is still my favorite

2 16 oz cans diced tomatoes

1 small onion, diced

1 small green bell pepper, diced

2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced, choose the amount based on how much you love garlic

2 to 3 tablespoons chili powder, based on how hot you want it 

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

If starting with dried beans, sort and rinse them, and set to soak the night before, at least 8 hours.

Place everything into the crockpot and add a can full of water. If ingredients are not yet covered with fluid, add a bit more water.

Turn on crockpot to low and let cook at least 8 hours. Before serving, check that the beans are fully cooked.

If cooking in a pot, simmer at least 30 minutes if using canned beans. Dried beans need to be cooked before cooking with chili on the stove.

Serve with your favorite toppings such as avocado, vegan sour cream, vegan cheese, or corn chips.

Yummers!

Savory Bites

My cousin has been living in the city all summer and goes back to Texas this week. I have been lucky enough to see him almost every week. Last weekend, I invited him and other family over for dinner so we could all share more time before he leaves.

My apartment, like many apartments in NYC, is small, so a sit-down dinner is a challenge. I decided, instead, to have a finger food meal to make things easier and normalize the idea of sitting on the couch while eating. The dinner went great and I invented a new yummers finger food for the occasion, Savory Bites.


The idea comes from using filo dough, but I dislike using that dough. It can be a lot of work and my approach remains easy cooking. Instead, I used crescent rolls. The kind that come in tubes.

I made two different kinds. One that was like pizza and another with pesto. To do the exact same thing, you will need:

  • Two rolls of crescent roll dough, in the tube, check the ingredients to make sure they are vegan
  • Spaghetti sauce, I used a garlic heavy one
  • Black olives sliced into thin circles
  • Shredded vegan mozzarella 
  • Vegan pesto
  • Small onion, diced into small pieces 
  • Small red bell pepper, diced into small pieces 
  • A few button mushrooms, diced into small pieces
  • Tablespoon of olive oil

Start by sautéing the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms in olive oil. Sauté on medium heat until soft, about 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool. Take the first roll and open onto parchment or wax paper. This will let the dough be more easily removed later. With your fingers, mash together all the seams to make one sheet of dough. Using a rolling pin (or label-free and cleaned wine bottle), roll out the dough a couple times in each direction to flatten and even everything.

For the pesto bites: Use a spoon to add a thin layer of pesto to the dough, then a thin layer of the cooked veggies, and a thin layer of cheese. There will be left over filling. The layers should be thin because the dough is delicate and won’t roll well if too thick.


Looking at the longest edge of the dough, begin to roll that edge towards its opposite edge. Don’t be afraid to help the dough off the parchment paper. If the original seams reappear, this is okay. Try to carefully mash them together again and keep rolling. Soon you will have a long roll of dough with filling. Take a sharp knife and slowly cut into circles of about an inch thick. I got about 12 circles from each roll. Place each circle on a pan with at least one inch between each.


They won’t look perfect, and this is okay. Flavor is most important.

For the pizza bites: Follow the same dough preparation process of making into sheet. Add a thin layer of speghetti sauce, a thin layer of black olives, and a thin layer of cheese. Follow the same roll and cut process.


Cook the bites at 375 for 10 minutes or until the edges are golden.

So yummy! Everyone ate as many as they could and kept going back to grab another one. The process can easily be used for other savory or sweet ingredients.

I hope you try these and let me know how it goes, especially if you try different ingredients. I will absolutely be making these again.

Pesto Pasta

Pesto pasta is currently my go-to fast meal. Takes as long to make as it does to cook the pasta. And hubby loves it every time! I have been buying pesto at my local farmers market, but any pesto will do great. What you will need:

1 box of favorite pasta, I have been enjoying quinoa penne pasta

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, washed and sliced in half. Can use regular tomatoes, but the juice will make the dish a bit watery

1 container baby spinach

1 block mozzarella cheese, diced or torn into smaller pieces. I usually use Miyoko’s mozzarella, but any will work. If using Daiya, the flavor is stronger and thus less than the entire package might be good

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

4oz of pesto, more if you love pesto like I do

Cook pasta according to package directions. Place beans, pesto, cheese, and spinach, with the spinach on top, in a large microwave safe bowl and cook for 90 seconds to wilt the spinach. Stir in pasta and tomaoes. Serve immediately. Yummers!!

What To Do With Rainbow Chard


I’m sad I haven’t been able to post any new recipes recently. I have been cooking, just nothing new. Life has been keeping me happily busy. Then I got inspired at the farmers market, again.

Lots of people are unsure what to do with chard and can find it bitter. I think the leaves are incredibly beautiful and the stems stunning. I buy it every time it looks yummy.

This dish is very simple, as follows my entire approach to cooking. And not at all bitter. Just put everything in a pot and cook. What you will need:

One bunch of rainbow chard, cleaned and chopped into ribbons

One onion, diced

2 tbs garlic, minced

Polenta, one tube cut into bite-sized pieces

One can white beans, drained and rinsed

Pepper to taste

Chili powder, three shakes

1 tsp liquid aminos, more to taste

Smokey Parmesan cheese, shredded, or other flavorful vegan cheese, for topping

One pint baby yellow tomatoes, rinsed and sliced into halves

Put everything but the cheese and tomatoes in a large pan. I use a wok shaped pan to easily hold everything. Cook on medium to medium-high heat. Stir frequently until the onions are soft. The polenta will break up a bit and make the dish creamy. Turn off the heat and stir in the tomatoes. Serve with cheese sprinkled on top. Yummers!

So Delicious CocoWhip


Yummers!!

Don’t have time to whip up your own coconut milk whipped cream? No problem, So Delicious has you covered. And it’s yummers. I quick made some berry layers for dessert and hubby was thrilled.

There is also a low-fat option, but I don’t worry about the good fats from coconut milk. On top of that, I have been reading lots about how low-fat options are not healthier. They tend to have more sugar or chemicals to provide a desired flavor. As always, it’s more about eating unprocessed foods.

Not Quite Lasagna

  
I love lasagna, but it always takes me forever to make and the noodles are usually my biggest frustration point. One night I decided to use very different ingredients and layer them together like lasagna. We scarfed this down!

  
It was so good we didn’t even have leftovers. And it’s gluten free!

What you will need:

4 good sized red potatoes, washed and pricked with a fork. Red potatoes are usually small, so I picked out the bigger ones

1 bunch of kale, stems removed and torn into desired size

1 big jar vegan spicy spaghetti sauce

1 batch of Alfredo sauce

Preheat oven to 450. Place potatoes in a microwave safe dish with lid, cook on high for 10 minutes. While cooking, begin making the Alfredo sauce. When microwave dings, use an oven mit to make sure the potatoes are soft/done. If done, set potatoes onto a cutting board to cool. If not done, cook another 2 minutes and check again.

Using the same microwave safe dish with cover, place all kale and 2 to 3 tablespoons of water in dish and cover. Cook in microwave on high for 5 minutes to steam. Set aside to cool.

Finish Alfredo sauce and pull out lasagna dish. Once potatoes are cool enough to touch, use a sharp knife to gently slice into 1/2 inch circles.

Layers-

Spaghetti sauce

Potatoes

Kale

Alfredo sauce

Spaghetti sauce

Potatoes

Kale

Alfredo sauce

Spaghetti sauce

Place in oven and bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until bubbling. Yummers!

Follow Your Heart VeganEgg Frittata

  
Woo hoo! Finally found the VeganEgg at a local grocery. Now what? It has been almost two decades since I cooked with eggs. Also, I have read reviews that this product will mimic the texture of eggs, but not the full flavor. Okay. So make something with egg that has its own personality. Frittata!

  
I had never made a frittata, but knew they are considered simple. A quick search of recipes gave me confidence I could pull this off. But, first, I had to make sure my pan could go from stovetop to oven without melting. An important piece of the recipe. Another quick internet search. Luckily, mine can. I based the recipe on the size of my pan that is not super big. What you will need:

1/2 an onion, sliced thin in half circles

1/2 a red bell pepper, seeds and stem removed and sliced thin to match the onion

4 mushrooms, sliced thin

2 kale stalks, stems removed and torn into smaller pieces

1/2 tsp avocado oil

1/2 tsp liquid aminos

2 shakes pepper

4 eggs worth VeganEgg; 8 TBS and 2 cups water, follow package instruction

Preheat oven to 450. Sauté at medium all but the VeganEgg until soft. Add VeganEgg and stir together. Make everything flat and raise burner heat to medium high. Let cook until the sides are pulling away from the pan. Move pan to oven and cook until top is browning.

After pulling from the oven, I decided to sprinkle with shredded mozzarella.

  
I was not disappointed. I think next time I will add some nutritional yeast. It was good, but from the veggies. The VeganEgg will benefit from more spices. This was Yummers though!