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Monday, December 16, 2013

Glühwein (German Mulled Wine)

Winter is coming! What a better way to warm up for the colder season...or just get drunk ;). Glühwein translates to 'glow wine'. And boy does it make you glow! I remember the first time I had this warm beverage during winter in Germany. I clearly remember the strong spiced taste and how red my face got. It was DEFINITELY strong...mmmm!

I decided to make some glühwein to share with some holiday party goers. I was worried that it was not going to be as awesome as I had remembered, but it was definitely a hit. I hope you enjoy making and drinking this wonderful winter drink.

Jug of Glühwein
 RECIPE
1.5 L red wine 
1 c water
1 1/4 c dark rum
1 1/8 c sugar
20 cloves
5 cinnamon sticks
3 oranges
1 whole peel of an orange
3/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp anise seed

INSTRUCTIONS
Combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, anise, and nutmeg in a large enough pot (I used a 3 quart saucepan). Stir frequently, bring the liquid to a boil, and then turn down the heat to medium. 
Infusing the wine with wonderful flavors!

Half the oranges and squeeze the juice of the oranges into the pot. Save the peel of one orange and slice into 4 thick pieces. Stick the cloves into the peels and add to the pot. 

After 40 minutes, turn the heat on low and add the wine and rum. Allow the liquid to simmer for another 30-40 minutes. Make sure to constantly taste to make sure there is enough infusion of spices. If not, let the liquid simmer even longer. DO NOT allow the liquid to boil. This will cause the alcohol to burn off, which is no bueno.

Serving glühwein
Once the wine has cooled from boiling hot to a warm temperature, you can either serve from the pot or transfer to a container (I used the same jug that the wine came in). If transferring, use a funnel with a strainer placed above it in order to separate the spices from the yummy goodness. Once thoroughly strained, pour into a mug and enjoy. Happy holidays! 


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Vegan Gluten-Free Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Crust

I have been going on a pumpkin cooking spree (just been finding the time to upload recipes). This cheesecake recipe was inspired by an amazing tofu cheesecake I had recently. I am still trying to find a way to make the texture perfect (perhaps using vegan cream cheese). Regardless, I am still pretty proud of this deliciousness I have created.

This cheesecake recipe is a simple, healthy, festive dessert option. Perhaps give it a try for that Thanksgiving feast next week!

UPDATE: I made this again for Thanksgiving 2014 and tweaked the recipe a little. I enjoyed it very much this time around.
Vegan Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake

RECIPE
Crust:
2 c pecans 
1/4 c maple syrup or agave
1/4 c rice flour
1 tbsp water

Filling:
1 pkg tofu(silken or firm),drained
1  15 oz can pumpkin purée
3/4 c + 2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 c rice flour (dissolved in 1/4 c warm water)
1 1/2 to 2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt


INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F.

For the crust, blend the pecans until it is a fine powder. Transfer the blended pecans into a bowl and mix with maple syrup/agave, rice flour, and water. Once mixed well, press the crust evenly into a round 9-in baking dish (for a thicker cheesecake use a dish with a smaller diameter). Place the dish in the oven while the filling is being prepared.
Pumpkin Cheesecake before being put into the oven

For the filling, combine all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Adjust the measurements for the cinnamon and nutmeg to your desire. NOTE: Nutmeg is very strong, so a little goes a long way.

Remove crust from oven, pour the filling in the pan, and smooth it over evenly with the back of a spoon. Place the cheesecake in the oven and bake for 45-60 minutes, until golden. Remove from oven when done and let cool. Enjoy!


TIPS

  • For a frozen treat, place the cheesecake in the freezer and thaw it out before eating.
  • Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
  • If you would like, add 8 oz vegan cream cheese or cream cheese and an extra 1/2 c pumpkin for a more similar cheesecake texture.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Vegan Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash

I love roasted squash, especially during the fall season. Aside from the fact that squashes are super healthy, they taste magically delicious. I love coming up with different combinations of filling to stuff squashes with. Here is one I made up with mashed cauliflower (a much healthier version of mashed potato).


RECIPE
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded 
1 head of cauliflower 
2 oz dried cranberries 
1 package tempeh (any type/ flavor), cubed 
1 medium onion, diced 

1 c mushroom, chopped (any variety)Seasoning (garlic powder, thyme, salt, pepper) 

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. 

Place the 4 halves of acorn squash on a greased baking sheet and cook for at least 40 minutes (until soft). 

While the acorn squash is roasting, prepare the base of the filling by chopping the cauliflower into small pieces and placing it in a blender. For a rice texture, blend until the cauliflower is in rice sized pieces. For a smoother texture, pureé cauliflower. 

Place a saucepan on medium-high heat. Sauteé onion, mushroom, and tempeh with a little oil and salt. Turn the heat down to medium and add the cauliflower, cranberries, and seasoning. Cook until the cranberries soften. When finished, scoop the filling into the bowls of roasted acorn squash and bake at 400 degrees F for another ten minutes ( until slightly browned). Remove from oven and serve! 

TIPS

  • Feel free to make your own variations to this dish by using brown rice instead of cauliflower, or adding more vegetables to the filling.   

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Trumpet Mushroom Chowder

This was my first time attempting to make vegan chowder, and boy was it successful! The rich creaminess of the cashews, sweetness of the roasted sweet potatoes, the brightness of the thyme, and earthiness of the dark dried mushrooms make this soup an explosion of flavors. Trust me, those that eat this will not be able to tell that this dish is based on cashews!

This cholesterol-free, dairy-free, gluten-free chowder is easy and worth the time put into the recipe. Just remember, seasoning is the key to this wonderful concoction.


RECIPE
12 oz raw cashews (unsalted and NOT roasted) 
1 large sweet potato(peel left on for more nutrients), cubed and tossed with a little oil and salt. 
4 oz MarxFoods.com's dried black trumpet mushrooms
2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, diced
1 c soy creamer
1 tbsp vegan butter (or butter for the non-vegans)
1 1/2 tbsp Bragg's liquid aminos, or soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
seasoning (1 tsp thyme, 1 tbsp garlic powder, 2 tsp pepper)
water, to thin out chowder
imitation bacon bits, optional

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 
Place the raw cashews in a container and cover with hot water (just enough water to cover the cashews) At the same time, soak the mushrooms in a small bowl hot water for 30 minutes as well. While waiting for the ingredients to soak, roast the sweet potatoes on a greased baking sheet for 25 minutes and remove when finished.

Remove the mushrooms from liquid and chop finely. Strain the mushroom soaking liquid through a coffee filter and handheld strainer. Place the strained liquid in a blender with the cashews and its soaking liquid (at least 4 cups total). Blend on high until very smooth and creamy.


Place a saucepan (at least two quarts) on medium-high heat. Add butter, onion, mushrooms, and salt and sauté until onions are translucent. Add the carrots. After a few minutes, turn down the heat to low-medium. Add the creamy cashew mixture, Bragg's, and creamer. Season very well. Stir constantly as the soup thickens, and thin out to desired consistency with water. Cook until the carrots are tender and then add the sweet potatoes. Once cooled to a consumable temperature, serve, and top with bacon bits.  


TIPS


  • Add any type of vegetable you would love to your chowder.
  • If you do not like sweet potatoes, then feel free to roast any kind of potato.
  • Toppings for the soup can include fresh herbs, green onions, etc.


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Panko Breaded Eggplant

I always had a huge dislike for eggplant, that was until I had eggplant parmesan. I love how soft the eggplant becomes and how crunchy the outside stays. I decided to experiment with breaded eggplant. I tested out both cornmeal and Panko breadcrumbs and personally choose the latter, but it is all about preference.

This recipe makes a great base for eggplant parmesan! Whether you serve this with pasta or use this in a sandwich, your meal will be comprised of delicious eggplant goodness!

RECIPE
1 large eggplant
4 c Panko breadcrumbs or cornmeal (seasoned with 1 1/2 tbsp dried basil and 1 tbsp garlic powder)
1 1/4 c cold water
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder


Sauce
roma tomatoes, diced (or 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, drained)
1 small onion
1/2 c tomato paste
1/2 c water
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
seasoning (basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, etc)

INSTRUCTIONS
Slice eggplant into 1/4" slices. Mix flour, baking soda, seasonings, and water in a bowl. Place seasoned breading in a separate, shallow dish. Dip slice in wet mixture, then dry breading. Once the slices have been breaded, prepare your pan for shallow frying.

Heat a pan at medium heat with oil. Do not fill the pan. Instead, have enough oil to fill only a quarter of the pan. Shallow fry the slices until golden on each side and soft in the middle. Place finished slices on paper towels or stale slices of bread in a strainer, in order to remove excess oil. 

For the sauce, combine all the ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat. Season to your liking. Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken. Once at the desired consistency, serve with breaded eggplant slices. ENJOY!

TIPS

  • Serve with pasta for a filling meal
  • Use slices in a sandwich for a quick lunch
  • Bake the slices in the oven at 450 degrees F until the eggplant is soft, for a healthier version of this recipe
  • Layer slices with cheese (or vegan cheese) and sauce for eggplant parmesan. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Casserole

My forte is definitely not in baking. I do not know what it is, but when I bake, things just do not come out as I had planned. So lately, I have decided to experiment more with baking so that I can develop my skills. The other day I was craving cinnamon rolls, but wanted to put some sort of twist on it. That is when it hit me....LAYERS! Layers of sweet dough and cinnamon sugar topped with a cream "cheese" icing. MMMMMMM!

This is a vegan twist on cinnamon rolls. Get ready for an easy, scrumptious dessert recipe!


RECIPE
Dough
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c soymilk (or any milk alternative)
1/3 c + 1 tbsp oil (vegetable, coconut, etc.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Yeast
1 packet yeast
1/2 c warm water
1 tsp sugar

Filling
1 c sugar
1/8 c cinnamon powder

Icing
8 oz cream cheese alternative (or cream cheese for non-vegans)
1/4 c soymilk (or milk alternative)
1/8 c sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
Prepare the yeast by mixing the contents of the packet, water, and sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.


To prepare the dough, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Once mixed well, add the soymilk, oil, vanilla, and yeast mixture. Make sure to mix all the ingredients well, then use hands to form well mixed dough into a ball. Place the dough in a greased bowl covered with plastic wrap for one hour. 

Prepare the cinnamon sugar by simply combining the cinnamon and sugar.

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and divide the dough into four even parts. On a clean, flat, floured surface roll out one portion of the dough to fit the size of your casserole dish. Place the rolled out dough into your greased dish. Spread some oil on the dough and top with as much cinnamon sugar as you want! Repeat the steps until you have completed the last layer. Place the casserole, covered with foil, in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and allow to bake for ten more minutes, or until a knife comes out clean after inserting. When done, allow to cool.

To make the icing, combine all the ingredients in a blender (add more or less sugar depending on your preference) and blend until smooth. Once the casserole has cooled, serve a slice and top with icing. Enjoy!  

TIPS

  • Add raisins, nuts, or chocolate chips to the filling for  variation.
  • Add a ripe banana to the icing for a creamy banana icing.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Vegan 'Crab' Cakes

Tonight I started to come up with a recipe for no-meat balls to serve with some spaghetti. I started to fry up some of the balls, but once they were golden I realized that they were still soft. I decided to bake the fried ones, as well as the ones that I had not cooked yet, just to see which type would result in a better 'meatball' texture. After some time in the oven, the balls that were fried before baking had formed a cake shape and became crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The taste of this new creation was amazing! I immediately thought of crab cakes because of the look and texture.

This recipe is easy, vegan, and so delicious! The recipe is flexible enough that you could add other veggies, if desired.

RECIPE
1/2 pkg extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
2 medium carrots, well-washed
1 small onion, diced
1/4 medium red bell pepper, diced
1/2 c + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/3 c fine corn meal (make sure it is not extra fine)
1/2 tbsp minced garlic
Seasoning(garlic salt, paprika, black pepper). 

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven at 400 degrees F.

Roughly chop the carrots, put in a blender/food processor, blend until finely shredded, and transfer to a mixing bowl. Crumble the tofu into the bowl and add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and flour. Season the mixture accordingly. Mix the ingredients well. 

For mini cakes, roll balls into meatball sized balls(as seen). For larger cakes, roll larger balls. Deep fry the balls, or fill a pan with oil and fry both sides, until golden. When done put on an ungreased baking sheet and pop them into the oven. After about 15-20 mins, when the bottom is darker and crispy, flip the cakes over and let the other side crisp up for another 10-15 minutes. When done, remove from oven, let cool, and serve. ENJOY!

TIPS

  • Serve on a bed of arugula, topped with a creamy thousand island type sauce and some cilantro.



Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lentil Carrot Soup

With the season transitioning from Summer to Fall, you may not realize it, but the foods start changing too. Soup season has arrived! During the Fall and Winter seasons, soups become more popular due to their warming and soothing properties. More pumpkin and other squash recipes start to pop up everywhere, and not to mention the desserts! This recipe is just the first of many to come for this lovely Fall season.


This soup recipe is super simple, vegan, and has only 110 calories in a cup!

RECIPE
4 large carrots
1 c dry lentils
3 1/2 c water
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
seasoning( liquid aminos, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika)

INSTRUCTIONS
Add all of the ingredients, except the seasoning, in a pot that is at least 2 quarts. Allow the ingredients to cook on medium heat for 45 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Check the pot and stir every ten minutes to make sure the pot does not boil over. Once the lentils are cooked, empty the contents of the pot into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the soup back into the pot and season accordingly. Salt definitely enhances the flavor, but if you are worried about your sodium intake use liquid aminos. The seasonings can be as simple as just garlic powder and paprika. NOTE: For a thick, hearty soup use less water. For a thinner soup, add more water. Enjoy!

TIPS
  • Feel free to top the soup with herbs and spices. I topped the soup with some crumbled tofu and cilantro 
  • For a hearty meal, serve soup with some bread.
  • Experiment with other vegetable pairings for the lentils. Parsnips, beets, squash, pumpkin, etc.
  • Add 3 tbsp of ginger and some sriracha for a delightful asian twist!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Vegan Blondies

I wanted to make a dessert that would complement the awesome dinner I had made, but realized yet again that I had hardly any baking ingredients. This is all how this wonderful "accident" came to be. I know that these blondies have the potential to be so much better if I had more ingredients, but considering my situation these turned out awesome!

This vegan sweet treat is very simple, requires few ingredients, and pairs perfectly with fruit or ice cream.

RECIPE
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1/3 c + 2 tbsp oil (this was all I had, but you can use melted vegan butter or coconut oil)
1/3 c milk alternative
2 tbsp raw agave nectar or maple syrup
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt



INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine flour, baking powder, and in a bowl. Add sugar, oil, milk alternative, agave/syrup, and vanilla. Mix until well blended. The batter will have this in between texture of cake and cookie dough. Transfer the batter into a baking dish, evenly cover the dish with the batter, and allow it to bake for 15-20 minutes or until the top is golden. Allow the blondies to cool and enjoy!

TIPS
  • Best served warm.
  • Serve a slice of blondie underneath a scoop of your favorite ice cream
  • Serve the blondie with a blueberry/strawberry compote (I took fresh berries and cooked them down in a pan with a little water and a tad bit of sweetener).

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Cauliflower Hot Wings

Cauliflower is such an amazing, versatile vegetable. I have made rice, mashed potatoes, pizza crust, and even wings! I made some wings from cauliflower a while ago with  friend and was shocked at how amazing they were. The other day I was craving those wings and decided to put together a batch.

This recipe is easy, scrumptious, and vegan. You can use favorite hot wing sauce, BBQ sauce, or any sauce for that matter.


RECIPE
1 head of cauliflower 
1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
1 1/3 c cold water
1 1/2 c your favorite sauce
1 tbsp baking powder 
1 tsp salt or garlic salt

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Prepare a greased baking sheet and set aside. Cut the stem from the cauliflower, wash, pat dry, and cut into wing sized pieces. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Mix in cold water. Make sure to use a blender to smooth out the batter. 

Dip cauliflower pieces in the batter, make sure that they are well coated (shake off excess batter), and place on the baking sheet. Place in the oven for 20 minutes, or until golden and puffy.

Remove the cauliflower pieces from the oven and coat each piece in the sauce that you have picked out (I used buffalo wing sauce and added black pepper). Remember to shake off any excess sauce. Place the wings back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes. When done, let the wings cool and enjoy.

TIPS

  • Serve with celery sticks, carrot sticks and ranch/blue cheese dressing 


  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Vegetarian "Fish" Tacos

The inspiration for this recipe is the fact that I have never had a fish taco, even when I did eat meat. I love cabbage AND tacos, so I had to figure out some sort of substitute. 

This recipe is healthy, light, and delicious. Due to oven "frying", rather than deep frying, the battered "fish" is healthy and uses little to no oil. This recipe can easily be veganized (just use vegan sauces)!


RECIPE
Battered "Fish"
1 small zucchini squash(approximately 7 inches)
3/4 c fine corn meal
1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c cold water
1/2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp garlic salt

Taco Fixings
8 small corn tortillas
1 c cabbage, shredded(red or green)
1/3 c carrots, shredded
1/2 small onion, finely sliced or diced
1/4 c mayo, light mayo, or Veganaise
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar or white vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar or agave nectar
seasoning (garlic salt, pepper, etc.)
tartar sauce or thousand island dressing, optional
cilantro, as much as you desire
lime slices, optional 

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To prepare the battered "fish", cut the zucchini in half width-wise and cut each half into halves length-wise. Take one of the four halves and cut into fourths length wise, then do this to the other three portions. Once sliced, the pieces need to be breaded and battered. Place the corn meal into a bowl. Combine the flour, baking powder, and garlic salt into a separate bowl. Mix well, add the ice cold water, and mix well again. Take a stick of zucchini, dip into cornmeal, dip into batter until covered, then dip into cornmeal one last time. Place the piece on a greased baking sheet, and repeat with the fifteen other pieces. Allow the battered "fish" to get golden and crispy in the oven (about 20-30 minutes).

While the oven is going, it is time to prepare the cabbage slaw. Add cabbage, carrots, and onions into a bowl and combine well. In a small container combine mayo, vinegar, sweetener, seasoning  and stir until well blended. Loosen up the sauce with a little water. Add just enough water to thin the sauce out, but not too much that the sauce becomes watery. Pour the sauce onto the cabbage mixture, incorporate the sauce in thoroughly, and let it sit to soak up the flavors.

Once finished, remove the zucchini from the oven and set on the counter. Start to heat up a pan on medium-high heat for the corn tortillas. The tortillas should be flipped back and forth until they soften up. Now, you are ready for taco assembly.

For each taco, lay a tortilla flat on a plate, place two pieces of battered "fish", a few dabs of tartar sauce or thousand island on top(if desired), scatter cilantro pieces, spoon on about two spoonfuls of cabbage slaw, and squeeze some lime juice over the finished product. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!  

TIPS

  • If you would like a less-healthier version, once the zucchini pieces are breaded and battered you can fry them in oil instead of oven frying.
  • For variation, the battered "fish" could be eggplant, sweet potato, or any other starchy vegetable you think could work (leafy and watery veggies would not work).    


Saturday, September 7, 2013

Baked Seasoned Cornmeal Encrusted Tofu

This is a very simple recipe for that block of tofu you have just hanging around. If you have never had tofu before, or just curious, than this recipe is easy enough to try out.

RECIPE
1 pkg extra firm tofu, pressed 
1/2 c coarse cornmeal
combination of seasoning (I used paprika, garlic salt, and black pepper)

INSTRUCTIONS
Heat oven to 400 degrees F.

Make sure that the tofu is pressed. This means that the excess liquid is pressed out of the tofu. To do this, open the package, drain the liquid, and place the tofu into a sealed zipped locked bag. I put the tofu in the fridge and placed a container of some beans I was soaking on top of the tofu. You can use anything heavy enough to press the tofu. Once the excess liquid has been pressed out, you are ready to encrust the tofu.

Add the cornmeal and seasoning into a bowl. Make sure the cornmeal is very well seasoned because the tofu does not have much flavor. Slice the tofu into pieces about 1/8" thick and cover each slice in the mixture. Place tofu on a greased baking sheet and put in oven. Bake in the oven for twenty minutes, flip each piece, then bake for a little longer. That is it...ENJOY!

  
TIPS
  • Serve with a sauce for dipping for a quick snack.
  • Cut up the slices into cubes to use as a topping for salads.
  • For a healthy Soul Food meal, serve the tofu with beans and rice, sweet potatoes, and steamed cabbage.

Egg-Free Black and White Cheesecake Bars (Vegan version available)

I wanted to use the silken tofu I had in my fridge for a dessert, but was not really sure what to make. I had only ever made smoothies with silken tofu, so I decide to do some research on the interwebs. I came across everything from pies to puddings, but did not find anything that would satisfy my craving in the moment. Additionally, most of the recipes would require me to go shopping for ingredients I did not have. Using what I already had at home, I came up with this recipe for egg-free cheesecake bars.

RECIPE
Crust
1 box Graham cracker crumbs (or take Graham crackers and crush them into crumbs)
1 stick butter, melted (for vegan version, use 1/2 c of a non-dairy margarine like Earth Balance)
1/4 c agave nectar

Filling
2 pkg 12oz silken tofu, soft
2 pkg 8oz low fat cream cheese (for vegan version, use non-dairy cream cheese like Tofutti)
1 c white sugar
1/2 c brown sugar
6oz semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used the Trader Joe's brand, about half a bag)
1 tsp vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, mix together the Graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sweetener. Pat down the crust into a baking sheet (make sure the sheet has some depth). The bigger the baking sheet, the thinner the bars will be.  

For the filling, blend tofu and cream cheese, then transfer to a mixing bowl and add white sugar. Transfer half of the mixture into another mixing bowl. For the "White" portion of the bars, add vanilla and brown sugar to one half of the mixture. 

For the "Black" portion of the bars, you will need to melt the chocolate chips. Bring a cup of water in a saucepan  add the chocolate chips to a heat-resistant bowl (glass Pyrex or metal mixing bowl), and place the bowl on the sauce pan. Make sure the bowl has a greater diameter than the saucepan so it does not fall in. Constantly stir the chocolate chips over the heated water until melted. Make sure that water DOES NOT mix with the melted chocolate because it WILL ruin the chocolate. Add the melted chocolate to the other half of the cream mixture.

Now comes the layering! Take the "Black" mixture and spread evenly over the crust using a spatula. Once covered, do the same with the "White" mixture. Make sure the layers DO NOT MIX! Pop this into the oven and let bake for 30 minutes or so. When the top layer forms cracks, the bars are finished. Take the bars out of the oven and let chill. Once cooled, slice the cheesecake into bars, store in a freezer safe container, and freeze. Once the bars are frozen, feel free to enjoy!


TIPS
For Coconut Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars, spread peanut butter on slices of the cheesecake bars and top with toasted sweetened coconut flakes. NOTE: To toast flakes, empty the amount desired into a pan that has been heating on the stove at medium heat. constantly stir the flakes until they are evenly golden and toasty.   




Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Thin Vegan Banana Pancakes (Crêpes)

Good Morning, fellow readers! This morning I woke up craving something sweet and filling. That is when I remembered the very, very ripe banana that has been hanging out in my kitchen. As the list of the few ingredients in my pantry ran through my head, that is when it hit me...some delicious banana crêpes were definitely in order.

This recipe is simple, requires few ingredients, and animal-free. YAY! The best part is that no syrup is needed because the thin pancakes have enough flavor on there own. Regardless, feel free to dress them up as you please.

RECIPE
1 cup all purpose flour
1 3/4 cup milk alternative, or even water (too lessen calories)
1 ripe banana
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS
First things first, mash up that ripe banana with a fork in a separate bowl. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add the mashed banana, liquid, salt to the dry mixture and mix until smooth.
You will need a medium sized, non-stick sauté pan (similar to that pictured). Heat up the pan at medium heat and spray some PAM to cover it (if you do not have PAM, put a little oil on a paper towel and wipe the pan with it). Add about 3/8 cup of the batter into the pan, grab the pan, and make sure the batter fully covers the bottom of the pan by moving around the pan to make sure every niche is covered.

Little holes will start to form, as the number increases that means that it is time to flip. Take your spatula, loosen up the edges, and when you feel comfortable...flip it! It should not take more than two minutes for the other side to cook. You can use your spatula to peak underneath.

When it is done, place it on a plate, and do it all over again. REMEMBER to spray with PAM or grease with your oil-dipped paper towel before putting batter into the pan.

This recipe will make approximately 7 crêpes.

TIPS

  • For a sinfully sweet dessert, spread a thin layer of Nutella, roll up the crêpe, and ENJOY!  
  • For savory vegan crêpes a few adjustments need to be made. Omit banana and vanilla, and lessen the amount of sugar to 1 tsp. Use an original flavored milk alternative, and add about 1/4 tsp baking powder. Top with cheese, eat with veggies, use them however you want.        



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Garlic White Bean "Alfredo" Sauce

While I was sitting there one morning enjoying some baked beans, something came over me. No, not flatulence. The smooth, almost creamy, texture of the navy beans struck me with inspiration. All of the sudden, the idea of translating this creaminess into a sauce dawned on me. I asked myself, "What kind of sauce is smooth, creamy, and white?" The answer was simple: Alfredo.

Here is an original recipe for Garlic White Bean "Alfredo" Sauce. This is a much healthier alternative to Alfredo sauce and on the plus side it is vegan. 



RECIPE
1 can of white beans, drained (Cannellini, Navy, etc)
1/2 onion, diced (red, white, or yellow)
1 cup original flavored milk alternative, vegetarian broth, or water
1 tbsp minced garlic (approx. 5 cloves)
seasoning of choice (I used garlic salt and black pepper)

INSTRUCTIONS
In a blender combine garlic, beans, and liquid. Blend ingredients until the consistency is very smooth and set aside. Sauté onions in a heated pan with a little oil or a couple sprays of PAM. When softened, add the sauce, and let simmer on low while it is being seasoned. Constantly stir until the sauce thickens to your liking (more time on the stove allows for more liquid to evaporate causing the sauce to thicken). Serve over cooked pasta, vegetables, or whatever your healthy heart desires. 

TIPS
  • For a light, filling meal serve the sauce on your favorite pasta/ pasta alternative, then top with fresh diced tomatoes and green onions.
  • Add your favorite brand of meatless chicken strips, for a healthier alternative to Chicken Alfredo.
  • Add vegetarian/vegan bacon for a less-artery-clogging version of Carbonara sauce.