Thursday, July 26, 2018

1980s Cheesy Bean Dip

Are we eating any healthier these days? We certainly know more about the effects of the SAD diet (Standard American Diet) on our bodies than we did in the 1980s, but do we care at all? I know I do.

I recently learned that a few dairy industries have had to close shop or at least cut way back on production because the demand for non-dairy milk has increased so much in recent years – and that is GOOD NEWS! And I also just learned that some of the disgustingly huge meat companies (think Tyson and Smithfield) have put some of their energies into cruelty free meats (think Beyond Meat and Tofurky …by the way, have you tried the Beyond Meat burger? OMG!)

Well, I regressed this week and ate a batch of this cheesy bean dip, which I lovingly call *1980s* cheesy bean dip….cuz, you know….cheese and all that….so 80s.

Here’s what you need:
2 cans refried beans
1 C shredded cheddar
1 C shredded Monterey jack
1 brick cream cheese
1 C sour cream
½ pack taco seasoning
Hot sauce to taste

Here’s what you do:
Melt and stir, melt and stir, melt and stir. Dip and eat, dip and eat, dip and eat.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Cashew Cream Zucchini Sauce

What happens when you go away from your zucchini plants for 5 days? It’s no exaggeration to say you get some pretty large veggies.

I do believe zucchini could feed the world, and if we prepared it this way, everyone would be happy!

I filled my Cuisinart 2 times. Jam-packed. 

Here’s what you need:
Freshly picked zucchini
Lots of fresh garlic – minced
Lots of red pepper flakes
Lots of raw cashews
Fresh basil

Here’s what you do:
Saute the minced garlic, red pepper flakes, and cashews in a generous amount of olive oil. Roughly shred the zucchini and add it to the garlic mixture. I added more cashews at this point and I don’t regret it. Allow it to simmer and cook down a bit, but be warned, the zucchini never really ever shrinks at all. Toward the end, when the cashews are soft and the zucchini is pretty soft, add lots of fresh basil. Stir vigorously. The aroma is heavenly!

Allow to cook a bit and process in a high-speed blender. Serve on pasta with a nice parmesan. Delicious!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Simple Mushroom Sandwich

Sometimes the simpler a meal is, the better. This portobello mushroom sandwich is the perfect example of that truth. The secret is in using high quality mushrooms and high quality buns. Today I used homemade hamburger buns from my local bakery. I have used ciabatta buns, and those work too.

Here's what you need:
large portobello mushrooms - 2 per sandwich
olive oil
tin foil
Sandwich buns
Parmesan cheese (dairy or non dairy)
garlic salt

Here's what you do:
clean the mushrooms with a small spoon, scraping out the black gills and trimming off the stem. Place them on a grill pan and drizzle olive oil over both sides. Salt them generously. Start grilling them slowly, flipping them every so often. You don't want them to become brown, just soft and juicy. The salt will bring out lots of juice and that's good. Cover them with foil and allow them to cook for at least 30 minutes, flipping them once in a while. They are done when a knife slips easily into the center of the mushroom.

In the mean time, make the best garlicky Parmesan toast with your buns. The buns do not need to be hot at meal time; they can sit around a bit before serving the sandwiches.

That's it!

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Made a double batch of these beauties today to take to a sorority reunion this weekend. I'm getting used to bringing my own food everywhere I go - and that's OK.

Here's what you need:
1 T corn oil
1 small green pepper - minced
1 small onion - minced
15 oz tomato sauce
1 T chili powder
1 t cumin
1 t smoked paprika
1 T dark molasses
1 T brown sugar
3/4 - 1 C French lentils (also known as Le Puy lentils)

Here's what you do:
Cook the lentils in veggie broth or water until soft and toothsome. Set aside.
Saute the green pepper and onion in the corn oil, but don't let them get brown at all....just soft. Add the remaining ingredients, including the lentils. Continue to simmer and thicken and adjust ingredients to taste. Keep them nice and sloppy and be sure to serve them on a classic soft white hamburger bun.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Roasted Cauliflower Salad with Lemony Tahini Dressing (from Budget Bytes)

Well, I really pulled out the stops for this year's Easter lunch! I made tons of vegan sushi; I literally spent hours prepping veggies, cooling rice, rolling, rolling, rolling, and decorating. See how gorgeous my end result was! I'm telling you, I was mighty proud of these beauties. Look at them!

The only horror was that I did not realize how yucky they would be after storing them over night in the fridge :( I mean, they were hard and crunchy and the nori was chewy. My family (bless their hearts) ate like champs, but all I could think of was how much they were chewing and chewing and trying not to frown at the Easter table.

My beautiful sushi did not satisfy at all. I knew we were hungry and cranky. So the next day, I made three power salads, enough to fill us to the brim and beyond.

Today I share an excellent recipe from Budget Bytes. See the original recipe here.  This stuff was amazing. In fact, it's probably my new favorite way to eat cauliflower. Many kudos to Beth and Budget Bytes.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Pumpkin Applesauce

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"

Day 31: Halloween

Just a cool shot from our boat of a bridge being build over the Grand River. 

Make chunky applesauce, add lemon juice and cinnamon while cooking. At the end, add some canned pumpkin and vanilla. No sugar needed! 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Spinach Dip Crescent Roll Ring (One Green Planet)

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October) 

"Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good." Psalm136:1
(not original to me! King David gets full credit for those beautiful words!)

Day 30: Practice for Thanksgiving 

Gotta have lots of appetizers and snacks on T-Day

The light is at the end of the Vegan Month of Food tunnel! Tomorrow’s post will be the last one, and I must say, 31 posts in 31 days has been a challenge, but I did it. Hopefully some of you became more motivated to try vegan food and meals and attitudes. Remember, ‘vegan’ doesn’t mean weird or hippie or liberal or deprived or grungy – no. It means not hurting animals. That’s the bottom ‘vegan line.’ Leave animals off your plate.

When I think of eating animals, the most upsetting situation is Thanksgiving. Imagine all the turkeys. Every single home, every single American. All the traditions of being thankful have been lasered in on one iconic item: the turkey. When did stuffing our bodies full of turkey almost to the point of illness become our sole representation and expression of thankfulness?

We won’t be eating a turkey at my home as a way to express our thankfulness. We will celebrate family and friendship with a table full of the earth’s bounty.

Autumn always puts me in a thankful mood: I love the cool air, the colors, the gentle sunlight, and the darker afternoons. If you’ve been reading these October posts, you might recall this line of poetry, which to me says it all.

‘October is a gentle queen who crowns the year in gold.’

Penning that one line was how I began this year’s Vegan Month of Food journey. I was a passenger on a long car trip, trying to decide if I should once again tackle this huge challenge (31 posts in 31 days, guys!). I was scribbling down ideas and landed on my theme of “Lines and Light.” This was the first line I wrote, and it has been my undergirding theme of the entire month.

Be thankful this season and show it in gentle ways. 

Original recipe can be found HERE. This was surprisingly good! 

8 ounces vegan cream cheese
3 ounces vegan sour cream
1/2 t onion powder
1/4 t garlic powder
1 box frozen spinach, thawed and squeeze dry
1 tube crescent roll dough

Arrange the crescents in a big pointy star. Mix the filling well. Spoon on the dough and fold the points over to form this ring. Bake 400 about 20 minutes. 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Italian Sausage (vegan)

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line of original poetry or a photo of Michigan light every day for the month of October)

Day 29:History: What would you cook for your favorite historical figure
Light on a secret place

(That pinkish stuff all over the place is the most flavorful sauce made from the juice of my roasted tomatoes, Dijon mustard, and vegan Ranch dressing. OMG.)

(Day 2. I  chunked up the leftover sausage, sauteed them in a bit of oil and added to to jarred Marinara sauce. Better than meat!)

In honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation of the church, I decided to make sausages, mashed potatoes, green beans, and roasted tomatoes for my favorite reformer, Martin Luther. If there has even been a single person who has changed world history, it’s Luther! Reformations and Counter-Reformations and new denominations of Christianity and huge divisions in the church – there’s no way he could have known what his influence would be. I totally admire his willingness and bravery to speak his mind, even to the point of excommunication!

(If Mrs. Luther had fennel, she would have used her Brazilian mortar and pestle to grind it,
just like me.)

He stood before emperor and said, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God. Amen.”  Think of it! That’s crazy!

My favorite Martin Luther quote is this, “You can’t keep birds from flying over you but you can keep them from nesting in your hair.”

Another Luther gem, “The devil should not be allowed to keep all the best tunes to himself.”

If you don’t know much about Martin Luther, I suggest that you watch one of the many movies made about him, or even take a glimpse at Wikipedia. He was a pretty fascinating guy. I’m positive his beloved wife, Katherina, made him this meal.

If you haven’t made homemade vegan sausages, fear not! It’s so easy and way better than store bought ones. I find most of the brands way too salty for my taste. These are simple to make and it really doesn’t take much time. My recipe is based on Isa Chandra’s Italian Feast Sausages, from her Vegan Brunch cookbook.

(I know what you're thinking.....but trust me, these are so good!)

Here’s what you need:
¼ C chickpeas
1 ¼ C vital wheat gluten
1 C broth made from Chicken Style Seasoning (find that amazing recipe  HERE )
1 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
4 garlic cloves, grated finely
¼ nutritional yeast
2 t fennel seeds, crushed
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t sweet paprika
1 t dried oregano

(My famous drizzle sauce: juice from my homemade roasted tomatoes, (I call it liquid gold),
 dijon, and Ranch.)

Here’s what you do:
Smash the chickpeas with a fork until every single one has been smashed. Add the gluten and mix a bit. Make a slurry with the remaining ingredients, whisk, and pour over the dry stuff. Use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix everything together. It will seem wet. It won’t be too  long before you observe long threads of gluten in the mixture – that’s when you know you’re ready for the next step.

Divide the stuff into 4 sausages and carefully wrap them in aluminum foil. Steam them for about 40 minutes! Voila! They are ready!

I like to cut them lengthwise and fry them a bit. Serve with mustard, or sautéed onions and garlic, or in sauces, or on bread, or sliced into disks. Very good.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Avocado Potato Toast with Almond Hollandaise

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light" 
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of Michigan light every day in October)
Day 28: Brunch

I served my Avocado Potato Toast on a lightly dressed chopped salad.

Did I invent Avocado Toast? No. Did I invent Avocado Potato Toast? I was hoping so, but a quick google search reveals other home cooks who have already put these two favorites together. (But truth be told, mine was pretty delish! We scarfed.) 

The hollandiase was simple and very lemony and light. It would be great on a tofu scramble or even in a falafel sandwich. 

The star of the meal is the huge roasted potato chip. Bake it till it's nice and crispy. 

(Below, is today's photo of beautifuul Michigan light. Taken at Art Prize in Grand Rapids in 2015)
"Me and Starry Light"
Here's what you need:
large russet potatoes, sliced lengthwise about 1/3 inch thick. Use only the nicest pieces for the best 'chips' . Drizzle olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast at 400 degrees until golden. Flip them over once in a while. 
ripe avocados
ripe tomatoes

For the hollandaise: (recipe from Hot for Food)
1/2 C raw slivered almonds
1/2 C soy milk, plus more to thin
1 T coconut oil
1 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T nutritional yeast
1/2 t dry mustard
1/4 t trumeric
pinch of salt

Put all the hollandaise ingredients in a high speed blender and continue to blend until it is completley smooth and emulsified. Heat super gently on very low heat, adding more milk if necessary. 

Friday, October 27, 2017

Grilled Peanut Butter Sammies

Vegan Month of Food 2017
"Lines and Light"
(a line or two of original poetry or a photo of beautiful Michigan light every day in October)

Day 27: Meal for the young

Marching band echoes down my street
Red and white eighths and quarters bouncing off living room walls
Warm memories of my happy musicians

I have been eating grilled peanut butter sandwiches since I was a young girl. I still love them. I ate this one today for breakfast.