Category Archives: snack

Vegan Cream Cheese

I am so proud of myself! I made vegan cream cheese today and it’s delicious!

IMG_7121

You know, sometimes I lack confidence in the kitchen. I enjoy cooking and creating delicious and creative vegan dishes and meals, but, most of the time, I follow a recipe. I get a bit anxious about launching off on my own without a recipe to anchor my creativity. Oh yes, there are several dishes I can make off by heart or have invented (humous, various salads and salad dressings, chili, bowls …), but most cooking days find me consulting a recipe. Now, this cream cheese recipe … I based it on Kaylie Johnson’s Dairy Free Paleo Cream Cheese Recipe on the blog Paleo Gluten Free Eats. I followed her recipe, but I wasn’t pleased with the flavour. So, you know what I did? I added a bit of this, a bit of that until I was satisfied. While I was adjusting, I realized that I was feeling confident and sure, that I have enough experience to just go for it. Although I used someone else’s recipe to start, I made this recipe my own. I can truly call it my own because I used what I know, what I like, and made something that worked for me. Yay me! So here it is:

1 cup cashews, soaked

1 1/2 tbsps water

1/8 cup + freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/8 tsp salt

1/16 tsp finely minced garlic

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until very, very smooth. If you are using a high powered blender like a Vitamix, you shouldn’t have to blend for too long to get everything blended and the right consistency. If you have an ordinary blender, like I do, you will have to blend for at least 5 minutes, probably more, scraping down the sides as you go. I was able to keep the blender going while using a spatula to push the mixture from the sides into the middle. This way, the blender didn’t get stuck and I got everything really well blended together.

IMG_7122

This cream cheese is a savoury type, due to the salt and garlic, so use it in that way – on crackers, on bagels, on toast, with tomatoes … whatever your cream cheese thing is! I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m sure you could use this cream cheese in things like a layered mexican dip or in a salad dressing. Try it and let me know what you think and how you used it. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a snack!

IMG_7123

 

 

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , ,

Vegan Queso

I feel like the Cat in the Hat!

Why?

Because the Cat in the Hat says, “Look at me! Look at me now! It is fun to have fun, but you have to know how!”

And that’s what I’m saying right now! Look at me! Look at me now! I’m posting on my blog for the second day in a row!

(Of course, when the Cat in the Hat said it, he was balancing a cup and some cake and some books and a fish and lots of other things!)

cat_in_the_hat_6ce8511c

So, yeah, I’m posting another recipe today. This one is for vegan queso. You know, I’d never heard of queso until I became a vegan! Until I started reading and subscribing to other food blogs. Since then I’ve learned that Americans (that is, people from the U.S. of America) really like queso! Even vegans! Traditional queso is a cheese sauce, so creative vegan queso lovers have invented all kinds of cheeseless queso recipes. While I was looking for a Mexican flavoured appetizer to kick off a dinner party that I’m about to host, I came across this interesting take on queso on Minimalist Baker (http://minimalistbaker.com/cashew-less-vegan-queso/).

I made this queso tonight and I thought it was really tasty. I just ate some with tortilla chips, but I’m thinking of using it to make nachos – chips on a pan, a layer of queso, a layer of diced tomatoes, green onions, black olives, jalapenos, repeat layers, broil lightly, eat. I’m also wondering if I could use it for a pasta sauce.

Vegan Queso

(slightly adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Cashew-Less Vegan Queso)

image

about 1/2 medium sized eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds (Unusual ingredient, that’s for sure! Whether you like or don’t like eggplant, you’ll really like this queso! I know because I taste tested it on an eggplant hater!)

salt

olive oil

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 tbsps. nutritional yeast

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp cumin

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

2 + 1 tsp cornstarch

Sprinkle the eggplant rounds on both sides with salt and leave to drain in a colander for 15 minutes. Rinse with cold water, pat dry and lay out on a lightly greased baking pan. Brush a little olive oil on the eggplant rounds. Broil on high close to the top of the oven for about 4 minutes, then flip and broil for another 4 minutes. Don’t let the eggplant burn. Broil to a golden-brown colour. Transfer rounds to some foil, loosely wrap and let steam for a couple of minutes. Peel off the eggplant skin. The broiled, skinned eggplant rounds, packed into a 1 cup measuring cup, should fill the cup.

Put the eggplant rounds, milk, yeast, garlic, cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika and 2 tsps. cornstarch into a blender and blend on high for 2 to 5 minutes (depending on how powerful your blender is) until smooth and creamy.

Transfer to a saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring slowly. It will start to thicken and bubble (watch out for those bubbles!). If it doesn’t seem thick enough after 3+ minutes, mix the remaining 1 tsp of cornstarch with a splash of almond milk and a couple of tbsps. of the queso until smooth then stir into the saucepan. Keep cooking and stirring until thick.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

image

Next time I make this, I will roast the eggplant whole, then scrape out the inside to fill 1 cup .

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup of drained salsa to stir into the queso after it has been heated and thickened. I didn’t do this because I wanted to serve the salsa alongside the queso.

image

image

 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Aloo Tikki – Indian Potato Patty

Last night I went out for dinner with “Tom” and some friends. We’d just been to see a play at the Vancouver Fringe Festival, a play called Love is for Superbeasts written by and co-starring my young friend, Mily (Emily) Mumford:

Love is for Superbeasts

Mily told us she often feels very hungry after a performance and it was probably 8:00 by the time we got to the restaurant so we were all ready for a meal by then. We chose an Indian restaurant because there are always vegetarian choices on the menu. Unfortunately, there were several disappointments at this restaurant. Fortunately, one of the dishes was inspirational … in that, I had visions and dreams all night long about how to recreate the dish and make it better! The restaurant called it Chaat Tikki, and it was fried potato cakes served with chickpeas. A little internet research clarified a few things for me:

  • chaat means snacks

  • tikki means croquette

  • aloo means potato

What I ate was a popular street food snack called Aloo Tikki which is a fried potato patty. This appetizer is often served with Chana Masala, a spicy chickpea stew/curry, and with chutneys and yogurt. My vision for this dish was to bake rather than fry the patties and serve them on a layer of Chana Masala (“Tom” is the Chana Masala chef in our household) on a bed of steamed spinach. Yummy and healthy!

Today, however, I only got to the making of the Aloo Tikki. The whole meal deal with the greens and chickpeas is a menu for another day. But that doesn’t mean I can’t share the potato patties with you today.

image

Aloo Tikki

(adapted from a recipe on Indian as Apple Pie)

4 medium to large potatoes, peeled

1 tbsp. coconut oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1 onion, finely chopped, divided

1 inch ginger, grated or minced

pinch of salt

1 tbsp. minced green chilies (I just used canned chilies ’cause that’s what I had on hand, but fresh would be better, and if you like lots of heat, use a Serrano chili)

2/3 cup green peas, fresh or frozen and thawed

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp garam masala

1/8 tsp cayenne

1 tsp coarse sea salt

1 tbsp. chickpea flour

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup + fine cornmeal

Boil the potatoes whole. When just cooked (a sharp knife slides in easily, but not mushy), drain and cool in cold water. Grate the potatoes into a large bowl.

image

In a frying pan, melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat. Add the cumin an turmeric and cook until the seeds begin to pop. Add 2/3 of the minced onion and the salt and cook, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the ginger and green chili, then the peas and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring to prevent sticking. Add this mixture to the grated potatoes.

image

Into the bowl, add the coriander, garam masala, cayenne, salt, chickpea flour and the remaining 1/3 of the onion. Mix everything together with a wooden spoon and your hands. Add in the lemon juice and mix again.

image

image

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with a tbsp. of melted coconut oil. (I just put the coconut oil on the baking sheet, shove the pan in the oven for a few seconds, pull it out, spread the oil around evenly). Put the cornmeal in a shallow bowl. Keep both oiled pan and cornmeal handy.

Take about 1/4 cup of the potato mixture, roll it into a ball, flatten it into a patty, dredge in the cornmeal and place on the baking pan. Repeat with the rest of the potato mixture. (My  mixture made 13 patties – depends on the size of your potatoes and how big you make your patties).

image

image

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, pull the pan out, flip the patties, bake for another 10 minutes. The patties should be nicely browned and crisped up on both sides. You may need to bake for a bit longer on one or both sides.

Serve with chutney.

image

image

image

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , ,

The New Sensation! Broccoli Leaf Chips!

IMG_2936

So, you’ve probably heard of kale chips … that crispy snack made by tossing some kale leaves in oil and baking for a few minutes. Simple, easy, somewhat nutritious. Well, kale chips have had their day in the sun. I’m here to tell you about BROCCOLI LEAF CHIPS! Yep, you heard it right … crispy chips made out of the highly nutritious leaves of the broccoli plant.

IMG_2940

Probably the reason this snack has not made it into the ovens of vegie eaters is because you can’t buy broccoli leaves in the grocery store. You could probably buy some from your local farmers market, but you’d have to make special arrangements because who every heard of eating the leaves instead of (or as well as) the broccoli flower.

IMG_2938

Well, I heard about the nutritional powerhouse-ness of broccoli leaves from my brother years ago when he was a hippie living in Sooke, BC, growing organic vegetables in great, bountiful quantities. When he entered a nursing program in Vancouver he tried to convince his nutrition instructor that there was more to broccoli than just leaves, but I don’t think this went over too well! Fast forward to yesterday when “Tom” and I were harvesting in our little community garden plot. Our broccoli was ready for picking and “Tom” asked if the leaves were edible. Well, I knew the answer to that one, so we collected several leaves from the plants and took them home. We tried steaming them up along with the fresh broccoli heads, but the leaves were kind of leathery and not very pleasant to chew (although the flavour was fine). Then, today, when I was preparing supper, I decided to make a batch of kale chips, but it turned out there weren’t enough kale leaves to make it worth while. I glanced at the full bag of broccoli leaves and thought, “Why not!” I prepared both kale and broccoli leaves the same way and, voila! Delicious, crispy, light chips! I was so thrilled about this culinary discovery, I had to share it immediately. (Thus the rather sub-par pictures)!

IMG_2939

And now here’s how you can make them too:

Kale and Broccoli Leaf Chips

several leaves of kale and/or broccoli (I used about 6 to 8 leaves)

olive oil

coarse salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Prepare the leaves by cutting out the stems then cutting or tearing the leaves into 2 inch squares. Put the leaves into a bowl and drizzle a bit of oil in. Toss and lightly massage the oil into the leaves so that most of the surface of the leaves is covered. Add a bit more oil if you need. Sprinkle in a bit of coarse salt and toss again. Lay out the leaves on a baking pan (no need to oil the pan) and bake for 8 minutes. Pull the pan out, gently move the leave around a bit, then bake for another 2 minutes. Eat and enjoy!

IMG_2937

 

Tagged , , ,

Picket Line Food!

 

Most readers of this blog come here because they’re interested in eating, cooking, health, plants-based diet, vegan food prep. They want to look at pictures of food and try out a new recipe. That’s cool. I’m happy to be your host. Today, I have a new recipe for you and I have pictures of food, but first, I want to have a chat …

I’m a teacher.

I’m a teacher on strike.

Since I’ve been working in schools, I have experienced the steady erosion of funding for public education. Twelve years ago, the provincial government stripped our collective agreement, our contract, of certain clauses without consultation, without negotiation, without bargaining. These clauses had to do with class size and class composition. Prior to this stripping, our collective agreement had language limiting the number of students in classes and limiting the number of students with special needs in classes. If a class was over the limits, another class had to be opened. In case you didn’t know, it is illegal to rip up collectively bargained contracts and this was reiterated, reinforced, confirmed and asserted when the teachers’ union took the government to court – not once, but twice. And still, the government refuses to obey the law and provide restitution. For this reason, and many more, I am on strike.

2014-06-17 13.58.35

 Don’t worry! Don’t give up on reading this post yet. I know this is a food blog and I will provide you with some. Here’s the connection:

While I’ve been out on the picket line, my colleagues and I have been overwhelmed by the support from parents, local businesses and members of the community. Drivers coast past honking, waving and smiling. The local pizza joint provides us with pizza and the neighbourhood tea house provides us with scones and croissants. Parents bring us cupcakes and muffins and cookies. Everyday we have plenty to eat. Even I, the plants-based eater in the crowd, has indulged in a few chocolate chip cookies and a banana muffin or two (complete with eggs and butter, I’m sure)! Earlier, this week, I thought, “No more!” I’m most wonderfully grateful for the support and good wishes and gifts from the community, however, I need some healthier food choices on the line. So, I made these little morsels pictured above. I got the recipe from Connoisseurus Veg, but changed it up a bit. These little Quinoa Trail Mix Bites were a hit on the picket line, along with a basket of local, organic strawberries. We all appreciated a break from the sweets.

Quinoa Trail Mix Bites

IMG_0599

1/3 cup almond milk

2 tbsp. ground flax seed

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 1/4 cups oats

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup almonds, some whole and some coarsely chopped

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup dried fruit, chopped (I used dried cherries and apricots)

Mix milk and flax seed together and set aside for 10 minutes. Stir everything else together, then add the flax/milk mixture and mix together completely. Spoon into greased mini muffin tins (if you have them) or put 2 heaping tbsps. into regular muffin tins. Press down with the back of a spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 + minutes. Let cool completely in pans before removing.

IMG_0600

Note: these little titbits are somewhat crumbly. If you can think of a way to help them stick together better, I’d be happy to hear about it. Agave nectar instead of brown sugar, maybe?

IMG_0602

IMG_0603

 

 

Tagged , , ,
Nest and Glow

Healthy natural lifestyle - Plant Based Recipes and more

ice and lettuce

a vegan recipe blog

Oh Hello Vegan

One New Recipe for every month

Carine Young Yoga, Richmond, BC

Move from the cellular level, organs, breath, from within...

Vegan Rescue

Uncover the Vegan within.

Small But Kinda Mighty

From a small seed, a mighty trunk may grow - Aeschylus

A Spoonful of Nature

Lifestyle Blog

Eat2Health Blog

Helping you make healthy & informed choices about your health

Yup, It's Vegan!

Plant-based recipes for everyone

(JUST ABOUT) VEGAN

One hungry girl's guide to an imperfectly delicious plant-based life

Vegan Gourmand

All About Good Food & Great Health

theflexifoodie.wordpress.com/

Delicious plant-based, whole food recipes & my healthy living tips!

blogsomemoore

Teaching and Empowering ALL Students

Coconut and Berries

Healthy, Vegan Recipes by Emma Potts

The Muffin Myth

Know What You're Eating

scarlet rosita

Reclaiming Food With Fun & Yumminess.

The Penny Parsnip

Healthy Food, Heathy Wallet

Healthy H'ohm'e

Natural health and wellness with a HUGE passion for food

Robin O'Kane

VIDEO - DESIGN - PHOTOGRAPHY

Beard + Bonnet

A Gluten Free blog celebrating food and family!

Feed Life

Nutrition and Lifestyle to Prevent Cancer

Fork and Beans

Where food allergies and creativity come together

Just Another Vegan Aucklander

A JAVA's journeys, speils and adventures as a vegan/vegetarian

Don't Switch Off The Light

GO VEGAN BECAUSE ITS THE MORALLY RIGHT THING TO DO

FatFree Vegan Kitchen

A fine WordPress.com site

Melanie daPonte, Vegan Personal Chef

A Passion For Food...A Passion For Flavor!