Livin' La Vida Vegan!

Caramelized Onion, Roasted Garlic, & Artichoke Pizza with Vegan Jalapeno Havarti

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This pizza was inspired by JL Goes Vegan who I follow on Facebook.  she posted a picture of an artichoke pizza her husband made with the news that Daiya had a new Vegan Jalapeno Havarti cheese and I had to recreate it!  JL is also the author of “Vegan Pressure Cooking” – I’ve shared some of the recipes from that book on the blog before.

Start with the pizza crust of your choice — I used a prepared flat bread style.  Top with your favorite pizza sauce (I think I’ll try a white bean sauce next time).  I then added one caramelized onion, four roasted garlic cloves, and a can of rinsed and chopped up artichoke hearts.  I topped with slices of the Daiya jalapeno havarti cheese and baked for about ten minutes — follow the instructions on your pizza crust.

We loved this pizza and will make it often — thank you Daiya for introducing this delicious vegan cheese!

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Beef (less) Stew

beef stew

I’ve been trying in vain to recreate the hearty flavor of my grandmothers beef stew recipe and the answer was staring me in the face one day — Pero!  If you’re unfamiliar with Pero you may know it under the name Postum as well.  It’s an instant natural beverage that those of us who don’t drink coffee use.  It’s a combination of barley, malted barley, chicory, and rye.  Adding a bit of this gave the stew the hearty dark flavor I was looking for, I suppose instant coffee could be used as well.

This easy crock pot recipe is a wonderful comfort food that is perfect during the colder winter months.

With the saute feature of the crock-pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add one chopped onion and ten minced garlic cloves and cook until soft.  Next chop a bag of carrots (about half a pound) along with a four stalks of celery.  Add in one pound of red bliss potatoes — cut up into fourths.  Next is two bags of Gardein Beefless tips, a package of frozen peas (eight ounces), four cups of veggie broth, 1/2 cup of red wine, two tablespoons of flour and soy sauce each, and two teaspoons of Pero.  Finish up with the following spices: one teaspoon each of dried thyme, parsley, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice, a pinch of ground cloves, and two bay leaves with fresh ground salt and pepper to taste.  Stir well and cook in the crock-pot for six hours on high or eight hours on low.  Come home to a house full of wonderful smells — the aroma and taste made me miss my grandmother but I felt her there with me as we enjoyed this meal.

 

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Vegan Fettuccine Alfredo

alfredo

My husband’s go to order at any Italian restaurant was always Fettuccine Alfredo so it has been missed since giving up animal products.  I made this for him the other night and he was in heaven!  He told me it was the best Alfredo he’s ever had and he was so excited to have his mom try it too since it’s one of her favorites as well.  Alfredo was created by an Italian of the same name and is basically butter, heavy cream, and Parmesan cheese – loaded with fat and dairy, not easy recreating a successful vegan version but it’s been done!

This recipe is inspired by the Vegabond Chef, Brad Myers.  I’ve mentioned him a few times on this blog — love his Vegan cooking classes at Nature’s Food Patch, one of the things I’ll miss leaving Florida.  Check him out at facebook.com/thevegabondchef.

I attended Brad’s Vegan Alfredo class back in February and took pieces of his recipe and created my own version.  He used tofu and I like to stay away from it as much as I can.  Plus his version had a head of cauliflower and I didn’t have any on hand so I made it without.  As much as I enjoyed his version I like mine better but I couldn’t have done it without his inspiration!

Start by boiling two cups of cashews for ten minutes.  Normally I would use raw only but I didn’t have enough so I used one cup of raw and one cup of roasted cashews.  I think the flavor was actually enhanced by the roasted cashews so I’ll continue to use them in the recipe.  I also added 1/4 cup of sun dried tomatoes to the boiling water.  At the eight or nine minute mark, drop in half an onion – score it ahead to enhance the flavor.  You could also steam the onion separately if you’d prefer.  Once that is done you’ll want to drain the nuts, tomatoes, and onion and let them cool a bit before putting into a blender.

In the meantime roast a head of garlic.  If you’ve never done this before it’s very simple — cut off the end of the garlic and place on a pan with a bit of olive oil in a preheated 400 degree oven for ten minutes.  When done you simply pinch the top and all the cloves come squirting out.  They are fragrant and soft — we often spread them on bread alone, delicious!  Add the roasted garlic cloves to the blender.

Next add in the juice of half a small lemon, 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast, two tablespoons of white miso paste, one teaspoon of Herbamare (sea salt infused with organic fresh herbs and vegetables), half a teaspoon of white pepper, two teaspoons onion powder, and a cup or so of creamy unsweetened cashew milk.  Blend the mixture until smooth, adding more milk if needed.  You’ll still have some heat from the cashews so no need to cook further, simply drain your pasta (we used a box of spinach fettuccine) and return to the pan.  Pour half the sauce into the pan and fold it into the pasta.  You’ll have plenty of sauce left over for the next day and believe me, this is so good you’ll crave it for days.  My husband kept asking for it over and over, I’ve made it a few times in one week!  Once I added half a cup of shredded carrots to the boiling cashew mixture with the onion and it added some nice sweetness — a good way to hide a veggie too.

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Easy Guacamole

Guacamole

I love guacamole but never actually made it from scratch before, after creating this simple recipe I’ll never go back to store made again!

Start with a large ripe avocado — peel, cut, and smash.  Add in a can of drained Rotel diced tomatoes and green chilies (medium is best).  Add in about a 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, onion powder, and garlic powder each plus one minced garlic clove and half a chopped small onion.  Then a dash of cayenne pepper with salt and pepper to taste.  Squirt half a lime on the ingredients and mix well then try it — after sampling I added a few more shakes of each spice and finished with fresh chopped cilantro.  My husband and I finished it off in minutes!  If you’re preparing ahead though I’d recommend leaving the pit in the mix.  I learned that long ago on a trip to Cancun, there was a guacamole making demo at the resort and that was one of the tips.  That was so long ago, I’m surprised it took me this long to make it from scratch myself!

Why buy prepared foods when homemade it so much better — a lesson I keep learning.  For truly homemade I would have cut up the tomatoes and green chilies too but that one step with the Rotel made it much simpler and just as tasty.

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Baked Mango Sriracha Cauliflower Wings

wings

Wow these “wings” are fantastic – my mouth is still burning from the Sriracha!

Gather the following and click on the link below for the instructions:

One head of cauliflower

For the batter: 1 cup water, 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of flour (I used white whole wheat), 1 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon each of smoked paprika and cayenne, and a generous amount of fresh ground black pepper.

For the Mango Sriracha Glaze: one cup of mango jam, 1/4 cup Sriracha sauce, 1 tablespoon or more hot sauce (I did not add in hot sauce at all, the Sriracha was plenty for us), 1/4 cup orange juice, a pinch of garlic powder, and 1/4 teaspoon ginger powder.

http://www.veganricha.com/2014/01/baked-mango-sriracha-cauliflower-wings.html

One thing the recipe doesn’t suggest that I needed to do was blend the glaze — I found it to be too chunky so I put it in my Vitamix blender and it was perfect.

After eating these wings we happened to drive by our former favorite wing place and proudly gave it the bird as we drove by — we don’t need you anymore!

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Turmeric Smoothie

smoothie

My poor husband was sick again but this smoothie knocked the cold right out of him!  Previously on this blog I’ve mentioned the many health benefits of turmeric along with chia and hemp seeds — this smoothie is an antioxidant powerhouse!  The recipe didn’t call for hemp hearts but I added it in because I used coconut milk instead of the hemp milk suggested.  I also didn’t use the coconut oil listed, drinking oil just didn’t sound appetizing but if you can get past that I recommend you do.  Coconut oil has powerful medicinal properties.  Here is a link to more info on the benefits of coconut oil:    http://eatlocalgrown.com/article/12671-coconut-oil-evidence-based-health-benefits.html.

Gather the following ingredients and then click on the link below for the recipe and get ready to feel well!

  • 1 cup hemp milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple or mango chunks
  • 1 fresh banana
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/08/04/turmeric-smoothie-recipe-makes-a-delicious-powerful-antioxidant/

We’ve been busy preparing our house to sell and packing for our big move.  Heading from quiet and warm Florida to the fast paced metro of Washington D.C.!  I lived in Northern VA for twelve years and have always longed to go back.  We’ll be closer to family and friends, plus I have a wonderful new job opportunity there so we’re excited for the move.  Just need to stay focused on packing — no fun!

 

 

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Vegan Mac & Cheese

mac

Earth Balance has done it!  They’ve created a vegan mac and cheese that would pass a blind taste test with Kraft.  Not that Kraft mac and cheese is the height of culinary delight but it is a comfort food that I was very much in need of after getting two suspicious moles removed from my back.  It hurt worse that I thought it would and I was being a big baby!  I was hungry and just wanted comfort food.  My husband whipped up a box of Earth Balance Mac & Cheese with Earth Balance butter and almond milk and it was just the medicine I needed.

The moles turned out to be nothing to worry about but I’ve learned a lesson — no more laps in the pool sans suit!  Although, skinny dipping is truly one of life’s wonderful pleasures and when you have a private pool all secluded with a six foot fence, why not?

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Polenta & Chickpea Scramble

scramble2

I posted a similar recipe back in August from CleanEatingVeggieGirl.com but I’ve changed the recipe to our tastes and we think it’s even better now.  We’ve been eating it a lot lately, such a nice savory breakfast!

In a tablespoon of olive oil, saute over medium heat one onion (cut into big chunks), five garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of minced sun dried tomatoes, and a small chopped yellow squash until soft.  In the meantime, drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and mash them all up.  Crumble half of a 16-ounce tube of polenta (find in produce section) and fold in with the chickpea mash.  Add in the chickpea/polenta mix to the skillet and mix well.  Next add in one tablespoon of nutritional yeast, two tablespoons of Bragg’s Liquid Aminos (or low sodium soy sauce), one teaspoon of Sriracha sauce, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric, one teaspoon of white pepper, and ground black pepper to taste.  Lower heat to medium-low and saute for another five to seven minutes until slightly browned — serve warm and enjoy!  A few variations we’ve tried, adding fresh tomatoes or salsa, we’ve also had zucchini instead of the yellow squash — spinach is great too, play with it!

Besides the word of the year ritual we started on January 1, we also created a moments jar (idea from my friend Kathy Patterson).  All the fun events or special times from the year are written down and put into the jar.  On New Years Day 2016 we’ll be able to read through them and re-live a year of wonderful memories.  I started putting in all the great new recipes we’ve tried but realized the jar would be full of food memories so decided to keep that to this blog.  What rituals do you have?  I recently read a great blog post from my dear friend StaceyMorris.com about the daily rituals that keep her grounded and healthy.  Check out Stacey’s blog — she’s an inspiration!

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Hazelnut Creamer

cream

Oh boy this creamer is divine!  I love it in my tea and my husband won’t have his coffee without it — what a find!  I already shared on this blog that Califa is our favorite plant based milk and then they went ahead and created this dream — hazelnut cream and almond milk combined for a little slice of heaven!  Only fifteen calories per serving, zero fat, and just three grams of sugar!  I even got creative on Valentine’s Day and mixed it in with some melted vegan chocolate chips to create a wonderful chocolate hazelnut sauce to drizzle on fresh Plant City strawberries — yum!  This will be perfect for any recipe that calls for heavy cream, my mind is turning thinking about all the possibilities!

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