Wednesday, May 26, 2010

When will it stop? Also gf cupcakes and more...

I sit here typing and thinking at this very moment about all of the animals that are being abused, right this minute!   All around this country!  Some of us don't realize it's happening, I didn't  until a few years ago, and some of us know but turn a blind eye not wanting to know anymore because than they would have to deal with it.   By purchasing animal products, meat, dairy and eggs, we are actually saying this abuse is okay. Some of you may think that's extreme to say but  if you know what's happening to these animals but still choose to buy the products that come from these animals than you are saying it's okay.  I still have tears in my eyes from watching yet another, very disturbing video of a dairy farm in Ohio abusing their cows and calves.  You can watch it at Mercy for Animals or click on the video below.  Like I said this is graphic.

 The people in the video, their behavior is very disturbing and I think if they are acting out on these animals they could act out in a violent way towards human beings.  It's terrible to think about the terror and pain these animals are suffering from when they have done nothing wrong, innocent victims.  Buying "grass-fed", "free-range" and "organic" animal products doesn't mean that the animals weren't abused, they are still taken to a slaughter house and they can do what they want to these animals while they are there.  This has to stop and it can only if we make a choice to change.

  There are so many books, cookbooks and info out there to help with making the change to that of a plant based and compassionate diet. If you truly want to stop this kind of abuse you will stop buying animal products.  It's that simple.
  Now for a lighter tone, how about some GF lemon cupcakes.  The recipe I used was the Gluten Freedom Vanilla Cupcakes from VCTOW.  The only changes were I used sorghum flour instead corn/almond flour and add some lemon juice and lemon zest.  The glaze on top is just organic powdered sugar and lemon juice.

This past weekend went back to our hometown to attend a going away party for some friends, which was a really good time.  Since they are big time margarita drinkers I thought it was the perfect time to make the Margarita Cupcakes from VCTOW.  These are so freakin good!  The cupcake part is a bit like a spongecake and at first I didn't know if I liked it.  When they completely cooled and I spread the frosting on them, it all came together.  The frosting is limey and tastes like a blended margarita, yum!  It also makes alot and is a bit on the thinner side so in the future I will frost the day of the party.  Our good friends that we stayed with, the husband Chad is vegetarian, made a big pot of vegan chilli for everyone and added some cinnamon which gave it a different flavor, but it was nice and it worked!  It's always kind of fun to change things up sometimes.
This was also my first attempt at the Muhumarra Dip from the Vegan Table and I'm addicted.  This also went over very well.  I served it with pita triangles and cut up vegetables.  In the dip I used GF bread crumbs.  The recipe I found was also online so I posted below.

Muhammara (Roasted Red Pepper and Walnut Spread)
By Compassionate Cooks
Colleen Patrick Goudreau


2 to 3 whole roasted red bell peppers (fresh or from a jar)

2/3 cup bread crumbs (see below to make your own)

1 cup walnuts, raw or toasted

4 large whole garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons agave nectar

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more for added spice)

In a blender or food processor, combine the peppers, bread crumbs, walnuts, garlic cloves, salt,

lemon juice, agave nectar, cumin, and red pepper flakes. Puree to a smooth consistency. Scrape

down the sides of your blender/food processor, and make sure all of the ingredients are

thoroughly combined. Season to taste.

Yield: 1 cup

Serving Suggestions and Variations

*Most recipes for Muhammara call for olive oil; I don’t think it’s necessary, but feel free to

drizzle some in while you’re pureeing the rest of the ingredients.

*Serve with pita triangles, fresh bread, crackers, chips, carrots, mushrooms, cucumber, or other

raw veggies.

*Make it the day before serving to allow the flavors to mingle.

Compassionate Cooks Tip

To make your own bread crumbs: Place some bread (stale bread works great) in the oven until it’s

crispy but not really browned – at 300 degrees). Let it cool, then add it to your food processor

until it is reduced to crumbs. Add Italian herbs such as dried oregano, thyme, basil, marjoram,

rosemary, black pepper, etc.

Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wake Ewa and Kale chips

Whew it's been a busy end of the school year.  One more week to go!
 Recently the parents of the school put on an African inspired luncheon for the the teachers and staff.  All of the recipes were of African origin so from the list of recipes to make I chose the slaw which was easy to veganize due to switching out the mayo for veganaise. I'm really anxious to try to veganize the meatballs they made because everyone raved about them.  The slaw was a hit as well and I will post about it later.  In the meantime here is a wonderful African dish I found online that is so freakin easy to make and tasty.
This is called Wake-Ewa(black eyed beans/peas in a sauce).  Black eyed beans are so quick to make from scratch, they only take about an hour to cook after you soak them and I do a quick soak at that which only takes 2 hours. Beans are a great way to save money, they are very easy to make and you don't get any bpa from those cans.   This sauce doesn't really consist of much, but it's amazing how it comes out with a  rich and creamy taste due to the beans. 
It's a filling and very economical meal to make.  Dave and Keaton had seconds so it makes for a good size portion.
Here's the recipe below with a couple of changes from moi!
Wake ewa

Serves 4
3C. cooked black eyed beans
1 Large sweet or yellow onion(half thinly sliced the other grated)
1 garlic clove, minced
2-3 T. olive oil
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 T. fresh cilantro or 1tsp. coriander ground
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
3 Large tomatoes, diced
dash of sugar
salt to taste ( I found you don't need much salt in this)

In a pan heat the oil then add sliced onions and saute until translucent then add the garlic for another minute.  In the meantime add the grated onion chilli powder, cilantro or coriander, thyme and tomatoes in a bowl and stir together.  When the onion garlic mixture is cooked add the tomato mixture and stir often for about 10min or so, until the tomatoes cook down and flavors begin to meld together.  Next add the black eyed peas, mash slightly and add the sugar and salt.  Stir and cook for another 5-10 min.  Serve over brown rice. 

I finally made Kale Chips with nooch and oh these things are addicting. Above is the consistency of the sauce poured over the kale.  I thought these kale chips would be another great way for Keaton to eat Kale but he said he would rather eat a kale salad.  Hey I'm fine with that, I actually prefer he eat raw kale anyways.  So I guess I get to eat all of these chips. YAY!  The recipe I found was at The Fresh Network Blog but I noticed Gina at Choosing Raw subbed the bell pepper for cherry tomatoes.  So with that being said I subbed that for a regular large tomato and it worked out really well.
These are before they were baked.

Kale chips when they are done baking.

What do do?

Soak 1C. cashews for 4hrs or overnight then rinse. Wash a bunch of kale, break into pieces and put in a large bowl, set aside.  In a food processor add the cashews, 1 chopped tomato or red bell pepper, 1/4-1/3C. Nutritional yeast, juice of a lemon, Himalayan salt to taste.  Blend until smooth. 
Pour the cashew sauce over kale and stir until coated. I don't have a dehydrator so I placed the kale chips on two cookie sheets and baked in a 175degree oven with the door open for about 3-4 hours,or until crisp.
I hope you try these.  
Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Almost Rawnola and tempeh taco's

A beautiful day out today with no wind...nice! Summer is slowly creeping upon us.  The school year ends in 2 weeks for Keaton, then it's 3 months of summer vacation.  Wow time flies.

Before I move on with the food post I would like to mention a great site to look at and it's
called Forks Over Knives.  Some of you may already heard about it but for those of you who haven't or maybe are dipping into a plant based diet and and wanting to get your health back in your hands then check it out.  I truly believe food is our medicine and if you look at the many diseases out there and the people who have them you will notice the way they eat and or don't eat the proper food.  Now I know
that chemicals do play a part in some cases of disease so let's choose products for our body and home that are less harmful.  If we buy cleaner products and eat a plant based and mostly organic, unprocessed diet we can overcome many, many diseases and reverse them.  Hey it's easy to just pop a pill for high blood pressure or cholesterol or for almost anything now a days, but once people take one pill for something it then leads to more pills for other ailments.  Don't people think about what each of those pills are doing to their body?    It takes more work to change the way you eat than to pop a pill so maybe that's why they continue to do what they do.    My dad has many health issues  and yet he still eats eggs,meat and cheese and even though he takes his pills his arteries are still clogging up and his diabetes isn't going away and his kidneys are a wreck!  Not once does he think about eliminating these foods.  He called me one day to ask me if I've  heard about some oil that is supposed to clean your arteries.  He has no problems taking supplements  but he won't eliminate fiberless, saturated fat and cholesterol laden foods from his diet.  I don't want the health issues my dad has. 

What about our kids?  We do everything to protect them from bad people and teach them how to be safe but are we letting them put bad food in their bodies that can harm them?  It's our responsibility to teach them how to eat properly so they can live a healthy, long and medication free life.  Why do you think they have constant colds, could it be from the mucus forming foods from dairy and eggs?  These products are also full of saturated fat and cholesterol.  Kids arteries are starting to clog up at an early age due to the way they eat. We have control of what we give our kids to eat. let's start when they are young.  I'm so tired of hearing people talk about kid friendly foods and how kids are picky.  Who makes them picky?  The parents let them be picky.  Sure your little one might not like a food right a way but don't give up.  I always served Keaton what we ate but on a smaller scale and if he didn't eat it it the first time I didn't stop putting it on his plate.  Over time he ate it.  I want to be a part of my sons life for a long time and choosing a kinder and healthier lifestyle is the way to go, also if I didn't take care of myself that would be selfish of me.  I also want my son to be around a long time and I am trying to teach him how. I really recommend reading Disease Proof Your Kids by Joel Fuhrman with regards to kids and disease.  The human body is amazing and it can heal if we nourish it.    Give your kids the gift of a healthy and compassionate life by changing your life, with the food you eat and the way you live. 

I made this fabulous granola that's technically a rawnola recipe but I don't have a dehydrater(yet).  I found this recipe at HLife and by clicking here you can get the recipe.  I added about 1/2C. of rolled oats and 1 T. raw organic coconut oil.  I baked in the oven at about 175 with the door opened for about 5 hrs.
This rawnola(granola) makes for a great breakfast and keeps me full for hours.  Here I have the granola, bananas and rice milk.  It's nice to have this for a change instead of a smoothie every morning.  This also tastes really good with coconut yogurt...yummy!  
 Thursdays are our mexican food themed night and sometimes instead of the usual spanish or mexican rice I'll use quinoa instead.  It's so easy, you just use your favorite mexican rice recipe and change out the rice for quinoa. 
 My recipe is the following:
1C. Quinoa, rinsed
oil to saute
2 C. veggie broth or water
2 tomatoes, diced
3 spring onions
1 garlic clove, minced
spices I use are(I don't usually measure just eye it and taste it) 
 cumin, chilli powder, oregano, and salt (or seasoned salt)

Heat oil in a saute pan then add quinoa or rice and cook until brown, stirring often not to burn.  Next add the water and the rest of the ingredients.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling cover with lid, lower heat to low and cook for about 20minutes. If using brown rice it will need to cook for 40min. 
Tempeh tacos!!!  This one goes out to Jessy at HappyVeganFace cuz I used mustard as you can see. lol!  I know you may think this is weird but growing up we used to eat them this way and I was just in the mood mustard. I did add some tomato, avocado and taco sauce  but I guess I took the pic prematurely.  The taco shells are baked, I just spray or brush oil on them and bake at 375.  For the tempeh filling I usually steam my tempeh before I use it just to get rid of some of the bitter taste.  Then in a pan with a bit of oil I brown the crumbled tempeh and add a taco seasoning or I'll add my own.  If you do purchase taco seasoning make sure you buy one without whey, I notice that most of them do contain some sort of dairy in them.  To make your own seasoning you can use, cumin, powdered garlic, chilli powder, oregano, onion powder, paprika and salt.  I will add a bit of water to the tempeh mixture in the pan just so it's not so dry and sometimes I'll even add a squirt of ketchup as well and mix well.
Enjoy!  It's Survivor night tonight!

Monday, May 10, 2010

REVIEWS: French Meadow Bakery and Miessence certified organics

It's Monday and I hope all of you moms out there had a wonderful day with your families yesterday.
My mother-in-law came up on Saturday and we hung out Sunday morning, it was a bit chilly, and watched It's Complicated, very cute and funny movie.  Then my father-in-law and grandma drove up and we all went to dinner.  Very nice.  Oh and check this out!

My mother-in-law designed this gorgeous necklace and earrings.  She picked out and bought the crystals, etc. and her friend put it together for me.  It's even more beatiful in person. Now Dave and I just need somewhere special to go so I can wear it.  

Now for the reviews.
I've been lucky enough to get the chance to review a couple of products from some fabulous companies.  One company is French Meadow Bakery which uses certified organic grains and non-GMO ingredients.  Their baked goods include, breads, bagels and tortillas and range from vegan-kosher-low glycemic and gluten free products. So there is something for everyone!  Most of their breads/bagels are vegan and they are labeled very clearly.  The gluten free products do contain egg whites which was a bummer to us.  I'm hoping they try to come up with a good gf vegan bread.   
If you love hemp you will love these!  These Hemp Bagels have a very earthy and hearty taste.  Loaded with hemp, flax, pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds, quinoa..the list goes on, it's just amazing how they pack so much nutrition into these things!  Next was the Spelt Bread which is delicious!  It kind of has a sourdough taste to it, well to us anyways, and the family loves sourdough so this was a winner. We will be buying this bread again. I can't wait to try more of their breads.  My next buy will be their tortillas.  If you go to their website French Meadow Bakery  you can print out a $1 coupon.  Hope you give them a try! 
 I was very excited when I won the Miessence giveaway from Green and Crunchy because I have been wanting to try some of their products for a long time.  Miessence is an Australian based company that uses 100% natural and organic ingredients and is completely free of synthetics.  So Stephanie from Organicology sent me over these wonderful products.  Toothpaste, lip balm and a sample of coconut body milk.  This toothpaste is fantastic! There is no flouride, aluminum, artificial sweeteners or other harsh ingredients. So there  I was sitting on the couch and all of a sudden I realized that I kept rubbing my tongue over my teeth because they were feeling so smooth.  If you ever had braces and then when the braces are taken off and your teeth feel so smooth, well that's the feeling you get after using this stuff.   I know it sounds kind of weird but it's true. The toothpaste has sodium bicarbonate(baking soda)in it, so although you do taste it, it's mild compared to other brands who use it.  Also there isn't a long after taste.  After the first time using this toothpaste I was worried my coffee wasn't going to taste very good but the baking soda taste was already gone.  You are just left with a refreshing and clean taste in your mouth.  Keaton and my mother-in-law also had the same results.  The lipbalm smells lovely and works great as well.  The sample of the tropical body milk is a nice treat to put on the skin.  The smell has a lovely, subtle smell of  coconut with a hint of plumeria and feels so nice.  I think I'm going to try some of their perfumes out.  I haven't been wearing perfume due to the synthetics in them so I've been on the look out for a nice one I could wear.  If you have any you've tried I'd love to hear about them.  
So to some everything up, I had some great success in trying both food and body products from some wonderful companies that care about the environment and our health.
I hope you enjoyed the reviews and try some of them. 
I couldn't leave ya'll without a delicious treat now could I?  This is one of the most moist cakes I have ever made and eaten.  It's the lemon coconut bundt cake from VCON.  I made a lemon glaze which I drizzled over the top to balance the sweetness of the cake out.  You have to make this cake!!! 

Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Raw Strawberry "Cheesecake"

You know when the alarm clock goes off  and you are still sleepy and you tell yourself, "just 5 more minutes."  Next thing you know it's 40minutes later!!!!  That's what happened this morning.  20min. to get the kid fed, lunch made and in the car to take to school.  I'm still tired...the night before I was letting my dog Cleo in and out of the house all night long because she was sick, must of ate something she shouldn't have...those labs!
Moving on to sweeter things.
I finally made a raw strawberry cheesecake or I should say almost raw because I did add some chunks of dark chocolate in the crust that weren't raw.   I can't wait to try another one...maybe lemon or chocolate?  We scarfed it down.  It was real easy to make, the longest part was the waiting around for it to set up.  I put it in the freezer to set...a little too long cuz then I had to let it defrost a bit. Next time, when I make it earlier in the day, I will chll it in the refrigerator.   It tasted more like a whipped strawberry dessert with an amazing crust.  Keaton and Dave really liked it.  This is a must on a hot summer night!  I adapted the recipe from GLIVING.COM, so you can see the original recipe by clicking here.  All of the ingredients are raw(obviously except the dark chocolate).  I also used coconut oil instead of cocoa butter because I didn't have any.  Below is the recipe of my version of this awesome dessert!

Raw Strawberry Cheescake
1 6-inch cheesecake or 9-inch (for a thinner filling)

For the Crust:
1/2 C. pecans
2 medjool dates
1/4 C. shredded coconut
pinch of salt*
3 oz. dark vegan chocolate, coarsly chopped

1.  In a food processor, process pecans, dates, coconut and salt until mixture resembles fine crumbs
2.  Next add in the chocolate and process a few time just to mix in.  You want some good chunks of chocolate in there.
3. Coat the pan with raw coconut oil. Press mixture into a springform pan.  (I wanted a really thick filling so I used a 6-inch springform pan.)
4. Set aside.

For the Filling:

1 C. cashews, soaked overnight
2 C. strawberries, sliced
1 Oz. coconut oil, melted
1/4 C. agave
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 vanilla bean seeds
1/8 salt*

1.  In a food processor add cashews and pulse until crumbly.
2.  Add the strawberries, agave, lemon juice, vanilla bean and salt until smooth. 
3.  Slowly pour in the coconut oil while the processor is blending until incorporated.
4.  Pour filling onto crust.
5.  Cover with plastic or aluminum foil and chill until set.  4-6 hrs.

Note* the salt I used is called HimalaSalt  .  I have a chunk of it and it came with the grater.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Roasted tomato basil soup and raw nut oatmeal treats

I hope everyone is enjoying there beautiful weekend!  We are just kind of hanging out and enjoying the great weather.
So I know it's not tomoto season yet but I have really had the taste for tomato
 soup.  You see I had it all planned out as when to make this because it was really cold and raining one day last week and I thought, "how perfect to make this on a stormy night."  That's what I did!
I swear this is the absolute best tasting tomato soup.   Years ago I was watching the Barefoot Contessa on t.v. and saw her make this and it looked so easy to make and I absolutely love roasted tomatoes!  You can click here to get the recipe.  I used ripe plum tomatoes for this but sometimes I mix in cherry tomatoes as well.  When the tomatoes are done roasting, break off a piece of  rustic bread and put a tomato on it and it's tastes!  You'll want to save some for the soup though so don't eat all of them. lol!
I also threw in some sliced garlic to be roasted with the tomatoes.  It calls for butter but I didn't use any EB, just olive oil.  I also think fresh thyme is better than the dried for this and the red pepper, I cut back on too.
Hope you try it, you won't be dissapointed.
I'm trying to make more raw nut treats to have around so Keaton can just grab them and get his sweet fix.  I tried to make these more like an oatmeal cookie.  These ones have 1/2C. raw almonds, 1/2C. raw cashews, 8/9 dates, 1/2 C. oatmeal, 2Tbsp. shredded coconut, 2Tbsp. flax seed and dark chocolate chunks.  I shaped them into squares.
I'm looking forward to making a raw strawberry cheesecake with Keaton tomorrow.
Have a great rest of your weekend!