Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Roasted Chickpeas and Collard Greens

As many of you may remember from a past post, I am currently enrolled in school to become a nutritionist. After much deliberation, I ended up choosing the Global College of Natural Medicine, which has proved to be a good choice.

I'm not incredibly far into the process but the more I read the more I want to know and the more I want to dedicate myself to being a whole food cooking mama.

You wouldn't belive the amount of nasty stuff the average american consumes on a daily basis. Granted, our family is definitely not 'average'. You and your family may not be either. Although we aren't average, I'm not going to pretend I don't buy some things off the shelves in the store either. Take the chickpeas in this dish.... yes, they are off the shelf. Will I look for alternatives now? Absolutely.

After this morning's rousing lesson though, I am seriously considering refraining from anything off the shelves... yuck!

*Did you know:
Genetically engineered foods are all around us? And I mean alllll around us?

Coca Cola has genetically engineered corn syrup and/or aspartame, Kraft salad dressings have genetically engineered canola oil, Land o' Lakes butter has Bovine Growth Hormones, as does Cabot Creamery.

Tomatoes and potatoes that aren't organic can be engineered with DNA of flounder and shellfish, wax moth DNA and antibiotic marker genes and viruses.

Corn, yellow crookneck squash, canola oil and cottonseed oil have also been modified to withstand high quantities of pesticides.It's disgusting.

The number of ingredients that are genetically modified were staggering to me: than 30,000 products people! Stuff most people don't even think twice about.

And milk... I'll save that one for another post. Let's just say this. I don't drink milk for a number of reasons and I am so glad I don't. I would never give my child milk. Ever.

And now that that's out of the way, what the heck do I cook for dinner?

I am so overwhelmed at the nastiness that seems to be everywhere, I want to eat as 'clean' as possible. I want to feed my family in the most basic, whole way possible. Even more than I already do.

I am really good about buying organic and local basically all the time but now? Now I am going to be vigillant!

Today's meal? Very simple. So simple in fact, it could be a side dish to your own choice of protein. Consider the source of protein though folks; read the packaging carefully :)


Although simple, I love these collards and chickpeas because they are packed with amazing protein and vitamins. It's all there! It's my favorite meal before a big race because it has everything I need to boost my energy without completely depleating me.

Enhanced with cumin and simple salt and pepper, you could even take it one step further and add some spice or even other vegetables. Think of it as your jumping off point to create your own awesome and delicious meal. Or just eat it like this.


Need:
2 cans organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 organic red onion, cut in half and sliced into about 1/2 inch pieces
Extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon plus 1 teaspoon cumin
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
1 shallot, chopped fine
1 bunch organic collard greens, chopped into bite sized-ish pieces

Note: if at all possible, buy everything organic and/or local :)

Do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil.

In a medium bowl, combine chickpeas and red onion. Evenly drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top then sprinkle 1 teaspoon cumin and liberal salt and pepper. Stir or toss to combine.

Once evenly seasoned, transfer to baking sheet and roast for 12 minutes. At the 12 minute mark, pull pan out, give it a shake, rotate and put it back in the oven for another 12 minutes. You will know when they are done because the chickpeas should be slightly crunchy and roasted on the outside; the onions will be tender and rather caramelized-ish.

Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan on med/high. Add some extra virgin olive oil, garlic and shallots. Let cook for 1/2 minutes, or until slightly translucent.

To that, add the collard greens, stir and sprinkle remaining 1 teaspoon cumin and more salt and pepper. Once everything is evenly distributed, reduce heat to low, cover and let sit, stirring occassionally.

Let cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occassionally and tasting to ensure proper seasoning. Add more if you like. You will know they are done when the collards are wilted, yet slightly al dente.

Once your chickpea onion mix is roasted and your collards are appropriately wilted, it's time to plate.

Serve:
In a shallow bowl, start by arranging your collard greens. On top of that, scoop an equal amount of the chickpea onion mix.



To jazz it up, you can add a lovely curry or red sauce, or simply top with chopped green onions. Oh. And red wine.

Serve a beautiful, fresh green salad alongside, for your fresh fiber.

This meal is incredibly simple, very flavorful and packed full of protein, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals.

It could easily be used as a side dish, to accompany tofu or another protein of your choice.

Enjoy!

*The information I am choosing to share comes from my studies as a nutrition student with the Global College of Natural Medicine.

If you have questions, please feel free to email me at lapuremama[at]gmail[dot]com

Chickpeas

Monday, March 28, 2011

Risotto Cakes and Roasted Vegetables

Back from a lovely weekend where, as the Peens, we invaded Seattle for VegFest. To set the adventure off right, we rented a mini van. A. Big. White. Minivan. Because there is no other more fantastical way to travel than a minivan. Especially if it's huge and white.

And VegFest was basically awesome. And I don't even want to know how many calories I consumed in the form of as many teeny tiny portioned samples I could put in my mouth.

The Vegetarians of Washington did a great job at VegFest, enticing us all with lots of free things, a fabulous bookstore, classes, cooking demos and, of course, the endless bounty of samples to stuff your face with.

Oh, and the flag. And now Honey and I are officially members of the Vegetarians of Washington. I couldn't help it. I looked at the flag. I had to look at the Vegetarians of Washington flag in the front of the room.

More on VegFest and my favorite booths/people to come!


And now it's back in the kitchen. And I'm starting the week out with this amazing plate of roasted vegetables and risotto cake. It was fantastic. The richness of the tomato sauce paired with the crispy risotto cake and roasted vegetables was a winner. Enjoy!

Yield: 4-6 servings, depending on size

Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup sweet onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
2/3 cup white short grain rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups mushroom broth
10-12 shitake mushrooms, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic granules
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 small zucchini, sliced down the middle then into about 1/2 inch pieces
1 red onion, cut in half then sliced into about 1/2 inch pieces
1 medium eggplant, sliced into about 1/2 inch rounds
1 red bell pepper, cut in half then sliced into about 1/2 inch pieces
About 2 cups tomato sauce (you can do jarred too)
Green onions, sliced, for garnish


Do:
If you are making your tomato sauce alongside everything else, start now. I recommend making it ahead of time though; to save yourself some time.

In a saute pan, heat olive oil and add yellow onion and garlic on medium/high heat. Saute for about a minute then add rice. Mix to combine then let cook for another minute or so.

Gradually add mushroom broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. As liquid is absorbed, continue to add more, 1/2 cup at a time until all liquid is incorporated and risotto is thick and creamy. Add a little salt, stir and transfer risotto into a bowl to cool.

In the same pan, heat a little more olive oil on med/high heat and add mushrooms. Let cook, stirring, until soft. As they cook, reduce the heat gradually. Add a little salt and pepper, stir and cook until fully soft. When soft, turn off heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees and in a small bowl combine basil leaves, garlic granules, salt and pepper.

On a baking sheet, combine zucchini, onions, bell pepper and eggplant. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle basil mixture on top. Using your hands, lightly toss veg to ensure they are all evenly coated.

Put veg in the oven and allow to cook for 10 minutes then rotate the baking sheet and roast another 10 minutes until veg is tender. Once done, turn oven off. You can leave the veg in the oven until it's time to plate.

While veg is cooking,  heat a skillet with a little olive oil. Scoop risotto into balls then put them on the skillet to cook. Once you put them down, gently press them into a thick cake. Let cook on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until crisp on both sides.

Prepare your tomato sauce by heating in a small sauce pan. Hopefully you have made it ahead of time, to save yourself some time.

Serve:
To plate, start by ladling a bit of tomato sauce in the center of your plate.


On top of that, place one slice of roasted eggplant. On top of the eggplant, place a lovely crispy risotto cake.

From there, top your risotto cake with an equal amount of the other roasted vegetables.

Top roasted vegetables with sauteed shitake mushrooms then sprinkle some sliced green onions on top.


This is an intensely flavorful dish that is very easy to make and impressive to look at. To save yourself time, prepare your tomato sauce ahead of time. You could also pre-make the risotto cakes and heat them in the oven, if you're doing this for a dinner party.


Enjoy!

Eggplant

Friday, March 25, 2011

Winner of the HSN Giftcard Giveaway...

Happy Friday to you! Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Spring Weekend Event hosted by HSN and Bon Appetit.

And you know what that means... it's time to announce the winner of the giveaway!

Now, because we had a rather small response, (yay for those of you that took the time to enter) my form of random number selection was the awesome 'numbers drawn out of a hat by a five year old' method. I put numbers 1 thru 13 in a totally fantastical Lightning McQueen hat and asked Noodle to choose one. Aaannd....

He chose number THREE!! So congratulations to Teri over at The Mighty M Family , you just won the HSN gift card! I'll email you :)

I also wanted to take a minute and say thank you for the lovely responses to the giveaway question... I love that a lot of you chose family members, yourself and other home chefs with blogs such as mine and:

Heather Pace of Sweetly Raw, mentioned by GoodnessmeGoddess. I am truly intrigued by raw cooking and love raw chefs such as Amber over at Almost Vegan... and raw!

There were also a number of equally fantastic professional chefs such as:

Ani Phyo, also mentioned by GoodnessmeGoddess. Her website looks great and the bit of 'looking' I did definitely ensured I will be back for more;

Bryant Terry, chosen by Amanda over at Connections. I'm so with you! I love his cookbook. He is a truly fantastic chef; not to mention really really ridiculously good looking; and

Paula Deen, chosen by Anash at Blog Contests 365, who also chose herself which is equally as fantastic! I do love me some Paula Deen and her fryer. You have to appreciate the talent and mad abandon for food!

Thanks again everyone and stay tuned... I have another great giveaway coming up very soon. And you don't want to miss out on it!

Also? This weekend is Veg Fest! I'm hoping to have a lot of fun ideas and new things to share with you when we get back!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mini Vegan Cinnamon Rolls

I wanted to make something special in honor of our new family member. Something fitting for the newest and littlest member of the team.

Plus I heard something about vegan cinnamon rolls being in the top 20 of some list of amazing vegan things you should eat or something like that. I either heard it or completely made it up. Either way.


Minni Pinni (Minni), our little adopted min pin is fitting in quite well. She has taken full ownership of Noodle Nose and he is ok with that. She isn't quite used to the cold though. The Alternative Humane Society brought her up here from southern California, so she's used to a little more warmth. Shuckey and darn, Minni... guess it's little sweaters made of pink velour and feathers for you.


I love cinnamon rolls. If you remember, I made a standard size cinnamon rolls once before. This time around I altered the recipe a bit and then I mini-ized them because it's just fun. I ended up pawning them off around the community because I just couldn't stay out of them.

They are soft, chewy, bursting with cinnamon flavor and just sweet enough with the frosting. You could add raisins to them, which I highly recommend. This time though, I didn't.

Oh, and p.s.... don't forget to enter my giveaway for a HSN gift card!! Giveaway ends tonight at 11:30 pm... all you have to do is leave a comment here about who your favorite chef/cook is and/or who inspires you. It's that easy, so do it! :)

Need:
for the dough:
4 Tablespoons egg replacer
6 Tablespoons plus 1 cup warm vanilla soy milk
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Earth Balance
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
5 cups flour
3 teaspoons yeast
For the filling:
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tablespoons cinnamon
1 1/2 cup raisins (optional)
For the frosting:
1 container Tofutti cream cheese
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup powdered sugar
To put on top:
Walnut pieces (optional)

Do:
In a small bowl, combine egg replacer and the 6 Tablespoons warm vanilla soy milk. Whip with a fork until fully combined then set aside.

In a Kitchenaid, combine the remaining 1 cup soy milk, water, vanilla, Earth Balance and mix until combined. Once combined, add the egg replacer mixture and mix again.

Continue by adding salt and sugar and mix to combine. Add flour to your mix, 1 cup at a time. Once you have added all the flour and it is just barely combined, add the yeast and mix.

When dough is formed, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until you have a beautiful, smooth elastic ball. Put your dough in a bowl, cover and let sit for about 10 minutes.


While your dough is resting, prepare your filling by combining Earth Balance, brown sugar and cinnamon and mixing well.

Back to your dough: divide dough ball in half and work with one half at a time. Roll your first half out into a large rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Spread half of your filling evenly across the dough. Sprinkle raisins on top, if you are including them.

To roll, start at the end closest to you and roll the dough into itself. Note, you don't want the roll to be super loose but you also don't want it really tight. If it's too tight, the middle will pop out when you are baking.

Once completely rolled, slice into about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch pieces. Arrange in a prepared baking dish. Note: when you arrange them in the baking dish, make sure to leave some space between your rolls to allow them room to rise.


Repeat with the other half of your dough.

Cover baking pans and put them in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350.

You will see your mini cinnies have risen and are probably touching or close to touching each other in the pan. That's good. Bake them at 350 for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden on top. Start with 20 minutes then check on them; you don't want them to be overdone.

While your cinnies are baking, prepare your frosting by combining Tofutti cream cheese, Earth Balance, vanilla and powdered sugar in your Kitchenaid. Mix on high until fully combined and creamy.

When your mini cinnamon rolls are done, remove from oven, let sit for just about 8-10 minutes then spread frosting liberally and evenly over top of the rolls. Note: I like to let them cool just a little before putting the frosting on. You can let them cool completely if you like, but they are so good warm.

On top of your frosting, if you like, you can sprinkle some walnut pieces for added flavor and texture.


Serve:
These are fantastic for a fully sinful breakfast and lovely with some So Delicious vanilla ice cream. They also pack well and are a huge hit with 5 year olds. And 32 year olds. Um. and anyone.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Stick

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

HSN Giveaway

Did you know spring is here? Yeah. It's actually supposed to get up to 58 degrees today. Spring! We are going to celebrate by going on a picnic in the 'front woods'. A magical place where friendly monsters who like to eat mini cinnamon rolls live.

That's how we celebrate spring. How do you celebrate spring?

La Pure Mama celebrates spring by hosting a fantastic $10 gift card giveaway courtesy of HSN!

And I have a perfect place for you to spend that gift card because HSN and Bon Appetit are hosting the Spring Weekend Event on March 26th and 27th.



If you are a chef, like to eat good food or simply enjoy cooking for your family this is the event for you. It will be packed full of ideas and inspiration, not to mention free shipping on many items, in celebration of spring!

HSN and Bon Appetit have put together an amazing lineup of severely talented chefs including Wolfgang Puck, Emeril Lagasse, Ken Hom, Padma Lakshmi, Jacques Torres, aka "Mr. Chocolate" (who I just watched on Chopped All Stars). And the lineup doesn't end there; there are many more amazing people who will be part of this event.

The chefs will be putting on cooking demos which will also include their favorite cooking tools and products that will be available to all of us at special event pricing, select free shipping and value bundles. What a great place for the winner to spend this gift card! Oh, it will also be a great place for me (and you!) to shop and be entertained at the same time!

Bon Appetit will also be offering specials on their magazine subscriptions which is always full of unique ideas, helpful information and inspiration.

I am super excited for this event; there is nothing I like better than watching amazing chefs cook; especially when it involves an opportunity for me to simultaneously shop. Just sayin.

So the giveaway: A $10 CSN gift card will go to one (1) winner who will be selected by random number generation.

HOW TO ENTER: Simply leave a comment on this post telling us who your favorite chef is. It can be anyone! Famous, not famous, part of this spring event or not... just tell us who inspires you!

BONUS ENTRIES: (and leave separate comments here for each bonus entry that you do)
1. 'Like' HSN on Facebook
2. Friend La Pure Mama on Facebook
3. Follow HSN on Twitter for all the latest programming and products
4. Follow La Pure Mama on Twitter for general amazingness and random thoughts

There you go! You have up to Five (5) chances to enter and win this fantastic gift card.

Giveaway will end TOMORROW NIGHT, Thursday, March 24th at 11:30 pm. It's a quick giveaway because I want to ensure the gift card gets to the winner in time for the spring event.

Note: the gift card is also good after the event but I do want to get it out, in case the winner chooses to use it for the event :)

So, pass this on to your friends, enter enter enter and tune in for some fun cooking and shopping on March 26th and 27th!

As always, email me if you have questions :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Truffle and Pesto Twists

Good Monday morning to y'all... After spending all weekend as resident 'winer' on the south side of town I'm back to focusing on my oodles of delicious posts that are eagerly awaiting their moment in the spotlight.

I just got done with a ass kicking rousing Monday morning workout with Anthony and my favorite bootcamp ladies. May I just say? 41 Sports rocks. Did you see the logo on the right side? Yes. That's how much I love it.

Yes, I am sufficiently exhausted but I wanted to get this twisty post up for you. A: because these were the twisted and most delicious side dish to my St. Paddy's day Irish Stew and B: because they are just plain curly and delicious.


The key to these bendy little morsels is starting out with a good dough. I went ahead and did a simple twist (pun probably intended) on my lovely pizza dough, which worked brilliantly.

The filling? Well the filling can be anything you want. We went with the basics: Pesto, truffle paste that I carried home from Italy and of course, cinnamon sugar. All were a-mazing. The ultimate in delicious carbohydration.

As I mentioned, these go well with a stew, like the Irish Stew I paired them with. They would also be a lovely companion to a gorgeous soup or salad. They're even be good all on their own; devoured while standing over the kitchen sink at 6:30 in the morning. Not that I'd know anything about that.

Yield: 8-12 twists, depending on size

Need:
2 packages active dry yeast (1/2 oz total)
4 1/2 - 5 cups all purpose flour
2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt

Filling ideas:
A basic pesto, like this one... or with basil
Truffle paste
A simple cinnamon/sugar combination
Sun dried tomatoes

Do:
In a large bowl, combine yeast and 2 Tablespoons of the flour. Mix well then add 1/2 cup of the warm water. Mix well and set aside for about 10 minutes until mix is bubbly.

To your mixture, add in salt and 3 more cups flour. Stir lightly then add the remaining 1 1/2 cups warm water. Stir to combine, gradually adding another about 1 cup flour.

Combine until dough comes together. Add another 1/2 cup flour until the dough doesn't stick. Prepare a floured surface with another 1/2 cup flour and turn dough out onto it. Knead for about 5-7 minutes, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Put dough back in bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover and let sit in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile prepare your fillings as your little heart desires. See ideas above.

Preheat oven to 375.

When dough is ready, divide in half, then divide those halves in half. Divide each piece in half again. You can go even further if you want smaller twists.

Take each piece individually and roll it out into a wide rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Spread filling onto top of dough then fold on top of itself. From there, simply twist the dough then transfer to a baking sheet.



Repeat for all dough balls.

Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil on top of your twists then sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

Bake for 20-22 minutes, until golden and crispy.

Serve:
These go great with soups, stews, salads or all on their own. They make a fantastic breakfast or side dish. You could even make them ultra small and serve them as appetizers with a delicious dip such as the zucchini tofu 'ricotta' dip or kalamata olive tapenade.


Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Kale Chips

Top o' the mornin' to ya... because it's St. Patrick's day. And because Noodle has a party today. And because we are supposed to bring green treats to share. And because I'm the nerdy mom who brings healthy snacks...

Kale chips! (I love kale. It's one of my most favorites)


And everyone is right... They. Are. Addicting.

At this point I'm wondering if there will be any to take to Noodle's party. Just sayin.

Hope you all have a fabulous green holiday!

Need:
1 bunch kale
About 2-3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Do:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Wash and dry your kale leaves. Make sure they are ultra dry. I washed them the night before.

Separate leaves from stems and discard stems. Tear leaves into manageable 'chip' size pieces.


Put pieces in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Toss to ensure all leaves are appropriately coated.

In a separate smaller bowl, combine garlic, paprika and salt. Sprinkle this mixture over leaves and toss again to combine. I used my hands.

Spread onto a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Open oven and give them a delicate toss then bake for another 2-3 minutes.

Try to let them cool before you eat. Try. It won't be easy.

Serve:
Probably by the fistful.


Enjoy!!

Kale

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Irish Stew

I am totally in St. Patrick's day mode. I don't know if I'm just feeling the green love this year or if it's the fact that I have a five year old who loves to celebrate any holiday; even the 'holiday-ish' holidays. Either way I like it.

So a while back I made the vegan corned beef and cabbage in celebration of this green holiday-ish. Yes, I was going to post a photo of a giant Guinness and yes I may still. It's like a meal, yes?

But I just couldn't stop at that. My irish roots are ringing strong this year so I made another delicious attempt at a good old favorite, just in time for tomorrow: Irish stew.


And the 'beef' broth? Holy guacamole it is good. I want to drink it all by itself. Probably because it's made with Guinness. But I'm telling you. It's good.

Update: I recently discovered that Guinness is not vegan. They use fish byproducts in the production. Apparently it isn't supposed to remain in the finished product, but technically that makes it not vegan :(

I also love the seitan meat in this stew because, as you will find out in upcoming days, it can be used over and over in many recipes and you know how much I love to re-purpose ingredients. As a whole, this stew is deceivingly simple to make and packed full of flavor...

For now though, finish perfecting your irish jig, iron your four leaf clover sweater, dust off your fancy pot o' gold earrings and proclaim in your loudest voice, 'I'm the leprechaun!' Oh. And make this stew too.


Yield: About 8 servings (with 'beef' left over for other amazing things)

Need:
For the 'beef' and broth:
2 cups Guinness beer (about a can)

4 cups water
4 cups (1 tetra pak) mushroom broth
2 cups plus 1/2 to 3/4 cup vital wheat gluten
2 Tablespoons spelt flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 1/2 cups cold water
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup Bragg's liquid aminos (you can use tamari or soy sauce too)
1 Tablespoon ketchup
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped very fine
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the stew:
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped fairly fine
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
4-5 medium carrots, chopped large
12-15 purple potatoes, chopped large (note: can use any small-ish potato; the purple ones are just fun)
2 cups Guinness beer (about a can)
About 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped fine

Do:
Start by preparing your 'beef' broth in which your 'beef' will cook. To do so, in a large pot, combine the 2 cups Guinness, 4 cups water, mushroom broth and 1/2 cup Bragg's. Turn the stove on and bring this mixture to a simmer. Note: I started this first because it took some time to get the mix up to temperature.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl combine first 2 cups vital wheat gluten, spelt flour and nutritional yeast.

In a larger bowl, combine water, 1/2 cup Bragg's, ketchup, olive oil, garlic and pepper. Whisk to ensure everything is properly mixed together.

Stirring constantly, gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. As you are mixing, you will find you need more vital wheat gluten; gradually add the additional 1/2 to 3/4 cup depending on your consistency. You want your mix to be fairly moist yet 'thick' enough to shape.

When all ingredients are combined, use your hands to knead your dough for a couple minutes. From here you can either shape it into a loaf or break it off into smaller pieces. I chose to break it into little pieces for the stew. It worked quite well.

Once broth mixture is up to temperature, gently place your 'beef' pieces into the pot. Let them simmer for 1 hour on the stovetop.

While your 'beef' is simmering in the broth, prepare the rest of your stew.

In a large pot, sautee the onions and garlic with a little extra virgin olive oil on med/high. Once translucent, add the tomato paste, carrots and potatoes.

Stir to combine then add the additional 2 cups Guinness and thyme. Reduce heat to low and ladle in about 2 cups of the 'beef' broth from your simmering 'beef'. Stir this whole mixture together then cover and let cook on low for about 45 minutes, stirring occassionally.

Note: the consistency of the liquid in the stew will be thin. As for the ratio of liquid to veg, it's up to you. If you like a lot of liquid, ladle more of the broth from the 'beef'. There should be plenty in with the 'beef' so don't shy away from using it.

Once your 'beef' is done, scoop them from the broth and transfer 1/2 into your stew. Transfer an equal amount of the broth into your stew as well. Put the remainder into a refrigerator container. Remember to let them cool before you refrigerate. We will use the leftovers in an upcoming recipe.

Stir your stew to combine everything and let cook for another 10-15 minutes or so, until the veg is tender.

Serve:
I prepared some fantastic truffle twists and pesto twists to go along with this hearty stew. A lovely green salad would also be perfect; and give you some fresh fiber for a complete meal.


The tender veg, paired with your handmade seitan 'beef' is a perfect combination along with the robust flavor of the broth. Sure to warm bellies and irish hearts; vegan or not.

Enjoy!

Vital Wheat Gluten, 50#

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

VegFest Seattle

VegFest is coming! A 'fest' for veg and all things veg put on by Vegetarians of Washington. March 26th and 27th in Seattle at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall.


 It's sure to be a blast with samples (among other things). Oh yes, over 500,000 food samples from over 200 companies including some of my favorites. There will also be a VegFest bookstore (my fave), booths, demonstrations, speakers, classes and more... what a way to spend a weekend.

And hey! It's not just for the herbivores... carnivores? Come get in on the fun and learn/taste all the wonderfulness that is veg. Honey, the devout, yet incredibly flexible carnivore will be there; I may even talk him in to wearing his vegan vs. carnivore throwdown t-shirt!


Thank you Vegetarians of Washington, for putting on such a great fest. We can't wait for our 'Peen' adventure!

Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms

My new running shoes came on Tuesday!! I was so excited that I went for a run yesterday evening. Let me reiterate: I went for a run after completing a rousing 5:30 am boot camp in which we beat the living daylights out of those stand up punching bag thingies, (which I'm sure has an official name) and I have the knuckles to prove it.

Plus, based on my husband's reaction when I tested out my new moves on him, I'm pretty sure that no man wants to run into any of us gals for fear of serious jewel damage.Super fun session. Definitely worth the embarassment of having to explain to everyone, all day why my knuckles were bruised and swollen.

But after my run I was so exhausted I had rarely an ounce of energy to be 'creative' with dinner. So I let someone else be creative for me and I plucked a recipe from one of my favorite resources: Everyday Food Magazine.


True to form though, I made awesome changes because, in my opinion, the original recipe was a little flat. Regardless, this tired gal was thankful for the inspiration.

These stuffed mushrooms were hearty, protein packed and different with every bite. The brussel sprouts? Well, let me just say, I love brussel sprouts. I make them a lot and these were just as lovely as some past versions...perfect: crunchy, salty, roasty.


Need:
1/2 cup quinoa
About 20 brussel sprouts
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
4 portabello mushroom caps, de-stemmed and gilled
1 shallot, chopped fine
3 cloves garlic, chopped fine
10-12 shitake mushrooms, chopped
3-4 leaves kale, de-stemmed and chopped fine
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped fine
2/3 cup frozen corn
Green onions, chopped, for garnish

Do:
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

In a pan, cook quinoa as directed on package.

While quinoa is cooking, cut the stems off the brussels, peel the outer leaves off and cut in half. Toss sprouts with olive oil and salt and pepper and spread onto a baking sheet. Note: I line my baking sheets with aluminum foil.

When oven is ready, roast brussels for 10 minutes. While you are waiting for the oven to heat/while brussels are cooking:

In a pan, heat a little olive oil and sautee shallots and garlic for 2-3 minutes then add shitake mushrooms. Combine and let cook for 3-5 minutes then add kale. Combine and continue to cook on medium heat for 2-3 more minutes then reduce heat to low/med, cover and continue to cook, stirring every once in a while and reducing heat to low as kale wilts.

Meanwhile, de-gill the portabello caps, using a spoon to gently scrape them out. Don't worry if you don't get all of it, just get most of it out.

Brush portabellos with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper. After sprouts have been roasting for 10 minutes, push them to one side of the pan and add the portabellos. Grill portabellos for 10 minutes along with the brussels.

Back to your shitake mix: add fresh thyme, frozen corn and cooked quinoa. Stir to fully combine, then set aside.

When mushrooms and brussels are done, remove from oven and spoon quinoa mixture into each mushroom cap, pressing down as you go to pack as much in as you possibly can. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes then remove and prepare to serve.

Serve:
On a plate, serve one mushroom cap and top with a sprinkling of chopped green onions. Finish your plate with a scoop of delicious brussel sprouts and you're ready to go.

You can also serve a beautiful green salad on the side, to complete the meal.


These caps are super easy to prepare and wonderful for a make ahead dish. To do so, simply make the filling ahead of time. Once you stuff your mushrooms, keep them in the oven for a bit longer; but be sure to remove your brussels so they don't overcook.

Enjoy this low carb, high protein, delicious meal!

Quinoa

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Vegan No Bake Cookies... a special farewell dessert

You may have noticed a few recent changes here at La Pure Mama. In light of some circumstances I am taking a new direction with what and who I choose to feature in my sidebars.

The farewell? No, I am definitely not going anywhere; this farewell is enthusiastically dedicated to a certain group in which I choose to no longer associate. But instead of lamenting over the lameness that is they, I decided to prepare a post worthy of the 'standards' of this particular group.

While brainstorming I came up with several ideas: A bowl of strawberries arranged in a pretty bowl and topped with whip cream? Perhaps. But it's been done. Boxed cupcakes dressed up with Pilsbury frosting and sprinkles? Maybe if I ate such things; but no. And that too has also been done. A prettier dish for the strawberries? No, not quite right.

None of those were quite fitting. And then it hit me! What do all of these 'recipes' have in common? A lack of creativity? No cooking? No baking? No bake cookies! Perfect.


So yes. I made no bake cookies because that's about as awesome as it gets. And, to take the spotlight off the farewell (because really, who cares?) I will tell you that these no bake cookies were a huge hit with Noodle Nose and his friends, which is ironic because that is about how old certain adults were acting yesterday. Ok. that was a low blow.

Who doesn't like no bake cookies? I hope you enjoy :)

Need:
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup vanilla soy milk
1/2 cup Earth Balance
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
pinch salt
1/2 cup organic peanut butter
2 cups quick cook oats

Do:
In a saucepan on medium heat, combine sugar, cocoa powder, soy milk and Earth Balance.

Bring to a low boil then turn off heat and add salt, vanilla, oats and peanut butter. Stir well to combine.

Prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper then drop 'dough' by the spoonful in neat little haystacks.

Let cool at least 30 minutes, or as long as you can stand before you have to eat one.

Serve:
These simple little darlings are super delicious by themselves. You could also doll them up by serving alongside some of my favorite: Soy Delicious Purely Decadent ice cream.

Also? A pretty dish always helps; especially when taking a picture and passing it off as gourmet :)


Enjoy!

p.s. Ok, slightly snarky and out of character for me, but I couldn't help it. Sometimes it's just right. And the cookies, despite their simple preparation, were fantastic!

Also, you might notice that the changes I mentioned include hosting my own advertising. For products and companies that I love and believe in. It's going to be awesome. Spread the love :)

Oats

Monday, March 7, 2011

Roasted Red Onion and Butternut Squash Flatbread

There is nothing more anticipated (or fun) in our house than movie night. It's our night where we eat pizza and popcorn, all snuggled up together in the comfort of our own living room.

This week's Movie? Despicable Me. Have you seen it? If you haven't, you should. Toot sweet.

This week's pizza? Delicious flatbread with roasted red onions and butternut squash. Remember the pasta from last week? Remember how much I love to repurpose extra ingredients? Bingo.


This dough is much lighter and fluffier than my traditional pizza dough. Delicious in its own right: fluffy yet crunchy, perfectly paired with the bursting variety of flavors courtesy of the colorful toppings.

Need:
For the dough:
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup warm water
1 1/2 oz active dry yeast
1 Tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 c flour

For the topping:
1 batch tofu ricotta dip
1/2 medium butternut squash, cubed
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 red onion, sliced in half, then into 6ths
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper

Do:
In a large bowl, combine white wine, water and yeast. Stir to fully combine then let sit for about 5 minutes, until yeast becomes foamy and full. Then add agave nectar, salt and olive oil. Stir to combine.

To your wet mix, gradually add flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring as you go. Once dough comes together, use your hands to completely combine then knead gently for a couple minutes.

Return dough to bowl, drizzle with olive oil, cover with a clean dish cloth and place in a warm area to rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled in size.

If you aren't using the leftover ingredients from the pasta, go ahead and prep your veg now.

Start by preheating the oven to 400.

Cube butternut squash, chop garlic and slice red onion. For the onion slicing, cut in half, then slice each half in about 1/4 inch slices.

Arrange butternut squash, onion and garlic on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Roast in oven for 10 minutes then rotate baking sheet and bake another 10 minutes. When done, remove and set aside.

Now is the time to make your tofu ricotta dip, if you haven't done so ahead of time. Side note: I love this stuff. Seriously. I use it in all sorts of recipes so I make lots and then I have it on hand. It's fantastic!

Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with tin foil. When dough has appropriately risen, remove from bowl and separate into two even pieces. Place one piece on each baking sheet and gently 'push' the dough out onto the baking sheet.

It doesn't necessarily have to touch the edges of the baking sheet depending on how thick you would like it to be. Note: ensure your dough is even throughout so it cooks evenly; the only exception being the 'crust' if you like it a little more bready on the ends.

If you turned the oven off from the veg, preheat again to 375.

Start 'dressing' your pizza by speading an even layer of the tofu ricotta mixture. On top of that, arrange an even amount of the butternut squash, onion and garlic.

That's it. Take it to the oven and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and bubbly. Note: depending on your oven, baking sheet size and dough 'spreading', you may need to cook a bit longer.


Serve:
Slice into squares, plate and serve alongside a beautiful mixed green salad or superfood salad, one of my personal favorites.


Perfect for movie night, a casual dinner party or even bbq'ing.... popping it on the grill gives it a whole different dimension of smoky flavor and crunchy texture.

Enjoy!

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