Thursday, September 29, 2011

National Coffee Day and a So Delicious Giveaway

I'm back from vacation just in time for National Coffee Day!

Because who wants to miss a day dedicated to the beautiful, gorgeous and energizing dark elixir that greets us in the wee hours of the morning and perks us up in the afternoon... and evening... and well, whenever?

Who doesn't love coffee? Yes, there are some and that's ok because what I have brought to you today, thanks to the amazing folks at So Delicious, is not just for coffee. No sir.


Now, if you've been reading for a while you know already that I absolutely lurve So Delicious products. I use them ridiculously frequently and in many varied recipes. To break it down, So Delicious is the bomb. The bomb dot com.

And so I am so excited to share their creamer AND SOME GIVEAWAYS!!!! with you today. On National Coffee Day.

Their creamer is awesome and as I have already said, it's definitely not just for coffee. I do use it in the am but I also cook and bake with it. It's thick, rich and full of healthy good things. Double positive!

So celebrate National Coffee Day with a cup o' the joe paired with one of the delicious So Delicious creamers: Original, which is great for replacing 'cream' in cooking and baking and hazelnut or vanilla are fantastic to add a little more 'oomph'.

And heck, we should all have a little oomph for National Coffee Day, yes?


SO THE GIVEAWAY....

Because So Delicious is so awesome, they have given me four, count them, four 'free product' coupons to giveaway to my loyal and amazing readers.

And entering? Well, it's a cinch... just leave a comment here telling us your favorite coffee beverage and perhaps an idea of what to use So Delicious creamer with other than just for coffee. I'm making it easy for you because I lurve you. Do it up and you're entered in!

Because of my sort of lateness slash on timeness (I'm blaming it on our vacay), I will have this giveaway end on Sunday. Because two days should be good AND Sunday happens to be my bestie and her hubs' one year anniversary. Happy one year A my darling doodles!

Enter for a chance to get a free So Delicious product... so easy. Have fun and off you go!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Lemon Dill Vegetable Orzo Pasta Salad

My Mom used to make this awesome salad. An awesome salad that oozed fresh lemon paired with dill. She put chicken in it so I felt it my dilligent duty to come up with a non chicken version.
So in honour of my Mom's amazing cooking abilities. Because let's face it: she's incredible in the kitchen and I'm not exaggerating when I say that. I have created an ultra flavorful and fantastic vegan knock off of her fun summer salad.


Equally as delicious minus the sweet baby chickens.


Need:
1 box orzo pasta
1/2 med/large red onion, diced
1/2 bunch tuscan kale, de-boned and finely chopped
1/2 medium romanesco, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise into about 1/2 inch strips then chopped into tiny bites
4-6 ears corn, roasted or boiled, then shucked (about 1 1/2 or 2 cups?)
About 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
3 teaspoons dill
About 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

About 1/2 cup fresh cracked pepper
3 small-ish lemons, juiced
3 small-ish lemons (use the same ones from juicing) zested

Do:
Cook pasta al dente, according to instructions.

In a lidded jar or other lidded container, combine extra virgin olive oil, garlic, dill, sea salt, pepper and lemon juice. Cover and shake well. Set aside and let rest for flavors to marry.


While pasta is cooking and dressing is resting, chop all veg (red onion, kale, romanesco, zucchini and corn) and combine in a medium/large-ish bowl.

When pasta is done, drain and let cool then add to vegetables.

Taste dressing and add salt and pepper if needed.

Drizzle dressing over veg and pasta and toss well to combine. Let sit for at least 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve:
Serve after flavors have married or cover and refrigerate overnight before service.

This salad is bright, bursting with lemon and dill and a textural dream with the raw veg and orzo pasta.

Perfect for a picnic or evening dinner, served on top of some beautiful fresh spinach.


Enjoy!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Vegan Blackberry Pie

Because blackberries are in season and I love pie.

And I secretly think it would be fantastical to throw a giant pie at somebody. A pie that I made. I would put extra love into the pie. And probably put it in a softer dish because it's not about the hurt. It's about the lurve.


Blackberries are in season! And this pie is lovely because it relies mostly on the beautiful deliciousness of the blackberries themselves.

Ah yes. I will stand for no canned blackberries or massive quantities of added sugar. No sir. All blackberry. Simply enhanced by a touch of the sugar.

The pie itself is pretty darn easy to make. A simple pastry crust, simple blackberries, simple bake. So delicious and natural I'd eat it for breakfast and I'd only feel 42% guilty.


Need:
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cold Earth Balance
5-6 Tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
4 cups fresh blackberries, washed well
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3-4 Tablespoons cornstarch

Do:In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Stir well to combine then cut in Earth Balance until you have a coarse crumbly matter.

Drizzle the first 2 Tablespoons ice water and stir to combine. From there, add ice water, 1 Tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together.

Gather dough into a ball, wrap in saran wrap and put in fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare filling by combining blackberries, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Toss well to combine then sprinkle cornstarch in, stirring as you go to avoid lumps.

When dough is ready, prehead oven to 350 degrees.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and cut in half. Roll one half into a circular shape to about 1/8 to 1/16 thick. Lay into a pie dish and gently press into the edges of the dish. Cut excess and pinch to create decorative crimped edge.

Gently cover edges of crust with thin strips of tin foil. Put in oven and bake about 8 minutes, until pie crust is lightly golden. Remove tin foil and bake another 3-5 minutes.

Meanwhile, roll out the rest of your dough, again about 1/8 to 1/16 inch thick. Cut dough into even strips for topping.

Pull pie crust from oven and add filling to crust. Gently lay dough strips on top in a criss cross, or other design. Trim edges and gently press into existing edge.

Return to oven and bake for 30-50 minutes.

Remove and let cool.

Serve:
All by itself or with some So Delicious vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy this amazing seasonal dessert!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Vegan Lasagna Sandwiches

I had a dream about a lasagna sandwich.


So it was no surprise that I woke up and declared loudly, 'today sounds like a good day to make a lasagna sandwich'.

Which, I guess, is an odd thing to say first thing in the morning. Or at least Honey some people might think so.

After my confident, albeit random, statement, Honey looked at me like I had a teeny tiny green martian co-chillin' on my head. Then, apparently he remembered that I frequently ooze randomness because he flopped his head back down on the pillow and went back to sleep with not much more than a grunt.

Sigh. You know you're in lurve when you don't need words to know exactly what your Honey means. Here is what he really meant:

'Wow. You. Are. A. Genius. And you're also gorgeous. I am sooooo lucky. Can I buy you a new handbag?'

Gosh thank you. Well, sure. And in return, I will make you a lasagna sandwich.


Need:
1 batch vegan ricotta
1 batch tomato sauce
1/2 large red onion, sliced into about 1/8 inch rounds
6-8 tuscan kale leaves, de-stemmed and cut into 3rds
1 medium zucchini, cut lengthwise, about 1/8 inch thick
1 small eggplant, sliced legthwise, about 1/8 inch thick
1 loaf crusty artisan bread
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
12 or so, fresh basil leaves
1 pkg Daiya mozzarella

Do:
If you haven't prepared your vegan ricotta and tomato sauce, do that first. They are both very very simple and wont' take much time at all.

Preheat oven to 400.

If your bread isn't pre-sliced, slice it into about 1/2 inch thick pieces. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle lightly with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Arrange on a baking tray.

Arrange your vegetables on another baking tray and also drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and fresh cracked pepper.

Place bread and vegetables in oven.

Toast bread on first side until crusty and golden, about 8-10 minutes. Flip and toast another 3-5 minutes until very crispy.

Continue to roast vegetables in oven until soft and roasty. About 12-14 minutes or so. When done, remove from oven but keep the oven on.

Now it's time to prep your sandwiches for toasting:

Start your layering with a piece of bread. Liberally spread ricotta onto the bread. On top of that, evenly spread about 2 Tablespoons red sauce. Top that with kale, then roasted onion, then zucchini.

From there, sprinkle a bit of Daiya cheese. Cover the cheese with a slice of eggplant. Spread more ricotta on top of the egglant then add basil, a little more sauce on top of that and then finish with more Daiya cheese.

Repeat for all bread slices.

Note: while you are layering your veg, ricotta and sauce, gently press everything down. Gently.

Arrange each sandwich on a baking sheet and return to the oven for about 10-12 minutes, or until Daiya is just melted.

Serve:
Arrange on a plate and serve alongside a beautiful fresh green salad.

It seriously tastes just like lasagna. Because it is. Minus the pasta, add a piece of bread. It's healthy, quick, fun to eat and really pretty too.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Raw Tomatillo Salsa and the burritos that served them

And Black Bean Veggie Taco Burrito Type Things. That's an official name. They were super delicious too; a fantastic vehicle for this amazing raw tomatillo salsa. Yep, I have a two for one deal for you today. Read one get the other one too. It's all free so that's moot.

Tomatillos. The mysterious green thing that comes complete with it's own blanket. Kind of like a tomato. But not. Kind of like a pepper. But not.

I haven't worked much with tomatillos. My experience extends only as far as the standard roasted tomatillo sauce paired with enchiladas. Delicious but not terribly inventive.

To be honest, tomatillos are a mystery to me. So when I was greeted with a bag of them at our last CSA pick up, I immediately started thinking. I didn't get very far because Amy, newsletter guru and CSA queen had a recipe. A recipe for this delicious salsa.


I wasn't sure how I would feel about it because tomatillos are nothing short of tart. I made a few tweaks, incorporating elements from my most favorite and amazingly tasty salsa that I make. And I nailed it.

Super easy, super delicious, super necessary for you to make.


Need:
12 small/med tomatillos, husked
1/2 medium shallot, roughly chopped
1 serrano pepper, diced fine
2 cloves garlic
1 lime, juiced

1 small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped (about 3/4 cup)
About 1/4 teaspoon cumin
About 1/4 teaspoon salt
About 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Do:
Wash tomatillos really well with warm water. They have a naturally sticky coating and you want to make sure it is completely washed off.

Once fully clean, cut in half and/or quarters.

In a food processor, place tomatillos, shallot, serrano pepper and garlic. Pulse 5 to 8 times, until very roughly chopped.

Add cilantro, lime, cumin, salt and pepper. Blend again until all ingredients are combined and you have a finely chunky texture.

Transfer to a bowl, taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve:
Garnish with a sprague of cilantro and pair with chips as an appetizer.

Use this salsa as a topper for tacos, burritos or any other food that needs a little pizzaz.

Enjoy!


For the Black Bean Veggie Taco Burrito Things


These are so easy I hardly think it deserves its own post. I definitely don't want to discount them because they are truly delicious. One of those 'cheater meals' that I so love on busy days when I just don't have time to be creative.


There's nothing better than being able to get dinner on the table in record time and still have it be fresh, healthy and tasty. That's winning in my book.

Need:
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium shallot, diced
1/2 heald cauliflower, chopped into bite sized pieces (about 1/2 inch)
1 medium eggplant, chopped the same
1 red bell pepper, chopped the same
2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
About 1 teaspoon salt
About 1 teaspoon pepper
1 ripe avocado, sliced
About 8 corn or flour tortillas

Optional add ins:
Fresh chopped tomatoes
Shredded cabbage tossed with a little oil and vinegar
Other leafy green

Do:
In a pan, heat olive oil to med/high. Add shallot and cook for 1-2 minutes then add cauliflower. Stir and let cook on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes.

Add eggplant, stir and cover then let cook another 3-4 minutes.

Add bell pepper, black beans, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Stir well, reduce heat a bit, cover and continue to cook until all veg is just barely soft. Note: you don't want mushy vegetables. Keep them al dente.

Taste your mixture and add salt and pepper as needed.

Slice avocado and warm tortillas.

Serve:
You can serve this simple meal on the table family style, or individually.

To prepare individually, portion an even amount of your mixture onto one side of your tortilla. Add some shredded cabbage and amazing raw tomatillo salsa.

From here you can either place your avocado and other add ins on top or roll up and serve them on the side.

Consume.

Enjoy this simple, no nonsense meal!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Roasted Corn and Peach Soup

It's kind of summer. Or at least it was a few days ago. It's definitely leaning toward fall.

I have accepted (with a little kicking and screaming) that it's now time to resurrect my sweater collection. I wore a sweater to work yesterday. And I wasn't too warm.

Though I love summer and am desperately disappointed to see what little of it we had go, I have to admit there is something exciting about the onset of fall. I say that now.

The vegetables I have from our latest CSA pickup, though, are definitely still on the summer side.

So I think this roasted corn and peach soup is a perfect way to celebrate the fun combination of seasons. Yummy sweet corn, deliciously ripe peaches, a little heat from a homegrown thai chile. Perfect for a blustery, rainy evening.


It's relatively simple to make and will warm your belly with sweet summer flavors and spicy fall warmth. Pair it with a sassy red wine for perfection.

Yield: about 6-8 servings

Need:
6 ears sweet corn, husked
1 Tablespoon Earth Balance
1 sweet white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 small thai chile, minced
About 1 teaspoon sea salt
About 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
3 large ripe peaches, halved
About 12 leaves basil, chopped plus about 4 leaves for garnish

Do:
Preheat oven to 450 or turn on barbecue. Roast corn for about 8 minutes then turn and roast another 8 minutes until roasty and tender.

Turn off oven, remove corn and allow to cool then shuck kernels off corn cob.

Meanwhile, warm a soup pot to med/high heat and add Earth Balance. Once slightly melted, add onion and garlic. Sautee until just tender and translucent. About 2-3 minutes.

Add shucked corn kernels, corn cobs, vegetable broth, thai chile, salt and pepper to soup pot. Reduce heat to med/low, cover and let cook.

Meanwhile, peel, pit and finely chop peaches. Reserve about 3/4 cup chopped peaches for garnish. Add remaining peaches to the pot, stir, reduce heat to low and let cook for about 30 minutes.

Remove corn cobs and discard then add basil.

Using an immersion blender, roughly puree soup, leaving some chunks. Alternately, put about half the soup in a blender and puree then return to the pot.

You're ready to serve!

Serve:
Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with a few peach pieces and a basil leaf.

I served it alongside a simple tomato onion salad. You could also pair it with a lovely green salad and, of course, some delicious crusty bread.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fluffy Crispy Waffles

I will figure out a schedule. I will follow that schedule. I will probably have to write it down and super glue it to my forehead. Or at least the back of my hand.

This week so far has been slightly crazy with the first few days of Kindergarten. I'm working a little more too, which means the house is a disaster and I really must get into the groove of making lunch at night.

Oh and the winning event of the week? I lost my 'life'. My 'life' a.k.a. my day planner. My day planner!! How on earth am I supposed to plan my day without it?

Not to mention it has all kinds of silly and unimportant information in it like flight confirmation numbers, frequent flyer info, important phone numbers, appointments; two of which I missed yesterday due to said missing 'life'. To avoid more of the same, I broke down yesterday and accepted that 'life' is apparently gone. So I bought a new one. We're still getting to know one another.

On another note, I apparently have to pencil out a new bloging schedule because as we speak I should be waking Noodle Nose up to get ready for school. How dare they make me re-arrange my blogging schedule for my child's education? The nerve.

So today I have waffles for you. And yes folks, they do have eggs in them. I got some happy chicken eggs from Auntie Erin (thank you!) so I used a couple to make these delicious waffles.


Now. I have made vegan waffles in the past, using my pancake batter but with this week the way it is, I needed a quick, simple something to start Noodle off right. So I used my mama's recipe.

I topped them with Earth Balance and agave nectar and as Honey said: 'They're really light. But fluffy. They're go-o-od.'


Yield about 6-8 waffles

Need:
2 organic happy eggs from happy chickens
2 cups whole wheat flour (make them gluten free if you like!)
1 3/4 cup So Delicious coconut milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 Tablespoon organic natural sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Do:
Plug in your waffle iron and preheat to med/high, closer to high.

In a Kitchenaid (or bowl with mixer) beat eggs until smooth and slightly fluffy. About 1 minute.

With the Kitchenaid on low, add the following to your eggs, in this order, the flour, So Delicious coconut milk, vegetable oil, sugar, baking powder, salt and vanilla.

When fully incorporated, scoop a 1/2 cup portion of the batter onto your waffle iron. Close lid and cook until brown and crispy. About 4-5 minutes.

Serve:
Spread with Earth Balance and drizzle agave nectar. These go really well with a little Smart Bacon (everybody loves fak'n bac'n?) and fresh fruit.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

Our baby goes to his first day of kindergarten today.


We let him be in charge of choosing dinner last night.

To no one's surprise, he chose macaroni and tree. I had no tree. But I had cauliflower and zucchini. So macaroni and cauliflower and zucchini it was.



It was a family effort.

Today is a big day for our sweet boy. Hopefully the mac and cheese will be the carb load he needs!

Yield about 12 servings

Need:

1 pkg rigatoni pasta
2 Tablespoons Earth Balance
1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
2 cups vegetable broth
3/4 cup plain soy milk
3 Tablespoons Braggs liquid aminos
1 cup nutritional yeast
4 Tablespoons corn starch
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 Tablespoon coarse mustard
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup Daiya cheese
About 1 cup cauliflower pieces (about 1/2 inch pieces)
1 large zucchini, cut into about 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs

Do:
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to el dante.
In another small pot, combine Earth Balance and vegan cream cheese and heat on low, allowing it to melt slowly.

While that is going, preheat oven to 375.

In a blender, combine vegetable broth, soy milk, Braggs, nutritional yeast, corn starch, lemon juice, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper and black pepper.

Blend on high until well combined then add to Earth Balance mixture on the stove. Stir to combine and let cook until it thickens, about 5-8 minutes on low/med.

When pasta is cooked, drain and return to pot. To the pasta, add cauliflower and zucchini. Stir to combine.

When 'cheese' sauce is fairly thick, pour over noodles/veg, add Daiya cheese and stir to combine. Add 1/2 cup of panko breading and stir again to combine.


Pour the entire mixture into an oven proof baking dish that has a lid or can be covered with tin foil. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup panko breading on top, cover and put in oven.

Bake for 25-30 minutes then remove lid and bake for another 5-10 minutes until lightly browned on top.

Remove and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve:
With a lovely green salad. Or just plain tomato slices.


Enjoy!

Friday, September 9, 2011

BBQ Baba Ghanoush

It feels like old times... up in the wee hours of the morning. Not working out. Blogging. This is my most productive time.

I am sure it has nothing to do with the fact that it's 5:00 in the morning. Noodle Nose and Honey are fast asleep, the dog isn't frenetically tearing down the hallway like a freak, the cat isn't demanding that he absolutely must sit on my hands whilst I type. I am also sure I am being sarcastic.

Thank goodness for me (or my productivity perhaps) that I'm the only one that likes to wake up before the crack for no particular reason.

That being said, Wednesday was CSA day! It's like Christmas. In September. On my list? Vegetables! Oh good. I got what I wanted.

We had some beautiful eggplant this week and I was in a dippy kind of mood so I decided to make a little summer style baba ghanoush. Baba ghanoush. It's dip made from eggplant, essentially. It's also known as a delicious, filling, healthy dip that can be paired with veg or carbs.

Traditionally, of course, it plays well with middle eastern yummies such as falafel, tabouleh, pita and hummus. I love middle eastern food. Strike that. I lurve it.


I also lurve this baba ghanoush. I got the original recipe from Tyler Florence. Not like, personally. But that would make a great story. Indeed I changed a few things and, of course, barbecued the eggplant vs. roasting or grilling. And it's awesome.

Beautiful and roasty from the eggplant's time on the grill. Garlicky, of course, and just bright enough, compliments of the parsley. It's super easy to make and replaces other less healthy dips.

Need:

1 bulb garlic (yes, the whole bulb. We're roasting) 4-5 roasted cloves will be used in this recipe
2 small to medium eggplants
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon (use the same lemon)
1/2 bunch, a loose 3/4 cup italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Sea salt
Fresh cracked black pepper
About 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, in Tablespoon increments

Ideas for serving:
Carrot sticks
Celery sticks
Cucumber slices
Pita bread

Do:
Begin by roasting your garlic bulb. You can also do this ahead of time. Often I roast several ahead of time if I know I will be using them.

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees and tearing off a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the bulb in.

Peel back the loose outer layers of the bulb skin but keep the tighter layers in tact. Using a knife, cut about 1/2 inch off the top of the bulb, exposing a bit of the cloves inside.

Place bulb on aluminum foil, drizzle with a bit of olive oil then tightly wrap excess aluminum around bulb. Place on a baking sheet and roast in oven for 30-35 minutes. Note: you can do several bulbs at once if you like. They make a fantastic appetizer and pair wonderfully with the baba ghanoush.

While your garlic is roasting, turn your barbecue on to med/high heat.

Pierce eggplants with a fork in a few places and drizzle eggplants with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. When grill is hot, place eggplants directly on grill. Allow them to grill, rotating as you go, until they shrivel and turn very soft. their skins will be wrinkly and charred.

Remove from grill and set aside to cool. You can help this process by slicing them in half lengthwise.

Once they have cooled, scoop out the soft inside and transfer to a bowl. You can throw away the outer layer.

In a food processor, combine lemon juice and parsley and pulse to combine. When garlic is finished roasting, add 4-5 of the roasted cloves to the food processor and pulse/blend until very smooth.

Add your eggplant, cumin, salt and pepper to the food processor and pulse to combine. While pulsing, stream in olive oil about 1 Tablespoon at a time until you get the right consistency. You are looking for a fairly thick puree with a little texture. Don't over blend.

Fold in lemon zest then taste your mix and add salt and pepper to your taste.

Serve:
Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with a few fresh parsley leaves, for added color. Pair with carrot sticks, celery sticks (great for scooping), cucumber rounds or pita wedges.

This dip is also great paired with falafel, tabouleh and hummus, as a full meal.


Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Vegan Pizza Bites

It's back to school time! Well, basically. Due to the strike the first day of school was pushed back a day. For us kindergarteners, that means we have an extra weekend.

We were supposed to go to Texas; due to the change though, we are no longer. So now I am attempting to cope with my major disappointment.

Commence carbohydrate gorging. Which is ever so conveniently paired with (remember?) my quest to pack the most amazing lunches this side of something that creates a really significant border?

And I did something pretty yum-mazing here. I combined three things: My utter sadness at the sudden loss of our vacation, my enthusiasm for making teeny tiny things for my teeny tiny kindergartener's lunch and my obsession with re-purposing extra ingredients, I came up with these: Pizza bites. Vegan pizza bites.


Because at the top of my list entitled 'things that are awesome' is carbohydrates, my teeny tiny kindergartener and re-purposing left overs. Not in that order. Yes. I get an abnormal sense of satisfaction in re-purposing. I don't find this to be a problem.


The bites were fairly simple in the end; remember the pizza dough? I used that, simply reducing the amount (I did the math for you too). Then I stuffed them with a little Daiya cheese and a fun combination of Gimme Lean sausage, the KGB mixture and my own homemade red sauce. Winner.

You will love them. Your kids will love them. Your big kids hubs/wifey will love them. The neighbors will love them. You will be awesome. Now that's advertising.

Yield about 18 bites

Need:
1 teaspoons raw sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (about 1/2 package if you don't do bulk)
1 1/2 cups unbleached whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

For the filling:
About 1/2 roll (about 3/4  cup) Gimme Lean 'sausage'
About 3/4 cup KGB mixture OR
if you don't have the KGB made up already, it's about 3 leaves kale, 1/4 medium head broccoli, 1/4 medium head romanesco, 1 clove garlic. Put it all in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. See pizza recipe
About 3/4 cup homemade tomato sauce
About 1/4 to 1/2 package Daiya cheese in any flavor you like. I used 'mozzarella'

Helpful tools:
Ravioli stamp

Do:
In a large bowl, combine warm water and sugar. Stir to dissolve. Add yeast to water, stir lightly and set aside until foamy. About 10 minutes.

In another medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Use a fork to combine then set aside.

Add the Tablespoon of olive oil to your yeast mixture. Then, using a fork, gradually add flour mixture about 1/4 to 1/2 cup at a time, to liquid. Once just barely combined, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead into a smooth elastic ball.

Return to bowl, drizzle with olive oil, turn once, cover and place in a warm area to rise until double in size. About 45 min to 1 hr 20 min.

Meanwhile, prepare your sausage and, if you haven't prepared your KGB and/or red sauce, do that too.

For your sausage, preheat a saute pan to med/high heat with a little olive oil. Break up half the tube of 'sausage' into pieces; make as many pieces as you can because it's pretty sticky. As it cooks, use your spatula to further break it up. Cook until evenly brown then transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Again, for the KGB: if you don't have leftover from the pizza, simply add kale leaves (minus stems and ribbing), broccoli, romanesco and garlic to your kitchenaid and pulse until you reach a fine chop. You might need to do this in batches. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Also, if you haven't prepared your red sauce ahead of time, go ahead and do that now. Off you go.

Combine cooked sausage, KGB and about 1/2 cup of the red sauce. If needed, gradually add more red sauce until you get a moist consistency. Set aside.

When your dough is done, preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and roll out into about 1/4 inch thick strips. Strips work best because you're going to punch the pizza bites out with the ravioli stamp. This is the one I use.

Using the ravioli stamp, gently press 'guide lines' down one side of your dough. Ensure you leave enough space between each for stamping.

Put a tiny sprinkle of Daiya down inside each 'guide line', then scoop about 1 Tablespoon of your sausage KGB mixture on top. Add a little more Daiya on top then fold dough over top.

Gently press top dough around filling, to see where you will stamp. From there, stamp each pizza bite out, brush with a little olive oil and place on baking sheet. Repeat for all dough/filling and place pizza bites onto baking sheet as you go.

Just before you place bites in the oven, sprinkle a little sea salt on top. Go easy though; Daiya is pretty salty and you don't want to overwhelm the bites with salt.

Bake for 12-14 minutes then remove and let cool.

Serve:
If you're going to eat them right away, serve with a little extra tomato sauce for dipping and enjoy!

If you're going to freeze them, allow them time to cool fully then place in a freezer safe container, separating layers with parchment paper.

To reheat, simply place in a 350 oven for about 8 to 10 minutes. Serve by themselves or with more tomato sauce for dipping.


A lovely healthy treat for school lunch or after school snack.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Pesto KGB Grilled Pizza

There's a little pizza establishment in La Ham that makes some of my favorite pizza. Peace Love Pizza.

All their flavors are tasty and interesting but there is one that holds a special place in my heart. A special place just for pizza that I love.

And I love pizza in general, but this one? They topped it with three of my all time favorite things: Kale, garlic and broccoli. And there arrived the KGB pizza. My little slice of heaven.


I think about it often. So often I decided that a beautiful sunny day deserved a little KGB of my own. KGB with a twist. I added another of my favorite ingredients: Pesto and also a little romanesco. The pesto I made the other day from the outstanding fresh basil I had in my CSA basket.


And for those of you non-vegans, you will like to see that on part of the pizza, for my protein packed Honey, I added an egg. He said it was a good addition on many levels: the protein, the moisture and the flavor. I think there was even a little tabasco thrown in there.

This is a fun and fabulous way to cook outside, eat pizza and devour those amazing dark green veggies that we so need!

Need:
2 teaspoons raw sugar
1 cup warm water
1 package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
3 cups unbleached whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
1 recipe amazing vegan basil pesto
1/2 bunch fresh kale leaves, torn into pieces
1/2 medium head of broccoli, cut into small chunks
1/2 medium head romanesco, cut into small chunks
3 cloves garlic, sliced in half

Optional:
Daiya cheese
Other cheese of your choice
Fried egg

Do:
In a large bowl, combine sugar and water. Stir to allow sugar to dissolve. To that add yeast and stir to incorporate. Let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

In a separate smaller bowl, combine flour and salt. Fluff with a fork to combine then set aside

Add olive oil to yeast mixture and stir, then gradually add flour to yeast mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, gently stirring with a fork to incorporate.

When just combined, turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Return dough ball to the bowl, drizzle with olive oil and turn then cover and place in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

While your dough is rising, prepare your pesto if you haven't already.

Also while your dough is rising, prepare your vegetables. To prepare:

Place kale, broccoli, romanesco and garlic in your food processor and pulse until you get a fine chop on all veg. You will probably need to do this in batches.

Once you have a nice fine shred, heat a pan to med/high heat and add a little olive oil. Saute all the veg until barely soft. About 2-3 minutes. You just want to take the edge off, not make them soggy and soft.

Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

When dough is ready, turn on grill.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half. Work each dough ball into a 'circle', ensuring it is evenly about 1/4 inch thick.

Brush one side with a little olive oil then place on grill and cook until you have the beautiful grill marks, about 5-6 minutes. Brush other side with oil, flip the dough and cook until you have the grill marks again.


Remove dough from grill, spread evenly with pesto. Spread your vegetable mix evenly on top then return to the grill. Cover and let cook another 3-5 minutes. Note: if you choose, you can also add some regular cheese, Daiya cheese or other cheese of your choice before its final grill.


Remove from grill, cut and you're ready to serve! Repeat for all dough.


Note: if you want to add an egg, cook the egg while your pizza is grilling.

Serve:
Cut into pieces and serve alongside a fresh green salad.

Here's what it looks like with the egg...



Enjoy!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Vegan Carrot Cake Muffins

Two things that every home chef and/or baker (or in my case, wannabe baker) should have in their profile: carrot cake and zucchini bread. Luckily both featured vegetables are highly available this time of year. So much so that it was a zucchini free for all at our CSA pick up last week. That post coming soon.

Carrots? We get carrots in our pick-up almost every week; unfortunately for my carrot cake endeavours, I end up devouring them raw, dirt and all, before I can use them for anything else. Sometimes I'm even couth enough to smear them with peanut butter before total inhalation.

I like carrots. Though, random fact: carrots give me a mad case of the hiccups. I used to think this was really weird until one day my mom randomly informed me that carrots give her hiccups. Must run in the family.

But with the start of school just around the corner (next Friday!!) I have been prepping and freezing things I like to call my 'totally awesome lunch supplies'. Because this year I vow as I do every year to be the mom that makes the best lunches ever known to mankind.

'Best lunches ever known to mankind without the addition of a bunch of processed junk like GoGurt, Capri Sun, plastic cheese, white bread and other nastiness that no one, even rabid cats and ferile dogs, should eat.' Now that's a title.

And so, delicious and healthy yet totally mouthwatering carrot cake muffins are on the list. Along with some other fun items which I will post soon.


These carrot cake muffins were moist, barely sweet, fluffy and perfectly balanced with carrots, spices and raisins. And if you wanted to get totally crazy you could whip up a batch of cream cheese frosting to go on top. Or better yet, egg nog frosting. Stick a candle in it and you're good to go. Or don't, and just stick it in your mouth. It's still healthier than a box mix.

Your kids will love these muffins. They will be the talk around the lunch table.


Need:
2 teaspoons egg replacer
1/2 cup So Delicious coconut milk
3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups freshly grated carrot
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped (optional)

Do:
Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with muffin liners.

In a small bowl, combine egg replacer and So Delicious coconut milk. Whip together with a fork until fully combine and lump free. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine both flours, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine then set aside.

In a Kitchenaid, or bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil and applesauce. Mix on low until combined then add egg replacer mixture and continue to mix.

With the Kitchenaid on low, gradually add flour mixture until just combined then fold in carrot and raisins. Mix gently until evenly incorporated.

Fill muffin tins a smidge over 3/4 full and bake 24 to 26 minutes, until golden brown and a stick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Remove from oven and let cool before you frost, if you choose to frost.

Serve:
'Naked' and fresh from the oven or frosted with cream cheese or egg nog frosting.

You could add a little So Delicious coconut ice cream and serve them for dessert or feature them 'naked' for breakfast, lunch or snack time.

They also freeze well. Just make sure they are completely cooled, then pack in freezer bags or other freezer safe container. Before serving, remove from freezer and let defrost on the counter or in a lunch bag.

Enjoy!


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