Monday, October 28, 2013

Lemon Ranch Dressing - vegan

I am sharing this dressing with you with the warning, that I would probably drink it if I was craving it bad enough... yes, it's THAT good. I have eaten a Costco sized bucket of organic greens in 1 day because I freaking love this dressing so much! You've been warned!

Lemon Ranch Dressing - vegan
1 cup veganaise
1 cup plain soy milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
3 tsp parsley
juice of 2 small or 1 large lemon

Place all into blender and blend, use sparingly on your greens and enjoy!!

Photo: I am sharing this dressing with you with the warning, that I would probably drink it if I was craving it bad enough... yes, it's THAT good.  I have eaten a Costco sized bucket of organic greens in 1 day because I freaking love this dressing so much!  You've been warned!

Lemon Ranch Dressing - vegan
1 cup veganaise
1 cup plain soy milk
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
3 tsp parsley
juice of 2 small or 1 large lemon

Place all into blender and blend, use sparingly on your greens and enjoy!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vegan Nutty Cinnamon Coffee Cake Rolls withOUT Nuts!

My oldest child could survive on carbs alone, bread, tortillas, rolls, breadsticks, pizza, pasta, pancakes, waffles if it's a simple carb he LOVES it.  His FAVORITE of all though is cinnamon rolls.  I don't often make them though because I'm not a fabulous yeast baker and we are all about the instant gratification here... waiting HOURS for something to rise before you can dig in doesn't really appeal to us.  Also for us the BEST cinnamon rolls are ones with little bits of candied pecans or walnuts strewn within, but the middle man here (my 7 year old) is allergic to both of those nuts so no nutty rolls for us.  Until now!  How can a creative mama come up with a way to make something crunchy and nutty without actually having nuts in it?  Say hello to Grape Nuts!  Yes, you know that gravely cereal that we buy but never actually eat... yep... I'm talking to YOU lol Now just a little disclaimer here, there is some debate about the source of the vitamins B and D in Grape Nuts and whether they are vegan or not.  For me since I already had a HUGE unopened box of the stuff in the pantry it wasn't a deal breaker, I already had them and I was SUPER excited to have a nutty crunchy roll that my son with allergies could enjoy.  You can even make them into "candied nuts" if you were so inclined!  Now after this massive box in my pantry is gone and if I ever decide to purchase another box I will do more digging into the source of the vitamins and see if there is a more natural option to traditional Grape Nuts.  If anyone out there knows of an natural healthy version of Grape Nuts please pass on the info!!

This recipe is adapted from the fabulous Kathy over at The Lunch Box Bunch head on over there to check out her original recipe! I was so excited to see that these had no yeast and as such no rise time!

For the dough you will need:
 4 cups unbleached flour 

1 Tbsp baking powder
3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
8 tbsp melted earth balance
1 cup almond milk
1/3 cup orange juice (you can use lemon instead and sub lemon in the glaze for lemony rolls!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
flour for kneading

For the filling you will need:
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp melted earth balance
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups Grape Nuts cereal

For the topping you will need:
2-3 Tbsp Grape Nuts cereal
2-3 Tbsp melted earth balance
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp pure maple syrup

For the glaze you will need:
2 TBSP melted earth balance
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 - 2 cups powdered sugar
3 to 4 Tbsp orange juice
finely grated zest of 1 orange

Preheat your oven to 375

In a med bowl mix all the ingredients for the filling EXCEPT THE MELTED BUTTER, use your hands to really get it all incorporated. Set aside

In a small bowl do the same with the ingredients for the topping. Set aside

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients for the dough and then add in the wet.  The dough should not be sticky and should come together in a nice ball.  Add a drop or two more milk or flour as needed to get it just right.

On a floured surface roll out the dough into a 1 in thick rectangle.  

Brush the melted butter from the topping on to the rectangle of dough and then cover with the filling, spread it all out evenly.

Roll the dough on the short end into a tight log and then slice into 8 even pieces.

Place into a greased baking dish.

Add the topping.

Bake at 375 for 30 mins

While they are baking whip up your glaze.  The original recipe is for a thick yummy looking cream cheese frosting but I didn't have any cream cheese on hand :( so I made this glaze instead.  It was very yummy!  Keep in mind mine makes more of a runny glaze vs an actual frosting.

When the rolls come out let them cool for a few minutes and then pour the glaze over the top.  


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Tofu "Chicken" Nuggets

These tofu chicken nuggets got the disappearing plate of approval from my gang last night.  They didn't take that long to put together and were fairly simple to assemble.  These have a "skin" just like the Vegan Fried Chicken using rice paper wrappers.  Which makes them extra crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.

Tofu "Chicken" Nuggets

  • 2 packages of extra firm tofu - frozen, thawed, pressed and then sliced into 6 slabs each (for a total of 12 slabs).
  • 12 rice paper wrappers
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tbsp paprika 
  • 1 tbsp salt 
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder 
  • 1 tbsp onion powder 
  • 1tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
Heat your oil.  I use our fryer at 350. (I am working on making a healthier baked version of these too)

Mix all the seasonings and spices with the flour into a shallow bowl.  

Pour the milk into another shallow bowl.

Now we need to put on the "skins."   One at a time soak the rice paper wrappers in a plate or shallow bowl with 1 cup of warm water in it.  Soak for about 20-30 seconds depending how warm your water is.  When it starts to get soft carefully take it out and spread it on your working surface, then place one tofu slab in the center and wrap it up like a burrito and set aside.  Repeat with all remaining pieces of tofu.

Now dip the wrapped pieces into the flour to coat, QUICKLY into the milk and then back into the flour and set aside.  

Once you have them all coated, I fried them 6 at a time for 3 minutes each side in our fryer at 350.

Let cool and serve.  We had ours with mashed lentils and some corn. 

My kids loved these!  If you wanted to add some extra flavor you could marinate your pressed tofu in some not chicken or veggie broth for a while before you start, that would make the inside have that "juicy" chicken feel (which grosses me out! but others seem to appreciate) and impart a lot more flavor to them.


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Homemade Organic, Vegan Juice Pulp Dog Treats

They ARE just waiting for me to drop some of the mixture so that can gobble it up!
Ok, as promised the follow up to yesterday's juice post... what to do with that pulp... first thing is DON'T throw it away!  It can very easily be made into fabulous healthy, yummy, vegan doggie treats that your pups will beg you for.

You can make these treats with any juice pulp bearing in mind that there are a few fruits and veggies that are not safe for dogs to eat, mainly onions, garlic and grapes most of which I don't think people are putting into their juices... unless you're making a savory tomato garlicy type juice, in which case DON'T use that pulp to make doggy treats. 

I try to always use organic fruits and veggies when I juice, in addition I use organic pb and oats so these treats are organic and vegan, IDK if you've priced organic dog treats but boy are they expensive! So making your own and using that juice pulp instead of throwing it away really makes these treats easy on the wallet!

Homemade juice pulp doggy treats:

The juice I made the most recent batch of treats from was the first juice in yesterday's post: 1 large sweet potato, 3 large carrots and 2 oranges. After making my juice I was left with about 3-4 cups of pulp. If you have more or less pulp you can adjust your other ingredients accordingly.

Place the pulp in a bowl and add 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 cup oats and I added 1/4 cup ground flax seed. 

Approx 4 cups of juice pulp

Use your hands to squish, mix and combine well. 

Roll into balls appropriate for your dog's size. Mine are about 1 inch balls. 

Bake at 300 for 1 hour turning once half way through. 

My dogs LOVE these, in fact they love to just eat them raw, kinda like how I love eating cookie dough raw lol. 

What a little beggar! lol

Charlie approves these treats and gives them a lip-licking-good review!

So save your pulp! Nothing wasted and your pups yet a YUMMY, healthy treat!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Orange Juice... sorta

My husband and I juice quite a bit.  It seems to happen in waves, we juiced pretty heavily when we first got our juicer, a lovely Value Village find for $50.  We both have done cleansing juice fasts and lost weight and felt much lighter and cleaner inside as a result.  We have not fasted in a while and our juicing tapered off for a while towards the end of the year.  But we're back in action again, refocused with the start of the new year. 

I wanted to share a couple of quick and easy juices with you.  They are orange in color but are not your typical OJ. 

The first is one of my faves:  Sweet potato, carrots and oranges.

You need 1 large sweet potato, about 3 or 4 carrots and 2 oranges.  Wash and peel the sweet potato, wash the carrots and chop the potato and carrots into whatever size pieces your juicer can handle. Cut the rind off the oranges leaving most of the pith (white part) but removing all of the orange peels.  Juice it all and serve over ice!  Makes about 32 oz of juice depending on how big your veggies/fruits were.  I know you are thinking juicing a sweet potato seems weird but it is sooo good it makes a thick kind of creamy sweet juice... just yum! 

Don't toss out your pulp!  I am going to share a super easy recipe for doggie treats using this pulp tomorrow.

The other "orange" juice I like is: Grapefruit, carrot and ginger.
You need 3 grapefruits, about 4 carrots and a 1 inch knob of ginger (if you have never juiced ginger before maybe cut that in half, ginger packs a punch!).  Wash your produce, peel the ginger if you wish (some people do, some don't) I just wash the heck out of it.  Cut the rinds off the grapefruit removing the colored outer rind leaving the pith.  Juice and serve over ice!  This one makes about 24 oz of juice depending on how big your grapefruits are.  So yes it's going to be a bit sour and yes that ginger is going to have some bite to it but once you've been juicing for a while you come to appreciate unique flavor combos such as this and even crave them.  The pith of the citrus fruits hold a lot of vitamin C and antioxidants. This particular juice is known as a natural energy drink due to the ginger/grapefruit combo. 

Check back tomorrow for the recipe for dog treats that will make your pup the happiest on the block, using your juice pulp. They seriously LOVE these treats... they are lick-your-doggy-lips-good!  Charlie says so!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Birthdays, Pizza and Eyeglasses

So I made a goal (not a resolution!) to be more active on the blog this year, even if it just means posting silly daily stuff rather than a recipe every post. 

Today was Bella's best friend's birthday party.  It was a Chuck E Cheese party which the kids were soooo excited for, I totally get it... Chuck E Cheese is an AWESOME place for kids.  Not so much for a vegan mama, it's difficult to have to say "No" over and over again to them. But we love our friends and knew it would be a crazy fun party so I had to figure out a way to make it work. 

Per Peta, Chuck E Cheese's crust and sauce are vegan, so a quick call to talk to the manager and ask if I brought in my own bag of Daiya would they make us a vegan pizza?  He was very kind and accommodating and assured me it would not be a problem.  When we got there I asked at the counter for the manager and he took our vegan cheese in the back and made our pizza himself.  It was not bad as Chuck E Cheese pizzas go.  I didn't get a pic... sorry.  The kids had me pretty distracted, but I did manage to snap a couple pics of the pretty princesses.

The party was a princess theme and all the girls were encouraged to dress up as their favorite princesses.  Bella of course always one to go against the grain decided she wanted to be a fairy (Tinkerbell).  I think I managed to pull off a pretty respectable Tink outfit for her.  It was an awesome party and the little princesses (and the big bros) all had a great time.

So.... if your little one's have invitations to a Chuck E Cheese party, never fear... make a call to your location and ask to bring in your own vegan cheese, and kick back and enjoy the party.

My little Tinkerbell
Brandon and some of the cool swag he scored with his game tickets
 After the party we came home and had some family reading and writing time.  We are working hard as a family to get our kids more excited about reading.  So at dinner we pass around the kindle and each of us takes turns reading out loud to the family.  Right now we are reading book one of Harry Potter.  It's slow going, as reading aloud is something both of the boys need some focus on, but I'm hopeful that the added benefit of time spent doing it together as a family will help.

After reading everyone took sometime to write in their journals before bed.  The boys write stories about their toys, or just about whatever happened in their day and Bells practices her name, numbers or drawing pictures.  Daddy works on a fantasy story he is writing and I have decided this is a perfect time for me to work on the blog :)

Oh one more exciting tidbit to share... The first born got glasses yesterday.  He's pretty stoked about them and had a lot of fun with me going to the different eyeglass places to try on frames and find one he really liked.  We went with these ones.  They were only $50 for frames and lenses at Vision Works in our local mall.  The second photo (the bolder frame) are the ones he really really wanted but they were $139 for the frames plus another $30 for lenses.  So we told him if he does a good job of taking care of these we'd consider getting him a more expensive pair in the future. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Happy Thanksliving!

We are late to the party as usual... :)  We had our Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday instead of Thursday so we could have some extended family and friends join us.  It was so nice to have a house full of people relaxing and celebrating!  Over the last month we have had a multitude of changes in our lives, I recently went back to work and we are currently in the process of moving (Staying local just moving about 5 minutes from where we were), but going back to work means my daughter had to go to enroll in preschool which is a big change for her and add all the fun and jitters of a new job for me and stress of moving... Ugh!  It was so nice to set all of that aside for one day and just relax and hang out, even if I did have to go sifting through unpacked boxes for my potato masher and the kids had to eat picnic style in the living room because we don't have furniture in that room yet... it was all good!

So on to the feast!

I made a homemade seitan roast similar to this one from the PPK  and silly girl that I am I was worried it wouldn't turn out and we would be left with nothing to eat so we picked up a store bought Tofurkey roast,
for a back up, as it turns out I worried for nothing the roast I made was delish and even pleased the palates of our non veg friends.  The Tofurky roast was bland and over chewy in comparison to the delish homemade one... lesson learned!

I was lazy with the gravy and just went with the store bought Tofurkey brand gravy which was so good over my garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing and the roast.  Big fluffy dinner rolls were perfect for dipping the the yummy yummy gravy.

I did roasted veggies to go with the roast which were brussel sprouts, cauliflower and carrots they were tossed with bunches of minced garlic, seasonings and olive oil and then roasted until soft, about an hour. 

My special occasion green beans are always included at holiday meals and were so easy to make vegan, simply sub the butter for Earth Balance.  Take about a pound of fresh green beans, you put 1/2 a stick earth balance into a large heavy skillet and once melted and bubbly throw in a 1/2 cup shaved almonds and 1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) toast those for about 5 minutes and then toss in your beans combine them really well so the earth balance is well distributed and let cook for around 5 more minutes or until the beans are as soft or as crisp as you like them, add salt to taste.

Candied yams are a Thanksgiving staple and were crazy easy to make vegan, just sub the marshmallows for vegan Dandies brand marshmallows and you're done!

My sons' birth father was in town and this was the first time in about 5 years that he has gotten to spend Thanksgiving with his sons so it was important to us to put off our feast until he could join us.  He is DEFINITELY not vegan, though when he is here he does try to be supportive of his sons' choices.   He made us a delish tart homemade cranberry sauce and whipped up a vegan cornbread stuffing with tempeh in place of his usual choice of sausage. 

For dessert I made my traditional chocolate pudding pie,  I've been making this pie every year for Thanksgiving since I was like 14.  For years I have made this pie using an Oreo cookie crust, Jello chocolate pudding mix and Cool whip on top.  But this like just about everything else is so easy to veganize.  I couldn't find a cookie crust at the healthfood store I was shopping at so I just decided to  go with a traditional pie crust and found some that were vegan in the freezer case.  I used organic chocolate pudding mix, and mixed with Silk's organic soy milk, topped with Soyatoo stick it in the freezer for 2 hours or so and then... revel in the amazing simpleness that is my favorite pie :)

I also made this crazy simple pumpkin pie from The Lunch Box Bunch that disappeared quickly and a raw vegan cheesecake , we were not in love with the cheesecake.  I used almonds instead of walnuts for the crust as my little dude is allergic to walnuts and it was just too nutty for us.  The texture of this cheesecake was spot on, it just didn't have enough of that "cheesecakey tang" so I want to try to work with it some more.  We are not raw by any means so I think pairing this filling with a vegan graham cracker crust and maybe doubling the lemon juice in the filling and we will get that "tang" we were missing.  

It was a great evening, we all ate way too much, enjoyed some drinks, card games, the company of friends and family and the spirit of being thankful for all that we have.  I am thankful for my beautiful children, for my furry babies, for my amazing husband, for the best friend a girl could wish for, for my wonderful new friends to make new memories with, our new home and that I was able to find a job easily and quickly to ensure we will not struggle financially to keep this roof over my family's heads. I am also thankful that my family is vegan, that we opened our eyes and our hearts to the millions of animals that suffer daily for our choices and that I have learned that I can put on a spread like this... made with love without causing harm to anyone.

Wishing you all the the warmest wishes this holiday season.