Saturday, 31 October 2015

Homemade Trail Mix

Trail mix can be expensive and it couldn't be easier to make yourself AND you get to choose exactly what goes into it! Going to your local bulk section and picking out your favorites works out much cheaper than buying the prepackaged mixes.



Homemade Trail Mix

Ingredients

Your favorite mix of nuts (I used almond and walnut)
Your favourite mix of seeds (I used pepita seeds)
Dried berries (I used goji)
Dried fruit (I used raisins and banana chips)
Optional extras (vegan chocolate chips/cocao nibs or anything you like!)


Method

Throw them all in a bowl and mix by hand.
Find an airtight container to store them in.
Done! Ready for snacking at anytime or place!



Thursday, 29 October 2015

Agave Marsala Pears

This is adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe and is fantastic as a fancy accompaniment for your Artisan vegan cheeses or antipasto ;)
I used Kroger brand of Marsala cooking wine which I confirmed with Kroger is vegan!


Agave Marsala Pears

Ingredients

2 firm pears (approximately 1 pound total weight) each cut into 1/8', leaving skin
2 tablespoons olive oil (regular, not extra-virgin)
3 tablespoons Marsala (or sherry or port - you basically want a sweet fortified wine)
2 tablespoons agave
1/2 cup walnut halves
1 pound vegan artisan cheese for serving


Method

While you are cutting the pears, let the oil heat in a large frying pan/skillet.
Fry the pears for 3 minutes a side, and while they are frying whisk the Marsala and agave together in a cup.
When the pears have had their time, add the Marsala-honey mixture and let it bubble up around the pears, and then transfer them, all bronzed and syrupy, to a plate.


Add the walnuts to the dark juices left in the pan and stir-fry them for about a minute until they are themselves darkened in part and sticky all over.
Remove them to the plate with the pears and add the cheeses.




Sunday, 25 October 2015

Fat Free Vegan Meatloaf

This recipe comes from Fat Free Vegan's Thanksgiving Meatless Loaf. It was pretty tasty but didn't really taste like meatloaf.


Fat Free Vegan Meatloaf

Ingredients

1 medium sweet potato
1 medium onion
2 ribs celery
1 medium carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can cannellini beans (or other white beans), drained and rinsed
14 ounces extra-firm tofu (one 14 to 16-ounce package)
2 tablespoons gluten-free soy sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon spicy brown or whole-grain prepared mustard
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tablespoon rubbed sage
1 tablespoon thyme leaf
1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup quick GF oatmeal


Method

Wash the sweet potato, pierce it several times with a fork, wrap it in a paper towel, and microwave until done, 4-5 minutes. (Alternately, bake or steam the sweet potato.)
Allow to cool enough to handle and then peel and set aside.
Mince the onion, celery, and carrot by cutting each vegetable in quarters and then pulsing in a food processor until finely chopped.
Heat a large, non-stick skillet. 
Add the minced vegetables, including garlic, and cook, stirring regularly, until they become tender, about 6-10 minutes. 
Add water by the teaspoon if necessary to keep the vegetables from sticking or becoming dry. 
Once they’re softened, add the drained beans and mash them lightly with a slotted spoon or spatula.
Place the peeled sweet potato into the food processor along with the tofu, soy sauce, and all seasonings, including nutritional yeast. 
Process until fairly smooth. Add the walnuts and pulse a few more times. 
Scrape the tofu mixture into a large mixing bowl and add the quinoa flakes and the cooked vegetables. Stir well.
Preheat oven to 375F. If you have a silicone baking mat (recommended) place it on a baking sheet. Otherwise line the baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. 
Spoon the tofu mixture onto the prepared baking surface, using dampened hands to shape it into an oblong or oval loaf about 2 1/2 inches high. 


Bake for 25 minutes or until the top is evenly browned. 
Loosely cover with aluminum foil and cook for 20 more minutes. 
Check to make sure that the center is firm; if not, give it a little extra time. (You can also remove the foil and cook for 5 more minutes for a crunchier crust.) 
Remove from oven and allow to stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.



Stuffed Acorn Squash

My friend saw this video on FB and thought I would like to veganize it. Great for the cold harvest months!


Stuffed Acorn Squash
Serves 4

Ingredients

2 acorn squash, ends cut off, cut in half and seeds/pulp removed
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp rosemary
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 pound vegan beef crumbles or chopped mushrooms (or both!!!)
1 apple, chopped
1 cup GF breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegan Parmesan (or vegan cheese or your choice)
1/4 cup marinara sauce (optional)
Olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.
Place squash large hole up on a baking tray lined with foil and drizzle  over some olive oil, salt and pepper and bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile in a pan fry 2 Tbls olive oil, onions, celery, garlic and seasonings on a low/medium heat until vegetables are soft/transparent.
Add  vegan ground beef/mushrooms until cooked through.
Add in chopped apple and stir until heated through.
Add in marinara sauce if using and stir through.
Add in breadcrumbs and vegan cheese and stir till mixed well and heated through.
Spoon even amounts into your squash halves and sprinkle with some extra vegan cheese.
Bake for another 20 minutes on 200C/400F.


Vegan Irish Stew

This is a slow cooker recipe from Cooksmart that I veganized. You can easily do it in the stove too on a low heat.



Vegan Irish Stew

Ingredients

1lb Vegan beef chunks or tofu cubes (I used Elianni Veggie Cutlets)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Onions, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
2-4 Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped (I didn't peel)
2 Tbls rice flour
1 Tbls cooking oil
2Tbls Tomato paste
1 Tbls Soy sauce (I used Tamari)
3 cups vegan beef stock (I used vegan chicken stock)
1/4 cup vegan red wine
2 bay leaves
1/4 tsp Black pepper
1 cup frozen peas


Method

Mix together tomato paste, soy sauce, vegan beef stock and red wine in slow cooker.
Add vegan beef chunks/TVP/tofu, garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes, bay leaves, and black pepper.
Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours.
Defrost peas in some boiling water and then fold them into stew.
Once peas are heated through the stew remove bay leaves and serve!


Sewing a Simple Quilt

Quilts are much easier than they look. It's just step by step instructions, I'm a complete novice seamstress and I just follow YouTube videos!


Sewing a Simple Quilt

What you will need


  • Fabric of your choice - the amount will depend on how big you're intending to make your quilt. If you're using traditional quilt squares they are around 9.5" squared. I bought around 3 yards of fabric for a baby crib quilt. Whatever you use for the front you need the same amount for the back (if you are planning on using this fabric as your finished edges then you need to make sure the fabric is a few inches longer and wider than your front piece because you will be flipping it up over the front. NB: If your item is something that might get washed occasionally make sure you pre-wash your fabrics.
  • Sewing machine, obviously :)
  • Matching thread
  • Fabric scissors
  • Iron
  • Pins
  • Thick ribbon (optional)
  • Batting - thickness if up to you, mine was a little too thick!
  • Fabric adhesive spray

Instructions

Cut your fabrics using a square quilt ruler (around 9.5") or cut by hand but be precise.


Place your squares on the floor and arrange in the order you want them. Take the first two pieces and place them pattern facing each other, pin down on the side you are going to sew. Iron if needed. Sew a 1/2" seam allowance to attach them. don't forget to always back stitch at the beginning and end of every line of sewing.


Iron out the flaps that you've just sewn. this is very important to reduce the bulk in the quilt.


Continue until you have one row of squares done.



 Place all your rows in order somewhere flat. Repeat until all your rows are finished.


Lay your rows out flat in the order you want the quilt to look.


Flip the second row up over the first row so patterns are touching.
Continue for the other rows, flipping every second row.


Sew a 1/2" seam allowance along the top of the rows.
Iron flat the flaps you've just sewn. Repeat for all the rows.



Now join the larger pieces together in a similar way by flipping up the second piece onto the first, patterns facing each other, and sewing a 1/2" seam allowance, then ironing down the flaps.
Repeat for however many more pieces you have.


Now you have the top part of your quilt! Place it on your batting and cut to shape.
If you are using one solid piece of fabric (which is the best way), then cut that to size too. If you are using quilting squares then repeat all the steps above until you have the top and bottom of your quilt. I did this just out of necessity to use up old material.
Once you have your quilt fabric on the batting smoothed out spray the fabric adhesive on the under side of the fabric (non-patterned side) and lay flat on the batting, smoothing out any wrinkles. I usually do one half of the fabric at a time as shown below.
Repeat for back of quilt.


Now you're ready to sew the quilt together with the batting! With your front fabric facing up as your guide, sew carefully down each line, the line that connects the fabric squares, from one end to the other.
repeat for all lines down, then all lines across.  


Once this is done you are ready for your sides, you can trim extra batting if you like.


I used a large ribbon (3" wide) but if you see the quilt at the bottom of the post I used just fabric. If using fabric, as mentioned at the top, you will just have a longer and wider bottom piece of fabric (by about 3-4"). In this case you will just fold the pieces twice (like a hem) and flip over the front, you can iron them first to keep the fold. 
In my case I used a 3" wide ribbon and ironed them in half so they were even. Then I sprayed the inside of the ribbon with adhesive, pinned it down and sewed the two long sides. For the small edges I sewed the ends into points and then sewed the ribbon over the top of the other ribbon at the corners. 


I didn't mean to have that many rows of stitches but I messed up the first side (by not ironing them in half!!) and so had to match the other sides :/


 Finished quilt!


This was only my second quilt. The first one  made was a throw for the couch...
 




Sunday, 18 October 2015

Basic Vegan Quiche

This is adapted from an Oh She Glows recipe. in her original recipe she uses sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, chives, basil and mushrooms but we found the tomatoes very overpowering. You can use this recipe and just add the fresh herbs and ingredients you like.


Basic Vegan Quiche

Ingredients

For the Crust:
1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water, mixed together
1 cup whole almonds, ground into flour
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into flour
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
1-2.5 tbsp water, as needed

For the Quiche:
1 block (14-oz) firm tofu
1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
1 leek or yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3/4-1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
Black pepper, to taste


Method

Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease a round 10-inch tart pan.
Alternatively, you can use a 9-inch glass pie dish if desired.
Wrap rinsed tofu in a few tea towels.
Place a few books on top of it to lightly press out the water while you prepare the crust.

For the crust: Whisk together flax and water mixture in a small bowl and set aside so it can gel up.
In a large bowl, stir together the almond meal, oat flour (or buckwheat flour), parsley, oregano, and salt.
Add in the flax mixture and oil.
Stir until mostly combined, adding the remaining water until the dough is sticky (about the consistency of cookie dough).
The dough should stick together when you press it between your fingers.
Crumble the dough evenly over the base of the tart pan (or pie dish). Starting from the center of the pan, press the mixture evenly into the pan, working your way outward and up the sides of the pan.


Poke a few fork holes in the dough so air can escape.
Bake the crust at 350F for 13-16 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm to touch.
Set aside to cool while you finish preparing the filling. Increase oven temperature to 375F.

For the filling: Break apart the tofu block into 4 pieces and add into food processor.
Process the tofu until smooth and creamy. If it doesn't get creamy, add a tiny splash of almond milk to help it along.
In a skillet, add oil and saute the leek (or onion) and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes.
Stir in salt.
Stir in the ingredients you are using. Some you may want to precook, others you may just need to heat through.
Remove from heat and stir in the processed tofu until thoroughly combined.
Adjust seasoning to taste if desired.
Spoon mixture into baked crust and smooth out with a spoon until even.


Bake quiche, uncovered, at 375F for 33-37 minutes, until the quiche is firm to the touch.
Allow to cool slightly before cutting.





Avocado Chocolate Mousse

This is a great last minute easily whipped up dessert and delicious...plus pseudo healthy ;)
This original recipe is from Food Network. I halved the recipe to two servings (but still proceeded to eat them both in one night). Shown with Soyatoo Vegan Whipped Cream and vegan chocolate shavings. Can easily be made raw.


Avocado Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients

1/2 cup vegan chocolate chips
4 very ripe (8 ounce) avocados, peeled and pitted
1/2 cup agave
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine salt


Method

Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl. 
Place over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. 
Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth, about 3 minutes. 
Set aside to cool slightly.
Place the melted chocolate, avocados, agave, cocoa powder, almond milk, vanilla and salt in a food processor. 
Blend until smooth and creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
Spoon into glasses and refrigerate for at least 3 hours (can be prepared 1 day in advance). 
Note: I waited around 30 mins and it was still fine :)

Twice Baked Potatoes

I adapted this recipe from one on the Food Network. you really can use any toppings you like. You can even get everyone to choose their own toppings, like tacos! Left over vegan chili is a great topping! I didn't have any vegan sour cream so I used vegan butter instead and it was still delicious! Kids loved them!


Twice Baked Potatoes

Ingredients

8 baking potatoes, washed
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 sticks salted vegan butter
1 cup vegan bacon bits
1 cup vegan sour cream
1 cup vegan cheddar
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3 green onions, sliced
Freshly ground black pepper


Method

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet.
Rub them with the canola oil and bake for 1 hour, making sure they're sufficiently cooked through.
Slice the butter into pats.
Place in a large mixing bowl and add the bacon bits and sour cream.
Remove the potatoes from the oven. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F.
With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise.
Scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl, being careful not to tear the shell.
Leave a small rim of potato intact for support.
Lay the hollowed out potato shells on a baking sheet.
Smash the potatoes into the butter, bacon and sour cream.
Add the cheese, milk, seasoned salt, green onions and black pepper to taste and mix together well.
Fill the potato shells with the filling.
Top each potato with a little more grated cheese and then back in the oven until the potato is warmed through, 15 to 20 minutes.


Wednesday, 14 October 2015

BBQ Pulled Mushroom Sandwich

This recipe comes care of Chef Chris Rubenstein.
I used collard greens, Chinese cabbage and carrots for my salad as I didn't have the other ingredients.


BBQ Pulled Mushroom  Sandwich with Kale Slaw
Serves 4

Ingredients

For BBQ pulled mushroom;
1 lb king oyster mushrooms/trumpet mushrooms (Asian supermarket)
1 cup BBQ sauce (link to the homemade one I used)
2 cups wood chips (apple or cherry), soaked in water for 1/2 hour
2 Tbls oil (not olive)

For kaleslaw;
1 head kale
1 cup vegan mayo
1 red onion
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 Tbls sugar
1 Tbls crushed red pepper
2 carrots

For serving;
4 buns/rolls


Method

Smoke mushrooms - in a regular gas grill, use a smoking box and spread out the wood chips evenly.
Set grill on high (wanting to get to around 600F) adding the smoking box and wait around 10-15 mins for the wood chips to start smoking.
Break apart the mushrooms into stalks and set them on the top rack of your grill


Close the lid and leave to smoke for around 20 mins, keep an eye on them - they will get dark and smokey but don't burn them.


Once the mushrooms are smoking start on the kale-slaw.
Pull the leaves off your kale and roll up to slice thinly.
Peel the carrots and grate.
Julienne the onions.
Add all the vegetables to a salad bowl and toss together.
In a mixing bowl add mayo, apple cider vinegar, crushed peppers, sugar and whisk until well mixed.
Add dressing to vegetables and toss through.


Shredding the mushrooms - using a fork just scrap down the mushroom stem to get shreds and with the top pieces you can just push down with a fork.


In a frying pan add oil on a low-medium heat and add mushrooms and allow to coat with oil.
Then add BBQ sauce and mix to coat the mushrooms.
Allow sauce to caramelize slightly.


Make your sandwich by adding the slaw and then the mushrooms.


Friday, 9 October 2015

French Onion Soup

This is adapted from a Julia Child's recipe. It was incredibly rich but so amazing!


French Onion Soup

Ingredients

5-6 Cups Yellow Onions, sliced thin
1/2 Yellow Onion, raw
4 Tbls Olive Oil
2-3 Tbls Cogniac
Salt and Pepper
1/2 tsp Sage, Ground
1 Bay Leaf
1 cup vegan White Wine
6 cups vegan Beef Stock (I used vegan chicken stock)
3 Tbls Flour
1/2 tsp vegan Sugar
2 Tbls vegan Butter
1 Tbls Cooking Oil
French Bread, about 8 slices
1-2 cups vegan Swiss, Parmesan or Cheddar Cheese, Grated (I used a combination of Follow Your Hear cheddar & Parmesan but honestly I think it would have been just as good without the cheese)

Method

Heat a heavy, oven-safe, stock pot over medium-low heat and add the cooking oil once the pot is hot. Melt the butter into the hot oil.
Stir the sliced onions into the oil/butter mix, ensuring they are evenly coated.
Cover the stock pot and cook for around 20 minutes checking to make sure they aren’t burning. Onions should be clear and very tender once finished.
Turn up the heat to medium-high, and add the sugar and 1tsp salt.


Continue cooking while stirring until onions are thoroughly browned (caramelized).
Reduce heat to medium-low and stir in 3 Tbsp flour.
Cook 2-3 minutes until flour forms a thick paste (add more butter if needed).
Stir in 1 cup of vegan beef stock, and stir heavily for a couple seconds.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees F.
Add the rest of the stock, wine, sage, and bay leaf.
Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.


Drizzle both sides of french bread slices with olive oil, and place on a baking sheet.
Cook the bread in the oven for 15 minutes on each side.
Taste soup, and add salt and pepper as needed, then remove the bay leaf.
Add cognac, and grate the 1/2 raw onion into the soup.
Add a little bit of the swiss cheese to the soup, preserving most of it for the top.
If you were not using an oven safe pot transfer the soup to one now.
Cover the soup mixture with the bread, forming a single layer bread top.


Sprinkle the rest of the Swiss cheese over the top of the bread, forming a thick layer.
Drizzle melted butter or oil over the cheese, and place the pot into the oven uncovered.


Bake for around 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Turn the broiler on and brown the cheese.
Remove pot from oven and let stand to cool.