Category Archives: Quick

EGG-FREE PALEO MACAROONS

Elana's Pantry Egg-Free Paleo Macaroonsphoto provided courtesy of elanaspantry.com

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Summer is here for my kids…yay!!!  School just got out and I couldn’t be happier.  I just made these Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons and they are in the oven as I type.  The macaroons came together insanely fast and I already had all of the ingredients in my pantry.  If the batter is any indication, these are going to be amazing.

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Egg-Free Paleo Macaroons

Recipe provided courtesy of Elana’s Pantry

  1. In a food processor, combine shredded coconut and coconut flour
  2. Pulse in salt, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla
  3. Dough will form a ball
  4. Scoop batter 1 level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet
  5. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes
  6. Cool and serve

Makes 12 macaroons

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

CHINESE-STYLE GRAPEFRUIT

grapefruit (4)

I have learned so much marrying into a Chinese family.  One of the first observations my husband and I made relating to our cultural differences was that (in general) Chinese people do not eat raw vegetables (salad is not a very Chinese dish) and they don’t cook their fruit (he tried apple pie for the first time with me).

Chinese people are also very big on peeling fruit.  Whereas I LOVE apple peels, etc. my husband had to acquire the taste since his father always peeled his apples (and the rest of the fruit he ate).

My father-in-law will painstakingly remove the membranes from my children’s tangerines.  Tangerine membranes are quite thin which makes this a very time-consuming job.

Fortunately it is SO EASY to remove the membranes from grapefruit and pomelos.  I had never eaten a pomelo before meeting my husband.  I always liked grapefruit, but I hated the time it took to prepare them buy cutting around the membranes, etc.  All of this changed when my hubby showed me the Chinese way.  The membranes on grapefruits and pomelos are very thick and loose which makes removing them a cinch.

grapefruit chinese style collage

The white grapefruits at my local farmer’s market are so sweet and juicy right now which means that I have been eating a lot of them…always the Chinese way.  I remove the peel from the grapefruit and keep them in the fridge (whole) so they are ready for a quick snack.  Remove the membranes as you eat them (this will keep them fresh).

Have any of you tried eating grapefruit or pomelos this way?

grapefruit segment collage

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Filed under Quick, Raw, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

SKINNY BITCH CHILI

I originally blogged about this Skinny Bitch chili recipe HERE and thought I would re-post the recipe since it is an awesome FAST and EASY one to make for the Super Bowl.

This chili tastes great over polenta, brown rice, with a side of cornbread or on its own.

DEB’S CHILI - Yields 6 servings

2 Tbs grapeseed oil (I omitted this)
1 medium onion, finely diced
1 (4-ounce) can green chilis, diced
1 envelope taco seasoning
1 (28-ounce) can tomatoes, diced
1 (15-ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup salsa
2/3 cup vegan cheddar cheese, shredded (I omitted this)
1/4 cup vegan sour cream (I omitted this)

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat and sauté the onions until soft, about 5 minutes (I water sautéed mine). Stir in the chilis, taco seasoning, tomatoes, kidney beans, and black beans. Let the mixture simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes (after water sautéing the onions I threw all of the ingredients in the slow cooker around lunchtime and kept it on low until dinner).

Serve with salsa, cheese, and sour cream.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Holiday, Main Dish, Quick, Recipes, Soup, Vegan, Vegetarian

UNFRIED TOFU & EZ Tofu Press Giveaway

Fried Tofu

I have been making this well-loved tofu dish for years, however due to my hypothyroid issues (click HERE for more details) I have avoided soy for a while now.  If it weren’t for my thyroid issues, I would include tofu, tempeh, and edamame in my diet…I don’t think there is any harm (actually there are benefits) to including unprocessed soy items in your diet rotation.  Having said that, I would avoid the processed soy foods that are über plentiful in the market today.

The creator of the EZ Tofu Press ($26.99) recently contacted me and offered to send me a free sample of his product to test and review.  I own the TofuXpress which retails for $39.95 now, but I paid nearly $50 for it when I purchased it…ouch!!!

I was curious to see how the two tofu presses compared.  While I like the fact that the TofuXpress I already own and use is a completely self-contained unit, it takes a hours for the tofu to drain completely which is a drag and means that you absolutely have to plan ahead.  The new EZ Tofu Press seriously drained completely within 7 minutes!  I put the tofu in the press, prepared the rest of the ingredients for my meal, and the tofu was ready to go.  Major bonus.

EZ Tofu Press Collage

The EZ Tofu Press was also easy to clean…all I needed to do was rinse it off.  Make sure you go to the bottom of the post and learn how you can enter to win your very own EZ Tofu Press.

The traditional way to prepare this tofu dish is to fry it in a bit of oil.  I thought I would try “frying” the tofu in a dry pan (I used my ceramic pan) and I was happy with the results.

The sauce I always served this dish with is Black Bean Garlic Sauce, which is NOT gluten-free.  If you would like to serve the tofu with a gluten-free sauce, SAN J has some really tasty ones (their Szechuan sauce rocks).  Keep in mind that you want the sauce to be a bit overflavored, oversalty, etc. since you are serving it with absolutely plain tofu.

INGREDIENTS

block of tofu, pressed
1 Tbs. black bean garlic sauce (or sauce of your choosing)
1 tsp. fresh ginger, finely minced
chilies, finely minced (optional)
green onions, minced
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Slice the tofu into 1/4″ thick slices.  Now slice the slices into thirds (See image above).

If using black bean garlic sauce, mix the sauce, the ginger, chilies if using, and 1-2 Tbs. water (depending on your personal taste) to a bowl and mix to incorporate.

Heat your pan on HI.  Place the tofu slices in the pan and dry-fry them for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.  If you insist on using oil, use it sparingly.

UNFRIED TOFU Collage

Serve immediately topped with a drizzle of sauce and garnished with the minced green onions.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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GIVEAWAY *** GIVEAWAY *** GIVEAWAY

We have a winner…

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Jessica

I emailed my best friend!!

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Thank you to all who entered!

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Filed under Appetizers, Beans/Legumes, Giveaways, Main Dish, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

HOMEMADE PEANUT BUTTER CUPS

homemade vegan peanut butter cups collage

Now that we are into the holiday season I do make a few more treats than normal (though I do feel the need to admit that I generally do not eat many of them).

People tend to think that making candy is complicated…it doesn’t have to be.  Last year the kids and I make homemade peanut butter cups.  These peanut butter cups were made with only three ingredients:

  1. Freshly ground peanut butter
  2. Chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life chips)
  3. Coconut oil

Melt the bag of chocolate chips over a double boiler along with 1-2 tsp. of oil.

Once melted, pour a small layer into mini cupcake liners and place it in the fridge for approximately 10 minutes.  Place the melted chocolate over the double boiler to ensure that it remains melted.

Top the hardened chocolate with some peanut butter and try to keep it in the center allowing a rim of chocolate to remain around it (this will allow the next layer of chocolate to completely cover the peanut butter).

Cover the peanut butter with another layer of chocolate and place in the refrigerator to harden.

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This year I used the same method to make chocolate covered pretzels (gluten-free) and peanuts.  My daughter and I broke small pretzel sticks in half and mixed them with the melted chocolate.  We then placed spoonfuls of the chocolate covered pretzels on waxed paper to cool and harden…little chocolate bird’s nests.  We had some left over at the end with a little too much chocolate, so we mixed in some peanuts and made spoonfuls of that.  They have been a total hit with my family!

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Gluten Free, Holidays, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

QUICK & EASY BERRY JAM

My daughter has been chomping at the bit to make jam.  I’m not sure where she got the idea, but with all of the juicy berries we have been bringing home, now is definitely the time to preserve the berries while they are at the height of their flavor so we can pop into the jars when the bounty is no longer here.

My maternal grandmother was the queen of canning.  She grew-up on a farm in Minnesota with a gazillion brothers (she was the youngest and the only girl…even her twin was a boy!  Just based on that you know she lived in the kitchen).  I could go on and on about her canned peaches and have so many memories of all of the grandchildren being horrified when we discovered that there was only one can left in the pantry…they were THAT good.

Don’t even get me started on her huckelberry syrup…absolute heaven!

And her garden.  Oh her garden.  When it was dinnertime she would send my sister and I out to the garden to harvest the salad for the meal.

And her backyard.  It was HUGE and lined with fruit trees.  We would go out there and play for hours.  When we got hungry, we just reached-up and picked whatever we wanted to snack on.

Grandma Ruba made some amazing jam as well and I was always excited when she brought some on her visits.

Needless to say, I was definitely nostalgic while making jam with my daughter.  Perfect weather, cooking with my little one, and a tasty jam as the result of a wonderful day…another slice of heaven.

This jam my daughter and I created was definitely fresh vs. the cooked-down taste with a traditional jam.  I like both versions, but this version seems so appropriate for capturing the fruit in it’s prime.

We have one in the fridge and I froze the rest for later use.

INGREDIENTS
Inspired by 5 Dollar Dinners
 
3 lbs. berries (I used 2 lbs. strawberries, 1/2 lb. blueberries, 1/2 lb. raspberries)
1 box fruit pectin (I used Sure Jell)
2 tsp agar powder
1 12oz. container frozen organic apple juice concentrate (I used Cascadian Farms)
sweetener to taste (depends on ripeness of berries) with stevia, honey, or maple syrup.
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Wash, de-stem,  and dry the berries.

Mash the berries with a potato masher.  If you are using some blueberries, make sure to pop open all of the blueberries.  The kids will have A LOT of fun helping you with this.  Make sure they have clean hands and then encourage them to get their hands into the action and squish the berries.

Bring the apple juice concentrate to a boil and add in the pectin and agar agar.  Whisk until dissolved and pour the boiling mixture over the crushed berries. Mix well.

Pour the jam into glass containers and cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate the cooled mixture to set.

The jam will stay well in the fridge for 3 weeks or freezer for 3 months.

I can’t wait to try this with the apricots we have been getting at the Farmer’s Market!

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Fruit, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Sauce / Spread / Jam / Yogurt, Vegan, Vegetarian

SRC – PB BANANA BON BONS

After a one month break from the Secret Recipe Club (SRC) I am thrilled to be back.  I have so much fun participating in this wonderful group.  For those of you unfamiliar, the SRC is a club that was:

“[B]orn from an idea that it’s founder Amanda had one day while trying to come up with ways to bring more exposure to her cooking blog, Amanda’s Cookin’. She thought it would be fun to make a recipe from a friend’s blog and that friend could do the same. But instead of just the two of them, including several others would be even more fun. Plus, it would also help give added exposure to their food blogs. And so it began…”

Their first month yielded 19 participants and now there are hundreds. The concept is simple really. Each month you are “assigned” a participating food blogger to make a recipe from and it’s a secret until reveal day.

This month I was assigned the blog, Baking and Boys, penned by an amazing baker, Katrina.  In her words, “It’s a crazy house full of boys around here with me trying to keep it all together. Ya gotta love it! Welcome to Baking and Boys.”

It didn’t take me  long to choose which recipe I was going to make.  As I explored her blog I zeroed in on her recipe for Healthy Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles which she found on a coconut recipe website.  I made this recipe as a surprise for my children during the last week of school.  They were thrilled to come home to it.

But you know me…I had to switch it up a bit by adding some sliced banana and turning these into frozen treats akin to a healthier bon bon.  The other changes I made were to eliminate the added salt and sweetener.  Since the banana slices were nice and ripe, they had a natural sweetness all their own and the chocolate coating was sweet as well.  I also upped the amount of chocolate slightly since adding the banana slices meant the bon bons were slightly larger than the original recipe, meaning more chocolate was needed for coverage.

This recipe came together so quickly, uses simple ingredients, and was a resounding success!!!


INGREDIENTS – Makes 20 bon bons

6 Tbs. organic peanut butter
¼ cup coconut flour
6 ounces Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1 tsp coconut oil
1 banana
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METHOD

Slice the banana into 20 slices and place them individually on wax or parchment paper.

In a bowl combine the peanut butter and coconut flour using a spoon and eventually your hands.

Using a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon, form the peanut butter mixture into half circles and place one on each banana slice.

Freeze for 30 minutes to one hour.

Once the banana and peanut butter is frozen, heat the chocolate and coconut oil together over a double boiler until completely melted OR in the microwave at 30 second intervals (stirring in between) for approximately 2 minutes.

Insert a toothpick in the top of the bon bon and submerge it in the chocolate.  Shake off the excess and place the bon bon back on the waxed paper.  Continue with the remaining bon bons and place back in the freezer to set.

Serve straight from the freezer.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.

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Filed under Candy / Fudge, Dessert, Frozen Treats, Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Nuts, Quick, Recipes, Vegan, Vegetarian

LENTIL SALAD IN A BELL PEPPER BOWL

I couldn’t for the life of me come-up with an interesting name for this meal, but that doesn’t mean that this meal doesn’t rock…because it does.  This salad in a pepper bowl covers all the bases; protein, complex carbs, and vitamins galore not to mention the fact that you eat the bowl…no dishes!!!

A few weeks ago I was talking to my daughter’s Kindergarten teacher after school about food and recipes…an almost daily occurance between the two of us (my daughter knows to keep playing when we get on the subject of food, because we are GUARANTEED to be there for a long while) and she mentioned that the last time she was at Trader Joe’s they made a yummy salad by mixing together pre-cooked lentils and bruschetta.  Um, yum!

I think I might be single-handedly responsible for purchasing all of Trader Joe’s bruschetta.  While I can make my own, this product has saved me so much time and the flavor is amazing.  What is NOT amazing is the amount of olive oil they add to it.  Rest-assured, I have a solution for this problem.  When I buy the bruschetta I put it in the coldest part of my fridge for a day and all of the olive oil floats to the top and solidifies a bit making it quite easy to skim-off and throw in the trash can (better the trash can than my arteries!).

I have been eating this like crazy and it is now a staple in my fridge.  I took the liberty of adding some rice to the salad and really enjoy the results.

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INGREDIENTS

1 container Trader Joe’s Bruschetta (oil skimmed off)
1 box Melissa’s Steamed Lentils
1 bag Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley* OR Frozen Organic Brown Rice

*Trader Joe’s Frozen Rice Medley contains barley which is not gluten free

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Cook the frozen rice by placing it in a glass bowl (NOT in the plastic as the directions suggest) and microwaving for 2-3 minutes.

Mix together the rice, lentils, and bruschetta (including all of the juice).

Cut the top off of a bell pepper and remove the seeds.  Spoon the lentil salad into the prepared bell pepper and enjoy!

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For a printable version of this recipe click HERE.

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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Grains, Main Dish, Product Reviews, Quick, Quick Tips, Recipes, Salad, Sides, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

SRC – PEANUT BUTTER GRANOLA BARS (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oat Free)

My how time flies!  Somehow it is already May and brochures have started coming in the mail for summer camps, etc.  I don’t feel ready to plan the summer yet.  I LOVE having my kiddos home with me, but I am sitting here wondering what the heck happened to winter???  Time needs to slow down a bit.

A new month means another Secret Recipe Club assignment and this month’s was a good one.  I was assigned the blog, An Opera Singer in the Kitchen which got me all excited because I had already spent quite a bit of time surfing Noelle’s blog prior to even being assigned it.  We both share similar food styles (she has a fondness for vegan food) and both of us are very into the health aspects of food, so this is a great pairing for me (Click HERE to learn more about Noelle).

There were a LOT of recipes I wanted to try; Fluffy Pumpkin Biscuits, Farmhouse Veggie Burgers, Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic & Mint (A post she did for SRC), Lasagna SoupI could go on and on.

When i sat down to make my final decision I was in a sweet / crunchy kind of mood and decided to make the recipe she posted for Peanut Butter Granola Bars since it looked so AMAZING.  I have always loved peanut butter and I am a granola monster, so I knew this would be a winner.  I had a truckload of gluten-free oats in the pantry, so I thought I was all set to make this recipe and then I found out…I am ALLERGIC TO OATS!!!  I had been suspecting this for a while and during my last appointment with Dr. Galitzer I had him test me and he informed me that my body REALLY doesn’t like oats.

Despite my new found knowledge that I have an oat allergy, I was bound and determined to make this granola bar recipe because I had my heart set on it, so I lugged myself to Mother’s Market on a quest for quinoa flakes.  When I got there I was pleasantly surprised to discover Eden Organic’s Short Grain Brown Rice Flakes (Roasted & Rolled).  These puppies looked very similar to rolled oats.  Score!  They are harder than rolled oats, but that is easily rectified by adding a little bit of liquid.  I made the recipe as listed below with my notes in red.  The next time I make these granola bars (you’d better believe there will be a next time, and a next time, and a next time), I plan on adding 1/4-1/3 cup of liquid (water, fresh juice, nut-based milk) to soften the brown rice flakes even more.

This recipe was a winner…

Peanut Butter Granola Bars
makes 18 bars

1 1/2 cups rolled oats (1 1/2 cups Eden brown rice flakes)
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
3/4 cup puffed millet cereal (3/4 cup quinoa flakes)
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 1/2 cup dried sweet cherries (3/4 cup raisins & 3/4 cup dried cherries)
3/4 cup brown rice syrup
3/4 cup Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter with Roasted Flaxseeds (organic peanut butter)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with coconut non-stick spray.

In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.

In a small bowl add the peanut butter and the brown rice syrup. Place in microwave for 30 seconds (or heat in a saucepan on the stove over low heat…I would add the extra liquid at this point too).

Add the warmed wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well until evenly distributed.

Pour the mixture on a lightly greased baking sheet or casserole dish. Pat until evenly distributed.  I pressed the granola mixture down as evenly and flatly as I could and then placed an identical pan on top and pressed that down to compact it further and even it out as much as possible.

Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 5-10 minutes. Using a knife, cut into 4×2 inch bars.

NOTE – I accidentally dropped the pan when I was flipping it onto the cutting board (oops!).  The pieces that I couldn’t rescue and make into bars became granola.  I broke them up into a pan and baked them for another 7-10 minutes…delicious!!!

Cool completely and then wrap individually in Saran Wrap or store in a glass container (glass mason jar works perfect for the granola.



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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies / Bars, Dessert, Energy Bars, Gluten Free, Grains, Kid Friendly, Quick, Recipes, Secret Recipe Club

“UN” TUNA / CHICKEN SALAD

As many of you know, I am the only vegan in my household.  While the rest of my family eats less meat than they used to, they do eat meat.  Lately my son has been on a chicken salad sandwich kick.  When I was younger I made a mean tuna fish sandwich (mean to the tuna, right/?!?!) and I remember the flavors well.

This is my vegan version of tuna / chicken salad and I enjoy it so much that I have been eating it for lunch and snacking on it like crazy.  In an attempt to drastically reduce the amount of mayonnaise used, I made a sauce with some of the chickpeas and let me tell ya…you won’t even realize that there is only 2 Tbs. of Vegenaise in this entire creamy recipe.

INGREDIENTS
 
2  15 ounce cans chickpeas (Eden Organics Low Sodium BPA free)
1/3 cup dill pickle juice
2 Tbs. Vegenaise
½ cup onion, finely diced
½ cup celery, finely diced
½ cup dill pickles, finely diced
2 Tbs. Dijon mustard

Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Place 1 cup of the chickpeas in the food processor with the pickle juice and Vegenaise.  Blend until very smooth (you may need to stop and scrape down the sides a few times).  Pour the chickpea/pickle/mayo mixture into a bowl.

Place the remaining chickpeas in the food processor (no need to clean it) and pulse until it reaches the texture you desire; I prefer chunky.

Combine the chickpea/pickle/mayo mixture, texturized chickpeas, chopped onions, celery, and pickles in a bowl and fold together gently.

NOTE - The mixture will firm-up a bit once it has been refrigerated.

Serve over toasted bread, crackers, on top of salad, etc.

For a printable version of this recipe click here.


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Filed under Beans/Legumes, Gluten Free, Quick, Recipes, Salad, sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian