date + almond butter cups.

datecups

Right before I stopped eating sugar, I discovered Justin’s Dark Chocolate mini Peanut Butter cups. I was IN HEAVEN. Honestly, they have been one of the hardest things to not get to eat. Just having a little bit of chocolate at the end of a meal has left me feeling kind of incomplete after  meal – not going to lie. But thanks to kittee’s recipe for these homeade chocolates I can eat candy again! Or at least feel like I am!

All of her combinations look and sound so good! I went with dates and almond butter, but I think I definitely want to add something crunchy to them next time. I store them in the freezer and grab one when I need something sweet!

2 parts cacao powder
2 parts melted coconut oil
1 part liquid sweetener
soft dates
almond butter

Line a mini cupcake pan with liners or grease them. If you mix about 1/4 cup of the cacao and 1/4 cup coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of maple syrup, you’ll get enough chocolate for a few cups.

Put the cacao powder, coconut oil and sweetener in a small dish and stir well to combine.

Spoon a little bit of liquid chocolate into each paper, just enough to cover the bottom, and freeze for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, carefully split your dates in half lengthwise and remove the pits. Spread about 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter onto each half. Remove the tray from the freezer and smoosh a date half into each chocolate circle. Spoon more chocolate on top, to cover the date and freeze until ready.

 

korean tacos.

koreantacosThe original recipe I found for these tacos was actually a chicken recipe, but I changed it up and made it vegan, using Beyond Meat, and modifying the ingredients a bit. The result were tacos that packed all kinds of flavor and texture! I used the leftovers to turn into quinoa bowls for lunch the next day….More on that below!*

Cabbage slaw:

    • 2 cloves of garlic, pressed through a garlic press
    • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
    • 1 Tablespoon agave
    • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
    • Juice from 1/2 lime
    • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
    • 2 1/2 cups cabbage, shredded
    • 3/4 cups carrots, cut into matchsticks
    • salt and black pepper, to taste“chicken” marinade
    • 3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
    • 1 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated or minced
    • 1/4 cup Korean chile paste, or gochujang
    • 1 Tablespoon Agave
    • 4 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon sesame oilTortillas
      beyond Meat (tofu or seitan would also work fine)
      Cucumbers
      hot sauce
      Cilantro
      green onions
      Kimchi

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, agave, rice wine vinegar,  soy sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and sesame seeds. Add the cabbage. Toss to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Cover and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
  • Prepare your sauce. In a large bowl, whisk together the garlic, ginger, Korean chile paste, agave soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Marinate the Beyond Meat in the sauce for an hour or overnight.
  • When ready, warm up a pan and cook up the beyond meat, reserving any extra marinade.*
  • Cook until ready – then serve as tacos topped with cucumber slices, green onions, cabbage slaw and kimchi. Cilantro and hot sauce optional.

    *we took the extra marinade and marinated tofu, then baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or so and used this tofu, the cabbage slaw, kimchi, green onions, slaw and cashews mixed with quinoa for a delicious lunch the next day.

 

 

general tso tofu.

generaltso

Heres a confession. I have made this dish for my weekly food prep lunches for the past three weeks. I love it. I have modified the recipe a bit to avoid all that frying; and it still works out great.  Another confession: I use white rice and I feel like I’m eating chinese take out.

Original recipe can be found here

  • 3-4 cups (474-632 g) cooked white or brown rice
  • Steamed broccoli
  • slivered almonds
TOFU
  • 12 ounces (340 g) extra firm tofu
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup
  • 4-5 Tbsp cornstarch or tapioca flour
SAUCE
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 T maple syrup,
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp water
STIR FRY
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) sesame oil
  • 1 bundle green onions, bulbs removed, roughly chopped
  • optional: Sesame seeds
Instructions
  1. If serving with rice and broccoli, begin preparing at this time. Otherwise, move onto the next step.
  2. Take pressed tofu, slice into thirds and bake in 400 Degree oven for 20-30 min, flipping over halfway through. When done baking, slice it into cubes and set aside.
  3. Prep/chop green onions, garlic, and ginger at this time. Set aside.
  4. While tofu is pressing, prepare sauce by combining sesame oil, cornstarch, minced garlic, minced ginger, rice vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, and water in a small mixing bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine.
  5. Heat a large metal or cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  6. Add tofu to a shallow mixing bowl and top with tamari or soy sauce, chili garlic sauce, and maple syrup. Toss to combine. Let rest 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Use a slotted spoon or fork to transfer tofu to a quart-size or large freezer bag. Add cornstarch 1 Tbsp at a time and toss to coat. Continue adding more cornstarch and tossing until tofu is coated in a gummy, white layer – about 5 Tbsp.
  8. To the hot skillet, add 1-2 Tbsp oil and let warm for 30 seconds. Then use a slotted spoon or fork to add tofu to the pan (leaving any excess cornstarch behind).
  9. Cook on all sides for 1 minute, or until light golden brown. You don’t want it blackened or burned, as you’ll be cooking it again later with the sauce. Aim for a consistent golden brown crust (see photo). Remove tofu from pan as it’s finished browning. Set aside.
  10. Return skillet to burner and increase heat to medium-high. Add 1 Tbsp sesame oil, chopped green onions, and dried red chilies. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  11. Add the sauce and tofu. Cook, stirring frequently, to coat the tofu and vegetables for 1-2 minutes, or until warmed through and the sauce has slightly thickened (see photo).
  12. Remove pan from heat and add sesame seeds (optional). Toss to coat.
  13. Serve with rice and steamed broccoli and slivered almonds for some crunch.

go-to granola.

granola.jpg
Granola is something that is so easy to make from scratch – and goes along way. Makes both a hearty breakfast item AND a delicious snack. I was looking for a recipe to make – that didnt require any processed sugar – and I kept finding recipes that would be good, buuuuut I was out of a key ingredient.  Then I came across this on buzzfeed.

Its a really helpful guide as to what goes into making a good granola recipe. By giving you the basics, you design and make your own granola. Genuis! It will be my new go to guide to making granola and I will continue to share any winning combinations that work for me…including this one!

3 cups oats
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 cup mixed – seasame seeds, sunflower seeds and chopped almonds
1 cup large coconut flakes
3/4 tspn salt
1/2 tspn cardamom
1 tspn cinnamon

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees.
Mix everything together and coat it well.
Spread evenly on a flat baking pan and bake for 20 minutes. Give it a good stir, and bake for 15 minutes more.

Let cool and add any dried fruit you would like. I added some chopped dates.

 

 

homeade cavatelli.

Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

I suddenly got the urge to make my own pasta noodles recently. We have both a metal, crank machine and a kitchen aid attachment that are both collecting dust for many years – but turns out I didn’t even need either. I went with cavatelli. I found alot of recipes online that didnt require any eggs, so I gave it a go.

These were suprisingly not very hard to make. I made the dough and let it sit for a while, covered, while I went and did other things. When it came time to make the noodles, I made them and let them sit, covered with a towel for about an hour or so until I was ready to boil. They only boil for a few minutes – once they float take them out. They were a little tough, but they were pretty good, overall. Maybe thats because the recipe didnt call for egg? Maybe I overworked the dough ( I tried to be careful about that). if anyone has any tips for next time, I’d love to hear them.

I found a you tube video that showed you how to roll them – using a sushi mat! Genius! I caught on very quickly, and this went alot faster than using the butter knife method.

The recipe/video I followed for making the dough is here.
This video was super helpful and I followed along easily.

To make cavatelli dough you will need:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups water, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • extra flour for rolling
Instructions
  1. Place the flour on a wooden board and make a well.
  2. Add the water and the salt in the center of the well.
  3. With a fork, start incorporating the flour and the water until you get a thick batter.
  4. With the help of a dough scraper, incorporate the rest of the flour (it may appear to you that there isn’t enough water…just keep kneading…magically everything comes together).
  5. Knead for about 8-10 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic.
  6. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 1 hour at room temperature (I will usually place a tea towel over the top).
  7. Cut the dough into 4 pieces.
  8. Roll out each piece about a ⅛ inch thick. (If the dough is not easy to roll out, let it rest for another hour or so). Make sure your board and rolling pin are floured.
  9. Cut the into ¾ – 1 inch strips.
  10. Cut each strip into ¼ – ½ inch pieces.
  11. Using the index finger, apply a gentle pressure on the dough, dragging it toward you. There should be a slight curl formed.
  12. Place cavatelli on large baking sheets which has been dusted with flour in a single layer, not touching each other.
  13. Continue until all the dough has been formed into cavatelli.
  14. If using immediately, drop in a large pot of salted boiling water for a few minutes. The cavatelli are done when they float to the top. (Try to shake off as much as the flour as possible before boiling them). Taste to make sure they are cooked to your liking.
  15. If freezing, place the tray of cavatelli in the freezer and once frozen, place in plastic bag in the freezer. Can be cooked frozen. (Should take 6-8 minutes to cook. Taste to make sure they are cooked).
  16. Serve with your favorite sauce.

    Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

    Processed with VSCO with s2 preset

peanut butter mousse pie.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

My easter tradition seems to be to make a pie. Holidays in general make me want to make a pie.

This year I decided to do it on a whim, and quickly found this recipe, which seemed easy enough and I had just enough of everything on hand. I recently bought a can of coconut creme and had it sitting in the fridge, just for a time like this.

This came together in no time – and I’m not gonna lie – I had my doubts after I whipped up the peanut butter mousse. BUT when I served it up, it was delicious, together with the pie crust. Its actually pretty hard to believe there is no refined sugar in this pie, and just 2T of maple syrup as the sweetener. I will, for sure, be making this pie again.

  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 18 Dates or 10 Medjool Dates
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 cup Natural Peanut Butter (creamy, lightly salted)
  • 2 cups Coconut Cream (chilled)
  • 2-3 tablespoons Maple Syrup
  • ¼ cup Vegan Chocolate Chips (melted) (I used grain free ones)
  1. Line a 7 inch springform or pie form with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare chocolate almond crust by pulsing almonds cocoa powder, dates, and salt in a food processor until a sticky mass forms. Press firmly into base of form and place in freezer.
  3. Mix peanut butter, coconut cream, and maple syrup with an electric mixer. Beat until peanut butter mousse is creamy and soft peaks form.
  4. Remove pie crust from freezer and spread peanut butter mousse on crust using a spatula.
  5. Melt chocolate chips in microwave, warm water bath, or double boiler. Drizzle melted chocolate over peanut butter mousse.I also melted some peanut butter and also drizzled this across the top.

nacho cheese.

nachocheese

This wekeend was the superbowl. Not that Im one to watch sports or even care really , I am one to jump on the nacho bandwagon. I recently discovered this recipe for stretchy, gooey nacho cheese, and now my nacho game is strong!

  • ¼ Cup Raw Cashews
  • 1 Cup Hot Water
  • 3 Tablespoons Tapioca Starch (also known as Tapioca Flour)
  • 3 Tablespoons Nutritional Yeast
  • 1½ teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon Turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
  • ¼ teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1½ teaspoon White Miso Paste (or other light miso such as chickpea miso)
  • 1 teaspoon Maple Syrup or Agave
  1. Soak the cashews for four hours or overnight if you are not using a vitamix.
  2. Add the cashews the hot water, and all the remaining ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth. It will be very watery.
  3. Pour into a small sauce pan and heat over medium high heat, while stirring.
  4. As you stir it will start forming clumps, and then all of a sudden it will become a cheesy gooey mass of yumminess. This takes about 5 minutes. Continue to cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes to make sure it has firmed up completely.

vegan quiche.

quiche copy

I whipped these quiche up for lunch when I was having some ladies over for a clothing swap. I figured if there was any leftover I could eat it for lunch for the week.  Wishful thinking- these got almost all eaten up! they were a huge hit and there was only one vegan there! I will be making these regularly and need to remember this recipe for any upcoming potlucks.  You can customize the veggies any way you prefer. I made one with brocolli and cheddar daiya and another with tomato, cilantro and cheddar daiya.

I found the recipe over on kittee’s blog.

14 oz extra firm or firm tofu, crumbled (if you use firm, squeeze out any excess water)
1/2 rounded cup un-roasted cashews
Several dashes hot sauce
2-4 tablespoons vegan milk,
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon white or mild miso
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons cornstarch, arrowroot, or tapioca starch

2-3 cups of chopped or shredded add-ins such as: steamed broccoli, artichoke hearts, onion, tomato, julienned greens, scallions or vegan cheese (I usually add ’bout 2 cups of chopped steamed broccoli and 1/2 cup shredded Follow Your Heart cheese)

A single pie crust (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Put the tofu, cashews, and hot sauce in a blender and process until smooth. This will take a bit of time, so go slowly. If your blender is having a hard time, add a few tablespoons of the non dairy milk to help get things going.

Add in the nutritional yeast, miso, granulated onion, garlic, paprika, salt, baking powder and starch. Blend until completely smooth, then transfer to a bowl and stir in your chosen chopped vegetables and/or cheese shreds.

Scrape the tofu mixture into your pie crust and smooth the top with a spoon or spatula. Cover the pie edges with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10 more minutes until the crust is golden.

Let cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

PIE CRUST
This is the pie crust I used.  Somehow I got two pie crusts out of it too!

  •  1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup)unbleached all purpose flour
  •  3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or strained lemon juice

    1. In a large bowl or in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle or a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the flours and salt and mix together. If using a bowl, make a well in the center, add the olive oil and mix in with a fork. If using a mixer or food processor, turn on and add the olive oil. When it is evenly distributed through the flour combine the water and vinegar or lemon juice and add it to the flour mixture with the machine running. The dough should come together in a ball.
    2. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, flour your hands and work the dough just until smooth and easy to shape into a ball. Do not overwork it or you will develop the gluten in the flour and the dough will be tough. Divide the dough in half, shape each half into a ball and press into a 1/2-inch thick circle. Wrap in plastic and let rest for 1 hour.
    3. Roll out the dough as needed for savory tarts, dusting your work surface and the top of the dough with flour to prevent it from sticking. Pre-bake and bake as directed in recipes calling for the crust.

      ( I did not prebake my crust)

butternut squash stuffed shells.

STUFFEDSHELLS.jpgButternut squash. I want to use it, but don’t always know how. Pasta. The possibilities are endless. I absolutely love this meal – I was able to prepare the filling items over the weekend, making it a pretty quick meal to throw together during the week. Will be making this again and again! These came out creamy, garlick-y and sweet. Super delicious!

Here is the original recipe.

  • 1½ cups cubed butternut squash
  • extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 16 jumbo shells
cashew cream
  • 1 cup raw cashews (soak ahead of time if you dont have a vitamix)
  • 3/4 cup fresh water
  • 3-4 garlic cloves
  • 3½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
filling
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach
  • 1 cup crumbled firm tofu
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 cup cashew cream (from the recipe above)
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Roast until golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
  2. Make the cashew cream: Blend together the drained raw cashews, fresh water, garlic, lemon juice, and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  3. Make the filling: In a medium skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach in increments, along with a pinch of salt, and sauté until all the spinach is incorporated and wilted. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Squeeze out any excess liquid and chop. In a medium bowl, combine the the spinach with the crumbled tofu, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, and 1 cup of cashew cream. Season generously with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the shells and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain.
  5. Assemble the shells. Spread ¼ cup of the reserved cashew cream on the bottom of an 11×7-inch baking dish. Fill each shell with some of the filling and a few cubes of butternut squash, and place into the baking dish. Drizzle a little olive oil over the shells and bake for 15 minutes, or until browned on top and heated through. Remove from the oven and serve with the remaining cashew cream.

 

 

 

pecan pie.

pie.jpg

I wanted to try a new kind of pie for thanksgiving; wasn’t feeling the pumpkin this year – and whoah! Im so glad I did because this pie is amazing. Definitely take your time when making the caramel. I set a timer and whisked it the whole time.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
6 oz extra firm silken tofu (1/2 of a pack)
1/4 cup cold unsweetened plain non-dairy milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups pecan halves

Prepared Single Pastry Crust, pressed into a tart pan or pie plate (no need to parbake)

First we’re going to make a caramel. In a 2 quart sauce pan, mix together sugars and maple syrup. Heat over medium heat, stirring often with a whisk. Once small bubbles start rapidly forming, stir pretty constantly for about 10 minutes. The mixture should become thick and syrupy. It shouldn’t be boiling too fiercely, if it starts climbing the walls of the pan in big bubbles then lower the heat a bit.

Add the margarine, and stir to melt. Turn the heat off, transfer mixture to a mixing bowl. In the meantime, prepare the rest of the filling, working quickly so that the caramel doesn’t completely set.

Crumble the tofu into a blender or food processor, along with the milk, cornstarch and salt. Puree until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the blender to make sure you get everything.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

With the caramel still warm in teh mixing bowl, add in the tofu mixture and the vanilla, and mix well. Fold in the pecans to incorporate.

Transfer to prepared pie crust and bake for 40 minutes. The pie is going to be somewhat jiggly, but it should appear to be set.

Recipe found here.