healthy food

Oh, Cashews…how I love thee!

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Apologies for the late posting! It seems that each day passing quickly is exceptionally true in general and even more so when you have house guests and different schedules! Anyway let’s get back to creating food together!

This blog post is all about Cashews. What an amazing nut. I find cashews to be easily digestible, a beautiful topping for a yummy stir fry and a major staple in vegan/vegetarian cooking. I use cashews in granola, for a quick afternoon snack with craisans (yum) and most recently I have made cashew nut butter, Alfredo “cheese” sauce and even cheesecake ALL with cashews! How do you feel about nuts? Do you think almonds are hard to digest? What’s your favorite nut to throw in a salad? I love sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds as well (which are great bases for “cheese”cakes).

Here is my recent recipe for non dairy, Alfredo sauce. Obviously creamy pasta dishes need to happen more often than not. This is a great way to have those creamy dishes and avoid heavy, digestion slowing, sauces. Give it a try!

Alfredo Sauce

1. 2 cups of cashews, soaked for 6-8 hours

2. 1 cup of filtered water

3. 1-2 cloves of garlic, depending on how strong you like it. I used 1 BIG mama clove

4. 2 tablespoons of flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Whole Wheat flour)

5. 1 tablespoon of olive oil

6. 2 tablespoons of a fresh herb, I used rosemary but I can imagine basil or oregano going extremely well in this!

7. pinch of salt

8. You will need a blender or food processor. I tried in my food processor and water flew everywhere! It could also be because I have a baby food processor made for creating nut butters not creamy saucy goodness.

Here we go…

Take your soaked cashews and all ingredients and put into the blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes, giving it enough time to make sure the cashews break up completely. Then transfer liquid to a saucepan and heat on low, allowing the sauce to become thicker. The original recipe I found called for another cup of water, so 2 cups, but I thought that seemed like A LOT! So I tried with half with the notion that I could always add more and I am glad I didn’t because it was a perfect consistency (for my liking)! This may be one area where you add more or less water to appease your consistency desires.

Voila! Enjoy this over pasta or rice. I paired this sauce with roasted asparagus, tomatoes and mushrooms over rice (all I had) and it was UNREAL! As in, I have been talking and somewhat bragging about my own creation to others because it was beyond satisfying!

Here is also my recipe for Cashew Nut Butter:

1. 2 cups of cashews

2. 1 tablespoon of olive oil — you can also use sunflower or coconut oil. I only had olive oil at the time!

3. food processor — you will for sure need a food processor or a bad ass blender for this because it takes a few minutes and it needs to blend until creamy. I have had 0 luck in the past with blenders and nut butters. I may or may not have burnt out my blender making almond butter.

Put cashews in the food processor and pulse for a few minutes. You’ll have to stop and scrape down the sides every minute or so. Sean also shakes our food processor to “get the sides down so we don’t have to keep stopping,” he says. He is definitely the frying and nut butter man of the house. When it starts to look more like nut butter (part creamy/part crunchy) add in your oil. Continue to pulse until it is a consistency your heart melts for. Enjoy with apples or bananas or anything!

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And the big finale….

is a recipe for a cashew cheese cake that is lovely!

http://maebird.blogspot.tw/2009/06/raw-cheesecake.html

Just a note about the crust…I have done the crust with pumpkin seeds and almond slivers before (all I had) and it turned out great. I think this is one of those areas where we have freedom to use the nut we A- have and B- want to use! It will still make a nice crust and taste delicious with your toppings.

Have fun creating foods!

Love & Light especially in food,

Abby

 

 

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Blueberry Vanilla Chia Oat Cookie!

And the longest title goes too…this lovely yummy creation! These cookies look more like a muffin top but seem more of a cookie to me. They are great for breakfast or a mid afternoon, I have yoga in 2 hours and dinner isn’t until 7, type snack. Easy to make, few ingredients and a little love will get you these!

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What you need:

  • food processor (if you have a high powered blender that should be okay too)
  • 1/2 cup of blueberries, or any other fruit for that matter. The original recipe I modeled this after called for bananas. Be creative and remember that changing ingredients just means changes in the food’s taste, appearance, smell, consistency. Either way it all tastes good to our mouths and bellies! 🙂
  • 1/2 cup of dates. I used my trusty Oxford phonics mug and packed that baby halfway full and rather tight. (By the way, if you live in Taichung — Cotsco has dates and they are really reasonably priced and can be used in so many food creations! Best part of using dates? This is your sweetner! If your dates are hard, you can soak them in hot water for 15- 30 mins. This is important because when you blend your dates in the food processor, you want them to become silky smooth!

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  • 1/4 cup of light oil. I used sunflower but you can also use coconut oil.
  • 1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of walnuts. The original recipe called for chocolate chips but I opted for nuts. Also raisins, crasians, cacao nibs..you get the point?! Be creative and remember this is all about making your taste buds and stomach feel satisfaction and love! With a dash of accomplishment, obviously.
  • 2 cups of oats. I used wholewheat rolled oats but any oats will work. You can also use gluten free for all those intolerants out there.  (Taichungers — I got my oats at Finga’s but they also have them at City Super).

Creation Time:

  • Put your (soaked) dates, oil, vanilla and blueberries into the food processor. Let it run for a few minutes until it is super smooth.

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  • Add in the cinnamon, salt and baking powder and whiz around for a few seconds. Next, add in 1 cup of oats into the processor and let it run for a few seconds, just until the oats are chopped. Depending on how large your processor is, you can add 1.5 cups into the blueberry blend. Mine is smaller and only 1 would fit. Adding more in would slightly change the chunkiness of your cookie but that’s not a bad thing! They are YOUR creation anyway!
  • Pour creation into a separate bowl and mix in another cup of oats. *Remember if you added 1.5 cups in the first whiz around, only add in another 1/2 cup.* This is also the time to add in your nuts, chia seeds, dried fruits or dangerously enjoyable chocolate chips.

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  • Put foil or parchment paper on a cookie sheet and spoon your cookies onto the pan. Each cookie was roughly 2 heaping tablespoons. Mine were big enough to be filling and small enough to just take away the hunger edge. You know what I am talking about too. The hungry, irritable, one track mind focused on your next meal. Sure you do, we all experience it sometimes.
  • Bake for 10 minutes at 350F. Last move is to turn the tray around for another 8 minutes or so. Let the cookies cool and enjoy with an afternoon beer or coffee/tea in the AM.

Please feel free to post comments about any of these posts! We did a lot of cooking, relaxing and eating over CNY.. Here are some more food creation from this past week:

  • Vegetable noodles with a homemade teriyaki sauce

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  • Homemade veggie burgers with sweet potato fries..yum. We also served these with two sauces: sesame, chive and paprika mayo & honey mustard. I was happy overall with this creation but want to get the recipe right before I post — this weekend we’ll try again. 🙂

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