vegetarian food

Oh, Cashews…how I love thee!

Image

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!

Image

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

 

 

Do you dabble with Veggie Burgers?

Are burgers one of your favorite meals? They are definitely one of mine! I grew up eating BBQ and burgers, layered with lettuce, tomato, ketchup and maybe a little bit of mayo. Or actually, maybe a lot of mayo. 🙂 Since my pallet has changed, I have not enjoyed so many  burgers with all the fixings. Over the last few months I have tried a few recipes for veggie burgers that A- can be made at home, B – are made of whole foods and C- can be grilled and covered with cheese (for those non vegans). Here are three recipes I’ve had the best luck with and why!

Image

1. http://ohsheglows.com/2011/07/13/our-perfect-veggie-burger/ — These turned out awesome and would have stayed my favorite but I found that I had to stick to the recipe pretty close for it to turn out as beautiful as hers. And let’s face it, I have a hard time following any recipe. Could that be why my baking items never turn out quite right? 🙂 They are SUPER filling and freeze nicely. Also, they are nice when grilled.

2. http://ohsheglows.com/2013/10/28/thai-sweet-potato-veggie-burgers-with-spicy-peanut-sauce/ — WOW. I think I even gave some away for people to try and they were blown away too. I substituted some ingredients and they still turned out great. Again, a little time consuming but worth it completely!

3. http://www.veganricha.com/2013/05/bbq-lentil-veggie-burger-with-mango.html — AND WE HAVE A WINNER!!!! These would be my favorite so far! They extremely easy to make, the lentils are the bind (so no egg or flax egg needed) and you can definitely change the ingredients for what you have. I made these on Sunday and they were kind of “Leftover Veggie Burgers.” I only had a little bit of cauliflower, 1 huge carrot, 2 cloves garlic, bundle of cilantro and more like 3 inch nob of ginger. I also added WAY more oat flour (I didn’t have chickpea flour or flaxmeal) than I needed but it complimented it nicely! I wish I had homemade BBQ sauce but I didn’t so I made these “Indian-esqe Veggie Burgers” — tumeric, cardamon pods and curry powder were my seasonings. The whole process took under 1 hour and I was left with 13 nicely round, full and scrumptious burgers for my lunch. ** Note: I think I tripled the recipe**

I think the best part about veggie burgers is once you find a recipe that you feel comfortable with you can make a variety of burgers just by changing the ingredients. The base can always stay the same or you can try a different bean or lentil. You can add carrot or get wild and add carrot and onion! You can add cilantro or sub that fragrant herb for another such as parsley. These can also become Italian style “beanballs.” The possibilities are endless and this a great way to get creative with your food! Have fun and give one of these recipes a try! If you know of a good homemade Veggie Burger creation be sure to share it for all us food creators!

Love & Light & Food Happiness

Abby & Zig, my partner in the kitchen.

 

 

Do you have a game plan for this week?

Ever feel like you make a bunch of lists and “to-dos” for your week and then each day passes and all the sudden it’s Friday and you can’t even remember what you have done or eaten? My way of slowing down and making sure my ducks are in a row so I can actually enjoy my week is to have a game plan for each day. While lurking online on the weekends, I bookmark recipes that seem appetizing and also scope out my favorite food blogs to find new ideas. On Sunday, I make a list that looks something like this:

1. Lunches — I make two different ones that will last 2 days each. I should also say that I have a lovely best friend in Taiwan (s/o Josie!) and we swap lunches. I cook lunches for us for two days and she creates lunches for the next two days. This is also a great idea if you have someone at work that eats similar to you and is willing to swap some food around!

2. Sean’s Lunch — What is my lovely husband going to eat? Most weeks this consist of beef or tuna fried rice/ tuna or ham sandwiches or some type of chicken and rice concoction. Do you think he likes tuna? A little?

3. 3 Dinners — I try to make 2 meals that will last 2 nights each and one meal that is a one nighter type of thang. We generally eat out once or twice a week.

4.  Snack! — Most days at 4 o’clock I am desperately in need of a mid afternoon snack. Sometimes we have muffins, granola, energy balls, hummus, etc.

5. Breakfast! — Juices, granola, fruit, bread with cashew nut butter? Our options are unlimited. Well slightly limited,  seeing as how I can not find sprouted Ezekiel bread. 🙂

So on Sunday when I go shopping all my bases are covered. This sets me up for my week. Not only does it keep me more organized and free up my mornings so I can leisurely practice my yoga, but it ensures that I am able to eat healthy food made with love…ALL WEEK LONG! Everyone is different and having a plan that works for you just kind of makes life easier in general.

Today, I actually stayed out of the kitchen (besides Sean’s lunch and my Red Sauce creation) and our roomie, Mackenzie, spent the afternoon in the kitchen! She really took care of it all and hooked us up allllllll week long 🙂 THANKS MACCA!

This is what my week this week looks like:

  • Lunches: Spinach & Apple Salad / Greek Inspired Quinoa Salad + Josie’s awesome swap lunches!
  • Sean’s Lunch: Tuna Sandwiches and Vegetable Fried Rice (homemade of course!)
  • Dinners: Ginger Sesame Salmon/ Green Thai Curry/ Vegetable Korma/ Homemade Red Sauce with Soba Noodles  — Sean’s best friend is coming and bringing his LARGE appetite with him.
  • Snack: Granola Bars
  • Breakfast: Cardamom Maple Granola

Check out this link for lunch ideas:

http://food52.com/blog/9804-lunches-that-pack-in-5-minutes-or-less

http://ohsheglows.com/2013/07/19/cumin-lime-black-bean-quinoa-salad-quick-easy/ — made this last week for lunch. WOW! That’s all I can actually say. Especially the dressing (which would be a fabulous marinade!)

http://ohsheglows.com/2010/09/13/power-house-glonola/ — I base ALL my granola creations off this one! Just use what you have and when you feel stable with your granola baking branch out and explore. Today’s granola creation only included: almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds + cardamom seeds. YUM.

http://ohsheglows.com/2014/02/27/one-bowl-double-chocolate-chunk-cookies/ — I made a cookie based off this recipe tonight. I used whole wheat flour, added craisans and cashews. I also only had a little chocolate so some cookies had chocolate and some did not! I used 2 eggs, no sugar and no sunflower butter.

While writing this I managed to listen to music throwbacks from 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s — including baby got back, brickhouse, no diggity and respect! YEEEEEE. I might be excited to dance at our wedding in August. Maybe a little.

Share what works for you during the week!

Love & Light always and in ALL ways. Especially in your food.

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili

Happy Monday..or Sunday for those in the West 🙂 The last two weeks in Taiwan have been so cold and dreary, I thought I was back in England! No sun = much harder time to feel warm and happy! My plants sadly agree. Anyhow, we wanted to make a quick under 30 minute food creation for lunch this week and chili seemed more than appropriate. Packed with vegetables, protein, lots of warm seasonings, and of course…LOVE. This will take you about 30 minutes for both prep and cooking, depending on the hastiness of your chopping! Be creative with what you throw in and what grain you would like to serve it on. Remember, the longer anything sits and stews the more intense the flavor. I found after a 30 minute simmer the flavor was bangin’!

What you need:

  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, yellow pepper and green pepper, diced. If you don’t have one of these, two will do and maybe you could substitute mushroom or eggplant?
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, diced into little squares
  • 2 cans black beans. If you prefer not to use cans…EVEN BETTER! You can soak and prepare the black beans the day before in prep for this chili. If you are down with the can find yourself two cans of whole black beans with limited seasonings (since you will add your own).
  • 1 large can or glass jar of diced tomatoes. I used whole peeled tomatoes — Because it was all I could find! If you use something other than diced, just pour your tomatoes and juice into a separate bowl and use your hands to break up the tomatoes.
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock. I poured in one cup of water and added one tablespoon of vegetable stock powder!

Seasonings:

  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder — or maybe a little less? It’s up to you!
  • 1/2 tablespoon of paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon of red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon of ground cumin — did I mention heaping tablespoon? 🙂
  • Time to get it started ! Dice the garlic, onion and 3 peppers. Saute for 5 minutes until the vegetables become more tender.

  • Add in all your seasonings, mix through and saute for another 2-4 minutes.
  • Add in your tomatoes (with juice), black beans and sweet potatoes and mix together. Then, add in your one cup of vegetable stock or 1 cup of water + 1 tablespoon of stock! ha!
  • Allow chili to simmer for 20-30 minutes with the lid on. Stir every 15 minutes and have a little taste. I think by this point you will be thoroughly impressed with yourself.

Serve on top of your favorite grain. We prepared quinoa to go with our chili.

Yummy food to add on top: avocado, green onions (scallions), sour cream or yogurt, shredded cheese

ENJOY!

Here are some more things we devoured last week:

Homemade granola! — I will post the recipe this week!

Blueberry & Lemon Raw Cheesecakes in personal sizes! — These were INSANELY easy and I can’t believe we have not tried them before now! I will also be posting this recipe with some creative ideas to change it up!