Monthly Archives: June 2012

Butternut Squash and Pasta

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I am having a love affair with butternut squash. So naturally I am putting it in just about as many dinners as possible.
I also threw my seeds in my garden and now have lots of butternut squash plants growing. I am predicting quite a few more future butternut squash posts.

This dinner is very simple. I took a small yellow onion and cut it in quarters and then sliced the quarters length wise to make half moon shapes.

Then skinned, seeded and chopped one small butternut squash. I put both in a large saute pan with two tablespoons of evoo and cooked on medium for about 8 minutes, adding water as needed to keep from sticking to the pan.

Meanwhile, I put 8oz of pasta on to cook. I found this amazing Jerusalem Artichoke pasta that has a delicious nutty flavor, but you can use whatever type of pasta you desire. Let cook for 6 to 8 minutes.

Once squash mixture has cooked for 8 minutes, I added two tablespoons of chopped basil, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and a dash of sea salt and let cook another 2 to 4 minutes until squash is tender.

When finished cooking, strain pasta and divide into 4 servings and place one serving on the center of a plate, top with 1/4 of the squash mixture. Serve immediately.

Homemade Tomato Soup

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This soup serves as another Monday Crockpot Speciality. My husband has always loved tomato soup from a can but as soon as he had some of this soup he swore he would never eat the canned version again. The best part is this soup is so simple.

Ingredients
2 large beef steak tomatoes, diced
2 large carrots, chopped
3 cups veggie broth
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
A dash of garlic powder
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sweet basil flakes
1/2 to 1 teaspoon (depending on the amount of heat you want) curry powder
2 teaspoons agave nectar

Chop veggies and add all ingredients to crockpot. Cook on low for 6 hours. Place cooked soup into blender and blend until smooth. Serve hot.

Banana, Walnut, Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients

2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup applesause
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl mash bananas and add in sugar, agave nectar, applesause and almond milk.

In a separate bowl combine oats, flour, baking powder and salt. Add mixed dry ingredients to banana mixture. Stir until combined. Then fold in walnuts and blueberries.

Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 of the way full. Will make 12 regular muffins or 6 large muffins.

Cook at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Repurposed “trivet”

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I am in a crafty mood today. Since I live by the motto of “reduce, reuse and recycle”, I get great joy in repurposing items I have around my house for my crafts.

Today I decided to make a trivet. This is a very simple craft that anyone can do.

Items needed
One reclaimed piece of work
Several wine corks, depending on the size of your trivet
Hot glue gun

If your reclaimed piece of wood is not square, then cut it so it is. However, you can have your trivet in any shape you want.

My husband collects reclaimed pieces of wood and cuts them into various sizes and shapes, so I was able to find a square piece.

My piece of wood was very thick, using the corks whole would have made a very tall trivet. So I used a knife to cut my corks in half.

Then I arranged the cut corks on my piece of wood until I got the design I wanted. Then I put hot glue on the bottoms of the corks and pressed them back onto the wood.

The completed product is a beautiful trivet made solely of repurposed items.

Sara’s Vegan Mighty Muffins

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These muffins are loaded with fruit and whole grains and have no oil, butter or added sugar. What a great way to start your day.

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas
2 apples, cut into small cubes with skin left on
2 tbsps natural unsweetened applesause
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup of whole rolled oats
2 tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup raisins {optional}
3 tbsp nuts {optional}

Directions

1. Preheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a muffin tray {or line with liners}.

2. Mash ripe bananas in a bowl then stir in the rest of the ingredients.

3. Scoop the batter into the muffin tray. Fill 3/4 of the way full, will make 6 large muffins

4. Bake for about 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Savory Cheddar Biscuits

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I saw a Red Lobster commercial advertising their “cheddar bay biscuits”. I set out to make my own healthier vegan cheddar biscuits.
This is the result and very turned out great.

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 cup daiya cheese
1 tablespoon earth balance butter
2 teaspoons olive oil
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, garlic and onion. Then add in daiya cheese and earth balance butter. Do not melt butter, instead cut into small pieces and mix with dry ingredients. Stir in olive oil and almond milk.
Knead with your hands until all ingredients are well incorperated, add more flour if dough is too wet.
Form into eight balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Press balls down with the palm of your hand to make a biscuit looking form.
Cook for 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

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I adapted this recipe from Happy Herbivore’s Sweet and Spicy Butternut Squash soup.
I try to keep canned goods out of my recipes and using fresh peppers instead of canned made this soup taste even better. Since mondays are so busy, I made this soup so it could be put in a crockpot.

Ingredients
1 small butternut squash peeled, seeded and cubed
1 – 2 anaheim chili peppers, diced. I like two in my soup, it adds a little more heat
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water or veggie broth
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Place all ingredients in a crockpot, cook on low for six hours. Puree in blender or food processor to make a creamy soup. Top with crumbled toasted whole wheat french bread if you so desire. Serve hot.

Fried Udon Noodles

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I adapted this recipe from The Kind Diet. I love Udon Noodles cooked any way, but this recipe is especially great.

Ingredients:

8 ounces udon noodles
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 ounces (half a small head) green cabbage, cored and cut into thin slices (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed
1 medium onion, cut in half, then into thin slices
1 carrot, thinly sliced
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
2 tablespoons Asian Sweet Chili Sause

Directions:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the udon noodles and cook just until al dente (about 5 minutes); drain, and cover loosely to keep warm.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saute pan. Add the onion, carrot, salt, garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of the pepper and sweet chili sause; cook for about 4 minutes, stirring a few times, until the onion is translucent, add a touch of water if the onion starts to stick.

Add the cabbage to the pot, stirring to combine. Cook until cabbage is heated throughout, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the drained noodles and toss together until heated through. Taste and add up to 1/4 pepper as needed.

Serve hot.

Vegan Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels

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I read a post by a friend on Facebook recommending plain mustard as salad dressing. Then I had a stream of consciousness moment, my mind went from considering mustard on my salad to thinking, “Yum, mustard” to suddenly thinking of soft pretzels.

I LOVE mustard on soft pretzels. So I decided to get cooking and this is what I came up with.

This is a Vegan Recipe! Serve with mustard (or with whatever you enjoy on your pretzels).

Ingredients
6 tsp yeast
2 tsp raw sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup raw sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup baking soda
4 cups hot water
Kosher Salt for topping

Directions

1. In a small bowl combine yeast, 2 tsp raw sugar, and warm water.
2. Let stand for 10 minutes.
3. In a large bowl, combine 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 tsp salt.
4. Add in oil and yeast mixture.
5. Mix to form a dough ball and knead in 1/2 cup of flour.
6. Knead until dough is elastic and smooth, 8 minutes.
7. Lightly oil a large bowl and place dough ball inside and cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
9. Bring water to a light boil.
10. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and remove from heat.
11. Divide dough into 12 pieces.
12. Roll out each piece into a rope and twist into pretzel shape.
13. Dip each pretzel into baking soda water and place on a greased baking sheet.
14. Sprinkle with salt.
15. Bake for 9 minutes.
16. Cool on a wire rack.

Tip: do not skip the baking soda bath, it is nessecary for browning and to give the pretzel a hard outer shell while keeping the center soft.

Vegan 7-layer Dip

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This recipe doesn’t get filed away as healthy, raw or fat free. However, it certainly can go in your “delicious” file that we all need to pull out every now and then.

Ingredients

15oz refried beans (you can use canned, I don’t… 3/4 cup of dry beans, soaked over night and cooked in the crockpot for several hours works for me. It keeps my sodium intake low and is less processed. I put the beans in my food processor and add vegetable broth (approx 4 tablespoons) to give it a perfect refried bean consistency).
2 avocados, mashed
1/2 tablespoon lime juice
1 tub of vegan sour cream
1 packet taco seasoning
12 oz chopped chili peppers
12 oz sliced olives
1 large tomato, cubed
1 bag vegan shredded cheese, I used daiya

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place beans in bottom of baking dish, mash avocados and mix in lime juice, spread on top of beans. Mix taco seasoning into vegan sour cream and spread on top of avocado mixture. Layer on chopped chili peppers, sliced olives and cubed tomatoes, then top with daiya cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is melted and dip is heated throughout.

Serve with chips. Whole foods has tortilla chips that I love. La Rosa, they are vegan and have as little ingredients as possible.