Vegan Peanut Butter Pie

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So simple, but highly addicting!!! This pie is delicious and full of flavor. No one will be able to tell that there is tofu in this pie.

Note: full fat coconut milk or coconut cream, needs to be chilled overnight (no shaking the can! You want the cream and liquid to remain separate).
Ingredients
CRUST
  • 1 sleeve graham crackers
  • 4.5 Tbsp melted vegan butter or coconut oil
PIE
  • 12 ounces firm silken tofu, slightly drained and patted dry
  • 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or sub honey if not vegan)
  • 1 14-ounce can (~ 1/34 cups) full fat coconut milk OR coconut cream
CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING
  • 1 cup semisweet or dark dairy-free chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used  almond milk)
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly oil a standard glass pie pan (8 inches x 1 1/4 inches).
  2. Add graham crackers to a food processor and process until you achieve a semi-fine meal. A little texture is OK, just remove any large pieces that didn’t get ground. Add melted butter and pulse to combine.
  3. Add to greased pie pan and press down with your fingers to flatten. You can lie a piece of plastic wrap over the top when pressing down to ensure a more uniform layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
  4. Add tofu, peanut butter, maple syrup or agave to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more agave for added sweetness or a pinch of salt if your peanut butter wasn’t very salted.
  5. Next, scoop out the cream of our coconut milk or cream and whip into whipped cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl.
  6. Fold the peanut butter-tofu mixture into the whipped cream.
  7. Pour filling over crust and pop in the freezer to chill. Once it’s fairly chilled and slightly firm (about 1 hour), prepare your ganache.
  8. Add chocolate chips to a bowl and heat your non-dairy milk to a low simmer. Then pour over chocolate chips and don’t touch for 5 minutes to allow it to melt. Then stir gently with a spoon or rubber spatula until a smooth ganache forms. If it doesn’t quite melt, you can also heat it in the microwave in 10 second increments until smooth and melted.
  9. Spoon over the top of the pie and spread in an even layer with a knife or spatula, working quickly as the ganache will get clumpy if it sets too long.
  10. Top with crushed, salted roasted peanuts (optional) and pop back in the freezer to set. 20-30 minutes before serving, remove from freezer and serve. Alternatively, you can chill this in the fridge, but it is much more delicate to slice and serve, but just as delicious.
  11. After the initial chill, make sure you cover the pie with plastic wrap to keep it fresh.

Garlic Knots

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It really doesn’t get much easier than this for a delicious dinner roll.

Ingredients
Knots
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 2 tbsp of butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 3¼ cup of flour
  • 1 tbsp of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tsp regular active dry yeast
Garlic Basil Butter
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp chopped basil
Instructions
  1. In a bowl mix yeast, sugar and warm water. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until yeast foams up.
  2. In the bowl of your mixer, mix the flour and salt together. To it, add egg, butter and yeast mixture. Mix using a dough hook attachment until it’s all well incorporated and dough forms into a ball. The dough will be a bit soft.
  3. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, cover up with plastic wrap and let sit until doubled in size, about 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Punch down dough and knead it a bit, then cut the dough into 15 pieces. Roll each piece into long ropes about 15 inches and form into knots and place on baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  5. Preheat oven to 400 F degrees.
  6. Mix the butter ingredients together and brush over knots. Let knots rest for another 10 minutes then bake for 9 to 12 minutes or until golden.
  7. If there’s any garlic basil butter left, brush again on knots before serving.

Roasted Cauliflower White Cheddar Soup

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This is an amazing soup for fall! It’s full of flavor and easy to make.

Ingredients
  • 1 large head cauliflower (2 – 2 1/2 lb), cored and chopped into small, bite size pieces
  • 3 to 4 large cloves of garlic, whole & skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 1/2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 14 oz low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp dried parsley or 1 Tbsp chopped fresh
  • 1/4 tsp (slightly heaping) dried thyme or 1 tsp chopped fresh
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 oz shredded sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 1 oz finely grated parmesan cheese (slightly packed 1/4 cup)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place cauliflower and whole cloves of garlic on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and toss to evenly coat, then spread into an even layer and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bake in preheated oven until golden, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  • In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in onion and saute until tender, about 4 – 5 minutes. Add in flour and cook, stirring constantly for about 1 1/2 minutes. While whisking, slowly pour in milk followed by vegetable broth and cream. Add in parsley, thyme, bay leaf, half of the roasted cauliflower, and all the garlic. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then reduce heat to low. Puree the soup in a blender (being careful as your working with hot liquids) or use an immersion hand blender to puree soup in the pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the other half of the roasted cauliflower. Remove from heat and stir in sharp white cheddar and parmesan cheese. Serve warm garnished with fresh bread or croutons if desired.

* To cut down on fat and dairy, I added 1 cup of peeled, cooked diced red potato to the soup instead of the 1/2 cup heavy cream. When you puree the soup the potato adds a creamy consistency and helps to thicken the soup. I also used unsweetened almond milk for the 3 cups of milk.

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs

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This recipe was a big hit with my family!  It had a great meat-like texture and taste.  I added some Italian seasoning to the recipe when I made them for a little extra flavor. These eggplant meatballs made great sub sandwiches with marinara sauce and melted mozzarella on a toasted sub bun.  I used slightly more than a 1 pound eggplant, so it made more mixture.  I used the extra mixture to make two personal size meatloafs and it was equally delicious.

Eggplant Meatballs

Vegan Eggplant Meatballs
Adapted from Mark Bittman’s VB6 Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb unpeeled eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked or canned white beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs or panko
  • pinch red chili flakes (optional)

Directions:

Heat the oven to 375°. Use 1 tablespoon olive oil to grease a large rimmed baking sheet.

Place 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. When hot add the eggplant and 1/4 cup water. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet with the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Add to the food processor along with the drained beans and parsley and pulse until well combined and chopped, but not pureed.

Add the eggplant mixture with the onion and garlic, then add the breadcrumbs and red chile flakes if you’re using them. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into 12 balls about 2 inches in diameter and transfer them to the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until firm and browned, 25 to 30 minutes.

The Health Benefits of Spices

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We all know how beneficial food can be to our health, but you might not know that spices have great healing properties, too. Spices are a great way to add flavor to food and reduce sodium. Below is a list of just a few spices with amazing benefits!

spices4

Turmeric Powder

A member of the ginger family, now cultivated widely in India, China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Vietnam, and the Philippines, turmeric is used throughout southern Asia. Its flavor is peppery, warm and bitter while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of ginger, to which it is related. Although available fresh, the rhizome is most often sold dried and ground to a powder. It adds a warm, mild aroma and distinctive deep yellow-orange color to foods. It has been long been used in both the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine for healing and as a condiment.

Nutritional Profile: Turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese. It is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber, and potassium.

Holistic benefits: Turmeric is the wonder of all wonders – a heating spice for the body, turmeric contains powerful anti-inflammatory properties and is a strong antioxidant. Every teaspoon of it has medicinal value.

 

Coriander Powder

The use of coriander can be traced back to 5,000 BC, making it one of the world’s oldest spices. It is native to the Mediterranean and has been known in Asian countries for thousands of years. Coriander was even cultivated in ancient Egypt and was used as a spice in both Greek and Roman cultures. The early physicians, including Hippocrates, used coriander for its medicinal properties, including as an aromatic stimulant.

Nutritional Profile: Coriander seeds contain an unusual array of phytonutrients. They are a very good source of dietary fiber and a good source of iron, magnesium and manganese.

Holistic benefits: Coriander is known to be a powerful aid to digestion, has anti-bacterial properties and helps to prevent infection in wounds as well as aids in combating allergies.

 

Red Chili Powder

Chili peppers are members of the capsicum family and they come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. There are over two hundred different types of chilies grown in all parts of the tropics. Indigenous to central and South America and the West Indies, they are cultivated in India, Mexico, China, Japan, Indonesia, and Thailand. Chilies have little aroma but vary in taste from mild to fiery hot. Chili peppers are usually red or green in color. Red chili, Cayenne, habañero, chipotle, jalapeño, anaheim and ancho are just some of the popular varieties available.

Nutritional Profile: Red chili peppers contain beta-carotene, are a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and dietary fiber. They are also a good source of iron and potassium.

Holistic benefits: Red chili aids is weight loss, fights inflammation in the body and boosts the body’s immunity to fight diseases.

 

Cumin Seeds

Originally from the Nile Valley, cumin was commonly used as a culinary spice in ancient Egypt. These seeds were highly honored as a culinary seasoning in both ancient Greek and Roman kitchens. Cumin’s popularity was partly due to the fact that its peppery flavor and both its medicinal and cosmetic properties were renown.

Nutritional Profile: Cumin seeds are a very good source of iron and a good source of manganese.

Holistic benefits: Cumin is a cooling spice. It carries a reputation as the “seeds of good digestion”. They are known to help flush toxins out of the body and provide iron for energy and immune function.

 

Mustard Seeds

Mustard seeds can be traced to different areas of Europe and Asia with the white variety originating in the eastern Mediterranean regions, the brown from the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, and the black from the Middle East. Mustard seeds are mentioned in ancient Sanskrit writings dating back about 5,000 years ago. The physicians of both civilizations, including the father of medicine Hippocrates, used mustard seed medicinally. Mustard continues to be one of the most popular spices in the world today.

Nutritional Profile: Mustard seeds are a very good source of selenium and omega-3 fatty acids. They are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, protein, niacin and zinc.

Holistic benefits: Mustard not only stimulates the appetite but also has digestive, laxative, antiseptic, and circulative stimulant properties. It is also known for its anti-inflammation properties.

 

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are sweetish in taste, and work as fabulous flavor-enhancers along with all their healing properties. Fennel’s aromatic taste is unique, strikingly reminiscent of licorice and anise, so much so that fennel is often mistakenly referred to as anise.

Nutritional Profile: Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. It is also a very good of dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, folate, and molybdenum. In addition, fennel is a good source of niacin as well as the minerals phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, and copper.

Holistic benefits: Fennel seeds are a cooling spice (cools the body) and have a unique combination of nutrients that make it a powerful antioxidant. It is also believed to help cure stomach complaints and is extremely good for digestion. In India, eating a few fennel seeds after a meal is a common practice.

 

Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BC. It was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god.  Cinnamon is actually one of the most powerful healing spices, and has become most famous for its ability to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. As little as 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon a day could cut triglycerides and total cholesterol levels by 12 to 30 percent. Cinnamon can even help prevent blood clots, making it especially heart smart.

Nutritional Profile: Cinnamon is a good source of dietary fiber, as well as calcium and iron.

Holistic benefits: Cinnamon has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s rich in antioxidants called polyphenols.

 

Cloves

Archeologists have found cloves in a ceramic vessel in Syria, with evidence that dates the find to within a few years of 1721 BC.  In the third century BC, a Chinese leader in the Han Dynasty required those who addressed him to chew cloves to freshen their breath.  Cloves were traded by Muslim sailors and merchants during the Middle Ages in the profitable Indian Ocean trade.

Nutritional Profile: Cloves are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, and iron.

Holistic benefits: Cloves contain an anti-inflammatory chemical called eugenol. In recent studies, this chemical inhibited COX-2, a protein that spurs inflammation. Cloves also ranked very high in antioxidant properties. The combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties spells heaps of health benefits, from boosting protection from heart disease to helping stave off cancer, as well as slowing the cartilage and bone damage caused by arthritis. Compounds in cloves, like those found in cinnamon, also appear to improve insulin function.

 

Garlic

Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek and chive. With a history of human use of over 7,000 years, garlic is native to central Asiaand has long been a staple in the Mediterranean region, as well as a frequent seasoning in Asia, Africa, and Europe. It was known to Ancient Egyptians, and has been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes.

Nutritional Profile: Garlic is a good source of potassium and vitamin C.

Holistic benefits: When eaten daily, garlic can help lower heart disease risk by as much as 76 percent: it moderately reduces cholesterol levels, thins the blood and thereby staves off dangerous clots, and acts as an antioxidant. Garlic’s sulfur compounds also appear to ward off cancer, especially stomach and colorectal cancer. The compounds flush out carcinogens before they can damage cell DNA, and they force cancer cells that do develop to self-destruct. Strongly antibacterial and antifungal, garlic can help with yeast infections, some sinus infections, and the common cold. It can even repel ticks.

 

Ginger

This root has played a major part in Asian and Indian medicine for centuries. Ginger is indigenous to southeast Asia. The trading efforts of the Roman Empire, which imported all manner of spices from India, brought ginger to Ancient Rome, whence it spread across Europe.

Nutritional Profile: A good source of potassium, magnesium, vitamin C and dietary fiber.

Holistic benefits: Ginger has the ability to combat inflammation, reduce pain and swelling in people with arthritis. It may work against migraines by blocking inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. And because it reduces inflammation, it may also play a role in preventing and slowing the growth of cancer. Ginger’s still good for the tummy, too. It works in the digestive tract, boosting digestive juices and neutralizing acids as well as reducing intestinal contractions. It’s proven quite effective against nausea.

 

Medicines-On-Your-Spice-Rack

 

 

 

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

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P1050087

 Yield 10 biscuits

Ingredients

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
    • 1 cup buttermilk
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
    • 1 1/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
For the topping
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, garlic powder, salt and cayenne pepper, if using.
  3. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together buttermilk and butter. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Gently fold in cheese.
  4. Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, scoop the batter evenly onto the prepared baking sheet. Place into oven and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown.
  5. For the topping, whisk together butter, parsley and garlic powder in a small bowl. Working one at a time, brush the tops of the biscuits with the butter mixture.
  6. Serve immediately.

Flourless Double Chocolate Pecan Cookies

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 These are a chocoholic’s dream come true!!!  Super rich, crunchy on the outside and gooey in the center.

 

FlourlessDoubleChocolateCookies

Ingredients:

 

  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (spooned and leveled)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans (or other type of nut)
  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature

 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa, and salt. Stir in chocolate and pecans. Add egg whites and stir just until incorporated (do not overmix).

  2. Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls, 3 inches apart, onto two parchment-lined rimmed baking sheets. Bake until cookie tops are dry and crackled, about 25 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer sheets to wire racks and let cookies cool completely. (To store, keep in an airtight container, up to 3 days.)