Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Easy Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Faux Saag

This pumpkin puree will spice up any boring plate of rice.
Three years ago at an Indian restaurant buffet held first brush with pumpkin saag.
I thought it peculiar to see that tasty orange deliciousness not being used as a sweet dessert, but as a rich, savory rice topper. After tasting this concoction and helping myself to a few more delicious helpings alongside naan, another amazing flavor profile for pumpkin was soon discovered.
The tragedy, however, year after year, the restaurant didn't serve pumpkin saag. Either I kept coming on the wrong autumn day or not enough people reveled in the contagious love of this particular dish. 
Thus, I decided to make it somehow.
Well-Cookbooked's Pumpkin Saag
Inspired from this site, I made some minor changes to this recipe by using canned pumpkin, almond milk, and dried onion/garlic. Also didn't have any garam masala ingredients lying around except bay leaf.

Easy Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Faux Saag Ingredients

1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cup fresh spinach
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon Simply Asia Ginger Garlic Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 crushed bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)

Inside of a skillet, set on medium heat, stir pumpkin, almond milk, and olive oil together.
Wilt in the fresh spinach.
Add in the spices.
Stir for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Top with additional bay leaves if desired.

Great paired with brown rice. I forgot the peas!!!!!
Tastes pretty damn good!
The bay leaves gave an unexpected pizzazz.
See I sort of hate them because they overwhelm my palette, but breaking them up to a finer consistency makes it a tolerable ingredient and blends perfectly well with the spices used in the quite enjoyable, very fulfilling pumpkin saag- loved beside a plate of plain brown rice. Basmati or yellow rice would be yummy accompaniments too, especially with green peas and little diced carrots.
Thick, creamy, and rich, I am pretty sure to make this again!
A delicious little, simple experimentation.
Not as good as that restaurant, but close to being something very, very wonderful.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vegan Faux Banana Split Mini Sundae

Sugar induced heaven for one.
It's almost the big feast day in exactly 6 days, but a banana split craving has been sweeping my mind for a while. It may be chilly out, the autumn is paving way for winter, and my shoulder still has those ugly red bruises from hauling heavy grocery totes filled with pantry stocking for me and Olivia, I still wanted an ice cream related treat.
Crazy right?
Though while getting my ingredients together as Pieces Of April played (yes, the turkey scenes almost had my stomach retching, but overall I still enjoyed other parts of that film!), the only thing missing from my sundae was the cherries.
Why couldn't the season last longer for this dessert?
Would frozen cherries do justice the next go round?
Who knows.

A few ingredients make this uber sweet dessert!
 Vegan Faux Banana Split Mini Sundae

1 medium chopped banana (at yellow brown ripened stage)
2 scoops vegan ice cream (So Delicious Cookies & Cream Coconut Milk Ice Cream is pictured)
2 tablespoon Peanut Butter & Company's Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter
1 handful Sunspire Fair Trade 42% Cacao Organic Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 handful chopped walnuts

First place banana slices on the bottom (if desiring a little extra pizzazz sprinkle ground cinnamon on top!), add the 2 generous scoops of yummy coconut milk ice cream, the peanut butter, chocolate chips, and the walnuts! If you find a cherry someplace, that would be the perfect topper.
But there are no cherries here so eating it as is! :D

Yum. Yum. Yum. Come & get some!
I must warn folks that this is very, very sweet.
Maybe too sweet.
So if the chocolate craziness is tickling your fancy and making your nerves dance the jig on the kitchen or living room table while you're trying to calmly watch a Thanksgiving indie film by all means switch the ingredients around. Substitute So Delicious Cookies & Cream Coconut Milk Ice Cream for Vanilla or Peanut Butter & Company's Dark Chocolate Dreams Peanut Butter for Old Fashioned and so on.
As for me, I took ate the chocolate like a true chocoholic champion.
And honestly, I'm having another one after dinner tomorrow.
Don't judge me! ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Vegan Walnut Cauliflower Cream Sauce

Plated & shared with one of the main ingredients- So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk! Yum! Yum!
"Walnuts roasting on an open fire..."
Is it too early? ;)
The Original Cauliflower Cream Sauce
Taking a spin from the cauliflower cheese recipe is a creamier, chunkier remix receiving nutty aide from savory kicker- the walnut.
One cannot knock down the yumminess of a walnut.
Lately, I have been eating a smorgasbord- in raw handfuls, in oatmeal, in sweetbreads (not the meat variety, lol), and addicting pasta dishes like this one! They are especially wonderful atop of asparagus or in toasted Brussels Sprouts.
Ugh! I cannot wait until next Thursday. Walnuts are going to be a major part of my holiday feast.
Stay tuned.
Now let's get on with the awesomesauceness!
The cream sauce that is almost guilt free....
Walnut Cauliflower Cream Sauce

1 cup frozen cauliflower
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1/4 cup extra firm tofu
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)

A little sprinkle of Italian seasonings goes a long way too.
After cooking cauliflower ( which takes about 6 minutes), ground walnuts into a blender until it turns into a fine, coarse meal. Then add hot cauliflower, tofu, and unsweetened coconut milk into that same blender whipping these ingredients into a rich, thick puree. Add the spices and seasonings- stirring for less than a minute.
At last, this incredibly custard textured nutty sauce is ready to be topped on anything!
Pasta, rice, polenta...
The possibilities are endless.
And so delicious! ;) 
FYI: This is potentially hazardous & may make you crave all things walnut.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Vegan Kitchen Sink Stir Fry

The Vegan Kitchen Sink Stir Fry has it all- brown rice, broccoli, chickpeas, green peas, mushrooms, & avocado goodness!
Happy November!
Hope everyone enjoyed the Virtual Vegan Potluck post and has selected intriguing recipes to recreate. I am most eager to test out newly bookmarked vegan yumminess in my kitchen (especially all of the desserts!!!) and of course vote for personal favorites in every category the upcoming VVP vote...
Now that extra sleep has been rewarded, election day is finally over, and autumn is drawing to a close, we're down to the nitty gritty of momentous 2012.
For this comforting month meant for relaxation, warm kitten snuggles, and praying for slaughtered turkeys, I will periodically highlight vegan Thanksgiving items such as the traditional Tofurky roast as well as feature recipes including my favorite homemade cranberry sauce made from cranberries, orange juice, spices, & a bit of sweetness to round out the tart flavor.
As of right now, I'm focusing on rice and grains, making delicious, creamy sauces from vegetables and various milks for one of the cheapest, most convenient bases of any meal.
The Vegan Kitchen Sink Stir Fry is not only savory and rich, but it is packed with good, fulfilling flavor that won't have a person starving for their next meal.
Heck. After I was finished eating this red plate of awesome, there was no room for dessert!
If more almond milk, water, or a bit of low sodium vegetable broth is added, stir fry could easily transform into a wonderful soup/stew.

2 cup chopped portabella mushrooms
1 cup chickpeas
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 cup broccoli
1 cup green peas
1/4 cup almond milk
2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
avocado (optional)

In a medium heated skillet, saute mushrooms & chickpeas in balsamic vinegar.
Add in cooked brown rice, broccoli, & green peas. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover & let cook for an additional 5-7 minutes.
Voila plating!
Top with avocado.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Halloween Super Moist Vegan Pumpkin Bread

Look who was invited to join something special?
I was cordially asked by Lidia of Vegan Bloggers Unite to join in on their 2nd annual Virtual Vegan Potluck held on November 1st, which is also World Vegan Day! The first time yours truly celebrates such a momentous occasion.
Now Virtual Vegan Potluck is excitable fun for there are many different vegan/vegetarian blogs from all over the world getting in on the eight course action of Appetizers, Salads, Beverages, Breads, Side Dishes, Soups, Main Dishes, and Desserts.
Hopefully you'll find something especially enticing that'll have you racing to kitchen, scoring the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer for ingredients needed.
Here's the official list here: Virtual Vegan Potluck Participants
Representing the bread category is what I've created here.

Super Moist Vegan Pumpkin Bread that will knock your socks off!
One of my favorite parts about autumn is the sweet, spicy taste of pumpkin bread.
An avid pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream lover, this other way of having pumpkin was a delicacy discovered in my later high school years when an old friend introduced my taste buds to a generations past down family recipe. That recipe I made almost every year until Bob Evans made life even easier with their amazing version to be had on Sunday fall brunches.
Now I'm back to square one- making my own.
It was imperative to recreate that yummy almost pudding like dessert into vegan perfection that would possibly be a well savored tradition.

2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ripened bananas
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup walnuts

*Now if you dislike the slight banana flavor, please substitute the bananas with 1/2 cup applesauce.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, stir all dry ingredients harmoniously together. Combine bananas, pumpkin, and vanilla almond milk into a blender and puree until evenly mixed.
Merge wet with the dry. Crush down all those lumps made especially by brown sugar.
Stir until beautiful orange-y perfection.
Add crushed walnuts.
Split batter into two baking loaf pans. I used foil to cut that dish washing time in half. Just being honest...
Bake for 40-50 minutes, making sure to fork in between.
Skipping on cooling time, I cut up three slices & added extra walnuts & cinnamon on top.
It didn't take long, but this was most excellent with plain almond milk.
This is soooooooooooooo unbelievably divine!
I did have my doubts about it, but the banana flavor is quite light, almost mild, it's not too sugary sweet, and the spices are right on point with the pumpkin bread enjoyed in the past. Moist, rich, and melting on the taste buds, I have found a new tradition and will add an extra 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree to amp up the appeal of beloved orange treat.
Overall, very impressive.
Now Happy Halloween everyone! This is the kind of bready "dessert" that simply cannot be passed up even if little ones are dressed to the spooky nines begging for candy. Just give them a slice of this vegan pumpkin bread wrapped in cellophane....
Kidding! :D
Right before me in the Potluck located here are two delicious recipes- sweet & savory: Hot Cross Buns & Pepperoni Pizza Bread
And right behind for more deliciously baked vegan pumpkin action: Gluten Free Pumpkin Muffins