Thursday, February 28, 2013

Balsamic Dark Cherry Quinoa

A sweet dark cherry sauce over almond milk quinoa makes for a yummy breakfast dish!
When there's no oatmeal on hand, chewy, grainy, slightly nutty quinoa is always the next best hot cereal choice.
Fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, or pumpkin puree and peanut butter can be stirred in for a sweetened morning breakfast. In this recipe, I thawed dark cherries, made sure there were no pits (sometimes they miss some), and made a special sauce to top almond milky quinoa. 
Feel free to substitute maple syrup or agave nectar for sugar.
Either way, a tart, scrumptious heaven awaits the spoon and one moment of resisting a bite is futile, especially if you're a big time cherry fan.

Balsamic Dark Cherry Quinoa Ingredients

1 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup quinoa
2/3 cup dark cherries, thawed and pitted
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/3 cup walnuts (optional)

Bring water and sugar to a boil.
Add almond milk and quinoa, lower heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
In a small saucepan combine cherries, balsamic vinegar, sugar, almond extract, cinnamon, and ginger on medium heat. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
Drain liquid into another bowl. (Can be saved for another day if desired)
Pour cherries over prepared quinoa.

Top with desired walnuts.
Pour a bit of the sweetened balsamic juices for additional flavor.
Bon appetit!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Vegan Cauliflower Brown Rice With Broccoli & Peas Risotto

Creamy delicious brown rice risotto.
Who doesn't love a rich, creamy melt in your mouth drool worthy risotto?
Back in my vegetarian days, when a menu contained risotto, that would be my chosen course! That combination of Parmesan, milk, and vegetables, preferably thick slices of portobello mushrooms served in an enticing little bowl drove me insane and had to be devoured slowly via spoon.
However, when attempting risotto at home with the traditional Arborio rice, it took so much time and effort to achieve that same quality restaurant perfection.
So thus, the beloved ten minute brown rice is the undeterred hero in this lovely composed dinner dish.
Alongside yummy veggies- broccoli and green peas, covered in smooth, wicked cauliflower sauce aided by almond milk and nutritional yeast, a bit of Daiya mozzarella, and seasoned to engage hungry taste buds, this simple insatiable serving for two is the perfect side accompaniment for any occasion!

Vegan Cauliflower Brown Rice With Broccoli & Peas Risotto Recipe

1 cup 10 minute brown rice
1/2 cup broccoli, frozen
1/3 cup green peas, frozen
1 cup cooked cauliflower
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/3 cup Daiya mozzarella style shreds
a pinch of cinnamon

Bring brown rice, broccoli, and green peas to a boil.
Drain and set aside.
In a blender, puree cauliflower, almond milk, nutritional yeast, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil.
Pour the cauliflower mixture over the brown rice and vegetables.

Melt in the cheese.
Sprinkle additional black pepper & basil atop.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegan Hair Food Recipe

A nourishing dessert that the hair will love, especially after a fresh shampoo/conditioner treatment.
The hair needs its vitamins and minerals too.
Another part of that mixture crafted a few days ago with the addition of Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, and Jojoba Oil comes a miraculous hair salve that nourishes as well as conditions giving naturally kinky hair roots glossy shine and incredible softness that fingertips and combs adore!
Keep refrigerated until use.

2 cup shea butter, melted
1 cup cocoa butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
1/3 cup Jamaican Black Castor Oil
2 tablespoon coconut oil
A few drops jojoba oil
1 4 ounce container

Our hair necessities- Jamaican Black Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, & Jojoba Oil.
Inside of an old Carol's Daughter 4 ounce jar, 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of previous mixture of semi-melted shea & cocoa butters, olive, & sweet almond oils.
Stir in 1/3 cup Jamaican Black Castor Oil.
Whip in about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil & a few drops of jojoba oil.
Mix well & refrigerate. Turns into a nice pomade.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Nature's Path Love Crunch: Dark Chocolate & Red Berry Premium Organic Granola Product Review

My favorite new snack!
A few items were on sale in the Kroger's Nature Market (including $3.99 Daiya shreds!) and Nature's Path's line of bold, prettily designed packages of 11.4 ounce granola caught my eye for $2.99 each. 
With delicious chocolate coconut crunchy flax seed rolled oat clusters, little sweet dark chocolate cubed squares, and dried red berry yumminess, the bag was simply too hard to close. The serving size being only 1/4 cup, I cannot reveal the aftermath photos- only the beginning of fascination- the love at first bite.
There's a reason it's aptly titled- Love Crunch. Each morsel is a very calculative proposal to a chocoholic, as though each tiny burnt umber square is saying "marry me," the textured red berries are the sprinkled rose petals, and those yummy clusters play the background symphony waiting for the answer.
All in all I say "yes!" Yes, I will keep on eating this amazing concoction until the end of time! 
Not too overtly sugared and lightly crisp, this is just another item that made the Grocery Must Haves list! Also recommend adding a handful of walnuts or sliced almonds if a nutty craving strikes while consuming this particular granola- a delicious part of your complete breakfast and/or life forever.

A treat for those always on the go, this granola has a little bit of everything!
Also very delightful cereal with a bowl of almond, soy, or any other vegan unsweetened milk.

Homemade Vegan Lipglosses

The best beauty products are always homemade!
In the frigid, icy winter months, one cannot always hop a bus to Health Foods Unlimited to purchase the best vegan cosmetics in town. It's a shame that Trader Joe's carries lip balms containing beeswax and that despite having a modest sized natural products section Kroger's only carries Burt's Bees balms aka Beeswax Central. Online purchasing would seem like the next best thing, BUT it costs around $15 just to get a $2.99-$3.99 vegan balm to come to your door.
Thanks to reading many informative DIY blogs via Pinterest and reading product labels, the likeliest alternative, albeit a much cheaper solution is to make beauty out of ingredients already at home.
My favorite lip balm for the moment is Booda Butter's Booda Balm which keeps lips incredibly soft and moisturized. The ingredients listed are: Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Organic Jojoba Oil, Organic Olive Oil, Candelilla Wax. I had everything except the wax.
Shea and cocoa butters are great for the lips and a thick substitution base. Another little tip- if desiring a more fragrant chocolaty smell, add more cocoa butter.

2 cup shea butter, melted
1 cup cocoa butter, melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sweet almond oil
2 teaspoon coconut oil
A few drops jojoba oil
lip gloss pots (pictured are 1.25" inch in diameter & 5/8" tall ordered from Pink Blossom Cosmetics)
any vegan lipsticks on the verge of death

Now the shea and cocoa butters were mixed prior with olive and sweet almond oils and cooled until solid for a large batch divided into facial moisturizer, body lotion, hair balm, and this lip gloss.

Fill a pot with more or less of a mixture of shea & cocoa butters, olive, & sweet almond oils about less than 1/2 teaspoon.  The pictured Jamaican Castor Oil was from earlier hair balm making- will be unveiled later in an upcoming post.
Add a drop or two of jojoba oil.
Mix in a dollop of coconut oil. Stirring sticks would be so much better than a plastic knife! :D
  Stir a scrap of lipstick. Color above used is a bold bright red. Wipe the greasy rims & bottoms before capping.
Pop into the fridge for 3-4 hours. I knew that egg shelf had another purpose!
Now it's all solid!
This may last me a few good months. Hopefully. I am a huge gloss fanatic.
Already in use!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Vegan Cashew & Cheddar Balsamic Brussels Sprouts Pizza

An innovative combination of flavors on pizza dough
Inspired by Kathy's great Lunchbox Blog, this delightful recipe using Brussels sprouts as a pizza topping sounded deliciously brilliant.
My version doesn't include pearl onions (don't have those on hand!), but however this gourmet treat is a definite must try. Layered with luscious cashew cheese creaminess and balsamic dousing cute little green sprouts on top of an herb seasoned crust, this savory dinner had to be eaten with a fork and devoured with slow calculationg deliberation.
Trust me- this is an unbelievably damn good pizza! Never count out a Brussels sprout for rocking good fun on the taste bud dance floor. ;)

Pizza Dough
store bought is also fine

Cashew Cheese

2 cup soaked cashews
1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk (I used 8th Continent here)
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups Brussels Sprouts, cooked and sliced

Balsamic Drizzle

2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon basil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 cup Daiya Style Cheddar Shreds
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasonings Blend

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
Mix the drizzle in a small bowl and set aside.
After soaking cashews for 2 hours, drain some of the water, and puree into a blender with soy milk, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper until it reaches a nice thick consistency.

Spread on the cashew cheese evenly onto readied crust.
Layer Brussels sprout halves.
Pour over the Balsamic Drizzle.
Sprinkle the Daiya & Italian seasonings. And extra basil if desired.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Slice & serve!
Eat! Eat! Eat!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Silk's New Soy And Almond Milk Fruit Blended Yogurts

Look what's new! Silk's line of Fruit & Creamy Yogurts.
I have had hit or miss yogurts since my vegetarianism began.
The Silk company had created the first ones ever tried- the Silk Live! alternatives featured favorite flavors like Key Lime and Blueberry.
But alas those days are long gone and others have taken over the vegan dairy section.
Now Silk has come back with a vengeance, creating a new line featuring rounder sized containers, these new active culture single serving yogurts are made with either almond or soy milk and come in a wider range of flavors- Black Cherry, Peach Mango and their traditional Strawberry, Blueberry, and Raspberry. For us frugal loving vegan grocery shoppers these are currently on sale at Kroger's for 10 for $10 plus don't forget to snip's But 1 Get 1 Free.
The Black Cherry is a definite winner with sweet tart and tangy ripened cherries blended perfectly in the almond milk cultured cream that made the entire container a worthy lickable task. So, so delicious and addictive! May be the perfect component to creating another version of cherry chocolate pancakes.
The Blueberry made with soy milk cultures is another champion. It tastes quite yummy and reminiscent of the old dairy days that the Silk flavor experts got right. By also adding extra fresh blueberries right in, it just creates an even fruitier experience.
Seeing as I wished with both Black Cherry and Blueberry that they didn't taste overly pureed and that more chunky, soft texture of the natural fruits existed. Would be an absolute delight to have that extra fruit on the bottom! ;)
As for the Raspberry almond milk flavor, well.....

With a little spoon swirling, it whips right towards the top and looks sooooo yummylicious.
Definitely true to the name, it's creamy alright & has that familiar raspberry zing!
Unfortunately, this still has the miss like their prior raspberry effort- that sour, vinegar accented aftertaste that Black Cherry & Blueberry flavors didn't have.
As for my Grocery Must Haves list, the Black Cherry and Blueberry are definite going to refrigeration stables!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Creamy Quinoa Topped Maple Basil Tempeh

Tasty sweet & savory tempeh smothered in creamy, rich quinoa.
The love affair with quinoa rolls on in this delicious concocted recipe inspired by sausage and gravy.
Using the protein enriched grain in a thick styled cream over cubed seasoned tempeh, drenched in a myriad of dazzling ingredients- maple syrup, basil, and balsamic vinegar. Very simple and easy preparation, this is a lovely one of a kind meal with appeasing textures and intriguing flavors that is as beautifully decadent as it is heaven on the taste buds.

Creamy Quinoa Ingredients

2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast

Maple Basil Tempeh Ingredients

1 block tempeh, diced and cubed
2 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoon basil
1 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasonings Blend
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 crushed red pepper

Bring water, salt, and olive oil to a boil.
Add rinsed quinoa, lower heat, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Soak cubed tempeh into all ingredients for 1-2 minutes.
In a medium heated skillet, toss in the tempeh, turning every 5 minutes until each side is browned.
Once the quinoa is done, stir in the almond milk and nutritional yeast. Turn off the heat.
Top quinoa on readily prepared tempeh cubes and serve.

With a sprinkling of extra paprika & basil, this really hits the spot!
Drool worthy madness.
Great eaten alone or with a small leafy salad.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Vegan Wintry Cheesy Stew

A creamy blend of flavors sprinkled with melted "cheese" & nutritional yeast.
Hello all!
Sorry for the brief hiatus everyone. Have been uber busy writing, writing, writing and just got an art piece selected and hung for the 2nd Annual SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Exhibit held at our little library downtown. It's an exciting honor and I couldn't be happier.
But now I'm back into the swing of veggie blogging and have been pinning recipes galore on 2 Pinterest boards- Vegan Yumminess and Chocoholics Anonymous for inspiration!
This evening, while strolling around the aisles of Trader Joe's, always scoping around for new vegan fare (finally carrying their own vegan mozzarella shreds, but unfortunately sold out!) and happened to find this enticing bag of yum called Harvest Grains Blend. It has Israeli style couscous, orzo, baby garbanzo beans, and red quinoa- just a few of my favorite grains that I never once considered blending together!
In the kitchen, I followed the package directions, added green peas, thickened, whipped, and creamed with the aide of almond milk, melted Daiya, and nutritional yeast to create delightful, rich stew to chase away the blues of the windy cold chill. Next time would love to add some diced tomatoes and have a slice of crusty bread as accompaniment.
Still, perfectly titled Wintry Cheesy Stew, this is a perfect chaser alongside a good book and cat (if you have one) right in front of a cozy, crackling fireplace.
Quick, fast, and easy, simply one of the most heartiest meals to make!

Harvest Grains Blend costs only $2.69 & it's well worth it!
Vegan Wintry Cheesy Stew

1 3/4 cup water (or vegetable stock for heartier taste)
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 cup Trader Joe's
1/2 cup green peas (used frozen)
1/4 cup almond milk
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/3 cup Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt (lessen if using vegetable stock)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Bring water and olive oil to a boil.
Add the blend and green peas, lower heat, and cover.
10 minutes later, uncover to stir in almond milk, nutritional yeast, cheese, curry, garlic, onion powder, coriander, salt, and pepper.
Turn off the stove and let cool.
Serve and eat.

A hearty warm bowl of delicious comfort.