Saturday, March 30, 2013

Lemon Tahini Tofu Stir Fry

Friends will beg you to make this for them over & over.
Occasionally, I pick up a new item every once in a while in the produce section. Italia brands had these little yellow and green bottles of lemon and lime juice on sale for 99 cents. Naturally intrigued, I picked up the lemon (lime was from concentrate), and read the ingredients which included lemon juice and lemon oil.
At home, the last of tofu looked rather scrumptious. I'm certain no one will believe it, but yes, that rectangular, very plain white block wrapped in cellophane truly attracted me like a fine dinner date. He just needed be lightly dressed up in an experimental seasonings, tahini, and lemon juice outfit.
From skillet to plate, caught mingling deliciously with brown rice, broccoli, and green peas, slightly crisp and savory flavored, this tofu is mouthwatering succulence that a fork alive couldn't stop digging into!
When I made it to that final, inevitable bite of addictive appeal, I mourned lost, so sad to see it go and made a mental note to stock up on next grocery trip.
Tofu is just that damn good!

Lemon Tahini Tofu Stir Fry Ingredients and Preparation

1/2 block extra firm tofu, diced small
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup unsalted tahini
2 teaspoon Italia Garden Italian Lemon Juice
2 teaspoon Simply Asia Sweet Ginger Garlic seasoning
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup brown rice (or quinoa will do too)
1 cup green peas
1 cup chopped broccoli

Prepare brown rice, green peas, and broccoli together and set aside.
Fork stir tofu with olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, ginger garlic seasoning, onion powder, basil, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
Toss mixture onto a heated and well oiled pan. Cover.
Flip over tofu every 3-5 minutes.
When a few sides are desired golden brown, add in the brown rice and veggies and stir together for only about 3-5 minutes longer.

For a very delicious suggestion- a smidgeon of extra lemon juice & basil atop for fresher taste & enticing presentation.
I keep learning that staring at yummy food for too long only makes the stomach growl harder.
Just a splendid stir fry!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Vegan Spinach Hummus & Falafel Pita Sandwiches

Little falafel balls love being bedded on spinach hummus & warm pita bread.
Remember that unforgotten box of Fantastic World Foods Falafel Mix used for Falafel Pie?
Well, it was still taking up cabinet space.
While dreaming of making my first homemade hummus, I figured pitas would be a perfect bottom and wanted a "meaty" specialty on top of that imagined hummus. In all honesty,  if I had two cans of garbanzo beans, the mix would have stayed put. But we do what we must, right?
I shifted remainder of spinach between adding it to the mix or to the hummus- ultimately deciding on the latter. It turned out impressive and not just that pretty green color- taste is definitely an out of this world yum!
The simple pita recipe is from Fat Free Vegan, but if oil is preferred, add a little olive oil to the dough mixture or brush onto bread sides before putting them on oven rack.
No one has to worry about spinach teeth when eating this deliciously blended envy "green" hummus atop warm homemade pita with lightly crisp falafel. Very, very sinful indeed.
Oh please sure to have many napkins on hand. It may make a pretty picture, but once those hungry hands fold the sandwich, it's on! Ha ha!

Spinach Hummus & Falafel Stuffed Pita Pockets Ingredients & Preparation

Spinach Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup unsalted tahini
2 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 1/2 cup spinach

Puree the garbanzo beans in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
Blend in the tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper.
Add spinach a few cups at a time.
Hummus is ready when all is evenly smoothed!

Pita Bread

2 cup flour
3/4 cup + 1-2 tablespoon water
3/4 teaspoon salt

Mix flour, water, and salt.
Knead for 6-7 minutes.
Let dough rest for 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Cut the dough into 8 parts.
Ball and flatten into round circles.
Lay two at a time directly onto oven rack.

Falafel (Homemade recipe here)

1 cup Fantastic World Foods Falafel mix
1 1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Stir mix and water together.
Set aside for 15 minutes to allow absorption. 
Make into 3" balls, brush olive oil onto each side.
Broil for 5-7 minutes, making sure to turn over once.
Pat excess grease and serve.

Oops, made too much lovely lime green spinach hummus!
Falafel set atop hummus & warm pita bread.
Sprinkled with a bit of crushed red pepper & basil.
Ready to be devoured!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Vegan Lemon Raspberry Bread

A sweet, zingy bread of citrus invitation!
The snow struck us today on first spring Sunday, but that didn't damper my plans to make bread.
Taking beautiful yellow lemons and a pint of fresh red raspberries from the refrigerator, ideas of a fruity almost dessert came to spirited mind and not cold temperatures dropping outside.
It's quite enthralling the scents wafting in warm kitchen air as ingredients mix together and baked in the oven- pretty citrus notes of paradise.
When lemon raspberry bread is ready, the golden brown color is rich and fragrant with little pops of red ecstasy bursting through. Topped in a simple drizzle of lemon juice and powdered sugar (add raspberries for an added treat!), this is perfect for an evening indoors with tea, friendly company, and Downton Abbey reruns. 

Vegan Lemon Raspberry Bread Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
zest and juice from 2 organic lemons
1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
1/2 cup raspberries
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and sugar together.
Gradually stir in almond milk and apple cider vinegar.

Stir in the zest, lemon juice, & raspberries.
Pour batter into one bread loaf pan & bake for 40 minutes to an hour. Or until the fork is clean.
Let bread cool before removing. Mix lemon juice & powdered sugar together.
Drizzle the icing over cooled bread.
Add fresh raspberries & lemon zest for garnish.
Star gaze at this beautiful bread.....
Serve & devour slowly.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dark Chocolate Dreams Banana Oatmeal

This sweet fulfilling oatmeal would confuse anyone into believing it to be dessert hour.
In another dastardly case of Much Ado Without Bread, Peanut Butter & Company's infamous Dark Chocolate Dreams would have easily been scooped out of the jar via silver spoon and ferocious morning appetite. But right beside my blue capped friend in the overly stocked, very disorganized cabinet, stood the near empty box of oatmeal- the perfect lead in this Saturday breakfast story.
After being swirled together in a little pot with boiled sweet near blackened banana puree, the oatmeal and Dark Chocolate Dreams danced a tasty, belly satisfying jingle on the excited taste buds. Strawberry slices and chocolate chips added additional flare to fruity peanut butter goodness and made sleepy eyes widened to alert energy.
Now how many breakfast combinations make that kind of magic happen?
Overall a very delicious treat that must be created repeatedly, especially for my special chocoholic peanut butter friends. Well, when I stock up on more oatmeal of course. Forget the bread!

Dark Chocolate Dreams Banana Oatmeal Ingredients and Preparation

1 1/2 cup almond milk
1 ripened banana
2 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup quick rolled oats
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoon Peanut Butter & Company's Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
pinch of salt
sliced strawberries (optional)
handful chocolate chips (optional)

Combine almond milk, bana, agave nectar, and vanilla into a blender. Leave it to a slight chunky consistency.
In a medium heated small saucepan, bring this mixture to a boil.
Add rolled oats, cinnamon, and ginger.
Once it reaches desired thickness (about 3-5 minutes), turn off heat and stir in peanut butter and salt.
Garnish with strawberries and chocolate chips.

Bananas & dark chocolate peanut butter swirl together in a bowl of euphoric bliss.
Quick! Where's the spoon??? :D

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Avocado Quinoa, Spinach, & Strawberry Salad

Fresh strawberries provide sweet melody to creamy avocado quinoa & spinach.
Happy Spring Equinox everyone!
The first day of a blissful, sun bright season is upon us and calls reason to celebrate in pretty salad fashion. 
I wanted to make something light and appetizing for lunch and knew that quinoa always had such a strong fulfilling factor. The special grain had to be dressed in modestly, but ripened with delicious combinations of taste and color.
Blended with greens (spinach and avocado), a bit of acidity help (olive oil and apple cider vinegar), and fresh sliced fruit (plump, juicy tart strawberries), this yummy, scrumptious quinoa salad is engaging paradise on a plate. Cannot get enough of savory, sweet, and tantalizing glory, especially with basil a beneficial gift.
For added texture, walnuts or pine nuts would be a great topper! 

Avocado Quinoa, Spinach, & Strawberry Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup quinoa
2 cup spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 avocado
1 teaspoon basil, dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
10 sliced strawberries

After cooking quinoa according to directions, wilt in spinach.
Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, avocado, basil, salt, and pepper- stir evenly.
Refrigerate for 2-3 hours until desired chill.
Mix in the strawberries and serve.

Sprinkled with a bit of extra basil provides an intriguing balance between flavors.
The perfect lunchtime yum.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Vegan Tahini Macaroni & Cheese With Tempeh Sausage

Tahini is just another vegan arsenal in the macaroni & cheese brigade!
I picked up tahini for the first time yesterday.
For months, it has been at the tip top of my list of things to try, but I kept putting it off. Always sitting there sandwiched amongst the peanut butters and organic jams, an oddity in its plain brown packaged jar on the shelf, that $8.99 price tag never ever changing.
No. It wasn't on sale when I finally took the plunge. It just seemed like the stalking was going nowhere! Can only keep checking for so long.....
Once at home and sampled- a mild, nutty flavor, I had heard through the grapevine that it could be a macaroni & "cheese" component and so this recipe was born! Tasting almost nacho, blended with nutritional yeast, almond milk, and turmeric softens the creamy tahini's sesame profile to an even cheesier pitch perfectness that made the pasta dish weep and the green veggies fall in love. The seasoned tempeh sausage just adds an irresistibly delectable crisp texture that is too scrumptious to resist!
Simple and easy, this is another lovely selection for candlelight dinner.

Vegan Tahini Macaroni & Cheese With Tempeh Sausage Ingredients and Preparation

2 cups pasta
1 1/2 cup broccoli
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 tempeh, crumbled
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
dash of salt and black pepper
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoon unsalted tahini
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
handful of fresh spinach (optional)

As pasta and broccoli cook, in a separate pan heat with olive oil.
In a small bowl, toss the crumbled tempeh with Italian seasonings, basil, paprika, crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper and throw this mixture into hot skillet.
Cook tempeh for 7-10 minutes, stirring until evenly browned.
Drain pasta and set it back into the pot, lower heat settings, and gradually stir in almond milk, tahini, nutritional yeast, turmeric, salt, and pepper.
Turn off heat once sauce is at desired thickness.
Wilt in the spinach (if added) and the tempeh crumble.

This could easily serve 2-3 people.
Lavished with extra dried basil & crushed red pepper.
A gorgeous mac & cheese just dying to be eaten.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Patrick's Day Vegan Avocado Chocolate Chip Milkshake

Make this green spirited shake & your liver will make a "Thank You" card!
No, I'm not Irish, but I get into the green spirit of the jolly not envy variety when March 17th comes around.
Back in the Middle Ages, those Shamrock Shakes from the Who Shall Not Be Named fast food joint were a treat every year. My veganism started last January and unfortunately a green shake didn't get created.
So of course, I felt inclined to make that up today and include an adored to death ingredient- avocado. It's green, deliciously versatile, and filled with many good vitamins and minerals.
With lime and avocado in this blender recipe, guacamole appeared to be on the horizon- after all that is pretty green too. The lime just adds a citrus twist to a creamy shake that features chocolate chips and agave nectar for sweetness. As much as I love using the coconut milk in the tetra packs, it's best to go for the canned version- makes for a thick, richer shake.
The taste was just terrific!

Happy St. Patrick's Day Avocado Chocolate Chip Milkshake Ingredients and Preparation

1 avocado
1 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk (the full fat canned version or lite coconut milk can be substituted)
1 1/2 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoon almond milk
zest and juice from 2 limes
small handful chocolate chips (used Enjoy Life Food's mini chocolate vegan chips!)

Blend all the ingredients together. Sprinkle extra chocolate chips & lime zest for festive appeal.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quinoa & Tofu Breakfast Scramble

Plated with thin slices of maple tempeh bacon, quinoa & tofu scramble hits the spot!
The best part of waking up is a plate of this quinoa tofu scramble in your gut!
I know. That didn't rhyme....
Still, this is a hearty, very satisfying breakfast that deserves kudos. Quinoa and tofu scrambled together and paired with maple tempeh bacon is a real championship winner for the hungriest early riser! Fluffy, light texture, bright yellow hue, and flavorful combination is a much better substitute, especially without all the unnecessary cholesterol.
For other variations like adding a vegetable spin, great suggestions would be portobello mushrooms, red and green bell peppers, spinach and broccoli, and even shredded carrots or a side of herb roasted breakfast potatoes.
Either way, this was an amazingly splendid part of the morning! A good hefty portion should keep a person energetic for hours!

Quinoa & Tofu Breakfast Scramble Ingredients and Preparation

1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 block tofu, dried and chopped
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 cups quinoa, cooked
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper

Set a skillet to medium heat and saute onions in olive oil.
Marinate tofu in paprika, garlic, salt, turmeric, basil, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Toss into a hot skillet.
Cover for 3-4 minutes.

Add in the quinoa and remaining ingredients.
Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
Also a great filling for burritos, this quinoa & tofu scramble is amazingly fulfilling!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Amazing Vegan Jalapeno Garlic Mozzarella Pretzels

Jalapeno Garlic Havarti &  Mozzarella baked right in these delicious pretzels.
Pretzels! Pretzels! Pretzels!
I seriously cannot get enough of making pretzels and make them at least once a month.
With no bread and leftover Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Wedges staring at me every time the refrigerator door opened, it was time to not think just sandwiches factor, but of another dough variety. It hit my head like a lightning bolt- pretzels! Let's make one of my favorite snacks, but with melted slices layered atop my traditional recipe. Also adding Mozzarella Shreds and additional sprinkles of Italian seasonings blend, these mouthwatering, chewy, cheesy twists will create a kind of habit forming and aren't called "amazing" for nothing!
Next time must amp up the flavor profile by adding tiny pieces of kick butt jalapenos for a real satisfying pretzel!

Amazing Vegan Jalapeno Garlic Mozzarella Pretzels Ingredients and Preparation

3/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup water
Daiya Jalapeno Garlic Havarti
1/4 cup Trader Joe's Mozzarella Vegan Shreds

In a small bowl, combine water, sugar, and salt.
Sprinkle the yeast atop and let sit for 5 minutes.

Knead in the flour- 1/2 cup at a time.
Add in the olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, & Italian seasonings. Keep kneading.
Place dough into a well oiled bowl & cover for an hour.
Once hour has passed, preheat oven to 420 degrees & bring baking soda & water to a boil.
Cut dough into four parts, rub between fingertips to make skinny strips, & twist into desired pretzel shape.
Stick these into the baking soda bath, one at a time for 20-30 seconds, & drip dry them before placing on baking sheet.
Layer pretzels with thin slices of Jalapeno Havarti Cheese.
Some are striped & others are covered in the wedges!
Sprinkle on mozzarella shreds & an additional does of Italian seasonings.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is a golden brown.
Cool or eat warm & hot.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Vegan Cauliflower Tempeh Gravy Over Brussels Sprouts

Brussels sprouts loved by cauliflower tempeh gravy, a pinch of Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds, & crushed red pepper!
It's one step for man and another big gigantic mile for womankind!
AfroVeganChick was included in Ms. Magazine's Feminist Vegan Blog Roll after this lovely article: The Femisphere: Foodies and Food Politics. These other vegan blogs are also worth checking out- Opinioness World, Sistah Vegan, Vegans of Color, and Queer Vegan Food!
It seems like the days of growing up on hotdogs and bologna sandwiches- traditional fare for the impoverished are behind me. Sadly, however, most of my family members, Ma especially still eats this stuff. It's cheap and convenient. Plus people like Ma were not very educated on the greener aspects of food. When she comes over, I introduce avocados (she's never ever had them and she's 50), soy burgers, sweets without dairy, and she's simply amazed. It's always such a fun time for us. To teach a parent something new is an invigorating experience and I hope that we continue exploring vegan kitchen together.
On to today's recipe- Cauliflower Tempeh Gravy, a rich hearty sauce that can be poured over mashed potatoes, biscuits, brown rice, or other vegetables. It's quite a feasible component and is especially savory and delectable atop warm steamed Brussels sprouts. 
An incredible dish with or without the addition of "cheese," but that bit of crushed red pepper makes all the difference in the world- the taste bud world that is.

Vegan Cauliflower Tempeh Gravy Over Brussels Sprouts Ingredients and Preparation

4 oz. tempeh (half a block, crumbled)
2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings blend
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup water*
3 tablespoon flour*
1 cup cauliflower, cooked
1/4 unsweetened almond milk
2 cup Brussels sprouts, cooked
pinch of crushed red pepper

Add more water for a lighter gravy & add more flour for a thicker consistency.

Preheat a skillet to medium heat and lightly oil a pan.
In a small bowl, combine crumbled tempeh with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, garlic, Italian seasonings, basil, salt, pepper, and paprika.
Toss into the pan.
Stir for 3-4 minutes.
Add water and flour.
Puree cauliflower and almond milk into a blender.
Add this mixture to the gravy.
Continue stirring and simmer.
Pour 1/3 cup or more over cooked Brussels sprouts.
Serve hot.

Meaty tempeh is a delightful component to our green miniature cabbage friends.
Not too spicy, the thick, rich gravy is just right.
Dig into the marvel.