Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Garlic Spice And Everything Nice Roasted Chickpeas

Crunchy, tasty chickpeas perfect for snacking and salad topping!
It's sayonara to April, a month of infinite rain showers.
Now May is coming along hopefully with promised flowers, sunny delight (not that artificial orange stuff), Mother's Day,  my mother's birthday, and Virtual Vegan Potluck! Busy. Busy. Busyyyyyy!
For a yummy little snack that is an excellent addition to summer picnic baskets by itself or atop of crisp green lettuce and vegetables, look no further than roasted chickpeas! These little nuggets are seasoned with sweet and spicy flavor kissed by garlic flare.
If there's no popcorn or potato chips or no carrots, roasted chickpeas will rescue any munchy appetite!

Garlic Spice And Everything Nice Roasted Chickpeas Ingredients and Preparation

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and lightly spray or apply baking sheet with parchment paper.
After draining and rinsing chickpeas, dry them off with a towel, soaking as much extra wetness as possible.
In a small bowl, combine chickpeas with olive oil, garlic powder, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, salt, and black pepper.
Scatter them onto cookie sheet and bake for 30-45 minutes, watch in the last few minutes, making sure they're browned and not blackened!

A few burnt ones, but other than that- chickpea heaven meant to be shared!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding

Whipped creamy chocolate richness in a single serving treat.
Two puddings in a roll?
Why yes!
That sounds like a splendid idea!
Unlike the first attempt of chocolate pudding with avocados, this second effort sans raspberries includes banana, coconut milk, and dates for a deliciously whipped, purely mouthwatering sweet heaven for an oh so smooth and luxurious after dinner dessert.
Silky and velvety, the spoon won't stop digging in until the bowl is wiped clean!
For extra texture and chocolate appeal feel free to add vegan chocolate or carob chips!

Vegan Chocolate Avocado Pudding Ingredients and Preparation

2/3 cup dates, soaked for an hour in 1 cup water
1 ripened avocado
1 ripened banana
1/3 cup cocoa
1/2 cup lite coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
handful sliced almonds

Drain some of the date water and puree.
Add the remaining ingredients save for the almonds, using functions mix and whip primarily.
Spoon out and top with almonds.

Extra cinnamon for spice and pizazz!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Vegan Carrot Coconut Cake Pudding

My alma mater would appreciate me putting my graduation mug to good use!
Who doesn't love carrot cake? Yum! Yum! Yum!
Back in the old pre-vegan days, I lazily assumed that carrots being nestled inside cake meant it must be a much healthier option and excessively engorged on my chosen restaurant dessert.
Unfortunately that orange yummy goodness was often piled high in deathly over sugared cream cheese icing and little painted frosting carrots. 
Well, I created a less guilty, easy peasy recipe that skips the oven and heads straight into a bowl or mug flavored. Most of the traditional carrot cake (sorry cream cheese!) batter plus banana comes into a lovely creamy pudding with distinctive coconut texture added to the mix.

Vegan Carrot Coconut Cake Pudding Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup carrots, steamed and chilled
1/2 cup lite coconut milk, refrigerated
1/4 cup hazelnuts or walnuts, ground finely
1 ripened banana
2 teaspoon agave nectar (or 1/4 cup raisins or 1/4 cup dates)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Grind nuts into a blender or food processor.
Add softened carrots, coconut milk, and banana and puree it all together.
Whip in agave nectar, shredded coconut, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and turmeric.

Rich, creamy, nutty, & sweet pudding that makes for a most yummy dessert!
A sprinkle of coconut & carrot pieces add flair. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chipotle Inspired Black Beans & Cilantro Lemon Rice

Black beans & cilantro lemon rice are especially wonderful when homemade.
I haven't eaten out much these days in order to save money, not just to survive a very rough economy, but also to prepare for my big summer move from small town Ohio to Philadelphia. It's an ample amount of work and change happening in my personal world, but my experimental kitchen houses another story.
One of my favorite cheap eateries is Chipotle and this recipe is a celebratory dish of that fascinating concoction of that uniquely harmonized cilantro lemon rice dancing together with black beans. Roma tomatoes and chopped avocado are little spiritual odes to main ingredients of salsa and guacamole.
Simple to make and with similar quality, it doesn't break the bank!

Chipotle Inspired Black Beans & Cilantro Lemon Rice Ingredients and Preparation

1 cup brown rice
1/4 cup cilantro
2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
1 diced Roma tomato
1/2 cup Trader Joe's Vegan Mozzarella Shreds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 ripened avocado, sliced

In a medium heated saucepan, warm up olive oil.
Stir in onions and garlic.
Add black beans and tomato.
Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
Turn off heat and mix in rice mixture along with vegan cheese.
Place avocado atop.

A delicious meal good in & out of a burrito!
Who needs take out?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fruit & Avocado Lime Salad

Just a delicious blending together of fruity goodness.
On warm days like these, alongside a bottle of iced water, cold refreshing fruit salad is a great, hydrating way to get replenished. Simple and easy to make, no cooking involved and with sweet fruits like juicy grapes, tart strawberries, plump blueberries, and tasty bananas, this salad swirled via avocado lime dressing is the perfect picnic packer!

Fruit & Avocado Lime Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 small ripened avocado
juice and zest 2 limes
2 teaspoon agave nectar

2 cup green grapes
1 cup blueberries
8 strawberries, sliced
2 bananas, sliced
2 teaspoon lemon juice
3 tablespoon flax seed

Hand mix fruit and lemon juice together.
Mix avocado, lime, and agave nectar and pour into a squeeze bottle.
Squeeze over the mixed fruit.
Top with flax seeds and mix.
Refrigerate until desired chillness.

Include any desired fruits- grapes, strawberries, blueberries, & bananas happen to be my favorites!
Very tantalizing, is it not?
For added texture almonds were a nice touch. Walnuts are also a great idea/

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Vegan Avocado Vanilla Chai Cream French Toast

Creamy ripened avocado & Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai combine for an out of this world breakfast topping!

I have been meaning to create a French Toast recipe for a while now and still up high on the list is Megan's strawberry banana stuffed recipe that will be tried soon.
Better late than never right?
Atop of my very first vegan French Toast is a thick, rich delight that only avocados can bring. I'm not cheating on chocolate (my taste bud's one true destiny), but love, love, looooveeeee avocados in both savory and sweet dishes and desired to have that yummy green flair in a uniquely captivating way. Added to cream and bread, Bolthouse Farm's Vanilla Soy Chai brings an additional flavor that is just too good to be true.
Who needs to wash spoons and whisks when the tongue is honored to do the job! Just kidding....
An amazing dish perfect for breakfast and brunch!

Vegan Avocado Vanilla Chai Cream French Toast Ingredients and Preparation


1 ripened avocado
1/3 cup Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea
3 teaspoon agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger

French Toast

1 tablespoon olive or coconut oil
2/3 cup Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Chai Tea
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
4 slices crusty bread
3 strawberries, sliced (optional)
handful of hazelnuts (optional)

Whisk avocado, chai tea, agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon, & ginger together. Work until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
Heat and oil up a skillet on medium high temperature.
Mix chai tea, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and white pepper together.
Dunk in the bread, evenly coating each side with liquid.
Toss into the skillet and cover.
Turn when beautifully browned.
Repeat steps.

Top with generous amounts of cream, strawberries, & hazelnuts.
Extra cinnamon is also a plus.
Enjoy very, very slowly.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Vegan Tempeh Soba Noodle Stir Fry

Soba noodles have a touch of Pad Thai flair with lime wedges, nuts, & cilantro.
I didn't have all the necessary ingredients to make a genuine Pad Thai, like tamarind sauce, but this made for an interesting complement of flavors. The Soba buckwheat noodles are a recently new grocery purchase and they cook similar to ramen, taking so little time to prepare and have far less sodium. At $3.39 each, I thought to finally trying them out and found modestly designed packages in the Asian cuisine section, far below the coconut milks and such. Cannot wait to try out all varieties!
Balanced in the myriad of flavor profiles, this ode to Thai features succulent tempeh, a light sauce, citrus-y lime love, and crunchy nutty layering noodles perfectly. Very delicious and quite simple to make!

Vegan Tempeh Soba Noodle Stir Fry Ingredients and Preparation

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup diced red onion
4 oz. tempeh, cubed
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper

1/2 package Hakubaku Organic Soba Japanese Buckwheat Noodles
1 cup steamed vegetables (used broccoli and carrots)
1 1/2 teaspoon Bragg's Liquid Aminos Soy Sauce Alternative
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ginger
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
handful cilantro
juice and wedges of 2 limes
1/2 cup nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts)

Prepare tempeh first.
Heat up a skillet on medium heat with olive oil and and hand mix tempeh cubes in chopped onion, garlic powder, turmeric, ginger, cumin, salt, and black pepper.
Pour tempeh into the skillet and cover.
Turn over repeatedly, making sure its light to dark brown on each cooked side.
Takes 10-15 minutes.
In a little bowl, combine soy sauce alternative, turmeric, ginger, garlic, agave nectar, basil, garam masala, and black black pepper and set aside.

Look at what's new!
Soba Buckwheat Noodles take only 4 minutes to prepare.
Stir in steamed vegetables to cooked noodles. Add tempeh, sauce, cilantro, and squeezed lime juice.
Top with nuts and lime wedges.
Ready to eat!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vegan Pesto, Mushroom, And Mozzarella Pizza

Buffy (pictured on Penguin's Penguin Car), Xander, & Willow are all slaying for a slice!
What more can I say on that?
It's so much fun making them! Except well, not exactly doing the cartoon style traditional version of hand tossing homemade dough into the air without hitting the ceiling. Nope. Not at that pro stage just yet. 
But if I do get there, will most certainly have to brag.
Today's pesto, combined with half of hazelnuts and half pine nuts for a flavor that is nutty, hearty flavor, has the added benefit of one Roma tomato and flax seeds- a truly sensational ingredient that I've added to everything from breakfast oatmeal and smoothies to pasta and rice toppings. It seems not to disturb tastes of my recipes, but is packed with nutritional benefits like fiber (7 grams of it in each 3 tablespoon serving!)and protein (6 grams!).
Topped with sliced portobello mushrooms and a sprinkle of mozzarella, this yummy "green" pizza is just another keeper!

Vegan Pesto, Mushroom, & Mozzarella Pizza Ingredients and Preparation

handmade or store bought dough is fine


1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2/3 cup basil leaves
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
3 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon garlic
1 diced Roma tomato
pinch salt and black pepper

8 sliced portobello mushrooms
1 1/2 cup Trader Joe's Mozzarella Style Shreds
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasonings

Preheat oven to 420 degrees.
Grease or parchment paper baking sheet or pizza pan.
Grind pine nuts and hazelnuts into a blender or food processor. 

Layer on the pesto.
Top with mushroom slices.
Douse with vegan mozzarella shreds, dried basil, & Italian Seasonings. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
Doesn't this look amazing?
A little sprinkle of crushed red pepper makes it ready to eat...

Sunday, April 14, 2013

German Chocolate Dessert Oatmeal

Oatmeal is that you? You're virtually unrecognizable!
Sometimes I wake up craving cake, but don't have the energy necessary to bake in the A.M. 
So manipulating oatmeal to suit chocoholic desires for that cake I'm too lazy to create, I boiled my lovely pot of typical almond milk (any nondairy milk alternative will do here too), added oats, sweetness, and seasonings and topped it all off shredded coconut (which can be toasted if desired), a blend of nuts, and sadly the last of sweet miniature chocolate chips for a reminiscent appealing taste of German Chocolate yum. Deliciously engaging and filled with enticing, flavorful textures, this oatmeal is a real morning pick me up! 

German Chocolate Dessert Oatmeal Ingredients and Preparation

2 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ginger
pinch of salt
1/2 cup walnuts & pecans
1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
handful Enjoy Life Food's miniature chocolate chips (or any other brand)

Bring milk to a boil.
Stir in the rolled oats, cocoa powder, agave nectar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.
Cook for 5 minutes.
Pour oatmeal into a bowl and top with remaining ingredients.

Bliss for any chocoholic.
Can one really handle all this in a single bowl? Doubt it. :D

Friday, April 12, 2013

Vegan Cauliflower Walnut Grilled Cheddar Cheese Sandwiches & Avocado Roma Tomato Soup

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day!
Happy National Grilled Cheese Day everyone!!!
I hope that everyone has had an amazing adventure time making all kinds of unique sandwiches for today's coveted joy over one of the greatest lunchtime combinations since peanut butter met jelly, especially my creative vegan peeps! Woot!
Who doesn't enjoy a light, crispy well seasoned bread with gooey cheese spilling from it's hot depths?
For this guilty pleasure "holiday" celebration, I tucked in my veggie favorites, crafting a nutty cauliflower walnut spread (just cauliflower cream thickened) atop of oozing melted Daiya cheddar wedge, red onion, and fresh spinach for my drool-worthy grilled cheese blend and a rich, flavorful few ingredient avocado tomato soup that must be split amongst two.

Avocado Roma Tomato Soup

2 Roma tomatoes
1 ripened avocado
2/3 cup vegetable stock ( used an unsalted variety)
1 teaspoon cilantro
juice from one lime
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional if using a sodium stock)
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Puree tomatoes, avocado, and vegetable stock together.
Heat into a small saucepan with remaining ingredients for 5-10 minutes.
Simmer. for an additional 3 minutes.

Caulflower Walnut Spread

1 cup cauliflower, cooked
1 cup walnuts, grounded
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon almond milk
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

slice Daiya cheddar cheese
slice of red onion
bunch of fresh spinach leaves
olive oil
2 teaspoon Italian Seasonings Blend

Grind walnuts.
Add cooked cauliflower and remaining spread ingredients in a blender.

Spread about a generous tablespoon cauliflower walnut yumminess on one side of bread & the other side with spinach leaves, Daiya cheddar wedge, & red onion.
Sprinkle olive oil & Italian Seasonings Blend on both outer sides of the bread. Brown on both sides, lid covering the entire "grilling" process.
Serve with soup.
Is there no richer, creamier, cheesier meal?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Curried Tofu, Portobello Mushroom, & Garbanzo Bean Stir Fry

Meaty portobello mushrooms, tofu cubes, & garbanzo beans come together  flavored with Indian spices.
It's become a major habit, but I'm starting to enjoy cases of "How To Sync These Random Ingredients."
As an avid procrastinator, not quite sure if I love that fact, grocery store shopping is always put on minor hiatus. Fridge and pantry often have condiments and spices galore, but not enough requirements to make something satisfactory and fulfilling. The kitchen then turns into a battleground for an episode of vegan Chopped with both good and bad results. (It happens so much that I'm actually considering making a Youtube web series of this!)
Today's recipe is a very delicious meal woven from the threads of potential catastrophe. The "meaty" texture of portobello mushrooms joins gently spiced miniature tofu chunks and protein enriched garbanzo beans for an amazingly compelling belly filler. After one bite, I gobbled like a happy turkey I kid you not! 
Now for other variations do feel free to add coconut milk (if you have any) for a rich curry and a side of basmati rice for balance.

Curried Tofu, Mushroom, & Garbanzo Bean Stir Fry Ingredients and Preparation

1/2 cup extra firm tofu (half a block), cubed
1 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 tablespoon coconut oil (or olive oil is fine)
2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 15oz garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 teaspoon each of garam masala, turmeric, ginger, cumin, and coriander
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Coconut oil a pan on medium heat.
Add in the mushrooms.
Hand mix tofu in garam masala, curry powder, basil, turmeric, and garlic. 
Stir tofu with the mushrooms, turning every 5-7 minutes and covering.
After fifteen minutes, mix in the garbanzo beans, extra spices, salt, and white pepper.
Drizzle lemon juice, stir, cover, and let cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Stirring dinner.
Little sprigs of cilantro to top it off! For extra spice add a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Warm Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, & Quinoa Salad With Avocado Tahini Dressing

A hearty salad with a tangy, creamy dressing perfect for packing along spring picnics.
The weather is finally turning blissful and you know what that means- picnic basket goodies!
Nothing is more fun than stuffing delicious meals to take outdoors, especially foods that can take on the heat! I remember one sole picnic being at the park in my neighborhood. On those brown wooden rectangular tables, Ma laid out a plain tablecloth and brought out food meant to be shared amongst my siblings and me. Such an exciting moment!
Now my spring/summer picnics won't be ladled with hotdog buns and soda, but healthier alternatives that make warm seasons all the more splendid. Today's recipe is a terrific green and orange colored salad mixing yumminess of Brussels sprouts and carrots with fulfilling quinoa and a cilantro butt kicking avocado tahini dressing.

Warm Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, & Quinoa Salad Ingredients and Preparation

12 oz. Brussels sprouts, frozen
1 1/2 cup diced carrots, steamed
1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
Bring Brussels sprouts to a boil and quinoa to a simmer.
Steam carrots until soft and tender.
Combine Brussels sprouts, quinoa, and carrots into a medium bowl.
Stir in turmeric, garlic, basil, salt, and black pepper.

Avocado Tahini Dressing Ingredients and Preparation

1 ripened avocado
2 tablespoon tahini
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar*
1 tablespoon cilantro
2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic

*add more apple cider vinegar or a tablespoon of olive oil for a lighter dressing

Evenly combine all ingredients into a blender or food processor.

Stir in the dressing.
Serve. Topped with walnuts for a crisp, flavorful texture. Optional of course!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wicked Vegan Cauliflower Tahini Cream Sauce

Something enticingly wicked this way comes....
An almost cheese style pasta sauce came into fruition.
My traditional cauliflower puree mixed in the depths of  strong, nutty flavored tahini and a pinch of something new- white pepper. It's a bit more powerful than its black speckled relative, meaning the sneeze factor is much more intense. Maybe I used a bit too much, but my nose was itching like crazy! The plus side is that when making "cheese" sauces, white pepper will make for a clever disguise.
Thick, smooth and oh so savory, this latest whipped version of dairy free cauliflower cream sauce is a quick and easy remedy to the naked pasta dilemma.
Trust me- no one would ever regret tasting such a choice.

Wicked Vegan Cauliflower Tahini Cream Sauce Ingredients And Preparation*

1 1/2 cup cauliflower
1/3 cup unsalted tahini
1.4 cup unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoon nutritional yeast
2 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
dash black pepper

* sauce makes enough for 1/2-1 lb cooked pasta

After cooking cauliflower, drain and our into a blender or food processor.
Add remaining ingredients and puree into a lovely thick cream.
Serve atop hot pasta.

Stirred evenly with whole wheat penne and delightful green peas, this rich creamy sauce brought a deliciously devilish component to pasta night.