OATrageous Oatmeals Recipe and Giveaway

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I’m super excited to be hosting Kathy Hester’s OATrageous Oatmeals blog tour today! Not only was I a recipe tester for OATrageous Oatmeals, Kathy also included one of my recipes in the book! Kathy’s here with a recipe for Veggie Oat Taco Mince, and she also has a chance for you to win a copy of the book at the end of the post.

 

I will admit that I used to really dislike oatmeal. I found it to be mushy and paste-like, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would purposely consume it. I’m not sure when or why I started forcing myself to eat it. It may have been because I was away from home and the only vegan breakfast food I could find was the oatmeal cup at Starbucks, or maybe it was when I first received my slow cooker and I was trying out different breakfast dishes. I found that adding fruit and nuts in with oats in the morning made it much more palatable. From there I began experimenting, and since then I have become a fan of oatmeal.

 

Kathy’s book OATrageous Oatmeals will make an oatmeal fan out of  any just about anyone. If only I had had this book years ago! As you would expect, it does contain quite a lot of breakfast dishes, such as Lemon Raspberry “Cheesecake” Oatmeal, Caramel Delight Oatmeal, and  Peanut Butter Pie Oatmeal, but there are also recipes for smoothies, soups, stews, dinner dishes, and desserts. Oats aren’t usually thought of as a savory food, but Kathy has gotten really creative her recipes, including dishes such as Cauliflower Oat Pizza Crust, Cajun Stuffed Bell Peppers, and Steel-Cut Oat Bean Chili. Leaving no oat unturned, Kathy  has included a few recipes for oatmeal pet treats, and there are also a couple of recipes for skin care products.

 

Without further ado, here’s Kathy with a recipe from the book!

 

taco-filling

Veggie Oat Taco Mince

by Kathy Hester from OATrageous Oatmeals

 

gluten-free, soy-free, oil-free option*

 

Steel-cut oats mimic the mouthfeel of vegan crumbles while being completely free of processed ingredients. They also add heartiness to the veggie and bean mixture. This is the perfect way to sneak in some veggies for the picky eaters in your house. My picky eater, Cheryl, loves this!

 

Makes enough for 8 tacos

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (237 ml) water
  • 1/4 cup (20 g) steel-cut oats
  • 1/4 cup (27.5 g) minced carrots
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil (*or use water to make no oil added)
  • 1/2 small onion, minced (about 1/4 cup [50 g])
  • 1/4 cup (37 g) minced green pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 (14 oz [500 ml]) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) chopped green chilies
  • 1 cup (67 g) minced kale (or other green)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 2 tablespoons (2g) to 1/4 cup (4 g)
  • cilantro, to taste
  • salt, to taste

 

Directions: 

  1. In a saucepan, bring the water, oats and carrots to a boil, then turn the heat to low. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the steel-cut oats are cooked through but still chewy. While the oats are cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until translucent, then add the green pepper, garlic and spices and cook for another 2 minutes.
  2. Once the oat mixture is cooked, add it to the saute pan and mix the oats in with the veggies. You want to keep cooking until the oats dry out some and begin to separate. Keep cooking until it starts to look like crumbles.
  3. Mix in the kidney beans, green chilies and kale. Cook until the kidney beans are thoroughly heated. Right before serving, add the lime juice, cilantro and salt. Serve in hard or soft taco shells, or in burritos. They are also amazing on top of nachos.

 

Per 1/8 recipe: Calories 87.8, protein 4.0 g, total fat 2.2 g, carbohydrates 14.6 g, sodium 108.8 mg, fiber 4.3 g

 

Feel free to leave out the beans and replace the chili powder and cumin with basil and thyme. You can also leave out the green chilies and green pepper and replace with either sliced mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes.

 

by Kathy Hester From OATrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester printed with permission of Page Street Publishing (I encourage you to use your affiliate link)

 

I have a copy of OATrageous Oatmeals for one lucky winner. Follow the instructions below to enter. US and Canadian residents only, please. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on October 1st. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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What I Ate Wednesday – The Taco Edition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Wednesday again, which means it’s time for another installment of What I Ate Wednesday! As I mentioned last week, I’ve been doing a lot of cooking from Vegan Tacos by Jason Wyrick. I have eaten non-taco food over the past week, but there didn’t seem to be too much in showing off any of those meals, so I’m dedicating this week’s post to tacos and taco-like meals.

 

Breakfast Taco SaladAfter last week’s Breakfast Tacos, I had a little bit of filling leftover, but not enough for another breakfast, so I made myself a big taco salad for lunch.

 

Tacos AmericanosI made Tacos Americanos from Vegan Tacos. Jason gave the option of using lentils or seitan, and I decided to go for the gluten. they were quite tasty.

 

Vampire TacosThe next night we made Vampire Tacos. These babies are named after the way the tortilla edges curl up like bat wings on the grill. They were so simple to make and yet so delicious.

 

Bricklayer TacosAfter trying my hand at a few taco recipes, it was time to make my own tortillas. I bought a press from Amazon, and I already happened to have some masa harina flour. Making them was much easier than I though it would be, and they were much better than any store-bought tortillas. I filled them with Jason’s Bricklayer Tacos.

 

Purple Potato TacosThe next night I used the leftover tortillas to make Tacos with Purple Potatoes and Roasted Poblanos. Yum!

 

Soyrizo TacosAfter a weekend-long taco abstinence, I found myself at Trader Joe’s on Monday looking for a quick dinner idea. I ended up picking up a package of their Soyrizo, and mixing it with a can of pinto beans and some diced tomatoes. I used their handmade tortillas and guacamole as well. This came together in a flash.

 

Taco SaladOnce again, the leftovers were eaten the next day in salad form. I could probably eat taco salad every day of the week.

 

That’s what I’ve been eating lately. What have you been cooking up?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cheesy Kale Chips

Cheesy Kale Chips

During the warm months (and it’s still pretty warm in September) I eat a lot of raw foods, and kale chips are usually my raw snack food of choice. Several years ago I even bought a dehydrator so I can make my own. Homemade kale chips are so much tastier than store-bought, and they end up being much more economical too. I’ve made so many batches of chips, I’m sure I’ve more than made up for the cost of my dehydrator by now. Two of my favorite kale chip flavors are Green Goddess made with sesame seeds and these cheesy chips made with cashews. Just a few simple ingredients transform plain kale to a super yummy snack.

Cheesy Kale Chips

Cheesy Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for two hours and drained
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 medium-sized tomato, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 large bunch of kale

 

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients except kale in a food processor or blender until smooth, adding water a tablespoon at a time if needed.
  2. Remove the stems from the kale and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, pour dressing over kale and massage the kale until it is well coated.
  4. For raw kale chips, arrange the kale in a single layer on a dehydrator tray covered with a teflex sheet. You’ll need two to four trays depending on the size of your dehydrator and the amount of kale you have. Dehydrate on 105° for six hours. Remove the teflex sheet and place the chips directly on the dehydrator tray. Return the chips to the dehydtrator for two more hours.
  5. These will disappear in a flash, but on the off chance you have some left, store them in an airtight container. If it’s humid, the chips will get soggy, but they will crisp up again after another hour or so back in the dehydrator.
  6. For cooked chips, preheat oven to 300 degrees. Arrange kale chips in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You’ll need two or three baking sheets, depending on how much kale you have. Bake until the kale chips begin to brown, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. If the chips aren’t totally dry, carefully flip them over and bake for 5 or 10 more minutes. Watch the chips closely to make sure they don’t burn.

 

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Book Review and Recipe: Plant-Powered for Life by Sharon Palmer, RDN

plant-powered-for-lifeSharon Palmer is on a mission to help you fall in love with plants. In her new book Plant-Powered for Life she conjures up images of farmers markets full of fresh, crisp vegetables, produce bins overflowing with juicy ripe fruit, and fields of fresh leafy greens. Even the most die-hard carnivore wouldn’t be able to surrender to plant-based temptation. Alongside those images of fresh produce are visions of aromatic spices, pots of freshly cooked beans, and bowls full of warm whole grains. I had just finished a rather large lunch when I settled in on the sofa with Plant-Powered for Life, which had just arrived in my mailbox from The Experiment the day before, and I wanted to jump back up, head to the kitchen, and start cooking.

 

Black Bean BrowniesPlant-Powered for Life is a health and recipe book in one, but it’s not your typical health or recipe book. Most books on vegan health are full of scientific facts and (some might say) rather boring data, with recipes tucked in at the back of the book. And there are those vegan cookbooks with that have nutritional tips sprinkled through their pages, but the facts are usually overshadowed by the food. In Plant-Powered for Life, nutrition and food find balance. In the first chapter, Ms. Palmer, who is a registered dietician, suggests you set a plant-powered goal at the beginning of the book. It can be something as simple as adding more vegetables into your diet or something more life changing, such as going vegan. In each of the book’s 52 chapters, a tip to help achieve that goal is given, with little nuggets of nutritional or culinary wisdom thrown in. This isn’t heavy reading – each suggestion is just a page or two long – and the passages are written with a love of fresh food that will inspire you to head out to the farmers market and then into the kitchen.

 

French Lentil and Cherry Tomato SaladEach chapter in Plant-Powered for Life has two or three recipes that pertain to the subject at hand. For example, the chapter that suggests adding more legumes to your diet has recipes for Caribbean Calypso Beans and French Lentil Salad with Cherry Tomatoes. The chapter dedicated to eating well on the go has recipes for Curried Tofu Papaya Wraps and Bombay Carrot, Beet and Bulgur Salad ­– both of which hold up well to travel and make for excellent workday lunch options. As the book title implies, the recipes are all for whole, unprocessed foods, with a little bit of tofu and seitan thrown in.

 

Arugula Salad Pizza

Plant-Powered for Life also has an ingredients glossary for those who may be new to plant-based cooking, recipes for vegan basics such as dairy-free sour cream and egg-free mayo, and a guide to seasonal produce, so you know always know what’s in season.

 

If you’re hoping to change your diet, you can do so with Plant-Powered for Life, simply by following a new tip each week and giving the corresponding recipes a try. If you’re looking for mouthwatering plant-based recipes, you’ll find that here too. Whatever your reason for picking up Plant-Powered for Life, be prepared to fall in love with plants.

 

Tortilla Soup

Tortilla Soup

A traditional Mexican dish, tortilla soup is a spicy blend of tomatoes, vegetables, and crisp tortilla strips. This easy plant-powered version—you can whip it up in no time—throws protein-rich black beans into the mix. Best of all, this dish relies on preserved goods, such as canned tomatoes, frozen corn, and canned beans, so you can make it year-round from your pantry. And it’s a great complement for a simple sandwich, burrito, or vegetable salad for lunch or dinner.

Makes 10 servings (generous 1 cup each)

 

Ingredients

Tortilla Strips:

  • Three 6-inch (15 cm) corn tortillas
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chili powder

Soup:

  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced 1 small jalapeño pepper, finely diced 1 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup (164 g) frozen corn
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 4 cups (948 ml) water
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium vegetable broth base
  • Two 14.5-ounce (411 g) cans diced tomatoes, with liquid
  • One 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans, with liquid (or 1-3/4 cups cooked, with 1/2 cup water)
  • 2/3 cup (37 g) plant-based cheese, optional
  • 2/3 cup (60 g) chopped green onions, white and green parts

 

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (205°C).
  2. Slice the tortillas into thin strips. Place them on a baking sheet and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of olive oil, then sprinkle the chili powder on top. Bake for about 5 to 8 minutes, until brown and crisp. Remove from oven and set aside. Turn off the oven.
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the soup by heating the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, bell pepper, jalapeño, zucchini, corn, crushed red pepper, and cumin and sauté for an additional 5 minutes.
  5. Add the water, broth base, tomatoes, and black beans. Stir well and cover. Simmer over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
  6. Ladle about 1 cup of soup into soup bowls, and garnish with a few tortilla strips, 1 tablespoon of plant-based cheese, and 1 tablespoon green onions. Serve immediately.
  7. Store leftover soup (without garnishes) in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the soup and garnish with the tortilla strips, cheese, and green onions.

 

Variation

Substitute cooked or canned white beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, or kidney beans for black beans, or use a combination.

 

Recipe from Plant-Powered for Life: Eat Your Way to Lasting Health with 52 Simple Steps and 125 Delicious Recipes, copyright © Sharon Palmer, 2014. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.

Photo credit: © Heather Poire

 
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Vegan Cheese!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWelp, I’m sort of behind in my Vegan MoFo posts. I was planning on doing food reviews every Friday, but the items that need to be reviewed are arriving faster than I can get to them! (Blogger problems, eh?)  I’m hoping to be able to catch up in October. In the meantime, I wanted to tell you about an upcoming event!

 

cheeseJenna from Good Good Things and I will be teaching a dairy-free cheese class at the Adult School of Montclair in Montclair, NJ next month. We’ll be showing students how to make snack cheeses that you can wow your holiday guests with, as well as meals that incorporate dairy-free cheese, such as baked ziti and mac & cheese.

Dairy-Free Cheeses

When: Wednesday, October 8, 7pm – 9pm

Where: St. James Episcopal Church, Monclair NJ

Website: AdultSchool.org

 

There are only a few spots left, so sign up now! Preregistration is required.

 

 

 

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Going Vegan Recipe and Giveaway

Going Vegan

Today I’m happy to have a recipe from Going Vegan by Joni Marie Newman and Gerri Lynn Adams to share with you, and I also have a chance for you to win a copy of the book!

 

As you have probably already figured out by the title, Going Vegan is a guidebook for transitioning to a vegan diet. Along with Joni Marie Newman, the book was co-authored by Gerri Lynn Adams, who has a B.S. in Food Science with an emphasis on nutrition, so the book explains not only how to go vegan, but how to do it an health healthful way. It starts out with both Joni and Gerri telling us why and how they went vegan. I always love hearing people’s “vegan stories”, and Joni and Gerri both have good ones. From there, the book delves into the reasons to go vegan, with a chapter dedicated to each: health, the environment, your wallet (because contrary to popular belief, eating vegan is not expensive), and for the animals. As you would expect from a book called Going Vegan, there’s tons of information on stocking your kitchen, from how to check for hidden animal ingredients in packaged foods to what items you should keep on hand in your pantry. And of course, there are tons of delicious recipes for easy-to-make dishes that are sure to please everyone at your dinner table.

 

Speaking of recipes, I’m sharing the recipe for Amaretto Cupcakes from Going Vegan today. Amaretto is one of my favorite things, next to chocolate, so I just couldn’t say no to these little treats!

 

Amaretto CupcakesAmaretto Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes

There are hundreds upon hundreds of kid-friendly cupcake recipes out there. This is not one of them. This sophisticated cupcake is made for grown-ups! The cupcake itself has no added fat, so if you are watching your fat, you can make these without frosting, or try chocolate ganache. For a nice decorative touch, sprinkle the tops with sliced or slivered almonds.

 

Ingredients

For cupcakes:

  • 1 cup (235 ml) almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) amaretto liqueur, such as DiSaronno (See “Veggie Bite” below.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) evaporated cane juice or vegan granulated sugar
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

For Fluffy Almond Vanilla Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (112 g) nondairy butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 to 5 cups (240 to 600 g) powdered sugar, as desired
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) amaretto liqueur, such as DiSaronno (See “Veggie Bite” below)

 

Preparation

  1. To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake papers. In a small bowl, mix almond milk and vinegar. (It will curdle and become like buttermilk.) Stir in DiSaronno or amaretto, vanilla, and evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cardamom. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir to combine. (Take care not to over mix.) Fill cupcake papers three-quarters full. Bake on center rack 18 to 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven, allow to cool enough to transfer to a cooling rack, and cool completely. (This step is important to prevent the bottoms of your cupcakes from getting soggy.) Allow to cool completely before frosting.
  3. To make the frosting: In a mixing bowl, place butter and vanilla and beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup (120 g) at a time until desired consistency is reached. (For a thinner icing use 2 to 3 cups [240 to 360 g]; for a fluffy, pipeable frosting use 4 to 5 cups [480 to 600 g].) Add liqueur 1 tablespoon (15 ml) at a time as needed to taste and for desired consistency

 

 

Veggie Bite

The big square knob on top is a sure sign that this is a classic liqueur worthy of space in any well-stocked bar. However any amaretto will certainly do the trick. Joni has also offered substitutions for people who choose not to imbibe.

 

Teetotalers rejoice! For the amaretto in the cupcakes and frosting, substitute 1 tablespoon (15 ml) almond extract mixed with 7 tablespoons (105 ml) water or additional almond milk. You can feel free to sub up to half of the flour with whole wheat pastry flour.

 

 

Read my full review of Going Vegan on ChicVegan.com, and also check out my interview with Joni Marie Newman.

 

 

Follow the instructions below for a chance to win a copy of Going Vegan. Contest ends at midnight eastern time on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014. Good luck!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 
 

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What I Ate Wednesday

SquirrelsIt’s time for another edition of What I Ate Wednesday! I can tell the weather is changing, if from nothing else but my food choices. While I have had some of my usual salads and sandwiches over the last week, I’ve actually used the stove! (Gasp!) I’ve been trying to catch up on some of the many, many cookbooks that have beens net to me for review over the past month or so, and since it’s still pretty pleasant out, I’ve also done some grilling. Here’s a sampling of what I’ve eaten over the past week:

 

Mushroom StroganoffFrom Isa Does It I made Mushroom and Tofu Stroganoff. This is not a new cookbook I just received, but I was craving something warm and creamy on a cold and rainy day last week, so reached for this book, which hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

 

BurgerI made at trip to Trader Joe’s last week, and I picked up their yummy tofu burgers as well as some sprouts on the stalk, so we grilled them up over the weekend. Grilled Brussels sprouts are the best.

 

Grilled SproutsHere’s a before and after of those sprouts.

 

Grilled Eggplant SandwichWe also made grilled eggplant sandwiches, along with grilled “baked” potatoes and broccoli slaw. I’ve been buying the broccoli slaw mix from Trader Joe’s, but lately the pieces have been a little too stick-like and difficult to chew, so I need to remember to stick to coleslaw in the future.

 

Tofu and Blackbean RancherousI recently received Nava Atlas’s Plant Power, so I’ve been cooking my way through it. (Actually, if I cooked my way through it, it would probably take a year.) I started with Tofu and Black Bean Rancherous. This is similar to a recipe Nava had in Vegetarian Times several years ago, so I already knew I would love it.

 

NachosAlso from Plant Power was the recipe for Fully Loaded Emergency Nachos with homemade Vegan Sour Cream. Trust me, there are chips under that delicious, delicious mess.

 

Thai Salad WrapsThai-Flavored Salad Wraps are another recipe from Plant Power. This was supposed to be a wrap, but the wrap didn’t want to wrap, so I piled more stuff on it and made it a salad on a tortilla.

 

BBQ Chickpea SandwichesThe final recipe I made from Plant Power was for Barbecue Chickpea Sandwiches. This was quite the tasty lunchtime treat.

 

Breakfast TacosFrom Jason Wyrick’s Vegan Tacos I made Breakfast Tacos, and I came the realization that every day should start off with tacos.

 

Tacos AmericanosAlso from Vegan Tacos were super delicious Tacos Americanos made with seitan.  I have a few more recipes dog-earred for upcoming meals, so expect to see more tacos next week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Seitan Gyro with Tahini Sauce

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I never had a gyro in my meat-eating days, so I’m not 100% what they taste like. They seemed to me to be some sort of flesh smothered in some sort of dairy-laden sauce, but don’t quote me on that. My first gyro was one that I made myself, using a recipe from Nava Atlas’s book Vegan Express, which used to be my go-to cookbook. I made the dish so many times that I no longer look at the book and ingredients and measurements have changed, so this is my recipe, based on Nava’s. Most vegan gyro recipes I’ve seen are served with dairy-free tzatziki sauce, but since I’ve never had dairy tzatziki, I don’t feel comfortable veganizing it. Instead, I serve my gyros with my favorite tahini dressing, which I use for just about everything.

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Seitan Gyro with Tahini Sauce

Ingredients: 

For the Tahini Dressing

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the Gyro

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped (about half a cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 8 ounce package of seitan, sliced (I used Upton’s Traditional Seitan)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pita breads or flat breads
  • 4 cups romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup cucumber, chopped
  • 1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped, optional

 

Directions:

For the Tahini Dressing

  1. Mix all ingredients together until smooth.
  2. Set aside until ready to use. Sauce will thicken after sitting for a while. Add water when ready to use, if necessary.

For the Gyro

  1. Heat the olive oil in a medium sized pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until it becomes translucent and fragrant.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  3. Add the seitan to the pan and cook for about 10 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the seitan browns and the edges begin to crisp. Remove from heat.
  4. Place the flat breads or pitas on a plate and top (or stuff) with the lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, and olives. Divide the seitan equally among each sandwich and top with the tahini and parsley.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4

 

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Book Review: Vegan Finger Foods

Vegan-Finger-FoodsFinger foods are, well, food you eat with your fingers. Sometimes called “tapas” or “small plates,” and they can even be appetizers. The recipes in Vegan Finger Foods by Celine Steen and Tamasin Noyes are perfect for serving at parties, taking with you to potlucks, or to eat yourself as a light meal or snack.

 

Tempeh SkewersVegan Finger Foods explores the many types of bite-size munchies – from elegant to casual and savory to sweet. The book’s recipes are divided into 4 chapters: Veggie-Centric Finger Feasts, Stuffed and Dipped, Bread-Based Bites, and Sweet Little Somethings. Veggie-Centric Finger Feasts is a chapter where vegetables are the main star. There you’ll find recipes for such veggie-based treats as Rainbow Root Veggie Chips, Marinated Mushrooms, and Kale Cucumber Cups. In Stuffed and Dipped, you find recipes for all kinds of snacks that are stuffed with a tasty filling as well as delicious dips and sauces. Some standouts in this chapter are the Baked Mini Frittatas, Baked Buffalo Tofu Bites, and the Nacho Sauce Dip. The Bread-Based Bites chapter is full of recipes for crackers, breads, scones, and sandwiches. In Sweet Little Somethings, you’ll find lots of recipes for sweet treats, such as Better Buckeyes, Vanilla Cream Tartlets, and Brownie Nut Butter Cups.

 

Potato SkinsVegan Finger Foods arrived in April, shortly after I had major surgery, and I couldn’t quite make it into the kitchen to start cooking yet. I had originally planned on making some of the dishes in Vegan Finger Foods for a little birthday party I had in June, but I still didn’t really have the energy for it, so I set it aside for when I was feeling better. Once I started to feel like my old self again, I decided to tackle the book, and it’s a good thing I waited, because I just couldn’t stop myself from cooking more! Everything I made was eaten at home for dinner rather than served as party fare, and I discovered that the book’s recipes have a great amount of versatility to them. Rather than making The Jamaican Jerk Tempeh Skewers on toothpicks and serving them as an appetizer, I made them on large bamboo sticks and had them as the main dish for a dinner outside. Nacho Potato Skins are usually served as a snack or party dish, but I swapped the russet potatoes for sweet potatoes and served them for dinner, alongside a large salad. I made the mayo-based Pantry Raid Ranch Dip and used it as a sandwich spread rather than a dip.

 

Baked Jalapeño PoppersTwo of my favorite recipes in Vegan Finger Foodswere the Baked Jalapeños and Corn Fritters. Back in my cheese-eating vegetarian days, I probably ate my body weight in jalapeño poppers, but I haven’t had them in at least 13 years now. In this much healthier recipe, jalapeños are filled with a rich “cheese” made with cashews and white beans, and coated in a crunchy “batter” made with cornflakes and panko breadcrumbs. The Corn Fritters come together so quickly and easily that it would have been silly of menot to make them. Instead of making 16 small fritters as the recipe suggests, I made 6 larger ones, and I had to stop myself from eating them straight out of the pan.

 

Corn FrittersI know I say this often when reviewing a book, but there really is something for everyone in Vegan Finger Foods. Whether you’re planning a big bash and are looking for delicious finger foods to create a buffet with, hosting a tapas dinner party, or are just looking for some tasty munchies to enjoy by yourself, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. The book is also full of Celine Steen’s gorgeous photos, which will have everyone drooling.

 

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Nava Atlas Guest Post, Recipe and Giveaway

Plant power

I’m super excited to be hosting Nava Atlas on her Plant Power blog tour today. Nava’s cookbooks were among the first I bought when I went vegan, and because of them, I found going vegan to be relatively easy. I wish I had a copy of Nava’s new book Plant Power back when I made the transition to vegan (or even vegetarian) eating, as it’s packed with tons of tips on how to transition to plant-based eating, and it’s full of delicious, yet simple recipes. Plant Power focuses on the basics, from setting up a plant-powered pantry and fridge to choosing the best fresh foods for each season and streamlining daily meal preparation. Whether it’s a stir-fry using leftover veggies in the crisper, a fajita dinner to please different taste buds, yummy hummus wraps, or a pot of chili to savor on a cold winter evening, Plant Power takes the challenge out of meal-planning and makes it fun. Each of the fresh and flavor-packed recipes is easy to make and customizable, with tips on variations from turning up the heat and mixing up ingredients, to kid-friendly, gluten-free, and seasonal options.

 

Nava’s here today with a guest post, a recipe from Plant Power, and a chance to win a copy of her book. Without further ado, here’s Nava…

 

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Favorite Cookware and Tools for the Plant-Based Kitchen

The plant-powered kitchen need not be magazine-gorgeous and outfitted with the latest gadgets and appliances. These things would be nice, of course, but they’re not required to create delicious meals. Still, an assortment of basic tools can make life in the kitchen easier and, in some cases, more enjoyable. Just as with pantry items, you don’t have to run out and buy all these items at once—or at all. These are tools I enjoy having in my kitchen and that you might, too, as as you begin to enjoy more plant-based meals. Everyone has their favorite kitchen helpers; for me, these first four items are must-haves:

Food processor: A food processor’s multiple uses—chopping, grating, and pureeing— make it your best friend among kitchen tools. If you get one of the name brands and take care of it, it may outlive you! I’ve had the same Cuisinart food processor for at least fifteen years, and it shows little sign of slowing down.

Wire whisk or coated wire whisk: This inexpensive tool helps make sauces, dressings, and gravies, and it helps when cooking fine grains (such as polenta) to lump-free textures. For cake and pancake batters that come out smooth without overbeating, a whisk is a must.

Kitchen shears: Shears, or kitchen scissors, have endless uses in the kitchen—cutting long Asian noodles, thinly slicing scallions and basil leaves, opening packages, even cutting pizza into wedges if you don’t have a pizza wheel.

Stir-fry pan: This type of wok-shaped pan will serve you well if you enjoy making stir- fries. It’s easier to deal with, in many ways, than a traditional wok—from cleaning to storage. If you make plenty of dishes involving quick-cooked veggies, you’ll get a lot of use from a good stir-fry pan. The one made by Circulon, with a hard-anodized surface, has served me well. Here are a few more items that are quite useful; while they’re not absolute necessities, having any of them adds to the ease and enjoyment of your life in the kitchen!

Immersion blender: If you have no room for a full-fledged blender, or don’t want to spring for one, an immersion blender can do a lot of the same tricks. My favorite way to use it is for pureeing soups in the same pot in which they cook. With it, there’s no need to transfer hot ingredients in and out of a food processor or blender. Easy to use, even easier to clean, and costing a fraction of what a food processor or blender costs, immersion blenders like this one by Cuisinartare also good for making smoothies and velvety sauces.

Pizza pan or pizza stone: A pizza pan is nothing more than a large round pan designed for baking pizzas. And a pizza stone is just that—a smooth round stone used for the same purpose. A stone ensures crisper crusts and is more tolerant of sharp pizza wheels. With veggie-driven pizzas in regular rotation in our home, both these tools have seen much use. If you like to make pizza, they won’t break the bank.

Salad spinner: A salad spinner isn’t an absolute must have. Even as a huge fan of salads of all kinds, I did without one for a long time. But once I finally got one and started using it, I was sold! I regret all those paper towels I wasted, blotting delicate leaves for salads and wraps and pressing liquid from kale before massaging it or making kale chips. Asalad spinner works kind of like the spin cycle in your washing machine, except that it needs no electricity.

Nut chopper or grinder: I enjoy my nut chopper, which grinds a few nuts at a time into a container, making the process easy and neat. While you can definitely live without it, nut enthusiasts will enjoy this item. It’s handy for turning nuts into a tasty topping for noodle dishes, grains, salads, and cereals.

Tofu press: Despite the fact I’ve been using and enjoying tofu for ages, this is the most recent addition to my roster of favorite kitchen tools. Tofu presses are simple devices using springs or tightening bolts to extract water from tofu efficiently, without any further weights and using no paper towels whatsoever! I enjoy both theEZ Tofu Press and the TofuXpress, which work a bit differently from each other but are both quite handy.

Produce keepers: Especially in the summertime, when garden are bursting with greens and farm market season is in full swing, produce keepers (such as the ones pictured in the first photo above) really do extend the life of produce. Of course, it’s ideal to use produce as soon as possible after you harvest or purchase it, but these kinds of containers extend freshness when need be.

 

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Black Bean Tostadas

A tostada is a crisp tortilla piled generously with any variety of toppings, often including beans, crisp lettuce, and salsa. Good accompaniments include: baked potatoes or sweet potatoes; or fresh corn on the cob. Add a salad and/or a simple steamed veggies, you’ve got an easy weeknight meal or fun quick fare to serve company.

 

Serves: 4 (2 tostadas per serving)

 Ingredients:

  • 8 good-quality corn tortillas
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or 3 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
  • 1 medium onion or two shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Two 15-to 16-ounce cans black beans, drained and rinsed,
or 3 to 3 1/2 cups cooked black beans
  • Juice of 1/2 lime or lemon, or more, to taste
  • 1 to 2 small hot green chili peppers, seeded and sliced, optional
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

Garnishes:

  • Shredded lettuce, baby greens, or baby spinach
  • Plenty of mild, medium, or hot chunky salsa, such as chipotle, peach or mango
  • Store-bought or homemade Vegan Sour Cream or Cashew Cream

Directions:

To toast the torillas in the oven: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the tortillas on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp and dry and just starting to be touched with golden brown spots. Remove them from the oven and place on a serving platter.

To toast the tortillas on a stovetop: Heat a large skillet. Toast the tortillas over medium heat (two or three at a time, depending on the size of the skillet) for about 5 minutes or so on each side, until crisp and touched with golden brown spots. Don’t be afraid to let them get nice and crisp—that’s better than ending up with a soggy tostada.

Heat the oil, broth, or water in medium skillet. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until golden, about 5 minutes.

Add the remaining ingredients (aside from the garnishes, of course) along with 1/4 cup water and bring to a simmer. Using a potato masher, mash some of the beans so that the liquid becomes thick and saucy.

Place the shredded lettuce, sour cream, and salsa in separate serving bowls and let everyone assemble their tostadas as follows: A layer of shredded lettuce; the black bean mixture; salsa; and sour cream. Pick up the tostadas and eat out of hand (with plenty of napkins!).

 

Recipe and excerpt from Plant Power: Transform Your Kitchen, Plate, and Life with More Than 150 Fresh and Flavorful Vegan Recipes by Nava Atlas. ©2014, published by HarperOne, reprinted by permission. Photos by Hannah Kaminsky. 

 

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