Recipe Review: Cauli-power Fettuccine “Alfredo”

As I breifly mentioned in my last post, I’ve made some changes to my diet, which include lowering my daily fat intake. So, when I saw Angela’s recipe for alfredo sauce made with cauliflower come through my in-box, I was all about it!

As luck would have it, Whole Foods had organic cauliflower on sale, so I picked up a couple of heads and Cauli-power Fettuccine Alfredo was moved to the top of the dinner menu.

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I’ve been using corn pasta, or a combo of corn and some other gluten-free grains, and I’ve been pretty happy with the outcome. The taste is good; the texture is good, and I don’t feel all vibratey after eating a big ol’ bowl of pasta like I do when I eat regular semolina pasta. So, for this recipe, I used the pasta I had in the pantry, which was a bag of rigatoncini. I figured that shape and style would work fine with this sauce because of the lines – and I was right. Woot!

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I was a little worried the sauce would come out watery because of my previous attempts at using cauliflower in sauces and soups. (Hello. How do people think mashed cauliflower tastes anything like my beloved mashed potatoes?!) But, surprise surprise, the sauce was super thick and creamy and delicious!

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I ended up adding a little extra nutritional yeast (because I always do), and I waited to add any salt until the individual servings. (I’m making a conscious effort to reduce my sodium intake.) I also skipped the sauteed onions (If you keep them in, please try sauteing them with water, not oil.) and just added granulated garlic and onion powder to the mix. And, I had plain soy milk open already, so I used that for the non-dairy milk. I think using a thicker non-dairy milk like soy or hemp is probably a good idea, although Angela used almond milk.

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I also added some broccoli to my dish. I just tossed in w/ the pasta as it cooked, and eight minutes later, they were both done. Yummy add for no extra work! (Well, except for the little bit of chopping required to get the broccoli florettes off their stems.)

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Other than those few tweaks, I followed the recipe exactly. I even  followed the suggested order of boiling the cauliflower first then making the sauce and letting it sit while I boiled the pasta and broccoli. After I drained the pasta/broccoli mix, I added it back to the hot pan on the still warm burner and poured in the sauce, stirred, and ate!

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I will definitely make this recipe again! One thing I will keep in mind, though, is the sauce really soaks into the pasta as it sits, so the next day, the pasta is a bit mushy, and the sauce is even more bland. I ground on a bit more salt and plowed through my next-day plate, but I kept wishing I’d added some fresh tomatoes or onions or something to brighten it up. (My husband thought adding a little bit of non-dairy milk might help revive things a bit, but I’d already eaten all of the left-overs before he suggested it. Ha!)

 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies – Overt Fat Free

I need to write a post about the current state of my diet, but long story short, I’ve gotten a handle on my moving + holiday eating frenzy and feel like I’m in a good place right now. Basically, I’m eating within a ration of 80% carbohydrates and 10% each fat and protein. And while my diet is high raw, it is not all raw, so it’s not the 80-10-10 of The 80-10-10 Diet – just the ratio.

Back to why we’re here today…I made cookies!

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Yup. Delicious, nutritious, overt-fat-free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies made with only four ingredients (five if you count the optional cinnamon) and sweetened only with fruit. 80-10-10 for the win!

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Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (Overt Fat Free)

2 c old fashioned oats

1/2 c super thick date paste

1 medium banana, mashed (about 1/4 c)

1/4-1/2 c raisins (soaked if dry)

1 tsp cinnamon (optional)

First, make date paste by blending soaked dates. Try not to use any of the date soaking water, so the paste is extra thick and sticky. Then, mash the banana using a fork (or pulse it in a mini-chopper). Don’t blend it because the liquid banana will add liquid to the dough.

Add oats and cinnamon to a bowl. Stir to combine. (Optional: Add a dash of salt.) Add mashed banana and date paste. Stir to combine. Add raisins. Stir to incorporate. [If  dough is too dry, add more date paste.]

Scoop dough onto a parchment or Paraflexx lined dehydrator tray. [I used an ice cream scooper.] Use the back of a spoon to flatter the cookies into desired thickness. Shape edges for prettier cookies (and so no little bits dry and fall off).

Dehydrate at 145F for about 30 minutes to quick set the cookies. Reduce heat and continue to dry at 110F for about 60 minutes. Flip cookies and continue to dry for 60-90 more minutes.

Makes 10 cookies at about 160 calories and 1.5 grams of fat each.

NOTES:

EFA’s: If your diet is a little low on EFA’s (essential fatty acids 3-6-9), try adding a flax “egg” (1 TBSP flax meal + 1-2 TBSP water). You might need to cut back on the date paste if you.

Baking: If you don’t have a dehydrator or don’t feel like using one, you can try baking the cookies. Try a low oven of around 200F and check on the cookies every 5 minutes. I’m guessing it will take somewhere between 5-10 minutes to dry out the cookies. (Be careful; without fat, these cookies will go from not-quite-done to burnt in the blink of an eye.)

Storage: Completely cool the cookies and store in an air tight container. You can probably store these outside of the frig, but I like to keep all of my goodies in the frig. [Remember, glass will help keep baked goods crispy, and plastic will help keep them soft. So, store according to texture preference.]

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And the Winner is…

And the winner of the Happy Herbivore Light & Lean give-a-way is…Nancy!

Congratulations, Nancy!

And a big ol’ thank you to everyone who entered the give-a-way! I hope to share many more with your in the coming months.

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End of Year Review + Happy Herbivore Light & Lean Give-a-Way!!

Well, here we are; there are only 5 days left in 2013. I can’t believe another year has flow on by!

For me, 2013 marked the third anniversary of my vegan adventure (and my third wedding wedding anniversary). It also brought this little guy into our lives.

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I can barely remember what life was like without my fur-baby. He sure made moving to another state in the late fall a lot better! (Going back to work after being home with him for 5 months was heartbreaking. I don’t know how people leave their human babies; the sad look in those eyes. Oy!)

2013 was a bit of light blogging year for me, mostly due to lack of content. My diet has a changed a bit – gotten a bit simpler – which has meant less recipe creations to share with you. I have some ideas on ways to continue to share food adventures with you, though, so that, along with a new blog (so excited!!) should make for some interesting blog posts in the coming months :)

To bring this year to a fitting close, I’m sharing a give-a-way with you. Woohoo!!

A few weeks ago, I shared a review of Happy Herbivore’s newest cookbookHappy Herbivore Light & Lean. Since then, I’ve had a chance to review the entire book – and you’re in for quite a treat!

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The publishers of HHLL have graciously offered to send one lucky Veggie V reader (in the US or Canada) a copy of HHLL.

What better way to send out the year than support for your vegan adventure??

To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below sharing the highlight of your vegan  year.

For an extra entry, sign up to receive my blog posts in your inbox (either directly or through a feed service) – and let me know you did (or do!).

Good luck!!

Winner will be chosen at random. Contest open through January 1, 2014. Winner announced on January 2, 2013.

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Merry Christmas + Happy New Year!

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I hope you’re having a very merry time with friends and family and are taking advantage of some much needed downtime.

I’ve got some exciting things in the works for Veggie V for 2014, including a brand new website!

Until then, I’ve got some recipes to share with your in the coming weeks – and a few product and book reviews, too!

But first, I’ve got an exciting give-a-way coming your way in just a few days!! Consider it a late Christmas gift from me to you :-D Details available on Friday.

While you’re waiting, check out my Veggie V Christmas dinner…

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Mashed potatoes (boiled golden potatoes whipped with veggie broth), mushroom gravy, stuffing (commercial brand), sauteed greens (kale and spinach sauteed with onion), and pressed, extra firm, sprouted tofu marinated in low-sodium tamari. Sooooo goooood!

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Dessert was my favorite kombucha – GT’s Multigreen! Yum! (I made cinnamon apple pear sauce in the Vitamix that was going to sprinkle with goji berries and shredded coconut for dessert, but I think it’s not going to get eaten until breakfast *wink*)

And, there was only one casualty!

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I’m always afraid I’m going to peel my fingers when I’m peeling potatoes or carrots – and it finally happened! No worries, though. I was able to get the bandage on by myself and continue with my dinner makin’.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

 

Virtual Vegan Potluck: Pumpkin Date Roll-Up

I can’t believe it’s that time again…the holidays!

I know. You thought  I was going to say Virtual Vegan Potluck. Well, that too ;-) Both snuck up on me this time. When did it become fall?! When did Annie start asking for VVP participants?! I seem to have missed both of those. Sigh…story of my year.

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But, I have something to share with you! Yea! It’s fall-esq. It’s fat free. It’s super easy to make, and it only contains two ingredients. That’s right. Two. Ingredients.

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Here goes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Date Roll-Up

1 c dates, pitted and chopped

1/2 c pumpkin puree

Optional: Fall seasonings: pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, ginger, etc.

Pit and chop dates and place them in a food processor (with the normal “S” blade). Process until a mass forms. [If you're dates are really dry, soak them first, or add a little bit of water to the food processor. You want the dates to be a big, sticky ball of deliciousness, but you need to be able to handle the date ball easily.] Remove date ball and place on a large piece of parchment paper (or a silicone baking mat). Press the dates out into a uniform, flat shape. [You can try to make it square, but I never have any luck doing with that.]

In a bowl, add the pumpkin puree and chosen seasonings. Stir to combine.

Add seasoned pumpkin puree to half of the date sheet. Use parchment help you roll the dates around the pumpkin. You’re looking for a pinwheel shape.

Wrap date roll in the parchment paper and freeze for about 15 minutes or refrigerate for about 30. You want the dates to firm up before you try to cute through the roll.

Cut and serve as is or dehydrate for a less sticky, more grab-and-go friendly treat.

Options

Dates: I used  a combo of medjool and deglet noir dates. I should have soaked them first because they caused my heavy duty Cruisinart food processor to smoke! I haven’t tried to use it since; I’m afraid I burned out the motor :-/ For your roll, please soak your dates if they aren’t super moist. It will save you a lot of trouble later. Use all medjools or a combo of your favorite dates.

Keep it raw: If you want to keep this dish 100%, use raw pumpkin and puree it in a food processor or a high powered blender. I suggest straining your raw puree before using. (You can do this in a nut milk bag/cheese cloth and just let it drain, or try your luck with a fine mesh strainer sitting over a blow.)

Add some fat: If you aren’t concerned with keeping this treat low-fat, try adding your favorite nuts to the date bag. You’ll definitely need some moisture with the dates and nuts to make them process and stick together. Soaking both your dates and your nuts will help this. (I like to use almonds  with my dates.) You can also turn your pumpkin puree into a pumpkin cream by swirling in some sweetened cashew cream. (Blend some soaked cashews with a dash of vanilla and your favorite liquid sweetener. Add a splash of non-dairy milk if the mixture won’t blend, but you want the cream to be very thick.)

Wrap it up: Dehydrate your date roll slices until they’re almost dry, then wrap them up like candy in parchment or wax paper. Tie off the ends with pretty ribbon, and you’ve got some low-fat, healthy, vegan, almost raw candy gifts! The dates are full of potassium and magnesium; the pumpkin is full of vitamins A and C and a little iron, and the cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant.

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I hope you enjoyed my contribution to the party. Check out the amazing foods people are bringing to the party by using the “Go Forward” and “Go Backward” navigation buttons below. [If you want to start from the beginning, click here.]

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Happy Herbivore Light & Lean Blog Tour

I’ve got a treat for you! Lindsay Nixon, aka “The Happy Herbivore,” is doing a blog tour for her newest baby book Happy Herbivore Light & Lean, and she’s stopping by to say, “Hi!”

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This is Lindsay’s fourth book, and it promises not to disappoint. I own the three previous HH books, and I love them all. So when Lindsay’s publishers posted they were looking for bloggers to help promote HHLL, I jumped at the chance. Why not? Who doesn’t love delicious and easy-to-make, low-fat, oil-free, vegan goodies??

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean: Over 150 Low-Calorie Recipes with Workout Plans for Looking and Feeling Great is a unique addition to the Happy Herbivore family. This time, Lindsay has included a fitness component. If you follow the Happy Herbivore blog (like I have for many years), you know that Lindsay used to be a personal trainer. And, since being active is an important part of any healthy lifestyle, it’s only natural that fitness and food make an appearance in this latest addition to your plant-based book collection.

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According to Amazon:

With easy, no-fuss recipes, the bestselling Happy Herbivore cookbooks show how easy, affordable, and delicious eating healthy can be. Now, in her latest cookbook, Happy Herbivore chef Lindsay S. Nixon provides recipes that put a special emphasis on weight-loss and a set of exercises that, like her recipes, are quick, easy, and produce great results.

Like all Happy Herbivore cookbooks, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean contains filling, flavorful, plant-based recipes that take 30 minutes or less to prepare. But this time, Nixon takes healthy to an all-new level, with low-calorie, satisfying meals that will help you achieve your weight-loss goals—and without deprivation.

True to its title, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean also includes “recipes” for your body with basic workouts, plus tips and tricks that will inspire you to move more for a trimmer, more-toned you. As always, Happy Herbivore Light & Lean recipes are free from oils, processed foods, and diet chemicals such as artificial sweeteners.

Happy Herbivore Light & Lean keeps it healthy, keeps it simple, and keeps it delicious.

Are you excited yet? Wait…there’s more! I had the chance to ask Lindsay a few questions. Here’s what she had to say:

VV: After four cookbooks, where do find your continued motivation?

HH: Contractual obligations with your publisher, I find, make one very motivated ;) Though in all fairness I signed up for a total of 6 books freely. I had (still have) a lot of ideas. I’m one of those people who likes a challenge… a goal to work toward. My fans and supporters are also incredibly motivating. Everything I do, I do for them

VV: Since Light & Lean introduces readers to the fitness component of HH, are you going to continue to incorporate it into the mix? For example, are you perhaps going to offer fitness plans in the future?

HH: There are fitness plans in the new book :)

VV: With the holiday season upon us, what’s your best tip not only staying plant strong but light and lean as well?

HH: Have a plan in place. Have a strategy before you walk in the door to a party, hit the buffet line or sit down to dinner. If you want to indulge a little, great, but decide what and how much before you start feasting with your eyes.

I was really interested in the motivation part. I can barely come up with enough content for a weekly blog post, let along fill 4 (6?!) cookbooks with tasty and unique recipes and stories that keep people coming back for more.

I’ve got one last surprise for you. Lindsay’s publishers graciously agreed to share a recipe from HHLL, and I chose Meatloaf Bites. Why? Because I love meatloaf (meat-less loaf?) and anything that’s bite sized. Seriously. I can’t resist finger foods! (That’s tiny food. Not food made from fingers. (Hey. It’s Halloween. I don’t know where your mind is! Ha!))

Meatloaf Bites

Makes 8

Gluten-free, Quick, Budget

One afternoon I grabbed what I thought was corn from the freezer but later realized it was mixed vegetables. Once they thawed on the counter I knew they weren’t going back in, so I looked for a new, inventive way to use them. A can of kidney beans started calling, and before I knew it I had a vegetable-filled meatloaf in the oven. Since this meatloaf is baked in a muffin tin (great for serving sizes and portion control), I call it meatloaf “bites” and, yes, leftovers are great as a burger!

1 15-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

1 tbsp Italian seasoning

1 tbsp chili powder (add another 1 tsp if you like it spicy)

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp mustard

1 tbsp Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (recipe in full cookbook)

1 c frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

6 tbsp instant oats

 Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or use nonstick. Mash beans in a bowl with fork or potato masher until well mashed. Add remaining ingredients, except oats, and stir to combine.

Stir in oats. Spoon into muffin tin and pack down. Bake for 20 minutes until crisp on the outside and fairly firm to the touch (firms a bit as it cools). Serve with ketchup, Quick Gravy (pg. 188), etc.

Per BiteCalories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101Fat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1.7g

Carbs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16.9g

Fiber. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6.5g

Sugars. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3g

Protein. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5.8g

WW Points. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

[Note: I added the mechanical emphasis to make the recipe appear more consistent with the way I post recipes. I also added the color to make the recipe stand out. I didn’t want you to miss anything!]

Disclaimer: Lindsay’s publishers offered to send me a copy of HHLL for participating in the blog tour (but I would have done it anyway. I’m always happy and willing to help promote a healthy, plant-based life!).

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Aren’t these the cutest?! See…finger foods! And that ketchup frosting? What a great idea!

Are you excited yet? You can pre-order your copy of HHLL here. Books are scheduled to be available at the beginning of December, but I’ve heard through the grapevine (OK, it was on the HH blog *wink*) that preordered books may ship sooner. Order now, and you might  have a new resource for your [American] Thanksgiving meal planning!

Enjoy your Meatloaf Bites!

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Another Chance to Win!

Didn’t win the blog give-a-way for  The New Green Juicing Diet: With 60+ Alkalizing, Energizing, Detoxifying, Fat Burning Recipes by Liz Swann?

Don’t worry…you can still win!

To win a copy of the book, simply visit the Veggie V Facebook page and leave a comment on the original post (see feed) telling me why you love green juice or why you want to start juicing.

Contest open through Thursday at 11:50 p.m. (EST). Winner announced on Friday. Open internationally!

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Give-A-Way: The New Green Juicing Diet

Hey there, friends!

Our friend, Elizabeth Swann, is at it again. This time, she’s treating us with a new book on juicing…green juicing to be precise.

Elizabeth’s newest book, The New Green Juicing Diet: With 60+ Alkalizing, Energizing, Detoxifying, Fat Burning Recipes, is jam packed with well over 100 pages of crazy useful information and recipes that will get you more excited about green juice than you’ve been in a long time.

A trained naturophath, Liz turned to green juice to lower her cholesterol and get a handle on her weight.

Even though they might not always look that appealing (unless you’re like me and think a giant glass of green goodness is a sight to behold), green juices can supply you with tons of nutrients and energy. Think of it like a shot of espresso – without the coffee :D

With over 60 green juice recipes, Liz takes us from the beginning, “Why Green Juice,” all the way to an “…Encyclopedia of Green Juice Ingredients” and everything in between. Liz helps us understand why we should be juicing, what greens to choose for the most nutrition and best flavor combs, how to pick out and take care of a juicer (if you don’t have one already), how to juice on a budget, how to use juicing for weight loss, detoxing, energy, boosting brain power, looking better, and staying healthy.

Sounds pretty good, hu? It is! And, guess what…Elizabeth has graciously agreed to share a copy of her newest book, The New Green Juicing Diet, with a lucky Veggie V reader. Woohoo!

This contest is open to everyone – even international residents. Double woohoo!

To Enter (to win a digital copy of Liz’s newest book)…

* Leave a comment sharing why you want to start drinking green juice OR how much you love drinking green juice

* Sign up to receive Veggie V blog posts via email or Blog Reader (WP reader and Blog Lovin’ are my favs), AND let me know you signed up (or already get the goods sent to ya)

* Like Veggie V’s Vegan Adventure on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram AND leave a message letting me know you did (or do)

* Bonus entry: Join the Raw Fusion Reset group on Facebook. (Mattie and I encourage new challenges each month and help motivate group members along their personal journeys. We also share recipes and other fun stuff!)

CONTEST OPEN MONDAY, OCTOBER 7 – WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9 (at 11:59 p.m. EST). Winner announced on Thursday, October 10.

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