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.

photo 4(2)

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!

photo 2(3)photo 1(4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

photo 3(3)

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.

photo 3(2)

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.)

photo 1(3)

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!

photo 2(2)

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!)

 

Orange Gogi Berry Better Than Newtons

I’m back with another Low Fat Raw Vegan dessert recipe :)

Remember my Better Than Newton cookies from last year? No? Well, check them out; they’re delicious! And, they were so well received, I’ve considered selling them. I just need to do the costing and figure out packaging and labels and talk to some people, and, and, and. Sigh. That’s why I’ve only considered it.

Ok, onto this week’s LFRV recipe.

Orange Goji Berry Better Than Newtons

1 1/2 c chopped dates (pitted)

1 1/2 c chopped figs (stemmed)

1/4 c goji berries

2 – 4 TBSP orange juice, fresh squeezed

Start by juicing half of a medium orange. Juice will be roughly 1/4 c. Either put juice aside or use it to soak goji berries if they’re hard.

Add dates, figs and orange juice to bowl of food processor. (If you’re using the orange juice to soak the goji berries, remove the berries from the juice before adding to dates and figs.) Process until coarsely incorporated. Add goji berries and process until mixture forms a ball.

Use a small ice cream scooper to scoop balls of cookie mixture. Place cookie balls on a teflexx dehydrator sheet and flatten to desired thickness. Place teflexx sheet on mesh dehydrator sheet lined tray and dehydrate at 145F for an hour. Reduce heat to 105-110 and dehydrate three more hours. After three hours, cookies should be firm enough to peel off of teflexx sheet. Flip cookies and place onto mesh dehydrator sheet and dehydrate another 3-4 hours. Cookies should be firm to the touch, like an under-done oven-baked cookie. The outside will not be sticky, but the inside will be warm and gooey.

Store cookies in the refrigerator or freezer. Great cold/frozen or warmed in the dehydrator.

My batch made about 9 cookies at about 150 calories each.

I reluctantly shared one of these cookies with a friend, and the first thing she said was, “Wow! These are better than Newtons!”  I. Know!

photo(416)

photo(419)

photo(422)

photo(421)

photo(420)

photo(415)

Sharing is caring…Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Raw Food Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Wellness Weekends

Spring into Healthier Eating: Peace Salad Party!

First things first…The winner of the Plant Powered 15 by Dreena Burton is Bex of How to Feed a Vegan. Congratulations, Bex!

Now, onto my  next Spring into Healthier Eating review…Peace Salad. Have you heard of this yet? I hadn’t either until I received an email from my only real-life vegan friend (as opposed to my virtual vegan friends – ha!) asking if I wanted to have a Peace Salad party. Um…sure?

Peace Salad is the newest brainchild of raw-food, vegan blogger, Sandy Henson Corso, the owner of  Peaceful Daily and Sandy’s Salad.

In the book, Sandy lists 100 tips for peace. Practiced together, they’re like a salad :-)

photo(358)

To celebrate the book, people are hosting Peace Salad parties all over, so we did, too!

Last Saturday night, we gathered a few friends and enjoyed some lively conversation over an abundance of vegan eats and treats. Ok, there were also some vegetarian cupcake there, but they were from a small business down the street, so at least we were supporting local business ;-)

Check out this spread!

photo(361)photo(357)

Ellen, the hostess of the party, made some of her favorite party foods, including this macaroni salad (from the Forks Over Knives cookbook (I gave her that book as a Christmas gift ;-))) and those crispy apple muffins in the background (from the Everyday Happy Herbivore cookbook).

photo(359)photo(360)

Ellen also made her famous bruchetta (with a pesto recipe from The Kind Diet) and this super delicious cheeze dip (made with Teeze, soy cherizo, and spicy tomatoes). We couldn’t stop eating this stuff!

Someone else brought giant vegan cupcakes from a local restaurant, and someone else brought hummus and tabouli from a local artisan.

There was also lots of wine!

I brought a giant pan of raw vegan brownies, using my Brown Batter Bites recipes, and frosted them with chocolate cashew cream (made by blending cashews, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and a little date soaking water – left over from the date paste I used in the Brownie Batter Bites).

photo(353)

And a bunch of Gabby’s Pizza Bites.

photo(356)

The mixture was so massive, I had to bust out the beast – my 13 cup Kitchen Aid food processor.

photo(352)

And I made this giant bowl of Asian Rice Noodle Salad, which got rave reviews!

photo(355)

Here’s the recipe!

Asian Noodle Salad

1 pkg rice noodles, cooked according to package directions (I used Brown Rice Noodles)

1 sm pkg shelled edamame (about 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 c shredded carrot

1 small bunch scallions, diced on the diagonal (white and green parts)

2-3 TBSP toasted sesame oil (more or less to taste)

1/4  c tamari (more or less to taste)

Cook noodles according to package directions, and allow to cool. Mix noodles, edamame, carrots, and scallions in a bowl. Add sesame oil and tamari and toss to combine. Add more sesame oil and tamari to taste, or after noodle salad sits for a while. (My suggestion is to make this salad ahead, and let it sit in the refrigerator to allow flavors to meld.)

So easy, and soooo good!

I hope you decide to have a Peace Salad party, too. It’s a great excuse to gather your friends and family and share your ideas on peace and happiness while you enjoy some peaceful, vegan goodies. Enjoy!

 

Raw Carrot Cake Cookies

Happy Easter!

I whipped up these tasty little treats earlier this week, and have been enjoying and sharing them for days.

Staying with my theme of using as much left-over almond milk pulp as possible, the base for these cookies is almond pulp. If you don’t have almond pulp, almond meal/flour should work (your dough may require more liquid), and if you can’t have almonds, any nut/seed meal/pulp should work. I don’t know about grain based flours; they’re much denser, so you may have to play with the liquids a bit if you choose to use a base like that. Enjoy!

Raw Carrot Cake Cookies

1 c wet/fresh almond pulp

1 c dry/dehydrated almond pulp

1 large banana

10 regular sized dates, soaked

1/2 c shredded carrot

1/4 c raisins, soaked

1/4 c goji berries, soaked

1/4 c coconut shreds, unsweetened

1/2 c pecan pieces (or other nut)

2 t vanilla powder (or 1 TBSP vanilla extract)

1 t cinnamon

1/4 – 1/2 c water (use the date soak water for more sweetness)

Add almond pulp, banana, dates, cinnamon, vanilla and 1/4 c water to food processor and pulse until combined. (You don’t want to see pieces of banana or date.) Then, either pulse in remaining chunky ingredients or fold in by hand.  Scoop cookie mix onto mesh dehydrator trays, flatten to form a cookie shape, and dehydrate until dry. NOTE: Do not flatten cookies by pressing into the mesh; the dough will squish through to the other side, and your cookies will be stuck on the tray. Lift each cookie and flatten it in your hands or on a solid service.

Dehydrator times will vary: I start the process at 145F for about an hour, then lower to about 110F. My cookies took 4-6 hours at this temp.

photo(346)photo(348)photo(347)photo(345)photo(351)photo(350)

The cookies become much darker as they dry.

If you want to “cook” these cookies in the oven, I’d suggest a lower temperature for a little bit longer time – perhaps 250-300F for 15-20 minutes. You want them dry to the touch and firm in the middle.

Vanilla Cashew Butter Balls

Thanks to everyone who commented for a chance to win the free download for the Vegan Delish app! The winner was LV, who said…

I’m always on the lookout for inspiration in cooking! Sometimes I’m just not very creative.

Congrats! Be on the lookout for more give-a-ways! (There are at least two book reviews/give-a-ways coming, and maybe more!)

Today, I’m sharing another recipe to help use up the never ending supply of almond pulp you probably have hogging valuable space in your freezer. No? Well, I do! I need to dehydrate some SOOOOO bad! That’s a weekend plan ;-) And, bonus, it uses my favorite nut butter…cashew!

Vanilla Cashew Butter Balls

1/4-1/2 c cashew butter, softened

2 TBSP date paste

1/4 c almond meal/flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

Vanilla powder (optional)

Stevia or other additional sweetener (optional)

Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. Scoop into balls and sprinkle with vanilla powder. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Notes:

Cashew Butter: If you’re cashew butter is stiff and/or dry, heat it up. It heats up beautifully and will be nice and creamy again in no time. [Of course, if you can't eat cashews, don't have/like cashew butter, use something else :-)]

Vanilla powder: What’s vanilla powder? It’s just just ground vanilla bean and/or pod. It’s a lot stronger than extract, so be cautious before you dump it into something if you’re new to the product.

Optional Sweetener: I gave my mix a little squirt of liquid stevia, but it didn’t make much difference in the sweetness. You might want to try some maple syrup (You may need to increase you almond meal due to the extra liquid.) or some coconut sugar (You might have to loosen the mixture with a tiny splash of non-dairy milk or water to counteract the extra dry ingredient.) I can see these rolled in sugar, too. Yum!

photo(341)

photo(343)

photo(344)

Sharing is caring…Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, Raw Food Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Gluten Free Fridays, Wellness Weekends

 

Strawberry Banana Muffins

These muffins are grain free, sugar free, soy free, oil free, and they can be nut free if you’d like them to be. But, most importantly, they’re not free of flavor; they’re delicious!

Strawberry Banana Muffins

2 c almond meal*

2 medium bananas (very ripe), blended until liquified

1/2 c strawberries, chopped (frozen/thawed is fine)

2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 heaping tbsp flax meal + 1 tbsp warm water)

1 TBSP chia seeds (optional)

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp baking soda (This might not be necessary; I added it to neutralize the acid.)

Optional: Stevia or other sweetener to taste

Thoroughly combine dry ingredients. Add wet. Stir to combine. Fold in strawberries. Spoon into muffin tins (or cupcake holders) and bake 12-15 minutes at 350F.

Notes:

Almond Meal: I use almond meal that I create from left-over almond milk pulp. I freeze it until the bags start sliding out of the freezer when I open the door (ha!); then I thaw and dehydrate it. After that, I process it in the food processor until it’s a fine grind. It stores very well in a glass container forever – as far as I know. I’m guessing you could use fresh almond milk pulp for these, too. You might need less flax if your meal is wetter/heavier. Since mine was so dry, I added the extra flax for it’s gelling power.

Almond Fee/Seed Options: If you can’t or don’t want to use almond meal, I’m sure a different nut or seed meal would work; make your own by grinding your favorite nut or seed until forms a fine powder, or use left-over nut or seed pulp from any nut or seed.

Grain Option: Don’t care if your muffins are grain free? Sub out the almond meal for oat flour. Equal parts should work. I would reduce the flax egg down to one, however. And, you may need to adjust (lessen) the cooking time.

Flax Eggs: If you don’t have flax, or don’t want to use flax, I’m sure a chia egg would work well here (or whatever egg substitute you prefer).

Chia Seeds: I like to add chia seeds to my muffins for extra Omega 3’s, especially if I use something high in Omega 6’s (like peanut butter). I also like that they’re high in protein, calcium, iron, fiber and tons of other stuff. Well, high for their size. They’re little powerhouses!

Sweetener: I didn’t add any sweetener, but if your strawberries aren’t sweet enough (of if your bananas aren’t super ripe and sugary sweet), you might want to add a little stevia or your favorite nutritive sweetener. I think coconut sugar would work great in these!

Cooking Time: Don’t be afraid to bake these for a while. The almond meal is pretty wet, so it might take a while to cook. Our oven runs a little cool, so mine took a full 15 minutes (plus). You don’t want there to be much give in the middle if you push on one while it’s in the oven.

Keepin’ it raw? I think these would be great as muffin tops in the dehydrator. On their own, all of the ingredients are considered raw :-) If you choose to try this, place a large scoop of mixture on a paraflexx sheet and dehydrate for one hour at 145F, then lower the temp to 115-110F until the muffin tops are firm to the touch. I don’t know how long this will take, but most things I dehydrate take at least 12 hours. Try leaving them in over night and go from there :-)

photo(334)

photo(336)

photo(337)

photo(338)

Sharing the love at…Allergy Free Wednesdays, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Gluten Free Fridays, and Wellness Weekends

Sweet Potato & Lentil Burgers

I haven’t made a new veggie burger in quite a while. I actually haven’t eaten a veggie burger in quite a while. But, since it was Christmas, I thought I’d splurge a little. And, since I was able to make my burgers with three ingredients (and two were left-overs), they were super easy to make. Bonus!

Sweet Potato & Lentil Burgers

1 lg sweet potato, baked and mashed (about 1 cup mashed)

1 c cooked lentils (I used brown)

3/4 c cooked greens (I used a mix of spinach and chard)

Combine everything in a bowl until well-mixed. Add whatever seasonings you like. (I added salt and cumin.) Divide mixture into four equal parts, spake into balls, and flatten onto non-stick baking pan (or line baking pan with parchment paper or spray baking pan). Bake at 325F for about an hour or until burgers are dryer and firm. Let sit on baking tray a few minutes then remove to cool before eating.

Each of my burgers came in at just over 100 calories.

Notes:

Moisture: If your burgers are too moist, add more lentils. My burgers were kind of moist because my greens were kind of wet.

Greens: I used a mix of left-over sauteed spinach and Swiss chard. They were wilted with onion and garlic and a splash of apple cider vinegar and tamari.

Lentils: Use whatever lentils you like. I thought I had some French lentils in the pantry, but all I could find were brown; they worked fine. I probably wouldn’t use red because they breakdown so easily.

Potato: I baked a sweet potato in it’s skill until it was soft and mushy, so  I didn’t have to puree it.

Seasonings: Use whatever seasonings you like. I think curry powder might be nice.

Cooking: I chose to bake my burgers because I wanted to dry them out a bit. If you don’t want to wait an hour for them to dry and firm up, I’m sure they’ll cook up nicely in a pan.

lentils

greens

ready for patties

out of the oven

close up

 

Sharing the love at Healthy Vegan Fridays and Wellness Weekends

Chai Spiced Holiday Nog

I have yet to embrace the holiday season this year. I haven’t bought a single gift (not that I have many to purchase since it’s just Mr M and me). I haven’t even bought myself anything, which is usually how it begins. (Hey. Somebody has to do it – ha!) Maybe it’s because we don’t have the tree up yet. Or maybe it’s because I work through next week and have enough work to do over break that I doubt I’ll even notice I’m not “working” for a few weeks. But, most likely, it’s because of the wacky weather here in Ohio. Last weekend, the temperature was over 60F! That’s crazy for early December. Even today, the temperature is in the 40’s and raining. Supposedly, snow and colder temps are on the way, but I’ll believe that when I see it.

Maybe I should clarify. I love winter. It’s my second favorite time of year. Fall is my first favorite time of year, but only because it means winter is coming. I love, love, love the colder temperatures of winter. And, I love me some snow! But, I HATE ice. I’ve had too many car accidents to mention due to ice, and that’s just the tip of the slippery ice-berg when it comes to the frozen wet stuff: downed power-lines, cancelled classes, falling down – ugh. Now, on the other hand, is awesome! It makes everything – even the ugliest of trash piles – look beautiful. And the way lights twinkle through the snow really sets the holiday mood. The mood of which I am lacking. Sigh.

To help get me in the spirit, I’ve been indulging in some holiday cheer in the form of chai tea. Traditionally, I haven’t been a fan of chai spice, but I found this tea recently, and I’m hooked!

photo(254)

I cannot have caffeine, and I’m not a big fan of “decaffeinated” products, so any time I can find an herbal tea that makes me happy, I’m all over it. And, considering how much I love rooibos, and how much I love Numi brand teas, I figured this would be a hit. It is!  Who wouldn’t love naturally caffeine free ro0ibos chai tea?!

Combined with some vanilla almond milk and a couple of dates and/or bananas and protein powder, this holiday drink is a pure delight :-)

Chai Spiced Holiday Nog

2 c Rooibos Chai Tea (or your favorite chai tea)

1 c vanilla almond or other non-dairy milk (or add 1 tsp of vanilla for plain milk)

1 heaping scoop of vanilla protein powder (I love Sun Warrior Blend Vanilla)

2 jumbo dates, pitted (or 4 regular size) – or another sweetener of your choice

Optional: 1 TBSP chia seeds (for thickness and a healthy dose of EFA’s)

Optional: 1 super ripe banana (fresh or frozen) for a thicker nog

Lots of ice

Add everything to blender and blend away. Garnish with cinnamon.

Notes: This amount of ingredients makes two nice servings at just over 100 calories each (with the chia seeds). Not bad for an indulgent holiday drink – with an added protein boost! If you choose to use the banana, you might want to omit the dates. I tried it with both, and it was WAY too sweet. But, if you’re making this for children or non-vegan guests,  the extra sweetness might be nice. Admittedly, the banana does add a nice touch. Additionally, if you want a thicker drink, try using a thicker non-dairy milk such as hemp or soy. I also find my homemade cashew milk is quite thick.

photo(256)

photo(257)

 

Sharing the holiday love at….Raw Food Thursdays, Healthy Vegan Fridays, Wellness Weekends

Raw Coconut Caramel Dippers & a Raw Foods DVD Contest

I’ve been obsessed with raw caramel dipping sauces lately. Seriously. Check out these awesome, easy recipes!

Raw Caramel Sauce

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular size fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

splash water

Blend dates, water, and vanilla in a small, bullet style blender until smooth. Drizzle over or apples or other tart fruits.

Raw Caramel Sauce

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular sized fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1 TBSP raw cacao powder (or carob powder for a chocolate-free sauce)

splash water (start with 1 tbsp)

Add all ingredients to a bullet style blender cup and blend until smooth. Dip apple slices into caramel or drizzle over your favorite fruit, pancakes, toast, etc.

Raw Coconut Caramel Dippers

5 jumbo medjool dates (or 8 regular size fruits)

1-3 tsp vanilla extract (I use alcohol free)

1-2 TBSP shredded coconut (super fine shred works best)

splash water (about 1 TBSP)

Add all ingredients to bullet style blender cup and blend until incorporated. Coconut will not blend until smooth, but will blend enough to create an awesome dipping sauce for apples, banana skewers, strawberries, or even stuffed into whole, pitted dates.

Are you familiar with the works of Jennifer Cornbleet? I have two of her books and absolutely love them! Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People and Raw for Dessert: Easy Delights for Everyone are both amazing, and I have been drooling over Jennifer’s videos on her YouTube channel for months.  Guess what…Jennifer has a new DVD that’s releasing next month, but you can enter to win a free copy! She’s giving away one DVD each week, so even if you don’t win this week, you still have another chance :-) Enter to win today; I did!

Jennifer Cornbleet has just released an excellent new DVD that’s loaded with
tips and recipes to make eating well a breeze no matter how busy you are.
It’s full of time-saving techniques and dishes that taste great and will
keep your body energized.
Throughout the month of November, you can enter to win a copy for free! For
more information, and to enter to win, click here

Juice Fast Fail

I’ve been wanting to do a juice fast forever. Seriously. As long as I can remember, I’ve been wanting to give this a try. So, with a long weekend ahead of me, I planned to begin juicing on Saturday and continue through Sunday. But, we’ve been car shopping, and our Friday adventures led us to Whole Foods, which led me to a fridge full of left-overs that had to be eaten on Saturday, so juicing got pushed back to Sunday. OK. No problem.

Sunday began with a warm, sunny morning – perfect for the orange and cranberry juice I had planned. After a heavy weights workout, I got my juice on.

This juice was 5 pounds of juicing oranges and 1 pound of cranberries. It made about 50 ounces of juice, which I drank throughout the morning.

After breakfast (and second breakfast) and some computer work, Mr M and I took a walk to and through our local park. It was a beautiful day for a couple mile walk. Except…Mr M and I walk at two completely different paces! Everyone I know, except for my husband, complains about how slow I walk. Literally everyone. In sixth grade, my nickname was Turtle. Seriously. But, Mr M walks even slower than I do! I didn’t know this was even possible. After arguing about walking speed for the fist mile, I finally grabbed his hand and drug him around the first half of the second mile. I wonder what the other walkers thought – ha ha!

After a brisk walk (Well, my walk was brisk.), I juiced my lunch.

This time, I juiced six or so stalks of kale (stems and leaves) that I cut from our dwindling garden (Side note: It took all summer to grow the kale. Is that normal?!), 2 cucumbers, 4 ribs of celery, 5 small, green apples, and two lemons (peeled). It was really good!

This batch also made around 50 or so ounces, which I drank in two batches.

After lunch, we ran some errands, which included going to the grocery store. I wasn’t the least bit tempted by anything at the grocery store, but I kept finding good deals and thinking of meals I wanted to make later in the week, and before I knew it, I was home making a giant arugula salad with tons of celery, pumpkin seeds, and hemp hearts. Mmmmm…hemp seeds.

So, I failed. Kind of. My plan was to juice for three days, and I made it through two meals. But, I did figure out my body is happier with some veggies mixed in with the fruits; it’s keeps my blood sugar steadier. I also figured out it’s best for me to get out of the house when I’m juicing. I thought it would be the opposite. Being busy and not surrounded by solid food is a good way to keep my mind off dinner. And snacks. And lunch. And breakfast. And snacks. I really like snacks.

I definitely plan to incorporate more juice into my diet – replacing some of the smoothies with green juice. Typically, I have a smoothie for breakfast and lunch, a fruit snack or two in between, and a giant salad for dinner. I’ve been very happy with that menu, but I think I’d be equally happy with a breakfast smoothie, green juice lunch, and giant salad dinner. And, in a few weeks when I’m on winter break, I’ll try another juice fast. But, I’d like to do a little more research first (I’ve just started researching juice recipes and protocol.), and I think I want to take it one day at a time. I might even do a “lite” fast for a few days  — juice for breakfast and lunch and light food (probably salad) for dinner.

I’d love to hear your experience with juicing!