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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Steak Salad

really wanted to post this recipe last week – for Father’s Day – but I didn’t get around to it *sigh* Being sick off and on for three weeks has not been good for my blogging schedule!

Regardless of the timing, this simple salad is delicious and hearty enough to stand against any meat filled concoction you might run into at an omni cookout – and filling and tasty enough to made anybody (dad included) feel full and satisfied after digging in.

Steak Salad

1 lb lacinato/dinosaur kale, stemmed

1/2 – 1 avocado

1 pt cherry tomatoes

2 lg portobello caps, stemmed, ribbed, and sliced

1/2 – 1 lemon, juiced

Seasonings to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, etc.)

First, stem and clean your kale. Then massage it with the avocado. Really get in there and mash it all around. Rub it with your fingers under the kale is a bit wilted and the avocado is well incorporated. Arrange massaged kale on a serving platter or large plate. Then, slice tomatoes in half and place them artfully over the kale. Finally, slice the portobello caps into thick slices and arrange on top of the tomatoes. Finally, dress the salad with freshly squeezed lemon and whatever seasonings you like. (I like salt, pepper and a little dried oregano.)

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Join our Raw Fusion Rest group on Facebook for this month’s challenge – lowering the fat in your high-raw, vegan diet.

 

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!

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Low Fat Raw Vegan Strawberry Cake

Ok. This isn’t really a cake. But is is low fat. And it is vegan. And it does contain strawberries. Lots of strawberries. Yum!

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Low-Fat Raw Vegan Strawberry Cake

1 c (heaping) dried dates, pitted

1 c (heaping) dried figs, stemmed

1 1/2 quarts (about 3 cups) sliced strawberries

1/2 lemon, juiced

1/4 c coconut/palm sugar (optional)

Prep dates by removing  pits, if needed. Prep figs by removing stems. Roughly chop both and place into a food processor. Add juice of half a lemon. Process until pasty. (Mix may begin to form a ball; that’s ok!) Remove date/fig mix from processor and press into a small cake, brownie or pie pan. (Two mini tart pans would probably work too.)

Prep strawberries by washing and stemming all of them. Slice about half of the strawberries into thin slices and place them in a bowl. Top the sliced berries with coconut sugar (or other sweetener), if using. Set aside and allow to macerate for at least 30 minutes. Place the remaining berries in a food processor and pulse until berries become a chunky paste. 

Place processed berries on top of date/fig mix in pan. Refrigerate while remaining berries are macerating – about 30 minutes. Remove from refrigerator and top with sliced berries. Return to refrigerator overnight for a more ‘cake’ like texture.

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Notes:

  • This dessert is surprisingly cake like after it sits overnight in the fridge. If you want to cut and serve as a cake, consider doubling the amount of dates/figs.
  • If adding fat is an option, process some shredded coconut or almonds/almond meal with the dates/figs. This will also make the base layer more cake like, and it will allow for cutting and removal of cake pieces from the pan.
  • For a more gel-like middle layer, add chia seeds to the processed berries.
  • My strawberries were very sour. (Strawberry season hasn’t hit my part of the country yet.) If yours are too, you may want to add sweetener to the processed berries as well. Remember, however, the sugar from the macerated berries on top will soak through to the processed layer as the cake sits.
  • For a sugar free cake, use a non-nutritive sweetener like stevia to macerate the berries.
  • If strawberries aren’t your thing, try a different berry or fruit. Blueberries naturally have an abundance of fruit pectin and will naturally gel on their own after they’re processed. If you make a blueberry cake, expect the middle layer to be much more gel-like than the strawberry cake. (Cherries would also make a delicious cake!)

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I love this recipe because it’s 80-10-10 friendly, and it fit nicely into my month of raw challenge. If you’re interested in incorporating more raw foods into your diet, join us for the Raw Fusion Challenge on Facebook. Everyone is welcome, regardless of your dietary choices, but the focus of the group is high-raw vegan.

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Virtual Vegan Potluck #3

I can’t believe it’s that time again…Virtual Vegan Potluck #3 is here!

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For the past two VVP’s, I’ve made desserts. (Click here and here to review my previous VVP posts.)  Surprised, aren’t you? Ha ha ha.  But, this time around, I’m shaking it up a bit, and I’m sharing a main course dish! Woohoo!

Ok, so here’s the deal. I’ve been eating a high-raw vegan diet off and on since last May. And I love it. It makes me feel my best. My heart doesn’t skip as much. My weight stays pretty stable. My energy levels are higher. I sleep better, and the list goes on. But, there are some popular foods in the raw-vegan circles that I’ve yet to embrace. Raw “noodles” is one of them. But, not one to be easily defeated, I keep trying. And this time, I think I got it! I’ve conquered my dislike of the raw noodle! Yes! Bring on the summer cucumbers and zucchinis!

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I’ve shared a recipe or two in the past that has featured raw zucchini noodles, and I’ve eaten and not disliked them, but I’ve never relished in their flavor. But, during my nightly watching of food related YouTube videos (I ❤ YouTube!), I stumbled upon a suggestion to peel the zucchini before using it. Hum…Why haven’t I tried that?! With this also came the revelation that I find the yellow summer squash milder in flavor than the green zucchini squash. A short trip to the store and a little digging for the spiralizer I bought last summer and promptly put in storage, and by golly, I think I got it!

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At the same time, I went ahead and spiralized a large, peeled cucumber, which I then squeezed in a kitchen towel to remove the excess water from the noodles. Success once again!

Both noodles went in the dehydrator for some warming while I made the sauces to cover each.

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First up, the sauce I used with the cucumbers. Sooooo gooood!

Raw Tomato-fredo Sauce (or Raw Tomato-fredo Hummus/Dip/Soup)

1/2 c cashews, soaked

1/2 c tomatoes (I used cherry tomatoes)

2 TBSP sun dried tomato powder (Read below to find out how to make your own!)

1/2 lg red bell pepper, diced

Seasonings: salt, pepper, oregano, granulated garlic, onion powder (all to taste)

First, make your sun dried tomato powder by grinding 1/4-1/2 cup frozen sun dried tomatoes in a small food processor or bullet style blender. After the tomatoes become a fine powder, add cashews, tomatoes, and red pepper to blender/food processor bowel and pulse to combine. Add seasonings and processes mixture until desired consistency is reached. (I left mine on the thick side, and it really stood up to the cucumber noodles.)  You might want to strain the resulting mix through a fine mesh strainer; this will enhance the flavor of your sauce and, of course, make it a little thicker 😉

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I loved this sauce on the cucumber noodles. I’m pretty sure I could spiralize three or four cucumbers and toss them with this sauce and call it a salad. I think some ripe olives and maybe some fresh herbs like parsley or a chiffonade of basil would be awesome adds to a cucumber and tomato-fredo noodle salad. Mmmm…

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I can also see myself using this sauce as a raw hummus type dip with raw veggies, spread on a lettuce leave for a raw sandwich or burrito, eaten with a spoon as a raw soup, and tossed with dehydrator warmed veggies for a primavera type dish.

For the second sauce, all I did was marinate some thinly sliced mushrooms in 2 TBSP of tahini and 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil. I stored the mix in a zip top bag so I could squish the mixture around a couple of times a day, making sure each ‘shroom was soaking in marinade. Then, I dumped the mushrooms and their marinate onto a plate and heated them in the dehydrator for a little while. Finally, I added the peeled, yellow summer squash noodles, mixed, and ate!

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As I was eating the mushrooms, I kept thinking how good it would be with a little tofu. So I added some 🙂

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Have you ever tried this tofu? I love it!

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All I did was slice the block into four slabs, then stacked the slabs and sliced them into long strips, then cut across the strips to create little blocks of tofu. I didn’t even have to press it! That’s why I love this stuff so much 🙂

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I gobbled up the rest of the noodles and shrooms after I added the tofu. Triple yum!

Thanks for stopping by!  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the VVP participants. Click here to start from the beginning, or click the photos below to work your way forward and/or backward through the VVP chain.

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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.

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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!

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ABC Marbles

ABC Marbles? What the heck are those? Well, they’re these…

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I couldn’t decided what to call my newest dessert balls, so I asked for suggestions on Facebook. Someone suggested ABC Swirl, and while I loved the idea of ABC, the swirl didn’t quite fit, so I went with marble. My original idea was Almond Butter Carob Marble Balls. Ha! Apparently my kitchen inspiration has been just slightly better than my recipe naming inspiration 😉

ABC Marbles

1/2 c + 2 TBSP almond butter

1/4 c carob

2 TBSP maple syrup

Combine 1/2 c almond butter, carob powder and maple syrup in a ball until thick batter forms. Add  the two tablespoons of almond butter to the mix and smash in to combine. Roll into balls and store in the refrigerator or freezer.

Notes:

Nut butter: You can use any nut or seed butter – almond, peanut, cashew, sunflower, etc.

Carob: You can easily swap the carob out for raw cacao or coco powder. The carob powder I’ve been using is by Bob’s Red Mill, and it’s super sweet. It’s much sweeter than the Chatfield’s brand.

Maple Syrup: You could easily use another liquid sweetener – even date paste.

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Brownies

I’ve been craving brownies since December.

First, I tried this fat-free black bean recipe. It was OK. I’ve tried other fat-free black bean recipes, and they’ve been OK too. All have been very cake-like. Good when you’re in the mood for that type of brownie, or even a piece of chocolate cake, but not so good when you aren’t sure what you want. Apparently that wasn’t what I wanted.

Then, I tried a fat-free brownie that used sweet potato instead of beans or bananas. It was OK. But, guess what, I can’t find the recipe. Ugh. I guess you’ll have to settle for some a photos.

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I also made this  blondie, which was very interesting. Cooked quinoa. Crazy!

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Sadly, I wasn’t super thrilled with either of these recipes either. The blondie was a different flavor I wasn’t fond of – not bad but not great. And, I ended up having to bake them for almost four times the length of time in the recipe. I don’t know what the difference in moisture could have been, but wowza! They were in the oven forever, and I could have left them in even longer. The regular brownies didn’t do it for me either. I probably didn’t leave them in the long enough (the oven had been on all day), and instead of being fudgy, they were gelatinous. I don’t do anything anything gelatinous. Luckily, after a night in the fridge, they firmed up a bit, and I ate them with the mindset of cold chocolate oatmeal.

Finally, I tried making a batch of raw brownies. Just about every vegan food blog, and maybe non-vegan blogs, have a recipe for raw brownies – and why not?! They’re delicious and super easy to make.

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The recipes are all about the same: dates, cacao and some kind of mix-in. My recipe isn’t anything special in design, but it sure tastes good!

Raw Brownies

20 jumbo medjool dates (40 regular size) – soaked if hard

1/4-1/2 c raw cacao (or carob – to taste)

1/8 – 1/4 c almond meal or flour (I used dehydrated and processed almond pulp left-over from making almond milk.)

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp vanilla powder

2 TBSP (heaping) raw cacao nibs – optional

1/4 c (scant) sliced almonds – optional

Add dates to food processor first. Process until dates have broken down. (You don’t need to process them into a paste, though.) Add cacao powder and almond meal and process again until mixture forms a ball. Add your mix-ins and combine by hand. Press mixture into a small container, silicone molds, or form into balls and store in the refrigerator or freezer. Allow to thaw a bit before eating  if freezing.

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Cherry Date Balls

I accidentally ordered some dehydrated cherries last month, and I finally got around to using them.

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Cherry Date Balls

1 c Dates

1/4 c (scant) Coconut

1/2 c (scant) slivered almonds (or whole, but slivered process better)

1/2 c freeze dried cherries (or other dried/freeze dried fruit of choice)

Add all ingredients to food processor and process until combined. Mixture will be crumbly but should hold together when pressed.  Scoop mixture by the TBSP (or cookie scooper – I used a size 50 scooper), pack tight, and roll into a ball. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. (If you freeze, thaw for a few minutes before eating; they become very, very firm.)

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