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!)

 

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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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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.

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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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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.

Don’t miss out on the after-the-blog fun; follow Veggie V on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Sharing the raw-vegan love…Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Allergy Free Wednesdays, 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

Almost Raw Not-Tuna Salad

I used to have a thing for tuna salad. Or I thought I did. In reality, I had a thing for the flavor comb of the salad, which, in our house, was mustard, dill pickles, and celery. Turns out, when I add mustard, pickles, and celery to just about any base, my brain thinks my mouth is eating tuna salad, and that makes them both happy. (Ah, the memories.)

I’ve made not-tuna salad with a variety of fillers in the past couple of years, and I’ve loved them all: chickpeas, tofu, lentils, nut meal, and the list goes on. But, since I’ve been eating at least 80% raw (about one cooked meal per week) and shying away from beans, grains, and lentils, I went down a different avenue this time. Enter, the ever-present garden staple…zucchini!

Almost Raw Not-Tuna Salad

1 c shredded or finely shopped zucchini (no need to peel unless you want to)

1 T prepared mustard OR 1 tsp mustard seed, ground (or more to taste)

2 stalks celery, finely diced

1/4 c chopped dill pickle OR cucumber (peeled unless skins are soft) plus 1t (or more) apple cider vinegar (Braggs is my fav)

2 green onions/scallions, finely diced

Dulse flakes, Kelp granuals, or crumbled nori – optional

Shred/chop zucchini and set aside in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to drain. In another bowl, combine remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Add strained or squeezed zucchini and combine. Serve over a bed of lettuce, stuffed in a tomato, with a side of tomatoes, wrapped in your favorite raw wrap (Romain leaf, anyone?), between two pieces of raw bread, or scooped with raw crackers.

The first time I made this salad, I didn’t drain or squeeze the zucchini, and although it was a bit wet, the taste wasn’t affected by the extra liquid. So, if you’re not into squeezing your zucs, no biggie. But, you might want to eat your meal with a fork to encourage drainage 😉 I also don’t add the seaweed, but if you’re looking for that ‘from the sea’ flavor, give it a try.

I  use raw dill pickles in my salad. I’m able to find a local brand at my townie grocery store, but if you don’t care about the raw-ness of your pickles, try a commercial brand. Or, just dice some cucs and add a spash of ACV. Additionally, grind up some mustard seed if you don’t want to use prepared mustard (I really need to try making my own raw mustard!). With these simple swaps, your not-tuna salad can be 80-10-10 approved!

Sharing at: Allergy Free Wednesdays, Wellness Weekends, Healthy Vegan Fridays

Raw Pies & Parfaits

I shared a recipe a couple of weeks ago with you for Raw Dutch Apple Pie, and since then, I’ve been making apple pies, cherry pies, strawberry pie, banana cream pies…I can’t get enough raw pie!

My recent obsession with raw pie is a little odd considering I don’t like traditional pie (except pumpkin, but everything is better with pumpkin). It has something to do with the crust and sickeningly sweet filling.  But raw pie is different. All raw desserts are different to me. In a very, very good way.

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Basic Raw Pie/Parfait

10 medjool or other soft date, pitted

1/2 c dried, shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut – optional

1 c (heaping) filling

Process dates and coconut (if using) in a mini-chopper until crumbles form. Place about half of the mixture in the bottom of a small, deep dish and press to form a bottom ‘crust.’ (Use a shallow dish and bring crust up the side for a more traditional pie look.) Add filling and top with remaining crumbles. Eat right away, dehydrate, refrigerate or freeze pie.

Options:

Click here for the Apple Pie Filling recipe.

Cherry Pie Filling: Roughly chop/blend (pulse chop so mixture is part liquid/part chunks) about 2 heaping cups of pitted cherries.

Strawberry Pie Filling: Roughly chop/blend (pulse chop so mixture is part liquid/part chunks) about 1/2 pound strawberries.

Banana Cream Pie Filling: Blend one large banana until smooth. Add to pie. Slice one large banana and add to top of banana cream.

Make it 80-10-10 (high carb/low fat raw vegan): Don’t include the coconut and all of the combos are not only 80-10-10 approved, but they also follow food combing guidelines.

Make it a parfait! Turn your pie into a parfait: Instead of pressing the date crumbles into the bottom of a dish, sprinkle about 1/3 of the mix into the bottom of a deep, wide glass, add about 1/2 of the filling mixture, top with more crumble, add more filling, and top with more crumbles. If you’re making the banana cream, add a layer or two of sliced bananas, or top each cream layer with a layer of sliced bananas.

Two or three ingredient raw desserts. Eating simply at its finest!