Recipe Redux: Avocado Chocolate Pudding

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I make this almost every week since I always have everything in the house. It is perfect for the just overripe avocado. I have started adding mesquite powder because I think it adds depth of flavor, but it is optional, as this pudding is just as good without it!

1 perfectly ripe avocado
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder
2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup, to taste
1 tablespoon mesquite powder, optional
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup cashew milk (or other plant milk)

Place all ingredients into the Vitamix and let it rip until the pudding is smooth. Add more plant milk to get a pudding-like consistency.

If you don’t have a Vitamix, a processor will do but can’t guarantee the perfect smoothness the Vitamix makes.

Enjoy with berries and cacao nibs!

Homemade Chedda Chz Sauce

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I like to call this Chedda Chz – funny, huh? After a few years of tinkering, this is the version I have come to love the most. I started with a much more complicated version for my nachos recipe but this is simpler. And better too. Keep it thick for nachos or tacos or thin it out for mac ‘n chz.

1/2 cup cashews *
1 roasted red pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/2 teaspoon each onion powder and mustard powder, or more to taste
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup filtered water + more for thinning
Salt, a few pinches
White pepper, a pinch **

*Soak if you don’t have a Vitamix. (But get one!)
**I like using white pepper because it is stronger and the peppercorns won’t impact the color of the chz. This is good for picky kids.

Place everything into the Vitamix and let it rip until everything is combined. Add 1/4 cup water to get it going and then a bit at a time to get the consistency you want. If it gets to thin, add more cashews! Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

Pour over nachos, tacos, pasta or whenever you feel like eating cheddary goodness. Enjoy!

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Recipe Redux: Chickpea Salad

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I love this salad! It is one of my go to’s for the summer especially for the beach. It’s like that old salad my dad used to make but no fish were harmed for this one!

I have updated my original recipe in a few ways. Instead of all chickpeas, I now sub in 1 cup of cooked red lentils for a real nutritional punch. I also add celery for crunch, and of course I now make my own cashew mayo but if you want to use Vegenaise or Just Mayo, go for it!

1 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight and cooked
1 cup cooked red lentils *
1 carrot, shredded
1 stalk of celery, diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced or 2 big scallions, thinly sliced
3 teaspoons relish
Vegan mayo, start with a tablespoon
Juice of 1/2 lemon or more, to taste
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*When cooking red lentils for this recipe, add one cup of uncooked red lentils to a pot and cover with about three cups of water. Bring it to a boil and cook until they are totally soft and you can’t see the individual lentils. Drain any excess water. I think it is better to wait a day before using the lentils for this recipe, otherwise they can be a too watery.

In the bowl of the food processor, add the chickpeas and pulse a few times, until they are broken down. Empty into a big mixing bowl. Add the cooked red lentils. Shred the carrot on a box grater. Dice up the celery into small pieces and add to the mix. Dice up the onion or thinly slice the scallions and add them in too.

Add relish, mayo, and fresh lemon juice. Mix together very well. Taste and adjust to the texture and taste you like, adding salt and pepper.

This salad is great right away, but I think better overnight. It is great on top of lettuce or on crusty toast. However you eat it, enjoy!

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Garlic Scape Basil Pesto

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This is the evolution of food: from beautiful farmer’s market garlic scapes and fresh basil to garlicky delicious pesto. I love making pesto with scapes and buy them until they are no longer available at the market. This week I tossed some with little pastas for a big party and still had leftovers!

6 garlic scapes
2 packed cups fresh basil
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil, depends on whether you like your pesto pasty (less oil) or saucy (more oil)
1/4 cup pine nuts
Salt, a few pinches, to taste

Place all ingredients into the food processor, except for the oil. Let it rip for a few seconds so everything starts to break up. Drizzle the oil in as the machine is going until the pesto is the consistency you like.

Eat on toast, on potatoes, in a tofu scramble, or pasta. Enjoy!

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On-The-Go Chia Seed Pudding Drink

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This is my go to afternoon snack. It is not as thick as pudding and I can drink it right out of this cute little water bottle that my husband got for my son. I hijacked it because it is the perfect size and it has a leak proof cap.

I make my drink either the night before or first thing in the morning and by the time I am ready to drink it, the chia seeds are all puffed up and ready to go!

1 cup homemade cashew milk (Any homemade plant milk will do!)
1 tablespoon white (or black) chia seeds
1 tablespoon date sugar * or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder
A dash of cinammon

*Date sugar is not “sugar” it is just ground up dates.

Pour the milk into the bottle. Add the rest of ingredients. Shake it up. Wait for the chia seeds to puff up. Drink and enjoy!

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Loaded Kale & Chickpea Salad

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I love, love, love this salad. Make as much or as little as you want but you will want a lot – the combo is fantastic!

Note that these are approximate measures. It’s a salad – you can’t go wrong!

Serves 3 to 4

Kale, a huge bunch of Lacinato
Chickpeas, a heaping cup
Quinoa, about 1/2 cup
Carrots, 2 regular size, shredded
Scallions, 4 regular size, thinly sliced
English peas, 1/4 cup
Fresh corn, 1 ear, cut off the cob
Creamy Cashew White Balsamic Dressing (recipe below), about 1/2 cup

De-stem the kale and thinly slice into ribbons. It helps to stack the leaves and roll – kind of like when you chiffonade basil.

Add to a big bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss with a pair of tongs.

Add the dressing and toss really well with the tongs. Enjoy!

Creamy Cashew White Balsamic Dressing
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup filtered water + more for thinning to desired consistency
The juice of 1/2 lemon, approximately 1 tablespoon
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup

Place all ingredients in blender or Vitamix. Blend until creamy. Store in airtight container for up to a week.

Ice Cream Shmice Cream #27: Chocolate Chip Cookies ‘n Cream AKA Ice Cream Sandwich Ice Cream

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It’s officially summer and so more ice cream concoctions are happening in my kitchen. Today, I bring you what I am calling Chocolate Chip Cookies and Cream AKA ice cream sandwich ice cream. I love making ice cream sandwiches – they are fun and cute. But even though they are easy to make, why make them when you can just crush up some Chocolate Chip Cookies and mix them into the ice cream base? Same flavors, less work.

2 cans organic coconut milk
1/2 cup vegan sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
4 to 6 chocolate chip cookies

Whisk together the coconut milk, sugar, and vanilla extract and powder. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Pour the coconut milk mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 10 minutes. Break up the cookies into big and small chunks. When the ice cream is almost done, add the cookies and let it go for another minute just to incorporate them.

Turn out into a Tovolo ice cream tub or a freezer safe container with a piece of wax paper on top. Freeze, and enjoy!

Chocolate Marbled Banana Bread

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This is a cute adaptation of my perfect banana bread recipe. I happen to love chocolate with my banana bread and have been known to bake chocolate chips right into it. But I think this marble is the prettiest way to serve it up. Just a little spiraling swirl with a fork and voila, a fun and surprising design awaits when the oven timer rings!

2 flax eggs (1 flax egg = 1 tablespoon of ground flax meal + 3 tablespoons of water)
3 very ripe big bananas
1 cup vegan cane or beet sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 350.

In a medium mixing bowl, prepare the flax eggs by whisking together the ground flax meal and water. Let stand for a few minutes so they get thick. Mash the bananas right into the flax eggs and add the sugar and vanilla extract. Mix well.

Combine the flour and baking soda in a big mixing bowl and combine well with a fork or whisk. Add the banana mixture and mix it all together until it comes together into a dough.

Scoop out one cup of the banana bread dough into another bowl (I use the banana mixture bowl just for easier clean up) and sift the cocoa powder over the top. Mix very well until combined.

Pour half of the plain batter into a regulation sized loaf pan. Next, add the chocolate dough and then top it with the rest of the plain dough.

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Start on the left side of the loaf pan and use a fork to swirl the two doughs together. Reach into the dough with the fork and touch the bottom of the loaf pan. Then swirl the fork clockwise as you lift up the batter and then hit the bottom of the pan again until you get to the right side. To top it off,  run the fork back through the center of the dough to the left side. And if you are crazy like me, run the fork back to the right again just to be sure of complete marblization!

(If you are a leftie, reverse the above directions.)

Bake for 55 minutes to an hour (depending on your oven) until a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool. Slice and enjoy!

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Massaged Kale Salad with Carrots, Raisins, Scallions & Toasted Cashews

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I know, I know, another kale salad. But I just love this combo. Sweet and earthy. Crunchy too. The best part is that I use both lemon and lime juice to massage the kale. Perfection.

Serves 1 to 2

1 bunch lacinato kale
1/2 avocado
The juice of 1/2 lemon
The juice of 1/2 lime
1 carrot
1 scallion
1/2 cup cashews
1/4 cup raisins
Salt, a pinch

Preheat the oven to 300. Toast the cashews until fragrant and browned, about 10 minutes. But keep an eye on them so they don’t burn.

Tear the kale off the stems and clean well. Cut or tear into small pieces.

In a big bowl, add the kale, avocado, lemon and lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Get in there with your hands and massage the whole thing together until the kale feels softer.

Grate the carrot. Slice the scallions and toss them into the kale along with the cashews and raisins. Mix well and Enjoy!

Cinnamon Rolls

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We had lunch at the Mother Earth Sanctuary Cafe in Florida on our last trip. They had some terrific veggie burgers but my son fell in love with their cinnamon rolls. So, of course, I had to figure out how to make them. They look so intimidating but they are actually not so hard. You make a dough, roll it up and cut it into rolls. I found a recipe from the famous Chicago Diner and played with it to make it work for me. Making these little rolls is not difficult, it is just a little time consuming.

We like these pretty much right out of the oven so we make them when we have people over!

Notes: Use an electric mixer to knead the dough and a 9×9 brownie pan – it is perfect to smoosh 12 rolls together!

Starter
1 tablespoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon vegan cane sugar

Dough
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
6 tablespoons vegan cane sugar
3/4 to 1 cup plant milk (I used homemade cashew)
1/4 cup sunflower oil + extra for brushing
1/2 teaspoon salt

Filling
3/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Make the starter by whisking together the yeast, 1/4 teaspoon sugar, and 1/2 cup warm water in the bowl of your electric mixer. Cover and let the yeast activate, about 10 minutes, until the yeast looks foamy.

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Add the flour, sugar, oil and salt. Start with 1/2 cup milk. Knead with a dough hook on the lowest speed until combined. The dough will look crumbly and dry. Add another 1/4 cup of milk so the dough is wet and sloshy. If it is still not wet, add the remaining 1/4 cup milk.

Mix for 2 minutes on low and then increase the speed to medium. Knead until the dough pulls away from the bowl, another 3 or so minutes. Cover and set aside. It will double in size in about 2 hours.

Mix the cinnamon and sugar together for the filling and set aside.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured work surface into a rectangle so the dough is not too thick. I don’t have an exact size here, but it was obvious to me so hopefully it will be obvious to you!

Use a pastry brush and brush with a light coating of oil. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling, leaving an inch bare at one of the long ends.

Roll the dough in a cylinder tightly onto itself and press at the end to seal. Cut into 12 pieces about 1 1/2″ to 2″. I usually discard the ends.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

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Transfer the pieces into the brownie pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to proof in a warm place until doubled in size, about 15 minutes.

Bake until golden, 25 to 30 minutes, or longer until the tops are browned. Let cool just a bit and then gently use a spatula and a knife to get the rolls out. Enjoy!