Friday, September 16, 2011

Original Recipe - Shelly's Vegan Parmesan

I don't make up recipes that often but when I do, I will post them here.

This is a recipe for a vegan 'parmesan' that you can use in caesar salads, on pasta or pizza and even veggies!

You'll want to use a high powered blender. I tried this in my food processor and I couldn't get it fine enough. Also, I made it kinda salty because to me, that is what parmesan is so if you don't like salt, cut back on it and add it in while you're taste testing. But.. you probably aren't eating this by the spoonful so salty is ok in that regard. LOL

I used a crystallized lemon powder in mine for tanginess but you could probably leave it out if you wanted to.

Shelly's Vegan Parmesan

1/2 cup raw cashews
1 tsp Garlic Gold Nuggets (or sub in garlic powder or garlic flakes)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 sugar packet size True Lemon or citric acid
1/8 tsp dry mustard
1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast

Blend ingredients in blender until it is fine like parmesan cheese. Store in a jar.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things You Should Make Yourself - Granola

Granola is a healthy and delicious snack and it can also double as a quick bowl of cereal with your homemade almond milk or as a topping for fresh fruit! Try it mixed into non-dairy yogurt!

Granola can be pricey if you buy it in a store but it's super easy to make and you can modify it to suit your individual taste. Plus, this makes your house smell amazing! This is a great thing to take traveling too. I take a container of this when I have to get on a plane.

I know that tastes vary when it comes to nuts and dried fruits so feel free to sub in whatever you like... just keep the measurements the same.  You want a total of 2 cups of nuts/dried fruit.

I do encourage you to try and do a nice variety of flavors and textures. It's good to expand your horizons and different nuts give you different vitamins, minerals and benefits. You may want to make this as it is written the first time and then decide how to change it later on.

Give it a chance.

If you like the salty-sweet angle... you may want to add large flake sea salt to taste. I like to get a nice spot of saltiness once in awhile so I do add larger flaked salt in addition to the 1 tsp of fine sea salt in the recipe.

Don't ignore the flax and wheat germ in this recipe. It's really good for you and you won't even know it's there!  Quick note about the syrup.. I prefer to use mostly brown rice syrup as it doesn't affect blood sugar like maple syrup does. The maple syrup is there for it's distinct flavor, not sweetness.
Don't you dare use corn syrup or I will hunt you down and kill you. Seriously. (wink)

I adapted this from Alicia Silverstone's granola recipe in 'The Kind Diet' book.

6 cups quick oats
Cinnamon (as much as you think you want)
1/2 cup flax seed (ground)
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded or flaked coconut
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds or pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup walnuts (I like to break these into halves.. don't use chopped, you want texture)
1/3 cup dried fruit of choice (raisins, cherries, cranberries - mix or match)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup safflower or canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp sucanat or brown sugar
3/4 cup non-refined syrup (use real maple or brown rice syrup ONLY - I like a ratio of 2:1 brown rice syrup to maple syrup)
1 cup mini chocolate chips or carob chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Spread the oats on a cookie sheet and toast for 10 minutes.
2. In a LARGE bowl, combine oats, sugar, wheat germ, flax seed, cinnamon, nuts, fruits, salt and coconut. Mix well.
3. In a smaller bowl, combine oil, syrup, and extracts and mix to combine.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
5. Using two large cookie sheets with sides, place half of the granola on each pan and bake for 10 minutes and then stir and keep baking in 5 minute increments, stirring after each session, until slightly browned but not overly done. Watch it carefully. Do not run off and read Facebook while it's baking!

Cool and then stir is the mini chocolate chips if you are using those. Store in an air-tight container.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Things You Should Make Yourself - Veggie Burgers

I think most people are first introduced to vegetarian or vegan food thru veggie burgers.

There are quite a few brands on the market - Boca, Gardenburger, Morningstar Farms, and Amy's, just to name a few.

They may tate ok but homemade burgers taste better, plus the price of boxed veggie burgers makes me insane. A box of veggie burgers runs $3 to $6 at the store for 4 patties.

Plus, they sometimes have ingredients that I'm really not interested in consuming.

Homemade is less expensive and 100% better tasting with no weird ingredients. Yes, you can even freeze them to reheat later! Plus, they are really simple to make.

The hardest part is deciding what type of veggie burger you want. There are a few basic varieties.

Grain based - these usually have brown rice or quinoa plus veggies and spices.

Bean based - these are most often black bean or chickpea based.

Veggie based - these are mostly veggies held together with a flour. A portabella mushroom can be a burger all on it's own!

Soy and TVP (textured vegetable protein) based -  tofu, TVP or tempeh burgers,

The reason I love veggie burgers is because they are versatile. I can eat them like a traditional burger, on a bun with fresh veggie toppings and a smear of vegan mayo, without a bun as my main dish or I can chop them up and use them as an ingredient is another dish, like black bean burgers are great in tacos!

You can google for hundreds of fabulous recipes for all different kinds of veggie burgers but here are two of my favorites from Josh at My Vegan Cookbook:

I like to make a double batch of the black bean burgers and then freeze them after I've cooked them.  Just put a piece of wax paper inbetween them and you can grab one anytime for a quick meal!

By the way, Josh has some fantastic recipes.. I don't think I've made a bad one yet!  In fact, his Chick Spread and his Vegan Meatballs are two of my most fave meals ever!

With the chick Spread, I leave out the tofu (and don't notice any difference) but i add in some nutritonal yeast and some vegan 'chicken' bouillon. The meatballs make a great meaty sauce by cooking the mixture up like burger in a pan and adding it to a pan of sauteed onions and mushrooms and a jar of your fave pasta sauce. I've also heard it's good in chili!