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Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Almond Joy Cookies

In Nutrition, Recipe on October 20, 2013 at 11:50 pm
coconut and chocolate

Coconut and Chocolate

My ideas about dessert and sweets are changing…

As a child, Halloween was one of my favorite holidays. It’s not just the dressing up in costumes. It was the idea of going house-to-house, asking for candy, and actually being able to eat it! My childhood home was completely devoid of sugar – and I mean completely. Did you know there are 2 grams of sugar per serving of Rice Krispies? Therefore, only Cheerios were allowed. You know, only 1 gram of sugar per serving, so it was only half as bad for you.

I grew up putting taco sauce on hot dogs because ketchup has sugar in it. Yes, ketchup was banned but hot dogs were OK. I think we all have places in our lives where our decision-making is a bit contradictory. I have a close friend who is very diligent about consuming organic food and yet drinks Diet Coke all day long…hmmmmm…

I have a rule in my home that all desserts need to be homemade. The idea being that you must really want that cupcake if you’re going to take the trouble to bake it and ice it, thus leading to less sweets consumption.

cookies

Combine these two to make an almond joy cookie!

Until recently I subscribed to the idea that if you are going to indulge, you ought to do it right. Eat the butter. Eat the eggs. Eat the gluten. Eat the white sugar. Just don’t indulge so often. Lately, that doesn’t seem to be working for me. Now, when I indulge in a “real” cookie or cupcake, I feel like I’ve got a hangover. My system has become so finely-tuned towards simple preparations of plant-based foods that even the occasional rich dessert cannot be tolerated without consequence. So I am officially on the vegan-gluten-free-honey-sweetened-dessert bandwagon these days.

Back to candy eating at Halloween. As a kid, gathering all that forbidden treasure was a major high. My parents would let my siblings and I indulge in the candy for a day, maybe two, and then we turned the contraband over to them (I later learned they stashed anything chocolate in the freezer). I tell this to friends and they assume I have awful memories of that holiday. But I remember it as a non-issue. Two days of gorging on sweets was plenty. Of course, I made sure I consumed as many Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Snickers as I could before my 2 day limit was reached. I also remember wishing I could combine Mounds Bar and Almond Joy into one because I love dark chocolate and almonds.

I am positively giddy about a cookie that combines chocolate and almonds. And is gluten-free. And is vegan. And is not overly sweet. And is more simple to prepare than “real” cookies.

Start with the simple base batter using a food processor fitted with the dough blade.  I’m sure you could also blend with a wooden spoon and muscle.

cookie collage

Vegan, gluten-free, chocolate chip cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/4 cup honey

1 TBSP vanilla

Other ingredients: finely shredded, unsweetened coconut and block of high quality dark chocolate

Directions: Combine dry ingredients (mix and blend well) then add wet ingredients (mix and blend well). The mixture is sticky and the almond flour a bit gritty but never fear – they will be delicious! Heat oven to 350 degrees. Baking time is 6-8 minutes and cookies will stay somewhat gooey so judge done-ness by bottom browning. Also, since you will be rolling them into balls to bake, after about 3-4 minutes use the back of a large spoon to gently flatten them and then finish baking.

homemade cocoroons

Homemade Cocoroons

If you prefer a coconut-y cookie reminiscent of Cocoroons or Rickaroons (for the local San Diego folks) then form the batter into balls and roll in coconut (consider adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut to batter but not too much as it gets dry).

Or add coarsely-chopped dark chocolate to make (somewhat) traditional chocolate chip cookies.

Or do BOTH and enjoy a chewy, gooey concoction that tastes awfully close to an Almond Joy candy bar but is WAY BETTER for you! Add chopped chocolate to the batter. Form into balls. Roll in coconut flakes. Bake. AMAZING.

Just because these are vegan and gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s open season for consumption. Cookies are still a treat and are highly caloric so take it easy, people.

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7 Seas Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on October 20, 2013 at 4:16 am
4C's soup

Carrot, cauliflower, coconut milk, coconut oil, curry, cayenne, and cinnamon.

I love developing new recipes but my creative abilities fail me when it comes time to name the outcome. My tendency is toward a literal description of the food; therefore, ending up with a name that is a long, jumbled list of ingredients or an abstract label leading to confusion. Recently changing the name of Indian-Spiced Red Lentil & Beet Stew to Red Velvet Soup felt like a major creative feat and I’m totally tapped out right now.

Forgive me for the name of this particular soup, it’s quite delicious and satisfying despite the odd name. Creamy and spicy, this soup was pureed up for October’s one and only SoupAsana (more to events come in Nov/Dec) and, having so many ingredients that start with the letter “C”, was excellent fodder for my knee-jerk-literal-naming habit. I had decided on 4C’s Soup (brilliant, right?) until I realized there were as many as seven “C” ingredients. The other option was Autumn Leaves Soup. Seriously. These are the only 2 ideas I could muster up. Obviously, Autumn Leaves Soup is a most confusing contender (sounds like a bowl of crisp dust) thereby eliminating it as an option.

Being a decidedly white girl with a Persian name means that I am used to confusing, even contradictory, labeling. The awkward pauses and wrinkled brows no longer faze me so let’s move on to the “How-To” of this yummy soup.

Ingredients:

3-4 large carrots – peeled and chunked

1 head of cauliflower – just florets

1 onion

1/2 bulb garlic

1 thumb of ginger

Coconut oil (enough to coat bottom of pot)

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp cayenne

3-4 TBSP white miso paste

1 can coconut milk

Liquid (broth or water)

Sauté onions, garlic, ginger and spices in coconut oil. Add carrots and cauliflower florets and add broth or water to just cover veggies. Simmer until very soft. Add miso and puree. Add coconut milk and mix well. Top with cilantro and tamari pepitas.

Broccoli-Apple Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on October 20, 2013 at 2:57 am
broccoli-apple soup2

Only 5 ingredients: broccoli, apples, onion, olive oil, and broth.

A shockingly simple and delicious soup. I toyed with the idea of adding a few herbs and spices here and there but decided not to complicate the beautiful simplicity of this soup. That’s all I’m going to say. Try it out for yourself.

Ingredients:

3 apples – peeled and cubed

1 head of broccoli – separate florets from stalk, slice stalk thinly

6 cups veggie broth

1 large onion

Olive oil (couple swirls around bottom of pot)

broccoli-apple soupDirections:

Once you’ve prepared apples and broccoli, assess to see that you’ve got an approximately equal amount of each. Adjust accordingly.

Saute onion and apples in olive oil.

Add broth and stalks. Simmer 20 minutes until soft.

Add florets. Simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Puree with a hand blender and assess consistency. I believe you’d want to avoid the consistency of baby food (a danger with cooked apples!).

Add more broth as needed. Salt & pepper to taste.

Serve topped with cashew cream or greek yogurt and cayenne.

Watermelon-Cucumber Salad

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on August 22, 2013 at 6:01 am

watermelon-cucumber saladI recently returned to hot yoga after swearing it off (for all of eternity) years ago. I optimistically bought a 10-class series (does anyone want to buy the remaining 5 classes?). In August. And I consistently went to late evening classes after long summer days. I honestly don’t remember thinking too deeply when I made these decisions. Shocked, right? After class I would find my dripping wet self, standing at my kitchen counter, chugging water and shoving blue corn chips in my mouth like I’d been lost in the desert for 3 days. And, I thought, there must be a better way to recover from this torture. As opposed to, you must never go back to those classes (for a hilarious account of one’s first hot yoga class, read this).

Anyway, when you sweat to the extent that most people do in hot yoga or football practice in Southern Florida or watermelon juice on beachcinder block-laying in Mainland Mexico you lose a TON of water AND salt! Coconut water and Kombucha will not properly rehydrate you under these circumstances, people. You must drink a lot of plain water and replenish your sodium and chloride stores (with actual salt!) thus rebalancing your electrolytes and your blood pressure. That’s what Gatorade is – salty water with a bunch of sugar to cover the saltwater flavor – and harmful food dyes. Contrary to popular belief, coconut water is not “Nature’s Gatorade” as it lacks (in large enough quantities) the two electrolytes actually lost during sweating – sodium and chloride.

This quick recipe is exactly what you need to rehydrate and refresh after a long day in the sun or an ill-timed, hot yoga class. Watermelon and cucumber are two of the highest water-content fruits and paired with some salt, crunch, and spice…you can’t go wrong.

Combine the following:

1/2 mini watermelon, cubed

1 english cucumber, peeled & cubed

salt and lemon1/2 lemon, juiced

1-2 TBSP olive oil, drizzled

Himalayan salt (pinch or 2)

Pepitas (tamari toasted are even better!), tossed on top

Cayenne (shake or 2)

OR – to simplify and tone it down the heat – substitute Seaweed Gomasio for the salt, pepitas, & cayenne

A little bit of fat and protein but mostly water, sugar, fiber, and salt. Serves 2-4 people depending on dehydration levels!

Coconut-Berry Cheesecake

In Nutrition, Recipe, Yoga on July 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm

coconut-berry cheesecakeI got this recipe from Yoga_Girl’s Instagram feed. She’s adorable, inspiring, and positive…I totally recommend following her if you’re into beautiful yoga and healthy living. I made this recipe into mini, bite-size cheesecakes for the Salmonberry Open House last Friday and although I feel they turned out yummy, the recipe needs refinement as the crust is a bit too crumbly. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing much recipe development or experimentation this summer as I’ve closed down the Salmonberry studio and kitchen for a bit. I’m renting my house to vacationers and will be living with friends or family until mid-August. This is both discombobulating and freeing all at once. The usual structure – both physical and metaphorical – that I’m used to working under has been totally dismantled and I’m still trying to get both feet on the ground. I am currently located in Encinitas, CA – the birthplace of  Ashtanga yoga in the US, home to the Self-Realization Fellowship, and largest grower of poinsettias –  which is not helping me get more grounded. I’m feeling light, airy, creative, and, well, exhausted. It’s also unusually humid and warm here in SoCal adding to sluggish-ness of body and over-stimulation of mind. Suger cravings kick in for me when I’m feeling like this which is interesting b/c carbs, especially refined carbs, only exacerbate feelings of flighty-ness and spacey-ness (are those words?!). I really should be eating legumes and dairy to ground me but the weather makes me want to eat raw veggie salads. So I panic and eat sweet foods – ugh! Raw, vegan coconut-berry cheesecake is definitely a “sweet food” but can provide grounding with it’s healthy fats and protein from nuts, seeds, and oils. When it comes to indulging in sweet foods and desserts , these mini-cheesecakes are a pretty good choice. Sweet, tart, and nutty and only require time, a processor, patience, and a freezer. Works just as well as a large pie for slicing.

Crust Ingredients:

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup almonds

1/2 cup dates

1 TBSP coconut oil

Combine all crust ingredients and process until smooth. Press into pie pan or individual mini muffin tin. Freeze for 1-2hrs.

party foodFilling Ingredients:

3 cups cashews (soaked)

1/2 cup unsweetened, coconut flakes

1 tsp vanilla

4 tsp coconut oil

8-10 dates

1-2 lemons, juiced

Pinch of salt

Process all ingredients until very smooth and creamy. Spread over crust and freeze for 2 hrs.

Topping Ingredients:

1/2 cup Trader Joe’s frozen Very Cherry Berry Mix (defrosted)

4-6 dates

1 lemon, juiced

Berry mix must be fully defrosted and not at all cold or the dates will harden and nothing will mix well. Put all topping ingredients in processor and puree till liquified. Top frozen pie with berry mixture and freeze for 3-4hrs. Defrost for 20 minutes before serving and enjoying.

Vegan Pancakes – 2 Ways

In Nutrition, Recipe on June 6, 2013 at 5:27 am

carrot-coconut pancake stackThese are brillant. Crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. Reminiscent of a crepe but thicker and without the eggs! I had a bag of carrots that were getting old so I shredded them in the processor and then searched online for a yummy recipe to include them in. Original recipe here. I loved the recipe’s generous use of coconut milk and spelt flour which is lower in gluten than most wheat varieties. It just happened to be that the recipe was vegan and I was intrigued. I am always looking for ways to eat more plants and less animals. It feels better for the health of my body and better for the health of the earth. grated carrtos

Combine wet ingredients:

1.5 cups light coconut milk, canned

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/4 maple syrup

1 cup soy or almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups carrot, grated

Combine dry ingredients:carrot-coconut pancake batter

2.5 cups whole grain spelt flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 TBSP chia seeds

1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

Mix wet into dry and stir until just combined. Fry ’em up 🙂 You might need to use a lower heat than you are used to for frying pancakes as the outside seemed to cook a bit faster than the inside.

I loved the idea of this batter as a base for other variations so I experimented with subbing in some cornmeal for the spelt flour, shredded coconut for the carrots, and adding blueberries. A heartier texture but the same subtle sweetness. Delicious enough to eat plain or topped with nut butter.

Combine wet ingredients:blueberry cornmeal pancakes

1.5 cups light coconut milk, canned

1/3 cup coconut oil

1/4 maple syrup

1 cup soy or almond milk

1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened

Combine dry ingredients:

1.5 cups whole-grain spelt flour

1 cup cornmeal

1/2 tsp baking sodapancakes2

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 TBSP chia seeds 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground

I used a coarsely-ground cornmeal (b/c that was all I had) so they were a bit gritty but my kids still ate them 😉 The batter will be thicker due to the cornmeal and coconut but it thins out a bit on the griddle. Sprinkle blueberries on top and, again, you might need to use a lower heat so the inside cooks thoroughly. Really yummy the next day toasted with jam!

Cool, Summer-version of Pad Thai

In Nutrition, Recipe on May 30, 2013 at 4:31 am

pad thai kelp noodlesThis cold, kelp noodle salad has a terrible name. I wanted to call it “No-cook, No Peanut Pad Thai” but that was pretty lame too. The good news is, this recipe requires NO cooking or processing only soaking, chopping, and whisking. I used an alternative to the ubiquitous peanut butter to make it accessible to everyone and change up the flavor a bit. The whole point of developing this recipe was to find a use for kelp noodles other than in soups. I have been struggling with a decent avocado sauce and now feel vindicated that I’ve finally put kelp noodles to good use with this Pad Thai-inspired sauce. Insanely low-cal kelp noodles pair perfectly with high-calorie nut-based sauces. I’m not a calorie-counter but it’s just common sense not to overload your palate or belly with a cocktail of high-calorie items…let’s keep it all in balance, people.

kelp noodles

No caption necessary…the bag says it all.

Kelp noodles are practically calorie-free (<10 calories per serving), gluten-free, and raw. Just soak in water with an acid (citrus, vinegar) and they remind one of glass noodles. Kelp noodles are made from brown seaweed, sodium alginate (a seaweed-derived salt therefore high in iodine), and water. Clear in color and quite bland, they are al-dente-like crunchy until soaked. Kelp noodles are low in fiber so if you are using them in place of whole grain noodles, up the veggie content of your recipe for balanced blood sugar levels.

This recipe is vegan and I would love to call it ‘raw’ because it’s very, very close; however, for bestowing the raw title you must drop the tofu, sub agave or raw honey (but then it wouldn’t be vegan…so many rules!) for the maple syrup, and the canned coconut milk is suspect (I believe there are raw versions of coconut milk available). Anyway, if you are a raw foodie, I’m sure you are aware of the appropriate substitutions. If you are not, carry on…

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients2

Tofu, red pepper, lime, and mint.

Ingredients:

1 bag kelp noodles, soaked overnight in water and juice of 1 lime

8oz tofu, extra firm, drained, squeezed, and cubed

1 red pepper, diced

1 cup shredded/grated carrot

Handful of bean sprouts

(Experiment with the veggies: sliced snow peas, shredded cabbage, grated beets, etc.)

Pad Thai Sauce (enough for 2 batches of noodles & veggies):

pad thai kelp noodles ingredients

Kelp noodles, ground/crushed red pepper, tahini, shredded carrot, and ginger root.

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup almond butter

1/4 cup canned coconut milk, light

3 TBSP tamari, low sodium

3 TBSP maple syrup (agave or raw honey)

1-2 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

1 tsp crushed red pepper or cayenne

1 lime, juiced

1 tsp crushed garlic

1 tsp grated ginger

Place drained kelp noodles, tofu, and veggies in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients. Combine 1/2 of the sauce into bowl of noodles, tofu, and veggies. Mix well and refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds when ready to serve. Cool, creamy, and layered with flavors and textures…yum!

Nutty, Seedy, Fruity Breakie

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 25, 2013 at 11:35 pm
yourbuddhi breakie

Raw, vegan, overnight parfait.

Vegan, raw, delicious, and nutritious. Best of all, you make it the night before (in a 12oz Ball jar) and then just grab ‘n go for breakfast or a post-yoga snack. Dee-lish…you are going to be super grateful!

Ingredients (Modified from a recipe by Robin Lee):

1/3 cup uncooked, rolled oats

1/3 cup nutmilk

1/4 cup canned coconut milk or coconut yogurt

2.5 tsp chia seeds

2 tsp maple syrup

1/4 tsp vanilla

shake of cinnamon

4-6oz blueberries

Add all ingredients (EXCEPT FRUIT) to 12oz Ball jar. Screw on lid and shake until well-mixed. Add berries, return lid, and tip/swirl until fruit is mixed. Don’t shake unless you want squashed fruit! Refrigerate overnight and you have a low sugar, high fiber, portable, morning meal that is a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins C, D, and K. Keeps 2 days in refrigerator.

6oz (1/2 jar) = 212 kcals, 7g fat, 7g fiber, 7g protein

Cleansing Soup

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm
cleansing soup

Cleansing Soup – all day for three days.

This soup is perfect for cleansing your system after an over-indulgence or when you are feeling run-down and susceptible to illness. If you are feeling sluggish and foggy, take three days to eat nothing but this soup and you will come right back to life! For maximum benefit, it’s important to abstain from caffeine and alcohol. Instead treat yourself to fresh-pressed veggie & fruit juices. This soup is high in fiber, vitamins A, C & K, antioxidants, and antimicrobials and is wonderful for supporting your immune system and maintaing a healthy gut.

Ingredients:

cleansing soup ingredients

Carrots, celery, garlic, onion, kale, shiitake mushrooms.

1 bulb (yes, the WHOLE bulb) garlic

1 medium onion

fresh ginger – about the size of 2 thumbs, peeled

1 lb. shiitake mushrooms – thinly sliced (remove stems)

1 bunch red swiss chard, dinosaur kale, or fave greens – stemmed and chopped

1 bunch carrots – thinly sliced rounds

1 bunch celery – thinly sliced half-moons (use the leafy parts too!)

64oz low sodium vegetable broth

64oz water

1/4 to 1/2 a tub of miso paste

Sesame oil

Tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

Directions:

kale shiitake mushrooms

Kale and shiitake mushrooms sautéed in sesame oil.

Process garlic, ginger, and onions. It’s OK if the onions become mush. It’s adds a thicker texture to the broth. Heat sesame oil in caste iron pan. Add garlic, onions, and ginger. After a couple of minutes, add sliced shiitake mushrooms and splash of tamari and sauté until mushrooms are glassy.

In a stock pot, simmer carrots and celery in veggie broth and water. When carrots and celery are super soft, turn off heat and stir in enough miso paste for your liking (don’t bring back to a boil or you’ll kill off good bacteria in the miso). When you’ve adjusted the broth so it tastes right to you, add chopped greens and stir until wilted and bright green. Add contents of caste iron pan. Done!

Serve soup sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and cayenne. Also delicious poured over short-grain brown rice or with tofu and soba noodles.

Quinoa Chowder

In Nutrition, Recipe on April 21, 2013 at 3:15 am
quinoa sweet potato soup ingredients

Quinoa and Sweet Potatoes

Last week’s SoupAsana felt extra special. I made a soup from a recipe I got from a friend-of-a-friend who liked to make this soup for her friends after long days of boarding and skiing. Apparently, she got it from a friend who modified it from a recipe by Deborah Madison. And I believe I may have modified it even further based on my tastes and those of my friends attending SoupAsana. Anyway, this soup felt like it had a lot of history, friendship, and good times behind it and, after 90 minutes of yoga and meditation, was easily devoured by all!

Homemade cactus fruit kombucha

Homemade cactus fruit kombucha

Making things even more special was the homemade kombucha from my friend and neighbor, Robin. She even hand-harvested the local cactus fruit for her beautiful, vibrant, cactus fruit kombucha. You can read about her adventures with the cactus fruit here. We combined the kombucha with prosecco since I was celebrating finally (3rd try!) being admitted into a dietetic internship program. Woot, woot! Huge relief and accomplishment…now I just have to complete the program in order to become a Registered Dietitian. It’s been a long road. I might write about it one day.

This soup is vegan until you get to the toppings, which are, of course, entirely optional.

eggs and cilantro

Backyard eggs and cilantro.

But adding feta and hard-boiled eggs, from the happiest chickens in SoCal, really makes this chowder, well, chowder-y. Even though I’ve admitted to not caring for quinoa, it’s really quite delicious in this recipe. Soup is one place where quinoa works. As a side dish or pilaf…not so much. I seem to use sweet potatoes a lot in my soups but will probably be moving away from that ingredient as the weather gets even warmer. Although the name of this soup invokes winter, it’s actual quite light and refreshing and appropriate for springtime.

scallions, jalapenos, garlic

Scallions, jalapenos, garlic.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup quinoa

8 cups veggie stock

olive oil

4-5 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 cup finely chopped ginger

1 large jalapeño pepper, diced/seeded

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

pepper to taste

sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes, garlic, ginger, jalapenos, cumin.

1 sweet potato, peeled/diced

1 bag baby spinach

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts

Top with: chopped cilantro, crumbled feta, and chopped, hard-boiled egg

Bring quinoa and 4 cups stock to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the quinoa after 10 mins and reserve the liquid.

quinoa chowder

Top with feta cubes and crushed red pepper.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add garlic and jalapeño. Cook for about 1 minute, then add ginger, cumin, salt/pepper, and sweet potatoes. Cook for a few minutes then add reserved stock as well as additional stock so you have about 7-8 cups liquid. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender. Add quinoa, spinach, and scallions and simmer until spinach is wilted. Garnish individual bowls with cilantro, feta, and hard-boiled egg. Super delicious and I don’t even like quinoa.