Vegan Broccoli and “Cheese” and Vegan Mac ‘n “Cheese”

 

 broc and cheese

These two dishes are staples at my house. They are essentially the same recipe but the mac and cheese calls for a bit more of the first four ingredients. I use a quinoa pasta in the mac and cheese recipe but you can use any pasta. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk section of Whole Foods and many grocery stores.

Broccoli and Cheese:

Cheese Sauce

1 cup nutritional yeast

2 tsp. any kind of flour you like

1 cup water

1/3 cup organic ketchup

2 TBS. of salsa

½ tsp salt

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp garlic powder

Dash of pepper Continue reading “Vegan Broccoli and “Cheese” and Vegan Mac ‘n “Cheese””

Just in Time for Fall Pumpkin Squash Soup

pumpkin squash soupI think it dropped below 70 degrees here in Austin, TX yesterday so I made this. You can make it vegan or vegetarian or even use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth. I made mine vegan and it was creamy and delicious.

2 Tbs. Butter or Earth Balance (for vegan recipe)
1 chopped organic onion
1 organic Granny Smith Apple (medium to large)
1 box or can of organic pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
1 small butternut squash
Vegetable broth (about 3 cups)
Salt and pepper
Dash of nutmeg
Can be topped with crème fraiche

Cook the squash until a little tender but not mushy (375 degrees for 15-20 minutes).
In the meantime, sauté the onion and chopped green apple in the butter or earth balance for about five to seven minutes.

When the squash is finished cooking remove the seeds and discard, then scrape out the guts and put it in a pot with onion and apple. Add the pumpkin, vegetable broth, dash of nutmeg and salt and pepper. Heat but don’t boil, reduce to simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Either puree in a blender, food processor or my preferred method, emulsion blender.

Hello, Carbs. I’ve Missed You

pizza beerMy husband and I recently returned from a vacation in Italy. I literally ate more carbohydrates in the two weeks in Italy than I have in the past year. And I’m not one bit sorry. It was fantastic. We ate pizza and or pasta every single day and washed it down with lots of red wine followed by gelato.

ravioliI took a cooking class where I learned to make homemade pasta. During the class we ate two different pasta courses with bread and cake. I’m not kidding. I would normally never do this and I almost stopped myself, but really? I’m in Rome at a cooking class and I’m going to monitor my carb intake? Nope. Not me. So I told myself to shut up and I did it.

You would think from this description that I would have had to buy a second seat on my return flight. I did not gain a single pound. I’ve covered this in prior posts so I won’t go crazy, but there is something here that is really important.

First of all, we walked everywhere in Italy. I live in Texas where the only place I walk is to my car. I have to take myself on a walk like a dog to get any exercise. It’s pitiful.

Second, we ate real food, cooked fresh that day, and ate only what was in season. Even when we were in the train station, there was no fast food; only a man and a Panini press and an espresso machine. I never saw once Sysco truck or the equivalent the whole time we were there. I did see a produce truck, lots of farms, vineyards and ladies rolling out dough and crushing tomatoes.

A couple of times I ordered something that I saw on the menu like spinach. I was told, “No spinach in season only eggplant, zucchini or red pepper.”

This happened a couple of times until I realized they keep the vegetables on the menu but people know what is in season (except Americans who are used to getting things year round).

fruit storeTheir grocery stores are not the behemoth eyesores we have in the states. They are small, charming and have only this: produce, meat, fish, fowl, cheese, milk, eggs, flour, sugar, wine, baguettes, pasta and a small amount of cereal and chips.” That’s it. No ridiculous frozen sections, not twenty types of cereal, not twelve varieties of bread, soda, crackers, goldfish, pop tarts etc.

Furthermore, they don’t have the guilt associated with food that us Americans have. They eat and enjoy. They talk and linger and drink. Oh yeah and they get to have the wonderful oblivion that comes with living in a country where there are no GMOs and chemicals in your food.

So cheers or cin cin to you, Italy! I’ll be back. Until then, I’ll be rolling out the ravioli at home.

My Big Fat Ugly Delicious Vegan Burger

vegan burgerI don’t want you to be afraid to cook. Don’t be afraid to experiment. I did and well… I made this.

I know it’s “ugly” but it was a really delicious experimental vegan burger. Most bloggers show their triumphs, I wanted to share my mess. I thought it would be encouraging to those who are a bit intimidated by making up recipes.

I scoured the web for vegan burger recipes and found most were really long and complicated or just didn’t look appealing (ironic, right?). So, I went into my kitchen and starting throwing things in to the food processor.

The result was something incredibly tasty that fell apart and didn’t look so much like a burger. I have to figure out how to keep it together (the burger that is).

These are the ingredients that I threw into the food processor; it made 6 “burgers”:
Use the grater attachment for the first two ingredients and set them aside
½ of a small onion
2 carrots

Process the rest together with the chopper blade:
1 can of Eden brand Garbanzo beans (remember Eden’s cans are BPA free and they reject the USDA certified organic seal because it is not stringent enough!)
1 cup of cooked millet (out of the bin at Whole Foods – cook according to directions)
1 portabella mushroom
A handful of almonds
A tablespoon of sunflower seeds
Garlic powder
Cumin
A couple of shakes of organic Worchester sauce
A couple of squirts of organic ketchup
A few dashes of Bragg Liquid Amino

Add the carrot and onion mixture back in and mix well by hand.

Bake on parchment paper in the oven at 400 degrees. I was about to write about how to dress the burger, but let’s be serious, we all know what to do from here. Enjoy!

Mama Mia Spaghetti Squash

sp squashNicki’s Secret Marinara (see previous post)

1 large spaghetti squash

Garlic clove minced

A handful of Kale (or 2 stalks) and or spinach, torn

Half of a Yellow or orange pepper chopped coarsely

3-4 kalamata olives chopped

A small handful of sundried tomato (not packed in oil)

3-4 artichoke hearts chopped

Cook spaghetti squash according to directions on the sticker on the squash. I usually cut the squash in half, take out the seeds and bake it in the oven at 400 degrees until the center peels out like spaghetti strips; 20-40 minutes depending on the size of the squash.

Let the squash cool a bit. Scoop out the insides with a fork. It will look like spaghetti.

Saute garlic water, add the rest of the ingredients, cook until tender but not mushy. Add the spaghetti squash and Nicki’s Secret Marinara to the pan, mix and serve.

Grocery Cart of Death

Think about the kind of old man or old lady you want to be. If you want to schlep around an oxygen tank on your scooter, fill up the traditional Grim Reaper grocery cart and get ready to thrill your kids with long discussions about your meds. Otherwise, join me on this journey in rediscovering food as health and joy. Continue reading “Grocery Cart of Death”