Granola Peanut Butter Bites

Granola Peanut Butter Bites 3

Granola is a staple breakfast cereal at my house. My husband eats it almost every single morning without fail. It is full of whole-grains and keeps him full all morning. If I don’t have time to make homemade granola, one of our favorite brands is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Apple Blueberry Granola. Now, oats are technically gluten-free, but due to cross-contamination in traditional processing they become tainted with wheat, barley, or rye. There are companies that have dedicated gluten-free oat fields and they process them in a dedicated gluten-free environment. Make sure to do your research if you have a gluten allergy. These little bites are a great snack! I keep these in a container in the freezer for my kids. They are so easy to make and they are so good to eat!

Granola Peanut Butter Bites 2

4 tablespoons honey

4 tablespoons peanut butter

2 cups gluten-free granola

milk of choice

In a medium bowl, mix together the honey and peanut butter. With a spatula, add in the granola and mix until it is coated. Stir in a little milk – just enough to moisten the mixture. Roll the mixture into little balls and freeze until they become firm. Enjoy!

Avocado Grapefruit Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Tropical Salad 2

This salad was inspired by a first-course salad my Mom used to make for special occasions. She would place a bed of lettuce on each plate and top it with ruby red grapefruit supremes, bartlett pear slices, and ripe avocado slices. She then drizzled each salad with a poppyseed dressing. I remember how pretty it looked and how delicious it tasted. Fast forward to now. I needed to update this salad and make it my own! I wanted different textures, fresh flavors, and of course nutrients all around. Well, I think I have succeeded my friends. This salad is beautiful, fresh, healthy, texturally appealing, and most of all incredibly DeLiCiOuS! Enjoy!

Tropical Salad

Tropical Salad Top View

Salad

1 package tatsoi or a lettuce blend with tatsoi

1 Ruby Red grapefruit, supreme cut (segments cut from the membrane and pith)

1 ripe avocado, diced

1 carrot, cut into matchsticks

1/2 jicama, grated

Macadamia Cheese

1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts, chopped

cilantro for garnish

Citrus Vinaigrette

juice from 1 orange

1 teaspoon orange zest

juice from 1 lemon

2 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon of grated, fresh ginger

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Make the dressing first by combining all ingredients in a high-powered blender. Blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings. Pour 2 tablespoons of the dressing over the grated jicama in a small bowl. Toss to coat and set aside.

Assemble individual salads by using a food ring or large round cookie cutter to be your guide (this recipe makes about 6 individual starter salads). Begin to layer the salad with the tatsoi as the base. Place grapefruit segments on top of the tatsoi. Place some pieces of avocado, then carrot matchsticks. Layer on some of the marinated jicama. Crumble some macadamia cheese over the salad and sprinkle some chopped macadamia nuts over all. Drizzle the salad with some dressing and place some cilantro leaves on top for garnish. Serve immediately.

Tropical Salad Prep 2

Macadamia Cheese and Raw Buckwheat Crackers

Macadamia Cheese & Buckwheat Crackers 2

I happen to be a HUGE cheese and crackers fan. I love a good crisp, flavorful cracker along with some yummy cheese spread. Before adopting a plant-based diet, I used to make a decadent cheese spread that tasted incredible, but would eventually give me heart disease. Um, no thanks. I’ll pass on the bypass. I figured my cheese-loving days were over when I embraced plants…NOT SO! I absolutely adore this macadamia cheese spread! The probiotic gives it just the right tang and the spices round out the flavors so nicely. These raw buckwheat crackers are so simple to put together and are pretty addicting. I love the “cheesy” quality of the nutritional yeast and the texture the sesame seeds add. I love serving this as part of an hors d’oeuvres platter with fresh veggies, grapes, and dried fruit. Yay for plant-based, allergy-free cheese and crackers!

Macadamia Cheese

Macadamia Cheese on Cracker

Macadamia Cheese

2 cups macadamia nuts, soaked overnight in filtered water
1 tsp probiotics powder

MacadamiasMacadamias Blended

To make macadamia cheese, first soak the macadamia nuts overnight, then drain. Add the nuts to a blixer or high-speed blender. Note: If you do not mind a cheese with a bit of texture, you could also use a regular food processor; however, for the best results, a blixer or high-speed blender should be used for optimum smoothness.

Next add a touch of water. Depending on the equipment used, you may need to add more water, which is okay, as the cheese will be strained and pressed afterwards.
Next add the probiotic and blend. Scrape the sides as needed and continue to blend until you reach a nice smooth consistency. Ideally the cheese should feel smooth with very little to no trace of the nut texture to it. Again, this will depend on the equipment used.

2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp onion granules
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp white pepper

Macadamias Cultured

To culture the cheese, scrape the mixture into a strainer lined with a mesh bag or a piece of cheesecloth. Draw the strings of the bag and twist to secure it. Place a small plate over the cheese and press to flatten it out a bit. Next place a heavy weight, such as a bowl of dried beans or a large can, onto the plate. The weight will help to press out any excess water during the culturing process, which will ultimately determine the firmness of the cheese. Cover everything with a clean cloth or breathable piece of mesh.
Let culture at room temperature for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours for a stronger result. When ready, remove from the mesh bag. Pressing the cheese, rather then hanging it, makes it drier and therefore easier to shape and mold.
Once cultured, remove from cheese cloth and place in bowl. Add the remaining spices and mix thoroughly.
Place into the refrigerator for up to 1 week. (Recipe Source: Rouxbe)

Raw Buckwheat Crackers

1 cup soaked buckwheat

3 tablespoons water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup ground yellow flax seed mea

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/3 cup sesame seeds, soaked 4-6 hours, rinsed and drained

Soak buckwheat for 4-6 hours. Drain and rinse really well. In a food processor, grind the buckwheat, water, oil, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder until smooth. Add the flax seed meal and nutritional yeast and process to incorporate. Pulse in the sesame seeds. Spread the batter on teflex sheets so that it takes up 1/2 – 3/4 of the sheet (thin crunchy crackers). Score into crackers shapes. Dehydrate at 140F for 1 hour (this helps to bring the crackers up to warmth for faster drying and to avoid mold/bacteria). Reduce temperature to 110F and continue dehydrating for at least 12 hours, flipping over after 5-6 hours.

Buckwheat CrackersBuckwheat Crackers Scored

Tempeh Coconut Curry

Tempeh Curry

Tempeh is a traditional Indonesian food. It is created by the fermentation of partially cooked soybeans with a Rhizopus mold (sounds gross, I know). These soybeans are then pressed into cakes that are fermented and transformed to create a meat-like texture. Now, this fermentation process is critical in soy products because it makes the soy nutritionally superior and easier to digest than non-fermented soy foods. Yay for mold! If you are not allergic to soy, I recommend eating fermented soy products as a part of your diet. Tempeh is such a versatile product that can be used in many preparations and it really gives that “meaty” texture and mouthfeel to certain dishes. I do recommend simmering or steaming tempeh before using it in any recipe! Why? Because tempeh is so dense and protein-rich that it can be dry, crumbly, and very bland if not cooked properly. If you are new to tempeh, this recipe will introduce you nicely! The warm, slightly sweet southeast Asian flavors in this curry will keep you eating tempeh for sure!

Tempeh Curry Prep

2 cups finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon sea salt, divided

2 teaspoons tamarind pulp

1 tablespoon grated ginger (I like to use a microplane)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic

1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

3 cups chopped, peeled sweet potato

1 cup water

1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk

8 ounces organic tempeh, cut into 3/4-inch cubes

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

2 teaspoons tamari

Remove tempeh from packaging. Place in a small saucepan and cover with vegetable broth or other flavorful liquid. Simmer the tempeh for about 30 minutes to soften it. Discard the liquid and prepare the tempeh for the curry by cutting into 3/4-inch cubes. For curry, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dry sauté for a few minutes or until onion is tender; stirring occasionally. Stir in tamarind; cook 2 minutes, stirring to break up tamarind. Add ginger and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon); cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, potato, water, milk, and tempeh; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Uncover, stir in juice and tamari. Simmer 3 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Tempeh SoakingTempeh Curry Cooking

Basmati Cilantro Rice

1 1/2 cups uncooked Basmati rice

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For rice, cook rice according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Stir in cilantro and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Serve with the curry.

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup 2

One of my favorite aspects of the winter season is soup. I make A LOT of soup when it’s cold outside. There is something so physically and emotionally comforting about a hot bowl of soup. I can add in a myriad of vegetables, herbs, spices, legumes, grains…so many combination possibilities and voila! A wonderful meal is created. I usually begin my soup creation with whatever I have on hand, so this recipe was inspired by a butternut squash and a large sweet potato. I adore butternut squash with its nutty sweetness. Pair that with a sweet potato and you have a marriage of good flavor and texture, not to mention a pretty impressive nutritional profile – hello vitamin A! I finished this soup two ways. I drizzled one bowl with full-fat coconut milk and swirled it around. It was deliciously creamy. I dabbled another bowl with toasted pumpkin seed oil. Oh my! The nutty, toasted, slightly salty flavor of the oil added just the right… je ne sais pas…let’s just say that it took this soup to another culinary level in my opinion. Serve this soup with some whole-grain rustic bread and enjoy the comfort!

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup 3

Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Soup 4

1 medium butternut squash, peeled and diced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

1 small yellow onion

4 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup full fat coconut milk

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Start by warming a large pot over medium heat. Dry sauté the onion and the carrot for about three to five minutes. Add in some water or broth if the vegetables start to stick to the pot. Next, add the squash and sweet potato to the pot and pour in the vegetable broth. Add the spices and salt and bring to a boil. Once it has started to boil, reduce to a simmer and cover while allowing it to cook for about twenty minutes or until all of the veggies are very tender. Add in the white pepper. Using an immersion blender or regular blender, puree the vegetables until a thick, smooth consistency is reached. Pour in the coconut milk and continue to blend until it is mixed thoroughly. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with coconut milk or toasted pumpkin seed oil. Serve and enjoy!

Refried Lentils & Cilantro-Lime Rice

Refried Lentils Taco

The humble lentil needs a bit more press in my opinion. Take a look at its nutritional profile: extremely low in Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium. A good source of Protein, Iron, Phosphorous, Copper AND a great source of Dietary Fiber (16 grams per 1 cup cooked!), Folate, and Manganese. My family LOVES Mexican food, so I wanted to put a twist on refried beans. I decided to add some cilantro-lime rice to cool the palate a bit from the spicy lentils. I made burritos with these refried lentils and cilantro-lime rice with added garnishes of spinach, avocado with lime juice, Herdez Salsa Casera, cashew sour cream (recipe below), and cilantro. The combination was absolutely addicting! Ole!

Refried Lentils Prep

2/3 cups dried brown lentils

3 cups vegetable broth

1 medium onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder

1/4 teaspoon oregano

pinch – 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

Sort through the lentils and rinse with cold water in a colander. Bring the rinsed lentils and vegetable broth up to a boil. Cover the pot, turn down to a simmer, and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the lentils are tender but not mushy; strain.

Heat a flat bottom large skillet over medium heat; add the onion and dry sauté until softened but not browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, coconut sugar, salt, cumin, black pepper, ancho chili powder, oregano, cayenne pepper, and bay leaf and cook 1 minute. Add the lentils and 2 cups of water, turn heat up to high, and bring it up to a boil. Cover, turn heat down to a simmer, and cook 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid, coarsely mash the beans with a potato masher, and cook (uncovered) until thickened, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Refried LentilsRefried Lentils 2

Cilantro-Lime Rice

1 cup long-grain white rice

2 cups water

Zest from 1 lime

juice from 1 lime

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

sea salt

Rinse rice in a strainer until water runs clear. Place rice, water, lime zest, and lime juice in a heavy bottom pot. Bring water to a boil. Place lid on pot and reduce heat to low. Steam rice for 20 minutes.

Let rice rest for 10 – 30 minutes. Fluff rice with a fork. Add in cilantro and season with sea salt.

Cilantro Lime Rice

Cashew Sour Cream

1 cup raw cashews

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2-3/4 cup water, or as needed

1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste

Place the cashews into a bowl and cover with water. Let soak for a few hours, or overnight. To make the sour cream, drain and rinse the cashews. Next, blend together the cashews, water, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice, until you reach a really smooth consistency.

Buckwheat Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Buckwheat Cookies 2

I have always thought thumbprint cookies are so cute AND so fun to make because you get to put your thumb into the dough. Reminds me of playing with play dough as a child. These cookies are not only fun, but full of nutrients. Buckwheat is high in protein, potassium, iron, magnesium…to name a few. I love the taste of buckwheat, particularly in sweet applications. I used blackberry jam in the batch shown in my picture, but you can use ANY fruit preserve with success – use your favorite. I must warn you: you will probably want to eat the whole batch of these little gems. I warned you!

Buckwheat Cookies 3

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup raw pecans, finely ground
2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseeds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Wet Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Other Ingredients:
fruit preserves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a large cookie sheet with coconut oil.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet and stir together with a spoon.

Using a 1 1/2 tablespoon cookie scoop, form dough into balls and place onto the cookie sheet (you can make your cookies larger if you like). Make an indent in each cookie with your thumb, then drop a small spoonful of preserves into each thumbprint. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Timing will depend on the size of your cookies. (Adapted slightly from Recipe Source: The Whole Life Nutrition)

Raw Apricot Jam

Raw Apricot Jam 2

My friend has an apricot tree. It is a lovely tree. How fortunate that I am her friend to receive fresh apricots! I decided to whip up some fresh apricot jam…this literally took me 15 minutes to make. So simple. So fresh. So delicious. The chia seeds help give this jam body, texture, and some wonderful omega-3’s. You can use different fruits in place of apricots – I have used strawberries with great success! This jam is delicious on homemade bread, pancakes, waffles, muffins, or straight from the spoon! Enjoy!

Raw Apricot Jam 4

Raw Apricot Jam

4 cup fresh apricots
2 tablespoons honey or agave
2 tablespoons white chia seeds

Soak the chia seeds in 4 tablespoons of water for about 1o minutes until it becomes a “gel”. Wash and pit your apricots. Place in a food processor. Add the chia “gel” and honey. Pulse until desired consistency is achieved. Keep refrigerated for 2 weeks or freeze for 6 months.

 

Portobellos with Pumpkin BBQ Sauce

BBQ Portobellos

I lived in the mid-south for awhile and oh boy – they LOVE their BBQ! I became a fan of the BBQ myself! Now, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t the meat that attracted me to the BBQ. It was the sauce. It was the spices. It was the flavor. I have tried to re-create and make a delicious plant-based, allergy-free BBQ dish. Well folks, I think I have succeeded. Portobello mushrooms are the perfect vehicle for many dishes because they act like a large sponge soaking up flavors. Of course it makes perfect sense to have these mushrooms soak up some deliciously spicy BBQ sauce, doesn’t it? It might seem strange to see pumpkin as an ingredient in this sauce, but it works! Not only does it amp up the betacarotene and fiber in this dish, but it adds the right texture and a bit of sweetness. A word on the ancho chile powder: I like to use 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon to give good flavor and a bit of a kick, but if you really like spicy, then I recommend 3/4 – 1 full teaspoon. I think these BBQ portobellos are quite wonderful served alongside a rustic cauliflower mash, but it you want to serve them with mashed potatoes go right ahead. They are delicious either way! Can you say ‘finger lickin good‘?

BBQ Portobellos 2

BBQ Portobellos 4

3-4 large portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/4 cup apple juice concentrate
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon coconut aminos
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/4 – 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Clean mushrooms and remove stems. Cut into 1-inch strips. Combine vegetable stock, water, apple juice concentrate, pumpkin puree, coconut aminos, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, and black pepper in a blender. Process until smooth, then transfer mixture to a non-stick skillet and heat until bubbly. Add mushroom strips, turning to coat evenly with sauce. Cover and cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Vanilla Cake


Vanilla Cake 2

Do you want a quick, moist, DeLiCiOus cake recipe? This one fits the bill. I make this cake for special occasions like birthdays, family get-togethers, hosting a dinner – it is a full-proof recipe that is always well received. The beauty of this cake is that it is a blank canvas. I have placed pineapple rings on the bottom of my pan before adding the batter to produce a pineapple upside down cake. I have poured half the batter in the pan, layered peaches and blueberries, poured the other half of the batter over the fruit and had a fruit-filled cake. I have added chocolate chips to the batter and served a chocolate chip cake drizzled with chocolate icing. In the photo shown here, I served this vanilla cake with macerated raspberries and a scoop of coconut vanilla ice cream (it was divine, really…). So you see, this cake has as many possibilities as your culinary imagination. Get creative and share your mouth-watering outcome!

Vanilla Cake 3

 

Vanilla Cake 4

1 cup non dairy milk of choice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups gluten-free flour*
1 cup coconut palm sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce**
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

*add in 1 teaspoon xanthan gum to recipe, if your flour blend does not contain it. **any fruit puree would work here, but the taste will be altered just a bit.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with parchment paper. Stir milk and vinegar in a large measuring cup. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. Stir in applesauce, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into milk mixture. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture until batter is lump-free. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 40 minutes.