Friday, September 18, 2015

Who says you can't have your pie and DRINK it too!

Fall is in the air...and apple season is upon us.  On my walk this morning, down the main street in the small suburban town in which I reside, I look down and what do I see? An apple resting in the grass.  Normally I wouldn't think twice, but I gazed upward. What this?  An apple tree! I can only say, that much like Sir Isaac Newton, I was struck with inspiration.

I know the go to dish for an abundance of apple is pies. You may even try your hand at apple butter.  Both of which aren't exactly calorie friendly to the waistline.  The conundrum of it all.  But wait! I was inspired by my love of apple pie and smoothies.  The two can be a match made in heaven with the right ingredients.  But to keep it healthy and tasting good. Simple is always the way to go.  So with a little thought I came up with what can only be described as apple pie in a glass.

A few simple ingredients and 24 hours is all you need. Oh you can do it with less time if you'd like but believe me the former is worth the wait.  A good high powered blender will do the trick.  I swear by my Vitamix 5200. The horsepower can do everything from making nut butters to your own flours and powdered sugar.  So if it's in your budget [they have refurbished as well], grab one soon as you can.

Apple Pie Smoothie 

2-4 servings 
Vegan/Gluten Free

1 apple peeled, seeded, chopped and frozen
1 frozen banana
1 cup raw almonds [soaked for 24 hours in 2 cups water]
1.5 c water
1 tbsp date nut paste
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground clove
1 tsp ground flax meal
1 tsp vanilla extra or 1/4 vanilla bean split and inside scraped
dash of sea salt
1 tbsp gluten free granola [for topping]
[note the soaked almonds can be replaced with 1 1/2 cup of non dairy milk if you're in a rush]

In a plastic bowl [with a lid] place almond and cover with water. Seal the container and let sit on counter overnight.  In the morning drain and discard the liquid.  In a blender place almonds and water until smooth. Add all the remaining ingredients in the exact order listed up until granola. Continue to blend until desired consistency.  You may add more water and a few ice cubes at this point.  Pour into 2 glasses and top with granola and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Drink and enjoy!

Nutritional Information: 
[per recipe not per serving]

Calories from Fat
% Daily Value*
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrates
Dietary Fiber

[courtesy of]

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Biscuts! Pass the jam please!

Good Morning! The gluten free vegan lifestyle doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite things.  Mine? Weekend brunch with the smell of baked goods wafting through the air.  I'm the daughter of southerners so biscuits are in my blood.
With a little help, and research, I found a great premixed gluten free flour to make these.

Most gluten free recipes call for a myriad of ingredients. Not these.  Namaste Perfect Flour has a wonderful premixed baking flour with all those pesky ingredients that bring gluten free baked goods to life.
There is little kneading.  These are drop biscuits. You simple mix, and use an ice cream scoop of a spoon to drop them onto your baking sheet pan. And 18-20 minutes've got BISCUITS!

Drop Bicuits

2 ½ cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend [namaste perfect flour]
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons fat, melted (For dairy-free use butter substitute)
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
1 cup non dairy milk [more if needed] 
  1. Preheat oven to 425F.
  2. Line cookie sheet with parchment.
  3. Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl; whisk to blend.
  4. Pour vinegar and milk into melted butter. Stir once.
  5. Pour liquid mixture into dry ingredients. Stir until no dry ingredients remain. Be sure not to over mix the dough as it will become tough.
  6. Using a spoon or small ice cream scoop, drop portions of dough (about 2 measuring Tablespoons each) onto prepared pan, about 1 inch apart. If you make larger biscuits, bake them 18-20 minutes. 
  7. Bake 12 minutes.
  8. Serve warm and enjoy!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Blueberry Cobbler for BREAKFAST!?

Personally I LOVE blueberries and can eat them everyday. But, alas the best time to enjoy these beauties is when they are at the peak of flavor during the summer months. With chill of fall in the air, the season is at an end. If you're like me you freeze a few lbs to savor during the winter months. In our house we have made everything in the world with blueberries. Savory to sweet, jams to jellies and even bbq sauce! But, the best vehicle for these berries is a cobbler.  Sticky sweet with a biscuit or oat topping. I'm partial to adding peaches and a few pecans as well.

Who has dessert for breakfast except college students and teenagers.  I know what you're thinking. What about donuts, muffins, pop tarts [okay pop tarts shouldn't even been considered edible food]! Something leaning more towards the cookie and cake world, well... that's frowned upon. That is until now. Here's a great weekend breakfast treat. [yes, sleeping late and still having a good meal]  Best part is, you'll wake up to the smell of blueberry cobbler!

Overnight Slow cooker Blueberry Cobbler Oatmeal

yields 4-6 servings 

Spray the bottom of your slow cooker with a light cooking spray (i use coconut oil spray)
And layer the ingredients as follows

1 1/2 cup blueberries
(Chefs tip, adding 1/2 c fresh peaches as well would be yummy also)
1/3 c coconut or date sugar
1 tsp sea salt
(Gently stir to coat berries)
1 c steele cut oats (not quick cooking)
1 tbsp cinnamon
2 tsp ginger powder
1 tbsp lemon zest
4 c soy milk or water
1/2 c coconut milk (lite)
1 tbsp vanilla extract

Once layered give one or two stirs to combine and cover.  Set cooker to lowest setting (not warm). Let cook 8-9 hours. In the morning give it a good stir and serve.

(Chefs tip: if you're not counting with granola or chopped pecans and a dollop of vanilla greek yogurt. )

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Some days you just feel like curling up with a nice warm bowl of soup. Today is one of those days. I've been trapped in the house due to illness for 5 days.  I couldn't shop, so I had to work with what I had.  So the recipe is just a grab, dump, mix and taste.

I had the forethought to make slow cooker black beans earlier in the week, and with just a few cups left, soup came to mind.  One of the staples I keep in the freezer is frozen greens of all varieties. Kale being one of my favorites.  So I grabbed a bag of kale, the black beans a bit of vegetable stock to thin it out and some southwest spices.  Seasoned with garlic and a bit of salt...ta da I have dinner in less than 15 minutes!

You cant have soup with out bread. And black beans scream corn bread. This recipe is vegan and gluten free.
[ps. The soup was delicious and I'm working on recreating that recipe for you]

Corn Meal Muffins 

2 cups cornmeal
1 cup Namaste Gluten Free Flour 
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup or agave nectar or 1/4 cup sugar [if you replace the syrup with sugar, add an addition 1/4 cup of sou milk
2 cups soymilk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt

In a bowl sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk together with cornmeal and set aside.  In a smaller bowl whisk together oil, soy milk and cider vinegar. Let the mixture sit for 15 minutes and then whisk again.  Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir together until just combined.  

Pour mixture until a 9 x13 pan or into individual muffin cups.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted when removed is clean.  Top should be firm to the touch and golden brown.  

[recipe inspired by the Post Punk Kitchen] 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Grilled Caesar Salad

In a meat dominated world, it's hard enough to be vegan. But, to be gluten free as well? Eh, its a vegetable of a different color.

I've enjoyed the vegan lifestyle for many years now. As a fitness instructor, I'm in tune with my body.  So, when I got the news I needed to cut gluten out of my life, I was at a loss.  Now what do I eat?  Does it get better? YES, by limiting raw vegetables as well I could keep up the fight against Crohn's as well.  I'm just gonna say it.  I LOVE SALAD! What's a girl to do?  My husband laughed when I said, "Guess we will be cooking that lettuce from now on!"

Caesar salad is one of my go to recipes for family dinners.  It's easy to fill out with proteins. Both non animal and animal alike [husband is an entrenched meat eater]. With that I surfed the net and got inspired by my fellow vegans to create this. A grilled romaine and radicchio salad with vegan Caesar dressing.

Although summer is coming to an end, don't put the grill away just yet.  Try this tasty low carb, gluten free recipe for dinner.

yields 2 cups

12.3 oz Lite Silken Tofu 
3/4 c Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic
3 tbsp capers drained
1/4 c nutritional yeast 
2 tbsp dijon mustard
1/4 tsp fresh ground pepper
1 c water
kosher salt to taste

In a blender or food processor add drained tofu.  Once it begins to break down, add the other ingredients, except water. Slowly pour in until desire consistency is achieved.  Season with salt and enjoy!.  Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.

[Chefs Tip: By adding 1/4 tsp of xantham gum your dressing will not separate. This emulsifier does wonders when making an oil free dressing]

Nutritional information:

serving 1/4 cup, 41 cal, 4 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 0.1 g fiber

Grilled Radicchio and Romaine

1 head radicchio
2 small head romaine lettuce
1 tbsp coconut oil
salt and fresh  black pepper for seasoning.

Cut the radicchio into 1/4 segments and cut romaine in half.  Rinse and dry lettuce well.  Coat lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Pre-heat your grill and place lettuce cut side down over indirect heat.  Grill until lettuce becomes charred and slightly softened. Turn only once. Remove from the grill and let cool.  Chop into bite sized pieces and toss to coat lightly with dressing.

[Chefs tip: For added crunch roast 1 cup of chickpeas coated with oil, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Place in 400 degree oven until crisp. Cool and top salad.]

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oh how sweet it is!

Nothing says weekend breakfast like a yummy, gooey, sticky sweet cinnamon roll. I have fond memories of waking up to my dad pulling this gems out of the oven and slathering them with cream cheese frosting. Ah, but the days of butter and cream cheese for this vegan are long gone. So I thought, why not.  It can't be that difficult. Honestly, it's not.

This is truly a labor of love, and can be spread out over a two day period. The key here is patience. Letting the yeast bloom, the scalded milk cool and incorporating the flour slowly.

When baking people often neglect a few key points. The measuring must be exact and the ingredients room temperature.  Not only does this insure a great end product, but also guarantees ease in putting the ingredients together.

For my sweet roll creation I've gotten great results with a German recipe for Kuchen.  It's a very forgiving dough with an excellent crumb. It's also versatile. I've made donuts, danish, event coffee cake with this very same dough.  So, once you've mastered it, you're goin to LOVE IT.

The recipe, as originally written suggests kneading this dough by hand. Well, if you want a good work out have at it.  Personally, I'll take a kitchen aid any day of the week.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Move over there's something tastier!

When it comes to breakfast in a carnivores world, its just not breakfast without bacon, sausage or ham for that matter.  In my world, bacon is a no no.  Unfortunately in my former life, I was [gulp] a meat eater and I loved the crunch of bacon.  Now a days, there are quite a few meat analogs to choose from which offer, well, the taste of bacon, sausage, and ham.  But why buy when you can make your own!

The famous Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco California is known for its vegan fair.  Most importantly, vegan brunch.  Although I've never had a chance to visit the restaurant personally I have purchased the Millennium Cook Book.  Chef Eric Tucker brings flavor profiles which boggle the mind.  I've fallen in love with his simply toothsome tempeh sausage.  In my house even my meat eating husband enjoys the flavor.  The ingredients are easy to come by, quick to put together, and best of all, if you make double the recipe, they freeze wonderfully!

Millennium Tempeh Sausage
[I've added a few twist, turns and short cuts]
Serves 8

8 oz tempeh sausage [*poached and marinated cooled and grated]
1 russet potato, peeled, finely dices into 1/4 inch cubes, boiled until fork tender and drained
2 to 3 scallions, finely chopped
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried fennel
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flake [optional]
2 tbsp canola oil

In a medium sized bowl combine all the above ingredients. Use your hands to ensure the mixture is well combined.  Let this mixture chill 30 minutes to 24 hours.  When ready, form the mixture into 1/2 inch thick patties. On a lightly oiled cookie sheet, place each patty and lightly brush with oil.  In a 375 degree oven bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly brown, turning once.  Sausages should be slightly firm to the touch.  To reheat, crisp slightly and heat through in a lightly oiled skillet.  2-3 minutes per side and enjoy!

[*to poach, place tempeh brick in a marinade of 1/2 cup soy, 1 tsp paprika, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 tsp dried sage, 2 tsp thyme, 2 tsp maple syrup or brown sugar and 2 cups of water.  Whisk ingredients together and pour into a sauce pan bring to a low simmer and place tempeh in liquid.  Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Let tempeh cool in liquid]

Now...We've got the sausage, but mother needs a little crunch.  Bring on EGGPLANT BACON!
When making this delicious breakfast treat is quick simple, and a crunchy treat you will be eating way beyond breakfast.

So which eggplant works best.  This is a question which I asked myself and researched through other vegan websites. Here are a few options

Chinese Eggplant 

                                                           White Eggplant 

Sicilian Eggplant 

Each eggplant imparts a different flavor on the end product.  Sicilian eggplant tends to be a bit bitter, Chinese eggplant is a bit milder but still has a slight bite.  My personal favorite is white eggplant.  Not only does it taste good, creates a wonderful looking piece of "bacon"!  Marinating is the key to this dish, so try to let it set as long as possible.  If you are in a rush you can let it sit for as little as 30 minutes and you are ready to eat.
[this video shows how to use a mandolin correctly]

Eggplant Bacon 

1-2 medium sized white eggplants or small purple eggplants sliced 1/4 inch thick
      [using a mandolin is the easiest way to do this if you don't have one using a sharp knife will do as well]
2 tbsp brown sugar 
2 tsp soy sauce 
1 tsp liquid smoke 
1 tsp granulated garlic 
1 tsp paprika [you can also used smoked for a deeper flavor] 
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil [neutral flavored oil is the best] 
1/4 cup water 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a mandolin slice the eggplant [unpeeled] into 1/4 inch slices [as thin as 1/8 inch if you like.  The thinner the eggplant the quicker it will cool].  Set eggplant in layers in a glass or plastic container which will allow it to lay flat.  Whisk together remaining ingredients.  Pour marinade over the eggplant. Be sure that all the pieces are well covered.  Place plastic wrap directly on to the surface of the eggplant to ensure that the marinade is in constant contact with it.  Refrigerate 30 min-24 hours.  When ready, place a sheet of aluminum foil over a cookie sheet.  Place eggplant in single layers making sure not to overlap any of the eggplant.  Bake 20-35 minutes checking frequently turning at least once.  Bacon should be crisp and brown.  Cool at room temperature and store in an airtight container at room temperature.  Now lets eat some breakfast!