I don’t know what to call this other than dinner. I wanted to make mini plant-based Thai pizzas on sweet potato “crusts,” but I know we can all agree that they look an awful lot like crostini.
So this is a method more than a recipe.
Whatever they where, they were delicious. On top of the roasted sweet potato slices (roast, then slice; actually, I microwaved!), I put a little steamed baby spinach, a drizzle of Bob’s homemade Thai Coconut Red Curry Sauce, a slice of cucumber fished out of our cucumber-onion salad (with apple cider vinegar and granulated stevia blend) from a previous evening, cherry tomato half, and some finely chopped roasted and salted peanuts.
Goodness, it was a satisfying mini-meal to end the week. TGIF!
Rice, especially prepared as a pilaf, biryani, or risotto, is one of those foods that I love but do not trust myself around. At 200 calories for 1/2 cup of plain cooked rice, it just isn’t a good fit with my low calorie diet because at half a cup, I am just getting started!
Enter riced cauliflower. Anything rice can do, cauliflower can do better. Well, okay, maybe not better, but at least as good for hardly any calories.
We all have such different palates, but this dish strikes all the right notes in terms of flavor profile and balance for mine. I hope it does for yours!
2 tablespoons vegan butter, divided 1/4 cup chopped roasted and salted pistachios 1/4 cup sliced or slivered almonds 8 ounces diced white or yellow onion 2 large cloves garlic, minced 20 ounces riced cauliflower 2 teaspoons ground coriander 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon turmeric 1 cup vegetable stock 2 teaspoons tomato paste 1 teaspoon tahini Optional but recommended: 1 teaspoon tamarind or pomegranate syrup (found in Middle Eastern and international grocery stores) 1/2 cup chopped apricots or dates Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley Garnishes: additional roasted and salted nuts, including cashews, and more snipped parsley Recommended accompaniment: cucumber salad
In a large Dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter, add pistachios and almonds, and sautee, stirring frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes or until nuts become fragrant and begin to toast. Remove from skillet and set aside. Melt remaining tablespoon butter, add onion and garlic, an saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until onion is softened. add all remaining ingredients except garnish and accompaniments, Sir well, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is cooked through and flavors are beautifully melted. Stir in toasted nuts. Serve with a few additional nuts and some fresh parsley sprinkled over the top. A cucumber and onion salad with a little salt, sugar, and vinegar is especially tasty and pretty on the side.
I baked two “fancy” cakes for holiday gifts, but nothing for us…until now! I wanted to develop a Chocolate-Cranberry Bundt Cake using fresh cranberries, but evidently they are seasonal in our area, and I didn’t want anyone to be limited to when they are able to make the cake. But I didn’t want that quick bread texture of dried cranberries in a batter. So I pumped them in heated liqueur. Perfection!
However, if you avoid alcohol, feel free to soak the dried cranberries in cranberry juice, add it to the batter, brush the cake with it, and use juice in place of the liqueur in the ganache too.
This is a simple, well-behaved cake that is beautiful to behold and delicious to devour.
Chocolate-Cranberry Bundt Cake
3 cups flour (I use white whole-wheat for everything) 1 cup natural sugar 3/4 cup cocoa powder 2 teaspoons baking soda 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice 1/2 cup olive oil 1 cup non-dairy milk 1 cup strong coffee. 2 to 4 tablespoons Creme de Cocoa or Cranberry Liqueur 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup dried cranberries covered in 1/2 cup Creme de Cocoa or Cranberry Liqueur and heated 1 minute in microwave 2 tablespoons Creme de Cocoa or Cranberry Liqueur for brushing cooled cake Chocolate-Cranberry Ganache Garnish: 1/4 cup each diced pistachios and dried cranberries
Spray 10-inch Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray line Baker’s Joy or grease and flour the pan. In large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Make a well in center and add all liquid ingredients except macerated cranberries. Whisk together until completely combined. Stir in macerated cranberries. Transfer to prepared pan and gently smooth top. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or just until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not overbake or cake will be dry. Cool 10 minutes, invert onto wire rack, and cool completely covered with a dish towel. Drizzle with Chocolate-Cranberry Ganache and sprinkle with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries.
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer 3 tablespoons Cranberry Liqueur 3 tablespoons natural sugar (use only if creamer is unsweetened) 1 tablespoon vegan butter 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips or chunks
Heat all ingredients except chips in microwave or in a small saucepan on top of stove. Remove from heat and whisk in chips or chunks until melted and smooth.
I refuse to apologize for calorie counting–and you should refuse to apologize if you don’t–but I also refuse to sacrifice nutrition, flavor, texture, and color.
Enter my beautiful, outrageously satisfying, low calorie, low fat Blooming Veggie Soup. It makes a delicious bounty to last you all week.
Have fun playing around with different spices. When I add za’atar or sumac, I like to top it with diced dates, green olives, parsley, and everything bagel seasoning, as pictured.
Blooming Veggie Soup Yield: 18 cups (only around 55 calories per cup including optional ingredients but without toppings)
8 cups vegetable broth 2 teaspoons roasted garlic base (or 2 large cloves garlic) 14 ounces mirepoix (about 2 cups of equal parts diced onion, celery, and carrots) 2-14.5 ounce cans fire roasted tomatoes 16 ounces cauliflower hash or cauliflower pearls 16 ounces shredded cabbage 1 tablespoon cumin 1 tablespoon smoked paprika Other spices in place of or in addition to the above, as desired (curry powder is delicious) 1/4 cup nutritional yeast. Optional, but recommended: 1-15 ounce can pureed pumpkin (Note: this will not turn the soup into “pumpkin soup;” rather it adds a velvety richness, beautiful color, and lots of nutrition. However, if you want more of a pumpkin soup, add 2 cans.)
12 ounces diced sweet potatoes or butternut squash 1 cup corn
Simmer all ingredients together in 7 quart Dutch oven for 20 to 30 minutes until all vegetables are tender and flavors are married. Serve topped as desired. (I sometimes like 2 tablespoons crispy fried onions at only 50 calories.)
All the flavors of a holiday meal in a Check Mix! This stuff should come with a warning label…or be regulated by the FDA.
I was inspired by stuffing, side dishes, casseroles, and even a sage and rosemary infused main dish. It took me two tries to get the proportions just right, but now it is ready for its big reveal.
For freelance clients-friends, I packaged it in ziplock bags inside cute holiday canisters adorned with mid-century modern campers that I found at Dollar Tree. They never let me down. Enjoy!
1 cup vegan butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce or Liquid Aminos
2 tablespoons poultry seasoning
2 tablespoons celery seed (not celery salt)
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon garlic powder
3 cups Wheat Chex
3 cups Cheerios
2 cups Bugles
1-6 ounce bag sweet potato chips (I like Terra brand)
2-3.3 ounce bags lightly salted green bean snack crisps (I purchased Harvest Crisp brand.)
1-5 to 6 ounce can potato sticks
2 cups canned crispy fried onions (French’s brand or a store brand)
1 cup pecan halves
1 cup sliced almonds
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place butter, cut into small chunks, in a large roasting pan and let melt as oven preheats. Add next 5 ingredients and whisk to combine. Then stir remaining ingredients in order into the butter mixture. Roast for 1 hour, stirring gently every 15 minutes. Allow to cool and package as desired in airtight containers.
Hopefully I am not too late posting this ultra-simple and silky soup recipe to bring you some New Year’s luck. At least, where I come from, enjoying black eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to ensure a year of good luck.
I considered all manner of dents, hummus, casseroles, Taco fillings, enchilada filling, and more. But it all just seemed way too heavy.
My light recipe– which is really more of a method–starts with about 2 cups of vegetable soup, homemade or store bought. Mine was homemade and had a hint of curry, cumin, and smoked paprika. But blackeyed peas play nicely with virtually any flavor.
Then I cooked 10 ounces of fresh blackeyed peas in about four cups of water with a teaspoon of vegetable base and a teaspoon of roasted garlic base. Any kind of vegan vegetable stock would be fine. You can simmer on the stove for about 20 minutes or cook in the microwave, though I found that my microwave really wasn’t any faster.
I then added 4 ounces vegan cream cheese to the lead in there broth, he did again for about 10 minutes, and whisked until the creamwas melted and fully incorporated. Then I combined that mixture with the vegetable soup, heated through again, and served up the most delightfully creamy, yet light, cup of good luck.
2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 egg substitutions (I like Neat Egg)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 banana, mashed
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons caramel syrup (or 2 more tablespoons maple syrup)
2 tablespoons concentrated coffee
2 teaspoons vanilla
Bourbon Sour Cream Glaze (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a bundt pan with baking spray. In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. Make a well in center, add mashed banana, and pour in all wet ingredients. Whisk together until batter is smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Invert onto wire rack, cool completely, and then glaze.
Bourbon Sour Cream Glaze
2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted 2 tablespoon vegan sour cream 1 tablespoon bourbon 1 teaspoon vanilla 1 cup powdered sugar 1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped pecans
In a medium Bowl, whisk together first four ingredients. Whisk in powdered sugar, 1/4 cup at a time until any lumps are dissolved. Place cake on wire rack in shallow pan to catch drips and pour glaze over. Sprinkle with pecans.
I presented the cake in a doily-lined white cake box tied with a cream-colored-and-sparkly-gold-pinecones wired ribbon and sprigs of rosemary. If I had had a cinnamon stick, I would have tucked it in.
My dear friend Sharon lost her cherished father about a year ago preceded by her mother. Holidays are always nostalgic and a bit bittersweet following loss.
Her father’s favorite cake was an orange black walnut. I have no idea how it was made, whether it was a pound cake, bundt cake, or layer cake, or whether it was frosted. She has mentioned it several times and I’m sure I asked, yet I don’t remember. It certainly wasn’t plant-based. But it is now!
Last night, I created my own version with fresh orange juice, black walnuts, and black walnut bitters both in the batter and in the glaze. Since it is December, I decided to decorate it with a woodsy theme using Rosemary, cinnamon sticks, and star anise.
Sharon said it was the nicest thing anybody had ever done. I’m sure not, as she is well-loved with legions of friends, but it gave me great joy, I have a fun new recipe, and she loved it.
Orange-Black Walnut Cake
1/2 cup chopped black walnuts 1 1/2 cups flour 3/4 cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal 2 teaspoons baking powder 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 cup non-dairy milk 10 tablespoons vegetable oil Juice of 1.5 medium oranges Zest of 1 medium orange 1 to 2 tablespoons black walnut bitters CreamCheese Orange-Black Walnut Glaze (recipe follows)
Cream Cheese Orange-Black Walnut Glaze
4 ounces vegan cream cheese, softened
2 tablespoons vegan butter, softened
Juice of 1/2 medium orange
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon black walnut bitters
1/2 cup black walnuts
Decorations: rosemary, cinnamon sticks, star anise, Mandarin oranges segments, and the like.
Grease and flour a bundt pan or spray with Baker’s Joy. Sprinkle bottom of pan with the 1/2 cup of black walnuts. Place all dry cake ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Make a well in center, add wet ingredients, and whisk together. Transfer batter to prepared pan and bake 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 to 15 minutes in pan and then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.
Make glaze: Place all glaze ingredients except nuts in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth. Decorate cake as desired with rosemary, cinnamon sticks, star anise, and, if desired, Mandarin orange segments. Spoon desired amount over cake. Stir nuts into remaining frosting and spoon additional glaze over each slice as it is served.
Yep, you read that title right. I am known for all manner of Chex Mix. Some leftover okra chips after our Christmas Cheer Open House inspired this particular recipe. I gave it away as a couple of New Year’s gifts, but not before sampling a gracious plenty of it. Mmmm!
All of the ingredients are inspired by a bowl of gumbo: rice Chex for the rice, of course, Cheerios for the wheat that goes into French bread; Bugels for the corn as a nod in the direction of those that prefer cornbread with their gumbo; celery seed, crispy fried onions, and crispy fry bell pepper for the mirepoix; and fennel to suggest the sausage, Chesapeake Bay seasoning to suggest the seafood, and poultry seasoning to suggest the chicken that various folks prefer in their gumbo. Tomato paste and faux chicken bouillon, of course, represent the broth, along with Cajun seasoning and gumbo filet (ground sassafras). And I added pecans because they are just so darn Southern.
Feel free to play around with the spices, but I love it like it is. It’s a little on the salty side, so knock back a Sazerac while you enjoy a handful …or five.
Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Melt butter in large roasting pan. Whisk in next 6 ingredients. Stir in remaining ingredients. Roast for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely before packaging in air tight containers.