Our Vegan Life

Food, Family, and Fun

Archive for the month “May, 2013”

Lunch on the light side: Eggplant Noodle Salad and Raw-Vegan Eggless “Egg” Salad

Looking for a quick, easy, and delicious lunch to take with you to work or school next week? Well, look no further. I have two yummy options right here.

Layered Eggplant Noodle Salad

  • 1 slice eggplant, lightly sautéed or grilled
  • 1 – 2 Tbsp roasted red pepper hummus
  • 1 cup zucchini and yellow squash noodles
  • 1 scallion, diced
  • 1/4 cucumber, diced
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 red bell pepper, diced
  • sprouts (whatever kind suits you)

Mix noodles, diced vegetables, and cilantro together in a small bowl. Begin layering with a slice of eggplant with roasted red pepper spread on top. Then add noodle salad on top of that. Finally, top with sprouts.

It’s light. It’s delicious. It’s satisfying.

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Raw-Vegan Eggless “Egg” Salad (from Melomeals)

  • 3 c cauliflower, pulsed in food processor
  • ½ c sunflower seeds soaked for 4 hours, drained then pulsed in food processor
  • 1 c diced celery
  • 1 c shredded carrots
  • ½ c scallions
  • ½ c nutritional yeast
  • 2 t dried sage
  • 1 T dried dill
  • 1 T dried parsley
  • ½ t garlic powder
  • ¼ t turmeric
  • 4 T tahini
  • 4 T yellow mustard
  • 2 T Dijon mustard
  • 4 T relish
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 t salt
  • ½ c water

Pulse the cauliflower in a food processor and set it aside in large mixing bowl. Pulse the sunflower seeds, and add it to the cauliflower. Add the celery, carrots and scallions,  nutritional yeast and spices.
Then, in a separate small bowl combine the tahini, mustard, relish, chia seeds, salt and pepper along with ½ c water. Mix well and pour over the veggies. Allow the salad to chill for an hour before serving.

Serve on lettuce, in a pita, or with raw bread/crackers.

I served ours on lettuce, with a side of triangular-cut sunflower seed-flax raw bread (from Love Force).

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And because I love sprouts so much (but the kids don’t so much), I also added sprouts to mine.

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Chocolate Molten Crumble (Raw-Vegan)

Chad and I celebrated our wedding anniversary on May 22nd….Well, we didn’t actually get to celebrate it that evening, because we both teach classes on Wednesday evenings, so last night (thanks to some awesome friends who babysat for us) we finally got to celebrate our anniversary. First, we went out for dinner at Loving Hut Cafe in Cincinnati. Then we went to Jungle Jim’s to buy some cacao nibs, cacao powder, maca powder, dates, and a few other foodie items. (This has become our date night ritual.) We were looking for a special vegan or raw baked good to eat with a glass of port once the kids were in bed, but no such luck, so I pulled out my newly acquired raw cuisine baking skills and got to work once we got home…..and this is what I came up with.

Molten Chocolate CrumbleImage

It was super easy and delicious! (Plus, I got to use my brand new Ninja food processor/blender – like the Vitamix, but cheaper!) The recipe I found actually called it a molten cupcake, and required a dehydrator. Since I don’t have a dehydrator, I baked it in my oven for 25 minutes on the lowest temperature (170F). It also totally fell apart in my attempt to remove it from the muffin pan, which is why I’m calling it a crumble. So if you want to avoid the cooking process and make this totally raw, then just let it be a crumble, because honestly it tastes delicious either way.

Molten Chocolate Crumble

For the crumble:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds
  • 6 dates
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • almond milk (as needed)

Put almonds in food process and process until coarsely chopped. Then add dates and cacao powder and process until blended. Add 1 Tbsp of almond milk at a time if needed to help contents stick together.

For molten chocolate:

  • 3 Tbsp raw agave
  • 2 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp cacao nibs
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil

Combine all contents in a bowl, and mix with a fork until combined.

To put it together:

* For cupcakes, press 1/2 of crumble mixture on bottom and sides of 2 muffin tins (makes 2 cupcakes). Fill with molten mixture. Cover with remainder of crumble mixture and seal edges with fingers. Bake in dehydrator for 30 minutes OR bake on lowest temperature of oven for 20-25 minutes.

* For crumble, warm container that molten mixture is in under warm water to heat molten mixture a bit. Combine crumble mixture with 1/2 molten mixture. Place on a plate and drizzle remainder of molten mixture on the crumble.

Serve with a side of strawberries and perhaps an almond or cashew cream.

This was so incredibly rich that honestly I think we could have shared one. 

Asian Inspired Raw Noodles with Peanut Sauce…and Delicious Raw Nori and Spring Rolls

Continuing in our experimentation with raw cuisine….

I had lots of leftover zucchini and yellow squash noodles from my first experimentation with raw noodle dishes, so I decided to try them with a peanut based sauce, like Pad Thai (since we can now have peanuts in the house)….which of course inspired me to make additional fun Asian inspired foods, like spring rolls and nori rolls. 

I’ve never made spring rolls or nori rolls before, but I do love to eat them, and making them raw seemed easy enough. The other day I saw a bag of shredded carrots, red cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli, so I bought it thinking that surely I could do something wonderful with it. And this was my opportunity. It would make a perfect filling for these delicious nori rolls and spring rolls! So I tossed the contents of the bag along with some diced cucumber into the food processor and gave it a few quick pulses just to dice it up a little more, and then let the veggie mixture marinade in a little bit of tamari. Meanwhile, I whipped up a little peanut butter, tamari, ginger, and garlic in the food processor, spread it out on the nori sheets, added the veggie mixture, rolled them up, and cut them into bite-size pieces. Perfection.

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To make the spring rolls, I ran the rice sheets under warm water until soft enough to roll. Then I added only the vegetable mixture, and rolled them, tucking the ends in before finishing the roll. So easy!

 

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And here is the final dish with everything on it….Image

 

For the main dish, I used leftover zucchini and yellow squash noodles, and then julienned some carrots and red peppers, diced some green onions, chopped some cilantro, and then pulsed the carrots, peppers, onions, and cilantro in the food processor just a couple of times to make them a little smaller. Then I tossed them into the bowl with the noodles. As for the sauce, honestly, I wasn’t crazy about the peanut sauce that I made, but here’s another one that I’ve made before (from the cookbook The Gluten-Free Vegan) that I really love.

Peanut Sauce (for noodles):

  • 1 1/4 cups light coconut milk
  • 1/3-1/2 cup organic peanut butter
  • 2 Tbsp raw agave
  • 2 Tbsp tamari
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red curry paste
  • pinch of red pepper flakes

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and process until well blended.

I did, however, like the simple peanut sauce I used in the nori rolls, so here it is….

Peanut Sauce used in nori rolls:

  • 1 Tbsp yellow mustard (or dijon could work here too if you want to add a little more zing)
  • 1 Tbsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt/pepper to taste
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red curry paste (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and process until well blended.

Enjoy!

 

Going Raw-ish: Raw Pasta and Marinara with Lightly Sauteed Veggies and “Neatballs”

One of the things Chad and I have discovered through juicing is that our bodies truly want (and actually crave) nutrient-rich foods. Since we started juicing about three months ago, our senses have become more acute….especially our sense of smell and taste. And with our increased sense of taste, we have come to realize that healthy food actually tastes amazing, while unhealthy food tastes more like what it is….garbage. Also, since we have been doing more research on food and nutritional health, we have made a new commitment to feeding our family nutrient-rich foods, while trying to eliminate as many processed foods from our diets as possible. One way we are working toward doing this is through adding more raw cuisine to our diets. We are not ready to go 100% raw, but we are interested in incorporating as much raw food as possible, in order to obtain as many nutrients as possible from our food.

And so tonight I prepared a mostly-raw meal of zucchini and yellow squash noodles with raw marinara sauce, and lightly sautéed eggplant and mushrooms. Then my son came into the kitchen asking what we were eating for dinner, and when I informed him we were having spaghetti, he asked if we were having meatballs, so I quickly whipped up some vegan “neatballs.” The “neatballs” are intended to be raw, but on my first attempt they were a little mushy, so I ended up needing to bake them a little in order to give them a more firm texture. Next time, I’ll allow more time to make the “neatballs” so I can bake them on the lowest setting of my oven, if needed.

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To make the raw pasta, slice zucchini and yellow squash in thin strips (or use a spiralizer-type utensil).

Raw Marinara Sauce: (Recipe adapted from The Simple Veganista)

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • 2 big handfuls of grape tomatoes
  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes, softened
  • 2 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 small shallots
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • salt/pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until pureed.

“Neatballs”: (Recipe adapted from The Simple Veganista)

  • 2 cups mushrooms (I used baby bellas)
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp tamari
  • 1 Tbsp dried Italian herbs
  • salt/pepper to taste

Put all ingredients in food processor and pulse until blended, but still slightly chunky. Scoop out by the tablespoon and form into balls by rolling between palms. If needed, bake in the oven at lowest temperature until firm to the touch (or bake at 350F for 15 minutes).

I also made some simple vegan parmesan to sprinkle on the top of the pasta dish, by combining 1 cup of raw almonds, 2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast, and 1 tsp of garlic powder in a food processor and processing until the texture of parmesan cheese. (Recipe also from The Simple Veganista.)

Our little vegans are still getting used to the idea of raw cuisine. I think it will take their taste buds a little while to adapt. However, our 2 1/2 year old enjoyed the noodles and our 7 year old understands the importance of healthy habits, so I am hopeful that soon they will adapt to the changes.

One additional thing Chad and I noticed about raw cuisine is that it is very rich in taste and texture, so a little bit goes a long way. I suppose it is in part because of the richness of the nutrients in raw food that it is also very filling, so be warned…use a small plate to avoid the feeling of being overstuffed.

Beans and Rice and a Flavorful Tomato-Cucumber Salad

Since May 1st, I have been on a juice “feast.” I am drinking my fruits and veggies for every meal as well as for snacks. All in all, I consume about a half gallon of juice each day…..which is why I’m calling it juice “feasting” rather than juice “fasting.” I drank only juice (mostly green) for 9 days before I decided to alter my plan a bit to incorporate occasional “treats” of raw veggies, with the understanding that I can only eat what I can juice. My goal is to continue to juice a few more days (so 20-24 days total…depending on what I decide this weekend, which will be determined much by where my weight is by the 20th, because as of right now I still have about 5 pesky pounds I’d like to lose), while allowing myself an occasional raw veggie treat no more than once each day in case my family is eating something exceptionally tasty and it’s just too much for me to sit and watch them eat without crunching on something myself. 

Tonight was one of those nights….

When Chad and I were first married, one of our favorite meals was beans and rice. Simple and yet delicious. The first time I made it was on our honeymoon, and we will both admit that it was definitely lacking in the spice department….It was flat out bland. Over the years I learned to spice it up, and it became a favorite. 

And then we had children, and life became a little more busy, and so I found ways to take shortcuts in the recipe…..Just throw in some salsa….toss in a bag of frozen onions and peppers…..Yeah, these all work, but it just isn’t the same as doing the work of chopping the green onions and bell peppers and choosing the spices. So tonight I decided to go back to the basics….

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I started by sautéing 4 diced green onions, 1 diced green bell peppers, a small can of diced tomatoes with mild green chiles, and 2 diced garlic cloves (in some of the new cookware my family gave me for Mother’s Day).

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Next, I rinsed 2 cans of dark red kidney beans and 2 cans of black beans in a colander (you can also use cooked dry beans, and I usually would, but sometimes I just need a little shortcut), and then added them to the pan, along with chili powder and cumin (to taste). Finally, just for fun, I added nutritional yeast and chia seeds….because it’s always fun to add extra nutritional boosts to our food. 

Serve on top of rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. 

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This was definitely one of those meals that I needed a “treat” to crunch on while I watched my family eat, so I made my new favorite treat…..

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For this beautiful salad, I cut grape tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, and cilantro, and then tossed with lime juice and a dash of salt. I wish you could smell and taste this blog, because it is truly a party to the senses!

We’re nuts about compassion!

When our son was 13 months old, he had an allergic reaction to touching peanut butter. Two days later (at his well-child check-up), our family doctor prescribed an Epipen Jr, which we have since carried with us everywhere we go with him. And, much to our daughter’s dismay, peanut butter has been absent from our home and lives. 

But yesterday, all that has changed! A month ago, we finally had him tested for allergies. When his skin scratch tests came back negative, we (including the allergist) were all puzzled, so the allergist ordered a blood test. When the blood test came back negative, the allergist recommended he come back to her office at a later date for a food challenge with peanut butter. Yesterday was that day. He started with 1/32 tsp of peanut butter and every 15 minutes the nurse came in with twice as much peanut butter, until he got up to 4 tsp. When he first tasted it, he said, “mmmmm” and confirmed that he liked it, but by the 4 tsp dose, he was less than thrilled and even somewhat resisting it (climbing underneath the chairs and laying down on his stomach so I couldn’t reach his face with the spoon). They wanted to give him 8 tsp (an adult dose), but decided that by that point he had eaten enough to confirm that he had outgrown his allergy. 

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Needless to say, we are thrilled! It is a scary thing to have a child with a life-threatening allergy….to live with the fear that at any moment (while out in public) your child may come into contact with his allergen or to know that if a food item isn’t labeled properly it could send your child to the hospital. 

When we picked our daughter up from school, I told her the good news, and she said, “YEA! Can I have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?!” Of course, I made her one when we got home, and the smile on her face said it all. 

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For the past year and a half, our daughter has exemplified such compassion for her little brother…sacrificing her love of peanut butter for his well-being. It is this compassion for the needs and well-being of others, both human and animals, that we try to teach our children. Our wants are not more important than others needswhether we are talking about not eating nuts around nut-allergic people out of compassion for their lives, or whether we are talking about not eating animals or consuming animal byproducts out of compassion for the lives of those animals. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children the difference between wants and needs. As vegan parents, compassion plays an essential role in that lesson. 

– S

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