Vegan Banana Cupcakes

I’m not going to pretend that these are good for you. Actually, if you don’t put the frosting on these, they are good for you. But, hey, a sweet treat now and then won’t kill you. I can’t really remember the last time I had anything with regular sugar in it. Now, I do get the organic stuff, but really, sugar is sugar in how it affects your body. So, for now I just won’t pretend these are good for you.
I’m getting ready for the church potluck tomorrow and I always make something that I stash in the kitchen for the health conscious people. I also made a sweet potato vegan shepherd’s pie, but that I’ll have to wait until after the dinner to publish the recipe. I don’t think it would be appropriate to bring it to church with a big scoop taken out of it. Anyway, the sweet treat for the day is vegan banana cupcakes. Like I said, the cupcakes themselves are pretty healthy: no refined sugar or gums or oils. The frosting is a different story. It’s a typical buttercream, but it’s made with vegan shortening instead of butter. I used organic powdered sugar. I have to admit, there used to be 10 of them and now there are 8. My daughter and I had to try them out to make sure they’re okay. And, I’m happy to say, they’re very okay. So, without further ado, here’s the recipe:
Vegan Banana Cupcakes
Ingredients:
For the Cupcakes:
2 Bananas, mashed
¼ Cup Agave syrup (or raw honey, if you’re not against that)
2 Tbsp. Flax Meal
5 Tbsp. Hot Water
¼ Cup Applesauce
1 Tsp. Almond Extract
1 Cup Oat Flour
½ Cup Grated Unsweetened Coconut
½ Cup Chopped Medjool Dates
6 Tbsp. Almond Flour
2 Tbsp. Teff Flour
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
¼ Tsp. Salt (I always use Himalayan salt)
¼ Tsp. Baking Soda
For the Frosting:
2 ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
¼ Cup Vegan Shortening
2 Tbsp. Almond Milk
¾ Tsp. Almond Extract
¼ Tsp. Salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350◦. In a small bowl, mix together the flax meal and hot water. Let it sit until it is the consistency of egg whites. In a large mixing bowl, combine the bananas, flax mixture, agave syrup, applesauce, and almond extract. Mix thoroughly. Add in all of the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Scoop the mixture into muffin cups using a large ice cream scooper (it makes about 10 cupcakes). Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, until cake bounces back and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Meanwhile, while cupcakes are baking, mix together all of the ingredients for the frosting and put aside until cupcakes are completely cool. Frost cupcakes. Makes 10 cupcakes.

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Tempeh Jambalaya

Jambalaya is one of my family’s favorite meals. It’s an easy one pot meal and doesn’t take that long to make. It’s pretty versatile too: you can add different types of meat to it (whatever you may have left over) or even shrimp. You can add as much spice as you want. I learned a recipe from my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook a long time ago and I run with that. I’ve made it so many times that I don’t even use a recipe any longer. So, I gave a whack at making a vegan version last night. I liked it. It was easy. It was definitely healthy. I have to admit though, it was a little less jambalaya-ish and more like just plain rice and beans. You could leave out the tempeh. I just threw it in because I had it, otherwise, I would have just gone with the beans. It’s a good one pot meal, with leftovers for lunch or a quick dinner. Hope you like it.
Vegan Jambalya

Vegan Jambalaya

Ingredients:
1 Stalk Celery
1 ½ Cups Sliced Mushrooms
½ Cup Onion
½ Cup Green Bell Pepper
2 Carrots, sliced
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
14.5 oz. Can Chopped Tomatoes
1 ½ Cups Vegetable Broth
2/3 Cups Brown Rice
1 Cup Black Beans
1 Teaspoon Basil
½ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 Bay Leaf
8 oz. Tempeh, cut into cubes
Salt, to taste

Directions:
In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, pepper, celery, onion, and carrots in ½ cup of broth about 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add in remaining ingredients except for the tempeh. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Simmer for about 40 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add extra broth as necessary. Stir in the cubed tempeh and cook another 5-10 minutes, until rice is fully cooked. Makes 4 Servings.

The Vegannaise Experiment

I’m the type of person that does things my own way. Plus, I tend to be cheap. If I can make something cheaper than buying it, I always take the cheapest option. I figure I can do it better myself anyway. Paying 5 bucks for a little jar of Vegannaise? Um, no thanks. Besides, there’s a ton of oil and other ingredients, that I don’t want, in Vegannaise.
Spring is springing. It hasn’t sprung yet, but it’s springing. It only got down to 36 last night. Yesterday was pretty nice here so we shoveled off the deck Snow on Deck
and made room for the grill. Nothing says ‘spring’ like the smell of grilling in the air. My favorite is grilled portabellos.
To get ready for grill season, I decided to take a crack at making vegannaise, without the oil. I tried a couple of variations. The one with oil in it tasted quite close to real mayonnaise, but it was quite runny. This one, using cashews, turned out with a great texture, but it definitely does taste like cashews. I don’t mind it though. It does have the ‘taste’ of mayo, kind of, but with a nutty aftertaste. I’ll keep working on it to perfect it, but in the meantime, this is still a tasty alternative. Served on a grilled portabello and bun, it’s like springtime on a plate. Hope you like it.
Vegan No Oil Mayonnaise

Ingredients:
¾ Cup Raw Cashews
6 oz. Silken Tofu
1 Tablespoon Almond Milk
2 Teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 Teaspoons Lemon Juice

Directions:
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender. Process until completely smooth and thick.

Chickpea Burgers with Curry Peanut Sauce

After a couple of months of travelling, and working on the house, I just needed to try something new. Since I was always busy, I was resorting to whatever was quick and easy: soup, chili – whatever I could toss together into a pot and make a lot of so I would have leftovers. The weather’s getting a little nicer around here. It seems like the arctic death grip that has had its hold on our area is starting to lift a bit. So, now I’m starting to think more along the lines of fun food, picnic food, grilling, etc. Today I threw together some chickpea burgers, of course, with some mushrooms and onions in them to raise the nutrient levels. It was a typical burger template: some sort of wet veggie (the mushrooms), with some sort of beans (chickpeas), some spices, and then a binder (the oatmeal). Using that template, you can really adjust your burger to your mood. hmmm…I feel kind of South Pacific today. Okay, so curry it is. I wouldn’t necessarily call this Thai or Indian. The sauce is sort of Thai and the burgers are sort of Indian, but with my own flare (and considering what I had in the pantry). I didn’t have limes, so I adjusted the sauce to taste kind of Thai. I don’t have a lot right now in the pantry, so I just went with what I have.
My daughter ate one burger on bread and the other one she ate off the pan, dipping it in the sauce. I had mine on romaine and red onion with some roasted pepitas on top (I roasted them the last 5 minutes that the burgers were baking). These aren’t that hard to make; it just takes time. So, I worked on other things while they were baking.
Hope you enjoy them.
Chickpea Burgers

Ingredients:
Chickpea Burgers:
8 oz. Mushrooms
1 Small Onion
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
2, 15 oz. Cans Chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Teaspoons Curry Powder
½ Teaspoon Salt
¼ Teaspoon Onion Powder
¼ Teaspoon Garlic Powder
¼ Teaspoon Ginger Powder
3 Tablespoons Whole Oats
Lightly Toasted Pepitas for garnish

Curry Peanut Sauce:
½ Cup Canned Coconut Milk
¼ Cup Raw Cashews
3 Tablespoons Natural Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Liquid Aminos
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
Directions:
For the burgers: Preheat oven to 375◦. In a food processor, combine the mushrooms and onion. Process until finely chopped. To a hot skillet, add the vegetable broth. When broth is heated, add in the mushroom/onion mixture. Sauté until broth evaporates and onions are translucent.
Process the chickpeas in food processor until finely chopped. Add chickpeas to the mushroom mixture. Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly combine. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop mixture onto greased cookie sheet. Flatten out and lightly oil the tops of the burgers. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

For the sauce: Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth and thick.

Serve burgers on lettuce, topped with the peanut sauce and pepitas. Makes 10 burgers.

Vegan Taco Salad

Why does everything have to be so hard? I just had to say that. Actually, everything isn’t so hard. This was easy. Yes, taco salad: that’s easy. We’re still working on fixing up our house. My husband goes back to work at the end of this month, so it’s crunch time now. Today I spent the day refinishing our kitchen island. I was tired and sore and annoyed that I didn’t get as far along as I thought I would and then the kids ask the age old question: What’s for dinner. argh Okay, just breathe. Don’t dump the stain on the floor and walk out on strike. Breathe. Yes, left overs it is. Actually, it was kind of ‘clean the refrigerator out’ night. We had a dinner at church yesterday, so I had a large pot of chicken soup with gluten free noodles leftover. There was left over taco meat from last week (no mold: check – smells okay: check. Come on – admit it: you’ve done that too). But, I had no left overs for me. I liked the idea of a taco salad. I had the taco sauce and vegan crema fresca that I made last week for the flautas. I had some black beans in the pantry and some green pepper and red onion that I had already chopped up for a salad this weekend. So, taco salad it was. Easy peasy. If you want a quick, satisfying meal, this will fit the bill:
Vegan Taco Salad

Vegan Taco Salad

Ingredients:
Taco ‘Meat’:
1 Cup Black Beans
2 Tablespoons Chopped Green Bell Pepper
2 Tablespoons Chopped Red Onion
1/2 Teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Paprika
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Minced Onion
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Vegetable Broth, as needed

Romaine Lettuce
Chopped Tomato
Chopped Fresh Onion
Crumbled Corn Tortillas
Taco Sauce
Vegan Crema Fresca

Directions:
In a small saucepan, combine the black beans, bell pepper, onion, and spices. Saute until beans are heated through and onion is translucent. Add some vegetable broth, as needed, to prevent the mixture from sticking to the pan.
Top your salad with the bean mixture and top with taco sauce and crema fresca.

Vegan Flautas with Homemade Taco Sauce and Cashew Crema Fresca

I like Mexican food – real Mexican food, not, like, Taco Bell Mexican food. I love the mix of the spices and the fresh taste. It’s kind of comfort food for me, for some reason. It’s satisfying food. Anyway, Mexican food lends itself well to vegan food. Grilled veggies are a great substitute for the grilled meat. In this recipe, you don’t even really notice that it’s not meat in the flauta. Well, technically, this really isn’t a flauta. A flauta is deep fried, not broiled. I think these would be hard to deep fry and it’s not necessary anyway: they’re tasty without the extra grease.I was excited because this recipe makes 8 burritos and I thought I would have a few lunches and dinners, but my kids ended up eating all of them so, alas, I don’t have any left overs.

This may seem like it has a lot of steps, but they’re easy steps and worth the time. The homemade taco sauce is tasty and the crema fresca really adds that tangy, slightly sweet taste and the fresh taste of the tomato and avocado on top adds a little pop to it. I hope you enjoy it.

Vegan Burritos

Ingredients:

Taco Sauce:
6 Ounces Tomato Paste
1 ½ Cups Water
2 Tablespoons White Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Dry Minced Onion
2 ½ Teaspoons Cumin Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
¾ Teaspoons Salt
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ Teaspoon Turbinado Sugar
¼ Teaspoon White Pepper (can use cayenne for more heat)

Burrito:
2 Cup Cauliflower Florets
6 Ounces Mushrooms
½ Cup Vegetable Broth
1 Cup Black Beans
½ Cup Finely Chopped Red Onion
¼ Cup Finely Chopped Bell Pepper
2 Teaspoons Chili Powder
1 ½ Teaspoons Mexican Oregano
1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
Salt, to taste
8 Corn Tortillas
Chopped Tomato and Chopped Avocado for garnish
Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

Cashew Crema Fresca:
1 Cup Raw Cashews
½ Cup Water
½ Cup Canned Coconut Milk
1 ½ Teaspoons White Vinegar
½ Teaspoon Salt

Directions:
For Taco Sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for about 20 minutes.
For Burritos: In a food processor, combine cauliflower and mushrooms. Process until well chopped (resembling about the size of grains of rice). In a medium skillet, heat the vegetable broth until warm. Add in the cauliflower mixture, black beans, bell pepper, onion, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Heat until the vegetable broth soaks into the mixture and the water cooks off of the mushrooms (a little over 5 minutes).
Warm the tortillas until pliable (I heated them in the microwave for about 20 seconds). Place ¼ cup of the vegetable mixture in the center of each tortilla and roll up. Place on broiler pan and spray oil lightly. Broil about 2 minutes until the one side is slightly crispy.
For the Crema Fresca: Combine all ingredients in a powerful blender or food processor. Process until very smooth and slightly thick. Adjust salt and vinegar as required. It should taste a bit like runny sour cream.
To assemble the burritos: Place the tortilla on plate. Top with tomato and avocado. Drizzle with taco sauce and crema fresca.

No Oil Caesar Dressing

Yes, even in this freezing cold weather, I still eat salad. It’s a protocol in the Dr. Fuhrman book. Dr. Fuhrman says that you should have one large salad a day. With some of his heart patients and diabetic patients, he even has them have salad with each meal. That’s a bit much for me. I like salad, but not that much. Without going into too much detail, let’s just say that raw salad works for me. I really like the Fuhrman dijon date dressing, but it is a very rich dressing. If you have salad every day, sometimes you just need to have something that’s not so rich. I really like this dressing. It’s lighter than most nut-based dressings, and has a very Caesar-ey taste to it. It will thicken as it sits in the fridge, so it does become quite dip-like and sticks very well to veggies. I also use it as a spread on a sandwich with a broiled portobello mushroom and sauteed onions. It’s a great overall dressing. I hope you enjoy it! Here’s the recipe:
No Oil Dairy Free Caesar Dressing
Ingredients:
½ Cup Raw Cashews
½ Cup Water
4 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast
4 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon Mustard
1 Medjool Date
3 Cloves Garlic

Directions:
Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth.

adventures in eating to live

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