Monday, December 13, 2010

How To Make: Delicious, Baked Tofu.

I promise, this stuff aims to please! Although, being vegan, everyone automatically thinks you live and run on tofu... Well folks, I'm hear to tell you, I don't. But when I do make it, it's amazing. :)

First and foremost, always buy Organic Tofu.... no body likes genetically modified soy beans... ick!

Okay, now that that is out of the way, the key to good tofu is MARINATING the tofu. Whether you're frying, sauteing, grilling or baking. Tofu is like a sponge and will drink up any flavors you let it sit in. Also, if you are looking for a meatier consistency, the secret lies in your freezer. Throw your extra-firm tofu (water & all) in the freezer, when you're ready to use it, stick it in the fridge to thaw. Drain the water in the package and give your tofu a nice friendly squeeze over the sink, gently remove most of the water from the block.

As for cutting the tofu, I usually cut it lengthwise, into 8 pieces. (or cubed)

There you have it! Now here's my favorite & mastered recipe for baked tofu. Use it in stir fries, over top salads, put on sandwiches, or eat with an entree. The possibilities are endless!

Basic Yummy Marinate:

Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Splash Soy Sauce or Tamari
Garlic, crushed
White & Black Pepper
Onion Powder
Pinch Curry Powder
Red Pepper Seeds (optional)
Siracha Hot Sauce (optional)
(anything else that tickles your fancy)

Mix ingredients to taste, and pour over sliced tofu evenly in a plastic bag. Let marinate for an hour or in the fridge over night.

Baked Tofu

1 lb Marinated Tofu (1 package), cut lengthwise into 8 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, and evenly place tofu on the sheet.

Bake for 22 minutes, flipping the 'fu half way through.

Serve as an entree, on a sandwich, on a salad, stir fry... the possibilities are endless!

Easy and Oh So Creamy Tomato Soup

Nothing is better on a cold, snowy day then a hot cup of Creamy Tomato Soup and a Peanut Butter and Jelly sammy. MMM! This recipe is easy, creamy, smooth, and oh so good for your body AND soul!

Serves 4-5ish.

Whatcha need:

1 medium onion chopped (about 1/2 cup to 1 cup)
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1 clove garlic minced
1 bay leaf
1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (opt)
1/4 cup earth balance/margarine
1/4 cup flour
2 large cans (28 oz) chopped/diced or whole tomatoes in juice or puree
1 to 2 tablespoons brown/raw sugar to taste, start with 1 then add more if needed
1 cup soy creamer
Vegetable broth, if needed for thinning

Saute vegetables in earth balance in soup pan. When tender, add flour, stir until dissolved and smooth with vegetables. Stir in tomatoes and bay leaf, salt & pepper and bring to a boil, turn heat down, put on lid and simmer for 30 minutes. Take out bay leaf, and put vegetables through food mill or food processor in small batches (can let cool before doing this if you have the time). Put back in soup pot, and add creamer, stirring well. Can add a little more earth balance, and warm back up over low heat if necessary, can use veg. broth for thinning out if needed.
(add salt, pepper, and sugar to your tastes)

Serve with a good ole fashioned Peanut Butter & jelly sandwich and there ya have it... Enjoy!

Eat up, buttercup! Let it snoooow!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday (or Everyday!) Breakfast Barley

This is my favorite breakfast grain by far. Breakfast barley is easy, hearty, filling, full of fiber & flavor, and not to mention stick to your ribs delicious! Feel free to get creative with the add in's if you're not feeling the apricots, pecans, & cranberries. :) Enjoy!

Makes 4ish servings.

Whatcha need:

1 1/2 cup apple juice (or cider)
1 1/2 cup water
1 cup dried pearl barley (rinsed & soaked overnight, or for a few hours)
1 tablespoon of Pumpkin Spice
10 dried apricots, chopped into quarters
a handful of dried cranberries
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (garnish)

In a large saucepan, combine the juice, water, barley, spices, apricots & cranberries. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 40-50 minutes or until barley is cooked. Garnish with pecans and serve with Soy or Almond milk.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

Finally, A reason to eat more cookies! The whole wheat flour makes these cookies a little healthier, a little heartier, and little cakey-er. No complaints, here. :)

Whatcha Need:

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (light)
1/2 cup almond milk (or your nondairy milk of choice)
2 tablespoons of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. In a mixing bowl, m,ix together the sugar and oil for about a minute. You want to make sure all the brown sugar lumps are broken down. Add almond milk and arrowroot and beat vigorously until there are no clumps. Mix in vanilla.

3. Add half the flour, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Mix in the remaining flour. Fold in the chocolate chips.

4. Drop dough by rounded tablespoon on baking sheets either lined with parchment paper or lightly greased. Space cookies about 2 inches apart flatten them down a bit with your fingers.

5. Bake 10 minutes for soft, chewy cookies. 12 minutes for crispier ones. When they're done baking let the cookies rest on the sheets for about 5 minutes before transfering them to wire racks to finish cooling.

EAT UP! :)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes (from "Vegan Brunch" By Isa Chandra Moskowitz)

Hooray for fall! These pumpkin pancakes are hearty, warm, filling, and spiced to perfection! The book recommends a cranberry sauce of sorts but I created a little delicious concoction of my own with Maple Syrup, Earth Balance Butter, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Cranberries & Walnuts.... heated on the stove until bubbly and thick. PERFECTION!

I also tweaked the flour, instead of doing a full cup of all purpose flour, I did have spelt four and have regular. They turned out great, so either way it fantastic.

(This is an AMAZING book, every recipe sounds better than the next, I highly recommend running out and buying it! Hurry! Buy "Vegan Brunch")

Whatcha need:


3/4 cup pureed or organic canned punpkin
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup of almond milk (any nondairy milk will do)
1/2 cup of water
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves

Cooking Spray

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, milk, water, vinegar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix until there are very few clumps left. As usual, be careful not to over mix.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium head for atleast 3 minutes.

Spray the pan with a light coat of cooking spray. Pour pancakes in 1/2 cup measurements, one at a time, and cook until the top looks somewhat dry (about 3-4 minutes, or so). Flip over and cook for another minute.

Transfer to a plate covered with tinfoil to keep pancakes warm while you prepare the others!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Liz's Lentil & Brown Rice Casserole

This is such a nice, hearty casserole that's easy to make and really easy to eat. :) Try other veggies in there too... whatever needs used. (this is my favorite combo.) You can have this as a main dish or served as a side... either way, it's a winner.

Whatcha Need:
3/4 cup dry red lentils
3/4 cup brown rice
3 cups of vegetable broth
1 medium onion, chopped
1 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or crush your own from the garden!)
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Dried Basil
24 Seasoning Mix
Black Pepper
3/4 cup vegan shredded cheese (optional)

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. In a large casserole dish, combine all the ingredients and stir to combine (except cheese!). Cover with foil tightly and bake for 1 1/2 hours (stirring every half hour). Remove lid, sprinkle with cheese and broil uncovered until cheese has melted. (keep an eye on it so it doesn't burn!)

Makes 4-6 servings. :)

So delicious....

Friday, July 30, 2010

Mashed Cauliflower Smothered with Caramelized Onions, Black Beans & Collards

An uber healthy, light take on the beloved Shepherds Pie... plus it's crazy cheap to make this meal. This is one of those things that you truly have to try to make up your mind on how delicious it is. Easy, healthy, delicious, cheap AND super hearty... this meal is sure to please.

Serves about 3-4 hearty bowl fulls. :) nom nom...

Whatcha Need:

Creeeeamy Mashed Cauliflower

1 head of Cauliflower, cleaned and cut into florets
4 tablespoons of Earth Balance Buttery Spread
About a 1/4 cup of Almond Milk (you can also used Plain Soy or Rice Milk)
Sea Salt, Pepper, White Pepper

Clean, cut and rinse the cauliflower, place in a medium size pot, cover with water, and boil. Just like you are making mashed potatoes. I like to salt the water just a touch. Boil until tender, usually about 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the florets.

Once fork tender, drain well. Add the Earth Balance, Salt, Pepper, White Pepper, and Almond Milk. Mashed with a masher until very smooth... you can use the hand mixer, but I find cauliflower likes to fly. Catch my drift? For a cleaner experience, just mash the old fashioned way. :)

Caramellized Onions & Black Beans (Also really good served over rice!)
1 large Onion, half moons
1 can of Organic Black Beans (rinsed REALLY well, get the strainer out for this job!)
1 tablespoon of Brown Rice Syrup (if you don't have brown rice syrup, just omit this ingred.)
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce
Sea Salt, Pepper, Thyme, 21 Seasoning Salute

In a pan, bring the onions, oil, brown rice syrup and pinch of salt to a nice, slow simmer over med/high heat. Baby the onions, you want them to caramellize, not burn or get crunchy. Stir often. After about 10-12 minutes they should be looking good, add the spices and drained black beans. Let simmer, on low for about 5 more minutes.

Steamed Collard Greens
About 5-6 Collard Green leaves (You can also use Kale or Spinach... I just really liked the "meaty" texture of Collards for this dish)

Clean and de vein the greens. (the center vein, get it outta there. blegh!) And give the greens a very rough chop. If you have a veggie steamer, steam the greens with a pinch of sea salt & water for about 5 minutes, until they are a deep, rich beautiful green hue. If you don't have a steamer, you can microwave them or boil the greens. (NOTE: If you choose to boil the greens, wait to de vein and cut until after cooked. They will loose all their nutrients!)

Toss the greens into the Beans & onions.

Take a nice heaping spoonful of the Mashed Cauliflower and put into a bowl, and then like you would gravy, smother it with a heaping ladle of the beans, onions, and collards. You can also garnish with some red pepper seeds... mmm.

Enjoy with a nice piece of bread and earth balance buttery spread, and ya got yourself a hearty, healthy, and economically friendly meal. Woo hoo!!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

THE Veggie, Bean, & Barley Soup.

I swear, we live on this. This soup is fantastic and easy. Most of the time I just throw in the pot whatever needs to be used up! The recipe changes slightly every time, it's just so versatile. I make a pretty large pot of this when I make it, so it's also great if you have major left overs to just pour into glad ware and freeze! Perfect for lunches and those nights you don't feel like cooking anything.

When it comes to veggie broth, I use Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Broth, it comes in a little jar and it is delicious. It's organic, takes up very little space, and packs a lot of punch. (32 servings for around $7... heck yeah!) If you use a broth like this, this recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of it. You can get this at Giant Eagle, folks! It's great.

Cooking tip: When cooking with fresh veggies, adding a pinch of salt before they start to cook holds in all those vital nutrients we need. It also helps with flavor, of course. :)

Whatcha Need:

3 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 (large) yellow onion, half moons
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 carrots, chopped (if they have their green tops... use those too! just chop them up.)
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 large daikon radish (amazing amazing vegetable, google it!!!)
1 zucchini, cubed
1 tomato, chopped
3 red potatoes,cubed
1 can of Organic Garbonzo Beans (rinsed well)
1 can of Organic Black beans (rinsed well)
1/2 cup of Barley
1 cup of chopped Spinach
Fresh cracked Pepper, Rosemary, Basil, White Pepper, Sea Salt. (and a DASH of cinnamon)
4 cups of water
4 cups of veggie broth (or 2 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon Veggie Broth)

Put the extra virgin olive oil, onions, garlic, chopped carrots, celery, and two pinches of sea salt. Stir until shiny with oil and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, on Med/High heat.

Then add the daikon (chopped into medallions), zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes and a pinch of sea salt. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the rinsed beans, seasonings, greens, and a pinch of salt. Cook for 3 minutes, then add the water & broth. Should be just enough to cover all the veggies. Then add your barley.

Bring to a slight boil and then leave to simmer for about 45 minutes until barley is cooked.

Easy Weekend Pancakes

I recently made these amazing pancakes from the cookbook "Vegan Yum Yum" ( And I must say, it was worth sharing. Easy, delicious, and wholesome. The perfect Sunday Brunch! (Pre-make the batter the night before to make it SUPER easy! Just cover and store in the fridge.)

I did make a few tweeks when I made my pancakes, I used Almond milk instead of Soy and also added a dash of cinnamon. And remember folks... use REAL maple syrup! Yes, it may be a touch pricey, but it's worth it! You use less and you're not eating maple flavored high fructose corn syrup... SICK!

I topped mine with Real Maple Syrup, Earth Balance Buttery Spread, Walnuts, and a Banana. ENJOY!

Easy Weekend Pancakes
Makes about 25 Silver Dollar Pancakes, enough for two people

1 1/2 Cup Soymilk
1 Tbs Sugar
2 Tbs Oil
1 Cup Spelt (or all-purpose*) Flour
1/3 Cup All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Salt
1 tsp Extract (any flavor, I used orange, but vanilla is a no-brainer)
1-2 Tbs water, to thin batter if needed

*If using only all-purpose flour for this recipe, you may need to add more liquid. Regular flour absorbs more moisture than spelt.

Add soymilk to your blender. Add remaining ingredients except the water and blend for a few seconds until combined. Scrape down any dry flour stuck to the side of the jar and blend again. Place the top on the blender and refrigerate overnight. You can also use the batter immediately.

In the morning, place the blender back on the base and add 1-2 Tbs of water, blend to mix. This re-thins the batter that had thickened overnight.

Preheat oven to 200ยบ F, or the lowest setting, and put an oven-safe plate on the middle rack. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat for a few minutes. Pour the batter directly into the center of the UNgreased heated pan. I like silver dollar sized pancakes, 2 1/2 to 3″ in diameter, but you can make any size you want. This batter should create fairly thin pancakes.

After a few minutes of cooking, you’ll see the bubbles form and set on the uncooked side of the pancake. The batter will start to set, and it will change color from white to dull yellow. This is when you should flip. If your pancake isn’t brown by this time, turn your heat up. If it is overly brown, your heat is too high.While cooking the pancakes, place the finished ones directly into the oven on the plate. Stack the pancakes as you go. This will keep the whole stack warm while you’re cooking them.

While the pancakes are cooking, feel free to add blueberries, chocolate chips, or anything else you can imagine. Serve with vegan margarine (Earth Balance) and maple syrup.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mum's Amazing French Onion Soup

One of my favorite comfort foods ever. And this is by far the best recipe for French Onion Soup I've ever come across. Leave it to Mum. :)

Whatcha Need:
5 cups thinly sliced sweet onions (Vidalia are the BEST!)
2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive oil
1/2 of stick Earth Balance Marg.
3 tsp Worstershire sauce
1 tsp minced garlic (pre-chopped in jar)
10 cups of Vegetable Broth (Or 10 Cups of water 12 Veg Bouillon Cubes)
Large croutons or slices of french bread
Daiya Mozzerella Cheese for Melting on top (Or you can use Provolone or Swiss)
salt, black pepper & white pepper
1/2 tsp dried thyme(optional-if used add while sauteing onions)

Saute onions & garlic in butter and oil, until transparent, add broth or water/cubes and worstershire sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes to an hour until onions are very tender. Taste and add water or salt & white pepper. To serve, put croutons or slightly dried slices of french bread in bowls. Ladle soup over bread, top with cheese and broil until cheese just starts to bubble.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Moroccan Wild Rice with Hummus

This rice dish is so awesome and super easy. I make it in a big batch and keep it in the fridge for random meals and grazing throughout the day! I got the wild rice, bean, and lentil mix from Nature's Bin in Lakewood from their bulk section... but if that isn't an option, just throw in a handful of red & green lentils and some navy beans into some wild rice. Then you're good to go. :) And if you're even lazier you can use Pampered Chef's Moroccan Rub... it's AMAZING.

Whatcha Need:

2 cups of Old World Pilaf from Natures Bin (OR Wild Rice, green & red lentils, and dried navy beans.)
1/2 cup of Sweet Corn
1/2 cup of chopped Spinach

Seasoned with: Sea Salt (i love Celtic Sea Salt), Black Pepper, Onion Powder, Raw Sugar, Paprika, Garlic & Dried or Fresh Lemon peel. (not a lot of lemon, just a TOUCH. you don't want that to be the main flavor. 'Tis why it's last on the list. :)

Stick your rice & bean mixture into the rice cooker and cook until done, usually about 25 minutes with wild rice. Toss into a bowl with corn and spinach.

With the seasonings, if you don't have pre mixed Moroccan spices, it is SO easy to throw together and keep in a jar for future recipes. In this dish, I spice to my taste.

Top with some homemade or store bought hummus, and NOSH!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Spicy Peanut Sauce with Noodles!

This is seriously, one of my favorite recipes ever. It's so easy, it's creamy, it's spicy, it's rich, it's delicious, and it's inexpensive! JACKPOT.

This recipe makes about 4 servings if you want to use up all the sauce. The sauce is also a pretty good veggie/chip dip if you're feeling sassy. :)

Whatcha Need:

1 can of Lite Coconut milk
3/4 cup of Peanut Butter (I like to use organic, no hydrogenated oils.)
Around 2 tablespoons of Soy Sauce/Braggs
Splash of Rice Vinegar
3 cloves of Garlic (mashed)
Half teaspoon Onion Powder
1 tablespoon of Siracha Hot Sauce, or regular hot sauce. (to taste, we like ours SPICY!)
Crushed red pepper

4 Packages of Ramen Noodles (Doesn't matter the flavor, we won't be using the flavor packet, only noodles!)

Blend all the ingredients together in a blender, (I use a Magic Bullet) and heat on the stove top, don't boil, just heat it up nicely. (If it's a touch thin, which is normal, add a bit of flour and wisk.) Boil water and make your noodles, takes about 3 minutes for noodles to cook. Once noodles are done, pour the sauce over the noodles and stir together.

Serve with steamed broccoli, crushed peanuts, and red pepper seeds!


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Baked Burritos!

You guys... seriously... AMAZING.

Whatcha Need:

For the Filling:
1 Can of Organic Fat Free Refried Beans
1/2 cup of corn
1 Jalapeno, diced (I didn't pit it, we like spicy!)
1/2 red onion, diced
Clove of Garlic (crushed)
Dash of Cumin
Salt & Pepper
Daiya Vegan Cheddar Cheese to sprinkle in the burrito over the beans. (Or Real Cheddar cheese, whatever floats your boat!)

5 Whole Wheat Tortillas
1 cup of cook white or brown rice
Tofutti Sour Cream (or the real stuff.), Avocado, Shredded Romaine Lettuce & Extra Cheese to top it off.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all the ingredients for the filling together in a medium sized mixing bowl.

In the center of the tortilla, do a spoonful of rice, two spoonfuls of beans, and a bit of shredded cheese.

Fold up like you would any other burrito, place on a baking sheet, and rub some olive oil onto the burritos and place in the oven for 25 minutes. If you want to, instead of baking these you can plastic wrap and foil them up and freeze them. Then just bake when you want a quick dinner.

Top with shredded lettuce, cheese, avocados (or guacamole), sour cream and hot sauce.


"Really Good Stuff" over Sushi Rice

This Asian inspired dish was too delicious for a name. :) But if you come up with anything after you try it.... Holla!

Whatcha Need:

1 cup of White Sticky Sushi Rice
1 shallot (minced)
8-10 Shitaki Mushrooms (sliced)
1 cup of collard greens, sliced long and thin strips (You can use kale or spinach if you'd like... or all three!)
1 cup of Edamame
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of Sesame Oil
1/2 tablespoon of honey or brown rice syrup
1/2 tablespoon Sweet White Miso
1/2 cup of Soy Sauce
1/2 cup of Water
1/2 tablespoon of earth balance (or butter, if you use butter.)
White pepper
Ginger (Fresh or ground... just a TOUCH. It's not the main flavor here...just an enhancer.)

Heat your EVOO in a skillet, and add your minced shallot. Once shallots are clear, add your sliced shitaki mushrooms and sesame oil.

Once mushrooms are looking almost done, turn up your heat a bit, add in your soy sauce, honey, miso, water earth balance, white pepper, ginger and edamame. Once that's all mixed and heated, add in your greens and cook until wilted but still crunchy! (which kale and collard greens, they will need to cook a touch longer than fresh spinach.)

Serve of a nice ball of sticky white rice, tops with sesame seeds!

Mmmm.... Enjoy!

Serve over white sticky rice and top with toasted seasame seeds.

Zesty Quinoa Bean Salad

You can enjoy this Quinoa dish hot or cold, I like to make a big batch and keep it in the fridge to feed us through the week for lunch and snacks... Makes about 6 servings. (Roughly. :)

Whatcha Need:

1 cup of uncooked Quinoa
1 Can Organic Great Northern Beans (Black beans would be fun, too!)
3/4 cup chopped carrots
1 cup Marinated Sun Dried Tomatoes (I get mine at the Mediterranean Store in the West Side Market... They'll change your life. I swear.)
1/2 cup of red onion (diced)
3/4 cup of slivered Almonds
1/4 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper.

Cook Quinoa on the stove top or in a rice cooker, when finished, put in a mixing bowl.

Toss in ingredients... When I add my marinated tomatoes they're in a wonderfully seasoned oil, if you don't have this, add in a little oregano and garlic with your olive oil. I prefer fresh garlic but powder works, too.

Serve with avocado, extra almonds, and flax seeds!