Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tofu Blueberry Bars

Tofu, Tofu, is finally coming together! I am starting to understand how to use it and how many different ways you can incorporate it into recipes. I have (successfully) used it to replace ricotta cheese. I have used it to create "eggs" for a breakfast sandwich. I made a crust less pumpkin pie with it. And today  I made these yummy, healthy blueberry bars.

10 ounces silken (soft) tofu
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup of water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9x13 pan.
Blend applesauce, honey, tofu, water and vanilla until smooth (food processor or blender).
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour and baking powder.
Pour wet ingredients into a mixing bowl Mix in dry ingredients and blend until mixed. Then fold in one cup blueberries.
Pour into 9x13 pan and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool and cut into squares.

Thick Butternut Squash Soup

Today was a beautiful day in San Diego. The air was cool and crisp. It was a wonderful fall day. We don't get very many of them here, so I have to enjoy them when they come.
Today I celebrated fall by making a thick butternut squash soup. If you prefer more of a soup-soup, leave out the couscous!

1 large or 2 small butternut squash, cooked and pureed.
4 celery stalks/sticks, sliced
5 carrots, sliced
1/2 onion, chopped
6 cups vegetable broth
1  14 oz can coconut milk
1/2- 1 cup couscous (depending on desired thickness)
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
pepper to taste

Saute onion in 1/4 cup of water
In  large pot combine broth, butternut squash and coconut milk. Add onions, celery, carrots and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for 20 minutes. Add couscous and simmer for an additional 10-15 minutes or until couscous is done. Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Our Journey Update!

Here's a little update!
I'll start with the good! Roque has lost 20 lbs. to date! Pretty awesome, huh!? He's doing really well and it is starting to show. It's always nice when you (the weight loser) can see the results of your hard work.
I, on the other hand, have only lost 2.5 pounds in the last 3 weeks! I knew the last 20 lbs. might be difficult but, geesh! To be honest (and without devulging TMI) it's been a rough few weeks. Let me just say "magnesium". LOL
There have been other challenges as well. I consider myself a pretty good cook. If you knew me 10 years ago, you may not believe this statement...but a lot has changed since then! All of a sudden cooking has become quite challenging. When you cook plant based meals, THE RULES CHANGE! All my prior knowledge is no longer useful. A whole new set of skills needs to come into play. I have been craving the simplicity of a meat based meal! I miss meat!!! There I said it! And eggs (I don't even like eggs. But they're soo simple!). But, this is a health journey that we are on and we will press on. I do feel like an epic fail in the kitchen. Well, until Thursday night. That was one good meal! And it was followed by another on Friday night! And THAT ended up being my own recipe. So I see improvement.
Tonight we went out to dinner. It's been a while. It was needed! We went to a vegan joint called Evolution. It was great! Roque and I both ordered a swiss mushroom burger with sweet potato fries. The kids had chick'n fingers with regular fries. Yum. Andan says he'd like to go there for his birthday. The kids ate all of theirs. Then I told them..."um, that wasn't real chicken". The look on Andan's face was shock, "Mom, can you do that at home." LOL Maybe I can Andan, Maybe I can.

Veggie Burger

I've been looking for a good veggie burger recipe for a few weeks now. I tried a black bean burger recipe. It was just ok. Nothing I would want to spend the effort on making again. Then I found a recipe that was vegetarian but not vegan. But I thought I could tweek it. Well, I had to tweek it a little more than I planned. And the results were great! So this is a Julie Camacho original! Next time I make these, I will be making ahead of time and doubling the batch. This is going to be a great 'go to' meal on busy nights!

    1 onion
    3 cloves of garlic
    1 zucchini
    2 carrots
    1 1/2 cups rolled oats
    2 1/2 tbsp of ground flax seed
    3 tbsp of water
    2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
    1/3 cup whole wheat flour
    1/2 vital wheat gluten

In food processor, pulse onion and garlic and then the carrots and zucchini. In a sauce pan saute the onion and garlic in 1/4 cup of water for about 3 minutes. Add Carrots and zucchini. Continue to saute 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer into a bowl.

In a small bowl, mix ground flax seed with 3 tbsp of water. Add rolled oats, nutritional yeast and flax seed mix to vegetables. Mix well. Refrigerate for at least an hour.

Mix whole wheat flour and vital wheat gluten into the mix. Mix well.

Form mixture into about 3 inch patties. Place on wax paper and continue, making sure to have wax paper between patties. Put in freezer storage bags and freeze until ready to use.

Grill frozen. Makes 8-10 patties.

Comfort Food

Chickpea Cutlets, Mashed Potatoes with Mushroom Gravy
Finally! A meal worth writing home about! Thank you, Isa. This chickpea cutlet actually tastes like meat. The mashed potatoes just sealed the deal. This will definitely be a family favorite. Find Isa's recipe here, here and here.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

Home baked bread is a real treat! I love the process of watching a ball of dough turn into something warm and aromatic and yummy. I also appreciate controlling what goes into my bread. Did you know that most breads have high fructose corn syrup? Well, now you do. Thankfully many top brands now make a loaf without it. But it is still nice to have your own home made bread from time to time.
I originally got this recipe from, but have made changes to it. Another tip for making bread is to spoon your flour into the measuring cup. Don't dip the cup into the flour. Usually too much flour will get into your recipe this way and make a dense bread. If you don't have the grains listed, substitute it for what you do have. I usually don't have sunflower seeds on hand. So I will add an extra tablespoon of quinoa.

 Doesn't this already look great?

 2 cups warm water (110 degrees F (43 degrees C))

 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
 2 teaspoons instant yeast
 6 cups stone ground whole wheat flour
 5 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
 1 tablespoon flax seeds
 1 tablespoon flax seed meal
 1 tablespoon rolled oats
 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
 1 tablespoon quinoa
 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
 1 teaspoon salt
 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

1.Pour warm water and maple syrup into a small bowl, and stir to dissolve the maple syrup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top of the liquid, and let stand until the yeast bubbles and forms a creamy layer, about 10 minutes.

2.In a bowl, stir together the whole wheat flour, gluten, flax seeds, flax meal, rolled oats, sesame seeds, quinoa, sunflower seeds, and salt until the seeds are dispersed evenly. Pour the liquid yeast mixture into the flour mixture, add the coconut oil, and mix everything together. Scoop the dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead as much of the flour into the dough until smooth and springy, about 10 minutes. Allow dough to rest for 15 minutes, then knead for another 5 minutes.

3.Form the dough into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and turn the dough over several times to coat with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.

4.Grease 2 9x5-inch loaf pans. Punch down the dough, and cut into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a loaf, place into the loaf pans, seam sides down, and cover the pans with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

5.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Bake the loaves in the preheated oven until the loaves are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans about 3-5 minutes before turning out to finish cooling on racks.

 Doesn't this look yummy?

Bread crumbs. Another reason I make homemade
bread. Send the sliced bread through the  processors
until its crumbs. Season with garlic salt.
 Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
Spread the crumbs in a thin layer on a cookie sheet.
Cook until dry. Store in a airtight container. I use my
bread crumbs for baked onion rings!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sweet Potato Burritos

DON"T be thrown off by the photo! I know it looks like....something that belongs in the toilet, hhemmm! But if you don't give this recipe a try, you really will be missing out on a great blend of flavors and spices. This recipe makes a lot and freezes well! I never would have thought to blend black beans and sweet potatoes, but it works incredibly well!

6 cups cooked black beans (save some of the liquid)
4 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/2- 1 cup of black bean liquid (or water if you used canned beans)
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup water
3 Tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp cumin
pinch of cayenne pepper

Saute onions and garlic in 1/4 cup of water then set aside. In food processor blend black beans adding liquid a little at a time until refried bean like consistancy. Put processed beans in large bowl and repeat until all beans have been processed. Put sweet potatoes through processor until creamy, add to large bowl with beans. Add sauted onions, garlic, spices and soysauce to the bowl. Mix well.

I use whole wheat tortillas. I spread the desired amount on the tortilla and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Then I fold it up like a burrito and put it in a non-greased skillet to continue heating and creating a slightly crispy tortilla, 1-2 minutes. Super fast, super easy and SUPER YUMMY! Oh...and they're healthy too!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Oatmeal Waffles

My friend, Tammy Harris, gave me this recipe just in time! Since we've changed our diet, I have not make our standard Krusteez waffles. Much to the dismay of my seven-year-old, Andan. He's been asking me (daily it seemed), and I just haven't been able to come up with anything. And then Tammy saves the day (or should I say morning :-0). All this recipe consists of is one part rolled oats to one part non-dairy milk (Tammy said Vanilla Soy). She suggests one cup per person. mix ingredients, cover and refriderate over night.
I added to the recipe a little. This is DEFINATELY kid approved! Elijah ate two! That's never happened.
What I love about this recipe is that there is no added sugar, it is super simple, super healthy and SUPER yummy!

4 cups rolled oats
4 cups almond milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp of vanilla

Mix ingredients, cover and refridgerate over night. When I opened it in the morning, I thought, "I can't put that in the waffle maker!" LOL So I sent the mixture through the food processor (blender would work too). Heat in your waffle maker until steaming has stopped. These freeze well and cook well in the toaster.

Non-fried Beans

Elijah, my three-year-old, loves Roserita Refried Beans. He's at that stage where the same thing for lunch
e v e r y d a y is just fine with him, and preferred. If you know what I mean. Sometimes, when something is working, you just don't want to mess with it. So I've been a little leery of trying to make a healthier version of these...afraid he would reject my beans and refuse any and all beans in the future. I actually did try with a TASTY black bean sweet potato mix (that's a recipe I WILL have to share soon!). It didn't fly! Now we classify beans, "Are those black or brown, Mom? I only want brown, ok?" So I got the message..don't mess with the "brown" beans!
BUT...I found this recipe on called Non- refried beans. The reviews were excellent, so I decided to tempt fate. The results were great! AND....They passed the kid test!!!!!
This recipe is so yummy (and easy), I can't wait to make it for a family gathering...yes, it's that good!

3 cups dry pinto beans, rinsed
1 onion quartered
2 tablespoons minced garlic
3 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
9 cups water

1 jalepeno, optional ( I didn't add this, but I will when making for someone other than my kids)

1.Place the onion, rinsed beans, garlic, salt, pepper, and cumin into a slow cooker. Pour in the water and stir to combine. Cook on low for 8 hours, adding more water as needed. Note: if more than 1 cup of water has evaporated during cooking, then the temperature is too high.

2.Once the beans have cooked, strain them, and reserve the liquid. I removed the onions as well. Using a food processor blend beans until smooth and creamy. You may need to add some of the liquid until it reaches the desired consistency.

This recipe made about 7 cups of non-fried beans. I cooked my beans overnight. I got up once to check the water level and ended up adding a cup of water

Chickpea Sandwich Spread

This chickpea (garbanzo beans) spread is so yummy and versatile. Chickpeas are a great source of protein as well. The first time I made this, I used cayenne pepper, salt, garlic powder and red onions. It was good and it had a kick to it. Perfect to top with lettuce and tomatoes. This morning I used red bell pepper, green bell pepper, onion, garlic powder and salt. SOOOO GOOOD!
You can used canned garbanzo beans. I like to buy them in bulk, soak them over night and then cook them for an hour. I keep some in the fridge and freeze the rest. Chickpeas are great for making hummus as well!

19 ounces chickpeas
1/4 red bell pepper
1/4 green bell pepper
1/3 of an onion
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
about 1/2 cup veganiase or non dairy sour cream

Pulse chickpeas in food processor until blended. Add veganaise, salt and garlic powder to food processor and pulse (add just enough for a creamy smooth texture). Put mixture into a bowl. Pulse onion and bell peppers in food processor until chopped. Mix into chickpeas.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Vegan Cupcakes

My husband is doing an awesome job. He is losing weight daily. I am sure that some of you can relate, but he has to say no to a lot of temptations to stay on the right path. It seems that almost everytime he goes to work he steps into a junk food zone. Bagels, donuts, cookies and candy to name a few. Well tomorrow is ice cream sunday day. I really feel for him! I wish there were better policies concerning foods in the work force. It would be better for the people and better for corporate America. I'm sure mood and production would improve. But if I can help make it easier for my husband, then I'll try.

This is a great recipe from It is simple to make it your own. These cupcakes turned out very moist and have a nice light taste to them (not too sweet). The original recipe calls for all purpose flour and Coconut oil. I used whole wheat flour. Next time I will try replacing the oil with unsweetened applesauce.

    1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)
    1 1/2 cups almond milk (room temperature)
    2 cups flour
    1 cup raw sugar
    2 teaspoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed until liquid
    1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 12 cup muffin pan or line with 12 paper baking cups.

2.Measure the apple cider vinegar into a 2 cup measuring cup. Fill with almond milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Let stand until curdled, about 5 minutes. In a large bowl, Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk mixture, coconut oil and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly. These don't rise much so fill about to the top.

3.Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter. Frost with desired frosting.

I used powdered sugar and wax paper to create these little heart tops. Plus, I wanted to keep these light!

Hawaiian Chickpea Teriyaki

I love chickpeas. I made an awesome chickpea sandwich spread with a nice kick to it just the other day. I also love it as a humus. I don't think I love it as teriyaki. Next time I'm trying tofu! So if anyone has some recommendations for me, that would be great!
This recipe originated from The Happy Herbivore Cookbook. Although I made many adaptions and will make more the next go round.

     4 cups of rinsed, drained chickpeas
     1 can chunk pineapple (in pineapple juice) drained
     1 onion cut in wedges
     1 green or red bell pepper chopped in large bits
     1 cup of Annie's Natural Teriyaki Sauce (no high fructose corn syrup!)

In skillet add teriyaki sauce with chickpeas. Allow to marinade for 5-10 minutes. Turn heat to high. Add onions and bell peppers. Continue to stir. Turn to medium-high heat when it starts to boil. Add pineapple during the last couple of minutes when sauce is almost all cooked in. Serve over rice.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Vegan Chili (Hold the Cheese!)

Chili is always a great dish to make. Usually I make this a little (too) spicy. But this time I didn't add the spice (Cayenne pepper and jalapeno) for the sake of the kids. The flavor was still great! This can be a super simple and fast dish to make (buy canned ingredients). Or you can use fresh ingredients with some pre food prep! When buying canned goods, read labels!! I almost bought diced tomatoes with added high fructose corn syrup! And did you know canned kidney beans can have added sugar??!! Geesh, no wonder we have such an unhealthy nation!

    1/2 cup TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein)
    1/2 cup of water
    2 tbsp vegetable powder (bullion)
    2 cups black beans
    2 cups kidney beans
    1 small onion chopped
    1 green bell pepper chopped
    4-5 cups diced (canned or blanched fresh) tomatoes
    3 Tbsp chili powder
    2 tbsp cumin

In small bowl mix half a cup of warm water with tvp and vegetable protein. Set aside. In medium sized pot, saute onion and bell pepper in 1/4 cup of water until onion is translucent. Add all of your other ingredients into the pot including the tvp. Bring to a boil and lower to medium heat. Continue to heat stirring often for about 10 minutes. Lower temperature and simmer for at least 20 minutes.

The tvp in this recipe, tastes like ground turkey! Yields 6-7 servings.

Chocolate Coconut Protein Bars

This is a Jamie Eason recipe that I found and adapted somewhat to fit what I had on hand. It's a great no-bake recipe that is packed with protein. It's also versatile to fit your taste, from chocolate to a less sweet dark chocolate.

     2 cups oatmeal

     4 scoops  protein powder
     4 TBSP coconut milk
     4 TBSP coconut oil
     1/2 cups carob chips or other vegan chocolate chip (ghiradeli is great)!
     2- 4 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (depending on how sweet or not you may want it.)
     1 cup unsweetened almond milk(or other non-dairy milk)

Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment paper. In a small microwavable bowl combine coconut oil and chocolate chips. Heat in microwave until chocolate is melted (30-60 sec). In mixing bowl combine oatmeal, protein powder, and cocoa powder. Mix well. Add coconut chocolate mixture and coconut milk. Mix again. Add almond milk and mix well. with spatula, spread evenly into prepared dish. Put in freezer for about an hour. Lift out and cut into 9 squares. Wrap individually in parchment paper and store in fridge.