Archive for Fabu-less Recipes

New Traditions: 24 Holiday Worthy Plant-Based-Vegan Main Dishes

“Now is the Thyme to start a new Thanksgiving tradition: Adopt a turkey!”
~Farm Sanctuary

“When a sense of consciousness informs our actions, when our intentions reflect kindness and nonviolence, when our thoughts turn to someone else’s needs rather than our own desires, there is no denying that something profound takes place. In the absence of suffering, there is peace. In the presence of compassion, there is joy.” ~The Vegan Table

Hey everyone, meet Thyme. One very lucky turkey. Notice the heart on Thyme’s neck? He’s my son’s choice for our annual adopt-a-turkey tradition through Farm Sanctuary. I had my eye on a cuter turkey, but when I expressed my opinion, my son quickly scolded me “NO he’s the cutest!”. Ok! And there you have it…

Thanksgiving~  Such a tough holiday for many of us, knowing the grim outlook for 46 million of these gentle spirits. Exactly how did turkeys become the centerpiece for a holiday of thanks and gratitude? We do have so much to be grateful for and a beautiful feast helps us to express that, but there are no rules. Traditions can be altered and improved.

99% of turkeys are factory farmed birds and have absolutely nothing to be thankful for. The conditions are grim. The truth is brutal. Click this link to meet your Butterball turkey and witness your typical store bought bird’s life experience before making it to your plate. Warning: the video is disheartening and will make you angry. You certainly don’t have to watch it, but a good rule of thumb to remember is, if it’s not good enough for your eyes, it should not be good enough for your stomach.

Did you know…

Although the turkey as the centerpiece of of the holiday dinner is deeply entrenched in our society, diners at the original 1621 Pilgrim’s feast made no mention of turkey as part of their meal. In fact, turkey only became popular as a Thanksgiving staple in the mid-twentieth century, after decades of MEDIA PROMOTION and breeding of the white, domesticated turkeys exploited by factory farms today.

~ Farm Sanctuary

…Ok, so we were pushed into this tradition of serving up turkey, so why not opt out? We have plenty of information about the truth of factory farming and the ill affects of meat in our diets. While Thanksgiving might not be the day for optimal healthy eating, it can still be held consciously and kindly.

I have learned one thing throughout the past few years being vegan, which has lead me to actually enjoy this holiday.

HONOR SELF.

GO WHERE YOU ARE CELEBRATED, NOT JUST TOLERATED. And that is a general lesson. Life is too short and just because most of society celebrates one way, figure out a way that makes you happy. Or find a compromise. It’s a tough holiday for an ethically minded vegan. No doubt about it.

I am excited to be hosting Thanksgiving this year for my husband, my son and a dear friend and her daughter (who are new to choosing vegan). We have decided to compromise by enjoying a kind holiday feast and then head separately to our family’s homes for dessert.

Dessert is easy to veganize and bring along quietly, without anyone even suspecting a thing, and dessert makes everyone happy. See? I don’t give family a reason to antagonize me about my Tofurkey, nor do I have to listen to them rave about how juicy their dead bird is this year, compared to last.

Being thankful for the life and abundance we are given is not dependent upon how juicy the turkey is. It’s just not. But sadly it has come to something like this here in the USA.

Actually, I don’t do Tofurkey.  But I appreciate the alternative choice that it represents. Maybe I cooked it wrong? Who knows? It didn’t turn out well for me. I love all the newer options from Gardein and Field Roast.

I put together a list of home cooked meal ideas for you from around the internet. I have found some wonderful main dishes that not only have the traditional flavors of the holiday, but are appealing to the senses.

Meat free main dishes are important and take more effort to plan out. Side dishes and desserts are easy. Many of which are your own family traditional recipes that are surprisingly easy to veganize with some thoughtful substitutions like earth balance in place of butter, egg replacers, and your choice of non dairy milks that are on the market.

A main dish on our plate expressing the idea of something special is what I was looking for, not every day meal kinda stuff. I am also not worrying about perfect “healthy” oil free dishes for the holiday. After all, in general, it is a holiday known for a few more heart attacks. Shame on society. But luckily for us with a vegan menu, nothing in these main dishes would send you to the emergency room. See? Peace of mind… and heart.

Ok, here we go…

24 Holiday Worthy Plant-Based/Vegan Main Dishes

1. Mushroom, Lentil and Wild Rice Timbales with Impromptu Vegan Mushroom Gravy – This is my favorite! I have made this recipe twice. Beautiful presentation, with all the traditional flavors of Thanksgiving.

2. Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Apples and Leeks – I might be making this one.Looks like a winner!

3. Sweet Potato Lenti Pie – Adorable single serving pies  with good combination of textures.

4. Butternut Squash Ravioli with Garlic and Sage Sauce – A recipe I have wanted to try for a while now

5. Seitan Roulade with Chestnut Stuffing – Unique and sure to impress

6. Flaky Harvest Vegetable Squares – Be sure to brush with olive oil instead of egg

7. Baked Apples with Wild Rice and Quinoa – Make sure the mushroom broth is vegan, sub vegan cream cheese and ditch the optional cheddar. I am sure these will be fabulous.

8. Raise the Roof Sweet Potato Lasagna – My Dad made this one recently. It’s a little bit of work but worth it!!!

9. Maple and Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash with Tofu, Raisins and Walnuts – This is one of my personal creations. It will fill your home with the best aromas, very inviting for your guests this holiday

10. Jeni’s Lentil and Mushroom Loaf with Savory Potato Filling – A lot of fun textures and a nice meal centerpiece

11. Nava’s Hearty Lentil and Mushroom Shepherd’s Pie – It’s all in one for a simpler holiday. Very pretty.

12. Millet Loaf – I love millet! I am thinking to add sage and pecans in place of sunflower seeds on this one.

13. Celebration Pot Pie with Pumpkin Biscuit Crust – Wonderful and comforting. I know my son would LOVE this one!

14. The Smoky Tofu Sweet Potato Stacker – Looks impressive with different textures. Reminds me of a Cheescake Factory dish.

15. Harvest Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms Beautiful

16. Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms – Another Portabello recipe. Portabellos are hearty. Use baby or large mushrooms for this.

17. Tofu Stuffed with Brown Rice and Mushroom Dressing – Another hit from the Fat Free Vegan Kitchen

18. Squashducken – Elegant and sophisticated but remember to substitute Earth Balance for the Butter

19. Black Bean and Pecan Butter Sauce over Grilled Eggplant and Sauteed Spinach – Gorgeous and another “meaty” texture like portabellos.

20. Holiday Ham Recipe from Caribbean Vegan – Festive!

21. Pineapple Glazed “Ham” – I have always wanted to try this recipe. It looks so pretty on the platter.

22. Field Roast Celebration Roast – A store bought vegan roast, but I like this company! Their other products taste great so this is bound to as well. Definitely not gluten free.

23.  Currant-Maple Citrus loaf – Which is just a Celebration Roast (above) with Zest! Looks much prettier than the plain roast.

24. Holiday Roast by gardein – Who doesn’t love gardein? It’s sure to be wonderful for someone who doesn’t want to fuss. They also have single servings for those having a low key celebration.

 …And I bet I could find a million more great recipes out there. One thing a vegan has is an abundance of great food!

I love to see photos of food! You can view the wonderful mouth watering photos of all these links  here on my Pinterest page. Follow me there as well. I will be adding more photos and a part 2 blog post with side dishes and desserts in just a few days, so be sure to check back!

Check out these wonderful short videos, both turkey rescues that will warm your heart and remind you that there are good people out there in the world.

Rescued Turkeys

Turkey Rescue

Here is a heart warming family documentary to watch that will change your views forever about wild turkeys, watch this PBS special “My Life as a Turkey” by Joe Hutto  I felt that it was really touching and well done.

My Life as a Turkey

“The symbolism surrounding the Thanksgiving turkey, much like the modern domestic turkey himself, has been largely manufactured by cynical commercial interests. There is neither compelling historical precedent nor meaningful rationale for associating the butchered carcass of a turkey with our national day of thanksgiving.”

~ Farm Sanctuary


Read more about the history of Thanksgiving here

See all of these recipes in one easy place on Pinterest

Enjoy the journey,

~The Karmatarian

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Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Pumpkins are in season… along with the Flu. I think nature is trying to tell us something. EAT PUMPKIN. Don’t forget the pumpkin seeds! Seeds are full of Zinc that not only heal and clear your skin, it vamps up your immune system. The Vitamin A in pumpkin is a huge immune booster. Now, loading pumpkin with sugar and dairy is going to have the opposite effect. Choose wisely.

I just love Chia pudding, and this recipe is really just a twist on that for this time of year. I would say that this is more for superfood enthusiasts, but my 5 year old seems to really like it. If you are thinking more of a sweet dessert,  you will have to add more dates or other sweetener of your choice. We eat this for breakfast so I don’t prefer it that sweet.

With the recent shortage on Chia Seeds. I am not sure I should be sharing this recipe. Next it will be Cashews and Quinoa… other staples of my vegan diet. I totally saw this coming! I hope farmers take notice and shift their crops. We want more real food! Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Dairy and meat consumption has declined recently and thankfully, but if you still partake of meat and eat dairy, leave my Chia alone!

Oh, I am only kidding….

Or am I?

Now, when you make this pudding, don’t be scared that it looks a little like Dijon mustard. Lol. I probably shouldn’t of told you that. Either way, vitamins and minerals and complete protein are yours! Pumpkin and Chia are two superfoods that you want to consume.

You can top this pudding with raw Pepita (pumpkin seeds) for a higher immune boosting experience, or top with more Chia Seeds, Nutmeg or Cinnamon.

Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
  • 3/4 Cup water
  • 1/3 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Cup Pureed Organic Pumpkin
  • 3 Medjool Dates, soaked and pitted (see directions)
  • 3/4 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Soak the Chia seeds in water for about 15 minutes. Soak your dates overnight… just kidding. Well, you can, but lets be real. Here is the fast route… I like to heat up water in my tea kettle until very warm, not boiling, and pour over the dates in a Pyrex or other glass bowl. Soak these for 15 minutes while the Chia seeds are soaking. Slice open the drained dates and pit (much easier when soft)

Add all the ingredients to your high speed blender or Vitamix

Blend until creamy and warmed, adjust the sweetener if necessary and sprinkle with topping and serve.

How are you enjoying pumpkin as a superfood this season? Please share your comments and ideas.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Baked Sweet Potato with Black Beans, Chives and Cashew Cream

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

~ Leonardo da Vinci

What ever happened to keeping it simple? All this fancy foo foo food out there trying to over-impress and complicate everything. Sometimes my brain goes on gourmet overload, and then I don’t know what to make for dinner. The bar is being raised out there by food bloggers and Pinterest on a daily basis. 

I do enjoy fancy food from time to time. For everyday, I just want something that looks appealing, tastes amazing, fuels my body in a healthy way but it doesn’t have to be all “beetle juice”. Beetle juice is the term I like to use for artsy fartsy. Speaking of insects, I have a bit of a spider sense when people or places that write about or serve food are trying a little too hard to be different. There is a fine line. Sometimes I just don’t have the patience. Yet, I am a little guilty of crossing the beetle juice line once in a while for the fun and art of it. But for the most part. I enjoy real food…. I also enjoy looking at photographs while holding them in my hands. So long are those days.

Most times, I want simple, real and fast for dinner. Not every day goes according to my daily planner and I am squeezed for time. Rushing often leaves little spark for creativity. Even pressed for time, I still want to get something out on the table that is healthy and enjoyable. This dish has quickly become a family favorite. It is only quick if you microwave it. We don’t do that!!! But it’s a simple meal with a few ingredients. Throw a side salad into the mix or finish with dessert and you will be pretty much stuffed. I guarantee it. We enjoyed this last week with no salad and no dessert and we ended up stuffed. Who knew this could be such a filling meal? I couldn’t even finish what I had on my plate. We may have munched on cucumbers and hummus as an appetizer, like we often do, but I can’t recall. I am pretty sure we didn’t. Either way, this will be enough food. Don’t worry.

Sometimes we (or maybe I ) just need to be reminded that dinner can be simple. And it’s ok. It’s great, actually. Sometimes, we need to be reminded of the simple dishes that we can make, because we forget about them while thinking about dishes and ingredients we can’t even pronounce.

Cashew cream sauce might seem fancy to you but it is so simple! It is a healthy alternative to sour cream, dairy or vegan. It’s now taking the place of Tofutti brand sour cream here and we are not complaining one bit! It’s versatile and can be used for many other dishes. I used it the next day for an eggless egg salad recipe instead of vegan mayo. In other words, don’t spend money on Tofutti or vegan mayos. Buy cashews instead!

If you have any whole food topping ideas to share, let me hear them. I am looking to change this recipe up a few different ways. But I feel that this one will be in the rotation for a while because these flavors do go well together.

Baked Sweet Potato with Black Beans, Chives and Cashew Cream

Ingredients

  • Large Sweet Potatoes
  • Black Beans (if I am going for fast, I use canned organic black beans from our local Meijer grocery store. They contain only 100 mg of sodium per serving. You can cook and freeze your own beans for later use, too.)
  • Chives, chopped
  • *Optional – Olive Oil

Ingredients for the Cashew Cream

  • 1 + 1/4 Cup Cashews
  • 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt (Pink Salt)
  • *Optional – Favorite Non Dairy Milk or Filtered Water

Directions

Heat the oven to 450 degrees.

Place the cashews in a bowl and fill to cover with filtered water. Set aside to soak. It is ideal to soak for at least 2 hours – to overnight, but I’m assuming you are throwing dinner together here!

Wash sweet potatoes, air or pat dry and brush the outside skin with olive oil. (This is optional. I have done this each time I make these. I don’t eat the skins, but my husband does. By all means, try it with no oil and let me know how it goes).

Place potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. Depending on how large or small the potatoes are, you may want to be flexible on the cooking time. Potatoes are done when easily pierced through with a knife. When potatoes are done, remove and pierce the skin several times to let out the steam. Make a slit in the center of each potato, lengthwise and push in and up from the ends, if you want to be all fancy. Or just slice and place open face onto a plate. Texturize them using a fork, if you prefer, so your toppings won’t slide off!

Drain and rinse the soaked cashews and place them in your high speed blender or Vitamix along with the other ingredients except for the milk or water. Blend until creamy. Use the non dairy milk or filtered water, if necessary, to adjust the dressing to your preferred consistency. Adjust the seasonings and it’s ready.

Chop your chives.

Get your beans ready to go.

Top your baked sweet potato.

Dinner is served.

Enjoy

~The Karmatarian

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Roasted Red Pepper Hummus – Oil Free, Gluten Free, Vegan

I just want to try to convince you here, to make your own Hummus. It’s fresher, lighter and you control what goes in it. Not to mention you get more of it, for the money. There’s no “natural flavors”, whatever those could be, and it’s not dripping with oil, because we really don’t neeeeed those empty fat calories.

I am addicted to Hummus! The problem is, trying to find a store bought hummus that is not filled with those things I mentioned above. This recipe won’t be that exciting for many of you and I totally understand, but for my friends who might not have stopped to think about how easy it is to whip up your own fat free hummus, this one is for you!

There are so many possibilities and all different kinds of flavors. Just leave out the roasted peppers and play with it. And depending on what you are going to dip… chips, veggies, pita bread, gluten free pretzels (which we love, along with sliced cucumber) or crackers, you can adjust the seasoning to compliment it best. For instance, you probably don’t want to over salt the Hummus if you are going to eat it with something salted. But you might want to add some extra spice and sea salt if you are going to eat it with plain veggies.

Without the oil, there is a lighter feel to the Hummus, you may have to spice it more to compensate until you get used to it. But did you see my post about the dangers of oils? We certainly don’t need the extra oil. I am now making my own Hummus and it tastes so good! It might take some getting used to if you are only familiar with store brands. Our taste buds can get so manipulated that we have to stop and reset them back to “natural”. It takes a little time.

Although everyone who tries my Hummus, likes it a lot. I am a picky person, a tough critic of my own creations.  I was right up until the other day, looking for that unique ingredient that will really push this dip above and beyond.  I was thinking that it may be I want to try adding another roasted pepper to really go bold? Or add some of my dad’s canned peppers from the garden? But what I stumbled upon was the addition of Vinegar. Yep. Vinegar. It gives it that zesty zing that makes this dip awesome.

When you make your own Hummus, just know that the flavors really come out as it sets, chills and thickens up (in case you added too much liquid) in the fridge. Just have fun and adjust the seasonings to suit you. Try adding different herbs and spices. Add lemon zest and cayenne pepper. Just don’t be afraid to make your own… your way! It’s so much healthier, especially when you soak and cook your own chickpeas. I haven’t gone that far yet. But I imagine I will one of these days. The canned chickpeas I found at my local Meijer store, are organic and contain only 100 mg of sodium per serving. Not great, but certainly better than most canned beans out there. These just make the cut off being 110 calories per serving. It is wise to make sure that any packaged products in a healthy diet contain no more sodium than it’s calories. Tough to do! So being in a hurry most days with our schedule, canned chickpeas it ends up to be.

I like the idea of adding roasted red pepper because red peppers have such a good dose of Vitamin C. Higher than an orange… 3 times more, actually. I understand that by lightly roasting the pepper, some Vitamin C may get destroyed. It’s still good. And I’m still gonna roast ’em!!

 

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Ingredients

  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper
  • 2  15 oz cans Chickpeas, one drained and one with liquid reserved
  • 1/4 Cup plus 1 or 2 Tablespoons Tahini
  • 1/4 or Cup or more Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2  Garlic Cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons  White Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Lemon Zest
  • Optional*  Herbs of your choice

Directions

Note* The ingredients above can be adjusted to your liking.  First clean the pepper and remove seeds. Cut in half and place on a baking sheet and roast lightly. Do not brush the pepper with oil. I like to put mine in the toaster oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes while I do a quick workout in my living room. Why not?

Next place all the ingredients except the spices and about half of the liquid from one can of the chickpeas into your Vitamix blender or high speed blender. If you don’t have a Vitamix, but you think your blender can handle it, go for it. I am pretty sure that this can be made in a food processor as well. Save the other half of the liquid from the chickpeas and use it to thin out the Hummus as you blend only if needed. Blend for 1 minute and use the tamper (with a Vitamix) to press the ingredients into the blades. Blend until creamy consistency.

Season the Hummus with the spices and lemon zest and plenty of sea salt. Place the dip into the refrigerator to chill and set for at least an hour.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach and Tomatoes in a Garlic Wine Sauce

Simple. Light. Perfect for a Summer evening dinner out on the patio. It’s gluten free, vegan and low fat (oil free), but you will need to finish off that bottle of white wine… but who’s complaining?

My summer is picking up and I’ve really been enjoying it. I hope you are enjoying yours. I managed to style 15 updo’s for Cirque du Soleil performers and staff a few weeks ago with the help of a good friend. We got to enjoy the show from very good seats and my little guy LOVED it! It made me so happy. Also happy that no animals were involved. I can’t tell you how heartbreaking it was to discover the abuse that goes on toward such majestic elephants and wild animals for the traditional circus. I recommend watching Earthlings if you haven’t yet. And boycott the old circus at all costs! The Dralion or any Cirque show is worth saving up your money and taking your family out for a memorable day.

… Another happy vegan moment. Finding cute cowboy boots – man made material! I have been looking for a pair for a few years and unfortunately it was tough, so I stopped looking. Last week, I ran into a cute little store here called Francesca’s Collections and I spotted them, they actually fit, and off I went to a country concert…. Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney! Brothers of the Sun tour. Who wouldn’t have a fabulous time seeing these two hotties perform?

Next on the agenda, we rented a cute little lake house for some fun in the sun…. I hope to take some time to evaluate life and set some goals for the future in a quiet natural setting.  There’s no chance of getting on the computer as I was told there is no internet access. This might be really interesting to see how addicted I honestly am to technology. I might just go a little crazy, but maybe not? We’ll find out, won’t we?

Spaghetti with Mushrooms, Spinach and Tomatoes in a Garlic Wine Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 – 16 oz Package of Trader Joe’s Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti Pasta (gluten free)
  • Vegetable Broth (approximately 2 cups but I just had a carton on hand and freely used it as needed)
  • 8 oz container of Baby Bella, white or Crimini Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Cup chopped Onion
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 package of fresh Spinach leaves (about 2-3 large handfuls)
  • Your choice Tomatoes, either  3 chopped Roma or 1/2 container of sliced Grape Tomatoes (I made it both ways and liked it either way)
  • 1/2 Cup of good White Wine (that you will enjoy drinking with your dinner)
  • 1/4 Cup of Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions

Boil water and cook pasta according to package directions. Set aside.

Heat a large shallow pan over medium to high heat and add a splash of vegetable broth. Once heated, add mushrooms and cook about 5 minutes until soft adding vegetable broth as needed. Remove mushrooms to a medium bowl.

Add more broth (just enough to cook) to the pan if necessary, return to heat and add the onion, cook until translucent and stir in garlic and cook 2 minutes more adding broth as it cooks so not to burn or stick to the pan. Remove these to the bowl with the mushrooms.

Return the pan to the heat and add more broth, heat and add spinach and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes.

Bring back the mushrooms, onions and garlic to the pan with the spinach and add the tomatoes. Add more vegetable broth if needed and add the white wine and cook until slightly reduced, add about a cup of vegetable broth (or how much you prefer) and cook for 5 minutes until everything is heated through and tomatoes are softened. Add nutritional yeast and the salt and pepper to taste…. stir and heat through.

Top the pasta with sauce and veggies and enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

A few fun pics….

Fun with the girls at the Brothers of the Sun concert… check out my vegan boots! (I’m on the right) :)

Me and my little guy at the United Center to see Cirque Du Soleil – The Dralion

… and Michael Jordan’s “legs”… lol

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Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

“Thoughts of lack manifest as limitation. Thoughts of abundance manifest as success and happiness. Failure and success are but two ends of the same stick.”

~Ernest Holmes

Happy Friday everyone! No, this quote doesn’t have much to do with chickpeas unless you think about all the creative ways in which chickpeas can be used in a plant-based diet. Plant-based eaters tend to think abundantly! After all, we have so many wonderful foods to choose from, it’s hard not to. I also believe the standard American diet tends to lend a hand in people not thinking about their food at all. Not caring where their food comes from and certainly taking it all for granted. At least this used to be me and it’s what I observe in others. Now I savor everything and appreciate the hell out of it! I appreciate colors, flavors, textures and good ethics that go along with creating it.

So have you ever heard of roasted chickpeas? I recently discovered this idea online and so I made these a few weeks back for the Forks Over Knives movie review and discussion I hosted. I didn’t exactly make them correctly, yet one of the guests couldn’t stop eating them! She even took them to go! So even if you screw them up a bit, like I did. They will still taste good. Practice makes perfect, but I think if you follow the directions you won’t screw up. I was in a bit of a hurry.

The key is to roast them until crispy on the outside. I didn’t quite get them that crispy on the first try because I was afraid of burning them. You just have to keep tossing them while baking. I used my toaster oven the second time around which seemed to help. I could see them a little better. Less distance. Maybe I need more Vitamin A for my eyesight?!

Chickpeas are a staple food in a plant-based diet. Think hummus. I do have a wonderful homemade fat-free roasted red pepper hummus that I will be posting soon. YUM! We go through hummus like water around here!

I like that we can switch things up regarding chickpeas. I actually used a chickpea oil blend in place of eggs for gluten free brownie recipe and it was amazing! They were like brownie protein bars! But in regards to this recipe, think about all the different spice combos to be tried. Many fun possibilities.

Roasted chickpeas, especially the spicy, salty ones, remind me of bar nuts, minus the musty bar smell, neon Miller sign and beer goggles.

Not only fun to eat, here is what you can expect from a cup of chickpeas: 14 grams of protein, 12 grams of fiber, 45 grams of good carbs. Of course lots of vitamins and minerals… not going to get into details because it’s Friday. Just trust me. It’s all good.

Sweet Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

Ingredients

  • 1 can of Chickpeas, rinsed and drained, (patted dry with a paper towel) and laid out to dry on a towel for at least 30 minutes
  • 1 Tablespoon of melted Coconut Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons of Raw Organic Sugar. I used Coconut Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
  • Dash of Sea Salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly mist with oil.

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and dash of sea salt in a small bowl and set aside.

Coat the beans in melted coconut butter and sprinkle evenly with the sugar/cinnamon mixture.

Spread the beans out evenly onto your baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, tossing every five or ten minutes, all while checking that they are not burning , just getting nice and crispy on the outside.

Let cool and enjoy. Have a great weekend!

~The Karmatarian

Ps. I certainly want to hear your comments, especially if you make these!

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Irma’s Vegan Pan-Crepes (with The Vegg)

There’s a fun new product out there called The Vegg. Have you heard of it? It’s Vegan egg yolk!!! I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. The simple ingredients that make up The Vegg are also low-fat-plant-based-diet approved! When I got my hands on the new Vegg I wanted to try to re-create the toughest recipe I could think of. Irma’s pancakes. Or what I like to call Irma’s pan-crepes.

Sweet, sweet Irma. Everyone should be so lucky to have an Irma in their life! Imagine having a high school best friend and always hanging out at their house after school. Your best friend’s mom becomes like your second mom and she is super cute, super sweet, loving, kind and nurturing. But one other thing, she has a strong and adorable Peruvian accent which makes it all a bit more interesting. It’s a small language barrier, because you don’t speak that language! However, as you know, there just happens to be couple of languages that we ALL speak… Love and Food!

The first thing Irma will do is offer you something to eat. Scratch that, she will insist that you sit down eat something and she will go right into that kitchen of hers and cook you up something great! This is her love language. And this, you just have to accept. It’s certainly not hard to do. YUM!

It didn’t matter back then if it was vegan or not. It was filled with the intention of love and generosity and that’s all that mattered.

Because we didn’t know.

Now we do.

Anyway, this is my mom’s story. She grew up spending a lot of time over at her best friend Helen’s house and Helen’s wonderful mom Irma is like her second mom. Naturally, being related in all of this, Irma (Helen too) has known me since I was born! I have experienced first hand what has come to be an adopted tradition in our home. Irma’s pancakes. This is what my mom likes to call them.

Although, they are not pancakes. They are not an omelet either. And they are not really crepes. Think combination. Think eggy pancakes crepes. Think different and delicious!

The original Irma’s pancakes are made using mostly eggs, a tiny bit of flour, water and vanilla, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with love. How in the hell do you veganize that!?! Needless to say, I hadn’t made these in a long long time. I thought these were history… until The Vegg happened.

The Vegg is essential for us vegan breakfast lovers! In my best Justin Timberlake… They’re bringing French toast back! There are so many fun things to make: scrambled eggs, hollandaise sauce, omelets, pancakes, quiche, eggs sunny side up. Yes, you read right. It’s really wild! Potato salad, egg salad, etc, etc… virtually any dish in which eggs were once required but you know better so you haven’t had them in a long time. There are endless creations to be made, and if you follow The Vegg on Facebook, you will be up to date with more fun recipes and great information.

The Vegg did not disappoint. In fact, my list is long of all the recipes I want to try with The Vegg. You will definitely see more of this product used in recipes on my blog. Better stock up!

I just hope Irma will be flattered to know that we love her pancakes so! She probably already does. I just truly hope she won’t mind that I veganized them. I know that it may be difficult for her generation to understand why I would want to and I don’t really expect her to grasp it at this point, but I know that her loving heart would agree that kindness to animals and planet and the absolute best thing for our health is to bring these up to date.

The next update will be a gluten-free version. My mom does much better on a gluten free diet, so you know I will tackle that next. I had to pick one challenge at a time here. This was enough for now. And I am happy to report, I rocked it! Thanks to The Vegg!


Irma’s Vegan Pan-Crepes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup of The Vegg that’s been pre-mixed using Plain Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Organic All-Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 Cup, plus 2 Tablespoons Water
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp plus a good pinch Himalayan Black Crystal Salt (Indian Kala Namak, fine ground)
  • Cooking Spray
  • Organic Powdered Sugar
  • Fruit for garnish/side
  • 8 inch non-stick skillet

Directions

Premix The Vegg according to package directions, but use plain almond milk in place of water.

Take the 1/2 Cup of The Vegg mixture and add it to a bowl, then add the remaining ingredients: flour, water, vanilla and black salt. Blend with a whisk until smooth or throw everything into your Vitamix. It works either way.

Pour this mixture into a container with a handle and spout such as a Pyrex measuring cup and refrigerate this mixture for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat an 8 inch non-stick skillet on medium-low heat.

Very lightly, spray the pan with cooking spray and pour a good grapefruit size portion of batter into the center of the pan (photos below). The trick is to get the right thickness. These are thicker than a crepe but not as thick as an omelet. You may have to play with it and you might even screw up the first one. Let’s hope not. After pouring in the batter, pick up the pan and rotate with your wrist to evenly distribute the batter to cover the entire bottom of the pan, just like you would if making a crepe or an omelet.

Then wait…..These take a bit to cook and you will see them start to shrink a bit, the edges will start to lift and the center will bubble a bit, and then you can flip it, BUT use your hands… that’s right, and do it fast, cuz these suckers are hot! I used a toothpick to delicately help me lift the edge a bit more, then I grabbed it with my fingertips using both hands and quickly flipped it over, you will see it bubble again. No need to cook this side long at all, maybe 30 seconds. Then gently fold over one side toward the middle and flip again to finish. Move the finished pan-crepe to a plate and use a lid to keep it warm or a warming drawer etc… while you make your next one.

When all of the pan-crepes are finished being created, you will probably want to reheat them slightly, sprinkle with powder sugar and serve. Don’t forget the side of fruit!

Note* You simply cannot make this recipe without The Vegg and the black salt. This gives it the egg like flavor and color. You may even want to use more black salt than I suggest. It’s all personal preference!

This recipe makes 8.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

PS. I would love to hear about your family traditions! What is a family recipe that you have veganized or would love to try? Maybe it’s one that could really use The Vegg?

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Gluten Free – Spinach and “Cheese” Lasagna Bites

“Genetics account for a very small percentage of health issues – habits run in families and habits determine health outcomes” ~Pam Popper, Ph.D., N.D.

Recently, I heard about a nutritionist who ate vegan for many years and now claims that she developed diabetes because of it. She isn’t vegan anymore. I am very disappointed to hear this as this person, who is held in high regard by her clients, tells them what to eat, but shys away from telling them to omit animal products from their diet.

Omitting animal products can save lives and can reverse such things as type 2 diabetes. But you have to eat properly regarding the rest of your diet! Her deep rooted fear and negative experience is now rippling out and doing a lot of damage. She could very well be helping to cut some unlucky person’s life short! After discussing this with my former mentor from the T. Colin Campbell foundation, I felt better, but just a little. It was, however, good to talk with someone of sound mind.

We discussed the fact that ALL credible nutritional science points to a whole foods plant based diet for optimal health. A high fat diet and fat in our cells can help to trigger diabetes, which is why it is important to limit our fat and oil intake and reject sugar, refined, processed, and animal products.

This nutritionist is not admitting what her old diet consisted of, but I can place bets that it contained a lot of processed food, sugar and fat. Not to mention supplements and gimmicks. She happens to work in the “health store” industry. If she told us to eat our fruits and veggies and that all of our problems would disappear, as far as she is concerned, her business would disappear.

To quote myself and my famous phrase: Any diet can be a bad diet if you don’t understand nutrition, especially a vegan diet.

The moral of the story is, be careful who you seek advice from. Do they have ulterior motives? Are they healthy? What do they eat? Do they have a lot of stress in their lives? Finally, are they a person with positive or negative energy? If you notice the latter, RUN! Don’t give these people your time or money.

It’s important to find someone who’s ethics align with that of your own. You won’t do yourself any favors if you seek out someone who is all for meat and dairy if that’s not what you want to be recommended. Not many people including doctors and nutritionist have the will power to let food be thy medicine.

It would be wise not to talk to people who lack the ability to understand where you are coming from, or where you want to go. Don’t take advice from those who don’t have the will power themselves to seek out alternatives to their own problems. Look for mentors and advisers who are up to speed on latest nutritional science, who are of sound mind and have positive energy and will not project their own fears onto you. 

If there is a will, there is a way. Too often, people look for excuses and justification to give up. If you are not careful, you will attract this type of advice into your life which can totally ruin a good thing.

Nutrition can be a dense and hard topic made very simple with a whole foods plant based diet. The reality is, many people don’t want a simple answer to their problems, just as a lot of people don’t want to be drama free, even though they say they do. Life would be far too easy going. Who in the world would want that?!

There are two fantastic books are out about reversing and even curing Diabetes. They are a must read for you or a loved one that may be suffering from this disease. Visit my store to see these titles.

On to the recipe… This dish was fun and delicious! I made it for Easter. I think it could easily be made oil free by subbing water to make it more blend-able, maybe a little lemon juice? You’ll just have to play, because I did add oil to this one.

These are party friendly! My cousin made a similar recipe as stuffed shells, (she’s the one who gave me this idea, thanks D!) and it was a hit among everyone. But I can’t seem to find large gluten free pasta shells anywhere, and since I was bringing these for family who prefer a gluten free diet, lasagna bites they became.

There are no gobs of melted dairy cheese on top like in the days of old. Now it’s texture and flavor without all of that heavy fat and cholesterol.

Gluten Free – Spinach and “Cheese” Lasagna Bites

Ingredients

  • 2 Jars of your favorite Pasta Sauce
  • 1 Package of Tinkyada’s Gluten Free Lasagna Noodles
  • 1/2 – 1 Cup of Crushed Cashews

Cheese Filling

  •  2 Cups Soaked Cashews
  • 1 Cup Spinach. Use Frozen, Thawed and Squeezed of Excess Liquid
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1 + 1/2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Almond Milk
  • 3 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Italian Herbs
  • 1Tbsp Agave
  • 1/3 Cup Fresh Chives
  • 1 Tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
  • Sea Salt to taste

 Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Give the cashews, for the topping, a whiz around in the food processor, so that there are multiple textures, fine and chunky. Set aside.

Boil the Tinkyada noodles until done but still remaining firm. (For whatever reason I never boil this brand as long as the directions say, or they get too mushy.)

While the pasta is boiling, blend all of the ingredients for the cheese filling  *except the spinach* in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings and salt if needed, then gently mix in the spinach by hand.

Layer the bottom of two 9 x 13 pans with a few spoonfuls of pasta sauce.

When the noodles are done remove them from the boiling water, drain and let them cool enough to touch. Take each noodle and cut it into thirds crosswise.

Fill each section with a spoonful of filling, roll and place seam side down. Line them up in two columns in the prepared 9 x 13 pan.

Cover with lots of pasta sauce and sprinkle each with crushed cashews, cover both pans with tin foil and bake for about 30 minutes, remove tinfoil and continue to bake 5 -7 minutes longer, until cashews are a light golden brown.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Let’s Stay Together Veggie Burgers

Let’s Stay Together Veggie Burgers

Lately, I have been experiencing some good kitchen mojo. Two recipes posted in one week!? Why not? Lucky me and lucky you!

Summer is coming, and you (and I) absolutely have to have a great veggie burger recipe. Trust me, I have been looking around the web for good recipes for a long time. Most disappoint in either texture or flavor and they always fall apart while cooking. Frustrating! I am sure that I’ve been looking in all the wrong places because the technique I use in this recipe, which I discovered is KEY for a stay-together burger, has to already be out there somewhere, I just never found it.

So in creating this amazing burger that retains it’s shape while cooking and is easily re-shapable if need be, I believe I found my new burger base! I have some good ideas for variations, which I can’t wait to try.

You can omit the oil and skip the frying. Just grill or bake and save yourself a few fat calories. However, I used one Tablespoon of oil, just barely enough to fry. My oven was already in use, see below, but when this weather heats up here, I’ll be grilling.

For a side dish, I cut up and oven roasted small red potatoes that I bathed in low sodium veggie broth and sprinkled with fresh rosemary.

Note: To make these gluten free, use gluten free oats. Omit the Worcestershire sauce and try using organic gluten free Tamari Soy sauce instead. Perhaps with ketchup instead of barbeque sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 Can of Dark Red Kidney Beans
  • 3/4 Cup Frozen Veggie Medley, Thawed ( I used Organic Foursome from Trader Joe’s, with peas, corn, carrots and green beans)
  • 1 C Short Grain Brown Rice
  • 1/4 C Oats
  • 2 Tbs Barbeque Sauce or to taste (No high fructose corn syrup. I used Trader Joe’s Bold and Smokey Kansas City Style)
  • Dash of Vegan Worcestershire Sauce (The Wizard’s brand)
  • Dash of Liquid Smoke
  • 1/4 tsp  or more Minced Garlic (jarred or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt or to taste
  • 1 Tbs Grape Seed Oil

Directions

Combine all of the ingredients, mix, taste and adjust the seasonings. You can do this and not die of E.coli poisoning… that’s the beautiful thing about plant based cooking! Anyway, spice these up how you like ’em!

Take a potato masher and mash some of the red beans, just so you have a mix of texture in your burger

Then, take half of this mixture and put it into a food processor. Pulse, until well blended and mushy, but still with remaining texture. Add this back to the bowl with the other half of the mixture and blend well together. Now it should resemble raw ground turkey burgers or raw hamburger with veggies in it. Shape the mixture into patties and pan fry, grill or bake! Voila.

If your kids (like my little guy, who is going through an anti-bean phase) or significant other, hates beans, you can combine everything on the ingredient list but the beans, put half of the mixed ingredients into the food processor along with all of the beans and process (this way, you blend all of the beans so you don’t see ’em).

A little Al Green for your entertainment…

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Awesome Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.
When one is free from physical disabilities
and mental distractions, the gates of the soul open.
~B.K.S. Iyengar

We eat with our eyes first. So have fun with color! These are green house grown “stop light” colored peppers that I used for this recipe. I also used Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Crumbles. This isn’t necessary, you could certainly and easily substitute beans. But if you are leaning into a plant based lifestyle and want your family along for the ride, I think it’s perfectly fine to partake in vegan meatless products, every now and then. Let me rephrase… On rare occasion. Your family won’t even notice that anything bad for them is missing from this classic recipe, as long as you keep quiet about it!

I used to love making stuffed peppers from a recipe out of my ancient Betty Crocker cookbook. The pages in that book are now a lovely shade of brown, it’s that old. Those outdated ways of cooking are fading away and times are changing. We are all experiencing 5 universal energy. People are popping up everywhere who are curious about healthy food and how they can take control and redirect their health with diet, rather than rely on pills. And unfortunately, others are overdosing. But hey, that’s 5 energy for you! 

One taste of these healthy stuffed peppers, and you won’t remember the days of black and white. It’s all about the colors and variety of fruits and veggies that work so hard for you (unlike animal products) with antioxidants and phyto-nutrients keeping you disease free. And we need these now, more than ever! I made this without adding extra oil, so they are also quite low in fat.

Awesome Vegan Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients

  • 6 Colored Peppers (I used 2 packages of stop light colored peppers)
  • 6 tops from the peppers, diced
  • 1, 12 oz Package of Trader Joe’s Beef-Less Crumbles (or your favorite brand)
  • 1/2 Medium Onion, diced
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Cup Frozen Sweet Corn Kernels, thawed
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Cup Cooked Organic Brown Rice
  • 1 Can Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes, No Salt
  • 3-4 Tbs (Heaping) Muir Glen Organic Fire Roasted Tomato, Pasta Sauce
  • 1/8 Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbs Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

Directions

Heat oven to 350

Cook brown rice according to package directions. I followed the directions for 1 cup dry/4-6 servings, because I like leftovers. Remember that brown rice takes forever, so you could do this ahead of time.

Bring a large stock pot filled with water to a boil. Wash the peppers and cut the tops off. Clean the insides of the peppers and remove the stems from the tops. Dice the tops of all six peppers and set aside. Blanch the cleaned peppers in boiling water for about 5 minutes, remove, drain and let cool on a towel.

Heat the vegetable broth in a large skillet, add diced pepper tops, onion and garlic to the pan and cook to soften for a few minutes.

Add the thawed corn and cook another minute. Add the beef-less crumbles and cook another two or three minutes until heated through. Add the can of diced tomatoes and pasta sauce, heat through.

Add Worcestershire sauce, nutritional yeast and sea salt. Adjust the seasonings, heat through and add the fresh herbs last. Mix well and transfer everything to a large bowl (unless your skillet is big enough, mine wasn’t). Add 1 cup of cooked rice to the vegetable mixture and stir to combine and adjust the seasonings if necessary. Fill the peppers and place them standing up in casserole dish. Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes.

Optional: At the 25 minute mark, you could take the peppers out of the oven and sprinkle with bread crumbs and or nutritional yeast and then bake for the remaining 5 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Enjoy!

 ~The Karmatarian

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Power C Tempeh Over Minted Tricolor Quinoa

My cousin Rocks! She started researching food production and she took her new shock and awe and did exactly what I did… she turned that energy into something productive. She is very much on board with the vegan/raw movement and she is making the important and necessary changes for the health of her family. I am so proud of her!

Hard at work in the kitchen, she’s experimenting and trying new dishes that not only taste good, they are good for you. The best part is, she shares her good finds with me. She is an awesome cook! How exciting that I could just relax at her family parties, knowing I can graze on anything at the table! Could there be a family raw/vegan restaurant in our future? We might just change our family’s reputation from the family of Hair Stylists (although she isn’t a Hair Stylist, she escaped that gene, lucky her) to the family of passionate and healthy foodies. I am all good with that! My other cousin, sister and dad are also on the right train… My dad being very much vegan now, and wow did he turn his health around!

Recently, my cousin served this Tempeh recipe she found, at her daughter’s birthday party. It was so delicious! I went home and had to make it, but of course I didn’t have the exact ingredients on hand… so this is the twist I came up with. It got rave reviews!  At least I hope my husband wasn’t just being nice. He happens to be a great taste tester (and sport) for my recipes. Some days he gets a little luckier than others! And we are still talking about the food here.

Power C Tempeh over Minted Tricolor Quinoa

Ingredients

  • 1- 8 oz package of Tempeh
  • 1 Cup Tricolor Quinoa (I used Trader Joe’s brand)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 tsp Concentrated Vegetable Broth (I like Better than Bouillon brand)
  • 1 Cup Naked Brand Power C Smoothie
  • 1 Tbs Grated Ginger
  • 1 Tbs Rice Vinegar
  • 2 tsp Maple Syrup
  • 2 tsp Tamari
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1-2 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Lime
  • Handful of Chopped Mint Leaves
  • Sea Salt

Directions

Fill a medium saucepan with 2 cups water. Rinse quinoa well in cold water and add it to the saucepan. Bring to a boil and add concentrated vegetable broth. Stir, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook down until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, add the Power C smoothie to a bowl. Add the grated ginger, Tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, ground coriander and garlic. Mix this and set it aside.

Cut the Tempeh into 3rds, then diagonals, then turn pieces on their side and slice in half again to make thinner triangles. You could even cut these again to make them more bite sized.

Heat the coconut oil in a large fry pan over medium-high heat. When heated, add the tempeh and cook 5 minutes per side until golden brown.

Add the Power C mixture and simmer for 10 minutes, being sure to turn the tempeh while simmering.

Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and add a handful of chopped mint to taste

Serve the tempeh over the minted quinoa,  spoon the sauce over the top and finish it off with a squeeze of lime and a sprinkle of sea salt, which really helps to bring out the flavors in this dish. Garnish with mint leaves if desired.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Vegan Deviled Eggs

Vegan Deviled Eggs! Or as I like to call them… Angel’ed Eggs

Why would I want to make “eggs”, you ask? Well we certainly didn’t go vegan because we hated the taste of the old diet! What my husband always tells people who can’t believe he eats vegan, is that it isn’t the meat, dairy, etc… that people are worried about missing, it’s the flavors. But if they would just realize that there are so many similar flavors plus so many newly discovered ones to be enjoyed when you finally go vegan, that you do not miss much, if anything at all. Of course there are a few exceptions, such as deviled eggs, but cry no more! Vegans have mastered the deviled egg and there is now even another new  product out there taking the place of egg yolks too called “The Vegg”, for your French toast of course!

About a week ago, my good friend Jinny posted this blog find on how to make vegan deviled eggs. I couldn’t believe it! I had to try this right away. Being too late in the game to gather all of the necessities, recreate it, and share my results before Easter so that you can do it too, I am letting you know now that these were dynamite! We still can’t get over how close to the real thing they are. Pretty darn eggsciting! I want to share my results with you because there are many more holidays and picnics ahead that will give you the opportunity to prepare this old family tradition… the vegan way!

So if the idea of eggs, and all that you have learned about them since being vegan hasn’t grossed you out of your mind and you can still enjoy the flavor of eggs, then it’s your lucky day! As far as deviled eggs go, I can live without the whites. It’s the filling that’s da bomb! This filling recipe alone is so good, that putting it on top of a water cracker or even crostini would be just as wonderful without having to turn your kitchen into a science lab. However, I am totally exaggerating here because the whites of these deviled “eggs” are ridiculously simple to make. You should really try it!

Since I happen to love a project and a challenge, I jumped right onto Amazon and ordered my egg molds and black salt. I didn’t order the Agar Powder because I was in a hurry to get everything. With my Prime membership, I could get everything before the holiday except for the most important ingredient, Agar Powder, only because they wanted some ridiculous 50 bucks for Prime (they have cheaper versions, but it comes snail mail) and I thought OH HELL NO. So instead I searched a few Asian markets nearby and the local Whole foods all to no avail. I ended up breaking the recipe’s rule, and tried the Agar flakes, which I found at Whole Foods Market. It did work, but only with my newly concocted measurements and the fact that I used the coffee grinder to grind down the flakes smaller and denser. I don’t have a mortar and pestle, and now I realize that I really need one! Anyway, my results had the whites turn out with a bit more texture than I preferred, but I continued on, and the final product was still amazing!

The other thing I need to tell you about is the egg mold. When it arrived I was so MAD. I was wrong about the math and these were FAR bigger than I wanted… What was I going to do? Luck has it, I married someone of Danish descent who suggested that I use our Aebleskiver pan. Brilliant!!!! I didn’t let the molds that I bought go to waste, we made gluten free vegan Easter egg cakes, converted from a cupcake recipe from my favorite cupcake book, “Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World”. Those were AWESOME!

So, lightly oiling the Aebleskiver pan, I poured in the mixture and set it in the refrigerator for 45 minutes. When it was done, I just whipped up a second batch and did it again. If you want an entire platter of “eggs”, you may want to make these ahead of time so you can make batches, unless you have better luck finding a small half egg pan that makes a lot at once. Please let me know if you do! Turns out, our Aebelskiver pan that was collecting dust, was the the perfect size for these “eggs”. After these set, I used a butter knife to loosen and remove them and I used a tiny metal scoop to scoop out some of the white before filling them. I made sure to scoop a little off center, this helped the end result to look more egg like!

For the whites, I used:

  • 1 Cup Plain Soy Milk
  • 1 T Ground Agar Flakes
  • ¼ tsp Black Salt

I followed the recipe exactly for the “yolk” filling and let me tell you, you could eat this in it’s entirety by the spoonful!

Click here for the recipe, Maresa’s Vegan Deviled Eggs

You just have to try these if you were once a deviled egg fan! They are so much fun and would make a fun addition in texture and shape for a vegan party spread!

Having the black salt on hand in your pantry will be wonderful to use as an addition to tofu scrambles, “egg” salad sandwiches or even raw, coconut meat scrambled “eggs”. This gives a true egg flavor, (sulfur) but without the horrible smelling gas that you get from eating real eggs, not to mention ruining everyone’s otherwise pleasant atmosphere! Lol, just imagine all the people right now after Easter with this lovely egg farting problem! Well not I :) …I am also happy to report that I didn’t overdose on Peeps either. I feel so lucky that I don’t find those wretched things appealing!

So when I attempt these vegan deviled eggs again, I will be sure to follow the directions exactly, and use Agar Powder. I can only imagine how perfect they will turn out when I don’t break the rules! I will be sure to update my post with a new pic.

Good luck on your vegan adventure, have fun with your projects and take it on as a challenge. Remember, it’s about having fun with flavors!

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Chocolate-Marbled-Vanilla No Cheese Cake

Snuggle Bug, Cuddle Monkey, Baby Bird, Love Pie, Sweetums, Cupcakes, Pumpkin Pie, Sunshine… I just can’t call him by his real name (most of the time) or I get in BIG trouble. My silly little boy and his love of nick names…

My husband asked our 4 year old recently “why do you call mommy Flowers?”, he said “because she smells like flowers”. Awwww… I hope he calls me Flowers until the end of time. It melts my heart!

So what will you be making your Cuddle Monkey for Valentine’s day?

Well, if you are a fan of cheesecake but not the cholesterol, 59 different hormones, pesticides, antibiotics and scary stuff you find in your typical dairy cheesecake but enjoy rich and creamy, then it’s time you try a raw style cheesecake. So now, we can have our cake and enjoy it too!

Pinnable or not, this turned out presentable aaand tastes like heaven… so I am quite happy. This happens to be my second attempt at a raw “cheese” cake. And I think it turned out good enough to post. Nothing impresses me more in the raw food world than the cheesecakes! Yet, there is no cheese. How do they do it!?

I’ve been playing around with some recipes and I am determined to perfect the “cheesecake” but I’ll admit, I still need practice. Like mad science but without the mad ingredients, funny how so few natural ingredients can still be challenging to perfect. It goes to show that not everyone can just “be” a raw food “chef”. It actually takes practice but I think it’s worth the effort. Raw food is impressive and if there is anything that will get you hooked on the wonders of raw food…. it’s the dessert!

This cheesecake is raw and vegan because I cheated… I know. But I did. I just don’t want the dairy and sometimes not the soy and I am fine with vegan chocolate chips so that’s what went in it. Maple syrup too. Oh, don’t be a snob. It doesn’t have to be all raw or nothing all of the time. If you are a die hard raw foodist, then I am sure you already have your perfect cheesecake recipe. Won’t you be a sweetie and share it? I would love to try it!

I really like the idea of using Irish Moss in a raw cheesecake to make it extra firm, but being so close to Valentine’s day, I thought I would make it simple so my friends who want to try this don’t have to order the moss if it’s not already stocked in the pantry. It’s not exactly something you can run out to the corner grocer for!


Chocolate-Marbled-Vanilla No Cheese Cake

For the Crust

  • 1 Cup Cashews
  • 1/2 Cup Raisins
  • 1 Tbs Agave
  • 2 Tbs Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions

In a food processor, combine all of the ingredients and process into a crumb texture

Press evenly into the base of an 8″ spring form cake pan OR find a non-stick mini heart spring form pan set, 4.25 inches wide. (I found these at Target and they were a set of 3).

For the Filling

  • 2 Cups Cashews
  • 1/2 Cup Agave
  • 3/4 Cup Water
  • 1/2 Cup melted Coconut Butter
  • 2 Vanilla Pod Scrapings (I used 2 Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Beans I had from Trader Joe’s. This gives it that speckled vanilla look along with the vanilla flavor)
  • 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Directions

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth

For the Marbling

  • 1/4 Cup Non-Dairy Vanilla Almond or Hemp Seed Milk (I love to use Tempt Vanilla Hemp Milk)
  • 6 Oz. Vegan Semisweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tbs Maple Syrup, Grade B

Directions

Bring the nut milk to a gentle boil in a small  sauce pan. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips and maple syrup. Mix until fully melted and smooth. Pour into something with a spout and handle like a glass measuring cup. Set aside.

*Note: The key to marbling is to try to get the consistency of the marble mixture and the main cake mixture similar. If the chocolate mixture is too thin, it won’t drop into the cake properly. You can easily adjust by adding more chips if it needs thickening.

Directions for putting it all together

Pour the vanilla filling over the crusts in the spring form cake pans

Next, from about an arms length high, drop/pour the chocolate mixture into the cake, moving the cup or container around as you go and getting closer to the cake as you finish so you get chocolate on top (you may not use all of the chocolate, but I am pretty sure you can find other uses for it!).

Using something like the end of a wooden skewer, swirl the top of the cake but be careful not to over-swirl

Place in the freezer to set

*Note: My chocolate mixture was thinner than I wanted this time, it ended up not going real deep into the cake but it looked good so that was fine with me.

Enjoy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

~The Karmatarian

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Gluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins

Gluten Free Vegan Sweet Corn MuffinsGluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins

You know what? Not bad for a gluten free vegan corn muffin! I made these yesterday with my Fast, Friendly & Vegan Big Game Chili. A little early, yes, but that’s what I had a taste for. I’m not sure what we are doing for the Super Bowl this Sunday. I am actually in the midst of a big move to a new house and as exciting as that is, it’s nuts over here and I’m overwhelmed! I should really pack. I guess Madonna is the half time show so I definitely want to at least catch that. To be 11 years old again with black jelly bracelets up to my elbows and a rag bow tied in my ever stiff, aqua net sprayed hair.

Nope. Glad those days are over.

My recipe was inspired by a Forks Over Knives recipe. Check out the other Super Bowl food ideas they offer. These muffins became gluten free when that was the only corn meal mix I could find around here. But so many people are looking for gluten free so I figured I’d share this recipe… and because it turned out! Gluten free is not always easy. My four year old gobbled these down and told me before he fell asleep last night that I was the best mommy ever for making him yummy muffins. Gotta love that!

Well, if it is chili you decide to make for this weekend, I sure hope it’s vegan! If it’s my recipe you make, you can omit the vegan ground meat and add extra beans or veggies to make it an entire gluten free meal along with these GF corn bread muffins. 

Unless you have another favorite chili recipe to share? I would love to hear it… although I really do like my fast prep chili recipe. Have you tried it yet?

Happy Super Bowl everyone! I hope your Sunday is fantastic.

Gluten Free Sweet Corn Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 & 1/2 Tbs Ground Flax Seed
  • 1 Cup Almond Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Apple Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • 2 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Cornbread Mix
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Cup Frozen Organic Sweet Corn Kernels

Directions

Heat oven to 375

In a bowl, combine the ground flax seed and almond milk and set aside.

In another bowl, blend the maple syrup with the applesauce and add it to the ground flax seed mixture.

In a larger bowl sift together the gluten free cornbread mix, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt (or do what I do and put these ingredients in a bowl and use a whisk to “sift”…. Idk? It works for me).

Add the wet ingredients slowly to the dry while mixing to incorporate well but do not over mix!

Fold in the frozen corn kernels.

Spoon into a lined muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes until they turn a light golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

*Note: I tend to like my cornbread a little sweet. I think these could use added agave because they are not as sweet as the title makes them sound. If you really like sweet, try adding a sweetener of your choice.

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Lemon Maple Ginger Kale Chips

Raw Lemon Maple Ginger Kale Chips

“The stuff we should be eating has become the decorations on the plate”

~Doug Lisle, Ph.D

So I hear that Kale is the new beef. I believe there is a lot of truth to this… and here are 7 reasons why. But let’s be honest. Beef and kale are not comparable! Kale is packed with antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals that fight off cancer and disease. Beef = Zip! Beef actually promotes cancer and disease. Hmmm, so which one should I eat? YES, KALE… It’s what’s for dinner!

I recently purchased a new dehydrator and I’ve only been able to play with it about a dozen times so far. I made a couple batches of kale chips which were so easy. No dehydrator? You can even try making them in the oven, cracking open the door and keeping the temp at 120 or below if your oven will allow. I haven’t tried this. If you have, please let me know what worked for you in the comments below. It may take a while longer to use the oven and it seems a little dangerous keeping the oven door open so may I suggest for your healthiest (and safest ) you, add a dehydrator to your wish list. It’s inspiring to have one around!

You may think kale chips? Really? I thought the same thing at first. There is something addictive about Kale chips… They are soooo so good. A must try!

Kale is easy for me to consume in a green smoothie, such as my favorite kale and Bosc pear combo, but I haven’t wrapped myself around the kale salad craze. I have had some, not-so-tasty ones over at Whole Foods. I haven’t yet tried to make one myself (I am hoping I can do a little better, but who knows?). If you massage the kale with lemon, olive oil and sea salt, this helps break the kale down to a more pleasant texture and takes some of the bitterness out for a salad. Sauteing kale is another great way to get this superfood into the mix.

So far, kale chips are my favorite way to eat kale. Different flavors are fun to experiment with and so far I have made chocolate, apple raisin cinnamon and these lemon maple ginger chips which are inspired by one of my favorite organic teas I am obsessed with! It’s just a lemon ginger tea that I find at the local grocery chain (I’m shocked they even carry some organic. But I’m thankful).

My lemon maple ginger kale chips have a fun zippy kind of flavor. They have far less calories than potato chips and do a hell of a lot more good for your body. Try them and let me know what you think! I have only used the curly kale for my chips but I’m thinking that for a heartier chip I will try the Lacinato kale aka dinosaur kale next round. It’s important to tear the kale pieces larger than you think as they shrink with dehydration.

Lemon Maple Ginger Kale Chips

Ingredients

  • Large head of Kale torn into bigger than bite size pieces away from the stalks (you can then juice your stalks or discard)
  • 2 Tbs Lemon Juice. I use Santa Cruz brand organic pure lemon juice
  • 4 Tbs Maple Syrup, Grade B
  • 2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp Ground Ginger Root
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

Directions

In a bowl, combine all ingredients except for the kale pieces. Blend well with a whisk and then incorporate the kale, mixing and tossing to coat evenly using your hands. Spread out on the dehydrator sheets lined with Paraflexx and dehydrate until crisp, about 12 hours. If it needs more time, place onto the mesh sheet and dehydrate another 4 hours.


What are some of your favorite kale chip flavors? Favorite kale salad recipes? Favorite ways to prepare kale? Please let me hear it!

Enjoy

~The Karmatarian

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Candy Cane Green Smoothie

So I’m going for healthy and festive here! Not only will this smoothie get you in the holiday spirit… it will freshen your breath. Come on, you may find yourself under the magic mistletoe with that special someone. The question is, does anyone even hang mistletoe anymore?!? 

I’ve been playing with this recipe and there are so many variations that there are no excuses not to partake! It first came about because I bought Westsoy’s Chocolate Peppermint Stick Soy Beverage. I used it in my smoothie and it was amazing. Then I went back to get more, the store was out and I couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I thought I would just make a similar smoothie from scratch so that my friends would be able to replicate it with ease.  I used Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Chocolate Milk out of laziness as part of my concoction, but there’s no reason you can’t use regular almond milk and add Cacao powder. Or skip the chocolate all together. There is no real reason for chocolate being involved other than an excuse for a treat! 

Let’s not forget my other favorite Holiday Nog Recipe. You will find me sipping on it at some point this weekend. So Delicious brand just came out with a version of Nog, I may have to try this! If I know them, my favorite nog drink now has the potential to turn out even richer. I’m all about that!

Oh yes, and the Christmas cookies. I haven’t started baking yet but I will be continuing where I left off last year, veganizing the family favorites. I am playing around with a raw/vegan almond crescent cookie, rolled in powdered sugar and our favorite traditional candy cane cookies! I found a similar vegan recipe I want to try. I may add almond extract too (per our original recipe) and add our famous touch, which is sprinkling real crushed candy canes and organic sugar on these cookies right when they are hot out of the oven. It sure makes them pretty! So that’s tomorrow’s project. Wish me luck…

Enjoy candy cane cookies along side your candy cane green smoothie. Hey, it’s the holidays! If you are feeling a little guilty just make your green smoothie even greener. Add my favorite green superfood powder. I am already on my third jar of this stuff!

I know the holidays are usually rushed and hectic. This year I have not forgotten about those less fortunate. I found an amazing program that makes it possible to help someone help themselves. The program is called Kiva. Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. So this means that people who face poverty in the most remote places in the world can get the help they need to help themselves and others! How cool is this? The plan is to get your money back however there is a small chance that you may not. That doesn’t bother me. I never write off my tithing or giving on my taxes nor do I have plans to. It’s a gift. Read more about Kiva and how it works. What are some great giving ideas you have to help those less fortunate this holiday season? Please share in the comment section at the end of the post.

I had some fun with this photo shoot… check out the slideshow and recipe below!

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Candy Cane Green Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 2 large handfuls of organic Spinach
  • 1/2 of a large ripe Avocado
  • 1 cup cold non dairy Chocolate milk such as Almond Breeze
  • 1/4 tsp (give or take) pure Peppermint Extract
  • Agave optional

Directions

Combine all ingredients in your high power blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust if necessary, depending on how strong or sweet you prefer it!

May your holidays be filled with love, peace, joy and prosperity and that whatever you give from your heart comes back million fold!

Enjoy!

~The Karmatarian

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Tempeh Coconut Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

Ahhh, feeling like a college kid again. There’s a lot of studying going on over here! My hair is pulled back. I’m sporting my glasses. I’m hanging out in my comfy clothes. My schedule for just about everything is all messed up and I’m staying up late… well past 1 a.m. to read and research, every night.

I’m quite discombobulated regarding time lately. This could easily be someone’s normal life and schedule but certainly not mine. I like routine. A bit boring… but. My effort and temporarily crazed schedule will be well worth it! Education to expand your brain… Priceless. What am I doing? I’m in the midst of obtaining a certification in plant based nutrition! The program is much more in depth than I anticipated which is a pleasant surprise. I couldn’t be more impressed by what I am learning so far and I’m proud of myself for making the time and commitment to better my understanding of this life saving, modern nutrition we call… plant foods. Who knew something so natural, so basic, could save lives? I did, I did, but please… play along!

My outdated, conservative, structured and funded by the meat and dairy industry nutrition education, aka… my nutrition and dietetics degree from a big state university (to tell you how I really feel. Lol) plus thankfully my many years of life experience researching nutrition and trying many different diets personally, I  finally arrive right where I should have started out. I just happened to take a scenic detour through the trendy hair industry to get to this point. Life experience is never a bad thing. I’m here where I belong and I’m that much smarter. This new class helps me feel absolutely justified in why I do what I do. My intuition and path has lead me here for good reason. I have plans. Big Eeeevil plans! Whah-ha-ha-haaa-haaaa!

On to the recipe…

So I guess you are looking for a recipe here… it’s a pretty good one!  I recently cooked up this delicious hearty dish and then whipped it up again for a pot luck party. I was asked for the recipe by several guests… That’s how I know it’s a keeper. I was inspired by a recipe I found on the Whole Foods website and I played around with it and tweaked it using what I had on hand. I changed it enough to post it here but feel guilty taking complete credit.  You can find the link to the original recipe at the bottom of this post. I made this recipe again the original way and I didn’t care for it as much. 

Don’t be fooled by the curry, this dish isn’t that spicy – even my four year old loves this one! We do more flavorful around here over spicy. I sauteed the Tempeh which makes for better color and a nutty flavor. I use whole coconut milk for this because I like a rich sauce and I’ll be honest, I’ll eat a salad for lunch if I am eating this for dinner! It’s worth it! If you are watching your weight, or are unfortunately experiencing strict orders trying to avoid or overcome illness, you can stay away from the oil and whole coconut milk. You can use low fat coconut milk and steam the Tempeh instead of saute! The original calls for green beans but I think asparagus makes this dish fancier, it has more of a gourmet feel…

Tempeh Coconut Curry with Sweet Potatoes and Asparagus

Ingredients

  • 1 C organic Brown Rice
  • 2 C Water
  • 1  (8 oz) Package of Organic Tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 Sweet Potato, large, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 large bunch fresh Asparagus, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1 + 1/2 C low sodium Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Shallot, large or 2 medium, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbs freshly grated Ginger
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can regular Coconut Milk (or light if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbs Curry Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 C chopped Parsley, divided
  • Sea Salt

Directions

Bring rice and water to a boil in saucepan. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until liquid is completely absorbed, about forty minutes or so.

While the rice is cooking, saute Tempeh in coconut oil making sure to turn pieces so they brown on all sides.

Next, bring 1 and 1/2 cups vegetable broth to a simmer in a large deep skillet. Add shallots, garlic and ginger, cook 5 minutes until shallots are translucent and tender. Stir in curry powder and cumin and cook another minute. Add coconut milk and sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook until potatoes are almost tender. Add cut asparagus and tempeh and 1/8 cup chopped parsley and cook until everything is tender. Add sea salt, about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp or to taste. Enjoy served over brown rice and sprinkled with remaining parsley for garnish.

Enjoy,

~The Karmatarian

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Original recipe of inspiration

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Nut Cheese and Chive Black Beluga Lentil Crostini’s

Most likely you are running around with last minute details for that fabulous costume. Well that’s what I’ve been up to. Halloween is my favorite! I’ve been quite low key for the last few years though. Maybe because I’m letting my little one be the shining star, that and I don’t want to scare him with my spooky ideas. I’m all about SCARY. Isn’t that what Halloween is supposed to be? When did it all change? What’s up with sexy this and sexy that? I feel forced into the concept. Try costume shopping… Oh, you know. I’d like to think I’m sexy 365 days a year, but maybe that’s just me trying to take the power back for us women. Can’t I be spooky and scary and theatrical just one night? If I choose to be spooky, why is it that I feel I don’t fit in? Hmmm. What oh what has our world come to?

Anyway…

This year, I get to dress up twice. Princess Leia (a classy costume to go along with my little Jawa with light up eyes!) and I also finally get to be a Witch! Although, I do a terrific job playing the part once a month without costume. Ha ha. Just kidding… or am I? I do have an idea in mind for a festive witch hat and I would love to win a prize (for best hat) at one of my events. I was running around gathering the props and then was forced to take a break due to a sick kid. Gotta love Preschool.

So what better to do than experiment in the kitchen…

So, let me tell you about my nut cheese and chive black beluga lentil crostini’s. They are gooooood! I know this because I ate every one of them! Thankfully I only made a few… I made these just as an experiment, looking for a gourmet Halloween appetizer. But I have to recommend these for any holiday or any time. They sure look the festive Halloween part though. The lentils here remind me of caviar, dahhling. But caviar is not so appealing these days. Not sure it ever was. These look different and fancy which is my point here.

These can be assembled the day before the big event and the left over’s hold well and can be reheated. Serve warm or room temp. If you start ’em out warm and they turn cold waiting for your guests to arrive… no worries. They will still taste great!

I experimented adding an orange lentil layer. Very pretty. But the texture was not as good served cold. Even warmed, it toned down the other flavors too much. I also experimented adding vegan bacon bits…VERY GOOD. But the smoked flavor does over power the more delicate flavor of the ‘cheese’ and chives. I say leave the orange lentils out of it, they just looked good for my photos. This was a hard call but I would leave the Bac’Uns out of it too, unless bacon flavor is what you prefer. 

This recipe was inspired and adapted from a Trader Joe’s recipe. It is a mix of vegan-raw. You can also make it gluten free by using a gluten free bread or cracker, preferably garlic flavored or just rub raw cut garlic on each before assembling.

What You’ll Need

For the Base~

1 Loaf of your favorite Baguette, sliced into thin rounds

1 cup olive oil

1-2 large Garlic Cloves

For the Nut Cheese~

2 Cups of Raw Macadamia Nuts

2 T Lemon Juice

2 Garlic Cloves

1 tsp Himalayan Sea Salt

2 Bunches of Chives, chopped (saving some for the garnish if desired)

About 1/2 C Plain Almond milk

For the Top~

8 oz cooked Black Beluga Lentils

(I used TJ’s fully cooked pre-packaged version of black beluga lentils because I had it on hand. It does bother me that the canola oil in this package could be GMO, so next time I will make my own lentils. Here is a bag of organic Black Beluga Lentils I found on Amazon.  If you try them let me know how they are.

What to do

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place rounds in a single layer on baking sheet. Brush each with olive oil. Bake in oven for 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Remove and cool. Peel and slice the end off a garlic clove. Holding the clove in your fingers, rub the top of each crostini.

To make the nut cheese~

In a food processor place the macadamia nuts, lemon juice, garlic cloves and salt and process until a fluffy consistency. It will be thick. Transfer cheese mixture to a bowl and add just a splash of almond milk at a time, (you may not need a full 1/2 Cup here) while mixing to create a more spreadable texture. Add the chives to taste. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Set aside

To Assemble Crostini’s

Take the crostini and spread each with the chive nut cheese, top with spoonful of beluga lentils. Serve room temperature or heat in the oven on a low setting. Garnish with chives if desired. 

Note* If using Bac’Uns, just sprinkle sparingly atop the ‘cheese’ before adding the beluga lentils. Or for a prettier end result you may consider mixing some Bac’Uns right into the nut cheese mixture so you don’t really see them and the lentils stand out.

Happy Halloween!

The Karmatarian~

Ps. Let me know what you think… did you add the bacon flavor bits or stick with just the chives? 

Here is a recipe I found for a black beluga lentil salad with goat cheese you may also enjoy… and you bet I would substitute with nut cheese! It’s an easy sub now that I know how to make nut cheese and consider myself addicted! 

Pss. I will most likely post some costume pics on my Facebook page… Join me there at www.Facebook.com/karmatarian

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Blueberry Chia Pudding

I can’t believe that I have been using Chia seeds as long as I have and haven’t run across a recipe like this until now! I found a great breakfast blueberry chia pudding recipe by Brendan Frazier posted on One Green Planet that I LOVE! I slightly adapted the recipe to make it quicker and I will be adding this baby to my recipe rotation. The pudding base is amazing on it’s own and will be used as the base for many different flavors that I have in mind to experiment with! This is fast and easy. I know you will love it too!

Although nothing new… yet still new to many… this is for my friends who may not have discovered the wonders of the Chia seed.

  • Chia seeds absorb 9 times their weight in water and when soaked create a tasteless gel that can help to keep you more hydrated
  • Chia gel is 90% soluble fiber allowing a slow release of carbs into the body. Great for controlling sugar levels (diabetics) and great for keeping you feeling full and controlling your appetite!
  • Chia seeds have twice the protein of any other grain or seed and 5 times the Calcium of cow’s milk. They contain Boron which helps absorb this Calcium
  • Essential fatty acids, Omega 3 and 6
  • Chia gel can be used for many things including smoothies, puddings, desserts and as chia “eggs” (egg replacer)

Lets not over look dates which are used in this recipe as our sweetener. Dates are a powerhouse of nutrition as well. Read more about dates here.

This Chia pudding recipe is quick, nutritious and a must try!

What You’ll Need

2 Tbs Chia seeds… white or dark seeds

3/4 Cup Water

1/3 Cup Cashews

3 Medjool Dates soaked and pitted

Pinch of Cinnamon

Pinch of Sea Salt

1/3 Cup of Fresh or Frozen Blueberries plus more for garnish

This is makes 1 large serving or 2 smaller servings

Directions

Soak Chia seeds in 3/4 Cup water for 15 minutes. At the same time soak dates in very warm water for 15 minutes. When dates are finished soaking, slice in half and remove pits. In a blender, combine everything except blueberries. Blend until smooth. Add blueberries and blend again, top with blueberries and dig in!

*Notes*  Try this pudding before adding blueberries! You may love it plain and simply want to add your fruit on top. This is the base I refer to above that you can add many different flavors to. Experiment and have fun!

If you have a Vitamix, you can enjoy warm pudding straight from the machine…. Mmmm, I feel so lucky! I put frozen blueberries on top of my warm pudding and it was heavenly. Or if you don’t want it warm and it got a bit too warm for you in your Vitamix, place it in the fridge for a bit before serving.

I would love to know some of your favorite ways to use chia seeds and also your favorite pudding recipes and creations! Please share!

Enjoy!

The Karmatarian~

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Almond Apricot Cupcakes

Wow, three posts in one week!!! Not sure you should get used to this!? I just wanted to post this recipe because I have been talking about these aaaand… it’s  vegan cupcake week on my facebook page. I also posted a recipe there from a friend for vegan pumpkin cupcakes with orange glaze (under discussions). Mmmm, can’t wait to try those!

Apricots are a fruit I overlooked in the past. Then I read up on nature’s gift of the apricot kernel. Do you know about this?!? Vitamin B17. Vitamin B17, also known as Laetrile and Amygdalin is found in most fruit seeds, namely apricot seeds. Apple seeds have some too. The apricot seed was claimed as the cure for all cancers over 35 years ago. The pharmaceutical companies pushed the FDA into making it illegal to sell “raw” apricot seeds or vitamin B17 with information about its effects on cancer because they could not patent it being natural. You’ll notice that you can’t get raw apricot seeds in your health food store, only dried which have all the important enzymes killed off. Cancer is a big $ business $. Sure makes one wonder? It is known scientifically that B17 targets cancer cells like a missile on a mission and destroys them while leaving healthy cells alone.

Because of the information I have read on B17 I started keeping my eyes peeled for apricots which I rarely seem to find. I ended up with an entire bag of ripe apricots from the farmer’s market for 3 dollars this summer and needed to think up ways to use them!  Yes, I saved all of the apricot pits! If you take a nutcracker and open one up, you will find a kernel that resembles an almond. It tastes like a bitter almond. Eat that sucker! I think you can consume 4-7 per day without harm but there is a limit and you should look into that. I don’t eat that many so I don’t know off the top of my head what the limit is, although I will get back to you on it. I know it can be dangerous to consume too much B17. I eat these kernels whenever I get the chance and also throw my whole apples into the Vitamix, seeds and all because apple seeds also contain vitamin B17. Or when eating an apple, I eat the seeds too!

This almond cupcake part of the recipe here is the same as my recipe for the cupcakes for the raspberry filled almond cupcakes with chocolate frosting. You can fill the almond apricot cupcakes two slightly different ways and frost them two different ways. Your choice. I like the second way, glazed, because it tastes like you are biting into marzipan! Mmmm. These are pretty sweet… if you like sweet.

Here’s what you need for the cupcakes

1/3 Cup organic Canola Oil

3/4 Cup organic Sugar

1 Cup of Tempt Vanilla Hemp Milk by Living Harvest (It’s my favorite but you can use Vanilla Soy Milk too)

3 tsp Almond Extract

1 Cup organic All Purpose Flour

1/3 Cup Bob’s Red Mill Almond Meal/Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1/2 tsp Baking Soda

1/2 tsp Salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners.  In a large bowl, combine oil, sugar, hemp milk, almond extract. Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. I use a whisk and mix until the batter is smooth. Add almond flour and mix lightly to combine. Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full. Bake for 20-22 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean or the center bounces back with the finger test. Put on cooling rack and cool.

Ingredients for the Filling

8-10  Ripe Apricots, pits removed

1/2 Cup of Water

2 Tbs Apricot Fruit Spread

3 Tbs Organic Sugar

1 Tbs Arrowroot 

3 Tbs Water

*Or… skip this if you don’t have fresh apricots and just use apricot fruit spread

Directions

Place apricots and 1/2 cup of  water in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and cook down and blend well, add apricot fruit spread (you can try it without if you prefer) and sugar and cook a little longer on medium heat until sugar is dissolved and everything blended.  In a small bowl, add 1 Tbs arrowroot and 3 Tbs water and blend with a fork. Add to apricot mixture, stirring constantly and cook until a nice thick filling consistency is formed. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Fill Your Cupcakes

When cupcakes are cooled, push a hole in the top and center of each with your thumb. Using a small spoon fill each well with the apricot fruit filling and push down in there if you need to. Level the tops with your spoon.

Frosting #1 – A thick buttercream frosting

1/2 Cup Vegetable Shortening such as Earth Balance, softened

1/2 Cup Margarine such as Earth Balance, softened

3 1/2 Cups Organic Confectioners Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract

1/4 Cup Vanilla Hemp Milk or Almond milk

Sliced Almonds for garnish

Directions

Beat together shortening and margarine until combined and fluffy. Add sugar and beat for 3 more minutes using an electric mixer. Add the almond extract and hemp milk and beat for another 5 to 7 minutes. Frost the cooled and apricot filled almond cupcakes and top with sliced almonds for garnish.

Frosting # 2 – A glaze for a classy looking cupcake! (I preferred my cupcake this way but I go both ways ;) just kidding…)

2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, softened

1 1/2 Cups  Organic Confectioners Sugar

1 1/2 tsp Almond Extract

1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1 to 2 Tbs warm Water

Sliced Almonds for garnish

Directions

In a bowl, combine margarine and confectioners sugar, blend with an electric mixer or fork, slowly add warm water and keep mixing.  Add extracts and blend until a creamy glaze consistency is reached. It will be very sweet on it’s own and look a bit runny! Don’t worry, the glaze hardens a bit on the cupcakes.

When your cupcakes are cooled and filled with apricot, spoon the glaze over top and sprinkle with sliced almonds. Wait a few minutes until the glaze hardens a bit and serve.

*Note these cupcakes can be made gluten free by subbing an all purpose gluten free flour for the all purpose organic flour I used. Let me know if you try these, I love hearing from you!

Enjoy!

The Karmatarian~


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