Archive

Packaged Products in Arizona

I grew up with this chocolate fondue, and I wouldn’t change a thing.  It’s so easy and fool-proof.  Other than fruit, my favorite dippers were the vegan toasted coconut marshmallows by Sweet & Sara.  Double yum!  We also tried the plain vanilla marshmallows but they stuck together, and not many of us were patient enough to pull them apart to dip in the chocolate!  And if you are between Sweet & Sara and Dandies brands, I suggest you try Sweet & Sara. They have a more homemade taste.

Chocolate Fondue

  • One 12-oz bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter*

In a large saucepan over medium low heat, melt the chocolate chips and sugar with the almond milk, stirring constantly.  Add peanut butter and stir frequently until warm.  Add to fondue pot!

*Look for a peanut butter that has one ingredient: peanuts!  I like the one from Trader Joe’s.  Also, this is a great time to use crunchy peanut butter.

Advertisements

Left: cashew cream, field roast italian sausage, basil; Right: alfredo sauce, mushrooms, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, tofurky pepperoni

We experimented tonight with a few new pizza options with varying success:

Cashew cream (from “He speaks in the silence” website here): This was wonderful, it was lighter in texture than the vegan alfredo sauce I’ve been using, it’s mild in flavor, so it really let the veggie toppings shine.

Field Roast Italian Sausage:  so delicious and flavorful, but it’s a little higher in fat and made from gluten, so it’s not for everyday or for everybody, but it’s a great treat!

Tofurky Pepperoni: I was iffy about trying this one, and for me and my fellow pizza testers, it just wasn’t great.  There are just too many good veggies in the world… this just isn’t necessary to make it better.

“Flatout” Flatbread (from Costco): pros: 100% whole wheat, makes a crispy thin crust, works great for these pizzas. cons: the ingredient list is a little long.

this was a winner. last year we used field roast apple sage sausages in our thanksgiving stuffing, so we had high expectations… and we loved this!

Just didn’t have a lot of flavor, not terrible, but not great.

a great, quick option for weeknight pizza night.

Let’s just say my search for the perfect vegan grilled cheese is over.  And I will say the same for this tomato basil soup.  Although, if you’re making the soup for yourself, cut the recipe in half as it makes a lot!  The vegan grilled cheese is based off of VegNews mac and cheese sauce here. The tomato soup is a simplified and veganized version of Ina Garten’s Tomato Basil Soup here.  I have to say, I really love these two together!

I’m not sure if this is three pounds, but it worked out perfectly!

Purchased at Whole Foods… it has a lot of salt in it, so if you’re avoiding that, just use water.

I’m not someone who has cravings for potato salad… but this recipe looked interesting enough for me to try, and it is delicious!  Click here for the recipe from Cathy at StraightUpFood.com

I only used half the lemon juice, and that was plenty for me.  I also only needed the 1/2 cup soy milk, and my avocado wasn’t ripe, so I left it out.

Sprouts sells this soy milk that only has two ingredients: water and soy beans…. which I love b/c it takes away the argument behind the latest “got milk” campaign.  🙂

Vegan two cheese pizza: Parmesan Spread and Creamy White Cheese with broccolini, roasted corn, sun-dried tomatoes, and red onion. No Daiya, Teese, or added oils here!

Happy Vegan Pizza Day!

I really wanted to make something extraordinary for Vegan Pizza Day… Generally when I make pizza, it’s on a pita, doesn’t have any cheese, and is really just a quick, easy meal for a weeknight.

So I thought I’d try out a few homemade cheeses for this one.  I have to say, it makes this pizza pretty rich and filling, and I almost think I should have made two smaller pizzas… one with the cheeses and the other with the veggies.  Less is more.

The veggie combination is inspired by California Pizza Kitchen’s Vegetarian with Japanese Eggplant Pizza.  I think omitting the eggplant is the only change I made.  But seriously, these veggies don’t need cheese to be delicious… next time I will use them on their own!

Okay.  Now for the components:

The Crust

Trader Joe’s Pizza Dough.  Made with a mix of whole wheat and regular flour.  I wish it were 100% whole wheat, but hey… it’s delicious, quick, and cheap ($1.29).

The Sauce

3 ingredient pizza sauce…. does water count?

I don’t need a fancy sauce. I added about 2 Tbsp Italian seasoning, 1 Tbsp garlic powder, and water to a can of tomato paste… and really, that’s all it needed! For this pizza, the sauce is like the skinny models on the runway. They can’t be too pretty or voluptuous or they’ll distract people’s attention from the clothes. Same thing here. I just wanted the other components to shine.

Cheese # 1: Parmesan Spread

I’m not sure the name does it justice.  This stuff tastes like parmesan.  It was inspired by a bunch of recipes I found online and this one in particular that made a spread out of the sprinkle stuff.  I made mine oil-free by using cannellini beans.  These beans are awesome… they are light, creamy, and don’t have a strong flavor, so they were perfect for mixing with this parmesan.

  • 1/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cooked cannellini beans (if from a can, then drained and rinsed)

First make some vegan parmesan.  My new favorite way of making it is using a cheese grater, another great tip from Cathy Fisher of StraightUpFood.com.  First, use the grater to grind the nuts.  Then, in the little barrel where the grated nuts are, mix in the nutritional yeast and salt.  This is one recipe where I would not leave out the salt… parmesan is a particularly salty food, so without it, I just don’t think it tastes right.

This grater is great because it has a little adjustable window. You can reduce the window to a crevice and it’s perfect for sprinkling parmesan at the table!

You can mix this up in a blender just as easily. Just make sure you get the nuts chopped up pretty fine. Blend parmesan and cannellini beans in a blender with 1/4 cup water. If the mixture is not moving, continue to add 1 Tbsp of water at a time, scraping down the sides of the blender, until you get a consistency a bit thicker than a hummus but not as thick as a paste.

Since this spread has a pretty strong flavor, I decided not to put a whole layer of it on top of the pizza sauce. I opted instead for these circles:

Cheese Sauce #2: Creamy White Sauce

This sauce is so creamy and based on my go-to mac and cheese sauce.

Chop the following veggies and steam in a steamer basket in a covered saucepan or pot (filled with about 1-2 inches of water) on med-high heat, until veggies are soft.

  • 1 cup yukon potatoes (if using russet, you will need to peel)
  • 1/3 cup red onion
  • 2 Tbsp shallots or more onion

While the veggies are steaming, blend in your blender:

  • – 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • – 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • – 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • – 1/8 tsp or a few drops of yellow mustard
  • – a few cloves garlic (depending on personal preference)
  • – 1 Tbsp lemon juice

When steamed veggies are soft, add to blender and process.  If mixture isn’t moving/gets stuck, then add 1 Tbsp of water at a time till mixture gets going.  The goal is to add as little water as possible so you aren’t pouring soup on your pizza!

The Veggie Toppings

Under the Creamy white Cheese:

  • broccolini / broccoli raab / baby broccoli, lightly steamed
On top:
  • Trader Joe’s roasted corn (or you can roast your own kernels on a non-stick frying pan)
  •  red onions, chopped
  • sun-dried tomatoes, reconstituted a bit

I put most of the veggies underneath the cheese and they kind of got lost, so that’s why I recommend putting most of them on top.

I made this delicious chili a few days ago and man does it go far!  This quinoa cornbread goes amazing with it… it’s moist, savory, and and the quinoa gives it a bit of a nutty flavor that’s really nice.  Both recipes are from Cathy Fisher at StraightUpFood.com.

Both of these recipes are gluten-, oil-, sugar-, and salt-FREE!

A couple modifications and tips:

For the cornbread (click here for recipe)

  • Don’t use the banana unless you want to taste it in your bread.  I subbed out 1/2 cup applesauce (one of those little containers) for the banana and it worked perfectly.
  • I also left out the cinnamon, because I thought that was weird for cornbread.
  • If you want a sweeter cornbread, you are either going to have to add a few more dates to your soaking liquid (discard any additional liquid you use to soak) or use sugar.
  • Use a coffee grinder to grind your whole flaxseeds, oats, and cornmeal.  I just bought this one recently, and I LOVE it!  I put it next to my 13-inch macbook so you could see how compact it is.  Click the photo for an amazon link to purchase it. 

For the chili (click here for the recipe):

  • Use Pomì Tomatoes (pictured above and can be purchased here in bulk on amazon, or in Arizona at Sprouts or Whole Foods).  Then you don’t have to worry about what’s leeching from the cans.
  • Don’t leave out the celery.  In her cooking demonstration at True North, Cathy said that celery gives the impression of saltiness… and it really does work in this chili.  I ALWAYS miss salt when they are left out of soups and stews, but I don’t miss it here.
  • If you like your chili spicy, then add come chipotle chili powder and some cayenne.  I also doubled all the spices she listed.
  • I heard this great tip about beans that I haven’t tried yet… If you want to avoid canned beans, but don’t want to be soaking and cooking dried beans every week, cook them in larger batches, then store in plastic sandwich bags or small jars in 1 1/2 cup portions in the freezer.  Most canned beans equal about 1 1/2 cups, so if a recipe calls for canned beans, you just pull out a bag or jar from the freezer!  I’m so doing this.

This grilled cheese recipe comes from The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook by Jo Stepaniak (click here for the recipe).  I thought this had a better texture than the Happy Herbivore grilled cheese, but it really tasted more like a roasted red pepper spread than anything else (it could be that I roasted my own peppers instead of buying the jarred kind).  It was tasty, a nice tangy flavor, but not my first choice for grilled cheese.

The bread: Ezekiel 4:9 Low Sodium.  I realized my favorite whole wheat tuscan pane from Trader Joe’s had way too much sodium, so this ezekiel bread is my new “go to”… can be purchased at Sprouts for $4.99.  It’s pretty good… I thought it would be too dense, but it’s just right, makes great toast!