Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fruit isn't just a snack anymore

Freshly cut cherries, sliced strawberries and ripe pears. Mmmm mmmm good! This is dinner, not breakfast.. twice this week, actually. I highly recommend it!

vegan biscuits fruit

Sorry to sound like an after-school special.. but do you wonder why Americans are getting more unhealthy by the minute, fatter and what appears to be even more unhappy with each passing year?

Do you know anybody that walks instead of drives? When was the last time you saw someone snacking on fruit - instead of chips?

Did you know fruit is an amazing, healing food? NO, a processed "fruit" pie is NOT what I mean. An apple pie through a fast food restaurant drive-through is NOT like eating fruit. Supposedly-fruit flavored ice cream does NOT count, either. I guess the question is: do you eat fruit? Do you eat enough? Do you eat it raw?

If you answered 'No' or you're not sure, then you should pick up a copy or check out your library to find 'Eat to Live'. Dr. Fuhrman will explain in more eloquence why you should love, love, love fresh, raw fruit.

Eat it daily.

Eat is raw.

You'll be happy you did!

Best vegan biscuits and gravy in the whole, entire, huge world. Honest.

Flaky vegan biscuits? Is it possible?

vegan biscuits gravy

.... Yes!

Who loves biscuits and gravy? I DO! And once you have these, you'll never buy gross pre-made biscuits ever again.

1 c almond milk
1 t apple cider vinegar
2 c whole wheat flour
1 t raw salt
2 1/2 t baking powder
3-5 T vegan margarine

* * *

STEP 1: Make your buttermilk.

1 c cold almond milk
1 t apple cider vinegar

Mix and set aside.

STEP 2: Mix your dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

STEP 3: Cut margarine into small bits and then add margarine to dry ingredients.

STEP 4: Now add your buttermilk to the dry ingredients. Mix well.

STEP 5: DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. Form a ball of dough. This is what makes your biscuits flaky. Cover in an air-tight container and let sit in the fridge for at least one half hour. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.

When ready, preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Finally, roll and cut into desired shapes. Use cookie cutters. Apparently funny shapes make your biscuits taste better.

Cook for 12 minutes.

Enjoy ... everyday!

UPDATE: While visiting family last weekend we had to make these biscuits with white flour (yuck, right?) Well, the biscuits still turned out fluffy and flaky -- but they have less substance. So, if you must use white flour or half white flour, go ahead. But I recommend wheat. Your biscuits will be more satisfying. Promise.


Option 2:

1/4 c water
Dash of sugar
1 3/4 c flour
1/4 c wheat bran
2-5 t margarine
3/4 c almond mylk
Dash apple cider vinegar

Follow directions similarly as above. Proof the yeast with sugar and water. Let sit.

Mix mylk and vinegar and let sit to sour.

Mix flour, bran and margarine.

Now mix the yeast water with the mylk and add to the flour mixture. Mix, mash and let sit in fridge for 1/2 hour before cooking.


** These are not as flaky as the biscuits above but still great. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A completely different veggie burger

Tired of the same old veggie burger? Tired of store-bought hard-as-rock burgers? Do you think they're your only option? Think again!


Veggie burgers are fast, easy and healthy.. plus, they rock. They freeze well. So, when you're cooking, feel free to make extra and freeze in an air-tight container. See, there's no excuse for not eating healthy!

* * *

This recipe makes 8 or so veggie patties. I doubled it and made 16. Yum!

2 c cooked red beans
1 c grated carrots
1 cob corn, shaved
1/2 c wheat gluten
1/4 c flax seed (whole)
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1/2 c salsa
2 T soy sauce
2 T bullion
Plus: 1 t garlic
1 t onion powder
2 t rosemary, crushed between your fingers

Make sure your hands are clean because you are going to get messy!

NOTE: Making your own beans is soooooooo easy. Plus, have you ever tried to buy beans in a can without added salt? It's nearly impossible! And do you have any idea how much mark-up there is on pre-cooked beans? A bag of beans is about a buck. A can of beans is around two bucks. The trick is -- that bag will make several dozen, or more, cans of beans!

So... I usually make a batch of veggie burgers after I make a pot of beans. And here's how:

While beans are still warm from cooking, mix beans, carrots and corn in a bowl. (The warm beans are easier to mash.) Using your fist, grab and squeeze, and alternately crush with your fist, all ingredients until almost every bean is squished. Trust me, this is the best way to get your beans the perfect burger-consistency.

Now, add gluten, flax, salsa, soy sauce, nutritional yeast and then all remaining ingredients.

Continue grabbing, squeezing and squishing your burger mixture. You'll notice the gluten start to grab things and try to stick together. This is good!

Let your bowl of goodness sit for a while -- 5 or 10 or even 15 minutes. This will give the flax a chance to become gooey. It will also help hold your burgers together once cooked.

Form patties of desired size. Cook in a small amount of olive or veggie oil. Ta-da!

** Don't be afraid to add your healthy fats. I didn't add any fat into the burger because I cook in it. Your body NEEDS some fat. Luckily, veggie food is so healthy that it's okay -- and necessary -- to add healthy fats to it. **

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Everything Homemade BBQ

So, my first new recipe in Colorado - BBQ!

(Sorry for the bad photo.. my new camera hasn't arrived yet.)

vegan bbq

It's BBQ season, isn't it? Well, this vegan version is not only knock-your-socks-off great, but the sauce is unexpected and amazing. Tired of that same old BBQ sauce in a jar? Have no fear.. Bicyclingvegan to the rescue! Yes, I think that'll be my super hero name.

On to the goodies..

BBQ Ingredients
1 c wheat gluten
1/4 c nutritional yeast
1 1/2 T garlic powder
1/2 - 1 t onion powder
1 T paprika
2 T bouillon powder
1 c water
3 T oil or melted margarine
2-3 T nut butter of your choice

Making seitan is easier than you think. And cheaper, too!

Preheat oven to 375. Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl. Now add oil and water. Mix well and quickly! It'll stick together well -- this is what wheat gluten does. That's why you always add any wet ingredients last.

Put your blob of gluten onto your cutting board. Smear with nut butter of your choice -- tahini, or peanut butter or almond butter or whatever you like. Different nut butters have different flavors. You choose.

I ripped it into bite-sized pieces. You can slice it if you prefer slices. Oil your pan a little. Place seitan bits or slices apart on the glass bowl or cooking sheet or whatever you're using. Bake 10 minutes. Now flip. Bake another 10 minutes. It should be pretty crispy and thoroughly cooked.

*** Keep in mind that this is just ONE way of many that you can make seitan. Sometimes you boil it before baking or frying. You can batter it and make a fried chik'n (that's quite good!) You can add tofu with the water (at the wet stage) for a thicker, more chicken fried steak-feel. It's heavier.. so it may be good to try that for your meat-eating friends. Don't be afraid to experiment. I promise, you won't hurt it! And you don't have to worry about undercooking your vegan seitan -- because you won't get any of those nasty things that meat-eaters get from undercooked or diseased meat. Yet another perk of veganism!

While your seitan is cooking, start your sauce. After adding the completed sauce to your BBQ, you can bake another 5-10 minutes to give your BBQ a caramelized texture.. beware not to overcook!

vegan bbq sauce

Sauce Ingredients
step 1:
1/2 cup minced red (or whatever you have) bell pepper
2 T margarine
step 2:
1 cup water
1 c ketchup
1/2 - 1 t onion powder
1 t salt
1/2 - 1 t pepper
2 T vegan worcestershire sauce
2 - 4 T raw sugar
1 t yellow mustard powder
1 squeeze lemon or lime (optional)

Sauce Ingredients
step 1:
1/2 - 1 c pineapple
2 T margarine
step 2:
2/3 cup water
1/3 c pineapple juice
1 c ketchup
1/2 - 1 t onion powder
1 t salt
1/2 - 1 t pepper
2 T vegan worcestershire sauce
1 T raw sugar

While your seitan is cooking, perform step 1 of your sauce by sauteing either bell pepper or pineapple. Once bell pepper or pineapple is cooked to your liking (about 5-15 minutes), add all ingredients in step 2. Keep on medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 15-20 minutes. (If necessary, add 1 1/2 t cornstarch pre-mixed with 1 T water. This will thicken sauce. But I didn't find it necessary.)

* * *

Now, once you've removed your cooked seitan from the oven, place in a glass bowl and smother in your awesome, tangy BBQ sauce. Remember, you can now cook your seitan another 5-10 minutes to caramelize the outside -- but trust me, it's not necessary!

Reheat it by baking 5-10 minutes.

Enjoy as a side-dish, on a sandwich or however you prefer. Just enjoy!