Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 8 Vegan Recipes of 2010 that Blew our Tops Off!

Jenn and I started out on our vegan/semi raw lifestyle in 2010, we've made lots of discoveries having to do with health, nutrition and well-being. We've also discovered lots of recipe gems that we'd like to share with you! If it wasn't for these recipes we don't know how we could have survived our first few months on this new way of eating:

1. Raw Frozen Cookie Dough Bites, original recipe from Oh She Glows

This was the first raw recipe that we made and realized, ok, raw is legit. You can still eat really yummy treats and be healthy. Case in point: Raw Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. We took this recipe from Oh She Glows and instead of cookies, made them into little frozen chocolate covered bites. We love these because they remind us of eating raw cookie dough right out of the bowl. Best ever!

2. Gingery Blueberry-Pear Oat Muffins, original recipe from Happy Herbivore

This was the first recipe that we de-sketched and it turned out PERFECTLY. The muffins were so good that we decided to start a Vegan Muffins Monthly and make different versions of the recipe. Our little sister took these muffins to the movies to eat instead of popcorn (she's a weird kid) and her friends didn't believe her when she said they were vegan. Ha! It's the best feeling when you see that shocked look on people's faces after you give them one of your "raw" or "vegan" treats and they're like, "This is so good! How can it be vegan?!"

3. Smoked Tempeh Pizza w/ Carrot Pesto, an original Sketch-Free recipe!

This pizza was the result of Jenn wanting to make tempeh bacon, and me, wanting to make pizza. We instinctively put the two together and oh my lord! This is literally one of the best vegan, gluten-free vegan meals ever. The key was definitely in the tempeh bacon, it gave the pizza that satisfying smokiness that only vegans crave when they've been eating too much salad. Plus the crust is gluten-free!

4. Apple-Banana Mint Smoothie, an original Sketch-Free creation!

We made this smoothie when we were at our dad's house without any of our usual food stuffs, basically we had apples, frozen bananas and a mint plant growing outside. One thing led to another and there it was: the amazingly creamy and fresh tasting Apple-Banana Mint Smoothie. It was like a mint ice cream milk shake!

5. Almost-Raw Pumpkin Butter Tarts, an original Sketch-Free creation!

These tarts were originally supposed to be cooked, but our gluten-free tart shell recipe didn't end up working, so we made a raw crust and it worked perfectly! We are personally not the biggest fans of butter tarts, so I'm not sure what possessed us to make these. I think they started off as being pumpkin butter sandwich cookies, then cooked butter tarts then raw pumpkin butter tarts. It's funny how things just work out when you start getting crazy thoughts in the kitchen, like we did when making these!

6. Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Sproutwheels, an original Sketch-Free creation!

You guys may have already noticed, but we're major smoked salmon fans. Anything smoked for that matter. We blame our jewish roots. Its pretty much the one flavour that we constantly crave and thus were thrilled by how similar these sproutwheels tasted like smoked salmon. We were inspired by the vege-lox sandwich from Aux Vivres in Montreal and was able to get the actual recipe online to put into these sproutwheels of goodness.

7. Raw Holiday Cashew Cheese, an original Sketch-Free creation!

We've made cashew cheese before, with rejuvelac, and we weren't huge fans, it was much too light and didn't have that sharp cheesy taste. THIS cheese however most definitely did, it tasted like aged cheddar cheese. Our whole family was just shocked, they kept saying: wow this tastes like cheese! We're like: I know! Even the dogs were begging for it as they do actual cheese.

8. Raw Macaroons, an original Sketch-Free creation!

We created these macaroons based on various raw macaroon recipes on the web. They are the easiest raw treats to make and don't require a food processor, this was before we purchased one. We brought these to a summer work party and everyone raved about how good they were, when I told them they were raw everyone was shocked, "but HOW?" lol

We just wanted to thank everyone for their thoughtful comments and support! See ya next year! :)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Post-Holiday Meal: Japanese Salad w/ Miso Dressing

After over-indulging in sugary treats all holiday season, I thought it was appropriate to make a colourful, healthful salad to offset all the heavy food we've eaten ;). I made a creamy miso dressing by blending the dressing in a mini blender. The olive oil got all whippy and creamy, it was perfection! We got a package in the mail from Truly Organic Foods which is a new Canadian based raw food company. We got to try their raw nut snacks. The Chipotle Pistachios were our favourite, the smokiness was phenomenal. We also got to try their Rosemary-Garlic Almonds and Pistachios which had the texture and taste of roasted nuts, but they were completely raw! I guess we're pretty new to the "raw-roasted" nut scene but these were amazing. So we sprinkled some on top along with sesame and flax seeds. I wish we had a picture of these nuts to show you, but they were so good we literally ate them all before getting a chance to photograph them. 

Handful of mixed greens
Broccoli, chopped
Sweet pepper, chopped
Tomato, diced
Green onions, sliced

1 tsp miso paste
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/4 tsp dulse flakes (or sea salt)
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 1/2 tsp honey
1 clove garlic

Whip dressing in a blender until smooth. Pour on to salad. Sprinkle salad with seeds and nuts.

Question:  How are you counter-acting the holiday binge?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Raw Holiday Cashew Cheese (Vegan, GF)

First off, we hope everyone had a great Christmas! Ours was filled with family, food and fun like always. And we're really excited because we got a new camera, in between a DSLR and a regular point and shoot...definitely an upgrade from our old one. Since it was ordered online it hasn't come in yet, but when it does you can expect to see even more beautiful pics of food :P

So, onto the cheese:
Seriously, this is the best raw vegan cheese on the planet. OMG. My whole family was reveling in its cheesy goodness. Even my stepbrother who lives on McDonalds was astounded by how similar it was to real cheese! I couldn't believe it! If you want to impress non vegans with vegan food make this spread. I made this for our Christmas Eve dinner, but now that Christmas is over though you can change the add ins to whatever you like, something less festive looking, unless you're a fan of red and green.

2 1/2 cups soaked cashews
2 tsp Gen-Mai brown rice miso
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp water
chopped red pepper, parsley, green onion

Process cashews until smooth paste forms, add in all other ingredients (except for red pepper, parsley and green onion). Process until smooth. Scoop into a bowl and cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place for 12-24 hours so the miso can ferment the cheese. Then mix in veggies/herbs. Serve with crackers or cut up vegetables.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Raw Apple Pie Pudding (Vegan, GF)

I saw Lori and Michelle's Apple Pie Parfait post and was inspired to make an Apple pie pudding for breakfast this morning! I literally just improvised the ingredients and it worked out really well and tasted just like an apple pie. You could also serve these puddings in a smaller portion for dessert, especially as a part of a raw holiday dinner.

Pudding topped with chopped walnuts and golden flax seeds

Apple "Filling":
1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped
1 tbsp ground chia seeds
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp maple syrup/agave
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tbsp water, to thin
3 medjool dates, soaked

1/2 cup apple, peeled and chopped (to mix in whole)

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or hand blender. If you are making only one serving a hand blender might work better. Stir in whole apple pieces. Set aside.

1/2 cup soaked raw cashews
3 medjool dates, soaked
2 tbsp unsweetened coconut, shredded
2 tsp maple syrup/agave
2 tbsp water/almond milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Puree all ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Spread on top of apple filling. Sprinkle with walnuts and seeds. Let sit in the fridge overnight or for several hours. Makes one large serving or two smaller servings. (Jac and I shared one big bowl this morning)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Raw Maple-Cinnamon Coconut Cookies (Vegan, GF)

Raw treats are one of our favourite things to make because they are basically fool proof, ie. no baking. We love just making treats up as we go along such as these cookies. They were originally based off of our Raw Macaroon recipe, but since we added coconut flour, it made them more dense and cookie like. Basically, they were really really yummy, especially if you put maple-cinnamon caramel drizzle on top :) These would be really good as Christmas cookies too.

2 cups shredded coconut (I re-hydrated mine by soaking for a few hours because it was really hard, if you have softer coconut you probably don't need to soak)
6 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup (for truly raw, you could sub agave or raw honey)
1 tsp vanilla extract (for truly raw, sub dried vanilla bean powder)
4 tbsp melted coconut oil

Maple-Cinnamon Icing:
1/4 cup packed dates
2 tbsp maple syrup (truly raw, sub agave or raw honey)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp coconut oil
Water to thin

Combine all ingredients for cookies. Roll into balls, place on a wax-paper lined flat surface and press into a round cookie shape. Combine ingredients for glaze in a food processor. Pipe onto cookies. Top with nuts. Freeze until hardened. Makes 20 cookies.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Vegan Muffins Monthly: Gingerbread-Walnut (Vegan, GF)

Muffin #3, Gingerbread! For Christmas' sake and for the molasses that has been staring at me everyday for the last 3 weeks. 

*Adapted from Happy Herbivore's Blueberry Oatmeal Muffins

So, as you can see my coffee grinder is not the best so there were still some quinoa grains fully intact...Extra crunch?
1 3/4 cup Gluten-free flour blend (I substituted quinoa flour for the brown rice flour and it worked!)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup molasses
1/2 cup sucanat
1/2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Set aside. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl. Pour wet into dry. Stir until combined. Add walnuts. Stir until further combined. Spoon batter into greased muffin tins and bake for 26 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Makes 10 muffins.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Smoked Tempeh Pizza w/ Carrot Pesto (Vegan, GF)

Pizza is one of our greatest loves, but it's harder than you think to make a gluten-free pizza crust without using chemicals. We decided to try to make a crust out of our Brown Rice Flax Tortillas and it worked perfectly! We topped our pizza with smoked tempeh crumbles which we were inspired to make after having tempeh bacon at Fresh Restaurant in Toronto. It is a couple minutes away from a musical theatre workshop we are currently taking downtown so we will definitely be going back. Here is how we made the pizza!

GF Pizza Crust
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sweet rice flour
1/4 cup rice bran
2 tbsp finely ground flaxseed
3/4 tsp baking powder (add if you like thick crust)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4-1 cup warm water
1/2 tbsp agave or raw honey

Combine all ingredients and form into a flat disc shape. Add more water if it's too crumbly. Press onto an oiled cookie sheet (we think coconut oil works best) and prick with a fork. Bake in a 325F oven for 20 minutes. Set aside.

Smoked Tempeh Bits
2 tbsp safflower oil
1 tbsp tamari
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp dried basil (optional)
1/4 tsp liquid smoke
Sea salt and pepper

Pour over 1 cup of crumble tempeh and let marinate while you prepare the pesto.

Carrot Pesto Sauce
1 large carrot (rough chopped)
1/2 cup of parsley
2 tbsp chopped red onion
1/2 tsp oregano
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
1 clove garlic
Sea salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until it is a "pesto consistency". Set aside.

Hummus "Cheese" Sauce
1/2 cup hummus
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt

Combine ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

After you have baked the crust. Spread carrot pesto onto crust. Sprinkle on tempeh bits and sliced red onion in an even layer. Pipe on "cheese" by putting sauce in a ziploc bag and cutting off one of the corners. 

Bake for 30-35 minutes in a 350F oven.

I know the crust looks crackly, but I promise it only LOOKS that way, it actually stays together really nicely.

 Ok, so we just tried the pizza and OMG the smoked tempeh is ridiculous! This is definitely one of the best vegan things we've ever made!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Homemade Unsweetened Carob Chips (Vegan, GF)

You'll find that in a lot of our recipes, we use carob instead of chocolate. The reason being is that carob is much lower in caffeine, although it does still contain mild stimulating properties (theobromine) in trace amounts, and it delivers that chocolatey flavour in a more mild and gentle way. I also tend to go a little crazy when I consume raw cacao, my heart will start racing and jumping all over the place. So for that reason, I stick to carob, Jenn on the other hand doesn't seem to have these problems.  I used roasted carob and coconut oil to make super easy Carob chips! I suppose you could use raw carob, I don't know how that tastes. I think for optimum chocolate flavour though, roasted seems to taste better. There is also no need to add sweetness because carob is naturally sweet, if you are substituting cocoa in this recipe, then I would add a little sweetness to taste. Can't wait to use these in carob chip cookies! :)

1/2 cup roasted carob powder
1/2 cup melted coconut oil

Mix together, simple as that. Spread on a parchment lined flat surface and allow to cool in fridge. Chop into chips, store in a cool place until ready to use.

Here is one of our favourite carob recipes:
Carob-Blueberry Energy Bars

Ways to use the chips:
Raw Frozen Cookie Dough Bites (Vegan, GF)
Chocolate Chip PB Balls (Vegan, GF)
Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan, GF)
Cocoa-Coco-Nut-Nut Cookies (Vegan, GF)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Quinoa Apple-Cinnamon Breakfast Cake (Vegan, GF)

This recipe is originally based off of the Quinoa Applesauce Cake that I see all over the gluten-free web. I veganized it, added chopped apples, cinnamon, added hazelnut meal, rice bran (for fibre), arrow root powder, used roasted hazelnut oil instead of canola and eliminated the sugar by substituting maple syrup instead. I have been drinking the same old smoothie everyday for breakfast, I wanted something crazy, like cake! This makes for a satisfying, and filling breakfast, and it tasted so yummy! You could most likely get away with serving it for dessert with ice cream too.

1 1/4 cups quinoa flour
1/4 cup hazelnut meal (or almond meal), or substitute with another 1/4 cup of quinoa flour
1/4 cup rice bran
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup oil (I used roasted hazelnut oil)
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 flax egg
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1 large apple, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F. Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including nut meal), set aside. Mix wet ingredients together in another bowl, set aside. Add chopped apple to dry mixture, then add wet mixture to dry and stir until combined. Pour mixture into a greased cake pan, or loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour. (I baked mine in 1 hr, 5 min).