Archive | Recipes RSS feed for this section

Homemade Vegan Strawberry Banana Ice Cream and Giveaway Update!

28 Jul

I will admit, before becoming vegan, I had an addiction to ice cream. Even as I transitioned and discovered all of the yummy alternatives to dairy ice cream, I would keep a constant stock in my freezer. For the past month or so, I have really been focusing on reducing all of the extra sugar and processed items from my diet, as well as exercising daily in preparation for my trip to Puerto Rico tomorrow, so the ice cream has not made it home with me. That doesn’t mean that I’m not still craving it! To ease my cravings in a healthy way, I came up with this quick and easy recipe – and it did NOT disappoint! You don’t need an ice cream maker – I did this all in my food processor (a strong blender would work, too).

 

Homemade Vegan Strawberry Banana Ice Cream

Makes about 2 servings

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana, cut into small slices

3 or 4 large half frozen strawberries

approx. 1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I used almond milk)

Process:

1. If your strawberries are completely frozen (mine were), submerge them in a bowl of warm water – they didn’t process well in a completely frozen state.

2. Chop up banana pieces in a food processor/blender – you will have tons of tiny banana pieces.

3. Add half-defrosted strawberries and a small amount of almond milk and process – as the fruit processes, continue to add in the milk to the desired consistency. Here’s what mine looked like:

Ice cream in food processor

4. To get more of a soft serve consistency, stick the ice cream in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes before serving.

5. Add a pretty garnish and enjoy!

YUM!

You can definitely vary this recipe by adding different fruit combos, making sure that the banana is the base. I LOVE the strawberry/banana combo (remember my healthy breakfast shake?), but I am excited to try mango, raspberry, and maybe even blueberry! Like the shake, you could also add a spoonful of cocoa, or even use chocolate non-dairy milk for a different taste. Go nuts!

Giveaway Update:

The SlimKicker Kitchen Scale Giveaway has ended! The people at SlimKicker will look over the entries to pick their favorite challenge idea, and I will post the winner as soon as I can! I will be leaving for Puerto Rico early tomorrow morning, so the announcement may have to wait until Thursday night when we get back….can’t wait to try all of the fresh fruits and veggies that they have there! Adios!  =)

Our resort in San Juan – La Concha

Advertisements

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Potatoes

18 Jul

Most children love hot dogs and hamburgers….I didn’t. A lot of children hate Brussels sprouts and other green veggies….I didn’t! I was one of those rare kids that loved veggies and snubbed chicken wings and steaks. Looking back, perhaps that was the start of my journey!

I liked them when I was younger, but lately I have gained an even bigger appreciation for the little green

Brussels Sprouts

veggies that pack a punch – Brussels sprouts. These little guys are part of the cruciferous vegetable family, along with broccoli, kale, collard greens, and even wasabi! Brussels sprouts are super high in Vitamin C and Vitamin K, and also contain a chemical called sulforaphane, which is believed to have cancer fighting properties. Many warn against boiling the sprouts – cooking them in this manner can reduce the cancer fighting chemicals.

My absolute favorite way to cook Brussels sprouts is to roast them. I have tried roasting them with lemon, with onions, and other various veggies, but I always seem to prefer them with just a bit of oil, salt and pepper. Normally, I boil some baby red potatoes to go with them, but I did not want an excuse to slather something in Earth Balance, so I decided to roast them along with the little green guys. I made sure to chop the potatoes into tiny pieces so that they would cook at the same time as the sprouts. When everything was done, a little squeeze of lemon finished off the dish perfectly!

If you are looking for a great little meal that uses one pan and packs a cancer-fighting punch, give these little guys a try – you won’t be disappointed!

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Red Potatoes

Makes 2-4 servings, depending on it if it’s a main or side dish

Ingredients:

1 lb bag of Brussels sprouts

4 red creamer  potatoes (you could always use 2 small regular red potatoes)

2 TB vegetable oil

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Wash Brussels sprouts; make sure to cut off any remaining parts of the stem that may still be attached to the sprouts. Once they have been prepped, cut each sprout in half lengthwise.

2. Wash all of the potatoes and chop them into very small pieces. Try not to make them bigger than half the size of the sprouts, otherwise they will not be fully cooked at the same time as the Brussels sprouts.

3. Throw all of the vegetables into a long baking pan – they should all be able to touch the bottom surface of the pan for better roasting. Add the vegetable oil and seasonings to taste. Toss until all of the veggies are coated.

Before roasting

4. Put the pan into the oven for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Depending on the size of your vegetables, you may need to leave them in for a few minutes more. They are done when they are no longer crunchy and have a nice brown color to them.

Look at that color!

5. Serve with a squeeze of lemon on top and a side salad – enjoy!

Roasted Brussels sprouts with red potatoes

For those that want to cut down on the oil, start with less and work your way up to the 2TB only if you need to. The salad pictured contains tomatoes, cucumbers and radishes tossed with a little sesame oil and topped with raw sesame seeds.

This is a simple, one pan dish for a night when you just don’t have time to stay next to the stove. I always get a couple of things done while this is cooking! Easy, delicious, and healthy – what more could you ask for?

What is your favorite Brussels sprouts dish? Share your ideas in the comments section!

Tropical Green Smoothie

17 Jul

I don’t know about you, but I’m HOT! I don’t feel like doing anything, cooking anything, or even eating anything thanks to the near 100 degree temperatures here in PA. Thankfully, I have a blender and some fresh fruits and veggies, so I decided to drink my lunch!

Ingredients in the blender

Tropical Green Smoothie

Makes 1 extra large smoothie or 2 medium smoothies

Ingredients:

1 banana

1 large kale leaf

1/2 ripe mango

2 rings of fresh pineapple

4 frozen strawberries

1-2 TB ground flaxseeds

1/2-1 cup water

Directions:

1. Place all of the solid ingredients in the blender, waiting until the end to add the water. If you like your smoothies thicker, add less. If you like them a bit runnier, add more water. Blend, and enjoy!

You can always use fresh strawberries instead of frozen and just add a couple of ice cubes in to make it colder – I just happened to have some sitting in the freezer. This smoothie has a wonderful tropical taste with a great green color! Plus, you have a serving of veggies and numerous servings of fruit all in one chilled glass! If you are looking to beat the heat in a healthy way, give this tasty smoothie a try!

Tropical Green Smoothie

What is your favorite healthy, warm weather smoothie? Share your recipes and ideas in the comments!

 

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

12 Jun

One of my favorite meals that my mom made when I was younger was stuffed zucchini. Of course, living with my Italian father, her version included ground beef, rice, tomato sauce and other assorted veggies, topped with parmesan cheese. Don’t get me wrong – I loved that version; but I have made changes in my diet that warrant some alterations to the original recipe!

My new version of the stuffed zucchini incorporates brown rice, onion, garlic, green bell pepper, olives and tomato sauce. The meal is healthy, filling, and extremely satisfying! I used to miss the taste of parmesan cheese with all of my pasta and Italian dishes, but my taste for it has definitely dwindled now that I have been vegan for about two months. I usually toss on some red pepper flakes for a kick (I even tried some sriracha with it and it was tasty) or sprinkle on some nutritional yeast for a bit of a cheesy flavor.

Ingredients

Vegan Stuffed Zucchini

Makes 6 halves

Ingredients:

3 large zucchinis

1 jar (15oz) of your favorite vegan pasta sauce

1.5 cups of uncooked brown rice

1/2 can of black olives, sliced (or use a small can of already sliced olives)

4 garlic cloves

1/2 white onion

1/2 green bell pepper

1-2 TB olive oil

Salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions:

1. Start your rice – I use a rice cooker, so I can set it and continue with the recipe. For 1.5 cups of uncooked rice, I use about 2.5 cups of water. I find that using a full 3 cups makes the rice soggy. If you use the stove top method, prepare 1.5 cups of uncooked rice according to the directions on the package.

2. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Chop up your garlic, onion, and bell pepper and add them to the pan. Cook until onions start to become translucent, about 5-6 minutes.

3. While ingredients are in the pan, slice your zucchinis lengthwise – try to slice them so that both halves will be able to lay flat, skin side down. Using a spoon, carve out the seeds and soft insides of each half, much like you would do with a larger squash or pumpkin. Set the scrapings aside. Make sure that you don’t scrape too much out – you should have about 1/4-1/2 inch left (see picture below).

Carved zucchinis

4. Chop up about half of the zucchini insides and add them, along with the olives, into the saute pan. Pour in 1/2 of the pasta sauce and saute the mixture until heated through, about 5 minutes.

5. Once your rice is done, add it to your saute pan – I wound up using only a cup of the cooked rice so that it didn’t take over the veggies too much. You may need to add another quarter of the jar of pasta sauce since the rice will soak some of it up. Season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste and cook until thoroughly mixed and heated through.

Rice and veggie mixture

6. While the veggies are cooking, set your zucchini halves in a baking pan and fill the pan with hot water until it covers 3/4 of each zucchini. This water will help to cook the zucchini through while in the oven.

Zucchini in baking pan with water

7. When thoroughly heated, scoop a heaping portion of the veggie mixture into the middle of each zucchini half. Once each zucchini is filled, spoon the remainder of the pasta sauce over the top of each .

Stuffed zucchini with sauce on top

8. Cover your pan (I had to use two because my zucchinis were large) with tin foil and bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees, or until the zucchini is fork tender.

9. Garnish with more red pepper flakes, sriracha, fresh basil or anything else that your heart desires! Enjoy!

Finished product!

You may have some leftovers when it comes to the stuffing – I usually stick it in a tupperware and use it for the next day’s lunch, along with a small salad. Or, if I’m really impatient, I will eat it while the zucchinis are baking! Can’t go wrong either way!  =)

What is your favorite childhood meal that you have veganized? Share your story in the comments below!

Chocolate Strawberry Banana Breakfast Shake

9 Jun

When I get up in the morning, I really don’t leave myself much time. For some reason, I’ve convinced myself that getting up at the very last possible second and then rushing to get ready leaves me more rested than just getting up 30 minutes earlier! Oh well, it’s logical in my world!  =)

Chocolate Strawberry Banana Shake

That’s why this chocolate strawberry banana breakfast shake is perfect for me – I can throw the handful of ingredients into the blender, turn it on, and breakfast is done and easy to bring in the car. Plus, it’s so good that I make it on the weekends when I have plenty of time to sit and eat if I want to. It’s also very customizable – add ins are welcome! Just a few days ago, I started adding a spoonful of peanut butter to the shake….delicious!

Shake Ingredients

Ingredients

Adapted from the Lowfat Vegan Chef

1 banana (spotted and slightly brown makes for a sweeter shake)

5-6 strawberries

1 TB of cocoa

2 TB flax

1/4-1/2 cup of non-dairy milk (I use almond milk)

4-5 ice cubes

Directions

1. Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. That’s it!

I found this shake to be just sweet enough with a TB of cocoa in it, but you can always add agave nectar for a bit more. If you would like to skip the ice cubes altogether, you can always  freeze your bananas (I have not tried it yet, but I’ve read that it works really well). Hopefully this chocolate strawberry banana shake will be the easy morning treat that you are craving!

What is your favorite quick and easy breakfast shake/smoothie? Share your ideas below!

Sauteed Red Chard and Chickpeas Over Brown Rice

29 May

One of the best things about becoming a vegan has been this wonderful new passion for food and cooking. I have experimented with styles of cooking and ingredients that I would never have even thought of last year! This past weekend, I bought a big bunch of red chard at the Farmer’s Market on a whim – I have never cooked with or even tasted chard, but I couldn’t resist it’s green leafiness!

Red Chard

After consulting with the wonderful FB community that is Power to the Veg! I decided that sauteing the chard was the way to go. I tossed some onion and garlic in the pan with just a tiny bit of oil; the chick peas went in next  (I used canned), followed by the chard. It smelled AMAZING while it was cooking – I couldn’t wait to start eating! Even though it could have been eaten on its own, I put all of the items over brown rice and VOILA! My first chard creation!

Red chard sauteed with chick peas, onions, and garlic

Ingredients:

1 bunch of red chard, washed and cut into ribbons (no stems)

1 can of chickpeas, drained and washed

3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

3/4 of a white onion, chopped

1 cup of uncooked brown rice

Process:

1. Start your rice – I used a rice cooker but you can always cook yours on the stove. Usually I use just less than a 1:2 ratio of rice to water. When I use that exact ratio in the rice cooker, it comes out a bit mushy.

2. Heat a very small amount of olive oil in your pan over medium heat – if you would like to cut out the oil, you can saute using water.

3. Add garlic and onions to the pan. Once the onions start to become translucent, add the chickpeas. Since these are already cooked, they just need to be warmed through, about 3-4 minutes.

4. Add the red chard to the pan, stirring so that it mixes with the onions and chickpeas. Cook until tender, about 5-6, stirring occasionally.

5. If you’ve timed it correctly (rice takes about 20-25 minutes), you can spoon the veggie mixture over the brown rice and enjoy!

The finished project over brown rice!

It’s as simple as that! I think red pepper flakes would be a great addition if you like your food with a kick. Some of the FB veggies suggested juicing the chard as well, so that will be an upcoming adventure! Chard, with all of its colors, will definitely be making a repeat appearance in my dinner line-up!

What are some of your favorite chard recipes? I would love to hear about them in the comments below!

Saturday Morning Smoothies

11 Mar

Ingredients in the blender

For the last few weeks, the boyfriend and I have had a Saturday morning tradition of making some delicious smoothies. So far, we’ve used a lot of the same ingredients with only slight variations, but we have yet to make one that we didn’t like. My goal is to move into more green, vegetable based smoothies with a little bit of fruit to add some sweetness to it. If at all possible and affordable, I would love to purchase a juicer – the blender works great for thicker, somewhat chunkier combinations, but I would like to try out juicing for a change. If you have any suggestions for brands that are better while still being in a decent price range, please share below!

Here are some of our recent creations – each recipe makes about 16oz, or 2 glasses, worth of smoothie.

Strawberry/Mango

This was our very first smoothie and a very simple one. I used:

* 2 mangoes

* 1/2 container of strawberries

* 1/2 cup of dry oats

* the juice of 2 oranges

Strawberry/Banana/Blueberry

Creation number two was creamier than our first smoothie, thanks to the banana. Here’s what I used:

* 2 bananas

* 1/2 container of strawberries

* 1 cup of blueberries

* 1/2 cup of dry oats

* a splash of almond milk

Mango/Strawberry/Blueberry

As the picture says, these smoothies have:

* 2 mangoes

* 1/2 container of strawberries

* 1 cup of blueberries

* 1/2 cup of dried oats

* juice of 2 oranges

Mango/Banana/Strawberry/ Blueberry/Spinach

This last one is not the most appealing of colors, thanks to the blueberries and spinach, but it was DELICIOUS! Plus, the spinach added a ton of vitamins without any weird taste! Here’s what’s in it:

* 1 mango

* 1 banana

* 1/2 container of strawberries

* 1 cup of blueberries

* 1 cup of spinach

* juice from 2 oranges

I’m looking forward to finding more exciting flavor combinations and using new and different fruits and veggies.

What’s your favorite smoothie/shake? Would love to hear your ideas!

%d bloggers like this: