Tag Archives: vegan

“So Earth-Friendly, Even a Vegan Will Eat It” Veggie Chili

14 Jan

vegan chili edited

Friends, as you know, I’m a fan of experimenting with vegetarian and vegan food. (Baking, more baking, pasta dishes, etc. )While I can’t say I’d go vegan for life (being engaged to a semi-carnivore makes that a bit complicated — love you, THT!), I’ve been working on incorporating a vegetarian diet more regularly into my life for the last 6 months or so. (See, this is what happens when you take a “blogging hiatus,” GKG. No one knows about these adventures! she said to herself…)

The verdict?

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When Is a Cookie Not a Cookie? Vegan Baking, Part Two

20 Feb

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A recent conversation between The History Teacher and myself:

Me: Hi boyfriend. Want to try a dairy-free, sugar-free, egg-free cookie?

THT: Let me get this straight. If it looks like a cookie, but has nothing in common with a cookie … then, I think it ceases to be a cookie.

Ha! If he only knew. 🙂

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Cooking With(out) Dairy: Adventures (and Some Tips) in Vegan Baking

21 Jan

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Ever tried vegan baked goods? Until recently, I hadn’t; the thought of baking without milk, eggs, butter or even sugar (which some vegans don’t use; I’ll explain later) seemed, well, half past impossible. And as much as I love me some health food, I didn’t think my taste buds could handle the bait-and-switch. Would the cookies or brownies be, well, edible? Or would they be chewy vitamins disguised as after-dinner goodies? Could I take baking to the next level of nutrition without sacrificing all that’s good about dessert?

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Pinterest Challenge: Gluten-Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

27 Oct

It’s officially time for Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower’s Pinterest Challenge! While I’ve been soldiering on with recipes this year in the spirit of their challenges (such as this one, this one, and this one), I can now officially submit mine to the Petersik’s blog paradise. Hurrah! For the official Pinterest Challenge submission, I decided to tackle something that I’d seen repeatedly in the hallowed … pages (?) of the Pin: Flour-free Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

While I’m not vegan, nor am I gluten-free, I like exploring veggie-based meals for both environmental (fewer methane emissions? Woot.) and health (fewer calories + more nutrients? Dietary goodness FTW.) reasons. With more than a few friends and relatives with Celiac’s disease and other gluten struggles, I’ve explored gluten-free baking and cooking with mucho curiosity. And with pictures like this circulating on Pinterest, my interest was officially piqued:

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Cooking With: Flaxseed Meal, the World’s Smallest Superfood

13 Sep

SUPERFOOD! (No, but really.)

 

Once upon a time, there was a budding chef who called herself GKG. She liked to cook with nutrition in mind, but was a busy lady on a tight budget. How, she wondered, could she add nutritious content to her recipes without breaking the bank? As much as she loved taking a whirl through Whole Foods or her local Giant’s Natural Foods aisle, a lot of those items were out of her price range.

What was a girl to do?

When lo, she discovered her favorite little superfood of all time: Flaxseed meal. The two of them lived happily ever after, adding fiber, lignans and nutrients to many a meal. The end.

Image sourced from elenaspantry.com. Mmmmm. I can taste the omega-3s!

Fairy tale? Musings of an overtired teacher in need of her lifeblood caffeine? Nope – it’s my ode to flaxseed meal, the greatest little superfood on earth.

Yes, that sounds like hyperbole. (Poetic devices! English teacher FTW.) But in fact, flaxseed meal is one of the easiest ways to infuse your baked goods, breakfast cereals and other dishes with a huge nutritional boost. 1-2 tbsps a day of ground flaxseeds (sold by Bob’s Red Meal and other retailers in the Natural Foods aisle of any mainstream grocery store, averaging at about $3.50 per bag) packs an unbelievable healthy wallop. [Note: This information comes from the kind folks at Bob’s Red Mill, supplemented with a bit of Wikipedia-ing. Go Internet!]

  • Flaxseed meal is a fiber powerhouse: 2 tablespoons add 4 grams of fiber to your diet instantly. Boom.
  • Lignans, a natural antioxidant, are flaxseed’s biggest selling point. Flaxseed has 75 times more lignans than, well, any other plant source in your diet. 75 times more! Say what?! You’d need to eat 30 cups of broccoli to equal the amount of lignans in a serving of flaxseed (2 tablespoons). Holy cannoli, Batman!
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – commonly found in foods like salmon, fish oil, some nuts, and even a few spices (see a complete list here) – are in abundance in a serving of flaxseed. Whether you’re talking the seeds themselves, the ground meal (which is what I commonly use), or flaxseed oil, the natural oils are about 50% alpha-linolenic acid, a common omega-3. That’s 2400 milligrams of awesome in one serving. (Seriously, Bob’s Red Mill – y’all are turning me into a nut-cum-nutritionist. Love it.)
  • It’s naturally gluten-free, for folks watching their gluten intake. Feel free to add it to gluten-free baked goods!

So how do you use the stuff? Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way. Happy super-nutritious eating!

Image courtesy of heathereatsalmondbutter.com. Flaxseed + hot oatmeal & cinnamon-sugar? Yes, please and thank you!

  • Buy the ground flaxseed meal – the whole flaxseeds or flaxseed oil are just as good, but I find that the ground meal is more versatile. (Read: easier to incorporate into your diet.)
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons to your morning bowl of cereal, yogurt or oatmeal. Make sure to stir well! The meal adds a nutty flavor to your breakfast, as well as superfood-osity. (Yep. Totally a word.)
  • When making quick breads, muffins, cookies or even pancakes, add 2 tablespoons (or more – I’d max out at about 4, at the risk of altering the texture of your food) to the batter or dough before baking. I’ve even added flaxseed meal to yeast bread doughs, including my pizza dough or a whole wheat equivalent. Your kitchen will smell like a multigrain bakery in no time.
  • Sprinkle a tbsp. onto your PB & J sandwich.
  • Take the Gwyneth Paltrow approach and make Seed Mix. In her cookbook, Gwyneth includes a recipe for Seed Mix – a blend of flaxseed, goji berries, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and almonds that’s pulverized in a food processor or coffee grinder. She’ll stir it into granola, cereal, or even pancake batter, muffin mix or cookie dough. Go nuts (or go seeds?)!
  • Random tip from the Bob’s Red Mill folks: If you’re looking for egg substitutes in baking, mix 1 tbsp flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp water and allow the mixture to sit for 2 minutes. The mixture is equivalent to 1 egg. Whether you’re vegan baking or just looking to add some oomph, give it a try!

For a whole slew of recipes, check out this link from healthyflax.com. Yep, that exists. Seriously, go Internet.

What are your favorite nutritional foodstuffs? What other sorts of ingredients – “natural” or otherwise – would you guys like me to highlight? I’m thinking of exploring seasonal produce, other natural grains, and maybe a spice or two.

Quick Dessert: Vegan (or Not) Banana “Ice Cream”

16 Jul

This might be, by far, the easiest recipe I’ve ever tried. A coworker recently told me how his wife uses overripe bananas to make “ice cream.” The technique, he said, was simple:

  1. Freeze the bananas
  2. Blend them in a blender or food processor
  3. Eat

It can’t be THAT simple, I thought to myself as I visualized the 3 overripe bananas in a basket on my counter. Normally, my attack strategy is to make banana bread or banana muffins out of those bad boys. This time – with DC heat waves hitting some absurd highs a week ago – I decided to forgo any baking and give this “ice cream” a shot. And oh, how richly were my taste buds rewarded!

So creamy and delicious. And so, so easy!

Banana “Ice Cream” – 2 variations. Serves 1-2, or more if you have more bananas.

For the vegan version …

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 overripe bananas
  • 1-3 tbsp cold water

Here’s What You Do:

  • Slice the bananas into small chunks. Place the chunks in an ice cube tray (one chunk per “cube”), and freeze for an hour (or until fully frozen).
  • Add the chunks to a food processor or blender. Add 1 tbsp cold water to help the mixture blend. Blend or process on full strength (or “Puree” / “Liquify” on your blender) until the mixture is smooth, adding another 1-2 tbsp water if necessary.

  • Serve with a drizzle of agave nectar or real maple syrup and chopped walnuts. (Or, try a scoop of natural peanut butter if you’re feeling decadent!)

For the not-quite vegan version …

You’ll need:

  • 2-3 overripe bananas
  • 2 or 3 tbsp vanilla Greek yogurt (optional)
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Here’s what you do:

  • Slice and feeze the bananas just as you would in the vegan version.
  • Add the chunks to a food processor or blender. Add your yogurt and 1 tbsp of milk to help the mixture blend. (The yogurt adds extra flavor and richness, but the bananas are just as creamy on their own – adding the yogurt is entirely up to you.)
  • Blend or process on full strength (or “Puree” / “Liquify” on your blender) until the mixture is smooth, adding another tbsp milk if necessary.
  • Serve with drizzles of your favorite sundae sauces (caramel sauce sounds particularly delicious), chopped walnuts, or chocolate sprinkles. Mine was delicious with a drizzle of honey and handful of walnuts.

As Ina Garten would say, how easy is that? I haven’t tried this technique with other frozen fruit, but I assume the effect would be sorbet-like. (Which sounds lovely and summery to me!) The bananas have such a natural creaminess, though, that they’re really ideal for this kind of preparation. You can also use leftover banana chunks for smoothies!

What are your favorite easy summer desserts? Any tips for more frozen treats?