Thursday, June 20, 2013

butternut squash and sage lasagna

It's not that I'm being lazy, I just happened to forget to take a picture of this meal when I made it. That's probably a good thing though because it didn't look nearly as beautiful as the pictures from the original website:

the recipe: 
roasted butternut lasagna with crispy sage
makes 9 x 11 pan of lasagna
1 butternut squash (I don't know if I just had a small one, but I think I could have used 1 1/2 or 2 squashes, especially if you're trying to feed a whole family.)
drizzle olive oil
pinch sea salt
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
9-10 fresh sage leaves (I just skipped the whole roasting the sage leaves and used dried sage)
1 package lasagna noodles 
cashew bechamel sauce 
1 package frozen spinach (optional)
Peel, remove seeds/innards, and cut butternut squash into cubes. Arrange in single layer on (parchmented) baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and nutmeg. Arrange sage leaves on same sheet, brush with olive oil. Roast in 300 degree oven – 5 minutes for sage leaves, 30-35 minutes for squash. Remove from oven and cool.  
***OR, cut it into quarters, wrap each piece in plastic wrap and microwave them for about 8 minutes.***
Transfer cooled squash cubes to food processor (or blender) and purée until smooth.
Assemble lasagna layers: Pour a small amount of bechamel in 9 x 11 baking dish. Add noodles. Spread a layer of squash purée. ***This is where I also added a layer of thawed frozen spinach*** And repeat.  Top with remaining sause and dried sage.  
Cover with foil (especially important if using no-boil pasta noodles) and bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10-15 minutes, to set – you get even slices of lasagna layers this way.

Friday, June 14, 2013

quinoa moussaka with cashew bechamel

This recipe is actually a compilation of three great recipes, each which can be used separately on their own or in other dishes.  For example, I doubled this bechamel sause (which is just a fancy way to say white sause) and I'll be using the other half on my Butternut Squash Lasagna that I'll be making later this week.  Also, the Quinoa Tomato mixture is great on its own or in other casseroles; I also doubled that so we could have the extra to eat as a quick lunch to-go.  And, of course, this basic recipe for baked zucchini is a perfect start to any meal.  

the recipe(s):
baked eggplant:
1 small (1/2 lb) eggplant, thinly sliced into about 1/4-inch rounds
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Preheat broiler.  Arrange sliced eggplant in a single layer on a baking sheet; brush both sides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Broil for 3-8 minutes on each side, until the eggplant is tender and golden.

quinoa tomato dish:
1/4 c quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 c tomato sauce (store-bought or homemade…)
1/4 tsp dried oregano
Pinch allspice
Salt and pepper
Soak quinoa in cold water for 15 minutes.  Strain it through a fine mesh sieve, then thoroughly rinse it under cold running water.  Heat 2 tsp oil in a small/medium saucepan with a lid over medium to medium-low heat; add onion and sauté until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté another 30 seconds.  Transfer the rinsed quinoa, 1/2 c water, and a pinch of salt to the saucepan with the onion/garlic mixture.  Bring to a boil over medium heat with the lid off; once it boils, give it a stir, cover it, and turn heat down to a gentle simmer.  Cook 14 minutes, turn the heat off, and let it sit with the lid on for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.  Stir tomato sauce, oregano, and a pinch of allspice into quinoa.  Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired. 

cashew bechamel sauce:
1/2 cup raw cashews
3 cups almond milk, divided 
4 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance soy free)
4 tablespoons flour
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

In high speed blender or food processor, process cashews until crumbly. Add 1 cup milk while processing, until a smooth cashew cream forms – this will be much thinner than traditional cashew cream.
In saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in flour, stirring until smooth. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to darken in color – a light tan. Continue to stir while adding cashew milk. Mixture will thicken. Whisk in remaining two cups milk, and the salt and nutmeg, remove from heat.

This sause is a basic vegan white sause that can be adjusted according to the recipe and your preferences. Depending on the recipe, I might use only 2 cups of milk to make it a little thicker. I also have added Italian seasoning, basil, oregano, or even chili powder to make it fit with the dish.

to assemble:  
Preheat oven to 350F.  Arrange half of the eggplant in the bottom of a 16 oz gratin dish; spread the quinoa/tomato mixture evenly on top of the eggplant.  Arrange the remaining eggplant on top of the quinoa/tomato mixture; pour the béchamel on top.  Bake about 35 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

(healthy?) chocolate chip cookies

No, I probably wouldn't say healthy...there's still a whole cup of brown sugar! But they are healthIER, and delicious, and vegan.  That's right, no eggs.  Only coconut oil, applesauce, and my husband's own flour creation.

I love to bake. But, how do you bake as a vegan, right? Wrong! I've found so many recipes for awesome baked goods with a healthy twist.  Usually I am fine to accept that healthy baked goods will taste like healthy baked goods, if you no what I mean... :/  And every once in a while, I feel the need for some good old comfort food.  And these are the chocolate chips cookies that do the trick!  Enjoy

the recipe:
Here is the recipe I started with.  And if you like to follow recipes strictly, read no further and this recipe will do you fine...However, I'll also include the variations we came up with.  

1 c brown sugar
¼ c maple syrup
½ c oil
¼ c applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
2 c flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
dash nutmeg
1½ c chocolate chips

  1. In a large bowl, beat together sugar, syrup, and oil. It will become smooth and even in consistency after a little while; don’t skimp on this step!
  2. Beat in vanilla and applesauce.
  3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, soda, salt, and nutmeg.
  4. Add dry mixture to wet; mix well.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Form into 1″ balls (or whatever size you prefer) and bake on greased sheets at 350 degrees for 6-10 minutes. I found 7 minutes to be perfect for a soft center. *Don't be alarmed but these spread out a ton, and ended up flatter than a pancake...Still delicious though!* 

I thought these were almost too sweet; next time we will probably only do 1/2 cup brown sugar and compensate with some extra honey or something.  
Instead of the 1/4 cup maple syrup, we did some combination of honey and agave, so you don't get the maple-y flavor, but it's a little more natural.  
As far as that vague "oil" that it calls for, I chose coconut oil.  Healthy, but runny.  
Unsweetened applesauce worked perfectly, vanilla, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg, all stayed the same.  
Flour -- we had been wanting to try almond and oatmeal flours for a while, so this was the perfect opportunity to experiment.  We just threw a bunch of almonds and oats into our blender and blended till it was as fine as we could get it.  Even though we used two cups of this flour, I think it didn't absorb the same way as real flour or something, so we had to add almost a whole extra cup of flour (we used buckwheat flour, but whatever) in order to get the dough to be firm enough. 

Saturday, March 30, 2013

breakfast at kelsey's

vegan waffles

If any of you have ever tried to find a good vegan pancake or waffle recipe, you know how difficult it can be.  We've tried all sorts of healthy combinations: flax seed, applesauce, whole wheat flour, oats, etc...And our pancakes or waffles always turned out as dense as concrete! Nothing like the light, fluffy ones you would think of.  As healthy as they were, it just wasn't worth it.  So finally, FINALLY, we found this simple, basic, {not-quite-so-healthy}, but much more delicious recipe for waffles! 

the recipe:
1 cup flour (I do any combination of white wheat flour,  spelt flour, buckwheat flour, or brown rice flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
berries, to taste, optional
chocolate chips, to taste, optional
1 cup nondairy milk (I use almond milk)
1/2 cup applesauce

1/2 cup frozen berries
sugar to taste

1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl with berries or chocolate chips, if using. Mix the wet ingredients in a different bowl. Combine and mix until just mixed up.
2. Preheat waffle iron and spray with some nonstick oil (or wipe down with some oil). That's important cause they stuck like crazy to the iron when we made them.
3. Cook according to the waffle maker's instructions.

4. For the topping, microwave the berries and sugar until warm and mushy. I like to use this topping with some coconut oil, but I also like using agave nectar as a syrup.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

hardly-meatless sandwich

I love a good, warm sandwich, and even vegans need an easy to-go lunch or go-to dinner. My sandwiches are fancy and filling.  I call it "hardly-meatless" because once you add all the toppings, this sandwich is so thick and flavorful that you would not even want any meat!!

the recipe:

2 slices of your favorite bread (toasted)
green peppers
green onion
red onion
salt & pepper to taste

Toast your bread, spread a generous amount of hummus and avocado, and do your best to pile up all the toppings! Seriously, I really have every single one of those ingredients on my sandwich, but I'm not going to lie, it's a challenge to balance it all! :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

manic monday

Mondays are crazy enough already, you shouldn't have to spend more than 30 minutes on dinner.

portobello lettuce wraps with pineapple chutney

1/2 cup pineapple chutney
1 lb baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 cups cooked couscous*
8 romaine lettuce leaves

Saute mushrooms in a large skillet, until soft, add the soy sauce and garlic.  Meanwhile, cook your couscous according to the instructions.  Combine mushrooms and couscous.  Spoon mixture onto a lettuce leave and top with chutney.

*Couscous is about the quickest easiest pasta to cook in the world, seriously! Boil the water, add the couscous, take off the heat, let it sit for 5 minutes, and fluff.  Done. 

pineapple chutney

This is a great condiment to have on hand, so I make the whole recipe, then use it on anything and everything until it's gone...

1/2 diced yellow onion
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 jalepeno peppers, seeded and diced (or a small can of diced green chiles)
1/2 tablespoon cumin
1/2 fresh pineapple, diced (or a can of diced pineapple)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a large skillet and saute onions until tender.  Add ginger, jalepeno pepper, and cumin, and cook for another 4 minutes.  Add pineapple and remove the pan from the heat.  Stir in the cilantro and salt. 

Makes 1 1/2 cups

Thursday, March 14, 2013

copy cat

I really did make this for dinner tonight.  I even took pictures of it....they just didn't look anywhere as nice as the pictures on this blog, which is where I got the recipe anyways.  So, I admit, I'm a copy cat tonight.

Anywho, I have been so excited to make this meal.  It is one of my favorites! I think this was actually one of the first real vegan meals we ever tried, way back, almost a year ago, when we started changing our diet.  And once we tried this, we knew we could still to the whole vegan thing no problem! This is one vegan recipe that you will be amazed by! The cheese sauce is quick and easy, and it can replace cheese in plenty of recipes.  

Enough talking.  Enjoy!

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Recipe