Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monkey Pudding - Great Way to Try Tofu

Tofu has always been strange to me. I would even say it scared me. I had no idea what to do with it and thought it looked mushy and gross and could never substitute for anything I liked. Then, when we wanted to make this change, I wanted to at least learn about it. We watched a few movies, including "Tofu 123: Taking the Mystery Out of the Big White Blob" (Featuring Maribeth Abrams with Special Guest, Olympic Athlete - Carl Lewis). That really helped me put my fears aside and try it. In this process we have learned a lot. 

Seth and I don't like flan, and we think that tofu as a meat substitute is the texture of flan. It does soak up the flavor of what you're making, but the pressing, marinating, baking and then adding in the tofu to what you're making is not worth the effort to us. I've also learned that tofu has no business being in a falafel ball. We tried that recipe from the Peas and Thank You cookbook. The Tzaziki sauce for that recipe, made with tofu, was excellent! So I would recommend that, but not the falafel. We froze the tofu and crumbled it into our chili. We thought it was very spongey. 

So, in our tofu explorations to date, we have found that we really like the silken variety as a sauce, dressing or pudding. You can find organic silken tofu in any health food store, and most grocery stores, usually in the organic refrigerated produce section. If you are nervous about tofu like I was, this pudding, in my opinion, is the best, easiest and tastiest way to try it! Enjoy!

Monkey Pudding
Serves 4-8 (depending on how much self control you exercize)

·2/3 c. dark chocolate chips (with no milk-fat)
11/4-1/2 c. almond or soy milk 
·1/2 c. natural peanut butter (or any nut butter - just look at the ingredients and make sure there is no added sugar, oil or salt)
·1 16 oz. package organic SILKEN Tofu
·11/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
·Pure maple syrup or agave to sweeten to taste
·Ripe Bananas (or another favorite fruit)
·unsweetened coconut

·1 c. dark chocolate chips (with no milk-fat)
11/2-1 c. almond or soy milk
·2/3 c. natural peanut butter (or any nut butter - just look at the ingredients and make sure there is no added sugar, oil or salt)
·2 12.3 oz. packages organic SILKEN Tofu
·2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
·Pure maple syrup or agave to sweeten to taste
·Ripe Bananas (or another favorite fruit)
·unsweetened coconut

-Melt chocolate chips with almond milk in the microwave 20 seconds at a time, stir, and do 20 more seconds if needed.
1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or high quality blender
2. Blend until smooth and combined (scraping down the sides occasionally)
3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour
4. Serve layered with ripe banana slices and sprinkled with coconut
Layer your favorite pie crust (try Arrowhead Mills Graham Cracker Crust found at any health food store) with bananas and spread pudding over the top and sprinkle with coconut to make Monkey Pie. Your little monkeys will love it!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Garlic Quinoa and Lentils

Garlic Quinoa and Lentils
Makes about 5 cups

·         2 Tb. minced garlic (3-4 cloves)- Modify amount if you aren't a garlic lover
·         1 cube (about a Tb) veggie stock (or water)
·         11/4 c. quinoa (rinsed)
·         11/4 c. red lentils (rinsed)
·         51/2 c. water (or veggie stock)
·         1/2 Tb. minced dried onion flakes (or you could sauté as much minced fresh onion as you like with the garlic)
·         1/2 Tb. oregano
·         fresh cracked pepper
·         3/4 tsp. kosher/sea salt
·         1 tsp. coriander
·         1/4 tsp. cumin
·         1/4 tsp. chili powder

1.    In a medium large saucepan, sauté garlic (and onion if desired) in veggie stock (or water) until garlic is aromatic
2.    Add quinoa, lentils and water (or veggie stock) and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer
3.    Add all the seasonings while you are bringing it to a boil. Allow to simmer until most of the liquid has been absorbed and quinoa and lentils are tender.

·         On a whole wheat wrap tortilla, or large leaf of lettuce, spread Simply Easy Hummus and Garlic Quinoa and Lentils. Top with salsa, avocado, lettuce and tomatoes for delicious wraps!
·         Use as a rice and beans-type addition to any meal!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homemade Hummus Pizza and Quick Pita Pizza

Tonight I made pizza from scratch. It was a pretty crazy thing to do on a day like today, but somehow, I did it. It helped that last night, I made extra pasta sauce and hummus for dinner.
I used my Simply Easy Homemade Hummus as my 'cheese' for our pizza. I made this 100% whole wheat pizza crust which miraculously turned out very good even though the yeast I used expired a long long time ago....(that's not recommended). But we did have to bake it about 5 minutes longer than recommended.

Tip: Use grits/polenta (or white corn meal) instead of flour on the pizza stone to keep dough from sticking
Homemade Hummus Pizza
- whole wheat pizza dough
- homemade hummus
homemade marinara sauce 
- any toppings you want!

1. Just spread however much hummus you like on the dough 
2. Top that with your marinara sauce
3. Bake according to the crust instructions 
4. Top the pizza with your favorite veggies for the last few minutes of baking time

 Quick Pita Pizza
For when you are short on time (which is probably most days) 
-whole wheat pita bread for crust 
-homemade or store bought hummus
-homemade or store bought marinara or pasta sauce 
any toppings you want!

1. Top pitas with hummus (and then marinara sauce)and veggies
2. Bake for 12-15 min. in a 400 degree oven

Tip: Heat up your marinara sauce and serve in a bowl for dipping or spooning over the pizza. Cut pita pizzas into triangles and serve around the bowl of sauce to make it into a party on a plate!

Simply Easy Homemade Hummus

Simply Easy Homemade Hummus 
- 2 cans drained and rinsed garbanzo beans (aka: Chickpeas)
- 2-4 Tb lemon juice (depending on how lemony you like it!)
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup water
- kosher salt to taste
- fresh cracked pepper to taste
(We just don't like Tahini (sesame paste), but if you do, you could add a Tb of that too)

1. Throw all the ingredients in a quality food processor or blender and let it blend (scraping down the sides once in a while) until smooth and creamy

-Add more or less water to reach your desired consistency
-Experiment with your favorite spices to change it up a bit! (paprika, cumin, ground coriander, etc)
- After blending, stir in some chopped fresh (or dried) herbs for color, flavor, and nutrition
-Use as a dip for any raw veggies, as a pasta or pizza sauce, or as a salad dressing (thin with a little water or veggie stock)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Lemon Lentil Soup - Peas and Thank You

This is what we had for dinner tonight, and let me just tell you, it was delicious! Lemon Lentil Soup, from the cookbook that has really helped me start on this new journey, Peas and Thank You, by Sarah Matheny. I would definitely recommend checking it out at your library, we did, and then we bought it because it has been so helpful. We've tried at least 10 recipes from it already, and I'm very excited to continue exploring her creations and modifying them to fit our own family tastes.
I just want to say thank you to all of those who are rooting for me, even if you don't agree with me. You don't need to, but I do appreciate your support and your love. I have felt so encouraged by those who are asking me for recipes and some who are even asking me to help them to try this out and see if it might help them too. It is almost overwhelming to me though to try to make new recipes and create my own, and then type them up and put them on my blog right now, but I certainly will in the future. Someday, I aspire to write my own cookbook, even if it is just one for my own family. But, there is a time and a season for everything. So, for now, I will direct you to the cookbooks that are teaching me so much, if you are interested in trying these recipes too! And if I do find some spare time, I'll start posting some of my own recipes.

Tip: Unless you really don't know if you're going to like it, or you know it won't keep well, always double a soup recipe. It usually doesn't take any more time, and you can eat it for days, or freeze half of it and have an easy go-to meal on a crazy day!