I’m a Featured Apronista!

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Squeeeeee!  I have a new friend, Shawnee, who creates The Apronista–Domestic Dish for the Hip Homemaker.  Her site is about lots of homekeeping things, but focuses on Aprons.  How I loves a cute apron!  Shawnee found me through a couple of my apron posts: Apron Strings, Heart Strings, and  Holiday Baking Needs a festive Apron.  I associate aprons with cooking and the women in my family.  Like Great-Aunt Rosie who was only without an apron in church.  Here she is “herding” the passel of first cousins, apron underneath her cardigan.  Notice her hand firmly controlling cousin Danny.  😉  I’m the one closest to her right elbow.  Her apron strings were powerful, indeed!

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Now I can add a new apron association–making new friends!  Trip-trap on over to Shawnee’s site to see me(!) and check out groovy apron patterns, recipes and more.  Like her page on Facebook for apron-tastic updates!  I’m thinking I may need a new apron to celebrate!

 

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Filed under Food memories, food musings

Vegan Valentine Truffle-O-Rama

Truffles.  THE decadent candy.  Butter and sugar and flavors coming together in the perfect proportions to create a melt-in-your-mouth sinful candy experience.  But I’m vegan, I whined.  Will I need to turn my back on my dietary preferences and REALLY sin?  turns out, no!  Just in time for Valentines Day, a vegan truffle appeared in my Facebook feed, compliments of VegNews Magazine and the Healthy. Happy. Life. blog at lunchbox.com.  Cake Batter Truffles.  Who doesn’t love cake batter?!  A quick pantry check revealed everything I needed to make these exquisite little yummies.

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The original recipe said it made 9 truffles.  Seemed hardly worth the effort, and I was worried it wouldn’t be enough to process properly, so I doubled the recipe.  Then I decided that chocolate and espresso might make this even more of a party; why not make half of them mocha?!

ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 5 Tbsp liquid sweetener (I used agave)
  • 4 Tbsp non-dairy milk, warmed
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • a couple pinches of pink salt
  • sprinkles of your choice–1 tsp to fold into half, the rest to coat the truffles
  • 2 TBSP cocoa powder (optional–amount is enough to flavor half of this truffle batch)
  • 2 tsp espresso powder (optional–amount is enough to flavor half of this truffle batch)

Start by soaking your cashews in enough water to cover them by an inch.  At least a few hours, overnight is best.

When cashews have soaked, melt the coconut oil over low heat.

melt coconut oil

Combine cashews, coconut oil, agave, non-dairy milk, vanilla, and salt in a food processor.

everything in the processor

Process until silky smooth.

process until smooth

If making two flavors, divide into two seal-able containers that will fit into your freezer.

divide into containers

Fold in 1 tsp sprinkles in one container, fold in cocoa and espresso powder into the other.

sprinkles in one choc and espresso in the other

Most of the sprinkles melted into my cake batter-flavored half.  The resulting pink hue was not a problem as I wanted them for Valentines anyway.  Freeze until firm enough to form into balls, but not too stiff.  I found the mocha truffle half firmed up quicker and was much easier to work with.

stir to combine

When firm, work quickly to scoop the truffle mixes and form into balls.  (The heat of your hands will melt them a bit.)  Quickly roll in sprinkles and place in an oiled pan.  This pan will need to fit into your freezer as well.

scoop and roll in sprinkles

scoop choc and roll in sprinkles

Once again, freeze until firm.  The cake batter ones slumped a bit; not affecting their yumminess at all.  😉

birthday cake truffles

chocolate espresso truffles

Serve frozen.  Pack into cute little Valentine tins with mini-muffin liners if you choose.  I shop the after-Valentines sale for these sorts of things and stash them away for the following year.

Valentine your truffles

 

ready to pack in tins

 

 

Valentines

Use the tin’s lid to trace a heart-shape onto parchment paper.  Cut out inside your pencil line for a clean heart that will fit perfectly over the truffles, inside the lid.

parchment paper

Continue packing and then place tins and all back into your freezer to wait until Valentines Day.

packing another tinpacked and reaady for the freezer

Who wouldn’t want a cute little tin of vegan truffle-love for Valentines?!

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The cake batter truffles have a coconut-y flavor to them that would marry well with lots of other flavors besides mocha.  Let your imagination loose and think about what flavor YOUR sweetie might enjoy, and truffle on!  Get all creative with sprinkles as well–cocoa powder is classic for chocolate truffles, but what about toffee bits or chopped nuts or powdered sugar, or ….. ?!

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Filed under dairy-free, dessert, food gifts, Gluten-free, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Avocado Garbanzo Sammiches

Oh glorious garbanzo, how I love you.  You make fabulous dips and spreads, delicious soups and curries, and the most spectacular sammich salads.  When I saw you pairing up with avocado, oh my.  Swoon.  A huge thanks to Amuse Your Bouche for introducing the two of you.  ❤

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Run to your pantry and fridge!  Your mouth will be so happy.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 can (15 oz) garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 3 TBSP fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1 TBSP lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • garlic powder to taste–I added this at the last minute–yum!
  • pita pockets and tomato for serving

Skin and pit your avocado and place it in a bowl with the drained chickpeas.  Mash them together with a fork or potato masher.  Leave a few “half” garbanzos for a nice texture.

mash chickpeas and avocado

Stir in green onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper, and garlic powder.  Taste and adjust seasonings.

add cilantro onion lime

Spread inside a pita, add a few tomato slices (I like roma tomatoes) and lunch is served!  I enjoy this sammich even when it’s cold outside.

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The creaminess of the avocado pairs nicely with the meatiness of the garbanzos and is perfectly punctuated by the onion and cilantro.  Lime brings the freshness and prevents the avocado from browning.  Leftovers can be safely stored in an air-tight container in the fridge for a day or two.

If you’re like me and enjoy a chickpea salad, you might also want to try my Curried Chickpea Salad Sammiches.  Yum!

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Filed under Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, vegan, Vegetarian

Roasted Garlic and Walnut Chickpea Pate

Welcome to the party, elegant and tasty spread.  I’m lovin’ your roasty garlic flavor and your silky texture.  Won’t you join me over here by the crackers?

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This pate is hummus in black tie.  Approachable and friendly black tie.  Spread on a cracker, it’s right at home at a cocktail party or the party for the big game.  I found the recipe at the Amuse Your Bouche blog via the Finding Vegan Facebook page.  The original recipe makes a tiny amount, so I adjusted ingredients to make a whole can of chickpeas-worth, and reduced the amount of oil.  This larger amount still doesn’t last long-it’s that kind of yummy!  Here’s what you need to start your relationship with your new favorite party date.

ingredients

  • 1 entire head of garlic, roasted  (12-14 cloves, or more if you like garlic like we do!)
  • 1 1/4 cups walnuts, plus a bit more to garnish
  • 1 can (15 oz) chickpeas, drained but NOT rinsed
  • 4 TBSP lemon juice
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

First, roast the garlic.  Heat oven to 375F.

Cut the top off a head of garlic, place it in a pan, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

cut top off garlic

place in pan with oil salt and pepper

(Save the little tops for another garlic recipe.)

save little tops

Roast for 25 minutes and remove to cool.  When cool enough to handle, pop the cloves out of their skins.

pop cloves out

Place roasted garlic cloves into a food processor along with the walnuts.

garlic and walnuts in processor

Process until you achieve a coarse crumb.

process to crumbs

Add the drained chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.

add chickpeas salt pepper lemon and oil

Process until smooth.  Taste, and adjust seasoning if needed.

puree til smooth

Place in a pretty bowl, garnish with chopped walnuts, set out some crackers and prepare to be enchanted.  Seduced, really.

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There is a LOT of garlic in this recipe, and it is definitely the top-note of the flavor.  However, since it’s roasted, it’s a mellow and earthy garlic.  Definitely yummy!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Holiday foods, recipe, snack, vegan, Vegetarian

Chipotle-Style Sofritas

Generally, eating out–especially fast food, and being vegan in Western Colorado is not an easy thing.  And THEN(!) Chipotle introduced its fabulous Sofritas (Crumbled tofu marinated and braised in chipotles, poblanos and other spices….slurp!).  So yummy!  Any time we’re in the Chipotle neighborhood, we’re there for a Sofritas Burrito.  Michael suggested we could figure out how to make this spicy tofu nirvana ourselves; we are “accomplished” vegans, after all, now that we’ve been cooking with tofu for over a year.  🙂

By chance, another blogger liked one of my posts, and I clicked his link “to see what he’s been up to” from the WordPress notification that always shows up with a like.  In the sidebar of his blog, there it was.  Chipotle Sofritas Recipe!  I always have tofu, but needed the poblanos.  Unfortunately, none to be found, so I used a combo of serranos and cubanelles.  The resulting sofritas were spicy (thanks serranos!) and close enough to the Chipotle flavor that I wanted to make them again.

I found poblanos, adjusted the seasoning just a bit and voila!  Homemade sofritas!

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Plan ahead–the sofritas are best after marinating for at least two hours.

ingredients

  • 1/4 cup chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 poblanos, roasted, peeled and seeded
  • 1 14-0z package extra-firm organic tofu (Get organic to avoid GMOs)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili blend–like a fajita mix or a chili powder of your choice
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • a splash of lime juice
  • 1/4 cup broth–I use No Chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf

Roast your poblanos, either in a 400F oven or on your grill.  I chose my outdoor grill–it was a beautiful day!  Roast, turning until blistered on all sides.

roast poblanos

Place the peppers in a plastic bag and seal to steam.  This will help the skins slip right off.

steam poblanos

Drain tofu and place on a clean kitchen towel.

drain tofu and place on towel

Wrap the towel around the tofu and place something on top to help press out most of the remaining liquid.

add weight to press water out

When the peppers have cooled enough for you to handle them, peel by rubbing them gently with your fingers.

peel poblanos

Then remove the seeds and stem.

seed poblanos

Place the cleaned poblanos in your blender.

poblanos in blender

Then add the chipotles, cumin, chili blend, salt, garlic powder, oregano, lime juice and broth.

everything else in blender

Blend until smooth.  Oh my does this smell amazing.  I think it would be a great sauce for all sorts of things!

blended sauce

Crumble the tofu into mostly uniform pieces.  I like mine to be about the same texture as cooked and crumbled ground beef.

crumble tofu

all crumbled

Add the sauce and stir to mix.  Toss the bay leaf in–it will add to the flavor as you cook the sofritas later, and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours or over night.

add sauce and bay leaf

Place the marinated sofritas in a pan and heat, stirring until heated through–about 10 minutes.  I added a bit more broth to help keep the mixture moist.

sofritas in pan

Then serve it up however you like!  Use it however you might use seasoned taco meat.  We decided to make burritos with brown cilantro rice, pinto beans, avocado and lettuce.

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How do you like YOUR burrito?  Last time we made sofritas, we combined the leftover sofrita, beans and rice and made it into enchiladas the next night.  Yum-yum-yummy!

You’ll have leftover chipotles, and they won’t keep long in the refrigerator.  I like to place individual peppers with a bit of adobo sauce into snack size bags, seal them and then seal them into a freezer bag.

freeze leftover chipotles

Then I can thaw out however many chipotles I need for a particular recipe later.  🙂

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Filed under dairy-free, dinner, lunch, recipe, restaurants, vegan, Vegetarian

Sweet and Spicy Pecans

Why hello easy, delicious, make-ahead appetizer!  You’re the perfect crunch that’s not quite sweet, not quite savory and yet completely addictive.  I think I love you.

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Another recipe from the Holiday Appetizer Buffet in Vegan Holiday Kitchen, these pecans were coveted by party guests at this year’s New Year’s Eve party.  Holiday parties are super fun, but happen when you’re most busy and stressed.  This nice little appetizer is the first guest to invite.  🙂

ingredients

  • 1/3 cup agave or maple syrup (I used maple!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/8-1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 2 cups pecan halves

Preheat oven to 300F.

Combine the maple syrup with cinnamon, chili powder, ginger, nutmeg and salt.

combine maple with spices

Stir in the pecans to coat them evenly.  (Ack!  What possessed me to think stirring with my whisk was a good idea?!  The pecans got all caught in there….Just use a spoon.  Really.)

add pecans

Spread coated pecans in a 9×9, aluminum foil-lined baking pan, or an aluminum pan if you have one.

spread in aluminum pan

Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes, until pecans are nicely glazed and toasted.  (This is a departure from the original recipe which says to heat oven to 250F and bake for 20 minutes, stirring after 10.  My location is considered high altitude, and the original temp and time didn’t result in a crunchy glaze for me.)

Let cool and break apart any clumps.  Serve in a pretty dish.

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I wasn’t sure I liked the ginger in these at first–I thought it was a bit too floral.  However, something about the spice combo makes these super addictive.  If you have any leftover after the party, store in an air-tight container and then count out how many you plan to eat as a snack.  Reseal the container.  If you don’t follow this advice, you may end up eating all that are left.  Not that I’d know. 😉

These would be super-delish garnishing a spring spinach and strawberry salad.  Yummmmmm!

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Filed under appetizer, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian

Hot Artichoke and White Bean Dip

Many years ago, a restaurant here in town served an appetizer called Sheep Dip.  I know, not the most appetizing name, but oh my what a delicious combination of hot, gooey deliciousness.  It had tons of cheese and spinach and artichokes.  Yum, yum, yummy!  We ordered it EVERY time we went there.  I have since given up dairy, so no more Sheep Dip for me.  Not that I don’t think about it sometimes.  And THEN!  I treated myself to a new cookbook for the holidays: Vegan Holiday Kitchen.  A beautiful book full of complete menus for every occasion, including a section on appetizers.  One of those recipes looked very, very much like my beloved Sheep Dip.  I just had to try it!  I’m sharing it with you because YES!  Very reminiscent of the original hot gooey deliciousness!

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Serve it in a bread bowl, serve it in the baking dish, serve it with bread or crackers or crudites….perfect for a party, perfect for just you and your sweetie…or just you!

ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 15-oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 1 14-oz can artichoke hearts, drained
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves (or arugula or watercress)
  • 2 TBSP fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella-style grated vegan cheese
  • paprika for topping

Preheat oven to 375F.

Saute onion and garlic in a bit of veggie or No-Chicken broth until the onion starts to caramelize.

saute onions garlic

Place the saute in a food processor along with the beans and cream cheese, process until smooth.

process sauted onions garlic beans cream cheese

Add artichoke hearts, spinach, dill, thyme, salt and pepper.

pulse spinach artichokes and seasonings

Pulse until evenly chopped, but not pureed.

just until evenly chopped

Place in a oven-safe dish, top with grated cheese and bake for 25-30 minutes.

transfer to baking dish top w cheese

Sprinkle top with paprika and serve hot or warm.

Have you noticed I don’t have a picture of the final gooey yuminess?  My guests were already here when I pulled it from the oven.  I was so amazed with it, I sprinkled the paprika, set it on my kitchen island with a flourish and completely forgot to take a picture!  It was delish.  Go make some and see for yourself!

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, Food memories, Holiday foods, recipe, vegan, Vegetarian