Tag Archives: lemon

Thanksgiving Appetizers–Vegan!

The Holidays are upon us.  Cleaning house, preparing for visits, grocery shopping and making plans with friends.  My BFF Becky and I host a holiday cookie exchange for friends we’ve had for years.  It’s the official start of the Christmas season for most of us and we look forward to getting together for yummy food, good times and cookies.  Becky and I always get together about this time to finalize our menu, mimosa flavor and decor.  Planning the cookie party is fun, and planning always goes better with a bit of snackage.  I already have most of my Thanksgiving groceries, so decided to Google around for appetizers that would use those items.  Score!  I found two different roasted appetizers that both used a lemon-garlic aioli as a dipping sauce!  Lucky.  They both roast around the same temperature and for approximately the same time.  Perfect.  I made a half batch of everything and plated it together.  Sweet Potatoes with “Sausage” Bites, and Roasted Brussels Sprouts.  So pretty.  So yummy!

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Here’s what I used to make a snack for two BFFs.  Easy-peasy to double or even triple and use separate pans for the sprouts and potatoes.

ingredients

  • 1/2 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 32-1/2 pieces (I only needed half of this huge potato!)
  • 3 vegan breakfast sausage links, microwaved according to the package, cut into 18 pieces (you’ll have couple left over pieces)
  • 14 small Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and cut in halve or quarters, depending on the size of the sprout
  • spray oil
  • salt and pepper
  • decorative picks

For the Aioli:

  • 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise
  • zest and juice of 1 small lemon–approx 1/2 tsp zest, 1 1/2 TBSP juice
  • 1 TBSP finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 425F.  Line a pan with parchment paper or a silpat.

Prepare sweet potatoes and sprouts.  Spread on the pan allowing for space in between the pieces.  Spray lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Mix around with your hands to coat veggies with oil and seasoning.

chop spray season

Bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through the cooking time, until potatoes are tender and sprouts are caramelized on at least one side.

While veggies roast, make the Lemon-Garlic Aioli.  In a small bowl, combine mayo, zest and juice, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper.

assemble aioli

Whisk until smooth, cover and refrigerate until veggies are ready.

whisk til smooth

When veggies are roasted, allow them to cool slightly on the pan while you microwave the sausages.  Transfer sprouts to a serving dish.

Assemble the Sweet Potato and Sausage Bites.  Using a decorative pick, pick up a sweet potato square, then a sausage piece and then another sweet potato.

assemble sweet potato bites

Place Sweet Potato Bites standing up on the serving dish.  Place the aioli on or near the dish and garnish with parsley if you like.

sweet potato

Place out for your friends and enjoy the flavors of Thanksgiving!  The sprouts, sweet potatoes and garlic really complimented each other, and the aioli kept everything fresh and light tasting.  Overall a success!  I made half of the original aioli recipe and still had lots leftover; it would have been plenty for twice or three times the veggies.

sprouts

How did the party planning go?  Wonderfully.  Between us, Becky and I always seem to come up with a perfect combo of food, drink and decor.  This year’s theme is red and green, and we’re planning a casual buffet service instead of our usual plated brunch.  We just know it will be fabulous, because as always, the party is spiced with friends we’ve had “forever.”  Here’s a look at last year’s party to give you an idea.

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table2

table3

table4

brunch1

brunch2

star cookies

What are your Holiday traditions?

 

 

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Filed under appetizer, comfort food, Holiday foods, vegan, Vegetarian

Barb’s Pesto

My neighbor Barb is one of the reasons I’m vegan.  She and her family have been low-fat vegan for a while and finally convinced Michael and I to give it a try.  We did, we’re more healthy, we love it!  Low-fat vegan cooking is a whole new beastie, when you’re used to olive oil and cheese and eggs.  Barb is my go-to girl when I have questions like, “but how do you saute?”  I love basil and make pesto every summer to preserve that lovely summery flavor all winter.  But pesto has cheese.  And oil.  So, I went to Barb with a “but how do you…” question and of course, she had the answer.  So yummy, so fresh.  And an added bonus–no nuts!  Barb’s allergic to tree nuts, so naturally, she makes her pesto without them.  How could it be yummy without oil and cheese and nuts?!  See for yourself:

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Here’s what you’ll need:

ingredients

  • 8-12 cloves of garlic, depending on the size and how much you like garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes (2/3 cup)
  • juice of 1 lemon (1/2 cup)
  • garlic salt to taste, or just regular salt–again, depends on your garlic tolerances  🙂
  • 1 bag (16 oz) frozen corn, thawed
  • black pepper to taste
  • enough fresh basil to fill your processor

Place everything in the bowl of a food processor with the chopping blade in place.

all in the processor

Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.

process til smooth

To freeze for later, place 1/2 cup pesto into containers–I use snack size ziplocs and then place them into a labelled freezer bag.

package to freeze

Or, enjoy right away:  on pasta, with crackers, with veggies, on a yummy garden-fresh tomato….

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What do you like to eat pesto with?

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Filed under Canning and preserving, dairy-free, dinner, food gifts, Garden produce, lunch, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Middle Eastern Feast

Fattoush, Falafel and Hummus!  Oh my!  Oh yummy!

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I bought garbanzo flour a while ago for some reason…don’t remember what the original plan was, but since, I’ve used it in spicy black bean burgers (yum!) and when I did, noticed a recipe for falafel on the side of the package.  Then I found a recipe for fattoush, a chopped Middle Eastern salad, in a magazine.  I always have chick peas in the pantry, so a feast was hatched!

the feast

The ingredient list is somewhat lengthy, but has everything you need for the entire fattoush, falafel and hummus feast:

ingredients

For the Fattoush:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 TBSP lemon juice
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 TBSP white wine or rice vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1/2 sp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 6 cups chopped romaine ( I used baby greens from my garden)
  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and sliced into half-moons
  • 1 cup sliced scallions
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, chopped

For the Falafel:

  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp parsley flakes (or 2 tsp fresh parsley, chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp round coriander
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup hot water

For the Hummus:

  • 2 cans of garbanzo beans (chick peas), drained, reserve the liquid from one can
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • the juice of one lemon
  • 1 tsp chili powder ( I used chipotle powder for the heat and the smokiness)

For serving:

  • pita breads, warmed

Start with the salad.  Place the greens in a large bowl.  Prepare the tomatoes, cucumber, scallions, parsley, and mint; add them to the greens and toss.  Whisk the dressing together in a pourable container like a measuring cup: olive oil, lemon juice and zest, vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Set aside to dress just before serving.

set salad and dressing aside

Now the falafel patties.  Mix the dry ingredients (garbanzo flour, salt, baking soda, cumin, coriander, garlic and onion powders) in a medium bowl.

mix dry ingredients

Add lemon juice and hot water, stir until combined and let rest for 10 minutes.

add wet and let rest

While the batter rests, make the hummus.  Combine all the ingredients (garbanzos, garlic, lemon juice, chili powder) in a food processor except the bean liquid.  Process until smooth, add enough bean liquid to achieve the texture you like, season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place in a bowl, garnish with chopped parsley and set aside.

hummus

Back to the falafel.  Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat and spray with cooking spray.  Drop batter by tablespoons into the pan and flatten slightly.  Work in batches–the pan I used was big enough to only have two batches–about 14 patties total.

drop by tbsp and flatten

I used a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop–makes this process even easier!

use a cokie scoop

Turn, cooking each side to a pretty golden brown.

fry til golden on both sides

Heat pitas in the microwave, toaster, or grill them (yummy!).  Cut into wedges.

Dress the fattoush and assemble the rest of the feast.

the feast

Eat each thing separately, or dip the pita wedges in the hummus, or open the wedges and spread with hummus, adding a falafel patty and make little sandwiches….or any combination.  Go with your yum.

yum2Relax with some minty iced tea and have a comfortably casual and yummy feast.

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I cut the salad ingredients in half and ended up using only part of the halved dressing.  Flavor the hummus to your liking–wasabi (thanks, Chris!) is awesome, smoked paprika gives a milder heat, roasted red pepper is classic.

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, Gluten-free, lunch, recipe, salad, Vegetarian

Spreadable White Bean Dip

Hummus just got multi-purpose.  Well, hummus has always been spreadable and dip-able, but make it with white beans, and it becomes almost mayo-esque.  You know, that extra little bit of flavor that really makes a sandwich yummy, but doesn’t try to take over the sandwich filling.  The perfect veggie dipper as-is or with whatever fresh chopped herbs inspire you….dill?  Oh yeah.  How about adding rosemary and topping a baked potato?  Are you feeling the versatility?  You’ll want some in your fridge at all times.

store in a jar

How simple are these ingredients?!

ingredients

  • 2 cans of white beans, drained and rinsed–retain the liquid from one can to adjust the texture
  • 2 small lemons, juiced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

Place beans, lemon juice, and garlic in a food processor.

all in the processor

Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides and adding bean liquid as needed to smooth out the spread and attain a velvety texture.  Taste it and add salt and pepper as needed.

process until smooth

Spread on a flat bread, top with veggies of your choice and lunch is served!  Yummy!

sandwich spread

Store in a sealed container in the fridge.  I added some to a tabbouleh instead of the oil suggested–even better!  How will you use YOUR spread?

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Filed under appetizer, dairy-free, lunch, recipe, snack, Vegetarian

Greens and Garbanzos Pasta Salad

There I was.  On the treadmill watching Food Network.  Kind of ironic, exercising while watching people prepare and eat lots of yummy foods.  Especially so with the abundance of butter, cheese, eggs and meat being served up whilst I have become vegan.  Giada to the rescue!  I caught a “Meat-free Monday” episode!  Yay!  Giada was making this pasta salad to serve cold or room temperature at a block party.  Her version uses oil to saute and is served with cheese, but I’m here to tell ya, totally yummy without either!  Michael thinks it’s as good as the house favorite goulash; high praise indeed!

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Head out to your garden or local produce section for a big ol’ bunch of greens and a few other things:

ingredients

  • 1 pound of small pasta  (I used whole wheat “gnocchi”)
  • 1/2 to 1 cup veggie broth
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 12 oz Swiss chard, about 2 bunches  (I used rainbow chard, because it’s pretty!)
  • 12 oz spinach, either baby spinach in a package or leaf spinach  (Remove stems if spinach is large)
  • 1 (15oz) can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pasta water
  • salt and pepper to taste

Prepare pasta as directed, reserving pasta water.

The pretty stems of chard are tough, so remove them after you wash each leaf.  To do this, fold the leaf in half and tear the stem off.

remove chard stem

Add some veggie broth to a large, deep skillet and place over medium heat.  Rough chop chard leaves and spinach.  Add to the pan along with the garlic.  Saute to wilt, adding more veggie broth as needed.

saute greens and garlic

Add tomatoes and garbanzos.  Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

add tomatoes and garbanzos

Reduce heat to low.  Add pasta, lemon zest and juice.

add pasta and zest

Stir to combine, adding pasta water to thin as needed.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

mix with pasta water and lemon juice

Dish yourself up a bowl and enjoy!

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Warm, comfort food-esque, healthy, fat-free, vegan and yummy!  Meaty garbanzos, savory greens and brightly acidic tomatoes, brightened further with lemon.  I made a “parmesan” from 1/3 cup cashews and 1/4 cup nutritional yeast whirred up in a food processor to sprinkle over the top.  Just the thing.  Yum-yum-yummy hot, especially with it being so cold outside.  I’ve sampled a few bites of cold pasta, while waiting for a portion to reheat for lunch the next day.  Yum!  This pasta salad will be super yummy served cold when summer gets here.

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I confess to being a bit overwhelmed and at the same time underwhelmed with the prospect of going vegan.  Not any more!  I’m finding lots and lots of yummy recipes like this that can be easily adapted.  I feel happier, healthier, have more energy and (!) I’m losing weight.  I hope you’ll follow along on my yummy vegan journey.

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Filed under comfort food, dairy-free, dinner, Garden produce, lunch, Potluck, recipe, salad, side dish, Vegetarian

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Lemony Apricot Scones

The other day, I was reading about giving your body a break from certain things to start the new year.  The idea is that after the holidays, your body has been bombarded by too many heavy foods and needs a break.  Dairy tops the list,  along with gluten, of don’ts.  Eating more fruits and veggies tops the list of dos. 

With these healthy recommendations in mind I give to you, dear readers, a yummy way to start your new year:  Gluten-free, dairy-free lemony apricot scones!  Adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook.

You may need to go to a large grocery store or health food store for some of the ingredients.

  • 3 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 3 TBSP agave nectar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 TBSP fresh lemon zest

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silpats.

In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a blender, combine grapeseed oil, agave nectar, eggs, apricots, lemon juice and zest.  Process on high for about one minute.  (The recipe wants you to blend until smooth, but I wanted pieces of apricot in the scones, so didn’t blend as long.)

Stir the wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined.

Drop the batter in scant 1/4 cups 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets.  You will get 16 scones.

 

Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden and a toothpick comes out with just a couple moist crumbs.

Let the scones cool until they can be handled, on the baking sheets, and serve!

Yummy!  So light and fresh tasting!  Just the thing to treat yourself without guilt.  Yummy with tea or juice.  Won’t your coworkers love you for sharing this healthy breakfast with them one of these days?!

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Filed under breakfast, dairy-free, food gifts, Gluten-free

Celine’s Lemon Marmalade

Toast and marmalade for tea?  I think yes!

My mom is always on the hunt for new recipes.  She tries them out and then shares the yummy ones with me.  This super-uber simple recipe is one of those.  Two ingredients and a little time results in a tart, golden, yummy schmear for toast.  Adjust the ingredients to however much marmalade you want to end up with.  I decided to just do a little test run to see how it worked; using just a few small lemons.

  • 3 small lemons–I think Meyer lemons would rock this marmalade–use ’em if you can find ’em!
  • enough sugar to equal the amount of juice from the lemons

That’s it!  First, wash the lemons and peel them, using a vegetable peeler.  I suggested zesting, Mom said absolutely not–your little pieces of peel would not create the desired texture in the marmalade.  You MUST use a veggie peeler.  OK…now that I’ve tasted it, I must agree–use the peeler.  🙂

Finely chop the peel until you have lemon peel confetti.  Place it in a sauce pan that will hold the juice and sugar you expect to use.

Juice the lemons, strain off the seeds, and measure the amount of juice.  Place juice in the pan.

Measure out an equal amount of sugar–I had 1/2 cup of juice, so added 1/2 cup of sugar.  Add to the pan.

Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer.  Simmer for 25-30 minutes, or until a couple of drops of the marmalade dropped into a large metal spoon hold their shape and have a thickness you like when cooled.

Pour marmalade into a sterilized, warm jar.  Seal and cool. 

You can do the whole canning thing if you want and make extra jars for little gifties.  My three little lemons made about 1/2 cup of marmalade–enough for a taste, enough for toast and tea.

What food gifts do you like to give?

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Filed under breakfast, Canning and preserving, comfort food, recipe