Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Mini Polenta Pizzas

I know people say the polenta in the little tube from the grocery store is not very good, but I've never had polenta before and I didn't want to go through all the trouble to make it from scratch just to find out I don't like it. So I bought a tube of sun dried tomato and basil flavor and tried to find something to do with it. I found a recipe for polenta lasagna and I just sort of worked off of that, making these little tasty treats that are almost like pizza bagel bites without the whole in the middle. Very yummy and not hard to make and a giant plus: this did not create a lot of dishes for me to do! I think these would make a great lunch for the boys!

I just used the Food Merchants Organic Polenta in Sun Dried Tomato and Basil, cut into 1/2 inch rounds. I oiled a small cookie sheet and lined these up and sprinkled a little more olive oil on top. I baked them at 425 for 15 minutes then broiled them for 5 minutes. Then I sprinkled on chopped fresh spinach, a spoonful of marinara sauce, and a little bit of Daiya Mozzarella and popped em back in the oven at 425 for 10 minutes. These are sprinkled with nutritional yeast flakes also. Yum!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dairy Free Creamy Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  When I first thought about making loaded baked potato soup with Jack friendly ingredients, I honestly didn't have much faith that it would taste good. The way I was originally planning to make it probably would NOT have been very good. But half way through the boiling of the spuds, I happened to glance over at a bulk bag of raw cashews we bought with no real purpose in mind and it struck me to make a quick cashew cream to thicken it up. I did not soak these overnight and it still worked beautifully, but I have read that to make proper cashew cream you need to soak the cashews overnight in cold water. I just place 1 cup of cashews in my Blendtec and add just enough warm water to cover (about 1/2 cup) and then blend until smooth. In my Blendtec this takes about 30 seconds, it may take 2-5 minutes in a standard blender though.

Creamy Loaded Baked Potato Soup

1/2 lb turkey bacon, cut into small pieces
*1 Tbl olive oil (you may need a tsp or so more)
1 onion, diced
5 Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups vegetable broth (more if too thick)
3 Tbl Soy Free Earth Balance
3 Tbl potato starch flour
1 1/2 cup cashew cream (see above for directions)
1 cup plain unsweetened almond milk or water
3 green onions, chopped thin
1/2 cup Daiya Cheddar shreds
1 Tbl sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

In a large stock pot, fry bacon pieces. Because turkey bacon is rather dry, you may need to add a tsp of oil to keep them from sticking. Once they are fried with crispy edges, about 6 minutes, remove them from pot with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbl olive oil. Once heated, add onion and cook until transparent, about 5 minutes. Add potatoes and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Remove about 1/2 of the potatoes and mash. Set aside.
In a small pan, melt butter. Stir in flour and cook 2 minutes. Whisk in the almond milk or water and cashew cream. Cook on low for a few minutes until it has thickened. Stir into the potato pot. Bring the mixture to a boil. Stir in the mashed potatoes and reduce heat to low.
Stir in most of the Daiya Cheddar, half of the cooked bacon, and half of the sliced green onions. Add pepper and salt and cook for another 5 minutes. If it is too thick, add water or vegetable broth 1/4 cup at a time until desired consistency. Serve with Diaya Cheese, turkey bacon, and sliced green onions sprinkled on top. (We prefer ours to be very thick, as you can see in the photo!)

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Dairy and Wheat Free Pasta Primavera

  A version of this recipe arrived in my inbox from I usually just skim past their daily e-mail but this one caught my eye, what with the 'no cream pasta primavera' title and all. I still had to do some adjusting, but this was way good; a nice tangy, garlicy sauce that complimented the roasted vegetables and pasta perfectly. I HIGHLY recommend this recipe!!
  By the way, we are trying to remove as many genetically modified foods from our diet and trying to avoid 'the dirty dozen' pesticide contaminated foods, so we used organic, non-GMO corn pasta and organic bell pepper.

Dairy and Wheat Free Pasta Primavera

1 yellow squash, chopped
1 zucchini, chopped  
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1 carrot, sliced thinly
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thin strips
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbl olive oil, divided
3 Tbl Soy Free Earth Balance Buttery Spread
1/2 Tbl lemon juice
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped basil
1/3 cup chopped parsley
2 tsp lemon zest (or 1/2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning in a pinch)
3 Tbl balsamic vinegar
10oz corn penne pasta
Optional: nutritional yeast flakes for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 450.
In a large bowl, toss squash, zucchini, green beans, carrot, and bell pepper with 2 Tbl olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. On a foil lined baking sheet, spread oiled vegetables into a single layer. Bake 15 minutes until tender. Meanwhile, boil penne according to package directions. Set aside.
While veggies are roasting and pasta is boiling, heat 1 tbl olive oil and 3 Tbl buttery spread in a skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until onion is tender. The onion and garlic will sort of be swimming in the butter, but that's ok. Add parsley, basil, lemon zest, and balsamic and cook about 1 minutes. Add pasta and toss to coat, cook until heated through. Remove from heat and in a large bowl (I just wiped out the bowl I mixed the veggies in to begin with), toss pasta and vegetable mixture together. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast flakes and serve.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Super Easy Turkey Hash Breakfast (For Dinner!)

  Yesterday was my birthday! Chris and I were planning on leaving the boys with my dad and going out to dinner and a movie, so I thought I'd make something really simple for the boys' dinner. Well I scanned the pantry shelves for awhile and came up with something I thought they would eat and could pick up with their fingers. It turned out to be SO yummy, I had to mentall scold myself to stop 'sampling' it so I'd still be hungry for dinner! This was good for dinner but it would make an excellent breakfast for sure! This recipe is sort of cheating, since I used canned new potatoes. You could make it with fresh potatoes, it would just take a little longer.

Easy Turkey Hash

2 Tbl olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 can diced new potatoes, drained
1 can turkey SPAM, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/4 cup thawed frozen corn
1 tsp Emeril's Southwest Seasoning (or any seasoning you choose)
S & P to taste

In a learge skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add Southwest Seasoning, onions and bell peppers and saute until soft and onion is transparent. Add diced potatoes and corn and mix well, then spread the potatoes in the pan so they are mostly in a single layer. Turn heat down to medium and allow them to sit without stirring for 5 minutes, then stir and spread them flat again, cooking for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small skillet over medium heat, fry SPAM cubes, stirring occasionally, until edges are crispy. Mix them into the potato mixture, season with salt and pepper, and enjoy :)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Hearty Turkey Veg-A-Bowls

  Haha, kudos to my husband Chris for coming up with the name of this dish! We had a lot of stuff in our fridge to use up including some bell peppers, leftover quinoa, and a corn/black bean mixture I made the other day when I had an amazing Southwest Salad. Anyway, so here is what we came up with and this was pretty darn tasty and made in under 30 minutes total. Sweet!

Hearty Turkey & Vegetable Bowls

1 Tbl olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups diced green bell peppers
1 10oz can Rotel tomatoes, drained
1 cup corn, canned or frozen (thaw if frozen)
1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
3 Tbl vegetable broth
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup cooked quinoa
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Optional: "Sour Cream" substitute (4 Tbl soy free Vegenaise and 4 tsp lemon juice, mixed well until no lumps)
Daiya Cheddar Shreds for sprinkling on top

In a medium saucepan over medium-high, heat oil. Add turkey and brown, about 4 minutes, making sure to break it apart with a spoon. Add bell peppers, onion, tomatoes, corn, beans, vegetable broth, and Worcestershire sauce and stir well to combine. Cook about 3 minutes, then cover and reduce heat to low, simmering for 15 minutes until bell peppers are tender. Remove from heat and stir in cumin, vinegar, quinoa, salt, and pepper. Serve with sour cream substitute and cheese, if desired.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mushroom Barley Risotto

  Well I was watching Nadia G.'s Bitchin' Kitchen and she was making risotto, which is made of rice and contains all sorts of cheese. I couldn't even begin to figure out a yay to make that Jack friendly, so I sort of ignored the whole recipe. Then a little later I started thinking, well could I make it with quinoa? Lentils? Barley? I searched and searched for recipes and found a great one on using barley and though it still required some adjusting to make it fit our needs, it looked easy enough.
  Needless to say, this came out amazing. It was so creamy and even slightly cheesey, the mushrooms gave an outstanding flavor and texture, and the health benefits of barley were a nice touch.
  I was going to make this meatless as well but for Chris' sake I added a little bit of sausage. We both agreed while we were eating this that it would have held it's own without the sausage though, so this could easily be a great Meatless Monday meal or vegan dish as well.

Sausage Mushroom Barley Risotto

2 Tbl olive oil
*1/2 lb ground turkey sausage
1 cup yellow onion, chopped
12 ounces cleaned and sliced/cubed mushrooms (I used 2 portobellos and an 8 oz package of button mushrooms)
3 Tbl chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbl chopped fresh thyme
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup quick cooking pearled barley
5 cups vegetable broth (divided)
1 Tbl soy free Earth Balance buttery spread
2 Tbl nutritional yeast flakes
3 Tbl soy free Vegenaise
1-2 tsp sea salt, to taste
fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large deep skillet or saucepan on medium heat. Saute onion until it just begins to brown, then add sausage and brown, making sure to break it up. Add mushrooms and saute until they have released their liquid and are golden brown, about 10 minutes. You may need to add 1-2 Tbls of water if the mushrooms start to stick.
Stir in herbs and garlic, then add in barley and stir to coat for 1 minute. Add 4 cups of  broth and bring mixture to a boil over high heat.
Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat to medium and add another 1/2 cup of broth, stirring until it is absorbed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of broth and do the same, until barley is tender but still slightly firm. (If you used non quick-cooking barley, you may need to add another cup of broth in this manner).
Remove from heat and stir in butter, yeast flakes, and vegenaise until all are well incorporated. Season with salt and pepper if desired.

* just skip the sausage and this becomes vegan

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Copy-cat Newman's Own Southwest Salad Dressing, veganized

   Chris and I had a hard time getting used to daylight savings time the other day. We were out and about with the kids, decided to run to WalMart, and then realized when we got in the car to leave it was actually Ben's bed time and we hadn't even fed anyone yet. So we ran through McDonald's and got the boys some french fries, Chris got his all time favorite splurge food: Chicken nuggets, and I got a Crispy Chicken Southwest Salad. I never knew a salad from McDonald's could be so GOOD! I wanted to find a way to replicate it at home in a more Jack friendly way though. Turns out that wasn't as hard as I thought! I cut a corn tortilla into strips and fried them till crunchy, then topped a bed of spinach with black beans, corn, tortilla strips, Daiya cheddar shreds, and this really tasty copy-cat Southwest Dressing!

Vegan Creamy Southwest Dressing

1 cup Soy Free Vegenaise
2 tsp lime juice
2 tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp ground cumin
dash of cayenne (optional)

Mix all ingredients well. Keep refrigerated in air tight container for up to 3 days.

Banana Quinoa Muffins

I can't help but love a banana muffin! I haven't had one in so long though, and I didn't think I ever would agian until I found this recipe (calling for real eggs) on the back of the quinoa flakes box. I whipped them  up this morning using egg replacer. They were so easy and taste wonderful, and the texture is spot on to traditional muffins made with wheat and eggs! Hooray! Plus you can't beat the added nutrition of quinoa and the fact that these contain no refined sugar, they are sweetened only with honey and banana. Also, these could easily be made vegan by using agave nectar rather than honey!
Banana Quinoa Muffins

I made regular and mini muffins, the boys loved the little ones!
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1/2 cup quinoa flakes
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbl honey (or agave nectar if vegan)
2 very ripe bananas
EnerG egg replacer for 2 eggs

Preheat oven to 400.
Mix flour, flakes, and other dry ingredients in a bowl. In a seperate bowl of a stand mixer (or by hand) mix bananas, eggs, and honey until mostly smooth with small pieces of banana remaining. Add dry ingredients and mix just until wet. Do not overmix. Pour into greased muffin tins. Only fill muffin tins halfway, these will rise! Bake 20-25 minutes until the tops are lightly browned.
Makes 12 standard size muffins (or 6 standard and 12 mini muffins!)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Roasted Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

This is a very simple side dish, tasty and dare I say, a tad healthy. We bought a bunch of sweet potatoes from the farmer's market and then found really nice looking organic ones at a local health food store, so we're stocked to the gills in sweet potatoes! I sorta shot from the hip with this recipe and I'm glad I did, it was great and both the kids loved it too!

Also, as a side note, I am afraid Jack may have a corn allergy. I can't be sure just yet, but I'm going to try to avoid corn and corn products in my recipes for awhile.

Roasted Cajun Sweet Potatoes and Carrots

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 medium carrots, sliced into coins
2 Tbl olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
a few cracks of fresh ground pepper
1 tsp cajun seasoning
1/2 tsp dried rosemary

Heat oven to 400.
Place carrot and sweet potatoes pieces on a large cookie sheet with a rim. Drizzle on olive oil and stir pieces around with a spatula to evenly coat. Sprinkle on salt, pepper, cajun seasoning, and rosemary and stir again. Spread pieces out into a single layer on the cookie sheet. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until all pieces are fork tender and bottoms are slightly brown and crisp. Stir once halfway through for even browning if desired.

Easy Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

  Once again, I forgot to take a picture! I need to keep the camera by my chair at the table.... Anyway, yesterday was Meatless Monday and as I had purchased some lovely mushrooms the other day, I decided to do stuffed mushrooms as a main dish rather than just an appetizer. These were very easy and very good!

Vegan Stuffed Mushrooms

1 8 oz package button mushrooms, rinsed ( think that this might be very good served in portobellos as well, but I can't say for sure how they would cook up)
2 Tbl olive oil (plus some for greasing the dish)
1/2 medium white onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp sea salt
a few cracks of fresh black pepper
a quick pour of Marsala Wine
1 medium handful (about 1/8 of a cup) Daiya Mozzarella shreds)
1 cup wheat free bread crumbs of your choice

Heat oven to 375.
Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
Pop stems out of mushrooms. Take about half of the stems and mince them, the rest you can throw away. In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbl olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and saute until onions begin to turn transparent. Add mushroom stems, basil, and italian seasoning. Cook about 3 minutes. Add the other Tbl olive oil, bread crumbs (reserving a little for sprinkling on the tops), salt, and pepper to the skillet, stir to combine. Pour in the Marsala wine and stir until liquid has cooked off. Remove from heat, stir in Daiya and mix well. Carefully stuff filling into mushroom cavities, overflowing them slightly. Place them in the baking dish. Sprinkle the tops with the rest of the bread crumbs and bake 30-45 minutes, depending on how closely packed the mushrooms are in the dish. Check the mushrooms often after 30 minutes, take them out if the mushrooms themselves become very dark.
Use caution, these little buggers really retain their heat on the inside! I burned my tongue on one 20 minutes after they came out of the oven!

We had these with a big helping of quinoa cooked in vegetable broth and sauted onion (the other half of the one called for in the recipe!), and roasted green beans.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Amazing Quinoa Cookies

  Ok, I just said it in my last post but finding a good cookie recipe has been next to impossible since finding out Jack was also allergic to rice and oats. The cornmeal hedgehogs are good, the boys love em, but they aren't really cookies.
  While at a wonderful organic health food store in Weatherford (Abundant Health Nuturally) on Saturday, I came across a product I had never really paid attention to before: quinoa flakes.  The box says "For hot cereal and much more!" I thought for hot cereal it might be really nice, as I can only stand grits so often, so we bought it. Once I got it home I saw the back of the box had recipes for cookies and banana bread muffins. The cookie recipe called for rice flour but I just used corn flour (NOT corn meal) instead and the results were fantastic! These LOOK like cookies, taste like cookies, do not fall apart and are also not hard as a rock, just perfect! I am in love! I can't wait to try out the banana muffin recipe (that will call for substituting egg so it's hard to say if it will work as well or not).

 Some nutritional facts about quinoa versus other grains:

                           Quinoa         Wheat       Rice         Corn        Oats
Protein                   16.2             14.0        7.5            3.5           13.0
Fiber                       3.5                2.3        0.9            0.7           10.6    
Healthy fats            6.9                2.2        1.9            1.0            5.4
Carbs                      63.9              69.1      77.4          22.1          66.1

per 100 grams
Calcium, mg         141.0             36.0       8.0            6.0
Phosphorus, mg    449.0            224.0    143.0         207.0
Iron, mg                 6.6                4.6          0              3.7

Amazing Quinoa Cookies

1/2 cup honey (or agave nectar if vegan)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup Soy Free Earth Balance
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup corn flour (or quinoa flour, perhaps)
3/4 cup quinoa flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup Enjoy Life vegan chocolate chips (optional)

Heat oven to 350.
Beat honey, brown sugar, Earth balance, peanut butter, and vanilla in stand mixer until creamy. In a small bowl, combine flour, flakes, baking soda, and salt and mix well. Add to honey mixture and beat until well mixed. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookies sheet. Bake 12-17 minutes (longer for crunchier texture) or until light golden brown. Cool 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Cornmeal Hedgehogs!

  It's "Fried Friday" at our house and my husband insisted on fried tilapia and hush puppies. While I was making the hush puppies (I use Zatarain's Fish Fri and follow the directions on the side of the box, using Ener-G egg replacer, olive oil, and almond milk rather than egg, shortening, and milk) I thought to myself, I wonder if I can follow these recipe guidlines but make something sweet since there are so few cookies that Jack can have, and he needs all the calories he can get. So I experimented and came up with these! We called them hedgehogs because the dough sunk onto the fryer basket a little and they look a bit like, well, hedgehogs! I'm sure I will improve on this recipe but for now, here it is!

Excuse my not so great picture, I just grabbed a quick pic with my phone.
Cornmeal Hedgehogs

1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup potato flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
Egg replacer for 1 egg
2 Tbl olive oil
enough almond milk to make thin 'dough' (I forgot to measure this and instead just poured and stirred)

Heat your fryer to 375. Stir together all dry ingredients. Add egg replacer and oil and stir well. Slowly add almond milk (you could use plain or vanilla) until you have a dough thick enough that you can roll into balls, but not too dry. Roll into balls the size of ping-pong balls and fry 4-5 at a time for about 8 minutes each. They might be tasty sprinkled with powdered sugar before they cool as well!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sartu di Patate (Potato Cake)

  I think Nadia G. from Bitchin' Kitchen is my new idol! Anyway, the Sartu di Patate is a recipe of hers, adjusted for our needs. This was absolutely delicious! I don't even have anything else to say about it!

Sartu di Patate

4 large Russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
6 slices turkey bacon
1 cup Daiya Mozzarella Shreds
1/2 cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds
3 Tbl nutritional yeast flakes
1 Tbl sea salt
1/2 Tbl garlic powder
about 2 Tbl Earth Balance soy free butter
1/4 cup italian seasoned breadcrumbs (I usually make my own but decided to try out some corn crumbs I got last time I was at sprouts. I just added Italian seasoning and salt.)

Preheat oven to 350.
Boil potatoes in salted water until soft, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut turkey bacon into small pieces and fry, allowing it to get extra crispy. Set aside.
Once potatoes are fork-tender, drain and in a large bowl, mash until still lumpy but no large chunks remain. Stir in mozzarella and cheddar, yeast flakes, salt, and garlic and bacon bits.
Grease a casserole dish. Scoop potato mixture into the casserole dish and smooth out the top. place 'pats' of Earth Balance butter every few inches on top, then evenly sprinkle with crumbs. Bake about 30 minutes until you get a nice crunchy crust on top. Mmmm!

5 Minute Kale Saute

  This recipe is modified from This was so super yummy, quick and healthy, and something I could easily make as a side dish or for myself for lunch during the week. I really enjoyed this! Chris didn't, but he's not the biggest fan of vegetables or vinegar-y stuff. Too bad for him!
  Also, according to an article I just read in Reader's Digest, research has shown that vinegar consumed with a meal lessens the glycemic affect, meaning that it keeps your blood sugar from spiking dramatically which can cause hunger shortly after you've eaten and long term weight problems. So that makes this an even BETTER side dish!

5 Minute Kale Saute

4 cups kale, de-stemmed and torn into bite size strips
3 Tbl olive oil
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup raisins
1 Tbl raw sesame seeds

optional: you could use sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, or pine nuts in place of the sesame seeds, and use golden raisins to mix it up.

Heat oil in medium/large skillet. Once heated, add kale and saute about 2 minutes. Once leaves BEGIN to shrink up and wilt (don't wait until they are already wilty!), add vinegar and salt. Cook another 2 minutes, stirring contantly. Stir in raisins and seeds/nuts. Serve warm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Vegan Black Bean Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta Fazul)

  Happy Meatless Monday! Tonight I made a recipe adapted from Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen. Her recipe included bacon, chicken stock, wheat pasta, and parmesean, which I excluded or substituted to fit our allergies and monday meatless-ness. I also exchanged the white beans for garbonzo and black beans plus a few other adjustments. This was a big hit with everyone in the family!
  By the way, nutritional yeast flakes are cheesy, salty flavored flakes (sorta look like fish food) that can be used like you would use parmesean, or sprinkled on popcorn, or used to make "cheese" sauces, etc. I recommend you get yourself a container of it! I get mine off of
Anyway, without further ado, here is the recipe!

Vegan Black Bean Pasta e Fagioli 

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 Tbl olive oil
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes (or 1 can drained stewed tomatoes)
1 can garbonzo beans, mostly drained
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
4 cups vegetable stock (soy, wheat, dairy free)
1 tsp oregeno
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 pinch brown sugar
2 tsp sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
3/4 lb corn pasta elbows

  In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high heat and fry garlic for about 1 minute. Add vegetables and saute until onion begins to turn translucent and lose it's bright purple color. Add the vegetable stock and tomatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  In a food processor, puree garbonzo beans (drained except for about 2 tsp of liquid from the can) until fairly smooth, about hummus texture. Add the pureed beans to the stock/veggie mixture and stir well. Add oregeno, brown sugar, rosemary, pepper, salt, and cayenne if using. Simmer 30 minutes.
  In the meantime, boil pasta in a seperate pot as per package directions until al dente. You could cook the noodles in the stock, but non wheat pastas have a tendency to turn to mush very quickly, so I recommend you keep them seperate to have some control.
 After the stock has simmered 30 minutes, add the black beans and allow to heat through (about 5 minutes). Mix pasta and soup together in bowls, sprinkle with a pinch of nutritional yeast flakes, and enjoy!
Serves 4

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vegan Baked Potato Florentine

  Let me preface this by saying I forgot to take a picture. I was having such a hard time not eating all the filling while I was making these, and as soon as they came out of the oven Chris and I ate them up! The boys did not like it as much, but Jack has been in the midst of an EoE flare since about a week ago so he's not really eating anything these days.

  These were very yummy, but took forever to make. I'm not really one to make things that take more than an hour, but we felt like these were worth it! The mushrooms lend a 'meatiness' to the dish that makes you feel like you are not missing something even though these are vegan.

Vegan Baked Potato Florentine

4 medium Russet potatoes, scrubbed*
1 medium bunch fresh spinach, stems removed
1/2 white onion, chopped
5-6 white mushrooms (caps and stems), coarsely chopped
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp (divided) sea salt
3 Tbl (divided) Soy Free Earth Balance
1 cup Soy Free Vegenaise
1/4 cup Daiya Mozzarella
1 slice Food For Life White Rye bread (or other wheat free bread)
Olive oil for rubbing on potatoes

Preheat oven to 400.
Rub potatoes with olive oil, lightly salt if desired, and prick several times each with a fork. Place directly on oven rack or on a cookie sheet. Bake for 40-70 mins, depending on size, until they give a little when you squeeze them. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Reduce oven temp to 350.
In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbl SF Earth Balance and saute onion until just beginning to brown. Add mushrooms and stir continuously until mushrooms become soft and brown. Add spinach and stir until wilted. Remove from heat, set aside.
In food processor or by hand, process bread slice into crumbs. Add 1 tsp salt and stir well. Combine bread crumbs and Daiya Mozzarella shreds in a pie pan, set aside.
Once potatoes have cooled enough that you can handle them, slice one side off of the potato lengthwise, so that when you scoop out the inside you are left with a potato 'canoe'.  You could also cut the potatoes in half lengthwise, but I liked having deeper pockets to fill with yummy goodness. Repeat with all the potatoes, leaving a 1/4 inch thick shell, scooping insides out into a large bowl. To the bowl, add 1 tsp salt, 2 Tbl SF Earth Balance, garlic salt, and SF Vegenaise to and mash until smooth and creamy. Add the sauteed vegetables and stir well. Fill the potatoes with the mashed potato/vegetable mixture, packing it tightly and slightly mounding the top. Take stuffed potatoes and roll the top in the bread crumb/cheese mixture, giving them a nice even crust. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet and bake 15-20 minutes, til heated through and cheese is melted.

* if removing eyes from the potatoes, make sure you make as shallow and cut as possible so that once you hollow out the inside you do not have holes in your potato canoes!!!