Blog of the Belly Biter:

Some plant-based, some unhealthy, some super healthy but ALL good. Kid tested and mother approved!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake.

I made this poundcake to take to a couple of friends during Christmas... but only one of the mini loaves actually made it out to them. Why? Anything that happens at my house that is crazy can usually be related back to Coco. While cutely bowed, labeled and wrapped in saran wrap... she got a hold of them with her little fists and squeezed the crud outta them. Sigh. At least I got a picture before all that happened... and the remainder friends that had to settle for some granola got a kick out of it. "That sounds like her!" They'd say. So Shayne and I enjoyed the crumbled loafs. They were awesome, crumpled and all.

But... at the sole house that the lone loaf safely made it to, Matt & Mandy's... I told Matt that it was vegan and he said, "Really? It is? I'm sold, I cold be vegan if I can eat this." Whether he was teasing me or just making me feel good is still to be decided. But, he did eat like half the loaf while I was standing there... that's a good sign.

There are 2 different glazes... Alicia couldn't decide between the 2 to put in her book so she did both. One is "sweet, glossy, and elegant while the other is fruity and colorful."

Lemon-Poppy Seed Poundcake

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup maple sugar
2 teaspoon egg replacer
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup soy, rice or nut milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup safflower oil (i used coconut)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons poppy seeds

lemon maple glaze
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons kuzu, diluted in a bit of cold water

berry glaze
1 bag frozen berries, thawed
maple syrup to taste
vanilla to taste

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Oil the pans (you can use 3 mini loaf pans, a muffin tin, or 4 mini bundt pans).

Combine the flours, sugar, egg replacer, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk with the lemon juice and set aside for a few minutes; it will look curdled. Whisk in the oil, syrup, and lemon extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir just until combined. Fold in the poppy seeds.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans, and bake for 15 to 25 minutes (mini loafs and muffins take about 15 to 18 minutes; loaf and bundt pans take 20 to 25 minutes) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cake completely in the pans on a baking rack.

If using the lemon maple glaze, combine the syrup and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the diluted kuzu, and continue stirring until the glaze comes to a boil. Simmer for 1 minutes. Drizzle over the cake, and serve.

If using the berry glaze, whiz the berries in a blender with the syrup and vanilla extract to taste. Drizzle over the cake, and serve.

Alicia Silverstone
page 188

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Crackers.

I've been desperate to try and find a good cracker recipe. Graham crackers I've got figured out... but I need real crackers. Like our favorite Milton crackers that I totally don't like paying $3 a box for. The first time I tried this original recipe it lacked a lot of flavor that we were use to with our favorite crackers... and lacked the crunch. Turns out I didn't roll it out thin enough with my cheapy plastic roller. They were still good, just not stellar. I'm sure I'll resort to buying the quick and convenient box... but glad I found a descent sub.

Next time: I'll add more seasonings and borrow my Mom's marble rolling pin. To be continued...

2 3/4 cups unbleached flour (i used whole wheat)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon onion salt
a few shakes of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 cup cold olive oil
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
sea salt for topping, if desired

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while stirring. Then, drizzle in the water and apple cider vinegar. Form the dough into a ball. I found it easiest to form it into three balls and work with smaller pieces.

Roll the dough very thin -- under 1/8th of an inch. This is important, because the crackers will puff up substantially even this thinly rolled.

Cut as desired. I used some small cutters. You don't have to do that. You can use your pizza cutter to cut them into squares.

Place them on your baking sheet. 1/2" apart is plenty, as they don't expand.

Bake the crackers 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned. They will get crispier as they cool.

Repeat until all your dough is used. It's much harder to reroll "recycled" dough. It gets very stiff, so use as much of it as you can the first time around.

Adapted from CookAtHome blog who adapted it from ShmooedFood

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Thank You.

I've basically never put anything personal on this blog - other then my add ins to a recipe write up. But I just wanted to THANK YA'LL for getting on here and using this blog. I've slowly heard more and more people find this thing useful and I love it! It makes me feel good that something I've been working so hard on for the past year has become beneficial to a couple of you out there.

I'd love for the plant-based healthy foodstyle to catch on more...and more... because I know you'll find it beneficial to you and your family... not to mention your hips, thighs and bum!

With the new year I'd love to put some new stuff on here. Like tips, how to get started, how my family and I do it and anything else ya'll think would be useful. So, comment on!

Each time I hear another person got a recipe from here... or with each new comment... or with another person asking me what my food blog is - it makes me happy... and inspires me to try more recipes and get more of them up on here! And trust me... I too need healthy eating inspiration!

Thank you! And wish me luck on trying to stay on somewhat of my 90% foodstyle during the holidays!

A little of my history...BellyBiteBeliefs.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Vegan Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding.

I found this on LovesVeggiesAndYoga and it's Ava's favorite dessert to go in her little ziploc lunch container for school. Yeah for all the protein, fiber and little Omega 3's these little seeds have! Hardly a dessert! I usually double or triple this batch.

2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup nut milk
2 tablespoons agave and/or stevia to taste
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all the ingredients. Stir all the ingredients together and leave on countertop for 20 minutes. Use a whisk if necessary & it may seem like all that chocolate will never dissolve, but it will. And the results will be so worth it.

Come back to it 20 minutes later and stir again. Either devour now...

...Or pop in the fridge for a few hours. Know that the pudding will continue to thicken for the next 4-6 hours. What I like to do is put it in the freezer after it's thickened in the fridge to create an almost ice-creamy like treat with frozen chocolate chia pudding.

This is after 4 hours in the fridge. Whatever you do with it, it'll be chocolaty & yummy, plus you're getting all the great health benefits of chia seeds like extra Omega 3's, yay for the little chia seeds!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Italian Chili.

This is one of my most favoritest soups... ever. The Rachael Ray original is made with turkey - but here is my vegan version. I loved it... so did the kids... but Shayne swore it was too sweet. Huh. Don't know where that came from.

3-4 cups great northern beans (2 cans)
2 onions, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
6 large cloves garlic, 3 grated & 3 smashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
4 jarred roasted red peppers, drained
1 quart (4 cups) vegetable broth
4 to 5 sprigs thyme
2 tablespoons (a couple palmfuls) chili powder
2 teaspoons (2/3 palmful) sweet, smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (eyeball it)

3 tablespoons earth balance butter
1 loaf crusty bread (about 1 pound), cut into 1-inch squares
3 tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 375°F.

In a big pot over medium-high heat, steam fry onions, carrots, grated garlic and bay leaf until browned, about 8 minutes more. Add beans. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then stir in the balsamic vinegar, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot.

While the veggies are browning, puree the roasted peppers in a food processor. Stir the puree into the pot then add the vegetable broth, thyme sprigs, chili powder, paprika and allspice, and season with salt and pepper. Bring up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. 

croutons: While the chili is simmering, place a small skillet over medium heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, butter and crushed garlic cloves, and cook 2-3 minutes. Place bread in a large bowl. Pour the garlic butter evenly over the bread. Sprinkle with rosemary and lots of pepper over the bread and toss to coat. Place the cubes on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until golden and crunchy, tossing occasionally. Remove from oven and let cool.

To serve, remove bay leaf and thyme springs from the pot. Ladle chili bowls and top with a handful of the croutons.

Yields: 6 servings {I needed to serve more, so I added 4 more cups of vegetable broth to the above ingredients and it still came out perfect! seasonings and all...}

Tip: To make life easier but get the same yummy rosemary taste with the soup,  I buy the rosemary crusty bread at central market, slice it, toast it, rub with a clove of garlic while hot and use it as a dipper instead of croutons.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Gooey Chewy Caramel Corn.

In attempts to find a healthier treat for Shayne to take to a couple people this Christmas season, I turned to some of the GreenSmoothieGirl holiday recipes I've been wanting to try. This one's not full of the expensive ingredients that I don't want to hand out if I don't think people will really appreciate it... and it's not junk that I'll feel bad giving to people.

I've come to realize that I'm starting to be know for something... and with this 'healthy' label I can't very well hand out complete junk. Right?
When they were all done, I asked Shayne if 'regular people' will think it tastes good - he gave me the thumbs up. Although, he's almost as 'messed' up on the taste buds as I am (especially with being off white sugar for 7 1/2 years now). I omitted the craisins and used sliced almonds to make it a little more mainstream... Now, I just wonder how they liked it because my kids!!

10 cups popped popcorn (about 1 cup kernels)
½ cup honey
½ cup sucanat
½ cup brown rice syrup (i used date syrup)
1 teaspoon molasses
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup coconut oil
1 tablespoon salt
½ cup pecans
½ cup dried cranberries

Mix the honey, sucanat, molasses, vanilla, coconut oil, and salt together in a medium sauce pan. Cook on medium heat until it is just about to boil. Take off of the stove and pour over popped popcorn. Fold in the pecans and dried cranberries.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tomato Bisque.

You are going to loooooooove me for telling you about this soup. I saw Tal Ronnen on Oprah, he's a gourmet vegan chef. He sold me on how yummy his Celery Root Soup with Granny Smith Apples looked. I instantly put myself on the waiting list for his cook book at the library. When it came in months later, I picked it up and almost went right to the grocery store to buy the stuff for half of his recipes. Then I told myself to calm down... which I did... and then I calmed down a little too much because it's taken me 9 months to try any of his recipes. Other then the cashew cream & whipped cashew cream, I haven't tried a single one. Even the celery root one... crazy how that happens. because this soup is amazing. So super simple, but it feels like you're eating a big bowl of naughtiness! Which, I like that feeling. Sure it has some fat in it from the cashew cream... but hey - would you rather be getting your fat from nuts or the cow down the road? I'll choose the nuts.

sea salt
4 tablespoons earth balance
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (i used whole wheat)
5 cups vegetable broth
1 (28-ounce) can while fire-roasted tomatoes, juices included
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
leaves from 2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups regular cashew cream
parsley for garnish

Place a large stockpot over medium heat. Sprinkle the bottom with a pinch of salt and head for 1 minute. Add the earth balance and stir until melted, being careful not to let it burn. This will create a nonstick effect. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes.

Add the stock, tomatoes with juice, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the cashew cream. Continue to simmer (do not boil) for 10 minutes.

Remove the bay leaf. Working in batches, pour the soup into a blender, cover the lid with a towel (the hot liquid tends to erupt), and blend on high for several minutes until very smooth. Ladle into bowls and garnish with parsley.

The Conscious Cook
Tal Ronnen
page 94
makes 6 serving
time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

The same night I tried my hand at brussel sprouts. B.O.M.B. You can't win them all. I have never had them - or at least that I remembered. And I hear that you either love them or hate them. And in Veganomicon it said the only way to eat them is roasting them... so I did... and I still reside on the hating side. Funny thing is, Coco ate them. What a weird little girl.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Texas Governor's Mansion Sweet Potato Muffins.

I actually remember the very first time my Mom made these muffins. I was home from college, sitting on the bench at the kitchen table in our old house, entranced by the smell of these things... bit into it and thought... I told her they were awesome and she said she found the recipe in the paper and they were served at the Texas Governor's Mansion. If they were good enough for George W., they were good enough for me. I think I ate 4 of them. Good thing my brothers weren't there and there were 4 to be had.

I thought about them the other day and was bummed that the original recipe called for buttermilk, egg and oil. That didn't discourage when I remembered how I can sour even soy or almond milk with a little bit of apple cider (or lemon juice) like I do in Our Favorite Cupcakes. The egg I have already experimented on with flaxseed. I did use coconut oil, because of all my reading with GreenSmoothieGirl.

Now it is on.

They were amazing... and really took me back to that kitchen bench. Yum. You don't have to love sweet potatoes to think these are awesome. Even Shayne liked them - and he hates sweet potatoes. (Although I think I'm slowly breaking him of that hatred)

I did all my calculations doubling the batch. Just do it and freeze half. There's nothing like pulling out some already to eat muffins out of the freezer for a snack, lunches or another dinner.

4 cups whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons + 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cloves
2 cups almond milk
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons flax meal
6 tablespoons water
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup maple sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup applesauce
4 cups sweet potato, shredded & lightly packed

Preheat oven to 350*.

Sift in a bowl together the flour, baking powder (4 teaspoons), baking soda, salt and cloves. Set aside.

In a small measuring cup combine almond milk and apple cider vinegar, set aside for 5 minutes.

In a small bowl mix and let congeal the flax meal, baking powder and water.

Add all wet ingredients; milk mixture, flax mixture, maple syrup, maple sugar, coconut oil and applesauce. Combine with dry ingredients and fold in the shredded sweet potatoes.

Fill in lightly sprayed muffin tins and bake at 350* for 20 minutes. Make sure they're cooked through by inserting a fork. I like it better then a toothpick because there's more prongs so it tests more of it :). Without any egg, it takes a little longer for them to set. Cool in tins.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Green Beans with Toasted Walnuts and Dried-Cherry Vinaigrette.

snagged from bon
This recipe was in the Thanksgiving issue of my Bon Appetit magazine. I was in charge of a side for the big day and figured I'd give it a try, along with the maple-braised butternut squash with fresh thyme. I know they say not to try new recipes for such a big day... but after looking at the ingredients and making it in my mouth... I knew they'd both be awesome. And they were. They're both super easy and super healthy.

The very first time I make a recipe I follow it exactly, then as I make it more often I play with it a bit. What's here is the exact and in parenthesis is my additions. It's so easy and so, so yummy.

By-the-way, can I just say how much I love bon appetit? When I first got into cooking Shayne got me a subscription. I thought it was mighty sweet and very ambitious of him to do so. But he had more faith in me then I had in myself at that time... and I'm glad he did. I never thought that I would have actually cooked stuff out of it... I just thought it'd be some good eye candy for me. So, thanks Babe - for believing in me!

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (I used 1/4 cup... and next time I'll try my oil-free substitute)
1/3 cup minced shallots
3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Sherry wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint {omit!! I save mint for my gum}
1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar (agave nectar)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper plus additional for sprinkling
1/3 cup dried tart cherries (craisins are just as good in this)
1 1/2 pounds trimmed slender green beans
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, chopped

Whisk first 6 ingredients and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in small bowl. Mix in dried cherries; set aside. (I like to blend in my blender so it's more of a dressing and I don't have chunks of cherries/craisins) DO AHEAD Vinaigrette can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill. Bring to room temperature; rewhisk before using.

Fill large bowl with water and ice; set aside. Cook green beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. (I do it for 5-8 minutes since I don't really like my beans crispy) [For crisp-tender vegetables, boil them quickly, then dump them into a bowl of ice water. The rapid boil cooks the veggies just enough; the ice water stops the cooking and intensifies the color of the vegetables.] Drain. Transfer to bowl with ice water; cool. Drain. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Wrap in paper towels; enclose in resealable plastic bag and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before continuing.

Toss green beans, walnuts, and vinaigrette in large bowl. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Transfer to platter and serve.

Maple-Braised Butternut Squash with Fresh Thyme.

snagged from
Here's my other new fave that I discovered for Thanksgiving dinner from bon appetit. The flavors are so yummy together. The 3 stores I went to were out of fresh thyme so I had to use dried and it was really good still! Yeah for dried herbs.

3 tablespoons earth balance "butter"
1 3 - 3 1/2 pound butternut squash, cut lengthwise in half, peeled, seeded, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon (or more) black pepper

Melt earth balance in heavy large deep skillet over high heat. Add squash; sauté 1 minute. Add broth, syrup, thyme, salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook until squash is almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer squash to large bowl. Boil liquid in skillet until thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Return squash to skillet. Cook until tender, turning occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with more pepper, if desired.

THE TECHNIQUE: BRAISING: sautéing, then cooking low and slow in a bit of liquid) is most often associated with meat, but it's also a great way to cook veggies. Fibrous vegetables like butternut squash are the perfect candidate for braining. The braising liquid infuses the squash with flavor and makes it very tender.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mexican Millet.

We love this, Shayne loves this, and use as a side for fajitas, sweet potato black bean burritos or any other latin flared dish. Easy and I love using different grains.

1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup millet
1 small yellow onion, diced finely
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced
2 cups vegetable broth
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup finely diced tomatoes, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
freshly squeezed lime juice, for garnish

Heat the a medium-size, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat and steam-fry the garlic - about 1 minute. Add the onion and jalapeno, and fry, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and slightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. dd the millet, stir to coat, and saute for 4 to 6 minutes, until the millet is lightly golden. Pour in the vegetable broth and add the tomato paste, salt, cumin, and diced fresh tomato.

Bring the mixture to a boil, stir once, and cover. Lower the heat to low and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.

Remove from the heat and allow to sit, covered, for 0 minutes, then sprinkle with copped cilantro and fluff the millet with fork. Garnish each serving with a little fresh lime juice and diced tomato, if desired.

{{The original recipe calls for using 2 tablespoons of peanut or vegetable oil to fry the garlic, onion and jalapeno in.}}

page 118
serves 4
time: 45 minutes

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Garden Bounty Tortilla Soup.

I got this recipe from Jami, who got it from her Peacocks on My Porch cookbook (read this if you're interested in what the name means... a clue: I loved it being the wife of a cyclist and somewhat of a cyclist myself). And I just veganized it. I love all the vegetables in here... but didn't quite understand why it was tortilla soup (maybe I copied it down wrong). Either way, next time I'm going to do the crisping and pureeing of the corn tortillas like I did in Brooke's soup next time (and probably take out the potatoes). I just love that flavor in the back of it. It's got a pretty sweet kick to it too, which Shayne loved.

8 cups vegetable broth
1 red onion, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2-4 potatoes, peeled and dice
1 can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
2 cloves minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoon canned chipotle in adobo (sliced)
1 teaspoon jalapeno, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon oregano
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1 medium zucchini, sliced
1 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1 can corn, drained
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
garnish: avocado, limes & toritlla strips

In a large stockpot over high heat, combine broth, onion, carrots, potatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, garlic, chipotle in adobo, jalapeno, oregano and cumin. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes. 

Add the salt and white pepper, zucchini, squash, bell peppers and corn. Bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add cilantro, lime and orange juice. Stir well and remove from heat. Garnish with fried tortilla strips, diced avocados, and lime wedges if desired.

If you don't like things very spicy, go easy on the jalapeno’s and chipotle peppers. If you find this out after making it - just add more broth.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Chewy Chocolate-Raspberry Cookies.

Love these cookies I adapted from Veganomicon. I made the already vegan cookies into naturally sweetened ones and used the healthier coconut oil instead of canola and swapped out most the white flour for whole wheat. Love the texture of the raspberry seeds in the soft cookie.

1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1/2 cup maple sugar (or 1 cup sugar)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (sift if clumpy)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350*. Lightly grease cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the raspberry preserves, sugar, oil, vanilla, and almond extract.

In a separate mixing bowl, sift together the other ingredients. Add the dry to the wet in three batches, mixing well with a fork after each addition. When you get to the last batch, you may need to use your hands to work the batter into a soft and pliable dough.

Roll the dough into walnut-size balls and then flatten them with your hands into 2 1/2-inch-diameter disks. Place on cookie sheet (they need be only 1/2 inch apart because they don't spread out when baking). Bake for 10 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

adapted from Veganomicon
page 234
makes 2 dozen
time: 35 minutes

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Artichoke Pesto Pasta

I made this for the first time back in May (which feels like worlds away with how far I've come on all this foodstyle thing)... and have revamped it a couple of times. Every time it got better and better. Because my kids weren't big fans of eating the actual artichokes, I now puree them, and it turns them into this thick, cream-like stuff. Yum. Which has made this amazing pasta even yummier because now it's just full of yummy, creamy goodness. One of my most favorite recipes - by far.

Other then the taste, it's also my favorite because it's amazingly easy too. When I make it, I always double the pesto and freeze half of it. It's the best on-hand meal you could have on your shelf (artichokes) and in your freezer (pesto). Yum.

1/2 pound spinach or whole wheat pasta1 medium-size red onion, sliced into thin half-moons
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons white grape juice, veggie broth, or water
1/2 teaspoon salt
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Basil-Cilantro Pesto (see below)
1 (15-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and pureed

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions, usually about 10 minutes. Once you've added the pasta to the water, proceed with the recipe.

Preheat a large skillet over medium-high heat and steam-fry the onion until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Puree in blender the rinsed artichokes. Add the garlic to the skillet and saute for a minute more. Add the white grape juice, salt and pepper, and cook for another minute or two. Lower the heat to low. At this point, the linguine should be done.

When the pasta is ready, don't drain it. Use a pasta spoon to transfer it to the pan in batches. This is a good method because you can use the pasta water to thin out the pesto and make sure that everything gets evenly coated. When you add one batch, add a bit of the pesto, too, and using the pasta spoon, saute to coat. Proceed with the rest of the pasta and pesto until you've added all of it. Stir in the artichoke heart puree. If it seems dry, add extra splashes of pasta water.

Cook gently over low heat just until all is heated through, about 3 minutes. Serve immediately!

adapted from Veganomicon
page 191
serves 4
cook time: 35 minutes

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

In the book they say this is their "cheapskate" pesto because they're using a cheaper nut, almonds, instead of the traditional pine nuts. I guess "cheapskate" translates to awesome in my book, because that's what this stuff was... awesome! I could eat it by the spoonful. And with using my fat-free oil substitute instead of oil - I could... and did...
2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro
1/3 cup slivered  or sliced almonds
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup fat-free oil substitute

Place the basil, cilantro, almonds, garlic, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor and blend until pasty, scraping down the sides occasionally. With the food processor on, slowly drizzle in the oil substitute. Blend until relatively smooth and no large chunks of almonds are left. If you don't have a food processor and are using a blender (i did this so i didn't have to get out the big food processor), then just add the olive oil at the end, since many blenders aren't equipped with and opening to drizzle into.
Veganomicon, pg 214
makes about 1 cup
time: 10 minutes

Saturday, October 30, 2010

belly bites by week: 6th addition

it's the end of the month and i'm out of money... but i think i managed fairly well with what I had on hand. so glad i didn't have to revert to ramen... which was recommended to me by my facebook friends. and so, sooo glad that my coconut oil arrived in the mail - which I had forgotten I ordered - just in time to make some granola since i ran out of steel cut oats for breakfast. so between that and spiced pumpkin oatmeal, we were good for breakfast.

sunday, 24th

monday, 25th

tuesday, 26th

wednesday, 27th

thursday, 28th
double dave's
{seems to be our pick lately, must be the cookie dough pizza...}

friday, 29th

saturday, 30th
{indulging to get ready for our cash budget next month, yikes!}

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Black Bean Pumpkin Soup.

I don't know what I was thinking trying yet another black bean soup... we've got 2 that we love. But, when I saw this one from Swanson's with pumpkin, flour, balsamic vinegar & ham... I had to give it a whirl. Tis the season for pumpkin, right!?

It turned out awesome, the 2nd day. Good the first, but awesome the 2nd. Why? In the original recipe it tells you to use flour, but it never tells you when to put it in. Well, I put it in way too late - not even thinking. And formed little flour balls all throughout the soup. No bueno to my texture challenged husband. So, when it was eaten for leftovers I sent it through the BlendTec and it was creamy, whippy, and lump free. So much better.

Adapted from the original... i made it vegan, took out the wine - adding grape juice, took out the ham - adding liquid smoke...

3 cans black beans, (4 1/2 cups cooked) rinsed and drained
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon Himalayan Crystal salt
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns, ground
2 tablespoons earth balance butter
4 cups vegetable broth
1 can (15oz) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup red grape juice
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
3 to 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

In a food processor or blender coarsely puree beans and tomatoes.

In a 6 quart heavy kettle cook onion, garlic, cumin, salt and pepper in butter over medium heat, stirring until onion is softened and beginning to brown. Add flour, and stir until well mixed. Stir in bean puree. Mix in broth, pumpkin and grape juice until combined and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, 25 minutes or until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Just before serving, add liquid smoke and vinegar and simmer, stirring, until heated through. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

White Corn Tortilla Soup.

This one is from my friend Brooke's, Simply Real Food blog. It's sooo yummy. I never really thought about how you make tortilla soup so yummy, til now. I honestly didn't realize you actually ground chips in with the soup. I thought that it just meant you ate it with tortilla chips. What was I thinking? Did I really just admit that? Duh. I added a little more spices to mine, and it turned out awesome. Even better the next day for lunch.

5 corn tortillas, cut into 1-inch squares
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced white onion
1 1/2 teaspoons minced jalapeño pepper
1 pound white corn kernels, divided
1 can Great Northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 pounds red tomatoes, chopped
1/3 cup tomato paste
3 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 1/2 cups water
1 quart vegetable broth
Garnish: tortilla squares, fresh cilantro, etc.
Spray tortilla squares with cooking spray, lay on baking sheet and bake in oven at 375* for about 5-8 minutes until toasted.
Over medium-high heat, steam-fry garlic, onion and jalapeño; cook 1-2 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add half the corn along with all other ingredients (except garnishes), reserving other half of corn to be added at the end. Bring the soup to a low, even boil. Boil for 5 minutes.

Remove soup from heat. Add in tortilla squares (reserve some for garnish). Use a hand-held processor, food processor, or blender to process soup in batches to the consistency of a course puree.

Return the soup to the burner and add the reserved corn. Bring the soup to a boil once again being extremely careful to avoid scorching or burning. Serve with garnishes. Makes 6-8 servings.

Salads & Sun Drenchers.

I've never really gotten into salads. Weird, huh? My problem with them is that it takes so many ingredients to make it taste really good... which means a little more work then I'd like. And, salad dressings are notorious for being crap in bottles.

But, after I saw this video on Green Smoothie Girl... and went to their website and read all about it... I had to order the Sun Drenchers salad dressing right away... and give them the old college try (thanks to Shayne, I've added that phrase into my repertoire).

The salad dressing is amazing... and it should be at $10.99 a bottle. No worries, I go way easy on my dressings. But now I usually have a big ole salad for lunch, followed by a Shrek Shake for afternoon snack. How's that for some awesome raw, whole foods?!

I'm diggin mine with romaine lettuce, corn, peas, tomatoes, sunflower seeds, beans, sprouts, sweet peppers and carrots.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal.

It's the end of the month... I'm out of my budget money for groceries... my 50 pound bag of steel cut oats is gone... and I'm having to figure out something good for breakfast. I remember seeing this pumpkin oatmeal in my new cookbook... so I pulled it out. Luckily had all the ingredients for... prepped as  much as I could the night before... got up a little earlier to start cooking it for the kids... and bam! It was yummy! I think the cinnamon was a bit strong - so when I do it again I'll tone it down some. It was yummy, but we missed our steel cuts. Creatures of habit. You could do a whole lot worse with no money, that's for sure!

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons agave nectar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients with 4 cups of water in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is mostly absorbed and the oatmeal is creamy.
the get healthy, go vegan cookbook
dr. neal barnard, md
and robyn webb
page 65

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sunflower Seed Sour Cream.

I love real sour cream. I remember while growing up and clearing off the table... I'd use the spoon from the leftover sour cream, get a big scoop, eat it, then stick the spoon in the dishwasher. While it doesn't repulse me to think about it now, I'll never know - but it should. This is from my friend Brooke and is a great sub, and super easy to make.

If I think about it the night before or morning of, I'll soak the sunflower seeds. Makes it so they blend up a lot creamier. If not, no biggie. So good!

1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup water
4 tablespoons lemon juice
1 garlic clove pressed (or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder)
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Place ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

belly bites by week: 5th addition

sunday, 17th

monday, 18th

tuesday, 19th

wednesday, 20th

thursday, 21st

friday, 22nd

saturday, 23rd
family dinner at Sweet Tomatoes

Friday, October 22, 2010

Vegan Mexican Spaghetti.

So I updated a classic from about a year ago, which was originally a Rachael Ray... I just took out the beef, alcohol, cinnamon and added tomato. Turned out awesome.

2 ancho chili peppers, stemmed and seeded {i found a big bag of them at Wal-mart}
3 cups vegetable stock
3/4 pound soyrizo {Sprouts}
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 12-ounce can tomato sauce
1 pound whole wheat spaghetti
Finely chopped scallions, cilantro or parsley, to garnish

Simmer peppers in stock for 15 minutes to reconstitute, then purée stock and softened peppers in a food processor.

Meanwhile, heat heavy pot over medium-high heat add soyrizo, brown 8-10 minutes. Then add onion, garlic, bay leaf, salt and pepper, and cook 8-10 more. Then add tomato paste and cook 1 minute, stirring.

Add tomato sauce, stir a minute more then add the stock and pepper purée. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

While sauce simmers, bring water to boil for spaghetti. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Serve in bowls with pasta, sauce on top, and garnish with scallions and cilantro or parsley.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cups.

Once I made these yummy raw banana split cheesecake cups, I knew I had to try it with pumpkin. Tis the season! They turned out so yummy and rich and cute. Now, I just need to do them again and take notes along the way. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

White Chili.

When I was first interested in healthier eating I found Ellie Krieger on the Food Network channel, dvred her shows, and watched them... and trying a few. She's a good go between because she still uses all "real" ingredients and none of the stuff you can't find at a normal grocery store. She uses meat and cheeses, but makes them as healthy as she can.

So it was fun to pick up her newest cookbook from the library and see how I can tweak some to fit us. This recipe spoke to me with the white beans, hominy, cumin and coriander... all of which I love. It also called for turkey (1 lb. white meat), which I omitted. And only used 1 instead of the 3 poblano peppers she used. I learned a few recipes back that they were a tad too strong for the kids. Although, it may be the cayenne.... I don't know. I'm too scared to try each on their own to decide which one it is... so I just ease back on both.

White Chili.
1 medium onion
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium poblano pepper, seeded, white ribs removed, and finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, plus more to taste
2 - 15 ounce cans white beans (or 3 cups cooked) drained & rinsed
4 cups vegetable broth
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 - 15.5 ounce can hominy, drained and rinsed
3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
lime wedges

In a large pot, over medium heat, steam fry the onion, celery, and poblano peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

Add the white beans, broth, and oregano. Cook, partially covered and stirring occasionally, for 25 minutes. 

Add the hominy, 3/4 teaspoon of salt, and more cayenne pepper to taste and continue cooking, partially covered, for 10 minutes longer. Ladle into individual bowls and top each serving with cilantro. Garnish with lime wedge. 

adapted from So Easy
by Ellie Krieger
"White Turkey Chili"
page 189

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red Lentil Soup.

This soup is from my friend, Brooke's "Simply Real Food" food blog. It's yummy. It's also the soup that my Coco-koala climbed up the spindles on our kitchen chair to get to. It's also the soup that she ate so fast I wondered if she even chewed anything up. Basically, it was really good. Thanks Brooke!

1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 carrots, chopped (1 cup)
1 can diced tomatoes (or use fresh to equal about 1 1/2 cups)
1 celery rib, chopped
5-6 kale leaves, stems removed, finely chopped
1 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1 cup dried red lentils
1/2 cup millet, optional
5 1/2 cups water
2-3 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Steam fry in a 4-5 quart saucepan over med high heat, onion, stirring until golden. Add garlic, carrots, tomato, celery, kale, cumin, coriander, and salt and saute 2 minutes. Add lentils, millet, water, and broth and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in parsley, season with salt and pepper as desired, and serve.