Blog of the Belly Biter:

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

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fruit with Whipped Cashew Cream

This stuff is awesome! I'll be using it instead of whipped cream on all of my desserts. I just need to figure out the consistancey. With the coconut oil, when you put it in the frigde it hardens up. Not hard, hard. But not light and fluffy like whipped cream. I think if I take it out and let it sit for a bit before serving make work. Either way, the taste is still super yummy! And can you say super healthy?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Homemade Vegetable Broth

This is so easy to make it's ridiculous! I've been much more conscious of what's on a products ingredient list, and most broths (especially the pastes/cubes) have ingredients I don't understand at all and loads of salt.

It comes from the Veganomicon cookbook, which has some pretty good stuff in it... and I've decided it's almost worth buying it and not just using the ones I scanned in before I had to return it to the library.
V n/tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, skin included, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly choppednbv
I usually double or triple this recipe, put some in the fridge since I use it regularly... And the rest I put in ziplock bags/baby food containers in 1/2, 1, 2 and 3 cups increments, then freeze. Then pull it out the morning I need it, put it in the fridge to thaw and it's good to go.

What's awesome is that there's a teaspoon of salt in like 9 cups of broth. Awesome. I've changed the recipe up some each time I've made it. It's a great way to get rid of ripe veggies. I've put in celery, mushrooms, and herbs.

Morgan's Veggie Burgers

You know when you find a new recipe, and you think it's going to be the cure-all and the end-all and fabulous?! because it looks good and it's healthy, I mean real healthy?!?! And you get super excited?!? Especially in this meat downsizing house that I'm in. And then you make it and it totally doesn't live up to it's expectations? Yeah... that's how I felt about this one. They were good. But it just wasn't beef. Shayne said it perfectly when he explained that he supports this half-vegetarian thing... but don't try to make stuff that's suppose to be meat - nonmeat. Totally got it. And totally agree. Especially not our burgers!!
{sandwich thins, avocado, sprouts & pepper jack}
steak fries
{romaine, red cabbage, sprouts, carrots, tomatoes, sunflower seeds}

Monday, March 29, 2010

Vegan Zuppa Toscana

I love, love... love this soup from the Olive Garden. And fell back in love with it when Shayne took me out on my post half marathon date. Although I just about barfed once I realized all the cream that I had had in the meal. So, I decided to vegan up this recipe and see how it went. It was awesome! Shayne couldn't taste the difference. And the kids loved it!!

1 lb. vegan sausage + 1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed {omit 1 lb ground Italian sausage}
1½ teaspoon crushed red peppers (i reduced so it wasn't too much for the kids)
1 large diced white onion
1 teaspoon of smoked sweet paprika {omit 4 tablespoons bacon pieces}
2 teaspoons garlic puree (2 cloves, minced)
10 cups of vegetable broth {omit 10 cups water and 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
1 cup cashew cream {omit 1 cup heavy cream}
1 lb. sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
1/2 of a bunch of kale (stems removed and chopped}

1. Saute sausage and crushed red pepper in pot. Drain excess fat (there won't be any with the vegan), refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
2. In the same pan, saute onions and garlic for approximately 15 minutes, or until the onions are soft. Add in the smoked sweet paprika.

3. In a stock pot put in the vegetable stock, then add the onions/garlic mixture and cook until boiling.

4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.

5. Add cashew cream, sausage and kale and cook until heated through.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Taco Pasta Toss

This was super yummy and the kids loved it!! I added black beans for good protein and cut down to 1/2 lb. of beef.

salt and pepper
1 pound penne rigate or whole grain penne rigate pasta
1 tablespoon EVOO
1 pound grond beef sirloin (i halved the meat)
1 large onion, chopped
1 large jalapeno chile - halved, seeded and thinly sliced crosswise
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 - 14.5 oz. can of black beans
1/4 cup tomato paste
one 12-ounce bottle beer or 1 1/2 cup chicken stock
2 cups shredded cheddar, monterey jack or any Mexican semisoft cheese
2 small plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 head iceberg lettuce or 1/2 small heart romaine lettuce, chopped

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt it, add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and return to the pot.

2. While the pasta is working, in a large skillet, heat the EVOO, 1 turn of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Add three-quarters of the onion, the jalapeno, garlic, chili powder, coriander and cumin; season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onion is softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in the drained and rinsed black beans. Stir in the tomato paste for 1 minute, then stir in the beer/stock.

3. Add the sauce to the pasta and toss. Spoon into a serving dish, top with the cheese and tent with foil to melt the cheese, about 1 minute. Top with remaining onion, the tomatoes and lettuce - just like tacos!

Everyday with Rachael Ray magazine
March 2010

Friday, March 26, 2010

Graham Crackers.

pic from
We love the cinnamon graham goldfish... here's a vegan take on them that we found yummy! I'm going to try to have these on hand for Coco to have at church. Thank you veganyumyum... they're yum. {be sure to watch her videos... way cute.}

2 1/2 cups graham flour* or stoneground flour or whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup earth balance margarine
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup agave nectar (or a little more sugar mixed with water)
3/4 cup water

Mix the all the dry ingredients together. Cream together Earth Balance and sugar. Add vanilla and agave and beat with a whisk until smooth. Add a little of the flour and a little of the water to the earth balance/sugar mixture and combine. Continue adding in flour and water, a little at a time, until all flour and water is added. Work the dough with your hands until everything is evenly combined.

Divide dough in half and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Preheat oven to 325º F. Roll out the dough into a rectangle that measures approximately 11″x15″. Trim edges. Using a knife or a pizza cutter, cut the dough into squares or rectangles (I cut mine into 1′x1′ squares). Prick the squares with a fork.

Bake for 30-40 minutes at 325º F or until the crackers are turning golden brown around the edges. You can sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on top of the crackers during the last 10 minutes of baking if you like.

Remove from the baking sheet and let cool on a wire rack.

*Make your own graham flour: 
1 cup~= 2/3 cup white flour + 1/3 cup wheat bran + 1.5 teaspoons wheat germ

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mint Chocolate Cake {almost Vegan}

{i so wish I could take better pictures... this does not do this justice!!}

Have you ever had a friend rave to you about something so yummy, you started dreaming about it?!? Well, enough was enough when Carrie kept forgetting to send me the recipe after she salivated all over me after telling me she made it again. My Dad was coming over for dinner, and he loves chocolate cake... so I thought it would be the perfect time to make it.

After I'd been hearing about it for so long, I was a little worried that it wouldn't deliver... but no worries, this baby sure did deliver. Yum. And it delivered even in almost-vegan form! Everything but the eggs.

2 cups sugar (1 cup agave nectar)
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup coco powder, packed
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (almond milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (safflower oil)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water

Mix dry ingredients. Beat wet ingredients in a separate bowl for 2 minutes. Add to dry mixture. Stir in boiling water. The batter will be really thin and runny. Grease 2 - 9 inch round cake pans. Pour batter in... bake 350 for 30-35 minutes.

Let cool in pan, then take out and frost. Super, super YUMMY!!!

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened (vegan)
2/3 cocoa powder, packed
2 1/2 - 3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk (almond milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon mint (i used peppermint b/c that's what I had, and it was yummy... although I hear just plain 'mint' is yummy too)

Cream butter and sugar, add in the rest.

Cashew Cream

I was totally excited when I checked out the conscious cook by tal ronnen from the library... After seeing him on Oprah, I knew I wanted to give his stuff a whirl. And then when I saw his vegan solution to cream... I couldn't wait to try it. I've made his mashed potatoes and they were scrumpy. I've had success with substituting it in soups when called for cream. It's great in cream based pastas. The whipped cashew cream for desserts is heavenly! Use anywhere you use whipping cream for desserts.

regular and thick cashew cream
2 cups cashews, raw (not pieces, which are often dry) rinsed very well under cold water

Put the cahsews in a bowl and add cold water to cover them. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight. (I've found this isn't necessary, you just blend a little longer)

Drain the cashews and rinse under cold water. Place in a blender with enough fresh cold water to cover them by 1 inch. Blend on high for several minuts until very smooth. (If you're not using a professional high-speed blender, which creates an ultra-smooth cream, strain the cashew cream through a fine-mesh sieve.)

To make thick cashew cream, simply reduce the amount of water in the blender, so that the water just covers the cashews.

makes about 2 1/4 cups thick cream or 3 1/2 cups regular cream
prep tims: 10 minutes, plus soaking overnight

whipped cashew cream
1 cup thick cashew cream (above)
1/4 cup light agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup refined coconut oil, warmed until liquid

Place the cashew cream in a blender and add the agave nectar, vanilla, and 1/4 cup water. Blend until thoroughly combined.

With the blender running, slowly drizzle the coconut oil in through the hole in the blender lid. Blend until emulsified.

Pour into a bowl and chill in the refrigerator, covered, for 2 hours. Stir before serving.

makes about 2 cups
prep time: 5 mintues, plus 2 hours chilling

The Conscious Cook
Tal Ronnen

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spiced Lentil Tacos.

These are a family favorite... and we eat them like every other week. The leftovers are awesome too. A great meal to feed to your meat eating buddies... they usually like it and don't ask lame questions like, "Where's the meat?" or "Is this it?".

1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 pkg taco seasoning or make your own
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth or water
1-2 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce finely chopped (can be omitted if you don't want it too spicy)
tortillas, warmed

The fixings...
shredded lettuce or cabbage
diced tomatoes
sliced avocado or guacamole
vegan ranch

Warm about 1 tablspoon of water in a large skillet or sauce pan (or enough water to form a thin layer on the bottom). Let that warm up then add onion and garlic and cook until onion begins to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add lentils and taco seasoning. Cook until spices are frgrant and lentils are dry, about 1 minute. Add broth and chipotle chilies; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are tneder, 25 to 30 minutes.

OR, better yet... throw it all into your crockpot and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours.
Serve with lettuce (or cabbage), tomatoes, avocado, corn, cilantro, lime wedges, olives, rice, black beans, salsa, vegan ranch --whatever fixings you like on your tacos. Or make into a taco salad and crunch up some tortilla chips.
a great side: Tex-Mex Fried Rice
love this stuff! i added some black beans to it this time. love the hominy

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Rollover Jerk Chicken with Roasted Vegetables and Pineapple

3 red onions, roughly chopped and divided

4 cloves garlic
1 bunch scallions
Juice of 2 limes
2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, seeded
2 to 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/4 to 1/2 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon (about a palmful) sweet paprika
1 tablespoon (about a palmful) cumin
2 teaspoons (about 2/3 palmful) allspice
1 teaspoon (about 1/3 palmful) cinnamon
6 sprigs fresh thyme
1/3 to 1/2 cup EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus some for drizzling
4 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 yellow bell pepper
2 red bell peppers
1 green bell pepper

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Place one red onion, the garlic, scallions, lime juice, jalapeño peppers, red wine vinegar, orange juice, paprika, cumin, allspice, cinnamon and thyme in a food processor and pulse to combine. While running, stream in the EVOO to form a thick paste.

Place the chicken in a roasting pan and season generously with salt and pepper. Rub the paste on the chicken and place in the oven to cook. About 25 minutes. 

Place the pineapple, bell peppers and 2 red onions on a baking tray. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle them with some EVOO. Place tray in the oven with chicken. 

I serve over brown rice. The 'paste' make more then I need for my family, so I freeze the leftover to use again. This last time I made it I put the chicken in the crockpot, with the peppers and onions on top, then poured the paste over the top. Cooked 3+ hours on high during church. Then I added the pineapple to the crockpot, shredded the chicken and served it all over brown rice. It was super easy and pretty good crock-potted. Although I prefer the roasted ones.

adapted from Rachael Ray

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Carrie's Whole Wheat Pancakes

My friend Carrie gave this recipe to me with some whole wheat flour she ground herself. She said the freshly ground flour made the cakes.... they sure did! Inspired me to bust into my food storage, go grind some wheat at her house and make them again and again. I am almost ashamed to say that for my family, we doubled this and only had 6 left over.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 eggs yolks, reserve egg whites

Combine all ingredients except egg whites. Whip 2 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into pancakes mixture. And cook away.

Syrup: I nuked some frozen strawberries and blueberries in the microwave, smooshed with a fork and then mixed in some cinnamon.

To eat: I put my pancakes down, sprinkled some nut dust on and then poured on the syrup. Soooooooooo heavenly!! I owe you big-time Carrie for this one!!