Blog of the Belly Biter:

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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Faux Parmesan.

Parmesan cheese is something I use to love. It's like the perfect finish to a soup, a salad, bread sticks, pasta... you get the idea. And this isn't like the real thing. But it's a yummy substitute. My kids love to dip things, sprinkle things and scoop things. And this is a good sprinkle.

While I'm still experimenting with what all I can use it on, Chef AJ puts it on air popped popcorn, potatoes and steamed veggies, ontop chili and soups. Yum.

Plus, nutritional yeast is an excellent source of (a complete) protein, dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Faux Parmesan Cheese {raw}
1 cup raw almonds or cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon salt-free seasoning (Benson's Table Tasty) {i just used Mrs. Dash}

In a food processor fitted with the "S" blade or in a blender, combine all ingredients until a powdery texture is achieved. If you like ti more chunky, process less.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Broccoli.

This month my parents went to Dr. McDougall's advanced study weekend seminar (so jealous!) and they took a class from this amazing vegan, unprocessed, salt-free, sugar-free chef, Chef AJ. My mom loved her class, loved her personality and loved her food. She was sold. Bought her book. Bought me her book. And now we're both sold.

I skipped the reading and went straight to the recipes. She doesn't use any processed foods. No salt and she only uses dates to sweeten things. Her stuff is awesome. Here's the first thing I tried from Chef AJ. Sold and love how it comes together so quickley!

1 pound brown rice noodles (spaghetti or linguine)
1 pound broccoli florets
3/4 cup peanut butter, unsweetened and unsalted
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low sodium tamari
2 tablespoons date syrup
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1/4 - 1/2 ounce piece of fresh ginger, pressed
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 scallions, thinly sliced on the diagonal
sesame seeds or chopped unsalted peanuts for garnish (optional)

Cook pasta according to directions on package. {Run under cold water when done. She serves it cold, I've never tried it that way... so if you want it warm, don't rinse. If you want it cold, rinse and tell me how it was.} Drain and place in a large bowl.

Blanch broccoli {and run under cold water when done}. Dran and add to pasta bowl along with the scallions.

To make the sauce, combine peanut butter, water, rice vinegar, tamari, date syrup, garlic, ginger and red pepper in a suacepan over medium-high heat. Whisk until smooth and cook for about 10 minutes until thickened. Pour dressing over noodles and broccoli and thoroughly combine. {Chill until it becomes cold.}

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Chili Cheese Fries.

I had a craving for chili cheese fries... you'd think I'm pregnant - but I'm not. Who has those sort of cravings?! I worked up this little combo and loved it. We had a huge garden salad to make the not-even-naughty meal seem a little less not-even-naughty. It just felt like the right thing to do.

4 large Idaho potatoes, cut lengthwise into 6 wedges
grill seasoning

1-2 cups cooked lentils
1 large onion, chopped
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
1-2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons tomato paste
Hot sauce, to taste
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
(adapted from Rachael Ray)

Cheezy Sauce
2 cups vegetable broth or water
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of dried thyme (crumbled in your fingers)
1/4 teaspoon salt
several pinches of freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
(from Veganomicon)

Preheat oven to 450ºF.

Place the potatoes into a large bowl. Spray them with EVOO spray and sprinkle with the grill seasoning and combine. Using a cookie cooling rack on top a baking sheet, pour the fries on top. With the cooling rack it'll allow the air to circulate all around the fries so they'll crisp everywhere. Plus it won't be necessary to flip them. Bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes.

While the potatoes are roasting, place a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat... add the onion, garlic, jalapeño, chili powder and cumin to the pot. Cook until the veggies soften, 5-6 minutes, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the tomato paste to the pot and cook for about 1 minute, until it smells sweet and has caramelized slightly. Add the hot sauce, Worcestershire and broth to the pot. Bring everything up to a bubble, then reduce the heat and simmer the chili until thickened, about 10 minutes. Add in cooked lentils to warm.

Cook the cheese sauce... Combine the broth and flour in a measuring cup and whisk with a fork until dissolved.

Preheat a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Place the oil and garlic in the pan and gently cook for about 2 minutes (or just steam-fry), stirring often and being careful not to burn the garlic.

Add the thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for about 15 seconds. Add the broth, turmeric, and nutritional yeast, and raise the heat to medium. Use a whisk to stir constantly. The mixture should start bubbling and thickening in about 3 minutes; if it doesn't, turn the heat a bit higher.

Once the mixture is bubbling and thickening, stir and cook for about 2 more minutes. Add the lemon juice and mustard. The mixture should resemble a thick, melty cheese. Taste for salt (you may need more depending on how salty your vegetable broth is), turn off the heat, and cover the pan to keep it warm until ready to use. The top might thicken a bit while it sits, but you can just stir it and it will be fine.

Lay the fries out on a plate, pour over the chili and then add the cheese sauce. Yum. 
A perfect combo of Rachael Ray & Veganomicon

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Baked Vegan Mac & Cheese.

So I've been struggling with my almost 6-year-old with all things healthy eating. She use to be an amazing eater and eat any and everything healthy. Would ask me for healthy food and beg for shrek shakes. Long gone are those days, and I blame it all on kindergarten. It's like after seeing how the "other side" eats... and setting her eyes on that cafeteria line - it's all she wants. It's a constant battle.

One day, post kindergarten corruption, she told me she wanted to go have a playdate at her friend Emily's house because her Mom makes them yummy macaroni & cheese... I almost cried. Ouch. So, I was on a quest to find my baby girl some healthy mac & cheese. Found this recipe, on an awesome new site my friend Natalie told me about. I spent a good 3 hours drooling over all her recipes.

The bummer is, we all loved it, except her. I'm beginning to think that we're dealing with some sort of power struggle combined with the food issue. Lovely.

1/2 medium potato, peeled and chopped (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
1/2 large carrot, peeled and chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 small onion, peeled and chopped (about 1/4-1/3 cup)
1 ½ cups raw cashews
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
4 garlic cloves
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon mustard
~300-340 grams dry/uncooked whole wheat macaroni or other pasta
1 slice bread
1 tablespoon Earth Balance or butter
Fresh or dried parsley, to garnish (optional)
Paprika, to garnish

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grab a small casserole dish and set aside. In a medium sized pot, add the chopped potatoes, carrots, and onion and fill with water until just covered. Bring to a boil and then reduce to low-medium heat. Cook for about 15 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, process 1 slice of bread until crumbs form in a food processor. Add in 1 tablespoon of Earth Balance and process until incorporated. Place in a small bowl and set aside.

Now assemble your cheese sauce ingredients (cashews, almond milk, garlic, lemon, salt, yeast, pepper, mustard) and add just the cashews to food processor. Process until a fine crumb forms similar to corn meal. Now add in the rest of the cheese sauce ingredients and process until smooth.

Once the veggies are cooked, drain and add to cheese sauce mixture in food processor. Process until smooth.

Add your pasta to a medium sized pot and fill with water until the pasta is covered by about 1 inch or so. Bring to a boil and reduce to low, cooking for about 7 more minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

In a large bowl, mix together your cheese sauce and drained + rinsed pasta. Scoop into your casserole dish and sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Now garnish with paprika and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350*F. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or dried parsley if you’d like.

Note: This is a heavy and drier mac ‘n cheese. If you want it less dry, you might want to add some Earth Balance/butter or additional milk.

my friend Natalie told me about her sight, and our friend Mimi told her

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Nut Dust.

In a food processor I grind any kind of nuts together. I usually do a mix of almonds, walnuts, pecans and sunflower seeds. Put it in a freezer ziplock and put it in the freezer to keep fresh. I use it for a ton of stuff... oatmeal, veggie cookies, sprinkle on yogurt.

I learned it from Dr. Fuhrman's book, Disease Proof Your Child (if you have little kids and babies and are interested in a plant-based diet for them, read it!). I introduced Corynn to nuts at 9 months and this stuff is perfect because what baby can crunch down on a nut? Well, I guess some can but mine were late teethers and didn't stick everything in their mouths. Weird, right? 

And for all you that think you don't like nuts, I was one of them, try it. You won't even know they're there! Plus, as plant-based eaters you need their nutrients.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yogurt Cakes.

Ingenious idea. Combining frozen wheatberry pancakes from the freezer and fruit-flax yogurt for an after school snack. The kids loved it. So easy and so filling... and no begging for food before dinner. Why had I not thought of this sooner?!?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Shepperd's Pie.

I loved this... and possibly loved it even better the second day. Very mild flavor and great with all the veggies. And that's just not too common when you've got mashed potatoes. First time using miso, and me like.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 carrots, diced
2 cups cabbage, broccoli, or kale, finely chopped
½ cup water, vegetable stock or lentil cooking water
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup peas
1 cup corn
1 teaspoon amino acids

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/3 to ½ cup nondairy milk
1 tablespoon miso
2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat oil in large skillet on medium low or just steam-fry with water. Add onion and sauté 5 minutes until soft. Stir in garlic, carrots, and greens add water and cover. Cook 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. Stir in remaining filling ingredients. Cook 5 minutes or until filling is hot. Pour into 2 quart casserole dish.

While filling cooks, prepare mash potato crust. Place potatoes in medium pan add water just to top of potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook over medium heat until tender, About 15 minutes. Drain and return to pot. Add miso. Begin mashing and adding milk a little at a time, until smooth. Add parsley. Spread evenly over filling. Sprinkle evenly with paprika. Bake uncovered 20 to 30 minutes until the dish is hot and the edges are slightly golden.

who told my friend, Natalie, who told me

Sunday, February 6, 2011

belly bites by week: 9th addition



hurry-up alfredo & steamed broccoli
[i knew this'd be a new staple]

pizza inn
[HUGEST bomb... what we get for being snowed in for 3 days... we were craving pizza]



bean and barley soup
[made it for super bowl sunday... not a typical football food - but ok when you're having over mom & dad who are plant-based eaters and a vegetarian sister. Everyone loved it... all having seconds. But, it happens again, Shayne and I needed a little more flavor. Next time, I'll amp up the spices]
peach crumble

Peach Crumble.

I've been wanting to make this for about forever... but always forgetting the kuzu when I was at a health food store. We were celebrating 2 birthdays, the super bowl was upon us... My parents, my sister and her family were coming over... so, I said forget it... and just subbed arrowroot.

SO glad I did... and I think they were too. It was quickly gone and everyone wanted more. I put a dollop of whipped cashew cream on top... yum....

When I made it the first time, there was way too much topping for fruit... so, I saved the topping and made it again later that week. The next time I make I'll either double the fruit or half the topping... just depending on what I need it for. Also, the second time around I swapped the blueberries with raspberries and loved it even more. SO good.

2 1/2 - 3 cups peaches, sliced fresh or thawed frozen
1 cup organic blueberries
1 3/4 cups apple juice
2 tablespoons kuzu, arrowroot or corn starch
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of fine sea salt

3 cups rolled oats
2 cups barley flour, spelt flour, brown rice flour, or sweet rice flour {just grind in the blender until it's fine}
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup safflower/coconut oil
3/4 cup brown rice syrup/date syrup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350*F.

Combine the peaches and blueberries in a 9" x 13" baking dish.

Reserve 1/4 cup of the apple juice in a small bowl, and heat the remaining 1 1/2 cups in a small saucepan. Place the kuzu in a small bowl, and add in the reserved apple juice. Let the kuzu mixture sit for about 10 seconds so that the kuzu can dissolve into the liquid. Stir with a fork, and immediately whisk he kuzu mixture and the lemon juice into the hot apple juice, stirring continually to prevent lumps from forming. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Turn off the heat, and add the vanilla extract and the salt. Pour over the peaches and blueberries in the pan.

To make the topping, dry-roast the oats, flour, salt, and cinnamon in a skillet over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Heat the oil and syrups together in a separate pan, then pour over the flour mixture and mix well. Stir in the nuts.

Crumble the topping over the fruit, then cover the pan with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake 15 to 25 minutes longer or until the topping is golden and the fruit filling bubbles a little. Cool crumble for about 30 minutes before serving.

Alicia Silverstone
serves 4 to 6
page 194

Friday, February 4, 2011

Wheat Muffins.

Other then the Texas Governor's Mansion Sweet Potato muffins, these wheat muffins were another one of my mom's staples while growing up. Now, I just veganized them. So simple, but so yummy.

3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 cup maple syrup or other sweetener {play with how sweet you like them}
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400*F.

Congeal first... Add ingredients for the egg replacer {water, baking powder and flaxseed meal} into a measuring cup, stir and let congeal. Combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar and let congeal.

Add the rest of the ingredients... you could sift in the dry, but whatever - just one more step. Fill sprayed muffin tins or muffin cups 1/2 full. Bake 400*F for 15 minutes.

Makes 12.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Nikki's Healthy Cookie.

My early on healthy-eating inspire-er friend, Natalie, passed this recipe onto me. She told me that I needed to try them... so I, of course did...  and they made me very, very happy. All normal stuff everyone should have on hand. So, get to cookin these up peeps or patiently wait for your bananas to ripen so you can!
Another great thing about eating a plant-based diet - no worries on eating the cookie dough! Lick on Coco Bean!

3 large, ripe bananas, well mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil, barely warm - so it isn't solid (or alternately, olive oil)
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal {just blend in blender}
1/3 cup coconut, finely shredded & unsweetened
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 - 7 ounces chocolate chips or dark chocolate bar chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, racks in the top third.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla extract, and coconut oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in the chocolate chunks/chips.The dough is a bit looser than a standard cookie dough, don't worry about it. Drop dollops of the dough, each about 2 teaspoons in size, an inch apart, onto a parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Bake for 12 - 14 minutes. I baked these as long as possible without burning the bottoms and they were perfect - just shy of 15 minutes seems to be about right in my oven.

Makes about 3 dozen bite-sized cookies.

ya'll can thank my friend natalie for this one...
she got it from 101cookbooks