Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Vegan Mac n Cheese Recipe Roundup

1. Top Left: Chef Chloe's Vegan Mac 'N' Cheese
2. Top Right: Healthy Happy Life's Fake-Out Mac 'n Cheese
3. Bottom Left: Fat Free Vegan's Easy Macaroni and Cheeze
4. Bottom Right: Veg News Best Mac n Cheese on the Planet

Welcome to my first recipe round up of the best vegan recipes on the web. Take it from a girl who lives for a hearty bowl of elbow macaroni covered in creamy cheese sauce. I've tried every vegan recipe in the book and have even made some of my own versions, but have narrowed it down to my top 4 tried and true pics from some of my favorite bloggers and even one chef!

1. Chef Chloe's Vegan Mac 'N' Cheese

Not only is Chef Chloe completely adorable, but she exudes talent with her amazing vegan recipes. She was recently featured on The Food Network show, "Cupcake Wars" and came through with the first place prize being the only vegan pastry chef in the competition.

Chef Chloe's Vegan Mac "N" Cheese is a more traditional "roux" based sauce (flour and vegan butter) with additional flavors and textures from nutritional yeast (a MUST have ingredient for vegan mac n cheese), tomato paste, lemon juice and agave nectar.

This recipe is super easy to make, very creamy and delicious.

Click Here for Chef Chloe's recipe!


2. Healthy Happy Life's Fake-Out Mac 'n Cheese

I have been following Kathy's blog, Healthy Happy Life for a couple of years now and her recipes never disappoint!

What I love the most about her Fake-Out Mac 'n Cheese recipe is her addition of cannellini beans and mashed sweet potato. Of course, there is still a good amount of nutritional yeast, so you gotta get over to Whole Foods or your local health food store to pick some up! Or you can order it HERE and wait a few days for it to arrive at your doorstep.

Kathy's recipe has a little more ingredients and takes a bit more time, BUT this sauce is also delicious over baked potatoes, steamed vegetables, tofu and even chili! It's WORTH IT!

Click Here for Kathy's Recipe!


3. Fat Free Vegan's Easy Macaroni and Cheeze

Meet Susan Voisin; practically the Vegan Queen in the blogger world. Everyone who has been meat and dairy free for a while as scoured her Fat Free Vegan blog at one point. She is sheer genius, down to earth and her recipes are outstanding!

Susan came up with her Easy Macaroni and Cheeze because of her daughter's love for the vegan packaged brand, Road's End (which I'm a HUGE fan of as well). Trying to stay away from processed foods, she got to work and created her own extremely similar (if not better) replication of the store bought box brand.

Again, you'll be using Nutritional Yeast with a ton of spices for this recipe. It's lower in fat than the first two but still just as creamy and decadent.

Click Here for Susan's Recipe!


4. Veg News Best Mac n Cheese on the Planet
I'm going to be completely honest when I say although I do LOVE this recipe, it probably isn't the BEST (in my opinion).

The base for this cheese sauce is cashews, potatoes, carrots and onions, which is also a good way to sneak in some veggies. The sauce is very easy to make, but the one draw back I've found is that it drys up pretty quickly when tossed with the noodles. It's important to only pour the sauce over the noodles right before you serve or you'll have a bit of a "cakey" mac on your plate.

This recipe is also the ONLY one of the 4 that doesn't include nutritional yeast as an ingredient, so you should have no problem finding everything you need at your regular grocery store.

Click Here for the Recipe from Veg News!

Friday, December 23, 2011

6 Ingredient Raw Vegan Fudge

After scouring the internet for ideas on how to make vegan fudge, I came across a website that used Artisana Coconut Butter as the main ingredient. I certainly did not want to pay $15 for a jar of coconut butter that I most likely wouldn't use again, so I decided to make my own (and it only cost $4.00!) See my trick below...

Ingredients
½ cup coconut butter (I modified this and made my own. Its WAY cheaper and super easy)
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 ripe bananas
3 Tbsp. cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. Agave nectar
1 Tsp. vanilla extract

Step 1: Make Coconut Butter
Simply take out your blender and add in about a cup or so of unsweetened coconut flakes. Blend on a low-medium speed for 4 minutes, and then on high for another 4 minutes...and Vuala! Smooth, creamy coconut butter! Use the leftover coconut in smoothies, on top of oatmeal, cereals, yogurt, or in savory Thai dishes. YUM!

Step 2: Combine
Add coconut butter, peanut butter (smooth or chunky), bananas, cocoa powder, agave and vanilla to your food processor.

Step 3: Blend Blend Blend

Step 4:
Fold mixture into a flat, sealable container lined with parchment paper. This step is crucial if you want to easily remove your fudge and cut into nice pieces.

Step 5:
Cover and place into freezer for at least 1 hour to harden.

Fun Variations
- Fold in chocolate chips into the batter and top with chopped walnuts before freezing.
- Add fresh orange zest, and fold in dried cranberries
- Top with leftover shredded coconut before freezing
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar
- Let your kids decorate after fudge has hardened with fun candies

Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Baked Vanilla Donuts. Round 2.

My second go-around at baked vegan donuts. This time its all about the vanilla.

After a few adjustments from my first attempt, I think we have a winner! Although not quite as pretty as the first, there is something very satisfying about a simple cakey vanilla donut.

My first batch

Although they aren't necessarily Green Apple Baby "approved," they are oil-free and would serve as a delicious treat for any fun occasion. I mean, come on... don't you just want to pick one up right now and eat it?

Preparing the batter took me exactly the amount of time that it took for my oven to heat to 325.

Donut Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
6 TB sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
6 TB unsweetened coconut milk + 1/2 tsp white vinegar
1 egg equivalent (Ener-G Egg Replacer)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 TB Earth Balance butter substitute, melted

Glaze Ingredients
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 TB vanilla soy creamer

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a donut pan (or muffin tin).

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

Add coconut milk, egg-substitute, vanilla and melted Earth Balance. Stir to combine.

Carefully transfer mixture into your donut pan and smooth the top with your finger.

Bake 8 to 11 minutes in the preheated oven, until doughnuts spring back when touched or until dough is set. Donuts will not be golden brown, but should be springy.

Allow to cool slightly before removing from pan, about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Quinoa & Chive Patties

Over the last year or so, I have dramatically reduced the amount of oil I use when cooking. Not only is it 100% fat and 120 calories for 1 teeny tablespoon, it is also a processed food. You would be amazed by how easy it is to saute with vegetable broth or even water and not taste the difference!

However, there are exceptions to my no oil rule, especially when it comes to getting something browned and crispy. There just really isn't a good substitute. Hence my perfectly browned patties shown above!

Quinoa is one of my favorite grains and my toddler devours Green Quinoa every time I make it! I made a big batch last night and instead of serving plain ol' quinoa as a side dish with dinner, I decided to make something fun out of it instead. I read somewhere that using prepared quick oats as a binder works wonders for vegan burgers, so I decided to give that a try. It came out PERFECTLY! You could cut with a fork and the rest still stayed perfectly intact.

Give these quinoa patties a try tonight.

Ingredients
1 cup water
1/2 cup quinoa (rinsed if needed)
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 TB nutritional yeast
4 TB quick cooking oats
6 TB boiling water
1/4 cup fresh chives, chopped

Directions
Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and reduce heat to simmer (low). Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Transfer to a medium bowl and allow to cool for another 15 minutes.

In a small bowl, combine oats and water and let sit until very thick. If after 5 minutes, there is still a little liquid, pop in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add to prepared quinoa, along with salt, pepper, nutritional yeast, and chives. Mix well and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Heat a saute pan over medium high heat with a little bit of olive or canola oil. Form your quinoa patties with your hands using about 1/4 cup of the mixture and slightly flatten. Add to pan and brown on both sides for 3-5 minutes.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Green Pea Pancakes

This afternoon I experimented with my basic pancake recipe. A friend of mine in the baby industry mentioned to me a while back that she ate green pea pancakes from a woman who was demonstrating a baby food processor. I honestly don't know why it took me so long to incorporate pureed green peas into my pancakes, but better late than never. And who I am kidding, my baby is only 15 months old, so I don't think I'm too late to the pea pancake game anyways!

Welcome pancake exhibit number one: Green Pea Pancakes.

While most of you are probably relieved, I was actually hoping they would turn out green!! It may have something to do with the fact that I pureed my peas a little bit on the thicker side, as opposed to adding more water for a smoother texture. Oh well, you can still see the little green pea speckles.

They also tasted nothing like green peas. Just good ol' fashioned pancakes, but maybe not as sweet, since I normally use either smashed banana or apple sauce. The best part is that Kaden LOVED them and even ate the surrounding peas I added to his tray.

I love how easy my basic pancake recipe is, and adding pureed fruits and vegetables gives this already healthy recipe another boost of nutrition! Just 1 cup of pureed peas added 9 grams of heart-healthy protein, 9 grams of fiber and vitamins A, C, iron and calcium!

Coming soon to my new pancake world:
Strawberry & Spinach
Banana & Broccoli
Sweet Potato & Apple
Carrot & Orange

Green Pea Pancakes

(makes 8 small pancakes)

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup original or unsweetened almond, soy or rice milk
1 cup frozen peas
2 TB pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
In a medium sized mixing bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour with either the back of a measuring cup or your hands.

In a microwave-safe bowl, add peas and about 2 TB water. Microwave for 1 minute or until thawed but not hot. Add your cooked peas to a food processor and blend until pureed. You may need to add a bit more water to blend properly.

Add the pureed peas, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla to your flour and combine well.

Preheat a large saute pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Use cooking spray or a little bit of oil or butter (Earth Balance) so your pancakes wont stick to your pan. Add about 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake. Cook 2-3 minutes, flip and cook for about 1 minute more.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese

I'm pretty much obsessed with Cashew Cheese.

In fact, when I discovered that nuts in general (cashews, almonds, macadamias, pine nuts, etc) have the ability to create silky, creamy and delicious dips, spreads, desserts and ricotta cheese, I was over the moon! What an amazing alternative to dairy. I am also pleased to report that I have never met a single person (vegan or not!) who has disagreed.

The trick is to soak your raw, unsalted nuts (in this case, cashews) in water for as little as a few hours or up to overnight. Once soft, they easily grind in the food processor. With just a few simple ingredients, transform your soaked cashews into a crowd-pleasing masterpiece.


Start with your BASE.

2 cups soaked cashews (drained & rinsed)
1/4 cup soy milk (or any plain milk alternative)
1 TB olive oil
1 TB agave (or honey)
1/2 tsp salt

Add cashews, soy milk, olive oil & agave to your food processor and blend until creamy. Add salt and pulse to combine. This cashew base will be your starting board to an endless world of dips, spreads, desserts and cheese. Here are some ideas to get your mind racing, and then below is the full recipe for Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese:

Lemon/Basil: add juice from one lemon and a handful of fresh basil. Garlic too.
Roasted Garlic: add a handful of sweet roasted garlic cloves soaked in a bit of EVOO.
Thyme and Citrus: Grind some orange zest and crush fresh or dried thyme into your ricotta.
Black and Blue: Add a few drizzles of a thick balsamic, throw in a few grinds of mixed color peppercorns and maybe even some sweet fresh or dried figs.
Spicy: Process in a fresh jalapeno, horseradish or roasted spicy pepper.
Savory Olive Mushroom: Add in black olives and raw button mushrooms.
Sweet Peach: Fold in chopped fresh peaches and maple syrup for a sweet twist on ricotta dip.
Strawberry Cream: Fold in maple syrup and fresh strawberries and top with fresh soy creamer. Cinnamon and dessert wafers for garnish.



Herbed Cashew Ricotta Cheese

2 cups soaked cashews (drained & rinsed)
1/4 cup soy milk (or any plain milk alternative)
1 TB olive oil
1 TB agave (or honey)
1 TB apple cider vinegar
2 TB fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt (kosher or pink Himalayan is best)
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

In your food processor, combine cashews, soy milk, olive oil, agave, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice and blend until smooth and creamy. Add chives, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse until combined.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Got Hemp Milk?

Or Coconut Milk?
Or Almond Milk?

I've written about what goes into Kaden's sippy cup on my personal blog, but I realize that it probably belongs here, too. And after several requests and weeks without a post, I've finally found some quiet time to sit down and write!

Figuring out what cows milk-alternative I would use was not an easy task. Cows milk is touted for its high calcium, fat and protein content, as well as essential vitamins. Seems like a wonder beverage for a growing toddler.

Before I go on, this post is NOT going to list all the reasons why I choose not to give cows milk to Kaden. Food and diet is such a personal and emotional decision in our society and, thus, I am not looking to be a place of controversy. If you are looking for an alternative to cows milk, then I hope I am able to help you.

Here is a picture of the specific brands of nut & seed milks that I buy for Kaden.

Overall, each one contains less sugar than whole cows milk, almost 3 times more calcium per 8oz serving, they are enriched with vitamins A, D and B vitamins, and both the hemp and coconut milk are rich sources of essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs are essential because our body cannot create them, yet need them to function, and so we must get them from our food. EFA's are required for energy production, brain development, skin health and digestive energy.

And just clarify, hemp milk has no drug value and is not marijuana (in case you were wondering).

With breakfast and dinner, Kaden gets 4oz hemp milk and 4oz coconut milk, and recently 1/4 scoop of Chocolate SunWarrior Protein powder. I typically use the Almond milk for his daily Green Smoothie, and his oatmeal.

Not only did I get a huge thumbs up from our pediatrician, but he also requested my "formula" so that he can recommend it to other patients that are also looking for alternatives. Don't forget to run it by your pediatrician, too! Happy drinking :)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Vegan & Oil Free Chocolate Chip Walnut Pumpkin Bread

I love the smell of this pumpkin bread baking in the oven. Delicately sweet and moist with a touch of crunchy walnuts, this bread is deceptively delicious. Where else can you find a low fat, oil free, "healthy" pumpkin bread? Your kitchen, of course!

I personally prefer my sweets a little more dense and hearty as opposed to light and fluffy. I want to feel like I'm actually eating something. Its even thick enough to hold a nice scoop of vanilla bean ice cream on top (soy, almond, rice or coconut-based of course!)

This delicious dessert is also a welcomed change (or addition to) the traditional pumpkin pie. We made 5 ingredient pumpkin pie at the last cooking class, which reminds me I need to get that recipe up here!

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 (15oz) can organic plain pumpkin
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts + more for garnish

Directions
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, wheat germ, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking soda and baking powder into a mixing bowl and combine well. In a separate bowl, combine canned pumpkin and maple syrup and stir together. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture and gently stir until combined.

Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.

Spray a loaf pan and add pumpkin bread batter. Top with chopped walnuts. Bake for 50-60 minutes.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet Potato Stuffed Oranges

These 4 ingredient sweet potato stuffed oranges are always a hit at our Thanksgiving. I'm a sucker for great food presentation & these are no exception. You will definitely get some "oohs" and "aahs" if you bring this side dish to your Thanksgiving (or any holiday gathering). The best part is that they are sugar free, super healthy and perfect to give to your baby or toddler! When so much of holiday-fare is rich, full of sugar and unhealthy fats, its nice to have a fresh and healthy option to fall back on. Thank you, Mom for making these for us :)

This recipe comes from The Health Promoting Cookbook by Alan Goldhamer, who runs the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, Ca. At TrueNorth, they believe that the majority of health problems today are caused by over-nutrition, and the over consumption of animal fat and animal protein. They are a medically-supervised fasting center, where patients check-in and stay on the property until they have achieved their health goals. It's like rehab for your body. Their goal as stated on their website is:

"to help individuals regain health and thus avoid or eliminate the need for drugs
and surgery. When treatment is necessary we attempt to guide our patients to the most effective and conservative options available.
"

Ingredients
(double for a larger gathering)


4 medium-large sized yams
4 large oranges
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wrap each yam in foil and bake for 45 min to 1 hour depending the size of your yams. It could take as long as an hour & a half if you yams are large. They are done when a fork easily slides through the yam without giving any resistance. Remove from oven and allow to cool before peeling away skin.

Cut oranges in half and squeeze out all juice into a bowl. Scrape out remaining membranes so you are left with an orange "bowl."

In a food processor, combine the yams, cinnamon, nutmeg and about 1/2 cup or orange juice. Puree until you get a nice fluffy consistency. You may not need to add more juice, but save it for breakfast... nothing better than freshly squeezed orange juice!

Scoop out prepared sweet potatoes into your orange cups and top with fresh mint (optional) as a colorful garish.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving: It's All About the Stuffing!

For as long as I can remember my favorite part about Thanksgiving dinner was the stuffing. All the seasonings of the holiday shine, from rosemary to sage to thyme (and no, I didn't mean for that to rhyme... aagghh dammit!!)

Transforming my childhood favorite into a turkey-friendly dish was as easy as pumpkin pie (okay, now I'm really starting to get corny).

With just a few simple substitutions, I can still enjoy savory stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner, and of course, for breakfast the next morning!

Here's a video blog (vlog?) that I did for Meatless Monday last year with my old website. Recipe follows. Enjoy!



Ingredients
1/4 cup Earth Balance margarine
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups soy sausage, broken into small pieces (I like either Gimme Lean or Field Roast)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 cup mushroom, thinly sliced
1 cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 14 oz packages plain stuffing bread cubes
1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/3 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
2-3 cups vegetable broth

Directions
Preheat oven to 350

In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, melt the margarine. Add the onion, celery, mushroom, bell pepper and walnuts and cook for about 7 minutes, or until softened. In a separate sauce pan over medium-high, heat the oil and sauté the soy sausage for 5 minutes or until brown, crumbling as you stir. Add the browned sausage to your veggie mix pan and stir to combine. Transfer veggie mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the bread cubes, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper, paprika and parsley to the bowl and mix well. Gradually add the vegetable broth until the mixture is moist but not wet. Add about 1/2 cup at a time.

Transfer to a greased baking dish and cover with foil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove foil and cook for another 10 minutes.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Baked Vegan Donuts

I miss LoLo.

Yes, I realize that might sound random to most of you. But I have a feeling there are a few of you out there who know exactly who I'm talking about and miss the outstanding vegan recipes that her VeganYumYum blog provided.

Nevertheless, I have a few LoLo gems in my pocket... namely her ever-popular baked vegan donuts. This batch was followed exactly from her original recipe, but now that I've made them for myself, I have a few modifications in mind. I'm thinking Chocolate with Peanut Butter Glaze, Frosted Cinnamon, and Pumpkin for sure!

I can't wait to dig into one of these baby's with my morning coffee... mmmm...

I did go out and buy a special donut pan, but one trip to Bed Bath & Beyond can fix that for you for less than $10! I think its worth it. They also sell mini donut pans, which would also be fun. If you don't want to go buy one, you could always make little donut holes by filling the bottom of a mini muffin pan.

Dry Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg (I would use a little less)
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
egg replacer for 1 egg
4 TB Earth Balance butter-substitute

Icing Glaze
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 TB soy milk

Other
Sprinkles of choice, melted chocolate, etc.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F. Take all the wet ingredients and put in a small pot on the stovetop on low. Whisk ingredients together to blend well. Do not let the mixture get too hot, it should just be warm to the touch. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the wet to the dry and mix until just incorporated. Do not over mix.

Scoop the mixture in the donut pan (forgot to get a picture of this one but you can see the pan in the background).

Bake for 12 minutes. You don’t want them brown, but they should slowly pop up when pressed with a finger. Cool on a wire rack and then decorate!

My toppings of choice included some multicolored sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, and some melted vegan semi-sweet chocolate (thinned out with a little soy milk).

Next time I want to use chopped peanuts, coconut flakes, maybe a "hippe" version with hemp & chia seeds, and I also want to make my husband's favorite chocolate cream filled donut topped with chocolate chips. Its pretty gross actually, but if it makes him happy, then that's all that matters!

Until my next round, I will simply enjoy these moist, dense, delicious donuts.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Potatoes & Carrots... it's Snack Time Again!

It's that time again... when your child is hungry and you are scouring the pantry and fridge looking for something (anything!) for them to eat. Your eye jumps to the processed, pre-packaged foods that we all have (puffs, cereal, crackers, granola bars, bread, etc.) wishing you thought about having something ready during the last nap. Of course, there is always fruit. That's easy, but it's always fruit. And bread. And avocado. You want something different, something healthy, easy to eat and tastes good. Here's your solution (although you'll probably have to do it at the next nap... sorry!).

Multi-colored potatoes are chopped, drizzled with a touch of olive oil and baked in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes until soft & buttery.

While your potatoes are baking away, take a small bag of organic baby carrots and pour them into a steamer basket. Steam the carrots for about 20 minutes, or until soft.

Allow to cool and store in the fridge until that dreaded moment when your child is hungry and you have no idea what to feed him (or her).

And of course, you could always serve with a Green Apple Baby, Green Smoothie!

Vegetable Cheese Pizza. Vegan Style.

I heart veggies. And I try to fit as many as I possibly can on my pizza. The flavors of each vegetable, from onion to zucchini and even broccoli (not shown on this one) intensify when delicately roasted in the oven and keep me begging for more. Alongside my selected assortment of veg, a store-bought whole wheat pizza crust, a hearty layer of tomato sauce, melty-gooey Daiya Vegan cheese and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning.

Pizza Hut... eat your heart out!

Don't forget the layer of Daiya Vegan Cheese. Daiya has recently become the Holy Grail of vegan cheese. It's soy free, casein free, tapioca base has gained tremendous popularity among ALL cheese-lovers as I know many non vegans who love it.

Bake at 400 for 12-15 minutes or until crust has slightly browned and cheese has melted...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sweet Butternut Squash & White Beans for Baby and Toddler

Check out my leftover butternut squash from THIS amazing salad. Roasted, sweet, soft, nutritious, delicious. Combined with fork-smashed white cannellini beans and a dash of maple syrup and cinnamon, this simple snack is perfect. Skip the syrup for baby (under 12 mos) but let your tot indulge with a little treat of luscious, all natural maple (grade B if you can).

The only kitchen tool you need to put this together is a fork. Simply smash the squash and the beans together.

Add just a touch of pure maple syrup (1 tsp)...

And sprinkle with a little heart-healthy cinnamon

Oh and make sure you save some for your little one :)

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Arugula Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash

Fresh, peppery arugula meets slightly sweet roasted butternut squash in this delicious salad that could also serve as a meal in itself. Just the smell of sweet squash roasting in your oven will have your whole house smelling like Thanksgiving and your entire mouth salivating!

Making an ever-so-important appearance are delicate toasted walnuts, silky buttery avocado, sweet red onions and juicy ruby-red pomegranate seeds. Whatever you do, please do not skip the toasting of the walnuts. Just a few minutes over the stove will change your dry, raw walnuts into irresistible bites of heaven! Seriously.

Roasting a butternut squash is very similar to roasting the spaghetti squash I posted HERE a few weeks ago. You can also skip the labor of cutting your squash in half and scooping out the seeds if you buy one already cut and prepared like I did today :)

Ingredients
Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a main course

2 large handfuls of wild organic arugula
1/2 butternut squash, seeded
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 avocado, cut into 1 inch cubes
1/2 cup raw unsalted walnuts
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Dressing
1 TB dijon mustard
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
2 TB orange juice
1 TB agave nectar (or honey or maple syrup)
pinch of salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 400. Place prepared squash cut side down on a non-stick baking sheet and roast for about 45 minutes or until squash is slightly browned around the skin and easily pierces through with a fork. Remove from oven and allow to cool before handling. Turn squash over and cut into one inch cubes (skin should easily fall off).

To toast the walnuts, place in a pan and warm on the stove over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until fragrant. Remove from heat. Add arugula, squash, red onion, avocado, toasted walnuts and pomegranate seeds in a large salad bowl.

Combine all ingredients for dressing into a small bowl and whisk to combine. Pour over salad right before serving.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tempeh Tacos

Delicious. Hearty. Satisfying. Tempeh Tacos have always been one of my go-to meals for company (vegetarian or not!) and they were a HIT at the tempeh cooking class. I know for sure that they have become a weekly staple at many homes and now I'm sharing the recipe so you can try it too!

What is Tempeh and Where the Heck do I find it?

Tempeh is made from cooked and slightly fermented soybeans and formed into a cake-like patty. It’s fermentation process and its retention of the whole soybean gives it a high content of protein, fiber and vitamins. Tempeh is one of the healthiest ways to consume soy as it is not highly processed. If you are normally “stomach-sensitive” to beans, the fermentation process creates enzymes in the tempeh that pre-digest the carbohydrates, protein and fat, making it much easier to digest.

You’ll probably have to venture to a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Lassen’s or other health-food stores in order to find it. You may also notice a variety of flavors; flax, garden veggie, three grain, etc. Feel free to get whatever kind looks the best to you!

Ingredients
2 packages tempeh
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 packet favorite taco seasoning

1/2 can tomato paste
1 small onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced (any color is fine)
1 package button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 avocado, diced
1 small can chopped tomatoes
½ cup fresh cilantro
2 limes, cut into wedges
8 white corn tortillas (or flour, whole wheat)
Vegetable Stock (for sautéing)

To Prepare Tempeh
Remove from packaging and cut into pieces. Steam for about 10-15 minutes and allow to cool. Chop until crumbly.

For the Filling
Pour about 1/4 cup vegetable stock in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the black beans, onion, garlic, bell pepper and mushrooms to the pan and saute for about 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the crumbled tempeh and stir to combine. Follow recipe on taco seasoning package to mix with water. Add tomato paste to prepared taco seasoning and whisk until combined. Pour over tempeh and mix well. If mixture seems to thick, add a little more vegetable stock to thin out.

To Assemble:
Scoop some tempeh taco mixture into a warmed tortilla and top with chopped tomatoes, avocado and fresh cilantro.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sunwarrior: Product Review & Giveaway!!

I am officially in love with a new convenience food-product for Kaden! I have been reading about Sunwarrior Raw Vegan Protein for a couple of years now on a blog that I follow called Kristen's Raw. I have never really been a huge fan of protein powders because of the highly processed aspect, difficulty to digest, the usually disgusting chalky taste, and because they tend to either be whey or soy, both of which I would not buy.

Then along came Sunwarrior... a whey free, soy free, raw whole grain sprouted brown rice protein powder. What I love even more is that it is made up of all 9 essential amino acids and other non-essential amino acids, making it a perfectly balanced protein supplement. And according to Sunwarrior, they proudly state that it has a "98% correlation rate to Mother's Milk and a 98.2% digestion efficiency making it one of the highest digestibility and efficiency ratings of any other protein sources." I have also read from a variety of sources, including the World Health Organization, that Sunwarrior is so gentle and easy to digest that has been deemed safe for infants!! Wow!

So why did I choose to add this particular product to Kaden's diet? Just one scoop of the Chocolate Sunwarrior (the kind I buy) contains 16g of complete protein, 20% RDA for iron, and just 1g of sugar! When Kaden got his first cold a few weeks ago, he went on a fast for four days. The only thing he would eat (or drink) was his milk (a combination of coconut, hemp and almond). To his sippy cup I added about 1/3 of a scoop, gave it a nice shake and watched him guzzle it down, practically begging for more!

For safe measure, I did send the information to our pediatrician and we got the A OKAY to continue to use Sunwarrior as a safe protein supplement for Kaden's diet.

I'm sure you are wondering if I tried it, and of course I did! I combined one full scoop with some almond milk in my blender and whizzed for about 5 seconds. No trace of chalky powder, just a silky chocolaty smooth texture. It was perfect!! What's the downside? It is a little bit pricey. For about a 2 pound bag, expect to pay somewhere around $50.00 (if you're buying retail). I've seen deals at Amazon for closer to $38, but I think you'll be paying shipping on top of that. There are 45 scoops in each bag, and you certainly don't have to use 1 whole scoop a day and you don't have to use it everyday. Wanna try it??

Welcome to my first little giveaway :)

One lucky winner will receive 2 free samples of Vanilla and Chocolate Sunwarrior Protein! And just for good measure, I'm also throwing in 2 of my favorite raw energy bars by Pure Organic, chocolate brownie... YUM!

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post AND ask your friends on Facebook to "like" Green Apple Baby!


The winner will be announced on Friday morning, November 4th.

Good Luck :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Walnut Pesto Crostini (Oil Free!)

Who would have thought that you have your pesto and eat it too... guilt free!?! There is absolutely no reason why a half cup of a typical pesto sauce should contain a whopping 620 calories and 57g of fat. Pair that with some crispy bread or mix with your favorite pasta and you are easily at 1000 calories.

My walnut-pesto is a refreshing, low-calorie alternative to the oil & cheese laden original, but tastes just as good (if not better!). With less than half the calories and fat per 1/2 cup (295 cal / 23g fat), you can guilelessly sink your teeth into creamy, mouth-watering pesto.


Ingredients

1 cup firmly packed fresh basil (you can also use half basil/half arugula or spinach)
1/3 cup walnuts
1 small lemon, juiced
1 1/2 TB light miso
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 TB water

Directions
Place all ingredients into a food processor and puree until smooth and creamy. If pesto seems too thin, feel free to add more walnuts and basil. If it is too thick, add more lemon juice or water.

Toddler Note: Thin out the pesto even more with some pasta water (water you used to cook your pasta in) and use as a healthy sauce for your child.