Book Review – “Vegan Chocolate” by Fran Costigan

 

 

A couple of weeks ago Fran Costigan, author of Vegan Chocolate: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, made a book promotion appearance at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe, Arizona, which I luckily attended—luckily because I was able to sample some of her chocolate treats.

You might think, “Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t this blog about eating healthy?” Well, yes it is; but, occasionally I want to make a special treat and this book is an excellent resource for dairy free sweets made with organic ingredients. There are several aspects I particularly like about the vegan book: the recipes, the photos, the cooking and baking tips, the ingredients section, and the resource and bibliography sections.

There are some great “basic” recipes in this book, too. I was very happy to see the recipe for Basic Thick Cashew Cream which is like a thick pastry cream made with cashews instead of milk and eggs; another, White Chocolate Cream Filling is made with tofu as a base ingredient, which sounds delicious and healthier than any filling recipe I’ve ever seen. The truffles section is also great, because Fran uses different types of fats in her truffles. You can try these delicious creamy bites made with coconut oil, olive oil, nut milk, or her basic thick cashew cream. The following are the names of a few of them: Spicy Ginger Truffles, Chai-Spiced Truffles, Bittersweet Cashew Cream Truffles and Aztec Truffles—oh yeah!

The book’s layout called my attention because it has lots . . . → Read More: Book Review – “Vegan Chocolate” by Fran Costigan

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Gluten Free Brazil Nut Bars

 

It’s been a long time since my last post—nine weeks! Maybe you thought I fell of the edge of the earth, but no, I was in Spain for most of the time and then getting back to normal life. Yes, it was a great trip! We stayed in Carlos’s home town of León, in the Northwest of Spain, where he takes a number of students each year for a summer abroad program.

León is a town of some 140,000 people. It’s a beautiful town know for it’s gothic Cathedral, also called the House of Light because of the large stained glass windows that illuminate the interior of the structure. León is also recognized and included in the Memory of the World program by UNESCO as being the birthplace of modern democracy, when in 1188 the city hosted the first European parliament.

In March 2014, two Spanish historians claimed to have identified the true Holy Grail, (remember Monty Python and Indiana Jones?); it sits in the Basilica of San Isidoro, in León. I’d seen the cup several times before, it’s known as the goblet of Doña Urraca, and until now it sat in a case in the museum’s antique library. This summer, it has it’s own special room with low lights and the cup is well protected in a large glass case.

Many people also visit León because it is a city along the Saint James trail to the city of Santiago where many pilgrims travel each year for . . . → Read More: Gluten Free Brazil Nut Bars

Rainbow Chopped Salad

 

 

 

School is out and we are officially in summer. Actually it’s been out for a couple of weeks already, but it’s only just now sunk into my mind. This is the time of year to shed the extra pounds that were put on over winter. There’s no need to diet, really. By eating more fresh vegetable salads, fresh fruit and less bread, and getting out to walk, bike, or swim more often, the extra pounds fall off. The summer heat helps, too, because the body enjoys fresh foods and drinks even more.

Today in Tempe, Arizona, it’s 109°, about 48° C. Living in the desert I’ve learned to plan the day. Wake up early, ideally about 6:30 – 7:30, but in practice more like 7-8, and take a walk early because later on it will be far too hot. I also do my shopping early in the morning, or late evening around 8:00 p.m.—after the sun has gone down and it’s cooler outside.

Living in a hell hole desert you appreciate light cold soups like tomato gazpacho, vichyssoise, and avocado gazpacho; and salads with a mix of veggies and protein, like: Lipsmacking Orange Salad, Arugula, Shrimp and Watermelon, and Roasted Bell Pepper with Tuna and Orzo. Who in their right mind would want to turn on the oven? It’s time to enjoy fresh cold foods straight out of the fridge.

Andalucia, an area in southern Spain, is a region of the country where the weather can . . . → Read More: Rainbow Chopped Salad

Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwiches

 

 

 

Last week after making a luscious orange cream sauce with cashew milk called “Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries ‘n Cream,” I decided to present one more recipe for the Spring Fling dairy free recipe contest sponsored byby ®So Delicious.

You may remember that back in March I made some flourless cashew butter chocolate chip cookies that I was raving about. Well, I really wanted to try the Vanilla Non-Dairy Frozen Dessert made from almond milk by ®So Delicious, in an ice-cream sandwich. This time I made cookies with almonds. They are they same delicious dairy-free, gluten-free, grain-free and vegan cookies, as the cashew butter cookies I made, but these are made with almonds. Until I started making flourless cookies I would never in my lifetime have imagined that flourless cookies could taste so good! But why not? Macaroons are good, and these are similar to macaroons—with egg, sugar and almonds. And by the way, if you have never tried a macaroon you must put that on your bucket list.

Another reason that these cookies are particularly good on these dairy-free cream sandwiches is that they are soft and chewy, perfect for biting into. From the time you sink your teeth into the cookie it’s a smooth ride down to the delicious frozen almond milk and then that pleasing thought comes to mind: ”Yeah, that’s what I wanted.”

If you’ve never had a dairy-free frozen dessert, or “ice-cream,” let me assure you that frozen almond milk, . . . → Read More: Almond Milk Ice-Cream Sandwiches

Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Summer Salad – #SundaySupper

Do you have Sunday meals with your family? Sunday dinner was an important meal at my parent’s house when I was growing up, and It is a very important meal at my Spanish in-laws house. Both sets of parents, mine and my husband’s, knew their kids had work, social obligations, sports activities, school committees, outside interests and a myriad of other things that come up during the week that can keep them from having regular week night dinners with the family, but Sunday supper was different.

Generally, Sunday is the day before people go back to their weekly activities of school and work and, let’s face it, there’s not a whole lot going on. So there weren’t any good reasons why you couldn’t be at home with the family for a homemade family meal. And in our families there were chores, too. Someone was appointed to set the table, another to clear it, and another the do the dishes. This schedule rotated so you wouldn’t be stuck doing the unwanted task of washing the dishes. We didn’t care for the chores too much, but having dinner with the whole family left me with a lot of good memories.

Isabel Laessig, from Family Foodie, believes that the Sunday supper is a time and place to nurture the family members and she’s so passionate about it that she started a movement called the Sunday Supper Movement. She’s got other bloggers on the . . . → Read More: Tomato, Avocado and Cucumber Summer Salad – #SundaySupper

Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries ‘n Cream!

 

 

 

Who doesn’t love spring? It’s when we start to see green plants, bushes, and trees, colorful flowers of all types, birds singing, and children out playing. It’s also when we start to see spring foods coming into season. The clearest sign to me that the season has changed is when the early tasty strawberries and blueberries line the shelves at my neighborhood grocery store. It’s the time when I start switching from eating lots of apples and oranges to eating lots of berries.

This month the So Delicious company is sponsoring a Spring Fling Dairy Free Recipe Contest. The recipe, as you can probably imagine must in some way say ‘spring’, and it must be dairy free, too. I could thing of nothing more that means spring to me than berries and cream. Though the recipe does not use real cream, the idea of cream goes back to this time of the year when cows are out grazing in the pasture, delivering offspring, and mother cows are lactating. The idea of cream is associated with spring, but not necessarily with dairy products.

Cashew milk is a wonderful alternative for those who like cream in coffee, tea, baked goods and desserts, but who for one reason or another avoid dairy products, be they religious and cultural reasons, health, conviction, or simply for the taste. Cashew milk is mild in flavor compared to almond or coconut milk. Like cashew milk, soy milk is also light in flavor but . . . → Read More: Nothin’ Says Spring Better ‘n Berries ‘n Cream!

Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

 

Mashed potatoes, move over. There’s a new kid in town and it’s not the popular paleo diet cauliflower mash. The new kid is roasted garlic and rosemary “mock” mashed potatoes. There is a difference between these “mock” potatoes and those on the paleo diet. People on this diet enjoy mock mashed potatoes made from cauliflower as it’s low in carbohydrates and tastes yummy because they don’t seem to have a problem of loading on cream cheese, butter, parmesan cheese, or heavy cream to heighten the flavor, because these foods are acceptable, even good on this diet. You’ll find a couple of these recipes on Food Network, and I Breathe I’m Hungry. I’m sure that they taste very good, but if you’re like me you might prefer a dish that tastes extraordinary, but doesn’t have all the saturated fat. That’s where roasted garlic and rosemary “mock” mashed potatoes comes in.

My recipe for the garlic and herb imitation mashed potatoes is very low in saturated fat and cholesterol. It’s also high in manganese, vitamin B6, and vitamin C. The secret ingredient that adds the nutritional boost and lends creaminess to the dish isn’t the cauliflower in the dish—it’s millet, which is an ancient grain thought to have originated in Ethiopia. It was consumed by early civilizations and is still consumed today. The grain has not been genetically modified; it’s high in protein, fiber, and it’s easier to digest than other grains. It can be used in pilafs, cereals, and . . . → Read More: Roasted Garlic and Rosemary “Mock” Mashed Potatoes

Homemade Tofu Bacon

 

 

Are you a tofu lover, hater or are you altogether indifferent to it? Check all of the above for me. I find that it really depends on how the tofu is made. If I were to eat tofu straight out of the package I’d think it was dull and insipid, and pre-marinated tofu can be overpowering and too salty. The best option is to make your own marinade and then eat it plain as in this spicy marinated tofu, oven roasted, or grilled.

A couple of months back I posted a recipe for tempeh bacon, which I make all the time to use in sandwiches. Yesterday I had to cook some tofu before it spoiled and I got to thinking, why not make tofu bacon? Tofu bacon is a very healthy alternative to real bacon and it tastes good. OK bacon lovers it’s not bacon—that’s true. But it tastes pretty darn good and it’s a very good source of protein when you want to eat lunch but you don’t want to eat luncheon meats. It only takes 5 to 10 minutes to get the marinade made, and once it’s fully saturated in the sauce, cooking time on the grill or in the frying pan is just 6 minutes.

Tofu is high in protein and calcium, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free (if using gluten-free Tamari) and low in fat and cholesterol. And as far as the taste being bland, well…there is a remedy for that—it’s called marinade. Like the song . . . → Read More: Homemade Tofu Bacon

Flourless Pecan Sandies Cookies

 

This is Ina Friday which falls on the first Friday of the month when a group of bloggers come together to blog about one of Ina’s recipes and make the food from the original recipe. Another option we have is to create or modify one of her recipes after being inspired by it. I’m taking the second road and developing a healthier recipe based on one of Ina’s.

 

This week the members of the Ina Garten blog group are making a dessert, or something sweet and this worked out perfectly for me because the other day I saw some flourless cashew butter chocolate chip cookies on Sue’s site TheViewFromGreatIsland, so when I saw Ina’s recipe for Pecan Sandies in her book Barefoot Contessa Foolproof, I had an Eureka moment; I could make flourless pecan sandies cookies!

Do you know how good pecans are for you? The ORAC rating system was developed by the National Institute on Aging and it rates foods by the amount of antioxidants they have. Antioxidants are what clean up the free radicals in our bloodstream, making us healthier, and among the nut family, pecans rate the highest on the scale.

Due to the amount sugar in most cookies, they are not a good choice for maintaining in a healthy body. But in this recipe for flourless pecan sandies cookies, by choosing pecans as the main ingredient, eliminating the butter, lowering the amount of sugar, and eliminating the flour—which converts to sugar, you can . . . → Read More: Flourless Pecan Sandies Cookies

Sweet Potato Patties with Egg

 

 

Today I’m making some delicious sweet potato patties. Did you ever make patty cakes when you were little? You might have even sung the pat-a-cake, or patty cake song as you made them. “Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you can. Pat it, and roll it, and stick it in the oven, and bake that cake for baby and me!”

Making any kind of patty always takes me back to those childhood memories. I really enjoyed making them as a little girl, but now when I make them they are with real, and delicious food and what could be more enjoyable than that? I was going to tell you about big muddy messes my little brother used to make when he was little but my son Gabriel told me it would be better to leave it out. You wouldn’t want people mixing that image with delicious food.

Sweet Potatoes are considered a power food. They are high in vitamin A and C, and they are also a good source of manganese, copper, vitamin B6 , potassium and fiber. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and blood sugar regulating benefits. Consider that when you eat sweet potato patties you’re doing your body a lot of good. Maybe if kids were allowed to make sweet potato patties they might forget about those nasty old mud pies.

PrintSweet Potato Patties with Egg

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

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