Friday, September 28, 2012

Lentil and Tomato Soup

This recipe was found out of necessity. I had run out of easy things to make for dinner and with the next trip to the grocery store several days away I turned to the staples of my cupboard, and searched for a recipe that would use only what I had. This one looked edible and though I lacked several of the ingredients I made it with what I had and it turned out pretty good. I'm assuming it would be much better with the things i didn't have. We'll see :)
You will need:
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups dried lentils
  • 2 tbs chopped fresh dill divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 dried red chile pepper
  • 1 (8oz ) can tomato sauce
  • 1 tbs balsalmic vinegar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery and galic; cook 10 min, or until the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
  3. Add water, dried lentils, 1 tbs dill, bay leaves, chile, and tomato sauce.
  4. Bring to a boil;
  5. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.
  6. Stir in remaining 1 tbs dill, vinegar, salt and black pepper,;
  7. discard bay leaves and chile.
  8. Sprinkle with cheese.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Delicious Wheat Bran Muffins

I'm whipping up a batch of these delicious vegan muffins for our trip this weekend. It's a great way to make sure the kids are getting some healthy food while we're on the road and at the mercy of the camp cooks. JJ is pretty picky, so atleast I know he'll be getting something good for him in his tummy. And the great thing about these muffins is that you can store all or part of the batter in the fridge for 2-4 weeks! That means fresh muffins anytime you feel like making them. No need to make all 2 dozen at once and have to eat them before they go bad. :) I like to mix in different things to several "batches" we add, fresh apples and cinnamin, blueberries, or carob chips. You could even make a struessel topping or add chocolate chips or use bananas instead of the flax and water. Just a great recipe for moist delicious (healthy) muffins.
I also enjoy topping these babies with some carob/date/peanutbutter frosting... but that's a recipe for another day

You will need:
  • 3 cups Unprocessed Wheat Bran
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 2tbs blackstrap molasses
  • 1/2 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 1/2 cups Whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbs ground flax seed mixed with 6tbs of the boiling water above
  • 2 cups soymilk with 2tbs lemon juice mixed in
You will want several small and medium bowls for this recipe.

1. Mix 1 cup of the wheat bran with 1 cup of the boiling water and let it set
2. In a separate bowl blend margarine, honey and molasses until completely mixed
3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl.
4. Combine the soaked bran with the flax & water mixture then add the remaining 2 cups of bran.
5. Combine all of the mixtures all together in a large bowl
6. Stir until well blended.
7. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min or until browned

Store extra batter in an airtight container for 2-4 weeks.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Vegan Meatless Meatballs

I will include the just vegetarian recipe as well, but these actually taste more like meat when I made them vegan. Who knew! They are undoubtedly the best meatballs I've ever had. Could be that the sauce is awesome or that they just have a perfect texture and make you want to eat the whole batch before they cool. Anyway, these are a must try. If they are not the Best Vegan Meatballs in the world, tell me and I will retract my statement.
Not only are these delicious straight out of the oven, they keep well in the fridge/freezer and are just as good cold (not frozen though).

To make the meatballs:
  • 1 sleeve saltine crackers, crumbled (I assume any plain crackers would work as well)
  • 4 vegan eggs (4tbs ground flax + 16tbs boiling water) (for just vegetarian use 4 eggs)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped (literally food process them into as much of a liquid as possible) 
  • 2 cups pecans, chopped
  • 8 vegan grillers thawed and food processed. any plain burger will work (Or 1 bag vegetarian burger crumbles (thawed and chopped a bit finer)
  • 6tsp Garlic Salt
  • ½ cup grated vegan cheese. (I used Daiya shreds mozzerella style and it was good) (cheddar or mozzarella works best if going just vegetarian)
  • 6-8 tsp. liquid smoke

  1. Mix in a large bowl in any order you wish (I suggest starting with the dry stuff and working to the wet, since much of the ingredients are chopped in the food processor)
  2. Form into balls; bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until brown.
  3.  Let cool and pour the sauce over top!

  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped and sautéed in the margarine
  • 5-7 tsp. liquid smoke

Mix and pour over balls.
(TIP: I like it spicy, so I like to add lots of red pepper or cayenne)

A few tips: You can sub for healthier alternatives on the sauce. I will be trying honey, or dates instead of sugar, and probably olive oil would be ok to use instead of margarine. And i'm sure you could make your own Ketchup to use. This is just the original recipe with my vegan substitutions.

Fresh made Tortillas

YES Please! These are pretty yummy. I will include both recipes since I made them both, and they are really good either way you make them. Both are simple, and which recipe you choose probably depends on what you have on hand.

 You will need:


3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup warm water


  • 2-3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus a little extra for rolling the tortillas
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable shortening
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup very warm tap water

    1. Combine all dry ingredients
    2. Work in shotening or oil (tip: I cheated and used my mixer so that it would be even and my hands wouldn't be all gooey) the origional recipe says to use your hands.
    3. Add water a little at a time, until the dough is able to form a ball. (Since I used unbleached flour for the second one, and a mixture of whole grain flours for the first recipe, I had to add a little more water because those flours are more absorbant. Just add as much as you need but not enough to make it stickey or soggy)
    4. Form a large ball
    5. Divide into smaller balls (the recipe calls for 2" balls, but that makes some tiny tortillas...)
    6. Let the dough set for about 20 min if using the second recipe, but be sure to cover them with some plastic wrap. (I suggest covering either recipe so the dough stays moist)
    7. Mush the dough and roll flat and thin. If you want pretty edges, trim off edges with a knife and they will look more appealing.
    8. Cook over medium heat on a flat griddle or pan only until you see brown specks, about 20-30 seconds on each side. Do not overcook, or they will be dry.
    9. Remove from pan and stack on a plate with a slightly damp rag over top to keep them moist.
    10. Enjoy! These are great for Quesadillas

    Delicious Vegan Burgers

    I caught this recipe on a facebook post from the local healthfood store. I was hesitant to try it, since it takes so many ingredients. But thankfully I had all of them on hand, so I did it. I'm sooo glad I tried them, they are awesome! Plus they make 8 HUGE burgers. Trust me ONE is enough for each person, especially when paired with my home made wheat buns. It's worth the work, and they keep well in the fridge for a few days. Plus you get so many good things in the burgers... And they're VEGAN!  Yield: 8 burgers


    You will need:


    • 1/2 cup onion, diced
    • 1 large garlic clove, minced
    • Flax "eggs": 2.5 tbsp ground flax + 1/2 cup warm water, mixed in bowl
    • 1 cup oats, processed into flour* (other flours might work)
    • 1.5 cups bread crumbs (I processed 3 pieces of Alvarado bread until fine crumb)*
    • 1 cup grated carrots
    • 1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed and roughly pureed or mashed 
    • Heaping 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (or fresh herb of choice) Cilantro is yummy too
    • 1/3 cup almonds, chopped1/2 cup sunflower seeds, (toasted if preferred)
    • 1 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    • 1 tbsp Tamari (soy sauce)
    • 1.5 tsp chili powder
    • 1 tsp. cumin
    • 1 tsp. oregano
    • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2 tsp kosher salt)



    1. Preheat oven to 350F (if baking). In a large skillet, sauté onions and garlic in 1/2 tbsp oil. Mix your flax egg together in a small bowl and set aside for at least 10 mins while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.


    2. Place all ingredients (except spices and salt) into a large mixing bowl and stir very well. Now, add seasonings and salt to taste.


    3. With slightly wet hands, shape dough into patties. Pack dough tightly as this will help it stick together. I made 8 medium patties.


    4. Cooking methods: You can fry the burgers in a bit of oil on a skillet over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. If baking in the oven, bake for 25-30 mins (15-17 minutes on each side) at 350F, until golden and crisp. For the BBQ, pre-bake the burgers for about 15 minutes in oven before placing on a pre-heated grill until golden and crisp on each side. Our preferred method of cooking was the George Foreman Grill.

    GF Note: To make these burgers gluten-free, use certified GF oats, GF Tamari, and gluten-free breadcrumbs.