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Creamed Spinach and Tomato Penne

I made this penne dish using my new favorite sauce – Cashew Béchamel – Basic White Sauce. I had made some Creamed Spinach and decided to add it to penne and the medley of cherry tomatoes just looked so good I could not resist. I could eat the whole dish myself, but that would be selfish, so I will share.

Cook penne according to package directions in a large pot. Before draining save some of the pasta water  just in case to thin the sauce.

Drain penne and return it to the pot. Add the tomatoes and stir. Stir in creamed spinach and the Cashew Béchamel Sauce, until the penne is thoroughly coated. Garnish with the herbs.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Creamed Spinach

This is a wonderful, simple recipe, especially if you have the Cashew Béchamel – Basic White Sauce in your refrigerator. It is a wonderful way to use up some greens that you have on hand and do not want a salad. It works well with kale, spinach and many other kinds of greens. It is packed with flavor and nutrients.

In a large pan wilt the spinach over medium heat. Use vegetable stock as needed to wilt spinach. When the spinach is wilted add the Cashew Béchamel Sauce. Stir to coat the spinach leaves. Remove from heat.

Note: This can be served over brown rice or in a pasta dish. That is what I did it was amazing. I will share that with you in an upcoming post.

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Cashew Béchamel – Basic White Sauce

This sauce is my favorite sauce as of right now. It is very versatile and simple to make. The recipe is generous in portion, so you can use it in multiple recipes. I made this sauce and used it for creamed spinach, which I will share the recipe tomorrow. It was amazing. I also used a portion of this recipe for Creamed Spinach and Tomato Penne – Another outstanding dish. I still have some left, for at least one more meal. It also freezes well. You could portion it out into 1-2 cup portions and freeze it.

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I have developed a little short cut to soaking the cashews, which cuts the time down dramatically.

  • 2 c raw cashews
  • water, just enough to cover the cashews
  • 1 c onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 c Vegetable Stock
  • 3/4 c pinot grigio, divided 1/2 c & 1/4 c (for sautéing)
  • 2 1/2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp onion granules

In a medium saucepan add cashews and water (just to cover) and bring to a boil. Once the water begins to boil turn off the heat and let the cashews soak in the water for about 10 minutes. Drain and transfer cashews to a high-speed blender. Set aside.

In the same saucepan add the onions and sauté over medium heat. Cook until onions are translucent and are soft. You do not want any color on them. Add garlic and sauté with onions until the garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Use the 1/4 c of wine as needed to sauté onions and garlic.

Add onion mixture to the cashews in the high-speed blender, along with the rest of the ingredients: vegetable stock, 1/2 c wine, nutritional yeast and the onion granules. Blend for about 60 seconds, until smooth and creamy.

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Note: You can use right away, refrigerate or freeze. The sauce will reduce and continue to thicken when using in recipes, so you may need to thin it out with some liquid.

 

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Easy Cabbage Soup

Here is an idea for those cabbages that you have harvested from your garden. It is easy and flavorful. You could even throw all the ingredients into a slow cooker/crockpot and let it cook away.

  • 1 onion, small, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 large carrots, diced
  • 1 head of cabbage, chopped
  • 1 cup canned whole tomatoes, seeded
  • 1/4 tsp chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp All-Purpose Seasoning
  • 7 c Vegetable Stock + more for sautéing
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • Italian (Flat leaf) Parsley, garnish

In a large dutch oven, sauté the onions and carrots over medium heat, until the onions are translucent and softened. Add garlic, chili flakes, and All-Purpose Seasoning and sauté until it is fragrant. Use vegetable stock as needed to sauté veggies.

Add cabbage and sauté with veggie mixture until the cabbage has softened. Add tomatoes, vegetable broth, thyme, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar and Dijon mustard. Bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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How to: Basic Vegetable Stock

Right now my kitchen smells AMAZING. I am making Basic Vegetable Stock. This is such an easy recipe that there really no reason not to make your own. Just chop – Throw it in the pot – Simmer. EASY.

  • 4 carrots, large, peeled, chopped
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 leek, white and green parts, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 qt (8 c) cold water
  • 1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 small handful Italian parsley
  • 3 sprigs of thyme

Add all the ingredients to a large stockpot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered for 60 – 90 minutes.

Allow stock to cool for about 20 minutes. Pour through a fine mesh strainer over a medium bowl. Let cool and then transfer to a sealable container and store in the refrigerator.

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Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Pecan Oatmeal

When I think of Fall I always think of Pumpkin and the smell of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. This baked oatmeal has all those wonderful ingredients and a couple of other delectables.

Bakes oatmeal has become one of my favorite ways to make oatmeal. This can be served as a breakfast or like a wonderful snack cake. It is versatile and delicious.

Note: A little warm maple syrup drizzled on the top makes this amazing.

  • 2 c gf rolled oats
  • 16 oz. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 2 tsp Baking Spice Blend
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt
  • 1 flax egg ( tbsp ground flaxseed + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 c Almond Milk, vanilla, unsweetened
  • 1 c cranberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all the ingredients into a large bowl. Stir until well incorporated. Pour into a 8×8 baking dish.

Bake for 40 minutes. The oats will be tender and the liquid will have thickened.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Moroccan Chickpea-Stuffed Acorn Squash

As I have mentioned I have been taking a cooking class for professional certification in Whole Food Plant Based Cooking. One assignment was called the black box, kind of like the show Chopped. We had to use some greens a starchy vegetable and then whatever else we wanted. This is what I cam up with. It was so good I thought I would share it with you.

Note: This recipe is for 2, but it can be multiplied easily to feed more people.

  • 1 acorn squash, sliced in half with the seeds scooped out
  • 1/2 c onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp cumin, ground
  • pinch cinnamon, ground
  • 1 c chickpeas, rinsed drained
  • 1/4 c vegetable broth + more sautéing
  • 2 tbsp cranberries, dried
  • 5 oz. baby spinach, stems removed
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, fresh, chopped
  • 1 tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.

Place squash on prepared pan, cut sides-down. Bake until tender, about 40-50 minutes.

Meanwhile, while the squash is roasting add onions to a large dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onions until they are golden. Add vegetable broth as needed to sauté onion.

Stir in garlic, cumin and cinnamon. Work spices into onions. Cook until fragrant. Stir in chickpeas. Coat chickpeas with onion mixture. Add cranberries and vegetable broth. Cook until cranberries have plumped.

Add the spinach by the handfuls. As the spinach begins to wilt add another handful, until the spinach is wilted. When all the spinach is wilted, stir in the lemon juice.

Fill the acorn squash with the chickpea mixture. Garnish with the fresh cilantro and toasted almonds.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Cranberry-Pomegranate Cubes

Because of the cooking class I am taking I have discovered a magical ingredient – agar agar. It is a wonderful ingredient that acts like the famous Jello. Make your own plant based “Jello” cubes.

Agar Agar is from a red algae. It has been used for thousands of years in Japanese cooking.

If you do juicing, this could be really fun, and especially for the kids. Make up your favorite juice and have at it. It only take two items – liquid and the agar agar.

This is what I used, however, you could use any combination of juice you want.

  • 2 c cranberry-pomegranate juice
  • 3 tbsp agar agar flakes

Bring the liquid to a simmer in a medium size saucepan. Once the liquid is simmering, whisk in the agar agar. Continue to whisk until the agar agar flakes have been dissolved. This takes a couple of minutes.

Pour liquid into a glass dish. I used an 8×8 baking dish. You do not want the liquid to be more than 2 inches in depth. Chill in the refrigerator for 20- 30 minutes.

Use a knife to cut cubes and loosen the edges of the jelled mixture.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

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Tuna-Less Tuna Salad

This is another assignment for my cooking class. I think this tuna-less tuna salad would be great for lunches. It has only a few ingredients, which makes it quick to make. I do like to let it chill for at least a half an hour so that the flavors meld together. If you can make it the night before that would be ideal.

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp onion, dried, minced
  • 1/4 c celery stalk, diced
  • 1 tbsp kelp granules
  • 1/2 c Cashew Sour Cream or vegan mayonnaise

In a large bowl, using a pastry cutter smash the chickpeas. Add the rest of the ingredients and thoroughly mix. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

Serve as a sandwich, dip, or on top of some salad greens.

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RAKA Nomination

Wow! This made my day. I was nominated for RAKA Award and I am truly honored. Thanks to https://ohyestheydid.ca/2018/10/05/raka-award-nominations/.

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Here are the rules taken from the nominating blog!

The rules are simple

1- Tell who you nominate and why.
2= Copy and share the picture that shows the award, posted above.
3- Share a paragraph of something that impacted your own life in the way of receiving kindness or how you extended kindness to someone else.
For instance, ” I once was waiting in a drive thru line for 20 minutes. I was in a hurry but the line did not move much, it felt like. My day was getting worse by the moment. When I got up to the drive thru window, the cashier said someone had paid for my meal already. That really made my day a lot better.”
4- Nominate anyone or share to your own page. If you so choose to Participate. Tag or pingback to the original person who nominated you, or the original post.

It is hard to put a finger on one particular act of kindness that has happened to me. I am truly blessed to have been surrounded by such a cloud of witnesses. There have been so many instances, but I can say that the nomination from https://ohyesthey did.ca is one of those instances. You made my day – Thank you. Make sure you read their blog. I like to go into the blogosphere and see what is happening in their world.

I try to share an act of kindness with every post. My desire is to share healthy and delicious foods to those who want to live a more healthful life.

I would like to nominate https://beautybeyondbones.com for the RAKA Award. I always enjoy reading her posts. The is a beautiful young lady from the inside to outside – inspiring.

My second nomination is https://viewfromtheback.com. I love reading her blog about her cycling travels. She never fails to post an encouraging word on my blog. Thank you.

May your day be filled with opportunities of Random Acts of Kindness.

Cathryn – https://cathrynskitchen.com