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Chocolate Cream Pie

Calling all chocolate lovers. This Chocolate Cream Pie is for you. I had some tofu blocks I needed to use, so here we are making Chocolate Cream Pie. It is simple and delicious and with a little chilling time you could be eating this within the hour. I know I will be.

Crust:

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/4 c date sugar or maple sugar
  • 3 tbsp almond butter
  • 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Spice Blend

Combine pecans and sugar into a food processor. Process until the mixture resembles a fine meal. Add remaining ingredients: almond butter, salt and Baking Spice Blend. Pulse until well combined.

Press pecan mixture into an 8 or 9-inch pie pan. Set aside in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

  • 2 1/2 c vegan dark chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 packages organic firm tofu (I like Nasoya)
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c maple syrup
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c Almond Milk, vanilla, unsweetened

Add tofu blocks and vanilla to a food processor. Process until tofu is creamy. Add melted chocolate chips and start with 1/2 c of both maple syrup and almond milk. Process until well combined. Taste for texture and sweetness. Add remaining maple syrup and almond milk as needed. Make sure it is not too stiff.

Spoon the mixture into the pie crust. Smooth the top with an offset spatula. Refrigerate until firm, about 20-30 minutes.

Note: I topped individual servings with whipped coconut cream.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

 

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Baked Tofu

I am fairly new to using tofu. It is a very versatile ingredient. You can make savory or sweet dishes with tofu. It is used in stir-fries,  buddha bowls, wraps, scrambles, the list just goes on and on.

At my local grocery store it is $5 for a package of baked tofu of four pieces. That just does not seem right, so I made my own. By making your own you can easily change up the flavor profiles. This is a basic recipe just to get you started. The marinade is only 3 ingredients. That is pretty easy.

  • 1 package firm tofu (I like Nasoya)
  • 5 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke

Note: I find freezing the tofu gives it a “meatier” texture. I would not press the tofu for this if you do not want ugly slices. Learn from my mistake. I would, however, wrap the tofu in a towel and let the towel soak up the liquid.

In a small bowl mix together marinade ingredients: coconut aminos, garlic powder and liquid smoke.

Slice tofu into about 1/2 in slices. Pour marinade into a 13×9 baking dish. Place the tofu into the marinade. Let set for 5-10 minutes, then flip tofu over to marinade the other side for another 5-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place marinated tofu slices onto prepared baking sheet. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Turn over tofu slices and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

Note: I noticed the tofu firmed up as it cooled.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Greek Spaghetti Squash

I was wanting to make spaghetti squash differently so I put a little Greek spin to it. A simple, yet delicious spin on spaghetti squash.  While the squash is roasting you can prepare the filling. Dinner will be ready in about 30 – 40 minutes.

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash
  • vegetable broth for sautéing
  • 1/2 c onions, diced
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced
  • 14.5 oz canned tomatoes, diced – do not drain
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 2 tbsp kalamata olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp oregano, dried, plus a little more to season squash
  • 1 tsp dill, dried, plus a little more to season squash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Cut squash in half horizontally and scrape out seeds. Season squash with some of both oregano and dill.

Note: Rubbing dried herbs between your fingers will help release more of their flavor.

Place squash cut side down on a prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender about 30-40 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet sauté onions, until translucent and softened – use vegetable broth as needed. Add garlic, oregano and dill. Stir until well mixed and then add chickpeas. Stir to coast chickpeas with onion mixture. Sauté for a 2-3 minutes. Add tomatoes and thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.

Using a fork shred the squash into strands into the skillet with the chickpea mixture. Thoroughly stir mixture until well incorporated.

Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Note: For a pretty presentation you can return the squash mixture to the squash and serve it in the squash.

 

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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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