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Turtle Bars

I try to make one treat for the week. Something that is not too elaborate, yet hits the sweet spot when we have got to have a little nibble of something sweet. This particular sweetness is a little different for me to make. I am trying to expand my culinary boundaries.

These Turtle Bars hit all the spots: sweet, salty and crunch. The shortbread base is the platform for the caramel (sweet). The pecans add the salt and crunch. And there definitely has to be some chocolate. There it is a Turtle Bar.

Shortbread Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine all ingredients into a food processor. Pulse ingredients until they resemble a meal with pea size pieces of margarine throughout the flour mixture.

Press mixture into a parchment lined 8X8 baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Set aside refrigerator to cool.

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Caramel:

  • 3/4 c maple sugar
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1/4 c vegan margarine (or butter)
  • 4 tsp almond milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

In a small sauce pan over medium heat combine: maple sugar, molasses, margarine and milk. Stir occasionally, bringing all the ingredients together. The sugar should be dissolved and the margarine is melted.

When the ingredients have come together turn heat up to bring mixture to a boil. Keep stirring during this time so that it does not burn. Boil for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.

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Pour caramel over cooled shortbread layer. Refrigerate until caramel has set.

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Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 c pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp of Kosher or Flaked Salt
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Melt chocolate chips either over a double boiler or in the microwave. If using the microwave, stir every 30 seconds, until melted.

Pour melted chocolate over caramel. Spread evenly. Sprinkle pecans and salt over chocolate. return to refrigerator to set the chocolate layer.

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When the chocolate is completely set lift out the bar by the parchment paper. Cut bars into squares.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Apple-Cranberry Crumble

Recently my husband and I were having a conversation about what our favorite pies were. To be honest I think we decided that we have a lot of favorites depending on what time of year it is. There was really no clear cut favorite. Then the conversation morphed into crumbles and cobblers. Still there was no real favorite.

Because of all that talk of pies, crumbles and cobblers I had to make something for us. This is an old recipe (originally an apple pie) I have had for more years than I can remember. I did update it to a more healthy crumble with a little twist. It is in the oven right now and it smells amazing. I can hardly wait for it to come out of the oven and cool.

Serve this with your desired topping and enjoy.

Filling:

  • 6 tbsp vegan margarine, divided 3/3
  • 2 1/2 pounds apples, use your favorite that is a firm apple, peeled, cored, sliced
  • 1/2 c maple sugar
  • 1/4 c cranberries, dried
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg, ground
  • 1/8 tsp ginger, ground
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot or cornstarch

Melt 3 tbsp of butter in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add the apple wedges and sauce until slightly softened but holding their shape. Add maple sugar, cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger; stir.

Mix together lemon juice and arrowroot. Stir into apple mixture. Remove from heat. Pour apple mixture into 9×13 baking dish. Dot remaining margarine onto apple mixture.

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Crumble Topping:

  • 1/2 c GF rolled oats
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 4 Medjool dates, chopped
  • 2 tbsp GF flour mix
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine cut into peas size pieces
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ginger

Mix together all ingredients. Spoon crumble onto apple mixture.

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Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving. top with your favorite topping: whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, or ice cream.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.

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Polenta Pizza Bake

If you have not noticed by now I try to come up with different meal ideas from one main meal and transform it into multiple different meals. I had recently done this with the Spinach-Artichoke Dip and now I am doing it with the Mushroom-Pepper Ragout that I served with my creamy Italian Herbed Polenta.

I first made the Italian Herbed Polenta with Mushroom-Pepper Ragout. Then I made a lasagna with the Mushroom-Pepper Ragout and the Alfredo Sauce. Now today I decided to make a Polenta Pizza Bake using the remaining Mushroom-Pepper Ragout, Polenta and some Marinara.

This Polenta Pizza Bake would be great served with a garden side salad.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease baking dish. Spoon remaining Italian Herbed Polenta into an 8×8 baking dish.

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Bake for about 30 minutes, until polenta is firm.

Spread Mushroom-Pepper Ragout on top of Polenta. Pour marinara sauce onto mushroom mixture.

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Top with nutritional yeast flakes and vegan cheese shreds.

Bake for 25 minutes.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

Posted on 11 Comments

Mushroom-Pepper Ragout Lasagna

I recently made Italian Herb Polenta with Mushroom-Pepper Ragout. I had lots of the Mushroom Ragout leftover. I also had some Alfredo Sauce leftover from a previous meal. Then I got thinking of a way to use these ingredients up so there would be no waste. I really do not like food waste.

Then I thought the Spinach-Artichoke Zucchini was so good why not go in that direction. So here is what I came up with for our dinner for tonight.

Because everything has already been cooked previously for other meals this lasagna is just a matter of assembling and baking. I love when I can create something from something else. Lets start layering, but first Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

For the base spread some Marinara on the bottom of the pan.

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Layer pasta on top of the marinara. I dipped it into the sauce and then flipped it over so that both sides of the sauce were covered in marinara.

Spread Mushroom-Peppers Ragout onto the pasta sheets evenly. Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on top of the ragout.

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Layer pasta sheets on top of the ragout and nutritional yeast layer.

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Add another layer of mushroom ragout.

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Add the last layer of pasta sheets. Spoon Alfredo Sauce over noodles so they are completely coated.

Pour marinara on top of Alfredo and swirl the two sauces.

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Sprinkle nutritional yeast flakes on the top of the sauces. Sprinkle vegan cheese shreds on top of the lasagna.

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Bake for about 55 minutes.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Italian Herbed Polenta with Mushroom-Pepper Ragout

I have been thinking of making this dish for almost a week. It has been over a year since I have made polenta. Polenta is very versatile. You can make it creamy, like I have in this dish, or you can chill it firm and cut it into rounds or triangles. It can be baked, chilled and even fried. Polenta is a wonderful platform for so many different kinds of toppings. For this meal I made a Mushroom-Pepper Ragout.

This is a big bowl of comfort just waiting to be ate.

Italian Herbed Polenta:

  • 3 c water
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1 c yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp All-purpose seasoning
  • 1-2 tbsp Italian Parsley, chopped, garnish
  • Olive oil, garnish (optional)

Bring water and vegetable broth to a boil. Add cornmeal to the broth, stirring frequently. Stir in the all-purpose seasoning. This is important to achieve a creamy lump-free polenta. As the polenta thickens stir to keep it from forming lumps. Cook for about 30 minutes. Before serving stir in nutritional yeast.

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Spoon into bowl and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle chopped parsley on the top.

Mushroom-Pepper Ragout:

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1oz. Dried Shitake mushrooms hydrated in 1c vegetable broth (save liquid)
  • 10 oz. Cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 12 oz. Portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 14 oz. Pepper Trio, frozen, thawed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp All-Purpose Seasoning
  • Vegetable broth, add to remains broth from soaking mushrooms to equal 3/4 c
  • 3/4 c white wine
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Italian Parsley, fresh, chopped

In a large dutch oven over medium heat olive oil. Add mushrooms, onion, peppers, garlic and all-purpose seasoning. Stir.

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Cook mushroom mixture for about 20 minutes. The mushrooms will reduce in volume considerably.

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Add broth, wine and tomato paste. Stir until well combined. Cook until liquid has reduced in half.

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Spoon on top of Polenta and sprinkle fresh Italian Parsley onto mushrooms.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Plant Sandwich

I mentioned the story about the Plant Sandwich in a previous post (The Alfredo Sauce Post). Here is my version of the Plant Sandwich. I have a couple of ideas floating around in my head for another version or two.

I used my GF Rustic Herb Bread. I find it is best to use the bread when it is fresh. Otherwise, it might start to crumble a little bit on you. I toasted the bread in a pan, however, I think I would press it like a panini the next time.

I also made a Chicken Alfredo Sandwich for my husband, using the Alfredo Sauce.

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In a medium skillet over medium heat toast the inside of the Rustic Herb Bread. Remove toast from skillet and set aside on a plate.

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Spoon Alfredo Sauce onto toasted slices of Rustic Herb Bread. Let the sauce work into the nooks and crannies of the bread.

Spray skillet with olive oil. Place spinach in skillet and wilt over medium heat. This will only take about 30-60 seconds. remove from heat. Place Spinach on one half of the toasted bread.

Layer tomato on top of spinach.

Spray skillet again. Place portabella in the middle of the skillet. Season with all-purpose seasoning. Cover skillet with lid and let the mushroom cap steam. about 1-2 minutes. Turn mushroom cap over and repeat steam process. Mushroom cap should be softened and tender.

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Layer mushroom cap on top of spinach and tomato. Spoon some Alfredo Sauce onto mushroom. Top sandwich with other half of toasted bread.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Alfredo Sauce – Vegan

I came up with this sauce because I wanted a creamy “cheesy” sauce for a sandwich I was going to make. Back in the day when our boys were young we would take the boys to Downtown Disney. I think it is called Disney Springs now. It was an inexpensive day trip. There was no admission charge, that was huge plus. There was a lego store, another huge plus. And, they had pontoon boats you could rent. Even with all those cool and fun things the favorite place we liked the most was the restaurant called Rainforest Cafe.

The boys loved all the animatronics. They would go and watch all the vignettes of animatronics. It was a lot of fun. The restaurant had a sandwich I ordered every time we went there. It was called a Plant Sandwich. I remember it having a giant portabella mushroom, a slice tomato and some greens. Those are a few of the ingredients that I remember. It has probably been at least 15-20 years since we have been there, but I still remember that sandwich.

Thinking of that time period inspired me to come up with my own plant sandwich (will post soon), and this sauce was just what I needed to complete that feat.

  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c raw cashews
  • 1 1/2 c water, hot
  • 2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • fresh parsley, chopped, garnish

In a large skillet drizzle olive oil. Heat oil over medium. Add onions and garlic and cook until they are translucent and softened. Remove skillet from heat and set aside.

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In a blender add cashews and water. Let the cashew soak for at least 15 minutes.

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Add onion and garlic mixture, lemon juice and salt to cashews.

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Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy.

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Posted on 7 Comments

Fried Vegetable Rice

I had made a pot of brown rice intending to make a couple of different meals out of it, but changed my mind and settled on fried rice with veggies. Because I had a bag of stir fry vegetables and mushrooms in the refrigerator, that needed to be used, it just seemed to be the perfect meal. I will also be using the Chinese Brown Sauce that I posted about recently.

Everything is pretty simple and easy about this meal. You can get just about all the ingredients either precooked (rice) or pre-chopped (veggies) to make this one of those 15 minutes and under meals. This is also good for a cleaning out the refrigerator meal. That is what keeps this meal from getting boring.

  • 3 c cooked brown rice, cold (this keeps the rice from turning mushy)
  • 16 oz stir-fry veggies
  • 2 c mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 recipe of Chinese Brown Sauce
  • Coconut Oil Spray.
  • 1/2 c vegetable broth

I used a large electric griddle (one often used for making pancakes) to “fry” the rice and a large dutch oven for the vegetables. The ingredients will be combined on the griddle to finish the recipe.

Spray griddle with coconut spray. Spread rice evenly onto the griddle. turn griddle to 350 degrees.  Let the rice set and cook. You will start to hear a sizzle on the griddle. That is a good thing. This is giving the rice a crispiness. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, spray dutch oven with coconut oil. Add vegetables to the dutch oven cooking over medium-high heat. Spray the vegetables with coconut oil. Stir so that vegetables are all coated with the coconut oil (very light coat). Stir frequently. Place lid on dutch oven to steam vegetables. Check after a couple of minute; stir. This will be when you add the vegetable broth. Stir. Cook until liquid is gone. This only takes 1-2 minutes. Turn heat off.

Check rice, flip the rice (like a hamburger) in sections, until all the rice has been flipped.

Combine vegetables with the rice. Stir mixture and spread the mixture evenly on the griddle. Pour Chinese Brown Sauce onto rice and vegetables. Stir until all the rice and vegetables are coated with the sauce.

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Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

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Posted on 9 Comments

Cashew Vanilla Frosting

This is a frosting that is not overly sweet and only uses 5 – 6 ingredients, Besides, who does not like a good vanilla frosting? Another thing, you make it in the blender. Now that is easy. Oh and something else, it is healthy.

  • 5oz. dates, pitted, chopped
  • 1 c cashews, unsalted, raw
  • 3/4 c water, hot
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp vanilla paste, or 1 vanilla bean
  • pinch of sea salt

In a blender combine all the ingredients. Let stand 45 minutes, or until dates and cashews are softened.

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Cover blender and blend until smooth and creamy. You can add more water if frosting is too stiff.

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Note: this frosting has a tannish color. You can substitute Vanilla Powder if you want it to be a lighter color.

 

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Carrot Cake Donuts

I started out going to make a carrot cake, but then I thought I haven’t made donuts in months. Then I thought, Carrot Cake Donuts sounds pretty good. So here we are making Carrot Cake Donuts.

They are cooling as I write this post and I can hardly wait to have one. So when you see a picture with a bite taken out you know that is a real bite.

I have always liked carrot cake. It has a vegetable in it, so it has to be good for you, right?? They are gluten free and vegan. Also, there is no refined sugars. These donuts are packed with flavor and none of the bad stuff.

This batter is made entirely in the food processor.

  • 1 1/2 c unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 4 1/2 oz whole dates, pitted, chopped
  • 1/2 c applesauce, unsweetened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 3/4 c  GF oat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 c carrots, finely shredded
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped

In the food processor add milk, dates, banana and vanilla. Pulse a few times to break up the dates. Let ingredients set for about 15 minutes to let the dates soften.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Add oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, ginger and carrots. blend until completely mixed and carrots are in small pieces. Add walnuts and pulse until the walnuts are broken up.

Spoon batter into a ziplock bag. Squeeze out air and snip the end of the bag so that you can pipe the batter into a donut pan.

Tip: If you are using a silicone pan, place the silicone pan onto a sheet pan. Then pipe batter into donut rings. This make s it much easier to work with the donut pan.

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Let cool inside the donut pan. They will probably break apart if you try to remove them sooner. Turn donuts out onto board/platter (whatever is large enough).

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You can eat them plain or ice with your favorite icing.

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Share. Eat. Enjoy.