Thursday, February 28, 2013

20 Ways to Eat Sriracha:

Sriracha: a beautiful combination of sun-dried chili peppers, garlic, vinegar, and touches of salt and sugar. Its spicy yet versatile flavor just may be the finishing touch that you need. Given that it's so versatile, sriracha goes well with just about any dish without overpowering it. I've just started using this sauce, and I can't get enough. I love it. In fact, everyone seems to be going crazy over it lately. Even Lay's Potato Chips have jumped on the bandwagon. Don't worry if you're a little late to the party...I've compiled a list of 20 Ways to Eat Sriracha. It's delicious. Here it is:

20 WAYS TO EAT SRIRACHA:

1. On pizza - use as much as you want. :)

2. In burritos or tacos - just a drop of sriracha goes a long way with flavor, but feel free to load it up anyways.

3. On potato chips - Lay's does it.

4. On tortilla chips - mix 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of sriracha with 1 cup of salsa for an added kick.

5. As a salad dressing - mix 1 teaspoon sriracha with 1/4 cup of red wine vinegar, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and a touch of salt for a yummy dressing.

Substitute it for the hot sauce in this recipe.

6. On cauliflower or tempeh wings - sriracha = a great wing sauce.

7. In bloody marys - I always love a spicy bloody mary.

8. On fries  or in hash browns - because sometimes ketchup and hot sauce get boring.

9. In a sandwich.

10. On sushi - swirl it on your sushi with wasabi, and you'll have all different kinds of heat going on.

11. In pasta sauce - add a few drops of sriracha to tomato sauce or vegan alfredo to give it a surprising yet delicious flavor.

12. In desserts - a dab or two of sriracha would go a long way in dark chocolate brownies or cupcakes. (Recipe to follow).

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Beet, Arugula, and Julienned Zucchini Salad: (Vegan, GF, and Raw)

Here's something that you probably didn't know: I LOVE beets. Ever since I was a kid, I have adored them. I'll eat them  right out of the can (I'm too cheap to buy fresh beets). Needless to say, I was always that weird kid who loved all of the vegetables that other kids didn't like: beets, brussels sprouts, broccoli...why do they all begin with the letter "B"? I think I love the iron flavor that all of these veggies give out. Also, how could you not not want to eat purple food as a kid? Didn't Heinz make purple ketchup especially for kids back in the day?

Well anyways, here's a quick and easy recipe that's packed with nutrients and will give you a nice energy boost throughout the day. Who needs caffeine?

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups arugula
1 (15 oz.) can beets, diced
1 medium zucchini, shredded or julienned
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. agave nectar (optional)
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Total Cook Time: 5 to 10 minutes. 

Instructions:

In a small bowl, whisk together the red wine vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, agave nectar, and salt until a dressing has formed. Next, add the arugula, beets, zucchini, and dressing to a large bowl. Toss to coat.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Product Review: Good Belly Probiotic Juice Drink

While visiting the health food store to pick up some Daiya vegan mozzarella the other day, I came across Good Belly Probiotic Juice Drink. Because I really believe in the use of probiotics for digestive health, and because I was craving a good fruit juice, I decided to try it.

There were 3 different flavors: Mango, Blueberry Acai, and Strawberry. I decided to go with the Blueberry Acai. There's nothing like superfruit to make you feel better. According to Good Belly's website, this is the only probiotic juice drink like it in the US. You can also find it in Europe. They recommend that you drink 8 ounces of this drink a day for 12 days to really feel results.

I really like to drink this juice with ice, and though I haven't reached the 12-day-mark yet, I'm feeling better. I'm not bloated, and my stomach isn't bothering me at all. The flavor is good, it has a little bit of a weird aftertaste, but I've found that the ice eliminates that a bit. I'm thinking about adding this to a smoothie, so I'll have to let you know how that turns out.

If you're looking for a good, vegan probiotic product that's not a pill, I definitely recommend this juice drink.

Find it at: Whole Foods, Wegman's, Local Health Food Stores. (Good Belly's website has a store locator). 

Visit Good Belly's Website.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Vegan Oven Roasted Rosemary Potatoes:

Guaranteed to make your kitchen smell delicious. These oven-roasted potatoes won't disappoint. The garlic, lemon, and herbs provide a robust and comforting flavor that will keep your taste buds happy. I used white potatoes for this particular recipe, but redskin potatoes will also work. As a side, serve  arugula salad with balsamic or red wine vinaigrette. It compliments these potatoes well.

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups white potatoes, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
1 yellow onion, diced
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
3 or 4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. vegan buttery spread
1 to 2 tsp. dried rosemary
1 tsp. dried thyme
1/2 Kosher salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
Vegan Parmesan (optional - to taste)

Serves 6.
Total Cook Time: about 55 minutes.

Instructions:

1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, mix the potatoes, onion, parsley, garlic, olive oil, buttery spread, lemon juice, rosemary, and thyme together. Sprinkle it with the salt, pepper, and paprika. Toss to coat.

3. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes (or until tender), stirring every 10 minutes or so.

4. Once the potatoes are cooked, sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and serve.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vegan Campanelle with Red Peppers, Onions, and Arugula:

I know that I've been MIA this week, but some of my family was in town for part of it (more on that later), and I was also pretty busy with school. I had to take a mock MBE (the multiple choice portion of the Bar Exam) yesterday, and that drained me a bit. Needless to say, though I should be at the beach with my friends, I'm not doing much today except laying around. I think that I may have had a little too much fun last night.

Anyways, if you need something quick and easy to make, this pasta is a great option. It takes about 20 minutes to make, and it's healthy and delicious. I added touches of thyme, cayenne, and paprika to give the recipe a little depth. I also used some olive oil and sherry wine, so this dish is definitely not lacking in flavor.

Ingredients:

1 package campanelle noodles, cooked al dente
1 1/2 cups red bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 cups arugula
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 tablespoons sherry wine (or other dry white cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of ground black pepper

Serves 4.
Total Cook Time: 20 minutes.

Instructions:

1. While the pasta is cooking, add the red bell pepper, onions, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to a large skillet.

2. Next, add the thyme, salt, paprika, cayenne, and black pepper. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes, and then stir in the sherry. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the arugula during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

3. Once the pasta is cooked, stir in the remaining olive oil and the cooked veggies. Add salt and more black pepper if necessary.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Product Review: Lotus Biscoff Spread:

After raving over this Biscoff Spread for months, my grandma gave me a jar of it when I was home over Christmas. I can't remember where she said that she got it, but she kept telling me how good it was, and she was so excited that it was vegan and that I could eat it.

Coined "Europe's alternative to peanut butter," this spread is truly delicious. Made with Lotus Biscoff cookies, it tastes like ginger snaps with touches of both cinnamon and brown sugar.

Though I love my peanut butter, this is a great replacement for days when I'm feeling a sweeter, more decadent flavor. This spread can be used to add more flavor to desserts, on toast, with fruit, as an icing for cookies or brownies, and in dressings. The possibilities are pretty much endless. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, so be sure to go pick it up at Publix, CVS, Walgreens, Wal Mart, or anywhere else you can find it. (There are more locations listed at biscoff.com - link below). 

Here's the link to the site: http://biscoff.com/biscoff-spread/.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Vegan Buffalo Hummus:

If any of you  have ever had buffalo chicken dip before going vegan, this buffalo hummus is pretty close to it. It's so delicious, and you can put it on anything. So far, I've eaten it off of the spoon and in a wrap. I think this would also be good in a burrito or enchilada....the possibilities are pretty much endless. It's such a comfort that I have extra in my fridge right now.

Because buffalo is such a subjective flavor with respect to how much spice different people like, add the minimum amount in the recipe, and add more to taste after you've blended everything together. I served mine with a side of arugula, lentil sprouts, and cherry tomatoes with a lemon and orange vinaigrette.

Ingredients:

1  (1 lb. 13. oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. tahini (optional)
2 to 3 tbsp. hot sauce (to taste)
1/4 tsp. salt (or more, to taste)
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Dash of cayenne pepper
Dash of chili powder
Dash of paprika

Serves 6.
Total Cook Time: 5 to 10 minutes. 

Instructions:

Add all of the ingredients to your food processor. Pulse until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. Once the mixture is smooth, taste to see if you need any more salt, hot sauce, etc. If so, add whatever ingredients you need, and then pulse a few more times to incorporate all of the flavors together. Enjoy on just about anything.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Head-Over-Heels Vegan Strawberries and Cream Cheesecake:


I know this post is a little late. My deadline for posting it was yesterday, but I still had to post it for V-Day because you’re gonna be over the moon for it, and everyone should feel over the moon on V-Day in one way or the other. Your Valentine will love it too (be it your significant other, best friend, little sister, neighbor, or puppy dog).
In this recipe, strawberries and (vegan) cream combine with a homemade Vegan Oreo crust to transport you to Heaven. If you’re running low on time, you can also use a premade graham cracker crust. It will have a different flavor, but it will be Heavenly in its own graham-crackery way. And if you only have 5 minutes, skip the crust: make the filling and mix it into a simple but decadent strawberry mousse (recipe below). But if you opt to make the pie, use the extra filling to whip up some strawberry whipped cream. XOXO.

Ingredients:

Homemade Vegan Oreo Cookie Dough (from Chocolate-Covered Katie (link))
14oz. firm tofu
2/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least an hour
4 to 5 strawberries, cut in half
1/3 cup + 1 tsp.  plain unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup white sugar
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. ground flax + 2 tbsp. water
1 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. agave nectar
1 tsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. salt
2 tbsp. melted chocolate or chocolate syrup (non-dairy)

Instructions:

1. Make the crust, and refrigerate for at least an hour before baking. 
2. To make the filling, add the cashews and almond milk to your food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Make sure there are no clumps. Add the tofu, strawberries, white sugar, and brown sugar. Pulse a few times, and then add the flax/water mixture, the coconut oil, vanilla, agave nectar, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until the mixture is creamy and blended well. Taste to make sure the flavor is right. You may want to add a little salt or sugar to taste.
3. Once you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pie pan, roll out your dough into a circle that’s about 10 to 11 inches in diameter, so it will fit in the pie pan.
4. Lay the dough out in the pan, and then fill it with ½ to ¾ of the filling. Drizzle with chocolate syrup, and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
5. Let the cheesecake rest and set on the counter for a half an hour, and then refrigerate overnight. Top with strawberries, and use the remaining filling as whipped cream or mousse (see below).

Simple But Decadent Vegan Strawberry Mousse

(Same ingredients as above, minus the Vegan Oreo Crust)
1. Add the cashews and almond milk to your food processor. Process until smooth and creamy. Make sure there are no clumps. Add the tofu, strawberries, white sugar, and brown sugar. Pulse a few times, and then add the flax/water mixture, the coconut oil, vanilla, agave nectar, lemon juice, and salt. Pulse until the mixture is creamy and blended well. Taste to make sure the flavor is right. You may want to add a little salt or sugar to taste.

2. Next, if you have a mixer, mix the filling in your mixer until peaks form and a lovely mousse/ whipped cream texture has formed. Otherwise, continue pulsing in your food processor until you have achieved a fluffy, airy texture.

3. Top with graham cracker crumbs and strawberries. Drizzle with chocolate or vegan caramel if desired. 
 PS: I'm also going to post a V-Day dessert recipe round-up tomorrow. ❤❤❤

Monday, February 11, 2013

Farmer's Market Fresh Fruit Salad:

Because it's been so beautiful outside, I thought that I would make this lovely fruit salad. I definitely had a fun-filled weekend. We went to the Lake Eola Farmer's Market yesterday, and I picked up some cantaloupe and strawberries. I think that cantaloupe is the best when you get it from the farmer's market. It's almost always ripe and ready to be eaten, unlike store-bought cantaloupe, which I always find have a plastic flavor. Strawberries are also in season this time of year, so be expecting lots more strawberry recipes.

Ingredients:

1 whole cantaloupe, seeded and chopped into 1/2 to 1-inch sections without the rind
1 1/2 cups strawberries, cut in half
1 cup seedless green grapes
1 tsp. lemon juice

Serves 6.
Total Cook Time: 10 minutes. 

Instructions

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Toss to coat. If you prefer a sweeter fruit salad, add sugar or agave nectar, and toss to coat. 

Farmer's Market Fun - Green Smoothies + Strawberries = ❤

Lake Eola - Downtown Orlando
My friend's rooftop pool - got my tan on the other day ❤

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sriracha and Spicy Brown Mustard Boca Burgers + How to Season a Boca Burger:

I hope that everyone had an awesome weekend. I sure did. It was beautiful here in Orlando, and I was able to spend time with lots of friends.

Anyways, I figured I'd share this recipe because it's quick and easy, and I just loved the way the seasonings came together on these burgers. Feel free to omit the sriracha if you're not a fan of spicy. I just figured that it was a nice change from ketchup (and I just picked the sriracha up the other day and wanted to use it).

Ingredients:

4 Boca Burgers
Sriracha, to taste
Spicy Brown Mustard, to taste
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. Garlic Powder
Dash of Cayenne Pepper
1/4 tsp. Paprika
1/4 tsp. Seasoned Salt
2 tsp. olive or canola oil

You'll Also Need:

4 burger buns
1 tomato, sliced
1 cup spinach

Serves 4
Total Cook Time: 15 minutes.

Instructions:

1. Heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the Boca burgers, and sprinkle the salt, garlic powder, cayenne, paprika, and seasoned salt over them. Flip burgers so that they have the seasonings and oil on each side.

2. Reduce heat to medium, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, flipping occasionally.

3. Serve on buns with spinach, tomatoes, sriracha, and brown mustard. (I put my sriracha and brown mustard on the side, just in case I wasn't feeling the heat of the sriracha). 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Quick Banana & Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Vegan Sorbet:

I had this for breakfast the other day. It tastes like a banana split. I couldn't believe how easy it was to make. I just pulled the frozen fruit out, threw in a couple more ingredients, and then whipped up this pretty concoction in 2 minutes flat. No ice cream machine required. You only need a blender or food processor. Top with actual chocolate-covered strawberries if you want. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

2 bananas, sliced and frozen
4 fresh strawberries, frozen*
Hershey's Syrup (yes, it's vegan), to taste
Sprinkles (optional)

Serves 2
Total Cook Time: 5 minutes + a few hours for freezing the fruit

Instructions:

Add the frozen bananas, strawberries, almond milk, and 2 tsp. of Hershey's syrup to your food processor. Process until smooth and creamy, adding more almond milk and chocolate as necessary to achieve desired consistency and flavor. Top with sprinkles, chopped nuts, and Hershey's Syrup (or other melted vegan chocolate).

*You can use frozen strawberries too. I just liked how the fresh ones tasted in this sorbet. 

Vegan Reeses Cups (Sorta):

 
I happened to be reading through my The Kind Diet book the other day, and came across Alicia Silverstone's recipe for these chocolate peanut butter cups that I haven't gotten to make yet. They're sort of like Reeses, just better. I used dark bittersweet chocolate for them, and it turned out to be amazing. They only take between 5 and 10 minutes to make, but you should refrigerate them for at least two hours before serving. You can also always throw them in the freezer for an hour or so. These are a perfect dessert to bring to a party or for any occasion. (I like them for breakfast). 

Find the recipe at Alicia's website: The Kind Life.


 

Sprouts Everywhere:

My house has been filled with green lately because my roommate has been planting a lot, and I planted this awesome Chia Herb Garden that my grandma sent me last week. It was super easy, and I'm so glad to see that the herbs have already sprouted.  Finally I'll have fresh herbs without having to go to the grocery store. Good and fresh basil and be such a pain to find.

I also sprouted some lentils via Figgy and Sprout's instructions. It was much easier than I thought it would be. If you have any dried beans in your pantry, you should definitely give sprouting a try. Sprouts are the perfect addition to any salad or sandwich, and they're just so good for you.  

Monday, February 4, 2013

Vegan Red Pepper and Lentil Sloppy Joes:

I know. I know. Lentil Sloppy Joes have been done a million times over, but these are the real deal. Sweet and spicy, with a little kick and a nice hint of garlic. They're perfect for any day, and they're super healthy for you.

Add whatever spices to taste. The cumin and paprika add different layers of flavor to this recipe, keeping it interesting and delicious. If you want a spicier sauce, add more hot sauce and cayenne. For a sweeter sauce, add more brown sugar. Also, I estimated on the salt, so feel free to add more if need-be.

Though this recipe has a lot of ingredients, you should have most of them on-hand. You can sub the Dijon mustard for regular mustard if necessary, and you can probably omit the cumin (though I highly recommend using it).

Other than that, I hope that everyone is having a great Monday. I'm pretty behind and probably should've waited to post this, but I'm procrastinating a little. Looks like school work is next for me. I have to finish a Professional Responsibility and a Torts outline for one of my classes, and I really should get started on my paper. I also need to clean my room. It's a cluttered mess at the moment (which is also hindering my productivity). Oh, and my resume. I really need to polish my resume a bit, but I just don't know what I want to do with it.

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked lentils, soaked and rinsed (about 2 1/2 cups soaked/cooked lentils)
1 cup water
1 white onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red pepper, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
2/3 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar (or more, to taste)
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. non-dairy buttery spread
3 cloves garlic  
3 tsp. olive oil, divided
2 tsp. salt, divided
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. white or apple cider vinegar
1 to 2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
Dash of hot sauce (to taste)
Dash of cayenne pepper

Makes about 6 Sloppy Joes
Total Cook Time: about an hour, plus time for soaking the lentils.

You'll Also Need:

6 burger buns 

Instructions:

1. Soak the lentils in water for at least an hour.  Drain and rinse.

2. In a large saucepan, bring about 6 cups of water, 1 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and the lentils to a boil. Continue cooking the lentils until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

3. While the lentils are cooking, add the onions, red pepper, garlic, 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and 1 teaspoon of salt to a large skillet. Cook on medium-high heat until tender. Stir in the tomato paste, water, lemon juice,  vinegar, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and hot sauce. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes or so.

4. Stir in the ketchup, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, buttery spread, and the parsley. Cook on medium-high heat until most of the water has reduced, 5 to 7 minutes. Reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for another 15 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.

5. Scoop about 1/2 cup of the lentil mixture onto each burger bun, and serve with a nice, big salad or fries. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Melty Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches:

There's just something about banana and peanut butter sandwiches. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the subtle banana flavor combined with the salty, savory, and creaminess of peanut butter or the way the combination melts in your mouth so easily. Either way, it's delicious.

I often eat peanut butter and banana sandwiches for a filling breakfast before school. It keeps me full and gives me a pretty good protein fix to start the day. Today, I was feeling like getting a little more fancy with it, so I decided to grill the sandwiches in a skillet in order to achieve that melty, gooey effect. It worked. This is perfect for a filling, healthy start to your day or as a hangover tamer. Obviously a recipe isn't really necessary for this, but here it is just in case:

Ingredients:

2 bananas, sliced
1/2 cup peanut butter, divided
4 slices of whole wheat bread
1 tsp. non-dairy butter spread, divided

Makes 2 sandwiches
Total Cook Time: less than 10 minutes.

Instructions:


1. Spread 1/4 cup of peanut butter out on 2 slices of bread. Cover each slice with one banana's worth of banana slices. Next, assemble the sandwiches: top each peanut butter and banana-covered slice of bread with a plain slice of bread. (You can add more peanut butter if you want)

2. Heat 1 tsp. of buttery spread on medium-high heat in a  medium skillet. Add the sandwiches, and flip them so that both sides have butter on them. Cook each sandwich until both sides are browned, about 3 minutes on each side.

3. Slice in half, and revel in the melty glory.
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