10 Years Veggie!

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Last week, Meat Free Monday celebrated their 10th year anniversary and as I was thinking of celebrating by sharing my 10 favorite meat free recipes, I realized I am in my 10th year of being meat free! It’s one of the best decisions I have ever made and I am excited about where we are all going as the movement only gets larger, for the planet, the animals and our health.

Being vegetarian and then vegan for the past ten years has lead me to explore vibrant flavors, experiment with delicious ingredients, visit exciting places around the world and find local gems, all with the common theme of good food that is great for you.

Start your day off with: 
Avocado Toast
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Granola
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Crowd Pleasures to Share:
Cauliflower Wings
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Potato Tart
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Avocado Fries
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Main Events:
Creamy Peanut Noodles
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Sourdough and Sausage Stuffing
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The Perfect Noodle Bowl
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Something Sweet:
Pumpkin Pie
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Fig  Crumble
figcrumble

Happy meat free eating! 

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Tofu Ricotta

 

tofu ricotta first

I don’t always like to recycle recipes, but going back 5 + years of blogging I have some great ones that I don’t think have always been seen and in an effort not to just post old content on social media, I want to pair sharing them with my writing and blog.
Being vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean eliminating flavors, it means adding profiles to give the same deliciousness to dishes you love, in a kind and thoughtful way.
I love food, flavor, fat, salt, all of it and being vegan to me means finding new ways to enjoy food and not miss out in a way that aligns with your health and beliefs.

Enter, tofu ricotta.

Say what you will about tofu, but with the right seasoning, flavors and preparation, it can give you all you need to top a dish and still get protein, you know, if you are still worried about that.

Ricotta to me as a child was in many dishes, but it can be bland, like tofu, which is why it is all about the seasoning.

Check out the recipe below and let me know what you top, pair and enjoy it with!

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Ingredients:
1 package of firm tofu
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1 juice of a lemon
1 teaspoon of oregano, or other dried herbs
Sprinkle of the following: garlic powder, onion powder and thyme
Salt to taste

Method:
Drain and dry the tofu, tea towel over paper towel recommended
Add all ingredients, in the above order, to a food processor
Pulse until a crumbly texture is formed, careful not to over blend
Top over pasta, pizza, salad, toast, anything! Enjoy:)

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Sweet and Savory Spooky Treats

Halloween is less than a week away and these seasonal, spooky themed treats are perfect to snack on in between trick or treaters, share with friends or enjoy alone!

Pumpkin Hummus

hummus ingredients

Ingredients:
2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3 Tablespoons of pumpkin puree
5 Tablespoons of olive oil
1 1/2 cloves of garlic, quartered
1/2 lemon
Salt to taste
A couple splashes of warm water

Method:
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend.

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Taste before serving and check for salt and creamy factor, adjust accordingly.
If not smooth enough, add a splash of warm water and dash of salt per splash, enjoy!

pumpkinhummus

Trick or Treat? I always choose treat;)

Chocolate Lollipops
I am slightly intimidated by cooking with chocolate, but with a little patience, a good wooden spoon and solid themed molds, anyone can be a chocolatier!

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Ingredients
1/2 a package of white chocolate chips
1/2 a package of chocolate chips *If making gluten free, be careful to read the package because some vegan brands have barely in them.

Method:
Prepare the molds and lollipop sticks
Over a double boiler, or one pot over the other, fill the bottom pot with water and bring to a boil

doube pots

If you don’t have a double boiler;)

Add the chips (one flavor at a time) and melt over low heat, stirring constantly, careful not to take your eyes off the chocolate to prevent sticking or burning
Remove from heat and pour into molds, careful to hold the stick with one hand and cover fully
Use a spoon to get the chocolate in all the creases
Wash and dry the pot and repeat with the other chocolate flavor
Freeze for a few hours and BOO! they are ready to eat.

What a great time of year to be cooking with all the holiday themes and seasonal ingredients.
What are you cooking these days!?

pumpkinpops

Featuring- Haymaker’s Corner Store

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Do you constantly read labels and search for snacks at your local corner store that are vegan? Look no more, Haymaker’s Corner Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn is an all vegan, one-stop-shop with endless delicious eats you could nom your way through all day. Owned by the ever amazing Champs, you will oooh and ahh your way through this heavenly store.

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Nestled off Leonard Street, the stripe awning will lure you in off the street and the food items will start to call your name, let the shopping begin!
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An all vegan corner store, oh how sweet it is!

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Finished shopping? Pop through the back to the breath taking, all cruelty free, PETA award winning men’s clothing line, Brave Gentle Man.

Butternut Squash and Cashew Cream Zoodles

No matter how you say it. zoodles or courgetti are popping up everywhere recently and when it comes to cooking these gems, I needed to consult my friend who introduced me to these veggie lover, low carb squash noodles! We have been talking about the best sauce for these babies and when I mentioned a butternut squash, cream sauce, the following was born.
fall zoodles
Sundays are market and cooking days for me and to share this experience with a friend this week was special!

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We walked from stall to stall eyeing up what we wanted to buy for the cooking to come and I knew this garlic would help to balance the sweetness of the squash for our zoodle sauce.

garlic

Ingredients:

For the squash sauce:
1 butternut squash
1 handful of baby tomatoes
4 cloves of  garlic
Glug of olive oil
1/4 soy milk

For the zoodles:
4 zucchini

For the cashew sauce
1 cup cashews
1 cup water
1/2 lemon
Pinch cayenne pepper
2 Tablespoons Tamari
2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast

Method:
Butternut Squash Sauce:
Pre heat the oven to 375 degrees F
Cut the squash in thirds
Cut off  the skin and cube into 1 inch pieces
Place in the oven with  garlic (with the skins) and tomatoes
Bake for 35 minutes, until soft
Remove the garlic skins
Add the roasted veggies and tomatoes to a blender with the soy milk
Blend until smooth

For the zoodles:
Spirialize  4 zucchini with a veggetti (expert advise from the zoodle master= wash with a toothbrush for an ultra cleaning sensation!) or vegetable peeler
Saute the zoodles in olive oil  for about 10-12 minutes
Turn off heat

Cashew Sauce:
Blend cashew sauce ingredients until smooth

Putting it all together: 
Add the blended squash sauce to the zoodles and heat until warm
Divide onto plates and serve with a dollop of cashew cream sauce

Enjoy!

PS We started with an appetizer of shishito peppers dipped in the cashew cream & spicy aioli…yum!

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Do farmers’ markets inspire you? I want to hear about what you’re cooking!

Featuring- Miyoko’s Creamery

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I am so happy to feature Miyoko’s Creamy this week and add this inspiring company to my Cheese Board page. This vegan cheese is a game changer. Not only are there so many flavors, but not one is a like, from soft creamy, garlicky and herb varieties, to sharp flavors like Black Ash and Rustic Alpine, Miyoko’s is a must try and the good news, they are available to order online!
An amazing delivery of varied cheeses arrived at my door and it has been a fun and delicious week of eating and writing about these gems.

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Classic Double Cream Chive: Just as it’s name states, this cheese is creamy with a soft onion flavor,  great on a cracker, dolloped on pasta, pizza or yes, by the spoonful!

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Double Cream Sundried Tomato: This variety offers a soft finish with a balance of blistered tomatoes and offers a late summer note that lingers in the cream. This cheese is not too strong, but rather packs a gentle punch. Also eaten deliciously alone, but also great addition to a creamy recipe, such as a tofu scramble. I threw a couple tablespoons in with sautéed onions, veggies and tofu and it melted perfectly; added just the right balance my brunch dish needed.

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Smoked Farmhouse: Smoky is not the word! Wow, what a deep flavor that takes you fireside on a cool evening. This cheese brings deep, campfire flavors with a strong finish. I recommend this on it’s own or with a savory cracker.

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Rustic Alpine: Similar to the Smoked Farmhouse, this flavor has a smokey taste, but with a creamy balance and soft finish, perfect match with rice crackers and olives.

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Black Ash: Just as the name states, this cheese is covered in black ash and offers a creamy texture with a tangy finish. Perfectly matched with the Rustic Alpine for a sample platter to share with friends.

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If you don’t have your order placed already and need some more convincing…. Miyoko’s is a great company that also gives back.  Recently they donated a variety of cheeses for the Coalition for Healthy School Food Gala which works to bring healthy, planted based foods into school cafeterias. This month Miyoko’s is giving back 1% of sales to HEART which is a truly inspiring organization educating teachers,students and communities on the importance and urgency of humane education. So what are you waiting for?
Order yours today, for the good of your taste buds, health and give back at the same time!
Just in time for the build up to the holiday season.

PS This cheese is so good, I recommended leaving a
Do not eat note” in the fridge before going to bed!

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Pumpkin Season for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner and Dessert

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If you are in the northern hemisphere, you might have seen one or two… or been inundated with pumpkins and squash. While these deep oranges, yellows and greens are beautiful to look at and scream fall, they are also delicious to eat!

This week I am sharing an entire day’s meal planner featuring this wonderful autumn ingredient, so enjoy pumpkins and squash for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a side and dessert!

Pumpkin Oatmeal:

apple oatmeal

Pumpkin and Squash Soup:

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Pumpkin Risotto:

pumpkinrisotto

Squash Fries:

squashfries

Pumpkin Pie:

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Feature Friday- The Purple Carrot

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With life so on the go, busy work, family and personal ‘to dos’ every day, fresh, home cooked food can often be an after thought. Unless you are planned well ahead, stocked up on groceries, it is all too easy to order take out and call it a night. But this is where The Purple Carrot sweeps in as your meal delivery service/ fairy godmother and helps freshen up your home cooking.  The Purple Carrot is an all plant based, meal delivery service that brings fresh ingredients to your door to help you make easy, healthy and delicious meals in a flash.

I am a big home cook myself, but weeknights can be tough to get the meals you dreamt about making an actual reality on the table.
I was first introduced to The Purple Carrot by another plant based friend and needed to give it a try.

How it works:

You get an email Sunday with the meals for the week.
Enjoy your Sunday morning with a cup of coffee reading the choices and gazing at the pictures, for me here is where I start imagining the flavors dancing in my mouth.
Pick your two favorite meals, delivery date and sit back and get busy with your life as your magical, fresh, organic ingredients make there way to you.
I picked a Tuesday as my first delivery date to help break up my weeknight cooking and have plenty of left overs for the dreaded lunch making.

First up: Chickpea, Coconut Curry
coconutchickpeacurryNow, I have made curries before, but nothing compares to the flavors in this dish. Not only did the ginger, garlic and cilantro pop in the hearty, protein rich dish, it was super fun making it. Everything comes pre measured and ready for you to drop your work bag, kick off your heels, sneakers or other preferred shoes and get cooking. It was like having my own personal chef standing right next to me. If there was ever a time to have smell technology online it would be now.
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What is better than onions, garlic and chili sautéing in olive oil?!

Before I knew it, the curry was ready. So fresh, creamy and each mouthful made me look forward to the next. There was even left overs, each meal serves four, so it brighten up my packed lunch the next day as well!
PS I highly recommend squeezing lime over your final dishes, what a welcomed, added zing!

The Second Meal: Agave Ginger Tofu and Veggie Stir Fry

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Stir frys are basically my go to quick and easy meal and should be my middle name, but I am officially letting The Purple Carrot take the crown for this one. The sauce alone made this dish absolutely perfect. With a sweet and salty balance that made for a perfect combination, it was ideal.
(I even snuck a couple spoonfuls while cooking) Here, it is all about the sauce.
Again, the prep work was super easy and straight forward. It was like having a dinner guest over who almost cooked for you! For me chopping veggies is my happy place and The Purple Carrot brought me to my happy place all week.

Each box comes with a snack recipe, let’s just say chocolate and peanut butter goodness to come;)
Stay tuned for my dessert edition and next post about my next box of ingredients turned into meals!

My third box is on it’s way! So what are you waiting for? Head over to https://thepurplecarrot.com/ and sign up for your first box!

Already a Purple Carrot lover? Let me know what your favorite meals have been and share your favorite pictures!

Happy cooking!

Get Your Kale On!

kale
as seen on @lisaward01

No matter where you are in the world, you should get your greens on daily for added calcium, vitamins and fiber, but especially now that the U.S has a day dedicated to this great green; move over National Donut Day and bring on National Kale Day!

This Wednesday, October 7, 2015, celebrate with getting some kale into your day with some of my recipes below, whether it’s my new kale chip recipe or old favs like a green smoothie or pesto, you can enjoy many ways!

Kale Yeah!

Kale Chips: *New Recipe*
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Ingredients:
2 cups of roughy chopped kale leaves, keep in mind they shrink when baking, so the larger the better
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
Generous amount of nutritional yeast
Good sprinkle of salt
Pinch of cayenne
Pinch of onion powder
Cooking Spray

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350
Spray a baking tray with cooking spray
Place all leaves evenly on the tray
Spray leaves directly
Drizzle one Tablespoon of oil
Sprinkle nutritional yeast and spices
Drizzle remaining oil and slide into the oven
Bake for about 15-20 minutes, checking on chips frequently to prevent burning.

Click pictures for recipes below;)

Green Juice:

4 greensmoothie

Kale Pesto:

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Kale Pesto

Past Kale Days:

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White House Kale

How will you celebrate? I’d love to hear:

Feature Friday- Raaka Chocolate

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Happy Friday! I have to share the amazing chocolate company Raaka again because it is such a great company and so delicious. Raaka is a local Brooklyn small business with sustainable practices and creative flavors. Not only are all their varieties rich with deep chocolate flavors, but they are a company that gives back to the community by donating the cacao husks for local school gardens.
I recently had their Ghost Pepper chocolate, yes, you read that correctly, ghost pepper. It is everything you are thinking, spicy and unique with sharp flavors throughout.

This weekend I am going to a chocolate making class at Raaka and I. can. not. wait!
I will keep you posted with pictures and details of the class, but until then, check them out and get your chocolate on.

Read my last post about Raaka here.