Salads · Vegan · Vegetables · Vegetarian

Broccoli Bacon Almond Salad

Broccoli Salad has always been a favorite of mine, a regular staple at a local restaurant, Sweet Tomatoes. During the hot summer months, this is a great side to BBQ, sandwiches, or really anything. I was so excited about making this salad, I forgot to photograph it WITH the dressing. OOPS! That’s why I’m not a professional blogger. I’m just a woman with a passion for good food!

Broccoli Bacon Almond Salad

INGREDIENTS:
  • ½ pound bacon
  • 2 heads fresh broccoli
  • 1 small red onion 
  • ¾ cup raisins (I used craisins)
  • ¾ cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (I used olive oil mayo–also vegan)
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
DIRECTIONS:
  • Place bacon in a deep skillet and cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Cool and crumble.
  • Cut the broccoli into bite-sized pieces and cut the onion into thin bite-sized slices. Combine with the bacon, raisins, and almonds and mix well.
  • To prepare the dressing, mix the mayonnaise, sugar, and vinegar together until smooth. Stir into the salad.
  • Let chill before serving, if desired.

Recipe from AllRecipes

Casseroles · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Turkish Moussaka

Eggplant = favorite food.  My friend, Jan, shared this delicious recipe with me.  I love how simple it is and it’s not as rich as many Moussaka recipes.  I only had cheddar cheese on hand when I made it, but it would be great with Feta or other mild cheeses.

I made this dish without rice or yogurt, but enjoyed it with a nice class of red wine from my favorite winery, InVINtions.  

TURKISH MOUSSAKA

2 globe eggplants, peeled and cubed
1/2 pound ground beef (or omit if Vegan/Vegetarian)
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced/diced
2-3 green or sweet peppers, sliced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 petite tomatoes, diced (I used Compari tomatoes)
1/4-1/3 cup olive oil for eggplant and another 1/4 cup for sauce
salt and black pepper
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1-2 tablespoons dried parsley)
1/4 to 1/2 cup shredded cheese (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Grease a 8×8″ or 9×9″ baking dish.
  • Place cubed eggplant in a bowl. Add salt and 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil. Toss and mix well to assure the cubes are covered in olive oil.
  • Spread the eggplant over a baking sheet, layered with parchment paper. Bake until brown, approximately 20-25 minutes.
  • Heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat in a heavy pan.  Add ground beef and cook thoroughly until it is dry.  While cooking, crush the ground beef with the back of a spoon.
  • Add onion and peppers and cook on medium heat until soft, but not browned.
  • Add tomato paste and cook 2 minutes longer, stirring constantly.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt and pepper.
  • When the tomatoes are cooked (turning darker red), add one cup boiling water.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Place eggplant cubes in baking dish.  Top with sauce and mix.  (Optional:  add sliced tomatoes on top). If using dried parley, sprinkle on top.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • If you want to serve without cheese, sprinkle fresh parsley on top and serve.
    • If using cheese, sprinkle on top, and put back in oven until cheese in melted.
  • Serve as is or serve hot with rice and Greek yogurt.
Desserts · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan

Apple Crumble — Gluten Free and Vegan

Autumn and apples are like hand in glove.  I love making apple desserts and salads and I needed a Vegan and Gluten-Free dessert for a gathering of friends.  This recipe fit the bill and was scrumptious for all.

APPLE CRUMBLE — GLUTEN FREE AND VEGAN

  • 6 large Granny Smith apples (around 1 kilo), peeled, cored and chopped into cubes
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Topping:

  • 1 cup almond meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract2 tbsp. water
  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  2. In a large bowl combine all the filling ingredients making sure that all the apples are coated well.
  3. Spread the apples evenly in an approximately 31x21cm (12.2×8.27inch) baking dish and set aside.
  4. For the crumble topping, reusing the bowl from the apples, combine all the topping ingredients well with a spatula. If you feel like it isn’t mixed in well enough evenly, I like to get in with my hands.
  5. Crumb the topping over the apples evenly and put in the oven to bake for around 45-50 minutes.
  6. Serve warm with some vegan ice cream, cream or even yoghurt.

Recipe from theminimalistvegan.com 

New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew

Vegan Winter Lentil Stew is a flavorful, hearty winter stew.  I first tried this soup when hosting book club and preparing two stews 1) Vegan and 2) Beef Stew.  The key to the flavor in this soup is the Dijon mustard.  Who knew it could pack such a yummy punch.  Even non-lovers of lentils and beans have enjoyed it.  If you insist on adding a protein, go for it!  I’m sure it would be delicious.

WINTER LENTIL STEW

2 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
4 carrots (about 1/2 lb.)
4 stalks celery
2 lbs potatoes
1 cup brown lentils
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp dried thyme
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp brown sugar
6 cups vegetable broth
1 cup frozen peas

  • Dice the onion and mince the garlic. Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic to a large soup pot and begin to sauté over medium heat.
  • While the onion and garlic are sautéing, dice the celery, then add it to the pot and continue to sauté. As the celery, onion, and garlic are sautéing, peel and chop the carrots into half rounds. Add the carrots to the pot and continue to sauté.
  • As the onion, garlic, celery, and carrots are sautéing, peel and cube the potatoes into 3/4 to 1-inch pieces. Add the cubed potatoes to the pot along with the lentils, rosemary, thyme, Dijon, soy sauce, brown sugar, and vegetable broth.
  • Briefly stir the ingredients to combine, then place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and bring the stew up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Toward the end of the simmer time, when the potatoes are very soft, begin to mash the potatoes a bit as you stir. This will help thicken the stew.
  • Finally, after 30 minutes, stir in the frozen peas and allow them to heat through. Taste the stew and add salt if needed. Serve hot and enjoy!

Recipe from: Budgetbytes.com  

Cakes · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

Chocolate Cake…Vegan and Absolutely Delicious

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  I wanted to make a chocolate cake for a gathering of friends, two of which are Vegan.  We all love to share salads, fruits, pastas, but dessert is always a bit tricky.

This cake was moist, delicious and almost healthy!  I would make it again and again whether my guests were Vegan or not. Even one of my Grand Dogs thought it was worthy of his attention!

Chocolate Cake…Vegan &Delicious

3/4 cup plain flour/GF flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup unrefined cane sugar/brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Frosting: 

This makes a small amount of frosting as the cake doesn’t need much, but for a full batch

    1 1/2 tbsp. lite Nuttelex or other dairy free butter/margarine alternative
    1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 cup sifted icing sugar
    1/2 tsp. vanilla

    • Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
    • Grease and line a small cake tin (or cupcake tins)
    • In a large mixing bowl combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
    • In a separate medium mixing bowl combine applesauce, sugar and vanilla and pour into dry ingredients.
    • Mix until just combined and pour into cake tin.
    • Bake for 20-35 minutes or until cooked through and a skewer inserted removes clean. If making cupcakes, cook for ~10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
    • For the frosting, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy in a mixer, adding in the cocoa and vanilla and mixing until combined. If needed, add a couple of drops of milk/non dairy milk until your desired consistency is reached

    Recipe from Southerininlaw.com

    Gluten Free · New Favorite · Salads · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Winter Fruit Salad with Lemon Poppy Seed Dressing

    Fresh fruit salad in winter is a real treat. This recipe is delicious, combining several fruits including apples, kiwi, blackberries, pomegranate, bananas and Mandarin oranges. The dressing is fresh and tasty, delivering a nice side to compliment any meal.
    IMG_7698

    WINTER FRUIT SALAD WITH LEMON POPPY SEED DRESSING

    Dressing

    1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
    3 Tbsp. honey
    3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
    2 tsp. poppy seeds

    • Combine all ingredients and mix well.

    Salad

    8 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (I used Cuties)
    4 apples, diced
    4 ripe kiwis peeled and diced
    4 bananas, peeled and diced
    1 1/2 cup pomegranate arils (from about 1 large)
    1-2 cups blackberries (I added to the recipe)

    • Combine all salad ingredients. Toss with dressing and serve immediately.

    Recipe adapted from CookingClassy.com

    Appetizers · Family Favorites · Garden · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Fresh Corn and Tomatillo Salsa

    My garden continues to produce plenty of tomatillos and when paired with fresh sweet corn, cilantro and seasonings, it makes a wonderful salsa. I’ve also used it to top my favorite Papusas from the Farmer’s Market. It wold also be wonderful paired with chicken or fish. A new favorite!

    CORN AND TOMATILLO SALSA

    4 ears fresh corn kernels
    2 seeded and finely chopped jalapeno peppers
    4 cups husked, chopped tomatillos
    1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
    2 tablespoons water
    3 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro
    tortilla chips

    • In a large skillet, combine the corn kernels and jalapeño peppers. Cook and stir for 10 minutes, until the jalapeños are soft.
    • Add the tomatillos, green pepper, onions, lime juice, water and coriander to the corn and jalapeño mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
    • Remove from heat. Cool. Stir in cilantro.
    • Cool salsa in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
    • Serve with tortilla chips

    Recipe adapted from:  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/19686/corn-and-tomatillo-salsa/?internalSource=search%20result&referringContentType=search%20results

    Appetizers · Book Club · New Favorite

    Poisonwood Bible and African Themed Potluck

    Poisonwood Bible (1998) was our recent Book Club read. I remember trying to read this great book in the late ’90s but work, teenagers and life interrupted  my reading experience.  I was delighted when our Book Club added the book to our 2014 list. While the book is long, the time flew by as I read this marvelous book by Barbara Kingsolver.

    The book was originally suggested to me by my sister-in-law, Betty, when they were living in Malawi, Africa on a medical and education mission. During their time in Africa, Betty wrote many emails to family and friends capturing the many wonderful and tragic moments there.  Poinsonwood Bible brought back a flood of memories from her stories.

    Our book club always begins the evening with a potluck dinner with a theme from the book, so African recipes it is! Betty was kind enough to mail me her cookbook, The Malawi Cookbook:

    Malawi Cookbook
    Malawi Cookbook

    The cookbook was originally published in 1972 by the Malawi Ministry of Health to raise money for children’s vaccinations and the Save the Children fund.  Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of morbidity in young children in developing countries.

    The recipes are fascinating and I will keep a few for my future cooking experiences, although I doubt I will ever serve Bee Larvae, Flying Ants, Grasshoppers, Crickets and Locusts.  Instead, I decided to use the eggplant recipe that Betty shared directly with me. I love eggplant, made any which way, so this was a perfect choice. As Betty shared, Mashed Eggplant is served everywhere during harvest season.

    Other wonderful dishes shared at our dinner were Ingera (sponge bread), Chicken and Peanut Stew (recipe to appear in Friday’s post), Fried Plantains, and an array of Ethiopian dishes from a local restaurant.

    I took several wonderful pictures of the Eggplant and Peanut Spread, to later discover I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. My apologies but let me assure you the dish was a big hit, even for those that confess to not liking Eggplant. Serve this spread with wedges of pita bread or, for those eating gluten-free, a gluten free cracker.

    The only change I would make the next time I make it, would be to roast the eggplant in the oven to decrease the amount of fat in the dish.

    Eggplant

    MASHED EGGPLANT & PEANUT SPREAD

    2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced
    2 teaspoons salt
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
    1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
    2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (in Malawi, they would use local made groundnut butter)
    salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
    • Prepare the eggplant in the usual way of slicing, salting, weighing down the eggplant during the two hours you are extracting the liquid and bitterness.  
    • Pat dry, then fry eggplant slices for about five minutes in the olive oil, turning once.  
    • Mix and pour remaining ingredients over the fried slices, mash with fork, then serve with pita wedges.  (I admit to having used a food processor which made the finished product a bit smoother).

     

     

     

    Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Soups and Stews · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup…surprisingly delicious!

    Sweet Potato and Cauliflower Soup, with only 5 ingredients, sounded too easy to be good. I was wrong.

    It was full of flavor and, depending on your taste buds, could be enhanced with additional vegetables and spices. I think I will add a bit of curry next time.

    What would you add?

     SWEET POTATO AND CAULIFLOWER SOUP

    1 head cauliflower
    3 sweet potatoes
    1 sweet onion
    Olive oil
    2 cloves garlic
    7 cups water
    Salt and pepper

    • Preheat oven to 400F.
    • Cut up cauliflower and lay out on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil, and bake for 25 minutes.
    • In a large pot bring water, sweet potato, onion and garlic to boil.  Cook until sweet potatoes are tender.
    • Remove half of soup and puree in food processor.  Return to soup pot.
    • Garnish with green onion, salt and pepper, parsley.

    Recipe adapted from Living Paleo Cuisine

    Family · Family Favorites · Gluten Free · New Favorite · Skinny · Vegan · Vegetarian

    Salt and Vinegar Popcorn…better than I ever expected

    My youngest daughter LOVES vinegar potato chips and I spotted this recipe some time ago on a blog that I follow, Lucy’s Friendly Foods. I am a popcorn hound and had to try it. If my daughter, Sarah, liked it, it was a winner.

    I’m happy to report we both liked it! The reduction of the balsamic vinegar had a delightfully sweet, and salty, taste. A nice, lighter, change from the traditional (and always yummy) buttered popcorn.

    SALT AND VINEGAR POPCORN

    12 cups popped corn
    4 tablespoons dairy-free spread
    6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    3/4 teaspoon salt

    • Pop the popcorn.
    • Melt the dairy-free spread in a saucepan.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.
    • Simmer for 3-4 minutes to slightly reduce the vinegar.
    • Pour over the hot spread/balsamic mix.
    • Stir well and serve immediately.

    Adapted slightly from:  lucysfriendlyfoods.com