Lemon Basil Potato Salad

LemonBasilPotatoSalad

We’ve had snow here in Colorado for over a week and these chilly cabin fever days have got me thinking of summer.  The warm sun, the longer days, the BBQ’s and best of all playing outside.  This Lemon Basil Potato Salad became a family favorite this past summer.  It is a great dish to bring to outdoor parties and even better it wont spoil in the hot sun.

Have you ever tried Lemon Basil?  I tried it for the first time this past summer.  A few friends of ours sold this tasty herb at our local Farmers Market.  They sold all kinds of Micro-Greens but it wasn’t until I tried their Lemon Basil that I fell in love.  The first sample bite I took of this tasty herb, I knew exactly what I wanted to make.  A Lemon Basil Dressing poured over some roasted potatoes.  So I went home that day to see if my instincts were correct.  Oh Boy, were they!  This Lemon Basil Potato Salad was perfect!

The Ingredients:

5-6 medium Yukon potatoes, cubed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

The Dressing:

3 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch lemon basil, chopped
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place first 6 ingredients in a large baking dish, mix well, coating every potato.  Bake in oven for about an hour stirring half way through.  You want the potatoes to be slightly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  Remove from oven and with a slotted spoon transfer potatoes into a serving bowl.  You want to leave any excess oil from baking.  Set bowl aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dressing ingredients.  Drizzle over the potatoes while they are still warm.  You can either serve warm or place in the refrigerator to chill and serve cold.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Stuffing

VeganStuffing

Last but certainly not least on my Thanksgiving Day Feast recap, Vegan Stuffing.  Growing up, stuffing topped with gravy and cranberry sauce was always a favorite.  Talk about a carb overload!  I would eat so much of it as a kid I swear, my belly would grow two sizes by the end of the night.

When I became vegan I wasn’t sure if I would be able to convert my moms amazing Thanksgiving Stuffing to vegan.  Her stuffing was always so flavorful and for a long time I just assumed it was due to the amount of meat she used.  Thankfully, that was not the case.  The past two years I have been successful in recreating a delicious stuffing that reminds me of home.  Better yet, my husband and son LOVE it.

The Ingredients:

6 cups vegan croutons
3 tbsp vegan butter
1 onion, diced
1 granny smith apple, diced
2 garlic cloves, diced
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 c mushrooms, chopped
4-6 cups vegetable broth (even more if too dry)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tbsp oregano
2 tbsp parsley

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium skillet melt butter and sauté onions until translucent.  Next add garlic, celery, mushrooms and seasoning.  Cook until celery is tender.  Place in large mixing bowl.

Add croutons, apples and broth to mixing bowl and mix thoroughly.  You want the mixture to be slightly sticky.  If it is too dry add more broth.  Transfer stuffing to an oven safe baking dish and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Uncovered.  Once the top becomes golden brown, it is ready to be served.

Enjoy!

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Yam Casserole

YamCasserole

Several weeks ago I caught an episode of Ellen where she was explaining to her audience the difference between a sweet potato and a yam.  We all know Ellen can be a jokester so I of course, immediately googled to see if she was accurate.  Turns out she was right.  All these years I’ve been ordered Sweet Potato Fries when I should have been ordering Yam Fries.  How is it possible that so many restaurants have incorrectly named this dish? Hah.

In the past, I have called this dish my Sweet Potato Casserole but this Thanksgiving (thanks to Ellen) I have updated the name.  This Yam Casserole is really yummy!  It has the most deliciously sweet and crunchy crumble on top.  This dish will certainly put that traditional marshmallow sweet potato casseroles to shame.

The Ingredients:

4 medium Yams, peeled and cubed
2 tbsp vegan butter
salt and pepper to taste

The Crumble:

1 c pecans, crushed
1 c walnuts, crushed
2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp vegan butter, melted
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the cubed Yams into a large pot and bring to a boil, cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place potatoes in a large mixing bowl.  Smash and mix the yams, butter, salt and pepper with an electric hand mixer until the consistency you prefer.  We like it creamy.

In a medium mixing bowl combine all the crumble ingredients, mix well and set aside.

Next spoon the potatoes into a casserole dish and smooth it out. Then evenly sprinkle the crumble topping over the yams.

Bake, uncovered for about 20 – 25 minutes.  Until dish is warmed through.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Pesto Pasta

VeganPestoPasta

Pesto is one of my all-time favorite sauces and it is a staple in our house.  You can always find a little container of it in our freezer. This Vegan Pesto Pasta is delicious and so simple to throw together.  The nutty flavor is so yummy it will just melt in your mouth.  Pesto dishes have always been a comfort food for me.  It reminds me of cooler nights in the winter months.  Another great thing about pesto is that it can be so versatile.  You can truly use almost any green to give your pesto an interesting twist.  This pesto was made with spinach (See link below).

The Ingredients:

1 lb brown rice penne pasta
1 c cherry tomatoes cut in half
3/4 c homemade pesto

Cook pasta according to the package.  Once the pasta is al dente, strain the noodles and place them in a large bowl.  Add the pesto to the bowl coating each noodle.  Lastly, fold in the cherry tomatoes and serve warm.

Enjoy!

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Farm-Share Fresh Vegetable Curry

FarmShareCurry

I am thrilled to share with you my very first guest blogger Rachel Rothe of Porridge.  Please read along as Rachel explains the benefits and pleasures of getting food from the farm down the road.

FarmShare1

Farm-Share Fresh Vegetable Curry

By Rachel Rothe

I’ll start off by saying we are not a gluten-free family; however I do enjoy cooking a hodge podge variety of meals and the more veggies a meal consists of, the healthier it feels. The recipe I’m about to share happens to be gluten-free, tasty, and easy breezy for a casual summer meal. Part of this curry’s charm is in using a colorful palette of locally picked in-season farm fresh vegetables.

We count ourselves lucky to be a part of the CSA (Community Share Agriculture) at Appleton Farm, one of the country’s oldest continuously operating farms. As far as farm shares go in the state of Massachusetts, it’s the cream of the crop and about as hard to get into as Harvard. To give you an idea, it took my name being on the list for four and a half years before they called me last spring to tell me a spot was available. What makes it so unique is not only its extra long season – weekly pick-ups from early June through November—, but also the variety and sheer amount of gorgeous produce the farm yields.

I highly recommend the experience of a farm share not only for what it brings to your table, but for general agro-appreciation and supporting local farmers. My little girl and I also enjoy the experience of picking our own veggies when we have the chance, like beans and those sunburst yellow cherry tomatoes like pops of sunshine –also flowers –all without having to sustain our own backyard garden (though that’s pretty great too).

Through the farm share, which I split with a friend and her mom, it’s satisfying to know that not only are we getting organic locally grown produce every week picked right from soil of the farm down the road, we also are investing in our local farm during its growing season. And that is a priceless way to give back to your local land, farmers, and community. You give, you get: it’s a win-win.

Usually from our weekly share, I’ll make big colorful salads with greens the color of dark emeralds. I’ll steam the beets, bake slices of Sicilian eggplant, boil the corn, dice up the watermelon, and we nibble circles of cucumbers throughout the day. My preference and my daughter’s as well is to eat our veggies raw – we like the crunch of the crispy carrots and peppers. However, my husband likes to cook the veggies and make big meals with the bounty we bring home.

Because I tend to be lazy in the kitchen, especially in summer, I welcome an opportunity to let the slow cooker do all the heavy lifting for me. This spur of the moment curry is relaxed and hassle-free. I thought it would be the perfect recipe to share on the Blissful Bean since it also happens to be gluten-free and uber-yummy.

Steam up lots of long-grain basmati rice, because you’ll need it to absorb all this delectable curry sauce. And feel free to substitute or add any veggies of your choosing. The following are simply what I brought home in my farm share bag that week.

Ingredients:

1 pound firm tofu, cubed
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 orange or yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped broccoli
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup small red potatoes cut in halves
1 small yellow summer squash, sliced down middle and cut in half circles
1 handful of green beans with ends cut off
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 inches fresh ginger, minced
2 cups sweet corn
1 Tbsp garam masala
¼ cup yellow curry paste
1 tsp kosher salt
1 15-oz can coconut milk
2 cups vegetable stock
1 16-oz can tomato paste

Basmati rice, for serving
Cilantro to garnish

DIRECTIONS:

Cube tofu into ½-inch cubes and add to slow cooker pot.

Chop onion and peppers and prepare other ingredients.

Mince the garlic and ginger.

Add it all to slow cooker along with coconut milk, spices, vegetable stock and tomato paste. Stir together.

Cook curry on low heat for approximately 5 hours, or on high heat for close to 3 hours. About a half hour before time is up, you may add a handful of chopped green beans (if you put them in early they might get overcooked).

Taste the curry and adjust spices if needed. Serve over basmati rice garnished with fresh cilantro.

FarmShare

rachel_bio_pic

Rachel Rothe is a writer and creator of Porridge at www.justwritemommy.com. A few of her favorite things include children’s vintage books, mint water, T25, yoga, collecting sea glass and finding the rare lavender sea glass piece, Wes Anderson films, and just about anything reminiscent ofProvence, France. Rachel lives with her husband and daughter in a seaside town north of Boston. You can follow Porridge on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook

 

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Zoodles with Marinara Sauce

ZoodleswithMarinaraSauce

Zoodles with Marinara Sauce is a quick meal you can whip up that everyone will enjoy.  Not only is this dish incredible easy to make but it also tastes amazing.  Who would have thought by simply cutting zucchini into linguine strips that you could put a healthy spin on an old high-carb favorite.

The Ingredients:

2 zucchini, spiraled
3 c your favorite marinara sauce
Vegan Parmesan

It is that simple.  Spiral or julienne the zucchini. Pour your favorite marinara over the “zoodles” and sprinkle some Vegan parmesan on top. Yum!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Cauliflower Au Gratin

CauliflowerAuGratin

Every now and then I crave some cheesy comfort food.  You know, those warm cozy meals you tend to eat during the colder months.  So with all the experimenting I have been doing with cauliflower, I decided to give vegan au gratin a try.  I must say, mission accomplished!  This Vegan Cauliflower Au Gratin is so rich and creamy it will make anyones taste buds happy.

The Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower cut into bite size florets
1 -2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder

The Cheesy Bechamel Sauce:

3 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp brown rice flour
1/2 c unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp Daiya cream cheese
1/2 c Daiya pepper jack cheese
salt and pepper to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place cauliflower in a lightly oiled baking dish.  Add the paprika, garlic and onion powder and mix well.  Place in the oven for 35 minutes.

Once the cauliflower is done make the Bechamel sauce.  Over medium-high heat melt 2 tbsp butter in a medium sauce pan. Once the butter has melted whisk in the rice flour.  It will thicken.  Next whisk in the milk.  The sauce will thicken as it cooks.  Continue whisking.  As the sauce thickens add the cheese.  Whisk the sauce until all the cheese has melted.  Pour the sauce over the baked cauliflower and mix well coating each floret. Lastly, place the cauliflower back in the oven for an additional 15 minutes or until sauce bubbles.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Fudge

VeganFudge

Who doesn’t love fudge?  I actually know a few of those silly people.  As a lover of chocolate I can never pass up the opportunity to have a taste of Vegan Fudge when offered.  I just love the smooth, creamy, melt in your mouth, delicious taste of fudge.  It makes my mouth water just thinking about it.  I was inspired to make this tasty little treat after seeing @fresh.heather’s post on Instagram.   These squares are absolutely delicious and so easy to make.  I actually think this may be one of the quickest recipes I have ever posted on my blog.  So if you love fudge, get your food processor out and give this recipe a try.  I do not think you will be disappointed.

The Ingredients: Bottom Layer

3 tbsp ground cashews
1 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp cacao powder
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp agave

Top Layer:

3 tbsp ground cashews
2 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp coconut oil (melted)
1 tbsp agave

First grind the cashews in a food processor.  I used the “S” blade and pulsed until you get a powder-like consistency.

Next mix together the Top and Bottom Layer ingredients in two separate bowls.

Grab an ice-cube tray.  I find that the silicone trays work the best.

Spoon the mixture into the ice-cube tray and gently press the fudge down. You want to fill the corners of the cube and avoid air pockets. Then repeat with the next layer.

VeganFudge1

Place the tray in freezer until you are ready to serve (at least 20 minutes).  You can store these in the freezer up to several months but they may not even last a day in your house.  They did not in mine.

Enjoy!

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Homemade Peanut Butter

PeanutButter

Where have you been?  Some of you have been inquiring of my whereabouts.  Well the truth is, my little guy has made the transition from two naps to one and as a result it really messed with my schedule.  At first, I was really excited for this new change but had put little thought into how it would affect my day-to-day.  It certainly threw me for a loop.  I was missing meals and some days would spend his nap eating way too much because I hadn’t had a chance to take a bite of anything.  Well, thankfully I have finally adjusted to his new schedule and am happy to report, I am back!

I have also been busy in the kitchen coming up with new recipes and am really excited to share some of my creations with you.  In the meantime, I am sharing with you this simple Homemade Peanut Butter.  I make this about every two weeks.  Between the three of us, we blow through our Homemade Peanut Butter pretty quickly.

PeanutButter1

The Ingredients:

1 lb unsalted, roasted peanuts (that’s it!)

Place peanuts in a high-speed blender.  I typically run the blender on low so the nuts evenly become a fine powder.  Then I turn the blender up until the peanut butter is creamy.

Store it in a mason jar for up to a month.  I store mine in the refrigerator but a cool, dry place works too.

Enjoy!

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Vegan Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust

CauliflowerPizzaCrust

Yum! This Vegan Gluten Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust is absolutely amazing.  Best of all you do not have to wait for any yeast to rise.  I have some old bread and pizza crust recipes I have used in the past that are perfectly delicious.  However as a busy mom I do not always have the time to let the dough rise for 40+ minute or worry if the live active yeast I purchased is really alive.  I need something that I know is going to work and not so time-consuming.  Although there are several steps to making this delicious Cauliflower Crust I feel it is certainly quicker than making my traditional fresh crust.

The Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower florets
3 tbsp ground chia
6 tbsp water
1 1/2 c almond flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Over medium-high heat place the cauliflower into a medium saucepan with about 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer for about 5 minutes or until the steam is seeping out from under the lid.  Drain the liquid and then transfer the cooked cauliflower rice in a freezer-safe bowl. Place in the freezer to cool for 10 minutes.  Once it is cooled through place the cauliflower into a food processor with the fitted “S” blade.  Pulse until you get a rice-like texture.

CauliflowerPizzaCrust3

Meanwhile, mix the chia seeds and water together to create an “egg”.  Set aside to thicken.

Transfer the cauliflower to the center of cheesecloth or a thin dishtowel. Pull all sides of the cheesecloth up and twist the ball of cauliflower to remove the excess liquid.

CauliflowerPizzaCrust2

Next in a large bowl place the egg mixture, the almond flour, the additional tablespoon a ground flax or chia seeds, salt, garlic and oregano.  Mix well and then add the cauliflower.  If the mixture is still too wet add more almond flour little by little until you can handle the dough with minimal sticking.   Place the dough mixture on a greased baking sheet and press into the pizza shape you desire.  You do not want to press the crust too thin or it will crack.

Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 30 minutes until the edges are golden brown.

CauliflowerPizzaCrust1

Once the crust is done add your favorite pizza toppings.  I used marinara sauce, fresh mushrooms and Daiya mozzarella cheese.  Place the pizza back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the cheese has melted and the sauce is warmed through.

Enjoy!

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