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 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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Protein Packed Bars

ProteinEnergyBar

I’m back!  After a long few weeks of running to new activities with my little guy and traveling to the east coast to visit family.  I am finally back home and settling into our usual routine.  I must say I have very much missed blogging, cooking and being creative in the kitchen.  It is good to be home.

I have had several recipes up my sleeve ready to show you but could not decide which to publish first.  By popular vote, it was decided these Protein Packed Bars would kick off my return.  They are easy to make and so tasty!  Whether you are looking for a 3 o’clock pick me up, a snack after working out or just a little treat, these little bars will hit the spot.

The Ingredients:

1 1/2 c gluten-free oats
1 1/4 c rice crispy cereal
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1/4 c sesame seeds
1/4 c pepita seeds
1/4 c sliced almonds
1/4 c dried cranberries
2 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 c brown rice syrup
1/4 c peanut butter

In a medium-mixing bowl whisk together the first 9 ingredients.

Next, warm the brown rice syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk together until creamy and smooth. Just as the sauce begins to bubble remove from heat and pour over the ingredients in the mixing bowl.  Mix well then spread the mixture onto a baking sheet or baking dish.  Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes then cut and serve.  You can store these bars in the freezer for up to a month.

Enjoy!

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Garbanzo Beans and Broccoli with Veloute Sauce

GarbanzoBroccoliMushroomVelouteSauce

Garbanzo Beans and Broccoli with Veloute Sauce is a family favorite.  There is something so special about a creamy veloute sauce.  The way it makes your mouth water and the cozy warm feeling it gives you inside.  Ah, heaven.  This dish is packed with protein and guaranteed to satisfy any hungry family.

The Ingredients:

2 c quinoa
2 c garbanzo beans (fresh or canned)
1 head of steamed broccoli

Veloute Sauce:

2 tbsp vegan butter
2 tbsp brown rice flour
3 c vegetable broth
1 c mushrooms, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook the quinoa according to the package.  Meanwhile, steam the broccoli in a medium saucepan (covered) over high heat.  Once the steam starts to come out from under the lid the broccoli is done.  Drain the water and set aside.  The broccoli will be bright green and still crunchy.

Next in a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Once the butter has melted whisk in the rice flour.  It will quickly thicken.  Next whisk in the broth one ladle full at a time.  The sauce will thicken as it becomes slightly thick, add another ladle full until the broth is all used.  Continue whisking.  As the sauce is thickens again, add in the sliced mushrooms.  Remove from heat.  Season with salt and pepper.

Place the quinoa on a plate then top with beans, broccoli and lastly the sauce.

Enjoy!

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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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Strawberry Rhubarb Jam (Pectin-Free)

StrawberryRhubarbJam

This past weekend I made my very first batch of Pectin-Free Strawberry Rhubarb Jam.  Who knew making jam could be so easy?  I researched a few recipes online and what I was most shocked to see was the amount of sugar all of these recipes called for.  I knew the recipe would need some sugar but I felt 6 cups of sugar is WAY too much.  Fruit is sweet enough in my opinion and although rhubarb is a bit tart I did not see a reason for that much sweetener.  So needless to say, I created my own jam recipe and cut back on the sugar.  I think this jam has the perfect amount of sweetness.

I cannot tell you how excited I am to have made my first batch of jam.  I want to scream it from the Rocky Mountain tops!  Hah!  Let me explain.  Ever since I was a little girl I dreamed of moving to the country and making jam.  I remember how this dream was born as if it were yesterday.  I was about 10 years old, sitting on the couch in my childhood home watching a new comedy that had just been released on VHS.  Yup, I said VHS.  For those young readers, these were the clunky rectangular tapes (or Video Home Systems) that we used to watch movies on before there were DVD’s. I feel so old.

Anyway, the movie was Baby Boom staring Diane Keaton (circa 1987).  Those of you who are unfamiliar with this film it is about a busy executive woman who inherits a toddler from a cousin who had passed away.   This woman eventually gives in to all the new challenges that come along with a child, leaves her busy life in the city and moves to Vermont.  She begins making her own gourmet baby food and, once again, becomes a successful woman selling her “Country Baby” food.  She falls in love with her new life, who she has become and her adopted daughter.  It’s a sweet story.

I remember thinking as I sat in our living room,  “One day, I am going to move to the country and make my own jam.”  Babies and baby food certainly were not on my mind at that age.  Who knew I would actually be doing it!  I too, love what I do, where I live and adore my boy more than words could express.  I find it funny I haven’t thought about this childhood dream until the moment I tasted this delicious jam.  All of a sudden my heart became warm and filled with this loving and comfortable feeling.  A feeling that things are all good.  Like a hug.  It was that same feeling I had when I first had this dream.  Life is pretty cool like that.

This recipe yields 4 4-ounce jars.

The Ingredients:

2 1/2 c rhubarb, cut into 1/2 in pieces
1 1/2 c strawberries, quartered
1/2 c organic sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

Place the rhubarb and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Let it sit at room temperature for about 2 hours.  The sugar will draw the moisture out of the vegetable and you will have a bit of liquid in the pot.  Next add the strawberries and lemon.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to medium-high for 20-25 minutes.  Stir often to avoid burning.  The mixture will soften and thicken.

StrawberryRhubarbJamMax

Pour jam into 4 sterile 4-ounce mason jars and place the lids on.  Once the jam is cool place in the refrigerator it will last up to 2-3 months.  Note: I did not properly seal these jars because the jam will be used within 3 months.

*If you prefer to make a large quantity you can follow these canning technique from Ball.  When properly preserved the jam will keep for up to a year if stored in a cool dry place.

Enjoy!

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Cauliflower Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce

CauliflowerStirFryPeanutSauce

This Cauliflower Stir-Fry with Peanut Sauce is so tasty you will not even miss the chicken.  The recipe is an oldie but goodie.  Back when I was eating meat I would make this dish all the time.  I have recently been fascinated with the hidden potential of cauliflower and have been incorporating it into many of my dishes.  It is a great substitute for chicken!  So with some testing and a lot of tasting, I have finally mastered this new recipe.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family.

The Ingredients:

1 package of thin rice noodles
1 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, julienne
2 celery stalks. julienne
2 tbsp sesame oil

The Sauce:

1/2 tsp Thai Kitchen curry paste
1/2 c vegetable broth
1 c coconut milk
1/2 c homemade peanut butter
1 tbsp “soy” sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook rice noodles according to package.

Cut the cauliflower into bite-size pieces.  Place the cauliflower along with 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil in an oven safe dish and lightly roast.  You want the cauliflower to still be a firm and almost fork tender.

Lightly steam carrots and celery in water.

Whisk together in a medium bowl all the ingredients of the sauce and set aside.

Meanwhile, over medium-high heat, sauté  garlic in sesame oil until lightly browned.  Add the roasted cauliflower and stir-fry until fork tender.  Next add the steamed veggies then the sauce mixture.  Reduce heat and stir until sauce thickens.  If the sauce is too thick add more coconut milk.  Lastly add the cooked noodles.  Mix well and serve.

Enjoy!

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Carob Peanut Butter Ice Cream

CarobPeanutButterIceCream

This Carob Peanut Butter Ice Cream is amazing!  Recently, I have been in the mood for everything and anything peanut butter.  I am not quite sure why I am having this craving but chocolate and peanut butter just makes my mouth water.  My husband and I have a little routine each night.  Once we get our little guy to bed I will make us a tasty dessert.  It will vary between ice cream, almond milk shakes, bananas and peanut butter or just a bowl of fruit.  This dessert is something that we both look forward to after a day of working (for him) and chasing around our little monster (for me).  The other day I decided to add some peanut butter into our usual carob ice cream and it turned out to be a smash.  It was so good that now I cannot get enough and I want it every day.  I think I may have a problem.  Hah.  So I share this recipe with you in hopes that you too will become obsessed with it.  Kidding.  Well kind of.

*What is carob?  It is most commonly used as a chocolate substitute and although it is not as flavorful as cocoa there are plenty of things you can do to get it close.  Carob is caffeine-free and contains three times as much calcium as cocoa.

The Ingredients:

2 c almond milk
1/2 c raw cashews
6 dates, pitted
2 tbsp carob powder
1-2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla

Place all ingredients into a high-speed blender.  Blend until smooth and transfer to a medium glass dish.  Place it in the freezer, uncovered for 1 hour.  Stir and return to freezer for another hour.  If you like the consistency at this point, by all means enjoy!  Otherwise, stick the ice cream back in the freezer for an additional 30 minutes.  Scoop out into bowls or mugs and serve.

*It is important you stir the mixture otherwise it becomes icy.

Enjoy!

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