EASY and QUICK and YUMMY Plant Based/Vegan Breakfast Swedish Style Pancakes

20170906_093125

This is my favorite no egg/no dairy/no flax egg pancake recipe! Within the last several months I’ve tried many pancake recipes since adopting a plant/based vegan diet but none of them seemed to satisfy my pancake craving.  Some were dense, dry, and hockey puck like. Some were made with too much banana and tasted too banana forward. I almost resigned myself to thinking I would never enjoy this breakfast treat again until I saw this post on the internet and it all changed  http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2015/09/24/swedish-pancakes-recipe-healthy-vegan/comment-page-2/#comment-3791645 .  I have adapted the recipe below for these spongy morsels of goodness.

The ingredients are so simple: oat flour (you can just blend rolled oats in a food processor or blender if you don’t want to buy oat flour-this is what I do), water, vanilla, mashed banana, salt. I love that you can not detect the taste of the banana, its just there to create a moist texture. Seriously it does not get easier than this. I just made the entire recipe using rolled oats in my blender, and that worked great as well and took seconds to blend. Don’t have vanilla? skip it!  If you like cinnamon and nutmeg, add a pinch of the ground spices to the batter, it will add a nice warmth of flavor.

The recipe makes 3 medium sized thickness pancakes which is how I recommend making them or 6 thin Swedish style pancakes (1 serving). The recipe doubles and triples beautifully.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup oat flour (can be made by blending rolled oats into flour in blender or food processor
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbls mashed banana or applesauce (I’ve always used banana)
  • 1 Tbls maple syrup, brown sugar, or sweetener of choice (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • pinch of salt (optional)
  • pinch of cinnamon or freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
  • oil for the pan such as coconut oil (optional depending on pan/cooking method)

Directions:

The original instructions say to mix all ingredients together until well combined using a fork or whisk. (I use a glass measuring cup with pour spout for the “mixing bowl”) and let sit for 10 minutes.  Alternatively, you can use a blender and skip the 10 minute sitting time because the blender incorporates the ingredients so well. Note: This whole recipe can be made in the blender and you can use rolled oats since they will blend up with the water until you see a batter like consistency and the oats are fully ground.  Meanwhile, heat a well seasoned cast iron skillet or non stick style pan to medium high heat.  Add a little oil such as coconut oil if you think the pancakes might stick, the key is to start with a very hot skillet ( I use a well seasoned cast iron pan and coat it with a very thin layer of coconut oil to create a non stick surface, about 1 Tbls.). Once pan and oil is hot, pour the batter into desired pancake size.  Initially I made thin Swedish style pancakes and they were hard to flip and stay together.  For me I found the key was to use a hot skillet, let the pancakes cook till bubbly and set, and THEN flip them over and cook on the other side for a minute or two.  Even though the original recipe suggests making 6 thin pancakes, I like to make fewer pancakes that are thicker so I do not swirl the batter as you would for a Swedish pancake.  As long as you let the pancakes fully set on the first side before flipping (1-3 minutes depending on heat of pan) you should be good to go.  The thin Swedish style are harder to manipulate, I go for less flipping and I like the thickness of a traditional pancake as pictured above.

Optional: Some of the toppings I love serving these with are, Miyokos cultured vegan butter from Trader Joe’s, sliced bananas, almond butter, maple syrup, slivered almonds and Ikea Organic Blueberry Jam….YUM!!!  Finally a breakfast pancake I can enjoy and feel satisfied when eating!

 

 

 

Advertisements

“Peppers of the Americas” by, Marisel E. Presilla

lg peppers of americas

“Peppers of the Americas” is an invaluable and exhaustive resource for anyone who loves to cook, garden, or study the history of plants.  The photography and drawings are vivid and stunning, and each of the almost 200 peppers discussed in the book are photographed for reference.

An in depth history of peppers is given including their origins a regional break down of where they are found in the world.  The anatomy of the pepper, what makes them hot, nutrition are also included.

The encyclopedia style alphabetical list of fresh and dried peppers is included with excellent color photographs to help the reader know what each pepper looks like.  There is also a description of each pepper, flavor profiles and preparation suggestions.

Finally, a diverse recipe section is included for dried seasonings, condiments, vinegars, and hot sauces, pickles, and entrees made with vegetables, meat, poultry and seafood.  If you love to explore ethnic cuisine, you will love this book.  I am particularly interested in the author’s use of unique ingredients such as using the leaves of plants such as pepper and avocado leaves.  The “Miracha” pg. 260 (author’s version of Sriracha), “Pepper Steaks with Pepper Leaf Chimichuri” pg. 280, “Refried black beans with Chile de Arbol” pg. 284 are just a few of the recipes which have me intrigued.  I recently transitioned to a plant based diet and I was happy to find plenty of recipes which I am able to try out.

Often times I am interested in purchasing peppers but have no idea what to pair them with, or how to cook with them.  Thanks to this resource, I will be able to expand my horizons and open my culinary world to new global flavors.  I own many cookbooks and this is among my favorites. I know I will get a lot of use out of this book.

I received this book from “Blogging for Books” for my honest review.

Author Bio:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/105585/maricel-e-presilla/

More info:  http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/545207/peppers-of-the-americas-by-maricel-e-presilla/

 

 

 

Best Breakfast Green Bowl

20170801_163023

pictured above: a Green Day bowl from Sejuiced, in Newport Beach, CA

Just when I thought the Acai bowl was my favorite new plant based frozen treat, along came this Green Bowl to satisfy my sweet tooth/summertime frozen treat craving!  The color is green, but the taste is like a soft serve tropical ice cream, think pineapple, mango, banana…and I promise you the green does not get in the way of the incredible fruity flavors!  This is thicker than a smoothie, so grab a bowl, a spoon and get ready for a great breakfast, lunch, or anytime treat. Topped with fresh fruit, shredded coconut, goji berries, and even a spoonful of almond butter or peanut butter, this treat will make you smile and dive in for more!

For easy prep, purchase pre washed and packaged baby spinach and kale OR instead of kale just use a * “power greens” mix which has a combination of spinach, kale and chard.  I used a combination of baby spinach and power greens because I wanted more spinach.

Just like the Acai bowl, the green bowl blends best in a high powered blender such as a Vitamix.  I have not tried the recipe in any other blender and it probably wont work as well, especially if you do not have a tamper.  The slimmer tapered container works better than the low profile container because it takes less ingredients to fill up the bottom and maximize the power of the blade.  I use my 48 oz. container, especially when just making one serving.

Ingredients for one serving but this recipe doubles beautifully:

  • A handful of baby spinach and a handful of kale (or instead of kale a handful of “power greens” *see note above)
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen mango
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 cup liquid of your choice, suggestions to choose from include: water, flax water (1/2 Tbls. flax and 1/4 cup water), coconut milk, almond milk

Method:

Place all ingredients in blender in the order listed.  Start blender on low and ramp up to high using the tamper to tamp the ingredients down until a smooth consistency is achieved and all of the ingredients are blended well.  Remove contents from blender using a spoon or spatula and layer with granola or top with sliced banana, fresh blueberries, granola , shredded unsweetened coconut, goji berries, almond butter or peanut butter, or other toppings of choice.  Consume immediately or freeze for later consumption.  Enjoy!

Please see my blog for a great home made granola recipe: https://wordpress.com/post/dawnielovestocook.wordpress.com/3648

The Best Acai Bowl

2017062595114410

pictured above (Acai bowl from Sejuiced, Newport Beach, CA)

If you have never tasted an Acai Bowl you are in for a treat!  Think thick, icy smoothie that you eat with a spoon, it eats like a frozen soft serve ice cream but is all natural with no artificial sweeteners…it doesn’t need any extra sweetness because it is SO naturally GOOD!  Add toppings like sliced fresh fruit, granola, cacao nibs, even a spoonful of almond butter or peanut butter and you are in for a very satisfying treat!

I’ve only made this in a high powered blender such as a Vitamix so I can’t vouch for any other blender. I also use my small 48 oz. container versus my larger low profile container, I found the models which have the slimmer taller jar work better because you will be tamping down the ingredients as you blend.

Ingredients for 1 serving :

  • 1/2 a frozen banana
  • 1/4 Acai Stick (can find at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods)
  • 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1/4 cup liquid of choice: water, flax milk (1/2 Tbls. flax with 1/4 c water), almond milk, or coconut milk

Toppings: sliced fresh fruit such as half a sliced banana, sliced strawberries, or your favorite fruit, granola (see note below) , peanut butter, cacao nibs

Method:

Place ingredients in blender in the order they are listed.  Turn blender on low and gently ramp up speed using tamper on high speed to push ingredients down and blend to smooth consistency.  Remove from blender with spoon, and layer with granola and toppings.  Enjoy immediately or freeze for later consumption.

Notes:

The recipe is easily doubled if you are making more than one bowl, the more ingredients the easier to blend.

Alternatively, you can use frozen Pitaya sticks instead of Acai sticks.  I find the Pitaya is an acquired more sour flavor and prefer Acai.

Note: Please see my blog for a great granola recipe: https://wordpress.com/post/dawnielovestocook.wordpress.com/3648

 

 

 

“The New Rules of Work” The Modern Playbook for Navigating your Career

smnewrulesofwork

In this modern age with the use of social media and the internet finding a job and networking has changed. This book does a great job of covering all of the major points to be mindful of when selecting, pursuing, and maintaining a career.

The first section of the book “Make your Move” has lists, checklists, and even charts to help the reader jot down and narrow down the goals and direction of a particular career choice of interest.  The section includes understanding choices based on interests and making the next move to pursue the dream career.  In the next chapters the focus turns to “Making Your Move” and covers topics like Networking through social media and traditional networking, how to find job openings and interview and negotiation advice. Finally, the book talks about what to do when you are in the work place to maximize communication and interpersonal workplace relationships and productivity, and how to pursue career advancements.

Whether you are in a career, looking for one, or want a refresher on the do’s and don’ts of the entire career search process, this book will be a great tool and resource. I received this book for my honest review from “Blogging for Books.”

“Know Who You Are Live Like It Matters” A Homeschooler’s Interactive Guide To Discovering Your True Identity by, Tim Tebow

lgtimtebow

 

  1. Tim Tebow’s interactive guide is written with the homeschooler in mind, but is perfect for anyone who is struggling with a personal or identity crisis, or needs reassurance on the basic fundamentals of their faith and how to live out those truths in their daily lives.  Everyone needs to hear that their life matters and that they are loved by the Creator of the Universe, and that they have purpose and meaning that goes beyond life’s ups and downs. The book reads like a devotional but is also perfect for journaling within the book.

    The 4 main sections of the book cover topics like:

    1. Who You Are in Jesus (finding your identity in Jesus)
    2. God’s Got It (God loves you and knows what you are going through, He is sufficient
    3. Other’s Matter (Investing in others)
    4. Live Bigger (Understand that God has a purpose for your life)

I really love how simple and practical the book is.  Each of the 4 main section is broken down into 9 short 1-2 page devotionals, each would take just a few minutes a day to read. There are 36 total devotions.  Each devotional starts with a bible verse to focus on followed by the 1-2 page message and ending with thought provoking/application questions which are related to the daily topic.  There is space underneath each question for the reader to journal their answers on how they can personally apply the message to themselves.

Tim Tebow does an excellent job of breaking simple truths down for anyone to understand.  Although I intended to give this to my teenage son, I may also share it with my Mother in Law who is undergoing some major life changes and could use the daily encouragement and short excerpts to encourage her in the days and months ahead.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

“The Book of Greens” Jenn Louis with Kathleen Squires

the book of greens

I highly anticipated receiving this book and I read the entire book from cover to cover in one sitting, on the very same day it was delivered on my doorstep.  I love the author’s point of view in encouraging the reader to understand flavors and pairing combinations of over 40 varieties of greens. The greens are alphabetized and then include several recipes for each green. The ideas from this book have allowed me to expand my understanding and creativity in the kitchen and encouraged me to start incorporating more greens into every meal.

I recently started a plant based diet (no dairy or meat) so I really hoped the recipes for each green included at least one plant based recipe per green, but even so there are still plenty of plant based recipes to get started with. I have already picked out some favorites.  The recipes are highly creative and all seem to be very flavor forward.  I can see anyone from plant based, to vegetarian, to meat lovers, enjoying and benefiting from this book. Vegetarians will especially love this book as recipes are either designated Vegetarian (V) or otherwise.  To top if off, the photography and book cover are equally stunning.

Some recipes which I can’t wait to try my hand at include:  A Persian Greens Dip called “Borani Esfanaaj” made with arugula, mint fresh parsley and pistachios, “West African Peanut Stew” made with ginger, collard greens, jalapeno and peanut butter, “Miso Soup with Tumeric, Wheat Noodles, and Gai Lan”, “Curry Leaf Dosa”, “Mustard Green Pancakes”, “Nettle Pakoras”, “Mujadara with Purslane” the author adds a fascinating note that this is a dish believed to have been the meal that Esau at from Jacob and lost his birthright as a result, “Moong Dal and Basmati Rice with Beet Greens”, “Miners Lettuce Socca” a French/Italian chick pea pancake, “Dukkah”, “Muhammara” .

I received this book for my honest review from “Blogging for Books”  I would highly recommend this book for any food lover who wants to incorporate more healthy greens into every day meals.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole

20170418_205943

20170418_205414

I first tried this dish at True Food Kitchen and fell in love with the light textures and fresh flavors of this dish. After recently switching to a plant based diet, I was thrilled when the restaurant allowed me to substitute their house made dairy free almond ricotta instead of a traditional mozzarella topped version . I will admit, I rarely eat spaghetti squash, and had never even cooked it before. I will be cooking spaghetti squash a lot more now that I have been inspired with this fabulous, light tasting casserole which is so filling and just bursting full of texture and flavor.

One of the things I love about this recipe is the make ahead factor. The sauce is not even cooked until final assembly.  All of the components, like the roasted spaghetti squash, spiralized/julienned zucchini, caramelized onions, sauce, and even the almond ricotta (for a non dairy version-almonds must be soaked a day ahead-recipe link below), may be made and prepped ahead and stored separately until final assembly.  The assembly of the dish takes just minutes to warm in a skillet and then the casserole may be popped in the oven just to melt or warm the cheese.

Spaghetti Squash Casserole Recipe:

Time: about 1 1/2 hours total not including the overnight soak for almond ricotta

Serves 6 generous portions – as pictured above this is a half a recipe baked in an 8 inch by 10.5 inch by 2 inch deep dish, I saved the remaining half of the cooked or prepped ingredients to make another smaller casserole a few nights later. If making the full casserole recipe all at once, use a 9×13 casserole dish when ready to bake.

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 1 28 oz. can Blanco or other brand of Organic Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1-2 cloves of Garlic, peeled with brown root end cut off of the clove
  • 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano or 1 tsp. Fresh Oregano
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1-Tbls. Olive Oil (omit if oil-free version is desired-will still taste great)

For the Squash:

  • 1 Spaghetti Squash around 4-5 pounds, split in half lengthwise and seeded (roast the seeds separately with olive oil and salt for a nice snack)
  • 2 Zucchini Julienned or spiralized (I used a Kitchen Aid spiralizer-thin blade)
  • 2-3 Tbls. of Fresh Parsley, or Basil, or Thyme for garnish (or use a combination of and or all, dried or fresh)
  • 1 Onion Caramelized (Dice one medium to large sized yellow onion and sauté in a pan with 1-2 Tbls. of oil, or water for oil-free version, on medium-low heat for 30 minutes or until brown and soft-can add a few teaspoons to taste of honey, maple syrup or brown sugar to speed up the process). I ran out of olive oil so I used the liquid that remained on my sheet pan after roasting the spaghetti squash.
  • 2 Tbls of Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and fibers attached to the seeds. Save the seeds to roast for a delicious snack.  If using oil, rub a small amount of olive oil just to lightly coat the inside of the spaghetti squash halves and sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside as well. For an oil free version omit the oil, it will be fine.  Lay the two halves cut side facing down on a sheet pan lined with parchment for easy clean up.  Roast until al dente-approximately 40 minutes. You do not want to overcook. Use a spoon or fork to scoop out the spaghetti squash strands once slightly cooled. The squash may be roasted and cooked a day ahead and refrigerated until needed.
  2. While the spaghetti sauce is roasting, caramelize the chopped onions in a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil or for an oil free version water or vegetable broth so the onions do not stick. If you have liquid left over from the roasting of the spaghetti squash, you can use that as well. Add sweetener of choice to help with the browning and to add some sweetness.  This should take about 30 minutes or so on medium low heat. This can be made a day ahead.
  3. Blend all sauce ingredients in blender until almost pureed with some slight texture to the tomato. This can be refrigerated and made a day ahead if necessary. Keep the sauce uncooked, it will be cooked further later.
  4. Spiralize or Julienne the Zucchini
  5. Heat a large sauté pan with 2 Tablespoons of oil or water. You can even use any liquid that was on the sheet pan after roasting the squash.  Add the cooked and separated spaghetti squash strands which were scooped out of the skin, julienned zucchini, tomato sauce and caramelized onions till combined and just heated through.  Place mixture in a casserole dish and top with mozzarella cheese or almond ricotta if desired.  Please see my blog or the link below for the almond ricotta recipe:   https://wordpress.com/posts/dawnielovestocook.wordpress.com
  6. Place casserole dish uncovered in a 400 F degrees oven until mozzarella cheese is melted and has a slight color or almond ricotta is heated and just warmed through. Once the cheese is melted and browned (mozzarella) or warned through ( almond ricotta), finish the dish with some chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, basil , thyme or a combination of one or all three. If you do not have fresh herbs used dried.

Enjoy!  Makes great leftovers as well!

Almond Ricotta

20170418_210413

Almond Ricotta is so easy to make and is a great non dairy alternative.  Almond Ricotta can sell for up to $9.00 for a 4 oz package at Whole Foods Market, but you can make it at home for a fraction of the price.  The recipe does require a high speed powerful blender and just a little planning ahead.  To create the creamy, dreamy texture of ricotta, the almonds must be soft, so an overnight soak of raw slivered blanched (skins removed) almonds is ideal. There are quick soak methods, using hot water to soften but I have always done an overnight soak. Once the soaking is done and the almonds are drained and rinsed, the blender does all of the work.  Almond Ricotta may be dotted onto a baked pizza, or used to finish pasta dishes. Once the ricotta is added then place the pizza or pasta back in the oven just to warm the ricotta. Pictured above is a Spaghetti Squash Casserole which was warmed in a sauté pan, placed in a baking dish, topped with the cold Almond Ricotta and heated just to warm in the oven.  I finished the dish with some freshly chopped basil.  Preparing nut cheese requires food safety.  I always keep my almonds in the refrigerator during the soaking process and also refrigerate after the Ricotta is made. The Ricotta is perishable so keep in refrigerated for no more than 3-4 days.

Recipe-Yields approximately 1 cup of Almond Ricotta

Time: 8 hours/overnight soak, plus 5 minutes to blend and

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw blanched slivered almonds
  • Spring Water for soaking and for blending (approximately 1-2 cups)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place blanched slivered almonds in a 1 cup glass measuring cup or other container.  Pour spring water over the almonds until fully submerged with about  1-2 inches of additional water over the top of the almonds. The almonds will slightly expand when soaking.  Cover container with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night.
  2. ***Very Important Step*** Make sure to drain and rinse the almonds well in a colander or strainer ***Do not use soaking liquid
  3. Place the blanched almonds in the blender with a few pinches of salt and pepper and blend on high speed with 1/4 cup of water to start and then drizzle in more water while blending until you get the consistency of ricotta. Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to use.

***Blender note: a narrow base blender jar works better than a wide base jar due to the small volume of ricotta made in this recipe. I have used a wide base jar, but just have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times to get the consistency I am looking for.

 

 

Curried Wheatberry Salad

20170411_224558

We tasted a similar salad at Whole Foods and fell in love with the flavors and textures of this salad which is non dairy and vegetarian and oil free. If you substitute the honey for a plant based sweetener such as maple syrup of agave this delicious grain salad would be vegan. Packed full of protein and flavors, this makes a great lunch.

This was my first attempt at cooking wheatberries.  The directions on the package said to soak overnight but I also read that the overnight soak is not completely necessary so I skipped the soaking step and boiled them. If I have the time I will attempt to soak overnight next time for comparison. I used one cup of hard red wheatberries and boiled them in 3 1/2 cups water for about 50 minutes until the texture was soft but still chewy.

I drained and cooled the wheatberries and then put them in the refrigerator until I was ready to assemble the salad.

Recipe Yields approximately 6 cups:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked wheatberries, cooked in 3 1/2 cups water until soft but chewy. Bring the water to boil, add wheatberries, cook on low/ slow rolling boil for 50 minutes or until done and then drain and cool (can be made a day ahead)
  • 3 small seedless Persian Cucumbers cut into small dice
  • 1/2 of a Red Bell Pepper cut into a small dice
  • 1/8 cup to 1/4 cup finely diced Red Onion depending on how much raw red onion taste you like
  • 1/2 cup of cooked and shelled Edamame
  • 1/2 cup Blanched Slivered Almonds
  • 1/2 cup Zante Currants
  • 1/8 cup Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • 2 Tbls. chopped fresh Parsley
  • 2 Tbls. chopped fresh Cilantro

For Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Honey (or for a vegan option use maple syrup or agave)
  • 1/4 cup Tahini
  • 1 1/2 Tbls. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/8 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 clove of garlic pressed in garlic press or very finely chopped
  • 1 Tbls. Soy Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Curry Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Tumeric Powder

Directions:

Prepare the dressing and whisk all of the dressing ingredients together. Taste and season with salt if desired.  After the wheatberries have been cooked, drained, and cooled, toss the wheatberries with the dressing to desired consistency (the dressing may be just enough or you may have a few tablespoons left over depending on how heavily dressed you would like the salad).  Add all of the the remaining ingredients such as the chopped vegetables, sesame seeds, currants, almonds, and herbs and gently stir till combined. Refrigerate and Enjoy!