Monthly Archives: November 2013

Vegan Cookies N Cream Cookies

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-VEGAN-

The other day, my dad bought me new vegan cookbooks and one of them is all about cookies! It’s ”THE VEGAN COOKIE CONNOISSEUR” by Kelly Peloza.you can find her on facebook HERE 🙂 I will never have too many cookbooks, hahahha! I get rid of many but still have tons, my husband is always joking about the fact that I have a large bookshelf just for my cookbooks in my living room..hey, I love books, it’s not my fault 😉

What an awesome book!!! I let my husband decide which recipe he wanted me to make first and the one he chose was ”Soy Milk’s favorite cookies” (page 112). Good choice, hehe! I made some changes in the recipe, but still, the idea is not from but from this incredible book! (For all the Canadians.. it was 5$ online at Chapters/Indigo) I changed the amount of each ingredients, used almond milk instead of soy, add more vanilla and less shortening into the filling because I found the taste of the shortening way too intense. but after my changes I was very satisfied. Over all the recipe from the book is awesome. I cannot wait to try more.. My husband was happy, my big girl ate almost all the plate when I turned my back, hahaha! Damn!!! I think I’ve only ate 2! hahahaha!

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Servings

12-16 medium size ”sandwich” cookies

Ingredients

COOKIES

* 1/4 cup vegetable shortening

* 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons margarine

* 1/2 cup sugar

* 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

* 3 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk

* 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 1 cup + 3 tablespoons flour

* 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

* 1/8 teaspoon salt

* 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon pure cocoa powder

CREAMY FILLING

*  1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons vegetable shortening

* 1 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 1 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

* 1 tablespoon unsweetened almond milk (or a little more)

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shortening

Directions

* Preheat oven 325′F

* In a large bowl, cream the margarine, shortening and sugar together until the mixture is smooth. Add the almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Blend well.

* In another bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Sift in the first mixture (the liquid one) in few shoots, mixing well between each additions. The dough will be kind of stiff.

* Roll the dough into a log (the size you want, mine was not that big since I wanted cookies around the real size of oreo cookies, heh) , wrap it and freeze it for 15-20 minutes. Slice into 1-4 inch thick slices. (In the book it was 1/8 inch, but It was not thick enough for me). Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet (or non stick baking sheets)

* Bake for 8-9 minutes. (the first batch took 9 minutes, the second one right after took 8 minutes), Be careful not to overcook! The will be ready when the cookie is firm but not hard as rock. Remove from the oven and let them cool on a cooling rack.

* Now’s the time to do the filling. In a bowl, mix the shortening, vanilla, almond milk and the confectioner’s sugar. (She said not to add liquid but I did, and my cookies didn’t turned out to be soggy or not crisp. they were perfect!). Set aside (on the counter) until the cookies had cooled enough.

* To assembly the cookies just spread some filling on half of the cookies (the other half is for the tops), then put on the top cookie.

* ENJOY!
You’ll see they will not last long in your kitchen, hahahahha!!

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Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

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Such a delicious recipe, super easy and quick to make.

Like always I love to calculate everything, haha, not my fault, I’m like that! For the entire dish, it cost under 4$.. and since you can serve 6, it’s around 0.65$/serving. How awesome is that! You can eat a delicious and healthy vegan meal for pennies!! And it’s not about being cheap, it’s more the fact that I love to be able to show people that you can eat very good things for very little money. Any of my friends are eating very well, they eat a lot at the restaurant, eat junk, don’t really know how to cook, spend like crazy at the grocery store.. it’s crazy because last week grocery bill for my entire family (so my husband and I, our almost 3 years old girl and 7 months old baby boy) was only 50$. the best part in all this, we’re eating what we want, healthy, fresh and fun food. Okkkkkkk, I cook everything myself, but hey, I don’t care, I love cooking!

This week our big boy Auguste who was already eating like crazy decided he didnt wanted any kind of purees anymore (They were not smooth but with tons of chucks) he wanted to eat like us! (he’s always at the table with us) So for the past few days, he’s eating like grown up! If you try to give him something smooth or liquid he gets super mad. He wants to eat with his hands the exact same thing we are eating. He even managed to be able to drink by himself! I don’t know if it’s the fact that he now have a teeth (haha), but now he’s eating like an OGRE! My husband is always joking about the fact that either he will work in the food industry or that we will have to put locks on the pantry, refrigerator and freezer, hahahahaaha!!!!!! He’s a funny little guy, he love to eat EVERYTHING!!!!! And I mean EVERYTHING! He doesn’t mind spicy food, weird food, he love them all! Awwww he’s growing sooooooooooooooooo fast!

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Servings

6

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons olive oil

* 4 cloves of garlic, minced

* 1 large onion, chopped

* 2 medium carrots, diced (small dices)

* 1 1/2 cups kale, chopped

* 3 cups diced tomatoes

* 1 cup corn niblets

* 2 1/2 cups cooked green lentils

* 2 cups rehydrated TVP (textured vegetable protein)

* salt & pepper (to taste)

* 2 teaspoons dried basil

* 2 teaspoons Herbes de Provence

* 6-7 medium size white potatoes

* 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk (or more)

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Directions

* Preheat the oven to 350’F.

* Wash the potatoes, slice them, then cook them for 15-20 minutes until they are tender. I kept the skin on because I chose a kind you can easily leave the skin on. Anyway, I love to eat it, hehe)

* When the potatoes are cooking, you can cook the filling. In a large pot, heat oil with the chopped onion and garlic. Add the diced carrots, the kale and the spices. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Let the ” juice” reduce a little. Add the cooked lentils, TVP and corn. Mix well and remove from heat.

* Pour the mixture on the bottom of an oven safe dish.

* Mash your potatoes with the help of the almond milk. I add some salt and pepper and a pinch of Herbes de Provence. Spread the mashed potatoes over the veggie mixture.

* Cook for 40-45 minutes or until the center is really hot.

* Serve and Enjoy!

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How to cook Chickpeas

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-SLOW COOKER-

I love chickpeas.. A LOT!!! What a cool bean (and source of protein)

Like I always says, buying dried beans is cheaper (You can have here a medium size bag of chickpeas for like 2$) and it’s super easy to cook them yourself. You can even freeze cooked beans to use them later. If you don’t want all the beans to stick together, place them on a baking sheet, put it in the freezer and when the beans are frozen, place them in a plastic bag of freezer-safe container.

Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein. Per cup of cooked chickpeas you have 15g of protein and 12g of fiber. They help you feel full during the day (so it’s helpful if you’re watching your weight) It’s also a source of plenty of vitamins like E, K, A, C, B… it’s just awesome! (And good for you) The possibilities are almost infinite with chickpeas, you can cook almost everything with them! You can use them in curries, stews, salads, soups, homemade hummus.. awww there is so many possibilities!

Servings

2-3 cups cooked chickpeas

(the almost triple their size while soaking and cooking)

Ingredients

* 1 cups dried chickpeas

* water

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Directions

* Rinse chickpeas under water.

* Let the chickpeas soak in water for many hours (minimum 12 hours, here I start soaking them in the afternoon and cook them the next day. Chickpeas are very hard, this is why they need a long time of soaking.)

* Rinse the chickpeas and put them in the slow cooker, add water to cover them (in fact you can put more water just to be sure), On low settings it took around 8-9 hours. (It’s half the time on high) I know they say it’s optional to soak the beans if you’re using a slow cooker, but I do it anyway, otherwise I found the beans way too hard.

* To check if the chickpeas are done is simple, just taste them. Cooked chickpeas are not too mushy but are easy to eat.

* Remove from heat, rinse (optional, but I love to rinse them first)  and serve or use in a recipe.

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How to use TVP

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Back in the days I didn’t knew what was TVP, but for many years now, I’m using it in many dishes.

What exactly is TVP?

The answer is easy, it’s textured vegetable protein. It is a food product made from soybeans. It is produced with soy flour, cooked under pressure, extruded, and dried. It is an excellent source of protein and fiber. It’s also an excellent meat substitute in many dishes. It’s almost flavorless (like tofu) so it takes the flavor of the dish. I use it in my vegan pasta sauce, in vegan shepherd’s pie, chili, stew, pasta and many more recipes. You can add some almost everywhere. It looks like ground meat once rehydrated. You can fool anyone with it, hehe! In fact you can use it to replace meat or just to boost your protein intake. Plain TVP has zero cholesterol. It’s a money saver and a time saver.

The other thing is that it’s a very economical protein source (like tofu and beans). Here you can buy a 350g bag for around 3.50$ and you can make more than one recipe with it! don’t be fooled by the kind you can buy at the local grocery store. I mean no need to buy the one already hydrated. One cup of dried TVP makes you around 2 cups rehydrated TVP, it’s under 1$ (around 0.75$) and the one from the store for the same amount ( 2 cups) it’s over 4.50$!!!! for the same thing!!!!!!! They just added spices. You can do that by yourself! The shelf life of the dried product is very long compared to the already made product you can buy. So like beans, I buy it dried! You can found some in the organic section of the grocery store, in special markets, in bulk and even online.

Once it’s ”cooked”, you have to store it in the refrigerator, like if it was meat. Anyway I always do only the amount I need for my recipe.

Don’t be scared of trying it, it might look weird, smell a little weird but like I said, it taste nothing at all, it’s super discrete in dishes and it adds protein!Even my husband who is a big meat eater, was a little skeptic about it at first, but now is a big fan. Hehe (Again +1 point for me)

So what are you waiting for?!

Servings

2 cups rehydrated TVP

Ingredients

* 1 cup TVP

* 1 cup water

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Directions

* Boil the water.

* Pour the water over the TVP, give it about 5-10 minutes to rehydrate.

* Once it has plumped up and is softened, squeeze out the excess water and use.

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Vegan Banana-Nuts Squares

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-VEGAN-

The other day I was looking at recipes ideas on Pinterest (It’s so addictive!) and I found this one, well I modified it a little, but since it’s not directly from my head, here’s the link to the original recipe. CLICK HERE

It’s from a very lovely blog called PRODUCE ON PARADE , you should all go take a look. all her recipes looks sooooooooo delicious! I bookmarked her because I’ll be trying many of her recipes, hehe!

These squares are just awesome, they give you the impression that you’re eating a kind of banana-chocolate mousse pie! Awww I’m in heaven! By the way, if you’re not a very big fan of banana, it’s not the recipe for you, the banana taste is very strong!

Servings

16-20 squares (depend on the size you cut them)

Ingredients

CRUST

* 25 Sayer dates, pitted

* 1/2 cup raw walnuts

* 1/4 cup raw almonds

* 1/4 cup pure cocoa powder

* 1 1/2 tablespoons flax seeds

FILLING

* 2 very ripe bananas

* 1/4 cup pure cocoa powder

* 1/4 cup peanut butter

* 1/4 pure maple syrup

(The one I use if from a friend of my mom who is a maple producer, yay!)

DECORATION

* Few walnuts, chopped (optional)

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Directions

* In a food processor, combine all the crust ingredients and process until everything is well blended. Transfer the mixture into a baking dish around 8 X8 inches (I always use silicone) and press all over the bottom.

* In your food processor, combine all the fillings ingredients. Process until the mixture is very smooth. Spread over the crust.

* Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

* Cover and place in the freezer for few hours (I put them in my huge vertical freezer and it took 5-6 hours to have very firm squares). Now you can cut them into squares. Always put the dish back in the freezer because the squares are tending to melt a little.
Before eating them you can let them rest few minutes or eat them cold (like I did, hehe)

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Vegan Fudge

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These fudge are just INCREDIBLY good! 😀

Servings

12-24 squares (depend on the size you cut them)

Ingredients

* 6 tablespoons margarine

(make sure the one you use is really vegan)

* 3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

* 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

* 1/2 cup unsweetened plain almond milk

* 1/2 cup pure cocoa powder, sifted

* 3/4 cup chopped walnut (or any other nuts)

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Directions

* In the upper part of a double boiler over simmering water (not too high!!) (or a metal bowl on a pot of water), combine all the ingredients except for the walnuts. Stir until everything is melted and smooth.

* Remove from heat then add the nuts. Pour the fudge mixture into a silicone pan (or a metal one, but if you do, grease it before). I used a silicone read pan to have the perfect size of squares.

* Cool (for at least 2 hours) and cut into squares.

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Chickpeas & Veggies Couscous

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(Hope you have a big one, haha)

Another great vegan meal to make my husband eat beans (and vegan food, muahaha)! Yay! It was so delicious that both of my kids ate some too! I took a small bowl and I was super full.. awww I love meals like that! And the good part in all this.. I have A LOT of leftovers for tomorrow. *happy dance*

Lets talk about money.. you all know (I guess because I’m always saying that) that I love to calculate how much does a meal cost and I’m always proud to be able to do tasty, healthy meals for such a low cost. This meal cost around 6.50$ to make. You can at least serve 6 persons (or more) with that big dish (I have a big slow cooker), so doing very simple maths, it’s less than 1.10$ per serving. Like I always says, where can you eat something that good for 1.10$!!??!! Nowhere! Well, no you can, but just at one place.. home! Again I have to give 1 point for homemade food! Yay!

Servings

6 (or more)

Ingredients

* 3-4 tablespoons olive oil

* 4 cloves of garlic, minced

* 1 large onion, chopped

* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin

* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground curry

* 1 1/2 teaspoons ground turmeric

* 3 teaspoons mild curry paste

* 1 3/4 cup diced tomatoes

* 4 cups vegetable broth

* 5 cups cooked chickpeas

* 3 green zucchinis, sliced (I kept the skin on)

* 1 large turnip (around 1 1/2 pounds), peeled and diced

* 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced

* 1 large red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

* 2 1/2 cups kale, chopped

* couscous (2-3 cups)

Directions

* In a pan over medium heat, heat the oil, then cook garlic, onion and spices for 1-2 minutes.

* Transfer the onion mixture into your slow cooker then add all the remaining ingredients (except the kale and the couscous). Mix well. Close the lid and cook for around 5-6 hours on HIGH SETTING (After 5 1/4 hours, the veggies were perfect for me, not all mushy, firm but cooked). 10 minutes before the end, open the slow cooker, add the kale then continue to cook for 10 minutes.

* To cook the couscous, you can use regular boiling water, but you can also use the  cooking ”juice” from the slow cooker. After all it’s almost boiling! It’s what I did and it was super tasty. but it’s optional, you can do whatever you want to.

* Serve and Enjoy!

( My big boy wanted to taste what I was eating (like always, haha) so I gave him some. It was a hit! Yay! So with the tons of leftovers that I have I made him few baby meals to put in the freezer. It’s funny how my kids have funky tastes, just like their mom, hehe! Well, not that strange, since they both started to eat they tasted things that regular babies don’t eat and it’s okay that way!

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Creamy Pumpkin Risotto (Vegan & for babies)

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Awwww today my big boy Auguste turned 7 months old. I can’t believe that is already 7 months!!! Where did the time went!?! Kids are growing so fast, it’s just crazy! In 3 months my big girl will turn 3!

Auguste have a tooth! Yay! hahaha! And I noticed this morning that another one was starting to show.. hehe he’s so adorable! Still eating like an ogre, teething doesn’t affect him a bit (like his sis back in the days). This risotto was a big hit, after all it’s only things he likes.. tofu.. rice.. pumpkin… nothing can go wrong with that combination! 😀

I’m excited.. in 4 days I’ll be able to do a pregnancy test to see if my first fertility round for baby 3 worked.. send me good vibes!!!

Servings

5 servings (of 1/3 cup)

Ingredients

* 1 cup pumpkin puree (I used my homemade Cinderella pumpkin puree)

* 1/2 cup uncooked arborio rice

* 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth

(If you use the commercial one, make sure there is not a lot of salt in it. Usually I use homemade and sometimes an organic brand with no salt)

* 1/3 cup silken tofu

Cinderella pumpkin

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Directions

* In a pot, bring to boil over medium heat the vegetable broth and the rice. Reduce heat, cover and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring often.

* During that time, put your silken tofu in a food processor and blend until it’s super smooth.

* When the rice is cooked, add the tofu and mix. You will see it will be super creamy.

* Add the pumpkin puree and mix. remove from heat then serve or freeze.

* An effective method of preservation is freezing. The ice cube trays are very useful, inexpensive and reusable as many times as we wish. Simply place the puree in the trays to freeze it and once it is frozen, removed from the mold and put the cubes in a freezer container. Don’t forget to write the date on it. you can keep it for at least 3 months

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General Tao Tofu (Vegan)

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My husband never tasted General Tao tofu, so I made him for tonight’s dinner. It was a massive hit! I loved that a lot. So do I (but I’ve eaten that tons of times before)

He made me a new tofu press so I used it, hehe. Seriously, anyone who love the real of general tao (made of chicken) will love that one. (Especially if you press your tofu). I remember that back in the days I made some for my dad and he was sure it was meat, hahaha! Yeah, 1 point for me!! Another point for making my  intense meat eater husband like vegan/vegetarian dishes.

So what are you waiting for.. give it a try! Tofu is good for you 😉

Servings

4

Ingredients

SAUCE

* 1/2 cup brown sugar

* 4 tablespoons soy sauce (Use real one, not the salty sauce you can buy at the grocery store)

* 4 tablespoons rice vinegar

* 4 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup

* 1/2 cup vegetable broth

* 2 teaspoons cornstarch

* 2 teaspoons hot sauce (or any other kind of hot sauce, I used sambal olek and srirasha, but you can use any kind you want or even nothing at all)

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* 1 big firm tofu block (Mine was over a pound, 500g)

(I always freeze my tofu first, then thaw and press, the texture will be more like meat, not like a soggy sponge. Hehe!)

* 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

* 6 green onions, chopped

* 5-6 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic.. a lot, haha)

* 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

* Oil (I used vegetable oil)

* Rice and veggies (optional)

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Directions

* First of all, you have to remove the most of the water in the tofu. My husband made me a tofu press so now it’s super easy, but if you don’t have one, you can press your tofu under something heavy, a big can for example. Set aside (in the fridge) for few hours. When removing the excess water in the tofu you will have a meat look a like texture. Also, the flavors will be absorb way better in the tofu than if you don’t press it. But it’s your choice, you can do whatever you want. So after 4 hours, there was no water left in my tofu, the tofu block was half the thickness he was before.

* Cut the tofu into cubes (I love small ones). In a bowl dust the tofu with 2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch. Set aside.

* In a wok, heat some oil. Fry the tofu until lightly golden. Remove the tofu and set aside on paper towels (to absorb the excess oil). Frying the tofu will make the outside harder so it will not be super mushy once in the sauce. (Like the real deal, hehe) During that step combine all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mix.

* In the same wok, add some oil then fry the green onions, fresh ginger, and garlic 1 minute. Add the sauce and bring to a boil, then add the tofu cubes. Cook until every cubes is covered with the sauce and everything is hot.

* Serve over rice (and/or with veggies) (optional)

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Vegan Chocolate Chips cookies

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My husband started to work out seriously and eat less about three weeks ago so I try not to bake anything too sweet because I want him to continue being on the right track (he already lost weight! We checked that in he lost 3 inches of hips, yay! but today I wanted to bake some cookies to make my big girl happy. Let me tell you that it worked, hahaha! She loves them a lot.

Ishhh they are so good, I have to contain myself from eating them all, hahahaha!!!

Servings

30-40 small cookies

Ingredients

* 2 tablespoons flax meal (I buy flax seeds and ground them myself)

* 3 tablespoons water

* 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

* 1 cup whole wheat flour

* 1/4 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* 1 cup sugar

* 1 cup margarine

(make sure the one you use doesn’t contain any kind of milk ingredients in it if you want vegan cookies)

* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

* 2 teaspoons blackstrap molasses

* 2/3 cup chocolate chips (I use 51% cocoa vegan chocolate chips)

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Directions

* Preheat oven 350′F

* To replace the egg (because usually chocolate chips cookies have eggs in their recipes) you just need to combine the water and the flax meal. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. It will become thicker.

* In a bowl, combine flour (2 kinds), salt and baking soda. Mix and set aside.

* In a bowl cream margarine and sugar. Beat in the flax mixture, then the molasses and the vanilla extract.

* Add the dry ingredients into the liquid mixture. Mix. (don’t be scared to get your hand dirty if you don’t have a stand mixer, because the dough is kind of strong and think, hehe)

* Fold in the chocolate chips.

* Form small balls of dough and put them on a cookie sheet (I had put some parchment paper on the sheets), you can gently press on them with your hand.

* Bake for 11-13 minutes.

* Remove from the oven and put them on a cooling rack.

* Enjoy!

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I didn’t wanted to cook all the dough so I stored some in my freezer for next time.

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