Vegan Queso and Bean Dip

This reminds me of my days in the raw food world. You can definitely make this non-vegan by adding regular milk, butter, and cheese. But here is the version I made. I actually made this for my brother’s birthday party. My entire family devoured it (none of whom are vegan) and LOVED it! Little did they know what was in it… mwahaha! I used a vitamix for the cashews and milk because it definitely made it silky smooth. I’m not positive that a food processor would work as well. So don’t yell at me if yours is chunky. Now, I’m not telling you to go out and buy a $600 blender…buuuuut it’s worth it when you have some spare change. This is an incredible appetizer (or entree if you’re me and Stew) for your next party, and it’s so delicious and good for you (I won’t tell if you don’t)! Enjoy.

Vegan Queso and Bean DipServes 8-10

1 cup raw cashews

1-1/3 cup plus 1-3/4 cups unsweetened almond milk

3 tablespoons vegan margarine

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 16-ounce can pinto beans

1 jalapeño, finely diced

1 tomato, seeded and diced

1/3 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese

1 bag corn tortilla chips, for serving

Directions:

1. In a high-powered blender or food processor, blend cashews and 1-1/3 cup almond milk. Set aside.

2. Over medium heat in a large pot, heat margarine and flour to make a roux. Add onion and garlic, coat well, and cook for about 3 minutes. Add cashew mixture, nutritional yeast, remaining 1-3/4 cups almond milk, lemon juice and whisk until smooth. Add salt, pepper, cumin, pinto beans, jalapeño, and tomato and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes or until thick.

Add shredded vegan cheese. Cook for an additional minute, or until smooth. Remove from heat and serve with tortilla chips.

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Spring Rolls

In my never-ending quest to find fun, healthy, and delicious meals, I came across this gem. I adore quinoa but get bored with the “pile of quinoa on the side of my plate” deal. When I read this I thought, “hmmm this can’t be good, but I’ll try it anyway.” It turns out, I was more than wrong! These rolls are so delicious! I made some changes (of course) and turned it into my own. My husband and I ate it for supper the other night and his exact words were, “I could eat quinoa like this five nights a week”… SCORE! Hopefully our little man on the way will be as easily tricked into eating healthy foods… I digress.

There are definitely a few ingredients you may not have on hand like the rice paper, chili garlic sauce , and Mae Ploy Sweet Chili dipping sauce. But they’re not expensive and literally last for months in the fridge. I use them in stir-frys and sushi a ton. You can actually get them at World Market and I’m sure Whole Foods (although they might be twice the price). They’re just good to have on hand.

So, it is a bit time consuming but worth it, especially if you have a helper who cleans up after you. I actually made the quinoa in advance, so all I had to do was mix it up when I was ready to rock and roll (literally).

Start with mixing all of the ingredients into a bowl, then mix in the dressing.

Lay out a clean dish towel so you can blot your hands if you need to between rolls. Then, fill a large dish with sides (I used a pyrex pan) with hot tap water. Let one rice paper soak at a time until it gets soft. This just takes a few seconds. Then place the paper onto your cutting board and fill with about 1/3 cup of the mixture. Fold both sides over and then, starting at one end, tightly roll it up.

Once you roll them, slice them on a diagonal and arrange them on a plate. Serve with the dipping sauce. These could definitely be served as an appetizer, but we ate the whole plate for supper. Once you taste them you won’t blame us!

Sesame Ginger Quinoa Spring Rolls-serves 4

Adapted from Fit Pregnancy

  • 1 cup red quinoa
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable)
  • 3∕4  cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2  cups arugula
  • 1  large carrot, peeled and sliced into matchsticks
  • 1  green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1⁄4  cup olive oil
  • 2  tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2  tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1  garlic clove, minced
  • 1  tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2  teaspoons sesame oil
  • Juice of 1⁄2 lime
  • 1  teaspoon chili garlic sauce
  • 20  rice paper wrappers
  • Mae Ploy Sweet Chili dipping sauce

1. In a medium saucepan bring water, stock, salt, and pepper to a boil. Add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer covered until liquid has absorbed, about 20 minutes.

3. Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork and combine in a large bowl with arugula, carrot and green pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, lime juice and chili garlic sauce; stir into quinoa mixture.

4. Fill a shallow pan large enough to set the rice papers in with hot water and soak one rice paper until softened, about 15 seconds. Remove and place 1 ⁄3 cup of the quinoa filling down the center of the paper. Fold the sides over the mixture, then start to tightly roll one of the remaining sides over the top. Slice on the diagonal and continue with remaining papers and quinoa filling.

5. In a small bowl, pour Mae Ploy Sweet Chili dipping sauce.

Sweet Potato Steak Fries

We’ve gotten some delicious produce from our CSA bag so far this season. We’ve been getting tons of corn lately! So we decided to make turkey burgers with grilled corn for dinner one night. I wanted to get something that would spice it up though. Stew’s been wanted sweet potatoes for a while now. So I decided that I’d make some sweet potato fries to go with our burgers. They were perfect! They provided a nice sweet bite to contrast the spicy burgers and juicy corn.

Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Quarter each half so you have 8 fries per potato. Arrange the potatoes on two pans so there’s enough room for them to cook. Pour 2 Tbsp of olive oil over potatoes on each pan. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 Tbsp brown sugar over potatoes on each pan. Mix everything together with your hands, ensuring that each spear is completely coated with oil and spices. Lay potatoes cut side down. 

Bake for 30 minutes. Flip halfway through cooking time. Once they’re golden and fork tender, they’re ready!

Sweet Potato Steak Fries-serves 4

3 sweet potatoes

4 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp brown sugar

Choose potatoes that are on the thinner side. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise. Quarter each half so you have 8 fries per potato. Arrange the potatoes on two pans so there’s enough room for them to cook. Pour 2 Tbsp of olive oil over potatoes on each pan. Sprinkle 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, and 1 Tbsp brown sugar over potatoes on each pan. Mix everything together with your hands, ensuring that each spear is completely coated with oil and spices. Lay potatoes cut side down. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip halfway through cooking time. Once they’re golden and fork tender, they’re ready!

Garlic Pickles

I have gotten more dill and cucumbers from my CSA than I  can physically eat in a week. So, I made pickles! These are spicy and delicious. They’re so easy to make, it’s laughable! Bring them to your 4th of July barbecue and the guests will go crazy! You’ll be a rock star for sure!

GARLIC PICKLES

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 Pickling Cucumbers sliced
  • 6 Fresh Dill Sprigs
  • 4 Clove Garlic crushed
  • 1/2 Cup Distilled White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbs Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • 1/2 Tsp Hot Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tsp celery seeds
  • 1 Tsp Peppercorns
  • 2 12 oz. mason jars

DIRECTIONS

Mix water, vinegar, salt and sugar together in a pourable container. Microwave mixture, about 45 seconds, until salt and sugar are dissolved. Arrange Dill sprigs and cucumbers in two canning jars. Then drop 2 cloves garlic cloves in each, sprinkle spices evenly into jars, add the water and vinegar mixture until jar is filled to rim. Put the lid on the jar and give it all a good shake. Refrigerate. Give it a taste test after 24 hours. If there are any left after 48 hours give them another taste, they will continue to pickle as they sit.

Chili Lime Corn

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I’m newly pregnant and was going through the “thinking of food makes me sick” phase. But now, at 15 weeks, I’m starting to love food again! HOORAY! We have been getting our CSA bag for several weeks now. Unfortunately, those first few weeks of our CSA were torturous. We kept getting things like turnips, beets, and kale. The thought of eating those vegetables was sickening (so unlike me)! I’m more into the juicy fruits and vegetables and less into the fibrous kind. Finally, we’re getting yummy things like tomatoes and corn which I am loving these days!  Speaking of corn, I grilled some up with a spice rub that’s to die for! I must admit, I stole this idea from my friend, Emily, who made something like this the other night! It was so good that I had to recreate it and share it with you!

Start by pealing back the husks and removing the silks. Tie the husks back with kitchen twine for a pretty presentation! Then, soak the corn for 10-15 minutes so that the husks don’t burn. I used a roasting pan because that was the only thing big enough.

Pull out the corn and drain off the excess water. Pop these babies on your hot grill for about 10-15 minutes, turning every now and then. In the meantime, melt the butter and combine the spice mixture.

Once the corn is browned and tender, remove it from the grill. Brush with butter on all sides and sprinkle with the seasoning. These are perfect for a barbecue (or lunch if you’re me and Stew). Enjoy!

Chili Lime Corn-Serves 4

4 stalks corn

2 Tbsp butter

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp lime zest

Kitchen Twine

Preheat charcoal grill (if using gas grill, heat to medium-high). Pull back husks on corn and remove silks. Tie the husks back with kitchen twine. Soak in cold water for 15 minutes (turn halfway through soaking time); drain. Grill corn, turning every few minutes, for 10-15 minutes until corn is browned and tender. In the meantime, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a microwave safe bowl. In a separate bowl, combine cayenne, salt, chili powder, and lime zest. Once the corn is finished cooking, brush all sides with melted butter and sprinkle with the chili lime mixture. Enjoy!

Chili Citrus Kale Chips

Those of you who know me, know that I like to dabble in the raw food world. It all started when I found this incredible cookbook Raw Food Real World. I had no intentions of becoming a raw foodie. Heck, I didn’t even know what it was! I got the cookbook years ago for my mom actually. Ok so I may have borrowed it from time to time… FINE I still have it! But that’s beside the point. I fell in love with the photos. I wanted to eat everything in there! As I read this cookbook, I learned about eating raw, and it made sense. I’m definitely not 100% raw, but I do try to incorporate as much raw whole foods into my diet as possible. I just feel better when I do. Which leads me to my recipe for Kale Chips. 

Last summer, I got more kale in my farm share than I knew what to do with! Of all the kale recipes I created, this was by far my favorite. I actually made the chips in the dehydrator for the most part (the temperature only goes up to 115 degrees so it doesn’t kill the enzymes). But sometimes, I just can’t wait 4 hours for a batch of these babies to be done. A craving hit the other day, and I definitely didn’t want to wait. So I made them in the oven. Start by washing the leaves thoroughly. Then dry them completely, and tear them into bite size pieces. In a large bowl whisk all of the ingredients until they’re well combined. Place the leaves into the bowl and, using your hands, move the leaves coating them completely with the mixture. 
Place a cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet. Spread the leaves out on the rack so that the chips cook evenly. The rack keeps the chips from turning mushy. Pop the chips into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until they’re crisp. Use a spatula to move the leaves off the rack and into a serving bowl. They are the perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and salty. Oh, and it’s ok to eat them all in one sitting. Enjoy! 

Chili Citrus Kale Chips-Serves 1-2

1/2 bunch kale

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp agave nectar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and dry kale leaves. Tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until they’re combined. Place the torn leaves into the bowl and mix with your hands, moving around until they’re coated evenly. Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack. Spread the leaves onto the rack and bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp but not too brown. Using a spatula, move chips from the rack to a bowl. Enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Ok… these are the best creation ever! I’m definitely a health conscious eater. My philosophy is, you are what you eat. I feel better when I eat well. I’ve even grown to crave and love healthy food! Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a sweet tooth just like the next person! That is why I need a little sweet bite ready when a craving hits! So I combined my two favorite flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, to make these cookie bites! They couldn’t be easier, and they’re actually good for you! How many desserts can you say that about? I keep them in the fridge so they are a bit firmer than when they sit at room temp. Just be careful, you can’t just eat one!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

            1/2 cup almond meal

            1/2 cup regular rolled oats (Use GF oats if you want it GF)

            2 tbsp cocoa powder

            1/2 tsp kosher salt

            2 tbsp agave nectar

            3 tbsp peanut butter

            3 tbsp pure maple syrup (add gradually until desired consistency is achieved)

            1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a food processor, process the oats until very fine, like a flour consistency.

2. Add in the almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, and agave and pulse until combined. Now add in vanilla and maple syrup gradually until desired consistency is achieved. Process until a dough forms. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Dough will be very sticky! If it is too sticky to make balls, you can add a bit more almond meal.

3.Scoop dough into a bowl. Use a small ice cream scoop to form balls with the dough (lightly wet fingers if necessary). Roll them between your hands to form a ball. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Note: If dough is too dry, add a bit more maple syrup. If too wet, add a bit more almond meal.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

This is for all you chocolate and peanut butter lovers out there! I am obsessed with that flavor combination. To me, there are no two things that go better together, not even peanut butter and jelly! In fact, my favorite dessert is chocolate ice cream with a scoop of peanut butter mixed in. YUM!

Which brings me to my granola recipe. I’ve seen tons of variations for granola out there. So I decided, why not make a chocolate and peanut butter version?! This granola is more of a “snack”. I tried it with Greek yogurt, but the tang in the yogurt did not go well with chocolate. So, I either have it with milk or alone. It tastes like you should feel guilty after eating it; but honestly, there are so few chocolate chips in the whole recipe that it’s really not bad for you! Make sure to let the granola cool almost completely before adding the chocolate chips. That way they don’t melt and form a clump. A little warmth from the granola will melt the chocolate just enough to spread it out evenly and coat some of the granola. I hope you love it! 


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup peanuts

¼ cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

¼ cup honey

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ tsp salt

1 Tbsp instant coffee powder

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low until well combined. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Move granola around halfway through the cooking time to keep edges from burning. Let granola cool almost completely. Transfer into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips.  A little warmth from the granola will melt the chocolate just enough to spread it out evenly and coat some of the granola. Store in an airtight container.

Veggie Wrap

This is one of those “use up what’s left before it goes bad” meals. I made it as a quick lunch, and it was absolutely delicious! I had some collard green leaves which are perfect for wraps! I hold the thick stem with one hand and pull the leaf away. Only pull the thick part away, otherwise you won’t have a wrap. The bottom half will have a gap where the stem was. Set the leaf down with the short side facing you. Put a handful of arugula on the half without the gap. Then pile on the avocado, mango, and red pepper. Drizzle some lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper over the top. Then fold the two short sides over the vegetables. Start with the long end and roll, just like a wrap. Cut in half on an angle and serve seam side down. 

Veggie WrapMakes 2 rolls 

2 collard green leaves, stems removed

1/2 cup arugula

1/2 avocado, sliced on a bias

1/2 mango, sliced thin

1/2 red pepper, sliced thin

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

salt

pepper

Fold the collard green leaves in half and gently tear the large fibrous part of the stem out. Leave about 3/4 of the stem in tact so you create a bed for the vegetables. Lay the leaves down with the short side facing you. Place half of the arugula, avocado, mango, and pepper on each leaf. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle the mixture over each leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck the shorter sides over the vegetables. Begin rolling starting with the longer end. Cut on a diagonal and serve seam side down. Enjoy!

Granola

This is a staple in my house. It’s so incredibly easy to make. I don’t even know why I buy cereal! Just throw all of the ingredients into the bowl of your mixer and mix it on low until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Using a standing mixer is key because it evens out the flavors. 

I love to have it as cereal or with yogurt and fresh fruit in a parfait. It’s especially good right out of the oven! Enjoy! 

Granola-4-6 servings 

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup mixed nuts, chopped (I used almonds and pecans)

1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, pomegranate, raisons, etc)

pinch salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup sweetened condensed milk

2 tbsp honey

¼ cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350F. Combine all the ingredients in your mixing bowl and mix on low until combined. Turn mixture out onto a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Mix with a spatula halfway through to keep edges from burning.