Did You Know?

Did you know??
Although using avocados and bananas are all the buzz now to get soft and shiny hair, all it will get you is a messy kitchen and bathroom. These products are great to help your hair for one day, but the proteins in them are way too big for your hair to absorb. And unless you are going to use them each day (yikes!), then you should head to a beauty supply store and check out some Vegan products that use "hydrolyzed" proteins - proteins from avocados and bananas that actually are small enough to help your hair.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sweet Sweet Potato French Fries

This little vegan side is a great supplement to a veggie dog or veggie burger for a kid, and also makes a healthier alternative to fried french fries and potato chips. These are very sweet, and can be a bit tricky in the oven-- but are well worth it. The largest issue is getting them crispy-- the sweet potatoes just seem to have little interest in doing so!

2 sweet potatoes, sliced into french fries
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
2 1/2 tablespoons light brown sugar
fresh ground black pepper
table salt to taste
3 tablespoons light olive oil

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Rinse the sweet potato fries and spread over baking sheet.

Mix cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, coriander, and light brown sugar in a small bowl and sift over the fries-- top with black pepper and salt.

Drizzle olive oil over fries.

Put fries in the oven for 25 minutes-- checking often the last 10 minutes to watch for burning.

The key is to brown them as much as possible and to absorb as much of the water in the fries. Although a little tricky, it's well worth the effort!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Herbed Sea Salt

The concept of making your own concoction for a seasoning is nothing new, but I find that this little mixture seems to work for most grilled foods such as Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary Herbed Salt and fresh fruits like Watermelon Slices with Basil Sea Salt. This recipe is an adaptation from Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen, which is an incredible cookbook with fantastic ideas and adaptations of traditional soul food. I find his seasoning calls for just a dash too much salt for my own personal taste, so I've adjusted it just slightly. Essentially, you can follow the below instructions with any of your favorite herbs (or mix together), and you have a delicious seasoning.

3 tablespoons coarse sea salt
2 tablespoons of your favorite herb (fresh or dried-- I find fresh works better if you're planning on using all you're making at the moment, but tends to get sticky afterwards... if you're making this to save for later, go with dried)

In a coffee grinder or small blender (i.e. the Magic Bullet), combine the herbs and seas salt, making sure to mix well. Store in an airtight container. If it appears to become sticky later, blend it again.

Shake over your delicious vegan meal and enjoy!

Grilled Asparagus with Rosemary/Oregano Sea Salt

This little vegan side dish is a fantastic way to add some greens to the dinner table, while still being economical. What I love about this particular side is that it allows for you to use either fresh or frozen veggies without any issues making the meal. It also is a great meal for the middle of winter, especially up here in New England. I miss the grill during the long winter season, so breaking out a skillet to grill indoors is a great chance for me to get the taste of summer and to know it will hopefully come again. This recipe is a simple one, so I won't ramble any more.

1 pound asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
herbed sea salt (Much like that used in the Spinach & Lentil Burgers, although I prefer the basil/oregano mixture for this one)
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced

Put the grill/skillet on low.

Bring 3-4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the 1 tablespoon sea salt, allow to boil at a high level and add the asparagus. Now if it is frozen asparagus, allow it to sit in the water for about 30-45 seconds before turning off the heat. Otherwise, turn off the heat immediately and allow to sit for 1 minute.


Transfer asparagus to plate, and coat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Place asparagus on the grill, turning occasionally-- at least enough to cook evenly, for roughly 3 minutes.

Take asparagus off the grill, and dust with the basil/oregano sea salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice.

Simple, right? Now go test it out!

Spinach & Lentil Burgers

This burger is our little recreation of a delicious vegan burger we had in London last year. (London is the world winner for friendliest vegetarian city!) It tends to run on the messy side, so be prepared for some over-use of your napkin! It's well worth the mess.

You'll Need:

2 c fresh spinach, chopped and de-stemmed
1 c dry lentils
2 c panko bread crumbs
2 tbsps nutrional yeast
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp cornstarch plus 1 tbsp water
onion powder and garlic powder to taste
olive oil for cooking
1 tbsp fresh minced garlic

Bring 2 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add rinsed lentils. Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, or until tender.
In the meantime, sautee the spinach in olive oil and the garlic, letting it become smushy and saturated (but don't let it burn!) Take it off the heat and transfer it to a mixing bowl, but don't take the pan away, you'll need it again later.
Once the spinach is in the bowl, wait for the lentils to finish. Add them when they are nice and moist, and mix together.
Add nutritional yeast and spices. Mix cornstarch and water separately, then add. Add breadcrumbs and knead all ingredients together.
Make the burgers with your hands. Try to keep them on the smaller side, though, because once heated, they fall apart pretty easily.
Transfer to your frying pan (conveniently already heated!). Spray (or drizzle) a little more olive oil, and heat them as you would a veggie burger. Before they are fully browned and crispy and wonderful, sprinkle with a little Herbed Sea Salt (I used a Basil Herbed Sea Salt) - Perfetto! Another delicious Vegan meal!

Dessert for Two - Sweet Coconut Chocolate Cake

This recipe is the perfect little treat to end a great vegan meal. Makes 2 cute little creme-brulee cakes.

The Cake:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup water

1 tsp chocolate syrup

1/4 tsp coconut extract

Mix all dry ingredients. Sift. Add oil, water, and vanilla extract. Add butter extract. Mix well. Add syrup, mix again. Spoon batter into small crème-brulee dishes. Cook in a pie pan with another dish, filled with water, for 30-35 minutes - a little undercooking is the key, here.

The Frosting:

Thanks to Susan V. at fatfreevegan.com for the inspiration for this frosting!

1/4 cup soymilk

1 1/2 tablespoon coconut milk cream

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 1/2 tablespoon water

1/2 cup coconut

1/4 cup pecans (optional)

Put first four ingredients into saucepan. (NB: to get the "cream" of the coconut milk, simply don't shake the can. Allow to sit overnight upright, and then scoop the cream off the top.) Mix cornstarch and water, add. Boil until the mixture thickens and becomes opaque. Remove from heat. Add coconut flakes and nuts, if desired.

Frost the cakes and sprinkle a little cocoa powder to serve. Buon appetito!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Olive, Pepper & Tomato Tagliatelli

This pasta dish is a simple and delicious way to expand your vegan pasta repertoire and can be made only using one large frying pan-- which of course, makes cleaning easier. I particularly enjoy changing up the white wine to test the different subtle flavors that each adds to the dish, and this makes a terrific side to a salad.

Olive, Pepper & Tomato Tagliatelli

8 oz. tagliatelli pasta
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter replacement (I use Earth Balance)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 tomato, cut into large chunks
150 ml dry white wine (I used the Charles Shaw Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons quartered, pitted black olives
ground black pepper
fresh oregano

Cook the pasta in a frypan of salted water for 8 or so minutes or until 'al dente'-- drain thoroughly and place it in a bowl.

Heat the oil and butter in the pan used for the pasta. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds and add the peppers for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the tomatoes, wine, and olives,and cook for 2 minutes. Add the pasta, and cook for another 3-5 minutes. Top with oregano and fresh crushed pepper. Mix and stir.

This is a delicious vegan main course that is simple to make and can be accompanied by champagne or a Cabernet. The sweetness of the tomatoes is complemented by the black olives and peppers, which are held together with the white wine base-- a simple yet elegant dressing for the pasta-- enjoy!

Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed artichokes are a delicious and healthy vegan entree for any occasion-- be it dinner for two or dinner for twenty. I was even able to get a few people whom are not fans of artichokes to give this one a try, and they were even asking for seconds! This is a pretty simple dish, it should only take you all of 45 minutes, it's low-fat, vegan, and-- like any artichoke meal-- looks great on the table!

Stuffed Artichokes

4 medium artichokes
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 medium onion, diced into 1/4-1/8" pieces
1 garlic clove (or 1 tablespoon diced garlic in olive oil), diced
3 tablespoons virgin olive oil (2 1/2 if using already diced garlic)
4 oz. mushrooms, chopped
1 medium carrot (or 3-4 baby carrots), grated
1/2 sun-dried tomato (about 1 tablespoon chopped) chopped
leaves from a sprig of thyme
5 tablespoons of water
fresh ground black pepper
1/8 red bell pepper, diced
2 cups of panko bread crumbs
fresh parsley to top

Boil the artichokes in salted water with a teaspoon of lemon juice for roughly 25-30 minutes, or until the leaves appear to pull easily from the base. Strain in colander and run cool water over the artichoke for 45 seconds.

While the artichoke is boiling, fry the onion and garlic in olive oil (not the measured, but extra oil) for five minutes over medium-low heat. As the garlic begins to brown a little (just the slightest amount), add the mushrooms, carrot, sun-dried tomatoes, red bell pepper, and thyme. Let this simmer for three to five minutes.

Around this time you should preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Stir in water, add basil, and allow to cook for a further five minutes, then mix in the breadcrumbs. If the mixture does not give enough moisture, add 2 parts olive oil 1 part water until breadcrumbs are saturated.

After the artichoke has cooled enough to handle with your hands, pull the leaves back to reveal the purple-tipped central leaves. Pull these central leaves out, and using a spoon, scrape out the hairy choke, making sure to remove it all. This will be discarded and not used for the recipe.

Spoon the stuffing into the artichoke until they are full, and push the leaves back into shape. Remember, you don't need to force these to be packed as dense as possible-- let the stuffing breathe!

Once they are all stuffed, place them in a ovenproof dish with the olive oil underneath the center of each artichoke. These will bake for 20-25 minutes. Garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Another delicious healthy vegan recipe for you to try-- let us know how yours comes out!

Caloric Info
Servings 4
Total Fat: 20.6 grams
Sat Fat: 2.6 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 5.3 grams
Monosat. Fat: 10.8 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 532.8 mg
Potassium: 652.3 mg
Carbs: 70.9 grams
Dietary Fiber: 18.5 grams
Sugar: 12.1 grams
Protein: 27.9 grams

Strawberry Lime Soda!

Caloric Info
Servings 2
Total Fat: 0.1 grams
Sat Fat: 0.0 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 0.1 grams
Monosat. Fat: 0.0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 9.7 mg
Potassium: 170.7 mg
Carbs: 29.2 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2.3 grams
Sugar: 7.6 grams
Protein: 0.5 grams

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Ragin' Cajun Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

These cajun styled mashed potatoes are a delicious side to faux ribs, and complete a fantastic vegetarian/vegan dinner-- especially in the winter when that little extra spice keeps you feelin' warm. These potatoes are rich, creamy, spicy, and --best of all-- a cheap side! We have a great recipe to side with this for tempeh strips brined in barbecue sauce. I find with this recipe, the amount of spices you add is surprisingly less spicy than you'd expect-- so when you look at the ingredients, don't get nervous-- you'll be okay!

Ragin' Cajun Mashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon cayenne
2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 unflavored unsweetened rice milk
2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Peel and slice the potatoes-- place in a pot of water with a teaspoon of salt in it and bring to a boil. Let this boil for 25 or so minutes.

While potatoes boil, mix onions, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon of the salt in a mixing bowl. When everything has mixed well, place on warm (not hot!) medium-sized saute pan over low-medium heat until well caramelized, about 20 minutes (roughly at the time when the potatoes should be done).

Remove potatoes from heat, drain, and return potatoes to the pot to be smashed. They should be really soft and should not require a potato masher-- just a fork or wooden spoon.

Combine rice milk and thyme in a small sauce-pan over low heat; give it a minute or two and combine the onion mixture and stir. Stir occasionally for a few minutes, and combine with potatoes.

Using a wooden spoon (preferably the before-said wooden spoon-- makes dish-washing easier later!), whip everything together for about a minute. The coloring should become a bit more uniform as the sauce permeates the now fluffy potatoes.

Top with black pepper and serve!

Not too bad, right? Another delicious nutritious vegan / vegetarian meal for all to enjoy!

Caloric Info
Servings 6
Calories 363.2
Total Fat: 12.2 grams
Sat Fat: 1.6 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 1.2 grams
Monosat. Fat: 8.6 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 530.1 mg
Potassium: 1369.6 mg
Carbs: 58.8 grams
Dietary Fiber: 7.4 grams
Sugar: 2.4 grams
Protein: 6.9 grams

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mint Mousse

This mousse is a light and delicious way to end any dinner. And it's pretty simple, too.

You need a double boiler for this recipe. (If you don't have one, simply fill on 2-qt pan with water, and let it boil. Then place a smaller pan inside of it). You'll also need a blender/mixer for this one.

1 package silken tofu
6 semi-sweet vegan baking squares (about 1 cup chocolate chips)
1 teaspoon margarine (Earth Balance works well)
1 teaspoon peppermint or mint extract*
2 tablespoons non-dairy milk of your choice
1 Peppermint Candy Cane for garnishing

Put tofu in mixer and set aside
Using a double boiler, melt the margarine completely. Then add the chocolate and melt. Make sure not to burn it.
When it is entirely melted, add the extract. Stir.
At this point, taste the chocolate. If it is not as sweet as you like, add a little simple syrup - especially if you are using unsweetened chocolate instead of semi-sweet.
When you are satisfied with the mix, add it into the mixer with the tofu.
Add the soy milk and mix well - make sure the tofu is entirely incorporated.
Pour into serving dished (wine glasses work also if you don't have fancy custard dessert cups) and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, garnish with peppermint stick.

*If you're not that into mint, you can try different extracts. Almond, vanilla, hazelnut and coffee are a few of our favorites.

Caloric Info
Servings 6
Total Fat: 26.1 grams
Sat Fat: 10.1 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 4.7 grams
Monosat. Fat: 9.7 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 430.1 mg
Potassium: 447.4 mg
Carbs: 13.6 grams
Dietary Fiber: 5.1 grams
Sugar: 2.0 grams
Protein: 15.1grams

The Pesto Sand Wedge

This vegan sandwich was named the Pesto Sand Wedge simply because it is a wedge of a sandwich. A relatively simple creation, it is sure to make a great quick meal for someone trying to put something together in 15-20 minutes. I personally find this to be one of my favorite meals because it's simple, delicious, and you can always adjust the ingredients for what you have. I'm a huge fan of fresh vegetables, and I will try to use them whenever I can-- which leads me to always have stuff about to go bad-- which is a perfect opportunity for a sandwich like this. Make the Pesto ahead of time, and then hit up the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator and take out all your favorite stuff. For this one, I stuck to the basics; onions, peppers, tomatoes, and olives. As I said, there is plenty of variation-- try it, and don't be afraid to tweak the recipe to your own tastes!

The Pesto Sauce:

You are going to need a blender or food processor for this one!

1 oz fresh basil
1 teaspoon garlic
2 tablespoons pine nuts (NB: these are a little expensive. If you don't want to shell out the bucks just for one recipe, you can use cashews instead.)
1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, depending on how much you like salt)
dash pepper
1-2 medium sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
2-4 tablespoons olive oil ( for consistency)

Put all ingredients in blender/processor and let run until pesto is fully green and all nuts are ground. Use for sandwiches - or whatever you like! We'll stick with the Sand Wedge idea for now, though.

The Sand Wedge:

6 slices of fresh red bell pepper
4 tablespoons of minced garlic
1/4 white onion
Treeze Mozzarella cheese
8-10 olives
4 sun-dried tomatoes
1 loaf of bread
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven at 325.

Find a nice loaf of bread-- any kind of bread; which ever type you fancy. slice it into two ends, and halve the pieces to place the vegetables in. With a spoon, smooth the garlic over the inside of each piece of bread. Do the same with the Pesto afterwards.

Slice the sun-dried tomatoes, peppers, and onions into 1/4" x 2"-3" slices, and dice the olives and onions-- apply as liberally as desired.

Drizzle the red wine vinegar over the vegetables and grind black pepper over the Sand Wedge to your taste.

Throw the pieces, not closed, into the oven for 7-10 minutes, or when the bread and vegetables show signs of darkening. Put the pieces of Sand Wedge together and you've got yourself a delicious nutritious meal!

You'll be surprised how quickly this will fill you up, and how a simple vegan sandwich can be so delicious and healthy!

Pesto Caloric Info
Servings 3
Total Fat: 13.0 grams
Sat Fat: 1.5 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 2.7 grams
Monosat. Fat: 7.7 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 443.8 mg
Potassium: 137.6 mg
Carbs: 2.6 grams
Dietary Fiber: 8.8 grams
Sugar: 2.6 grams
Protein: 9.3 grams

The Wedge (sans bread) Caloric Info
Servings 3
Total Fat: 18.7 grams
Sat Fat: 4.3 grams
Polyunsat. Fat 3.0 grams
Monosat. Fat: 10.0 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 819.8 mg
Potassium: 315.7 mg
Carbs: 10.5 grams
Dietary Fiber: 2.1 grams
Sugar: 2.7 grams
Protein: 8.4 grams

Cheezy Potato Monsters

These Vegan Cheezy Potato Monsters are a one-of-a-kind Frankenstein creation of ours-- a great comfort food and (surprisingly) relatively healthy! The meal runs a little expensive due to the nutritional yeast, although for the vegetarians out there, a typical cheese sauce will work just as well. I will say, however, this cheeze sauce has a bit more kick than any traditional cheese sauce! Otherwise, this is a pretty simple recipe.

Cheezy Potato Monsters:

3 pounds of potatoes
1 white onion
1/2 red bell pepper
1 cup fake ground meat
4 tablespoons olive oil
crushed black pepper
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
4 tablespoons minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and get a large pot of water ready to boil. Peel the potatoes and slice them so they are about 1/8" pieces, almost like potato chips. Once these are all sliced, throw them in the (hopefully) boiling water for 10 minutes.

Dice the onions and peppers and defrost the fake meat. Oil a frying pan, and put the faux meat in with the garlic. While frying it up a little, add the cayenne pepper, dried basil, and add some fresh ground black pepper. After frying for about 4-5 minutes, add the onions and peppers. When they show signs of browning, turn of the heat, and wait for the potatoes to be done cooking.

Cheeze Sauce: (adapted from How it all Vegan! with some inspiration from other great Vegan cooks)

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2-3 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (depending on how thick you want it)
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup water
2 teaspoon yellow mustard

Mix all dry ingredients in a 2-qt pot. Add water, and heat until it combines and begins to thicken (should take only a few moments). Add the mustard, stir again, moving the heat to low (if it gets too thick for your taste, turn the heat off and add a little more water).

Then add:

1 teaspoon tahini (if you aren't a fan, you could skip this).
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Adding a little cayenne pepper is a great add in, as well. Adjust the spices to your preference. Add 1/3 cup of soy milk to the final product while it's still on the burner and hot, along with a tablespoon of Smart Balance margarine to add some creamy texture.

The Mix:

Get a deep baking pan, 9"x9" should be sufficient. Layer the fried veggies/meat with the potatoes-- and stir. When the ingredients are completely exhausted, cover with the cheezy sauce and throw the concoction in the oven for 20 minutes or until it starts browning-- enjoy!

The recipe is a delicious and simple meal to be enjoyed by all; be it vegan or not-- enjoy!

Caloric Info
Total Fat: 4.5 grams
Sat Fat: 0.7 grams
Polyunsat. Fat: 1.1 grams
Monosat. Fat: 2.2 grams
Cholesterol: 0 grams
Sodium: 284.8 mg
Potassium: 1909.8 mg
Carbs: 95.4 grams
Dietary Fiber: 12.8 grams
Sugar: 4.0 grams
Protein: 15.4 grams

Monday, January 11, 2010

Welcome to our vegan vegetarian healthy kitchen!

Welcome to our healthy vegan kitchen! This is the first post in what hopes to be a long line of recipes from our plates to yours. Our goal is to help other people interested in eating vegetarian, vegan, or even those just trying to eat a little healthier with less meat in their diet. We are both vegan cooks from very traditional families- so much of our cooking is based in, well, traditional meals and well known platters. We have also, however, tested new grounds and stepped away from our comfort zone for much of our cooking. Hopefully, you find a dish or two with us that you enjoy, and maybe we can learn something from you as well! I hope our vegan kitchen brings you what you are looking for-- whether it is a recipe that brings back a comfort food or one that steps you away from your comforts-- ciao!