Tonight, I made raw vegan tacos using walnut “meat” and used Romaine hearts as the shell. I have used walnut before but never made fresh pico de gallo and cashew sour cream. The recipe came from mydarlingvegan.com. Everything came out well but I needed to add a bit more sea salt to the cashew sour cream and let it sit in the refrigerator a bit longer. I also added more cumin and hot sauce to the walnut mix. We fell in love with the pico!
To make the walnut meat, blessings d all taco meat ingredients in a food processor until walnuts break down into small crumbs. Do not over mix, they will quickly form a paste. Remove from processor and set aside.
Combine the ingredients for pico de gallo and refrigerate until ready to use.
If making cashew sour cream, drain and rinse the cashews. Transfer to a high-speed blender with remaining sour cream ingredients. Blend until completely smooth. Transfer to small container and refrigerate until ready to use.
To assemble tacos, place 2-3 tablespoons walnut meat on the bottom of a leaf of romain lettuce. Top with pico de gallo, avocado, fresh cilantro, and cashew sour cream. Once assembled, serve immediately.
In our effort to do more gluten-free vegan dishes, I chose a vegan taco bake dish from buildyourbite.com. It was a relatively easy recipe that also did not use oil which I am also trying to get away from cooking with so often. Outside of the flavor of the dish, squeezing half a lime over it provided just the right amount of acid. I am so glad the recipe called for it. I would definitely bring this to our next vegan potluck. We also ate some broccoli to make sure we got our greens in tonight. Here’s the recipe:
1 large bag of tortilla chips (13 oz)
1 can of black beans, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon paprika (see notes)
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 of a lime, juiced
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 cups of salsa
sliced lime, for serving
In a bowl, add drained black beans, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, chili powder, and the juice of ½ of a lime
Stir ingredients until well combined
Get out a 9 X 13 casserole dish and lay down an even layer of tortilla chips
Spoon evenly half of the bean mixture over the tortilla chips
Cover with ¼ cup of nutritional yeast
Add 1 cup of salsa, spreading out evenly
Repeat steps of chips, beans, nutritional yeast, and salsa
Top with remaining tortilla chips, crushed into small pieces
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until browned
Serve hot with fresh lime juice squeezed on top
Be sure to reheat any leftovers in the oven for best results
This was such a life-saver tonight as allergies are currently sapping my energy. I am going to have to look into more recipes from buildyourbite.com.
Today, I decided to try something new: a vegan version of African Peanut Stew! I found several recipes online but decided I to go with the one on budgetbytes.com. I have actually never eaten it but I hope the recipe did the stew justice.
1 inchfresh ginger
1medium sweet potato
1/4tspcrushed red pepper
6 ozcantomato paste
1/2cupnatural style chunky peanut butter
1/2bunch2-3 cups chopped collard greens
1/4bunchcilantro garnish (optional)
Peel and grate the ginger using a small holed cheese grater. Mince the garlic. Sauté the ginger and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic becomes soft and fragrant.
Dice the onion, add it to the pot, and continue to sauté. Dice the sweet potato (1/2 inch cubes), add it to the pot, and continue to sauté a few minutes more, or until the onion is soft and the sweet potato takes on a darker, slightly translucent appearance. Season with cumin and red pepper flakes.
Add the tomato paste and peanut butter, and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Add the vegetable broth and stir to dissolve the thick tomato paste-peanut butter mixture. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high.
While the soup is coming up to a boil, prepare the collard greens. Rinse the greens well, then use a sharp knife to remove each stem (cut along the side of each stem). Stack the leaves, then cut them into thin strips. Add the collard strips to the soup pot.
Once the soup reaches a boil, turn the heat down to low and allow it to simmer without a lid for about 15 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft. Once soft, smash about half of the sweet potatoes with the back of a wooden spoon to help thicken the soup. Taste the soup and add salt if needed (will depend on the brand of broth used).
Serve the stew hot with a few cilantro leaves if desired.
Mustard greens or lacinato kale can be used in place of the collard greens.
The verdict: We loved it! Approved! Hubby just told me that the stew will definitely be gone tomorrow. I will put this in the rotation. It went really well with brown rice and we loved the crunch of the peanuts with the stew. One of the best yet!
Today we were supposed to be celebrating New Year’s at my brother-in-law’s and bringing a dish. I didn’t buy everything I needed for soup joumou for Haitian Independence Day so we stuck with Vegan Shepherd’s pie from the minimalistbaker.com. I will definitely do a vegan soup joumou in the near future. It came out well, I might have let it bake a little long but I love how crisp the potato crust gets on top. Here’s the recipe:
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups uncooked brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
1 10-ounce bag frozen mixed veggies: peas, carrots, green beans, and corn
3 pounds yukon gold potatoes, thoroughly washed
3-4 Tbsp vegan butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Slice any large potatoes in half, place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat, then generously salt, cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
Once cooked, drain, add back to the pot to evaporate any remaining water, then transfer to a mixing bowl. Use a masher, pastry cutter or large fork to mash until smooth. Add add desired amount of vegan butter (2-4 Tbsp), and season with salt and pepper to taste. Loosely cover and set aside.
While potatoes are cooking, preheat oven to 425 degrees F (218 C) and lightly grease a 2-quart baking dish (or comparable sized dish, such as 9×13 pan. An 8×8 won’t fit it all but close!).
In a large saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and garlic in 1 Tbsp olive oil until lightly browned and caramelized – about 5 minutes.
Add a pinch each salt and pepper. Then add lentils, stock, and thyme and stir. Bring to a low boil. Then reduce heat to simmer. Continue cooking until lentils are tender (35-40 minutes).
In the last 10 minutes of cooking, add the frozen veggies, stir, and cover to meld the flavors together.
OPTIONAL: To thicken the mixture, add 2-3 Tbsp mashed potatoes and stir. Alternatively, scoop out 1/2 of the mixture and whisk in 2 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder and whisk. Return to the pan and whisk to thicken.
Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then transfer to your prepared oven-safe baking dish and carefully top with mashed potatoes. Smooth down with a spoon or fork and season with another crack of pepper and a little sea salt.
Place on a baking sheet to catch overflow and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the mashers are lightly browned on top.
Let cool briefly before serving. The longer it sits, the more it will thicken. Let cool completely before covering, and then store in the fridge for up to a few days. Reheats well in the microwave.
Everyday during this challenge, I find myself looking for inspiration. Sometimes it comes from a picture, a message heard, a memory, a book, a meal, a quote or is birthed from just typing words until I see the words forming into a message. Today, I was watching an episode of the new Spike Lee Joint, the updated “She’s Gotta Have It” on Netflix. Nola Darling and her date walked into The River Cafe in Brooklyn. The entrance was lit beautifully and the greenery was incredibly lush.
My mind wandered to a restaurant in Aruba we went to on our honeymoon. I don’t remember the food but I remember the trees and the lights. The air. A lonely dog strolling back and forth in front of the entrance.
A connection was made. Watching Ms. Darling saunter confidently in her black dress into a cafe extracted memories of lovely trees lighting up our dinner in Aruba. There is beauty in finding inspiration everywhere, from leafing through an old notebook to standing on a balcony to sitting in a church pew to the cinematography on a TV show. I hope I never lose sight of that–even after the daily challenge of looking for it is over.
I decided to do something simple this time around and try the Easy Fettuccine Alfredo with Broccoli from brandnewvegan.com. I was particularly excited about it because I had never tried to make an Alfredo sauce and my curiosity was piqued because the recipe called for potatoes, onion, spices and cashews to make the creamy sauce.
Here is the recipe:
2 Potatoes, quartered. (I recommend Yukon Golds)
¼ onion (or the white part of 1 Leek), chopped
½ cup cashews
1 cup potato water used to boil potatoes
1 Tbls Italian Seasoning
1 tsp Lemon Juice (I like 2 personaly)
2-4 cloves Garlic (again, more is better for me)
Salt and Pepper to Taste
1-2 Tbls Nutritional Yeast (optional if you don’t like Nooch)
Soak cashews in 1 cup hot water while preparing sauce
Peel potatoes if desired and quarter them
Add potatoes and onion to a large pot and cover with cold water
Once the water is boiling, cook for 10 minutes
Remove veggies with a slotted spoon and add to blender
Add 1 cup of the potato water
Drain cashews and add to blender
Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth
Add more water to get the consistency you desire
Season with salt and pepper to taste
Prepare Fettuccini according to package instructions
Add 1 bag frozen Broccoli during last 5 minutes of boil
Drain thoroughly and stir in Alfredo Sauce
I can’t wait to make this again! Jeff and I both loved it. Speaking as someone who used to be a cheese addict, I was thoroughly impressed with this recipe.
Yesterday, on See Jane Write’s Facebook page, I saw a prompt asking us to describe our idea of a perfect Girls Night Out. Ideas floated around for a few minutes and reminded me of what I’ve been thinking lately: I haven’t had a real Girls Night Out in years.
Yes, I said it. Years.
Before anyone points fingers or starts pearl-clutching, I have been to plenty of lunches, dinners and events with friends but it’s usually been with one or two of them at a time. It hasn’t been on purpose. Weeks turn into months and months turn into years and before I knew it, I am sitting in a movie theater watching Girls Trip with my husband, laughing but also asking myself like the R&B group 702 in the 90’s: Where My Girls At?
As many of us know, wellness should be whole–physical, emotional and spiritual. Part of the journey should be a commitment to getting together and even better, getting away with your friends. Phone calls, text messages, email and the random lunch/dinner should not be enough. Time away to unwind, laugh and let it all out builds us up and strengthens our relationships. I guess it’s time for me to start planning!
It included a lot of walking, work and trying to stave off coughing fits. I even went shopping, trying on a few things that made me feel pretty. I am not one for shopping. Any one of my friends, family or husband can attest to that. I like fashion but I just like to buy what I need and hightail it out of there. It is completely different shopping for books. I enjoy settling in and burying my face in several books before deciding which ones get to take the trip home with me.
This evening it’s just been cooking. I am trying something new, a quinoa and sweet potato chili from Whole Foods along with vegan mac and cheese and green beans. Later, I am going to outline post-challenge goals. My birthday is November 16th and I return from the Summit of Greatness on September 16th. I am thinking my writing and wellness goals will have something to do with those 60 days. Off to eat dinner but excited to share more of my takeaways and the next leg of my journey tomorrow.