Saturday, May 28, 2011

Raw Asian Salad

Chinese food has long been one of my favorite cuisine, although I would always get the same thing (chicken and broccoli- yuck!)from a somewhat-dirty place. I finally began to really appreciate Asian food after going vegetarian and discovering a veg Asian restaurant not too far from me. And, especially after going vegan, I found it so nice to be able to actually look through a menu and have options rather than just getting the house salad or plain pasta.
I was happy to find that making raw vegetables Asian-style was easy and tasty. I decided to take raw Asian food a step further when I found some cabbage and mushrooms in the fridge that just needed to be used.
The outcome wasn't bad at all! My meat-loving dad even rated it a 7 out of 10 as a meal and a whopping 8 1/2 as a salad! (My mom gave it 8 out of 10 for a meal and 9 out of 10 for a salad)

Asian Salad serves 3

1 ½ C shredded cabbage
3 carrots, grated
2 stalks celery, diced
1 C snow peas, chopped
1 C button mushrooms, chopped
1 shallot, diced
2 scallions, chopped

2 ½ Tbsp Olive Oil
1 ½ Tbsp Sesame Oil
2 Tbsp Nama Shoyu
½ Tbso rice vinegar
1 Tbsp Water
½ Tbsp Lemon juice
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp white pepper

Prepare all of the vegetables and mushrooms, and toss in a large enough dish.
Mix the marinade ingredients together in a bowl, and pour over the vegetable mixture. Mix well.
You can eat it now, but it tastes better if you let it marinate for an hour or so.
Serve over a bed of spinach.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Granola Bars

Granola bars are amazing. There's no doubt, whether it's an elaborate bar, or a simple, raw, nut & date bar.
But the store bought stuff can get a little expensive... So why not make your own?
My mom likes having granola bars (or cereal bars) around to bring to work or have as a snack. The only bad thing was she would buy Kashi. I do have to hand it to Kashi for getting more people into eating organic, relatively healthy things, but Kashi is just a branch off of Kellog's- one of the largest buyers of palm oil there is. Not to mention the long list of ingredients on those bars, which also includes milk from dairy cows raised on CAFOs (if you would call mass producing a living animal raising...).
To get her to stop buying them, I promised I would make my own granola bars for her.

The first couple of tries did not work. But then I discovered the glory that is parchment paper!

Basic Granola Bar Recipe:
2 C rolled oats
1/3 C oat flour
½ tsp salt
1/3 C nut/seed butter (I like using a mix of different ones)
1/3 C vegan brown sugar
2 T rice syrup
¼ C safflower/sunflower or grape seed oil
¼ C agave syrup

~ Preheat oven to 350 degrees
~Mix all the ingredients together, and press into a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.

These are delightful with some melted chocolate on them, or with chocolate chips. And it's so easy to add any type of whole nut, seed, dried fruit, or whatever floats your boat.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Very Vegan Birthday Party! (And my Lemon Cake Recipe!)

It's hard to believe, but I'm reaching the end of my sixteenth time around the sun.
To celebrate, my parents actually allowed me to do all the cooking for my birhday party.

I had picked out recipes, made shopping lists, even made an itinerary for preparing the food. I was happy and excited to do this. Of course, nothing really went as planned, as a going-on-17 year old preparing a feast for 15 people, with dessert, can be a little overwhelming. But the results came out wonderful nonetheless, and almost all (except for a couple picky eaters) were impressed! Even my little cousins were eating mugwort soba noodles!
The meal was Asian themed, with some Mexican appetizers courtesy of my sister :)

Here are some of the wonderful recipes I made that are definitely worth noting:

Spring Rolls
General Tao's Tofu
"Beef" (Seitan) Teriyaki
Lo Mein
Raw Wild Rice Salad

I will admit I did not do everything on my own. My aunt prepared a delicious seitan dish and a rice salad, and also helped me make the spring rolls.

And of course, dessert!
Along with my thin mint cookies, I made a raw carrot cake, an igloo cake, cupcakes, a lemon cake, and featured a vegan ice cream cake, too!

Almost everyone seemed to agree that my lemon cake with raspberry topping was the best, so I figured I'd share it with whomever happens upon this blog (which probably isn't too many at this point)

My Lemon Cake:
2 C while whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
1 C sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp lemon zest
1/3 C applesauce
2/3 C grape seed oil, or any mild flavor oil
1 C plant milk (I used almond)
1/2 Tbsp lemon extract
1 T fresh lemon juice

1) Preheat oven to 375.
2) Mix together the flour, sugar, baking soda and powder, salt. Add the remaining ingredients and mix.
3) Pour into greased cake tins or cupcake pans. Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes up clean.

Raspberry sauce:
1 C frozen raspberries
1/2 C vegan brown sugar

Heat the ingredients in a saucepan on medium-low heat just for a few minutes, until the brown sugar has dissolved.
Spread on top of the cake, or on the bottom to let it soak.

The ice cream cake was much easier than I thought. I did try to make my own ice cream, but it was too much work using my little ice cream making ball, so I gave in and bought coconut ice cream from the health food store.
Let the ice cream sit on the counter so it is soft enough so that you can easily spread it in a springform pan. Once you get it to a thick enough layer, sprinkle on cookie crumbs, graham cracker crums, fruit, or what have you, and freeze it while you allow the rest to melt completely. Once the first layer is hard, and the top layer ice cream is melted, pour on the top layer so it's smooth and pretty. Sprinkle on some more of the filling to decorate it, and freeze it, and voila!
Just let it thaw a bit when you're ready to serve it, and take off the top part of the pan.

It was a fun day, to say the least, and I'm certain almost everyone enjoyed it!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thin Mint Cookies! (with a yummy peanut butter variation)

Girl Scout cookies were no doubt the best part of being a girl scout. Sad, I know, but those darn cookies could be eaten by the box they were so good. I loved them all, Tagalongs, All Abouts, but of course, the best of them all, the Thin Mint.
What could beat a chocolate mint cookie with a catchy name like that?

A vegan version, of course!!!

This Mint Cookies:
~1 C white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
~ 2/3 C vegan sugar
~ 1/2 tsp salt
~ 1 Tbsp baking powder
~ 1/4 C + 2 Tbsp cocoa
~1/4 C grapeseed oil (or any mild flavored oil will do)
~1/4 C applesauce
~2 Tbsp agave
~2 Tbsp water
~ 1 tsp peppermint extract

~ Choclate for melting

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa. Add the oil, applesauce, agave, water, and peppermint, and mix until combined.
3) Mold the dough into small round patties and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or to get them to be crispy when they cool. The time will vary depending on how big you molded the cookie.
4) Once the cookies are cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler*. Dip the cookies in the choclate and get them well coated. Transfer them onto parchment paper (I like If You Care brand) to cool. Store once the chocolate has hardened (...or eat them)

* You can also use a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water, although the bowl can move around, so it's easier to burn yourself by doing that.

Peanut butter variation:

The one combo that is better than chocolate and mint, in my opinion, has to be choclate and peanut butter. But what about all three?
I blended about 1 C of peanuts with 4 dates and a few spoonfuls of store bought peanut butter (unsalted), blended in my food processor, and got a stiff, tasty, peanut butter that could be easily molded into a patty to fit ontop each cookie.
This peanut butter stayed on the cookie when being dipped in the chocolate, and stays in shape when you take a bit of the finished Thin Mint.

My sister likes them a lot, and I'm very happy with how they came out too! I'll be working on a dehydrated raw version, and hope I can get something like that to match up.
Tomorrow, these lil' cookies will be bagged up and placed in a handknit (by me) bag with little knitted bunnies for my mom for Mother's Day,and here's hoping she'll like them too!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

MacaRAWne and Cheez

I don't think I have ever had a hard time being vegetarian or vegan. The only thing that makes things a little difficult would be eating out at restaurants that aren't able to comply (Because when I order a baked potato and steamed broccoli-the only two vegan things on the menu- with nothing on them, I mean NOTHING, not melted butter!!!). But other than that, I have had nightmares about accidently eating meat (obsessive?), I have no yogurt cravings, could care less about ice cream or cream cheese, and cheeses kind of gross me out- especially melted.

Although, I did nonchalantly say to my sister that if there were anything I miss, it's macaroni and cheese. I would never eat that again (well, exept for vegan versions, of course), but the dish does hold a lot of memories for me, like lunch at my grampa's, making it for dinner while on vacation, mixing in ridiculous amounts of broccoli to it...

I have tried to find some vegan substitute to match up to dairy mac and cheese, but to no avail... And then I tried a raw recipe for i... I've made quite a few changes to it, and I have to say, of all the vegan mac and cheeses I've had, this is my favorite, despite the pasta being carrots!

MacaRAWne and Cheez: Serves 2-4
6-8 carrots, grated (or more if you want)
3/4 C finely chopped broccoli florets
1 avocado
1/2 C nutrional yeast
6 Tbsp water (more or less, to your preferance)
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp nama shoyu
Salt and Pepper, to taste

~Mash the avocado with the nutrional yeast, water, lemon jice, garlic powder, and nama shoyu. Add salt and pepper to taste.
~Mix in the grated carrots and chopped broccoli.

I think it goes best on top of a handful or two of spinach or lettuce! And with some dried basil or oregano sprinkled on top, too... yum!