Raw Sesame Ball Bites

sesame ball bites If you like halava you will love this recipe! I broke my food processor when I made my Chocolate Pistacio  snack balls.  It was a sad day.  But all is well now!   My new one came yesterday and its way better then my old one!   Everything always has a silver lining, lol.

These are naturally sweetened, healthy, and totally raw! And if your balls come out more like logs, its okay, no one is judging…right??  LOL

Sesame Ball Bites:

  • 6 medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • toasted sesame seeds for the outside

Put everything in a food processor except the toasted sesame seeds.  Pulse until everything is nicely mixed and grated up.  Take the “dough” and roll it in your hands into palm sized balls.  Roll in the toasted sesame seeds.  Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes to set, and enjoy!

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Peanut butter Granola bars

I know I said the last granola bar recipe was going to be my last granola recipe, but I wanted to really show the versatility in making these.  So THIS is my last granola bar recipe.  I promise.

For this recipe, I replaced the coconut oil with peanut butter and almond butter.  Because all you really need is a fat of some kind.  (You could use butter, bananas)

I soaked my chia seeds this time because I was having an issue with the ones on the outside of my bars falling off.  I seem to have solved that problem this time.

Not only did these come out really crunchy, but they are also the cheapest granola bars I have made to date.  I just kind of threw them together with whatever I had on hand.  (Time to food shop!)

Peanut butter Granola bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (nothing but peanuts)
  • 2 tbsp natural almond butter
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds, soaked for a minute
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pepitas and dried cranberries)

Pre heat an oven to 350 degrees, and oil a baking pan.  8×8 is a good size.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl (I did this by hand) and then lay it all into the oiled pan, pressing it in flat making sure its even all around.  Cook for 20-30 minutes (it should be nice and browned on the top)  and then let it cool for at least 2 hours.  Cut into bars.

 

 

 

Chocolate Pistacio Snack Balls

chocolate pistachio nut balls

 

These little guys pack a punch, and its as easy as throwing things into a food processor, and then rolling them into a ball.  They are basically raw, except the pistachios I used are roasted…but use sesame seeds or coconut on the outside instead and you have yourself a healthy raw snack.  This is another one that is really versatile.   I think next time I’ll use almond butter and walnuts, with sesame seed on the outside.

There’s no added sugar in these, being naturally sweetened by the dates.  They are also filled with healthy fats, lean proteins, and healthy carbohydrates for energy.  Plus pistachios are natural mood boosters, so eat and enjoy!

Chocolate Pistachio Snack Balls

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 15 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp raw cacao
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews
  • 1/3 cup shelled pistachios,

For the outside:

  • ground up shelled pistachios

Process everything in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste.  Roll them into  palm sized balls and then roll them in the extra pistachios to coat them.    Place them in the freezer to set for a half hour.  Enjoy!

These stay good for a up to a week in the fridge, and up to two in the freezer.

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

strawberry granola bars

Okay, so I may be a little obsessed over Granola bars.  I’ve made 3 more batches since my last blog post.  I even ordered a bar pan from pampered chef.  It isn’t here yet, but I’m super excited about it.  I promise, this will be my last post  with a granola bar recipe because I think after this one you guys will get the point about how to make them, and how  customizable they are.  But this one is REALLY good, and I had to share.

I used coconut sugar in this recipe, which has trace amounts of nutrients, and a lower GI then regular sugar, so its at least a tiny bit healthier for you then using brown sugar but it  tastes about the same.  There’s also flax and chia seed in here for added omega 3’s and some weight loss boosters.   The preserve I used are natural, grape juice sweetened preserves, so make sure you read your ingredients,  you don’t want anything with high fructose corn syrup.  And of course, buy organic whenever you can!

Oh and my normal camera’s battery is dead so I had to take pictures with my cell phone, sorry about that.  These guys really deserve better photos.  I’ll take other ones later when the battery charges =)

strawberry granola bars

Strawberry Pistachio Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup nuts, dried fruits (I used a combination of pistachios, freeze dried strawberries, flax seeds, and chia seeds)
  • Strawberry preserves

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees, and spray a 8×10 pan with oil.  Mix all the ingredients together, except the preserves.  I do this by hand.  When its all nicely combined, press most of  it into the pan, reserving about 1/4 of it for the top.  Spread a thin layer of the preservers over the top of the granola mix in the pan, I used the back of a spoon to do this.  Then top with the rest of the granola.  Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Let it cool at least 2 hours, I stuck mine in the fridge over night. Its much easier to cut into bars after it has cooled off.

 

Cut into bars and enjoy!  These freeze great too.

 

Creamy Spinach and Portabella Pasta

 

Creamy Mushroom and Spinach pasta

I haven’t been doing much cooking lately, I am now 39 weeks pregnant and standing up for too long in the kitchen isn’t exactly the highlight of my day.  But I will say that this dish doesn’t take long at all to cook, you just need to prepare the cashews a couple hours in advance by soaking them.  Altogether, this dish took about 15 minutes to cook.  Of course, I used my food processor to chop my garlic and my parsley, so I kind of cheated.  And the cashew cream was made in my Vitamix (which I highly suggest all kitchens have! lol)  But cooking in stock speeds up the process tremendously, while making it 100x more healthy.

I had made this once before and had wanted to put it up my blog but we ate it so fast that I didn’t get to take a picture!  This time around, I made sure to get a picture in before hand, with the help of my mom who is here from NJ waiting for her new grandson to be born.  =)

  • Pasta of your choice (or rice, as my husband had it)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 portabella mushroom caps, diced (keep them diced fairly big, this is the “meat” of the dish)
  • 4 tbsp vegetable broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter (For flavor only, feel free to omit)
  • 1 can diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup cashew cream (Recipe here)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Parsley

 

In a saute pan, heat up the vegetable stock until steaming and then add the onions and mushrooms.  Cover and cook  over medium heat for 4 minutes.  After the 4 minutes are over, remove the cover and continue to cook, letting some of the liquid cook off, which should take another 2 minutes or so.  Be careful not to burn off too much liquid or the food will begin sticking to the pan.

Add the garlic, the vegan butter (if using) and the can of tomatoes.  Cook over medium heat another 2 minutes, stirring to mix it all together.  Stir in the lemon juice, the nutritional yeast, and the cashew cream.  Your sauce should turn from a brown liquid to a nice thick white-ish brown color.  When it starts to bubble, lower the heat to low and let simmer 5 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with a side of parsley, and possibly extra cashew cream.

 

 

Creamy Avocado “Alfredo” (Vegan)

avacado "alredo"

 

This dish was created because I had pasta and an avocado that was going to go bad if I didn’t make it.  After much thought, I figured I would make a nice creamy sauce, and to tell you the truth, I wasn’t sure it was going to taste very good.  I was pleasantly surprised, it came out rich and delicious, and though I don’t usually like cooking in butter (even vegan butter)  I figured one time was worth it.  The garlic is very strong here, so if you have an aversion to very garlic-y dishes, by all means use less.

 

Avocado Alfredo:

  • 6 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 cup unsweetened regular almond milk
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 4 tbsp)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a pan, warm up the butter, and then cook the garlic quickly, keeping it from burning, about 5 minutes.

While the garlic is cooking, place the avocado and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.  Add the avocado puree to the pan where the garlic should be nice and fragrant, add the basil, the lemon juice, and nutritional yeast.   Cook it about 3 minutes, and then season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a slice of lemon.

Pinto Bean and Quinoa Burger

bean and quinoa burger

This burger is another take on my bean and quinoa burger.  This time I flavored it with Thyme and Oregano, smothered it with homemade BBQ sauce, vegan cheddar cheese, and pickles.  Feel free to use tomatoes, lettuce, whatever you like on your burger, but the BBQ sauce is the main condiment, it just won’t be the same without it.  I was going to wait to post this up, but its so juicy and yummy that I had to post this up right away.

This makes about 4 large patties

Pinto Bean and Quinoa Burger

  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2  tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • 1 tbsp daiya vegan cheddar cheese
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  In a food processor, pulse all the ingredients until it becomes smooth, then mold the mixture with your hands into patties and place on a cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.

I DID NOT MAKE THE BBQ SAUCE RECIPE UP, THIS IS FROM http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/homemade-barbecue-sauce-just-like-sweet-baby-rays/  – I LOVE sweet baby rays but the first ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, this recipe tastes just as good, but its healthier =)   I’ve put my notes in italics.

Homemade BBQ sauce:

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 5 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup, preferably organic
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar    (You can substitute agave or honey or any other sweetener, but it won’t be as authentic tasting)
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice (or you can sub apple cider vinegar)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon worchestire sauce (vegan version from Annies is really great)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use less if you don’t like the heat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 cold water mixed with 1 tablespoon corn starch (optional)

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the water and corn starch mixture in a medium size sauce pot. Bring to a boil and reduce and simmer for five minutes or until all the sugar has dissolved. If you like a thicker BBQ Sauce add the water and corn starch mixture. Simmer until desired thickness is reached, but watch closely. It thickens really fast! Serve immediately or cover and store in fridge.

 

Homemade Ramen Soup

Happy 2014 everyone!  I hope you all had a safe and wonderful new years eve.  I spent the night in with my son, it was a nice and quiet night with thoughts of the upcoming year.  I’m currently 20 weeks pregnant, so this year is going to be an eventful one for me and my family!

Today I thought I’d cook up something easy, fast, and cheap.    I’ve mentioned before how much I love soup, but sometimes I don’t feel like slaving over a stove or waiting to soak my noodles before I can eat.  This dish cooks up in 10 minutes and you have a lot of options to customize it depending on what you have on hand.

The best thing about this dish, is its just as fast to make as if you were to use the normal flavor packets that come with the noodles, but of course this isn’t loaded with salt and MSG.

 

Homemade Ramen Soup  \

Ramen Soup:

  • 5 Dried Shitake mushrooms, soaked in hot water for 5 minutes to soften them
  • 2 packages of ramen noodles (remove the seasoning packages and throw them out)
  • 5 Green onions

For the base:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp garlic ginger paste (or 1/2 tbsp grated garlic and 1/2 tbsp grated ginger)
  • 1 tbsp vegan bullion or 1 tbsp White miso  (depending on what you have on hand, both will lend a nice flavor to the dish, of course the miso is the healthier option)
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted sesame oil

Other things you can add:

  • Cubed Tofu
  • Toasted Sesame seeds
  • thinly sliced Radishes
  • (For my non Vegan friends – hard boiled eggs)

Place the ramen noodles in a pot of water and bring to a boil.   You want to take them out of the water as soon as it starts to boil so they don’t get too soft.  (they’re going to soften up more as they sit in our soup)   After the water boils, drain them in a colander and set aside.

In another sauce pan, combine all of the ingredients for the base except the sesame oil.  (Sesame oil should never be boiled, it should always be added to the end of cooking for flavor.)    Bring it all to a light simmer, and then, and I did this with a scissor, cut off the stems of the mushrooms,  then cut the mushrooms into slivers right into the soup base.  If you’re using other ingredients like tofu, or radishes, add them now.  I then  took my scissors and cut the green onions right into the soup base as well.  Turn off the flame, and add the sesame oil, giving it all one good stir.

Put the noodles in a bowl, then ladle the soup on top of it.  Enjoy!

And remember, when eating noodles, its totally okay to slurp!

Thai Avocado Curry

Thai Avacado Curry

 

I want you to think the most creamy, comforting dish you could possibly eat and then multiply that by like 100.   This is like an explosion in your mouth.  I might be a bit biased because I love avocado.   Its one of those staples I keep on hand all the time.

I had never actually had avocado curry before, but I kept hearing about this restaurant in Seattle called Araya’s that serves it, and I had to try making it myself since I never get to Seattle to eat.  If you’ve never made a curry before, don’t worry.  Making one is really easy these days with all the pre-made curry pastes out there.  My favorite  brand is Thai Kitchen.

And for anyone thinking, “OMG that is a lot of fat in a dish!” remember that FAT does NOT make you fat.  The fat in coconut milk and avocado is all good fat, and it will actually help you to lose weight.  This dish is very healthy, full of slightly cooked veggies and served with brown rice.  I omitted the tofu that would usually be served in this dish because I forgot to buy it, but if you want to include it, you want to use firm tofu, cube it and steam it before adding it to the curry.

Thai Avocado Curry

For the Curry:

  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 small avocado
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 3 tbsp liquid amino acids (or soy sauce)
  • 3 tbsp green curry paste

Vegetables:

  • 1 celery stalk, very thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cubed
  • 1 zucchini, cubed
  • 1/2 cup green beans (I used frozen)
  • 1 small avocado, cubed
  • Basil, julienned

In a blender, add all the curry ingredients and blend until smooth.  Transfer it to a wok and bring it to a boil.  Lower the heat and add the vegetables, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.  You don’t want the vegetables to be limp and over cooked, Thai dishes are fresh and crisp so always keep the timing in mind when its time to cook the veggies.

Garnish with basil, and serve with a bowl of brown jasmine rice.

Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding

This dish is a wonderful dessert for the holidays, (or anytime!) and its healthier then the traditional rice pudding.  Quinoa is complete protein, and its full of other nutrients as well: Iron, magnesium, and antioxidants just to name a few.    Its a powerhouse of a grain.

I made this pudding the way my Nana used to make her rice pudding, cooked on the stove top and then baked in the oven.  Of course, my version is vegan and I used coconut milk instead of cream.  But believe me, this will have your guests screaming for more.  There is so much you can do to this as well.  Add crushed walnuts, or some other dried fruit.    This can even be eaten as a breakfast, just omit the sprinkling of sugar on the top to make it a tad more healthier and avoid a sugar crash later in the day.

This makes 6 servings.

  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 ener-g eggs (make according to package directions)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tbsp nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp stevia (or other sweetener like Agave)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • Raisins and currents (I used 1/2 cup of each, but feel free to add as much or as little as you want, if you don’t want the fruit to over power the dish, you can add less)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  •  Raw Sugar, for sprinkling (optional, omit this part if you’re trying to keep it low on the GI)

Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the quinoa in the water, 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.  Make the ener-g eggs in a separate bowl and let sit.

During the last 5 minutes of cooking the quinoa, mix the coconut milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, stevia, raisins and currents and vanilla extract in a separate sauce pan over medium heat.   After it heats up and all the spices are nicely mixed with the liquid, add it to the cooked quinoa.  Now add the Ener-g Egg replacer and the chia seeds, and stir really well to get it evenly distributed.

Place it all in a baking dish, sprinkling the top with the raw sugar, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.