Tart Cranberry Apple Pear Sauce
This time of year I LOVE being in the kitchen. Baking, cooking, and more baking. Mostly with cinnamon. And cranberries. And pumpkin. And apples.
This recipe is an evolution of my original Apple Cranberry Sauce recipe; and much improved if I do say so myself. But you don't have to take MY word for it. (Yes, that was a reference to Reading Rainbow, for the oldsters among us.)
2 Cups of delicious New Jersey grown Cranberries (okay, they don't HAVE to be from NJ, but, humor me here. The Pine Barrens just do SOMETHING to make cranberries amazing)
4 Large Apples (I recommend something on the tart side like Granny Smith)
1/2 Tsp Lemon Zest (this means grating the rind/skin - so please use organic lemons if at all possible)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Water
1/2 tsp of Cinnamon
Dash of Nutmeg
Peel & cut the apples & pears into bite-size pieces. Combine the berries, apples, pears, sugar, lemon zest, water, and spices in a medium pot. Bring to a boil. Stir, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for around 10 minutes or until the apples are soft (but with a bit of bite still to them). The fruit and juices will soften and meld together into a deliciously sweet and tart sauce as it cools. Serve warm or cold - both are delicious!
You can top with a bit of vanilla sugar if it's not sweet enough for your tastes (though I prefer it tart, you can also up the brown sugar to one cup, initially). Enjoy!
Vegan Cinnamon French Toast
French toast is something we LOVE on the weekends around here; easy, delicious, and a great way to use up stale bread. The trick, after becoming vegan, was to find a way to mimic the delicious crustiness that traditional egg-and-milk French toast has, without, of course, using egg and milk. After many tries, I think I've come up with a share-worth recipe.
2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
2 Tbs flour
2 tsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
12 - 16 thickly-sliced bread (stale sourdough is the BEST - the holes really soak up the flavors; in this picture I used whole wheat French - really, any stale bread works!)
Heat your pan/griddle to medium low heat, and coat well with oil or margarine. Combine the first 5 ingredients in a shallow dish - whisk together well to break up the flour chunks. Dip a piece of bread in the mixture, then quickly flip to coat the second side, then right to the griddle. The trick here is not to SOAK your bread, but not undercoat either - a nice in-between. Flip when the edges start to bubble a bit; they're done when both sides are nicely browned. Top several slices with sliced bananas or strawberries, syrup, and cinnamon.
For a few more vegan & vegetarian recipes... visit my recipe section.
Vegan Lentil Vegetable Soup
2 tsp olive oil
3-4 diced shallots
3-4 sliced carrots
3-4 stalks sliced celery
4 cups organic vegetable broth (I used Pacific brand low sodium)
1 cup water
1 cup dried lentils (I used a half-half mix of yellow & brown lentils)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Sautee shallots, carrots, and celery in the olive oil until onions are clear. Add vegetable broth, water, lentils, and spices and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until lentils are soft (but with a bit of texture); about 45 min, depending on the type of lentils you use. Your house will smell heavenly and you will have a hard time not tasting the soup, a lot, while cooking. Remember to remove the bay leaves and stir in the lemon juice before serving! All-told this dinner - prep to serve took a bit over an hour (but I'm a slow chopper). Makes about 6 servings.
I served with multigrain bread and a green salad (arugula, spinach, sprouts, celery, and cucumber) with raspberry vinaigrette.
Everyone in my family finished their bowl to the last drop (they liked it even better than my bean & mushroom soup). I call that a win!
(this recipe was inspired by About.com's Vegetarian Lentil Soup http://vegetarian.about.com/od/soupsstewsandchili/r/lentilsoup.htm)
5 Tbs vegan butter, slightly softened (we used Earth Balance Organic Coconut Spread*)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup apple sauce
1/3 cup of flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 cups of rolled oats
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
1/4 cup dried apple rings, finely chopped
*note: this does impart a slight coconut flavor, so, you can use margarine instead if you don't care for coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Mix the butter, brown sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add the applesauce & mix. Add the rolled oats and mix a bit more. Allow to sit for a few minutes. Add the flour and baking soda and mix once more. Finally, fold in the nuts and apples. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to the cookie sheet. Bake for around 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes about 16 sweet, soft, apple-y cookies. Enjoy!
This recipe was adapted from The Big Book of Cookies by Catherine Atkinson. The original recipe calls for butter, eggs, additional white sugar, salt, and raisins. I added the nuts, and eliminated the animal products, raisins, and extra sugar.
Fruit and Yogurt Smoothie with Chia Seeds
I’ve recently discovered the awesomeness of super food chia seeds and have been experimenting with them (you can check out my Pinterest Yumminess board for some recipes). The evidence seems to point to chia being a super vegan source of Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, calcium, and protein. Plus, chia seeds add just a bit of texture without much (any) flavor. So, I thought I’d try them in a smoothie. I made this for my dinner last night, and it was so tasty, I decided to post it here for you!
8oz organic milk
1 container (individual serving) of organic greek yogurt (I used vanilla)
1 ripe banana
1/2 cup of frozen raspberries
1/2 cup of frozen peaches
1 Tbs of chia seeds
1 Tbs of ground flax seed
1 Tbs of raw honey
1 tsp of vanilla extract (if you used plain yogurt)
Put all of the ingredients in your favorite blender. Blend & drink!
Note: I did not use ice because I had frozen fruit on hand. If you use fresh fruit, I’d recommend adding a bit of ice if you like your smoothies cold! This made around 20oz of smoothie, so my kids split the extra – it was very smooth, creamy, and fruity-sweet. Delicious!
Another note: Next time I’ll add some spinach or kale for a vitamin boost!
Final note: I made this with milk & dairy-based yogurt. I’m sure coconut milk & coconut milk-based yogurt would work as well – and make it vegan!