Tag Archives: healthy

Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip (v, gf)

 

 

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (1 of 1)-8

Lactose intolerants and L.I sympathizers, gather round!  This is the holy grail of creaminess for all who can’t eat dairy yet still crave dip.  Sour cream, oh, how I’ve missed you these past few years!  I came across this recipe for the “best damn vegan sour cream” on Gluten-Free Vegan Pantry, and I thought to myself, we’ll see about that. I felt like I was anticipating a blind date (which is how the Mister and I met, by the way).  Don’t get your hopes up too high.  This could be really good, but it could also end up like all those other train wrecks.  I’ve been holding out hope for a sour cream substitute that a) doesn’t taste like cashews, b) doesn’t taste like plastic, c) has the texture of sour cream, and most importantly, d) Is made with real, whole ingredients, not chemicals.  Is that asking too much?  To say the least, I was very pleasantly surprised (both by the sour cream and the man)!  The Mister and I are celebrating our 9 year wedding anniversary on Thursday, and I’ve got my 9th batch of vegan sour cream in the fridge.  I’d say things are going quite well!  

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When cashews are soaked, something magical and ethereal happens.  See their halo?   Soaking the cashews softens their flavor, and most importantly, makes them blendable and transformable.  If you read my last post, you know the name of the game for me right now is to eat, eat, eat.   My strategy is to devour as many nutritious, calorie-dense whole foods as possible.  Whether you’re trying to gain weight, lose weight, or maintain, I am convinced that there is no fad diet or quick fix better than just eating real food.  Enter, delicious herby dip.  

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What is the history of dip?  Is it an american thing?  Or did we just create a blanket term for any kind of thick sauce scooped up by a vehicle such as a veggie or a cracker?  David Leite of Leite’s Culinaria  exhaustively researched the subject, and I can sum it up with the following: the 50’s, the invention of potato chips, the emerging American couch potato class, and the need to deliver food to one’s mouth while watching the glowing box…  Another proud example of American ingenuity.  Americans loved dipping so much that we changed the word from a verb to a noun.  The emergence of the first recipe for crudité also emerged in France around the same time.  Crudité sounds so much more sophisticated than dip, but it’s a means to the same end: Use something delicious and crispy to deliver something saucy and flavorful into your mouth. Repeat if needed. 

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Luckily, dip doesn’t have to be that packet of processed powder that we have probably all stirred into sour cream and devoured at some point or another.  Although admittedly addictive and tasty, the first three ingredients are maltodextrin, salt and monosodium glutamate.  That doesn’t sound like food to me! I like to whip up a batch of this real food dip to snack on throughout the week (or, let’s be honest–over the course of a few days).  It’s cool and herby with hints of garlic and onion, creamy, and smooth.  The hardest part is remembering to get those cashews soaking.  The rest comes together quite quickly!  I’m looking forward to the tenth year sharing life’s crazy adventures with the Mister, and I’m sure my 10th batch of vegan sour cream will be close to follow!  Enjoy your maiden vegan sour cream voyage!  

Vegan Herby Sour Cream Dip at Spoonwithme.com (5 of 8)

Lemon-Herb Cashew Sour Cream Dip

This cashew sour cream has become a staple in my house.  One of my cookbooks has a rule:  Always be soaking.  I agree, it’s best to be ready to whip up this dip when the craving strikes!  I use my high-powered (Vitamix) blender to achieve an extra- smooth texture.  Any blender will do, but just make sure to scrape down the edges as you go, and add a little extra water if needed.   This dip can be made a day or two ahead of time, and the flavor improves when chilled overnight.  If you would like to make plain sour cream, which has an infinite number of uses, just omit the dip ingredients!  

For the sour cream:

  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked 8 hours or overnight
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 TB fresh lemon juice (finely grate and reserve 1/2 tsp zest)
  • 1/4 cup water (plus additional if needed)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

For the dip:

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced fresh chives
  • 1 teaspoon minced dill leaves
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
  • Salt to taste
  • Additional minced herbs to garnish

Make the cashew sour cream:

Drain the soaked cashews, and put them in a blender with the lemon juice, water, nutritional yeast and salt.  If it is too thick and won’t blend, add additional water, a tablespoon at a time.  Blend for about 3-5 minutes until very smooth, stopping to scrape down the edges if needed.  Chill for 2 hours or more (or, in a pinch, put in the freezer for 20 minutes until cold and slightly thickened.

In a medium bowl, mix the cashew sour cream with all of the dip ingredients.  Season with salt to taste and garnish with the herbs.

 

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Filed under Appetizers, Condiments, Sauces, Snacks, vegetarian, Vegetarian and Vegan

Mexican Veggie “Super Bowls” with Chili Lime Vinaigrette

Veggie Super Bowls at Spoonwithme.com-13

What was I doing on Sunday, you ask?  Well, I was making a super bowl, of course!  Superbowl Sunday is always a great day for three things.  Yummy food, socializing, and knitting on the couch for extended periods of time.  Oh, and I suppose I left out the football!  Don’t get me wrong, I wore my orange and blue for the occasion.  I am a Denver-ite after all.  I daresay I actually watched and enjoyed the game between knits and purls (GASP, a personal first)!    There’s hope yet!  On Sunday morning, while the Mister was excitedly watching the pre-game, my mind was on the food.  I made some gluten-free samosas with chickpea flour wrappers to take to the game, and these “super bowls” for lunch.

Veggie Super Bowls at Spoonwithme.com

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The previous day, my friend Karissa and I created these bowls together, and then proceeded to chow down.  I just had to make it again on Super Bowl Sunday so I could record the recipe and share it!  I’m always looking for healthy, colorful lunch ideas.  For me, a mostly raw diet is not a good fit.  In ayurveda, my body constitution is “vata”.  I’m always cold and need warming foods to keep my system in balance. If you’re unfamiliar with ayurveda, here’s a good explanation.

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This lunch (or dinner) bowl is easy, healthy, lime-y, spiced and colorful.  It’s a great warm lunch for these winter days, and you can add or subtract ingredients as you like, change up the sauce, and add raw greens or other veggies.  If you like to eat your veggies raw, scatter the rice and veggies over a bed of greens to create a salad.    You can also roll everything into a tortilla or wrap.

Every good get-together needs good food.  If you bring the football enthusiasm, I’ll bring the eats!  I hope you enjoyed your Super Bowl.  I sure enjoyed mine!

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Wild Mushroom Wild Rice with Caramelized Onions

 

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Rice, gone wild!  Double wild!  Mushroom madness!  All this Thanksgiving recipe testing and eating has put me into a food-induced euphoria.  Wild two times in one title is two too many wilds for one recipe, young lady!  Bring your torches.  Ban.  This.  Site.  Hide your childrens’ eyes!  With all this fungus among-us, it’s gettin’ crazy up in here.

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I bought a gigantic bag of assorted dried local Colorado mushrooms at the farmers market this summer.  We’re talking two freezer bags worth.  There will not be a mushroom shortage for the foreseeable future in the Spoon With Me house, in case anybody was wondering. What does one do with so many dried mushrooms, you ask?  You know that mouth-coating savory depth that can be hard to achieve in plant-based recipes?  Think of them as a way to boost the umami factor, especially in vegetarian and vegan dishes.  I love to grind them into powder to add savoriness to sauces gravies, and soups.  In this recipe, I used the broth from rehydrating them as part of the cooking liquid for the rice. If you’re a full or part- time vegan or vegetarian, you need dried mushrooms in your arsenal if you want to up the ooooh mommy!

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Filed under Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Tangerine-Port Cranberry Sauce

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We all have our food quirks.  The Mister likes to figure out the best flavor combination on any given plate, then repeat that experience as many times as possible.  Salads are evenly tossed and big ingredients chopped up so that each bite has the optimized flavor.

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I once ate dinner with a girl who had a phobia of her foods touching each other.  We were at an Asian restaurant.  Plain shrimp, plain vegetables, plain rice.  No sauce, not even soy.  Each part of the meal was eaten by itself, before moving on   I kind of wanted to put a carrot slice on her rice, just to see what would happen, but I figured that was a bit immature.  Phobias ain’t no joke.  I’m the mixing queen.  I like to see how many unique combinations of flavors I can put into each bite.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian and Vegan

Tomatillo-Veggie (or Chicken) Posole

TomatilloPosole|Spoonwithme.com

I broke out my fall garb this week, and taught my students a valuable lesson while wearing a cozy wrap/scarf that the mister got for me in Amsterdam.  A scarf is just a socially acceptable way to wear a blanket to work or school.  You’ll see me wearing a lot of “scarves” in the coming days.  The Dutch have a specific word for all things cozy, inviting, friendly and warm: gezellig.  It’s one of those words that has no English translation.  Picture a cool misty fall day.  Gezellig is arriving home from work and snuggling up in a cozy knit blanket with a cup of tea, a book, and your favorite furry companion (canine, feline, or hey, even human).  It’s huddling around a fire with friends, steaming mugs of soup in hand. The leaves are swirling around, and it’s hinting at frost.  It’s gezellig time, so I thought I’d share my favorite after-work gezellig I meal to spread a bit o’ the cozy.  If everyone were just a bit more gezellig, the world would be a happier place.

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Vegetarian Sloppy Jens

VegetarianSloppyJens@Spoonwithme.com (17 of 17)

When I was a kid, my room was a fire hazard. An obstacle course. A disability claim waiting to happen.  A pig sty, so my parents said.  I was always creating something—well not something, but some things.  Not much has changed.  For better or worse, my brain seems to have been crossed with that of a hummingbird.  Oh look a flower, oh look, another flower!  Another, whee!  Clean your room, they would say.  I would try.  I really would, but then I’d pick up a long lost object that I had been missing for a long time.  Before I knew it, I was elbows deep in a masterpiece.  When mom came up to check on my progress, I’d already be creating my next mess.

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This post is dedicated to all the messies out there.  Sure, we’re fully functional adults now, but that doesn’t mean it’s always pretty.  For all you who are shocked and surprised, Oh dear, how dreadful!  We thought her house was as tidy as those pictures she always posts! , I’m sorry to disillusion you.  My house explodes every time I create something.  As I stand back to admire my creation, it takes a few moments before “Holy cow, who made such a mess?!?  enters my brain.  It takes a whole lot of messy to make pretty.

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VegetarianSloppyJens@Spoonwithme.com (9 of 17)

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Through the years, my messes have evolved. And so, we arrive at Sloppy Jens. They’re just as messy as the one-note ones you had as a kid, but built from clean, flavorful ingredients.  When I was making these, I was so seduced by the smell of sautéed fennel, onion and garlic that I didn’t notice the ragtag village of ingredients that had taken up residence on the counters.  The perfect kshhh sound of the deglazing vermouth and the aromatic puff of steam that rose from the pan completely distracted me from the mounting tangle of camera equipment, reflector boards and produce scraps.  When I popped open a quart of last summer’s canned garden tomatoes and slow simmered the sauce with fresh oregano from the garden, it was all over.  Mise en place was a cause lost to another recipe, on another day.

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Messy counters mean good things to come.  If you stop by my house unannounced, you probably won’t marvel at the unscathed majesty of my abode, but chances are, you’ll leave full and happy!

VegetarianSloppyJens@Spoonwithme.com

Vegetarian Sloppy Jens

Serves 6-8

These messy little sandwiches are an Italian, vegetarian spin on a childhood favorite, and most definitely require a fork and knife!   This would make a good hearty meatless sauce over pasta as well. 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, finely chopped, greens reserved
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup dry vermouth or white wine
  • 12 ounces frozen veggie crumbles (I like Quorn brand)
  • 1 12-ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes (or about 6 cups home canned)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt to taste
  • crushed red pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (more or less to taste)
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
  • Microgreens, spinach, or arugula for topping
  • Buns (sprouted grain, gluten-free, or your favorite)

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or saucepan.  Add the onion, fennel and celery, and sauté until soft but not browned, about 6-8 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute.  Add the vermouth, and scrape the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  Allow most of the liquid to evaporate, about one minute.  Add the veggie crumbles and sauté until cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Add the rinsed beans, tomatoes, oregano, thyme, marjoram, basil, salt and crushed red pepper.  Cover and simmer for about 30 minutes.  Stir in the balsamic vinegar.  Season to taste with more salt if needed.

Toast the buns in the toaster, or on a baking sheet in an oven under the broiler.  They will toast in about 30 seconds in the broiler, so keep a close eye on them!  If you like both sides toasted, bake them directly on the oven rack in a 350˚ oven for a few minutes.

Generously spoon the filling onto the buns, and top with greens, if desired.

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Filed under Main Dishes, Sandwiches and Burgers, Vegetarian and Vegan

Cinnamon Toasted Coconut Snack Bites (gf, vegan)

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The other day, I had a major craving for a cookie.  In particular, a snickerdoodle.  It was about to be one of those I’m going to lose my mind if I don’t get that cookie moments.  I’ve seen lots of recipes for nutritious sweet snack bites on Pinterest, and wondered if I could get my sweet fix with something a little better—okay, substantially better for me—than a cookie. 

Cinnamon Bites | Spoonwithme.com

So, I used my very limited amount of left brained-ness, and analyzed the snickerdoodle.  What was I after?   It wasn’t my goal to recreate the snickerdoodle.  I think sometimes when we make too many substitutions trying to make something healthier taste exactly like the original, we end up not getting what we want.  My very scientific analysis told me that I was craving something toasty, sweet, and cinnamony, with notes of vanilla. 

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The combination of toasted almonds, toasted coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon blended in the food processor released a lovely fragrance. I used dates to bind everything together, and a pinch of sea salt, because I can’t get enough of the salty sweet taste. 

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The Mister and I reached the conclusion that they tasted like a cross between a cinnamon donut hole and the yummy gooey cinnamon swirls between the layers of a cinnamon bun.  Since these sweet little dessert-snack bites are full of almonds, and not just empty white flour, I only had to eat two before my sweet tooth was completely satisfied. 

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Are they a dessert?  A pre work-out snack?  An energy bite?  Yes, yes, and yes.  But what’s the best part of all?  They were exactly what I was craving and also full of foods that have more substance and nutritive value than the empty cookie I was dreaming about.   

Snickerdoodle?  What snickerdoodle?

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Cinnamon Toasted Coconut Snack  Bites

  • 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut flakes, or 1 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, toasted (see below)*
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups (packed) pitted dates
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1) Toast the almonds in a frying pan over medium high heat, stirring often until fragrant and darkened slightly, about 7-8 minutes.  Allow to cool.

2) If using shredded coconut, spread on a baking sheet and toast in a 325˚oven, for 8-10 minutes, stirring halfway through, until lightly golden.  If using toasted coconut flakes, skip to step 2.

3) Blend the toasted coconut in a food processor until it looks like coarse sand.  Reserve 1/3 cup in a small bowl.

4) Add the almonds, cinnamon and sea salt to the food processor with the coconut and blend until the texture of coarse sand.

5) Add the dates and vanilla, and blend until combined and sticking together (test a ball of the mixture by squeezing it into a ball)

6) By the rounded tablespoon, form the mixture into a ball by squeezing and pressing it together.  Repeat for the remaining.  Roll the cinnamon bites in the reserved coconut crumbs, using your fingers to press the coconut onto the outside of each ball.  Store in an airtight container.

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Filed under Desserts, Snacks