Saving time…

Saving_TimeI only had two hours to prep meals last week (not counting meal planning and the grocery shopping- just the kitchen time). However, because I had planned the meals and had purchased all ingredients by the time I started the meal prep, it was pretty straightforward and could be knocked out in one swoop.

The biggest time-saver was that I had batches of white beans and black-eyed peas already cooked in the freezer. I’m in the process of using up all my frozen beans, and then I’ll go through the cycle of making a few big batches again.

Here are the week’s menus and further below I’ll describe the advanced prep:

Quinoa Ginger Salad without onions and with avocado

Beef-like seitan with a new beef-like gravy, rice, and green beans with almonds

Black-eyed pea salad with roasted asparagus and potatoes

Breakfast for dinner

BLTs

Leftovers

 

On my prep day, I started by washing any fresh produce that wasn’t already clean and that I needed for the meal prep (fruits and lunch box veggies were washed later to save time), which, in this case, was really just kale and sweet potatoes. Then I stripped and steamed 2 bunches of kale (as it took 3 batches). While the kale was steaming, I made the dough for beef-like seitan and microwaved the sweet potatoes. As each batch of kale finished, I transferred it to a large bowl and using kitchen scissors cut it into smaller pieces. Once the kale was steamed, I steamed the seitan. I also made a batch of quinoa (2 parts water to 1 part quinoa). Once the sweet potatoes were cool enough to handle, I peeled them and cut them into bite-sized cubes. The sweet potatoes also went into the bowl of kale, along with the frozen white beans. The cooked quinoa was dumped on top of the white beans, which along with the sweet potatoes, helped them defrost. Canned beans (drained and rinsed) would have been perfectly fine too. I added ginger dressing (the non-spicy version) diluted with a bit of water to the bowl, stirred it and put it in the fridge. ginger 1

On the evening I served the Quinoa Ginger salad for dinner, I took it out of the fridge, added diced avocado, stirred it well, and served it with more ginger dressing on the side. Even though this recipe had a number of key ingredients, they are all easy to make and it easily stands alone as a meal. The avocado is my favorite as it really helps bring all the flavors together (and I just love avocado. . . and ginger sauce). I usually make a big batch of this recipe so we can enjoy it for lunch during the week too.

Once the beef-like seitan had steamed and cooled, I sliced and refrigerated it. On the evening I served it, I reheated it for a few minutes, covered, in the oven while the brown rice and fresh green beans were cooking. I started the beef-like gravy first as it was a new recipe and I wasn’t sure how well it would work; this would have been good to make on the prep day, but I didn’t have time. I cooked the green beans in a saute pan covered with a few tablespoons of water so they would steam. Once they reached the desired tenderness, I removed the lid and allowed any extra water to cook off. For the last few minutes of cooking, I added sliced almonds. I served the beef-like seitan on top of the rice with the green beans on the side and gravy for anyone who wanted it. The gravy was a big hit and made the seitan much more interesting than a slab of wheat meat. I made two lunch-sized portions and then froze the leftover seitan to use in a stew or stirfry.

For the black-eyed pea salad, I started by making the dressing (vinegar, jelly, sugar, salt & pepper) in the bowl that I would store the salad in. Then I added the black-eyed peas to the bowl and diced frozen stoplight pepper strips. I didn’t have any red onion, so I just diced yellow onion and added that to the bowl as well. I gave it a good shake and stored it in the fridge. On the evening I served it, I added diced avocado. A commitment that I had for the evening was cancelled at the last minute, so I decided to roast some asparagus that were starting to wilt and while I had the oven on, figured I’d roast some potatoes as well.

There was no advanced prep for breakfast for dinner night, so I made sure I had time that evening to make this dinner. I made baked hashbrowns (which involved dumping frozen shredded potatoes on a baking sheet, spritzing with oil and salt and baking), scrambled tofu (sauteeing a block of firm tofu with black salt and a bit of turmeric), biscuits, and spinach (from a frozen package). I wanted to add lots of interesting stuff to the tofu scramble (mushrooms, spinach, peppers) but it’s not one of my favorites anyway, so I just ate it mixed with the spinach.

The other two nights we had BLTAs (bacon/lettuce/tomato/avocado) using prepared tempeh bacon (and using up the rest of the avocado) and homemade MiracleNaise from fatfreevegan.com and then leftovers. It turned out to be a great week of meals (based on energy levels, avoidance of junk food, no last minute eating out) – thanks to the advanced planning!

 

Beef-like Gravy

1/4 c refined coconut oil

2 T flour

1 t no-beef broth concentrate (like Better than Boullion) in 1 c warm water

1.5 t vegan worcestershire sauce

1 t onion powder

pepper to taste

Melt the coconut oil in a cast iron skillet over medium heat, then add the flour.  Stir with a whisk until the flour starts to smell nutty.  Slowly add the no-beef broth, whisking until smooth.  Add the vegan worcetershire and onion powder.  Turn the heat to medium low and continue to whisk in liquid (~1 c water) until the desired consistency is reached.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.  Gravy will continue to thicken once removed from heat.  Yield is ~2.5 c.

For added protein, add 1 c white beans and the gravy to the blender and puree until smooth, adding more broth or water as needed to reach desired consistency.  Taste and add more Braggs’s/tamari or poultry seasoning if needed.  Yield is ~3.5 c.

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit:

bit.ly/SimplyEatPlants_SaveTime

Sushi for Two

Since making sushi for two is half the work of making sushi for four, I was happy to oblige with my 13-year old daughter’s request that we have sushi while her dad and sister were out of town.  If you haven’t made sushi before, you should definitely try it because it’s fun.  But it’s certainly not something you want to try on a school night in between finishing up your work day, answering questions about homework, and shuttling kids to practice.

Supplies:

Bamboo sushi mat (these are inexpensive and make rolling sushi a lot easier)

Gallon size ziplock bag

Glass casserole dish or something similar

Wooden spoon

Cutting board

Sharp knife

Bowl of water

Ingredients for 4 rolls (assuming each person will eat 2 rolls):

4 sheets of toasted nori

1.5 c sushi rice

Splash of rice vinegar

Sprinkle of organic sugar

~1 c of leftover veggies (ex 1/2 avocado, 1 carrot, 1/2 cucumber, a few sautéed shiitake mushrooms, etc)

Toasted sesame seeds, pickled ginger, wasabi (optional)
Cook the rice as you normally cook rice and use a 1 part rice to 2 parts water ratio.  Once the rice is cooked, pour it into the glass dish and use the wooden spoon to spread it out to help it cool.  Splash a bit of rice vinegar and sprinkle a little organic sugar over the rice, then stir it around again.  Every couple of minutes, stir the rice until the rice is cool enough to comfortably handle.  While the rice is cooling, prepare your sushi roll fillings and start the miso soup (see further below).

Easy (and kid-friendly) vegan sushi rolls contain avocado, avocado and cucumber, avocado/cucumber/carrot, marinated mushrooms.  The possibilities are endless but if you’re paralyzed by the choices, just start with these simple combinations.  Slice the avocado.  Peel the cucumber, then remove the seeds and slice into strips as if you were going to dice it (but don’t).  Use a carrot peeler to produce thin strips of carrot.  Slice the mushrooms into strips (and marinate in Bragg’s liquid aminos or tamari if they are unseasoned).  If you’re ready to be adventurous, please do so as that’s the fun.  This time, we made avocado/carrot, avocado/ginger beet kraut, avocado/carrot/ginger beet kraut, and a green bean casserole roll with green beans and fried onions.  Surprisingly my daughter did not like the fried onion roll as much as the ginger beet kraut roll!

Now that the rice has cooled, you’re ready to start rolling!  Place the bamboo mat flat into the ziplock bag and seal it.  This will save you from having to clean in between the bamboo sticks each time you make sushi.  Lay the bamboo mat on a cutting board with the zipper furthest from you.  Place one sheet of nori on the bamboo mat.  Using the wooden spoon, place a scoop of rice onto the nori.  Dip your fingers in the bowl of water to prevent the rice from sticking to them, and gently press the rice down and spread it out across the nori, leaving 2 cm of nori farthest from you bare (no rice).  Add more rice and dip your fingers in the water as needed to cover all but the end section of nori with rice.

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If you want the rice on the outside of the roll, using both hands, gently pick up the nori and flip it over.  Add your filling across the bottom (closes to you) inch of nori.  Rinse and dry your hands.  Using the sushi mat, roll the nori and contents, applying pressure and readjusting the mat as needed.  Slippery toppings like avocado may poke out of the ends, but gently push them back in.  You need to roll the sushi tightly or it won’t cut or hold together well.

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At the end of the roll, moisten your fingertip and brush the bare strip of nori with water, then seal it against the rest of the roll.  Place the roll seam side down on a cutting board.  Sprinkle the roll with toasted sesame seeds, if desired.  Dip your sharp knife (I prefer a serrated knife) in the water and while holding both sides of the roll, slice the roll into whatever you consider to be bite-sized pieces.  Re-wet the knife as  needed to make clean cuts.

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Repeat for the remaining rolls, adjusting and improving your technique as you go.  Arrange the sushi on a platter and serve with pickled ginger and wasabi.  If this has been a breeze for you, then carve some radishes into flowers or something to decorate the plate.  My family is just happy to get good food on their plates.  If the sushi rolling doesn’t go so well, serve it as sushi salad by cutting up the nori and mixing it with the toppings and additional rice.

For extra credit and to help fill those hungry bellies, make miso soup while you’re waiting for the rice to cool.  Fill the bowls you will use with water (to ensure you have just the right volume), add to a pot, and heat.  If you’re using mushrooms, add them in.  Start with 1T miso paste and taste for desired salt content.  If you’d like, small dice some tofu into the bowls (once poured in, the warm soup will heat the tofu).  I use chiffonaded strips or small bits of spinach instead of seaweed, but it definitely looks too bland without some color in there.

Above all else, enjoy.  Enjoy the process, enjoy the experience.  And if you’re lucky enough to have a helper, enjoy your company.

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April Fool’s!!

I made a few new meals this week that I’m hoping work as well for you as they did for us.  First was an old favorite of my husband’s (Shepherd’s Pie) redone in an artful presentation especially for April Fool’s day.  (The lentils, peas and carrots are mounded underneath the mashed potatoes.)

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The surprise success this week was a restaurant dish I was trying to recreate- Shiitake Tofu Lettuce Cups.  I served this with baked (okay, microwaved) sweet potatoes which was a nice tradeoff for the brown rice we so often eat with Asian food.  The final new meal was an attempt to use almost entirely frozen ingredients to create a warm, hearty dish.

Easy Shepherd’s Pie

Mashed potatoes

Gravy (fat free or not)

Cooked or canned lentils

Frozen peas and carrots

Although my family loves the full version of Shepherd’s Pie made in a pie crust and baked, it’s extra work and the crust contains extra fat, so the weeknight version looks more like this.

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The mashed potatoes are the most time consuming, so start them first.  Then start the lentils, followed by the gravy.  Because I was making individual servings this week, I made all of the ingredients separately instead of combining them as I normally would have.  This was a little more work but worth it for the prank.

 

Shiitake Tofu Lettuce Cups

1 head of butter lettuce

6-8 large shiitake mushrooms, cleanedshiitake_tofu_2

1/2 block of extra firm organic tofu (the refrigerated type)

1/4 c carrot shavings, diced

1/3 c diced sweet peppers (red, yellow, green or whatever you’ve got)

1/4 c cashew pieces, toasted in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned

1 T sesame seeds

Sauce

2T water

2T honey

1 T organic soy sauce or tamari

1 T Bragg’s amino acids

1 t ginger powder

1 t garlic powder

Add the sauce ingredients into a small jar and shake to mix.

Stem the shiitake mushrooms, discarding the tough parts of the stems.  Dice the caps and stems and sauté in a dry skillet over medium heat until the mushrooms exude their juices.

Add the sauce to the mushrooms, dice the tofu into small pieces and add to the skillet.  Once the mushrooms and tofu have absorbed half of the sauce, add the carrots and peppers. When the veggies are crisp tender, remove from heat.  Add toasted cashews and sesame seeds.  Serve with lettuce leaves and lots of napkins!

 

Veggie, Bean, Rice Bake

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Frozen or canned beans

Cooked brown rice

No-chicken veggie broth

Pour the frozen veggies and beans in the bottom of a glass casserole dish.  Add cooked brown rice to cover the veggies and beans. Pour veggie broth over the rice to almost cover the rice.  Season with pepper.  Cover and bake until heated through.  Especially if you’re using leftover rice this dish comes together very quickly however does require 15 minutes or so of baking time.  It’s one of those dishes that reminds us that simple meals can nourish us and taste good.

Notes:  Whenever I make a batch of beans, I always make a big batch and freeze the leftovers.  I do the same when processing large batches of vegetables like carrots and broccoli, which is what I used in this dish.

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Spring Cleaning for the Soul

Since the second snow this winter (with which came a near perfect batch of snow cream), I’ve been anxiously anticipating Spring.  Aside from the obvious warmer weather, I wasn’t sure why until last week when I realized that Spring has been a time of significant renewal for me over the past few years.  Perhaps it’s spending too much time inside as I’m not a big fan of cold weather, but over the past few winters I have tended to work too much, which means less fresh air and exercise and all the wonderful benefits of both.  And I realized that I’m desperate for change.  Change from what has become the norm lately.Balance

I’ve made significant changes in spring – more so than at any other time throughout the year:

  • Beginning a yoga practice
  • Training to be a Food for Life instructor
  • Starting CrossFit
  • Starting Simply Eat Plants
  • Beginning a meditation practice

I was really pleased with myself about this realization that all I needed was to toss out some habits that had taken over and replace it with — what?!?  The anxiety immediately set in of what will my renewal be for this year?

With recently starting a new job and traveling more frequently than before, I’ve definitely spent less time in the last 4 months doing the things above that make me the me I want to be.

And to top it off, all of the self-care maintenance activities are all linked, so when I’m not exercising, then I’m more tired, yet I don’t sleep as well.  When I have a headache or am tired, I am less likely to make whole food choices, so I’m not nourishing my body as well.  And travel makes it all that much more challenging.

I’ve allowed this new job to take priority over essentially everything else.  Realizing this was key and definitely the first step, but fixing it – realigning my priorities – is the key to being the best me.  Easier said than done, right?!?

I’m guessing that hopping off the hamster wheel to take better care of myself will help me be more efficient at work or maybe more patient or even more creative.  I’d like to think that choosing the right thing for me will also benefit the company I work for.  But even if not, it’s me left standing in the end.  And it’s much more important for me to have my family standing beside me than colleagues.  I work with some great people but I hope the same for them, too.  That together we can make a bigger difference by first taking care of ourselves.

So no recipes this time – I’m lowering the bar and trying not to worry about meeting expectations.  I’m choosing me first.  And I’d love to hear your advice or experiences about renewals and spring cleaning your soul.

 

Let It Go

If you have a Frozen fan in your inner circle (and who doesn’t?), here’s a great cake to celebrate a birthday, winter, or nothing in particular (who needs a reason for a party anyway?).  Frozen figurines are optional but created a great effect at our party.

This recipe makes a loaf pan sized ice cream cake that will feed 10 people.

 

Ingredients:

8-12 vegan sugar cookies (like 365 brand)

1 quart non-dairy vanilla ice cream (like So Delicious)

1/2 batch of cake mix (refer to Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World) or 1 batch of cupcake mix

double batch of Coconut Whipped Cream

1 bag frozen strawberries, diced

 

Make a cake in a loaf pan or the pan that you will use to assemble the ice cream cake.  Once cool, remove it from the pan and slice it in half  length wise using a serrated knife. You may want to flip the cake upside down and slice the top off so the cake is flat.  Alternatively, make a batch of cupcakes.

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Remove the vanilla ice cream from the freezer.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of your loaf pan.  Arrange a layer of sugar cookies across the bottom of the parchment paper.  IMG_3439

Once the ice cream has softened, layer half of it on top of the sugar cookies.  On top of the ice cream place a layer of cake (or sliced cupcakes) and return the ice cream cake to the freezer.  For the second layer of ice cream, mix the diced strawberries into the vanilla ice cream and layer on top of the cake.

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On top of the ice cream, add another layer of cake and return ice cream cake to freezer.

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Make a double batch of coconut whipped cream.  When you’re ready to ice the cake, use the parchment paper to  carefully lift the ice cream cake out of the loaf pan onto the counter.  Drop icing by the spoonful over the cake and down to sides to look like snow drifts, smoothing with a spatula.  Return the cake to the freezer.

Instead of a cake, you can also do the same thing with cupcakes, making individual frozen cakelets or using the cupcake slices to make up the cake.  If you had any cake or cupcakes leftover, place them on and around the cake to create a wintery mountain scene.

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Take the ice cream cake out of the freezer about 10 minutes before serving and place the Frozen figurines using leftover icing to help secure them on the cake.

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Enjoy!!

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The Donut Fairy

donute 3I don’t know about you guys, but the donut fairy doesn’t stop by here too often.  Most weeks it’s enough work getting good dinners on the table.  Plus breakfast food is so easy, so why mess with that?!?  But after almost a week of being out of school because of the weather and plans to meet our future puppy fell through, we needed a little distraction.  So the Little Bit and I used a blueberry muffin mix to make mini baked donuts.  Any homemade muffin mix will work too, although you’ll probably want to keep some oil in the recipe to prevent sticking.  (Usually I substitute all of the oil for applesauce.)  Have fun with these!!

Muffin Mix Donuts

Make muffin mix according to normal recipe, though you may want to include a little oil to help prevent sticking.

Insert a piping tip (I used Wilton size 12) into a piping bag (or use a zip top bag with the corner snipped).  Pipe the muffin mix in small circles (1.5″-2″) on a silicone baking mat or into lightly sprayed mini donut pans (see pics further below).  When you get tired of making circles (one regular batch of muffin mix makes a ton of little donuts), make some donut holes as those are much easier to ice.

Bake the donuts at 350° for 8 minutes.

While the donuts are baking, prepare the toppings.  I used organic sugar, organic powdered sugar, and blueberry whipped cream (recipe below).

Check the donuts for doneness remembering that they brown faster on the bottom.

Quickly remove the donuts and dip in organic sugar or organic powdered sugar, noting that the sugar may stick on the bottoms of the donuts better than the tops.  Cool the donuts on a wire rack.  Frost the donut holes with blueberry whipped cream.

Blueberry Whipped Cream

Open a refrigerated can of coconut cream.  Scoop out the solid coconut cream and reserve the liquid for another use.  Whip with a fork or electric beaters to desired whipped consistency.  Add pureed blueberries (1T at a time) and continue whipping to desired consistency.  If necessary, add powdered sugar or other sweetener to the cream.

Enjoy!!

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Fat Tuesday!!

We’re living it up here for Fat Tuesday, eating more than we should and staying warm while iced in.  Had to share this little beauty of a treat – Sour Cream and Onion Dip.  All vegan food is not healthy, and chips and dip should definitely be reserved for occasional use, but it IS Fat Tuesday!!!  We won’t have any issues polishing the dip off before tomorrow, as it’s mostly gone already (and we didn’t even share with the kids). . .

Sour Cream and Onion Dipmardi-gras-584508_1280

1/4 c non-dairy sour cream

1/4 c vegan mayo

3/4 T lemon juice

1 1/4 t onion powder

1 1/4 t dried minced onion

1/4 t salt

Mix all of the ingredients in an airtight container and try not to eat it all in the first sitting.  If successful, tuck it in the back of the fridge to hide it from others.

I recommend keeping Susan Voisin’s MiracleNaise mayo on hand.  In addition to being oil free and soy free, it only has a few ingredients, the most important of which is a little patience.  It just takes a few minutes to repeatedly scrape down the sides of the blender to blend long enough to make the mayo creamy.  I add a little extra water and omit the xanthan gum, and it thickens nicely with refrigeration.

I don’t have a go to sour cream recipe, so if you do, please share it in the comments.

Stay tuned for a Frozen ice cream cake recipe- perfect for icy weather, a birthday, or just a normal day (if you’re one of those obnoxiously annoying fun parents).

 

Photo Credit: http://pixabay.com/p-584508/?no_redirect

Umami This, Umami That

Umami is the fifth and easily forgotten taste, after sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.  Umami describes the savoriness, the depth of a dish.  In Japanese, umami means delicious.  Umami is responsible for the use of MSG (monosodium glutamate) as many foods with umami naturally contain high levels of the amino acid L-glutamate.  If your whole food plant based diet seems to be lacking “oomph”, make sure you’re including ingredients that contribute to umami:

nutritional yeast (Cheez, Orange Cheez, fat free Brown Gravy, Gravy, Chicken-like Seitan)

fermented foods like miso, sauerkraut, tamari

ripe tomatoes or better yet, concentrated versions like sun-dried tomatoes or tomato paste (Mediterranean Pasta, Tomato Pie, BLTA Salad, Oat Loaf, Shortcut Gazpacho, Pasta Fagioli)

mushrooms or better yet, dried mushrooms (Spaghetti with White Beans, Mushrooms & Artichokes, Cream of Mushroom Soup, Green Bean Casserole)

olives (Panzanella)

vinegars, balsamic vinegar reduction sauce (Sautéed greens topped with quinoa, sweet potato steaks, and balsamic reduction sauce, pictured right)Sweet_Potato_Steak

umeboshi plums, ume plum vinegar

toasted nuts and seeds (Sautéed Kale with Raisins and Pine Nuts)

avocado (Black Eyed Pea Salad, Massaged Kale Salad, Wraps, MYO Pasta Salad, Easy Guacamole, Three Bean Salad, Black Bean Mango Salsa)

seaweed and sea vegetables like nori and kombu (Sushi for Two, Wraps)

asparagus (Grilled Vegetables)

smoked paprika

caraway seeds (no umami themselves but bring out the umami in cabbage and potatoes) (Irish stew)

toasted cumin

Chinese fermented black beans

There are also cooking methods that bring out the umami in foods.  For example, roasting, caramelizing, browning, and grilling all bring out the umami in any foods because they free L-glutamate from protein.

Intentionally including more foods with umami into your diet can help ease cravings and also aid in the transition to veganism as meat and cheese both have intense umami flavor.

Sugar Reset

By mid December, my family all admitted that we’d need a sugar reset after the holidays.  Between some great new pie KeepCalm_NoSugarrecipes and cookies for the big guy, we found ourselves enjoying more desserts than we’re used to over the last two months.  And while they were delicious, we don’t want to become accustomed to eating that much sugar on a regular basis.  So for January we’ll go sugar free.  This isn’t something that we forced the kids to do (although I certainly wouldn’t be making cookies for them), but they decided that they too needed a reset.  I’m guessing the parameters of sugar free will be different for each of us, but by February we’ll be much more sensitized to and able to really enjoy small amounts of sugar again.

When you decide to reset your sugar intake (or anything for that matter), being prepared is key.  Assess what you have that you won’t eat and donate or throw away as much of it as possible so you’re not tempted by it.  Think through a normal workday and weekend, writing down what you’ll substitute for the normal foods you would eat that contain sugar.  For example, I eat a lot more hummus and nuts when I’m avoiding sugar.  It helps that they’re easy and portable, but also that they’re very filling.  A great way to avoid cravings is to not let yourself get to the point of being hangry (so hungry that you get angry).  And for me, eating a little more fat than usual really helps avoid cravings.

Be prepared to spend a little more on replacement foods.  Especially since the invention of high fructose corn syrup, processed sugar foods are incredibly cheap.  Remember that buying fresh, healthy food is an investment in your health, an alternative to paying later with hospital bills and prescriptions.

When you’re ready for a sugar reset, refer to Strategies for Sugar Cravings and Learnings from a Sugar Free Month for more tips.

 

 

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Although pi day isn’t for a while, easy and delicious pie recipes are a must for your repertoire, especially when serving non-vegans.  If you can’t win them over with real food, you can try again with dessert.  These pies are ridiculously easy, so give one a try the next time you need to impress a suspicious omnivore.Chocolate_Ganache_Pie

New pie recipes:

Chocolate Ganache Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce

For the crust

1 c dry roasted and salted almonds

1-2 T coconut oil

Using a blender or food processor, process the almonds into fine pieces.  Add 1T coconut oil and stir to combine.  If the crust is not sticking together well, add another tablespoon of oil.  Press the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of a pie plate.  Bake for ~10 minutes at 350′.

For the pie

1 can (~15 oz) coconut cream, such as Trader Joe’s

16 oz dairy-free dark or semi-sweet chocolate, such as Ghiradelli semi sweet

1/2 t vanilla

Graham cracker or homemade pie crust

Pour the coconut cream in a medium saucepan.   (If you cannot find coconut cream, use the highest fat coconut milk you can find and expect the texture of the pie to be less firm.)

Put the chocolate in a glass or metal bowl.

Bring the coconut cream almost to a boil.  Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate.  Let sit for 3 to 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and glossy.  Add the vanilla and stir once more.

Pour into the pie crust.  Tap or gently stir to remove air bubbles.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.

Optional: Just before serving, sprinkle the pie very lightly with freshly ground sea salt.

For the sauce

1/2 c canned coconut milk (okay to use light/lower fat here)

3/4 c sugar

2T maple syrup

1/4 t salt

1 t vanilla

In a small saucepan heat coconut milk, sugar, maple syrup, and salt over medium heat.  Whisk pretty regularly.  Once the sauce boils, reduce heat and whisk for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and add vanilla.  Caramel sauce can be used immediately or refrigerated for further thickening.

Warning: the pie is quite rich and the caramel sauce is super sweet, so cut thin slices (and have more leftovers for you!!)  This pie is also delicious with coconut whipped cream instead of the Salted Caramel Sauce.

 

Key Lime Pie

14 oz can refrigerated coconut cream (like Trader Joe’s brand), refrigerated

1 t agar (like Telephone brand)

1/2 c organic sugar

2/3 c key lime juice (like Nellie and Joe’s brand)

1/4 t salt

Organic graham cracker crust

Bake the graham crust at 350’F for ~8 minutes to prevent it from getting soggy (skipping this step won’t ruin the pie).  Scrape the solid coconut cream into a small saucepan, and reserve the liquid for another use (like curry).  Add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan and boil for 2 minutes while stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes and continue stirring.  Remove from heat for a few minutes, then gently ladle into the pie crust to avoid graham cracker crumbs from infiltrating your pie.  Allow the pie to cool at least 10 minutes before moving it to the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.  To avoid condensation collecting on the pie cover, don’t cover the pie until after it’s cooled.  Otherwise wipe the condensation off with a paper towel.

If you use the whole can of coconut cream, the pie will still be delicious just not as firm as if you don’t include the liquid coconut.  Agar is an algae-derived gelatin substitute that is found online or in Asian grocery stores.

Product Details

To make your own graham crust, start with 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs and 1 T coconut oil, adding more or less to get desired consistency.  Press the crumbs into the pie plate and bake at 350’F for ~8 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Lemon Pie

14 oz can refrigerated coconut cream (like Trader Joe’s brand), refrigerated

1 t agar (like Telephone brand)

1/2 c organic sugar

2/3 c fresh lemon juice (~3 lemons)

1 T lemon zest (~3 lemons)

1/4 t salt

Organic graham cracker crust

Bake the graham crust at 350’F for ~8 minutes to prevent it from getting soggy (skipping this step won’t ruin the pie).  Scrape the solid coconut cream into a small saucepan, and reserve the liquid for another use (like curry).  (If you use the whole can of coconut cream, the pie will still be delicious just not as firm as if you don’t include the liquid coconut.)

Add the remainder of the ingredients to the saucepan and boil for 2 minutes while stirring frequently.  Reduce heat to low for 5 minutes and continue stirring.  Remove from heat for a few minutes, then gently ladle into the pie crust to avoid graham cracker crumbs from infiltrating your pie.  Allow the pie to cool at least 10 minutes before moving it to the refrigerator for 3-4 hours before serving.  To avoid condensation collecting on the pie cover, don’t cover the pie until after it’s cooled.  Otherwise wipe the condensation off with a paper towel.

To make your own graham crust, start with 1 cup of graham cracker crumbs and 1 T coconut oil, adding more or less to get desired consistency.  Press the crumbs into the pie plate and bake at 350’F for ~8 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Whipped topping for any of the pies:

Coconut Whipped Cream

Open a refrigerated can of coconut cream or coconut milk (not light) without shaking and scoop out the solid coconut cream.  Whip with a fork or beaters to desired consistency.  If necessary, add organic powdered sugar (start with 2T), French vanilla stevia (start with 1 dropper) or other sweetener to taste.

 

Previously posted pie recipes:

Pumpkin Pie

Individual Sweet Potato Pies