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Friday, May 20, 2016

Strawberry Cheesecake (oil-free)

This beautiful confection is by Ania at Lazy Cat Kitchen.

This recipe features the miraculous aquafaba! Aquafaba is the water from cooked or canned chickpeas (but can be any bean) used as an egg substitute. I am finding wonderul uses for aquafaba, as it can be whipped into a meringue, a dreamy topping, and substituted in practically any recipe in place of egg. Here is a shining example of this magical stuff!

Ingredients
  • makes: 6 " dia cheesecake
  • preparation time: 30 min
  • cooking time: 10 min
CHEESECAKE BASE
  • 20 dates / 6 oz pitted and soaked in boiling water
  • a few pinches of fine salt
  • heaped 1 cup almonds
  • 1½ tbsp raw cacao (optional)
CHEESECAKE
  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 21 oz RIPE strawberries, de-stemmed (weigh after de-stemming)
  • 4-6 tbsp adjust to taste
  • 6½ level tsp agar agar flakes*
  • ½ cup coconut cream, chilled (from a tin)
  • ½ cup reduced aquafaba*
DECORATION (optional)
  • chocolate shavings
  • fresh strawberries
Method
  1. Line the bottom of your spring form tin (mine was 6 ” across and  2.5 ” tall) with a circle of baking paper and cut out a long rectangle to line the sides with.
CHEESECAKE BASE
  1. Grind your almonds in a food processor until you get a coarse crumb. Take them out of the food processor and set aside.
  2. Drain your dates and chop them roughly. Put into a food processor and process into a paste. Add cacao powder and a bit of salt to taste and process some more.
  3. In a bowl, mix date paste with enough ground almonds to obtain a dough that isn’t too sticky yet still holds together well. I prefer doing it by hand to get a feel for exactly how many almonds I should be adding.
  4. Line the sides of the baking tin and then mould the base mixture to the bottom of your spring form tin. Press the mixture down well with your fingers so that there are no gaps / air-bubbles. Put a bit if baking paper on top of the base and weigh it down with something heavy (I used a round container of similar size, filled with sugar). Put into the fridge while you make your cheesecake mixture.
CHEESECAKE MIXTURE
  1. Just before you are ready to start blending the cheesecake, put agar flakes, ½ cup of reduced aquafaba (or water if you don’t want to use aquafaba) and ½ cup of coconut cream into a small pot. Let the mixture come to the boil and simmer on low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until flakes almost dissolve and the mixture thickens (about 10 mins). From that point onwards, you’ll need to work fast as agar sets as soon as it cools down.
  2. Chuck in cashews, de-stemmed strawberries, maple syrup and warm agar (not hot, let it cool down a little) mixture into a blender. Blend, scraping the sides of the blender from time to time as the set agar likes to stay on those. Adjust the sweetness to taste. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. As soon as the cheesecake mixture is super smooth, take the spring form tin out of the freezer and pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the set base. Make sure you do it very quickly to get a smooth finish as, like I mentioned before, agar sets very quickly. Gently hit the filled spring form tin against your work surface a few times to get rid of air pockets/bubbles.
  4. You don’t need to put this cheesecake into the freezer as it will set beautifully at room temperature or in the fridge. Once set, decorate at will.
Notes
*I have never used agar powder, but if that’s the only agar you have, conventional wisdom says that 3 tsp agar flakes equals 1 tsp agar powder, so for this recipe I would use a touch over 2 tsp of agar powder.

**Aquafaba – water from a can of low-sodium chickpeas or from cooking dry chickpeas at home, reduced on the stove to achieve thicker consistency.


Recipe by Ania at Lazy Cat Kitchen 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Creamy Sweet Potato Enchiladas

This Tex-Mex style dish will definitely fool your dairy loving friends and family. I am a Texan through and through, but I like my mexican food on the milder side. You can take this one as hot as you like by adding Pablano, Serrano, or Jalapeno peppers to the filling or the cheeze sauce.  and whipping up this recipe in vegan, gluten free, and all organic style was almost as if I have been making it all my life; and that's what my family thought too the first time we had it! This one is guaranteed to please your palate! So if you are craving something that is creamy, a little spicy, and tastes like it is from south of the Texas border, here it is! Spice it up with peppers inside or salsa/hot sauce outside  just the way you like it.

I use organic ingredients whenever possible, including my herbs/spices, for health reasons. I do not want additional poisons-pesticides-chemicals in my body. If you are in the USA and use conventional (non-organic) please consider at the very lest using non-GMO or organic (which by definition cannot be GMO) corn tortillas. 95% of US corn is GMO; look up the dangers for yourself if this is news to you.
  
NOTE:Organic sweet potatoes can be substituted with organic pumpkin puree.



Recipe:

15 organic corn tortillas
2 medium organic sweet potatoes, baked
2 medium organic  onions, diced
2 fresh organic tomatoes, diced 
4 cloves of fresh organic garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper for MILD (more to taste)
1 Tbsp oregano
1 can light organic coconut milk
1 pkg Daiya shreds: pepper jack or cheddar
chopped organic cilantro and salsa of choice for garnish

*Optional: diced Serrano, Poblano, or Jalapeno pepper added to stuffing for more spiciness

Method:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Saute onion until translucent (approx 25 mins) add tomato, garlic, sweet potatoes,  and spices and cook together until tomatoes tender, approx 15 minutes.
Pour coconut milk into a saucepan and add Daiya cheese, heat over medium stirring occasionally to melt cheese. 
Warm the tortillas over hot griddle or in un-greased skillet for about 20 seconds each. Stuff with sweet potato filling, roll, and place in 9"x13"  baking pan 7 to a row: the last one fills the space on the end. Pour cheese sauce over enchiladas and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
Garnish with fresh chopped organic cilantro and salsa if desired, serve and enjoy with Spanish rice, beans, and salad of choice!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Gluten Free Vegan Cream Cake

photo credit  Eric Rivkin

There is nothing quite as beautiful, nutritious, and healthy as a vegan, gluten free cream cake!

Bottom Layer Crust
1 cup raw almonds or pecans, soaked 2 hours, rinsed
1 cup fresh or dried finely shredded unsweetened coconut
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raw cacao powder
¼ tsp cinnamon
In a food processor with the S blade, mix until a crumb texture is reached. Set aside.

Coconut Cream Filling
2 cups firm young coconut pulp
5 bananas
1/4 cup coconut oil
4-5 pitted medjool dates
½ tsp vanilla extract or caviar scraped from 1 vanilla bean
Blend ingredients until creamy. Set aside and refrigerate.

Top Chocolate Layer

1 cup young coconut pulp
3 Tbsp coconut oil
½ cup raw cacao powder
3 pitted medjool dates
3 black mission figs
½ tsp vanilla extract or caviar scraped from 1 vanilla bean
¼ tsp cinnamon
Blend ingredients until thick and smooth, adding just enough coconut water to turn over in blender. Set aside.

Garnish
1 cup assorted berries - raspberry, blueberry, sliced strawberries
1 tsp Agave Nectar or other liquid veg sweetener (Stevia extract, maple syrup, etc.)
Mint leaves (optional)
Blend the sweetener with a few of the strawberries to make a glaze. Toss gently with the berries and mint and refrigerate until ready to serve.

6-8 large firm strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced 1/8” thick

Assembly:
1. Press crust recipe evenly into a 9” spring-form torte pan with a removable side greased with a little coconut oil.
2. Slice the strawberries the long way and press the large pieces against the inside of the torte pan. Use the smaller heels in the garnish..
3. Pour in and spread the Coconut Cream Filling.
4. Freeze for 2 hours to firm up.
5. Pour on and spread the top chocolate layer mix. Refrigerate or freeze again until firm.
6. When ready to serve, first arrange the fruit garnish on top.


It looks complicated, it's not! Once you have assembled all the ingredients, this goes very quickly, and what a reward at the end!!



Adapted from a recipe originally posted by Eric Rivkin. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Yam Falafel

Falafel is a traditional Middle Eastern food, commonly served in a pita, which acts as a pocket, or wrapped in a flatbread known as lafa; "falafel" also frequently refers to a wrapped sandwich that is prepared in this way. Chickpeas provide the most bio-available protein of the plant world, and are the "Prime Rib" of a plant based diet! Here is a new twist on traditional falafel that I hope you really enjoy!


*Use organic ingredients if possible!


Yam Falafel balls


Ingredients

  • 5 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups stemmed, chopped kale
  • 1/4 cup flat Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 15 ounce can of chickpeas, (also known as garbanzo beans), drained
  • 1 cup cooked yam (sweet potato)
  • 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground himalayan or sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Vegetable cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Add the garlic, kale and parsley to the food processor and process for 30 seconds to 1 minute until the greens are finely chopped.
  2. Add the chickpeas and process again until the beans are crumbled but not yet turned into paste. Remove half the contents of the process and put into a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients to the processor except for cooking spray. Process for 1 minute, until all the ingredients become incorporated but not too pasty
  4. Add the processed mixture to the mixture in the bowl. Using a spatula, stir well to combine. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes for the flavors to blend.
  5. Heat an oven to 400 degrees F.
  6. Put parchment on a rimmed baking sheet. Spray with cooking spray.
  7. Make balls the size of ping pong balls and place on baking sheet. Spray the tops with cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes on one side. Flip the balls over and bake another 10 minutes. When time is up, let the balls sit for 5 minutes to cool before serving them.
  9. Serve on corn tortillas (pictured), or wrap in lettuce leaves, with a tahini-garlic sauce on the side.
Number of servings (yield): 4 portions of 5 falafel balls each

Yogurt Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Soy yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.  Add a little water to thin, if desired. Whisk until smooth, drizzle on falafel balls or serve on side for dipping.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Protect Against, and Fight Cancer! With a God-given Rainbow not Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals!

It’s fair to say that cancer is a true health crisis today, but not one that we are powerless to. It was once thought diet had no correlation on cancer, but we know that’s far from the truth. Over the last decade, we've seen limitless research backing a plant-based diet as a means to fight cancer. From doctors such as Dr. T Colin Campbell,to Dr. Neal Barnard, to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, Dr. McDougall,and more, medical powerhouses now firmly state that animal foods cause cancer and plant-based food prevent it.
That’s an incredibly powerful statement when you stand back and look at it; especially since we live in a society that prioritizes animal food production over almost anything else.  Considering the food guide pyramid was largely funded by the dairy industry and our entire agriculture system today runs largely on the production of animals for the American diet.
There’s no coincidence that the rise of cancer the last 25 years has grown with the massive growth of the animal food production industry. Perhaps it’s easy to live in disbelief for a short time, but a culture made up of McDonald’s, fast food pizza joints, ice cream shops, and even diets that promote animal products for the use of weight loss, is sure to get an awakening at some point or another.


Eating the Rainbow for Cancer Prevention and Protection

The war against cancer, however, is never black and white. But a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables may just be one of the best ways to treat cancer of all. Plants contain pigments that give them their colorful hue, which indicates their antioxidant content. Antioxidants  boosts immunity and fights off disease (such as cancer.) Many of them also contain a large amount of special nutrients or specific antioxidants that have directly been linked to cancer prevention.

Why Animal Foods Are Not a Health Food for Cancer Prevention

The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (a medical powerhouse documenting case studies for a plant-based diet against cancer and diabetes) shares that certain foods contain certain colors that come with special cancer-fighting benefits. They also share that drinking just two glasses of milk a day  increased cancer risks to 60 percent, and eating 35 grams of dairy protein increased cancer risks by up to 32 percent! Meat consumption was linked to a 28 percent increase, and the average Western diet (rich in processed and fast foods) increased risks by 200 percent!
Many factors can lead to cancer cell formation, however we can’t ignore studies that show high-fat, low-fiber foods such as animal products, boosts specific hormones that promote the growth of cancer cells, along with alter normal cells, which can lead to cancer cell growth. The Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine also advises women to reduce or eliminate their intake of meat, dairy, fried foods, and vegetable oils, due to the way these foods cause women’s bodies to create more estrogen, which increases growth hormone that leads to higher breast cancer risks, along with other cancers sensitive to female hormones.


How to Incorporate the Rainbow Into Your Cancer Fighting Meals:

Start by replacing your processed or animal-based meals with foods from each color segment below and check out their benefits on their ability to fight cancer.

Green: 

Fruits and vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, kale, turnips, cauliflower, asparagus, collards, mustard greens, green apples, fresh herbs, zucchini, turnip greens, spinach, and Brussels sprouts contain either antioxidants known as flavones and/or indoles which have been directly linked to the prevention against cancer. They also contain high amounts of chlorophyll that prevents acidity in the body. Soybeans, green peas, and green beans are also high in antioxidants that support immune health even further.

Yellow/Orange:

Fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, squash, peaches, yellow and orange bell peppers, lemons, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, grapefruit, papaya, and apricots all contain especially high levels of Vitamin C for immune health, along with beta-carotene, a nutrient derived from the carotenoids found in these plants that give them their colorful hue. Studies have shown that women who eat carotenoid-rich vegetables reduce their breast cancer risk by up to 19 percent!

Red/Orange:

Fruits like watermelon, tomatoes, red peppers, papaya, grapefruit, and guava, all contain lycopene that also reduces the risks for prostate cancer and heart disease. Lycopene has also been shown tolower high cholesterol that can lead to increased fat cells that stimulate cancer cell growth.

Red/Blue/Purple:

Blue and purple foods like berries, figs, beets, pomegranates, grapes, raisins, and plums, all contain high levels of antioxidants known as anthocyanins or polyphenols that protect the heart and prevent heart disease. Their intake has also been linked to the prevention of certain types of cancers, according to The American Cancer Society.

White/Tan/Brown:

If you think white vegetables don’t count, think again! They are rich in antioxidants known as phytochemicals like allicin (garlic and onions), beans and legumes (that contain fiber to reduce cholesterol and obesity), quercetin (onions and apples), selenium (mushrooms), Vitamin C (onions, apples, and parsnips), and a variety of vitamins and minerals that support the immune system (banana flesh, white nectarines, white peaches, cauliflower, artichokes, and potatoes.) Selenium was found to be one of the most prominent minerals for mens’ prostate health while garlic and onions remain as two of the top foods to boost the immune system and fight cancer cell growth.
There are so many ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet. Here are a few great suggestions:
  • Make a delicious superfood salad brimming with anti-cancer foods like broccoli and kale. Top it with some edamame hummus for an extra cancer-fighting punch!
  • Blend up a delicious smoothie in the morning filled with some greens, berries, and a green apple. 
  • Add some fruits and vegetables into your next batch of muffins; they’ll add flavor, fiber, and antioxidants to protect your body.
  • Keep raw fruits and veggies on hand at all times for snacking and be sure to pair them with some heart-healthy dip like a no salt added salsa or some oil free hummus.
  • Make a homemade pizza with artichokes, olives, tomato sauce, basil, oregano, and a hearty dose of mushrooms in place of meat.
  • Add some garlic and onions to your next dinner entree.