How to make a delicious vegan pie for Pi Day

March 13, 2020 by  
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Pie is delicious on any day, but Pi Day may be the impetus to bake — or at least eat — a pie. The annual celebration is named for the mathematical constant ? and observed on March 14, because ? is 3.14. In honor of Pi Day, Lisa Clark, owner of Petunia’s Pies & Pastries in Portland , Oregon shares some of her vegan pie baking tips with Inhabitat. This Pi Day is especially exciting for Clark, as it marks Petunia’s 10th anniversary. Inhabitat: What are the main differences between vegan and non-vegan pies? Clark: The main difference is just the fact that you don’t use butter for the pie dough. We use a blend of half soy -free Earth Balance and half organic shortening. We never use any of the hydrogenated stuff. Even the fillings are not too different: the fruit and a sweetener, which is usually just sugar, and citrus and something to thicken it, whether it’s organic corn starch or tapioca pearls. We do a lot of pies with streusel. We make that the same as traditional streusel but we use, again, the soy-free Earth Balance instead of butter. Related: 12 delicious and crowd-pleasing vegan brunch ideas Inhabitat: What about cream pies? Clark: That’s where it gets definitely a lot more challenging. We make coconut cream pies and chocolate cream pies, and we do key lime pie and banana cream. Depending on what the flavor is, we use a lot of coconut cream instead of regular dairy cream. We try not to use a ton of soy. A lot of people don’t tolerate it well, including myself, so we use a lot of coconut cream and nuts. We try to do some without nuts, because there’s a lot of nut allergies, too. When we make our chocolate cream pie, we use the Mori-Nu silken tofu with the coconut cream just to help the texture be a little more smooth and creamy like it would be traditionally. Automatically, that makes it super thick. Folding in the melted chocolate, it really stiffens up and sets in the fridge. We make coconut whipped cream instead of regular whipped cream for the tops of pies. Inhabitat: How do you make meringue without eggs? Clark: For the meringue, we use dehydrated aquafaba powder. We were using actual aquafaba from a can of chickpeas. But the problem with that is, what are we going to do with all these chickpeas? So there’s a product now that’s dehydrated aquafaba powder; you have to add a certain amount of water per tablespoon and mix it up. Then you cook it on the stove to reduce it down to a third of the volume. You take what’s left, and you whip that up with sugar, like if you were making a traditional meringue with egg whites and sugars. Inhabitat: What are the easiest pies to make? Clark: Definitely the fruit pies are the easiest. Berry pies are the easiest because there’s really no prep involved with the berries . Our most popular pie that we’ve made for the longest time is the bumbleberry peach pie. It’s a mix of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and peaches. We make a coconut hazelnut streusel for the top. ( See the recipe below! ) In the summertime, if people go berry picking, that’s the best time and the best way to make the most amazing pies with fresh, in-season berries. Other times of the year, it’s totally fine to use good frozen berries or even frozen peaches. Frozen fruit works fine, it’s just a little more temperamental with the baking time. There’s more moisture in the fruit because it’s frozen, so all that water is trapped in there. Inhabitat: Can you share any shortcuts you’ve learned over the years? Clark: Chill the fats and mix all your dry ingredients ahead of time. If there’s any fruit to prep, or the lemon zest, you want to do it in advance. I will sometimes measure out the sugar and any of the spices that are going in the filling in a little bowl and have that ready. You can make the streusel in advance and keep it in the fridge. I like to get all the steps of everything ready, so when I want to throw it together, it goes together much faster. Inhabitat: What is the most basic equipment somebody needs to make a pie? Clark: A pie plate and a rolling pin. At the very minimum, that’s what you need. Beyond that, if people have a handheld little pastry blender, that’s really helpful to make the streusel and the pie crust. But you don’t have to one. You can just cut it by hand. Beyond that, if people have a food processor for the crust and streusel, that makes it even faster. A zester for the lemon zest for the filling. A knife. But most people have a knife. And time. You just need some time, some patience. Inhabitat: Any pie mishaps you’re willing to share? Clark: Oh, yeah. I think the most common one would be just not baking the pies long enough. It’s always different. It depends on the weather , it depends on the oven, the flavor of the pie, how much moisture is in the fruit, how long you mix the dough. Sometimes, the crust can start to get too brown in the streusel, but the filling isn’t cooked. We actually bake a pie for the first half without the streusel and then we put the streusel on for the second half of baking to help with that. Every oven is so different. It depends on how thick your pie plate is, too. Like a deep dish or a more shallow pie plate, the baking times can vary so much. The only way to know when it’s really done is by seeing how the fruit bubbles up through the streusel or through the crust on top. It should be bubbling really slowly and look really thick and syrupy. If it just looks watery, like water bubbling out, it’s totally not done. Inhabitat: Any last words of advice for Inhabitat readers? Clark: The biggest advice I want to give people is not to be intimidated. I think when you read the steps, it can sound like a lot. But when you break it down and take one step at a time, it’s really not too bad. The more you do it and practice, it gets easier and easier. Pies are simple. It’s just a dough and a filling you have to sweeten and thicken. And you have to bake it. That’s really all it is. So just remember, it’s very simple and don’t overthink it too much; try to have fun. When people realize that, they tend to do a better job and not get so stressed about it working. As long as it tastes good, too, it doesn’t matter what it looks like. Be brave. Recipe for Bumble Berry Peach Pie with Coconut Hazelnut Streusel By Lisa Clark, Petunia’s Pies & Pastries Pie Crust 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon white rice flour 7 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons brown rice flour 7 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca flour 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons millet flour 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum 1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 3/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoon Earth Balance spread, very chilled & cut into 1/4” pieces 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoon organic vegetable shortening, very chilled & cut into 1/4” pieces 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons ice cold water Filling In spring and summer, use fresh berries & peaches if possible. The rest of the year, frozen berries and peaches will work just fine. 1 1/2 cups raspberries 1 1/2 cups blueberries 1 1/2 cups blackberries or marionberries 3 1/2 cups sliced peaches 1 cup sugar 6 tablespoons organic cornstarch 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice Coconut Hazelnut Streusel 1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skinned 1 cup coconut 1/4 cup millet flour 1/4 cup white rice flour 3 tablespoons brown rice flour 3 tablespoons tapioca flour 2/3 cup sugar 1/4 tsp salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/4 cup Earth Balance spread, chilled and cut into 1/4” pieces To make the crust, combine the flours, xanthan gum, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl and mix well. Add the cold shortening pieces and the cold Earth Balance pieces, and blend with a handheld pastry blender until the fat pieces are in pea-sized clumps. Be careful not to overwork the fats into the dry ingredients. Drizzle the ice-cold water over this mixture and mix by hand until the dough comes together and forms a ball. Again, be careful not to overwork the dough. Flatten the dough into a disk about 1” thick and wrap in plastic. Chill for about 20 minutes. Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a lightly millet-floured non-stick baking mat or countertop. Roll the dough into an even circle, about 1/4” thick. Transfer to a pie plate. Press the dough into the pie plate and form nice fluted edges. Refrigerate the pie shell for 15 minutes before baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the filling, combine all of the fruit in a large bowl. Mix the cornstarch with the sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit and mix to evenly combine. Pour lemon juice over the fruit mixture and stir well. Let sit for about 15 minutes (about 25 minutes if you are using frozen fruit) to form juices. Pour mixture into chilled pie shell. Place pie on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 35 minutes (without the streusel). While the pie is baking, make the streusel. Combine hazelnuts, coconut, flours, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and mix well. Add the cold Earth Balance and work it in by hand until the Earth Balance is in pea-sized clumps. Larger clumps are better than smaller for the streusel. Refrigerate until ready to use. Once the pie has baked for 35 minutes, carefully remove it from the oven and top evenly with streusel, covering all of the fruit. Bake about 35-40 minutes more. The streusel and crust should be golden brown. The pie is ready when you can see the juices bubbling out on the edges and it looks very thick and syrupy. If it appears watery, continue to bake. Let cool (at least 2-3 hours) so the pie can set a bit, then slice, serve and enjoy! + Petunia’s Pies & Pastries Images via Lisa Clark

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How to make a delicious vegan pie for Pi Day

12 easy vegetarian and vegan potluck dishes for Thanksgiving

November 20, 2019 by  
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Sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet on a holiday that revolves around poultry doesn’t have to be a bummer. With the idea of potluck Thanksgiving dinners gaining more and more popularity in the United States (Friendsgiving, anyone?), this can be the perfect opportunity to expose your meat-eating friends to your plant-based lifestyle and provide some healthier alternatives to classic Thanksgiving staples. Pumpkin gnocchi Making your own gnocchi is a great way to show off your cooking chops without doing a ton of work. Swap out the potatoes for nutrient-rich pumpkin and replace the all-purpose flour with whole wheat and almond flour. This simple recipe from Kale Me Maybe uses ghee, a type of clarified butter, for the sage sauce along with garlic. Ghee is a staple of Ayurvedic medicine and is often made using low heat, allowing it to retain more of its natural health benefits. Related: 6 yummy organic pumpkin recipes you can make for Thanksgiving Roasted Brussels sprouts Perfect for larger groups looking for a traditional Thanksgiving vegetable side, roasted Brussels sprouts can be whipped up and topped with any number of vegan or vegetarian ingredients. Slice off the stems of the washed sprouts. Then, cut the sprouts in half, making sure to remove any brown leaves off before roasting them with salt, pepper and olive oil in the oven until they are crispy. Top with lemon zest and cheese for a vegetarian option, or toss with chopped pecans and cranberries for a hearty vegan dish. Green bean casserole with crispy onions This recipe from OhMyVeggies puts a healthy spin on the classic side dish (usually packed with sodium and processed ingredients, like condensed canned soup and bagged fried onion strings). Use fresh green beans and mushrooms along with soy milk or almond milk to veganize your green bean casserole. Pomegranate spinach salad Nothing says autumn quite like tangy pomegranate seeds, and this recipe from Cooking Classy combines them with fresh, sliced pears and nutrient-dense leafy spinach. Even better, the dressing uses apple cider vinegar (we suggest using the organic , unfiltered kind to get those gut-friendly enzymes). Vegetarians can make the recipe as-is, but vegans can swap the honey for agave and leave out the cheese. Glazed carrots Sliced carrots can be roasted in the oven, cooked in a slow cooker or sauteed on the stove with either butter or olive oil for a simple Thanksgiving side dish. Add salt and pepper to taste along with a touch of balsamic vinegar to give it an extra bite. No matter how you cook the dish, consider leaving the skins on the carrots instead of peeling them off — they are loaded with vitamins and minerals (just make sure to thoroughly wash the carrots). Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Stuffed mushrooms These bite-sized treats are sure to draw a crowd of meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. Play with different ingredients depending on your audience, but make sure to top it all off with plenty of fresh herbs to compliment the savory mushroom caps. Everything about this vegan stuffed mushrooms recipe from Blissful Basil screams festive, from the diced walnuts to the sage to the cranberries. Butternut squash soup With a sweet, flavorful base made from coconut milk , butternut squash and curry powder, this soup is the perfect comfort food for any Thanksgiving potluck guest. Check out this recipe from the Minimalist Baker that incorporates cinnamon, maple syrup and chili garlic paste for an extra sweet-and-spicy kick. Vegetarian stuffing Thanksgiving is incomplete without a side of delicious stuffing to soak up the rest of the meal, but it typically isn’t a vegetarian-friendly dish. This recipe from the Vegetarian Times calls for cubes of whole-grain or sprouted bread and a variety of herbs to get that same stuffing taste without the meat juices. Use a medley of mushrooms for an earthy flavor, throw in some chopped nuts for an extra crunch or add dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness. Swap the butter for olive oil if you’re sticking to a vegan recipe . Wild rice pilaf Another great side option for larger groups, this wild rice pilaf recipe from One Green Planet is packed with fiber and whole grains. With the added autumnal flavors of dried cranberries, baked butternut squash and fresh squeezed citrus fruits, this Thanksgiving side is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. Creamed kale Spice up your classic creamed spinach recipe by swapping the traditional greens for vitamin-packed kale and using soaked raw cashews instead of cream and butter to make it vegan. This recipe from Dianne’s Vegan Kitchen uses shallots and garlic for a burst of fragrance and flavor and can be made in large batches for bigger potluck groups. Vegan cauliflower risotto With riced cauliflower becoming all the rage in vegetarian and vegan cooking these days, why not elevate the classic cauliflower rice into a hearty risotto? Check out this recipe from Foolproof Living that uses a unique combination of tahini, miso paste and nutritional yeast to give the dish a savory, cheesy flavor without any dairy. Vegan spinach artichoke dip This recipe from Nora Cooks combines spinach and fiber-rich artichoke hearts to make a hearty dip. The secret to this dish is in the cashew cream, which gives the dip its cheese-like consistency, and nutritional yeast, which keeps it satisfying without any dairy products. The best part? It only takes about 30 minutes to make. Images via Shutterstock

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10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas

November 21, 2018 by  
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Choosing to live a healthy, vegan lifestyle can be an easy choice to make, but when it comes to actually following through and cooking those meals every day, it can seem like a complicated, time-consuming task. Not to mention, recipes can easily become repetitive. Cooking plant-based meals doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little planning and a smart grocery shopping strategy, you can make quick and easy vegan dinners every day of the week. Here are 10 dinner ideas to help keep your diet full of nutrients and flavor that won’t require you to spend hours in the kitchen. Creamy vegan one-pot pasta This Asian-style recipe from Vegan Heaven is perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Loaded with veggies and seasoned with red curry paste, garlic cloves and coconut milk, this one-pot recipe is super easy to make, and it takes less than a half-hour to prep and cook. This dish is packed with flavor and will save you a ton of time. Vegan Philly cheese sandwich Red bell peppers, sweet onion, chilies, black pepper and spices, along with some vegan cheddar and seitan strips on a hoagie roll create a perfect vegan Philly that you will crave. This recipe is from Healthy, Happy, Life, and it is easy and fun to make. Related: 12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner Vegan Swedish meatballs Just because you are a vegan, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy meatballs! This recipe from Rabbit and Wolves makes a super quick weeknight meal and takes about 20 minutes to throw together. Vegan grilled burritos with black beans, rice, avocado and salsa crema This may seem like a gourmet meal , but you can put it together super-fast, and it is loaded with flavor. The recipe comes from Veggies Don’t Bite, and when your family takes their first bite, they will think you spent hours in the kitchen. Spicy chickpea veggie burgers It can be difficult to make a veggie patty that sticks together, but this recipe from Running On Real Food does the trick. They take about ten minutes to prepare, and you can mix up the spices in the recipe to get the flavor you want. Hearty white bean vegetable soup Who doesn’t love a bowl of hot soup on a cold day? With just a few ingredients, you can make a ton of soup with this recipe from Hello Glow, and it will fill your tummy with veggies. You can also easily mix things up and experiment with different flavors. Related: 10 vegan sources of protein you can grow at home Easy vegan Alfredo pasta This creamy recipe from Rainbow Nourishments features cashews, garlic and onion, and you can use raw zucchini noodles or gluten-free pasta. Just remember to soak your cashews the night before. Hummus pizza with veggies Another recipe from Vegan Heaven, this pizza uses hummus instead of tomato sauce, and has toppings like cherry tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and artichokes. The dough is also super easy to make and has just four ingredients – flour, instant yeast, salt, and olive oil. However, you can also opt for a ready-made crust if you are running short on time. If you are a pizza lover and would like a vegan option with tomato sauce, try this simple vegan pizza from The Minimalist Baker. Vegan no-bake peanut butter energy bites If you need a boost of energy to start your day, or a good snack during the afternoon, try these three ingredient energy bites from Beaming Banana. This sweet and salty snack is addictive and easy to make. Vegan potato pancakes This recipe has simple ingredients like potatoes, onions, flour, and a little jalapeno to spice things up, and they are perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, these potato cakes from It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken take just a few minutes to make, and they are potato perfection. Via Vegan Heaven , Healthy Happy Life , Rabbit and Wolves , Veggies don’t bite , Running on Real Food , Hello Glow,  Beaming Banana , It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken and Rainbow Nourishments Images via Lars Blankers , Stevepb , Nadya Spetnitskaya , MootikaLLC , agamaszota , PDPics , gate74 , JESHOOTScom , rawpixel and coyot

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10 tasty and easy vegan dinner ideas

10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

November 20, 2018 by  
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Bananas linger on the counters of many kitchens throughout the world, because they are a perfect snack and a healthy companion to things like yogurt, peanut butter and cereal. But it doesn’t take long for them to move past peak ripeness and start getting covered in brown spots before turning black. Just because they are past their prime doesn’t mean that overripe bananas need to be tossed in the trash. To reduce your food waste , try some of these creative and delicious ideas for overripe bananas instead of throwing them away. Bread and muffins Banana bread and muffins are the perfect options for overripe bananas. Believe it or not, dark and ugly bananas bring a ton of flavor. Simply put your blackened bananas in the fridge, and when you are ready to bake, smash them up and try recipes like flourless peanut butter banana muffins , banana bread  or  chocolate chip and banana muffins . Cakes Bananas add sweetness and a springy texture to cakes, and there are amazing banana cake recipes out there that are surprisingly healthy . This recipe for chocolate chip banana cake with cream cheese frosting  doesn’t have butter or oil, but you would never know it. The bananas and light cream cheese frosting bring amazing flavor, and this sweet treat is still low in calories. Brownies You can make amazing vegan brownies with just four ingredients: overripe bananas, peanut butter, protein powder and cocoa powder. The bananas make these guilt-free brownies sweet and moist. They are also full of protein , making them the perfect, quick breakfast. If you prefer, you can sub almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter. Smoothies and milkshakes When your bananas get ripe and mushy, try adding them to a smoothie or milkshake. Bananas will make your smoothie or milkshake super creamy and add loads of flavor. Try this frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate chip milkshake for a nice light treat, or you can opt for a smoothie like this banana oatmeal breakfast smoothie . Related: Fight food waste with these 11 ways to use leftover greens before they spoil Pancakes You can either slice some banana onto your pancakes while they cook or smash them up and add the bananas to the batter. Either way, the bananas will make your pancakes so sweet , you will probably have to cut back on the syrup . Cookies Adding bananas won’t necessarily make your cookies healthy, but they do make them delicious. Try this recipe for Mindy Segal’s banana Nilla cookies or these three-ingredient banana chocolate chip cookies from Curls ‘N’ Chard . Banana chips One of the quickest and easiest options for overripe bananas is to make sweet, guilt-free banana chips. This is an extremely healthy snack to have on hand, and all it takes to make this treat is ripe bananas and some fresh lemon juice. Oatmeal Another quick and easy option for your overripe bananas is to add them to oatmeal. Simply smash up an overripe banana, and then stir it into a warm bowl of oatmeal. This will give your oats a naturally sweet flavor, and if you add some cinnamon and chopped walnuts, it will be even more delicious. You can also use overripe bananas for baked oatmeal, like in this recipe from Live Well Bake Often. Banana bread batter This idea from The Big Man’s World is an easy, gooey, healthy treat perfect for any time, day or night. It will take you less than five minutes to make, and it is naturally gluten-free and vegan . It is also full of protein and comes with a paleo and grain-free option. Fro-yo With just three ingredients, you can make amazing banana frozen yogurt . Throw your overripe bananas into the freezer. When you are ready to make this dessert, simply peel two bananas and cut them into chunks. Put them in a food processor, and add a half-cup of plain, 2-percent Greek yogurt and one-and-a-half tablespoons of peanut butter. Puree all the ingredients until they turn into a smooth, fluffy paste. Then, freeze your fro-yo for about 15 minutes before serving. Images via Jeffrey W. , Green Guavas , Marco Verch , Theo Crazzolara , Cara Faus , Ella Olsson and Shutterstock

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10 ways to use up mushy, overripe bananas

12 plant-based recipes for a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner

November 15, 2018 by  
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For many people, Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without a turkey on the table. But with diet trends turning toward vegetarianism, veganism and flexitarianism , people are starting to break away from the traditional turkey dinner for health, animal welfare or environmental reasons. Luckily, there are amazing plant-based dishes that you can prepare for a mouth-watering Thanksgiving feast, making it easier than ever to skip the turkey. Here are some ideas for main dishes that will replace the turkey on your table, plus some side dish and dessert ideas that will keep the food at your celebration completely plant-based. Main dishes Classic seitan roast Forget the tofurkey — try this basic meat substitute for a savory, meaty main dish that you can use for Thanksgiving day, and any extras will be perfect as salad toppers or sandwich fillings. This recipe comes from One Green Planet , and it does have an involved process. But the results are totally worth it. Seitan pot roast Another idea from One Green Planet , this recipe is not the traditional pot roast your mom would make, but it is the perfect recipe for a large Thanksgiving dinner. The biggest plus about this dish is that you make it in a slow cooker. Just throw everything in the pot, and let it cook while you make your other dishes. Related: 6 vegan and vegetarian turkey alternatives for Thanksgiving Lentil shepherd’s pie This recipe from Plant Based Cooking is perfect for picky eaters, vegan or not. Lentil shepherd’s pie is loaded with mushrooms, carrots, peas and garlic mashed potatoes, and you can easily refrigerate or freeze it. Vegan lentil loaf with gravy Perfect for the holiday season, this recipe from Vegan Heaven is easy to make, super healthy and beyond delicious. You will impress your family with this main dish, which takes a little over an hour to make and bake. Vegducken This is a vegetable main dish that will have your family and friends talking long after Thanksgiving is over. This recipe features roasted butternut squash stuffed with eggplant, zucchini and whole scallions. Then, you layer it with a puree of sautéed mushrooms, red onion, chickpeas, scallions, red lentils and gluten-free breadcrumbs. Side dishes Thanksgiving cornbread stuffing with gravy You might be able to skip turkey at Thanksgiving, but no one can live without the stuffing. This delicious vegan recipe from One Green Planet takes a little time to make, so you might want to prepare it a day in advance. Vegan pumpkin biscuits Free of dairy , egg, corn, soy and yeast, these pumpkin biscuits from Vegan Richa are easy to make and perfect for any guest at your Thanksgiving dinner. They feature fresh sage and thyme, and they are a savory side dish that is crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Buttermilk vegan mashed potatoes Who says you need dairy products to make fluffy, creamy mashed potatoes? This recipe from The Vegan 8 calls for just eight ingredients to make creamy mashed potatoes that are full of flavor with a buttery taste that comes from apple cider vinegar. They will be one of the most-loved dishes at your Thanksgiving dinner. Smokey maple roasted carrots with lemon thyme drizzle If you are looking for an easy side dish that you can throw together, try this recipe from Veggies Don’t Bite . Not only is this carrot dish loaded with flavor, but the lemon thyme sauce will make you want to lick your plate clean. Related: The best in-season veggies to buy at your local market for Thanksgiving dinner Vegan green bean casserole This casserole is so creamy that you won’t believe it doesn’t contain dairy. Using raw cashews, unsweetened almond milk, bread crumbs, onions, garlic, flour, EVOO, mushrooms, white wine, soy sauce, salt and black pepper, this dish from Hummusapien will be so good, no one will know its vegan. Desserts Vegan pecan pie This recipe from the Center for Nutrition Studies is a healthy, vegan alternative to the popular holiday dessert . It is decadent, but not too sweet, and it is gluten-free and soy-free. Chocolate ganache mousse pie If you want to add a chocolate dessert to your menu, here is a delicious option that has a cookie crust and light filling that will make any chocolate lover happy. Images via Pixabay and Shutterstock

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The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce

October 18, 2018 by  
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When you cook at home, there is nothing better than using fresh, seasonal produce as ingredients in your recipes. But it can be difficult to remember what is in season near you throughout the year. Luckily, there is an app for that, thanks to GRACE Communications Foundation, a non-profit organization aiming to boost awareness and support for sustainable food initiatives. Last year, the foundation launched its Seasonal Food Guide app (available for Android and iOS) just before National Farmers Market Week (in August each year). When you download it, the app will update you on the seasonality of everything from apples to zucchini in your own state. The guide is free, and it uses data from the Natural Resources Defense Council as well as the USDA and state departments of agriculture. When using the app (or the website), you can search for what is in season at any time of the year in every state. It is billed as the “most comprehensive database of seasonal food available in the U.S.” Related: Everything you need to know about online farmers markets “Today, people want to know where their produce is coming from, how long it will be in season and available at their local farmers market or grocery store, and what’s in season at other times of the year or in other neighboring states,” said Urvashi Rangan, GRACE’s chief science adviser. “We built the Seasonal Food Guide app to put those answers right at your fingertips.” This app will help you in your efforts to eat as much local produce as possible, which not only helps you increase your fruit and veggie consumption, but it also helps local growers and the local economy. The money you spend on local produce stays in your community, and it is reinvested with other local businesses. Why should you eat seasonally? If you haven’t had a lot of experience with eating fresh produce, it is definitely worth a try — it is ripe and flavorful and less bruised and handled, because it is transported locally. You can often taste it before you make a purchase, so you know what to expect. During peak harvest times, there is usually an abundance of fresh produce, and that means lower prices. You can also get “seconds,” which are slightly blemished fruits and veggies, for a major discount, and you can eat them right away or preserve them for a later time when they aren’t in season. This is an extremely frugal way to help you eat healthy all year long. Related: 5 mouthwatering plant-based fall recipes When you purchase seasonal food, you get a fresher, tastier and more nutritious product compared to the foods you would buy in the store. The best time to eat produce is shortly after harvest, and the only way to do that is to buy your produce from a local grower. Plus, when purchasing your produce from local farmers , you can talk to them about how they grew the food and the practices they used to raise and harvest their crops. Another benefit of eating seasonally is that it tends to lead you to cook at home more often, which is a great thing to do for your health. Taking control over what you put in your body — from what oil you cook with to how much sugar you add — helps you to consciously make better choices. Cooking is also a great way to bond, and it is a fun activity to do with your family and friends. Eating seasonally will also challenge you to be creative and come up with new ways to use your local produce. Buying local food is a benefit for the environment, because it helps to maintain local farmland and open space in your community. Direct-to-consumer produce is also less likely to have pesticides or herbicides. Eating seasonally can be intimidating. What is at its peak this month? How do you use that strange-looking vegetable you spied at the market? How do you store your abundance of fruits and vegetables so they do not go bad before you use them? This is when the Seasonal Food Guide comes to the rescue. Recipes, storage tips and more If you need some help with what to do with your local produce, the Seasonal Food Guide has a “ Real Food Right Now ” series to give you tips on cooking with food from your local grower. There are ideas for everything from asparagus to okra, and there are also tips for which seasonings and oils will complement your produce. The Seasonal Food Guide also explains the history of each item, giving you a chance to learn more about the food you are enjoying. Each fruit, vegetable, nut and legume is also broken down into its nutritional value and its environmental impact, meaning you can see how your produce is affecting the land. The guide also aims to curb food waste by teaching users how to properly store produce and how long it typically remains edible before it needs composted. The comprehensive app teaches users a wealth of information about the foods they eat, while also making it easy to experiment with new, unknown produce items. Get the Seasonal Food Guide app Check out the Seasonal Food Guide on your phone or computer, and get the best information about what is available in your state this month. You’ll find information and tips for about 140+ veggies, fruits, nuts and legumes. You can also set a reminder for your favorites, so you don’t miss them when they are available. Because the app provides photos of each item, you can also quickly identify that strange fruit or vegetable you passed at the market and learn more about it. This guide makes it incredibly simple to eat local, seasonal foods you love as well as find new favorites to experiment with in the kitchen. To see the web version click here , or download the iOS or Android apps here . + Seasonal Food Guide Images via Seasonal Food Guide , Caroline Attwood and  Maarten van den Heuvel ; screenshots via Inhabitat

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The Seasonal Food Guide helps you store, cook and enjoy seasonal produce

IKEA’s new cookbook cooks your food for you

July 5, 2017 by  
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You probably have that one friend who visits IKEA just for their Swedish meatballs, but now the furniture giant is showing how creative you can get with those meatballs at home. They just rolled out the IKEA Easy Recipe Series cookbook in Canadian stores, which makes dinner easier to cook with parchment paper pages that resemble a paint-by-numbers sketch – and they do much of the hard work for you. IKEA has made well-designed furniture more accessible, and now it seems they’re working to make food more accessible too. They got a little help from the Leo Burnett Toronto advertising agency to come up with the Cook This Page campaign. All users have to do is fill in the pictures of food on the parchment cooking pages, put it in the oven, and pull out a dinner that assembles far easier than an IKEA bed frame or bookcase. Related: IKEA’s new app will let you preview furniture in your home before you buy IKEA’s cookbook pages don’t simply come with a list of ingredients. The pages have spaces on which to place the food, drawn with food-safe ink in the approximate sizes of the precise amounts of items like one minced garlic clove or one eighth of a teaspoon of black pepper. Users place ingredients on the pages and roll them up to cook. The pages recently popped up in Canadian stores during the IKEA Kitchen Event. People could see exactly what food and kitchen equipment they’d need, and shop for the items at the store before taking the pages home to bake homemade meals. According to a video on the campaign, IKEA realized some folks are intimidated by new food and recipes , and “wanted to show people that getting creative can be deliciously simple.” Leo Burnett won two Gold and two Bronze Cannes Lions at this year’s festival for their work on the campaign. Via Fast Co.Design Images via screenshot and Leo Burnett Toronto

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IKEA’s new cookbook cooks your food for you

Wonderful recipes for the weird veggies in your CSA box

February 11, 2017 by  
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Kohlrabi Sounds like something to be shouted in Klingon, doesn’t it? No need to fear: kohlrabi won’t leap up and devour your face if you lean over it. This bizarre little “turnip cabbage” has a thick skin that needs to be peeled off before you get to its juicy little heart (which tastes quite a bit like broccoli stem), and its leaves can be cooked like collard greens or kale. Great recipes to try: Kohlrabi and zucchini fritters with sriracha mayo  – You can make fritters out of just about any vegetable, but these two pair together perfectly. Kohlrabi, cardamom, and coconut curry – Warming and filling, with just the right amount of heat. Shaved kohlrabi with apple and hazelnuts – This is a beautiful way to highlight kohlrabi’s mild sweetness and crunchiness. Spicy kohlrabi-kale kimchi – If you have more kohlrabi than you know what to do with and you’d like to use it up before it goes bad, make a batch of this kimchi and enjoy it later. Celeriac Root It looks like a tumor and tastes like celery, but what can you do with it? Quite a lot, actually. Celeriac is indeed part of the celery family, but is cultivated for its large root instead of its stalks. Great recipes to try: Celery root puree with balsamic beets and pearl onions – Buhhh. If anyone ever disparages vegan cuisine, feed them this, and it’ll blow their minds. Celeriac, fennel, and pear salad with lentils – Celery root’s refreshing crunch is echoed by both the fennel and sweet pear, and complemented by creamy, nutty Puy lentils. Celery root steaks with tomatillo salsa verde – Way to incorporate 2 CSA box items in one recipe! The savory meatiness of the root steak is brightened by spicy green salsa, and is a perfect summer dinner recipe. Celeriac and roasted garlic soup with parsley oil – This is a delicious, elegant soup that’s both perfect for cooler evenings, and for when you’re aiming to impress dinner guests. Or in-laws. Same idea. Rutabagas Also known as “Swedes”, rutabagas are root vegetables that likely originated by crossing a turnip with cabbage. Sounds bizarre, I know, but these tuberous powerhouses are quite versatile. They have a nutty sweetness from the cabbage, and the firm crunch normally associated with turnips. They can be used raw or cooked, and they make a great substitute for mashed potatoes for Paleo recipes, or for folks avoiding nightshade vegetables. Great recipes to try: Rutabaga fries – They’re low carb, vegan, AIP paleo compliant, and incredibly delicious. Spiralized rutabaga noodles – You can top them with anything you like. Try them with pesto and hazelnuts. Rutabaga hash with chilies and bacon – This can easily be made vegan with veg bacon or even toasted coconut. Latkes – An all-time favorite pancake, only made with rutabaga instead of potato. Fennel It looks like something from an alien landscape with its bulbous base and frilly hair, but fennel is a wonderful vegetable that’s quite versatile with a slight licorice flavor. You can eat it raw or cooked, and the green fronds are edible as well. Great recipes to try: Braised fennel with capers and olives – Magic happens when you combine the ingredients in this recipe. Arugula, fennel, and olive salad – A great mixture of textures, flavors, sweetness, and bite. Fennel, asparagus, and artichoke empanadas – This is a perfect way to showcase summer produce. Roasted fennel and onion gratinati – It’s as scrumptious with vegan almond cheese as it is with regular Parmesan. Garlic Scapes They may look like a tangle of skinny snakes, but these vibrant greens are garlic’s flower stalks, and they’re as delicious as their root bulb, only milder. Garlic scapes can be pureed into sauce, chopped and sautéed like green beans, added to frittatas… they’re really only limited by your own culinary creativity. Great recipes to try: Garlic scape pesto – One of the easiest and most delicious recipes for scapes. You can add in foraged greens like garlic mustard, lambsquarters, or dandelion leaves to. Summer vegetable strata – A brilliant way to use random bits from your CSA box in one delicious dish. Beet, garlic scape, and leek pizza – Pizza is fabulous no matter what you put on it, but these ingredients elevate it to an art form. Grilled garlic scape and asparagus soup with caramelized shallots – A lovely summer soup that’ll impress just about anyone. Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichokes) These adorable little knuckle-shaped roots go quite nutty when you cook them, and are woefully under-used in most people’s kitchens. Not related to globe artichokes, these tubers are part of the sunflower family, and are packed with protein, potassium, iron, and calcium. Great recipes to try: Crispy Jerusalem artichokes with aged balsamic – Roasting the sunchokes brings out their natural sweetness, and the balsamic adds depth to their flavor. Roasted Jerusalem artichoke, chestnut, and thyme soup – All of these rich flavors harmonize into a luxurious, creamy soup. Baked Jerusalem artichoke chips – Who doesn’t love chips? These are low-carb, paleo, vegan, and have a low glycemic index too. Sunchoke banana cake with maple syrup drizzle – Like any other tuber, these add richness, moisture, and texture to baked goods. Tomatillos Most people who are unfamiliar with South American cuisine may never have encountered a tomatillo, but they’re definitely worth getting to know. Relatives of tomatoes and ground cherries (physalis), these papery-coated green gems have a great tart acidity that works beautifully for salsas and other sauces, and can be sweetened for preserves and jams. Great recipes to try: Watermelon, strawberry, and tomatillo salad – If this isn’t a perfect summer salad, I don’t know what is. Tomatillo and lime salsa verde – Sharp and fresh, it’s as good on huevos rancheros as it is scooped up with tortilla chips. Green shakshuka – One of our favorite brunch dishes. Tomatillo jam – It can be made thick or thin (as a spread or as a syrup for pancakes), and is ridiculously good. Radishes Although most people can identify radishes at a glance, these poor little roots often get relegated to salads. Regardless of whether you’ve received cherrybelle, watermelon, or even daikon radish, you’d be amazed at how their flavors change when they’ve been roasted with the aforementioned garlic and olive oil (or butter). Great recipes to try: Watermelon radish tea sandwiches – These radishes are bright pink and green, and are fabulous when sliced thinly on bread. Try these tea sandwiches for a light summer meal, or make open-faced versions for bridal showers. Mulor shaak (spicy sauteed radish greens) – Don’t toss those radish greens into the compost! They’re the tastiest part of the vegetable, and are divine when sauteed with oil and spices. Quick pickled radishes – This one is ideal if you don’t think you’ll be able to eat your radishes before they go bad: just make a quick pickle of them and keep them in the fridge for up to 3 weeks. Cinnamon sugar radish chips – Although this one sounds a bit weird, the result is startlingly good. The radishes retain their warming bite, which is complemented perfectly by the cinnamon sugar. If you’ve come across some other veggies , herbs, or even fruits that have been new and fun to explore, feel free to share your recipes in the comments section below. Images by Stacy Spensley , ted_major , romana klee , ilovemypit , mom2rays , Green Mountain Girls Farm , stetted , and Oregon State University via Flickr Creative Commons.

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Wonderful recipes for the weird veggies in your CSA box

This gluten free sweet potato miso will add some color to your day

December 11, 2016 by  
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These brilliant purple sweet potato noodles are more than just colorful: they’re healthy, delicious, vegan, and gluten free! This veggie-stuffed miso recipe is sure to be a hit with the whole family. Read on for the complete recipe.

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This gluten free sweet potato miso will add some color to your day

Make these easy zucchini fries for a tasty snack this weekend

October 15, 2016 by  
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If you are looking for an easy, tasty snack this weekend, check out these zucchini fries. They are super simple to whip up and are much healthier than fried potatoes. Click on for the recipe .

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Make these easy zucchini fries for a tasty snack this weekend

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