Lemon cheesy roasted vegetables


I served my lemon tamari chickpeas from yesterday's recipe with lemon cheesy roasted veggies for dinner, so I thought I'd share that recipe with you too - even though its so simple, it hardly needs a recipe.


Often times however, people just roast veggies in oil but I love the addition of lemon juice and zest.

Ingredients:
Variety of vegetables cut into small pieces, with tougher veg cut smaller than soft veg - enough for a large baking sheet/pan.
2 tbs olive oil
3 tbs lemon juice
Grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
Approx 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (heavy sprinkle - but optional)

Preheat oven to 415F. Mix the first 5 ingredients together on a large baking sheet, lined with a non-stick liner (see yesterday's post for my favorite).  Sprinkle heavily with nutritional yeast and gently mix.  Roast in the oven for 20 minutes then toss them around, adding another sprinkle of nutritional yeast, and roast for an additional 10-20 minutes.

Serve hot or cold.


The veggies I used were what was on hand: blue potatoes (I love blue potatoes!), red onion, multi-colored carrots, Brussels sprouts, and asparagus, but you can chose your favorites.  Think of a rainbow as you select however, trying to get lots of different colors. You can see from the photos that I got orange, yellow, green, and blue/purple in there, so plenty of color just on one dish.


If you aren't familiar with nutritional yeast, it brings a really cheesy flavor to dishes - so is perfect for those who are dairy free or vegan. It is also a great source of B vitamins so for those who are gluten free and not eating many grains, or anyone who isn't getting many B vitamins, adding nutritional yeast gives a real boost to your B vitamin levels.
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Cherry Walnut squares with chocolate drizzle

In the cooking park of my classes last week, I wanted to make a nice treat that included some omega 3 fatty acids....so I adapted a recipe I got from Dr Fuhrman's latest cookbook " Eat to Live Cookbook".   I definitely recommend the book.  I often use his recipes.



He used equal amounts of walnuts and almonds in his recipe (1 cup of each) , but I tried it just with walnuts.   You get a much higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats if you use all walnuts, but choose for yourself.  Also, I love Montmorency dried cherries, so included those instead of goji berries.

What I love about these squares is that they live in the freezer and you just pull them out as you want one. They don't get too hard so you can eat them straight out of the freezer - or else you could warm them or let them defrost - but I doubt if you can resist it that long!


Its a tasty treat with omega 3 fats, good soluble fiber from oats, anthocyanins and antioxidants from the cherries, along with melatonin to help sleep/circadian rhythm, dates and banana for sweetness instead of refined sugar and just a little drizzle of  good quality chocolate - that makes it feel quite decadent.

Here's my recipe:

1 1/2 cups old fashioned/rolled oats (I used gluten free)
2 cups walnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup water
1 banana
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cherries (I used Eden's Montmorency cherries but any dried fruit/berry will work)
1 ounce >75% cocoa dark chocolate (I used Equal Exchange Panama Extra Dark 80% chocolate)

  • In a blender or processor, blend the oats until they look like flour.  Empty into a mixing bowl.  
  • Repeat with the walnuts, but don't over-process or they will start to release their oils and turn into nut butter.  Add to the bowl with the oat flour.
  • Put the dates and water into a high speed blender and process until it forms a slurry.  Add the banana and continue to blend until smooth and not large pieces of dates are evident.
  • Add the date mixture to the oats and walnuts and mix well.  Stir in the vanilla and cherries.

  • Line a 8 inch square cake pan with foil or parchment - with overhang so you can easily pull the whole thing out.  Put the dough into the pan and spread evenly.  Smooth the top by using a knife or back of a spoon, dipped in water.
  • Place in the freezer for approx 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, place the chocolate, broken into pieces, in a small bowl, and set over a larger bowl of hot water to melt the chocolate. Take care not to get water into the chocolate.
  • When the chocolate has fully melted, remove the dough from the freezer and lift it out whole on the parchment paper.  Cut the block into 36 small squares ( you can do larger if you like, but you'll find just one small square quite satisfying).  Don't lift them off the parchment - keep them in place.
  • Using the small spoon, drizzle the melted chocolate over the whole block of the dough in diagonal lines.
  • Return to the freezer, wrapped in the parchment or place in a container and store in the freezer, for a guilt free snack.  

The recipe is gluten free (if you use gluten free rolled oats), oil free, refined sugar free, vegan and tastes like a nice treat.   Health benefits come from the omega 3 fatty acids, the fiber, anthocyanins, cinnamon,  cocoa.......  
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Bell Pepper and tomato soup


This is my new favorite soup!  I love it.  It's smooth and warming with a little kick. Today has been rainy, which is sooooooo unusual for Northern California at this time of year, so I decided to make some soup and feel all warm and cozy.



Here is the recipe:

40g or 1/4 cup red lentils
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped/crushed
5 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped or a can of tomatoes (eg Pomi chopped tomatoes)
2 peppers - one red and one yellow
400g or 1 3/4 cups water or stock
shake or two of cayenne pepper
To serve - hemp and pumpkin seeds

1. Begin by grinding the lentils into a powder/flour, using a coffee grinder or spice grinder. Put to one side.
2. Dry-fry the onion, garlic and peppers in a medium saucepan, until soft (approx 5 - 10 minutes)
3. Add the stock/water, tomatoes, ground lentils and cayenne and simmer for 12 - 15 minutes
4. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
5. Serve sprinkled with hemp and pumpkin seeds.

You can use just red peppers, but I like to use one red and one yellow - just coz they look pretty! They are a good source of Vitamin C and also carotenoids.




The lentils are used like flour, to thicken the soup.  I'd never tried using ground lentils in a recipe - but grinding them first helps you achieve a smooth texture to the soup and they cook quickly.  I can see myself using them to thicken lots of other dishes too.



It's quick and easy to make.  As the soup will be pureed, you don't have to spend a long time on chopping things finely, as the blender will do that.  And the kick of cayenne (to your taste) gets your taste buds dancing!


If you feel like you need to cozy up, give it a try.  A healthy, warming, tasty soup.
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Vibrant Quinoa Salad

I made this lovely green quinoa salad for some friends last week, when they visited for lunch.


It is very easy to make and seems so perfect for springtime with the lovely green colors.  It tastes nice and fresh with the lemon juice and mint.

Give it a try and let me know what you think:

Ingredients:
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water
4 scallions/spring onions, finely chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 lemon, juiced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup frozen green garbanzos
1/2 cup frozen green peas
1/2 bunch mint, chopped
1/4 cucumber, diced

  1. Rinse the quinoa in a sieve to remove the bitter coating.
  2. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the quinoa.  Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. When its cooked, the quinoa should still have a little crunch.  Rinse in cold water and drain thoroughly.  Place in a large bowl.
  3. Put the green garbanzo beans and peas in boiling water and cook briefly for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.  Add to the quinoa.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. Serve.
  5. Will keep in the fridge for a couple of days. Can be made in advance.
You can obviously add whatever vegetables you like to this dish. I like the green garbanzo beans - as they are new in the stores here, so its good to find a nice dish for them...but you could use sugar snaps or edamame or another vegetables instead.  You could also try celery, or green pumpkin seeds or green pistachios.


The dish provides a good protein source and calcium from the quinoa, and plenty of different phytonutrients from the vegetables and lemon.  The cumin is rich in phytoestrogens and may help with osteoporosis and diabetes.
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Lentil Cottage Pie

One of the dishes I made for the choir retreat this weekend was a lentil pie with potato topping.  It is similar to a cottage or shepherds pie that are popular in England - but is vegan.  I hadn't made it before, but was really pleased with how it came out.  So I thought I'd share the recipe.



The recipe makes enough for 10 people and it can all be prepared the day ahead.  Then you just need to heat it in the oven for 30 minutes, and its ready to serve. Or you can make it in advance and freeze it. The perfect dish for entertaining when you want to not be in the kitchen on the day!

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped
4 carrots, diced
1 head of celery, chopped
300g/10 oz mushrooms, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 cans cooked green lentils or 500g/1lb dried green lentils
100 ml red wine
500 ml water
3 tbsp tomato puree

Topping - Barries Mash
5 large sweet potatoes
Non dairy milk
Bunch Fresh thyme

Clean the potatoes and bake them in the oven until soft (approx 45 - 60 minutes).

While the potatoes are baking, dry fry the onions, carrots, celery together in a large pan, until soft and golden.  No oil is necessary. If the vegetables start sticking to the pan, add a little water - 1 tablespoon at a time.  Use a lid to keep the moisture in.

Add the mushrooms and cook with the lid on for a further 5 minutes. Stir in the herbs and add either drained and rinsed canned lentils or the dried lentils.   Pour over the wine and stock.  If using canned lentils, cook for 10 minutes.  If using dried lentils, cook for longer, according to package instructions (normally about 30 minutes).

When the lentils are cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the tomato puree, and season to taste.

When the potatoes are cooked, remove and let cool for a while, until you can handle them.  Scrape out the potato flesh from its skin, keeping the skin for the topping.  Mash the potato flesh well, adding non dairy milk until it is the consistency you like for mash.

Chop up the skins of the potato with the leaves from fresh thyme.

The front two smaller versions didn't have potato skins on top
To assemble the pie, put the lentil mixture in a dish. If there is a lot of liquid, don't add it all. You can always have some as a sauce/gravy to serve.  (The amount of liquid will depend on whether you use cooked or dried lentils and how much they absorbed. There should be some liquid but not excessive liquid.) Top with the mashed potato.  Sprinkle the chopped potato skins over the mash.

The dish can be frozen at this time (when cooled). Defrost before baking. To serve, heat the oven to 190C or 375F and bake for 30 minutes. The potato skins will crispen up as it bakes.


The idea of using the potato skins on top of the mash came from an old recipe I used to make from my aga cookbook. It was called Barries mash.  It's a lovely way to add crunch to mash - and in this recipe, is a great alternative to the usual grated cheese put on top to crispen things up. Instead, the skins get crispy and it add a lovely texture.  I'd never done it with sweet potatoes before, but it works well.

This recipe is vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, no added oil.

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Festive Cranberry Vegan Tart

After yesterday's spice cake recipe from Christmas, I thought I'd show you the tasty tart I made for my Christmas dinner.  It was made from chickpeas, walnuts, oats, cranberries, spinach....etc



The recipe was from the lovely book Let them eat Vegan, by Dreena Burton.

I made it as 3 little individual tarts instead of one large tart, and then froze some of the filling to have without a pie crust.


The only other changes I made to the recipe were to omit the olive oil, make a gluten free pie crust, and then also added some fresh cranberries to mine, to boost the lovely color.


I made them again when friends came for dinner between Christmas and New Year. The non-vegans/vegetarians loved them too.  I was very happy with them.

What did you have for your special holiday meal?
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Sister Mary Cake - version 2

No, although this could be considered a minimalist cake with only two ingredients, it isn't for a nun or created by a nun, rather it is a recipe for my sister, Mary!  It is a gluten free, sugar free, dairy free cake recipe.


I posted a photo of a three ingredient cake on my blog a couple of weeks ago and my sister asked for the recipe as she liked the look of it.  I hadn't been totally happy with the result of that one, so thought I'd try it again with some modification - so here is version 2 - for my sister, Mary.  It's still not quite there but hopefully version 3 will bring it all together.

Version 1 was made with eggs, lemon juice and almonds.

Version 2 is made with just eggs and walnuts.  It is then decorated with raspberries - so I guess they are the third ingredient.   I won't show the recipe yet as it's not good enough.

Folding the walnuts into the eggs
This time I made the mistake of putting the mixture in too small a diameter pan and so it was too tall for the frothy eggs to support it and thus it sank in the middle (see photo below).  In version 3, I think I'll try using two pans, one for each layer or one slightly wider pan.


Also, the flavor needed a little something to lift it.  When I halved the sponge, I put "mushed" raspberries inside and then put more whole raspberries on top. They went someway to "lifting" the flavor ( and also filling the dip in the top!) but I think what it needs is some citrus, so I'll try some lemon zest in version 3, both in the cake and with the mushed raspberries!

Before photographing the current cake, I felt it needed a sprinkle of something on top. Many cakes utilize powdered/icing sugar for this, but as this is a sugar free cake, I sifted some raspberry flour on top.  Which do you prefer the look of - no sprinkle, or sprinkle?



The recipe is developing.... but not quite there yet.  I'll keep you posted.  Patience, Sister Mary!!!!
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March is National Nutrition Month

March has been named "National Nutrition Month" by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly ADA) with the aim of spotlighting the importance of healthy eating habits, better food choices and maintaining a physically active lifestyle.  The focus of this year's nutrition month is  "get your plate in shape".



So I'm letting you know about this on the last Monday of February, to give you some time to prepare for getting your plate in shape for the beginning of March on Thursday.

Why not select some goals for the month of March to improve your diet?  Think about healthy eating ideas such as:

  • adding more fruits and vegetables; 
  • eating less meat and dairy; 
  • reducing your salt intake; 
  • reduce sugar and processed foods; 
  • try new foods and recipes
What do you think YOU could do for yourself to create a healthier diet?

Photo by Alex E. Proimos
During March, I'll be posting some ideas for you to consider.   But take some time this week to decide on your first goal for Thursday.  That way, when you go food shopping, you can buy what you need.  What will that one change be that will start you on the path to a healthier diet?

If you need a little more motivation, check out my previous blog post about trying something for 30 days.
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Meatless Monday

How often do you eat meat ? Everyday?  More than once a day?

Take a look at this short video and see what going meatless on Mondays can do for YOU and the ENVIRONMENT.


It's easy to just start with one day - like this coming Monday - and see how it goes..then commit to doing it every Monday and then........

You can sign up to receive meatless recipes every Friday, so you are all ready for Monday. Give it a try!
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