Thursday, February 27, 2014

Asian Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Dipping Sauce (P.F. Chang Inspired)


Asian Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Dipping Sauce
(P.F. Chang Inspired)
When you are making a family/friend meal we can tend to get a bit bored...we've had the spaghetti nights...tacos...and the ever boring casserole. We want fun and interactive food to enjoy on those nights we want to sit around a table, laugh, and share. Why not spice it up? Go for something NEW! This recipe shows you how to not only make a fun and interactive meal for the whole crew of loved ones...but also make a restaurant inspired meal. If you've ever been to P.F. Changs, you know that the lettuce wraps are VERY popular and uber DELISH! You will love to make this recipe over and over again. Perfect for a large or even an intimate group. Not only can you serve this family style, but it also makes a great date night in recipe. Pairs great with any of your favorite adult or kid friend beverages. Make sure you have extra lettuce cups waiting as needed for everyone. Your guaranteed to have fun interacting and munching with this one. Perfect for the whole family, Enjoy! 

Asian Tofu Lettuce Wraps with Dipping Sauce
(P.F. Chang Inspired)

Ingredients

Filling
2 teaspoons wok oil OR oil of your choice
1 (8 oz) Package Organic Asian marinated Tofu, cubed small (Soy Boy is a popular brand)
1 1/2 cups water chestnut, minced
2 cups organic mushroom, minced
1 medium onion, chopped small
2 cloves garlic, minced 
1 Tablespoon soy sauce
3 Tablespoons prepared Dipping Sauce (Below) 
2 Tablespoons green onion, minced
1/2 Tablespoons parsley (dry or fresh), minced
Salt & Fresh Black Pepper, to taste
8-10 leaves Organic Boston bib lettuce

Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon garlic and red chile paste

*Add in at the Table* 
-Extra Hot Asian Mustard (as desired taste)
-Crispy Chow Mein Noodle or Chinese cellophane noodles

Directions

Dipping Sauce
Make the special sauce by dissolving the sugar in water in a small bowl. Add soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ketchup, lemon juice and sesame oil. Mix well and refrigerate this sauce until you're ready to serve.


*Eventually add your desired measurement of mustard to the special sauce mixture to pour over the wraps when serving.

Filling

Bring oil to high heat in a wok or large frying pan. Saute onion and garlic for 4 to 5 minutes until translucent. Once the onions and garlic reach this stage, add in the mushrooms.


Saute again for 1 to 2 minutes. You can follow that by adding in the diced tofu.



Add in the rest of the filling ingredient and sauteing the filling 15 to 20 minutes until the tofu is golden brown and the mixture is less moist than it was starting out. 




Once the filling is at a consistency you like, taste for salt and add as desired.


When you are ready to serve, pour into a bowl and serve family style with lettuce leaves (cups), dipping sauce, and crispy noodles.



Scoop filling into cups, top with dipping sauce, and noodles. Roll and enjoy with your favorite beverage. Make sure you have extra lettuce cups waiting as needed. You can make this a fun family dinner, there's a lot of interaction and munching. Very fun for the whole family. Enjoy! 

Ready to Serve Lettuce Wrap

-Amy

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vegan Jack & Cola Pot Roast

    Vegan Jack & Cola Pot Roast
    When looking for those quick and easy one pot meals, we often are hard to find ones that are different. Always the same old, same old. But why not switch it up and try something new? Making it homemade from scratch makes it even that much more exciting. These meals are better than take out and as easy as picking up the phone and dialing in. One of the most popular one pot meals is pot roast, a traditional favorite most had or have seen growing up. Not always the most appealing dish...and always a dry mess...Oh and NOT vegan. Not something you would think vegans could enjoy right? Wrong! This recipe shows you how to not only make a very simple one pot meal, but also make a traditional meal for the whole family. This isn't grandmas pot roast! The jack and cola add in makes for a untraditional pairing...but in all the right ways! We can now take our favorite drink and add it to our everyday meals...no waiting on the bartender here, just the cook. You would never know there is any alcohol in this dish, but the overall taste is hearty and luscious with all of the gravy it makes. Serve this over mashed potatoes (garlic one are even better) and pair it along side your favorite fresh bread. Instead of having a cocktail after your long day at work...try throwing it in this and see what you have been missing all along. Enjoy!

Vegan Jack & Cola Pot Roast
Ingredients

2 teaspoons oil (your favorite oil)
2 9oz bags vegan beef tips (Gardein Brand was used in this)
Freshly ground black pepper & salt, to taste
2 cups carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 stalks celery, sliced or chunked
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cups Jack Daniels (Whisky or Bourbon)
1 cup organic cola (your favorite brand)
2 1/2 cups vegan beef or chicken broth
2 vegan beef bouillon cubes (2 tsp)
2 Tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 large sprigs fresh thyme leaves 
1 Tablespoon parsley, fresh or dried
2 Bay Leaves
2 cups fresh baby portobello mushrooms stems discarded & sliced 
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste

Thickener
4 Tablespoons vegan butter at room temperature, divided
3 Tablespoons flour

Directions

Begin by prepping all your veggies and herbs.



In a Dutch oven pot or a large stew pot with 2 tsp of oil, I used hemp but you can use your favorite. Once you have your veggies prepped, toss the onions, garlic, and vegan meat in. Add salt and fresh black pepper (to taste) and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned and translucent. 


Add stock, cola, and Jack Daniels. Stir in tomato paste. When you have the tomato paste combined in, add in the rest of your roast ingredients (except thickener). 






Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Once the veggies are tender, you can add your thickener. Mash together the flour and vegan butter to make a thickening mixture (paste). When it's combined, stir into the broth. Bring the broth back up to a boil over high heat until bubbling. This will complete the thickening process, once thickened remove from the heat. Taste for salt and pepper and add as needed.  


Serve the pot roast over mashed potatoes (seen above). Pair with your favorite fresh bread and store in the fridge or freezer for quick on the go meals. Top with freshly chopped parsley...to be fancy and Enjoy!




-Amy 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Vegan Smoked Country Coconut Bacon

Vegan Smoked Country Coconut Bacon
Bacon. The word alone causes many to drool or preach animal rights. The bacon craze is making people make everything  from everything from lip balm to baby formula...yes baby formula, look it up...I'll wait. Bacon is something that is an attention grabber no matter the side that you are on. I think that if you are vegan, we should have the option to enjoy everything that a meat-eater enjoys. Some of us are vegan for health and some for ethical reasons and by doing so we stand by our morals regardless. Now by doing this it doesn't make us any less ethical if we enjoy a vegan product that "mimics" a meat-eaters product. We do what we do because we want less suffering and more peaceful thinking. Whether you are a newbie to the vegan lifestyle or a vegan pro, no one can make you feel any less about your lifestyle just because you want to enjoy a meal that is in all ways compassionate over another. Okay okay, enough with the mushy preaching, we came here for the food!!

So what are we enjoying today? Bacon, but not just bacon...vegan bacon! Vegan bacon is wonderful and you can find everything from tempeh to soy. Many recently have been enjoying coconut bacon and all things bacon with it. Why not jump on the bandwagon too? But as I look around, there are a lot of the same old same old. I wanted to spice up the mix and try something a little different. This recipe shows you how to not only make coconut bacon but how to make a country style smoked variety...Did I mention its gluten-free too? This country bacon has everything that you could want...sweet, smokey, spiced, and oh soooo nice. Am I making you drool yet? This vegan bacon recipe can be served on everything from salads and sandwiches, as well as any recipe you want a bacon edge to...its also not bad on its own eaten out of the container, just saying. Anyway you serve it, you will surprise any picky eater with this crunchy alternative. Just serve and wait, you will get many crunchy smiles. Enjoy!

Vegan Smoked Country Coconut Bacon

Ingredients


3 cups unsweetened flaked coconut
2 Tablespoon liquid smoke (to taste)
3 Tablespoons soy sauce (Gluten-Free)
1 Tablespoon Molasse
1 Tablespoon organic maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon paprika (smoked or regular)
1/4 garlic salt
Salt & Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste (liberally)

Directions

Heat oven to 300 Degrees

Before you start, organize your ingredients and get it ready to use. 


Combine your seasoning ingredients in a bowl, whisk to combine.


Once you have your seasoning mixed, add it to the coconut and combine. Make sure to mix well, you want the coconut evenly coated. 



Place coconut in a shallow lightly greased baking sheet to assure there would be no sticking.


Bake at 300 for 20 minutes or until crisp.


You will want to check every 5-10 minutes. When you check it, use a spatula to turn each time. Once it has cooked, remove from the oven and place on the counter to rest. The coconut will continue to crisp as it cools.

Once at room temperature, enjoy with everything from sandwiches to salads and other vegan bacon friendly recipes. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Enjoy!

Ready to Serve Vegan BLT with the Recipe

-Amy

Monday, February 10, 2014

The Ultimate Vegan Vanilla Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting


The Ultimate Vegan Vanilla Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting
Cake is a term with a long history (the word comes from Viking origins, from the Old Norse word 'kaka'). It comes from early days of baked flour confections sweetened with sugar or honey. These were all mixed with eggs, milk, and fat. The cakes had a porous texture from the mixture rising during cooking. These aren't very different from what we have today, but the cake has evolved to bigger and better confections. But cakes now a days don't have to be none vegan to be enjoyed. The baking world has been adapting more and more to the vegan baking world. Many bakeries around the world have adjusted their menus to add it in as an option. Anyway you like it, say it, or eat it you love to indulge in a piece from time to time. 

When celebrating any event in our lives, you are always going to have a cake involved. These tall, moist, and creatively cunning masterpieces are the best part of any event. They are used to celebrate those big moments in our lives...or just a regular Monday that needs a sweet pick me up...okay or even at 1AM or breakfast time when we are craving a piece...you know you've done it, don't lie! This recipe will show you how to make not only a vegan cake, but a layer cake that will raise any celebration up a level. This cake steps it up with its rich taste and decadent vanilla flavors. Made with real ingredients like organic vanilla bean, you will never want to try another vegan cake again. This cake will live up to its ultimate name! Serve each piece with a tall glass of vegan milk and make for any big or small celebration. Enjoy!


The Ultimate Vegan Vanilla Cake with Whipped Vanilla Bean Frosting
Yields: One 2 Tier Cake

Ingredients

White Cake
2 Tablespoons white vinegar
3 cups organic vegan milk
4 1/4 cups organic vegan flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups vegan cane sugar
1 cup oil (your choice)
2 1/2 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter/coconut extract (optional)

Whipped Vegan Vanilla Bean Frosting
3 1/4 cups softened vegan butter or shortening
6 cups sifted organic vegan confectioners' sugar (icing, powdered)
6 tablespoons vegan milk
1 organic vanilla bean, scraped
2 teaspoon organic pure vanilla extract

Directions

Cake

Heat the oven to 350 Degrees 

Liberally grease and flour 2 cake pans and set aside.



Place the vinegar and vegan milk in a measuring cup, stir well and set aside. Don't worry the mixture will curdle, this is the vegan buttermilk and will make the cake moist.


In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 



In another mixing bowl whisk together the vegan milk mixture, oil, and extract(s). 



Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix both until smooth using a hand-held or stand mixer, stopping to scrape down as needed.




Divide the batter in half and fill each cake pan. The batter will take up half of the cake pans.



Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cakes come out clean.



Once the cake is done, let cool in the pans for 5 minutes and then remove both from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Let the cakes cool completely before frosting.



Whipped Vegan Vanilla Bean Frosting

In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip vegan butter (or shortening) and vanilla extract  for 3 minutes on medium speed (I use my Kitchen Aid). The vegan butter will become very pale & creamy.

Add remaining ingredients and mix on low speed for 1 minute, then on medium speed for 3 minutes. Stop to scrap down the sides and bottom as needed. Once the frosting is done, it will be very light, creamy, and fluffy.



*Best used right away
Assembly

Start off by getting all your materials ready to use.



Place bottom cake layer on cake plate or 8" round thin cake board and spread 1 to 2 cups of frosting on top with a small offset spatula.





Gently place 2nd cake layer down on top of middle frosting layer. I placed my cake bottom side down here.

*You can choose to place the other cake on face side or bottom side down. Bottom side down gives your cake a more classic grandma (rounded) cake look. If you want to be fancier, you can place it face side down and it will have the flat top. Both ways are great, its all up to you on how you want your cake to look.



Place a generous scoop of frosting on top, spreading evenly with a small offset spatula and working your way down the sides until you have even layers of frosting over the entire cake.







Before chilling you can add decorations as desired. You can use vegan friendly sugar flowers and leaves to extra frosting decorations, the skies the limit. Once completely frosted and decorated, chill until set (at least 30 to 60 minutes). 

Store in a cake keeper at room temperature for up to 2 to 3 days, or in refrigerator for up to 5 to 7 days. Best eaten the same day. Serve along side a tall glass of vegan milk and enjoy on any holiday, birthday, or special occasion. Enjoy!




Ready to Serve Cake
-Amy