Category Archives: Recipes

How to Make Cashew Cream

January 6, 2016

how to make cashew creamThere is something about the fresh starts that come with a new year that undoubtably reinvigorates my drive. What is it about the New Year that makes all of us want to be our best, to start new projects, and kick those bad habits? Is it that we feel like our slates are clean, that this year will be different than the last? Or is it the need to jump on the bandwagon and make some sort of improvement to our selves like everyone else? I’d like to believe we all innately want to make improvements and the New Year allows us that chance to jump start those goals.

My theme to begin this year is driven by the Busy Boycott, a challenge to eliminate the overwhelming need to “be busy.” I’m optimist that by joining this 21 day challenge, a year of stress free living will hopefully ensue, allowing my true passions to come to life.cashew cream 2Experimenting with cooking has always been one of those favorite passions. After receiving the Homemade Vegan Pantry cookbook for my birthday, I knew I wanted to test out every recipe for those essential staples. First up, cashew cream!cashew cream 5 This versatile staple can be used for savory or sweet dishes. I’ve used the base of this recipe in different ratios to make cashew “cheese” for nachos, mac ‘n cheese, and cheesecake. It’s perfect for any pasta dish or soups calling for heavy cream as well. cashew cream 6Obviously this cream doesn’t taste exactly like it’s dairy brother, but it has it’s own richness and creaminess, along with added benefits of healthy fats, magnesium, and other key minerals. cashew cream

Cashew Cream – recipe from Homemade Vegan Pantry

3 cups water

1 cup cashew

Place water and cashews and in high speed blender – blend until creamy and smooth!

Do you feel the same way for the start of a new year? Shout out your top goal // bad habit to kick for 2016!

Kale + Sunflower Seed Ravioli

May 12, 2015

Kale+SunflowerSeedRavioliTime. Isn’t that always the number one topic floating around the office? Conversations over dinner about which person has less of it, texts to friends describing how busy one’s life is, hurried phone calls because you only have 10 minutes to chat. Time seems to rank pretty high in our daily stressors and concerns, right up there next to money. Don’t get me wrong, I totally get it as I struggle daily trying to push my time boundaries, but at some point it’s up to us to decide when enough is enough. No one is getting more hours in the day and no one is getting less busy, so wouldn’t you think we’d try to do something about our lack of this precious commodity?

A part of our lives that I typically hear touted as the most “time suck” is cooking and food preparation. For someone who loves to cook and truly considers that we should let “food be thy medicine,” this is a priority in my life and something I make time for. But I get it, not everyone has this same priority and wants to spend more than 30 minutes a night making dinner. I’ve come to a point in my career where time is far more scare than it used to be and I just don’t have the luxury of spending as much time in the kitchen as I used too. But as soon as this realization hit, I started to analyze my life. What was I doing wrong? Where was I spending too much time? How could I make my daily routine more efficient?

kale_sunflower seed ravioli2kale+sunflower seed ravioli7There was a lot of factors that I wasn’t going to be able to change immediately; my long commute being at the top of the list, but I could change the way I was planning and cooking our meals.  As much as I love the spontaneity I associate with cooking, I knew I would have to become more diligent with prepping and actually plan out my weekly meals. Through some trial and error, here is “the plan” that I came up with.

*Plan a weekly budget

*Decide on a day to meal plan, grocery shop, and meal prep.

*Choose 5-7 meals you want to cook for that week.

*Draft a grocery list based upon the ingredients needed for those meals and any other staples you might need (ie breakfast/snacks)

*Go grocery shop – but ONLY buy what is on your list. Be conscious of your budget

*Start meal prepping for items that will not go bad on your meal list. Make rice, mix up marinades and sauces, chop up veggies, or cook meals that can be frozen.

*If you prep enough, each meal should be less stress free and take way less time to cook each night.

kale+sunflower seed ravioli4 kale+sunflower seed ravioli5It’s a simple meal planning system, but it has worked incredibly well for the past couple of weeks. For two runners who eat a ton, we’ve set a modest weekly budget. Each Sunday (or Monday if we are out for the weekend) I set time aside to pick each meal, draft a grocery list, go grocery shopping, and meal prep that day. This takes time upfront, but makes up for it throughout the week. In the past, I’d scramble and stress over what to make each night, but since meal planning I spend about half the time grocery shopping and I know exactly what I’ll be eating for dinner every night I come home. Finding that I have more time each night to spend with my husband, dog, or time running and cooking is like uncovering a hidden treasure. It’s like eating fresh homemade ravioli for the first time, exceptional and worth every second put into it. kale+sunflower seed ravioli6kale+sunflower seed ravioli

Kale + Sunflower Seed Ravioli – adapted from Thug Kitchen

Pasta Dough

2 cups all purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
pinch of salt
¾ to 1 cup water
3 tablespoons olive oil

Tofu Ricotta

1 block tofu
2 cups kale
½ cup sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves
1 cup nutritional yeast

Directions

In a large bowl, mix the flours and salt until well combined. Add 3/4 cup water and oil to dry ingredients. Mix until dough comes together. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes then place in a covered bowl and let it rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough rests, take the time to make the tofu ricotta.

Mix the sunflower seeds in a food processor until they are in very tiny pieces. Add in rest of Tofu Ricotta ingredients and mix until smooth.

Take dough and cut in half. Roll out one piece until it’s pretty thin (less than 1/8″ thick) and in rectangle form. Using a spoon, scoop about a tablespoon of ricotta a place on the dough forming a line until you are at the end of the rectangle. Using a pastry brush, wet with water and brush a square around each ricotta. Roll out the other piece of dough and then place over the initial dough rectangle. I usually press my fingers around each piece insuring the dough is sticking to each side. If you have a ravioli stamp, this will make the actual creation of the ravioli a lot easier, but I don’t, so just use a knife to cute out around each ricotta piece. Any remaining dough can be rolled out again to make more ravioli pieces.

Boil a pot of water and add finished ravioli for about 5 minutes or until chewy.

Serve with marina and sprinkled with nutritional yeast and oregano.

Vegan Skillet Cornbread

March 10, 2015

Vegan Skillet CornbreadYou know you have a good thing going when you make the same dish three times in one week…and your husband can master it in one try! I’ve been obsessed with the Veganomicon’s Vegan Skillet Cornbread for a couple years, but it has only been recently that I’ve actually made it in a real cast iron skillet.Vegan Skillet Cornbread_4Zachary definitely is to blame for my current obsession with anything cast iron. We are so hooked that we’ve stopped using our non-stick skillets altogether. I don’t know why we hadn’t tossed those suckers years ago considering how horrible they are! Vegan Skillet Cornbread_5I can confidently say this vegan cornbread trumps all others (non vegan included). Aside from being uber easy to make, it’s super moist, which we all know makes or breaks a cornbread recipe. Nothing makes me wanna toss a cornbread aside when it tastes as dry as cardboard. Vegan Skillet Cornbread_3This guy pairs perfectly with any stew or soup. But what I’m really digging right now is my latest breakfast creation – cornbread topped with sautéed kale, roasted potatoes, fried tempeh sticks, with a dash of maple syrup over it ALL. Comfort food at it’s best! What would you pair it with? Vegan Skillet Cornbread_2

Vegan Skillet Cornbread
Ingredients
2 cups vegan milk
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup oil
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Directions
Preheat over to 350 degrees. Grease cast iron skillet with oil.
Combine 2 cups milk with apple cider vinegar and let “curdle” while you prep the rest of the ingredients. I usually mix the oil in with these wet ingredients after the milk and vinegar have set for a few minutes. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in wet ingredients. Mix until ingredients are just combined as you don’t want to over mix – lumps are okay! Pour batter in the skillet and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Once done, remove from oven and let cool before cutting into pieces.

 

Vegan Mini Cheesecakes

February 13, 2015

Vegan Mini Cheesecakes 3

Without a doubt, cheesecake was my favorite dessert in high school. For almost every special occasion, I would request my mom to make her homemade cheesecake for me. I think the fact that my brother didn’t really like it made it all that more enticing, meaning more cheesecake for me!!! For years my mom would always joke with my friend Kassey and I about “the time we ate a whole cheesecake.” My parents had left for a date, leaving Kass and I free reign at my house. I can’t remember if we were just bored or if that cheesecake was that good, but it didn’t take long for two of the skinnest track runners to finish the entire pan. Apparently my mom had told my dad that dessert would be waiting for him at home – so when my parents came home later that night my dad wasn’t too happy when he found out it was all gone. 🙂

These mini cheesecakes make the perfect snack size, so you won’t catch me eating an entire cupcake pan of them. The cashews and coconut milk make this filling rich, so top it with fresh fruit (preferably strawberries) and a dab of warm jam.

Vegan Mini Cheesecakes 1

Vegan Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes

Ingredients
2 cups almonds
2 cups pitted dates – soaked in warm water to soften
1 pint of strawberries
jam/jelly preserves for topping
6 oz coconut milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 block of firm tofu
2 cups cashews – soaked at least for a few hours
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
juice of 1 lemon

Vegan Mini Cheesecakes 2

Instructions

-Heat oven to 325 degrees.
-In a food processor, pulse the almonds and dates together until they become very well mixed.
-Fill about a 1/3 of the bottom of each cupcake mold with the almond/date crust – pressing down on mixture until firm.
-In a blender, puree the cashews, tofu, coconut milk, sugar, extract, and lemon juice until very smooth.
-Pour onto crusts and filling up each cupcake mold.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the top of cheesecake feels firm.
-Once cooled, remove each cheesecake from pan.
-Top with warm jam and a few slices of strawberries

 

Fig Smoothie Bowl

August 10, 2014

Apparently acai bowls have been trendy for some time. It wasn’t until I visited one of my friends in Austin that I even knew these filling little superfood bowls existed. Every morning after I had my first one, I braved the heat to grab another bowl. Fast forward a year, I had completely forgotten about these guys until I ran past a little store in Boulder that advertised their “rush bowls.” They weren’t identical to the acai bowls from Austin, but they were still hella good! For those hot summer days – this is the ultimate breakfast or snack. Easy and relatively cheap to make!

fig smoothie bowlHow to make your own? First, create your favorite fruity smoothie – like frozen berries, banana, and almond milk – in a blender. Pour in a bowl and then add a mixture of puffed rice, barley, and millet cereal! If you prefer granola, toss that in there instead. Slice up a few figs (or whatever fruit you fancy), sprinkle coconut flakes on top, and drizzle a touch of agave for those with a sweet tooth.

Simple Date Granola Bars

April 4, 2014

It’s really not like me to feel so off and out of it for more than a day, but lately I’ve felt like I’m living in a haze. It’s these ruts, deep and unannounced, that force me to dive deeper into my passions, like running & cooking, in hopes of resurfacing. It’s so cliche, but putting on my running gear and getting out the door is seriously the hardest part. Once I’m out there, the motivation escalates quickly. Same can be said for cooking – it’s figuring out what to make that is the biggest hurdle. Maybe it’s the fact that Spring finally feels like it’s here or that I’ve got to a point in these doldrums that I’ve realized that we are truly limitless. That the obstacles that make the days seem so daunting are hurdles we can overcome. It’s usually ourselves that put up these limits that make our world seem impossible. Well listen up people – you are limitless. You will overcome. And if you don’t think you can, look at the boundaries you or others have put up around yourself, then tear them down. 
For those days where you need energy to conquer those obstacles and prove you are limitless, nothing does it quite like a snack filled with dates & peanut butter! 


Simple Date Granola Bars
Ingredients
1 1/2 cup oats
1 1/2 cup dates
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup coconut 
4 TB flaxseed, ground
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup agave 
1/8 tsp salt
Directions
Soak dates in warm water until they soften. 
Process dates in food processor, turning it into a creamy texture. 
Mix dates, oats, almonds, sunflower, coconut, flaxseed & cinnamon in a bowl. 
In a small saucepan, heat peanut butter, agave, and salt until all is melted. 
Pour over dry ingredients and make sure it’s mixed well. 
Pour mixture into a 8X8 dish and press top to flatten evenly. 
Let cool, then cut!

Sesame Ginger Dressing

March 19, 2014

You guys, this winter blew. Don’t get me wrong, I love the snow, but I’ve been so over it since January. With spring trying to make it’s comeback, my body is craving greens in a big way. Our garden is just waiting for us to plant it full of kale, spinach, and mesclun; so there will be no shortages of salad making. In the meantime I’m making sure I have plenty of recipes for salad creations in my arsenal. And no salad is complete without a nice dressing. 

Sesame Ginger Dressing
Ingredients
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup oil
Directions
Combine all ingredients, except oil, and mix well with a whisk or fork. Once ingredients are combined, slowly pour in oil while whisking to form an emulsion. 

Classic Hummus Dip

March 12, 2014

Recently I was asked to guest post over at Tasty Table Topics and wanted to share that post here as well! Few thoughts on my nutrition journey and of course, a recipe to go with it! 
 Growing up on a farm in central Illinois, I was raised on a “meat and potatoes” mentality of eating. When the family would sit down for dinner each night, it was expected of us to finish all of our food on our plates and drink a whole glass of milk… even though I detested milk. It wasn’t that we necessarily ate poorly, as my mother cooked us a lot of great meals with healthy veggies or grains in them, but the overall view of our diets was mainly focused on meat, lots of meat. 
As a student athlete I rarely thought about nutrition or the way I ate. All I knew was that I was hungry all the time and tried to consume as much food as possible. One of my best friends first memory of us eating in our college cafeteria was my huge platters of food and in particular a gross looking overcooked brat that I was so excited to eat. This was how I was known for a majority of my life – for eating unhealthy and being the “garbage disposal.” 

It wasn’t until I graduated from college and began my journey training for marathons that I started to consider my diet – what was I putting into my body? Over that year, I slowly started adjusting my diet towards eating more veggies, fruits, and whole grains. I consumed less meat and diary. It wasn’t instantaneous, but I began to feel good… really good. As my training increased, so did my thirst for staying healthy. I loved learning about new foods, how to cook these new foods, and where these foods came from. 

So in 2010 I decided to become vegetarian and since then my husband and I have moved to eating a mostly vegan fare. It wasn’t easy at first as it took some time to figure out new meals for two very hungry athletes, but we strongly believe it has improved our mental and physical health tremendously. 

My journey isn’t for everyone, but I do think that knowing more about your food, health, and body is something that a person of any diet lifestyle should be heavily invested in. You only have one body, so make sure you take care of it! 


Classic Hummus Dip

Ingredients
2 cups chickpeas, cooked
2 garlic cloves
3/4 cup tahini paste
5 TB lemon juice
3 TB water (or leftover chickpea juice) 
1 tsp salt
olive oil, for garnish
paprika, for garnish

Directions
Put all ingredients (minus salt, olive oil, and paprika) in a food processor or high speed blender. Add salt slowly in, tasting for preference. Scoop out and put in container. Drizzle olive oil on top and lightly season with paprika. If you have any leftover chickpeas, throw those on top as well! 

How to Make Vegan Cheese

February 26, 2014

I’ve always been super skeptical of vegan cheese. For someone who has ventured into a plant based diet because of the health benefits, eating processed vegan cheese just didn’t seem like a good alternative and frankly I thought they all tasted like plastic. While researching some of my cooking curiosities I came across so many cool recipes for homemade vegan cheese… and immediately thought “how had I not tried this before?!” 

Cashews are so versatile and I’m finding out that in raw form they can make some really tasty treats. If you are looking for a subsitute for almost any recipe calling for a cream, butter, or cheese – cashews are the way to go. 

I’ve been experimenting with raw vegan cheese as well and have fallen in love with this version on the Rawmazing blog. Using just raw cashews and rejuvelac (a fermented liquid that you can make by soaking raw wheat berries) you can make an incredible soft cheese. We have been using this for quesadillas, grilled cheese, and pizza sauce. 

This cashew cheese can be totally customizable… adding in herbs, garlic, peppers, seeds, the list goes on. My favorite way to eat this cheese is with Whole Wheat Hippie Crackers and apples. 
Have you ever tried vegan cheese before? 
Vegan Cashew Cheese
Ingredients
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB Braggs 
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tsp garlic powder
2 TB miso paste
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup water
5 tsp agar powder
1-2 TB sun dried tomatoes (optional) 
Directions
Soak cashews overnight. 
Using a food processor or blender, ground the cashews up into chunks. 
Add rest of ingredients (expect tomatoes, water, and agar) and blend. 
In a saucepan bring water and agar powder to a boil for 5 minutes or until mixture is dissolved. 
Add agar mixture to cashews and blend until creamy. Add in tomatoes and blend just so that the tomatoes are folded in. Pour mixture into a ramekin, loaf, or muffin pan. Put in fridge for a couple hours to set up. 

Whole Wheat Hippie Crackers

February 18, 2014

If someone would have told me in high school that in the future I would end up swearing off meat, commercial body products, and stop washing my hair every day… I would probably laugh at this future “hippie.” Yeah, I’m a little bit granola, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned more about myself, food, and our environment in the last three years than I have in the previous 24 years of my life… and I want to keep on that journey.   

I used to eat crackers like it was my business. During my summer job cross pollinating corn, I remember devouring packaged peanut butter crackers every single day. In college, Wheat Thins and cheese was basically a staple. Once I found out what was in both, I rarely ate crackers again. Until my mom made me these Easy & Gluten Free Vegan Crackers from Oh She Glows. 

A little thicker than normal packaged crackers, these babies were salty and crispy. And they didn’t last the weekend in our house. I told myself I had to make these, but kept thinking how time consuming it probably would be. Oh was I wrong. 

Blend, Roll, Cut, Bake. 
That’s it. And now I’m back on my cracker craze. 

These guys tasted amazing with a spread of homemade vegan cheese. 
I’m thinking peanut butter crackers will be happening soon as well. 

Whole Wheat Hippie Crackers
adapted from Oh She Glows
Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour (or whole wheat pastry) 
1 cup almonds, ground
4 TB flax seeds, ground
2 TB nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp oregano
2 TB hemp seeds
2 TB seasame seeds
1/2 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
Directions
Preheat oven to 350F and lightly grease baking sheets. 
Ground almonds until fine in food processor, just before the point of turning them into a paste.
Mix together the rest of the dry ingredients with the almonds. Add in water & oil and mix well. Knead together with your hands and shape into a ball. Roll dough out as thin as possible and cut into desired size. Bake at 350F for 10-20 minutes. This truly depends on the thickness & oven as I rolled mine pretty thin and they were well done. Whereas my mom said she could have baked her’s for 20 minutes, instead of 18 minutes. So watch those crackers!