Vegan Sandwiches

Not sure why but I have been on this sandwich thing… Ok, ok, I do know why. Ever since I saw The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches in Crate and Barrel I am now infatuated with the idea of making sandwiches and plenty of them! Mind you the book is in no way vegan but that does not matter at all as it is chocked full of history and what I call vegan inspiration. Aside from the ideas I pulled from the book, here are other mouth watering sandwiches I found on the web:

The list starts off with the efforts of Namely Marly and several other bloggers awesome feat to veganize America’s top 10 sandwiches. If you followed the series last year as I did, I am pretty sure you were sitting at the edge of your seat waiting to see the creativity coming out of the kitchen of vegan, veg, and gluten-free bloggers. I would totally go for the Veganized Fried Chicken Sandwich and The Maple. Way to go team!

The next sandwich, ahem, I mean panini, comes from Panini Happy where Kathy has this awesome cheesy gooey Green Goddess panini. I have my eyes on this one and will let you know when I veganize. If you beat me too it I will be extremely jealous but would love to hear how it came out! Thanks Kathy for your creation.

Vegan Soul Power came up with not only 1 but 50 quick vegan sandwich ideas. Overwhelming since I have been knee deep in sandwich recipes but an awesome list for any vegan to bookmark for later use. Quick and easy is awesome. Thanks T for creating an exhaustive list for fellow vegans and those looking to have some meat free meals.

Over at Fat Free Vegan I found a BLT (oops I mean) TLT that is right up my alley. Prior to becoming a vegan I actually hated the smell and taste of bacon but I love smoky tempeh, coconut, and eggplant! Any of these can help create a yummy BLT, TLT, CLT, ELT (whatever you want to call it!).

Last but not least is the Faux-Dillas found over at Veggie Terrain that looked too awesome to pass up. While technically not a sandwich, they serve the same purpose. Bread with filling… Yum!  She also does a nice looking Chickpea Salad Sandwich.

I could go on because right now I am really obsessed with sandwiches.  I hope to get some cooking by March when my fasting period ends.

What is your favorite sandwich?

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons

The Book:

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons is a must have for every seasonal vegan and even non-vegan kitchen.  This is one of several cookbooks by Nava Atlas.  In Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons, she caters to the soup lover with tantalizing and flavor filled soups to get you through the year. If you are not a soup lover, you will become one after experiencing these flavor filled and healthy soups.

Recipes:

Nava does an awesome job in providing easy to follow recipes with simple ingredients.  The 120 plus recipes featured in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons will take care of your soup cravings for the entire year.  I have tried the Potage Polenta and Macaroni and Cheese soup and I was not disappointed.  This is in no way a comprehensive list since I have so many pages tagged but here are a few other soup recipes available in Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons:

Winter
Hearty Winter Roots Soup
Curried Millet-Spinach Soup
White Bean and Hominy Chili
Sweet and Sour Cabbage and Bread Stew

Spring:
Potage Maigre
Puree of Asparagus with Soba Noodles
Puree of Spring Greens
Spanish Vegetable Stew

Summer
Cream of Green Pea and Cucumber Soup
Cool Ratatouille
Garden Greens Soup
Tomato Mango Coconut Cooler

Fall
Baked Onion Soup
New England Clamless Chowder
Spaghetti Squash Stew
Chickpea and Tahini Soup

Pictures:

Though pictures there are not many pictures in Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons each recipe stands out enough that you don’t really need them.  With the pictures provided, the author has done a good job in showcasing her soups.  Believe me, you will not miss the pictures as you visualize making the soups based on the descriptions provided by Nava.

Organization:

The recipes are organized based on season and really encompass the season they fall under.  For instance the winter recipes are very hearty such as Potage Polenta and several bean soups while the summer soups are very cooling with even a few fruit soups.  The author also provides nutrition analysis for each recipe with most of the soups falling under 300 calories per serving.

Extras:

Vegan Soups and Hearty Stews for All Seasons also provides extras to enhance your soup experience.  The author starts off by sharing her “cooking notes” which includes topics such as freezing soups, seasoning soups, and equipment.  She also provides recipes for stocks, vegan sour cream and a few different breads to accompany the soups.

Lemony Beet Greens

In my last vegetable box there was a large bag of beet greens and for the most part I have been eating them in salads. I decided to cook them to accompany the mushroom paella that the hubbie cooked up. Yes, I did say paella and it turned out pretty well but not fully ready to have a recipe spot on Seasonal Vegan so it will just sit in the background as I share with you the ins and outs of the oh so easy lemony beet greens.

I really like beet greens and am used to seeing fresh beet greens in the spring. Thus said, it was a happy day when I opened my box of vegetables to find a whole bag of beet greens in the middle of winter. Beet greens are awesome for your body by providing dietary fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and manganese. Whoa! Yes, they are not just good but great for you as with all leafy greens.

This recipe was really simple and the lemon paired really well with the saffron in the paella.

Lemony Beet Greens

Ingredients:

5 cups loosely packed beat greens1/2 red onion, sliced thinoil for sautéingzest of one lemon

Directions:

Heat the oil in your skillet/pan on medium high.

Add the onions and sauté for 2 minutes.

Add the beet greens and stir until just wilted (you do not want to overcook).

Finally stir in your lemon zest and take the skillet off of the heat.

Serve.

Favorite Foods: Vegan Pizza

Another day of fasting and I am on the web looking at recipes for one of my favorite meals, PIZZA! Man, it was a little tough once I went gluten-free to make a good pizza crust but I finally found one that I liked adapted from a recipe over at Book of Yum.

During my fasting pizza perusing I found the following pizzas that made me want to bite into my computer monitor (not lying here):

David and Luise at Green Kitchen Stories made not one but many mini pizzas! Photos are awesome and the pizzas look nice and fresh. They are veggied to the rim and would be an awesome way to show off your seasonal flare. For the potato pizza I would just brush with olive oil and top with the potatoes and maybe some brazil nut parmesan.

Kathy over at Healthy Happy Life had waaayyyy too many vegan pizzas that looked awesome. I want to try the cheesy broccoli pizza, balsamic brussel sprout and pearl onion pizza, mini bbq veggie pizzas, and her beachy pizzas. She also has an angry birds pizza for the kiddies. If you have kids or just want to give love to your inner child, you can’t pass up on that one.

Going with the theme of more than one pizza in one night, Miss Alix over at Cute and Delicious made quite a few pizzas in one night. She also made a cherry and arugula pizza that looks inviting.

I also found another gluten free crust on Ginger Lemon Girl that I plan to try when this delightful fasting is over. To veganize , I would sub out the eggs with ground flax or chia. Thanks Carrie!

Now pizza is not my only favorite meal. I am quite fond of Ethiopian food, greens and cornbread, and vegan dogs with sauerkraut. As I was salivating over the web, Mr. Seasonal Vegan made an Ethiopian meal with sautéed leeks and radish greens, salad, and mesir wot (pictured below). Since I had an Ethiopian feast prior to fasting I did not wine too much.  I loved how he incorporated our seasonal fare (leeks, radishes, and winter greens) into his Ethiopian meal!

What are your favorite foods and your favorite pizza recipe?

Valentine’s Day Recipe: Carrot Cake Pancakes and Cashew Cream

OMG! You know how you make a recipe and it is so good you have to tell the world about it! Well you cannot keep this carrot cake pancake recipe to yourself. It would be a sin to do so.

Therefore, I am sharing… Thanks to Laura at The First Mess for this wonderful carrot cake pancake  recipe that filled my home with love, laughter, and good food this winter day. I made a few tweaks based on what I had on hand and of course took the gluten free route. Since carrots are always included in my seasonal vegetable box, I had plenty.

The pancakes were like no other. The smells of cinnamon and nutmeg in the air left a warm feeling of love throughout my home. The addition of the lemon zest garnish added an additional zing.

These carrot cake pancakes take a little bit more time for prep which makes them better suited for a weekend breakfast. To speed things along you can make the cashew cream the evening before and also grate the carrots.

Ok, I know you are thinking about your goals and wondering how these delectable carrot cake pancakes fit into your overall plan. I say that they are a healthy indulgence and you need to sprinkle a few of those in your life here and there. Don’t eat them every day and save them for special occasions and believe me, you will be planning for those occasions to make these again!

Since February is the month of love, these would make a perfect Valentine’s Day breakfast.  Make these gluten-free vegan pancakes for your loved ones to let them really know how you feel!

Carrot Cake Pancakes and Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream Ingredients:

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hoursscant 1/2 cup waterjuice from 1 lemon1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 datepinch of saltlove

Pancake Ingredients:

1 tbsp ground chia seeds1 tbsp ground flax seeds1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water3/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar3/4 cup millet flour1/2 cup brown rice flourzest of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp baking powder2 tsp ground cinnamon1/4 tsp ground nutmegpinch of salt
2 soaked dates + 1 tbsp soaking water1 tbsp grape seed oil2 cups finely grated, loosely packed carrotslove

Garnish:

syrupraw walnuts, choppedlemon zestlove

Cashew Cream Directions:

Combine all of the cashew cream ingredients: cashews, water, lemon juice, vanilla, date and pinch of salt into a blender and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Store in a container in the fridge to cool and firm up until ready to serve.

Pancake Directions:

Mix the ground chia and flax seeds with the 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp water until combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes to gel.

Stir the apple cider vinegar into the milk and allow it to curdle for a few minutes.

Combine the dry ingredients: millet flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl and whisk together. Then add the lemon zest, dates, and date water and mash until the dates are fully incorporated. Note: you can also use 2 tbs of maple syrup in lieu of the dates as noted in the original recipe.

Now add the oil, chia/flax mixture and curdled milk into your flour mixture. Stir until just combined then gently fold in the grated carrots.

Heat a large cast iron skillet to medium-low with about a tablespoon of oil. Once the skillet is heated, place 1/4 cup portions of batter into the pan. The batter is thick so use the back of a spatula or spoon to spread out the batter a little. Cook for a few minutes until the edges are browned. Flip and repeat.

Keep the pancakes warm in a low oven as you continue cooking the rest of the batter. My batter made 11 (1/4 cup) pancakes.

Serve warm with the cashew cream, syrup, chopped walnuts and lemon zest.

Leeks

It is believed that leeks have been a part of Egyptian and Mesopotamian diets since 2nd millennium BCE. Ancient Romans and Greeks found that leeks had a beneficial effect on the throat. The leek is also one of the national emblems of Wales.

The leek is part of the allium family and closely related to the onion and garlic. Ramps, or wild leeks, are much smaller and have a pungent and more intense flavor. Though cultivated leeks are available year-round, they are at their prime September through April.

How Leeks are Good for Your Body

Research says that we should include allium vegetables in our diet daily due to the combination of flavenoids and sulfur containing nutrients. The combination of vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, iron and manganese in leeks helps the body properly metabolize sugars. Leeks also are a great source of folate and fiber and leeks are a good source of calcium. Included in the awesome nutritional benefits of leeks is that they have antiseptic qualities to help fight the body against infections. Leeks are also known to lower cholesterol and prevent or fight against cancers.

How to Select Leeks to Eat

The key is to remember that the younger the leek the more delicate the flavor. Therefore, you want to try to select leeks that are 1/2 inch in diameter. Most are actually larger at 1 1/2 to 2 inches, therefore try to pick the smallest of the selection. Also look for cylindrical bottoms because when leeks began to round into a bulb shape that means they are more mature. In addition make sure the tops are tight and a are a nice vibrant green. Pass over any leeks that are wilting.

How to Store Leeks

Leeks should not be trimmed or washed before storing. They should be stored in the refrigerator in a loosely wrapped plastic bag. This helps them retain moisture and also helps prevent the sulfurous odor from traveling throughout your refrigerator. Leeks can be stored from 5 days to 2 weeks depending on their freshness. Though leeks can be frozen it is not advisable since they can lose their texture and flavor.

How to Eat Leeks

Make sure that you wash your leeks well since they have dirt hiding in the layers. The easiest way to do this is to slice them in half lengthwise and rinse them under running water.  While most recipes only call for the white parts, the entire leek is good to eat. They can be thinly sliced and sautéed in olive oil and a splash of lemon. Leeks have a mild and sweet onion taste and bring a nice flavor to your recipes. A common way to eat leeks is in a soup such as potato leek soup.

Recipe Inspirations:

As of this winter, I am now fond of leeks and plan to grow some in my garden. I like them lightly sautéed since that helps keep the flavor. They are also awesome paired with greens and lemon. Here are a few recipes I found on the web for additional inspiration:

- Though Potato Leek Soup was already mentioned, I like the way Rachel over at Inside the Kaganoff Kitchen served up her “lovely leeks”. It reminded me of an asparagus watercress soup shots I fell in love with at Ubuntu.

- I found a leek pilaf recipe on Laurie Catantino’s older blog.

- Cooking Books has an awesome looking recipe for Pomegranate Braised Leeks with Pomegranate Syrup. Looks delish!

- Heidi at 101 Cookbooks has a recipe for Black-eyed Peas & Leeks which seems to be a popular pairing.

- Finally the Lemony Leek Pesto Penne from Kathy at Healthy Happy Life is vibrantly green and could not be passed up.

Soy Free Vegan Scramble with Beet Greens and Turnip Salad

This lovely meal was my post workout brunch. For breakfast I feasted on a kiwi prior to getting my workout on.

It was shocking to see the gym parking lot full when I went to the gym after the New Year. It took me a few days to realize what caused the volume change since pre-2012 I was able to find a good parking space. I have gotten used to it and it is good to see that people are inspired and I hope that they keep the momentum for the remainder of the year.

For the vegan scramble I used a recipe that Ricki from Diet Desserts and Dogs posted on One Green Planet. No need to purchase green pea flour, just use your high speed blender such as a Vitamix to make the flour from split green peas. If green “eggs” is too weird for you, make the scramble with yellow split peas or you can also use chickpea flour.  I just thought it would be really cool and a nice change to have green scramble.

For the salad I can share the ingredients and approximate measurements. I am bad with recipes when it comes to salads or salad dressings because I usually just pull out what is in my fridge and go with inspiration.

Soy Free Vegan Scramble

Ingredients:

1/4 cup pea flour1/2 cup water1/2 teaspoon onion powder1/2 celery stalk, diced
4 green onions, white parts only slicedsalt1 tsp oillove

Directions:

In a medium bowl whisk flour, water, onion powder and salt until smooth with no lumps. Add celery and green onions and stir to coat.

Heat oil in skillet (non-stick or cast-iron) over medium heat. Pour the mixture into the skillet and let it spread.

Allow to cook until edges appear dry (3-4 minutes) and a few bubbles may appear. Do not let the top dry.

Use spatula to scrape across the pan and break up the mixture (like a cutting motion). Flip the pieces over and break up into smaller bits (about date or grape side).

Keep the pieces moving for about 5 minutes (I covered the pan for about a minute or so).

Beet Greens and Turnip Salad

Ingredients:

1 tbs vegan mayo1 tsp tahini1 tsp ginger1 tsp ground flax
saltbeet greensturnip root, sliced and quarteredlove

Directions:

Mix the mayo, tahini, ginger, flax and salt to taste in a small bowl. Adjust the ingredients to get the flavor that you want. Mix in bowl with beet greens and turnip root.

Butternut Squash Peanut Soup

Today is an awesome day to add some spice and warm things up a bit. Ok, I may say that a lot for the next few months but that is what winter is all about. Warming… warm socks, warm sweaters, warm tights, you name it! And in the kitchen it is no different. Salads are even warm at this time of the year.

This is a spin off of African yam soup and man I tell you it was yummy as with any peanut soup I have tasted. If you have peanut allergies, I don’t know what to tell you. Never tried this with any other nut. Maybe you can share with me some tips on how to make this soup peanut free.

I like the soup chunky but you can always blend the soup to make it nice and creamy. Up to you. Also, I could see adding tomatoes and/or okra and even a leafy green vegetable.

Of course there are health benefits. Actually there will always be health benefits when eating whole foods. So give yourself a pat on the back because you are doing something good for yourself this year and that is taking care of your body through whole and natural foods.

Butternut Squash Peanut Soup

Ingredients:

2 tablespoon oil1 onion, diced8-10 garlic cloves, diced/crushed1 celery stalk, diced
2 tablespoons ginger, grated1/2 teaspoon cumin1 1/2 teaspoon coriander1/2 teaspoon paprika
3/8 teaspoon cayenne1 medium butternut squash, cubed (about 4 cups)6 tablespoons peanut butter4 cups water
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped1/4 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
Salt to tastelove

Directions:

In a soup pot heat oil and sauté onions for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add garlic, celery, ginger, and spices and sauté until everything is soft.

Stir in butternut squash and water and bring to a slow boil. Add peanut butter. Cover and simmer until squash is tender.

Slightly smash some of the squash to thicken the soup. You can either puree the entire pot for a creamy soup or leave it chunky.

Indian Inspired Warm Potato Salad

Just recently I made an awesome zingy warm potato salad (something I have never done before) which lead me to peruse the web to see what other warm potato salad recipes were out there.  I stumbled upon Buttered Up and Sarah has an Indian-inspired warm potato salad that looks quite good (the spices piqued my interest).

The spice list is phenomenal with cumin seeds, mustard seeds, cumin powder, coriander powder, chili powder, tumeric and a whole chili.  I could imagine this warm potato salad is full of flavor and heat to warm you up for the winter!

Go over and take a look and let me know what you think!

5 Reasons Why You Should Eat In Season

Have you ever asked yourself what does it take to make a tomato pretty in the winter, or where were those winter grapes grown and how far did they have to travel to get to me?  Believe me; you honestly would not want to know.  Getting those out of season fruits and vegetables to our tables actually take a toll on the environment, local communities, and the plants.  There is no wonder why there is a huge seasonal eating movement as it has proven to be beneficial in several ways.

The Reasons Why You Should Eat In Season

1. Support Your Farmers:

Farmers do not get much on the dollar when selling to grocery stores.  Therefore, when you eat in season and shop directly with your local farmers, you are not only benefiting your household but you are supporting the farmers as well.  A recent study shows that the farmer only gets 12 cents for every dollar spent on food at the grocery store.  When you buy direct from the farmer you are investing in the success and future of the farm.  Not only are you supporting your local farms but you get a chance to establish relationships and learn more about where your food is coming from and the work and love put into growing your food, so that you feel better eating it. Children will usually partake in things where they are involved or see a direct correlation.  If they know that the carrots come from “their” farmer then they will most likely eat them.  Take them along with you to the markets or to visit a farm and watch their vegetable intake increase!

2. Build Local Community:

When you eat in season you are not only impacting the farmers but you also have a direct impact on your community.  This is done in a few ways.  First you are helping in preserving farmlands which not only keeps property taxes down but also provides a scenic and serene environment for locals to visit.  Furthermore, studies have been completed showing that the influx of farmer’s markets have created jobs and also an economic boost to local businesses.

3. Nutrition:

A lot of our fruits and vegetables are picked unripe and transported and stored for several days/weeks before they hit the supermarket shelf.  These fruits and vegetables are usually ripened by using ethylene gas.  This significantly impacts the nutrition value of the produce.  When you buy local your fruits and veggies are picked when they are ripe only a few hours before purchased resulting in peak nutrition for your body to intake. Since the local fruits and vegetables are usually picked within a few hours of purchase they are not only loaded with nutrition but they taste fresh and vibrant. In addition, if you have not noticed, seasonal fruits and vegetables provide your body’s needs for that specific time of the year.  For instance, in winter we find many root vegetables, which are hearty and warming and citrus fruits, onions, and leafy greens, which build your immune system.   In summer the foods are cooling such as watermelon, tomatoes, and a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables.  Nature knows best!

4. Exposure to New Vegetables:

Most of the larger grocery chains stock the same mainstream fruits and vegetables throughout the year.  When you shop locally you will get to see all of the vegetables that are indigenous to your area or that are not part of mainstream produce.  Not only will the exposure to new vegetables keep you inspired in the kitchen but you will have a newfound love for even the common vegetables that you get from your local farmer.  Now who would let a beautiful nutritious head of cauliflower go to waste knowing that it was not factory grown but grown by their local farmer?  When you buy local produce you are more likely to search the web or your stock of cookbooks to showcase your acquired produce.

5. Learning:

Having direct communication with your local farmers will increase your knowledge greatly and help you understand where your food is coming from, the challenges faced due to current weather conditions, how long a certain items takes to grow and how they are grown.  You will get loads of information by working with and establishing relationships with your local farmers.  When visiting a farm or farmer’s market ask questions so that you are better informed.

As you can see, your choice to eat in season will have an impact on you and your family, local farmers, local economy and the environment.  It is rewarding to know exactly where your food is coming from and puts the power back in your hands to properly support your family’s nutrition.