Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip (plus a video!)

you’ll love the texture (and flavor, of course!) of this wonderful vegan buffalo chicken dip

amazing vegan buffalo chicken dip meaty texture no chickpeas

 

Several months ago, someone left a bowl of buffalo chicken dip in the staff room and everyone was flipping out about it. I didn’t try any, of course, but I made a mental note to create a meatless version for the blog. The thing was, I didn’t want to make a glorified hummus with buffalo sauce mixed in. It had to be more than that, so I held off until I could think of a way to mimic the texture of the original dip. Or what I imagined the texture would be.

Back in December, I made an eggplant-artichoke dip. The version of the dip I posted had the artichokes pureed into the eggplant, but the test version had the artichokes simply mixed in. I noticed that the artichoke in this form had a rather meaty texture, akin to pulled pork jackfruit. And therein lay the jackpot.

To make this dip, I thawed some frozen artichoke hearts and squeezed out all the excess moisture (sorry for the m-word). Then I pureed some northern beans, which I figured would be a steady substitute for mayo or cream cheese or whatever is in buffalo chicken dip. Did y’all know that northern beans have more protein than our beloved chickpeas? ¬†I’m not saying I’m turning my back on chickpeas, but it’s good to know. They also have more potassium and calcium. Cool.

Alright. ’nuff on the bean tangent, sorry about that. Let’s get on with the recipe. I threw some tahini in after the beans as a substitute for the fatty texture of blue cheese. Topped it all off the the key ingredient (buffalo sauce, duh) and a little lemon and salt.

Guys, the results were fantastic. I got my sister-in-law to come over to be a hand model for the dip. I usually get Jason to do it, but he gets really whiny and impatient if it takes more than two test shots. My sister-in-law was much cooler about it. Anyways, she brought her husband with her and afterwards they tried the dip. They both loved it, but my brother-in-law was super into it. I don’t know why, but it’s always a compliment when a carnivore flips over a meatless dish. I gave them the dip and some cookies as a thank-you for stopping by.

After they left, I realized that I hadn’t taken any other shots of the dip, so I had to make more dip. Darn ūüôā

 

 

music: Nashville Sunset 1, Henrik Nagy

Vegan Buffalo Chicken Dip (plus a video!)

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 package of frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 can of great northern beans, drained and rinsed
  • 6 tbsp buffalo sauce
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • a sprinkle of lemon juice
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place the artichoke hearts into a clean kitchen cloth. Gather up the ends of the cloth and squeeze out all the extra liquid. Discard liquid.
  2. Optional -- the artichoke hearts will already be somewhat shredded, but you can shred them a little more with a fork.
  3. Puree together the beans, the buffalo sauce, the tahini, the lemon juice, and the salt, until smooth and creamy.
  4. Stir the artichoke hearts into the buffalo mix.
  5. Get out the chips and go to town.
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Green Turmeric Veggie Soup

Tomatillos, turmeric, kale, and carrots come together to make a bright and earthy winter soup.

Saturday was one long allergy attack. The bulk of the day was spent napping/sneezing, cuddling with my cat or Kindle, and being generally unproductive. I did manage to squeeze in a pathetic, wheezy run. More like a shuffle. I also managed to make this awesome soup, which, along with some fatty carbs, helped me feel immensely better. I know that the whole point of turmeric (or at least the whole point of turmeric’s current appeal) is its detox/anti-inflammation ¬†properties. And I know ¬†pairing it with fatty carbs was totally counterintuitive, but oh well. It made me feel better and that was that.

One of my favorite things to have when I’m not feeling so well is salsa verde. It clears my sinuses without being harsh and has this wonderful comforting nature. The main ingredient in salsa verde is tomatillos, and I happened to have some on hand. Into the soup they went. They thickened the soup considerably, and brought in piquant notes that complimented the turmeric nicely.

I also had carrots and kale on hand, so I threw those in as well for a nice boost of veggies.

This soup is quite versatile. My favorite thing about it ended up being the broth, so if you’re really not feeling well and just want something to sip on, you can totally make this as broth-only. If you want it to be a little more substantial, throw in some cooked rice or canned black beans. A win either way.

Hope this keeps you toasty warm! What are your favorite comfort/feel-better foods?

Green Turmeric Veggie Soup

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2 big bowls of soup, or 4 side bowls

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 lbs tomatillos, husks removed
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 4 cups packed kale
  • 3/4 tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • handful of cilantro (optional)
  • 1 large jalapeno, chopped
  • 4 cups water
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop up the carrots and place in a pot over medium heat with 2 cups of water. Add the nutritional yeast and garlic.
  2. Cover and cook for 12 minutes, until carrots begin to soften.
  3. While the carrots are doing their thing, puree the tomatillos
  4. After 12 minutes, add the tomatillos, the turmeric, and the remaining two cups of water to the pot. Cover again. Allow to cook for 8 more minutes.
  5. Add the kale and the jalapeno. Remove from heat, but leave the lid on for about 2 more minutes to allow the kale to wilt.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Serve with love
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The Ultimate Vegan Power Smoothie

Y’all. This is the crazy power smoothie you need to fuel your next super workout.

I so very wanted to call this the Ultimate Battle Smoothie (Parks and Rec anyone?) but I figure Ultimate Power Smoothie would be better for SEO purposes.

Whatever you call it, it’s crazy good fuel, both in content and in flavor. The first time I made it for Jason, I packed it in his lunchbox so he could have it for his post-gym/pre-work fuel. ¬†When he got to work, he sent me a text saying that he’d loved it. He also said that it was so thick that he’d had to tip his blender bottle all the way up to get ¬†drink — while he was driving. 😯¬†That gave me some pause. “Um…well officer, I was drinking my smoothie when the other car just came out of nowhere….”

I don’t think that auto insurance covers smoothie-cup visual obstruction.

So I highly suggest that you have this as a smoothie bowl.¬†Or at least promise me that you’re not going to drink it while you’re driving or operating heavy machinery. Also, when I made it for him again a few days later, he ended up with smoothie all over his face from tipping up the cup. This is a totally okay look for sitting on the couch in your pj’s, but maybe not the best look for work.

So smoothie bowls are definitely the way to go. Also, they are way more fun to eat. As you can see, I topped this one with beet slices, matcha, peanut butter, Cara Cara oranges, and pepitas. But other things that would go well would be tahini or sliced bananas or blueberries or maybe toasted cinnamon pecans.

ultimate vegan power smoothie smoothie bowl ultimate battle smoothie

So get to the point, Annie…what is in this thing?

I’ll tell ya: carrots, kale , a banana, sweet sweet frozen cherries, peanut butter, flax meal…and two not-so-secret wonder ingredients: beet juice and pea protein. I make my own beet juice a lot ¬†— it’s easy and cheaper that buying it, and you do not need a juicer. You can find the recipe on one of the first posts on the blog, sorry for the awful pics. I plan to re-shoot that post soon. Beet juice is super well known for boosting post-workout recovery, and adds some extra sweetness to the smoothie as a whole. Pea protein is rather new to me. I’ve been wanting to try it forever, but, up until recently, Jason has been loyal his preferred sugary whey and soy protein powders. I dislike those for several reasons. He finally ditched them at the start of the year, and I convinced him to get us some pea protein instead. We both love it because it’s super pure and powerful at the same time.

And pure and powerful is pretty much what you want from any smoothie, dontcha think?

The Ultimate Vegan Power Smoothie

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 huge smoothie or 2 smaller ones

Ingredients

  • 2 cups packed kale
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup of beet juice
  • 1 cup frozen cherries
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 2 tbsp pea protein

Instructions

  1. Throw everything in a blender and go to town. Enjoy!
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Little Nutty Citrus Bites + Citrus Granola + Snack-it-Forward

chewy granola bars clumpy crunchy granola easy granola vegan gluten free simple crunchy chewey

vegan Little Nutty Citrus Bites granola bites easy granola bites gluten free

Thursday was rough. Everything that I had planned went the opposite way I wanted it to. And then every backup plan that I had went belly up as well. I’m no stranger to failure — far from it — but by 3 pm I was mentally exhausted.

If this day had happened a few months ago, I would have crumbled into a heap of self loathing and tears. But since I’ve been on wonderful, wonderful meds for anxiety and depression, I was able to maintain some personal composure. It felt nice.

The only reason I’m sharing this is because it’s what’s on my mind. This blog is for food, but it’s also for talking and sharing and welcoming. (sorry for the icky-sappy)

vegan Little Nutty Citrus Bites granola bites easy granola bites gluten free

To that end, I feel like it’s a good time to introduce my new project. It’s a small project, a simple one, designed to spread kindness in a rather uncertain world. It’s called Snack it Forward (like pay it forward), and the premise is quite plain. I send a snack to another blogger and write about it. Then that person sends out a snack to another blogger, and so forth.¬†One of my favorite parts of blogging is the community built out of strangers, and I wanted to celebrate that.

I sent this snack to Megan aka The Emotional Baker. She’s has a unique talent for whipping up sublime vegan treats — sesame matcha bagels and cinnamon rolls bursting with sprinkles¬†and carrot cake pop tarts¬†and bright summery popscicles. ¬†¬†She’s also a runner and biker and generally awesome human.

vegan Little Nutty Citrus Bites granola bites easy granola bites gluten free

So let me talk about these little bites. They’re nutty and lemony and chewy, so good, with a slight hint of chocolate. They’re super easy to make too — just mix up some oats and almonds and other goodies and press the whole thing into a square pan. Then microwave the whole thing for about three minutes and let it chill in the fridge. Cut them up and dip the ends in chocolate and you’re good to go. You should probably make a second batch, because this stuff is kind of narcotic.

I was at my mother’s home over the holidays while I was going through test-batches for this. While I was out on a run, my mom took one of my failed batches and baked it up into granola. Even though she burned it just ¬†a bit, it was still good. When I re-made it, sans-scorching, it was even better — so I realized I had to turn this into a double recipe. Chewy bars and crunchy granola.

vegan Little Nutty Citrus Bites granola bites easy granola bites gluten free clumpy granola vegan granola gluten free

 

Even the most perfect day has imperfections: my husband proposed to me while I was wearing sweatpants. The outfit every girl dreams of. (yes, I realize that is a total FWP). ¬†Those flaws rarely last, but other things, like empathy, kindness, and heart…those things can go on forever. (sorry again for the icky-sappy).

PS if anybody is interested in joining Snack-it-Forward, please email me at gormannscoot (at) gmail (dot) com or let me know in the comments.

 

Little Nutty Citrus Bars + Citrus Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups quick oats
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries, minced
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 scant tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 5 dates, softened in hot water and chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini vegan chocolate chips, such as Enjoy Life (omit for granola)

Instructions

    to make the bars
  1. combine almonds, oats, cranberries, the citrus zests, the cinnamon, and the salt. Stir it up and set aside.
  2. Combine the coconut oil, the maple syrup, and the dates.
  3. Stir together the maple mix and the almond mix till well coated.
  4. With clean, wet hands, press the mix into a parchment lined 8 x 8 pan. Press down very hard (otherwise the bars will crumble when you cut them)
  5. Microwave for 3 minutes
  6. Chill in fridge for 2 hours
  7. Cut into little triangles
  8. Melt the chocolate and dip in the edges of the triangles in the chocolate. Allow chocolate to harden.
  9. Enjoy!
  10. to make the granola:
  11. Preheat the oven to 375.
  12. Follow the instructions for the bars up to step 3.
  13. Spread the mix on a parchment lined cookie sheet
  14. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn off the oven but don't open the oven door. Allow to sit in closed oven for 3-4 hours.
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Rainbow Baked Potatoes

rainbow-baked-potatoes-vegan-high-carb-lifestyle-st-patricks-day-potato-easy-vegan-cheap

Rainbow baked potatoes are a comforting, colorful dish that’s easy to fall in love with. Kale, beets, and carrots bring an extra dose of veggies and vibrance to this dinnertime classic.

rainbow baked potatoes baked potatoes vegan healthy baked potatoes high carb lifestyle meals

A few weeks ago, I went out to dinner with some beloved folks. I usually do ¬†bit of restaurant recon before dining out, but it was an impromptu meal. As it turned out, the only thing on the menu that I could have was a plain baked potato. I thought I didn’t like baked potatoes, so I figured I could just eat when I got home. After all, I was there for the people, not the food.

My mother, sitting next to me, hissed that I was being rude and insisted that I order the potato.

Don’t you just hate it when your mother is right? It was the most amazing baked potato ever. ¬†The outside was an oily dark crust, flecked with coarse salt. The inside was filled with pillows of butter-soft carbs, all but melting beneath my fork. Mercy.

rainbow baked potatoes baked potatoes vegan healthy baked potatoes high carb lifestyle meals

 

I guess I like baked potatoes after all. Who knew? (ahem, they whole world, Annie. The whole world knew of the classic awesomeness of the baked potato)

After that meal, I tried to remember why I thought I didn’t like the tuber in its foil-wrapped form. The only answer I could come up with it that I have an occasional aversion to foods with uniform textures and flavors. And the baked potato can sometimes fall into this category. But not this dish.

rainbow baked potatoes baked potatoes vegan healthy baked potatoes high carb lifestyle meals

It’s bright and colorful. The outsides are delicately crisp; the insides fluffy and steamy. The moods change from bite to bite — sweet carrots, bright grassy kale, deep earthy beets.

One of the reasons that baked potatoes are so popular is their reliable thriftiness, and this pied meal is no different. You’re just having your veggies in the potato instead of on the side. I mean, there’s nothing stopping you from having them on the side as well, you veggie-freaks, you.¬†¬†‚̧ԳŹ

rainbow baked potatoes baked potatoes vegan healthy baked potatoes high carb lifestyle meals

 

Rainbow Baked Potatoes

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 large russet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup unflavored almond milk
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 medium beet, or two smaller beets (about 6 oz)
  • 3 cups packed kale
  • 2 cloves roasted garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • about 3-4 springs of thyme
  • coconut oil, optional

Instructions

  1. Wrap each potato in a wet paper towel. Put them all in the microwave and nuke on high for 10 minutes. You can tell they're done when a fork pierces effortlessly through the flesh. Some older microwaves will take more than 10 minutes, some newer models will take less than ten minutes.
  2. Throw the potatoes in the freezer for about 5 to cool them down quickly, so you can handle them without burning yourself.
  3. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. Cut each potato in half and scoop out the soft middles, and lay the potato skins out on a large baking dish. Optional-- oil the baking dish with melted coconut oil
  5. Blend the middles with the milk and garlic till smooth, add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the thyme
  6. Mentally divide the potato puree into 4 parts.
  7. Scoop one of the parts into a piping bag and randomly pipe into the skins.
  8. Take the second part and throw it in a blender with the carrots.
  9. Repeat step 7 with the carrot-potato mix
  10. Take the third part of the puree and throw it in a blender with the beets.
  11. Repeat step 7 with the beet-potato mix
  12. Take the last part of the potato puree and toss it in a blender with the kale.
  13. Repeat step 7 with the kale-potato mix.
  14. Sprinkle a little more thyme over top, and brush tops of potatoes with melted coconut oil if desired.
  15. Bake for 18-20 minutes, until puffed and crispy.
  16. Serve with love.

Notes

*I got my roasted garlic recipe from Real Simple. It doesn't taste quite as mild as long roasted garlic, but it's still good and only takes about ten minutes. What you do is, chop off the top of the head so that all the cloves are somewhat exposed. Put in in a bowl with olive oil and two tbsp water. Cover it with plastic wrap, and microwave for 7 minutes on 50% power. Leave the plastic wrap on for about three more minutes and then you're good to go. you can make batches of this and keep the cloves in the fridge in the oil they were cooked in, so they are ready for use whenever.

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Kitchen & Craft: Spicy Broccoli Butternut Bowls & Produce Garland

vegan thai healthy thai vegan thai sauce peanut sauce tahini

paper garland how to

Hi guys! How were your weekends? Mine was freezin’ (duh), but productive.

The productivity stemmed from a running injury I sustained on New Year’s Eve. I twisted my ankle and fell. It hurt, but since I was able to finish the rest of my planned miles, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. I was wrong. I woke up on January 1st with it all swollen and purple, the styloid of the fibula completely hidden beneath puffy flesh. Since that day, I’ve had to keep my runs short because it hasn’t completely healed. It sucks, but the upside is that I have more time to do other things.

paper garland

 

I’m kicking off two new blog projects this week. The first one is Kitchen & Craft, where I’ll feature a simple handicraft paired with an easy recipe. To be honest, I’m not sure how regularly I’m going to do these, because I enjoy cooking far more than I enjoy crafting. Right now, I’m aiming for once a month. We’ll see.

I’ll announce the second project on Friday. ūüôā

This simple paper garland, and ode to produce, was inspired by Nepalese Lokta paper garlands. I needed to hang up something bright and festive after we took down our Christmas tree, just to bring a little warmth to winter.

This project couldn’t have been simpler. I had some colored paper that my mom had given me for Lord knows what reason. All I did was draw up some shapes, cut them out, and hot glue them to embroidery floss. I detail it all below, and I’ve provided a link to the pattern I made of all the veggies.¬†paper garland

The spicy veggie dish was also Asian inspied, Thailand this time. When we lived in Raleigh, Jason always wanted to go to this Thai place at Briar Creek. I liked it, but not as much as he did. I always felt too heavy and bloated afterwards, all those salty carbs.

I took some traditional Thai flavors and paired them with spicy broccoli, lime rice, and butternut noodles. The result is comforting but not overbearing, and you can skip the rice if you want to lighten it up even more.

spicy thai peanut sauce thai sauce vegan thai sauce no fish veggie bowl

I adapted the spicy sauce from a Brussels spout recipe I made last year, simply switching out the original peanut butter for some tahini. If you don’t have tahini on hand, peanut butter will certainly do. Like my last post, this dish is totally budget friendly.

I’m going to try to keep my future crafts pocket-friendly as well. I have ¬†list of things I plan to make, but it’s sort of incomplete, so if there’s anything you’d like to learn how to do, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to make it happen.

easy thai sauce vegan thai sauce thai sauce no fish thai noodle bowl

Spicy Broccoli Butternut Bowls

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 12 minutes

Yield: 2 hearty servings

Ingredients

  • a 1-1/4 lb butternut squash
  • 2 big heads of broccoli
  • 2 cups cooked Jasmine rice
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • salt to taste
  • spicy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tanini
  • 2 tbsp sriracha
  • 1.5 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Chop the broccoli up into florets and spiralize the squash on the largest noodle setting.
  3. Slice the broccoli florets into 2-3 pieces, lengthwise
  4. Spread the broccoli and the noodles out on two separate baking sheets
  5. Sprinkle the broccoli with the crushed red pepper and the nutritional yeast. Add a sprinkle of salt.
  6. Place the broccoli on one oven rack and the noodles on another. The broccoli should bake for 12 minutes, and the noodles for 8 minutes.
  7. While the veggies are cooking, fluff the lime zest into the rice.
  8. For the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir till combined. It helps if the water is a little warm.
  9. To serve, veggies and rice among the plates and drizzle with sauce.Enjoy.
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For the produce garland:

You’ll need two 5’6″ strands of embroidery floss. You can use one color or two. I used white and red, only because that’s what I already had. Twirl them together.

Here is the pattern printout for the veggies. Cut five of each, and cut ten of the beet greens. Use a glue stick to affix the greens to the veggies, and a hot glue gun to affix the veggies to the embroidery floss. Due to the greens, the beets will be top heavy and will flip upside down. Hot-glue a small weight (like a penny or bottle cap) to the bottom of each beet to keep them upright.

penny

Hang them up and enjoy!

Savory Oats with Turmeric Roasted Carrots, Kale, and Cranberry Ketchup

savory-oats-kale-cranberry-ketchup-turmeric-carrots-vegan-vegan

Savory oats are a satisfying and pocket-friendly dinner. These get an extra dose of veggies from kale and turmeric-roasted carrots.

savory oats turmeric carrots kale cranberry ketchup vegan

Jason and I spent the holidays at my mother’s home in Delaware. The cat protested during the long drive over, but once we got there, she was delighted at all the new hiding spaces and places to jump on. It was so cute. Nana’s place is always best, I guess. Jason likes it too because my mom always stashes all kinds of muffins and cookies for him.

A few days after Christmas, we drove out to Cape May on the Jersey shore. My aunt lives there and manages a farm. It had been at least a year since I’d last seen her, and I’d never gotten to see the farm.

There’s a little converted barn on the property that serves as a rotating produce shop, lunch counter, and event space. And of course everything that’s served there comes right out of the earth only a few yards away. On New Year’s, they dropped a huge sparkly egg from the rafters in place of a ball.

savory oats turmeric carrots kale cranberry ketchup vegan

Although the lunch counter was closed when we got there, the chalk-dusty remains of their latest menu were still on display. One item in particular drew my eye ….butternut squash steel cut oats and toasted walnuts. ¬†Does that sound amazing or what? Even though I didn’t get to sample a bowl of the stuff, it became the inspiration for this post. The squash became carrots, and I added some handfuls¬†of kale for some green lovin’. And some cranberry ketchup because I love the color. And taste, obviously.

My favorite part of this dish was the turmeric-roasted carrots. Guys, they were so good. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing they were. Toasty and spicy, but not overwhelmingly so. Warm. I could eat turmeric-roasted carrots for every meal for the rest of the season. Only, I promised myself that I was going to do other things with veggies besides roast them. So maybe every other meal then?

savory oats turmeric carrots kale cranberry ketchup vegan

I sprinkled sesame seeds over the carrots, which made them nutty and wonderful. If you don’t have sesame seeds in the house, you can totally leave them off because this dish is supposed to be a budget meal. To that end, I used quick oats because that is what I had on hand. You can totally used rolled oats or steel cut, if it pleases you.

Even though the name of this dish is super wordy, it’s quite simple. The ketchup requires very little effort, and roasted veggies are always easy. The cranberry ketchup makes a huge batch, way more than you’ll need for this dish. As is the nature of ketchup, it goes on many things. Just scoop it into jar and keep it in the fridge for whatever.

Hey, one last thing. As you can see, I gave the blogaroo little makeover. Do you like it? Hate it? Any constructive feedback or improvements? Lemme know what you think. Thanks! <3

savory oats turmeric carrots kale cranberry ketchup vegan

Savory Oats with Turmeric Roasted Carrots, Kale, and Cranberry Ketchup

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 2-3

The carrots and ketchup have similar cooking times and can be made simultaneously.

Ingredients

    cranberry ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 cups cranberries (one package)
  • 8 dates
  • 2 cups chopped purple onions
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • salt to taste
  • carrots
  • 1 lb carrots
  • 3-4 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp microplane grated garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds (optional)
  • other
  • 4 cups packed kale
  • 1 cup of quick oats, plus water to cook them in
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

    for the ketchup
  1. Combine the water, the cranberries, the dates, the onions, and the bay leaf in a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.
  2. Uncover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove bay leaf.
  3. Add the mustard and cider vinegar and stir constantly for 5-7 min, until thickened.
  4. Remove from heat and puree till smooth
  5. for the carrots
  6. Preheat oven to 450
  7. Cut the carrots onto 4-6 pieces lengthwise. Set aside.
  8. Combine the coconut oil tsp, garlic, pepper, turmeric, salt, and lemon juice.
  9. Toss carrots in tumeric mix, coat well.
  10. Lay carrots in a single layer on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
  11. Sprinkle the sesame seeds over the top.
  12. Roast for 18 minutes.
  13. for the rest
  14. Wilt kale in microwave for 3-4 minutes
  15. Bring 1 1/3 cup water to a boil.Add quick oats and stir till water is absorbed. Add salt and pepper to taste
  16. Divide kale, carrots, and oats among serving bowls. Drizzle cranberry ketchup over top.
  17. Serve with love.
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cranberry ketchup recipe slightly adapted from taste of home

Easy Plantain Veggie Tart

plaintain-crust-vegan-tart-plaintain-bread-plaintain-pizza

Fluffy vegan plantain crust, awesome green sauce, all topped off with greens and goodies. Wow.

easy plantain crust vegan plantain bread veggie tart vegan

It’s been years since I wandered over to the paleo blogs, but last I remember, they were obsessed with plantain bread.

quick aside¬†— my mom pronounces paleo like it rhymes with Scott Baio, even after I explained to her that it was short for paleolithic diet. Oh well. Parents, whatcha gonna do about em.

plantain crust easy vegan pizza plantain bread vegan

Up until recently, I never tried my hand at plantain bread. I did make an awesome pastry out of a similar recipe. Little pastry hearts, filled with cinnamon coconut cream and drizzled with chocolate. That was when I first fell in love with coconut whipped cream. (warning, link leads to vegetarian non-vegan recipe)

But the day I made this, I was hankerin’ for a savory meal. ¬†Good news, folks: you don’t need eggs to make amaaaazing fluffy, oh-so-carb-satisfying plantain bread. Flax to the rescue.

plantain crust easy vegan pizza plantain bread vegan

Really. This almost inch-thick fluffy crust is basically just plantains and flax. This is gonna become a staple in my kitchen. I am going to make a million things with it, I can’t wait. ¬†Due to my wheat allergy, I usually avoid bread completely. I do purchase the occasional Udis, but there are two issues there: One, it’s expensive. Two, it contains egg whites, which is against my goal of slowly transitioning from vegetarian to vegan.

So far, I’ve been vegan all year! ( 😒¬†😑¬†😴annie, we’re only three days in. we’re not impressed.)

I know, I know.

plantain crust easy vegan pizza plantain bread vegan

But I think you’ll forgive my paltry transition effort when I tell you about this oh-so-good green sauce. It started out as a drunken salad dressing at my mom’s house over the holidays. Who says booze can only lead to trouble? This sauce is so creamy and tasty, and it tastes super on everything. Salads, toast, tacos, everything. I had it on noodles on Christmas eve, as an alternative to our family’s traditional angel hair and clam sauce. Seriously. Y’all need to make a double batch of this. ¬†I think I’ve made it almost everyday since Christmas eve-eve.

plantain crust easy vegan pizza plantain bread vegan

I topped it all off with spinach and cress and crunchy radishes and tomatoes and pomegranate, aka, what was already in the house. But you can top this with any veggie mix that pleases you. Just make it colorful, because that’s always more fun to eat. And hard to resist.

Easy Plantain Veggie Tart

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 main, 6 side

Ingredients

    crust:
  • about 2 lbs green plantains (4-ish)
  • 2 flax eggs plus 2 tbsp flax meal
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • sauce
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • 2 avocados
  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • heaping cup parsley
  • 1 heaping tsp grated garlic
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • topping
  • 2 handfuls of greens (I used spinach and cress)
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 5-6 radishes, sliced
  • handful of pomegranate arils

Instructions

    for the crust
  1. preheat oven to 350
  2. combine the plantains, salt, flax eggs, and flax meal in a blender till smooth.
  3. Stir in the baking powder and baking soda.
  4. Pour mix into parchment-lined 9 x 13 pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 min, until fork inserted in center comes out clean
  6. for the sauce
  7. Blend all ingredients together till smooth
  8. to assemble
  9. Spread sauce over crust. Add toppings (you can also throw in your own toppings, as desired).
  10. Enjoy
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Veggie Lentil Bowls

Veggie Lentil bowls are simple and delicious. They’re healthy and pocket friendly, and are a great option for a quick vegan dinner

veggie-lentil-bowls-easy-vegan-dinner-cheap-vegan-quick-vegan-dinner

lentil veggie bowls quick vegan dinner healthy cheap vegan dinner ideas easy simple

When I think of the best meals that I’ve had, they are seldom the ones that were hardest to make. Sometimes they weren’t even homemade. Sitting in my Nana’s kitchen with all my cousins, eating piping hot pizza from the closest mom n’ pop place. (I used to love to pick off the cheese and sauce and only eat the bread. I was five years old, no judgement please.💁¬†😊)

A plate of rice and beans at a friends house, the summer after my first year at college.

Salads that my mom threw together out of whatever was in the pantry and fridge.

lentil veggie bowls quick vegan dinner healthy cheap vegan dinner ideas easy simple

Grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. That was a good one. Jason and I had gone out kayaking on the Neuse outside of Raleigh. We’d gotten a late start and we’d also forgotten that Daylight Savings Time had just ended. Dark fell and we had no flashlights, so we tried to make our way the best we could in the fading light. By the time we were done, we were wet and starving. Since there was no food in the house, Jason swung by the gas station to get a loaf of bread and processed cheese and canned soup. ¬†The meal was hot and buttery and filling, and I remember feeling an odd, delirious joy as we ate.

lentil veggie bowls quick vegan dinner healthy cheap vegan dinner ideas easy simple

This dish is like all those meals. Simple, comforting, quick.

Unlike most of those meals, this baby is super healthy. I made this at Jason’s request — I didn’t know he liked lentils. It’s always nice to find out little things you didn’t know about your spouse. Well, almost always. But don’t worry, babe. I’d still love you even if you told me you used to do drag shows in Tulsa…..

lentil veggie bowls quick vegan dinner healthy cheap vegan dinner ideas easy simple

…..whoops. I got distracted there. Anyways, as I was saying. I made these at Jason’s request quite awhile ago, but I wanted to save it for the new year. Lentils are a popular new year food, and I feel like this dish covers a lot of resolution bases. It’s economical, which is good if your goal is to save money. It’s healthy but filling, which is good for those seeking a cleaner diet. And it comes together quickly, for those who vowed to spend more time with the people they care about. And what better way to spend time with your loved ones than sharing a warm meal?

Happy New Year, all. Let’s make this one count. <3

lentil veggie bowls quick vegan dinner healthy cheap vegan dinner ideas easy simple

 

Veggie Lentil Bowls

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Salting lentils prior cooking makes them tough, so make sure to use unsalted broth there. You can also substitute 2 tbsp nutritional yeast plus 4 cups of water.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup lentils
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 4-5 cups of medium-packed kale, chopped/shredded
  • 2 cups shredded purple cabbage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp crushed or grated garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sliced japapeno
  • 4 cups of unsalted veggie broth
  • salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Place lentils, carrots, cabbage, onion, garlic, bay leaf, and jalapeno in a wide and deep skillet. Cover with broth.
  2. Place lid over skillet and place over medium heat.
  3. Cook, stirring occasionally for 25-30 minutes.
  4. Add kale.
  5. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add salt to taste.
  7. Serve with love, and side of avocado and tortilla chips.
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pop Tarts (with a video!)

chocolate-peanut-butter-pretzel-pop-tarts-gluten-free-vegan

Delicious soft pretzel outside, gooey chocolate and peanut butter inside. Gluten free and vegan.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

Earlier this year I mentioned (in another pop-tart post, actually) that my husband LOVES breakfast junk food.

He also loves chocolate peanut butter pretzels. If there are any in the house, I’m supposed to hide them and only let him have a few at a time. His idea, not mine. Otherwise, he’ll eat a whole 20 oz canister in one sitting, and then loll about on the couch, gripping his stomach and whimpering.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

It was with the most loving of intentions that I took two of his favorite junk foods and combined them into one fantastic, decadent, sweet-salty-chocolaty treat.

In January, he’s buckling down on some hard training for a big race he has coming this summer. I had to throw him this one last hurrah before he turns¬†away from all his naughty sugar treats. All the pizzas. All his favorite IPAs.

It’s a wonderful thing, actually, because I usually crave veggies and if he’s not in the mood for that, I’ll end up making two meals. This change will be a lot less work for me.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

I’ll have to admit that I also made these pretzels for selfish reasons. It’s been so long since I’ve had a soft pretzel, and I used to love them. All slippery in their wax paper, chewy and warm with huge chunks of salt — ohhhhh.

Since the onset of my wheat allergy, those have been a no-go. But these treats brought it all back. The crust of these awesome pop tarts tastes just like you got it from a cart of Broad Street in Philly.

chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel

 

Since I enjoyed the crust so much, I didn’t want to totally douse it in chocolate. So there is just a drizzle of chocolate on the outside…..but on the inside, you get a pocket full of melty chocolate and peanut butter. ¬†So good.

Obviously I’m excited about these pretzel treats, but I’m also excited because I’m posting my very first video today! ¬†It’s not perfect, but it’s kind of perfect to me because I love it. When I get better at filming and editing, I’ll probably look back on it and cringe.

For now, the video makes me totally happy. I know – I know – that usually taking what makes you happy in the moment isn’t the best idea. But sometimes you gotta take that happy moment and run with it, run with all that you have.

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Pop Tarts

Yield: 12

Ingredients

    pretzel dough
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened unflavored almond milk
  • 2 flax eggs
  • 1 package of active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 well sifted cups of gluten-free flour
  • filling
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 -2/3 cup chocolate chips
  • topping
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • other
  • 3 cups water
  • heaping 1/2 cup baking soda
  • melted coconut oil, for tops
  • chunky sea salt

Instructions

  1. Warm up the almond milk. Don't let it get too hot.
  2. Pour the milk into a bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Allow to sit for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add coconut oil, sugar, flax eggs, and salt. Stir.
  4. Gradually add the flour. You will eventually have to use your hands to knead it.
  5. Cover and let sit 1 hour. The dough will not rise as much as wheat-flour dough.
  6. Draw a 6 by 8 inch rectangle on a piece of parchment.
  7. Spread the peanut butter over the rectangle, to fill.
  8. Place the peanut butter rectangle in the freezer.
  9. Roll the dough out to about 1/8 -1/6 inch thick.
  10. Cut out rectangles that are 6x4. You should end up with 12 rectangles.
  11. Get your frozen peanut butter rectangle out and cut it into 12 equal squares, 2 by 2 inches.
  12. Press chocolate chips, pointy side down, into the peanut butter. Return to freezer.
  13. If you are working in stages, this is a good stopping point. You can cover the dough pieces and place them in the fridge overnight. That's what I did. If you choose to do this, you will need to allow the dough to warm to room temp.
  14. Get the frozen chocolate peanut butter squares and place each on a dough rectangle. Fold over and seal. Just use your fingertips and some warm water, no fork. If the dough is too cold, it will break when folded. In this case, you will need to cut each rectangle into two smaller 3x4 rectangles.
  15. Preheat the oven to 425.
  16. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the three cups of water and the 2/3 cup of baking soda. Allow to come to a boil.
  17. Using a good spatula (maybe your favorite pancake-flippin' one) lower a tart into the water bath. Allow to sit there for 30-35 seconds. You can place two tarts in the water bath at once, but no more than that.
  18. Place the tarts on a parchment-lined cookie sheet as they come out of the water bath.
  19. Brush tops of tarts with melted coconut oil and sprinkle with chunky salt.
  20. Bake for 12 minutes. Tops will be dark and shiny.
  21. for the drizzle
  22. Place the chocolate chips and the maple syrup in a microwave-safe cup. Nuke until melted and runny, making sure you stir every 30 seconds. This will keep the chocolate from burning.
  23. Drizzle the chocolate over the tops of the tarts.
  24. Enjoy!

Notes

I know it's super tempting to want to bite into one of these right out of the oven, but they taste so much better after they've been sitting out for an hour or two. These are so crazy decadent that you might not want to have them all at once. I recommend storing the tarts in the freezer. This will keep the pretzels nice and soft when you re-heat them. Storing in the fridge is not recommended.

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chocolate peanut butter pretzel pop tarts gluten free vegan soft pretzel