• Category Archives simply delicious
  • Vegan Sweet Potato ‘Yogurt’ Recipe

    Berry Vegan Yogurt

    Today I would like to share one of my favorite “serendipity” recipes with you.  The inspiration came from a mention in the FatFree Vegan Recipes forum regarding the use of sweet potatoes in smoothies. When I tried my hand at a similar recipe, it came out very thick and “creamy,” much more like a yogurt than a smoothie.

    There is something about the cooked starch of the sweet potato that gives body and texture to the product.  And the natural caramelization process during baking yields a sweet, slightly molasses-like flavor.

    My recipe is made with three simple ingredients, is naturally low-fat,  is super-easy to make, and tastes delicious.

    Feel free to improvise with ingredients you have on hand.  A friend of mine tried it with Coconut Milk beverage and said it was “yum!” The one thing to be sure to include is the sweet potato.

    Vegan Sweet Potato “Yogurt”

    Serves 2-3

    Ingredients:

    • 1 cup baked, cooled, peeled sweet potato
    • 3/4 to 1 cup non-dairy milk, depending on desired thickness (I prefer unsweetened Almond milk)
    • 1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (such as raspberries, blueberries, banana, mango, etc.)

    Method:

    Bake sweet potato at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes until fork-tender. Allow to cool.  Peel skin of sweet potato with your fingers.

    Place sweet potato, non-dairy milk and fruit in a high-speed blender and whirl until smooth.

    Serve immediately. Can be stored in tightly-covered container in refrigerator for 1-2 days.  This is delicious eaten as-is, or served over granola cereal. This would also make a fabulous food for babies and young children.

    Your turn: if you try this recipe, or a variation, I’d love to hear how it turns out. Be sure to leave me a comment or share your recipe below!

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  • How to Cook Quinoa

    fluffy quinoa

    Quinoa is a versatile grain* that is great-tasting, high in protein, and is one of the quickest whole grains to prepare. It can go from pantry to table in 20 minutes.

    My no-fail method takes the guess-work out of cooking quinoa and prevents accidental scorching of this wonderful grain.

    Simple Quinoa Instructions

    1. Measure 1 cup of quinoa into sieve or strainer with small holes.
    2. Rinse quinoa thoroughly to remove bitter-tasting saponins.
    3. Put quinoa in large sauce pan.
    4. Add enough filtered water to cover by 2-3 inches.
    5. Optional: toss in a vegetable bouillon cube.
    6. Bring water and quinoa to a boil.
    7. Turn heat down, and simmer at a low boil for 14-15 minutes.
    8. Remove quinoa from heat and drain into colander over the sink.
    9. Put drained quinoa into serving bowl and fluff with a fork.
    10. Season according to your preference (e.g., splash of liquid aminos; dash of sea salt; etc.) or use in your favorite recipe.

    Voila! Super-simple quinoa!

    This recipe works for any amount of quinoa. I just used 1 cup as an example. The secret is to use plenty of water for a good rolling boil without concern of boiling away all the water.

    * Technically, quinoa is a seed

    Your turn: Do you have a favorite quinoa recipe you’d like to share?

    image: Fluffy Quinoa © 2010. Christianna Pierce.

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  • Crazy Cake Recipe

    crazy cakeThe idea of simple living is certainly not new. Many of our grandparents and our grandparents’ parents adapted to the Great Depression with clever and frugal recipes.

    My dear friend, Etta, recently shared her great-grannie’s depression-era crazy cake recipe with me and kindly allowed me to share it with you (thank you, Etta!)

    The cake is vegan, inexpensive, tasty without being too sweet, and super-easy.  Plus, there is one less bowl to wash because the entire cake is mixed in the cake pan itself.

    This cake is delicious served alone or with a light dusting of powdered sugar.  Grab a cup of tea or coffee, and you’re good to go!

    Crazy Cake – 9 servings

    8″ pan

    Mix in pan:

    1-1/2 cups unsifted flour

    1 cup sugar

    1 teaspoon baking soda

    2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder*

    With a spoon, form  3 wells in dry ingredients.  Add:

    Well #1: 6 Tablespoons canola oil

    Well #2: 1 teaspoon vanilla

    Well #3: 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

    Then pour 1 cup of COLD water over the top of all of the ingredients and mix well.

    Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean).

    Cool in pan for 10 minutes.

    Invert on wire rack and allow to cool completely before cutting into 9 squares.

    If desired, sprinkle with a light dusting of sifted powdered sugar.

    Notes:

    *I suggest using high-quality cocoa powder as this really enhances the flavor of the cake.  I use Bernard C’s unsweetened cocoa powder.

    Your turn: This is also a fun cake to make with children.  I’d love to have comments from anybody who bakes this crazy cake either alone or with their kids!

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  • Edible Flowers Add Color to Your Meals

    Edible FlowersSometimes the best things in life are free. I’m talking about edible flowers, the ones that may very well be found growing in your yard right now. The use of edible flowers is an easy, tasty, and colorful way to enhance your meal and sneak additional vitamins and flavonoids into your diet.

    The flowers in my salad, left, are Carnation (Dianthus) petals. They have a slightly bitter, spicy flavor and provide a lovely contrast to the pale green lettuce leaves.

    This next salad is one that I had last summer in a darling little restaurant in the South of France. It took my breath away as the server placed it in front of me — I did not know whether to eat it or frame it. This salad brought edible art to a whole new level. And it was delicious!
    Salad in Aix-en-provence

    Some of my favorite edible flowers include:

    • Carnation
    • Nasturtium
    • Pansy
    • Rose
    • Violets
    • Violas

    Also, as a general rule, the flowers of culinary herbs are usually edible. Some of these include basil, chives, coriander and garlic.

    The four most important things to consider when choosing edible flowers are:

    1. Make sure they are edible. If you’re not sure, consult a book or website, preferably with photos.
    2. Use flowers that you know to be free of any toxic chemicals. Organic is the best option.
    3. Wash the petals thoroughly.
    4. Eat only small amounts. The petals should be considered a garnish rather than a main course.

    For a great list of edible flowers and a list of safety do’s and don’t, check out this post on How to Choose Edible Flowers. Equally important, here is a list of non-edible flowers (including, but not limited to: azalea, crocus, daffodil, foxglove, oleander, rhododendron, jack-in-the-pulpit, lily of the valley, and wisteria).

    Your turn: Have you ever eaten flower petals?  Did you enjoy them? What edible flowers grow in your corner of the world?

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  • Edamame Hummus Recipe

    Edamame HummusI am happy to share a recipe I created that is quick, nutritious, simple and, if I may quote my husband, “delicious!” I call it Edamame Hummus. The hummus is a beautiful pistachio green color and the texture is very light.

    Edamame is another word for soybean. Nutritionally dense, edamame is rich in protein, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, omega fatty acids, folic acid, manganese and vitamin K. And edamame is now readily found in most grocery freezers.

    Edamame Hummus

    Ingredients:

    2 cups frozen, shelled edamame
    1/4 cup lemon juice
    1/4 cup canola oil
    2 Tablespoons tahini
    2 Tablespoons water
    1/2 teaspoon salt

    Method:

    Boil the shelled edamame in salted water for 4-5 minutes. Pour into colander and drain; run cold water over edamame to halt cooking and bring edamame to room temperature.

    Combine edamame, lemon juice, canola oil, tahini, water and salt in food processor and process for 5-6 minutes, scraping sides of bowl once during processing.

    Store Edamame Hummus in the refrigerator in a covered bowl for up to 3 days.

    Serving suggestions:

    This recipe is great served in pita pockets with crispy romaine lettuce and shredded carrot.

    It also works well as a dip with whole grain crackers or tortilla chips.

    For a gluten-free meal, smooth the edamame hummus onto brown rice tortillas. Add fresh baby spinach leaves. Roll up the tortillas and you’re good to go!

    Your turn: Let me know what you think. And do you have a favorite hummus recipe you’d care to share?

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  • Quinoa Salad With Rice and Black Beans

    Quinoa SaladPart of living a simple lifestyle, for me and many others, includes eating low on the food chain. Following a plant-based diet leaves a smaller carbon footprint, is economical, is very healthy, and can be quite delicious.

    The following recipe uses simple ingredients and is forgiving to substitutions. It is nice to make ahead and then have on hand for a quick lunch or dinner. It would also work well at a potluck.

    Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is one of my favorite grains. Originating in the Andean region of Peru, it is high in protein, cooks relatively quickly, and tastes great either alone or mixed with other ingredients. It is also gluten-free and simple to digest. I probably serve quinoa in one form or another once a week. Fortunately, my family loves it, too.

    Quinoa Salad With Rice and Black Beans

    Makes 6 servings

    This recipe is based on Grant Butler’s recipe adaptation that appeared in Oregonlive.com.

    Ingredients

    * 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
    * 1  14 1/2-ounce can vegetable broth (divided)
    * 1 teaspoon ground cumin (divided)
    * 1 cup cooked brown rice (for convenience, use frozen rice and simply reheat)
    * 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
    * 2 thin green onions, finely sliced
    * 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and finely diced
    * 1/2 cup grape or cherry tomatoes, quartered
    * 1/2 cup frozen or canned corn kernels
    * 1/4 cup minced fresh cilantro (optional)
    * 1 small jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
    * 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
    * 2 tablespoons olive oil
    * 1/4 teaspoon salt
    * Freshly ground black pepper
    * 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Instructions

    Put the quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse well with water. (This will remove the quinoa’s bitter coating.)

    In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa, 1 cup vegetable broth and 1/2 teaspoon cumin. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook 15 to 20 minutes, until the broth has been absorbed. Cool to room temperature.

    Meanwhile, prepare brown rice according to package directions. Cool to room temperature.

    Combine the quinoa and brown rice in a large bowl. Add the black beans, green onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, corn and (optionally) cilantro and jalapeno pepper.

    In a small jar put the lime juice, olive oil, remaining 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, salt, several grindings of black pepper and cayenne; cover and shake well to blend. Pour over the salad, mixing well. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate. Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

    Your turn:

    Have you eaten quinoa?  Did you like it? Also, if you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.

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  • Simple Vegan Quiche with Greens

    vegan spinach quicheI am always happy when I come across a recipe that is vegan, nutritious, simple, and delicious. Some recipes are vegan and nutritious; some are nutritious and delicious; some are delicious but complicated. And, of course, let’s not even discuss the recipes that are simple and nutritious but not-so-delicious… So to find something that has all four of these important qualities is like hitting the plant-based diet jackpot!

    And so it is with this scrumptious, easy-to-make, super-tasty and nutrient-dense Quiche with Greens recipe from Happy Herbivore. It uses extra-firm tofu in place of eggs and is versatile enough that you can use virtually any greens you happen to have on hand. (I used spinach). What a great way to use up those nearly-wilting leafy greens!

    Here is the link to the Quiche with Greens recipe at Happy Herbivore. Let me know if you try it!

    Now it’s your turn. What are your favorite vegan, nutritious, simple and delicious recipes?

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