Scrumptious Vegan Pesto

Although I usually make all the food I serve to my family from scratch, sometimes it’s nice to have a healthy vegan FAST option in my pantry.

Sauces ‘n Love sent me their Vegan Pesto to sample and review and it was the perfect choice for my tugboat man’s whirlwind visit home.

I wanted to prepare a homemade meal but didn’t have the time to spend hours in the kitchen. vegan pesto

There are only SEVEN ingredients!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Sunflower Oil, Basil, Pinenuts, Garlic, Salt, Black Pepper
Sauces ’n Love Vegan Pesto has the same authentic Italian flavor that’s been perfectly balanced with fresh basil, pine nuts and olive oil and garlic.
It has that rich flavor and texture of the best pesto sauces but without the cheese. Use this vegan pesto over pasta, salads, sandwiches or as a condiment.

I added a two tablespoons to a couple of hastily thrown together stuffed portobello mushrooms for an appetizer and it was delicious.

With Spring here and Summer not far behind, when was the last time you had a truly amazing vegan pesto on a warm day?

Sauces ‘n Love has a reputation for quality with fifteen Specialty Food Association Awards for superior gourmet flavor.

Check out the brand at www.saucesnlove.com.

Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto with Asparagus with Mushrooms

Ingredients:

Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto
8 oz. Linguine
1 bunch asparagus
4 oz. mixed mushrooms
1 Shallot (or onion)
3 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil Salt & Black Pepper

Preparation :

Set pot of cold water (3-4 qts.) on high heat. Wash and dry asparagus, cut hard end off (3-4″), trim heads, and cut stem in 1/4″ cylinders. Cut heads in half, lengthwise. Slice shallot thinly. Trim mushroom stems, rub head with damp paper towel, removing any dirt. Roughly chop mushrooms.

Actions: In skillet heat 3 tbsp oil on Medium.

  1. Saute’ shallots for 1 minute stirring, add asparagus cylinders (retain the heads), cook for 2 minutes, stirring.
  2. Add salt to boiling water, add pasta and set timer according to instructions on package.
  3. Add mushroom to asparagus, cook for 5 minutes. Adjust for salt and pepper
  4. Add Sauces ‘n Love Vegan Pesto and asparagus heads, bring to gentle simmer, add 2 tbsp pasta water (more if you want the sauce thinner)
  5. Drain pasta, add to sauce and gently coat by stirring medium heat.

Presentation : Serve on warm plates, decorate with a sprig of your favorite herb. We like everything a bit spicy, so just added a few hot red pepper flakes. Buon Appetito! (I was provided product to sample and review. Opinions are my own.)

Keep It Simple With Brown Rice, Kale, and Tofu #MeatlessMonday

Over the last couple of years, I’ve seen a huge increase in the numbers of vegan blogs and vegan recipes (YAY!) but it seems that they’re getting more and more elaborate, as if it’s a sort of competition to create the most difficult-to-prepare meals.

I’m sending a more simple back-to-basics message.

If we agree that one of the reasons for not eating meat advocates for a cruelty-free life to protect animals from a hellish existence on earth, we need to also communicate that it doesn’t always have to be a herculean task to do the right thing.

I’ve been a veg since 1970 and in those 40+ years have seen a lot of people make a similar decision to go meat-free and then, for one reason or another, fall off the wagon.

One of the reasons I’ve heard time and time again is that it’s “too hard”.

I disagree.

Some of my most enjoyable and satisfying meals are the most simple.

Here’s an example of a basic, easy-to-prepare dinner.

Start with my can’t fail One Dish Brown Rice recipe.

It’s PERFECT every time.

1. Add one cup brown rice to a 9×9 glass baking dish.

2. Pour over the rice not quite two cups water plus one teaspoon olive oil.

3. Lay gently on top of the rice one-inch chunks of tofu.

4. Sprinkle pepper, chopped fresh herbs, freshly ground salt (if you must).

5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes.

6. While the rice is baking, I picked a bunch of kale from the garden, cut into bite-size pieces, and steamed it.

7. To serve, sprinkle rice with low-sodium soy sauce, slice an organic tomato and garnish with cilantro or parsley (we grow cilantro year-round in the Casa de Enchanted Seashells garden.

A chilled chardonnay will dance a tango on your palate and complement the earthy rice, tofu, and kale combo.

Simple. Delicious. 

Best 100% Whole Wheat Bread Recipe

Easy+Spectacular 100% Whole Wheat BreadWhen my tugboat man’s home or when my son is here, I bake a lot.

When I’m alone, I don’t bake or cook at all; I guess that’s why I enjoy it as much as I do.

Sometimes the results are great; sometimes they end up in the compost bin.

And I’m OK with that; I love to experiment and put my own spin on established recipes.

Without a doubt, THIS is the absolute BEST 100% whole wheat bread I’ve ever made.

I have a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but you can use a hand mixer with the bread hook attachment. And if you don’t have that, you can go totally old school with a big bowl, a wooden spoon, and get a great upper body work out. Sometimes I still make bread that way just to prove to myself that I can.

Easy + Spectacular Whole Wheat Bread 

One cup warm water (not too hot)
1/4 cup orange juice (I used fresh squeezed)
One packet yeast
1/4 cup agave syrup (honey or molasses works, too)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 1/2 cups 100% whole wheat flour, approximately.
One teaspoon sea salt

Mix water and orange juice plus agave in large bowl. Sprinkle yeast on top; stir.

Cover with a cloth for a few minutes to allow the yeast to bloom.

All at once, add, oil, THREE cups of flour, and salt.

With paddle attachment, mix for about three or four minutes. Switch over to the bread hook attachment and knead approximately 8-10 minutes, adding the last 1/2 (or so) cup flour a little at a time.

When the dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the sides, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand until it’s soft and pliable, not sticky.

Oil a bowl for rising, add dough, cover with plastic, and then cover with dishcloth. Let rise until it doubles in size. I like to find a non-drafty location like the oven or on top of a dryer.

When it’s doubled (about two hours), punch down gently and let sit on floured cutting board for a few minutes. Here’s my quick technique for shaping bread for a loaf pan.

Pat the dough into a rectangle — you don’t need to measure or be all OCD about it…

Fold in half. Starting at the folded side, roll into a cigar shape, pinch the edges closed, and pop into a loaf pan.

Try not to use too much extra flour ‘cos that will make it tough and dry.

Let it rise again for about thirty minutes or until the bread rises above the rim of the pan. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake about thirty-forty minutes, checking to make sure it doesn’t become too brown. You can always cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil the last five minutes or so of baking.

When it’s done, let it cool for five minutes in the pan, then turn the bread onto a rack to finish cooling. Tap the bottom of the loaf with your fingers to see if it gives off a hollow sound. Then you know for sure it’s done.

Does this sound very tedious and time consuming? Just do it a couple of times, and it’ll be come second nature to you.

Homemade bread is SO much superior to store bought, chemical and preservative-laden bread. The texture of this bread is finely grained and tender; almost cake-like.easy+spectacular100%wholewheatbread1

#vegan

 

DELICIOUS Sweet and Savory Vegan Holiday Recipes with Food For Life Bread

Another homecoming! 

Tugboat man will return in a few days, Angel Boy and DIL will be here for Thanksgiving; so I’m doing what I do, cleaning and cleaning, waxing and polishing furniture, planning meals — and waiting. And waiting.

This is the-lull-before-the-storm time.

When Food for Life sent me a box of assorted breads to sample and review, I couldn’t wait to begin to experiment with recipes for Thanksgiving.

We are thankful to enjoy a meat-free, cruelty-free Thanksgiving dinner.

My family LOVES bread and as tasty as these breads are on their own — stand alone goodness — I wanted to craft a few recipes and share them with anyone looking to eat healthier and of course, vegan.

These breads are gluten free, vegan, and USDA certified organic.

My family especially enjoys the bread toasted, which brings out all of the unique flavors. They are amazing simply with hummus or in veggie sandwiches.

For holiday baking ideas, here’s one dessert bread pudding, one savory bread pudding, and my version of a vegan stuffing.


 

1. Vegan Bread Pudding (Sweet)breadpudding1

*****This is a MUST for you to make. It’s so unbelievably good, I ate the biggest bowl as soon as it came out of the oven. OK, to be honest, I ate TWO bowls. (That’s like half a loaf of bread haha). It was even better than I had anticipated.

The blueberries and apples are key to the whole moist yumminess and the slight toasty crunch of coconut is amazing. Next time I’ll add a tablespoon of orange zest to brighten the fruity flavors.

Ingredients:

One loaf Food for Life Sprouted For Life Bread Gluten Free Cinnamon Raisin with sprouted chia, quinoa, and millet. (The Almond version would be awesome, too.)
2-3 cups plain or vanilla almond milk, really SOAK the bread
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup dried blueberries
One apple, peeled, diced
Ground cinnamon
Toasted coconut for topping 

breadpudding2Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° degrees. Grease a nine-inch baking dish or casserole dish.
  2. Tear the bread into rough cubes.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together milk, cinnamon, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the bread, let sit about 10-20 minutes, or until bread is soft and has absorbed most of the milk. Add the raisins gently mix. Don’t over mix.
  4. Scoop into prepared pan.
  5. Lightly sprinkle top with a little more cinnamon and the coconut.
  6. Bake 30-45 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and it’s a puffy golden brown.

YUM! Just TRY to stop eating it.
I think it’d also be awesome with your favorite sauce
or a 
scoop of vegan ice cream.
breadpudding3


I don’t have pics of the next two because I didn’t want to prepare them too far in advance, but I wanted to share the recipes so you’ll all have enough time to shop for the ingredients.

2. Vegan Bread Pudding (Savory)

Ingredients:

One loaf  Food for Life Sprouted For Life Bread Gluten Free (Flax Seed is the one I’ll be using.)
1 bunch Swiss chard, kale, or spinach (about 1 lb.)
1 cup almond or soy or rice milk
1 cup vegetable broth (low sodium)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 cups cubed bread
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sliced tomatoes
Option: Add tofu cubes

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove and discard ribs from Swiss chard or kale. Rinse with cold water; drain and coarsely chop. If using spinach, wash and chop.
2. Whisk together milk, broth, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. Stir in bread.
3. Sauté mushrooms, onions, garlic, red pepper in hot oil until tender and soft. Stir in chard, kale, or spinach, and sauté 2 minutes. Fold vegetable mixture into liquid/bread mixture.
4. Top with thinly sliced tomatoes.If you have a vegan cheese that you like, crumble a few slices on top of tomatoes.
5. Pour into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is set. Let stand 5 minutes.


Vegan Stuffing (Dressing)

Yummy to stuff green or red peppers or baked butternut squash, halved. I serve with my homemade cranberry sauce. No one misses the meat and if they do, they know better than to mention it! This recipe makes enough to feed our family and have leftovers the next day.

2 medium onions, diced
6 stalks celery with leaves, diced
4 carrots, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
Two loaves of Original Three Seed Sprouted for Life Food for Life
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon dried sage, crumbled
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/2 – 3/4  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups hot Homemade Vegetable Stock or a good quality low sodium purchased veg stock

Directions:
1. Saute onion, carrots, and celery, stirring occasionally until soft, 15 to 20 minutes. (Vegetables can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Reheat before continuing.)
2. Transfer to large bowl and add stuffing cubes, parsley, celery salt, sage, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir in 1 1/4 cups hot stock.
3. If stuffing peppers or other vegetables, stuff lightly and bake for about 30-40 minutes.
4. If baking entire recipe as side dish: Preheat oven to 350°F and grease 3-quart casserole or 9- by 13-inch baking dish. Transfer stuffing to dish and drizzle with 1/2 cup hot stock. Cover with aluminum foil and bake until heated through, about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until top is slightly crisp and golden, about 10 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Of course you can add or detract any vegetables your family doesn’t like (our DIL doesn’t like mushrooms so I’ll make a small batch for her without them) and add more herbs and spices depending upon your own personal tastes. We like it rather peppery with bold flavors since it’s more than just a side dish.

Bon appétit!

I received product for sample and review, no other compensation. My opinions are my own.
http://www.foodforlife.com/

Best Protein Bar EVER – with Garden of Life

Follow ME To a HEALTHIER and More Vibrant YOU #gardenoflife #gardenofliferaw #kindorganics


So…by now y’all are aware that I went all whiny and whingy at BlogHer14, but I came away with a few positives, like meeting the awesome reps from Garden of Life Kind Organics.

I start every day with smoothies prepared with Raw Protein-Beyond Organic Protein Formula

  • Good for those with gastrointestinal sensitivities to milk, whey, and other protein sources
  • Easily digested – supports digestive health and function with live probiotics and protein-digesting enzymes
  • It’s raw, vegan and gluten free.
  • One serving has 17 grams of raw plant based protein.

My family loves my protein bars — I’m on a constant quest experimenting with different recipes to pack as many nutrients as possible in every bite, and THIS one is so good, it could be a meal replacement bar, too.

There are a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that scare you; it makes enough to last a long time.

This recipe uses Garden of Life Raw Protein in Vanilla, but you could use any flavor. Chocolate would be DELICOUS, and if you use that, add 1/2 cup cocoa to the dry ingredients.

“Bomber Bar” with Quinoa and Lentils ©™

We call them “Bomber Bars” ‘cos “bomber” is a term for an awesome wave. In my family, everyone but me surfs, and this is a great snack when you’ve burned all those calories in the water.

Lentil Puree:
4 ounces lentils, approximately 2/3 cup, picked over and rinsed
2 cups water
Cook until soft, about thirty minutes, then mash or use immersion blender. Set aside.

Ingredients:
½ – 1 cup Garden of Life Protein Powder
1½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (we love cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons fresh or ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom

2/3 cup maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 egg (delete egg to make it vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsalted peanut butter

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup raw quinoa
1/2 c. Garden of Life chia seeds or ground chia
1/4 c. ground flax seeds
¼ cup rice bran
1/4 c. shredded coconut, sweetened

½ cup dried blueberries
1 cup assorted dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, apricots, cranberries
1 cup chopped almonds

Directions:
In a really big bowl, combine the first ten dry ingredients, whisk to stir and set aside.quinoalentilbarCombine the quinoa, chia, flax, coconut, oats, and almonds on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes @350 degrees until lightly browned.

quinoalentil6in a large pot, mix the peanut butter and maple syrup together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the rice bran, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, ginger, and vanilla extract.

quinoalentil7Combine the lentils with quinoa/oats/almonds mixture with dry ingredients that were set aside. Whisk to mix.

Pour the peanut butter/maple syrup mixture into the bowl with dry ingredients, add oil and egg (if used).

Add cooked, mashed lentils. Mix well with wooden spoon to completely incorporate.

Add fruit. At this point, I use my hands to mix it all together. The mixture is a bit heavy and thanks to the maple syrup, it should stick together, so you may need to slightly moisten hands as you go.

Line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper, leaving enough hanging over the sides so you can lift it out after it bakes and cools.

Pour the (heavy) mixture into the pan and press down firmly.

*This is a super important step. When my tugboat man is home, this is his job. When he’s not here, I use a one-pound can to roll back and forth until it’s a flat and mooshed(?) together as possible. Pack it down to ensure it fills each corner and creates an even, flat surface.

Bake at 350 degrees for about thirty-forty minutes. Remove from oven, and press down again. The more dense the bar, the less crumbly it’ll be.
Let cool, refrigerate for at least two hours. Cut into 2×2 inch squares. To keep them fresher longer, I wrap each individually in parchment paper and always refrigerated.

quinoalentil8
quinoalentilproteinbar2 quinoalentilproteinbar3One of these bars is a protein packed “bomber” that’s a perfect snack or even meal replacement.

My son needs to eat several small meals with high quality nutrition and these are perfect for his busy, on-the-go lifestyle.

I’m happy because I know my family is eating healthy food made with love.

Why I’m Boycotting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games

World MEOver the years, I’ve been a passive fan of the Olympic games.

Oh, I’d sometimes watch figure skating, skiing and snowboarding, and that’s about it. Sean White is from our town, Carlsbad, and went to the same high school as my son, so there’s that tenuous connection.

The best year for me was 1994, the same year my tugboat man and I got married. I LOVED Oksana Baiul. Watching her perform “The Swan” was the most incredibly beautiful synergy of ballet and ice dancing. I’m not sure that level of perfection will ever be surpassed.

And it’s not that I don’t understand the years of training and sacrifice by the athletes and their families to reach this point in their lives, and it’s not that I don’t admire that kind of passion.

I get it, I really do.

But, overshadowing the joy of the win and the tears of defeat, is the tragedy of human rights and animal rights in Russia.

According to One Green Planet, over the last few months, Sochi, this year’s Winter Olympics host city, has fallen under intense scrutiny.

Some have called for a boycott of the 2014 Olympics because of Russia’s anti-gay policies, including a piece of legislation signed into law in June 2013 banning “homosexual propaganda” but no one has spoken publicly about boycotting the games on behalf of the animals.

WorldAnimals1

Photo property of Enchanted Seashells, Confessions of a Tugboat Captain’s Wife

But there has been limited media coverage of Russia’s disregard for animal protection, including Sochi’s decision to use a captive dolphin as a torch bearer and the still pending transport of two wild-caught orcas to a Sochi dolphinarium.

And here’s more depressing news…

According to Peter Akman of CTV News, the city has gone back on its word and has resumed its plan to cull stray animals in an attempt to “cleanse” the area for Olympic guests.

Concerned locals have been documenting the cull’s victims through photo and video footage and animal activist groups have again called on the city to end its futile population control method, urging Sochi to instead build a shelter for homeless animals.

Unfortunately, we see similarly cruel decisions regarding animal “management” here in the United States with wolves, coyotes, and other predators, but this does not mean we should accept defeat and stay silent.

Instead, we must stay strong and be the voice for the voiceless.

In response to this barbarism, our own family boycott will manifest itself in a very simple way:

We will not watch NBC. We will change the station, watch another network, support other advertisers.

It’s not much, but it’s a statement to support our beliefs.

It seems so sad that not even one Olympic athlete has spoken out against these atrocities.

Is winning a medal more important than the life of an animal or thousands of animals?

Is that the best message we are sending the world and our future generations?

What you can do:

1. Join my family in boycotting The Winter Olympics and the advertisers. It’s a small sacrifice to show your support against these atrocities.

2. Sign this petition on Care2, asking Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, to halt Sochi’s cull.

3. You can also send an email to the City of Sochi urging them to focus on more effective and KIND overpopulation management solutions such as low cost sterilization and trap-neuter-release programs.

Thanks to OneGreenPlanet for this info.

WorldMe2Just think about it, OK?
Princess Rosebud and Her Tugboat Man

Sign the Animal Bill of Rights! | Animal Legal Defense Fund

I’m discovering my blogging path isn’t all seashells and Chanel…my tugboat man and I are both ardent animal activists — no, he doesn’t eat meat either, and abhors hunting or killing of animals. Hunting is not a sport. My tough merchant mariner is proud to stand up for and defend animals. What an awesome man I’m married to.

Sign the Animal Bill of Rights! | Animal Legal Defense Fund.

Do as I say, not as I do

A food police confession…we were out of healthy homemade cookies with DIL and sister wife in town, and captain loves a little sumpin’ sweet, so I broke down and allowed him to have a choice in life bought a package of honey graham crackers at Vons. Lowfat, contains fiber, etc. I gave him two squares and thought that would make him happy. Then I got the idea in my head to make chocolate covered graham crackers. Bad idea. Turned into a major tussle. I had to hide them from both of us, cos we wanted to eat them ALL, but you should REALLY try it. Melt 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips. Add about 1 tsp. veg oil and stir to combine for a minute or so with a wooden spoon which’ll temper the choc. I covered one side although you could do both. I placed them in the refrigerator for a bit to speed up the hardening of the choc. They’re so freakin’ good. I know it’s crazy to take on the role of food regulator and then create scenarios that cause these kinds of problems. At least I’m totes aware of the dichotomy here. And at least I didn’t go full-on s’mores, mostly ‘cos the marshmallows at Vons contained gelatin which is derived from cows and we’re vegetarians and don’t eat Jello or anything like that. If we had been at Whole Foods and saw vegan marshmallows, I might not have been able to stop myself…