Easy Vegan Tofu Mayo

While everybody is posting pics of beautifully decorated cookies and cakes, I decided to go back to basics with a recipe for vegan mayo. 

No need to panic if you run out; it’s really easy to make your own!

I used to love Trader Joe’s vegan mayo but they’ve either been out of it for a long time or maybe they just stopped selling it, so I decided to experiment with my own version.

It’s simple and tasty but next time I’ll use vegetable oil instead of olive oil–that’s a personal preference because I don’t really like the taste of olive oil.

Easy Vegan Tofu Mayo

–7oz silken tofu
–1/3 cup oil
–1TBS lemon juice
–1tsp vinegar
–1 tsp (or more to your taste) dijon mustard
–1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt (to your taste)

Place all of the ingredients in the cup of an immersion blender and blend until smooth and thick.
Add a little more lemon juice if too thick. It should look exactly like mayo and spread easily.
If you don’t have silken tofu, you can try it with the firm option, but it won’t be as velvety.

That’s IT. Nothing fancy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
And VERY healthy; packed with protein thanks to the tofu.

Sweet Diana Fig

After I removed the messy, encroaching ficus tree, I decided to replace the empty space with something edible.

I selected a pomegranate, Valencia orange, and a fig. I chose the Diana variety because it looked so adorable, almost like it was decorated for the holidays.

I know you’re supposed to remove any fruit the first year because it’ll encourage stronger root growth, but I’m going to let these guys ripen first and eat them.

This golden fig is soft and ready to eat; incredibly sweet–tropical with hints of banana and pineapple.

What’s funny is that I learned that fig is a member of the ficus family, so to avoid any invasive root damage, I planted it about fifty feet away from the house. The guy at the nursery said that would be far enough away to be safe.

Extreme closeup. Interesting and sort of gross, too.

So yummy, not too crunchy with seeds like other figs. It was absolutely delicious and juicy. Dried figs are great, but this one fresh off the tree was such a treat!

This is the end of the month, almost the end of the year, and tomorrow’s full moon will beguile us with a spectacular lunar eclipse.

[pah-tay-toe] Confessions

“GRANDMA ATE ALL OF THE POTATOES!”

I don’t care how you pronounce it, but I need to share my secret love for potatoes and there’s a recipe at the end.

Specifically, the much maligned WHITE potato: simple, sturdy, earthy.

On the last day of my most recent visit to the Angels, sadly, a very long time ago, DIL thoughtfully made a special going home dinner for me, all from scratch by the way, which made it even more wonderful.

There was vegan lasagna with a side of roasted potatoes and apple crumble. The lasagna was made with chard and kale from the garden and was SO VERY YUMMY and healthy.

Apparently (and rightly so) she thought I didn’t eat white potatoes because for the longest time, I would scowl at anything white: white rice, white flour, white sugar, white potatoes–as the source of empty calories, zero nutrition, and a great friend of diabetes. Not too healthy.

From the oven there emanated a most delicious perfume. I asked DIL what I was smelling and she said, “It’s roasted potatoes but you don’t have to eat them. I know you don’t like white potatoes.”

Not so fast, DIL.

I want to not like them, but I’m addicted to French fries (has anyone ever seen me hoard them? It’s not a pretty sight.) I actually dearly love white potatoes, but I try NOT to eat them and have some semblance of self control, like I say I don’t eat chocolate, only because I have no off switch. Once I start eating chocolate, I can’t stop. I don’t ever have any around because of my lack of restraint, which is also the reason why I buy Halloween candy like Skittles and other stuff I don’t like so I won’t be tempted.

OK, enough of the sidebar; back to the story of the roast potatoes.

Dinner was ready and we were setting the table. I was actually STARVING and had most likely once again forgotten to eat for the entire day.

DIL handed me a bowl of roasted potatoes and before they even reached the dining room table, I had eaten EVERY SINGLE ONE.

I brought the empty bowl into the kitchen and asked DIL where I could get seconds. She took one look at me and the empty bowl and started laughing.

“That was a sharing bowl! Did you eat all of them?”

“Well, yes, oops, sorry! I didn’t know they were for sharing!”

“T, Grandma ate ALL the potatoes!”

“YOU DID? HEY DAD, GRANDMA ATE ALL THE POTATOES IN THE SHARING BOWL! SHE REALLY DID!”

I hadn’t tasted anything so delicious in FOREVER; OMG they were so good, I’ve been thinking about them ever since I came home.

And by the way, I had never heard of the term “sharing bowl” before that day. It must be a British thing, as DIL is from the UK.

I finally broke down and bought two WHITE IDAHO potatoes and since it’s a bit rainy today and not devil hot, I’ll attempt a recreation of DILs heavenly dish. I’m even going to add salt and that’s also something I rarely do.

They tasted pretty yummy, but to be honest, not quite as good as DILs, but maybe that’s because it’s such a treat for me to have someone else cook, ‘cos I usually have that job.

I’m not sharing these, either!

Super Healthy Vegan Protein Smoothie

Happy Sunday!

The color of this smoothie was such a gorgeous jade green, I just had to pour it in a pretty cocktail glass and take a pic.

Ingredients:

+Vegan Pea Protein
+Moringa powder (Organic)
+Wheat grass powder (Organic)
+Spirulina powder (Organic)
+Kale
+Banana
+Mango Peach Juice

So easy; toss it all in a blender and enjoy!

3-Ingredient VEGAN Banana Oat Cookies

YES! It’s so simple and so healthy, a wonderful baking activity to do with children.

It’s your decision whether to stick with three basic ingredients or add extras. They can be as elaborate as you want.

The best part of this recipe is that it uses ZERO sweetener, however if you add granola, remember that it’s most likely made with sugar or honey. I don’t have gluten issues, but I guess you could call this technically a gluten-free recipe.

The secret to success is VERY ripe bananas, the kind that you’d only use for banana bread or think about tossing into the compost. That’s the level of ripeness we’re looking for here.

3 Ingredient Vegan Banana Oat Cookies

-1-2 very ripe bananas
-1 cup rolled oats (not quick oats) OR 1/2 cup oats and 1/2 cup granola, mine contained raisins.
-1/2 cup chopped nuts, I used raw almonds.

Directions: Mash bananas, stir in oats and nuts. (I sprinkled in 1 teaspoon cinnamon.)
Other additions could be raisins, flax/chia/hemp seeds, other dried fruit, coconut.

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, chill for 30 minutes or so; then drop by a full teaspoon on parchment covered baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 11-15 minutes, depending on your oven’s thermostat. Let cool on baking sheet before storing.

BEST Vegan Chocolate Cookies

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They really are!!!

For no other reason than I felt like a personal challenge, I went for about two weeks without eating ANY sugar.

No cookies, no cake, no pie, nothing sweet at all.

But last night, I had had enough. Even though I didn’t experience any withdrawals or anything, I felt like if I didn’t eat some chocolate, I’d lose my mind.

I didn’t feel like going to the grocery store ‘cos I think it’s fun to experiment with ingredients on hand–and this is what I created.

I’m happy to report that they’re absolutely delicious! The cookies puffed up and then became all crackly just like I hoped they would, so satisfying with a cuppa. Crisp and chewy. YUM.

P.S. These is a a perfect basic recipe. Add whatever you want: chocolate chips, nuts, coconut, chia/flax seeds.

Best Vegan Chocolate Cookies

  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coffee or a non-dairy beverage of choice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix oil, sugar, maple syrup, vanilla, and liquid. Add all the dry ingredients and combine to make a pliable dough. If it’s a little dry, add a bit more liquid.

Roll dough into walnut-sized balls and place on two parchment lined baking sheets. Flatten slightly with fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

 

Brilliant nonstop chat and research with the most interesting human on planet Earth

Every day starts at around 5:45 a.m. It’s nonstop talking unless he’s eating or sleeping.

“Grandma?” Which really sounds more like “Grand-maw” if you’re sounding it out.

“I’m hungry. Let’s go in the kitchen and I’ll sit on the big stool and watch you make my breakfast.”

Grandma? Why is it still dark out? Why do you love seashells so much? Can I have this rock? Why do you cut up my apple like that? Why do you make me oatmeal? Why is the stove hot? I burned myself one time and Mommy put ice on it. Why do you put cinnamon in it? I wish I was in a rocket ship and could fly off to space.I didn’t wet my bed last night. I’m wearing my Batman undies. Look, Grandma, look at me. Why do you love me so much? I’m your first little boy, Daddy is your second little boy. Right, Grandma? Right? Grandma, are you making coffee now? Why do you do that? That’s the same kind of coffee you get at MY house. We have a Trader Joe’s there, too. Is this safe, Grandma? (As he jumps from the chair to the sofa, and back.)

“Be ever so careful, my favorite boy!”

Silence as he’s eating his breakfast. But not for long…

“I’m really smart, ammnt I, Grandma?”

“Grandma?”

“Yes, T?”
“Is that a TV screen? I only get to watch it for special. When do you watch it, Grandma? Why are you so small, Grandma? Daddy’s big and you’re small. You’re my little Grandma. I’m going to be bigger than my Daddy soon. Like when I’m six or twelve. I will, I really will. I’m not kidding. For reals. My Dad is SO strong, right, Grandma? Why did your little boy grow up, Grandma?

That one got me.
“Hmmm”, I said.
“I think about that too, T. Sometimes I wish Daddy was still a little boy and then I think that he grew up so he could have a little boy like you and make me so happy. What do you think?”

“I think….I think that I want a breakfast burrito now. I’m still hungry.”

Yup, he’s his Daddy’s little boy, that’s for sure. No doubt about it.

The questions have been coming fast and furious as soon as he turned three.

It started with ” where do sloths live?” and I said, “Let’s go to the library tomorrow and do some research.”

The next day we went to the library and checked out a few book about sloths.

After that it was “let’s do research” about everything that had been cooking in his brilliant little mind.

“I love the solar system, my favorite planet is Neptune, I love Neptune because it has rings. We live on planet Earth. I want to know about astronauts.”

Another trip to the library; more books. When he learned that astronauts wear diapers in space, he had to repeat that fact at least a hundred times.

“What happened to dinosaurs?” “Why aren’t there dinosaurs anymore? Why are they only in museums? Why are they just skeletons now?”

“What’s lightening?”
“How does electricity work?”
“How does a volcano erupt?”
“How do bees make honey?”

That question couldn’t be answered very easily with a book, so we did something really special: computer research. We found a video that explained it in a way a toddler could understand. I have to admit that I didn’t know exactly how bees made honey and what we learned made me appreciate the importance of bees even more than I did before. For example, did you know that forager bees have two stomachs, one just to capture the pollen that will eventually turn into honey? Or that some of the jobs that other bees in the colony have is to vomit the contents of their stomach into a succession of about twenty other bees’ stomachs so that certain chemical changes can take place? Or that all the bees work together to flap their wings and evaporate the liquid when first placed in the comb and that when the liquid becomes thickened—well, that’s the end product—honey. In order to produce just one pound of honey, 2 million flowers must be visited. A hive of bees must fly 55,000 miles to produce a pound of honey. One bee colony can produce 60 to 100 pounds of honey per year. An average worker bee makes only about 1/12 teaspoon of honey in its lifetime. I’m THIS MANY YEARS old and never knew all of that. It took a brilliant 3.5 year old child to teach me!

Finally, my very observant little grandson said this…
“Why don’t you eat meat, Grandma?”
When I gave him a simple answer about how I love animals and don’t like to eat them, he said he didn’t like to eat animals either. His mom told me that later that afternoon, he asked her why Grandma doesn’t like to eat animals.

I’m so grateful to be able to generate a thought process like that. We are in desperate need of his generation to make the world a better place. Kinder, more compassionate. More empathy for all living creatures with whom we co-exist on this planet and learn to become better stewards of our oceans and the air we all breathe.

He’s so adorably exuberantly awkward in his joie de vivre. But me? I’m beyond exhausted with so much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving.

Inside camping nap because it’s so rainy today.

More brilliant convo with a human

Angel Boy 2.0 had a cold so he stayed home from preschool.

“I’m a little snotty today, Grandma!”
He was feeling much better after a long morning nap. We were in the living room looking at the windy day while he enjoyed a protein smoothie popsicle (see recipe below).

For the past couple of days, we had noticed a big truck parked in front of his house, taking up more than its fair share of the street. No one knew who it belonged to but we speculated that it possibly was a contractor’s vehicle working at a neighbor’s house.

Recently, Theo has been noticing different cars and trucks and asking for them to be identified. “I said, that’s a Dodge Ram truck. He is so rude to park there every day. He needs to park somewhere else.”

Theo repeated, “Yeah, he needs to park somewhere else. He’s so RUDE.”

All day long we would check to see if the truck was still there and it was, so it became an ongoing joke about how RUDE it was to park in front of Theo’s house so there wasn’t enough room for HIS car.

At dinnertime, we were sharing interesting stories about our day and in a moment of silence, Theo said, “Mommy and Daddy, that Dodge Ram truck is so RUDE!”

There was such a shocked expression on Mom and Dad’s faces, I really wish I had a photo to capture it because this is what it SOUNDED like Theo said…

That goddamn fuck is so RUDE!”

Dodge Ram truck = goddam fuck —a very expressive three-year-old with a mouth stuffed full of lasagna and a stuffy nose.

For a brief moment, I had a feeling they thought I had taught him how to swear like a merchant mariner. However, when I hastened to translate, we couldn’t stop laughing.

Until the mysterious man drove away, Theo kept saying, “He’s so RUDE with his Dodge Ram truck!”

Just another brilliant slice of conversation with this always enchanting human.

____________________________________________________________________

Fruit and Protein Smoothie Popsicles

Cherries (any frozen or fresh fruit)
Banana – one
100% fruit juice — 8oz
Kale and/or spinach — handful
Vegan Protein Powder–one scoop
Cinnamon to taste

Combine kale and juice. Blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend to desired thickness. Pour into popsicle freezer containers, the ones with the little sticks. Freeze until firm.They are so healthy and delicious!

You heard right…I did say Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

BF607BA9-C66F-4599-B127-A6B2A94341DFAnd they are DELICIOUS, much to even my surprise, haha.

I was playing around in the kitchen this morning and thought I’d challenge myself to experiment baking with only the ingredients I have in my pantry.

There’s not much food here, but that’s a sad story for another day. (I can pinpoint the exact date and time that my love for cooking and baking was destroyed like an atom bomb.)

Anyway…

I thought these cookies were going to be making the short journey from oven to compost BUT they surprised me, so I thought I should share the recipe before I forget. If you try them, let me know what you think.

Vegan Lentil Kale Cookies

Lentils (cooked)-one cup
Kale-1/2 cup raw (freshly picked from the garden.)
Banana-one, mashed
Oil-1/3 cup
1/3 cup agave plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Chia seeds-2 tablespoons
Raisins-1/2 cup
Oats-1//2 cup (oat flour, I make my own, so easy. 1/2 cup oats in the blender or Bullet or food processor, takes just a few seconds.)
Whole wheat flour-1 cup
Baking powder-1/2 teaspoon
Pinch salt
Cinnamon-1 teaspoon
Vanilla-1 teaspoon

If you don’t already have some leftover cooked lentils like I did, cook 1 cup of lentils with 2 cups of water until soft, about 20-30 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.)
Let cool.

Place one cup cooked lentils in bowl.
Combine the kale and the oil in a blender/Bullet/food processor. Blend until a smooth slurry.
Add to lentils.
Add agave/maple syrup, vanilla, raisins, chia, and all other ingredients.
Mix until flours are well incorporated.
Let chill in refrigerator a few minutes until the oven is heated to 375 degrees.

Using a teaspoon, place about two inches apart on baking sheet. Flatten with a fork coated in flour so it won’t stick.

Bake for about 17 minutes until bottom is golden brown and the top is firm.
Let cool on wire rack.
YUM!

***Options: Of course if your pantry is more well stocked than mine, you can def add grated apples, coconut, and other dried fruit and nuts.

 

 

 

 

Garden Treasures. Winter Gratitude.

Freshly picked gifts from Mother Earth in all the brilliant colors of the season.

Red leaf lettuce, peppery arugula, baby romaine, and baby kale fill a pristine white bowl.

Accompanied by steamed brown rice and a glass of crisp chardonnay, it’s a purely simple and fulfilling dinner.

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