Happy Valentine’s Day | For Chocolate Lovers | Vegan Lentil Brownies

I’ve had a bit of success with Black Bean & Beet Brownies and Lentil Cookies but I’ve never tried simply Lentil Brownies, so I baked some this morning before it got too hot to have the oven on.

They look good, right? But the real question is how do they taste?

If you’ve ever had Black Bean Brownies, you might have detected a slightly weird beany texture, so I hoped this lentil version would eliminate that.

These brownies are TRULY surprisingly yummy! They’re very moist and chocolate-y. I can’t tell they contain lentils, which IS a wonderful source of protein, so this is also a healthy snack.

Tips:
1. Really cook the lentils until they’re mushy.
2. Refrigerate the pan for at least a couple hours after frosting before cutting and eating.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Healthy Super Bowl Recipe! Easy Veggie Burgers

These veggie burgers would be great for the Super Bowl along with guacamole and a gigantic pitcher of margaritas.

Add vegan mayo and/or ketchup and it’s so delicious, trust me!

I continually experiment with different ingredients to try and provide as much nutrition as possible and still taste good.

This is a complete meal for lunch or dinner or even on the go and it’s super easy because this time I used canned beans. Of course, you can always start with dried beans, but I used what I had on hand.

TIPS:
*Quantities can be adjusted for your specific needs; I like to make a lot so I can freeze some.
*They can be ovenbaked or in a pan on the stove.
*Use whatever veggies you like.
*I like to cook them until they’re crispy and crunchy on the outside for texture and because they hold together better, also because it makes them easier to pack and freeze.
*They’re delicious hot or cold; perfect for a hike or beach day.

GO VEGAN in 2022 #Veganuary

(That’s me, one of my favorite pics!)

Of all the positive and healthy choices one could implement for 2022, how about becoming #vegan?

A great way to start the process is to visit https://veganuary.com/

There’s a blog along with recipes and a Getting Started eating guide with shopping and nutrition tips.

Do it for yourself, to prevent animal suffering, and the environment.

No human needs to eat the flesh or secretions of a dead creature.

If you choose to join the movement, please let me know so I can give you encouragement, support, and a virtual high five!

Ginger-Lime Quick Bread **Vegan**

All that rain we had yesterday made it literally impossible NOT to bake, so I did.

We had about 1 1/2 inches of rain and our strongest winds were 45+ mph. Stores closed in our little village because of power outages and streets were flooded.

My friend’s lime tree exploded with limes last week, so now I have about fifty limes as a result of her generosity. I juiced A LOT OF THEM and froze in ice cube trays. These are the juicy sweet Mexican limes that are so amazing in margaritas and guacamole. LImes + tequila = heaven.

I created this recipe after reading tons of similar ones on the internet.

After the worst of the storm passed, it was still windy but FREEZING. A hot mug of fragrant ginger tea was just what I needed along with a couple slices of yummy Ginger-Lime bread.

It came out soo moist and tender, I definitely recommend and will make again and again.

PS I can’t change the recipe graphic but I forgot the amount of ginger tea. Should read 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup.

‘When in doubt, toss it out…”

Do you do that?

Do you check for mold on your food and eat it anyway or do you do as my RN mom did, throw it out?

I used to be pretty lax about eating questionable food, whether it was moldy-ish bread or food that had been sitting in the refrigerator for a while. My mom was always lecturing me about botulism and blah blah blah, I don’t remember what she said as I usually stopped listening to her, but I wish I had paid more attention!

Last night I made a batch of lentil veggie soup with black beans and tofu because I wanted to transform it into veggie burgers. I picked fresh celery and chard from the garden; added carrots and broccoli and herbs. It was all happily bubbling away on the stove and smelled really good.

Then I looked in the refrigerator and spied a jar of tomato sauce that had been opened but was still half full. I think it had been there for a couple of months. I don’t often use prepared tomato sauce because I prefer making my own from scratch but I thought it would add great tomato-y flavor. It looked OK and wasn’t past the expiration date, so I poured it in the pot. That’s when I noticed the cap was full of mold and spores and fuzzy stuff.

I surely wish I had thought to look BEFORE I added it, but that’s another lesson learned.

Gross, huh?

What to do? Did that mean my soup was contaminated? Should I take a chance that cooking it would kill whatever the bacteria was?

I agonized because I HATE to throw away food, especially since I had just added a whole container of tofu.

I researched and queried and the results weren’t clear. Some said it’s fine as long as the mold was only on the lid, some said to toss it out.

I’ve had food poisoning before (not from MY cooking haha) and it’s more than unpleasant. I will forever be reminded of the food poisoning scene in Bridesmaids, one of my all time favorite films.

According to the USDA, mold can cause allergic reactions or digestive and respiratory problems. Certain kinds of molds produce poisonous mycotoxins that make people sick or cause infections and one might even need to be hospitalized.

Anyway…I’m sure my mom would be very happy to know that I tossed it out. All of it.

I then had absolutely nothing to eat for dinner. Not one single thing, so I ate a bowl of oatmeal accompanied by a glass of wine in my sparkly new goblet.

Definitely follow me for more cooking and fine dining tips!

Vegan Banana Buckwheat Pancakes w/Homemade Almond Milk

This turned out to be a drizzly and dreary Sunday morning, perfect for my famous buckwheat pancakes.

I had a couple very ripe bananas, so I figured that would be a great flavor enhancer but I didn’t have any liquid (just juice and wine haha) and didn’t feel like going to the store.

In vegan recipes, nut/oat milk is interchageable with cow’s milk and eggs aren’t really necessary. I didn’t have any plant milk but I did have raw almonds.

I’ve never made my own “milk” but this seemed like a good time to try. It’s super super easy. I was thinking of separating this into two posts and I still might, but since the recipe for vegan pancakes needed plant milk, I combined them.

Almond Milk

First, soak about one cup of almonds in bowl with four cups of water. The recipes recommend soaking for a minimum of four hours to overnight, but I’m impatient so I only waited a couple of hours.

Pour all of it into a high powered blender. This is when you can add a bit of salt or vanilla if you wish. Blend until it’s creamy and smooth.

Use a nutbag or strainer to separate the nuts from the liquid. I didn’t have a nutbag so I used a doublemesh strainer and then I squeezed the last bit of liquid with my very clean hand.

Cover and store in refrigerator. Definitely save the leftover pulp for baking.

Soak

Blend

Strain

Chill and enjoy!

Time for…

Vegan Banana Buckwheat Pancakes

Preheat griddle or pan

2 very ripe bananas
1 cup almond (plant) milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar or agave
1 teaspoon vanilla
Pinch sea salt (optional)
Mash the bananas with a fork. Add milk, oil, sugar, vanillla.
To the liquid ingredients, add all at once
1/2 cup all purpose or whole wheat flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder.

Stir by hand until combined. Don’t overmix or pancakes won’t be fluffy.

When the griddle is hot, use a small amount of vegan butter to coat the surface.
Ladle the batter and watch for bubbles on the surface of the pancake.

When air bubbles start to rise to the surface at the center of the pancake, flip the pancake. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, or until nicely browned.

Serve with organic maple syrup or agave or jam. YUM. Super moist and fluffy!

The Ultimate Avocado

Feast your eyes on this beauty!

It’s a Reed avocado, a gigantic variety grown by a very generous friend. I’ve tried to grow avos but don’t seem to have the green thumb it takes to be successful.

It’s more than twice the size of a regular Fuerte avocado; about six inches long and weighs approximately two pounds.

I LOVE avocado in its purest form; split open and scooped out of the shell; beautifully green, rich, smooth, and creamy. Guacamole is my second favorite way to eat avos–what I don’t really care for is the trendy avocado toast, it tastes weird to me.

Did you know that the seed is edible too?

Practically everyone knows how good avocados are for health, but the nutrient contents of the seed itself might just surprise you. The seed contains about 70 percent of the total nutrients in the whole avocado. For its antioxidants and soluble fiber count alone, the avocado seed single-handedly beats any other fruit and vegetable available on the market. To include the seed in your diet also means to benefit from more potassium, copper and vitamins B, C, E and K than if you simply relied on the pulp.

The Avocado Pharmacy

From an even greater health standpoint, the seed is antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Simply because of its profoundly high antioxidant count, it helps to reduce free radical damage inside and out. This has the benefit of reducing cholesterol levels, boosting immunity and protecting the skin from wrinkles or even sun damage.

Preparing The Seed From Scratch

To enjoy the wonderful benefits of the avocado seed, simply crush or grate the seed and blend it into a smoothie. It can also be juiced or turned into tea by steeping it in hot water. If you’re not going to use it right away, it can be dried and stored for later. The avocado seed has a bitterness quite unlike the pulp, but it is nonetheless enjoyable once you get accustomed to it.

Imagine how many people simply trash the seeds after they eat the “good” part of the avocado. This often neglected part of this super food is just one more bonus that adds to the legendary status of the avocado. Learn more at: https://www.avoseedo.com/

Have you ever tried to eat an avocado seed?

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!