Gluten-free Vegan Pancakes

We’ve all heard the horror stories about gluten-free pancakes.  I didn’t want any I might make to become another statistic of wasted ingredients thrown into the garbage because the results were abysmal.  While my family is eating “normal” pancakes, I don’t want to chew on cardboard frisbees or disintegrating messes of grainy goo.

If you’ve been reading my other gluten-free posts, you know I am also not a fan of the weird ingredients of starch this and gum that.  My family is accustomed to whole wheat everything, so a hearty replacement is necessary for my palate.  I’m not a fan of white flour anything.

I took my tried-and-true wheat pancake recipe and messed around with different flours.  Although my first attempt could have used some more salt, they were very good.  Fluffy texture, hearty taste…though a little more fragile than typical wheat pancakes.  The next batch I added ground chia seed and extra liquid.  That took care of their fragility!  I’m very happy with the final results.

Gluten-free Vegan Pancakes

  • 1/4 c. millet flour
  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flourGluten-free Pancakes
  • 1/2 c. brown rice flour
  • 1 T. ground chia seed
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 heaping tsp. baking soda, sieved
  • 1/2 heaping tsp. baking powder, sieved
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1 3/4 c. + 2 T. juice, such as organic apple or white grape
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk
  • 2 tsp. non-flavored oil (I use extra light olive oil)
  • optional – sweetener to taste.  I find the juice is enough for me with sweet toppings

Whisk the flours, chia seed, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and egg replacer powder together in a mixing bowl.  Whiz the oats with the juice, milk, and oil in the blender.  Whisk the liquid with the dry ingredients for 30 seconds or so until bubbly.  Let rest for a minute while you heat the griddle to 300° F.  It will thicken up as it rests.

Pour 1/4 c.-sized pancakes blops from the batter onto the hot griddle.  Make sure you leave enough space between them for spreading out.  When they begin to be a little dry around the edges, flip them over.  When they are toasty brown on the underside, remove them to a serving plate.

Blueberry Lemon Kale Smoothie

Some of my favorite recipes have come together because of what I did or did not have on hand.  This morning I had no more fresh spinach left due to my forgetfulness to stop at the store yesterday, but there was a slice of honeydew.  My typical morning smoothie contains kale and spinach along with fruit ~ usually frozen.  After tossing in just the kale and the honeydew, I stared at the blender trying to imagine what would go well with them.  I love blueberries and honeydew together.  And of course everyone knows that blueberry and lemon pairing is classic, but would it translate into the smoothie?  I’ve failed before with lemon juice in a smoothie….

…But not this time!!  This smoothie has a bright, summery flavor that makes you want to jump right into your favorite warm weather fun.  The flavor lasts hauntingly in the background of your taste buds teasing you long after the smoothie is a memory.  I have a new favorite now!

Blueberry Lemon Kale SmoothieBlueberry Lemon Kale Smoothie

  • 3 red curly kale leaves, stem removed (if fairly large, just use 2)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 c. honeydew melon (about 1/8 of a melon)
  • 1/2 – 1 c. frozen blueberries (honestly, I didn’t measure – just tossed)
  • 2″ piece of frozen banana
  • 2-4 T. ground chia seed **
  • juice of 1 small lemon
  • sweetener, to taste – I used a few sprinkles of pure stevia powder
  • coconut milk (not canned) – I used Silk coconut vanilla flavor, but use the brand you prefer.

Whiz all ingredients up in a blender, using just enough coconut milk to get the blender going at first.  You can always add more as you go, but the honeydew typically will release a lot of juiciness so that you won’t need very much else.

This makes enough for 1 person’s stand-alone breakfast or 2 people’s smaller servings.  Mine made about 3 cups and though I offered sips to other family members, I wasn’t sad when they turned me down and I got it all.  😉  (They are not green smoothie enthusiasts.)

**Not only is this little seed a powerhouse of omega-3’s, but it has loads of protein and fiber, too!  It will give your smoothie staying power so that you aren’t hungry for hours.  If you aren’t a fan of chia seed or haven’t used it much, only use a small amount to begin with until you get acclimated to it.  It will thicken the smoothie, especially if you don’t drink it right away.  If you plan to take it with you as you commute, you might use more liquid or less chia seed.

Spicy Vegan Frittata

Spicy Vegan Frittata 005I wish this page was aromatic so that you could get a sense of what this dish is like.  (Because the picture doesn’t do it justice!  I shall have to make another one and take the pictures during the daytime.)  The taste is explosive and the texture creamy, making an unforgettable pairing.  I ate 2 pieces the night I fixed it ~ and truth be told, really wanted more, but didn’t want to look like a total pig.  The next morning, we finished off the leftovers with breakfast.

Overall, my hubby prefers potatoes to any cooked grains and complains that I “never” fix them for him.  Since I’m usually trying to fill the hollow legs of teenaged boys, I tend to opt for the easier/quicker fix of tossing some rice, quinoa, or such into a pan with water and being able to walk away from it for many minutes to fix the rest of the meal.  In comparison, peeling/dicing/mashing enough potatoes to suffice takes a long time.  Since the boys were going to be away at a Super Bowl party on Sunday night, I grabbed a couple of large potatoes to see what I could come up with for just the two of us.  I’ve always wanted to try making a frittata and figured it might be a good time to experiment.  I thought the finished product was a perfect blend of potatoes vs. custardy tofu-ness, however, darling Mr. Potato still thought it needed more potatoes.  🙂  I didn’t try to explain that the ratio needed to be close to the way it was, or it wouldn’t hold together in a “pie” form, because it wouldn’t have changed his mind.  Maybe I should have just made him fried potatoes!  lol  As an added thought, I wouldn’t be afraid to substitute some of the potatoes for other items, such as mushrooms, eggplant, peppers, zucchini, asparagus, or whatever veggies you think sound good.  Let me know what you come up with or if you think I should have added more potatoes.  😀

Spicy Vegan Frittata 001If you are not a fan of spicy food, you should cut the amount of soy chorizo in half, but I wouldn’t totally eliminate it, or you will lose the marvelous blend of spices that it brings to the dish.  You could use some other kinds of faux meat, such as burger crumbles, but you would need to add some extra seasonings to the tofu mix to make up for the missing pizzazz.

Spicy Vegan Frittata

  • 2 large potatoes (don’t use russets here for the best texture), peeled and diced into 3/4″ pieces
  • 2 medium onions, diced/chopped
  • 1-3 T. oil (I used half extra virgin olive oil for flavor and half virgin coconut oil for crispiness and firmness of the outside)
  • 1/2 a package of soy chorizo (1/4 pkg. for less spicy heat)
  • salt
  • 14-16 oz. extra-firm tofu (water packed)
  • 2 T. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 3 T. chicken-style seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • plain non-dairy milk – enough to blend into a sour cream consistency
  • 1 c. chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 c. mozzarella-style Daiya cheese (cheddar would work, too)

Preheat oven to 400° F.  In an oven-safe frying pan, saute potatoes and onions in oil(s), salting them moderately.  (If you don’t have a frying pan that can go in the oven, transfer the sauteed veggies into a very large pie pan or round casserole dish before you add the blended mixture, stirring them around in it to distribute the oil thoroughly to the sides of the pan.)  Add chorizo after about 10-15 minutes.  Blend the tofu, Bragg’s, chicken-style seasoning, garlic, and enough non-dairy milk until smooth and the texture of thick and creamy sour cream.  When the potatoes are slightly tender, but not completely cooked through, taste them to see if more salt is needed for your tastes – add it at this time if needed.  Turn off the heat and stir the tofu mixture into the potatoes.  Toss in the spinach and cheese and stir to evenly distribute.  Smooth the top of the mixture.

Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until the middle is set.  Cut and serve.

Baked Sweet Potato

  • (My promised post about the Vegetarian Tasting Extravaganza will have to wait.  Alas, my son’s memory card with all of the pictures he took is at his friend’s house.  They do a professional-quality video of the event, and his video clips are being uploaded for integration.)

Okay, so this is hardly a recipe.  But sometimes isn’t it nice to be reminded of a simple thing to make?  I love sweet potatoes anyway they are prepared, but this is a great hands-off way to make them while you are busy with something else.  Plus, it makes your house smell amazing!

Because a sweet potato has so many nutrients in it (I’ve read you could subsist on it alone on a desert island and remain healthy), it can be your whole meal if you aren’t very hungry, or it can be the main dish, especially if you sprinkle it with chopped pecans, or just a simple side dish.  If you drizzle it with maple syrup, it’s a lot like dessert, too!  😀  What a versatile little thing the baked sweet potato is.

Baked Sweet Potatoes

  • 1 large sweet potato for each person
  • Vegan “butter”
  • maple syrup
  • salt, if desired
  • chopped pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350-425° depending on how fast you want them to get done, or how large/fat your potatoes are.  Scrub the sweet potatoes and place them on a foil-covered cookie sheet so that they don’t touch each other.  Stab them a few times with a fork or sharp knife.  Bake for 1-2 hours (again, it depends on how hot your oven is and how big your potatoes are.) What you want is juices bubbling out of those stabs you gave them and crystalizing, or even blackening, as it drizzles down the potatoes and onto the foil.  They will be intensely sweet if the juices have blackened and you might not even need any maple syrup.  (Nah, you’re right…put the maple syrup on it anyway!  Yum!)  Poke them with a knife to make sure they are soft in the middle.

To serve, place on individual plates and split open.  Add vegan butter and drizzle maple syrup over them to taste, mashing it all together with your fork.  Sprinkle with salt and/or chopped pecans, if desired.

Another option is to remove the skins altogether and toss them onto the foil-covered pan, which allows you to wrap them all up in that foil and dispose of it in one big heap.  There.  Pan cleaned.  😀

Peach Cobbler (or Blueberry…or Blackberry…or….) plus a gluten-free option

Years and years ago, when women wrote their recipes more cryptically than they do today (a pinch of this, a dash of that, a slow oven…as in wood-burning stove/oven!), my grandmother crafted a cobbler that was out of this world!  My mother recreated it for a “normal” oven and I grew up adoring cobblers of any kind.  When we lived in Oregon, we picked wild Marion blackberries on the side of the road that were as long as my 7-year-old thumb and thicker – and they had very little seeds, as I recall.  They made the best cobbler I ever can remember.  (I tried to recreate it with frozen Marion blackberries…oh, no.  It was more of a seed-crunch cobbler.   Ick.)

When we became vegan, I figured out what to do with the handed-down cobbler recipe.  I had tried and tried to tweak it to make it healthier…and gave up to a certain extent.  If I was going to eat the cobbler-of-my-childhood/vegan-version, it wasn’t going to be super-duper healthy.  It was going to be dessert…with whole grain flour.  (Hey, I couldn’t give in entirely to unhealthy living!)  🙂

A few days ago a friend dropped off some South Carolina peaches that he brought back from his trip.  They smelled amazing!  I could have crawled in the bag and absorbed that perfume into my skin.  We ate some of the peaches, but when my boys went away for a 5-day camp-out, I knew I was going to have to make something with the fruit before it went bad.  My mouth started to water thinking about cobbler.

And then I remembered…my cobbler recipe is a wheat flour recipe.  And two days ago, I splurged and had some real, live pizza complete with a wheat crust (but vegan cheese…so maybe it’s not truly “real”) ~ and I’m paying for it with an achy body still today.  The last thing I wanted to do was make and eat more wheat ~ especially with my wheat-tolerant, eating-machine boys not there to help devour it.

First I prayed for guidance and then bravely started working on what was hopefully going to be an amazing gluten-free, vegan version of my grandmother’s recipe.  I’m sure she would be astonished.  As I type this, it is in the oven baking…and I am on pins and needles wondering how it will turn out.  I peeked in the oven at the half-way point, and it looks promising!  I’m so excited.  The peaches have sunk down in the batter perfectly!

Meanwhile, let me give you the just-plain vegan version of the recipe.  Then if the gluten-free one turns out, I’ll add that, too.  Remember, this is a special treat with plenty of sweetener and fat.  If you prefer a less sweet dish, cut down on the sweetener in the batter by 1/2 a cup, but I don’t recommend reducing the fat content any more…been there/done that…and it wasn’t pretty.

This makes a 4 quart casserole full as it rises.  It will drop down some as it cools.

Vegan Cobbler

  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder, sieved
  • 2 1/4 c. whole wheat flour (I prefer white whole wheat – King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/2-3/4 c. vegan margarine (Earth Balance is great.  I often substitute 1/2 of it with solid coconut oil – refrigerate it if necessary to make it firm up during the summer.)
  • 1 3/4 c. non-dairy milk
  • 4 cups or more of fruit (peach, blueberry, etc.)  This may be frozen or fresh, I’ve used both successfully.  I usually use 6 cups of fruit.
  • 1/4-1 c. sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is – I tend to use 1/4-1/2 c.)
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray baking dish with oil.

Mix dry ingredients (first 4) together in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender.  With the pastry blender, cut in the vegan margarine (and coconut oil if using) into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and has small pea-sized pieces of dough sticking together.  You want to get the fats mixed in with the flour so that it is well distributed throughout the batter.  Stir in the milk just until everything is moist.  The batter will be lumpy and fairly wet.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out to the edges.  (You can click on the picture to see just how lumpy it will look.)  Place the fruit evenly across the batter.  Sprinkle on the 1/4-1 c. sugar.  Pour boiling water over it all.  Bake for 1 hour.

_________Update on the gluten-free cobbler__________

After actually allowing the cobbler to cool (only because I could test the taste and texture better without a burned tongue) I took a nibble of the crust.  Mmmm…it was very good and the texture was spot-on.  But before I really could tell you how it came out, I had to eat a big spoonful of it to know for certain.  (I was willing to go the distance for all of you!  Such a sacrifice!)  Oh, man…was it good.  I would have no problem serving this to anyone.  It has a slightly nutty flavor that the wheat version doesn’t, but it doesn’t detract from the overall dessert.  I think the sweetener could certainly be reduced in the batter.  Without the slight bitterness of the wheat, it doesn’t need as much.  On the other hand, if you want a knock-down, drag-out dessert that will go the distance, leave the sweetener as is!

Gluten-free Vegan Cobbler

  • 1 1/2 c. evaporated cane juice crystals (or sugar)
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. baking powder, sieved
  • 1 c. brown rice flour
  • 1/2 c. almond meal
  • 1/2 c. buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1 T. Ener-G egg replacer powder
  • 1/2-3/4 c. vegan margarine (Earth Balance is great.  I often substitute 1/2 of it with solid coconut oil – refrigerate it if necessary to make it firm up during the summer.)
  • 2 c. non-dairy milk
  • 2 or more pints of fruit (peach, blueberry, etc.)  This may be frozen or fresh
  • 1/4-1 c. sugar (depending on how sweet your fruit is – I tend to use 1/4-1/2 c.)
  • 1 1/2 c. boiling water

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray baking dish with oil.

Mix dry ingredients (first 8) together in a mixing bowl with a pastry blender.  With the pastry blender, cut in the vegan margarine (and coconut oil if using) into the flour until the mixture is crumbly and has small pea-sized pieces of dough sticking together.  You want to get the fats mixed in with the flour so that it is well distributed throughout the batter.  Stir in the milk just until everything is moist.  The batter will be lumpy and fairly wet.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it out to the edges.  Place the fruit evenly across the batter.  Sprinkle on the 1/4-1 c. sugar.  Pour boiling water over it all.  Bake for 1 hour.

Apple Pecan Muffins

I got a message from a friend who is cooking for a group of young people involved in an Christian outreach program this summer.  She needed 2 dozen vegan muffins ~ could I help?  How could I say no?  Especially since this amazing woman is cooking for these kids even though she recently fell and broke her shoulder!

These are some of my favorite muffins and I wanted to share them with you.  But I confess I haven’t made them recently, because hubby and I would be tempted to eat them, wheat and all.  So, this was the perfect excuse to bake them for the recipe photo-op, but with temptation being removed!  🙂

I’ve been making this recipe for a very long time.  I made and froze these before my last baby was born so that once I needed them, hubby could bring them to me in the hospital to eat.  (Hospital food and veganism just don’t seem to dovetail very well.)  That baby is now 15!!  And I’ve been making them longer than that.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I used to.

Apple Pecan Muffins

  • 2 c. white whole wheat flour (King Arthur’s or Trader Joe’s are good)
  • 1 c. quick oats
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon (best if you can get ahold of Saigon or Ceylon, etc.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda, sieved
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer powder (do not add water)
  • 1 c. chopped apple (the finer you chop it the softer it will be)
  • 1/4 c. broken pecan pieces (or chop if you want finer pieces)
  • 1-1 1/2 T. fresh lemon juice
  • soy milk added to lemon juice to make 1 c. total**
  • 3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce (or 1/2 c. applesauce & an extra 1/4 c. oil)
  • 1/4 c. extra light olive or melted coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup or honey

Preheat oven to 375°.  Spray muffin cups with oil.  Whisk lemon juice and soy milk together and set aside.

Mix flour, oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and egg replacer powder in a mixing bowl.  Add pecans and chopped apple, tossing to coat apple with flour mixture.  In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the soy milk/lemon juice mixture (which should have curdled into vegan buttermilk) with the applesauce, oil, and maple syrup/honey.  With a rubber spatula, scrape wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together until no dry spots remain. 

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.  As you can see from the picture of the unbaked batter, these will be very full muffin cups!

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Place muffin pan on wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes.  (Trust me on this, okay?  It’s absolutely necessary, or your muffins will not let go of the pan and you’ll have muffin pieces that are slightly gooey because they haven’t finished setting up in the pan.)  Remove from pans with fingers ~ if they won’t let go with just a tiny tug, then let them cool a little longer (esp. in the summer if you don’t have the A/C on.)  Place on rack to finish cooling.

** I have only tried this with soy milk.  It probably works with other non-dairy milks, but I cannot vouch for how they behave.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

I told you we had a lot of birthdays right about now!  This is a favorite cake in my family.  They often request it for special occasions.  This time I happened to make it with spelt flour, but King Arthur’s white whole wheat (or Trader Joe’s) works marvelously well, too.

In the beginning this recipe was a muffin recipe from a book called A-Z Muffins that I borrowed from a library.  It wasn’t vegan and it wasn’t particularly healthy, either, with loads of oil.  After I turned it into a vegan creation with more healthful ingredients, I made it as muffins, but decided that it made a wonderful dense cake instead.  (Quicker and less clean-up, don’t you know….Does anybody like washing muffin tins?)

{I’m still learning R’s camera and didn’t increase the shutter speed, making this a little blurry.  I also tried to capture an artful picture of a piece of cake on a plate, but the piece I put on there was somehow a little smushed and didn’t look pretty at all.  So, you get a shot from a piece still in the pan.  Realism…at it’s…finest?}

Usually, we don’t serve banana chocolate chip cake with frosting (only on birthdays) because it is just so moist and marvelous on its own.  Plus it has all those chocolate chips…mmmm.  You see, my family has learned a crazy habit ~ from me ~ of putting milk on the cake in a bowl and eating it that way.  (Didn’t you ever hear Bill Cosby’s comic routine about cake for breakfast?  Flour, eggs, milk…all healthy ingredients, right?  {or so I thought at the time}  Yes…yes, that is how it all began one morning when as a teenager I ran out of cereal and nobody was there to stop me from eating cake in my bowl instead.)  Thus, we don’t usually need the frosting.  My poor son-in-law just shakes his head and quietly eats his on a plate with a glass of soy milk beside it.  😀

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

  • 4 c. white whole wheat or spelt flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder, sieved to remove lumps
  • 2 tsp. baking soda, sieved to remove lumps
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. Ener-G egg replacer
  • 1 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans
  • 7 medium-sized, very ripe bananas (with speckles…or turning brown, if you must)
  • 1 c. honey
  • 2/3 c. applesauce (or 1/2 c. melted coconut oil, or combo of the two)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Spray 9″x13″ pan with oil.

Whisk dry ingredients in large bowl.  Mash bananas with a pastry blender or potato masher in a medium-sized bowl.  Mix in the remaining wet ingredients with the banana.  Add banana mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together until there are no dry spots.  Scrape into prepared pan and smooth out batter.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean (look out for chocolate chips!)  Cool on rack.  (I have never tried to turn this out of the pan to place on a platter.  I have only served it directly out of the pan.  I suggest parchment paper in the bottom if wish to remove it from the pan.  I also think 8″ round pans would work better for that purpose.)

My daughter, K, with her birthday cake.  Only 2 candles?!  What’s up with that?  😀

Barley Flour Biscuits (wheat free)

These are simple drop biscuits that I like to use as a base for strawberry shortcake or under a tasty gravy.  They are not a light, fluffy, Pillsbury pop-out-of-a-can biscuit copy.  They aren’t bricks, either, but are full of whole-grain goodness that gives sturdiness to a simple meal of strawberry shortcake.  (Whole wheat flour ~ I especially like King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour ~ can be substituted for the barley and coconut flours, though you may wish to decrease the milk and baking powder a little.)

I like drop biscuits, because I’m more likely to make them if I don’t have to roll out dough and clean up the counter afterward.  Some people are really into the process of making food ~ and I applaud them.  We need those chefs and marvelous in-depth homemakers/bakers/cooks.  I love to cook and love good tasting food, but if it takes too long to make, I tend to skip it entirely!  There are just too many things clamoring for my time.  When I learned that my family didn’t notice a difference in drop biscuits vs. rolled-out ones, I never rolled out another biscuit.

The 2 biscuits pictured show 2 options – spooning up and treating the dough like a huge drop cookie (left), or taking that same amount of dough in damp hands and forming it slightly into a smoother, somewhat formed biscuit (right.)  If you use more dough, you can form the biscuit so that it has a higher profile so that it can be split in half more easily.  I am going to do that next time.

Barley Flour Biscuits (wheat free)

  • 1 1/2 c. barley flour
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. evaporated cane juice crystals (optional – use for shortcake biscuits)
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil OR 1/2 of an Earth Balance vegan buttery stick
  • 1 c. non-dairy milk

Preheat oven to 450° and cover cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Cut in coconut oil (if it is warm at your house and the oil has liquified, you can either harden it up in the refrigerator before hand, or you can melt it and whisk it into the non-dairy milk that has been brought to room temperature) OR vegan butter substitute into the flour mixture with a pastry blender until everything begins to look a bit crumbly and like there are tiny clumps that easily break apart when mashed with the blender.  Stir in the milk all at once with a fork, making sure that you get the flour in the bottom of the bowl that tends to hide there.  It will look way too runny at first, but it will firm up.

Drop or form into approximately 10 biscuits on the prepared cookie sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until firm and the bottoms are golden brown.  Serve right away under gravy, or cool for strawberry shortcake.

Coconut Milkshake

Here is a simple way to get a vegan milkshake without the expensive containers of vegan ice cream getting involved.

Coconut Milkshake (and variations)

  • 1 frozen peeled banana, broken into pieces
  • Silk vanilla coconut milk
  • a sprinkle of pure powdered stevia extract

Place the banana and stevia in a blender.  Add just enough coconut milk to allow the blender to work properly.  This will depend on the strength of your blender, honestly.  That is why there is no measurement given for the milk.  Add extra coconut milk to determine how thick or thin you prefer your shake.  Pour into a glass and serve.

Variations:

  • Use almond or soy vanilla flavored milk in place of the coconut.  Add 1-2 T. of peanut butter and a sprinkle of stevia.  You could also add a spoonful of cocoa powder and a little more sweetener ~ or just use chocolate milk!
  • Use a plain flavored milk and add a drop or two of peppermint oil or extract.  If you want it to be green, add a few baby spinach leaves.
  • Toss in some blueberries.
  • Add some frozen pineapple chunks for a pina colada shake

Southwestern Skillet

If you are a new vegan, you may not have heard the question very often, “Where do you get your protein?”  (Well, just wait…you will.  For some reason, folks think if you don’t chew on an animal part or drink cow’s milk that there is no protein available to you.  Unfortunately, they forget that cows, pigs, and, yes, even gigantic elephants get their protein from…wait for it…plant food.)

As I was throwing this and that into this dish, I realized that it was going to be stacked with protein.  I was tempted to call it “Southwestern So-Where-Do-You-Get-Your-Protein Skillet,” but that seemed a bit cumbersome.  ;D  While I have pictured this served over rice, if you instead served it over quinoa, you would ramp up the protein even more (and it would be more authentic to the Southwest, for that matter.)  But seriously, it isn’t necessary to do that.  There’s plenty here without it.

This is a great dish to make when you get home from the grocery store and realize that either you missed just how ripe those tomatoes were that you bought, or the bag-boy/girl packed them in the bag next to the canned goods and they are smooshed and must be used right now, or be thrown away.  (Not that I’m bitter…)

I also noticed as I was putting this together that it appeared I was writing a commercial for Trader Joe’s!  It wasn’t meant that way, it just happened.  Since not everyone has access to one of those marvelous stores, I wrote the recipe non-brand-specific, but mentioned some of the products that I used.

This is also very tasty without the beans, but they really add a nice note to the dish.  If you are not a spicy-food fan, I would suggest cutting the chorizo in half.  If you like burn-your-mouth-off spicy, then cut down on the tofu.  If you don’t have some of the veggies on hand, throw in a jar of salsa instead – it won’t be quite as tasty, but in a pinch, sometimes you have to make due.  Also, if at all possible, use organic products for the best flavor.

Southwestern Skillet

  • 1 lg. onion, chopped
  • 8 oz. of frozen tri-colored bell pepper pieces/strips (half of the Trader Joe’s bag)
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 12 oz. soy chorizo (Trader Joe’s has a brand of this, and Tofurkey just brought one out, though I haven’t tried it yet)
  • 1 pkg. 14-16 oz. extra-firm water-packed tofu, rinsed, drained, and gently squeezed out
  • Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
  • 1/4-1/3 of a pound-bag of frozen sweet corn (Trader Joe’s white sweet corn is unparalleled for flavor)
  • 2 small or medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, drained

Place the onion and peppers in a large skillet with some olive oil to saute.  Open the chorizo (there is no good way to do this, except maybe slit the casing up the entire side and scoop it out) and add it to the skillet.  When the onions are softening a little, crumble the tofu into the pan and squirt it in a few zig-zags of Bragg’s over it.  Stir.  When everything is bubbling, stir in the corn, tomatoes, and beans.  Cook just long enough to warm the last few ingredients.

Serve over brown rice or quinoa, with optional vegan cheese, soy sour cream, and/or avocado.