Monthly Archives: December 2012

Vegan Ranch Dressing

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Okay, readers, this one is a new personal favorite. Upon tasting the end result, I literally got emotional. Before the birth of my son and his subsequent diagnosis with food allergies, I was a big ranch dressing eater. I mean BIG. I put it on chips, in potatoes, on veggies, and on salads. For the past 18 months, I haven’t touched the stuff. Until today! I came up with a vegan, allergy friendly version of ranch dressing that tastes exactly the way it is supposed to taste. Today, my heart is happy!

You Will Need:

  • 1/2 cup dairy free soy free yogurt, plain. 
  • 1 1/2 cup vegan mayonnaise, such as Vegannaise or homemade
  • juice of half a lemon (about 2tbsp)
  • 1 tsp dried parsley flakes
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Procedure:

1. Mix lemon juice and dairy free yogurt until smooth. Slowly mix into mayonnaise.

2. Mix together the rest of the ingredients and add to mayonnaise.

3. Store in a glass jar or plastic container and refrigerate.

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Coconut Milk Yogurt (Customizable To Other Milks)

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Finally, yogurt is back on the menu! This recipe may take some experimenting to find your own personal preferences, but is a great starter recipe. Makes a slightly sweet, slightly tart yogurt.

 

You Will Need:

  • 1 pint coconut milk, or 3 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plain dairy free yogurt or 2-3 probiotic capsules

 

Procedure:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk and honey to boiling, stirring constantly. When the milk starts to climb the sides of the pan, remove from heat. Do not allow to boil over.
  2. Immediately sprinkle gelatin over the top of the milk and let set for 2-3 minutes to soften. Whisk the gelatin into the milk until completely dissolved. Add the vanilla.
  3. Using a candy thermometer, monitor the milk until it has cooled to 110 degrees. This takes around 20 minutes.
  4. Once the yogurt mix reaches 110 degrees, whisk in dairy free yogurt until smooth, or whisk in the contents of 2 or 3 probiotic capsules.
  5. Divide into jars and ferment for 12+ hours until desired tartness is reached. You may incubate using a yogurt maker, by placing jars on top of a heating pad wrapped in a towel, or whatever other method you prefer. Ensure that yogurt does not rise above 115 degrees, or drop below 100 degrees, or yogurt will not culture.
  6. Carefully open jar and taste yogurt after 12 hours. Keep fermenting as needed. Yogurt will be thin, but will thicken in the refrigerator. I incubated my yogurt for almost 48 hours to achieve the tartness I wanted.
  7. Serve with fresh fruit, granola, or chopped nuts.

 

*NOTE: The yogurt in this recipe came out slightly sweet and slightly tart. The taste is spot on, but the consistency was a little thinner than what I was going for. I think doubling the gelatin could help this, and will be trying again in a few days– look for an update! Also, I have heard rumors that rice milk, flax milk, and hemp milk will also work in this recipe, though the resulting yogurt will inevitably be sweeter due to the nature of the milk. If any of my lovely readers try this with a different milk, please let me know how it turns out. 

Vegan Caramel Popcorn

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This particular caramel corn recipe is reminiscent of fairgrounds and greasy carnival food. Delightfully crunchy, sweet, and just a tad salty, this popcorn is deceptively simple to make and is sure to be a real crowd pleaser.

You Will Need:

  • 5 quarts popped popcorn- or 3 standard size bags of popcorn 
  • 1 cup vegan margarine
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Procedure:

  1. Place popped popcorn in a very large bowl. Use two bowls if necessary, leaving room to stir the popcorn around later. 
  2. In a medium nonstick pot, melt butter.
  3. When butter is completely melted, add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir constantly until boiling, then boil without stirring for 4 minutes– set a timer to avoid overcooking.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 250 degrees and grease two cookie sheets.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
  6. Stir in baking soda. The caramel will quickly change color and turn thick, so don’t be too surprised! This really caught me off guard!
  7. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.
  8. Divide popcorn between the two cookie sheets and place in the oven. Bake for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Halfway through, switch around the pans so each get a chance to be on top.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before breaking into pieces. Store in an airtight container and try not to eat it all at once!

Old Fashioned Vegan Fudge

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This fudge is rich and decadent, and not too sweet- perfect for holiday gatherings or afternoon chocolate cravings. I have tried multiple vegan fudge recipes, and this one is by far the best and the easiest!

You Will Need:

  • 5/6 cup (6.5 ounces) vegan vanilla coffee creamer
  • 2 1/4 cups white sugarr
  • 1/4 cup vegan margarine
  • 20 ounces enjoy life chocolate chips
  • desired toppings, optional

Procedure:

  1. Grease a metal pan of choice. I used a 10” cake pan, but an 8×8 square pan works too. Set aside.
  2. Pour coffee creamer and sugar into a medium sized nonstick pot. Turn burner on over medium high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. 
  3. Immediately remove from heat and stir in margarine until melted. Add chocolate chips and stir. Continue stirring until the fudge is smooth and silky.
  4. Stir in any desired extras like chopped nuts, and pour immediately into the pre-greased pan.
  5. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the sides of the pot and shape fudge into the pan- it’s thick and very hot, so be careful. Sprinkle on any desired toppings and press down gently with the palm of your hand to partially embed them in the fudge.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to cool at room temperature. Do not cut until fudge is completely cool- this may take several hours. For quicker cooling, refrigerate. Use caution, as this will make your fudge very hard (it will soften up as it returns to room temperature).

Kickin’ Almond Broccoli

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This broccoli will leave your taste buds tingling and your mouth watering for more! Even people who aren’t particularly fond of broccoli may enjoy this rendition, which uses chili powder and diced almonds to bring out the natural sweetness of broccoli, while effectively matching its vegetable-ness.

You Will Need:

  • 2 cups raw broccoli
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp diced almonds
  • 1 tbsp dairy free soy free margarine

Procedure:

  1. Heat dairy free soy free margarine in small saucepan until melted. Add almonds and toast for 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add broccoli and seasonings. Toss to coat.
  3. Continue cooking until broccoli is tender. Taste and add additional seasonings if desired.

Mediterranean Citrus Spiced Cod

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Mmm, this blend of seasonings really heightens the delicate flavor of cod loin fillets! Creating your own spice blend gives you the power to pick and choose from your favorite flavors. Try this Mediterranean-inspired citrus-y spiced cod for a light and healthy entree!

You Will Need:

  • Juice of one lemon
  • Juice of one orange
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 lb cod loin fillets
  • olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp minced onion or onion powder
  • 1 tsp orange peel
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp parsley flakes

Procedure:

  1. Blend lemon juice, orange juice, and olive oil together in a shallow dish.
  2. Place cod fillets in juice marinade and turn to coat. Set aside.
  3. In a shallow bowl, blend together spices.
  4. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Turn fish and spoon citrus juices over fillets.
  5. When pan is hot, place cod fillets into the pan and season heavily with the spice blend you just made.
  6. Turn every 3-5 minutes, drizzling fish with more olive oil as needed to prevent fish from sticking. Season opposite side of cod loin fillet after the first time turning.
  7. When fish flakes, remove from heat, drizzle with a tsp of olive oil and sprinkle with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Serve alongside rice pilaf for a healthy and satisfying meal.

Fudgey Chocolate Cups

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Are you ready for an INSANELY delicious recipe? This is it! As always, allergen free, and easily vegan. Even better, this recipe is very easy, suitable for even beginner cooks. Take a few minutes and make these delectable goodies– your taste buds will thank you!

You Will Need:

For Chocolate:

– Cupcake papers, regular or miniature size

– 1 cup coconut oil

– 3/4 cup cocoa powder

– 3/4 cup honey or corn syrup

– 1 tsp vanilla

– 1 tsp imitation butter flavor*

Ideas For Filling:

– raw cashew butter

– marshmallows

– chopped nuts, such as almonds

– dried fruit, such as cranberries or cherries.

Procedure:

1. Combine all of the ‘chocolate’ ingredients in a medium saucepan and heat slowly over medium-low heat, stirring constantly once coconut oil begins to melt.

2. Arrange cupcake papers on a cookie sheet. Recipe makes about a dozen regular, or many more miniature cups.

3. Scoop 1 spoonful of melted chocolate into each cupcake paper. Brush sides of cup with chocolate halfway to the top of the cupcake papers. Be sure to leave no bare spots, as your filling will leak through these holes.

4. Place entire cookie sheet in freezer for approximately 10-15 minutes, or until chocolate is tacky. When touched, your finger should come away clean and the chocolate will feel ‘gelatinous’.

5. While chocolate is hardening, prepare the filling. 1 tsp of dairy free soy free margarine and 1/2 cup marshmallows can be heated slowly to make a marshmallow cream chocolate cup. A tablespoon of raw cashew butter makes for a delicious un-peanut butter cup. Whole marshmallows and chopped almonds make a yummy Rocky Road cup.

6. When the chocolate cups are hardened, remove from freezer and add filling of choice. Spoon more chocolate (it should still be runny- heat slightly if needed) on top of filling. If desired, sprinkle chopped nuts on top of chocolate cups.

7. Replace in freezer. Let set for 30 minutes, or until chocolate is almost completely hardened.

8. Remove from freezer and gently peel away the cupcake wrappers. Be careful, as the edges of the chocolate will be brittle.

9. Replace in freezer for an additional 10 minutes before enjoying.

10. Store in the refrigerator to ensure that chocolate keeps shape and does not melt.

*NOTE: May substitute 1tsp dairy free soy free margarine, melted.

**NOTE: For completely vegan cups, use vegan marshmallows. For nut-free cups, avoid using nuts.

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