Monday, July 7, 2014

Tofu Scramble

Tofu Scramble

  People are always asking me what I eat for breakfast.  Though cereals and smoothies might be the easiest breakfasts for most vegans,  living in the RV limits me a bit more than it does others.  I have no room for an awesome blender.  I don't buy soy milk, almond milk, etc, because basically, i cannot fit large containers in my tiny RV fridge! We are talking about 6 cubic feet here.  Not much to work with.  The RV fridge is packed with fresh produce, a few condiments, maybe some tempeh, tofu, and well....that's it. So I usually go with a super fast and easy veggie and tofu scramble.

  Tofu texture is very similar to the consistency of scrambled eggs.  It takes on the flavor of whatever you season it with.  If you are new to tofu, here are a few tofu tips.  Tofu comes in a block.  There are options of firmness.  If you like your eggs softly scrambled, go with a soft tofu.  If you like eggs scrambled well, go with extra firm.  And if you are somewhere in-between, go with medium or firm.  Silken tofu is best for smoothies or blending into liquid.  I always make sure my tofu is certified organic to avoid GMO soybeans.  Tofu is very easy to find.  Usually in the refrigerated produce section of any grocery store.  If you don't use the whole package at once, store opened unused portion in a covered container filled with water in the refrigerator.  It will last a few days, but water should be dumped and changed out each day.  It can also be patted dry, cut up, and frozen.  Thawed out tofu has a spongier texture than tofu that hasn't been frozen, so keep that in mind.

This is a very fast and simple recipe!  I recommend prepping everything in advance (measuring, washing, crumbling, and mincing) before turning on the stove.  Cook time is only a few minutes.  

Tofu Scramble
serves 2-4
Easy, gluten free, Kid Friendly, nut free, dairy free, One pot, Quick Meals, vegan

veggies of your choice- I used broccoli and mushrooms  (lightly cooked and set aside)
1 package of tofu (12-14oz) drained, patted dry, and crumbled with your hands
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp onion powder
¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
¼ sea salt
4 Tbsp water
Sauté veggies on medium heat for no more than 3 minutes.  Overcooked veggies are never good!  Undercook (or use raw), remove from heat,  and set aside.

In a pan on medium heat, add olive oil & garlic.  Sauté 1 minute.
Add sea salt, crumbled tofu, turmeric, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and nutritional yeast.  Stirring with a spatula, slowly add water to combine.
Add cooked veggies. Stir continuously for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Serve immediately.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A Brief Chat about Nutrients, Carbs, and Gluten

Strawberry Salad 
Organic strawberries, spinach, arugula, carmelized onion, fennel, walnuts, daikon radish, fresh herbs, homemade balsamic dressing

All food is made up of 3 macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates.   Our bodies need all three.  Protein for growth, muscle, and tissue repair.  Fat for absorbing vitamins, energy, and maintaining cell membranes.

Carbohydrates are our main source of fuel.  They are necessary for proper function of the muscles, kidneys, brain, nervous system, immune system, and intestines.   Fiber is an important type of carb to aid in digestion, decrease risk of disease, and lower cholesterol.  

Avoiding carbohydrates for weight loss or disease prevention such as diabetes and heart disease is dangerous.  It can make the body ill due to nutrient deficiency.  Choosing healthy carbohydrates is easy, and should be the bulk of every meal.  Choose whole vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.  Always avoid highly processed and refined foods and stay away from refined sugar.  This will keep your body healthy and maintain a healthy weight. 

Gluten is NOT a carb.  It is a protein found in wheat.  Some bodies do not respond well to gluten and develop allergies to it.  This is not a reason to avoid carbohydrates, it is a reason to avoid wheat, if your body has a negative reaction to it.  Whole grains such as wheat berries contain gluten, but often don’t affect people with gluten allergies.  Avoid refined wheat products (even wheat bread!) and choose whole grains and sprouted grains.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Lentil Arugula Panzanella Salad

Tucson, Arizona

Lentil Arugula Panzanella Salad

Spring is in the air!  The desert is in bloom.  It's a beautiful day in Tucson.  Weather like this makes me crave panzanella.  An Italian-style bread salad with peppery arugula and hearty lentils, combined with a lemony, feta-like tofu cheese.

Lentil Arugula Panzanella Salad
vegan, nut-free
serves 2

4 cups arugula
wedge of lemon
Lentils (recipe below)
Bread (recipe below)
tofu feta (recipe below)

Split arugula onto 2 plates.  Drizzle with lemon.  Add lentils, bread, and tofu feta.

Tofu feta:
½ cup firm tofu, drained and pressed, crumbled
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/8 tsp sea salt
dash dill
dash oregano

Add all in a small bowl, stir to combine.  Set aside in the refrigerator to chill and marinate.

For the Bread:
2 slices of thick cut bread
1-2 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp garlic powder
salt & pepper

Let slices of bread dry out on a paper towel for about a ½ hour (or use day old bread, bread going stale).  Cut bread into 1inch squares.
Drizzle each square with olive oil, and sprinkle garlic powder, salt, and pepper.

Toast in oven or toaster oven, turning once until crispy and golden brown.  You can also opt to pan fry them over med-high heat until crispy and golden brown.

For the lentils:
1 cup green lentils, rinsed
4 cups water
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp olive oil

In a pot, boil water.  Ad lentils and cook until tender, about 20 minutes.  Drain well.  Transfer to a small bowl.  Stir in garlic powder, salt, lemon juice, and olive oil.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Dal Makhani with Basmati Rice

Tucson, Arizona
Stormy sunset and rainbow in Tucson

Well we have had quite the mild winter here in Tucson, compared to the rest of the country, (polar vortex) oh my!!  My RV as of now is not made for cold weather, so the southwest is where I will call home for awhile.  We did have 1 stormy day since I've been here where the temps dropped a little.  Immediately, I got excited for this warm comforting dish.  As a vegetarian, Dal Makhani was my go to Indian food choice.  I figured it was surely time to veganize the recipe, as it usually contains cream and ghee.  This is a much healthier version without losing the flavor.  Containing lentils, beans, and nuts, this is a plant powered, protein packed, bowl of deliciousness.  Enjoy!

Creamy Vegan Dal Makhani with Basmati Rice

Dal Makhani with Basmati Rice
serves 4-6
gluten-free, vegan

1 onion, chopped
4 clove garlic, minced
1 chili pepper, sliced
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 ½ cups water, divided
½ tsp chili powder
½ tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp garam masala
½ cup black lentils
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup kidney beans
3 plum tomatoes, diced
½ cup basmati rice
½ cup cashews
1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp unrefined sugar
handful fresh cilantro

First, soak cashews by covering them in very hot water.  Let them soak while you prepare everything else.  About an hour.

In a large pot over medium heat, add ½ cup water, olive oil, garlic, chili pepper, onion, and ginger.  Sauté about 10 minutes. 

 Add 2 ½ cups water, chili powder, garam masala, cumin seeds, and lentils.  Cover & cook 10 minutes.  

Add tomatoes and rice.  Cover, cook 30 minutes. 

While that is cooking, Process or blend cashews (soaked and drained) with ½ cup of water. Blend until smooth. 

 After the 30 minutes of cooking, add cashew creme. Stir in sea salt and sugar.  

Serve hot, garnished with fresh cilantro.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Spicy Rice & Beans

Tucson, AZ

A delicious, easy, healthy, and spicy one pot meal. 

RVegan Spicy Rice & Beans
serves 2
gluten free, vegan

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion chopped
1 tsp minced habanero pepper (substitute chile pepper of your preference)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup beans, drained and rinsed (i used black and kidney mixed)
¼ cup chopped tempeh (optional)
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 cup cooked rice
1 lime
handful of fresh cilantro
generous pinch of the following: chili powder, smoked paprika, paprika, oregano, cumin, cumin seed, salt

Cook the onion and habanero in the oil 5 min over medium high, lower temp to meduim & add everything else, except rice, lime, and cilantro. Cook 10 more minutes. Stir in cooked rice. Squeeze juice of 1 lime over top and stir. Serve hot. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Bloody Maria

Tucson, AZ

My all time favorite cocktail, the Bloody Mary, just took a southwestern vacation!  Hola, Bloody Maria!

RVegan Bloody Maria

Bloody Maria mix
serves 4

32oz tomato juice (I use Knudson organic tomato juice, it's the best!)
2 Tbsp grated fresh horseradish
¼ cup worcestershire (I use Whole Foods brand, its vegan & organic.  Always check labels)
½ tsp habanero hot sauce (Spicy Hot! Substitute with any hot sauce of your choice, or omit for mild)
½ tsp ground chipotle powder (Spicy! Omit for mild)
½ tsp onion powder
1 Tbsp BBQ sauce OR 1 tsp liquid smoke
Juice of 1 lime + more for garnish
salt & pepper to taste

Combine and mix well.

4 shots Tequila

Fill 4 glasses with ice.  1 shot of tequila each glass.  Pour Bloody Maria mix over iced tequila.  Stir.  Garnish with a wedge of lime, olives, hot peppers, cilantro, or all of the above!

Creamy Buffalo Wing Spread

Dip EVERYTHING in it.  Great for parties!

Creamy Buffalo Wing Spread 
gluten free, soy free, vegan

½ cup hot sauce
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic
¼ cup water
1Tbsp lemon juice

Process sunflower seeds to a fine powder, add remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Quinoa Crispy Treats

Seaside Park, NJ

Happy holidays from RVegan!  Did you know quinoa pops like popcorn?  It becomes a tiny, crunchy little treat.  Perfect texture for this sweet and salty dessert.  Watch out, they are very addictive.  Don't say I didn't warn you!

Quinoa Crispy Treats

Quinoa Crispy Treats
(approximately 25 balls)
vegan, gluten free, soy free, no bake

3 Tbsp flax seed meal
1 cup pitted dates
1 cup raisins
3 tbsp peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp coconut oil (optional)
1 1/2 cups quinoa crispies (see recipe below)
dash sea salt

In a food processor, combine and process all except the quinoa.  Scoop processed mixture into a bowl.
Stir in 1/2 cup of the quinoa and mix well.  Form into 1 inch balls.  Roll each ball in remaining quinoa to coat. Ready to serve.

For the Quinoa Crispies:
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp coconut oil (or vegetable oil)
dash sea salt

In a pot, bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, and stir in quinoa.  Cook quinoa 5 minutes and strain immediately.  In a pan, ove medium heat, heat oil.  Add strained quinoa and salt, stirring constantly with a spatula to prevent burning.   The quinoa will start popping like popcorn.  It appears to get smaller when it pops. After about 5 minutes the quinoa should be popping like crazy.  Turn heat to low, continuously stirring until golden brown and crispy.  Taste for desired crispyness.  Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Gluten Free Apple Pecan Stuffing

Sedona, AZ

Well it's the day after Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for my family, friends, nature, health, travel, and adventure.  I work in the hospitality industry, so unfortunately was not able to spend this holiday with family.  I did however, find it quite necessary to make some stuffing!  Work has been quite time consuming, so I didn't grocery shop specifically for any items for this recipe.  It's straight from the RVegan pantry and produce I had on hand.
I've cut back on bread quite a bit this year, due to not being able to easily find quality bread made with unrefined flour, organic wheat, and non GMO ingredients.  It's a full time job finding real food sometimes that meets my standards, a strict list of rules about food that I abide by.  I digress... I am not intolerant of gluten at all, in fact gluten makes me very happy haha, but I had no bread.  Suddenly comes the inspiration to make a bread-free stuffing.

Gluten Free Apple Pecan Stuffing

Gluten Free Apple Pecan Stuffing
serves 4-6
gluten free, kid friendly, vegan, easy

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed with cold water
¼ white rice  (I used basmati) *can substitute brown rice, but add 15-20 minutes to cook time
1 ¾ cup water
1/8 cup tamari (can sub soy sauce though not gluten free)
1 tsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup onion, chopped
⅓ cup pecans
1 apple, peeled, core removed, and chopped
¼ c raisins or dried cranberries
1 Tbsp fresh parsley
1/8 tsp dried sage
½ tsp dried parsley
¼ tsp thyme
¼ tsp celery seed (or 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped)

In a large pot, bring water, tamari, and olive oil to a boil.  Lower heat and stir in all other ingredients.  Cover and simmer on low, 40 minutes.  Make sure rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Serve hot.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Stuffed Peppers with Pepperoni Rice

Sedona, AZ

Ok so, pepperoni rice?  How does that work in the vegan world?  Basically we are talking about all the seasoning and flavor found in pepperoni, cooked and absorbed by rice instead of meat.  The rice is spicy, rich, smokey, and perfectly balanced, stuffed and baked inside a bell pepper.  Are you with me?  The rice is awesome on it's own, by the way.   I make it all the time, and it has been a hit with omnivorous pepperoni lovers, as well as vegetarians.  Not to mention it is much healthier than actual pepperoni without all those nitrates and cholesterol.

Stuffed Peppers with Pepperoni Rice

Stuffed Peppers with Pepperoni Rice
serves 4
gluten free, vegan

4 bell peppers- tops cut and seeds removed
¼ cup vegan mozzarella (optional)
1 cup basmati rice
1 small tomato, diced
1 ¾ cup water
½ tsp fennel seed
½ tsp garlic powder, or 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
½ tsp onion powder, or about ½ a yellow onion, diced
¼ tsp red pepper flakes
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp ketchup
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tbsp soy sauce, tamari, or liquid aminos
½ tsp liquid smoke

For the rice:
In a small bowl add tomato, water, fennel, garlic, onion, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt & pepper, ketchup, olive oil, soy sauce, and liquid smoke.  stir to combine.  Pour mixture into a pot and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and stir in rice.  Cover and let simmer on low 25 minutes.  Remove from heat.

For the Peppers:
Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Wrap peppers in foil and bake 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven and spoon in pepperoni rice into each pepper until full.  Bake another 20-25 minutes until heated through and pepper is tender.  Top with vegan cheese (optional) and bake a few more minutes until cheese is hot and bubbly.

To make my own veg mozzarella, I use the cheese from this Somer McCowan recipe (below).  It is very easy, very cheesy, very melty, and very delicious!  I like it much better than store bought veg cheese.

Moxarella Cheese Recipe

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

African Peanut Stew

Sedona, AZ

  It was 87 degrees yesterday, not bad for November!  Once the sun went down, though, drastic temperature change.  It immediately became soup weather.

  This is a beautifully seasoned, hearty vegetable stew.  The veggies are easily interchangeable with what you have and what you like, because it's all about the flavorful nutty tomato soup base that brings it all together.  I added quinoa to my version, but that can also be omitted or substituted by serving over rice.

African Peanut Stew with Quinoa

African Peanut Stew
serves 4
gluten free, vegan

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
1 jalepeno or bell pepper, diced
1medium zucchini, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
½ cup edamame
1 cup quinoa (optional)
1 28 oz can of crushed tomato
1 ¾ cups vegetable broth
1 cup peanut butter
1 tsp ginger, grated
1 tsp turmeric
½ tsp cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cayenne
½ cup fresh cilantro, for garnish
4 leaves of kale, stems removed, and chopped small
¼ of a green cabbage, chopped
season to taste with salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes

In a large pot over medium heat- add oil, onion, sweet potato, and jalepeno.  Sauté 5 minutes.  Add zucchini, garlic, carrots.  Cook another 5 minutes.

In a small bowl, mix broth, peanut butter, and spices until smooth.  Add tomato and broth mixture to the pot with the vegetables.  Lower heat and simmer 20 minutes.  Add quinoa and edamame.  Cook until quinoa is tender. 20-25 minutes.  In the last minute stir in kale and cabbage OR ladle stew over top of raw kale/cabbage mix in the bowl while serving.  Garnish with cilantro.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Portobello and Sun-dried Tomato Polenta Balls

Sedona, AZ

Autumn in Sedona

Autumn is tourist season in Sedona, and it is in full swing!  We've been working like crazy and trying to get outside as much as possible.  The weather here is perfect for hiking, climbing, sight-seeing, and RVing!  All the while, we've been planning for winter.  Our annual RV-free month long trip to the east coast is in the works.  Stops may just include New York, New Jersey, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.  Then back west to check out Tucson, Arizona perhaps for the rest of the winter.  Apparently we are sticking to the snowbird lifestyle, as our RV is not really equipped for 4 season living.  I feel really lucky to live the way I do, and wouldn't trade places with anyone for anything!  A life blessed with health, family, love, joy, adventure, and a spectacular view.  

Ok, so hopefully all that happy crap didn't make you barf....or lose your appetite.  

It's time to make Portobello and Sun-dried Tomato Polenta Balls !

Portobello and Sun-dried Tomato Polenta Balls
Portobello and Sun-dried Tomato Polenta Balls
Easy, gluten free, nut free, oil free, soy free, vegan 
makes approximately 21 balls

1 cup polenta (I strongly reccommend buying certified organic corn-based products)
2 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup portobello mushroom, chopped small
⅓ cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
¾ cup red onion, chopped small
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried basil
¼ tsp paprika
salt to taste
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped  (fresh parsley or basil would also be great to substitute the cilantro)

Over medium heat, in a non-stick sauté pan, combine everything except the cilantro.  Stirring often, cook until polenta thickens to very firm, 20-25 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cilantro.  Let cool 5-10 minutes.  Form into balls.  Can be served cold or fry balls in a little olive oil until golden brown and serve hot.