Oat + Flax Chocolate Chip Bars (vegan, gluten free)

Ok I totally fell in love with the Balanced Platter's chocolate chip bars, made with oat flour and flax meal. These are seriously good- filling with fiber and whole grains, but with little bits of chocolate!    I haven't tried freezing them yet (because we ate them fast!) but I suspect they'd freeze beautifully. Made a few edits to the recipe, see below.

Blitz 1.5 C oats in food processor until as fine as possible.  Now add 0.5 tea baking soda and 0.25 tea salt and combine.

Either measure out 0.25 C apple sauce, or blend apples with a tad bit of water in high speed blender to yield 0.25 C apple puree.

To the applesauce/apple puree, add and mix:
0.5 C maple syrup
0.25 C coconut oil (melted)
vanilla extract
0.25 C flax meal
0.25 tea baking powder

Now combine the wet and dry ingredients, and add up to 1 C mini chocolate chips. Optional add pepitas or sunflower seeds.

Bake in 9x9" pan at 375F for 20 minutes. 

Enjoy right out of the pan or after chilling in fridge.

Mashed Cauliflower

This is a substitute for mashed potatoes.  And it is pretty close to the real deal, but much lower calorie!

1. Chop up 1 medium/small head cauliflower.  Boil until soft (5 minutes?). Drain fully.
2. Blend on high speed in a blender with: 1-2 cloves garlic and a tad bit of water (or olive oil)
3. Season with salt and pepper.

Optional: garnish with melting butter or herbs.

Another eggplant sandwich, with tomato marmalade

I'm kind of fond of eggplant sandwiches.  This time I used homemade hamburger buns, and loaded it up with lettuce, tomato and used mayo and Lori's tomato marmelade. 

See the full post for how to make the eggplant spread- use either grilled or roasted eggplant!


Easy Summer Salads with White Wine Vinegar/Greek Salad

This is great when the weather is hot, and the farmer's market has perfect cucumbers and tomatoes in season.  Make it vegan by omitting the feta cheese. I have made multiple variations off this theme- tomatoes + white wine vinegar seems to be quite a winner!

Assemble in a bowl:
cucumber, cut rangiri style into bite size wedges
heirloom tomato, cut into wedges
red onion, cut into large dice
kalamata olives, sliced in half
optional: roasted garlic
optional: feta cheese 

Drizzle a dressing of the following over the veggies:
wine vinegar (white wine or red wine)
coarse sea salt

  • Simplify to just tomatoes, cucumbers, the dressing and torn bazil
  • Make it Mexican with cilantro and corn (raw, cut off the cob), a squeeze of lime and optional avocado chunks


Vegan Corn Chowder

I was inspired to try making corn chowder after eating some delicious corn chowder at our friend's house.   Figured I could veganize the recipe and it worked! Using a high speed blender gave the soup body without cream/milk. This is a very rough recipe- feel free to tweak and taste along the way!

Basic Method:
Make corn cob broth by simmering corn cobs (with corn kernels removed) in water with bay leaf, black peppercorn (you can do this in slow cooker if you like), then strain. This can be done ahead and refrigerated.

Saute 1 diced onion, 2 cloves garlic, 2 stalks celery diced and 1-2 carrots diced in a tad bit of olive oil and water (i.e. 1 tea each) with a pinch of salt. Once soft, puree the mixture in a blender with 1/4 C water/broth to get the blender moving.

In the empty pan, saute 1 TB flour with 1 TB olive oil over medium low heat until flour cooks a bit- about 30-60 seconds (this makes a roux which helps thicken the soup without milk/dairy).

Return the pureed mixture to the pan with corn broth, bring to a simmer and add veggies:
cubed potato
optional thin sliced: celery, carrot, mushroom

Cook until potato is soft. Now add 1 C frozen corn and salt/pepper to taste. Optional parsley.

Whole Wheat Apple Pie

In my mom's style, used a crust for the bottom of the pie, then her crumb crust for the top.  I had never made an all-butter pie crust (usually relied on shortening for pie dough).  Found this post for the pie dough recipe.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust:
Combine in food processor: 
1.25 C whole wheat flour
2 TB flaxmeal
1/4 tea salt

Now work in 8 TB butter in the food processor.

Finally pour in 3 TB ice water and blitz to combine. Bring into a ball on a cutting board and frissage the dough.

Wrap the disc of dough in plastic wrap and freeze. Then roll out and shape into pie pan.

Crumb Crust Topping
Blizt until sandy in food processor:
1/2 C sugar
3/4 C all purpose flour
1/3 C butter

Chop up 4-6 apples (enough to fill the pie pan) into small chunks, discarding core. Peels are fine.

Toss apples with:
1 TB lemon juice
1 TB flour
vanilla extract
1 TB cinnamon

 Assembly: pour apple chunk filling into crust, top with crumb crust.

 Bake at 375 for 1 hour or so- until the crust is firm/flaky.

UPDATE: this was actually best as a handpie. Simply roll out some dough, toss in filling and crisp crumbles, then seal the dough back up on itself like an empanada.  This gives the dough more surface area to toast in the oven. Delicious. And I bet they freeze well!

Baked Teriyaki Crispy Tofu Cubes

The texture of this tofu is like paneer! Nice and crispy/crunchy with chewy interior- not mushy or wet like usual.   The trick is using the freezer first. 
  1. Cut slit in package of extra firm organic tofu, drain off the liquid, then tape the container shut. Stick in the freezer. 
  2. Once frozen, put the container in the fridge to thaw. 
  3. Cut thawed tofu into 3/4" chunks.  
  4. Marinate cubed tofu for 10 minutes or more in mixture of: 2 TB soy sauce, 1 TB brown sugar, 1 tea sesame oil, 1 tea gated ginger, 2 smashed garlic cloves
  5.  Toss the tofu on a baking sheet.  Roast at 375 F for 30 minutes, stirring/flipping occasionally, until tofu is crispy on all sides. 


Mushroom, Broccoli & Baked Tofu Salad with Grains (Brown Rice or Barley)

I tried this on a whim from a cookbook, subbing out the original recipe's green beans for broccoli and I was pleasantly surprised. This is a hearty salad, especially when served warm.  I think it would be a great Thanksgiving or other Fall potluck type dish. And it's vegan!

The only downside is assembling all the parts-- it's best to do this in phases (i.e. steam a bunch of broccoli for a meal and save some for this salad; use leftover rice/barley from a prior meal).

Make the baked teriykai tofu cubes.

Roast, sautee or grill quartered mushrooms until they've lost their extra moisture (I roasted mine in the oven for the last 10-15 minutes with the tofu).

Steam or bake the broccoli.

Cook up some brown rice or barley (or warm up leftovers).

Make the dressing by combining:
1/4 C rice vinegar  (komezu)
2 TB sesame oil
2 TB soy sauce
1 TB brown sugar
2 tea grated ginger
garlic (grated fresh or garlic powder)

Assemble the salad:
cooked grains
baked tofu cubes
roasted mushrooms
roasted/steamed broccoli 
chopped green onion /scallion

Serve warm!


Sunflower Greens (sprouting!)

You can make sprouts or micro greens in your kitchen for super cheap! Forget $4 at the grocery store.
You can make mustard, daikon, alfalfa and other sprouts, but my favorite are sunflower sprouts.  Sunflower sprouts (or "greens") are slightly sweet and are sturdy enough to add to salads. They've got a good crunch too. I love them on strawberry salad.  

Sunflower seeds are super cheap: approximately 50 cents a pound in the bulk section. Just be sure they're not roasted and come in the shell (i.e. they have the hull).  So for just a little bit of effort and a few cents, you can enjoy deliciously fresh nutritious sprouts/microgreens.

How to make Sunflower Greens:
Soak 1/2 C sunflower seeds (in the shell) in water overnight.

Spread a thin 1/2-3/4" layer of compost/soil in a pan/dish (I've heard cafeteria trays work well, I use a large pyrex dish, about brownie pan size, 11" x 9").

Layer the soaked seeds on top. Optionally cover with paper or newsprint for the first day- seems to help them settle in to the soil.

Keep moist but not soaking while they grow.  Takes 5-14 days to spout into sunflower greens.  Don't let them go so far as to develop their second set of leaves- you just want them to have the 2 petals that came from inside the seed (see photos).

If their shells don't come off on their own, help pop them off them carefully with your fingers. 

Harvest with sharp scissors, cutting close to the soil line (apparently a lot of the nutrition in sprouts is close to the root).