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Enlarged to show texture.oatmealcookies

The set-up.

Full disclosure: this is just the “Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies” recipe that comes with a carton of Quaker Oats, only with an egg replacer and non- dairy butter. The taste of childhood….without the animal products.

Ingredients:

      • 1 stick Earth Balance (1/2 cup) plus 6 Tbs
      • 3/4 Cups firmly packed brown sugar
      • 1/2 Cups white sugar
      • Egg replacer to equal 2 eggs
      • 2 tsp vanilla
      • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 tsp baking soda
      • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 3 cups rolled oats 
      • 1 cup raisins

    Directions:

    1. Heat oven to 350°F.
    2. In large bowl, beat Earth Balance and sugars on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.
    3. Add egg replacer and vanilla; beat well.
    4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
    5. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
    6. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
    7. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack. Cool completely. Store tightly covered.

    lentilsoup

     

    It looks a little dry because it was the next day, but I just added some water and it was back to normal soup deliciousness!

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    Here it is, simmering in the crockpot.

     It’s been extremely cold and wet lately, and I’d been craving some hearty lentil soup.  My ultimate version is one of those Progresso cans of vegetable-lentil, but I made my own, and I wasn’t disappointed. This is far better than anything in a can.

    I made this in my crockpot. Below are the directions for a crockpot and stovetop method. If you’ve never had a crockpot, you need to buy one. They are inexpensive and extremely convenient!

    Ingredients:

    • 1/2 cup dry green lentils, rinsed
    • 1 half yellow or white onion
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 3 bay leaves
    • 1 carrot, chopped into coins
    • 1 bunch of celery, chopped or sliced thinly
    • 3-4 cups of baby spinach
    • 1 small can of crushed tomato
    • 1 generous splash of balsamic vinegar
    • 1 half lemon- juiced
    • 1/2 tsp white pepper
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp oregano
    • 1/2 tsp thyme
    •  pinch cumin
    • 1 cup  hot vegetable broth
    • 1 cup hot water
    • soy sour cream for serving
    • olive oil

    Directions:

    1. Sautee garlic and onion in a pan with olive oil on the stovetop until browned, then add to the crockpot with a generous smattering of olive oil
    2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
    3. Cook on the longest setting with the highest heat. If you cook with low heat, use the longest setting possible.
    4. If you use the stove top, cook on medium low for several hours, or until the lentils are soft, adding water as you go.
    5. For both methods: the soup is done once the lentils are soft. Keep adding water or broth if the soup dries out as you’re waiting for the lentils to soften.
    6. at the end, add more salt, vinegar or lemon juice to taste.

    Once lentils are soft, serve with a dollop of soy sour cream, or plain greek yogurt, if you’re ovo-lacto. :)

    NOTE: This method makes the lentils end up with a little crispness, though still fully cooked. If you like your lentils all the way soft and almost mush, cook the lentils in water for 10 hrs on low the day before, then proceed with the recipe as-is.  I prefer them to maintain their structure, I don’t like mushy lentils.

     

     



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    Greens (arugula) for the sandwich. Spinach is a more conservative choice.

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    Here is the dry batter mix.

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    Mmmmm……chickpea pancake!
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    This is how I soaked the cashews for the “cheese”.

     

    If you’ve never heard of pudla, I recommend you take a look at my favorite pudla recipes here and here. It is a delicious, seasoned chickpea flour pancake.  Benefits: high fiber, high iron, super high protein, it is reminiscent of an egg omelet, you can add veggies to it, and if you cook it properly, it is super delicious and filling.

    Hubs said the spices reminded him of fried chicken.  I have no idea how that makes sense, but I consider it a great compliment.

    Below is how to make these little breakfast sandwiches with tiny pudla, but I suggest you attempt a few larger pudlas on their own as a hearty dinner sometime.

    NOTE: raw chickpea flour is nasty. Do not attempt to eat or taste the batter raw, and make sure your pancakes are cooked all the way through or you will taste the nastiness of rotten sprouts and indescribable grossness.  I am not kidding. It won’t hurt you, but its disgusting when its not cooked all the way. Unless you are accustomed to eating many grassy, raw bean sprouts, you will find the raw chickpea flour unbearable.

    I must give credit where it is due.  This is the place I found this recipe.

    Ingredients:

    For the Cholula Cashew Cheese:
      • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4-8 hours
      • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
      • 2 tablespoons unflavored soy milk or almond milk
      • 2 tablespoons Cholula hot sauce (or to taste)
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    For the Chickpea Patties:
      • 1/2 cup chickpea flour
      • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
      • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
      • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
      • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
      • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
      • 1/4 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
      • 1/2 cup water
      • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
      • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
    For the Sandwiches:
    • 4 English muffins, split and toasted
    • 1/2 cup jarred salsa
    • 1/2 ripe avocado, sliced
    • 1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves

    Instructions

    Make the Cholula Cashew Cheese:
      1. Drain and rinse the cashews, then put them in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process into a thick paste, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the lemon juice, milk, Cholula sauce and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy.
    Make the Chickpea Patties:
      1. Stir together the chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, baking powder, coriander, turmeric, paprika, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the water and soy sauce.
      2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, drop the chickpea batter in scant 1/4 cupfuls onto the skillet, forming 4 patties, each about 4 inches in diameter.
      3. Cook the patties until small bubbles begin to form in the center, 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook another minute on opposite sides. Each patty should be lightly browned on both sides. Remove from heat and transfer to a plate.
    Assemble the Sandwiches:
    1. Spread 1 tablespoon of salsa on the top and bottom halves of each English muffin.
    2. Place a few baby spinach leaves over the salsa, then place a chickpea patty on top of the spinach layer. Spread with a layer of Cholula cashew cheese over the patty, and then top with 2-3 avocado slices. Top with a few more spinach leaves, and then the top half of the muffin. Repeat with the remaining muffins.

     

     

    spraydeodorant

    V’tae spray deodorant: delicious herbal scent that reminds me of the forest and crushing myrtle leaves in your fingers.
    facialwipes

    Peach & Willow Bark facial towelettes: juicy peach scent mixed with a slight note of powder.I use these for my face, then let them dry and reuse them as wipes for cleaning around the house. These are invaluable as a way to freshen up away from home.IMG_8704

    Q Tonic. All natural tonic water with real quinine.  Delicious, low-sugar, superior mixer.

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    Airplants!  I’ve become addicted to them! I’ve collected 9 already. Rinse in water once a week, give indirect light. Multitudes of varieties!

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    Once a loyal customer of Soapwalla, this deodorant has won me and my husband over because it is powerfully effective and available at our neighborhood grocery.

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    A local jam and pickle maker, Sweet Creek makes delicious, natural products and puts all other jams to shame.  Pricey, but worth it.


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    This BKR water bottle is my favorite vessel to drink from this year. The color options are staggering. The silicone sleeve protects the glass and adds a fashionable, yet sporty flair. The water level has a subtle visibility.

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    This is just a shot to show you what it looks like with the cap off.  Actual cucumber-infused water used in this photo.

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    Peach jam from Dalfour. They make many small batch jams, and this is my favorite.

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    My favorite flaxseed oil and source of Omega 3, based on price and taste.  I love to eat it in my soy yogurt.

    IMG_8879Although I’m not a huge fan of sweets, I can’t resist these dark chocolate-covered pretzels with sea salt.

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    This original recipe from Vegetarian Times has become a Fall favorite. I like this cassoulet so much that I convinced my family to have it as the main course in our Thanksgiving meal one year. And the ingredients are EL CHEAPO. I got everything I needed, sans herbs and oil, for less than 10 bucks and the leftovers lasted many moons.  I used to make this on the stove, but I recently bought a slow cooker and enjoyed the benefits of not having to slave over a hot pot for hours. In fact, I ran errands all day long and came home to this perfect, finished stew. Whether you make it on the stove or in the crockpot, this is a very delicious, hearty dish that will comfort and warm you on chilly October nights.

    On a personal note, there are a few meals that I gravitate towards for those rare occasions when I have dinner ready with candles and a fancy setting for my hubs when he comes home. This weekend I made this dish on my day off for that purpose. It’s that good.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 Tbs. olive oil
    • 4 small shallots, quartered
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
    • 1 turnip, peeled and chopped
    • 1 parsnip, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds
    • 3 15.5-oz. cans great Northern beans, preferably organic, drained and rinsed
    • 1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
    • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth
    • Half a lemon (optional-really doesn’t need it unless you like your soups to have a background tang.)
    • 2 bay leaves, snapped in half to release flavor
    • 1 ¼ tsp. dried thyme
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Minced fresh parsley for garnish (in the picture I obviously didn’t mince it – but I like fresh herbs to be chunky.)

    Directions for Slow Cooker:

    1. Pour oil into slow cooker, and turn it on high. Add shallots and garlic. Cover, and cook to soften, about 15 to 20 minutes. (You can hasten this step by browning the garlic in a pan, softening the shallots in the same pan, then transferring shallot/garlic to the slow cooker.)
    2. Add carrots, turnip, parsnip, beans and tomatoes. Stir in broth, bay leaves, thyme, salt and pepper. Add a little lemon juice, if you prefer a little zing in your cassoulet.
    3. Reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook until all vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 hours. 
    4. Remove and discard bay leaves. Garnish with minced parsley. Add more lemon, if you like it that way.

    STOVETOP METHOD: Heat oil in 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven or other large pot over medium heat. Add shallots, garlic and carrots. Cover, and cook 5 minutes to soften. Reduce heat to low. Add remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are fully cooked, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

    French Apple Tart



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    Picked these Empire apples myself in Hood River.

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    Melted earth balance, evenly distributed.IMG_8804First layer-pack it tight.

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     Second layer- just pile it on.

    This is from the original French Tarte Tatin recipe,  only with vegan butter.  Don’t be daunted.  This is just an apple pie without seasonings or a top crust, and the only scary part is flipping it over.  But take my word for it, it is not that scary. You peel and cut some apples,  melt the soy butter, dissolve the sugar, pack the apple slices in, add another layer of apples, then cover the skillet with your dough, bake it in the oven and flip.  Easy.  It’s so delicious and simple. You might think that just apples, butter and sugar would be bland, but its rich and delicious.

    IMPORTANT: You need a small cast iron pan for this. It’s possible that another type of oven proof skillet would work, but I’ve never tried that myself.

    Makes 6 servings

    Ingredients:

    • 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or ovenproof pan
    • baking sheet
    • 1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry OR 2 rolled up pie crusts
    • 8 Tbs earth balance
    • 3/4 cup white sugar (brown sugar is fine to use if you don’t have white, or a combo of white and brown.)
    • About 8 sweet firm apples peeled, cored and quartered
    • If you like, you can add a few squeezes of lemon juice at the end before putting the dough on top.

     Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees – have your skillet and baking sheet ready

    2. Thaw your dough, then roll it out and refrigerate it.

    3. Put the skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When it melts, sprinkle the sugar over the butter until it dissolves. Remove from heat.

    4. Fit a layer of apples into the skillet, putting the apples into the pan in tight circles. What’s important here is to pack in the apples — because they will shrink as they cook, you want to make sure they are snug in the pan.

    5. When you’ve got a tight single layer, cut the remaining apple quarters in half and strew them over the first layer. This layer can be somewhat mounded, which will give the tart some height.

    6. Put the pan over medium heat and cook — staying close by — until the sugar turns a deep caramel color. You’ll see it bubbling up the sides of the pan, but if you need a clearer view, you can gently push an apple aside. To get the color you want without burning the sugar, you may have to lower the heat after a while. Count on 15 minutes, more or less, to get the color. Transfer the skillet to the baking sheet.

    7. Remove pie crusts or pastry from the fridge and place it over the top of the pan, covering the fruit, loosely tucking in any overhang.

    If using two pie crusts, just put one on top of the other.

    8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is baked through and, if you used puff pastry, puffed.

    9.  Now it’s time to flip it over! Cover the skillet with the large, rimmed serving plate (or pie plate) and, acting quickly and confidently in one smooth flip motion, flip the tart out onto the platter and remove the pan. If any of the apples have stuck to the pan — it happens to the best of us — gently lift them off the pan with an icing spatula and press them gently back onto the tart.

    10.  Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

    The caramelized sugar is hot enough to be dangerous. Let the tart sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, preferably on a windowsill with a chilly breeze wafting in.

     

    Bruschetta



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    This is one of my favorite dishes because it could be breakfast, lunch or dinner.  I’ve had it as all three, sometimes in one day.  It’s a really great cheap Summer meal if you have an oven.  Just heed the main rule of broiling: DON’T LEAVE THE KITCHEN WHILE BROILING THE BREAD!

    There’s something really satisfying about bruschetta.  It hits all the little places in your tastebuds that make you happy, and deeply satisfies you at the same time.  It’s also incredibly healthy.  Chow down on this Italian delicacy. Usually, this performs as an appetizer, so feel free to use it that way at your next occasion.

    Let it be noted that this is the first dish that taught me to keep a HIGH quality olive oil around at all times.  The greener the better. Don’t be fooled by green glass.

    Ingredients: (serves 2)

    • Crusty white bread (I’ve used good quality whole wheat before, just make sure it has a nice crust and an inside that stands up well to toppings.) Slice it thick.
    • 2-3 cups of the sweetest small tomatoes you can find. cherry tomatoes are great, “Earli Girls” are best, in a pinch you can use Romas. Chop them as small as you can. Remove seeds if you have picky eaters.
    • 2 cloves of garlic – one for the garlic press, one cut in half.
    • 1 cup of finely minced basil
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
    • 2 cups of your favorite shredded cheese (mozzarella flavor is best)
    • 2 Tbs high-quality balsamic vinegar
    • 3-4 Tbs high-quality olive oil
    • finely ground salt/pepper to taste

    Instructions:

    1. In a medium sized bowl, combine 1/2 cup “cheese”, diced tomato, diced onion, minced basil, one pressed garlic clove, balsamic vinegar,  1 Tbs olive oil and salt/pepper to taste. Toss well, and set aside for about 30 minutes.
    2. Place your thickly sliced bread on a baking sheet and turn your oven to broil on high
    3. Cut one of your garlic cloves in half and rub the cut side it on each slice of bread to transfer the flavor
    4. sprinkle the “cheese” shreds on the bread slices evenly in one layer.
    5. Drizzle olive oil on the bread
    6. Then broil the bread slices until the “cheese” until melted. This happens quickly, so don’t leave the kitchen. Just keep checking. This makes the bread toasty, ingrains the garlic and melts the cheese in one go.
    7. Once the “cheese” is melted, pull the slices from the oven.
    8. Place bread slices on your serving plates and top with the tomato mixture.  Try to drain out the tomato liquid if you have picky eaters. (I don’t mind if my bread gets slightly soggy with the tomato juices.)
    9. The final touch is to drizzle everything with one more pass of olive oil. Then munch.  You’ll be in heaven.
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