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Recipe: Sunflower Hummus Collard Green Wraps

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I have never bought collard greens at the grocery store. I was totally intimated by them! So big! So stiff. I don't know... they just never seemed friendly. But I took my friend Karen's CSA for the week and in it? Collard greens. 

Thing is, I LOVE to eat collard green wraps at any vegan cafe that as them. I am only scared of them at home. So I knew this was the time to do it myself. No loss. I found this recipe online and personalized it. I had these for lunch every day last week and they were SO filling. One lunch sized serving is two large collard leafs wrapped up tight with goodness.

I made home sunflower seed hummus first. Buy roasted unsalted sunflower seeds, throw some in a Vitamix with plenty of olive oil, a couple spoonfuls of tahini, a little garlic, tons of lemon juice (this is the trick), and salt and pepper. Likely, you'll need some water in there too to make the blender go. Keep tasting and tweaking til its lemony and salty and smooth. The end result of mine was pretty thick, almost like peanut butter consistency. Next, wash your collard wraps and cut off just the tiny little hard stem at the bottom. Generously spread some of that sunflower hummus right down the spine of the leaves. Top it with very thinly sliced red pepper, carrots and avocado. If you have pea shoots, definitely add those too!

So these are pretty good just like this, but I had leftover marinated mushrooms from a taco recipe I'm currently obsessed with (I'll post that one soon too) so I add some of those in there too. They are simply baby bella mushrooms sliced, put in a skillet with tamari, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and paprika until they're soft. Done.

Wrap the collard leaf up tight. Place the seam side down on a plate, and cut in the middle at a diagonal. So good.

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Recipe: Holy Blueberry Lavender Walnut Scones!

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Holy. Scones. I literally just ran to my computer to type this up I am so ecstatic. These scones have been out of the oven for 3 minutes and I have already housed 1.5 of them. I don't even like scones! These are amazing!

New cookbook inspiration: Thug Kitchen. If you like swearing vegan men, you will love this cookbook. I got it for Christmas and this is the first recipe I tried, which is odd because I really am not drawn to baked goods. However, something about blueberry lavender was calling to me and now here we are.

The recipe says the lavender is optional. It is not. It is what makes these scones fucking amazing. Go to your hippy-est grocery store (I went to Pittsburgh's East End Co-Op) and find dried lavender in the bulk section. It's about $50/lb but the stuff is light as air, so I got about 3 tablespoons for a few dollars. 

Here is the recipe, verbatim, from Thug Kitchen. It was not gluten free, so I gluten-freed-ized it, easily below. Eat these as they come out of the oven with some Smart Balance "butter." Baller.

For 8-12 scones (I only got 8), you'll need:

  • 2 3/4 cups gluten free (or regular if you want) all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons xanthum gum (only use if making with GF flour)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons dried lavender*
  • 1 1/4 cups plain almond milk, plus more for brushing
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  1. Crank your oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, sugars, and salt. Cut the oil into the flour using your hands until it all looks kind of grainy and there are no large chunks left. Stir in the motherfucking lavender.

  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the almond milk and vanilla. Mix it together until it is almost all the way combined but stop short. Fold in the berries and walnuts but be careful not to overmix.
  4. Scoop out the dough in 1/2-cup measurements and plop onto the baking sheet. Brush with almond milk and sprinkle with white sugar. Bake until they look a little golden around on the bottom, 12 to 15 minutes.

    *Can't find dried lavender? Don't trek all over town. Just leave it out and add an extra 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. We just wanted to give you a chance to be extra fancy.

 

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How I Won Gluten-Free-Vegan Christmas...

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It is no secret that I'm currently obsessed with Oh She Glows. It is also no secret that I'm typically a pretty terrible baker. Last year on Christmas Eve I ruined two attempts at homemade chocolate pudding (at least the second was edible, I just called it chocolatey-fudge-mousse-in-a-cup). Since then I've ruined box brownies at least twice... Maybe it's my oven?

So this year, I decided to try something with less emphasis on actually using the oven and from a source I already trusted. Enter, Chilled Chocolate-Espresso Torte with Toasted Hazelnut Crust and Whipped Coconut Cream. So freakin' easy. So insanely delicious. And it satisfied my non-vegan and gluten-loving family as well as my vegetarian step mom. The only less than exemplary comment I received was from Nanna... she thought it was "interesting." Anyway...

I was hesitant about the coconut whipped cream, but it honestly just tasted like vanilla. My dad licked the freakin' bowl when we were finished and my sister had no clue it was mostly coconut (and she's picky, so there's really no getting past her)! So if you make this, whatever you do, don't skip the whipped cream.

Here's the recipe and some fancier pictures from another blogger featuring this Oh She Glows masterpiece. This is my new go-to dessert. Next year, I won't even dare to try something new.

 

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Recipe: Maple Brussel SpRout Salad

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Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my god. I mean, really. This is my attempt at How Sweet Eats recipe that I've tried to make vegetarian (without the bacon) and let's just say it's so good that I haven't even cleaned up the kitchen yet I am so excited to post it!

It took me about 10 minutes to make from start to finish. Buy brussel sprouts. Slice them into messy chunks, put them in a skillet with a couple tablespoons olive oil, a little scoop of vegan butter (or regular, whatever), and about two tablespoons of maple syrup. Toss in the medium heated skillet until they are just bright green and slightly tender (4-5 minutes). Remove from heat, add a bit of blue cheese, salt and pepper. Then slice a pear, add that and more cheese and you are literally done. It's gorgeous, simple, filling and something totally different in the salad department. 

Seriously, go make this. Right now. Peace.

 

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Recipe: Smoked Salmon Salad w/ Lemon Dill Dressing

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Ok guys, I was off the blogging train for a hot second but I am back. Sorry for the radio silence. Things got a bit crazy at work (good crazy!) for a few months and this space lost all the energy I was giving it. I have, however, been trying a TON of different recipes, all gluten free and mostly vegan and now sadly (not really), I am going to have to remake all of them to document and share with you!

This recipe is (sort of) made up based on a salad I had at brunch a few weeks ago at Pittsburgh's Bistro 19 in Mt. Lebanon. My take on this salad is my obsession for lunch this week. It's so easy to pack each morning and since it does have salmon on it, I feel like it's pretty hearty and yet light. Sorry this one doesn't fall in the vegan / veg category.

All you need for this is:

Spinach, arugula, red onion and smoked salmon lox (I got mine from Trader Joes for $8). For the dressing, I mixed some olive oil, juice of one lemon, seedy brown mustard, salt,  and pepper together. I add a bit of dill to the salad and also to the dressing right before I mix the salad. If you're not opposed to sour cream, dob some of that into the salad (or mix that with the lemon and dill) for a richer taste. Done.

The restaurant where I had this originally also served with a hard boiled egg and croutons. Have at it if you're into that!

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Recipe: Mango Thai Lettuce Wraps (V, GF)

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These lettuce wraps are not only vegan, insanely flavorful and easy to make, but they are also incredibly filling. I found this recipe for Mango & Zucchini Lettuce Wraps by Love and Lemons on Pinterest and thought I'd give it a try. 

I followed her recipe almost exactly with a few tweaks. I used butter lettuce instead of romaine, because it's softer and makes the perfect sized cup for the veggies. I sliced up some zucchini and carrots, cut mango into long thin stripes, added some bean sprouts (love the crunch!), diced a serrano pepper, mint, green onion, and lime.

The sauce is also really easy. Mix tamari, rice vinegar, honey, sesame oil, toasted sesame oil (optional), fresh ginger, and red pepper flakes together for dipping/pouring.

On the side, I simply opened a package of Trader Joe's precooked lentils and served cold. I had never tried lentils before (seriously, I know) and these are great! A bit bland alone, but mixed with the residual sauce from the wraps and some lime... delish! I guess I have a new grain to experiment with and love now, sorry quinoa.

These made a great post-yoga dinner. I filled up on two easily and took leftovers for lunch the next two days. 

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Recipe: Raw Tomato Sauce with GF Pasta

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I wanted to do a light tomato sauce with some pasta recently when I was craving a fresh but satisfying dinner. Something about light tomatoes, olive oil and some lemon just makes summer feel right. For this recipe, I consulted good old Martha Stewart for my sauce. It's raw and ready in minutes. Perfect for a quick, painless meal. 

I used four roma tomatoes. I diced two of them by hand into small cubes and ever-so-gently pulsed the other two in a blender until close to pureed by still pretty chunky.  Mix with some chopped basil, parsley and garlic. Combine with olive oil and the juice of one small lemon (Martha didn't use lemon, I went rogue). After some salt and pepper, I felt it still needed a bit of flavor so I added about a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar. Mix with your favorite GF pasta and you're set for dinner and leftovers for lunch!

 

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Recipe: Whole Foods Cabbage Crunch

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I am obsessed with Whole Foods Cabbage Crunch. It makes an appearance in the prepared foods section every so often in the spring and summer and it's the most fresh flavorful take on vegan cole slaw I have ever witnessed.

Today I set out to recreate it for the sake of time, money and well, wanting to have it for lunch every day this week. I found some other recipes online that mimic it, so I combine those, did my own thing and wound up with an almost-exact replica... I'm rather proud.

All you need is one whole cabbage, chopped into manageable bit sized pieces, five green onions diced including the green stems, sliced almonds and sesame seeds either regular or black, if you can find them. The Whole Foods kind uses black toasted sesame seeds, but ironically, they don't sell those in their store. Neither does Trade Joe's, where an employee told me they stopped selling sesame seeds altogether because they could not find a non-GMO source (fascinating / disturbing).

Mix all of this together in a big bowl and set aside. To make the dressing, mix about half a cup of olive oil, a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, a couple tablespoons of honey, a dash of red wine vinegar with some salt and pepper. Shake that up and keep separate from the salad until you're ready to serve so it doesn't get soggy. 

That's it. The end. Crunch on.

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Recipe: First Ever Mushroom Risotto

This was my first ever try at risotto. Not just mushroom, but any kind. It's a gluten-free girl's savior in an Italian restaurant and I've been obsessed with mushrooms recently. I didn't have time to meal plan this Sunday the way I'd have liked (ya gotta live!) so I sort of winged it at Trader Joe's. A girl had their frozen mushroom risotto in her cart and it sparked an idea so I went to the frozen foods aisle, which I typically avoid, and picked it up. NOT GLUTEN FREE. Of course, they had to roll their risotto in wheat flour. Like, why is that necessary? No. Anyway, I went looking for "risotto rice" or what I learned is actually called Arborio rice (like I said, I'm a novice). I actually ended up just buy a box of Trader Joe's Mushroom & Herb Risotto is a box and figured it would be easy for a busy week.

Today at work I felt overwhelmed by how busy I'm going to be in both my work life and professional life the next 6-ish days so I decided to skip yoga and rest. So I ended up making up my own catch-all risotto that kind of uses the pre-made box I bought and kind of doesn't. It ended up turning out delicious and far better than I expected, so here it is:

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Take a box of Trader Joe's Mushroom & Herbed Risotto (found in the rice aisle) and cook it as per the directions on the box EXCEPT do not put the packet of seasoning in. Basically, you are just cooking their rice. Easy enough. If you aren't a vegetarian you can add a chicken broth cube for flavoring...optional.)

While that's going, in a skillet saute garlic and one or two diced shallots in a bit of sesame oil and tamari (gluten free soy). Add in any veggies you see fit next. I chose golden cherry tomatoes, halved green beans (haricot vert if you want to being fancy), and a package of shiitake mushrooms. I marinated the shiitake mushrooms in the oil and tamari for just a bit prior and then used that mixture to saute. Take off the heat when everything is just cooked enough.

Once the rice is fluffy and happy looking, open the packet of Trader Joe's seasoning and put literally 1/20th of it in the pot. Then add all the contents of the skillet in the pot plus some olive oil, white wine (I used a cheap chardonnay), parsley, salt and pepper. I didn't measure, neither should you. Mix, eat, done in 20 minutes tops. Gluten and dairy free.

Next time, I'll just buy the rice on its own and use the leftover seasoning packet to flavor if I even need it. Oh, and the leftover chardonnay was nice too.

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Recipe : Spring Green Pasta

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I made this guy up on the fly one night last week and had the leftovers for lunch the next day. It's really easy to make — just toss all the ingredients together in a big pot once the pasta has cooled and go crazy with the veggies.

Cook gluten free brown rice or quinoa pasta per instructions on the box. Strain when al dente, put back in the pot with the heat off and add in garden peas, arugula, spinach, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Sauce is simply lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to finish.

Yep, totally on board with this one.

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