Monday, June 13, 2016

June 2016 SASL Meeting: Green Building for Indoor Air Quality

How much is it worth to a family not have to deal with allergic and other reactions caused by the home in which they live that could result in missing work, school or living in health challenging conditions?

When considering green building most people seem to focus on energy, water, materials, resiliency, and tiny homes. All too often, not enough thought is given to health-related design.

Unfortunately, the environmental factors that can make us sick, and conversely, keep us well, have no ability to monetize.

So, how much is it worth to you to live in a building that supports your health rather than challenging it? 

Come to our June 28, 2016 meeting. Green building advocate and architect, Stephen Colley AIA will be addressing these issues and others related to green and natural building.  We will also have the latest news on environmentally related events around San Antonio.  See you then!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Our October 2015 meeting takes us back to our roots of sustainable building with a presentation by Gaylord Reeves and Karen Eppright of Forever Green Concrete Forms.   They will be talking about the version of Insulated Concrete Form they market in San Antonio.  Their form combines concrete with recycled polystyrene to make a block which is used as a form for holding a grid of steel reinforced concrete.

Blocks are stacked and braced. Rebar is inserted during stacking.
Plywood and sprayed foam prevents blow-outs when the concrete is pumped in from overhead.
The poured concrete fills voids in the block to make a steel reinforced concrete grid.
This style of ICF has a long history in San Antonio (long for a Green Building System other than Adobe).

Over the years several companies produced blocks here including Amazon Gridwall and Rastra .

In one notable case a builder somehow obtained forms to make the blocks and home-brewed a version of them in a below-the-radar near westside factory.  The story goes that he then built and sold houses made with the block without informing either the building inspectors or the new homeowners.  (Assuming that the blocks were of good quality, that would be a very pleasant surprise for any homeowner.)

The blocks sold by our presenters however are produced on the up and up out of state. 

ICF blocks produce a structure that is extremely quiet, insect resistant, tight and energy efficient.  The walls stand up to windstorms and earthquake ( a much more common occurrence here in South Texas due to fracking).

Another distinct advantage of building with ICF blocks within the city limits of San Antonio is that code and building authorities have approved many buildings utilizing them.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Meatless Monday Recipe-Blueberry Persimmon Parfaits

Blueberry Persimmon Parfaits
Vegan; Raw; Gluten Free; Soy Free

I made these for a Christmas Day potluck. My usual farmers market trip always sparks inspiration! I found blueberries and persimmons and found a recipe from The Global Girl. Problem, the recipe gives you no yields and how many... So, I had just enough for 8 shot glass size parfaits....

4 persimmons, peeled (if extra ripe-slice in half and scoop out)
1 pint of blueberries (save some of the pretty ones for garnish)

1. In a food processor, blend persimmons until smooth. Remove half of the mixture in a bowl and set aside.

2. In the food processor with half of the persimmon mixture add the blueberries and blend until smooth.

3. Layer first using blueberry persimmon mixture, next the persimmon and the top layer blueberry persimmon mixture. I topped each parfaits with coconut whipped cream and 3 whole blueberries for garnish.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Pomegranate Persimmon Paste

Pomegranate Persimmon Paste
Vegan; 10 minutes; Gluten Free; Raw

Now that my kitchen has been busted out of storage, I've welcomed my missed "Gourmet Sundays". Here is the first of many more to come. Super easy, the messiest part is making sure you don't stain everything squeezing the pomegranate. I used this as a spread for french toast, so delicious!

2 persimmons, chopped
2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed pomegranate

1. In a food processor combine ingredients and blend until smooth. Add 1/8 teaspoon of maple syrup if needed to cut tartness. Enjoy, will last 2 weeks in an airtight container.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Crispy Kale Pasta Bake

Crispy Kale Pasta Bake
Vegan; Soy Free; Serves 4

This is adapted from Fig and Cherry. The first time I made this it came out really bland for my taste. Here I added poblano peppers and vegan Parmesan cheese. I omitted the cornflour and vegetable spread to make it lighter. Hope you all enjoy! My mom and I did.... Happy Eating!

1 1/2 cups shell pasta (or other small-shaped pasta)
1 bunch kale (or other leafy vegetable such as spinach or silverbeet)
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups unsweetened hemp milk or non-dairy milk
1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 small to medium poblano peppers, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/3 cup onion, chopped
1-2 teaspoons of chipotle cayenne vegan Parmesan cheese

1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water for 10 minutes or as per packet instructions until almost al dente. You want it a little underdone because it will be heated again in the oven later on. Drain well and then place into a 1 1/2 quart ovenproof baking dish. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Destem the leaves of the kale. In a large skillet over medium heat kale, peppers, onion and garlic for 1-2 minutes or until just wilted (adding a Tablespoon of water at a time if needed). Transfer half the kale mixture to a mini food processor and add 1/3 cup hemp milk, mustard, pepper and chipotle cayenne vegan Parmesan cheese. Blitz for 30 seconds until finely chopped and smooth. Pour over the pasta in the baking dish and gently fold in the rest of the wilted kale mixture from the skillet. Slowly pour in the remaining hemp milk.

3. Sprinkle breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese over the top of the pasta and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown and crunchy. Serve immediately.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

George Swanson Returns to SASL Meeting August 27th

We are in for a special treat for our next meeting on Tuesday the 27th of August. After a ten year absence (more or less), George Swanson of Swanson Associates in Austin returns to our group to tell us more than we ever knew before about Magnesium Oxide (MgO) panels and products and to answer any question you may have regarding MgO. We in the fringe construction business that's otherwise known as Green Building have heard quite a bit on the properties and advantages of MgO for some time now. With the revelations concerning some of the problems related to gypsum board oriented strand board, plywood, and cementitious exterior panels, MgO has held up some promise of it being a much more appropriate material for interior and exterior use. According to MgO promoters, just one of the more interesting aspects of MgO board is that the material absorbs more carbon dioxide over time (about three months) than the amount of carbon dioxide it required to be produced, therefore acting as an effective carbon "sink".  The trouble is that most of the MgO board has to be imported from China. That's right, the same country that supplied that wonderful sulphur and toxic-infused gypsum board on the market that made a huge stink (pun intended) a few years ago. Well, it turns out that the increased production of MgO panels is in no small way a reaction to that Chinese gypsum board debacle. George Swanson is connected in a large way with the MgO production operations in China where he travels to often and spends much of his time there. George will be telling us in detail the good news that he's setting up a highly automated MgO board production operation in Houston which will be providing the American market with domestically produced MgO board in the near future. He will also tell us about the hundreds of trailers here that are the healthy replacement for "FEMA" trailers using MgO board inside and out. That's just a little of the information that you will hear more about at our meeting on Tuesday. Knowing George, he's going to be telling us about much, much more. If you missed his memorable presentation the last time around, you will not want to miss it on Tuesday. You wouldn't want to wait another ten years for our next chance would you? Hope to see you all on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-No Oil Spicy Coconut Curry

No Oil Spicy Coconut Curry
Vegan; Gluten Free; 30 minutes

I made this last night for my mom (since I'm staying with her) and she loved it. I served this with brown rice, but use what you have... I plan on making this again and adding some mustard greens, so if you have that or spinach wilt it in...

1 block of extra firm sprouted tofu, rinsed and cut into 1" slices
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of onion, minced
1 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 cup of cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 cups mustard greens or spinach, coarsely chopped
2 large tablespoons of plain coconut yogurt
1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 tablespoon of red curry paste (check the label to make sure it's vegan)
1-1 1/2 cups unsweetened hemp milk
1 teaspoon ginger powder or fresh
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons cumin
garnish with lime and fresh cilantro

1. In a large pan saute in the vegetable broth garlic, and onion over medium heat till the onion is translucent. Add the tofu and gently toss until coated with the broth. Cook until the tofu has become golden, about 8-10 minutes. Combine the ginger, curry powder, and cumin; sprinkle over the tofu.

2. Add the squash and zucchini, cook for about 5 minutes and add the mushrooms. If using spinach or mustard greens; add it now with 2 tablespoons of water to wilt in. Stir in the coconut yogurt, hemp milk, curry paste, and simmer till the sauce becomes slightly thick. I added some crushed Thai peppers to give an extra kick, fresh cilantro and lime...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Dan Rojas pesticide free drum fan mosquito trap did indeed catch quite few of the blood suckers

After a week or so of continuous work, it did catch a few.
Several months ago I noticed Dan Rojas' YouTube video DIY MOSQUITO TRAP pesticide FREE mosquito control which showed how to use a metal drum fan draped with window screening held fast by rare earth magnets to capture and eventually kill mosquito's and other flying insects.

The red is from strawberry juice, not blood sucking bug blood.
It took me a while but I bought the magnets from Amazon, the fan from Northern Tool and the window screening from a thrift store.   I put it together and it immediately started grabbing bugs and I killed and removed the catch after a couple of days.  Then I let it run for a week before cleaning it today.

No doubt there are more mosquitoes to catch in swampy Florida than in dry San Antonio,  but the bugs are still irritating and I'm glad to catch any I can.  The only problem with the fan was a persistent squeak which that thankfully has disappeared for now.

Obviously the trap caught more than just mosquitoes.  The first time I emptied it I wasn't sure if the ants had come to gobble up the insect remains (except the mosquito legs) as Dan had said they would.  It took a few hours but you can see in the short video that they did eventually did show up for a feast.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Carrot Cake Cupcakes
Vegan; Makes 24 cupcakes

To make the cake:

2 cups plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
3/4 cup coconut oil, liquidfied
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup sugar
4 oz. carrot baby food (I use carrot, apple and parsnips from a squeeze out tube)
1 Tbs. finely grated fresh ginger
1 tsp. vanilla extract
egg replacer equavilent to 3 eggs
3 cups coarsely grated carrots (can be shredded in food processor), from about 2 carrots
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple, well drained
1 1/2 cups ground walnuts
1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

2. To make Carrot Cake: Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and cardamom. Beat oil, both sugars, baby food, ginger, and vanilla extract until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add egg replacer, beating after. Add flour mixture in two additions. Add carrots, pineapple, raisins and nuts; beat just until blended. Divide batter in cupcake liners and bake 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into centers comes out clean. Cool on baking racks and cool completely.

See Recipe in Blog for Frosting and top with toasted coconut or walnuts....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Lau Lau~ With a Twist

Lau Lau~ With a Twist
Vegan; 30 minutes; Gluten Free

The majority of time these rolls are filled with pork and fish, here I used a filling with split peas and sweet potato. A filling and tasty way to get more collard greens in your diet (which are a super green), hope you enjoy these rolls...

8 large whole collard leaves
1 medium sweet potato, unpeeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup of green and yellow split peas, soaked for 8 hours **Note: Soak the split peas before going to work or early in the day
1/2 cup of pearl barley or quinoa
1/2 cup of coconut milk
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or a few drops of liquid smoke

1. I used a rice maker filled with 2 cups water to cook the split peas, pearl barely and steam the sweet potatoes. If not using a rice maker fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Add the soaked split peas, pearl barley and cook till tender. Steam the sweet potatoes for 8 minutes.

2. Fill a large pot with 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil. Drop collard leaves in water one leaf at a time, and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until slightly soft.

3. In a medium skillet over medium heat, saute the onion and garlic till fragrant. Add sweet potatoes, cooked split peas and pearl barley or quinoa, coconut milk, crushed red pepper, and paprika or liquid smoke. Simmer, letting all of the flavors come together for 5 minutes or until liquid is gone.

4. Lay 1 collard leaf on work surface, with steam pointing away from you. Spoon 1/4 cup of filling 2 inches from bottom of collard leaf. Fold bottom edge of collard leaf over filling, fold in sides, and roll away from you; rolling as tight as you can. Serve with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce for an extra kick....

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Hominy Quesadillas with Grilled Tomatillo Salsa

Hominy Quesadillas with Grilled Tomatillo Salsa
Vegan; Serves 8; 30 minutes or fewer

Welcome summer with this light tasty meal. Letting the grill and the food processor do a lot of the work, makes this a super easy meal to prepare on a weeknight. I soaked cashews in the morning, before going to work and was able to make a cashew cream to take place of the goat cheese that the original recipe from Vegetarian Times called for.

3 large or a combination of small and medium equal to 1/2 cup, husked and halved
1 large poblano chile, halved lengthwise, stemmed and seeded (I used 1 1/2 smaller poblano chiles)
1/2 onion cut into chunks
1 Tbs. lime juice, plus extra to cut into lime wedges for serving (about 3 limes total)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup cooked hominy or canned hominy, rinsed and drained
1 cup cooked pinto beans or canned pinto beans, rinsed and drained
8 flour tortillas (I used green chile flour tortillas)
1/2 cup cashew cream
1/2 cup pepper jack daiya cheese
hot sauce

1. Preheat over medium heat, you may have to coat the grill grate or the grill pan with cooking spray. We didn't and didn't lose any veggies...

2 Coat tomatillos, poblano, and onion chunks with cooking spray. Grill for 10 minutes or until charred.

3. Pulse grilled onion chunks and tomatillos to coarse puree in a mini food processor. Add poblano and lime juice; blend until poblano is chopped. Transfer to bowl, and stir in cilantro.

4. Pulse hominy, pinto beans, and 2 Tbs. of tomatillo mixture in food processor until just beginning to stick together.

5. Press one-quarter hominy mixture over half of each tortilla. Add cashew cream and sprinkle pepper jack daiya cheese and fold tortillas in half. Grill quesadillas for 6 minutes or until filling is heat through, turning once. Let stand for about 2 minutes and serve with hot sauce.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Buffalo Chickpea Dip

Buffalo Chickpea Dip
Vegan; Gluten Free

Make at least a few hours ahead to allow all the flavors time to meld together; cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, and bake off just before serving.

1 15-oz can kidney, drained and rinsed
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
3/4 cup Saso Roasted Red Pepper Chipotle Sauce
1/2 cup hemp milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon garlic powder
Ground black pepper
Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh, finely-chopped parsley
1 teaspoon fresh chopped chives
1 15-oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup Daiya pepper jack-style or cheddar cheese, divided

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Add the beans and cashews to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times to break them up a bit. Add the hot sauce, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, and a pinch of black pepper. Process until the mixture is entirely smooth (this will take several minutes), stopping to scrape down the bowl as necessary. Adjust salt to taste.

3. Scrape the bean mixture into a bowl and stir in the parsley and chives to evenly distribute. Stir in the chickpeas and 3/4 cup of the Daiya. Transfer the dip to a 9×9-inch square baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of Daiya on top. (Note: Dip can be made up to this point a day or two ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to heat and serve.) Cover baking dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until warmed through. Serve with tortilla chips or veggies for dipping.

Found and slightly adapted from Gluten Free in the City

Monday, May 20, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Nacho Cheese Sauce~Vegan Style

Nacho Cheese Sauce~Vegan Style

I made this last night, for Bruce and one of his long time friends that came in from out of town. So here it is, his friend pretty much told Bruce "No, you can't like that vegan stuff." Maybe phrased differently, but yes. Anyways, last night even his friend went back for more tasty bites.... I put this over black beans, tomatoes and organic blue corn chips.

1 cup cooked and mashed butternut squash (mine was small, so it came out to be half of the squash)
3/4 cup plain coconut yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/4 onion finely chopped
5 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/4 cup raw cashews
3 Tablespoons tapioca flour
1 chipotle chili in adobo sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a food processor or blender, combine all of the ingredients and process until smooth and creamy. Occasionally scraping the sides to push closer to the blades.

2. Transfer to a heavy medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently until thick and creamy. About 2 to 5 minutes, it took me 3 minutes.

Store in a covered container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Adapted from: Artisan Vegan Cheese

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Stuffed Artichokes

Stuffed Artichokes
Vegan; 1 hour 30 minutes

Finding artichokes on sale at the grocery store the other day, I picked some up. I love this, since it's one bowl and one pan it makes cleaning SO easy! Prep time is a little longer, since you do have to snip the pointed tips off each artichoke leaf.

4 artichokes
1/2 cup of Italian seasoned breadcrumbs (use gluten free)
1 Tablespoon melted earth balance
4 Tablespoons vegan Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic minced
2 teaspoons basil, parsley, crushed rosemary

1. Rinse artichokes. Cut about 1.5 inches from top (point). Cut off stem and reserve. Artichokes should sit flat by removing stem. With kitchen shears, clip the end from each leaf to remove thorn. Rinse. With point down on a hard surface (counter top) press down to spread leaves. Place artichokes in bowl of lemon water to keep from turning brown.

2. In a medium bowl combine ingredients, mixing till well combined.

3. Press about 1/2 cup of stuffing into each artichoke. Tightly pack stuffed artichokes together in a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Add enough water to reach half way up artichokes. Steam for 45 minutes. During the steaming process, sprinkle artichokes with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. As artichokes cooks, baste often and don’t let liquid evaporate. As liquid steams away, add more water. This liquid turns into a delicious sauce. Artichokes are done when you can pull a leaf off easily.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Lemon Glazed Lavender Scones

Lemon Glazed Lavender Scones

I love the fact that one can go to the Pearl Farmers Market and pick up fresh lavender buds. Used in this recipe, these are quite tasty and SUPER easy to make, these are perfect for a brunch or a Mother's Day get together.... Depending on the size you shape the scones will change the amount the recipe yields. Adapted from

1/2 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1/2 cup earth balance, at room temperature
egg replacer equal to 2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/4 cup hemp milk

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F; line a 12 count muffin pan with paper liners or shape into triangle scone shapes.

2. Put the sugar and lavender buds in a food processor. Process briefly to combine. Sift flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl.

3. Tip the lavender sugar into a bowl with the earth balance and beat together until pale and fluffy. Beat the egg replacer into the earth balance mixture, a little at a time, then fold gently into the sifted flour. Stir in the hemp milk, then spoon the mixture into the muffin cups.

4. Bake for about 18 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Lemon Glaze

2/4 cups sifted organic powder sugar
the zest and juice from one lemon

1. Sift the powder sugar in a bowl. Zest the lemon and set aside. Squeeze lemon juice into the sifted powder sugar a little at a time and stirring, till you get a glaze consistency. Drizzle over the scones and sprinkle with lemon zest, store in the fridge till ready to serve.... Enjoy!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Brown Sugar Orange Tofu

Brown Sugar Orange Tofu
Vegan; 30 minutes

This happens to be one of the tofu recipes the boys like. They of course like the sweetness of it, and I had to add the chilies to balance that sweetness. Serve this over rice or some noodles with wilted spinach to have more of a meal.

16 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup unbleached-organic, all-purpose flour (use brown rice flour to make gluten free)
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large orange or 1/2 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tbs. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp dried Thai chilies

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Toss tofu in a large bowl with flour and salt. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet. Shake off excess flour from tofu and place in a single layer in hot skillet. Saute until golden brown.

3. Spray a non-stick baking dish with cooking spray, then transfer tofu to baking dish. Squeeze the juice of an orange into the skillet with the leftover oil. Allow the oil, juice, Thai chilies and simmer until you have a slightly thick sauce.

4. Pour the sauce evenly over the tofu and top with brown sugar and ginger. Bake tofu in oven for 15 minutes until brown sugar-orange glaze starts to caramelize.

Serve warm with sauteed greens and rice, if desired.

Adapted from Tablespoon

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream
Vegan; Gluten Free; Prep Time: 6 hrs.; 10 minutes

I made this to go with the fabulous meal for Bruce and the boys. When I made the recipe originally I followed it to a "T". I felt like it called for way too much lemon juice, so in the post it I'm adjusting the lemon juice. If you feel you need more add an extra tablespoon. To make sweet add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar.

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in 4 cups of water for at least 6 hours, then drained
1 cup cold water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Dash or two of sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth, about 5 minutes.
**Will keep fresh for one week in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

Found: Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats

Meatless Monday Recipe-Poblano White Chili

Poblano White Chili
Vegan; Gluten Free

This is a thinner chili, then the usual stick to your ribs chili. Instead of the goat cheese that the original recipe (adapted from Vegetarian Times) called for, to keep the tangy flavor that this needs, I used cashew cream. Hope you all like this. Serve over rice and blue corn organic chips!

3 cups cooked white beans, black beans, or kidney beans (I used a combination)
1 recipe Rajas (see recipe below)
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
2 Tbs. lime juice, divided
3/4 cup hemp milk
2/4 cashew cream (see recipe in blog)
1/4 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
white pepper to taste

1. Bring beans, Rajas, broth, oregano, and cumin to a simmer in saucepan over medium heat. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook 2 minutes more.

2. Warm milk in separate saucepan. Add cashew cream, 1 Tbs. lime juice, season with white pepper and stir until smooth. Serve chili garnished with cashew cream sauce, pumpkin seeds, and cilantro.


I had three poblano peppers and it would have been better to have the six, since I sliced them SO thin. The original recipe calls for heating the onions and garlic in a skillet, here I've made it easier for clean up and everything gets cooked together.

6 poblano chilies (1 lb.)
2 tsp. safflower oil
1/2 large onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. dried oregano

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Slice peppers and onion into 1/4-inch strips; place on cookie sheet and set aside. Add garlic, oregano and drizzle with oil, oven roast for 15-20 minutes.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Tatale (Ripe Plantain Pancakes)

Tatale (Ripe Plantain Pancakes)
Vegan; about 30 minutes

Since Bruce and I had a Saturday morning without having to make a mad dash out the door to football, I decided to make these for him. This recipe comes from Ghana, so I adapted it for what I had in the kitchen. If you want use rice flour for the corn meal and replace the whole wheat flour with cornmeal! I also served these with strawberry candied jalapenos....

3 or 4 large over-ripe plantains, about 1 1/2 lbs. after peeling), or about 3 cups when sliced
1/3 onion, or shallots, minced or finely chopped
1/3 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 t dried ground red cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
3 t fresh grated or ground ginger
about 1/4 cup of oil for pan frying
1/4-1/2 t salt (optional)
1 cup of water

1. Cut the ends off, slice them into slices about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick. Traditionally these would then be pounded in a mortar with a wooden pestle, however, I mashed mine with a fork (since my potato masher is still in storage). It should not be completely smooth.

2. Stir in the grated ginger, cayenne pepper and onions. Add the cornmeal and wheat flour. Add the water and stir again.

3. Over medium-high heat, heat a heavy frying pan or griddle as you would for regular pancakes (my cast iron skillet worked perfect). I used enough oil to coat the pan, then drop the batter onto the griddle (either small, like "silver dollar" pancakes, or somewhat larger, say using 1/3 to 1/2 cup batter).

4. As soon as the tatale is firm enough to turn without breaking, carefully turn it over with a pancake turner and press the turner down firmly on the pancake to flatten it. Continue doing this every few minutes while the pancakes cook.

5. Drain the pancakes on paper towels and add a little more oil to the pan for each batch of tatale. Avoid stacking them--spread them out to drain, and serve them on a large platter. The tatale can be made in the morning and kept warm in a low oven, but will become tough if heated too long. A better alternative is to zap them briefly in the microwave to heat them before serving them.

**NOTE**It's good to let the mixture sit for 20 - 30 minutes before you cook the pancakes. The batter can actually be made a day ahead and refrigerated until you're ready to cook the tatale.

Original Recipe Found: BetumiBlog

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas

Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas
Vegan; 1 hour total; Can be made Gluten Free; Serves 4

Alright, I made these for the boys and added the cashew cream wrapped in the enchilada. The boys ate the dish all up, with corn tortillas and daiya cheese, this is a SUPER kid friendly dish. To make this easier, you can use taco seasoning or (like me) use a variety of seasonings. This recipe does require an extra set of hands. So get a friend or loved one to help and make it an extra special meal....

1 large sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (15 oz.) can of black beans
1 cup vegetable broth
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 sweet onion, minced
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced
1 package "chicken" seitan (omit if making gluten free)
1 cup cashew cream
1 cup daiya cheese shreds (I used pepper jack)
1 package corn tortillas (organic)
2 small cans tomato sauce
Chili Powder to taste
Cayenne Pepper to taste
1 cup fresh salsa (be creative here, my favorite is either the one Bruce makes or apple chipotle salsa)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small, wide bowl combine tomato sauce and seasoning. (You'll be dipping the tortillas in it.)

2. Over medium heat; in a medium pan combine the vegetable broth, seitan, onion, garlic, chipotle pepper and sweet potato. Cook sweet potatoes and black bean mixture until broth has evaporated.

3. Cover the bottom of a 9-inch by 13-inch pan with a thin layer of tomato sauce.

4. Heat corn tortillas (this will help them from breaking). Place tortilla in spice/sauce mixture and fill with sweet potato and black bean mixture. Add cashew cream, salsa and pepper jack cheese. Roll and repeat till tortillas are gone. Sprinkle the remaining fillings (salsa, cashew cream, black beans and pepper jack cheese) on top. Cover with foil and bake for minutes. Remove foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Marinated Portobellos With Cashew Cheese and Pesto

Marinated Portobellos With Cashew Cheese and Pesto
Vegan; Makes 3 servings; Gluten Free

This recipe takes a little bit of prep, but it's SO worth it! From the cashew cream (soaking the cashews), to making the pesto~ the prep is easy and the presentation is a beauty for any table.....

For the Mushrooms:
1/2 Tbsp./tsp. vegetable oil
1/4 cup soy sauce or tamari (use gluten free)
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. dried basil
6 portobello mushrooms, stems removed

1. Combine all ingredients, except for the mushrooms, in a bowl and mix well.
Coat each portobello with the mixture, and then place on a plate. Pour the remaining mixture over the mushrooms. Set aside until ready to bake.

2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

3. Line a baking sheet with tin foil, place the mushrooms on the pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

4. Remove mushrooms from the oven, fill with cashew cheese (recipe in blog), and top with pesto (recipe in blog). Bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Serve immediately.

For the pesto

(This is my go to recipe when I need a great lighter version of a pesto recipe!)

1 oz/ 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
1/4 oz fresh mint leaves, torn
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon

1.) To make the pesto, puree the basil and mint, garlic mustard, pine nuts, oil and lemon juice in a food processor or blender. Season and set aside.

Cashew Cream
Vegan; Gluten Free; Prep Time: 6 hrs.; 10 minutes

I made this to go with the fabulous meal for Bruce and the boys. When I made the recipe origanilly I followed it to a "T". I felt like it called for way too much lemon juice, so in the post it I'm adjusting the lemon juice. If you feel you need more add an extra tablespoon. To make sweet add 2-3 teaspoons of sugar.

2 cups raw cashews, soaked in 4 cups of water for at least 6 hours, then drained
1 cup cold water
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
Dash or two of sea salt

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and blend until very smooth, about 5 minutes.
**Will keep fresh for one week in a tightly sealed container in the fridge.

Found: Great Gluten-Free Vegan Eats

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Chickpea Flatbread

Chickpea Flatbread
Vegan; Gluten Free

When I made this, I think my cookie sheet was too large. So, if you happen to be like me and have several cookie sheets in different sizes, use a medium one. Mine came out thinner then I would have liked, super tasty. I'll measure the one that I'll use next time, so that way there should be no confusion as to what "large" or "medium" mean. This recipe goes great with any pesto recipe....

2 1/2 cups chick-pea flour (also called gram or garbanzo flour)
3 1/2 cups fresh cold water
2 teaspoons black pepper, or to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
A pinch of salt
Vegan Parmesan Cheese

1. In a large mixing bowl, pour in the flour. Add the water gradually as you whisk the flour to keep any lumps from forming. Once all the water has been added, mix until completely smooth and add salt and pepper as desired (just not too much salt and this recipe doesn't need much).

2. Let the mixture stand on the counter for 3 hours or so. When ready to bake, heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently skim off any froth that forms on the surface of the mixture with a slotted spoon. Prepare a large rimmed cookie sheet by pouring the olive oil onto the bottom (if you can, do not be shy or skimpy here with the olive oil, it is wonderful in this recipe).

3. Once the oven is hot, pour in the batter, making a layer about (1/4) inch deep. Careful, this is going to move a lot when you pick it up! Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until golden. 5 minutes before pulling out of the oven, sprinkle with vegan Parmesan cheese. Remove from the oven when done and let cool a little before cutting & serving.

Found: In Pursuite of More

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Coconut Vanilla Custard

Coconut Vanilla Custard
Vegan; Gluten Free; Soy Free 10 minutes

Here the Coconut milk and Vanilla Almond milk create the perfect balance of not an over power of sweetness.

1 cup coconut milk, divided
1 cup vanilla almond milk
2 Tablespoons cornstarch

1. Over medium heat, bring 1/4 cup of coconut milk to a boil.

2. In a large mixing cup or a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the vanilla almond milk and remaining coconut milk (3/4 cup). Add to heated milk, whisking to avoid clumping. The custard should begin to thicken in about 5-8 minutes and remove from heat. Allow to cool and refrigerate until need or ready to enjoy.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Meatless Monday Recipe-Portobella Mushroom Cheesesteak Sandwiches

Portobella Mushroom Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Vegan; 30 minutes or fewer; Serves 2

I made these for brunch one late morning for Bruce and me. These are also great as a lunch, very light and filling.... You may even be able to sneak them past the hard core carnivores! Happy Eating and Happy New Year!

2 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 extra-large portabella mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 tbsp. red wine (about 2-3 cubes)
salt and pepper to taste
1 small green pepper, thinly sliced
1/4 large onion, thinly sliced
4 slices vegan pepperjack or mozzarella cheese
2 sub rolls, sliced lengthwise (don't completely cut the top from the bottom, though!)

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook 3-4 minutes, or until softened and browned. Add wine and increase heat to high. Cook until liquid has evaporated, about 2-3 minutes. Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add green pepper and onions; cook until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Top vegetable mixture with cheese slices. Once cheese has melted, remove from heat.

2. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

4. Divide veggie mixture into sub rolls. Wrap each cheesesteak tightly with foil and place on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap carefully....

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Meatless Monday Recipe-Mixed Dal with Tomato Tarka

Mixed Dal with Tomato Tarka
Vegan; 1 hour and 30 minutes

So, humor me here. Bruce loved this and amazingly enough, so did Max. Grant, I had to mention that "if you're full, then you don't get dessert.". That worked! Since it has been crazy in the house, with football, hockey and Bruce traveling. I wanted a nice dinner where we sat at the table like a family.... Well worth the wait, I may have cut a step out still resulting in a tasty meal!

1/2 cup yellow split peas
1/2 cup green split peas
3 Tbs. melted Earth Balance (I used about 2 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. fresh grated ginger (finding my ginger expired, I used powdered), divided
1 tsp. turmeric
4 cups baby spinach
1 tsp. salt (I omitted)
2 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1/4 onion, chopped
1 tsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 large tomato, diced
cilantro leaves for garnish, optional

1. Rinse and drain the split peas; place in a large bowl and soak for 30 in hot water. Cover and set aside.

2. In a large sauce pan (I used my large cast iron skillet) combine drained pea mixture 1 Tbs. of Earth Balance, 1 Tbs. of ginger, tumeric and 6 cups of water; and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about an hour, or until the peas are very soft. Wisk with a fork to break up the peas, this didn't take very long. Add spinach, salt (if using), cover and simmer for 10 more minutes.

3. While the peas are cooking, heat the remaining Earth Balance in a small skillet over medium heat. Add cumin seeds; cook for about 30 seconds or until brown (darker). Add onion, garam masala, and cayenne pepper and 3 to 5 minutes, or until onions are soft and begin to brown. Stir in garlic and remaining ginger; cook for one minute. Add tomato, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more.

4. Stir tomato mixture into split pea mixture. Season with pepper, if desired and garnish with cilantro if using.

I served this with some garlic naan. Enjoy!

Adapted from Vegetarian Times November 2012

Friday, December 14, 2012

Meatless Monday Recipe-Pumpkin Black Bean Tacos

Pumpkin Black Bean Tacos
Vegan; 30 minutes or fewer

When I made these, I really wished I would have had some cashew cream made to use as a sour cream and some salsa made. This was kind of a last minute idea, SO next time I make this I'll be more prepared. This takes a new twist on black bean tacos.... I hope you enjoy! I served these with green chili tortillas for extra kick!

1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup onion (chopped)
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons cumin (ground)
1 15 oz. can black beans
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (chopped) {For less spice, use 1/2 a pepper}
2 tablespoons cilantro (chopped)
6 tortillas

1. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30-60 seconds.

2. Add the chili powder, and cumin and saute for about a minute. Add the beans, water, oregano, salt and pepper and cook until most water has evaporated.

3. Remove the beans from the heat and mash half of them with a fork. Mix the pumpkin puree, chipotle peppers and cilantro into the black bean mixture.

4. Heat the tortillas and place some of the pumpkin black bean mixture into the tortilla and wrap it.

Top with salsa, shredded Daiya cheese, cashew sour cream etc.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Meatless Monday Recipe-Yucca and Spinach

Yucca and Spinach
Vegan; Serves 4; 30 minutes or fewer

So, I've made this before for Bruce, and I'm surprised that I've never posted this. The original recipe calls for Yukon Gold potatoes from Vegetarian Times. However, I love this SO much more with yuca, it seems to have more of the perfect balance and texture. Yuca is often used a substitute for potato. Hope you enjoy!

2 Tbs. canola oil
1 lb. Yuca, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (4 cups)
1/4 cup yellow onion, thinly sliced (1½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbs.)
2 Tbs. zested fresh ginger
1 jalapeño chile,finely chopped (1 Tbs.)
1 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
2 1/2 cups light coconut milk
1 6-oz. bag baby spinach
1 1/2 tsp. Garam Masala
1 Tbs. lime juice
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1. Steam yuca in steamer basket set over simmering water 10 minutes, or until just tender.

2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes, or until soft and golden. Add garlic, ginger, and jalapeño, and sauté 1 minute, or until fragrant. Stir in coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Add steamed yuca, and sauté 1 to 2 minutes, to coat with spices. Add coconut milk and 1/4 cup water, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce begins to thicken.

3. Stir in spinach, garam masala, and 1/4 cup water, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Meatless Monday Recipe-Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacony Bits

Sauteed Brussels Sprouts with Bacony Bits
Vegan; Serves 4; 30 minutes

2 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1 tablespoon Sesame oil
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 clove of garlic
1 Tablespoon thyme
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tablespoons Bacony Bits
2 teaspoons lemon juice (optional)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If sprouts are very small, cut in half; otherwise cut into quarters. Cook the sprouts until barely tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain.

2. Add oil to the pan and heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, stirring often, until soft but not browned, reducing the heat if necessary, about 4 minutes. Stir in thyme (or savory) sprigs, salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, add the Brussels sprouts, and cook, tossing or stirring occasionally, until tender and warmed through, about 3 minutes. Remove the herb sprigs. Add the bacony bits, thyme (or savory) leaves and lemon juice, if using, and toss.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Meatless Monday Recipe-Pumpkin Burgers

Pumpkin Burgers
Vegan; Makes 6 patties

With all of the pumpkin I still have, I'm finding different recipes for it. I made these last, and they are really good! Since my pumpkin had already been pureed, these didn't take very long to make. I served these with an old favorite, chipotle mayo and Brussels sprouts on the side (recipe will follow).

1 15oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup fresh pumpkin puree
egg replacer equivalent to 1 egg
1 red bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced (add more if you like onion)
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (if you like it a little hotter add 1 teaspoon)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs

1. Saute garlic, onion and red bell pepper, until soft. About 5 minutes.

2. In a food processor, add chickpeas, egg replacer, cumin, chili powder, and coriander. Pulse until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, chickpea mixture and pumpkin until mixture is stiff enough to from and hold patty shape. In a skillet (I used a little oil to coat the pan) over medium high heat, cook patties until golden brown. About 5 minutes on both side.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Meatless Monday Recipe-Vegan Caramel Fruit Dip

Vegan Caramel Fruit Dip

For those who will entertaining over this up-coming holiday season, this is perfect to set out with cut up fruit. This is also perfect for those with little ones, watch out though, there is a lot of sugar. The boys LOVED this one!

1 cup dates
2 Tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup hemp milk

1. Place all of the ingredients in a blender. Pulse until smooth and chill until ready to be served.