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March 19, 2014 March 19, 2014/ Morgan

So we all know that vegans are famous for loving hummus but did you know that baba ganoush can be just as delicious? It can be virtually the same but you use roasted charred eggplant instead of chickpeas. This results in a lighter but smoky delicious dip that can be mildly addictive! 

You can eat it on pita chips, cut vegetables and even use it as a fabulous sandwich spread. I’m a dip fanatic, if you haven’t heard, and there are few foods that don’t get some dip or sauce slathered on them!

Since the recipe calls for charring the eggplant you could always do this on the grill – which is super fun in the summer! Just keep turning them over the grates to get them charred and toasted. Then you can wrap them up and place them on a higher rack to let them cook until they are very soft (or transfer them to the oven to finish off!) Then you could eat this dip slathered on some plant-strong burgers for the best BBQ ever!

  • 2 large eggplant

  • 3 Tablespoons sesame seeds

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 large garlic cloves

Preheat the broiler in your oven. Cover a baking sheet with foil (parchment paper should not be put under a broiler or it can catch on fire, trust me!) 

Prick your eggplants several times with a fork and place on the baking sheet. Put under the broil and char for 2-3 minutes, or until the skin starts to darken and blister. Use some long tongs to turn it so that each side gets charred. 

Leave them in the oven, turn off the broiler and turn it to bake at 375 degrees. Let it bake for 30 minutes, or until they are very tender. 

Take it out and let them cool until you can handle them comfortably. 

Scoop the eggplant flesh out of the skins and put into your blender (I used my high speed Blendtec and it made this the smoothest dip I’ve ever had!) Add in all of the remaining ingredients and blend until very smooth (my blender totally blended up the sesame seeds.) 

Add additional salt or lemon juice to taste if necessary. Garnish with some sesame seeds and parsley if desired.

Serve up with some vegetables, pita chips (bake some pita at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned and crisp!), or spread it on a sandwich… mmm!!! 

March 19, 2014 March 19, 2014/ Morgan

A few days ago I got a brand new Blendtec high speed blender and I’ve been enjoying it so so much! Smoothies, juices, almond butter and everything else I can think of has gone into that thing. Today I was inspired to make a dressing in it and I was not at all disappointed. And that’s coming from someone that says that they are not into salads. I LOVE this salad! 

I used some of the Vegan Garlic Dill Havarti and I swear that just took this salad from “wow this was good!” to “HOLY MOLY I could eat this every day!!!” This salad just screams “SPRING IS FREAKING HERE, FINALLY!!!” and I really needed that to be screamed at me because I am fully ready for spring. Okay, tomorrow is the official first day of spring so just go get the stuff for this today and make it tomorrow. You will have spring fever in no time!! 

You don’t have to have a high speed blender to make this dressing so don’t get too worried. Just follow the directions for using juice instead. It will still taste fan-freaking-tastic (I actually wrote fan-freaking-tasty on accident but that’s an even better description!) But you DO have to make the Vegan Dill Cheese because it is amazing on a salad! 

Dressing:

  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 peeled orange (or 1/4 cup orange juice if you don’t have a high speed blender)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 

Blend everything in a high speed blender (I used my new Blendtec! Loving it!) If you don’t have one you can use the orange juice and use an immersion blender or a regular blender. It should keep in your refrigerator for 3-5 days.

Salad: 

  • Vegan Garlic Dill Havarti (recipe here!)
  • washed baby spinach (several cups per person)
  • 4-5 sliced strawberries for each salad
  • several slices of red onion
  • Strawberry Basil Balsamic Dressing (above)
  • sliced toasted almonds, if desired

Toss your spinach, sliced strawberries and red onion together. Use a small spoon and dollop some of the Vegan Garlic Dill Havarti all over your salad. Sprinkle with a few almonds and pour on a bit of dressing (as much as you like!) Enjoy! 

March 18, 2014 March 18, 2014/ Morgan

To be perfectly real with you, I am a bit of a dip and sauce freak. I love them. I love creating new ones and eating them with everything I can get my hands on! Of course with every new sauce I claim it is my favorite. This one is now my current favorite but I also think it will stay in my top three favorite dips for the rest of forever. I don’t know. It’s just delicious. 

When I was pregnant all I wanted to eat was super salty french fries and havarti slices on bread rolls. I know, super healthy cravings, right? This dip reminds me of when I was eating that delicious comfort food when I was so huge and uncomfortable (some people love being pregnant but I am not one of those some people!) Of course I had to make it vegan and try to keep it on the lighter side so I can eat a ton of it. 

If you’re not a fan of dill (for shame!) you can use other herbs like fresh basil, oregano, thyme, Italian parsley or maybe even cilantro! Oh and this dip is even better the next day so try to keep it in the fridge overnight before eating all of it. You can eat it on crackers, bread, stir it into pasta, put little dollops of it in a salad, or get creative and find a new way to eat it (and then let me know!) 

I got the idea of using sauerkraut in a cheese dip from Kid Tested Firefighter Approved (it’s a cashew cheese!) It sounds crazy, and well it is crazy, but it is crazy delicious!!! Just roll with it.  

  • 1 (12 oz) package extra firm tofu, drained
  • 1/4 cup drained sauerkraut 
  • 2 Tablespoons miso paste (mellow or red)
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Blend everything, except the dill, until very smooth (I used my new Blendtec and it worked GREAT!!!) Add in the dill and pulse until chopped. It tastes even better if you let it chill in the fridge overnight. 

March 17, 2014 March 17, 2014/ Morgan

The Mr. has been begging me to make a big batch of lower sugar vegan granola for a very long time now. I used to make tons of it for us but I just kept putting it off this time around for who knows what reason (oh I know, because I was feeling lazy!) Well that was a poor excuse because this is really simple to make. It takes a tiny bit of babysitting (stirring) but since it makes so much you won’t have to do that every day to have yummy bowls of granola. 

Oh and can you see the big clusters in this granola? Nice trick I picked up all thanks to the oat flour! Such a simple solution, isn’t it? 

We like our granola just barely sweetened so if you like it on the sweeter side feel free to add more dates. The 1/2 cup was perfect for our tastes, especially with yummy dried fruit mixed in! Oh and feel free to add whatever fruit you like. Raisins, dried cranberries, or whatever you enjoy best. 

You can also trade out some of the nuts or seeds and add in oats if you’d like it to be a little less calorie dense. Granola is pretty flexible so play around with it! 

Oh PS – this granola is totally oil free (plant strong!) 

  • 6 cups rolled oats, divided (gluten free if necessary)
  • 1/2-1 cup packed pitted dates (7-12 medjool dates)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup hemp seeds
  • 2 cups raw almonds (chopped or slivered)
  • 1/2 cup whole flax seeds
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 & 1/2 cups dried cherries (or another dried fruit if you prefer!)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat baking mats. 

Take 1 cup of the rolled oats and blend into a flour using either a food processor or blender. 

Dump the oat flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix in the remaining oats, hemp seeds, almonds, flax seeds, chia seeds and dried cherries. 

Add the dates and water to your food processor or high speed blender. Blend until the dates and water have become a smooth thick liquid. Add in the applesauce, cinnamon, salt and almond extract and blend until very smooth. 

Stir the date applesauce mixture into the oats and mix well. I used my (well washed!) hands for this part to make sure that every bit got wet. 

Spread out the oat mixture onto the baking sheets and put in the oven. Stir gently every 10 minutes to ensure even browning. Cook for 30-45 minutes, or until nicely toasted. 

Let it cool completely before packing into airtight containers (like these!) Serve up with almond milk, unsweetened yogurt (homemade!) or eat it however you enjoy your granola!

March 17, 2014/ Morgan/ March 13, 2014 March 13, 2014/ Morgan

Yup, another breakfast recipe. I can’t help but just love the heck out of breakfast these days. Between overnight oats, chocolate waffles and biscuits with gravy I just couldn’t help feeling like I was missing something. Some vegan sausages, that’s what! 

They are made with tempeh. Do you cook with tempeh? It’s my favorite but I’m sure that there are some recipes that aren’t so fabulous that are floating around out there that may have turned you off from it. Or maybe it’s the texture? Grating and then simmering the tempeh gives it a totally different texture and flavor. It’s very “meaty” and doesn’t taste much like beans! 

They’re spicy but not too hot, crispy, moist and best of all they are plant strong so you don’t have to worry about eating a couple extra of them on a lazy weekend morning. 

They make perfect breakfast sandwiches, taste lovely with a bit of maple syrup on them next to some waffles and they also taste really good crumbled up on top of some homemade pizza – mmmmmmm!!! 

Oh and these do freeze well (either cooked or uncooked!) so if you feel like doubling the recipe you can save some for later! 

  • 2 cups grated tempeh (about two packages worth – grate with a box grater like this one) 
  • 1 & 1/2 cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated with a microplane grater or finely minced
  • 2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
  • a couple of pinches of red chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat non-stick baking mat. 

Bring the tempeh, water and tamari to a simmer in a large pan over medium high heat. Let it simmer uncovered until the liquid has all been absorbed and evaporated. Transfer the tempeh to a bowl and let it cool for a few minutes. 

Stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. Form the mixture into small patties and place on your lined baking sheet. 

Bake for 12-15 minutes, flip and cook for about 10 minutes longer. 

Serve up with some Plant Strong Biscuits and some Creamy Peppered Country Gravy – Yumm!!!

March 13, 2014/ Morgan/