Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Catching Up!

Sorry I've been absent for so long! School has been crazy busy, and with the weather warming up, I've been spending lots of time doing stuff outside.  However, I have several recipes to share today! Unfortunately, I don't have pictures of any of these.  :( Sorry about that! I promise, though, that they're ALL completely delicious. 

I'll start with a recipe from a cookbook called 'Veganomicon.' In the winter and coming into spring, I eat more cooked foods, usually in the form of soups and gluten-free baked goods.  I edited this soup so much that I feel justified in posting the recipe; additionally, another blog (Sustainable Student) made this soup and posted a picture.  It looks like this: ------------------------->

This soup has been rated by a lot of testers as amazingly good.  No joke! We had to make a healthy meal for science, and I was all over that.  The chickpeas and brown rice plus tomatoes satisfied my teachers on the nutrition requirements, and everyone loved it! One VERY carnivorous girl even had thirds :D And my teacher didn't believe me when I said it was vegan.  Score!

Tomato-Rice Soup with Chickpeas
Makes a lot; it's perfectly acceptable to cut it in half

6 medium cloves garlic, minced/pressed
1 medium yellow onion, diced very small
1 tbsp. olive oil or unscented coconut oil
1 cup long-grain brown rice (make sure to use long-grain, as it cooks better)
2 bay leaves
2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried marjoram
2 tsp. sea salt
2 (28-oz) cans of organic crushed tomatoes with basil
2 (15-oz) cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas

Saute the onions and garlic in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes.  Add the rice, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, and salt and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes.  Add the crushed tomatoes, then fill up the can 3/4 of the way with water.  Empty in the pot, and fill up with water 3/4 of the way again (so about 1 1/2 cans full of water total).  Add to the pot, bring to a boil, and lower the heat to medium-low.  Cover and simmer about 45 minutes.  When the rice is completely cooked and soft, add the rinsed beans and heat through.  Remove the bay leaves and serve. 

Depending on your rice, it may have to simmer a little longer.  We usually use rice from our local store in this soup, and the last time I made it, we used Whole foods brown rice.  I freaked out because it wasn't completely done after 45 minutes--but it's totally fine, you just have to cook it a little longer if that's the case for you. 

Okay, next recipe! This one's a favorite with my mom and I, who both adore kale.  My mom's absolute favorite way to eat it is with a honey-mustard dressing.  This salad is simple to whip up and perfect for a quick side dish. 

Honey-Mustard Kale Salad

About 3/4 to 1 whole bunch of kale (any type is fine, but we like dinosaur kale especially)
1 Granny Smith (or other variety) apple, sliced into thin pieces

Honey Mustard Dressing:
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. flaxseed oil (add more olive oil if you don't have this)
2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
A few shakes of ground pepper

Stir the dressing together vigorously until it's all combined.  Wash and slice the kale into small, ribbon-y pieces, and place it all in a bowl with the apple.  Toss with Honey-Mustard dressing and enjoy! This salad is best if it can sit a bit before being eaten, for the flavors to meld and the kale to soften. 

Lastly, I'll leave you with a dessert recipe.  Someday I'll get pictures up, I promise! I made this about a week before my dad's birthday, and he liked it so much that he requested it again.  Everyone in my family adores these, and they're very satisfying.  As long as you have an adequate food processor, this recipe isn't nearly as complicated as it looks.  It is definitely a winner!

Two-layer Cookies (makes about 16 large cookies, depending on the size of your cookie cutter)
Bottom layer (chocolate cookie):
2 cups almonds
½ cup coconut flakes
½ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup agave or maple syrup
4 pitted soft dates
1-2 tsp. water
Dash of sea salt

In a food processor, grind the almonds and coconut flakes to a flour-like consistency.  (You can also use store-bought almond meal and coconut flour if you want.) Add the cocoa powder, agave, dates, water, and salt to the processor, and process to create a ball of dough.  Add more water as necessary to create a sticky dough. 
Lay out a sheet of parchment paper on a tray, and flatten the dough into a layer on top of the paper.  Cut out circles in the size you desire and lay them on the tray.  Place the cookies on the tray into the fridge for about 5 minutes, or while you make the top layer, to chill. 

Top layer (chocolate chip cookie):
1  1/3 cup cashews
2/3 cup rolled oats
¼ cup agave or maple syrup
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup chocolate chips

Grind the cashews and oats to as fine of a flour-like consistency as you can.  (I used a dry blender container; you could use a food processor as well.) Place into a bowl and mix in the agave, maple syrup, vanilla, and chocolate chips.  The dough will be very sticky. 
To assemble:
Take the chocolate cookies out of the fridge.  Wet your fingers slightly and put a reasonably-sized dollop of chocolate chip dough on the top of each chocolate cookie, using up all the dough.  Wet your fingers again if they start getting sticky. 
Flatten the chocolate chip dough on top of each chocolate cookie until it resembles a two-layer cookie.  (I had to re-wet my fingers several times throughout this process.) At first the top layer will be stickier (though still completely eatable); after a while the top layer will harden a bit more.  Store at room temperature and enjoy!

The number of cookies you get from this all depends on your cookie cutter, as I said before.  Anyways, I have to go, but I have more planned to post soon: I've got a wild rice 'stuffing'-style recipe (without the bread, but just as wonderful, I promise!) and a few other things up my sleeve.  Sorry again about the pictures, and I hope you enjoy these recipes if you try any of them!

Megan S.

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