Monday, November 14, 2011

Seitan and Vegetable Empanadas, Spanish Rice, and Cilantro Dressing.

Empanadas are traditionally made with meat and lard, and then deep-fried. I’ve altered, yet another recipe, to adapt it to my culinary preference and dietary restrictions. In short, they are Vegan. I love to serve them alongside Spanish styled rice, and a simple healthy green salad: greens, jicama, slivered carrots, and roasted pepita seeds (also called pumpkin seeds). The empanadas are excellent garnished with sour cream (vegan or non), fresh guacamole, salsa and chips. I hope you enjoy them as much as we have.

Seitan and Vegetable Empanadas

Makes 18-20


1/4-cup raisins (optional)

1 Tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil

1/2 cup yellow onion, finely diced

1/4 cup of finely diced red bell pepper

2 cups chopped cooked seitan (I pre-make mine, using the Real Food Daily recipe)

1/4 cup frozen corn

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. Dried oregano

1/4 tsp. Dried thyme

2 Tbsp. chopped green olives (optional)

1/4 cup grated cheese ( I like the almond cheese: Lisanatti Foods)


2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4-cup coconut oil (melted) or olive oil

1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp. plain almond or soy milk


1. To make the filling: Cover raisins (opt) with boiling water, and let stand 5 minutes to plump. Drain, and set aside.

2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and bell pepper; sauté 5 minutes. Stir in seitan, corn, garlic, oregano, thyme, and 1/2 cup water. Simmer 5 minutes, until most liquid has evaporated. Stir in olives and raisins, remove from heat, and cool. Stir in cheese.

3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and coat baking sheet with cooking spray.

4. To make crust: Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Stir in oil until mixture resembles coarse sand. Place milk in measuring cup, and add 1/2-cup warm water. Stir into flour mixture to form soft dough, adding up to 2-4 Tbsp. more water if needed to achieve desired consistency. Transfer dough to well floured work surface and troll to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 4-inch circles.

5. Brush edges of circles with water. Place 1 Tbsp. filing in center of each. Gold into half moons, and pinch edges to close. Place on baking sheet, and bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.


Spanish Rice

Spanish Rice: Makes 6 servings


1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

2 Tsp. Minced garlic

1-cup brown rice

1 cup white rice

6 cups of vegetable broth, or 6 cups water with one vegetable bouillon cube (Organic

Gourmet is a good brand)

2 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 1/2 tsp. Ground cumin

1 tsp. Chili powder

1 tsp. Salt, or to taste

1 tsp. Pepper, or to taste

1/8-cup cilantro, minced


1. Sauté yellow onion, and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes, or until tender

2. Add brown rice and white rice to sauté and lightly toast grains in mix.

3. Add cumin, chili powder, and salt, sautéing for another 1-2 minutes

4. Add vegetable broth or water and bouillon cube, and tomato paste. Bring to boil, and then simmer for 20 minutes.

5. Stir occasionally during the remainder of cooking time, approximately 15-20 minutes.


Cilantro Dressing

Cilantro Dressing- Yield: 1 1/2 cups


2 Tbsp green onions

1/4-cup cilantro

1/2 carton of Mori Nu Silken XF tofu

1 Tsp. Miso

1 tsp garlic

1/2 tsp salt

Pepper to taste

1/2-cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil


Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until pureed. Serve cold.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Organic Baby Food

As my little lady is nearing 7 months, I am introducing her to more foods. Watching Matilda grow has a new sentiment, as she is our last. As a busy working mom, I really had hoped to make all my food from scratch, but was not able to with such a hectic schedule. There are some things that are easy and quick, but I have fallen to convienence in this department.

I was delighted to see that some new brands appeared in the markets since I last bought baby food over 2 years ago. I love the company “Ella’s Kitchen Organic Baby Food”. Not only for it being Organic, but also for the variety of flavors.

Having gotten fussy over other brands, Matilda has not complained once with the choices that Ella’s provides. She loves the rutabaga blend, and tonight ate the broccoli, pear, and pea combo.

Made without preservatives, thickeners, or sweeteners, this baby food is a great alternative to making your own.

Pure and Simple, exactly what I like.

Take the "YUK" out of eating Vegetables.

My days of making gourmet meals are few and far between right now at this stage of my life. Working full time while raising three kids, has taken its toll on my menu planning. Instead quick and simple, but still delicious kid friendly dishes have replaced them, albeit the adults have a slightly tastier version.

I hoped that my kids would eat perfectly rounded meals, particularly being a trained chef, but I came to the reality that they have toddler tummies and toddler taste buds. As long as they taste the food I prepare, they are able to eat/pick out what they don’t like on a plate, and many nights this works.

To keep myself from worrying about their nutritional values, I do supplement. My kids are on the veggie and fruit JUICE PLUS chewies, they take a dissolvable B12 pill, a multi, and a DHA/omega 3 fatty acid chewy, and I have now added KIDZ Superfood.

While shopping at my local health food market, I came across a sample packet of KIDZ Superfood. I sprung this on my kids with great enthusiasm. It’s a rainbow in a jar; a variety of super foods along with probiotic ingredients. I swear its caption is true; “We’ve taken the “YUK!” out of eating vegetables”. My kids love it, and so do I.

Look for it in your health food stores. I don’t think it will disappoint you.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sass Up Your Sweets!

I love these new sprinkles I bought at Whole Foods! They come in a variety of hues, are all-natural, and can sass up your sweets. Who doesn't love a little extra touch to their cupcakes or cookies?!?!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tomato Tarragon Soup

This soup has a reputation of its own! It has been talked about for so long, that I felt left out not having tasted it. The recipe belongs to my friend Ramsey Dau. He so graciously shared it with me, and is allowing me to share it with you. It’s his Tomato Tarragon soup, a soup worth tasting! It’s slow cooking allows for the tomatoes to marinate in the broth of onion, garlic, and herbs into a divine Italian richness.

Accompanied by hearty country wheat crisps, I ladled myself two bowls for dinner last night before retiring some for my lunch today. A master of his own kind, I am anxious to see what other recipes he has up his sleeves! This one is certainly going into my recipe index. It was heavenly. Thanks Ramsey!

Tomato Tarragon Soup
Yield: 8 servings

3 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 red onion, small dice
2 tsp. Minced garlic or 4-6 cloves of garlic thinly chopped
6 Roma tomatoes, large dice- 1”
1 –2 Heirloom tomatoes, large dice – 1”
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
Dash cayenne
3 tsp. Dried tarragon or 6 stems of fresh
4 cups water
2 vegetable bouillon cubes (I like Organic Gourmet)
2 Tbsp. fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste
*** Optional*** Fresh squeezed juice from 1 small lemon

Sauté onions and garlic in olive oil for 5 minutes. Chop tomatoes and add to sauté mix. Add brown sugar and cayenne and stir. Cover and allow to simmer for 30 minutes on low. Chop tarragon, add half and cook for 15 more minutes. Add water and bouillon cubes. Simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Add remainder of tarragon and basil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a remaining 10 minutes. Garnish with the juice of one lemon, if desired. Adjust salt and pepper as needed.

Orange Scented Pumpkin Loaf

Rising to the occasion of crisp winter days, my greedy lips long for seasonal foods. The latest on my menu of baked goods was an orange scented loaf. Spiced just like a pumpkin pie, with the addition of some orange extract, this harmonious combination was subtle, yet fulfilling, and had the perfect soft texture I was after.

Benefits of pumpkin include its richness in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals; both the flesh and seeds of the pumpkin provide many health-boosting nutrients. Also low in fat, it has many disease fighting nutrients.

Orange Scented Pumpkin Loaf
Yield: 1 loaf

1 3/4 unbleached-all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 tsp. Sea salt
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned or freshly pureed)
1/4 cup almond milk
1 Tbsp. flax seeds
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
2 tsp. Orange extract
1/4 cup pecans, optional
1/2 tsp. Minced orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl: four, b.powder, b.soda, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and flax seeds. Mix wet ingredients in a separate bowl: maple syrup, canola oil, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, and orange extract. Combine wet with dry. Fold in pecans and orange zest. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Raspberry Oatmeal Smoothie

Ha Ha. I found a new way to hide oatmeal in my kids' food. The idea came to me today, as they requested an ice cream sundae. I do not allow my kids to eat too many sweets, and like most parents prefer them to eat healthy snacks. Knowing that they love smoothies I set upon this task immediately. They are sitting before me now gobbling it up. Just don't tell them.

Here's the recipe.

2 cups of precooked and flavored oatmeal- I flavor mine with cinnamon, vanilla, a pinch of sea salt, and brown sugar (to the taste)
2 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 banana
2 Tbsp. honey

Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Faux Chicken Dumpling Soup

My perfect meal would include soup, garden salad, and fresh baked bread. With a husband and two children who are not fond of soup, it is seldom I indulge in this combination. However, one soup they eat without complaint is a Faux Chicken Dumpling soup that my friend Brianne passed along to me some time ago. With this crisp Winter air, this is a perfect soup to warm you up!



1 cup flour
1/2 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup plain or unsweetened soy or almond milk

2 Tbsp. Earth Balance
1/4 cup leeks
2 stalks of celery, cut on the bias
1 tsp. garlic
2 carrots, medium diced
1 bay leaf
1 cup green beans
Seitan or chicken substitute (I like to use May Wah Healthy Vegetarian Foods Chicken Balls -Vegetarian, not Vegan)
8 cups of water
4 cubes of faux bouillion (Organic Gourmet makes a great one)

In a soup pot saute leeks, celery, garlic and carrots with the Earth Balance. Allow them to sweat for 5 minutes.

Add bay leaf and water and bring to boil. Allow to simmer for 10 additional minutes. Stirring occasionally.

Add green beans, chicken substitute, and bouillion cubes. Simmer for 8 more minutes.

While the soup is simmering, prepare the dumplings. In a bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, and sea salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together olive oil and milk substitute. Combine together.

Form small balls (the size of a golf ball) with the dough and drop them individually into the soup. They should float to the top.

Allow to cook for another 8 minutes. A perfect accompanyment to a garden salad and baguette

**** I like to add either noodles or precooked brown rice to this soup to make it heartier

Happy New Year

Another year, another resolution! With a handful of friends referring my blog to their acquaintances, and with no new updates, it is a resolution of mine to get back into the swing of things after being away.

Intending to keep up with my blog while pregnant with my third daughter, I found it harder than expected, as I was sicker than ever during this pregnancy. The thought of of food made me woozy.

My youngest daughter, Matilda Mae, is now 3 months and growing happier and healthier daily. I am still recouping from pregnancy and the additional responsibilities I have taken on. With work and three kids, I have missed writing. So, without further adieu, I promise you, my readers, a fresh start to kick off this New Year.

Happy New Year!