Pepita Pancakes w/ Persimmon Compote

pepita pancakes

Pepita Pancakes w/ Persimmon Compote

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup raw, shelled pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 cup non-dairy yogurt of choice (coconut, almond, or soy)
2 flax “eggs” (see instructions below)
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
stevia extract to taste, optional (for a sweeter pancake)
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Anti-Valentine’s Day: Let’s Celebrate

I’m not stoked about Valentine’s Day this year. Not because I’m single and bitter, but because it’s one of those Hallmark holidays that creates unnecessary anxiety. Plus, there’s usually way too much sugar involved…so it can’t be healthy on a physical level either. The solution? A festive Anti-Valentine’s Day party with a healthy menu that contains no added sugar, celebrated with friends or family, or a significant other if you have one. So let’s get started.

The Basics, aka Necessary Components for an Anti-Valentine’s Menu:

1. Bitter

Think bitter lettuce i.e. radicchio, endive, escarole, and chicory. Also, lettuces/greens that are considered weeds i.e. dandelion and other wild greens. If serving cocktails, you can’t go wrong with the stiff and bitter Old Fashioned– further reading: this article by Alie Ward and Georgia Hardstark of the Cooking Channel food-travel series Tripping Out with Alie & Georgia.

2. Sour

Lemon is a must to accompany at least one dish.

3. Broken Heart

Artichoke hearts or heart of palm (broken or chopped, slivered, sliced, crushed, etc).

4. Skewered

This component is versatile; it can work in a dessert, entree or appetizer. For dessert, try strawberries or other red fruits that look like hearts, skewered on a stick… or with chocolate fondue. For an appetizer or entrée, vegan cheese fondue or veggie kabobs.

5. Blackened or Charred

For an entrée, try portabella mushroom steaks or blackened jerk seitan. I know seitan isn’t paleo, but it’s low carb…and in the context of hating on consumerism and stereotypical ideas about love– I couldn’t resist mentioning a word that bears such a close resemblance to “Satan”.

6. Bleeding

Blood oranges. Sangria (from the Spanish word sangre, which literally means blood). Blood-red heirloom tomatoes.

Having envisioned what would be the necessary components of a anti-valentine’s menu, I searched the web for stand-out vegan recipes that fit the criteria.

Anti-Valentine’s Day Menu

Starter

Burnt Sage and Blackberry Sangria (with bourbon) by Elana of Stir and Strain
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5 Ingredient Tofu Ricotta

pizza101
Lately I’ve tried to avoid soy products entirely. However, sometimes faux-cheese cravings are hard to avoid– especially when wheat and other forms of gluten, corn, oil, and nuts are out of the question (I’m trying an elimination diet, and soy has always been the lesser of dietary evils throughout my life). Next week I will experiment with eliminating seeds if soy proves to be a problem. Whatever your situation in terms of dietary preferences or allergies, I want to share this recipe for a low fat, low carb, oil-free vegan alternative for ricotta cheese… because it is so close to the “real thing” it made me pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming.

I used Westsoy Organic Tofu because it was on sale for $.59 at Grocery Outlet. I usually use Surata brand because it’s more local (made in Eugene OR), though apparently the on-sale impulse buy was a score because I found Westsoy to be the superior choice for this recipe.

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Skinny Lad Na

Skinny Lad NaLad na is a Lao-Chinese noodle dish, made popular as a street food in Laos, Thailand. Also spelled Lard na, lard nar and lard nah, it is traditionally prepared with stir-fried wide rice noodles and protein (chicken, beef or tofu), as well as enoki mushrooms aka straw mushrooms, broccoli, black bean garlic sauce and/or oyster sauce. A friend of mine suggested we try making a vegan version, and after a few minutes of research we decided it would be easy to make it vegan and low carb. First off, after looking online at photos of traditional Lad Na, I realized that wide rice noodles (the type that most recipes call for) resemble the Shiritaki noodles I’ve been using as a replacement for flat egg noodles in pad thai– like in this recipe. Secondly, the best vegetarian replacement for oyster sauce is mushroom stir fry sauce, most of the ingredients for which are already present in black bean garlic sauce. Next, I swapped an equivalent amount of stevia for sugar, and then reduced the fat content by adding a tsp of sesame oil to pre-boiled Shirataki noodles for flavor only– as opposed to frying the noodles in a wok with cottonseed oil. Lastly, sodium free vegetarian broth served as a simple replacement for the traditional beef broth. Continue reading

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Apple Banana Fauxtmeal with Flax

Apple Banana Fauxtmeal
This recipe makes an excellent “fauxtmeal”. Whether you enjoy it at home or pack it in a thermos, this grain-free oatmeal alternative is just as comforting as the real thing. Packed with potassium from the banana and Omega-3’s from the flax, this breakfast is the perfect morning fuel. Warming and slightly sweet with a hint of tartness, it is a sure-fire winner in terms of taste. Keep away the winter blues with this hearty first meal–providing your apple a’ day and cayenne pepper to boot!

Quick and easy to prepare, this fauxtmeal can be made with or without a food processor.

Apple Banana Fauxtmeal with Flax

Ingredients

1 ripe banana
1 organic pink lady apple (or similar variety), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup silken tofu
1/4 cup soy milk or almond milk
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds / flax meal
1 Tbsp whole flax seeds
1 Tbsp almond butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp raisins or chopped dates (optional)
A sprinkling of cayenne pepper to taste

Method

In a food processor or with a fork, mash the banana with the ground flax seeds/flax meal, cinnamon, silken tofu, and soy/almond milk. Warm on the stove or microwave and top with chopped apple, flax seeds, raisins/dates and cayenne pepper.

Hint: Try it as a snack, or a healthy dessert recipe!

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Guiltless Pumpkin Pie

gluten-free-vegan-pumpkin-pie

Made with real pumpkin puree and no added sugar, this pie is only 60 calories per slice.  Packed with vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium, pumpkin helps to boost the immune system and maintain heart health.  Made with chickpea and coconut flours, the crust is a good source of protein, iron, and essential amino acids. Not only is this pie gluten free, soy free, and low fat–it’s also good for you!

Pumpkin Pie

Crust

3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1/4 cup coconut flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 tsp water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/16 tsp salt
1 packet stevia crystals or 1/16 tsp pure stevia extract
3 Tbsp water

Filling

2 cups fresh baked pumpkin puree or 1 (16 oz) can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp cornstarch + 2 Tbsp water
1/2 cup almond milk
2 packets stevia crystals or 1/8 tsp pure stevia extract

Combine all ingredients for filling in a mixing bowl or food processor. Mix well. Sample the filling to gauge the sweetness. If a sweeter filling is desired, add more stevia to taste. It’s easy to get “stevia-happy” with this recipe; add more in small (1/4 packet or 1/32 tsp pure extract) increments, taste-testing after each.

Add filling to pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is slightly golden and filling turns a darker shade of orange around the edges. Let stand for 2 hours before serving.

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