“Earth” Oatmeal

Oatmeal is such a classic dish. It’s literally one of the oldest grains in the history of food, and not only that but it’s one versatile beast of food and you all know how I feel about food versatility. You can have it sweet or savory. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. I mean, you can literally do whatever you want with oatmeal. But instead of fitting it into just one of the many options, why not mash it up some? This quick and easy oatmeal recipe creates a fun sweet and salty (or savory) bite. It’s funny because so many of my recipes are born out of last-minute epiphanies. I originally planned on making this only a sweet bowl. But toward the end I felt like it need something– I saw it was starting to look like a bunch of dirt (that’s where the “earth” name came from) and then I realized the salt crystals would work perfectly with the dirt effect and make it sweet and salty, another classic combo. This is one of the more delicious and comfty bowls I’ve had in awhile and I was eating a lot of oatmeal for a hot minute recently. Who knew something so simple could be so nourishing for the soul?

earth oatmeal

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut dry oats (cheaper if you purchase them in bulk!)
  • 1/8 cup blueberries (about one handful)
  • 3-4 pitted dates, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. nutmeg
  • 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar*
  • 1 tsp. whole pink Himalayan sea salt crystals
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice; I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk for this recipe)
  • 1 cup water

What to Do:

  1. Heat a small to medium  pot over high heat with 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the oats and boil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Reduce heat to a low to medium heat and stir oats.
  3. Cover pot with a lid and let oats simmer for 5-10 minutes or until all (or at least most) water has been absorbed by the oats.
  4. Let the oats sit for about 2 minutes, then, remove oats from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Pour almond milk over oats (but do not stir milk into oats yet!).
  6. Slice the into several, even-sized slices and place them on top of the oatmeal on one side.
  7. Now, start adding the toppings; place the blueberries on top of the banana slices.
  8. Place the date pieces on top of the other fruit.
  9. Carefully sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg along the line of fruit (as pictured) one at a time.
  10. Carefully sprinkle the heaping amount of brown sugar on top of the other spices.
  11. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the other spices and sugar.
  12. Finally, sprinkle the pink sea salt crystals over everything else. Serve and enjoy!

* Most brown sugar (and all sugar for that matter) is not vegan, unless marked otherwise. The brown sugar I used in this recipe wasn’t vegan– I already had a bulk amount of brown sugar since before going vegan and because I don’t use brown sugar that often, that is what I’ve been using because I planned on going through all products I currently have and then purchasing vegan products after those are finished (this is for financial as well as waste reasons). If you would like to make sure that you are using vegan sugar, you can use this easy recipe for brown sugar.

Date posted on Instagram: 12/6/18

Autumn Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is my jam. I’ve had it every which way I can think of at this point, with every type of mix-in possible. That was until I was eating brekkie one day recently and as I was enjoying my yummy Fieldroast apple maple links I had an epiphany. I actually haven’t had tofu scram every way I can think of, and I haven’t had all the mix-ins either. Could tofu scram be enjoyed seasonally? What about sweet? My mind was spinning with such crazy ideas, but a couple of days later I made it over to the kitchen to test my theory out. The result? A delicious new take on tofu scram that my taste buds were pleasantly surprised by. It’s 50% savory, 50% sweet, and 100% bomb vegan protein.

IMG_8439

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block of organic firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup brussel sprouts, chopped (finely or roughly depending on the texture you want!)
  • 2 small to medium carrot sticks, diced
  • 1/4 green apple, diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)*

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet over low-medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the chopped brussel sprouts and carrots to the skillet and saute them approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add the green apples to the skillet and continue the saute for another minute, stirring the veggies and fruit until well mixed.
  4. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add agave syrup to veggie and fruit mix.
  5. Stir syrup into mix continuously for approximately 10 seconds then let sit and simmer.
  6. Crumbled drained tofu over the top of the veggie and fruit mix to create the scram.
  7. Sprinkle turmeric over the top of the crumbled tofu, then, mix everything together until turmeric is well blended into the tofu and it is completely yellow.
  8. Return the heat to low/medium and add pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. Stir until well mixed into scram.
  9. Continue to saute scram until veggies and apple are slightly tender, approximately another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Enjoy alone or with some of your favorite breakfast sides.

 

 * Also, feel free to add about a teaspoon of black salt, also known as “kala namak”. This salt can give your egg substitutes a more “egg-like” taste! I recently got some and have tried adding it to some of my vegan eggs, although I still love tofu scram without it. This salt can be found in Asian or Indian markets but I found a decent size bulk amount on Amazon for a great price. Do a little research to price check!

Date posted on Instagram: 11/23/18

Tangy Charred Buffalo Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Sprouts are quickly becoming one of my favorite veggies. Dare I say, they are also rising up the ranks toward becoming one of my food baes. If you would have asked Tiffany from two years ago if one of her fav foods was a veggie, she would have probably laughed in your face. Sure, I ate veggies in my pre-vegan days, but they were nowhere near being part of my favorite foods. But nowadays, eating veggies and enjoying them as favs comes a lot more naturally. But that’s not to say that I don’t also enjoy jazzin’ them up a bit. Because just like everyone (and the former — and well, current me), I can get tired of eating plain old seasoned and sauteed veggies. So that’s when recipes like this come in. You still get in a big bowl of veggies, chock-full of all the vitamins and fiber you’re expecting — but now you also get a bunch of saucy goodness to go with it… and you also get– wait for it… BACON! Yup, dealing with vegan bacon is the only time a vegan will accept the statement “but, bacon!” as being legit. So you can thank me later for coming up with a way to have both saucy goodness and bacon in a recipe that is still super low in calories, cholesterol and fat. Let the sauce gods rejoice!

What You’ll Need:

  • 3-4 slices Lightlife smart bacon
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 cup and 1/4 cup of (vegan!) buffalo sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce — one of my favorites!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the brussel sprouts to the skillet and saute them, stirring occasionally.
  3. After approximately 1-2 minutes, add the salt and garlic powder to the sprouts and continue the saute.
  4. In a separate small to medium skillet, heat over medium heat with one tablespoon of olive oil.*
  5. Once hot, add the strips of bacon and pan-fry them until crispy on each side, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Place bacon on a cloth to remove excess oil once cooked.
  7. About 6-8 minutes into the saute, add the fennel seeds to the brussel sprouts and stir them in well.
  8. If you want the sprouts to be a little crisper and have some char like in the picture, saute them for approximately 7-10 minutes, until you see the char appearing. Don’t stir as frequently either, but move the sprouts around after 2-3 minute intervals to get an even char on different sides.
  9. Once the sprouts have charred to your liking, add 1/8 cup of buffalo sauce and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir the sauce thoroughly into the sprouts until they are well-mixed. Allow the sprouts to simmer over the heat for an additional 60 seconds or so, stirring them continuously. Remove from heat.
  10. Transfer sprouts to a serving bowl and pour the remaining 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce over the sprouts.
  11. Break apart the pieces of bacon into crumbles over the top of the sprouts.

* Cast-iron is perfect for bacon!

Date posted on Instagram: 11/12/18

Cauliflower Rice Stir-fry

The first time I tried cauliflower rice was this summer during the week I ate a raw food diet. There, I said it. I am usually late to the party with trying things. I am also literally usually late to parties because I’m kind of a loser that way (but I digress, and anyway, the cool kids never show up early to parties). I am now a fan of this amazing rice substitute, and I am actually quite surprised that I haven’t had it more often. It’s filling because its a veg, and since most of eating is psychological, you can definitely feel as though you’re eating actual rice when you’re not. I’m not a big fan of substitute foods unless absolutely necessary or called for. I like real foods, with whole stuff and full everything — full -fat, whole grains and whole foods, and actual rice– no substituting anything. But, sometimes you feel like having cauliflower instead, or sometimes you wanna cut a few calories. Whatever the reason may be, this delicious stir-fry should satisfy your taste buds. And although this meal is absolutely #dumpskillet worthy, everything I used was fresh so I didn’t want to put it that category. However, this would of course still taste great with some older produce.

cauliflower rice stir fry

 

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cups cauliflower rice (you can purchase it at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, or make your own)
  • 1 1/2 cups broccoli florets (fresh or frozen is fine)
  • 1-2 cups edamame
  • 2 medium-sized carrot sticks, diced
  • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, removed from stems
  • 1 small lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the carrots and mushroom to the skillet and saute for approximately 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add broccoli florets to skillet and continue to saute an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring the veggie mixture frequently.
  4. Add cauliflower rice to skillet and stir rice into veggies until well mixed.
  5. Let sit over heat for approximately 1-2 minutes, then add soy sauce, salt and garlic powder.
  6. Stir all seasoning thoroughly into the stir-fry, mixing rice and veggies together and stirring frequently so the veggies do not burn.
  7. Add edamame to stir-fry and reduce heat to low.
  8. Mix edamame and about half of the 1/4 cup of cilantro into stir-fry and continue to stir the mixture occasionally. Leave on low heat for approximately another 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat.
  9. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 of the lime into the stir-fry and mix well. Slice the remaining half into lime wedges.
  10. Transfer stir-fry to serving plate and garnish with remaining cilantro and lime wedges.

 

 

Date posted on Instagram: 11/4/18

Lemon Ginger Dressing

As you may all know by now, I love salads. Because of that, you may have also figured out that I love salad dressings. Well, I guess one doesn’t automatically equal the other, but in this case, it’s true. I love salad dressings and all dressings and sauces in general. I feel like they can really make a meal if used correctly (or break a meal if used incorrectly!). During my week on a raw diet, I created a sauce for the first time and it was really fun and exciting knowing I made it entirely from scratch — dressings are actually one of my favorite things to experiment with in the kitchen now. It’s kinda fun putting a bunch of stuff in a blender and seeing how it all turns out, especially when you have certain flavors in mind that you want to achieve. The flavors in this dressing are are inspired by Trader Joe’s Almond Butter Turmeric Salad Dressing. I’ve never tasted the TJ’s version, so the only thing that is spot-on about this recipe is the color, but whether or not it tastes as good as the TJ’s version, it definitely holds its own flavor-wise. Making dressings has also taught me a certain level of discipline– I know it sounds weird, but let me explain. I can be impatient and don’t usually like to wait for things, even when I’m making it– so I had to learn patience when blending ingredients together because creating the flavors forced me to add ingredients in small increments to see if the flavor was there yet and not overdo it; I also had to learn to wait for dressings to settle for a few minutes so the ingredients could “mesh” together–sometimes even waiting overnight for the full flavor profile to develop. So yes, making dressing has taught me patience and understanding. Who needs therapy when you can just cook?

IMG_7907

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice*
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (almond butter can be used instead)

What to Do:

  1. Place about half the lemon juice, turmeric, peanut butter, ginger and black pepper in a blender.
  2. Blend until ingredients are smooth, adding the remainder of the liquid in small increments until all the lemon juice has been added.
  3. If the dressing does not blend fully, stop blending and remove the dressing from the sides of the blender, placing it back in the center using a spatula or similar thin kitchen utensil. Continue to blend until dressing has reached a smooth, creamy consistency.

* The dressing will have a tart lemon flavor with this recipe. I loved it but if you want less of a tart flavor, you can substitute the 1/2 cup lemon juice for 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice and 1/4 cup room temperature water. Or play around with the measurements to reach the desired flavor, but be careful of adding too much liquid or the dressing will be very runny.

Date posted on Instagram: 10/24/18

Spanish Tofu Salad

I’ve almost come full circle in the year that I’ve been vegan. I started making big and delicious salads again, but the difference is I slightly refined the flavors and ingredients just a bit, or at least it feels that way. In all of my cooking and experimenting over this past year, I like to tell myself that the recipe for this salad uses seasoned tofu in a much cooler way than I would have used it when I first became vegan and when I first started making big salads as main meals. But the goal isn’t to be cooler, it’s to be a more informed amateur chef that makes delicious and nutritious food that people will want to eat. With maybe just a little bit of cool factor thrown in 😉

Spanish tofu salad

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block firm organic tofu, drained and cubed
  • 1 can pinto beans, water drained with about 1/4-1/2 a can of liquid*
  • Approximately 3 cups of mustard greens, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 large red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 large salad tomato, chopped
  • 1/2 medium avocado, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves (removed from stems)
  • 2 tsp red chili pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp adobo seasoning
  • 1 pack Goya sazon seasoning
  • 2-3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium-sized non-stick skillet over low heat.
  2. Add water-drained beans to skillet and heat for approximately 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add entire pack of sazon seasoning and stir into beans thoroughly. Continue to heat beans, stirring frequently, until the beans are heated through.
  4. Once beans are warm, remove skillet from heat and transfer beans to a bowl, spooning them into the dish and draining as much liquid as possible with each spoonful to keep inside the skillet. Set beans aside and keep the skillet with the liquid in it.
  5. Return the skillet to heat and raise heat to medium. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and let heat for about 30 seconds.
  6. Add cubed tofu to skillet and stir into olive oil and left over liquid, mixing the sazon seasoned liquid thoroughly into the tofu so it absorbs the color and flavor (carefully so you don’t tear the tofu pieces!).
  7. Add red chili pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, dried parsley and adobo seasonings to tofu. Mix well and continue to pan-fry tofu, pressing the pieces down with a spatula every so often to create a little bit of a golden brown layer on the pieces. Remove from heat.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, add mustard greens, red bell pepper, tomato, cilantro, 2 tbsp olive oil and vinegar. Mix together well and transfer to your serving bowl.
  9. Spoon about half the beans around the salad mix.
  10. Top with seasoned tofu and garnish with avocado slices and serve.

Here is my water-draining technique, which is basically a way to mix water with the thicker water in the can so that you have a slightly thick liquid to work with that is somewhere in the middle of water and the juice in the can. In my opinion it’s better to use when you want to add water to beans when heating them on the stove top.

Date Posted on Instagram: 10/22/18

Spaghetti Bolognese with Pan-Fried Zucchini

This is another classic Italian dish that has been veganized. I was also going to take credit for veggitizing the sauce, until I found out that traditional bolognese sauce already has veggies in it. However, I might be able to take credit for “re-veggitizing” the sauce, because I added my own mix of veggies other than the traditional variety. By veggitizing something, my goal is to add veggies to every meal, even meals that don’t usually have veggies associated with them. This dish may not fall into that category, but give me a meal and I’ll find a way to add veggies to it. Tofu scram? Add veggies. Lasagna? Veggie lasagna. Strawberry shortcake? Strawberry shortcake with broccoli! Okay, this system may not be perfected just yet.

spaghetti bolognese closeup

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 1/2 cups Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles (1 bag)
  • 1 box of spaghetti, use about 1/2 the box of noodles (I used Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Spaghetti)
  • 1 large zucchini squash (I mixed half yellow and half green)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 2 cups of your favorite pasta sauce
  • 2-3 tsp salt
  • about 1/2 tsp of additional salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

 

What to Do:

  1. Slice a little more than 1/2 of the zucchini into thin slices. Set aside. Cut the remaining squash into small cubed pieces. This will be used in the sauce. Set aside.
  2. Bring approximately 2-3 cups water to a boil in a medium-sized pot.
  3. Add spaghetti to pot and let boil for several minutes, according to the instructions of the type of pasta you’re using (less time for al dente, more time for softer noodles). Remove noodles from heat, drain and set aside.
  4. In a medium to large-sized skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat.
  5. Once hot, add chopped onion and saute for approximately 1-2 minutes. Add chopped garlic, stir to mix with onion, and continue to saute for another minute or so.
  6. Add entire bag of beefy crumbles and stir into onion and garlic mixture. Heat crumbles for about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Lower heat to a simmer and add sauce to skillet.
  8. Let sauce simmer over low heat for approximately 5-7 minutes, until sauce and beefy crumbles are fully heated through.
  9. Add cubed zucchini, fresh basil and salt to sauce and stir. Let simmer for another minute, then remove from heat.
  10. In a separate skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
  11. Once hot, place zucchini slice in oil in one even layer, and pan-fry the slices until they are golden brown on each side (as pictured); approximately 2-4 minutes per side.
  12. Remove the zucchini slices from the oil and place them on a paper towel or cloth to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  13. Transfer a serving of pasta to a serving dish and place a serving of the bolognese sauce on top of the pasta.
  14. Add side of zucchini on dish and serve.

 

Date Posted on Instagram: 9/28/18