Vegan Food

This weather calls for soup! I love it that we've gotten a taste (though I'm about done with it) of winter.... coats, sweaters, cauliflower...

But seriously, this vegan cauliflower soup has a creamy depth of flavor that is hard to find in dairy-less soups. And, other than spewing it all over my kitchen because I didn't hold down the blender lid securely, it's easy enough.

And I figure this recipe from bon appétit magazine using the French cooking technique à l'étouffée should be used in Cajun South Louisiana on an all-vegetable meal. And while my boys tolerated it - my good friends who are foodies loved it. So hop to Rienzi Market .... or anywhere right now, really.... and grab the in-season cauliflower. I'm stocking up ... not just for roasting this year... but for SOUP!

Cauliflower-Cashew Soup With Crispy Buckwheat
Serves 8
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup olive oil, divided
  2. 4 large shallots, thinly sliced
  3. 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  4. 2 bay leaves
  5. 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  6. Kosher salt
  7. ½ cup dry white wine
  8. 1 large head of cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets, stem chopped, divided
  9. ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  10. ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. cashews
  11. 6 cups (or more) vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  12. Freshly ground black pepper
  13. 2 tablespoons buckwheat groats
  14. 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  15. ½ teaspoon paprika
Instructions
  1. Heat ¼ cup oil in a large heavy pot over medium. Add shallots, garlic, bay leaves, and thyme; season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are translucent, 6–8 minutes.
  2. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Set ¾ cup cauliflower aside; add the rest to pot along with cayenne and ¾ cup cashews; season with salt.
  3. Cover pot, reduce heat to low, and cook, shaking pot occasionally, until cauliflower is fork-tender and vegetables have released all their water, 20–25 minutes (check occasionally to make sure vegetables are not browning; reduce heat if they are).
  4. Add stock and season with salt and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until cauliflower is falling apart, 20–25 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, finely chop reserved ¾ cup cauliflower and remaining 2 Tbsp. cashews. Heat remaining ¼ cup oil in a small skillet over medium. Add cauliflower, cashews, and buckwheat; season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until cauliflower and cashews are golden brown and buckwheat is browned and crisp, 5–8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice and paprika. Let cool slightly.
  6. Working in batches if needed, purée soup in a blender until very smooth. Return to pot and reheat over medium-low, stirring and adding more stock to thin if needed (soup should be the consistency of heavy cream). Taste and season soup again if needed.
  7. Serve soup topped with toasted cauliflower-buckwheat mixture.
Notes
  1. Do Ahead: Soup can be made 2 days ahead (or 1 month if frozen). Let cool; transfer to airtight containers and chill.
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My 11 year old is into all the sports... And I've gotten really tired of fueling him with prepackaged sports bars with preservatives and so. much. sugar.

Also, I've tried a few commercial brands and flavors and I really don't think they taste good either...kinda chemically. So, together, we've looked for some easy and portable protein snacks that actually taste good... and are made with whole foods.

The only thing they aren’t is prepackaged, which makes them a little less pack and go. But to that, I say plastic baggie.

The first protein ball, peanut butter oat balls, is the easiest. Four ingredients and only dirties 1 bowl and 1 spoon... the first time I made them I did pull out my scale and measured the ingredients, but now, I just eyeball it. Dump and mix. Since it's so forgiving, this is a great one to have the kids make for themselves. 

Peanut Butter Oat Balls
Yields 6
Each ball has 4.5 grams protein
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup rolled oats
  2. 1/3 cup natural peanut butter (or any nut or seed butter)
  3. 1 tablespoon raw honey
  4. 1 tablespoon+ dark chocolate chips (optional)
  5. pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix well
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes
  3. Roll into balls
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The second protein ball, a peanut butter brownie ball from Fit Foodie Finds, requires a few more ingredients (6), but is still a super easy food processor recipe.

And these can be frozen for up to 2 months, which I love since the school year can get a little crazy and I like to be able to make things ahead of time. So check out her awesome recipe with videos and commentary on her blog.... or here's a duplicate of her recipe for convenience.

Peanut Butter Brownie Balls
Yields 34
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups raw almonds
  2. 20 medjool dates, pitted
  3. 1/4 cups + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I like dark cocoa powder)
  4. 1/2 cup all-natural peanut butter
  5. 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  6. 1/3 teaspoon sea salt
Instructions
  1. Place almonds into a food processor and process on high until you’ve created a fine almond meal.
  2. Next, pit 20 medjool dates. Then, add those into the food processor along with the cocoa powder, peanut butter, maple syrup, and sea salt. Process on high until everything is pulverized. You may need to add a few teaspoons of water to the mixture depending on how sticky your dates are.
  3. Scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into your hands and roll into a ball. Repeat.
Notes
  1. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Finding Fresh http://finding-fresh.com/wordpress/
And these are totally not just for kids. It's a great quick bite for me in a busy day or before working out too. And whenever I'm craving something sweet... these satisfy my mind and body. Something to feel good about. 😊

gray_la_heartTHIBODAUX

flourish

I don’t want to be one of those people who self diagnoses using Google . . . but I did discover this summer that there is a direct correlation between how much dairy I eat and how much my skin decides to overreact.

So, without an official diagnosis, I've been playing mostly vegan lately. And with that and the fact that school — for both my boys and me — is starting, I’ve been testing quick breakfast options that can be pre-made and pulled out on those early mornings.

A quick word about any untraditional/alternative foods…. and I feel the need to say this because of my 11 year old, who is my favorite taste tester since he helps represent the kid contingent, tried these muffins. When he tried these muffins he said, “they feel like puke in my mouth.” 🙄Hmmmmm. . . yes, the texture is not like a regular, flour-based muffin. And while they have the name muffin — I mean we seem to crave familiar labels for things — they really aren’t supposed to be just like muffins. These are shaped like muffins but they are more like a super moist banana bread.... solid pudding? Maybe I should stop trying to describe them.

Saucy Kitchen's easy blender recipe is a fast, dump > blend > pour > bake. And I think the flavor of these is great and, to help the texture for those who need some variation, my boy and I think this recipe needs the addition of some course chopped almonds or walnuts.

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