Ninety-Second Video Vegan – Zero-Carb & Zero-Calorie Vegan Shirataki Pho

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This is a redux of my March 8, 2013 post.  I repost it because I made a new Video Vegan 90-second video of the process to make it.  This pho only takes as long as it takes to heat the water.  Check it out here:

OK – I fibbed a bit in the title of this post.  This soup actually has less than 5 grams of carbohydrates & 85 calories.  Still – it is a huge 3 cup bowl of spicy, awesome soup that is as close to guilt free as a bunch of celery and way more satisfying.  Look at the shirataki packaging:

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It is ridiculous to suggest (as the package states) that this is a 2.5 serving package.  I ate two of these in my bowl of soup – so – I guess I had 5 servings, hence the 5 grams of carbs.  Still – zero calories!!

The calories came from a 30 calorie vegetarian bouillon cube, a 5 calorie TBS of sriracha & a 30 calorie TBS of vegetarian hoisin.

These noodles are a kind of miracle but be forewarned – they are packaged in a stinky water that smells very funky & fishy.  I drained my noodles, washed them in water & let them soak in clean water while I went to the gym.  I came back & sniffed & found them still rather distasteful in the olfactory department.  I read that boiling them removes the aroma – so – I made this soup. It was done in the time it took the water to warm just to boiling & there were ZERO funkified elements in the completed pho.  Had there been any lingering fishiness, the sriracha & hoisin would have overpowered it.  But, sincerely, there was nothing yucky about the finished product.  I am going to have to learn to get very creative with these because I just cannot pass up the opportunity of 85 calorie meals that feel like they are pasta-based.

Zero-Carb & Zero-Calorie Vegan Shirataki Pho

INGREDIENTS

2  7 oz packages of shirataki noodles (I prefer the tofu ones to the yam ones)

2 cups stock (I used water & a veggie bouillon cube)

1 TBS hoisin sauce (or to taste)

1 TBS sriracha sauce (or to taste)

fresh chopped cilantro (or basil or mint)

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DIRECTIONS

Drain & rinse the shirataki in hot water.  Put all the ingredients in a pot & bring just to a boil – making sure your bouillon is dissolved.  Add more fresh cilantro.  Shove it in your face like a glutton & imagine your ass shrinking until it looks like this

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(image stolen from the internet)

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Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

So – flipping around the internet, I came across a recipe from a blog I love.  The blog is Pinch of Yum.  I love the blog because the photographs are mercilessly lush & gorgeous.  About a year ago, she posted her “life-changing 30 minute masala sauceand the photos are so great – I just could not get the recipe out of my mind – so – I made it!  She offers the recipe for a masala paste & then how to make a sauce from the paste.  She served the sauce over her “30-minute vegetarian meatballs.”  I did not have the ingredients for the meatballs so I decided to serve my sauce over Gardein beefless tips & chickpeas.

The paste is SUPER easy.  You just whip it up in a food processor.  The sauce is super easy, too, and she is right!  It is delicious!  You could serve the sauce over any meat or meatless meat or veggie or even rice or pasta you desire.  The paste makes a lot so maybe freeze some.

I did not have onions so I used shallots & scallions.  I used two tomatoes & some tomato paste in place of her suggested 1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth – just because that was all I had.  Worked out great!  I recommend you make this sauce & follow her blog.  It is really wonderful!

Vegan Life Changing Masala with Beef & Chickpeas

Serves 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef (or other vegan meat)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas – drained
for the masala paste
2 onions
5 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, crushed
3 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1½ teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
a small pile of of cilantro stems
a fistful of almonds
juice of one lemon
for the masala sauc
1½ cups tomato puree + ½ cup water or broth
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
½ teaspoon salt (taste and adjust)
GARNISH – cooked rice & cilantro
DIRECTIONS
Pulse all the ingredients for the Masala Paste in a food processor until smooth.  Put it into a container for storage in the fridge or freezer – reserving only 1/4 cup of the paste for this recipe.  The rest is extra!
Heat a drizzle of oil in a skillet. Add 1/4 cup masala paste to the skillet and with a little bit of oil and stir around in the pan until fragrant (3-5 minutes).  Add the tomato puree and water and simmer until t’s a rusty-deep-red color – about 5-10 minutes.  Add the beef & chickpeas.  Add the coconut milk; simmer for 10 minutes or so until thick and creamy.  Longer simmer = thicker and better flavor.
Serve over warm rice & garnish with chopped cilantro.

Vegan Chicken & Vegetable Pad Thai Rice Noodles and Silom Thai Market & Vegan Meat GALORE!

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

I have written about my favorite local Thai market, Bangluck, many times.  I have also mention Silom market.   Silom is where I found the vegan beef I used in my Vegan Spicy Szechuan Orange Beef & Wide Rice Noodles – seen just above.   But – while I was impressed with the vegan meat discoveries in the center freezers – somehow – I missed that they have an entire WALL of freezers – stocked to the brim with vegan meat options!  Look at this shit!

They have dozens & dozens of options.  Some are already prepared – like orange or sesame chicken – and some are not.  Huge bags, small bags.  Seafood, beef, pork & chicken.  Just a regular vegan wet dream!  INCREDIBLE find!  Not sure how I missed it all these years.

The store itself is very ghetto and the security guard out front suggests Silom is a front for some other more nefarious industry than peddling soy products.  But still – it is CHOCK full of cheap but exotic rices & sauces & veggies & BIZARRE-looking desserts & bug-based pastes.  Yes – bug.  That story is HERE.  Here are a few more views of the mecca that is Silom.

That is some fine looking jewelry!

Anyway – I love this place & they almost always have Keffir lime leaves which are like a Thai restaurant in a tiny bag.  They smell SO good!

Anyway – I digress – because I used my favorite faux chicken ever – Beyond Meat – in this Pad Thai.  I used the Pad Thai noodles you see above because they were handy at Silom.  You can use some like this or ramen noodles or even regular pasta.

I also used tamarind paste (also from Silom) but it is not critical.  Not critical but it does add authenticity.

If you cannot find the ingredients I used (tamarind paste or the homemade vegan fish sauce) – there are plenty of other options.  I will list a few in the ingredients list.

Vegan Chicken & Vegetable Pad Thai Rice Noodles

serves 2-4 (depending on appetites)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb pad thai (or other) noodles – cooked according to the package

9 oz vegan chicken

2 TBS coconut oil (or other cooking oil)

1 red bell pepper – cut into slivers

2 cups shredded or matchstick carrots

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1-2 red (or green) jalapeno peppers – diced (optional)

1 small head broccoli – cut into florets

1 cup sprouts

GARNISH – cilantro, lime wedges, chopped peanuts (I used crushed almonds)

for the Pad Thai sauce

(double this recipe if you like a heavy sauce on your noodles)

3 TBS of brown sugar (more if you like a sweeter Pad Thai)

1/4 cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS lime juice

2 garlic cloves – minced

1 TBS chili paste –  sambal oelek (or sriracha if you cannot find chili paste) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS tamarind paste (or tomato paste or peanut butter – each will be very different but still tasty)

2 TBS homemade vegan fish sauce (or just more soy sauce)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare the noodles & set aside.

Either whisk the sauce ingredients together or warm them on a stove until the sugar dissolves.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Add the red bell, sprouts, broccoli & carrots & saute until tender but not soggy.  Add chicken & garlic & combine for one minute.  Add noodles & sauce (if you doubled the sauce recipe, add it incrementally until you have a ratio that suits you).  Combine & heat through.

Serve with peanuts, cilantro & lime wedges.

Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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The other day, I made a boatload of Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils – seen just above.  By boatload – I mean I started with 5 cups of dry lentils.  That makes nearly twice as much of the finished product – so – I decided to try to reinvent them.    I used two cups of them in this recipe and I still have a ton left.  You can either make this lentil recipe (cut in half) or your own favorite lentil recipe.  I recommend these because the flavor profiles match but I am pretty sure most lentil recipes will do.

I baked mine for an hour but this loaf was only about an inch deep.  I recommend going shallow rather than deep because the deeper the loaf is – the trickier it will be to get it cooked through without drying it out.

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I also used this crazy glaze I spotted at Ralph’s.  If you cannot find this – either let the loaf be naked or mix up a glaze of your choice – or just top it with your favorite BBQ sauce.  Glazes are nice because they add moisture & another flavor component.    Here is a CURRY KETCHUP recipe (use agave rather than honey – if you are vegan) and here is a SRIRACHA KETCHUP recipe (again – use agave rather than honey – if you are vegan).    I posted Korean & traditional BBQ sauce recipes HERE.

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Leftover Lentils Red Coconut Curry & Beef and Bean Meatloaf (Vegan)

Makes one meatloaf

INGREDIENTS

2 cups prepared lentils (your favorite recipe or less than half of this recipe Easy Vegan Thai Sweet Basil & Coconut Lentils)

11 oz vegan beef crumbles (I always use Beyond Meat)

2 TBS red curry paste (or more – to taste)

5.6 oz coconut milk

1/4 cup oats (more if your mixture seems too wet – less if it seems too dry) – breadcrumbs work, too

1/4 cup flax meal (more if your mixture seems too wet – less if it seems too dry)

GARNISH – your favorite meatloaf glaze or BBQ sauce & cilantro

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix all your ingredients together.  Get it to about the consistency of a wet burger.

I lined my pan with foil but parchment paper is better.  I sprayed it with cooking spray & poured the lentil mixture in & pressed it flat.

Top with the glaze of your choice.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until it is cooked through.  A testing stick should come out clean.  Let it rest for 10 minutes before transferring or cutting into it.

Top with more glaze, if you desire, & serve with fresh cilantro.

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Clean Cooking & a 21-day Arbonne Healthy Eating Detox – Vegan or Vegetarian Style

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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A bunch of my friends are doing the 28-day Arbonne detox.   Click that link to go to their site & get a pretty thorough overview of the program.  My friends all bought the whole program & committed to a 28 day cleanse.  I was out of town for the first week, working, so – I started a week late.  They all bought the products that assist in the detox – I did not (though I caved & bought the 7-day Cleanse).  Other products they include are a protein shake & detox tea & some other things.  Frankly, the price tag was a little out of my reach plus – I do not buy into the level of protein people in fitness & nutrition seem to be fixated on.  Plus – the diet plan was not going to be especially restrictive for me as I eat pretty clean already.  Here are the things you CANNOT eat on this cleanse (and it is a cleanse – NOT a diet):

  •  Dairy
  •  Gluten
  •  Soy
  •  Peanuts & Peanut Butter
  •  Sugar, Honey, Maple Syrup
  •  Artificial Sweeteners
  •  Coffee
  •  Alcohol
  •  All Fruit EXCEPT limes, lemons green apples & berries
  •  Pork
  •  Farm-raised fish
  •  Non Cage-Free Eggs
  •  Non Free-Range Chicken
  •  All Beef, other than grass fed
  •  White Potatoes
  •  Corn
  •  Nitrates
  •  MSG
  •  Vinegar

And here is the list of things you CAN eat:

  •  Almond, Coconut & Flax Milk
  •  Brown Rice
  •  Raw Almonds
  •  Almond Butter
  •  Coconut Sugar
  •  Stevia, Xylitol
  •  Green & Herb Teas
  •  Non Starchy Vegetables
  •  Organic green apples & berries
  •  Cage-Free Eggs
  •  Wild-caught Cold Water Fish (limit to 1x per week)
  •  Free-Range Chicken and Turkey
  •  Grass fed Beef (limit to 1x per week)
  •  Sweet Potatoes, Yams,
  • Turnips
  •  Legumes
  •  Avocado
  •  Olive Oil, Grapeseed Oil, Coconut Oil, Flaxseed Oil

So – I do not eat beef, chicken or fish & I really try to avoid eggs and I almost never eat sweets.  But, a quick look at the menus & shopping lists found HERE left me confident that I could tweak things easily enough to stay satisfied.  For me – the big challenge is not drinking a bottle of wine every night.  Yes, every night.  Also – my faux chicken of choice, Beyond Meat, has soy in it – so – I was going to try to minimize using it – but for the purposes of this cleanse ONLY!  I will definitely return to it – likely before the end of my first week.  Beyond Meat is just too good & the Quorn (I just realized) has both eggs & sugar in it.  I bought this Quorn stuff to try, instead, though.  It is NOWHERE NEAR as convincing as Beyond Meat but I will be using what I bought – and return to Beyond Meat.  And it worked well in the chicken soup I am posting here.

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Initially, I had no intention to blog about this experience but I did not want to go a month without posting things so – I am dragging you along on my journey.   Because I did not intend to blog about it – I did not take very nice photos of the first dishes I tried – so please forgive the photography.

Oh – because I have a bunch of random vitamins & supplments around – I decided to add them (until they each run out) to my daily regimen.  There is fish oil here because I bought some ages ago to aid my thin hair.  Then I gave up fish – but – fuck it.  I bought them, I have them, my hair needs help – so – I am taking them.  Here is the random collection I amassed:

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The plan suggests having one of their protein shakes for breakfast & maybe lunch, too.  I never eat breakfast & do not believe I need a daily protein infusion so I am blowing off the shakes.     So – I took the week 1 shopping list and spent $200 on everything on it that I did not already have.  Five big bags, stuffed to the brim.  For just me.  For one week?  But – know that the recipes I have made – made an ENORMOUS amount – enough for two – easily.  In addition – they are easy & really very good, so far!  So – if you and your partner want to do this plan – I would not double the recipes.  So – $200 to feed two adults every meal & snack of the day for 7 days seems pretty economical, to me!

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So far – I made their snack suggestion:

Beet Hummus

Serve chilled with carrots, sliced cucumber, snap peas or other favorite veggies or brown rice chips.

INGREDIENTS

2 large beets, peeled and steamed

1 can garbanzo beans, mostly drained

2 lemons, juiced

½ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. white pepper

2 garlic cloves

2 heaping Tbsp. tahini

¼ cup avocado oil (olive oil works well too)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place all ingredients in the blender and whirl till they have a smooth consistency!
  2. Chill and enjoy all week with veggies of your choice or brown rice chips

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I could not find brown rice chips so – I used those above.

Then I made their

MONDAY

Lunch:

Beet and Avocado Salad

INGREDIENTS

2 beets pre-cooked (or steamed)

1 avocado

1 cup spinach

handful pistachios

Sweet and Spicy Dressing:

1/8 cup agave (I cut this in half)

1/2 Tbsp. siracha (I doubled this)

1/2 Tbsp. EVOO

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS

  1. Cube beets and avocado.
  2. Layer spinach, beets, avocado, and pistachios.
  3. In a blender combine agave, siracha, EVOO and S+P.
  4. Drizzle dressing over salad, Enjoy!

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This salad is a revelation!!!!  I adore everything in it & the dressing was AMAZING!   Plus, it made enough for two – so I ate some more with my dinner.  AND I had it for lunch the next day!

Dinner was their:

Dinner:

Twice Baked Potatoes

*Veg: sub mushrooms instead of ground turkey

2 large sweet potatoes

2 Tbsp. ghee

1 package ground turkey (I used Quorn meatless grounds – which I just discovered are merely vegetarian!)

taco seasoning (see recipe at freshandcleanrecipes.com)

1 cup spinach

S+P to taste

fresh salsa (see recipe at freshandcleanrecipes.com) – I used store bought

½ avocado

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cook potatoes in oven 30-45 min. (or until easily pierced in the center with fork)
  3. Brown ground turkey with taco seasoning and a few tsp. of water.
  4. Cut potatoes in half and scrape inside into a med size bowl saving the skins.
  5. Mix in ghee, turkey, spinach and S+P to taste.
  6. Fill skins with the mixed potato.
  7. Place in shallow baking dish (covered in foil for easy cleanup) and broil for 5 min until top is browned.
  8. Add a scoop of your favorite fresh salsa and avocado.

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TWO large sweet potatoes PLUS a 12 oz of protein?  In my world, that is enough for two.  I did not bother to stuff & cook the potato a second time.  I ate it as above.  I had another entire potato & more than half of the faux meat/spinach mix left over.  I saved the second potato & fed it to my dogs over the course of two days, with their dinner.

The extra meat/spinach I added to the next recipe I made:

Dinner:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

*Veg: substitute veg broth and omit chicken

INGREDIENTS

2 cups shredded chicken

4 Tbsp. olive oil

½ onion diced

1 large carrot; diced

1 zucchini; diced

1-quart chicken broth

2 cups water

1 lime + 1 more lime for topping

S+P to taste

4 Tbsp. cilantro + more for topping

1 can black beans

2 cups your favorite red salsa (fresh recipe at freshandcleanrecipes.com)

I added about 1-2 cups of leftover faux meat crumbles & spinach from the previous day – which was GOOD!

Toppings:

tortilla strips (brown rice tortillas cut in half and then cut into 1/4-inch strips and fried in coconut oil/ or EVOO)

diced tomatoes

chopped green onions

cilantro

½ avocado

lime wedge

DIRECTIONS

  1. Add EVOO to large pot over med heat.
  2. Once oil is warmed, add chopped onions stirring often so as not to burn. Cook approx. 3-5 min until onions are tender.
  3. Add shredded chicken, chicken broth, water, juice of 1 lime, carrots, diced zucchini, carrots, cilantro, black beans, salsa and S+P to taste.
  4. Simmer for 1 hour or longer.
  5. Pour into individual bowls and add preferred toppings toppings

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The only toppings I used were avocado & cilantro.  Frying tortilla strips (and I could not eve FIND brown rice tortillas, anyway) seemed like unnecessary calories.

This soup is delicious!  Especially with the addition of the vegetarian meat crumbles from the previous night’s leftovers.  I had it for dinner, lunch today and I still have more than enough for lunch tomorrow.

So – so far – this plan is great!  I am not a snacker so – I have not indulged in any food outside of the two meals a day except – late night when I get hungry (because I have been way too energized to fall asleep before midnight – UNHEARD OF for me) – a handful of berries & maybe 8 raw almonds.  I have not missed the wine, either, which is nothing short of a miracle!  I will admit, I have become OBSESSED with My 600 Lb. Life!  Mostly, I am amazed by the different shapes various people’s bodies take in an effort to store 600+ pounds.  I would include some images but it feels like body-shaming – despite the fact that the show exists precisely to shock them into their own reality & then try to help them but MY LORD!  The human body is an amazing thing.

So – I will keep you posted on my progress with this thing.  So far – I am giving it an enthusiastic thumbs up.  It might even be better if I could have sprung for all the fun products they offer but I will have to live with this budget version.  If you CAN afford it – and I THINK it is about $300 – and you do it – let me know your results.

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My Most Popular (Best) Recipes of 2016 & of All Time

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

images (1)download (1)

All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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2016 is behind us.  It seems there is a collective agreement that it was just a hideous year.  Too many legends lost, for a majority of voters – a lost election.  For the first time in history, a candidate with 3 million fewer votes than his rival has won the election.  But for me – this year will always be defined by the loss of that gorgeous boy above – my beautiful & perfect Memphis.  He died at 7 unexpectedly & inexplicably.  The scar on my heart is still as raw as it was in June – when he left us.   I am not sure everyone knows this – but your i-phone can make slide shows for you.  Mine made this on Sunday & it left me sobbing.  Memphis was VERY special & losing him has been too brutal for words.

Anyway – I thought I would recap the blog’s top recipes of 2016.   I will post them here from 10 to number 1!  Here they are:

NUMBER 10

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Pasta with Romanesco Cauliflower (Broccoli), Lemon & Chili Flakes (Vegetarian or Vegan)

NUMBER 9

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Vegan Hearts of Palm Crab Salad

NUMBER 8

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Hearty Vegan Beef & Vegetable Stew for the Slow Cooker

NUMBER 7

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Vegan Char Siu or Chinese BBQ Pork Ribs

NUMBER 6

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Vegan Spicy Chicken Enchilada Soup with Homemade Red Enchilada Sauce – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

NUMBER 5

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Vegan Creamy Dal Makhani Punjabi-Style (Black Gram/Urad Dal & Rajma) – for the Slow Cooker

NUMBER 4

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Vegan Seared Garlic-Balsamic Mushrooms with Fresh Thyme & Creamy Polenta (Grits)

NUMBER 3

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Vegan Big Mac Pizza with Copycat McDonald’s Special Sauce

NUMBER 2

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Vegan Cabbage Rolls Stuffed with Grilled Eggplant, Mushrooms & Spinach

And – drum roll!

NUMBER 1 (sadly – not my own recipe but brilliant all the same!)

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Vegan Rice Paper Bacon

And since #1 was not my recipe – here is the 11th place runner-up:

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Vegan Ash Mash (Persian Mung Bean Soup) with Purple Kohlrabi & French Breakfast Radishes – for the Slow Cooker or Stove Top

And – probably my favorite recipes of the year:

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10-Ingredient Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Mac & Cheese

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10-Minute Spicy Vegan Sriracha Chicken & Broccoli Bowl

and a non-food-related rant:

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And Now For Something Completely Different…Sex, Sexy Selfies & Sexism

And here are the top recipes of all time:

NUMBER 10

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Spicy Southern Fried Cauliflower and Delta Dipping Sauce with Smashed Baked Potatoes and White Gravy and Buffalo Mac & Cheese

NUMBER 9

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Chicken Shawarma with Garlic Paste (Toum) & Tzatziki Sauce (Vegan or Vegetarian)

NUMBER 8

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No-Carb No-Pasta Grilled Garden Vegetable Lasagna with Basil Marinara

NUMBER 7

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ZERO CALORIE ZERO CARB Vegan – Vegetarian Shirataki Pho

NUMBER 6

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Margarita Pizza Quesadilla on Homemade Spinach Tortillas

NUMBER 5

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Grown-up Fireball Whiskey Cupcakes

NUMBER 4

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Vegan BBQ Ribs (Seitan) with Spicy Korean or Spicy Traditional BBQ Sauce

NUMBER 3

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Vegan Gyro (with Homemade Seitan) & Tzatziki Sauce

NUMBER 2

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Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant

And the mother of all recipes and monstrously popular –

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Easy Spicy Southern Chicken Spaghetti

Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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OK – so – I have really been trying to wean myself completely off cheese.  Very few of the vegan cheeses available are very good (in my opinion).  I am especially not fond of the Daiya products.  Daiya has a very distinct flavor that I find distasteful.  I prefer Parmela Creamery & Field Roast’s Chao cheeses.   I have experimented a bit making vegan cheese myself, the most successful being this mozzarella (seen below).

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I recently ordered some vegan cheeses from Soledad Goat Sanctuary.  They used to make real goat cheese but they went vegan in the past year or so.  I bought the ones you see below.

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While they are all pretty tasty – especially the Chevre-styles – they are textured more like a dip – like hummus.  The cheddar & American styles are a bit more firm – like a spreadable cheese & the chevres are almost runny – like a creamy dip.  I would use the chevre ones in cream sauces.  The other two might make good queso or cheese-based dip – but they will not work for baked things – like lasagna – or pizza.  They would all make a great spread on a sandwich.  The 4 little packages cost $45 with shipping.  So – I think I will wait to find them at the farmers market & taste before I buy & not have that shipping expense.

My cheese here is also quite soft – very like a hummus.  It has some kick and tastes pretty good but – like the Soledad cheeses – won’t work in any recipe where you need grated or sliced cheese.  Still – it is very easy to make.  Adding a bit of salsa to it might turn it into a decent vegan queso.  It was especially easy to make with my new $30 Magic Bullet blender – which I am in love with.  A well-spent $30 at Bed Bath & Beyond.

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Vegan Spicy Jalapeno Cilantro Cashew Nut Cheese

INGREDIENTS

1.5 cups cashews (soaked in water for 2-3 hours if you do not have a high speed blender. I did not soak mine.)

3 jalapeno peppers (mix of red & green – if you have access to both) – diced & seeded for less heat

handful of cilantro (& few leaves saved for garnish)

2 TBS lemon

2 TBS nutritional yeast

2 garlic cloves

S&P

1/2 cup (more or less) water

Course ground pepper – as garnish

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DIRECTIONS

Reserve a few bits of the diced jalapenos & a few cilantro leaves.

Puree the rest of the ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth  – only adding as much water as you need to accomplish this.

I used a large ramekin to shape the cheese.  Any small-ish bowl will do.

Line the bowl with plastic wrap & spray with cooking spray.

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Place the cilantro leaves on the bottom & add the reserved, diced jalapeno & a handful of coarse ground pepper.  Spoon the cheese in & fold the wrap over it.  Chill until ready to use.  Open the wrap, put a serving plate on top of your bowl & flip it.  Lift the bowl off & remove the plastic wrap.  Serve!

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