Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Perfect Pancakes Done Vegan and Healthy

I have a lot of favorite breakfast foods but I think pancakes might be my all time fave.  It's taken some time and tinkering, along with a whole lot of pancake eating, to get my recipe just right.  Not only are they vegan, but also healthier using whole wheat flour and no oil!  It was worth the wait!

Some tips from my successes and failures with pancakes:

DO sift the dry ingredients.  It makes them lighter, less chewy.
  For the flour I typically use whole wheat pastry flour and sometimes sub in 1/3 cup oat flour (optional).
DO mix your wet ingredients thoroughly before combining with dry. This helps with the following...
Do NOT over mix your batter. DO let it sit at least 10 minutes. It's hard to wait, I know, but the the batter must rest.
DO heat your skillet.  10 minutes over low heat is ideal.  So VERY IMPORTANT!
Cook over medium-heat, no higher.  They will burn too fast.
If adding any fruit, add on pancakes JUST BEFORE flipping.  Adding too soon can weigh down,
you want those delicate pancakes to rise and be light in texture.
DON'T overcrowd the pan.  Leave plenty of space around the pancakes.

Makes 4-6 pancakes


1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond or soy milk
1/4 cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce


Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl (you can use a mesh strainer to do this).  Add the rest of the ingredients to another bowl and whisk or stir to thoroughly combined.  Add the the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just mixed.  Do not over mix.  Let batter sit at least 10 minutes.  If it's too thick after standing you can a tablespoon or two of milk.

Now make sure to heat your skillet (cast iron works well) over low-medium heat for a few minutes.  To test, drop a little water on it and if it sizzles.  Spray with cooking spray and turn heat up just a bite to medium.  Pour a small amount of batter into into skillet to form pancakes.  Don't overcrowd.  Cook about 3-4 minutes until small bubbles begin to form.  If adding any fruit, add now then flip and cook about 3 minutes longer.

Favorite Variations:

Banana Nut: Add a pinch or 2 of cinnamon to the dry ingredients.  Add thinly sliced banana to pancakes before flipping.  Top with syrup and walnuts or pecans.

Maple Cinnamon: Add a some maple syrup and sprinkle of cinnamon to a small dish and microwave about 10-15 seconds, drizzle over cooked pancakes before serving.

Blueberry or Strawberry: Heat fresh or frozen blueberries or strawberries, optional: stir in a little jam (any berry flavor).  Pour over pancakes.

Just Peachy: Heat fresh or frozen diced peaches, stir in a pinch of each cinnamon and brown sugar.  Pour on pancakes and sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Blueberry topped pancakes

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Teriyaki Tofu and Pineapple Tacos

Just a couple things about this recipe, if you don't have a tofu press then simply place the block of tofu on a plate with papertowls underneath and on top of it, place another plate on it and put something heavy on top (canned things work well).  Let it sit as long as you can (30minutes or more) to get out as much water as possible, changing paper towls as needed.  If you want to take a shortcut you can certainly buy a teriyaki sauce to marinate it in.  If it's a thick sauce you may want to put the tofu with it in a plastic bag with it and squeeze out all the air to make sure the tofu gets coated and soaks up as much as possible.  Other than that this is an easy to make tofu recipe that's very versatile.

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Makes 6 tacos


1/2 cup water
3 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp mirin (cooking rice wine)
1 Tbsp grated or finely chopped fresh ginger
1 clove garlic, grated or finely chopped

1 block firm or extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup diced pineapple
2 cups shredded cabbage
chopped cilantro
Asian hot sauce like Annie Chung Gochujang Sauce (optional)
Corn tortillas


Whisk mairnade ingredients together, pour into a dish and add tofu.  Thoroughly coat the tofu.  Place in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Remove tofu form marinade (you can reserve to spoon ovre tofu later) and place on a lighly greased baking sheet in one layer.  Bake for 15 minutes then flip flip them over and bake additional 10 minutes or until golden brown and lightly crisp.

While tofu is cooking, add cabbage to a skillet with a little water or cooking spray and cook over medium heat 2-3 minutes.  Add pineapple and cook 2 mintue longer. 

To serve, add some tofu to a torilla, top with cabbage, pineapple, cilantro and hot sauce if using.

Pressing tofu with Tofu Xpress

Monday, May 14, 2012

Frozen Food Find: Amy's Spaghetti Italiano

Love, love, love Amy's for having all vegetarian frozen meals and also lots of vegan ones too.  I love making my own food but I don't always have time and I have yet to come up with a "meatless" ball recipe that I love.  Now Amy's has one!  This pasta bowl from her new Light & Lean line is under 300 calories and a better portion than I would've expected.  It has 3 meatless meatballs, little pieces of broccoli and a very tasty sauce.  This one's a keeper!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Balsamic Portobello Sandwich with Roasted Peppers, Avocado, and Basil Mayo

I have to preface this by saying I don't really like mushrooms.  Actually it's more that dirt, just came from the earth mushroom flavor that I despise.  So, if they're seasoned, marinated, or cooked in a way that takes aways that "mushroomy" taste then I'm a fan.  I adapted from a recipe in Veganomicon (awesome cookbook by the way!) and marinated and roasted the portobello mushroom caps. I also roasted some red pepper strips (don't get the jarred peppers) and onions. Threw in some avocado and then mixed up a little Earth Balance Mayo (the best vegan one in my opinion) with a just a smidge of lemon juice, and a frozen basil cube - most grocery stores carry some type of these now.  If you can't find them then just process some fresh basil with the mayo in your food processor.

Makes 2 sandwiches (dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow!)


1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Soy Sauce
1-2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar (you can use red wine vinegar also)
1/2 cup Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
2 Frozen Garlic Cubes, thawed (or 2 cloves grated on a microplane)
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Portobello Mushroom Caps

Peppers and Onions:
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1/2 Sweet Onion, sliced
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper

Basil Mayo:
1 frozen basil cube, thawed
2 Tbsp. Earth Balance vegan mayo
1/8-1/4 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

Sliced Avocado
2 Rolls (Get a good roll from your supermarket bakery. I like a nice crusty roll or baguette)


Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

Make the mayo by combining adding the basil and mayo in a bowl and stir to combine.  Next add lemon juice a sprinkle at a time until you reach desired taste, stir.  Put in the fridge to chill.

Make the mushrooms by adding all the ingredients, except mushroom caps, to a bowl and whisk together.   Pour the marinade in a 8-9 in. glass baking dish (not metal and).  Place mushroom caps in a swish them around getting the marinade all over them.  Now place them top down and spoon some of the marinade over so that it makes in pool.  Set aside at least 15-20 minutes.

Now place peppers and onions on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and toss with your hands.  Bake 15-20min.  Halfway through toss them around. 

When they're done, take them out and set aside.  Cover the mushroom dish with foil and bake in the oven 25 min.  Then take the foil off and flip them over.  Bake uncovered for another 10 minutes.

You can slice your roll and pop in the toaster to lightly toast.  I also remove some of the inside bread to make more room for the delicious toppings.

To assemble just spread some mayo on your roll and layer all your ingredients however you like and dig in!

Look at that nice char.  Who needs a grill!?

Currently working on recipe to use all that leftover marinade.  Do not throw this out!