Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lunch of Millet, Black Beans, Avocado and Smoky Paprika Tahini

Lunch of Millet, Black Beans, Avocado and Smoky Paprika Tahini
I made this awesome lunch in a bowl recently that packs a lot of protein, healthy fats and wonderful smoky flavor from the paprika and harissa. I don’t have a particular recipe since I just quickly created this using left over grains and freshly made beans, but I do want to post for inspiration to try a version for your self. I’ll share the general idea because it’s too good to pass up. 

I used cooked millet but brown rice or quinoa would also be great! No black beans? Try chickpea or kidney. No pumpkin seeds?  Try sunflower.
Harissa not necessary but if you have it, it makes a nice addition!

Cooked millet
Black beans
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Sliced red radishes
Fresh parsley or cilantro

Additional side toppings

Add all the above and top with dressing  - recipe below

Smoky Tahini Dressing
Serves 1-2
2 tbsp creamy tahini
2 tsp tamari
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp water
1 tsp pure maple syrup
¼ heaping tsp smoked paprika

Method for Tahini
Add to a bowl and combine until creamy

xox Diana

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Salted Cardamom Caramel Clusters with Hazelnut and Chocolate

vegan salted caramel clusters, hazelnut clusters with salted caramel

vegan salted caramel clusters, hazelnut clusters with salted caramel

vegan salted caramel clusters, hazelnut clusters with salted caramel
vegan salted caramel clusters, hazelnut clusters with salted caramel

vegan salted caramel clusters, hazelnut clusters with salted caramel

Salted Cardamom Caramel Clusters with Hazelnuts and Chocolate
First thing Sunday morning, I believe 7 am, I’m an early riser, what I craved wasn’t pancakes but these awesome little caramel nutty clusters. I don’t know, maybe I dreamed them the night before. Initially, I was going to use peanuts, the idea took me back to the Payday. Do any of you remember that candy bar? It’s all peanuts smothered in some fake salted caramel of some kind, but anyway, it was my favorite candy bar as a kid next to Reeses peanut butter cups. Oh have times changed. So, instead of using peanuts, I used raw hazelnuts and decided to toast them for added flavor. The caramel is made using soft Medjool dates, and for something special cardamom was added, and with the salt it’s quite ridiculously good.  The caramel is thick not runny because we want all that goodness to hold together. So don’t go for thin sauce, we want it thick. For the chocolate topping I used organic 72% bar and melted it down like a ganache, which I love and it’s so easy.
This recipe comes together quickly so have fun and enjoy!

Makes 15 Clusters
Method for Hazelnuts
Pre heat oven to 350 line baking sheet with parchment paper
1 cup raw hazelnuts toasted @ 350 for 7 minutes
remove from oven and roughly chop 

Ingredients for Caramel
20 soft medjool dates pitted
3 tbsp coconut oil melted
½ tsp sea salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1//2 tsp cardamom

Method for Caramel Sauce
Make sure the dates are very soft, drain the water if you soaked them.
1. Add the pitted dates to a food processor along with the coconut oil, sea salt vanilla extract and cardamom. 
2. Blend until very smooth this may take 2 minutes, stop the machine and scrape when necessary. 
3. Add to a large bowl along with the chopped hazelnuts and mix together.  
4. Make spoon sized scoopings and place on parchment paper. Add to freezer for 45 minutes.
5. Make the chocolate sauce after the 45 minutes 

Chocolate Sauce
3 oz chocolate bar chopped
5 tbsp non dairy milk
1 ½ tsp melted coconut oil
¼ tsp cardamom
1/8 tsp sea salt

Method for Chocolate
1. Chop 3 oz of chocolate bar into small pieces, add to small stainless steel bowl, along with coconut oil, cardamom, sea salt and set aside.
2. Boil 5 tbsp of milk add it to the chocolate and let sit for 30 seconds then begin stirring until melted, if not completely melted hold the bowl above heated stove or flame to warm the bowl for few seconds and stir until melted.
3. Transfer to small cup if your stainless steel bowl is too big.
4. Remove clusters from freezer and dip the tops of each into the chocolate. 
5. Place back in freezer for another hour, transfer to sealed containers and store the freezer. I love them out of the freezer they are still soft and don’t harden too much.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Kelp Noodle Salad with Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce

kelp noodle salad vegan
vegan peanut sauce

Kelp Noodle Salad with Sweet and Spicy Peanut Sauce
Have you tried kelp noodles? It’s a raw and delicious seaweed loaded with minerals and nutrients such as calcium, iron, enzymes while being low in calories and no fat,  and the best part is – it has no flavor, which means anything you dress it with will take on other flavors. Unlike noodles, kelp will digest easier ! No need to boil or do other prep work just open it out of the bag, rinse and toss it with your favorite veggies or add it to broth. In this case I steamed a little asparagus, added peas, carrots, parsley and tossed everything in this creamy peanut sauce.
This sweet and spicy peanut sauce is lovely and can be used in so many ways such as in spring rolls, sushi, or topped on salad or quinoa. Have fun with it!!  I used toasted peanuts and creamed it up in a powerful blender such as Vitamix. You can also try peanut butter instead if that’s what you have.

Have you tried kelp noodle? what's your favorite way to use it?

Ingredients for Peanut Sauce
Makes ¾ cup
½ cup toasted unsalted peanuts
½ cup water
Pinch red pepper flakes
1/2 inch fresh ginger
½ clove fresh garlic
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tbsp tamari
1 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar

Combine all in blender until creamy
Taste for seasoning

Kelp Noodles
In a large bowl add kelp noodles and chopped fresh veggies, toss with peanut sauce and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Cilantro would be great too. Enjoy!

Link to kelp noodles I use

be sure to hashtag your delicious Flip Flops and Avocados creations on Instagram!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Roasted Potatoes with Creamy Herb Dressing

Roasted Potatoes with Creamy Herb Dressing

Lots of fresh herbs on these roasted potatoes make for a special potato salad. Because it’s a green dressing the end result is not the prettiest until additional fresh herbs are sprinkled on top which then becomes quite lovely – so don’t skip this step.  I used colored potatoes but will look nicer with all cream colored ones.  Aside from that, the taste is just fantastic as I’ve made this twice in just two weeks!

Creamy Herb Dressing
½ cup raw cashews
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp water
2 tbssp fresh tarragon
2 tbsp fresh dill
2 tbsp Chive
¼ tsp Sea salt
 4 turns black Pepper
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

Method for Dressing
Add all to a blender until creamy and set aside.

Potato Salad
24 oz Roasted potatoes
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp tarragon
2 tbsp chive
2 tbsp dill
2 tbsp rinsed capers
Large pinch sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper

Method for Potatoes
Pre heat oven to 450 line a baking sheet with parchment paper

1. 24 oz small potatoes washed and cut in half.
2. Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, toss well. Place on baking sheet, bake 25 minutes
    until golden       
3. Chop the tarragon, chive and dill combine and set aside
4. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl. Add 3 tbsp of the dressing more if needed, ¾ of the chopped herbs       
    1 tbsp of capers, hefty pinch of sea salt, black pepper and toss well. Taste for seasoning. 
5. Transfer to a pretty serving plate, finish with the remainder herbs and capers. Serve warm 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Carrot Cake with Cashew Lemon Coconut Cream

vegan carrot cake

unsweetened shredded coconut blitzed in spice grinder 

full fat coconut cream after refrigeration skimmed from the liquid

cashew lemon coconut cream
cashew lemon coconut cream

Carrot Cake with Cashew Lemon Cream
I’m a lover of carrot cake. As a kid it was my favorite, I preferred it to chocolate cake any day, and goodness why I haven’t made one until this past weekend is a mystery – maybe I thought it was tricky or complicated. But this weekend had me all jazzed up to give it a go, and since I bake quite a bit, it wasn’t much of stretch as I soon discovered.  If you do a search online for carrot cake recipes you’ll notice the heavy use of oil, some recipes more than others in order to create a moist dense cake, but using more oil isn’t something I’m interested in. So, I kept the oil to a minimum typically used for my other cakes and was very excited with the results which was a very moist cake with less fat that doesn’t sacrifice in taste or texture and it’s healthier, and the sugar for a two layer cake is also quite impressively low while still having the sweetness we all love, double yeh on that!

Have you made carrot cake?

Xoxo Diana

1. For the filling I made lemon coconut cashew cream and a coconut whip topping though the recipe  
    below for the lemon cream is enough to fill and top the cake without the whip.
2. Read recipe before you begin
3. Have all your ingredients ready before you begin
4. Use the right measuring cups – dry for dry – liquid for liquid
5. Aerate the flour by stirring it with whisk or fork then dip your measuring cup and wipe off excess 
    with back of knife, spooning flour into the cup is in-accurate for my recipes
6. Be sure to cool the cake in fridge for a couple hours before frosting.

Two Layer Cake 8’’ pans
350 for 50-55 minutes 

Ingredients for Cake
1 2/3 cup unsweetened milk beverage – I used coconut So Delicious
1 tsp apple cider vinegar 
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup spelt flour
3/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup unrefined fine brown sugar – I used coconut sugar, Sucanat or Moscobado works
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut ground in spice grinder to smaller bits
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 cup grated carrot
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup ripe mashed banana
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
1 ½  tsp pure vanilla extract

Method for Cake
Pre heat oven to 350 rack in the middle

1. Lightly oil and flour two 8” round tin pans, cut out a circle of parchment paper, line both the 
    bottom of the pans, set aside
2. Combine the milk and vinegar and set aside
3. In a large bowl sift the pastry flour, spelt, sea salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, 
    sugar, when it’s in the bowl add the shredded coconut, stir to combine
4. In a medium bowl combine the mashed banana, maple syrup, oil, and vanilla extract and stir to 
    combine, add the milk and vinegar mixture and combine again, add the to the flour mixture and      
    mix until just combined, fold in the carrots, and walnuts and divide the batter between the two  
    pans. Bake for 30 minutes then rotate the pans and bake another 20-25 minutes, the cake should 
    pull slightly from the sides and toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 15-20 minutes in 
    the cake pans on wire rack, remove carefully from the tins and continue to cool on rack.

Notes for Cashew Cream
1. I didn’t soak my cashews because I use a powerful Vitamix which blends the nuts nicely, if you 
    have a less powerful blender soak them.
2. The cream firms even more if left in the fridge a few hours before frosting.
3. When I added the cream between the two layers and then added cream to the top layer the top cake  
    moved around a bit slipping on the cream in the middle. I held the cake to keep it in place while I f
    roasted the top. Once you are done adding cream to the top layer it won’t shift anymore and when 
    kept in the fried it bonds nicely. Just thought I’d mention this. Or you can frost the top layer cake 
    before adding it on top of second layer.

Plan Ahead for Cashew Cream
Place one can full fat coconut milk in fridge overnight for fat to solidify.

Cashew Lemon Cream
1 cup raw cashews soaked one hour or longer
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp coconut milk full fat from can
1 tbsp + 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 tbsp full fat coconut cream

Method for Cream
1. Skim the solid fat from the liquid and place in bowl and set aside in fridge
2. Drain the soaked cashews add to blender with the liquid coconut milk, not the fat, add lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla extract and blend on high until creamy, add the full fat coconut cream and blend again.  Store in fridge for couple hours to firm up.
3. If you have left over coconut cream - whip it up and use it on the cake or something else. recipe here

To frost the cake place the cake on serving dish you will use. Apply cream with back of a spoon.  Frost the second layer and add it on top of first layer. Add additional shredded coconut and nuts on top.
Keep stored covered in fridge