Thursday, May 28, 2009

Vegan Quesadillas

Basically we just make these like a regular quesadilla, with vegan cheese. It's easy, and really good. Most people probably know how to make a quesadilla, but since this is a food blog, I will post instructions!

  • 1 package of flour tortillas (we used the brown rice tortillas here... those work fine, but they are little more dense)
  • 1 block of "Follow Your Heart" vegan monterey jack cheese, grated (this brand is the only truly vegan cheese that I've found that will actually melt like real cheese and has a very convincing cheese taste)
  • 1 small can of diced mild chili peppers
  • olive oil to coat the pan
  • red and green salsa for toppings

Just heat a small amount of olive oil in a skillet and place one tortilla in there. Mix the diced chili peppers and grated cheese and cover the tortilla with a layer of this cheese mixture. Top with another tortilla. Cook until the bottom tortilla is crispy. Flip and cook until the cheese is melted and the other tortilla is crispy. Cut into fours and top with red and green salsa!

**You can pretty much "veganize" any dish you want if you have access to a health food store and some creativity. Whenever I am craving anything, I can figure out a way to make it vegan or at the bare minimum vegetarian. If you have any dishes you need help with, just drop me a line!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Easy Freezer Strawberry Jam

True to my word, here are the pictures and recipe for my easy freezer strawberry jam...well, it's not really mine. I just followed the instructions in the Pectin box! But, if you are a visual person, I will give you two sites that have recipes for this same freezer jam. Way easier than the cooked jams and SO good!

I made three batches: two with the normal Pectin and a ridiculous amount of sugar, and one with the no or low-sugar pectin, and about 3/4th of the amount of sugar. Both were great. Next time I will probably use the low-sugar pectin, about 1/2 of the amount of sugar, and I'll add a little bit of honey or agave nectar, if needed.

This is all you need to make great jam!

Our Crushed Strawberry "Juice"

Strawberries and LOTS of sugar!

Strawberries, Sugar, and Pectin

I like the glass mason jars, but these little plastic freezer jars are great because of size, and are pretty inexpensive.

The End Result!

These will last about 3 weeks in the fridge, and up to year in your freezer! To make all three batches, it took us (including clean-up) about an hour and an half- sweet deal (literally)!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Kale Chips

I don't ever remember eating Kale as a child. I personally don't like the taste of Kale, but have been putting it my green smoothies for awhile now because of its nutritional content.

Diana Dyer, a dietitian and author on the subject of cancer survival, has this to say about kale on her blog "The standouts are the high content of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folic acid, vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene), vitamin K, potassium, manganese, copper, and even the plant form of omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linolenic acid). In addition to the carotenoid beta-carotene, kale contains other very important carotenoid molecules called lutein and zeaxanthin (both necessary for eye health) and numerous others (probably too many to count, and maybe even yet identified)."

In other words, Kale is REALLY good for you. And, I finally found a way to eat kale that I like- Kale chips! My kids also love these Kale chips and best of all, it's another super simple, quick recipe! We make big batches of these every other week.

Kale Chips:

  • 2 bunches of kale (I like the Dino Kale- the Kale with the huge leaves. Savanna likes the curled types of kale- those are the ones you often see as garnish on your plate at restaurants- she says they make crunchier chips)

  • Olive Oil (approx 3 Tb, depending on the amount of Kale used)

  • Sea Salt (approx 2 Tb)

  • Apple Cider Vinegar (optional- a dash or two)
I usually just eyeball this recipe, so you'll have to bear with me. First, cut the leaves off of the stalks. Set the stalks aside (you can save the stalks for soups or smoothies). Cut the leaves into chip-sized pieces. In a large bowl mix the leaf pieces with a fair amount of olive oil and sea salt and just a dash or two of acv. I like to massage the leaves to make sure that each chip is covered in the marinade. They taste better if you allow them to marinate for about 20 minutes. Spread onto a baking sheet in a single layer and bake on the lowest setting of your oven. Check after about 30-40 minutes. They will wilt at first, and then crisp up.

I usually don't bake them in the oven, so they I'm not positive how long that will take- on the lowest setting, it could be a while. I bake my chips in my dehydrator at 105 degrees for several hours until they reach the desired crispiness. They store really well in the gallon-sized Ziploc bags and do not need to be refrigerated. You can play around with the amount of oil and different types of seasonings.