Category Archives: lemon

You Won’t Be Able to Stop Eating This Vegan, Gluten-Free Rhubarb/Pear/Almond Crumble!

It already feels like autumn where we live, and we’re craving warmer, heartier foods. Of course, sweet desserts are delicious any time of the year. We recently modified a traditional rhubarb/pear/almond crumble recipe by substituting Earth Balance for butter, and gluten-free flour for the whole wheat kind. Our results were stellar. You’ll keep going back to the pan for this dessert — again, and again and again. Try your hardest not to devour the entire thing!

FILLING INGREDIENTS

2-3 Bartlett pears, depending on size (red is great, but yellow will do)
2 long stalks fresh rhubarb
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup lightly packed turbinado or coconut sugar
1/2 cup light gluten-free flour (We like Bob’s Red Mill All-Purpose)
fresh grated zest of one lemon
pinch of sea salt

CRUMBLE INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup gluten-free flour
1/4 cup lightly packed turbinado sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg or cloves
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon almond extract
3 1/2 teaspoons vegan butter or margarine such as Earth Balance

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast the almonds for 5-10 minutes until slightly browned. Remove from oven and set aside. Cut pears into thin slices and cut rhubarb into small chunks. The rhubarb’s texture may seem much harder than the pear’s, but both will soften nicely while baking and achieve the same consistency. Using a large bowl, mix the pears and rhubarb together with the other filling ingredients. Set on counter to marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Grab another bowl and combine the crumble ingredients, except for the butter or margarine. Cut the butter or margarine into small pieces and stir into the mixture. It’s okay if it comes out a bit lumpy, since the butter/margarine will melt in the oven, anyway! No point in worrying when you’re so close to your goal!

Pour the filling into a square pan and spread evenly. Spread the crumble mixture across the top and sprinkle with additional cinnamon, if desired. A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way! Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let it cool, but not too much! Your crumble is best served hot.

Call 3-4 of your best friends and tell them to come over immediately, so the dessert won’t be gone before they arrive. The crumble serves 4-5 people with ease. We love it as is, but you can get fancy with added vegan ice cream and/or whipped cream. With so much sugar, this dessert is not a diet food, but it IS 100% vegan, gluten-free, and scrumptious. Welcome, autumn!

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Baba Ghanoush — Naturally Vegan, and a Cinch to Prepare!

You’ve most likely had hummus, but have you tried its sweeter, lighter cousin, baba ghanoush? Baba ghanoush is a lot like hummus, since it has a tahini base. However, instead of adding garbanzo beans, this recipe utilizes roasted eggplant. The result is equally delicious. Our light but zesty meal is easy to make, and perfect for warm summer nights. You can serve it with gluten-free pita bread or with gluten-free toast points sprinkled with thyme, olive oil or vegan butter, and a bit of granulated garlic. We feel confident that you’ll love this dish either way.

INGREDIENTS

1 medium-sized eggplant
2-3 cloves minced garlic
juice of one large lemon
4 tablespoons tahini
sea salt to taste
2 tablespoons fresh, chopped cilantro, parsley or basil (We used basil, yum!)
small amount of water

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

roasted gluten-free pita bread
regular gluten-free bread
chopped thyme
chopped garlic or garlic salt
olive oil or vegan margarine/butter such as Earth Balance
sliced vegetables such as carrots, celery, zucchini, green or red peppers, etc.

INSTRUCTIONS

Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds and place in a large, flat pan or cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and olive oil and broil in oven for 5-10 minutes. Watch carefully so the slices don’t burn! They should be pulpy and slightly browned. Peel skin from eggplant and either eat, compost, or discard.

Cut the eggplant pulp into small pieces and place in a blender or food processor. Add the tahini, a dash of sea salt, herbs, lemon juice, and combine thoroughly. If your mixture is too thick, add a bit of water until it becomes creamy and smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Serve with sliced vegetables of your choice, and gluten-free bread or toast points. To make toast points, slather bread with a liberal amount of olive oil or vegan butter/margarine. Sprinkle with chopped thyme and granulated garlic. Broil in oven until the toast is brown and slightly crispy around the edges. Cut the toast in half and serve!

This recipe serves 2-3 people. If you have more guests, feel free to increase ingredient portions accordingly. Great as either a main or a side dish. Get creative! You can add falafels, hummus, or other Middle Eastern cuisine to make a larger meal. Keeps well in your refrigerator for several days. Homemade baba ghanoush is so much more delicious than the store-bought variety! Once you’ve prepared this version, we feel confident you’ll agree.

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Peach Cobbler Tastes Great When It’s Vegan and Gluten-Free!

Is it even summer without peach cobbler? We don’t think so! When temperatures are hot and peaches are ripe, what’s an enterprising chef to do? The traditional recipe calls for large amounts of butter and white sugar, but you won’t miss the rich taste when you bite into our more subtle, but equally delicious version. This cobbler is inexpensive and incredibly easy to make. You can either peel the peaches or leave the peels on. We made our recipe with peels because that’s the way we roll. The peels become soft and pliable during the baking process. Also, they’re packed with vitamins, so it seems a shame to just toss them out. You’re going to love this recipe. We guarantee it!

PEACH INGREDIENTS

5 large peaches, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

DRY INGREDIENTS

1 cup gluten-free flour blend (We used Bob’s Red Mill, excellent!)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
2 tablespoons tapioca starch (also called tapioca flour)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Pinch of sea salt (not the iodized variety)

WET INGREDIENTS

3/4 cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond work best)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

Arrange the sliced peaches in a square baking pan. Sprinkle them with the two tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon, and fresh lemon juice. Allow the mixture to marinate for a few moments as you prepare the other ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients together until they’re thoroughly combined. Add vanilla extract and plant-based milk gradually, stirring continuously to make sure no lumps form. Batter should be smooth and creamy.

Pour the batter over the top of the peaches, spreading evenly. Don’t worry if the peaches aren’t completely covered. Bake in pre-heated, 375 degree oven for 35-45 minutes. The batter should form a nice crust that will attain a lovely golden brown color. Remove from oven and set on your counter to cool. But don’t let it cool too much — this dessert is best served hot!

Serves 4-6 people with ease. Your peach cobbler is sure to be a hit. You can serve it as is, or with a scoop (or two, or three) of vegan ice cream such as Coconut Bliss. (Our personal favorite is the coconut flavor. It’s perfect for this dessert). This dish keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. We have been known to enjoy leftover cobbler for breakfast. Shhhhhhhh — don’t tell anyone! You’re just going to have to try this dessert for yourself, and then you’ll know why we love it so much. Happy summer!

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It’s So Easy to Create Your Own Falafels From Scratch!

We’ve been eating falafels for years, both with pita bread, and without. These crispy disks are delicious served with a variety of vegetables. However, most of the falafels in restaurants are deep-fried, and the ones you make at home are usually products of a powdered mix. Creating this naturally vegan, gluten-free concoction from scratch is surprisingly easy and fun. Real, homemade falafels taste much better than the stuff that comes from a box! Try the recipe, you will be amazed.

INGREDIENTS
1 15-ounce can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, chopped and packed
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped and packed
1/2 cup diced red or yellow onion (red is especially zesty)
1/3 cup gluten-free flour (we used a combination of garbanzo flour and brown rice flour)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum-free, please)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sea salt (not the iodized variety)
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup water
olive oil for cooking
Vegetable garnishes, such as chopped tomatoes, sliced avocados, shredded carrots, chopped onion, additional sprigs of parsley and cilantro, lettuce, etc.
Gluten-free pita bread (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Pour chickpeas, parsley, cilantro, chopped onion, flour, lemon juice, water, baking powder, garlic, and spices into blender or food processor. Combine thoroughly until mixture is thick and creamy, but not stiff. You can add more water if it’s too thick, or more flour if it’s too runny. Pour into large bowl and cover. Place bowl in refrigerator and chill for approximately 1 hour. It should achieve a nice thickness by then.

Remove falafel mix from refrigerator and heat olive oil on stovetop. Your burner setting should be medium high, but not so hot that it will smoke or burn. Scoop rounded tablespoons of falafel mix from bowl and drop into hot olive oil, one at a time. Fry them until they’re slightly crispy and brown around the edges, then flip and fry the other sides. Remove from heat and set on napkin so excess oil will drain away.

Serve with vegetables and toppings such as hummus, baba ghanoush, plain coconut yogurt, or tahini with lemon juice. Great either as a sandwich or a salad. Feel free to experiment! Serves 3-4 hungry people. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator or frozen for later. These falafels are great in lunchboxes! You’ll never want to make them from a box, ever again, and neither will any of the members of your family. Enjoy!

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Our Yummy, Vegan and Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Will Fill You With Summer Nostalgia

Many of us have fond summer memories of sitting outside in the warm sun, digging into generous helpings of pineapple upside-down cake. Of course, the traditional recipe utilizes eggs and milk, but these ingredients aren’t necessary for our delicious version. Our recipe uses fresh pineapple instead of canned. Colorful pomegranate seeds replace the usual Maraschino cherries. We recently baked this dessert for a Memorial Day barbeque, and were delighted by the stellar results. Try it for yourself, and we think you’ll agree.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped into small chunks
1/4 cup coconut oil
scant cup plant-based milk (coconut or almond works best)
juice of 1/2 lemon
8 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
1 1/4 cups almond meal
1 1/4 cups all purpose, gluten-free flour
2 heaping teaspoons baking powder (make sure it’s aluminum-free)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Pomegranate seeds for topping (optional)
Vegan whipping cream (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Grease a square baking pan with vegan butter, coconut oil, or other oil of your choosing. Line the bottom of the pan with the pineapple chunks, making sure they are evenly distributed and not too lumpy. Melt the coconut oil, keeping a watchful eye so it won’t burn. Pour oil in a large bowl and add the milk, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, salt, and almond meal. Stir thoroughly, then add flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix well until the mixture is moist but not runny. Add additional flour if mixture is too moist, or milk if it’s too stiff. It should have a slightly fluffy texture.

Ladle the batter into the baking pan, making sure it is evenly spread across the pineapple chunks. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. You can employ the toothpick or fork-in-the-middle method to see whether it’s done. Remove your cake from the oven and set on your counter to cool. Once it’s cooled, you can flip the cake over onto a large plate. If you like, decorate your creation with a pomegranate seed garnish (or fresh, de-pitted cherries, if you prefer). Serve as is, or get fancy with some vegan whipped cream.

Serves 4-6 happy people with ease. This cake keeps well in your refrigerator, securely covered, for several days. We sincerely doubt that it will be around that long. It works well as a dessert, but certain individuals have been known to enjoy it as a breakfast food. We won’t reveal their names. Enjoy your cake, and welcome to summer. At last!

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Celebrate Barbeque Season With Tofu/Melon/Pepper Skewers

It’s May already, which means the official beginning of barbeque season! Some of you might be catching whiffs of your neighbor’s meat-based cuisine and wondering what on earth you can cook that didn’t come from an animal. Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with these delightful tofu/melon/pepper skewers! The marinade is light but zesty, due to the inclusion of red pepper flakes, and the heat from your grill will impart a subtle crispiness to the tofu. You won’t even miss the meat, and your carnivorous friends may even ask you for a bite or two. Make sure they ask nicely.

INGREDIENTS
I block (14 ounces) tofu
1 red, yellow, or green pepper
¼ melon of your choice
½ red onion
1 tablespoon tamari
½ teaspoon garlic powder
2-3 teaspoons red pepper flakes
Dash of sea salt

SWEET CHILI LIME DIPPING SAUCE
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of sea salt

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS (For skewers)
Cherry tomatoes
Pineapple chunks
Tempeh pieces

INSTRUCTIONS
Cut tofu, pepper, onion and pepper (and other ingredients, if desired) into large, bite-sized chunks. Mix tamari, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and sea salt in a small bowl. Put tofu chunks in marinade and let them sit for approximately half an hour. Afterward, remove tofu from marinade and place on skewers, alternating with peppers, onion, melon, and any other vegetables of your choice. Sprinkle additional tamari mixture on top. Vegetables and tofu should be pressed together on skewer, but not too tightly.

Place skewers on grill and cook for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently. Tofu should be slightly browned and a bit crispy around the edges. Vegetables should be soft but not mushy. Remove from grill and serve with dipping sauce. You can serve this tasty dish by itself, or with a small salad and/or loaf of gluten-free bread. We put ours on a bed of fresh arugula and served it with a dab of light, zesty lemon dressing, and it tasted great. We think you’ll agree.

Serves 2 hungry people, or 3-4 not-so-hungry people. We know from experience that the dish pairs exceptionally well with vegan, gluten-free beer. Hopefully you can enjoy this fun meal on a warm evening, while seated in your yard while the last rays of sunshine beam onto your plate. Bon appetit, and relax –it’s almost summer!

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Absolutely Delectable Vegan, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

If you’ve been following this page, you’re probably aware that vegan, gluten-free desserts are much tastier than the poor rep they so often receive. They are way more delicious and complex than the nut and seed bars you probably ate when you were first exploring vegan cuisine. This incredible carrot cake contains no gluten or animal products whatsoever, and you’ll be in heaven at the first bite. Granted, the recipe calls for two different kinds of sugar. But sometimes, you just have to live on the wild side.

CAKE INGREDIENTS
I cup unsweetened applesauce (organic is best, as always)
2/3 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup plant-based milk (we used a mix of coconut and almond, sensational!)
1/3 cup tapioca starch
2 ½ cups oat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free, please!)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ cups grated carrots
½ cups crushed walnuts and/or pecans

FROSTING INGREDIENTS
¼ cup vegan butter or margarine (the good kind, like Earth Balance)
4 ounces (approximately ½ store-sized plastic container) vegan cream cheese
2 ½ cups organic powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In large bowl, stir together applesauce, coconut sugar, lemon juice, vanilla, and milk. Combine thoroughly, then add tapioca starch, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt. Continue stirring everything together until your batter is thick and creamy. Add carrots and walnuts.

Grease 8X8 pan with vegan butter or coconut oil. Pour in batter and slide pan into your oven. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Be sure to employ the fork or toothpick method to make sure your cake isn’t runny in the middle. The aroma will make you drool with anticipation! Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, prepare your frosting. Mix vegan butter, cream cheese, and powdered sugar together in medium-sized bowl and beat until creamy. Remove cake from pan and place on large plate. Swirl the frosting evenly across the surface of the cake. For an extra bit of dazzle, sprinkle crushed walnuts on top of the frosting.

Serves 6 guests. Please refrain from consuming this entire cake by yourself at one sitting. Obviously, this is not a diet dessert, so utilize caution. You’ll be astonished by how good a vegan, gluten-free carrot cake can taste, and your friends will be, as well. Enjoy!

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Treat Yourself to Some Sweetness With Vegan Lemon Cheesecake

Contrary to what Anthony Bourdain once stated, vegans are foodies. We don’t subsist on a diet of nuts and berries, and many of us love sweet treats. If you’ve given up dairy products, you might occasionally long for a creamy dessert. Cheesecake was one of the things we missed the most, until we discovered that silken tofu, whipped in a blender, makes a concoction similar to cream cheese. The walnut/maple syrup crust is gluten-free and delicious. This recipe is inexpensive, easy to make, and well worth a try.

INGREDIENTS
4 cups ground walnuts (if you own a grinder, this part should go quickly. If you do the grinding by hand, like we did, the process will take longer, and your walnuts will be coarser)
¼ cup maple syrup (NOT pancake syrup!)
2 lbs silken tofu
1 cup turbinado sugar (not commercial white sugar, it’s usually NOT vegan)
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon sea salt (not the iodized commercial variety)
2 tablespoons lemon zest (approximately 1 lemon)
2 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS
Crush walnuts to the best of your ability and combine with maple syrup. Mixture will be slightly sticky, but not gooey. Press the mixture inside a greased cake pan (we love coconut oil, but olive is good, as well) and place into refrigerator for 10-15 minutes. Make lemon zest by rubbing a lemon against a fine grater until the peel is completely grated. Then combine the tofu, lemon zest, sugar, almond butter, vanilla extract, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon in a blender or food processor and whip until smooth and frothy.

Remove pan from refrigerator and pour mixture directly into crust. Be sure to fill completely to the top. Your cheesecake will not rise while cooking, so you needn’t worry about overfilling. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes. The edges will be slightly browned, but the center should be slightly wobbly. Remove from oven, set on counter to cool for 1 hour, then transfer to refrigerator and chill for 2-3 hours.

cheesecake

This cheesecake will be somewhat heartier than the conventional variety, with a thicker texture. Serve as is, or with fresh berries or a drizzle of vegan chocolate sauce. Serves 6, but everyone had better be hungry. Your dessert keeps well in the refrigerator and will taste even better the next day. Yum! Enjoy.

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Review of the Conscious Cleanse and Sherpa Spinach Dip Recipe

We’ve been excited to get our hands on the Conscious Cleanse book ever since we heard about it. The Conscious Cleanse isn’t the kind you may be used to, where you feel deprived, and end up hungry and miserable. What it does do is take certain foods out of your diet that you may not even realize you are reacting to, so that you have a full picture as to how your body reacts to those foods.

Forbidden foods on the list may surprise you, such as oranges, strawberries and tomatoes. Many people react to foods like these without even realizing it. The good news is that there are a ton of options on the foods that are allowed.

Before you start thinking that this is going to be a book that just tells you what you can and can’t eat, worry not – it is so much more than that. The Conscious Cleanse gives you a rounded way to take care of yourself in every way, body and mind. It is a commitment to build up to slow change, and includes ways to slowly remove foods and beverages from your diet, rather than shock your system.

Full disclosure, we were a little daunted at the thought of giving up caffeine while on the cleanse, but we transitioned slowly off of it. We were surprised at the difference we saw just from reducing caffeine: *more* energy, more calm, less stress and less stress eating.

Here is a recipe that is the perfect example of the delicious dishes that fit within the cleanse.

Sherpa Spinach Dip

4 cups spinach
1 large avocado, halved and pitted
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 small clove minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon curry
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon fresh peeled and chopped ginger
A dash of cayenne
Sea salt to taste

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Serve immediately with carrot sticks.

Get your own copy of the Conscious Cleanse, and let us know what you think!

conscious cleanse

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