Vegan Chocolate Pudding with Vegan Whipped Cream

I love chocolate…I just love it!  Here is a delicious chocolate pudding andphoto (6) whipped cream recipe for you to try. 

Use a can of coconut milk (not the lite coconut milk) that has been sitting on your shelf for a little while.  Be careful not to shake the can as you open it so that all the coconut cream is sitting on top for you.  Coconut cream makes up the top half of the can.  The bottom of the can is what I refer to as coconut milk later in the recipe.

Use the rest of the coconut milk along with pineapple in your morning green smoothie!

The recipe makes more than two portions of the cream.  If you double or triple the recipe, double or triple the pudding, not the cream.  If you have leftover cream, top anything from your coffee or a vegan apple crumble.

This recipe was as sweet as I would like.  Next time, just to cut down on the dried fruit, I think I will cut out a date or two.  If you are serving this over fresh fruit (slices of banana, strawberries, raspberries) you may be able to get away with cutting a date or two out of the recipe without even noticing!

Serves 2-4

Ingredients:

1 can (whole) coconut milk—will use all of the cream and 3 Tbs. milk

1 box mori-nu firm silken tofu

3Tbs cocoa powder

10 dates—6 for pudding, 4 for whip

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

scrapings from 1/2 vanilla bean

optional: shredded coconut to sprinkle for decoration

Method:

To make cream:  Carefully open can of coconut milk.  Scrape out all of the coconut cream into a bowl and add 4 pitted dates, scrapings of 1/2 vanilla bean.  Blend in high powered blender until smooth.  Place in refrigerator to chill.  Once chilled, either place in whip cream dispenser or whip with beaters until fluffy.

To make pudding: combine tofu, cocoa, 3 Tbs of the leftover coconut milk, vanilla extract, 6 dates in blender.  Blend until smooth.  Refrigerate and serve chilled with a dollop of whip on top.

Peanut Sauce

I love homemade salad dressings and I especially love Thai food.  Herephoto (5) is my Nutritarian take on Peanut Sauce.  The below recipe is mild and suitable for kids (well, my kid loves it at least!).  If you’d like more spice, you can up the ginger just a little bit (too much and you will have a ginger flavored sauce—also good, but not peanut sauce—and up the red pepper flakes to your heart’s content.

Today, I am making a huge salad with green cabbage, red butter lettuce, daikon radish, carrots, green onions, basil, mint, cilantro, red and orange peppers, sugar snap peas, and topping it with peanut sauce.

Makes a little over 2 cups

Ingredients:

3/4 cup natural (nothing added) peanut butter

1 cup filtered water

1T lime juice

2T reduced sodium tamari

2tsp minced ginger

3 cloves garlic (minced if you do not have a high-powered blender)

1/2 tsp (or more) red pepper flakes

3  pitted medjool dates (soaked if you do not have a high-powered blender)For green soymilk, use frozen soy beans. Lightly steam them, cool them,

Method:

Add ingredients to blender, blend on high for about a minute, until garlic is well minced, dates are blended, and sauce is smooth.

Soy Milk

I just made a delicious, homemade *green* soymilk.  No worries if you don’t want your soymilk green, but I figure with St. Patrick’s day around the corner, you may want it green!  Just because he is cute, here is my son devouring the soy milk, which he tells me is “good and healthy”.

 photo (4)photo (3)

For green soymilk, use frozen soy beans. Lightly steam them, cool them,and press them out of the pods.  For regular colored soy milk, use dried beans.

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked and cooled soybeans

3 cups water

3 dates

1/2 tsp Vanilla extract (or scraped 1/2 vanilla bean)

Method:

Add ingredients to high powered blender.  Blend 1 1/2 minutes or so on high.  Strain through nut bag.  Keeps 3-5 days in refrigerator.  Enjoy!

*Chocolaty* Green Smoothie

I’m writing this as I’m enjoying this refreshing chocolate milkshake of sorts.  Super healthy, you can enjoy this for breakfast, or as I’m doing, a mid-afternoon snack.  It’s even great for dessert!  If you love frothy chocolaty drinks, this should satisfy you.

I added just a dash of coffee to my smoothie today.  I did not add a date, I think  it is sweet enough as it is, but I’ve been drinking green smoothies for quite some time already.  I did not add any of the optional seeds as I already had them in my morning smoothie and this is just a sweet chocolaty snack.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 frozen banana, broken into three chunks

2 cups spinach (give or take, depends on your green tolerance)

1 cup alternative milk of your choice (reduce slightly if adding coffee)

1 T natural cocoa powder

dash vanilla

4 ice cubes

optional: 1 pitted date if you prefer more sweetness

optional: a little cooled coffee, to taste

optional: flax, chia, hemp seeds for omega-3’s

Method:

Add ingredients to a high-powered blender, blend until smooth and spinach is pulverized.  The better you blend our spinach, the more cell walls you break and the more nutrients you unlock.

Earthbound Farms Organic Baby Kales Mix

Costco (at least near us, anyway!) recently started carrying Earthbound Farms Organic Baby Kales Mix.  This stuff is amazing.  Baby kale is hard to find so being able to find it at Costco is such a great deal!  Baby kale is much less bitter, doesn’t need to be stripped and is very tender.  You can eat it right out of the bag as a salad mix, put it in smoothies, soups, etc. and even bake it into chips.  Sam (my two year old) and I ate half a bag yesterday baked as chips.  These chips tasted so much more delicious than traditional kale chips.  This is on my weekly shopping list from Costco from now on!

Cabbage Slaw with Mango Sauce

This is my version of Ann Gentry’s most wonderful recipe, Spring Rollsphoto (1) with raw mango sauce.  The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian is filled with lots of rich, satisfying, and flavorful vegan fare.  This recipe, however, takes the cake as my favorite.  The reason I turned the recipe into a salad (and a lot more salad, at that, as I believe in 1 dish meals as a busy mom!) is because, as I just said, I’m busy.  I’m not going to julienne a bunch of carrots and radish, and immaculately wrap this stuff up, if I can present it, almost as prettily, and even more healthfully, on a plate. 

I added more herbs, more vegetables, and used reduced sodium tamari instead of shoyu because I have not been able to find a reduced sodium shoyu.  I doubled the dressing portion (because I more than doubled the salad portion, and it is DELISH) and instead of squeezing the oranges for juice, I just peeled and added the orange to my blender with a tad of water to make up for the extra pulp I was adding.  Much healthier to eat the whole orange, right?

Makes 4 very large salad-meals

Ingredients:

Salad:

1 small head savoy cabbage (thinly sliced)

1/2 medium size head red cabbage (thinly sliced)

1 romaine heart, torn or chopped into salad-size pieces (I cut it like the cabbage)

1 english cucumber, sliced

1 bunch chopped green onions

1 bunch (about 6) carrots, shredded

1 daikon radish, shredded

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped

few sprigs mint, chopped

few sprigs basil, chopped

1 cup chopped peanuts for garnish

 

Mango Sauce:

12 pitted dates, optional: soaked 2 hours

2 chopped mangos

1/2 cup onion chopped

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 Tbs reduced sodium tamari

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1/4 tsp minced jalapeno chile

If you have a high powered blender and fresh dates, you do not need to soak them. Otherwise, soak the dates to make blending easier. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.  Strain through fine mesh strainer into serving bowl. 

Spiced Apple and Squash Soup

I just made this soup today and it was really good (and super quick, to boot!).  In true Fuhrman form, I added no salt, and honestly, did not even notice it in this recipe! This is a recipe from Whole Living Magazine (www.wholeliving.com).  I changed only two things about it (other than serving size, which was too skimpy if you want to make a bowl of soup a meal!).  I water sautéed instead of sautéing in oil, omitted the salt, and used honeycrisp apples instead of “tart” apples, as the recipe suggested.  I’m a fan of the sweet flavor of honeycrisps, even in a savory-ish soup!

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 T grated fresh ginger

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp each: cinnamon and cardamom

pinch of cloves

freshly ground pepper to taste

8 cups cubed butternut squash

2 apples, cored and quartered

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

6 cups water

Instructions

Sauté onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of water in a large soup pot over medium heat until softened.  Add ginger and spices, sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add the squash, apples, carrots and water to pot.  Bring to a boil, simmer about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft, use immersion blender or regular blender to blend until smooth. 

Supplements: Safe? Effective? or Dangerous?

303429_4594I’ve read results of countless studies on supplements and the results have been not just inconclusive, but contradictory.  Dr. Fuhrman, in Super Immunity, helps set the record straight and really explains why results of these studies have been all over the map.  Before you pop another multivitamin, read this! (Actually, just buy Super Immunity already.  I mean it!)

Dr. Fuhrman recommends “for most individuals a high-quality multivitamin/multimineral capsule to assure favorable levels of vitamin D, B12, zinc, and iodine” (144).  However, this recommendation comes with a heavy word of caution: “there is clearly a significant risk from supplementing certain nutrients on a regular basis….” (144).  The nutrients that research has revealed are dangerous to supplement with are folic acid (gah! The prenatals I was taking!), Vitamin A (both retinol and beta-carotene), copper, Iron, and large doses of Vitamin E.

Before rushing out to buy a vitamin supplement, I want to point out that Fuhrman does not actually know if a multi-vitamin without the above mentioned harmful ingredients would be beneficial.  He states that “…there is insufficient evidence to conclude that a multivitamin, as currently constituted, plays a significant role in extending lifespan or reducing the incidence of cancer.  However, since science has shown that the negative effects come from only a limited number of supplemental ingredients…a study conducted on a properly designed multivitamin, without those ingredients, would probably reveal health benefits” (145).

My favorite point is that although “beyond these above-discussed elements, there is no evidence that other nutrients in the RDI dose ranges found in ordinary multivitamin/multimineral preparations are harmful.  However, a crucial point needs to be made: supplements are not substitutes for a healthy diet.  To the extent that they offer some people the confidence to eat less wholesome vegetation, they are hurtful, not helpful.” (151).  Aim to get all of your nutrition from food!

Dr. Fuhrman suggests the possibility of having one’s blood tested for nutritional adequacy and also to see how much supplementation (if any) is needed to keep ranges healthy and normal.  This is a wonderful idea.  I’ve been tested before and plan on testing again this year.

Just a note, although I have never used Dr. Fuhrman’s vitamin supplements, I saw that he sells his own brand (free of the ickies) on his website.  I cannot tell you whether they are great or not, but I have been considering trying them.

Creamy Carrot Soup

631903_80760988I love, love, love this soup.  It is so creamy and satisfying and I love the “green” tasting kick jalapeños give the soup.  Of course, use as much spice as you like! Garnish with fresh herbs if you are feeling fancy, but honestly, this is great even without the herbs as jalapeno has such a fresh (or as I said above, “green” taste).  This tastes great served along side a dish of oven roasted vegetables—especially brussels sprouts!  This soup (and the brussels sprouts) both get my two year old’s stamp of approval. 

As usual, this soup uses no salt, no oil, etc. as it is a Fuhrman-friendly nutritarain soup.  Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 as a first course

Ingredients:

1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half and then cut into 1 inch half circles, soaked in water and drained to clean well

6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

jalapeno to taste (fresh or dried)

3 cups homemade vegetable broth

Chopped fresh herbs (optional)

Directions

Sautee leek in a little water in a soup pot for about 10 minutes until softened.  Add carrots, jalapeno, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until carrots are tender.  Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to blend soup until creamy.  Serve garnished with fresh herbs if you wish, parsley and cilantro work especially well. 

Immunity Tea

Immunity TeaWith yesterday’s post and today’s post, you may be able to tell that I am sick.  I’ve got a little cold.  I’m not using any medicine since medicine, if anything, will slow down healing time by not allowing the body to do what it needs to do—cough, sneeze, drippy nose, fever, etc.  These are all ways our body makes us better.  So what can someone do to feel a bit better?  Or, better, what can someone do in order to keep their immune system working well even when not sick?

Lucky, lucky, I have an answer for you.  My dad has been swearing by ginger tea and lemon tea with honey as long as I can remember.  I’ve modified his recipe to make it a little tastier (more, different flavors) and to have increased immune and health benefit.  Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, cloves and cardamom add delicious flavor and depth, and vanilla adds a creaminess and softens the bite of the ginger. Honey not only sweetens the tea, but it is both a throat soother and calms coughs. I’m a fan of local, raw, organic honey and I am fortunate enough to have a dad who keeps bees.  It may be worth it to see if you can get your hands on some at your local farmers market or natural foods store as there are supposed to be many benefits of local, raw honey.

Ingredients:            

Makes one 4 c teapot

 

1 cinnamon stick

4 inches of fresh ginger, washed and thinly sliced or grated (no need to peel)

3 whole cloves

4 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed

1/4 vanilla bean, cut into a few pieces

2  whole allspice (optional)

Lemon and honey to taste

 

Directions:

Add all of the above ingredients except lemon and honey to a teapot and pour in 4 cups of boiling water.  Cover and let sit 10 minutes so the medicinal qualities of the spices is released. Strain into a tea cup, then add lemon and honey to taste.