Friday, October 24, 2014

Creamy Romanesco Dip

Romanesco is a true mystery ... it's half broccoli and half cauliflower but in my opinion it's better than both because it's the perfect combination! So, why are broccoli and cauliflower sold in stores and not Romanesco? It's pointy starburst florets make it just as fun to look at as it is to eat!

Creamy Romanesco Dip

Romanesco may be one of the sole purposes that I sign up for a CSA, okay, that's a lie, but I look forward to this time of year when we get it in our baskets. It's great steamed with just a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper, but of course, my favorite way is to smash the heck out of it and use it as a dip!

Creamy Romanesco Dip

Lately, we've been rushing outside after naps in order to get ever bit of nice weather we can before it starts getting colder.Plus, since it's starting to get light out earlier we don't have as much time after dinner to play. Because of this mad rush, the kids have been skipping an afternoon snack and either eating dinner a touch earlier or I make an appetizer for us all to share before dinner. Let me tell you, we downed almost the entire bowl of dip and what we didn't finish with our carrots and crackers we used as a topping on our burgers that night.

Vegan Creamy Romanesco Dip

Makes 1 1/2 cups

1 head romanesco
5 T vegan cream cheese
1/4 c veganaise
2 garlic cloves
1 T lemon juice
2 T parsley
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Cut the florets of the romanesco off and steam them for about 10 minutes until they are good and tender. Put them into your food processor with the rest of the ingredients and puree until you have a smooth texture.

I like it right away when it's still a little warm, but it's great cold too. Serve it with cut veggies, crackers, use it as a topping or I've even added olive oil to it and used it as a dressing ... all truly delicious!

Creamy Romanesco Dip

Creamy Romanesco Dip

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Acorn Alfredo Pasta: Best Use of Acorn Squash So Far!

Vegan Acorn Squash Alfredo Pasta
Is anyone surprised ... I needed a quick dinner! I decided to make Vegan Mac & Cheese but I soon realized that I didn't have any tofu. Thinking fast, I decided to use a sweet potato ... scratch that, I didn't have one of those either. Aha! I can use my acorn squash! Now we're moving.

Looking at my recipe, I couldn't do an exact substitute so I began adding and subtracting different ingredients. Once I was done and I tasted it, I realized it didn't have that Mac & Cheese flavor but more of an alfredo sauce. Fine by me! It was luckily still a big hit in the family too so I knew I could make it again.

The next time I made it, I was able to get the flavor even closer to a real deal alfredo. It still amazes me that there is no dairy in it! Since Paul can't do cream sauces, it's been years since he's had an alfredo sauce and this is one that I was proud to give to him as a replacement.

I didn't have acorn squash for the pictures so I used carnival squash which is equally as good. It has the same sweet mellow squash flavor that acorn does.

Acorn Alfredo Pasta

Serves 4
Makes 3 cups of sauce

1 acorn squash, about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of mash
1 c onion, diced
1 c veggie broth
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 c nutritional yeast
1/4 c parsley
1/2 c cashews, soaked for 3 hours
1 T lemon juice
1 t salt
1/2 t pepper

12 oz pasta
1 c toasted walnuts (optional)

Cut acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Make slices in the squash with a knife and lay face down in a pan filled with 1/2 in of water. Roast them at 375ยบ for 40-45 minutes.

Cook pasta according to directions.

In a pot, add veggie broth, onion and garlic and bring to boil. Then, turn off heat and add in nutritional yeast, parsley, cashews, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Once the squash has is out of the oven, scoop out the insides and add that to the pot as well. Using your immersion blender, (or a high speed blender if you don't have one) puree all the ingredients together.

Vegan Acorn Alfredo Pasta

Mix your sauce and pasta together and serve. Top with walnuts.

Vegan Acorn Squash Alfredo Pasta

Vegan Acorn Squash Alfredo

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Pumpkin Energy BitesEvery road trip that we take, I always have snacks ready to make the trip go as smoothly as possible. For awhile, it felt like we were in the car for a trip every other weekend and for the past month in a half we have stayed local. It's a nice change because there's a lot of work around the house that was being put on the back burner, but I found myself missing my road trip snacks.

One of my favorite road trippin' snacks is my energy bites. With our next road trip not until Thanksgiving, I decided to make a batch so I wouldn't go in complete withdrawal! I don't know if I had to change the recipe because we weren't actually road trippin' or if it was because I wanted some pumpkin but adding the pumpkin was a great change.

These are great little bite size snacks that I should have around the house at all times so I grab them instead of other salty snacks that I usually gravitate towards. The kids pick them up two at a time as well. Plus, dates are great to have every day. They will curb your sweet tooth, but most importantly they are easily digested and help metabolize proteins, carbs and fats so your body can quickly benefit from all their wonderful vitamins and minerals ... and there's a lot of them!

Pumpkin Energy Bites

Makes 20ish

15 dates, pitted
1/2 c walnuts
1/2 c pecans
1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 T chia seeds or hemp seeds
1 T maple syrup
1 t cinnamon
1/2 c coconut, unsweetened**

Mix all ingredients except for the coconut in your food processor. Refrigerate the mixture for 1-2 hours. Then form them into 1 inch balls and roll them in coconut.

**If you're not a coconut fan, use a mixture of cinnamon and cocoa powder ... equally delicious!

Pumpkin Energy BitesPumpkin Energy Bites

Pumpkin Energy Bites