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vegetarian

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Healthy Chocolate-Tofu Pudding (gluten-free and vegan)

May 2, 2013

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Friends, I have great news for you. You can enjoy a huge chocolate pudding parfait for a little more than 100 calories per serving. Sound like a dream? I had to do a double take myself when I finally discovered a dessert that was vegan, gluten-free and had no added sugar.

For those of you who don’t like tofu, or hate the idea of eating tofu in sweet form, I can promise you that you won’t know the tofu is in this dish. The key to getting creamy pudding-like texture without the tofu taste is to find silken firm tofu, which is different than regular firm tofu. The silken variety has a milder taste and blends more seamlessly into this dish. I made the mistake of using regular firm tofu the first time around and just barely managed to swallow each bite.

I have found silken firm tofu in the non refrigerated section of my local Trader Joe’s, but have seen it in other stores as well.

So, while this might not take the place of a cookie when you are truly craving something decadent, it will totally hit the spot on a regular weeknight when you are looking for a dessert that is tasty but totally healthy. And packed with protein, too!

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Chocolate-Tofu Pudding Parfaits with Raspberries
Makes 2 servings
1 block silken firm tofu
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 to 3 tablespoons non-dairy milk (can use cow’s milk if desired)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 to 4 packets stevia (can use sugar if desired)
Frozen thawed raspberries or fresh raspberries

Directions
Combine all the ingredients except the raspberries in a food processor. Process until completely smooth, scraping down the edges as necessary. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until ready to eat. To serve, layer the pudding with the raspberries.

Happy cooking!
Madison

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Spaghetti with Lentil Vegetable Marinara (gluten-free and vegan)

April 28, 2013

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Lately I’ve felt incredibly distant from Espresso and Cream. I can honestly say that in the 3 1/2 years that I have been blogging, I have never felt my passion and excitement for blogging trail off in the least bit. Until recently. That’s not to say that I’m going to stop blogging, it’s just something I’ve been thinking and feeling for the last couple weeks. More than anything, it seems that my life is so full of food that at the end of the day I feel creatively tapped out. My job, which I love, has me in the kitchen constantly, creating new recipes and developing new ideas. And to top things off, Joe and I embarked on a cleanse that has made every day eating and cooking more of a creative challenge than I had anticipated.

I’ve loved our cleanse and enjoyed being forced out of my comfort zone in the kitchen. Reading labels is a new (not so favorite) pastime and I have a new found appreciation for anyone who has to live with a food allergy, especially a gluten or dairy allergy since it is in everything.

That said, I’ve also had a lot of my creative juices zapped since planning for and preparing three cleanse-friendly meals a day takes a lot of time, effort and energy. Already I can see how things are starting to get easier and I’m sure that if Joe and I were to stick to this diet longer term it would become second nature to me, but for now it is uncharted territory.

All of that is really just me saying thank you for understanding if I’ve seemed a bit distant and removed from E&C over the past couple weeks. We are now on our last week of the cleanse and feeling great, but I’m also looking forward to adding some foods back into the regular rotation, mainly eggs since they are so useful in the kitchen.

In the meantime, I thought I would share with you this dish I made for lunch on Sunday. It’s incredibly simple to pull together and also super tasty. I should also note that it is husband-approved, meaning it feels hearty and satisfying, without weighing you down after. The “meat sauce” is made with a mixture of lentils, mushrooms, onions and sweet peppers. The combination is flavorful and packed with protein and vitamins. And if, like me, you are seeking ultimate convenience, there is no shame in purchasing pre-cooked lentils to cut down on time in the kitchen.

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Spaghetti with Lentil-Vegetable Marinara
Makes 4 servings
Ingredients
*4 servings of gluten-free brown rice spaghetti
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1 medium onion, chopped
*1 clove garlic, minced
*1 medium orange or red sweet pepper, chopped
*1 cup chopped mushrooms
*1 1/2 to 2 cups cooked brown or green lentils (to make things quicker/easier this week, we bought lentils pre-cooked at Trader Joe’s)
*1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 jar (25 to 28 oz) gluten-free marinara sauce of choice (I used a roasted garlic variety)

Directions
*Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. While pasta cooks, you can throw together the rest of this dish.
*Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until onion is softened and opaque. Add in the garlic, sweet pepper and mushrooms and continue to cook for 3 to 4 minutes more or until pepper and mushrooms are cooked through and tender. Add in the lentils, salt and black pepper. Stir until well combined.
*Pour sauce into skillet and reduce heat to low. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more or until sauce is warmed through and flavors are mixed together.
*Serve mixture atop cooked pasta.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Onions with Rosemary

April 22, 2013

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Well friends, Joe and I officially made it through an entire week of our yoga cleanse! I know I created an entire blog for the sole purpose of not talking at length about the cleanse on Espresso and Cream, but that’s becoming more difficult than I had expected. Since our new way of eating (no gluten, animal products, processed sugar, alcohol or caffeine) is permeating everything we do and all the food I make, the recipes that I share on Espresso and Cream over the next two weeks will most likely reflect the meals that Joe and I have been enjoying on the cleanse.

At this point, I can’t imagine baking up treats that we can’t enjoy. I’m afraid the temptation would be a little too much to handle at this point. Although I don’t miss gluten or animal products much at all, I would kill for a piece of dark chocolate right about now. And maybe a cup of coffee, too!

This roasted potato and asparagus dish Joe and I ate for dinner last week was one of my favorite meals of the week! Probably because it was incredibly easy, but also because it was filling and satisfying, too. In order to make it a little more balanced, I added in some cubed seasoned and marinated tofu before serving. And although Joe is still not a huge fan of tofu, he still ate it when it was mixed with all these other flavorful roasted veggies.

My mom has been in town this weekend and we haven’t stopped going all weekend! I think that may be why it’s 8 pm and I’m already about to crash and head to bed. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready for a great week to come!

Roasted Potatoes, Asparagus and Onion with Rosemary 
Makes 2 to 3 servings
Ingredients
2 pounds Trader Joe’s Teeny Tiny Potatoes (you could also use fingerling potatoes)
1 bunch asparagus spears, ends trimmed
1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut potatoes in half lengthwise; cut asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Place potatoes, asparagus and onion in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with the rosemary, salt and pepper. Toss to coat evenly.

Roast for 15 to 25 minutes or until potatoes and onions are golden brown and asparagus are tender. Serve immediately. (Also: highly recommended to serve this dish with a little salsa on the side.)

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Sweet Vegan Cashew Cream

April 18, 2013

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Since I can’t enjoy my nightly dark chocolate fix while we are doing our yoga cleanse, I have been looking for creative ways to satisfy my sweet tooth after dinner. Not an easy task considering that the “sweets” can’t contain any sweetener other than agave or stevia and they also can’t contain dairy, gluten or eggs. Basically, my options are seriously limited.

I’ve seen recipes for cashew cream, both sweet and savory, on blogs and websites quite a bit, but I had yet to make any myself until this week. I think I’m going to have to restrain myself from making another batch because I had no control with this stuff. It’s crazy good. Something about the nutty taste of the cashews whirled into a creamy pudding-like dessert satisfied my sweet tooth perfectly.

Fair warning: this is not a low calorie dessert. Although the ingredients are wholesome, the cashews are also pretty calorie dense. Hence, I’m not going to allow myself to make another batch for at least a week since the first batch lasted me about six days. Yikes!

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Sweet Vegan Cashew Cream
Makes 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients
*3 cups unsalted cashews
*2 cups water
*1/4 cup agave
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*Additional stevia to taste

Directions
*Place cashews in a bowl and completely submerge in water. Soak for 3 hours to soften cashews completely.
*Drain cashews. Combine cashews, 2 cups water, agave, cinnamon and stevia to taste in a blender and blend until smooth. If you do not have a high-powered blender (personally, I don’t) I suggest that you run the mixture through a food processor first to get it as smooth as you can and then run through a blender to make it truly creamy and delicious.
*Refrigerate until completely chilled. Serve with fruit, nuts or other desired topping.

Happy Cooking!
Madison

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

April 3, 2013

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Lately, I’ve been trying to do a little bit more “organic” blogging and a little less blogging for the sake of blogging. Can we make the phrase “organic blogging” a thing? What I mean is this: Joe and I keep a pretty busy schedule. I don’t mean to say we are too busy to enjoy life. In fact, a lot of the things that keep us occupied and busy are actually related to enjoying life and packing a lot of different things into a short amount of time.

A typical day consists of waking up and eating breakfast together, taking Nutmeg out and packing lunches to take to work. After work we both head straight to the gym and meet up there. I work closer to our gym so typically I get done before Joe gets done, giving me time to head home, shower and prep dinner. When Joe gets home he lets Nutmeg out and showers while I finish dinner. If we have dinner leftovers, I pack them up for our lunches the next day and Joe loads the dishes in the dishwasher. Then, we crash on the couch for a bit for some cuddle time with Nutmeg and a little bit of TV time before we head to bed. Some nights we have friends over for dinner, maybe once a week,

As you can see, our days are full of great stuff. And while I love blogging more than a lot of other things, it doesn’t take precedence over my job, my hubby or getting in a good sweat session. So in the name of juggling it all I’ve been trying to find ways to integrate blogging into daily life. This salad is a great example of just that.

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Last night when I got home from the gym, I pulled together this salad for dinner. It was incredibly easy and truly made sense for a weeknight meal. Since the days are getting longer and the temps are slowly rising, I’ve started to crave foods that are more summer-like in nature: salads, smoothies and chilled grain and pasta dishes. But since it’s still not exactly balmy outside, my hankering for foods like roasted sweet potatoes hasn’t completely disappeared.

The minute I walked in the door, I preheated the oven to 375F. I chopped the lettuce and tossed it in a bowl with avocado, sliced grape tomatoes, and edamame. Then, I chopped the sweet potatoes and shallots and put them in an oven with a little olive oil and salt. While they roasted, I jumped in the shower and unpacked my gym bag. Multi-tasking while making dinner? Major win in my book.

Joe and I fell in love with this dish from the first bite. Something about the crispy bits of onion and the charred ends of the sweet potato paired with the crisp lettuce, tomatoes and other toppings just hit the spot and made it hearty enough to serve as a main meal for dinner on a Tuesday night.

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Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Makes 2 to 3 large servings
Ingredients
*2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
*2 medium shallots, sliced
*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
*1 head Romaine lettuce, chopped
*1 cup sliced grape tomatoes
*1 medium avocado, pitted, peeled and chopped
*1/2 cup shelled edamame
*1/4 cup sesame seeds
*Your favorite dressing to toss (we prefer Trader Joe’s Spicy Asian Peanut Vinaigrette in this salad)

Instructions
*Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly toss sweet potatoes and shallots with onion and sprinkle with the salt and ground black pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, until sweet potatoes and crisp on the outside and tender inside.
*Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Once sweet potatoes are finished cooking, add them to the salad mixture and toss with dressing before serving.

Happy cooking!
Madison

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