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12.29.2009

Portabella Mushroom Sandwich on Tomato-Basil Bread / Egg-less Noodles and "Cheeze"

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Wow, so hopefully you were able to be updated from my previous blog post written by my husband. He can definitely write up a good story. After reading his blog post retelling our travel woes, I was happy and thankful to God that we were just back home. We arrived one hour later than expected from Texas and arrived home at 1:45am after stopping at IHOP for dinner! We were super starved after travelling all day. I was running on 1/2 cup oatmeal and a tofu scramble pocket and my husband was running on a pastrami sandwich. Do you know that we had a great waitress at IHOP who served us at 12:30am? She even knew what vegan meant and even went back to the kitchen and made sure the cook did not mix cooking spatulas with my spinach/mushroom/onion meatless burger! You bet she got a great tip!

We slept in and extra 1.5 hours today and woke up to 2 to 3 inches of snow! What a view right!
We were glad to be home today. Do you have that feeling where you missed your kitchen and being able to cook? I felt like that this past week even though I helped out on the cooking. I guess I missed taste testing, cooking, taking photos and posting most of all! Holidays means resting, I know, but somehow I missed cooking in my own kitchen!

Today I made 2 yummy dishes that were so simple and quick especially after having little sleep. I mean, I could have started on laundry, but I worked instead and caught up on a little grocery shopping. I made sure to buy some good bread and veggies since they were consumed before we left for the holidays. For lunch today I grilled us some Portabella Mushroom caps and placed it on toasted Tomato-Basil Bread. It was delicious and my husband enjoyed it tremendously. Here goes. Sorry for the lack of picture, but please use your imagination!
Portabella Mushroom Sandwich on Tomato-Basil Bread
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On to dinner! I explained earlier that the airlines happened to lose my luggage but they found it and delivered it this evening! I was very happy to have my clothes and gift packed between my clothes. After we received my luggage, I went on to prepare a quick dinner. My husband was eating leftover chicken tamales that I defrosted and I made a new recipe found on The Kind Diet website.
Several weeks ago I attempted make cashew cheese for nachos that I never posted becasue it was a bust. Both my hubby and I decided that it would not be the greatest posting something that neither of us enjoyed. It was just too thick, which perhaps meant I messed up somewhere. ANYWAY, I made this great recipe tonight for Mac N' Cheese that was completely vegan. I used egg-less noodles instead and accompanied it with a huge salad! Next time I will add mushrooms for a heartier dish! Enjoy!
From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Egg-less Noodles and "Cheeze"

adapted from Kristina Brindley of Seedling Catering

serves 3

3 cups Egg-less noodles
1 cup Original soymilk
1/4 cup tamari
1 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1 glove garlic
1 tsp dijon mustard
2/3 cup safflower oil
salt & pepper

Cook the pasta al dente.

In a blender/food processor combine the garlic, nutritional yeast, mustard and paprika, blend to chop garlic.
While the machine is running add the tamari, soymilk and canola oil and blend until creamy.
Heat sauce and mix with cooked noodles.

Portabella Mushroom Sandwich on Tomato-Basil Bread

serves 2

2 Portabella Mushroom Caps
1 Tbsp Coconut oil
Salt and Pepper
1 tomato, sliced
Red onions, sliced
Fresh Spinach leaves
2 Tbsp Veganaise
4 slices of Panera's Tomato-Basil Bread
1 slice swiss cheese (for the hubby)

Heat the coconut oil on non-stick skillet at medium heat. Clean mushroom caps with damp cloth and remove any stem that has been left on the cap. Place mushroom in hot skillet and season with salt and pepper. Use tongs to flip the mushroom caps. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

Toast the slices of bread and add 1 Tbsp Veganaise between each slice. Place Portabella Cap on one slice of bread and top with 2-3 slices tomato, red onion and a bunch of spinach.

If you want the cheese, like I added for my hubby, add it directly to the mushroom for melting purposes.

Enjoy with Salt and Pepper Potato Chips!

12.27.2009

Christmas Eve Dinner with the Fam: Scones, Quinoa Tabbouleh, Lamb, Roasted Potatoes....

 It is incredible to see how fast time flies when it comes to the holidays. Posting becomes hard when you are having a great time with family. When we originally planned our vacation we decided we would spend 3 days with my family and 3 days with my in-laws. Since it is tradition for my family to celebrate Christmas eve with my family, I knew our planning was perfect.

Back when I was young, we would make it a tradition to spend time with my mother's family in Mexico, but as time went by, schedules, finances and timing just became a little difficult. Year after year we just ended up trading time between Brenham, Texas and Houston with my other grandparents. This year it was my mom's turn to host Christmas Eve. It was fun to be able to see my family since moving to Michigan. We spent time making cookies for neighbors; my sister made scones; we went to Christmas Eve service at my old church, and then we enjoyed a delicious feast that was VERY vegan friendly. Before going vegan, my mother and I would plan on having a meat that was not usual to have during the year. One year we had cornish hens, while another year we had duck. This year my mom told me we could have an all vegan meal, but since I was the only vegan there, I decided my mom should continue the tradition. She made a HUGE leg of lamb while the sides were all veg-friendly.


My sister is always in charge of decorating the dinner table and help my mother prepare the meal. While we prepared everything, the men folk read papers in the living room as they listened to wonderful Christmas music.
After dinner, we opened gifts. We tried to watch a Christmas movie but we decided it would be fun to have a time for conversation, since my grandmother, mom and I do not get to visit alot. We had a great time and turned in early. Christmas eve was a great time and was wonderfully spent with family.




Orange-Currant Sconesadapted from Great Brand Name Recipes Cookbook
makes 2 dozen

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp orange rind
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter, cut into chunks
1 cup currants
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg white, lightly beaten, for glaze
Sugar, for glaze

In a large bowl, combine flour, 2 Tbsp sugar, baking powder, soda, salt, and nutmeg.

Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Mix in raisins, then mix in buttermilk with fork.

Gather dough into ball and knead on lightly floured board about 2 minutes. Roll or pat dough out 3/4 inch thick. With a sharp knife, cut into 3-inch triangles. Space apart on greased baking sheets.

Brush the tops with egg white; sprinkle with sugar. Bake in preheated 425 degree Farenheit oven for 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Serve warm with butter or jam.

Lovely plate of veggie goodness:
  1. Bruschetta with Kale, Sliced Brussel Sprouts, and Red Pepper -recipe by my mom
  2. Greek Roasted Potatoes-recipe by me
  3. Quinoa Tabbouleh- recipe by my mom
  4. Green Bean, Fennel, and Carrot stir fry
  5. Cranberry Jello-recipe by my grandmother

Greek Roasted Potatoes

serves 6

12 red-skinned potatoes, diced 1-inch thick
1/2 cup olive oil
4 Tbsp Greek seasonings (Oregano, parsley, garlic powder, red pepper)
1 Tbsp Paprika
1/2 Tbsp garlic powder
3 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Toss potatoes with seasonings and then add oil and mustard. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Line potatoes evenly on baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Potatoes should not be dry.

Enjoy these recipes. None of these have to be made just for Christmas, but can be made tomorrow!

12.20.2009

Hummus-Eggplant Pita Wrap

Since the holiday travels are quickly approaching, I decided to do one more post, in case I was not able to post during my vacation in Texas. Another reason for posting was to bring back my spirits from some frustrating camera issues this past weekend. It teaches me to be more disciplined in uploading pictures onto my laptop daily for fear of losing all pictures for future posts! Yes....I think I might have lost almost 100 pics on my memory card. :(

Yesterday, we went to Bronner's, the largest Christmas store in the world, in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Let me tell ya, I was not mentally prepared with the amount of people that would be shopping and viewing all the details of this huge store.
I think my husband is still learning that there is only so much I can take when in huge crowds. I get claustrophobic, cranky, overheated, and more. All I know is that I have to take small breaks in order to enjoy overcrowded places, like malls. This is probably why I like doing my Christmas shopping before the Christmas holidays. Anyway, my husband is trying to recover pictures from my memory card, otherwise, I can only explain what we saw in this store. We got to see ornaments from all over the world, tons of decoration options, Christmas trees of all kinds, nativity sets from all over the world, the biggest collection of Hummel figures, and so much more.

After 2 the 3 hours in the store, we decided to cruise the Bavarian village. Everything looks so beautiful covered in snow. Snow truly emphasizes Christmas so much more! We dined in a German restaurant, called the Bavarian Inn, where schnizel and sauerkraut were served. We then went into a nice clock shop where cuckoo clocks from Germany were displayed.

We then went into a shop where my hubby exclaimed, "Hey! There aren't any men's clothing here!" When I turned around he was wearing this:
Great stuff! Anyway, good news as I am writing this post. My hubby found software to recover 189 of my pictures so I will be adding pictures of this magnificent Christmas store.
Since we are leaving for the holidays, I have been keeping meals really simple in order to prevent leftovers or using food that would spoil while we were gone. Tonight, I was able to make some delicious wraps that even had my hubby asking and inquiring. My hubby keeps on surprising me as time goes on. These wraps are quick and delicious and make for a healthy and filling meal for any night of the week.



Hummus-Eggplant Pita Wrap

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: lunch Vegan recipes on Recipage vegan eggplant

Ingredients (serves 2 to 4)
  • 2 Tbsp hummus (click to retrieve recipe)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 globe eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup pickled radishes
  • 4 to 6 whole wheat pita
Hummus
  • serves 4
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, reserve 1/4 cup of liquid
  • 1 Tbsp Tahini butter (sesame seed butter)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 garlic clove
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • olive oil for drizzling
Instructions
Prepare hummus as specified on previous recipe.
Heat a grill on the stove on medium heat. Brush each eggplant side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper and grill for 5-7 minutes.
Slice the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and place on a separate plate.
Take one pita and spread with 2 Tbsp of hummus. Add 3-4 slices of eggplant, tomatoes, cucumbers, and add a few sliced red onions.
Add the pickled radishes. For instructions on how to prepare pickled radishes, see link.
Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and a little olive oil. Roll each pita and enjoy!
For Hummus
Place beans in processor and add chickpea liquid,garlic cloves, lemon juice, tahini, and spices. Process. Keep processor on and little by little add the olive oil until the mixture becomes smooth. it should not be grainy. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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12.18.2009

Black Bean Chorizo Chili

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
After seeing many blog entries for soups and stews I decided to make my own last night. It was so ideal since I had so much to do in my home. It is nice to thrown something together so quickly without really having to worry about it. I was able to fold 3 loads of laundry, clean the breakfast room, dust and pick up our bedroom. The reward was having a thick and hearty chili that warmed both our tummies.

There are many options for accompanying chili, like cornbread, fritos, white rice, or noodles, but we decided to have it with brown rice and a slice or two of whole grain bread. This chili does not require any cheese but it asks for a little sour cream. Depending on your spice factor, you can choose to use Regular, Mild, or HOT Ro*tel tomatoes for the tomato base. I ONLY had the HOT so I pretty much asked for it. Even though the dish was a bit spicy, we enjoyed the flavors of kale, tomatoes, and soy chorizo.

If you are not vegan, then the substitution is simple. I had already prepared and seasoned ground beef in the fridge that I added to my hubby's chili and then he added a dollop of regular sour cream. He loved the flavors as much as I did! It warmed us to the core.


Black Bean Chorizo Chili

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: cook entree soup/stew lunch vegan vegan recipes on recipage black beans Mexican fall winter

Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 2 cups loosely packed monster kale
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 chayote, diced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 can Rotel tomatoes (HOT for super spicy)
  • 1/2 link of Trader Joe's Soy Chorizo
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 vegan bouillon cube
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tsp Xagave nectar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chili seasoning (cayenne pepper, cumin, garlic powder)
  • 2 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1 Tbsp Tofutti sour cream
Instructions
In a medium pot, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté onions, garlic for 5 minutes. Then add kale and chayote and continue cooking for 5 more minutes.
Add bouillon cube and water and dissolve the cube in heated mixture.
Add the tomato, Ro*tel, black beans, chorizo, and seasonings and cook for 20 minutes for flavors to come together.
Serve with brown rice and whole grain bread.
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12.16.2009

Cookie Care Packages: Peppermint Chocolate Divinity Cookies, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Triple Chocolate brownie cookies and MORE!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Two posts ago I shared a tradition I grew up with. I continued my baking this past week by making 6 different types of cookies. I was saddened that I was not going to be able to share them with family back home, but I figured that next year, with more planning, I could bake in batches and send them to family back in Texas. This year I decided to bake for new friends either from church, our neighbors, down to graduate students from MSU.

I started around 2pm on a Sunday afternoon and baked until 9pm. I bought fun and festive bags and filled each bag with a sampling of each cookie along with a packet or two of instant coffee. I also added a note describing every tasty treat included in the care package. At the end of the night I was wiped. I think I remembered baking over 2 to 3 days when I lived with my mother but a busy schedule for a musician leaves little time for baking! I was crunched for time and the oven begged to be used. It took a whole day after to regain my strength back, but after I received compliments, I knew it was worth all the work.

How did I choose the 6 types of cookies you might ask? Two of the recipes I picked were traditional cookies made over the years and two others were new recipes. One recipe was vegan and another was a family recipe from my mother-in-law's kitchen. Over all, it was a perfect combination of cookies to keep the palate asking for more. My husband was my taste tester since most of the people I gave cookies to are NOT vegan. There were no complaints from my hubby though.

For all you VEGANS out there. I DID make one cookie that IS vegan and SUPER delicious. Scroll down to the TRIPLE CHOCOLATE BROWNIE COOKIE. It really is decadent without the animals products and my hubby agreed too! Enjoy!
Today marks my 42nd day being a vegan. I have lost another 5 lbs. That makes 13 pounds in 42 days! Thank you God!

Peppermint-Chocolate Divinity Cookiesmakes 2 1/2 dozen

adapted from my mother-in-law's recipe

1 cup sugar
3 egg whites
1 cup chocolate chunks, chopped
1 tsp vanilla
1 candy cane, ground

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease.

Beat egg whites until stiff, adding sugar.

Fold in other ingredients. Drop 1 tsp to 1.5 tsp on baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until lightly browned.

Triple Chocolate Brownie Cookiesadapted from Martine Noel's fan page
3/4 cup safflower oil
2 cups of brown sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla
1/2 cup chocolate almond milk
2 cups of all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large mixing bowl, mix all wet ingredients until creamy and smooth. Add vanilla last.

In another bowl, mix all dry ingredients.

Incorporate all ingredients into one bowl and mix well. If the mixture gets too thick, use your hands. The dough should be thick and stiff. Add the vegan chocolate chips.

Make small 1" balls and bake on a cookie sheet or in a muffin tray for 10 minutes at 350°. Even though they don't look completely ready they are because these are soft and chewy cookies (brownie-like). Do not overbake them! Make sure too cool them before serving.

Peanut Butter Blossoms
from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook
makes 54 cookies

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Milk chocolate kisses (About 1 bag)

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large mixing bowl, beat shortening and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium high speed for 30 seconds.

Add the 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and soda. Beat until all combined, scraping sides of bowl. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in the 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms lightly brown. Immediately press a chocolate kiss into each cookie's center. Transfer to wire rack and let cool.
Teatime Gingersnaps

from Southern Living

makes 4 dozen

3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, beating well.

Add egg; beat well. Add molasses; beat until smooth.

Combine Flour and next 5 ingredients; add shortening mixture, beating well.

Shape dough into 1-inch balls; roll balls in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes. remove cookies to wire racks to cool completely.
From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Double Chocolate Walnut Biscottimakes 2 logs or about 45 small biscotti

2 cups of flour
½ cup of cocoa powder
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts
¾ stick of butter
1 teaspoon baking Soda
1 teaspoon salt

Beat butter, sugar and eggs together. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, sugar, cocoa, soda and salt) .



Pour dry in to wet, mixing as you go. Add chips and nuts into dough. Dust a cookie sheet with flour, and form dough into two logs.


Cook the logs at 375°F for about 30 mins or until the tops crack. Remove from oven and let cool, (about 15 min) cut into diagonal slices about one inch thick. and back for 10 more minutes.
Pecan Sandies

from Southern Living

Makes 4 dozen

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400°F and line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy. Add flour, sugar, and vanilla beating until well blended. Stir in pecans. Shape into 1-inch balls, and place on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and place on wire racks and cool slightly. Roll warm cookies in powdered sugar, and cool completely on wire racks.

Christmas Rice Pilaf

If I were not out of town so much I could post wonderful recipes I have been making over the past week. We have had a slew of concerts to go to and to perform in. Last night was our last concert for the semester, so we are relieved we get to spend some down time at home before we leave for the holidays.

My mother and I have been talking about what we could make for Christmas dinner while we were at her house, so I think some salads and side dishes were left for me to plan. I came up with a VERY festive dish that could work as a salad or a side depending on what other dishes you are making. This side is so filling that it could work with a green salad and protein like beef, chicken, or if vegetarian or vegan, a side of sauteed vegetable would work too!

Enjoy this salad as much as I did. I look forward sharing it with the rest of my family when we get to Texas. Yee haw!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

Christmas Rice Pilaf

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: cook salad side vegan vegan recipes on recipage beets

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 2 small beets, diced
  • 1 cup edamame, cooked
  • 1/2 cup mint, chopped
  • 1/4 cup green onion, sliced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp Gomashio (black sesame seeds/sea salt blend)
Instructions
In a medium bowl, place cooked brown rice, beets, edamame, mint and green onions and toss.
In a small bowl, make the vinagrette with the olive oil, lemon juice and gomashio.
Pour over rice pilaf and toss well.
You can choose to make this using warm brown rice and serving immediately or the rice could be cooled at room temperature and tossed with vinagrette. Very delicious!
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12.11.2009

Almond Snowball Cookies

Before I got married, my mom, sister and I had a great tradition. We would set alot of time in December and compile different cookie recipes and split the cookie baking amongst ourselves. Along with some cookie recipes, my mom would make some fabulous cheese balls. Some of the cookies we would make would be Snickerdoodles, Pecan Sandies, Brandy balls, Double-chocolate chip cookies, and of course a variety of Biscotti. Then we would pack these up and give them to our pastor, friends and of course keep some for ourselves.

Well, of course now that I am married I wondered what traditions I would start. Even though I do not have kids yet, I figure it would be great starting a tradition before hand so that it could be instilled in my life before the kids start coming. Last year was our first Christmas as a married couple and I decided to try new recipes. Last year I made 3 kinds of peanut brittle: Chipotle brittle, Peanut butter brittle, and Chocolate brittle. I sent those to family and thought that was a great new change. This year is definitely quite different. Being married to a conductor promises to be a very busy season for a musician. Our schedules have been packed with concerts and rehearsals and road trips that prevent from baking as I had planned. Despite the fact, I knew we would be staying with friends this weekend and I knew I had my chance to make my first set of cookies for the Christmas season.

Inspired by another fellow blogger friend from Iowa, I decided to try my hand at veganizing (changing a recipe edible for a vegan) her recipe for "Polvorones." I think many people know these cookies as Mexican Wedding cookies or Pecan sandies, etc. Like you read earlier, we used to make them with ground pecans and it gave the cookies a nutty taste. This particular recipe uses almonds, a nut I really enjoy baking with. I think it makes a recipe come out very elegant and light. The results were fantastic!

The original recipe called for pork lard but I decided to use Spectrum's all-vegetable shortening instead. Changing a recipe is truly challenging. Your gut instincts tell you what you should use and in this case my gut instincts worked. The dough was not coming along and sticking, so I decided to add almond milk. It worked! The dough came together and made for a wonderful result. The cookies were baked, sprinkled with powdered sugar and placed in a fun holiday gift bag ready to be delivered to our hosts. Who said vegans can't eat cookies? For that matter, who said non-vegans can't enjoy cookies free of animal products? They melt in your mouth like yummy goodness.
From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen


Almond Snowball Cookies

Adapted from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa
makes 15 cookies
1 1/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup organic Spectrum All-Vegetable Shortening
1/3 cup organic powdered sugar
1/4 cup gound toasted almonds
3 Tbsp almond milk
1 Tbsp cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350F and place parchment paper on cookie sheet.

On medium heat, place almonds on a saucepan and toast until lightly browned.

Remove from heat and cool. Once cooled, place almonds in a coffee grinder and grind almonds to a fine powder.

Place flour, almond powder, powdered sugar, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and mix.

Add shortening to dry ingredient and mix all ingredients with your hand. Once the shortening has been dispersed, add the almond milk and mix until becomes like a dough.

Take a tablespoon of cookie dough and roll in hand in an oblong shape and slightly flatten. Place cookies on cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cool cookies on pan. When cooled, roll each cookie in powder sugar and shake off excess sugar. The cookies are then ready to pack or eat. Enjoy!
From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
This post made Top 9 on Foodbuzz.com on December 13, 2009. :)

12.08.2009

Brunch Anytime!

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen

I tried out a new brunch menu this past weekend from several cookbooks that I checked out from the library that I have been wanting to share them with you. Before becoming vegan, I all really like eating for breakfast was scrambled eggs. Since I have started eating differently I have not craved having those eggs but I knew that I would like an equal substitute if possible.

I started looking at Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and started with her basic recipe for tofu scramble. I then just added my own fun mixin's to add a twist. I was very suprised by how GOOD it was! My hubby asked for seconds too!

I then looked for a great recipe for bisquits that were not such a hassle. Alicia Silverstone has been promoting
Babycakes cookbook that is a "vegan, gluten-free, and (mostly) sugar-free recipes from New York's bakery."
Even though I was not able to check this book out for more than 2 weeks (because so many people have it on hold), I have added it to my Amazon wishlist. So anyway, I made the spelt biscuits using spelt flour for the VERY first time. What is spelt flour you ask? Spelt flour is a whole grain and is full of complex-B vitamins. This recipe also calls for coconut oil so the author of the cookbook stated that these biscuits were better than the KFC biscuits ONLY the HEALTHY version. They were very delicious and so quick to make. I have made them twice since then, with the hubby stating how delicious they are to his palate. :)
Now a brunch menu would not be complete without a fruit salad. The fruit salad was a simple recipe using fresh ingredients and no sugar. Enjoy these recipes as much as we did. Don't be afraid of trying them. My non-vegan hubby LIKED them and so can you!
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From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Spelt biscuits

makes 8

as seen in Babycakes cookbook
2 cups of spelt flour, plus more for dusting
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/3 cup coconut oil, plus more for brushing
3/4 cup hot water

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour the oil and hot water into the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until fully combined and a dough is formed. If the batter is dry, add more hot water, 2 Tbsp at a time, until the dough is sticky.

Dust the counter with spelt flour. Place the dough on the prepared surface and drag it through the flour. Pat the dough gently until it is one inch thick. Using a 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and arrange them on the baking sheet, leaving one inch space between each biscuit. Brush each with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Bake the biscuits for 8 minutes. The finished biscuits will have a golden, flaky crust.

Let the biscuits stand on the sheet for 5 minutes before serving. Cool completely and store in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 2 days.
Tofu Scramble with Corn and Black Beans

serves 2

adapted from Vegan Brunch

For the spice blend1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried thyme, crushed with your fingers
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp water

For the tofu2 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
Fresh black pepper, to taste

Add-ins
1/2 cup black beans
1/2 cup corn kernels
1/4 cup red pepper, diced

First blend the spices and salt together in small cup. Add the water and mix. Set aside.

Preheat a large pan over medium-heat. Saute' the garlic in the olive oil for about a minute. Break the tofu into bite size pieces and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scraping the bottom without letting stick to the bottom of pan. The tofu should brown on at least one side. Conversely, if the tofu gets too dry add splashes of water until nice and moist.

Add the spice and mix to incorporate. Add the nutritional yeast and pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Serve warm.

12.07.2009

Tropical Persimmon Muffins

Last night I was super inspired. I do not know if it all the vitamins I am taking, but I have had so much energy to do things I have out on the back burner since living in our new place. I decided to clean out the refrigerator and oraganize the pantry and write all the items in an Excel sheet so that I can visually know what food items I have. What do I hope this will accomplish?
  1. To be even more inspired on my meal planning.
  2. To not over spend.
  3. To prevent buying duplicate food items.
  4. To have a shopping list when items run out.
  5. To prevent food wastage or spoiling.
I truly felt enpowered with being so organized, but in being organized I found items that required being used in a jiffy in order to prevent waste. I really feel guilty when I have to throw something away that I did not get to use and see it as a sin. I mean I think of people that do not have food and here I am wasting food.
In my list of near-perishing foods I found 2 persimmons, 6 Gala apples, 1 head of broccoli, and beets. Even though this post does not feature all the foods, I was inspired by making a breakfast item this morning using the persimmons. I recently started eating these fruits and when ripe, they almost have the same consistency of mangos. It is truly a tasty fruit and full of Vitamin C.
The muffins turned out beautifully! I meant to use spelt flour instead of whole wheat but I forgot. Even so, these babies came out super delicious and accompanied great with some herbal coffee.

Tropical Persimmon Muffins

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: bake breakfast bread brunch vegan recipes on recipage vegan persimmon

Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Organic whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking SODA
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped salted macadamia nuts
  • 1 cup Persimmon pulp (2 pieces of fruit)
  • 1/2 cup Xagave syrup
  • 3 Tbsp Tropical Traditions coconut oil
  • 1 tsp lime extract
  • raw sugar for sprinkling
Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin cups with liners.
Mix dry ingredients in a medium bowl.Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix. Pour mix into each muffin liner. Sprinkle with raw sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes and cool for 10 minutes.
In another bowl, add persimmon pulp, agave syrup, oil, and lime extract. Blend the items with an immersion blender.
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12.06.2009

Super-Flax Whole Wheat Boule

What a day this Sunday turned out to be! After a great morning of worship and a hubby gone away AGAIN for a performance in Detroit, I decided to make most of my "restful" day. After having a great lunch at Chipotle I decided to roam around my city, soaking up some rays before closing myself into my humble abode. Since the snow had already melted the day returned to feeling late into fall instead of winter, even though the temperature was around the 20's. BRRRR.

When I returned to my home, I decided to pounce on this recipe like a bad boy. This was my first time to make my own bread from scratch. Since I changed my eating lifestyle, it has been pretty hard to find good hearty bread that did not seem to be too dry or tasteless. If I had my choice I would choose a good sourdough if I had no choice, but my body would say otherwise. I miss my frequent trips to Whole Foods where I could get an assortment of hearty, rustic loafs, but, alas, the nearest Whole Foods is an hour away! I have other choices but somehow shelling out 6 to 7 bucks a loaf makes me cringe. As I was flipping through the September issue of Vegetarian Times, I ran into an article describing the health benefits of flaxseeds. I had already started taking flaxseed meal on a regular basis, but when I got to the recipe talking about a Vegan bread, I was all over it.

Since I started looking at the recipe several days ago I knew that I would have to leave 1/2 a cup of flaxseeds soaking in water in order for me to have the bread ready and finished before my hubby came back home. Let me tell you something. This bread recipe was the easiest bread recipe I have ever thought of making. :) I forgot that I have made a recipe that my grandmother has made for years called Heavy Bread, but it does not have any yeast in it, so it was VERY dense. This flaxseed bread was the MOST delicious bread I have ever had.

The crust was crisp and tasty with a hint of sweetness. The bread itself was somewhat dense and FULL of flavor! Each bite cried to be savored. My hubby arrived home, exclaiming, "What is that great smell?" I replied in return, "Honey, it is delicious warm HOMEMADE bread awaiting you!" Who wouldn't want to hear something like that?

The recipe says it makes one Boule, but it made 2 for me, which is wonderful. The more bread, the merrier, you know? The other thing that require modification was an additional 3/4 cup of whole wheat flour. The dough was very sticky and would not adhere until more than the required flour was added.

Enjoy this bread as much as we did!


From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
Super-Flax Whole Wheat Boule

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: bake bread vegan vegan recipes on recipage flax seed

Ingredients (1 boule)
  • 1 cup plus 1 Tbs. flaxseeds, divided,
  • plus more for sprinkling top of bread
  • 2 Tbs. sugar, agave nectar, or honey (I used agave)
  • 1 0.25-oz. pkg. or 2 1/2 tsp active yeast (not rapid-rise)
  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 2 1/4 cups Bob's Red Mill organic whole-wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt (I thought the salt factor was perfect, but I had the hubby piling on the salted butter since his palate has not acclamated. Add an additional 1/2 tsp if you like)
  • Place 1/2 cup flaxseeds in bowl, and cover with 3 inches water. Let soak overnight.
Instructions
Combine sugar, yeast, and 2 cups warm water in measuring cup. Let stand 5 minutes, or until liquid is cloudy and smells yeasty.

Grind remaining 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbs. flaxseeds in coffee grinder. Stir together all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, and salt in large bowl. Drain soaked flaxseeds, and stir into flour mixture. Add yeast/water mixture, and stir until smooth dough forms, adding up to 1/4 cup more water, if necessary.

Transfer dough to well-floured work surface. Knead 7 to 10 minutes, or until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to your fingers, adding flour as needed. Shape into ball, and place in large bowl coated with oil. Cover, and let rise in warm place 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until doubled in size. Punch down, reshape into ball, and let rise 1 hour more.

Preheat oven to 400°F, and coat large baking sheet with oil or cooking spray. Shape dough into tight ball, and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush dough ball with water, and sprinkle with flaxseeds. Cut a tic-tac-toe crisscross in top of loaf. Bake 45 minutes to an hour, or until loaf is dark brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on wire rack at least 15 minutes before slicing.
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12.05.2009

Red-Split Lentil Stew with Fried Onions

Last night was the first night that Michigan received its first snow and it was my FIRST time to drive in snow. Actually my hubby and I have been bantering back and forth about when thw first snowfall would be. Weather forecast reported snow for Thanksgiving, but we did not see any! The irony though, even more so, was that Houston received snow today! The many years I lived in Texas, I hardly saw any snow, but when I left, it started snowing. I don't get it but it is cool for the Texans.
Seeing that it was a cold day, I really craved something warm and hearty. I have grown up eating all kinds of beans all the time, but I do not think I ever prepared them myself. Well, my hubby had a dress rehearsal tonight in Detroit for The Messiah this Saturday, so I decided to make dinner for myself. This meal took me a total of 30 minutes to prepare! It was so relieving not having to soak red split lentils because they cook so quickly. The great thing about this recipe is that it is a complete meal. It has a protein, a complex carb, and veggies.
Today marks a great day. 32 days ago I decided to follow a Vegan lifestyle. Technically it takes 40 days for something to be a habit or permanent but with God's strength, He has helped me stay disciplined. I have lost 8 pounds so far! My hubby told me tonight that he could tell the difference in my face. What an encouragement! As those who follow, my recipes will continue to be an inspiration for the lifestyle I am following along with recipes for the carnivore at home. They will be varied. Keep following and see my results.

Red-Split Lentil Stew with Fried Onions

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: cook entree lunch soup/stew vegan vegan recipes on recipage lentils

Ingredients (2 servings)
  • 1 cup red split lentils (Masoor Dal)
  • 2 1/2 cups distilled water
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Tropical Traditions Virgin Coconut Oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small daikon, diced
  • 1 celery stalk, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onions, diced
  • 1 1/2 cup green chard, chopped
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 3 Tbsp all-purpose tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup cooked bulghur
  • Organic Fried onions found in store
Instructions
Rinse red lentils and place in pot. Add water and bay leaves and boil over medium heat for 15-20 minutes not allowing all liquid to evaporate.

Meanwhile, heat sauce pan with coconut oil. Sauté diced daikon, celery, onions for 8-10 minutes, then add minced garlic and chard. Do not over cook.

Remove pan from heat and add vegetables to cooked lentils. Add spices and tomato sauce and cook for another 5-8 minutes.

Add cooked bulghur at the very end and simmer until hot to serve. The point is for this dish not to be too salty, but if you need it you can add another 1 tsp salt. If your vegan, add 1 -2 tsp of Gomashio for nutritional seasoning or pickled radishes. Serve while hot and decorate with 3 tsp of fried onions.
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12.02.2009

Fried Wonton Chopped Salad

From An Opera Singer in the Kitchen
After recovering from our weekend holiday, I knew it was time to get on my cooking skills and eat some good Asian-inspired meals, after the MSG incident. As of yesterday we have been hearing reports of friends in Texas receiving snow while we fellow Michiganders have NOT. How ironic can that be? Well, it was such a gorgeous sunny day I decided to make a light dinner for my hubby and I. After seeing Nasoya was having a great contest called "The Holiday Wrap-up: Recipe Challenge", I decided to start early and challenge myself.

The light dinner consisted of a big chopped salad with delicious fried wontons, all made with Nasoya products. I accompanied it with some miso soup as a starter with the salad as a finisher. The good thing about this meal is that because you are having salad, you do not have to feel guilty about having as many as you want. Enjoy a mid-week healthy dinner!

Fried Wonton Chopped Salad

by Noelle Kelly
Keywords: salad lunch vegan recipes on recipage vegan

Ingredients (serves 3)

    20 Nasoya wonton wrappers


      Wonton Filling
      • 2 cups cabbage, chopped
      • 1 jumbo carrot or 2 carrots, diced
      • 3/4 cup crumbled Nasoya firm tofu
      • 2 Tbsp Tamari or soy sauce
      • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
      Salad
      • 4 cups chopped romaine and red leaf lettuce
      • 1 cup red peppers, julienned
      • 1/2 cup shredded daikon
      • 1/2 cup green onion, chopped 1/2 inch thick
      • 3 tsp Gomashio (black sesame seed/sea salt mixture)
      Dressing
      • 1/2 orange, juiced
      • 2 tsp umeboshi plum vinegar
      • 2 Tbsp sesame oil
      • 1 tsp ground ginger
      • 1 avocado, sliced
      Instructions

      For filling:
      In a sauce pan, heat sesame oil and stir-fry cabbage, carrots, tofu for 5-10 minutes until cabbage is transparent and carrots tender. Add soy sauce and cook for 5 more minutes.

      Take 20 wonton wrappers and place 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of filling and moisten the edges of the wrapper and seal diagonally and press dough together. Set aside and repeat for the rest of the wrappers.

      Heat 1 cup of sesame oil in pan on medium high heat. Sprinkle a bit of water to assure that oil is hot enough by the splattering.

      Fry the wontons until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain excess oil and cool.

      For Salad:
      Wash lettuce and remove excess water in salad spinner. Add lettuce to a salad bowl and add red peppers, green onion, gomashio.

      For Salad dressing:
      In a little bowl, place shredded daikon, sesame oil, vinegar, orange juice and ginger and mix.
      Toss salad with dressing and serve on plates. Decorate with 4 avocado slices and 5-6 wontons.
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