Category Archives: Vegan Recipes

Homemade Energy Bars

Ann Arbor Food

Energy Bars

I have been on a health kick lately, so I’ve been making my own version of a health bar. There are whole sections of health food stores with these. Some are OK, but most taste like cardboard. And many load them up with questionable Soy Protein Isolate, a refined protein filler.

Packing a energy bar with Soy Protein Isolate helps with texture, moisture and creates a nice high protein ratio on the label, but it is questionable if its healthy.

My snack bars are full of natural goodness. They are 1 part toasted sesame seed, 1 part toast oats and two part organic rice crispy, with enough rice syrup and nut butter to hold them together.

Are they low fat, low sugar and high protein? Probably not.

But I’d rather have these then anything in a vending machine or on the health food store “health bar” shelf.

Feel free to adapt the recipe. I include options below.

Either way, most health bars are still high calorie with 200-250 calories just like a candy bar. I am not sure where these rank on calories, probably about the same. But my trick is to cut them into small squares and grab one when I need it.

Its sure better then hitting up my co-workers never ending Halloween bowl with candy.

Ann Arbor Food

Rice Crispy Bars

Homemade Energy Bars: Base Recipe

1 cup of unhulled toasted sesame seeds (or untoasted hulled)
1 cup of Toasted whole oats
2 cups of organic rice crispy
1/2-3/4 cup rice syrup
1/2 cup of peanut butter (natural just ground peanuts and salt, I use health food store freshly ground)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Options:
coco powder
Almond butter
Other nuts and seeds (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, cashews)
Dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apricots, dates, etc..)
Toasted Coconut
Chocolate chips
Coco nibs
Sweet miso (cooked with the syrup mixture if using)
Crumpled Seaweed Nori

Procedure:

Wash and drain the sesame seed. Place in a cast iron plan and slowly toast until the seeds are toasted. A test is when the seed do not stick to a metal spoon and you can press them into powder. (If you are using hulled sesame seeds you do not need to toast them)

Next toast the oats for a few minutes on medium heat until it is slightly brown.

Place the seeds, oats and the rice crispy into a large bowl.

In a sauce pan, combine the peanut butter, rice syrup, maple, salt, vanilla and cinnamon. Heat just until the mixture melts together.

Add the warm mixture to the seed, oats rice and mixture to combine.

Press the mixture into a pan in an even level about an inch thick. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate to set.

Cut square from the pan. Eat at room temperature.

Ann Arbor Food

Homemade Energy Bars

I like to cut them into squares and put them in snack size ziplocks. Each bag is about the size of a health snack bar. They make great work snacks and travel food.

They usually don’t last long, but you can refrigerate or freeze them.

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Roasted Potatoes

Ann Arbor Food Potato Harvest

Long after the garden has been put to bed, there are POTATOES.

Above is a picture of some of the potatoes a grew this year, this crazy garden year. It is almost Dec and I am still enjoying my garden.

Ann Arbor Food Pan Roasted Potatoes

Ann Arbor Food Pan Roasted Potatoes

Looking at my potatoes and preparing my standard recipe pan of simple roasted, I wondered about looking into other potato recipes.

Emily asked why.

Why indeed. I can eat roasted potatoes for the rest of my life and not want for any other potato.

Here is my recipe:

1) Wash and rinse as many potatoes as you feel like. (for my that is about 5 pounds)
2) cut them into about 1 inch size pieces.
3) Place in a pan one layer deep (get as many pans as you need. I usually make two pans for leftovers)
4) drizzle some oliver oil on them
5) shake on some salt and dried thyme or rosemary or both

And bake in a 400 degree oven until they are done (45-60 minutes-ish)

Taste and add more salt if desired.

I use yukon gold and red potatoes. I grew red Pontiac and yukon gold this year.

Enjoy

 

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancakes

Ann Arbor Food Gluten Free Buckwheat pancakes

Gluten Free Buckwheat pancakes

Buckwheat pancakes are a great example of a traditional gluten free dish. These light and floffy flappers will have folks wanting more and not missing their wheat flour.

Gluten Free Buckwheat Pancake Recipe: Makes 6 large pancakes

1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

In a bowl, mix the buttermilk, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup. Combine the buckwheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into the mixture. Stir until mixed.

The batter is on the thick side, but the pancakes come out fluffy

Scoop in about 1/3 of cup of batter onto a hot onstick skillet (if you have one).

Cook on one side until the side look dry and the top starts to bubble. Flip and cook for about another minute.

Butter and serve right away or keep warm in a 300 degree oven.

Serve with butter, maple syrup and fruit and berries.

Vegan Option:

1 cup of Buckwheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup soy buttermilk (squeeze half a small lemon into soy milk, let sit for 30 minutes until in cuddles)
2 Table spoons of apple sauce or pumkin puree (instead of egg)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
2 tsp maple syrup (optional)

Serve with veggie margerine, maple syrup and fresh fruit and berries

Follow the same in cooking instructions above

 

Fall Beet Slaw Recipe

Ann Arbor Food Fall Beet Slaw

Fall Beet Slaw

Fall Beet Slaw: Serves 4

3-4 medium size golden beets peeled
1/2 Diakon radish peeled
3 medium sized carrots peeled
1 inch piece of ginger fine minced (makes about 1 tablespoon)
1 Tablespoon of Tamari (gluten free) or soy sauce (contains wheat)
1 Tablespoon Rice vinegar
salt and pepper to taste.

Grate in a food processor and mix ingredients and let sit for 30 minutes or longer. Stir to combine. This recipe can be doubled and it taste even better the next day. It is light and gingery and works great with heavier items especially fried food like tempura.

Serve with rice, and grilled tofu, fish, tempura, nori rolls

Mostly Food Communities

I have recently ventured back into my old food stomping grounds of Macrobiotic and Vegan toward being healthier. (See recent post)

Looking back, I started thinking about why I got off the Macro program.

In a previous post, I mention that the Macrobiotic diet was too strict. This was not just strict rules of the food do’s and don’t list.

It was also the strict people on the program.

I recall when I left the Kushi Institute to moved to Ann Arbor. I was teaching Macrobiotic cooking classes at Whole Foods and I had a fan.

This woman came to everyone of my classes, asked tons of questions and approached me during breaks and while I was packing up to talk shop.

Then during my dessert class, I used fruit juice to make a vegan cantan (jello) that was sweetened with agave nectar. Macrobiotics are strict about their sweeteners and agave was not on the list.

She called me on it and that was that. During the class break she left and never returned to another one of my classes.

I had broken the strict rules of Macro and I guess in her eyes I was no longer a part of the tribe.

And this is not an isolated experience. I felt judged and like an outcast for not being a perfect macro eater on many occasions from the community.

I suppose this is common. Vegans may do the same thing if they outed me eating a cheese burger.

The thing is we need community.

When you start a new healthy lifestyle, it is easy to feel like an orphan.

Everyone else is eating pizza and steak and we are the weirdos in the corner eating brown rice and spouts.

Of course, we figure that we will eventually find other people from a smaller tribe of folks who eat and think our new way, but imagine that this new tribe is a tough room with strict rules.

We already broke ties with the majority of folks with our new healthy lifestyle. But say if we also feel left out of the small tribe?

That is how me and Emily felt. Although we embraced the Macro diet (for a time), we had a hard time with the strict people.

I also felt this way when I was on Weight Watchers. The community is more flexible, but week after week, from the lectures, I got the message that the folks who strictly followed the program were where it was at. The rewards were from following the program and the shame/failure was from not.

For me Food is more than nutrition. It is about community and being social.

Food is about life.

This brings me to my “Mostly” Food Community idea.

While I probably could not pass for a Strict Macro or Vegan today , there are many things I have in common with these community, but if they are all-or-nothing then I am shut out (or faking in order to fit in).

So I propose the idea of Mostly Food Communities. These are folks like myself who for the most part follow many of the practices of a food community, but are a little more flexible.

They can bring a vegan/macro dish to a vegan/macro potluck and share food and community, but they are not all-or-nothing folks.

A good example of this is my community garden pot lucks. We have meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, not to mention all sort of folks with various food allergies and personal food rules.

For the most part the offerings are vegetarian with many vegan items. If you want great veggie dishes good to a community garden potluck.

I tend to bring a vegan dish, but their will always be the guy who brings pork ribs or chicken wings. The difference with my community garden potlucks is that no one walks out in a huff because someone broke their food community rule. They simple don’t eat the wings and opt to hit up the vegan tabouli salad and grilled tofu.

The potluck is a mixed food community with tendency to vegetarian.

As for going to a Strict Food Community event, I would comply with the food rules. I mean, I don’t want to be the guy who brought the pork ribs at a kosher potluck.

With that said, I am going to my first social vegan restaurant dinner on Tuesday with a large vegan community.

I plan to eat an all vegan meal for the event, but if asked I will say that I am mostly macrobiotic/vegan.

 

 

Coconut Ice Cream Recipe: Food comics

I am talking a comic drawing class this summer, so I am practicing with some comic recipes and food related humor. Here is my first food comic.

This recipe can be just vanilla by omitting the chocolate and you can use mint or other extracts for other flavors like chocolate chip mint ice cream.

Enjoy

The Power of Polenta: Polenta with shrimp and tomato recipe

Ann Arbor Food

Shrimp Polenta with Heirloom tomatoes

Polenta is one of those great go to foods when you need to make something quick. It is a tasty porridge made from course cornmeal. At most basic, polenta is a simple creamy corn mash cooked with water and salt.

But this humble cornmeal does not have to be plan. It can be jazzed up using flavor variations like stocks, butter, cheese and herbs.

It is commonly served Italian style with a tomato sauce and sausage, but it can also be served with fish, shellfish, poultry, beef, pork or in a vegetarian meal.

Once a simple peasant staple, polenta has gained popularity as a gourmet food that can be seen on menus at upscale restaurants to college dorms alike.

There are a few ways to serve polenta beside for a hot mash.

The high starch content of cornmeal makes cooked polenta form into a solid mass when cooled.

Hot polenta porridge is spread onto a sheet pan and allowed to cooled. Once cooled, the firm polenta can then be cut into shapes and saute’, deep fried or grilled to provide a crisp outer texture.

Another way to serve polenta is in a casserole. Hot polenta is spread into a casserole dish then topped with sauce, vegetables, meat and cheese then baked.

Polenta is found in the bulk section in grocery stores, in instant mixes or in the refrigerated section of in precooked tubes. The cost is around $1.50 per pound, which measure about 2 3/4 cups or around $.20 per serving.

Basic Polenta Recipes: Serve Four

1 1/2 cup of Polenta cornmeal
4 1/2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of butter (optional)
*use Olive Oil for vegan option

Bring the water to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the polenta, salt and butter and stir in. Bring the heat down to a medium. Cover the top of the pan loosely with tin foil. Stir frequently to make sure the polenta does not stick to the bottom of the pan. Cook for 20 minutes.

Variations:

Cheese Polenta:
Substitute one cup of milk for water in the basic recipe and include the butter. Include 1-2 cups of a mixture of grated cheese like Cheddar, Jack, Parmesan and Fontina. Follow the instruction for the basic recipe then stir in the cheese during the last three minutes of cooking. Garnish with grated Parmesan.

Polenta with tomato sauce and sausage:
Use the basic or cheese polenta recipe. Cook a pound of your favorite sausage like sweet or hot Italian sausage and serve with about a third of a cup of your favorite heated tomato sauce per serving and top with grated Parmesan.

Mushroom Polenta: (Vegan)
Use the basic recipe and substitute olive oil for butter. Saute one finely chopped onion, two cloves of garlic and one and half pounds of your favorite mushrooms for seven minutes. Add a quarter teaspoon of dried thyme, and a quarter cup of white wine and cook down. Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with fresh chopped parsley and divide a half cup of toasted pine nuts or almonds between four servings.

Polenta and Shrimp:
Use the basic or cheese polenta recipe and add the juice of one lemon, fresh cracked pepper and one teaspoon of smoked paprika when cooking the polenta . Peel and clean three quarters of a pound of shrimp and saute in butter or olive oil with two cloves of garlic till the shrimp is pink on booth sides.

Serve the polenta in a bowl. Divide the shrimp between four bowls and top with fresh chopped scallion.