Tag Archives: vegan

Recipe: Cashew Cream (Vegan)

Look! A new recipe! I’m cooking food things, again! Our little friend Fairy Pig has let up on the nausea! High five! Okay, cashew cream… Cashew Cream. MomsicleBlog There’s this magical paleo parfait at Dick’s Kitchen in Northwest Portland. It has a cashew, maple cream that scoops like ice cream, a deep purple berry compote, and a nut “cookie” crumble. Over the past year, I’ve been cutting down my sugar intake. I don’t crave super-saccharine treats that often these days because they make me feel yucky. In my search to find satisfying replacements, I’ve only come across a few things that make me want to leave my family and live out of a box asking for money to sate my habits: the paleo parfait at Dick’s, the raw fudge made by Honey Mama’s, paleo almond cookies, and possibly a Coconut Bliss “milkshake.” Dick’s wouldn’t divulge to my friend Jamie and me the recipe, so I’ve resorted to creating my own. It’s been such a hardship carrying out the experiments. Most cashew cream recipes call for blending soaked cashews with water. I prefer coconut milk. To get the consistency of a heavy cream, which goes well with berries and granola, I use a whole can of coconut milk. To get something scoop-able, I use a blend of coconut milk and melted coconut oil, which hardens at room temperature, but I haven’t perfected that yet, so this recipe is for the heavy cream kind.

Cashew Cream (vegan: definitely; paleo: I think)

  • 1 lb raw or roasted cashews, covered in water to soak overnight*
  • 1 can coconut milk (I like canned because the ingredient is just coconut milk, whereas the refrigerated stuff has a lot of additives)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 maple syrup (to taste)
  • generous pinch salt
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional, but adds a marzipan taste–who wouldn’t want that?!?)

*You can also try using hot water and soaking the cashews just for an hour or two. 

Now blend all that stuff up in a blender. You might need to shake the blender around a bit, or use its stick thingy to keep things moving, or adjust the speeds. This makes me think the Cuisinart may be a better choice… Let me know what you decide.

Roasted Strawberry Milkshakes (Vegan)

This is the weekend. This is the weekend to snatch your strawberries before their sweet aroma drifts away on the summer wind.

Hood Strawberry Picking Oregon. MomsicleBlog

When it comes to berries, I’m like one of those rats in a pleasure experiment where the scientist gives them a button that mimics orgasm, and the rats just push the button over and over until they’re in a coma.

About 40-50 pounds of strawberries have come through our house in the last two weeks. We couldn’t possibly need that many strawberries. But have you stuck your nose into a pint of ruby-red Oregon Hood strawberries and then let their juices explode in your mouth?

You’d be pushing that button over-and-over-again, too.

Enough innuendo.

I’m avoiding dairy and doing low sugar right now, but I had to find a way to have a decadent strawberry milkshake. My friend Sara suggested strawberry-roasting, and that’s what started me down this path…

Vegan Roasted Strawberry Milkshake. MomsicleBlog

Vegan Roasted Strawberry Milkshake

Ingredients

  • 1–2 pints strawberries, hulled
  • 1–2 tablespoons olive oil (for roasting strawberries)
  • 1 pint Coconut Bliss ice cream (or other non-dairy, coconut-based “ice cream”)
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk (I use Trader Joe’s canned coconut milk because it’s economical and doesn’t have the additives that the refrigerated kind has.)

Now Do This

  • Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees.
  • Place your hulled strawberries on a baking pan, coat them in a little olive oil, spread them out evenly, and pop them in the oven for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, or when strawberries still have their shape, but are oozing some juices, take them out of the oven and put them in a bowl to cool. This is important so you can catch all the juices. You can try a strawberry at this point, but I found they were a little too pungent for my taste.
  • Add strawberries, coconut ice cream, and coconut milk to your blender and blend it up! Done!

This can easily be done with real ice cream and milk, of course. Either way, enjoy, and let me know if you have suggestions!

 

Super Simple Marinara Sauce

There are six ingredients in this sauce (including salt and olive oil), and you only need one pan.

Tomatoes from Sara's Garden. MomsicleBlog

I discovered this super simple marinara sauce the summer before my senior year in college. I was house sitting all summer and started reading through the cookbooks in my adopted kitchen (in between waging a war against the roaches).

This is our go-to pasta sauce and has replaced jarred tomato sauce in our house (although I have a soft-spot for Prego or Ragu, jarred sauces usually contain lots of salt and sugar, which is a bummer).

I stay away from long-simmer sauces at this point in my life–I’ll probably end up remembering it’s still cooking while we are at the zoo. I prefer a fresh, bright-tasting marinara, anyhow. Some people are devotees of the longer-cooking gravy that is deep red and cooked down for days with your nonna’s love. But I’m not Italian so I have no such prejudices. I just like taste-that-packs-a-punch and simple ingredients.

If tomatoes are not in season, I like to use two cans of Trader Joe’s canned, no-salt, roma tomatoes.

You will need

  • Olive oil, about 1/4 cup
  • Tomatoes, about 8 medium or large (I use whichever variety looks the most flavorful and isn’t too expensive)
  • Basil, about a cup
  • Garlic, a lot
  • Salt, about a teaspoon
  • Chili flakes, about a half teaspoon

Measurements are estimates because I generally use what’s on hand and throw it all into a pot. I used to use more chili flake (we LOVE it when this sauce bites you back), but the kids prefer it a little mellower.

Now do this

  • Slice tomatoes into eighths (no need to seed or peel for this recipe).
  • Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • When oil is shimmery and hot, add tomatoes. They will pop and sizzle. Stir occasionally for about 4-5 minutes.

Super Simple Marinara Sauce. MomsicleBlog

  • Add basil to the pot. 

Super Simple Marinara Sauce. MomsicleBlog

  • Turn heat down to medium-low.
  • Finely chop garlic, and add it–along with salt and chili flake–to the pot. (You’re stirring all this stuff in, right? Good job!)

Super Simple Marinara Sauce. MomsicleBlog

  • Let simmer for about 30 minutes. stirring occasionally.

If you happen to be cooking some bacon on the next burner over, ladle in a little bacon fat. Or if you’re drinking a nice red wine that’s also inexpensive, pour some of that in. This sauce is flexible.

I blend my sauce in a blender because I like things smooth. You can also use an emulsion blender (aka hand or stick blender) if you’re okay with a little chunkier sauce (you’ll also need to stop occasionally to pull basil chunks out of the blades). If you prefer your sauce chunky (or even if you’re going to use the emulsion blender), I would chop the basil pretty small before throwing it into the pot.

Here’s the finished product with meatballs and penne.

Super Simple Marinara Sauce. MomsicleBlogIf you have leftover sauce, freeze it in Ziploc bags! (It’s easiest to put a Ziploc bag in a large cup and fold over the edges, then ladle the sauce in.)

***

Thanks to my friend Sara for dropping off the amazing home-grown tomatoes that were used in this batch!

Very Green Smoothie Recipe

Green smoothie recipe. MomsicleBlog

I get a LOT of my fruit and vegetable servings from smoothies. I make three batches at a time and fill up a bunch of glass jars to keep in the fridge.

Then I drink two a day–because let’s face it, the gremlins and I are always on the move and if I carry around whole pieces of fruit in my car or purse, they just roll around, forgotten, until we smell them weeks later.

The most awesome thing about smoothies is they are 100% real: You see everything going in, and you know it’s good. Unlike packaged protein shakes and other fruit drinks. Plus you don’t need added vitamins because leafy greens and whole fruit have so many already.

Green smoothie recipe. MomsicleBlog

There are a million ways to make smoothies. I’m vegan with mine, because I feel like moderation with animal products is a good idea, and since I will never stop buying butter by the case to fuel my baked goods, or eating bacon, I better look for other ways to get off the sauce.

Very Green Vegan Smoothie

Throw in a blender:

Green smoothie recipe. MomsicleBlog

  • 1-2 cups loosely packed leafy greens (kale, spinach, chard…go for it! Just take the sinewy stalks off the heartier greens, because they’re hard to grind up.)
  • 1 banana
  • 6-10 frozen strawberries
  • 1/3 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger–good for digestion and adds punch
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal–great for Omega 3s
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • honey and/or frozen orange juice concentrate–for sweetness, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for those who want even more kick)
  • Approx. 1.5-2 cups water

Blend on low, and gradually move to your blender’s highest speed. Because of the greens, you’ll need to blend for a long time to get this smoothie really smooth. You Vitamix and Blendtec people will be done blending in about 3 seconds, but for the rest of us peons, it’ll be awhile.

Each month I try to increase the amount of greens I put in, and to lower the amount of honey and/or orange juice concentrate so that there’s less sugar. That’s why I add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and cayenne to boost flavor (plus the spices have digestive and other helpful properties).

Gratuitous picture of flaxseed meal.

Here's a pic of the flax meal. MomsicleBlog

Other choose-your-own-adventure smoothie add-ins: a whole, peeled orange; sliced apple or pear (unpeeled); and frozen raspberries or mango. Just watch out for blueberries–they tend to build up an agar-like jelly at the top of my smoothies after sitting for a bit.

FEEDBACK FROM READERS:

  • Be careful with the cayenne (especially if your family doesn’t do much spice).
  • Pineapple and pear are GREAT add-ins for natural sweetness.
  • Check out the comment below from Jamie for a great recipe for a vegan “chocolate milkshake” using banana, cocoa powder, and peanut butter.

I want to keep my smoothie recipe fresh, so please tell me what your favorite smoothie add-ins are. Any tricks to get your kids to love smoothies (mine are not into them right now)?