Big Qrunch Plate

Lately it seems like I’m hungry ALL the time. I feel like a big bear bulking up for hibernation! I usually have a supply of Qrunch Burgers in the freezer and try to find different ways to use them, other than just sticking them in a bun. They’re good “filler” because of the quinoa, and because of the great variety of flavors they come in.

Vegan Qrunch Burger Plate

The Qrunch Plate


As many of you know, I’m not a huge fan of using recipes, but lately I’ve posted quite a few that have actual measurements. Well, not today. The Big Qrunch Plate is something you can throw together with what you have on hand – assuming you at least have the Qrunch Burgers 🙂 But here’s a guide you might use:

Big Qrunch Plate
2 Qrunch Burgers
sauteed and/or fresh veggies
dollop of vegan sour cream
seasonings to taste

For mine, I sauteed onions, garlic, bell pepper, and tomatoes, then added fresh avocado. I bought some less-than-stellar vegan sour cream from Trader Joe’s and seasoned it with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, nutritional yeast, and dill, and it tastes much better. It went great with the veggies and Spicy Buffalo Qrunch Burgers, and was just the right touch for the Chef Ernesto breaded green beans I got from Dollar Tree – that’s what you see bordering the veggies & burger. The meal is gluten free if you leave out the breaded stuff (or make your own with gf breadcrumbs).

I finally felt full after this meal! What’s your favorite thing to eat during the winter months?

10 Minute 2 Ingredient Semi Homemade Pudding

I don’t know how I didn’t figure this out before, but I could’ve been eating gloriously cheap and delicious vegan pudding all these years! And it couldn’t be simpler. I wouldn’t call this a “from scratch” recipe, more like semi-homemade, but I’m okay with that.

This morning I rolled out of bed and realized I’d forgotten to make something for breakfast (I usually eat at work) and I didn’t have much time to spare. By the time I finished getting myself ready, it was 7:52 and I needed to leave the house at 8:10.

10 Minute 2 Ingredient Homemade Vegan Pudding
I grabbed these two ingredients: Pumpkin Spice coconut milk & cornstarch. That’s it. You can really use any flavor you want, or use plain and flavor it yourself. I used a couple ad-ins, but they’re optional.

10 Minute 2 Ingredient Homemade Vegan Pudding
The pudding is wonderful warm, and when it cools it gets pretty solid and gelatinous. Might even work for a pie filling.

10 Minute Pudding
1 C flavored coconut milk
1 Tbsp cornstarch

Add cornstarch to pan over medium high and use a whisk to spread it around. Immediately, but SLOWLY, begin pouring in the coconut milk while whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Keep whisking as you bring the milk to a boil. Let is boil for just a minute or so, then remove from heat.
Serve warm and soupy, or cold and thick.

If you want to increase the recipe, it’s just 1 Tbsp cornstarch for every cup of milk. You don’t have to use coconut milk, but I like the fat 🙂 I also added a bit of coconut milk yogurt to mine while it was cooling, and today I added a bit of maple syrup.

I started cooking around 7:54, and by the time I took this picture at 8:09 I had already cleaned my mess and had the pudding chilling in the fridge. Doesn’t seem to hurt a thing if you increase the heat and bring it to a boil faster on the high setting, just make sure you whisk the entire time.

It’s vegan, gluten free, oil free, cheap, fast, and perfect for a strict fasting day!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding Pie Breakfast Bowl

Lately the majority of my breakfasts and lunches have been whatever I can fit in a mason jar of reasonable size. It’s so convenient, plus…I think it looks pretty 🙂 The 8oz jars are perfect for breakfast. Most days I have overnight oatmeal, but this week I grabbed a couple big containers of SO Delicious coconut milk yogurt. And yesterday something awesome happened.
Pumpkin Chia Pudding Pie Vegan Breakfast Bowl
Last November, some friends from church made a huge batch of pumpkin butter and brought me a jar. I was saving it for something special, I had no idea what. Then when I was putting my breakfast together I had a wonderful idea. I could use the magic pumpkin pie-flavored spread to sweeten my plain, unsweetened yogurt! And sprinkle crushed cereal on top to simulate pie crust. YES!

Pumpkin Chia Pudding Pie Breakfast Bowl
1/2 C plain (or vanilla) unsweetened vegan yogurt
2 Tbsp pumpkin butter*
2 tsp chia seeds
1/2 C bran flakes, crushed

In a small bowl – or in an 8oz mason jar if you’re making it to go – combine yogurt, chia seeds, and pumpkin butter. You may choose to thoroughly mix in the pumpkin butter, or give a couple quick stirs to make swirls. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour so chia seeds have time to gel. I leave mine overnight.
When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle crushed bran flakes over the pudding, then commence consumption.

*If the extra sugar doesn’t bother you, you may increase the amount of pumpkin butter to make your pudding taste more like pie. You may also want to increase the chia seeds to make sure it still thickens properly.
If you prefer less sugar, you could use plain canned pumpkin. But that might make it taste more like baby food.

Do you do meals in a jar? What’s your favorite?

Cheezy Mac Breakfast Skillet

Well friends, earlier this week I shared with you my review of Daiya Cheezy Mac, a vegan & gluten free boxed mac n cheese. As I mentioned, it’s supposed to be three servings per box, but I can’t stop myself from eating the ENTIRE box at once! Well, with just a few extra minutes of cooking I fattened up my cheezy mac and was able to really and truly break it down into three very filling servings. So, while you’re preparing your Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac according to instructions, check this out…

Vegan Mac n Cheese Breakfast Skillet
I sauteed onions and fresh garlic in olive oil, then added and browned Tofurky breakfast links, and threw in a little spinach.

Vegan Mac n Cheese Breakfast Skillet
That’s it! Add it to your cheezy mac.

Vegan Mac n Cheese Breakfast Skillet
Adding the sausages made it very filling without adding too many calories. In fact I entered this meal on My Fitness Pal, and with the oil, veggies & sausages it came to a mere 418 calories. May not be the healthiest thing, but for a special treat (or if you just plan to exercise it off), no big deal.

Cheezy Mac Vegan Breakfast Skillet
1 Box Daiya Cheddar Style Cheezy Mac, prepared according to instructions
1 Tbsp olive oil (or oil of choice)
1/4 C chopped onion*
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped*
6 Tofurky Apple Maple Breakfast Sausages, chopped
1 C frozen spinach*
Optional, black pepper

*Or more to taste.
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic until tender. Add chopped sausages and saute until lightly browned. Add spinach and cook until heated through (if using fresh, cook until wilted). You may wish to add black pepper, but salt is not recommended since the sauce is nice and salty already.
Combine with prepared Cheezy Mac and serve hot.

By the way, this Smoked Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipe from 2 Broke Vegans reminded me of the classic Mac n Cheese n Hot Dogs thing and inspired this dish. Check it out!

Week of Greek: Halva (Semolina Sweet)

For our last course in our delicious Greek meal, I offer you these cute little halva cakes. Now, there can be some confusion as the name halva, or halawe, can also be used to describe an Arabic dessert made with tahini paste. It is altogether different! In this case, I’m talking about the Greek sweet made with fried semolina. There’s no baking for this dessert, it’s all done on the stovetop.

2015-7-17 Halva Semolina Pudding
I had a lot of fun with this one, not only making it, but serving it along side the bottle of ouzo my brother and I picked up in Greece – and those shot glasses are also from our trip! They gray ones are a beautiful reminder of our time on Tinos, a little island known for its marble resources (among other things).

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When the semolina mixture has cooled, you can press it into a fancy bundt pan, or cupcake tin, or pretty much anything it won’t stick to. I went with the cupcake tin because it makes the perfect individual serving size.

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The little cakes are soft, sticky and sweet, with plenty of cinnamon. The raw walnuts offset the sweetness just a little.

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Nearly every restaurant in Greece provided a drink and something sweet at the end of the meal, free of charge. Sometimes it was as simple as fruit and a shot of raki, other times a pastry or ice cream and maybe a glass of wine. I think those Greeks are on to something, it’s the perfect ending to a meal – although halva with coffee would also be a wonderful way to begin the day, if you ask me.

Halva
1 C oil or melted margarine
2 C semolina
1 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
2 1/2 C sugar (or less, to taste)
4 C water
optional: raw walnuts*

Put water and sugar together in a pot and boil for 10 – 15 minutes. Meanwhile in a large pan, combine oil and semolina and cook at medium high heat stirring continuously until the semolina has browned. Stir in cinnamon. Now very carefully add syrup to semolina – it will really start to bubble and steam up! I added mine slowly, stirring it in a little at a time. Continue to stir, and cook at medium heat another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the semolina becomes very thick. Remove from heat. Once cooled, press the semolina into a bundt pan or cupcake tin. Unmold the halva and, if desired, top with finely chopped walnuts.

Makes 10 – 12 cupcake-sized servings

*I soaked my walnuts for a few hours, then drained them and sprinkled them with just a touch of sugar and a shake or two of cinnamon before garnishing the halva. You can also just use plain old chopped walnuts, or press one whole walnut or pecan into the top of the halva for a simple embellishment.

Although this is [probably] my last recipe for Greek Week, please stay tuned to my facebook page where I will share one more recipe from my co-hosts, 2 Broke Vegans. Tomorrow I will also provide you with a list of Greek brands to be on the look out for during your Greek cooking adventures! And please, if you are feeling charitable, consider giving a gift to the people of Greece through International Orthodox Christian Charities. Thanks to the Jaharis Family Foundation, each dollar you donate will be matched.

Taverna on the Water
Now sit back and enjoy the view, sip your ouzo and savor the halva. I’m going to take a stroll along the beach. See you tomorrow!

Grilled Cheez n Beans

This afternoon we will take a brief departure from Greenlite Meals so I can get these pictures out of my phone 🙂

Whenever my brother comes home, he buys a bunch of random food and then doesn’t eat half of it. I think we still have pickled watermelon rind from last summer tucked away in the back of the fridge. I dunno what else he left behind, but Sunday I found a package of steamed beans. I dunno what possessed me to put them in a sandwich, but it worked.

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I also tried Daiya Chive & Onion Cream Cheese-style Spread for the first time. The texture is slightly different than dairy cream cheese, not sure what it is…but I loved the flavor. I have a feeling you’ll see this repurposed in a couple recipes here, but first I wanted to use it as it’s meant to be, just a plain old spread.

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Sandwich stuff. The beans were bland, so I added a little Tabasco sauce and salt.

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Spread the inside of two slices of bread with the cream cheese, and the outside with margarine.

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Place the first piece of bread margarine side down on a skillet over medium low heat, spoon the beans over the cream cheese side. You can put as much as you want, but remember it might get a little messy to eat. Top with Daiya shreds,

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then the second piece of bread cream cheese side down. Cook each side until golden brown.

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I don’t really recommend cutting the sandwich in half, I just thought it would look nice for the picture 🙂 It wasn’t as messy to eat as I imagined, though – I think all the melty cheese and cream cheese held it together. The flavor was sort of like a bean burger with extra onions and sour cream, but without all the work.

I am also imagining replacing the beans with tortilla chips sprinkled with Frank’s Redhot Sauce. You can put just about anything in a sandwich. I love sandwiches. What’s your favorite?

Frito Tacos with Daiya Cheddar Sauce

Friday I stopped at Harvest Health on my way home from work and bought all kinds of fun stuff! Including a couple different kinds of Daiya cheese since I hadn’t had any since Cheesefare Week. Some of you may remember the amazing Frito Burrito I got from the Vegan Yacht in Austin last summer. Well, I had a little snack size bag of Fritos and I HAD to make Frito tacos. And guess what? They’re vegan & gluten free!

2015-4-20 Vegan Frito Tacos
First we need cheddar sauce, something you can whip up in minutes melting 1/2 C Daiya shreds in 1/4 – 1/2 C of heated plain unsweetened almond milk (and perhaps a little salt and pepper).

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I also cooked up canned jackfruit in Magic Vegan Bacon Grease and seasoned it like you would taco meat, and mixed canned refried beans with Frank’s Redhot Sauce and Just Mayo. Heat a couple soft corn tortillas.

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I used two shells for one taco. The outer shell just has refried beans and cheddar sauce spread on one side. I spread refried beans on the inner shell, sprinkled it with fresh onion, added the jackfruit and a bunch more cheddar sauce…

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And the feature attraction: FRITOS. Fold it over. You have Fritos Tacos, and you are very lucky.
Now don’t worry if you forgot to buy taco shells. I have a plan for you, too.

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After cooking the jackfruit, mix it right into the cheddar sauce. Put it in a bowl, add refried beans, onions, and Fritos. Eat it. That’s it!

The Fritos add a great texture, similar to using a regular old hard taco shell but with the added bonus of way more salt. They’re also thicker than a taco shell, and bit airier. And soft tacos are way easier to eat! And putting it in a bowl = easiest.

For the Cheddar Sauce
1/4 – 1/2 C plain unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C Daiya Cheddar Shreds
optional: salt & pepper to taste

Heat 1/4 C almond milk in a small saucepan until it is hot, but NOT boiling. Add Daiya shreds and stir until melted, add a little more milk as necessary to make a sauce with Cheez Whiz-like consistency. If desired, add salt and pepper to taste.

For the Jackfruit Filling
1 20oz can young/green jackfruit, in brine
1 Tbsp Magic Vegan Bacon Grease (or plain coconut oil, but you’ll miss out on the smoky flavor and soy bacony bits!)
To taste:
salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin,
or whatever other spices you like for taco meat

Drain jackfruit, squeeze out brine, and shred as you would pulled pork. Heat Magic Vegan Bacon Grease (or plain coconut oil) over medium heat. Add jackfruit to pan, stir to coat in oil. Season to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, for another five minutes or so to give spices a chance to cook in.

For the Beans
1/2 C prepared refried beans
1 Tbsp Just Mayo
Frank’s Redhot Sauce, to taste

Heat beans. Stir in mayo and hot sauce.

Other Fillings
Fritos

Optional:
Finely chopped onion, chives, bell pepper, tomato
Shredded lettuce

Assemble in soft taco shells (corn tortillas to keep them gluten free) prepared according to package, or skip the tortillas and simply layer in individual serving bowls. Serves 2 to 3.

Cheese Bread: Vegan, Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo!

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I recently did a spin on a Syrian classic that I haven’t eaten in at least 16 years. Tete’s cheese bread was always a favorite, and I’d been meaning to try a veganized version for a very long time. I’m sure in the future I’ll try just a plain old vegan cheese bread, but sometimes I want to cook things for my friends – and that includes friends who are gluten free, or grain free, or paleo.

This is a very bare bones recipe considering the original version of cheese bread includes eggs and feta mixed into the shredded cheese. Obviously it is not going to taste the same as Tete’s, but if you have an open mind (and mouth), you will be very happy with this little treat.


I stumbled upon a paleo bread recipe that I haven’t been able to find again, it called for chestnut flour (singoda flour = chestnut flour). Be warned – they sell this stuff on Amazon Prime for $10, but I found the exact same amount from the exact same brand for $2.39 at my local Middle Eastern market.

The flour has a unique flavor, almost sweet, with a hint of anise.


For the dough, I used a very simple recipe (below) for a quick bread that requires no rising.


A store bought vegan nut cheese would be paleo, but super expensive. Plus I don’t know of any with a cheddar-type flavor. I used my homemade coconut milk cheese. Traditionally this would be grated and mixed with feta, onions and egg, and lightly seasoned. In this case, the cheese already is already seasoned. I didn’t bother making a vegan feta, and I skipped the eggs completely. And because the cheese was a bit soft, I didn’t even grate it (usually some time in the freezer makes it grate-able).


Anyway. Divide the dough into balls – 16 to 24 depending on how big you want them. I ended up making mine a little smaller and getting around 20 or so. Flatten the dough balls and press them out until they’re about 1/4″ thick.


Add sliced coconut milk cheese.


Add finely chopped onion. Alternatively, you can do very thin slices of onion.


Now switch to the chrome filter so the cheese bread looks like abstract art from the 60s 🙂


In these last couple pictures, this is an oil-free batch I made, replacing the olive oil with a bit of tahini. I also omitted the almond meal because I am cheap 🙂 It worked and tasted just fine, but the dough is a little sturdier with the almond meal.


Paleo Crust, with oil:
2 C chestnut flour
1/2 C almond meal
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 chia eggs
water

Toppings
coconut milk cheese
onions, chopped or sliced.

Preheat oven to 325.
Combine first three ingredients in a medium bowl. Make a well in the center and add olive oil and chia eggs. Stir to combine, then mix with hands until dough forms. If it’s too dry, add water just a little at a time.
Divide the dough into 16 to 24 equal pieces, depending on what size you want. Roll each piece into a ball, and place them on a parchment lined baking tray. Flatten each ball, then press them out into dough rounds about 1/4″ thick.
Place a slice of coconut cheese on each round. Top with onions.

Bake cheese bread at 325 for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown around the edges.

For an oil free crust, simply substitute tahini for olive oil. You may also choose to use 2 1/2 C chestnut flour and omit the almond meal. This will result in a stickier dough, but it bakes up just fine.

Vegan Veggie Quesadillas

Just wanted to quickly show off the quesadillas I made using my vegan coconut milk cheese & the oat mozzarella recipe I found on another blog. The oat mozzarella was moulded in a greased bowl and came out really shiny looking, like jello! But it works just fine, and looks a little cheezlier once you cut it 🙂


So, the oat mozzarella is pretty soft. You can cut it if you’re careful, and it spreads very easily.


I added a little Frank’s Redhot Sauce, and a TON of onion.


Spread some avocado on the other tortilla, and you really don’t need anything else.


I heated these for a few minutes on each side, in a dry pan over low medium heat.


Both the oat mozzarella and the coconut milk cheese got nice and melty. I ate them on their own, but they’d be great with a bean dip and cashew cream!

Oh yeah, and they’re oil free, perfect for a strict fasting day. Aaaaand in these corn tortillas, they’re gluten free!

Time is Running Out: Enter to WIN Today!!! Qrunch Burgers & Daiya Cheese

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Did you know both Daiya Cheese and Qrunch Burgers are vegan and gluten free? It’s true.

And remember: You have until FRIDAY, March 6, at 10:00pm EST to enter the giveaway for coupons for FREE products, and discounts. I’m having a great time reading everyone’s recipe ideas!

Click Here For Details & To Enter the Giveaway!!!

Good luck to you all!