Nutrition Ambition

Welcome to my vegan food blog! When it comes to food, my philosophy is that taking time to lovingly prepare your own meals can result in better health and greater life satisfaction. I use natural, whole ingredients to create nourishing, exciting meals which replenish mind, body and spirit. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Cranberry Pecan Wild Rice

This creation was inspired by one of my favorite things to get around Thanksgiving time at my local natural food store--their cranberry pecan rice. It's so yummy and simple and reminds me of the holidays. Now that it's autumn, I thought it would be perfect to make myself. So here's how to make it:
* 1 cup uncooked wild rice
* 3 cups water
* 2 green onions chopped
* 1/3 cup dried cranberries
* 1/3 cup toasted pecans, roughly chopped
* salt and black pepper to taste
Rinse the rice thoroughly, then add it to a medium-size sauce pan along with 3 cups of water. Put the lid on and bring to a boil, then lower the heat to low and simmer for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Stir in the remaining ingredients and serve chilled or at room temperature. Of course, you can adjust the onion, pecans and cranberry amounts to your liking, as well as expand it to make as much as you need.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Vegetable Garbanzo Curry

On chilly autumn days, Rutiger and I crave warm, rich, hearty vegetable curry. Turmeric, a component of the curry powder is a powerful anti-cancer herb, and tastes heavenly to boot. You can add any veggies you want (I usually add sweet potato but was out this time) in addition to tofu or tempeh if you so desire. This recipe makes about 4-5 good servings, so scale it down if you are cooking for one, unless you want lots of leftovers. Enjoy!
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 1/2-2 teaspoons curry powder
* 1 teaspoon turmeric
* several pinches cayenne pepper
* 1-15 oz can coconut milk
* 1 small head cauliflower, cut into large florettes
* 2 large carrots, scrubbed and cut into moons
* 1 medium sweet potato, cut into bite-size chunks
* handful of green beans, fresh or frozen
* 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans
* Liquid aminos or salt, to taste
* Cooked brown or Basmati rice, optional
Begin by cooking the garlic in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat just for about 30 seconds. Add in the spices and stir around. Next, add the cauliflower, potato, and carrots and stir to coat the veggies in the wonderful spices. Pour in the coconut milk and stir. Put a lid on the pan and bring all this fabulousness to a strong simmer. Lower the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until the veggies are tender, gently stirring occasionally. Add in the remaining ingredients and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve over rice if you wish.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Chocolate Mousse Pie

Oh my goodness...this chocolate mousse pie is absolutely the most fantastic dessert to ever pass my lips. It is ridiculously smooth, creamy and rich without being too sweet. Don't tell anyone that it's made with tofu until they finish eating it, they'll never believe you! You have to make this--it really couldn't be easier or more tasty.
* 1 package extra-firm silken tofu
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons high-quality vegan chocolate chips (I use Belgian dark--sooo creamy and yummy)
* Pie shell (graham cracker or cookie), optional
* toppings/garnishes: Tofu whipped cream, berries, fruit, chocolate chips or shavings, edible flowers, etc. Optional
First, put the tofu and vanilla in a blender or food processor and blend until creamy, scraping down the sides as needed. Then, melt the chocolate in the microwave or in a double-boiler. Add melted chocolate to the food processor with the tofu and blend until it reaches an even light-brown color. You can either pour this into a pie crust OR fill pretty little bowls or glasses with the mousse. Either way, add desired garnishes and chill until cool and set, about 20 minutes.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Goji Berries!

I was very elated to see Goji Berries in the bulk section at the natural foods store on my most recent shopping trip. I have been hearing a lot about them lately and really wanted to try them. These special little dried berries pack a nutritious punch. Check out Nature's First Law to learn more about this superfood. They taste slightly bitter and a little sweet/fruity as well as very earthy. Give Goji berries a chance!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A Celebration Dinner

To celebrate my sister moving into her first apartment, we made this meal together for our family. On the left, we have some yummy curry couscous- stuffed peppers. Black beans and a green salad round out this dinner in a most delicious way. The makings for the couscous was inspired by the recipe for "fruited couscous" from Nava Atlas's wonderful book, The Vegetarian Family Cookbook. I changed it slightly so I could publish it here:
You'll need:
* 3-5 medium or large size bell peppers, any color (try to get ones with relatively flat bottoms)
* About 2 cups cooked whole wheat couscous
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 cup minced onion
* 1/2 cup chopped apple, peeled
* handful of raisins
* handful of dried apricots, chopped in small pieces
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* orange juice, as needed to moisten
* handful of almonds, roughly chopped
* salt, to taste
Begin by heating the olive oil over medium heat in a small saute pan. Add the onion and cook until it is soft. Meanwhile, slice the tops off the peppers and scoop out the seeds. Don't throw away the tops. Next, mix together the remaining ingredients, including the cooked onion, in a large mixing bowl. Add enough orange juice to moisten the mixture, about 4 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. Fill the peppers with the couscous, almost to the top. Replace the tops on the peppers and place them in a baking dish. Add about 3 tablespoons of water in the bottom of the dish and cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, until the peppers are tender.
My Favorite Black Beans:
These beans go perfectly with the stuffed peppers, being a nice savory complement to the sweet couscous.
* 2 15-OZ cans black beans, drained of about 70% of the liquid
* 1 bay leaf
* A couple pinches cayenne pepper
* 2-3 teaspoons Braggs liquid aminos
* 2 garlic cloves, chopped
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
In a medium-size sauce pan, heat the oil and garlic over medium heat, about 1 minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a simmer. Cover, and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes, then remove the lid and cook over low heat until thick, about 15 minutes. Remove the bay leaf before serving.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Stuffed Mushrooms

Rutiger had a long day at school and work yesterday, so I carefully planned to have this yummy meal on the table when he got home. Did I mention these stuffed mushrooms are his favorite dinner main-dish? Well, they are, as he will emphatically proclaim. Alongside these amazing mushrooms are broccoli and butternut squash with raisins and maple syrup. Here's how to make them:
You'll need:
* 3-4 LARGE portabella mushroom caps (ones that are about 4-5 inches across), cleaned and dried off
* 1 1/2 cups whole grain bread crumbs
* 1 tablespoon olive oil
* 1 small onion, chopped small
* 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
* 2 teaspoons Bragg's liquid aminos
* black pepper, to taste
* 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram or a few pinches dried sage
* 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
First, saute the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Toss with the bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, aminos, black pepper and herbs in a small mixing bowl. Then, lay out your mushrooms (belly-up) on a non-stick baking sheet and fill each one with the breadcrumb mixture, packing it down firmly inside the mushroom. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes, until the mushrooms are slightly shrunken and the breadcrumbs are browned on top.