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Quinoa Chickpea Dressing

While we didn’t have this with Thanksgiving dinner, I made it this past week with a dinner. It seemed perfect for a very cold evening, especially after Kirk and Walker came back up from the lake with red noses from the crisp air.

And I could see leaving behind my cornbread dressing concoctions for this creation. Vegan, gluten-free, plant-based and full of flavor!

Quinoa Chickpea Dressing

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch green onions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 crisp apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
  • 2/3 cup Dried Cherries
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 15 ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 large lemon, zested and juiced
  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste

Directions:

Rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, shake off. Add it and the broth to a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, turn to medium-low, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°m lightly oil and 8×8″ glass baking dish.

Heat a large skillet over medium, add oil, green onions, celery, apples and thyme, sauté until tender, stir in cherries and chickpeas, heat through. Take off heat, stir in lemon zest and juice and cooked quinoa.

Season to taste, spread in prepared dish, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Serves 8, as a side dish, 4 for a meal.

~Sarah

PS: Baby Alistaire says to everyone “Well!”

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Indulgent caramel sauce that is vegan, gluten-free and is creamy, drizzling over anything you could desire? I was inspired by this recipe and had to try it out last night with my apple, after dinner.

It is awesome both at room temperature soft and cold from the refrigerator, almost like fudge at that point. A small ball of it melts into morning oats like nothing else! I was shocked at how good this tasted, I cannot keep Walker (The Toddler) out of it, he begs me for another spoonful of it cold. And yet, it requires no cooking and is ready in minutes….and with raw almond butter and not melting the coconut oil you can make this treat mostly raw (or use raw agave for the maple syrup).

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup natural almond butter
  • ½ cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Directions:

Add all the ingredients to a food processor bowl. Process on high until smooth, scraping as needed to get an even caramel like texture. Using melted coconut oil speeds this up, it will only take 2 minutes or so., If you use solid coconut oil, expect 4 to 6 minutes.

Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

~Sarah

Book Review: Plant-Based Nutrition and Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking

    Two new books to talk about:

I am still on the fence after reading The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition.

“Plant Based Nutrition” is another term for “vegan/vegetarianism” so I was happy to have a chance to read the book over. It isn’t a cookbook, but rather a ‘living life’ book, a manual if you will that does happen to have some recipes included (about 45 of them).

While I agree with a lot of what is said in the book some of it went against my own views. But that is OK, everyone has their own take on life. I would say the book is a starting point for those wanting to change their lifestyle and it could help. But what had interested me most was the section on “Plant Based Pregnancy and Beyond” (Chapter 11) and frankly…it kind of left me feeling annoyed at the author. It was oddly judgmental (but then to be fair that could be my pregnancy hormones interpreting it this way). Using the term “waddle” just irked me for some reason (page 146). “….those who gain a lot of weight can barely waddle through their day”. Eventually almost all women waddle by the end, especially after the baby has dropped. To align waddling with excess weight gain is patronizing. Waddling happens. Of course there are super women out there who gained no weight, had a 1 hour labor and the baby pushed out in 2 short pushes and never waddled. Yeah, well I am not one of those and most of us are not! But more so….if numbers don’t matter why then include a weight gain chart for women that is lower than what many OB’s recommend? I don’t know. As well the author is against supplements (she has her reasons and yes, some are valid) but I feel that pregnancy isn’t the time to mess around. Of course, this is coming from someone who is taking 3 iron pills a day to just meet the base cut off for anemia. My frustration is that overall we do live a plant-based lifestyle but it isn’t some “miracle” answer to everything. I am always looking for new ideas to use my favorite whole foods in our diet but at the same time I can’t ignore my body. I fell off the full vegan diet months ago when my anemia became so bad. Sometimes one just has to listen to the voice that says “Go eat a steak“. (A couple of months back a blog I follow talked about her fantastic iron levels due to her raw juicing during her pregnancy and all I could think of was “yeah, the last thing I crave is raw spinach and kale juice” when we all know all I want is an entire box of Starbucks Cranberry Bliss Bars…..)

But enough of my rant on the pregnancy section. A book cannot be everything for everyone. It can though help those looking for a change. If you go in with an open mind and a desire to learn a new way…it may well help. The book does have a lot of solid information and a smattering of recipes to get one going.

But on the other hand, the second book (co-0authored by the author of the first book), is the complete opposite and I found plenty to love.

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Gluten-Free Vegan Cooking is a good comprehensive cookbook. It starts off with short and easy to read intro section, full of the basics and then gets to what counts – the recipes. And you get quite a few, a good 80% of the book is recipes. From Breakfast, to Baked Goods, to Snacks to Lunches, an extensive Dinner section and of course plenty of Desserts. If you are looking for new and tasty ideas, do check out this cookbook, you won’t be disappointed.

One basic recipe that caught my eye is in the start of the book, on page 35, for making DIY Baking Powder. Simple but easy to do – and an easy (and cheap) way to avoid gluten in processed products.

DIY Baking Powder

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp cream of tartar (found in the spice section)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cornstarch

Directions:

In a small bowl, mix cream of tartar, baking soda and cornstarch together until well combined.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Makes 4 teaspoons.

~Sarah

FTC Disclaimer: We received copies of these books for potential review.

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