Curry Sweet Potato Stew

IMG_6948

In my last blog post, I shared Jack’s food allergy diagnosis. It forced us into a wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and cashew-free diet. I am have been avoiding most of nuts—besides peanuts, he tested negative for those–until more testing is done too. The other day I realized Jack won’t be able to eat most Indian foods now because they contain ghee. My little Fijian baby loves going to Indian restaurants! So I decided to make my own little curry creation that he could eat.

Curry Sweet Potato StewIMG_6949

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 tbs coconut oil
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, mince
1/4 inch of ginger root, peeled and minced
1 tbs curry powder
1/2 tbs mango powder
1/2 tbs ground coriander
1 tbs gram masala
1/2 tbs paprika
Red chili flakes, to taste
1 can of coconut milk
2 cups spinach, chopped
Salt to taste

Add the quartered sweet potatoes to a large pot of cold water. Bring to boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium high and boil until tender.

While that’s going, add the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium heat.

Once it the oil is heat, add the bell pepper. Cook until tender.

Add shallots, garlic and ginger. Cook until the shallots are soft, about 2-3 minutes.

Add the curry powder, mango powder, ground coriander, gram masala, paprika, and chili flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.

Once the potatoes are ready, drain and return to the pot.

Mash them slightly. A few chunks left over are fine, we aren’t making a soup.

Add the spice and veggie mixture to the pot.

Add the coconut milk to the pot and mix well.

Season with salt as desired.

IMG_6950

And there you have it! A tasty pot of sweet potato stew!

IMG_6954The boys are pan-fried chicken and I had lentils. Jack decided he wanted lentils later too. A lovely warm dish for the fall!

Brownie Energy Balls

IMG_4443

Every Friday this summer, Jack and I will be leading a hike with Hike It Baby. Since toddlers (and mamas) get hungry when working up a sweat, I decided to make treats to take with us. This week I made a variation of the recipe I came across called Five Ingredient Ginger Brownies.  I changed the recipe based on what I had in the house and what Jack likes. The peanut butter and almonds are great protein and energy. The ginger gives it a little zing for a pick-me-up. And who doesn’t love a bit of good dark chocolate!

Brownie Energy BallsIMG_4445

7 ounces of pitted dates
2 tbs almond flour
2 tbs smooth peanut butter
1 tps minced ginger
2 tbs cocoa powder
Unsweetened shredded coconut 

Blend everything but the coconut in a food processor until it comes together. It will make loose dough ball when ready.

Roll into any size ball you desire. I went with bite size.

Sprinkle as much shredded as you like onto a plate. Roll the balls in the coconut to coat.

Eat them now or place in fridge for a hour if you want them firmer.

15 - 1 (3)

Pop them in a bag and enjoy them out on the trail! Or your couch….no one will know 🙂

Chocolate Mousse Parfait

IMG_3607

Happy (late) Mother’s Day! I hope you all had a day full of love and happiness! And I hope you called your mom!

We are finally all settled in Oregon (for now at least) and I can cook again! So I made my mom a little treat. She didn’t want a big fuss, but I love her so much that she deserves something special. I just made the recipe up. It’s similar to Chocolate Mouse I made before, but with a few more easy layers. It’s simple, no baking required, and full of protein!

 Chocolate Mousse ParfaitIMG_3608

  • 1/3 cup raw pecans
  • 1/3 cup raw walnuts
  • Coconut Oil (as needed)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • 1/2 block of tofu (I used firm, but silken would be better), drained
  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 1 cup vanilla coconut yogurt

In a food processor, add the pecans and walnuts. Grind into crumbles that pack together. Add coconut oil as needed to get it to come together. Add a pinch of salt and cinnamon for flavor.

Press nut mixture into a pan like a crust. I used a medium Pyrex bowl so you could see the layers.

Rinse out the food processor and add the tofu and banana, blend together well.

To melt the chocolate chips, add them to a microwave safe bowl and microwave them for 45 seconds. Stir and the chips should melt. If not, put it back in for 15 seconds and stir again. Repeat as needed until they are all melted.

Add the melted chocolate to the food processor and blend well.

Pour the chocolate mixture over the nut crust and smooth the top out.

Spread the yogurt over the chocolate mixture evenly.

Lastly, garnish with some nuts, if desired.

Covered and let it set-up in the fridge for at least two hours.

Then scoop out and enjoy!

IMG_3615 (1)

It’s nothing fancy, but healthy and tasty. Make one for your momma today!

 

 

 

Coconut Brownies

I felt patriotic and nice last week, so I made brownies for Independence Day. Michael requested brownies, so I decided to make a big batch and take half to work. To make them patriotic, I decided on red and blue sprinkles, mainly because I already had some at home. For the white, I decided against doing plain frosting. It was just too traditional and boring. I decided on shredded coconut instead, since I was already using coconut oil in the batter. Might as well just keep the same flavors going.

I used box mix for this, mainly because it was just easier. Vegan box mixes are not that hard to find, just read the ingredients. I do not eat processed and packaged foods that often, but a treat once in awhile is always nice.
I made double batch, but you can always just half the recipe and make one.
Coconut Brownies
2 boxes of chewy brownie mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp cornstarch
1.5 cups vanilla soy milk
1 can of chocolate frosting (I used Duncan Hines)
2 cups shredded sweetened coconut
Red sprinkles
Blue Sprinkles
Pre-heat the oven according to the temperature on the box.
Spray a baking pan (I used a 9×11) with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine brownie mix, coconut oil, applesauce, cornstarch, and soy milk. Stir until smooth.
Pour the batter into the baking sheet and cook according to the directions on the package.
Remove from oven and let cool completely.
Once cool, spread on the frosting in a light layer. No need to make it fancy, it’s just there to make the coconut shreds stay.
Cover the frosting with the shredded coconut, covering up as much of the brown as possible.
Next sprinkle on some red and blue sprinkles.
Now you have a patriotic treat!
Michael and my coworkers liked them, yeah! And, if you change the sprinkle colors, they could be for any holiday. Red and green for Christmas. Yellow, pink, and purple for Easter. Purple, gold, and green for Mardi Gras. Black and Orange for Halloween. In your favorite teams colors for the Superbowl or the World Series too. Of what chromatic fun!

Haupia, Coconut Pudding

Picture from here

Sometimes I browse the bakery section at normal grocery stores to see how horrible those innocent looking treats really are to remind myself why I am vegan. I know that sounds weird, but I wish everyone would do this just once. Take the time to actually read the ingredients in those doughnuts or cakes, and you will probably never want to eat them again. But one day I came across something I had never seen before. It was a small little white square covered with shredded coconut. It had only a few simple ingredients, was fairly low in fat and calories, and was made at a local bakery. And it was vegan. I bought the little white square and surprised when I bit into it. It was squishy like gelatin, but sweet and coconutty. I am not a fan of gummy or jelly things, but I love coconut so I was torn on whether I liked the treat or not. And to be honest, I am still torn. Yet, this is the second time I have made this dessert at home.

Haupia is a technically coconut pudding made from starch and coconut milk, but has the texture of gelatin. Gelatin is not vegan (ever heard the saying “take the horse to the glue factory”?) so I was kind of skeptical that the haupia square at the store was labeled properly. But my skepticism was set aside when my homemade version was just as gelatinous.

I can’t find much information on the history of haupia besides it became popular after World War II and was originally made with arrowroot starch. It is easy to make but requires your full attention while cooking. This recipe is based on two fairly similar recipes, one from a luau recipe website and one from Food.com. Both recipes call for cornstarch, which I don’t use that often so I usually don’t keep in the cupboard.  I was about to cave and buy some when I realized that Enger-G Egg Replacer, which I usually have on hand because it is so versatile, is made from starch. So I gave it a shot and it worked just fine.

A side note about canned coconut milk I mentioned in my Yellow Curry post: light coconut milk is a waste of money.  It is just watered down normal coconut milk and usually costs more. Save the money and just add water yourself if you want cut down on calories.

Haupia
1 and 1/2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Enger-G Egg Replacer or cornstarch
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt

 

In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut milk, water, and sugar over medium heat while continuously whisking.

When it is about to boil, gradually add the egg replacer or starch and continue to whisk.

When it starts to thicken slightly, add the vanilla, salt, and shredded coconut flakes and continue to whisk.

Remove from the heat when it is smooth but as thick as pudding.

Pour into desired dish and chill for at least two hours so it can fully set up. Here is a little advice on what shape of dish to use. The first time I made this, I tried to replicate the one I got from the store so I used a square pan so it would be just as thick. But the pan was too small so it came out really thick. Since I don’t like squishy/gelatin things, I used a sheet pan this time so it would be thinner. But it was too thin and did not come out of the pan very nicely. So, I next time I make this I am going to use medium-sized square pan, and shoot for around 1/2 inch thickness.

Since they did not come out of the pan in a decent looking form, I didn’t take any final pictures. But I promise they were yummy, if you like squishy things that is. I topped mine with some additional shredded coconut too, it helped cut down on the squishyness.

Peaches and Cream Oatmeal

Most mornings I eat oatmeal for breakfast. It’s cheap, filling, and very good for you. Want to know why doctors recommend it for people with high cholesterol? Pour some dry oatmeal into a cup then pour some oil on top. The oats will suck the oil right up. That is essentially what it does to the fat in your blood. I’ll post a few links at the bottom that will explain more.

I had some canned peaches in the cupboard so I thought some peaches and cream oatmeal would be a nice way to kick off my Monday. Obviously being vegan I don’t use real cream, but I use something even better: chilled coconut milk. When you chill coconut milk it thickens into a cream. However, it thins out again when it warms up, but it will last long enough for you to eat it. It’s really easy to do, just stick a can of coconut milk in the fridge for at least an hour. Open it up and there you go, a can of coconut cream.

This is one of my favorite breakfasts. The peaches and shredded coconuts are sweet enough that you don’t need to add any extra sugar. This recipe makes one serving, but can be easily multiplied for more.

\
Peaches and Cream Oatmeal
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup water
1/2 cup peaches, canned or fresh, drained and cut into slices
1 scoop (mine was pretty generous) chilled coconut milk
1 tbs shredded coconut

Add the oatmeal and water together in a small bowl. Microwave for two minutes, or according to the package directions. It should be completely cooked.

Add the peaches, then top with coconut milk, and sprinkle on the shredded coconut.

Stir together and enjoy!

Here a few links that explain more:
http://www.webmd.com/cholesterol-management/features/the-new-cholesterol-diet-oatmeal-oat-bran
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cholesterol/CL00002

Yellow Vegetable Curry

I LOVE coconut curry. Red, green, yellow—doesn’t matter, I love them all. I fell in love with curry the moment I tasted the Green Curry from Sweet Basil in Eugene, Oregon. Eggplant, bamboo shoots, and green peppers is my favorite combination.  It’s my ultimate comfort food—and it will definitely clear-out your sinuses if you get it hot enough. I eat it so often that I’ve had to up my spice level from medium to hot recently. Curry is still good mild, so don’t let it scare you away. Fresh vegetables smothered in a creamy sauce over fragrant rice, what’s not to love?  

There are tons of good curry recipes out there and after trying several of them, came up with this recipe based on my own tastes. Because it is fairly basic, you can easily adjust it to your preferences. You can put in your favorite veggies and toppings.

As for the hot level, every teaspoon of chili sauce will kick it up a notch. For mild, one teaspoon. Medium, two. And hot, three. And for Thai hot (I am still working my way up to that), four or five.

I strongly suggest if you have never had curry before, to go with only one teaspoon. It would be a shame if it was too hot for you to enjoy.

 

Not as thick as the can stuff, but still good.

Most recipes call for canned coconut milk. Don’t bother with “light” coconut milk. It’s just watered down and usually costs more. If you want to cut down on calories, water it down yourself and save some money.  I came across boxed coconut milk from So Delicious today and thought I would try it in the curry. It was the same price as a can but 3 times the amount. It’s not as concentrated but I did not notice a big difference in the sauce. By the way, they make AMAZING ice cream too.

Yellow Vegetable Curry
Olive or peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tbs minced ginger
1 can or 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk
1 tbs sugar (optional, but I like mine a bit sweet)
1 tbs yellow curry powder or 1/2 tbs yellow curry paste
1 tbs cumin
1 tbs tumeric
1/2 cinnamon
1 tbs soy sauce
1 to 4 tps chili sauce (can be sweet or standard), depending on personal hotness level
3 Japanese eggplant
1 cup fresh green beans
2 red or green peppers
3 carrots

I used 3 and 1/2 tsp, I like to sweat after my curry

Saute garlic and ginger in a little oil, until slightly golden. Add coconut milk, sugar, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and soy sauce. Whisk together, then add desired amount of chili sauce. Cook for about 5 minutes.
                               

         
Chop all the veggies into bite-sized pieces. Remember to snap the ends off the green beans.

I really suggest using fresh veggies, frozen ones get too soggy in the curry sauce. I got all my veggies, except the carrots, from the Hilo Farmers Market.

Always try to buy local organic produce if you can, it really does taste better and it’s always good to support local businesses. If these veggies aren’t in season where you live, use ones that are, it will be just as good. I’m lucky to live in a tropical climate that grows most veggies all year round.

Saute the veggies in a little oil over medium heat, just until the carrots soften a bit and the eggplant starts to sweat. Don’t over cook them now, they will get too mushy in the sauce.

Pour the curry sauce in with the veggies and mix together well. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring as needed so it doesn’t burn.

Curry is so delicious that you can eat it on its own, but it goes great over a grain too. I served mine over brown rice. I also suggest jasmine rice, mainly because it smells so amazing.

Like my new bowl?

Fresh basil on top is a wonderful addition…but I forgot to buy some at the store.

Curry is also wonderful for your health. Here is an article from USA Today I found awhile back. And check out good ol’ Wikipedia for its article on curry too.

Behold the power of spices