Christmas is a time of celebration and joy! We will be traveling tomorrow to see family in Houston for the holidays, but we wanted to wish everyone a blessed season.
What are your favorite holiday foods? For dessert, we love homemade oatmeal cookies, spice cookies, or fudgy brownies. We also love warm squash dishes, sweet potatoes, brussel sprouts, and homemade breads. What are your favorite Christmas Carols? Our absolute favorite is "O Holy Night". We also love "I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day", "The Little Drummer Boy", "The First Noel", and "Carol of the Bells". The "Believe" song from Polor Express is good too!
What is your favorite tradition of Christmas time? Ours is hanging up all the ornaments and reminiscing over when, where, or from whom we received them. Some of our ornaments come from our travels such as from Germany, some come from family members, or some were our own creations when we would make crafts or paint ornaments as children.
What is your favorite moment during the holiday season? Ours of course is Christmas day, going to morning mass and celebration the birth of Christ, and then having the day to relax with family. This year is quite different for us, because we now live in Oregon away from family. Our mom is making some vegan dishes and cookies for us to enjoy. We will see some of our family, but not everyone unfortunately. But it will be nice to go to morning mass with our mom, stepdad, and grandparents, and then just visiting with the 'whole gang'! We hope your Christmas is filled with peace and love!
P.S. We will still be in the Christmas spirit when we come back, and we definetely want to bake spice cookies, pumpkin pie, and have vegan egg nog!
Last Sunday was Oregon's official start of winter, even though it doesn't really start until the 21st. We've been having snow, snow/rain, and just yukky winter weather all week. We are quite sick of it, b/c not only can we not drive in it (our back tires are just skidding and we don't have enough traction) but we are badly in need of groceries and in need of getting our flat tire fixed!
So enough about our frustrations-
How about enjoyable meals to make you all warm and delightful inside?
We made Veganomicon's Meatball Bean Balls, but instead of using kidney beans, we used garbanzo beans. Of course we made some more changes, but they turned out delicious! (We used some wheat germ in place of some bread crumbs, we used less thyme, & we added nutritional yeast)So addicting to pop a ball in your mouth! We served them with spiral pasta and the best spaghetti sauce - Seeds of Change Tomato Basil. We loved these bean balls so much, we made another batch, but with a curry flavor! We used 1 1/2 tsp curry mustard, 2 Tb wheat germ and 1/4 cup each of cornmeal and oats instead of the bread crumbs, more oregano and no thyme, and some lemon juice. These were delicious with curry mustard dressing and served with homemade biscuits, greens, and cranberry sauce. Other ideas we want to experiment with include black bean Mexican balls, falafels, and balsamic flavored balls.
We had the wonderful opportunity to receive a full box of Larabars, variety pack, all for free! Of course, Larabars are one of the most natural and nutritious snack bars we know of. No extracts, sugar, grains, protein added, etc...just pure fruit and nuts! What are all of your favorite flavors? Although all of them are great, we especially enjoy key lime, cinnamon roll, pecan pie, and apple pie. I remember the first time we tried ginger we didn't care for it, but this recent time that we had it, it was actually very tasty - spiced with a zing. Their new coconut cream flavor is exactly what it says - richly coconuty. The peanut butter flavor we can't say if it is good, because we try to avoid peanuts, but for a peanut butter snack, this is the way to go. Not a usual PB cookie with processed unhealthy fats and sugar!
Another great company offering nutritious vegan snacks is Healthy Baking Co., which sells Suncakes and Heart Thrives. If you take a photo showing how much you love to eat Heart Thrives, you may have the opportunity to receive 2 dozen free bars if they decide to post your photo online. You can also get 6 free bars just from being a first time customer! Here's the photo we submitted: We love the Heart Thrives- it contains calcium for strong bones, fiber, and soy. Heart Thrives are wonderful because they can be eaten for breakfast, snack, or dessert in many ways. Try them slightly heated, straight from the freezer, with jam, with nut butter or coconut butter, toasted, crumbled in yogurt or ice cream, or sprinkled with some cinnamon! They aren't too sweet and they are incredibly filling.
Which flavors did we enjoy the most? This was a tough decision, but we chose Lemon Poppyseed, Raisin Spice, and Apple as our top three. The other great flavors include chocolate chip, date, apricot, and cranberry.
Hope everyone is safe and warm during this cold winter season! Go grab a Heart Thrive and/or Larabar, drink a cup of tea, open a good book, and just relax.... Best wishes, LK Sisters
An easy, decadent, melt-in-your-mouth, sweet-n-spiced cinnamon roll muffin with a subtle coconut flare! These muffins are our own creation in order to make a cinnamon roll that would take less time and effort but would be soft and cinnamony! Coconut Cinnamon Roll Muffins
muffin ingredients: 2 tsp baking powder 1-2 dashes each of allspice and nutmeg 1/4 tsp cinnamon 1/3 cup cornmeal 3/4 cup 10 grain flour or whole wheat flour (or other flour) 3/4 cup + 1 Tb kamut flour 1/3 cup succanat sugar 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp coconut extract 2 Tb oil 2 Tb coconut, macadamia, or cashew butter 3/4 cup soymilk
date filling: 6-8 fresh dates, chopped and pitted 1/2-3/4 tsp cinnamon 1/3 cup coconut butter extra coconut butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix muffin dry ingredients together, then add wet ingredients and mix until just blended. Process date filling in a food processor until very smooth. Spread half of the batter into a mini muffin pan, then spread about half of the filling gently over the batter. Top with the rest of the muffin batter, sprinkle muffins with cinnamon, then bake in the oven for 15 minutes (make sure not to overbake in order to maintain a soft moist muffin). Cool slightly, and when ready to serve, top generously with the rest of the date filling and extra coconut butter. Enjoy for breakfast or as a treat!
Other variations: lemon, orange, pumpkin, fig, egg nog spice, apple... The kamut flour is a finer grain flour that makes these muffins buttery soft! Triticalle flour would work well too. You don't have to use coconut butter either, but it makes a nice spread and a nice frosting. The best part is these have no margarine/butter, no yeast, no rolling and slicing, and no waiting for the dough to rise!
We've been blessed with a wonderful DAD to come visit us for Thanksgiving, now that we are miles away from our family down in Texas. And his visit couldn't have been more memorable! He always teaches us to smile, have fun, be patient, and to just enjoy life!He is so wonderful; he was even vegan for the full 3 days he was here! Now he won't keep it up (b/c he says it's hard to change habits and he still likes his meat), but he is so easy going and very supportive. He gave us so many compliments about our cooking - "Everything is soo flavorful", "Wow this is delicious", and "I don't want to go back home to bland boring food". He made us smile and light up each time he enjoyed our food. Thanksgiving was wonderful too in that it was our first full vegan Thanksgiving, because we cooked all the food! Anyways, as for the delicious food we've been having this past week...
Our Thanksgiving meal: Danish Squash & Apple curry puree, Homemade Pecan Whole Wheat Bread, Walnut Pecan Patties with Herb Gravy, and Steamed Asparagus. Excellent!
For desert, German Chocolate Fudge and Apple Pie - both recipes are keepers! For the fudge we mixed coconut butter, cocoa powder, chopped pecans, rolled spelt flakes (or oats), and a tad bit of nut butter and agave. You can refrigerate it for a 'fudge' softer consistency, or freeze it for a firmer fudge. We finally made WHF's Apple tart, but adjusted it and made a walnut-pecan-pumpkin seed-buckwheat-date crust, omitted the raisins, and used apple pie spice. Wow the crust was so good, and we like this recipe b/c there is no margarine or oil!
For leftovers here are some ideas!
Roasted beets, carrots, and turnips with walnut pecan patties and pecan whole wheat bread
Winter Squash Apple Puree Soup with salad
Just simply bread and olive oil, or walnut pecan sandwich with gravy and squash - all the "fixin's" FYI - if you have lots of leftover gravy, why not add it to rice dishes or ... even tamales!
For the remainder of Dad's visit, he loved the Thai Coconut Dish, the Creamy Lima Bean n' Beet Soup, the whole grain bagel-rolls, the coconut cinnamon roll muffins, and the fruit smoothies!
The Cinnamon Roll Muffins are perhaps the best cinnamon rolls and muffin recipe we've ever made and tried! We were craving cinnamon rolls, but didn't want to be slaving in the kitchen for hours as we would for a usual cinnamon roll recipe. So we came up with these and they were a hit! Our dad loved them! So soft and moist and cinnamony and coconuty too. We'll post the recipe soon!
Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving full of loving memories and tasty food. We love the holidays because it reminds us of our childhood, of wonderful smells from the kitchen, and especially of family. And we are grateful for vegans & vegetarians and all of our readers! - LK Sisters
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie 1/2 -2/3 cup pumpkin puree 1- 1 1/4 cup soy milk ~ 1/3 cup frozen bananas 3-4 generous dashes pumpkin pie spice ~ 2 tsp molasses and 1 tsp agave, optional 1 individual carton vanilla soy yogurt, optional
Puree in a blender until smooth. Then enjoy!
Pumpkin Pudding (with tofu)
~2/3 cup pumpkin puree, or to your liking 1 packet of vanilla pudding mix ( we used Mori Nu) 1 pack firm tofu dashes of pumpkin pie spice
Blend until smooth, then refrigerate to firm up.
Egg Nog Smoothie (no measuring) 1 individual carton vanilla soy yogurt soy milk (enough for a good consistency to thin it out) frozen bananas dashes of nutmeg dash of cinnamon dash of allspice some coconut butter, optional
Blend into smooth. Enjoy!
Banana Pumpkin Applesauce
1 banana 2 large apples 1/4 cup pumpkin puree dashes of cinnamon
This past week we've made lots of healthy tasty meals, but we were unbelievably busy at work that we didn't take any pictures. We made a creamy pumpkin pasta dish made with large wheat shells, tofu/pumpkin 'ricotta' filling, onions, garlic, and marinara sauce. Delicious and made enough for 8 people! We also enjoyed burritos with homemade whole wheat tortillas, revised from the King Arthur Whole Grain cookbook.
Being apart of the Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA), by buying produce for the winter season from a local farmer, has been such a great opportunity. We absolutely love all the mixed greens and salad mixes - we have eaten so much more greens than we ever have! Here was a delicious salad with mixed salad greens and stripped sweet raw beets!
With chan dal beans from Bob's Red Mill, we cooked Channa Palak Masala from Happy Herbivore, though we changed it up just slightly. Love homemade soup out of the crockpot! So easy, filling, and warm on a cold wet day in Oregon.
Fall is all about pumpkin and winter squashes! We have such a craving for anything pumpkin/squash. Yummy pumpkin smoothie with bananas, and yummy pumpkin pudding!Veggie Delight recently tagged us to post more about us. So, here goes: Link the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
Facts about us: 1. In junior high and some of highschool, we played violin in the school orchestra, and we took German as our foreign language. We are very passionate about music - we enjoy listening to music and playing the piano, we liked the violin (but got burned out after a while), and we have a guitar sitting in a corner waiting to be learned how to play. We are also interested in culture - we traveled to Germany, we went on exchange for a year in college to New Hampshire, we like cultural foods, and our heritage is a mix of different cultures.
2. Krista is left handed and Lisa is right handed. We are "mirror" twins; even our first cavity was on opposite sides.
3. We like licorice and as children our grandparents would always give us black jelly beans for Easter. Right now we have licorice vegan mints and licorice flavored Nature's Gate toothpaste.
4. As children, we loved to make crafts, color, and be creative. We were very quiet, soft spoken girls who liked to just dive into a project, such as crocheting, making posters, coloring, creating ornaments, etc. Today we still love to work on projects. We make scrapbooks of our unique experiences, create recipe and prayer books, paint ceramics, and create collages to give as gifts to our family members (through websites such as shutterfly.com).
5. We each have a different favorite 'animal' - Lisa's is an elephant and Krista loves dolphins. We have lots of figurines and such of each. Of course, we love cats and dogs, especially our two felines, Emma and Noah!
6. We don't like spending lots, and try to conserve and be good spenders. Sometimes though we do spend alot on food because we like food so much, especially when we see new products or go to cool stores like Whole Foods and Bob's Red Mill.
7. We are followers of Christ and love going to mass every weekend! God is so much a part of us, and He's number one in our life. We love to collect crosses to hang around the house.
Busy bees baking in the kitchen on the weekends! We have stuff to do on our to-do list, but the kitchen is like a magnet and we just spend most of our weekends cooking and trying new dishes. Since we're in the kitchen for a good chunk of the day, our whole apartment is filled with warmth from the oven, along with comforting smells of baked goods! You gotta love carbs and baked goods! Homemade granola (low sugar, low fat, high fiber) from David's Pure Vegetarian Kitchen Cookbook! We will make our own cereal every week now. We used different grains, such as rolled barley flakes, rolled spelt flakes, rolled triticale, and rolled thick oats. This was a very chewy, nutty, and hearty granola - delicious in every bite! A lot cheaper than buying granola, fresher, and healthier.
Versatile, too! For one morning, we served this with pecans, dates, and almond milk. Other ideas: Add some orange zest and dried cranberries, pumpkin pie spice, pecans, dried apricots, figs, dried apples and apple pie spice, hemp seeds, flax, etc....For another morning, we tried it warmed, and this helped to soften the chewy grains.
Bob's Red Mill Pumpernickle Crackers, with pumpernickle meal! We love all of Bob's grains - so unique, fresh, and flavorful. These crackers had a nice crunch. (Although, only people with strong jaws/teeth should eat these, because of the hearty texture of the pumpernickle meal!) Lightly flavored with caraway seeds, these were really tasty with avocado. On a side note, the pumpernickle meal is really tasty on its own, cooked, then drizzled with a little olive oil.
Another David's Pure Vegetarian Kitchen recipe - "sourdough" biscuits, with creamy white beans and lemon juice for the "tang". Really good and soft. Sometimes, it had the taste of creamy white bean soup with a biscuit! Also good with olive oil.
More bread, of course. As bread lovers, we weren't satisfied with just one type of carb...we had to also make oat muffins- using oats, oat bran, and homemade oat milk! I think our blood pressure dropped just from thinking about oats...lol...This weekend, we also made homemade multigrain tortillas and pecan wheat bread! Both recipes came from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking cookbook. Like all of the recipes in that cookbook (although not all vegan, we have to adapt them), the bread came out delicious - nutty, soft, fluffy, heavenly.
With all this talk about bread/baked goods, we're going to go eat some more nourishing carbs! :) Chao!
When we visited Bob's two weeks ago, we stopped in at Whole Foods. You could stay in Whole Foods for hours!
Lot's of sweet and savory snacks! The Cravings Place Cake and Cookie Mix - we made pumpkin pineapple cake by adding in some pumpkin puree, crushed pineapple, and pumpkin pie spice. Very delicious, but not too sweet (we reduced the sugar) so that we could enjoy it as more of a subtly sweet bread. This mix would be good to make all sorts of various cakes and cakey cookies.
A yummy Whole Foods Vegan Almond "Butter/Shortbread" Cookie with Raspberry Jam in the middle!
wonderful whole dates - we've learned to love dates - dates are like candy!
Corn Thins Flax and Soy Flavor - we love these corn-rice cakes! Like the Lundberg Rice cakes, these are good as a snack or for lunch, with avocado or nut butter or spices. We like these because they aren't as crumbly as Lundberg. Also like the multigrain variety.
Lydia's Organics Raw Curry Crackers - Lydia's crackers are our favorite raw crackers. Such a great flavor and crunch. Good plain or with avocado! To bad they discontinued the Curry and Mexican flavored crackers. Other flavors though include nori, Italian, Green, and Fiesta. Guiltless Gourmet Chili Verda - unfortunately, we haven't tried these yet. We were bummed to see in very small print on the back of the package that it "contains dairy". We looked at the ingredient list and there is nothing we know of that is dairy, perhaps the autolyzed yeast extract or the natural flavor? We emailed them asking, but they haven't responded yet! Scharffen Berger 82% Extra Dark Chocolate - this was good with a good bite, but slightly bitter (82% chocolate). We prefer dark chocolate, but perhaps not this dark, more like 75%. But a very high quality chocolate product. Cioccolato di Bruco Fondente Anice Dark Chocolate - a delicious Italian high quality chocolate (72% dark) with a subtle anise seed flavor. We love anything anice, and the chocolate had the perfect bite and richness.
Whole Foods Baked Beans with Maple and Onion - so good and comforting! It's nice to have vegan baked beans - reminds us of our childhood.
Santa Cruz Lime Juice - good to have on hand in the fridge for Mexican style meals, for desserts, or for Thai coconut dishes!
Pumpkin puree - we've been craving anything pumpkin. So far we've made pumpkin cake and pudding, but next week we might make lots of pumpkin dishes and sweets! Just Tomatoes Peas- Another Applaud - WOW! Like an addicting chip.
Happy November! Since Halloween was yesterday, we wanted to get creative in the kitchen and have a "themed" meal. Easy but delicious... ... Black Eye Soup, slimy cucumber salad with bugs, and tornado and moon crescent rolls.
The Black Eye Soup was a variation of our Black Bean Soup, but we added a can of black eyed peas to have "eyes" in our soup. Pureed the black beans but not the black eyed peas.
For the cucumber salad, we just shredded a cucumber and added onion, currants, black pepper and some vinegar. It would be good with some other seasonings, but it was still refreshing and we enjoyed eating our slimy salad with black bugs!
Our Tornado and Moon Crescent Rolls were made with Bob's 10 Grain flour and carrot puree. We were hoping the carrots would make the rolls orange, but it just made it a darker golden brown. The carrot flavor though definetely stood out and made the crescents subtly carroty sweet. Yum!
We had so much fun carving a pumpkin (quite large one too!). The best part - roasting pumpkin seeds! We loved this garlicy cayenne addicting snack.
We are in the mood for comforting Autumn foods, so this morning we baked gingerbread raisin cookies. The recipe is from David's Pure Vegetarian Kitchen Cookbook that we checked out from the library. It is a great book so far with easy but tasty recipes that are quick to make and don't require much ingredients. Another holiday treat we made last night was homemade "egg nog". In the Vitamix, we blended So Delicious Vanilla coconut milk yogurt, hemp milk, frozen bananas, nutmeg, and a dash of allspice. Turned out excellent!
Hope your November is off to a great start!
Today's All Saints Day, so here is a Bible verse in recognition of Saint Martha, the patron saint of servants and cooks.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” (Matthew 5:6a)
We should prepare our meals with love and be thankful for the food we have. We should serve others and ultimately seek nourishment from God.
Halloweenis tomorrow, and we have a delicious meal in the works... until then, here is our own favorite cornbread recipe for you to enjoy. (And sorry about the lack of posts in a while! We do have a lot to blog about! )
Vegan Harvest Cornbread
2 cups white wheat flour, spelt flour, or whole wheat flour 2 cups whole grain cornmeal 2 1/4 Tb baking powder 1 tsp salt 1/4 cup + 3 Tb vegetable or safflower oil 1/4 cup agave nectar 1 3/4 - 2 cups milk alternative (such as soy, hemp, almond, oat milks) fresh corn kernals from 1 stalk corn on the cob 1/3 cup + 1 Tb banana pepper, diced 1/3 cup + 1 Tb red onion, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, mix all dry ingredients. Make a well in the center of the bowl, and add agave and oil. Then add milk, and combine liquid ingredients with the dry ingredients until just blended with no flour clumps. Place in a medium round pan coated with cooking spray. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until golden brown.
Back in Texas we were only briefly acquainted with Bob, but now that we live here in Oregon, we are only an hour a way to visit our good friend Bob!
Bob's Red Mill that is!
We had a fabulous time- in awe really- while shopping at Bob's Red Mill Store in Milwaukee, Oregon.
When we first got there, we got some lunch at their quite popular cafe. Wonderful split pea soup with carrots and celery in a huge tasty bread bowl, and a side of steamed veggies! It was so filling, and the bread was so soft and fluffy.
Despite being a small-sized store (only setback was that the aisles were too small and it was really crowded), we enjoyed parading down each aisle and finding cool products. We felt like excited little kids! The best part of the store was the bulk section. Instead of buying a whole package of one product (which would cost about $3-4), we loved being able to get $0.40-$2.00 worth of products to try. So, we ended up buying a lot of different products, but our bill was quite reasonable.
Triticale meal, Triticale Flour, Green Pea Flour, White Popcorn, Pumpernickel meal, Rolled Spelt Flakes, Creamy Rye Flakes, 10 Grain Flour, Millet Flour, and Chana Dal Beans! The popcorn was fabulous - we literally hadn't had popcorn in years, and we made a huge batch of delicious popcorn on the stove. It cooked up just right! Had leftovers the next day and added some nutritional yeast.
The pumpkernickel meal is now a favorite! We think it's better than quinoa, millet, couscous, and steel cut oats. We had some for dinner with just olive oil and it was simple but delicious. There is a recipe for rye crackers on the label, and we are thinking of making some this weekend.
The green pea flour can be used in guacamole, bread, soup, and other creative concoctions. We're not sure how we'll use it yet. Fig Nuggets, Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Potato Flaxseed Bread Loaf, Flaxseed meal, Date Pieces, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Kelp Granules, and Apple Pie Spice.
The Figs and Dates are the best! We use them in everything - cereal for breakfast, snacks, ice cream... Note to self - buy these by the case next time!
The wheat potato bread was a light airy bread with a good brany texture but not as soft as we would like. Can't wait to make our own bread with the wonderful flours from Bob's Red Mill.
We also bought some Grande Whole Grains and had that in a Thai Rice Bowl with broccoli, bean sprouts, Just Tomatoes Freeze Dried Peas, and a Thai nut sauce (hemp seed butter, crushed red pepper, garlic, lime juice). Chewy nutty grains!
As for the spices, we've used the Pumpkin and Apple Pie spices like crazy - oatmeal, smoothies, ice cream, and apple salads. Here's a pic of a fresh apple salad with apples, dried fig pieces, apple pie spice, and vanilla soy yogurt. A healthy filling dessert!
Hoping to visit our good friend Bob once a month! Can't wait to bake and cook with all of the flours and grains! What are your baking suggestions for cereal meals and grains and flours? - LK
We are twin sisters who love food, nutrition, and health. Recent graduates of Texas A&M University, we are now living in Oregon busy with work at a natural food company. We especially love cooking and baking healthy vegan food and buying organic natural foods.
(In the next year or so, expect great products from Betty Lou's Inc! - http://bettylousinc.com )