Sunday, September 27, 2009

Texas Gals Southern Cookin'

Even though we live in Oregon, we are Texas gals, and we'll always have a place in our heart for Southern food!

Veggie pot pies, cornbreads, black-eyed peas, biscuits, gravy, and other spicy Southern food.

Cornbread is so easy to make and a delicious buttery (vegan) treat!

How about our Harvest Cornbread or Sweet Potato Jalapeno Cornbread? We've also love just plain cornbread, with a little cornflour for extra softness and melt-in-your mouth deliciousness. Great to make cornbread muffins for easy snacks. (*Update 10/4/09 We baked some jalapeno cornbread, made just a few modifications, and it turned out melt-in-your-mouth awesome).

Instead of the typical Italian calzones, why not a Southern calzone?!
Black-eyed pea calzones with a cornmeal whole grain crust! We just combined onion, garlic, bell pepper, chopped broccoli, black-eyed peas, oregano, and Cajun seasoning and used that for our filling. We served these calzones with homemade mustard vinegrette (with lots of garlic added to this recipe) and an awesome homemade barbeque-cajun sauce (tomato paste, Cajun seasoning, worceshire sauce, bragg's, garlic, oregano, vinegar, oil, and water). A cilantro vinegrette would be good too.

We make biscuits about twice a month! Tahini biscuits and pumpkin cornmeal biscuits, kamut biscuits, baking powder biscuits and cornmeal biscuits, sourdough biscuits, jam biscuits and spice biscuits, and so much more you can do with a biscuit recipe!

We recently tried Tritticale Rosemary biscuits - perfect with olive oil or Southern gravy - and a gluten free biscuit! Gluten-free baking has been an interest to us, especially since we've been experimenting with gluten-free in the R&D lab at work! With a blend of gluten-free flours (sorghum, tapioca, rice, and potato starch), coconut flour, and some xanthan gum, we followed Bob's Red Mill Buttermilk Coconut Pancake recipe (on the back of the coconut flour package) and made Gluten-Free Biscuits. We added 2 Tb flaxmeal and 2 Tb oat bran, and used a blend of hemp and soy milk to make a biscuit baked in the oven. Very good for gluten-free, held together well, and more of a fluffy texture like mashed potatoes in a bread. Good with garlic and gravy.

Veggie Pot Pies are always so comforting, but time-consuming to prepare! So we made it easy!

LK's Easy Veggie Pot Pie

1 vegetable bouillon
1 cup unsweetened soy milk
1 cup water
1 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp each salt and pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tb nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp each sage and thyme
1/4 tsp each onion powder and ground mustard
1/4 tsp celery seed
2 Tb oil
1/4 cup diced bell pepper
1 cup broccoli, finely chopped
1 med yellow squash, diced
2-3 large chives or 1/4 cup onion
1 cup potatoes, diced and cooked
3 Tb flour
prepared pie crust or just biscuits or toast!

1. Add first 9 ingredients (bouillon through nutritional yeast) in a small stove pot and cook on medium high heat for 2-3 min.
2. Then add sage, thyme, onion powder, mustard, and celery seed, and simmer while you chop the veggies.
3. Place veggies in a microwave-safe dish, and cook until almost done.
4. Add flour to the stove pot and bring to a boil. Stir constantly until thickens.
5. Combine gravy from the stove pot with the vegetables in a large container.
6. Store in refrigerator until the day you want to have this for dinner.
7. When preparing your dinner, take your prepared pie crust and bake in the oven according to baking instructions (about 10 min).
8. Place the container of the vegetable filling in the microwave and heat until hot.
9. When the crust is just golden brown, take out of the oven. Pour the vegetable filling over the crust.
10. Cut and serve. This will be messy, so another delicious option is to break off pieces of the pie crust, place on your dinner plate, then pour the warm vegetable filling over it, and serve. Or just serve the vegetable filling over homemade biscuits or toast!

She's the sweetest little rosebud
that Texas ever knew,
Her eyes are bright as diamonds,
they sparkle like the dew;
You may talk about your Clementine,
and sing of Rosalee,
But the yellow rose of Texas
is the only girl for me.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Artisana Raw Nut Butters Winner!

We had a lot of fun with this giveaway--everyone had such great ideas! From breakfast to savory meals to sweet treats, it is wonderful how versatile nut butters can be with a little imagination!

For breakfast, Animal Friendly loves a heartwarming stick-to-your-ribs breakfast, with nut butter melted into oatmeal. Yummy! Ricki says nut butters are great made into a sweet sauce of nut butter, mylk, and spices, poured over baked sweet potatoes--a great alternative to the usual cereal breakfast!

Sweet Karoline is inspired by the coconut butter to make a Thai chickpea pancake, which can be enjoyed for a savory breakfast or as part of a meal later in the day.

Meghan uses nut butters to enhance sauces and pestos. Vegetation and Sara agreed with Meghan, that nut butters could transform soups or curries into "creamy deliciousness".

Most everyone has a sweet tooth, right? Vegetation also listed some easy ways to use nut butters-in smoothies, ice cream, or popsicles. Refreshing! Erica specifically loves raw banana soft serve--a blend of just nut butter, frozen bananas, and cinnamon. Vegan Lisa and Sara both love to top cakes, cupcakes, and caramel apples with luscious raw "buttercream" frosting.

For coconut oil, Deb Schiff recommends Ani's Pineapple Icebox Cake, a big crowd pleaser. She also suggests replacing oil in brownies with tahini--what a nice way to enhance nutrition and flavor in brownies! Rachel H also uses coconut oil for decadent melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chip cookies!

For those of you who love sweets so much that you'd also enjoy them for lunch or dinner--make dessert hummus and serve with cinnamon pita chips and some fresh fruit. Courtney is inspired by the idea of using different nut butters in hummus and changing up the flavors: Pecan butter with pumpkin and cinnamon, Almond butter with cranberries, Macadamia butter with cocoa powder and a touch of vanilla, or Walnut butter and Cacao bliss. Sounds heavenly!
Personally, we (LKSisters) have been using the nut butters in many ways--with fresh fruit over waffles, added to scones, cookies, and bread, swirled into a creamy smoothie, and spread on top of homemade graham crackers...

What wonderful ideas! Now, we're salvating for some delicious food and nut butters!

Alright, now to the results:'s Random Integer Generator was used to make this as fair as possible. We generated a winner in a more complex way just for something different and fun--Each person entered was randomly assigned a number between 1 and 200, using the random integer generator. Then, the random integer generator was used again to generate numbers between 1 and 200, and the first number it generated that aligned with a person's assigned number was the winner.

The winner will receive a sample of Artisana Nut Butters (tahini, pecan butter, walnut butter, macadamia butter, almond butter, coconut oil, coconut butter, and cacao bliss), plus a few brochures/coupons from the Portland Veg Fest!

Drumroll please....
The winner is-----------Erica from Discovering Raw blog!

CONGRATULATIONS ERICA! Erica, let us know where we can send you the Artisana sample pack! We will also email you through your blog just to be sure you get this message.

And thank you everyone for your entries and inspiring ideas! May you all try some Artisana nut butters and continue to be creative in the kitchen!

Friday, September 18, 2009

A Sweet Reminder

Hey everyone!

It's been a busy week, but we wanted to remind you of our sweet giveaway ending this weekend!

You have a chance to win samples of Artisana Nut and Coconut Butters (sampler of Coconut butter, Coconut Oil, Pecan Butter, Walnut Butter, Macadamia Butter, Almond Butter, Tahini, and Cacao Bliss).

Thanks for all of those who have commented - great suggestions for using nut butters.

Tomorrow is the last day to be apart of this giveaway! On Sunday, we will choose a winner and post! We'll let you know also what our favorite Artisana product is, and the many ways we enjoyed the nut and coconut butters!

Did you know tomorrow is Saturday Sept 19th, Portland VegFest?! We are so excited, since we've never been to an all-out vegan festival. We are looking forward to all the delicious food, samples, cooking demos, handouts, speakers, and vegetarian trivia! And we get to be apart of the event by volunteering in the family/kids activities. Have any of you been to a Vegfest before?

So, have a great fun weekend!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Hungry for Mex

Lately we've been hungry for Mexican food.

Vegan Enchiladas.
Spanish Rice.
Pinto Beans and Black Beans.
Chips and Salsa.


So, last week we had lots of it!

Amy's Kitchen Black Bean Vegetable Burrito and Pinto Bean and Rice Burrito - we are hoping to start up a tradition for burrito night with Amy's once a week! :) We like the black bean burrito better because there's a little bit more veggies and there's a creamy enchilada-style sauce. But the pinto one is good and creamy too. We love the wrap - wheaty and soft and huge; too bad Amy's doesn't just sell the wheat tortillas.

We tried Amy's Black Bean Enchiladas, but they weren't as good as the burritoes. Not as many goodies and needs more flavor, though it would be easy for a quick dinner to add some salsa or tomato-black bean-veggie side dish with it.

For a fun Labor Day outing, we stopped at Lifesource Natural Foods in Salem, OR - a great natural food grocery store and lunch stop! We enjoyed some Spanish rice, black beans, fajita veggies, and vegetable soup, with a delicious vegan creamy macaroni salad.

For snacks, we have had the munchies for chips. Have you ever tried Food Should Taste Good baked chips? Absolutely love! Not too salty and doesn't taste baked! So far we've tried the sweet potato version and the multigrain--we love the multigrain best, but the sweet potato is very good with a subtle sweetness.

We also recently tried the Lundberg Farms Rice Chips, with Sea salt, which are good, but not great. Some of their chips have milk in it, FYI. Good for those that want tortilla chips that are gluten-free.

At home, we cooked up some Awesome Homemade Veggie Bean Burgers! We also like trying new recipes, but once we found this, we have made it twice this month, and we are looking forward to making this again, with variations of course.

Awesome Homemade Veggie Bean Burgers
Makes 10-12 patties

1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup each cornmeal and wheat gluten
2 1/2 Tb nutritional yeast
2 Tb flaxseed meal
2 cups pinto beans
1 Tb canola oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb Braggs
1 Tb stone ground mustard
2 - 4 Tb diced bell pepper
2 Tb diced onion

1. In a small bowl, mix onion powder, cumin, cornmeal, wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and flaxseed meal.
2. In a large bowl, mash pinto beans, then add remaining ingredients. Mix until just combined.
3. Add dry mixture from the small bowl to the bean mixture in the large bowl, and mix until well combined.
4. Form 10 - 12 patties. Place on a baking sheet that has parchment paper or has been sprayed with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-25 minutes, or until golden on both sides.

Variations: Add 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes or cayenne
Add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce or Balsamic vinegar
Use black beans, white beans, black-eyed peas, or kidney beans
Add 2-3 Tb finely chopped veggies

For your information, we recently stumbled upon a great list-article, "57 Health Benefits of Going Vegan". Great reasons to be vegan, to encourage friends and family to be vegan or vegetarian, or even to just motivate others to be vegan once a week! And thanks mom, if your reading, for your new dedication to a vegetarian lifestyle!

BIG REMINDER: The Artisana nut butter sampler giveaway contest is going on NOW, and it ends in 10 days, Saturday Sept 19!
Keep on posting your ideas: We want creativity-- It's great for you to tell us what your favorite way to enjoy Artisana nut/seed butters is...Also tell us about a dish/meal/snack (with details) you've tried that was
out-of-the-ordinary delicious! Thanks for those of you who have already commented and have suggested such inspiring delicious ways to use the nut butters! Some great ideas so far! Get in on the fun here!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Artisana Nut Butter Giveaway-Contest!

We recently received a large amount of nut/seed butters and coconut products from Premier Organics--thank you Premier Organics! We happened to get more than we ever imagined and have decided to have a fun contest! First, you must check out Premier Organics' great line of products:

Contest details are below, but first details about the prize! The prize is a sampler of many Artisana Organic Raw Nut/Seed Butters that include: Coconut butter, Coconut Oil, Pecan Butter, Walnut Butter, Macadamia Butter, Almond Butter, Tahini (sesame seed paste), and Cacao Bliss. (little 2 Tbsp sized glass jars of nut butter, perfect for taste-testing or dipping with your favorite fruit/snacks).The coconut oil is a great butter replacement, with a slightly cooling coconut taste. Very rich and satisfying. The coconut butter is great as a frosting spread or in a meal using coconut milk. All of the nut butters are nutty and delicious in their own way--we found that we liked the pecan butter the best. Although we aren't fond of macadamias, the macadamia was surprisingly delicious and sweet. The tahini was one of the best tahinis we've tried-not bitter like some can be. And the Cacao Bliss was decandent and fudgy!

We also received a jar of Amazon Bliss, which isn't included in the sampler. It was good, but not as "wow" as we'd hoped it to be--slightly dry and tastes like coconut butter with just a hint of fruitiness and nuttiness from the goji, cacao, acai, and other ingredients. But still very nutritious and tropical tasting!

We will definitely purchase Artisana tahini, pecan butter, coconut oil, and cacao bliss when the time comes! Although we personally can't tolerate nuts very well, the nut butters are very high quality, raw, organic, and delicious. We're sure that you will love all of Artisana products once you try them!

Ok, now more about the contest!

If you comment about a great & unique way to enjoy Artisana Raw Nut/Seed Butters (a recipe would be even better), then you will automatically be entered to win.

Here are the details:
  • Post a comment at the end of this blog post with your ideas --details and/or recipes would be great. You can also post on your own blog about this contest (but it won't count as an extra entry).
  • We want creativity--branch out and use the nut butters in something unique and delicious! It's great for you to tell us what your favorite way to enjoy Artisana nut/seed butters is, but we also need to know a dish/meal/snack (with details) you've tried that was out-of-the-ordinary delicious in order to be entered!
  • It can be sweet or savory, hot or cold and everything else in between! Of course, it must be vegan.
  • Only one entry per blog/person.
  • Contest starts Friday Sept 4 and ends in two weeks, Saturday Sept 19. Each entry will be assigned a number and a random number will be generated. Whoever matches the number wins the sampler!

We want some inspiration in the kitchen and can't wait to read about what all your ideas are! Pass the word on, too!

Have fun,