SNACK TIME // AVOCADO TOAST + RADISHES + HAZELNUTS + “HAVARTI”

Avocado Toast + Radishes + Hazelnut + "Havarti"

Colorful radishes, I love the pink one! The Ingredients

The first thing many people get concerned about when it comes to a vegan diet is where / how to get enough protein.  The funny thing is, protein has never been an issue for me whether I was vegetarian or vegan.  I took a nutrition class and we all had to keep a food diary to track everything we ate.  Then we took that info and entered it into a website that would calculate how much sugar, salt, fat, protein, vitamins, etc. we were consuming.  My protein amount for my height, weight, and activity level was always slightly above what was needed.  The amount of fat I was consuming however, was very very low, almost non-existent.  Good fats are essential to physical and emotional health and are good for our  heart, cholesterol, and overall health.  The solution for this was to add more good fats into my diet, such as olive oil, nuts, olives, peanut butter, and avocados.  I loved everything on that list, especially avocados which we are lucky to have an abundance of here in California!

I can and do eat avocados as is, sliced lengthwise, with a spoon.  Sometimes if I needed a bigger snack, I’d use crackers in lieu of a spoon or spread the avocado on toast.  Since then, the avocado smothered toast would be a good base for layering on even more good stuff!  Here’s a quick and easy recipe for avocado toast with thinly sliced radishes, chopped toasted hazelnuts, a dash of salt and pepper, and if you’d like some of Daiya’s Havarti  Jalapeno Garlic Havarti style cheese wedges.  (I try to consume as little processed foods as possible, but every now and then I think it’s OK!)  I love this combo of creamy and crispy with a little kick!  Hope you enjoy it as well!

Daiya's Havarti Style Wedge

Avocado Toast + Radishes + Hazelnuts + Havarti

Makes 1 serving

– 2 slices of thick artisanal whole wheat bread, toasted
– 1 ripe avocado
– 2 – 3 small radishes, thinly sliced
– 1 – 2 TBS of hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
– 3 – 6 slices of Daiya’s Havarti Jalapeno Garlic Havarti style cheese wedges (optional- I have found this brand to be my favorite vegan cheese and that their wedges remind me a little of Kraft slices but feel free to use whatever you like or omit)
– a pinch of salt and pepper (if you use the cheese I would omit the salt to lower the sodium content)

Start with the avocados.  Slice the avocado lengthwise and scoop it onto your toast.  Use your knife or spoon to smash and spread it around.  Doesn’t have to be perfect, just get the surface of each piece of toast covered.  Sprinkle it with salt if using.

Layer on the remaining ingredients. Add the slices of radishes, followed by the Havarti, then sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.  Finish off with some fresh ground pepper.

Creamy and crispy with a little kick!

Tofu Salad

I swear I have the worst memory ever, it’s like years of my life never even happened! Birth to five years of age?  Have no clue what being a baby or toddler was like.  Freshman year of high school? Didn’t happen. What did I wear yesterday? I have no idea.  But if there’s one thing I do remember, it’s delicious food!

So what I do remember, is going over to my friend Kristen’s house back in middle school…6th grade I believe.  Her mom wasn’t home when we got there but had left a ready made tofu salad for us to eat.  The only thing we had to do was pour the dressing on top.  This was actually the first time I ate tofu without cooking it– I didn’t even know you could do that! It ended up being a great snack, refreshing and tasty.

Fast forward like, 10+ years and I still remember how good it was but kept forgetting to ask Kristen for the recipe!  Not too long ago she had us over for lunch, made it again, and I finally remembered to ask her for it.

The cilantro, tomatoes, and onions not only lend color but lots of flavor to the tofu. This cold salad is the perfect appetizer or side for a warm summer day!  Serve with soba noodles like Kristen did, as well as some other sides like sunomo (recipe coming next!)

I’m going to make it all the time now :)

Tofu Salad

Thank you Kristen + Mrs. Ueda for sharing their family recipe!

The amount below serves 4.

For the salad:
– 1 package of firm tofu, cubed
– 2 medium tomatoes, diced
– 1/4 of a brown onion, sliced paper-thin
–  a handful of cilantro leaves

For the dressing:
– 1/4 cup soy sauce
– 1/8 cup peanut or corn oil
– 1/8 cup sugar (you can start with half the amount then add more if you’d like)
–  1/4 TBS sesame oil

Layer the ingredients in a serving dish in order listed, starting with the tofu which will make the bottom layer.

In a small bowl mix together all ingredients for the dressing.

Refrigerate both until cold.  Pour dressing onto salad before serving.

Enjoy!

Swedish House Mafia, Swedish Picture Frame, + Swedish “Meat”balls

All the items in this post have one thing in common– Sweden!

1) Swedish House Mafia- My friend Tal sent me this video and at first I was like what the heck is this!  BUT here’s a hint, if you love dogs, you must watch this music video, it is awesome and hilarious! (Thank you Tal for sharing!)

2) Swedish Picture Frame- Love or hate IKEA, this is a super cute hanging picture frame from the Swedish home furnishings shop!  It’s not a traditional Swedish style frame or anything, but it’s made in Sweden and is named Fiskevik so I think it works with the theme.  Plus it’s $5.99- can’t beat that!

3) Swedish “Meat”balls- And while at IKEA, I decided I wanted to see if I could find a vegan version of a Swedish meatball recipe.  Which I did and I loved since the main ingredient was potato.  But the best part was the ground almonds I think, which gave it an interesting flavor.  Below is the recipe as well as one for gravy– which you will you have to use your imagination to picture since I burnt the whole thing while re-heating!  Oops.  Always check to make sure you have turned off the burner!

Swedish Meatless Balls

This recipe is from food.com, thank you Dreamer in Ontario for posting!  The original recipe calls for frying the meatballs, which you can do, or you can try baking them as I did, which is what is instructed below.

- 3 or 4 medium potatoes, cubed (I used Russet potatoes)
– 1 vegan bouillon
– 1 cup ground almonds (I ground up almonds, cashews, and walnuts since I was short on almonds– just put it in a food processor or you can purchase it ground)
– 4 TBS flax seed
– 1 medium onion, chopped
–  salt and pepper, to taste
– olive oil, for cooking

In a large pot, place potatoes, vegan bouillon, and enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes are soft.  Stir mid way to make sure the bouillon has dissolved and is evenly distributed.

Drain water from potatoes, saving a cup to make gravy with.  Mash and let cool.

While the potatoes are cooling, heat up some olive oil in a frying pan.  Add onions and cook until they start to brown.

Place the flax seed in a small bowl, add 1/4 cup hot water and let stand for about 10 minutes.  Once the seeds absorb the water, they will get sticky and gooey, which is what we want.

When the potatoes have cooled, add the flax seed and water it was soaking in, ground almonds, cooked onions, and salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Shape the potato mixture into small balls and line on the baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs for about 20 to 30 minutes, until they are heated through and outsides are crisp and turning golden brown.

Vegan Gravy

From Food.com, posted by Sharon123.

– 2 cups of vegetable broth OR 2 cups of water + a vegan bouillon
– 1/4 to 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (the less yeast you use, the less cheesier it is)
– 3 TBS cornstarch
– spices of your choice, to taste– I like to use onion powder, garlic powder, herbs de provence since that has a little bit of everything)
– salt and pepper, to taste

In a small saucepan, heat up the broth or water.

Ladle some of the heated liquid into a small bowl.  Add the cornstarch to this, whisk well, then set aside.

To the pot of liquid, add the nutritional yeast and seasonings/spices, stirring until dissolved.

Add the cornstarch mixture to the pot, and cook on low heat until the liquid thickens (about a few minutes).

Add salt and pepper, and more seasonings if desired.

This is great over the Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, veggies, and pasta!  (I will make it cheesier by adding more of the nutritional yeast when I use this over pasta.)

I Love How Schmidt says “Chut-a-ney”

And in honor of that, I am making…some mango chut-a-ney!

If you are a New Girl Schmidtty fan, you will know exactly what I am talking about.  If you don’t know, it all started when Schmidt was trying to impress CeCe by telling her all the things he loves about India.

“I love, you know, I love Slumdog, naan… pepper, Ben Kingsley…the stories of Rudyard Kipling.  I have respect for cows, of course.  I love… the Taj Mahal, Deepak Chopra, anyone named Patel… I love monsoons… I love cobras in baskets…growing up to be a doctor… love mango chut-a-ney… really any type of chut-a-ney…”

If you haven’t seen it, watch it here.  If you have seen it, watch it again– I love it THAT much more every time!

So here is a recipe for mango chutaney as well as one for these yummy stick crackers to eat the chutaney with!

PS: If you saw last week’s twirly episode, “AAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!” about what happened at the end and can’t wait for tonight’s episode!

Both recipes below have been reprinted from The Indian Vegan Kitchen by Madhu Gadia by arrangement with Perigee, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Copyright (c) 2009 Madhu Gadia.

Mango Chut-a-ney

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this recipe only.

You will need a blender/food processor for this recipe.

I have a confession to make.  I started making this without realizing I basically didn’t have any of the spices….so mine only has the salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, and vinegar lol and it tastes great!  So I can only imagine, with all of the ingredients, how amazing it would taste!

- 3 1/2 cups of mango, peeled, pitted, and sliced into 1″ strips (measure the slices after they have been peeled and sliced)
– 1 1/2 TBS salt
– 1 1/2 cup sugar
– 1 tsp fennel seeds
– 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
– 1/2 tsp kalonji
– 1 tsp cayenne pepper
– 1/3 vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)

In a glass bowl, mix mango slices and salt.  Cover with plastic wrap or lid and let sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.  (In my case I accidentally let it set for like 3 days!  It got hectic and I completely forgot about it!  But after the first night I had stuck it in the fridge– so in case you don’t have time you can do the same :)

Strain the mango slices over a large bowl, squeezing them to get any excess juice out.  Reserve the juices and set aside.  Place the slices on a clean cloth and let set for one hour.  (I guess because mine had been in the refrigerator for days that there was not that much juice so I didn’t put them on a cloth to set for an hour.)

Blend half the mango slices in a food processor or blender until it becomes the consistency of apple sauce.

In a medium saucepan, place the sugar and reserved mango juices.  (Since I did not have any mango juice, I added a TBS of water.)  Cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes, until sugar has dissolved and syrup has thickened.

Add the mango slices and blended mango.  Bring to a boil.  Add fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, kalonji, and cayenne pepper.  Lower to a simmer and cook for about 5 to 8 minutes, until mango slices are very soft.

Add vinegar and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes until chutney is thick.  (The chutney will continue to thicken once it cools down.)

Remove from heat and let the chutney cool completely.  Store in an air-tight jar.  The book says you can keep in a cool dry place for up to 6 months.  It is also important to use a clean spoon when dipping into the chutney, and do not return the leftover chutney to the same container.  Refrigerate your chutney if desired (which is what I did.)

This is the most times I have typed “chutney” in my life!

Stick Crackers

The original recipe calls for frying the crackers– I tried both frying and baking.  Both come out nice and crispy, just the coloring is a little different but they taste the same.  I love how easy this recipe is and makes for a great snack!

Click here for a printer-friendly PDF version of this recipe only.

- 3 cups flour (I used whole wheat– you can use that, AP, or a combination of both)
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp ajwain (oopsies, I didn’t have any on hand so I used cumin seeds instead…also thought about adding flax seeds next time!)
– 1/3 cup canola/vegetable oil
– 3/4 cup water
– canola or vegetable oil (if frying)

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt and ajwain (or whatever you are using in place of it).  Pour the oil over the flour and mix well.  You can use your hands but a fork works really well and keeps your hands clean.   Mix until all the flour has become coated with oil.

Gradually add 3/4 cup water to the mixture until a stiff dough forms.  I continued to use the fork until the dough started forming, then I used one clean hand to hold the bowl and the other hand to mix.

Knead for 3 to 5 minutes, until dough becomes smooth and soft.  To keep things clean and easy for clean up, I just kneaded the dough in the bowl itself (instead of turning it onto a surface.)

Divide the dough into 2 parts and flatten each into a large disk.  Cover with a cloth or plastic wrap and let sit for 10 minutes.

On a floured wooden cutting board or plastic pastry sheet, roll out each disk until about 1/8″ thick.  With a knife or pizza cutter (I think the pizza cutter is so much easier and faster!) cut the dough lengthwise into 1/2″ strips.  Then cut crosswise or at a diagonal (for the pointy tips) 1 1/2″ apart.

If frying:
Heat up a large saucepan with about an inch or so of oil.  I didn’t use any more than that since this amount is enough to cover the crackers.

It should take a couple of minutes, and you can test the oil by sprinkling a drop of water into it– if it sizzles, it is ready.

I get really scared when oil splatters everywhere so please remember to be careful and safe!

Once the oil is ready, place several strips into the hot oil.  I actually used my hands but you can use a flat spatula to do this part.  You can cover the entire bottom of the pan with the strips.   Fry each side for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, then flip and cook the other side.

When crackers are done, place on a plate lined with a paper towel to grab the excess oil.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

If baking:
Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Place crackers onto parchment paper about 1/2″ apart (they don’t really spread, just rise while they are baking.)  Bake until edges of crackers start to brown.  You can test one and if it is not as crunchy as you like, continue to bake until crispier.

Enjoy with some mango chut-a-ney, while watching New Girl!

Super Bowl Sunday Munchies: Chips + Dips

I was only slightly tempted to find out who this Tim Tebow person was after I had seen post after post about him on facebook.  I finally got some info from one of my best friends who told me something along the lines of, “He’s the QB for the Broncos!!! What are we going to do with you?!”  (He is the QB if I remember correctly…)  All I know is that he has something to do with football and the big football game called the Super Bowl is going down this weekend.

Here are some other things I know about the Super Bowl:
– Madonna is doing the half time show
– The game is on today…I think it’s over by now
– It is two words (I thought it was just one)
– The Voice is on afterwards

Impressive, right?

But the most important thing is that I know you need to be fed while watching this super long game and chips and dip are always a good staple to have in your spread.

We are going to go DIY style for this one and make everything from scratch.

Both recipes are pretty easy and fast, the most time consuming thing is probably the baking of the chips.  I actually thought the longest part would be slicing the potatoes but it turned out to be a pretty quick step.  I used a mandolin for some of the potatoes– so those slices are super thin– then I cut the rest as instructed by Martha about 1/4″ thick.

I think I prefer the thinner slices better because you get super crunchy chips without having to bake them for so long.  I haven’t mastered baking the 1/4″ slices yet– so far my batches have some crunchy, some chewy, and some that are part crunchy and part chewy which is not good.  I just finished baking the last batch of thick slices and I think the trick is to flip them and  remember to check on them.  That way you can take out the chips that are already done so they won’t burn while the others continue cooking.


{ thin vs. thick }

And all you need for the dip is a food processor and you are good to go!

Have fun watching the game tomorrow and for those of you like me, at least it’ll be fun to eat, drink, and hang out :)

Go Team….who is playing again?

Baked Potato Chips

This recipe is from MarthaStewart.com.  I love her.

– 2 pounds russet potatoes, cut into 1/8″ to 1/4″ slices (I took the peeled mine, you can leave them on)
– 3 TBS olive oil
– coarse salt
– freshly ground pepper
– a pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
– fresh herbs, finely chopped (optional– I happened to have extra dill and thought that would be good, or rosemary)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.

Wash, peel (optional), and cut potatoes into slices.

Place in a bowl and toss with the olive.

Place one layer of potato slices on the prepared baking sheet.  Try to pick ones that are similar in size to bake more evenly.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper/herbs if using.

Bake until slices are crisp and browned at the edges.  Check after the first 15 minutes of baking, then flip them over.  Remove any chips that are already done, continue cooking the rest.

{ Baked =) || Burnt =/ }

Creamy Dill Dip

This recipe is based on LiquidFrequency’s post on allrecipes.com.  I just swapped out some ingredients to make this vegan-friendly.

– 1/2 (4 oz) cup non-dairy cream cheese
– 1 cup non-dairy sour cream
– 2 TBS green onions, finely chopped
– 2 or 3 TBS fresh fill, finely chopped
– 2 cloves of garlic, minced
– 1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Put everything in a food processor and blend.  Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes so the flavors meld together and the dip can thicken.  If after chilling the dip is too thick, stir in 1 TBS of unsweetened non-dairy milk until you get the consistency you’d like.

I find that vegan sour cream/cream cheese can get runny when blended or left out too long so make sure to keep it refrigerated before it needs to be set out.

Serve with chips and/or raw veggies.

Vegan Goldfish Crackers

I totally loved goldfishes because they were so delicious, just like their little jingle says!  They are so addicting, one handful just leads to another and another and another until you realize you ate the whole bag in one sitting.  I remember seeing some recipes for homemade goldfish crackers before and thought why didn’t I think of making vegan ones myself instead of missing them so much? Duh!

It’s incredibly easy to make, all you need is a food processor.  These crackers look a little different because they are textured but they really do taste just like the real thing.  So here is my version of a childhood favorite in friendly non-Nemo shapes as well as some new flavors to try.

Vegan Non-Goldfish Goldfish Crackers

This recipe is adapted from The Smitten Kitchen’s version which was originally adapted from The Lee Bros.

You will need a food processor for this recipe as well as cookie cutters.  I used star, flower, and heart shaped cutters in a small size (about 1/2″) and a larger size (about 1″).

This recipe yields about 50 mini crackers.

For the crackers:
– 1/4 cup + 1/8 cup of whole wheat flour
– 3 TBS olive oil
– 1/4 tsp onion powder
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp salt

For cheddar flavored crackers add:
– 3/4 cup Daiya cheddar flavored shreds
*Perfect for making stars with

For spinach flavored crackers add:
– a handful of baby spinach
*Perfect for making St. Patrick’s Day 4 leaf clovers with

For tomato basil crackers add:
– 1/8 tsp tomato paste
– 1/8 to 1/4 cup tomato, diced (you can use the kind that comes in a can) and any excess water or juice removed (the drier the better)
– a small bunch of basil leaves
*Perfect for making Valentine’s Day hearts with

Preheat oven at 350F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Place all the ingredients for the crackers in a food processor as well as the additional ingredient for your choice of flavoring.  Blend until everything comes together into a dough.

The dough should be crumbly, but you should be able to roll out and cut out shapes that will hold.  (The dough may crack when you roll it, just smush it back together.)

If you are not able to do this, add additional olive oil by the tsp until you can achieve this.  You can also add a very small amount of water (1 tsp) which may help but keep in mind the water can make the dough almost too doughy, which makes for not very crunchy crackers which is not what we are going for.

*FYI: The ideal texture for the dough should be the cheese version pictured above.  My spinach and tomato basil variation came out a little too dough-y, they should be more crumbly.

For the spinach and tomato basil variations, you may want to add more salt.

{ Spinach Dough || Flower Cut Outs }

If the tomato basil version looks too doughy and wet, add some more flour for a drier and more crumbly consistency.

{ Tomato Basil Dough || Heart Cut Outs }

Next, roll out dough to about 1/8″ thickness.  Cut out and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.  If you are having a tough time getting the shapes out, use a toothpick.

Bake on the middle rack for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until edges are starting to brown.

Store in airtight containers and eat by the handfuls!