Anyone else LOVE tamales?

And I’m back.  Whew.  Over the weekend seemed like a good time to do a “internet detox”.  What?  I know, I’ve been overdosing on the internet lately, sad but true.  We are all guilty of this sometimes I’m sure.  I feel much better after a few days of giving my eyes a rest from that terrible computer screen – ahhh!  Now, I’ve gotta catch up on all my blog reading, I just can’t help it.

While I was detoxing I did some more adventurous cooking, some good and some down right terrible {like my vegan grapefruit cupcakes that were nauseatingly sweet}.  My overall favorite was not surprisingly my tamales.  Tamales remain one of my all time favorite foods.  My obsession with tamales started in high school.  Everyday at lunch time a sweet little man named Valentino parked his mini red pick up on Venice Blvd and sold fresh homemade tamales about of the back.  Back then, I was a vegetarian and fell in love with his chili and cheese creation.  At a $1 a pop, I would get two {ok maybe 3} each day and wolf them down with the other students, sticking out like a sore thumb.  I happily ate my tamales while the other kids gossiped in Spanish about me {there was no way a stupid little blonde like me understood Spanish, so they thought}.  After I graduated, I would still stop by sometimes for lunch this time stocking up and buying them by the dozens.  Years later I would still see Valentino selling his delicious tamales and would always stop – if not only to say hello.  He never forgot me.  So, on Friday I was doing some grocery shopping and saw some Maseca and decided to give it a shot.  I had always heard tamales were time consuming and not particularly easy to make but I had nothing to lose.  I was home alone and the little one was napping so I went for it.  Oooh, they were good too!

Vegan Tamales

Start by soaking your corn husks in water {about 16}.  I soaked mine for about 30 minutes while I was making the filling and tamale dough.

Filling:

1 cup pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup nutritional yeast

3 tomatillos

1 jalepeno

2 cloves garlic

1 cup cilantro

1 lemon – juiced

Combine all ingredients and whiz in food processor.  There will be extra yummy filling to put on top of your tamales later.

Tamale dough:

2 1/2 cups Maseca

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups lukewarm vegetable broth {or water}

2/3 cup coconut oil

3 drops doTERRA lime

In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add broth and mix.  Add coconut oil and mix using hand mixer till dough is fluffy and looks like cookie dough.

Now here’s the hardest part…

Making the tamales – how I did it:

Taking approx. 1 heaping tbsp of dough, flatten in your hands then place in corn husk.  Add a dollop of filling in the center and roll to make a tamale {on some of mine I sprinkled some chopped spinach in there too}.  Tie the ends off with string or a strip of corn husk.  Repeat till out of dough.   Now, steam the tamales for about 30 to 45 minutes.  They are done with they are no longer mushy to touch.

Now, there are probably better ways to do this – this is just how I did it.  Next time I will research tamale making on YouTube to get a better technique for rolling and wrapping the tamales.  My ghetto method worked just fine given it was my first try.  Any tips are greatly appreciated!

Enjoy!

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Vegan Coconut Non-Curry

Surprising my non-vegan family with dinner on a night they were too busy to cook was the only way I was going to get my mom to give one of my creations a try.  She is very anti-curry {sad I know}, but I wanted curry.  I {sorta} weaseled my way into the meal I was craving, by making curry but omitting the curry.  Make sense?

Here’s what I did:

Vegan Coconut Non-Curry

Ingredients:

1 tbsp coconut oil

1 sliced onion

1 clove of minced garlic

2 tbsp cumin

3 cups chopped cabbage

1 head of broccoli

1 green pepper

1 tomato

1 can chickpeas

1 handful chopped cilantro

2 or 3 cups coconut milk

3 drops doTERRA lemongrass

Braggs liquid aminos for salt (to taste)

hot sauce (to taste)

Directions: Sautee onion and garlic in coconut oil, add cumin.  Add other veggies except tomato and cover.  Cook for about  minutes, add tomato, chickpeas, cilantro and coconut milk.  Add lemongrass, Braggs and hot sauce to taste.  Serve over brown rice, quinoa or eat plain.

Easy Cheese-y Black Bean Dip

Personally, I’m not a huge fan of salad dressings.  I do however love salads, so I usually dress them up with hummus or something of the sort.  Today I made some Cheese-y Black Bean dip and added that to my spinach salad and was quite please with the result.

Image

Here is the recipe:

Easy Cheese-y Black Bean Dip

Easy Cheese-y Black Bean Dip

What would you pair this dip with?

1 can of black beans

5 drop doTERRA lime

2 or 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast

Hot sauce to taste

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients and whizz in blender.

I need your vote in YumUniverse’s The Big Kale Contest

Good morning my dears!  One of my favorite websites YumUniverse is having a recipe contest called The Big Kale Contest – fun right?  One of my yummy kale creations is in the running.  Check out my recipe for Kale, Red Cabbage & Pistachios in Coconut Sage Butter and vote for me on their Facebook Page!  While you’re on Facebook “like” Vegan Familia on Facebook.

Kale, Red Cabbage and Pistachios in Coconut Sage Butter

Don't forget to vote on YumUniverse on Facebook

Kale Contest Entry: Crystal’s Kale, Red Cabbage & Pistachios in Coconut Sage Butter

Ingredients:
8 cups of chopped kale
3 cups of chopped red cabbage
1 medium onion
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tbsp fresh chopped sage
1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (divided)
2 Tbsp coconut butter
1/2 cup roasted salted pistachio pieces

Directions:
Sauté chopped onion in 1 tbsp coconut oil for approx 5 minutes, then add minced garlic and sage. Add remaining coconut oil and cabbage. Sauté till almost tender. Add coconut butter and mix well. Add chopped kale and cover until slightly wilted. Stir in pistachio pieces and enjoy.

Way Delicious Vegan Tacos

Have you ever tried millet?  I had never even heard of it until yesterday while browsing the health food store.  I decided to give it a shot.  That has to be one of my favorite things about becoming vegan.  I’m trying new things way more often than I ever did before.  Food is so exciting to me.  If I had the time, I would spend all day in the kitchen trying new things {I’d probably get nice and plump too, good thing I don’t have the time}.

Yesterday I followed the directions and made some very bland millet.  Simply not impressed, but I knew that with some additions is would be a fun new staple.  I found some inspiration in my Thrive Foods book by Brendan Brazier and decided to make some tacos.  All I can say is YUMMY!

You can barely see the millet hiding under the black beans, but it's there I promise.

Way Delicious Vegan Tacos – with Green Millet, Black Bean, Guacamole, Tomatoes, Yellow Peppers and Pine Cheese Sauce

Green Millet

1 cup millet {cooked according to package directions}

2 Tbsp coconut butter

1 small clove of garlic

3 Tbsp spirulina

3 Tbsp Braggs liquid aminos

First, I took some cooked millet and sauteed it in coconut butter {my new favorite thing}, with a small clove of garlic.  Then I added spirulina and  Braggs liquid aminos.  This idea came from Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier.  I added the coconut butter and garlic and toned down his recommendation for the amount of spirulina – this stuff is just stinky.  I have to admit this was way better than I expected it to be.  Even my totally NOT vegan step-dad tried it and he said it tasted good, although I couldn’t even get my mom to try it.

Yellow Pepper Pine Cheese – from Thrive Foods by Brendan Brazier

1 yellow bell pepper

1/2 cup pine nuts

3 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp tarragon {I didn’t have any so I used 2 drops of doTERRA thyme oil}

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1 tsp agave nectar

1 small clove of garlic

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend thoroughly.

 

Once you have made the above items.  Make some guacamole as you wish.  Dice some tomatoes and slice some bell peppers. 

Then, fry your tortillas {I used Trader Joes organic blue corn tortillas} in coconut oil. Build your taco and enjoy!

The combination was heavenly!  Let me know if you agree.

xoxo,

Crystal

Spicy Sesame Coleslaw

Recently I ordered Brendan Brazier’s book Thrive Foods on Amazon!  It felt like Christmas to me when the Amazon box arrived.  I’m slightly obsessed with him and his philosophy about nutrition.  (I highly recommend you order it now it you don’t already have it.)  When I first learned about Brendan I was uber excited because he used to be a professional Ironman Triathlete like my husband Joe.

My husband Joe, in the red cap.

I thought it would be helpful when trying to persuade Joe to adapting a strictly plant based diet.  Turns out Joe didn’t need any convincing at all and the switch for him was just natural.  Phew!

Now, back to Brendan…I finally tried one of his recipes last night, his South of the Border Coleslaw.  This was my first time trying one of his recipes…there are so many yummy looking ones to choose from…but I chose this one simply because I happened to have two head of cabbage needing to be eaten.  It was just OK on it’s own. But, the whole time I was eating it, I just thought it needed something.  My step-dad had some with me while we watched American Idol…go Phillip Phillips!  He also thought there was something missing – he suggested adding pineapple asking…isn’t there pineapple in regular coleslaw?  Baahaha, that made me laugh out loud!  No, not in any recipes I’ve seen.

Don't you dig my fancy iPhone photography!

 

Here’s the recipe:

South of the Border Coleslaw

1/2 cup cashews, soaked in water for 1-2 hours

1/2 cup cashew soak water

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

2 large Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup packed fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

1/2 tsp sea salt

8 cups finely shredded green cabbage (shredded as thinly as possible)

1 cup shredded carrots

Directions:

When cashews are soaked and soft, place in a blender with water, vinegar, dates, cilantro and salt.  Blend until smooth and creamy (this may take a couple of minutes).  In a bowl, mix together the cabbage and carrots.  Pour the blended mixture on top and toss until well coated.  Garnish with additional cilantro, if desired.

What I added:

To a bowl of coleslaw I simply drizzled sesame oil, sprinkled sesame seeds and squirted some Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce on top.  This totally made the dish beyond delicious!

I’d be curious to hear what YOU think about this recipe and how you changed it if at all.

xoxo,

Crystal

Black Rice and Orange Lentils with Avocado Salsa

Lentils are one of my favorites.  I love making a huge pot and eating it leftover meal after meal.  Lentils get better the next day…well at least I think so.  I’ve never tried the colorful varieties so I was excited when I bought some orange lentils in the bulk section at the health food store.  Buying this was is cheap and very non-committal.  You can get just enough for one meal…I love that. I always find that when I buy in bags I have enough for two meals plus a teeny bit extra and I find that annoying.   Because of this the bulk section is my new favorite place in the health food store. It’s the bargain smart way to buy.  Actually, yesterday was all about bargain shopping for me.  My local store gets delivery of their produce on Tuesday’s so I went to get some of the fresh goodies…well, I got there too early and the delivery hadn’t arrived yet.  But, what I did get was great prices on their existing produce – the organic broccoli was still in good condition and marked down to $.99 (normally $3.99).  Awesome, right?  I thought so!  I also bought a handful of vegan carob chips just to try.  They were good enough that I might commit to buying more to try in a recipe someday.  Watch out for that…

Here’s the vitamin packed meal we had last night…PS, orange lentils cook quite fast…I was surprised.

Black Rice and Orange Lentils with Avocado Salsa

Rice:

1 cup black rice (or brown rice)

1 3/4 cup water

1 clove of garlic chopped

salt to taste

Directions:  Combine ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down heat to low and cover.  Cook for 30 – 40 minutes.

Orange Lentils:

2 cups orange lentils

5 cups water

4 cloves of garlic chopped

1 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp black pepper

salt to taste

Directions:  Rinse lentils and discard any funny looking ones. 🙂 Add lentils, water, garlic, cumin and pepper to pot.  Don’t salt yet as it will make the lentils tough.  Bring to boil and then turn down heat to low simmer.  Cook approx 20 minutes or until lentils are done.  Then add salt. (I usually like to add onions to my lentils, but I didn’t have any…they were quite good without)

Avocado Salsa:

1 tomato

1/2 avocado

1 Tbsp chia seeds (for good luck and extra nutrients)

2 limes juiced

chopped cilantro

salt

Directions: Dice tomatoes and avocado.  Combine all ingredients.  I usually like to add chopped radish to my salsa, but I didn’t have any.  You need to make this fresh at every meal as it doesn’t keep.  Especially if you use radish.

Serve over a bed of organic spinach… and enjoy!  PS, Lennox loved the lentils too!

A few reasons why this meal is good for you…

Black rice is high in nutritional value and contains 18 amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, carotene, anthocyanin and several important vitamins.

Lentils are high in protein, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin B1, and minerals.  Serving with rice makes it a complete protein.

xoxo,

Crystal