Orzo Croquettes

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Orzo is a type of pasta that has the shape of large grains of rice. Like all pasta, it takes the flavor of the seasonings you give it and it can me used in a myriad of ways. This is our rendition of some easy and flavorful croquettes made with orzo. If you have never tried orzo, let this be your introduction to this delicious and fun shape of pasta, Enjoy!

1 1/2 cups orzo
1 tomato, chopped finely
1/2 cup sweet pepper chopped finely (both red and green)
1 tsp. Italian Seasoning
Salt to taste
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
1 tsp. onion powder or to taste
1/2 tsp. garlic powder or to taste
3/4 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp. olive oil plus more

Cook the orzo for between 10 to 12 minutes with the salt (some like the pasta al dente and others like it softer, let it cook till it has the consistency you like). To the same water in which you
cooked the orzo, add all the rest of the ingredients, adding the flour until you are able to form the croquettes, beginning with 1 cup, and adding more as needed.
Barely "paint" a skillet with olive oil and drop the mixture into it by large spoonfuls. Let set before flipping (when you notice that the edges begin to get a golden color, you can flip). Cook till golden brown on both sides.

Yield: depending on size you make it, from 8 large to 1 dozen smaller.

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Kiwi and Strawberry Scrumptiousness

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For me, spring and summer are the season for cool, delicious smoothies! Kiwis and strawberries with coconut milk, what's not to love?  Hope you enjoy a cool, tall glass of this smoothie soon!

1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup vanilla-flavored milk substitute (could be almond milk or any other type of non-dairy milk you prefer)
1 ripe banana, peeled and sliced
1 cup water
2 kiwi, peeled and sliced
4 to 5 strawberries, leaves taken out and sliced
Optional: sweetener of your choice
Ice to preference

Prepare your fruit and process all ingredients in a blender till smooth. Serve.

Serves 2.

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Scalloped Sweet Potatoes (Totally Vegan)

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Scalloped potatoes are a favorite in our family, but we decided to give them a twist by making our tried and true recipe with sweet potatoes. The sweetness of the sweet potatoes added a new twist to this delicious dish and we just loved it, we hope you love it too. Here it is, from our kitchen, to yours, enjoy!

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed (You can make them with yams too, but these are regular light colored sweet potatoes)
1/2 block tofu, drained and cubed
1/2 cup raw, sliced almonds
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder (make it 1 tsp. if you are not a great onion lover. If you are a great onion lover you can go up to 1 1/2 Tbsp. for a zesty dish!)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (1 tsp. if you like it zesty)
Salt to taste
2 cups soy milk, plain
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/2 cup olive oil

In a food processor or blender, process the tofu, the almonds, the milk, the cornstarch, the seasonings, and the water, till you have a smooth cream.
Pour into a large baking dish and add the sweet potatoes. You must cover the sweet potatoes with the liquid. If the liquid you have does not cover the sweet potatoes, add a bit more
water and adjust seasonings. Pour the olive oil on top of the mixture and combine.
Bake at 400ยบ F for 1 and a half hours or until potatoes are golden brown.

Serves 2

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Zucchnini Pleasers

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If you love zucchini, you just HAVE to try these, they are absolutely delicious and very easy to make. They go well as a side to almost any dish, they are a great appetizer and you can even stick them between slices of bread with some lettuce and tomato for a yummy sandwich. You can serve them as is or topped with your favorite sauce, salsa, or gravy. Enjoy!

1 medium zucchini
1 cup sweet red peppers, chopped
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
1 1/2 Tbsp. onion powder (1 tsp. onion powder if you are not a huge onion lover)
1 tsp. garlic powder (1/2 tsp. if you love garlic moderately)
1 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (this is NOT baker's yeast nor brewer's yeast)
1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups tofu
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups quick oats
1 tsp. of a mixture of powdered coriander, cumin and spearmint

Wash zucchini well. Cut the zucchini lengthwise and then into small pieces. In half of the water, soak the oats until soft, then add the zucchini and all the seasonings
except the red pepper, the tofu and the almonds. Place the almonds, the tofu and the red pepper in a blender or food processor, and a little bit of the water (approx. 1/2 cup) process till smooth and add to the first mixture with the flour and the breadcrumbs.
Mix everything well, to have a batter that is heavy but not runny (add more flour and adjust salt, if needed.)
In a cast iron skillet barely "painted" with olive oil, drop the mixture by large tablespoonfuls, let the mixture set before flipping. Cook on both sides, watching them carefully, until golden brown on both sides.

Yield:  Approx. 1 dozen, depending on the size you make them.

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In the Shell Croquettes

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It is not true that eating healthy cannot be absolutely scrumptious! These croquettes can be taken for totally delicious finger food, they are very easy and economical as well.

3/4 cup quinoa, well rinsed and cooked as per package instructions
1 1/2 cooked small shells, cooked al dente
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup raw sliced almonds, pulverized in a blender or food processor
2 tbsp. sweet paprika powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 full tbsp. cornstarch
2 full tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 cup bread crumbs (use bread you prefer)
1/2 tsp. tarragon powder
Salt to taste
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. Olive oil plus more

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients and form a soft dough. Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and drop large spoonfuls of the mixture into it, forming your croquettes.
Preheat oven at 400 degrees F, and lower to 350 degrees, put your croquettes to bake but don't go too far away. When you notice that they are setting, flip them around with a spatula.
Continue baking and flipping them until they are golden brown on both sides but still soft. These make a delicious, almost junk-food-tasty sidekick to pretty much anything you want to serve them with.

Yield: Approx. 10 medium sized croquettes, less if you make them larger, more if you make them smaller.

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Chickpea Yummers

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Chickpeas or garbanzos have a way of giving things a rich and wonderful flavor, they are the secret of why these little yummers are such a delicious treat! Make some for your next meal, you will never stop eating them! These are delicious as sidekicks for rice, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, you name it. They are also wonderful for sandwiches.

1 cup Old Fashioned oats
1 cup brown rice, cooked
1 cup water
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 cup sweet green peppers seeded and cut into strips
1/2 cup sweet red peppers seeded and cut into strips
1/3 cup walnuts
1 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast (NOT baker's yeast, this yeast you will get in health food stores or specialty stores)
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
1 1/2 tbsp. onion powder (if you do not like zesty flavor, use 1 tsp. instead)
1 tsp. onion powder (if you like a milder flavor, use 1/2 tsp. instead)
Salt to taste
1 tsp. dried spearmint (no, this will not taste like tea)
1/2 tsp. ground coriander (you can ground it in a coffee grinder)
1 cup whole wheat flour (if you want it gluten free, use appropriate substitute for this)
3/4 cup chickpea flour (if you do not have this ingredient, you can pulverize your chickpeas in a grinder, a blender or a food processor, till pulverized)
Olive oil

In a bowl, soak the oats in 1/2 cup of the water till soft. In the meantime, put the peppers, the tomato, the carrot, the spearmint and the walnuts, with the rest of the water in the blender or food processor and process till smooth. Scrape into the bowl with the soaking oats. Mix in the rice and the rest of the seasonings.

Combine well and form patties. Heat a skillet barely "painted" with olive oil (only enough so that your yummers will not stick) or use a cured cast iron skillet. Cook till golden brown on both sides.

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Cornmeal and Peas Croquettes

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When you're preparing quick meals, especially during your busiest times of the week, month and year, it is great to have some side dishes that easily complete and round up a meal that you just simply threw together in a pinch, or that could simply become a light meal by simply adding a generous salad and a simple dessert. These croquettes fit your bill perfectly!

1 1/2 cups Masa Harina
3/4 cup cornmeal
4 Tbsp, coarnstarch
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. sweet paprika powder
1/2 cup tofu
Salt to taste
1/2 cup soy or rice milk (or as needed)

3/4 cups peas, thawed
1/2 cup soy or rice milk (or as needed)
Olive oil

In a bowl, mix all the ingredients until you have a batter. Make sure it is a thick batter (like for pancakes).
In a skillet that has been barely "painted" with olive oil, drop the batter by large tablespoonfuls. Wait till it sets before flipping.
Cook on both sides till golden brown.

Yield: 1 dozen (if not too large)

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