Zesty Split Pea Minestra

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This is another delicious, heart-warming all-in-one meal that is really wonderful for cool days!
Add a delicious crusty bread and you've got a whole meal very easily! Personally, we like to accompany this delicious soup with a whole grains Peasant bread and slices of avocado with just a sprinkle of salt in them.
Have it as you like, it is absolutely scrumptious!

1 1/2 cups dry split peas
5 large potatoes
3 large carrots
1 1/2 cups sweet yellow squash
1 large onion plus 1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 large tomato
1/2 cup sweet green peppers
1/4 cup sweet red peppers
2 cup rigatone or penne rigati
1/2 cup angel hair pasta
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
1 tsp. Herbes de Provence (this is an herb blend that contains 2 Tbsp. dried savory, 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary, 2 tbsp. dried thyme, 2 tbsp. dried oregano, 2 tbsp. died basil, 2 Tbsp. dried marjoram and 2 Tbsp. dried fennel. If you can't find the herb blend already made, you can make your own using these quantities, once you have the blend prepared, take 1 tsp. of it ONLY for this soup. Keep in a tight-lid container for use in soups and sauces.)
Salt to taste
water



Peel and cut the potatoes, peel and slice the carrots. Cut the tomato in chunks. Peel the onion and cut it in half. Peel and squash and cube it.
Fill a large pot to the middle with water, and after rinsing them, put the split peas to cook till soft, together with the brown rice.
Check it out after 30 minutes, continue cooking till the split peas are tender and the rice has opened. When the split peas and the rice are ready, add the vegetables and the seasonings. If the water has reduced, add more water.
After the vegetables have boiled for 15 minutes, add the pasta. Continue to cook till vegetables are done and the pasta is tender. if you would like to make this soup for more people, increase the amount of potatoes, squash and carrots, also add more pasta.

Yield: 4 servings

Variations:

1-You can slice one of our vegan sausage recipes into this soup when you are ready to serve it!

2- Sprinkle vegan Parmesan cheese into it and add some homemade croutons (especially delicious if the croutons are toasted with Pimento vegan cheese! Recipe can be found on this blog also).



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Deliciously Hearty Vegan Celery Soup

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This soup has a chickenish flavor, but it is totally vegan. It is the kind of simple fare that hits the right spot during very cold weather! Pair it with a wonderful Peasant bread of your choice and you've got a wonderful, just homey meal!

3 stalks celery
4 large white potatoes
3 large carrots
1/2 cup seeded and chopped sweet green pepper
1 cup cubed sweet squash, peeled
1 tomato, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup brown rice precooked (could be leftovers)
2 Tbsp. quick oats
2 1/2 cups rigatoni
Salt to taste
1 whole onion, peeled and sliced
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 Tbsp. fresh parsley


Wash the celery and cut in slices, put in a blender with the parsley and the sliced onion. Add water till you reach half of the blender.
Process till smooth. Strain through a sieve. Peel carrots and slice. Peel squash and cube. Seed and chop the pepper, chunk the tomato, peel and cut the potatoes in chunks. In a large pot, put the celery cream you
just made in the blender, add the rest of the ingredients and the seasonings, except the pasta. Cook until the soup is boiling (about 15 minutes), then add the pasta. When the pasta is done, the soup is ready.

Serves 4.



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Oatmeal Steaks

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These are very easy to make and go well with anything you might throw them at, potatoes, baked yams, rice, they also make wonderful large sandwich "meats" with all your favorite trimmings! You can also serve these topped by your favorite sauce or by lots of onions and peppers!

1 loaf whole wheat crusty bread
1 cup quick oats
1 1/2 whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. onion powder (1 tsp. of onion powder if you are not a great onion lover)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp. Italian Seasoning
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup water

Cut bread into pieces and put in a bowl. Pour the 1/4 cup water over it and let soak till smooth. Blend in all the rest of the ingredients. The mixture must be soft but not mushy.
Take large tablespoonfuls of the dough and drop into a hot skillet barely "painted" with olive oil, then spread the dough carefully into the shape of "steaks". Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Yield: 8 good-sized steaks

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Exotic Pie

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Plantains are a staple in the diet of islanders and inhabitants of warm places in many parts of the world, from Puerto Rico to Tahiti, from Thailand to Vanuatu, and from the Philippines to different parts of Africa.
They are commonly used in many dishes but this is a very easy recipe you can make to taste them.
For those of you who have an adventuresome palate, here is an exotic pie you can easily prepare. If you have vegan friends who like to travel with their taste buds, share this one with them during this special Season ahead. You'll make them feel like they have gone somewhere very far!

You will find plantains in large, well-stocked grocery stores, they are the ones that look like big bananas. The green ones are easy to choose but for the ripe ones, pick the ones that do not have black skin (those have gone bad!)
If they are quite yellow and their skins have some dork spots, they will be quite sweet, which will add a nice touch to your pie.



Pie Mixture:
2 green plantains
1 ripe plantain
3 white potatoes
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
Salt to taste
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. onion powder (or 1 tsp. if you're not a great onion lover)
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. sweet paprika powder
1/2 tsp. Achiote powder
1/2 cup water

Peel the plantains. You do this by working as follows: Cut off both ends of the plantain, now begin to peel by inserting the tip of a knife into one of the "ribs" of the plantain and running it lengthwise across that rib.
Repeat with another "rib" or line on the side of the plantain, now, using again the tip of the knife, "lift" the peel off the plantain in the are you scored. Repeat on the other side.
Slice the plantains thinly into a bowl. Peel your potatoes and cut into small pieces. Process in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup water until smooth.
Scrape mixture into a bowl. Add seasonings and mix well. Add oil and combine well. In a small bowl, mix the flours. Sprinkle flour over the plantain and potato mixture, while mixing it in with your other hand until all is well
combined.

Filling:
Prepare 1 recipe of Vegan Saucy Strips, you will find it here:
Vegan Saucy Strips
Once the strips are made, cut them in small pieces suitable for stuffing and add to them
1/2 cup stuffed green olives, sliced
Mix well

Oil a medium-sized baking dish. Take a large spoon and fill the bottom of the dish, cover the pie mixture with the filling. Top with the rest of the pie mixture.
Bake at 400ยบ F for 30 minutes, check it, to see if the top is golden brown, if a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, if not, let it bake until the toothpick comes out clean.


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Almond White Cheese

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This is a tasty and very easy vegan cheese substitute to make. It is wonderful on toast but you can also use it to substitute ricotta  in anything you would use a soft white cheese for! You could say that this our Almond Ricotta.

1/2 block tofu
1/2 cup sliced raw almonds
Salt to taste
3/4 cup soy milk (plain)
1 tsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. onion powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Process in the blender the tofu, the milk, the cornstarch and the almonds till smooth.
Scrap into a small saucepan, add the rest of the ingredients and blend well. Cook, over medium heat. After it begins to boil, count 20 minutes and stir the mixture, moving constantly so that it won't stick.

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