Swedish Midsummer Strawberry and Cream Cake (Vegan low fat and oil free)

Swedish Midsummer Strawberry and Cream Cake (Vegan low fat and oil free)

For the longest time I’ve had a huge appreciation for Swedish culture. One of my favorite days of the year when I get to attend the largest midsummer celebration in the world that takes place in battery park. It happens every June on the weekend at the start of the summer. Swedes celebrate midsummer as a holiday where they enjoy the sun being out for long hours compared to their dark winters. They have food, drinks, and music. They hand make flower crowns and dance around a midsummer pole. I hope one day, I will get to celebrate midsummer in Sweden. 

Unfortunately, this year due to work and other obligations, I wasn’t able to make it to the party. I did however celebrate on my own by making a midsummer cake. 
Dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

Wet ingredients:

3/4 cup maple syrup

3/4 cup water

1 ripe banana 

1 tbsp orange juice

Juice from 1/2 lemon

2 tsp vanilla extract

Frosting recipe:

1/2 block firm tofu

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla extract 

Juice from 1/4 lemon

1/2 cup plant milk, if it is not blending smoothly 

Toppings:

2 lbs fresh strawberries 

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

Combine dry ingredients for the cake in a large mixing bowl

Blend all wet cake ingredients together

Add in part of the wet ingredients to the dry and mix thoroughly continue doing this until all wet ingredients have been mixed into the dry

Pour the cake batter into two cake pans that are lined with parchment paper 

Bake for about 25 minutes until golden brown

Take the cakes out and allow them to cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans

Blend all ingredients for the frosting together, add more sweetener if needed

Slice about 1/3 of the strawberries 

Assemble the cake by putting half of the frosting on the first layer and then top with the sliced strawberries 

Place second layer over it and spread the rest of the frosting and arrange the whole strawberries on top

Enjoy!

Low fat vegan carrot cake

Low fat vegan carrot cake

I made this carrot cake a few weeks ago for a family get together. It came out surprisingly moist and delicious. It is best eaten right out of the oven. The hardest part about this recipe is grating the carrots. You must use the finest side of your grater to get the right consistency. If you have a food processor that can handle shredding carrots, consider yourself blessed. 

I used a sweet potato frosting recipe I four here: Feasting on Fruit or you can make your own cream cheese frosting. Honestly, it’s good enough on its own without any frosting at all!

Dry ingredients 

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tbsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups flour

1 tsp nutmeg 
2 tbsp cinnamon 
1 cup brown sugar 
Wet ingredients 

6 tbsp orange juice

Juice from 1/4 lemon

1/4 cup Applesauce 

1/2 tbsp vanilla extract 

1 1/5 tbsp maple syrup 

2 cups finely shredded carrots 

2 tbsp flax seeds
Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit 

Combine flax seeds and 6 tbsp water. Allow it to gel to an egg like consistency 

Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl

Combine all of the wet ingredients, including flax seeds in a separate bowl and mix well

Fold in wet ingredients to dry without overmixing

Pour batter into a parchment paper lined baking pan and bake for 40-50 minutes

Vegan Farro Salad

Vegan Farro Salad

These past few weeks have been quiet. I’ve been spending my time writing, reading, rediscovering my love for painting and drawing, going for slow walks, sitting outside in the sunlight, catching up on tv seasons with my boyfriend, ordering in and the occasional cooking of tacos. But this past Sunday we experienced a rare weekend day off for both of us (well most of the day off for me). We decided to venture out into Brooklyn for a day party we used to go to a few years back. While it was nice getting to spend some time outside in the sunshine, around other people and away from screens, we both decided that we no longer enjoy drinking or partying like we used to. I guess we’re growing up. At the party, we grabbed food from a food truck situated nearby. After asking them to edit their ingredients to make something vegan for me, I enjoyed a delicious farro salad that left me excited to go home and create my own oil free and vegan version of it. While I definitely didn’t get the same version as the food truck, I was able to make a delicious, (mostly) whole food, and vegan dish. This farro salad is great hot but is also delicious cold which is perfect for summer months. It can be eaten as a side or a main dish. I found myself adding lots of black pepper to it afterward because I thought it complimented the tartness of the lemon and herbs well.

If you haven’t tried farro before, it is a tasty grain that I found similar to brown rice with a bit more of a chewy texture and nutty flavor. It does contain wheat so if you do want to stay gluten free, I suggest subbing the farro for another grain.

Also, I decided to top my salad with some vegan parmesan that a coworker gave me. I had never tried and vegan cheeses before and was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted a lot like the real thing. I think it’s important to have a supportive community of other vegans around you. If you don’t have vegan friends, I find that simply showing others how happy you are and how well you feel eating the way you do makes other more receptive to changing their lifestyles. It helps when you focus on the positives of your choices instead of making them feel badly about their own. Facebook groups, instagram, and apps like vegan amino are also great ways to surround yourself in a community of caring and kind vegans.

Ingredients

2 cups pearled farro

1 cup parsley

1 cup arugula

1 can chickpeas

1 carrot thinly sliced

1 turnip thinly sliced

Juice from 1/2 lemon

Salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Paprika

Vegan parmesan for topping (optional)

Directions

Set oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit

Cook farro with salt and pepper according to directions
Boil carrots and turnips for a minute or two to soften

Drain and rinse chickpeas, coat with salt, pepper, and paprika and bake on a parchment paper lined baking tray for 15 minutes

Add parsley, arugula, and lemon juice to the farro

Season with additional salt and pepper, top with chickpeas and vegan parmesan if desired

Serve hot or cold

Tomato spinach spaghetti squash 

Tomato spinach spaghetti squash 

My mind has been so busy lately. It seems that I’m focusing on food a lot less than I have been. Instead of spending hours thinking of what new recipe I would make this week I was focused on other things. So when it came time to make a meal to post, my eyes went right to the spaghetti squash that had been sitting on my counter and I quickly decided that it would be this week’s recipe. 

This is a simple recipe, it doesn’t require many ingredients or time. Perfect for after a long day. 

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash 

1 pint grape tomatoes

5 cups fresh spinach 

2 cloves garlic

2 cups vegetable broth

Directions

Make small holes in the sides of your squash and microwave it for about 5 minutes. This will make it much easier to cut later on

Preheat oven to 400 Fahrenheit 

When the squash is cool enough to handle,cut it in half and bake for about 20 minutes or until it is soft 

Slice tomatoes in half

Heat half of the vegetable broth and garlic into a pan over medium heat to brown the garlic

Add the tomatoes to the pan with the rest of the vegetable broth and let them simmer on low for about 10 minutes

Turn the heat off the stove, add the spinach into the pan and cover it to wilt it slightly 

Pour the tomatoes and spinach over your spaghetti squash and enjoy!

Easy Whole Food Vegan Mac and Cheese

Easy Whole Food Vegan Mac and Cheese

My recipe this week had a lot of inspiration from a new youtuber, Dillon Holmes or WellYourWorld. Watch his video here. He made an easy vegan cheese sauce that was also low fat and nut free. If you haven’t seen his videos yet, I highly recommend watching them. Not only are they very helpful, they can be really funny as well.

I had given up the idea of making any type of cheese sauce for a while since most are based off of cashews and onions, which are both allergens for me. After watching Dillon’s video, I realized that I could possibly make my own variation of his recipe without the onions that might work. I’m very happy to say that it did. I skipped the onions and miso and added in carrots, sun dried tomatoes, and curry paste. If you’re looking for a low fat, homemade cheese sauce, please check out the recipe below.


Ingredients:

3 medium sized white potatoes

2 carrots

1 sweet bell pepper (red, yellow or orange)

4 sun dried tomatoes (not the kind packed in oil)

4 cloves garlic

1/2 cup veggie broth

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon yellow curry paste

1 teaspoon cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 box pasta

1 cup whatever veggies you’d like to add like broccoli or peas

Directions

Chop carrots and potatoes and boil in a large pot for about 20 minutes or until soft

Chop garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and peppers and sautée in a pan with the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, curry paste, and spices until browned

Save 1/4 cup of the water that the potatoes and carrots were boiling in and drain the rest

All all of the cooked ingredients and water to your blender and blend until smooth

Prepare pasta as per directions on packaging and steam or sautee the vegetables of your choosing

Combine all of your ingredients together in a large bowl and serve

Lentil and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Lentil and Rice Stuffed Cabbage Rolls

Yesterday I spent the day walking around dumbo in Brooklyn with my boyfriend. The weather was perfect and I felt so energized from getting some much needed sunshine. We stopped for lunch at Grimaldi’s, a famous pizzeria right next to the Brooklyn bridge. The (cheeseless) pizza was absolutely delicious and I was happy that my boyfriend finally got to enjoy it after years of saying he wanted to try it. 

On to the recipe. This week I made some lentil and rice filled cabbage rolls. I had picked up a really perfect looking cabbage this week at the supermarket instead of the normal ones that usually have lots of small tears in the leaves. All of the other ingredients were things that I always keep in the house, so I thought it would be a good time to make them again. 


Ingredients:

1 Small head of green cabbage

1 Cup brown rice

1/2 Cup green lentils

3 15 oz Cans of diced tomatoes 

9 oz Mushrooms 

1 Can tomato paste

4 Cloves garlic

1 Handful basil leaves

1 Tsp liquid smoke

Rosemary

Salt

Pepper
Directions:

Rinse lentils and beans and cook them in water and one can of diced tomatoes for 45 minutes 

Brown garlic in a separate sauce pan

Boil water in a pot big enough to fit the entire head of cabbage 

Once garlic is browned, add tomato paste and the other two cans of diced tomatoes to the saucepan and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the bail to the pot for the last 10 minutes

Boil cabbage for 10 minutes and then turn it in the water and boils for an additional 10 minutes or until leaves are completely cooked

Remove cabbage from water and let it cook down enough to handle

Clean and chop mushrooms into small pieces 

Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit 

Once lentils and rice are finished cooking, add the spices and mushrooms. Add 1/2 cup water and stir rapidly over high heat until the water is soaked up. Blend the rice/lentil mixture(optional may need to add more water)

Carefully remove the cabbage leaves, making sure to keep them intact. I made 14 rolls, depending on the size of your cabbage,you may be able to make more or less. 

Line a baking dish with any extra leaves that you have

Scoop about 1/4 cup of the lentil/rice mix into each cabbage leaf and roll them up as you would a burrito. Place them in your pan, seam down

Cover the rolls with the tomato sauce and bake for 50-60 minutes 

Tomato-Eggplant Gnocchi with Beans

Tomato-Eggplant Gnocchi with Beans

I spent all weekend trying to figure out what kind of dinner I would make for my family on Monday. I used all of my resources to try to find something that was different from what I normally make each week. My inspiration for this recipe came from an old photo I had saved on my phone of a gnocchi dish I had made last year. 

When I first became vegan, one of the first things that I bought make was a package of egg free gnocchi. It sat in my pantry for a long time before I remembered to use it. Now, I try to avoid foods that contain flour, so I adapted this recipe to my own needs to create a dish using the same ingredients except for the gniocchi which I replaced using hashbrowns. I did eat a small portion of the gnocchi as well and both were very delicious. I’ll post the recipe for the hashbrowns soon, too. 

As for the rest of the ingredients, I used what I had in the fridge and pantry. I’m trying to make a habit of using what I already have before I go out and buy more food that I don’t need yet. My grocery bill was much smaller this week, compared to my normal shopping that includes buying anything and everything that seems appealing to me. 
Ingredients

1 small Italian eggplant 

1 can diced tomatoes 

1 can small white beans

1 package egg free gnocchi 

3 cups fresh spinach

3 cloves garlic

Salt

Pepper

Oregano

Basil

Directions

Brown garlic in a large saucepan. 

Cut up eggplant into 1 inch pieces leaving the skin on. 

Add canned tomatoes including any liquids to the saucepan and simmer over medium heat for about 10 minutes, and seasonings and add the eggplant. Let it cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the eggplant is cooked. 

Bring a small pot of water to a boil and cook gnocchi for 2-3 minutes or until they float in the water, then drain and set aside. 

Rinse your beans thoroughly and add them along with the gnocchi and spinach to the saucepan. 

Cook covered until everything is heated and the spinach has wilted slightly add water if it starts to stick. 

Garnish with basil and serve immediately.