Monday, September 6, 2010

Heirloom Tomato Salad

Ever been to a potluck and noticed that many of the guests have brought identical items? Watermelon, pretzels, chips, oh and look, more watermelon, pretzels and chips. Hey, it's not that we don't like those snacks, we do. Especially the watermelon. We're just saying -that sometimes, potluck food can get a bit...redundant. Well not anymore J & J peeps. Here’s something you can bring that definitely won't be a duplicate on your next potluck table. It’s exactly what a summer salad should be: simple and delicious. So, if you’re a fellow tomato lover, and you're tired of bringing the 'same old' potluck dish, then we’re sure you’ll love this recipe.


Choose a variety of different colored heirlooms and you'll makes this dish even more vibrant and flavorful. Throw in some homemade croutons, and you’ve got yourself some perfect little sponges that will soak up all that extra yummy juice (‘cause you can’t really slurp it up at a potluck like you would at home – remember your etiquette people, come on!)


What you'll need:

Fresh Italian bread

½ cup + 2 tbs olive oil

2 pounds heirloom tomatoes, chopped in various sizes (be sure to include a variety of colors to make this dish more attractive)

1 Tbs Dijon mustard

1 Tbs fresh lemon juice

2 Tbs white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

1 bunch fresh basil, torn into small pieces


Croutons

Pre-heat oven to 400 C. Slice the bread into 8 large slices and them into large squares for your croutons. Toss in a bowl with ½ cup of olive oil, making sure to coat the bread evenly. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Once done set aside till ready to serve the salad.



Salad

Whisk mustard, lemon juice and white wine vinegar together. Slowly whisk in 2 Tbs of olive oil. Add the tomatoes and basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper. Just before you are ready to serve add croutons and toss the salad again to be sure the croutons are thoroughly coated with the dressing. Serve immediately so the croutons don’t get too soggy. Remember - only slurp at home!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tabbouleh

Recently, we were visiting some friends of ours for dinner, and they served a light meal of hummus with veggies and pita. But then - there was something new. Something I had heard of before, but never tried. Of course, being a good role model for my kids(as well as a gracious guest), I took a small portion of this new and interesting dish. As we enjoyed our meal (and conversation) I realized that I went back for not only a second serving of this new dish, but also a third!

Tabbouleh is the classic bulgur salad of the Mediterranean, and man is it good. The combination of fresh herbs and spices in this dish was so refreshingly satisfying. I couldn’t wait to make this at home!!

Enjoy it with some warm pita slices or flat bread. Delicious!

What you will need:
1 cup of dry bulgur wheat
1½ cups of boiling water
1 tsp salt
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
3 medium garlic cloves, crushed
Black pepper, to taste
4 scallions, minced (whites and greens)
1 cup of packed parsley, minced
15 fresh mint leaves, minced (if using dried mint it’s about 2 Tbs – but use fresh…it makes the dish!)
2 medium tomatoes, diced

Combine bulgur and boiling water in a medium bowl. Cover and let stand for about 25 – 30 minutes, until the bulgur is tender.


Add salt, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and black pepper and mix thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate until about 30 minutes before serving. Then stir in remaining ingredients. Enjoy with warm pita slices or flat bread.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shish Kabobs

Colorful, healthy and delicious! What more could you ask for in a meal?
We love shish kabobs. They are simple, quick and flexible. Yes flexible! You can use whatever veggies and/or fruit you have on hand (yes I said fruit). They can be cooked on the grill or right in your oven. Get your kids involved - trust me they will love creating their own kabob, each one is different and unique (just like your littles). Oh and did I mention how much fun they will have painting them? Yep, painting the Kabobs! So what are you waiting for? Grab your favorite marinade and veggies, and then get cooking!

What you’ll need:


Marinade – We like Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce
Tofu- cut in cubes
Mushrooms -sliced in half
Grape tomatoes
Red onions - cut in large chunks
Zucchini - thick slices
Pineapple (fresh is best) - cut in large chunks
Bell peppers (use yellow and orange to add more color ) -cut into large chunks
Any other veggies or fruit of your choice
Wooden skewers

Marinate your tofu for about one hour in the fridge, make sure to flip the container about half way through so that the tofu gets completely covered. In the meantime cut up your veggies.
Now you are ready to assemble your kabobs. Take your skewer and add one ingredient at a time. The order doesn’t really matter and each one will be different and unique.

Oven version:
Place skewers on a cookie sheet and paint additional marinade over veggies. Broil on high until nice and crispy golden. Flip and repeat.

Grill version:
Place skewers on grill and paint additional marinade over veggies. Grill until nice and crispy golden. Flip and repeat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Cherry Chocolate Shake

During one of our summer vacations, our family went out for a quick bite to eat. Of course my boys quickly spotted a milk shake on the menu. Not just your normal milkshake, a cherry chocolate milkshake. They begged for it …and I gave in, but I made them share it. It was gone before you knew it. However, they did manage to rave about how good it was for the next few days. Then I realized something….I could make this milkshake myself! It’s so simple. As usual, my version is just as good - minus the dairy and added sugar. That’s right, it’s healthier. But don’t worry, my boys didn’t notice the difference, I doubt you will either. They thought it was just as good as the one they had on the trip.

What you’ll need:

1 -2 cups of vanilla soymilk. See below for soymilk replacements.
1 frozen banana
6-8 fresh cherries, pitted
2 scoops of cocoa or *raw cocoa

Put ingredients in your Vita-Mix or food processor. Zip it up and you’ve got yourself one yummy treat.

Remember, if you want to make this raw, or you're simply trying to stay away from soy products, just use a freshly made vanilla nutmilk! See our previous post for the recipe. If you can’t make your own, and you really don’t want to use soy, purchase an almond or rice milk instead.

*Raw Cocoa is simply the cocoa bean that has not been dried above a certain temperature. This way you still receive the health benefits that Raw Cocoa has to offer. Yes, I did say health benefits. Seriously. Here is a link if you are interested in learning more:
http://www.rawcacao.com/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Vegan Pancakes

If you have kids, you make pancakes. It’s so easy- just add water. Right? Yep. But- have you ever read the label on your Bisquick? We have. It's not pretty, trust us.

Yeah, we've used some more natural brands of pancake mix, but the truth is- unless you are a scientist and know what some of those things are that you can’t pronounce, you are better off staying clear.
Also, the ingredients list includes both milk and eggs- which are at the top of the allergy list. Even if you haven't been diagnosed formally, lots of people are allergic at some level.
So.... stop eating pancakes, right? Wrong.
Relax, we have a simple, yet satisfying recipe with some tasty variations for you and your family to enjoy.

What you’ll need:

1 cup of whole wheat flour
2 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup (plus a little extra) of soy milk
Butter substitute for frying

Heat up your griddle or frying pan and coat with butter substitute. Mix ingredients together. Pour or scoop batter onto the griddle using approximately ¼ cup for each pancake. When bubbling in the center flip and cook till golden on each side. Serve warm with maple syrup. That’s it, really!

Favorite Variations
Blueberries... lots of them
Bananas and pecans or walnuts
Chocolate chips – only on very special occasions of course
Apples and cinnamon
Shredded carrots and zucchini – great for getting those extra veggies in the morning
Once you have your batter made just add any of these combinations to your batter. Or better yet, create your own variation using your favorite fruit, nuts or really - whatever.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Vegan Shopska Salad

Shopska Salad is a favourite traditional Bulgarian Salad that is easy to make and incredibly tasty. I have had at least 20 of these since arriving in Sofia (seriously). However, I typically don't like eating dairy products so I decided to create my very own vegan style Shopsky Salad by omitting the feta and adding tofu. Because I was unable to get a proper photo, the one I included is from a charming restaurant (whose name I neglected to notice, because of the incredible views from our table) located just a few minutes walking distance from our home in Sofia, Bulgaria. The beautiful salad you see in the background is the Shopska. Love it!

What you'll need:

4 Tomatoes, chopped into chunks
1 large cucumber un peeled and chunked
4 red peppers chopped
4 green onions sliced
2 tbls fresh parsley chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 -1/4 cup shredded or crumbled feta or Tofu

Throw it all together in a bowl and enjoy.



Saturday, July 31, 2010

Red Quinoa with Veggies














Red what? Red Quinoa (keen-wa). It's a grain. And a really good one too, according to the ancient Incas who believed the crop to be sacred and termed it,"Mother of all grains". Yep, we looked it up on
Wikipedia. We like research, what can we say.

We have been using Quinoa for quite some time now. In our opinion, it's a good rice replacement, and goes perfectly with tofu and veggies.

This recipe is a recent creation and went over real well with the little ones. In addition to it's excellent taste, Quinoa is loaded with protein for all of you vegan/veggies out there who worry about getting enough in your diet.

So get your bowls ready....here comes a yummy meal!

What you'll need:

Red Quinoa
Black Beans
1-2 Tsp cumin
1-2 Onions
Cilantro: as much you like (we love it, so use a ton)use at least 1/2 cup
3 cloves of garlic
1 pound firm Tofu pan fried til golden brown in a tsp of sesame oil (or whatever you like)
Lots of Atulfo Mangos - say one for each person eating
Bunch Spinach
Half a Tomato for each person
Avocados
Salsa to taste
Lime to taste
Tortilla Chips as needed to scoop up yummy stuff

Cook Quinoa according to package directions, only, add a vegetable bouillon cube to the water.
Make your own 'refried' black beans, or use canned, put black bean in a large frying pan with some of the liquid, add add onions, cumin, garlic and cilantro and mash. Cook until a nice thick consistency mashing and stirring often.

Put a layer of chopped fresh spinach in the bowl, add quinoa, beans and other toppings to taste. Enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Poundless Poundcake



You'll never guess how many times we get the question ,"What do vegetarians eat?" Here's our answer: Salad. Ha! We're joking, of course!


While we do eat our fair share of salads, we also eat plenty of other stuff, as you have probably learned through viewing our other recipes. We also get to eat delicious treats without modifying them at all.


However, when we decided to go a step further and start incorporating some vegan entrees and desserts into our diets, we were pleasantly surprised!. Yeah, we knew that most health care professionals tell you that cutting down on animal products will result in better health. But still, even some part of us had a preconceived notion that being vegan meant boring. Thank goodness we were so wrong!


We love the traditional pound cake topped with whatever fresh berries are in season, but we dislike the heavy, icky feeling we get right after eating it. So, we've created this 'Poundless Cake' with taste and health in mind. This recipe proves just how simple and delicious a vegan dessert can be, so go ahead and indulge a bit! Remember though, even though this pound cake was created without animal fats, it is still dessert!

Enjoy!!
What You’ll Need:

1/2 cup vegan butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces firm tofu (blending or processing first assures no lumps)
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 teaspoons baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 5 x 9" loaf pan. Cream together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy. Beat in tofu until well combined. Add 1 cup flour and, with mixer on low, mix just until incorporated. Add water and extracts and do the same. End with remaining cup of flour and baking powder. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1-2 minutes. Spoon mixture into pan and lightly smooth the top. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 55 minutes.

Top with our cashew cream, or (vice cream) and fresh berries or whipped cream and fresh berries. YUM!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burger



If you're anything like me you love portobello mushrooms. I eat them with pasta, in salads, or I just eat them by themselves. They are perfect for a healthier burger option anytime of year.

What you’ll need:

4 Portobello mushrooms
2 Cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tbs Red wine vinegar
2 Tbs olive oil
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
Burger buns
Swiss cheese
Sweet onion, thinly sliced and sautée
Tomato, thinly sliced
Lettuce

Clean mushroom caps and remove stems.

In a small bowl combine the, oil, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar. Brush over the mushrooms making sure to coat completely.

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill on medium heat. Put the mushrooms, gill side down, onto the grill and grill about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Once mushroom is cooked on each side top with a slice of swiss cheese. After you flip the mushrooms top each with 2 tablespoons of Cheddar.

While the mushrooms are grilling sautee onions. Remove mushrooms from the grill and serve on the toasted buns with grilled onions, lettuce and tomato slices.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blueberry Cobbler

Nothing says summer like berry cobblers. They are the perfect dessert for a BBQ or potluck. Just make sure you reserve some for yourself before serving everyone else, cause it will disappear fast!! Seriously, this Blueberry Cobbler was a hit at the Pindur going away Potluck and it was gone the moment I placed it on the table.

Aside from their incredible taste, blueberries are loaded with antioxidants, have been proven to improve brain health and help fight heart disease too. I’ve even read that they help reduce belly fat. Well, that’s perfect, cause we might have a little extra to get rid of after eating this dessert ;)
Seriously though, when in season, blueberries are a great treat and really don’t need anything to go along with them….but they sure do make an incredible cobbler.

For those of you out there who like cobblers, but don’t like them too sweet, you may want to reduce the amount of sugar. Remember, you’re gonna top it with ice cream, aren’t you?

What you’ll need:

3 cups of fresh blueberries
½ lemon
1 1/8 cup of sugar
4 Tbs of butter substitute
1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ cup soy milk
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ tsp salt
1 ½ Tbs cornstarch
Ground cinnamon
¾ cup boiling water

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 baking dish.

Spread blueberries out to cover the bottom of the dish. Squeeze lemon over them.

In a mixer stir together butter substitute and 1 1/8 cup of sugar until smooth. Stir in flour and baking powder, alternating with soy milk, until smooth. Don’t worry about the consistency of the batter it will be fantastic. Mix the batter into the berries and spread evenly over the baking dish.

In your mixer mix together 1 ½ cups of sugar, salt and cornstarch. Sprinkle over the top of the batter. Dust with cinnamon and then pour the boiling water over the entire dish. It seems weird but it works, trust me.

Bake for 45 minutes – 1 hour or until golden brown. Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream. Heaven on a plate.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Popcorn


Yay! It’s movie night at our house! There is nothings better then curling up on the couch with your family to watch a movie and enjoy a nice warm bowl of homemade popcorn. You agree, right? I’m not talking about putting a bag in the microwave and letting radiation cook my food, no way. I’m talking about good old fashion pan popcorn. I know, I know…. you don’t have time for that. My goodness, haven’t you learned anything from us? This is quick and easy. It takes just as long as the microwave does, minus the radiation, unnecessary food coloring, and TBHQ….yeah, I didn’t know what that was either. All the more reason not to eat it. Here’s a rule to eat by: Can’t pronounce it, don’t know what it is? Don’t ingest it. Period.

For now though, let’s appreciate this yummy (and much less scary) popcorn.

What you’ll need:

3 Tbs olive oil
1/3 cup corn kernels
2 Tbs butter substitute, melted
Salt

Put olive oil and some salt in pan and let it heat up on medium high. To make sure oil is heated enough, throw a few kernels in and wait for them to pop, then, add the rest and cover with the lid slightly ajar and wait and listen. Soon you’ll hear pop, pop, pop and you’re almost done. To avoid burning your pan, be sure to shake it during the whole process. When the popping slows down to one or two pops a second remove from heat and pour into a large bowl. While stirring pour butter substitute over popcorn, don’t forget to add the salt to taste.

Simple right? Really now, what did you expect from us?

Want a cheesy flavored popcorn? Well, here’s a way to change up this recipe and add some Vitamin B at the same time. After the final step, add some nutritional yeast to your popcorn and there you go! Now you can feel good about the movie snacks you choose to give your family, I know I do.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Avocado Spring Rolls

These are not your ordinary spring rolls. I don’t remember the exact date I first tried these at The Cheesecake Factory, but I think we were in California with my boys and mother in law on a trip to Disneyland.



“Avocado spring rolls... that sounds interesting”, I thought.

“Oh we may want to order two of those” my mother-in-law's sister told us.

Well, she was right. We gobbled those up so quickly and even made an out of the way trip back to the Cheesecake Factory, a few days later, to pick up some more before our flight home. Yep, they were that good.

Since we don’t have a Cheesecake Factory in Oregon yet, I knew I needed to recreate these to share with my friends and family. So here is my version of avocado spring rolls, but you may want to double this recipe.

Dipping Sauce

1 Tbs white vinegar
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
½ tamarind pulp
½ cup honey or agave
1 pinch ground saffron
½ chopped cashews
2/3 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
2 green onions
1 Tbs sugar (optional)
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
¼ cup olive oil

In a small pot mix vinegars, tamarind paste, honey and saffron and heat for about 1 minute, until tamarind dissolves. Puree this mixture, cashews, cilantro, garlic, green onions, sugar (if using), pepper and cumin in food processor.

Pour mixture into bowl and stir in oil. Refrigerate until ready to use. Make sure to save any leftovers. This is an excellent dip for fresh veggies!

Spring Rolls

1 large avocado, pitted and diced
2 Tbs sundried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 Tbs minced red onion
½ tsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 pinch salt
Egg roll wrappers
Cornstarch and warm water to seal rolls

Gently stir together avocadoes, sun dried tomatoes, red onions, ½ tsp of cilantro and salt.

Create a glue with the cornstarch and warm water to use to hold the spring roll together.

Distributed filling evenly onto center of each egg roll wrapper

Position wrapper so the point is facing you, fold the bottom corner up so it just covers the filling. Continue rolling up from side to side fold corners in and seal with cornstarch mix.

Deep fry rolls in hot oil for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown. Drain on paper bag.



For those of you more health conscious individuals, you can try baking them on 425 for 15 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 10 minutes.



Slice rolls diagonally across the middle and serve with dipping sauce. Oh, and be sure to take a couple for yourself, cause they’re gonna go real fast.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Instant Pudding

Did I say instant? Heck yeah I did. You can make this pudding quicker than you can stir all the lumps out of that box crap. And as you might have guessed, it’s much healthier. No dairy, no eggs, no junk. Yup that’s right it’s all natural. Ok, I know what you’re thinking. You’re asking yourself, how can it taste good then? We said healthy, not disgusting. Don’t be fooled - nature provides us with all sorts of amazing foods that taste fabulous. Really now, would we post a recipe that sucked? Don’t answer that…you know it’s gonna be good. So…. what’s in it? Sorry, that’s our little secret. Okay okay, we’ll share it with you. Drum roll please…. avocados. Yup you read it right, A V O C A D O S. Man this pudding’s so good.

Here’s the deal, after you make this for your friends, and they love it, then you can share the secret with them too…we promise, they’ll want it (unless they’re freaks). In the meantime enjoy this healthy treat, your body will thank you.

What you’ll need

2 ripe avocados
1 Tbs vanilla, make sure it’s the real stuff
About a cup of maple syrup, yeah spend the money on this too, the bottle with the lady on it is not real maple syrup and you can definitely taste the difference.
Cocoa Powder
Salt
Blend the avocados in your food processor until smooth. Add vanilla, maple syrup, coca powder and just a dash of salt. Top with fresh raspberries or strawberries, or make your own puree to top.

Raspberry Puree
Put raspberries in your food processor and blend until it’s your desired consistency.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burritos


Think burritos are a boring dinner option? Well, I guess at some point we all get bored with our 'same old' weekly standbys. Since roasted sweet potatoes are one of our favorite veggies, we decided to change things up a bit with another one of our favorites. These oughta spice up those old standby burritos. We love these!


What you’ll need:

1 large sweet potatoes, chopped into small cubes
1-2 Tbs olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed ( or use your own homemade beans)
½ Tbs chili powder
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained (or use fresh)
Salt and pepper to task
2 cups of your favorite salsa (fresh is best)
8 large whole wheat or flour tortillas
½ cup chopped red onions


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil and toss with your hands. Roast until tender, turning once about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degree. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, cook until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add beans, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir in sweet potatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish, add a thin layer of salsa over the bottom.

Place a tortilla on a flat work surface. Spoon in a portion of the sweet potato mixture down the middle of the left side of the tortilla and roll it up, folding in the ends. Place the filled tortilla in the baking dish, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining mixture and tortillas. Spoon any remaining mixture on top of the burritos, top with the remaining salsa and red onions. Cover and bake for about 20 minutes. Serve hot with avocado slices or guacamole.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Tacos


I just got home from work and both boys have soccer practice. I need to figure out what's for dinner, and fast. Something simple, quick, easy and nutritious.... TACOS. These make the perfect meal!

What you'll need:

Taco shells: soft or hard shells, we prefer fresh soft taco shells but realize those aren't always available.

Beans of your choice, depending on your mood you can have black beans, pinto, refried or any others you like. If you would like to make your own beans below is a simple recipe we use for our pinto and/or black beans.

Lettuce, chopped. Skip the iceberg lettuce and opt for something with more minerals and nutrients. You can use raw spinach or mixed greens.

Tomatoes, chopped
Onions, chopped
Cabbage, thinly sliced and chopped
Olives, sliced
Avocados, sliced
Nutritional yeast, in place of cheese, sprinkle it on generously

Salsa, fresh is always best but any of your favorites will do.

Brown rice, cook according to directions

If using dried beans, soak for one hour. Pour water out and replace with new water. Cook beans on medium, added chopped onions, garlic and cilantro. Cook for about 1 -1 1/2 hours or until you can squish the bean easily between your fingers.

For canned beans, heat beans in medium sauce pan. While your beans are heating cut your veggies. Rice should be cooking at this time as well. You can warm your shells during this time if you are not using fresh tortillas.

To make things easier have all your topping in a row so you can assemble them as you move along. Take your tortilla or taco shell add beans, rice, veggies, nutritional yeast, and salsa. Quick, easy and delicious. Dinner is served.... seriously it's that easy.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Baked Brie



Have little time for preparing a last minute get together, but you want to impress your guests? Baked brie with raspberry is simple yet decadent, and your cheese loving friends will gobble this up. Seriously...you should probably make two, or three.

What you'll need:

Brie
Raspberry jam
Pillsbury Crescent dough

Pre-heat your oven 350 degrees. Roll your dough flat onto a non-skick baking sheeting. Place brie on dough and spread jam on top of brie. Fold dough over brie and bake for 25-30 minutes.

Serve warm on its own or with apples and crackers.


*Those of you who have the time and prefer to make your own dough, we'll get a recipe up soon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

I am a smoothie freak. I'll admit it. I make smoothies for breakfast, snacks, lunch, desserts, and yep - even for dinner. Most days, smoothies make up 80 percent of my diet...green smoothies, raw cocoa nut-milk smoothies, vanilla almond date smoothies, peanut butter banana smoothies, fruit smoothies.... that's how much I love 'em. And I'm not the only one. My kids (and their friends) love them just as much. Then again, who wouldn't love a smoothie? You don't believe me? I challenge you. Come on over and I'll make you one. I am serious. Just do it before June 30 2010, or you'll have to try my smoothies in Bulgaria. Or I guess you can just go to Jessie's, I can't take her with me ;(

Anyhow, the great thing about these smoothies is that you don't have to use sugar, frozen yogurt or ice cream to make them taste good. There has not been a time that I have made a smoothie for my kiddos and their friends without them remarking about how delicious it was...and always, always, without fail, asking what is in it. The reply to my ingredients disclosure? THAT'S IT?????? Needless to say, they are always surprised.

Well, it's time to stop being shocked that natural can taste so good. It does. No ice cream, no yogurt, no sugar. You want it sweeter? Make sure you use ripe fruit. Add some honey. Try dates. We don't need sugar. You want it creamier? Throw in the frozen bananas. Add some cashews. We don't need dairy.

The smoothie pictured above is one of my latest favourites.

What you'll need:
Fresh oranges (whole or juiced)
combo of fresh and frozen bananas(to make it nice, cold and creamy without diluting the flavour with ice)
teaspoon of vanilla
Nice big glass, or jar.... your breakfast is served.

Variations:
Add a handful of greens (usually spinach, collard greens, or kale) -and your taste buds will never know (shhh), but...your body will thank you. It's nice knowing something you love so much actually loves you back! Unlike that milkshake you had last night. Yeah, I saw you.

I know it sounds odd, but trust me....if you can get past the whole 'greens in a smoothie?' thing, and start out with 80% fruit and 20% greens, you won't even be able to taste the greens. That's the beauty of a green smoothie. They are super nutritious and even more delicious!

If you've got issues with drinking something green, suck it up. Literally. Ok, you caught me being sarcastic, I meant it figuratively too. ;)

Put your smoothie in a ceramic cup and use a colored straw (you big baby). This typically works for kids too. Fortunately, I started mine out young, so they never had a chance to think green smoothies were 'gross'.

Remember, your kids will follow your lead. If they are older, then it may take a while. In any event, don't force the issue. Let them come to you. Your job is to just start enjoying your own green smoothies in front of your kids. Laugh with them and at their jokes, agree with them that it's weird, and eventually they'll come around. Yes, these are the tricks I've used over the years, only for different raw food recipes. So I know what I'm talking about. I've tried to make my family eat healthier with some other methods (fascist, cough cough). Let's just say, it wasn't fun. For anyone. Sorry guys....yeah, you. Ok, and you too. But I'm better now, promise. Yeah, yeah, I'm a food fascist..... in recovery.

Hold on a minute. Before you get all excited to make your own super vitamin in a glass, I have another disclaimer. Yeah, you guessed it....this is another recipe for the Vita-mix (or other industrial type blender).
Green smoothies require an extra powerful blender or your smoothie won't be a smoothie, it'll be more like a sweet, chunky salady type thing. You won't like it (unless you're Sarah...you odd girl you).

If you don't have one of those babies, or at least access to one (seriously, I had to make my friends batches of green smoothie periodically...until they finally broke down and got their own Vita -mix.) maybe you have a juicer and a ordinary blender that will handle some frozen bananas....?

If this is the case, just juice the greens and the oranges, and add the juices to your blender. You will be missing out on the fiber that comes with those things, but hey, when your ready to invest in a Vita-mix, you'll make up for lost fiber then, seriously, just ask Jessie. Or, go eat a salad. Kind of like carbon offsets....take a plane, plant a tree. Juice your greens, eat a salad. Really though. We need fiber. From raw fruits and veggies. No, taking a pill or mixing a powder into your drinks is not good enough.

If you do have a best friend in your kitchen (no, not a Jessie, a Vita-mix), then shame on you, you should already know this! Na, just joking, we're glad you're learning! Throw about two whole oranges in with some fresh and frozen bananas, a handful of greens (or more) and zip it all up until nice and smooth. Drink, then smile. Be proud.

NO, we're not getting paid to promote Vita -mix, although we should be.... ;)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Gourmet Baby


My friend Becky recently asked me about how to make baby food for her little girl. I am thrilled that so many families are taking their childrens nutrition into their own hands, exactly where it belongs. I made baby food for all three of my kiddos, and to this day they are still amazing eaters. Disclaimer - if you want your kids to eat healthy, you must model behaviour for them. If you're chowin' on brownies and fries for lunch, don't expect your little one to happily sit there eating his/her carrots...come on now.

Making your own baby food is simple, environmentally friendly, economical and most importantly, much healthier for your precious ones than jarred food will ever be. Another advantage is that you know exactly what you are feeding your child and you can pronounce all of your ingredients.

First step?
Choose fruits and vegetables that are organic and in season for optimal flavor and nutrients.

Keep in mind that when introducing new foods to your baby it is wise to start with one individual fruit or veggie and then introduce a new food every 3-5 days. I was always a little more cautious and waited a week. This allows parents to check for any food sensitivities, and baby to 'get to know' and thoroughly enjoy a certain food.

Here are some of my little one's favorite first foods; bananas, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, blueberries, avocados. Oh, and just you wait till you start combining fruits with other fruits or veggies with other veggies…you and your baby will have so much fun!

What you’ll need:
Fresh fruit or veggies
Food Processor
Ice cube trays or other eco friendly storage containers, if storing

Cook your veggies and/or fruit, I prefer steaming them, in order to retain more of the nutrients.
When done steaming, put cooked veggies or fruit into food processor and puree until smooth.

*If you have a Vita-mix and you prefer to retain all the nutrients, minerals and enzymes in your babies food, then make it raw. Skip the stove, and just throw your fruits and/or veggies in the Vita-mix and process until you reach the desired consistency. Remember, the Vita-mix can cook food, so if you don't want it cooked, don't process your food for too long.

Voila!! You have a gourmet meal for your little one, and it's fresh!!!

Made extra? Perfect. Put pureed food in eco friendly containers (see link for ideas), and freeze. You can keep these extras for three months in the freezer.... but remember, fresh is always best.

Link for Eco friendly containers:
http://lifewithoutplastic.com/boutique/food-storage-c-66.html

Monday, May 10, 2010

Portobello Mushroom Burger


What can I say about this mock 'burger' ? Well, it's definitely not a burger. But it certainly looks like a burger.... right? Portobellos make the perfect buns, don't they? If only I brushed them with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled some sesame seeds on top.... oh well, there is always next time. Hey, you can still do it.

This just may be one of my 'top 1o' favourite 'living foods' recipes. I adore Portobello Mushrooms. They go perfectly with our Sun-dried Tomato Cashew Pate and a drizzle (or two) of our classic Original Pesto. Top it off with some mixed greens and fresh cherry tomatoes, add some onions and sliced Avocados and you have yourself a beautiful, nutritious and tasty meal.

Oh, and don't forget, you are what you eat! Seriously, it's true. What's your body made of?

What you'll need:

'Burger':
2 Medium - Large Portobello mushrooms
optional olive oil brushed on top, sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Sun- Dried Tomato Cashew Pate:
Raw Cashews - I don't know how many....I don't measure for raw foods recipes. Throw about a 1/2 cup into a food processor.


Add the following:
One or two cloves of Garlic. Start with one, taste, adjust. You can always add more, but you can't take it away. Use the same principle for the rest.

a dash or two of Sea Salt.
a dash or two of Pepper.


Sun - dried Tomatoes - start with about 7, than taste and add more if you want

Olive Oil - start with a drizzle or two... add more if you need/want to.

Note, If you are using Sun-dried tomatoes in a jar with olive oil, you may not need to add anymore oil.

Process all until you like the consistency and flavor. If you want it thinner, add more olive oil. If you want it thicker, add more nuts. Raw food is sooo easy!

Toppings:
Avocados
Mixed Greens
Cherry Tomatoes
Sliced Onions

Original Pesto Recipe -See former post

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mother's Day Scones



We'd like to dedicate this mother's day recipe to Jo-Ann and Deborah. Thank you for all your love and support throughout the years. Even though we are miles apart this mother's day, we will be celebrating you and the impact you have had on our lives. We are so grateful and we love you.

Okay, enough of the gushy stuff. I have a story to tell.

The first time I had Cherry Chocolate Chip scones was when Jaime made them for my baby shower. I couldn’t believe they were vegan. To be honest, even my guests had no clue, until they asked for the recipe. I mean these were good…really, really good.

Several months later, Jaime mentioned another scone.... A tangy and sweet, delicate lemon poppy seed scone drizzled with lemon glaze and sprinkled with lemon zest. Well, they sounded good, "but I'd probably prefer the cherry chocolate chip", I thought.

Well, I was wrong. One bite, and my taste buds went crazy. These were just as good as she and her family said they were. So thanks Jaime, for broadening my taste bud horizons. We are even now. ;)

So, with Mother's day just around the corner, we knew these would be the perfect addition to our blog. So forget about spending money on mom this mother’s day, she’ll love the idea of having a special tea party with her little angels. These scones are heavenly. Oh, and did I mention they're vegan?
What? You don’t drink tea? Oh. Well that’s okay these are really a perfect treat with any beverage of your choice. Don't worry, we won't be offended.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Scones
What you’ll need:
2 cups flour
5 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
6 Tbsp vegan butter, cut into the flour
1 ½ cups of vegan chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup of dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup of soy milk
Egg replacer for 2 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.


Preperation:
Place medium sized bowl into freezer. Measure butter and place in freezer until needed. In small bowl/container, combine soymilk and egg replacer and place in freezer until needed. In a large bowl, thoroughly combine; flour, 3 tbsp of sugar, baking powder, & salt. Put flour mixture into chilled bowl, and cut in the vegan butter. Using a fork, incorporate butter into flour gently, making the mixture look a bit like sand. You can also use your hands to do this, but make sure to not handle it to much, as you want your dough to stay as cold as possible. Work quickly. Add chilled soymilk and egg replacer and stir to form dough. Once mixture is dry enough, add chocolate chips and cherries. Fold until well incorporated.


Place dough on floured surface and press evenly into 2 inch thick circle. Transfer to non heated baking stone. Sprinkle with sugar, bake and let cool. Cut like a pizza into 8 triangles.


For mini scones shape dough into 2 inch thick square and transfer to cool baking stone. Cut into 2x2 squares, then cut diagonally to create triangles. Space triangles out a tiny bit, so they are really close, but not touching. Sprinkle with granulated sugar and bake for about 10 minutes (check around 8 minute mark just in case). When slightly brown, they are ready.

Tips:

Make sure to chill bowl, butter and soymilk/egg replacer at least 15 minutes prior to use.

Work as quickly as possible. The dough should stay somewhat cold.

Use a very sharp knife for cutting the mini scone dough into squares and triangles.

To bake mini scones, place close together, but not touching on baking sheet, as it will force the scones to rise up,instead of expand out.

Cut into shapes directly on cool baking stone. The less you handle the dough, the better the scones will look.

Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Then slice like a pie into eight triangles and then in half again.

Variations

Lemon Poppy Seed Scones
What you’ll need:

Same recipe as above, just replace soy milk with juice from one large lemon. Instead of cherries and chocolate chips, add zest from one lemon and 2 tablespoons poppy seeds. Fold and incorporate ingredients. Follow the rest of the directions from above.

Glaze

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup lemon, juiced and zested
1 Tbsp vegan butter, melted
Zest from one lemon

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.

While baking prepare glaze.

Melt butter over low /medium heat and whisk in lemon juice. Whisk until translucent. Add powdered sugar slowly while whisking to keep translucent. Repeat until sugar is all incorporated. Stir in lemon zest. Make sure to have a bit extra for presentation.

Remove from oven and pour glaze over scones while still warm. If dough is shaped in large circle, let glaze cool and harden. Then slice like a pie into eight triangles. Dust powdered sugar on top and remaining lemon zest. Sprinkle with poppy seeds.
Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Snack Time. J & J Date Bars


So, you want a snack that’s sweet, but healthy....good luck with that. No, we're kidding. We’ve got something to satisfy your sweet tooth, and it’s healthy too.
J and J Date Bars are a great snack for anyone. I knew if my kids would eat them, they would definitely pass the kid test, but what about someone who is not raw, vegan, nor vegetarian? Would they like them? To find out,I did what any rational adult would do; I experimented on my friend, whose diet does not fit into the aforementioned categories. The results? She absolutely raved about these bars. After she tried the first one and loved it, I was inspired to bring her more. So Krystal, thank you for being my fearless taste tester, and without further ado, here are the recipes as promised. Oh, and don’t worry Krystal, next time I make a batch- I’ll bring some in for you.

Cashew Crunch

What you’ll need:

2 handfuls of raw cashews
Pinch of sea salt
8 – 10 dates

Grind cashews and salt in your food processor till desired consistency, I prefer mine ground into small pieces rather than chunks. Add dates and grind until the mixture forms into one large ball.

Remove and form into small bars or rounds. Eat immediately or put in fridge to harden and enjoy later.


Cherry and Almond Tart

What you’ll need:

1 – 2 handful(s) of raw almonds
1 – 2 handful(s) of dried cherries
Pinch of sea salt
8 – 10 dates

Grind almonds, cherries and salt in your food processor till desired consistency, I prefer mine ground into small pieces rather than chunks. Add dates and grind until the mixture forms into one large ball.

Remove and form into small bars or rounds. Eat immediately or put in fridge to harden and enjoy later.

Peanut Buster

What you’ll need:

1 – 2 handful(s) raw peanuts
Pinch of sea salt
8 – 10 dates

Grind peanuts and salt in your food processor till desired consistency, I prefer mine ground into small pieces rather than chunks. Add dates and grind until the mixture forms into one large ball.

Remove and form into small bars or rounds. Eat immediately or put in fridge to harden and enjoy later.



Pecan Pie

What you’ll need:

1 – 2 handful(s) raw pecans
1 – 2 handful(s) raw almonds
Pinch of sea salt
8 – 10 dates

Grind pecans, almonds and salt in your food processor till desired consistency, I prefer mine ground into small pieces rather than chunks. Add dates and grind until the mixture forms into one large ball.

Remove and form into small bars or rounds. Eat immediately or put in fridge to harden and enjoy later.

Coconut Pie

What you’ll need:

1 – 2 handful(s) raw almonds
1 – 2 handful(s) raw cashews
1 handful of raw coconut flakes
Pinch of sea salt
8 – 10 dates

Grind almonds, cashews, coconut and salt in your food processor till desired consistency, I prefer mine ground into small pieces rather than chunks. Add dates and grind until the mixture forms into one large ball.

Remove and form into small bars or rounds. Eat immediately or put in fridge to harden and enjoy later.

Variations:
Substitute dry fruit in recipes for any of your favorites; apricot, blueberry, cranberries, strawberries, you name it. These bars are versatile, so go crazy making your own creations,

Chocolate lover? Just add cocoa to create a simply divine treat...Chocolate Covered Cherry, yummy!!

And, for those of you foodies who are interested in raw recipes, these bars make an amazing pie crust.

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Creamy Pesto Viniagrette


Pesto and salads go hand in hand. The first time we made this dressing we devoured it. Not only did we put it on our salad (ok, you got us....we didn't just drizzle it on, we dumped it.) but we also dipped our pizza crusts in it. Now we always double the recipe, just in case.

What you'll need:

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup cashews
1/3 white balsamic vinegar
1 - 1 1/2 cup basil
1 clove garlic
pinch of sea salt
pinch of pepper

Blend ingredients in Vitamix or food processor until smooth. Pour (or dump) over salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mmmmm.....Polenta, minus the hard work ;) You're Welcome


Ok, let's play a game. I say Polenta, you say," ....too much work."
Totally agree, unless of course you are using our Baked Polenta recipe. Then, it's a whole 'nother story.

So sit back and relax while your Polenta magically cooks itself in your oven. NO, you don't need to wiggle your nose silly. Seriously!


What you'll need:

1 cup stone or steel ground polenta - we purchase this in bulk.
1 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground Pepper
4 cups water
2 Tbs vegan butter (we prefer Earth Balance)

Combine polenta, salt and pepper. Put water in baking dish 9x13. Add polenta to baking dish with water and vegan butter mix well. Bake on 350 for 40 minutes. Stir about halfway through to make sure all ingredients are well combined.

Let cool, then cut into squares. This is the perfect match for Penne with Pesto and a huge mixed green salad with our basil vinaigrette. Delicious!

Variations:

Pesto Polenta – after baking, top with our Portabello Mushroom Pesto sauce and grilled Portobello mushrooms. Yummy!

Grilled Veggies and Polenta – grilled veggies go great with anything and this is no exception.

Sundried Tomato Polenta – adding our sundried tomato pesto and some baked or steamed asparagus give this dish a new Mediterranean twist.


Polenta Pizza - after 4o minutes of baking, remove the polenta and top with your favourite sauce, cheese and toppings. Bake for another 10 minutes or so.

Top with sauce and fresh thinly sliced eggplant. Bake for about 10 minutes extra.

For left over baked polenta, you can cut into small cubes and add to pasta with some mixed sauteed veggies and your favourite sauce.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pesto Galore




I love pesto.... everything about it - the color, texture, the fragrance of fresh basil and garlic, and definitely the taste. Since I love it so much, I decided to experiment with my original Pesto Recipe, by adding some of my other favorite ingredients. Don't worry, I'll make sure to include my basic Pesto recipe first, just in case you don't have a vegan one yet.

Original Pesto Recipe




What you'll need:

3/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs pine nuts
1/4 cup raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts
1 clove garlic
4 cups fresh basil leaves
Pinch of salt


Blend all ingredients except basil in a food processor. Add basil, blend until consistency you desire. Ready to serve over pasta, as a dip or however you want to enjoy it.


Sundried Tomato Pesto Recipe

What you'll need:


1 cup of fresh basil
1 cup of sun dried tomatoes, I use jarred and include the oil
1 clove garlic
1 Tbs pine nuts
pinch of salt
Blend all ingredients except basil in a food processor. Add basil and blend until desired consistancy. Voila you've created a new twist on an old time favorite.

Portobello Mushroom Pesto Recipe


What you'll need:

3/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs pine nuts
1/4 cup raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts
1 clove garlic
1 portobello mushroom
4 cups fresh basil leaves



Blend all ingredients except basil in a food processor. Add basil, blend until consistency you desire. This pesto has a real earthy flavor and goes great with polenta.


Broccoli Pesto Recipe





What you'll need:
3/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs pine nuts
1/4 cup raw cashews, pistachios or walnuts
1 clove garlic
4 cups fresh basil leaves
1 medium head of broccoli

Blend all ingredients except basil in a food processor. Add basil, blend until consistency you desire. This is a great pesto for a pasta primavera.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Summer Corn Salad


Ahhh Summer Corn Salad. Ok, so it's not just for the summer- but it sounded good. Anyhow, whenever you can get your hands on some fresh ears of corn, you are in luck!

I have adapted this recipe from a friend (thanks Sarah) and it truly is the most simple and flavourful dish! I ate the whole bowl for lunch this weekend. Yup, all three ears of corn by myself! Ok, I shared a tiny bit with Jessie and a bite or two with my daughter :)

Ingredients:
3 fresh ears of Corn, shaved
One Lime juiced,
Handful or two of Cherry tomatoes, cut in half or chunks
1 medium Portabello mushroom, cubed
3 Scallions, sliced thin
Sprinkle or two of Sea Salt
Sprinkle or two or fresh ground pepper

Preparation:
Shave corn into bowl. Juice lime into bowl.
Add tomatoes, mushrooms, scallions, sea salt and pepper.
Mix and taste. Add more of whatever you like.
Let sit and absorb flavors, or enjoy right away!

Come to think of it, some fresh Garlic might be nice. Maybe even some fresh cilantro! I'll have to try it next time.

What a refreshing pick for a picnic :)




Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese



Cooking With J & J was recently asked to share a recipe for a healthy version of Macaroni and Cheese. To be honest we're not so sure a healthy recipe is possible. Yummy? Definitely! Better for you than processed box Mac n Cheese? Yep. But healthy....we're not quite sure about that.

We both agreed that Mac n Cheese isn't the most healthy meal.... hey now, no crying, we have some good news. You didn't think we'd leave you hanging like that, now did you? We have some fat trimming 'healthy' recommendations for you.

Drum roll please..............

Instead of making Mac and Cheese your main dish, why not consider it a side?

"What? What's so good about that?" you ask.

Good question. Keep reading, we'll tell you.

One thing we've learned over the years is that if you add more of the 'healthy' stuff (salads and veggies) to your plate, and make it a rule to eat those foods first, then you will naturally decrease your portions of the 'not so healthy' stuff. Well? Whadya think? Not bad huh?

With this strategy you will be doing two excellent things for your health: A) minimizing the amount of fat you ingest from the dairy products included in your recipes - which consequently, is what most of us are concerned with, and B) increasing the amount of nutrient rich foods in your diet. Ok, there is a third thing too. You get to eat things you like and not feel so bad. That's really a win-win situation, don't you think?

Now that we got the 'health' talk out of the way, let's get to the recipe. Be sure to notice that we do use soy milk and Earth Balance to replace cow's milk and butter. This alone will help to cut down some of the fat. This Mac n Cheese sure is delicious!

This homemade recipe is a combination of several different recipes we have used over the years, and it yields this amazing version:


Ingredients:
12 oz Penne pasta

1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded

Cheese sauce recipe follows


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil or butter using Earth Balance a 9x13 baking dish.

Cook Penne 2 minutes less than directions on the package, it will finish cooking in the oven. Rinse pasta with cold water and set aside.

Combine cooked pasta with cheese sauce (recipe to follow) in a large bowl and mix thoroughly. Pour mixture into baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Cheese Sauce Ingredients:

1/4 cup Earth Balance or non-dairy butter substitute
1/3 cup flour

3 cups of soy milk

3 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

1/4 cup jack cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon salt

2-3 cloves of garlic, pressed


Melt Earth Balance or butter replacement in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the flour. Continue whisking for 2 minutes. Slowly add soy milk, whisking constantly. Cook until sauce thickens, be patient this may take a while, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese, salt and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted and all the ingredients are mixed well, about 2-3 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 3 days.

**For an added crunch, add whole grain flakes to the top of the macaroni before baking.



Sushi? Oh Yeah!

Simple, elegant, and delicious, Sushi definitely makes the 'top 10 favourites' list for both of our families!

But, before we get to the recipe and preparation, allow us to clarify something that you may be asking....

"Isn't this a vegetarian/vegan recipe site, and doesn't sushi mean raw fish?"

Great question, and here is our answer:

"While there are many types of Sushi that include raw fish and seafood (Sashimi), there is also a wide variety of vegetarian/vegan friendly Sushi."

We usually prepare the following types:

Onigirizushi - rice with other ingredients rolled into a ball.
Nigirizushi - hand formed Sushi.
Makizushi - rolled Sushi, which is the type you see in the photos.
Inarizushi - rice stuffed into fried tofu pockets.


Regardless of the type you make, all you have to do is choose your favourite veggies and make a variety of rolls.
We used a combination of Avocado, Carrot, Baked or Fried Tofu, and Cucumber in the photos shown. The possibilities are endless. Once you get the hang of making Sushi, it will be a quick and satisfying meal!

Ingredients for Sticky Rice:


3 cups Sushi Rice
4 cups Water1/3 cup Rice Vinegar
3 Tbsp Honey (or sweetener of choice)
1 Teaspoon Sea Salt

Nori - seaweed sheets either toasted or dried
Soy Wraps - the light green sushi in picture above

Filling Ingredients:

Carrots, shredded or sliced
Avocados, thinly sliced
Baked or Fried Tofu, sliced
Cucumbers, remove seeds and slice thin

Preparation:
Cook rice in rice cooker with water.
While rice is cooking, mix rice vinegar, honey, and salt in small saucepan on low heat 'till combined. Set aside.

When rice is done, transfer to wooden, stainless steel, or glass bowl.

While still hot, pour rice vinegar mixture over rice and fold with wooden spatula, being careful not to smash the rice.
If you can use a fan while folding the rice, it will makes rice shiny and sticky. If you can't, just fan it manually, i.e, with a mock paper fan.
When cool to touch, wet hands, (not dripping, but just wet) form rice into tennis sized balls (- a bit) and lay out on top of Nori sheets....conveyor belt style.
Wet your hands again, getting any rice off, and spread the rice balls out gently with your finger tips pushing the rice out in all directions until nori is covered just right. Use the photo below as a gauge for just how much rice to use (I used a little too much in this roll).
Place your fillings a little lower then in the middle (closer to you), then roll 'em up using two non - rice covered hands.
If you need help with the rolling part, you can use a bamboo mat, sold at most Asian markets.
Once your sushi's are rolled up nice and tight, slice them into even circles with a clean, sharp, and slightly damp knife.

You may need to clean your knife in between slices, as rice will stick to the knife and will make it diff
icult to cut the Sushi neatly.












P.S. Sushi makes the perfect lunch for your kiddos to take to school! Ours love it and request it(more like demand it) weekly. Several of their friends always try to make a 'trade' with them for a piece of their Sushi or Inari, I don't think they are too successful though!




Here is our method to making it an easy and quick lunch to prepare in the morning when your time is - let's say.... limited.

When you make it for dinner, make sure you set aside a good amount of Sushi Rice in a container after rice has cooled sufficiently. We like to leave it out (in the container) overnight because we dislike like the consistency of the rice after it has been refrigerated. We did some research on this, and have learned that the rice will not spoil in that short amount of time due to the added vinegar. We also save time by storing any left over carrot slices in water in the refrigerator, so they're all ready to go in the morning.

We use the rice and chopped veggies to prepare a roll or two for each kiddo -including our husbands :) and we make sure to fill up a pouch of Inari with rice, or else we'll here about it later.
Don't forget the Soy Sauce (we use Bragg's liquid Amino's). Put some in an air tight container and their lunch is set.

Sushi Tips
If the rice doesn't stick to Nori, or roll does not stick together when rolled, you most likely did not use enough vinegar in your rice. The rice should be very sticky, annoyingly so. Keep a small bowl of water close by when preparing your sushi. You'll need to wet your hands frequently during the process, as it prevents the rice from sticking to your hands.

If your roll is too thick, or does not hold together well, you probably used too much rice, or packed it down too tightly. The rice should be spread on the nori and should not cover the nori completely. You should be able to see nori between the rice....use just a bit less then the amount shown in the picture above.