Tag Archives: food

Recipe: Vegan Pesto

Vegan Pesto | Tiffany Lane HandmadeI absolutely love pesto! It’s definitely in my top 5 for sauces and condiments, right up there with mustard. Yes…mustard. But that’s a topic for another day.

Back to the pesto. It goes with almost anything. Burgers, pizza, pasta. Yes, I do eat these on occasion. And I consider them more gourmet with pesto, which by default makes them healthier. Right?

But really, I put this stuff on almost everything. Eggs. Avocados. Toast with eggs and avocados. As a veggie dip. In wraps and sandwiches. On tacos. With roasted eggplant. Or any roasted vegetable really. And even with just a spoon sometimes.

So this pesto I’m talking about. It’s awesome.  And hubby approved. Which means it’s actually awesome, not just Tiffany awesome. He even said about the last batch I made that it must have crack in it because he couldn’t get enough.

Funny thing about this recipe, though. It’s more of a ratio built around your preference.  I normally eye ball everything then blend it all up in the food processor.  Easy as pie. Or should that be pesto?

Oh, and it’s vegan. Simply because I don’t feel the need to add tons of cheese to everything I eat (not because I’m vegan…because I’m not). But don’t be deterred, you dairy eating folk.  What it lacks in cheese, it completely makes up for in pure deliciousness. Remember, it’s (carnivorous/dairy loving) hubby approved.

If you’re anything like me, and I hope you are, you’ve probably got most, if not all, of these ingredients in your kitchen already. Greens, check. Nuts, check. Olive oil, check. Fresh garlic and lemon, check. Salt and pepper, check.

Traditional pesto is made with basil and pine nuts, but in true Tiffany fashion, I’ve got to mix it up and make everything my own. So, I use whatever greens I’ve got on hand (normally kale or arugula, sometimes basil), and whatever nuts I’m feeling that day (usually cashews, since they’re creamy like pine nuts, but not as ridiculously expensive, and many times I also use almonds or walnuts). And more than just using fresh lemon juice, I also add in the zest, because why not?

Like I said, just throw it all in the food processor, let it whirl, give it a taste, add a little more of this or that to round it out, and you’re good to go.

Vegan Pesto | Tiffany Lane Handmade

But this wouldn’t be a true recipe if I didn’t list it out all pretty with some sort of directions, would it?

VEGAN PESTO

Ingredients
greens (basil, kale, arugula, or anything else you like)
nuts (pine nuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts, almonds, or anything else you like)
olive oil
fresh lemon, juice and zest
fresh garlic cloves
salt

pepper

Preparation

Throw it all in the food processor (maybe start with half and half, greens to nuts, 1 garlic clove, half the lemon juice and zest, a dash of salt and pepper, then add in the olive oil until you get a nice consistency), let it whirl, give it a taste, add a little more of this or that to round it out, and you’re good to go.

What are you gonna put your pesto on?

Vegan Pesto | Tiffany Lane Handmade

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Recipe: Nut & Seed Granola

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

I love me some granola.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

This batch is a powerhouse of flavor and nutrition with lots of nuts and seeds, coconut and coconut butter, tahini and sweetened only with honey. On top of that, it’s very easy to make, so you have no excuses not to be in the kitchen, right now, baking up a batch of pure delight. Except that you’re reading this right now.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

So I’m not gonna hold you captive here any more with lots of fluff. Let’s get to it.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

NUT & SEED GRANOLA

Makes approx. 7 cups (fits nicely on one standard size rimmed baking sheet)

Ingredients
2 cups rolled oats
2 cups flaked coconut, raw and unsweetened
2 cups mixed nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, etc.)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flaxseed, ground
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup tahini
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

3 tbsp vanilla, almond or coconut extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 300F. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk wet ingredients until combined well.  Pour wet ingredients over dry and stir until all dry ingredients are coated evenly.

Spread granola mixture onto a lined baking sheet (parchment or Silpat mat) into an even layer, avoiding direct contact with the sides of the pan.  Bake for 20 minutes, remove from oven and toss, then return to oven to bake for another 20 minutes. Remove, toss and repeat process twice more, for a total baking time of 80 minutes, or until granola turns golden and toasted. Remove granola from oven and allow to cool completely as granola will harden as it cools. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one month.

Nut and Seed Granola | Tiffany Lane

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Recipe: Coconut Caramel Bars (Grain Free/Vegan)

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

So if you haven’t noticed, it’s that Girl Scout cookie time of year. Since my husband insists on “supporting his co-workers’ kids”, (um, yeah babe, I’m sure that’s the reason) we have a few boxes in the freezer (yes, they’re better frozen). And as much as I enjoy them, since they’re delicious, I can’t get past all those pesky, unnecessary ingredients. The only way to resist my urge to eat an entire tray of Caramel Delites (they used to be called Samoas back when I was a GS), after of course eating an entire sleeve of Thin Mints, is to make my own, healthier version.

Let me stop you there. I know what you’re thinking, “But Tiffany, these aren’t even cookies, they’re bars.” Trust me, you won’t miss the cookies. These bars are so rich and delectable, those cookies will get freezer burn and you won’t even care. Nope, nada, no caring here.

To make these bars so rich and delectable, they’ve got to be filled with some pretty awesome things. Dates are one of my favorite treats and make the caramel perfectly sweet. But they really needed a punch of something else too. What better way to deck out my homemade caramel coconut bars than to fill them to the brim with coconut? Don’t you agree? Good, I’m glad we’re on the same page. And no, I’m not joking about the coconut. It’s everywhere in these babies!  My only warning is this: they’re addicting and if you’re not careful, you’ll find yourself on the couch, watching a chick flick, fork in hand with an empty 8×8 dish. And for those of you watching your calories (which I don’t encourage), while they’re made with wholesome ingredients, these bars are most definitely not low calorie. Everything in moderation, right?

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

Without further ado, I present:

COCONUT CARAMEL BARS (GRAIN FREE/VEGAN) 

Inspired by Girl Scout’s Caramel Delites

Slightly adapted from Detoxinista’s No-Bake Twix Bars

Makes an 8×8 Dish

Cookie Crust
1 cup raw coconut butter (make a extra to save some for later!)*
4 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp coconut flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Filling
2 cup Medjool dates (about 25-30 dates)
1/2 cup water or coconut water
4 tbsp raw coconut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp salt

Topping

1 cup toasted coconut, flaked or shredded (I use Bob’s Red Mill Flaked Coconut Unsweetened)*

Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp raw honey

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F and toast your coconut (in the same glass baking dish you’re going to make the bars in) by baking for 3-5 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Remove from oven, pour into a small bowl and set aside.

Make the cookie crust by mixing the wet ingredients in a medium bowl, then adding in the coconut flour and salt until a crumbly dough forms. Press dough into an 8×8 glass baking dish greased with a little melted coconut oil then you’re going to pre-bake the crust (like you might for a pie) by baking for 8-10 minutes, until the top and edges just begin to brown. You don’t want to over bake here because it will go back in the oven with the filling (again, like a pie). After you take out the crust, turn the oven up to 375F to preheat while you make the filling.

For the caramel filling, blend all ingredients in a food processor or high speed blender (I used my food processor since I made the filling in it after making coconut butter – no cleaning necessary!), until smooth, scraping down the sides once or twice. This should only take a minute or two. Pour filling over the cookie crust and bake at 375F for 15-18 minutes, until the filling firms up, then remove from oven and top with toasted coconut.

While the bars are baking, make the chocolate drizzle by whisking together the melted coconut oil and honey, then adding in the cocoa powder until well combined.  Drizzle chocolate sauce over coconut topping and resist the urge to stuff your face until they’ve cooled.

Coconut Caramel Bars | Tiffany Lane

*Tiffany Lane Handmade is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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Recipe: Lemon Spiced Nuts & Seeds

Lemon Spiced Nuts | Tiffany Lane

Nuts are a staple in our house. At any given time we’ll have large bags of almonds, walnuts, pecans and cashews in the fridge. We use them for various things, a few of which are: eating raw or roasted as a quick snack, tossed in salads, add-ins for granola, and bases for grain free snacks (like these homemade larabars).

Since they’re filling, healthy and delicious, nuts also make great party treats. Just in time for all those Superbowl parties! One of my go-to party essentials is spiced and roasted mixed nuts. Not only are they tasty, they’re quick and easy to prepare, both sweet and savory.  Lucky for you, I’m sharing one of my recent and favorite additions to the growing roasted nuts list: lemon spice. They’ve got a zing from the lemon and deep earthy flavors from the spices. Yummy!

Lemon Spiced Nuts | Tiffany Lane

LEMON SPICED NUTS

Adapted from My Darling Lemon Thyme

Ingredients
5 cups mixed nuts/seeds (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds)
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 teaspoons fine sea salt
4 teaspoons cumin, ground
4 teaspoons coriander, ground
3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon fennel, ground
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
1 teaspoon allspice, ground

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground

Preparation

Preheat oven to 325F.  In a medium bowl, mix spices until well combined, then stir in olive oil, lemon zest and juice until a loose paste forms. Add nuts and toss to coat. Spread into an even layer on a lined, rimmed baking sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring halfway through.  Allow nuts to cool enough to handle before eating.

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Heirloom Seed Kit (Gardening’s Not as Easy as it Looks!)

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

A friend gave me an heirloom seed kit recently and even with my black thumb, I’ve been able to keep the cherry tomato plant alive! The kit comes with seeds, soil, paper pots, wooden crate and instructions for growing the seedlings.

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 1: plant the seedlings

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 2: water and cover with plastic wrap

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 3: once the seedlings have sprouted, remove plastic wrap and continue to water

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Destruction leaves only one survivor (WHAT NOT TO DO: accidentally leave the pot directly underneath the edge of your roof overhang during a rain storm…oops)

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 4: transplant any surviving seedlings into a larger pot with new soil (keeping seedlings in paper pot, which will biodegrade into the soil)

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Step 5: water and let it grow!

Heirloom Seed Kit |_ Tiffany Lane

And grow!

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

And grow!

Heirloom Seed Kit | Tiffany Lane

Now it’s just a waiting game until it starts to fruit. I cannot wait to try my homegrown cherry tomatoes!

READER FEEDBACK: What do you grow in your garden?

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October Unprocessed: Finish Strong!

fresh thyme - my sweet reveries[Photo Courtesy of My Sweet Reverie via Etsy]

Today marks the final day for October Unprocessed 2013! Regardless of how you’ve done, let’s make today great and finish it out strong.  And don’t let the end of October mark the end of healthy wholesome eating for you. Let it mark the beginning or continuing of this lifestyle, because eating healthy isn’t just a diet, it’s a way of life.

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How’s October Unprocessed Going?

peas - krystlereeves[Photo Courtesy of Krystle Reeves via Etsy]

My one month detox is officially over. Looking back, it really wasn’t as difficult as I expected, most of the time. What worked for me was to change my mindset from “I’m not allowed to eat certain things” to “I’m aiding in my health so I don’t want to eat those things.” I didn’t crave the fruits and sugars like I thought I would (only a little), it was the eggs and beans (did someone say hummus?) and coconut products that I seemed to miss the most. Also, it would have helped for me to stock up on more veggies since there were nights I went to bed hungry (not the end of the world, I know) because I’d had enough nuts (pretty sure I ate my weight in nuts) and we were low on veggies. I got grumpy a couple times (shameful). Now that it’s over, I’ve been good about rationing my sugars and fruits and I’m still not eating wheat, corn or dairy.

Overall, I do feel a bit better, but I think my detox downfall was eating too many nuts. Since I wasn’t supposed to be eating fruit, which used to be my breakfasts, snacks and desserts, I compensated by eating nuts since they’re so quick and easy. Learned that lesson the hard and painful way.

I’ve also learned some of the foods I was eating were affecting my health more than I thought.  The few times I cheated, I knew it. Bloating, stomach ache, headache and overall feeling crummy. But when I didn’t cheat (and didn’t eat too many nuts), I felt great.

Would I recommend a detox? Well, that depends.  I obviously cannot provide any medical advice, so please consult your physician (holistic or naturopath preferred), but what I can provide is my opinion. If you need a reset, by all means, eating more produce (mostly vegetables), more whole foods, and cutting out (or at least down on) sugars is a great place to start. Set yourself a goal, change your mindset and go for it.

Moving along, I really hope you haven’t forgotten about October Unprocessed. These past few weeks have been easy for me since I was on the detox anyway, but I don’t see me having any problems finishing out the month strong, unprocessed of course!

How have you been doing?

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