December 31, 2013

German Chocolate Cake Oatmeal

I think my husband's most favorite dessert if probably German Chocolate Cake. His mom makes an über-rich version for every holiday meal and he eats it like a fiend! My M-I-L's original recipe calls for about 7 egg yolks, a cup of evaporated milk, and about a cup of butter. It tastes pretty amazing but I can only eat about 1/10th of what Tony consumes because it is so rich. So, I've often wondered if anyone had come up with a vegan or whole-food-plant-based version of it and sure enough .. someone had :) !! I found the recipe today!! What better day to use it than New Year's Eve, and my 2-Year Plantiversary? I'd say that faint anticipatory smile on his face as he takes his first bite says it all! He's a happy camper :) 

Adapted from: The Oatmeal Artist - German Chocolate Baked Oatmeal

Prep Time: 25 min (with premade topping)

Ingredients (Serves 1, double for 2):
  1. 1/2 cup Old-Fashioned (Rolled) Oats
  2. 1/2 cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk (I used almond)
  3. 1 tbsp Agave (or sweetener of choice)
  4. 1 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa
  5. 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  6. 1 pinch of Sea Salt
  7. 1 tsp Brown Sugar 
  8. 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
  9. 2 tsp Coconut Pecan Butter (for topping, premade, and brought to room temperature)
  10. 1 tsp Shredded Coconut (for garnish, optional)
  11. 1 tbsp Crushed Pecans (for garnish, optional)

Preheat oven to 350° F. In a small bowl, mix dry ingredients (oats, cocoa, baking powder, brown sugar, salt) and in a separate bowl, mix wet ingredients (non-dairy milk, sweetener of choice, vanilla extract). Mix both well. Transfer the dry ingredients to a greased ramekin, or an oven-safe bowl. I used a quick spray of Pam on the bowl and then wiped any excess off with a kitchen towel. Slowly pour the wet ingredients over the top of the dry mixture. Use a fork to make sure that any flakes of oatmeal that are still floating get soaked well. I didn't mix at this stage because I wanted to make sure that I didn't disturb the grease around the sides of the bowl. Bake uncovered for 20-22 min. Remove from oven and let sit for a couple of minutes, then carefully invert the bowl onto a serving plate and let sit for another 4-5 min. This will allow the oatmeal to cleanly transfer to the serving plate, in the shape of the baking bowl itself. Gently top off the oats with about 2 tsp of Coconut Pecan butter (I used the original recipe, see link in ingredients above, to a tee) allowing the steam from the oatmeal to soften it. This stuff is rich .. like really really rich, so don't be greedy like me! Once it softens and starts glistening, sprinkle some coconut flakes and crushed pecans on top. Serve warm! Enjoy!

My Assessment: This oatmeal is a great way to enjoy an otherwise über-rich guilt-laden dessert. By no means is this dish low-fat (thanks to the coconut pecan butter used for the topping) but it is definitely based on whole plant-based ingredients and is far better for you than the original recipe. LOVED another recipe from The Oatmeal Artist. Tony confirmed that the topping tasted just like the omni version his mom makes and I think it would work great as a filling and topping for a vegan chocolate cake as well (i.e. to make an actual German Chocolate Cake). Score!!!!! 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving, with topping): Calories 498 (Fat Calories 252)
Total Fat 28.1 g; Carbohydrates 56.7 g; Fiber 11.3 g; Sugars 19.4 g; Protein 9.6 g

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving, w/o topping): Calories 276 (Fat Calories 56)
Total Fat 6.3 g; Carbohydrates 50.7 g; Fiber 7.8 g; Sugars 18.3 g; Protein 7.1 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

December 29, 2013

Mexican 7-Layer Dip

We were at the store a couple days ago for a mid-week grocery supplement trip when Tony picked up a container of 'ready to eat' Mexican dip from the deli-fresh section. I looked at it and it had more cheese and sour cream than any of the other whole ingredients and offered to make a whole foods-plant-based version at home. I mean, really, how hard could it be? So away we went .. picked up all of our ingredients and a bag of baked tortilla chips and we had the best lunch ever ... yep! we're those people! We at chips and dip for lunch! :)

Prep Time: <10 min

Ingredients (Serves 6):

  1. 1 x 16 oz can of La Preferida Fat Free Refried Black Beans 
  2. 1 x 8 oz bag of Shredded Lettuce (about 2 cups)
  3. 1 Medium White onion, finely diced
  4. 2 Medium Tomatoes, finely diced
  5. 1 x 4 oz can of Ortega Fire-Roasted Diced Green Chilies
  6. 1/2 x 3.8 oz can of Early California Sliced California Ripe Olives
  7. 0.5 cup Pace Restaurant Style Salsa
  8. 1 tbsp Ortega Taco Seasoning (to taste). 

I used black beans for this recipe because that's what we like to eat more than regular refried beans. Feel free to use a can of regular beans instead. The brand I used (La Preferida) has only cooked black beans, water, salt, and onion and garlic powder. I made sure also that the green chilies and olives are preserved in water, and not oil. Once all the ingredients are ready, start layering a bowl with the ingredients starting with half the lettuce, black beans, tomatoes, onions, black olives, green chilies, salsa, with sprinkles of taco seasoning between each layer. Finally top off with the remainder of the lettuce and add a few extra olives, and a sprinkle of taco seasoning, as a garnish. Refrigerate for about 30-60 minutes before serving. The longer the ingredients sit together, the better the flavors blend together. Serve with baked tortilla chips for an awesome experience. 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 108 (Fat Calories 14)
Total Fat 1.6 g; Carbohydrates 20.4 g; Fiber 5.4 g; Sugars 3.9 g; Protein 6.7 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Pomegranate & Chocolate Chip Oatmeal

During one of many trips to India, before my dad passed on, he introduced Tony to Pomegranates. It was love at first bite for him. Ever since then, every time he sees it at the store, and he has some spare cash, he picks one up. They're expensive here in the US and I always thought they're more work than they're worth ;) but Tony is willing to do the work to get all the seeds out, so I'm willing to eat them!! Fun fact: did you know that pomegranate seeds are called 'arils'? 

Prep Time: <5 min 

Ingredients: See recipe link above. 

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix oats, chia seeds, almond milk and salt together and cook on high for 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl once in the middle of this time to mix well. Once oats are done, remove carefully from microwave, mix vanilla extract, pomegranate arils and chocolate chips and transfer to a serving dish. Enjoy!! 

My Assessment: I really really liked this recipe by The Oatmeal Artist. In fact, I don't think I've tried a single one of her recipes and not loved it. She's got a knack for oatmeal :) !!! The combination of pomegranate and chocolate was like eating cherries with chocolate, but the crunchiness of the arils made it similar to eating a nutty chocolate bar!! Loved it!! 

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 331 (Fat Calories 95)
Total Fat 10.6 g; Carbohydrates 54.9 g; Fiber 8.8 g; Sugars 20.7 g; Protein 8.3 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

December 14, 2013

Kale Pad Thai

This recipe is to die for!!! Absolutely!!! This uses a spicier version of Happy Herbivore's Cheater Pad Thai Sauce. It was inspired this evening by a craving for Pad Thai and the need to use 2 bunches of kale in my refrigerator. I seriously ate 2 huge plates full!!  

Prep Time: ~20 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 4 cups of raw kale, stems removed, leaves torn into bite-sized pieces
  2. 1 x 14oz block of extra firm tofu
  3. 1/4 cup Raw Peanuts
  4. 1 Serving of Spicy Thai Peanut Sauce
    • 2 tbsp warm water
    • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
    • 2 tbsp "Naturally More" Smooth Peanut Butter with flax seed
    • 1 tbsp "Huy Fong" Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp "Huy Fong" Sriracha Chili Sauce 

Preheat oven to 375° F. Pat-dry tofu using a paper towel and cut into small bite-sized pieces (less than 1" squares). Place tofu pieces on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat mat, making sure each piece has room around it. I left the tofu in the oven for 20 min, without turning or disturbing it at all. The beauty of the Silpat silicone mat is that it prevents sticking 100%. Line a large stock pot with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat with medium low, add kale and peanuts, a slight sprinkle of salt, and cover. Let kale and peanuts steam in this pot for the next 5-10 minutes checking occasionally to ensure that there is still some water in the pot to prevent burning. Separately, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce in a small bowl. The warm water helps melt the peanut butter which allows it to blend with the rest of the ingredients. Once the kale and tofu are done, toss everything together, and serve warm. 

This isn't a low-fat salad (it has almost 13 g/serving), but it is definitely a whole foods-based salad. All the fat is coming from natural peanut butter, peanuts and some from the tofu. All in all, it's much better to eat this somewhat rich salad rather than to drizzle your greens with olive oil, even if its EVOO.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 234 (Fat Calories 114)
Total Fat 12.7 g; Carbohydrates 13.7 g; Fiber 4.5 g; Sugars 1.3 g; Protein 17.6 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Mushroom, Chickpea Noodle Soup

This soup came about with a vague recollection of Happy Herbivore Chickpea Noodle Soup when I didn't have access to her recipe (or the internet at that moment). Turns out my recipe is nothing like Lindsay's with the exception that we both used Chickpeas, Noodles and Mushrooms. Here's my adaptation. Since the idea was inspired by the original recipe, I'm still crediting Lindsay Nixon here. I also accidentally managed to delete all my pictures :( so there are no pictures today. 

Adapted from: Happy Herbivore Chickpea Noodle Soup

Prep Time: 15 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 1 x 15oz Can of Chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  2. 3 oz dry Spaghetti
  3. 1 cup Grape tomatoes, halved
  4. 8 oz Cremini mushroom crowns, sliced
  5. 1 small white onion, diced (or 2 tbsp dried Onion flakes)
  6. 1 tbsp Better than Boullion - Vegetable Base
  7. 6-8 cups Water or Home-made Vegetable Broth 
  8. 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  9. 2 tsp dried Parsley
  10. 1 tsp Rubbed Sage
  11. Salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
Put everything in a pot and simmer until spaghetti is soft. Taste test for salt, enjoy!!! For as simple as this recipe is, even my omnivore step-kids loved it!! Sorry I don't have pictures today :(

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 175 (Fat Calories 17)
Total Fat 1.9 g; Carbohydrates 31.0 g; Fiber 4.7 g; Sugars 5.2 g; Protein 9.1 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

December 3, 2013

Chickpea Hash

As part of a whole-foods lifestyle, it is my attempt to reduce our overall consumption of processed grains and grain products, especially white rice and white pastas. My husband is not a big fan of brown rice. He loves barley and bulgur but the mention of brown rice usually elicits a long face ;-) !!! So I'm always looking for different ways of substituting white rice in my recipes. Today, as I was getting ready to prepare dinner, I decided to switch white rice with potatoes. My initial thought was to just serve my chickpea recipe over steamed potatoes, but then I decided to try something different. And the result was actually phenomenal. Tony has 2 bowls full :) despite his initial reservations.  

Prep Time: 20-25 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 2 x 15oz cans Chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  2. 1 Small Red Onion
  3. 4 Medium Roma Tomatoes
  4. 4-5 Small Russet Potatoes
  5. 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  6. 2 tsp Onion Powder
  7. 2 tsp Italian Seasoning
  8. 1 tsp fresh diced or freeze-dried Basil
  9. 1 tsp Paprika, to taste
  10. 2 cups Water or Home-made Vegetable Broth 
  11. Salt and Pepper, to taste
Dice onion and 2 tomatoes and set aside. Puree the remaining 2 tomatoes in a blender until smooth and set aside. Peel potatoes and shred to match stick fries or hash brown thickness using a food processor or julienne using a mandolin slicer (about 2 cups). I used a mandolin today as I already had it out for the baked chips I made earlier. Set aside until ready to use. Line a heavy pot with water and add onions. Saute on medium-high heat until onions are translucent and add tomatoes and garlic and onion powders and saute until almost all the water has evaporated and the tomatoes take on a deep red color from the caramelizing sugars. Add a splash of water and add hash potatoes. Toss well making sure that the potatoes don't stick to the bottom or burn. Once well mixed, add 2 cups of water or broth, and add chickpeas. Add remaining seasonings, mix well, cover and simmer on low for 10 min, or until potatoes are fork tender. As the potatoes cook, they'll release some of their starches and make the broth rich and creamy and starchy. Garnish with fresh basil and freshly cracked black pepper. Enjoy! 

My Assessment: This was a great way to sub out rice or even pasta in this dish. Loved the starchy feel of the potato and the shredded/julienned potato almost had a pasta like consistency in this dish. Tony loved it and so did I. :)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)*: Calories 271 (Fat Calories 17)
Total Fat 1.9 g; Carbohydrates 55.3 g; Fiber 16.2 g; Sugars 5.7 g; Protein 13.4 g

* Nutrition facts are provided for the water option as vegetable broth calorie content can vary.

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!

Baked Taco Chips

I'm fast approaching my 2-Year Plantiversary!!! Yay for me!! Even after all this while, I still occasionally crave the crunch of a bag of potato chips. Since I've reduced processed foods to an absolute minimum, greasy potato chips out of a bag are pretty much a no-no. I decided to try making some home-made potato chip today to see if they would satisfy that itch!!

Prep Time: 20-25 min

Ingredients (Serves 4):
  1. 3 small russet potatoes (about 1 cup)
  2. 1 tsp Onion powder
  3. 1 tsp Garlic powder
  4. 1 tsp Taco Seasoning
  5. Salt, to taste 

Preheat oven to 350° F. Thinly slice the potatoes using a food processor or a mandolin slicer. Spray a rimmed cookie sheet with a thin layer of cooking spray. Use a paper towel to wipe any excess oil off, leaving behind only a thin glossy layer all over the sheet. Toss potato slices with all spices (save the salt for later, if needed) and then spread in a single layer (some overlap is okay) on the greased cookie sheet. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown and crispy with an occasional shake of the sheet every few minutes. Mine were nice and golden in about 17 min. Remove the sheet from oven and let stand for a few minutes before transferring to a serving plate! Enjoy!

My Assessment: Loved these. Even my 4y old loved these chips and was a tad disappointed when mommy and daddy finished their share ;)

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving): Calories 31 (Fat Calories 1)
Total Fat 0.1 g; Carbohydrates 7.0 g; Fiber 1.0 g; Sugars 0.9 g; Protein 0.8 g

If you liked this recipe, be sure to check out my Recipe Index for more Whole-Food, Plant-Based, No-Added-Oil recipes. You can also like Rugrat Chow! on Facebook. Thanks!