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Tangy Cream Sauce or Vegetable Dip (Mostly Raw!)

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I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen a lot the past couple of days. Mostly because I was avoiding doing my taxes. But I came up with four new recipes, so it worked out nicely. What are the recipes, you ask? Tomato pie, gluten-free salsa biscuits, raw kiwi cream crumble, and the recipe I’m sharing today–tangy cream sauce. A couple of these need some tweaking before they’re ready to join the internet recipe box, but I wanted to share this tangy cream sauce with you ASAP.  Actually, the photo above is what I had for supper tonight, along with some avocado salad.

I wanted a sauce to top my steamed cauliflower and broccoli.  I’ve been hearing about the health benefits of seeds, like sesame seeds and sunflower seeds, so I wanted to incorporate some of those. I just started putting stuff in the blender and the next thing you know…yum!

What’s especially great about this sauce is it is nearly raw! The only thing that isn’t raw is the mustard and the nutritional yeast. Actually the seasoning probably isn’t technically raw either. I doubt that it’s dehydrated at the appropriate temperature. And the lemon juice I used was from a bottle, but that’s easy to substitute with juice from a fresh lemon (which I didn’t have on hand).

The creaminess of this sauce comes from the mix of cashews, almonds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds. The zip comes from the dijon mustard and lemon. If you’re not a fan of mustard, you can certainly leave that out, as well as the lemon. You could really season this any number of ways. You could spice it up with cumin and cayenne or use Italian seasoning. I’m also thinking that balsamic vinegar might be good to try. I was really pleased at the way the mix of seeds and nuts turned out, so I’m thinking I will be trying this again with different flavors.

As I said, I served this over steamed broccoli and cauliflower (with some raw kale sprinkles on top). I had just buzzed it up in the blender and let it go for a few minutes, so it was somewhat warm, but if you want to heat it you certainly can (remember not too much heat if you want to retain the raw goodness). One great thing about this sauce is that it doubles as a wonderful vegetable dip. I tried it with carrots after dinner, which I guess means it was dessert!

 

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Tangy Cream Sauce or Vegetable Dip (Mostly Raw!)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
A great sauce made with a mix of nuts and seeds, perfect for serving over vegetables or pasta or as a dip.
Ingredients
  • ¼ c. raw cashews
  • ¼ c. raw almonds
  • ¼ c. raw sunflower seeds
  • ¼ c. raw sesame seeds
  • 1 c. water
  • 1 T. dijon mustard
  • ⅛ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. garden herb seasoning (or your favorite seasoning)
  • 1 T. nutritional yeast
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in blender and blend until creamy and smooth.
Notes
This made approximately 1-3/4 cups.

 

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Easy Almond Cookies (Grain-Free)

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Sometimes you just need a cookie…which can lead to all sorts of trouble.

Needless to say I’ve tried all kinds of healthy cookie recipes with mixed results. But I recently stumbled upon this great recipe for chocolate chip cookies from Detoxinista.com. I made it according to the recipe (except I used flax instead of egg) and it was very good. Over the last couple of weeks, I have made the recipe several times (sometimes you need lots of cookies) and tweaked the recipe to my liking.

 

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The base of this cookie is almond flour. I use blanched almond meal and it works great. The original recipe uses coconut oil, but I use almond butter and prefer the taste much better. I also sweeten mine with agave syrup, which makes this recipe low glycemic as well (as long as agave syrup is actually low glycemic, and I’ve heard differing opinions on this). I also added shredded coconut for texture and flavor. And of course you can always add chocolate chips, but the cookies are perfectly delicious without them.

 

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One great thing about this recipe is how easy it is to put together. Usually I break out the Kitchen Aid stand mixer when making cookies, but not for this recipe. I just put all the ingredients in a bowl, stir it up with a spatula, and it’s ready to go!

The cookies are rather moist and tend to get softer the next day. You may prefer storing them in the refrigerator. In hot weather, I would definitely store them in the refrigerator. That’s assuming, of course, that they last more than one day.

 

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I find that the cookies do best when you flatten them before baking. If you don’t flatten them, they don’t really spread so you end up with more of a cookie ball, but of course they taste good either way. The photo above shows both the flattened and unflattened variety.

By the way, these cookies have been taste-test approved by several people, including children, so you know they’ve got to be good! The next time you need a cookie, I hope this recipe helps you out.

 

Easy Almond Cookies (Grain-Free)
Author: 
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
An easy grain-free cookie made with almond flour.
Ingredients
  • 1-1/2 c. almond meal or flour (I use blanched)
  • ¼ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 T. almond butter
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ c. agave syrup
  • 2 T. ground flax seed + 3 T. water (mix and let sit a few minutes)
  • ¼ c. finely shredded coconut
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 350.
  2. Combine all ingredients and stir together until well combined.
  3. Scoop by rounded teaspoon (or cookie scoop) and drop on lightly greased or parchment-covered sheet pan.
  4. Gently flatten each cookie with your fingers or the bottom of a glass.
  5. Bake at 350 for approximately 10 minutes or until brown around edges and bottom.
  6. Allow to cool and then enjoy!
Notes
Ground chia seed can be used in place of the flax if you prefer. I used a mini cookie scoop and this recipe made 40 cookies.

 

 

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Choosing Gluten-Free Flour

I just came across a great article on Living Without about gluten-free flour. It’s full of information about different flours that are available and how to work with them. It’s so helpful and informative I had to share it. I think I’m going to try making my own quinoa flour. If it works out, I’m sure you’ll be seeing some quinoa-inspired recipes soon!

Check out the article here.

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Vegan Nacho Cheese

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I like cheese. A lot. And even though I’m mostly vegan now, I do still splurge on cheese once in a while. As for vegan alternatives — let’s just say they can leave a lot to be desired. I did recently discover Daiya cheese, which is now available at my local health food store (and some grocery stores). It’s pretty good but also a bit expensive. However, there is one recipe for cheese sauce that has been a regular in my diet for at least a year, if not more. It’s the simple cheese recipe from the cookbook Seven Secrets. It is a great vegan cookbook and I have tried and enjoyed many of the recipes, which are easy to follow and tasty, too. (I highly recommend it!)

I have adapted the Seven Secrets simple cheese recipe to fit my tastes, which means it’s NACHO cheese! One of my weaknesses is chips and cheese, so finding a healthier, vegan alternative has been wonderful! Plus, this cheese sauce is very versatile. I’ve used it on pizza, over veggies, in wraps, with pasta or rice, and mixed it with other ingredients to make a variety of dips (try stirring in some salsa and beans!).

Cashews are the primary ingredient in this nacho cheese. If you’re concerned about the amount of cashews, the Seven Secrets book suggests using half the amount and adding 1 T. of cornstarch (or arrowroot powder). I have done this and it turns out just the same. I have also substituted almonds for the cashews, and it still turned out great. The flavor and texture were slightly different, but still very good.

Of course you can experiment with different spices to create the cheese sauce you like best. I have also added fresh jalapeno peppers to spice it up even more. The recipe calls for half of a red pepper. This is really just for color.  The photo above shows the cheese made without the pepper and it’s obviously not quite as orange as the nacho cheese you buy in a jar at the store (we probably don’t want to know why that’s so orange!). So sometimes I include the pepper; sometimes I don’t. You can do what suits you.

Hope you enjoy some cheesy goodness with this recipe!

Vegan Nacho Cheese
Author: 
 
A vegan alternative to nacho cheese!
Ingredients
  • 1 c. raw cashews
  • 2 c. water
  • 1 to 1-1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 T. taco seasoning (or to taste)
  • 2 T. nutritional yeast
  • ½ red pepper (optional)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in a blender and blend well (a Vitamix works great!).
  2. Pour blended mixture into a skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently.
  3. When the mixture comes to a boil, continue stirring until it thickens, then turn off the heat and let it sit. (It cooks very quickly.)
  4. It will continue to thicken a bit as it cools.
  5. Can be used hot or cold (I prefer it warm).

 

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