Saturday, January 2, 2016

Recipe: An Accidental Vegetarian Budget Tacos!

Have you ever had amazing food that you didn't know you would actually like? Welcome to my world of Food. This past weekend I was lucky to venture to this place for a sampling of their fine tacos, one of which was a vegetarian option on the menu. I have been to quite a fair share of vegetarian spots and are always willing to try something new to me out. Well, let's just say after my meal, I was hooked. Soy crumbles with spices and seasoning was just too perfect. So, after one of my vegetarian friends pointed out that I could make them at home with his vegetarian "meat", I figured I would make my own to see how they stood up.

As simple as tacos can be, this one is just as so. You will only need a few ingredients.
  • Soy Crumbles ( I used BOCA brand- as they were what was recommended to me)
  • Tortillas/Taco Shells (I have to eat gluten-free so I choose corn tortillas)
  • Taco Seasoning (I use McCormick's Perfect Pinch Mexican)
  • Toppings (I prefer a lower cal option so I opted for Romaine Lettuce and Tostitos Salsa)
Here is what I did:
  1. Soy Crumbles come frozen, and already pre-cooked. All you need to do is heat up your desired amount (i used 1/2C for two tacos since I like mine pretty full) in a skillet. This only takes about 5-7 minutes just for the crumbles to thaw and warm. Add a pinch of olive oil so the crumbles will not stick.
  2. While the crumbles are cooking, chop your romaine lettuce.
  3. Since the oven has already preheated early (350 degrees) simply place the tortilla shells on the oven and allow them to hang for taco-shape. This will only take about 3-5 minutes so you will want to do this last.
  4. Before removing the crumbles, add taco seasoning to pan. Remove from heat and stir.
  5. Remove taco shells from oven and place on plate. Fill tacos with crumbles and toppings of choice. Serve warm!
As easy as it was to cook those crumbles, I was simply amazed. Now, as apprehensive as most people are of soy products, I find this a great replacement for beef. This would be great in spaghetti, tacos (like seen here) or any other dish where you could subsitute ground beef. Just keep the crumbles well seasoned and you will not taste the difference. Enjoy!!

Recipe: Homemade Granola Bars

I am a huge fan of granola bars. But, having a food allergy to HFCS, I cannot always enjoy the delicious granola bars out there. So, I have learned to make my own. And, now I am going to show you guys how I make mine. They are super easy to make and take maybe 20 minutes total to prep!
You are going to need the following ingredients for your homemade granola bars!
  • 2 Cups of Rolled Oats
  • 1 Cup of Coconut Flakes
  • 3 Tbsp Butter
  • 1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2/3 Cup honey
  • 2-3 Cups of Fruit/Nuts (any variety you like will do - i used cashews, almonds, cranberry)
  • 1/4 Cup Chocolate Chips (optional depending on fruit/nut mix- i didn't use any)
Step 1 is to Preheat the oven to 350.....add the oats and coconut to a parchment lined cookie sheet. Toast the oats mixture for 10-15 mins or until lightly golden brown. (as ovens vary, you wil want to watch and make sure your coconut does not burn)
Step 2 - add your fruit/nut mix to the food processor. Again, make sure this is dried fruit. Liquid fruits (like canned cherries) will be harder to manage later on so stick with the dried kind!
Step 3- chop your fruit/nut mix into a well minced mix. if you purchased chopped fruit/nuts, you can skip steps 2-3. :)
Step 4 - mix your liquids into a saucepan (honey, butter, and vanilla....then add brown sugar) - medium heat- until dissolved into sugary sauce. Make sure you are constantly stirring to ensure it does not burn on the bottom of the pan!
Step 5 & 6 - removed toasted oats mix into large bowl. Set aside. (you can turn the oven off -you will not need it anymore). Add in fruit/nuts mixture to bowl.
Step 7 - add sauce mix from pan into oats and nuts mixture. Stir well to ensure all of mixture is evenly coated.
Step 8 - Add coated mixture to pan and lightly press down to create mold. This will let you create the bars later much more uniform. Refridgerate for 2 hours or until firm.

Next, just cut the bars with a knife and set aside for later. You can wrap them in saran wrap or divide up and eat then. They store easy and keep just as long as a regular granola bar.

Recipe: Homemade Banana Bread

I have to share one the absolutely best recipes for Banana Bread. I love fresh Banana Bread. When the holidays come around, it is simply one of the best homemade gifts to give. I will share with you my secret recipe. And, the best part is if you prefer a nutty version, you can add pecans/walnuts in the recipe as well.
Everything you will need!

No Fail Homemade Banana Bread
  • 2C All-purpose Flour
  • 1C Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 medium mashed ripe bananas **best if browning**
  • 1/3C Milk
  • 1/4C Vegetable Oil (or Applesauce subsitution)
  • 1 Egg
  • **Optional: 1/2C Pecans/Walnuts**
  • **Optional 1/2 tsp nutmeg** - best for fall/winter dishes
Preheat oven to 350. Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray. Combine all dry ingredients (Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder, Salt) into medium bowl. Add all remaining ingredients (except nuts- those are last).  Stir until all dry ingredients are just moistened. Fold in nuts. Pour batter in prepped pan. Bake 60 minutes or until toothpick in center comes clean. Remove and cool on oven rack.  Makes 1 loaf (about 12 servings).

Fresh out of the oven
And the best thing about it is if you need to make more, you can double the recipe in order to make additional loaves. I always make two, since I tend to freeze one, just incase of company.
Additionally, you can add items like cream cheese for breakfast or serve it with butter for a side of bread with dinner.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I will tell you that it smells so yummy out of the oven! Yum!