Cream of Celery Soup

“Leave the dishes

Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator

and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.”

-Louise Erdrich, Advice to Myself 

At my old grocery store in Cambridge, I was able to buy celery by the stalk. I absolutely loved this, since I usually only needed a stalk or two for a soup or risotto. And despite Louise Erdrich’s advice, I hated having a huge head of celery in the bottom drawer.

But that was the situation I found myself in the other week (my current local grocery store only buys gargantuan heads of the vegetable). Celery gives a lovely note to soups, but I rarely give it the spotlight. I thought I’d give it a try and was delightfully surprised.

This soup uses an entire head of celery and is exactly what you’ll want to try the next time you are on the verge of a Louise Erdrich moment.  Raw cashews and cooked potato to add richness and body. It is flavored with onions, garlic, and dill.

Love and Celery,

 

 

P.S. Did you know you can regrow celery? This method really works! We now have little celery stalks growing on our windowsill (which will come in handy, since most of the time you really do only want one stalk).

Cream of Celery Soup

Yield: 6 servings

  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup refined coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried dill
  • 1 head celery, chopped
  • 1 large, waxy potato, chopped
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In a soup pot, add leek, garlic and oil over medium heat. Cook until the leeks become soft.
  2. Add the dill and celery and stir occasionally until everything is cooked through.
  3. Add the potato and water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the potato is soft, about 12 minutes.
  4. In a blender, add the cashews and a bit of the cooking liquid to form a cream. Transfer the remainder of the cooked ingredients to the blender and blend until smooth.
  5. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/cream-celery-soup/

 

Apple Cider Donuts

“I have a baking challenge for you, though I may be rudely assuming you haven’t conquered it yet. I would love a gluten free recreation of my childhood favorite: apple cider donut.”

I love a good baking challenge and I absolutely loved receiving this message from my friend, Molly. I went straight to Whole Foods for a bag of gluten free flour (Bob’s Red Mill brand) and a jug of apple cider.

The first batch of donuts were awful. According to Eric they were “among the worst things you’ve ever made. There is really nothing redeeming about them.” They were dry, crumbling, and had a weird bean flavor. The second batch were somehow just as bad as the first, though I’d doubled the sugar and oil content.

For the third batch, I did some research. Babycakes is a well known and well loved gluten-free bakery in New York City. The owner, Erin McKenna, has authored a few cookbooks on vegan and gluten-free baking. My local library had a copy of “Babycakes Covers the Classics” on the shelves with a picture of a donut on the cover! Their donut recipes called for xanthan gum, which I decided to omit. And none of their recipes included any apple cider. But I stuck to their ratio of flour, sugar and fat and soon enough, we had delicious, gluten-free cider donuts resting on the counter.

Molly, I hope you enjoy!

Love and Donut Determination,

 

 

Apple Cider Donuts

Yield: 18 donuts

  • 1 cup vegan cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 + 1/3 cup Bob's Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground loves
  • 3/4 cup apple cider
  • 1/3 cup refined coconut oil
  • 6 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sugar:
  • 3 tablespoons vegan cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat your oven to 325.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices.
  3. In a small saucepan, heat apple cider and coconut oil until the coconut oil is melted and the liquid just begins to simmer.
  4. Add the hot liquid to the dry mixture. Add the applesauce and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Heavily grease a non-stick donut pan. Pour or pipe the batter into the molds. Bake for 12-13 minutes, until barely golden.
  6. Remove the pans from the oven and allow the donuts to cool for 5 minutes. Do not skip this step!
  7. While the donuts are resting, mix together the sugar and cinnamon to make cinnamon sugar.
  8. Carefully remove the donuts from their mold. Coat generously in cinnamon sugar. I find it best to place the sugar in a shallow bowl, place the donut on top and give a gentle shake to the dish.

Notes

You can also bake these off in mini-muffin trays. One recipe will yield about 36 mini muffins.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/apple-cider-donuts/

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

When you think spinach and artichoke dip, you most likely imagine something warm and gooey, bubbling to the brim with cheese and mayonnaise. While that style of cooking has it’s place, this is a totally different kind of dip.

Think of this as a much more interesting version of hummus. It is cool, tangy and bright with a beautiful green hue from raw spinach. It goes perfectly with cold crudites or warm, toasted bread, or slathered on a sandwich.

This is an incredibly easy and impressive spread to have on hand as the more languid summer days become distant memory and the weather works to figure out how soon to cool off. This dip is good with warm or cool accompaniments and takes a mere 5 minutes to throw together (if you soak your cashews, that does extend the total time, but adds a mere few seconds of effort).

Love and Dips,

 

 

Spinach and Artichoke Dip
  • 6 ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 cup spinach, raw
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  1. Drain the artichoke hearts, reserving the liquid.
  2. In a food processor, combine all ingredients until a smooth paste forms. If you need a little extra liquid to thin it out, use some extra olive oil or the artichoke juice.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/spinach-artichoke-dip/

 

Peach and Tomato Tartines

img_5213

In my constant quest to invent recipes that do not require heat, I seem to have forgotten tartines.  A tartine is basically just a fancy name for an open faced sandwich.  Unlike a typical sandwich, where all you see is the beige of the bread, open faced sandwiches act like a blank canvas onto which you can tumble any number of colorful fruits, veggies, and herbs.

When I lived in Norway, open faced sandwiches were a way of life.   Typical Norwegian breakfast and lunch are open faced sandwiches spread with butter or mustard and topped with cheese or meat.  Hearty, but not exactly plant based.

This recipe is heart healthy and plant based.  The base is a rich, creamy, tangy cashew cheese, and it’s topped with ripe peaches and tomatoes.   I know it’s a little fussy, but I love taking the extra 30 seconds to make my food look pretty.  It adds such ceremony to a meal, and takes you out of the ordinary moment of your life into the realm of creativity and play.

Love and tartines,

Amanda Signature

 

 

Peach and Tomato Tartine

Yield: 1 serving

  • Cashew Cheese:
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon white miso
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Tartines:
  • 2 slices toasting bread
  • 1/2 cup cashew cheese
  • 1 ripe tomato, sliced
  • 1 ripe peach, sliced
  • chives, to garnish
  1. To make the cashew cheese: Combine all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until totally smooth. Set aside.
  2. Toast your bread until golden and brown.
  3. Spread 1/4 cup of cheese on each of the toasts.
  4. Layer with sliced tomatoes and peaches.
  5. Top with chives, to garnish.
  6. Enjoy!

Notes

For a gluten-free option, use gluten-free bread.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/peach-tomato-tartine/

 

Spiced Carrot Juice

After every orthodontist appointment I had growing up, I would get a gift certificate to the McDonalds two doors down for a McFlurry. But what was my preferred post-dental treat of choice?  Carrot juice.  Yep, carrot juice from the crunchy, kitschy vegetarian restaurant next door.

I absolutely love carrot juice and it still feels like a special treat to me.  But juice can be expensive to buy, and I don’t really want to invest in a DIY juicer (I have neither the patience to clean it, nor the space to store it).

Then the other day, when my carrot juice craving struck, Eric suggested I just make it in the blender.   Brilliant!  This juice uses a nut-milk style method and is totally genius. Not only does it allow me to have fresh juice whenever I want, but I can customize the flavors.  To this batch I added a hunk of ginger and a dash of cardamom.  Holy of holies was this delicious.  Smooth and creamy and sweet and spicy.  And it only cost $0.89 to make.

Carrot juice for the win!

Love and Weird Hippy Treats,

 

 

P.S. Wondering what to do with the leftover pulp?  Stay tuned!

Cardamom Carrot Juice
  • 1 lb. carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 cups water
  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients on high until smooth (about 90 seconds in a high speed blender).
  2. Using a nut milk bag (or similar device), pour the juice through the bag over a large bowl to catch the pulp. Squeeze the bag to extract every last bit of juice.
  3. Transfer the juice to a bottle. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/spiced-carrot-juice/

Freezer Waffles

There is something about waffles that just says Sunday.   I can remember being young and going to the waffle station at Bravo’s Sunday Brunch.   Big, fluffy Belgian Waffles would be made fresh before your eyes, and you could crown them with whipped cream and drown them with juicy strawberries.

Waffles are weekend food, because when else do you have the time to make them?  Let’s be honest, they’re pretty fussy and time consuming.  But if you make a giant batch on a Sunday, you can freeze your treats and simply defrost to celebrate that lazy, luxuriating weekend feeling any weekday morning.

I’m not gluten free but it’s a diet many of my loved ones are trying.  I’m doing a bit of personal cheffing for one such a friend this summer (under the false pretense of helping her out- really, I’m just entertaining myself).  I developed this recipe for her.   It’s flour free, sugar free, gluten free, nut free, whole food, and high in omega 3 fatty acids which is perfect for her needs.  They’re so simple- you just blend everything up and pour the batter directly into the waffle iron.   They’re also delicious, versatile, and can be stored for weeks in the freezer.

A quick note on waffle irons:  if possible, use cast iron.  Most waffle makers are made with Teflon, which can release neurotoxic chemicals when heated.  This is absolutely  not what I want to feed my friend!  I bought this waffle iron for less than $20.  You do have to spritz it with oil, but I’ve had no issues with sticking and I know there is no risk of scary chemical residue.

Waffle win. 

Love and Waffles,

 

 

 

Buckwheat Freezer Waffles

Yield: 12 waffles

  • 2 1/4 cup buckwheat groats
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • oil, for greasing
  1. Soak the buckwheat groats in 5 cups of water overnight.
  2. The next morning, drain your groats and rinse until the water runs clear.
  3. Add soaked buckwheat and all remaining ingredients to the blender.
  4. Blend until totally smooth.
  5. Cook the waffles according to your waffle maker's instructions. For my cast iron pan, I heat the pan over medium heat for about 3-4 minutes. I generously oil both sides of the pan by brushing a neutral oil over the surface with a pastry brush. I cook the waffle on the first side for 2 1/2 minutes, flip it, and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
  6. Top with your favorite toppings. I like chocolate chips, fresh berries, and pumpkin seeds.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/freezer-waffles/

 

Cardamom and Cacao Nib Chocolate

You know that intoxicating aroma of chocolate that wafts through your house when you make a batch of chocolate chip cookies?  Ever noticed that you don’t get that same heady perfume when you open a jar of cocoa powder?  That’s because the wonderful chocolate aroma we all know and love comes from cocoa butter, the fat from the cocoa bean.  It is a special ingredient that is great for homemade foot creams and even better for homemade chocolate.

But if you’re going to go through the trouble of making your own chocolate, why would you punctuate that gorgeous scent with cardamom? First of all,  it is super easy to make your own chocolate.  No special equipment is required and I guarantee you can whip it up in less time than it would take to go the store and buy a bar.

Although this is not a classical combination, the results of combining these two flavors are incredible.  Cardamom is a gorgeous, cooling spice that has an almost citrusy flavor.  It adds lightness and surprise to the chocolate.  It adds that special extra layer that makes people ask “what is in these?”

It also has some incredible health benefits.  Cardamom is not only delicious, but acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound in the body.  And the other ingredients contribute essential nutrients, too.  Cacoa is one of the best food based sources of magnesium, and contains some zinc and selenium.  Cacao nibs have all that plus crunch.  Coconut oil is a heat stable fat that reduces oxidative stress in the body.  And maple syrup is a vegan-friendly sweetener with a yummy smoky flavor and manganese, an enzyme activator that helps your body synthesize cholesterol.

So is chocolate a health food?  No.  It’s a special treat.  But it’s definitely healthier (and more fun) to make it at home.   Not only can you switch up the flavors (in case cardamom is totally not your thing) but you also avoid unnecessary refined sugars and emulsifiers like soy lecithin.  So don’t hesitate to order some cocoa butter from Amazon and get cooking!

Love and Chocolate,

 

 

Cardamom and Cacao Nib Chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, virgin or refined
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
  1. In a double boiler, melt coconut oil and cocoa butter until liquid. This can also be done in a microwave. Transfer to a bowl.
  2. Whisk in maple syrup, vanilla, cacao powder, sea salt and ground cardamom until completely smooth.
  3. The chocolate can now be molded into any form you prefer. I like filling mini muffin cups nearly full, but you could use any candy mold. Sprinkle cacao nibs over for crunch.
http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/cardamom-cacao-nib-chocolate/

 

Nutella Truffles

I have a confession:  I don’t really like Nutella.  I love the combination of chocolate and hazelnut, but Nutella itself is just too sugary.   Plus it’s not vegan (it contains milk powder). Luckily, these truffles make a perfect dessert to unite the 98% of the world who does cartwheels over Nutella with weirdos like me who can’t stomach it’s saccharine sweetness.

They require just a few simple whole food ingredients:  toasted hazelnuts, dates, cocoa powder and sea salt.  If you’re feeling fancy, you could throw in a little vanilla extract and a handful of cacao nibs or dark chocolate chips for good measure.  The nuts, dates, and cocoa are high in antioxidants and fiber, making them a healthy treat to share at any time of day.  These are so healthy you could eat them for breakfast.

And these are perfect to share with friends of every dietary persuasion.   If you or a loved one has a nut allergy, feel free to use shredded coconut (unsweetened).  It will taste more tropical, and less like a French crepe, but it will still be delicious.

Love and Treats,

 

 

Nutella Truffles
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted hazelnuts
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs or chocolate chips, optional
  1. In a food processor, pulse hazelnuts until a coarse flour is formed.
  2. Add in cocoa powder and sea salt. Pulse until combined.
  3. Add dates, vanilla, and cacao nibs or chocolate chips, if using. Pulse until a stick dough is formed. It should hold together when pressed.
  4. Form the dough into 1 inch balls by taking approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons of dough and rolling it between your palms. Repeat until all the dough has been used.
  5. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to one month.

Notes

For a nut-free truffle, replace the hazelnuts with unsweetened, toasted coconut.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/nutella-truffles/

 

Whole Grain Pancakes

Whole grain is a phrase you’ll find on many packaged items.  But no matter how bold and colorful the front of the label might be, you won’t know how truly whole your food is without reading the back of the label.  And your best bet for truly buying whole foods is to buy items that don’t have any labels at all.

These pancakes truly use the whole grain.  I like to use two grains per pancake recipe.  The first is buckwheat, because it has a thick, gelatinous quality that helps the pancakes hold together beautifully.  For the second grain, I use whatever is in my cupboard: brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, spelt.  Cover all the grains in water and a dash of apple cider vinegar before bed (this removes the phytic acid and increases the bioavailability of nutrients for you), blend up with a little water the next morning, and you have a truly delicious and nutritious pancake batter.

Like many recipes, this one is a canvas.  The most basic recipe is just grains and water- and it’s delicious.  I like to throw in flaxseeds which help the batter to bind and add a ton of nutrition in the form of omega-3 fatty acids and estrogen balancing lignans.  If you want a caramelized, golden color, you need to add a little sugar.  You can achieve this by blending them up with a banana (and you’ll have banana pancakes!) or a healthy drizzle of maple syrup.  To balance out the sugar, it’s lovely to add a little spice.  I like cinnamon, but you could just as easily throw in a pinch of cardamom, vanilla, nutmeg or clove.  A heaping teaspoon of baking powder makes the batter light and fluffy.

And then there’s maca powder.  You’ll notice that in the recipe I include it as an optional ingredient.  I hesitated with whether to include it here, as vegan food is often criticized for being elitist and unattainably exotic.  Maca is not an everyday ingredient, but I do use it in my kitchen and it gave these pancakes a delicious, malty flavor and fantastic fluffy texture.  I’ll leave it up to you decide if you’d like to invest in a bag.

Maca powder is an adaptogenic herb, meaning it helps your body adapt to stress by balancing your hormones. This study found that not only did taking maca appear to support with balancing hormones in early post-menopausal women, but it may help to increase bone density.  Maca is also a particularly great addition if you or your loved ones have adrenal fatigue, issues with your thyroid, or hormonal imbalances.  How’s that for breakfast?

Love and Pancakes,

 

 

Whole Grain Pancakes

Adapted from Sarah Britton's Revolutionary Pancakes

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat
  • 1/2 cup whole grain (buckwheat, brown rice, oat groats, etc.)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar OR lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon flaxseeds
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 banana OR 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons maca powder (optional)
  • water or non-dairy milk, to blend
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • refined coconut oil, for frying
  • For serving: maple syrup, fresh berries, toasted coconut, roasted pumpkin seeds, etc.
  1. The night before you want your pancakes, soak your whole grains by covering them in fresh water and adding 1 teaspoon of an acidic medium (vinegar or lemon juice).
  2. The morning you want to make your pancakes, drain and rinse your soaked grains. You may notice a bit of gelatinous coating from the buckwheat. That's totally normal and safe. Just rinse it away.
  3. Transfer your grains to a blender. Add flaxseed, salt, cinnamon, sweetener, maca powder (if using) and 1/2 cup of water. Blend on high until totally smooth.
  4. Look at your batter. Is it too thick? If so, add a little more water about 1 tablespoon at a time until a thick, but pourable consistency is achieved.
  5. Add baking powder and stir briefly, just to incorporate.
  6. In a frying pan, heat a knob of coconut oil over medium heat. Pour a few tablespoons of batter into the pan to create a pancake. Cook until the edges look dry and brown and many bubbles have formed (about 3-4 minutes). Flip and cook an additional 1-2 minutes. Remove from the pan. Continue until all the batter has been used.
  7. Serve with your desired toppings.

Notes

For a gluten-free diet, use gluten-free grains.

For a whole foods, plant based diet, use the banana instead of the maple syrup.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/whole-grain-pancakes/

Elvis Brownies

Do you know your neighbors?  I have to admit that I don’t know all my neighbors.  But I will find any excuse to hang out with my upstairs neighbor, Ann.

Ann is one of the most special and unique women I’ve ever met.  She is an Italian woman who grew up in Brooklyn.  She has lived in my building for 43 years and has a one eyed black cat named Buddy that she walks in the hallway on a bright blue leash (“because it looks so striking with his fur”).  She is effervescent, unpretentious and an absolute delight to share time and treats with.

A few months ago, we had a snow storm that just happened to land on Ann’s birthday.  I was stuck home and happily enjoying my cozy hermit day off.  I wanted to whip up a special treat for Ann, but I didn’t want to leave my house.  That’s when I remembered a recipe I’d seen for banana brownies.  I had bananas, peanut butter, cocoa powder and chocolate- I was set.

These brownies are ridiculously easy to make, use whole food ingredients, and are gluten-free.  You basically just throw everything together in a food processor, blend and bake.  25 minutes later you have warm, gooey, chocolatey joy.

I had Ann over for an afternoon birthday brownie celebration.  She loved them and I have no doubt that you will, too.   Remember, food is more than food- it’s about community and connection.  Make a batch and share them with your neighbors.

Love and Brownies,

 

 

Elvis Brownies

Yield: 6-9 Brownies

Adapted from Sarah Britton's Protein Rich Cacao Brownies

  • For the brownies:
  • 4 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup natural nut butter (peanut for an Elvis theme)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla powder or vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 100g chocolate bar, chopped
  • sea salt (optional)
  • For the icing:
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Peel bananas and process in a food processor until totally smooth.
  3. Add peanut butter, cocoa, vanilla, baking powder and blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides with a spatula a few times to make sure everything is well incorporated.
  4. Add 1/2 the chopped chocolate bar and pulse a few times to incorporate.
  5. Pour the batter into an 8x8 greased baking tin. Sprinkle remaining chocolate and sea salt on top.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Allow the brownies to cool completely before icing. While you're waiting for the brownies to cool, mix together coconut oil, peanut butter, maple syrup and cocoa powder until totally smooth.
  8. Once the brownies have cooled, pour over the icing and smooth to the edge. Allow the icing to set before slicing.
  9. Share with a neighbor and enjoy!

Notes

For a peanut allergy, use almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or tahini.

For a whole-foods plant based option, omit the chocolate bar and add cacao nibs.

http://www.theinclusivevegan.com/elvis-brownies/