Delicious blueberry spelt pancakes

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Hi guys, so the weekend is not that far away, and I want to share with you this amazing recipe that I’ve created. Blueberry spelt pancakes. You are going to love them! They are so light, fluffy, filling and nutritious. I love using spelt flour because of its high fiber content, garbanzo flour for its high protein content, and blueberries for the antioxidant properties. I also make my own hemp milk which is loaded with amino acids, iron, magnesium and zinc (*keep reading to learn how to make it). These pancakes are easy to make – an absolute necessity on a brunch table! On my brunch menu they usually come along with yummy vegan sausages and home fries 🙂

Go ahead and get those bananas from your local market and they’ll be ripe and ready for the weekend to use.

Here is how to make them:

Yield: 10-12 pancakes depending on the size.

Time: 30 min

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium or 2 large ripe bananas
  • 2 cups of help milk* (or sub. any other plant milk)
  • 1 cup of garbanzo flour
  • 1 cup of spelt flour
  • 1.5 tbsp of potato starch
  • 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • big pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

 

In a large mixing bowl mash bananas with a fork. Add hemp milk, sugar and salt. Add all the dry ingredients. Mix well all together with a whisk or a mixer until smooth. When the batter is ready add olive oil in. Now add blueberries, and mix again. Heat up a pan on a medium/high heat. Drop a heaping spoonful of the batter onto the pan, and cook until bubbles begin to form and pancakes get solid around the edges. Then flip and cook the other side. I usually have 3 small pancakes cooking at the same time on a 9″ pan. That’s it! Serve with generous amount of maple syrup and vegan butter. Or try it with fresh fruits, vegan yogurt and jam. Enjoy 🙂

*Hemp milk. This is easy. In a high power blender blend 1/4 cup of hemp seeds and 2 cups of filtered water. 30 seconds. No straining is necessary. Keep refrigerated in a mason jar – will last for about a week. Simple!

 

Vegan Ukrainian borscht

I grew up eating borscht. My mom often made it for my family. My grandmother is a true master of this delicious beet soup.

I like that this soup inspires me to connect to the local farmers, and eat these stored root vegetables, as opposed to buy veggies at a store without knowing where those have been grown… I like my local community 🙂

I make borscht the way my mom makes it only without beef ;). I also add ginger for extra flavor. This vegan version of borscht doesn’t lack the taste at all, in my humble opinion. In fact, the flavor of veggies is more present which is very nice. And, of course the secret is to have it the day after – that is when all the flavors get to really open up.

Let get down to making the soup.

Serves 4-6 people.

Time: 1-2.5 hours (depending on beans used)

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 2 medium/small beets
  • 1 medium/small carrot
  • 1 medium onion
  • small piece of ginger (enough to get 1 tbsp. grated)
  • 1/2 medium cabbage
  • 1/3 cup of dry beans (presoaked over night or at least 4-6 hours) of preferably white color: lima, cranberry, navy, pino variety or 1 cup of beans from a can – to save cooking time
  • salt to taste
  • 10 cups of filtered water (or veggie broth) – add more liquid later if desired
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • vegan sour cream for decoration (optional)
  • pinch of parsley for decoration (optional)

 

Beging by starting cooking presoaked beans with little bit of salt in the water on a medium/low heat. Beans take a while as we know. So get it out of the way first – about 1 hours. If using beans from a can skip this step.

Peel potatoes, carrot and beets. Chop potatoes in small wedges. Chop onion, grate carrot, beets and ginger. Set aside.

Cut cabbage in thin strips. And set aside.

IMG_8854When beans are half way cooked, add potatoes. Add more water if a lot of it got evaporated.

In a meantime, heat vegetable oil in a pan, add onions, cook for 2 minutes. Now add tomato paste with little bit of water to make it more thin. Cook for 5 minutes. Then add shredded carrots, beets and ginger. Cook for another 5 minutes.

 

IMG_8856Now add the beet mixture to the broth. Let it cook all together. *This is when you would add drained canned beans if using.* Taste it and see if the broth needs more salt.

At the very end, when all veggies are nearly cooked add cabbage, cook for 10 min or so. Pick up a few pieces of potato, mash them in a bowl, then return to the pot – it would add a nice thickness to the broth. Turn off the heat, and let is sit for 10-15 minutes.

Serve with a spoon of vegan sour cream and parsley. Enjoy!

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BBQ Seitan tacos with mango salsa

I love tacos. They are easy to prepare and leave plenty of room for creativity. I have heard that tacos were originated from Mexico City but wanted to do a little bit more of history digging. I’ve read on www.smithsonianmag.com that tacos date back to the 18th century. One of the first types of tacos described is called tacos de minero—miner’s tacos. This comes from silver mines in Mexico. The story goes that miners were wrapping gunpowder in a piece of paper and then inserting those into a hole in the rock face. I guess that was an inspiration to stuff a piece of tortilla with small yummy bites of food. During industrialization of Mexico City tacos became popular in working-class neighborhoods – mainly because women came into the city from rural areas for work in light industry. Since people were coming to the city from different parts of Mexico they brought different flavors to their tacos. In the US tacos first were mentioned in a newspaper in 1905. This is the time when immigrant workers started to come to the US to build railroads, work on mines etc. Thank you people of Mexico for bringing this amazing food to the US that we all enjoy so much today!

This recipe is my exploration of sweetness and freshness. And seitan tastes amazing when grilled with onions.

Let’s get down to business!

Makes 6 tacos.

Cooking time/prep: 30 min more or less.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of seitan. I used Upton’s Naturals brand which is amazing (www.uptonsnaturals.com)
  • 1 can of organic black beans
  •  3 tbsp. BBQ sauce. I used Stubb’s Smokey Mesquite. (www.stubbsbbq.com)
  • corn tortillas. I used Food For Life sprouted corn tortillas. (www.foodforlife.com)
  • small yellow onion
  • 1/2 of a small red onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 mango
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 cup of shredded red cabbage
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • any hot pepper fresh or dry
  • cilantro to taste
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • ground cumin
  • olive oil

Chop garlic finely. Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet. Throw in garlic and cumin, cook for a minute or two on medium heat. Add black beans (with some liquid from the can). Mix every few minutes while cooking. You have an option to make them of refried beans consistency or cook it quickly for 5 min.

In the mean time shred cabbage. Place in a bowl and squeeze lime, add salt to taste. Set aside to let it soften a little bit.

In a food processor (I used my mini one) place mango, red onion, hot pepper, cilantro, tomato and salt to taste. Pulse a few times until it is the right texture. I like mine on a chunky side.

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Chop yellow onion and seitan.  Grill onion in a cast iron skillet first, then add seitan, cook until golden and crispy – about 7-10 minutes. Set aside in a bowl. Add BBQ sauce and mix.

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Heat up tortillas in a cast iron skillet. About 1 min on each side.

Now we are ready to serve. Assemble all the ingredients in any order you wish. I usually put beans on the bottom, then seitan, salsa, cabbage, then top it off with a leaf of cilantro. Voilà!

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Bon appétit!

 

Blueberry black sesame nice cream.

Let’s set the stage first. Have you heard of this thing called “nice cream”? I haven’t till a few months ago I came across a tag on Instagram #nicecream. So what is this mysterious nicecream? You guessed it right! It is a nice version of ice cream. Let me elaborate on that. Nice in a sense that there is no dairy involved, it is made out of ingredients that are good for you, and not overloaded with sugar. Nice because you make it yourself at home without an ice cream maker. The texture is divine. It is like a soft served ice cream. You can have it as a dessert, breakfast or snack. No limits here 🙂

Ready to dive in?

Let’s do it! First and foremost, lets talk about the main ingredient. What make this nice cream possible. What holds it together? The answer is: F R O Z E N  B A N A N A S. Tada! 🍌 These guys have to be prepared 24 hours ahead (or at least overnight). Make sure they are ripe before you stick them in the freezer. This is crucial! And no skin. Peal then freeze. (Optional: cut into 1-2 inches segments to save time later). Easy!

Next. You would need a powerful blender or food processor to do this. I own a Cusinart Pro food processor and Kitchen Aid blender. Much easier to do it in a processor. Vitamix would be a great choice too. My Kitchen Aid blender struggles a little but gets the job done!

Blueberry Black Sesame Nice Cream.

I designed this flavor inspired by Japanese black sesame ice cream. You can get sesame seeds from any Japanese store, or Wholefoods Market. For Anita’s yogurt follow the link below to see where to buy it. This yogurt is beyond imagination. It breaks boundaries. Trust me!

The rest is easy 🙂

Serves 1-2 people.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium frozen bananas (see instructions above)
  • 1 tbsp. of tahini
  • 1.5 tbsp. Anita’s coconut yogurt (http://anitas.co)
  • 2 tbsp. of black sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries (tip: Wholefoods has 2 lbs bags of organic frozen blueberries for $8.99 a pop – can’t beat that!)
  • 2 tbsp. of agave or maple syrup
  • pinch of salt

In a pestle or spice grinder process sesame seeds until melty. If you don’t have the tools or don’t have enough time you could put sesame seeds directly into a blender/food processor. In the blender/food processor combine all the ingredients. Blend, blend, blend! You would need to scoop the sides several times, to make sure it all mixes well together. If your blender struggles a lot then add a tbsp. of almond milk (or any other nut milk/water) to help the process, but don’t overdo it since the mixture could become too liquid. When it all comes together and combines well, using a big spoon or spatula transfer nice cream into a bowl by building it high layer by layer. Sprinkle with some sesame seeds and enjoy!

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The amazing thing is you could make any flavors you like.

  • Chocolate w/chocolate chips
  • Chocolate-Cherry
  • Bourbon-Vanilla
  • Strawberry-raspberry (one of my favs!)
  • Peanut butter
  • Mango
  • Coconut
  • You name it!

Have fun! Share your results. And remember: having dessert for breakfast is no longer a crime ❤