Easy Vegan Savory Grits

This morning I went into my kitchen for breakfast, and was greeted by a fridge that was very empty.  No fruit left, no veggies, not even any cooked beans and rice.  No cereal in the pantry.  It’s definitely the end of the week and I need to go grocery shopping!!  BUT, the container of grits in the corner caught my eye.  There was exactly enough grits left to make a bowl.

This recipe is insanely easy.  It doesn’t require a lot of measuring or time.  Just some grits, water, plant milk, and spices.  I was very happy with how delicious this recipe was!  I did not measure the spices, but I added two shakes of each from their spice jars.  Do that first, then taste to see if you would like more heat or salt.
Easy Vegan Savory Grits

Easy Vegan Savory Grits

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup cashew milk (or any plant milk)
  • 1/2 cup grits
  • 2 shakes of the spice jar each of the following spices: salt, red pepper flakes, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and turmeric.

Instructions

  1. Bring water and cashew milk to a rolling boil over high heat.
  2. Slowly stir in grits. Reduce heat to low.
  3. Stir in all spices, and simmer on low for 15-20 minutes. Grits will be creamy, thick, and not "gritty" at all! Taste and add extra spices if desired.
  4. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/easy-vegan-savory-grits/

Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Spirulina and grits are two foods I would have never touched a few years ago.  Spirulina was a weird green powder that only those hippy health nuts talked about.  Grits scarred me for life as a child by being prepared awfully – and I was convinced I hated the watery white goop with the texture of sand.  BUT, I kept seeing my friends post photographs of steaming bowls of grits, creamy and decadent, without a hint of the gloppy grossness I thought I remembered.  I tried it again, and I was hooked after one bite.  I’ve been thinking of adding a grits recipe to This Vegan Whimsy for a while, and when Nuts.com inspired me to write a post about spirulina, I immediately knew it was meant to be!

I know what you’re thinking: “Grits and spirulina!? Never.”  Trust me, it’s not crazy.  One bite and you’ll be in love – and enjoying the health benefits of this green superpower!  Many spirulina recipes involve smoothies or baking.  I generally prefer to chew my food instead of drink it, and it’s been so hot in Florida that I haven’t wanted to turn on the oven at all!  Enter: Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic.
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Before we get to the recipe, let’s talk about why spirulina is so great!  Spirulina (pronounced Spear-roooh-line-uh) is actually a microalgae, and it grows in fresh water.  Most commercially sold spirulina is grown in man-made ponds.  I like the Nuts.com spirulina because it’s non-GMO and non irradiated.  They also sell it at an extremely reasonable price.  I know this because I surveyed the spirulina options at Whole Foods and the powdered forms being sold ran anywhere from ten to twenty dollars for a tiny little bottle!  This is an ingredient to buy in bulk by the pound, and Nuts.com is a great place to do that.

Here are three fun spirulina facts (taken from Nuts.com):
-Just two tablespoons of spirulina has 16 grams of protein!
-Spirulina has four times the antioxidant concentration of blueberries.
-Two tablespoons provide 40% of the daily recommend value for iron.  Iron is especially important for ladies, who tend to have issues with anemia (I have personally in the past).
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Now that you’re convinced spirulina is awesome, let’s talk about this recipe.  The first secret to the creamiest plant-based grits is Cashew Milk.  If you’ve never tried cashew milk, please go buy some before making this recipe.  It will not taste the same with almond milk, soy milk, or rice milk.  The second secret is to make sure you get old fashioned grits, not the quick-cooking kind.  Old fashioned grits only take 15-20 minutes to make, and your taste buds will thank you for spending the few extra moments.  Finally, this recipe calls for 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of spirulina per serving.  Spirulina has an earthy, smoky flavor, and I find I can barely detect it in this grits recipe.  However, if you’ve never had spirulina before, start with 1/4 teaspoon and go up from there.
Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic

Yield: Serves one

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup old fashioned grits
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon spirulina powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet onion (like Vidalia)
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced

Instructions

  1. Bring cashew milk to a boil over medium heat. Once boiling, very slowly stir in the grits and salt.
  2. Reduce heat immediately to low and cover. Allow the grits to cook and become very creamy, stirring occasionally. They will take between 15 and 20 minutes to cook.
  3. Once the grits are on low, line a small pan with a thin layer of veggie broth and add onions and garlic. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let the onions sauté and caramelize until the grits are cooked. Add a splash of veggie broth every few minutes if it looks dry.
  4. When the grits are fully cooked, stir in spirulina powder to taste (you can use more than 1/2 teaspoon if you like!). Top with caramelized onions and garlic. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/super-spirulina-grits-with-caramelized-onions-and-garlic/

Super Spirulina Grits with Caramelized Onions and Garlic
Nuts.com provided the inspiration for this post.  All opinions expressed are my own.  

“Sinfully Wholesome Waffles” and the Easiest Strawberry Sauce

Last night around 1 AM I announced to all my friends that I was dying to have waffles.  My waffle craving could be related to the amount of alcohol in my system, or the excitement of the exploding fireworks, or even my non-stop dancing to this Taylor Swift song (don’t judge me).  Whatever the reason, all I could think about was waffles!  Of course, there’s no vegan-friendly waffle joints open at 1 AM on New Years in my neck of the woods, so I didn’t get any waffles.  Until this morning when I made them myself!
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It’s no secret that Isa Chandra Moskowitz of Post Punk Kitchen fame is my favorite vegan chef of all time.  I own almost every cookbook she has written and I’ve never tried a recipe of hers that I didn’t like.  Her latest work, Isa Does It, is my top vegan cookbook.  I did not create the recipe for these waffles.  These Sinfully Wholesome Waffles are in Isa Does It, but I also found the recipe online in the PPK forums HERE.
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You have to make these waffles.  They’re simple, and like the recipe title says, Sinfully Wholesome!  I knew I could top these breakfast beauties with plain maple syrup and be in heaven, but there was a pound of fresh strawberries in my kitchen begging to get in on the waffle action!  This is the easiest strawberry sauce you will ever make.  I promise.  But easy doesn’t mean flavorless!  The minimal ingredients really allow the strawberries to shine as a perfect topping for a wafflelicious New Year’s breakfast.
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What’s this kale picture doing in the middle of all this strawberry talk?!  Before waffles, before strawberry sauce, I scarfed down a plate of sauteed kale with lemon juice.  Because hey, it’s New Years!  That’s when we’re supposed to eat veggies, right?  Kale for breakfast.  Try it.
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“Sinfully Wholesome Waffles” and the Easiest Strawberry Sauce

Ingredients

    For the Waffles:
  • Assemble ingredients as listed for the Sinfully Wholeseome Waffles recipe.
  • For the Strawberry Sauce
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Instructions

    For the Waffles:
  1. Prepare waffle batter as directed for the Sinfully Wholeseome Waffles recipe. Please note that I omitted the called for oil to make this dish WFPB (leaving it out won't affect the recipe), and I used all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat, because I was out of whole wheat. I also used 1/4 cup additional rolled oats in place of the wheat germ.
  2. For the Sauce:
  3. Pick over strawberries and reserve 5-6 of the best to eat fresh. Chop remaining strawberries into small pieces and put in a small saute pan.
  4. Add lemon juice and maple syrup, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. After boiling, continue to cook until strawberries release their juices and become soft, about five minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and allow to rest for an additional five minutes.
  6. Top waffles with strawberry sauce and garnish plate with fresh strawberries. Enjoy!
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/sinfully-wholesome-waffles-and-the-easiest-strawberry-sauce/

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What’s your favorite waffle topping?

The Easiest Vegan Biscuits

The two best things about Florida are the beaches and the sunsets.  The sky goes on forever here, gobbling up clouds for miles, and nearly every night when the sun slips down past the horizon a wild display of color bursts out.  I was so busy admiring it that I almost forgot to take a picture!unnamed (32)Since making my Easy Cranberry Pomegranate Jam last week, I’ve been slathering it on almost everything and eating it by the spoonful.  Tonight, however, I decided that the best easy jam needed a proper biscuit for a partner.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThese biscuits literally could not be easier.  They take five minutes to mix up, ten minutes to bake, and just seconds to shove into your mouth.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 presetYou’ll roll out the dough with your hands.  None of that fancy-shmanchy rolling pin business here!  Your ten fingers will do the trick.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetIf you don’t have a circle-shaped cookie cutter, just use the rim of a cup or jar.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

The Easiest Vegan Biscuits

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk (or soy milk)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons very cold Earth Balance or other vegan butter.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Whisk almond milk and apple cider vinegar together, and set aside for a few minutes to curdle.
  2. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together thoroughly in a large bowl. Cut in very cold butter with a pastry cutter or two forks until pea sized pieces of dough form.
  3. Add almond milk mixture and stir until a sticky dough forms.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly for about 10 seconds, just long enough for the dough to become easier to work with.
  5. Pat dough down with your hands until it's about 1/2 inch thick. Cut circles out with a cookie cutter or cup and place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Re-shape any dough left over and continue cutting biscuits out until no dough remains.
  6. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes. Enjoy!

Notes

For a no-fat WFPB version of this recipe, you may substitute one very cold medium banana for the butter. However, the biscuits will be very dense.

http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/the-easiest-vegan-biscuits/

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Easy Cranberry Pomegranate Jam

Homemade jam evokes whispers of grandmothers in beautiful country houses, wearing ruffled aprons and humming while the sticky sweetness simmers away on the stove.  It makes people think of fluffy biscuits and crisp slices of toast.  Spreadable, delectable jam smacks of family and friends gathered together for a Sunday breakfast or afternoon snack with tea.Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

With all the wonderful properties of jam, you would think more people would make it!  I’ve never met anyone in person who makes their own jam, except one or two gray-haired ladies with a special talent for culinary adventures.  Jam has a reputation for being hard to make, which is undeserved.  This recipe takes less than 20 minutes and only requires a few ingredients.  If you’ve never made jam, you have to try it!  Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Why is the jam all by itself on a plate, you ask?  Because I realized after making it that there was no bread or biscuit of any kind in my house.  Not even a forgotten tube of saltines or a loaf of freezer-burned Ezekiel Bread.  Not even the end piece of last week’s loaf.  But not to worry, this jam is delicious all by itself.  I may have definitely ate quite a lot straight from the spoon while it was still warm.  This week I’m planning to make biscuits so that this jam can find a proper home.  Stay tuned for that recipe!

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Easy Cranberry Pomegranate Jam

This recipe is the perfect way to use up cranberries leftover from Thanksgiving without making another cranberry sauce. The fresh, tart berries are usually cheaper this time of year, making this jam easy and inexpensive!

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate juice
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3/4-1 cup sugar

Instructions

  1. Add cranberries and pomegranate juice to a medium saucepan with lid and bring to a boil. You will begin to hear popping sounds, but don't worry! This is the skin coming apart on the cranberries!
  2. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir the berries and mash them slightly with the back of a wooden spoon.
  4. Stir in lemon juice and sugar to taste. I personally like a sweeter jam, so I used the full cup, but if you like a more tart jam try it with just 3/4 cup of sugar. (A liquid sweetener might also work here, but I haven't experimented yet. Feel free to play around!)
  5. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 10 minutes.
  6. Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (or transfer to a regular blender, then back to the pot) and simmer for another 3 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool completely. This recipe yields about 2 1/2 cups. This is fresh jam with no preservatives, so if you're not going to use it in a few days or a week, freeze some in an airtight container.
http://www.thisveganwhimsy.com/easy-cranberry-pomegranate-jam/

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I use these one cup Ball jars for jam storage (and a whole lot of other stuff).  They’re super sturdy; I’ve had mine for about two years with moderate to heavy use and the lids look like new.
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