Monthly Archives: February 2014

Uncheese cheese sauce

Nutritional yeast flakes

Nutritional yeast flakes

Andy and I spent about 2 years eating a 90% vegan diet (well, 100% at home anyway).  We are now what we like to call flexitarians, but most of our meals are vegetarian or vegan and loaded with fruits and vegetables.

Oh, it has been so much fun learning new ways to cook, enhance flavors, and combine foods for maximal nutrient consumption and enjoyment through our meat limiting diet!

Early on, we discovered Isa Moskowitz and her amazing vegan cookbooks–she made the transition EASY.  Well, with the exception of cutting way back on cheese, that was NOT easy!  My hubby and I really dig cheese–hard, soft, stinky, earthy–doesn’t matter, to this day, we LOVE IT!

Look at that pretty uncheese sauce.  It is super nutty and a great replacement for regular cheese in most baked dishes.

Look at that pretty uncheese sauce. It is super nutty and a great replacement for regular cheese in most baked dishes.

Thankfully, through Isa we learned about nutritional yeast and what a great replacement it is for cheese. This crazy mustard-colored flake has a nutty, smoky, flavor that, when sprinkled on food or mixed with a dairy free milk (and a few other ingredients), tastes remarkedly like CHEESE!   Plus, it is low in calories, high in protein, and packed with micro and macro nutrients!

It is especially high in B vitamins which are responsible for lessening the cellular destruction caused by stress, treating anxiety and depression (synthesis of serotonin and norepinephrin), aiding memory and brain repair (synthesis of myelin), and many, many other critical functions in the body.  In summary, 2 TBSP of nutritional yeast provide a whopping 640% RDI Thiamin (B1), 570% RDI Riboflavin (B2), 280% RDI Niacin (B3), 480% RDI B6 (myelin synthesis, 60% RDI folate (B9), 130% RDI B12 (check the label, this is an additive and will vary by product).  Keep in mind that B vitamins are water soluble and not stored in the body (like A, D, E and K-our fat soluble vitamins), so unless your body can make them (like B5 and B7. which are made in the intestines), you NEED to eat them often (every day) to maintain levels that support good health.

More than likely, you can buy nutritional yeast at your local market or Whole Foods in the health foods or bulk foods section.  It is not expensive and adds a ton of great flavor (even if you are still using cheese) to about any dish.  Here at 488, we use nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce at every opportunity to replace cheese. It can be found in our lasagna, enchiladas, and casseroles.  We sprinkle it in flake form over pasta, steamed, or roasted vegetables to add an smoky flavor.  I haven’t tried it, but have read that it makes a nice topping for popcorn as well.  It’s utility is really endless, so why not buy a bag and give it a try!  I have a feeling you are going to love it!

Zucchini bites crusted with nutritional yeast flakes

Zucchini bites crusted with nutritional yeast flakes

Nutritional yeast un-cheese sauce:

  • 1 c nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1-1 1/2 c soy, almond or rice milk (adjust the liquid to your desired consistency)
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1-2 t dijon mustard

Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded bowl and shake well or in a regular bowl and stir

well.

I never measure the ingredients for my sauce, so play around with the ingredient amounts to make the best sauce for your palate!

You can cook in a sauce pan on low for 5-10 minutes to get a nice thick cheese-like sauce.

You do not need to cook the sauce if you are using it in a baked dish–it will thicken in the oven as it cooks.

Mexi-quinoa bake

All of that great color and good nutrition in one big bowl

All of that great color and good nutrition in one big bowl

Yum, yum,yum, yum, yum!

Thank you twopeasandtheirpod for inspiring me to make this awesome dish!  It is the healthful version of a serious enchilada casserole, sans the mountains of cheese and tortillas.

Quinoa is such an easy grain to work with, especially if you cook it for flavor!  All it takes is a little creativity and you can turn an ordinary dish into a masterpiece in no time.  This enchilada bake is such a brilliant example of that.

Instead of cooking the quinoa in water as the original recipe calls for, cook it in the enchilada sauce.  Oh, it is unbelievably good and makes this dish a standout!

The Mexi-quinoa bake is colorful, flavorful, healthful and pretty easy!  I love, love, love this one and know you will too!  It is going to be a cold and snowy weekend here in the Ozarks and all around the midwest.  Why don’t you try the Mexi-quinoa bake and keep your family warm–from the inside out!

You can see the nutrition yeast uncheese sauce on top!  So good!

You can see the nutrition yeast uncheese sauce on top! So good!

Mexi-quinoa bake

Serves 6-8

  • 1 1/2 c quinoa
  • 3 3/4 c enchilada sauce
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 T EVOO (olive oil)
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped.  I like either red or orange for the sweetness they add to the dish
  • 2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed 
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 1/2 c non-gmo organic frozen corn
  • 1-2 T ground cumin, to taste.  The more the better IMHO
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes, or more to taste
  • 1-2 c shredded cheese or uncheese cheese sauce (recipe to follow).   I like 1 c provel and 1 c uncheese cheese sauce.
  • salt and pepper 
  • 1 frozen jalapeno, optional.  
  • avocado, sliced
  • green onions, chopped
  •  cilantro chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a saucepan, add 2 3/4 c enchilada sauce and the quinoa.  Stir well and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and cook until the sauce is absorbed by the quinoa and it is al dente–about 20 minutes.  Stir frequently to keep from sticking to the pan.

Set aside and let cool a bit.

Saute the garlic with the red and yellow onions in the olive oil over med/low heat for 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.  Let cool.  

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the beans, bell peppers, 1 c enchi sauce, cumin, chipotle pepper flakes, lime juice, cheese and/or uncheese sauce, 1/2 of the green onions (reserve the other 1/2 for a generous garnish), salt, pepper, and corn.  Add the quinoa and sauteed onion/garlic.  Mix well.  Taste and adjust the seasoning to meet your flavor requirements.

Coat a lasagna pan with some cooking spray.  Add the mixture.  Cook for 25-30 minutes.  Turn up the heat to vari-broil and leave in oven for another 2-3 minutes, just to brown the top a little.  

As you dish the enchilada bake, zest the frozen jalapeno over the top of each bowl for those who like a sprinkle of heat.  Serve with a healthy garnish of green onions, avocado, and cilantro.  Gluten free, non-gmo tortilla chips are a nice side for this dish.

ENJOY!!  

 

 

 

 

 

Ozark BUNs

My Ozark BUNS

My Ozark BUNS

This Ozark-made Vietnamese bowl is one of my very favorite ‘go to’ dishes.  This is on a regular rotation here at Yoga Belly.

The brown rice vermicelli noodles are bombarded by all sorts of delicious vegetables–steamed and fresh.  Mushrooms, onions (white and green), broccoli, carrots, bell pepper, squash, kale, cilantro, and green onions are topped with an acidic and bright lime vinaigrette sauce and chopped nuts (not shown).

It is super simple to whip together and loaded with flavor…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  Last night we went all veggie with our BUNs, but adding shrimp is a great way to bump up the protein!  Sometimes I also add a big hit of chopped cashews to top off the meal, which provide a healthy fat (to help reduce inflammation) and and a big hit of tryptophan (just a small handful adds a whole lot of tryptophan) to boost our winter weary spirits!

The really great thing about this noodle bowl is how good you feel after you eat it–smarter, faster, stronger!  Ok, maybe that was more about my 90 minute power yoga class, but I did feel extra good last night!

Give My Ozark BUN a try and see if how it makes your body feel!

Here’s to feeding your belly well and loving every minute of it!

My Ozark BUN

Servings:  2

  • Rice Vermicelli noodles, enough for 2 servings.   Made according to package instructions.
  • Cooked shrimp, optional.  As much as you like in two servings of BUN!
  • Your favorite vegetables!  My choices this time were broccoli, kale, carrots, sweet bell pepper, yellow onion, green onion (for a heavy garnish), mushrooms, cucumber.
  • Lime Vinaigrette Sauce–recipe follows
  • Nuts, chopped–either peanuts or cashews, or both
  • Cilantro and green onions, chopped for a heavy garnish
Lime Vinaigrette sauce!

Lime Vinaigrette sauce!

Lime Viniagrette

Servings ~2

  • 2 1/2 T fish sauce
  • 3 T lime juice
  • 1/2 t + chili sauce (sriracha)–or more depending upon your tolerance for HEAT
  • 1 1/2 T garlic, minced
  • 1/2 t anchovy paste
  • 2 t ginger, minced
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1/8-1/4 c water

Mix all ingredients for the sauce into a small bowl.  

Steam the vegetables to al dente or as soft as you like.   Serve them over the pasta and garnish with the green onions, nuts, and cilantro.

Pour the lime vinaigrette sauce over the top of the dish and ENJOY the gorgeous, fresh flavor of My Ozark BUN!I can't get enough of this

Veggie pasta with a crazy good green sauce

You have been served!

You have been served!

We had such a great dinner last night, I couldn’t wait publish this post to tell you all about it!

I found this recipe online a couple of days ago.  A versatile, raw, dairy free, gluten free sauce–using just a few ingredients–the star of the sauce being raw cashews.  Cashews are sweet, tender, and one of my very favorite nuts, EVER.  I knew I had to make this one ASAP…and I did!  The next day (yesterday), I got busy and whipped it together.  It was so easy, I had it ready in no time.

We haven’t had pasta in quite a while, so I went with gluten free noodles, like we always do, to debut this sauce.

Initially, I was going to make a simple sauteed mushroom topper for the pasta and sauce, but after sampling the sauce, I noticed that it tasted a lot like a creamy, super rich pesto sauce. I decided I better go with sauteed veggies instead–heavy on sweet corn.  That was a great decision.  Check out the picture to see how beautiful this pasta was with all of the brightly colored veggies and the cool green sauce.  Isn’t that fun?!

This should engage your senses!

This should engage your senses!

I hope this picture also makes you yearn for the smell and flavor of this dish.  Both are HUGE in this lively pasta!  You can adjust the seasoning for the veggies to suit your taste, I am sure just about anything would work here!

I don’t usually indulge in second helpings when it comes to pasta, but last night was an exception.  I filled her up twice and had to contain myself from licking the bowl clean!  I am not kidding!

Cashew, garlic, and kale make up this creamy and delicious sauce.

Cashew, garlic, and kale make up this creamy and delicious sauce.

 

I think this sauce would work great as a replacement for just about any cream or cheese sauce.  I might try it on a veggie lasagna next.  Doesn’t that sound good?

Until next time.  Remember, you are what you eat, so make it GOOD!

XO

 

 

 Cashew, garlic, and kale sauce

  • 2 c sprouted cashews (2 c raw cashews soaked in about 2 cups water for about 2 hours, then drain)
  • 4 + cloves garlic
  • 2 c organic baby kale mix (baby kale, spinach, beet greens, carrots)
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes or more, to taste
  • dash of freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
  • splash of lemon juice (optional)
  • 1-2 c water, depending upon the consistency you need.  Check out the picture.  I used about 1 c of water.

Throw this all in a good blender or food processor and spin it until smooth.  Adjust the seasonings as needed.  Eat and enjoy or stick it in the fridge until you need it.  It should last 5-7 days easily in the fridge.

Sauteed Veg Mix

  • 1-2 T EVOO 
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 small bag of organic, non-gmo frozen corn
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 oz portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 c sun-dried tomatoes, diced

In a small sauteed pan, add the EVOO and chipotle pepper flakes and warm over a med-low flame.  Add the bell peppers and corn and cook until they start to soften–1-2 minutes.  Add the corn and crushed garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 2-3 minutes.   Mix in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook for another couple of minutes.  

Gluten Free Veggie Pasta with cashew sauce

  • 1 package of gluten free brown rice noodles, cooked according to package directions (al dente)

Mix about 1-1 1/2 c of the sauce with the drained noodles.  Add the veggies and combine carefully so you do not tear up the noodles.  Serve and enjoy!! XO

 

 

Roasted basalmic and mustard salmon

My plate

My plate

This roasted basalmic and mustard salmon has a so much flavor — my mouth is watering just looking at this picture.  It is also versatile enough, you can serve it like we did– simply, with a side of steamed veggies– or  serve it over a salad of greens, or a bowl of steamed rice or quinoa.  There are so many great options with this one!

It takes just a few minutes to whip together the bright and tangy marinade.  Pop it in the oven and about 25 minutes later you will be devouring this healthful fish–think about all of those omega 3 fatty acids!  

I would guess this would be a great choice if you are having guests for dinner.  Elegant and simple.  A dinner that can be mostly prepared before guests arrive.  

Cheers to making dinner easy, one tasty and healthful dish at a time! 

  • 2 Wild salmon filets 
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 3 T basalmic vinegar, aged at least 10 years.
  • 2 t dijon mustard
  • dash of ground rosemary
  • splash of avocado oil (or your fav cooking oil)
  • fresh ground pepper
  • hot pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl mix together basalmic, olive oil, mustard, rosemary, crushed garlic, hot pepper, ground black pepper. Let sit at room temp for 5-10 minutes.  

Generously coat the fish with the sauce.  If you want it to marinade for a bit, stick it in the fridge (up to a couple of hours would probably work ok).  Otherwise, pop it right in the oven and roast for 20 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through.  Want a little more brown on top?  Turn up the heat to broil and let salmon cook for another 2-3 minutes, until perfectly browned.  

Serve over a bed of quinoa with a side of steamed veggies for a beautifully balanced and healthful meal.

Andy's plate

Andy’s plate

 

 

 

Almond cookies

Heart-sharped almond cookies

Heart-sharped almond cookies

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Kristen for sharing this fantastic cookie recipe with me!

Friday night, after yoga class, there were a few of us hanging out sipping tea and chatting.  Given that we had just finished a pretty intense 60 minute class AND it was 7 PM, our bellies were rumbling a bit and food became the main topic of our conversation.

We talked about different ways to make good foods better, a few of our favorite recipes, and THESE cookies.  Kristen raved that her kids love them and that was ok with her, because they are actually pretty healthful, for a cookie!

The ease in preparation, the fact that they are gluten-free, and mostly because she made them sound absolutely delicious, are ultimately what convinced me to try them this weekend.

She was not exaggerating!  They are exactly as she described!

The dough itself is so good, I had a hard time not gobbling it all up!  Once I tried them fresh out of the oven though, I was really happy I didn’t eat ALL of the dough.  They came out of the oven a little crispy and just sweet enough.  Perfect with a cup of tea or big glass of cold almond milk.

Give these cookies a try and savor each and every naturally sweet bite!  You may want to make a double batch, just in case, like me, you get a little crazy eating the dough!

Almond Cookies

Fresh from the oven.  Can you see the love?

Fresh from the oven. Can you see the love?

  • 2 c almond meal
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  •  1/4 c maple syrup
  • 2 T coconut oil, softened
  • 1 T butter, softened–if you don’t want to use butter than add an extra T coconut oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t almond extract–if you don’t have this, just do 2 t vanilla
  • about 1 t almond milk (or a little more, to get the right texture for your cookies)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  

Mix together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mix together all of the wet ingredients, except the milk. 

Add the dry to the wet and mix until well incorporated.  Add the milk if you need it to get the right consistency to the dough.

Use two large zip lock bags to roll out the dough.  Cut into shapes, as desired.  Place on a greased cookie sheet and place in freezer for 20 minutes before cooking.  Bake for 10-13 minutes, depending upon the thickness and size of the cookies.  

These are great warm, so get a big glass of almond milk and ENJOY one fresh out of the oven!

 

 

 

Roasted zucchini bites

Zucchini bites.  From the next time...

Zucchini bites. From the next time…

These roasted zucchini bites are SOOOO good!  Andy and I ate them all before I could snap a picture for you!  Sorry about that!   Maybe next time?!

Super simple, very tasty, and a great, healthy snack food for your kids, family, or friends.  Make these zucchini bites tonight and see what you think.

Roasted zucchini bites

 

Servings ~2-3

  • 1 small zucchini, cut in half and then sliced into thin pieces.
  • 1/2 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 egg
  • 1 t chipotle pepper flakes, ground.  I use a pepper mill to grind up my Victoria’s gourmet flakes.  WORKS GREAT!
  • PAM cooking spray

Preheat oven to about 400 degrees F.  

Coat a cookie sheet with some oil or PAM cooking spray.

In a small bowl, beat the egg and set aside.

Mix together about a 1/2 c nutritional yeast with about a teaspoon of chipotle pepper flakes in a separate bowl.

Dip a zucchini piece into the egg mixture, to coat both sides.  Use a spoon to sprinkle the nutritional yeast mix onto the strip on both sides.  Place on the cooking sheet.  Repeat until you have all of the pieces ready to go.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until you have a nice brown and slightly crispy zucchini strip. Eat and enjoy!