Category Archives: DIY: Ingredients

Green Vegetables :Juice Preservation

This year we have abundant green vegetables in our garden. We planted three types of Kale, lettuce, and Swiss Chard.  We eat a lot of salad, we mix it in stir-fry, we steam-cook, and we did some juicing, too. We got too much that we have to save them for later use. I froze some greens (after blanching it),  and saved some green juice as well. Nothing special, but I am sharing this DIY  food preservation with you.  Frozen Kale greens (juice) come handy whenever you want it in your smoothie or fresh juice.

 

KALE GREEN JUICE :FROZEN

Classification: Vegan

Good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, alkaline

INGREDIENTS:

Kale greens or mixed green vegetables (fresh)

WHAT YOU NEED:

Juicer set

Wraps, small containers, or ice cube tray for freezing.

Note: The ice candy/popsicle plastic wraps I used you can buy online or at an Asian market.

PREPARATION:

1. Wash Kale greens throughly. Check for bugs and bad spots.

2. Process in a juicer; stems and leaves. (Follow juicer instructions carefuly.)

3. Put the processed juice in a wrap or mold. Secure lids or packs.

4. Place packed Kale juice in a freezer.

Frozen Kale juice should be ready after 8 hours in the freezer. Mix it in fresh juice, smoothie. Keeps your drinks cool, too! Enjoy, and stay healthy!

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Grow Your Own Edible Microplants :Lentil Sprouts

LENTILS SPROUTS

Classification: Vegan
Good Source of: phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, bioflavanoids, proteins, amino acids, essential fatty acids, enzymes, coenzymes, and fiber

We all know that green and leafy vegetables are high in vitamins and minerals essential for our overall health. Sprouts (also classified as micro-plants) are related to leafy vegetables, they provide a much higher level of nutrients than other foods. Each sprout consist of rich and healthy enzymes essential for the little plant’s (and human) growth. According to experts there are about 100 times enzymes in sprouts than uncooked fruits and vegetables. Enzymes are special types of proteins that act as catalysts for all our body’s functions.

Microplants come in different forms and colors, harvested from both land and sea, and nutritionally they are excellent source of two important phytochemicals, the chlorophyll and lycopene. These super powerful nutrients support our body’s ability to detoxify heavy metals and other toxins, and they are loaded with nutrients to boost our natural immunity to disease.

In countries where there are four seasons, it is a challenge to have fresh green leafy vegetables year-round because especially in winter time. Special planting techniques such as using low and high tunnel greenhouses must be used to ensure that vegetables thrive during freezing temperature.  But what if you don’t have a space to make a garden and put a greenhouse? Indoor seeds sprouting is one of the best ways you can do. Why not give this easy and simple method a try? It is cheap too. 🙂 Check also DIY: Alfalfa Sprouts.

What you’ll need:

1 cup of lentils seeds (you can use alfalfa seeds, mungbeans, or any bean seeds)
water
big bowl or any wide container
hand towel

Preparation:

1. Wash lentils seeds thoroughly. Toss out  bad and discolored seeds.
2. After washing, drain seeds, and soak in 5 cups of  water for 4-5 hours.
3. Rinse twice and drain.
4. Put soaked seeds in a container and cover with a wet hand towel. Make sure that the seeds are completely covered.
5. Place the covered seeds on the kitchen counter or near a kitchen window.
6. Check and rinse lintels seeds every day or every other day to prevent mold growth. Dampen the towel to keep moisture in.  In 5 days you can enjoy your fresh sprouts.

Lentils sprout is perfect for juicing, vegetables salad mix, sandwiches, and soup (do not overcook). You can eat it plain, too. Enjoy!

Note: Don’t wait too long or the stems get tough. The shorter the sprouts the better. You may use a pair of scissors to cut the stems closer to the seeds (if you want to eat it without seeds).  You can cut the micro-plants up to three times as the seeds grow some more sprouts.

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Chicken-style Meat

Here is one of my family’s favorite chicken-style meatless meat. This is just a plain chicken-style meat you can use in any recipe you want to have “chicken meat” in it. This can be used as a chicken of turkey substitute. I used this for my Chicken-style Noodle Soup. Enjoy!

Classification: Vegetarian, Vegan, non-gluten free
Good source of protein

(GLUTEN) MEAT INGREDIENTS:

cashews – 3/4 cups
water – 1 cup
gluten flour – 1 and 1/2 cup
whole wheat flour – 2 TBspoons
nutritional yeast – 1 TBspoon
sea salt – 1/2 teaspoon
garlic powder – 1 TBspoon
onion powder – 1 TBspoon

STEPS:

1. Combine dry ingredients.
2. Blend cashews in water until smooth, then add to the dry ingredients.
3. Knead together and shape the gluten mixture into a log shape and cut about half an inch slices.
4. Drop the slices into the boiling broth. Simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

BROTH INGREDIENTS:

water – 5 cups
chicken-style seasoning or country style seasoning – 1 and 1/2 TBspoon
sea salt – 1/2 teaspoon
onion powder – 1 teaspoon
garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
nutritional yeast flakes – 2 TBspoon

STEPS:

1. Combine all ingredients in a large pan.
2. Bring to boil.

Gluten freezes well. Make a big batch to freeze for later use.

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Basic Vegan Cream Sauce

There is some kind of ‘magic’ when cashew nuts and nutritional yeast are blended together! Well, the nutritional yeast in this recipe is in the country-style seasoning.. The creaminess of the flavor is just right to compliment the creamy taste and texture of the non-vegan cream sauce.
For those of you who are willing to try a different and healthier version of traditional cream sauce made with butter and dairy milk, give this easy recipe a try. If you don’t have all the ingredients, it’s OK. Just use whatever available ingredients you have, you can add other ingredients if you want. If you need to omit nutritional yeast, you may do so. And If you prefer your kind of cream sauce, go for it. I Just hope that you’d choose the best, and healthy options as possible. Use this use for any recipe that requires cream sauce.

Classification: Vegan
INGREDIENTS:

1 cup cashew nuts
2 cups water
2 teaspoon onion powder
2 teaspoon country-style vegan seasoning or chicken-like seasoning (if not available, you can use only nutritional yeast + extra onion and garlic powder and some herbs)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 TBspoon cornstarch or clear gel
1 TBspoon soy supreme powder
1 teaspoon sea salt, or more-to taste
1 and 1/2 cup water (or a little more if you want thinner sauce)

STEPS:

1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend on high until fine and smooth.
2. Pour mixture in a saucepan and bring it to boil. Stirring constantly as it thickens to prevent lumping.
3. Remove from heat when it’s thick.
If thicker sauce is needed, just add more starch dissolved in cool water. Bring it to simmer as it thickens.

Makes about 4 cups.

Country Style Vegan Seasoning

I am sharing with you this time a seasoning mixture recipe, as an alternative to MSG and artificial flavored seasonings, which are typically found in the food market today. Since I commit myself to sharing healthy, vegetarian and vegan recipes in my blog, I thought it is helpful to share with you one of the healthy seasonings mixtures I like to use in my cooking. As a vegetarian, my choices of non-dairy, no MSG, less preservative filled seasoning mixtures are more limited. Thankfully, here in the USA’s food market there are many single type, plant-based seasonings, that can be mixed together for a nice seasoning mixture. Most vegan cooking I’ve seen uses vegan seasonings similar to McKay’s chicken-like seasoning and Beef-like seasoning, to name a few of the pre-made seasoning mixtures I actually use in my cooking. I also like using Mushroom seasoning powder (no MSG) that I buy at my local Asian market. This is my adaptation to the Country Style Seasoning in the Country Life Vegetarian Cookbook that I have. It is very easy to make.

The main ingredient in this seasoning mixture recipe is, Nutritional Yeast Flakes, which some of you may have not heard of this ingredient before. Nutritional yeast “is a deactivated yeast, often a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which is sold commercially as a food product. It is sold in the form of flakes or as a yellow powder and can be found in the bulk aisle of most natural food stores.” After the process of making the yeast they sometimes add vitamin B12 to it. Vegans use nutritional yeast as part of their seasoning because it has a cheesy or nutty flavor, and as such it is typically a key ingredient for making vegan cheeses or as a cheese alternative to some recipes that ask for cheese. If nutritional yeast flakes are not available in your area, don’t worry, you can still make your own natural seasoning mixtures with things as simple as sugar, salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and other herbs and spices. Just blend them up together, then you can have a fresh, natural, homemade seasoning mixture.

Yes, there are many pre-made seasoning mixtures we can buy in the market, if for some reason you don’t have any option but to buy the ready-made seasonings you may do so, but as an advice (as I was advised), let us be very particular when choosing what to buy, because looks and taste are deceiving and they can fool our appetite. If you see ingredients on the label that are unfamiliar and hard to pronounce, you probably don’t want that in your body. The shorter and simpler the ingredients list is, the better for your health.

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Classification: Vegan, gluten free

Good source of: protein and vitamins, B-complex vitamins, Vitamin B12 fortified.

INGREDIENTS:

1 and 1/2 cups nutritional yeast flakes

3 Tbspoons sea salt

1 TBspoon Onion powder

1 TBspoon garlic powder

1 Tbspoon paprika powder

½ teaspoon ground celery seed

1 Tbspoon dried parsley

1 and ½ teaspoon cane sugar crystals

½ teaspoon turmeric

STEPS:

  1. Blend all ingredients in a blender until fine.
  1. Let is sit in the blender for about 2 minutes before opening the lid.
  1. Store in a tight covered container. No need to refrigerate.

Makes about 1 and 1/4 cup of seasoning. Great for gravy, sauces, stir-fries, soups, stews, and many other recipes that require seasoning. Sprinkle over sliced tofu before and after frying/baking. 1 tablespoon of Country Style Vegan seasoning + 2 cups of water = instant broth! Enjoy!

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Nutritional yeast flakes

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Country Style Vegan Seasoning

Mock Meat

Other than tofu, here is another good meat alternative for those who want to stick with a plant-based diet. You can make a big batch of it so you don’t have to make it every time you want some ‘meat’ in your cooking. It keeps well in the refrigerator/freezer. There are many ready-to-eat mock meat that are available in the market; frozen, dried and canned. But if you want something fresh, less processed and no preservatives… homemade mock meat is for you! I got the recipe idea from 7 Secrets Cookbook and this is my modified version of it. And I use this recipe a lot in my cooking. It is easy to make and it’s good. Great for sandwiches, stir-fry, burgers and other cooking. I even enjoy eating it just by itself ;-D 

Classification: Vegan

INREDIENTS: 

2 cups soaked soybeans (or garbanzos: if you use canned garbanzos drain the liquid and add water to equal 1 1/2 cups total liquid)

1/4 cups soy sauce

1 and 1/2 cups water/broth/liquid

2 TBspoon nutritional yeast flakes

3 TBspoon chicken-like seasoning

2 TBspoon onion powder

1 TB garlic powder

1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil (or any good cooking oil available)

2 cups gluten flour, preferably ‘vital wheat gluten’ (or 1/4-1/2 more if needed)

*If some ingredients are not available in your area, just use whatever good alternative that’s available. You may use a regular flour if gluten flour’s not available. Ingredients like nutritional yeast and Chicken-like seasoning can be replaced by other seasonings.

STEPS: 

1. Soak at least one cup of dry soybeans or garbanzos for least 8 hours at room temperature. Drain afterwards.

2. In a blender, place 2 cups of soaked soybeans with 1 1/2 cups of water along with the rest of the ingredients, except the gluten flour. Blend on high until fine and smooth.

3. Pour mixture into a big mixing bowl and add gluten flour. Knead for about 2 minutes until dough becomes stiff. If it’s too soft and not holding together, add 1/4 to 1/2 cup more gluten flour.

4. Divide dough into two pieces and place on an oiled cookie sheet or 2 bread pans. Bake for 50 minutes at 350*F (175*C).

5. Cool on a rack before slicing. Refrigerate or freeze.

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DIY: How to Make Tofu (homemade)

Tofu is very popular among  vegetarians and vegans as it is one of the many good sources of protein. Even though the unseasoned tofu is less appetizing, I should say; but the way you season it as you cook with other ingredients makes the difference. It’s great for making desserts too! In fact, there are real meat eaters who like to eat TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) or commonly knows as ‘veggie meat’. They come in dried, canned, frozen and fresh cooked forms. You can either buy them in food stores or make it yourself, just like tofu. Yes, it is convenient to just go to the store and grab a pack of tofu, but to me it’s a good thing to know how to make tofu–it’s cheaper, fresher and tastier. It is fairly easy to make. All you need is the basic ingredients and materials to do the process. In this recipe I use the most common and cheapest coagulant — Lemon juice. There are other great coagulants you can use as well, like, Nigari (mostly use in oriental countries), Gypsum, or Epsom Salt but these may not be readily available in other countries. Anyway, like I said the process is relatively easy, but I have to tell you that you need to be extra careful to avoid a mess. Give it a try! 🙂

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Classification: Vegan

Good source of: calciummanganesecopperseleniumprotein, phosphorus, omega-3 fatsironmagnesiumzincvitamin B1

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups dried soybeans

4 quarts water (16 cups)

2 TBspoon sea salt (or more to taste)

3-4 TBspoons lemon juice (prefer fresh)

UTENSILS NEEDED:

2 large size pots

very fine mesh/strainer or cheese cloth for nuts

colander

spatula

wooden spoon or available long handle spoon

measuring cup

tofu molder (optional)

STEPS:
1. Soak soybeans for at least 8 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain

2. In a blender, blend 1 cup of soybeans at a time with about 3 cups of water or just enough to cover the beans for finer texture.  Do the same for the 2nd cup of soybeans. 

3. Add the rest of the water into a big pot with the blended soybeans. Bring to boil and simmer for about 20 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid boiling over.

4. Using a very fine strainer, cheese cloth for nuts, or clean cloth (t-shirt) to separate soy pulp from milk into a different pot.

5. To coagulate: Heat the soy milk back up to 180-200 degrees. Add sea salt and 3 TBspoons lemon juice and stir. If the water is still white and milky, add another spoonful lemon juice and stir again. Let it sit and wait for about 5-10 minutes, the curds will separate.

6. Skim out curds and pour into a molder. A colander with fine mesh bag or fine cheese cloth will work just fine. Press down using a spatula, a bowl or a heavy object to extract more water out of the curd. Place a heavy object (I use a jar with water) and let it sit for at least 45 minutes. 

7.  Tofu is ready to eat/use. If you are not using it right away, soak tofu in water and refrigerate. Change the water everyday if you don’t use the tofu.

Makes about 1 and half pounds of tofu or 20-24 oz.

TIPS:

1. If you use a different coagulant, follow instructions on labels. Rule of thumb: the more coagulant you put the harder the tofu. Be careful in using more lemon as it could make your tofu more sour.

2. Save the Okara (soy bean pulp). Great in bread, cookies, and burgers.

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