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Sarah Lawrence

Tomato Soup, Onion Style

Soup is easily one of my favorite foods. Two superstars : tomato soup and french onion soup, for sure! With my pantry and cupboards lacking veg broth, I figured it might be worth a try to make Tomato soup, onion style.... (go ahead and let PSY's "Gangnam Style" be the soundtrack for this post if you must! Anyway, it couldn't be easier to make (& you can even dance while you do it!) Start with equal parts diced tomato and sliced onion. In a large pot, heat a tbsp of veg butter or your favorite mild oil. Add onion and cook over gentle heat until onions are golden and fragrant. For me and my pot, this took about 20 minutes. Add the tomato and an equal amount of water... I used 4 cups tomato, 4 cups onion and 4 cups water. Simmer until tomato has broken down. Then puree with an immersion blender or cool and puree in your Vitamix or regular blender. If the soup is too thick, just add a bit more water to get it where you want. The thickness makes it versatile though, so don't instantly go for the water. Consider using it as a sauce for red lentils (stir in a bit of coconut milk and curry powder). As a soup goes, it has the rich oniony base and robust tomato goodness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add torn basil for a treat. Throw in cooked rice for a hearty bowl (like I did for lunch). image Enjoy!

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Sarah Lawrence

Coconut Almond Cookie Dough Bites

Who hasn't snuck a knob of cookie dough at one point or another?  Well, these tasty bites are the perfect thing, really.  I’m not going to suggest that they’re healthy.  No, even I can’t go that far with a sweet.  But, as cookie dough goes, popping one or two of these little gems isn’t a horrible choice.  Coconut oil is a source of Medium Chain Fatty Acids and has multiple health benefits, but of greatest note in 2012 was the research that showed significant improvement in Alzheimers patients who used a coconut oil protocol.  Almond meal is the bulk of the dough so there is nothing overly processed and no gluten to gum up the gut.  If you want to take these bites over the top, you can coat them in chocolate and even add a few mini chips to the dough.  This recipe makes enough for a party.  The dough can also be stored in the freezer wrapped well in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag so you can make a few bites at a time. 006 Coconut Almond Cookie Dough Bites ½ cup coconut oil, room temperature ½ cup coconut sugar 1 tsp vanilla powder 1 ½ cups almond meal 1 cup Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, ½ for melting and ½ for dough (optional, but yummy!) In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the coconut oil and coconut sugar with the paddle attachment until the coconut sugar has “melted” into the oil and is no longer grainy.  Add the vanilla powder and almond meal.  Beat again for a few minutes to get the almond meal incorporated.   You will need to stop a few times to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  The dough will not make a ball, but should keep together.  Because coconut oil is liquid at room temp, the dough will be soft.  At this point, if you want chocolate chips in the cookie, go ahead and stir in ¼ - ½ cup to suite your taste.  You can omit them and have a lovely treat all the same. Tip the batter into a smaller bowl and pop it into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes to firm up.  If you leave it too long the dough will go quite solid and will need to sit at room temp for a bit to be soft enough to roll.  We are looking to be able to roll smallish, teaspoon size balls of dough.  You can make the dough balls larger, but this size is nice for popping as the occasional sweet treat and it’s also great for potlucks and parties. While the dough is firming up, take the ½ cup of mini chips and put them in a small heat proof bowl.  You need to melt the chips.  If you have a tried and true method, go ahead and get on with your renegade self.  If not, follow the leader… I boil water in the kettle and pour it into a pan that is a bit deeper and bigger than the bowl I chose for the chips.  I set the chip bowl carefully into the water bath, being sure that the water doesn’t get into the chips.  Leave the whole thing to warm for a few minutes, remove and stir the melted chips. Voila! Now back to the dough.  It should be a good temp for rolling so go ahead and scoop out teaspoons-full and roll them.  If your dough is too hard to scoop and roll, just leave it ococonut almond cookie dough bitesn the counter a minute to warm up again.  Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet or plate.  If the dough balls get too soft, you can pop the plate into the freezer to firm up before enrobing them in chocolate (doesn’t that sound so much sexier than dipping or drizzling?) Heavenly cookie dough balls, meet chocolate bath.  Roll them around in it and then rescue them gently with a spoon.  Place the drenched goodies onto a piece of wax paper or parchment or silpat.  They will need to go back to the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to firm up the coating before serving, so if the whole operation is on a plate, that’s great.  Once the chocolate has set you can serve them or pop them off the plate and store in a freezer safe container.  For freezing, position the bites so they aren’t touching much, and separate layers with wax paper so they don’t stick. At room temp, the chocolate coating is fabulously finger licking good.  We like these best right out of the freezer when the dough is super cold and firm. For a variation, roll the dough balls in finely shredded coconut instead of chocolate… or, (mercy) roll in chocolate and then top with coconut! (You’re totally welcome!)

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Sarah Lawrence

Spanakopita for Gluten Free Vegan Me (and you!)

The Greek flavors in traditional Spanakopita are a knock-your-socks-off combination.  Going Gluten Free means no crispy filo… such a bummer, really (let's keep this real!).  So instead of trying to make a miracle and recreate that flaky, crispy, buttery shell we are going to make the filling our superstar.  It really stands on it's own.  Now, if you’re okay with sheep's milk Feta or if you have access to a vegan artisanal Feta then go ahead and crumble some into your cooked spinach.  But if you’re dairy free, like me, embrace the amazingly briny bite of some green olives instead.  Capers are another great choice if you don’t have access to olives.  Because feta is such a briny, salty cheese choosing something with similar attributes makes this free version satisfying while honoring the flavors of the original.

041The spinach bowl comes together quickly and makes a lot which is perfect for leftovers.  Try the puffs and pancakes or top a polenta pizza crust with caramelized onions and leftover spinach.  Want another one?  Mix equal amounts of leftover spinach with cooked quinoa and about ½ as much finely chopped walnuts and parsley; Roll this mixture into balls and bake for some tasty spinach balls.  If the mixture is too dry, add a few tablespoons of prepared hummus to bind it.  TOTALLY yum!  You can’t go wrong with a batch of Greek inspired spinach!  Because we love this I use the BIG bag of organic spinach from our warehouse club store.  Scale it back if you're using less... the quantities I use make the math easy (and it's a fun exercise for my kids to do so maybe yours will like it too!)

~ Go get in the kitchen and love it up!

Vegan Spanakopita Bowl 3.5 lbs frozen leaf spinach (in a bag, not box if you have a choice) 3 large white onion, minced 3 cloves garlic, minced 4 oz green olives, roughly chopped into a small dice 3/4 cup raw cashews, chopped 3/4 cup fresh parsley, minced 3/4 cup fresh dill, minced zest of 1 organic lemon juice of 1 organic lemon 1/4 - 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg salt and pepper to taste In a very large skillet heat a tsp of olive oil over medium heat.  Sauté the onion until translucent.  Add garlic and cashews and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly to keep this from burning. Add spinach, herbs and nutmeg and cook for about 5 minutes until the leaves are soft and any water has cooked off. Turn off the heat and stir in the olives and lemon.  Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Serving options – serve with cooked rice or pasta of your choice.  I like to serve it with a salad of tomato and fennel. Spanakopita Puffs and Pancakes 004 3.5 cups all-purpose GF flour 1 tbsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 tsp cracked pepper 1 tsp granulated garlic (omit if you cook the spinach with 2 cloves of minced garlic) 1/2 cup plain coconut milk 2 tbsp flax meal or chia meal + 1 cup water 1 tbsp olive oil 1/3 cup lemon juice 1 cup cooked spinach (leftovers work great!) 1 cup olives, chopped 1/2 cup sun dried or dehydrated tomatoes To make puffs, set the oven to 400 degrees F and spray or rub a muffin tin with oil (recipe will make 18 muffin size bites).  To make pancakes just pull out a cast iron skillet or griddle pan and lightly coat with oil. Mix the dry ingredients in a 2 quart bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut milk, water, oil, lemon juice and flax meal.  Set this aside and allow the flax or chia to swell. Add cooked spinach, olives and tomato to the dry ingredients and stir well to break up the veg and coat them with the flour mix. Add the wet ingredients and stir to combine. For puffs, scoop the batter into each muffin cup.  Fill each section, but don’t overfill.  Pop the trays into the oven and bake at 375 for 30 minutes or until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. For pancakes, heat the cast iron skillet/griddle and pour 1/3 cup of batter at a time, just as you would pancakes.  Tops will get a little dry and edges will set.  Flip and cook for another few minutes before plating.  Serve with Creamy Onion Dressing for drizzling or dipping.   Creamy Onion Dressing 1 cup raw cashews 1 cup hot water 2 Tbsp onion powder ½ tsp salt minced chive or green onion for garnish (optional) Put everything into Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.  If you are using a different blender, soak the cashews for 20-30 minutes prior to blending.  This extra step will soften the cashews and ensure a smooth dressing. (Want to know a secret? This dressing is fabulous drizzled on baked potato or mixed into mashed potato.  You’re welcome!)

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