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Mushroom Leek Quiche with Red Pepper Relish

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Our neighbor Elsa gave us 4 beautiful fresh leeks from her garden. I had been planning to make my chickpea tart, but then I found a mushroom leek quiche in Vegan Comfort Classics that looked worth a try! Here's my slightly adapted version. Oh, the red pepper relish is amazing on crackers or anything else you might serve a chutney with. If you have time for nothing else, make the relish!

Ingredients
1 pie crust

Filling:
2 T canola oil
3 C leeks, sliced (plus 1/3 C set aside)
3 C mushrooms, sliced
1 C broccoli or asparagus, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp sage
1 tsp tarragon
1 C vegetable broth
16 oz tofu or substitute
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1/3 C chickpea flour
1 T white vinegar
1 T lemon juice
1 T arrowroot or cornstarch
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Red pepper relish:
2 T canola oil
1 C onion, chopped
2 cups red pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp mustard
1/2 C suger
1/2 C whit…

PB2 Chocolate Chip Cookies

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We really like these PB2 brownies - super easy to make, not too sweet, and very satisfying. But it's time to try some other desserts. I still have a lot of PB2 and almond butter; surely one can make a good chocolate chip cookie from that? I googled, looked through several recipes, and decided to try a twist on these vegan chocolate chip almond butter cookies by Beaming Baker. I made several changes, including using half PB2 and making them less sweet (most desserts are always too sweet!), and used brown sugar and fewer chocolate chips (half the amount listed was plenty!)

Note: If you don't have PB2, just use 1 1/4 cups of any flour (oat, almond, wheat, or a mix).
Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Ingredients
Dry ingredients:
1/2 cup PB2
3/4 cups any other flour (I used wheat)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Wet ingredients:
1/2 C almond butter
3 T canola oil
1/3 - 1/2 C brown sugar
2 flax eggs (2 T flaxmeal, 6 T warm water)
1/2 tsp vanilla

1/2 C chocolate chips

Instr…

PB2 Chocolate Brownies

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Thinking about alternatives to my (limited) flour as we go shopping less during the pandemic, I recalled that I have two big jars of PB2 (powdered peanut butter) that have been in my cupboard for awhile. Googling brought up several lists of healthyPB2recipes including some PB2 Flourless Chocolate Brownies. After playing with the recipe a couple times, my version has a few changes. In particular, it worked best for me with half PB2 and half flour, and I reduced the chocolate chips. (And of course flaxmeal in place of eggs!). It's yummy and not too sweet.

Ingredients
Dry:
1/2 C powdered peanut butter
1/2 C flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Wet:
1 flax egg (1 T flaxmeal, 3 T water)
1/3 cup honey or 1/2 cup sugar
1 C plus 1T water
1 tsp vanilla

1/2 C chocolate chips

Instructions
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 8x8 or 9x9 pan with vegan butter.

Make flax egg (mix flaxmeal and water) and set aside. If you are using honey, microwave it for 10 seconds.

In a lar…

Yellow Split Pea Dal

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Loving my Vegan Richa's Indian Kitchen cookbook. With the uneasiness in the world, our pantry is full of dried beans and lentils - and I'll definitely be making this again. Here's a slightly adapted (and tripled) recipe from the cookbook. (Thank you, Munira, for bringing us all the great lentils and other items from your Indian grocery store - and especially for your homemade garam masala!)

Ingredients
3 cups dry yellow split pea or chana dal
5+ cups water for cooking)
(Note: you can also use a combination of lentils of similar cooking times such as as split pea, chana dal, brown lentils, green mung beans, or split pigeon pea. I just like the yellow color :)

2 T canola oil
1 T cumin seeds
2 cups chopped red onion
1-2 green or red chiles, chopped
10 cloves garlic, chopped
1 (2-inch) knob ginger, chopped
1.5 tsp turmeric
1.5 tsp coriander
1.5 tsp garam masala
4 tomatoes, chopped (or mix of canned and chopped)
1 tsp salt

Garnish:
fresh chopped cilantro
fresh chopped mint
lemon…

Aloo Patta Gobhi (Indian Spiced Potato Cabbage)

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Munira often makes a potato cabbage fry for us that is yummy. I love cabbage and have a head of it that needs used, and found a recipe in my Vegan Richa cookbook to try!

Ingredients
1 T canola oil
1 T cumin seeds
1 T mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)
1 hot green pepper
3 gloves garlic, minced
1 (1/2) inch knob of ginger, minced
1 tsp turmeric
2 medium potatoes, chopped (might pre-microwave 3 min)
5+ cups chopped green cabbage
1 tsp salt
2 T cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Instructions
Saute cumin seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds (if using), and pepper in oil. Add garlic, ginger, and cook 2 minutes. Add turmeric and salt and mix. Add potatoes and mix well. Add cabbage and mix. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Taste and adjust salt and spice. Serve hot, garnished with cilantro.




Supplements

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Some supplements we take to support healthy aging and longevity.

First, though, lifestyle factors are key to healthy aging -- including diet, exercise, and habits like good sleep, not smoking or drinking in excess, and staying on top health issues (like high blood pressure or high cholesterol). Regarding diet, calorie restriction is the most well-support practice for increasing lifespan, and plant-based diets have many benefits. Larry and I are vegan for health reasons, and a plant-based diet provides some of the longevity benefits of calorie restriction. We also practice calorie restriction through fasting; I do time-restricted intermittent fasting (16 hour fasting) several times a week; Larry has fasted 1-2 days a month for decades. We also exercise at least an hour daily (Larry bikes/runs; we do daily walks, I do strength & cardio classes). Finally, we prioritize sleep with strict bed & wake times; no eating 3+ hours before bed; total darkness and quiet; fresh air from an o…

Creamy Soy-Almond Yogurt

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I bought a new instant pot to get the Yogurt button, and made some batches following this blog post on soy yogurt. (I also tried using soaked almonds processed in my ninja blender which was pretty good but a little gritty and more work;  oat and coconut milk did not work -- it's critical that the milk you use has zero additives). Using soy milk is so easy, but was hard to get it to be as thick as I'd like. Cooking longer - I tried up to 15 hours -- helps, but it's super tangy!

Enter my brother Jeff, who perfected it after I sent him home with a jar. He bought an instant pot and did several experiments using combinations of soy milk and thickeners (like soy flour & cornstarch) and syrup for the yeasties to eat. He also dissolved them by boiling them in the milk first. The winning combo: Soy milk, almond flour, and (ginger) syrup, boiled, then add starter and cook in the instant pot with water around the jars to better distribute the heat. This takes almost half the time…

Lentil Curry Soup

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One of our favorite restaurants, Cafe Sprout, has a spicy red curry soup that we love -- with chickpeas, tomatoes, carrots, celery, onion, red lentils, and quinoa. Isa also has a Sweet Potato and Red Curry Soup that looks good. So I made up a recipe that pulls from both. Larry said it was fantastic! (Originally posted September 2015; updated February 2020 to be even better :)

Ingredients
1T canola oil
1 small hot pepper (like serrano), diced
1 medium onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, chopped
3 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium potato, chopped
2-3 cups cauliflower, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes (or 2 C fresh, chopped)
6 cups vegetable broth 1 lb (16 oz) dried red lentils, washed
1/2 C quinoa (dry, uncooked)

2 cups chickpeas, cooked
1/2 to 1 can lite coconut milk
3T fresh lime juice

Spices:
2 tsp cumin seeds (or ground & add w/other spices)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 T fresh ginger, minced
1 T curry powder
2 tsp tumeric
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions
Sa…

Almond Citron Biscotti

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We bumped into Elsa the other evening on a walk, and asked how she used the Candied Buddha's Hand she made. She makes biscotti! Larry turned to me and said, "Biscotti, please." I found a recipe for vegan orange almond biscotti by Minimalist Baker and with a few small adaptations (like adding orange juice as holycowvegan does).  I tried using all whole wheat flour the first time (plus some corn meal) and it was very good, but the whole wheat was a little overpowering for the delicate flavors. I mentioned this to my friend Judi, and she suggested adding in almond flour, oat flour, and/or tapioca flour to lighten things up (she rarely uses white flour). The recipe below is updated to add in a mix of such flours, and it was fantastic! I'll keep using the mix below, but of course you may want to experiment with other flours (or white).


Ingredients
Wet:
1/2 cup vegan butter or coconut oil (melted)
3/4 cup sugar
2 flax eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest from 1 orange
Juice from…

Candied Buddha's Hand Citron

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Our friends Pat and Allen have a Buddha's Hand Tree, and offered us a chance to harvest a couple of the fruits! Pat also shared her recipe for delicious candied Buddha's citron. It's yummy as candy or in cookies -- and it makes your kitchen smell heavenly as you cook it up. Below is Pat's recipe, and photos as I tried to replicate it (I almost doubled the sugar and water, since we harvested two).

Ingredients
1 Buddha's hand citron, washed well
2 C water
2 C granulated sugar.

Instructions
Dice the citron, taking care to use only the portions that include the zest and some pith. Discard interior pith portion that has no zest.

Put candy thermometer in a pan, add the diced citron and the water and sugar.

Put it on medium heat and wait for it to boil, stirring to dissolve sugar.

Adjust the heat to a simmer and allow it to bubble slowly for somewhere near three quarters of an hour. (It seems to take longer to get to 230 degrees).

As it reduces, the sugar syrup will become th…

Lightly Candied Sweet Potatoes

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Jeff made some delicious sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving in Nebraska. We ate them so fast that a couple days later I asked him to help me make them again, and I took pictures. I made them again for Christmas, slightly tweaked to include vegan butter - a nice addition. Here's the super easy, yummy recipe!

Ingredients

2 lb bag of sweet potatoes
2 T vegan butter
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/3 cup brown sugar (not packed)
salt & pepper

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them up in large chunks. Put in large baking pan all on one layer (not stacked). Add vegetable broth and grind fresh salt and pepper over them. Cover with foil and bake for 50 minutes.

Remove from oven and sprinkle on brown sugar. Put back in oven without foil cover for another 15 minutes. Remove and eat!

Yammy Chocolate Pudding

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Shelley shared a delicious chocolate pudding with us today, packed with healthy ingredients! It's super easy to make, too. She recommends a dark cocoa like Hershey's Dark or Guittard Dutched Cocoa rather than regular cocoa, as it makes it taste more fudgy. She also used TJs soy creamer because she thinks it tastes more neutral than nut milks or coconut creamers.

Ingredients 1 really big yam (or two medium yams) 2 T almond butter 4 T soy creamer (or nondairy milk) 4 T dark cocoa powder  5 pitted dates
Instructions Wash the yam, but don't peel it. Roast yam at 425 until syrup leaks out, up to 1 hour 20 minutes. Let it cool, and then carefully peel off the skin.
Mix the yam and other ingredients in a food processor. Chill, and serve!



Chocolate Applesauce Walnut Cake

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A vegan variation on a cake recipe by my college roommate Elizabeth, with orange promoted to a primary flavor -- increasing the zest in the cake from 1/2 tsp to at least a tablespoon, and adding a very zesty orange glaze. Yum! Larry loved it. And as cakes go, it's fairly healthy, with whole wheat flour, apples, and walnuts as main ingredients and not much oil.

Ingredients
Wet:
1/2 cup soft vegan butter (or oil is ok)
1 1/4 cup brown sugar
2 flax eggs (2 T flaxmeal, 6 T water)
3/4 cup dairy-free milk + 1 tsp vinegar
2 cups applesauce OR pureed apple
1 tsp vanilla
1 T grated orange or tangerine rind

Dry:
3 cup whole wheat flour, or a mix of whole grains
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1+ cup chopped walnuts

Glaze (optional)
1 cup powdered/confectioners sugar
1+ tsp orange zest (I like more!)
2+ T orange juice
(additional water, as needed)

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour c…

Dried Figs

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Figs! We have so many figs. Larry is picking a dozen a day, scrambling onto the roof to get half of them from the top of the tree. During an afternoon get-together, Shuchi tells us that she gets a lot of different fruits off her trees and dries them -- the sugar concentrates, and they taste like candy! She keeps them in jars on her counter and they snack on them for days. So we bought a Cuisinart dehydrator and tried it out with some figs and pears and other fruits. Figs are pretty juicy and took a lot longer to dry than the others, so we decided they were better when cut into smaller sizes, and perhaps dried by themselves - or if you do other fruits, just check the others earlier.

Ingredients
Fresh figs, a dozen or more

Instructions
Figs are pretty juicy, so slice them into quarters at minimum, and into eighths if you can (i.e., they still have integrity).

Place them on dehydrator shelves, skin side down so they don't stick to the shelf. We put our dehydrator on our outdoor counter…