Secret Family Recipe Barbecue Sauce

This sauce is sure to be a hit at your next Soiree.  Drizzle on tofu, veggies, noodles and more!

1 Cup Ketchup
1 twelve ounce can Beer (Budweiser)
3 cloves fresh Garlic (crushed)
1/8 cup Sugar
1/8 cup Molasses
Dash Sea Salt
Dash Black Pepper

Combine all in a small heavy bottom sauce pan.  Stir occasionally and simmer for at least 30 minutes until it reduces by half.  Use immediately or allow to cool completely and store in a tigthly sealed glass vessel for up to 2 weeks.


Vegan Clam Chowder

This recipe is fast, easy, filling and oh so comforting.  The kick of Old Bay Seasoning satisfies even the pickiest of eaters.

4 Russet Potatoes (peeled and cubed)
1 white or yellow Onion (finely diced)
1 Ear Fresh Corn (remove kernals)
3/4 Cup French Lentils (rinsed)
1 Quart Vegetable Broth
2 Cups Non-Dairy Milk (I used half coconut, half unsweetened almond)
1 Tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil

Begin by prepping potatoes, onion, corn and lentils.  Heat oil in large stock pot on medium high heat and add onion, lentils and corn.  Stir to coat and cook until onions soften and lentils and corn begin to toast.  Add potatoes and cook a few more minutes.  Add all seasonings (Old Bay, Nutmeg and Black Pepper) EXCEPT SALT.  Add all broth and non-dairy milk.  Reduce heat to lowest simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender.  Lastly, add salt and taste test for seasoning levels.  Serve immediately with crusty bread or crackers.  Serve unused portion in refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Enjoy!


Veggie Lentil Chili

Did you know you don't need chili powder to make chili?  All you need is your own spices. Have you ever seen what kind of crap they put in some chili powder?  And have you ever noticed that all chili powder is, is a combination of spices that are probably in your pantry?  Here's the recipe - make some now :)

1 Small Yellow Onion
1 Red Bell Pepper
2 Jalapeno Peppers
2 Carrots
2 Ribs Celery
2 Cloves Fresh Garlic
3 Tablespoons Paprika
3 Tablespoons Cumin
1 Tablespoon Oregano
2 Tablespoons Sugar (Optional)
2 teaspoons Sea Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 16.5 Ounce Can Chili Beans
1 Small Can Tomato Paste
1 Quart Vegetable Broth
1 Tablespoon Canola or Olive Oil
1 Cup Lentils (any color)

Begin by finally dicing celery, carrots, onions, garlic and peppers (remove stems, ribs and seeds).  Heat oil in a medium-size saucepan and add all vegetables and aromatics.  Sauté until begins to get golden and add all salt, pepper, sugar and spices.  Deglaze pan with beans, tomato paste and vegetable broth.  Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.  Rinse lentils thoroughly and add to the pot.  Simmer covered for about 45 minutes to an hour or until lentils are tender.  Taste test for seasoning and add additional salt or sugar if needed.  Serve immediately or allow to cool and store in a tightly sealed glass vessel in refrigerator for up to one week.  Enjoy!


Roasted Rainbow Pepper Aioli

About 2 Cups assorted peppers, mild to hot.  I used mini red, yellow, orange, green, jalapeno and Thai Bird's Eye chilis
Sea Salt
Scant Drizzle Canola Oil
Parchment Paper
1 Cup Canola Oil

Begin by removing stems from all peppers.  Wash and slice lengthwise.  Coat in sea salt and a drizzle of oil.  Spread out into one even layer on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 350 degrees F for about 30 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool completely.  Add mixture to food processor and puree, scraping down sides as necessary.  While machine is running, drizzle in canola oil until emulsified.  Taste test and add additional sea salt if needed.  Store in large glass jar in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Use as a dip or sandwich spread.  Also goes great on your favorite pasta.


Roasted Garlic Hummus

I know, hummus AGAIN?!?!  But as all of you know, I am obsessed.  You can find lots of recipes on my site for mind-blowing hummus.  Most likely you have even made a batch or three.  I like to remind people to MAKE YOUR OWN!!  Have you ever noticed how expensive it is to buy?  Especially in the large containers where marketers claim you are getting a great deal.  Yup, and you even get those fillers, stabilizers, GMOs and preservatives to boot!  This easy recipe will not break your bank and I guarantee you and your family and friends will love it to the last drop.  They will probably ask you for the recipe. Get it here.

Roasted Garlic Hummus
2 sixteen ounce cans organic garbanzo beans
1/3 cup tahini
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
Juice of 4 small meyer lemons
6 cloves roasted garlic
Sea salt and black pepper (to taste)

Roast peeled whole garlic cloves at 475 degrees F on cookie sheet for 15 minutes.  Remove and set aside to cool.

Drain garbanzo beans and add to food processor.  Add lemon juice, tahini, cumin, sea salt, black pepper and garlic. Puree until smooth and drizzle in oil while machine is running.  Taste test for seasoning levels and adjust to taste.  Too salty?  Add more lemon juice.  Too lemony?  Add more sea salt.  Transfer hummus to large glass vessel and store covered in fridge until ready to serve.  Voila!  Easy as pie!

Roasted Summer Vegetables 101

Tired of unevenly roasted boring vegetables?  Here are a few tips sure to have you and your dinner guests drooling over your veggie party platter.

Tip #1 Parchment Paper is your new best friend

Tip #2 A little oil, salt and pepper go a long way

Tip #3 Add fresh chopped yellow onion and a lion's share of whole garlic cloves to give vegetables a flavor kick

Tip #4 Use high heat and a timer

Tip #5 Allow veggies to cool before tossing with salad and cooked whole grains like rice, pasta, couscous and quinoa

This succulent and versatile summer veggie blend is made up of zucchini, summer squash, yellow onion and garlic. Veggies got tossed in 1 tablespoon of canola oil and sprinkled with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.  Spread out in to one even layer on a large peice of parchment paper on your largest baking sheet.  Bake at 475 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool on baking sheet to desired temperature.  Serve warm, at room temperature or cold.  Store unused portion in refrigerator for up to 3 days.


Authentic Thai Cucumber Salad

You know the stuff.  You get it in teeny tiny bowls at your favorite Thai joint.  Then you order a huge plate of it for two bucks and some change because you can't get enough and your lunch date ate most of it anyway.  It's tangy, sour and sweet and now you want some.  This satisfying side dish is easy to throw together and it costs next to nothing.  Here is what you need:

Authentic Thai Cucumber Salad
1 Large Cucumber
1/2 Small Red Onion
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 Bunch Fresh Cilantro
1 Serrano Chili Pepper
1 Jalapeno Pepper
Sea Salt
Roasted Peanuts (for garnish, optional)

Begin by peeling cucumber.  Slice lengthwise and remove seeds using a spoon.  Slice thinly and set in a collander.  Next slice onion thinly and add to collander.  Cut peppers in half and remove white ribs and seeds.  Dice these finely and add to collander.  Sprinkle mixture with a generous amount of sea salt, toss with a spoon and set aside for 30 minutes (put a plate underneath to catch the liquid the salt will draw out of the mixture).  

Now rinse mixture thoroughly with cold water and shake off excess liquid, squeezing or you could spin it in a salad spinner.  In a large glass bowl, add sugar and vinegar.  Allow sugar to dissolve and add cucumber mixture.  

Stir to combine and add finely chopped cilantro.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with chopped roasted peanuts, if desired.


Baked Jalapeño Corn Tortilla Chips

Okay folks, remember yesterday when I told you I was Mexican?!  Well, surprise, I'm not.  But the fact is I can NOT get enough Mexican food.  Instead of stopping at the grocery store for a gigantic bag of tortilla chips, I decided to make my own.  Since I am trying to cut calories to lose a few pounds before Summer, I decided to bake them instead of deep-frying (my usual method).

I really didn't want them to come out dry so I decided to coat them in a little oil before baking them.  But guess what!?  I used up all my oil making yesterday's Jalapeno Spread.  Solution = Coat them in the spread.  Result?  Genius.

So if you want to replicate these bad boys to the letter, you are going to have to make the Jalapeno Spread Recipe first.  Now, I'm not going to lie, they did come out a little dry.  But since they really are just a vehicle to get things like veggie chili and pico de gallo in to my mouth, I really didn't mind.

Baked Jalapeno Corn Tortilla Chips
6 Corn Tortillas
Jalapeno Spread
Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 300 Degrees F.  Begin by cutting your tortillas into fours.  Put them in a large bowl and using your hands, coat them gently with a couple teaspoons of the spread.  Make sure both sides are thoroughly coated.  Place them into an even layer on a large cookie sheet lined with parchment or non-stick aluminum foil.  Don't worry if they overlap a little.  Sprinkle with a little Sea Salt, if desired. Bake for 30 minute, turning over once halfway through cooking and check for golden brown doneness.


Jalapeno Spread

I am obsessed with all things spicy.  I'm pretty sure I'm Mexican underneath my white ass exterior.  But anyway, I digress.

Grab some fresh Jalapenos, roast them to perfection and make it rain!  This spread goes great on just about anything.  It is also simply delicious on a big, fat spoon.  Vamanos!

Jalapeno Spread
6-8 Fresh Jalapenos
4 Cloves Fresh Garlic
1/2 Red Onion
Canola oil
Sea Salt & Pepper
Fresh squeezed Lime
Fresh Cilantro

Begin by prepping your Jalapeno Peppers.  Wearing rubber gloves is a great idea.  Chop stems, slice lengthwise and remove white ribs and seeds.  Place them in a large roasting pan along with rough chopped red onion and whole garlic cloves (remove skins from both).

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Drizzle with a little canola oil, sea salt and black pepper.  Toss to coat and roast for about 15-20 minutes or until skins blister slightly.  Turn off oven and remove roasting pan from oven.

When mixture has cooled to touch, add all to food processor along with 1 bunch fresh cilantro (wash thoroughly) and juice of a few limes.  Turn on machine and drizzle in more canola oil until desired consistency is achieved.  Serve immediately or refrigerate unused portion for up to 5 days.


Coffee Ice Cubes

Beloved readers - I know it has been a minute since I have posted.  2014 has been a whirlwind and it's only likely to get busier as Summer is fast approaching!

On that note I have been finding myself needing a little more caffeine than usual.  Next time you make coffee, make an extra cup or two and pour it into an ice cube tray.

When the mood for iced coffee strikes, save yourself some coin by making your own.  As the cubes melt, your coffee won't get dilluted.  Or throw them in your high-powered blender along with your favorite creamer and sweetener (if desired) and Voilia!  You have your very own Frappacino and it won't cost 14 dollars at StarFu€k$.


Ground Tofu "Beef"

Convenience vegan prepackaged foods like ground soy meat are fine every once in a while but for a lot less money you can make your own faux ground beef  out of extra firm tofu and tailor the seasoning levels to suit your taste.  Today I went asian with my seasonings because I wanted to use the faux meat for stir fry.  Give it a try.  It is easy to make and fun to eat.  Your kids might even like it - mine sure do!

Ground Tofu "Beef"
2 one-pound packages extra firm tofu
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/8 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon seasoning salt (like Lawrys)
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1 inch knob fresh ginger (mince finely)
1 clove fresh garlic (mince finely)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Strain and press tofu to drain as much liquid as possible.  Cut into cubes and mix with all ingredients.  Place mixture in a casserole dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours stirring every 1/2 hour to ensure even browning. Remove from oven and use immediately or allow to cool before storing in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Use in stirfry, soup, stews, shepard's pie, sandwiches, burritos and more!