15 Minute Spinach Basil Pesto.

When it comes to recipes, I am usually quite adamant in following the instructions meticulously. My mother is the complete opposite. Once she is in the kitchen she dominates it. She’s always inventing new things, making up her own recipes, or building off those of others. I don’t know when was the last time she followed a recipe. I, on the other hand, am constantly depending on the creativity of others.
Except for pesto. 
Last week we celebrated mom’s birthday in, what’s becoming our birthday tradition, a cooking Sunday. Her birthday had already passed a few weeks before, but we decided to celebrate just the four of us now that we’re back. So the four of us gathered in the kitchen to cook a pasta dish. Usually this involves using our imagination (them), or something off of Pinterest (me). I chose pesto.
I can’t remember what recipe I used, nor can I find it in my browser history. All I remember doing is glancing at the ingredients, closing the tab, and deciding I could figure it out on my own. 
It was a hit. 
Even The Kid liked it. Which was an enormous “yes” for me because that Kid is sooooo picky.
And you guys asked for it on Instagram, so I decided to try to recreate the recipe and share. It’s one of those, though, that will hopefully inspire your creativity with its basic directions.

Ingredients
Fresh spinach 
Fresh basil or basil flakes (I used flakes)
Pine nuts
Olive oil
Garlic cloves
Lemon
Directions

1) The spinach determines the amount of pesto you will have. You can always adjust the seasoning and other ingredients, but your base will be the spinach so wash an appropriate amount. Remember that, as with most leafy greens, spinach has that notorious habit of going from a whole lot to a whole little once you do anything with it. 
2) Fill food processor with spinach and drizzle with olive oil. Blend until there is room for some more spinach. Add spinach, basil, garlic and olive oil. I used one clove of garlic for the amount of basil I was making. 
3) Blend until the cloves have well incorporated into the mixture. Add lemon juice, pine nuts, and a drizzle of olive oil. I used half a lemon, and a spoonful of pine nuts. The nuts make the pesto creamier, so adjust accordingly. Blend until smooth.
4) Voila! Now mix it with pasta, use it as a bruschetta topping, or spread it over your pizza. Enjoy! 
P.S. I know there is salt in the photo, but it really isn’t necessary. Add if you would like, but it is delicious without. And healthier too. 
What do you like with pesto? 
Or is ‘what don’t you like’ a better question?

Upside Down Peach Cake + Secrets.


I’ve taken to visiting our neighbor, Mr. Williams*, on Saturday afternoons. While he says he is content in spending his days with the company of his dog, the weekly visit from his son and occasional phone call from the other, I get the feeling he enjoys our visits as much as I do. He likes to tell me stories about his years in the army, anecdotes about his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, to beam with pride while talking about his brilliant dog, who is usually eyeing me from her spot on the couch next to him, and to tell me about how ‘the Lord has been good’ to him. 

When our visits first began, I thought it would do us both some good to have regular visits. I yearned to hear stories and listen to his advice. And for him, I thought a distraction from his daily routine might be nice. I can’t say I didn’t know I would be changed during our visits. Yet I didn’t expect it to be in the form of spiritual encouragement. 

It feeds my soul to hear his testimony and encourages me in my own journey. Every once in a while he’ll tell me to keep on in my faith. “Keep the faith, lassie,” he’ll tell me. “Don’t forsake the good Lord, because He won’t forget you.” 

Yesterday after our visit he ambled over to his freezer and pulled out package after package of frozen fruit plates. A local program brings him food every week. Every week they bring seven plates with three slices of peach and half of a pear. 

“I can’t eat all of these,” he says. “They’re good for making upside down cakes and things.” He put about eight plates in a bag and swore me to secrecy. I am not allowed to tell anyone that he is giving me fruit plates. 

But here I am telling you. But it’s okay. Wanna know why? Because today I’m sending the fruit right back. Not all of it at once, but cake by cake. I’ve decided there’s a good reason he’s sent fruit. He needs to eat it. So, I took his suggestion and made upside down peach cake. 

I haven’t told him it’s vegan. He’d probably give me an exasperated speech about how underweight I am (I am perfectly on weight, thank you very much) and it’s certainly due to the silliness of not eating any meat or dairy. So this post is full of secrets. You don’t tell anyone that he is giving away fruit plates, nor that the cake I made is vegan. Deal? I’m trusting you, Internet!

 *names changed to protect the innocent

Upside Down Peach Cake – Vegan

adapted to vegan from | Taste of Home

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) sliced peaches in juice
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Earth Balance butter, melted, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk + 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp ground oatmeal
  • Directions

    1. Drain peaches, reserving 2 tablespoons juice. Pat peaches dry. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, cinnamon, nutmeg and reserved peach juice. Spread into a 9-in. round baking pan coated with cooking spray. Cut peach slices in half lengthwise; arrange in a single layer over brown sugar mixture.
    1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg, vanilla and remaining butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir until blended. Spoon over peaches. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate. Serve warm. Yield: 8 servings

5 Step Vegan Banana Bread: A Recipe.

Summer is winding down and school is just around the corner. For me the subtle chill in the breeze means that hectic is on its way. While I love autumn, I feel as if I’m never really ready to bid summer adieu. Not that it cares, anyways. Soon it’ll be off to galavant in areas below the equator, and leave us here with memories of sunnier days and lots and lots of pumpkin and spices. 
Summer also leaves behind lots of overripe bananas. And we all know what to do with overripe bananas, right? BANANA BREAD! 
So today I’m sharing mom’s recipe for 5 step vegan banana bread. I hope you enjoy! I promise you won’t miss the eggs or dairy! 

5 Step Vegan Banana Bread

Ingredients
2 ripe bananas
1/2 c. orange juice
1/2 c. organic cane sugar
1 Tbsp flaxseed processed in a food processor
5 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp carob powder
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2-1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 c. chopped walmnuts
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350º and grease bread pan.
2. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. 
3. Add the wet ingredients into the bowl. 
4. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Pour into bread pan and bake for approximate 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of the cake comes out clean.
Enjoy! 
What’s something you’re dreading to leave behind with summer, but looking forward to fall?

Cranberry and Coconut Oatmeal Cookies – Delicious Every Time.

I don’t want to dwell on the fact that my blogging has gone from constant to sporadic to occasional. However, I will say that I have been much more active on Instagram. Usually I do the whole food photo thang, (yes, I’ve become that person) especially now in the summer when there are pretty fruits and I actually have time to eat. I’m also working on documenting my efforts to transition into a healthier lifestyle. I am taking it one meal at a time, currently working on making all of my breakfasts vegan. More about that here. If you care to follow along or maybe get some breakfast inspiration, head on over to my Instagram here
All of this to say that with the new overload of food photos in my feed, there have been petitions for recipes. So, when I can I will be posting some of the most asked for recipes on here. 
Below is the recipe for my most favorite ever vegan cranberry oatmeal cookies. They’re fabulous. Really. I found the recipe on Full Measure of Happiness a couple of weeks ago and have made several batches since. I adapted the recipe to make it vegan and added a thing or two to make it yummier. Now, I could bore you telling you how every time I’ve made them they have been devoured in less than a day, but I have droned on enough and I know what you really want are the recipes. So scroll on down, and let’s get to it. 
Português:
Recentemente ando postando mais fotos no Instagram do que postando aqui no blog. Admito que geralmente as fotos que posto são fotos de comida. Consequentemente alguns amigos e seguidores pediram para postar as receita. Então, hoje estou compartilhando a receita para as bolachinhas mais fáceis que já fiz. Ficam uma delicia e também são saudáveis!
Observações sobre a receita:
Eu modifiquei uma receita que achei no site Full Measure of Happiness para tornar-la uma receita vegan. 
Nessa receita usei cranberries secas, porem essa frutinha pode ser substituída com uva passas, gotas de carob, castanhas ou qualquer fruta seca.
O substituto para ovo que eu usei é uma mistura de Maizena, bicarbonato de sódio, fermento em pó e mais alguns outros ingredientes. Aqui compramos a mistura já preparada então não sei como fazer-la. Infelizmente nunca encontrei esta mistura no Brasil. Então como substituto de ovo podemos usar linhaça. Prepare o substituto antes de começar fazer as bolachinhas para dar tempo de esfriar.
Substituto para um ovo:
1 colher de sopa linhaça
1/2 xícara de água
1. Em uma panelinha colocar água e linhaça.
2. Deixar ferver e esperar esfriar.
3. Coar com uma peneira e adicionar a massa.
Cookies de Aveia

Ingredientes
1/2 xícara manteiga não hidrogenada 
1/2 xícara açúcar mascavo
1/2 xícara açúcar cristal 
substituto de ovo (linhaça)
3/4 xícara farinha de trigo
1/4 colher de chá fermento em pó (sem aluminio) 
1/4 colher de chá sal
1 1/2 xícara aveia
3/4 xícara cranberry (qualquer outra fruta seca)
1/2 xícara coco ralado
Direções
1. Pré aquecer forno a 325º.
2. Em uma bacia, misturar farinha, sal e fermento em pó.
3. Em outra bacia, bater bem manteiga e açúcars com batedeira.
4. Adicionar substituto de ovo e bater bem de novo. 
5. Adicionar a mistura da farinha e bater só até misturar. 
6. No liquidificador, bater 1 xícara de aveia. Bater só até chegar a uma consistência menos grossa, mas também não igual farinha. Deixe 1/2 xícara sem bater. Acrescentar aveia, frutinhas e coco ralado na bacia e misturar bem.
7. Untar e polvilhar uma forma. Usando uma colher de sopa e as mãos, forme as bolhachinhas e coloque na forma.
8. Assar por 18-20 min. ou até as bolachinhas começarem a escurecer nas bordas. Elas terminam de chegar no ponto enquanto esfriam. 
Aproveitem e me falam como ficaram! 😀
Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients
1/2 cup unsalted butter (Earth Balance)
1/2 cup brown cane sugar (Make sure it’s not dyed white refined sugar)
1/2 cup organic cane sugar 
1 tsp Pane Riso egg replacer + 2 Tbsp water (to replace 1 egg)
3/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp Rumford’s aluminum free baking powder 
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup oats
3/4 cup cranberries
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (secret ingredient to increased yumminess)
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 325º
2. Combine flour, salt and baking powder in small bowl.
3. In another large bowl cream butter and sugars.
4. Add egg replacer and water, and beat until fluffy.
5. Add flour mix and beat until just combined.
6. Blend 1 cup of oats in blender. It doesn’t need to be very fine, but just so it’s a little less chunky. Save the 1/2 cup without blending so there’s still some texture. Add oats, coconut and cranberries and mix until combined.
7. Line cookie sheet, and use a Tbsp to form each cookie. Sometimes the cookie dough is a little dry, so you may need to add a little more water. 
8. Pat down cookies with hand.
9. Bake for 18-20min. or just until cookies begin to brown. They will finish baking out of the oven, so  it’s necessary to account for that. 
Enjoy and let me know how you like them.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to enjoy my soy milk and cookies. After I Instagram them, of course.