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Food Matters

All about fresh, flavorful food

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7/3/2015

Cool Cucumber Soup is a refreshing and creamy chilled soup—ideal for a July 4th outdoor meal. The refreshing taste of the cucumber is carried by tofu, which adds substance and stands in for the heavy cream so often called for in similar soups. Whenever I serve this, diners inevitably ask, “Are you sure there isn’t any cream in this soup?”

For an easy portable sandwich, try Avocado Roll Ups. These versatile roll-ups travel well, making them ideal for a summer picnic. Just wrap them in parchment paper and go! Keep both of these dishes well chilled in a cooler until serving!

cucumber soup

Cool Cucumber Soup Recipe

Ingredients

• 2 cucumbers
• 12 ounces soft regular or silken tofu, drained and cubed
• 1⁄2 sweet onion, chopped
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1 to 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon dried dill weed, or 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill, plus more for garnish
• Sea salt Freshly ground pepper

Instructions

1. Cut 4 thin slices of cucumber and set aside for the garnish. Peel, seed, and chop the remaining cucumbers.

2. Put the chopped cucumbers, tofu, onion, lemon juice, garlic, brown sugar and 1⁄4 teaspoon of the dill weed in a blender and process until creamy. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the remaining dill weed. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours.

3. About 30 minutes before serving, chill four soup bowls. To serve, ladle the soup into the chilled bowls. Garnish each bowl with a cucumber slice topped with a sprinkling of dill weed. Serve immediately.

roll ups

Avocado Rolls Recipe with Olives

Ingredients

• 2 whole-grain flour tortillas or wraps
• 2 tablespoons store-bought hummus
• 1 tablespoon vegan mayonnaise
• 4 ounces (5 cups, lightly packed) mixed baby greens
• 1 avocado, sliced
• 8 small kalamata or green olives, pitted and chopped
• 2 teaspoons raw or unsalted roasted sunflower seeds

Instructions

1. Lay the tortillas on a large cutting board. Spread half of the hummus evenly over half of each tortilla. Spread half of the vegan mayonnaise evenly over the other half of each tortilla. Evenly arrange half of the greens, avocado, olives, and sunflower seeds over the lower two-thirds of each wrap.

2. Starting at the bottom edge, roll the tortilla tightly and evenly around the filling. Gently but firmly press the edge to seal the roll. Set the roll seam-side down and cut it diagonally into 5 or 6 pieces. Wrap in parchment paper and go!


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



7/1/2015

I recently learned about switchel while visiting a farm here in rural Virginia. I also had the chance to learn about—and help process—organic free-range chickens. After we finished, we had a nice lunch that included pizza, fresh watermelon, molasses cookies and a fresh batch of ice cold switchel.

The owner of the farm mentioned that switchel dated back a long time ago and was recently becoming popular again as a drink of local farmers. It originally served as a thirst quencher for farmers during their hay harvests and has, until recently, slowly been replaced by lemonade and sports drinks.

Switchel, also known as switzel or haymaker’s punch, seems to be experiencing somewhat of a revival. I was really excited when I heard about it and started experimenting with my own version. Here is my recipe.

Haymakers Switchel Recipe
Photo by Kristy Severin

Haymaker’s Switchel

Ingredients

• 3 cups of water
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• 1 squeezed lemon (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
• 3 tablespoons honey
• 1 tablespoon molasses
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

You can play around with the recipe, leaving out the molasses, exchanging fresh ginger for the ground ginger, or adding more or less of any ingredient to your liking. Enjoy!


Kristy Severin 2Kristy Severin is a mother of two, a certified art instructor, photographer, painter, writer and cook. She earned her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, East Africa. Inspired daily by her children and love of the earth, you can find her fine art and writings at The Art of Green Living.



6/26/2015

It’s frittata time! This hearty dish can be served for any meal of the day. This authentic-tasting frittata is baked in the oven, making it especially easy to prepare. With a delish potato and onion base and a fluffy, herb-infused filling, this entrée is a true winner.

frittata

Easy Vegan Frittata

Makes 3 to 4 servings

Potato Layer:
• 1/4 cup filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
• 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 2 large red or white potatoes (with peel on) very thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 cup minced fresh onion

"Egg" Layer:
• 2 tablespoons rolled oats
• 1 block (about 15 ounces), extra firm or firm regular tofu
• 3 tablespoons nondairy milk
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

Additional Ingredients:
• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
• 4 cups (light packed) baby spinach
• 1/8 sweet or smoked paprika

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Liberally coat a 9- or 10-inch round quiche pan with vegan margarine.

2. Place all the potato layer ingredients in a large skillet in the order listed above. Cover and cook on medium-low heat for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the potatoes are almost fork tender, flipping them over halfway through cooking. Check often and add more water, 2 tablespoons at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Meanwhile, put the rolled oats in a blender and process to a coarse flour. Add the tofu, nondairy milk, Italian seasoning, tamari and turmeric and process until smooth.

4. Arrange all of the potato mixture in an even layer in the prepared quiche pan. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon sea salt over the top. Spread 1/3 of the tofu mixture evenly over the potatoes. Top with all the spinach, pressing it down firmly. Carefully pour the remaining tofu mixture over the spinach and gently spread it in an even layer over the spinach using a rubber spatula.

5. Sprinkle the paprika over the top of the frittata. Tent with foil and bake for 30 minutes.

6. Remove the foil and bake for 15 to 20 minutes more, or until the frittata is set. Put the pan on a wire rack and loosen the sides of the frittata with a knife. Let cool for 12 to 15 minutes and slice in to wedges. Serve warm.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



6/19/2015

Super-moist and delicious, these treats make a healthy choice for a sweet indulgence any time of year. Ground flaxseeds and mashed bananas stand in for the eggs, oil and some of the sweetener. These beautiful blondies travel well and make a wonderful dessert for outdoor meals.

chocolate chip blondies 

Chocolate Chip Banana Blondies

Makes 28 bars

Ingredients

• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1/4 cup cornmeal (fine grind)
• 2 tablespoons ground golden flaxseeds
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/2 cup sucanat, brown sugar or your preferred dry sweetener
• 2 medium ripe bananas
• 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
• 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
• 2/3 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x12-inch baking pan with vegan margarine.

2. Put the flour, cornmeal, flaxseeds and baking powder in a large bowl and stir with a dry whisk to combine. Add the sucanat or dry sweetener and whisk to combine.

3. Put the bananas and vanilla in a small bowl and mash with a potato masher until almost smooth, leaving a few chunks in tact. Stir the banana mixture and water into the dry ingredients using a large spoon. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts, mixing until incorporated.

Batter will be quite thick. If the batter seems overly dry, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time.

4. Spread the batter in an even layer in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly golden.

5. Put the pan on a wire rack and let cool 3 minutes. Using a dinner knife, score (cut shallow lines) into twenty-eight bars.

6. Let cool 7 to 10 minutes then cut the bars all the way through (using a knife) and transfer them onto a wire rack. Cool the bars for 25 to 30 minutes more, or until they are firm to the touch, before serving.

Wrap tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover bars will keep for about 4 days.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



6/12/2015

Big chunks of hearty seitan combined with meaty mushrooms makes this sauce a super satisfying choice for topping pasta of any kind. Celery adds delicious flavor without overwhelming this chunky sauce.

seitan marinara sauce

Seitan Marinara Sauce with Bow Tie Pasta

Makes 4 to 6 Servings

Ingredients:

• 3 cups sliced celery, with leaves
• 1 onion, chopped
• 8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, chopped
• 2/3 cup filtered or spring water
• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
• 1/2 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• 1/8 heaping teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 8 ounces seitan, chopped or 8 ounces ground seitan
• 20 to 22 ounces vegan, low fat marinara sauce
• 1 pound tri-color or whole grain bow tie, fusilli or penne pasta

Instructions

1. Put the celery, onion, 1/3 cup water, Italian seasoning, tamari, and crushed red pepper in a large skillet. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 16 to 18 minutes, or until the celery and onions have softened.

2. Add the seitan, marinara and 1/3 cup water, Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, over medium-low heat for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the pasta. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm. Drain the pasta well.

4. Divide the pasta into each of four to six pasta bowls. Top with a generous portion of the seitan sauce. Serve hot.

Chef’s Note: Need to keep it gluten-free? Just substitute your favorite variety of canned beans (drained and rinsed) for the seitan and use gluten-free pasta.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



6/5/2015

Nothing could be more refreshing for a hot summer night than this easy-to-make, nutritious and delicious sorbet.

mango sorbet

Mango Sorbet Recipe

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

• 2 to 3 mangos, peeled, cubed and frozen
• 2 to 3 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more as needed
• 1/4 cup water, plus more as needed
• Mint sprigs

Instructions:

1. Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until the mixture resembles a “frosty” sorbet consistency, adding more water or maple syrup one tablespoon at a time as needed to achieve the desired texture.

2. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and serve immediately.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.



5/29/2015

Yum, yum. Thanks to meaty-tasting Portobello mushrooms, this satisfying stroganoff is smothered in a very light, but flavorful sauce and has the rich taste of the traditional version without all of the extra fat and calories.

mushroom stroganoff

Jazzylicious Mushroom Stroganoff

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

• 1 medium sweet onion, chopped
• 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth, plus more as needed
• 8 ounces Portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
• 1 teaspoon dried basil
• 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
• Pinch of cayenne pepper
• 8 ounces cremini or white button mushrooms, sliced
• 1 to 2 tablespoons whole-wheat flour, plus more as needed (see note)
• 1/2 cup filtered or spring water, plus more as needed
• Sea salt, to taste
• Freshly ground pepper, to taste
• 8 ounces whole-grain rotini, fusilli, or other pasta of your choice, cooked and drained
• 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions

1. Put the onion and 2 tablespoons vegetable broth in a large skillet. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add more broth, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the onion becomes dry.

2. Add the portobello mushrooms, basil, tamari, and cayenne pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes, adding more broth, 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed to prevent sticking.

3. Add the cremini mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in 1-1/2 cups broth. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, adding up to 1 more cup of broth, as needed. (See note below.)

4. Put the flour and 1/2 cup water in a blender and process until smooth. Briskly whisk the flour-water mixture into the mushrooms.

5. Cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has thickened to form a gravy. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately over the rotini and garnish with parsley.

Note: If the gravy is too thin, thicken with additional flour to achieve the desired consistency.


Laura Theodore is a 2014 TASTE award-winning television personality, radio host, vegan chef, cookbook author and recording artist. She is author of Jazzy Vegetarian Classics: Vegan Twists on American Family Favorites and Jazzy Vegetarian: Lively Vegan Cuisine Made Easy and Delicious. Laura is the on-camera host, writer and co-producer of the popular cooking show, Jazzy Vegetarian and hosts the weekly podcast radio show, Jazzy Vegetarian Radio.




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