Fresh Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Summer Rolls

I posted a “recipe” for summer rolls – aka non-deep-fried spring rolls – a few years ago, but I recently developed a new favourite ingredient combo (this time fully vegan) so I thought they’d be worth posting about again. I’ve been taking these into work with me lately and even though they often fall apart by dinnertime, they’re so tasty that I usually don’t even mind. It’s like mini packages of salad! So fresh and so clean.

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My current favourite mix of ingredients is tofu, leeks (or green onions), peanuts, red pepper, tofu and sweet chili sauce. I don’t need to handhold you here – just chop them all up! It’s all raw, so this is a very easy meal to prepare. Soak your rice paper wraps in warm water for around ten seconds, then spread them out on a flat surface and pile everything on! Like so:

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Then you want to tuck up the bottom, fold in the sides, and roll it all up like a burrito. It gets easier and tidier with practice, but sometimes I still end up with a floppy mess. One time, I just wrapped the whole mess in another rice paper, which was surprisingly an excellent fix!

DSC_3431I’ve been eating these with a homemade peanut sauce, which really makes them that much better. I usually half this recipe and season it to taste (since I don’t have sesame oil at the moment). It has good proportions though, and the resulting sauce has a great texture.

DSC_3532Yummy, right? This is exactly the kind of food I want to eat when it’s really hot outside. No standing over a hot stove please! My apartment doesn’t need to be stuffier than it already is.

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You could definitely customize this “recipe” in any way you want to! Different vegetables, maybe even some fruit like pineapple or mango, and fresh herbs would of course be wonderful. I’m sure I’ll be mixing it up quite a bit as the summer progresses. Happy eating!

Vegan Cashew Cheese

Vegan Cashew CheeseHoly yummy, batman! Even though it’s true that I can eat the same thing over and over, lately I’ve been getting bored with what I’ve been eating. That’s part of why I love that I made this resolution to try new recipes: it breaks me out of food ruts and keeps my mind open to different meal ideas. The other part of why I love it, of course, is because the results so far have been very tasty. There’s also a third reason, and that is that I really love cooking and puttering around in the kitchen. It makes me feel industrious and healthier. I love that sentiment from Michael Pollan: “Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.” I’ve been trying to embrace that more lately.

Oh Dear Drea is a blog that makes vegan living look easy. I was opening browser tabs like crazy yesterday, getting so much inspiration for delicious, easy vegan food. I had a huge bag of cashews in my kitchen, so I decided that this cashew cheese recipe would be the first one I’d try. Despite making a few changes to her original recipe, it still turned out great.

Vegan Cashew Cheese 2Cashew Cheese

Adapted from Oh Dear Drea

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw cashews, soaked in a bowl of water for 1+ hours
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp salt (to taste)
  • Herbs

Soak the cashews for an hour or more. Drain them but save the water. Blend together all your ingredients, adding spoonfuls of cashew water until you reach your desired consistency (like a queso sauce). I forgot to pick up lemons so I substituted apple cider vinegar for the lemon juice the original recipe called for. Next time I’ll try with lemons and nutritional yeast because I know that would make it that much more delicious.

20140617-152044.jpgI’d treated myself to a garlic baguette (my first baguette since arriving in Korea!) after my run this morning, and loved eating some pieces of it with this yummy sauce. I think this would be great on a vegan pizza, like it was suggested in the original post. I’m excited to use it in veggie wraps and tacos too! Really it seems like you could just throw it on just about anything. The recipe makes a lot, almost a cup full, so I’m looking forward to discovering all the possibilities.

Yum! Dig in, friends.

Chocolate Chia Pudding

DSC_3350“I love that after a day when nothing is sure, and when I say “nothing”, I mean nothing, you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” – Julie & Julia

Just replace “day” with “week”, “egg yolks” with “chia seeds”, “sugar” with “maple syrup” and add a “soy” to “milk” and voila: you have a quote that represents exactly how I feel right now. Walking home on Monday after getting the news about my school, I actually heard this quote in my head and was struck with the urge to watch the movie for the hundredth time.

And this morning, after I woke up feeling kind of small and defeated and not at all abundant, I made this pudding. I let it set up in the fridge while I went to the park – intending to do yoga but, after realizing that the platforms I usually use for my practice had been taken over by dozens of small Korean children playing, I just sat on a bench thinking instead – and tried it when I got home.

The taste is amazing, just like chocolate pudding but actually healthy, so no guilt required. The texture however needs a little work, my first few bites were too slimy for my liking. Blending in some steel cut oats really helped to give it a more palatable texture, but it could have still been smoother. It probably doesn’t help that my blender isn’t very high-powered so the seeds weren’t broken down much.

Of course, none of that is stopping me from spooning it into my mouth non-stop as I write this. It really is tasty.

DSC_3347Chocolate Chia Pudding

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 cup soy or nut milk
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp steel cut oats
  • pinch of salt

Blend all your ingredients together until smooth. Let the pudding set in the fridge for about an hour or until it’s the consistency you like. Having a high-powered blender will help make this pudding smoother so that you don’t taste the chia seeds.

And with that, I’m off to (probably) watch Julie and Julia clips until it’s time for me to go to work. If I’m not doing that, you’ll find me at the Korean diner, eating kimchi fried rice and trying my hardest not to worry/cry.

Happy Thursday, friends!

Chocolate Nut Granola

Chocolate Nut GranolaI’m the kind of person who can eat the same thing every single day for as long as it takes for me to get sick of it. When I find something that works, I tend to call it a day and will find myself making it over and over until something else grabs my attention. I just like the simplicity of having a routine and not having to spend too much time thinking about what I’ll make.

For a while, every day my breakfasts were green smoothies with a piece of peanut butter toast and my lunches were BBQ tofu tacos – dinners are usually where I get some variety. Since I’ve been in Korea, my breakfasts most days are granola with soy milk and my lunches are usually eggs on toast. Boring but happy, that’s me!

DSC_3006I had been buying a Quaker’s granola at Costco, but it’s a bit too sweet and since I haven’t been going to Costco that often, I needed another option. Back in April 2013 when Elise posted that she’d been eating nut granola for breakfast every morning, I was intrigued and made a mental note to make it myself. Finally this morning I did, and already I’m a total goner.

This stuff isn’t overly sweet and has a nice hint of salt, which I love. I made it according to this recipe from Delighted Momma but with only 1/2 cup of coconut oil as opposed to the full cup that she calls for. Even then, I could probably cut down the amount a little more. I didn’t roast my nuts or bake my granola because I don’t have an oven, but even so I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s filling and absolutely delicious. I ate it with some plain yogurt and am going to try it with soy milk tomorrow for breakfast. I have a feeling I will definitely be making this again. And again, and again, knowing me.

DSC_3010-editSpeaking of delighted mamas, I am especially happy for my own today. She has worked so hard for the last few months getting my childhood home ready to sell, and happily it sold almost instantly, for more than expected, to a lovely young family who cried when they heard it was theirs. We are all really happy. My younger sister laughed and called me a hippie yogi when I said that it felt like there was a lot of good energy involved: that maybe the buyers could sense the love and laughter of our house, and that it’s so nice that we are passing it off to a young family the way ours was when we moved in. But that’s how it seems. It’s a good thing. (Anyways, I think she secretly loves that I’m a hippie yogi and I love that she’s practical and down-to-earth.) I wish I could have been there celebrating with them in the kitchen I grew up in, but since I couldn’t be, I’m thankful for the magic of FaceTime. Happy days!

Processed with VSCOcam with s3 presetOnce again, the recipe for this delicous granola is here.