kung pao tofu

I am so happy with the endless amounts of inspiration available to us… via cookbooks, blogs, restaurants, friends, and even the Co-op! Yes, the co-op has inspired us once again! Here is another dish that Shannon and I made (I am trying to convince Shannon to start her own food blog… ; ) DO IT TO IT!) based on a similar dish we loved from the Co-op deli case.

We made the kung pao sauce out of molasses, tamari/braggs, canola oil, sesame oil, orange juice, crushed red pepper, and sesame seeds.

We tossed some tofu, red onion, green bell pepper, white button mushrooms, and green onions in this delicious sauce, and impatiently let it marinate for a little bit.

We baked it at about 375 degrees until we just couldn’t take the delicious smells coming out of the oven any longer (about forty minutes, with some turning and what not in between). We then sprinkled cashew pieces and cilantro on top and returned the kung pao magic to the oven for a few more minutes.

AND THEN WE ENGULFED THE KUNG PAO TOFU WITH OUR MOUTHS! It was gooooooooood! Lots of delicious flavor in this dish. Will return for more. And more. More? Oui! Yes! Si!

Whoever says tofu is bland needs some kitchen literacy and A PUNCH IN THE MOUTH BY KUNG PAO TOFU!!! The End.

P.S. This was the kung pao magic tofu pre bake-ified. Pretttyyyyy!

peachy chia muffins

What happens when we have an abundance of chia seeds along with some peaches that don’t have much time left before they go back to the peach spirit world? Peachy Chia Muffins, that’s what!

These are some tasty little muffins, with the perfect amount of sweetness to start the day off with a skip and a jump! Ch-ch-ch-chia! I took a blueberry lemon muffin recipe from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau and tweaked it to look a little somethin’ somethin’ like this:

Peachy Chia Muffins:

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup chia seeds (I just poured a bunch in until I thought it looked pretty)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 medium sized peaches, pitted and chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and get your muffin tins ready! You can line them with cupcake papers like I did, or grease them up nice and good with a high heat oil like canola. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (whole wheat flour, baking soda, sea salt, and chia seeds) and in a large bowl, mix together the wet ingredients (sugar, soy milk, canola oil, vanilla extract, and apple cider vinegar) well. Gradually add the dry mixture to the wet, mixing until it is well incorporated. Next, gently fold in the peaches.

Now spoon this tasty mixture into your muffin tins! Lick the bowl clean, since we have no salmonella scares here in vegan baking world! Bake for about 20 minutes, or until they are golden-y brown and a knife inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.

For fun and a tad more sweetness, I took the muffins out at about 15 minutes, sprinkled some brown sugar on top, and then returned them to the oven. Once finished, I garnished them with almond slices. I recommend toasting the almonds a bit before slicing, as it seems they are more knife-friendly after enduring a little heat.

Mmmm MMMMMM Peachy Chia Muffins!

spicy sweet potato fries

Sweet potato fries are the BEST! Especially when seasoned with some spicy goodness to counter the natural sweetness of these wonder tubers.

We made a spicy seasoning mix out of cayenne pepper, chili powder, tumeric, onion powder, garlic powder, kelp granules, sea salt, cracked black pepper, and cumin. We tossed them in this magic mix along with some grapeseed oil, and then roasted them at four hundred and twenty five degrees, turning every so now and then to ensure even cooking. They were ready to gobble up when they were a little crisp on the outside.

For some fun nutritional facts about sweet potatoes, check out an entry from the past, Tofu Kale Scramble.

lime-ginger-mint tempeh tacos with spanish rice and corn

TACO NIGHT! Traditional tacos just wouldn’t do, so we marinated tempeh cubes in lime, ginger, mint, and a bit of oil. Now we had an interesting flavor for our tastebuds to explore. We topped off the tasty grilled tempeh with homemade pico de gallo, napa cabbage, and avocado, inside of baby blue corn tortillas… tacos rule, just sayin. Homemade spanish rice and side of corn rounded out this great meal. Menu-worthy? Indeed.

valentines day treats!

First off:

NOMNOMNOM TREEEEATS!

Secondly:

MUWA MUWA MUWA KISSES!

Cool. We spent V-day baking, specifically Lemon Poppy Seed Almond Cupcakes and Brownie Pecan Cookies with Orange Zest. They won. We won. Everyone won. It was a good day. Sharing is caring, so we spread the love and even shared these with friends!

Cupcakes, a traditional Valentine treat, are great, and decorating them is a blast. We made a vegan buttercream frosting and then crafted little hearts out of strawberries for the cupcake decor. Über Cüte. Cookies are usually a St. Valentine favorite as well, but typically sugar cookies.. BORING. We love chocolate (yet another favorite for this Holy day), so we made some zesty chocolate cookies. Flavorful and sweet, but not disgustingly rich, I could eat them for breakfast!

We found these tasty treat recipes in The Garden of Vegan by Tanya Barnard and Sarah Kramer, and only slightly adapted them to fit our palates.

super strawberry spirulina smoothie!

Smoothie in the morning, smoothie in the evening, smoothie at supper time, when there is a smoothie in the blender, you can have smoothies anytime!

Seriously, though. We here at The Bear and The Blackberry love smoothies. LOVE EM. We like to mix and match ingredients for smoothie fun time, to ensure variety (someone told us it’s the spice of life). BUT, there is one smoothie that has been haunting me lately, keeping me coming back for more… this seriously addicting smoothie is…

THE SUPER STRAWBERRY SPIRULINA SMOOTHIE!

The ingredients are simple: one ripe banana, frozen strawberries, unsweetened soy milk, agave nectar, and one teaspoon of spirulina.

What is spirulina, you ask? Well, allow me to shine some light on this mystery ingredient! Spirulina is a blue-green algae, and is nature’s gift to vegans. Spirulina is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids, and it is also a natural source of Vitamin B12 (which we have been told is hard for vegans to obtain…pssssshhhhaawww!). There are tons of other vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, making It pretty much a multi-vitamin in and of itself. Isn’t nature wonderful?

almond poppyseed muffins with orange zest

Everybody loves muffins! These babies aren’t your grandma’s muffins, and they’re not your grandkids muffins either! Almond and poppyseed flavors are balanced nicely, and the orange zest really brings the baked goods to life. Muffins should be delicately sweet, somewhere between desserty cupcakes and savory biscuits, so you can devour many of them at once while sitting at the breakfast table.

We adapted an Almond Muffin recipe from Uprisings: The Whole Grain Bakers’ Book to morph into something like this:

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • Zest from 1 1/2 oranges
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • Poppyseeds (enough…we didn’t measure…)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup unsweetened soy milk
Cream the maple syrup, agave syrup, canola oil, and almond butter together, and then add the orange zest and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the whole wheat pastry flour, almonds, poppyseeds, and baking powder. Slowly whisk in some of the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, and then add the soymilk. Finish whisking in the dry ingredients, and then spoon into an oiled cup cake tin. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes, or until the happy muffins are golden on top.

Now ENJOY! We command it.

rustic cinnamon and brown sugar apple roll-ups

Goodness gracious great apple roll-ups! These little gals are SO FREAKING GOOD! I came up with this the other morning when I had a little extra time on my hands before work, so I made myself a cinnamon-sugar apple quesadilla for breakfast. I thought that something similar would make a great dessert or snack, if just done a little differently. And then BAM! Rustic Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Apple Roll-Ups were born in my brain!

So last night we decided to try this idea out for dessert. Best thing about this? It’s easy and fun, and takes relatively little time.

We threw some almonds and earth balance in the food processor to make quite literally, almond butter, and then stirred in finely diced apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar. We spread this mixture onto the most fantastic tortilla ever invented (thick whole wheat tortillas from the Sacramento Foods Co-op), rolled it up, sliced it, and put it in a glass baking dish. Then we drizzled a little grapeseed oil on top and a bit more brown sugar (for funsies).

Next came some super hot oven lovin’ (three hundred and fifty degrees for about fifteen minutes, then up to four hundred and twenty five for a few minuts of crispiness action) and then came INHALATION!!! I mean… dainty eating with a fork and a knife, of course!

SOGOOOOOODD!!

ginger soy tempeh sandwich with cucumber mint spread

I dreamed this up the other day: Tempeh marinated in a ginger, Braggs liquid aminos (similar to soy sauce), sesame oil, agave, grilled with sesame seeds, served on a sandwich with a homemade cucumber mint spread I whipped together in the blender. Add some more cucumber to the sammich (for crunch (don’t use grilled onions. dont do it. NO)), and some arugula.

FUGGIN GOOD. ‘NUF SAID.