Vegan Soursop Pineapple and Coconut Punch

soursop punch
Soursop Pineapple and Coconut Punch

Punches are a significant part of Trinidadian eating culture.  Peanut, Linseed and Soursop are among the top favorites.  Rich, creamy and so satisfying, some punches can even serve as a meal.

Although punches are generally made with dairy products such as milk and sweetened condensed milk, healthier non-dairy substitutions can be made that are equally rich, creamy and satisfying.  These can range from non-dairy creamers such as Oatly to ready-made natural coconut milks such as KARA**.

I’ve experimented with various Vegan punch versions and met with much success.  This very week, I took a stab at one that I had never made before.

I hadn’t had Soursop in a while and when I went to the market I decided to pick one up.  Most times when I had Soursop it was because someone brought the fruit for me so I wasn’t sure of the pricing.  When I went to the cashier ‘Mr. Soursop’ cost me about $43TT and weighed almost 4lbs!

I still decided to pick it up, blocking the price I paid from my mind.  On reaching home I was craving something fruity to drink.  So, I had Pineapple juice and Coconut Milk (which I almost always try to have at hand) and thought it would be interesting if I blended all three.

After my first attempt, I was hooked.  With the second attempt (photo shown above) I decided to add some fresh squeezed lime juice to give it that extra bit of fresh citrusy taste.

Finally, a Soursop Pineapple and Coconut Punch was born.

Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients

2 cups de-seeded Soursop pulp (chilled)

1 ¼ cups unsweetened Pineapple juice (chilled)

200ml Coconut milk

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed Lime juice

METHOD

– In a blender or food processor, add all ingredients and blend together until smooth

– Pour into serving glasses

– Serve and enjoy!

** When using KARA, be sure to use the prepared boxed version and not the dried version.  The dried version found in the packets contains caseinate which is a milk derivate.

Quinoa – The Complete Protein

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a small grain food that was originally popular in South America.  It was commonly referred to as “the mother grain” among the Incas.

What does it look like?

Quinoa has the appearance of little round, flat discs.

Quinoa - uncooked
Uncooked Quinoa

When cooked, it appears translucent and the germ ring can be seen around the edges.

Quinoa - cooked
Cooked Quinoa

 Why should I eat it?

This superfood is a “complete protein”, containing all of the essential amino acids, making it a must-have in Vegan and Vegetarian diets.

It is also a great source of dietary fiber, providing as much as 13% of your recommended daily dietary fiber intake in one serving.

How can I use it?

This grain can be used in the same way you would use oats and rice and can also be included in veggie burgers, breakfast cereals, soups and more.

Check out my Oat Quinoa Peanut butter Breakfast Cereal recipe.

Where can I buy Quinoa?

Quinoa is produced by a number of different brands.  The brand featured in my photo below can be purchased at both Hi-Lo Foodstores and Tru-Valu supermarkets, specifically the Westmoorings and Diamond Vale branches respectively.

where to buy
O.A Quinoa Brand – can be bought at Tru Valu and Hi-Lo Foodstores

Oat and Quinoa Peanut Butter Breakfast Cereal

Easy Oat and Quinoa Peanut Butter Breakfast Cereal Recipe

Ingredients

2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk

4 chewy peanut butter granola bars (click here for granola recipe)

½ cup cooked Quinoa

1 Tablespoon agave syrup (optional)

METHOD:

– In a small saucepan, add almond milk and crumbled granola bars and bring to a gentle boil

– When the mixture starts to simmer, give it a quick stir and take off heat.

– Next, mix in ½ cup of cooked Quinoa

– Empty into serving dish and garnish with sunflower seeds, cranberries and walnuts (optional)

– Serve and enjoy

Quinoa - Serving peanut butter breakfast cereal

Low-Sugar Chewy Granola Bars for Kids

Chewy granola bars are a popular snack with the kids.

Most store-bought bars promise to provide heart healthy nuts and whole grains in a snack-form that kids will love.  These come, however, with very high sugar content.  When reading labels, normally the first three ingredients are the major components.  Most of these store-bought bars have sugar in 1st, 2nd or 3rd place.  Then, further down the ingredient list, sugar appears at least one more time.

In the wake of an upsurge in the incidences of Juvenile Diabetes, some of the popular cereal brands promised to have less sugar.  Even the popular Quaker Oats chewy granola bars at one point promised that it contained “25% less sugar” than before.  I bought those a while back and still found them to be too sweet.

A short while afterward I found that I could no longer purchase the store-bought chewy granola bars at all.  Not only were they too sweet, they also contained whey and other milk-derived ingredients.

So, I decided to make my own chewy granola bars at home.

After a couple experiments, and prayer, I came up with this Chewy Peanut Butter granola bar recipe.  I used peanut butter as I found it to be a great binder that kept the bars together as opposed to using large amounts of syrups and sweeteners.  This enabled me to keep the sugar content low.

I also used sunflower seeds, walnuts and cranberries which are great sources of dietary fibre.

Try this easy, heart-healthy snack.

Click here for recipe.

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars recipe

Chewy Peanut Butter Granola Bars recipe

A heart-healthy, low-sugar snack that you and your kids will love!

Ingredients

– 2 cups rolled oats

– 1/2 cup peanut butter

– 1/2 cup brown sugar

– 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

– 1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries

– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

– 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds

– 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

– 2 teaspoons water

– 2 rice cakes (plain)

DRY MIXTURE

– Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

– On a baking sheet, spread 2 cups of old fashioned rolled oats

– Place in oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 minutes

– Carefully remove from oven and stir

– Put back in oven and bake for another 7 minutes

– Carefully remove from oven and set aside

– In a smaller baking pan, pour 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes

– Carefully remove from oven and set aside to cool

– In a large mixing bowl, combine cooled oats, cooled walnuts, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and mix well

– Next, add 2 Tablespoons sunflower seeds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and mix well.  Set aside

WET MIXTURE

– In a small saucepan, add 1 teaspoon water, then  1/2 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar.

– Turn heat on low and keep stirring** until peanut butter begins to soften up (about 2 minutes)

– Next add 1 more teaspoon water and turn on medium high, stirring constantly**for about 1-2 minutes.

– Take off heat and add 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk and stir mixture until well blended

– Add wet mixture to dry oat mixture and stir with spatula or wooden spoon until well combined

– Next add crumbled rice cakes and stir to combine

– Add remaining 1/4 cup of unsweetened almond milk and mix well

– Line an 8 x 8 dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray

– Pour mixture into dish and using a spatula or your hands spread mixture and press down firmly ensuring mixture is spread evenly in dish.  Guide hands or spatula along the edges to ensure there are no high and low areas

– Cover dish with foil and refrigerate for at least 2 1/2 hours

– Remove from refrigerator

– Carefully remove foil with granola unto a cutting board

– Cut across in half

– Take the first half and cut lengthways into four strips.  Then cut across making small rectangles or squares

– Repeat the steps with the second half

– Serve and enjoy

* Important – Keep stirring as directed to ensure peanut butter does not burn!

STORAGE TIPS

– Lightly spray the inside of an airtight container with cooking spray

– Place granola squares in single file but not too close together

– If container is not large enough to hold all the squares in a single layer then get a sheet of foil and spray both sides lightly with cooking spray

– Place foil over the first layer of bars, then line more bars in a single layer on top of the sheet of foil.  Cover tightly and refrigerate

Vegan Roasted Pumpkin Soup

roasted pumpkin soupYears ago I never would have thought that I would be eating pumpkin this way today and loving it.

Pumpkin was something that I grew to love in different ways: Pumpkin choka with Sada Roti, roasted with vegetables, and many other dishes.

In this roasted pumpkin soup you will savor the natural sweetness of the pumpkin that’s coaxed out by the roasting and gently enhanced by spices.

And, as with all my recipes, this roasted pumpkin soup is Vegan.  Try my Roasted Pumpkin Soup recipe, you’ll love it!

How to roast the Pumpkin?  See below

ROASTING THE PUMPKIN

Ingredients:

1 cut of pumpkin about 1 kg in weight (seeded).  For ease of roasting, you’ll want to look for a square or rectangular shaped cut.

¼ teaspoon salt

METHOD:

– Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit

– Line a baking pan with foil and spray foil with non-stick spray

– Sprinkle the open face side of the pumpkin with salt and lay face down (skin side up) on the greased foil in the baking pan

– Roast for 1 hour

– Carefully remove from oven and make several pricks on the exposed skin side with a fork

– Put back in the oven and continue to cook for 1 more hour

– Carefully remove from the oven and set aside to cool.  You will be using all of the roasted pumpkin (except the skin) for the soup.

MAKING THE ROASTED PUMPKIN SOUP

Ingredients

– Roasted pumpkin pulp (see recipe above – yields roughly about 2 and ¼ cups)

– 1 teaspoon Himalayan Pink Salt

– 250ml cream alternative

– 2 medium onions (roughly chopped)

– 1 carrot (roughly chopped)

– 1 medium sweet potato (peeled and chopped)

– ¼ teaspoon Fenugreek seeds or Mathee (these can be bitter so use sparingly)

– 1 dried Bay leaf

– Water in the following quantities:
– 2 Tablespoons water

– 2 cups water

– 1 cup water

METHOD:

– In a pot, sauté 2 medium onions (roughly chopped), 1 medium carrot (roughly chopped) and 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (a.k.a mathee seeds) in 2 Tablespoons water stirring occasionally.

– When all the liquid has evaporated, add 2 cups water, 1 cup sweet potato (chopped) and 1 dried Bay leaf

– Cover and cook for 15 minutes

– Next, carefully scoop out pumpkin and add to soup mixture along with 1 cup of water.  It’s okay to add some of the pumpkin that has charred (not burnt) edges as these add great flavour to the soup.  Stir well.

– Let cook for 5 minutes

– Next, add 1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt, and 250ml of cream alternative. Give a quick stir, cover and let simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

– Take off heat

– Carefully remove bay leaf and add soup mixture to blender or food processor. CAUTION: Contents would be hot. Use care.

– Puree until smooth

– Carefully empty contents into serving dish

– Serve and enjoy

How to Make Vegan Ice-cream Without an Ice-cream Maker or Food Processor

Gradually, I gave up all dairy and ultimately had to give up on ice-cream as well, or so I thought.  I decided to try making ice-cream with soy milk, almond milk, etc and along with much prayer I found much success.

As time progressed, I discovered an easier way to make ice-cream without using a food processor or ice-cream maker or blender.

So, just how to make ice-cream without a food processor or ice-cream maker?

Take your pick of

Super Rich Chocolate Ice-cream 

vegan ice-cream - Chocolate

OR

Rich Creamy Peanut Butter and Ginger Ice-cream

and discover how.

And yes, they are all Vegan!!!

Enjoy!