Fruity Caramel Nachos

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This may be one of my favorite desserts I've ever made. I know I say that way too often, but I'm not good at making these sorts of tough decisions. It definitely has a few of my favorite ingredients: figs, cinnamon, banana ice cream. And really coconut sugar and date caramel are probably favorites as well.

I think I need to tweak the song a bit to "...these are a lot of my favorite things." I'm sure Julie Andrews won't mind.

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Nacho Conversion:

"Chips": coconut-sugar-sweetened tortillas chips made from my Brown Rice Tortillas

"Meat": banana ice cream with a subtle trace of caramel

"Cheese": thick, gooey caramel sauce, with a little bit of vanilla

"Toppings": Fruit! I used figs, but you could use anything

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Fruity Caramel Nachos

2 Brown Rice Tortillas (or any tortillas you like)

2 tbsps coconut sugar

2 frozen bananas

3/4 cup dates

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder or extract

3-4 sliced figs

A sprinkle of cinnamon on top

  1. Start by making the caramel. Combine the dates, water, and vanilla in the blender until smooth. Refrigerate. Don't clean the blender.
  2. Make the ice cream by adding the frozen bananas to the caramel-tainted blender. Blend until smooth. Spread into a chilled container and freeze.
  3. To make the sweet nacho chips, cut the tortillas into 6 triangles. Lay them out on a lined pan, and liberally sprinkle with coconut sugar. You can dampen them a little bit to make it stick. Flip them over and repeat. Bake at 350F for about 12 minutes until crispy.
  4. Slice the figs.
  5. Throw it all together in a large bowl and dig in.
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Mushroom Rice Pilaf

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I rarely splurge and buy fancy mushrooms. By fancy I mean anything other than plain, white button mushrooms. But this recipe was completely worth it.

I used a wonderful hodgepodge of oyster, shiitake, and portobello mushrooms for this savory Mushroom Rice Pilaf. Coupled with nutty brown rice and a little bit of thyme it is delectable. And since brown rice takes a while to cook, you can enjoy the aroma, get something done in the meantime, and devour this delicious mushroom fest 40 minutes later.

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I was so excited to find this Pacific Natural Foods Unsalted Vegetable Stock in a total dorky-food-blogger way, which is really the only way someone can get super excited about vegetable stock. Most vegetable stocks or broths have sodium levels that are through the mushroom cap (assuming that I'm a small, mystical fairy standing under the mushroom cap like an umbrella).

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The only ingredients in this stock are veggies and water! If you read the label, the sodium level is still 65mg per cup. I'm wasn't sure why, so I emailed the company, and they promptly replied that it is due to the natural sodium found in the vegetables. Yay for zero additives!

If you can't find this brand, then go for an organic, low-sodium variety without MSG or other nasty additives. Another option is to use half water and half stock or broth to reduce the salt level.

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Mushroom Rice Pilaf

6 oz. assorted mushrooms (I used portobello, oyster, and shiitake)

2 cups lowest sodium vegetable stock (or broth or water)

1 cup long grain brown rice

Leaves from 3-4 sprigs of thyme (about 1-2 tbsps)

  1. Add the mushrooms to a non-stick saucepan, and cook them for 3-4 minutes by themselves.
  2. Add the vegetable stock and rice. Stir to combine.
  3. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil. 
  4. Cover, and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 35 minutes (or 5 minutes less than the instructions indicate for your rice).
  5. Stir in the thyme. Cook for the another 5 minutes until the rice is done.

And if you still don't know how to make it...

Spiralized Apple Tartlets

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My new toy right now is a spiralizer, so I've pretty much been spiralizing everything in sight. 

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Following my spiral theme, I made these fresh, fun Spiralized Apple Tartlets. These little tartlets are simple, raw, and fall-inspired, with apples and cinnamon inside and out . The crust is a sticky-sweet combination of dates and dried apples, with a, fuji-noodle filling and even more cinnamon. It's fall now, so I don't feel bad about going a little cinnamon crazy.

No spiralizer? If you don't have a spiralizer, don't quit reading. Believe it or not, apples, cinnamon, and coconut sugar still taste phenomenal together even if the apples aren't shaped like spaghetti. Just dice them up and go along with me.

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Juicify [jew-suh-fie] v. To add sugar to fruit and allow it to rest until the fruit releases sugars and everything melds together and gets all juicy and sweet and tender and enticing and...mmm

I think Mr. Webster should consider it :)

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In this recipe, I let the apples juicify overnight. After a night of sugar-coated chilling, the apples were as soft and sweet as cooked apples, but with a fresher more balanced flavor. Fall perfection!

Spiralized Apple Tartlets

Makes 3

Crust

1 cup dried apple slices

1/2 cup pitted dates

1/2 tsp cinnamon

Filling

1 apple, spiralized (or diced)

2 tbsps coconut sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

  1. Process the dried apples in the food processor until they are in small pieces. 
  2. Add the dates and cinnamon and process until it forms a ball.
  3. Press the dough into 3 tartlet pans (or muffin tins) lined with plastic wrap for easy removal.
  4. Refrigerate.
  5. Toss the apple noodles with the coconut sugar and cinnamon. 
  6. Refrigerate overnight for proper juicification.
  7. The next day, assemble the tarts and eat.
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Papaya Mango Bites

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This recipe is me wanting to hold on to summer with two hands and never let go of the fruits or the heat. Luckily here in Florida the heat will still be around for a while, but mangoes are slowly slipping away (sniffle). I know, I know eat seasonally and variety is the spice of life and apples and pumpkins and etc. But I just love mangoes so much!

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On a practical note, if you can't find mangoes anymore (first cry), then you can use frozen and thawed mango chunks.

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Scrumptious describes these little bites perfectly. Mango and papaya are tropical twins that pair perfectly in a bite sized package. A chewy papaya outside surrounding a juicy, fresh mango center. And if you wait until they're cold...mmmmm.

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Papaya Mango Bites

Makes 10

1 1/2 cup dried papaya (preferably unsweetened), roughly chopped 

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/2 of a mango

  1. Grind the oats in a food processor.
  2. Add the papaya and process until in forms a ball.
  3. Chop the half of a mango into small chunks. Eat the other half, you deserve it.
  4. Separate the dough into 10 pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk, put a chunk of mango in the center, and roll up the dough around it. A little water may help to pinch the dough together.
  5. Keep in the fridge.
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Fat-Free Gluten-Free Tortillas

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Tortillas are so simple, yet so perfect. I really wanted an easy, fat-free, gluten-free tortilla recipe without an array of ingredients like tapioca starch or guar gum or xanthan gum. After a bit of experimentation, I've come up with one that I love. These tortillas use brown rice flour instead of wheat flour, and potato starch as the "glue". Since there is no gluten, something has to hold it all together.

Potato flour, not potato starch: There is a difference. Potato flour is made from cooked potatoes, that are dried and ground into a fine flour. It contains both the flesh and peel of the potato. Potato starch is made from peeled, uncooked, dried, ground-up potatoes. Since it has been cooked, potato flour has more potato flavor and absorbs more water. I used Bob's Red Mill potato flour because the only ingredient is potato, and that is lovely.

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What now? Once you have a fresh batch of these in your fridge, the sky's the limit. There are tons of delicious things you can make from a simple tortilla. And if you aren't full of ideas like me, don't worry I have some recipes coming up featuring them. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Quesadillas
  • Veggie wraps
  • Burritos
  • Toast them to make chips
  • Or sprinkle them with coconut sugar and cinnamon, then toast them into chips

A tortilla-making video too:

Fat-Free Gluten-Free Tortillas

Makes 4

1 cup brown rice flour

1/4 cup potato flour

3/4 cup water

Optional: 1/2 tsp salt

  1. Combine everything in a large bowl. Knead it together with your hands until it forms a cohesive ball of dough. If it is too dry, add a little more water.
  2. Separate the dough into 4 equal-sized balls.
  3. Roll each ball out until it is quite thin and about 6" in diameter. It works best to roll them in between 2 sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap.
  4. Heat up a large non-stick skillet. Reduce the heat to medium and place a tortilla in the pan.
  5. Let it cook for about 2 minutes on the first side. Check the underside. Small, light brown flecks should be starting to appear. If so, flip it.
  6. Cook for about 1 minute on the second side.
  7. Remove from the heat. Repeat for the rest of the batch.
  8. Use immediately, or let them cool, then store in the fridge.
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