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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Little Drummer Elf

It surely does appear that we are in full holiday swing in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen. We thought there might be some ‘down’ time after all the Thanksgiving festivities and cookery stuffs, but we’ve managed to come up with some things to keep us at our Elfinest. We have a couple of really cool things to talk about in a bit but FIRST!! Let’s talk TACOS AND FATFREE VEGAN KTICHEN ones at that!! You know we’ve deemed Sunday night Taco Night at the Elf Haus. We LOVE tacos, they are relatively easy to do and oh so much fun to consume! We will be scouring recipes galore to find those vegan fillings that are delicious (or not), fun to make (or not), and will be forever on the taco rotation (or not). So, this past Sunday, we chose Susan Voisin’s Cauliflower Rice and Lentil taco filling.
We’ve made this before and it never disappoints. AND it’s super easy. As always, we try to get our ‘mise en place’ by gathering all the ingredients we need. Here it’s relatively quick. We have our chopped onion, our MOST FAVORITE SMOKED PAPRIKA IN THE WORLD, ground cumin, chipotle chili powder and regular chili powder. We had precooked the lentils so they were already waiting for the skillet!
Then we ‘riced’ our cauliflower. Now, with the popularity of ‘riced’ cauliflower growing, you can find it packaged in the grocery store, so if you’re pushed for time, that’s a good option. However, we kinda like makin’ our own and controlling the degree of ‘riceness’.
So, we sautéed our onion until there was a bit of color showing
added the riced cauliflower and let that cook a bit while stirring a few times.
Then it was time to add the spices, so not only did we start getting some nice color to the skillet, we also got some great aroma!!!
 As that aroma began to make out little Elfin mouth water, we added the lentils. We’d cooked these ‘al dente’ so they wouldn’t go to complete mush when added to the cauliflower. We added a bit of broth to the skillet to help the lentils and cauliflower soak up the seasonings and VOILA!! TACOS!! As you can see, we had some gorgeous late season tomatoes from our Farm Pack CSA as well as some shredded romaine, and Daiya grated cheese.
What you don’t see is a bottle of Chipotle sauce that has a bit of a KICK to it. After we demolished those, we opted for JUST ONE MORE ‘ceptin  we were out of everything but the cheese! Well, we just made do.
And, since this recipe makes a WHOLE LOTTA filling, we had leftover tacos during the week. One day, we just used some romaine leaves as our ‘taco’ and topped with some avocado/smoked paprika. Light and delicious!
We already have tonight’s taco filling picked out so we look forward to sharing it with you next week. As for our next FatFree Vegan Kitchen recipe to prepare this week, we have selected Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad with Dried Cranberries and Cashews http://blog.fatfreevegan.com/2013/04/lentil-and-cauliflower-rice-tacos.html 
AND, speaking of Susan Voisin and her FatFree Kitchen site(s), this week, Susan initiated a NEW Facebook group called FatFree Vegan Air Fryers. All you need to do is type in the title of the group into the Facdbook search thingie and you'll find it. From Susan, herownself, “We’re a support group for cooking completely oil-free vegan foods in the air fryer. This means not one drop of oil or packaged foods containing oil. Let's see what we can make!” We in the Kinky Elfery Kitchen are considering one of these Air Fryers and will follow this group to get the best information and reviews.

This week we also made a couple of batches of Granola since it doesn’t seem to stay around very long. The recipe is quite easy and fun to tinker with, which, or course we have. First off, your Elf wants to give credit where it’s due. This original recipe comes from my dear friend, Wilma Davis, in Memphis. She opened the first Wild Birds Unlimited here in Jackson and your Elf used to work there part-time. We sure learned a lot about birds. Anywho, here’s the recipe. Preheat the oven to 325º.
  • Measure out 6 cups of rolled oats (we use organic, naturally) in a large bowl.
  • Add 1/3 cup oil (for those of you who are oil free, skip this). We use virgin coconut oil.
  • Add 1/3 cup water (or coconut water). (For a hint of sweetness, you may dissolve 1 Tablespoon of organic brown sugar or sucanat).
  • Using gloved hands or a big ole wooden spoon, mix this thoroughly.
  • Add about 1/2 cup of chopped almonds (or any nut you may like) and mix in well. Using parchment paper on two large baking sheets, divide the granola evenly. Shake the pans gently to settle the ingredients.
  • Place on two racks in your oven and bake for 20  minutes. Remove, stir, and return to the oven switching racks for even cooking. After another 20 minutes, remove, turn off the oven, stir again and return to the oven as it cools down.
  • When the pans are cool enough to handle, take them out and let cool to room temperature. 
  • Store in a large airtight jar or container of your choice. Enjoy with your favorite non-dairy milk and any fruit/dried fruit you might have on hand.
Here’s another elf-fort of the week, our Ginger, Turmeric, Lemon and Cayenne tonic. Big Solid makes an awful face when he gets his shot glass in the morning but if it’s not on the table, he asks for it. Turmeric has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties and is a blessing for those of us who have arthritis! Here’s our little nutsack at work after we’ve blasted the ingredients with coconut water! There are dozens of recipes out there, so just Google it and see which appeals to you. We use a lime instead of a lemon, quarter it and throw it in the VitaMix peel and all. That’s where the nutsack comes in handy!
Our Upinfarms.com CSA box this week was chock full of goodness. Just LOOK at the menu card!
And here are a couple of pictures of the goodness we got! We LOVE mushrooms and these oyster mushrooms look gorgeous! As well as the greens and other great produce! Preparing great healthy meals with these and some beets we have on hand will make mealtime at the ElfHaus pretty darn easy!
Last night, Big Solid and your Elf went out to eat at one of our favorite haunts...KATHRYN'S STEAKHOUSE! They've alwasy been supportive of our plant-based eating and let us bring plant-based things to supplement what we order from them. See that baked potato that Big Solid is eating? Well, he's topped it with Vegan Pimento Cheese and sautéed Chickun Shreds (compliments of the Gentle Chef) along with sliced mushrooms sautéed in a teeny bit of olive oil instead of the usual butter.
And, your Elf's salad really didn't need anything else, but we managed to snag a couple of Chikun Shreds after this picture was made.

And FINALLY! You know how chance meetings can foster connections? Well, your Elf was in the bank the other day, wearing a sweatshirt that promoted being Vegan. Well, the bank manager said to one of the tellers, “Here’s another vegetarian!” We clarified that we were vegan and the darlling young woman teller said, “OH! I’m so excited to meet you! I want to go vegan and just didn’t know of any around here!” That’s all we needed…we whipped out an Elf in the Kitchen card, handed it to her and commenced to talking about her journey. Her name is Lexie, she’s new to the area and wants to take that leap. In fact—she’s agreed to share her journey with us from time to time, so we’ll just let her do that instead of talking for her. But! Isn’t it fun to be at the right place at the right time for the right reasons with the right person!! She made your Elf’s day with her enthusiasm and passion. YAY for Lexie Senter!

We leave you this week with a picture of part of our daily walk. You can barely make out Big Solid with chihuahua mix Belle. It’s a lovely part of the day; too early for much noise to interfere with a quiet enjoyment of the beauty around us.
So until next week, remember to…Eat Plants and Look for the Good, be an example of the Good, and act for the Good as hard as you can as many ways as you can every day. In other words, “DO EPIC”!


Your Elf

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