Craving Grace



Published:

You: Forgive me, Lei, for I have sinned. It's been one hour since my last concession and I need help!

LC: What ales you?

You: I thought giving up my favorite food for Lent would be a piece of cake but I'm going doughnuts. Yesterday, there was an office party for the boss's birthday. Tomorrow, it's brunch with the girls. I can't catch a break and I'm really frying!

LC: Today, I bestow upon you the secrets of three wise women who have spent their culinary careers creaming up healthy versions of crave-worthy foods. With these recipes, you'll be one tough cookie.

So you don't have to rest in grease. I guarantee you'll reach salvation.

If you gave up spam or salty local favorites try:
Lei Chic Spam-Less Tofu Musubi
Recipe courtesy of Alyssa Moreau
1 container firm tofu, drained, patted dry and sliced into 1/2”slabs
3 cups brown rice
1 cup brown mochi rice
Shoyu or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
Toasted Sesame Oil
Sambal Oolek Chili Paste
1 large ripe avocado, sliced
1/2 cup gomasio (or ground toasted sesame seeds and salt)
1 package toasted nori

1. Cook the rice with double the normal amount of water.
2. Saute the tofu in a bit of shoyu, sesame oil and chili paste to taste. Cook until nice and crispy.
3. Slice nori pieces in half length-wise. Lay musubi mold on top of nori and fill 1/2 full with rice.
4. Top with slice of avocado, sprinkle of gomasio, tofu and push down with top of musubi mold.
4. Remove mold and roll nori around to cover. Seal with a bit of water rubbed on edge of nori. Wrap in plastic wrap. Makes 6 to 8 musubi.

Alyssa Moreau is a personal chef who teaches vegetarian and wellness cooking classes at Kapiolani Community College. Her recipes can be found in "A Dash of Aloha" and "A Sweet Dash of Aloha" cookbooks. (Photo Courtesy: Adriana Torres Chong for Watermark Publishing.)

If you gave up hamburgers try:
Lei ChicStuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger
Recipe courtesy of Michi Harris

4 Portobello mushrooms, stem and gills removed
½ cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup diced white onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (substitute Canola oil)
Garlic salt and black pepper to taste
1 cup cooked, chopped spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbsp. butter, melted
4 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. fresh or dried parsley
Full-size hamburger buns

1. Saute onion over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
2 . Add panko, spinach and mozzarella, warm through, then season with garlic salt and pepper.
3. Drizzle on the melted butter and toss to thoroughly coat the crumb mixture.
4. Lay the mushrooms cap side down on a baking dish lightly sprayed with cooking spray. Fill each mushroom with ¼ of the crumb mixture and top each with 1 tbsp. Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of parsley.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Place each in a hamburger bun and enjoy.

Michi Harris is the owner of Cooking Fresh For You. Look for her take-out dinners and healthy lunch wagon locations at Cooking Fresh for You's website.

If you gave up sugary baked goods try:
Lei Chic
Carrot Walnut Bread (Cane Sugar-Free/Vegan)
Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Meleana Hee

1 cup agave
3 tbsp. flaxmeal (available at natural foods stores)
3/4 cup + 1/2 tbsp. organic coconut oil, melted over low heat
2/3 cup apple juice, unsweetened
2 cups applesauce, unsweetened
1 tsp. organic vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached white flour
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. allspice
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. sea salt
2 cups carrots, grated
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup walnuts, finely minced

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9"x13" baking pan with 1/2 Tbsp. coconut oil.
2. Whisk together flaxmeal, agave, ¾ cup of coconut oil, apple juice, applesauce and vanilla extract.
3. Sift in flours, spices, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt. Stir gently until combined. Fold in carrots, raisins and walnuts.
5. Pour batter in pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

If you gave up ice cream try:Lei Chic
Chocolate Almond Mint Smoothie
Recipe courtesy of Jennifer Meleana Hee

3/4 cup nondairy milk of choice (soy, rice, almond)
1 tbsp. almond butter
10 leaves fresh mint (or more)
1 frozen banana
2 tbsp. vegan chocolate protein powder
1 tsp. agave
1 cup of ice

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency is reached. Add more ice for a thicker smoothie, more milk for a thinner beverage. Add more or less agave depending on how sweet your tooth is.

Jennifer Meleana Hee is the vegan baker at Kale's Natural Foods. You can read more on  Kale's Deli's blog or follow her on Twitter @KalesNatFoods.

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