Feel a cold coming on? Start drinking!

This winter, I have decided to get experimental with things.

I am someone who HATES getting sick. Are you one of those high-functioning-with-a-cold people? If you are I envy you. ENVY you. I am awful at even doing a simple task like watching TV or sleeping when I have a cold!

My go-to remedy to cure a cold has always been miso soup. Miso has so so so many healing properties and is insanely good for a cold. So in the past, whenever I felt a cold coming on, I would buy 2 quarts of miso soup and drink up!

But this winter, I wanted something more than just soup. I wanted a daily drink of some sort to help keep colds away all winter long.

Which is why I have conjured up my miso-ginger-lemon-turmeric cold repellant drink!

To break it down, it’s basically just a miso broth with lots of ginger, lots of lemon, and lotsssss of turmeric.

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Miso is so important in this drink because it is chock full of enzymes, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. Miso is fermented and contains beneficial bacteria as well. It’s also considered a complete protein, who knew?! And if it couldn’t get any better, it’s got loads of B12 in it which is great for telling all those people who love to pester vegans about their B12 source! (LOL kidding…okay only half kidding.) Overall, miso strengthens the immune system and keeps your health at top-notch for when you do encounter the potential to catch a cold.

BTW, for this drink I use white miso because it has less sodium, and I also like how it tastes better. You can absolutely use whatever type of miso you’d like! One more quick note about miso, have you heard to NEVER let your miso boil? It kills all the good stuff in it!

Ginger is key in this recipe because it is a miracle worker when it comes to the common cold. Ginger has been used forever in curing and aiding lots of illnesses. Like miso, it keeps the immune system in tip-top shape. It also can help break down the accumulation of toxins in your organs. WOOHOO ya gotta love that!! To sum this bad boy up, ginger has been used foreverrrr to combat a cold.

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Lemons are absolutely necessary in this drink because, well for one, lemon juice is delicious!! Have I mentioned yet how not only healthy this drink is, but how tasty it is?! Well, it’s a very tasty drink. Back to lemons though, lemons are not only delish but they decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body and reduces phlegm. Who doesn’t love that?! Lemon’s vitamin C content is also a huge key in recovering from a cold. Plus, again, LEMONS TASTE AMAZING! Isn’t it crazy that our earth created lemons, and that they’re not manmade?! (< LOL most vegan thing I’ve ever said.)

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Last but absolutely not least, turmeric is a necessity because it is a remedy for pretty much everything! Turmeric tea is a popular remedy for the common cold, and for good reason because of its healing properties! The animals at the Sanctuary I work at even take turmeric supplements for their health. It’s such a super food (super spice?) that we’d be silly to not take advance of it!

Now that we know why each ingredient is a necessity, let’s make this drink already!

So this recipe makes a week’s worth of drinks, aka 7 cups, one for each morning! The reason I use 8 cups of water when this recipe is meant to make 7 cups is that I have found that in the boiling process, measuring out process, and everything else in between, somehow 7 even cups to start with doesn’t give you 7 even cups to finish with. Hence, I add an extra cup to ensure that I’ll have a full cup each day.

Ingredients:
8 cups water
7 tbs miso
1 heaping cup crushed peeled ginger
2 lemons
1 tb turmeric

  1. Measure out 8 cups of water, and bring to a boil in a large soup pot.
  2. While you’re waiting for your water to boil, peel and crush  your ginger and quarter your lemons for easy juicing.
  3. When the water has reached a boil, add the ginger, squeeze in the lemon juice, and add the peels as well for added lemon oil and nutrients. Stir, then stir in the turmeric.
  4. Finally, when you are positive that the broth has cooled down away from boiling, add the 7 tbs of miso and stir until dissolved.
  5. After 30 minutes, you can either strain your “tea” and transfer to containers, or leave the ginger chunks and lemon peels in and transfer to containers as is. I  personally like to leave them in so my “tea” brews all week and so the next batch is more gingery and lemony than the last!

I like to store my drinks for the week in old miso soup quart containers. Who doesn’t have like 10 of them lying around the house at a time, and they’re liquid-tight so there are no messes in the fridge!

To drink each morning, mix it up with a spoon (miso settles!) and measure out a cup. I warm mine up in the microwave for 1-2 minutes, just enough so I know it won’t boil.

So since this “tea” has everything we should be getting daily to keep a cold away, fingers crossed it does the trick! Try it with me this winter! Let’s see how long we can go before catching a dreadful cold!

What’s your secret ingredient that helps keep away winter time colds? Would it be a delish addition to this drink?! Let me know!

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Let’s hear it for… GRAPE SALSA

Last summer in Cape Cod, my boyfriend Jon and I went out to eat at a cute little restaurant by the bay. Little did we know, this dinner would CHANGE OUR LIVES.

Okay, maybe not soo dramatic, but we discovered a pretty fantastic and life changing thing! That thing?

Grape salsa!

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Never had I ever heard of such a thing as grape salsa before this dinner, and we were both very intrigued. It ended up being SPECTACULAR, so we asked the waitress what was in the salsa and she told us the chef’s recipe. Ever since, we’ve been making our own version of this salsa and after eating a whole batch of it recently, I realized I had to share it with y’all!

Ingredients:
2 C whole grapes
1/2 C minced cilantro
1/4 C diced jalepeños
2 TB apple juice
1 tsp lime juice

So this is an eaaaaasy peasy recipe, let’s start with the grapes. Cut your grapes into four pieces, I do them into quarters but you can honestly cut your grapes however you’d like! Add your minced cilantro, diced jalepeños , apple juice, and lime juice to your cut grapes, and mix. And then you’re done!

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One thing I love about this salsa is that it’s sweet, and compliments a nice salty tortilla chip so well.

In my photos, I only used green grapes (that’s because it would have cost me $7.50 to buy a bag of red grapes. $7.50!!!! And they weren’t even organic…!) so I settled for just green instead. In the past, I’ve made this with both red and green grapes, and it not only looks pretty but tastes DELISH.

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I wonder what this recipe would be like with cotton candy grapes? Speaking of, have any of you ever heard of cotton candy grapes? I hadn’t until last summer and now they’re pretty much all I think about. They’re to. die. for. I kinda feel like they came outa nowhere and came in HOT cause first I had never even heard of them, and then next thing ya know they were all over!

Once when I made this salsa, I was dealing with some really tiny grapes, so I only cut them in half once. I’m curious to see other ways that the grapes can be cut though, I’m sure some of you could get really crafty with it!

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This salsa has been a big success when bringing it to BBQ’s and other summer-y events. It travels well and is just as delish, if not better, the next day. Plus it’s SO easy to make on a whim, yet is pretty different and a convo starter. I once brought grape salsa and cauliflower wings to a BBQ and they were quite the dynamic duo to bring to a non-vegan BBQ, because they’re both SO YUM and showed the non-vegans that vegans eat delicious food too!

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What would you add to this salsa recipe? I’m very curious to see if there’s anything that y’all think could spice it up a bit!

Enjoy the salsa! xo

Kylie Jenner’s Ramen Recipe…VEGANIZED!

So who here follows Kylie Jenner on Snapchat?

I’m sure we all have our personal reasons for following her, I for one enjoy seeing what color hair she has at any current moment. So she recently snapped a picture of what she puts in her ramen noodles, and her post got me thinking.

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I am a ramen LOVER. LOVE LOVE LOVE those curly noodles that stick together no matter how many veggies you try to stir in with them. I know they have no nutritional value, but I don’t care, I love em.

Fun fact about me, I’ve actually never added the included spice packet to my ramen! I love using the noodles as a base for spicy peanut noodles, stir frys, and other Asian noodle dishes, but that spice packet is so not appealing to me. Too much sodium! But if it’s your thing and you enjoy a good spice packet addition, then whatever floats your boat!

So vegan wise, ramen can be tricky because of the spice packet. Obviously, the chicken, the beef, etc., are not vegan, but what about the oriental flavor?

Nissin Top Ramen oriental flavor is vegan (woot woot!) but I gotta warn you! Maruchan, the other very well-known ramen brand’s oriental flavor contains “beef extract!” Whatever beef extract even is, I will never know/want to know, but how not cool! So stick to Nissin brand if you want to be cruelty free, and don’t be fooled by Maruchan.

So back to Kylie’s “inspirational” and “life changing” snapchat. I got to thinking how I LOVE ramen noodles, and equally LOVE buttery garlicy noodles, and ALSO equally love Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg. So what’s not to love about Kylie’s ramen recipe?

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I gave her recipe a go, vegan style, and guys… I’m HOOKED! It’s only been a week and I think I’ve made this dish 5 times now? Not the healthiest cause of the whole no fresh veggies thing and all, but I don’t care cause it’s ALL I want to eat!

So obviously I had to share this recipe with you guys, because I NEED to share the quick, easy, and cheap dish that has seriously changed my life/past week.

Kylie Jenner’s Ramen Recipe, Veganized!

Ramen Ingredients
1 pack oriental Nissin Top Ramen
1 TB melted vegan butter
1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder, depending on how garlicy you like it
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

VeganEgg Ingredients
2 TBS VeganEgg powder
1/2 C ice cold water
1/4 tsp garlic powder
Pepper to taste
Vegan butter for pan

Alright, so let’s start with the noodles. Boil some water as you usually would, and cook the noodles for about 3 minutes, or until they are as tender as you like them. Strain the noodles, and pour (is pour the right word? Feels weird to say “pour the noodles”…) into a bowl. Drizzle melted butter over the noodles, and sprinkle the garlic powder and red pepper flakes over them as well. Stir to incorporate all the buttery-garlics-spicy goodness!

Now it’s time for the VeganEgg! Melt vegan butter in a pan over medium-high heat.  Whisk your 2 TB VeganEgg powder with 1/2 C ice cold water, and pour into pan when you think the pan is good and hot. The VeganEgg should sizzle when it hits the pan, so don’t do it tooooo early. Sprinkle the garlic powder and pepper over the freshly poured VeganEgg, and SCRAMBLE! They say you should cook the VeganEgg for about 8 minutes, but I like to do it a little quicker. My method is to do a quick high-heat cook so the outside gets super crispy, and the inside is still a little creamy. Either way, cook for however long you’d prefer.

Once the VeganEgg is done cooking, stir into your already prepared noodles and there ya go! You have yourself an A+ din.

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I LOVE buttery garlicy noodles. YUM. Nothing better. Seriously, are you guys as big of a fan of butter and garlic together as I am?

ALSO. Just to throw this out there, from the looks of her picture, I’m pretty sure Kylie makes hers into a soup. I like mine to be more stir-fry-y, but I’m sure it would be just as good with some added veggie broth!

Ramen has a weird way of being sticky and kinda creamy on its own, do you get me on that? So the added butter makes them luscious. Jeez I’m like drooling over here talking about these noodles…

I LOVE the addition of the VeganEgg too, for a few reasons. Reason 1 is that I think the VeganEgg is freaking DELICIOUS (not to mention brilliant!) Another reason is that I love anything that replaces the cruelty of the egg industry with a cruelty free alternative. Such a win/win!

Additionally, this meal is one of the cheapest things you could make so that’s always a huge bonus for those of us on a budget!

You can add whatever you like to it also! When I made this for my boyfriend Jon, he asked me to add sesame oil to the VeganEgg. You can add fresh veggies (scallions perhaps?!) different spices, different oils, whatever tickles your fancy!

Try this bad boy out and lemme know what you think! As always, I’m always open to many, many suggestions.

Gonna go fall asleep and dream about this ramen, goodnight y’all!

 

Portabellas and cauliflower, two peas in a pod

Hey y’all! What’s new today? Hope everyone’s having a lovely end to their summer!

Today I wanted to share with you guys a staple meal that I’ve been making a lot lately, and it features two of my favorite veggies: mushrooms and cauliflower! So today we’re making…

Juicy smoky portabellas over garlic thyme cauliflower rice!

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I’ve been wanting to do a post on this lil new fave meal of mine because as simple as it is, you just caaaaan’t go wrong with it. Plus, it’s a crowd pleaser and a convo starter being that cauliflower seems to be suuuuuper trendy right now (LOL, only half kidding tho…)

I have always been a huge mushroom lover. How about you guys? I remember not loving them when I was a kid as a vegetarian and then one day, BAM, I realized that mushrooms are God’s delicate and scrumptious gifts to us! They are SO lovely and versatile.

So you know it’s a fancy night in our apartment when my boyfriend Jon and I make something with portabella mushrooms. I don’t know what it is about them, but they feel way more decadent and exciting than regular white mushrooms. Do you get what I mean? They’re just more exciting! Either that or we just REALLY love portabella mushrooms a weird amount…

Anyway, a few weeks ago we had a big head of cauliflower and two huge portabellas in the fridge, and not much else. That’s always my favorite time to cook, when ingredients are limited because you have to get crafty! So I decided to finally try cauliflower rice and season it with my absolute favorite seasoning power couple, garlic and thyme.

Let’s take a sec to talk about how PERFECT garlic and thyme go together. They’re a match made in heaven! Garlic and thyme croutons, garlic and thyme cauliflower rice, garlic and thyme tofu, the list goes on and on of what garlic and thyme go perfectly with!

So before we dive into this recipe, I wanted to throw it out there that this recipe serves one. You know me and my single serve recipes, I love em! Plus, it’s super easy to just multiply the ingredients by however many people you’re serving!

So let’s start with the cauliflower rice first, shall we?

Ingredients
Olive oil
4 cups raw cauliflower rice (I’ll explain below!)
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 TB dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

First things first, let’s discuss what “raw cauliflower rice” means. Heads of cauliflower range in size like crazy, so when writing this recipe out, I realized saying “a head of cauliflower” was super vague. So the cauliflower in this recipe is measured in cups of raw, already “rice-like” cauliflower.

In order to prepare your cauliflower to be rice, a food processor is key! What I like to do with the head of cauliflower is break it up into smaller pieces, and pulse in the food processor until the cauliflower semi-resembles rice. I’ll show ya what my raw rice looks like before I cook it:

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I’ve read a lot of different methods of making cauliflower rice, and many of them say to “press” your raw rice to remove moisture. The one time I tried that, it was a huuuuuge mess and ever since I haven’t pressed it, and it turns out great! Whatever works for you, do that, but for me no pressing was the way to go.

Alright, so once you have your raw cauliflower rice all set up, heat 1 TB or so of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the cauliflower, and salt to your liking. I once heard that you should always salt your veggies right when they start cooking, and I’ve done that ever since. Hasn’t failed me yet! Cover the pan with a lid and let the cauliflower steam for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes, remove lid and add more oil as needed. Let the rice get a little brown and crispy, then add thyme, garlic, and pepper. Cook for about 5 more minutes, until the rice is no longer cauliflower white and looks nice and crispy. I like to let my rice get nice and brown, but I’m sure anything ranging from a light to dark tan works just fine.

That’s pretty much it for the cauli-rice! Let’s move on to the…

Juicy smoky portabella mushrooms!

Ingredients
2 large portabella mushrooms
1 TB soy sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp cumin
Dash of balsamic vinegar
Vegan butter

First things first, I always remove the stems from my  portabellas (and put them in my “broth bag” in the freezer for later, who doesn’t like a mushroom broth?!) But you can leave the stems on if you like as well, whatever floats your boat! Slice the caps about 1/4 inch thick, or however thick you prefer your mushrooms.

Melt 1 TB or so of your vegan butter in a pan over medium heat, and add sliced portabellas. One thing that I will forever do when making sauteed mushrooms is sautee them in butter as opposed to olive oil. When I first met Jon, he told me that he only ever makes mushrooms with butter and a lot of cumin, and ever since it’s the only way I like my mushrooms. He’s a smart cookie, that one!

Add your soy sauce, liquid smoke, lemon juice, cumin, and balsamic vinegar and toss with a spatula so that all of the portabellas are coated. Saute for about 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms look done.

You can serve this however you’d like, so get crafty with it! I tend to stick to the boring side and opt for a wide bowl where I spoon the rice in first, then place the mushrooms on top. I love putting the mushrooms on the rice because the mushrooms get super juicy and play really well with the cauliflower rice. YUMMM.

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One thing I wanted to mention while posting about this recipe is liquid smoke. How many of you have heard of it before? I honestly hadn’t until I got Kristy Turner’s cookbook But I Could Never Go Vegan! (Side note: this is a FUN cookbook. LOT’S of different types of meals that really make you broaden your horizons. I love it!) Back to liquid smoke though, I had never heard of it until I made Kristy’s tempeh bacon, which uses liquid smoke. Liquid smoke is pretty much a liquid concentrate of smoke from burning hickory wood, and it is heavenly. I’m someone who loves when I go outside at night in the summer and my hair starts to smell like a campfire, so liquid smoke is obviously right up my alley. It’s also pretty easy to find in grocery stores, so definitely get yourself a bottle of this ASAP!

This meal is so so so filling, and it’s all veggies! Warning: if you plan on drinking after, maybe get some carbs in ya also cause Jon and I got veryyyyyy tipsy off of just 2 drinks after this deceivingly filling meal. BUT it’s great if you’re someone like me who always feels like a bottomless pit and needs a dump truck amount of food to make you feel full, because this one really does the trick all while being super healthy because it’s all vegetables!

I make all veggie meals like this every day, but something about the way the flavors play off of each other is so amazing that I couldn’t not share this with you guys!!! 2 good 2 b tru ❤

Enjoy and let me know what you guys think, or if there’s anything you think I should add! PEACE OUT ❤

 

 

 

 

Let’s go out to eat, shall we?

So for today’s post we’re going to be talking about something that I am extremely passionate about. I’m talking dreaming about it, can’t stop thinking about it, day dreaming about it when I should be in conversation with someone else. That thing that I’m so extremely devoted to? Going out to eat.

I love it! I LOVE to cook, but getting to try new foods created by different people is just SO exciting to me.

One thing that a lot of people ask me when they hear that I’m vegan is how do I go out to eat at restaurants, and I both love it and hate it when they ask me this. I love it because going out to eat is one of my favorite things to do, so I love telling people how easy it is as a vegan. On the other hand, I hate it when people ask this because it reminds me how many people truly do think that as a vegan, you can’t eat anywhere, you can’t eat anything, you can’t eat with your friends, and that’s snot true.

So I’m going to share a couple of tips today on going out to eat as a vegan!

One thing that I’ve learned that has really surprised me is the nicer the restaurant, the easier it is to get a (delicious!) vegan meal. I used to look at fancy restaurant menus and see that there wasn’t even vegetarian options let alone vegan options, and think I was out of luck but I was soooo wrong.

So when I graduated college, my friend had a grad party and her whole family took us to this pretty much farm to table meat restaurant. Everything had meat in it, they didn’t even have a single vegetarian meal.

Real quick tho, let’s backtrack before I continue with this (soon to be) fairytale of a story. So one thing that I like to do at restaurants like this is not tell them that I’m vegan, but rather that I don’t eat meat, dairy, and eggs. Sometimes the word “vegan” can come off as standoffish depending on who you’re talking to and their experience with veganism in the past, as sad as this is, because when it comes down to it it’s just a compassionate lifestyle. Some people just don’t like the word!

Some people also don’t know what vegan means, and that runs the risk of either making your server feel stupid which is never good, or you getting the wrong type of meal. To avoid all of these things, I stick to the “I don’t eat meat, dairy, or eggs” spiel.

So back to the grad party. When I asked our server if they had anything off menu that didn’t have meat, dairy, or eggs in it, he was so sweet and instantly went, “Oh you’re vegan! The chef loves making vegan food, it’s a fun little challenge for him.”

So later that night, they came out with the BEST pasta dish that I have ever had in my LIFE. I kid you not. And it wasn’t even on the menu! It just had all these amazing fresh grilled veggies with a basil sauce over pasta. And I feel like usually I’d think about grilled vegetables and pasta and be like “been there done that, that’s all I ever eat at BBQs and parties” but this dish was special. It was some gooourmet pasta we’re talking about.

I still think about that pasta dish, that’s how mind blowing it was.

I’m so glad that I asked if they had anything vegan, because I could have just ordered a wimpy side salad without any chicken on it and that would have been the saddest dinner ever, and I ended up getting the best, best pasta of my life.

So another thing I recommend when going out to eat is always be nice to your server. No matter how rude they are back to you, as a vegan, you’re kind of the face of the movement for that person at that moment. I’ve had a lot of servers who didn’t even know what vegan means, and I’ve been their first encounter with the lifestyle. I feel that it’s super important to beat that stereotype that vegans are all snooty, I’m-better-than-you kind of people and show whoever you’re talking to that (obviously) we’re just like everyone else, the only difference is that we just want to reduce the amount of suffering that we contribute to. Simple as that.

It really sucks that there’s such a stereotype, because so many of my vegan friends are the most kind, compassionate, polite people I know.

So another thing that I do when going out to eat is I LOVE to check the menu ahead of time, for a few reasons. Reason #1 is I like to know what I’ll be ordering later that day so I can salivate over it for the hours leading up to the meal. Reason #2 is I like to make sure it is possible for me to order vegan. Especially if you’re going somewhere with your new significant other’s family or something like that, it never hurts to call the restaurant ahead of time and explain your diet as ask if they can work with it.

No matter what tho, don’t be afraid to speak up because you have nothing to be ashamed of. I used to experience a sense of shame when I would order vegan food. I’d be like “I’m SO sorry for the inconvenience” and it’s not an inconvenience, it’s a diet that, when you know what it is, is extremely easy to accommodate for because it’s basically just vegetables and grains and beans and nuts and all that good stuff. Once you know the 411, the options are limitless.

But! I used to feel super afraid to speak up about it, and you should never be afraid to speak up about something that you know is doing so much good for the world.

PLUS! Look at it from this angle, if you’re extremely nice about your vegan diet, you could potentially be changing someone. You don’t know, but they could go home and be like “they were so nice, I want to see what this vegan thing is all about,” and they could potentially go vegan and the world has you to thank for that!

So we talked about fancy places, but we haavveee to talk about places that are on the cheaper side.

Taco Bell is BIG love of mine. They actually recently came out with a certified vegetarian menu and even a guide of how to eat meatless at Taco Bell. Major points for Taco Bell. So my two favorite things to get there are the crunchwrap and black bean burrito. With the crunchwrap, I sub beef for their refried beans, and sour cream and cheese for guacamole and potatoes. TRUST ME on the potatoes. Heavenly. To die for. Then I get their bean burrito, which usually is beans, salsa, and cheese but I sub the cheese for, what else, potatoes. The three ingredients are a match made in heaven! Seriously, go try these two things at Taco Bell right now. Don’t even finish reading this post, just get your butt over there and enjoy some cheap and fast ‘ritos and crunchwraps.

Can we also just talk about Chipotle’s sofritas for a minute? Also a MAJOR game changer. If you haven’t had Chipotle’s sofritas yet, I’m afraid to say that I don’t think you’ve truly lived.

Here’s a random one, McDonalds’ apple pies are vegan! My boyfriend Jon and I were driving home from Cape Cod last weekend and stopped at a rest stop really late at night and the only thing that was open was McDonalds, so we obviously had to get their apple pies. They are just as good as I remember them being when I was 7 and super into fast food!

So there are SO many fast food hacks that you can do to vegan-ize your quick meal. I could list them all and bore all y’all to death, or I could just post this VERY helpful list and let you look at your own leisure.

So another lil tip that has gotten me through many a dinner is that if there is tofu in one dish, chances are they can sub the meat in any other dish for tofu. Especially at Asian restaurants, they can almost always just swap chicken or beef for tofu. This one Chinese restaurant I go to has a tofu and broccoli dish, and one day I found out that I could sub the tofu that’s only listed in that one dish with any other dish as well. LIFE CHANGING.

At Mexican restaurants, I always ask for no dairy (sour cream and cheese) and substitute that for guacamole, and they usually do that without an extra cost. Getting guac for free is a prettyyyy big deal in my book, so I love that trick.

Sometimes you can even sub sides that have dairy or meat in them for fries. ( ❤ ) I always get these tofu wings at this bar near my apartment, and instead of getting the side of blue cheese and coleslaw, I get curly fries which in my opinion, are way better than ANY side you could ever get, vegan or not. (BTW, curly fries are the way to my heart, just putting that out there.)

So what are your tips to eating out vegan? I would seriously LOVE to hear about all of them. LOVE TO. This stuff is my jam in case you couldn’t tell.

Share though, guys, spill the juicy deets!

Have a good night all you wonderful people ❤ ❤ ❤

 

Vegans make the best-o pesto

While “vegans make the best(o) pesto” may be a debatable statement, I’m so passionate about the batch of pesto that I just whipped up that I may have to declare the title of this post a fact.

If you can’t tell, this is a VERY serious post about pesto.

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Okay, maybe not super serious, but you get the point. When it comes to pesto, I mean business!

First things first, how are you guys? Is it nice summer weather where y’all live? I always think it’s so cool that blogging brings people from around the world together. Pretty neat!

So I feel like everyone has been really excited about zoodles and all those other veggie noodles lately, and I will be the first to say that I am NOT a fan of replacing my carbs with veggies.

(BTW, zoodle= zucchini noodle)

Yeah, it’s great for weight loss, but I like to cook for taste and not for health. (That being said, “good taste” to me does mean a lot of meals consisting of only vegetables because vegetables are the absolute greatest thing on this earth, I don’t want you guys to think me saying that I cook for taste means that I deep fry every meal.)

BUT! I was not a fan of replacing spaghetti with boiled zucchini.

So the “zoodle maker” I have isn’t actually called a zoodle maker, it’s called the Veggetti, as I’m sure many of you have seen on TV. My dad (hey dad!) bought it for me because he thought I’d like it, and boy does he know me well. There was a hefty month where I was obsessed with Veggetti-ing potatoes and making potato pancakes, YUM.

When I first got my Veggetti, I tried out the classic zoodles and marinara sauce, and it was just too watery and didn’t really work out too well. I was really turned off from the whole zoodle idea after my first try. I love my Veggetti for cucumber salads and stuff, but never really used it for an actual veggie pasta dish.

Yesterday, I was driving from my apartment to my parents’ house, and I realized that I was really in the mood for pesto but I wasn’t in the mood for a big ole bowl of pasta. Somehow I remembered that I had my Veggetti, and decided to give the whole zoodle idea another whirl.

Thank GOODNESS I had that random car thought because something about these zoodles goes better with this pesto than regular pasta would, and let me just make this clear, I am not someone who can eat raw plain veggies and be satisfied. I need my food to be filling, nutritious, and jam packed with flavor. So this whole zoodle preference is GROUND BREAKING. This is something special right here.

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I was at just the right place to make this recipe too, because my parents have an AMAZING garden. It’s such a treat to visit, especially because the only plants that my boyfriend Jon and I are able to grow in our tiny apartment is basil and mint, and even that is limited because of the amount of sunlight that (doesn’t) make its way into our apartment.

So this is just a single serve recipe for one zucchnini-zoodle serving size, so if you want to make more, just multiply the recipe by however many zucchinis you’re using.

Single serve recipes are the way to go for me, are any of you the same way? I don’t have a family yet, so besides me, the only other person I usually cook for is Jon, so I always like to do my recipes single serve style and double it if I’m cooking for him too.

ANYWHO, here’s what ya need for the pesto:

1/2 cup packed basil
1 peeled, crushed garlic clove
1 handful of nuts of your choice
1/4-1/8 C olive oil
1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

Pretty much like all of my recipes, throw all of the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until you have your desired consistency!

As for making the zoodles themself, veggetti-up a zucchini, boil your zoodles for 3-ish minutes and you’re good to go.

Alright, so let’s talk nuts in this recipe. I didn’t have pine nuts (which I love) so I used half a handful of walnuts and half a handful of almonds. I also would highly recommend pecans, because adding pecans to any recipe is almost always a superb idea. The different types of nuts really give this pesto some depth. I recommend experimenting with some other different types of nuts! I wonder what pistachios would be like?

As for the oil, I’m not afraid of some good ole olive oil so I used 1/4 of a cup, but you can use 1/8 or whatever your pesto-loving-heart desires!

The nutritional yeast gives the pesto a nice cheesy flavor. I REALLY love using nutritional yeast, do you guys use it a lot in cooking? I pretty much swear by it.

Considering the lack of dairy parmesan cheese in this recipe, this pesto is sooo cheesy with all the nuts and nutritional yeast. You can’t really go wrong with a good cheesy pesto! (Actually, you can’t really go wrong with a good cheesy anything. If I were to ever go on a reality show like the Bachelor where they have your name in the corner of the screen then under it lists your profession, I’d like to believe that my profession would be listed as “professional cheese veganizer” because I love sneaking my vegan cheese tips into anything and everything that I make.)

Also, check out my baby Sammy! He really wanted some zoodles and pesto, which he obviously got after this photo was taken.

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I topped my pesto zoodles with some cherry tomatoes from the garden because who doesn’t love a fresh tomato?! WAY WAY WAY better than any store bought tomato I’ve ever had.

I would also just like to throw it out there that this recipe is SO easy to make. I can’t stress that enough. And the flavors are so complimentary and vibrant, so you’re not compromising flavor for time. This recipe is pretty much the total package.

Come to think of it, pesto is practically the greatest thing on this earth. Can we all just take a moment to give it up for pesto? 3 CHEERS FOR YOU, DEAR PESTO!

 

 

 

 

Friday means that it’s party time folks, and Gardein’s on the menu!

HAYOOO happy Friday y’all! To celebrate this sacred day, I wanna tell you guys about my absolute favorite brand of frozen vegan food. (Is brand the right word..?!) The vegan food brand that will have my heart 4ever is…

Gardein!

I am SO passionate about Gardein products. How could I not be though?! All of their products are so unique and pretty much to die for. Have you guys heard of Gardein before?

Just gonna throw this out there before I continue, I am quite aware that these are not the healthiest vegan options out there. I don’t eat them for nutrition, I eat them cause they’re fun! Just like someone on an omnivorous diet would splurge (does splurge work when talking about eating something that isn’t the healthiest?) on frozen meat products, like chicken fingers, us vegans can do that too with Gardein!

Alright so now that I’ve gotten “they’re not the healthiest” out of the way, I have to commend them on the purity of their ingredients. For a freezer section food, I can pronounce and understand all of the ingredients, which is something I can’t say for many other types of frozen food products. While you certainly wouldn’t only eat Gardein if you are dieting, they ain’t bad for ya either! Plus, everything in moderation 🙂

One thing that I love about Gardein is that they include a little recipe on each bag. For instance, the bag of crabless cakes that I have in my freezer has a crabless tacos recipe on it. Cute and easy! ALSO, their website has even more recipes. They have some goooood ones too, lemme tell ya.

So let’s get down to it, here are the Gardein products that will forever live in my heart:

(BTW: click on each product and it’ll direct you to their website where you can learn more!)

Turk’y cutlet

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My boyfriend Jon and I LOSE it for these turk’y cutlets. They are EVERYTHING you could ask for and more. The gravy is so amazingly seasoned that I maaaaaybe would drink it if presented the opportunity. These are so perfect on their own, and also are amazing on a Thanksgiving sandwich. What’s a Thanksgiving sandwich, you ask? It’s Italian bread with cutlets, gravy, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. It’s perfection. 

#1 favorite Gardien product out there ❤

Mandarin crispy chick’n

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This chick’n is GREAT. I love it alone because the chick’n get so deliciously crispy, and the sauce is really great. They’re so good that I just want to enjoy THEM alone, ya know? BUT! This chick’n is also amazing with veggies as a stir fry.

Mini crabless cakes

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So, these are a really big deal. A really REALLY big deal. When I saw these in the store I thought “they’re probably good, but how good can they really be?” They’re as good as you could ever imagine in your wildest dreams. They are so amazing that Jon and I binge ate them for a week when we first discovered them. From what I remember of crab cakes, they were alright, but these are just on a whole other level. If there’s one thing you do today, it should probably be eating these crabless cakes.

Seven grain crispy tenders

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These were the first product that I ever tried of Gardein’s, and I was not disappointed. They’re superb on their own, but my favorite way to eat them is on a sandwich with avocado and Just Mayo. YUM!

Meatless pizza pockets

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These are just tooooo cute, and they are also scrumptious as ever. The cheese is a really nice tasting cheese, and who doesn’t love food in a pocket?! Win/win.

Chick’n sliders

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I just tried these for the first time recently, and I was pleasantly surprised! I think I’m the only person on the planet who’s not impressed with the idea of sliders. Little burgers? No thanks. I prefer my food large and in charge. But these sliders were really really great! I like to eat them with some added lettuce and my spiced up mayo recipe.

Sweet and sour porkless bites

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These are CUTE. They are precious little porkless bites, and I just love that no pigs were harmed in the making of them. So this particular Gardein product comes with a crazy amount of sauce, so it’s def nice to throw some veggies in there with them. I once made them as is without any veggies, and there was so much sauce that the bites were almost like sitting in a soup. But, I do appreciate some extra sauce to cover my veggies!

Chipotle black bean burger (gf)

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This burger is a winner. It’s gluten free, and they’re a QUARTER POUND each. These are some biiiiig guys, I gotta say. They are SO delicious too. They’re great chopped up in burritos as well, their seasoning is perfect for that!

Beefless ground

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One word: EMPANADAS! Jon is a genius and created his own empanada recipe, using the beefless ground as the base. I LOVE it when he makes empanadas, he’s such a good cook and they are to. die. for. My mom makes sloppy Joe’s with this as the base, and they are so good as well. Come to think of it, I’m going to text her for her sloppy Joe recipe right now! I’ll share it with you guys soon 🙂 Jon’s mom also made stuffed mushrooms with this for me once, and I was loving it.

Meatless meatballs

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I went through a biiiiiig meatball phases 2 years ago, starring Gardein’s meatless meatballs. I love these so much. They’re so amazing in sauce, but I also just love them plain, that’s how delicious and flavorful they are. Pretty sure I used to eat these plain for breakfast…. let’s keep that on the down low though.

Beefless tips

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Another thing that my brilliant boyfriend thought up was using these beefless tips in a Philly Cheesesteak. We used freshly baked Italian bread, beefless tips (without the sauce), sautéed pepper and onion, and Fieldroast’s Chao cheese. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE, yet it somehow was, true!

Golden fishless filet

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These are another Gardein product that I could go on for DAYS about. These fishless filets are way better than I ever remember regular fish filets tasting. The fishy flavor comes from algae/seaweed, which is my jam, so they’re really quite lovely. The breading is also super buttery and the “fish” is very flakey and juicy, just like reg fish fillets are. They NAILED it with this one.

So my life recently changed when I decided to make fishless tacos with these filets. I followed Gardein’s baja fishless tacos recipe, and WOW was I in for the best “fish” tacos I could have ever hoped for. The aioli in their recipe is TOOOOOO GOOD. SO GOOD. INCREDIBLE. I can’t hype it up enough. (Just a note, I followed every part of their recipe except for the wine pickled onions. I never really felt like I had the time to make them, but ever other part of the recipe I stuck to. If you do make the pickled onions, let a girl know how they are!)

BBQ porkless pocket meal

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Again, pockets are great. I have taken these on-the-go many a time, and they’re really just amazing. The taste is deeeeelicious, so there’s no going wrong with these pockets.

So that’s it for my favorite Gardein products!

What are your favorite Gardein products? Are there any that you love that I didn’t throw on this list?

Have a great weekend everyone! I hope it’s filled with lots and lots of Gardein ❤

 

Near and dear to my heart… cauliflower wings!

Hey guys!

So today’s post is going to be a little spicier than usual because…

We’re making cauliflower wings!!!

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I LOVE cauliflower wings. SO much. I could make them for dinner every night if cauliflower wasn’t so damn expensive when it’s not in season!

My boyfriend Jon and I decided to try out the whole cauliflower wings “trend” last September. We found a couple recipes that we liked, merged them to make our own, then got cooking. We were both BLOWN AWAY with how delicious and amazing and life-changing these cauliflower wings were that they have been a fun dinner staple ever since.

Plus, they’re sooo easy to make. Delicious yet extremely simple? Check plus in my book!

I’ve had cauliflower wings before that are pretty much just steamed cauliflower with hot sauce. Steamed veggies? Boring. I am nooottttttttt down with that.

The reason why I like the way that I make my cauliflower wings so much is that they’re breaded but they’re not fried, so you get that good crispy breading without all that oil. Plus, there’s something healthy feeling about them. I don’t know how to describe it, but they’re one of the few meals that makes me feel like I’m both indulging and eating clean at the same time.

I also almost always feel like what I’m eating (if it’s breaded) would be better fried. This is one of the few times that I feel like only the oven will do this meal justice. Plus, it’s the healthier option!

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So the recipe that I’m posting below is a chipotle-seasoned cauliflower wing one. You can use whatever hot sauce flavor that you’d like though! Jon and I like doing a mix of both chipotle and regular hot sauce because it adds a delicious smoky flavor, and also isn’t as spicy if you used just straight up reg hot sauce.

Ingredients

1 head of cauliflower
2 C flour
2 C soy/coconut/almond/any other non-dairy milk that tickles your fancy
2/3 C Chipotle Tobasco sauce
1/3 C regular hot sauce (I love Cholula!)
2 T melted vegan butter
3 t garlic powder

  1. Preheat the oven to 450° F.
  2. Mix the flour, garlic powder, and soy milk until smooth. This will make a thick batter, you want it to be thick enough that it’ll create a good breading on your cauli-wings, but not tooooo thick that you can’t move a fork through it without exerting effort. (Weird thing to write in a set of recipe instructions!)
  3. Break your cauliflower into wing-sized pieces. I personally love big pieces of cauliflower (which are pictured in my photos) where as Jon likes smaller ones. Whatever you can see yourself liking more, do that! One lil tip tho, I like to go with the cauliflower’s natural shape. A head of cauliflower naturally has little sections that if you break off, are super round and not all flat on one side cause you chopped it in half with a knife. I like to keep mine round and natural feeling!
  4. Toss your cauliflower in the batter, and place on a baking sheet/pan covered in parchment paper. (You neeeeed to use parchment paper, or else the cauliflower will stick and the breading will come off when you try to scrape it up! True, sad story…) Make sure that the pieces are not touching, cause if they are they will bake together and become a uni-cauliflower!
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the breading is starting to turn golden-brown. I like to let mine get crispy, so sometimes I even leave them in for a half hour.
  6. While the cauliflower bakes, mix the melted butter and the hot sauces in a large mixing bowl until combined.
  7. When the cauliflower looks crispy enough, take them out of the oven and put them in the large bowl with the hot sauce mixture. You want to evenly coat them with the hot sauce, and I have a technique that I prefer to use! I used to just use a spatula to mix it all around, but it was super clumsy and didn’t work too well. My new technique is to place a bowl of equal size upside down over the bowl filled with cauliflower, and shake, kinda like you would with a salad to get it evenly dressed!
  8. Place the hot-sauced cauliflower pieces back on the pan with the parchment. If there’s any leftover hot sauce, I like to spatula it back onto the cauliflower wings before I put them back in the oven, to keep them nice and juicy! Bake for 5 more minutes, or until the hot sauce starts to make a delish sizzle noise. Take them out of the oven, toss again if there’s still any sauce in the pan, and you’re good to go!

I LOVE to pair these wings with my spiced up mayo sauce. The combination is absolute. perfection.

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So there ya have, some cauliflower wings! How do you guys make your cauli-wings?

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

 

STOP everything you’re doing with your tofu ASAP

This. post. is. URGENT!

The reason for its urgency? It’s because I recently (as in like 8 months ago, but still, recently) found a new way to prepare my tofu, and I am NEVER going back.

I clearly feel very strong about my new tofu prep method, hence why I very badly need to share it with you guys!

So what’s the deal with how I prepare my tofu? Lemme break it down for you guys.

First things first, I always freeze my tofu. Have you guys ever frozen your tofu before? It creates a WHOLE other texture that, in my opinion, is way more lovely to work with. When you freeze tofu, then defrost it and press it, it has this spongy texture that wasn’t there before. With this spongy texture, the tofu soaks up 100 times more flavors than when it was unfrozen and pretty dense and solid.

In order to freeze tofu, I like to take it out of its container, drain as much liquid from it as possible, then wrap it in tin foil and place in the freezer! One thing that is nice about freezing it is that you can stock your freezer with blocks of frozen tofu. Pretty handy!

Once the tofu is fully frozen (I usually leave it in the freezer overnight) it’s time for it to thaw. I always just throw it in the microwave on a microwave safe plate for 5 minutes, pour the liquid that has melted onto the plate in the sink, and do this 2 more times for a total of 15 minutes in the microwave. (Wondering why I microwave my tofu for so long? It’s because the microwave that my boyfriend and I have in our apartment is ANCIENT. It’s an oldie, but I’ve learned to work with!)

After this, you’ll have a thawed (and very hot!) block of tofu. Now, there’s 2 things you can do next. I used to swear by pressing my thawed tofu for an hour in a tofu press, because it squeezes everrryyyyy last drop of liquid out of it, leaving room for seasoning and flavor, but there is a problem with my old method. From squeezing it like crazy, it creates a super dense, flat piece of tofu. If that’s what you’re going for, then there’s you’re method! But I prefer another way. Instead of pressing it for an hour, after I’ve taken my tofu out of the microwave, I simply press it with my hands between 2 plates over the sink for 10 seconds or so. Just get some of the liquid out, and you’re done. This method leaves the tofu pretty much 3 times thicker than if you pressed it for an hour, and it’s also a lot fluffier and lighter. I prefer it that way!

Alright, now it’s time to reveal my biggest tofu secret…

Are you guys ready?!

……………..

I always marinate my tofu in spiced up veggie broth for at least 24 hours before cooking with it!

Well now that that is off my chest, lemme explain!

One day, I was thinking about how people prepare chicken/other types of meat, and how I can apply that to tofu. (Side note: I never aim to make my food taste like meat, but I do enjoy taking little tid bits of non-vegetarian cooking for inspiration!) I was thinking about the use of broths for marinades, and kinda made a connection that since I’m squeezing all of this liquid out of my tofu, leaving it semi-dry, that there’s all this room for a delicious marinade!

I’m prob not the first person to think of this, but the thought process kind of happened naturally so it feels very much like my own and near and dear to my heart ❤

(I love food, can you tell??)

Marinade wise, clearly homemade veggie broth is always optimal, but store bought absolutely does the trick as well! Whether I’m using homemade or store bought broth, I always add a TON of herbs and spices to zest up the broth a little bit. Fresh or dried basil, dried thyme, lots of pepper, both fresh chopped garlic and garlic powder, and cumin. Whatever your go-to spices and herbs are for your everyday cooking, add them!

When marinating my tofu, I like to slice it a certain way to optimize surface area, while also making cooking with it later a breeze. After I have defrosted my tofu and let the piping hot block cool down a bit, I slice it down the middle on its side, so that I have 2 slabs of tofu that are the same looking size, but half the thickness. Does that make sense? Hard to describe without pictures!

(And while we’re on the topic of blog pics, I was going to provide my strange overly sunny outdoor photos that I usually do my for recipe posts, but this one seemed too instruction-based to photograph. I don’t know, it just felt like I would be taking weird pics of murky looking broth and uncooked tofu, and that they wouldn’t really be necessary!)

Anywho, here’s a lil life changing tip about marinating your tofu: so you know those rectangular white plastic containers that Chinese takeout comes in? They are the PERFECT size for marinating tofu! 2 tofu slabs fit swimmingly in one of those containers, and then you have a nice snap-on-lid for your container after you’ve poured your marinade in.

And that’s pretty much the deal with my tofu prep. I like to let it marinate for at least 24 hours, and then you’re free to cook with it as you’d please! My absolute FAVORITE way to utilize this tofu prep method is to slice the slabs in half diagonally so you have 4 big triangles, batter and bread it with cornflakes, and then deep fry it!  I have plans to post about that tofu recipe, so expect a mildly unhealthy and extremely delicious tofu recipe soon 🙂

This tofu is also amazing raw as it is in salads. It has SUCH an amazing taste from the broth and herbs, and is really juicy and delish. I also love to cut the tofu into strips, dust it with flour, and pan fry it in some olive oil until the outside is super crispy.

So let’s recap. My tofu prep method goes like this:

  1. Freeze it
  2. Defrost it
  3. Press it
  4. Slice it
  5. Marinate it
  6. EAT IT!

Let me know how you guys like my tofu prep method! Have you been doing the same thing all along and we’re actually tofu soul mates?! Let a girl know!

Have a great night everyone and hug a veteran today in honor of Memorial Day! (My dad is a veteran! Hi dad! Thanks for your service!)

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French toast+VeganEgg=Breakfast perfection

Hey guys!

Who here has had Follow Your Heart’s VeganEgg? For anyone who doesn’t know what the VeganEgg is, it is a plant based egg replacer made by Follow Your Heart. I love it for all different types of recipes, but my favorite use for it is by far for French toast.

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Before you start to think “if it doesn’t have egg in it, then what is it?!” let me tell you! The VeganEgg has whole algal flour, whole algal protein, modified cellulose, cellulose, gellan gum, calcium lactate (plant source), carrageenan, nutritional yeast, and black salt. It is also certified vegan, gluten free, soy free, cholesterol free, and Kosher. So basically it’s a cruelty free, healthier version of an egg. Three cheers for the VeganEgg!!

I never used to love French Toast before I was vegan. No clue why, I just never really got into it. It’s kinda funny that my love for French toast developed when I was vegan, and I have the VeganEgg to thank for that!

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So let’s get to it, I present to you my VeganEgg French Toast Recipe!

1 VeganEgg
1/3 C soy, almond, or coconut milk
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla
2-4 slices Italian Bread
Vegan butter, or any other type of oil for your pan

Follow the instructions on the VeganEgg packaging (2 T VeganEgg mix per 1/2 C ice water) and set aside prepared VeganEgg. Mix the soy milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla together in a bowl, then add VeganEgg to the mix and whisk. Soak your Italian bread in the egg-batter mixture for a couple of minutes until the bread is nice and saturated, but not toooooo saturated that it is falling apart. I like to do the bread soaking on a dish, and flip the slices of bread every minute or so to ensure even coverage.

Melt vegan butter in a pan on medium heat. When your butter has melted, place your saturated pieces of bread on the pan. Let them cook on each side for about 5-7 minutes each, or until the outside looks nice and crispy. I like to use the slow and steady approach with this recipe. Cooking the French toast slowly on medium heat ensures that the middle is nice and cooked as well, as well as the outside getting nice and crispy. If you cook it too hot and too fast, the outside will burn and the inside will still be all soggy and wet.

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So, a couple of notes about this recipe. I prefer to use Italian bread for this French toast, rather than regular loaf bread or specialty French toast bread. Something about it just comes out tasting like a delicious cinnamon cake, where as loaf bread isn’t as exciting. And who doesn’t want their French toast to be exciting?!

Another little tid bit, you will have extra egg mixture if you only make 2 slices. I like to save the egg batter for another breakfast, and then when I do decide to use it, making the French toast is that much quicker and easier.

ALSO! If you are wondering why I have maple syrup in my recipe, it’s so it makes the French toast crispy and caramelized on the outside. It also tastes a tiny bit like marshmallows when you burn the outside, because the sugar in the maple syrup is burning and getting all delicious!

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If you haven’t ever come across the VeganEgg in your shopping travels, you can order it from Amazon or any of the shops listed on the Follow Your Heart VeganEgg page. Trust me, you will be happy you made the purchase.

Plus, a carton of the VeganEgg (which is equivalent to a dozen eggs) costs about the same as cage-free eggs. And we all know how “cage-free” is a bunch of crap just used to make us consumers not feel guilty about the treatment of the mother hens! I’ll save that for another post though…

So I hope you guys enjoy this recipe and let me know if you think I should add anything to it! I always love feedback 🙂

Goodnight y’all! ❤