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Monday, April 19, 2021

Vegan Italian Sausage


I get it, not everyone will want to go vegan. I really am not one of those people that will try to get you to change what you love. I am simply one of those ex-meat eaters that really never liked meat at all. This works for me. I started by adapting meatless monday years ago, and slowly it became meatless every day because of how great I felt. Perhaps you will always be a carnivore and that is ok. But perhaps you can give up ONE day per week to help save the planet? The blog Counting Animals found that following Meatless Monday for one year would spare an average of 3.5 animals a year per person. Multiply that by the entire U.S. population and it comes out to around 1.4 billion animals spared annually, per the Humane Society's estimates.

Check out these other 5 great benefits of Meatless Mondays:

Reduce Heart Disease and Stroke: Fruits and vegetables help your body fight cardiovascular disease. If you are excluding meat, be sure to still eat a well-balanced meal. Eating no meat on Mondays will encourage you to increase your veggie, fruit, whole grain, and legume intake.

Lower Cancer Risk: Red meat or processed meat may increase the risk of colorectal cancer. Having a diet rich in vegetables and fruits may lower your risk of cancer.

Prevent diabetes: Diets low in processed meat, and high in plant-based foods, may reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes. Adding more greens to your diet can help you maintain a healthy weight through a well-balanced diet, which is a key factor in preventing type 2 Diabetes.

Prevent obesity: Because greens are so rich in fiber, those who eat vegetarian diets have a lower risk of obesity. As obesity may lead to other health issues, going green on Mondays may help you maintain a healthy weight.

Save Money: Not only is excluding meat on Mondays good for your health, but also for your wallet. Save a few bucks each week by skipping meat on Mondays!

If you try it, use hashtag #meatlessmonday and tag me on your social channels sharing what you make!


  • Vegan Italian sausage 
  • you can sub in ANY recipe that calls for sausage and they won't even know it:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup white bean paste (can use chickpea, white beans, navy beans etc)
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (the kind in oil), finely chopped
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon dried basil
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional for spice)
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
2 cups vital wheat gluten


Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan or skillet over medium heat and when hot add the onions and garlic. Sauté until the onions turn translucent and begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together the vegetable broth, tomato paste, and white bean pasted until smooth. Now add the sun-dried tomatoes, nutritional yeast, dried basil, maple syrup, fennel seeds, dried rosemary, salt, crushed red pepper flakes, liquid smoke, and all of the sautéd onions and garlic along with any oil leftover in the pan, and stir to combine. Lastly, add the vital wheat gluten and combine to make a dough. 

Knead the dough to make sure it’s all combined, but once combined, stop kneading. The more you knead the tougher the sausages will get so only do as much as is needed to incorporate the vital wheat gluten.

Cut the dough into 6 equal-sized pieces. Take one of the pieces of dough and place it on a sheet of aluminium foil. Shape the dough into a rough sausage shape, but don’t worry about making it being perfect. 

Roll the sausage up loosely in a piece of aluminium foil then twist the ends closed. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough to make 6 sausages. (looking for a better earth friendly way to do this but haven't found it yet message me if you have a solution!).

Add several inches of water to a large pot with a steamer basket and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the sausages to the steamer basket and steam for 40 minutes. 
NOTE: you can use the instapot here if you have steamer attachment and you can reduce time to 15 minutes ) 

After steaming remove the sausages from the steamer and allow to cool completely in the fridge, overnight is best. The logs will have puffed up in the foil and become tight. Once cooled, remove the foil and they are ready to enjoy as is or you can fry, grill, slice, or enjoy them any way you like.

You can freeze to use for later, or store in the fridge if you plant to use this week. 

Extra Crispy Vegan Fried Chicken - easy seitan


Seitan is a good source of protein and can be a quick and convenient way to help those on a vegan or vegetarian diet meet their protein needs. Protein is essential for everything from building muscle to repairing tissue and producing hormones, so getting enough in your diet is absolutely critical, but I also think in America it is hyper focused and you don't need as much protein as the trainers and media want you to think you do. 

Seitan is also great for weight-loss Because it’s high in protein but low in calories, seitan can help support satiety to keep you feeling full, which could help promote weight loss. In fact, high-protein diets have been shown to decrease levels of ghrelin, the hormone that’s responsible for stimulating hunger. 

Seitan is also one of the few meat substitutes without soy. Many people prefer to avoid unfermented soy products like tofu because it can disrupt hormone levels and often comes from genetically modified crops. Tofu is a HARD NO for me, being a cancer survivor and it is one of the most cancer causing foods out there. Good clean tofu is becoming extinct quickly.

DISCLAIMER: If you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease or gluten intolerance, seitan is definitely out of the question as it is literally made from wheat gluten. 

I have tried so many protein replacements and using Seitan is my most favorite. It is so easy to use and you can make anything from Chicken to Sausage and it comes out perfect every time as long as you follow the easy directions. With Seitan, the most important thing is to rehydrate the gluten after mixing. You can't just put right into the fryer or oven. Don't skip that step! 

I don't miss meat one bit, but I DO love a good fried chicken. So this is my substitute. Works perfect every time. Give it a shot!

Please note there is an air-fried version at the bottom where you can reduce the oil significantly making it a healthy option. 

Extra Crispy Vegan Fried Chicken


Seitan mixture:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 tsp paprika
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp parsley
1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 tbsp soy sauce

Broth Mixture
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water

Flour Mixture
1 cup flour 
2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp onion powder
**1 tbsp cayenne powder use less or omit if you want less it spicy
1  tsp salt
1/2  tsp pepper

Full Fat coconut milk

Extras
oil (I used avocado oil)


In a mixing bowl, whisk the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and spices.
Add the veggie broth and soy sauce and mix until combined. Knead for 5-7 minutes.

Bring the broth ingredients to a boil in a large, tall saucepan.

Shape the chicken in the size you want. For example: for nuggets break off small pieces of the seitan and place them in the broth (if you need to, add more water to cover them). These will double in size.

Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for ~30 mins, flipping each piece halfway through. (This is where you would stop and grill the chicken if you just want grilled chicken. Cook on the grill til you get the grill marks)

Whisk together the flour mixture ingredients in one bowl and the coconut milk (or milk of choice) in a separate bowl.

For full fried version: 
Cover bottom of  a large saucepan with oil and heat on medium-high to ~350°F.
For each piece of seitan, cover in the flour mixture, then the egg mixture, then the flour mixture again and place in the hot oil.
Cook on each side until crispy (~3 minutes per side)

You can do this in the airfryer to make it a healthy dish. 
Air-Fryer version:
Lightly spray Seitan with oil and Air-fry at 375 degrees for at least 15-20 minutes or desired crispness, turning halfway through 

Thursday, April 1, 2021

The BEST Vegan Mac and cheese


If you are out there with PCOS, or extra bloat, or hormone issues... chances are you need to give up dairy.  I know, I know. I have said it a million times. "I will NEVER give up cheese!" and that is true. There are times that the pain and bloat is just worth it, or so I think, so I dive in and pay for it for a few days. I am to the point that I have replaced all my favorite cheese meals with vegan versions so I no longer have to go through the pain and suffering just to partake in a scrumptious cheesy meal. If what I just said resonates and you like Mac and Cheese... Look no further. 

The BEST Vegan Mac and cheese

For the Cheese Sauce:
1/2 cup Vegan Butter
6 Tbsp All Purpose Flour (use gluten free if GF)
3 14oz Cans Coconut Milk
1 cup  Vegetable Stock
3 Tbsp Dijon Mustard
1 cup Nutritional Yeast
3 tsp Onion Powder
3 tsp Garlic Powder
1 and 1/2 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 and 1/2 tsp Salt
1 and 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper

For the Macaroni:
20 oz Macaroni or 280z Tubetti (use GF if gluten free)

For the Breadcrumb Topping:
1 Vegan Protein Bagel

Add the vegan butter to a pot and let it melt. When it’s melted add in the all purpose flour and stir it vigorously with the melted butter and let cook for 1 minute.

Then add the remaining cheese sauce ingredients. Use a hand whisk to whisk out the lumps. Keep whisking until it starts to boil and then keep whisking for a few minutes after it has boiled until it thickens. It will continue to thicken as it cools, so it doesn’t have to be all the way there when you remove it from the heat, as long as it has thickened considerably from when you started.
Now your sauce is ready, you can prepare your macaroni.

Cook your macaroni according to the package directions and then rinse and drain.
Add the cooked macaroni into the pot of sauce and toss it up with the sauce.
Then transfer the macaroni and sauce to a baking dish and smooth down.
Preheat the oven to 400°F

Prepare the crumb topping by toasting the protein bagel. Then put in the blender to create crumbs. 
Top the macaroni dish with the bread crumbs.
Bake for 20 minutes until the topping is golden brown and crispy.




My Favorite Vegan Chocolate chip cookies


I have so many healthy versions of chocolate chips on here, but no vegan ones. So today I am sharing my favorite vegan chocolate chip cookie. If you are wanting a healthier version of these sub out the flour for 1 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup coconut flour instead of the regular flour. It will add a lot of nutrients as well as being naturally gluten free. But sometimes you just want a regular cookie. Still a much healthier version but with allllll the taste and ooey gooey goodness. Note that I use my recipe for vegan butter in this, but you can sub coconut oil, it will just have a coconut flavor instead of a buttery flavor. You can get the Vegan butter recipe here. It is super easy to make and done very quickly. Another option is using cashew butter instead. 


vegan chocolate chip cookies

1/2 cup coconut sugar 
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup Vegan butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp  aquafaba 
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup unbleached organic flour (gluten free all purpose mix if GF)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use enjoy life brand) 



In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cane sugar, maple syrup, melted vegan butter, aquafaba and vanilla until combined.

Sift in the all purpose flour and baking soda and add in the salt. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet using a folding motion with a large spatula. This helps with not over mixing. Mix until the batter looks almost fully uniform.
 
Fold in the chocolate chips. until evenly dispersed throughout the batter. This also finished off mixing the batter.
 
Cover the bowl with a lid or wrap and place into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F

Using a medium cookie scoop, portion out the dough into equal sized balls on a lined baking tray leaving 2 inches between each cookie and bake for 10-13 minutes, or until there are golden brown spots.
Let them cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes. Then transfer onto a wire rack to let them cool.
Let me know if you try them! Comment below.

Vegan Butter

Once again I am blown away by the power of plants. This is creamy yummy butter that is SO GOOD you won't miss the dairy version. Perfect for us hormone warriors that love our dairy but our bodies reject it. I use this in place of butter in recipes. I melt this on pancakes and toast. Try it, you won't be sorry!


Vegan Butter

1 cup coconut oil
½ cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 pinch ground tumeric
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil 

Melt the coconut oil. Measure it when it's liquid and not when it's solid, then set it aside for a few minutes to cool. Don't use it while it's hot or warm. Allow it to get to room temperature first.
Place the Coconut oil, coconut milk, salt, nutritional yeast, vinegar and turmeric into a blender and blend until smooth.
  
Pour in the coconut oil and olive oil then blend until velvety smooth.
 
Pour the liquid butter into a container, cover and refrigerate until set.

Let is soften at room temperature for a few minutes before spreading for ultimate creaminess. Enjoy ! If you try it, let me know it the comments below! 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Dairy Free Vegan Cream Cheese


You guys.
I almost feel dumb for waiting this long to try this at home. 
It was stupid easy and it tastes JUST LIKE cream cheese. 
Do yourself a favor and just try it. So simple,

I am eating bagels and cream cheese again with ZERO guilt because it is packed full of nutrition and won't hurt my gut. I am so stoked you have no idea.

If you missed it, the vegan protein bagel recipe is here.

Dairy Free Vegan Cream Cheese

1 ½ cups raw unsalted cashews soaked
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup vegan yogurt unsweetened (can use regular yogurt if not vegan or dairy free)
½ teaspoon salt


Drain and rinse the soaked cashews.
Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender and pulse until smooth.
Taste and add more salt to your preference.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.

Vegan Protein Bagels

Stop cutting your carbs. Please just stop. It is not carbs that makes you gain weight. EAT REAL FOOD in a calorie deficit. That is what you need. If you have food sensitivities, just adjust your recipes, there is a substitute for just about everything. Recently dairy started making me bloat, and caused digestive problems. All that means is that I am not able to eat milk and cheese at the moment. Doesn't mean it's forever, what it really means is I can't have it here in the U.S. where they destroy our food with chemicals which have caused and rapid onset of autoimmune diseases in this country. 

SO if you are like me and are self advocating... you probably are making your own food the majority of the time. Bagels from the store are full of crap and if I eat them, I need a nap almost instantly. I don't want that feeling. I want FUEL. So these are my solution. Toast one of these bad boys up and eat them with my Vegan cream cheese. You CAN have what you want, you just have to be willing to cook a little. 



Vegan Protein Bagels


1 cup gluten free flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup vegan greek yogurt (recipe here)
1 egg white or 1/3 cup aquafaba
optional toppings: everything bagel seasoning, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, dried garlic flakes, dried onion flakes



Preheat oven to 375F. Place parchment paper or a silpat on a baking sheet.
 
In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk well. Add the yogurt and mix with a fork or spatula until well combined and a dough ball forms.

Lightly dust flour on a work surface and remove dough from the bowl, knead the dough a few times until dough is tacky, but not sticky.

Divide into 4 equal balls. Roll each ball into 3/4-inch thick ropes and join the ends to form bagels. (or you can make a ball and poke a hole in the center then stretch it slightly)

Top with egg wash OR aquafaba and sprinkle with seasoning of your choice. Bake on the top rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before cutting.

 Top with cream cheese!  If you missed it the vegan cream cheese recipe is up on my blog here.

Vegan Queso

I love cheese. I just wish it loved me. It doesn't. It hates me. I had to finally come to grips with this toxic relationship and love myself enough to say goodbye. Like all toxic relationships, I am sure I will try again down the line, only to be burned once again. 

In all seriousness. I have to have cheese and if I can't have the real thing, I will make one better. This is indeed better than regular queso, in my opinion, AND even in the opinion of my daughter. So give it a try. If you are like me your insides will thank you! 

Vegan Queso

1 cup raw cashews , soaked for at least 4 hours up to overnight, and drained
1/4 cup water (plus more, if needed)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
14 oz . can diced tomatoes with green chiles (rotel)

Put it all in the blender and blend until smooth. Store in the fridge. Use like you do regular queso.


Monday, March 8, 2021

Dairy Free Greek Yogurt ( Vegan )

Hormones...who's got em? 
My body has recently gone through hell and back with hormone changes thanks to turning 48 and aging is underway! I'm not worried. This is why I self advocate. Our bodies change and we need to make changes too. So I recently had to go off dairy. I love cheese and every so often I'll eat it again but just have to be aware of the consequences. It's not fun and it makes me bloat painfully. So I've been playing with recipes to replace my daily things that contained dairy and this one took the cake. 

It's sooooooo good!!!

I'll never go back to store bought greek yogurt and I'm definitely sticking to vegan on this one. Try it. Tell me what you think! For me it is like eating ice cream. I add some maple syrup and some granola and it is HEAVEN!!

VEGAN GREEK YOGURT

1 cup raw cashews, (soaked in water overnight and drained)
2 cans coconut milk
1/4 cup tapioca starch
3 capsules high quality probiotic

Instructions

Combine the drained cashews, coconut milk, and tapioca starch in a blender. Blend until silky smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and let cool.
Add to a glass bowl (no metal!) and stir in the probiotic with a wood, plastic, or glass utensil.
Cover the bowl with cheesecloth and secure it with a rubber band. Let ferment at room temperature overnight or until desired tanginess is achieved.

Don't be alarmed if a crust forms, that simply means it's ready! Mix well and store in the fridge.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Healthier Snickerdoodles

These cookies are packed full of nutrients and healthy fats and free from refined sugar and gluten. The main ingredient is almonds. Almonds contain lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E. The health benefits of almonds include lower blood sugar levels, reduced blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. They can also reduce hunger and promote weight loss. So leave these out for Santa but feel free to indulge too! 


Healthy Snickerdoodles

1/2 cup coconut oil 
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 cups blanched almond flour 

For the Topping:
1/4 cup coconut sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon





Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together the coconut oil and maple syrup 
Add the vanilla and eggs, mixing until well incorporated. Mix in the baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Add the almond flour, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition.

Mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl or shallow dish. Roll the cookie dough into 1 1/2 tablespoon rounds, then roll to coat in the sugar mixture. Drop the coated dough onto the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, about 3 inches apart.
Bake 11-13 minutes, or until golden brown around edges. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy!

Healthy Gingerbread banana muffins




I love working with Buckwheat. It is SO nutritious. Most get confused when they hear the name and think it has Gluten, so they steer clear. Let me enlighten you!! Buckwheat belongs to a group of foods commonly called pseudocereals. Pseudocereals are seeds that are consumed as cereal grains but don't grow on grasses. Other common pseudocereals include quinoa and amaranth. 

Despite its name, buckwheat is not related to wheat and is thus gluten-free. Buckwheat is one of the healthiest, nuttiest, most versatile Pseudocereals . It has more protein than rice, wheat, millet or corn and is high in the essential amino acids lysine and arginine, in which major cereal crops are deficient. Its unique amino acid profile gives buckwheat the power to boost the protein value of beans and cereal grains eaten the same day.

Raw buckwheat flour (ground groats) is more absorbent than wheat flour and is used in recipes for pancakes, blini, and pasta such as Japanese soba noodles.  Buckwheat flour contains four times as much fiber as whole wheat flour, and is also a very good source of manganese and magnesium. I like to make sweet breads with it. Tis' the season so here is some healthy gingerbread. You can make loaves out of it too if you prefer. I like muffins for easy serving. 
I topped with Vegan Sugar-Free Whipped Cream and a dash of cinnamon.


Healthy gingerbread banana muffins 

3/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup Maple syrup or honey or  coconut sugar or date paste
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups of mashed bananas around 4 large banana's
1/2 cup of molasses 
1 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
2 1/2 teaspoons ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda


Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Prepare your muffin pan.
Beat the coconut oil, vanilla and sweetener of choice until fully incorporated.
Beat in the eggs until combined.
Mix in the banana and molasses until completely combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
Mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture until completely mixed in.
Let sit for 15 minutes and then stir again to let the coconut flour absorb. 

Fill your muffin pan filling each hole to the top.
Bake for 20--30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Remove and cool for 10-15 minutes, then remove from the pans onto a wire rack and cool completely.