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

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! 

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