Tag Archives: vegan

Vegan Whipped Topping

I found ambrosia, ya’ll.  For real.  This recipe is posted on just about every vegan site and there’s a reason for that.  It’s so good, even meat eaters will want to beat you to the table to get it.  It’s that good.  Make this!

First, get a can of full fat coconut milk.  (Do not get reduced fat or any of that silliness!  It must be full fat, nothing else will work.  How do I know that…?)

This is awesomeness!

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Place your can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight.  This causes the fat in the milk to become solid.  I use this brand because it’s unsweetened, non-GMO and organic.  Plus, it’s fairly affordable and that’s always nice. 

 

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When you’re ready to make your whipped topping, take the can out and turn it upside down and open the bottom of the can.  The milk will be at the bottom and you can dump it out in a small bowl and save it for smoothies.  It’s yummy!  The milk fat will be at the bottom and you can scoop it out for your whipped topping. 

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Next, add 1/4 cup of organic powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup, a pinch of fine sea salt, 2 or 3 drops of alcohol free vanilla and a pinch of cinnamon.  I usually add my cinnamon after I’ve mixed it well.  I don’t know why, it’s just how I do it.  Roll with me.

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Now, the cinnamon:

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Continue mixing well:

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And you get this:

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It’s good on cakes, pies, in coffee, on cupcakes, by itself, by the spoonful, on a bowl of berries and pretty much any way you can think to use something light, sweet and delicious.  The really wonderful thing about this whipped topping is that it’s very light and not so sweet it’s overwhelming.  It’s perfection!  If you like super sweet, feel free to add more sugar, syrup or whatever floats your boat. 

Enjoy!

Kristi  🙂

 

Pina Colada Smoothie

I’m sure people in Wisconsin will view this as a comedic performance, but it’s cold here in the South.  (Michigan residents are also laughing now, I’m sure)  Anything below 40 degrees may as well be Arctic in my little corner of the world and I’m missing hot, muggy summer days where smoothies made of frozen pineapple are a must every night.  So, about 10 minutes before typing this, I was sitting in front of a fireplace, with my feet on the hearth, drinking a Pina Colada Smoothie and dreaming about St. Martin, or Barbados.  You can pick whichever works for you.  My dream place had sandy beaches, sunny climates and warm, aqua colored water.  And this:

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I use fresh, frozen pineapple, but you can use pre-bagged and it works just fine.  Since we don’t cut our fresh pineapple in pretty little squares, use at least 1 1/2 cups if you’re using pre-bagged frozen pineapple.  We usually use 10 medium sized pieces from a fresh one.  Add 1/2 banana, 1 tablespoon of raw, organic honey, 1 tablespoon of chia seeds, 1/2 cup of coconut milk and mix until well blended.  I don’t use any ice because the frozen pineapple and chia seeds make this nice and thick.  (Did you know chia seeds turn into a gooey substance when they’re added to water or milk?!”   Top it off with some shredded unsweetened coconut and it’s a keeper!

That’s it!

Enjoy.

Kristi  🙂

Vegan Margherita Sandwich

I’m ready to start gardening so badly that I spend most of my evenings reading my gardening books and thinking of ways to pack the most punch for our space.  We’re blessed because we live on over an acre and our garden is a good size and usually produces pretty well.  I’m sending my soil sample to Clemson next week, and I’m thrilled!  (They do soil sampling for six bucks in case you’ve never done that!!)

Tomatoes are one of my favorite things to grow and eat.  I love how they look, how they smell, how they taste and how abundant they are in my part of the country.  I’d just mentioned to Dave that I’d be glad to get a “real” tomato once summer comes blazing in because whatever the things they have in the grocery stores down here in the winter, are not “real” tomatoes to a Southern girl.  And then I walked in the Fresh Market and they had some heirlooms sitting on the front counter and I may have made a tiny noise of excitement when I saw them based on the sweet greeters face.  Or it could have been that the young greeter is always normally hesitant to speak to customers (but I doubt it!).  Who can say?

So, I decided to make a Margherita sandwich with a few twists because heirlooms need special treatment, even if they are winter heirlooms.  I’d found some rice bread at the Fresh Market, too, so what better way to make use of a bread I’d never tried than with flavors that I love?

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First, get a good bread! (I liked the gf rice bread, but I’d use grain next time)  Then, get your tomatoes, hummus, basil (dried or fresh…I used dried because I didn’t have fresh and it was fine), Vegenaise, Daiya mozzarella,kale and salt and pepper.

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Place 1/2 cup of garlic hummus in a small bowl and mix one to two heaping tablespoon(s) of dried basil into the hummus.

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Smear as much hummus/basil mixture onto one slice of the bread as you’d like and smear some Vegenaise onto the other slice.  Place your mozzarella, tomato and kale on the sandwich, salt and pepper to taste and close her up.

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Place your sandwich in a skillet on med-low heat in a sliver of vegan butter (I use Earth Balance).  I use an iron skillet because I like the way it cooks the bread much better! Cook each side about 2 minutes and then flip. I turned my sandwich twice and recooked each side to make sure my cheese was melted well and my bread had a nice crunch.

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This was wonderful and easy!  I think the garlic, basil hummus really made the sandwich, so if you have that on hand, give it a shot!

Enjoy!

Kristi  🙂

Money Matters

One of the biggest challenges for everyone I know is money and one of the most asked questions that I’ve received as a vegan who is actively seeking to not only remove meat and dairy from our diet, but to also eat as organically and truthfully as I can is, “Isn’t that a lot more expensive than just eating “regular” food?”   Honestly, the answer is, “No, it’s not that much more expensive, if at all”.

First, meat isn’t cheap.  Even cheap meat isn’t cheap. Do we need to discuss the crazy price of milk?  Load a grocery cart with hamburger, sausage, hotdogs, sandwich meat, gallons of milk and cheese and steak and compare that to a grocery cart loaded with veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, grains, rice, oats and spices and compare them.  No difference except in the nutritional value that you’re consciously putting in your mouth.

Second, most people think that vegans eat salad and that’s all.  I’m hoping to change some of that perspective with this blog, although there is nothing wrong with a beautiful raw salad and we have one every single day. (We usually add the vegan ranch that I posted a few weeks ago. You can find it here.) I can’t believe how passionate I’ve become about food in such a short time!  I can’t read enough, study enough, learn enough.  I shamefully admit that I was willfully ignorant of how important our food choices are to ourselves and the people we love the most, so I completely understand the reaction that people have when I discuss this topic.  It seems foreign to them and it is.  However, it shouldn’t be and that’s important.

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I’ve found that I’m seeking out foods that I never thought of when I was a carnivore!  There is a big food world out there and it’s kind of exciting.  Here’s some good places to start:

Beans:  Beans are so much more than they appear.  They are inexpensive and they can be used in so many ways!  You can transform them into much more than just beans.

Those salads I mentioned:  There is a plethora of ingredients to make a salad.  All kinds of salads.  We have some posts we hope to work on through the summer as our garden progresses that will prove this theory.   …grin…

Potatoes.  Enough said.  (How good are sweet potatoes?!)  And again, an entire bag is usually less than five dollars in my area.

Veggies can also be used in ways I never considered when we started this journey.  We’re looking for a Spiral Veggie Cutter right now.  Did you know you can make veggie pasta?!  Just looking at recipes and thinking about all I can do with them makes me happy.  The health benefits of this idea are endless to me and we’ll definitely be sharing what we learn and experiment with, for sure.  Once again, veggies are not super expensive.  Lettuces, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, celery, peppers, etc…are not super expensive.  (they are no more expensive than that bag of junk potato chips that costs four dollars a bag)

Fruits really deserve a completely separate post, but for our purposes we’ll keep it short.  Fruit is spectacularly good for you and in such abundance in the United States.  We have a great deal to be thankful for in the US and one of the primary ones is how much food we can get with such little effort. Even better is that organic fruits are making a huge leap into our stores and farmer’s markets are showing up more and more in areas where they’d once drifted away.  We grow virtually every kind of fruit (really any kind of food!) and it’s so easily accessible that there’s little excuse for not consuming more of it.  Berries alone are worth their weight in gold, as well as their superfood status.  Can I admit I’d never eaten a medjool date until we first stepped foot on this path?  I know.  It’s sad.  I’m having a love affair with them now, though, so show me some grace.

Grains and oats are so plentiful that it’s crazy.  For those that are gluten intolerant, I’m thrilled they’re lots of alternatives for you, but I’ll admit that I love all grains, even wheat laden ones, and I’m blessed to say I actually prefer the ones that aren’t whitened by bleach.  Awesome!  Oats can be used in many recipes in so many ways that it’s amazing.  Mix them with some almonds in a processor and see what happens.  It’s lovely.  Oh…and steel cut, old-fashioned oats are cheap!!  MUCH cheaper than the sugary, fake cereals  many kids begin their day noshing on.  Granola can be made at home and it’s excellent and inexpensive, plus it’s awesome.  We’ve been making our own granola long before we started our food challenge;  I’ll share it soon, too.  I’ll throw in rice here, as well.  A huge bag of brown rice is super inexpensive and can be added to just about any dish to make it more hearty.

Nuts and seeds are fabulous and plentiful and again, not so expensive when you realize that you only need to buy a small amount to go a LONG way!  Plus, there are nut butters and nut cheeses that add to your huge supply of food choices and nuts are really a beautiful thing.  Organic, all natural peanut and almond butters, people.

This post is literally the tip of a great big iceburg of food choices that are healthy and inexpensive.  This journey is worth the time and the effort that it takes.  What’s more, our lives are at stake.  Food matters and what you put in your body can genuinely mean the difference between a life well lived and a life barely lived.  Food is causing some major problems for people that we love and care about.  Problems like obesity, depression, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, arthritis, body issues, high blood pressure, stroke, some cancers, osteoporosis, etc…  This is important and I want to treat it that way.  I imagine that every person knows someone who suffers from one, or more, of these diseases. I know I do and I’ve struggled with my own body image my entire life.  Now, just imagine a world where those problems were solved by food and not big medicine or big hospital bills or fad diets or crazy diet pills or medication that makes you sicker.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned so far in our journey to rediscover food and reprogram our thoughts about food is that most people don’t believe that they can make this kind of lifestyle change. They can live with their diseases and their broken body image, but they simply cannot give up ground carcass or pus filled milk!  I’ve learned that the food challenge isn’t just “ours”.  The food challenge applies to almost every person I know and food, especially in the US, shouldn’t be challenging, at all!

Finally, we’re making some Vegan Thai food tonight! (Who doesn’t want Thai food, right? It may also involve peanut butter. Even better.) I’ll share that recipe this weekend or early next week.  It’s a big, lovely world of food options out there, and I can’t wait to discover more of them and show others that healthy eating doesn’t have to break the bank account in the process!

Many Blessings, Kristi  🙂

No Bake Chewy Chocolate Cranberry Bars

Hello.  My name is Kristi and I’m a chocoholic.  I’m also vegan and learning to love myself and take care of myself.  So, to combine those two things, I made chewy chocolate cranberry bars.  It could be love.

First, grab these ingredients:

Old fashioned oats, raw organic almonds, organic cocao powder, sea salt, medjool dates, maple syrup, organic coconut oil, chia or flaxseeds, dairy-free chocolate chips (I used mini, but whatever you like will do) and organic dried cranberries.  All of this is easily found at most grocery stores, but Whole Foods and The Fresh Market have all of them for sure.

Next, toss 1 cup of the oats and 1/2 cup of the almonds into your processor. I’ve found that these two items are a must in my vegan pantry, by the way!

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Mix them until they are well processed, almost like a flour, then toss 1/2 cup of cocao and a pinch of salt in and blend.

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Then add 1/2 cup of chia or flaxseed and pulse for a few seconds.  Add around eleven to thirteen dates.  The moisture content will determine how many you want.  I used eleven in this batch, but have had to use as many as thirteen. If your dates aren’t moist enough, soak them for 30 minutes and they’ll be fine.  After blending these ingredients, add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.  I used the coconut oil because it’s good and because of it’s well known use in keeping blood sugars level.  I added the maple syrup one tablespoon at a time and pulsed between the additions.

Place this mixture in a glass bowl and add 1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of the cranberries.

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Mix these ingredients together by hand until they are well incorporated and then place them in a small glass casserole dish.  I used an 8 x 8 one that worked great.  Press the mixture down with your fingers and try to make it as uniform as you can.  I always have a few chips left over in the bowl, so I dump them on top and press them into the mixture because who wastes chocolate, right?

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Place the casserole dish in the fridge for 30 minutes so the mixture can set and it cuts much easier, as well.  (Or you can spoon it out now.  No judgement from me, folks.)

Then, cut it into bars and eat up.

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These are chewy fabulousness and so easy to take with you if you’re on the run.  As a bonus, they are sweet and healthy!

Enjoy!

Kristi  🙂

A Very Berry Spinach Vegan Smoothie

Spinach is pretty much the Incredible Hulk of vegetables.  It has Calcium, Vitamins K and C, as well as good amounts of complex B vitamins.  It has potassium, manganese, magnesium, copper and zinc.  It’s also rich in Omega 3 and iron.  That’s not even close to all, but you get the point.  I love spinach in salads, but I know lots of people don’t like the taste.  Here’s a great alternative that will still give you the benefits, and then some, while hiding the flavor behind more deliciousness!

Grab a handful of spinach and toss it in your blender.  I have a Ninja with individual cups and that’s what I use.  (it’s the biggest reason I bought this particular Ninja and I love these cups!  Every blender/processor should have these!!)

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Toss your spinach in first, then top it with 2/3 cups of unsweetened, organic frozen mixed berries, 1/2 cup of unsweetened frozen mango pieces, 1 tablespoon of agave nectar and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds.  Then start with 1/2 cup of vanilla almond milk.  Sometimes, I have to add another 1/2 cup of almond milk, depending on how well the frozen fruits decide they want to fall in the mixing process and also how thick/thin I want my smoothie to be.  My kids want it to be like ice cream and I like a more traditional smoothie feel.  Whatever floats your boat will work!

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Mix well and serve!

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This is yummy and filled with so much goodness for your body and it could not be easier to make!  You can substitute kale for the spinach, if you’d like.  I do sometimes and it’s equally yummy!

Enjoy!   Kristi  🙂

Raw Vegan Chocolate Oatmeal Energy Bites

These little bites of energy are so good they make me want to do a happy dance.  I’ve made no secret that sugar is my vice and my biggest food weakness.  I love sugar and I once thought that the only kind of sugar that could satisfy was the kind that eats away at our cell walls and the kind that helps make Krispy Kreme so successful. (You know, the kind that makes us obese and creates a low-level addiction?  Yeah…that kind.)  I was wrong.  (again)  These babies have chocolate in them, too! (it’s dairy and soy free!) In my world, that’s a win-win.

Get yourself some old-fashioned oats and pour two cups of them into a bowl:

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Then, add 3/4 cup of dairy-free chocolate.  I use this kind:

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They also make mini-chips if you don’t want the large chunks.  I prefer the chunks in these, but the minis will work just fine and may suit some people’s taste better. 

Next, add 3/4 cup peanut butter. (I used organic, all natural peanut butter, so I had more peanut oil in mine. If you use the PB with more additives in it, you may need more or less depending on your personal preference)  Add 1/2 cup of local, raw, unprocessed honey or organic maple syrup.  I know some vegans don’t eat honey, but I do and because of its superfood status will continue to do so. The maple syrup may call for less than 1/2 cup. I’ve never used it, but it could be substituted here.  Finally, add 3/4 cup of chia seeds or flax seed, whichever you prefer and  3 or 4 drops of vanilla extract and mix everything together very well with a large spoon or fork.

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Once everything is mixed, take a spoonful and roll them into balls with your hand.  Also, keep a small bowl of water handy to dip your fingers into.  These are sticky and the water keeps it from sticking to your hand and helps it to form and hold its shape better.  (You could always just eat it by the spoonful, too.  Wanna guess how that thought came to mind?)

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These are packed with fiber, antioxidants and goodness.  They are sweet enough that one or two is plenty to stop your sweet tooth in its tracks, too.  (always a bonus for me)  I’ve found that having this kind of food on hand helps me to focus on eating more raw and healthy foods because I’m not obsessing over a Snickers.  You may, or may not, struggle with a sweet tooth (I’m giving you the stink eye if you don’t), but I do and I’ve made an effort to find things that satisfy and create health at the same time.  These are easily portable, too, and that’s another bonus for me.  Slap a few of these in a ziplock and your afternoon craving or slump just took a fast hike!

Enjoy!

Kristi  🙂