Tag Archives: vegan

Creamy Avocado Spread/Dip (Vegan)

Ever on the search for a better breakfast alternative, I dreamed up this creation to satisfy my desire to eat more avocados, as well as an alternative for a breakfast/snack/dip that was savory, but not unhealthy.

Avocados are so good for you: according to californiaavocado.com “Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fiber, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a “nutrient booster” by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.”

There’s the facts … here’s the spread:

What you will need:

  • 1-2 avocados
  • a drizzle olive oil
  • lemon/orange juice
  • a splash of dairy-free milk (optional)
  • spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, smoked paprika

The Method:

  1. Half the avocados and scoop out the flesh into a food processor. (I used 1.5 small avocados)
  2. Pulse until it starts to get creamy. 562
  3. Add the lemon/orange juice, a drizzle of olive oil, and the spices of your choice. Pulse until creamy.561
  4. If it is still really thick, you can thin it with the diary-free milk, or the olive oil.

564

Serving Suggestions:

  • Spread onto toast for a great breakfast or snack. 
  • Spread onto a sandwich in place of mayonnaise.
  • Put into a bowl for dipping chips or veggies.

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Eco Emi January 2013 – Unboxing

Check out what I got in this month’s Eco Emi box!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!

~Sharon

Sprouted Breakfast Oatmeal (No Cooking Required!)

Raise your hand if you actually wake up and prepare breakfast for yourself before leave the house in the morning… … … If you’re anything like me, your hand is not raised right now. I’m so busy that I need to get as much sleep as possible, and unfortunately, that does not mean waking up early to make a healthy breakfast. I had to come up with a solution I would eat. I turned to oatmeal.

There is nothing more bland and tasteless than oatmeal. I’ve never been a huge fan of it … a hot bowl of slimy goo that I was supposed to like because it was flavored and covered and sugar. Not for me. I’ve tried, in vain, for years to like oatmeal … but no success, until now!

So what changed? The oats. The method of preparation. The ingredients.

The method is simple … you make it the night before and BAM!!! – breakfast to go in the morning. No more waking up early to make yourself something. No more stopping on your way to work for something “quick” and unhealthy. This recipe makes enough to last us all week – we each take about 1/2 cup about 3 times per week. This breakfast gives you sustained energy to get up and going for the day.

What you will need:

  • a medium glass bowl
  • 1 cup of oats (I use steel-cut – but rolled is fine, too)
  • 2 cups of cashew milk
  • a few tablespoons of molasses or 1/2 cup of dates
  • a tablespoon or two of cinnamon
  • agave nectar, optional (for added sweetness)
  • 1/4 cup of fried fruit – we use cranberries but cherries or anything else will do fine.
  • nuts or seeds

The method: Do this the night before.

  1. Put the cashew milk in the blender, add the molasses or dates and cinnamon. Blend.20130127_180050
  2. Taste the mixture to see if it is to your liking – if you prefer a little more sweetness add a tablespoon or so of agave nectar.
  3. Put the uncooked oats into the glass bowl. Pour the cashew milk mixture on top. Stir to combine. Add dried cranberries. (I also threw in 1/4 c. flax-seed).20130127_18003920130127_180110
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours). The next morning you will have either a solid mixture if you used rolled oats, but if you used steel-cut you will have a slightly soupy mixture.

Personally – I prefer the slightly soupy mixture. I just scoop enough in my to-go container and bring it with me to work. I eat it cold. Sugar prefers to warm his up by microwaving it for a few minutes at work.

You can also vary this by adding nuts, seeds, other fruits, other spices … the sky is the limit.  Make your own custom flavor by changing the spice, sweetener, and add-ins.

How do you feel about eating sprouted oatmeal?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

How to make your own cashew milk

Being one of those people who is allergic to dairy makes life tough. However, I feel so much better with cow’s milk out of my life – no more upset tummies! I love soy milk (even though there are reports out there that soy isn’t good for you), hemp milk, and sometimes almond milk … but those cartons are expensive ($4.98 for a quart of hemp milk!). When I found out how easy it is to make your own cashew milk … I about fainted. Not only is it quick and easy … it only requires two ingredients and will cost a fraction of what you’re paying for your non-dairy beverages. Get ready for your mind to be blown:

What you will need: 

  • blender
  • 1/2-2/3 cups of raw unsalted cashews (buy in bulk section of your grocery store)
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 minutes of time

095Assemble your blender. Add cashews, water, and blend on high for 2 minutes. Bam! Cashew milk … not kidding you.098

This beauty will replace any milk or non-dairy milk. I use it to make oatmeal, my egg-less french toast, to dip cookies in, and anything else you like milk in. It has a light flavor and the taste of the cashew is nearly gone, but yet has a subtle richness. Try it out – you won’t be disappointed.

I made some cashew milk for hot cocoa the other night … it was a hit … everyone loved it. So, I challenge you to take out your blender, make some cashew milk, and tell me what you think! I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

Vegetarian Comfort Food: Beef-less Beef Stew

Fall always makes me crave comfort foods, and that includes rich and hearty stews. I wanted to take this all-American comfort-food classic and turn it into a vegetarian/vegan friendly dish that would satisfy beef-eaters, too.

What you will need:

In the bottom of a large stock pot over medium heat, swirl a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add onion, celery and mushrooms.  Cook until slightly browned. 

Add carrots, green beans and season with salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Add water, stock, and garbanzo beans. Bring to a boil. Add potatoes and mushroom base. Boil for 15-20 minutes.

In a separate skillet with a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil, brown the beefless tips over medium to medium high heat, being careful not to burn.

Once potatoes are tender, whisk the 1 cup of red wine with the three packets of vegetarian brown gravy and arrowroot powder. Add to stock pot. Add the browned beefless tips. Cook for 5 minutes until thick and the flavors have married.

Serve it up with toasted and buttered chunks of french bread and enjoy your hearty meal! My Sweetie exclaimed that this is what he always wanted beef stew to taste like. So – that’s one testimonial for you.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Have you tried turning old favorites into vegetarian/vegan -friendly meals?

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Crockpot Vegan Chili

Growing up in an Italian family, life centered around the kitchen. My Father is a fantastic cook, and I owe much of my skills and love for cooking to him. On the weekends, there was always something marvelous cooking and the house would fill with aromas that would make me and my brothers drool. I know now that we were spoiled to have such wonderful home-cooking as kids. So, I want to give a public “Thank You!” to my Father for taking such great care of us. I love you, Daddy!

On that note, among my Father’s arsenal of recipes was his chili, and dang, his chili was soooooooo good.  I will note that my Father did not like “yankee chili” with beans in it … so his was a good ol’ meaty chili recipe. Here is my vegan twist on this family favorite. 

This is a picture of the original recipe … note the wrinkles in the paper, the real chili stain on it, and the fact that is written on some personalized stationary my grandmother gave to me when I was very young.

What you will need:

  • 2 cans of kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 lb. or beef-less ground, browned (I got mine at Trader Joes)
  • 1/2 – 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 T. minced garlic
  • 4 T. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2.5 tsp. cumin
  • 1.5 tsp. oregano
  • 8 ounce can of tomato sauce
  • some Oven Dried Tomatoes (for extra flavor) optional if you don’t have the time to make them … but I’m glad I added them, it gave the chili a great depth of flavor.
  • 1 cup of water or vegetable broth
  • cheese or nooch and vegan sour cream for garnish

With the crock pot on high, add the beans, onion, garlic, seasonings, tomato sauce, and broth.

Meanwhile, brown the beef-less ground in a skillet. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the ground into the crock pot, stir everything to combine. Cook on high for 4-5 hours, low for 7-8 hours. Mine was nice and thick, so I didn’t need to make any slurry to thicken it up.

I served mine up with some grated cheese, and a dollop of vegan sour cream. I also made this fantastic Cornbread recipe from Rural Spin. It was delicious! This was the perfect way to warm up on a cold October evening. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do! Thanks again, Daddy!

What’s your favorite comfort food? A family recipe, perhaps? Please share in the  comments!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy!
~Sharon

Creamy Potato Soup (Vegan)

Over the last week it got very cold here in Nevada. We even had some snowfall in the mountains (hooray for ski season!) Although – it did botch my plans for a mini motorcycle trip on Friday. I’ll get over it – there will be plenty of opportunities to take Black Beauty out. (I call my bike Black Beauty, I’m a dork, I know – it’s awesome.)

What goes great with chilly weather? Fluffy sweaters, flannel blankets and warm creamy soups! I came home yesterday and whipped up this little number. I hope you enjoy it!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 3 celery stalks washed and sliced
  • 2 carrots cubed
  • 5-7 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth, I used 1/2 mushroom base 1/2 veggie bullion cubes
  • 1 T. Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp. crushed bay leaves
  • 2 T. brown rice flour (or whatever flour you want)
  • 2/3 c. unsweetened soy milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice)
  • 2 T. Nooch (optional)
  • Vegan sour cream for garnish
  • salt & pepper to taste

Serves 4. Use organic ingredients when you can.

First, give the bottom of your soup pot a good swirl or two of olive oil. Add onions, cook for 3-5 minutes, add celery, carrots, cook for another 3 minutes. 

Then add the broth, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and about half of the potato cubes. If you don’t want your potatoes to oxidize, cut and cube half of your potatoes for this part. Then we will put the other half in towards the end of the cooking process. 

Cook for 30-45 minutes. I had time to kill until my sweetheart got home so I cooked mine for about an hour. I’m sure this recipe could be cooked in under an hour.

Then get out your stick blender or regular blender and blend it all together to create the creamy base for your soup. If you use a blender, make sure to cool the soup slightly before blending. I used my stick blender and shoved it right into the pot on the stove.

Now add the milk, nooch and the rest of the potato cubes. Next, you’ll want to make a slurry in a jar using the 2 T. of flour and about 3 T. of water (or milk). A slurry thickens the soup, so you want to put the water and flour in a jar, put the lid on tight and shake it up, now add that to your soup. 

Cook for about 20 minutes until the potato cubes are soft and the soup is slightly thick and creamy. Make sure to check your seasonings … I found mine needed some additional salt and pepper.

Ladle a good amount into some soup bowls, top with a dollop of sour cream and enjoy the creamy goodness. I served mine with some toasted naan bread for dipping. It was delish! Bowls were licked clean last night – hooray for no dishes! (Kidding!)

What’s your favorite way to stay warm? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time, I send you peace, love, and good energy.

~Sharon

Make Your Own Body Oil/Lotion

For most of my life I’ve been itchy … dry skin, allergy rashes … you name it. All I was ever told by a doctor was to not take hot showers, put on lotion twice a day, and avoid things I’m allergic to (food, insects, etc.). No one ever stopped to wonder if it was just the food allergies or if there was more to the story.

Now well into my adulthood I have finally stopped to wonder if there was more I could do for myself. Although I can attribute some of my skin itchies to food allergies, I think dry skin is mostly to blame. Despite eating very well, I still find I have dry skin. And no matter how much store-bought lotion I put on … it never helps. I had to figure something else out.

My Sweetie has me on wonderful supplements, I take flax seed oil and safflower oil daily … so I’m nourished from the inside. But what about the outside? Fortunately, there are relatively inexpensive all-natural ways to take care of that. I only recently discovered the magic in natural oils. I wish I had found them sooner!

There are many wonderful ingredients given to us by Mother Earth that are absolutely perfect for nourishing and caring for our beloved skin. Here are some to name a few:

  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Jajoba oil
  • Shea butter
  • Coco butter
  • Almond oil
  • Argon oil
  • Avocado oil

Recently, I’ve been messing around with different combinations for my skin. The one I’m going to share with you is a great combination of oils for my dry skin. It goes in an old lotion bottle that has a pump. I personally love the pump over a jar … much more user friendly. I find that this particular one is best used when you get right out of the shower when your skin is still hot and your pores are still open. I simply pump as much as I need into my hand and rub it all over. I wait a little bit before I get dressed so it absorbs into my skin and not my clothing. 

What you will need:

  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. jajoba oil
  • 1 T. of rose hip oil (optional)
  • essentail oils (optional)
  • funnel
  • double boiler (optional)
  • container for your product

Let’s get mixing!

  1. Melt your coconut oil. You can do it in the double boiler or the microwave. If you don’t know what a double boiler is check out how here. You simply fill the bottom pan with 1 inch or so of water, place the other container/glass bowl on top… and melt stuff in the top part.
  2. Remove from the heat. Add olive oil, jajoba oil, and rose hip oil to the coconut oil. Stir to combine.
  3. Now you can add the essential oil of your choice for scent … lavender, etc. I prefer mine unscented.
  4. Next, use the funnel to pour the oil into a container.
  5. Let it cool and it is ready for use!

I used these small containers just to show you as my lotion pump was already full. When I start to run low, I will use these as refills.

Note: this is merely one combination of oils … I’ve experimented with several different combinations. I personally enjoy this one because it will work in my pump bottle and it stays liquid. Anything with lots of the ‘hard’ oils in it … such as coconut or shea will harden when it cools. I will keep experimenting and let you know of any new discoveries!

What’s your favorite moisturizer? Leave any questions in the comments!

Until next time, I send you peace, love and good energy.

~Sharon

DIY Organic Apple Chips: A Simple, Healthy Snack

Fall is one of my favorite seasons … and also the time of year when the two apple trees in my back yard are bursting forth with their bounty. With this comes the conundrum that most gardeners face … what to do with all those apples before they go bad. Although apples are a hearty fruit, they do not keep forever. I have been staring at these four bags of apples in the kitchen with dismay as to what to do with them. I have been so busy, and hardly have time to slave in the kitchen all day.

Then I saw a post by Rural Spin for Dried Cucumbers and that got me to thinking that I could apply the same method to my apples. As most of you probably know, organic dried apples or organic apple chips at the store can cost a fortune. Here’s my at home version that doesn’t require a fancy dehydrator. All you need is an oven and some time to kill.

What you will need:

Let’s get started!

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Cut up the apples into thin slices. Or use a fancy mandoline slicer (which is on my list of kitchen gadgets to buy) to get a more even cut.
  3. Put the apple slices in a plastic bag or a vegetable bag. (make sure it doesn’t have any holes or you’re going to make a mess)
  4. Add the oil to the bag.
  5. Shake as much or as little cinnamon as you like onto the apples.
  6. Now make sure there is some air in the bag. Twist the top closed so you make what looks like a balloon filled with apples, and get shaking!
  7. Open the bag and peer inside and see if the apples look like they are evenly coated with the oil and cinnamon to your pleasing. If so, start laying them out in a single layer on the baking sheet lined with wax paper or use the wire racks (no paper necessary for the racks).
  8. Bake in the oven for 3-4 hours. If you like chewy apple slices do less time. If you want them to be more like chips, go longer. This also depends on how thick or thin your slices are. If they are thick, they take longer to get to the chip phase, and it logically follows that if the slices are thin, they will take less time.

While you wait for you apple yummies to bake up, curl up with a good book, do some homework (which is what I did), clean the house, or go relax. Also, you can put sugar on the apples, too. I chose not to add sugar to keep this a healthy snack.

***WARNING***

Consuming apple chips is highly addictive and they are certain to disappear fast. It’s best to make another batch! When I went to go try my apple chips, they disappeared into my stomach in a flash. I made three times as much the following day. I felt it was only fair to warn you. 🙂 I hope you enjoy your snack.

What’s your favorite fall food? Please share in the comments section. And if you like this, please like and subscribe.

Until next time, I send you love, peace, and good energy.

~Sharon