Archive for vegan

Try something NEW: 10 Alternative Thanksgiving sides and accompaniments EVERYONE will love

Thanksgiving is 2 weeks away! Does anyone else’s family eat totally differently, with an array of allergies and preferences? One Vegetarian (or vegan), me, the token paleo, someone is always part-time gluten-free or Keto, various people have serious or subtle allergies to nuts (me and my cousins), or new restrictions like broccoli (also ME. I AM the problem). There is a lot to keep track of, and it’s hard to please everyone all the time. I hope that I’m bringing a solution to you in the following whole food, easy-to-make options for Thanksgiving. Whether you’re hosting, contributing to a potluck, or pulling together a “Friendsgiving” celebration, these dishes can help you to both please a crowd and branch out at the same time. It’s easy to dazzle tastebuds with loads of sugar coating or generous amounts of butter and cream, but you can also dazzle in a healthy way this holiday season. All my recipes are inspired by comfort foods and big flavors, so you can give the gift of a healthy side-dish that doesn’t “taste healthy” as my husband puts it!turmeric cocktail

For a spectacular and dazzling appetizer pair, try my Fall Turmeric Cocktail with Bacon-Wrapped Dates or shooters of Lori’s Butternut, Fennel & Leek Soup with a fennel garnish on top! For a different, but classically delicious Italian spin on traditional squash, try Acorn Squash Agrodocle, an uniquely delicious side that I recently posted.

Butternut Sage Quinoa

For a protein-packed vegetarian side (Vegan if you replace the butter with oil), try my very popular dish that everyone at Friendsgiving wanted the recipe for, Butternut Squash and Sage Quinoa with Macadamia nuts

For your sometimes gluten-free, one-time vegetarian, newly keto cousin, who you never know what the hell they might eat, try my spin on my Granny’s classic Tart Cranberry Relish.

Tart Cranberry Relish

Thanksgiving can also be stressful. Whether you’re hosting, spending time with the in-laws, or navigating your own colorful family, this holiday can be tricky. It can also get monotonous with everyone clinging to their favorite tradition. This is going to make me sound like a grinch, but it’s hard for me to endorse even the most sentimental traditions when they’re often made up of non-foods: canned cranberry sauce, marshmallow/sugary toppings, evaporated/condensed milk, instant puddings, the list goes on… Tradition is important, sure. It’s also important to have a balance, which is why I like to introduce new WHOLE food recipes that are totally homemade, but easy and with no artificial ingredients. THESE are the traditions that I want the children in my family to remember and adopt so that they can have sentimental favorites that also benefit their health.

In my mind, the most important Thanksgiving tradition is the Pumpkin Pie, and thus, I think it is my most important recipe for you to try. I encourage you to whip up some full-fat coconut milk, sweetened with a bit of vanilla extract and honey or maple syrup to top it! This recipe is dairy free, vegetarian, gluten free, and paleo.

If Pumpkin pie is not your thing, I encourage you to try my newest recipe for Sticky Toffee Pudding (coming 11/11) or my crowd-pleasing and nut-free Sunflower Sesame Seed Cookies

And finally, you will need some nourishment in the morning as you prepare the day’s Thanksgiving meal and watch the Parade! My Pumpkin Coffee Cake is my best recipe to date! It is melt-in-your-mouth perfection and would be an EXCELLENT way to say “Thank you” to your Thanksgiving host or “Good Morning!” to your house guests!

If this was helpful to you AT ALL, please drop a comment and let me know. It would make my holiday to know that one of the recipes I’ve created has made it to another family’s precious dinner table!

paleo pumpkin coffee cake

BBQ Jackfruit Nachos {Vegan/Paleo}

This recipe is not only healthy for a comfort food like Nachos, it is also super cheap, at under $12 for the ingredients. I got everything from Trader Joe’s. I love their plantain chips, but they also have some great multigrain/ Quinoa tortilla chips. Jackfruit doesn’t really taste like chicken, but it has a similar texture and the flavor is neutral and covered completely by the BBQ sauce, so it is a great “imposter.” I fed these nachos to Matt and his friend, Jake, and they had no idea it wasn’t chicken until I told them. Those BBQ flavors are strong and that is what your palate focuses on, along with yummy fats like cheese and guacamole.

Eating meatless meals is often cheaper, and a good balance to my paleo diet. I love experimenting with vegan foods because, like paleo, it is such an anti-inflammatory diet, if you do it right! I know I suggest going without cheese for the Vegan version, and some people probably think that’s crazy for nachos. HOWEVER, I have been on a strict AIP paleo regiment and had nachos with sweet potato fries or plantain chips that are served just with veggies, pulled chicken, and tons of flavorful guacamole and THEY. ARE. DELICIOUS. If you opt out on the cheese, for either a strict paleo or vegan meal, I strongly suggest you double the guacamole and you will be absolutely satisfied on every front! Fat, protein, and carb!

You can find sugar-free BBQ sauces in stores, but if you prefer to make one at home, I combine:

  • 1 can tomato puree
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp coconut aminos or Tamari
  • 2 Tbsp Dijon
  • 1 Pinch each of: all spice, salt, pepper, hungarian paprika, chili powder, cayenne, garlic

Jackfruit Nachos

  • Tortilla or plantain chips (paleo) (1.99)
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I use cheddar and pepper jack) (3.99)
  • 1 can of jackfruit, marinated in *paleo barbecue sauce (0.99)
  • 1 cup of black beans (0.89)
  • 1/2 of a thinly sliced red onion ( a few cents for all veggies)
  • 1 thinly chopped celery stalk
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 2-3 avocados, mashed, liberally salted, and topped with juice of one lime for a basic guac! (2.99)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. The only purpose here is to melt cheese and warm through jackfruit
  2. Spread chips out on a parchment lined baking sheet so that they are touching, but do not cover one another up
  3. Sprinkle on half of cheese first (this will help other ingredients stick)
  4. sprinkle black beans,onion and celery on
  5. evenly spread BBQ marinated jackfruit over chips, feel free to dump extra marinade on
  6. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cheese is melted and “BBQ” is warmed through
  8. If you used parchment, you can easily pick up nachos and transfer to a platter
  9. THEN top with your cherry tomatoes and avocado, so you don’t lose any to the sheet pan!
  10. I also top with some bonus PICKLED red onions, because I love them!

For Paleo Version

Sub out tortilla chips for Plantain Chips

For Vegan Version

No Cheese or sub with vegan cheese

More Guac Please!

Homemade Paleo Granola Bars

I’m going to be straight up with you. I wish I was a person who could grab a protein bar or granola bar off the shelf. It would make life a whole lot easier. Unfortunately, they make me feel bad because they’re often loaded with fillers or gluten and ALWAYS loaded with sugar. I am allergic to some nuts, so Rx Bars are a “No-Go,” and there is truly a limit to how many Lara Bars I can consume. In fact, I’ve sort of broken up with dates lately because I really can’t take that many! Unlike Maple Syrup, the date flavor gets old for me.

Thus were born my own granola bars. These can be made vegan by leaving out the egg as a binder, but without the egg binding them, they would likely turn out more like granola (so add nut milk or yogurt and grab a spoon!)

I know making your own granola bars sounds a little “extra,” but you literally just have to stir all ingredients together in one bowl and then level them off and bake in a 9X9 pan. If you are unsatisfied with store bought granola bars for any reason, give these a shot!

It’s also the giving season, and these would be a great, impressive, and HEALTHY addition to any homemade gift basket or Fall potluck. These can also be made safe and nut free by using sunflower butter 🙂

Homemade Paleo Granola Bars

You will need 30 minutes and….

  • 1 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds/ pepitas
  • 1/4 cup currants or raisins
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips (Enjoy Life dairy free!)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup nut butter or sunflower butter
  • 1 TBSP cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 TBSP/ 1 Packet plain gelatin (make sure to sprinkle this evenly so it does not clump!)
  • 1 egg

Direction

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, being careful to sprinkle gelatin evenly
  3. line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper and pack in mixture evenly and tightly
  4. Bake for 30 minutes
  5. Let cool for 15 inutes before cutting into squares
  6. Go for a hike!

VEGAN Sunflower & Sesame Seed (SSS) Cookies

vegan cookies

I am so excited when I get to share vegan recipes that are nut, grain, and sugar free! This recipe ticks every common allergen box, so I can deliver to the widest range of consumers out there, which is my goal. Speaking of goals, I’m really trying to consume fewer animal products, so creating vegan treats is a priority for me lately.

Because they have virtually NO allergens, these cookies are a great option for kids’ party potlucks or schools that allow homemade treats. Personally, I really wanted to find a cookie we could enjoy at home without worrying about Alba being exposed to nuts or honey, which are not recommended for kids under 2.

This is a chewy cookie, and would be great for ice cream sandwiches or packing lunch or a picnic because they are not crumbly or over-soft.

Now, let’s get to this Vegan recipe so you can cooking! If you are not a vegan, or do not have an egg allergy, please feel free to use 1 large egg white in place of the flax egg!

Sunflower & Sesame Seed (SSS) Vegan Cookies

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup Tahini
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot starch/powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate covered sunflower seeds
  • The last one is variable! I have used:
    • 1. A vegan egg replacer from Bob’s red mill that contains potato starch, psyllium husk, and tapioca
    • 2. One LARGE egg WHITE only
    • 3. One Flax egg (1 tbsp ground flaxseed + 2 tbsp water)
Directions
  1. Preheat Oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine Coconut sugar, maple syrup, and egg white (or replacement) with electric mixer (you need a good mix on these!)
  3. Add all remaining ingredients except chocolate covered sunflower seeds and mix until smooooooth
  4. Stir in chocolate covered sunflower seed with a spoon
  5. Spoon mixture onto parchment covered cookie sheet. THESE COOKIES SPREAD A LOT so you will need 2 cookie sheets. You can make 12 medium sized cookies or about 16 small cookies.
  6. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until golden. I think I have a hot stove, so my bake times are always on the low side!

My hope is that you get to enjoy these delicious vegan, nut free, gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free….Phew! (ha ha ha) cookies with ALL of the people you love! They are delightfully colorful and would make a great addition to your upcoming Halloween or Friendsgiving celebrations!

Thanks for visiting the blog!

 

 

We’re Back! Happy National Ice Cream Day! (Vegan, Dairy free)

I have been absent from my blog for the last 5 months, desperately missing my Paleo community! However, it’s not without good reason, because I’ve been cooking up my biggest success yet: pregnancy announcement with dogs

 

The last 4 months of pregnancy have been brutal at times, and I have really struggled with my diet. I’ve lacked the energy to cook for myself, developed new aversions, allergies, and digestive problems, and I’ve only recently gotten over incapacitating nausea and vomiting. I’m hoping to begin working with an RD (registered dietitian) who can help me maintain a modified paleo diet throughout the rest of my journey with pregnancy and breastfeeding.

I believe that everyone, pregnant or not, should eat what makes them feel their best in mind, body, and soul. That looks different for different people. I’ve found, for me, that disconnecting with my paleo diet during my pregnancy has disconnected me from a huge part of myself and has thus: A) been detrimental to my energy and digestive health and B) not served me emotionally or spiritually.

Becoming a Mom means so many things to me. Right now, it means taking care of myself in a new, more profound way. First, so that I can nourish our little to be strong and healthy. Later, it will mean nourishing myself for optimal breastfeeding, and cultivating the energy I need to participate in my family fully. If you have recently been pregnant, raised an infant, battled food allergies, or autoimmune disease, you know how huge that energy play is for me!

I’ve learned a lot already, and I’ve still got a little over half my pregnancy to go. I’m excited to learn even more from my changing body, my baby, and my dietitian. Another great lesson in all of this: it’s so important to ask for help when you need it! I hope you will follow me on this journey! I promise to post candidly and (as) frequently (as a new Mom can). My goal is still to use this blog as a collecting space for the recipes that will comprise my future Cookbook. As a Doula, I’m excited to add new pregnancy and breastfeeding specific recipes to the repertoire!

Because eating for your best mind, body, and soul sometimes means indulging, I haven’t forgotten National Ice Cream Day! This is a special Paleo/ Vegan Ice Cream Recipe for all those celebrating on a special diet! Yes, I tried regular ice cream in early pregnancy (not with pickles) and it burned all the way down, so coconut cream it is from here on out!

Paleo/ Vegan/ Dairy Free Ice Cream

vegan paleo ice cream

  • 1 14 oz can full fat coconut milk – chilled for 30 minutes in freezer or 3 hours in fridge
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey if you are not Vegan and prefer a sweeter finish)
  • 1 T vanilla extract
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 1 cup of your fruit of your choice
  • 4 t Tapioca flour if you are not using an ice cream machine.

With an ice cream maker: 

  • Simply combine your first 5 ingredients in a blender and blend well
  • Then process through your ice cream maker

Without an ice cream maker (like me): 

  • Blend all 6 ingredients thoroughly
  • Pour coconut cream mixture into a freezer safe container and cover
  • Let freeze for 2-3 hours, and then blend again (repeat this step 1-2 more times until your ice cream reaches desired consistency)

A great way to dress up your Paleo Ice Cream is to melt some dark chocolate and/or almond butter to drizzle on top!

 

Vegan/Paleo Holiday Biscotti

vegan paleo biscotti

Vegan/Paleo Holiday Biscotti

It’s the week before Christmas! That means that I bought about a pound of chocolate “for my mother-in-law” (who loves chocolate) and promptly “ate most of it.” For some folks that sounds like a typical holiday season mistake, but for someone like me who rarely consumes sugar, it’s painful afterward! I told Matt to try to pry it from my hands, but that’s not working. THUS, I’ve decided to create something that will encourage a healthy “after dinner snack” to replace my steady consumption of a tall glass of red wine and chocolate candy (which both nutritionally and calorically ruins my uber-healthy dinners!) So my plan tonight is to hide the rest of my mother-in-law’s chocolate, and enjoy this Holiday Biscotti alongside a peppermint tea! I’ll let you know how it goes….

Biscotti is Italian for twice baked cookie (just kidding, but that’s essentially what it is). In my opinion, biscotti is even easier to perfect than cookies, because it’s supposed to be burnt, so don’t let the fancy name deter you! We are hosting Christmas this year, and this is so great that I might make this holiday biscotti for my family, but add some pistachios for that festive flash of red & green! Biscotti is also really delicious with almond extract flavor and/or orange zest!

Vegan & Paleo Holiday Biscotti (makes 8-10)

You will need 2 hours and….

1 cup of almond flour
1/4 cup of coconut flour
1/4 cup of cacao powder
1/2 cup of organic oats
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon on cinnamon
1 cup of dried fruit of your choice- I did cherries for tart sweetness and Turkish apricots for deeper sweetness
optional nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mix together dry ingredients
  3. Add in Maple syrup and ix until thoroughly incorporated
  4. Stir in dried fruit and nuts by hand
  5. Use your hands to form a large rectangular slab of dough/log on cookie sheet topped with parchment paper
  6. Bake for 15 minutes
  7. Remove from oven and let cool completely (45 mins-1 hour)
  8. With a bread knife, slice on the diagonal and lay out biscotti individually
  9.  Bake again for 15 minutes or until crispy
  10. Serve with tea or coffee!

 

Vegan Balls of Energy

protein balls

I don’t know about you, but I am anything but a “ball of energy” this time of year. Every year around this time, Matt gets really excited about the giant bags of candy in super stores and buys one (or two) for our “trick-or -treaters.” I suspect (pray) being in a family-friendly neighborhood for the first time this year will bring us more than our previous record 4 trick-or-treaters.

Anyway, every year I also decide that having a bite-sized Butterfinger or a teeny-weeny Twix nightly wont bother my stomach or my monstrous aversion to sugar. Thus begins the slippery slope of the holiday season.

That’s why I am SO excited about my recipe for this perfectly nutritious snack-size “ball of energy.” You can eat 1 or 2 as a snack or dessert or have 2 or 3 for breakfast with coffee! It’s perfect for on-the-go energy and nutrition. I use plant-based protein, as opposed to whey, but I assume whey protein powder would work the same way, since this is a no-bake snack. The taste reminds me of those No Bake Oatmeal Cookies from my childhood, but these pack a punch of protein with no sugar, additives, or packaging! I made these this Sunday, so now I have a healthy go-to snack and dessert for the week. They also give me a small energy-packed morsel to enjoy before for my morning workouts!

I’ve got to be honest, it’s one week after I finished Whole 30, and almost everything in my fridge is STILL homemade! I may have the luxury of a great work schedule and no kids just yet, but I have really worked hard this year on what nutrition is right for me and my family and I’m proud of myself. Sometimes that includes a few store-bought brands, but more often then not, it involves a lot of whole food ingredients + meal prep. And I’ve happily mastered that… for now! I hope you enjoy this new recipe!

Vegan Energy Balls (Makes 20 +)

4 scoops of your favorite protein powder ( I use plant-based chocolate)
2 cups of organic oats
1/2 cup of unsweetened coconut flakes
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1 cup of maple syrup or agave
1 cup of almond butter

  1. Mix all ingredients together with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.
  2. Form into balls by rubbing  both sides with your cup-shaped palm.
  3. Place on parchment paper on a baking sheet
  4. Refrigerate for 2 hours, or until set
  5. Now they are ready to eat and be kept in glass tupperware in your fridge!

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce and Cauliflower Mashed potatoes

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

blackened salmon with asparagus, cauliflower mash, and roasted red pepper sauce

My mother-in-law visited last weekend and made Matt some good old fashioned mashed potatoes! I decided to try my hand at Cauliflower Mash one more time and….

It was SO amazing and flavorful! You don’t get that heavy feeing that comes with regular white potatoes and the cauliflower is so much easier to digest. Additionally, cauliflower is chock full of vitamins C and K and folate, which is especially important for pregnant/nursing women and for kids! Note, different people have different tolerances for cruciferous veg!

I made NomNomPaleo’s Garlic Cauliflower “Mashed Potatoes” and they turned out perfect! If you want them to be totally smooth, you have to process in a good food processor for about 7 minutes. However, I took some puree out early, which I will use as “Cauliflower Grits” for Paleo Shrimp & Grits this weekend! Lightbulb!

saucy vegan

I was feeling decadent because of my Wednesday Orange Theory Fitness workout, which burned 600 + calories (plus after burn). So I grated my favorite cheese into the Cauliflower mixture and baked it for 15 minutes on 350. I really like getting a flavor burst out of natural foods, so I decided to use an aging red pepper to make a roasted red pepper sauce to pour over my salmon, asparagus, and Cauliflower mashed potatoes. It was incredible and would be delicious on pork, fish, or chicken and is a Vegan sauce for pasta & veggies.

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce- makes ~ 1 cup

1 Large Red Bell Pepper

1/4 cup almond milk

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cayenne

salt and black pepper to taste

  1. The key step to this recipe is just slow roasting your pepper(s). I put mine in the oven on 400 for 30 minutes on each side. When I removed it from the oven, I cut off the stem and the seeds/membranes pulled out easily.
  2. Combine other ingredients with your pepper in a blender or food processor. Process until completely smooth.
  3. Should be warm enough to serve, but you can also prepare ahead of time and reheat!

 

12 Meals of Christmas

One of the big changes I’m making to my own daily diet and thus my blog is reducing animal protein and saving those valuable calories and nutrients for local farms, where I’m assured of the quality of life of the animals. This has added a new dimension to my recipe creation, and really challenged me outside of my comfort zone, so I’m excited to share a compilation of mostly vegetarian, and some vegan and pescatarian recipes.

I’ve been training really hard the last few weeks, and I’ve been replenishing with lean protein from wild-caught fish and shrimp, in addition to more carbs than were in my previous diet. These recipes reflect that nutrient shift,  as well as the seasonal quality of the starches and vegetables that I’m using in my dishes. I’m hoping to use the cohesiveness of these recipes {seasonal, varietal, mostly plant-based, healthy alternatives to comfort foods, and still allergen-free} to create a compilation or cookbook as I build on and test out these recipes. All these recipes are also grain, sugar, soy, and lactose free. So over the next 12 days, you can expect the following recipes:

  • butternut squash & sage quinoa
  • sweet potato cheese fries with curried ketchup
  • broccoli cheddar soup
  • Vegan Holiday Truffles
  • twice baked sweet potato with green onions and herbacious compound butter
  • Stuffed mushrooms
  • tart cranberry relish
  • dressed up hearts of romaine
  • SCD/ Paleo Sticky Toffee pudding
  • curried spaghetti squash {with shrimp} and golden raisins*
  • paleo peppermint bark
  • Match stick root veg

I hope you’ll tune in and discover the 12 meals (or desserts)  that you can either enjoy during the holidays or put on the metaphorical “back burner” for next month when you’re trying to reset. And I hope this “plant-based paleo” movement really takes off.

https://static.pexels.com/photos/5876/food-salad-healthy-vegetables.jpg