Category Archives: Vegan

Gluten Free Kid Friendly Paleo Recipes Starches Vegan Vegetarian

Sweet Potato “Fries”

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baked sweet potato friesI’ve been posting a lot of recipes lately with quotation marks around them. “Fries”, “rice”, “potato”, “guac”. Oh well, this one is one of my favorites. It’s quite simple and really nothing new but I thought I’d post it anyway as a reminder of how easy it is to eat healthy and enjoy what you’re eating. Why feel deprived while eating to lose weight and get healthy if you don’t have to?

I peeled these potatoes because they were a little old, but I prefer these “fries” with the skin on. Cut sweet potatoes into fry shaped sticks or wedges. You can cut them as thin or as thick as you like, the important thing is to cut them all roughly the same size so they’ll cook evenly.

Place them on a baking sheet. Spray or toss them with your choice of oil, coconut oil or olive oil are my oils of choice with these. Sprinkle with sea salt and arrange so they’re in one layer and not too crowded. Pop them into an oven preheated to 450 degrees. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes depending on how large your slices are. Take out of the oven and flip them after 15 minutes, 10 minutes if your slices are especially thin.

Variations

1 teaspoon (per potato) of a spice or spice combination of your choice:

  • chipotle powder (small pinch)
  • wasabe powder (small pinch)
  • smoked paprika
  • fajita seasoning
  • taco seasoning
  • Chinese five-spice
  • cumin
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • garam masala
  • Cajun seasoning

Eat them as is or serve them up with ketchup, mustard, mayo or as you’ll see in the photo above I served mine with mayo to which I’d added mashed cloves of roasted garlic.

You can thank me later :)

Beverages Gluten Free Kid Friendly Living Food Low Calorie Neutral Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Delicious Easy Nutritious Coconut Milk

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freshly made coconut milk

freshly made coconut milk

Recently I discovered that the “organic” nondairy milk that I’d been buying wasn’t so organic. It’s right there on the ingredients label, I was just blinded by the “organic” in big letters on the front of the package. I’ll add more to this post next week detailing what I learned, but for today I wanted to give you all who saw my post on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter this super simple recipe for coconut milk.

Once I figured out that the only way I was going to get nondairy milk without all the junk added to it was to make it myself I started looking around for the easiest and least expensive way to do this. Almond and cashew milk are fine, but pretty expensive when you’re buying organic nuts AND it’s a little more work than I want to invest.

I’ve yet to try making brown rice milk, which I will and will post about later, but today I had a bunch of coconut flour and shredded coconut and decided to give coconut milk a try.

For my first batch I went with the coconut flour method mostly because I could skip the blender step.

Coconut Flour Milk

Ingredients

4 cups filtered hot water
1 cup organic coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Ingredients

Mix the water, coconut flour and sea salt in a large measuring cup. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. Pour through a very fine sieve, cheesecloth lined colander or nut milk bag. You could also pour through a coffee filter set on top of your coffee pot. Once no more milk is coming through the sieve, press down on the flour to express as much milk as possible. Most people discard the coconut flour that’s left over but I used mine to make a nondairy cream cheese. You could also use it to thicken sauces, stew, soup, or gravy.

My Review: the milk tastes flat and watery, not a lot of flavor. I’ll use it to make a smoothie but won’t make it this way again.

 

Shredded Coconut Milk

Ingredients

4 cups filtered hot water
2 cups organic shredded coconut

Instructions

Pour the water over the shredded coconut in a blender. Set aside for at least 30 minutes or until the water has cooled enough to safely blend. Blend for a few seconds. It doesn’t take much. Pour through a very fine sieve, cheesecloth lined colander or nut milk bag. You could also pour through a coffee filter set on top of your coffee pot. Once no more milk is coming through the sieve, press down on the flour to express as much milk as possible.

The left over shredded coconut can be used in any recipe calling for shredded coconut, however it won’t have as much flavor or fat since these were expressed into the milk, but you will get the bulk and the fiber. You could also just add to your smoothies, pancake batter, home made bread, or yogurt.

My Review: the milk tastes fabulous! I don’t drink milk, even nondairy milk but I had to stop myself from drinking the whole batch and calling it breakfast. I thought I would have to add some sea salt at least, if not vanilla and sweetener, but this milk doesn’t need a thing.

The milk will separate as it sits, just shake it up before you use it. I don’t worry about skimming the fattier cream off the top because I try to add coconut oil to my diet every day anyway.

Gluten Free Kid Friendly Low Carb Recipes Starches Vegan Vegetarian

Maple Cream Cheese Spread

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maple sweetened vegan cream cheese spread

I’m not going to give you exact amounts for this one because it would ruin the fact that this delish spread is so darn easy. So here’s the “recipe” – mix real maple syrup into cream cheese or vegan cream cheese. That’s it. No need to add anything else. I experimented a bit to see if adding things like vanilla, sea salt, orange zest would make it any better and they really don’t, although you could add orange zest just to give it a slightly different flavor.

Gluten Free High Protein Low Carb Paleo Vegan Vegetarian

Paprika Spiked Cashews

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I love making spiced nuts. What I don’t love is tending to them while they slow cook on the stove or in the oven. Enter the slow cooker and suddenly I’m making more spiced nuts than a girl can handle. If you’re on my Christmas gift list I think you know what’s coming your way this year :)

Ingredients

6 cups raw cashews or mix of nuts
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon ground chili, cumin or curry
1 teaspoon powdered garlic
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon smoked paprika, or any good quality paprika
1 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

Put the cashews in the slow cooker. Add the oil and stir well to coat the cashews.
Add the spices and stir well.
Cook on low for 1 hour. Uncover and cook for an additional 15 minutes.

If there are any leftover after the first day these will keep in the refrigerator for 2 weeks and in the freezer for 2 months.

Vegan

Vegan Nutrition – Are You Getting What You Need?

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As a vegan I am often asked whether vegan nutrition is really that much better than following “regular” nutritional guidelines.  The answer is yes… and no.  The truth is that you can be a vegan and still not be eating a truly nutritious diet.   In fact, many vegans tend to load up on carbs and processed vegan foods, which can not only cause weight gain, but can also contribute to other nutrition-related ailments.

On the other hand, if you follow a vegan diet that is balanced and insures that you have covered all the nutritional bases, you will undoubtedly lose weight, lower your blood pressure and keep yourself clear of diabetes. Here are a few guidelines to insure that your vegan nutrition plan has everything it needs:

Vitamin B12 – This is probably the biggest issue for vegans.  Contrary to popular belief, Vitamin B12 is not produced in animals.  It is actually manufactured by microorganisms that live primarily in soil and water.  When animals eat food that is grown in soil containing these microorganisms, they get the B12 and pass it on to the humans who eat them.  Because vegans don’t eat meat, they often develop B12 deficiencies.

There is actually an easy solution to the B12 issue.  You can take a methyl B12 supplement (the most bio-available kind of B12), or you can get your B12 and a boatload of other nutrients from nutritional yeast.  I highly recommend the latter as it is food-based.  In particular, I recommend KAL nutritional yeast.  It is grown on molasses and is completely plant-based.  It has a terrific nutty flavor, and you only need a couple of tablespoonfuls a day.  I throw it in smoothies, in soups, on cereals, and in my salad dressing.  It actually contains the entire compliment of B vitamins.

Vitamin D – As a vegan, you can still eat foods that have been fortified with vitamin D.  If you are very particular, you’ll want to be sure you are taking vitamin D2 rather than D3. D3 comes from the lanolin of sheep and is therefore an animal product.  D2 is synthetic and vegans consider it to be an acceptable alternative.  Unfortunately the research tends to show that D3 is more effective than D2.  Either way, make sure you are taking supplemental vitamin D of some kind, and spending some time in the sun!

Iodine – This one is often overlooked by vegans.  It is critical for thyroid health, reproductive health and it helps to keep your nails and hair strong.  You can get your iodine through iodized salt, but you’re better off using sea salt.  One of the best ways to get iodine is from seaweed.  You can get it from nori-wrapped vegan sushi, or just throw a small amount of kelp powder or dulce flakes on a salad.  It’s delicious and in addition to the iodine, you’ll be getting lots of wonderful minerals.

These three essentials, vitamin B12, vitamin D, and iodine, are all critical for good health.  If you insure that you include these in a diet consists mostly of vegetables, fruits, and legumes, along with a few nuts, seeds and whole grains, your  vegan nutrition will be in great shape and so will you!