Cashew Chive Cream Cheeze

One thing I can’t seem to find as a vegan is a good Cream Cheese substitute. After trying store brands and continually being let down for one reason or another, I set out to make my own. This is super simple, delicious, vegan and gluten-free. You can spread on toast, bagels, baked potato or even a dollop on Pasta…it’s all good! 

 
1 Cup soaked Raw Cashews

2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

1 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

splashes of Water (as needed)

1/2 bunch Chives (chopped)

Himalayan Pink Salt (to taste)

1/2 tsp Garlic Powder (optional)

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Soak Cashews overnight in a bowl of filtered water. Strain water and add Cashews to a high speed Blender or Food Processor. Add the Nutritional Yeast and Vinegar. Blend while adding tiny splashes of water to the mixture so the mixture smoothly blends. Don’t over-water or you will ruin the creamy texture. You may need to frequently stop/unplug the blender to stir the mixture and push into the blades before continuing. Once you get the perfect texture, transfer the contents to a small container with an airtight lid. Add in your seasonings and the Chives. Combine well and taste. Re-season if desired. Place lid on tight and refrigerate. Should be good for 3-4 days. 

Minestrone Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, Paleo)

One of my favorite foods to prepare (especially during the colder seasons) is soup. I make many soups; some traditional, some invented, some on the fly but all are vegan, organic and delicious! I consider myself kind of a “soup wizard”, if you will.

Minestrone has always had a warm place in my heart and stomach. It’s chunky, full of flavor and is a super satisfying meal in a bowl. It runs the gamut in it’s variety of vegetables, legumes, pasta and it’s rich, tomatoey broth. Sometimes I change this recipe up a bit with different beans, juice pulp broths and sometimes I’ll even throw in some Italian style Tofurky Sausage (to get that subtly spicy, fennel bite in there).

I can assure you that if you use only the freshest and cleanest ingredients, you will truly taste the difference. Sure, you can get this from a can or a restaurant but nothing beats being in complete control of your food!

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp Unfiltered Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium Onion (diced)

1 large Zucchini (chopped chunky)

1 – 2 Cups Green Beans (trimmed/halved)

2-3 stalks Celery (diced)

3 cloves Garlic (minced)

4 cups Vegetable Broth (from juice pulp or homemade)

4 cups Filtered Water

1/2 Cup Red Kidney Beans (cooked or canned)

1/2 Cup Small White Beans (cooked or canned)

1 can (28oz) Crushed Tomatoes

1 cup shredded Carrot

1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley

3 tsp Dried Oregano

1 tsp Dried Basil

1/2 tsp Dried Thyme

Giant bunch of fresh Baby Spinach

1 Cup small shell Quinoa Pasta

Himalayan Pink Salt (to taste)

Ground Black Pepper (to taste)

Directions:

Pour oil into a large stock pot and heat on medium. When the oil is hot enough, add the onion, celery, garlic, green beans, and zucchini and sauté for about 5 minutes or so. 

Now add the broth, water, tomatoes, beans, carrots, herbs and spices. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. 

 Add the Spinach and Pasta and cook for another 20 minutes or so (or until Pasta is aldente). Adjust salt and pepper to taste. (makes a huge pot and feeds many; freeze extra and store for future meals)

The Bitter Blend II – A Tart Return (Grapefruit, Pomegranate & Lime Smoothie)

Have you ever heard of a “Smoothie Sequel”? Well, this may be a first…or a second? I’m already confused! In any case, hopefully you remember my original Bitter Blend Smoothie from last year; it was a real zinger! And we already know that Grapefruit is on top of his game as a tenacious free-radical fighter, but I’m here to tell you that “sour” is back with a vengeance and this time he brought a couple of new pals with him! Say hello to Pomegranate; aka the “King of Antioxidant Fruits”, one of the fiercest of cancer opponents and a true defender of the immune system. Oh yeah, and that other little green sidekick? His name is Lime. Don’t ever underestimate his potential to help destroy obesity, strengthen skin and decimate high blood sugar levels. Together, this is one gutsy team who will get the job done.

Coming soon to a blender near you…yup, just like that one sitting on your kitchen counter 😉

Ingredients

1 Cup Almond Milk
1 serving Vega One Nutritional Shake (Coconut Almond or French Vanilla)
1 Frozen Banana
1 Grapefruit (w/ pith)
Seeds of 1 fresh Pomegranate
Juice of 1 fresh Lime
1 Tbsp Chia Seeds

Preparation

1. Add all ingredients into blender jar.

2. Blend on high setting until smooth.

3. Pour into a large, tall glass. Enjoy!

Curried Chick Pea Leek Soup

I know it’s not quite autumn yet but I love soup more than you could imagine. At first I was just gonna throw together a plain old Potato Leek but came up with this evolved version which is packed with protein instead. Really fragrant and spicy too. Yuuuuuum 😘👌
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1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

2 cans Organic Chick Peas

4 Organic Leeks (trimmed, cleaned and chopped)

1 Clove Garlic (minced)

3-4 Cups Veggie Broth (depends on texture you desire…less broth for thicker soup)

2 Tbsp Curry Powder

1/4 tsp Cayenne Powder

1/4 Cup finely chopped Cilantro (stir in + garnish)

Himalayan Salt and Black Pepper (to taste)

handful of Pumpkin Seeds (to garnish)

—–

Heat oil in a large stock pot on Medium heat. Add in garlic and Leeks, stirring occasionally until soft. Now add Chick Peas and hit with a bit of Pink Salt and stir. Cook for about 3 minutes more and add in broth, Curry and Cayenne. Stir again to combine liquid and spices. Cook about 5 more minutes until just bubbling and Chick Peas are nice and soft. Remove from burner and (in batches) pour soup into blender or food processor. Begin on low speed! (you don’t want hot soup on your face, body or ceiling). Once all soup is blended and creamy, pour back into stock pot and heat through on low/med heat. Taste and season again to preference. Stir in chopped Cilantro and serve. 

“CHEEZY” MEXICAN CHICK-FREE OMELETTE

It’s been over one year now that I went 100% vegan. As a lacto-vegetarian (for over 20 years) I enjoyed eggs quite a bit (possibly too much). Since going vegan, I’ve experimented with all manner of egg substitutes such as Tofu scrambles, breakfast sandwiches; heck, I even made Tofu Florentine with a plant based Hollandaise Sauce I came up with. But the one thing I’ve missed out of all of it were those late Diner excursions where I’d order up a gigantic veggie and cheese Omelette. Or the many times I made them at home and smothered them in Salsa and Sour Cream. Those damn things were my weakness. Although, I’m not interested in ever going back to my old self…I can still recreate some of those memories from a brand new perspective. That said, in the spirit of overcoming past addictions and celebrating new cruelty-free, healthy habits; I came up with this extremely satisfying dish this morning.

There is plenty of margin for error when making an Omelette (I know this, as I’ve unsuccessfully attempted this once before), so I did some more research in hopes of finding a more tried and true batter for such a task. I came upon the Chickpea Omelette recipe by Fork & Beans. My version has definitely been spiced up and altered slightly but the basic foundation for the Omelette itself is entirely their creation (pure vegan genius if you ask me).

Well, don’t let me stop you from strengthening your breakfast game; get on with it. Remember to try and have fun in the kitchen and never be afraid to experiment with flavors (thats how we learn).

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“CHEEZY” MEXICAN CHICK-FREE OMELETTE
Adapted from: Fork & Beans
Makes 2 Large Omelettes

BATTER
3/4 Cup Garbanzo Bean Flour (Chickpea Flour)
3/4 Cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
2 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3 tsp Nutritional Yeast
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Ancho Chili Powder
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/4 tsp Baking Soda
Salt & Pepper to taste

FILLING
1/4 of a Red Onion (chopped)
4 Large White Mushrooms (sliced)
1/2 Red Bell Pepper (chopped)
3-4 Green Onions (chopped; reserve some for topping)
2 Tbsp Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 Slice of Field Roast Chao Tofu (or fav Vegan Cheez)

TOPPING
Your fav Salsa
Green Onion
Avocado Slices
(and/or whatever else you damn well please)

#1. Prepare the batter by combining all batter ingredients in a pourable bowl or large measuring glass. Use a whisk but do not over-mix; it should be pourable but still somewhat thick (like a good Pancake batter). Set aside.

#2. Add some Olive Oil (or Water/Veggie Broth if you don’t cook with oil) to a large, non stick frying pan and heat on Medium. Meanwhile, prep all filling ingredients. Now add them (except for the vegan cheese) to the pan and lightly sauté them until just tender. Transfer the cooked veggies to a bowl and set aside.

#3. In the same heated pan, add some more oil (water/broth). Now pour half of the batter into the center of the pan and gently rock the pan back and forth to spread out the batter more. You don’t want it too thin or too thick (pancake thickness or slightly thinner).

#4. Break apart your cheez slice into small pieces and arrange them to cover one half/side of the cooking batter. Scoop up 1/2 of the filling mixture and spread it out on the same side of the omelette (on top of the cheez). Continue to cook the Omelette for about 2 minutes; you should start seeing bubbles through the top and hardening edges (again, just like a pancake). Now gently fold over the bare side of the Omelette to cover the cheez/veggie mixture side.

#5. Cover the pan with a lid and remove from heat. Allow the trapped steam to continue cooking the Omelette through for about another 5 minutes or so. Clean messes up and such while you wait. Repeat all steps for the second one.

#6. Plate your awesome Omelette! Top it with your favorite Salsa, Green Onions and Avocado Slices. Other topping ideas are Fresh Cilantro, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Vegan Sour Cream.

Enjoy!