Fluffy Mashed Potatoes (from The Vegan8)

Oh MY! These mashers are not just for the Holidays! But the holidays are upon us, so add this to your menu!

There was never much mash potato making in our kitchen, until I tried these. We are not a family who eats a ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving meal but there is a  love for mashed potatoes. Since these were so simple and flavorful, I have decided that this is definitely a recipe to be made whenever mashed potatoes are requested!

 

Brandi over at the Vegan 8 is genius with her minimal ingredient recipes and I love trying them out. We have had success with just about every recipe we have tried.  This dish is buttery and creamy and they do not have any of those ingredients in them!! Win Win!!

 

ingredients to add

Coconut milk, garlic and pepper

boiling the taters

 

Total time: about  30 minutes ~ Makes about 2 cups

I did not completely peel all of the potatoes and they mashed up wonderfully. Yukon golds provide a rich butter flavor to the recipe.  As a result, I would definitely suggest not using any other potato for this recipe. I followed Brandi’s recipe and did not add any additional flavoring. The result was devoured.  Maybe next time I will play around with some chives or thyme.

 

Click here for the recipe: Fluffy Buttermilk Vegan Mashed Potatoes

 

 

Simple Soup

 

A request from Ava has been a minestrone style soup.  After combining and tweaking a few different soup recipes, I came up with one that satisfied her request.

Warm days are still here, but we are starting to feel the cool fall air. It feels so refreshing from the ridiculous heat we have had. Soups have been on my menu list lately and they are one of the best ways to get in a variety of vegetables. They are also some of the easiest meals to make.

Most soups include oils and I do my best to avoid those. I often use a couple tablespoons of water or vegetable broth to saute garlic and onions for many dishes and it always has good results. That was how I planned to start with the soup.

The rest came together as I worked with the vegetables that were in the refrigerator.  Spices can be tricky for me, but I’ve stuck with the most basic ones as it provides great flavor without over killing it.

I used my food processor to slice the vegetables.  You could also us a mandolin or by hand, whatever works for you.

The best part about this soup, it’s all done in one pot!  Now who doesn’t love that?

 

Ingredients:

1/2 sweet onion, diced
3-4 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons water
2-3 carrots, sliced rounds (not too thin though)
1 medium zucchini sliced and then cut into 1/4’s
1 cup chopped green beans
1 cup kale, chopped
1 can chickpeas (or white beans) drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth (I used Kitchen Basics)
2 cups pasta noodles (I used the quinoa & brown rice fusilli pasta from TJ’s)
3 teaspoons oregano
3 teaspoons basil
1 generous tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon of maple syrup or other sweetener (optional)

shake of pepper flakes (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

other add in options: celery, and/or kidney beans.

Directions:

Using a large pot, turn on heat to get the pot hot.  Once hot, add the water, garlic and onions.  Stir well and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the green beans and carrots.  Continue to stir occasionally and cook for about another 4 minutes. The vegetables will start to brighten, be sure to not let them get too soft.

Next add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, zucchini, beans and spices (optional sweetener). Stir well.

Bring soup to a strong simmer by increasing the heat.  Reduce the heat to medium-low until it slightly simmers and add the pasta and stir well. Continue to cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes.  Taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.

Add the kale and cook for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Turn off heat and prepare to serve.

 

 

Category: Main Dish | Tags: , , ,

Breakfast Muffins

These are a great back to school snack or sports snack.  Stock your freezer!

One of the first “treat” recipes I came across that the kids asked me to make after the first test was called Muffin Tops from Oh She Glows May have had something to with them liking to say the name ;)

There was a lot of researching cookbooks and recipes in the beginning of this journey. It was a great way to help start testing meals with the family.  Knowing I wasn’t even close to trying to come up with some of my own, I wanted to dabble in recipes to get some practice and ideas for the future.

Angela of  Oh She Glows  was the first food bloggers I came across and was quickly sucked into her recipes. Angela just made it all look easy. She was a real person. She not only shared her creativeness in the kitchen (that just made you drool when looking at the pictures), she shared who she was.  That is really what has kept me coming back to see what she is up to. I was inspired by her recipes.

I decided to update her recipe to fit our plant based lifestyle by omitting a few ingredients that I avoid.  Also after a couple tries, I found I didn’t need to use some of the other ingredients.  As well as discovering a few ways to slightly change ingredients.

You can use a muffin pan, but I found them to be fun (and the lazy in me finds it nice to just plop them on the baking sheet)  the way Angela’s recipe suggests to bake them.

To change things up, you can replace the banana with pureed pumpkin or diced apples (see Notes). They are so scrumptious.

This muffin recipe has no eggs, no added sugars, and it is soy free, oil free and dairy free!  You can also make it a nut-free option. AND always double the recipe so you can store them in the freezer!

 

before & after

 

Prep Time: 10 minutes~ Cook Time:20 minutes~ Makes: 12ish
Recipe inspired by : Oh She Glows – click here for recipe

Ingredients:

2 large ripe bananas, peeled
1/2 cup packed pitted Medjool dates (be sure they are soft, if not ,soak for about 30 min in warm water then drain)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 cups gluten-free, wheat-free rolled oats, divided (I use Bob’s, but it is packaged in a facility that packages nuts, if you have a nut sensitivity, try GF Harvest)
1/4 cups non-dairy dark chocolate chips (nuts or raisins are an optional addition or replacement)

IMG_2988

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Add the peeled bananas, pitted dates, cinnamon, and vanilla into a food processor.  Process until smooth.

Add in 1 cup of the rolled oats, hemp and chia seeds, and process for a few seconds, just long enough to roughly chop the oats and combine the mixture.

Take the remaining oats and pour them into a medium sized bowl and add the mixture from the processor to the bowl.  Add the chocolate chips and stir until mixed in.

Spoon dough onto the parchment paper. No need to press down on the muffin to flatten, they do not expand when cooking. These can be placed close together.  They will end up looking like mounds.

Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Immediately transfer onto a cooling rack to cool completely.  I always double the recipe and store in the freezer.  This kids just take out the muffin and eat them as is or pack them in their lunches.

Notes:

I have also made variations by replacing the bananas with 1 can of pumpkin while slightly increased the cinnamon and vanilla.  Along with adding pumpkin spice and turmeric.  Chocolate chips are optional, my family prefers to have them.

When I make it with apples, I will use 3/4 cup of applesauce. I slightly increase the vanilla and put 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.  Then about 1/4-1/3 cup diced and peeled apples. When replacing with the applesauce, I do not use the chocolate chips.

When adding the spices, I do it by taste.

 

 

 

Nut Butter Bombs

Clearly you know by now I like treats.  Dark chocolate and dates go hand in hand. That is why these naughty by nature treats are topping my favorite list!

Sinful, maybe.  Decedent, maybe.  Heavenly, maybe.  Down right freakin amazing, heck YAASS!

Most of all, these nut butter bombs are healthy and nutritious.  They are rich, gooey, sweet and salty (if you use it for a topping) and the ideal treat to keep stocked in your freezer for banishing those sweet tooth cravings. Not to mention, one of the easiest treats to make.

When it comes to treats, there has to be dark chocolate!   It is a requirement for whether a treat is made or not. Not always, but pretty darn close!

I don’t receive too many “no thank you’s” from the family or friends either.   When smooth, creamy nut butters and chocolate are combined, you feel like you can conquer anything!  Throw in a fiber rich, potassium filled, antioxidant power house date, and you’ve got a chocolate and caramel combo that just makes your eyes swoon and your mouth drool.

Hope you like these treats! These are:

Soft & Chewy
Fiber rich
Perfectly Sweet
Easy to make

Need I say more!

 

Ingredients:

•Dates (pitted)
•Almond Butter or nut butter of choice.  I do not use any with salt and oil and suggest to avoid any added ingredients.
•Optional toppings, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sea salt or cayenne.
•Dark chocolate of choice, I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips

 

 

Directions:

A plate to place the dates on. You can line with parchment paper.
Choose the amount of dates you want.
Slice down one side of the date.  If there are pits, be sure to remove them.
Spread in your choice of nut butter.  We prefer almond butter, but if you like peanuts, peanut butter tastes divine as well.

 


Place them in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Next, melt dark chocolate or chocolate of choice.  I used a microwave setting and it works fine.
Pull out the dates from the freezer and begin pouring the melted chocolate over the nut butter filled dates. At this time if you want to sprinkle some chia seeds, hemp seeds, sea salt or cayenne, now is the time

 

The chocolate will start to harden.
Once they are all covered, place back in the freezer for another 10 minutes or so and then enjoy!

I stored these in a glass sealed container in the freezer.  I would guess about 4 days is good, but they never last long enough to find out :)

 

Support and Encourage

 

It doesn’t matter if you are playing sports, are a kid or parent, have a job, are a stay at home parent, or are at the grocery store.  Kindness is key to survival and supporting each other is one of the best things we can do to leave this world in tact for our children.

I can think of many situations over the years to share, but there is a reason why they are in the past and have given me something to learn from.

We are not perfect, we may not believe in the act or logic of others and find it difficult to support their choices, however there is no need to ignore or be disrespectful to them.  Obviously if they are murderers, pedophiles, etc., you will not find many supporting those actions… I think you get my point.

What I am talking about is life. As my children are growing and are now teenagers and our lives are ever evolving, I am so much more in tune with the behaviors of others and teaching our children how to react to those behaviors.  As most of what they have learned is that the behaviors of others are usually issues within that person.

Recently I had observed two different scenarios that involved each of my children.  My youngest is in 7th grade, my oldest is a freshman and they both play for their school volleyball teams.  They have many friends on their teams that they have been friends with since elementary school, as well as played sports with.  As parents, we know most of these families.

I was attending my 7th graders game.  All of the players played a great game.  They were high-fiving and cheering each other on.  It was great to see them support each other, even when mistakes were made.  As an adult, you would expect to see most parents cheering on all of the players. Well, there was one parent who only cheered for her own child. As I observed from behind, it was an act that really disappointed me, yet realizing that maybe not many people probably noticed.  Especially the kids. However, this flood of emotion came over me and I realized I was letting the actions of this person destroy my inner peace.

Long story short, I did let it effect my joy in supporting all those kids.  It was noticed by other parents.  I let it get to me, because my child is friends with this parent’s child.  Which made me even more sad that an adult would behave in such a way.  In the big scheme of things, it really isn’t that detrimental.  It is merely an example of who not to be.

On to the freshman.  She has performed very strongly in volleyball and was asked to train and play with the JV team. She was very concerned about her teammates feelings and wasn’t sure if she wanted to accept the request.  Her kind heart was making this a difficult decision but also teaching her to take experiences and learn from them.  As we both have learned, when asked in high school sports, you just DO and figure it out along the way.

I was so proud of her teammates and parents in the support and encouragement she received.  There will always be feelings of jealousy or insecurity throughout their lives but to see how that was pushed aside and shown how to lift each other up with encouragement was pretty impressive. Due to her coming up to the JV team, the players brought their game up and the coaches felt she would have more play time and be of better value staying with the freshman team. A decision that she was happy about.
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No one is perfect. There’s always going to be somebody better than you at something. Why not learn, absorb and celebrate our differences and encourage each other. #getoveryourself

Chickpea Scramble by Plant Based Jane

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In case you haven’t noticed, I LURVE chickpeas!  They are such a nutritionally versatile legume.

Chickpeas are anti-inflammatory and contain an abundance of non-heme iron—the safest form of iron. They are packed with nutrients, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and phytates. Chickpeas contain five times more the antioxidant content when sprouted.

Eat your legumes!

Jane of Plant Based Jane featured a Chickpea Scramble recipe that I knew I had to give a try.  I am very grateful to have connected with this inspiring bright sassy soul.  Jane is a delightful ray of sunshine. Her love of life and passion shine through every post.

There are many tofu scramble recipes to choose from.  However, in this house tofu is not well received because our bodies not only don’t agree with it, it’s to similar to the texture of eggs and it makes me gag. Therefore, replacing the tofu with chickpeas was brilliant!

Jane’s recipe features mushrooms and tomatoes.  Those are two ingredients that only two out of the four of us will eat.  Yeah, I know it sounds crazy that some of us do not like mushrooms and tomatoes.  Rather than making two different meals, those ingredients were left on the side.  Not only is the flavor just right, this recipe can be customized to your liking.

I made our scramble with diced zucchini, spinach, black beans and roasted potatoes.  Sprinkle nutritional yeast to add some zing! The additional ingredients vary depending on what is in the refrigerator.  This meal has been breakfast and dinner.  As a result of this recipe topping the charts in this house, the kids will take a tortilla and make a burrito for their school lunches!

Click on the link below and go visit Jane.  Not only does Jane offer some incredibly delicious meals to eat, you will be entertained by her wittiness.

Ingredients:  You can add all or just what you like :)

Chickpeas drained and rinsed
Black beans drained and rinsed
Sliced mushrooms
Spinach
Roasted potatoes
Sliced tomatoes
Diced zucchini
Turmeric
Chili powder
Onion powder
Nutritional yeast
Salt & pepper to taste

Click here for recipe 

 

 

Nutrition source: Nutrition Facts

Easy Chickpea Salad

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I have been squeezing lemons and limes on my salads lately for a quick and easy dressing on these warm summer days.  Lemons and limes not only bring out flavor, they provide some benefits to the body.  They are and excellent source of Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, are an antioxidant, and help aid in digestion.  All the more reason to squeeze freshness into your food.

This is a salad that I whipped up with some basic ingredients I have stocked in the kitchen.  If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am a huge fan of chickpeas.  Another incredible nutrition powerhouse that can go in just about any meal, just about :)  A few favorite things about this flavorful salad is that is was not only easy to make, but so refreshing to eat on a warm day. Also, oil free is a bonus!

Ingredients:

2 cans rinsed and drained chickpeas
2 garlic cloves, diced (I used a couple large ones)
1 small red onion, diced
the juice of 4 limes (freshly squeezed, no store container stuff)
1 jalapeño, diced and seeded to your level of heat
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 avocado, chopped
desired amount of arugula or preferred greens

Directions:

Using a medium size bowl, add all ingredients (except avocado) and mix well.  Eat right away or chill in the refrigerator for a few hours (my preferred method).  When you are ready to eat, add the avocado and greens. I made it with arugula and dandelion greens and it was delicious.

 

Vegan Chocolate Ice Cream

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Sweet potato??? really??? was my first thought when I came across this ice cream recipe. I was very intrigued by it because of the ingredients… ONLY 4 INGREDIENTS!!! Now who wouldn’t want to make this??

I have had great success with Brandi at The Vegan 8 recipes which was another reason to test this one. Well we have been blessed with another heat wave :( and we want something cool and sweet. I typically do not use coconut milk, but with this being ice cream, I felt it would be necessary for the full creaminess effect.

After I had blended everything (which BTW, you just put it all in a blender, so easy!) I had to taste test. Um, well I could have kept taste testing, this stuff is seriously delish! so I can only imagine how it will be when it is ready to come out of the freezer… DEVINE!!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

Yup, that is sweet potato and dark chocolate!

 

Even though the coconut milk adds fat, it isn’t very much compared to the cream in packaged ice cream.  The processed fat and dairy which comes with a price to your health.

Our bodies can digest this easier as it is plant based. The sweet potato is loaded with Fiber, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene), Vitamin C, Vitamin B-6, Potassium, Calcium, Magnesium and also has protein and carbs, all of which come from the natural source. All the more reason to splurge once in a while with a cold treat!

 

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

Waiting for the chocolate to melt.

 

Ingredients you will need: Serves about 4 cups

Canned coconut milk (you can use light coconut milk) be sure to shake before opening
Dairy free chocolate chips I use Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
Cooked mashed and packed sweet potato (not yams)
Pure vanilla extract
Sea salt

 

Recipe here: The Vegan 8 – click here for recipe

 

Directions:

Cook the sweet potato however you prefer. I used a microwave because I want to make this quick and I was excited to get it in the freezer :) If you choose to bake it, bake at 400 degree F with skin on until soft. Do not steam or boil it.

Once the potato has cooled, peel and mash it really well. No lumps or skin. Pack it into 3/4 cup and add it to the blender.

Continue with adding the vanilla, coconut milk and salt. But do not blend yet.

Melt your chocolate chips your preferred method. Be sure to not get the chips too hot as they will burn easy and will be useless. Also try not to eat all the chocolate ;) I used my setting on my microwave, heat for about 15 seconds then stir and heat again until about 90% is melted then remove and continue to stir until all chips are melted.

Add the melted chocolate to the blender, scraping every bit of chocolate you can from the bowl into the blender.

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

Adding the melted chocolate to the blender

 

Blend all ingredients until completely smooth. Taste test, and adjust if needed. I didn’t add anything extra to it, it tasted amazing just as is and I could have kept tasting it!

I poured mine into an ice cream storage container as I do not have an ice cream maker. If you have an ice cream maker, use it! Using the storage container, be sure to return every 30 minutes to stir to get your desired consistency. Best to set a timer for 30 minutes as a reminder and it may take at least 2-3 hours to get it to set.

Now it may not last long enough to be in the freezer overnight, but if you do have some just take it out to thaw for about 20-30 minutes to soften. Also, remember every time the ice cream is removed, thawed, and then put back in the freezer, ice crystals form. My guess is that there won’t be much to worry about that. You could always pour it in individual containers for single servings.

making choclate ice cream