Stuffing Inspired Lentil Walnut Loaf

Wednesday night I made lentil walnut loaf and it was amazing, especially with the persimmon cranberry sauce I made on Monday.

Stuffing is my favorite side dish and that inspired this 3rd Thanksgiving dinner idea. It definitely has a real stuffing flavor to it! The sautéed onions, carrots and celery along with rosemary… I love cooking. 😍

Anyway, I threw in an extra recipe for mashed sweet potatoes in case you want to mix it up a bit.

Either way, you can’t go wrong.

So on to recipe number 3 of easy, budget friendly Thanksgiving dinner possibilities!

Lentil Walnut Loaf

1 Medium onion, diced
3 or 4 Stalks of celery, diced
3 or 4 Carrots, diced
1/4 C crushed walnuts
1 C cooked lentils
1/2 C panko bread crumbs
3 T nutritional yeast
1 C TVP (soaked in 1/2 C hot water)
1 C veggie stock
1 Egg replacer (1 T flax meal + 2 T water or 1 VeganEgg. Let this sit for a couple of minutes)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 t onion powder
1 t garlic powder
2 t ground rosemary
Olive oil, for cooking

Glaze

3 T ketchup
1 T balsamic glaze (balsamic vinegar is fine too!)

OR

3 T tomato paste
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 t molasses
2 t brown sugar
Dash of salt

Pre heat oven to 450’

In a pan, sauté onions, carrots and celery with olive oil. Once the onions are translucent, add in walnuts. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Boil water and pour over TVP so it rehydrates. You may end up using a tad more than 1/2 cup, but don’t go crazy. You don’t want it too wet and mushy.

Ultimately, it should resemble large crumbs. Or those beef crumbles you get for Taco Tuesday!

Transfer sautéed mixture to a large bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix together.

Pour into a greased bread pan.

Spread glaze all over the top of the loaf. Just mix the ketchup and balsamic together.

Bake in a 450′ oven for 30 minutes.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

4 Medium sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1/4 C olive oil
1/3 C nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 C veggie stock, or water
1 t garlic powder
1 t onion powder

OR

Cheezy Dill Mashed Potatoes

3 or 4 Large potatoes
1/2 C veggie stock (or water)
1/4 C nutritional yeast
2 Slices of Daiya Swiss Cheese (any non dairy cheese is fine)
1 T Earth Bound
1 T dill weed
Salt, to taste

Cut the potatoes and boil them until tender.

Drain and put back into the pot. Add all the ingredients and mash.

If they’re a little dry, add more stock or water.

And that’s all folks! A side of green beans or asparagus would go well also!

Enjoy ❤️

Vegan Thanksgiving Bowl

Monday night I made my first easy Thanksgiving meal in order to practice budgeting and just to switch it up a bit.

Planning a holiday meal can be stressful, so I’m coming up with quick and easy recipes that are not only great for everyday, but would be perfect for a Thanksgiving dinner!

I started the week out with a veggie bowl because, who doesn’t love those?!

It’s packed with all the holiday food goodness. If you think about it, once you fill your plate, you end up taking bites of everything at the same time anyway.

So why not mix it all together to begin with?! You’re welcome for this!

I sautéed beautiful greens and onions, mashed some potatoes and there’s even gravy.

Here’s everything you need for a festive vegan Thanksgiving veggie bowl!

Remember, this is enough to feed two people plus have a little extra for leftovers.

And there’s even a little bit of Sophie. 💕

Apple Cider Vinegar Kale and Onions
1 Bunch kale, torn into bite size pieces
1 Medium onion, cut to your preference
2 T ACV
Salt and pepper, to taste
1/4 C dried cranberries
Olive oil

I’n a large skillet, sauté onions with olive oil until translucent. Add in kale a few handfuls at a time until it wilts a little. Add in the the vinegar, cranberries and salt and pepper and mix. Let it sit on low heat and stir a couple times for about 5 more minutes.

Onion Gravy
1 Small onion, diced
3 C veggie stock
1/4 C flour
1 t ground rosemary
2 t poultry seasoning
Salt and course black pepper, to taste
Olive oil

Dice onion into small pieces and sauté with oil. Add in veggie stock and spices and bring to a boil.

Turn the heat to low and slowly whisk in the flour. Use as little or as much as you’d like to get the thickness you prefer.

You can add water or more stock later when you heat it up. It’ll thicken if you don’t use it right away.

Sweet & Spicy Carrots and Brussel Sprouts
4 to 6 Carrots, chopped small
1 C brussel sports
2 to 3 T Bee Free Honee (I used ancho chili flavored)
Dash of salt

Heat oven to 450’

Chop carrots into bite size pieces. Cut the sprouts into fours.

Place everything in a baking dish and drizzle the Bee Free Honee over top. A dash of salt next, and it’s ready for baking.

Bake for 30 minutes or until tender, stirring mid way.

You can substitute the honee for agave or maple syrup.

Mashed Potatoes
6 Red potatoes
1/4 C nutritional yeast
1 T Earth Bound
1/2 C veggie stock or water
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 T dill weed
Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the potatoes into small pieces and place in a pot filled with water. They cook faster the smaller they are. I cut mind into about 6 pieces.

Boil on high heat until tender, then drain.

Put them back into the same pot and add the rest of the ingredients and mash until you get the texture you like.

I like them chunky, so I didn’t go crazy.

You can bring out a mixer and really make them smooth if that’s more your style.

Now just load up a bowl and you have yourself a little Thanksgiving feast!

Don’t be afraid to switch up the veggies or the spices any way you want! Have fun with it.

Quick Thanksgiving French Onion Soup

A few things are going on right now. One, Thanksgiving is NEXT week. Two, I’ve been on a budget of $100 dollars a week.

I’m in the middle of week 3. The first week I went over a lot! Week 2, I went over by $20 because I decided last minute after work Friday, that I wanted to make something else. I succumbed to my craving for chick pea salad wraps.

This week though, I’m doing great! I did my shopping Monday and Tuesday. I planned out our meals and they’re all quick versions of Thanksgiving dinners. Maybe i’ll use one of the meals from this week or I’ll just do my traditional Thanksgiving feast for the big day. I still have time, right?! 😐

It’s been fun coming up with themed dinners! I’m also doing this to show you how simple and stress free your holiday can be. Not to mention, everything you see this week was $100! That’s 5 full meals for 2 people with leftovers for lunch!

Last night I made a Thanksgiving French Onion Soup! Oh boy, it was perfect!

I made a persimmon cranberry sauce to go on top of the bread and cheese that usually tops off the soup.

It’s the perfect blend of sweet and savory.

So, let’s get to it! It was super quick and doesn’t take a lot of ingredients.

French Onion Soup
2 Large onions, sliced thin (I used one red and one yellow onion)
Olive oil, to sauté
1/2 C red wine
3 C veggie stock
1 C water
2 Bay leaves
1 T parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the Bread
Dairy free Swiss cheese (I used Daiya)
French bread or a crusty bread of choice

Persimmon Cranberry Sauce
1 Bag fresh cranberries
1 Large persimmon, diced small
1 C sugar
1 C water

As thinly as you can, slice the onions and sauté them with a little olive oil until translucent. I like mine really caramelized!

Add in the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.

The whole thing took 30 minutes.

For the bread, I sliced thin pieces, but you can make them thicker.

Place a slice of swiss on top and put under the broiler under melted.

The cranberry sauce I started with the soup.

Put all the ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn to low and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and let it thicken.

When everything is ready, spoon a gracious amount of soup into a bowl and place a couple pieces of cheesy bread on top. Garnish with the sweet cranberry sauce and enjoy!

Dark Chocolate Brownies

Oh, vegan egg replacer, how I do love thee!

I don’t know why it took me so long to use you, but I gave in and now the world is a better place. Or at least my baking is better.

No more vegan boxed brownies for me! EVER AGAIN!

These dark chocolate brownies are super rich and full of chocolate goodness! They’re also super easy to make.

Happy baking my friends!

Dark Chocolate Brownies

1 Bar dark chocolate of choice
1/2 C dark chocolate chips
1 C sugar
3/4 C all purpose flour
1/3 C cocoa powder, unsweetened
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
2 Vegan egg replacers (2 T replacer + 4 T water)
1/2 C veggie oil
1/4 C water
1 t vanilla

Pre heat your oven to 350′ and lightly grease a baking dish. Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and coat the pan then toss what didn’t stick.

To make the egg replacer, add water and powder to a small bowl and mix well. Do this first so that it has time to set and turn to almost a gel like substance.

In a saucepan, melt chocolate bar (break the bar into pieces), sugar and water. This took me 5 minutes or so on medium heat. It’s still grainy once the chocolate is melted. Set aside.

To a large mixing bowl, add flour, cocoa powder, salt baking powder and chocolate chips. Mix together. Ad this point, it kind of reminds me of a boxed brownie powder mix.

Now, add oil, vegan egg replacer and vanilla and stir to really get the egg mixture combined with the flour mix.

Finally, add in the melted sugar and chocolate and lightly stir together. Don’t over mix. Just fold the melted chocolate in.

Pour into your baking dish and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Let cool and add a little vegan powdered sugar to really put it over the top!

Dairy Free Yogurt

One thing I miss as a vegan is yogurt.

Well, I thought I missed it until the glorious dairy free yogurt Gods created a whole world of yogurt made of, wait for it…

DAIRY FREE MILK!

You know, all those cashews and almonds that the dairy free milk farmers get up really early in the morning to milk?!

Yes, my dear friends, there is a vegan version of everything now! Including yogurt. Packed with as many living probiotics as your cow’s milk version, but cruelty free and better for you. You can now enjoy the same flavors and benefits of a yogurt but feel twice as good knowing that no animals were harmed in the making, or eating, of this product!

I’ve compiled a few of my favorite flavors and brands.

Ultimately, I’m going to try to make my own, but until then, these will do!

http://foragerproject.com/

Forager Project is probably one of my absolute faves! It’s super creamy and doesn’t have a gritty texture. It’s made from cashews, which in my opinion, is the best non dairy milk product out there. I use cashews for all of my cream bases so naturally, I’m completely in love with this brand. I’ve tried all of their flavors. Can’t say I like one more than the other. Guess it depends on what you’re feelin.

http://www.kite-hill.com

Kite Hill Foods! YUMMM! Almonds are another incredible non dairy milk source. Rich and smooth when turned into milk so of course Kite Hill’s yogurt is going to be just the texture you’re looking for. Their flavors are fantastic and no grit or sour after taste. Basically, it doesn’t taste fake or too sugary. And, lets not forget about their Greek style yogurt! From what I remember, this is the best consistency to a dairy version of Greek yogurt that I’ve come across. Thick and creamy, just the way you’d imagine it to be. Not a watered down at all! Definitely worth giving it a go!

https://silk.com

Last on my list, but not least, is this gloriously chocolaty almond milk yogurt by Silk! Rich, smooth and completely divine, this totally hits the spot when you need a little sweet pick me up! I added some graham crackers and it just put this dairy free goodness over the top. I swear it tastes like a s’more in a cup! I’ve tried their other almond milk flavors and I’d give them all a thumbs up. But, as far as a non fruit yogurt goes, this one is my favorite chocolate pick.

National Homemade Cookie Day!

I made these the other night totally craving something sweet. I’ve been dying to try the Vegan Egg in a baked good and this was the perfect opportunity!

These cookies were amazing! Totally sister and husband approved. Baking, as some of you know, has not been easy for me since I became a vegan. I have tried and miserably failed attempt after attempt at trying to make healthier versions of my favorite baked goods.

As a meat and dairy eater, I was a pretty good baker! So, I’m working on trying to remedy this situation and I believe it’s come down to the fact that I just need to give in and use a vegan egg replacer when needed. Flax works alright, applesauce, banana… but sometimes ya just need to use and actual egg replacement.

https://followyourheart.com/veganegg/

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 C vegan brown sugar
1/2 C vegan granulated sugar
2 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C melted coconut oil
2 Vegan Eggs (4 T Follow Your Heart vegan egg powder + 1/4 cup water)
2 T cornstarch
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1 Heaping cup chocolate chips

Pre heat oven to 375′

In a large mixing bowl, cream the coconut oil and sugars. Add in vanilla, vegan egg, salt, soda and starch. Beat until blended with sugar mixture.

*The vegan egg mixture shouldn’t be too thick or too watery. If you need to add a little more water, do so, but start with 1/4 cup.

Add flour a half cup at a time, mixing as you go until you have a light, smooth cookie dough mixture. You know, the consistency you cant wait to eat with a spoon?!

Lastly, mix in the chocolate chips.

Scoop about a tablespoon onto a cookie sheet and flatten lightly.

Bake about 10 to 12 minutes. Cookies should be a nice, golden brown on top.

 

Love and cookies!

Alex

No, I Don’t Eat Honey

Click here to learn more and to try all their amazing flavors! Bee Free Honee

 

This is one of the biggest questions I get asked. Whether or not I eat honey. The answer is simple. No! The reason is even more simple. It comes from a living creature.

Bees are absolutely vital to the survival of our earth. Without them to pollinate and spread seeds, most of our crops would die off.

If we have no food, how do we survive?

Honey is so unnecessary in our diets and can easily be switched to something that’s better for the environment.

For example, agave! Or brown rice syrup. My favorite as of late though, is Bee Free Honee!

This stuff is amazing! It’s made from apples and completely void of any animal product what so ever. It tastes amazing and works on food and in drink.

Give it a try! I promise you won’t be sorry my friends. <3

 

 

To learn more about why we need to save the bees go to http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/why-bees-are-important-to-our-planet/

Crushed Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

 

 

Something easy and simple to whip up in a hurry!

Crushed Red Pepper and Garlic Hummus

2 C cooked and drained chickpeas
3 Cloves garlic, roasted
2 T tahini
2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 C olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle
Salt, to taste
2 t crushed red pepper flakes, plus a little extra for garnish

Place all ingredients, except the olive oil, in a food processor or blender.

Turn on medium and add olive oil. If you like a really creamy hummus, add water. About a tablespoon at a time to get the consistency you prefer.

Pour hummus into a bowl and drizzle the extra olive oil on top. Sprinkle with more red pepper flakes and serve up with some pita or tortilla chips!

*I cut the tips off of a whole head of garlic and placed it in a 400′ oven for about 20 minutes. The garlic popped right out of their skins and made the hummus super warm. It was delicious! You could also just add raw garlic.

Enjoy! <3

Sweet Potato Soup

So last night, having no clue what to make but all these sweet potatoes in my pantry, I thought I’d give soup a try.

My mom is the best soup maker and sadly, I’ve not had the best of luck. But I’m learning! And last night, was wow worthy!!

2 Sweet potatoes, cubed
1 Medium onion, diced
3 Carrots, diced
1 Head garlic, diced
1 C veggie stock
1 C cooked black beans
3 C water
1 T vegan Worcestershire sauce
1 T tomato paste
1/2 can sweet potato purée
1 t smoked paprika
1 t chili powder
2 t salt, or to taste
1/2 t coarse black pepper
1 T olive oil

Sauté the onion until translucent. Add carrots and sweet potato and sauté with a little olive oil for about 10 minutes.

Add garlic and let cook with the vegetables for a few minutes.

Add tomato paste, sweet potato purée, worcestershire, black beans, liquid and spices.

Bring to a rapid boil then turn the heat to low and let simmer for about an hour or until the carrots and potatos are tender.

The purée acts as a thickening agent and gives the soup such a warm flavor.

Serve it up with some cornbread or tortilla chips would go well too!

Enjoy 😊

This entry was posted in Recipes.

Farmer’s Market & the Country Living Fair

Saturday was the best day of 2017 so far!

The first Saturday in June is the beginning of our little city’s fantastic farmer’s market and I made out like a bandit!

Kale, tomatoes, snap peas…

 

 

Every Saturday morning, my husband and I get there at 8:00am when they open and get bread from Bread Alone for our breakfast, then do our shopping for the week.

Oh, there’s usually coffee 😏

This is a great way to support our community, reduce waste, be healthy and save money.

No waste year… not doing too bad. I could be better about bringing my own to go cup for coffee.

So after the most amazing morning, my husband had a couple hours of work (he’s a Tae Kwon Do master. Have I mentioned that? Swoon!! 😍) and I got ready for the Country Living Fair !

It’s held in Rhinebeck, New York where we got married, so it’s even more special to us.

We’re HUGE vintage, antique, farm house junkies, so this fair is a big deal!

It was a perfect sunny day and it started with a wine slushie the moment we walked through the barn doors!

Tiny homes! 💜💜

 

 

 

 

 

We spent a few good hours there getting inspiration and of course making a few purchases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

One purchase I was extremely excited about was from a little environmentally friendly company called The Old White House . They make beautifully scented laundry powder and fabric spray, amongst other perfect goods.

 

Not only is this stuff vegan, but it’s not going to harm our planet. We’re supporting our economy, Mother Earth, each other… I couldn’t have been more honored to meet such a wonderful woman, Theresa.

I’m a fan, and customer, for life!

After the fair, we walked around Rhinebeck, got dinner, had a couple vegan truffles at a little chocolate shop, then headed home.

What. A. Day. 💚