The Easiest Vegan and Gluten Free Dessert Recipe

Hello everyone,

We are just days away from Thanksgiving and you may still be wondering what amazing, vegan dessert you can bring to your holiday meal.  Well, look no further!  This recipe is incredibly easy to make, involves no baking, and is gluten free.

*This recipe has been modified a bit.  The original is from Fresh Creations.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cheesecakes (12 servings)

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Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups Raw Pecans
  • 1 cup Medjool Dates (soaked in warm water for 10 minutes)
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt

 

  • 1 cup Cashews (soaked in hot water for 1 hour)
  • 1/2 cup Light Coconut Milk
  • 1/2 cup Canned Pumpkin Puree (BPA free can preferred)
  • 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup Lemon Juice

Directions:

  1. Soak the cashews for one hour and soak the dates for 10 minutes.
  2. Line a muffin tin with plastic wrap or liners.
  3. Make the crust in a food processor: blend the pecans until ground, then add the soft dates (without the pits), and sea salt.  Pulse well until combined.
  4. Transfer the mixture into the muffin tin and press down until crust is formed.  The crust is really sticky and it helps if you use your fingers to press it down.
  5. Place tin in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the filling.  In a high speed blender, blend all of the ingredients for the filling until smooth and creamy.
  7. Remove tin from the freezer and pour the filling over the pecan crust.
  8. Freeze the cheesecakes for about 3-4 hours, or until firm.
  9. Let them thaw for a few minutes before eating.
  10. Enjoy!

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How to Eat Out as a Vegan

Hello everyone and happy Friday!

Since the weekend is approaching, I thought that it would be a great time to discuss how to eat out as a vegan.  Honestly, this was something that I was hesitant about when I first made the transition, but we have found it easier (and more fun!) than ever!

First, because I have readers in many different parts of the world, I would recommend downloading the App “Happy Cow” on your phone (you can also pull up their website).  This is a fabulous resource; all you have to do is type in your zip code, and it will tell you all of the vegan restaurants in your area.

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Second, I highly recommend studying the menu of the restaurant you will be visiting before you go.  Most places have vegan menus or vegan options.  However, you can also look at the ingredients in meals and stay away from eggs, meat, dairy, cream, gelatin, honey, fish, whey, chicken stock, bone broth, etc.  If you have a difficult time choosing something, don’t be afraid to ask your server for help.  You may need to explain what “vegan” is to them, but they should be happy to offer suggestions.  If you get really stuck, stick to the basics like a salad or baked potato (no butter).

Some of our favorite places to dine in or pick up food from are:

*Rubios (nothing like a veggie burrito or veggie bowl.  Stay away from the chipotle cream sauce though)

*Chipotle (we love their Sofritas!  Add those to a burrito or a veggie bowl.  Do not add cheese or sour cream)

*Veggie Grill (enough said!)

*On the Border (ask your host/hostess for the “vegan” menu)

*Sushi Lounge (we have found that sushi is incredibly easy to make vegan.  You can order all kinds of vegetable rolls, sushi rice, miso soup, edamame)

*California Homemades (this is for all of my local friends.  They offer a full vegan menu)

*Jimbos (order all kinds of vegan sandwiches and sides from their deli menu daily.  They also have an enormous, salad bar and smoothies)

*Craft and Taco (this is also for my local friends.  They offer a vegan taco menu)

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If all else fails, stick with bean burritos at Mexican restaurants, pasta and marinara at Italian restaurants and veggie stir fry at Chinese restaurants.

I hope that helps a little!  Please contact me if you need more assistance.  Also, I would love to hear from you.  Where are your favorite, vegan options for dining or taking out?

 

 

“Cheesy” Kale Casserole (Great for Thanksgiving!)

Hello all,

Yesterday we discussed why I think it is important to leave turkeys off of our tables (on Thanksgiving and always).  You may be wondering what to make for your holiday meal instead.

This was one of the many recipes that we made during our cooking class last week and it is incredibly delicious.  Plus, it is comforting, warm and perfect for this time of year with its’ main ingredient being pumpkin.

I hope that you will give it a try and let me know what you think.

*This recipe has been modified from Fresh Creations.  For more information, check out @freshcreationssd on Instagram.

“Cheesy” Kale Casserole

(4 servings)

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Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 lbs Pureed Pumpkin (*we used organic, pureed pumpkin from cans instead of whole pumpkins. The directions below are for the canned option)
  • 1 Yellow Onion (small dice)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
  • 1 can Organic Coconut Milk (15 oz can)
  • 2 cups Kale Leaves (removed from stem and leaves cut thin)
  • 1 tbsp Fresh Sage (minced)
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/3 tbsp Bread Crumbs (*we used gluten free)
  • 1 Bag of Macaroni (*again we used gluten free)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In an extra large sauce pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic and sage and continue cooking until onions are carmelized.
  2. While onions are carmelizing, cook pasta of choice using directions on package. Strain and set aside.
  3. Add pureed pumpkin, coconut milk and nutritional yeast to carmelized onion sage and garlic mixture. Stir/mix together. Cook 4 minutes.
  4. Add shredded kale leaves, stir everything together and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Combine pasta with pumpkin and kale mixture.
  6. Scoop into individual ramekins or a 9×9 baking dish. Top with bread crumbs of choice. Bake for 10 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown.
  7. Garnish with green onion or chili pepper flakes (you can also add some tempeh bacon).

 

I truly hope that you enjoy this recipe!  Please remember that it is absolutely possible to have an amazing, and satisfying, holiday meal without consuming animal products ❤

 

 

 

The Hardest Time of Year to be Vegan and Some Fun Facts About Turkeys

Hello everyone,

I hope that you are having a wonderful week so far!

I have a confession to make: I AM REALLY GRUMPY!  It took me a minute to figure out why I cannot snap out of this horrible mood, and then I realized that Thanksgiving is only one week away.  Some of you may be wondering why this holiday would possibly be anything less than something to be excited about, but let me explain it to you from a vegan point of view.

*Let me start by saying that I know that not all vegans feel the way that I do.  There are some people who are vegan for their health or the environment and may not care about the animals.  When I say vegan in today’s blog, I mean the ethical vegans who are in it for the animals.

I have decided that the holidays are the hardest part of the year for ethical vegans.  Somehow in our society we have decided that it is impossible to celebrate and to be thankful without a dead animal in our mouths:  gelatin and dairy for Halloween, turkey for Thanksgiving, pigs for Christmas and cows for the 4th of July.

And because our society is built upon these traditions, there is no escaping it.  When you go to the store, there are signs celebrating that “the turkeys are coming” and employees gleefully running around with turkey-leg headbands.  I will never understand why we count down the days until the dead corpses arrive at our stores for us to eat!  And do we actually think that these sentient beings are smiling and are happy about being bred, tortured and killed so that we can enjoy them for dinner?!  And did you know that turkeys are babies when they are killed?

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*This sign was in front of Trader Joe’s last week and their employees were wearing turkey-leg headbands.

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*This was a flyer inside of Jimbos today.  I am so glad that their cute turkeys “don’t do drugs!”

 

As if going to the store wasn’t bad enough, it seems that every non vegan is talking about “Turkey Day”.  They are planning their entire week around cooking their turkey!  We had a power outage in our neighborhood this week and the biggest concern was what was going to happen to the turkeys in people’s fridges.

And how can an ethical vegan possibly attend a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, while sitting there staring at the corpse on the table, knowing what that animal went though to get where it is?!  You see, an animal only has one life (that I know of) and I think it is incredibly selfish of us humans to take that away from them, for a fleeting pleasure on one’s tongue (and the irony is that it isn’t even good for us!!!  But that is for another day).

So that is where my bad mood has come from.  I plan on trying to stay away from the grocery stores as much as possible next week and to enjoy a vegan dinner on Thanksgiving with my family.  IT IS ABSOLUTELY POSSIBLE TO CELEBRATE WITHOUT PAYING SOMEONE ELSE TO KILL AN INNOCENT BEING.

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I don’t want to leave you on a bad note, so here are some fun facts about turkeys to make your day:

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  • Turkeys enjoy hearing music and will sometimes chirp along.
  • They can run up to 25 miles per hour and fly as fast as 55 miles per hour.
  • Turkeys are highly social and very affectionate.  They create lasting friendships with each other.
  • They have unique voices, which is how they recognize each other.
  • Turkeys have great geography skills and can learn the precise details of an area up to 1,000 acres.
  • They love to be petted.
  • Newborn turkeys search and call for their mother; they never get to be with them.

 

Please consider leaving these beautiful animals off your dinner table this year.  I am here to help if you need holiday, meal ideas. ❤

Baked Potato Nacho Recipe

Hello everyone,

Happy Food Friday!  Today I wanted to share one of my new, favorite recipes.  This recipe has been modified from Medical Medium’s Thyroid Healing book. I tried to make this for the first time this week and may now be making it every day!  It was absolutely, mouth-wateringly delicious!

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Makes 2-3 servings

Ingredients:

  • 6 medium potatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 cup diced tomato
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, minced (optional)……I used the whole thing by accident.
  • 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup cashew cream (see recipe below)
  • a drop of olive oil/coconut oil to dust potatoes with

Cashew Cream (modified from The No Meat Athlete Cookbook)

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in hot water for 1 hour, then drained
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ to 1 cup water
  • 1-2 teaspoons dill (we like a lot so I tend to just pour in a ton!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Slice the potatoes into “chips” that are 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick.  Lightly dust them with your choice of oil and add the sea salt.  Arrange the potatoes on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.  Bake the potatoes for 20 minutes, flip, and then bake for 10 more minutes (or until crispy to your liking).
  2. While the potatoes bake, combine the avocado, tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, and the juice of both of the limes in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Make the cashew cream sauce by simply blending all of the ingredients together. Add more water to create your desired consistency.
  4. When the potatoes have finished cooking, arrange them on a plate/serving tray.  Top them with the salsa and add some cashew cream sauce.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Surprising Health Benefits of Going Vegan

I originally made the full transition to a vegan diet in 2016 after my dog died.  When I was watching him suffer, I realized that I never wanted to contribute to an animal’s suffering for as long as I lived.  I also made the connection that “meat” came from an animal, an animal who was tortured and killed for my five minutes of pleasure.

Although the animals were absolutely enough to keep me vegan for the entirety of my lifetime, I truly love the health benefits of being vegan as well.  I had hoped that I would feel better but some of these benefits were truly unexpected.  My body has completely transformed inside and out.  I will take you through some of the major health benefits that I have experienced over the last two years.

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Lyme Disease Remission: for those of you who haven’t been following my blog for long, you may not know that I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease in 2015 (for more information on this please click here). I had awful symptoms including severe leg pain, digestive distress, anxiety, brain fog, insomnia, memory loss and fatigue.  I spent $1000’s on treatment and at one point was taking over 90 supplements per day.  Within a few months of switching to a vegan diet, almost all of my symptoms disappeared.

Less constipation and bloating:  okay this may seem like TMI, but going to the bathroom is a really important part of our health.  On a diet that consists mostly of animal products, we are not getting the fiber that we need (meat, dairy and eggs contain 0g of fiber!!!!).  This can lead to constipation and bloating.  (Side note: did you know that a healthy person should go to the bathroom 3 times per day?!).  Going vegan definitely helped me with this issue.

No more thyroid pills: just like many people around the world, I was put on thyroid medication at a very young age. I had been taking thyroid medication for 15 years prior to going vegan.  After a year of being (mostly) a whole food plant based vegan, my thyroid had healed itself and my doctor took me off of my medication.  No more of those nagging pills!

Clear skin and strong nails: this one may not seem very important but I am sure that most of us know what it feels like to wake up with a giant pimple on the center of your face!  It can truly halt your confidence and put a damper on your day.  Whenever I would consume dairy, I would almost immediately develop cystic like acne on my face and body.  My skin has cleared up dramatically since being vegan.  In addition, my nails are stronger than ever!!!

Less pain during that time of the month: I can vividly remember the days of curling up in a ball on the floor because my menstrual cramps were trying to kill me!  This would happen every single month and I truly dreaded my period.  Nothing seemed to help including Midol or chocolate.  Although I still get a tiny little cramping, it is nothing like it used to be.

Transitioning to a vegan diet has truly been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I love the feeling of saving animals, but it has improved my health dramatically, and in only two years.  I cannot wait to see what the future holds and to see how my health will improve from here.  I bet that it will just keep getting better and better ❤

I would love to hear from you; what health improvements have you seen from switching to a vegan diet?