Vegan Whole Wheat Bread-Bread Machine

The biggest hurdle I have had recently is finding a good vegan bread.  So I gave up and decided to make my own.  I have a handy dandy bread machine so I know how easy it can be.  I searched countless blogs and found a really “easy” recipe, which turned out horribly.  Which I think was more due to the fact that my bread machine paddle wasn’t working properly.  After a good cleaning, I waited a few days and tried my hand at veganizing a recipe I found. And Fingers crossed!!! here we go!

Recipe:

1 cup of Almond milk (or your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk)

2/3 cup luke warm water

2 TBSP Earth Balance (or olive oil, etc)

2 TBSP Dark Brown Sugar

2 tsp salt

2 cups of whole wheat flour

1 3/4 cup of bread flour (this made my loaf fluffy and soft you can use all whole wheat if you want)

3/4 cup of oatmeal/sunflower seeds mixed (I used old fashioned oats and salted, roasted seeds I had in the pantry) This is optional of course.

2 1/4 tsp (or 1 pkg) Active Dry yeast

2 TBSP vital wheat gluten (optional, will give you a fluffly loaf, but I didn’t use)

Directions:

1. Place ingredients in the order they are listed (or in accordance to your bread machine manual).

2. I used mine on 2 lbs Medium crust and Whole Wheat Rapid Bake.

It came our perfect.  Rose to absolute perfection.

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This was during the baking process, just after the dough rose. It nearly touched the glass!  I was quite impressed.

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This was hot and fresh out of the machine.  My house smelled divine.  My 4 year old couldn’t wait to have a piece. I wrapped a light cup towel overnight to cool.

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Sliced first thing the next morning, it was perfect. Crust was crisp and the inside was fluffy and soft.  I will make this one again and again.

All the foods….

Last week was a busy, hard, and heartbreaking week.  My 4 year old son has really bad allergies and asthma and he had a horrible attack last week so I was pretty wrapped up dealing with him and was unable to blog for nearly a week.  We were forced, because of my son’s health, to re-home our 2 German Shepherd puppies.  We found them a great new home, so it was a good thing, but we are all still so sad, because we loved them so much.  Our house is very quiet now.  But for the sake of my son’s allergies and lung functions we had to do it.  And doctor’s orders.

On another note, we had lots of good food this week and I cooked a lot!!! So here I will recap all the foods from last week that were so yum and then …. um…not so yum.

We had spaghetti with steamed veggies, Deluxe Vegan, Spinach, black bean, and corn enchiladas topped with Vegan Chili, and homemade Vegan Veggie Pizza!!

Eating at home never tasted so good…except Daiya cheese….bleck….I can’t stand it. I won’t eat it again.  The first time I had it was a few pinches in my vegan chili and I didn’t even taste it.  The second time we bought Daiya Roasted Veggie Pizza, I knew I didn’t like the texture but I couldn’t really taste it for the garlic and veggies.  But this time on the nachos….gag me! No thanks….I don’t like this brand at all. I’d rather not have it at all.  We tried it again at a pizza place and we scraped the cheese off…soooooo disgusting.  Time to try a new brand or forget cheese substitutes altogether.

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Our spaghetti meal with steamed veggies was a favorite because my son who LOVES spaghetti skipped the spaghetti and ate all his broccoli and mine!!! That was all he ate!  I call that a win!

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My favorite meal that I cooked last week was the enchiladas….I will post a pic of the finished product but I will blog the recipe in a separate post.

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Friday night was our Pizza night! This was a good night for food! Yummy!!! NO CHEESE, sauce and veggies only!

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The rest of the weekend was leftovers or finding cool Vegan restaurants.  We had a good time overall and I am down 10 lbs and my boyfriend is down 12 lbs. Fantastic!!!

Spicy White Bean Hummus

Hummus at the stores are so expensive.  Why do we buy it when we can make it cheaper at home and we can make it oil-free. All you need is a few ingredients and a blender.

Ingredients

Makes almost 4 cups of Hummus

2 cans of Chick peas

1 can of white beans (cannelinni beans)

4 garlic cloves

1 tbsp of red pepper flakes or ground red pepper (use more or less to fit your tastes)

4 TBSPs of water (may need more for texture)

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Open cans of beans and drain all of them but one can.  Leave the one can and drain almost completely but leave some liquid. This will help as to not use oil.  Add beans, garlic cloves, and spices to the blender. Blend well.  Add water as needed to obtain the texture you desire.

Serve with veggie or your favorite chips.

As the hummus sits, the spice will increase.  It’s fantastic.  My dad, who won’t embrace any of my vegan food, loved this dish.  Score for me!

 

 

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole

This is my Chappy’s most favorite dish….he says it is like dessert at dinner time. Now, my Chappy is an omnivore and I usually use lots of butter and marshmallows in this dish.  This year, I switched the butter out and used Earth Balance and left the marshmallows out totally. He still loved it.

Ingredients:

5-6 medium to large “orange” sweet potatoes

4 TBSP’s of Earth Balance Spread

1/4 – 1/2 cup of Unsweetened Almond milk

1 cup of dark brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp of vanilla extract

Topping Ingredients

1/2 cup of dark brown sugar

4 TBSP of Earth Balance spread

1/4 cup of all purpose flour

2 cup of pecan halves

Directions:

I baked my sweet potatoes for 65 minutes in my Nu Wave oven, it leaves the consistency as almost mashed. Once cooked, peel the skin and put the sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Add the almond milk, Earth Balance, brown sugar, sugar, and vanilla extract.  Mix well.  Taste to see if you need more of any of the ingredients.

Put the mixture into a casserole dish and now for the topping.  Sprinkle in a light even layer the flour on top of the casserole, then add tiny bits of Earth balance on top of the flour. Next, add the brown sugar on top of that. Lastly, add the pecans.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes until bubbly.

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My apologies for not having a picture of the final product.  My family was too impatient and dug right in.  :-/ The picture above is the potatoes after baking in the NuWave oven.

 

Dairy Free Mashed Potatoes

This is the easiest dish to make purely plant-based. Skip the cow’s milk and use non-dairy milk. Skip butter and use plant-based spread. I used a lot of potatoes to serve the family and to have leftovers.

Ingredients

5 lbs of white potatoes

1 – 1 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (warmed up)

4-5 tbsp of Earth Balance spread

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Rinse, peel, and cube potatoes.  Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and boil until tender and mash-able with a fork. Drain the potatoes, add the Earth balance spread and warmed non-dairy milk. I used a mixer to whip my potatoes, but you can use whatever method you like. Add salt and pepper to taste, mix well and serve.

Vegan Cornbread Dressing

My mom was raised by her daddy and he taught her to cook.  Every year my mom did the Cornbread Dressing and we called it Grandpappy Ken’s Dressing.  I veganized it the best I could.  And wow…it was amazing!!! As a side note, my Grandpappy didn’t use carrots. 😉 This serves 4-6 people and we had leftovers. Made an 8×8 pan of dressing.

First you will want to make a batch of cornbread and rolls (I used store bought Brown n Serve dinner roll that were vegan friendly) and let them dry out for two days.

Cornbread Ingredients:

1 cup of cornmeal

½ cup all purpose gluten free blend (or regular all purpose)

½ cup almond flour (or whole wheat flour)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 cup almond milk

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup maple syrup

½ teaspoon salt

Cornbread Directions:

Mix dry ingredients together and then wet ingredients. Do not overmix.  Bake in a glass 8×8 pan in preheated 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes our clean.

 

Dressing Ingredients:

1 pan of cornbread

6-8 baked and dried dinner rolls (I used Brown n Serve type rolls)

4 medium carrots, diced

4-5 stalks of celery, diced

1 large yellow or white onion, diced

2 garlic cloves minced

Vegetable broth

1 tablespoon of Ener G Egg Replacer (this could be optional, but since the original recipe uses eggs to bind the dressing, I used it.)

Rubbed sage (amount used will be your preference….some like more and some like less.  I am a more kinda gal.)

Salt and pepper, to taste

Dressing Directions:

Saute diced onions, carrots, celery, and garlic in a pan over medium-high heat in a shallow layer of vegetable broth.Do not over saute as the veggies will cook when the dressing is baking.

In a large bowl, crumble the cornbread and rolls, add the sauteed veggies after they are done. Mix well. Add vegetable broth to moisten the mixture.  The amount will depend on how moist you like your dressing. Add sage, salt, pepper, and Egg Replacer. Mix well and pour in an 8×8 pan.  Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes until well browned.

 

 

Vegan Thanksgiving

I am self-admittedly the Hostess with the Mostest.  I host all holidays with my small family every year.  Now, here is the kicker…my mom and I are the only fully plant based eaters in the family and this is our true first Thanksgiving with me doing mostly Vegan dishes. We all know that just because we eat plant-based, doesn’t mean that we don’t like food.  We still want food to taste good right!?  That was my goal this year….to prove to the “omnivores” in my family that plant based food is still delicious.  I have to say….MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  I am beyond proud of this!!!

I took the whole week off to prepare for the week.  I didn’t cook all week, of course, but I did in little spurts to make Thanksgiving day easier.  I will say that I was not a huge fan of the Pumpkin Pie recipe.  I will try something different next year.  However, the pecan pie blew us all away.  I will make this year round.

Here is my Menu:

Cornbread Dressing

Mashed Potatoes

Sweet Potato Casserole

Spicy White Bean Hummus and Veggie Tray

Vegan Crazy Dough Rolls

Pumpkin Pie 

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Pecan Pie – so awesome

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This wasn’t all we had, my boyfriend made a ham and risotto primavera for my family.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving this year!!

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Gardein Porkless Bites – Stir Fry

I’m the only full plant-based eater in my house. My son is maybe 90% vegetarian and my wonderful boyfriend is definitely an omnivore but eats whatever I put in front of him. I sincerely love that he is supportive of how I chose to eat and cook. I do try, most of the time, to cook my own recipes or adaptations of others, without using pre-packaged food.  However, sometimes you just need to use them for convenience or satisfy the other people in your life.  Compromise.  It makes the world go ’round.

There is a great restaurant in our area called Lyfe Kitchen and this is where I first experienced Gardein products. I was blown away by the taste and texture. Loved it! And the fact that omnivores cannot tell it’s vegan makes it that more appealing!051

Ingredients:

1 package of Gardein Porkless Bites

1 large yellow squash, cubed

1 onion (I used purple), sliced

1 bell pepper, sliced

1/4 cup of soy sauce

2 TBSP of chili garlic sauce

2 cups of dry rice

Preparation:

Prepare rice in rice steamer while you cook the rest of the dish. Add hot tap water to a bowl and put sauce from Gardein package to thaw.

Saute squash, onion, and bell pepper in pan until soft.  Cover if needed for added moisture.  Add soy sauce and chili garlic sauce. Cook for 3-4 more minutes. Toss in Gardein porkless bites and sweet and sour sauce, cook for another 6-7 minutes until done.  Serve over rice when finished.

This is a very satisfying and filling dish. Happy mouths all around.  Enjoy!!

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Lush – Product Reviews

My birthday was in mid-October and my boyfriend’s mother ordered me two gift samplers from Lush. Both were Vegan and so wonderful. I haven’t used all the products that came with them yet, but I have used two of the products and I wanted to share my experience with them.

The first one is The Olive Branch shower gel by Lush, This shower gel smells wonderful and feels so good on the skin. I absolutely love it.  It soaps up nicely and rinses off great too.  You do have to shake it before using it because the ingredients do separate, but the label tells you that. 😉

The second product is Ro’s Aargan Body Conditioner. I have never in my life used a body conditioner so I was curious as to how this works. Basically, it’s like using hair conditioner for your skin.  Cleanse your skin, then apply this conditioner then rinse off. No need for lotion after your shower.  Truly amazing! My skin not only feels so soft and supple afterwards, but the smell is divine!!!  This is by far one of favorites and will definitely be purchased again. I am highly impressed by this product.

I also love the little stickers they put on the products of who made them. Nice touch, Lush!

Ro’s Body Conditioner Gift Set -Lush

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Vegan Bashing and Bashing Vegan

So it’s been a year since I switched to a full plant-based diet and I will tell you I have learned a whole lot about myself and more about others, vegans, vegetarians, omnivores, and all the other types of eaters out there.  I learned that for me, eating a plant-based diet works best for me. I have been fully off of blood pressure medicine for the first time since 2006!! Even when I was briefly taken off them in 2009, my pregnancy forced me back on them. I was told that I would more than likely be on meds to control my blood pressure the rest of my life. In June 2015, 7 months and 35 pounds after I went fully plant-based my doctors took me off blood pressure meds and I have been totally in control ever since!

Not only has the blood pressure been normalized, but also my cholesterol and every other aspect of my health. Every year for work, we have to have a physical and blood work done in order to get “money back” in our checks. For 2015, my health screening was so awesome compared to the last 3 years that the nurse asked me what I was doing. I told her and she said, “I’m not surprised at all, my vegan and vegetarian patients ALWAYS have the best blood work. Keep it up!” My family medicine doctor, who is health, weight-lifting omnivore totally supports my lifestyle due to the fact he has seen my health completely change for the best.

What I’ve learned about others is that if you don’t eat like them they judge you and outcast you.  I don’t spout my vegan lifestyle on social media such as FB, but I do post my meals on Instagram.  i cannot stand getting bashed for eating the way I do….it works for ME.  If it doesn’t work for you, fine. Eat your meat, I don’t bash you for eating it. It’s common courtesy to just be nice…not really a hard concept.

I see really aggressive vegans out there bashing non-vegans and it makes me sad. Not everyone will choose this lifestyle, for me it was about health and ethical choices, but not everyone is wired this way. We should want peace and compassion for others. What you eat and the way you eat is a totally personal choice, just like religion and anything else.  Be kind to others, regardless of their choices.

On the flip side, there are really mean non-vegans too. The most recent article I read My Vegan Diet Almost Killed Me really made me sad.  if you read the article, you will discover that the woman it was about was eating less than 1000 calories per day.  This means she wasn’t getting enough nutrients in any form at all. Vegans cannot survive on juicing and salad alone. It’s all about nutrition.  If you don’t know how to eat protein (yes there are vegan protein sources), carbs, veggies, legumes, nuts, essential vitamins, then yes….you can suffer immensely. She has a disease called Orthorexia Nervosa, so I would really hate to say the her Vegan lifestyle was killing her but more lilke her lack of nutrition was. It’s all about balance no matter how you eat. Alas, the media is on a rampage with this story and it is garnering a lot of attention, which is sad because their are a number of really healthy and successful vegans out there.

Kudos to you all for making it work for you….no matter how you eat.

be kind

Xoxoxo,

Heaher

Tempeh “Meat”loaf

Growing up my mom made the best meatloaf. It was a rare occasion when she did make it, but oh man it was an awesome childhood memory.  Comforting, warm, and delicious.  But now that I eat plant-based (and so does my mom FYI) I have been searching for the comfort foods from the days of ole.  I have several plant-based cook books, most from the Happy Herbivore and I adapted this recipe from hers. The only thing I did differently was add a couple of my own ingredients.

Ingredients:

1 – 8oz block of Tempeh, shredded or pulsed in a food processor

1 cup of quick oats

1 small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

4 TBSP of ketchup

2 TBSP of mustard

2 TBSP of soy sauce

1/2 TBSP of Onion powder

2 TBSP Nutritional Yeast

1 TBSP of Italian Seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 F, shred or pulse the Tempeh in food processor. Add all ingredients in a large bowl. Once combined let it sit for a few minutes. Spritz a regular bread pan with non-stick spray, add the mixture to the bread pan and press down firmly. Bake for 25-35 minutes.  Let it rest for 10 minutes after baking.  I topped with more ketchup at the 25 minute mark and let it finish baking for another 10 minutes.

Served with mashed potatoes and italian green beans
Served with mashed potatoes and italian green beans

Vegan Spanish Rice

I made this rice to go along with my Stacked Enchiladas https://heathras.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/vegan-stacked-enchiladas/. I made this first and the rice cooked in the oven while I prepared the enchiladas.  This is a really awesome recipe!

Ingredients

2 cups of medium grain white rice (I used white because it works so much better)

1 can of rotel

1 small onion diced

1 garlic clove, minced

salt and pepper to taste

3 TBSP of Olive Oil

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a large skillet, on high heat add olive oil to skillet and once heated add the rice. You will toast the rice until it is opaque in color and is toasted well.  (Toasting the rice is key here.) Once toasted, you can reduce the heat a little, add your onion and saute with the rice until softened.  Turn heat on low and add garlic and the can of rotel. Mix well.  Take a baking dish and spritz with non-stick spray, then add the rice to the dish. Take the empty rotel can and fill with water twice.  Add the water to the rice. Bake, covered, at 350 for 30 minutes.  Check at 30 minutes to see if you need more water, if so add a little more and bake until you can fluff with a fork.

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