entrees

Cheezey Kale & Broccoli Casserole

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As the holidays approach, we begin to revisit some of our old time favorites! Right? I love looking back at recipes from my childhood and revisiting them. I always enjoy making some of my old favorites part of my new favorites list by switching a few ingredients to make it vegan and gluten free. I have always been a huge cheese and creaminess person. It was seriously the worst part of my transition, in my mind at least. Finding what my other options would be was so helpful. I really recommend taking some of your favorite recipes and creating them with new swaps you find.

Daiya came out with an awesome array of boxed macaroni cheese to make cooking and the transition even easier at home. I thought that it would be fun to create macaroni and cheese casserole with one of the boxes and it came out fantastic. I always love asking my non vegan friends to taste test so I can get a good read on it as well as share with them how good eating vegan can be. One of my friends who eats dairy free most of the time, due to allergy, took a bite and said it wad good but that he really could only have a few bites because he then reminded me he was dairy intolerant. I had to laugh, because that mean he thought what I had made was full of dairy and gluten. So I did really well this time, wahooo!!

I always have to find a way to get some greens in, so you bet that I was able to do it here. I thought that kale and broccoli would go great with the four cheese flavor. I also wanted to add a little protein and flavor so I grabbed some Beyond Meat chicken strips and cubed those up and threw them into the mix. It was really simple and took no time to prepare the mac and cheese and then add the other ingredients together and pop it into the oven to add some crispiness. You can use some Gluten Free bread crumbs or some crumbled up chips, for some extra crunch. It is always important to add texture to a dish. For example, when I am eating something soft and creamy like yogurt, a crunchy granola adds a nice touch to the experience. Here, you have a warm and gooey cheesy dish that would go great with a little crunch.

One recommendation, because the chicken comes in a frozen package. When you use the chicken strips, let them thaw for about 15-20 minutes so that you can chopped them a little easier, or you can run them under warm water really quickly. Get excited to create something really yummy and flavorful that everyone will love. You can’t make a mistake here, there is so much flavor and texture, you just have to take the time to make and try this recipe out. Also, adding your other favorite veggies would be absolutely fine as well. Have fun and be assured that bringing this to any party will work wonders on everyones tastebuds.

 

 

Cheesy Kale & Broccoli Casserole

Casserole Ingredients:

•1 box Macaroni cheese

•1/4 Large Onion finely chopped

•1 Tablespoon coconut oil

•1/2 bag Beyond Chicken strips (defrost out of the freezer for 20 minutes OR run under warm water quickly to defrost and chop into smaller cubes)

•5 Dino Kale stalks – de stemmed and chopped.

•1/2 Head large broccoli cut into small pieces.

•Salt and pepper to taste

•1 Cup Daiya mozzarella

Method:

-Pre heat oven to 400.

-Boil water and Make macaroni and cheese according to package.

-Steam kale and broccoli for 7 to 10 minutes, to soften.

-Cut onion into small pieces and sauté for 3-5 minutes with coconut oil then add chicken cubes to warm for another 5 minutes.

-Then add greens and sauté for another five minutes. (Salt & pepper to taste).

-Add 1/2 Cup mozzarella shreds. Let the cheese melt and then add the Daiya Mac and Cheese to mix thoroughly.

-Add remaining mozzarella on top and bake at 400 for 8 minutes, then broil for 5 minutes after adding bread crumbs or crumbled chips for the last 3 minutes.

-Let cool for 10 minutes and then serve immediately or let sit overnight and the warm up. The flavor gets even more yummy and cheesy!

 

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entrees

Stuffed Bell Peppers

39CF5BD5-16F0-4217-8F85-88F07F8C5309I am a strong believer in flavorful cooking. Yes I said it, I will not eat grass, I will not eat something that doesn’t make my tastebuds go wild! Ok, wait, I take that back… a little… I do eat things that are good for me nutritionally and that perhaps don’t taste the total best. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a wheatgrass shot or some fresh algae, and that to most doesn’t seem tasty, but to me I’m so use to these wonderfully nutritious items I’ll take em down knowing the benefits. It takes time to get there, don’t worry, and meanwhile I still eat really yummy spiced up foods!! I recommend starting to work on your spice cabinet pronto! Try to Grab organic when you can. I know it’s a little more expensive but it’s worth it. Your health is worth it. Buying all the spices upfront can get pricey, but with each recipe, you might find one new spice you need to purchase and it won’t seem so crazy expensive buying one or two at a time.

So back to the recipe. I actually never had a stuffed bell pepper when I was a child. Is that crazy? Did you eat them a lot when you were growing up? Once I got older and I realized how much fun it was to put a bunch of ingredients together and stuff them in a vegetable, I did! The possibilities are endless! You can flavor and add ingredients basically however you’d like, this is just one of my versions.

I always love to do Cajun or taco seasoning with my bell peppers, but I am also a huge Italian flavors fan!! So you could absolutely use Italian season and fresh basil and even a little tomato sauce to give those flavors. Though I might use garbanzo or white beans instead of black beans with an Italian version, which this recipe calls for. I also like to add a whole grain such as brown rice or quinoa to add nutrients and quinoa packs some protein. I also have a version of this recipe where I just used more beans and vegetable without the quinoa. Hit me up if you want that recipe.

I have made stuffed bell peppers a ton of times. They look fun and taste great. They are pretty dang hearty too. You can serve them with a side of salad or if there is something else you prefer, do that! Do what makes you feel good and what tastes good to you. Share these yummy suckers with your friends and family as well!! They’ll thank you for it.

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Stuffed Bell Peppers 

4 Bell peppers (top cut off, de-seeded and baked for 10 minutes at 400)

1 1/2 C Quinoa cooked (or rice )

1 small Onion

2 cloves of garlic

8 Mushrooms

1 Medium zucchini (chopped)

1/2  Package Taco Seasoning

1/2 Rounded Cup of Daiya cheese, any flavor your heart desires!   OR You can use half a cream cheese tub

1/2 can of Black Beans (BPA free can or box or soak and boiling your own is even better!)

Optional: instead of beans, you can grab a meat substitute like “ground meat” or another favorite. (I just try to stay away from processed as much as possible which is why beans are such a great low fat protein option).

Method:

-Cook the Quinoa according to package, make sure you rinse it properly before cooking. Set aside to cool until it is ready to mix with the other ingredients.

-If you want your bell peppers to stand, Cut the tops off and take the inner seeds out of the bell peppers. If you would like to lay them on their side, keep the tops on and cut the peppers in half lengthwise and take the seeds out, spray oil on the the bell peppers and bake them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Then take them out and let them cool to the touch before stuffing.

-Sauté the chopped onions and garlic (about 5 minutes), then add zucchini (cook 3-5 minutes, then add the mushrooms and sauté (for 3 more minutes).

-Once the veggies are sautéed and the quinoa is ready, place them and the black beans in a food processor and pulse a few times to mix together. Add the cheese and pulse one more time.                                 ——-If you’re adding cream cheese, you can spoon that in with these ingredients to the food processor as well. ——————-If you don’t have a food processor, cut the vegetables into very small pieces and just mix the cheese into the other ingredients in a bowl.

-Spoon the mixture into the bell peppers and place on the baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes. If desired, at 15 minutes, place some vegan cheese on top.

-Then, please enjoy.

love, Stephie xoxo

 

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entrees

Creamy Alfredo Sauce

39A6CA8F-130B-4AEB-BFB6-52975BA9AD27I am a sucker for anything creamy! Cheese, dips, sauces, anything. Unfortunately so many options today have dairy in them. I love Italian food and when I first started eating plant based, the easiest things for me to create and cook were things I was use to eating and making . I suggest any of you looking for healthier plant based options, to just find a few dishes you really love and then veganize them! Stick to what you know and are somewhat comfortable with! I think my first few recipes I learned how to make over and over again we’re Caesar salad, pasta recipes, taco salad, and tacos! There are so many possibilities.

Nuts are really the star in cheesy and creamy recipes. Cashews and macadamia nuts are the creamiest, but almonds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, etc., work just as well. As you dive into using different nuts to make different meals, you’ll start to get use to which ones work best for you and the many recipes you’ll be making. You’ll notice which ones have certain consistencies that end up working better for different recipes as well…. In this recipe, cashews take the win. If you or a loved one have a nut allergy, you can try raw and soaked sunflower seeds in place of cashews!

As much as I tell you about what brands have great dairy free options, I like to try eating as close to the source and as homemade, if possible. Even though plants are healthier, by over processing we sort of miss the point as well. So eventually, after you find your swaps and get comfortable with what you can use instead of actual dairy, I urge you to try getting even closer to Whole Foods like using nuts for creaminess and using beans or lentils instead of fake meats. But that is for another time, for now let’s just make some really yummy Alfredo sauce!

So as I said, there are so many options that you can exactly swap for another, especially in the dairy department. For example, to make a traditional Alfredo sauce that uses butter, cream, and Parmesan cheese as the main ingredients, you can find the vegan versions of those and be fine. I took it a step further to make it from unprocessed and whole food ingredients to bring you an even healthier version. Let’s get cooking towards some yummy and creamy goodness, shall we????

Creamy Alfredo Pasta

-1 package of Store bought Zoodles or spiralize 2 large zucchini. (You can spiralize other squash 94 sweet potato too)

-1/2 medium onion (chopped)

-1 Garlic Clove (minced, I put mine through a garlic press)

– 12-14oz package of Brussels sprouts or 1 head of broccoli, or really any veggie you would like to add (chopped)

Creamy Decadent Alfredo Sauce

-1/2 C Cashews (soaked for 2-4 hours)

-1-2 Cloves Garlic (I used my garlic press)

-1/2 C Water

-1/3 C nutritional yeast

-1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan salt

-1 teaspoon lemon juice

-1/4 teaspoon pepper

Method:

– Place chopped onions in a pan and heat on medium for about 3 minutes with a pinch of salt. Then add the minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes.

-Add your veggies and sautée them until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the zoodles and let them warm with the veggies for about 4 minutes.

-While stirring and sautéing the veggies, you can make the Alfredo sauce by placing all the ingredients in a high speed blender or if you don’t have a good blender, a food processor should work just as well. The consistency should be somewhat thick. If you like your Alfredo a little more runny, add a little more water.

-Then add the Alfredo sauce and coat all the zoodles and veggies and let it warm together for about 3-5 minutes and Viola!!! Now please don’t burn your mouth as you hurriedly scoop the pasta onto your plate and devour!!

***Optional: You can use gluten-free pasta noodles or any other zoodle pasta instead of zucchini, such as sweet potato or carrots, etc…too. And you can use any variation of veggies or no veggies at all if you want to keep to just a simple Alfredo pasta.

***Remember, my recipes are just a guideline to the magic you can create in the kitchen. 😍😍😍😍

 

 

 

 

 

 

appetizers, entrees

Pasta Salad

97C40395-84C4-4B85-9858-3EA2C9596699Im going to be quite frank with you… I LOVE PASTA!! I could eat it with an oil based sauce, such as vegan butter or olive oil, I could do red sauce, pink sauce, cheezy sauce, pesto sauce, etc… So which genius decided to make it cold and add vegetables and serve as a lunch or side??!! I’m going to say, probably a wonderful Italian woman! Maybe I’m wrong, correct me, contact and tell me!!

Anyways, pasta salad… It is a great side dish or even served as lunch! I had it for lunch today and it was super satisfying. It’s been really hot in Southern California and I am not seeing the fun in cooking and baking during the day, so most of my dishes during the day are left overs from the night before, salads, or smoothies and nice cream, hehe.

I made this pasta salad last night and let it sit in the fridge to develop all of the flavors. Sitting overnight with any food is truly my favorite, it soaks up the flavor more and it’s always so easy to place out to eat or warm up, in this case, just get it out of the fridge, it’s suppose to be cold.

The flavors of the Italian dressing and crispy raw vegetables go together so great! The slight tang from the vinegar and flavor from the Italian seasoning is wonderful! I suggest you try this recipe and if you’d like to add anything you’re more than welcome. I mean, at the end of the day, this is a salad and who is to yell you exactly what you can or can’t put in it…???

I love olives and I messed around with a few different kinds. I think my favorite combo was black olives and kalmata olives. Either or would be fine too! If you’d like to add a little vegan cheese or some garbanzo beans for extra protein, GO RIGHT AHEAD! Create that shizzzz!

 

Pasta Salad

-1/2 package Spiral pasta

-3 Green onions or 1/4 white onion

-1 small can Black olives or 1/2 jar Kalmata olives

-1/2 Bell pepper (any color you want)

-5 Tablespoons Italian dressing

-Salt & pepper to taste

*Optional: vegan cheese, kidney beans or garbanzo beans.

Method:

-Cook pasta to package directions, then let it cool down or run it under cold water. 

-While the pasta cooks, chop all the ingredients and place in a bowl and toss with the dressing.

-Once your pasta is cold, toss it with the other ingredients and if you can’t wait, then serve it right away, ORRR for better results, let it sit for 4 hours or overnight.

***If you decide to add the other options I listed, make sure you add those as well! Beans add healthy nutrients and protein!

AND remember: Tag me with your creations, I LOOOOOVE seeing your recipe creations! Peace and Love my friends. ❤️💜🌱🥦💋

 

 

appetizers, entrees

Indian Nachos!!

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Say what??!! Indian inspired nachos. Yes, I said what you read, Indian Inspired nachos!! As some of you may have noticed by now, I WILL do whatever I can for an excuse to make and enjoy nachos! I also like to be different, and I like a challenge. So of course, why not take so many of our favorite dish, nachos, and use different flavors? I recently found this fantastic company Maya Kaimal, who I will be doing a product review in more depth shortly on another post, and I thought, “I am going to use one of their wonderful simmer sauces and flavor some yummy veggies, then throw them onto chickpea chips with vegan cheese!!! Whoo hoo!!

The first year of becoming vegan, I was holding onto some of my favorite meals pretty strong. So you can bet that Plant based nachos, caesar salad, pizza, burgers, and mac & cheese were constantly in the mix. Of course, all of these things are still highly processed. So once I got use to being plant based and I felt more knowledgable, I felt more comfortable to branch out and try less processed meals. I started using more whole foods and beans or lentils to substitute for “meat.” Beans and mushrooms have a meaty like texture, or at least the firmness some of us crave in a meal. I find when it looks and feels similar with colors & texture and it has a great seasoning and flavor, it makes it easier to be satisfied with meals we are use to eating.

I took some vegetables that I am use to eating with Indian food, like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and garbanzos and sautéed them with Maya Kaimal’s Simmer Sauce! It is so easy because the flavor is already all there in the sauce, SO DELICIOUS! All you have to do is chop the vegetables, add the simmer sauce, cook, and then plate over the chips and cheese. It is just a fun spin on your usual Indian dish with just rice or potatoes.

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Indian Nachos

Ingredients:

-1/2 Medium Onion

– 2 Cloves Garlic

-1 Tablespoon Coconut oil

-1/2 Cauliflower Head

-1/2 Broccoli

-1/2 Bell Pepper

-1 Yellow Zucchini

-1 Can Garbanzo beans

-1 Jar of Maya Kaimal’s Madras Curry Simmer Sauce (or if you find another flavor of their many flavors, use that)

-Shredded Mozzerella (Or any other dairy free cheese you like)

-1 Bag of chickpea chips

Method:

-Chop all the veggies in smaller portions so they fall over the chips better. Start to sauté the Onions until translucent (about 3-5 minutes on medium heat). Then add the garlic to the onions and sauté for 2 more minutes. Add the broccoli and cauliflower and sauté for another 8 minutes.

-Add Zucchini, Simmer sauce,  bell pepper, beans and sauté for another 10 minutes.

-While the vegetables and sauce are simmering, in between stirring every 2 minutes, start plating them chips. Get a nice pile of chips and either sprinkle the cheese on top of the chips, so that when you put the hot topping on it melts, or just add it to the mix of vegetables. Either way is fine and up to you. Own it! Enjoy it. Be proud you made something new and fun!

Love, Always, Stephie <3

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entrees

Labor Day and Summer BBQ

Summer lovin’ happened soooooo fast! And I’m havin’ a blaaaast…. something like that?? Haha.

Labor Day is upon us. I know that means get togethers, BBQs, fun, laughter, and tons of food. Yum! My favorite, FOOD, and good food that will nourish me in the correct way as to fuel me through the day. Why not try something new this year and dabble with some plant based products and add them to the mix. Many people are starting to eat more consciously so if your hosting or adding to a party, it’s not a bad idea to get your plant based options in line.

Everyone loves a great grilled burger right?! I really enjoy the, Beyond Meat, patty, which grills nicely and packs a 23 grams of protein punch. Make it a cheese burger with, Follow Your Heart, sliced cheese. I don’t mind if you even grill up some onions & mushrooms, sliced tomatoes, and avocado for the win. I mean, bye, you can find me in heaven after that.

I also really enjoy, Lifelight, hotdogs if your hot like that. Again, grill those up and top em with you favorite toppings, like grilled onions, bell peppers, or sauerkraut, if your into a little probiotics while you party. If you want gluten free hotdog or hamburger buns you can go to a specialty store like Whole Foods, or sometimes Sprouts and Trader Joe’s will have them too. I’m happy to help this grilling season, you can message me and ask for other tips if you need them. I’m happy to help! Happy summer loves.