Vegan Poutine

I haven't posted in a long time! I thought I'd kick off the blog again with a good amount of food recipes. Since cutting out meat and cheese from my grocery list I have had some really amazing meals and I want to share it with all of you. 
Even cutting back twice a week on your meat/dairy intake makes a HUGE difference in sustaining our planet.  I have found alternatives that better digest in my system, that are guilt free, and that are better for our earth and saving resources. This particular one is a take on a Canadian favorite, poutine! You really just need three parts to this recipe. The sweet potato fries, the vegan cheese, and the gravy. So I've broke it down for you.
 

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So what I did was soak the cashews a couple hours before making the poutine. You can soak the cashews anywhere from 3-8 hours before depending on when you remember haha. Then I start to make it all at the same time. Starting with popping the fries in the oven, then the gravy and cheese at the same time, then taking out the fries from the oven. It should all take about 30-45 minutes. 

Sweet potato fries ingredients:
-2-3 medium sweet potatoes
-Olive oil (any type of oil)
-salt/pepper (any seasoning you want!)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 385 F .
2. Slice the sweet potatoes into thin strips.
3. Lay them out evenly onto a baking sheet and drizzle oil with salt and pepper.
4. Ready in about 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of strips. Should be a light brown at edges, and crispy.
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Mushroom gravy ingredients:
-1 tablespoon olive oil
-10 to 12 sliced crimini mushrooms
-1/2 of a big red onion (chopped)
-2 cloves garlic (minced)
-2 cups vegetable broth (link is for my crock pot veggie broth)
-3-4 tablespoons of coconut amigos ( or to taste)
-herbs to taste (sage, thyme, salt, pepper)
-4 tablespoons of tapioca starch (your choice of flour to thicken)
Directions:
1. Toss the olive oil and onion in a pan on medium high. Saute til aromatic and til onions are transparent and browning.
3. Add mushrooms and herbs and turn down to medium heat. Toss til mushrooms are getting smaller and the water has evaporated from them.
4. Add in veggie stock, coconut aminos, tapioca starch and stir. Let simmer til flavors are all sweetly marinading and delicious!
5. Taste and if necessary add more aminos or herbs til you love it!


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Vegan cheese curds ingredients ( adapted from here):
-1/2 cup soaked cashews (soak 3-8 hours before starting to make meal)
-1 cup water
-2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- dashes of salt to taste
-1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
-3 tablespoons of tapioca starch to thicken it (or a corn starch/flour that works for you)
Directions:
1. Place all ingredients in a food processor, blender, or bullet until its all blended and no cashew grains are apparent. Should be very smooth!
2. Pour it over to a pot and turn onto medium heat until it thickens up a lot! Stir occasionally. Should all take about 6-10 minutes but consistency is preference. I liked it thick like curds! 
3. Place in fridge for 10-15 minutes (if you want) so it gets even thicker like curds.

Add fries to a bowl, then pour a happy helping of gravy over your fries and top with cheese curds. Add chives on top for extra yumminess!


-Note: Once you make the vegan cheese curds and the gravy, it should be about time for the fries to be done. If not, just leave your gravy on the lowest setting until the sweet potato fries are all done. 

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MY GO TO ZERO WASTE VEGAN TACOS

MY GO TO ZERO WASTE VEGAN/GF TACOS:
Sweet Potato and Mushroom tacos with Cashew lime-cilantro sour cream 

 

Looking back on when I used to eat a ton of meat and cheese, I remember thinking how hard it would be to cut these out but after eating meals like the one I made shown below; I don't miss those meals at all! There are some crazy statistics about cutting out meat and cheese even once a week.                                                               •If everyone went vegetarian just for one day, the US would SAVE:
-100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months
-1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year.  (source: physicist Noam Mohr, New York University Polytechnic Institute.)

So behold, an easy and tasty way to help the Earth and its species re-coop! My best friend Sara (who is an amazing Nutrition Consultant and Eating Psychology coach) and I made this amazing dish and now every time we visit each other, we HAVE to make them.

First and most importantly, this meal is earth sustainable. All organic and/or farmers market vegetables, with home made cashew sour cream (Cashews are very resource extensive but I consciously use them, meaning not regularly).  Second, this is packed with nutrients! Amongst them are B-vitamins, iron, selenium, protein, Vitamin C and so much more.

The above photo was everything needed for these tasty tacos, including the amazing cashew cilantro lime sour cream. 


INGREDIENTS for tacos (serves 2):
1-2 medium sized sweet potatoes diced in cubes
2 big handfuls spinach
2 1/2 cups diced mushrooms
Cilantro
Spices you desire (I used Chile powder, salt, pepper, paprika, garlic)
Olive oil
1 lime (for garnish)
1 medium sized red onion chopped in strips
Maseca corn flour (can find anywhere and comes in recyclable paper sack and lasts forever!)
INGREDIENTS for cashew cilantro lime sour cream:
1 cup of soaked raw cashews (soak 6+ hours with pinch of salt)
1 cup cilantro
juice from 2 limes
salt, garlic powder cayenne to taste
DIRECTIONS for sour cream:
1. Throw in all ingredients in food processor until creamy. If too thick, add water.

DIRECTIONS for tacos:
1. After seasoning and olive oil, pop sweet potato cubes in oven on 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft and outsides are brown and crispy.
2. While sweet potatoes are in oven, caramelize onions and mushrooms with oil and spices (either in separate or same skillet). For convenience, when almost done, throw in spinach until lightly wilted or lightly sauté in separate skillet.
3. Throw in squeezed lime, soaked cashews, salt, and cilantro in food processor until creamy and fluffy
4. Read directions for Maseca on side of bag (mix water, salt and flour and roll out into tortilla rounds) Put rounds on pan about 5 minutes each side on medium heat.

(In short terms: sauté everything, throw potatoes in oven, make cream and roll out tortillas and grill in pan!)

Throw it all on top of tortillas and squeeze your garnish lime all over and enjoy!!! YUMMMMMMM

Swimmies and snackies

This post is from a fun and relaxing trip one of my best friends and I had at the beach. We brought along some old expired 35mm film with us, some zero waste snacks, and of course, our favorite eco-friendly swim suits.
I used to try and find the cheapest and "in season" bathing suite online and if there was a sale I would get 2 or 3 pairs. Then I would wear it only a handful of times and the next year I would repeat. Now that I think twice about everything I invite into my life and am also more focused on quality, I couldn't wait to put in some effort to research what swim suit works best for me that is sustainable, ethically made and on the low foot print scale. 
I bought a sweet thrift store swim suit last year and as I do really love it, it stretches easily in some areas making it not so splash and high-activity friendly. 
I chose Camp Cove Swim for my swim suit, and as I was conflicted since it is getting shipped from Australia and I keep most of my purchases, in every aspect of my life, regional, I am so happy I made the decision! Not only is this black swim suit adorable and perfect fitting, it is so durable. This black baby will be a classic staple in my closet meaning I don't need to purchase another one for a long time to come! It is made of recycled fabrics and they manufacture locally in Australia in small quantities and high quality. High quality not only means long lasting products but means less waste and less production.

I'm 5'3 and I bought a size small. It fits great!

My best friend who went on this beach adventure with me bought her swim suits from a thrift store and she has had these for years! I've talked to some people and they say the reasons why they don't buy thrift swim suits are for "sanitary" reasons but most of the time they are there is because the suite didn't fit right and is still in amazing and clean condition! 

No need for plastic water bottles! Just bring your own mason jar or favorite water bottle.

Whether it is a thrift store swim suit or an ethical and sustainable swim line, it is so important to invite these things into your life! Avoid fast fashion not only because it is incredibly harsh on the environment and unfair to the hardworking laborers behind the clothes but because you want your life to radiate clean living. To live minimally, thoughtfully, and with the smallest imprint on our earth is the greatest and most fulfilling gift one could have.

We packed up some zero waste snacks which saved our lives! Instead of stopping in at your bodega to get packaged things, make sure you think a bit ahead and bring some things from home! I buy all in bulk so it was super easy to pack it up in a mason jar and theres virtually no clean up. Pop it back in your bag!

YAY to sustainability and putting the power and responsibility back into being a consumer! <3

What can you do with leftover veggie fibers from juicing?

Every time I make a juice I get a bit bummed about the leftover fibers that I have to compost. I just feel like there must be a way to save some of it since there are still benefits to what I am getting rid of. During my juice cleanse i decided to take a huge portion of my fibers and make something into them. I definitely didn't want to taste the dry fibers so there must be a way to mask it, and still in a healthy way.

So I made the best asian veggie balls EVER!!!! Shared this will all my room mates and they were equally obsessed.
 

INGREDIENTS:
-2 cups of leftover juice fiber
-3/4 cup oat flour ( I used gf oats and blended them til flour consistency)
-No measurements with spices/sauces but I mixed in to my liking:
-paprika -garlic -sea salt -basil -cayenne
-coconut amines -tamari -sweet cooking rice wine

You do not have to follow this exact recipe, it really is just what flavor you want the veggie balls to taste like! Get creative. The fiber has a good way of being bland so the flavor depends on what spices you are craving!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Mix together leftover veggie fiber, spices, and sauces
2. Roll into small balls
3. Add nice amount of coconut oil, butter, or olive oil to pan
4. Put the veggie balls into pan on a bit higher medium heat.
5. Flip them every 3 minutes or so. Sides should be a nice brown color and crispy texture.
6. Put them over rice noodles or steamed rice and eat as is or with peanut sauce, soy sauce etc…
YAY!!!!

My juice cleanse

I always have a vision to kick off the summer with a fresh mentality; and thoughts fill my head of being toned and really fresh looking. However, what often happens is that I go into a weird hibernation mode (maybe it's weather change) where I feel tired and hungry all the time! My body is craving greens, nutrients, and water to get through the heat but what it triggers is a desire for carbs and sugars.
So I decided to give myself a 3 day cleanse. Not one of those crazy ones where you only drink lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne water, and not even one of those strict ones to where I can only drink 8 juices a day and call it good. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but when I tell my body that it can't have something that it wants, it goes into overdrive and will retaliate.
 

So I did 3 days. Four big juices a day all with different benefits to the body, every 2 hours, and then after 4pm a big dinner. It went so successfully and I want to adopt that mentality all summer, getting all my greens and fruits in during the day and healthfully carbing up at night. Not only did my body lose its bloat, but it had more energy following and I wasn't craving the bad stuff. Sometimes we think of juice cleanses as cutting out real food, but what we are really doing is cutting out the bad, fake food and bringing on the natural goodness.

So here I am to give you my juice schedule. Please shop responsibly and sustainably! All my ingredients were mostly from the farmers market and all of it was organic! It is important to cleanse your body but even more important to keep our environment clean which means sustainable farming practices!

Do not take this as medical, nutritional, or personal advice. I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or anything of that kind. I just tailored a juice cleanse to what I know about my own body and what it will crave, and what it will need. 

DAY 1:
8 AM: 32oz luke warm water with lemon juice and ginger (drink lots of water through the day!)
9 AM: 1 apple-1 cucumber-3 kale leaves-1 handful chard-1 oz lemon juice-ginger
11 AM: 1 orange-6 carrots-3 small golden beets-tumeric-cayenne
1 PM: 5 ribs celery-1 cucumber-1 handful chard-1 zucchini- 1 oz lemon juice
3 PM: 1 cucumber-1 beet-3 ribs celery-1 handful spinach-ginger
DINNER 5 PM: Used the leftover juice fiber and rolled asian veggie balls with vietnamese noodles! Recipe on blog.
Dessert 7PM: 2 Frozen bananas blended with dates and cinnamon


DAY 2:
8 AM: 32oz luke warm water with lemon juice and ginger (drink lots of water through the day!)
9 AM: 1 apple-1 cucumber-handful of dandelion greens-handful chard-1 oz lemon juice- ginger
11 AM: 1 grapefruit-5 carrots-1 cucumber-cayenne-tumeric                                                                                        1 AM: 3 handfuls spinach-2 kale leaves-1 zucchini-handful of dandelion greens-1 apple-3 sprigs celery
3 PM-None, the previous juice above was really big and I was full as all heck!
DINNER 5 PM -Veggie stir fry with sautéed mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, sesame seeds, avocado and steamed rice
Dessert 7 PM- 2 frozen bananas with cacao powder, cocoa nibs and dates

DAY 3:
8AM: 32oz luke warm water with lemon juice and ginger (drink lots of water through the day!)
9AM: 1 big zucchini-handful of dandelion greens-handful of chard-1 oz lemon juice-ginger
11 AM: 6 sticks asparagus-4 carrots-3 sprigs celery
1 PM: 1 big beet-1 cucumber-1 apple
3 PM: Smoothie(whoops! sorry not sorry) Frozen banana, handful spinach, avocado, ice and water
DINNER 5 PM: Refried beans, guacamole, mexican rice, cabbage, and fresh tomato salsa

                                                                       YAY!!!!!
 

Palm Oil Free Cheez-Its!

This recipe was adapted from Minimalist Baker, whom also is one of my favorite bakers ever.

It's pretty easy to find a snack that you love to binge on and even easier to find one where you feel guilty and bloated directly after eating it. I would say cheez-its is one of them. Looking at the ingredients, however, is horrific. The list goes on for about a paragraph and most of the words sound like a disease. With just a few twists; cutting out the conflict stuff (palm oil) and cutting some bloat-tastic ingredients out (lactose whey and many more), you can find the perfect cracker! It's a mix of cheesy, crunchy, lightly salty and so filling.

This little jar next to my delicious crackers is nutritional yeast! I get it in bulk.

INGREDIENTS:

-
Heaping 1/2 cup of Pamelas GF pancake and baking flour (or regular flour)
-1/4 cup GF oat flour (if not gluten free, regular oats work)
-3 tbspn yellow corn meal
-2 tbspn nutritional yeast (add more or less for cheesy preference
-1/2 tsp garlic salt
-pinch of salt
-1/4 tspn baking powder (only if you want fluffier cracker)
-3 tbsn of olive oil (coconut oil or butter works)
-3 tbspn cold water

WHAT TO DO:

1. Preheat oven 350 F and take out your silicone baking mat (for trash free!) to put on baking sheet
2. Put all dry ingredients together in processor or blender and mix them together. 
3. Add oil and pulse til crumble type dough forms. Then add your cold water slowly in to form dough ball.
4. On a lightly floured surface, take dough ball from processor and form a disc with your hands and put disc on surface.
5. Flatten out with hands (that's what I did) or a floured rolling pin until dough is 1/8 thick.
6. Cut dough into square shapes with knife or pizza cutter and get creative and find something to put a hole in the middle of each cracker. ( I used end of a wood skewer)
7. Bake for about 15 minutes or until crackers are golden and crispy. Longer for extra crisp!
8.YAY!  
 

Palm oil free potato chips




Easy, breezy, beautiful…Palm oil free potato chips.

Once you scan the aisles in the grocery store, knowing what kind of destruction palm oil does to our rain forests, your heart will start to panic a bit because it truly is in almost everything. Then you'll remember all of the boxes of cereal you had that has contributed to the supply and demand of this conflict palm oil. Then you look at the potato chips and see that, it too, has palm oil  and you put the bag down and smile because potato chips are SO easy to make!! Yes saving the orangutans is THAT easy.
Check out my page Lower your foodprint to read more about it!

INGREDIENTS:
-2 big potatoes (or however many you want)
-Olive oil (or any oil you want)
-Seasonings (I used rosemary sea salt and garlic)
WHAT TO DO:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Use a silicon baking mat on your oven tray (to be trash free!)
Slice potato chips really thin, about 1/8 inch thick with either a mandolin or a evenly cut slices with regular knife (be careful please :D)
2.Take slices and put in big bowl and drizzle olive oil with seasonings over it (drizzle and sprinkle to preference)
3. Evenly distribute slices on mat. Pop in oven for about 30 minutes, and turn. If others are getting crispier take them out, and let the others continue.
4. YAY!!!!