Make It: Easy Mac and Cheese (vegan and gluten free)

mac and cheese

Mac and cheese is one of our favorite comfort foods. Nothing beats sitting down to enjoy a nice warm bowl of it on a rainy day. We have two go to recipes that we use when we make our mac and cheese. One recipe is more of a baked mac with a longer prep time. We make the cheese sauce from scratch using ingredients such as carrots, potatoes, and onions. The second recipe (featured here) we make is a quick and easy recipe for when we want to get dinner on the table quickly. We often pair this with a green such as steamed kale, chickpeas, or smoked tempeh, and sometimes steamed mashed sweet potatoes making it the ultimate comfort meal! :)

daiyaOne of the main ingredients in this recipe is Daiya. Daiya has made being vegan so easy these days. No more cheeseless pizza when we go to our favorite pizzeria! When we went vegan in the late 90′s: there were no options for vegan cheese that you could purchase, that we knew of, and the ones that did appear on the market later we stayed away from. We would make a tofu ricotta in stuffed shells here and there but that was as much as we ventured into vegan cheese. It wasn’t until Follow Your Heart came out with a vegan cheese that we started to notice, and then when Daiya came on the market. It was on! Hello Vegan Cheese!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of Tinkyada organic brown rice pasta elbows
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp of Earth Balance (organic whipped buttery spread)
  • 1 ½ cups non-dairy milk (we use Eden organic unsweetened soymilk)
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 bag of Daiya chedder style shreds
  • black pepper to taste

Optional:

  • sprinkles of garlic powder

To begin, cook your pasta according to the directions on the package. Our favorite pasta for this recipe is the organic brown rice gluten free elbows by Tinkyada.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain the pasta and place back in the pot that you cooked your pasta in and place on the stove top. Then add the Earth Balance, salt, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, and Daiya to the cooked pasta.

mac process

Turn the stove top to a medium heat and stir the ingredients you placed in the pot with the pasta until the Daiya has begun melting and combining with the other ingredients. Then wait (1 to 2 minutes) until the mac and cheese starts bubbling and begin stirring for about 30 seconds. Turn off the heat and cover the pot and let the mac and cheese sit for about 5 minutes. Now it is ready to serve! Enjoy!

mac and cheese in a bowl

Tip: This mac and cheese recipe is great for leftovers. To enjoy the next day, simply put the leftover mac and cheese in a sauce pan and add a pour of non-dairy milk to the pan. Turn the heat to a medium to low heat and stir. Once the mac and cheese is heated, turn off the stove top and cover the pot and let the mac and cheese sit for a minute covered. Now it is ready to eat! We usually put a bed of fresh spianch on a plate and then serve the mac and cheese on top. Delicious!

Posted in Home | 2 Comments

Make It: Almond Milk

We have been on a mission to try and make items ourselves that we would normally buy from the grocery store. This way, we can avoid unnecessary packaging, use quality organic ingredients, save money, and become empowered by doing it ourselves! Yay for DIY!

We recently tried to make our own almond milk from scratch. It ended up being super easy and quite tasty! Here is what we did:

almond milk ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of raw organic almonds, soaked for 8-12 hours
  • 3 cups of filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Optional:

  • 1-2 organic medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 cup of organic hemp seeds
  • 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

almonds soakingWe placed the almonds in a mason jar and filled it with filtered water and left them to soak for about 8 hours.

Once the almonds were done soaking, we drained the water (the drained water now contained the enzyme-​​inhibitors so it is best to discard it) and we put the soaked almonds in the vitamix with the hemp seeds, dates, water, and vanilla. Capped the blender and blended it on high for about 60 seconds until the mixture was smooth and creamy.

making almond milk

We then poured the blended almond milk through a mesh strainer into a bowl to separate the milk from the pulp. The strained almond milk was rich and creamy. The strainer worked well however to make a less rich milk we plan on picking up a nut milk bag with a tight knit to help strain the milk even more. After the milk was strained, we were left with a fair amount of almond pulp. We put that in a jar and kept it in the refrigerator to have available to add to our smoothies. The leftover pulp seems to have such potential to make some pretty awesome stuff. We were excited to find this site AlmondPulp.com to inspire us to use the leftover almond pulp in making cookies, dehydrated crackers, breads, and nut cheeses.

making almond milk

We were really excited and pleased with the outcome of our almond milk. It tasted delicious in our coffee and also added a nice creaminess to our breakfast smoothies. It would also add a delicious creaminess to homemade ice cream or if you added it to your weekend oatmeal. The milk should keep for a couple days refrigerated.

almond milk

So there you have it! An easy way to make a healthy milk without the added preservatives you would find in the grocery store’s version. DIY!! Let us know if you try making your own milk and if you have discovered any creative uses for the almond pulp. We would love to hear from you.

For more nutritional information about almonds check out Nuts.com This is a great family owned company that we support on a regular basis. Don’t let the name fool you, Nuts.com has more than just nuts. We especially enjoy their organic dates, sun dried tomatoes, and pumpkin seeds.

Posted in Home | 4 Comments

Road Trip: A Vegan Food Tour of the South (Part 1)

We set out on our road trip to see friends and family, do some climbing, and to check out some vegan eateries, and that we did. However being vegan, our road trip quickly turned to a mini food tour! So here is our write up of all the great vegan food we enjoyed!

vegan treats

Our first stop (besides dropping our compost off at the green market on our way out) was at the one and only Vegan Treats in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Vegan Treats delivers their decadent treats to some of our favorite vegan joints here in NYC, so it was exciting to go straight to the source. We felt like little kids walking into a candy store, it was overwhelming for sure.

vegan treats
So many sweets to choose from and yet we couldn’t eat them all. We did however share a boston cream donut there and bought a pecan sticky cinnamon bun and a peanut butter cup cake to go. We packed them in our Sanctus Mundo containers and were on our way, having done way less damage than we were capable of!

black bear burritos, west virginia

Our next stop was in Morgantown, West Virginia. We figured this would be our best chance at finding vegan food before we arrived at our next stop, Summersville Lake, West Virginia. After looking up places to eat on the site HappyCow, we decided to check out Black Bear Burritos. At Black Bear, we enjoyed the Thai One On, this was tofu in a sweet peanut curry sauce with steamed broccoli, grilled pineapple, rice, and fresh spinach, wrapped in a spinach tortilla and topped with alfalfa sprouts and sunflower seeds. The atmosphere at Black Bear was friendly, the service was good, the food was tasty, and the prices are great compared to NYC prices. Once you place your order, you are handed a pink eye toy … table marker … handle with care. With our bellies full we were on our way to Summersville Lake, West Virginia. Arriving late, to a place unknown to Google maps, we hungout with our friend and then turned in for the night. We had a big day of climbing ahead of us, in The New River Gorge.

climbing

After a fun day of climbing, our friend brought us to a mexican restaurant in Fayetteville, West Virginia named DiOGi’s (clever name … right) for dinner. From the outside DiOGi’s doesn’t look like much but inside there is a great atmosphere, friendly service, and some of the best vegan mexican food we have had! Our friend had told the server that we were vegan and she was quick to help us order. We skipped are usual guacamole since DiOGi’s puts egg in their guacamole! Crazy … right! That is just wrong. So instead we started with chips, salsa, and DiOGi’s refried black beans. We also ordered a salad with coconut that was mighty tasty. For our entree we went with the vegetable fajitas and a side of spicy papas. The server informed us that their veggies were usually prepared in butter but she could have the veggies cooked in an oil instead. We had her hold all the normal dairy sides that you have to hold when you go to a regular mexican joint such as sour cream and cheese, Our dinner was delicious and this is definitely the spot to hit up after a fun day of climbing. One of our favorite details of the decoration in DiOGi’s was all the pictures of dogs! We can’t wait to get back to West Virginia to do more climbing and eat at DiOGi’s.

three rivers market

On our drive from Summersville Lake, West Virginia to Chattanooga, Tennessee, we decided to find a spot in route to stop for dinner. Again checking out the handy dandy HappyCow, we found a place called The Tomato Head. Once we got there though we learned that it wasn’t open on the day we were there so we went back to HappyCow and decided to check out Three River’s Market co-op. We were super happy we did, this place was awesome! Three Rivers Market is a locally–owned, independent, grocery store selling natural foods, organic fruits and vegetables, and bulk foods. They also have a plentiful hot bar and salad bar with plenty of vegan options in the market which we happily enjoyed. The food was delicious and totally hit the spot. The market was very clean and modern looking and definitely a place we would do our shopping if we lived in the area. With a delicious meal in our bellies, we hopped back into the car and headed towards our next destination, Chattanooga! (Stay tuned for part 2)

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Oh Tempeh, you are so versatile and tasty! Let’s start cooking!

One of our absolute favorite ingredients to cook with is tempeh. Tempeh is a highly nutritious fermented food traditionally made from soybeans. Our favorite tempeh is found right here in Brooklyn, Barry’s Tempeh. Barry makes an organic soy, oats, and barley tempeh that is hands down the best tempeh we have encountered. We pick it up at the farmer’s market and at our local health food store Back to the Land here in Brooklyn and cook with it quite often. We use it as crumbles in a red sauce with pasta or as a topping on a homemade pizza or in a casserole. Most of the time, we slice it, marinade it in a smoke sauce, and serve it along side our favorite greens and grains. Delicious!

When we first started to cook with tempeh, we were wondering why it wasn’t tasting anywhere near as delicious as it was when we ordered it at our favorite restaurants. Then we learned the little secret of steaming or boiling your tempeh to reduce the bitterness before marinading. Finding out this step opened up a whole new world of cooking with tempeh!

Smokey Tempeh:
To start the process, fill a small sauce pan with water and place on the stove top on a high heat covered. Prepare the tempeh, by slicing the tempeh into about 1/2 to 1 inch wide pieces.

Once the water has come to a boil, add in the tempeh. Boil the tempeh for about 10 minutes uncovered.

While the tempeh is boiling, prepare the marinade. We always use the recipe from Veganomican altering it slightly. This book is a must for any vegan kitchen.

Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 veggie bouillon
  • 2 TBSP Braggs or soy sauce
  • 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP liquid smoke sauce
  • 2 TBSP maple syrup or rice syrup
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Pour of molasses (could be equal to 2 TBSP)

Combine all the ingredients in a sauté pan and simmer on a low heat.

You will notice the tempeh start to swell slightly. After the tempeh is done, remove from water and let it cool. If I’m short on time, I will place the boiled tempeh in the freezer to speed up the cooling time.

To make the crumbles, grate the tempeh. Add the tempeh crumbles to the saute pan with the marinade. Simmer in the pan slightly covered until the tempeh reaches a deep dark coloring from the marinade and when the liquid has started evaporating. This can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 30 minutes depending on how you like it. I usually simmer it for at least 30 minutes.

When the tempeh is done simmering, spread it out on a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for about 10 to 12 minutes, until the crumbles have dried out a little and have a nice toasty texture to them.

We use the same recipe sans the grating step to make tempeh strips for other dinners.

Below is a short pictorial of a recipe we made from Meet The Shannons. We replaced the suggested Bacon Bits topping with tempeh. Check it out! It was delicious!

Stop by Meet The Shannons and check out their Betty Cocker Project. Can’t wait for their book to come out!

 

Posted in Home | 3 Comments

Weekend Oatmeal

weekend oatmeal for two ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of organic rolled oats (stone cut)
  • 1 organic apple (medium) cut and cubed
  • 3 - 4 organic medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1 tbs. ground organic flaxseeds
  • ¼ of a cup organic raw walnuts
  • 1 tsp. organic cinnamon
  • organic oat milk as needed

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add the oats and lower heat.

In a food processor, process apple for 15 seconds. Add dates, walnuts, flaxseeds and cinnamon to apples. Process until blended.

food processor with apples, dates, and walnuts

Combine apple mixture to oats and cook for a couple more minutes. Add your preferred amount of oat milk to the oatmeal, more if you like it creamy, less if you don't.

Once oats are cooked (about 10 minutes), turn off the heat and cover pot for a minute or two.

Oatmeal is ready. Enjoy!

Posted in Home | 5 Comments