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!

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.