Green “Holiday” Nog

I named this drink a “holiday” nog because I wasn’t sure that people would get the nog reference without the holiday present. Sure, we know about egg nog — and for us vegans, we know about almond nog. But when you just hear the word “nog”, does your mind automatically go to the famous holiday drink? Actually, I don’t think that word is used anywhere else except for that drink! But maybe I was worrying a bit too much. Maybe I should have more faith in people and their ability to identify extremely specific holiday drinks out of season. I mean, I’m sure anyone could recognize a pumpkin spice latte in, say, the middle of July? Sure they could. I think the thing that may throw them off about this drink is the color. Most “nogs” are a creamy, tan color — not a creamy green color. And maybe the green hue and holiday reference could even make this drink seem a little grinch-y… but with three simple ingredients, and a dose of iron and vitamin C, this drink is anything but mean.

What You’ll Need:

  • 3 cups sweetened, vanilla flavored almond milk*
  • 4 cups fresh baby spinach (I prefer fresh spinach for this recipe over frozen)
  • 2-3 tsp
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • More nutmeg to garnish

What to Do:

  1. Place almond milk, spinach, sugar and nutmeg in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a serving glass, then, sprinkle with a layet of nutmeg to garnish and enjoy.

* Almond milk is thicker and creamier so I suggest using this milk over a thinner milk like rice or coconut milk (coconut milk might also affect the flavor). Maybe oat or hemp milk might work, but make sure you get the sweetened vanilla varieties to achieve the flavor of the nog. If you can not get the sweetened vanilla variety, you can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to this recipe and then add agave or another vegan liquid sweetener to taste.

Date posted on Instagram: 1/15/19

Creamy Butternut Squash and Chickpea Soup

Soup is my jam. But not just any soup. I don’t really like those plain, mostly thinned-out brothy-y soups. I need a hearty, chunky soup. And if there’s a thin broth, there better be a whole bunch of goodies in there and not just a few straggly pieces of noodles. Enter this amazing creation. This could almost be classified as a dump skillet meal because I had this squash in the fridge for so long I forgot about it. When I rediscovered it, it didn’t look as brightly orange as it had been, but I wasn’t in the mood to make squash so I threw it in the freezer. Then, the next day it just didn’t sit well with me and I felt like I needed to create an amazing meal with it. And outta nowhere I came up with this amazing soup. But here’s the crazy part: After I made it and let it sit for awhile, the broth ended up tasting exactly like tikka masala sauce! If you know my food vibes, I’ve mentioned a bunch of times that Indian food is hands down one of my favorites. And I’d unintentionally made the sauce to one of favorite Indian dishes! I couldn’t believe it. So a random science experiment of a creation ended up yielding not one, but two recipes. And although the sauce is very tikka “masala-y”, with the squash and chickpeas, it definitely has it’s own vibe and holds it’s own as a soup. But, feel free to only create the sauce and add some tofu or vegan chick’n cutlets for a bomb chick’n tikka masala. I mean seriously, look how far I’ve come. I went from making a tikka masala dish that included using a jarred version of the sauce, to accidentally and unintentionally making that very sauce from scratch while trying to make a completely different recipe. Started from the bottom, now I’m here!

butternut squash and chickpea soup

What You’ll Need:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained (15.5 oz)
  • 4 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 3 cups fresh baby spinach (frozen spinach can also be used)
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz)
  • 1 can coconut milk (13.5 oz)
  • 1 tbsp. +  1 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 heaping tbsp. salt

What to Do:

  1. Place a large pot (at least a 3 qt. pot) on low heat.
  2. Add chickpeas, squash, coconut milk, and tomato paste to pot and stir together gently until well mixed.
  3. Keep uncovered and reduce heat to a low simmer. Let soup begin to heat up and once it starts to bubble, begin adding in seasonings.
  4. Add salt, pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and curry powder to soup. Stir and mix until well blended. Let soup simmer for approximately 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add spinach to soup and mix until well blended.
  6. Continue to simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally until squash and chickpeas are tender, approximately 20 minutes.

*To Make Tikka Masala Sauce Alone*:

  1. Combine coconut milk, tomato paste and all seasonings in a pot over a simmer heat.
  2. Mix all ingredients together until well blended, and let simmer until sauce begins to bubble.
  3. Remove from heat and let sauce cool. Store sauce to use for homemade tikka masala, or for any other dishes.
  4. You can also use this sauce for my tikka masala recipe instead of the jarred sauce!

Date posted on Instagram: 12/26/18

Easy Chickpea Scramble

It’s funny how we idolize some foods but never think outside of the box with what can be done with those foods in a different context, or how we can use other foods to recreate the idolized foods. That was a lot to take in just now, but hear me out. Eggs. I used to love eggs. So many people love eggs. But eggs are actually one of the easiest foods to veganize. My favorite is definitely tofu scram, but there are also a few vegan egg substitutes on the market and if tofu isn’t your thing, there’s chickpeas. Yes, I said chickpeas. I get it, I was surprised when I first found out about chickpea scrambles too. I mean, they’re chickpeas. But, in keeping with one of my vegan mantra’s which states that most of eating is a psychological experience, visually, a decent chickpea scram can remind someone of eggs. Now the texture is a different story. That may not feel as “egg-like” but maybe an exact replica isn’t what you’re looking for.  And anyway, the secret to a really bomb chickpea scram (or any vegan egg sub) is one key ingredient: black salt. Also known as kala namak. This amazing Indian salt has a flavor that’s extremely reminiscent of eggs because of its sulfur content. But let’s not make this a science lesson (although the nerd in me does love a good science lesson!). Let’s just say that with this salt in hand, you hold the key to making anything taste like eggs. So vegans rejoice because yet again, animal harm: 0, plants providing a way: 1. And non-vegans who think they’re precious eggs can’t be replaced? Come at me.

chickpea scramble

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup chickpeas, completely drained of liquid
  • 1 tsp. oat flour
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. black salt*
  • pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tbsp. avocado oil (or other high-heat oil like peanut or high-oleic sunflower oil)

What to Do:

  1. Add chickpeas to a medium bowl and smash them with a fork until most of the beans have been crushed (see picture below). A few solid parts are okay and actually recommended.

    smashed chickpeas for chickpea scramble
    chickpea prep for a scramble.

  2. Add oat flour to the bowl and mix into the chickpeas until well blended.
  3. Add turmeric to the mixture and mix until well blended. Set aside.
  4. Heat a saucepan over low-medium heat with the avocado oil. (I used a spray can of avocado oil and sprayed a light layer on the pan).
  5. Once hot, add the chickpea mixture to the pan and use a (non-metal) spatula or cooking tool to spread the chickpeas in an even layer, similar to a tortilla.
  6. Let the chickpea cook for about 2 minutes, then, flip and the opposite side for another 2 minutes.
  7. Start to break apart the chickpea “tortilla” into chunks, similar to scrambled eggs, and let the scramble continue to cook.
  8. Cook the chickpeas for about 3-4 more minutes in the chunky pieces or longer to achieve some browning on the chickpeas.
  9. Transfer chickpea scramble to a bowl and mix in the black salt. Then, transfer salted scramble to serving dish and add pepper to taste OR transfer chickpea scramble straight to serving dish and sprinkle with black salt and pepper.

* You can purchase black salt from several sources online. The salt is also sold in Indian and Asian markets. At the ethnic markets, you are likely to find a bulk amount for a decent price. I found a good amount on Amazon for an amazing price. Do a little research so you aren’t overcharged because it’s definitely possible to get a good deal on this amazing seasoning.

Date posted on Instagram: 12/31/18

Spicy Asian Slaw

I’ve never been a fan of coleslaw. Before I was vegan, I hated coleslaw. After I became vegan, I hated coleslaw. There’s never really been any version of coleslaw that I’ve liked. Then, one day I realized that the main reason I didn’t like coleslaw was because every time I had it, it was always mushy. And I have texture issues with mushy food. As I dug deeper into my disdain for for this BBQ side dish staple, I realized another reason I didn’t like it was because I wasn’t crazy about the combo of veggies that was often found in it. So, I set out to make my own slaw, because that’s what food is all about. Creating new flavors; taking the old and breathing new life into it, reinventing dishes and creating entirely new flavors altogether. It’s taken some time, but I’m finally starting to break away from the limitations I put on myself with food. I’m making sweet tofu scrams, experimenting with the flavor of veggies and just doing whatever I want because that’s usually how the best dishes are created. A little bit of creativity, a little bit of science, and in my case, a whole lotta crazy.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 cup shredded red cabbage
  • 1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 cup beets, spiralized (you can buy them pre-spiralized or spiralize them yourself)
  • 1/2 cup Bosc pear, diced
  • 3-4 tbsp. cilantro, finely chopped
  • Additional cilantro for garnish
  • 1/4 cup wasabi mayo*

What to Do:

  1. on a cutting board, slice the spiralized beets roughly to create smaller shreds and spirals. Leave some different lengths but try not to have any pieces that are more than 2-3 inches in length.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the beet spirals, red cabbage, scallion and pear.
  3. Mix until well blended.
  4. Add the wasabi mayo and mix again until mayo is well blended into the slaw.
  5. Add cilantro and mix into the slaw.
  6. Transfer slaw to a serving dish and garnish with more fresh cilantro; you can enjoy alone or as a side with another meal. I also used this slaw as a filling for some delicious summer rolls!**

* To make the wasabi mayo, combine 1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise (I used Trader Joe’s vegan spread and dressing) and 1 heaping tbsp. of wasabi paste. Mix the two items together vigorously until well blended. You can find wasabi paste in the Asian or international foods section of your local grocery, or go to an Asian market.

** This recipe is for a small batch of slaw that will yield about 2-3 servings. The dressing measurements also allow for the slaw to remain crunchy and not become soggy, even after sitting overnight. To make a larger batch, simply double the amounts of everything, but try to keep the ratios of dry and wet ingredients the same so you do not make the slaw too wet.

 

Date posted on Instagram: 12/16/18

“Earth” Oatmeal

Oatmeal is such a classic dish. It’s literally one of the oldest grains in the history of food, and not only that but it’s one versatile beast of food and you all know how I feel about food versatility. You can have it sweet or savory. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. I mean, you can literally do whatever you want with oatmeal. But instead of fitting it into just one of the many options, why not mash it up some? This quick and easy oatmeal recipe creates a fun sweet and salty (or savory) bite. It’s funny because so many of my recipes are born out of last-minute epiphanies. I originally planned on making this only a sweet bowl. But toward the end I felt like it need something– I saw it was starting to look like a bunch of dirt (that’s where the “earth” name came from) and then I realized the salt crystals would work perfectly with the dirt effect and make it sweet and salty, another classic combo. This is one of the more delicious and comfty bowls I’ve had in awhile and I was eating a lot of oatmeal for a hot minute recently. Who knew something so simple could be so nourishing for the soul?

earth oatmeal

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/2 cup steel-cut dry oats (cheaper if you purchase them in bulk!)
  • 1/8 cup blueberries (about one handful)
  • 3-4 pitted dates, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium-sized ripe banana
  • 1 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. nutmeg
  • 1 heaping tbsp. brown sugar*
  • 1 tsp. whole pink Himalayan sea salt crystals
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or non-dairy milk of your choice; I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk for this recipe)
  • 1 cup water

What to Do:

  1. Heat a small to medium  pot over high heat with 1 cup of water. Bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the oats and boil for about 30 seconds to 1 minute. Reduce heat to a low to medium heat and stir oats.
  3. Cover pot with a lid and let oats simmer for 5-10 minutes or until all (or at least most) water has been absorbed by the oats.
  4. Let the oats sit for about 2 minutes, then, remove oats from heat and transfer to a serving bowl.
  5. Pour almond milk over oats (but do not stir milk into oats yet!).
  6. Slice the into several, even-sized slices and place them on top of the oatmeal on one side.
  7. Now, start adding the toppings; place the blueberries on top of the banana slices.
  8. Place the date pieces on top of the other fruit.
  9. Carefully sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg along the line of fruit (as pictured) one at a time.
  10. Carefully sprinkle the heaping amount of brown sugar on top of the other spices.
  11. Sprinkle the chia seeds over the other spices and sugar.
  12. Finally, sprinkle the pink sea salt crystals over everything else. Serve and enjoy!

* Most brown sugar (and all sugar for that matter) is not vegan, unless marked otherwise. The brown sugar I used in this recipe wasn’t vegan– I already had a bulk amount of brown sugar since before going vegan and because I don’t use brown sugar that often, that is what I’ve been using because I planned on going through all products I currently have and then purchasing vegan products after those are finished (this is for financial as well as waste reasons). If you would like to make sure that you are using vegan sugar, you can use this easy recipe for brown sugar.

Date posted on Instagram: 12/6/18

Autumn Tofu Scramble

Tofu scramble is my jam. I’ve had it every which way I can think of at this point, with every type of mix-in possible. That was until I was eating brekkie one day recently and as I was enjoying my yummy Fieldroast apple maple links I had an epiphany. I actually haven’t had tofu scram every way I can think of, and I haven’t had all the mix-ins either. Could tofu scram be enjoyed seasonally? What about sweet? My mind was spinning with such crazy ideas, but a couple of days later I made it over to the kitchen to test my theory out. The result? A delicious new take on tofu scram that my taste buds were pleasantly surprised by. It’s 50% savory, 50% sweet, and 100% bomb vegan protein.

IMG_8439

What You’ll Need:

  • 1/3 block of organic firm tofu, drained
  • 1/2 cup brussel sprouts, chopped (finely or roughly depending on the texture you want!)
  • 2 small to medium carrot sticks, diced
  • 1/4 green apple, diced
  • 2-3 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons pink Himalayan pink sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon agave syrup
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon black salt (kala namak)*

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet over low-medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the chopped brussel sprouts and carrots to the skillet and saute them approximately 2 minutes.
  3. Add the green apples to the skillet and continue the saute for another minute, stirring the veggies and fruit until well mixed.
  4. Reduce heat to a low simmer and add agave syrup to veggie and fruit mix.
  5. Stir syrup into mix continuously for approximately 10 seconds then let sit and simmer.
  6. Crumbled drained tofu over the top of the veggie and fruit mix to create the scram.
  7. Sprinkle turmeric over the top of the crumbled tofu, then, mix everything together until turmeric is well blended into the tofu and it is completely yellow.
  8. Return the heat to low/medium and add pink Himalayan sea salt and black pepper. Stir until well mixed into scram.
  9. Continue to saute scram until veggies and apple are slightly tender, approximately another 2-3 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and transfer to serving dish. Enjoy alone or with some of your favorite breakfast sides.

 

 * Also, feel free to add about a teaspoon of black salt, also known as “kala namak”. This salt can give your egg substitutes a more “egg-like” taste! I recently got some and have tried adding it to some of my vegan eggs, although I still love tofu scram without it. This salt can be found in Asian or Indian markets but I found a decent size bulk amount on Amazon for a great price. Do a little research to price check!

Date posted on Instagram: 11/23/18

Tangy Charred Buffalo Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

Sprouts are quickly becoming one of my favorite veggies. Dare I say, they are also rising up the ranks toward becoming one of my food baes. If you would have asked Tiffany from two years ago if one of her fav foods was a veggie, she would have probably laughed in your face. Sure, I ate veggies in my pre-vegan days, but they were nowhere near being part of my favorite foods. But nowadays, eating veggies and enjoying them as favs comes a lot more naturally. But that’s not to say that I don’t also enjoy jazzin’ them up a bit. Because just like everyone (and the former — and well, current me), I can get tired of eating plain old seasoned and sauteed veggies. So that’s when recipes like this come in. You still get in a big bowl of veggies, chock-full of all the vitamins and fiber you’re expecting — but now you also get a bunch of saucy goodness to go with it… and you also get– wait for it… BACON! Yup, dealing with vegan bacon is the only time a vegan will accept the statement “but, bacon!” as being legit. So you can thank me later for coming up with a way to have both saucy goodness and bacon in a recipe that is still super low in calories, cholesterol and fat. Let the sauce gods rejoice!

What You’ll Need:

  • 3-4 slices Lightlife smart bacon
  • 2 cups brussel sprouts, sliced in half
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 cup and 1/4 cup of (vegan!) buffalo sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce — one of my favorites!)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

What to Do:

  1. Heat a medium to large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  2. Once hot, add the brussel sprouts to the skillet and saute them, stirring occasionally.
  3. After approximately 1-2 minutes, add the salt and garlic powder to the sprouts and continue the saute.
  4. In a separate small to medium skillet, heat over medium heat with one tablespoon of olive oil.*
  5. Once hot, add the strips of bacon and pan-fry them until crispy on each side, approximately 3-4 minutes per side.
  6. Place bacon on a cloth to remove excess oil once cooked.
  7. About 6-8 minutes into the saute, add the fennel seeds to the brussel sprouts and stir them in well.
  8. If you want the sprouts to be a little crisper and have some char like in the picture, saute them for approximately 7-10 minutes, until you see the char appearing. Don’t stir as frequently either, but move the sprouts around after 2-3 minute intervals to get an even char on different sides.
  9. Once the sprouts have charred to your liking, add 1/8 cup of buffalo sauce and reduce the heat to a low simmer. Stir the sauce thoroughly into the sprouts until they are well-mixed. Allow the sprouts to simmer over the heat for an additional 60 seconds or so, stirring them continuously. Remove from heat.
  10. Transfer sprouts to a serving bowl and pour the remaining 1/4 cup of buffalo sauce over the sprouts.
  11. Break apart the pieces of bacon into crumbles over the top of the sprouts.

* Cast-iron is perfect for bacon!

Date posted on Instagram: 11/12/18