Trendy, Healthy + Cheap AF : Cauliflower

Keto, Paleo, Gluten- Free, Grain-Free, Vegan… no matter how you market it cauliflower has become the “IT ingredient” in the health world. Its versatility for sweet / savory meals and ability to transform into just about anything has landed this cruciferous veggie on the top of everyones grocery list. You could say it the chameleon of all things healthy.

Transformation is not this veggies’ only superpower:

  1. Improves natural detoxification, it contains antioxidants and sulfur-containing nutrients that improve detoxifying enzymes.

  2. Contains choline, the B vitamin responsible for brain function that may help prevent memory loss and protect your brain form toxins!

  3. Improves gut health by protecting the intestinal lining from bacteria overgrowth due to it’s production of sulforaphane.

  4. Sulforaphane has also been found to improve blood pressure and kidney function.

  5. Cauliflower is high in fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6 and Folate.

From pizza to buffalo wings, cauliflower has infiltrated the most famous food groups. But before you go and grab the pre-made options I thought it was important to address some cheap AF recipes that pack a punch.

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Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower

  • Olive Oil

  • Salt

  • Food Processor (you can also use a cheese grater or blender)

Instructions

  1. Cut cauliflower down into smaller pieces. Place in food processor and pulse until broken down into rice-sized pieces.

  2. In a saute pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil add riced cauliflower and salt. Saute until cauliflower is cooked through.

  3. Leave it simple or add in additional herbs, spices to elevate your rice to the next level. I love adding curry powder, coconut milk and chickpeas for a 5 minute curry fix.

Ready to break it down?! Making your own cauliflower rice yields 18oz of cauliflower rice and only costs $2.69.

Store bought will run you $2.10 for 10oz of cauliflower rice. So on the ounce you are saving $0.06 which gives you a little more rice for your buck.


Cauliflower Bagels

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Now these bagels are far from the New York style classics but a great alternative and tasty in their own right. Not to mention 1 mini bagel is only 30 calories and 2g of protein!

Ingredients

Yields 10 mini bagels

  • 3 cups cauliflower rice, about 1/2 head

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 3 Tbsp brown rice flour

  • 2 Tbsp coconut Flour

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning (or mix poppy seed, sesame seed, minced garlic, onion powder)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. Cut cauliflower down into smaller pieces. Place in food processor and pulse until broken down into rice- sized pieces.

  3. Measure 3 cups of cauliflower rice and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add in flours, baking soda and salt. Stir to combine.

  4. In a small bowl crack and beat eggs. Add to cauliflower mixture, mix until well incorporated.

  5. On a parchment lined sheet tray or mini doughnut pan, scoop about 3 tbsp cauliflower mix on to cooking surface. If making free formed bagels, form the cauliflower mix into a ball then make an indent in the center pulling it out slightly to make a classic bagel hole.

  6. Sprinkle the bagels with the Everything Seasoning, lightly pat into the bagel to ensure that it sticks.

  7. Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the bagels are golden brown around the edges.

  8. Allow to cool, top with your favorite bagel toppings like cream cheese, lox or avocado!

Our bagels without toppings costs us : $2.74 for 10 bagels which only $0.27 per mini bagel!!!!

  • 1/2 head Cauliflower $1.34

  • Eggs $0.60

  • Brown Rice Flour $0.15

  • Coconut Flour $0.30

  • Everything Seasoning $0.50 ($7.69 for the whole bottle)

Adapted from Clean & Delicious 


Cauliflower Oatmeal

I am not going to sugar coat it, this does not taste like oatmeal BUT if you are looking for a lower calories, grain-free, low carb alternative in the mornings this is a great option. The cauliflower is able to take on whatever flavors you put into it so load it up with your favorite protein powder and toppings to make it extra delicious. Trust me, I was skeptical before I tried it but I was pleasantly surprised in the end.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup cauliflower rice, about 1/4 head

  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I used vanilla almond milk, but coconut milk would give it a luxurious texture)

  • 1 tbsp chia seeds

  • 1 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (depending on preference)

  • 1 scoop protein powder (optional, I used a vanilla protein powder for extra flavor)

  • Toppings : coconut flakes, fruit, nut butter, hemp seeds… get creative!

Instructions

  1. Cut cauliflower down into smaller pieces. Place in food processor and pulse until broken down into rice-sized pieces.

  2. In a small sauce pan heat coconut oil and add cauliflower rice. Saute for 1- 2 minutes to soften.

  3. Add in non-dairy milk of choice. On medium heat let the mixture simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes, until the raw flavor of the cauliflower is cooked out. (If you have larger pieces of cauliflower rice this may take a few more minutes.)

  4. Add in desired flavorings, maple syrup, cinnamon, protein powder and chia seeds. Stir to combine.

  5. Allow to cook on low for 1 more minute. Mixture should be thick resembling grits or polenta.

  6. Pour into a bowl and add all of the toppings!

This cauliflower oatmeal base will run you $1.37!

  • 1/4 head cauliflower $0.67

  • 1 cup Almond milk $0.45

  • 1 tbsp Chia seeds $0.20

  • 1 tsp Cinnamon $0.05

  • The key to this breakfast is toppings… and who doesn’t like toppings?! The ‘oatmeal’ base is only 60 calories (w/ chia seeds) which in my opinion means you can go a little crazy with the goods ;)


Cauliflower Alfredo

Velvety, rich and luxurious Alfredo sauce lightened up without losing all of the creamy goodness. I am telling you… this is a real guilt-free swap. This sauce is also a great vegan béchamel base for any dish like lasagna, spinach dip or white pizza.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

  • 1 head of cauliflower, steamed

  • 1/2 cup cashews, soaked in boiling water for at least 20 minutes

  • 1/2 yellow onion

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari

  • 1/2 tbsp miso

  • 2- 3 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)

  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed

  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast

  • Roasted Vegetables ( Trying to bring in spring vibes, I roasted scallions, asparagus and peas to top my pasta )

  • Gluten-free Pasta ( I went with Banza Shells )

Instructions

  1. Cut cauliflower down into smaller pieces. Place large sauce pan with 2 inches of water. Cover, bring to a boil and allow to steam until fork tender.

  2. Meanwhile, dice onion and garlic. Saute with olive oil until onions are translucent.

  3. Add mustard seed, nutmeg, nutritional yeast and miso. Stir and cook until spices are fragrant.

  4. Add in non-dairy milk and tamari over low heat. Allow to come to a simmer and remove from heat.

  5. In a blender or food processor, combine steamed cauliflower, soaked cashews and onion mixture. Blend until smooth, season with salt and lemon juice.

  6. Boil the pasta, and roast veggies of your choice.

  7. In a saute pan add pasta, veggies and sauce, toss to coat and serve it up!

Your new favorite vegan sauce will only cost you $6.75 which is only $1.68 per serving!

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  • 1 head cauliflower $2.67

  • 1/2 cup cashews $0.99

  • 1/2 yellow onion $0.40

  • 3 cloves garlic $0.30

  • 1 tbsp olive oil $0.15

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk $0.22

  • 1 1/2 tbsp tamari $0.22

  • 1/2 tbsp miso $0.40

  • 2- 3 tbsp lemon juice (to taste) $0.60

  • 1 tsp ground mustard seed $0.10

  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg $0.10

  • 4 tbsp nutritional yeast $0.60

Adapted from Oh She Glows


Although I am a fan of the homemade staples, I have to be honest … there are some companies out there who are making great options when it comes to the prepared goods. But I must warn you, if you follow particular dietary restriction please READ THE INGREDIENTS, many cauliflower products contain dairy, eggs or lard as a binding agent so keep an eye out if these are things you try to avoid.

  • Cauliflower Gnocchi - I am sure there is no shock here but if you haven’t tried Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi it is cheap, simple to make and always delicious. You could even throw my Cauliflower Alfredo on top ;)

  • Cauliflower Pizza Crust - Cauliflower lends itself to be a great pizza crust. It is sturdy enough to hold up to toppings without sacrificing flavor. When you need a quick fix reach for this option by CauliPower.

  • Cauliflower Rice - Versatility is king when it comes to cauliflower rice, due to its mild flavor it pairs well with just about everything. I like to use it as a base for robust flavors like curry or tabbouleh. Kitchen & Love is creating delicious cauliflower ready-to-eat bowls with unique flavor combinations that are great on the go.


Trendy, Healthy + Cheap AF : CBD Chocolate

If you know me, you know I love chocolate. I mean chocolate at any time of day is perfection. But is there a more satisfying moment then being snuggled up on our couch, noshing on decadent dark chocolate (#selflove)?

Lucky us, there is no better time to celebrate this seductive treat than Valentine’s Day. Whether you are treating friends, a lover or your badass self I have the trendy hack that is sure to impress without the stress.

CBD has become the buzz word on any newsfeed, coffee shop or health food store but what is all of the hype about?! The skimmed down version is that CBD has been found to be a cure all for anxiety, stress, pain relief, insomnia and PMS. Its calming effects without the typical “high” help you stay level-headed throughout your day or help you wind down at night. Manufacturers have been launching CBD products in almost every category due to its mild flavor and ability to be mixed easily into concoctions.

Since chocolate has antioxidants and well… makes everything that much better it is the perfect host for everyone’s new favorite oil.

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Sakara Life Hemp Chocolate ($39 30 chocolate pieces) and To Whom It May ($30 box of 4) are creating delicious CBD chocolate that you can purchase online. While Sakara goes the classic low sugar route, To Whom It May is creating elevated flavors that will drive your taste buds wild. The truth is these chocolates are delicious but it does take quite the chunk out of your wallet. So I have found a way to get the best of both worlds, making a cheaper version of CBD chocolate without sacrificing flavor.

I chose to flavor my bar with tahini swirls, thought I would tackle two trends in one with this cheap AF hack. But make it your own, adding mix-ins like chili powder, popped quinoa or toasted nuts.

CBD Chocolate Tahini Bark

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Ingredients

  • 1 72% dark chocolate bar

    * ( I used Trader Joes for the $ but chose your favorite bar! Tahini pairs well with raw chocolate too)

  • 1 tsp CBD oil

  • 1 tbsp Tahini

  • 1 tsp coconut oil

  • Pinch Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Over a double boiler melt chocolate with 1/2 tsp coconut oil. In a small bowl combine tahini with 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Microwave for 15 seconds to soften.

  2. Once chocolate is melted, stir in CBD oil. *CBD will evaporate at high temperatures so it is best to add off the heat.

  3. Pour onto a parchment lined sheet try to your desired bark size. Place into fridge for 5 minutes to chill.

  4. Drizzle the softened tahini onto the chocolate and swirl with a toothpick. Sprinkle with sea salt and place back into the fridge to harden.

  5. Cut into squares or break apart and enjoy!

So let’s break it down while our mouths are watering. My CBD Chocolate bark costs $4 per bar (9-12 pieces)!

  • Trader Joe’s 72% dark chocolate $1.79 for 3 bars

  • Tahini $7 per jar, $0.40 per serving

  • CBD Oil $37 , about $2 per serving

  • Coconut Oil $8, about $0.10 per serving

That is a savings of over $8 per bar. The other benefit of mixing your own batch is that you are in control, adding more or less CBD as well as mixing up the add ins! So get creative and share with me what you create!

Trendy, Healthy + Cheap AF

Food Trends these days are changing by the post, Instagram has created a platform for healthy food trends to run rampant… and well, I love it. It is exciting that people are opening up to trying new foods, methods of cooking and changing their perspective on health.

Even though this new world of information is inspiring - lets be real - we can’t all afford to buy into $6 matcha, $10 juices and $25 salads on the daily, even if it is packed with the rarest spirulina. I know accepting reality is tough, but staying on trend can really break the bank. So let’s break it down, I am going to debunk some of the trendiest foods and make them cheap AF. This way we can get healthy, keep money in our pockets and always stay on trend ;).

From blended concoctions to fermented goods I am going to show you how to make it easy, healthy + cheap.

Here is what to expect: Delicious, hassle-free(ish) + healthy recipes complete with a priced out grocery list. Sure, I have my own list of trends I’m ready to debunk, but what fun is that? I want to hear what you trends you’re over paying full price for - shoot me a comment, email or slide into my DM’s - your choice, I’m ready for ya.

First up: A Trendy, Healthy + Cheap AF Blended Edition

Time to demystify two juice trends who’s benefits live up to the hype but not always the price - Celery Juice and Ginger Shots.

Celery Juice

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There is no surprise this made my list, everyone is drinking celery juice… everyone. It took my a while to get on board because honestly, celery isn’t the most appetizing vegetable. And it is 90% water, so other than getting a hydrating boost how could celery really change my body?! But I tried it and I loved it - whether it is all in our heads or celery juice is the new kale the facts are facts: It is delicious, easy and frankly drinking it in the morning helps me rehydrate and feel cleansed throughout the day.

Celery juice is said to pack a punch containing vitamin C, folate, magnesium, calcium + electrolytes. It is not only a great way to flush your system in the morning but electrolytes and vitamin C make it a great remedy when you feel a cold coming on or refueling after a workout … watch out Gaterade!

Although a juicer is a great method for turning this goodness into liquid, us on a budget (and probably without kitchen space) need to find another way to reap the benefits. Luckily celery is pliable enough that by cutting through the cell walls it will release its juice. Time to pull out the blenders, whether its a Vitamix or Magic Bullet it is all the same when it comes to celery juice.

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What you need:

Instructions:

  1. Rough chop the celery into smaller pieces, place in the blender with a 1/4 cup water.

  2. Turn on the blender and let it liquify the celery.

  3. Strain the mixture and pour into a glass to enjoy!

Seriously that is it. 1 ingredient and 3 simple steps you will be on your way to a healthier, trendier you in no time.

Let’s see what you are saving!

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Pressed Juicery is now serving Celery Juice for $4/ 15oz bottle, while Jus by Julie is serving up celery blends for $8/ 16 oz bottle. While I LOVE these brands lets keep them for the splurge days.

Our homemade celery juice costs us : $1.89/ 16oz

  • 1 bunch Organic Celery $1.89

Well you know what that means… we just saved $2.11 for 5 minutes of effort and a whole lotta goodness.

TIP: Make it your own by adding lemon and ginger for added flavor and benefits without breaking the bank. The juice will last up to 4 days in the fridge, so make a large batch and keep it for the week!

Ginger Shots

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The health benefits of ginger have been around the block, but the hype hasn’t gone away. Ginger is a powerhouse root that not only adds an amazing fresh and spicy flavor to dishes but is a true rockstar for the gut, immune system and inflammation.

Ginger contains Gingerol, the bioactive compound in the root that is responsible for much of its medicinal benefits. Gingerol can help fight infections by preventing and reducing harmful bacteria in the body. The powerful antioxidants found in ginger can prevent and reduce cancer-causing free radicals, while combating the common cold. And for the gut, ginger can be used to help ignite your metabolism, improving digestion and irregularity. I know you don’t need more convincing but just in case — ginger’s anti-inflammatory compounds have been found to help prevent brain degenerating diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

To break it down we all need to be including ginger into our weekly (if not daily) routine. But being such a hot ingredient products can get pricey. So let’s give it a shot the cheap AF way.

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What you need:

  • Blender

  • Mesh Strainer or Nut milk bag

  • 3” of Ginger

  • Pinch of Cinnamon

  • Pinch of Cayenne

  • 1/4 tsp Honey

  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 3 Tbsp of Water

Instructions:

  1. Rough chop ginger. Place in a blender with apple cider vinegar, water, cinnamon, honey and cayenne.

  2. Turn on the blender and blend until everything breaks down and liquifies.

  3. Strain the mixture and pour into a glass and shoot it back!

Now for the savings

Pressed Juicery coming in hot for $4 for 2 oz of juice… and this is a good price. At boutique shops ginger shots can go up to $6 a pop.

Our homemade shot costs: $1.50

  • Ginger ($0.26/oz) $0.80

  • Honey ($0.46/oz) $0.10

  • Cinnamon / Cayenne ($1.50/ oz) $0.10

  • Apple Cider Vinegar ($4.50/ 16 oz) $0.50

Thats a savings of more than $2.50 without missing out on the goods.

Hope these tips help you incorporate healthy trends into your routine. Let me know what foods you want me to turn into Trendy, Healthy and Cheap AF necessities!

Squashing Chili Standards

Wow, how is it October over already?!

With the turn of a new month that means the experimentation for the best vegan chili must come to an end. This challenge has not only cleared my sinuses but helped me understand the heart of a good chili.

Before I took on this challenge, chili was just an excuse to empty my pantry with a sprinkle of chili powder. Now, I understand the difference between bases, stocks and found a method to accomplish that ideal umami flavor every bowl. Sure it takes a little more effort, but homemade stocks and chili pastes are worth the effort.

I began this challenge on the premise of 5 rules for an ideal chili. After my testing, it is time to rewrite the rules so that you can create the best fail-proof vegan chili every time.

4 Rules for the Best Vegan Chili

  1. Stock is boss. Homemade vegetable stock will add umami that is usually missing in a store bought veg stock. Check out the two stock recipes I stand by here and here. In a rush? Fortify your store bought stock with dried shitake mushrooms, miso and toasted walnuts. Allow to boil and simmer for 30-40 minutes. strain and use.

  2. Chile paste or bust. Making your own chile paste allows for your to control the heat and flavor profiles of your chili. Chili paste allows for depth of flavor in your chili, as the various chilis hit your tastebuds you will get heat, smoke and char that can mimic the “meaty“ profiles of traditional chili.

  3. Beans, beans the magical fruit. Beans add body, creaminess and texture to your chili. This enhances the heartiness of the dish without interfering with flavor. Make sure your beans are sturdy and never overcooked. *If using canned beans make sure to add them in last so that they do not break down.

  4. Minimal tomato. Tomatoes add a slight sweetness to your chili base, enhancing the flavors of the chilies. However, I suggest stick to the paste, canned diced tomatoes can add too much water to your base interfering with the umami of your stock.


Without further ado below is the fourth and final vegan chili of this October Chili Challenge. I have combined my favorite components of the previous chilis - like rich chocolate, thick chile forward base and meaty jackfruit - into a full bodied and hearty chili.

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Butternut Squash and Jackfruit Chili

Yields 6-8 servings

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  • 6 ancho chilies, rehydrated

  • 2 monita chilies, rehydrated

  • 2 jalapenos

  • 6 oz tomato paste

  • 1 large yellow onion, small dice

  • 1 cup carrots, small dice

  • 1 cup celery, small dice

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 cup butternut squash, about 1 large squash, ½ inch dice

  • 1 green bell pepper, ½ inch dice

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp dried oregano

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • ½ tsp ground ginger

  • 1 can jackfruit

  • 2 cans beans, I used black beans and red kidney beans

  • 3 oz dark chocolate

  • 5 cups Brown Stock

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1. Place jalapenos on a sheet tray and roast for 15 minutes, until tender and starting to slit out of the skin.

2. Soak dried chilies in boiling water, for 30 minutes, until rehydrated and pliable.

3. Drain and rinse jackfruit, place into a small bowl and shred into bite size pieces. Toss in 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp paprika and salt. Place onto a sheet tray and roast for 20-25 minutes until slightly browned.

4. In a large soup pot, heat 3 tbsp olive oil and add diced onion, carrot, celery, garlic and salt. Sauté until vegetables are tender and onions are translucent.

5. Add cumin, oregano, paprika and ginger. Allow to toast for about 2 minutes until fragrant.

6. Add diced butternut squash and bell pepper. Reduce heat to medium, to avoid burning,  allow to sauté for 10 minutes.

7. In a medium bowl or blender add tomato paste, jalepenos, chiles and ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth, adding more water if needed.

8. Add the chile mixture to the soup pot stirring to combine.

9. Add 4-5 cups of brown stock. Allow mix to cook on low until butternut squash is cooked through 10- 15 minutes.

10. Add in roasted jackfruit, drained beans and dark chocolate. Stir to combine.

11. Simmer for at least 10- 20 minutes for flavors to melt together.

12. Serve it up! Top it with diced avocado, red onion and cilantro.  





Ancho Average Chili

Next up on the chili challenge is decoding a classic Texas Chili.

We all know everything is bigger in Texas… but did you know how seriously they take their chili? Chili is Texas’ State Dish, also known as the Bowl of Red, gained its popularity out of necessity for all of the Cowboys looking for a hearty, warm dish after a day of labor. In order to keep tradition alive, the regulations on what can be called a Texas Red Chili is a strict rule book.

Regulations:

  1. Diced beef.

  2. Beef stock.

  3. Chili paste for the base.

  4. Thickened with Masa (corn flour).

  5. No tomatoes, no beans, no vegetables.

Well clearly turning this dish vegan, violates some MAJOR qualifications. But what fun are rules if you can’t break them?!

In this vegan version I changed it up a little.

1.     Diced beef. —> Tempeh and mushroom mix.

2.     Beef stock. —> Brown stock.

3.     Chili paste for the base.

4.     Thickened with Masa (corn flour).

5.     No tomatoes, no beans, no vegetables. —> Well, honestly this rule needed to change anyway.   

I will admit this chili does not have the coat-your-mouth fattiness of a traditional Texas Chili, but the flavor and texture profiles are spot on. With a mix of spicy and lightly smoked chilies the base of the chili has a great depth of flavor with a heat that slowly rises to the surface. The sauce is thickened just enough to coat the diced tempeh, soaking up the flavors of the chili for that slow cooked meaty feel.

Check it out for yourself. (And if you’re really into breaking the rules, spoon it over quinoa or cauliflower rice)

Vegan Texas Chili

Yield 6-8 servings  

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  • Dried chile: 3 Ancho chile, 2 Monita chile, 4 guajillo chile

  • Fresh chile: 2-3 fresno chile (depending on desired spice), 1 jalapeno

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • 6 oz tomato paste

  • ¼ cup water

  • 1 yellow onion, small diced

  • 1 green bell pepper, small diced

  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • 2 8 oz packages of Tempeh, ½ inch dice

  • ¼ cup tamari

  • 1 tbsp honey (or maple syrup)

  • 6 portobella mushroom caps, 1 inch dice

  • 3 tbsp Masa flour or corn flour

  • 4-5 cups of Brown Stock (recipe below)

  • 2 Tbsp white vinegar

 

1.     Dice the tempeh into ½ inch pieces. Transfer to a plastic bag and add tamari, ½ tsp cumin and honey. Shake to combine and set aside to marinade for at least 1 hour.

2.     To start the chili paste, toss fresh fresnos and jalapeno in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until just roasted and starting to pop.

3.     In a medium bowl, place dried chiles and cover with hot water. Allow to sit for 25-30 minutes until softened.

 

4.     While the chiles are soaking, in a large soup pot heat 3 tbsp olive oil. Add diced onion and pepper, saute until onions are translucent. Add 1 tsp cumin and paprika, allowing to toast for 1 minute. Remove and set aside.

5.     In the same pot, add tbsp olive oil and sear diced portobella mushrooms, season with salt. Cook until tender and lightly browned, approx. 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.

6.     Next, sear the marinated tempeh. Place an even layer of the tempeh down to ensure that each piece can brown. This may take two or three rounds.

7.     Remove the tempeh and add to the cooked mushrooms.

 

8.     Back to the paste, remove the stems and seeds of the softened and roasted chiles.

9.     In a medium bowl (or blender if using), add cleaned chiles, ¼ cup water, garlic and tomato paste.

10.  Using an immersion blender, blend the chile mix until it is a smooth paste. Set aside.

 

11.  In the same soup pot over medium heat, whisk together 1 cup of brown stock and 3 tbsp of masa. Allow the mix to come to a shallow boil. The sauce will appear thickened and should coat the back of a spoon.

12.  Add the cooked onion mix, chile paste, mushrooms, tempeh and white vinegar. Cover with 4 cups of brown stock, until the ingredients are just covered. Add up to 1 cup more of stock if needed.

13.  Stir to combine, bring to a boil. Reduce the chili to a simmer and allow to cook for at least 1 hour. The longer the chili is allowed to simmer the better the flavor.

14.  To serve it up, garnish with scallion, avocado, parsley or (dairy free) sour cream.

 

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Brown Stock

Yields 8 cups

  • 2 yellow onions, rough chop

  • 1 carrot, rough chop

  • 1 parsnip, rough chop

  • 1 cup dried shitake mushroom

  • 4 cloves garlic, whole

  • 1 bay leaf

  • ½ bunch parsley

  • ¾ walnuts, toasted

  • ¾ cup French lentils, uncooked

  • 2 tbsp miso  

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1.     Rough chop vegetables, toss in olive oil, salt and miso paste.

2.     Transfer to a sheet tray and roast for 45-60 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and starting to caramelize.

3.     In a large soup pot, add roasted vegetables and the rest of the ingredients. Cover with 8 cups of water. Bring to a bowl, cover and let simmer for at least 2 hours.

4.     Once the stock liquid is a dark brown color, remove from heat.

5.     Strain the liquid and throw out solids. Store in fridge for 3-4 days or freeze for up to 4 months.





Chili Out

Hello fall! Although I will always miss those heated days, it is time to sit down, cozy on up with your favorite blanket and dive into some warming meals.  

No no, we are not discussing pumpkin spiced foods today, we are looking into something more chil-i.

A friend of my recently decided to start eating a plant based diet. While enjoying the way he feels and exploring new foods that he would have avoided in his carnivore days, he doesn’t feel vegans have mastered the art of chili. From his experience the vegan community has nailed many interpreted dishes. Veggie burgers are layered with texture, flavor and a fattiness that is present in beef patties. Vegan pastry and cakes are now just as indulgent as their buttered-up counterparts. Even vegan barbecue has made strides in locking in the slow-cooked and smoked flavor.  

But vegan chili has remained bland and uninspired. Sticking to the basics of veg and beans, vegan chili has become no more than a vegetable soup. Nothing of the hearty, stick-to-your-bones, fuel that chili was initially intended to do.

After this discussion, my friend challenged me to the ultimate chili cook off… to create 4 flavor packed, indulgent and mouth-watering chilies that even a cowboy would approve of.

Challenge accepted.

As I began to wrap my brain around the task I realized I actually haven’t made many chilis (meat or vegetarian) and certainly not one beyond canned beans and diced squash swimming in canned tomatoes. So I went to the drawing board to research what makes a great chili and the traditional variations of chili in the United States. Don’t worry, I will just summarize what I found…

TOP 5 CHILI REQUIREMENTS:

1. Rich dynamic flavor. A chili needs to incorporate sweet, bitter, spicy flavors rounded out with a fresh element.

2. Your traditional “beefy flavor,” which for vegan purposes we are going to attribute to umami.

3. Luscious beans, that add a creamy element to the chili without breaking apart.

4. Traditionally, a deep red sauce.

5. The chilies. No use for “chili powder” here. Unique, homemade blends of dried and roasted chilies are needed to achieve the perfect chili base that adds heat and depth of flavor.

5 TRADITIONAL CHILIS:

1. Chili Verde – a base of fresh peppers and tomatillos paired with white beans and shredded chicken or pork.

2. Texas Chili – deep red sauce with hearty pieces of red meat. NO beans and vegetables are best unseen.

3. Rocky Mountain Chili- deep red sauce with notes of chocolate and coffee, packed with meat and beans.

4. Cincinnati Chili- ground beef in a tomato based sauce, mixed with beans atop a bed of spaghetti. Always found loaded up with diced onion, cheddar cheese, sour cream and oyster crackers.

5. Vegetarian Chili- red tomato based sauce, various mixture of beans and large diced vegetables.

To boil it down, I am on a mission to recreate 4 traditional chilis into delicious vegan versions that can stand on their own. Every Monday for the month of October we are going to “chili out” as I post photos and recipes for the 4 variations.

First up, we have a Chili Verde with Jackfruit and White Beans. This classily lighter chili, packs a punch of fresh chilies paired with hearty pieces of jackfruit and beans to achieve a meaty mouth feel.

Let me know what you think!

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Chili Verde

Jackfruit + Cannellini Bean Chili

Yields 10 - 12 servings

4 poblano peppers

2- 3 jalapenos, depending on heat levels

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10 tomatillos

4 cloves of garlic

3 cups white onion, about 1 ½ onions small diced

3 cups celery, ½ head of celery small diced

1 ½ cups carrots, 4 carrots small diced

1 green pepper, medium diced

2 cans Green Jackfruit

2 cans cannellini beans

1 tbsp ground cumin

½ tsp dried oregano

Tbsp yellow miso

Salt

7 cups of Vegetable Stock (recipe below) 

Optional garnish:

Unsweetened coconut yogurt

Lime wedge

Toasted pumpkin seeds

Avocado

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  1. Toss poblano peppers, garlic, tomatillos and jalapenos with olive oil and salt. Depending on your desired heat level, remove the seeds from the jalapeno before roasting. Place vegetables on sheet trays and roast for 20-25 minutes until soft and slightly charred.  

  2. While the peppers and tomatillos are roasting, small dice onions, celery and carrots. In a large soup pot, heat 3 tbsp olive oil. Add diced vegetables and a heavy pinch of salt. Allow vegetables to sweat until translucent and tender, about 10-15 minutes.

  3. Add diced green pepper, ground cumin, oregano and miso allowing it to cook for another 5 minutes until cumin is fragrant. * If using store bought stock use 2 tbsp miso. Reduce heat to avoid burning.

  4. Remove peppers and tomatillos from the oven.  Remove stem and seeds from poblano peppers and jalapenos (if you have not already done so). Blend ingredients together, in a bowl using an immersion blender or blender.

  5. Add the tomatillo paste to the sautéed vegetables and 6 ½ cups of stock, stirring to incorporate. Keep heat low as you prepare the jackfruit and beans.  

  6. De- can and rinse jackfruit. Pull the jackfruit apart into ½ inch pieces, it should resemble pulled chicken. Toss in olive oil, salt, 1 tsp cumin and 1 tsp chili powder. Transfer to a sheet tray and roast at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes. The jackfruit should have some browned edges and should feel dry.

  7.  De-can and rinse off the cannellini beans and toss into the chili base. Add all of the roasted jackfruit to the base. Bring mixture up to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Season to taste.

  8. Allow to simmer for at least 20 minutes, and serve. Garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds, coconut yogurt, lime and avocado.

  9. This chili can be made ahead and stored up to 4-5 days in the fridge, or portioned and frozen for up to 4 months.

  

Vegetable stock

Adapted from Bon Appetit’s Vegan Umami Broth 

4 tbsp yellow miso

2 yellow onions, peeled and rough chopped

½ head celery, rough chopped

4 carrots, rough chopped

2 cups dried shitake mushrooms

½ bunch parsley

1/2 head of garlic

3 tbsp Olive oil

¼ cup tamari

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. In a small bowl whisk olive oil and miso together to be a thick paste. Add a splash of water to thin so that it is thick but pliable.

  2. Combine all prepped vegetables in a bowl tossing with the miso paste to coat. Transfer to a sheet tray and laying everything evenly in one layer, you may need two trays.

  3. Allow to roast at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes. Stirring occasionally to avoid burning. You want your vegetables to be browned, tender and fragrant.  

  4. In a large soup pot, place all of the roasted vegetables. Add in a ½ bunch of parsley and a ¼ cup tamari. Cover with 8-10 cups of water.

  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, uncovered. Allow broth to simmer for 1 hour.

  6. Strain broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or pot. Discard vegetable solids. Store liquid for 3-4 days in the fridge or freeze for 3-4 months.

Macadamia Butter Cups

I have one word for you, decadence.

Imagine sitting on the beach in a tropical paradise, relaxing with a drink in your hand just as the sun sets.  You’re peaceful, content, maybe even a little sunburned… Oh, sorry! That was just your taste buds being transported to their happy place with one bite of these Macadamia Butter Cups. We’ve kicked peanut butter to the curb with this one as we update a classic treat. These Macadamia Butter Cups are delicious with a little nutrients mixed in.

Macadamia nuts are surely the star of the show in these cups, packed with healthy fats, fiber, minerals and antioxidants. The macadamia nut has a unique balance between Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids, providing an anti-inflammatory reaction to the cardiovascular system. This may help reduce cholesterol and protect against heart disease.

In addition, macadamia nuts have a high fiber content (1oz = 2.3g) and anti-oxidant properties due to their flavonoid content.  Flavonoids occur naturally to protect the macadamia plant from environmental toxins, however, in the body flavonoids are turned into free-radical fighting antioxidants protecting our bodies from various toxins and disease.

Just as you thought this dessert couldn’t get any better… we folded the buttery, macadamia nuts with coconut butter creating a luscious, tropical combination. Lucky for you, coconut butter is also loaded with its own set of nutrients. Similar to the benefits of coconut oil, coconut butter is packed with lauric acid, healthy fats, amino acids and calcium.

So put down the Reese’s and get your hands on something you can feel proud about.


Macadamia Coconut Butter Cups

Serves 12

Filling

  • ¾ cups coconut butter, melted
  • 1 cup Mauna Loa chopped macadamia nuts, soaked
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Chocolate Coating

  • 16 oz dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. In a food processor combine all of the ingredients for the filling. Blend until smooth and set aside.
  2. Over a double boiler, melt the dark chocolate with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.
  3. In a lined cupcake pan, portion 1 ½ tablespoons of the melted chocolate onto the bottom of each muffin liner. Place in the freezer until set, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. On top of the chocolate bases, spoon 1 tablespoon of the macadamia filling. Spread the filling into an even layer that does not reach the edge of the cups. Cover the filling with another 1 ½ tablespoons layer of melted chocolate, ensuring that chocolate covers the filling entirely.
  5. Place back into the freezer until set, at least 20 minutes. Once set, enjoy!

Pip Pip Hooray!

Walking through any grocery store you can tell the popcorn scene is well... poppin. But I am not talking about the microwavable double movie theater butter popcorn or the sugar ridden caramel corn, the new kids on the block are popping corn with a little less guilt and a whole lot of flavor. 

With so many options on the shelves it is hard to distinguish which colorful bag is going to satisfy your late night cravings, that is until I discovered PipCorn. The crunchy, salty, and slightly sweet stuff has got me hooked for a delicious anytime snack. From beautiful packaging to miniature popcorn kernels, they are bringing a new twist to the popcorn craze. 

ALTHOUGH I have been known to take down a whole bag of PipCorn on my own, I love how easy it is to incorporate in to various recipes. The smaller kernels make the popcorn easier to work with in both sweet and savory recipes. Below are a few ideas to keep your snack drawer full and your taste buds happy. 

 

Truffle Rosemary Trail Mix

Yield about 3 cups

  • 1 cup raw almonds 
  • 1 cup raw walnuts 
  • 1/2 cup Raw Peeled Tigernuts 
  • 1-2 cups Truffle Pipcorn
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp truffle salt or truffle oil 
  • zest of 1 lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

  1. In a small sauce pan melt the coconut oil
  2. Add rosemary and cumin to oil, cook until fragrant
  3. Remove from heat stir in raw nuts, tiger nuts and salt (if using truffle oil add at this point.)
  4. Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet, bake for 10-12 minutes until nuts are lightly toasted
  5. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper towel lined baking sheet to cool. while nuts are still warm, sprinkle with lemon zest and truffle salt 
  6. Toss with Truffle Pipcorn 
  7. Garnish with rosemary leaves and enjoy! 
 

Vegan Popped Cherry Cookies

Yeild 18 large cookies

  • 1 flax egg ( 1 tbsp ground flax seed + 3 tbsp water ) 
  • 1/2 cup earth balance butter 
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar 
  • 2 tsp vanilla 
  • 1 cup + 1 tbsp all purpose flour
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries, place in 1/4 cup wine and 1/4 cup water for at least 10 minutes and drain
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips 
  • 1 cup Pipcorn Kettle Corn (or Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  1. In a small bowl combine flax + water, set aside for at least 10 minutes
  2. In a large bowl, or stand mixer, cream earth balance and sugars together until well incorporated and light in color
  3. Add vanilla, flax egg and to butter mixture. Beat until smooth
  4. In a small bowl sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt together. Slowly add the flour to the butter mixture
  5. Fold the cherries, chocolate chips and Popcorn Kettle Corn into the batter
  6. Cover and place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes
  7. Once chilled, scoop the cookies using an ice cream scoop or heaping tbsp measure 
  8. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 12- 15 minutes
  9. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, to ensure the cookie is set and dig in

 

 

 

Monthly Myth Buster

Vegan Misconceptions

#6 “A Vegan Diet is a Weight Loss Diet”

With so many diet fads on the market promising weight loss and improved body function, it is easy to see how veganism gets wrapped up in the trendy, marketing miscommunications. With its ties to many ethical, political, environmental beliefs, allergies and nutritional opinions, being vegan is a ‘lifestyle plan’ not a ‘weight loss plan’.

It’s true that following a diet that is low in processed foods and high in plant-based, unprocessed and fresh foods may result in weight loss as your body reaches a state of nutritional balance. But lets get our facts straight. Simply swapping out your pantry items for products labeled ‘vegan’ will inevitably lead to eating faux meats and other processed - but vegan - foods, which could actually cause weight gain!

As with anything else in life, making changes to your diet isn’t necessarily easy. Beginning a more natural diet can be time consuming and inconvenient, especially for those who would rather use their oven as extra closet space ( you know who you are) . Food manufacturers know that the average person perceives eating whole, unprocessed foods as “inconvenient”, which is exactly where they saw an opportunity to create products that mimic flavors, textures that you can’t necessarily find in whole foods. With the help of a little marketing and social trends the ‘vegan’ label was quickly deemed healthy, trendy and natural. (I know what your thinking and you’re right, this same miscommunication is happening across the board from fat-free to paleo and gluten-free, but we’ll leave that conversation for another day.) In fact, did you know that Oreos, Lay’s potato chips, Bacon Bites and Fritos are all technically ‘vegan’? However, I’d be shocked if you included any of those products as part of a weight loss plan.

Thanks to the array of processed vegan foods on grocery store shelves, consumers are more focused on eating “guilt-free” with vegan mac & “cheese” or vegan doughnuts because they think it is a healthier option. But the reality is imitation cheese, egg-less pasta and dairy-free fried dough will still add calories, sugar and simple carbohydrates to your diet, all of which will sabotage your weight-loss goals.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many companies out there who are dedicated to providing delicious products made from few and quality ingredients. As consumers we must pay attention to the ingredients that are in the processed foods we buy and keep in mind our reason for purchasing the product. If you are looking to improve your diet or lose weight don’t ‘go vegan’ because marketing and labels deem it a healthier option. Instead, focus on a diet based on unprocessed, whole foods.

Here are just a few brands to look out for next time you’re at the grocery store and looking to buy natural, whole plant-based foods that are still seemingly convenient.

Mint- Chocolate Fudge Sauce

Busy schedules, late night cravings and chocoholic-ism has lead to stuffing my face with foods that make me feel sluggish and... well gross the past few weeks. 

Working in a profession kitchen leads to awkward hours, late nights and little time to make sure you are eating full nutritious meals every day. Instead you are left mindlessly munching on this or that throughout the night, never sitting down to enjoy what you are eating and most likely missing key nutrients. I quickly felt myself getting exhausted, grumpy and sick. 

In my searches on ways to supplement the vital nutrients I have been missing, I stumbled upon HUM Nutrition. From the bright packaging to wholesome, natural and vegan ingredients I decided to give it a try. I started with the basics like probiotics, vitamin D and B12 plus fun combinations for hair + nail health and a weight-loss booster and you could say I am more than satisfied. Since starting my HUM regimen I have started to get control of my crazy schedule and fuel my body. 

My newest HUM obsession is their new Raw Beauty superfood powder. Its an all in one boost of superfoods like spirulina, ginger, chlorella, wheat grass, flax, goji berry, matcha (and SO much more) all wrapped together with the delicious flavors of mint-chocolate. The powder is delicious to add to smoothies, 'nice' cream or just shaken with almond milk. BUT I decided to give into my sweet and indulgent side and turn it into a luscious vegan chocolate sauce. The sauce is perfect for dipping, pouring or spooning ;) 

MINT- CHOCOLATE FUDGE SAUCE

yield : 1/2 cup sauce

1 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk 

6 dates, pitted 

2 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract 

2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tbsp HUM Nutrition Raw Beauty powder

  1. In a blender, combine almond milk, chia seeds and dates until smooth. 
  2. Strain mixture into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently until thickened (about 5- 10 minutes). 
  3. Whisk in cocoa powder, HUM Nutrition Raw Beauty and vanilla until well incorporated. 
  4. Remove from heat and dip, pour or smear. 

The Fresh Challenge : Hemp

For this month's Fresh Challenge sit back, grab a spot on the couch and pack a bowl... of HEMP seeds! 

Hemp is a all around plant- based power house of nutrients that can be added to smoothies, salads, baked goods and well... just about anything! 

Protein Hit - Hemp hearts contain 10 grams of protein per 3 tablespoon serving. The protein found in hemp is a complete protein and easily digestible! 

Fiber Fire - Add more fire to your belly. These little seeds are full of fiber to aid your gut health and digestion. The standard diet is lacking in this nutrient as we chips in snacks instead of fruits and vegetables, but hemp can help swing the pendulum in a better direction. 

Omega-3 Good-Good - Protect your heart and improve your brain function with a daily dose of Omega- 3 fatty acids. Adding omega- 3's to your day helps reduce inflammation, reduce your risk of heart disease and lower cholesterol levels. 

The best part about this challenge? Hemp is easy to find anywhere these days from raw hemp hearts to milks you can take the challenge out of this Fresh Challenge. Just in case you need more direction when the munchies kick in, here are a few of my blazin picks. 

 

 

 

The Fresh Challenge : Maca

It’s that time of month again… to add something new to your diet and rev-up your healthy 2016. Just in time for Valentine’s Day we are showcasing Maca for its vitamin-packed, libido enhancing and energy boosting qualities.

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Maca is a root native to Peru, also known as “Peruvian Ginseng”. Maca is most commonly found as a powder in grocery stores and health food stores, making it an easy addition to your daily routine. It is important to buy organic maca powder to avoid fillers or imposters - my go-to brands are Sunfood, Navitas and Vega.

Now let’s talk about the benefits of Maca…

  1. It’s potent in vitamin B, C and E, calcium, zinc, iron and magnesium. All of which are essential minerals if you follow a plant-based diet.

  2. A natural love potion, maca has been found to increase libido and endurance, especially in men. While maintaining an even hormone balance and improving fertility in women.

  3. This superfood can improve energy and stamina levels throughout the day.

  4. It improves mental clarity and focus as it reduces mood imbalances such as depression, anxiety or mood swings.

  5. So long to PMS! Maca can reduce irritability, cramps and hot flashes caused by menstruation and menopause.

Added Bonus: The hormone balancing properties found in maca have shown a positive effect on reducing hormonal acne and improving skin tone! How about that for positive vibes?!

Need some ideas about how to incorporate maca into your day? From energy bars to smoothies to ice cream - there’s no shortage of ways to fit this into your daily diet. 

In the spirit of Valentine's Day I have an easy recipe that is perfect as a dessert to share or to show yourself a little love.

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Maca Dark Chocolate Bark:

12 oz dark chocolate       1/3 cup dried cherries

1 tbsp coconut oil            1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes

1 tbsp maca powder        1/4 cups cocoa nibs

1/2 cup toasted almonds, chopped    

1 tsp sea salt

  1. Over a double boiler melt 8 oz of the chocolate. < If using a microwave melt in 30 second increments, stirring between each until melted >

  2. Once melted, add in remaining chocolate, coconut oil and maca powder. Stir until fully melted and smooth. 

  3. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or a silpat

  4. Pour the chocolate onto the prepared surface and spread into an even layer using a spatula. You want your bark about 1/4 inch thick. 

  5. Top with the dried cherries, almonds, coconut, cocoa nibs and salt to evenly cover the surface. Let on the counter to harden but if you just can't wait to take a bite, pop it in the fridge for 15- 20 minutes. 

  6. Once the chocolate has set, break it apart and enjoy! 

NOTE: Too much maca can add a slightly chalky taste to your food so take it easy. A little goes a long way with this superfood, only one tablespoon a day is recommended. IN FACT, it is important to build up your tolerance of Maca due to its potency. If you are new to the product start with ½  a teaspoon and work your way up to a full tablespoon over time.