SAD no more!

Like the majority of Americans, my family "survived" on the SAD (Standard American Diet....funny how that works out huh?) diet. We loved all things gooey with cheese, and we drank our milk everyday! But, then things changed. It isn't always has it's challenges, but for better or worse, my hubby and my kiddos and of course me, the mommy and cook, are on this trip and we are traveling at the speed of taste! So come along with us as we laugh, eat, share, eat, learn, and did I mention eat?? MMMMM

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mac & Cheeze

Ok, I have no idea why I didn't post this recipe first. It is the mainstay for my kids...I get requests for this all the yummy!

Recipe (serves 4-6):

~ 1 box whole wheat pasta
~ 1/2 cup Earth Balance buttery spread
~ 1/2 cup flour (I use whole wheat)
~ 2 tbsp Braggs liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
~ 1 tsp turmeric
~ 1 tbsp garlic powder
~ 1 tbsp onion powder
~ 1/2 cup (or more for taste) nutritional yeast
~ 1 large head of broccoli cut into bite size pieces


~ Begin a pot of water boiling for your pasta. Add about 3 1/2 cups more than you normally would to be added to the cheeze sauce.
~ Heat 1/2 cup earth balance in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat
~ When the Earth Balance is melted, slowly add in the flour and stir until well combined
~ Add 3 1/2 cups of hot water to the mixture and whisk until well combined
~ Now add Braggs, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder and nutritional yeast and stir well.
~ Cook the pasta according to package directions
~ Once the mixture is bubbly and thick, add the chopped broccoli and cook until tender, stirring frequently.
~ Drain pasta and place it back into the pan it was cooked in.
~ Add sauce and mix. Allow to sit for a few minutes to thicken

This really is so tasty! Look into your local health food store. Most sell nutritional yeast in their bulk departments. It will quickly become a kid favorite!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Calzones! A New Favorite

This was a spur of the moment type of recipe...and it has turned out to be a quick favorite. And the best part?? LEFTOVERS!

Recipe:(makes 1 calzone)

~ Pizza dough
~ Ricotta Cheese
~ Veggie sauce
~ 1/2 bag vegan mozzarella style cheeze

Pizza Dough (makes dough for top and bottom of calzone):

~ 4 cups flour (I used white whole wheat flour)
~ 1 2/3 cups warm water
~ 1 package dry active yeast
~ 2 TBSP applesauce
~ 1/2 TBSP sugar
~ 1 tsp salt
~ 1 tsp dried basil
~ 2 cloves chopped garlic
~ 2 tsp onion powder


~ Prep your yeast in a small bowl with 2/3 cups water and sugar. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. The yeast should bubble.
~ In a large mixing bowl combine flour, salt, basil, chopped garlic and onion powder.
~ Add the remaining 1 cup of water and prepared yeast and applesauce
~ Mix well until dough is still slightly tacky to the touch but no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.
~ Cover with a towel and set aside to rise while you make the remainder of the recipe.

Sauce (makes enough for 2 calzones. I freeze the remainder and use it in pasta or for another calzone):

~ 1 jar organic pasta sauce
~ 1 small head of broccoli, chopped
~ 1 package of Gimme Lean Ground Beef style grounds
~ 3 large mushrooms diced
~ 1/2 small onion diced
~ 1 small can organic tomato paste
~ 1/2 cup frozen spinach


~ While your dough is rising, empty pasta sauce and tomato paste into a large sauce pan
~ Add broccoli, Ground beef style grounds, mushrooms, onion and spinach.
~ Allow the sauce to simmer on medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender.
~ Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Make your ricotta cheese. The recipe is HERE

Final Prep:

~ Remove your dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured surface to work on. Shape your dough into a ball.
~ Cut the ball in half so you have 2 equal sections of dough.
~ Stretch and mold the first piece of dough to fit onto your pizza pan
~ Grease a pizza pan with non stick spray
~ Arrange the first piece of dough onto the pizza pan. Stretch it to the edges of the pan.
~ Spread the ricotta cheese on the bottom
~ Arrange half of your sauce recipe on top of the ricotta
~ Top with half bag of vegan cheese
~ Stretch and shape your last piece of dough and place it on top of the other ingredients. You will need to stretch it more and press it down around the sides of the calzone to create a seal all around the edges. This will keep the cheeze and sauce from bubbling out.
~ Brush on a little bit of olive oil
~ Make a few small slices in the top crust to allow heat to escape as you would a pie
~ Bake calzone at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until top crust is golden brown

This was SO delicious, we all ate way more than we should have! Super kid friendly and it was just amazing the next day for lunch.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Saturday Thoughts

I was doing a lot of thinking about our journey up to this point. What really started out as a desire for better health has progressed into an area of compassion, ethics and a desire to do a greater good for our planet, no matter how small a part of the effort we as a family are.

The one book I would recommend to ANYONE considering a change or with questions about plant based, vegan lifestyles and the effect they have overall is The Food Revolution by John Robbins. This for me was a life changing book. I refer to it constantly and I am still astounded at times with the information in there. It is what made me really take a look at our lifestyle as an ethical choice. This book is what made it possible for me to walk through the meat department at the grocery store and not think twice about not picking something up, in fact I don't walk through the meat department anymore, it makes me sad sometimes. I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

I started making this when my little man was born. At the time I was looking for a cheap alternative to Dreft, and this is what I came up with after a bit of online research. You can get the 2-3 ingredients needed at your local grocery store.

Recipe (Makes approximatly 64 loads worth):

~ 2 cups 20 Mule Team Borax
~ 2 Cups Arm and Hammer Washing Soda
~ 1 bar Ivory soap, shredded on a cheese grater (optional)


~ Combine Borax, Washing soda and soap into an airtight container and top with airtight lid. Shake to combine ingredients.
~ 2 TBSP per wash load

This is an easy and really inexpensive way to wash clothes. It is also environmentally responsible and friendly. A win-win!

Vegan Sugar

I was unaware when I started my journey that over half of the sugar refineries in the US use bone char in their processing of sugars. I learned about this HERE.

So, I found a great alternative with a great environmentally friendly company, Florida Crystals.

A great company with a great mission, I now use their sugar for everything...baking, coffee in the morning...anywhere I need sugar. And it has a very lovely, mellow taste different from processed and refined white sugar. I get this right at my grocery store, so no special trips.

You Would Never Know This Wasn't Ricotta Cheese!!

I have successfully made my very first vegan ricotta cheese and in all my excitement, I forgot to take pictures...but the recipe was far to yummy not to share right away! So, pictures to come the next time I make it!

This is a fabulous recipe for calzones, lasagna, stuffed shells and any other yummy recipe calling for ricotta cheese. Tofu tends to take the taste of what it is cooked in or mixed with, so you would never know the difference. I will be adding my calzone recipe to follow and this yummy ricotta was a scene stealer with that dish!

~ 1 container firm or extra firm tofu, drained and pressed to remove water
~ 1-2 cloves fresh chopped garlic
~ 2 tsp basil
~ 1 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
~ 2 tsp onion powder
~ 2 tsp dried parsley


~ Remove tofu from packaging and place between 2 kitchen towels. Use a few heavy cookbooks for weight on top of the tofu block to press out the water. Let the tofu sit like this for 10-15 minutes.
~ Place tofu block into a small mixing bowl. Use a fork to mix and mash the tofu until it is the same consistency as ricotta cheese. It's actually amazing how perfectly tofu takes the consistency of ricotta.
~ Add the chopped garlic, basil, salt, onion powder and parsley and mix well.

That's it! That's all it takes to make your very own (super healthy!) vegan ricotta cheese.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fruit Pizza!

This is easy and really fun to let the kiddos help with. Let them design with all the fun colors of the fruit! You can check out my full recipe with directions HERE

This is made with cinnamon sugar and non-dairy cream cheese. It's a sweet and fruity pastry, and just as much fun to eat as it is to make