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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Blueberry Pancake Muffins

We really wanted muffins. I really didn't have all the stuff I usually put in my muffins. These are a hybrid of different ideas that really turned out to taste just like blueberry pancakes in the shape of muffins. Enjoy!

Recipe (makes 12 large muffins):

~1 large ripe banana
~ 1/2 cup vegan sugar
~ 1 tbsp ground flax meal
~ 2 cups flour
~ 1 tsp cinnamon
~ 1 package quick cook maple flavored oatmeal
~ 2 tsp baking powder
~ 1 tsp vanilla
~ 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
~ 1/3 cup applesauce
~ 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk
~ 6 oz container blueberries


~ Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12 cup muffin pan with non cook spray
~ Mash banana very well with a fork in a large mixing bowl. Then add the flour, oatmeal, sugar, flax meal, cinnamon and baking powder
~ Add non-dairy milk, vanilla, almond extract, and applesauce and mix until well combined
~ Gently fold in the blueberries.
~ Bake for 30-35 minutes until tops are golden brown.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Yummy Strawberry Pancakes

This is something I routinely make for breakfast and dinner. We love breakfast for dinner in our house. This recipe can be made with or without the strawberries and it is well received each and every time. With Mother's Day fast approaching, I thought I would dedicate the next few posts and recipes to yummy breakfast and brunch ideas.

Recipe (makes approximately 8 medium sized pancakes):

~ 1 tbsp flax meal
~ 2 tbsp warm water
~ 1 tsp vanilla
~ 1 cup of non-dairy milk (I love vanilla almond milk in this!)
~ 2 tbsp plain applesauce
~ 1 cup whole wheat flour
~ 2 tsp baking powder
~ 3 1/2 tbsp sugar
~ 3-4 large strawberries, diced


~ Mix flax meal and water in medium sized mixing bowl and allow to sit for a few minutes. (This mixture acts as an egg replacement.)
~ Pre-heat medium sized frying pan
~ Add vanilla, flour, applesauce, non-dairy milk, baking powder and sugar to the flax mixture. Mix until well blended and batter is no longer lumpy. 
~ Gently fold in diced strawberries.
~ Spray pre-heated pan with non stick spray and drop 1/4 cup fulls of batter into pan.
~ Flip each pancake when the top begins to bubble and the pancake begins to rise. 
~ Top cooked pancakes with sliced strawberries and maple syrup of your choice.

These are an easy way to make your very own pancakes from scratch. I hope you enjoy them!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Whole Wheat Bread

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make. It takes a but of time due to the dough needing to rise, but it is really easy to make. I am attempting to not have to buy processed breads, so this is one we use for sandwiches and toast. It's pretty fluffy compared to most homemade whole grain breads.

Recipe (makes 2 8x4 loaves):

~ 2 3/4 cups hot water
~ 1/3 cup plain organic applesauce (I use this in place of oil in all of my baking)
~ 1/4 cup vegan sugar
~ 1 tbsp salt
~ 7 cups (TOTAL) whole wheat flour
~ 2 tbsp active dry yeast
~ 2 8x4 loaf pans


~ Prep the yeast (to make sure it is still viable). 3/4 cups of the water from the recipe into a small mixing bowl. Add the 1/4 cup sugar and then add the yeast. Stir gently and allow to bubble. The yeast should bubble within 5 minutes.
~ As the yeast is prepping, take the remaining 2 cups of hot water, applesauce and salt and add to a large mixing bowl. Then add 4 of the 7 total cups of flour and mix until it is well combined. You will have 3 cups left to work into the dough.
~ Add prepped yeast and mix in well.
~ Slowly add the remaining flour 1/2 of a cup at a time. The dough will stop sticking to the sides of the bowl when all the flour has been added and kneaded into the mixture. You don't want to overmix, or the bread will hard and tough when it is finished.
~ When you have completed mixing all of your flour in, cover the mixing bowl with a towel and set somewhere warm to rise for 30-40 minutes. The dough doesn't need to double in size at this point, but it will be larger.
~ Coat your loaf pans with non stick spray.
~ Re-mix the dough to knock it back down to about the original size. Spread flour on a clean work space and drop the dough onto the surface. Shape it into a large ball and then slice the ball in half so that you have 2 equal size pieces of dough to work with.
~ Shape the loaves by turning the dough under and over itself. When it is shaped right, the sides and ends will be sealed and you will have a nice oblong loaf with a smooth top.
~ Drop them into the loaf pans and set aside, covered, to rise again. About 45 minutes. They should be about doubled in size when complete. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees.
~ Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow finished bread to cool outside the pans on a rack.

I know it sounds like a lot...but it really is pretty simple. This is the second loaf of bread I have ever made, and it tastes wonderful and it was a huge success!! We love it toasted with Earth Balance spread, jelly, Peanut butter and vegan cream cheese. It is also wonderful for sandwiches.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Orange Cranberry Almond Granola

This has become such a favorite with my kiddos that we no longer buy processed cereals. It's easy to make and it is delicious in a bowl with almond milk, or mixed into coconut milk yogurt. Oh, and plain, it's really yummy plain! Can ya tell we just like it any ol' way?

Recipe (makes approximately 4 1/2 cups):

~ 3 cups organic oats
~ 1/2 cup flax-meal
~ 1/4 cup slivered almonds
~ 1 tsp cinnamon
~ 1/4 cup maple syrup
~ 1/2 tsp nutmeg
~ 1/2 cup orange juice
~ 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
~ 1 tsp vanilla
~ 1/2 (or more if you so desire) cups dried cranberries


~ Pre-heat oven 300 degrees.
~ Coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray
~ Place Oats in a large mixing bowl. Pour orange juice over oats and stir.
~ Add maple syrup, flax-meal, almonds, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark brown sugar and vanilla to the bowl and stir until everything is thoroughly coated.
~ Spread granola mixture onto baking sheets. Bake until golden brown for 30-35 minutes, turning every 10 minutes so that the mixture browns evenly.
~ Remove from oven and divide the cranberries among the 2 baking sheets of granola. Stir and bake for 5 additional minutes.
~ Let the granola cool completely and then store in an airtight container.

And that's it! Super simple and so yummy. (As I am typing this my 16 month old son is snacking on some granola and making a giant mess. :D )

Mommy, I Thought we Didn't Eat Meat Anymore?

Yummy! My family's favorite "These Aren't Really Meatball" Sandwiches! These are really easy to make and even the carnivore lovin' folks gobble 'em up. This is one of the very first recipes I made when we were transitioning into our plant based diet. And truly, my funny 5 year old son made just that comment to me as he was chowing down. I had to convince him it wasn't really meat.

Recipe (serves 4):

1 package of Gimme Lean Ground Beef style grounds
2 cloves chopped garlic
Basil to taste
1-2 tsp oil of your choice (I always cook with coconut oil, but any variety will work)
4 hoagie rolls
1 26 ounce jar organic pasta sauce (we love tomato basil)
3 large mushrooms, sliced
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 bag vegan mozzarella style shreds


~ Place entire jar of sauce into a medium sauce pan. Add the mushrooms and onion and simmer on medium low heat with a cover.
~ Place entire contents of the package of Gimme lean into a medium mixing bowl. Add chopped garlic and basil and mix.
~ Roll mixture into 16 small "meat" balls
~ Pre-heat a medium sized frying pan and add oil. Brown the "meat" balls on all sides.
~ Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees (this is optional. I toast the hoagie rolls before I build the sandwiches)
~ When the mushrooms and onions have cooked and are at your desired consistency, add the "meat" balls to the sauce and gently stir until they are covered in the sauce. I like to cook the "meat" balls and sauce together for about 10 minutes.
~ Split open your hoagie rolls and toast in the reheated oven. About 4-5 minutes.
~ Spoon 4 "meat" balls onto each hoagie roll. Top with a handful of the vegan cheese shreds and voila`!

I usually serve this with a nice big salad, but you can use any side of your choice. They don't last long, and I have often doubled the recipe so that there will be leftovers the next day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My Very First Blog Post (original title huh?)

Ok, so I am pretty excited to be starting this whole thing. I have been taking pictures of all of my food, documenting my ingredients (I am SO the typical "pinch of this, dash of that cook!) and then it hits me...I am not a chef, I am not "trained" professionally. I just know what I like and what my family begs for. So, please take what I type with a grain of salt. (insert corny laugh here)

I am in the process of uploading some pictures and organizing my thoughts into easy to follow recipes. Like I said, this is all stuff I have experimented with in my home with my kiddos...and lemme tell ya, kids are the harshest critics! So, you can safely bet that most stuff on here is pretty yummy.

So, here we go! Thanks for joining in!