I’m baaaaack! It has been awhile since I posted on this blog! I missed it. So glad to be back writing about something that I love…food! Now that the kiddos are back in school I have a bit more time to experiment with new things in the kitchen and to focus on myself a little bit more. I started back at the gym..Sola Life & Fitness in Rochester, MI. I really like this gym. I have been going there since moving to the area over 3 years ago.
Today after my workout at Sola, I was lured into the demonstration kitchen at Sola by some amazing smells of deliciousness. Being the freaky foodie that I am, I wandered in and realized they were doing a vegan cooking demonstration. I talked to the dietician (Anne Klauke) who was leading the class. I was SO impressed by what she created (and taught) in that kitchen! Mushroom Lentil Bourguignon. (yum.) Vegan Cauliflower Mash (Yum.) Beet, Fennel, Arugula & walnut salad, baked vegan (gluten-free) cheesecake stuffed apples and “healthy” caramel sauce (made from coconut oil, maple syrup, almond butter and vanilla) (yum.yum and ummm… yum).
I told Anne about my blog and explained how one of the things that I do in the kitchen is to make healthier versions of things that you would typically buy in the store, such as.. Spaghetti Sauce, Mac and Cheese, and salad dressings. The versions that you buy at the store are often loaded with sugar, sodium and preservatives. Being a vegetarian, I exclusively cook vegetarian meals for me and my family. Earlier this year I dabbled in vegan cooking and I discovered some amazing recipes using cashews! In case you didn’t know, cashews are amazing. You can make vegan versions of just about any dairy product using raw cashews. Some of my favorites include: Vegan alfredo (with zucchini “noodles”), nacho sauce & so much more! One of my favorite vegan alfredo recipes from vegkitchen.com:
Vegan Alfredo Sauce
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews (soaked for several hours if possible,
especially if you do not have a strong blender)
- 3 ½ cups water
Place in a blender and blend for several minutes until absolutely white and creamy
Pour mixture into a heavy-bottom sauce pan and turn heat on medium low. Add:
- 4 to 5 cloves of garlic (or more), minced or pressed through a garlic press
- 1 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast flakes (or more for a cheesier taste)
- 1/3 cup white wine
Cook for several minutes until thick and creamy, stirring with a wooden spoon often to prevent sticking on the bottom. If too thick, adjust by adding additional water. Pour over cooked fettucine, sprinkle with parsley if desired, and serve immediately. Toss with Zucchini “noodles” for a carb-free meal!
One thing about dairy cheese: Its made of milk. In case you haven’t heard, dairy is physically addictive because it contains the opiate: casomorphin. Yeah notice the “morphin” part of that word. Look familiar? All animal milk contains casomorphin, even human milk! It’s thought to be there, so that the infants will want to drink milk, and thus grow into healthy babies who will eventually grow into healthy adults… rather than keep milk in baby bottles, somehow humans…or more specifically, Dairy Farmers of America, thought it should be a permanent part of the American diet. I think this started back in the 1950’s. The dairy industry used strong advertising tactics to brainwash middle America into thinking milk was part of a “healthy” diet.
Here’s a funny fact: Cow dairy has about 20 times the amount of casomorphin compared to human milk, and then when you compress that into cheese, it’s even more dense. So yes, cheese is physically addictive. It takes about a month for your body to get rid of this addiction. It is rumored that cheese & dairy is more addictive than cocaine. I quit cheese earlier this year. 90 days without any dairy at all and although I have never tried cocaine….I think it would have been easier to quit the drug over cheese. Just saying.
Anyway, enough ranting about dairy. The point I am trying to get at is, during my time as a vegan earlier this year – I discovered that you can recreate cheese by using raw cashews. EUREKA! Who ever figured this out is an absolute GENIUS and I would kiss this person on the mouth if I ever met them.
During my research on vegan cheese, I ran across a rather impressive blog: It doesn’t taste like chicken. I love this blog for so many reasons. First, this girl (Sam Turnbull), has figured out how to make a variety of vegan cheeses and to make them beautiful. She is honest in her postings about food and was converted to veganism by watching Vegetated and did more research by watching these key documentaries:
- Forks Over Knives
- Hungry for Change
- Food Matters
- Fat Sick and Nearly Dead
I think Sam should be my new best friend. I’m totally convinced she would “get me” because I “get” her! LOL! Great minds right? Anyway, back on track.
Here are a few home made versions of store-bought staples that are made regularly in my house.
#1: Sneaky Mac & Cheese
1 box of Kraft Mac and Cheese
handful of baby spinach
1/2 cup garbanzo beans
1/2 cup almond milk
My kids don’t eat anything green. But they will eat Mac and Cheese off the floor. So I had to get sneaky with their most FAVORITE food in the whole wide world:
Boil noodles from the box (horrible sounding, I know!)
add 2 tbs of olive oil or butter onto cooked noodles
Blend almond milk, spinach and garbanzo beans into a smooth liquid – pour onto noodles
Add “Cheese” packet to mixture
Mix and serve. Delicious.
#2: “Clean Eatin'” Spaghetti Sauce
1 can of “Fire Roasted” tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic
2 Basil Leaves (fresh)
1 tbsp of dried italian seasoning
2 -3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tsp garlic salt
Blend all ingredients until smooth
Pour into a sauce pan – bring to a boil, simmer for 20 minutes, then serve. Delicious, clean eating with all the flavor and no sugar.
#3 Green Scrambled Eggs
2 fresh eggs
1 handful of spinach
1/4 cup coconut milk
salt & pepper to taste
Throw all ingredients into a blender. Blend the heck out of it…whipping is what makes eggs “fluffy”. Pour into a hot skillet – scramble and serve.
So that’s all I have for you today.. I will be back with even more recipes. We recently purchased an Air Fryer so my next blog will discuss how awesome this little machine really is. If you haven’t used an air fryer, I would TOTALLY recommend that you get one. They are about $100 on Amazon. We do not own a microwave, so we use the air fryer to reheat pizza, cook quorn nuggets, roast veggies and so much more. A side note: when you reheat pizza in an air fryer, it comes out hot and crispy…you can’t say that about a microwave.
Thanks for reading!