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Maple Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Fall is upon us. Pumpkin-flavored everything is being released. We're jumping on that bandwagon.

It's time for a Maple Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (vegan, of course).


When making the smoothie, you want at least two of your ingredients to be very cold. For example, my almond milk and canned pumpkin had been chillin' in the fridge for hours. Or you can use cold almond milk and frozen banana. It's up to you. Just make sure something is cold, so you don't end up with a room temperature smoothie.

Also, you can vary the amount of pumpkin. 1/2 can will leave you with a fairly thin smoothie. 1 whole can will result in the thickest, almost milkshake, texture you've ever successfully sucked through a straw. So, that's all up to your personal preference.

Ingredients:
1/2 can of pumpkin
1 cup of unsweetened almond milk
1/2 ripe banana
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon s…

Vegan Deli Sandwich

Alright. I get it. When you picture a deli sandwich, you picture mounds of meat and cheese. But here's the thing. I don't really care for 'faux' meat and cheese. So I was looking to make a simple sandwich that gave me the salty and fatty taste -- with no animals or processed soy involved. And I must tell you.. this has become a bit of an addiction.


That said, if you have favorite 'faux' deli meat or cheese, give it a whirl. Nobody will judge you ;)

Ingredients:
1 loaf of crusty/deli-style vegan bread
Vegenaise (or other vegan mayo)
dill pickle slices
iceberg lettuce, shredded or torn
extra virgin olive oil, to drizzle
salt, to taste
pepper, to taste
oregano, to taste

If your bread needs to be cut to size, now's the time. Put a thin layer of Vegenaise on the inside of both the top and bottom piece. Add a sprinkle of dried oregano to both layers of Vegenaise. Place two layers of iceberg lettuce on the bottom. Add two layers of dill pickle slices. Drizzle on ol…

Soy: Is It Really Bad?

This isn't just an issue that comes up for vegans. We've all heard someone say, "I don't eat soy. I don't want man boobs!" or "I'm trying to get pregnant, and soy messes with your hormones." or "Soy is GMO crap."

Can we please lay this one to rest already? Soy has been villainized enough. Let's address the two major concerns with soy.


Soy is all GMO --

No. Between 90-95% of soy (which is mostly GMO) is sold for livestock feed, not direct human consumption. So if you're worried about consuming GMO soy, stop eating meat from factory farms and/or anything that is 'convenience' or 'fast food.'
In reality, most of the soy targeted to vegans and vegetarians is clearly labelled as non-GMO and/or organic. Most grocery stores these days carry non-GMO soy milk, faux meats, ice cream, etc.

Soy messes with your hormones and/or will give you man boobs --

Again, no. The topic of debate here is the presence of phytoestrogens in …

PB&J Smoothie

Who doesn't love a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich? So why not drink one? A healthier one.

In this recipe, I've used blueberries. I like the texture and taste in the smoothie, but you could use any frozen berry that you like.

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup almond milk 1 small banana 3 tbsp peanut butter 1/2 tbsp agave nectar (optional) ½ tsp vanilla extract Blend all ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and creamy. Enjoy your youth in a glass!

Super Easy Meatless Tacos

To call this a recipe may actually be a stretch. I'm just a vegan who doesn't like to eat too much in the way of 'faux' meats and cheeses. So how do I make tacos?

Beans, of course!


Ingredients:
1 can of black beans
1 packet taco seasoning (watch for milk ingredients in most brands)
taco shells
taco sauce
iceberg lettuce
1 tomato, chopped (optional)

Partially drain black beans (we don't want this super runny). Pour into frying pan. Add taco seasoning. Stir and heat for 10 minutes on medium heat. Tear or cut iceberg lettuce into small pieces.

Spoon beans into taco shells. Sprinkle with lettuce and tomatoes. Drizzle with taco sauce. That's it! Recipe will make approx 6 tacos.


It's amazingly simple, but equally yummy. Not to mention, packed full of fiber and protein. (Though the pictures shown involve hard shell; this works equally well for soft shell.)

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Mmmm. Stuffed peppers. These were one of my favorites growing up. But those were packed with hamburger, and sometimes cheese. Neither one appeals to me now. Sure, you could just use Boca crumbles or something similar; but I wanted stuffed peppers that had nothing 'faux' about them. Just pure veggie goodness. And these are just the ticket.


Ingredients:

4-5 bell peppers
1 can tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can sweet corn
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon Earth Balance or vegan margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire (or soy sauce)
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups long grain wild rice, cooked

Cut tops off peppers; removing membranes and seeds. Chop edible parts of tops and set aside.

Rinse peppers. Place peppers in large stock pot. Cover with salted water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for approx. 5 minutes. Drain peppers and set in a 3…

Vegan Worcestershire Sauce

I've never been a big user of worcestershire sauce, but my husband was. So, when we went vegan, we needed to find an alternative. Sure, you can just use soy sauce in some recipes.. but it's lacking a little something.

By the way, if you didn't know that worcestershire wasn't vegan, I'm sorry to be the one to tell you... it has fish in it.

So, I came up with this version. It may not be an exact match, but it'll give you that salty and vinegary goodness with a bit of sweetness.


Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Mix all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a simmer and liquid is reduced by half (roughly 30 minutes). Keep tasting it. If it is still overpowered by vinegar, leave it to simmer. Then strain, and let…

Caramelized Onion Gravy & Mashed Potatoes

Vegan gravy?

Yes, indeed.


Growing up, I was addicted to dipping bread in gravy. Of course, it was usually in some canned beef stew; that now reminds me far too much of canned dog food. Seriously, mother. What were you thinking?

So, when I went vegetarian, my days of eating gravy were gone.. or so I thought.

When planning to cook a vegan Thanksgiving, I started contemplating a vegan gravy. What could have a satisfying, creamy taste that is dip worthy? That my mashed potatoes would love to lay in?

I started looking online, and mostly, I found mushroom gravies. Which is fine.. except I hate mushrooms. But you easily could use mushrooms in this instead of onions, if you prefer; or a 50/50 mix even.

And don't worry about this being too "oniony." Caramelizing the onions first, makes them more sweet than pungent.

Gravy Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of Earth Balance (or vegan margarine)
1 medium yellow onion, cut into strips
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup of vegetable broth
salt …

Spicy Lime Mango Strips

This recipe satisfies every craving; from sweet, to salty, to spicy. It's actually a common food truck snack in Mexico.
I know that mangos can be a pain sometimes. Don't worry about making perfect cubes or strips. Any mango shrapnel will work ;)


Ingredients:

2 mangos (any kind, yellow pictured)
1 tbsp raw cane sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp chili powder
pinch of cayenne
juice from 1/2 lime
zest from 1/2 lime

Begin by placing all dry ingredients into a small bowl. Then add zest from half a lime. Then squeeze juice from lime into a separate bowl or spritzer.


Cut mango in half, around the pit. (in a similar fashion to an avocado) Twist to separate both halves. Remove pit. Cut mango into strips, then cut peel away. Again, don't worry if this doesn't go smoothly. Any small chunks or pieces of mango will work.

Either spritz lime juice onto mango pieces, or dredge each one in bowl of lime juice. If dredging, place in a colander for a few minutes, or you'll have too much fluid…

Bad Seasonal Allergies? Cut Out Dairy.

Spring is here. Which means, so are all those allergies.

If you've just come to accept that spring (and sometimes fall) will be a constant torture of sneezing, itchy eyes, and sore throat.. perhaps you should consider cutting out dairy.

I know, I know. You're shocked that a vegan-endorsing site is suggesting you cut out dairy.. But truly, it could help your allergies. Allow me to explain. I came onto this topic because my husband had severe allergies. Cats, pollen, soybean dust (he grew up farming, and still helps from time to time), etc. Since he's cut out dairy, almost a year ago now, he's had no seasonal/pollen-type allergies. We haven't had the chance to throw him into a room full of cats, but I'll keep you posted.


What you may not know (most people don't) is that over 60% of our adult population is actually lactose intolerant. That's because we stop producing lactase (that breaks down lactose) after infancy. Obviously, some are more intolerant than o…

Meatless Mondays: Should Vegans Support It?

So, I got in a couple debates about this: Meatless Mondays.

Okay, it was on Facebook, so it was more snide remarks and disregard, followed by me being blocked, rather than an actual logical debate.. but I digress.

There's a page on Facebook that calls themselves "The Abolitionist Approach to Animal Rights." And as it's Monday, they posted a picture about how nobody should ever endorse or advocate for Meatless Monday, because it gives the false impression that eating meat is worse than eating dairy or eggs.

Let me say up front.. I get it. I'm passionate about this issue as well. I desperately wish that everyone would just go vegan. I wish we could outlaw factory farming. I wish a lot of things about animal welfare; and my behaviors and lobbying all match up with that. But I'm also a realist.

The reality is that most vegans didn't suddenly become vegans. They started with Meatless Monday, Weekday Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Vegetarian, or some other name along …

Chunky Veggie Lasagna (Pasta Sauce Recipe)

I'm going to give you a recipe to make vegan lasagna, but the sauce can literally be used on any pasta; so give it a whirl on your spaghetti!


Ingredients:
6 cups (2 28oz cans) of diced tomatoes. You can use fresh, just add a little salt and water to compensate.
6 cloves of garlic
1/2 large red onion; chopped
2 bell peppers (green/red/orange); chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
6 oz (1 can) tomato paste
1/4 cup sugar
1/8 cup salt
1 cup crushed and torn spinach
3 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tbsp capers
pepper, to taste
1 box of lasagna noodles, cooked
vegan cheeses are optional; mozzarella, parmasean, or nutrtional yeast
faux meat is also optional, such as Boca crumbles; add it to your sauce if desired.

To begin, place olive oil into a large sauce pan. Swirl around until bottom of pan is entirely coated. Add more oil if necessary. Warm oil.

Place pealed cloves of garlic into oil. Cook until outside edges start to brown; around 10-12 minutes on low heat. Garlic will become soft.


Spicy Baked Cabbage

Here's my recipe for a super yummy (and oh-so-simple), spicy cabbage. And of course, all delightfully vegan. Enjoy it with a big mound of mashed potatoes :)


Ingredients: 1 head of cabbage
8 tbsp of Earth Balance (or other vegan 'margarine')
1/8 cup of olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
red pepper flakes, to taste
water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a large casserole dish on sides and bottom. Cut cabbage into wedges (should be around 6-8 wedges) and place them on their side into the dish. Drizzle olive oil over the entire dish. Then place 1 pat of Earth Balance on each wedge. Add salt and pepper. Lastly, add on the red pepper flakes (depending on how spicy you like it).

Pour water into casserole dish until the bottom is completely covered. Cover dish with foil. Bake for 45 minutes.

Then remove the foil. Flip wedges over, and place dish back into the oven until all or most of the water has evaporated. Keep flipping/stirring the wedges. I know it's done when the ed…

Peanut Butter Hummus with Chocolate Chips

Yeah, you read that title right. This is a super simple dessert hummus. The kind of hummus that satisfies your sweet tooth. The kind that gets your kids to eat beans, but they think it's a treat.

Trust me.

Here's what you'll need:
1 can (15-oz.) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup agave nectar (can use 1/3 cup for added sweetness)
1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients, except the chocolate chips, in a food processor. Pulse/blend until smooth and creamy.

Depending on the peanut butter you're using, you might need to thin it out a little. Just add a few spoonfuls of your favorite non-dairy milk if necessary.

Empty into a bowl, and stir in your chocolate chips.

That's it! Enjoy.

You can dip in some apples, celery, animal crackers, etc.. or even spread it on toast. But my favorite? Graham crackers! They were amazing!

Want to go for broke?

Put a portio…

Vegan Ranch Recipe

The Super Bowl is coming up this Sunday. And you know that usually includes some form of a Super Bowl party. Seldom do we think about what our food choices mean on these occasions. So, let me tell you.

It is estimated that 1.23 BILLION chicken wings will be consumed this weekend. If you haven't done the math, that's 600 MILLION chickens that will be slaughtered for their wings.. just for one weekend.

So, I urge you, to look for a compassionate alternative. My favorite 'faux' wings are these amazing wings from Gardein. I PROMISE that nobody could tell the difference; including kids. I love the buffalo, and they also come in a sweeter bbq.


But you CAN'T have buffalo wings without ranch! What's a vegan to do?

This! Serve it up with your wings or a plate of veggies.


Vegan Ranch Dressing/Dip

1 cup vegan sour cream (I use Tofutti)
2 teaspoons parsley
1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dill weed
black pepper (to tast…

My Vegan Valentine

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching.

Store shelves are chock full of chocolates and candies; most filled milk or gelatin. What's a vegan to do?

Sure, there are greeting cards and flowers.. and the occasional dark chocolate. But what about the vegan candy, or the cruelty-free bath?

Here's my Top 6 list of vegan must-haves for this Valentine's Day:

1) Sjaak's Organic Dark Chocolate Heart (filled with dark chocolates). Cause what's better than chocolate? Several chocolates. That's what.


2) Get Zum Bath Salt & Massage Oil Gift Set. Because baths and/or massages lead to.. Well, you know.

3) Crazy Rumors: Parlor Collection (set of 4 lip balms). They taste like ice-cream! Warning: May lead to kissing.

4) Farm Sanctuary's "Roll in The Hay" Soy Candle. Sure, the cow and chicken logo may not seem to get the recipient in a romantic mood. But it's called "Roll in The Hay" for a reason. Plus, nothing is sexier than compassion.. and kn…

Veggie Fajitas

Nearly the first day I went vegan, we made these. The small amount of ingredients, and quick prep time have made it a staple in our diet.

Ingredients (makes 4-6 fajitas):

white tortillas
3 green/orange/red peppers (mix colors for great antioxidants)
1 white onion
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp vegetable or canola oil
2-3 oz. vegan taco seasoning (2-3 packets)
1/4 tbsp cinnamon
salt & pepper, to taste
Frank's Buffalo Sauce (optional)

Remove seeds from peppers and cut into strips. Slice onion into long strips.
In large bowl, combine peppers and onion. Drizzle with oil; stir to coat. Pour all seasonings over veggies. Stir with large spoon or hands to coat the peppers.
Place all ingredients into a hot wok or frying pan. Cook for 7-9 minutes, or until onions are translucent and peppers are tender.


Warm/steam tortillas (I just place them between two large plates, and microwave for 25 seconds)
Wrap veggies in tortillas. Can serve with taco sauce, guacamole, or vegan sour cream.

My sup…