Thanksgiving Series: Cranberry Sauce with Fresh Orange and Cinnamon

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Hi readers! Today we continue our Thanksgiving Series. As we work our way through the meal, having already shared our Pomegranate Mule and Twice Baked Potato Casserole, it is almost time for the star of the show- the turkey! While we won’t be sharing a turkey recipe with you this year (who has time for that?!?), we are sharing our favorite homemade cranberry sauce that is sure to be a most-loved accompaniment to your main dish- turkey or tofurkey! Personally, I love this sauce so much that I even use it as a spread for biscuits, why not? So ditch that sketchy can of cranberry “relish” and whip up this super easy sauce that uses fresh oranges and a touch of cinnamon. I cannot tell you enough how easy this is, and best of all, it can be made several days ahead of time- yay! That leaves more time for enjoying the company of your guests on Thanksgiving rather than slaving over the stove the whole day!

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CRANBERRY SAUCE WITH FRESH ORANGE AND CINNAMON

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag (12 oz) of fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (about 6-7 medium oranges)
  • zest of one orange

Directions:

First, juice the oranges until you have 1 cup of juice. Pour the orange juice and 1 cup of sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Then, reduce the heat  and let simmer for 5 minutes.

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Next, stir in the cranberries. How gorgeous are those!?!

Simmer the cranberries over medium-low heat until the cranberries start to pop. They will first look like this…

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Continue to stir the cranberries to avoid burning. They will keep popping and the sauce will thicken.

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Once the sauce looks like this (above), add the zest of one orange and the cinnamon.

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Once most of the cranberries are popped and it has a sauce-like consistency, remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. I like to leave a few whole cranberries for texture so don’t worry if all of them have not popped and reduced. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and refrigerate until you are ready to eat. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

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Garnish with fresh orange zest (optional). Enjoy!

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Thanksgiving Series: Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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I’m so excited to share quite possibly my favorite dish ever! I grew up eating the omnivorous version of this every Thanksgiving and requesting it for any special event. When I first went vegan 4 years ago I was surprised and delighted at how easily this dish was made vegan. This is a great replacement and step up from the standard mashed potatoes and gravy. It’s creamy, cheesy, salty and just delicious.  All of the ingredients can be adjusted to your taste; increase any ingredient you feel is lacking. You can also choose to serve this as stuffed potato skins instead of a casserole. I think the skins are great as an appetizer or snack before dinner. Depending on how many people you’re serving (and/or your love of leftovers!) you may want to double the recipe. This dish can easily be made the day before Thanksgiving and reheated right before dinner.

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In case you missed it, on Sunday we started Thanksgiving Series off with a Pomegranate Mule. We have 3 more delicious recipes to share over the next week, so stay tuned! Also check out last year’s Thanksgiving Series where we shared vegan Green Bean Casserole, Nikki’s Mac and Cheese, and a vegan Pecan Pie!

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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 6 russet potatoes
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onions
  • 3 tablespoons Earth Balance butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegan sour cream
  • 1/4 cup vegan cheddar cheese shreds
  • 2 slices of veggie bacon, cooked and chopped in small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • sprinkle of pepper

I know faux meat and cheese vegan products can be pretty polarizing. I’ve tested just about everything out there in this recipe, and these are my favorites. Sometimes I leave the bacon out, especially if I can’t find a brand I like.

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Preheat oven to 400. Wash potatoes well, and poke several deep holes in them with a fork. Bake at 400 for 1 hour.

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Remove potatoes and allow to cool or use an oven mitt to handle. Lower oven temp to 350. Slice the potatoes in half and scoop the insides out into a casserole dish or mixing bowl. If you’re making potato skins or restuffing the potatoes preserve the skins.

IMG_4484Mash the potatoes with a potato masher or fork. Mix in all ingredients well. If you’re serving right away evenly spread the mixture in a casserole dish and put back in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes. Optionally, you can add extra cheese and bacon to the top before baking.

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If you’re going the twice baked potato/potato skin route restuff the potato skins with the mixture and add extra chopped bacon and green onions to the top. Pop back in the oven for about 10 minutes. Serve with a side of vegan sour cream or ranch.

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Thanksgiving Series: Pomegranate Mule

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Hi everyone! We are so excited to announce the start of our Thanksgiving Series here on the blog. From now until Thanksgiving, we will be sharing our favorite Thanksgiving recipes, perfect for any gathering, big or small. Stressed about all your loved ones coming over for a feast? Don’t worry! We’ll walk you through dinner, dessert, and everything in between. Also, don’t forget to check out our Thanksgiving Series from last year, which includes melty mac and cheese, delectable pecan pie, and hearty green bean casserole. You also can search “Thanksgiving Series” on the search box to pull up all of our best Thanksgiving recipes in one place.

To kick off this year’s series, we’re showing you how to make an easy and festive cocktail, a Pomegranate Mule. Prepare these ahead of time and have them ready as your guests arrive for a fun and delicious Thanksgiving kickoff. This also gives your guests a chance to mix and mingle over drinks while you are busy in the kitchen!

I am a huge fan of traditional Moscow Mules, which usually include vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer. They have a hint of spice from the ginger beer which is the perfect complement to the sweetness and tartness of the lime. These mules mix things up with the addition of Sparkling Pomegranate Juice, which I found at Trader Joe’s. I also garnished them with fresh pomegranate seeds for a holiday-inspired appeal. Additionally, I added Old Fashioned Bitters (available at BevMo and many grocery stores) for a zesty kick. Cheers!

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Ingredients:

Makes one serving

  • 2 oz ginger beer (ginger ale will work fine if you cannot find the beer)
  • 2 oz Sparkling Pomegranate Juice (or regular Pomegranate juice)
  • 1.5 oz Grey Goose vodka
  • juice of 1/4 lime
  • 5-8 dashes of bitters, depending on your preference
  • fresh pomegranate seeds, for garnish

Directions:

  • Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Do not shake- simply stir with a spoon to combine. Pour over ice and garnish with pomegranate seeds and a lime wedge.

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Grown-Up Granola Bars

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Hi there! Today I’m sharing an easy recipe for what I like to call, Grown-Up Granola Bars. This nutrient-packed snack is so easy, with just a few ingredients and no baking required. They make a great mid-day snack that feels like a guilty pleasure without all the added sugar and calories. I know kids and adults will equally enjoy them. The agave and vegan chocolate chips sweeten them up but don’t be fooled! They are also full of a lot of protein and fiber. Let’s get started!

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NO BAKE GROWN-UP GRANOLA BARS (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (can also use creamy almond butter)
  • 1/2 cup agave (can also use honey if you are not vegan)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1/2 cup vegan mini chocolate chips, like these
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, like the one found here
  • parchment paper
  • 9×13 baking pan

Directions:

  1. Measure out the agave(1/2 cup) and sunflower seed butter (1 cup).

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2. Mix the agave and sunflower seed in a small pot over low heat until combined and smooth. Remove from heat.

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3. Meanwhile, prepare a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Spray the corners of the pan with nonstick spray so the parchment paper sticks to the pan.

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5. Mix the mini chocolate chips and the oats together in a large bowl.

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6. Pour the agave-sunflower seed butter mixture in with the oats and mix until evenly combined.

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6. Pour mixture into prepared pan and press down with the back of a spoon to spread evenly.

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7. Sprinkle shredded coconut over mixture.

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8. Refrigerate for 1-3 hours. Lift the parchment paper out of the pan and lay flat. Cut the mixture into bars with a knife. Enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: Tostada Salad

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Hi there! I hope all of you had a wonderful and safe Halloween with family and friends. Personally, I consumed one-too-many pieces of Halloween candy and I’m trying to get back on track this week.

Today, for our Meatless Monday meal, I’m sharing a fresh and flavorful “tostada” salad that is full of fresh produce yet still fills you up. It is topped with a tasty chipotle-agave vinaigrette. If you’re looking for an easy dinner that is healthy yet satisfying, look no further!

While there is not a lot of cooking and/or time needed for this salad, most of the work involves washing and chopping the salad ingredients, which can be tedious. So, get your best knife and cutting board ready!

TOSTADA CHOPPED SALAD (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

For the salad:

  • 3-4 hearts of romaine, chopped
  • 4 radishes, sliced and cut into quarters
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1 can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 container cherry tomatoes, each tomato cut in half
  • 2 fresh corn on the cob, shucked with kernels cut off
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup tortilla strips
  • 1/2 cup shredded white cheddar or dairy free cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper

For the dressing:

  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons agave (or honey)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo with 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves

Note: Feel free to add more chipotle peppers and/or adobo sauce if you like things spicy! As is, the dressing does have a kick to it.

Directions:

First, wash and chop all the salad toppings: romaine, radishes, green onions, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro.

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Next, drain and rinse the black beans under cold water.

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Now, it’s time to roast the corn. Cut the corn off the cob. Add the olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.

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Add the corn kernels and chopped cilantro, stirring to mix. Continue to stir until corn is roasted to a golden brown color. Remove from heat and set aside.

Next, we make the dressing. This dressing is so good and much better than store-bought with all of those added preservatives. Add all of the dressing ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Combine all the salad ingredients in a big bowl. Top with pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips, and cheese or non dairy cheese. Drizzle with dressing and toss. Enjoy!

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Meatless Monday: Mediterranean Orzo

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It’s Monday! Hopefully all of you had a fun and relaxing weekend. Monday dinners can be tough while getting back into the weekly routine. We will continue to share easy and healthy Meatless Monday options that everyone, vegans and omnivores, are sure to love.

This week, we are sharing two versions of Mediterranean Orzo. Jess’s vegan version is light and fresh with Greek olives and artichoke hearts while Nikki shares a cheesy shrimp orzo with feta and from-scratch tomato sauce.

Click the link below to get the recipe!
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Overnight Oats

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As we delve into the busy fall season, I am always searching for easy breakfasts that require little-to-no prep. These overnight oats could not get any easier! They basically make themselves while you are resting away. Also, I found this great Super Seed Blend at Trader Joe’s that is totally optional but makes for added nutrition and deliciousness with cranberries, coconut chips, chia seed, buckwheat, and hemp seed. You can add whatever you’d like to your oats when they’re done, including cinnamon, honey, nuts, dried and fresh fruit, almond butter- the options are endless. I used steel-cut oats for this recipe, but you can use traditional rolled oats instead, just cut back on the amount of almond milk you add.

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OVERNIGHT OATS (VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • 1 2/3 cup steel-cut oats
  • 4 cups almond milk
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Super Seed Blend (optional, can also use plain chia seeds)
  • 1 large Tupperware/food storage container, with lid
  • fresh fruit for topping

Directions:

  1. Mix the oats and almond milk together in a large bowl. Transfer to a large food storage container.
  2. Sprinkle Super Seed Blend on top of the oat and milk mixture. Seal container with lid.
  3. Refrigerate oats overnight.
  4. When ready to eat, warm up oats in the microwave and top with fresh fruit or any other desired toppings.

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Almond Pulp Granola

Earlier this week we made easy, creamy almond milk, which left us with some almond pulp, perfect for making gluten-free, paleo granola.  Granola is definitely one of my guilty pleasures, and this version is one of my favorites, as it feels much less like a guilty pleasure and more like a healthy breakfast food. Feel free to get creative with this recipe, adding and substituting your favorite granola ingredients!

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Almond Pulp Granola

(VEGAN)

Ingredients:

  • Almond pulp from a batch of almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons melted cooconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the almond pulp evenly over the sheet.

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Bake at 350 for about 15-20 minutes, until the pulp begins to turn golden.

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Remove from the oven and pour the pulp into a mixing bowl. Add all other ingredients and mix well.

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Pour the granola back onto the sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until brown. Enjoy with your almond milk, over yogurt, or gift it with a jar of almond milk!

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Easy Homemade Almond Milk

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I think everyone has asked themselves at least once (or googled!), while enjoying a delicious glass of creamy almond milk, “How do you milk an almond?” All of your questions will be answered with this recipe (hint: you don’t milk an almond, you blend it). Making homemade almond milk sounds a lot more intense and consuming than it really is. Once you’ve soaked your almonds the whole process takes about 10 minutes, and even less to drink it! I love making almond milk from scratch because I can control how sweet I make it, and it is free from extra preservatives and additives that the store-bought variety contain. Because this milk is preservative free, you should enjoy it within the first three days of making it. A jar of almond milk and a box of homemade cookies make a great gift! Plus, check back later this week and I’ll share a tasty, gluten free recipe using the almond pulp you’ll yield from the almond milk.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds, soaked overnight
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 3 medjool dates, pitted
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
  • nut milk bag or cheese cloth (you can find these at some grocery stores, Whole Foods, or online.)

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If this is your first time soaking nuts to make milk or cheese, (welcome!) place the nuts in a jar or container and fill with water until the nuts are covered. Place in a cool, dry place, and forget about them for at least four hours, but I usually choose to leave them overnight.
After the nuts are soaked, drain and rinse and plop them in the blender with all of the other ingredients and blend for about 1 minute.

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I highly recommend using a nut milk bag for the straining portion of this recipe, as it is a lot easier than a cheese cloth. If you are using a cheese cloth (as shown here), I recommend using a shallow bowl so the cloth is easier to manage. Slowly pour the blended mixture through the bag, (do this in small batches if using the cloth) and allow to drain in a mixing bowl. Squeeze the excess milk out of the bag.

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Transfer the milk to a jar and-look at that! You’ve successfully milked an almond. What’s left in the bag is called almond pulp or meal. Store it in a ziploc bag or tupperware in your freezer; I’ll be sharing a recipe later this week using the almond pulp! Zero waste recipe right there.

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Popcorn Party

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Hi everyone! Can you believe it is already October? One of the best things about fall, especially Halloween, is curling up on the sofa with a scary movie and a big bowl of popcorn. Today we’re sharing a few popcorn recipes to make those movie nights a little more fun (hint hint, no microwaves involved!). We’re hosting a popcorn party with almond caramel corn, spicy chili lime and truffle parmesan popcorn. Popcorn is so easy to make and is also relatively low in calories. The best part is, all of these recipes are very simple and there is no baking required. So get the scary movie ready and let’s get this party started!

First, we will share the recipe for homemade popcorn, which will be used for all of our popcorn topping recipes. Then we will share the recipes for our featured flavors. Enjoy!

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First things first, the popcorn. We are absolutely NOT microwaving our popcorn! Come on, you are better than that. Microwaveable popcorn is full of chemicals and hidden calories. Homemade popcorn, made over the stove, is healthier and cheaper than microwave popcorn. It tastes better, too! If you haven’t tried it before, it is easier than you may think.

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I have fond memories of being at my grandmother’s house as a young girl, her house full of kids as Jess and I ran around with our cousins. I admire her for so many reasons, but especially because she was always encouraging her grandchildren to help in the kitchen and share in her love of cooking. Many of the first dishes I ever made were made in her kitchen using recipes passed down over generations. Popping popcorn over the stove with my cousins was a great activity that kept us all entertained and better yet- fed!

Choose a popcorn brand that you like and make sure to buy raw popcorn kernels. I have used many different kinds and find that they are mostly the same. Trader Joe’s sells a huge bag that lasts forever and it is only $2- can’t beat that! For our popcorn party, I used a brand (White Cat Corn) that I found at Sur La Table, because I always need an excuse to go in that store and because I am a sucker for anything in a mason jar. Any regular raw popcorn kernel will work, though.

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HOMEMADE POPCORN

Ingredients: 

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil (can use coconut oil instead)
  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 1 large pot with a lid

This makes about 6-8 cups of popped popcorn, enough for two people.

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot on medium high heat.
  2. Put 2-3 kernels in the oil and cover the pot with the lid.
  3. When the kernels pop, add the rest of the 1/3 cup of popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover the pot with the lid.
  4. The popcorn will begin popping soon! Once it starts, gently shake the pot back and forth several times over the burner. This will help ensure even popping and no burnt popcorn. Also, crack the lid slightly so steam can escape.
  5. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Remove the lid and dump the popcorn into a large bowl (Tip- the sooner you do this the less soggy your popcorn will be).

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Click the link below for detailed topping recipes and step by step instructions to make

almond caramel corn, spicy chili lime, and truffle parmesan popcorn!

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