Friday, December 12, 2014

Vegan Scalloped Potatoes

This recipe is so comforting...and easy! I used purple potatoes, but you can use whatever variety you'd like. I used a mandolin to do the slicing, and I used leftover nooch sauce. The photo isn't the greatest, but it sure did taste good. Nom nom!

  • 3 medium purple potatoes, sliced thin
  • 1 medium white onion, sliced thin
  • 2 batches of nutritional yeast cheesy sauce
  • vegan butter (to butter the pan)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, assemble the dish in an 8 inch by 8 inch casserole dish. Spread butter first to prevent sticking. Then layer potatoes, topped with onions, and a little salt and pepper. Spread a layer of nutritional yeast sauce. Repeat until you are out of ingredients, and make sure you have some cheesy sauce on top. Cover and bake for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 10-15 minutes to brown the top. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

How to Battle the Sniffles - Naturally!

Since I switched to a vegan diet three years ago, I haven't been sick very often. In the past few months of working in a new office environment, I've been exposed to several bugs. While my co-workers suffered with them for days and weeks on end, I implemented my "battle the sniffles" protocol at the first sign of a sore throat. And guess what? It works! 

I recently traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah for the annual doTERRA conference, and people on the plane were coughing and hacking all the way back to Cali. I should have implemented my protocol as a precautionary measure when I got home, but I didn't. I woke up yesterday with a sore throat around 4 a.m. I started my regimen as soon as I was up and today, I woke up feeling almost back to normal. 

Here's what I do - and here's my disclaimer: this works for me. I am not a doctor and am not giving you medical advice. (I am a lawyer...thus the disclaimer, lol.) This is a testimonial regarding what consistently works for me. And when I say consistently...I mean every time. I have not had a full blown cold or flu in several years (she says, as she knocks on wood!).
  1. Drink fresh citrus juice. I don't mean the pasteurized stuff - I mean fresh squeezed orange and grapefruit juice. You can find it at a health food store or at some high-end grocers. Juice it yourself if you have to - it is worth the effort. Use organic fruits, of course, because you don't want to add toxins to your already compromised system. 
  2. Take your vitamins. Quality matters. Be sure you are taking high quality vitamins every day. Again, I believe in all natural and vegan supplements, so I take doTERRA's vegan Lifelong Vitality Pack. It contains everything I need to stay healthy, and when I miss it for a day, I feel it.
  3. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. As soon as I feel that tickle in my throat, I stock up on dark leafy greens and organic strawberries, as well as other fruits and veggies. Strawberries actually have more Vitamin C than oranges, so I like to make a salad with fresh berries, nuts, and a good dressing featuring Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar. All of the food I ingest when I am fighting a cold is organic, most of it is raw, and all of it has healing properties. It will help your body do what it does best - heal! (I admit that I'm a sucker for Amy's No Chicken Noodle soup when I am healing.)
  4. Drink herbal tea. I love hot herbal tea when my throat is bothering me. It is soothing, and herbs also have healing properties. Chamomile is a favorite of mine, but choose any herbal tea that you enjoy. I like it unsweetened, but feel free to add a bit of lemon and some agave nectar if you need more flavor and/or sweetness.
  5. Take echinacea (optional). I don't generally keep this at home, but my favorite smoothie and juice place has it as an optional add-on. When I go there, I have them add it to my "Booster" apple/lemon/ginger juice for some extra ammo.
  6. Stay hydrated. In addition to fresh juice and hot tea, drink LOTS of filtered water. It will help flush all of the nasties out of your system. I add a couple of drops of doTERRA lemon oil to my water for flavor and its cleansing benefits.
  7. Do NOT take OTC drugs. I quit taking anything for colds a long time ago because the drugs seemed to do  nothing more than prolong the symptoms and my recovery. Plus, if you can get a handle on the sniffles early, it is unlikely to get to the point where you really feel like you need meds. The natural remedies that are available are plenty to empower you to heal yourself without relying on pharmaceuticals.
  8. Use a neti pot. These things are magic, truly. I bought a plastic drug store version years ago and upgraded to a ceramic one last year. I LOVE this thing. I don't spend money on fancy mixtures to go in it. I just dissolve some salt in filtered or distilled water and voila. Done. It's a little awkward using it at first, and you have to figure out the precise angle of the head tilt to make sure you are maximizing the flushing effect while keeping the salt water from running down your throat - but the practice is worth it! There are even YouTube videos to help you out if you're nervous about using it at first. It works, plain and simple. You know that wall of congestion feeling, where you just can't breathe at all? I haven't had that since I started using a neti pot.
  9. Promote respiration. I do this with essential oils - and I only use 100% Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade (CPTG) oils from doTERRA. You can use them in several ways. I use a respiratory blend called Breathe; I put a couple of drops in my hands, rub them together, and inhale deeply. I do this several times a day, and I take several deep breaths each time I do it. This week, I'm also using a new doTERRA product called Breathe lozenges. The oil blend in the lozenges is different from the blend in the oil, and the lozenges are powerful! They don't include any ingredients I can't pronounce, so I like that. I also diffuse essential oils to help me get to sleep. I do this every night, actually, with a  variety of oils, but I make sure I use the Breathe blend when I am battling the sniffles.
  10. Rest. Take it easy on your body while it is healing. Getting enough sleep and not over-stressing yourself is crucial.
Try these tips - you'll be amazed at how much power you have to take care of yourself and your family, naturally. Do you have any other tips to help stave off the sniffles? If so, please post in the comments below! Be well, and if you have any questions about any of these tips or want more information, feel free to contact me.

Cashew Creamer

I'll never buy creamer from the store again. Seriously. My Vitamix is saving me TONS of investment ever!

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked
  • 2 cups filtered water
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2-3 T maple syrup
  • a drop or two of vanilla (optional)

Soak the cashews for at least four hours. Strain and rinse. Put all ingredients in the blender (preferably a Vitamix!), and blend until creamy! Easy peasy, and OH so tasty. Not just for use as a classic creamer, either - I use this in place of plant-based milk or creamer in any recipe. Just dilute a little to use as "milk." Enjoy!

Vegan Mushroom Gravy

I made this recipe to go with my ThanksLiving dressing muffins, pictured below. This recipe is largely based on a recipe on Susan Voisin's Fat Free Vegan blog (check out her recipe). The main difference? I added some fat. :)

  • 3 T vegan butter
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 6-8 baby portobello mushrooms, chopped or sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 T nutritional yeast
  • 1 T tamari soy sauce
  • 2 T almond flour
  • 1/4 cup soy, almond, or cashew creamer
  • 1/2 t dried thyme
  • 1/2 t dried sage
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Melt the vegan butter in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the onions and saute over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add the mushrooms and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often, for another 2-3 minutes. Add the vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, herbs, and tamari. In a small measuring cup, mix the creamer and the almond flour until all lumps are dissolved. Add to the saucepan and stir. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

I had a Tofurky roast for the first time this year - this gravy was an excellent topping for the roast, as well as the dressing!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Vegan Dressing - Muffin Style!

Happy ThanksLiving! When I was growing up, my grandfather McKenzie made THE BEST DRESSING EVER. After he passed away, my mom made the dressing every year with his recipe - and she'd make muffins instead of a flat pan of dressing for me because she knew I liked the edges burnt. This recipe is my modern, vegan interpretation of my grandfather's classic recipe, rest his soul. These dressing muffins are NOT vegan health food, but they sure are delicious!

  • 1 pan cornbread, crumbled (make sure the mix is vegan!)
  • 9 whole wheat soft dinner rolls, crumbled
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (or broth)
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped fine
  • 2 T dried sage
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cook the cornbread according to package directions. After it cools, crumble it and the dinner rolls together in a large bowl. Saute the onions and the celery in the butter and the stock/broth until softened. Add the sage, salt, and pepper, and mix thoroughly. It's best to let this sit in the fridge overnight, but if you don't have time, let it sit for at least a few hours.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Grease a muffin tin and fill with dressing. Bake until bubbling and brown around the edges and on top. This recipe will make 12 extra large muffins. Bon appetit!