Vegan Taco Soup

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Despite all the vegan recipes I post here, I am not actually vegan. Someday I’ll devote a whole blog post to this topic, but for now here is a quick rundown of why. I grew up vegetarian and to this day continue to eat this way. On top of that, as a kid, I developed an allergy to dairy, so that made it easier to just tell people that I ate a primarily vegan diet. As humans, we like to categorize and label things and so I think it was easier for people to understand how I ate when I gave them a label. So for a long time, I said I pretty much ate a vegan diet, which is true… except I still consume honey and the occasional egg. But having said that, for environmental and ethical reasons I do my best to eat raw + local honey and free-range, organic eggs (my favorite are ones from the farmer’s market, but I can’t always get them) But this is all besides the point… my point here, which I will go into further depth in another post, is that I eat a primarily plant-based diet. BUT, the important thing here, is to eat whatever feels good to you. Eating healthy is important to me, so is not eating meat, and lastly, I just don’t eat dairy because I just don’t want to die. But society doesn’t have a label for me, so I just say I’m mostly vegan or plant-based, hence why a lot of my recipes are vegan, but the occasional ones have eggs! Anyone, this vegan taco soup is a souper rad meal, you should totally give it a try.

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So, I really loved sour cream before going plant-based, but now I go for two options, the store-bought vegan sour cream, which although good, has a lot of ingredients and comes packaged in plastic. Or, the other option is making your own vegan cashew sour cream!

The recipe is super simple. Take 1 cup of cashews and soak them in boiling water for 30mins, drain the water off and throw them into a blender with the juice of one lemon, 1/2 tsp salt, and enough water to blend. Blend everything until thick, smooth, and creamy in a high-speed blender and feel free to add more lemon or more salt to taste.

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Super simple, super easy, and the leftovers make a great lunch.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can pinto beans
  • 1 can canned tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1/4 salsa
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp veggie stock concentrate
  • 1-2 cups water
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • toppings – cashew sour cream, blue corn tortilla chips, sliced green onions, fresh lime juice

In a large saucepan, sauté the diced onion in olive oil for a few minutes until they begin to soften, next add the minced garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil, simmer for 10-15mins. Serve hot with crushed tortillas, green onions, cashew sour cream, and fresh lime juice.

 

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trash panda’s delight

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Trash panda’s delight, a vegan’s take on the garbage plate. So it is pretty far from the actual ingredients of a garbage plate, but I like to think the concept is similar. And in all honesty I didn’t know what to call this. So trash panda’s delight it is. An ode to my favorite neighborhood alleyway trash pandas.

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baked potato slices + vegan “meat” + broccoli + avocado + cashew cream + avocado 

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the vegan “meat” in the making [tempeh, mushrooms, onions, garlic]
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Serves 2-4

  • 1 sweet potato + 1 russet potato (or two smaller yellow potatoes)
  • 1 cup broccoli
  • 2 crimini mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup tempeh
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup soaked cashews*
  • 1/2-1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 avocado diced
  • 1 green onion sliced

Preheat oven to 425°F, clean and slice the potatoes, leaving the skin on for added nutrients. Toss the sliced potatoes in a pinch of salt and a few tablespoons of olive oil, then spread evenly on a lined baking tray. (I like to use my Silpat because it’s reusable.) Then place in the oven for 15-30min until soft and slightly crispy.

While the potatoes are baking, dice the mushrooms, onion, and garlic. Add the mushrooms and onion into a pan with around a tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt + ground pepper. While that is sautéing, crumble in the tempeh and continue to cook for another 2mins, then add the minced garlic and cook for another few minutes. Set aside.

Cut up the broccoli and steam until tender. (Don’t overcook!) Set aside.

Next, add lemon juice, soaked cashews, 1/2 cup water, and a pinch of salt into the blender. Blend until smooth, adding more water to achieve desired consistency. It should be creamy, but not too thick.

Now time to build. Start with potatoes, next broccoli, then tempeh mushroom mixture, drizzle over sauce, and top with the green onions and avocado.

*If you don’t have a high-speed blender, I would recommend soaking overnight. Otherwise, 30mins to an hour in boiling hot water should work just fine.

Green Smoothie #1

When I really think about it, I drink a lot of green smoothies, but the truth is most my green smoothies don’t look so green, and that’s ok! Yeah, it is super cool to take an instagram of your bright green smoothie, but I got a little bored of not being able to put berries in my smoothie for fear of turning it brown. Well I fear no more, because lately I’ve been making this not so green, “green” smoothie daily.

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The ginger and the juice in this smoothie isn’t really optional, unless you would like to taste the full earthiness the kale and spirulina have to offer.

Ingredients

  • 2 stalks of kale
  • 1 cup of juice (orange or apple)
  • 1-2 tsp fresh ginger
  • 1-2 cups frozen berries (blueberries + strawberries)
  • 1 tsp spirulina
  • 1 tsp barely grass juice powder
  • 1 tbsp homemade coconut yogurt*

Blend the kale, juice, and ginger until smooth. (You can skip this step, but be forewarned, you might find pieces of kale in your smoothie.) Then add in the berries and green powders and blend until smooth. If needed, add more juice or water to reach desired consistency. Top with coconut yogurt + enjoy!

 

lentil curry + crispy tofu

This is honestly one of the most fusion meals I’ve created…but it is so so good. The curry almost feels thai, yet also indian, with lentils which remind me of dal bhat, and then crispy tofu takes us back to thai again. All around its a solid meal filled with acres of plant based protein.

Sautéed green veggies for the side.

This recipe was adapted from Anett Velsberg’s peanut lentil curry.

Ingredients:

– LENTIL CURRY –

2 tbsp coconut oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced

2 carrots sliced

1-2 potatoes diced

1 tsp smashed coriander seeds

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp curry powder

1 tsp turmeric

1 cup red lentils

2 cups water + 1 tbsp veggie stock concentrate*

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk

Juice of 1 lime

– TOFU –

1 tbsp olive oil

1 pack of extra firm tofu

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tamari

In a large pot, heat the oil and add the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, until the spices, are fragrant. Add the vegetables, lentils, stock and crushed tomatoes. Stir and place the lid on. Cook on a low heat for 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft.

While the curry is cooking, preheat oven to 400°F. Next, wrap a towel around the tofu and press under something heavy for 5-10mins. Dice into medium-sized cubes and toss with olive oil, nutritional yeast, and tamari. Spread evenly onto a lined baking tray and bake for 15-20mins until desired crispiness is reached

Add the coconut milk and mix well. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then top with lime juice and crispy tofu. Serve with rice, steamed or sautéed  green veggies, and flatbreads. Enjoy!

*This veggies stock concentrate has a lot of flavor and salt, so I definitely would recommend using it. But if you can’t find it or don’t want to use it then use normal veggie broth (instead of all the water) and add some extra salt.

June Favorites

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Since last month, I finished my freshman year of college, turned 20, and opened my first Etsy store! It has been a busy month, but definitely a good one. Now, let’s get into the favorites for June!

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First up is this basket I got for my birthday from Salt Shoppe. At first, I was surprised by its size, but soon I fell in love. It is a large basket, but it makes it so useful! I can even fit my beagle inside. 🙂 It is perfect for trips to the produce stand, beach, thrift store, post office. Literally anywhere you need to transport a large amount of stuff. I would 10/10 recommend this basket!

Next is a collection of mostly food that were favorites in June… here we go!

  1. simple mills grain free gluten free crackers – I swear these have crack in them, they are so addictive
  2. Garbology – a book I am reading for my environmental studies class, I highly recommend.
  3. bouldering – the act of climbing without ropes, such a good workout and something that I’ve dearly missed and rediscovered during June
  4. strawberriesssss – fresh, in season, local strawberries were definitely consumed in large quantities. And when they started to go bad we turned them into sweet sugary jam
  5. Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe – If you are ever in Seattle, go to Chaco Canyon. This place is hands down my favorite cafe ever. It is vegan, healthy, tasty, and has tons of gluten-free options… just prepare for it to break your wallet. It is pricey but soooo worth it. 10/10 would recommend.
  6. Miyoko’s vegan cheese – last but not least, Miyoko’s double chive vegan cheese is amazing. Also, it is $10, not friendly for a college student’s budget, but definitely one of my favorite treats during my birthday month.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | A Note on Sugar

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It has been said that sugar is the cigarettes of our generation and honestly I didn’t really realize how addictive it was until I tried to stop eating it. And this is even after I’d given up most refined sugars. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I’ve always preferred more natural sugars. I’ve had several birthdays during my childhood where I had half a watermelon as my cake, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t consume my fair share of sugar. I often load up on lots of “natural sugars”, like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates, honey, coconut sugar… And even those are unhealthy if consumed regularly. So in the spirit of health, I’ve decided to share one of my favorite sugarless recipes that can still qualify as a dessert.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 water
  • 6-9 tb chia seeds*
  • 1 lemon zested
  • frozen or fresh berries

Blend the coconut milk and water until smooth. Pour out into a container and mix in the chia seeds and lemon zest. Pour into storage jars and leave in the fridge until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid and expanded. Top with fresh or frozen berries.

*depending on how thick or thin you like your pudding

Acai Bowl

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Acai Bowls are one of those standard hip health food things, but they can be really expensive if you buy them at a smoothie bar. Making them at home is less expensive and allows to you make them customizable to your own taste and preferences. It’s taken me many packets of pureed acai to get to this point, but I think I have finally figured out the perfect acai bowl recipe.

If you can’t afford the acai puree, just leave it out. I’m sure that if you had the right combination of blueberries and strawberries, you could totally fake the color and nobody on Instagram would know that you are a poor college student.

Ingredients

1 packet of acai puree (Sambazon is my favorite brand)

1.5 frozen bananas

1/2 frozen strawberries

1/4-1/2 of apple or orange juice and a little small of water

toppings: chopped fruit, buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, granola, flax seed meal… are just a few of my favorites.

Defrost the acai puree under hot water and pour into the blender. Chop up the frozen bananas and add in, along with the strawberries. Start with a small amount of juice and water and blend using the tamper. If your blender is struggling add more liquid. My advice is to start small with the liquid because once you add too much you can’t really take it back. When it is fully blended, transfer into a bowl, and place in the freezer while you get your toppings ready. Then decorate if you so please, otherwise just toss it on and enjoy!

Let me know if you have a favorite acai bowl recipe.

 

Smoothie Recipes

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Smoothies are a really great way to add nutrition into your body fast. Without them, I don’t know if I would be surviving college right now. And the great thing about them, is that once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a master at throwing stuff into the blender and having a delicious smoothie in minutes. But incase you aren’t that good at improvising, I’ve collected a few of my favorite smoothie recipes. And here is a cool green smoothie chart guide. Continue reading

Travelogue: Palm Springs

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Spring Break is finally here and I thought this week I would take a moment to look back at the trip I took to Palm Springs last year over spring break.

On our first full day in Palm Springs, we decided to visit Moorten Botanical Gardens. If don’t already know, I have a small obsession with cacti. I’ve lusted over Pinterest boards filled with cacti and wanted to buy every cactus I saw, especially the ones at Ravenna Gardens. So when I looked up the best things to do in Palm Springs, I was excited to see there was a botanical garden filled with cacti. Continue reading

Vegan Creamy Cashew Pasta

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This is honestly one of my favorite meals. When I lived at home, this recipe found itself on our list of staple meals every week. It was quick, healthy, filling, and oh so delicious. And best of all it was one meal that everyone could enjoy despite being gluten free and vegan.

Processed with VSCO with a5 preset This recipe stemmed from a recipe that my grandmother used to make for us on special occasions. It was my absolute favorite. Unfortunately there came a day when it disappeared from my life. The recipe was filled with dairy and when I developed my food allergy, I had to kiss it goodbye for my own wellbeing. Continue reading