BBQ Jackfruit Sliders

Jackfruit: a fruit that mimics pulled pork.

Intriguing! I’ve been wanting to try to make jackfruit for a while now, but it’s been intimidating me. I’ve never cooked with jackfruit, and I just learned what it was this year so where to even start? I’ve been steering clear of the mock meats since cutting out processed foods so it would be nice to have something to make BBQ sliders with that is plant based. I’ve seen the cans calling to me from the Trader Joe’s shelves and finally I answered. I looked up how to clean and cut jackfruit from a can and apparently there’s a hard core that you cut out and then you can use forks or your hands to shred the jackfruit until it’s all shreds. In this case it was already cut up in chunks so I just used my fingers to shred it and take the seeds out. You can make your own BBQ sauce to cook it in, but instead I used the easy route and used the Organic Brown Sugar BBQ sauce from TJ’s. It’s as easy as opening a can, shredding, heating with BBQ sauce in a skillet, and then serving it on a toasted bun with avocado or vegan coleslaw. Done in 10 minutes! They actually tasted like BBQ but not as chewy as meat. They have a softer texture but not mushy, but I wouldn’t overcook it. I think it’s a really great BBQ replacement and for 45 calories a cup!

BBQ Jackfruit Sliders

1 can green jackfruit, TJ’s

3/4-1 cup BBQ sauce of your choice

2-3 ciabatta rolls

Lettuce, shredded carrots, avocado for typing

1. Drain and rise jackfruit and then use your fingers to shred it and take out any seeds.

2. Add to a large skillet with the BBQ sauce and then cook over medium heat for 10 minutes until heated through.

3. Toast rolls and then top with the BBQ, and any toppings you want to add!

Simple as that! I roasted some asparagus, broccoli, and kale on the side with nutritional yeast, salt, and pepper.

Anniversary Japanese Feast

It was Josh and I’s 2nd anniversary on April 2nd so we celebrated the only way we know how- with food. We’re off to Atlantis this week so instead of going out to dinner to celebrate, we decided to stay in and have some of our favorites. This used to be our staple menu when we went to our local sushi restaurant, but since going vegan the pork dumplings and rainbow rolls aren’t options anymore so I wanted to recreate them at home. I used our “fancy” china that we’ve only used once before, our toasting glasses from our wedding, and made steamed edamame, vegetable gyozas, and vegetable sushi. I actually set the table, which is rare, and tried to make it as nice as possible.

As nice as it did look, it was really simple! The only thing I had to make myself was the sushi. I bought the frozen lightly salted steamed edamame and the frozen vegetable gyozas from Trader Joe’s so after a few minutes in the microwave the edamame was done and I dry pan fried them steamed the dumplings and served with soy and sweet chili sauce. I made avocado, cucumber, scallion, and mango rolls and avocado, cucumber, carrot, and spring mix rolls. I use short grain brown rice in my sushi and use seasoned rice vinegar to make it stick. Thanks to my cousin Allison for the prosecco! I really recommend this menu if you’re having a small dinner party because it’s easy to put together and looks really impressive. You get variety without a ton of effort.

Now off to Bahamas to try the best vegan food Atlantis has to offer! Next post will be my favorites from the resort!

Happy anniversary Joshy! 💕

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Stuffed Baked Potatoes

I’ve been wanting to make this simple meal for a while and I kept putting it off, and turns out it’s a keeper. It’s minimal ingredients, only requires a few minutes of prep, and it’s really filling. I couldn’t even finish this potato!

You can make the cheesy sauce while the potatoes are baking and then throw in broccoli on parchment with sea salt and garlic powder until crispy. The potatoes take a little more than an hour on 400 and broccoli takes about 30-35. This is the recipe for the cheesy sauce I followed.

Recipe- http://eathealthyeathappy.com/life-changing-vegan-cheese-sauce-clean-glutenfree/

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

If you haven’t actually made any of the recipes from my blog yet, now is the time to start! You know you’ve done it right when your husband giggles like a schoolgirl after his first bite and requests this as a weekly meal! I found this recipe on Pinterest and then adjusted it for what I wanted.  You can make it as is with the link below, or follow my recipe, but this was by far the best recipe I’ve made for plant-based “meat”balls. When I tried to make them out of lentils they were mushy and fell apart, but these held together beautifully and had a great texture. They were crispy on the outside, and soft in the inside and the flavor was spot on. When rolling them, it reminded me of the chicken meatballs I used to make all of the time because the texture is similar when raw but you don’t have the nasty raw meat hands. Also, why make chicken or turkey meatballs when you can have a healthy plant based version that you know is good for you? People usually consider spaghetti and meatballs a guilty pleasure food, but with this recipe it can be as often as you want. It’s the seasonings that actually make meatballs flavorful, not the meat. No one wants to eat plain turkey balls because they’d be so bland, but chickpeas have a neutral flavor that you can add all of the same seasonings too and they taste amazing. This probably ranks in the top 5 plant based recipes I’ve tried, plus they were really easy to make and didn’t have oil or salt!

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

6 servings

2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2/3 cup rolled oats

2.5 tbsp ground flax seed + 5 tbsp water

1 tsp onion powder, onion powder, basil, and 21 Seasoning Salute

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 shallot, diced

1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce

1-2 jars of Rao’s Marinara Sauce (or your favorite sauce)

1 lb Brown Rice Penne Pasta (TJ’s)

nutritional yeast for topping

I know I’ve talked about Rao’s a lot on here, but honestly it’s the BEST marinara sauce I’ve ever had, including restaurant sauces. It’s on the pricier side, so when it goes on sale I buy several jars. It can be found at any big name brand grocery store. Here’s what it looks like! It does have oil in it, so I use it only sometimes.

  1. Preheat oven to 450* and combine the flax seed and water and set aside to create a flax “egg”.
  2. Add chickpeas, oats, spices, shallot, and Worcestershire in your food processor and pulse until flaky.
  3. Once flax egg is gelled, add it in with the chickpea mixture and then put processor on high until combined. It will be thick and smooth. If too sticky to roll, add more oat flour.
  4. I used a small ice cream scooper to make all the same size, and then rolled them to make them round. It made 24 chickpea balls and then add them to a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 25-30 min and flip them halfway through, until crispy on the outside.
  6. While cooling, boil pasta, and warm marinara in a large saucepan.
  7. Add chickpea balls to warm marinara and gently stir to combine.
  8. Top pasta with mixture and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

Spaghetti and Chickpea Balls

The finished product! The serving size is 4 chickballs for about 130 calories. Hooray!

Original Recipe- https://www.pinterest.com/pin/146718900345101537/

To increase my iron levels, I’m going to try and incorporate more dark leafy greens, beans, tofu, and Vitamin C into my diet so my after school snack today was baked kale topped with garlic powder and nutritional yeast.

Meal planning 3.10.18

This peanut butter banana sprouted grain toast was a great way to start my Saturday! I use powdered peanut butter because it’s about half of the fat and it still tastes good. This breakfast keeps you full and I’m ready to go wedding dress shopping with my cousin today and then have a fun night getting together with about 20 family members and visit with my sister and her family who is in town. Hooray!

I meal planned some quick dinners for the week this morning and I was surprised that I can create 4 meals with 10 ingredients because my pantry is already stocked. Money saver! My birthday is Wednesday so I already know we’re going out to dinner to celebrate on Wednesday and Friday. 🎉 This is what I came up with for the other days.

Sprouted Crust Veggie Pizza– I found sprouted grain pizza crust at TJ’s yesterday which is exciting! I’m going to roast eggplant, onion, mushrooms, and kale for an oil free pizza.

Black Bean Burrito bowls– We haven’t had these in a few weeks so I’m craving them. I’m topping rice with black beans, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, salsa and guacamole.

Chickpea balls and Pasta– I found an oil free recipe to make “meatballs” out of chickpeas. They look really simple and easy to make so I’ll bake those and them combine with brown rice pasta and marinara.

Black Bean burgers and sweet potato fries– Well I never made these last week so I’m planning on making them this week. The good thing is none of the ingredients are refrigerated so they can wait.

I hope everyone has a fantastic week!

Simple Spaghetti Pomodoro

Simple Spaghetti Pomodoro

Simple Spaghetti Pomodoro

I invited a friend over for spaghetti and the Bachelor finale last night and at least I stayed awake for the spaghetti. I used a recipe from Michael on The Chew and I’m always thrilled when they make something almost vegan that I can try now. This is a simple and quick pomodoro sauce that doesn’t take hours to simmer, and it tasted really fresh. I adjusted the recipe to take out the oil, butter, and Parmesan and added a few things. The fresh basil makes it really pop and I made some easy vegan cashew Parmesan to sprinkle on top.

Spaghetti Pomodoro

1/4 c vegetable broth

1/2 large yellow onion, diced

1 tbsp tomato paste

1.5 tbsp minced garlic

1 28 oz can peeled San Marzano tomatoes

2 tbsp oregano, dried

Small handful of basil leaves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)

1 lb whole wheat spaghetti

1. Sauté onion in veggie broth in a large sauté pan until translucent and add tomato paste and garlic.

2. Add can of tomatoes and use your hands to squeeze the tomatoes and break them down to create a tomato sauce. There will still be small pieces, just make sure there’s not large ones.

3. Add oregano, basil, and salt and pepper.

4. Simmer for about 20 minutes and if it gets too thick, add a ladle full of pasta water.

5. Cook pasta while sauce is simmering and once al dente add to the sauce at the last minute and combine.

Sprinkle with basil and cashew parm.

Cashew Parmesan

1/4 cup raw cashews

2 tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tbsp garlic powder

Sprinkle of sea salt

– combine in a food processor and pulse until grated Parmesan consistency.

original recipe-

http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/spaghetti-pomodoro-michael-symon

Thicker Hair- I Care!

 

                                               2015                                                                        Today

I used to have much thicker hair and then it started breaking off and thinning so noticeably that I was getting concerned that something was wrong with me. I tried thickening shampoos, Nioxin shampoo, biotin, hair vitamins, using the gentlest highlighter at the salon, using 90’s clips instead of ponytail holders, anything I could to make it look like I had more than 5 pieces of hair. This picture probably wasn’t even the worst it got because I think that’s right after I had it done at the salon and that’s with a blowout! Nothing was working and I was beyond frustrated so I just wore my hair up because I was sick of hearing “Oh wow, your hair really is thin!”

Ever since we went vegan about 6 months ago, my hair has been growing in and gaining thickness and everytime I feel it I’m amazed at the difference. My stylist even noticed all of my baby hairs growing in after a few months of going vegan! I finally found something that works and I was reading that your hair is the biggest indicators of your overall health, which also is a relief because it’s a confirmation that I really am eating the best foods for my body and it’s paying off. I then realized that my hair was thicker and then I went on Nutrisystem and after that my hair was super thin, maybe that’s the correlation? Maybe I wasn’t actually getting adequate nutrition and it showed. I mean I lost a lot of weight eating that astronaut food, but also lost all my hair. Granted, I’m not losing weight and my hair isn’t holding on to color like it used it (PH change or something?) but I’m so grateful that it’s looking thicker and it’s one of the biggest visible signs of our lifestyle change. You might not be able to tell a big difference in the pictures, but when I run my hands through my hair it’s a big change for me.

If you’re having trouble with your hair, here are some of the most important foods that help your hair stay healthy and strong. We eat a lot of these now and it’s making sense that my hair would show a change.

Protein– chickpeas, lentils, quinoa, beans, tofu, tempeh, nuts

Vitamin C– citrus, guava, strawberries (most berries actually)

Iron– whole grains(also have biotin), pasta, lentils, soybeans, dark leafy greens, chia seeds, tahini

Beta Carotene– mango, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, and carrots

Omega- 3– nuts and flaxseed, acai

Vitamin E– avocados, fortified almond milk

Biotin-chard, romaine, tomatoes, carrots, avocado, cucumber, cauliflower, onions, raspberries, strawberries, oats

B12 supplement

Lots of water!

Now go eat your way to healthy hair!