Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Classic Vegan Eggnog

Classic Vegan Eggnog
During the holiday season we are surrounded by lots of goodies, classic sweets, and even richer dishes. There will always be a classic that stands by year after year and that classic is eggnog. A traditional drink served on those special holiday nights that fills you with cheer and delight. Eggnog is an old treat, originating in Britain during the 18th century. Usually only enjoyed by aristocrats because they could afford the ingredients, the drink is now celebrated among everyone. You can purchase it now a days in store or make it yourself, but one thing they all have in common is that its not a hard recipe to make. This recipe shows you how to make that classic holiday beverage that you can make as quick and easy as 1-2-3 and completely vegan. With simple vegan ingredients and your handy dandy blender, you will be sipping it in front of the fire in no time. Serve it chilled out of the fridge as desired and pair is with rum or bourbon for the adults. Anyway your serve it, you will have a delish drink over and over again. Enjoy!

Classic Vegan Eggnog

Ingredients


3 cups almond milk
13 ounces full fat canned coconut milk
3/4 cup organic maple syrup
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 Tablespoon + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
A dash each of ground clove and allspice

Optional
1 cup rum or bourbon, add more or less as desired
Vegan whipped cream, for garnish

Directions

In a blender, place all your ingredients listed and blend until incorporated.



Once you combined the mixture together, taste to adjust for seasoning and/or add alcohol if desired. Then place in a pitcher and chill in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serve the vegan eggnog in decorative or "fancy" glasses as desired and enjoy again and again. Your choice if you make it an adult beverage or none for the kids. Either way you serve it, it's just darn good! Enjoy!

Ready to Serve Vegan Eggnog

-Amy

Friday, December 20, 2013

Vegan Cuts Snack Box Review

Vegan Cuts Snack Box




What to Expect

I had the pleasure of reviewing a snack box recently and I was pleasantly surprised. I have seen the advertisements around the internet for these and have been curious, but never purchased one...yet. I think I have had a change of heart, it was quite great.

You will not only love the value of the box but you have so many different options to try. The box I received had 9 items in it plus a few extra of the one item (peppermint tea). The box is small but packs a yummy punch. Everything from candies/fruit chews (vegan salted caramels to vegan cola gummies), chips, beverages, sunflower cheese spread, vegan canned chili, supplement bottle of antioxidant powder to add to your water, and even mints. Like I said, the options were fantastic!

The main reason I've never got the box in the past was because I thought I had seen and tried the majority of products out there in the marketplace. I was more than surprised to see the items that were NEW to me and try something fresh and fun for a change. I'm always thrilled to try new and different vegan items.

The Info

As seen above in the photos, the box retails for $19.95 each month and comes with 7-10 items. The boxes usually contain 80% gluten-free products. Everything is 100% vegan and contains no animal products of any nature, including honey. They also decided not to include any products that contain palm oil. Plus all beauty care products are vegan and cruelty-free. I think they covered all the bases here, what's not to love!



They ship out from my hometown of Syracuse, NY (didn't know this, awesome!) and arrives to your door in 1-2 days time. Packages and shipped in a small box with recycled packaging inside. You are billed on the 10th of each month. They ship international as well as within the US but at an extra charge. General taking 2-4 weeks. So you can not only get one for you but even a relative overseas!

My Delivery

My Delivery

Products/Items (w/ Links)

(In my box this month)

-Meatless Select: 5 Bean Chili

-JJ Sweets (Cocomels, I broke into those first, ass seen in pic)

-Beanitos Chips

-Goody Good Stuff

-Vienna Sunflower "cheese" spread

-Mahima for Life (antioxidant supplement)

-Revolution Tea

-Pure (fruit leather)

-Hint Mints


The Website:
http://vegancuts.com/snackbox


-Amy

Friday, December 13, 2013

Vegan Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash & Crispy Kale

Vegan Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash & Crispy Kale

We all love to go out to eat, try new things, even pay a little extra to have a culinary experience from time to time. But you don't have to go out to have that experience. It's very popular to have dinner parties, get togethers,or even couples night. Why not pass up the take-out or the same old, same old dinners. You can go that extra mile to impress without putting in much effort. You will not only save yourself the expense, but also express to your guests how truly important they really are. By going that extra mile you can show that you care, it's a gestu that I grew up with. The way to a persons heart, more than most people is threw their stomachs. This recipe shows you how to take a "fancy" dish like risotto and make it even more scrumptious and easy. The exotic pairing of saffron with the hearty and sweet squash makes for a perfect warming winter dish. The crispy kale rounds out the dish nicely with a crunchy finish. All of it works together to make a whole meal that will please young and old alike. Serve along side a fresh garden salad and it pairs great with a glass of vegan white wine. A perfect recipe to serve on a special occasion or the holidays to impress. But you and I both know that it was easy, the only question is...what's for dessert? Enjoy!

Vegan Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash & Crispy Kale

Ingredients
1 butternut squash (2 pounds)
3 Tablespoons olive oil or vegan butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
6 cups vegetable stock
2 ounces vegan bacon, diced (optional)
2 large large shallots or half a medium onion, diced (1/2 cup)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon saffron threads
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast

Vegan Parmesan cheese, to serve
1-2 cups Crispy Kale, to serve (recipe below)

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds, and cut it into 3/4-inch cubes. You should have about 6 cups. Place the squash on a sheet pan and toss it with the olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 to 2 teaspoons parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.



Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing once, until very tender. Set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the stock in a small covered saucepan. Leave it on low heat to simmer.



In a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven, melt the vegan butter (or oil) and saute the vegan bacon and shallots on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned.


Diced  Vegan Bacon (Optional)

Add the rice and stir to coat the grains with butter. 




Add the rice wine vinegar and add 2 full ladles of stock to the rice plus the saffron, salt (to taste), and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.





Stir, and simmer until the stock is absorbed, 5 to 10 minutes. Continue to add the stock, 2 ladles at a time, stirring every few minutes. Each time, cook until the mixture seems a little dry, then add more stock. Continue until the rice is cooked through, but still al dente, about 30 minutes total.



Off the heat, add the roasted squash cubes and vegan parmesan cheese.



Mix well and serve. Top each bowl with risotto, sprinkle with vegan Parmesan and garnish with a 1-2 Tbsp crispy kale or family style with 1 cup of crispy kale on top for everyone to enjoy. Store leftovers in the fridge and reheat (if any is left) as desired. Pairs great with a glass of vegan white wine and a fresh garden salad. All the benefits of a fancy meal, without a lot of work...but company will never know it. I promise not to say a word! ;)

Enjoy!

Crispy Kale

Ingredients1 head kale, washed and thoroughly dried
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt, for sprinkling
Directions

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F. Remove the ribs from the kale and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt.

Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 20 minutes. Serve as finger food.


*I always make extra because the Kale is so great to munch on before even getting it to the table..."appetizer" if you will. Store extra crispy kale in a air right container with 1/4 cup of dry rice. The rice helps keep the kale crisp and from going limp over time. Enjoy again and again!



-Amy

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Vegan Ribollita Soup

  • Vegan Ribollita Soup

    During these long winter months it's very cold and after a tiring day working all day you want something comforting to help keep you cozy and warm at night. Soup is a natural winner! With it's hearty ingredients and rich steamy broth you are all set for a warm up. This recipe shows you how to make a traditional Tuscan soup that has everything but the kitchen sink on it. Traditional made using bread as a thickener, it is a perfect winter meal to feel good about. It's filled with a lot a winter veggies and a flavorful broth. Very low in fat, easy to make, and makes plenty to put in the freezer for quick reheat meals on the go. You can also put this in a crock pot and let it cook away while out and about getting that last minute holiday shopping caught up. Serve it along side your favorite crusty bread and remember to go back for seconds, your body will thank you for the warm up. 

    Vegan Ribollita Soup

  • Ingredients 
  • 2 13-15oz cans organic cannellini or garbanzo beans
  • 1 Tablespoon salt, or to taste (depending on stock)
  • 1 to 2 Tablespoons oil (use your favorite)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped carrots (2-3 carrots)
  • 1 cup chopped celery (2-3stalks)
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons minced garlic (1-2 cloves) 
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes 
  • 1 medium head of fennel, cleaned & chopped
  • 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil 
  • 1/3 cup freshly chopped parsley 
  • 6 cups vegan chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups bread cubes, crusts removed (choose your favorite)
  • 1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

Directions

First things first, prep all your veggies (except kale & tomatoes) and parsley as directed and set aside until ready to use. 
Once the veggies are ready to use, heat the oil in a large stockpot or pot. Cool the veggies over medium-low heat for 7 to 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent. 
When the veggies have cookies down, add in 1 tablespoon of salt (or to taste), nutritional yeast, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. As well as the tomatoes, kale, broth, and basil.  


Lastly before letting the soup simmer. Drain the beans and rinse before using. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, puree 1 can of th beans with a little of the soup broth to help it purée. 

When the beans are completely puréed, add them to the stockpot, along with the remaining can of beans and pieces of bread. Stir to incorporate into the soup. 
Reduce the heat and simmer over low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until all the veggies are tender. Taste for seasoning and serve hot in large bowl along side your favorite crusty bread. Store leftovers in sealed containers, great for freezing and reheating on those busy days. Enjoy!
*Bread in this recipe is traditional, it's used to help thicken the soup. It is optional if you don't want to add it. It also can be made gluten-free as well when you use gluten-free bread. 


-Amy 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Vegan & Gluten-Free Salted Caramel & Hazelnut Cookies

Vegan & Gluten-Free Salted Caramel & Hazelnut Cookies
Are you a caramel lover like I am?! Well nothing beats a delish dessert with caramel on it in my book. It's another treat that defines comfort food and a very popular topping. This luscious vegan & gluten-free cookie doesn't miss the mark when you are looking to splurge. This recipe shows you how to not only make a vegan cookie, but also a perfect gluten free one as well. A cookie recipe that could be made 2 ways for your family and friends. You can customize them your way by subbing out the nuts for those with allergies or even adding in chocolate of an over the top dessert. A great recipe to make this holiday season to enjoy over and over on those long cold days. All you are missing is that tall glass of ice cold vegan milk! Enjoy!

Vegan & Gluten-Free Salted Caramel & Hazelnut Cookies (2 Ways)

Ingredients

-3/4 cup vegan butter or shortening 
-1/4 cup organic raw cane sugar
-2 Tablespoons Soy Milk
-1 Tablespoon Vanilla
-2 large "Eggs", Egg replacer powder OR The Vegg (prepared as followed: 1/2 cup hot water & 2tsp Vegg)
-3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
-1 teaspoon Salt
-1 3/4 cups All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-2 Tablespoons vegan caramel sauce 
-1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum powder

-1/2 to 1 cup Chopped hazelnuts (optional)

Topping


Directions

Heat oven to 350 Degrees

Combine vegan butter (or shortening), sugar, milk, caramel, and vanilla in electric mixer, beat at medium speed until blended. 



Add in your egg substitute and beat in. 


Combine flour, salt, cinnamon, xanthan gum, and baking soda in separate bowl.


Once your ingredients are all in separate bowl, add and beat into the vegan butter mixture until blended but not over beaten. Stir nuts at this point. (optional).


Cookie Dough
Drop rounded measured cookie dough 2 to 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet. For measuring I used a ice cream scoop, depending on your desired cookie size you choose. You can use a small or regular size scoop. If you don't have an ice cream scoop use a measuring cup or spoon.

*Mini Cookies: Before baking, press the center of each cookie with a 1/4 tsp measuring spoon. Add in 1/4 tsp caramel sauce in the center. Once topped, bake. 

*Regular Cookies: Before Baking, press each cookie down with a fork and form a crisscross hatch on top. After baking, top each cookie with a drizzle of vegan caramel sauce and allow to set while cooling. 

Mini Cookies: Small ice cream scoop & 1/4 tsp divots in eac
Regular Cookies: Full size ice cream scoop & pressed fork crisscross hatch on top
For mini cookies, bake 15 minutes & Regular cookies, bake 25 minutes.


Once baked, remove from the oven and let the cookies cool 2 minutes on baking sheet and then remove cookies to a rack or foil to cool completely. If you are making the regular cookie, top with vegan caramel topping according to above section instructions and allow to set up before serving.

Mini Size Baked
Regular Size Baked
Serve the cookies along side a tall glass of vegan milk. Store by single layers in the fridge. A great homemade cookie to induldge in year round. Enjoy! 

Ready to Serve Cookies
-Amy