1.10.2017

Day 10 of 30! A third of the way through my cleanse/lifestyle change. Since I have been pretty good on my routine of shakes, I thought I would solely focus on the dinner recipes. Let’s cut to the chase, am I right?

This evening I made a butternut squash and spinach lasagna with brown rice pasta sheets. Like all of my lovely recipes, I found this recipe on Pinterest, and can also be found here at VeggieCravings.com.

butternut-squash-spinach-lasagna-07                                                               (Via VeggieCravings.com)

I fell in love with this recipe because it was vegan, had a gluten free option, and it also didn’t call for soy.

Now I know what you’re thinking, a lasagna without cheese? Bianca, are you crazy?! Well I have made vegetable lasagnas before (with zucchini as the pasta sheets) and instead of ricotta, it calls for cashew cheese. Cashew cheese has to be my favorite vegan alternative! It tastes just like ricotta!

 

Here’s how you make the Cashew Cheese:

Easy Vegan Cashew Cheese

Prep time: 5 mins

Total time: 5 mins

Serves: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked and drained)
  • ¼ to ½ cup soy milk/non-dairy milk or filtered water
  • ½ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon/lime
  • 2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon agave
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper

Methods

  1. Soak raw cashews in filtered water for at least 2 hours and then drain.
  2. Add soaked cashews and all other ingredients in a food processor, and process until smooth.

Bianca’s Tip: If you don’t have two hours to soak your cashews, boil a small pot of water and once it stops boiling take the pot off of the heat and add the desired amount of cashews. Let them sit for about 15 minutes, and they’re nice and soaked.

Besides the pan and the baking dish, most of the dish was created with the use of a blender. Easy as a push of a button!

Back to the lasagna, this is another fun recipe to make with children because you just layer and spread in a pattern. You’re probably wondering how I made a lasagna Gluten Free. I used Jovial’s Brown Rice lasagna sheets. Jovial has 12 certifications! Two of which are certified Vegan and certified Gluten Free. I recommend checking out their website as well as their products, here. Another alternative was Gluten Free breadcrumbs, which I found at Lucky’s in their Gluten Free section! They’re Italian flavored too!

Another than those minor alternatives to the dish, I kept everything the same. Check it out! It’s a little something different than your traditional lasagna, but it was just as comforting and satisfying.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna

Prep time: 30 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 1 hour

Serves: 6

Ingredients

  • Butternut Squash Filling:
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 14 oz (400 g) or half butternut squash (diced ½ inch or 1.5 cm thick)
  • 4 oz (115 g) canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained.
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon mushroom seasoningor vegetable bouillon
  • Pinch of fresh or dry thyme
  • Pinch of pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup cashew or almond milk
  • Spinach and Filling:
  • 2 cups of cashew cheese
  • 2 cups of fresh baby spinach or 1 cup or frozen spinach
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • Other:
  • 9 oz (255 g) oven ready lasagna sheets (pre-cooked for 7 minutes)
  • 2 cups of panko(Japanese bread crumbs) or gluten free panko
  • Pinch of fresh or dry thyme
  • Pinch of salt

Methods

  1. In a large skillet, add oil, butternut squash, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), and sauté over medium heat for 6 minutes. Add salt, mushroom seasoning (or vegetable stock), thyme, pepper, water and simmer with lid for another 4 minutes, or until the butternut squash is soft.
  2. Transfer into food processor. Add cashew or almond milk and blend until smooth.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 400 °F (200 °C).
  4. In a bowl, add all spinach filling ingredients together, mix well and set aside.
  5. Grease bottom and sides of baking dish (9 ×13 inch) lightly with oil.
  6. Add ⅓ butternut squash filling and spread on the bottom of baking dish.
  7. Add lasagna sheets and spread half spinach filling on top.
  8. Spread another layer (1/3) of butternut squash filling.
  9. Add another layer of lasagna sheets and spread other half of spinach filling on top.
  10. Layer again with lasagna sheets.
  11. Spread the final layer (1/3) of butternut squash filling.
  12. Sprinkle with panko, a pinch of salt and some thyme.
  13. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 30 min.
  14. Remove foil and bake additional 10 minutes.

 

1.9.2017

Day NINE!

Today was an important day in my book. After a wonderful two weeks off, it was my first day back at work. On top of that, it was also my first day back at school. Being back at work meant I needed to make sure I had enough energy to last me through the day.

Now I have never been a fan of energy drinks or any type of energy supplements. I felt as though they tasted like pure sugar and I was not a fan of the super energized sensation. Arbonne’s Energy Fizz Sticks are a different story! I love them! The fact that they fizz up always reminds me of a science project and is entertaining to watch, however the taste reminds me of a pomegranate tea. The best part about it is that there is less than 2 grams of sugar per serving! I find myself more alert and awake without the jitters! This saved my life during the day. At lunchtime I had my wonderful protein shake. No headaches. No fatigue. Not bad for a first day back.

One of my favorite types of food is Indian food. I love the spices and the flavors, and most importantly, I am more likely to find vegan options. One of my favorite dishes is Aloo Gobi, which is cauliflower and potatoes. I always order this dish, so I decided to try and recreate it at home.

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As a base, I followed Nags’ Aloo Gobi recipe, found here. I loved her blog because she provides photos for the step-by-step process. I love when bloggers do this because it can help me get an idea of whether or not I’m on the right track. I highly recommend checking out her blog for some recipes!img_9094

As I’ve stated many times, I love spicy! On top of the recommended spices (I ended up upping the measurements by like 4!), I added some cayenne to give an extra bite! I also added about ½ cup of coconut milk to give it a creamier texture. To top it off, I also squeezed ¼ of a lime on each serving.img_9097 I don’t know where I came up with this, but I loved the spiciness from the seasonings and the sweetness from the milk so I thought the lime would provide a bit of tang that would make the dish come together. It worked! I paired this meal with brown rice. Normally, I would pair it with Basmati rice, but I am staying away for the purpose of this 30 day cleanse. img_9092

 

 

Cauliflower is one of my favorite vegetables (who knew?) because it has such a blank pallet. You can do anything to it! Not only that, it provides heartiness and sustenance to any meal.img_9104

 

ALOO GOBI RECIPE

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(via cookingandme.com)

Aloo gobi is a popular Punjabi recipe that’s made even more globally known by Indian restaurants. It’s a dry side dish prepared with gobi (cauliflower) and aloo (potato) with some spices.

Author: nags

Recipe type: Vegetarian Sides

Cuisine: Indian

Serves: 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 medium-sized potato, peeled and cut into wedges
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ tsp minced ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ¾ tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • 1 tbsp canned tomato paste (or 1 cup chopped ripe tomatoes)
  • A fistful of chopped coriander leaves
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions. When the onions turn soft, add the ginger and garlic and saute until fragrant (about 2 mins).
  2. Add the potatoes and cauliflower to this and cook on lowest heat, covered, mixing now and then so the vegetable pieces don’t burn.
  3. When the vegetables are half cooked, add the tomato paste and mix again. Cook again for 3-4 mins or until the vegetables are soft (not mushy).
  4. Add the spice powders – coriander powder, turmeric powder, jeera powder, and chilli powder. Mix again until well combined. Cook until the spice powders don’t smell raw anymore – another 2 mins or so. The potatoes and cauliflower should be roasted and dry by now. Add salt.
  5. Finish off with a generous amount of chopped coriander leaves and mix again.

1.8.2017

With a storm in the Bay this weekend, it was another great day for leftovers. I did, however, want to share this simple yet tasty Arbonne shake recipe I found. On a rainy day with a blankie and a pug, what else do you need? Cinnamon Buns!

I found this recipe on Pinterest and decided to try it. It smelled and tasted just like a cinnamon bun! Thanks Ashly! arbonneproteinvanillashakesmoothie

I’ll share a new recipe soon, but in the mean time check out Ashly Rae’s Cinnamon Bun shake recipe! 

(Image via ashlylondon.blogspot.co.uk)

1.7.2017

Day Seven – which means the end of week one! We did it!

Today was the first day everyone was home in the morning so I decided to treat everyone to a pancake breakfast. Not just any pancake breakfast, but a Vegan and Gluten Free pancake breakfast. I’m picky with my pancakes. They must be yummy and they must be fluffy. Is that too much to ask? I don’t think so. Thankfully, this recipe offered both of those fantastic options.

LIGHT AND FLUFFY VEGAN PANCAKES.

pancakes(Via ThePrettyBee.com)

Serves: 8 pancakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 1½ cups white spelt flour (you can use all-purpose flour if you wish)
  • 1½ Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1½ cups non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened coconut milk)
  • 3 Tablespoons organic cane sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons organic canola oil
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • vegan buttery spread for pan

METHOD

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Add wet ingredients, and let rise for about five minutes.
  3. Melt a tablespoon of vegan buttery spread in a large frying pan over medium heat (I have an electric stove and put the burner at about 5).
  4. Spoon the batter into the pan, and cook until you see the edges starting to turn golden brown (about 5 minutes or so).
  5. Flip pancakes and continue to cook until done, about 3 more minutes.
  6. Serve with vegan buttery spread and syrup, or desired fruit topping.

To make these pancakes Gluten Free, I used a Gluten Free all-purpose flour img_9035and for the milk, I used Almond Milk. Now one of my favorite tips that I learned from my many hours of watching TFN, was not to over whisk the ingredients. It’s okay to leave some chunks in. After whisking a bit, the recipe asked to let the batter rest for about five minutes. After waiting, I scooped up the batter and let the fun begin.

If you’ve never made pancakes before, it can be a little hard knowing when to flip the pancakes without breaking or splitting. A tip I learned was to wait until you see little bubbles or air holes, then it’ll be safe to get ready to flip. I used to a non-stick copper pan, so I didn’t need to use any butter. You may need to use butter (vegan butter is available in the butter section at the grocery store) to keep your pancakes from sticking to the pan.

For lunch, I was lucky to have half of a shake left over from the day before. So after some yoga and some puggy cuddles, the weather made it a perfect day to snuggle with a shake and watch some football.

Dinner was an exciting treat! On my field trip to Whole Foods yesterday, I was picking up some cauliflower for some of my upcoming recipes. I noticed this spirally looking vegetable and I was intrigued by it’s shape. This woman came up to grab one and she noticed my confusion. She told me that it is a vegetable very similar to cauliflower. The taste may be different, but the consistency is similar. She said it is great roasted with some olive oil and sea salt. That was all I needed to hear. I grabbed it and I was on my way.

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This amazing looking vegetable is actually a Romanesco Broccoli. I read that it is more crunchy than a cauliflower and had more of a nutty/earthy flavor. I knew I wanted to find a recipe that would make my new friend, Roman, the star of the dish. Look at that face, Roman deserves nothing less.

I found this recipe for a simple pasta with Romanesco. I love pasta, but I also feel that sometimes the sauce tends to cover up any additions to the dish. I liked this pasta in particular because it was simply tossed in olive oil, lemon, and red pepper.

 

Cutting this sucker was easy, it was nice and sturdy like cauliflower. After cutting and cleaning Roman, the recipe asks for a quick 3-minute boil. This helps to soften the vegetable before sautéing with the seasonings.

Now at this point you might be asking, “pasta? I thought you said VEGAN.. and GLUTEN FREE!” I’m glad you asked! My best friend since I converted into a vegan lifestyle has been Ancient Harvest. It’s a pasta brand that makes its pasta from corn and quinoa. Check out their website for more information! They can also be found at any grocery store from what I’ve seen. They make all types of pastas: spaghetti, linguini, shells, macaroni; they’re great!

Back to the recipe. I drizzled a bit of olive oil, then I added some crushed red pepper, drizzled lemon juice, added a teaspoon of minced garlic, and salt and pepper. Once I coated the pan, I added Roman to the mix. This took a bit of time because there’s a lot more to Roman than a cauliflower, this calls for a wonderful opportunity to taste its flavors and check for its consistency! img_9057 Once Roman was at a desired consistency, I added the pasta and swirled that baby around. With a bit of tasting, I added more lemon and the rest of the seasonings. I even ended up adding some rosemary and Nutritional Yeast to the mix. This recipe calls for cheese, which I am unable to add for obvious reasons. The Nutritional Yeast is a seasoning that adds a bit of cheesiness to the recipe! It’s a vegan lifesaver!

 

This recipe was light and easy. I didn’t feel tied down and heavy afterwards like I usually do with pasta, yet Roman added a satisfying sustenance to the dish. There was still a slight crunch, but I also felt it’s taste provided enough of a blank pallet to compliment the refreshing taste of the lemon and with the heat of the red pepper. This is another easy dish that I would recommend for dinnertime. Feel free to add other favorite vegetables like tomatoes, or even mushrooms to create more depth and color to your meal.

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Pasta with Romanesco Cauliflower (Broccoli), Lemon & Chili Flakes (Vegetarian or Vegan)

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(via delightfuldeliciousdelovelyblog.wordpress.com)

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1-2 heads of Romanesco cauliflower – cut into florets (or one bunch broccoli or head of cauliflower – cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 lemon (zest & juice)

Olive oil

Crushed red pepper to taste (I used a lot – like – 2 TBS – but use it at your own discretion)

1-4 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 lb pasta (cooked)

S&P

Cheese (grated Parmesan or other hard cheese or vegan alternative or a TBS or so of nutritional yeast) – quantity totally up to you

 

1.6.2017

Day SIX!! Today was a busy, but fun day indeed! I started off the day with one of my shakes, but I couldn’t even finish it. img_9031Don’t get me wrong, it was yummy, but I was satisfied after only half. The nice part was that I had a half of a shake waiting for me after lunch.

I took a field trip today to one of my favorite places, Whole Foods. I only visit about once a month or so because they tend to have the hard to find items that compliment my diet lifestyle. I love that they have so many alternatives and the fact that it’s so colorful when I walk in. On Thursday, I looked at some recipes for the week and made my shopping list from there. This was a first for me, and I will say, I was quite productive! I’m usually a “figure it out as I go” type of girl, but that might not be as appropriate in the grocery store.

I walked in and headed straight for the produce because let’s face it, that’s where a majority of my ingredients come from. I noticed an area on the wall with pre-cut ingredients. I thought that was amazing, especially for individuals who may not have the necessary utensils or physical capability. If I were to purchase a precut ingredient, it would definitely be onions. I know there are a bunch of tips out there for cutting onions, but it still gets to me. Anyways, I was particularly interested in the fact that they had pre-spiraled zucchini noodles! I just featured a recipe the other day with zucchini noodles so if you wanted to try it, but don’t feel like purchasing a spiralizer, check out Whole Foods!

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For Dinner tonight, I decided to go with some Thai Spring Rolls. There are many recipes out there for this, but I decided to follow this one for the sauce.

Now unfortunately, it was hard for me to find vermicelli rice noodles, but I ended up finding Angel Hair noodles from Miracle Noodle that were vegan and gluten free so I decided to work with that. I have been on the search for Brown Rice Wrappers, but I can only seem to find them online. Thankfully All Star Anise Foods (the brand I used) are all vegan and gluten free.

As I have researched many blogs, I see that many vegans are fans of soups and stews. Yes, I love soups, but I think my favorites are wraps. They’re easy to make, they’re filling, and I can eat them anywhere!

I recommend preparing your ingredients before hand. This will take the longest (and it’s not even that long!). I used:

  • ½ cucumber sliced
  • ½ red bell pepper sliced
  • ½ leaf romaine lettuce
  • Purple cabbage shredded
  • Shredded carrots
  • Bean sprouts
  • Noodles
  • Avocado (I had to!) Sliced
  • Wrapper

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Once you have all of your ingredients cut and ready to go. It’s time to get ready to wrap. I recommend having a plate and fill it with just enough water so that the water covers the base of the dish. Take one of the wrappers and gently place it in the water for about 10 seconds. Be careful not to submerge the wrapper, but gently tap it so that it is fully covered with water. Take out the wrapper, you’ll noticed it’s still has it’s sturdiness, but it will become more malleable as you place your ingredients.

When adding my ingredients, I placed the romaine first, back side down. This helps to keep all of the indigents in place. Another tip, instead of placing it in the middle of your wrap, place it closer to the side. This will help with rolling the wrapper nice and tight. (I figured this out the second time around!) Then, I added some noodles, two sticks of cucumber, two sticks of bell pepper, some carrots, cabbage, sprouts, and top it with avocado slice. When building your wrap, less is more. I know you may want to pack it tight, but it will end up becoming harder to roll, or your wrapper might break. Now I’m going to get to the peanut sauce in a minute, but I loved it so much, I even drizzled some sauce in the wrap before rolling it. img_9022If you are talented, you can use your pinkies to tuck in the sides as you wrap it. I, unfortunately, am not that skilled. Once rolled, I gave it a couple of seconds to rest before cutting it in half. I was full off of one wrap!

Now for my favorite part of the entire dish! The peanut sauce! I highly recommend following recipe on the link provided. I didn’t have any garlic chili sauce so instead of that part, I just sprinkled some crushed red peppers to my liking, and a tsp. of garlic. Still bomb! It was sweet, yet spicy!

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Definitely try out this recipe. It’s great for a picnic, a party, or just to satisfy your hunger for lunchtime. Enjoy!

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1.5.2017

Happy Day Five!

Guess what, we are almost completed with week one! Isn’t that great? I have received so much support over the past few days, and I am overjoyed! I am happy to hear that so many people are looking for a happier and healthier lifestyle. I am willing to help in anyway that I can.

Today started with a wonderful yoga session. I was pretty sore over the past few days so I kept my practice short. Someone decided to join in any chance he could, and I wouldn’t have had it any other way!

I will admit, I was a little lazy with my shake today. I did two scoops of vanilla, one scoop of greens, one scoop fiber, a tablespoon of almond butter, and half of a banana. It still tasted amazing and it lasted me for the next five hours! I also, didn’t have my shake until about noon today, and I was able to bring it with me while I ran some errands. Now that’s what I call “Lunch, On The Go!”

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Today was a bit exciting because I actually went OUT to eat.. At a restaurant! Can you believe it? And guess what, I ate food! I love how people have this misconception that once you’re vegan, all you eat is lettuce. Psh, this girl needs to eat!

We went to Buddy’s Bites and Brews and had amazing service! Their special of the day was actually a house made Vegan Tomato soup. Now, a little tip. I try to look at the menu online before I go to a restaurant. I like to prepare myself and know how I can play around with the menu if necessary. Usually it’s not complicated whatsoever. I will even search the restaurant name and “vegan” or “gluten free.” There are many websites that actually tell you all of the vegan items on a restaurants menu. This makes it super helpful when it comes to eating out.

I ordered the Fajita Salad, which comes with Portobello Caps (or grilled chicken), bell peppers and onions on a bed of greens with pico de gallo, black olives, and tortilla chips. The salad is also served with ranchero dressing, guacamole and sour cream on the side. I ordered it without the dressing and the sour cream of course. img_9013It was amazing. I love eating Portobello Mushrooms because their thickness provides some sustenance to a dish. Its bite tends to imitate the texture of meat. I also loved the fact that they were grilled; it provided smokiness very similar to that of fajitas. I was worried about eating a salad with no dressing, but I will say, the olives and pico de gallo provided a dressing of their own. This dish was great because not only was it filling, but also smoky yet refreshing at the same time. I was full right away; I didn’t even need to snack on the tortilla chips. Another tip during this lifestyle change, as you eat more veggies, you’ll find your portions to become smaller. My biggest issue a year ago was the fact that I couldn’t stop eating. I was never full and I mostly ate when I was bored as opposed to hungry. Once I changed to a vegan lifestyle, my portions naturally became smaller which was very helpful. I found my body needing those nutrients, and once I fed my body those nutrients, I was satisfied. Another bonus is you’ll find your taste buds begin to change. Food actually tastes better? Who could ask for a better gift? So although I didn’t cook tonight, I just wanted to write to let you know it’s okay to go out, just be mindful. There is hope!

1.4.2017

Day Four! So far my favorite day! The hardest part of a “cleanse” is the first few days. By this point, I always start to crave sweets, a large movie theater popcorn, or a never-ending basket of French fries. Okay maybe I’m lying… I’m AWAYS craving a never-ending basket of French fries! Shoot, on day two I craved so many sweets, I was Yelping nearby bakeries with vegan and gluten-free options, but that was hard to come by unfortunately. Not to mention, it was a holiday. But I made it through, and you will too! There are many alternatives to those sugar cravings, too.

The funny thing is, I don’t consider myself a “sweets” person. However, once I know I shouldn’t eat it, I want it. Can anyone relate? One item that helps me overcome my sugar cravings is my daily protein shake. Like I’ve said many times, it’s like a milkshake everyday! This morning I decided to omit the strawberries. I was craving chocolate and banana so I went with that! I also added some cinnamon to the mix to get that warm holiday taste! img_8994

I was able to complete an entire hour of yoga today, (thanks Lou)!img_8993 My body feels great! Now I told myself, I wouldn’t weigh myself until the 30 days were up, buuut I couldn’t help it. On the bright side, I lost all of the tamales I accumulated during the past month! Yippee!! Okay, now I promise, no weighing until the 30 days are up!

The recipes I have used recently “serve” 4-6 people or so, which means we have a lot of left-overs. As much as I love to cook, sometimes it’s nice to take a break. So we decided to use this day to clean out the fridge and eat some left-overs. I’ll get back to cooking soon, in the mean time, stay hungry, stay happy!