One look and these delicious Thai-inspired wraps will have your mouth watering! Using a flavorful peanut sauce, the faux chicken is surrounded by crunchy vegetables and wrapped in a fun and healthy Romaine lettuce leaf. Be sure to grab a napkin because this could get messy!!
Thai "Chicken" Wraps
1 1/2 cup(s) offaux chicken strips (Gardein has a great one, so does Trader Joe's)
I've been feeling like a need a little cleanse in my life so I decided that I'll go 100% raw today. I feel better already! I used to be good about incorporated enough raw foods in my daily diet to make a difference but have been relaxed about it lately...too relaxed.
It sounds hard at first and maybe it is, but immediately you feel better and more energized. I'd love to be able to do a one-day-fast but with being in charge of fixing meals for my family all day, I would be way to tempted to cheat.
Which do you prefer-dehydrated kale chips or baked kale chips?
I recently purchased a food dehydrator and was so excited to try those beloved kale chips in it. I made a "cheesy" dressing to go with it so that they'd resemble those expensive ones you can get from Whole Foods. I thought they turned out scrumptious but my kids thought otherwise.
I guess their palette is accustomed to the plain ol' baked version....whatever!
These healthy chips make such a great snack!
The best part about the dehydrated version is they stay crunchy the next day.
"Cheesy" Kale Chips
1 bunch organic kale
3/4 C. cashews that have been soaked for at least an hour if possible
~1/3 C. roasted bell peppers
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 C. nutritional yeast
1 tsp. sea salt
Tear kale into bite sized pieces, removing stems.
Wash and dry thoroughly (now's the time for that salad spinner).
Add roasted peppers, drained cashews, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt to food processor or Vita-Mix (wish I had one!!) and blend until creamy.
Add water as needed to get the right consistency (pancake batter-like)
Place kale in large bowl and pour mixture over it.
Using your hands, blend it all together until each leaf is well coated.
Dehydrate for about an hour on each side (flip it after one hour, then wait one hour longer-if you can!).
Bake on cookie sheet at 375F for about 18 minutes or until crunchy.
If you don't want the cheesy version, just omit the cashews & pepper from above.
Drizzle de-stemmed kale with olive oil and massage all over with your hands to coat each leaf.
Sprinkle with salt.
Bake in 375F oven for 15-18 minutes, turning once or twice, or until crunchy.
Sprinkle with nutritional yeast.
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look for this on the right side of the VK home page
Two weeks ago at our church they played a video about children in West Africa being sold as slaves to work in the cocoa fields to produce chocolate....that WE EAT!!
I've been trying to find fair trade chocolate to fill my kids Easter baskets with ever since but you'd be surprised what a difficult task that's been. (On top of that I want it to be organic and vegan too!) My local Whole Foods stopped carrying it so that put me on an internet search which yielded some good results if you're willing to pay much more for it.
Which companies are involved in contributing to this cruel way of life for the slave children? Many that you'd know such as M&M Mars, Hershey Foods Corp., Ben & Jerry's, Cadbury Ltd., Toblerone, Godiva, Nestle, Kraft, See's Candies and many, many more.
Two companies that do not use this chocolate are Clif Bar & Newman's Own Organics. Way to go!!
So I guess the alternative will be non-chocolate alternatives and lots of Annie's Bunnies!
*Award Winner: Earth Balance's Made Just Right Recipe Contest, Best Appetizer
So we all know how healthy quinoa is for us, right? But wow-when you start to read up on it's amazing health benefits it makes it taste that much better! (A complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids, minerals, magnesium, & fiber to name a few.) Now if only I can convince my kids to eat it...
I made this one for that Earth Balance "Made Just Right" contest which you can check out here. They have some fun prizes and great recipes from lots of people.
Quinoa Stuffed Mushrooms
serves 4 + lots of extra quinoa for your lunch tomorrow!
1 cup(s) of quinoa
1 1/2 cup(s) of cold water
6 medium-large portabella mushroom caps (save the stems)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup(s) of onion, diced
2/3 cup(s) of peas
2/3 cup(s) of tomato, diced
2/3 cup(s) of yellow bell pepper, diced (or any color will do!)
1 tsp. of sea salt
1/2 tsp. of ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. of garlic powder
1 tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle
1 tbsp. of cooking oil to saute
Preheat oven to 375F.
In medium sauce pan, add quinoa and water to boil (add optional pinch of salt), cover with tight fitting lid and turn heat down to simmer. Cook 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in medium saute pan, heat cooking oil and saute chopped mushroom stems, garlic and onion over medium heat. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring.
Add diced tomato, bell pepper, and onion mixture to quinoa along with salt, pepper & garlic salt. Mix thoroughly and let it finish cooking with the lid on.
Prepare baking sheet with parchment paper or tin foil and spray with non-stick spray. Lay washed and dried mushroom caps out on sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Carefully stuff each mushroom cap with quinoa mixture and bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes.
NOTE: this one gets messy so it's best eaten with a fork and knife!
Savory and satisfying, these mini zucchini pastry cups will make people think you've spent all day in the kitchen, yet they're a breeze to put together. Loaded with zucchini and carrots, you won't be left feeling guilty if you over-indulge on these cute little appetizers!
Mini Zucchini Pastry Cups
makes 24 "cups"
24 sheets Phyllo dough
1 1/4 cup(s) of zucchini, shredded
3/4 cup(s) of carrot, shredded
1/2 cup(s) of onion, diced
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup(s) of shredded vegan cheddar cheese
1/4 cup(s) of melted Earth Balance buttery spread with olive oil
1/2 tsp. of sea salt
1/4 tsp. of fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. of dried basil, finely chopped
1 tsp. of dried thyme, finely chopped
2 tbsp. of Earth Balance butter spread with olive oil (for Phyllo dough)
Preheat oven 350F.
Make sure Phyllo dough is defrosted and ready, but keep it covered so it doesn't dry out.
Add zucchini, carrots, onion and garlic to food processor; shred.
Transfer zucchini mixture to medium sized bowl.
Melt Earth Balance butter and pour over zucchini mixture.
Add shredded vegan cheese and stir everything until combined.
Add in salt, pepper and herbs and mix thoroughly.
Spray mini muffin tins with non-stick cooking spray.
Melt additional Earth Balance butter.
Lay Phyllo dough sheets carefully out onto waxed or parchment paper. Cut into 5" X 5" squares.
Quickly and carefully brush each sheet of Phyllo dough with melted butter and press into muffin tin cups.
Fill cups with zucchini mixture to top and gently fold over extra dough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes.
*This was my first time working with Phyllo dough and I was ready for a struggle. Surprisingly, it was pretty easy to work with. Just be sure to follow the tips/instructions on the package!
Some of you may have heard about the contest through Earth Balance, where you can submit your plant-based recipes. Submissions must contain an Earth Balance product and at least one veggie, fruit, whole grain, nut or seed.
Anyway, this got me thinking about how yummy their almond butter is so I thought I'd get to brainstorming over some almond butter chocolate chip cookies to begin!
Chewy & rich, these cookies are full of healthy ingredients that won't leave you feeling guilty. They are loaded with almond butter which makes it hard to eat just one!
Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
makes 32 cookies
2 C. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1 C. Earth Balance almond butter
1/4 C. pure maple syrup
1/2 C. brown rice syrup
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 C. Earth Balance almond milk
1 Tb. cooking oil
1 Tb. organic applesauce
1 C. vegan or dark chocolate chips
1/2 C. slivered almonds
Preheat oven 350F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray.
In medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda & salt.
In large bowl, combine almond butter, pure maple syrup, brown rice syrup, vanilla, almond milk, oil & applesauce. Stir until well incorporated.
Pour almond butter mixture into flour mixture and mix well, adding in chocolate chips & almonds.
Roll into golf ball-sized balls & place on cookie sheet 2" apart. Press down gently with fork.
Bake for 10 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes or so.
I have never attempted to make my own ice cream before but thought, why not? I'm not usually a fan of labor intensive recipes but this one was easier than I expected and super fun to make with my kids!
The Vegan Scoop has some amazing ice cream recipes that do not require an ice cream maker. (I don't think I can handle many more small kitchen appliances in my cupboards anyway because I just purchased a food dehydrator...more to come on that!)
This yummy vegan ice cream recipe isadapted from Wheeler's book. I can't wait to try more! The whole family loved it too.
Carrot Cake Ice Cream
1/4 + 1/2 C. *date sugar (or brown sugar)
2 Tb. agave nectar (or pure maple syrup)
2 Tb. Earth Balance butter
1 C. carrots, finely shredded (I used a food processor)
1/4 + 3/4 C. hemp or almond milk (plain)
2 Tb. cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
2 C. vanilla non-dairy creamer
1 Tb. vanilla extract
1 Tb. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
Combine 1/4 C. date sugar, agave, & butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until melted. Reduce heat to low and stir in shredded carrots. Stir & cook for about 5 more minutes and set aside.
Whisk together 1/4 hemp or almond milk with arrowroot or cornstarch in small bowl. Set aside.
In medium saucepan, combine remaining 3/4 C. hemp/almond milk, creamer, and remaining 1/2 C. date sugar or brown sugar. Cook over medium heat until it just begins to boil, whisking occasionally.
When it reaches the soft boiling point (small bubbles start to appear), remove from heat and whisk in hemp/almond milk & arrowroot/cornstarch mixture. Whisk until the mixture thickens a bit.
Whisk in vanilla & spices.
Pour into medium bowl and stir in carrot mixture.
Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then refrigerate for 3 hours or so. Give it another stir, then pour into smaller or individual containers to freeze, turning and stirring every once in a while to keep it soft. Once it's firmed up, it's ready to eat!
NOTE: it won't be the exact texture as traditional ice cream, but I had no complaints from this household!
*I finally bought some date sugar at Whole Foods after reading about the benefits of it. What a great replacement to sugar! It is loaded with vitamins & minerals. It even has more potassium than bananas!
I'm still learning in this department but I have discovered some great natural products for cleaning your home and yourself.
For cleaning yourself, Tom's is a great company with an array of products. I've been using their toothpaste for years but just found the "cinnamon" flavor which my kids love. Be sure to look for fluoride-free because they do make some versions with fluoride.
I just recently tried Tom's deodorant and am loving it! I feel better not slathering aluminum on my skin every morning.
I have also been using Coconut Oil for everything! I was introduced to it for cooking purposes but discovered it's amazing ability to moisturize every part of your body. It leaves your skin feeling so soft and nice and is great for moisturizing lips too. I tried it on my kids and I think my youngest is allergic so test a small spot first before you spread it on! (It's great for certain hair types too; my hubby loves it!)
The other new thing I've been doing is using a body brush. I had read about it numerous times, like in Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet. Brushing the body improves circulation, cleanses the lymphatic system, amongst other things.
As for your home, Whole Foods is loaded with natural cleaning products, I've just been too scared to try them. I wanted to make my own concoctions but just haven't found the time, so I broke down and bought some stuff. So far, so good!
The floor cleaner (aka Ecover's All-Purpose cleaner) is great and smells so nice.
I also love Ecover's Cream Scrub as an alternative to nasty Comet (filled with bleach) to scrub tubs, sinks and tiles.
And I purchased Pure Castle Soap from Trader Joe's but the verdict's still out on that one. I haven't found the right surfaces to use it yet and am not in love with the strong peppermint smell.
It is certainly fun experimenting though, knowing I'm headed in the right direction!
What do I love about smoothies in the morning? They put you back on track! I over-indulged last night (my sweet tooth got the best of me) and felt icky this morning so I turned to my go-to smoothie to put me back in my place. I feel better already!
1/3 C. frozen organic peaches
1/3 C. frozen organic strawberries
1/3 C. frozen organic pineapple
handful frozen organic blueberries
1 1/2 Tb. Very Green powder (from Trader Joe's)
1 Tb. hemp protein powder
1 C. organic vanilla hemp milk
1/2 C. orange juice
lots of spinach
I've been learning more about the health benefits of hemp so I've been trying to incorporate more into our diet. It's such a pure food that's been around for thousands of years. It is rich in vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. Oh, and it's chalk full of protein that's easy for us to digest (unlike that of animals). Gotta love that!
Last night was burrito night in my house (I think I'm on a Mexican food kick lately) so I whipped these up in about 15 minutes. My husband cleaned his plate and said "those were slammin'!"....and they were vegan-yay!!
3/4 C. black beans, drained & rinsed if using canned
1/2 packet taco seasoning
sprouted tortilla shells
shredded vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar)
salad greens, roughly chopped
In medium sized saute pan, add a little oil and throw in the onions. Cook about 4 minutes, stirring. Add meatless ground and beans, mixing together as they heat through. Add in taco seasoning and stir well.
Warm tortilla shells in oven or microwave.
Assemble burritos by adding meatless mixture in the middle of a tortilla. Add salad greens, cheese and tomatoes. Tuck in the sides, roll and slice in half.
Cheese is one of the main things I've missed since becoming vegan, so thank goodness there are some great alternatives. This is a quick snack to make anytime and kids love it! (Can you tell that I like recipes with few ingredients?)
1/4 C. shredded Daiya cheddar style cheese
1/4 C. shredded Rice mozarella cheese
1 large spelt whole grain tortilla
Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Place tortilla inside with both cheeses evenly covering one side. (Optional: add chopped fresh cilantro) Cook until bubbly, then fold in half with spatula carefully and flip to cook through.
Slice into wedges with pizza cutter, dip into salsa & enjoy!