Warm Garlic Beverage

Photo by PhotoMIX Ltd. on Pexels.com

Warm Drinks Are Great For Throat

I was talking to my friend, Alice, and I was asking her if she had any healing remedies in her family. She told me her sister drinks the following. I tried it and I decided to publish it especially during this pandemic. We need to do everything we can to build our immune system and garlic has many benefits.

Drinking warm beverages in general is great and also consider gargling with salt water.

Alice’s Sister’s Garlic Brew

  • 3 cups water
  • 3 or 4 cloves garlic cut in half
  • 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • honey

Place water and garlic in a pan and bring to a boil then turn it off add the lemon juice. After 15 minutes pour in a mug and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon honey. Stir and drink warm.

Just know that Warm Beverages are great for keeping your throat healthy.

Valeria Star lives in Nor Cal and coping with this pandemic. She likes to sing and dance.Wishing everyone health and healing during this difficult time. In the name of the Father Son and the Holy Spirit may we all be healed.

Capirotada Mexican Bread Pudding

Photo by Mariana Kurnyk on Pexels.com

I was talking to my mom about Capirotada and how she wanted to give the recipe to my cousin who was asking how to make it. She told me how my Grandmother, Guadalupe, used to make it and I was thinking it sounded so good. She gave me the recipe she had and I haven’t made it.

I looked at the recipe and decided I needed to publish the recipe because it looked way to good and I really wanted to share it. It’s been said that this is a recipe that was invented to use up leftovers during Lent. As meat is not to be eaten on Friday’s during Lent. Apparently there is not a single recipe for Capirotada as every family has their own recipe. So don’t get too crazy if you don’t have all the ingredients. You can put your own spin on it.

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4.5 cups water
  • 2 piloncillo cones
  • 1- 4 inch stick cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 6 stale bolillos (French bread)(about 9 cups) torn in 1/2 inch pieces toasted. You can add a little butter to the bread after it’s toasted)
  • 1 cup peanuts
  • 1/2 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 cup Munster or cheddar cheese (you know what you like, use as much as you want
  • 1 cup raisins

Directions

  • 1)Heat over to 350 degrees F
  • 2)Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking dish
  • 3)In a medium saucepan, mix water, piloncillo, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil then simmer 5-10 minutes or until slightly thickened into a syrup. Strain to remove cinnamon sticks and cloves. Keep syrup warm.
  • 4)In a buttered casserole dish, layer 1/3 of the bread pieces. Sprinkle with 1/3 each of nuts, cheese. Drizzle about 1/4 or less of the syrup over this layer letting it soak into the bread. Continue layering bread, nuts, raisins and cheese, sprinkling with with syrup and letting it soak. Finish with a layer of cheese. Pour the rest of the syrup over the whole dish.
  • 5) Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top layer of cheese is bubbling and browned. Serve warm. Garnish with nonpareils.

Well that’s it. I hope you can give it a try and I really want to make it but I better have some company because it’s definitely heavy on the carbs. In memory of Mi Abuelita, Guadalupe.

Leonora and Valeria, Mother and daughter forever. Thanks for the recipe mom. Hopefully someone else can enjoy it too.
Valeria is a Health and Wellness Coach living in Nor Cal. She’s following her passions and encourages everyone to do the same.

Vegan Broccoli Salad

I love it when I want to make something and I magically have all of the ingredients. Well I didn’t have raisins or grapes so I substituted with goji berries.

This is so easy!! It’s kind of like making potato salad except you’re using broccoli.

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli 2 crowns
  • 1/2 cup red onion (use less if it seems like too much.)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup goji berries (raisins can also be used)
  • 1/2 cup veganaise

Directions

Have you ever made potato salad. Just pretend the broccoli is potatoes and you’re making potato salad. It’s the same concept just with different ingredients.

Chop Broccoli and put onion, pumpkin seeds and goji berries add the veganise and stir. It’s so easy!!

I hope you like this as much as I did. Feel free to follow my blog. I really appreciate it.

Wishing you all the best. Peace is here and now manifest.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach living in Northern California. She encourages everyone to follow their dreams and passions. Valerie enjoys singing and dancing.

Vegan Chocolate Cake (Vegan Desserts)

Originally published on cookingjourneyblog.com on Last Updated on April 13, 2019 By Cooking Journeyer Alina and Dmitry

Vegan Chocolate Cake Vegan Desserts

Vegan chocolate cake is just perfect for Birthday, Easter or Christmas celebration. It is indulgent, moist and delicious. A beautiful treat for chocolate lover!

This is one of the best vegan chocolate cake recipe and it is so easy that you will absolutely love it! It has layers of moist chocolate sponge, chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries.

Vegan Chocolate Cake Vegan Desserts_1

Moreover, it is a healthier version of vegan chocolate cake, because I used less sugar and more spice and vanilla for flavor. One of the best vegan desserts to have!

Simple vegan cake. But so heavenly good that you need to pin this recipe!

Chocolate cake and strawberries in vegan desserts

I think it is an ideal flavor and color combination, isn’t it? Chocolate is so dominant in this cake, it needs something refreshing. So when you bite – you get chocolate, then strawberry, chocolate then strawberry…

This chocolate cake is to die for! It is like chocolate covered strawberries on the opposite..more like strawberry covered chocolate, haha.

You can use other seasonal berries for chocolate cake such as raspberries, blueberries, blackberries etc. I don’t recommend using jams or preserves for layers, as they will not give needed freshness. If you can’t find fresh berries, you can use defrosted and well drained packed produce.

How to make vegan chocolate cake
Dry ingredients:

To make this chocolate cake you will need all-purpose flour, cacao powder, vegan chai powder, Muscovado sugar, baking soda and baking powder. Yes, I used cacao, not cocoa powder.

Vegan chai is optional, it is used to add more spicy flavor to the chocolate. And there are so many options of adding chai in vegan desserts!

It is usually a combination of ground spices cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, pepper, black tea and sugar (or substitutes). I used store bought vegan chai latte (refined sugar-free), but if you can’t find it, you can make your own. Combine 2 tsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp of icing sugar (or substitute), 1 tsp of each: ground tea, sugar and other spices that I mentioned. Add just a pinch of ground pepper, salt and cloves. Mix everything with cacao. Make sure the total weight of spice and cacao is 165 grams. If less than that, add more cacao. And yes, to be more precise, it is better to use scales!

Muscovado or khandsari sugar is a dark brown sugar with a strong molasses content and flavor. To my mind, it gives the depth and umami flavor during the baking process. It is partially refined cane sugar that is a little bit healthier than regular sugar, because of higher content of minerals. If you can’t find Muscovado, you can use good quality brown sugar.

It is very important to sieve all dry ingredients twice (except the sugar). It will help you to get rid of any lumps or big pieces of spice. The batter will be smoother, too.

Wet ingredients:

You will need 675 ml of vegan milk of your choice. I used low-calorie coconut-rice milk, because I love the combination of coconut, chocolate and strawberries. You can also use coconut or almond milk for this vegan chocolate cake recipe.

I used a combination of melted and cooled coconut oil and sunflower oil. For more flavor, I added vanilla extract and to make soda “work” – a little bit of grape vinegar.

Combine all the wet ingredients in big bowl, then sieve in dry ingredients, mixing in batches. Finally add sugar and mix just until combined.

You don’t need any electric mixer, just use a hand whisk.

Divide the batter in 3 pans or use 3 parts to bake vegan sponges in batches.

By the way, this batter has no eggs, so you can safely taste it before baking! Delicious? Let’s bake it!

Vegan Chocolate Cake Vegan Desserts_2

How to bake vegan chocolate cake

To bake chocolate sponges, layer the baking paper in a pan (I used 8 inch 20 cm spring form pan). Pour 1/3 of batter and bake this cake for 20-25 minutes in oven, preheated to 325 F / 160 C. It should be ready, when inserted wooden skewer comes out with few crumbs on it. Let the chocolate cake cool a little, then run the knife around the edges. And let it cool completely at room temperature on a wire rack.

It is ok if the sponges are slightly cracked in the center. Chocolate sponges will be a little bit oily if you touch them, but it means they are super moist and tasty. I think this could be a great base for other vegan desserts, such as trifle.

You can also make this easy vegan chocolate cake a bit smaller -with two sponges and one layer of strawberries and ganache. Just calculate 2/3 of the recipe for sponges and ganache.

When all the chocolate sponges are baked and cooled, you can start assembling the cake.

How to make vegan chocolate ganache

Melt vegan dark chocolate with coconut-rice milk on a Bain-Marie or water bath. Just roughly chop 270 g of chocolate (or use vegan chocolate chips) and place it in a heat-proof bowl. Add 150 ml of vegan milk (0,6 cup). Place a small pot with a little bit of water on a small heat. Put a bowl with chocolate and milk on top, make sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Melt the chocolate, mixing with a spatula.

You can microwave milk with chocolate for 20 seconds 3 times, mixing with a spatula just until melted.

Set aside chocolate ganache to cool for 30-40 minutes, but don’t refrigerate. It will thicken, and it will be easier to spread on the vegan cake.

Save this easy vegan chocolate frosting recipe for your favorite vegan desserts.

Assembling

This is always a fun part! Carefully remove the baking paper from the chocolate sponge and place it on the cake stand or serving plate. Spread 1/3 of chocolate ganache on top. Cut strawberries and place them around the cake in one layer.

Repeat with another sponge and layer of ganache and strawberries. Put the 3rd chocolate sponge on top. Spread the ganache and let some of it drop around the edges. Make sure your cake is even from different corners. If not, you can insert more pieces of strawberries between the layers.

How to decorate chocolate cake

I’ve made simple raw decoration, using fresh strawberries. Moreover, I’ve added baby arugula leaves. They have savory peppery taste that I love in combination with sweet strawberries and chocolate. But green leaves are more for decoration than taste, so if you can definitely use some fresh mint or lemon balm leaves!

I also sprinkled some dried strawberries on top (and in between the layers, too). It is optional, but it gives more concentrated strawberry flavor and lovely color.

By the way, if you decide to make this cake for Easter, you can top it with colorful chocolate eggs!

How long does vegan chocolate cake last

Consume this chocolate cake for 5 days. You can eat every morning a piece of vegan cake. Just kidding. But it is really filling and energizing. Who doesn’t want to start the day with a healthier chocolate cake?

I’m sure you can also keep it in freezer for a month. However, I’m not sure about the texture of the cake after defrosting. Let me know, if you decide to freeze it!

Hope you will enjoy this easy vegan chocolate cake recipe! This is definitely one of the best chocolate cakes (and vegan desserts) to try. Moist, delicious and indulgent dessert.

Please share this chocolate cake with your vegan friends!

Vegan chocolate cake is just perfect for any Birthday, Easter or Christmas celebration. It is indulgent, moist and delicious. A beautiful treat for chocolate lover!

Author: Cooking Journey
Ingredients
For 3 vegan chocolate sponges:

415 g flour all-purpose
110 g cacao powder
50 g chai latte vegan
2, 5 tsp baking soda
1, 5 tsp baking powder
150 g Muscovado sugar
675 ml coconut-rice milk
240 g coconut oil melted
170 g sunflower oil
3 tsp vanilla extract
2,5 tsp grape vinegar

Vegan chocolate ganache:

270 g vegan dark chocolate
150 ml coconut milk
1 tsp coconut oil

For decoration:

500 g fresh strawberries
1 tbsp dried strawberry pieced optional
1 tbsp leaves mint, arugula or lemon balm

Instructions
Chocolate sponges:

Preheat oven to 325 F / 160 C. Layer 3 cake pans with parchment paper*
Sift flour, cacao, baking powder, soda and chai in a small bowl. Mix together.
In a big bowl add milk, oils, vanilla and vinegar. Whisk until combined. Sift in mixed dried ingredients in 2-3 batches. Combine well.
Add sugar and mix until combined.
Divide batter in three. Distribute batter to the prepared baking pans.
Bake each sponge for 20-25 minutes until inserted wooden skewer comes out with few crumbs on it.
Let the chocolate cake cool a little, then run the knife around the edges. And let it cool completely at room temperature on a wire rack.

Chocolate ganache:

Prepare Bain- Marie or water bath. Place a small pot with a little bit of water on a small heat.
Roughly chop dark chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl. Add vegan milk. Put a bowl with chocolate and milk on top of small pot with simmering water. Make sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water. Melt the chocolate, mixing with a spatula.
You can microwave milk with chocolate for 20 seconds 3 times, mixing with a spatula just until melted.
Let the chocolate ganache cool for 30-40 minutes, but don’t refrigerate.

Assembling

Carefully remove the baking paper from the chocolate sponge and place it on the cake stand or serving plate. Spread 1/3 of chocolate ganache on top. Cut strawberries and place them around the cake in one layer.
Repeat with another sponge and layer of ganache and strawberries. Put the 3rd chocolate sponge on top.
Spread the ganache and let some of it drop around the edges. Make sure your cake is even from different corners. If not, you can insert more pieces of strawberries between the layers.
Decorate with fresh strawberries, micro leaves and sprinkle dried strawberries.

Grandma B’s Cucumber Salad

Originally Published on Sweetlittlebluebird.com By Mary Neumann
Grandma B’s Cucumber Salad

Today I am sharing another childhood favorite, a summer tradition at my grandparents’ for each and every barbecue – Cucumber Salad! Crisp summer cucumbers and onions thinly sliced, marinated in a simple yummy vinegar, sugar and water dressing. A summertime favorite side dish.

Cucumber Salad – A traditional, old-school classic recipe. Refreshing, cool and crisp, perfect on hot summer days. This is the perfect side dish for any family gathering, picnic, BBQ or potluck – even better, it’s budget friendly! 

Every time my grandpa grilled steaks, burgers or hot dogs in the summer, this was always one of the side dishes. My great-grandma, (Grandma B), loved this salad, hence the name.

Over the years I have changed the recipe a smidgen, adding tomatoes and dill for another layer of flavor. I also like mixing in a little red onion along with a white or Vidalia onion.

Grandma B’s Cucumber Salad_2

Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best ones. This salad allows the garden fresh cucumbers and onions (and tomatoes) to shine.
I love lots and lots of dill in the salad (optional). Fresh dill weed is best, but dry dill weed works well too.

 

Ingredients
  • 2 large cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 small onion, sliced thin (use your favorite onion – Vidalia is great, sweet onion or white). I like to mix in a little red onion for color, I also love the taste.
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar (use less or more to your liking)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Optional

  • toss in fresh tomatoes (use your favorite – cherry, plum, fresh from the garden)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried dill or 3 teaspoons fresh dill weed
  • English cucumbers are great for this salad
Directions
Place sliced cucumbers and onions (tomatoes if you are using them) in a medium size bowl.
In a separate medium size bowl (or large 4 cup measuring cup), mix vinegar, water and sugar until sugar is dissolved.  Pour over veggies. If adding dill, toss in dill and mix well. Cover and place in fridge for two to three hours before serving.  Serve chilled. Salt and pepper to taste.  Enjoy!

 

 

meet-maryAbout Me

 

Hi, I’m Mary, the face behind the food blog Sweet Little Bluebird. I am married to a great guy from Northern California and we have two sweet girls. On my blog you will find my favorite recipes along with tried and trues from cherished cookbooks and admired sites and magazines. Each Friday, stop by for the Weekend Potluck party, a place where top food bloggers come to link up their best recipes.

 

10 Refreshing Infused Water Recipes (With Fruit & Herbs!)

Originally Published on Wellnessmama.com on January 23, 2019 By Katie Wells

10 Refreshing Infused Water Recipes With Fruit & Herbs!

Fruit-infused waters are a wonderful and refreshing drink option for summer when the sun is out, the kids are bored, and the bugs are biting.

TV commercials will try to convince you that only soda and processed drinks are thirst-quenching enough for summer. Of course, you probably already know better, but sometimes it is nice to have an alternative to plain water.

The market for sweetened, processed junk to add to water is a multi-billion dollar industry. This is unfortunate for all of the people drinking this junk. The body doesn’t need refined sugar, and it certainly doesn’t need artificial sweeteners or food dyes.

If you want to add some delicious taste and health benefits to water, try these fruit-water recipes instead! These recipes use micronutrient-rich herbs, fruits, and vegetables for thirst-quenching flavor with added benefits!

Why Fruit Infused Water?

Why not just drink juice or soda? Several reasons:

Better Flavor

I personally prefer the subtle flavors of infused water to the overly sweet flavor of most juices. Unlike juice, the flavor is gentle and very refreshing. There’s a reason high-end restaurants and spas serve infused waters like these!

Less Sugar

Most fruit juice also contains a lot of sugar. Even without added sugar, juice is a source of naturally occurring sugars and it is better to consume fruit whole so that you get the fiber, which helps slow down sugar absorption.

Hydration

Fruit-infused waters contain much of the flavor (or more) of fruit juices without the sugar, making it easier to drink more. Most people enjoy the taste of fruit waters, making them more likely to drink more water.

Variety is the spice of life, after all!

How to Make Fruit Infused Water

It is hard to even call infused water a recipe because it is so simple. My kids love making these infused water recipes on their own and even figure out new flavors.

There are a couple of tips that make the process easier and improve the taste:

Use a Good Pitcher

Using a high-quality glass pitcher really does improve the flavor of infused water. This also makes it much easier to serve and enjoy! There are several great options for pitchers or jars:

  • Glass Pitcher with Infusing Lid This pitcher is my absolute favorite because it is all glass with a stainless steel lid that keeps the fruit in the pitcher so it is easier to pour. It stores easily in the fridge for infused water on demand.
  • A half-gallon glass mason jar – A cheaper option is a half-gallon mason jar. I always have these around the house and use them for infused water and dozens of other things.

Use High-Quality Fruits and Herbs

The fruit and herbs are adding flavor to the water. But if they are not organic, they might be adding some unintended pesticides or chemicals. I always try to choose high-quality fresh organic produce for making infused waters to avoid the pesticides in much conventional produce. If you do have to use conventional produce, be sure to peel off the rind or skin before infusing, and/or wash with this easy fruit and vegetable rinse recipe.

If you grow to love fruit- and herb-infused water like I have, consider starting an indoor herb garden in your kitchen just for this purpose! Then fresh herbs are always only a pinch away.

Give It Time

For best flavor, it takes at least 4 hours or overnight in the refrigerator to let the flavors of the fruit infuse into the water. Some of the recipes below are written for a half-gallon jar, others for a gallon jar.

You can double or halve any of them to make more or less. Also, these recipes are just suggestions and fruit waters are based on your taste preferences, so experiment and enjoy!

If you drink the water within the first day, you can add more filtered water and re-infuse to get a second use out of the fruits and herbs.

Infused Water Recipes

Here are some of my favorite herb- and fruit-infused water recipes:

1. Cucumber Mint

Thinly slice one cucumber. Peel if it isn’t organic! Add the sliced cucumbers to a ½ gallon glass jar, add 8 muddled fresh mint leaves, and fill with filtered water. Stir gently and place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

2. Citrus Blueberry

Slice two organic oranges into thin slices (leave the rind on for better flavor). Add sliced oranges and 1 cup of blueberries to a gallon size glass jar. Add filtered water to fill the jar and stir gently. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours and store in refrigerator.

3. Pineapple Mint

One of my favorites! Peel and thinly slice about 1/4 of a pineapple. The more thinly sliced the pineapple, the more flavor it will infuse. Add to a ½ gallon size glass jar with 10-12 leaves of muddled fresh mint. Add filtered water to fill and stir gently. Store in refrigerator.

4. Watermelon Basil

Add about 2 cups of finely chopped fresh watermelon (without rind) to a gallon-size glass jar. Add 15 leaves of muddled basil and filtered water to fill. Store in refrigerator and allow at least 4 hours to infuse.

5. Strawberry Lemon

Like strawberry lemonade, but better! Add 15 fresh strawberries, washed and finely sliced to a ½ gallon glass jar. Add one sliced lemon with rind on. Fill with water. Stir gently and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight in refrigerator and enjoy.

6. Cherry Lime

Reminiscent of cherry limeade, minus the sugar coma. Add two cups of fresh cherries, cut in half, and one fresh lime, sliced into thin slices, to a gallon-size glass jar. Add water to fill. Mix gently and store in refrigerator until ready to drink.

7. Grapefruit Raspberry

Another one of my favorites! Add one grapefruit, thinly sliced with rind on, to a gallon-size glass jar. Then add ½ cup  slightly muddled fresh raspberries. Add water and mix well. Store in refrigerator for at least 4 hours before drinking.

8. Mango Pineapple

Peel and thinly slice one fresh mango. Add to ½ gallon glass jar. Add 1 cup of finely chopped pineapple and filtered water. Allow to infuse in the refrigerator for 4-6 hours before drinking.

9. Grape Orange

The hands-down kid favorite at our house. Place 2 cups of halved organic grapes into a gallon-size glass jar. Add one orange, thinly sliced with rind on. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor.

10 Refreshing Infused Water Recipes With Fruit & Herbs_2

10. Pineapple Basil

My husband’s favorite. Add ¼ of a sliced fresh pineapple and 15 leaves of muddled fresh basil to a half-gallon jar. Add filtered water. Infuse overnight and enjoy.

Have you ever made fruit-infused water? What is your favorite combination?

Crunchy Zucchini Fritters with Avocado Dill Dip (My Favorite Recipe)

Originally Published on healthy-holistic-living.com on January 24, 2018 By Michelle Toole

Crunchy Zucchini Fritters with Avocado Dill Dip My Favorite Recipe

If you’ve never had the chance to try zucchini fritters then this recipe is for you!

These fritters are unbelievably easy to make, low calorie, and the perfect way to sneak in some veggies! I’m warning you that this recipe will undoubtedly make your taste buds dance. They are jam-packed with all of the right flavors and they are healthy for you! It’s almost guaranteed that this will be a household favorite.   This will definitely please adults and children alike. Hope you Enjoy Your Zucchini Fritters!

Zucchini Fritters with Avocado Dill Dip

This dish is perfect to take on a picnic or to a potluck! All I can say about this dish is yum, yum. It is one of my all-time favorites!

Fritter Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 small ones)
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil we grow our own, but you can find it at any grocery store
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano ditto
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 organic eggs or Flax Egg
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • to taste salt
  • to taste pepper

Dip Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate zucchini. Place zucchini in a colander set in the sink and toss with 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let stand 10 minutes, and then wring zucchini dry in a clean kitchen towel to remove moisture. Place zucchini in a large bowl and gently mix in egg, garlic, basil, oregano, lemon zest, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well to combine. Slowly add flour, stirring so no lumps form.

  2. Heat 2 tablespoons coconut oil or olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until the oil sizzles when you drop a small amount of zucchini mixture into the pan. Carefully drop about 2 tablespoons zucchini mixture into pan; repeat, spacing fritters a few inches apart.

  3. Cook fritters until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Lower heat to medium. Turn fritters, and continue cooking until golden, 2 to 3 minutes more. Transfer fritters to a plate; set aside in a warm place. Cook remaining zucchini mixture, adding more oil to the pan if necessary.

Recipe Notes

If you want more veggies try adding a ½ cup of finely chopped kale or spinach!

Crunchy Zucchini Fritters with Avocado Dill Dip My Favorite Recipe_2

Michelle Toole

Michelle Toole is the founder and head editor of Healthy Holistic Living. Learn all about her life’s inspiration and journey to health and wellness.

Recipe: Creamy Vegan Queso Dip

Originally Published on Thekitchn.com on February 26, 2016 By Gina Eykemans

Recipe Creamy Vegan Queso Dip_1

Let’s be honest — thinking of vegan cheese substitutes leaves something to be desired. Maybe you’ve taken a peek at the vegan cheese options in the grocery stores or even dabbled in coaxing a couple hunks of almond cheese to melt atop slices of bread under the broiler. In my experience, that stuff does not melt and will leave your cheese dreams hopelessly shattered. So when coming up with a creamy vegan queso recipe, I wanted to make sure it was as good as the real thing! No shattered dreams here. We’re dreaming big with veggies, cashews, and a ton of spices — and it’s paying off by the chip-ful.

Recipe Creamy Vegan Queso Dip_2

My husband came into the kitchen while I was prepping the veggies for the queso dip. He asked me what I was making, and when I said, “Um, I’m making queso,” he gave me a quizzical glance and looked very skeptically at the piles of carrots and butternut squash I was chopping. “Where’s the cheese?” he asked. I broke the news that there would be no cheese in this queso. Eventually he gave up on trying to understand my cheese-less antics, and left the kitchen.

As I cooked the veggies with plenty of spices, I heard his voice yelling from the living room, “Oh, gosh. That smells really good!” So I knew I was on the right track. The softened vegetables went into my Vitamix with green chiles, salsa, cashews, almond milk, and a bunch of nutritional yeast to give it that cheesy flavor. The results were mind-blowing. I dipped a spoon in the finished product, tasted it, and smirked a little bit, knowing that this dip could fool any cheese-lover.

Recipe Creamy Vegan Queso Dip_3

I made up a party platter of vegan queso and chips, and called my husband in to the living room to help me “taste test.” After the first bite, we both descended on the dip like a couple of famished hyenas — occasionally stopping to tell each other, with full mouths, how much this dip tasted like the real thing.

Vegan Queso Dip

Makesabout 4 cups; serves about 16

Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoonsolive oil

 

    • 1/2large yellow onion, finely diced

 

    • 3cloves garlic, minced

 

    • 2large carrots, very finely chopped

 

    • 1cup thinly sliced butternut squash

 

    • 2 teaspoonskosher salt, divided

 

    • 1 teaspoonground cumin

 

    • 1/2 teaspoonchili powder

 

    • 1/4 teaspoonfreshly ground black pepper

 

    • 1 cuplow-sodium vegetable broth

 

    • 1(4-ounce) can green chiles, drained

 

    • 1 1/2 cupsunsweetened plain almond milk

 

    • 1raw cashews, soaked for 30 minutes or up to overnight and then drained

 

    • 1/4 cupnutritional yeast

 

    • 1/2 cupchunky tomato salsa or pico de gallo

 

  • 1 tablespoonapple cider vinegar

Optional toppings:

    • Chunky salsa or Rotel

 

    • Pickled jalapeños

 

    • Chopped cherry tomatoes

 

  • Cilantro
 

Instructions

    1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until the onions are soft and the garlic is fragrant.

 

    1. Add the carrots, butternut squash, 1 teaspoon of the salt, cumin, chili powder, and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for a couple of minutes. Add the vegetable broth and simmer, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft and tender. You want them to be soft enough to blend up in a blender without any problems.

 

    1. Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender. Add the green chiles, almond milk, drained cashews, nutritional yeast, salsa, vinegar, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Blend, scraping down the sides as needed, until the mixture has reached a thick and creamy consistency.

 

  1. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. If it’s cooled off, transfer to a saucepan and gently warm over low heat to desired temperature. Serve it in a bowl alongside tortilla chips and garnish it with your favorite toppings.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

 
 

Pour It On! Maple Syrup Is Good for You

Originally Published on Foodnetwork.com By Kiri Tannenbaum

Pour It On! Maple Syrup Is Good for You

In addition to its natural caramely sweetness, there’s one more reason to pour on the maple syrup: it’s actually good for you. Yes, pure maple syrup is not only high in antioxidants, but every spoonful offers nutrients like riboflavin, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium. According to Helen Thomas of the New York State Maple Association, maple syrup has a higher concentration of minerals and antioxidants, yet fewer calories than honey.“Everything the tree filters out from Mother Nature and all of the good minerals, antioxidants, and everything it is doing for the food for the tree, stays in the sugar,” explains Thomas. “[Sap] has complex components that are things we also need to stay healthy, just like the trees.”Other than syrup, maple comes in several forms such as maple sugar. You probably remember the leaf-shaped molded candy in the souvenir shops you visited on family road trips to New England. Or perhaps you have a maple producer at your local farmers market selling maple cotton candy or spreadable maple cream — a great topper on crackers with sharp cheddar cheese. A new phenomenon is maple water — pure sap as it comes from the tree. Proponents of this beverage say it is a great substitute for energy drinks to be consumed before, during and after workouts.

Pour It On! Maple Syrup Is Good for You_2Other than jazzing up whole grain pancakes and homemade waffles, or taking a sip before you go to the gym, how can you get more maple syrup in your diet? Try using maple syrup as a sweetener for coffee, tea (both hot and iced) in homemade sodas and lemonades. It works great to brighten up roasted autumn veggies like acorn or butternut squash, frozen organic berries, breakfast oatmeal or hot cereal, soups, salmon, chicken, ham, pulled pork, roast turkey, and is a perfect substitute for honey in salad dressings.

You can also use maple sugar in recipes that call for granulated sugar. “If you are using granulated maple sugar while baking,” says Thomas, “it is a 1:1 replacement.” However, the same does not hold true for substituting syrup for the sugar in the ingredients list. “If you use syrup, you need to take into account that you are adding additional liquid,” explains Thomas. “Basically, a cup of maple syrup has a 1/2 cup of water in it. If a recipe calls for 1 cup sugar, find the liquids in the recipe, and reduce the liquid, usually water or milk, so you get the same consistency.”Before grabbing that jug, look to see the label says “pure” maple syrup and be sure what you’ve got is from a single source. A farm’s label will ensure you have an artisan product and not a blended syrup. Maple syrup should be put in the refrigerator or freezer once opened and always kept as cold as possible. As long as it is tightly sealed, it can last for months, and even years. But we doubt it’ll take that long to polish it off. Go ahead and pour it on!Kiri Tannenbaum is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu Paris and holds an M.A. in food studies from New York University where she is currently an adjunct professor. When her schedule allows, she leads culinary walking tours in New York City and is currently at work on her first book. 

Can Being Bossy Save a Life?

It was 1999 in Bakersfield, CA. Lea went to visit her daughter, Gigi and after the long drive from Northern California to Kern County they decided to grab a bite to eat at a Chinese restaurant. They entered and sat at a booth with cool vinyl seats.

As they sat down waiting to place their order, Gigi who was a trained responder during emergency situations noticed a young family and the Mom was carrying a 3 month old swaddled baby. It was a multigenerational family and Gigi noticed that the baby was turning blue. The mom was patting the baby on the back but seemed completely oblivious to the fact that her baby was choking.

Lea had over 30 years experience as a nurse. She was the oldest of nine children plus had four of her own. Gigi knew that her mom was better able to deal with the situation than she was. After all Gigi was the youngest of 4 children, never had kids and knew that this situation really needed a professional.

Valerie’s mom Leonora

Gigi had experience being very bossy. When she told people to do stuff, they did it or else there was some kind of consequence. That’s just reality baby. So she did what any intelligent person would do, she said, “Mom that baby is choking, go over there and save it.”

Without blinking an eye, Lea stood up, walked over there and grabbed the baby from the young mom, turned it over on it’s stomach on her arm and gave the baby two good whacks to the back to its shoulder blades. Instantly the baby coughed up and started to cry. She gave the baby back to the mom and they cleaned up the baby and went on to eat their meal.

Lea went back to their table like a boss and it was like nothing happened. Gigi said, “Oh my, you saved that babies life and the parents don’t even realize what you did.” They started to laugh and Gigi told her mom, “You’re a hero Mom. You just saved that kids life.” She said, “I know.” She looked over and saw them enjoying their meal. She said, “Well I wouldn’t have known what to do if you hadn’t told me.”

Moral to the story, don’t be afraid to tell someone what to do if you know what needs to be done. If Lea wouldn’t have taken action, Gigi would have but all is well that ends well. Also Lea and Gigi got a lot of points from God for saving a life. God said, thanks, I got your back.

This is Lea (Eleanor) and Gigi (Valerie). This story is a factual story told in Third person but it really did happen. Valerie just wanted to write a lil short story. Thank God Lea didn’t start asking questions and she just followed orders. Guess being bossy comes in handy now and then.