Dessert Time – YoCream!!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!!

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Who doesn’t love ice cream??  We love ice cream at our house.  However, being plant-based makes having ice cream for dessert a bit more challenging.  We have tried our share of non-dairy ice creams on the market.  Store bought non-dairy ice creams can be expensive and disappointing.  The taste and texture can be just off.  I will say they are improving and I have found a few brands I enjoy. However, with the cost and all the ingredients I just find it better to make it as home! My kids love when we make it and you can let your creative juices flow with add-ins if you want.

I call it YoCream – it is a combination between frozen yogurt and ice cream.  This recipe makes enough for one standard ice cream maker. I have a Kitchen Aid with the ice cream attachment.

Erin’s YoCream

2 – 5.3 oz. containers of Silk vanilla yogurt

1 – small container (pint size) of Silk soy vanilla creamer

1/3 cup of organic soy milk

1/2 cup of organic sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

pinch of sea salt

 

Instructions:

Place all the ingredients in blender.  There should be approximately 34 oz. of liquid ice cream mix in the blender.  Blend!! Then place the liquid ice cream mix in the ice cream maker and turn on.  My Kitchen Aid processed for 35 minutes.  I then transferred it to a glass container and placed in the freezer overnight so that it would harden more.  You could eat immediately if you like your non-dairy ice cream like a soft serve consistency.

Most ice cream makers need to be frozen before use.  I just take it out of the freezer when ready to make ice cream and place it back when done so it is always ready to whip up my own non-dairy ice cream.

How do we enjoy our YoCream –

Ben likes it au natural – Straight vanilla! He is a purist! LOL!

Jolie likes it with a little melted chocolate chips (melt in the microwave with a dash of vanilla non-dairy milk)

The rest of us like it with a little melted chocolate chips and melted peanut butter.

Hope you enjoy my YoCream!! Would love to hear if you enjoy it!!

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Lunch Time – Egg-less Salad

Let me start with my kids LOVE Egg-less Salad!

What is egg-less salad you ask.  It is tofu made to taste similar to egg salad.  This is a lunch time staple in our house.  The kids would really eat it everyday if I let them.  You can serve this on whole wheat bread as a sandwich, on a tortilla as a wrap, crackers, you name it! It is delicious!

Erin's Egg-less Salad
Erin’s Egg-less Salad

Erin’s Egg-Less Salad

Makes approximately 6-7 sandwiches

1 block of organic extra firm tofu

1/2 cup of vegan mayo (I use Just Mayo – we love this brand)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1/2 teaspoon parsley flakes

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 black salt (Kala Namak, Indian Black Salt)

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

Instructions:

Squeeze out the water from the block of tofu.  I put the block between two clean kitchen towels or paper towels and press out the water. Put the tofu in your mixing bowl and crumble, I use my fingers and just make sure there are no big pieces.  Then mix in the vegan mayo and Dijon mustard.  Once evenly distributed mix in the seasonings.

Serve on bread, rolls, wraps or whatever you would like.  It makes approximately 6 to 7 sandwiches depending on how thick you like the salad on your bread.  Enjoy!!Kala Namak

Calm Down…We Get Enough Protein

Protein!!! Fiber!! Fat!! B12!! OH MY!!

Lets start with PLANTS HAVE PROTEIN! There is protein in broccoli and protein in beans….protein, protein, protein!!!

Why is it that once you tell someone you are plant-based they have a degree in nutrition and feel the need to tell you that your diet is lacking in some capacity or another.  What is funny about being questioned about your diet is that most of the time the people questioning do not have an understanding of proper nutrition and are themselves eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) which is more often than not lacking in nutrition.

Recently, hubby was at a doctor appointment and he mentioned being plant-based.  The doctor implied that there was no way that nutrition needs could be met eating a strict vegetarian diet.  What most people do not realize about this is that most doctors have very little education in nutrition.  I feel when nutrition advice is given by a doctor it is just their opinion and not based in real facts.  If they had a degree in nutrition I would give it more weight but most do not have a nutrition degree.  It is also my opinion that many registered dietitians are often to swayed by the government and what they say is a proper diet.  And we all know the government is controlled by major corporations.  We all know that major corporations do not have the best interest of the people in mind, it is only about money not about what is actually healthy.

Obviously, I disagree with my husband’s doctor and so did my husband.  There are many doctors that support a plant-based diet and even endorse it.  I do cover my butt and we all take a multi-vitamin every couple days as well as a B12 supplement.  It is my opinion that unless you eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day you should supplement with a good multi-vitamin.

To get an idea as to how much protein a child should get every day I have done a lot of reading and most suggest that babies should be around 10 grams a day; children between 4 and 9 (where my little ones are) should be around 19 grams; children 9 to 13 should be around 34 grams.   As children get older their needs will change, boys between 14 to 18 should get around 52 grams and girls around 46 grams.  When you are in your adult years men should get around 56 grams and women should be around 46 grams except for when they are pregnant or breastfeeding when they should increase.

I want to share with everyone some ways that we get our protein since that is ALWAYS a topic of conversation.

Breakfast Ideas:

Oats – Most days its oats! Did you know that rolled oats have 5 grams of protein per 1/2 cup.  Ben eats at least 1 cups most days for breakfast, that is 10 grams of protein in just his bowl of cereal.  Now if you add organic soy milk for 6 grams of protein he has almost got a full day of protein.

Tofu Scramble – this is similar to scrambled eggs but without the eggs! Tofu is high in protein.  I use firm or extra firm tofu which has 8 grams of protein for 3 oz. and my kids can easily eat 6 oz of tofu scramble.  Mix in some veggies and some whole grain toast! You have not only added more protein you have made a great meal.

Yogurt with Fruit and Oats – the organic soy yogurt I purchase is Stonyfield which has 7 grams of protein in the vanilla yogurt.  Add some oats and you can get to 10 grams easily.

Lunch Ideas:

Eggless Salad – this is a kid favorite! My kids would easily eat this everyday if I let them.  Again, 3 oz. of extra firm tofu has 8 grams of protein.  Add the whole grain bread for another 6 grams of protein! That is a plant-based protein packed lunch!  Recipe will be shared in my lunch category.

PB & J – this is a no-brainer! My kids love PB & J and I am super happy our school still allows peanut butter.  Peanut butter has  8 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons.  Use a whole grain bread for another 6 grams of protein.  This is plant-strong!

Pasta Salad with veggies – a serving of pasta can have 6 grams of protein add a cup of broccoli for another 2.5 grams of protein.

Dinner Ideas:

Taco Night – this is a winner.  My Jolie loves tacos! She eats at least 3 sometimes 4! When I make tacos I use TVP (textured vegetable protein). There is 12 grams of protein in 1/4 cup of TVP.

Veggie Fried Rice – this is an easy weeknight meal.  Using organic brown rice at 6 grams of protein per half cup.  Add in your veggies like broccoli and peas and you have added more protein.

Chili or Bean Burgers – pretty much anything with a bean! Beans are great! Beans are a great source of protein with around 6 to 9 grams of protein depending on the bean.

I just wanted to share some of the things we eat.  As you can see my hubby’s doctor can relax we get plenty of protein. I am sure we get plenty of most nutrients.  My family is thriving on a plant-based diet.

Different Protein Sources
Different Protein Sources

Sunday Night Dinner – Sloppy Joes & Crispy Polenta Fries

Sloppy Joes & Crispy Polenta Fries

Here we go, it is Sunday! This is my day to cook and explore new plant-based recipes.  My family really enjoys leftovers and I enjoy an easy meal in the middle of my week so I am going to double this recipe.  Today I am going to make a family favorite, Sloppy Joes.  This is a great meal to transition into meatless meals.  It is also pretty affordable. In my plant-based Sloppy Joes I use textured vegetable protein also known as TVP.  I love to use TVP for meals that would have had ground beef.  It translates very well in dishes like Sloppy Joes.  A bag of TVP is really cheap, it costs me at my regular grocery store $2.49 for a 10 ounce bag.  I can often get 2 meals out of a bag, it just depends on what I am making because the TVP increases in size when cooked. Textured vegetable protein (TVP) is defatted soy flour.  All you have to do is rehydrate it, most of the time I use water or vegetable broth.  TVP is a great ingredient to have on hand for quick, affordable plant-based meals.

TVP

My Sloppy Joe recipe was inspired by a recipe I found online from Hell Yeah Its Vegan, it is here if you want to check it out .  I have altered the recipe for my needs.  I like to reduce the oil if I feel it is not necessary and I also like to use the ingredients I have on hand.  When I first made this I did a little changing and here is my crockpot recipe. Sloppy Joes – serving size approximately 16 (depends on how much you put on buns or if you open face the sandwiches) 1 onion, diced small 1 green pepper, diced small 4 tsp. chili powder 1 1/4 tsp. garlic powder 1 tsp. Dijon mustard 1 – 10 oz. bag of Bob’s Red Mill TVP 3 1/2 cups of water 1 3/4 cups ketchup (look for one that is organic or no high fructose corn syrup) 2 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce 16 hamburger buns (I try to get hamburger buns from the bakery if they have them) Dice your green peppers and onions into small pieces.  Put them in the bottom of the crockpot.  Pour in your bag of TVP.  Mix in your remaining ingredients.  Stir well so that all the ingredients are evenly distributed and the veggies are mixed through out.  Cook on low for 5 to 6 hours until veggies and TVP are soft.

Sloppy Joes in Crock Pot - Plant-Based

Sloppy Joes: Before cooking

Sloppy Joes - Plant-Based - Finished

Sloppy Joes – Finished

Crispy Polenta Fries 4 cups water 2 cups of Bob’s Red Mill Polenta 1/3 cup of nutritional yeast 2 tsp. salt Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil.  Once boiling combine the polenta slowly and whisk to combine.  Continue to whisk and add the nutritional yeast and salt.  Let thicken, constant whisking is a must.  Once thick spread the polenta in a thin layer on a baking sheet that that been greased.  I used coconut oil.  Put the polenta in the refrigerator to cool.  Once the polenta is cooled cut into fries.  Place polenta fries on greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees, flipping once until crispy approximately 15 – 20 minutes.  I serve with a homemade sauce (ketchup, vegan mayo and seasonings), marinara or ketchup. IMG_2766

Sunday Night Dinner – Baked Penne

Baked Penne and Brussel Sprouts

It is Sunday and the one day of the week that I am usually not running doing a errands.  This makes Sunday my big meal night. The day that I will make a plant-based meal that may take more time than a weeknight meal.  I also like make a big enough meal that I can use it for leftovers, especially during baseball season.

This Sunday’s plant-based meal was Baked Penne with Spinach with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts.  Delicious!  We used to hate brussel sprouts.  That was before I learned that we LOVE roasted brussel sprouts.  Brussel sprouts are not every one of my kids favorite vegetable but the twins absolutely love them.  Jolie will beg for them in the store and will rush to get seconds if there are seconds to be had.  As a mom you have to love that!

I cook for a family of six with leftovers in mind so please feel free to cut the portions in half if your family is smaller or you do not eat leftovers.  We enjoy leftovers especially due to our busy schedules during the week.  It is nice to have a homemade plant-based meal that takes a few minutes to prepare during the week.

 

Plant-Based Baked Penne

Baked Penne with Spinach

Family Size: extra large baking dish

3 – 16 oz. boxes of organic penne, boiled as instructed on package

1 – Simple Marinara

1 – 10 oz. bag of frozen organic chopped spinach

1 – Tofu Ricotta

Vegan Parm, such as Go Veggie

Simple Marinara

3 – 33.5 oz. boxes of Hunt’s Tomato Sauce

2 tsp. sea salt

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, minced

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 tsp. basil, dried

2 tbsp. organic sugar

Mix the tomato sauce with all the ingredients in a large saucepan.  Allow the sauce to warm over a medium-low heat.

Tofu Ricotta

Tofu Ricotta

2 – 16 oz. organic extra firm tofu

2 tbsp. olive oil

4 cloves of garlic

2/3 cup of nutritional yeast

2 tsp. sea salt

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. basil, dried

1 tsp. oregano, dried

Place all ingredients in a blender.  Blend until smooth.  You may need to use a rubber spatula to scrap the sides and continue to blend.  Finish product should be smooth and creamy.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In large baked dish, I used a large roasting pan.  Put your cooked penne in the dish. Mix the spinach through the pasta.  When the spinach is evenly distributed mix the marinara and then the tofu ricotta through the pasta until evenly distributed.  Top with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and vegan parm.  Cover the top with foil.  Bake for 30 minutes until completely warm, remove foil for 10 minutes to crisp top if desired.  You could eat immediately without crisping top.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Brussel sprouts

Sea salt

Pepper

Ms. Dash – Garlic Blend

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.  I used olive oil spray.  Spritz your veggies with a bit of olive oil spray and drizzle a small amount of olive oil on your veggies, just enough that the seasonings will stick.  Sprinkle your veggies with your seasonings, lightly.  Do not over season.  You can always add more when finished if you like more.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.  Veggies should be crisp and slightly browned.

Erin’s tip – I roasted the brussel sprouts at 400 degrees while I was prepping the baked penne and when they were done I took them out, turned the oven down to 350 degrees, baked the pasta and then returned the veggies to the oven to reheat during the last 10 minutes of baking the pasta.

Enjoy!!!

 

 

 

 

 

To Soy or Not to Soy

Even though we are plant-based I try to keep our meatless meals as close to the meals we ate before we made our transition. I always laugh when people ask me about the food we eat. For some reason they feel I make crazy concoctions or use strange ingredients. I do admit I use some different ingredients that many people may not be familiar with such as textured vegetable protein or nutritional yeast but I assure you they are all in my local grocery store and most are very normal.

We use organic tofu on some occasions. It can be great if prepared properly. My kids love it.  However, it really needs to be prepared well.  It took time to learn how to use it in a way we enjoyed eating it.  I also learned that I could not trust my thinking that getting tofu at a restaurant would mean that I would like it, I have had some really bad tofu dishes while eating out.

I get asked a lot about the safety of eating soy products.  I have done my research on soy and feel organic, non-GMO soy products are very safe to eat. Soy products contain natural isoflavones which have been proven to reduce the risk of cancer in both women and men. My only concern are for people that are on thyroid medication, if you are on thyroid medication you should consult your doctor because it can interfere with absorption. However, it does not appear to have adverse effects on the thyroid gland.

If you are going to incorporate soy in your family’s diet I would suggest organic, non-GMO products and to avoid concentrated soy proteins. We like to use organic tofu, tempeh and TVP (textured vegetable protein) in a lot of our meals.  I will share with you some of our family favorites that include soy like Eggless Salad, Baked Tofu, Lasagna and more.