Homemade Vegan Gluten Free Oreos

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Homemade Vegan Gluten Free Oreos

I have to start this by saying, this isn’t a healthy recipe. I’ve veganized and made gluten free a childhood favorite that was OFTEN made around Christmas time. I loved these things! The last several years I have made them during Christmas time and always get very positive feedback on them.
What can I say, they are really good! Again, not healthy, just uses ingredients that are a bit better for you, edible by people with gluten sensitivities and no animals had to get hurt in the process. Wins all around!


So, I’m FINALLY posting the recipe!


I haven’t wanted to share it for a few reasons. One would be that I haven’t found a good vegan store bought cream cheese that doesn’t use soy. Daiya makes one but it makes your frosting taste weird. I’ve tried it. I’m really hoping that since Follow Your Heart has been making so many things soy-free lately, they will change their cream cheese recipe as well. Not at this point.


So, remember, this is a conversion recipe (not my favorite thing to do) so, there are a few things that if you happened to be an egg eater because maybe you have your own chickens and wanted to use those, you could. If you don’t want it to be gluten free, you don’t have to. But I know the consistency would change. I will make some edit notes at the bottom, so if you look at the recipe and don’t want to follow it, check out my notes at the bottom.

cookies paired up waiting for frosting/filling

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Cookie:
2 Gluten Free Chocolate Cake Mixes (I like to use 2 different brands, just to give it a little depth. Bob’s Red Mill is a good one)
3/4 cup vegan butter (I used Earth Balance soy-free sticks)
3/4 cup unrefined coconut oil, softened
*6 Tbs aqua faba (Chickpea liquid)
**2 tsp The Vegg Egg Replacer
**1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp vanilla extract

Cookie Directions:
I highly recommend using a stand mixer. Mix the vegan butter and coconut oil with the aqua faba, The Vegg & water for at least 3 min until they are blended. Slowly add in half of one cake mix and blend it in before going on to the rest of the mix and onto the next one. This helps it so you don’t get a puff of chocolate powder all over the kitchen.

Scoop dough into 1-2Tbs balls and place on a cookie sheet, flatten down slightly. They will flatten out using the ingredients in the recipe, so make sure there is space between them.

Bake at 350F for 8-10min.  If you have a gas oven it will be much closer to 10 (with 2tbs of dough for each cookie) whereas of you have an electric oven, less time is needed.
Allow to cool for several hours minimum. I’ve found it best if I let them cool for an hour, pair them off and put them in the fridge to sit for a day before I frost them. The cookies respond very well to being in the fridge, they are firmer and hold together better.

Frosting:
1, 8oz container of plain vegan cream cheese (Tofutti or Follow Your Heart I’ve found to be the best) left out to soften for at least 20 min
1/4 cup vegan butter (like earth balance) also left out to soften
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract (if you want to make mint frosting add 2 tsp peppermint extract. I usually split my batch and add 1 tsp and some red food coloring)
–1 Tbs nondairy milk, if needed only if frosting is very dry (I’ve never needed it while making the vegan version)

Frosting Directions:
In a mixer using a whisk attachment OR using handheld beaters mix together the vegan cream cheese and vegan butter. Once they are completely blended, slowly, and I mean slowly, add in powdered sugar. I usually do it about 1/4 cup at a time, let it mix in completely and then add in another 1/4 cup and repeat.
Frosting should be thick enough than it doesn’t all drip off the beater. Refrigerate for 30+ minutes.

Cookie + Frosting (Combination) Directions:
Take the paired off cooled down (preferably cold) cookies and use 1-2 tbs frosting between the two cookies. Press down on the two cookies slightly to make the frosting slide most of the way toward the edges. When the cookies sit and warm up, they will spread more. If you aren’t eating them immediately, I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend storing them in the fridge, even if it’s just for 30 minutes. It will help the cookies set up and make it so the frosting doesn’t squish out quite so much. Helps them travel much better if you are bringing them somewhere.

NOTES: 
GLUTEN FREE: If you don’t want to use gluten free chocolate cake mix, you can use it’s gluten counterpart, but will likely have to make HALF the fat (butter/coconut oil) be from plant based shortening so that it will hold up better. Otherwise the cookies will spread more.

*AQUA FABA: I like using 2 different types of egg subs to have it hold together in different ways. I promise it won’t taste anything like beans by using the chickpea brine, don’t be afraid of it! But if you really don’t want to, you can use whatever your other favorite egg replacer is.

**THE VEGG: swap easily for a flax egg (1 tbs ground flax blended with 3 tbs warm water). I haven’t tried, but would imagine VeganEgg would work as well, but I believe you will have to cook the cookies a lot longer. All of my experiences with VeganEgg have required 1.5-2x’s the normal cooking time

**For those of you that prefer to use eggs, you can skip the Aqua Faba & The Vegg and use 4 eggs in their place.

 

Happy eating!!

amber chakras black

 

Vegetable Soup

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Vegetable Soup

It’s a rare rare thing when I get the desire for soup. I’m not a soup gal, never have been. However I do love my veggies and something nice and warm. This isn’t really the traditional soup. It has a bit of a curry flair to it since it has turmeric in it. You know how good turmeric and ginger are for inflammation? Excellent!! Plus all these veggies?! Can’t go wrong. The taste is great too!

Oh and speaking of turmeric, if you use a spoon that isn’t metal or stain resistant, you will have a spoon that is orange on the bottom. Consider yourself warned!

Also, if there are some vegetables you don’t like in this, don’t add them! It’s a really flexible recipe. I’ve made it with butternut squash in, also with no cauliflower or broccoli. I’ve tossed in some lentils or quinoa or even bean sprouts. Have fun!!

My picture is after I had let the soup sit for several hours and I had it again for dinner. So the colors started meld together a lot more.



1 onion, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 Tbs coconut oil (if you don’t have any, I’ve used olive oil in place & its fine)
1 large zucchini, diced
2 carrots, diced
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3 celery stalks, chopped
1 cup cauliflower broken in small pieces
4 cups low sodium vegetable broth
1 cup broccoli broken in small pieces
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 cup shredded collard greens or kale
1 cup almond-coconut milk (or coconut milk beverage)
3 Tbs coconut butter
1/2 lime, juiced
2 tsp cumin powder
1 Tbs coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 tsp turmeric powder
1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped (or 3 tsp ginger powder)
dash of cayenne pepper
1 tsp sea salt
2 green onions, finely sliced, divided in half
3 Tbs fresh mint, finely sliced (you can use fresh basil or cilantro instead)

In a medium-large pot saute onion, garlic carrot and red pepper in coconut oil.
Cook until onions become clear, then add the broth, heat to a low simmer.
Now add the zucchini, celery, and cauliflower simmer (low) until they are only slightly tender.
Next put in the almond-coconut milk or whatever nondairy milk you prefer to use, along with the coconut butter.
Now add in the broccoli, cabbage and whatever green you chose. Shortly after it’s time for the lime juice, cumin, salt, aminos, turmeric, ginger and half of the sliced green onions. Stir all together until spiced are dissolved.
Mix in well, then turn off the heat, sprinkle in cayenne pepper. If you like it hot, you can add more cayenne.
Allow to sit for 5 min. Serve and garnish green onion and mint.

Hint: If you like something to taste more like garlic, add the garlic closer to the end. The longer it cooks, the less potent the taste is. Same goes for if you are using fresh gingerroot. Sometimes I do the majority in the beginning and then add another little bit before the ending.

-Amber

Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding

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Pumpkin Pie Bread Pudding

Can’t let some good (not cheap) plant based gluten free bread go to waste! Plus since the first time I tried some of this bread as toast, I thought about how it would be perfect for a bread pudding. So I did a good amount of bread pudding research, both vegan and not. I discovered, most traditional ones had way too much oil and way too much sugar for my liking. Luckily when I looked into pumpkin bread pudding, the oil was reduced. But I did it with minimal oil. I think you could almost omit it if you were trying to do things oil free.

I found this awesome plant based gluten free bread from Little Northern Bakehouse at Sprouts in the refrigeratorated bread section, it’s also at Mother’s Market if you are in Southern California. The best vegan gluten free bread I’ve had from a store. 



6 pieces of stale bread, ripped into small chunks

3/4 Cup Pumpkin (cooked)
1/2 Cup Coconut Sugar
2 TBS Coconut Oil (softened)
*4 TBS Aqua Faba (chickpea water)
1/2 TBS Pumpkin Pie Spice
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 Cup Maple Syrup
3/4 Cup Nondairy Milk of choice

Optional Chocolate Drizzle
1/3 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/2-1 TBS nondairy milk
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

*Aqua Faba is the water/liquid that is drained from a can of chickpeas, it works as an excellent egg replacement that has no taste.

Directions
Heat oven to 350 F.
Place bread chunks into a glass pie container or square pan, a brownie (rectangle) pan will likely be too big. If the bread it’s stale, you can leave it out for a few hours and it will help it get stale, or you can stick it in the oven for 8-10 min (at 350) to help dry it out some.
In a separate bowl combine ingredients from pumpkin through cinnamon. After they are combined then add the maple syrup and nondairy milk. This just makes it so that the coconut oil doesn’t clump up.
Once all mixed, pour over the top of the torn pieces of bread. I like to make sure all of the bread has been coated with the pumpkin liquid, but isn’t all underneath it.
Bake for 45-50 min or until top has sufficiently browned.

For the optional chocolate drizzle:
While pumpkin pie bread pudding is in the oven, get a cereal size bowl half way full of water and microwave it for 1 min. Don’t worry, you aren’t going to be using it for anything other than a heat source. In a smaller bowl (to fit inside the cereal bowl) place chocolate chips and other ingredients. Take that bowl and allow it to be surrounded by hot microwaved water, just make sure there isn’t too much water that it will come into the smaller bowl. If there is, pour some out. Let the chocolate mix sit for a couple minutes to give the chocolate time to melt. You may want to even just set it on the stove while the bread pudding is cooking. After a few min, softly stir the chocolate around so it starts to mix together. If you have to take it out of the larger bowl so water doesn’t get in, that’s fine but know it will cool it down, so you will have to put it back quickly. I make sure there isn’t too much water but that my small bowl is surrounded, and then just keep stirring. Takes like 2 min (maybe more if you have big chocolate chips) and you have a chocolate sauce that you didn’t have to worry about burning on the bottom of a pot.

After you take the pumpkin pie bread pudding out of the oven, allow to cool for at least 5 min and then add drizzle if you are adding it. If not, it would be served will with coconut whipped cream or nondairy ice cream. But I happen to think it’s great alone as well!!

-Amber

Cherry Watermelony Cocktail

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🍉 There was a Watermelon eating contest at work last week and there was one melon leftover, so I took it home! 🍉

I decided to make Watermelon (ball) Salad. In it was Quiona, cucumbers, purple onions, squeeze of lime, some mint and drizzle of balsamic reduction. I still ended up having leftover watermelon after that salad! Then I thought, juice ’em! Then I can enjoy it tomorrow after yoga.

Watermelon, lime and chia seeds.

Then… another idea popped up…

Use that juice to make a Cherry Watermelony Cocktail?!

I say YES! 🍉

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 Ingredients

16 oz Watermelon Juice (I made my 36 oz. of juice from 1/2 of a watermelon, 1 lime and several mint sprigs)
3 Lime Wedges
Several of sprigs of mint
2 shots of 360 Cherry Vodka
Ice

 

To assemble:

If you don’t make the watermelon juice yourself with mint, take a few mint springs and muddle them in your cup. Then squeeze of two lime wedges, toss in 4 ice cubes with two shot of cherry vodka. Fill the rest of the way with Watermelon Juice. Garnish with Lime Wedge and Mint. See picture below 😍

 

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Restaurant Review: Mi Ranchito Grill

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Mi Ranchito Grill is Mexican Restaurant along with Buffet, they have three locations, but only provide the Vegan at their Salt Lake City Location: 3600 South State Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84115
They only serve the 100% Vegan Mexican Buffet on Fridays from 5:00-10:00P and offer a Vegan Menu (not buffet) on Mondays to Fridays. The buffet doesn’t have the exact same items every week, so that keeps it fun.

What we’ve seen there. 

Homemade Tortillas, Chips, Chikn Enchiladas, Meatless Enchiladas, Cheeseless Enchiladas, Spanich Rice, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, Corn on Cob, Grilled Portobello Steaks, Vegan Tortas, No Fish Taco, Vegan Pupusas, Mulitas, Vegan Pozoles soup, Tortilla soup, Taquitos, custom build of Nachos, Burritos, or Tacos, Chile Rellenos,

Fruit and Salad Bar: melon, pineapple, oranges, honeydew, pasta salad, Vegan Ceviche, green salad (two Vegan Dressings from Follow Your Heart) Salsa, Guacamole, cilantro, red onions,

Desserts: Vegan Tes Leches Cake, Dessert Tamales: Strawberry or Pineapple, Rice Pudding with Soy Milk, Flan, Vegan “Nice” Cream Sandwich, Ice Cream, Layered Tres Leches Cake, and Ice Cream!

There is several Gluten Free and Soy Free options, just ask Victor Ivan Barragan Razo, Winner of PETA’s Sexiest Vegan 2015 and he will happy to show to you!! He got this vegan buffet up and going, his baby. 

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Copycat Suja Fuel Juice

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Copycat Suja Fuel Juice

This juice is one of my husband’s favorite juices. Any time we buy Suja’s juices, this one has to be in the mix. So, of course, a copycat was in order. I changed it a tiny bit from their recipe, just because I like to do a little less sugar, although it’s not super crazy. Sometimes I am not able to find fresh turmeric root, so I go with just ginger. Suja’s Fuel uses turmeric and no ginger.

Yield 30 oz juice

10 medium-large carrots
1 large orange, peeled
½ large green apple
½ large lemon, peeled
chunk of pineapple, about ¼ cup
1 inch piece of ginger root and/or turmeric root

 

Send all the stuff through your juicer and enjoy!!

 

amber chakras black

Beet Dip

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I want to share with you what I’ve learned about Beets…. My mom and I went to the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning. I had to purchased some beets to satisfy my insane craving for Beet & Walnut Dip like they make at Zest. (http://www.zestslc.com/) I had it over Mother’s Day weekend.

We talked with a farmer who was selling beets.  We asked why they all are different sizes and if that made any impact or difference.  He told us that the small beets are sweeter than big beets. The big beets are more tart and earthly.

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Preheat oven at 400 degrees

6 small/medium beets: washed, peeled, and dried. Wrap them in foil and bake for an hour till they are tender and easy to poke with a fork.

3/4 cup of walnuts: toast them on medium heat, keep eye on it so they don’t burn!

In your blender:
2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
3 Garlic Cloves (4 if they are small)
3 Tbsp fresh squeezed of Orange Juice (I used my juicer! But, Any orange squeezer works)
1/4 tsp of Pepper and Salt
4 TBSP Tahini
1/2 tsp of Cane Sugar, Optional

Black and White Sesame Seeds, Sprinkle.

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My work provided lunch from Apple Spice Junction, so I ordered Vegetarian sandwich and omitted the cheese and mayo. I remembered that I have Beet Dip in the fridge, I knew that I had to use it as spread to add more flavor and exciting color… oh my, it was amazing!

My mama ate it straight out of the bowl with spoon like she does with hummus.

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Not only that, I also created Sushi and Pizza with it!

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#JuiceMonday

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Juice Monday

Basic Definition: Only drinking veggie-fruit juices on Monday(s), no eating/chewing.

Tips & Suggestions

Doing a one day juice cleanse once a week is easier than doing a three or four day juice cleanse once a month. It’s a great start for your week too, get things going off on the right foot. Having done #JuiceMonday for almost two years now, I have had a bunch of different experiences and can give my words of wisdom.

  • Cleanses are generally 6 different juices. Try and make it so you have 2 hours or more between juices. Between juices try and drink another 2 cups of water. You FEEL like you are hydrating enough, because you are just drinking all day, but try and think of the juices as food rather than hydration. Yes, you will be going to the bathroom a lot. It’s a cleanse, you want to be cleaned. The water helps you not feel starved as well.
  • Most cleanses end with a ‘dessert’ type juice that is a form of nut milk. It’s your heaviest drink with the most calories by far. I’ve found that I need to have it split in half at least. It tastes good, but is very filling. You don’t realize how filling for a few minutes though. To help with that I usually drink it in 1/4ths or 1/3rds and wait at least 20 min between. Drinking the last part and going to bed immediately following hasn’t fared me well. Needs to be some digestion time. In actuality, I don’t always finish the nut milk/dessert juice because it’s so much. I happily save the other half for some time later in the week.
  • Juices with added charcoal are popular currently. I love them. If you take medication, make sure not to take it within 40 min of drinking this one. Charcoal absorbs things and will make your medication less effective.
  • If you have a lot of traveling that is going to be done on a juice day, I recommend putting your juice in the freezer for a couple hours before you head out. It won’t freeze it through, but will give it some ice crystals and make it colder. Then put them in a cooler bag with hopefully some freezer packs and be on your way. If it’s a warm day out, just bring the cooler bag indoors with you when you go inside. Many gym lockers have held my cooler bags filled with juice.

FAQ

So you don’t eat anything?  No actual solid food. That’s correct. Just the juices and water. You will get enough calories and nutrients from the juices.

Is this just to lose weight? Nope, not just to lose weight. Generally weight loss happens in the process, and your belly gets flatter, but that isn’t the only reason for it. You end up consuming way more produce on juice day than you almost ever would on a typical day. I eat a lot of produce, but this is like getting a shot of it. Your RDA (recommended daily amounts) of vitamins and minerals are off the charts!

What kind of juice? Cold Pressed (non pasteurized) fruit and veggie juice. Preferably more vegetables than fruit. You want as much nutrients as possible without sugar over dosing yourself, like if you just drank apple and orange juice all day. Whoa sugar!  Cold pressed juice doesn’t last as long as the pasteurized stuff, for good reason, it’s got a bunch more of the good stuff in it. It wasn’t killed in the sterilization and stabilization process. It’s unheated and left to give its goodness to you when you drink it.

Where can I get it? First off, if you haven’t done a full day juice cleanse before, I wouldn’t recommend going out and buying a juicer to do so. I highly recommend buying at least a one day cleanse from somewhere. So, where? Some of the places I get mine when I’m lazy and don’t make them myself (there are plenty out there, I just haven’t tried them all)…

In California, Phoenix and Las Vegas (and some TX): Pressed Juicery or Nekter Juice Bar

In Utah: Vive Juicery

Online all of these places ship throughout the US: Suja Juice www.sujajuice.com Pressed Juicery www.pressedjuicery.com Nekter Juice Bar www.nekter.com

 

Will I starve? No, you won’t starve. You get plenty of nutrition. The real test is the test of your will. To not eat/chew is generally the most difficult part of juice cleanses. It’s a habit to eat, especially if you are an emotional eater or a situational eater. Juice cleanses help break that. Just know that while doing a juice cleanse you are likely going to be getting WAY more nutrients than you do from your normal diet. A recent cleanse I did, one of my juices had 6170% of the RDA for Vitamin C in it. That was just ONE bottle of juice, and in that bottle had 880% of Vitamin K. Point being, pllllllenty of nutrients.

Can I take my medicine still? Absolutely! The only caveat would be if you have a juice that has charcoal in it (it will say in the ingredients list, plus the juice will be almost black). Charcoal is an amazing detoxifier and it sucks up stuff. In turn it will make your medication less effective if you take it around the time that you drink that. Just space it out at least 30 min from any medication or supplements.  

Happy Juicing!

Long Live #JuiceMonday

Here are some pics of historic juice Monday’s.

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amber chakras black

 

Creamy Mango Vinaigrette

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Creamy Mango Dressing two ways. First Mango Orange, which is a bit sweeter and creamier. It doesn’t taste like orange though, just bright cheery mango dressing. The Mango Lime is a great vinaigrette that has just the right amount of sweet with a nice amount of tart. It doesn’t taste like lime, it has more of a blended vinaigrette with some sweet. I’ve actually made it using lemon juice instead of lime, but like lime better. Feel free to give lemon a try though!

Creamy Mango Tango Dressing 2 ways

Mango Orange Vinaigrette (makes about 9 oz)
1 cup mango
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (to make it oil free, use favorite nondairy milk)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1-2 inch piece of ginger
1 TBS maple syrup
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)

OR

Mango Lime Vinaigrette (makes about 9 oz)
1 cup mango
2 limes, juiced
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
2 TBS water (to make it oil free, use favorite nondairy milk in place of oil & water)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 garlic cloves
1-2 inch piece of ginger
2 TBS maple syrup
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

 

Directions:

Put all ingredients in your blender and blend medium to high until completely smooth. I let mine blend for around 30 seconds.
Want to know how to best cut a mango? watch this handy 3 second fast motion video.


 

amber chakras black

Veggie Nacho Cheese Sauce

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Veggie Nacho Cheese Sauce

I’ve had a decent amount of vegan versions of cheese sauce. One of my favorite made from scratch cheese sauces I discovered on VegNews. It’s used for Vegan Macaroni & Cheese it’s so good! I took many of the things I liked about that one and applied it to mine. I changed this to be more of a nacho cheese sauce and made it not so calorie heavy, no added oil and far less fat.
This was fabulous for nachos and I love it over cooked or steamed broccoli & cauliflower. Sometimes I bake cauliflower and then use this as a dip for it, same goes with potatoes! You wouldn’t necessarily think that a sauce that has potatoes in it would be good with potatoes, but it doesn’t taste like potatoes, I promise.

I would call this potato cheese sauce, or potato cauliflower cheese sauce, but there are enough other veggies in it that I feel like that’s not really a fair name. So, veggie nacho cheese sauce it is!! ENJOY!!!

Veggie Nacho Cheese Sauce

  • 2 red or yellow potatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 onion
  • 3 small carrots, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh/raw cauliflower, broken into medium pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tbs salsa
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs hot sauce
  • 1/8 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1/2 c cooking water

Instructions

In a small pot, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil, then add in first 4 ingredients. If the water doesn’t cover all the vegetables, add some more. Boil until potatoes are tender (poke with a fork) and cooked throughout. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 min.

While boiled veggies are cooling down, load up the blender jar with the rest of the ingredients up to the 1/2 c cooking water. Now you can dump your boiled veggies into a strainer/colander and save some of the liquid OR use a fork and transfer veggies out of the pot into the blender jar and measure out 1/2 cup of the left over boil water and pour it into the blender.

Blend on high for 1 min (longer if you don’t have a high powered blender) so it’s nice and creamy and smooth! It’ll still be nice and hot from the hot vegetables and hot water, perfecto for nachos!!

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Homemade (from mostly veggies) vegan nacho cheese from scratch, no oil and not full of nuts!

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Homemade (from mostly veggies) vegan nacho cheese from scratch, no oil and not full of nuts!

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p.s. I topped my nachos with chopped tomatoes, chopped red bell pepper, salsa and green onions. I bet it would be good with some beans and avocado too! Maybe guac, maybe some cooked up Beyond Meat Crumbles!?  Oh the possibilities of nachos! Wow I’m hungry now!

 

amber chakras black