Tag Archives: gf

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!

ready to be blended

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!

 

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Restaurant Review: Simply Pure LV

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Restaurant Review: Simply Pure LV

Chef Stacey Dougan is the mastermind behind Simply Pure Las Vegas, located on the bottom level in the container park in downtown Las Vegas. Just a short walk from the Fremont Street Experience. There isn’t much space inside the restaurant, it reminded me (and my husband) of something between a food truck and a sit down restaurant. That was the case with the menu as well. They have additional seating outside as well that is shaded.

The wall when you walk in the door

 

outside of the restaurant, you can see me sitting on a chair in the reflection outside

This was the first time I’ve been to Simply Pure, but full disclosure, we hired Chef Stacey to cater our wedding a year ago, after we met with her and had her cook us up some sample food items that we ended up loving and felt like they were in line for what we wanted for our wedding food. Feel free to check out my post on all the wedding food and how we did the wedding celebration to be remembered: Vegan Vegas Wedding!  Some of the things we had on our wedding menu that were similar to what was on the Simply Pure menu. When we visited, we made sure she was there, then we chatted with her for a little bit.

I believe Simply Pure started mostly as a Raw Restaurant, but has added more cooked things in.  Here are pictures of the menu. I’ve found that the website and the actual menu on site are different.


Someone had ordered a juice ahead of me, immediately after he tasted it was saying how great it was asking if anything else was added because it seemed so good. That’s always a great thing.

I guess when Bill Clinton went there a couple months back, after talking to Stacey I learned that he ordered the enchiladas, but didn’t get to eat them there because of all the people/press there for him, so he ended up getting the Nachos Grande. There was a repeat order later from him/Hilary so, obviously it was enjoyed.

I’m not really a proponent of soy, and the Nachos Grande uses TVP, which is all soy. On the menu it’s listed as “vegan protein *beef*” and the “vegan cheddar cheese” listed is also soy based. Cool thing is, she makes it herself, so it’s not the super processed kind of soy cheese, but just good to be aware. You can always get the cashew nacho cheese in it’s place. That’s what I got on my half order of nachos. I swapped out the TVP (textured vegetable protein… AKA soy) for the vegan chicken used in the chicken salad lettuce wraps. That is made from almonds and cashews, it’s a crumble as well, it doesn’t have any feel like traditional chicken, just FYI. To me, that was not a bad thing at all. So, it had nacho sauce, chicken crumble, pico and avocado.     I would get the nachos again. Getting the chicken crumble added to it would really depend on the day. As a kid I only wanted nacho cheese sauce on my nachos anyway, never any meat. I wish they had the option for beans in place of or with whenever the *beef* is used. I think that would be a nice uncomplicated addition to the menu.

half order of the nachos, subbed *beef* for ‘chicken salad mix”

I got the Thai Basil Springs Rolls. They come with rice vermicelli noodles, shredded cabbage, carrots and fresh herbs wrapped in rice paper. These are the fresh roll style, not the fried kind, if you were wondering. Came with a side of sweet chili sauce. Personally, they had too much noodles and not enough veggies in it to get a “LOVE” by me. The flavor was good though, just was like 75-80% noodles and I love my veggies.

Thai Spring Rolls

didn’t order ‘to go’ this is just how they came

Green Chili Enchiladas were on our wedding menu and my husband got it when we went to Simply Pure as well. All our guests were in love with them, as was he. I don’t care for anything that FEELS like meat in my mouth, so I can only handle like one enchilada eaten with other things as well. It was a discussion before the wedding if she should add more veggies to ours or leave it. He voted LEAVE IT I LOVE THIS! So, that is what happened.  When I say our guests loved them, I really mean it. People were asking us both about them saying how good they were and wondering if they were vegan or not.  Winner!

Green Chili Enchiladas that come with a small side salad

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Raw Pizza Dip

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Raw Pizza Dip

This can be used as a pizza (flavored) dip, or a spread. Of course, it’s vegan and gluten free, but it’s also raw, nut free and oil free. It goes great as a dip with random veggies. I like it with bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and celery. Of course it’s fabulous with crackers or chips as well.

Tonight I made a raw pizza and used this as the spread over the crust and then topped it with a bunch of pizza type veggies. It was perfect for it! Plus, quite easy to make. So of course, had to make sure to share the recipe here!


Ingredients

  • 1 cup sundried tomatoes (not in oil), soaked in 2/3-3/4 cup water
  • 2/3 cup saved sundried tomato soak water
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds (shelled)
  • 1/4 cup raw pepitas/shelled pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil
  • 3 cherry tomatoes
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 TBS coconut aminos
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper

Instructions:

Soak the sun dried tomatoes in warm water for about 20 min, longer if you have really hard tomatoes. Save the soak water because you will use it in the recipe.  Put all the ingredients into a food processor or blender. Process until everything is all mixed in. It will be mildly thick. Feel free to add more soak water if you want it thinned out more.

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Thought I would share my raw pizza process too. I got a wRAWp raw pizza crust this week at Mother’s Market (Grocery Store here in Orange County) and was excited to test em out! Random sidenote: wRAWp is a SoCal company. I liked the crust, it certainly doesn’t taste like real pizza, but I was impressed at how well it held up, while not being hard/crunchy. I thought that after spreading the pizza dip over it and letting it sit for over 30 min that it would begin to get semi soggy. Nope. Held up just great.

When you make a RAW pizza, you want to make sure you slice your veggies thin, it makes it easier to eat and seem more like ‘pizza’. On my pizza I used the pizza spread, torn massaged kale, red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, shallot and basil then sprinkled some oregano and black pepper over the top.


Hope you enjoy it!!

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Cranberry Dill Raw Vegan Cheese

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Cranberry Dill Raw Vegan Cheese

I went to a baby shower today, it was Mara’s, and it was all vegan all gluten free. FABULOUS! It wasn’t potluck, a few of us made the dishes. I brought a few things that all were received well, and finished off. That’s always a good thing! After many requests for this cheese recipe I said it would be easier if I just shared it on here.  In some of the pictures you will see 2, but I halved this recipe, so it only makes one. And,  without further adue… ENJOY!!

-Amber

    


  


 

makes one ball (see above)

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
4 TBS coconut oil
¼ cup cup fresh lemon juice
1 TBS tahini
2 TBS filtered water (optional rejuvelac if you have it or can find it)
½ tsp fine sea salt
¼ cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
3 TBS fresh dill, finely chopped

Instructions:

Put cashews in a container and fill with filtered water about 3 inches of water over the cashews.
10-12 hours, drain the water and rinse out with cold water. Rinse and dump a few times to get the cashews all cleaned off. Fill with filtered water again, a bit over the top of the cashews. Let them soak again for another 6-8 hours (could be 12 if you are busy) the time isn’t real strict. You are just trying to make sure they are completely soaked and softened, makes the cheese nice and creamy. Even if you have a high power blender.
After they are done soaking (total 16-24 hours), drain the liquid, rinse out again using cold water, rinse and drain until water is clear.

In your blender, combine cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, sea salt and water. Blend on high for 45 seconds or so, stop, scrape down the sides and lid. Blend again on high, for 2 minutes.

Scoop out the cashew mixture into the center of an 8-10 inch triple layered
piece of cheese cloth (3 pieces of cheese cloth on top of each other), roll the cheesecloth over the cheese to cover it completely forming it into a ball or loaf.
Twist the ends of the cloth and secure with rubber bands or twist ties. Set it in the strainer over a bowl and let it stand for 18-24 hours at room temperature. After about 8 hours I usually add a folded up paper towel under it to help soak up some of the slight liquid.

After the (fermenting) time is up, discard the excess water (and paper towel if you used it) and place in the fridge, for at least 3 hours.

(*You can also do the following steps with the cranberry and dill and then refrigerate afterwards for several hours*)

Chop the cranberries and dill, the smaller the better.
On approximately 12” x 12” piece of parchment (or wax paper), sprinkle dill loosely, most in the middle. Place the cheese in the center on the dill, letting it stick to the cheese. Flip it over to get dill on the other side. Use your hands and lightly press the dill all over the cheese. Do the same thing for the cranberries so that both the dill and cranberries are all around the cheese.
Fold the edges of the parchment paper over the cheese, place in the fridge letting it rest on the side with the most layers. If you want to dig in to it immediately that’s perfect too!
I recommend a sturdy cracker. Van’s or Mary’s are good choices.

BLT&A w/Pesto Zucchi Noodle Bowl

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BLT&A w/Pesto Zucchi Noodle Bowl

This is what my beautiful bowl looked like in the beginning. Beautiful, but it gets better!

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Next you add the coconut bacon. If you haven’t made our coconut bacon, you absolutely should, it’s soooo much better than store bought! Everyone who tries it, LOVES it!!

Coconut Bacon Recipe

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Drizzle some Pesto Dressing over the top and you are set!!
Here is the recipe for the whole thing

Ingredients

  • 3 Medium Spiralized Zucchini (Spiralizer Tri-Blade) or any spiralizer equipment of your choice and your noodle preference
  • 1 Romaine Hearts, I used ones from Trader Joe’s in a prepackaged bag
  • Cherry Tomatoes, as much as you want
  • Pesto Dressing (recipe follows)
  • Coconut Bacon
  • Avocado

 

Pesto Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons your favorite basil pesto (this one is my favorite, Pumpkin Seed Pesto)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • sea salt, to taste

 


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THE FINALE:

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Nut-free Cheezy Kale Chips

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I love kale chips, so does my husband. He hadn’t had them store bought until sometime after eating my homemade ones. After having several different brands from the store and him not really liking them, he asked why I kept buying them instead of making them when what I made was way better. 

They sure don’t photograph well, but taste great.   

    
   
Makes 5-6 trays worth of chips.

1/2 C pepitas
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 lemon, juiced
3 sundried tomatoes (I use the kind that are in olive oil, but let the oil drip off before adding them)
1/2 carrot
1 clove garlic
2 TBS tahini
1/2 tsp real salt
2 TBS coconut aminos
2 TBS water
1 green onion
1/8 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
3 TBS nutritional yeast (optional but certainly worth it!)

Rip the Kale into about 3 inch pieces, removing the spine. Place in a large bowl.

In a blender or food processor put the rest of the ingredients together & blend until nice and smooth.

Pour over kale pieces and work in with your hands, making sure that each piece has the cheeze covering it. Allow to sit for at least 20 minutes to “soak in”. After, just lay out on dehydrator trays and dehydrate for about 10 hours at 115 degrees.

p.s. if you taste the cheeze, who am I kidding, WHEN you taste the cheese out of the blender, it will taste a bit different than it tastes once it’s been dehydrated on the kale.

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Strawberry Kale Quinoa Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

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One of my suggestions when making a kale salad is to tear the kale into small pieces but rub it together and through your hands while you are ripping it apart. It breaks the kale down and makes it much less rough & bitter, it will make the kale brighter green too.
I promise the coconut bacon on this just makes it THAT much better. You want to put it on there. Make some & have left overs!
I don’t put lots of dressing on the salad when it’s in the large bowl, I kind of wait until I’m about to eat it and put it over the top then add the coconut bacon.

strawberry kale & quinoa salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette and coconut bacon

plated salad with coconut bacon on top

strawberry kale & quinoa salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette and coconut bacon

strawberry kale & quinoa salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette

strawberry kale & quinoa salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette and coconut bacon

Salad in the big bowl, before being plated.

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked in 1 cup water
1 bunch kale, torn into small pieces
6-8 strawberries, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/2 cucumber, chopped
2 green onions including white part, sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
coconut bacon to taste (for topping)
1/2 red bell pepper, small dice (optional)

 

Strawberry Vinaigrette Dressing
1 1/2 cups strawberries (fresh)
1/4 cup coconut vinegar (not coconut flavored vinegar) can sub white wine vinegar or lemon juice
2 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or grapeseed oil
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup coconut sugar

Salad: In a large bowl, put the torn kale. After the quinoa is cooked and has cooled for at least 5 minutes, add it over the top of the kale and toss with 1/2 cup of the strawberry vinaigrette. Now add the rest of the salad ingredients over the top, except the coconut bacon (save that for when it is plated). Drizzle with a bit of the dressing.

Dressing: Throw it all in the blender and blend for 1 minute.

Gluten Free Banana Nut Bread

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Yes, I’m alive and the site is still going on, promise!

When I was a kid I LOOOOOOVED when my mom or grandma would make banana nut bread. Funny thing is, my grandma was always trying to make stuff healthier. She would sub out apple sauce for oil, put less sugar in things, etc. We would be excited to eat something then bite into it and pull a face, like “ewww what’s wrong with this?”. Wasn’t ever the case with banana nut bread. My family finds it funny now that I am the healthy one trying to sub stuff out all the time and may have been one of the biggest complainers about her doing it. Interesting how things turn out.

Don’t mind my camera phone pictures! I lost my camera, yet again, so this is what we get to deal with. Don’t let it ruin your idea of the recipe though, because it’s great!!

banana bread loaf

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Makes 1 loaf

4 medium bananas, mashed (leave a good amount of smallish chunks)
3 teaspoons egg replacer, in 4 tablespoons hot water (non-vegan can use 2 eggs)
1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil
1 1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 1/2 cup Gluten Free flour (I used Bob’s Redmill)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F
In a tiny bowl combine egg replacer and hot water, mix and allow to sit for about 5 min while you prepare the banana mixture.
In a large bowl, peel & add bananas. (You can mash them with a masher, a fork or do it like I did; with my fingers when I peeled the bananas) Next add the coconut oil, coconut sugar & vanilla. Stir until combined, mashing some as well. Add the egg substitute mixture.
Now add dry ingredients except for the nuts & chocolate chips. I make sure that the flour is the last ingredient measured out and added, then mix with a spoon by hand. After completely combined, then add in nuts & chocolate chips.

Grease a 9 inch bread/load pan & add batter. Cook for 45-55 min.
My oven tends to need to cook longer than others (gas oven, plus at sea level) and I baked mine at 55 min. (The batch I made & is in the pics, I prob should have taken out at 53 min)

 

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Luau Kale Salad

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I was looking through some old recipes that I hadn’t made in quite a while and decided that this Luau Salad could use some revamping and then it would be on the menu for dinner tonight. If you don’t know, kale holds up great for a salad that you want to have the next day (or a few days later) and not have a gross wilted sad mess of a salad. IF you are planning on having left overs, either don’t use romaine in it, or just mix in the romaine just before serving. Watercress would go great in place of it, or you could just do another leaf or two of kale.
Make sure that you “massage” the kale before all the ingredients get added in, it will make a world of difference for the taste. Rubbing it through your hands makes it much less hardy, and far more pleasant to eat.

Dressing, Cabbage/Kale/Quinoa and all the other chopped ingredients.

Dressing, Cabbage/Kale/Quinoa and all the other chopped ingredients.

Luau Kale Salad with homemade creamy orange coconut dressing. High Raw. Vegan & Soy Free

Luau Kale Salad with homemade creamy orange coconut dressing. High Raw. Vegan & Soy Free

Serves A LOT, maybe 10

Salad Ingredients:
1/2 C quinoa (cooked in 1 C water)
1 bunch of kale, torn
1 1/2 C romaine lettuce, rough chopped (if planning for left overs use spinach or watercress)
1 C red cabbage
1/4 C mint, chopped (OPTIONAL)
1/2 cucumber, diced
1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped
4 Stalks Celery, diced
3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
1 Tomato, chopped
1 Mango, cut into cubes
1/2 C Pineapple, chopped (same size as mango)

1/4 C Unsweetened Coconut, toasted (add right before eating)

OPTIONAL GARNISHMENTS (add right before eating)
Avocado
Pepitas or Macadamia Nuts

Dressing
1 Orange, peeled
1 TBS Orange Zest
1/3 C Coconut Sugar
3 TBS Water
3 TBS Olive Oil
1 Lemon, Juiced (about 1/3 cup)
2 Tbs Coconut Butter (can sub almond butter)
1/2 tsp Ground Coriander
1/2 tsp Orange Flavor/Extract
1/2 tsp RealSalt (Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt works also)
1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
dash of Ground Cardamom

For Dressing: put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Leave in blender bowl, because you will pour it directly onto the salad.

In a medium bowl, combine salad ingredients in italics. Put torn kale in a LARGE bowl, rub it between your hands for about 30 seconds to a minute to break down a lot of the toughness that kale has. After quinoa is done cooking, allow to sit for 5 min before removing the lid. After the 5 min, take off the lid, pour half of the salad dressing over the kale then dump the quinoa over the top of that & mix. It will make the quinoa stick to the kale rather than just all falling to the bottom of the bowl.

Next mix in the cabbage with the kale/quinoa. Dump out contents of the medium bowl on top of the cabbage/kale/quinoa, then pour the rest of the dressing over the top. Mix it and make sure that it’s fully coated.
Next toss in romaine (or spinach).

Dry toast the coconut by heating a frying pan to medium-low & putting the coconut on, but make sure it’s spread evenly. After a little less than 2 min, move around the coconut to make sure it doesn’t burn. Stir around for another minute or two and then remove from heat and top on salad with whatever other garnishments you desire.

 

Much Love!!

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Caramel Millet

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These little yummies don’t look like anything special, but once you have them, you usually can’t stop eating them. The first time I made them for my mom she jokingly called be “devil child” for making something so yummy and easy to snack on. Its caramel popcorn meets rice krispie treat. The camarel portion can absolutely be used to make some heavenly caramel popcorn!

I’m posting the healthier version, but also the more pricey and a bit more rare ingredients recipe. But, if you go with that I put in parenthesizes, it will turn out just fine and cheaper. Coconut oil acts like vegan butter, and coconut sugar acts like brown sugar in this recipe. So, easily switched. Also, it doesn’t have to be puffed millet, it can be puffed rice, puffed kamut, puffed wheat, or even a rice krispie type cereal.

low glycemic, gf, soy free and vegan caramel puffed millet

pressed into the pan. I generally wait like 1 min after its all pressed, before digging into it!

low glycemic, gf, soy free and vegan caramel puffed millet

kinda like a rice krispie treat meets caramel popcorn.

low glycemic, gf, soy free and vegan caramel puffed millet

 Caramel Puffed Millet Treats

1/4 c coconut oil (can use vegan butter sub)
1/2 c coconut sugar (can use brown sugar)
1/2 c brown rice syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 cups puffed millet (or any other puffed ‘cereal’)
In a small pot over med-low heat add the oil and sugar. Mix well, and add in brown rice syrup. Keep stirring, it will come to a boil, turn heat to low as you are still stirring. Let it boil for 4 min, stirring randomly so it doesn’t stick to the bottom or burn.
Cut the heat & mix in the soda. There will be a chemical reaction when it mixes, so it will bubble up and become a lighter brown. Then mix in the vanilla.
In a brownie pan, pour the puffed millet. Follow up with the caramel sauce and mix it all together. Once the caramel has coated the millet, press it into the pan.
**Sometimes I mix other things into it, like nuts, coconut and or dried fruit. I have mixed in chocolate chips a few times as well, but you have to know they won’t really stay chips, it will turn into more of chocolate streaks, the caramel melts the chocolate. It goes very well being melted on top though, like chocolate frosting!
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