Hearty Sweet Potato Soup

People. It is cold out. I am over this polar vortex. It has been colder in Wisconsin over the past few days than it has been in Antarctica. You read that right. Colder than the place that has snow year round. I think people live here because they are frozen to the ground, and cannot leave. I need a warm an sunny beach vacation, because I am not about this cold life.

Since, we are all frozen, and cannot leave our houses; I have been making lots and lots and lots of soup to keep warm. This is one of those everything-but-the-kitchen-sink creations, and is sure to warm you up. Plus, it is super easy to dump everything in, let it simmer, and in 30-45 minutes you have dinner. YAY!

taxietiquettetips

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 1 small butternut squash
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 can black beans
  • kale
  • 1 1/2 tbsp herbs de province
  • 2 tsp each: rosemary, basil, tumeric, marjoram (or 1 drop of essential oil if you have them)
  • salt and pepper
  • Optional: 1 cup quinoa

Directions:

  1. Place a large soup pot over medium heat
  2. Add sweet potato, squash, onion, garlic, quinoa, salt, pepper, and vegetable stock
  3. Let simmer until the sweet potatoes and squash are fork tender
  4. Add herbs, black beans, and kale. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes
  5. EAT!

It is perfect for a busy weeknight dinner, or a make ahead meal to eat throughout the week. This soup is hearty, and keeps you full. Plus it tastes delicious.

Stay warm, and send me warm thoughts!

Love, Liv

 

 

 

Overnight Oats

I love easy meals. I also rarely have time to make, let alone, eat breakfast. If you are like me, and love to hit that snooze button 16 more times before getting up-over night oats are the miracle breakfast food you have been waiting for.

overnight oats

Let’s talk oats. There are several varieties of oats, but I found that rolled oats are the best option for overnight soaking. Instant or Quick oats disintegrate into nothingness, and were not a pleasing texture to eat. Steel cut oats are too thick. They did not absorb the liquid, and were just weird. Rolled oats are perfect for absorbing liquid overnight. Plus, they hold their shape and texture, and do not dissolve into nothingness.

Next, we need to talk about the creaminess of the oats. I have made so. many. batches. of overnight oats. SO. MANY. If you use equal parts oats to liquid, the oats are not as silky and creamy. If you use one part oats and two parts liquid, not all of the liquid gets absorbed. For the best: oat texture,  liquid absorption, flavor consistency, it is best to use  1/4 cup of rolled oats to 1/3 cup of liquid.

Base Ingredients

  • 1/4 c. rolled oats
  • 1/3 c. plant based milk
  • 1/2 tbsp. pure maple syrup/agave
  • 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Combine all ingredients. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. It is just that easy. We love adding things to our oats to give us variety of breakfasts.

Here are some of our favorites:

  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon-add this before putting them in the fridge
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder-add this before putting them in the fridge
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter-add in the morning before eating
  • bananas-add in the morning before eating
  • fresh chopped berries-add in the morning before eating

I hope you love these oats, and it saves you time in the morning! Hit that snooze button a 17th time.

Love, Liv

 

 

 

Banana Bread

One of my favorite childhood memories is baking banana bread with my mom. The recipe was out of an old tattered cookbook from a church picnic from when she was a little girl. It was one of those recipes that you can taste the love baked into the bread. Ever since I became vegan, I knew I needed to veganize this recipe. Who doesn’t love a warm piece of banana bread? The nostalgia of the smell coming from the oven alone is worth trying this recipe.

Banana Bread

There is no processed sugar in this recipe! Just maple sugar. My husband has the world’s BIGGEST sweet tooth; I am not kidding, about 3/4 of his diet is sugar. He thought the bread was perfectly sweet without anything extra added. If you need the extra sweetness, you can always add 1/3 cup of homemade apple sauce-also add an extra 1/4 cup of flour.

Ingredients

  • 4 Bananas (about 2 cups)
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (1 1/2 tsp if using gluten free flour)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of clove
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 c. maple syrup
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Those are the base ingredients. You can add flavors how ever you want. Here are some of my favorite to mix and match as you choose:

  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (you can make your own! Click here for the recipe)
  • 3/4 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. cocoa powder

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Mash bananas
  3. Grind chia seeds (I used a coffee grinder. You want them to become a fine powder)
  4. Mix in maple syrup and vanilla.
  5. Add flour, baking soda, ground chia seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and salt
  6. Place in bread tin
  7. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan
  8. Remove from oven, and place on a cooling rack

I hope this recipe give you as much nostalgia as it did for me. It is delicious, and will make your tummy very happy.

Love, Liv

Refrigerator Pickles

Who does not love fresh pickles? My husband and I love anything pickled. Seriously anything. A few weeks ago, we were craving those salty, crunchy, delicious bites. So, I have a recipe for you all that requires NO sugar, fresh dill, or crazy ingredients.

For this recipe, I used dill seed, not dill weed. They are definitely not the same thing.  Dill seed are the little seed of the plant. While, dill weed, are the leaves of the plant. Dill weed goes great in potato salad, and dill seed is great for this recipe. It is not too hard to find dill seed in your local grocery store. Next year, I plan on drying the heads of dill, and making my own dill seed and sill weed. Stay tuned for the journey.

Refrigerator Pickles

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp dill seed
  • 2 1/4 tsp pickling spices
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 dried chilies (or 1 and 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 2 tbsp salt

This is probably one of my easiest recipes yet.

  1. Bring vinegar and water to a boil.
  2. Add salt, dill seeds, and pickling spices.
  3. Place garlic, cucumber, chilies into a jar.
  4. Pour liquid into the jar. Mix.
  5. Shake jar once per day.
  6. Let sit at least 3 days. For the best flavor wait at least 7 days.

I hope you find this recipe delicious as we do. Let me know how your batch turns out!

Love, Liv

10 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste

You guys. If you are late to the game, 2019 is here. If you are like most people, you make a resolution, and give up right around this time. If one of your resolutions is to reduce waste in 2019, or if you just want to start reducing your environmental foot print; I want to help! So, I have compiled 10 of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental foot print-no need to give up! They are just that easy.

  1. Meatless Mondays.  There are so many benefits to cutting out meat for one day per week. You lower your risk of cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Plus, a side benefit, studies are showing that people who participated in meatless Mondays lost weight, and stabilized their weight. There are numerous environmental benefits to meatless Mondays as well. By eliminating one burger per week out of your diet, it is the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 320 miles. The list continues; there are countless benefits to meatless Monday.
  2. Reusable Napkins. You can make them at home! The average American spends almost $120 on napkins, paper towel, and toilet paper per year. Now, I am not to the point of using reusable toilet paper, but you can save money by making napkins. I went to my local fabric store, and bought fat quarters for just under .50 cents each. Then, I cut them in half, and sewed edges. They were so easy to make, my husband even jumped in on the action and sewed a few.
  3.  Reusable paper towels. Just get towels to use around your home, or you can cut up old towels. In the U.S. there is more than 13 billion pounds created of paper towel every year, and that number just keeps growing.  If families in the U.S used one less roll of 70 sheet paper towel, it could help eliminate up to 120,000 tons of waste.
  4. Get reusable glass products. This is one of the best way to reduce plastic in your life. Thus, reducing your toxic load. I love glass food storage containers. Most are microwaveable safe, and I have been finding so many in local stores it is awesome. When you microwave in glass, you do not have to risk BPA or other harsh chemicals hidden in plastic. I travel everywhere with my glass water bottle. They are safe to use when you add essential oils to your water. Glass is best.
  5. Make the coffee at home. I am not talking in single serve pods. In 2015, the U.S. consumed enough single serve pods to wrap around the globe 10.5 times. THAT IS INSANE. Get a reusable filter for your single serve coffee maker. Make your coffee at home, and use your own mugs. It takes up to 20 years for the standard to go up to break down in the environment. Let’s all save time and money, and make the coffee at home.
  6. Thrift/shop at second hand stores. Guys. One of my favorite things to do ever is to go thrifting. There are so many more options for uniqueness and creativity. If the clothing is the wrong size, there are several quick fixes to make that perfect fit. This is one of those options that can help save you a ton of money in the long run. Plus, you save the clothing from the land fill.
  7. Get a smart power strip/Unplug things. This is another one of those easy things that does not take much effort on your part, but can help save you money. Most smart power strips turn off energy to things that go into standby mode. It will turn the light off in the corner of the TV, and overall just helps conserve energy around the house. You can get smart power strips on Amazon. They are well worth the purchase.
  8. Reusable bags.  This is probable the easiest way to cut down on your waste. Approximately 10% of the garbage that washes up on the U.S. coastline.  Most reusable bags have a longer life span than 700 plastic bags. It just makes sense. Get the reusable bags. There are even bags small enough to keep in your car or purse for unexpected trips to the store.
  9. Line dry. Who doesn’t love the smell of fresh line dried laundry. This is one small thing that will save you money in the long run. Plus, your clothes will smell amazing without using dryer sheets.
  10. Eat Local. This should be a no brainer. I love shopping at local farmer’s markets because you can ask questions to the person who comes in direct contact with your food. What sort of fertilizers do they use? When were these vegetables picked? What is the growing season? It can all be answered by the person in front of you! I get excited just thinking about farmer’s markets. As an added bonus, sometimes the farmer’s will even give you a tour of their facilitates. So, you can see your food before it is picked. How exciting is that?! Go experience your local food growing culture.

I hope these tips help you!

Love, Liv

Roasted Pumpkin Soup

It is that cold time of year again where all I want to eat is soup. I love the warmth and comfort every bowl of soup has. It is like drinking a hug. With the long cold nights, this roasted pumpkin soup is sure to warm your tummy. Plus, it is dairy, egg, and gluten free. So, your warm tummy will also be a happy tummy.

Roasted pumpkins

Let’s get started by talking about pumpkins. I choose two smaller pumpkins. I used a Wee-Be-Little, and a Sweet Sugar Pie. I wanted the sweetness of the pumpkin to be accented in the soup without adding sugar. The benefit of using a Wee-Be-Little is because they are small, and perfect for roasting. They are meaty for their size, and really help drive the pumpkin flavor home in the soup.

You could use canned pumpkin, but you will loose out on most of that fresh flavor. I love roasting pumpkin, and keeping it in the freezer for the next time I need to add a burst of flavor to a soup, pasta sauce, or just wanting some good old fashioned pumpkin pie.

I am not going to lie, this soup is so easy. You can basically dump anything in your fridge, and it will add amazing flavor. If you are missing any of the ingredients, you can leave them out, and try them next time. I used carrots and apples in this recipe because I needed to use them up before they went bad. If you don’t have them, no worries. you will still have an amazing flavorful soup. You will need an immersion blender or just a regular stand blender for this recipe. Nothing beats the silky texture of a beautifully blended hearty soup.

Ingredients

  • 2 small 2-3 pound pumpkins (this will give about 5 cups)
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 inches of grated ginger (or 1 1/4 tsp dried ground ginger)
  • 2 cups chopped carrots
  • 2 hearty apples (I used granny smith)
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 2 cans full fat coconut milk
  • 2 cups veggie broth
  • 1 tsp clove
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • salt and pepper
  1. 1/2 the pumpkins, and remove seeds (Save the seeds for later as a garnish, or amazing snack). With the varieties I used, the skin was so thick, I scooped the pumpkin out with no issues. Other varieties, you might have to peel before putting them in the oven. Place in a 450 degree oven until fork tender (it took about 45 minutes for my pumpkins to get there).
  2. Chop the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno (remove ribs and seeds if you want a milder soup). Place in a large pot over medium heat. Cook for 5-10 minutes
  3. Add chopped carrots and apples. Allow the onions to finish cooking all the way through.
  4. Add veggie stock, coconut milk, and coconut cream. Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. By this time, your pumpkins should be almost done roasting. Scoop out the flesh, and add to your simmering soup.
  6. Add clove, cumin, red pepper flakes, cayenne, salt, and pepper.
  7. Blend soup until it is smooth and silky.
  8. Return to heat for 15-20 minutes.
  9. Garnish with pumpkin seeds (chopped fresh apple or pomegranate seeds would make an amazing garnish as well).

Serves 6-8

I love making large batches of soup. You can freeze leftovers. Or my favorite way is to make it into a pasta sauce for later in the week. Because this soup is thicker, you can add it to your favorite noodle, or ravioli. If you want a thicker sauce you can add some arrowroot powder. Start with a teaspoon, and go from there.

I hope you enjoy this soup as much as we do!

Love, Liv

Vegan French Toast Bake

Fall is in full swing here in Wisconsin. With a chill in the air and the leaves changing color, it reminds me of cozy Saturday mornings inside by the fire place in my parent’s house. My parents are both amazing cooks. Since going vegan, I have been trying to convert their delicious meals into their vegan sister dishes. Today I have for you a family  favorite Vegan. French. Toast. Bake. Talk about all the fall feels. BESIDES, WHO DOESN’T LOVE FRENCH TOAST?! Enjoy this easy recipe for you and your family. This recipe can be made gluten free by using gluten free bread.

Vegan French Toast Bake

Ingredients:

  • 3 c. almond milk
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground clove
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar packed (organic to ensure it’s vegan)
  • 1/2 c. vegan “buttermilk”
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. chia seeds ground
  • 1 loaf vegan day-old vegan bread (I used a vegan sourdough)
  • 2 tbsp. vegan butter

I have talked about the vegan “buttermilk” in my lemon blueberry muffin-top recipe found here. But-for a refresher, whisk 1/2 cup of almond milk with 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar and let sit for 5-10 minutes. The vinegar will cause the almond milk to slightly curdle, and make the buttermilk.

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350°.
  2. Cut the loaf of bread into 3/4 or 1 inch pieces. Place in large bowl for later.
  3. In a smaller bowl mix together 1/2 cup almond milk with 2 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Put aside.
  4. Take 1 1/2 tablespoons of chia seeds, and grind them. I used a coffee grinder
  5. In a large mixing bowl combine: almond milk, maple syrup, ground cinnamon, ground clove, ground nutmeg, vanilla extract, brown sugar, ground chia seeds, and vegan buttermilk.

    Chopped Chia Seeds
    Chopped Chia Seeds
  6. Pour 1/3 of the liquid mixture over the bread, and carefully mix. Repeat until the liquid mixture is combined into the bread.
  7. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Add the bread and liquid mixture into the baking dish.
  8. Chop the 2 tablespoons of vegan butter, and place sporadically over the top.

    Chopped Butter on top French Toast Bake
    Place chopped butter on top the French Toast Bake
  9. Bake covered for 35-40 minutes
  10. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.
  11. Top with candied pecans and pure maple syrup.

Serves 6-8

BUT WAIT! 

If you need a recipe for candied pecans, look no further!

Candied Pecans

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. vegan butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (organic to ensure it is vegan)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  1. Heat a skillet over medium heat
  2. Add vegan butter to the skillet, and wait until you see bubbles start to form
  3. Toast pecans for 2-3 minutes in the skillet
  4. Add brown sugar
  5. Stir continuously until the sugar melts
  6. Remove from heat, and cool on a baking sheet

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Love, Liv

Zero-Waste Moving

Wow. Summer this year seemed to fly past. Among all the craziness of summer winding down, my husband and I spontaneously moved. We did not plan on moving this quickly, but it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Long story short, we wanted to move with as little environmental impact as possible. At first this seemed like an impossible task, but with a little persistence, it was manageable. Here are some of the tips and tricks we learned:

Zero Waste Moving.png

1.) Reuse bins and boxes. We asked to borrow several friends moving bins. We also reached out to local stores to get a few extra boxes. They were free, and the stores were happy to give them to us. Pro-tip: use your suit cases to move books. Books are heavy, and the suit case makes them easier to move.

2.) Unload as you go. Now, this might seem like common sense, but I have always packed everything up and moved in one day. This time around, my husband and I  did not have that option. Instead, we would pack up as many bins that would fit in our vehicles, take them to the new place, unload, and repeat the next day. In the long run, it required less moving materials. Plus, our new place is right down the road from where we work; so, we did not add any extra fuel emissions.

3.) Get creative with packing material. You don’t need bubble wrap, or other packing material. YOU ALREADY HAVE IT! Put down the bubble wrap. Now, step away. Use your sweatshirts, other clothing items, towels, scarves, really anything fabric, to pack away valuables. I found, we could fit 3 plates per 1 sweatshirt. We used blankets to wrap small decorations. Use sham covers to move your extra blankets and pillow cases. Get creative. You already have all the packing material you need. Plus the stuff you have is free.

4.) Pack lunches/snacks. Bring a box with a few plates, eating utensils,  and a way to wash your dishes in one of the first boxes you unpack. This way, you have all you need to eat at your new place  Plus, packing your own food helps you save money during the process, and cuts down on your waste.  BRING YOUR REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE. That is just a pro-tip for life.

5.) Donate. Donate. Donate. Nothing makes you feel more like a hoarder than trying to downsize. Have a “donate box” in every room. Get yo’ self that tax deduction! Pro-tip: get some friends together and organize a clothing swap. You can bring your old, unwanted clothes, and get new-to-you stuff for free! Donate the unwanted items after the event.

BONUS TIP: Save ripped, old jeans to make a rug for your new home. That will be featured in one of my up coming blogs. So, stay tuned.

Anyways, I hope this was helpful, and your moving is quick and painless.

 

Love, Liv

Lemon Blueberry Muffin Tops

Guys. It is that wonderful time of the year when we get fresh blueberries. I love blueberries. Plus, I am sure as most of you know they are little bombs of health. So, you can justify eating the entire batch of muffin tops for the sake of health. Just kidding. Please don’t do that.

Homemaking

I made this recipe with Namaste gluten-free flour. This is one of the best gluten free flours I have used. It is a cup-for-cup switch, and it is comparable in price to other sprouted flours. My sister-in-law recommended the brand to me, and I would suggest it to anyone that is gluten intolerant or just looking to eat more gluten free items.

Glazed Muffin Tops

Let’s Get Baking!

Ingredients:

For Crumb Topping

  • 1/4 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 cup Namaste Gluten Free Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegan Butter

For Muffin Tops:

  • 2 1/2 cup Namaste Gluten Free Flour
  • 1/4 cup Organic Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • Zest from one Lemon
  • 1/3 cup Applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Non-Dairy Creamer-Original Flavor
  • 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup melted Coconut Oil
  • 2 cups Blueberries

For Glaze

  • 2 cups Organic Powdered Sugar
  • Juice from one Lemon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Coat muffin top pan with vegan butter or coconut oil. I used a mini muffin top pan.
  2. Mix crumb ingredients together in a small bowl. Using a fork or a pastry cutter will work best. Mix until the ingredients come together. Set aside for later.
  3. In a large bowl, combine together: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest.
  4. In a small bowl combine, whisk together non-dairy creamer and apple cider vinegar. This makes a vegan buttermilk.
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the vegan buttermilk, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla.
  6. Combine wet mixture with the dry ingredients. Stir just enough to combine all the ingredients. Fold in blueberries. Do not over mix the batter, or it will break in the oven. Be gentle with the blueberries because you want them to stay intact.
  7. Fill muffin top pan. Top each muffin top with some of the crumb topping previously made.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them, the baking time will depend on your oven.
  9. While the muffin tops are baking, make your glaze. Whisk powdered sugar and lemon juice together.
  10. Remove the muffin tops from the oven, and let cool. Lightly drizzle each muffin top with the glaze.
Mixed Batter
Do not over mix, or the batter will break in the oven

I hope you all enjoy these just as much as I have!

Love, Liv

Tex-Mex Caviar

Summer is almost here. I love light snacks for the summer. More importantly, I love recipes that you can make ahead in big batches. This is a simple, light recipe that packs a punch of flavor.

Chopped Ingredients.jpg

Ingredients

  • 1 c. cherry tomatoes-quartered
  • 2 diced avocados
  • 1/2 minced white onion
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 10 oz. corn
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 limes
  • Salt

 

With the summer coming, I love the fresh ingredients readily available. The vibrant colors help to make people fall in love with this dip when they first lay eyes on it!

  1. Combine all ingredients
  2. Zest Limes
  3. Add Lime juice
  4. Add Salt
  5. Enjoy!

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You can eat this as a dip, eat it on some tacos, anyway you like it!

Love, Liv