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.

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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

 

Grow Your Own Kombucha

Kombucha. What is it? Can you grow it at home? Let’s find out!

First off, let’s talk about kombucha. You have probably have seen it in a grocery or heath food store. Kombucha is a probiotic that you can drink. Probiotics help replace the healthy bacteria in your intestines. Scoby gives kombucha the healthy probiotic power. For anyone who doesn’t know: scoby is the big snot looking thing that hangs out in the kombucha. Scoby is an acronym that stands for: Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. Basically, scoby feeds on sugar to turn tea into kombucha. (Because Kombucha is fermented, which means there is trace amounts of alcohol in the drink).

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Yes. You can make it at home. It is under $4.00 for your starter batch, and under $1.00 for any following batches.You will need a few things before you begin:

I use a 1 gallon glass jar to start my kombucha. You can find one here. Because your scoby is developing in this batch, it will not produce a large batch for a few months. You will eventually need a 2 gallon glass jar. You always need to keep kombucha in a glass jar. Once you have processed your first batch, you will need glass containers to hold the freshly processed kombucha. (Old wine bottles or coffee syrup containers work really well for this). Or you can get these nifty storage jars here.

Few disclaimers here: I use regular, organic black tea, which has caffeine. Thus, there will be trace amounts of caffeine in the processed kombucha. If you need a caffeine free option, purchase a caffeine free tea. Also, as we discussed, kombucha is fermented. So, where will trace amounts of alcohol in the processed komucha. And by trace, I mean .05% on average.

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You can either purchase a scoby online, or you can grow your own from a store bought kombucha. You can purchase any brand of kombucha, you will want original flavor. Look and find the bottle with the most amount of scoby you can find. But make sure it is ORIGINAL flavor.

You will want the original flavor because flavoring changes the scoby. If you want to add a flavor to your kombucha-NEVER ADD IT TO THE BATCH. You always add it after processing. Process your scoby, and add organic juice to your storage container. Let the kombucha process on your counter for 2-3 more days, then move it to the fridge.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Original flavor kombucha
  • All the chunks out of the kombucha-if the store bought kombucha doesn’t have a lot of chunks do not panic, it will grow just fine.
  • 6 bags black tea
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 8 cups of water

First, you are working with a living organism here. Even if you think everything you are working with is clean- clean it again. Trust me. I normally clean all my pots, measuring cups, and utensils; then give everything a rinse with vinegar. This just helps make sure there is no soap scum or other residue left on the utensil. For maximum sanitation, leave everything air dry. If your scoby grows mold, you will be able to wipe it off. Your scoby will naturally have white spots come and go on the surface. If there is mold, you can wipe it off the surface.

If you ever question if your scoby has died or grown something funky, just throw it out and start over. A healthy scoby really does what ever it wants. Sometimes it hangs out on top, sometimes it hangs out at the bottom, sometimes it hangs out in the middle. There will be chunks on the bottom. Just let your kombucha do its own thing.

It is really simple to make your own:

  1. Clean Everything and rinse with vinegar
  2. Reserve 1 cup of your original flavor kombucha. Try to get as many chunks as you can. I strained my kombucha over a bowl. Reserved the chunks, and then reserved the cup. If you don’t have a ton of scoby bits-don’t worry, it will grow just fine.
  3. Boil water
  4. Add sugar
  5. Add tea bags
  6. Stir to combine
  7. Let water cool to room temperature. Make sure it is room temperature. If your tea is too hot, it will kill the scoby.
  8. Add your sugar/tea mixture to your glass jar.
  9. Add the cup of kombucha and chunks
  10. Let sit 4-6 weeks until your scoby grows

Store out of direct sunlight. Cover with a coffee filter. The kombucha needs to breathe, but keep the bugs out. A cheese cloth is not tight enough to keeps bugs out, and certain cloths are too tight that don’t allow the kombucha to breathe.  Secure the coffee filter to the jar. Jar rings, hair ties, rubber bands, all work great. The room temperature should stay between 62-75 degrees (Fahrenheit).

Normally, kombucha only takes 2-3 weeks to fully develop; so, this will be a really strong batch. If it is too strong, you can add some essential oils, and make a cleaner. You can find my favorite recipe here. It works as a vinegar substitute.

Move your processed kombucha to the fridge. This stops the fermentation process, and keeps the bacteria cultures alive and healthy. To make another batch, remove scoby and reserve 2 cups of fermented kombucha. Repeat steps 1-7. Let it ferment for 2-3 weeks.

Best of Luck, and let me know how yours turns out!

Love, Liv

Crock-Pot Chili

Guys, I love chili. Maybe a little too much. It is warming to the soul. And when you live in Wisconsin, you can eat it year round because winter never ends here. We are in the middle of a blizzard here in Wisconsin. Yes, you read that right. Blizzard in the middle of April.

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I love this Chili because you can set it, and forget it. Plus, it makes a large batch. So, you can freeze the left overs for an easy meal another night.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours and 10 minutes
  • Serves: 8-10

Ingredients

I used all 15 ounce cans for the beans

  • 2 cans kidney beans
  • 1 can navy beans
  • 1 can great northern beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1 can red beans
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
  • 28 oz. water or vegetable broth
  • 6 oz. tomato paste
  • 1 10 oz. bag organic frozen corn
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large jalapeno diced
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 3 tbsp. organic chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 3 Bay leaves (REMOVE LATER)
  • 1 tsp. cumin

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This is my favorite part:

  1. Combine all ingredients.
  2. Cook on high for 5 hours (low 9 hours)

So. SIMPLE. I love recipes that you can just set and go. You can serve the chili over some quinoa or noodles. I love to top with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Or you can add your favorite hamburger alternative too keep the meat lover in your life satisfied.

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ENJOY!

Love, Liv

Spring Quinoa

Guys! Spring is here. Unless you live in Wisconsin, where we get 12 inches of snow in April. Either way, you are wanting some spring flavors in your life-this is an amazing recipe.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Serves: 6-8

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Quinoa
  • 1 bunch Asparagus
  • 1 medium Cucumber
  • 1 bag Frozen Peas
  • 6-8 sliced Radishes

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Zest of One Lemon
  • Juice of One Lemon
  • 2 tbsp. Stone Ground Mustard
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon Mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp. Chopped Tarragon
  • 1 Shallot
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

 

  1. Rinse and strain quinoa.
  2. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. Simmer for 12-15 minutes
  3. Remove from heat and add frozen peas.
  4. Set aside and cool for 10 minutes
  5. Combine in a small bowl olive oil, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice, stone ground mustard, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Mix
  6. Add tarragon and shallot. 20180324_192031_HDR.jpg
  7. Add chopped asparagus, sliced radishes, and sliced cucumber to quinoa.
  8. Mix dressing and quinoa.
  9. ENJOY!

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It is a great salad warm or cold! I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do.

Love, Liv

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Who doesn’t love warm chocolate chip cookies? They are the best. I love eating the raw cookie dough just as much as the warm cookies. Nothing is better. This recipe is really easy to make, and taste amazing.

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  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Rest Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook time: 12 Minutes
  • Makes 1 dozen cookies

Let’s talk egg alternatives. For this recipe, I use equal parts coconut oil and apple sauce. I have made this recipe more times than I would like to admit. It is a good thing my husband has a sweet tooth, and loves cookies.

I found that using only coconut oil makes the cookies greasy, and they dry out faster. Using only apple sauce makes the cookies too fluffy, and not chewy enough to be a cookie. By using equal parts, you get the perfect cookie. They are chewy, but don’t dry out because the applesauce keeps them moist.

If you want a chewier cookie, use 1/3 c. coconut oil and 1/4 c. apple sauce. If you want a fluffier cookie, use 1/3 c. apple sauce and 1/4 c. coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. organic cane sugar
  • 3/4 c. packed organic brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 c. non-dairy milk (my favorite is almond for this recipe)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. unbleached organic flour (or gluten free alternative)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. vegan semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. vegan dark chocolate chips

 

  1. Pre-Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Sift four and baking soda together in a mixing bowl.
  3. Combine sugar, brown sugar, and salt.Dry Ingredients
  4. Add melted coconut oil, applesauce, non-dairy milk, and vanilla extract. Mix. (BONUS: add 1/2 c. peanut butter for Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can use a natural peanut butter, or make your own. Recipe here.)
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. 20180319_194332.jpg
  7. Form into golf ball size cookies
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes.
  9. ENJOY!

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If you are looking for an easy vegan recipe to try, look no further. They are perfect for parties, potlucks, bake sales, Sunday afternoons, the possibilities are endless.

Let me know how your cookies turn out!

Love, Liv

Date Protein Balls

As a vegan, I love being asked where I get my protein every 10 minutes. TOTALLY KIDDING. Non-Vegans, stop asking about protein. We are fine. Thanks.

Nevertheless, this recipe is full of protein. They are great for a pre-workout snack. Or just a filling afternoon snack. Plus, it only takes 3 ingredients to make!

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  • Prep time: 10 Minutes
  • Makes 25 quarter size balls

Ingredients

  • 1 c. chopped dried dates
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (you can make your own! recipe here)
  • 1/2 c. chopped almonds

Dates

These are my favorite dates to use. For this recipe, you have to chop the dates. Using a food processor makes the dates into a caramel. Medjool dates do have pits that have to be removed.

  • Remove pits, and chop.
  • Add peanut butter

Dates and Peanut Butter

  • Combine. I used a wooden spoon at first, but it was way easier to mix by hand.
  • Roll in Chopped almonds

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You can use a food processor to chop the almonds. I rough chopped them. The variation of sizes helped to coat the date and peanut butter mixture to make it less sticky.

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Plus, when I drop any of the almonds, I have Charlie to help me clean them up. He is a great helper in the kitchen.

Keep them in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. But they probably won’t last that long.

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Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter. Need I say more?

It is so simple to make your own, and cheaper to make it at home. Making your own peanut butter give you control of what ingredients you include. This peanut butter is the BEST peanut butter I have ever tasted. IT ONLY NEEDS 4 INGREDIENTS. So. Simple.

Let’s talk peanuts. I used unroasted, and roasted them at home.

Roasting Peanuts:

  1. Melt 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil. Pour over peanuts.
  2. Mix in Salt
  3. Roast

They roast best in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes, mixing them about half way through. The longer you roast the peanuts, the more robust, deeper peanut flavor you get. Try to find someone who roasts and distributes peanuts locally if you cannot find unroasted peanuts.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. peanuts (it was about 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp agave nectar (or honey)
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

 

  1. Grind peanuts in a food processor. If you roast your own peanuts, let them cool for about 8 minutes. If your peanuts are a little warm, it makes for creamier peanut butter.
  2. Add salt.
  3. Grind the peanuts until they are roughly chopped. This took about 4 minutes for my food processor for creamy peanut butter. After about 2 minutes it was looking like chunky peanut butter.

    Peanuts
    This is what the peanuts looked like after about 1 minute in the food processor
  4. Once the peanuts are roughly chopped, add melted coconut oil and agave nectar. (If you roasted your own peanuts, don’t add the coconut oil.) Continue processing. It will start to come together as peanut butter.Peanut Butter
  5. Store in the refrigerator
  6. BONUS! I added 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla for extra flavor.

You can store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 months

Final Product

It takes 30 minutes to roast, cool, and make your peanut butter. It is SO worth it. Try it, and let me know what you think!

 

Love, Liv

Mexican Quinoa

Week night meals can be a headache. There can be a mess to clean up, and during the week-ain’t nobody got time for that. This dish is SUPER easy to make, and even easier to clean up after. Also, it is packed with protein, fiber, and flavor-everyone will love it. You can eat it as a naked burrito, regular burrito, tacos, quesadillas, really anything. It makes for fun left overs you won’t get bored with. I love to eat this as tacos for dinner, and a naked burrito bowl for lunch the next day. My husband loves to add cheese, and make quesadillas the next day. The possibilities are endless.

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Mexican Quinoa

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Serves 4-6

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 C. Red Quinoa
  • 1/2 C. White Quinoa (You can just use 1 cup of your favorite quinoa)
  • 1 Large White Onion
  • 2 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 Bag (10 oz.) Frozen Organic Corn
  • 2 15 oz Cans Black Beans
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cumin
  • 4 Medium Dried Red Pepper (1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes works just fine)
  • 2 Limes
  • Cilantro
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions:

  1. Rinse and Strain your Quinoa. You always want to rinse your quinoa to get rid of the saponin. Saponin is a natural coating on quinoa that sometimes makes it taste bitter or soapy.
  2. In a medium sauce pan, put rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water on Medium temperature.
  3. Once Quinoa starts boiling, cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about 12 minutes.
  4. Chop onion and garlic. Saute on medium high in a cast iron skillet. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Once the onion and garlic is starting to caramelize, add frozen corn.Corn
  6. After the corn has been in the skillet for about 3 minutes, turn the temperature to high, and stir continuously. You want to get some color on the corn, but not burn it.
  7. Rinse and add black beans
  8. Turn off the heat
  9. Add 1 tsp ground Cumin
  10. Roughly chop dried red pepper, you just want to break it apart. (or add crushed red pepper flakes)
  11. Add a little more salt and pepper
  12. At this point, your quinoa should be done. Add to the cast iron skillet, and mix
  13. Add the Zest and Juice of 2 Limes
  14. Top with fresh Cilantro
  15. ENJOY!

I used corn tortillas, and put some fresh guacamole on top of my tacos. You can add all of your favorite taco condiments. It is SO. DANG. GOOD.

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Let me know your favorite way to eat this AMAZING dish!

Love, Liv