Pad Thai Spaghetti Squash

I love Asian inspired dishes. They are sweet, salty, tangy and delicious. I do not love all the preservatives, MSG and other gross things hiding in most soy sauces in the grocery store. SO! I have a clean version for you that won’t break the bank to make.

Let’s talk about coconut aminos. It is the sap from coconut palms. After the sap ferments, salt gets added; this process gives the coconut aminos a very similar profile to soy sauce. BUT there has 73% less sodium than most soy sauce. Not to mention, the amino acids and B vitamins that are packed into the sap. Overall, it is a great replacement for soy sauce.

Hornstail Terrariums

Ingredients

  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Peas
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Yellow Bell Pepper
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Garlic

Dressing

  • 3 tbsp coconut aminos (or a clean soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 tsp chili paste
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you want non-spicy)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roast spaghetti squash for 45-55 minutes or until fork tender.
  3. Mice garlic. Dice carrots, peppers, onion, and peas.
  4. Over Medium-High heat, saute vegetables for 5-7 minutes.
  5. Pull spaghetti squash out of oven, mix in vegetables and dressing.
  6. Enjoy!

This is such an easy dinner; it is perfect for a week night meal. I hope you enjoy it!

Love, Liv

Sweet Potato Curry Soup

Another snow storm, another soup. We are preparing for life to get shut down again this weekend as more snow get dumped on us here in Wisconsin. Whenever the weather starts to look gloomy, I start to crave soup. Because we have a record breaking year of snow fall, we have been eating soup by the gallon. I have for you a Sweet Potato Curry Soup. It is sure to fill you up, and warm your soul.

This recipe is SO easy. It is perfect for a week night meal. You dump everything in a pot, and wait about 30 minutes. I love recipes you put in one big container, let it hang out while you get homework with the kids done or a quick load of laundry, and BAM! Dinner is ready. Plus, everything is in one pot, so clean up is a breeze!

Introducing

Ingredients

  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 5 medium yellow potatoes
  • 2 medium yellow onions
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 cups vegetable broth

Sweet potatos, yellow potatoes, and onion

Directions

  1. Place 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a large stock pot over low heat.
  2. Add two minced cloves of garlic.
  3. Roughly chop: sweet potatoes, yellow potatoes, and onion into cubes. Add to the stock pot.
  4. Raise heat to medium. Stir frequently for 5-10 minutes, or until the onions start to release their juices.
  5. Add 8 cups of vegetable broth. 2 tsp curry, 1 1/2 tsp chili powder, pinch of red pepper flakes, 2 bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  6. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are fork tender, and reduce to medium low heat.
  7. Roughly chop red, yellow, and orange bell peppers into 1/2 pieces. Add to soup.
  8. Simmer for 10-15 more minutes.
  9. Remove Bay Leaves, and Enjoy!

You can top with coconut cream at the last second to tone down the heat if needed.

This is a new household favorite-I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Love, Liv

Vegan Sand Dollar Cookies

I am really excited for this recipe. It makes me dream of a warm place without 6 feet of snow, digging my feet in the sand, a over sized, floppy hat, and those fun drinks with little umbrellas in them. We are making Vegan Sand Dollar cookies today. Now, this recipe is not an every day cookie recipe. This is one of the recipes we have on special occasions because of how much sugar is in the cookies. You could substitute the sugar for maple syrup or agave, but it just does not have the same taste. Plus, it makes the dough extra wet, and you need so much extra flour. SO. Once in a while, we all need a “treat yo’self” recipe, and this is a house hold favorite.

Vegan Sand Dollar Cookies
Let’s talk about this raw dough. It is AMAZING. If you have an upcoming girl’s night or just need some raw cookie dough to eat, this is the cookie dough for you. It reminds me of eating full tubes of Pillsbury’s cookie dough when I was in college with my roommates. I would not advise eating the full batch of batter, but it is so easy to in this recipe.
Make sure to use organic sugar to ensure it is vegan
Dry Ingredients:
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose baking flour
  • 1/2 tsp aluminum free baking powder
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ground flax seeds (you could use chia seeds, but they leave little dots in the cookies. Flax seeds blend into the batter, and are undetectable)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar

Wet Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 cup room temperature vegan butter

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Combine all dry ingredients. Put through a sieve/strainer. Make sure all the lumps are out.
  3. Add vanilla, almond, and butter. Mix thoroughly
  4. Place ping pong sized dough balls on a greased cookie sheet
  5. Press 4-5 silvered almonds into each cookie
  6. Bake in oven for 12-15 minutes or until cookies start to tun golden brown around the edges.
  7. Combine sugar and cinnamon.
  8. Once the cookies are done baking, coat in the sugar cinnamon mixture..
  9. ENJOY!

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

I hope you love these cookies!

Love, Liv

 

 

Bunnies in Snuggies

One of my favorite girls’ night snacks was pigs in a blanket. It is so easy, and oh so comforting. If you are looking for that familiar comfort, but in a vegan/vegetarian option-LOOK NO FURTHER. I have a recipe for you all, that is sure to satisfy on every level. Since they are not pigs in a blanket, we will call them Bunnies in Snuggies.

Bunnies in Snuggies (1)

For this recipe, I used regular, full sized carrots, and cut them into smaller pieces. To save time, you can just use baby carrots if you want. Use what you have, this week, we had regular carrots for a different recipe. You can definitely make your own vegan puff pastry, or, you can use pre-made. For this recipe, I used pre-made.

Before going in the oven

Ingredients

  • 1 bag baby carrots (or about 7 carrots cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • Vegan puff pastry
  • Olive oil

Dipping Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp vegan mayo (my favorite brand is earth balance)
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp agave nectar or maple syrup
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Cut carrots (skip if you are using baby carrots)
  3. Coat carrots in oil (about 2 tsp), salt and pepper, place on a baking sheet, and roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and cool.
  5. Lower oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Cut puff pastry into 1 inch by 2 inch strips. Eyeball it- it does not need to be perfect.
  7. Wrap carrots in puff pastry, place back on the baking sheet (put the overlap of the pastry side down)
  8. Brush with olive oil.
  9. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Remove when they turn golden brown.
  10. Make your dipping sauce (you could just use mustard, but the dipping sauce is definitely worth making)
  11. ENJOY!

Serves 1.

Just Kidding! It serves about 5-6. I hope you use this recipe for your next girls’ night, or just a late night snack.

 

Love, Liv

Roasted Carrot Hummus

I am not going to lie, I did not plan on posting this recipe. There was a recent potluck I needed to bring a finger food to pass. So, I just threw a bunch of ingredients into a food processor, prayed over it, and it turned out amazing!  Long story short, I knew I wanted to share the recipe with all of you. You probably have everything you need in your pantry right now.

CAITLIN BLAKE

Disclaimer. I used canned carrots. I NEVER BUY CANNED CARROTS. One day, I was cleaning deep in the back of my cabinet where we have our cans, and back in Narnia, I found a can of carrots. I had no idea how to eat them. Basically, they are mush anyways; so, I decided to make them into hummus. It is super easy, next time I will probably roast fresh carrots. But hey, go with what you have.

 

Ingredients

  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup chickpea liquid
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 cup sliced carrots (or 1 can)
  • Turmeric (2 drops essential oil or 1 tsp)
  • Lemon (5 drops essential oil or you can use the juice from 1 lemon)
  • Pinch of Crushed Red Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper

 

  1. Roast carrots and garlic at 400 degrees until they are fork tender. (15-20 minutes) Watch and make sure the garlic does not burn
  2. Strain chickpeas, keep the liquid
  3. Put roasted carrots, garlic, chickpeas, turmeric, lemon, 1/2 cup of chickpea liquid, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper into a food processor
  4. Blend until creamy. You may need some extra liquid if you need it
  5. Garnish with red pepper flakes

Serves 6-8

Try not to eat it all in one sitting, but I totally understand if you do.

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

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

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

Composting in an Apartment

I have wanting to start composting for a while, but I live in an apartment. I always thought I wouldn’t have space, or it would be really difficult. Good news for everyone: I was wrong! Composting can be done anywhere, and is way easier than you think.

First off, composting is not just letting your food rot in a container. It does take some work. You can use worms to help break down your food, but I want to figure out what I am doing; otherwise, we might have a worm massacre on our hands.  Instead I used some news paper. Newspaper breaks down really easily, and gets the process going.

20180429_131804_hdr-e1525218130692.jpg

I decided to use a standard 5 gallon bucket to start, I figured I can always go up in size. I normally cook for two people. So far, the 5 gallon bucket is a perfect size for the amount of compostable waste my husband and I produce. You will need to drill a bunch of holes all over the bucket and lid. You will want a lot of air flow through your compost bin. The more air flow the better. Air flow does not mean dry, I keep a spray bottle near my compost bucket. When I go and mix the compost, I give it a spritz if the compost is looking dry. Healthy compost should always be slightly damp.

I keep my compost bin out side under our porch. Do not keep your bin in direct sunlight. Whenever I am cooking, I grab the bin, bring it in the house, and put all my kitchen scraps in. I keep a brick on the top to help keep pests out of the bin. Get a bin that has an easy lid to remove. You will want to mix your compost every day.

Scraps.jpg

I started my compost with a few vegetable scraps that had seen better days.  You can cut the scraps down to a smaller size to make the compost process faster. Kitchen scraps are great to start composting; they will give the end result a hearty mix of carbon and nitrogen. Which is what helps makes a healthy soil. Egg shells are quick to break down, and get the composting process started. Since I am vegan, I don’t have egg shells. That is where the news paper comes in. It works very similar to the egg shells, and it breaks down quickly.

Here are a few ideas to start your compost:

  • Vegetable scraps/peels
  • Coffee grounds
  • Tea
  • Dried leaves and twigs
  • Grass clippings
  • Untreated wood scraps/sawdust

Let’s talk about things not to compost:

  • Poop-just don’t do it. Poop, especially from critters, can contain organisms caring diseases, and can be transferred to whatever you use your compost on.
  • Dairy products: although they break down, when the bacteria in dairy spoils it can become toxic, and make people very sick. Because the bacteria is not being denatured, it will become toxic. Assuming you will want to use your compost in a garden, or around plants you will eat, just be safe and keep dairy out of your compost.
  • Meat, fat, bone, animal products: composting can actually preserve animal products, and attract critters to your compost.
  • Glossy paper: unlike news paper, glossy paper does not break down, and will remain in your compost.
  • Plants treated with pesticides: the pesticides will not break down, and will transfer to your compost.
  • Metal, tin, plastic: Things that are not biodegradable

Starter Compost.jpg

Happy Composting!

 

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).

20180410_145053.jpg

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.

20180312_200725.jpg

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