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

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

 

 

 

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

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.

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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.

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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

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Happy Composting!

 

Love, Liv