Pasta Salad

I am going to give you a super simple pasta salad recipe here. It is perfect for any potluck, family gathering. Plus, it is so simple. The homemade dressing is a basic Italian dressing seasoning. I was looking in the store at ingredients in most Italian dressings, and they contain everything from processed sugar to dyes. WHY?! So, if you want to ditch the processed ingredients, this will be your new favorite dressing.

Pasta Salad

For my pasta salads, I use an organic rigatoni pasta. I think the dressing coats the noodles best, and it has the best noodle-vegetable ratio.

Dressing Ingredients

  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/8 tsp paprika or turmeric
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian Herbs (or 1/4 tsp of each: basil, marjoram, oregano 1/8 tsp of each: rosemary, thyme)
  • zest from one lemon
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp vinegar (balsamic, apple cider, white, really any vinegar works here)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil

And get creative with your Vegetables, throw whatever you have in the fridge in with the pasta. All of the measurements are for 1 box of pasta worth of noodles. I prefer the vegetables to be dices in about 1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 7-8 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 bag snap peas
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 box rigatoni pasta (or gluten free pasta)

You really cannot mess up this recipe. It is perfect to use up left over vegetables, or to have a fresh side salad for dinner. I hope you love the dressing!

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

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

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