Vegan Pumpkin Mac-n-Cheese

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Don't get me wrong, I love pumpkin spice, but savory pumpkin is also extremely delicious and kinda my new favorite thing. This recipe is inspired by Hot For Food's pumpkin ravioli recipe which is amazing! But it's also a lot of work making homemade raviolis and not ideal for a quick meal.

My cooking laziness led me to turning the ravioli recipe into a simple pumpkin mac-n-cheese where all you have to do is boil some noodles, blend up the sauce in the blender and bam! You've got a meal.

What you need:
1 cup of organic pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons of organic tahini
1/3 cup of nutritional yeast
1/4 cup of organic almond milk
1 tablespoon of organic tomato paste
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of organic vegetable broth
1 tsp sea salt
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon of organic dried basil
1 teaspoon of organic nutmeg
A sprinkle of ground pepper
Organic noodles of your choice, cooked

1. Place all of the ingredients (except the noodles lol) into a blender or food processor and blend until combined. Feel free to add more/less almond milk to get your desired sauce consistency.

2. Pour the sauce over the noodles and serve!

3. Optional, but highly suggested- sauté some onions in vegan butter until golden brown and use to top the dish

4. Enjoy!

I love how super simple this is to make, and it's so cheesy and herb-y and just all around delicious! The sauce stores well in the fridge too and is easy to heat up for leftovers the next day. But if you do have a little bit of extra time on your hands, I highly recommend the ravioli version too :)

*Inspired and altered from this recipe 

The Importance of Choosing Organic Tea

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

*This is a sponsored post where I received free products, but as always, all opinions are my own. I will only ever share brands that I truly like, use in my daily life, and have seen benefits from. Thank you for your support!

Like anything, opting for organic over conventional is very important, but for tea especially. I enjoy drinking tea not only because it's calming and soothing, but because of the many health benefits. Tea is a powerful tool that can be used in the area of health, but when you mix in pesticides and other dangerous chemicals that steep into your cup of tea, those health benefits no longer exist.

Many of the most popular tea brands have been found to have illegal amounts of pesticides and other toxic chemicals in them. Most of our tea is imported, and regulations are very weak in countries like China and India which is where most of our tea comes from. Not only are the chemicals in the tea itself, but the tea bags often are toxic because of their bleaching process or because of the plastic in them.

Brands like Lipton, Twinings, Tetley, Celestial Seasonings, Tazo, Trader Joes etc, may be cheap and may taste good, but they are not good for you. The words "all natural" mean absolutely nothing in marketing at this point. The chemicals used on these teas are carcinogenic, cause endocrine disruption, and many other health problems. Not only are pesticides an issue in these teas, but GMOs, "natural" flavors (which we know is just a code name for a bunch of artificial chemicals), and artificial flavors are snuck in there as well.

When we choose conventional tea full of chemicals, we are not the only ones who suffer the consequences. The farmers that grow the plants for tea production are in dangerous conditions as well as the wildlife in the area. We vote with our wallet, and that is not something we should support. What you want to look for and make sure you're choosing is USDA certified organic tea. Organic tea means no pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, or any other chemicals sprayed on the tea which is better for your health, better for the farmers, and better for the planet.

I have found many delicious organic tea brands over the years. Rishi, Numi, Allegro Tea, Traditional Medicinals and Organic India are a few of many organic tea companies that practice sustainable sourcing and are gentle on the environment.

My favorite tea by far is from Traditional Medicinals. I've been drinking their tea for years and the options and flavors are endless! Traditional Medicinals were kind enough to send me their two new flavors "Mountain Tea" and "Moringa" which both promote everyday wellness and are delicious! Along with teas for general wellness, they also have specific teas for common conditions. Whether you need cold care, breast milk production help, or stress relief, they've got a tea for it.

When I drink tea with herbs and plants that were grown in their natural environment and in the way God intended for them to grow, I am able to be fully nourished by the goodness and benefits of those plants. When I know that the farmer involved in the tea growing and making process was offered a good job, fair trade, and a safe work environment, I can feel good about supporting good practices.

Plants and herbs steeped into a tea is a wonderful creation with so many benefits. Tea does not need to be filled with chemically-made artificial flavors when God already created the ultimate flavors purely through organically grown plants.

Tea Tips!
-Cover your mug with something like a plate or bowl when steeping. This ensures the full extraction of the essential oils in the herbs and creates a more beneficial and better tasting tea.
-Squeeze your tea bag before you take it out to ensure all the goodness and flavor gets into your cup!

Sources:
Another Reason To Buy Organic Tea
Pesticides In Name Brand Teas
Do You Know What's Really In Your Tea

*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases. 

Vegan Pumpkin Oat Bread

Monday, October 2, 2017

Last year, before I was vegan, I made this pumpkin oat bread and it was so amazing I even put it in one of my "monthly favorite" posts. Recently I was craving it and was searching vegan pumpkin bread recipes, but none of them were what I was wanting. So I decided to use the recipe I used last year and make it vegan!

Even before I was vegan I was already baking completely dairy free. I can't remember the last time I've had a baked good with actual butter in it. It's so unnecessary and so much healthier when coconut oil is used instead! It was the eggs that was the tricky part to get used to after I made the transition away from animal products. My brother has been allergic to eggs his whole life so although I was familiar with eggless baking, I hadn't tried it for myself.

Veganizing recipes seems scary but it's actually so easy once you get the hang of it! I've made quite a few things recently, some even without an "egg substitute" and thought to myself, "why did I ever think I needed egg in this?" In this recipe, I used a "flax egg" which I'll explain how to make! It's super easy and adds healthy benefits to the recipe that eggs do not.

I am so thankful everyday to have access to vegan recipes and vegan alternatives. Seriously guys, it's so easy and it's right at our fingertips! There's no excuse.

Let's bake bread!

 What you need:
3/4 cup of organic rolled oats, blended into flour
1 cup or organic flour
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 teaspoon of organic cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of organic ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of organic ground ginger
1/2 crushed pecans, walnuts, or both!
1 cup of organic pumpkin puree
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons or organic coconut sugar
1/3 cup of organic coconut oil, melted
2 flax "eggs" (2 tablespoons of ground flax + 6 tablespoons of filtered water)
Oats + nuts to top

1. Preheat your oven to 350℉

2. Before starting, make your flax egg so it has time to thicken. Mix 2 tablespoons of ground flax seeds with 6 tablespoons of filtered water. Set this aside for now.

3. In a blender or food processor, blend your oats until they turn into flour. (Or you can use pre-ground oat flour from the store, but I like making my own because I know it's fresh!)

4. Place oat flour into a bowl with the regular flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and nuts.

5. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, coconut sugar, coconut oil, and the flax "egg" that you set aside earlier.

6. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix just until combined.

7. Grease a glass bread pan with coconut oil (I do not recommend aluminum pans because aluminum leeches into your food and it detrimental to your health. Stick with glass!) and pour the batter. Top with more nuts and oats.

8. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

9. Remove from baking pan and let cool on a rack before transfering to the fridge. This bread is yummy fresh out of the oven but also good cold, too!

This stuff is so good guys. It's pumpkin-y and spicy but not too over powering. Each bite tastes like fall. It's healthy, cruelty free, and white sugar-free! I like to eat this bread just plain, but it's yummy with vegan butter or almond butter as well.

If you try this, I'd love to hear how it turns out!

*Recipe adapted and veganized from here.

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