Homemade “Cheese” Sauce

Yesterday, I had a real hankering for nachos. But there is always one problem with having vegan nachos: the cheese. I have tried so many different varieties of vegan cheese sauces and meltable cheeses that I had almost given up on finding anything that I will truly love. Since I do not want to buy the vegan soy cheeses due to them containing soy and weird ingredients such as preservatives, I have always turned to recipes on homemade stuff instead.

I go through each recipe extremely critically and imagine what all the ingredients will taste like combined before I make up my mind. Yesterday, I found two recipes that I decided to fuse together and then added my own spin. The result was truly amazing, and even though it is not completely without salt or fat, I believe it will be okay to indulge in every once in a while.

IMG_2946 - BLOG Served with the rest of my nacho epicness. Recipe will be up soon!

IMG_2954 - BLOGWhat it will look like in the pot, except the lightning is incredibly bad and makes it look more like carrot purée…

This can easily be stored in the fridge and then reheated in a pot or in the microwave. I will enjoy the leftovers with some oven baked potato wedges later today.

Ingredients for a huge amount of cheese sauce:
1 cup steamed sweet potatoes

¼ cashew nuts, preferably soaked for a few hours
1 ½ tsp onion powder
2 ½ cups of water
¼ cup or more of lemon juice (or raw apple cider vinegar)
½ cup or more of nutritional yeast
1 tbsp paprika powder
½ tsp garlic powder (can be omitted)
¼ cup of corn starch, tapioca or any other kind of flour that will help everything thicken
1 tsp salt (or less)
A dash of turmeric
1 tsp of sambal oelek, sriracha sauce or any other hot sauce that you prefer
4 tbsp or less of chopped jalapeños

Nutritional yeast is what gives the sauce its cheesy flavor, and the lemon juice or apple cider vinegar provides with the cheesy “sourness” that I believe many “cheese” sauces out there lack.

Instructions:
Soak the cashews a few hours earlier that day and let them soak until you are ready to use them. I made everything without soaking, and it went just fine. I believe, however, the sauce will be a bit smoother if you do soak the nuts.

Peel and dice the sweet potatoes, I only needed one, and steam it until it is completely soft.

Add all the ingredients, besides the hot sauce and jalapeños, into a high speed blender and blend until completely smooth.

Pour the sauce into a sauce pan and heat and stir until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. Add in the hot sauce and jalapeños and stir. Let it heat some more.

Taste the sauce and add more of any ingredient if needed.

Pour the sauce over some nacho chips – preferably homemade ones – or any other kind of dish and enjoy!

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!

Sources:
Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce: http://vegan.crawford.cc/2011/11/17/vegan-nacho-cheese-sauce-2/

Vegan Nacho Cheese (Katherine Lawrence’s recipe): http://vegan.crawford.cc/2011/11/17/vegan-nacho-cheese-sauce-2/

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Raw till 4 Falafel Roll-Up

Yesterday, I enjoyed the best falafel roll I have ever had! This is a perfect substitute to the ordinary fast food version which is always very greasy and not very nutritious. I made falafel burgers, which can easily be made into balls if you prefer that, since I thought it could be fun to try eating it with a bun and potato wedges. You can easily double the recipe and store the falafel burgers or balls in the freezer, which will save you a step in the future. The same thing goes for the bread, but I believe it will be a little on the drier side when thawing it unless you thaw it in the oven and serve the bread warm.

IMG_2905 - BLOGIngredients – approximately 6 burgers:
800 g, 1,8 lb., chickpeas

2 cloves of garlic
2 handfuls of parsley
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp chili powder or chili sauce – optional
4 tbsp gluten-free all purpose flour
2-3 tbsp water

Instructions:
Rinse and dry the chickpeas. Put them into a blender together with the rest of the ingredients and blend until somewhat smooth.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Shape the chickpea paste into balls or burgers and put on the baking sheet. Bake in the oven until tender and slightly dense. The temperature may vary between 175° C (350° F) and a bit more depending on your oven. I baked mine for approximately 20 minutes and they turned out perfect! Not too dry and not too sticky.

IMG_2912 - BLOG

I apologize for this unappetizing picture, but it was far more delicious than what it looks like in the picture.

Ingredients – the tortilla bread – makes 4
400 g, 0,9 lb., gluten-free all purpose flour

½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp coconut sugar
1 tbsp onion powder
½ cup nutritional yeast – optional
2 cups of water

Instructions:
Put all the ingredients except the water into a big mixing bowl. Blend the ingredients while adding the water gradually. I used an electric hand-mixer. The consistency should be quite similar to pancake batter, only slightly thicker, so you may have to add more water than prescribed in this recipe.

Once the dough is done, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pour some of the dough on there. Smooth it out making it as round as possible and bake in the middle of the oven for about 15-20 minutes on 175° C (350° F). It should be a bit swollen and golden with a crispy surface, but when you touch it you will be able to feel a certain softness to the bread. That is when you know it is ready.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool for at bit before you serve.

I prepared some chopped iceberg lettuce, cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and my favorite ”hamburger” dressing which was perfect for this dish! Recipe can be found here.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!

Source:
Falafel burgers: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/5605/falafel-burgers

Homemade Spicy Mustard

This recipe originally comes from Detoxinista, and is one of my absolute favorite mustards! It is so incredibly simple to make and can be used in so many different ways.

IMG_2918 - BLOGMakes about 6 ounces and will store well in an airtight glass jar in the fridge for a few weeks.

Ingredients:
2 tbsp yellow mustard seeds

2 tbsp brown mustard seeds
¼ cup apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
2 tbsp water
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp or more of coconut sugar – optional, but a good solution to balance the ”bite” if you find that the mustard is a bit too strong.

Instructions:
Ground the mustard seeds as roughly or as finely as you want. You can use either an electric coffee grinder or a mortar and pestle.

Transfer the ground seeds to your jar and add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well and let it sit in room temperature for a few hours in order for the flavors to develop. Once you are happy with the flavor, you can store it in the fridge, preventing it to develop further.

I hope you try it and enjoy it.

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!

Source:
Detoxinista: http://detoxinista.com/2013/01/homemade-spicy-mustard/

”Hamburger” Dressing

This dressing came up during some creative madness in the kitchen. I was preparing a big salad and felt like having something slightly savory on top of it. The result was quite astonishing; my salad tasted almost like a hamburger! It is incredibly simple, but 100% tasty.

IMG_2912 - BLOGServed with my Falafel Roll-Up. Sorry about the not so appetizing picture.
You will find the recipe for this dish over here.

This is best served fresh, but will keep until the day after. I would not recommend storing it any longer or freezing it as the taste will not be the same sure to it containing fresh veggies.

Ingredients – approximately 2 cups:
4 tbsp tahini

1-2 tbsp homemade mustard (Recipe found here)
4-6 tomatoes
a dash of lemon juice
¼-½ white onion
1 celery stalk
1 small clove of garlic

Instructions:
Put all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Enjoy on pretty much anything!

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!

HCLF Vegan? Raw till 4?

Becoming vegan or joining a raw food community sure will introduce you to some new terminology as well as convenient (or confusing) abbreviations. It took me quite some time to get used to, and once you are down with the lingo yourself, it is easy to forget how unclear these things can be to those not yet invited. This is my attempt to break things down and explain what kind of vegan I am and what everything entails. I do want to note, however, that I am no expert in this area, nor is my research by no means over. There is always room for improvement and new knowledge, and so I intend to educate myself as long as I live and commit to whatever lifestyle makes me feel the best, which happens to be a vegan lifestyle. I also want to refer back to my previous post in this FAQ category named Me Being a Vegan where I explain my thoughts on veganism and what it is to me. Please read that post before diving into this one.

Now first of all, there are many different varieties of veganism. Some eat more or less the same way as they did before they turned vegan, but consume meat and dairy substitutes which consist of soy, grains, almonds or beans etc. Some vegans omit grains and gluten, some omit sugars, mostly refined, (Low Carb), some omit fats (High Carb), and some omit other things that may affect their digestion or for other health reasons. There are also raw vegans, which means they eat no cooked food, or food that has been heated over 42° C. This is so all the nutrients and enzymes can be preserved, resulting in a much healthier and richer food intake.

In this blog, and in this post, I will only address what kind of vegan I am, which is a high carb low fat vegan with a high raw approach (Raw till 4). Wow, that is a mouthful! However, my lifestyle is much simpler than the actual terms denote.

So, first of all I shall begin with explaining what all of this means. I mostly follow the 80/10/10 raw food diet presented by Dr. Douglas Graham. This diet has an approach where your daily intake of calories, preferably more than 2500 kcal per day, should consist of 80% from carbohydrates, such as fruits and berries. 10% should come from protein, which is found in vegetables – especially green ones. The final 10% comes from fat, but never cold pressed versions or other kinds of fats that are not naturally found in nature. The fat referred to comes from fruits, nuts and vegetables, such as durian, cashews, and avocado. This approach means you get to eat how many carbohydrates as you possibly want, as long as they come from the right source. The rest should be kept to a minimum.

5114pA7RNKLI truly recommend everyone to read this book! It really opened my eyes and helped me understand my body, health and mind. It is filled with research and great, comprehensive information, and most of the information mentioned in this post will be found in this book. However, I will not be referencing every bit of information. Click on the picture to reach Amazon where you can listen to or read the first parts of the book.

A Side Note on Protein
What people always seem to criticize vegans for is their ”lack of protein”. This is a common misconception since this is something that has always been told to us. ”You need your protein! Protein never makes you gain weight. Without protein, you will never have muscles! It will help you become lean and slim. Protein is all you need. The rest is bad for you”. Well, no wonder the market for protein powders is able to skyrocket these days. The truth, indeed, is that protein helps you grow. But, since adults are done growing, we are in no need of neither breast milk nor meat. There are many studies that suggest that humans only need about 10-20% of protein per day. The World Health Organization has stated that men and women only need about 5% of their daily calories from protein (McDougall 2007). I advise you either read Graham’s book, or that you do your own research in order to find out more about this.

So, back to the diet!
This is not something that you should try for only a few months, this is something that you commit to for the long run, and patience is required if you want to see real results. My aspiration is to become fully raw one day, but as for now I am happy to follow the 80/10/10 diet two thirds of the day. In other words, I follow an approach called Raw till 4. This means I eat fully raw, smashing in the calories from carbohydrates during the day, and then have a high carbohydrate cooked vegan meal for dinner (after 4 p.m.). Everything that I eat in a day is low in protein, low in sodium, has no active yeast, low in fat, gluten free, free of refined sugars and 100% vegan, and I also try to find as many organic ingredients as possible.

The carbohydrates I eat before 4 p.m. mainly come from fruit. Please visit my other categories in order to find recipes on smoothies and other delicious fruit meals. If you are interested in reading about what I usually eat in a day, I recommend you read the post named What I Usually Eat in a Day which can be found in the FAQ category.

Practically, all you need is water, fiber, glucose, vitamins, and minerals. The rest, such as fat and protein, will accompany the former anyway, and are never substances which you will have to actively seek out.

A Few Words on Low Carbohydrate Approaches
I have met countless people who believe in different kinds of approaches where low carbohydrate is key. Some of them seem to be successful at it, but unfortunately most of them are not. Almost every single one is cheating on their diet on a fairly regular basis, and these people also tend to hold on to a bit of excess weight. Why is that? Well, to begin with, they are not eating enough carbohydrates. People following a low carb high fat diet should think the other way around, reverse the formula for a healthy and successful way of living. The only problem is, people nowadays lack patience. They want their results now! And so the focus is set on weight loss, not on achieving optimum health. Eating less calories from carbohydrates may give you rapid weight loss results, but it is by no means a healthy way of doing so, or even sustainable.

Most of the low carb followers become carbohydrate-depleted, eating as little calories as they possibly can, or eating too many calories from fat, which causes them to feel depressed, unsatisfied, craving carbohydrate-rich foods and so on. This is when they end up cheating, give themselves in to binging what they should not be eating on their diet. They then feel guilty about it.

Losing weight quicker, seeing your results faster, is so motivating to most people that they forget what will truly benefit their health. This is why they even consider keeping up with all this low calorie madness. Most tend to end up yo-yoing between being on a diet and being off one, which affects their weight the exact same way. You lose the pounds, and then you gain them back on. If your truly unlucky, you will even gain a few extra ones. Also, you risk obtaining some serious health problems while going back and forth between diets. Your metabolism gets harmed and so does your thyroid gland.

As I have already mentioned, some people seem to be successful and claim they thrive on their low calorie lifestyle, and that is really great for them. Kudos to all of you! However, most of them are not vegan, which means they carry a bit of animal protein in their system. Humans are not designed to digest animal proteins, but are bodies have learned how to cope with it. Whenever we consume animal protein, it causes high acidity-levels in our bodies. To counter out the acidity, which is the well-known environment for cancer growth, and to neutralize it to become more alkaline, the body needs to provide with a very alkaline substance – calcium. The calcium within our bodies then gets extracted straight from our skeleton and teeth, which are the only sources for this substance, hence osteoporosis (Graham 2006, p.106). Have you ever wondered why milk and cheese never made these things go away for good despite them being such “great” sources for calcium? Because they are what is causing osteoporosis in the first place. That is why I prefer a vegan diet any day of the week.

So even if you assume you are healthy on a lifestyle which include animal products and animal bi-products, you are still in the biggest risk group in terms of getting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis etc. Most people assume losing weight is what proves that you truly are healthy, but that has never been true. If so, anorectic or bulimic people would have won health-awards a long time ago. Do not confuse these things and think that they in any way are equal! Weight loss is always a result of a healthy lifestyle, but health has never been overlapped with cancer and other known diseases. I therefore assume that most people who claim to do well on a low carbohydrate lifestyle are actually referring to the size of their pants when saying so. As I said, I have not yet met anyone who does not cheat and struggle with cravings on a low carb lifestyle, and most of them are still not slim and toned.

A Final Word
The lifestyle I am living is not only simple, but it also increases my health in many great ways. I know it sounds as if it is extreme, but I assure you it really is not. It is incredibly easy to include in your life and there are always better options for bad foods available. Pick up a bunch of bananas and a pack of lettuce instead of a frozen meal when shopping for lunch. Chug a big smoothie full of fruit and berries instead of nibbling on a carrot and two scrambled eggs, which no one will get full and satisfied on anyway. Begin by incorporating more fruit into your diet and gradually work your way up to a Raw till 4 approach. Remember, you can eat as much as you want, and it is not only a privilege, but also necessary if you desire to acquire optimum health and weight loss. If you are uncertain at how many calories you consume a day, I suggest you use the calculation service at cronometer.com. It was very helpful in the beginning in order for me to make sure I was not eating too little.

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!

Sources:
Graham, Douglas N. (2006). The 80/10/10 Diet – Balancing Your Health, Your Weight, and Your Life One Luscious Bite at a Time. FoodnSport Press, USA.
Freelee the Banana Girl’s channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Freelea?feature=watch
McDougall, John (2007). “When Friends Ask: Where Do You Get Your Protein?” in McDougall Newsletter. April, Vol. 6, No. 4. http://www.drmcdougall.com/misc/2007nl/apr/protein.htm
WHO (on sodium): http://www.who.int/nutrition/publications/guidelines/sodium_intake/en/

Gluten, Fat, and Yeast Free Pizza

This is a recipe for pizza crust only since it is difficult finding recipes that are suited for us with specific preferences. The recipe originally comes from Freelee the Banana Girl and her video on how to make a Raw till 4 pizza (link at the end of this post!), but I have taken the liberty to change a few details even though her recipe is great!

The crust can be topped with anything you like, and since it is very low in sodium you do not have to worry about feeling bloated many days after consuming this delicious and topped crust. Since it does not contain gluten or yeast, you will experience no swelling right after eating, which is a big bonus.

Ingredients for 1 crust, 1-2 people, 1 baking sheet:
350 g of gluten free flour mix – make sure it is completely vegan. Also, the less ingredients, the better!

0,5 tsp baking soda
1 ½ tbsp dried Italian herbs: oregano, thyme, basil, onion powder, garlic powder (optional)
½ cup nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tbsp coconut sugar
3 dl, a little over a cup of water

Instructions:
Put all the ingredients into a big bowl. Mix together, I used an electric hand-mixer. Take out a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Put the dough on top of the paper and sprinkle with extra flour on top. Push the dough into a thin rectangular crust with your fingers or use roller. I also like to push up the edges a bit.

Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 15 minutes on 200° C, or 390° F. Take out the crust and then begin to top with yummy veggies. Here are a few examples:

IMG_2449 - BLOG

Tomato sauce, mushrooms, corn, jalapeños, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, red onion and ”cheese” sauce. Right before it got shoved into the oven.

IMG_2883 - BLOGCaramelized onions, mushrooms and a French mustard lemon dressing

I hope you try it and enjoy every single bite.

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!

Source:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ5mAXm-ncM

Fried Veggie Rice

Last week, I was craving veggies and rice, which resulted in me cooking for less than an hour. I think I am getting better and better at creating dishes that do not take forever to make.  Take a look at this nutritious beauty in a bowl!

IMG_2742 - BLOGIngredients:
2 cups of rice – I used Jasmine

4 tbsp lemon juice
2 cups of corn
1 leek
1 kg, 2 lb., mushrooms
¼ head of white cabbage
1 carrot
2-4 tbsp sambal oelek – this is adjustable according to preference
2 heaping tbsp of coconut sugar
1 clove of garlic
3 cups of broccoli florets
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp onion powder

Instructions:
Begin with cooking the rice according to the instructions printed on the package. Rinse all of the veggies. Shred or chop the cabbage, shred the carrot, slice the leek, and chop the mushroom into fine bits.

In a large pot on high heat, fry the mushrooms until almost all liquid has evaporated, then lower the heat to medium. Add the garlic and let it cook for a minute. Then add in the carrot, cabbage, broccoli florets (could be cut into smaller pieces). Let the veggies fry until tender.

Add in the corn, leek, sambal oelek, lemon juice and coconut sugar. Let them combine with the veggies. Lastly, you put in the rice. Let everything cook so that the flavors blend together. Taste and add more of any ingredient if you wish.

Serve as it is or make salad boats out of it. Either way is simple and delicious!

IMG_2740 - BLOGI hope you enjoy.

Be happy and clean, stay fruity and green!