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Vegan Fourth of July Shopping List

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Fourth of July is around the corner. What are your plans? Let me guess. Eat (a good meal), have a few drinks, share a memorable time with friends and family, and most importantly, thank our independence heroes for making this day a reality, right? Our Vegan fourth of July recipes are a must try. You don’t have to get stuck with your grandma’s recipe book. It’s time to try something different.

You see, life is hard enough walking past smoke-filled environments. While everyone else thinks of beefy burgers and char-grilled ribs, let me share with you my easy to make vegan delicacies. The best part is that you don’t have to prepare them from scratch. That’s why we have our lovely friends at WholeFoods, Trader Joe’s, and Target, right? So what’s in store for 2018s Vegan Fourth of July?

TraderJoe’s Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels for $3.29

Chicken-less Mandarin Orange Morsels Image

Trader Joe’s

These morsels are very delicious. They are a blend of soy flakes and orange sauce. They actually taste like real chicken. After being off the shelves for almost a year, they are now back; repackaged and very tinkered.

When you buy them, defrost the sauce in hot water. Secondly, pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the morsels for 9 minutes, turning them occasionally until they become golden and crispy. I serve mine with rice or noodles, the dipping sauce, and my favorite cheese combo or a green salad.

Sometimes when I’m in a hurry, I prefer to stir-fry them on a skillet using a tablespoon or two of olive oil.

Trader Joe’s Falafel Waffles for $2.99

falafel waffles image

Trader Joe’s

Falafel waffles are an excellent addition to a traditional Mediterranean breakfast with chickpeas and ground fava beans. I add a few spices to mine. A combination of cumin, coriander, garlic, and red onions go well with these waffles. You may also choose to cut the waffles into wedges and dredge them in plain yogurt. Whichever option you prefer, preparation time is always less than seven minutes.

Kruger’s Beyond Burger Plant Based Patties for $5.99

Beyond Meat Burgers Image

Kroger

These pea protein-based burgers are very similar to the classic American burger. However, these are healthier and tastier. They have a meaty texture. And by healthier I mean zero soy, GMOs, and gluten. They are available in packets of 20g.

An ideal way of preparing vegan burgers is by grilling the patties for 2-3 minutes each side. Then you grill your gluten-free burger bun (just to warm it up). Meanwhile, sauté a few slices of white onions in olive oil. Finally, build the burger. Add Daiya cheddar slices, lettuce, tomato, and your favorite sauce.

To melt your cheese, always place it on the hot patties as you assemble the burger. Within a few minutes, it will be oozing with tantalizing flavors.

Walmart’s Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Brown Rice Noodles for $3.82

 Thai Kitchen Gluten-Free Brown Rice Noodles Image

Walmart

These are not your ordinary noodles. They are made from whole grain brown rice. I love the fact that they are easy to prepare. Just steam them for a few minutes and serve. These noodles are free from fat, cholesterol, gluten, eggs, and dairy, making them the perfect vegan option.

Walmart’s Tofurky Deli Slices Hickory Smoked for $2.88

Tofurky Deli Slices Hickory Smoked Image

Walmart

These Tofurky Deli meat slices are cholesterol free and ready to eat; straight from the packets. They contain wheat and soy, but they taste like real turkey. They are stoked with real hickory wood chips to give them a nutty smoky flavor.

To make a Tofurky sandwich, you need the Tofurky Deli Slices, chopped olives, chopped red Onions, vegan cream cheese, jalapeno peppers, and gluten-free tortillas. Mix the ingredients and wrap them with the tortillas.

You can also make bread sandwiches with the tofurky deli slices. I mix mine with tomato, red onion, lettuce slices, vegan cheese, and mayo, mustard, and Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon. Then sandwich between two slices of whole grain bread.

Whole Food Market’s Sukhi Potato Samosas

Sukhi Potato Samosas Image

Whole Food Market

These samosas make a delicious side dish or a snack. They are loaded with spiced potatoes and peas and additional peanuts. To prepare them, first remove the samosas from the packaging tray. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the samosas on a baking dish and bake them for 15 minutes or until they turn golden brown. Serve with cilantro chutney or your favorite dipping sauce.

Target’s Korean Barbeque Meatless Chicken for $3.99

Korean Barbeque Meatless Chicken Image

Target

This delicacy contains soy, sunflower, miso, and organic tamari sauce. It is packed in frozen bags accompanied with a separate sauce packet. Microwave the chicken strips for 2 minutes and then mix with the sauce.

Gardein’s Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites for $3.97

Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites Image

Walmart

These porkless bites come with an easy to follow the recipe at the back. Pan-fry the bits until you get a crispy outside (just like you would with real pork bites). The sauce compliments any pasta or vegetable dish that you would like to serve with.

Wegmans Don’t Be Chicken Meatless Chicken Style Breasts for $4.19

Don’t Be Chicken Meatless Chicken Style Breasts Image

Wegmans

These chicken breasts are made using soy and wheat. To prepare the breasts, bake them for 15 minutes, turning them midway. Alternatively, you can also grill them. Lightly coat the breasts with vegetable oil. Grill them for two minutes on each side while covered (to prevent them from over-drying). Afterward, grill them for a further three minutes, this time uncovered. You can and the chicken breasts to your favorite vegan pot pie. Alternatively, sandwich them with burger buns.

Amy’s Vegan Margherita Swirls for $5.79

Vegan Margherita Swirls Image

Amy’s

These quick snacks contain wheat flour, tomatoes, and basil. To prepare the swirls, unwrap them and bake for 12 minutes. The new surges should otherwise be kept frozen at all times.

Meal Delivery Services For Vegans

In case the vegan fourth of July finds you far from your favorite store, you could request for a delivery to your doorstep. Veestro delivers plant-based pre-cooked meals nationwide. Mamasezz delivers a la carte meals suitable for three servings. Foodflo delivers raw, alkaline and gluten-free vegan diets like side salads and raw snack bars. Other home delivery services are from Food Nerd, Fresh N Lean, 22 Days Nutrition and Nutrifit.

In Conclusion

Pick one or two vegan meals from above and create a memorable vegan fourth of July summer party. Whether it’s an appetizer, the main course, or even dessert, there are a lot of easy to make meal options to choose from. Better still, select one of the gourmet dishes from a vegan delivery service and enjoy this Independence Day. Happy vegan Fourth of July!

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5-Minute Vegan Eggnog Recipes: Tastes Better Than Traditional One

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Vegan Eggnog Image

Traditional Eggnog is high in fat because it is made with whole milk, heavy cream, and egg yolks. A significant amount of alcohol is also added. In this article, I will share with you how to make Vegan Eggnog without alcohol for the festive season. I will also include a few healthy additions and variations. This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups coconut milk – you can use any thick non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds – presoak them in a little water for 4 hours
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 Banana
  • Spices – ½ teaspoon each
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional)
  • Ice cubes – you can also use frozen bananas instead of ice cubes.
  • A pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth consistency.

Serve immediately.

If you don’t plan on consuming the vegan eggnog immediately, blend everything in advance except the bananas. Once peeled, bananas start to oxidize. So right before serving, add the bananas and blend again.

Why Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds image

For this vegan eggnog recipe, I use soaked chia seeds because of their “eggy” like consistency. Eggnog is all about eggs and milk (with cream of course). Secondly, Chia seeds are the healthiest natural supplements we have. Research proves that chia seeds contain twice more calcium than milk, more omega 3 than fish, more antioxidants, and the list goes on. In fact, for those of us following the Ketogenic diet, chia seeds play a significant role in boosting your health.

If you manage to get chia seeds from a farmers market, they retail very cheap. But if you can’t, buy the commercially packed ones from online stores. You can use the seeds in any recipe but don’t cook them. Add them raw just before serving.

An Alternative Vegan Eggnog Recipe

If you have more people to serve, this recipe works better. You can prepare in advance and chill in the refrigerator. We will use homemade almond milk and homemade coconut cream. If you don’t have the time, just buy some from your favorite vegan store.

This recipe serves 4.

Ingredients

  • 2-cups almond milk
  • 2-cups coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup (whatever sweetener you like
  • Spices – ½ teaspoon each
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Vanilla extract
  • A pinch of salt

Add all the ingredients in a blender and blend to a smooth consistency.

Serving

To serve like a barista, grind some vegan cookies or biscuits. Coat the glass with biscuit crumble and pour in the vegan eggnog. Sprinkle some of that powder and attach a cookie on the glass. Throw in two cinnamon sticks per glass and a hint of the spices you used on the serving plate. This is very important, especially when serving strangers. The hints help them identify the drink with its ingredients.

Vegan Eggnog recipe Image

The Bottom Line

For the best vegan eggnog, make your almond milk fresh at home. It is more creamy and frothy compared to store bought milk. It is easy to extract milk from fresh almonds, but you need to be patient as the nuts soak in water. If this is not your forte, buy high-quality milk. A mark of good quality vegan products is in the list of ingredients. The shorter the list, the better the quality!

Use any vegan eggnog leftovers to make cinnamon rolls or eggnog French toast.

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Easy yet Delicious Vegan Chocolate Truffles: A 5-Minute Recipe

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Vegan chocolate truffles image

We make chocolate truffles from a combination of cream and chocolate in the ratio of 1:1. Vegan chocolate truffles follow the same principle. However, instead of dairy milk cream, you use non-dairy milk cream. Coconut milk cream works well.

The Ingredients

  • 500g coconut cream
  • 500g dark chocolate – you can use chocolate chips or finely chopped dark chocolate bar
  • Cocoa powder to garnish
  • Brandy or your favorite liqueur (optional)

Procedure

Homemade chocolate truffles image

Using a non-stick saucepan, bring the coconut cream to boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate chips. Stir until well combined.

Pour the mixture in a clean tray and transfer to the freezer to chill.

Using an ice cream scope, measure equal portions of the frozen mixture and roll them into your favorite shapes using the palms of your hands.

Now, gently but quickly, roll the melting vegan chocolate truffles in cocoa powder. Place them back in the freezer to chill until they are firm enough to handle.

Your vegan chocolate truffles are now ready.

Enjoy!

Vegan Dark Chocolate 101

cocoa powder image

For this recipe, use good quality dark chocolate for a smooth, shiny finish. The cocoa powder that you use to roll the finished vegan chocolate truffles should also be of high quality. However, please remember that not all dark chocolate bars are vegan.

Commercially, chocolate bars are a mixture of cocoa powder, sugar, and milk powder. However, they make good quality dark chocolate from cocoa powder, sugar, and cocoa butter. The unsweetened dark chocolate doesn’t contain sugar, and this is what I prefer.

Lower quality chocolates, on the other hand, contain vegetable oils, artificial flavors and colors, and butterfat. These are not healthy especially if you’re mindful of your weight.

Dark chocolate is good for your heart. It has numerous health benefits, especially the unsweetened version.

How is Dark Chocolate Processed?

Dark chocolate image

After harvesting cocoa pods, they extract their beans (seeds). These cocoa beans are roasted, and they separate the shells from the cocoa nibs (the fleshy part). They then grind the nibs to a fine liquid (chocolate liquor) from which they separate the fats (cocoa butter).

The liquid undergoes further refining to produce cocoa solids and the different chocolates we eat. They also refine the cocoa shells into the cocoa powder we use in beverages and baking.

Even though dark chocolate is made without using milk, there can be traces of dairy milk because of cross-contamination. This information is clearly indicated alongside the nutritional information. As a vegan, buy chocolate products that show zero contamination. Some manufacturers such as Trader Joe’s, SunSpire, and Whole Foods’ 365 have the vegan options readily available in the stores.

The Recipe Variations

Chocolate truffles image

With vegan chocolate truffles, you can add as many flavors as you want. The secret is to maintain the cream to chocolate ratio of 1:1. You can add a dash of brandy, vanilla extract, grated cardamom, or even pureed strawberries.

If you decide to use other types of non-dairy milk, (like almond milk) make sure you add a tablespoon of vegan butter for creamy truffles.

In Conclusion

Vegan chocolate truffles are a lovely dessert on their own. However, you can serve them with accompaniments or use them as ingredients in other vegan dishes including cocktails.

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A Delicious Vegan Tuna Casserole Recipe On A Budget

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Vegan Tuna Casserole Recipe Image

Vegan tuna casserole recipe is easy to make even for the busiest mom. I love using Fusilli in this recipe because they are tough, but you can use your favorite pasta. The key ingredients for my vegan tuna casserole recipe are tomato, tuna, and pasta. The only difference is that we are not using real tuna.

For the vegan Tuna

My key ingredient is the Heart of Palm. You can buy the processed or canned heart of palm in your local store or online. Heart of palm is the inner core (growing bud) of specific palm trees and peach palms. It is a common vegetable in vegan stores. The vegetable has a salty taste, which resembles the taste of seafood. Use it in moderation because it is high in sodium.

On the bright side, the heart of palm is very low in Cholesterol, rich in dietary fiber, and a good source of Protein. It is a good vegetable for a healthy weight loss diet. In addition, the heart of palm is rich in Vitamin C, Iron, Calcium, Folate, Zinc, and other minerals.

Ingredients

2 cans Heart of palm – diced

For the tuna marinade

  • 3-tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
  • 3-tablespoon Nori flakes
  • 1-teaspoon minced garlic
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
  • 1 1/2 cup warm water

Mix the above ingredients well and add the resulting liquid to the diced heart of palm to marinade in an airtight jar. The longer they sit, the more intense the tuna flavor. Depending on how much tuna you want in this vegan tuna casserole recipe, you might have some leftovers. Just keep the leftovers refrigerated, and you can use them in any other recipe that calls for vegan tuna.

After an hour or so, drain the tuna and preserve the marinade. You can use it as a substitute for fish sauce.

The Tomato Sauce

Tomato sauce image

If you don’t like too much sauce, use just a little and save the rest to use with other pasta dishes especially chickpea pasta.

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion – finely diced
  • 2 cans of chopped tomatoes
  • 1-tablespoon garlic paste (you can also mince 3 cloves of fresh garlic)
  • 1-teaspoon balsamic vinegar (you can also substitute with brown sugar)
  • 1-tablespoon oregano
  • 1-teaspoon chili flakes
  • 1-tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2-tablespoon capers
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sweat the onions in oil under medium to high heat. Add your spices and garlic but be careful not to burn the garlic. Add your tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. The vinegar reduces the acidity in the tomatoes and adds a sweet taste. You can add brown sugar instead, but balsamic vinegar has more health benefits. Season your sauce with salt and let it simmer under low heat for 10 minutes or until thickened.

The Casserole

Fusilli pasta image

As the sauce simmers, pre-boil the pasta in salty water and drain before it cooks fully. The pasta will continue cooking in the casserole. Once the sauce thickens, add the capers and the chili flakes. Stir and add the tuna (without the marinade). Add the pre-boiled pasta and mix well.

Transfer the mixture into a casserole dish. Grate vegan cheese and garnish with tomato slices and your favorite herbs. I use basil and parsley.

Broil in your oven until the cheese melts and serve while hot.

In Conclusion

Feel free to enjoy this vegan tuna casserole recipe as a single dish or use it in salads and as a pizza topping. You can also prepare the tuna and tomato sauce in advance and use them with other vegan recipes. If you get the sauce right, your vegan tuna casserole recipe will always be perfect.

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