End of Summer / Nature Walk

 

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I went for a walk yesterday, and brought my camera along, so just wanted to share some of it with you ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you enjoy it.

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A bit different from my usual recipe post, I know, but those were getting a bit repetitive ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Let me know what you think & hopefully this inspires you to get out and enjoy the last summery days! (I’m still refusing to believe it’s nearing towards the end of August…)

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(the bees were all over the place, you can even see all the collected pollen in the photo below!)

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& I’ll end it with this one, I already think I included way too many photos ;p

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Fresh Zucchini & Cucumber Salad

DSC_3153.jpgAfter making this recipe every single day for the past week for lunch, I decided I should probably share it with you guys, so you can also enjoy it with me ๐Ÿ™‚

You will need 3 ingredients and 5 min of your time. I’m not asking for much ;D

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Yup, you will just need 1 zucchini & 1 cucumber… and a squeeze of lemon

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The simplicity of this dish is probably why I love it so much…

it’s super fresh, light, & surprisingly filling, and zucchinis are completely in season atm!

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Zucchinis are hands down one of my favorite vegetable to cook with,

their super versatile & can we just glance at some of the HEALTH BENEFITS….

Zucchini (aka courgette) is a summer squash that might come in yellow or green colors (but all EQUALLY delicious)…

one medium zucchini is only around 40 calories & packed with Vitamin C, Potassium, Antioxidants

it has anti-inflammatory properties,ย aids digestion,ย  & is great for eye healthย (for those of you who decided to pass on the Total Solar Eclipse glasses yesterday… ;p)

& much much more.

This recipe requires some tool (preferably a mandoline) to slice the zucchini/cucumber in very thing long slices…

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Now, I know not everyone might have one of those at home, so I tested out using a vegetable peel ( it works! takes a bit more time, but nevertheless it can be used!)

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For this salad it’s all about less is more,ย so just a quick squeeze of lemon, sal y pepe, and VOILA!


Ingredients:DSC_3162.jpg

1 medium Zucchini (courgette)

1 (similar amount of) cucumber

1 lemon (juice)

sal y pepe!

*I added some black sesame seeds on top, so feel free to do the same ;p

Directions: (theirs not much)

  1. Wash & julienne your zucchini (courgette) & cucumber
  2. Squeeze lemon juice on top & add sal y pepe (to taste)
  3. You’re done, enjoy!

 

Keeenwaaah Salad

QUINOA. Anyone else have trouble with that word & have to pronounce it in your head while spelling it… ‘qweeeeee-no-aaaahhh’? No? Just me? -_-

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Anyway, I don’t know what ‘superfoods’ are, and if they even exist, or if it’s just an extremely good marketing plan that someone came up with to call healthy food ‘superfood‘…

either way Quinoa is apparently categorized as one, but in all honestly I just eat it because it’s super delicious &….

it cooks within 10-15min, which I like, because who has time for waiting…

it has a good kick of protein (for those vegans out there ๐Ÿ˜‰ ),

and twice as much fiber as any other grains!

OH, and it contains all 9 essential amino acids!

& actually many many many other health benefits.

& also the Incas ate it & called it ‘Mother Grain’… & I want to eat like the Incas ate so bring on the Mother Grain!

I actually have many different recipes with keeenwaaah, but it’s summer & hot here in Chicago & I’m just craving very bright, light, veggie filled foods atm SO I came up with this quiwawa saladย 

Honestly, I used up a lot of my veggies that were about to go bad, but all the flavors worked really well together ๐Ÿ™‚

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glorious lemon.

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oooooh I SO wish there was a way to transfer the smell of this through a computer screen… I love summer veggies.

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I also, unsurprisingly, ran out of olive oil (which I put on top for less-dry keenwaaa), so I had to improvise, but good thing I did!

I made some weird dressing thingy, I think it would be similar to a vinaigrette, but without the oil. The texture came out strange, so please don’t judge too much, but it’s all about the taste here!

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The cucumber&basil dressing came out super bright & refreshing & honestly when you put it on the salad it completely disappears, so you can’t even see the strange texture. It turned out great, added a lot of taste to the final dish.

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& look how GREEEEN it was ๐Ÿ˜€ but then completely disappeared in the salad…

So give it a try, let me know how it goes, and what you think of this strange dressing, I really enjoyed it but I have yet to give it to other people so it might be a complete fail :/


 

Ingredients:DSC_2920.jpg

Keeenwaaah Salad:

1/2 cup (uncooked) quinoa

1 cucumber

1 handfull cherry tomatoes

1 bunch kale

1/2 red onion

1 lemon

dressing (below)

Cucumber/Basil Dressing:

1/2 cucumber (peeled)

1 handfuls of fresh Basil

1 mini garlic clove

1/2 lemon (juiced)

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

*you can also add 1-2 tbsp olive oil, but i just did 2 tbsp water (because i had NO oil in my house, but turned out really good without it)

Directions:

Cook your quinoa according to the package directions. Chop up all your veggies and throw into a bowl. * I chopped up my kale separately and massaged it with some salt and lemon juice in a separate bowl (kale spa), in my mind this makes it less tough and brings it back to life. Then you can make your dressing. Throw all the ingredients in a food processor and BLEND BLEND BLEND until nice and liquified. Now, I didn’t add any oil but feel free to do so, will make it more creamy-ish. My cucumber wasn’t too watery so i just added about 2 tbsp of water to make it more liquid-y. LET YOUR QUINOA COOL OFF before you mix everything together. Then you basically just throw it all together and VOILA!

 

 

Going Bananas!

Another sweet thing? Wut. I know, I know, after I tell you I’m totally a savory person & don’t really have much of a sweet tooth, I give you another sweet recipe…

BUT I can explain!

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So I make these PB & Chocolate covered frozen Bananaers once in a while, mainly when I need to use up my ripe bananas and have some dark chocolate laying around (which is a rare).

These little guys are incredibly simple & quick to make…

they are frozen, so they can chill out in your freezer for weeks & VOILA they are ready to go for when you have friends & family come over, when you need little pick me up, or for this midnight chocolate craving that even us savory people sometimes get ๐Ÿ˜‰

and BEST of all they count as a pretty healthy snack/ dessert, all the ingredients required are ripe bananas, dark chocolate, and peanut butterย (or any type of nut butter really).

DSC_2542.jpgvegan or nonvegan, everyone pretty much knows the health benefits of bananaers,

they not only are packed with Vitamin B6, Potassium, and Vitamin Cย BUT they also help boost your mood and battle depression!

Yup, according to this study bananas have a high quantity ofย tryptophan,ย which is then converted to the mood-boosting neurotransmitter Serotonin 0_o !

So bananas are just great & make people happy.

Dark Chocolate is also a winner in my books.

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It’s packed with antioxidants & some studies suggest will make you live a longer, happier life ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not sure how true this is, but it definitely does boost happiness!

The darker the chocolate, the more nutritious… mainly because dark chocolate is not diluted using milk or cream & all the nutrients are coming from the cocoa beans!

Of course, I know people that absolutely hate dark chocolate, so fill free to use any type you like, just keep in mind that bananas already hold a lot of sugar & sweetness themselves

Lets talk about Peanut Butter…

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Honestly as a kid I used to hate it! I hated PB&J sandwiches, I hated PB & bananas, I hated those stupid ‘ants on a log’ snacks that no one liked (why did they even exist?), I didn’t like the smell of it, the texture, or the look of PB.

But I grew up, and as we all grow, things change, and here I am giving the internet a recipe containing PB and Bananas…

The thing about PB is that you need to keep an eye out on the ingredients list when buying it. Peanuts contain A LOT of oil within themselves, so it makes NO sense in adding extra oil when making peanut butter (you would be surprised at how many companies do this!)


 

Ingredients:DSC_2582.jpg

1-2 ripe bananaers

50g -ish dark chocolate (no need to get too fancy with it, I go for 75-80% darkness)

Salted Peanut Butter*

sal! (just a tiny pinch on top)

 

Directions:

Slice your very ripe bananas into 1 inch slices, place in a container and freeze for a couple of hours). This will later help the chocolate set right away. When your bananas seem pretty frozen then it’s time to temper your chocolate. Some people might use microwaves but since I don’t have one, I do it old school. I take a pot, place about 2 inches of water and place a bowl over (it shouldn’t touch the water below), you can kind of see my setup below. Place your chocolate in the bowl and wait for it to melt. While it does its thing, you can get your bananas ready by putting some PB on top of them, then one by one dip them into the chocolate and set to the side. This won’t take too long, and please avoid my mistake of overheating the chocolate & having to redo it. Once their done, freeze them again for an our or so & enjoy ๐Ÿ˜€

*look @ ingredients list, make sure it JUST peanuts and salt, no extra oil or other unnecessary nonsense that no one needs. I used creamy, but if you like chunky that go for it!

-tempering chocolate can be a bit tricky, it can become clumpy if you overheat it, so just keep an eye and make sure once it melts it is on very low heat or if you think its warm enough, then turn off the heat completely.

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Oh So Cheesy, Vegan Pesto!

I feel like I always forget about pesto sauce. I used to obsess about it when I lived in Spain a while back, and then it completely just disappeared from my memory.

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But, today I was trying to think of a quick & easy & fresh & light sauce to use on my baked baby potatoes, and BAM it just came rushing back… the green, garlicky, aromatic pestoooo sauce that I used to put on literally anything & everything years ago.

SO here’s the recipe that I made. The good thing with making pesto is that it needs very few ingredients…

basically Basil, Olive Oil, Pine nuts (or in my case Walnuts), and Garlic.

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Traditionally you’re looking at including Parmesan and Pecorino cheese (& pine nuts)… ย but I hope the Italians don’t murder me for making it a vegan interpretation…

I ended up using walnuts (because I slightly have a pine nut allergy, still don’t know if I actually do but I defiantly get a tingling sensation when I do eat them o_0)…

and of course using my favorite Nutritional Yeast for the ‘cheeeeeesy’ bit.

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Like I said, I used it on baked potatoes, and it turned out DELICIOUS, but you can definitely use it for pesto pasta, wraps, toast, or on, honestly, whatever you desire!

This is of course a very simple and quick recipe, good for when you’re in a rush…

but I’ve seen some recipes with kale & hemp seeds that sound sooooooo good, and also extra healthy!


 

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1/2 Cup Walnuts (soaked for like 2 hours, maybe?)

2 handfuls of fresh basil (avoiding the stems)

2 Garlic Cloves

1 Tbsp of Nutritional Yeast (I use this one)

2 Tbsp Olive Oil (if you can, make this a splurge item and get the REALLY delicious Italian ones it makes a big difference)

Sal!

Directions:

Literally throw it all in a food processor and BLEND BLEND BLEND. Make sure to wash everything before hand (I’m only mentioning this because I always forget). I soaked my walnuts for about 2 hours before just to make them softer & easier to blend. I also hoped that they would become more creamy this way. Not sure if this step is really necessary, most other recipes don’t mention soaking pine or walnuts, so feel free to skip it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Give it a try and lemme know how it goes! VOILA!

*** also skip the NY if you don’t want the cheesy goodness, but I highly recommend it!!! and incredibly healthy for any vegans out there ๐Ÿ˜€

Taco Tuesday, Taco!

Burrito, Taco Taco, Burrito Taco, Taco Taco (i love who ever gets this reference)…. Taco-flavored kisses honey!

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Anyway, if you don’t get the reference you might think I’ve gone crazy. But I made some tacos.

I live in Chicago, and we take our Mexican food very seriously here. I’ve tried many varieties of tacos, most recently a Nopales Taco (cactus)…

& so I decided to give myself another challenge and make some vegan (Jackfruit) tacos.

When cooked, Jackfruit can get a ‘pulled pork’ like texture, and it absorbs any flavors like a sponge. Pretty ideal when when you want to fool non-vegans that you made some meat tacos ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I used a canned version from Trader Joe’s. They do have some acidic taste, so make sure to rinse them before using!

The cream for the taco took the longest, I had a cashew base and then added some apple cider vinegar and lots of spicesย to create some sort of sour cream/ranch sauce

Honestly, this is super quick and easy to make, just a lot of time waiting around for things to marinade and for nuts to soak… but a great amount of time to make yourself a Spicy G&T or a classic Margarita ๐Ÿ˜‰

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For a quicker process I soaked my cashews in very warm water, they soften quicker!

DSC_2420.jpgFor the toppings you can do whatever, I kept mine simple with some red cabbage, cilantro and avocado,ย but a salsa would be really nice too!

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It turned out pretty well, but I ended up subbing my corn tortilla with kale or lettuce


Ingredients:DSC_2363.jpg

(Taco)

1 can Jackfruit (I used this one)

1 tbsp olive oil

1/2 onion

Corn/flour tortillas, or lettuce/kale leafs for the shell ๐Ÿ˜‰

Red Cabbage (taco topping)

Avocado (taco topping)

Cilantro (taco topping)

(Marinade)

1 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp coconut aminos

1/4 tsp hot paprika

1 tsp creole style seasoning*

 

1/4 cup water

sal y pepe

(Cream)

1/2 cup raw raw cashews (soak for 2 hours)

6-7 tbsp water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/2 lime (juice)

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

sal y pepe

Directions:

Drain and rinse your Jackfruit really well. Then throw together the (Marinade) with all the spices. * Since I used a pre-made cajun-style seasoning I included the ingredient list below, so you can probably just throw similar spices in separately & get the same flavor! Then throw your Jackfruit in the marinade, make sure it’s all covered & coated, and let sit for about 3 hours (I kept mine in the fridge). While that marinades, you can make your cream to go on top of the TACO!

For the cream I made a sour cream/ranch concoction, and it was YUM. Soak your cashews until they get really soft (2-3 hours). *Remember, if you soak them in warmer water, they soften quicker. Throw them and all the ingredients (refer back to the ‘cream’ section) in into a food processor and BLEND BLEND BLEND, until super smooth. Add more water for a thinner cream, and less for a thicker consistency. Set that aside for taco time.

Have a couple Margaritas while you wait for the Jackfruit to be ready to go.

Chop up some onion and throw in a pan with heated olive oil, let cook on medium-low heat until golden. By now your Jackfruit should be ready, so just throw that into the pan with the onions. I put it on a medium heat with a lid and left it to cook through. Occasionally check on it and stir, took me about 10min. Once it looks cooked and steamy, you’re done, so now just grab a fork and sort of ‘mash’ the jackfruit so it becomes ‘pulled-pork’y’ in texture.

Toast your tortillas on a flame, and pile on your extras. My choices were red cabbage, cilantro and avocado. You can also do some type of salsa or guacamole ๐Ÿ™‚ I also substituted the tortilla to a lettuce leaf and it tasted even better (depends on your preference really).

**I served mine with a spicy G&T… basically Gin, Tonic, fresh slice of Peach, and cracked Black Pepper, ice and VOILA!

DSC_2274.jpg** Creole Seasoning: salt, paprika, garlic, onion, black/red pepper, oregano, thyme

Vegan Covfefe Cheesecake

Coffee. What an amazing thing, one of the best if you ask me. I have it at least twice a day, basically can’t function without it… Coffee ice cream, coffee cake, coffee martinis, gimme now.

DSC_2239.jpgSo when I decided to challenge myself & make a vegan dessert, I knew that I wanted to include it. Mainly because I don’t trust myself in baking & adding coffee to something (in my mind) would just make it hopefully good (or just edible).

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I’ve also always been amazed at some vegan desserts out there. Seriously, if you never had a vegan cake or vegan ice-cream (this one is incredible), try it.ย If you’re still skeptical, Oreos are actually vegan (WHAT! i know.)

So I decided to attempt…. a cheesecake. Mainly because I would be able to use up my coconut cream, but ALSO because ‘MURICA.

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Most of my recipe is based on this oneย (the crust), but I adjusted some things to make it more my style (+coffee. less sugar. did i mention coffee).

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The base (cream) for the cheesecake was soaked cashews, vegan cream cheese, and coconut cream.DSC_2078.jpg

I made the mixture first with just the cashews + cream cheese and it was heaven, so I think if I made it again i would just skip the coconut cream & add more cream cheese…

DSC_2188.jpgLOOK AT THIS CREEEAAAAMMMM! IT’S SO FLUFFFFYYYY CREAMY!

can you believe it’s 100% vegan?!

I was pretty nervous making this recipe, lets be honest, I’m no Christina Tosi, BUT this cheesecake man. It came out so. flipping. good!

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& you can always sub the coffee to another flavor (chocolate? plain vanilla? matcha?) but this on a Sunday morning with a fresh cup of covfefe… it really can’t get much better ๐Ÿ˜‰


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(Cream)

1 Cup Raw Raw Cashews (soaked)

1 Cup Coconut Cream

Vegan Cream Cheese (8oz)

1 Tbsp Arrowroot

1 Tsp Vanilla Bean

5 Tbsp Maple Syrup

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

pinch of sal

(Crust)

3/4 Cups Rolled Oats

3/4 Cups Raw Raw Almonds

2 Tbsp Coconut Sugar

4 Tbsp Coconut Oil

3 Tbsp of very strong coffee (preferably espresso)

pinch of sal

Directions:

Soak your cashews in warm water for 2 hours (or until soft). Preheat your oven (350 degrees).

Throw your almonds, oats, coco oil, coco sugar & sal to a blender and mix until you get a meal-like substance (add more oil if you think it’s too dry). Place the mix in a pan (I used a 8×8 cake pan) lined with parchment paper. Throw it in the preheated oven for 25min (or when the surface becomes more golden). Then take out and let cool a little bit while you make your cream.

Grab the soaked&drained cashews and throw them with the vegan cream cheese (I blended that first to make sure the cashews blend really well), coconut cream, arrowroot starch, vanilla bean, coco oil, maple syrup, coffee and sal. blend blend blend. Once The mixture is smooth and creamy, start adjusting it to your taste preference (sweeter, coffee-er, etc.).

Poor the cream in the cooked/cooled crusted pan, and throw in the oven for about 1 hour. Cook until the edges look browned & the center is a bit jiggly (not completely firm). Then let it cool off and throw in the fridge for 5 hours (I just left it over night)

ENJOY with coffee the next morning :D!

*This recipe is highly based off of this one, so refer back for better directions ๐Ÿ˜‰

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