Monday, December 17, 2012

How to make a dairy free vegan cheesecake

First off, I would like to say my inspiration for this cheesecake came from
Fragrant vanilla cake is a fantastic blog, and I recommend you all check it out!

I made this for a holiday party, everyone thought it was fantastic, and no one believed it was vegan! So why torture the cow?

Ingredients you'll need;


  • 3/4 cup/approx 5 natural vegan oreos , then crush or chop (I used trader joe's brand. For those with a milk allergy {lauren} I think they are made in a facility with milk. so read carefully).
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 10-12 soft medjool dates, pitted and chopped (make sure they are pitted and chopped before the food processor! because I didn't realize!)
  • a pinch of cocao powder
cheesecake filling:
  • 3 cups raw cashews (soaked overnight and drained)
  • 1/2 cup coconut water
  • 1/2 cup raw agave nectar or honey
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • a dash (about 1/2 teaspoon) pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract (or a little more to taste)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
  • about 10 chopped/crushed natural vegan oreos
  • (optional) 1/2 tsp cocoa powder or   (OPTIONAL)one handful organic spinach leaves (enough to tint the filling green)
ganache topping:
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (if you cannot find this try using a thick almond or coconut milk)
  • 4.5 ounces of vegan dark chocolate, chopped

1. grease a large (about 12 inches or so) spring form pan with coconut oil. 

2. Put oreos, cocoa powder, salt, and  almond meal in a food processor. pulse until it becomes a fine powder.

3. Add chopped pitted dates, and pulse until thick. it should hold together when you squeeze it with your fingers.
4. Firmly pack crust mixture onto the bottom of the greased pan.

5. In a food processor add drained soaked raw cashews, salt, coconut water, agave, vanilla and mint extract and coconut oil. Blend until it is a thick puree with no lumps. If you are using spinach or cocoa powder you can puree that into it now. 
6. Scrape contents out into a large bowl using a rubber spatula. Add crushed oreos and mix until evenly distributed.

7. scoop contents into your spring form pan. Place in freezer to set for 4-6 hours.

8. To make your ganache, heat coconut cream on the stove until hot. Pour over chocolate and mix until all chocolate is melted. If all the chocolate doesn't melt, place back on the stove on very low heat, stirring constantly. Once chocolate is completely melted and mixed, let cool.
9. After cheecake is set, remove spring form sides, and drizzle ganache over top. The cake I made was saturated in ganache, it was a little much.

In these pictures above, mine was not completely set, and a little soft, but delicious none the less! Plus no one thought it was vegan!

Thank you fragrant vanilla cake for this great idea!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

How to make vegan flavored chia pudding / yogurt

So, what's chia!? It's an amazing little seed packed with protein, omega3 and omega6, as well as other vitamins! PLUS, IT EXPANDS! MAKING YOU FEEL FULL AND SATISFIED!

places you can buy chia:

  • costco
  • health food store
  • trader joe's
  • vitamin store
  • whole foods
  • online
Your best bet is buying it in bulk (2 lbs or more) or else it's a little pricey.

Ok, so first things first, gather your ingredients, you'll need;

  1. chia seeds
  2. coconut milk, or light coconut milk (almond milk would probably work fine)
  3. raw agave syrup, maple syrup, raw honey or organic powdered sugar, I use raw agave, I would not recommend processed agave or processed non organic sugar  If you use honey, be careful, some brands of honey harden when cold.
  4. pick a flavor- vanilla extract, natural oreos, coco powder, applesauce, blueberries, pureed peach, strawberry, banana or other fruit, mint extract... possibilities are endless.

1.I usually make a double batch, but for a small batch, pour 1/4 
cup of chia seeds into a medium bowl.              
  (If you have an issue with certain consistencies,
 try pulverizing the chia to a powder in a grinder. 
this will eliminate the lumpiness, but it should still thicken like the whole seed)

2. Pour in 1 cup of non dairy milk. I usually use light canned coconut, or regular coconut milk

3.Add 1/4 raw organic agave (or another sweetener)
mix well.

4. If you are using blueberries you can toss them in now and gently whisk around.
I used pesticide free frozen blueberries. Do not use conventional berries.
before it sets

*******refrigerate and let set for at least 2 -3 hours

after it sets

If you would like it to be thicker you can add more chia, or almond meal, flax meal, garbanzo bean flour...
If you want more calcium you can steam/boil empty egg shells and pulverize them into a powder and add that, or buy calcium powder. You could also add probiotic powder.

And there is my son's breakfast; vanilla blueberry chia "yogurt"
with raw agave, coconut milk, a dash of vanilla, and a handful of wild blueberries.

**If you are using oreos, or cocoa almond spread,
put it in a bowl, smash it as best as you can, whisk in coconut milk until evenly distributed, then add sweetener and chia.

For my pudding, I use trader joe's natural "oreos"
I get about 4, and smash them with a dash of coco

Then I mix in the chia, agave, and coconut milk

wah lah! perfection in your mouth!!

I got this basic chia pudding recipe from trader joe's.   :)
The flavored recipes are my own. If you re post them, please give my blog credit.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

how to take dairy out of your diet, without sacrificing flavor

So, why should we stop drinking milk? cow's milk for one, is for.. cows.. not humans. It is fatty and really not at all good for us.
>>This is a great youtube video, watch it.
Back in the day, there used to be nice farms, with cows, who would graze, and be milked daily. These cows were treated much better than today's cows...

                                                 what we picture.....

The sad truth.

hundreds of cows crammed together in factory farms, 
many are not allowed to ever go outside. And most are hooked up
to semi permanent milk pumps, that they wear 24/7.
And cows do not produce milk forever you know, back in the day,
people had a male cow, and a female cow. But now, in the industry, 
the basically "rape" the cows by artificially inseminating them 
with bull sperm. Once the cow gives birth, the baby is taken from the mother,
causing emotional stress to the baby , and the mother.
The baby is put in a small crate, where it can not move for weeks.
Then it is slaughtered and sold as veal. so by purchasing milk products,
you are supporting the veal industry.

How will I get calcium if I avoid milk?

  • dark leafy greens like- collard greens, kale, spinach, turnip greens, bok choi, swiss chard
  • organic tofu, organic tempeh
  • calcium fortified orange juice, rice milk, and almond milk
  • organic soybeans
  • almonds
  • broccoli
  • tahini/ sesame seeds
  • great northern beans
  • okra
  • oranges
  • kelp, algae
  • black strap molasses
  • brazil nuts
  • celery
  • papaya
  • flax seeds
  • vegan yogurt
  • chia seeds

Now I'm not vegan, or vegetarian. I realized if you go to someone's house and they made chicken.. Yes that tortured chicken  lived a terrible life, but that chicken is dead and on the plate, what happened, happened, there's nothing you can do. Unless you are disgusted by the thought of eating any animal products, I don't see an issue with occasionally eating meat, eggs, and dairy (especially free-range!!!).

so finally, how to take dairy out of your diet!!!:

  1. So the easiest thing to do first is to cut out milk and butter. the best "butter" I've found is earth balance (do not use salt when baking with this). When baking, I usually use organic coconut oil instead of butter. As for milk, I use organic rice milk (for cereal and baking) and vanilla sweetened almond milk for drinking. I also buy coconut milk- for puddings and baking. There are many non dairy beverages; rice, almond, coconut, hemp, wheat.. to name a few. Find some you like and stick to it. I would not recommend soy all the time, because too much soy is no good, see article>>>
  2. After you got used to your non dairy milk take out something else... like icecream. There are delicious coconut milk icecreams and also soy ice cream. But you can also make it yourself! Find a cheap ice cream machine, and have fun! I have made many icecreams with coconut milk, banana, and soaked raw cashews (pureed).
  3. Almost there! yogurt. You either love it or hate it. If you love it, try almond milk yogurt, it's very good, and cruelty free! You can also try coconut milk yogurt, or soy yogurt. Or you can make your own flavored no-bake chia seed puddings, or buy a yogurt maker and use non dairy milk.
  4. cheese. Probably the hardest thing to swap out. The only thing I haven't found a good replacement for is mozzarella cheese sticks. For cheesey casseroles I use galaxy vegan rice milk cheese. For pizza I use vegan mozzarella teese , for mac & cheese I use vegan rice milk cheddar, and daiya pepperjack shreds. Instead of Parmesan cheese I use sea salt or vegan Parmesan cheese, you can also try nutritional yeast.. Some things that were not so good: soy mozzarella, soy ricotta, soy cream cheese.
I have heard this is very good:   cashew vegan ricotta  {update-- I have made vegan ricotta, search my blog for ricotta to find the recipe}

And I am getting better and better of making dairy free products. My son absolutely loved yogurt, every single day. But I explained to him how much the cows suffer. And non dairy yogurts get very pricey, if you are having one daily. So, I am now making him chia seed pudding "yogurt"
I eat it too, it's absolutely delicious, and packed with protein!!!
next post will be those recipes: stay tuned!

Oh no my recipe calls for buttermilk!!?
-I use rice milk or almond milk, with a tad of apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract. works fine.

other dairy free recipes that sound good:

For more great tips and recipes follow me on pinterest!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Natural Homemade Easy Oatmeal

Why should you make your own oatmeal for breakfast?
  1. It is heart healthy and helps lower cholesterol
  2. You can control what ingredients go in
  3. You can control the sugar and sodium content
  4. There are no unnecessary chemical additives
  5. Lower sugar than pre-made oatmeals
  6. Gluten-free
  7. vegan
  8. low glycemic index
  9. It takes almost the same amount of time as pre-made and is much healthier
  10. It tastes better than store bought oatmeal!

This is a super easy recipe for Apples and cinnamon oatmeal

First things first, you need to decide if you want apple or a different flavor. Regardless, purchase your dried fruit, the ingredients should say apple, dried blueberries. It should only have one ingredient! It should not have added sugar, or salt, or phosphates, or sulfur, or any other junk!!! Dice your dried apple (or other fruit) you decide how much fruit you want.

Rolled oats calls for 1 cup liquid to 1/2 cup of oats, but read your oat package.
Pour 1 cup organic rice milk into a small pot and heat on medium high heat, until it starts to boil.

Measure 1/2 cup of oats, (I plan on using steel cut oats once these run out)

Once your rice milk begins boiling...

Add your oats and stir, and after about a minute...

Then add a couple dashes of cinnamon and your dried fruit. Stir.

Almost done...

Add a small drizzle (to taste) of maple agave syrup or
  • maple syrup
  • raw agave syrup
  • raw honey
  • raw unprocessed sugar
  • stevia

After about 5-6 min of total cooking your oatmeal is done! It's creamy, has the perfect amount of sweetness, delicious and healthy!!
Other great ideas for oatmeal are: ground flax seeds, chia seeds, dried wild blueberries, dried apricots, dried strawberries, chopped pecans/walnuts

Saturday, September 29, 2012

making your own deodorant

This may sound crazy, time consuming, and not worth the trouble, but I guarantee once you try it you'll never go back!
I found this recipe from girl on bike's blog, and it's really great. But I did add to it...

Her recipe calls for
*1/4 cup baking soda
*1/3 cup cornstarch
*10 drops or 1/4 tsp tea tree, lavender, &/or your favorite scented oil
(tea tree works best because of it's antibacterial properties)
*1 tbsp+ coconut oil

I also added sea salt, and a little witch hazel. Both of these will control odor because they have antibacterial properties., And the salt will help keep you dryer.

Also, I added a little bit more of every ingredient to get a good consistency, and I ended up with 2 deodorant bars. I melted everything on the stove, whisking. It was so separated and gooey and wet that I added more dry ingredients. At the time I didn't know it would harden so much, but regardless it came out perfect!!

To do the deodorant, I would wait until one of your deodorant sticks run out, (save the empty container) but have a spare, because this homemade deodorant takes about a week to harden and "set." Take your empty deodorant container, screw it all the way down, and tightly pack in the new deodorant mush.(I've also used toilet paper rolls as deodorant containers.

Once it hardens, it works just like any other deodorant. It smells like heavenly tea tree coconut.

This deodorant is all natural, but if you want non-gmo I would recommend using organic or certified non-gmo cornstarch.

*****tip-- if you find your deodorant won't set and harden properly try storing it in the fridge.


picking cosmetics that don't cause cancer

Now, like I mentioned earlier, living a holistic lifestyle doesn't happen over night, you WILL drive yourself crazy.
I recommend researching ingredients, and once you eat mostly natural and organic, only then, take it once step further.
At one time I thought, why would I care what I put on my skin, it's not like I'm eating it, how much does it really matter?
Well parabens for example, are used in deodorants, lotions, many cosmetics...If you test someone with breast cancer for parabens, you will see there is a very high amount of parabens in the tissue affected by the cancer. So parabens have been linked to causing cancer. Nicotine patches work so well because your skin absorbs everything! Lotion, body spray, you name it!

So things to look out for,

  • Aluminum chloride
  • Aluminum zirconium tricholorohydrex glycine
  • Aluminum chlorohydrate
  • Aluminum hydroxybromide
 These are all antiperspirant ingredients, which are proven to cause cancer. Do some research.

  • Any kind or Paraben!
  • Diethanolamine (DEA), Triethanolamine (TEA)
  • Diazolidinyl Urea, Imidazolidinyl Urea
  • PVP/VA Copolymer
  • Stearalkonium Chloride
  • 1,4 Dioxane
  • Formaldehyde
  • Phthalates/Fragrance: DHP, DBP5, DEHP, and dibutyl phthalate
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
  • Triclosan
  • Phenoxyethano
  • artificial color
  • Petrolatum, propyl glycol and mineral oil - This is a derivative oil, like gas in your car... It clogs your pores, and can cause other organ problems. -Not the worst of the wost, but definietly not good.

So, what should I use?!  You can search for safe chemical free, non toxic cosmetics, and you can shop at health food stores, or buy homemade stuff. Lables and ads are deceiving, unfortunately even whole foods and trader joe's carry products that contain toxic ingredients. That's why you need to be careful to read every ingredient, and search what you haven't heard of.


Cleaning naturally, good for you, and the environment

Why you should care about what you clean with?

  • Not everyone uses gloves when cleaning, so toxic chemicals even from clorox wipes, seep into your skin.
  • Chemicals go into landfills, and seep out going into our water supply.
  • And, the chemicals are not good for our earth, or anything on it, (except big business' wallet)
  • And finally, It is cheaper to make your own! And simple!

Now, save yourself the trouble, don't throw everything away you were using, you might as well finish it, since its all going to the same place anyway, the landfill.
Let's talk sanitizing wipes. You can keep your old wipe containers, buy a baby wipe container, or use...

I know some people hate the smell of vinegar... So... Pick a citrus that you like to use. Grapefruits, oranges, limes, lemons, clementines. Eat it juice it, whatever. Save all of the peels! cut them into cubes. And put them in a 1 gallon container (I use an old bpa-free apple juice bottle). Pour in vinegar to fill. You should have at least a cup of chopped peels for this. Let it sit, in a cool dry place for a few weeks. And wa-lah! beautiful smelling citrus vinegar! Just strain out peels, and use.

So now,

  1. cut a roll of heavy duty paper towels in half, tube and all. Or.. better yet, cut some crappy clothes into 4x4 squares and throw them in the wash after you use them!
  2. In a bowl stir together, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, and 1 cup vinegar or citrus vinegar.You can also add a few drops of witch hazel and/or tea tree oil.
  3. squish your half roll into a container, and evenly pour sanitizing mixture over top. 
  4. Gently pull tube from center, and pull one wipe up from center. And your done! 
**Use good paper towels, because thin ones will dissolve. If they start to get dry, close lid tightly, and flip upside for a second.

You can use this in spray bottles for cleaning all surfaces also.
You can make baby wipes, and other wipes, this is a video on how this woman makes her wipes...
Although, she uses junk in her wipes. If your going to make your own wipes, get good, natural products to use.

Forget draino, if you have a clogged sink, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda on your drain, 1 cup vinegar, and then about a half gallon of BOILING water.
ta-dah, no more clogged drain!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Taking the first steps to a natural lifestyle

There is an overwhelming of information nowadays about how everything you eat and use is harmful to your body. Now, don't go crazy, just sit relax, breathe. Pick something easy.
Let us start with one ingredient, or two. High fructose corn syrup, and.. splenda / sucralose
High Fructose Corn Syrup 

Now, let's look at why this is bad for your health.

  • High fructose corn syrup can lead to insulin resistance
  • Scientists have clearly linked the rising High fructose Corn syrup consumption to the epidemics of obesity, diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • High fructose corn syrup is made from genetically modified corn (GMO), GMO's  can lead to birth defects, allergies, infertility, immune and organic problems. To learn more about GMO, go to and search GMO.
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated triglycerides and elevated LDL
  • Depletion of vitamins and minerals
  • Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, cancer, arthritis and even gout
Why doesn't your body like High Fructose Corn syrup?
The corn industry tells us it is completely natural and the same as sugar, and is fine in moderation....
Go on google, search: How is high fructose corn syrup made?
It is poison mutated slop. I don't see any natural high fructose corn syrup dripping out of the trees.. Because it is not natural. It is mutated GMO corn syrup with more fructose than sugar, making it sweeter. Unprocessed sugar that comes from the sugar cane is natural, your body doesn't break down "HFCS" the same way as sugar. It is safe in Moderation? Go in your pantry, read your ketchup, your bbq sauce, your salad dressing, your sodas, your cookies... go in your freezer, read your pre made meals, your ice cream.... high fructose corn syrup is in virtually everything. So unless you were already avoiding it, or make everything from scratch, IT IS NOT IN MODERATION!!!

and even worse than HFCS, is Splenda or sucralose.
This is a video from Dr. Mercola, I get most of my information from him. He has a great website, and this video talks about artificial sweeteners, it is 15 min long.

Now how to avoid it, the best way is to look at the ingredients before purchasing products. This can be time consuming, I would recommend shopping at Trader joe's they don't use it in their products..
Now don't go throwing everything away, simply when you run out of ketchup, buy the one without high fructose corn syrup, many products even advertise 'no high fructose corn syrup," but be careful, it way contain worse ingredients.

So, slowly but surely, do your research, if you see a weird word, sucralose, maltodextrin, fructose, monosodium glutamate, sodium nitrate, food coloring  BHA, BHT, TBHQ.... Take out your phone.... And google it!!!!! you will learn th terrible truth about how the FDA wants us to be sick...
The chemical companies sell their products, the food company sells their products, we eat them, we get sick, pay the dr, take pills made from the chemical companies.... It's all a cycle. They want us to be unhealthy because it makes so much money.

After you weed out 1 ingredient, keep educating yourself about other harmful ingredients.
Then slowly start learning about organic, and why natural free range meats are better for your health...
Then think about how you prepare your food. If you are using the microwave you are zapping away most of its nutrients.
Again, here is a great article from dr. mercola all about the microwave!

gasp! Oh but How will I heat my food??
100s of years ago there were no microwaves and we did just fine.
The next quickest way to heat your food is in a pan on the stove.
Or you could bake it in the oven.
I haven't use the microwave for 3 years. I haven't had any problems heating my food.
Any questions, leave a comment :)
Ah yes, and instead of believing everything I say, go on, and splenda's website and compare what mercola and the company say about the products!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Curry Chicken, and benefits of curry

Curry chicken with coconut almond satay sauce, grilled asparagus and fresh lime

I'm sure many of you already know or have heard about curry, and how healthy it is. But what's so good about it?
  • Antibacterial and detoxifying properties
  • Anti- inflammatory- Helps with joint pain, and joint stiffness
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Aids digestion
  • Boosts you immune system, helps fight disease, including cancer

So curry is some pretty powerful stuff, but cooking with it can be a little intimidating.
Over the years I noticed many people get turned off when I say I'm making curry chicken or Indian food. But, unless you absolutely hate curry, you'll love my curry chicken!
**This marinade would also work well with tofu or possibly cauliflower, if you don't eat meat.

Curry Chicken and Coconut Almond Satay Sauce

First things first, you need to make your marinade

Start with a heaping tablespoon of garlic powder. I eyeball everything, so just do what looks good.

Next, add the curry. I used to only use spice islands curry, because it is sooo good. But you pay the price, it is very expensive. So now I do some cheap curry and some expensive curry.
Approx 1/3 teaspoon of good curry powder
Approx 1 teaspoon Curry powder
(again, I don't really measure)

Add a pinch of cumin, and about 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Now be careful with the salt, many curries have a lot of salt already, and you can always add more later.

For a little kick, add a small pinch of red pepper flakes. (optional)

Now, whisk it all together. It should look something like this, If you want less curry flavor add more garlic powder and it will be a lighter color.

Beautiful Limes! Make sure you roll it on your table pressing down, before you cut it. This gets the juices flowing.
If your lime is small you will probably need all of it's lime juice. But if it's a large lime, squeeze 1 half in, and a little squeeze of the other half.

whisk, and it should make a thick paste.

While whisking, slowly pour in good olive oil, before it gets to the perfect consistency, smell it- If it smells like pure olive oil squeeze in some more lime!
After whisking, it should look like a thick liquid.

Now for the chicken.
If you are one of those people who care about getting organic and care very much about GMO, but don't buy organic meat, think about it.. All that chicken eats is GMO corn and GMO soy, so you're trying so hard to avoid GMO produce when your eating GMO chicken!
But that's not why I buy this chicken, I prefer my chicken to walk around for some of it's life, unlike the conventional chickens who can't stretch a wing.
As far as taste, I think they taste a little fresher, but the meat is much more soft and tender.
If you get breasts cut them into strips, if you get tenders all you need to do is trim away any white on your meat. White=not meat. White things are either fat, skin, or tendons, and none of those I enjoy biting into.
If You are vegan or vegetarian, use extra firm or firm tofu. Press and drain all the water out of your tofu. Slice into cubes or strips, and marinate in the curry for a few days.

Marinate the chicken a few hours or overnight.

Personally, I like to grill this. Either a grill pan, or on the grill, but our grill was out of propane. So I baked it. suh.
400 degrees for about 30 min, (flipping half way)
Or until temperature reaches 165.
On the grill on med- high heat it should only take about 3 min per side.

So while your grilling or baking, You can start your sauce.

  • 1 can (14-15 oz) of light coconut milk
  • About 3 Tablespoons of almond butter  (you can use peanut butter, or do half and half, I use almond butter because it's healthier)
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • About 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
I taste this as I'm cooking it, and add more of whatever it needs.
Simmer the sauce on low heat, stirring, for about 5 minutes.

I served it with
 a lime, the sauce on the side for dipping,
 saffron basamati brown rice with lentils,
 and string beans & peppers cooked with garlic, soy sauce, rice vinegar and red pepper flakes.

                                          with a side a garlic lime grilled asparagus