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Having a Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe in your back pocket is imperative to getting through all those veggies and salads.

If you make this recipe, be sure to post it on your Instagram and tag me @happyfoodholly #happyfoodhealthylife so I can highlight your creation on my IG Stories!

Ranch dressing is all I know really. It’s almost like a comfort food (comfort condiment??) for me.

Growing up, if we had salad, I poured Ranch Dressing on it.
If we had carrots with dinner, I made sure to have a little puddle of Ranch Dressing to dip my carrot sticks in.

It’s not that I don’t like veggies. It’s just that veggies and salads taste way better when they’re bathing in the creaminess that is Ranch.

So of course, the panic that felt about Ranch dressing as I was toying with the decision to go vegan was a real deal… and almost a deal-breaker.

I was almost ready to start making the change when it hit me like a ton of bricks…

Wait?! Is Ranch Vegan?

Uh no. Not even a little bit. The creaminess pretty much gives it away. The traditional ingredients for ranch dressing include buttermilk and mayo, which is made with eggs.

I mean – how? How was it going to be possible to live a life without ranch dressing poured all over my salads?

So yup, as I tend to do, I realized it was time to take matters into my own hands and figure out how to make ranch dressing on my own. 

First though, I did have to try out the Just Ranch product from the store. And while it was yummy, I still wasn’t 100% in love with the ingredients:

Expeller-Pressed Canola Oil, Water, Sugar, White Distilled Vinegar, Contains less than 2% of Salt, Spices, Modified Corn Starches, Dehydrated Onion, Pea Protein, Phosphoric Acid, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Calcium Chloride, Garlic Puree (Garlic, Citric Acid), Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Natural Flavors, Dehydrated Shiitake Mushroom, Lactic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Preservatives (Cultured Dextrose, Potassium Sorbate, Calcium Disodium EDTA).

Seems like a lot of stuff, some of which I don’t know where it even comes from or what purpose it serves. 

Guys I’m all about eating real food. Feel free to buy premade products from the store if that makes your life easier. I get being busy. 

But lately, I’ve just been feeling more inclined to know exactly what I’m putting into my body as much as possible.

And that is why the ranch had to be made homemade.

And I know I’m not alone in my ranch obsession. 

A few weeks ago, in my weekly email, I asked what recipes y’all wanted veganized. Can I tell you how many emails I got asking for a vegan ranch dressing? An overwhelming amount!

I was so happy to respond to those emails that the recipe had already been made and photographed and was just waiting on me to get my butt in gear to put it up on the site. 

So here we are with it, and I promise it is worth the wait!

Can I use store-bought vegan mayo?

Oh, and you’ll see in the ingredients that it calls for a vegan mayo. Again, you can do whatever you’d like and whatever makes your heart sing the prettiest. 

I personally found that it’s super easy to just whip up a batch of vegan mayo  in like 6 minutes and then just add the rest of the ingredients right into the jar I made the mayo in. And then just plop a lid on it, and you’re set for life…

Well, maybe like a couple weeks before it’s time to make the next batch… if you can make it last that long!

I know it’s gone for me in days!

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have the recipe available whenever you start running low.

Vegan Ranch Dressing

Having a Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe in your arsenal is imperative to getting through all those veggies and salads.

  • 1 1/2 cups Vegan Mayo ((i use homemade, linked in the instructions))
  • 1/8-1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I use unsweetened plain almond milk)
  • 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp pickle juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp pink himilayan salt ( )
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  1. If making mayo from scratch, do so first in a large mason jar. You can then add all remaining ingredients into the jar. Otherwise, just mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl. 

  2. Adjust the amount of milk you use according to the desired consistency. For a ranch dip, you may only need to use 1/8 of a cup. For a thinner dressing, you may use the entire 1/3 of a cup. Start small and add as you stir if needed.

  3. Store in a jar in the fridge. You can use right away, but it’s best if you wait at least 4 hours for the flavors to meld together.

The post Vegan Ranch Dressing appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Having a super simple vegan mayo recipe in your arsenal will save you from sad sandwiches and summers without potato salad.

If you make this recipe, be sure to post it on your Instagram and tag me @happyfoodholly #happyfoodhealthylife so I can highlight your creation on my IG Stories!

Vegan mayo will give your sandwiches life.
Vegan mayo will open new doors for you that you may have thought were closed forever on a plant-based diet… doors like potato salad, hot artichoke dips, and all the summer pasta salads you could ever want in your life.

You may be thinking, mayo? She chose to make mayo? Yeah I did. Get over it.

I know there are about a billion different fun and creative recipes I could bring you, and believe me, I will. But first, we’re starting with the basics. 

The foods you didn’t think you could live without if you went vegan or plant-based.

So I’ve been thinking about what foods have made my transition to a vegan lifestyle easier. Honestly, it’s the sauces and spreads. The condiments. 

Sometimes too many veggies can be, well, too effing much. At some point you gotta be able to say enough is enough and slather on some good ole mayo or drown it out in ranch (that one’s coming soon!) or cheese sauce.

Can you eat mayo as a vegan?

You may be thinking, but wait? There’s no meat in mayo – I’m good to go, right? As a vegetarian who consumes eggs & dairy, yup, you’re good to go, as you are with most other sauces and spreads. Vegan life though – sucks the happiness right out of your sandwiches… 

No but really. 

It’s a no-go for vegan life because of the egg, but thankfully, I have a magical solution that will blow your mind a little bit.

What is vegan mayo made of?

Looking at a classic mayo ingredient list, you have eggs, oil, water, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, sugar, calcium disodium (what?), and “natural flavors.”

A vegan mayonnaise recipe is not all that different – just gotta change out the egg and avoid some of the weird preservative stuff.

  • aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) <– this stuff is legit magical. unicorn status.
  • vinegar
  • sea salt
  • sugar
  • lemon juice
  • dry mustard
  • avocado oil

Simple ingredients for sure.

Is vegan mayo bad for you?

Well here we go. One thing I do not adapt to is “good food” or “bad food.” 

I am not the food police. I am not here to tell you that you can and can’t eat something. I’m not here to say something is a bad food and that you should eat this instead.

So I’m going to instead give you the facts. I will always give you all the details on what is in the recipe, and you can then make your own judgment call.

For me, vegan mayo makes my sandwiches happy, which in turn makes my tastebuds happy. Do I add huge spoonfuls to my sandwich? Nope. But if you do, that’s totally cool cause you gotta do you.

How to make vegan mayo:

So this recipe for vegan mayo is so insanely easy, which is key for a staple food. You want to make sure you always have some on hand, so if you’re making it often, it’s gotta be easy for us busy folk, right?

Otherwise, I know you’ll just pick up a jar of Veganaise or Just Mayo instead (which is what I was doing for the last year before discovering how easy it is to make my own).

So this is how simple it is to make vegan mayo:

  1. Add the aquafaba, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and dry mustard into a large glass measuring cup or mason jar.
  2. Using an immersion blender, mix until combined.
  3. With the blender running, very very slowly add in the oil. Like REALLY slowly (this is the key!). It should take you 5 minutes to add in your avocado oil. If you go slow enough, the mixture will eventually thicken. For those first 2-3 minutes, you will be asking yourself what you did wrong because it looks nothing like mayo and you probably messed it up. I promise you that if you go slow and are patient, you’ll have your own vegan mayo in 5 minutes.
How to thicken vegan mayo:

With mayo, there is really only one trick to getting it to thicken up. I’ve noticed that there’s really nothing you can do to fix it once you mess up. 

And be mess up, I mean, pouring in all the oil right away without being patient.

You really need to give the oil time to come together with the rest of the ingredients. The oil naturally wants to separate from the rest of the ingredients, but if you give it the full 5 minutes of pouring extremely snail-pace-slow, you’ll give it the time it needs to come together and join in a lovely marriage of sandwich spread.

Hopefully I’ve answered all the possible questions you could ever have about making your own vegan mayo at home. Always have a jar on hand for your sandwiches, salads, and dressings.

I’ve started using this mayo in my Vegan Chicken Salad this summer and it tastes even better than it used to, and I was already in love with that recipe!

What will you use this vegan mayo for??

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever you start running low.

Vegan Mayo

Having a super simple vegan mayo recipe in your arsenal will save you from sad sandwich and summers without potato salad.

  • 1/4 cup aquafaba ( (liquid from a can of chickpeas))
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Salt (or sea salt)
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp ground dry mustard
  • 3/4 cup avocado oil
  1. Add the aquafaba, vinegar, salt, sugar, lemon juice, and dry mustard into a large glass measuring cup or mason jar.

  2. Using an immersion blender, mix until combined.

  3. With the blender running, very very slowly add in the oil. Like REALLY slowly (this is the key!). It should take you 5 minutes to add in your avocado oil. If you go slow enough, the mixture will eventually thicken. Blend until completely combined and the consistency of mayonnaise.

For those first 2-3 minutes, you will be asking yourself what you did wrong because it looks nothing like mayo and you probably messed it up. I promise you that if you go slow and are patient, you’ll have your own vegan mayo in 5 minutes.

The post Vegan Mayo appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Having a Vegan Pancakes recipe as easy (and healthy) as this one in your arsenal is going to make you a badass brunching hero every weekend.

If you make this recipe, be sure to post it on your Instagram and tag me @happyfoodholly #happyfoodhealthylife so I can highlight your creation on my IG Stories!

These vegan pancakes have graced my kitchen about 5 times in the last 2 weeks. That’s how much we love them and why I have to bring them to you. They are now a staple in my kitchen and will soon become one in your own kitchen.

Because let’s be honest – weekend brunching is everything. Is there anything better than getting to sleep in after a ridiculously long week of work? 

  • Taking the morning slow.
  • Enjoying a cup of coffee without having to rush around to get outta the house.
  • Getting to actually cook (and enjoy) breakfast instead of grabbing a banana on the way out the door.
  • Having meaningful conversation over said coffee and aforementioned breakfast with the ones you love the most.
  • … and then curling back up on the couch or in bed with a good book or netflix marathon.

Ok let’s be honest – my weekends are never quite THAT slow. I’m always pretty busy no matter the day. But they are definitely slower than the normal rush rush rush to get everything done Monday through Friday.

So let’s talk about a weekend vegan breakfast situation.

Pre-vegan it was easy.

Cheesy scrambled eggs were my favorite.
French toast a close second.
Pancakes and waffles happened often.

Uhhh, news alert! Every single one of those options went away when we went vegan, and I freaked the fuh out.

I mean, it’s easy to realize that some of the obvious foods are off limits – cheese, milk, yogurt. But then you kinda forget about the foods that have those ingredients that you just don’t see. 

Like cake… you kinda forget that it’s made with eggs until you start looking at all the ingredients in every single thing you put in your body.

And that is when I wanted to give up. 

Damn vegan life – taking away my favorite meal of the entire week. I truly wasn’t sure what I was gonna do. I tried reasoning with myself and saying I’ll be vegan for every meal except for Sunday brunch. But deep down, I knew that wouldn’t make me happy either.

So I began my quest to make it more tolerable by coming up with delicious vegan brekkie options. Cause if I’m struggling with vegan breakfast, chances are high that you are too.

What gives these Vegan Pancakes rockstar status?

So I’ve made a lot of pancake recipes in the last 6 months, and many of them have fallen flat… quite literally. Sometimes they fall apart. Sometimes they are paper-thin. Sometimes they have no flavor. Sometimes they’re super dense and take about 6546 chews before being able to swallow.

But then sometimes they’re perfect (you know, like the easy vegan pancake recipe I’m bringing you today). Let’s talk about all the reasons why this pancake recipe will be your new go-to on those slow-ish weekend mornings.

  • It’s made in just 1 bowl – less dishes = more time for netflix
  • It’s made with whole wheat flour but isn’t dense like other ww vegan pancake recipes
  • They’re super fluffy! Feel free to stack your pancakes to the sky without them flattening each other out
  • The edges have a tiny little crisp giving it the best texture
  • The coconut sugar gives a slight sweet and nutty flavor without it being overpowering
How do I make these vegan pancakes?

Ok, so by now, you’re drooling. You can’t wait for the weekend to plate up a huge stack of these babies and drench them with syrup and fresh berries. But you wanna know, how easy are these easy vegan pancakes to make??

Stupid easy.

This is all you have to do for this vegan pancake recipe:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients – the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Make a little well in your dry ingredients to add the wet ingredients to. Your non-dairy milk, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Once the wet ingredients have been added, gently whisk just the wet ingredients a little bit first before you start to incorporate all the dry ingredients. Mix until is just barely combines. You don’t want to kill the fluffiness! A few lumps are totally cool.
  3. Lightly oil a non-stick pan or griddle and bring to medium heat. Scoop out 1/4-cup of batter and pour onto the pan. When the edges of the batter are dry and bubbles have formed after a few minutes, flip and cook for another couple minutes until golden brown.
  4. Serve with toppings of your choice – fresh berries, nut butter, seeds, maple syrup, vegan butter. Whatever you like.
How do I make the perfect pancake?

I’ve made pancakes hundreds of times and have picked up a few tricks for creating the perfect pancake that I thought could help.

  • Don’t overmix the batter! I know I mentioned it before, but you literally want to stop mixing as soon as everything is combined. Don’t keep going in hopes to get every little lump out. I promise. That is a recipe for flat pancakes. You want gorgeous pillowy pancakes for that weekend brunch sitch.
  • Test the temp of the pan or skillet. This is something I learned from watching my grandma make pancakes as a kid. Once you’ve heated your pan, you want to be sure it’s hot enough but not blazin hot. I put my hand under the faucet and then splash a few drops of water right onto the pan. If the water immediately evaporates and steams in seconds, it’s a bit too hot.  No sizzle means it’s not hot enough. Learn to find the happy middle ground. You want your water drops to sizzle a bit and “dance” on the top of the pan before finally settling down.
  • Don’t flip until bubbles have formed. You want to wait until the edges of the pancakes are dry and bubbles have formed all over. Take a teeny tiny little peek under the pancake to be sure it’s as golden as you’d like. And THEN flip.

So that’s that. I have set you up for success for your vegan pancake makin’. Even better, you will now be able to save breakfast… weekend breakfast, to be specific, which is way more important than weekday breakfast, as we discussed.

Once you get this basic vegan staple down, you can amp it up with some chocolate chips or blueberries. 

Actually, I just remembered – I have a dairy-free chocolate chip pancake recipe you may enjoy as well! Especially for any kiddos you’re serving on the weekend.

If you just need a good-ole healthy pancake recipe and aren’t into the vegan thing, no biggie. I’d totally give my friend Kristen’s whole wheat pancakes recipe a try! Or Michelle has a great gluten-free buttermilk pancakes recipe that looks to-die-for if that’s what you need.

I’ll just be over here munching on my super easy vegan pancakes and trying not to hoard them all for myself.

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever the craving hits.

One-Bowl Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes

Having a Vegan Pancakes recipe as easy (and healthy) as this one in your arsenal is going to make you a badass brunching hero every weekend.

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 3/4 cups non-dairy milk
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and salt.

  2. Create a well in the dry ingredients and add in the non-dairy milk, oil, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Carefully begin whisking just the wet ingredients, bringing them together before you start incorporating the dry ingredients. Mix all ingredients until just combined. Overmixing would kill the fluffiness, and a few lumps are ok.

  3. Lightly oil a non-stick frying pan or griddle and heat to medium heat. When the pan is hot, use a 1/4-cup measure to scoop the batter onto the pan. Let cook for a couple of minutes until large bubbles start forming on the surface of the pancakes and the edges appear dry. They should be golden brown on the bottom. Flip and cook for an additional couple of minutes on the other side until golden brown and cooked all the way through.

  4. Serve with your toppings of choice.

The post One-Bowl Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Sometimes you’re craving Sweet Potato Nachos and sometimes you’re craving a healthy nutritious bowl of goodness. Now you don’t have to compromise with this Loaded Sweet Potato Nacho Salad Bowl. 

If you make this recipe, be sure to post it on your Instagram and tag me @happyfoodholly #happyfoodhealthylife so I can highlight your creation on my IG Stories!

Let me tell you about the time I completely hoarded a bowl of sweet potato nachos from my wife and tried to get away with it.

This is what happened. We came home from Spring Break vacation, which included zero working out and lots of girl scout cookies, late night snacking, and going out to eat every meal. To say I was craving healthy food and healthy moves for my bod is a total understatement.

And just like the universe was listening, I opened my mailbox the day we returned and was greeted by the most beautiful cookbook from my friend Lindsay of Cotter Crunch. Her book, Nourshing Superfood Bowls is exactly what I needed, and I couldn’t wait to open it up and get cooking all of these beautiful bowls up!

Biggest problem though. How to know what to make first??

  • Vanilla Cheesecake Bowls with Fruit
  • Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Parfait Bowls
  • Greek Goddess Cocoa Bowl (that my friend Natalie made!)
  • Thai Mango Edamame Noodle Salad Bowls
  • Chili Garlic Cauliflower Risotto Bowls

Gah, doesn’t everything just sound so nom?!!! I wanted to make every single recipe in the book. Honestly, you have got to get yourself a copy of this cookbook asap!

I ended up going with Lindsay’s Sweet Potato Nachos Salad Bowl first, and boy it did NOT disappoint.

I am legit obsessed with sweet potatoes! Here are a just a few of my fav SP recipes:

So back to the part when I hoarded this salad bowl all for myself. 

So I usually make 2-4 recipes every single day, and one of the first things wife says to me when she gets home from work is “What did you make today? I’m starving!” And then I give her the list of options…

This time, I omitted this particular recipe. I had already eaten one of the 2 servings for lunch and usually would have no problems with sharing the rest of it with my family… but this one was different. There was no sharing. I had already put it away, hid it in the back of the fridge, and mentioned no word of it. I was looking forward to lunch the next day already!

Am I a bad wife? It’s possible…

But y’all. This sweet potato nachos bowl is insane and you won’t want to share either. But you’re probably better person than I am and will most likely share with your family… but if you don’t, don’t worry, I won’t judge.

But funny story. I was editing these pictures and video for this post earlier in the week and wife comes along and sees what I’m working on…

“Oh that looks yummy… when did you make that?” ummmmm…

Thankfully, Lindsay’s recipes are easy and attainable that I can make this super impressive-looking salad bowl over and over again without spending hours in the kitchen. I’ll definitely be making this again, and I promise I’ll share with my wife this time!

Hey, are you a visual learner like me? I made you a video of the Sweet Potato Nachos Salad Bowl so you can see just how easy it is to make!
 

Sweet Potato Nachos Salad Bowl

This salad bowl is the perfect nourishing meal when you’re craving the flavors of loaded sweet potato nachos.

  • 1 large sweet potato (peeled & sliced)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1/3 cup shredded vegan cheese (Lisanatti brand is my favorite for both flavor and melt-factor)
For Avocado La Crema
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/4 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • pinch garlic powder
  • 1/2 green onion (sliced)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
For Bowl Assembly
  • 3 cup greens of choice (Mixed Spring Greens are my favorite)
  • 1 cup while cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 avocado (sliced)
  • 1 jalapeno (sliced)
  • 1 green onion (sliced)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • vegan parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast (optional)
  • crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or spray with non-stick cooking spray.

  2. To make the sweet potato chips, toss the sweet potato slices with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Place sweet potatoes on the baking sheet and sprinkle the non-dairy cheese on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the edges of the sweet potatoes are crispy. Boil for the last few minutes for extra crispy chips. Remove and let cool slightly.

  3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare the Avocado La Crema sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender and processing until smooth.

  4. To assemble bowls, divide the sweet potato chips evenly between the two serving bowls. Top with the greens, beans, and avocado. Top each bowl with jalapeno, green onions, and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle on the sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan or nutritional yeast and crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

The post Sweet Potato Nachos Salad Bowl appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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These Toasted Coconut Clusters are a new new Costco addiction. Now make them right from home and have a healthy snack in minutes!

If you make this recipe, be sure to post it on your Instagram and tag me @happyfoodholly #happyfoodhealthylife so I can highlight your creation on my IG Stories!

Have you been following along with me on Instagram stories? If so, you probably aren’t surprised at all to see these Toasted Coconut Clusters making an appearance as my latest and greatest obsession.

In fact, if you know anything about me at all, you know that coconut is high on my list of favs. Fav flavor. Fav scent. Fav everything.

Hence the Coconut Truffles, my Vegan Coconut Cream Pie, and the Chocolate Coconut Pie … I’m obsessed.

So when we were prepping for our little spring break getaway to Southern Utah with a little stop at Costco to pick up my new favorite flip flops, it should be no surprise that Coconut Clusters ended up in our cart.

I, on the contrary, was a little annoyed. I am a little bit of a shopping list nazi. If it’s not on the list, we don’t put it in the cart. And only the necessities end up on the list. Only the things we came for. It’s how I save money. It’s how we got out of thousands of dollars of debt in just a year. Not buying extras.

So when we made our way over to the checkout with our flip flops and dog food in cart and eyed these toasted coconut munchies, two things happened.

  1. I moved right along. Yes, coconut is my favorite. But impulse buying is not.
  2. Wife started begging. She insisted that I could not deprive myself of these coconut cluster noms.

I said no probably 10 times. I was not having it. I’m telling you, I’m ruthless when it comes to adding unnecessary items to the cart just because they look and sound good.

But then somehow she got me.

(this is a good reminder to leave kids and spouses at home… or just use delivery service like I’ve started doing… Anyone tried Instacart yet??? Here’s a free $10 if you wanna try)

She told me I’d thank her later. She told me she’d owe me big if I didn’t love them (even though we both knew I would). She told me my road trip would be incomplete without toasted coconut clusters, and my goodness…

She.Was.Right.

(it pains me a little to say that)

Have you tried these toasted coconut goodies? They are perfect in all ways.

Crunchy coconut toasted to perfection. Clustered with different seeds and just a little bit of sweetness.

The ingredient list is super short and simple.

So simple, in fact, that I was able to recreate them at home!

That’s a huge feat for me. Recreating a recipe from something I’ve tried at a restaurant or a bakery is not my forte. That just goes to show that this recipe is in fact super simple. Seriously, if I can do it, you can do it.

Things you need to know about making these toasted coconut clusters.
  1. If you don’t watch them carefully in the oven, they will probably burn and you will hate life because your whole house will smell gross… and you will have wasted ingredients.

  2. You can sub in your favorite sticky sweetener. Don’t like brown rice syrup? Use something else. Honey. Agave. Maple syrup. Different sweeteners will give you slightly different results though. After baking, once cooled, using a different sweetener may result in a more chewy cluster and not a crunchy bite. Totally up to you – just fair warning.

  3. The amount of sweetener can be adjusted to your liking. All the matters is that it covers and coats your ingredients so they stick together well.

  4. Also – if you want to add more or different seeds and grains, be my guest! No one’s stopping you.

Oh and hey! Are you a visual learner like I am? 

Check out the video I make of these coconut clusters so you can see just how easy the recipe is. 

And here’s the printable recipe for you to make them right away at home.

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever the craving hits.

Toasted Coconut Clusters

These toasted coconut clusters are a copycat from a Costco favorite. Perfect for snacking. Great on top of yogurt and ice cream. 

  • 16 oz coconut chips
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup (warm)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. In a large bowl, pour in coconut chips, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, and coconut sugar. Combine completely.

  3. Add in warmed brown rice syrup and toss to coat all ingredients.

  4. Pour fully combined mixture on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Press down in a layer about 1/2″ thick. You may find that 2 smaller baking sheets is better than trying to get it all to fit on one sheet.

  5. Once mixture is pressed down firmly, bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until coconut is browned and toasty. Watch carefully, as the coconut does have a tendency to cool quickly and burn while you aren’t watching. Pull out of the oven and let cool completely before breaking pieces apart. Store in air-tight container for 1-2 weeks.

The post Toasted Coconut Clusters appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Vegan Scones are the perfect way to amp up any morning, whether a slow Saturday morning with a mug of steaming coffee or a weekday rushing out the door with a special treat in your hand.

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever the craving hits.

Vegan scones hit me like a ton of bricks this weekend. Well, a fluffy pillowy ton of bricks, that is. If you happened to see my Instagram post over the weekend, you’ll know that I’ve really been struggling with the fact that I’m still really not comfortable with vegan cooking and baking. 

It’s not that I can’t follow vegan recipes. It’s not that I don’t have the creativity or brain-power to make it happen. It’s that I literally have not had the time. 

Unfortunately, we went vegan at a time in our lives when we’ve never been busier. Dinners have to be quick these days. Meals have to make enough for lunch and preferably leftovers for another dinner. The food I make has to have sticking power – I’ve gotta stay satisfied for a few hours at least. 

But going vegan means a lot more making food from scratch. A lot more prep. A lot more thinking things through. I’m not comfortable enough yet to just open up the pantry and fridge and throw ingredients together in hopes to produce a masterpiece.

So yeah, I’ve felt a bit like a foodie failure these days.

I felt like I’ve lost my mojo. I’ve lost my passion. I’ve lost my know-how.

And then it hit me. Scones. I know scones. Perfect fluffy and moist, but dense enough to dunk into your weekend coffee without it crumbling apart on you.

These are a few of my favorite scone recipes I’ve made.
Coconut Cream Pie Scones
Peppermint Scones
Salted Caramel Chocolate Scones

So I took a staple. Something I’ve made a billion times in my pre-vegan life and decided to just start playing the swapping game until we ended up with vegan scones.

Vegan butter instead of butter.
Almond milk instead of heavy cream.
Dairy-free chocolate. Easy.
And for good measure, whole wheat pastry flour subbed in for the All-Purpose.

The only way I’m going to be able to figure out how to cook in my newly vegan kitchen is to actually get in there and get my hands dirty. 

There are going to be fails. Fer.sher.

But there are also going to be wins. 

And my friends, I am so proud to say that these chocolate strawberry vegan scones are a total win that I made for you just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The bits of freeze-dried strawberries are a total compliment to the dark chocolate chips you get in every single bite. It’s almost like you’re getting a homemade chocolate-dipped strawberry, except you don’t have to go through all the time, work, and patience involved in that project.

Vegan Scones may sound like a fancy affair, but they’re really the simplest of recipes. A great first vegan baking recipe to get under your belt if you haven’t jumped in yet.

Chocolate Strawberry Vegan Scones

Vegan Scones are the perfect way to amp up any morning, whether a slow Saturday morning with a mug of steaming coffee or a weekday rushing out the door with a special treat in your hand.

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup vegan butter (cut into squares)
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk ((i like almond))
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup freeze-dried strawberries (roughly chopped)
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy dark chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Drop the small squares of butter into the dry ingredients and cut in with a fork, pastry cutter, or even your hands until the butter is in small pea-sized balls and the flour is crumbly.

  3. In a small bowl, mix the non-dairy milk and lemon juice. It will curdle once you mix it. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, being careful not to over-mix.

  4. Carefully fold in the strawberries and chocolate, again mixing only as much as necessary so the butter doesn’t warm up too much. 

  5. Lightly flour a clean work surface or cutting bowl and place the dough on top. Use your hands to form the dough into a circle, about 1 inch thick. Cut dough with a knife or pizza cutter into 8 triangles. Space them out on the prepared baking sheet.

  6. Bake for 14-17 minutes, until they have risen slightly and are firm on the tops. Eat immediately or store in an air-tight container for a few days.

The post Chocolate Strawberry Vegan Scones appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Vegan Eggnog gives you the flavors of a holiday favorite without the dairy and without the egg. You won’t be missing out on anything with this thick and creamy staple for all your holiday gatherings.

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever the craving hits.

Vegan eggnog kinda sounds a little like eggnog blasphemy, right? I mean, it says it right there. EGGnog. There must be eggs in order to get the full on nog, right?

I don’t know about you, but the idea of eating or drinking raw eggs (or really any eggs for that matter) makes me a bit queasy. And I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Tons of people, vegans and non-vegans alike a weirded out by traditional eggnog.

In fact, because of this whole raw egg situation, can you believe I never tried eggnog until last year?! And even then it was just a sip just so I would know what it tasted like…

you know, research purposes for you guys!

‘Cause now that I’ve tried it, I want all those holiday flavors veganized and made into delicious plant-based treats that we can all enjoy… with no pesky raw eggs.

cinnamon
nutmeg
cloves

Don’t forget about the thick creaminess that classic eggnog is known for. I mean, if it doesn’t completely coat the side of your cup (and your mouth… and your belly…) then you really can’t call it a nog. Agreed?

Well this cashew-based vegan eggnog does just that. It’s thick. It’s insanely creamy. And the flavor is just spot on goodness. 

christmas morning while unwrapping presents and eating cinnamon rolls
christmas eve while hanging the stockings
christmas vacation while decorating cookies
all.winter.long

I’m just thinking of all the times I’m going to be sipping on this nog, and I hope you now feel inspired (and thirsty!) to make your own. Honestly, it takes no time at all!

Especially because my friends at Vitamix thought vegan eggnog was the perfect way to show off their complete pulverizing skills during the holidays. Believe me, my high-speed blender totally went through the cashews like no other. No chunks of nuts in this nog. No need to strain or put through a sieve. Just dump it all in the blender, blend it up for a couple minutes, and pour right into a tall glass!

And to make sure you don’t miss any of the thickness that sticks to the sides of the blender and the blades, be sure to put this blade scraper on your Christmas list (perfect stocking stuffer actually!). I did not want to leave any behind, and I didn’t with this little helper.

I can imagine that it’ll be a huge help when I make up batches of nut butters and my thick smoothies every week. 

Here’s where you can find the scraper for yourself.

Or maybe you’re in the market for a new blender all-together. Vitamix has some killer sales this holiday season that you won’t want to miss out on:
o    Up to $70 off all New Machines
o    Up to $140 off Certified Reconditioned Machines
o    Both include Free Standard Shipping

Do you know someone who would be thrilled to get a brand new Vitamix underneath the tree this year?

Head over here for the deals.

I cannot wait for you to try this vegan eggnog this holiday season. You will not be sorry!

And if you’re a visual learner like me, don’t worry – I made a video for you!

 

VEGAN EGGNOG

Vegan Eggnog gives you the flavors of a holiday favorite without the dairy and without the egg. You won’t be missing out on anything with this thick and creamy staple for all your holiday gatherings.

  • 1 cup cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (chilled)
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste (extract can be substituted)
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 tsp xanthan gum
  • 3 Tbsp spiced rum (optional)
garnish
  • whole nutmeg (ground)
  • cinnamon sticks
  1. In a high speed blender, blend together soaked and softened cashews and coconut milk until completely smooth. Use the coconut water in the can as well as the cream.

  2. Add in remaining ingredients except for the rum, and blend until all combined. Taste for spice preference and make adjustments.

  3. Add in the rum if using and give it a quick last blend.

  4. Chill 1-2 hours before servings. You may want to give it one last blend before serving up, as ingredients could have settled or separated.

  5. Garnish with ground fresh nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.

The post Vegan Eggnog appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese is a staple for any busy family wanting to get a healthy dinner on the table quickly and effortlessly.

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever the craving hits.

Instant Pot Vegan mac and cheese. It’s totally a thing, and it’s a thing you are going to want to know about if you’re trying to adapt a dairy-free/plant-based lifestyle as a busy lady. Because truly, mac and cheese is life.

It’s comfort food at it’s finest. It’s a bowlful of warmth that reminds you of your childhood, although WAY better than what came in the blue box. What the heck was in the packet of powder anyway? It definitely wasn’t cheese!

That’s what I wanted to talk about actually. 

So with vegan mac and cheese, I’ve tried it many different ways. 

  • traditional mac & cheese but subbing in dairy-free store bought “cheese” products… blegh! worst mistake ever.
  • using butternut squash and pumpkin as the “cheese” base. good, but not quite authentic or comforting.
  • using this recipe I’m sharing with you today – SO yummy, but it still took time to cook the veggies, then the noodles, then blend the sauce, then mix it together. 

The thing is, this mama is busy, and I’m guessing that you are too! 

Whether you’re working outta the home or you’re a busy mom at home wearing //all the hats// you’re feeling the pressure, and trying to make healthy meals for your family is just adding to the ever-growing to-do list.

So instead of taking on all the pressure yourself, how about you hand it on over to something that knows exactly how to handle the pressure… the INSTANT POT! (see what i did there???)

Do you have one yet? 

I absolutely love the pressure cooker for so many things (even with a plant-based diet):

  • steel cut oats every morning – make one batch to last the whole week
  • perfect quinoa (in 5 minutes!!)
  • dried beans, saving me tons of money
  • soups
  • lentil curries
  • chili
  • spaghetti
  • mac & cheese like the one I’m showing you right here

And if you eat eggs, they really do make the most perfect hard-boiled eggs ever, and the shells literally just come right off. 

So if you don’t have the instant pot yet, you’ve got to get yourself one, and you’ll save so much time! This is the one I have.

For this specific recipe, I am using a couple of other products to divide the sauce ingredients from the noodles.

First, I put this trivet over the mac noodles. Then I add this pan on top of the rack to put all the veggies and cashews into. 

Using those tools for your instant pot mac and cheese allows you to cook the noodles at the same time as your vegan cheese sauce ingredients. Then you just pull out the cheese ingredients, throw them in the blender for like 30 seconds, and pour it all back over the noodles in the instant pot. EASY!

But a big question I know you have –

Does this instant pot vegan mac and cheese actually taste like real mac and cheese?

no.
but it’s close.

As a vegan, I think we’re all trying to find something – ANYTHING – that matches the taste of cheese. The truth of the matter is that nothing really does. And you kind of have to learn to accept that.

But with this vegan mac and cheese, we’re really close to hitting that mark. You’re getting a creamy texture you get from a traditional mac. You’re getting a new flavor palate that does resemble mac. 

AND you’re hiding veggies in dinner, and your kids won’t even know it! TOTAL win.

Of course, the recipe is below, but if you need a little visual help, I’ll throw in a video to make it even easier for you.

INSTANT POT VEGAN MAC AND CHEESE

Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese is a staple for any busy family wanting to get a healthy dinner on the table quickly and effortlessly.

  • 16 oz dried elbow macaroni
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup potato (peeled & chopped)
  • 1/2 cup carrots (peeled & chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/4 cup water
For sauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp tapioca flour (or corn starch)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  1. In pressure cooker, elbow macaroni, olive oil, and 4 cups of water to cover the pasta.

    Place trivet on top of pasta and set cake pan on top of trivet (see links for product details).

  2. In the cake pan, add cashews, potato, carrots, garlic, butter, & 1/4 cup water. Cover with foil.

  3. Add pressure cooker lid, and make sure the vent is closed.

    Cook at high pressure for 4 minutes.

    Once cook time is finished, do a quick release right away.

  4. Carefully remove cake pan from the pressure cooker and pour all ingredients in pan into your blender. Add all sauce ingredients to the blender and blend on high for about 30 seconds, or until completely smooth.

  5. Add sauce mixture back into the pressure cooker on top of the noodles, and stir. The sauce will be thin at first, but as you stir, it will become a thicker sauce within a few minutes.

  6. Enjoy!

The post Instant Pot Vegan Mac and Cheese appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Vegan Caramel Apple Pie

  • 1 double pie crust (vegan)
  • 1 cup vegan butter
  • 6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6-7 large granny smith apples (peeled, cored, and sliced)
  1. Melt 1 cup vegan butter in a sauce pan. Stir in 6 Tablespoons flour to form a paste. Add 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce temperature, and simmer for 5 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with sliced apples, mounded slightly. Top with about half of the sugary caramel sauce.

  3. Cover with a top crust, using whatever technique you feel comfortable with. A full crust, lattice work, or some other variation you prefer. Gently pour the remaining caramel over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off. Top with a few shakes of cinnamon.

  4. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees F. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F, and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes.

  5. Once finished baking, let sit out for at least 4 hours, preferably closer to 12 hours. This is a perfect pie to make the day before.

The post Vegan Caramel Apple Pie appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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Vegan Green Bean Casserole is a staple to any plant-based or health-conscious holiday table. Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just any old day.

Be sure to bookmark this recipe in your browser so you can have it available whenever the craving hits.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole – did you even think it was possible? I had no idea and thought I was doomed to live a life without one of my favorite holiday casseroles – and well that was just sad.

Funny though. I have a weird relationship with this holiday staple.

As a kid, my mom always made a green bean casserole. But she called it green bean supreme. It was a little bit different than the normal recipe you get off the back of the fried onions container. I never quite liked it. I always put a little tiny spoonful on my plate at Thanksgiving to be nice to my mom, but then I’d bring a fork of it up to my mouth, lick a tiny bit with my tongue and promptly put it back on the plate. Blegh. It was not my favorite for sure.

But then into my adult years, I tried making the traditional green bean casserole everyone knows and loves. And what do you know – I loved it too! I’d make it every year and gobble it up every time.

In fact, it even turned into one of my son’s absolute favorite foods. I mean, what 10 year old requests green bean casserole for his birthday??? Yup, mine. So we got used to eating it year-long. Not just during the holidays.

Then last year, I actually decided to take a trip back to memory lane and give mom’s green bean casserole one more chance. Wow! What a difference a decade or two makes! I loved it!! 

Which is why I had to share it here on the blog – which everyone seemed to love!

you can check that recipe out right here if you wanna see what makes it so special and different from the traditional version.

But yup, then I went vegan just a month or so before my son’s 11th birthday this year, and what did he request to go alongside his mac-and-cheese (a whole other issue we’ll tackle on another day)?

Yes, green bean casserole. There was no getting around it. He wanted the traditional recipe with cream of mushroom soup, milk, etc. I just couldn’t do it though.

It was time to figure out a way we could all enjoy this favorite staple in our home.

How hard could it be? A vegan creamy white sauce with fresh ingredients, like mushrooms and green beans – simple!

And you know what, it was a total win for my birthday boy, and you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be serving this up for Thanksgiving in just a couple of weeks.

So what makes this green bean casserole recipe as good as the classic?

  • uber creamy
  • those crunchy onions
  • green beans without tasting healthy
  • it compliments the stuffing and mashed potatoes perfectly

So that’s that my friends. I am determined to make sure you can enjoy all the holiday favorites like pumpkin pie, pecan pie bites, and so much more!

What’s your favorite holiday dish that you just can’t live without and crave all year long?

Vegan Green Bean Casserole

Vegan Green Bean Casserole is a staple to any plant-based or health-conscious holiday table. Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just any old day.

  • 3 cans green beans (drained)
  • 4 Tbsp vegan butter
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 cups mushrooms (finely diced)
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp herbs de provence
  • 1-2 cups fried onions ((read ingredients to be sure it's vegan))
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. In a large oven-safe skillet, melt vegan butter over medium heat. Add diced onion, salt, and pepper, and cook for 2-3 minutes, until translucent. Add in mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes.

  3. Once mushrooms have cooked down a bit, sprinkle flour in and mix to coat, cooking for about a minute. 

    Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock and almond milk. Add herbs de provence and a little more salt and pepper to taste.

    Simmer on low to thicken.

  4. Once thickened, add in green beans and half the fried onions. Once mixed, topped with remaining fried onions and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, until sauce is hot and bubbly and the onions have browned a bit on top.

The post Vegan Green Bean Casserole appeared first on Happy Food, Healthy Life.

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