Welcome to my blog. I document my adventures in travel, style, and food. Hope you have a nice stay!
Plant based lifestyle tips & easy vegan recipes that use ingredients you already have & aren’t fussy.
Nutritional yeast is often sold in the bulk section of heath stores and places like Whole Foods. It is a significant source of B-complex vitamins and is often fortified with vitamin B-12. It has a flavor best described as nutty or cheesy; it can be used as an ingredient or a topping on it's own. I like it on popcorn!
For those that haven't been introduced to this magical ingredient yet or can't find it where you live you can get it *here* for about $0.64/oz. Now, if you already know and love nutritional yeast and want to buy in bulk, you can grab *this* six pound monster for just about $0.59/oz.
Because I use cashews in a few different ways I always buy them raw and in *bulk*. Unless you're doing some kind of fancy ass plating and need beautiful whole cashews you'll be paying more for no real benefit; get the pieces. Whenever I make a sauce for *mac and cheese* or for an *alfredo-style sauce*, I use cashews. They are a big part of vegan cheesecake recipes, candies, dips, ice creams, cookies and nut butter. I even toss toasted cashews into my salad!
I use them so often that I’ve started to boil several cups at a time then freeze them between sheets of parchment paper. This way, I always have soft cashews for any recipe I want to whip up (they thaw very quickly).
This is a pantry staple that can really do double duty. Coconut milk makes a wonderful base for creamy sauces; especially Thai or Indian inspired ones. In desserts it creates a fantastic thickness that almond or soy milk can't replicate. For example, I use it in my *peanut butter and chocolate dessert smoothies* ;-) There is a wide variety of brands out there; just be sure to get the full fat kind if you want to really get that creaminess I mentioned. And I like to stay away form the ones that contain guar gum—the fewer ingredients, the better, as far as I'm concerned.
TEXTURED VEGETABLE PROTEIN (TVP)
*TVP* is most commonly made from soy, but can also be made from cotton seeds, wheat and oats. TVP can be as much as 50% protein in its dry form (no protein deficiencies for us!) and can absorb up to three times it's weight in liquid so marinate and season away with whatever you like best. Its texture when rehydrated mimics meat quite well and is a terrific meat substitute in recipes for things like chili and *tacos*.
You can also use it in pasta sauce, soups, stir fry (the larger chunks), and more!
"Black salt," as it's also called, has a sulfur smell and is pink when raw and turns black when cooked. My husband calls it "fart salt." Kala namak gives dishes an eggy and savory flavor. When used alone you can taste the eggy-ness of it. When used in conjunction with other seasonings the result is a more savory depth of flavor. Once mixed in and cooked, I promise that it does not smell like farts.
Kala namak is particularly handy when making anything that should have a cheesy or creamy flavor. If you're new to it perhaps pick up a small amount before committing to a larger quantity. I usually purchase 1 lb pouches *here* but I'm considering bumping up to the larger size *here* given how often I use it ;-)
STICK (immersion) BLENDER
Before I discovered the wonders of a *stick blender* I was never able to get soups as smooth as I wanted. Mostly, because I am completely unwilling to transfer soup from a pot on the stove to a blender in stages then back again to the pot to continue to cook. What a huge pain in the butt.
These little gadgets are an amazing addition to any kitchen. I use them to make soups (of course) but I also use them for smoothies, sauces and even mashed potatoes!
A stick blender is well worth the purchase! (And they come in every price point so this certainly doesn’t need to be a break-the-bank purchase.
I wanted a *Vitamix blender* for a long time. A long time. And, after having it now for about a year or so, I do not regret the expense even one little bit. Not one.
Yes, it's a big big expense. And yes, it is totally worth it. It has pre-programmed settings, a HUGE 64 oz container, seriously and amazingly sharp steel blades, and a self cleaning setting (!). You can make your own nut butter in this—it is THAT amazing.
I use this for every breakfast smoothie, nut butter, cheese sauce, pasta sauce, mushroom stroganoff, cauliflower rice, oat meal, and pesto sauce I make. My Vitamix really gets a workout. If you've been thinking about pulling the trigger, I'm here to tell you: DO IT!
INSTANT POT VEGETABLE STOCK
For years I threw away my vegetable scraps. Potato and carrot peels, the ends of onions, mushroom stems, the tops of celery stalks, etc. all went into the trash. For years I was wasting vegetable gold!
I’ve since learned that if I save all of my veggie scraps (not greens like spinach or lettuce though) and store them in the freezer I can make my own stock! I used to use a 5 or 6 quart pot for this but since I've discovered the joys of the *Instant Pot* it has become one of my go-to kitchen appliances. Whichever you use, making your own stock is not only financially smart, it's environmentally friendly.
8-CUP FOOD PROCESSOR
My mini food processor comes in handy more often that you’d think. I use this for quick pizza sauces, salsa, easy pesto or salad dressings. It also is fab for blending up fruit for topping ice cream!
Because of their heat-resistant quality, silicone spatulas are handy for just about any cooking occasion; whether it be in a pot pan, or baking sheet. I always have about three different sizes on hand.
NON-STICK BAKING SHEETS
I’m not a huge baker but I do use my baking sheets fairly regularly. Mostly for cookies, but also for granola and roasting potatoes. Sometimes even for garlic bread :-) The heavy-gauge steel core won't warp and heats evenly without hot spots so your cookies and cakes come out of the oven perfectly and evenly browned.
Need I say more?!? who doesn’t like donuts? With these pans you can make easy and (moderately) health donuts. I’ve already made several different types of donuts and also used them for baking banana bread ;-)
CERAMIC WAFFLE IRON
Waffles anyone? This is a pretty good little waffle iron. The husband and I use it with great regularity. Check out my recipe *here*.
CAST IRON SKILLET
We have two of these 10 inch skillets and one larger one I find them quite useful—especially when we make *pizza* at home! I’ve also used them for frying tofu, creating fruit compote, cooking all types of “meats” like bacon, burgers, and meatballs ;-)
LE CREUSET STOCK POT
This is my go to pot for nearly everything I do on the stovetop. My husband gifted it to me last Christmas and I’ve not stopped using it since! In fact, I just made *butternut squash soup* in it this past weekend. These magnificent enameled cast iron beauties come in nearly any color you’d want and are just about indestructible. If I was to have only one pot for the rest of my days it would be Le Creuset.
LE CREUSET BAKING DISH
In addition to their amazing cast iron, Le Creuset makes some pretty spectacular stoneware. I have this dish and it comes in so handy when we have guests around for dinner. The lid keeps the food warm and the size is really well suited for a main (or side dish) for several people. Plus, once it’s cooled down, you can pop it directly in the fridge for storage.