Frozen Vegan Cheesecake

I really loved these bite-sized desserts. I adapted the recipe from The Minimalist Baker with a few changes here and there to spice things up. I choose to used my favorite brand of dairy-free cookie as the crust for this cheesecake. For a healthier option, you can choose to use dates and raw walnuts, as suggested by the original recipe.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 2 cups of your favorite brand of dairy-free/vegan cookies (I used Annie’s)
  • 4 tbsp of oil (I use safflower or canola oil because they are tasteless)

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups quick soaked raw cashews
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup  sugar (or 1/2 cup of agave)

Topping (optional):

  • Handful of blueberries
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp oil

Directions

To make the crust:
  • In a food processor, blend the cookies and melted coconut oil until the texture resembles a crust.
  • Scoop enough crust mixture to cover the bottom of each muffin pan (lined with cupcake lining) spot and press down gently.
  • Freeze for about an hour for crust to become firm

To make filling:

  • Add all filling ingredients to a blender and mix until smooth. (If needed, to help mixture come together, add a touch more lemon juice, agave or coconut milk to make mixture more liquid.
  • Remove crust from frozen. Divide filling evenly in cupcake pans.

Topping:

  • Over low heat, add oil, blueberries and sugar.
  • Stir frequently until mixture forms a syrup, let cool about five minutes
  • Using a spoon, swirl filling into cheesecake mixture
  • Let freeze for 4-6 hours. Use a butter knife to pop out.

 

Enjoy!

Meet a Vegan: Zoology Student Bonnie Earley

This week’s Meet a Vegan feature is Bonnie Earley, zoology student and wife whose passionate about animals.
We asked her a few questions about her vegan journey and what inspired her to make the lifestyle change.

Tell me about yourself.

I’m 24 years old. I’m a wife, a dog and cat mom and a student working my way towards a degree in zoology. I’m so passionate about animals and dream to one day have a career dedicated to creating a better world for all living beings. I’ve been vegan for just over a year now and grow to love it more every day.

What’s one thing you wished people told you about becoming vegan?

Although I had heard this before, I didn’t believe how easy it would be to live a vegan lifestyle. I spent 8 years eating a vegetarian diet making excuses about why I couldn’t commit to being vegan. When I finally took the plunge I was kicking myself for not doing it sooner. It’s true that when you’re thinking about the animals, and not about your appetite or convenience, it’s the easiest thing to commit to.

How has becoming vegan changed how you approach cooking and eating out?

Eating vegan has been so great for me! I had pretty unhealthy eating habits my entire life prior to going vegan. I ate a ton of processed sugar and junk food. At first, it was a bummer to give up some of my favorite treats, but now I get more creative in the kitchen and enjoy eating real food. I eat a lot cleaner, I cook a lot more and I try new things more often. I don’t feel like I’m missing out at all because there are so many great recipes and tricks you learn as you go. My palate really has changed since going vegan. Now that I’m eating more real food instead of junk food and processed things, I enjoy healthy foods as opposed to before, when I would eat them because I was supposed to. It’s similar when I’m eating out somewhere, I usually check the menu online beforehand and actually think about what I’m going to eat and put in my body. That’s not to say I don’t make a meal out of french fries once in a while when that’s the only vegan menu item. It’s all about balance. Only now, I eat good plant food the majority of the time and enjoy my junk as a treat.

What’s your favorite thing about being vegan?

I love being vegan. I love what it has done for my diet, I love how I feel, I love that it’s good for the planet. Most importantly I love knowing that I’m no longer contributing to animal suffering. I feel good about the fact that my lifestyle doesn’t cause pain and suffering to living beings. The animals who are spared because of my choices are the reason I’ll never look back.

What advice would you give to vegans just starting out?

Take care of yourself! Adapting to a vegan lifestyle is a huge change for most people. You need to create something that will be sustainable for you long-term, otherwise one day you’re going to find yourself with unmet dietary needs and wanting to go back to using/eating animal products. Do your research, take your supplements (if that’s what you need), and eat a balanced diet. Veganism doesn’t have to look the same for everybody. You don’t have to eat a raw diet or cut out processed foods entirely if that’s not what is realistic for you. You’re going to be learning a lot as you go, so you should take the time to build a realistic lifestyle that meets your specific needs! Also, the internet and social media can be great tools to learn about the vegan lifestyle and connect with other like-minded people, so use it! Most importantly don’t forget why you started.

Fruit of the Summer

Today, as the temperature peaked at 90 degrees Fahrenheit, I decided to juice an entire watermelon. Between summer barbeques and fireworks, watermelon has pretty much become a staple of the summer. There is nothing more refreshing on a hot day than biting into a slice of the juicy fruit.

But beyond the obvious benefit of instant hydration, what other health benefits do these melons hold?

Surprising, despite consisting mainly of water, watermelon is packed with vitamins A, B6 and C and plenty of antioxidants and amino acids, which means great news for your health.

Watermelon has high levels of lycopene, a powerful anti-inflammatory phytonutrient. Lycopene has been linked to prostate cancer prevention, heart health, and healthy joints.

Lycopene prevents free radical damage and inhibits various inflammatory processes. The phytonutrient is so effective in protecting cells from damage that, according to a study at Purdue University, the extract was found to help reduce hypertension and lower blood pressure.

Watermelon has several anti-aging properties. The fruit can also boost collagen production which can lead to a younger looking face.

Watermelon is high in vitamin A. Vitamin A helps your body have healthy hair and skin and promotes the growth of elastin cells. Additionally, the fruit has high concentrations of vitamin C, which promotes skin health.

The white part of the melon, near the rind, contains the amino acid citrulline. In the body, citrulline converts to the amino acid arginine. Arginine promotes good blood flow which improves circulation and cardiovascular health.

And don’t be so quick to spit out the seeds. Watermelon seeds, especially when sprouted, are very nutritious. Watermelon seeds are high in protein, magnesium, vitamin B and healthy fats.

And if you are thinking of slimming down for the summer, watermelon is great for dieters. The snack is fat-free, low-sodium and low-calorie, promoting a slimmer waistline.

Thinking about eating more watermelon? Keep the fruit chilled in a refrigerator and be sure to wash the outside before cutting. Cut watermelon lasts about a week in the fridge in an air-tight container.

GetLeighed Cosmetics

Luxurious body butters and oils just in time for summer!

GetLeighed cosmetics features a line of delectable bath and body products, including perfectly whipped soap in scents for men and women.

The product line, created by Kayla Hefele (also known as Evelyn Leigh) is designed for everyone, whether they’re looking for a glowing summer bikini body or to unwind after work.

Shimmery body oils come in the enchanting flavors Goddess Glow and SunKissed. While Love Potion No. 1 and No.2 massage oils are sure to be an aphrodisiac with hints of sweet orange and hibiscus flowers.

All products are cruelty-free and made with all natural ingredients.

Visit the site here: GetLeighed Cosmetics

Vegan Steak?

I have been a vegan for almost eight years and never tried cooking with vital wheat gluten (aka seitan). The first video I saw on how to prepare seitan was by one of those apocalypse-type, bomb bunker guys that swore seitan was the food of the Last Days.

Most of the videos back then saw seitan as more of a survival-kit type of meal and not something to be eaten regularly. And the results of their cooking showed it. Not to be crass, but many of the seitan meals looked like slop.

And honestly, my brushes with seitan had been less than….glowing, having grown up in a denomination that encouraged vegetarianism. It was chewy, tough and had a slightly bitter taste.

Needless to say, when I saw two videos on making vegan steak with seitan this week, I was a bit skeptical about how it would taste. But with a little TLC and some additions, I think I got it down pat.

vegan steak
vegan steak seitan

 

Looks pretty good huh?

 

Ingredients 

Vegan Steak:

  • 1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 can of navy beans
  • 1/2 cup of Vegetable Stock

Cooking Broth:

  • 2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1 cups (500ml) water
  • 1 tbsp of soy sauce)

Marinade:

  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Frying:

  • 1-2 tbsp safflower oil for cooking
  • 1/2 teaspoon of browning

 

Directions

  • In a mixing bowl, combine wheat gluten, garlic powder, smoked salt, paprika, ketchup and tablespoon of soy sauce. Add the mashed navy beans and mix well with clean hands.
  • Make a well in the bowl and add the 1/2 cup of vegetable stock. Continue to mix well with your hands until mixture forms a ball. Add more vegetable stock if needed.
  • Knead the dough for about five minutes until it forms a smooth ball.
  • In a pot, add two cups of the vegetable stock, the chopped onion, garlic, water and soy sauce. Bring the pot to a simmer.
  • Separate steak mixture into four or five pieces. Flattened the pieces on both sides using your hands or a potato masher, until they form burger-like shapes.
  • Drop the steak burgers into the simmering pan and let simmer for 30-40 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, garlic powder, and smoked paprika to make the marinade. Cut the cooked steak burgers in half and knead the pieces into the marinade.
  • In a frying pan, heat safflower oil and browning on low heat. Add steak pieces and brown on both sides (about five minutes).

 

Enjoy!

 

3 Savvy Ways to Simplify Breakfast

(Family Features) While it is widely known that starting your day with a balanced, nutritious breakfast can have a positive impact on overall health, it may be difficult for some people to make it a priority. Whether you generally run low on time in the mornings or have little ones to keep on track before heading out the door, it simply isn’t always an option to piece together a grandiose morning meal.

Rather than overhauling your lifestyle, consider some simpler ways to incorporate breakfast into your daily routine. These tips can help you start the day strong – and on time – without sacrificing the day’s first meal.

Prep the Night Before

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have ample time in the morning to prepare what some studies consider to be the most important meal of the day. If you’re typically short on time before heading out the door, prepare breakfast the night before so you can ensure you’re starting each day with proper fuel and nutrition. Even if it’s as simple as setting out a bowl, spoon and your favorite cereal before you go to bed, you can set yourself up to shave a few minutes off your morning routine.

Take It To-Go

If your kids are a handful or that snooze button is just too easy to reach each morning, sitting down at the table – even for a quick breakfast – might be out of the question. Preparing in advance by packing a to-go container with your favorite morning foods can be a simple solution to keep everyone happy without adding more strain to the day.

Keep It Simple

Breakfast doesn’t have to be elaborate to get your day going in the right direction. Simple options like avocado toast take little time to create yet can go a long way toward adding nutrients in the morning. For a different spin on traditional avocado toast, combine it with a unique taste like Sabra Classic Hummus, which can help you add fiber and protein before the day truly begins. Even if you aren’t an avocado person, just by swapping out the jelly you might put on your morning toast for hummus instead can help you reduce sugar intake without compromising on taste.

Find more solutions to busy days and recipes for any occasion at sabra.com.

Hummus Toast

  • 2 tablespoons Sabra Hummus (any flavor)
  • 1 slice whole-wheat or hearty bread, toasted
  • 1/2 cup avocado, sliced
  • 1 sliced radish
  • 1/4 cup tender arugula
  • 1 tablespoon chopped pistachios
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste

Directions:

Spread hummus on toast.

Top with avocado, radish, arugula and pistachios.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.

Enjoy!