cook up some love

cooking and love quote20180211_192140-1_resized

Sunday night dinner just got all fancy.  Oh, and did I mention dairy free and vegan?

Vegan Creme Brulee.  Yes, vegan, really.  Seriously.  I cross my heart.  The best dairy free version I have ever, ever indulged in.

The pictures speak for themselves. 20180211_191849-1_resized

If you find yourself wanting to lick the computer screen, may I gently suggest the book, Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull?

Or you could ask me to share the recipe.

Or you could stop by and share dessert!

Here is a gentle suggestion, make plans today to create, make and share a special meal including dessert for someone you love this week.

I promise you, nothing feels more special than to cook for that special someone or to have that someone cook something homemade just for you.

There is something downright decadent when your spoon cracks that caramelized crust and dips down into that silky smooth, creamy dreamy custard.  Oh, la la.

20180211_192128-1_resizedHappy Week of Love, people!

In this together,

Chat soon.

 

 

dip time

One of the “recipes” I made as a kid was brilliant.

Have your mom buy a container of sour cream and one of those boxes of French Onion Soup mix.  It came with packets of dehydrated onions and other mystery, magical powder.

*We did not read ingredient lists 40 years ago.   (come to find out, “other dry powder” was MSG, corn syrup, sugar, corn starch, hydrolyzed soy protein, caramel color, gluten, yeast extract, “natural” flavors, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate.)   soup mix 2

Mix together.  Dip chips or crackers into the dip mix and scoop up as much as possible.  It was salty, fancy dip.

Hello, 2018.

You could follow the same recipe today.

Or, here’s a brilliant, self-loving thought, you could make your own!

Important note: so you are not a sad-faced reader by the end of this post.  Make this today because you have to let it sit in the refrigerator overnight!  

First, make the Wellness Mama dry mix recipe and store in a glass jar.  You can use it to shake some potatoes in before you roast them, actually make soup or use like you always use the dry onion soup mix. https://wellnessmama.com/2293/french-onion-soup-mix/

I also make the mix minus the dehydrated onion.  I will tell you why.  I caramelize my own onions and add the seasonings.

Wait.  It is SO EASY PEASY. Yep. Even a teenager from the 70’s can mix it up.

Why on earth would you go to the “trouble” of making your own?

1. Because the Olympics are about to begin and we all want to watch a little television olympic ringsand just maybe while we watch amazingly fit, world-class athletes compete we would like to wear yoga pants and sit on the sofa and have something to dip our salty, crispy snacks into.

2. Because you have an exchange student visiting and you want to set out some munchies and she can’t have dairy.

3. Because you have chosen not to eat dairy for the Lenten season that is about to begin.pray fast give

4. Because your friend just found out they have Celiac disease and you want to serve some snacks and show a little empathy because he no longer can have that dry onion soup mix, that he loves.gluten free

5.  Because you are vegan. vegan girl

6.  Because you are a smarty pants and don’t eat chemicals.

 

 

Enough talk….let’s do this.

Make sour cream.  (gentle suggestion?  make a double batch, seriously, because I said so.)

Soak 1 cup of raw cashews in hot water for an hour.  drain.   Okay, put the softened raw cashews, 1/2 cup water, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt into a high-speed blender and like good Jazz music……until smooth and dreamy.  Supposedly this stores in the refrigerator for one week in a glass container with a lid.  We have NEVER had it around that long to actually test that. haha

caramelized onionsOkay, while your cashews were soaking………….chop up a large onion (I love to use one big ol’ Walla Walla sweet onion or 2  yellow onions) add 1 Tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 (yes, 1/4) teaspoon sugar and start cooking all that onion goodness.  You want it to be all golden and caramelized.  It’s going to take 15 to 20 minutes of listening to music or you have time for a TED talk.  You gotta stay there and keep those beautiful pieces of onion dancing around in that pan. Keep going…….not quite……….you want it really, really golden.  done.

Okay, mix together 1 batch of your sour cream, about 1 Tablespoon of the dry onion soup mix mentioned above.  It will be approximately 1/2 teaspoon, onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon celery salt. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and all those beautiful caramelized onion bits and pieces…...yes, scrape the pan, get all that amazing flavor. 

Here comes the tricky, hard part.  Put into the refrigerator for 4 hours or better yet, overnight!  What???  Sadly, it is hard to wait.  Those flavors need to marry up and the beautiful caramel color needs to swirl around.  dip3

However, tomorrow night when the Olympics come on and you are about to sit down………that beautiful, caramelized onion dip will be waiting just for you and your family.dip

In this together, friends.

Oh wait, you have a little something on your chin…

Chat soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

smarty pants cheese, please

Raise your hand if you have ever stood in a grocery store and cried.

I have.

When you have to give up meat (yes that means chicken, too), sugar, dairy and gluten it can and does seem slightly overwhelming.

20180207_173730-1_resizedToday’s topic is  PIZZA.  yum.  Ooey, gooey, stringy, flavorful pizza.  Caramelized onions, mushrooms galore, hot out of the oven, dripping with goodness.  A bit salty, a hint of sweet, that robust sauce….. overwhelmingly one of the top comfort foods around.

When that age-old question pops up, as it inevitably does, “What’s for dinner?”  you don’t have to do much to sell the suggestion of pizza.

To begin with, let’s talk a tiny bit about dairy first.

It doesn’t matter if you are giving up dairy products for the upcoming season of Lent, cannot tolerate lactose, are vegan or because you have educated yourself and know that dairy promotes cancer…….giving up the satisfying comfort of cheese is tricky.

(Side note here:  We all know any human over five years of age has no lactase in their body.  Lactase is the enzyme necessary to digest dairy products.)

Hang on one minute, yes, I promise to get to the good stuff……pizza.

First, please indulge me to give one quick homeschool lesson?    We all know Dr. Neal Barnard is one smart cookie.  I will be brief and with his help,  remind you why it is so DANG hard to give up dairy.

Skip reading the next paragraph if you are already a smarty pants and don’t need to be reminded of this stuff.

Cheese has casein as an unusual protein.  Casein fragments are called casomorphins – that is casein derived morphine-like compounds.  And they attach to the same brain receptors that heroin and other narcotics attach to.  In other words, dairy protein has opiate molecules built right in.

Light bulb moment coming up…………………………………………………………………………..

SO THAT’S WHY I WAS CRYING IN THE GROCERY STORE!  I was addicted to cheese/dairy products.

If you are a smart cookie and want to be even smarter, may I gently suggest to head over and do a little reading on what Dr. Barnard has to say about cheese?  https://www.forksoverknives.com/addictive-food-cheese-pizza/#gs.uOviSTQ

20180207_180019-1_resizedToday, I am writing this with one person in mind.  She doesn’t need to give up dairy for any reason other than she chooses to.  She is an intelligent, talented, athletic and beautiful, vegan teenager.  Her hard-working, creative, beautiful mother and I have been friends since we were teenagers.

Over the last five years, I have spent a lot of money, time and effort trying and taste testing products, recipes etc.  I have thrown away more than I care to remember.  So, when a recipe or product turns out to be heaven-sent and amazing…………….instead of just sharing with people who laugh at me, roll their eyes, make fun of me, or stare at me with disbelief,  I decided to share with someone who would jump up and down and use jazz hands to share her happiness.  (sometimes, you just gotta play to the right audience)

Who knows?  Maybe this talented, budding rock star will one day write and sing about dairy-free pizza?20180207_180019-1_resized

I think we all agree teenagers are hard to impress.  I have made it my mission to secretly, share recipes, restaurants and ideas with my friend.  The mission is simple.  Help my friend win “Mom of the year” award.

Frankly, I shared my faux bacon recipe and she could quite honestly skate through the year with that one delicious recipe alone.  I know this pizza/cheese brilliant recipe secret will just add extra credit.

Tap, Tap, Tap…….can I have your attention, please?  Please join me in saluting this one brilliant, beautiful vegan teenager!  I raise my slice of pizza in your honor!  You, my dear, have figured out this healthy “thang” way before many adults.  Rock on future clean plate club member! 20180207_182008-1_resized

Okay, here is the secret.  Go buy Fuss-Free Vegan by Sam Turnbull.  Just do it.  I am so fuss free vegangrateful that Santa was smart enough to give this to me.  This one book will make your life so much tastier, your teenagers will vote you Mom of the year and your guests will thank you a million times over.  She has an amazing recipe for “Life Changing Mozzarella”.  I stuck 5 gold stars on that one page alone!  Gather your ingredients:  tapioca starch, green olive juice, nutritional yeast, cashews, salt and water and let’s make a pizza.

If you don’t have a teenager to impress, I gotta say, Mr. Right gave it two thumbs up, with his mouth full and we were both clean plate club members.  So get out there and find someone to share a pizza with.

Pizza equals HAPPY!

May you make, serve, share and devour the best dairy-free pizza of your life!!!!

In this together, friends.

Chat soon.