Making Plant-Based Cheese, First Time

20180310_162638

Good evening, beautiful people! Thank you for visiting my blog, and choosing to spend a few minutes of your precious time with me. I really mean that, and I wish I could thank you in person because while this blog is about my personal journey with a hobby (which I would hope to undertake with or without a website) it’s so nice to connect with others.

Today I want to tell you about a cheese success story! I made vegan cheese for the very first time, and it was so easy. I wasn’t planning it, but it just occurred to me that I had an open bottle of wine in the fridge, some nice dried fruit, and all of the ingredients for a cheese recipe that I’d watched on Youtube weeks ago.

20180310_164648

So I went ahead with it. I used one of Anja’s recipes from Cooking With Plants. If you click the link, it will take you right to the video I followed.

I did make a few adjustments, and I think that’s why my cheese turned out a lot softer, but it was still great, and I look forward to trying again one day with the right ingredients and measurements. Namely, I used almond milk instead of soy and didn’t quite measure everything properly.

And if like me, you have agar flakes instead of powder, use a little more of the flakes. So the equivalency ratio is 3 to 1. Three parts agar flakes equals one part agar powder. Agar flakes tend to be much less expensive, maybe for this reason. I wish I’d looked this up before because actually I only used three tablespoons of flakes in place of two tablespoons of powder when, apparently, I should have used six!

20180310_162620

Anyway, absolutely no regrets! This was a creamy and delicious cheese. I added salt-free Italian spices, some paprika and garlic powder as well. One thing I’d do differently is add a little less salt. The recipe calls for salt and miso paste, and I found that it just turned into a little too much sodium for me. But that’s a personal preference, I suppose.

I ate the cheese with dried apricots and figs, Mary’s gluten-free crackers (which are good even on their own), alongside a medium Riesling. I’ll be honest, I haven’t the slightest idea which fruits go with which wines and cheeses, but I will exempt myself this time.

I did notice that with the strong flavours from the cheese and fruit, I really couldn’t taste this delicate, fruity and flowery flavours of this beautiful white wine, and that was a shame!

20180310_162507

Making and setting this vegan cheese took about one hour. It’s all very quick. If you’re toying with the idea of eliminating dairy from your diet, try one of Anja’s recipes out! They are not the only ones, either, so feel free to find others.

The dairy industry is cruel, and we’ve come to a time of abundance when we no longer need to abuse and use animals for our benefit. We don’t need to get preventable chronic illnesses. Imagine, we are so blessed in developing nations that most people die from preventable illnesses! Most people aren’t dying from hunger, from a horrible virus or disease; they are dying from the consequences of eating too much of the wrong foods, exercising too little, worrying too much, sleeping too little.

That’s great news because those things can be fixed.

I hope you’ll join me in trying this cheese and a plant-based lifestyle. Trying is all I do—I’m not perfect. And it’s all I would ask of anyone else.

 

Advertisements

Fifteen Indian Vegan Recipes I’d Like to Try in March

Hi, everyone! Thank you for visiting my blog. Today, I decided to come up with a challenge to cook a number of recipes in March. I compiled a list of 15 Indian recipes, though  I realize that’s a high and unrealistic number, considering how busy I am for the rest of March.

The list does also include French toast, decidedly not Indian, but I just couldn’t take it out. It looked too good! All of the recipes are from Vegan Richa, about whom you can learn in a recent post, and on her website you can also find high quality photos and detailed instructions for each of the recipes, in addition to a little bit of historical or cultural background about the dish, which I enjoy.

Here are my picks—each recipe is linked below:

Vegan Methi Malai Paneer Tofu

Indian Butter Tofu Paneer I’ve tried this one before.

Almond Fudge This sweet looks amazing and kind of looks like Persian halwa.

Ginger Turmeric Root Tea

Chickpea flour fudge To see if it’s better than the almond fudge. If you haven’t had chickpea flour desserts before, try this or some others. It’s something that’s used in dessert-making in parts of Iran, and it’s really flavourful when paired with sugar/sweetness and cardamom (which I don’t know if this recipe contains).

Cauliflower Kofta Curry

Hemp-Tofu in Rich Pasanda Sauce Okay, this one requires hemp-tofu, supposedly tofu made from hemp seeds. I’m never heard of it but I’ll make a trip over to Whole Foods, and if they don’t have it, the Big Carrot.

Vegan Banana French Toast  So I can listen to Banana Pancakes and eat them (close).

Naan (I’d like to make the garlic kind)

Baked Samosas  I may have signed up to make samosas for friends in the near future. I might as well practice. These ones are baked. I can’t imagine deep frying something at home and then finding the courage to also eat it!

Palak Tofu Paneer Palak paneer was my favourite Indian dish before I gave up dairy because of lactose intolerance. I still sometimes eat dairy (though I’d like to move towards a fully plant-based diet this year) but I need to take Lactaid to do so, and I guess I’ve just never had any on hand when ordering Indian food.

Carrot Halwa This is such a popular Indian dessert that I feel it should be in my Indian recipe try. I used to love it when I ate dairy, and I haven’t had it since, as I believe the traditional version contains either of cream or milk.

Vegan Mango Lassi The first and only time I had mango lassi, another hugely popular Indian recipe, was at an Indian restaurant with a friend. We couldn’t drink ours because I suspect the mango was too unripe and the whole thing tasted sour.

Gobi Broccoli Makhani

Vegan Mango Burfi

 

Vegetarian Pesto Omelette Lunch

Today I made an omelette for lunch. I’m still a novice, as I don’t usually cook with eggs, and as you’ll see at the end, I got distracted with the cleanup and left mine on the stove for too long.

20180304_155027

I wanted to make a mushroom and spinach omelette, but there were no mushrooms left, so I made do with spinach, tomato, and onion. 🙂

20180304_155111

I chopped and cut everything, like so.

20180304_155137

And then sauteed everything in less than a teaspoon of grapeseed oil.

20180304_155216

While the veggies sauteed on low heat, I cracked the eggs into a bowl.

20180304_152554

I added some of Club House’s Italiano Signature spice blend. I also really like their Montreal Steak seasoning blend, which you can get here, but I didn’t have any on hand. The Italian one is really good, too.

20180304_155239

It took about six minutes for my veggies to cook, but this really depends on preference, as well.

20180304_152045

It turns out spice blend isn’t the only thing missing from my kitchen; I was out of Daiya. I waited for the veggies to cool off a bit and added two dessert spoons (not quite teaspoons, so maybe 1/2 tablespoon-sized) of this Classico basil pesto to the veggies.

20180304_152722

Then I added a bit of pink salt to the whisked egg mixture, whisked again and preheated a new pan over medium heat with a teaspoon of butter.

20180304_155328

After a few minutes (preheating is supposedly important) I poured the eggs in.

20180304_155356

About a minute later, I added the veggies and covered the pan.

20180304_155445

Then I started cleaning, so I left the omelette in for too long. So when I tried to get the egg off the pan to fold it over, I had some difficulties. But I’d say it would take about two to three minutes for the top to set without the bottom sticking.

 

 

Healthy Easy Vegan Lunch: Tofu Avocado Toast With Stubb’s BBQ Marinade

Today was a study day, so I didn’t fuss or spend much time in the kitchen. I decided to make some easy healthy vegan food.

I wanted to make a quick but still healthy lunch, and something that would hold me over until dinner. Et voila: I made avocado toast.

Of course, there’s a very high chance you’re already sick of avocado toast (I mostly am; it’s a pretty lazy content idea, let’s be honest). BUT this is a twist on avocado toast! (Anyway, that’s what I’m telling myself.) Read on.

AVOtoast2

I toasted two slices of Glutino’s gluten free toast, which is so easy to digest. This is especially important on days where I need all of my wits about me and have absolutely no time for that heavy food feeling.

On top of my two slices of toast, I mashed one whole small avocado and added some sauteed cubed extra firm sprouted organic tofu (the whole brick costs $2—it just sounds fancy) marinated for a few minutes (but leave it more longer if you have time) in Stubb’s Texas Steakhouse marinade.

Et finit! Qu’est-ce que c’est? Easy healthy vegan food.

Toast_avo

I haven’t seen this idea before, even though it’s so simple. The toast is good for carbs, the avocado for fats, and the tofu for protein. It’s especially important for plant-based diet adherents to make sure they ingest enough omega-3 fats and whole proteins (tofu* is one).

This meal is adjustable: you can make more or less of any of the ingredients without adding a significant amount of time, and with carrot or cucumber sticks, it would pass for a complete meal in my books.

Hope you try it!

*Disclaimer: I do limit my tofu intake to prevent any potential hormonal effects, whether with sex hormones (estrogen) or thyroid hormones.

p.s. Check out my easy vegan burrito lunch post.

For more easy healthy vegan food ideas, I personally love the vegan recipes on Budget Bytes. They are cheap and (relatively) easy recipes. My favourite of Beth’s recipes (the recipe developer and blogger behind Budget Bytes) is the Pressure Cooker Split Pea Soup.

Healthy Vegan Dinner in a Pinch With Amy’s Kitchen

Amy’s Kitchen is a company that offers vegetarian, organic and non-GMO convenience foods. The company was started by Andy and Rachel Berliner in California in 1987, and it was named after their daughter, Amy. Their canned and boxed soups, frozen entrees, and frozen wraps are widely available at supermarket chains in Canada.

What I like about Amy’s Kitchen is that they use real, healthy ingredients, many of of which are organic, and their products are priced reasonably. Today I want to share how to create a healthy lunch or dinner with my favourite Amy’s wrap.

20171220_130216

You will need:

1 gluten-free Amy’s Kitchen frozen bean and rice burrito ($3.99)
1/4 cup Daiya cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mild salsa

For the salad:
Two cups washed and cut lettuce
Handful of baby spinach
1/2 ripe avocado
5–10 grape tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic vinaigrette

20171220_125928

Toss salad ingredients and set aside (outside or in fridge depending on how you cook the burrito). Unwrap Amy’s Kitchen burrito and warm up according to instructions, either by microwave oven or conventional/toaster oven. Take out before it’s ready ( 25–30 seconds with the microwave, and 15 minutes with the conventional oven).

Flatten the top side of the burrito by gently pressing down with a fork. Then arrange most of the cheese on top. Place in the oven for 10 minutes or microwave for 15–20 seconds. Take out and flatten with a fork again. Place mild salsa and the rest of the cheese overtop. Place in the oven for another 5 minutes or microwave another 10–15 seconds.

You will love this. 🙂

20171220_130036