Chewy Puffed Kamut & Millet Bars

 

kamut bars

Commercially produced protein bars are packed with nearly everything but protein. The ones that do have a bit of protein include “fake” protein and not the raw real protein that God intended for our bodies. My children, like most, are attracted to the fancy marketing and labeling of store bought protein bars. Over the years though, they learned to read labels and now understand why we don’t eat those type of protein bars. In a search for a quick and easy snack that my family can grab on the go when hunger strikes I came up with this chewy protein bar recipe that never sticks around long in our house. The beauty of this recipe is that you can add a wide variety mix-ins to suit your preferences.

Directions:

2 cups organic puffed kamut
1 cup puffed millet
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup honey
1T cocoa powder, optional
pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, optional

Ingredients:
Grease an 8×8 pan. In a medium bowl add kamut and millet. In a small saucepan over medium heat mix honey and peanut butter until warm and fluid. Quickly mix the peanut butter mixture with the cereal. When thoroughly mixed press into the 8×8 pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set, cut into bars when ready. If you would like to add cocoa powder add in the peanut butter mixture and mix as usual. If you would like to have seeds in your bars, add to the cereal and mix with peanut butter mixture as usual.

Vegan Cheese Alternatives

vegan cheese

When you live a vegan lifestyle there a few things that you just have to do without. Well, at least until you come up with or find a recipe to replace the commercially available non-vegan alternative. When my family and I first started eating vegan, cutting out all animal products from our diet, cheese was something we just eliminated. I avoided every recipe I found that called for cheese, found other snack options for my incessantly hungry toddlers, and essentially resolved to the fact that we just wouldn’t enjoy cream sauces or cheese dip platters. The benefit of our health was worth the sacrifice and honestly if I hadn’t of found the vegan cheese alternatives listed below we would still be “cheese less” and just as healthy. Now however, our range of recipes and taste options is just a big larger because of these amazing cheese replacement options.

Here are the three vegan cheese alternatives I use in my home most frequently:

  1. Cashew Cream: Unlike other lists of this kind I am putting my most favorite, delicious, and versatile option first. Honestly, the day I made my first batch of cashew cream time stood still. I was in awe of how delicious something so simple could taste. I use cashew cream anywhere I need a creamy texture or a cheese like spread. You can blend the soaked cashews into just a simple cream and add it to sauces or curries for a cream sauce. Add a hefty spoonful on top of noodles for an alfredo sauce. Or better yet, add some lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and salt for a vegan sour cream. Spread this sour cream on top of baked potato slices and top with cilantro, viola you have a delicious appetizer. Cashew cream is so incredibly simple to make, you will kick yourself for not thinking of it earlier. Simple soak your cashews in filtered water over night (or in HOT water for 1 hour if short on time). Place in a high speed blender or food processor and cover slightly with water. Blend until creamy and smooth. Nothing more and nothing less. You will end up with a cream that is so smooth and delicious! You can thank me later or throw donations my way.
  2. Vegan cheese: If you’ve been a vegan for more than a couple of days surely you have already seen the vegan cheese options in your local grocery or health food store. This option does not act completely like non-vegan cheese but when you need a crumbly cheese alternative these are pretty tasty options. I use vegan cheese in sweet potato enchiladas and any other dish where I want cheese but have to bake the dish. Thankfully, most of the larger bands of vegan cheese are not full of nasty chemicals which you might initially expect. When eaten on occasion, this is a great option not laden with nasty fillers and additives.
  3. Nutritional Yeast: Truth be told before switching to a vegan lifestyle I had never heard of nutritional yeast. Honestly, doesn’t the name sound a bit odd and offensive. Why would anyone want to possibly eat something that sounds so repulsive? Oh but wait until you’ve tried it. You will regret waiting so long to enjoy its amazing flavor. What exactly is nutritional yeast? Well friends, it is simple an inactive yeast. What it lacks in simplicity though it makes up for in taste. It has a nutty cheesy taste and is amazing on popcorn, garlic bread, added to soups, stir-fry veggies,  or on top of pasta. You might find nutritional yeast in your health food store labeled as nutritional yeast flakes or powder or even as savory yeast if you live outside of the United States. Nutritional yeast is also a great source of B12 which is an important vitamin for vegans.

So, whether you are a long-time vegan or are contemplating making the change in your lifestyle cheese taste is not something you have to do without. What are some of your favorite dishes that include vegan cheese options?

Maple Almond Butter

Almond Butter

In my journey towards health and cleaner eating the last thing I expected was to give up peanuts and peanut butter. There are no peanut or tree nut allergies in our family. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were staples in my own childhood as well as for my older children when they were little. So why give up peanuts? They have served us all so well over the years.

The answer is simple, mold that produces a cancer causing toxin known as aflatoxin. Aspergillus and A.parasiticus are 2 strains of mold that produce alfatoxin in warm humid climates and silos. Peanuts are not the only carrier of these molds, soy beans, corn, pecans, walnuts, pistachios and even milk have been shown to carry these mold strains. Peanuts are of particular concern for a few reasons; the first of which is the sheer amount of peanuts and peanut butter that Americans consume everyday. This raises the exposure levels to aflatoxin. Second is the nutritional value of peanuts. The omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is not favorable in peanuts. There are other nuts and legumes available with a better fatty acid profile which make a better choice when snacking or preparing nut butters. Lastly, we just do no know how much exposure to aflatoxin is safe. 20 parts per billion is the current “safe” level for food inspection purposes, but is this really enough and what does long term exposure at these levels cause if anything? You should also know that “fresh” ground peanut butter from health food stores contain a higher level of aflatoxin than the “junk” food type of peanut butters such as “Jif” and “Skippy”.

So long story short, this is why i switched my family from peanut butter to organic homemade almond butter. Not just any almond butter mind you, this is pure spreadable creamy maple almond butter goodness. With a family of 9, the sheer amount of almond butter that I make every week might cause the demise of my large capacity food processor. She is holding steady for now though, thankfully.

Once you make your own almond butter at home you will never go back! It is simple and not full of the preservatives, salt, and other junk that commercial brans pour into their nut butters.

Almond Butter_3

Maple Almond Butter

Ingredients:
2 cups raw organic almonds
1T organic hemp hearts
1T organic chia seeds
2T organic golden flax seeds
6T organic grade B maple syrup
1tsp organic cinnamon
2T organic light olive oil

Directions:

  • Heat oven to 275F. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients and stir well.
  • Evenly spread almond mixture on parchment lined cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 25-30min. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Place cooled almond mixture in a food processor. Do not use your high powered blender for this, I’ve heard of too many motors burning out after trying to break down just one batch of nut butters.
  • Process until nuts break down into a fine mixture with their own oils. You may have to stop your food processor a few times during this process to scrape down the sides and break up the nut mixture so it blends evenly.
  • Add olive oil and cinnamon. Blend until smooth and creamy.

Almond Butter_2

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

 

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad vegan gluten free alexismathews.com

Large family cooking needs to be quick and easy. However, quick and easy does not mean your large family has to eat unhealthy, grease laden foods. Quick and easy with proper planning can be healthy, delicious, and nutritious. Keep healthy and quick recipes like this one for Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad handy and at your fingertips.

Packed with raw veggies and herbs this salad is as nutritious as it is beautiful. Quinoa is a grain seed that is gluten free and packed with protein. One cup of quinoa is packed with 24g of protein which according to current recommendations is 48% of your recommended daily allowance. Wow! Couple this amazing grain with a bunch of fresh, raw, and organic veggies and your colorful raw quinoa salad is born.

My kids all LOVE this salad and I love that I can mix up a huge batch of it, keep it in the fridge all week and serve cold when my kid’s tummies are empty. I chop up a bunch of raw veggies, keep it colorful, and call it done. The possibilities of raw veggies you can include in this salad are almost limitless. This salad is a great way to use up the extra veggies you have before they spoil. There isn’t a vegetable that won’t taste great wrapped in quinoa goodness. Served cold this dish is also refreshing on those hot summer afternoons when you are hot, hungry, and don’t feel like cooking.

If you are quinoa intolerant this salad can easily be made with couscous, it will be just as delicious!

Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:
4 cups cooked quinoa
2 medium bell peppers (green, red, orange, or yellow) diced
6 radishes sliced and quartered
2 ribs celery diced
1 cup chopped black olives
Handful of basil chopped
3T organic olive oil
3T golden balsamic vinegar
2T rice vinegar
Other veggies not pictured include; carrots, onions, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, or any other veggies you like.

Directions:
Fluff cooked quinoa with a fork in a large bowl. Add in chopped veggies and mix well. In a separate bowl mix oil and vinegars well. Pour over quinoa and veggies, mix well. Enjoy immediately or chill and serve.

 

Linked at The New Mrs. Adventures

5 Gluten Free Mother’s Day Gifts

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Mother’s Day is right around the corner! Have you found the perfect gift for your Mom or other special woman in your life? Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to remind your Mom that she truly means a lot to you and to show her your appreciation. Mothers can grow weary throughout the year and Mother’s day is your chance to refresh her spirit and give her a special gift that she will treasure for years to come.

What about that hard to shop for Mom that has gluten free diet restrictions?

Today I am guest posting over at A Mama’s Story, please join me there to read the rest of this post.

Black Bean and Spinach Quinoa Burgers

 

Black Bean Burger

There is something quintessential about digging your teeth into a juicy and delicious burger. It is the stuff legends are made of and the backbone of every summer cookout memory. However, when you live a vegan lifestyle what are you supposed to enjoy during the carnivorous summer barbecues? Surely, we don’t have to be left in the dust while others around us enjoy their carnivorous ways. Have no fear, bean burgers are here.

Bean burgers of any variety are the equivalent to vegans as the hamburger is to our meat loving friends and family. The bean burger possibilities are almost limitless. Pick you favorite bean, mix it with some veggies and spices, form into patties, bake or fry and you are golden. Simple as that.

With 7 children including 2 older boys who are growing at an unbelievable rate and love their protein it was imperative when we went vegan to replace their burgers and red meat sources with another delicious and filling meal replacement.

Enter our newest favorite bean burger, the black bean and spinach quinoa burger. Packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals this burger is a home run in the game of nutrition. Serve alongside with roasted veggies and you’ve got yourself a complete meal, low on carbs and high on taste.

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Black Bean and Spinach Quinoa Burgers

Ingredients:
2 cups cooked black beans
1 cup diced yellow or red potatoes, cooked
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
2T vegetable stock
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1T chopped garlic
1tsp coriander
1tsp cumin
1tsp salt
1tsp oregano
1 cup chopped fresh spinach

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Saute onions in vegetable stock until translucent
  • To the onions add garlic, coriander, cumin, salt and oregano. Stir for 1 minute.
  • In a food processor add 1 cup of the black beans, 1 cup potatoes, and onion mixture. Process until well mixed and smooth.
  • In a sperate bowl mix quinoa, chopped spinach and black bean mixture from food processor. Form into burger sized patties.
  • Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until firm.
  • Enjoy!