Tag Archives: dairy free

Walnut “Meat” Tacos w/ Cashew Sour Cream

Let me just say something. If you knew me prior to my little food transformation, you knew that if there was one thing I HATED with a passion it was Mexican food.

The smell of it made me gag, and I refused to go to any such restaurant.

Everyone who was cool liked Mexican food, and I definitely wasn’t cool. (I know, I know, it’s a generalized statement, but I promise it’s how I felt).

My reason was simple. I threw up once when I was ten when my aunt made me eat a quesadilla.  So, a lifelong hatred was warranted, right?

Later in life, this hate relationship I had posed a big issue.  The problem wasn’t that my taste buds were unpopular. It was that Mexican food is my husband’s favorite food group–like lick the plate kind of favorite.

If you’re friends with me now, you know taco night is one of my favorites.  So, what changed?

Well, to be quite honest, my taste buds.  As I continued this journey to real foods, my taste buds CRAVED fresh foods.  I ate jalapeno for the first time.  Now, I actually know what cilantro is.

I still won’t eat Mexican at the very Americanized versions of it.  1. Because they are really unhealthy 2. They aren’t fresh at all.

If I find myself at a social function and can’t avoid it, I order the vegetable fajitas and fresh guacamole and chow down.

But now, Mexican food is on the main rotation. I can’t go too long without it before I really miss it and our newfound love starts to waiver.  I need it in my life. Lots.

My idea of a fresh taco night is some homemade corn tortillas, fresh and preferably local veggie toppings, some guacamole, and a nice protein (refried beans, walnut meat, or some good quality local meat).

I know Walnut Meat sounds weird. But it’s really not.  What’s weird is the nasty ground beef in a log. Yes, things I used to buy.

If you are looking for meat free options, or just wanting to try something different, give this a shot.  I know it will surprise you.

It’s really, really good.  Well, to my crazy taste buds 🙂

Here’s how to build the tacos:

  • Get a good tortilla.  I prefer to make my own using this recipe, but you can also get some good quality sprouted corn tortillas at the grocery store.  The biggest thing here is to use organic–since corn is a top GMO crop.

Three options for store-bought tortillas or shells:

  1. Food for Life Sprouted Corn Tortillas.  One of the best options with incredible ingredients. (I find at Earthfare and Kroger).
  2. Garden of Eatin Shells (I have found at Earth Fare and Kroger). My only hesitation with this is the oil isn’t organic, and I don’t like that….But for a treat–would be nice.
  3. Late July Chips.  If you can’t find a shell you like, try making “nachos” out of this meal!  I love that this is a family company that uses all organic ingredients.  Plus their product is amazing! (I find at Costco and Earthfare)
  • Get some great toppings.  We love: refried beans (so easy & cheap to make!), black beans, spinach/lettuce, onions, avocado, mushrooms, peppers, jalapeno, organic corn (frozen, then cooked), tomato or salsa, mango OR anything else your heart desires.  Be creative & let the family get involved.
  • Top with Organic Sour Cream (if you’ve got no problems with Dairy–or make the cashew sour cream [recipe below] if you’re dairy free!)

Ingredients

To make the “meat,” you’ll just need a few ingredients.  Pulse them in the food processor, and heat on the stove for a few minutes.  Then, you get this:

Walnut Meat

Looks pretty similar, huh?

Assemble your ingredients, and voila–an incredible, filling meal!

1

Since going dairy free, I’ve discovered cool ways to make “dairy” like things without using milk, and sour cream is one of them.  Who woulda thought I could still enjoy these things?  I love using this Cashew Sour Cream with soups, tacos, or even this Mexican Lasagna (recipe coming soon).

Mexican Lasagna

Cashew Sour Cream
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked about two hours* (see note)
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1 t apple cider vinegar
  • ¼-1/2 t sea salt
Instructions
  1. Drain cashews.
  2. Put all ingredients in a high powered blender.
  3. Blend until smooth, stopping to scrape sides down if necessary.
  4. Refrigerate immediately to thicken.
  5. Store in refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Notes
Put the cashews in a large bowl and cover with filtered water. Cover with a dish towel and set aside for 2 hours or up to overnight.

 

Now for the Walnut “Meat” recipe:

2

Walnut "Meat" Tacos
Serves: 4-6
 
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw walnuts, soaked 8 hours to overnight* (see note)
  • 2.5 t chili powder
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • ½ t salt
  • 1 large pinch of cayenne pepper (omit if you don't like heat)
Instructions
  1. Drain walnuts.
  2. Put all ingredients in a food processor.
  3. Pulse a few times until walnuts are broken down, spices are mixed, and the consistency is like taco meat.
  4. (optional step) Transfer to a saucepan and cook on medium, stirring frequently, until heated through.
  5. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Notes
1. Put the walnuts in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Cover with dish towel and set aside for 8 hours or overnight.
2. This is a family sized portion. Feel free to cut the recipe in half for less, or double for more.

 

You will need RAW, UNSALTED nuts for these recipes.  I usually buy mine in the bulk bins at Earthfare, although Trader Joes has much better prices if you are near one 🙂

Enjoy 🙂


Berry Cobbler

The South Carolina heat is definitely moving in.  It’s the “I’m standing still outside, and I’m pouring sweat” kind of summer so far.  And I have a feeling it’ll be around for a while.

So, we might as well get used to it, have some friends over for a cookout, and eat things like watermelon and berry cobbler.

Cobbler Final

Except for my husband–he won’t eat watermelon.  Serious question, who doesn’t like watermelon?

In my book, it’s almost like the symbol of summer, and I’m the only one in my house who eats it.  Hey, at least I don’t feel so bad when I eat a whole watermelon by myself.  Quite a different feeling than the bag of chips 🙂

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Forks Over Knives.  I made some adjustments to make it fit what we normally have on hand, and the taste we prefer.

I hope this makes your summer cookout a little nostalgic–but without all the bad stuff.

I like to serve mine with homemade coconut whipped cream.

The cooked filling:

Cooked Berries

The biscuit batter:

Batter

Final product:

Cooked Cobbler

Berry Cobbler
 
Ingredients
Filling:
  • 2 10-ounce bags of frozen mixed berries, thawed out some
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • ⅓ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 T arrowroot powder (or organic cornstarch)
  • pinch of salt
Topping:
  • ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 cups oat flour (I make my own in my blender)
  • 1 T baking powder
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ t salt
  • 3 T applesauce
  • 2 T almond butter or sunflower seed butter
Sprinkling:
  • 1 T coconut palm sugar
  • ¼ t cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 pan with coconut oil.
  3. In a bowl, mix together all of the "Filling" ingredients.
  4. Pour in prepared pan, cover with foil, and bake for 25 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk together the almond milk and vinegar. Set aside for 5 minutes. Then add the vanilla extract.
  6. In a bowl, combine oat flour, baking powder, coconut palm sugar, and salt.
  7. In a small bowl, mix together applesauce and almond butter.
  8. Cut the applesauce mixture into the flour with a fork, until it becomes crumbly.
  9. Pour in the milk mixture and stir until just combined.
  10. Once the filling has cooked, reduce the oven to 350 degrees.
  11. Remove the foil from the pan.
  12. Plop spoonfuls of batter on top of the berry filling until all batter is used.
  13. Combine the Sprinkling ingredients and pour on top of cobbler.
  14. Return to oven and bake for 20 more minutes.
  15. Serve warm!

 

 


Vegan Ranch Dressing

Writing this post about Ranch Dressing helps me remember how far my sweet husband has come in his journey!  Ranch dressing was just HIS thing.  Every salad needed a thousand croutons, bacon, and a mound of Ranch Dressing. I don’t think he ever had anything else before he met me.

Then one day, he tried a vinaigrette, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I knew I was going to marry him 😉

The point is–I realize Ranch Dressing is a food group to some. I was never big on Ranch, but for me it was BBQ sauce.  So–I get it!

The real thing is atrocious. Like, really, really bad. It has no place in our diet. But there’s good news, I promise.  Most of the ingredients are FAKE anyways, so there’s always a way to make fake stuff the REAL WAY.

This looks innocent, right? (Photos taken from www.hiddenvalley.com)

Hidden Valley

Well, let’s take a look at what’s REALLY going on. This is some bad mamma jamma:

hvr_orig_nutrients_ranch

For the very first ingredient, you see soybean oil.  Soybeans are one of the top genetically modified crops in the United States. Sugar is most likely made from GMO sugar beets.  You see chemicals, and MSG, and artificial flavors.  Think about that. Artificial flavors.  That means they are fake. They are made in a lab.  And remember, if it’s made in a lab, it takes a lab to digest.  We aren’t labs. We’re people. We’re human, and we can’t process these kinds of foods.

Feel blah after you eat? Feel tired?  Your body spends most of its energy digesting food.  So what you put in your body DOES matter. If it spends all day trying to digest foreign ingredients, it doesn’t have much room left to get you through your day.

Here’s the good news.  You don’t have to give up ranch dressing.  That’s the cool thing about this journey. We aren’t giving up stuff (well, except the bad stuff!).  You just have to find a better way to eat the things you love.  I mean, I don’t know about you, but I can’t live without chocolate chip cookies!

Here’s an EASY, quick way to have Ranch Dressing.  Use it on a salad, as a vegetable dip, or make something fancy like these Beer Battered Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (I used gluten free beer and gluten free flour blend).

Read this recipe to hear my thoughts on Vegenaise!

Dairy-Free Ranch Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup vegan mayo like Vegenaise or Just Mayo
  • ¼ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 T fresh parsley, chopped finely
  • ½ t dried dill
  • ¼ t garlic powder
  • ¼ t onion powder
  • ⅛ t black pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl, and store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

 


Banana Almond Milkshake

This recipe is easy peasy. Kind of like our Easy Peasy Tortilla Chips, but tasting like a milkshake.  I mean, really, is there anything wrong with this picture?

Believe it or not, sometimes I don’t want green stuff.  As I’ve mentioned, I am 100% a recovering sugar addict, BUT living this clean lifestyle has helped me understand why I was so addicted.  White refined sugar is like a drug–it actually makes your brain remember the feeling you had (as does MSG) and then reminds you that you need it over and over again.

For me, once I got educated, I was DONE.  I wasn’t gonna let some white powdered mess rule my life.

All this confession is for a reason, I promise.  One of my first thoughts along this journey was, “Well, what the heck am I going to eat then?” And then it turned into, “Will I ever get to eat sweets?”

I will say that I eat sweets every single day.  Lots of my recipes come from some favorite blogs like Detoxinista or Oh She Glows, but some are just from experimenting in the kitchen.  You can check out our whole desserts tab to see what we like, plus many of our smoothies taste like desserts too, like this recipe!

This one’s so simple, it feels odd putting it on paper.  But, it has a protein punch (from the almond butter) and has a milkshake consistency.  It’s guilt free–so I don’t feel bad drinking it for breakfast, although I usually drink it mid-afternoon for a boost!


Vanilla-Almond Milkshake (Dairy Free)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 1
 
Ingredients
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 T almond butter
  • ¾ cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ t vanilla
  • maple syrup to taste (I don't use any)
Instructions
  1. Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until creamy!

 

 


What I Ate Wednesday 5-07-14

This has been an awesome week.  I’m not sharing many details right now, other than to say I’m quickly discovering how I can fully THRIVE to live in my own life.  I have a LONG post coming in the next month or so about this.

All I’ll say is it’s got something to do with my former dream of singing country music and my friend Phil Lee, Jr.  (And of course my supportive husband and my favorite drummer–on the end!!)

Country

I’ve been so excited that I’m having trouble sleeping.  I know, it’s totally against my own rules, but my brain literally won’t turn off.  I’m breaking out my lavender oil and having to take baths at night just to calm down.

I’ve been super busy, fitting in regular life, doctors’ appointments, baseball, the website, and music, but y’all know THIS girl’s still gotta eat.

For breakfast, I made our Blueberry Muffin Oatmeal recipe, but halved it because I was the only one eating it.  I washed it down with a glass of 100% organic apple juice.

oatmeal

The previous night, I made some incredible stuffed peppers–recipe adapted from this one!

stuffed peppers

I had some leftover quinoa stuffing, so for lunch this day, I had a salad, grilled pineapple, and stuffing!

lunch

In the afternoon, I was “snacky” hungry so I ate a bag of these Kale Chips.  If you haven’t tried these, YOU HAVE TO!! This Mango Habanero kind is to die for (I found at Kroger).

kale chips

As I’ve been starting back singing, I have to get back in the routine of running–as it’s the one sport that really strengthens my lungs!  Ok, I have to admit, taking a selfie while running is not only difficult, but downright embarrassing.

But you know me, I’m all about being real. So here is my no makeup mid-run selfie. You know, thriving to live!

running

This particular night was a crazy one because we had a baseball game, and I was by myself.  I knew I wouldn’t get to eat dinner until everyone else was fed, bathed, and in bed (probably around 9pm!), so I prepared ahead of time, and took this Vanilla Milkshake Smoothie (made with frozen banana, maple syrup, almond butter, and almond milk) with me so I had a protein/energy punch to get through the game.

vanilla milkshake

So yes, my favorite thing about Andrew’s new job is that there’s no stress on baseball nights.  Because on nights like these when I’m by myself, I really, really see no light at the end of the tunnel.  It was almost 9 o’clock before I was able to eat.  I was exhausted and TOO TIRED to cook myself something.

So in desperate times, I always have a back up plan in my pantry–in the form of Amy’s Organic Soups.  These things ROCK and have all organic ingredients, and even vegan options for me, as I’ve been 100% vegan for about 2 months to see how I feel eliminating dairy and egg from my diet.

soup can

This Lentil Vegetable one is my favorite.  I served it with a toasted Food for Life Gluten Free English Muffin, and it was delicious!

dinner

I’m pretty sure I was too tired for dessert this night.  Hey–one benefit of a busy schedule?!

A note about being vegan:  I have been a vegan for about 2 months now as an experiment.  I am not against animal products, just promote local and organic options when available.  Andrew, my husband, still eats plenty of meat, and we coexist beautifully.  I just don’t want anyone reading to think that I think EVERYONE should be a vegan, because as of right now, my belief is that it DOESN’T work for everyone.  I think the stuffed peppers would be amazing with some local spicy sausage, and I’m always an advocate of adding some grilled chicken to any dish!

 

What are YOU eating today??