Thanksgiving and Holiday Decorating Vegan Style

I think there is always a lot of interest in decorating for the holidays. Thanksgiving is usually a more mellow version of the Halloween and Christmas Decor that can appear. On the Exterior of one’s house you usually see very little but the dining table is where most people focus. Cornucopias, pumpkins, decorative china, and candles. Teh good news about thanksgiving is that as much as it is focused around the inevitable turkey it is a very vegan friendly and focused holiday. We decorate with pumpkins, gourds, corn, stalks, husks, candles, and raw materials. These are all things that favor our compassionate and healthy lifestyle so I definitely want to help you embrace these ideas.

Exterior Decoration

Focus on the obvious seasonal waste products. That sounds bad but it isn’t. Corn has ripened and cornstalks and husks are readily available as are the corn cobs that didn’t quite make it this year. Use them all as Thanksgiving decor. Wrap your posts in them. Make wreaths from dried husks and hang dried out corn from bows of dried out fabric and burlap and garnish with fallen leaves. It will look beautiful. When the holiday is over move on to the garlands of evergreen trimmings from your Christmas tree and yard. Take the burlap trimmings from wrapping any bushes and plants up and use them to make bows. You can even garnish them with fallen acorns and some ribbon. The icicles will be a glittering finishing touch that only Mother Nature can do!

Interior Decorations

Start with will your house with natural decor. I use cottons and burlap this time of year. It is warm and generally ecofriendly. I then garnish with root vegetables, pumpkins, and gourds. I plant cabbage in containers and that way everything is usable on the holiday. You can place dips in hollowed cabbages, pumpkins, gourds, and even fresh baked bread bowls. Try for minimal waste and more compost. It will be great when the spring comes. I keep my composter in the back yard just for this purpose. Starting now will get your ready for the spring and with the cold you will not have the odor you would in the summer.

Right before it gets too cold, go to a nearby park and dig up some moss and gather stones and shells. Make a terrarium. I did this last year and it kept all winter. Fill the bottom with stones for drainage and top with lumps of moss. This is a great centerpiece and will stay green with a little misting and water all winter long. If you live near the ocean make a terrarium of seashells and sand. My stepdaughters add to our with every visit. We even wash out the large clam shells and use them to hold soap in our bathrooms. If you can gather enough shells you can make garlands, wreaths, and even small Christmas tree stacks. Take a look at my pinterest for some ideas!

PINTEREST LINKS:

As for Christmas time. I wash off pine cones and take tree trimmings and fill glass jars, bowls. and vases with them. I even make ornaments out of seashells and sea stars that wash up. I did a project with my stepdaughters where we glittered pine cones with some glue and sparkles and bedazzled starfish leftover from the summer to hand on the tree. All very simple but very beautiful. Make it fun and easy and people will be awed. You don’t need a fake blowup snowman on your lawn to show you are in the spirit!

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

How to Make Your Vegan Holiday More Efficient in 20 Steps Over One Month

I serve an omnivore – vegan thanksgiving extravaganza each year. This year I will have about 12 people (I think). So because I am a little OCD and I love fresh food I always wait until the last second to get veggies. This causes a mess of a problem because now I must peel, chop, julienne, etc. in a short amount of time. I learned my lesson this year and started already. I peeled, chopped, diced, and whatever-ed all of my veggies that I could already. Bagged them and sorted them into the crisper. I have the bruises on my hands to prove it and a few knife cuts on my palm and some missing nail polish from that pesky mandolin. However I feel so accomplished! Here are my tips to fast track your Thanksgiving preparation:

 

  1. One month before, order your roast or turkey or tofurkey or field roast en croute.
  2. 2-4 weeks before, hire someone to clean your house the day before the holiday (It is about $150 for a whole house but you can prob get a good deal for just the downstairs). That way they can clean up whatever leftovers are on the floor from your chopping that the dog didn’t want.
  3. One week before get all linens, dishes, china, etc. cleaned. Get your hair done. Get your nails done (shellac or gel is smart in this case). Buy any theme holiday items that you need. Set your table aesthetics but not plates.
  4. Buy all your veggies the weekend before or a few days ahead.
  5. Wash, Chop, and Bag all veggies as you get them. This will make mashed potatoes and roasted veggies go fast the night before. It sounds crazy but peeling one large potato takes about 30 seconds. It will be worth it to do it as you get them when you have 10 lbs to peel and chop.
  6. Buy yourself something easy for breakfast so that you don’t need to cook. Donuts, danishes, or just plain old cereal and fruit. You WILL need energy the day of.
  7. Two nights before, pre-bake crust or buy them already done. Pre-chop all fruit and make any rice or pasta and bag it. Fruit can be tossed with a little water and lemon juice if you are afraid of browning.
  8. The day before Thanksgiving make any sauces and dips. They always taste better if they infuse overnight. Slice any cheeses and prepare any doughs (cookie dough or bread dough).
  9. The night before make any roasted veggies, casseroles, and prep desserts. You can bake desserts fresh since they come after dinner and all your casseroles and veggies can be warmed up while the turkey sits and cools a bit. Also brine your turkey if you get one and place in the fridge.
  10. The morning of place out all plates and appetizer arrangements without the food on them so that you are ready. Make your significant other get up early to put the turkey in the oven, you aren’t eating it anyway ūüėČ
  11. Sit down have some tea and a danish and baste that turkey or tofurkey.
  12. An hour before arrival bring out ice, glasses, drinks, and appetizers and plate them.
  13. By the time you are done others will be arriving. You will look like you have it all together!
  14. When the turkey comes out place all precooked dinner entrees in the oven to warm back up.
  15. When it is time to eat place the desserts in and remove all appetizers and place in covered containers.
  16. After dinner place leftovers in large bowls and containers. At the end of the night you will have a buffet for people to make take home bags!
  17. Place out desserts and coffee and tea after dinner has been over roughly an hour to two hours. People need time to settle.
  18. Take a walk during this time or have an impromptu flag football game for the guys and kids! Or do the dishes if its too cold!
  19. Last, enjoy dessert. Set up the to go containers (I ask all my guests to bring some with) and set up the buffet for people to take home whats left.
  20. You will have less to put away or eat later on in the week ūüôā

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FOOD IS LOVE. Happy Holidays from My family to yours.

FAMILY NYC

THE HIPPIE GYPSY

Perfect. Toll-House-Style. Vegan. Chocolate Chip Cookies.

I love chocolate chip cookies. I love chocolate chip cookie dough even more. And in an honest, yet disgusting unveiling of my inner glutton, I love when you cream the butter, vanilla, and sugar together to make chocolate chip cookies. When I was a kid I used to try to steal dollops of the creamed mixture when my mom wasn’t looking. It was so good. I am glad I didn’t know about salmonella poisoning back then or the fat content of whole butter. Luckily with vegan baking, that salmonella is never a problem so yea… eat all the cookie dough you want! Also my brother is coming for Thanksgiving Dessert with his wife and my first and only nephew Baby Nolan and he (my brother) is a cookie monster, so I wanted to be able to make him chocolate chip cookies that I could also eat and so could any of my dairy intolerant family. My brother loves cookies so much I got him a replica cookie jar from our childhood for Christmas last year and it was not easy to find an owl cookie jar either! This will definitely be an experience thanks to my cookies ūüôā

That being said here is my chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have been working on for ages. Every time I start I become uninspired by dry cookie dough (which every vegan can relate to due to the lack of eggs) and of course the ones that crumble or the ones that don’t taste quite right. These are not any of those. They are gooey and crunchy on the edges and melt until they are just thin enough but still soft inside. If you love cookies… you will also love me after you make this recipe.

 

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Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

  1. 1 cup of earth balance organic buttery spread
  2. 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup
  3. 3 flax eggs (3 tablespoons of water and 1 tbsp powdered flax per egg)
  4. 2 tablespoons of vanilla extract (I use Penzey’s Mexican)
  5. 1 and 1/4 cups of vegan sugar (try half brown sugar if you have it for a richer flavor)
  6. 2.5 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
  7. 1-2 teaspoons of salt (I use kosher)
  8. 1 cup of vegan semisweet chocolate chips (I used Kirkland (Costco brand) this time instead of Whole Foods)

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*Optional: 1 cup of walnuts or pecans

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MIXING TIME!

  • Place all dry ingredients (except chocolate) in a medium to small bowl. Mix until well combined.
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  • Cream butter and sugar together in a larger bowl with a mixer. Then place all wet ingredients into the bowl and mix until well combined.
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  • If you have never made a flax egg all you do is place warm water in a bowl and pulverize flaxseeds in a coffee grinder until powdered and stir. It’s that easy.
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  • Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until a dough forms. I use my hands but a mixer works well too.
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  • Last toss in chocolate chips and any nuts and knead into the dough. It will be a little oily.¬†
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BAKE:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Place a silpat or parchment on your baking sheet. These cookies WILL STICK OTHERWISE! This is very important.
  • Once the oven is completely preheated, place balls of cookie dough on the silpat or parchment lined cookie sheets.
  • Bake for 20-22minutes.
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  • Remove let sit for 5-10minutes and then transfer to a cookie cooling rack.
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  • Makes 3 dozen. Enjoy!
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FOOD IS LOVE.

The Hippie Gypsy

My Vegan and Omnivore Family Thanksgiving Menu

I am going to officially post my Thanksgiving Day menu here for all to see. I know there will be questions and recipes wanted and over the next week I will try to post those too. I truly delight in the Holiday cooking I get to do. Making food for my family and friends is fun because not only do you get the joy of the cooking process but you get the joy of watching others feel happy and healthy and nourished and maybe a little stuffed on something you created. I also find it amazing how we extract things from the earth to make our bodies fuel. One would say if something is on the ground not to eat it but Thanksgiving is the holiday of root vegetables. Of course they get a heavy rinsing but its kind of a strange concept how we shun some things afoot but not others if prepared properly.

I know there will be confusion as some of these items are not vegan but I do have an all omnivore family so I pepper in a few items that are not vegan (*denoted with an asterisk* ). Prosciutto Pear Cups are not vegan. They are a Martha Stewart recipe that I used to make pre-vegan and my family still asks for and I make in mini muffin pans chopping the pears into tiny pieces and tossing with shreds of fresh Parmesan. The cheese will be a mix of vegan and vegetarian. I eat honey but I know many vegans do not so I denoted it with an asterisk (and you can always use agave!). The turkey and gravy is not vegan (obviously) but there is a mushroom alternative and my own vegan Field Roast Turkey. Everything else is vegan. The potato au gratin is one of my favorite things to make and the cranberry upside down cake has become a requested staple from my husband and was of my late grandmother. Enjoy!

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MY THANKSGIVING MENU
‚ÄúIn the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.‚Ä̬† ‚Äē¬†Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Appetizers:

Stuffed Mushrooms with Sundried Tomato Béchamel

Prosciutto Pear Cups with Parmesan Cheese Garnish*

Spinach Artichoke Dip in Bread Bowl with Carrot Sticks

Crackers (vegan)/Cheese Tray*

Sliced Bosc Pears

Honey to Drizzle Cheese and Pears*

Assorted Nuts

Picture 035

 

 

 

Dinner:

Turkey & Gravy ( For the Omnivores, organic, and locally sourced)*

Field Roast En Croute

Stuffing

Mashed Potatoes

Potatoes Au Gratin

Mushroom Gravy

Maple Roasted Veggies: Carrots, Sweet Potato, Shallots, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Fennel

Roasted Beet Salad: Beets, Olive Oil, S&P, Balsamic Vinegar

Butternut Squash Macaroni Casserole

Butternut Squash: Steamed and Pureed with Earth Balance on top

Homemade Cranberry Sauce: Sugar and Cranberries!

Jellied Cranberry Sauce: Most likely Ocean Spray Canned

Rolls

Picture 575   scalloped potatoes   

 

 

Dessert:

Pumpkin Pie: Whole Foods

Cranberry Upside Down Cake: Homemade

Caramel Apple Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies: Homemade

Coffee

Tea: Yogi Kava and Yogi Detox are always in my house.

cookies on silpat

 

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FOOD IS LOVE.

The Hippie Gypsy

 

 

Vegan Chicken and Rice with a Savory, Creamy, Sage Pumpkin Sauce

When you are a kid in any part of the world it seems like “chicken and rice” is a staple type of food. How those components are dressed is different depending on time of year, climate, and culture but all those aside we can all agree we kinda love the simplicity of this dish. It is fall and I had a few friends show up unexpectedly at my house last night. I literally had NO idea they were coming with their two kids and fairly large German shepherd – coyote mix (Ryder) who is my tiny 9 lb rat terrier – chihuahua mix’s (Lola) best friend (I know it’s odd but adorable. Pics of Lola are posted below). That being said I had to make up food in a snap for an all omnivore crowd with one child that is citrus and citric acid intolerant. That means no tomatoes or lemon or orange or lime. Which, oddly, I use quite a bit. So I figured a nice chicken and rice dish with a pumpkin cream sauce sounded easy enough. I grabbed my steamer and away we went. I steamed Rice Select Royal Blend with Red Quinoa on the brown rice setting of my steamer/rice cooker with water salt and earth balance per the cartons instructions and then went off to make my pumpkin sauce.

The upside? They brought a raw vegan pumpkin pie that was sooo delicious. Thanks guys!

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(Lola and Ryder having dinner at Ryder’s house a few months ago)

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Chicken with a Creamy Sage Pumpkin Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 Container Beyond Meat Chicken-less Strips (lightly salted)
  • 1 can Pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp dehydrated onion
  • 1-2 tbsp Salt
  • 2 pinches Ground Pepper
  • 4 tbsp ground sage
  • 1-2 tsp Thyme
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/2 cup Soy Creamer
  • 1/4 cup Pacific Natural Foods Hazelnut Milk

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Cook:

  1. Place medium to large sauce pan over medium heat.
  2. Add all ingredients to sauce pan except chicken.
  3. Dice chicken set aside.
  4. Stir ingredients until mozzarella melts into the sauce.
  5. Add chicken. Simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  6. Serve over or beside rice.
  7. Garnish with parsley and unsalted raw chopped pecans.

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Serves: 6.

WW Points for Chicken and Sauce: 4

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

PHOTO of MY DOG LOLA with my Husband and I:

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Ananda Ashram: The Food, The Experience, The Yoga, The Cooking

This past long weekend I booked a trip to Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY. I was going to do karma yoga (volunteering), as well as for the meditation/yoga retreat portion of the visit. After falling down the stairs last November, I have not done yoga so I was a little worried about this part. My ankle was not where I thought it should be to start bending, twisting, and leaning all my body weight on it but hey why not give it a whirl, I could always adjust the moves down to something simpler. The meditation however was a big focus for me and I knew it would help that I was volunteering and eating well the whole time, as the Ashram is strict on a vegetarian/vegan diet with mostly gluten free options and no caffeine or other “poisons” to the system. I was happy because I pretty much live this way anyway so it took out some distractions.

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The Food: I need to incorporate more gluten free options in my diet and combine my whole grains with a balance of veggies and fruits. Every meal was so well balanced that I found myself jealous of the chef. He was amazing. He knew so much about food and flavors and was so calm in the kitchen. getting to work cleanup in the Dining Hall was more meditative than work. But because Ananda is truly a magical place the trip had more in store than my volunteering with cleanup. I eventually got to help cook with the chef when someone called out.

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The Experience: An Ashram is like a Monastery that they allow other people to come visit and try out. Lots of different types of people live there, live nearby, work there, do immersion projects there, and study there. I met at least one of each. I found that people go to Ashrams for a million reasons. Some just to detox from the city (since this one is run by Yoga Society of New York this is common), some go to figure something out personally, some go to discover if they want to become yoga teachers, some go to write/create in a quiet space, and others go to meditate and clear out the system. Because of this there are all kinds of people. Teachers, architects, artists, yogis, mystics, entrepreneurs, etc. Everyone however seems to have a commonality of being very open and honest and okay with others quirks. I met one woman who was very clear with me that I was not to touch her when I went to serve her some soup and another person who I became fast friends with I hugged goodbye and text with daily since. Either way it was very open and honest and refreshing. I would go every weekend if I could. I know I am probably not selling it but it needs to be experienced. The air, the dorms, the meditation, the Kirtan (singing prayers at the end of the night), the chanting, the music, the smell of incense, the lake, the walk, the feeling after early morning gentle flow yoga. It is all an amazing package. Everyone just falls into sync. We were cautious to not keep each other up at night, clean up after ourselves, do things together or apart without any clingyness or judgement, talk openly about our lives, tell others when those stories were upsetting or made us happy or curious, it was truly a magical time. Everyone always said thank you. This sounds underrated but everytime you did anything. The volunteer work you were slated to do or simply holding a door open or sliding to the side to fit in more people at Kirtan… someone said thank you. We said a prayer at every meal which I honestly haven’t done since I was a child. It felt nice to thank the world for giving us the food and god for creating it and allowing it to nourish us and each other for putting in the hard work to make it delicious. You forget what goes into a single meal and you forget to be thankful for well… everything.

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The Yoga: First off, I didn’t fall or hurt myself so I am proud of that. Second, they have amazing yoga teachers. They even have a yoga teacher program so people can become yoga teachers. My first class was gentle flow yoga with my dorm roommate who was originally from Slovenia but now lives in NYC. She was literally the most amazing teacher. She just knew how to make a 1 hour class perfectly balanced and peaceful at 7am. I felt wonderful when I left. The next class I took was an intermediate level and I had to make some modest adjustments but I did rather well and was happy with myself. I did fall off my yoga blocks at one point while trying to sit on them but I survived. And I laughed.

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The Cooking: I got to cook at the Ashram. I got to cook with an amazing chef at the Ashram. It was almost serendipitous. We all know I love to cook and I hope that I am pretty decent at it but being able to cook for 75 people at an Ashram is another deal all together. The chef (Jeremy) is someone that you feel like you knew growing up. He is the guy next door, your first crush, your best friend, your college roommate, and just happens to be a great young chef as well. He is from Long Island used to surf and loves to combine different cultural foods together to make strangely perfect combinations. I got to contribute to a quinoa dish he was preparing and infuse my Mexican cooking skills and knowledge with the Indian style he was infusing. It ended up lightly Mediterranean as if you were on holiday in Barcelona. I felt very inspired by him. It made me also want to not only cook more but start using different combinations. He swore that mint and cilantro combined well but I wasn’t sold on that. However it made me wonder what other combinations I may have let slide by that others find amazing. Perhaps I should take some cooking classes? See what the world is putting out.

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Overall, I am in love with Ananda Ashram. I want to live there. The whole losing my pension thing may be an issue though and I would probably lose my house due to no income but I would be relaxed and refreshed and calm. I found my calm there. Sitting on a porch swing that was fashioned between two large trees overlooking the lake. That is where I felt my calm for the first time. I felt my brain finally go silent while trying to meditate. It was a wonderful feeling. I worked for it the rest of my meditations and found it if only for a few moments. Coming home has been hard though. I have been trying each day to fit in my mediation and balance my food so that I make better choices and kinda of take out the garbage. I have found that a breakfast of hazelnut milk (which FYI drinks like cows milk but with a hint of nutty flavor) and gluten free cereal of any kind is perfect with some fruit and a cup of tea. No more granola bars and water for this girl. I think starting your day out with a true meal that will benefit your body is the only way to start. I know I will forget some days and fall off the wagon but as a core item I think I will need to make this a priority. Meditating 2 times a day as well will need to be a priority. It helps me stay calm during my otherwise stressful work week. It isn’t easy but it is easier than having a rush of adrenaline causing you headaches throughout your work week. The yoga is also a positive change. There is a yoga study across the street from my office and they had a Groupon for $6.90 a class for ten classes so I joined. It just feels like the world came together after this weekend. So now I am off to tackle the universe and find out who “I am” (OM).

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Rant: Why Vegans and Really Anyone Should Go on a Retreat

Going to Ananda Ashram

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This weekend I will be going away to Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY instead of to New York City with my husband who is working at a conference there. This was not intentional as I am in love with NYC entirely but it is already teaching me why I decided to add this item to my proverbial “Bucket List”. Going to a retreat, a real retreat not a spa weekend, is about going into yourself and pulling out the poisons. Selfishness is one of those poisons. However, I like to think I am replacing the selfishness that is bad with a different kind of selfishness. One that is more focused on taking care of myself and taking that time to care for myself when I otherwise may do something to appease others and support others and allow myself to fall apart. I truly think we all do this at least some of the time. if you are a parent, I am sure you do it more than anyone knows.

So I am looking forward to this because for the first time in my life I will be entirely alone on purpose with no hope to meet a friend or converse heavily or party around the town. I will be volunteering and eating a clean vegan diet as the Ashram is Vegan and Vegetarian, no caffeine, no alcohol, no junk. I love this. I love that I will be somewhere where my already developing “self” is not strange but instead the rule and not the exception. I think this will be a good change of pace. I will also be working 3 hours a day to volunteer. The duties will be at the mercy of the Ashram although I am sure they won’t have me roofing or anything! I just think the reminder of selfless and focus on self is an interesting dynamic. It seems like they are opposites but in truth they are like a yin and yang that are totally in harmony with one’s body & minds & needs.

I think this will be worth the $35 a day it costs with all food included and I hope to find it worth even more in what I take away. There are meditation clinics, chanting, sanskrit classes, and yoga. Although I am not good at any I hope to be. I need a way to wipe out the noise in my head and get back to basics the way I am sure everybody does sometimes. The work – eat – sleep regimen gets old and tiresome. The anxiety overwhelming. If I learned anything from the other night it is that even things that we think we brush up will sneak into our heads at night and if we do not know how to clear them out we will be a mess in the morning.

So I encourage everyone to do this. Take a day or a weekend and go to a retreat. Clean out your body, the noise in your mind, and the stress on your soul. I will report back how it goes on my end. I am sure I will be struggling but it will be worth it.

 

buddah

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

 

Dairy, Non-Dairy, Lactose Free, Vegetarian, or Vegan: What do I eat?

MILK:

There are always so many questions when you become a first time vegan or vegetarian. My favorite is: Can you have milk? Because the answer is yes, just not cow’s milk. Always throws a few people off. The word “milk” is a process not really a product anymore. So start thinking of milk as a verb and the things that make it up as the all important noun. According to the Free Dictionary “milking” is to draw or extract. You can milk your bank account or you can milk a tree of its sap. Either way this is milking.

 

As a once omnivore, the common misconception of “milk” is the kind of the “whole cow’s milk infused with vitamin D” variety. We all know the red containers. I grew up on those red containers with pictures of missing kids on the sides. However, now we have so many more choices. Almond Milk, Coconut Milk (canned or drinkable), Hemp Milk, Goat’s Milk, Lactaid Milk, Soy Milk, and the list goes on. When you are lactose intolerant your only concern should be the lactose. You aren’t allergic to all dairy just this one part of dairy. Lactose is basically milk sugar or “whey”. Stay away from any dairy products that have sugar in them and you should be golden. As for cheese, the stinkier the better. The aging process gets rid of the sugar and thus the lactose (check the nutrition label, see… no sugar). That is why your belly would say okay to sharp cheddar and no thanks to fresh mozzarella.¬†Next, there are the people who are Vegetarians. They eat dairy so never think that something marked vegetarian is dairy free. You will have to look at the label. Lactose intolerant people can eat lactose free or non-dairy items with those labels. However, Vegans must be even more careful. Dairy free means just that. Lactose free means just that as well nothing more. However this can be confusing for vegans. Sometimes there is “casein” a cow milk based protein in a food labeled as dairy free or lactose free but that does not mean its a vegan item. So beware.

 

Reading labels is a key instrument in keeping yourself on track no matter what food allergy or choices you make. I am a vegan and that is both my choice and my allergy. My step kids and husband are lactose intolerant and so we do lactaid for them and that is also their choice and their allergy. Going vegan is extremely awesome but I think knowledge is power when it comes to food. If you have an allergy, address that first and don’t feel the need to go straight to veganism or vegetarianism. You will have enough on your “plate” (no pun intended… okay pun intended) without adding another layer of things to remove. If you feel connected to the cause or want to do more for your health though, please do go forward. If you need help. Email or comment on this page. I read everything eventually and respond to everything. I want to be your resource in this crazy journey of eating better for yourself and the world. So enjoy your food and spread the word. Food is love.

 

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Guest Contributor @ Vegan Rebecca on Vegan Protein Replacement

Why Use Vegan Protein Replacers

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Veganism is rapidly gaining popularity across the country. While this growth is largely a result of the

health benefits of this lifestyle, there are some individuals who will experience difficulties in obtaining

enough daily protein. Luckily there are vegan protein replacers designed to make it easy for people to

get their recommended daily amount of protein.

One of the most common concerns about taking these supplements relates to an ethical concern. Most

individuals who become vegans do so in order to avoid being a part of animal cruelty. This stems from a

belief that animals should not be harmed for the benefit of humans. It is a common misconception that

all brands of vegan protein replacers contain animal products. While there are some products that do

contain these products, they are required by law to clearly indicate this on their package.

Unfortunately, the location of this disclaimer is not defined by law, and as a result, there are many

companies that attempt to hide this warning. In order to determine if a particular protein replacer

is vegan friendly, you must carefully examine the entire package. Some companies will place this

disclaimer on the front of the packaging. However, there are other brands that will hide this warning in

the ingredients list. If you have examined the entire package and can find no animal product disclaimers,

then the protein supplement should be vegan friendly.

As the health benefits of veganism become more well known, it is likely that this movement will

continue to grow at a healthy rate. However, there are some people that may require nutritional

supplements in the form of vegan protein replacers. This is not a major problem, and in fact, it is rather

common. In previous decades, it was difficult to find protein replacers that did not contain animal

products. Fortunately, now there are numerous vegan friendly products available.

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For more information about Guest Blogger @VeganRebecca:

Blog: http://VeganRestaurantFinder.com/category/blog/

Twitter: @VeganRebecca

Facebook: https://facebook.com/VeganRestaurantFinder

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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy

Vegan Baked Macaroni and Cheese

I really really love Mac and Cheese. I love Amy’s new vegan rice mac and Daiya cheeze. I love my own vegan bacon mac and cheese. I love that whole foods squash casserole mac and cheese¬†that I make with the stuffing topping. I mean I love anything even Mac and Cheese related. It is such a wonderful comfort food that I think anyone can relate. When I was detoxing off omnivore food after my surgery I remember crying in a CVS full of exiting hormones telling my husband I needed the instant mac and cheese in the cup and I was probably going to have a melt down if I didn’t get some. Yea it was dramatic. And no he didn’t leave me, he just ushered me out. I remember thinking I am acting like a pregnant woman with these hormones. Well thankfully I am no longer going through the detox period of becoming vegan and I also can make mac and cheese (vegan) anytime I want. This recipe is how I feel I would best be able to mimic the baked macaroni and cheese I made back when I was not vegan. This is not your 1980’s blue box macaroni and cheese. This is the real stuff. I think this is the best way to think of “homestyle” or “comfort” food recipes. These are not meant to be the most healthy but are generally far healthier than their omnivore predecessors. I hope you love the ooey, gooey yumminess as much as I did.

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Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Ingredients for Sauce:

  • (1) block Daiya Cheddar ¬†¬†IMG_2528
  • (1) cup Soy Creamer ¬†¬†IMG_2531
  • (1) stick Earth Balance Buttery Sticks ¬†¬†IMG_2532¬† ¬†IMG_2533
  • 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast (”nooch”) ¬†¬†IMG_2529
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder ¬†¬†IMG_2539
  • 1/2 teaspoon Yellow Mustard ¬†¬†IMG_2537
  • 1 tablespoon Thyme ¬†¬†IMG_2534
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic ¬†¬†IMG_2535
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Ingredients for Bake:

  • 2lbs of elbow macaroni (I use whole wheat) ¬†¬†IMG_2536
  • 1 bag Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds ¬†¬†IMG_2548
  • 1 cup or more of Panko Flakes (breadcrumbs) ¬†¬†IMG_2549

Prepare Sauce and Macaroni:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large pot bring salted water to a boil. Add elbows and cook until al dente. Drain and Set aside.   IMG_2540

In a sauce pan place all sauce ingredients except flour in a pot and stir until well combined and a little thick. It will be salty but this is good because you will need that to season the pasta.   IMG_2538      IMG_2541

Add flour last. The sauce should be pretty thick but pourable at this point.  IMG_2543   IMG_2545

Baking:

Spray a casserole pot with oil and then add macaroni.

Pour sauce over macaroni and mix until well infused.

Add Daiya Shred and mix in until well incorporated. They will melt during baking.   IMG_2547   IMG_2546

Next top with panko and a few pinches of salt if you want (I even give a few quick sprays of oil to ensure browning).   IMG_2557   IMG_2556

Cook for 10-15 minutes. If you want it more brown cook 30 minutes but double the sauce recipe in order for the recipe not to dry out.  IMG_2555

Let Cool 5-10 minutes. Serve hot and Enjoy!   IMG_2550       IMG_2560   IMG_2562 IMG_2563

Serves 10-12.

Side Note: When reheating this dish from leftovers always place some water in the bottom of the bowl. This will ensure the pasta does not dry out in the microwave and the cheese can remelt. You can also add more cheese with the water. I do the Daiya Havarti to add some spice!

WW Points: 11pts for 15 servings. 14 for 12 servings.
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Food is Love.

The Hippie Gypsy.