Friday, September 19, 2014

Cheesy Kale Chips Recipe! Better than Store Bought Kind!

Ever since trying store bought, cheesy flavored kale chips, I've been trying to come up with a way to have these at home, in larger quantities (yummmm so good!), but without the hefty $7 price tag per 2 ounces. I've finally mastered this recipe. These taste cheesy, delicious, dare I say nacho-like, and are actually better than the packaged ones. This recipe also makes quadruple or more than the store bought ones, for about $6 or $7! These also taste fresher! Be warned, these crispy miracles, taste amazing, you WILL be addicted, you may just eat the entire batch. Just know this. Ok, onto the recipe!

What you will need:

1 cup soaked cashews
1 red bell pepper, seeded
Juice of 1 large lemon OR 2 small lemons
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large bunch kale, de-stemmed and cleaned

What you will need to do:

Blend first 6 ingredients in the blender until smooth, like a nacho cheese sauce. In a large bowl, pour sauce over kale and mix with hands until each kale piece is well coated. Place clumps of kale onto dehydrator trays (I used the Nesco Professional with the round trays). Dehydrate on 135° for the first hour, then 115° for about 15 more hours or until coating is dry and chips are crunchy. Enjoy these delicious little morsels!

Friday, June 27, 2014

Are YOU a Green Monster? Giveaway!!!

Hi Folks, it is giveaway time! Here's what we are doing.... One Green Planet has some awesome and green Selfie fun happening right now; let's get in on it! I happen to personally know that my readers are the ultimate Green Monsters! I get countless e-mails, tweets, and messages telling me about all of the cool vegan and environmentally-friendly things you all are doing.

#IMAGREENMONSTER because I eat vegan all day, everyday. What do you do that makes you a Green Monster? Share as many times as you like (I will count each selfie that you use #IMAGREENMONSTER as a giveaway entry! Just make sure to tweet to me and tell me that you shared your selfie!), and don't forget to check out the One Green Planet link first, include that link and @OneGreenPlanet in your tweet! You can check out my #IMAGREENMONSTER tweet on Twitter.

In case you don't already know, One Green Planet is an awesome vegan-friendly organization that has a plethora of online resources for eating healthy, helping the environment, saving the world, and so much more! One Green Planet is really a one-stop-shop for all things green; I absolutely love them and what they are doing for our world! Basically, help spread the word about their bad-ass Green Monster campaign, and you may just be the winner that I choose!

So, let's see how many Dirty Vegan readers can share their Green Monster selfies! The winner will get a box of my favorite vegan and environmentally-friendly goodies! I will collect the coolest vegan menagerie of items and ship them right to your door! I will choose and announce the winner on Monday, June 30th.

Get tweeting for a good cause! Spread the word about being a crusader for the environment, in a fun way! And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Plant a tree.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Edward & Sons: Review, Lactation Cookie Recipe, and GIVEAWAY!

I have always been a huge fan of Edward & Sons food company. If you don't already know, they are also the makers of Road's End Organics, Native Forest, Premier Japan Organic, Let's Do Organic, and The Wizards. The quality of their food products is outstanding, and with their slogan, Convenience Without Compromise, you can understand why. Edward & Sons aims at making healthy packaged food products, and it never misses the mark. Here are some of the new or popular products that I wanted to show you today.

Who doesn't love Chreese? What is Chreese, you ask? Well, it is Road's End Organics deliciously healthy, nutritional yeast based cheese, and I love it! Not only do I love it, but my 13 month old kiddo does too! And this is great for me because this stuff is good for her! Each serving of Mac & Chreese contains a whopping 13g of protein and tons of Vitamin B12 (the goodness increases when you mix it with vegan milk and butter)! This is important for vegans, and everyone, to be including B12 in their diets, making this product a slam dunk in the natural community. These are so super easy to make and pack a nutritional punch. My daughter definitely gives these her seal of approval. She especially loves the 123, ABC's & Chreese 4Kidz pasta; these are incredibly easy for older babies and small children to eat because of their tiny shape and size. Love this.

Edward & Sons are like masters in coconut. Their coconut is always amazing tasting. Their Let's Do Organic fine shredded coconut and toasted coconut flakes are so amazing, fresh, and delicious, that they taste like you harvested them right from the island yourself. You rarely come across a shredded coconut product that has that cool coconut taste that is completely saturated in tropical coconut. You can tell it is minimally processed and doing amazing things for your body as you're eating it. This is the only shredded coconut that I buy. And toasted coconut flakes save you time when you are going for that in recipes. Well done.

Speaking of coconut, Native Forest has amazing coconut oil. It is great quality and gets the job done. I can't say enough good things about it. We all have heard of the amazing benefits of coconut oil, and this particular brand has the quality and flavor that a consumer deserves. Love it! I use it for oil pulling, cooking, baking, on my skin, and anything else that I can use it for! 

I also really enjoyed the Native Forest canned okra. They are organic, whole pods, and I must admit that before trying this, I had only used fresh or frozen okra. It is refreshing to have the convenience of a canned product with the organic quality that Edward & Sons continually deliver.

My pals at Edward & Sons also make amazing soupy-type products. I love their bouillon, which makes the best broth around! They come in flavors like "Chicken", "Beef", and Vegetable, but I definitely enjoyed their new Red Curry bouillon. It would be fantastic in any Indian or Thai dish, or just on its own as a cup of yummy broth with a spicy kick. I recently made a great Thai soup and this bouillon perfected it. You know what else I love about these vegan bouillon cubes? Because I'm a freak, I love the packaging so much. The name of the broth flavor is on the side of the box, so I stack them up on top of each other in my pantry, and I can easily grab the flavor I need without sorting through all of them. I know, wicked nerdy... whatever.

I'm also a fan of their Miso-cup. It is not like using fresh refrigerated miso paste, so you're not getting that freshly made taste, I hate to admit, but it is the best in a packaged miso that you can get since it uses a packaged paste that mixes with the water. It is definitely tastier than the powder miso soup pouches, plus you get the convenience of taking this soup with you on the go. If you were to take freshly made miso soup, it would obviously spoil, however it is nice to be able to take this along with you to places like work, travel, camping, etc. Plus, it doesn't taste overly salty and has a really nice, balanced flavor.

Would you like to WIN a box full of Edward & Sons goodies, just like mine? The fabulous folks at Edward & Sons are generously providing two of my readers with their very own package of goodies! Stay tuned after the recipe...


I used Native Forest Coconut Oil and Let's Do Organic Fine Shredded Coconut in this cookie recipe. Technically, they are "Lactation Cookies", but my family has been eating them and they are not producing any breast milk like I am, so it is safe to say that these are also "regular oatmeal cookies". Wink, wink. This is an amazing oatmeal cookie recipe, the ingredients just so happen to be lactogenic and support a nursing mother in making extra milk.

Oatmeal, Coconut, Raisin "Lactation" Cookies
Makes about 56 cookies

What you will need:

2 cups oats
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp fine sea salt
2/3 cup Native Forest Coconut Oil, melted
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/2 cup oat milk (or vegan milk of your choosing)
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup Let's Do Organic Fine Shredded Coconut OR Toasted Coconut Flakes

What you will need to do:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease about two baking sheets. In a medium bowl, mix oat milk and flaxseed, and set aside. In a large bowl, mix oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, mix you melted coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, yeast, and add in your flax mixture. Now, mix together your wet and dry bowls, then fold in raisins and coconut. Roll into balls about the size of a large tablespoon and bake for about 10 minutes. Enjoy these yummy cookies!

Now, I bet you're eager to know more about this giveaway that I mentioned earlier. To enter: 

  • Follow me @theDirtyVegan on Twitter and also follow @EdwardAndSons on Twitter. 
  • I will tweet a giveaway tweet and all you have to do is retweet that. I will be choosing two winners. Winners will be chosen and announced on Monday morning, 5/19/14. 
Let the tweeting begin!

And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Go coconuts!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegan Lasagna Nests: Fun Spring Dinner!

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food." -George Bernard Shaw

The inspiration for today's recipe, comes from something that my mother recently made. She made lasagna "cupcakes" using wontons and lasagna ingredients. The idea to even make this today, was when I was perusing the cupboard and refrigerator for dinner ideas to come to me. I had about half of a box of lasagna noodles, 5 noodles to be exact. What on earth do you do with that? I dislike wasting anything, especially food, so I decided to make something like my mother's lasagna cupcakes, except these will be called Lasagna Nests and be made with the noodles. Last year (big and waddly, and about to have a baby), I made Candy Bird's Nests, that were very make-with-your-kiddos friendly. So this spring, here are some edible nests that are cute, fun, and guaranteed to be a hit with your family.

Vegan Lasagna Nests

What you will need:

  • 5 lasagna noodles, cooked al dente according to box and cut in half
  • 1/2 cup pasta sauce
  • 8 oz frozen spinach
  • 1 16 oz container Tofutti Ricotta "Cheese"
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp Litehouse Garlic
  • 2 tsp Litehouse Italian
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 6 slices Tofutti Mozzarella, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • GoVeggie vegan Parmesan "cheese", to taste
  • Muffin Tin
  • Coconut Oil to grease tin with
This is what mine looked like before baking them!

What to do:

Preheat oven 350 degrees. Grease 5 spots on a muffin pan with coconut oil. In each cup of the pan, place lasagna noodle half, crisscrossed. Spoon about a tablespoon of pasta sauce in each cup. In a large bowl, combine spinach, ricotta, oregano, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, Mozzarella, and flaxseed, then scoop it into each cup on top of the pasta sauce that you spooned. Drizzle remaining pasta sauce on top of each cup and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 5- 10 minutes. Let sit in pan for about 10 minutes before removing from pan and serving. The longer you let them sit to set, the easier they are to remove from pan and the prettier they look. These would be great to serve with salad and garlic bread. Enjoy!

The finished product! Yummmm!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Litehouse Herbs Review & Amazing Artichoke Recipe!

Tell me if this has ever happened to you. You buy fresh herbs at the store, with every intention of using the entire bunch, but sadly they wilt away to their demise before you ever get the chance to use them. Or, have you ever purchased one of those herb plants, to find that one day it just dies on you? Or how about this one - have you ever bought a bunch of fresh herbs and then by the next morning, they appear to be as wrinkly as a 95 year old man's behind? For the record, I have never seen a 95 year old man's behind, but I am just guessing that there is some sort of resemblance. Let's face it, fresh herbs taste so much better than those dried herbs that you find on the dusty shelf in the grocery store. If you are like me, you have longed for herbs and spices that have the taste of freshly picked produce but the convenience of spice-rack-friendly, herbs in the jar. Finally, the solution to our dilemma has arrived, and it's name is Litehouse!

Litehouse sent me their delicious and fresh tasting herbs to try in: Thyme, Spring Onion, Ginger, Sage, Garlic, Italian, Parsley, and Basil. I used the same amount that a recipe would call for with fresh herbs. The ratio is the same. You just add them to water to revive them. I also added them to dishes that were watery already, like soups or stews. I've been using these herbs in everything and my food tastes so much fresher! And the value and convenience is great! For instance, you get about 3 bunches of basil in just one jar of Litehouse instant herbs! Pretty neat. I have been having such success using these, so here is my favorite recipe so far. The Litehouse herbs add something seriously special to this dish. Here is my Herby Steamed Artichoke Recipe and you can find Litehouse products by browsing their online store or at retailers like Target.

The Dirty Vegan's Herby Steamed Artichokes

Serves 2

What you will need:

2 artichokes, washed, stems cut, tops cut (about 1 inch)
1 heaping tsp Litehouse Parsley
1 heaping tsp Litehouse Garlic
1 heaping tsp Litehouse Spring Onion
2 bay leaves
1 lemon
1/4 cup white wine
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups water
1 bouillon cube
sea salt and black pepper to taste

What you will need to do:

Place all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Cover and let artichokes steam in the Herby steaming liquid for about 30 minutes, or until leaves are tender. To eat, simply scrape the pulp from the leaves with your teeth (don't eat the leaves - yuck!). You can eat the heart by removing the prickly covering around it. The heart is soft and delicious and really soaks up all of the flavors in the steaming liquid. Enjoy!

This is what the artichokes looked like in the delicious Herby broth!

And as they were steaming to perfection. Yum!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Read This If You Have a Baby!

If you have a baby, they will teethe, it is inevitable. Teething can be no picnic, but luckily there are products out there that make this whole nightmare milestone more tolerable.

Tommee Tippee is one of my absolute favorite baby brands. They make a lot of natural baby products which are safe and effective. Two of their products in particular, have been favorites of Baby's, the Chewther and the Milk Feeding Bib.

The Chewther is one neat little teether. All of Tommee Tippee's BPA-free Chewthers feature a cool surface that is soothing to Little One's mouth and gums. They offer Chewthers for each stage of teething, which is helpful for targeting the areas that are causing the discomfort, at the stage that they are experiencing it. Pictured, is the Stage 2 Dual Ended Chewther in pink/ purple and is intended for baby's 4 months plus. What is unique about this teether is that it is designed to also aid with the baby's oral development in preparation for speech and feeding. It does this by supporting the lip seal, jaw development, and muscle coordination.

As you can see, this Chewther is the perfect size and shape for Baby to hold, allowing her to self soothe. The texture is flexible and soft, so this teether is safe for those fragile little teeth. And we all know that some teethers can be extremely hard and just aren't right for Baby. I love the thoughtful design and engineering behind the Chewther. It not only soothes your fussy little teething baby, but also prepares her for speech and eating thicker foods by strengthening the jaw. I haven't seen a teether like this before!

Here is a closeup of the Tommee Tippee Chewther!

Another must-have Tommee Tippee product is their Closer to Nature, Milk Feeding Bib. This bib grows with Baby very nicely. It can be used from birth and up until the child outgrows the bib. The cool thing is, the soft closure in back of the bib has a great range for adjust-ability. Some other bibs only have that closure in one spot, making them either too big or too small at some point. The Milk Feeding Bib adjusts to your child's neck size. And it is super soft (as you can probably see in the picture)! This bib has a soft plush dribble catcher that prevents milk, juice, or drool from getting under the chin and causing irritation or rash. That is why I adore this bib for teething! With teething comes lots drool! This is the absolute perfect bib for breastfeeding, spit-up, when baby begins to use a sippy cup, teething, and drooling. It really is the softest bib that will protect Baby's skin from irritation. The Closer to Nature, Milk Feeding Bib is super cute and comes in colors like cream and pink, cream and blue, and cream and beige. You don't just get one bib either, they are sold in a pack of two! This is also a wonderful baby shower gift as any new parent would love to receive this for their baby. I'm a huge fan of this bib and so is my little angel. You can tell how comfy she is wearing it since it is one of the only bibs that she doesn't try to pull or take off.

You can find these and other fabulous Tommee Tippee baby products at retailers like Babies-R-Us, Target, and Maijer. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Googoo, gaga!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Vegan Easter Basket

Anyone who is vegan understands that their Easter basket will not be the same as it may have been before becoming vegan. No dyed eggs. And let's face it, most stores are lacking in the vegan candies department. Luckily, these products make it all better. Here are some ideas for your vegan Easter basket.

You can get most of your candy from A Real Treat candy boutique in Los Angeles, California. They are an all natural candy store that literally has the largest selection of vegan, organic, kosher, gluten-free, non-GMO, and allergen-free sweets around! Think candy store, huge selection, picking different sweet treats and putting them in your candy bag... yeah that is A Real Treat. And if you're not in the Los Angeles area, no problem. Check out their website for online ordering. Here are some delicious vegan candies that I sampled from A Real Treat. Also, a little birdy told me that they are carrying vegan cream eggs for Easter. All you Californians better head on over. No, run on over. I'm pretty sure a treat like this is very hard to come by!

 In the pictures you will notice a plethora of Easter basket candy. A Real Treat has everything from gummies galore to vegan starburst-type candies (which taste like real fruit, melt in your mouth candies) to vegan milk chocolate covered and filled candies (that tasted absolutely heavenly). All of the candies that I tried tasted divine. The best part? These cruelty-free candies are also free of corn syrup and dyes. I, like many people, have a sensitivity to certain dyes and artificial ingredients. This candy boutique is out-of-this-world! This is something just so unique and clever. I totally want to move to California just so I can park my vegan butt in front of A Real Treat candy store and basically eat their delicious candy all day long. I've already started manipulating Hubby... West Coast here I come!

The goodies from A Real Treat are perfect for filling plastic eggs with for baskets or for Easter Egg Hunts. When you are filling your plastic eggs with these candies, every egg is like finding the GOLDEN EGG!

Definitely check them out; you won't be disappointed. I loved them!

And when you need the convenience of finding your vegan candy at virtually any store, you can always rely on America's Favorite Candy for 64 years, vegan Smarties. Smarties are easy to just pop in your mouth and munch on, as well as being the perfect plastic egg filler. The folks at Smarties even have a section of their FAQ dedicated to vegan-love, stating, "All Smarties® products are vegetarian and vegan. Feel free to refer to our Product page for the nutritional information and ingredients in each product, and our Vegan Candy page for more information about our vegan sweets.". How sweet is that? Smarties are awesome!

And last but certainly not least, I would like to introduce you to a product called Eggnots. These extremely realistic eggs are made of ceramic and you treat them exactly how you would an Easter Egg. You can dye them, write on them, paint them, stain them, or keep them "as is". They are fantastic and best of all... you can keep them forever! We will be dying these Eggnots for Easter with Baby and signing them with the date. What a wonderful keepsake for Baby's First Easter! 

Eggnots arrive in an egg carton complete with instructions and an egg dye recipe.

My mother thought that these were real eggs. I handed it to her and after she held it, she still thought it was an egg. These are so cool for us vegan folk who have since resorted to dying tofu, painting rocks, and other creative things at Easter. Eggnots take the guesswork out of things.

What an amazing egg to dye for Easter. They can go right in the Easter basket as soon as they're dry, they won't spoil, they are vegan-friendly, and great for people with egg allergies as well. I can definitely see this becoming a beautiful tradition in many homes, year after year. Your family can see how your works of art evolve over the years and you can create such pretty memories. These are not just for Easter; think other holidays and craft ideas all year long. You can even surprise your honey by writing a romantic message or proposal and hiding it in your love's Easter basket. Or how about a fun Easter scavenger hunt with the kids; just write the clues on the eggs and hide them! For just $15.95 per dozen, the possibilities are endless! There are 20 days until Easter, so get your orders in fast to ensure that you can receive your Eggnots in time! 

 So there you have it, vegans can still partake in Easter traditions and festivities. No animals harmed in the process. And for now, the Dirty Vegan is signing off. Hoppity, hop!