Easy Cashew Milk

CashewMilk

I’m not sure that I’ve ever fully discussed my dairy free lifestyle on the blog before, but I’m pretty certain you’re all aware that I’m dairy free. Its been almost three years to the date since I cut dairy out of my diet, right after watching the startling documentary, Food, Inc. This documentary was so eye opening for me that I immediately began to abstain from all animal products.

While I was only a vegan for one year, I have since continued being dairy free and only meat on occasion (usually once or twice a week). I struggled with my decision on how to raise Berlin, while I considered raising her vegan in the beginning, I decided against it since we do still eat meat from time to time in our household. I then decided to raise her dairy free, and did so for the first fourteen months of her life, however with a strong suggestion from pediatrician to at least introduce dairy to her for allergy precautions, I eventually gave her yogurt and butter. She now drinks Kefir on occasion and cashew milk as her replacement for breast milk and I’m happy with my decision as it stands currently.

This recipe only takes a few minutes, the hardest part is soaking the cashews overnight, but as long as you remember to do so, you can have creamy, delicious milk when you rise in the morning. Its perfect with your coffee, on your cereal, in smoothies or just alone (or to dip your cookies in, if your my husband). Now let’s get down to it already!

CashewMilk103

Easy Cashew Milk

1 cup raw cashews
2 cups filtered water
1 tablespoon raw honey (if vegan, use pure maple syrup)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt

Soak raw cashews in 4 cups of water overnight. In the morning discard the water and rinse cashews until the water runs clear.

Place cashews and all other ingredients in a high power blender (Vitamix is best) and blend until smooth, approx 2-3 minutes.

I personally find no need to strain cashew milk, however if you don’t like the consistency you can strain through a cheese cloth or nut bag.

CashewMilk102

I prefer my milk to be thick and creamy so I use little water in my recipe, but if you like yours more the consistency of regular milk I would suggest adding a cup or two more of water when blending.

Wishing you all a Happy Friday. Enjoy!



Bookmark and Share
 

Family Meal: Cheesy Vegan Pot Pie

VeganPotPie104

Let me start out by saying, these pot pies are delicious! So much in fact, I think I may be making them again this weekend! And I was not the only fan, Berlin ate half a pot pie (that is more than she ever eats!) and Ryan scarfed his down as well. I’m sure we can all agree, that pot pies in general, are usually pretty darn good, but I think the cashew cheese filling made this recipe an extra hit. I contemplated using a traditional flour sauce for the filling, but I wanted it dairy free, and protein filled (to make up for the lack of meat). So I thought why not try cashew cheese, I’ve used it for many other dishes and it never disappoints, and I assure you it didn’t disappoint this time either. The creamy goodness was a perfect compliment to the veggies and worked great with the crust as well. I’m just drooling thinking about it now! So let’s get to it already so you can get started cooking!

Cheesy Vegan Pot Pie

Veggie Filling
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large organic sweet potato chopped
1/3 cup frozen peas
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/3 cup chopped broccoli
1/3 cup chopped carrots
1 can organic white beans rinsed
Herbamare to taste

Cashew Cheese Filling
2 cups soaked raw cashews  (min 2 hours)
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Store bought vegan pie crust, both Mrs. Smiths and Pillsbury are dairy free

VeganPotPie

Begin by chopping all your veggies and placing the carrots and sweet potatoes in a pot of water. Boil until soft.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the cashew cheese by placing the pre-soaked cashews and all the other ingredients into a high power blender, and blend until smooth (should only take a minute or so max). Add more seasonings as you like.

Next, drain the sweet potatoes, and in the same pot, add the olive oil and saute the remainder of the veggies and beans until warm, approx 5 minutes. I like to season my veggies with Herbamare, but salt and pepper will work as well.

Now preheat the oven to 350 degrees

While the oven is heating roll out the store bought dough to fit the top of your pie dish, I used three 5″ mini pie dishes for this recipe and one pre-made pie crust was sufficient for all three.

Fill each dish with veggies filling, top with cashew cheese and place the dough on top, pressing into the sides of the dish. Then poke a few fork holes in the top of the crust, sprinkle with salt and pepper and bake for approx 35-40 minutes.

VeganPotPie103

This recipe may be my secret weapon for getting Berlin to eat more veggies, she didn’t even notice the corn, which typically she would spit out. Next time (dare I say this weekend!) I’m thinking of trying kale and chickpeas and perhaps some cauliflower-hoping Berlin won’t take notice.

As a side note, I used store bought crust for this recipe to shorten the prep, but there is an easy vegan pie crust recipe here if you prefer to make yourself.

Wishing you a pot pie filled weekend!



Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Bites: Cherry Coconut Smoothie

CherryCoconutSmoothie103

Can I start off this post by saying just how excited I am that Berlin is (almost) walking! I mean, now there is no stopping this kid. Today she had her sights on a toy from across the room and bolted for it, she took over 10 consecutive steps, and was stable and sure of herself. It’s really amazing to see, brings a tear to my eye just thinking of it now.

Ok enough about Berlin’s monumental milestone, let’s talk smoothies. I have been making this one for Berlin since she began eating solids. It has the perfect amount of sweetness while being packed full of powerful nutrients. The cherries are rich in antioxidants, the almonds provide a good source of fiber and protein, and both the coconut oil and almonds are a great source of healthy fat-all of which are crucial for our young ones developing brains.

This recipe will make enough for a toddler size drink and some left over for yourself. Enjoy!

 

CherryCoconutSmoothie102

Cherry Coconut Smoothie

1 cup of almond milk (homemade is best)
1 cup of frozen organic dark sweet cherries
1 tablespoon of raw almonds
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup organic spinach
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Place all ingredients in a high power blender and blend until smooth.

CherryCoconutSmoothie105

I am honestly not a huge fan of coconut, but I love this smoothie. If you prefer more coconut I would suggest adding a full tablespoon. I’ve also added honey and/or cinnamon to this recipe and both are great.

We are off to the wine country for the weekend, celebrating Ryan’s birthday. Can’t wait for a relaxing weekend at the hot springs! Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend.



Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Bites: Sweet Potato Hot Pockets

HotPockets110

I’m always trying to come up with recipes that are easy, on-the-go meals for Berlin. I would much prefer to pack a meal that can be eaten with her hands, rather than pack a fork or spoon while we are out and about.

When I’m in a rush (which is always) I end up falling back on the food pouches (she likes the Wise Punkin brand), but of course I prefer to have homemade food prepared if at all possible.

I came up with this idea when I spied the frozen Hot Pockets on the shelf (you know, the ones from when you were a little kid?) while strolling through the freezer aisle of the grocery store. I thought for sure I could replicate these, but in a healthy way, and the filling possibilities are endless.

I chose to use spelt flour as it is rich in both fiber and protein and has a high water solubility content; making it easier to digest than other flours (such as whole wheat). I added sunflower seeds for a little flavor and texture and considered next time maybe adding a bit of honey for some sweetness (give it a try and let me know what you think).

HotPocket101

Sweet Potato Hot Pockets

Dough Ingredients:
2 cups spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm water
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds

Filling Ingredients:
Medium sweet potato
1/2 cup organic, no salt canned black beans
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 cup organic shredded spinach

HotPocket108HotPocket109

Pierce sweet potato and bake for approx 45 minutes on 400 degrees (I threw mine in the toaster oven in the morning).

While the sweet potato is cooking prepare the dough by combining all ingredients (except 1/3 cup of water) into a food processor and pulsing until a dough forms

Slowly add in the additional 1/3 cup of water as needed, you may not need it, or you may need all of it

Lay the dough in-between two pieces of parchment paper (if rolling impaired like me) and roll until flat

Next use a cookie cutter of choice and cut out the dough (in case you’re wondering, this is a porcupine-doesn’t look like much of anything really)

Once the sweet potato is done baking, remove from the skin and place in a medium mixing bowl, add black beans, cumin and spinach and mash together

Then place your filling on the dough shapes and either fold over or place another shape on top (if small), then crimp the edges with a fork (be careful not to overfill).

Then bake on a cookie sheet in the 400 degree oven for approx 10-12 minutes. Pockets are done when dough is browned.

HotPocket107

You can use just about any filling your heart desires, I chose these specific ingredients as I knew they would satisfy Berlin’s picky tastes.

They will keep in the fridge for a day or two, but then I suggest freezing the leftovers for a quick grab-and-go meal. They can be heated in the microwave for a minute or so, however I prefer throwing them in the toaster oven to keep the dough from getting soggy.

Enjoy!




Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Snacks: Cheesy Crackers

CheesyCrackers103.2

You might have heard me mention before that Berlin is obsessed with crackers. I don’t know when it all started, but I will tell you there is no turning back. For awhile I was trying to ignore her passion for the salty snack in hopes it would pass, but my denial was getting us nowhere. Every grocery trip was like a broken record, “crackers, crackers” throughout the entire store until I would finally give in (if you don’t know I’m a total pushover when it comes to my daughter). In all honesty, I’m ok with her having crackers on occasion, but since its grown into a love affair I’ve become a bit more concerned with all the processed ingredients and even more so the high sodium.

So this week I set out to make my own healthy, low sodium crackers. Let me start by saying this was no easy task. It took me three tries to get to this recipe and I still feel like it could use some tweaking. However, Berlin was satisfied and ate almost the whole batch in one sitting, so I dubbed this recipe complete.

CheesyCrackers102

Cheesy Crackers

2 cups blanched almond flour

4 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 egg (or flax egg to make vegan)

1-2 tablespoons of water

CheesyCrackers104

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large mixing bowl mix all dry ingredients together.

In a smaller bowl whisk egg and oil together.

Pour egg mixture into dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms. If the dough is crumbly add the water until dough is solid (I needed approx 1 tablespoon).

Cut two pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Lay the first piece on a cutting board (or counter) and place dough in the middle.

Lay second piece of parchment paper over the dough and roll out until dough is about 1/4″ thick.

Cut crackers with a pizza roller into desired size and poke a hole in the middle (I used a chopstick).

Then transfer the parchment paper with the dough onto the baking sheet and bake for approx 10-12 minutes

I wanted the crackers to be soft and chewy for Berlin so they were less of a choking hazard, but if you like your crackers crispier then I would suggest baking them closer to 15-20 minutes.

These can easily be made vegan by substituting the egg with a flax egg or they could be made with dairy by using real cheddar cheese instead of nutritional yeast.

Hope your little one enjoys.




Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Bites: Buckwheat Spinach Waffles

SpinachBlueberryWaffles

I don’t know about you, but mornings are a bit chaotic in our home. Ryan is rushing to get out the door for work, I’m trying to sneak in a quick shower before he leaves, while Berlin patiently {impatiently} waits for someone to feed her.  For a short while breakfast was simple enough; scrambled eggs or a cup of yogurt sufficed, but as Berlin’s taste buds evolved and her appetite grew larger, it became tougher to find quick and easy meal ideas for the busy mornings.

Ryan is a huge fan of all things carbs for breakfast; bagels, pancakes, waffles…don’t get me wrong, all tasty foods, but with little nutritional value. As of recently these foods became our go-to for Berlin as they were quick and easy, but then I was left feeling guilt-ridden (I know I’m a health maniac!) over the little nutrition she was receiving for her first meal of the day.

My solution; make ahead and freeze, goo green waffles. I know, I know, sounds {and looks} disgusting, but truly, they are very tasty-and kid approved!

SpinachBlueberryWaffles107SpinachBlueberryWaffles106

Buckwheat Spinach Waffles

1 cup buckwheat flour

1 cup oat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs, whisked

1 cup almond milk

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup organic spinach

1/2 cup frozen blueberries

SpinachBlueberryWaffles104

Preheat waffle iron & spray with coconut oil

Place all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well

Place all wet ingredients (including spinach and blueberries) in a blender and blend until smooth

Pour wet ingredients with dry and mix well

Pour approx 1/2 cup of mixture onto the center of waffle iron and cook according to your iron

SpinachBlueberryWaffles105

I serve the waffles as is to Berlin, but feel free to add fruit, butter, syrup…whatever you fancy for you or your child.

This recipe makes almost exactly four waffles, however as I mentioned above, I like to double the recipe and freeze for an easy go-to meal.

Hope you enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Simply Recipes.




 

Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Bites: Overnight Super Porridge

SuperPorridge104

I didn’t start feeding grains to Berlin until after she was one years old. There is much misguided information about baby’s first foods, but after talking to my pediatrician and doing a little research of my own,  I discovered the typical “rice cereal” was actually the last thing you should be introducing to your baby’s diet, rather than the first.

Through my research I found babies actually lack the ability to digest grains properly. The enzyme necessary to breakdown starches, called amylase, is absent until approximately the first year of life, or the presence of molars.

What this means is when you feed your baby any type of grains; cereals, oatmeals, quinoa…these grains are causing possible issues with their gut and making it impossible for them to properly digest other nutrients.

This is obviously a personal decision, but I decided it was worth waiting the extra few months, until Berlin’s molars developed. Its been many months that Berlin has been enjoying all types of grains now and oatmeal is one of her favorite breakfast foods.

I was originally sticking with the tried and true steel cut oats for awhile, but then I decided to shake it up a bit by adding different types of grains to the mix and topping with more highly nutritious ingredients such as flax and wheat bran.

This particular recipe can easily be done on the stovetop, however I love the idea of throwing the ingredients into a slow cooker before bed and rising to breakfast already made and ready to go.

SuperPorrideg105SuperPorridge106

Overnight Super Porridge

1 cup of organic steel cut oats

1 cup of organic wheat berries

1/2 cup millet

1/2 cup raisins

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon brown sugar

6 cups of water

2 cups of Almond Milk (or milk of choice)

3 tablespoons ground flax seed

2 teaspoons oat bran

Toppings of choice: banana, dried fruits, honey, toasted almonds or walnuts

SuperPorridge110

Add all dry ingredients (minus the flax and wheat bran) to a slow cooker, then add liquid and mix well.

Cook in slow cooker for 6 hours to overnight.

In the morning you will wake to the aroma of cinnamon and roasted raisins and you will be thanking me!

To eat, add the ground flax to the cooker and mix well, then fill your bowl with the porridge and layer with wheat bran and toppings of your choice.

This recipe makes a large batch of porridge, up to a week’s worth for baby and yourself.

P.S. Did I mention I made into the final round for the Best Family-Friendly Cooking Blog on the kitchn? Well, thanks to all of you I did! I couldn’t more thrilled about this, I just love the kitchn! Voting ends tonight and the blog with the most votes wins. I would love your support. If you would like to vote please do so here.




 

 

Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Snacks: Cherry Cacao Date Bars

DateBars105

I belong to a local mother’s group here in the city that is mostly made up of health conscious moms.  Time and time again, the topic of healthy snack options for toddlers comes up in the email group. So I thought it would be a good chance to feature some unprocessed, low sugar snack options here on the blog.

I feel like most moms these days want to feed their children healthy snacks, but don’t know where to begin. I know, I myself struggled with this when it became necessary to always have snacks on hand for Berlin. I knew I didn’t want to get stuck in the typical “Cheerio and Goldfish” rut that so many parents find themselves in, nor was I sold on the so-called “healthy” Green Puff options sold at the health foods stores (if you shop Whole Foods you know what I’m talking about…). My motto is, more than five ingredients listed on the package means its not a healthy option. Of course, there are expectations to this rule, but if you can’t pronounce the ingredients listed or don’t usually cook with those ingredients in your own home, then its most likely over processed and not suitable for your toddler (or yourself for that matter).

Due to Berlin’s never ending hunger (I swear the girl has a tapeworm!) and my resistance to buy processed snacks, I have spent many hours perfecting snack recipes that both satisfy her and give her the nutrients she needs as a growing toddler and I have finally found the time to start sharing them with you.

This first recipe I actually discovered while I was pregnant with Berlin. I was obsessed with Lara Bars, but figured they must be easy to make-seeing as they only had two ingredients in them; typically dates and a nut option. I googled the recipe and discovered it was as simple as I thought and since then have been experimenting with different ingredient options. The beauty of these bars is you can make them to your liking, you can use any kind of nuts, seeds, dried fruits, protein powders…I mean the possibilities are endless.

This particular recipe is full of nuts Berlin likes and I added the cacao powder to give it some extra sweetness ( to ensure she will eat them!). I also added chia seeds as a way to provide some extra fiber and omega-3 fatty acids (you can read more of their benefits on a previous recipe I did here).

If you love Lara bars, give this recipe a try. Its really simple and will save you tons of money!

DateBar107DateBar106

Cherry Cacao Date Bars

2 cups of Medjool dates (suggest soaking them in water for 15 mins to soften them)

1/2 cup of raw cashews

1/4 cup of cup of cacao powder

2 tablespoons of chia seeds

1/4 cup of unsalted sunflower seeds

1/4 cup of dried cherries

Place all ingredients (up to the sunflower seeds) into a food processor. Grind until it becomes dough like-this only took moments in my food processor.

If it becomes too dry or won’t process add small amounts of water until its a good, sticky consistency.

Lastly, add the sunflower seeds and dried cherries and process for another minute-these can be more chunky in the mixture.

Next place the mixture in a baking sheet and spread even in the dish, you may need to place wax paper on top of the mixture and press down with your hands.

You can then place them in the fridge and wait for them to harden for about 30 minutes, then cut into bars.

DateBars103

This recipe only takes moments, especially once you’ve made it a few times. You can also double the recipe and wrap the bars individually and store in the freezer, that way you always have a handy snack to grab on your way out the door.

Please let me know if you try this or a variation of the recipe, would love to know what you think. Enjoy!




Bookmark and Share
 

Thanksgiving Leftovers

TurkeyBroth102

I have hosted Thanksgiving for the past several years. It may just be my favorite holiday. Low stress (as far as holidays go) and just good food, family and friends-what’s not to love?!

In the past I have discarded the turkey remains without a thought of how much more I could get out of the leftovers. This year (having a toddler) I have learned the importance of bone broth and the many health benefits for both adults and children (especially babies and young toddlers). After much research, I’ve recently been buying (whew is it expensive!) bone broths from my local butcher and having Berlin drink it straight like a juice. It helps her gain weight and aids in her bone development. But now after making stock from the leftover turkey scraps I realize just how easy it is, you won’t see me buying bone broth any time soon!

Turkey Stock

1 leftover turkey carcass

1/2 cup sliced carrots

1/2 cup sliced celery

1/2 large onion

3 sprigs of thyme

3 sprigs of rosemary

Place turkey carcass and any leftover skin and bones into a large stock pot and cover fully with water

Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer on low for approx 4 hours

When cooking is complete strain all vegetables through a fine mesh strainer

You can then use the broth to cook a soup using the leftover turkey meat or store in mason jars in the freezer for future use.

Health Benefits: Fights inflammation, helps a leaky gut, helps with bone growth and repair and very important for this time of year; fights off colds and the flu.

Bone broth can also be used as a replacement for dairy in making homemade baby formula, its a great alternative to commercial formulas and extremely beneficial for those mothers unable to nurse.

TurkeyBroth

After the stock was complete I carried on using the leftover turkey meat and made a delicious turkey soup using half of my homemade stock (the rest I froze to use for Berlin).

Homemade Turkey Soup

6 cups of turkey stock

2 cups of leftover turkey meat

1 cup of diced potatoes

1/2 cup of barley

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped kale

1 cup chopped onion

1 sprig of rosemary

1 teaspoon thyme

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium sized frying pan sauté the onion and kale in olive oil for approx 5 minutes

In the large stock pot used for the stock, add 6 cups of the stock and bring to a boil

Once boiled, add barley and boil for 15 minutes

Add kale mixture and spices, reduce to a simmer for approx 20 minutes

TurkeyBroth103

Both recipes are so simple to make and utilize all the turkey leftovers without any waste, while providing an amazing amount of nutrients.

Berlin and I have been snacking on the soup all week long, we both love it.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 




Bookmark and Share
 

Berlin Bites: Kale and Quinoa Bars

KaleQuinoaBars

Kale & Quinoa Bars
1/2 cup millet flour

1 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup organic oats

1/3 cup minced kale (I used a food processor)

1/3 cup almond butter

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1/4 cup brown rice syrup

1 egg

1 ripe mashed banana

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a baking dish with olive oil spray

Combine all ingredients and mix well

Pour into greased baking dish and bake for approx 20 minutes

The consistency of the bars turned out to be more like bread due to the millet flour I used (as well as the baking dish), but didn’t stop Berlin from gobbling them up. I added the kale to the recipe as an experiment since its been harder to get Berlin to eat all her veggies lately, she didn’t seem to mind it, however if I was making the bars for myself I would definitely eliminate it and add some maple syrup for more sweetness. But as is they are a perfect nutritious snack for a toddler.

Please remember to cover and refrigerate the baked bars immediately as they go bad quickly.  I ended up cutting up the bars into serving sizes and freezing each individually to preserve them longer.

Enjoy!

Adapted from here.

 



Bookmark and Share