Lifestyle Tips, Recipes, Uncategorized

Forsythia Syrup

I have had wicked bad seasonal allergies since I was very young. My eyes would be so itchy I would give myself black eyes rubbing them in my sleep, I could not be outside without being a big ball of ick, itchy throat to the point of no relief… In high school, I started getting allergy shots over 5 years or so, but still need to take regular allergy meds. That is just how bad my allergies are. Still, no medicine would alleviate my itchy throat! The only thing that would help is a teaspoon of honey a few times a day. When I went vegan, I did not know what to do instead of honey. This year, I noticed a bunch of my friends posting about foraging, especially with dandelions and forsythia flowers. I started to look more into some of these recipes and found blogs saying using forsythia flowers can help with allergy relief! Luckily, I have forsythia bushes in my backyard that already bloomed and were not treated with fertilizer or any other chemicals, so I tried right away! (For more seasonal allergy relief tips, check out this blog post: https://www.earthpothecary.com/blogs/news/allergy-season)

 

I use the syrup to sweeten teas and other foods. Sometimes I will have a spoonful of the syrup if my throat is itchy.

 

Why is honey not vegan? Here are some main points, but you can read more here: https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/honey-industry

  1. It is a product that comes from a living being. Vegans do not eat animal flesh or anything that comes from a living being.
  2. Many bees can die or be badly injured when humans collect their honey.
  3. Commercial industries and some local producers artificially inseminate (rape) the queen to breed more worker bees.
  4. Bees make honey to survive through hibernation. It is not ours to take, they are not our slaves, working to make something for us to steal from them.

 

Tips for how to harvest:

  • Make sure there are no bugs on the flowers you are picking! I found a few bees close by and some ants in the flowers. It would not be vegan if I accidentally got bugs in it!
  • Just pick the flower, no twigs.
  • Do not press the flowers down into the measuring cup. Just pluck them and put them right in the cup.
  • Make sure the flowers you are harvesting have not been treated with any chemicals.
  • When you bring the flowers in, do not rinse them! Having the pollen on the flowers helps your allergy relief just like local honey has pollen in it.
  • The recipe calls for 2-3 cups of flowers. I like to use 3 cups for a slightly stronger flavor, darker color, and potentially slightly more relief. The relief part is probably mental.

 

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups forsythia flowers
  • 4 cups water
  • 1-2 cup sugar (I prefer 1 cup of brown sugar which very closely resembles the sweetness and taste of maple syrup.)
  • something to steep tea in
  • small/medium sauce pan

Directions:

  1. Pick 2-3 cups of flowers.
  2. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a tea kettle or saucepan. (You can add less water if you would like a bit of a stronger flavor and your mixture to be more syrup-y and less watery.)
  3. While boiling, place the flowers in a tea pot or a heat-safe bowl to steep. I have a tea infuser so I can pour the liquid out without having the flowers come out too. If you do not have one, any heat-safe bowl is fine as long as you can cover it. You can strain the flowers out later.
  4. Pour the boiling water over the flowers.
  5. Steep overnight to make it nice and strong.
  6. Strain the flowers out of the “tea.”
  7. Pour the “tea” into a saucepan and add sugar.
  8. Bring to a boil and then simmer on low for about 30 minutes stirring frequently to avoid burning.
  9. Allow the mixture to cool and pour into a Tupperware container or mason jar.
  10. Store the syrup in the fridge.

Enjoy! I hope this helps soothe your allergies as well!

Syrup
This recipe yielded about 6 of these jars

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Recipes, Uncategorized

Meatless Melt

I’ve been loving making grilled cheeze lately. However, I’ve been following low carb macros lately for summer prep – as long as summer isn’t cancelled this year! I was wondering how I can add more protein to the meal and thought about the plant based deli slices from Lightlife! Perfect.

 

Sammie 2 | Meatless Melt

This is less of a “recipe” and more of an idea and steps to “create” the sandwich.

I used Lightlife “turkey” deli slices, Dave’s Killer Bread (low-carb), Violife Cheddar Cheeze, and Earth Balance butter. You can use mix up the cheeze flavor and the type of plant based deli slices to add some variety. Most bread is vegan. You can use apps like these to double check. Usually dairy and eggs have to be listed as allergens at the bottom of the ingredients list like “Contains: Milk.” You can also look for margarine this same way.

Ingredients for the sandwich

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bread
  • 2 slices of cheeze (more or less slices depending on your preference)
  • 4 slices of plant-based deli slices (more or less slices depending on your preference)
  • 2 Tbsp vegan butter
  • mustard, optional
  • vegan mayo, optional
  • sliced tomato, optional

Directions:

  1. Take out a small frying pan and put it on the stove over med-low heat.
  2. Take out 2 slices of bread.
  3. Butter one side of each slice of bread.Buttered Bread | Meatless Melt
  4. Once the pan is warm, put one of the slices of bread, butter side down, on the pan.
  5. Layer the cheeze and deli slices on the bread in the pan. Use as many slices of deli slices and cheeze as desired. I layered 1 cheeze, 2 deli slices, 1 cheeze, 2 deli slices. Layers | Meatless Melt
  6. Add any additional toppings here! I topped with mustard, I would have added vegan mayo if I had it too. Adding a slice of tomato here would also be very yummy!
  7. Place the last slice of bread on top, butter side up.
  8. Let it cook for about 3 minutes and then flip.
  9. Keep cooking and flipping until both sides of the sandwich are golden brown and crispy.
  10. Remove from the pan and cut the sandwich in half, if desired.
  11. Let cool for 1-2 minutes before eating.

Enjoy!

Serving suggestion: with a warm cup of tomato soup! Campbell’s original tomato soup is vegan, just cook it with water or unsweetened original non-dairy milk.

Macros: 38g carbs, 15.5g fat, 20g protein

Layered | Meatless Melt

Recipes, Uncategorized

Tofu Scramble

I’ve been loving tofu scramble! I call it tofu scrambie for fun. So good for breakfast and one container of tofu lasts me for about 2-3 breakfasts.

That Tofu Thing

I bought myself a tofu press for Christmas and it’s amazing! I used to squeeze the water out and soak the excess water with paper towels. Very wasteful, but it works…The tofu press squeezes the water out all the way which makes it cook more evenly. It really helps if you grill or fry it up. For this recipe, you don’t have to go too crazy getting the excess liquid out, it just takes a bit longer to cook thoroughly.

Gather spices: turmeric for color, salt or egg salt/black salt, and pepper.

Spices

Plate

Directions:

  1. Drain tofu of liquid and squeeze as dry as possible.
  2. Cut the tofu into cubes.Tofu
  3. Warm frying pan on the stove over medium heat.
  4. Add oil to the pan.
  5. Once warmed, add the tofu to the pan and mash with spoon.

  6. Add a small dash of turmeric for color and mix until all tofu is yellow.
  7. If you have black salt/egg salt, you can use in place of the salt. I recommend about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp and mix.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste either while it’s still in the pan, or upon serving.
  9. Dress them up like you would scrambled eggs!

Enjoy!!

Recipes, Uncategorized

Chik’n Parm

Dress up your Wheat “Meat” recipe and make a chik’n parm dinner!

It’s super simple and very similar to cooking up chicken or eggplant parm, if you’ve ever done that.

You’ll need flax egg, vegan bread crumbs, olive oil.

Make a flax egg:

  • In a mixing bowl, whisk 1/4 cup flax seed meal with 3/4 cup water.
  • Let stand for 5 minutes for the mixture to become gelatinous.

Prep bread crumbs:

  1. I use 1-2 cups of vegan Italian bread crumbs. I like these bread crumbs from Whole Foods because they’re vegan and already seasoned.
  2. Whatever bread crumbs you use, you can add a bit of flour to the bread crumbs to make them stretch further and last longer.
  3. You can also search through your grocery store’s panko or plain bread crumbs and check the ingredients list that they are free of egg and dairy.
    • You can add Italian seasoning to the plain bread crumbs, 1 tsp Italian seasoning per cup.
    • If you don’t have Italian seasoning, you can use 1/4 tsp of oregano, 1/4 tsp of basil, 1/4 tsp of onion powder, 1/4 tsp of garlic powder.
  4. Put the bread crumbs, whichever option you choose, on a plate.

Directions:

  1. Take one cooled piece of Wheat “Meat” and dunk it in the flax egg until it’s evenly coated on both sides.
  2. Take the piece that’s coated in the flax egg and cover in the bread crumbs on both sides.
  3. Put the coated piece on a clean plate.
  4. Repeat until all pieces are coated in flax egg and bread crumbs.
  5. Set frying pan on medium-high heat and add olive oil.
  6. When the pan is warm, put the Wheat “Meat” pieces in the pan.
  7. Cook until one side of the piece is golden brown and flip to cook on the other side. Add more oil if needed.
  8. Cook until golden brown on both sides.
  9. Remove from pan.
  10. Serve on a plate. I like to add pasta and veggies.
  11. Top with red pasta sauce and vegan cheese if desired. I prefer Violife mozzarella and parmesan.

Enjoy!

Wheat Meat

 

 

Recipes, Uncategorized

Potato Leek Soup

vegan-living-by-danielle-potato-leek-soup-ingredients.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 3 leeks, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 leafs of kale, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 cups of broth
  • 2 medium potatoes, diced (peeled, if desired)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 drained can of chickpeas (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • chives (optional, garnish)

Directions:

  1. Chop white parts of the leeks. (I also use the very light green parts.) It is easiest to wash the leeks in a strainer after they are cut.
  2. In a soup pot, sauté the leeks and garlic over medium-low heat until slightly wilted (about 5 minutes).
  3. Remove kale leaf from the stem. Roughly chop the leafy part of the kale.
  4. Add the kale, thyme, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add broth, diced potatoes, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil.
  6. Once boiling, reduce to low heat, add chickpeas, and cover.
  7. Once potatoes are soft, remove the pot from heat.
  8. Remove the bay leaves.
  9. Use immersion blender to blend soup until smooth.
  10. Alternative to using the immersion blender: allow soup to cool off to luke warm temperature, ladle into a blender, and blend in batches. Dump the blended batches into another container or directly into bowls.
  11. If desired, serve garnished with snips of chives.

Enjoy!

Vegan Living by Danielle | Potato Leek Soup

Recipes, Uncategorized

Easy PB Cookies

Vegan Living by Danielle | Easy PB Cookies

These vegan, gluten-free cookies are super quick and easy to make. The ingredients are simple and healthy, and the results are amazing! My boyfriend is super picky and he loves these. He had one the other day and assumed they are loaded with sugar…SURPRISE! They aren’t. When I told him the only ingredients are peanut butter, maple syrup, almond flour/oat flour, and a sprinkle of sugar he was so surprised and had another!

I normally use almond flour for these cookies, but I was craving them the other day and didn’t have any almond flour left. I was not going out to the store for it either, so I experimented with ground oats. It worked just as well as the almond flour, and it’s cheaper! I used the same technique as my banana bread recipe: put 1 1/4 cup oats in the blender/food processor and grind until it forms a powder like flour. Substitute in the recipe for the almond flour.

Vegan Living by Danielle | Easy PB Cookie Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of almond/oat flour
  • 1/2 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter (if PB doesn’t have salt, add 1/4 tsp salt)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • a few Tbsp of unrefined sugar (to roll dough in)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper, or use a stone cookie sheet like I have.
  2. Mix flour, peanut butter, and syrup with a wooden spoon until smooth.
  3. Take chunks of the dough and roll the dough in your palms to make 1-inch cookie dough balls.
  4. Put sugar on a plate and roll each cookie dough ball until covered in sugar.
  5. Evenly space the cookie dough balls on the cookie sheet.
  6. Squish the cookie dough ball down with a fork in an “x.”
  7. Bake for 8 minutes. They do not need more time or they will be very dry.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from cookie sheet.
  9. Allow to cool completely on a plate.

Enjoy!

Recipes, Uncategorized

Wheat-Free Banana Bread

Vegan Living by Danielle | Wheat-Free Banana Bread

These banana bread muffins are so satisfying and delicious! I don’t feel guilty eating them either because all the ingredients are healthy (in moderation).

If you want the bread to be gluten-free, make sure that the oats are certified gluten-free. Sometimes oats are mixed with other, non-wheat, grains.

Some people are, but I’m not a huge fan of the hint of coconut flavor, so I love to use butter flavored coconut oil in the batter and to grease the pan too! Vegetable oil is another oil you could substitute for coconut oil.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-size ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and 3/4 + 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease or line muffin tin or pan.
  2. In a mixing bowl, mash the 2 bananas.
  3. Mix in peanut butter, nut milk, syrup, coconut oil, and vanilla. (Highly recommend adding the peanut butter first. I dropped it in after the milk and syrup…things got messy.)
  4. Use a blender or food processor to grind the 1 and 3/4 cup oats to a very coarse flour as shown below. (Finer flour will yield a final product with a gummy texture.)

Vegan Living by Danielle | Oats for Banana Bread

  1. Mix the coarse oat flour, the 1/2 cup whole oats, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the batter.
  2. Once you have a relatively smooth batter, mix in chocolate chips!
  3. Scoop into your pan or muffin tin.
  4. Use a spatula or knife to spread the batter across the pan. (It doesn’t need to be perfect, just get it into all the corners.)
  5. Cook the bread for 30 minutes, muffins for 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the muffins. (I cooked my 6 large muffins for 20 minutes.)
  6. Check if the middle of the bread is cooked with a toothpick or fork.
  7. Set bread to cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
  8. If you greased the pan instead of using a liner, use a fork or knife to carefully remove the bread from the pan.

Enjoy!