Okay, so I watched Cowspiracy and decided that I should continue to avoid meat for sure. If you haven't watched it yet- you should. I am naturally not a "milk and eggs person" so the idea of being vegan isn't too far of a stretch for me. I have always liked fruits and veggies. I come from a Spanish and Italian background, and I am not going to lie- that food tastes good! It's true. I agree and let's be honest. You've probably had vegan/vegetarian dishes served up that were "healthy" and "good for you" yet, tasted like door knobs. I know, me too unfortunately. It doesn't have to be that way. I have had (and made) some fantastic dishes that have impressed even the most hardcore carnivores.
Since going vegetarian/vegan, however, I couldn't help but wonder if the Holidays would be as much fun without all the whoop-dee-do fancy food dishes. That is exactly what inspired me to write this post and why I decided to make this Thanksgiving just as festive and fun filled as any of the best ones I have experienced. I will be making healthy food that people can't wait to dig into!
This year I found two great idea's to set my creative gears in motion. I will start off this season with these mini vegan pot pies. I will make the vegan pie dough from scratch and may even try this recipe right here with some added creative tweaks. I am not going to stop there though. What about stuffing and mashed potatoes? Check these highlighted links! I want to surprise my husband with an awesome vegan dessert too! So, I am looking into something in the line of this salted date caramel pie right here. Yum! Right? Here's some more great ideas for side dishes to really rev it up (click links)! Here's a vegan green bean casserole recipe too.
Why go vegetarian? Well, it's common knowledge that Americans are over weight. In fact, the U.S.A. was noted to be one of, if not the top in having some of the most unhealthy people on the planet. Scary right? Eating a heavy meat diet is not good for your heart. We simply do not eat balanced in this country. I want to live as long and healthy as possible. Don't you?
I admit that it's a little bit more work to be creative when you want to be healthy, so you don't get bored, but I will also tell you that looking good in your clothes, isn't quite as much fun as looking good out of them! Did you know that a plant based diet can improve your sex life? Especially people that juice in the mornings? A study came out that showed better sexual function from non-meat eaters vs: meat eaters. That's reason enough right there in my book. They also showed more attraction for various reasons. You can read about those reasons right here.
So, while I love the holidays and getting together and creating a great atmosphere by lighting our Me & a Tree Candles that are soot-free and smell amazing, I also like feeling good after I eat a good meal on the holidays. If I pass out right after I eat a heavy fatty meal, then I miss out on all the fun! This year my staff is also going vegan, and we think these ideas on the links above and below are inspiring.
What will you be cooking up? Need inspiration? Make what we're making! Love, good eats and happy memories- that will last a lifetime...
Michelle Me & a Tree
Artisan Bath & Beauty Formulator
Pot Pie Recipes Below
Author: Minimalist Baker
- 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 4 Tbsp non-dairy, unsalted butter (I use Earth Balance)
- 1 cup unsweetened PLAIN almond milk + 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Add cold butter and use fingers or a pastry cutter to combine the two until only small pieces remain and it looks like sand. Work quickly so the butter doesn’t get too warm.
- Make a well in the dry ingredients and, using a wooden spoon, stir gently while pouring in the almond milk mixture 1/4 cup at a time. You may not need all of it. Stir until just slightly combined – it will be sticky.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface, dust the top with a bit of flour and then very gently turn the dough over on itself 5-6 times – hardly kneading.
- Form into a 1-inch thick disc, handling as little as possible.
- Use a 1-inch thick dough cutter or a similar-shape object with sharp edges (such as a cocktail shaker) and push straight down through the dough, then slightly twist. Repeat and place biscuits on a baking sheet in two rows, making sure they just touch – this will help them rise uniformly. Gently reform the dough and cut out one or two more biscuits – you should have 7-8.
- Next brush the tops with a bit more of melted non-dairy butter and gently press a small divot in the center using two fingers. This will also help them rise evenly, so the middle won’t form a dome.
- Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until fluffy and slightly golden brown. Serve immediately. Let remaining biscuits cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or bag.
- 3/4 cup chopped yellow onion (~ 1/2 medium onion)
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 cups veggie broth (vegan friendly, such as Orrington farms)
- 2 cups frozen mixed vegetables (corn, green beans, carrots | or sub fresh)
- 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
- ~1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour (or sub other thickener of choice)
- 2 bay leaves
- sea salt and black pepper
- 1 batch Best Damn Vegan Biscuits (or sub store-bought, pie crust, or puff pastry)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan over medium heat, then add onion and garlic and a pinch of salt – stir. Cook until soft – about 7 minutes.
- Add the flour and stir with a whisk, then slowly whisk in the broth.
- Add almond milk, bay leaves and stir. Simmer until the mixture is thickened (about 10 minutes). If it still appears too thin, scoop out 1/2 cup of the broth and add 1-2 Tbsp more flour and whisk. Add back into the pot to thicken. Wait a few minutes, then repeat if necessary.
- While the sauce is thickening, prepare biscuits (if using). Cut out, leave unbaked, and set aside.
- Once the sauce is thickened, add the frozen vegetables and cook for 4-5 more minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper if needed.
- Discard the bay leaves and divide the mixture evenly between 5-6 lightly greased ramekins or a 8×8 baking dish. Top with vegan biscuits and brush the tops of the biscuits with melted vegan butter. Set your 8×8 dish or ramekins on a baking sheet to catch overflow and bake until the biscuits are golden brown and the filling is bubbly (about 14-17 minutes). Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- If making ahead of time, simply spoon the cooked veggie mixture into your ramekins or dish, top with uncooked biscuits, and freeze. When ready to prepare, preheat oven to 425 degrees and cook until the biscuits are golden brown and the mixture is bubbly – roughly 20-30 minutes.
Makes a 9 inch pie or tart pan
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp almonds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds (or use coconut flakes)
2 Tbsp flax seed meal or hemp seeds or coconut flakes
1.5 Tbsp cocoa powder (omit for less chocolatey pie:))
3/4 cup coconut flakes, small flakes
1/8 tsp salt
8 soft medjool dates
1.5 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp or more almond milk
Salted Caramel Layer:
1 cup soft medjool dates, 11 dates (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes)
2 Tbsp almond butter or other nut butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 cup almond milk or other non dairy milk
1/4 tsp fine sea salt (less for less salty caramel)
Chocolate Mousse layer:
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
1 3 oz bar 70% dark Theo chocolate or about 2/3 cup vegan semi sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp almond butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
Soak the dates, for the salted caramel layer in hot water, so they soak for the 15 minutes while you make the crust and topping.
Crust: Process the almonds until coarse meal in a food processor or blender. Add seeds, cocoa, dates, 1/4 cup coconut flakes, salt and pulse until the dates are incorporated well. Add the rest of the coconut flakes, vanilla, maple, almond milk and process until doughy. Add more almond milk or maple if needed and mix a bit your hands. Press the dough onto the pan. You can also make this into bars. Press the dough into a parchment lined 9 by 5 inch or smaller rectangle pan. For variations: Use more almonds or coconut to replace the seeds.
Drain the soaked dates. Puree all te ingredients+soaked dates listed under salted caramel to combine into a smooth puree. blend for a couple of cycles so the dates blend well. Taste and adjust sweet and salt(add maple or stevia if you like it sweeter). Spread on the crust.
Heat coconut milk until it just about starts to bubble and add to a bowl. Add the chocolate and whisk to melt. Briskly whisk in the rest of the ingredients to aerate the mixture. Pour onto the caramel. Tap the pan to spread evenly.
Freeze until set (a few hours), then slice and serve! The pie stays soft and well for weeks kept frozen. Cover the pie pan and freeze so that the top layer doesn’t dry out.
for more directions check out the link in my blog above.