Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

 

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I love a good pasta salad! On the first day of fall, with cooler temps ushering in the season, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try a new one.

This Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad makes a great meal or side dish. The recipe fills a large bowl so you can save the leftovers for the next day.

This vegan dish is rich in flavor, with lots of veggies to create a variety of tastes and textures and pops of color. And, it comes together quickly.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad title meme

What’s In This Pasta Dish?

I adapted this recipe from The Mediterranean Dish and what I love about it is how adaptable it is.

Because I’m gluten free, the first change I made was to switch to gluten free pasta. I used brown rice rotini. If you are not gluten sensitive, use regular pasta. Not sure if gluten is affecting you? Check out the symptoms of gluten intolerance HERE.

In addition to the pasta, the dish includes crunchy green bell pepper, red onion, cherry tomatoes and fresh basil. And to give it that Mediterranean flavor, toss in marinated artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I also added shredded plant based mozzarella cheese, for creaminess.

And finally, Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad has an easy homemade dressing to finish it off.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad plated

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad full of veggies and flavor
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mediterranean
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

Dressing

  • 1/4 cup high quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Rice Vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minces
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp dried red pepper optional
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • 16 ounces gluten free rotini may use regular rotini
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup pitted black olives
  • 1/2 cup chopped pepperoncini may use sliced banana peppers
  • 1 cup shredded plant based mozzarella cheese optional
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

Instructions
 

Dressing

  • In small mason jar, combine all dressing ingredients. Cap, shake well and store in refrigerator while prepping pasta salad. Dressing may be made the night before and stored in refrigerator until ready to use.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

  • In a large pot, bring 8 cups of salted water to a boil. Add rotini, stir and bring back to boiling. Lower heat and cook until tender.
  • While pasta cooks, dice green pepper and red onion, halve cherry tomatoes and chop fresh basil. Set ingredients aside in a small bowl.
  • Drain marinated artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Set aside in another small bowl.
  • When pasta is tender, drain but do not rinse.
  • In a large bowl, add the plant based shredded mozzarella cheese, if using. Dump warm pasta on top of cheese. Add diced veggies and artichoke hearts, black olives and pepperoncini. Combine all ingredients, gently. Pour dressing over pasta salad. Stir to coat pasta. Serve warm. Or chill and serve cold. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. Makes 6 - 8 servings.
Keyword Gluten Free, Mediterranean Pasta Salad, Pasta Salad

 

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ingredients

Helpful Tips

Tips for making this pasta salad.

Make dressing ahead of time, up to 24 hours prior, if desired. Add other seasonings if you want. I highly recommend Nina’s Olivar Almeria Gold Olive Oil, a superior quality oil from Spain. Link to order from Amazon at end of post. This full flavor olive oil is my absolute favorite!

There are a variety of gluten free pastas available, made from brown rice or chickpeas or vegetables.

You may use any color of fresh pepper. I chose a green bell pepper however red or yellow peppers work well too. And try a yellow onion or chopped green onions instead of the red onion, if desired. If fresh basil seems to strong for you, substitute fresh Italian parsley…or add both!

Swap kalamata olives for the black olives, banana peppers for the pepperoncini and plain artichoke hearts for marinated. Omit the red pepper, dried or flakes, if you don’t want any heat. I found 1/4 teaspoon just right, however I like a little spiciness.

And finally, omit the shredded plant based cheese, if desired. I felt it added creaminess to the pasta salad but it’s not really necessary.

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad

The Taste Test

I served up the pasta salad warm, immediately after gently combining all ingredients.

This Mediterranean salad was SO good, full of flavor in every delicious bite. I loved the combination of fresh, crunchy veggies with the softer artichoke hearts, olives and pepperoncini. I won’t change a thing, the next time I make it. And I will definitely make this pasta salad again.

The best part…I have leftovers in the fridge, for tomorrow’s lunch. I’ll see how the salad is cold. I expect it to taste just as good and maybe even better, with all the flavors mingling overnight.

Do you enjoy pasta salads? Do you prefer to eat them warm or cold?

Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad plated
Gluten Free Mediterranean Pasta Salad ready to eat

 


 

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Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats

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February is American Heart Month. It serves as a reminder to take care of our hearts by adopting proactive practices that prevent coronary disease. Check out Heart Health Tips, for ways you can live a healthier life.

Oats support heart health. They provide necessary fiber and reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL cholesterol and protecting against oxidation.

I’ve eaten oatmeal since my childhood. Recently I upped my game. I tried overnight oats for the first time. And today, I made my first batch of baked oats. You will love this delicious lemon blueberry baked oats recipe. And it is plant based, of course!

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats title meme

The Goodness of Oats

A bowl of hot oatmeal, on a frosty morning, starts the day right. However, I love variety and trying new things. Overnight oats offer convenience and endless possibilities. Click the link above for the basic recipe. Then create fun and flavorful overnight oats using different fruits and additions.

Baked oats offer even more options. And they are so good they double as breakfast or a healthy snack. I love blueberries, however substitute blackberries, strawberries or raspberries if desired. Or swap out the berries and lemon for diced apples and cinnamon.

I used gluten free oats. If you don’t have a gluten sensitivity, regular oats are fine. This recipe is vegan and refined sugar free. I adapted it from several recipes that I discovered online.

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats ready to eat

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats

This versatile recipe comes together in minutes and delivers a delicious flavor combo.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups gluten free oats
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup dairy free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries or substitute frozen blueberries
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 4 tsp lemon extract
  • 4 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tsp baking powder

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place oats in a bowl. Add boiling water and stir to combine. Allow oats to soak for two minutes.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Stir gently to combine. Spoon mixture into an 8X8 lightly greased baking dish.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean or mostly clean. Serve warm with a spoonful of dairy free yogurt. Store left overs in fridge and reheat or eat cold. Makes 4 servings.
Keyword Baked Oats, Blueberry, Lemon

 

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats into the oven
Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats – ready to go into the oven

Tips for Making Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats

Oats are naturally gluten free. However, they are typically processed in facilities with other products that contain gluten. Look for packages of oats that specify gluten free, meaning they were prepped in a facility without contamination with other products.

Substitute frozen blueberries for fresh, if desired. Likewise, substitute fresh lemon zest for lemon extract. The lemon flavoring is subtle and pairs well with the semi-tart blueberries. Adjust maple syrup for more or less sweetness. I used four tablespoons, with a mildly sweet result. And I buy the Silk brand dairy free yogurt at my local Walmart neighborhood market.

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats out of the oven
Fresh from the oven, lemon blueberry baked oats.

The Test Taste

I tested the recipe this afternoon, after lunch. Greg and I didn’t wait for breakfast time tomorrow. We chose to sample the lemon blueberry baked oats fresh from the oven. Greg added a dollop of frozen coconut whip to his bowl of baked oats and I spooned on a small amount of dairy free vanilla yogurt.

The recipe receives a thumbs up from both of us! It tastes as good as it smells, as it bakes. The texture is soft and slightly chewy with a hint of sweetness. And that lemon blueberry combo is perfect!

I know what’s for breakfast tomorrow. I’ll warm up the baked oats and savor them again. What a wonderful, healthy breakfast for cold winter mornings. I look forward to trying different versions such as apple cinnamon.

Have you made baked oats yet?

Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats spoonful of goodness
Lemon Blueberry Baked Oats – a spoonful of goodness

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Vegan Overnight Oatmeal

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For the last four and a half years, my daily breakfast consists of celery juice and a fruit smoothie. At least, most of the time it does. Occasionally, during the colder winter months, I’ll substitute a bowl of hot oatmeal for the smoothie.

I grew up eating stick-to-your-ribs oatmeal, with added milk and sweetener. As one who avoids animals products, sugar and gluten, my oatmeal today is healthier. Gluten free oats, no sugar and no dairy milk. For convenience I typically use packets of organic, gluten free oatmeal.

For several years I’ve wanted to try vegan overnight oatmeal, a breakfast recipe prepared the night before and then popped into the refrigerator until morning. I finally did so, with the awareness that January is National Oatmeal Month. Last night I prepped my first two vegan overnight oatmeal jars and Greg and I enjoyed them for breakfast this morning, after our celery juice.

They are so easy to make.

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal title meme

 

Simple Wholesome Ingredients

After researching overnight oatmeal I discovered the basic recipe consists of two ingredients: oatmeal, in my case gluten free, and a liquid. I used plant based milk.

Oatmeal

Start with half a cup of rolled oats, also considered the “old fashioned” kind of oatmeal. I prefer gluten free oats, due to a gluten sensitivity. If you tolerate regular oatmeal, use that. (Not sure if you are gluten intolerant? Check out these eight symptoms.)

Plant Based Milk

Add two thirds cup of plant based milk of choice. I used unsweetened almond milk. Unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond/coconut milk works too.

The combined milk and oats chilling overnight creates a creamy, ready to eat oatmeal by morning, as the oats absorb the milk.

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal into the fridge
Vegan Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal ready to go into the fridge.

Add Additional Ingredients

After combining the two main ingredients, the fun begins. Add fresh berries, bananas or other fruit, about one fourth to half a cup. Include walnuts or pecans…a couple of tablespoons. Love raisins? Add those. Any kind of fruit, chopped into small pieces works.

If using apples, add a half teaspoon of cinnamon. Need a little sweetening? Skip the processed sugar. Add chopped dates or a spoonful of pure maple syrup.

Chia seeds add protein and help the oats set up. Sugar free nut butters add flavor and protein as well. Play around with the foods that you like and create your own delicious flavor combos. Just start with half a cup of uncooked rolled oats and two thirds cup of plant based milk as the base.

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal prepped
Prepped vegan overnight oatmeal…apple cinnamon and blueberry.
Vegan Overnight Oatmeal Blueberry

Vegan Blueberry Overnight Oatmeal

This quick breakfast comes together in minutes and then sets up in the refrigerator overnight.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Servings 1 Serving

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 2/3 cup unsweetened plant based milk such as almond
  • 2 tsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries

Instructions
 

  • Combine oats and plant based milk in a container such as a small mason jar or bowl. Stir well.
  • Add remaining ingredients. Stir to combine. Cover container with lid or cloth and chill at least four hours in the refrigerator.
  • In the morning, stir oatmeal. Heat, if desired, in microwave for one minute. Or warm in pan on the stove. Or eat oatmeal cold. Add additional fruit for topping, if desired. Makes one serving.
Keyword Overnight Oatmeal, Vegan

 

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal ready to eat
Vegan overnight oatmeal chilled and ready to eat.

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal Tips

For the apple cinnamon oatmeal, I made the recipe the same as the blueberry except that I added half a teaspoon of cinnamon and replaced the blueberries with half a cup of chopped apple. Next time I’ll toss in a tablespoon of chopped walnuts.

These 8 ounce mason jars, with lids, are the perfect containers.

For creamier oatmeal, use a bit more milk. Or slightly reduce the amount of liquid and add two or three tablespoons of plant based yogurt.

Try fun combinations such a banana and peanut butter oatmeal or mixed berries and unsweetened shredded coconut or chocolate and almonds. Use two to three tablespoons of cocoa powder. How about pumpkin oatmeal? Add one third cup of pumpkin puree, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and a tablespoon each of pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries.

Eat the oatmeal cold, straight from the fridge or warm it to take the chill off. You don’t need to cook the oatmeal, just warm it. I placed my blueberry oatmeal in the microwave for 6o seconds.

Delicious Breakfast

I enjoyed the vegan overnight oatmeal this morning for breakfast! It was creamy and delicious with semi-tart pops of blueberry flavor. And vegan style, overnight oats are healthy too and just as filling, I discovered, as the steaming bowls of oatmeal my mother made.

Although I’ll continue to drink a fruit smoothie most mornings, the overnight oatmeal is perfect for a weekend breakfast. I look forward to trying out a variety of flavor combos!

Have you tried overnight oats?

Vegan Overnight Oatmeal Blueberry
Vegan blueberry overnight oatmeal.

Make Vegan Overnight Oatmeal with these finds from Amazon:

 


 

 

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Vegan Spinach Lasagna

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Prior to becoming plant based, I made a mean lasagna. Loaded with four cheeses, a homemade meat sauce, eggs, and wheat noodles, this lasagna took hours to make. It tasted good to me back then, although now I cringe when I think about what I fed my body.

I haven’t eaten lasagna for more than four years…until this past Christmas Day. One of my 63 birthday activities, the words on this slip of paper read “Create a new dish for Christmas dinner”. I’d already decided to look for a vegan lasagna recipe. I found one, from Simply Quinoa, that I adapted slightly. Check out the original recipe HERE.

I LOVED this easy to prepare vegan spinach lasagna. Read on for the recipe and tips on making this dish for your next special meal or weekend dinner.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna title meme

Vegan Spinach Lasagna Recipe

Simple to make and absolutely delicious, this lasagna features gluten free noodles, fresh spinach, store bought marinara sauce and two vegan cheeses made from almond milk.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna ready to eat

Vegan Spinach Lasagna

Quick and easy vegan spinach lasagna is perfect for a weekend or special meal
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pkg gluten free lasagna noodles
  • 8 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 15 oz jar marinara sauce (I use sugar free)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan ricotta
  • 1 bag shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large pan, add gluten free lasagna noodles to boiling water. Return to a boil for 2 minutes, cover and turn off heat. Let set for 14 minutes. Drain and run cold water over cooked noodles.
  • While noodles cook, wilt spinach. Place spinach in a large pan or skillet, add a couple of tablespoons of water and cook and stir over medium high heat. Spinach will wilt and reduce in volume. Remove from heat.
  • In a 9X13 pan, add a small amount of marinara sauce to bottom of pan. Layer rest of ingredients: lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese, shredded cheese, spinach, Italian seasoning, sauce. Continue to layer (I made three layers), ending with marinara sauce and the last of the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 35 - 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let lasagna stand for 10 minutes. Cut and serve. Makes 8 large servings.
Keyword Spinach Lasagna, Vegan

Tips for Making Vegan Spinach Lasagna

The Spinach

I’ve made this lasagna twice already. It’s that good. Both times I wilted the spinach, which is very easy to do and takes about a minute. I purchase a large bag of fresh spinach. The last time I prepared the recipe, I divided the spinach into two batches and wilted each separately. It was easier to manage the spinach that way. The spinach really does reduce in size as it wilts. Drain any liquid off before layering.

 

Vegan Spinach Lasagna fresh
Fresh spinach ready to wilt.
Vegan Spinach Lasagna wilted
Wilted spinach for vegan spinach lasagna.

Assembling the Lasagna

Layering the lasagna is the fun part. With the ingredients listed above, I’m able to make three layers. Adding a small amount of sauce in the bottom of the pan keeps the noodles from sticking.

I use gluten free brown rice noodles. My favorite marinara sauce is the Paul Newman brand. It’s sugar free and available at Wal-Mart or health conscious grocery stores. And I purchase both vegan cheeses at Natural Grocers.

Doing the layers, I’ve found one package of gluten free brown rice noodles is perfect. Assemble the ingredients, spreading them out as you layer, and finish with the last of the marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. No need to cover the dish when baking.

Vegan Spinach Lasagna ready to bake
Vegan Spinach Lasagna – ready to bake
Vegan Spinach Lasagna baked
Vegan Spinach Lasagna out of the oven.

The Taste Test

I served this lasagna at a very small family Christmas dinner. We all loved it, even the non-vegans. In fact, I believe I like it better than my old lasagna that I used to make, and that’s saying something!

The vegan cheese is not heavy and yet adds a creaminess to the dish. And I love the added spinach. It adds a wonderful flavor plus it’s so good for me. Best of all, I like that this recipe comes together quickly…prepped, baked and ready to eat in about an hour.

I could easily eat this lasagna every week! Served with steamed or roasted veggies and a big chopped salad, it makes a filling and satisfying meal. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe too!

Vegan Spinach Lasagna ready to eat
Vegan Spinach Lasagna – ready to eat

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Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup

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I love soup! I used to say I could easily exist on soup, bread and diet soda. My health didn’t agree with that statement. I first eliminated soda from my life. Read about soda’s negative impact on the body HERE.

Then, when I embraced a plant based lifestyle more than four years ago, I discovered that I have a gluten sensitivity. I stopped eating regular bread, although I now occasionally enjoy the gluten free version. Soup is still good, though, right?

That depends! Soups containing meat, egg, gluten or dairy products no longer simmer on my stove. Fortunately, however, there is a rich variety of wonderful, hearty, healthy soups available that are plant based, gluten free and dairy free.

Check out this amazingly easy vegan tortilla soup. It’s perfect for chilly winter evenings.

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup title meme

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup

I loved chicken tortilla soup, before becoming plant based. After eliminating meat from my diet, I gave up tortilla soup because I couldn’t find it offered without the chicken. When this recipe popped up on Pinterest, I knew what was on the menu for dinner tonight!

This easy vegan tortilla soup is adapted from a recipe by Midwest Foodie. Check out the original recipe HERE. The flavorful soup comes together in minutes and uses items commonly found in the pantry. Canned goods speed up the cooking process, lentils add protein and heartiness and canned coconut milk makes the soup creamy. And no worries, the coconut milk does not add coconut flavor to the soup.

In less than 30 minutes, I was ladling this soup into bowls.

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup simmer
Easy vegan tortilla soup simmering on the stove.
Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup with chips

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup

This flavorful vegan soup comes together quickly.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 20 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 15 oz can black beans, drained
  • 1 15 oz can whole corn, non GMO, drained
  • 1 15 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup red lentils
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 13.5 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tsp sea salt + black pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a soup pot or dutch oven, saute diced onions in olive oil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, for approximately 3 - 4 minutes.
  • Add garlic, cumin and chili powder and stir and saute for 1 minute.
  • Add black beans, corn, tomatoes, vegetable broth, tomato juice, lentils, salt and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until lentils are cooked through. Season with black pepper and more salt, if needed.
Keyword Tortilla Soup, Vegan

Tortilla Soup Making Tips

The easy vegan tortilla soup was ready in minutes. I checked the soup after five minutes and gave it another five minutes of simmering time for a total of ten minutes.

Use store bought organic vegetable broth or make your own broth HERE. I use organic 100% tomato juice from WR Knudsen however any tomato juice is fine. You can even use V-8 for extra flavor. Don’t have juice on hand? Four cups of vegetable broth is fine or swap out the veggie broth for all tomato juice. This recipe is very adaptable.

If you don’t have red lentils on hand, brown or green lentils work too. Just check soup after five minutes of simmering time, for doneness.

Garnish soup with non GMO tortilla chips. I like these from Xochitl . Late July makes an excellent non GMO chip as well. You can also top soup with vegan cheese, vegan sour cream, chopped green onions or diced jalapeno peppers.

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup ready to eat
Easy vegan tortilla soup is ready to eat in under 30 minutes.

The Taste Test

I loved this soup before I even tasted it. It smelled right! And my nose was correct. This easy vegan tortilla soup is wonderful with the perfect spice level. It has the tortilla soup flavor without the chicken or dairy products.

The non GMO tortilla chips, which happened to be unsalted, added the perfect crispiness.

I have leftovers for tomorrow. I’m excited about that. However, I’ll make this soup often. Perhaps I’ll never run out of tortilla soup. I hope you enjoy it too!

Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup with chips
Easy vegan tortilla soup with non GMO chips.

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Vegan Egg Nog

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There’s something about the holiday season that triggers my desire for a good cup of egg nog. During my childhood, my mother served us her homemade egg nog around Christmas time, alcohol free of course. I seem to carry a timed memory of that delicious drink and when December arrives, that desire for egg nog returns.

As an adult, I’ve enjoyed simple egg nogs made by combining the store bought drink with a splash of rum. However, since choosing the plant based lifestyle four and a half years ago, I’ve not known how to satisfy that longing for the holiday drink.

I’ve tried several non-dairy, egg free “nogs” however none of them really came close to matching the drink from my memories. That is, until this year. I’ve finally found a vegan egg nog that tastes like egg nog! Check it out.

Vegan Egg Nog title meme

What is Egg Nog Anyway?

Traditional egg nog (also spelled eggnog) originated from England. Historically it is a rich, creamy, dairy based drink that contains milk, cream, sugar, nutmeg, whipped egg whites and egg yolks. Brandy, rum, whisky or bourbon are often added to the drink.

Considered a holiday drink, egg nog is consumed from the end of October until the new year. Venezuela and Trinidad enjoy a variation of the drink called Ponche Crema.

The British originally called the drink egg flip, from the practice of rapidly flipping the drink mixture between two pitchers. The term egg nog is actually American, coined in the mid 1700s. It’s a combination of two colonial slang words. Rum was referred to as grog and the drink was served in wooden mugs called noggins. A nog is also a strong ale, so it’s possible that’s where the “nog” derives from.

Vegan Egg Nog ready to drink
Vegan Egg Nog – ready to drink in minutes

Vegan Egg Nog Recipe

This dairy free, egg free, refined sugar free nog is rich, creamy and ready in minutes without cooking.

This recipe is adapted from one I found at Connoisseurus Veg.

Vegan Egg Nog ready to drink

Vegan Egg Nog

Rich and creamy, this nog is dairy and egg free.
Prep Time 5 mins
Total Time 5 mins
Course Drinks
Cuisine American
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 cup unsweetened dairy free milk such as almond milk
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 over ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch sea salt
  • splash of rum, brandy or whisky per serving optional
  • dollop non dairy coconut whipped topping per serving

Instructions
 

  • Combine all ingredients except rum, brandy or whisky and coconut whipped topping in a blender. Blend on high speed until drink is well mixed, thick and creamy.
  • Pour nog into mugs. Add a splash of rum, brandy or whisky to each mug. Add more to taste or omit if desired. Top with a dollop of coconut whipped topping. Sprinkle with nutmeg.
    Makes four servings. Store leftovers in refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Keyword Egg Nog, Vegan
Vegan Egg Nog with coconut whipped topping
Vegan Egg Nog – add coconut whipped topping if desired and a sprinkle of nutmet

The Taste Test

This is the BEST vegan egg nog I’ve tried. I love it. Truly, the drink is smooth, creamy and closely matches the memory I carry of the egg nog from my childhood. The banana adds creaminess and thickens the nog perfectly. And the canned unsweetened coconut milk adds richness. If desired, substitute canned low fat coconut milk however make sure you use the canned milk and not coconut milk from a carton.

I add a splash of rum to my egg nog. It tastes great without it though so omit the alcohol if you want.

I drank a delicious mug full of vegan egg nog and saved the rest of the mixture in the refrigerator. Over the next three days, I enjoyed three more mugs of egg nog, one each evening.

Do you enjoy this traditional drink? If you are looking for a plant based version, give this wonderful vegan egg nog a try during the Christmas season.

Vegan Egg Nog memories
Vegan Egg Nog – this delicious drink reminds me of my childhood

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Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

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October 14 is National Dessert Day. This unique holiday celebrates indulging in the sweets. For many people, dessert is the best part of the meal. Over the years, sweet after dinner treats transformed from simple candied fruits and nuts to more elaborate concoctions. Today anything from store bought cookies to made from scratch pastries to a fancy mousse tower qualifies as dessert.

To participate in this special day, celebrants are encouraged to enjoy a sweet treat.

I decided to seize the opportunity to make a vegan, gluten free treat that didn’t require a lot of prep time.

I found this delightfully simple dessert on Pinterest. Check out the original recipe HERE. With a couple of slight alterations, I made these easy no bake peanut butter chocolate bars in minutes.

Check out my contribution to National Dessert Day!

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars title meme

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

This quick and easy recipe is perfect for an occasional snack. Using just six ingredients, these bars are vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free. And the ingredients are common, in my kitchen. I typically have them on hand.

The peanut butter base combines pure maple syrup, gluten free flour, vanilla and creamy peanut butter. I use a sugar free peanut butter, Crazy Richard’s 100% Peanuts. It’s found in the jelly section at Wal-Mart and health conscious grocery stores.

Any gluten free flour will work. I normally use gluten free oat flour. However, I happened to have on hand a one-for-one gluten free flour so I used that. This brand is Cup4Cup Multipurpose Flour gluten free. A cup of this four replaces a cup of regular flour.

And pure maple syrup makes an excellent substitute for sugar. Tonight I used the Natural Grocer’s house brand.

The topping is unsweetened cocoa powder, coconut oil and pure maple syrup.

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars mixing
Two bowls and six ingredients for easy no bake peanut butter chocolate bars.
Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars

Vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free and dairy free simple dessert.
Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 12 bars

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter I used no sugar added
  • 1 cup gluten free flour such as oat
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla

Chocolate Topping

  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Instructions
 

  • Line a square pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl combine peanut butter, gluten free flour, pure maple syrup and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Press into prepared pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, pure maple syrup and melted coconut oil. Pour topping over peanut butter base, smoothing with a knife.
  • Chill in freezer for 15 minutes to set. Score and cut with a knife. Store left overs in a covered container in the refrigerator. Makes 12 - 16 bars.
Keyword Bars, Chocolate, Gluten Free, No Bake, Peanut Butter, Vegan
Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars
Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars ready to go into the freezer.

The Taste Test

These bars took 10 minutes to prep. I popped them into the freezer and then prepared dinner. So easy!

After dinner, while a cup of peppermint tea steeped, I cut bars to sample. This simple recipe yields a delicious dessert, perfect with my cup of hot tea.

The bars have the consistency of fudge and they are just as rich. One bar satisfies completely. I enjoyed celebrating National Dessert Day with a wonderful treat that does not include guilt or unwanted foods.

I don’t indulge in dessert often. When I do, this is exactly what I want, a simple treat without sugar, dairy, gluten and eggs.

I won’t wait until next October and National Dessert Day, to make these easy no bake peanut butter chocolate bars again!

Do you have a favorite dessert?

Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars tea time
Easy no bake peanut butter bars perfectly complement a cup of peppermint tea.

Try These Other Vegan Desserts:

Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Raw Wild Blueberry Pie

Vegan Gingerbread


 

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9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas

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September brings us Better Breakfast Month, a time to intentionally enjoy that most crucial meal of the day. At least, we grew up hearing about the importance of breaking our long overnight fast. However, most people find it easier to head out for the day without fueling up.

In fact, only about 1/3 of people surveyed say they take the time to eat breakfast. I understand. I’ve been in that skipper category. Busy schedules, oversleeping or simply not intentionally preparing breakfast all contribute to skipping this meal.

Read on to discover why it really is vital to eat breakfast. And check out 9 healthy breakfast ideas.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas title meme

Why Breakfast Is Important

Overall, those who eat breakfast are healthier than those who skip it. They maintain a better weight and have a lower BMI (body mass index).

Starting the day with breakfast reduces hunger, boosts energy and encourages better food choices throughout the day. A healthy breakfast regulates blood sugar levels and curbs overeating later.

Plus including breakfast breaks the body out of the slower metabolic rate it slips into overnight during sleep. Awake, the body needs to get back up to speed and to do that, it requires fuel.

The brain’s supply of energy, in the form of glucose, depletes overnight too. To think clearly and increase concentration, a healthy breakfast is essential.

Ready to up your breakfast game? Try any of these 9 healthy breakfast ideas.

Smoothies & Smoothie Bowls

This is my breakfast of choice, 90% of the time. After drinking a glass of celery juice (read about the benefits of this juice HERE), I make a fruit smoothie for breakfast.

For me, this is the best possible way to refuel my body. Smoothies are easily digested, introducing fructose quickly into the bloodstream for the energy the body needs.

Begin with two bananas in a blender. Add fruit of choice. I primarily use frozen fruit to create a frosty, thicker smoothie. Fill the blender container about half way with filtered water or dairy free milk and blend. For extra health benefits, include spoonfuls of spirulina, Atlantic sea dulse, barley grass juice powder, chaga mushroom powder, plant based protein, flax seeds or chia seeds.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas smoothie
9 healthy breakfast ideas – fruit smoothie

For fun, turn that drink into a smoothie breakfast bowl. Use less liquid to create a thicker smoothie. Pour the mixture into a bowl and then add toppings of choice. Some favorites for me: unsweetened shredded coconut, berries, nuts, chia seeds and sliced fruit.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas smoothie bowl
Turn that smoothie into a smoothie bowl.

Overnight Oats

This simple, nutritious breakfast begins the night before. Easy and versatile, you’ll love the convenience of delicious overnight oats.

Combine in a small mason jar:

  • 1/3 cup gluten free oats
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts
  • 1/3 cup dairy free milk, such as almond or coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup dairy free plain yogurt, such as coconut milk yogurt
  • fresh fruit of choice…berries make an excellent addition
  • add 1 tbsp chia or flax seed, if desired
  • add 1/4 tsp cinnamon if desired

Cover jar and place in the refrigerator the night before. Open and eat right from the jar the next morning.

Search on Pinterest or Google under “overnight oats” to find a variety of tasty recipes.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas overnight oats
9 healthy breakfast ideas – overnight oats

Chia Pudding

Considered a superfood, these little seeds deliver big health benefits. Chia seeds are an excellent source of protein, vitamins E and B complex, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc and iron. They are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than any other food and especially beneficial for chronic inflammation, heart disease, brain function, cancer and autoimmune diseases. Chia seeds also combat diabetes by helping to stabilize and control blood sugar levels.

Chia pudding is so simple to make. Combine 1 cup dairy free milk, such as almond milk, with 1/4 cup of chia seeds in a mason jar or container with a lid. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. Add berries, nuts or sliced fruit and enjoy.

Like overnight oats, searching for chia pudding on Pinterest or Google yields tons of recipes to try.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas chia pudding
9 healthy breakfast ideas – chia pudding

Gluten Free Pancakes

For an occasional Sunday brunch, I enjoy a plate of gluten free pancakes. I’ve tried multiple made-from-scratch recipes. Honestly, I’ve found that the easiest way to make a stack of hotcakes involves a mix.

I love Birch Benders Organic Gluten Free Pancake Mix. Simply add water and make pancakes…two or three or a dozen. Topped with fresh fruit such as strawberries, blueberries or sliced bananas, and a drizzle of organic maple syrup, breakfast feels like a real treat.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas gluten free pancakes
9 healthy breakfast ideas – gluten free pancakes

Fruit Bowl

Another simple…and gorgeous…breakfast option is the fruit bowl. I use whatever fresh fruit I have on hand. A favorite for me combines fresh blueberries, strawberries, blackberries and pitted bing cherries. Any combination of fruit works. Try melons with blackberries, mix together bananas, mangoes and pineapple or pair grapes with papaya. Drizzle organic, locally produced honey over the fruit to sweeten if desired or enjoy the mix of natural flavors.

For convenience, cut up fruit the night before and chill in the fridge.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas fruit bowl
Try any combination of fruits for an easy and colorful breakfast bowl.

Avocado Toast

This popular meal makes a filling and satisfying breakfast.

I toast gluten free bread and top with sliced avocado. The fun doesn’t stop there. Spread on vegan mayo. Add sliced veggies such as radishes or tomatoes. Top with arugula, spinach or sesame seeds. I love a good sprinkle of coarsely ground black pepper on my avocado toast.

This breakfast makes a simple evening meal as well.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas avocado toast
9 healthy breakfast ideas – avocado toast

Apple Porridge & Cooked Apples

Anthony William, author of the Medical Medium books, introduced me to raw apple porridge in Thyroid Healing. See the easy recipe HERE. Filled with dates, raisins and cinnamon this breakfast bowl recipe is delicious.

Inspired, I created a recipe of my own, using my instant pot.

Add 1/4 cup of water to the bottom of the instant pot. On the steaming tray, add two chopped apples, skin on, and a handful of raisins. Sprinkle with cinnamon, lock on lid and steam for one minute. Spoon into bowls and add walnuts or unsweetened shredded coconut. This wonderfully fragrant meal is perfect for chilly winter mornings.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas apples
Cooked apples make a wonderfully healthy breakfast.

Vegan Blueberry Muffins

I typically considered vegan muffins and banana bread a treat, best enjoyed with a cup of afternoon tea. And I prefer to stick to nutrient rich foods to break my fast most of the time. However, for those who love breads for breakfast, vegan muffins and quick breads such as banana, pumpkin and date offer ideal healthy alternatives.

Try these gluten and oil free blueberry mini muffins. They also make great afternoon snacks that complement a cup of hot herbal tea.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas muffins
Vegan muffins make a great healthy alternative to traditional muffins.

Vegan Blueberry Banana Bread

This beautiful loaf is free from gluten, refined sugar, eggs and diary products.

I learned in Anthony’s Liver Rescue book that the fructose in bananas is the liver’s favorite source of food. It provides quick fuel to the liver and wakes up sleepy cells. Bananas soothe the lining of the intestines and also calm the nerves attached to the intestinal tract. This fruit is one of the most antibacterial, anti-yeast, antifungal foods available. It’s a great fruit to combine with other nutrient-rich foods…such as blueberries!

Find the recipe for this amazing bread HERE.

9 Healthy Breakfast Ideas banana blueberry bread
9 healthy breakfast ideas – banana blueberry bread

Don’t Skip Breakfast

I hope these simple ideas for healthy breakfasts encourage you to NOT skip out on the most important meal of the day. Fuel your body, wake it up and enjoy knowing that you’ve given yourself the best possible start to the day.

Check out these helps from Amazon:

 


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I am not a medical practitioner. I study health and wellness related topics and share experiences from my own personal healing journey.

 

Easy Guacamole

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Today is National Guacamole Day! This delicious green dip, featuring avocados, comes together easily and quickly with a few ingredients. Beyond using as a dip for chips, guacamole pairs well with cut up or cooked veggies and makes an excellent topping on salads.

Check out this simple, versatile recipe!

Easy Guacamole title meme

Start With Fresh Avocados

Amazing guacamole starts with fresh avocados. This fruit, often referred to as the mother fruit, possesses a textured inedible skin and a smooth and creamy yellow-green flesh.

Avocados, with their healthy fats, offer wonderful health benefits. They are easy to digest, making them helpful for soothing and healing the digestive tract. Plus their anti-inflammatory properties behave like aspirin, without thinning out the blood. This reduces narrowing and swelling in the linings of the stomach and intestines.

Because of their healthy omega-6 fatty acids, avocados help to heal the brain and central nervous system, alleviating dementia and Alzheimer’s. They also reduce the effects of aging on the skin.

Avocados are high in fiber, nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and contain more potassium than bananas. Combined with other plants, this amazing fruit increases the nutrient value and absorption of those foods.

Easy Guacamole avocados
Start with fresh avocados for easy guacamole.

Easy Guacamole

For this easy guacamole recipe you need:

  • 2 ripe avocados, cut in two, seed and skin removed
  • 1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered or 1/2 cup diced tomato
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin

Mash avocados with a fork or potato masher. Add remaining ingredients, stir gently to combine and serve with gluten free crackers, non GMO corn chips or veggies. Double recipe if needed, for a larger gathering.

Add sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired, or 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper if you enjoy a spicier dip. Or omit the cilantro. To some, cilantro tastes bitter or soapy. If you like it, add it in for the powerful health benefits.

Include a dollop of guacamole in a cooked veggie bowl or on top of a salad. Or for a fun treat, spread guacamole on gluten free toasted bread for a twist on avocado toast.

Store left over guacamole in the refrigerator, with a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap pressed down snugly against the dip. Exposure to air turns guacamole brown.

Easy Guacamole zuchinni
Easy guacamole served with oven fried zucchini.

Extremely Easy Guacamole

And, here is my super easy guacamole recipe. Sometimes, I don’t have a red onion on hand. Or I don’t have time to chop everything up.

For the simplest guacamole ever, mash up one avocado, add a tablespoon of fresh or store bought salsa and stir to combine. That’s it. Add more or less salsa, as desired. Sometimes I add a dash of garlic powder as well.

This is a quick, healthy snack or small meal, served with gluten free crackers or non GMO corn tortilla chips or an assortment of cut up veggies.

Do you have a favorite guacamole recipe? Tell me about it in the comments!

 

National Days, Weeks and Months

I enjoy celebrating unique holidays through out the year. Every day offers multiple holidays or national days to participate in. Plus, there are national weeks and months. Many of these unusual or playful holidays provide fun opportunities to try new things.

Would you like to celebrate these quirky holidays too?

Check out National Day Calendar for lists of holidays associated with each month, week and day.

Amazon Finds to Help Make Easy Guacamole:

 


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Vegan Ramen Noodles

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Most of us have prepared ramen noodles from a package. A staple food of college kids and those new to adulting, ramen noodles make a quick and inexpensive meal. My eleven year old granddaughter loves them!

And I’ve certainly eaten my share of ramen noodles. The thing is, those packaged chicken, beef or shrimp flavored noodles pack a lot of sodium into a serving, along with other not so wholesome ingredients such as MSG and artificial flavors.

Since embracing a plant based lifestyle, a healthier version of ramen noodles ranked high on my list of recipes to try. These easy vegan ramen noodles, adapted slightly from a recipe from The Vegan 8 are amazing!

Vegan Ramen Noodles title meme

What Do You Need to Make Vegan Ramen Noodles?

Let’s start with the basics. What ingredients do you need to make these delicious noodles?

This easy recipe requires only eight ingredients plus salt and pepper. It’s important to include miso, a soy bean based product. I found organic, non GMO mellow white miso in the refrigerator section at Natural Grocer’s.

Vegan Ramen Noodles miso and noodles
Vegan Ramen Noodles – miso and pad Thai noodles

Other essentials include minced ginger and garlic, dried parsley, vegetable broth, Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce and noodles. I could not find gluten free ramen noodles so I substituted brown rice pad Thai noodles and they worked well. I’m ordering gluten free ramen noodles HERE.

Vegan Ramen Noodles

These fast and easy vegan ramen noodles are so much healthier than the packaged variety.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 8 cups low sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 tbsp mellow white miso
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup chopped green onions, separated
  • 9 ounces gluten free ramen or pad Thai noodles
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Add 1/2 cup of the vegetable broth to a large pot. Saute minced ginger and garlic in broth over medium heat. Bring just to a boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, combine another 1/2 cup vegetable broth with the miso. Whisk until smooth. Make sure miso is completely dissolved.
  • Add remaining vegetable broth to soup pot along with miso/broth, parsley, Bragg Liquid Aminos or soy sauce, 1/2 cup of the sliced green onions, salt and black pepper. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Add ramen noodles and cook for 3 minutes more, stirring frequently or add pad Thai brown rice noodles and cook for 4 - 5 minutes, or until noodles are soft.
  • Remove from heat and let noodles sit for a couple of minutes. Serve up ramen noodles in a bowl, topped with sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired. Makes 4 - 6 servings.
Keyword Ramen Noodles, Vegan

 

Vegan Ramen Noodles
Vegan Ramen Noodles – sauting ginger and garlic
Vegan Ramen Noodles miso
Use mellow white miso in Vegan Ramen Noodles.
Vegan Ramen Noodles miso paste
Whisk miso and vegetable broth until smooth.

Serving Up Vegan Ramen Noodles

This recipe came together so quickly! I loved the aroma wafting through the kitchen as the noodles simmered.

Here are my tips:

  • I used minced ginger and minced garlic from a jar. It’s easier than mincing them myself however mince your own if desired.
  • Make your own yummy vegetable broth. It’s a great way to use leftover vegetable scraps. Or use low sodium organic veggie broth from the store.
  • I buy dried parsley in a small bag at Natural Grocer’s. You can find it in the spice section as well.
  • Bragg Liquid Aminos is available at stores like Natural Grocer’s or in most regular supermarkets.
  • To stay gluten free, I used brown rice pad Thai noodles. Any gluten free noodle could be used.

And….how did these freshly prepared vegan ramen noodles taste?

They were SO GOOD! Less sodium than packaged is a plus, especially when combined with such a delicious flavor. The ginger gives the noodles a bit of heat. Reduce amount to one tablespoon if you desire less zing. I found the spice level perfect.

I enjoyed these noodles so much that I’ll make them again soon…like this week.

Let me know if you make these yummy noodles and what you think!

Vegan Ramen Noodles ready to eat
Ready to eat these Vegan Ramen Noodles…with chopsticks of course!

Vegan Ramen Noodles Ingredients from Amazon

 


 

 

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