Thursday, February 16, 2017

Vegan Thai Meatballs with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Can everything in life be easy? Seriously though! I feel like life has been a lot of work these days ... and by life, I mean feeding a family of six and try to have everyone happy (at least content) about dinner. Sounds impossible right? Yup, it is.

Then, like a full moon, a recipe comes along (in my case, usually by accident) that everyone loves dinner and it was super easy to make and even more importantly, to clean up!

Vegan Thai Meatballs with Spicy Peanut Sauce

To make a short story long, that is how Vegan Thai Meatballs came into our lives. The kids were getting whinny and I realized that dinner was just a short 20 minutes away and I had nothing prepped and no idea what I was making. I turned the oven on, grabbed a can of beans and then stared at an empty fridge. I hardly had any vegetables or anything fresh ... just a little bit of leftover chopped cilantro and asparagus. Ugh!

I went back to the pantry, grabbed the peanut butter and panko and figured I might as well make a burger. I quickly threw everything into a food processor, said a little prayer and braced myself for the crying that was sure to come when they realized they did not want to try new food.

Much to mine and Paul's surprise, they all loved it. I mean seriously ... it's peanut butter, which they love but is more reason for them to pretend they don't! Paul then asked, "What did you put in these?" That's when the real panic set in. I was in such a rush, I had no idea what the complete list of ingredients was, let alone amounts.

I made them the following week (of course, the kids didn't love them as much as the first time because, c'mon, they're kids!), but Paul and I still loved them and they were even better once I payed attention to what I was doing. Even though the kids go back and forth if they like these or not, I love how amazingly easy they are to make and how many meatballs it makes for the time I don't have to put into dinner. Leftovers are always great in my house!

Vegan Thai Meatballs with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Vegan Thai Meatballs

Makes about 24

1 15-oz c chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 c peanut butter
1/4 c tamari or Mrs. Braggs Amino Acids
1/4 cup cilantro
1 garlic clove
1 t minced ginger
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/2 c peanuts, roasted and salted
1/4 c chives, chopped
1/2 c panko (regular or gluten free)

Spicy Peanut Sauce
1/3 c peanut butter
1/3 c tamari or Mrs. Braggs Amino Acids
2 T organic, unrefined coconut oil (add more oil if you want a thinner dip)
dash of red pepper flakes ... add to your spicy liking

Preheat oven for 375ยบ.

Mix all meatball ingredients in your food processor until the mixture is relatively smooth. Form into meatballs.

Place on a sprayed pan and bake for 15 minutes.

While they cooking, mix the spicy peanut sauce ingredients in a bowl or on a stovetop .

Once meatballs are done ... enjoy!

Vegan Thai Meatballs with Spicy Peanut Sauce

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Natural Oral Routine: DIY Toothpaste and Mouthwash

Toothpaste has been a longtime frustration for me. Even when it's 'all natural', there's usually something that I can't pronounce or don't understand. Does that necessarily make it a bad thing ... no, but I just don't like it. Call me anal, call me silly, tell me I'm overthinking it. I doesn't matter, it still bothers me. It's just that plain and simple.

I've made a few toothpastes over the years and never quite loved them. Then I found Earthpaste. Did I finally find a toothpaste of my dreams?! How could it be. A few simple ingredients and my teeth felt great after using it. Even the kids loved their lemon flavor. After about a year of using Earthpaste, I found a problem with it ... the price tag! But I finally found a toothpaste that I loved ... was it worth it?

I should know, you should yell at me ... the best things in life are homemade! If the ingredients are truly that simple, I should be able to make it myself. So, I did. I did a lot of digging about amounts and the reasons why to use some ingredients over others and I finally felt confident. I knew the taste and consistency I wanted.

DIY Toothpaste and Mouthwash

One big concern was the amount of baking soda and clay, I didn't want to harm my teeth. Luckily, I have a few dental hygienist friends that were able to advise me on amounts of ingredients for safety and protection of my teeth. And yes, I know, Earthpaste doesn't use baking soda ... but I like it! Also, xylitol, an ingredient that I never wanted to use before in cooking but I was assured that it helps fight cavities so it is very beneficial in toothpastes.

Let me just admit that the first few batches got tossed! As I always say, my stubbornness pays off and I finally did it. I have been using this toothpaste for just over a year now. My teeth have never felt better and I have had great visits with my dentist!

DIY Toothpaste and Mouthwash

Homemade Clay Toothpaste

5 T calcium powder
5 T coconut oil (organic, unrefined)
2 T baking soda (aluminum free)
2 T xylitol
1 T redmond or bentonite clay
distilled water if it's too thick ... I start out with a Tablespoon at a time, winter I need more than summer since the coconut oil is at a thicker consistency in my house.

Optional: Essential oils or food grade, organic extract. I love peppermint, cinnamon and orange the best! The kids still use lemon. I use about 5-7 drops per batch.

Mix all ingredients except the water and clay until you have a very smooth consistency and it is thoroughly mixed together. Then add the clay and flavoring. Finally add water if you need so it is the right consistency.

I keep mine in a small 4 oz mason jar and use a popsicle stick to scoop it out on my toothpaste.

DIY Toothpaste and Mouthwash

Tea Tree Mouthwash

2 c distilled water
1 t xylitol
2 t calcium powder
5 drops tea tree oil

Mix all in a mason jar. When ready, swish a bit in your mouth and spit out.

DIY Toothpaste and Mouthwash

**Make sure you are using 100% certified therapeutic grade essential oils. Oil Fragrances are already mixed with carrier oils and some have fillers and artificial ingredients.

**Natural remedies do not work for everyone so consult your physician for any concerns. I am far from a dentist, but this toothpaste continues to work for me and I hope they work for you!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Easy Raw Donut Holes

We are packing up to go camping tomorrow. I've got a huge list of stuff to pack, stuff to make, stuff to take care of before I leave, etc., but what do I do ... procrastinate and write a quick blog post!

Every time we travel, I always make energy bites. If the kids need a quick bite in the car or just a snack when we're there these are perfect! Considering we are going to a pumpkin festival, I should be making my Pumpkin Energy Bites, but I don't have pumpkin and I am not taking another trip to the grocery store! Yesterday, at my first trip to the store, I wanted to buy some bagels.

When I got to the checkout line the checkout person told me that I needed to grab two bags in order to buy them ... well, with two kids almost in tears that they needed to go to the bathroom, one kid singing loudly and the baby just smiling like an angel, I decided to forgo the bagels and get some other bakery later. Fast forward to my second trip that day ... I simply forgot!

Now, it's cookin' time and I still want some bakery to take. I'm over the idea of making energy bites as well as some fresh baked goodies so, what do I do but marry the two! I saw a while back the idea of making raw donut holes by using oats and vanilla to give them that doughy flavor. So, as my potatoes and carrots are cooking for Vegan Nacho Cheese (another camping must have), I decided to quickly throw some ingredients in the food processor and make it happen. Simon and I have already ate three!! Now you see why I had to write this, it got me away from eating more.

Easy Raw Donut Holes

Enjoy them as we are and hopefully the rest of the family gets to enjoy them in the great outdoors! By the way, please pray for good weather!! Thanks!

Easy Raw Donut Holes

Raw Donut Holes

Makes about 15

Dough Ingredients

2 c deglet noor dates
1 c cashews
1 oats
2 T maple syrup
2 T vanilla powder
1 t hazelnut extract (or other flavor)
dash of salt

Topping Ideas

Leave Naked
Shredded Coconut
Cocoa & Cinnamon
Cinnamon & Sucanat Sugar

Mix all dough ingredients in a food processor and mix until it is like sand.

Form dough into balls. If it is not sticking, add a little coconut oil.
Roll them into your desired topping and enjoy!

Easy Raw Donut Holes