Holiday Meals for the Entire Family

The holidays are full of memorable events, but nothing brings a family together like food. Sitting down with your loved ones and sharing a meal brings a sense of togetherness and evokes feelings of thankfulness and comfort. It provides the assurance that the people who have gathered with you are full and happy.

Today, cooking a holiday meal that can be eaten by the entire family can be a difficult task. Beliefs, preferences, and allergies can make catering to everyone’s needs frustrating and nearly impossible. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives out there that can be used to make holiday dishes available to almost everyone at your table this year.

Plant-based cooking not only ensures that vegetarians and vegans in your family can enjoy your meal, but it also eliminates dairy, making it okay for anyone who is lactose-intolerant. Plus, it eliminates any type of meat which may be avoided due to someone’s religious beliefs.

While drinks are just as important at the dinner table as the food, you can make sure everyone is catered to this year with an easy to make vegan eggnog.

Vegan Eggnog

Ingredients: 

  • 24 ounces silken tofu (crumbled) 
  • 2 cups of soy milk
  • 2/3 cup turbinado sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 cup water (cold) 
  • 1 cup rum
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 20 ice cubes 
  • Nutmeg for garnishing

Instructions: 

  • Place the tofu, soy milk, sugar, and salt in a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl and whisk in the water, rum, and vanilla extract.
  • You will want to keep the mixture refrigerated until it is ready to be served.
  • When you are ready to serve the eggnog, blend the mix with the ice cubes until frothed 
  • Enjoy! 

A hearty vegan Shepherd’s pie is an excellent way to ensure all your guests are able to enjoy a warm and filling entree this holiday season.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients: 

  • 4 Potatoes 
  • 2 tbsp vegan margarine 
  • ¼ cup unsweetened soy milk 
  • Salt and pepper (to taste) 
  • One onion 
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil 
  • 1 ½ cups vegan ground beef substitute 
  • 1 ¼ cups vegan gravy 
  • ½ cup green peas 
  • ½ cup of corn 
  • ½ tsp garlic powder 
  • Dash of cayenne pepper 

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F 
  • Dice potatoes and chop onions
  • Boil or microwave potatoes until soft 
  • Drain potatoes and mash with vegan margarine and soy milk 
  • Add salt and pepper to add taste 
  • Saute the chopped onions in the vegetable oil 
  • Combine the onions, beef substitute, vegan gravy, peas, corn, garlic powder, and a dash of cayenne pepper in a large mixing bowl and pour into a pie pan 
  • Spread the mashed potatoes over your vegetable mixture 
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes 
  • Enjoy! 

The holidays are full of wonderful sweets, so give vegan gingerbread cookies a try this holiday season to ensure everyone satiates their sweet tooth.

Vegan Gingerbread Cookies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup of vegan margarine 
  • 1 cup of sugar 
  • Egg Replacer for one egg 
  • 1 cup molasses 
  • Two TBSP apple cider vinegar 
  • 5 cups flour 
  • 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 TBSP ginger 
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp cloves 
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg

Instructions:

  • Beat the margarine and sugar together in a large bowl 
  • Add the egg replace, molasses, and apple cider vinegar to the mixture 
  • In a separate bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. 
  • Pour the dry ingredients into the large bowl of wet ingredients and combine well 
  • Let the dough refrigerate for at least two hours to become firm 
  • Preheat the oven to 375 F 
  • Either roll out your dough and cut it into holiday shapes with cookie cutters or form it into ½ inch balls 
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper 
  • Place your cookies on the sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes until done 
  • Enjoy! 

The holidays bring a lot of different people from separate walks of life together. Plant-based options make sure that you are prepared to cater to anyone this holiday season. Feel free to leave a comment below with your favorite go-to holiday dish and make sure to subscribe!

Thanksgiving Turkey Alternative: Baked Chicken

With Thanksgiving around the corner, it is time to begin game-planning your holiday meal. The delicious course usually involves turkey paired with tasty side dishes. But this year, if you are looking for an easier main course, try baked chicken breast. It is often a crowd-pleaser and is easy to cook for first-time hosts.

Ingredients for Baked Chicken Breast: 

  • Four chicken breasts – 150 – 180g, four to six ounces each 
  • Two teaspoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • One and one half tablespoon brown sugar 
  • One teaspoon paprika 
  • One teaspoon dried thyme or oregano or choose another herb that you prefer 
  • One fourth teaspoon garlic powder 
  • One half teaspoon sea salt 
  • One half teaspoon black pepper 
  • Finely chopped fresh parsley for garnish 

Directions for Baked Chicken Breast:

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Cooking Time: 18 minutes | Total Time: 23 minutes

Serving Size: Four servings | Calories: 285 calories per chicken breast 

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F on a standard oven or 390 F on a convection oven. 
  2. Pound the chicken to 0.6” at the thickest part of the chicken by using a rolling pin or meat mallet. This is a key tip for ensuring that the chicken is cooked evenly throughout. 
  3. Mix all of the seasonings. 
  4. Now line the tray with aluminum foil and baking paper (this will help in clean up). Place the chicken upside down on a tray. Drizzle the chicken with one teaspoon olive oil and rub over with your fingers. Sprinkle with seasonings. 
  5. Flip the chicken. Drizzle with one teaspoon olive oil, rub with your fingers, sprinkle the seasoning, and be careful to cover as much of the surface as you can. 
  6. Bake for eighteen minutes or until the surface is a golden color, or if the internal temperature is 165 F, using a meat thermometer. 
  7. Now remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to serving plates. 
  8. Wait about three to five minutes before you put the final garnish of parsley on top. 
  9. Serve with your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes and bread.

Notes Baked Chicken Breast:

For a juicy chicken breast, use a touch of brown sugar in the seasoning. This makes the chicken sweat while it bakes, making a semi-sauce and cooking fast at a high-temperature.

We hope you enjoy our baked chicken breast recipe and would love to hear any feedback!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie Recipe

If you are like us, everywhere we turn, we see something to do with pumpkins: pumpkin decorations, pumpkin pies, pumpkin cupcakes, and pumpkin lattes. The color orange is the perfect fall color since orange is a happy color, and it is that highlighter color that grabs your attention! With the smell of pumpkin spice permeating the air, what better way to celebrate fall than by making a healthy and tasty pumpkin smoothie!

Pumpkin Spice Smoothie

Prep time – 5 Minutes | Cook/Chill Time – 3 hours | Total Time – 3 hours 5 minutes

Serving Size – One Serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 Pitted Dates or 1 to 1 ½ Tbsp of Honey or Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Rolled Oats (Gluten-Free if Preferred)
  • ¼ to ½ tsp Instant Coffee Granules (If you are unsure about adding coffee, start with ¼ tsp and increase to ½ tsp according to personal preference)
  • ¾ cup Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • ½ Tbsp Almond Butter
  • ¼ tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg

Directions:

  1. The night before, add all ingredients to your blender and make sure you stir them well (you are not blending yet). Cover and place in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours. You can eliminate this step, but soaking the oats overnight- it will make the smoothie creamier.  
  2. When ready to make, blend on high until the oats and dates are fully broken down. Blend until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. If the smoothie is too thick, just add a little almond milk. 
  3. You can enjoy the smoothie cold or warm. To drink warm, add the mixture to a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. If the smoothie becomes too thick when cooking, simply add a splash of almond milk.  

We hope this recipe helps you to kick off the fall season. Happy October!

How to Make a Healthier Mac & Cheese

As everyone knows, macaroni and cheese is known for being a “comfort food” soothing ability! If you love mac and cheese as much as we do, please see our tips below for making a healthier recipe for the family.

Add Vegetables

You will want to add vegetables according to the season. Peas, tomatoes, corn, squash, green beans, and almost any other vegetable make the perfect topping for the mac and cheese. The wonderful golden cheese is the perfect backdrop for hiding a few veggies for picky children. You are also adding fiber and delightful nutrients to the golden mac and cheese!

Switch out Your Pasta 

Normally, mac and cheese in a prepackaged box contain refined pasta. Switch this out with a whole wheat pasta to increase fiber, minerals, and vitamins. You can also add chickpeas to increase plant-based proteins. 

Use Different Cheeses

As you know, a ton of fat and cholesterol are in a prepackaged mac and cheese. If you choose to use a cheese that is lower in fat or even use a little bit of cottage cheese to fill in, is a great way to reduce the saturated fat and cholesterol in your side dish.

Add to Your Sauce

Now, pull out your food processor and puree some veggies like cauliflower and carrots. This is a perfect way to sneak veggies into the good ole mac and cheese! Again, you are adding fiber and nutrients without the little ones noticing.

Use Other Milk

This is a no brainer, instead of using whole milk try adding a milk alternative like almond, soy or coconut milk. Do not use heavy cream; try substituting half and half for the cream sauce.

Avoid Adding Meats

Do not add hotdogs or bacon to your mac and cheese. You will eliminate a ton of calories, fat, and cholesterol in doing so. Again, only add good things like vegetables for the perfect mac and cheese.

Do Not Bake Your Mac & Cheese

Typically, when we bake mac and cheese, we add additional cheese and breadcrumbs to the top, so it is best not to do this. Simply make your mac and cheese in a handy skillet to eliminate the extra cheese and breadcrumbs. You will cut down on lots of calories and fat when doing so.

We hope you enjoyed these tricks and happy cooking!