Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

Naturally Amazing Dressings and Dips for Summer

 

Are you getting enough veggies in your diet? Sorry to have to play Fiber Patrol, but somebody’s got to… right?

One of the things I love and appreciate most about summer is the variety of seasonal vegetables. The farmers market is always overflowing this time of year with a variety of produce and with the heat, I personally love to enjoy my veggies raw.

Today I’m excited to be partnering with French’s Yellow Mustard to bring you four #NaturallyAmazing delicious dressings and dips which are perfect for seasonal picnics and grill-outs!

French’s yellow mustard starts with farm-grown, whole mustard seeds and select herbs and spices (including turmeric). French’s is 100% natural, gluten-free and kosher and it has 0 calories. Unlike some mustards, there’s nothing artificial: no preservatives, fillers or thickeners. French’s is naturally amazing and is the preferred mustard for your favorite summer foods. From flavorful marinades to tangy salad dressings, French’s yellow mustard brings wholesome goodness and fresh taste to your table. Awesome.

Now let’s make some dressings and dips for summer!

This post was brought to you by the makers of French’s Yellow Mustard. I received compensation to write this post through the French’s Naturally Amazing Program, but all opinions expressed here are my own.

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Creamy Cashew Ranch Dressing

Creamy Cashew "Ranch" Dressing

Here we are just on the cusp of summer. In Seattle the days have been long, bright, and sunny. We wait all year for this and I cannot get enough.

I also cannot get enough of Orange Is The New Black at the moment. In case you haven’t heard, it’s that prison show on Netflix and they just released the second season. It’s worth checking out, honestly.

If you watch the show and know what I’m talking about, then I think you’ll appreciate my cat’s best impression of “Crazy Eyes.” He’s pretty good at it, huh?

"Crazy Eyes" Cat

Speaking of things that I can’t get enough of, we definitely have to talk about summer salads. And specifically, salad dressings.

I’m really not a fan of bottled dressings because most of them contain refined oils, sugar, and preservatives. At first it might sound like a lot of work to make your own dressings, but it doesn’t have to be that way. This recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare and it’s actually a source of healthy fats (instead of refined oils).

This recipe uses cashews to create a creamy, healthy dressing combined with garlic and fresh herbs for a yummy mock ranch dressing. I have a feeling this recipe just might change your summer.

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Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Vegan Walnut and Mushroom Pate

Have you been on a spring cleaning kick lately? I have.

Me and my trusty DIY All Purpose Cleaner and DIY Citrus Vinegar Cleaner have been scrubbing every surface in my apartment and I’ve been decluttering like mad. At this point it’s getting crazy. If something isn’t somehow attached to the apartment itself I’ve found myself trying to figure out how to get rid of it.

I knew I was going overboard the other day when I found myself debating about donating my food processor. I mean, I love that thing, but somehow I haven’t used it since I was recipe testing for my cookbook last summer. That’s when I knew it was time to put it to use again.

So, what to make in my lovely food processor? Enter vegan walnut and mushroom pate. If you’ve been needing a reason to keep your food processor around, I think this just might be it.

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Yam Fries with Garlic Aioli

Yam Fries with Garlic Cashew Aioli  If you live alone, there are a few things that you should never do:

1. Assume that you can be trusted not to eat the entire batch of cupcakes of (grain-free) almond cupcakes that you baked. (I knew these should have left my apartment immediately…)

2. Watch World War Z. Alone. On laundry night. Why not on “laundry night,” you ask?

Because “laundry night” involves walking down two flights of stairs into the dark and immensely creepy apartment basement laundry room. And the last thing that you want to think about on your way down those stairs is if there is a zombie waiting to greet you at the bottom. Truth.

3. Spend an entire evening making up voices for your cat. With accents.

But, if you do live alone, there are some things that you should always do:

Make amazing yam fries just for you? Definitely.

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Creamy Herbed Almond Cheese

Creamy Herbed Almond Cheese

I think this summer is all about snacking. For reals.

It’s so easy to snack when there are such amazing veggies in-season… veggies which really can only be eaten raw. Because, well, cooked cucumber just sounds weird.

For summer snacking, you need something to dip, something to spread. And we all know that homemade coconut butter is the thing if you want something sweet-ish, but what if you’re in the mood for something savory? Then it’s all about this creamy herbed almond cheese.

I love making “cheese” from nuts and you might remember my creamy cashew cheese awhile back. Cashew cheese is great as a “melted cheese” substitute, but for something to spread on crackers or sprinkle over zucchini pasta? It’s gotta be herbed almond cheese.

This recipe requires a little work in advance because I recommend soaking the almonds in water overnight (to help them soften) and then removing the skins. The great thing is that once they’ve soaked, it is much easier to ‘pop’ the skins off. I don’t usually engage in kitchen tasks that I find tedious, but this step is crucial to yielding the most creamy, decadent almond cheese. So let’s get to it!

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How to Make Coconut Butter (for cheap!)

How to Make Coconut Butter (for cheap!)

Have you ever seen the show Extreme Couponing?  (Okay, I know that’s a strange question to ask, but I’m going somewhere with this… promise.)

Extreme Couponing is my new guilty pleasure.  Every time I watch it part of me is in awe that folks can save thousands of dollars in one shopping trip, while another part of me is completely revolted and concerned about consumerism and of course, the hundreds of sugary items they throw into their cart as they exclaim “it’s free!”  Until the local paper has weekly coupons for the farmers market, I don’t think you’ll find me extreme couponing anytime soon.

Of course, I’m a frugal gal and totally cost-conscious myself so instead of using coupons I have another trick up my sleeve for saving money: the homemade/DIY angle.  I frequently make my own homemade kimchi, mung bean sproutscook my own beans, and make almond milk, as well as personal care items like my own deodorant. That may not seem like a big savings, but these are some of the items that I use the most and over the course of the year these savings do add up.

So now let’s talk about my other guilty pleasure: coconut butter. Have you tried this yet? It’s amazing.

To be clear, coconut butter is different than coconut oil. Coconut butter is made from the entire flesh of the coconut while the oil is simply the oil extracted from the flesh.

I love using coconut butter as a dip, spread, or just eating a spoonful of it as an afternoon snack (total guilty pleasure!). The only issue is that coconut butter can be really expensive!  Tropical Traditions frequently has great deals that I keep an eye on, but jars at the grocery store can easily run around $15 here in Seattle. I love coconut butter, but that’s a bit much.

 Enter homemade coconut butter.  Today I’m going to show you how to make coconut butter at home (for cheap)!  Get ready…

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Non-Dairy Creamy Cashew Cheese

How to Make Cashew Cheese

Many years ago I used to be completely addicted to dairy. I loved cheese, ice cream, milk chocolate, yogurt, cream cheese, a cold glass of milk, and did I mention cheese?

However, when I gave up dairy many years back I noticed a variety of health benefits: less stomach aches, less bloating, clearer skin, and less headaches. As a child growing up with the USDA food pyramid, I always thought that dairy was a necessity. I mean, where else would we get our calcium?  (Note: there are plenty of amazing ways to get calcium without dairy, such as from dark leafy greens and sea vegetables.)

I think there are a lot of health concerns surrounding dairy, although I’ve seen a lot of evidence that raw milk might be a whole other story. I’m definitely not here to convince you one way or another, but if you struggle with digestive issues (such as bloating, constipation or IBS), acne, blocked sinuses, headaches, or ear infections and you consume dairy, this might be something to try removing from your diet and see how it impacts your body.

The struggle with this, of course, is that pretty much everyone loves cheese. And here’s why:

1. Our taste buds naturally like the taste of the fat and salt.

2. Dairy can be really addictive so once we eat it, we crave more. (Although this definitely lessens over time if you don’t eat it for awhile.)

I don’t typically crave dairy products on a regular basis, but there are definitely times when I miss the comfort of cheese. And that’s where this amazing cheese made from nuts comes in handy. It’s so easy to make and it only takes a few minutes to prepare! Let me show you how!

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Tofu Quinoa Fresh Rolls With Easy Peanut Sauce

Tofu Quinoa Fresh Rolls with Easy Peanut Sauce

I love the end of spring and beginning of summer. The beginning of summer is always filled with the anticipation of all the good things to come… Sunshine. Farmers market bounty. Picnics. Beach trips. The best action movies of the year. And all of the amazing summer food.

As the weather starts warming up, I naturally start craving lighter foods and wanting to spend less time in the kitchen and more time outside. Can you relate?

And that’s where these fresh rolls come in. Fresh rolls are a popular Vietnamese dish and I love them in summertime when fresh basil and cucumber are are season. These fresh rolls involve thin strips of crispy tofu combined with quinoa for a hearty, protein-rich snack or side dish. I love enjoying these with a simple green salad while lounging in the sun. Hooray for (almost) summer.

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