Vegan Sour Cream, Queso and Nacho Heaven

Hello there. Ha ha! — look at me. I am going from sweet to savoury. And how savoury it is.

I don’t miss dairy. Can’t really remember it now.  But I am nuts about nut cheeses. Who knows how close to the real thing they are. That I can’t tell you. Think I was 12 or 13 last time I had it.

But I am darn sure that I am particularly nuts about this cashew based sour cream from Oh She Glows. We put it on our nachos made with plant based cheese using eggplant. No kidding. That’s coming up in a few minutes. It’s by Dana at Minimalist Baker. One of my heroes.

First up though. Here’s another hero. This recipe from Oh She Glows is oh so delicious.

:: Cashew Sour Cream

Angela Liddon states:

“Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, no bake/raw, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free.

Rich and tangy, this vegan sour cream is the perfect complement to My Favourite Vegan Chili or any Mexican entrée. Be sure to soak the cashews (either overnight or using my quick-soak method) before you begin.”

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups (225 g) raw cashews, soaked
3/4 cup (180 mL) water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

Directions:
Place cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Soak overnight or for 8 hours if you have the time. For a quick-soak method, pour boiling water over the cashews and soak for 1 hour. Rinse and drain.
Place the drained cashews in a high-speed blender.
Add the water, lemon, vinegar, and salt. Blend on high until super smooth. You might have to stop to scrape down the blender now and then or add a touch more water to get it going.
Transfer into a small, air-tight container and chill in the fridge. It makes 2 cups. The cream will thicken up as it chills. The cream will keep in the fridge for about 1 week. You can also freeze it for up to 1 month. I like to freeze it in silicone mini muffin cups. Once solid, transfer the cups into a freezer-safe zip bag for easy grab and go portions.

Next up . . .

:: Make the Queso

My husband, who is not vegan, could care less about cheese. He doesn’t put it on anything. Totally weird right? That’s not human.

My daughter is not crazy about cheesy things. Only wants it occasionally. Gets it from her father. But when I want it, I want it. Because I love nachos for all the stuff that goes on them, not so much for the cheese. Until now.

All three of us LOVE this queso, and LOVE these nachos. We eat them a three or four times each month, especially in the summer. They are a great hit for pajama parties for the kids too. With root beer floats later on. Ka-pow!

The recipe for the vegan queso comes from Dana at Minimalist Baker. Here we go!

:: Make the Cashew-Less Vegan Queso

Standard drill on this. I will list the ingredients so you can get an idea if you will like it, how much you will need to shop for, and then send you over to her site for the how to.

First off, Dana writes:

“Once I discovered the secret to Cashew-Less Vegan Queso, I wanted to put it on everything within reach; starting with nachos, of course.”

Once you conquer her queso, you can build something as amazing as what’s coming up. It is the awesome-est, taste bud heavenli-est thing ever. Ingredients list on the other side of the nacho image. Look!

Click image to visit Minimalist Baker for her "to live for" vegan queso. The rest is easy. Once you've got that you can build this.
Click image to visit Minimalist Baker for her “to live for” vegan queso recipe. The rest is easy. Once you’ve got that you can build the above, any way you like it.

Here we go with the ingredients for the queso . . . see what you think.

Ingredients (US Customary – Metric)

7-9 rounds of eggplant (sliced 1/4-inch thick // half of a medium eggplant yields 7-9 rounds)
Olive oil
Sea salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups unsweetened original almond milk
2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast (see instructions)
1/4 tsp finely minced fresh garlic (I used crushed garlic from Trader Joe’s)
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
2 tsp cornstarch (optional for thickening // sub another thickener if desired)
1/4 cup chunky medium salsa (slightly drained // OR 1/4 10-ounce can of Rotel original diced tomatoes and green chilies)
Smoked paprika and hot sauce (optional // for added color and flavor upon serving)

Tip: Make sure you don’t grab “sweetened” almond milk by mistake, cause that will be a disaster for this recipe.

Go here to learn how to make the Queso. Yessssss! Reheats really well too — this gorgeous queso does.

:: Make the Best Damn Vegan Nachos

For that plate of nacho heaven like you saw above, Dana advises:

“Once you have your chips on a serving plate, you just need to heat up your beans, queso and mash your guacamole and go to town.”

My gang favor pinto beans over black beans, so I cook a pot of them, then add whatever seasoning I have on hand, and mash them. I have used canned too, which works fine.

Drop delicious spoonfuls of warm mashed beans over the chips. Smother in queso. Add chopped red onions and salsa. Add more queso. Sprinkle with cilantro. Did I mention lettuce? If we’ve got some in the fridge, I chop it up too. Have I said guacamole yet? I have now!

Oh, yeah. How about a big dollop of sour cream to top it all off.

My mouth is watering. How about  yours?

Vegan Root Beer Float

Horses with Hats On. Richard Mayfield.

Hey there. Summer’s definitely arrived where we are. So we started thinking ice cream. Then we started thinking ice cream floats. In my case, a root beer float. But can you make a root beer float that’s vegan? Yes! With this.

LIVE Kombucha Root Beer (vegan). Click image to visit website.

ROOT BEER

My daughter searched the world wide web for vegan root beer, and she found one. Fortunately you can get it in Texas. It’s called LIVE’s Kombucha Root Beer.

I checked out the ingredients (naturally):

Organic Raw Kombucha (Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Tea, Organic Fair Trade Certified™ Evaporated Cane Juice, and Organic Kombucha Culture Fermented in Purified Water), Natural Flavors, Organic Stevia Extract (Natural Sweetener).

When you see “organic sugar” fret not. See end of post.

But LIVE products are so terribly expensive. Walmart sells it but you’ll have to go in, and they are frequently out of stock. The stuff goes fast. We got the last they had! Amazon will deliver it free but it’s right at $60 for 8 12-oz bottles.

We can’t afford this all the time. So we looked again. Gotcha! Coca Cola saves the day. Barq’s is vegan. They explain how:

If you’re a vegan or a vegetarian, you should know that a few of our drinks do contain small traces of fish gelatine (which is used as a stabiliser for the beta-carotene colour). These drinks are Lilt, Lilt Zero, Kia-Ora Orange Squash No Added Sugar and Schweppes Orange Squash.

ICE CREAM

We love SoDelicious. Use your fave vegan brand.

RECIPE

Ha, ha! No recipe. You already know how to make a root beer float. Use your preferred ratio of ice cream to root beer in a tall glass. We say ice cream first though so the root beer when poured in goes all foamy and stuff.

RELATED DRINKING

Check this out. The Minimalist Baker’s Vodka Root Beer Float! She uses coconut ice cream. Yes! Recommended for 21 and over. Wink!

That does it. Have a super superb weekend. See y’all again next week.


REFINED CANE SUGAR VS ORGANIC SUGAR

While bone char is used to bleach and filter cane sugar, not all cane sugar is refined with bone char. Some companies rely on alternatives like granular carbon, which does not contain animal products, during the filtering process. Organic sugar does not use bone char. So we’re safe.

See more at https://ordinaryvegan.net/vegansugar/

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August 15th is National Lemon Meringue Pie Day and have we got a vegan treat for you

Namely Marley Lemon Meringue Pie

Ooh, lemon meringue pie. Make this on the weekend and surprise your beloveds on Monday, National Lemon Meringue Pie Day with the gorgeous vegan treat.

This recipe is yet another awesome sweet treat.

It comes from the recipe vault of the great vegan cookery website called NamelyMarley.com.

We are going to make the luscious pie you see in the featured image above (photo belongs to the same lady).

There are only a couple of ingredients most of us do not have in our pantries. One is optional. The other you can probably get away with not using. Marley tells you how. However, you can find them at any health food store and Whole Foods.

If there is anything more refreshing on a hot summer day I don’t know what it is. Oh, how about those mini vegan key lime pies. Never mind!

Let’s Go.

VEGAN LEMON MERINGUE PIE

Ingredients
1 foolproof vegan pie crust *
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1½ cups water
2 lemons, juiced and zested
½ teaspoon lemon extract
Optional: 1 tablespoon Agar Agar**
1 tablespoon vegan butter
1 cup extra firm silken tofu (or one small package)
1 recipe Vegan Meringue

* If you are constrained by time (or in my case talent) to make your own pie crust, Whole Foods have really nice and tasty frozen vegan pie crusts. The last time I shopped for them they were $4.99 for two.
** Learn more about Agar Agar here. Agar Agar is a sea vegetable. Our local Whole Foods have it and so does the local Walmart. I recommend you use it. It gives a lovely rich body to the lemon base of your pie.

Instructions
Heat your oven to 350F.

Prepare the pie crust as directed in the link above and roll it out to about 1/8″ thickness and place in a 9″ pie pan. Crimp the edges of the pie and use a fork to prick the bottom of the crust several times. Bake the crust 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

In a saucepan combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine.

Turn the heat to medium-high and add the water, lemon juice, lemon zest, lemon extract, and agar agar (if using). Stir occasionally, to make sure the custard doesn’t burn. Bring this to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 3-5 minutes, until you have a thick mixture in the pan. Remove from heat and add the tablespoon of vegan butter. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Place the tofu in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Add the lemon mixture from the saucepan and pulse it all together until a smooth consistency is reached.

Prepare the meringue according to the link above.

Spoon the lemon custard into your prepared pie crust. Top with meringue, ensuring that you create a seal with the crust and create wispy dollops of meringue across the top of the pie (these wispy parts will brown more quickly and create a beautiful, artistic look to your meringue).

Place in your heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes until the meringue just begins to brown. Turn your heat to 375 and cook for another 5-10 minutes until the meringue has golden edges.

Remove from the oven and cool for about an hour. Refrigerate for one to two hours before serving.


Learn more about sea veggies here »