Vegan Queso Sauce

I love creamy, tasty, cheesy queso.  Eating a nutritarian diet doesn’t include cheese but with this sauce you really don’t need to look for anything else.  I love making this sauce and serving it over stuffed butternut squash or zucchini.

My husband planted zucchini in our garden this year and I’m obsessed with using up the zucchini before it gets out of hand.  He suggested stuffed zucchini but there was no way I was going to go through all the work to make something I couldn’t eat so I made it vegan.  The only compromise was I used a little salt and made this sauce with white flour.  It’s a small amount for the whole thing and if it means everyone will eat it then I’m ok with it since it’s a rare thing.

Having a fresh supply of nutritional yeast from my friends at Truly Organic Foods reminded me of this sauce and I decided the zucchini would be stuffed with quinoa, black beans and corn so I could make this sauce!!  By the way, this nutritional yeast is nutty and rich tasting.  It is really much better tasting than the nutritional yeast I had a little bit of from another source.   
I don’t use nutritional yeast a lot but when I do I like the flavour it lends to a dish…if you eat a vegan diet then you’re probably used to having some on hand.

Well..I’m sure you ready for the recipe!

Vegan Queso Sauce

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 cup water or non-dairy milk

1/2 tsp salt (optional)

1 tsp paprika

1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder

1/4 tsp cumin

1 cup salsa

Blend everything except the salsa on low speed in the blender.  Place it in a pot and simmer until it starts to thicken.  Stir frequently and let it cook a bit ensuring it doesn’t taste pasty.  Add the salsa and stir until it’s well incorporated and simmers again.

Serve it as a sauce over mexican inspired stuffed veggies or use it where or how you would use queso.  

Can you imagine this over roasted sweet potato chunks and a bit of chili? Yum!

  

It’s summer! Time for refrigerator oatmeal!

I got an order from my friends at Truly Organic Foods and lately at work someone has been eating his version of refrigerator oatmeal that looks like he’s eating a jar of mayonaise…both things got me thinking of refrigerator oatmeal but of course I didn’t want to use yogurt because it’s not something I usually eat.

Truly Organic Foods is a local online store that carries a variety of products that I love and others that are fun to try for a change from my regular nutritarian staples.  This order included some new products I’d never tried before like the dried banana…one taste and I’m sold.  I may have to hide them!

   
 Behold the recipe for Cocoa Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal!

It’s tasty and a yummy treat thanks to the dried bananas and cocoa.  I love that flavour combination and since you make this the night before it’s the perfect grab and go breakfast if you’re pressed for time in the morning.  I can’t wait to show this off in the office! It won’t look like a jar of mayonaise!

Here’s the recipe…

3/4c almond milk

1/2c organic rolled oats*

1/2 stevia packet

1 tsp cocoa powder

1/2 tsp chia seeds

2 raw dried banana spears from Giddy YoYo* cut into tiny pieces

10 raw almonds chopped

1 tsp organic unsweetened cocoa nibs*

Put everything into a one pint mason jar and shake. Set in the refrigerator until morning and enjoy.

* I got these from Truly Organic Foods.  The rolled oats are so big and delicious and the dried bananas taste like banana bread.  I love that true banana flavour over fake banana chips any day and the cocoa nibs have a rich, cocoa flavour and are nice and big chunks…perfect for a little chocolate burst in a healthy package.

  

Those days I did a juice cleanse…

So yeah…if you haven’t tried one yet, you’ve probably considered doing one.  A juice cleanse or fast.  After watching Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead I’m sure a lot of people have jumped on the juicing bandwagon.  I can’t remember how I got into juicing since I’m not really a juice drinker in general.

My first two juicers were centrifugal juicers that were annoying to clean and didn’t really do a good job at juicing kale or leafy greens.  I graduated to a masticating juicer that doesn’t heat up the juices as much and apparently keep juices fresher as a result.  I like the clean-up of this one and it’s much more calm (ie. less noisy).

At the end of a vacation to Mexico and lots of opportunities to eat I reached a point where I didn’t feel like cooking anything and wasn’t planning properly.  At times like that it usually means I need to step away and simplify stuff.  Enter the juice cleanse idea.

I figured if you’re considering it I might as well share what I did and make it easy for you too if you’d like to do the same.

I planned, researched and made lists.  I also bought pretty mason jars!!  Three days before the cleanse I ate only fruits and veggies to ease into the cleanse and not cause too much of a shock to my system.

Armed with a list I bought the following from my 3 Day Juice Cleanse

Shopping List

6 pint mason jars with lids

11 beets

17 carrots

3 bunches of celery (32 stalks)

7 oranges

13 lemons

2 bunches kale (24 leaves)

5 cucumbers

14 apples

1 pineapple

2 yellow peppers

60 red grapes (2-3 bunches)

4 cups fresh blueberries

 

After spending almost $60 on all this produce I put it in the fridge and the evening before my cleanse I prepped each juice recipe’s veggies and fruits into a bowl…that was three juices per day so I’d prep everything for each juice into its own bowl.  I also washed and sterilized my jars and lids by either washing them in the dishwasher or washing them by hand and letting them sit in boiling water.  I felt that I wasn’t losing too much of the juice’s nutrients and enzymes by juicing the night before because my juicer is rather gentle and doesn’t heat up the juice.

I got the recipes from here. Here are the recipes I made each day…

Recipes

Day 1

Mean Green

Purple Passion

Sporty Spice

Day 2

Australian Gold

Green Lemonade

Sunrise

Day 3

Sporty Spice

Mean Green

Carrot Apple Lemon

 

After everything was prepped I made each juice.  Each day I would drink the juices throughout the day.  I would alternate the juices throughout the day.  Typically I’d have hot water with lemon upon rising, then the juices would be breakfast, mid-morning, lunch, mid-afternoon, dinner and after-dinner.  I’d also have water throughout the day.

On the first day I packed 5 of the six juices with me because I wasn’t sure how I’d feel.  That was way too much to carry back and forth during the work day in a backpack with a frozen thingy to keep them cool.  My neck and trap muscles are still not too fond of me.  The next two days I found that I only really needed 4 juices throughout the day.

After three days of just juice I must say that I was looking forward to a tasty salad.  It was a nice way to reset my palate and stop craving over-stimulating foods.   You must start slow once you reintroduce food or you may make yourself sick so I ate fruits and veggies for three days after the cleanse too.

I didn’t do this to lose weight so I didn’t weight myself on purpose.  I really just wanted a break from food in general and I wanted to cleanse my palate.  It was very successful.  I must admit that I was tired of all the prep and juicing each evening because it would take 2 to 2.5 hours in total to do.

If you find a good cleanse for $60 to $100 then scoop it up because I paid $60 for produce and spent about 8 hours total for planning, shopping, prepping and juicing.  I will point out that you won’t get as much juice as I did for that amount of money.  I’ve seen some places offer 4 juices and a salad for about $80 or 6 much smaller bottles of juice for much more than $100.  Ultimately it all depends on what you are willing to spend and how much work you can do yourself.

Alternatively, plan this so you’re home all three days and you can break up the prepping and juicing.  If you’re doing one juice to drink now and save some for later each time then it may not feel so annoying to prep and juice everything all at once.  In addition you’re not having to carry so much back and forth with you.

I hope my experience gives you a good idea of what to expect.