Crock Pot Stuffing… An Earth Angel Vegan Thanksgiving Treat!

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN’S CROCK POT STUFFING was the highlight of Thanksgiving dinner this year.  My sister-in-law came for dinner and then woke up dreaming about this stuffing in the middle of the night!   My mom always made a simple but delicious stuffing.  She actually stuffed it into a turkey and it was moist and delicious.  It was however, loaded with butter and turkey fat :(.  I wanted to mimic the flavor as well as the moist texture and came up with this recipe.  Topped with mushroom gravy it was the highlight of our Thanksgiving dinner!  Give it a try at you next holiday meal.

RECIPE:

1 loaf bread (preferably no oil) *If you are local Giant Eagle Tuscany bread works well

1 carton vegetable broth

1 yellow onion diced
1 stalk celery diced
2 tablespoons good poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cut bread into bite sized cubes and let dry out for a few hours on a cookie sheet
In a skillet add 1/2 cup broth with onion celery and poultry seasoning and simmer until the onion is soft
In a large bowl add the slightly dry bread cubes and sprinkle the salt and pepper over them.  Then add the  cooked warm onion celery mix and toss it up with your hands.
Throw it all in a crock pot and pour the rest of the vegetable broth on and stir it up.  Cook it on low for about 4 hours.  It will seem like it too sticky in the middle and getting dry and stuck to the sides but keep the lid on and stir it around every 20-30 minutes.  After 4 hours on low turn it to the warm setting.  
*I tried this with a multi-grain seed bread and it did not work out well.  I also used a sour dough but you could really pick up the sour flavor.  I think a plain oil free Italian or French bread would work the best.  The crock pot should be pretty full of bread and you will use a whole carton of vegetable broth.  It will seem like it is going all wrong about an hour into the process but keep it on low and stir it every 20 minutes or so and it will turn out fine!  I did actually make two crock pots full for our family… we love stuffing 🙂
Serve with gravy and mashed potatoes!
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We had a wonderful VEGAN Thanksgiving… here are some of the pictures of our lovely meal.  We were truly blessed with food, family, and friends…

My Favorite Salad Dressing Recipe with Balsamic Vinegar from THE HAPPY EGGPLANT

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN’S FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING… When I was switching to this way of eating (WOE) I knew I would need to eat a lot of salad, especially when eating out.  Lets face it… in a lot of restaurants sometimes a salad is all you can get when all you eat is unprocessed plant foods.  Salad dressing was a problem for me.  I had a real hard time finding one I could like let alone love.  I love this salad dressing!  The base of it is balsamic vinegar and it really does make a difference which one you use.  You really need to find a good high quality balsamic.  I have found a fantastic balsamic vinegar locally at THE HAPPY EGGPLANT.  The Happy Eggplant is an awesome small town store that has everything you could ever think of for your cooking, kitchen, and baking needs and they also happen to import an excellent balsamic vinegar.  They import this vinegar from Modena Italy and if you save your bottle you even get a discount on the refills!

I whip up this salad dressing and keep it ready made in the refrigerator and I take a little to go bottle of it with me everywhere I go!  It turns any salad into a delicious meal!

MY FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING RECIPE: 

1 cup good quality balsamic (I USE ARISTON BALSAMIC) 

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup dijon mustard (one you like the taste of)

Sometimes I add 2 tablespoons of plain hummus when I have it on hand… it adds a little more body to the dressing and some good garlic flavor!  If you are not a mustard fan drop the amount of mustard to 1/8 cup.  You can play around with the amounts in order to get the taste you like.  This particular ARISTON BALSAMIC is so good it can be used alone.  

Put your ingredients in a shaker and really shake it up.  If using a thick hummus sometimes you need a blender.  If you use a lesser quality balsamic taste it and add 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup to enhance the flavor.   

So on this small business Saturday… I would like to give a shout out to THE HAPPY EGGPLANT for the awesomeness they bring to my little town!  I encourage you to stop in and see what culinary treasures you can find and get yourself some of this amazing balsamic vinegar!  Tell them EARTH ANGEL VEGAN sent you!

S’MORES MUFFINS

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN S’MORES MUFFINS WERE OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD.  I got some accidentally purchased graham flour and immediately thought graham crackers… and once you think graham crackers… your mind just jumps to S’mores!  They were easy to make and delicious to eat when warm.  The vegan chocolate chips were oooey gooey and the vegan marshmallow was crispy deliciousness.

RECIPE – makes about 10 muffins  Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Dry ingredients:  In a mixing bowl add…

1 cup graham flour

1/2 half cup whole wheat pastry flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

a pinch of salt

1/2 cup brown sugar 

whisk these dry ingredients together

Wet ingredients:  In a glass measure or other bowl add…

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup molasses 

1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

Now stir your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients until it is all incorporated.

add 1/2 cup of vegan chocolate mini chips to the batter (3/4 cup if you want them super chocolaty)

Cut vegan marshmallows into 4’s or use mini

Scoop batter into prepared muffin pan or liners and top with chopped vegan marshmallows

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes!

 

Enjoy!

Vegan Wood-fired Pizza … in our little town? Yep!

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN VISITED HOT SHOTS IN MASURY OHIO TO TRY THE PIZZA…I don’t know about you but when I see the word VEGAN on a menu I get very excited.  We happen to live in an area where the concept is not so popular.  I have been hearing about this new little place that makes wood-fired pizza and thought we would stop and I could ask all the usual questions about the ingredients… but …when she handed me the limited menu and I saw VEGAN… well I could hardly contain myself.

Vegans can get a 12 inch wood-fired pizza with fire roasted tomato sauce and FOUR TOPPINGS for $10.50… that is a steal!

This place could be featured on diners, drive-ins, and dives… It is a quaint place with pool tables and canned beer… but the PIZZA WAS DELICIOUS!

And yes… they have great stuff for your non-vegan friends and family!

 

Dine in or take out but give them a try!

Beef-less Stew

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN’S BEEF-LESS STEW is so tasty and easy to make that you will be making it all winter long.  It is a stick to your ribs kind of dish.  It is full of whole food ingredients and the right amount of seasoning.

Recipe for 4

4 large or 6 medium potatoes cut into chunks

2 large carrots cut into chunks

2 stalks celery cut into chunks

1 small yellow onion diced

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1 cup frozen green beans

1/2 cup frozen green peas

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/2 teaspoon Wildtree herb grilling marinade (or poultry seasoning)

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon smoked paprika (optional for smokey flavor)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup plant milk or additional vegetable broth

2 tablespoons cornstarch

In a heavy bottom pot add the mushrooms, onions and celery and over medium heat start to dry saute them.  Keep stirring them around… the vegetables will start to give off some liquid.  When they start to give off liquid add all of the seasonings and the soy sauce.  Let this cook for about 5 minutes on low and then add all the rest of the ingredients except the frozen peas, plant milk and cornstarch.  

Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer and cook over this medium low heat until the potatoes are cooked through about 45 minutes.  Taste the broth and add salt and pepper if you feel it needs it.  When you can pierce the potatoes with a knife and they are soft you can thicken the broth.  To thicken the broth make a slurry of plant milk (or extra vegetable broth) and cornstarch. Mix the liquid and cornstarch and then pour it into the stew.   Stir the slurry into the stew and turn up the heat to bring it to a boil.  Keep stirring until the sauce comes to a boil and  is thickened.  Let boil for about a minute and then turn off the heat and throw in the peas.

This can be made in your slow cooker by putting all the ingredients except peas, plant milk and cornstarch into your slow cooker.  Cook on low 5-6 hours or on high 3-4 hours.  When vegetables are tender thicken the sauce.  If you crock pot runs hot I would add an additional 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Crock pots should be at least 1/2 full to operate properly.  You could also make this in a pressure cooker in about 20 minutes.

You can serve this over egg free noodles for a extra special meal.  My mom always made this stew and we had it with crusty bread and pickled beets.

Good old fashioned comfort food… Enjoy

You can buy Wildtree herb grilling marinade at http://www.mywildtree.com/gerri

Earth Angel Vegan… a new era of Vegan! A plant based era!

What is the difference between plant based and vegan.  I happen to be both and I will explain why.

Vegan can be a noun… an identity… one could say I am a Vegan!   Veganism is a complete avoidance of all animal products for the sake of and protection of animal lives whereas pant-based is a lifestyle, more of an adjective.  Plant based whole food  is also an avoidance of all animal products with the inclusion of avoidance of processed foods and oils for the sake of and protection of human life.   Someone on a whole food plant based diet is by default a Vegan.    I am a Vegan… because I am plant based.  Vegans technically can live on junk food like Oreos and chips and soda pop and be true to their identity whereas people on a whole food plant based diet cannot.

Once you commit to a whole food plant based diet for the sake of your own health and well being you quickly learn that you cannot only survive without animal products but you begin thrive without animal products.  Why does this happen?  You see, there is a diet designed by nature for every species and the diet designed for your human body consists of only plants.  Plants such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits, and nuts and seeds.  When you eat the diet your body was designed for miraculous things begin to happen.  Your body can now let itself heal and without further re-injury by food,  be the amazing machine it was designed to be.

Once you begin to thrive on a plant based diet you begin to realize that you are the keeper of the kingdom and no animal needs to suffer or die simply to feed your addiction to foods high in fat, sugar and salt.  Fat, sugar, and salt are the culprits of food addictions.  No one ever craves a raw piece of pork or a plain boiled chicken breast.   They crave meats fried in oil and covered in cheese, sauces,  or seasonings.  They crave fat, sugar, and salt.  Once you cleanse your palate of these kinds of foods… the foods your body was meant to have really start to taste good and you quickly realize that no animal needs to suffer or die for you to thrive.

Humans are currently raising billions of animals just for consumption.  I RESTATE BILLIONS.  This practice is causing monumental harm to animals, our health, and our planet.  People go to the grocery store to buy meat and dairy all nicely packaged and heavily promoted without a second thought to how it got there.  People mindlessly purchase and gorge on products that come from causing an animal to suffer or die or both.

Earth Angel Vegan is here to make a new mark.  It is a new era of vegan that will not only protect the animals but will protect human life and health all while protecting the planet we live on.   I challenge you to a whole food plant based diet for 10 days.  10 days of eating only whole plant foods.  There are many recipes on this blog that are delicious and satisfying.  I truly believe you will feel better and want to continue.  You will have some internal motivation when you weight is dropping and your ailments are packing up and moving out.  Do it for yourself, the animals, and the planet… Remember…We are the keepers of the kingdom and it is our responsibility to protect this earth and all its inhabitants.

I challenge  you to be an EARTH ANGEL VEGAN

 

 

Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN’S SAVORY STUFFED ACORN SQUASH is a full meal in itself.  It is a great way to use one of fall’s most tasty squash.  It looks really fancy but is simple to prepare!  Wow your family and make it for dinner tonight!

I got these 2 beautiful acorn squash at the farmers market.  I cut the pointy tip off and then sliced them in half horizontally and took out the seeds.  They will now sit pretty on the baking dish.  I placed them on a parchment covered baking sheet and baked them for 1/2 hour at 375 degrees and then added the Mexi-Rice filling…

Mexi-Rice Filling Recipe

4 cups cooked brown rice

1 small can of Rotel tomatoes (choose mild, medium, or hot)

2 cups cooked yellow corn

2 cups black beans

1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

nutritional yeast for sprinkling on top (optional)

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl except the nutritional yeast and place a generous amount in each of your partially cooked squash halves and sprinkle with nutritional yeast.  Lay a piece of foil on top and place back in the oven for about 45 minutes.  A knife should slide easily into the squash if it is done.  You can take the foil off for the last 5 minutes if you like a little crispy rice on top.  This filling is also great in a taco or burrito or in a salad or a bowl!  We ate the left over rice mixed with sweet habanero sauce on crunchy tortilla chips!

If you have a favorite sauce… Sriracha, green or red hot sauce, sweet chili… drizzle some on top and enjoy!

Tons of flavor, nutrition and fiber.

 

My Plant Based Vegan Life… Why I do What I do!

I have learned that health care is self care. I am going to give you a timeline of my life so you can see how I got to where I am today in regards to my health.  My parents had me when my mother was 40 and my father was 50. By the time I was 49 they were both deceased.  My father had a history of high cholesterol (700 when discovered) and rheumatoid arthritis, he was diagnosed with cancer of the larynx when he was 74 and had a total laryngectomy at age 75 and died from complications of chemotherapy at age 76.  My mother smoked from age 14 to age 66.  She had slightly elevated cholesterol and hypothyroidism and had a heart attack at the age of 74. She had stents and a pacemaker and died of congestive heart failure at age 87.  I took care of both of them and they both died in my home with the care of hospice.

As a child, my only ailments were severe constipation and bad seasonal/ animal allergies.  I remember seeing a doctor and having a proctoscope at around age 5.  I remember being put on a clear liquid diet and being given castor oil in orange juice.  This constipation would be with me the rest of my life.

I had my first child at the age of 24 right around the time I discovered that I had high cholesterol (357).  From that age to my present age I have tried every cholesterol therapy.  Statins caused me to have severe muscle aches and they just plain scared me so I refused to take them.  I had my second child at age 28 and started to get eczema, mainly on my hands. For the next 20 some years my hands would get itchy, blistery and cracked and sore.  I was always using prescription strength hydrocortisone creams.  I had my 3rd child at 31.  Life continued on with my never feeling awful but never feeling great. I was tired often and had indigestion.  I was always about 25 pounds over weight except for when I was fad dieting.  I tried weight watchers and lost 33 pounds but gained it back over a few years.

In the spring of 2012 I was given Flonase for my allergies and found it worked incredibly well.  Zyrtec type meds did nothing.  Benadryl always worked but I would have to take it every 4 hours for about 2 months in the spring.  That year on Mother’s day I ended up in the ER vomiting with chest pressure and racing heart.  They determined I had severe acid reflux (I had always had issues with heartburn especially throughout pregnancy).  Doc started me on Prilosec and Protonix and I would also take tums each night.  My chest pressure and racing lasted a few weeks and then was gone.

In the spring of 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 I ended up in the ER with racing heart , nausea, chest pressure and my blood pressure was very high.  I was kept overnight in 2013 for observation.  I had 2 stress tests over this course of time and was put on Metoprolol  and  Prozac daily and Xanax PRN as all they could come up with was anxiety.  I never felt that anxiety was my problem. My blood work always came back normal except for my elevated cholesterol levels and one time my TSH was elevated and I was started on synthroid.   I was always fine for the rest of the year…episodes always occurring at the end of April beginning of May.  I missed a few days work every year because of this phenomenon.  In 2016 I almost passed out in the shower.  My heart was racing and my feet were sweating and the back of my neck felt burning.  My blood pressure was sky high.  I was also started on catapress for hot flashes, I don’t remember the date.  Menopause brought me hot flashes 20-30 times a day and my doctor did not like to prescribe hormones but suggested catapress.  There were a few nights that I had awakened feeling very odd and actually had a hard time feeling my own pulse.   After the 2016 episode I had felt enough was enough.  I was going to figure out what was happening to me because no one else was looking for a cause, they were just prescribing more medications

I considered myself to be pretty healthy but found myself on a gazillion meds.  I was still refusing statins because of the side effects.  I have always been very sensitive to medications so I should have figured it out sooner.  Anyway, I started researching and plotting my every move in the spring to see what the heck was causing all of this and I came to the conclusion that my problem was my inhaled allergy steroid.  I found several other people that have had such severe reactions as mine.  I was determined that when the spring rolled around and I did not start using Flonase that I would not have another episode and I was right.  No more high blood pressure… I think it was dropping so low in the middle of the night during the off months that it was dangerous. No more chest pressure or racing heart.  Now, wanting to be off all medications,  I started to research  diet and cholesterol as mine was still in the 300’s. With my mom having a heart attack and myself thinking I was having a heart attack every spring for years I was determined to find a prevention.  Not one medical professional had ever talked to me about really changing my diet.   Through my extensive research I found Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn and I started his prevent and reverse heart disease plant based (vegan) no oil diet in July of 2016. Through more research I found Dr. McDougall and his wife Mary.  And my life began to change.

My whole life I remember that my mom loved to cook.  She loved to cook greasy high fat, high carb foods and I loved to eat them.  I didn’t grow up on fast food… I grew up on roast beef and mashed potatoes with corn and gravy and box cakes and icing… all homemade.  My mom showed her love by cooking huge meals slathered in butter… or I should say margarine after my dad was diagnosed with high cholesterol.  We had a meal on the table every day at 5pm and it was delicious.  She knew all the tricks… she knew sugar and fat and salt made everything taste better.  I loved her and I loved her food but I was on the same slippery slope her and my father were on and I knew I had to do something. After speaking directly to Dr. Esselstyn on that July day in 2016… he was very firm about the fact that I would have to drastically change my diet… and I did.

On July 21st of 2016 I went cold turkey so to speak and plunged 100% into a whole foods plant based diet. Within the first 2 weeks I started to have regular bowel movements… like every day!  No more laxatives and misery!  For the first time in my life my bathroom habits were normal.  I didn’t have to give a thought or revolve my life around trying to having a bowel movement.  I can’t even begin to tell you how life changing this was for me.  Within 1 month my acid reflux was history along with all my acid reflux medications.  Gone was the abdominal bloating and sleeping nearly sitting up to keep my food down.  It was like a miracle.  The red sauce and red wine I though were my enemy were no longer.  It really was the grease and oil that was making me so sick.  No more tums beside the bed. Within 2 months my skin cleared up… no more eczema!  No more itchy, peeling, cracked and bleeding hands.  In that first 2 months my hair started to grow… my hair was getting so thin and not growing for like 5 years and now it was nonstop growing! My blood pressure was normal and no more racing heart.  My seasonal allergies were also better.  Within 3 months I had more energy.  No more naps, no more trying to keep my eyes open at work.  I was sleeping better and was not a bit tired throughout the day.  My life was truly changed.  My weight dropped dramatically even though I eat all the time.  I have never felt better in my life.

People may look at me strange when I pass up burgers, fries, pizza with cheese, cakes, cookies, chips, and ice cream.  They may look at me like I have three heads when I take my own food to restaurants, theaters, and on planes and vacations but this is now my way of life.  I only eat real food.  Real food is hard to find in the real world and that is so sad.  The United States of America is hooked on fake food filled with grease, sugar, and salt and Americans are fat and sick.  Heart disease, cancer, and diabetes kills so many people in America and it is nearly all preventable.  Meat products, dairy products, eggs, and processed fats and oils are responsible for more deaths through illness in the United States than any other cause.  The second, after illness, is the treatment of illness in causes of death.  So many people die from the treatments of illness… medication reactions, surgeries and procedures are so often deadly.

When I do my talks the first thing I have the audience do is write down 3 things most important in their lives… things they feel they can’t live without and things of most value.  They write things like “my wife”, “my kids”, “my parents”, “my home”, and “my health”.  They sometimes write “my pets”, “my looks”, “my money”, and “my job”, …but I have never had anyone write junk food!   So there we have it in a nut shell… If you love and want those top 3 things on your own list… something has to change!  You must give your body the food that was designed specifically for your human body and that is whole plant foods.

I hope you give 100 percent plant based living a try, It can truly change your life!

HARVEST ENCHILADAS

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN’S HARVEST ENCHILADAS require a few steps but they are totally worth it.  Need to take a dish to you next pot luck or feed the whole family from one dish… ?  This Mexican inspired casserole is for you.  The garden ingredients and whole corn tortillas make this plant based dish a winner.  The cheese sauce includes pumpkin puree and the dish includes corn, zucchini, and yellow squash.

Corn Sauce

In a high speed blender or food processor and the following:

1 cup of corn (frozen that has been thawed or canned)

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1/2 cup plant milk

Blend this and set aside

 

Pumpkin Cheezy Sauce

It the same blender or food processor… don’t even need to clean it out…

3/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 cup plant milk

1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

1/2 cup nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon corn starch

1 tablespoon miso paste

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Put this all in a blender and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a sauce pot and whisk slowly over medium heat until bubbly and thick.

Harvest Enchiladas

1 batch of corn sauce

1 batch of pumpkin cheezy sauce

1 pack of corn tortillas

1 small zucchini cut in half moons

1 small yellow squash cut in half moons

1 small yellow onion diced

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 cup vegetable broth

1 jar of salsa verde (oil free)

1/2 cup tomato salsa

1/2 cup black beans rinsed

1/2 cup corn

Get a 9 by 13 glass baking dish out and line the bottom with a layer of salsa saving about half for the top.  In a saute pan add your squash onions and garlic powder over medium heat.. add the vegetable broth and let the vegetables start to brown.  When the start to brown add the corn sauce.  Stir over medium heat until corn sauce is warmed through.  Now you will assemble your casserole.

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Heat a stack of corn tortillas for about 35 seconds in the microwave to soften .   Take one corn tortilla at a time as spread some cheezy sauce on and add some squash mixture.  Fold in half an lay in the baking dish on top of the salsa verde. Keep making them and placing them in the dish.  When complete top them with the rest of the salsa verde and some tomato salsa and corn and black beans.  Bake covered with foil in a 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

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When they are done baking serve them with some tofu sour cream, fresh sliced jalapeno peppers and cilantro if desired.

Enjoy 🙂

Vegan Night Out at the AVALON at Buhl!

EARTH ANGEL VEGAN’S DINNER PARTY AT THE AVALON IN SHARON PA was an awesome evening of good food and good friends.  We had a great turn out of 25 like-minded people.  We forgot to get a group photo but got a picture of all of the deliciouse creations by Chef Allen Scott….Chef Allen Scott and his staff went out of their way to provide us with a outstanding four course meal that was 100% plant based without any added oil, sugar, or salt.

We started off our evening with a cocktail and this delicious appetizer which was a homemade flax cracker with a fig and garlic puree!

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The First Course was pumpkin soup!  The pumpkin soup was seasonal and the veggie chips on top were the perfect contrast to the creamy soup.

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The Second Course was a foragers salad.  I absolutely loved the lemon juice and fresh cracked black pepper dressing.

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The Third Course … aka…the main event… was a delicious braised fennel bulb with eggplant and red quinoa.  I was a little nervous about this one as I have never had fennel… It was AMAZING!  I am now in love with braised fennel.  It is so important to keep trying new things.

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The Fourth Course was a spice plum with chocolate cashew cream and was the perfect end to our wonderful meal.

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Earth Angel Vegan wants to give a big shout out to the AVALON AT BUHL PARK and Chef Allen Scott and his awesome staff for making our vegan dinner night out magical!