The processed foods I love

July 2018?  Happy Holy Crap the Year is Half Over!

Yeah, it feels that way some days, eh?  The kids (well, adults) are getting ready for another semester of college, the dogs are practically mentilg in the summer hear, and life is life.

Since my last post, not much has changed.  My glucose is getting better but pain is not. Daily chances of thunderstorms mean daily muscle spasms and pain spikes.  It’s frustrating to say the least.  I’m pushing through, though, and working on my nutrition when my body fights.  Keeping processed foods to a minimum makes a huge difference for me, but some things will always be a part of my eating plan.  Why?  I’m stubborn.

I know I’m not the only one that deals with various health issues and know for sure there are some who do not feel like cooking or eating.  Processed foods as an occasional treat or served with unprocessed goodness is working for me.  Here are some of my favorites and how I enjoy them.

sujaWhen I’m on the run and need a drink to hold me over, I grab water and occasionally pick up a green juice.  Suja makes my favorite blends and I have yet to be disappointed.

Costco occasionally carries Suja juice cleanses and Target seems to keep a good mix of them in stock.  The new Drinking Vinegars seem to be everywhere, but I have not tried one yet.  The Wellness Shots are on my radar and I’ll let you know what I think.

Not all commercial salad dressings are junk.  While I do enjoy the occasional Just Caesar, turneric dressing I’ve been reaching for hummus with vinegar the most at home, but when I want something else, Trader Joe’s in my jam. Er, go-to.  This cold-pressed Almond Butter Turmeric blend is creamy and smooth.  I like more of a zing on my salads, so I add a little vinegar over the top.  This is fantastic on top of greens or as a mayo substitute in bean and pasta salads.  It makes a yummy ‘peanut’ sauce with a little soy or aminos added.  The other cold-pressed options are Carrot Ginger Miso and Green Goddess (with avocado).  I have not tried the other two yet, but both are only list.  There is nothing like a big bowl of mixed greens with Green Goddess dressing.  Anyway, swing by TJ if you want to give them a try.

Every once in a while, I’ll pick up a non-dairy yogurt instead of making it.  If I get in a baking mood and need yogurt, I will swing into the store instead of waiting a day for foragerhomemade to do its thing.  Yes, I’m impatient.  If I want to eat some straight up, I may choose a flavored one, but do love the flexibility of unflavored yogurt.  One of my favorites is Forager.  I have picked it up at Whole Foods, Earth Fare, and Publix (at the best regular price).  While it is not as creamy as dairy, it is pretty creamy and the cashew base makes it more versatile thanks to the neutral flavor.  I’ve used it in baking, as sour cream, and as a topper for fresh or frozen fruit.  Give it a shot sometime if you’re not up to waiting for homemade.

I love making non-dairy milk.  Oat and cashew are the ones I reach for most, but when I want to bake for the family, nuts are out of the question and oat milk has a little too much flavor to most things.  I gave Ripple Unsweetened Original a try and will not go back.  This pea milk is as rich as non-dairy according to my omni family and the goodies baked with it come out perfectly.  It has no gluten, lactose, nuts, or sugar along with 8ripple grams of  protein, 32 mg DHA Omega 3’s, and 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, there’s no reason to use dairy.  Besides, the family does not complain about my vegan desserts.  If plain unsweetened isn’t your thing, Ripple also comes in vanilla, chocolate, and half and half.  I have tried the half and half in baking and coffee.  It’s really, really good.  Omni hubs enjoyed the half ad half in his iced coffee without blinking or commenting.  That says a lot.

The hardest food to find when I first dropped meat was a substitute that really hit the spot for me.  While I enjoyed the occasional veggie burger, I did not find one that tasted better than a fast-food burger.  And I wasn’t really a fan of fast-food burgers ever.  Morningstar Farms was my go-to until I dropped eggs and dairy, and back then their vegan burger was meh.  Boca was another favorite, but it stopped going into my shopping cart when I started experimenting with homemade bean-based burgers.  When I’m with the extended family and a random burger meal is in the works, I have to find something quick so I don’t sit there starving or eating just a bun with lettuce and tomato.  While that works sometimes, it isn’t always my idea of a meal.  Enter the Beyond Burger.

beyond burger

This beast has 20 grams of protein and gives the old-school burger feel that mome meat eaters will enjoy.  This is not a daily thing, but makes a nice option for the “can you eat burgers” discussion that tends to pop up at cookout time.

I don’t use these foods as a regular thing.  As I mentioned earlier, a primarily unprocessed eating plan works best for me.  Every once in a while, these foods help save the day.  Give some a try sometime and let me know what you think.

Until next time, peace.

 

 

 

Make your own non-dairy milk

Note: I received the Victoos Nut Milk Bag free of charge in exchange for my honest review. Anything I say is not influenced by the product. My views are my own and I will not recommend anything I don’t believe in.

I used to just kind of like milk. I had it over cereal and used it in recipes, but as far as drinking it straight, I wasn’t a fan. I found out later in life that milk did not like me. At all. It smiled in my face and kicked me in the back. Hard. Milk gave me gas, made me bloated, and gave me headaches. Any milk or milk product had the safe effect. As much as I loved my yogurt, cheese, and ice cream, dairy had to go. While that made me a little sad, it sent me on a mission to find delicious non-dairy alternatives that like me as much as I like them.

Non-dairy milk was first on my list. While I can find soy, nut, rice, hemp, flax, and coconut milks on store shelves, my budget does not always appreciate the hit when they’re not on sale or when I go on a baking binge. Learning to make my own was not difficult at all. For quick soymilk or cream, I add water and to a package of silken tofu and whip it until I get the consistency I want. Sometimes I want to mix it up. When I want nut, seed, or grain-based milk, I blend the item with water and go. while I get a smooth consistency, the milk usually isn’t as smooth as a store-bought product. This is where a nut milk bag comes in.

The Victoos Nut Milk Bag is a lightweight nylon bag designed for straining.  Just blend your nut, seed, or grain milk, pour into the bag, and strain.  Squeezing the bag will strain out all of the liquid and leave pulp I use in smoothies, oats, or in baking.  I haven’t tried drying the pulp out to use as flour yet, but that’s on the list of things to try later.

Cleaning the bag is a breeze.  I give it a good rinse if I need it again right away and toss it in the wash with kitchen towels if I don’t.  By the way, a nut bag is excellent for people who want to juice but don’t have a juicer.  Just blend the juice ingredients and strain through the bag.  If you want a Victoos Nut Milk Bag, snag one on Amazon while it’s a great price – just $8.95.

What non-dairy milk will I make next?  I’m thinking a coconut-flax milk might be lovely.  Why that blend?  Because I’m obsessed with making tofu mousse and yogurt and saving my silken tofu for those uses.

This goodie is inspired by an older recipe from Happy Herbivore.  I added blueberries to the ‘yogurt’ recipe to snack on as-is or on top of fruit salad for breakfast.  Want some?

Which non-dairy goodies are your favorites?