Category Archives: vegan

Maca Date Shake

This is a great shake for anyone, but especially athletes as it contains dates (many runners and bikers eat dates on their long runs), and Maca Powder which is considered a Superfood because it not only has a positive effect on hormones, but also increases energy levels and stamina. Health benefits aside, I love this shake! It’s almost like having a milk shake. It’s important to enjoy the foods we eat. I love when the shakes about done, but there are some tiny bits and pieces of the dates that have sunk to the bottom. They’re sweet and chewy.

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And a word of advice on the dates. I buy mine at Costco in the produce section, as that’s where I find them for the best price, and unless used within a week or so, should be stored in the fridge, but I will take out the 4 I need for this recipe the morning of, put them in a baggie and let them sit out for a couple of hours until I’m ready to make my shake, because my blender has an easier time blending them up when they’re at room temperature. And I have a high power blender.

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THE RECIPE:

Maca Date Shake
serves 1

1 c unsweetened almond milk
1/4 c dates (about 4 medjool dates, at room temperature)
1 Tbsp almond butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp maca powder
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 c ice

Place in high power blender, milk first, and blend until smooth.

*Maca Powder: of the cruciferous family (like broccoli), and is considered a Super Food. Grown in the mountains of South America, Maca has a positive effect on hormone balance, energy levels, and is a health booster.

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Filed under drink, gluten-free, Smoothies, vegan

Powdered Peanut Butter & Banana Protein Shake

For those of you who follow me on instagram(elisa_realfoodsmom), you’ll recognize this recipe from a post I did last week.

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I found this powdered peanut butter on sale at Sprouts and picked it up when I saw there were only three ingredients and no refined sugar (peanuts, salt and coconut sugar, which is unrefined).

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Since then we’ve made multiple batches of peanut butter and banana protein shakes! You could also sub the powdered stuff for all natural peanut butter, 1:1 ratio (if you’re watching calories though, the powdered is the way to go).

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THE RECIPE:

Powdered Peanut Butter and Banana Protein Shake
*Makes about 14 oz

10oz unsweetened almond milk
2 tbsp powdered peanut butter
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like sunwarrior vegan mix)
1/2 frozen banana
4 ice cubes

Blend until smooth. Makes about 14 oz!

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Filed under Breakfast, Smoothies, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Acai Protein Shake

My macro counting didn’t last very long, and actually, I don’t think I ever hit the protein amount they suggested :). I recently read some research about how too much animal protein in our diet (including dairy, whey etc), spikes the insulin, which reminded me of T. Colin Campbell’s research from his book The China Study, also talking about how we should only be consuming smaller amounts of animal protein to prevent sickness and disease…I should pick that book up again as it’s been too many years. I highly recommend it. Anyhow, I am still counting calories because I love food so much, even whole healthy foods, that I tend to eat more than my body needs, so I’m trying to reign that in a little :). For now I’m trying to eat like the French people(“French kids eat everything” is another great read), with 3 meals a day and one snack. Counting calories helps me to stay within those boundaries. I don’t feel like I’m super hungry all the time because I’m not, I’m getting a good amount of food and of the right kinds of foods, a lot of plants, but I don’t ever really feel stuffed either, which is also good because being stuffed is not good for our stomach.  I have  four more weeks to go with my calorie counting goal, and then I’m hoping I will have established some good healthy habits that I will  continue to keep.

I’ve been finding that my late afternoon snack is often times some sort of a vegan protein shake or some veggies, fruit and hummus.  I’ve been experimenting with a lot of different protein shake recipes and this Acai and chia shake is a good one that’s full of so many nutrients, including omega 3 fats from the chia seeds.

Start by pouring your almond milk into your blender, add the chia seeds and then let it sit for a few minutes (they will swell and get ‘jelly’) while you pull out your remaining ingredients. Add everything else and blend until smooth. You can use a few stevia drops to sweeten or a little stevia powder.

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THE RECIPE

Acai Protein Shake
*makes 20 oz

2 c unsweetened almond milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 scoop Sunwarrior vanilla protein powder (or another vanilla, but I love this vegan mix)
1/2 Acai Smoothie packet (could sub another smoothie packet like pitaya)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 drops liquid stevia

Pour milk into blender and add chia seeds. Allow to soak for a few minutes and in the meantime get out the remaining ingredients. Add the protein powder, acai, cinnamon and stevia and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

253 calories; 10 g fat, 20 g carbs, 21 g protein

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Filed under Smoothies, vegan

Spirulina Power Green Smoothie

I’ve been playing around with my green smoothie recipe, wanting to use both chia seeds and spirulina powder as they have so many health benefits. The tricky part is coming up with a recipe that tastes good when spirulina powder is added. But after playing around a bit, I found one that is delicious and my kids think so too! This recipe makes about 24 oz which means it makes just enough for me for breakfast :).

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THE RECIPE:

Spirulina Power Green Smoothie
*makes 24 oz

10 oz cool water
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp spirulina powder
4 c power green mix (spinach, kale and chard)
5 baby carrots
1/2 lemon, peel cut off
1/2 apple, cored
1 frozen banana
1/2 c frozen blueberries

Pour water into high power blender and add chia seeds. Allow the chia seeds to soak for a few minutes, and in the meantime gather and prep your other ingredients. Add spirulina, greens and carrots and blend until combined, about 10 seconds. Add the remaining ingredients and blend on medium power, until smooth (I take my blendtec through two full cycles of blending to get it to the smooth consistency I like). Drink immediately.

*chia seeds get thick and gel-like when they sit in liquid, so if you don’t drink this all right away, store it in a jar in the fridge and before drinking, give it a shake.

-Why a “power” green smoothie

  • chia seeds are considered a super food, high in omega-3 fat, which is something most people don’t get in their typical diet unless they’re regularly eating fish or taking fish oil, also a good source of protein and fiber as well as vitamins and minerals
  • spirulina powder is an algae, fresh water plant, and is also a super food. It is full of minerals and vitamins and is a good source of protein
  • lemons are alkaline and are a cleansing food, also high in vitamin c and antioxidants
  • bananas are high in potassium and are especially a great food to consume before or after exercising. Good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber
  • blueberries are very high in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin c
  • spinach, kale and chard are high in fiber and they act as a broom in your body and sweep up and clear out heavy metals and toxins, also high in vitamin A and vitamin C

324 calories; 4 g fat, 70 g carbs, 10 g protein

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Filed under Breakfast, gluten-free, Smoothies, vegan

Almond Flax Protein Balls

We love protein bars and balls (I’ve posted recipes for both in the past), and I have a new one for you today which I’m super excited about because it is delicious! You guys, I hide these from my kids, they’re that good. I make them when they’re at school so they don’t even know, and then I put them in our fridge in the garage, behind something big :). I only make 16 at a time which will last me a couple of weeks, or at least a week! But with 5 kids snacking on them,  and begging for more, they wouldn’t last a day in our house. I suppose I could double the recipe….maybe someday I will, and then maybe I will share. Maybe.

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At the very end of this post I will have the macro numbers since my hubby and I are doing an 8 week macro counting challenge…which is hard but kinda fun, like playing a game, and since my husband and I are doing it together we can motivate one another. He’s raising his macros trying to gain a few pounds, and I’m doing the opposite. He’ll text me a couple of times a day with “i’m stuffed” or “I’m so full”, and I text back with some encouraging emoji like a thumbs up for “you got this!”, but inside i’m thinking, “I wish that were my problem, being too full.” Instead I’m mostly not ever full, but I’m not starving either. It’s all good and we only have 6 1/2 weeks to go! :). I’m hoping this whole process will teach me to be more aware of my foods and their caloric content and it’s a good reminder for me that I don’t need to be, nor should I be, snacking all throughout the day and that it’s okay to be hungry, probably good actually, because it means I’m allowing time for my food to digest fully, not overloading my system, and it makes me appreciate the flavor of foods more; everything tastes amazing these days!  Alright, enough of that, let’s get on with the recipe!

In a medium mixing bowl add almond butter, syrup, flax, protein powder and vanilla and stir together. Add almond flour and mix well.

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Place on an ungreased cookie sheet using a cookie scoop to measure. They can be very close together as they will not change in size. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge to chill for half hour or more. Feel free to then transfer them to a smaller tupperware container.

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You can store these in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy!

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Almond Flax Protein Balls- lightly adapted from Clean Simple Eats
*makes 16 balls; 1 ball is 1 serving

1/2 c almond butter
1/4 c pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp ground flax
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (I like Sunwarrior’s vegan vanilla powder)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 c raw almonds, ground to almond flour in high power blender (or 1 c almond flour)

In a medium mixing bowl add almond butter, syrup, flax, protein powder and vanilla and stir together. Add almond flour and mix well. Place on a cookie sheet using a cookie scoop to measure. Cover with plastic and put in the fridge to chill for half hour or more. Transfer them to a smaller tupperware container.Store in the fridge or freezer.

111 calories;  7.8 g fat, 6.7 g carbs, 4.1 g protein

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Filed under gluten-free, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Pumpkin Coconut Breakfast Cookies

I hope you all had a nice Christmas; it is my absolute favorite holiday! I love the lights, the music, the food, I love acting out the nativity with our family and reading the Christmas story and one of my favorite things is having Scott around for several days in a row. This year we were so pleased that his parents were able to join us for Christmas from NC, and Scott was home for almost a week straight which was heaven on earth!

I am so excited to share this breakfast cookie recipe because I am loving them! It’s more of a quick, grab-and-g0 healthy snack or breakfast, rather than a dessert-type cookie. I freeze almost the entire batch and then eat one or two a day, straight out of the freezer; they don’t require any thawing time. If you don’t freeze them, just know that they are a softer cookie and I think after day two you’ll find they get even softer when stored in a tupperware so you’d probably want to freeze them after a couple of days. I waited a day before I froze mine. For those of you that care, each cookie is 100 calories when you make 36 cookies(I’m doing My Fitness Pal again for a short time which I don’t love, but because of all the yummy Christmas foods we still have around the house, I’ve been snacking way too often so this’ll help keep me in check). I found this recipe in this month’s  Runners World magazine, which was submitted by Elyse Kopecky and though her recipe only makes 20 cookies, I found when I used my cookie scoop, 36 was a more accurate amount. If you make them bigger, then obviously, the calorie count per cookie will be higher.

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Here are the ingredients:

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You can buy almond flour, or you can grind your own if you have a high power blender. I just straight up throw in whole, raw almonds and grind them for several seconds, mix it with a rubber spatula, grind for several more seconds, and it’s done!

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I added raisins and a handful of chopped walnuts but you can leave them plain or add some chocolate chips or whatever else you like.

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I mix all my ingredients together in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon.

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 I baked these on my silicone mats. I love these baking mats because of ease of clean up and I love that I can slide the whole mat off the cookie sheet and onto a cooling rack with the cookies all in place and it only takes a second.

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Have them cool completely before storing them in a tupperware or in freezer ziploc bags.

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Have a safe and Happy New Year!

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THE RECIPE:

Pumpkin Coconut Breakfast Cookies
*Makes about 3 dozen

2 c almond flour (I make my own grinding a little less than 2 c, whole raw almonds in my Blendtec)
1 1/2 c rolled oats
1 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp sea salt

1 c pumpkin puree
1/2 c pure maple syrup
1/2 c melted coconut oil
optional: 1/4 c raisins, chopped dates, walnuts or chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside. In a large mixing bowl add your flour, oats, coconut, cinnamon and salt. In a small mixing bowl combine your pumpkin, syrup, and oil. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add in any optional raisins, nuts, chocolate chips etc and stir until incorporated. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out dough and place on cookie sheet baking for about 25 minutes, until golden(check after 20). Makes 3 dozen cookies.

You can eat these right away or store in a tupperware container for a couple of days. They are also great cold and I like to freeze most of mine and eat them straight out of the freezer (they don’t require any thawing time because they’re a softer cookies).

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Filed under Breakfast, Desserts, gluten-free, Snacks/Sides/Appetizers, vegan

Crock Pot Black Bean Enchilada Soup

December is an abnormally busy month with all the recitals and performances we have added into our already very full schedule, and because of that, I’m finding that the only way we’re going to get home cooked, warm meals is to prepare in the morning or afternoon, which means we’re doing a lot of crock pot meals this month. I’ve taken a few soup recipes we enjoy and made them crock pot friendly, so if you’re a busy and need to prep in the mornings like me, give this one a try. And it is more of a medium heat when it comes to spices, so if you’re more on the mild side, omit the jalapeno and you could even decrease the chipotle chili powder as well, but we love spicy foods, even the kiddos, so we do it all!

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This is fairly easy, and it probably only takes about 10-15 minutes of work. You’ll chop and saute your veggies, and while they’re sauteing, I mix together all my spices and put them into the crock pot, then I put the cooked veggies, tomatoes and a cup of the broth in the blender, blend til smooth, dump that into the crock pot with the rest of the broth, add your torn up corn tortillas and cook it on low all day or on high for about 4 hours.

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Once it’s all done cooking, add in coconut milk and some black beans for texture and extra yumminess! Serve this warm and top with whatever toppings you like; I LOVE avocado so that’s always a must for me, and my kids also add some cheese and tortilla chips.

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Crock Pot Black Bean Enchilada Soup (vegan, gf)
*serves 8

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tbsp minced garlic
2 carrots(12 baby), peeled and chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1-2 Tbsp jalapeno pepper, chopped  (canned or fresh; can omit this if you’re more of a ‘mild’ person)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1  tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
6 c vegetable or chicken broth
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
5-6, 6” corn tortillas, torn into quarters

salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c coconut milk (full fat from a can; I like the thai kitchen brand)
1 1/2 c black beans

Toppings:
chopped green onions
sliced avocado
cheddar cheese
tortilla chips

In a frying pan, saute vegetables in olive oil over medium heat until vegetables are tender. Chop and saute your veggies, and while they’re sauteing,  mix together all the spices and put them into the crock pot. Put the cooked veggies, tomatoes and a cup of the broth in the blender, blend til smooth, dump that into the crock pot with the rest of the broth, add your torn up corn tortillas and cook it on low all day or on high for about 4 hours.  Add coconut milk and black beans and stir to combine.  Serve warm topped with any of your favorite toppings ( I LOVE avocado).

*You can also make this on the stove; just saute veggies in a larger stock pot and add spices, broth and tomatoes(blending the tomatoes in blender or with immersion blender) and bring to a boil. Tear the tortillas and add them to the soup. Cover and turn the heat down to low and simmer 30-45 minutes or until tortillas are breaking apart. Remove from heat and add the coconut milk and beans.

 

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Filed under crock pot, Dinner, gluten-free, Soups, vegan

Cranberry Ginger Green Smoothie

Green smoothies are a staple in our house. I have had one every morning for the past 6+ years. I have a basic recipe I follow (water, greens, fruit), but it changes slightly through out the year, depending on what fruits are in season etc.

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After Thanksgiving I had half a bag of cranberries leftover that I decided to freeze, not sure what I was going to do with them, and then when I went to make my green smoothie that morning, I pulled open the freezer drawer to grab some frozen fruit and there they were, just waiting to be used. I also cut up fresh ginger root, into small maybe 1/8 inch slices, and freeze those as well. Be sure to keep them in a ‘freezer’ ziploc bag. I’ve had trouble with freeze burned foods when I try to freeze them in normal sandwich bags.

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Start with your water and greens, and blend them in a high power blender until smooth. Then add in your fruit. I use about 10 cranberries which is around 1/4 cup. And here’s my half a lemon with the peel cut off, and my slice of ginger. In the recipe I put the lemon as optional, and that’s because it tastes great with or without, I just love using it because lemons are so alkaline and a great cleanser, but it’s okay if you don’t use it. Blend everything until it’s smooth, which is two, 50-second cycles on my Blendtec.

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I love this Pioneer Woman mason jar I got at Walmart last year. I use it every day. I love the handle because I often drink this smoothie as I’m driving kids to school in the morning and it’s nice to have something to hold onto to…less spills for me this way :). Enjoy!

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THE RECIPE:

Cranberry Ginger Green Smoothie (vegan, gf)

*makes about 40 oz

12 oz cold water
2 handfuls power greens (mixture of spinach, kale and chard. Can do just spinach)
1 stalk celery, cut in half
optional: 1 small handful parsley (parsley removes toxins and metals from your body; great cleanser)
optional: 1/2 lemon, peel cut off (another great cleanser and very alkaline)
1 apple, cored
1 banana, peeled
10 frozen cranberries (about 1/4 cup)
1/8” thick slice of ginger (fresh or frozen)
1 c frozen strawberries
1 c frozen pineapple (or frozen blueberries)

Pour water into high power blender. Add in greens and blend until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth (My Blendtec gets to the consistency that I like in  two, 50 second cycles).

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Filed under Breakfast, Smoothies, vegan

Tomato, Avocado and Bean Wrap

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Life is busy these days, whether you work, go to school or are a stay at home mom (like me with my five kids!) and I’m always looking for ways to save time, and that includes with food. But at the same time, I am not willing to sacrifice my health or the health of my family for convenience. Since we’ve been eating healthy, whole foods for the past 6 or so years, I’ve learned a few things about making quick and healthy meals. Planning ahead and being prepared is important because when I’m hungry and needing to eat, I’m not going to wait for something to cook for very long, and I’m not going to take the time to chop up a million different things. For example, I make my crock pot of black beans once a week, freeze half, and now I’ve got fresh and yummy home made black beans all week long that I can use for dinner or throw in my salads at lunch. And my crock pot black beans literally take 5 minutes to prep. Black beans are not expensive either, so now you’ve got healthy, quick food on a budget. I do the same thing with my quinoa and brown rice. I usually make one batch a week and just store it in the fridge and then it’s ready to grab and go for a quick meal.

I also find it helpful to cut up an entire head of lettuce, chop up a whole onion, cucumber, bell pepper, tomato or whatever produce I’ll be using at one time, that way I only have to take out, wash, and then clean up after this whole chopping process once and then they’re  all ready to go. I am SO much more likely to have a big salad for lunch when things are all ready pre-cut (and cooked like my black beans) because I’m so busy that I’m usually feeling very hungry by the time I can even think about food and if I have to take out all my separate produce items and wash them and cut them etc, I just end up doing something faster and easier. So, planning and prepping is important. And do it on a day/time that’s not super busy for you.

I often have salads or leftovers for lunch, and sometimes I’ll change up my salad by putting everything in a wrap. You can use whatever kind you like. If I have homemade whole wheat tortillas left over then I’ll use those, but I don’t like the store bought wheat tortillas so I’ll sometimes get these Teff wraps from Sprouts when they’re on sale. I like to warm up my wrap for about 30 seconds before I put all my toppings inside so that it’s nice a pliable. 2016-10-27-12-19-26There is no particular way of doing this, and you really can use whatever veggies you like or have on hand, but I will almost always use either avocados or hummus for creaminess, I love to use black beans and sometimes I’ll put some quinoa in there(both of those things make it so much more filling and add a ton in nutrition), and I love tomatoes and red onions and greens or sprouts etc.  I pull out my containers from the fridge with all my chopped veggies and I can throw this wrap together in one minute. Bam, done! And it’s healthy! I make this faster than I do my daughters PB&J (natural pb of course, and I get the fruit juice sweetened jelly).

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Tomato, Avocado and Bean Wrap

Toppings:
Tomato, chopped
Red onion, chopped
Avocado, cut in cubes
Black Beans
Hummus
lettuce, chopped
Sprouts
cucumber, diced or julienned
quinoa
Wrap/Tortilla of choice (I like the Teff wraps better than most store-bought whole grain tortillas; warm it up for 30 seconds then add your toppings)

Warm up wrap for 30 seconds in microwave. Spread on a spoonful of hummus, then add whatever toppings you like. Roll up like a burrito, cut in half and it’s ready to eat!

 

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Filed under gluten-free, Lunch, vegan, vegetarian

Vegan Mac and Cheese

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This recipe came from my baby sister Becca who is gluten free and vegan and who also has this recipe posted on her food blog, so be sure to check her out at: https://glutenfreeplantbasedgoodeats.wordpress.com/ 

Although I’m not vegan or gluten-free, I do a lot less dairy than most because my stomach can’t handle too much, and if you’ve ever read The China Study, which is the most comprehensive study ever done on nutrition, you’ll know that cutting down on all animal products is a good thing (and I didn’t say cutting out, but cutting down. Should be less than 10% of your diet). So I love that I can get the creaminess from this recipe from cashews and sweet potato and almond milk, all blended together, but then I use a little bit of cheddar cheese (only 1 cup), but you can always use the dairy-free cheese as well for the vegan version.

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You’ll want to start off by cooking your pasta elbows, gluten-free or not(I used whole wheat), and peeling and cooking your sweet potato in the microwave for 6 minutes. Or you can cook it in the oven at 400 degrees for almost an hour, but if you do it that way, don’t peel it before hand, just wait for it to cool and slip the skin off.  Once the pasta is done, drain the water, place them in a large mixing bowl, drizzle a little olive oil over top and give it a stir so they don’t stick together. Set that aside and you’ll combine the rest of your ingredients in a blender and blend until it’s smooth. If it’s too thick and your blender is having difficulty blending, just add a little more milk about 1/4 c at a time, giving it a stir and then blending again.

Once it’s all creamy, dump it over your macaroni noodles and stir to combine.

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Grease a 9×13 pan (I smear coconut oil over the whole inside of the pan) and then dump your mac and cheese inside and spread it even. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.

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Serve warm!

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THE RECIPE:

Mac n’ Cheese (lightly adapted from Becca)

Ingredients:

1 lb of whole wheat or brown rice pasta elbow noodles (good price at Trader Joes)

1 sweet potato

1 cup grated cheddar cheese (can use dairy-free cheese like the Daiya brand- mozarella or cheddar)

3 cups of raw cashews

16 oz. almond milk (more if needed to thin so it will blend)

1/2 cup of nutritional yeast(Fred Meyer, Whole Foods or Winco)

1 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1 teaspoon sea salt

pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic, minced
optional: 1/4 tsp paprika

Instructions:

 Cook noodles according to directions on package. Meanwhile, peel the sweet potato and cook in the microwave for 6 minutes (or in the oven, unpeeled, at 400 degrees for 1 hour; can do this before hand). Drain noodles, dump back into your pot, drizzle with a little olive oil and mix so they don’t stick together. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

 In a blendtec or food processor, add almond milk first and then all the other ingredients and mix until a creamy consistency. If you need to add more milk so your blender won’t burn out from the thickness, add 1/4 cup at a time. Pour over your noodles in the pot and stir to combine.

 Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 pan with coconut oil, or something like it. Add stirred mac n’ cheese into the 9×13 pan and place in the oven. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees

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Filed under Dinner, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian