Coconut French Toast and Easy Chickpea Salad

After a long week, a lazy Sunday was just what I needed! After a little sleeping in, a lot of cuddling with my pup and cat, I decided to make myself some French Toast. It’s been so long!
I toasted a few slices of bread since I didn’t have any stale bread at home.
This is what I used, but it’s really easy to play with this recipe, different creamers, different extracts, easily modified! This could be fun during the holidays when So Delicious has flavors like Nog and Pumpkin Spice.

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1/4 cup So Delicious French Vanilla Coconut Creamer
1/4 cup So Delicious Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 tbsp chickpea flour

Combine all ingredients in a wide bowl and mix well. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat and coat with coconut oil.
Soak bread slices in mixture and move to pan, cooking each side for a couple of minutes on each side, until nice golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, grab your maple syrup or pure cane syrup, and enjoy!

^This recipe comes from years of loving this recipe: The PPK Fronch Toast! and the modest alterations I have done throughout my adoration of it!

After that filling and delicious brunch, I just wanted something nice and simple for dinner yesterday. Scoping out what I had on hand I decided I could probably make an amazing chickpea salad in no time! I must say that I think it was accomplished, and I hope you feel the same.

I toasted some bread for a sandwich, chopped some lettuce to go with it, and threw the following in the food processor:

1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp relish
a few dashes turmeric
several dashes pepper and salt
1 sheet nori, shredded
1/4 c Vegenaise
1 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp minced garlic
Blend, taste to adjust seasoning as you see fit, and enjoy!

D.I.Y. Vegan Bath Salts and Mouth Wash

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Lavender Vanilla Bath Salts

2 cups Epsom salt
1 cup coarse sea salt
1 tbsp Lavender buds
1 tbsp almond oil
1 tbsp vegetable glycerin
15 drops vanilla essential oil
5 drops Lavender essential oil
Optional food coloring

Combine all wet ingredients in a bowl,  mix well. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Stir wet ingredients into dry until well mixed. Store in jars or bottles and enjoy about 1/2 cup at a time.

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Mouth Wash

1 cup water
1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
1/4 cup witch hazel
1 tbsp baking soda
7 drops peppermint essential oil
3 drops orange essential oil

Combine all ingredients in a bottle or jar and shake well.

Products I love

I often find myself trying to rattle off product recommendations to people who are looking into cutting out dairy, find meat alternatives, or just try out some awesome vegan goodies, which is a big part of why I started this blog. I can’t believe I haven’t done a post like this yet, I guess partly because my list of loves are constantly growing because there’s always something new to try! So here we go, these are some of my favorite replacements and products as of right now:

Almond milk instead of cow’s milk. I love almond milk!! Great flavor, works well in recipes, and way better for you. Vanilla flavored lends itself beautifully to cereals, smoothies, and coffee!

Coconut milk for making ice cream! I was recently gifted an ice cream maker (thank you thank you thank you, JeAnne!), and am pretty hooked. My first attempt made me ridiculously happy ( http://wp.me/p4n65h-3C <– recipe!), and I’m constantly excited to try more. 1 can of coconut milk, a little pure cane syrup, a bit of vanilla, and maybe some mix ins and you have 2 servings of delicious vegan ice cream!

Daiya Cheese! I’ve mentioned Daiya in a few of my recipes before, but have I told you how wonderful I truly think this vegan cheese to be? It has brought vegan cheese to a whole new level, and it’s awesome. It melts, it spreads, it tastes great. You can get shreds, slices, spreads, and each one has things that it seems like it was made for.
Shreds- pizzas!
Spreads- melts beautifully. I love the spreads on sandwiches or even melted over pasta.
Slices- also melts so so nicely. I made a grilled cheese recently with 2 slices of Daiya Cheddar and it was almost too much ooey gooey melty goodness. It was way cheesier than my boyfriends non-vegan grilled cheese!

Follow Your Heart Cheese- Having a block of Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella makes me so happy. It is the only vegan cheese I have found that I will eat as is. I will just slice off pieces and dream of the day they turn it into string cheese!

Cream Cheese- Toffuti!! Available more widely than I expected, I can run to Winn Dixie bright and early before Whole Foods opens if I crave a spread for my bagel.
Daiya- oh the cream cheese flavors they have! So so good, big fan of the strawberry! These are a vegan cheesecake makers dream come true 🙂

Sour Cream- Toffuti! I love having Toffuti Sour Cream on hand for when I randomly decide to make lentil tacos. Again, available at a variety of stores.

Just about anything Gardein. Have someone in your life that loves chicken tenders and you’d love to make them their fave food, but can’t bring yourself to make something as sad as chicken products? Get yourself to your nearest Gardein carrying store (Whole Foods, Roberts at Carrolton and Claiborne, Winn Dixie on Tchoupitoulas) and get their chicken tenders. They’re amazing. I don’t know how they make all of these meat alternatives, but wooo! Absolutely delicious and while I’m not the best judge of how much something tastes like meat, I hear they’re pretty darn close!

Vegenaise– Oh, Vegenaise. You little game changer you! This delicious spread tastes better than mayo without any of the cruelty or cholesterol. Multiple flavors available.

Tofurky products- This could be a whole blog in itself. Tofurky clearly loves us all, have you had one of their frozen pizzas? Ever want a cold cut sandwich but wish that no one had to die for it? Tofurky has you covered with a great selection of vegan deli slices at great prices. They now have pot pies and I can’t wait to try one!

Amy’s Kitchen– Speaking of pot pies, Amy’s has vegan ones! (Watch out though, not all that is Amy’s is vegan!) They have some great frozen meals and burritos, but be sure to read the ingredients, which if you’re vegan your probably do by habit anyway. Their stuff can be a bit pricey, but it’s delicious!

Sophie’s Kitchen– when I was kid I loved fried shrimp! I haven’t had it since I was 11, and while I am of course fine without it, the little shrimp loving kid in me did quite a happy dance when I saw Sophie’s Kitchen’s products. Vegan. Fried. Shrimp. Yep. Vegan crab cakes. There’s more but those are my favorite, and both very much enjoyed by my omnivorous sweetheart.

Field Roast-most veg*ns know Field Roast for their awesome holiday items. If you don’t, I recommend checking em out! In addition to that they have a line of vegan sausages! My favorite is the Apple Sage, although their newly released Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage is pretty fantastic and makes for a great addition to biscuits and gravy!

So Delicious– this brand lives up to their name. Their frozen desserts are amazing.
2 words: Pomegranate. Chip.
those not do it for you? Cookie. Dough.
Mint. Chip.
Vanilla. Bean.
We can keep this going for a while because they have a huge selection of magical vegan ice cream alternatives.
They even have ice cream bars and sandwiches. Things that a lot of vegans probably just never even expected to have again. Thank you, So Delicious. They also have vegan nog, which is lovely, coconut and almond milks, creamers, yogurts, and more. If you haven’t tried out their products, it’s time you do!

GoodBelly– delicious probiotic beverages that I often use in smoothies. Tropical Orange and Blueberry Pomegranate are my favorites.

Earth Balance– my butter alternative favorite. Available in sticks and tubs with a variety of types (olive oil, soy free, omega-3, organic whipped)
They’ve recently come out with your vegan alternative to a certain blue box of mac and cheese you may have grown up with. I love this stuff. It’s something super easy I can pack if I’ll be away from home w kitchen access. This is a new go to for when staying out of town at a friends. Toss it in the bag, no need to refrigerate, and it’s there if I need it!
They’ve also mastered a cheesy little square cracker you may have missed. Absolutely delicious when paired with Toffuti Garlic & Herb Better Than Cream Cheese.

This is just a few of the many amazing things out there making life easier and tastier for vegans. While I don’t recommend basing your daily diet on these foods, and think eating more whole foods is the way to go, these are awesome things to spice up your meals and snacks!

A couple quick links before I wrap this one up that make life easier:

Happy Cow Restaurant Guide!

And saving the best for last, if you live in New Orleans or plan on visiting our lovely city, this lady’s amazing blog will be a life-saver. It even has an interactive map!!
New Orleans in Green!

Vegan DIY deodorant and sunblock

I’ve been so absent! Life has been hectic and every time I start to write, it becomes another saved draft, but that will be remedied. Those drafts will get finished, and I will try not to let things get in the way so much anymore. I love being able to share vegan info and, hopefully, help people navigate and embrace a vegan lifestyle!

Recently, I’ve been enjoying DIY beauty products. I find something so relaxing and rewarding in making them. It started with my wonderful boyfriend’s distaste for using deodorant that has aluminum. While there are great brands on the market that are aluminum-free, the only one I frequently saw in stores had resulted in an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction in your armpit is a pretty annoying thing, so I steered clear. I had previously made a tiny batch of my own deodorant, and like it well enough, but it wasn’t anything I was thrilled about. After looking around at different recipes, I’ve finally got a recipe that I very much enjoy using! 

  • 1/4 cup unrefined coconut oil http://amzn.to/1lF0HfY
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder (can be swapped with cornstarch, I prefer arrowroot because it’s a bit more sensitive)
  • 3-5 drops Tea Tree Oil  (why? http://tinyurl.com/6o78q5q)
  • 2-3 drops Lavender Oil (because I think it smells lovely and it’s calming! Sometimes I also add a few drops vanilla)

Mix all ingredients together (I use a half pint mason jar). Enjoy! With the coconut oil it may harden, so you’ll have to mix well before use. My house tends to be pretty warm so this isn’t generally an issue for me. My dad diluted his a bit since his house stays chilly.

To apply I use a synthetic shaving brush: http://amzn.to/YhIVW2

After this was so wonderfully successful, I was excited to try new products. I’ve always enjoyed making bath salts, so that was something I played around with some more, and those recipes will be happening soon, but the thing that I was extremely excited about making was sunblock! As a vegan (aka, ingredient reader extraordinaire ^_^), I wasn’t really liking what I was seeing in most sunblocks, especially since a large portion of them I couldn’t even use. 

I found a recipe that I very much enjoy here: http://tinyurl.com/nc2v3jg 
In the instructions, when it tells you to have a pan of hot water and to put the ingredients in, be sure to just sit the mason jar in the water so that all the ingredients can melt together. 

I tested this out on a weekend that we would be poolside for a large portion of the time. I’m pretty fair-skinned and can burn quickly. It was a terrifying experiment, but it went so well! I’m a big fan and will be using this regularly. I very much enjoy having this recipe as it has helped me with wearing sunblock more frequently, which is SO important. I put some of the sunblock in a mini bottle for on the go: http://amzn.to/1pxiYqB And I also have a large batch at home: http://amzn.to/Wo8vHp