Nutrition

Beyond Burger Review

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After 3 long years of waiting for this plant-based burger to hit shelves in my area, I have finally been able to try it. The company ended up finding my Instagram page and enjoyed my photography so much that they wanted to send me a couple packs, even before the burgers came to grocery stores in Buffalo. So, lucky me, they sent them overnight along with an awesome hat that Alan the Vegan Chef wears every day and a cute shirt for myself.

As soon as we received them we were cooking them up and slathering on all the fixings. We went with the classic burger: Daiya cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, and mustard. As they cooked, the entire room filled with the smell of delicious fat being simmered as we watched its juices drip out of the patty and sizzle. They looked and smelled just like a meat-based burger, an eerie sight for sure. The food scientists at Beyond Meat really hit that nail on the head. The taste and texture were incredible as well. You can get this burger as crispy or as rare as you see fit. The outside browns to form grill marks from its original pink texture.

I would recommend this burger to anyone. They’re vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, and soy free…suitable for everyone. You will see me pushing this on new friends, urging them to try it because, before this, I was NOT a veggie burger kind-of-girl. I don’t want you to miss out! This is not one of those veggie burgers that was formulated in the early 70’s from kelp and mushed up beans. It’s perfect for anyone, vegan or not. It’s even perfect for those out there that are thinking about giving up on their vegan diet and need something like this to remind them why they should stay. It tastes a lot like meat but lacks all of the gross parts because it’s just peas!

For those of you that are going to say “but Jess, this is super high in fat?” I’d have to agree that it is very high for my liking but for those that are simply looking to have an occasional indulgence, enjoy it. It’s a great source of protein and iron yet has no cholesterol. It’s comparable in calories (290 kcal vs. 287 kcal) to a beef burger without the guilt. It’s a comfort food that shouldn’t be an everyday staple, especially if you are overweight or have cardiovascular disease. It’s simply the best tasting plant-based burger that I’ve ever had. For two patties, your going to pay around $5 but I have been know to make two patties into four or break them apart them and use them in other dishes as a faux meat crumble. So good!

Rating: 9/10

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Recipe

Gluten Free Vegan Mac Salad

 

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This is a new Gluten-free and vegan spin on a classic summertime dish.  Everyone has their own version of this all-american favorite. While this may not be the most healthy creation out there in terms of fat content, it’s sure to be a favorite at your next picnic or family gathering for the occasional treat.  This is also a great way to introduce others to the world of veganism because the slight changes to make it vegan will be unnoticeable and preferred.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups Hampton Creek vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of pepper
  • 1 Tbsp turmeric
  • 1 Tbsp mustard, whole grain is my personal favorite, but any will work.
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 head of celery
  • 2 whole carrots
  • 1 box of gluten free pasta. Elbows or shells are my favorite but feel free to use any kind that you like.

    Cooking steps

    Pasta

  1. Put a pot of salted water to boil on the stove
  2. Once that has come to a boil, put in the pasta and cook until slightly soft.  Don’t cook it 100% of the way, you want the pasta to have some chew to it, so don’t turn into complete mush!
  3. Once it’s cooked, strain the water out and put the pasta in a container in the fridge to cool.  Don’t rinse the pasta or the dressing will have a hard time sticking.

Dressing

  1. In a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper, sugar, and turmeric.
  2. Store in the fridge for 15 minutes so the flavors can blend together.

Final steps

  1. Cut the peppers, carrots, celery, and onion into small cubes.
  2. Pull your cooled pasta and dressing out of the fridge.
  3. In a larger bowl combine your dressing, pasta, and veggies and mix them together thoroughly.
  4. Taste your creation! if it’s bland, add a pinch more salt and pepper.  If it’s too dry, add more mayonnaise or dressing.
  5. Let sit in the fridge for a half an hour to let the flavors meld together.
  6. Enjoy!
Nutrition · Tips

Favorite Plant-Based Sites

NutritionFacts.org-Dr. Micheal Greger’s site is for everything nutrition. If you have a question, he has probably made a video (or series of videos) on the topic. He reviews thousands of studys on food and health every year so you don’t have to. Check out his book How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease for an entire discussion on each of the top diet-related killers.

ForksOverKnives.com-Great for those new to the lifestyle that want help with meal planning or to watch the film “Forks Over Knives.” It is also a center for individuals to share their low fat whole food plant-based success stories and to inspire the world.

PCRM.org-An organization run by Dr. Neal Bernard that aims to be a resource for health professionals and to make dramatic change in the policy of nutrition and global health.

VeganHealth.org-A great resource for nutritional information in every aspect and category. From vitamins to disease and sports nutrition, this website is packed with pertinent information to improve your life.

GardenFreshFoodie.com-Jessica Altman offers amazing recipes and nutrition information. Each recipe is a unique and healthy spin on traditional foods. Her work in the community offering cooking classes and as a health speaker sets her apart in the foodie world.

ThriveMarket.com-A great storefront for everything vegan.

VeganEssentials.com-Another great storefront for vegan products and items you may not typically find elsewhere.

Peta.org-A leader in animal rights and ethical behavior, PETA’s activism is changing the world one sticker or protest at a time.

Recipe

Cold Brew Coffee

unnamed-e1498598136216Creating this coffee recipe is the best thing I have ever done.  It gives my morning the jump start I needs, it’s cheap, it’s easy to make, and it tastes way better than traditional drip coffee.  Cold brew has been in trendy coffee shops for a while now, but it’s so expensive that it’s not even worth trying. Two medium cups of this at Starbucks totals out to be almost $7.00.  This process will teach you how to make 15-20 cups for $7.00 right from your own home!

The reason cold brew is better than drip coffee is because it doesn’t have that bitter taste that hot coffee has.  Most people put cream and sugar in their coffee to mask that taste, raising the calories and fat content.  Since we’re mindful vegans over here, we wanted to find a way to have good tasting coffee without the need for sweet additives.  This process takes a little longer and requires a little planning, but the result is a great drink that doesn’t need any sweeteners or creams added.


Ingredients

  • Coffee grounds: The better the grounds the better the flavor.  We use cheap coffee, but if you get flavored coffee grounds the taste is just that much better.
  • Water

(Crazy list of ingredients, I know!)

 


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Steps

  1. The magic ratio I’ve found to be the best is 1 part coffee to 12 parts water.  So, depending on much you want to make you have to adjust your amounts.  Mix the cold water and coffee together in whatever container you plan on storing overnight.  If you want your coffee stronger adjust your ratio to have less water or more coffee, if you like it a little weaker, add more water or use less grounds.
  2. Seal the container. Give it a good shake, then let it sit in the fridge for 18-24 hours.
  3. Strain the coffee through cheesecloth and remove the grounds.
  4. Throw in some ice cubes and enjoy your delicious cold brew coffee.

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Nutrition

Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower Wings

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We recently received some surprise gifts from our friend over at Meaty Vegan.  They sent us a whole bunch of insanely hot, flavorful spices and sauces.  So, as soon as the package arrived, we decided to tear every bottle open and see how hot they all were.  Wow was that a mistake! Their stuff set our mouths on fire!  After struggling to put the infernos in our mouths out we decided it was time to pair some of these amazing sauces and spices with some food.  We decided that these flavors would pair well with some vegan “wings.”  Breaded and baked cauliflower offers a healthy alternative to the traditional deep fried chicken wings.  These bites had some crunch, texture, and soaked up a ton of sauce; everything one looks for when eating wings.


Ingredients

  • 2 cups gluten free flour: We use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Baking Flour
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp Meaty Vegan Everything spice: You can substitute with any seasoning that has some spice to it, like chili powder or cayenne.  You will have to lower the amount used though.
  • Water: Enough to turn the flour into a thick batter.
  • 1 head of cauliflower: We used purple cauliflower for the added heath benefits and because it looked really fun!
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of your favorite wing sauce.  We used Meaty Vegan Maple Sriracha sauce.

Cooking Steps

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F
  2. Mix the Flour, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, and everything spice into a large bowl.
  3. Slowly whisk in water until the batter reaches a thick consistency.  Make sure its not clumpy.  If it is, add more water.
  4. Break apart your cauliflower into bite size chunks.IMG_0144
  5. Toss the cauliflower into the bowl with the batter and toss around until each piece is evenly coated.IMG_0145
  6. On a parchment or foil lined baking tray, place your battered cauliflower.  Make sure they are not touching so that they get crispy all the way around the bite.IMG_0146
  7. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Flip onceIMG_0147
  9. Let cook another 5-10 minutes and pull the bites out.
  10. Put them in a bowl and toss with a few pinches of salt.
  11. Toss with 1 cup of your wing sauce and make sure the pieces are evenly coated, save the other cup for dipping!

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Recipe

Gluten-Free Banana Pancakes

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These gluten-free banana pancakes have been a longtime favorite for breakfast in our household.  We wanted to create a vegan and gluten-free alternative to the traditional pancakes.  Instead of using milk and eggs as a binder, we will be using almond milk and bananas!  Not only will this give you the light and fluffy feeling of non-vegan pancakes, but it will also add an amazing flavor.  This will be a great recipe for anyone in the family, no one will question what you made the pancakes with because they will be too busy enjoying them!


Ingredients

(Makes about 3 pancakes)

Cooking steps

(takes about 15 minutes to make)

1. Mix all your dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together.  This is the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

2. Add in all your wet ingredients into the same bowl that had all the dry.  This is the plant-based milk, the vanilla extract, and the apple cider vinegar.  You will see a little bubble from the vinegar and the baking soda reacting, this is gonna help make the pancakes light and fluffy!

3. Add in 2 whole bananas last (save the third for later).  Mash them with a fork or a whisk till they are incorporated into the batter.  They don’t need to be super small, a few chunks will add nice texture and bursts of banana flavor!

4. Whisk all your ingredients one last time.  The batter should be smooth and thick.  If it’s looking too thin, you can add a little more flour.  If its looking a little thick, add a bit more plant-based milk or water.

5. Heat up a non-stick pan over medium to medium high heat.  Tip: a good nonstick pan will allow you to not add any oil or butter to the dish to prevent sticking!  This will in turn make your food healthier.

6. Place a cup of the batter onto the pan.  Wait for it to start to bubble and the bottom to not stick to the pan.  Once you freed the bottom from the pan, give it a flip and cook the other side.  This generally takes about 2-3 minutes per side depending on the heat and thickness of the pancakes.

7. Slice up the remaining banana and top your pancakes with it.  You can also add maple syrup or any other pancake topping that you enjoy!


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