Show Gratitude By Not Complaining?

show gratitude. no complaining. #puremamas #purekitchenblog

In your mind, what is gratitude? What does it look like? What does it mean to you? If you really think about it, it's kind of confusing. Is it only something we talk about at the dinner table on Thanksgiving? Something we feel? Are we suppose to be thankful for that moment? Or is it a continual thing? I love this grateful message and the idea, but are we truly grateful?

One way I've learned over the years to be more grateful and show true gratitude is by refraining from complaining. Think about it, complaining is the opposite of being grateful. If you have followed my blog at all in the past few years you know my story - I took a vow to not complain (at least try as hard as I could) at all in 2015 during my third pregnancy. And to not complain during pregnancy?? That's a big feat.

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Arame Cabbage Salad with Tahini Dressing

Seaweed is a wonderful ingredient in a plant-based diet. In fact, it has been a staple in Asian diets since ancient times for good reason. Most types of seaweed are high in essential amino acids (aka protein) and packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants like iodine, iron, beta carotene, calcium, magnesium and much more. But let's be real, it doesn't always appeal to the taste buds. 

Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Dressing (vegan)

To be honest, I loooove the taste of seaweed. But I know many that aren't fans at all. This salad is a great option for those that don't love the flavor or texture of arame or other seaweeds (like nori, dulse or wakame). The addition of toasted sesame oil, sesame seeds and tahini reduces the ocean type of aroma and flavor but doesn't take away from the savory earthy flavors. 

The bulk of the salad is red cabbage and crunchy veggies like red bell pepper, carrots and green onion. These vegetables (and fruits to be more scientific) add a crunchy texture, more healthy minerals, and of course nutritious fiber.  

Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Dressing (vegan)
Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Ume Plumb Dressing (vegan)

The dressing is so savory and tangy. There is a secret ingredient that really gives the salad pizazz: it's called ume plum vinegar. Have you ever heard of umeboshi plums? They are very common in Japan and usually taste uniquely salty and sour. Some even think they are liver cleansers and cancer fighters. Tahini adds a thickness and sesame oil adds an earthy toasty element to balance the salty sour taste of the ume plum vinegar. 

Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Dressing (vegan)

Funny fact: My mom makes this salad every Sunday or Monday and keeps it in the fridge for the entire week. She has it for lunch almost every day with warm tortillas and avocado. Stay tuned for a Taco Tuesday recipe that includes this wonderful arame cabbage slaw! 

Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Dressing (vegan)
Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Dressing (vegan)

Arame Cabbage Salad with Tahini Dressing Recipe

SALAD INGREDIENTS

Arame Cabbage Salad | Tahini Dressing (vegan)
  • 1/2 red cabbage head, julienned 
  • 1/2 bell pepper, thinly chopped 
  • 1 carrots, shaved
  • 2 green onion, thinly sliced 
  • 1/4 c dry arame, soaked in hot water
  • 1/4 c sesame seeds, toasted

DRESSING INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil 
  • 1/4 cup 
  • 1/4 c ume plum vinegar {left this out last time}
  • 2-3 Tbsp tahini 
  • pinch sea salt to taste (optional)

DRESSING DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine everything in a measuring cup or small bowl. Whisk together with a fork or a whisk. 

SALAD DIRECTIONS

  1. Soak dry arame seaweed in warm water for about 30 seconds, until soft, then strain out the water and set aside. 

  2. Prep (slice/chop) cabbage, bell pepper, carrots and green onion (scallions). You can use a mandolin or food processor if you wish to chop faster. I use a knife. 

  3. Toss the salad all together with the sesame seeds and add the softened arame. 

  4. Add the dressing and toss again until everything is well coated. 

  5. Serve immediately. Or store the salad (with dressing on it) in an airtight container in the fridge. Salad will stay fresh for about 4 days. 

The Perfect Gluten-free Vegan Pie Crust

This vegan gluten-free pie crust is just perfect. It's basic, easy to make, no fuss and very versatile. Just 4 simple ingredients. 

perfect vegan gluten-free pie crust

You can make this vegan gluten-free pie crust in just minutes. No more stressing about homemade pies. I'm sure this day and age the Thanksgiving table consists of family with of all sorts of different food allergies. Am I right? Good news is that this recipe is free of gluten, dairy and eggs.

Stay tuned for a wonderful 2 Fall recipes using this crust: a vegan apple and pumpkin pie recipe coming to the blog soon. 

vegan gluten-free pie crust | #purekitchenblog #puremamas
perfect vegan gluten-free pie crust | #puremamas #purekitchen #piecrust
perfect vegan gluten-free pie crust

The Perfect Gluten-free Vegan Pie Crust Recipe

yields 1 pie crust

INGREDIENTS

perfect vegan gluten-free pie crust

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat an oven to 400°F.
  2. Combine gluten-free flour and sea salt in a food processor. Do a quick pulse to combine. 
  3. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
  4. Add the cold milk, one tablespoon at a time, while blending until all ingredients are well combined.
  5. Using parchment paper place dough onto one sheet, flatten with your palms, then place another sheet on top. Roll out to the desired size using a rolling pin. Remove the top sheet and carefully invert into pie pan.
  6. To bake the pie crust alone, bake at 400°F for 15 - 20 minutes. If using a pie filling, bake according to pie recipe instructions.

notes: I liked having some crust dough left over to use on top. You can cut strips or make shapes like I did in the photos above. This recipe is adapted from Bob's Red Mills web site and I used their flour but my own vegan ingredients. 

My Vegan Pantry & Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

It's been quite some time since I put together a pantry basics blog post. Grocery store shelves have changed over the years - for the better - so I thought I would post an updated list of some items that I keep on hand at all times. 

plant-based pantry basics & must-haves

Having these items on hand will bring you a ton of healthy meal combinations. These are just basics to add flavor and boosts to your other fruits and veggies. Obviously you need more than what is here - like tons more produce - for a balanced diet. But I have done pantry basic posts in the past that include things like avocados, lemons, sea salt, frozen bananas, and protein powders. 

As most of you know I follow a plant-based diet. I'm also vegan. I do think of those two things as not completely synonymous. Vegans care about animal rights/cruelty and the planet/environment. Vegans live a lifestyle that supports their cause and the changes they would like to see in the world. But you can have unhealthy vegans just like you can have healthy meat eaters. Veganism for me isn't as much of a diet as say eating plant-based. A plant-based diet to me is super clean, low in bad fats, high in fiber and fresh foods; it focuses more on the plants not as much on the foods that "contain no animal products" (i.e. oreos for example are vegan believe it or not but they aren't part of a whole foods plant based diet) if that makes sense.

Of course cheat foods are fine. I eat vegan donuts from time to time. But animal products like high fat meat and dairy contribute to disease - point blank - they also contribute to the destruction of our environment (enter veganism).

There are so many stories of disease reversal (and people going off their meds completely) by switching to this type of plant-heavy eating. I know countless people that made the switch for heart reasons, cancer purposes and diabetes. So for me, it's an ethical lifestyle and also a heart healthy healing way to eat and live. 

When first making the transition it can be challenging to continually make delicious meals that fill you up and taste amazing. I have tried almost every vegan food and condiment and here is a list of what I currently love to have on hand. Hope this helps. 

1. The Lotus ramen noodles, for example, are so versatile and kids love them as well as adults. You can make ramen soup (great for cold winter days) or you can cook them in a pan for a hearty, garlicy chewy noodle dish. Add veggies to them or even tofu for a complete meal. Eat with a salad for an boost of minerals, antioxidants and fiber. 

2. The red leaf lettuce and kale you see create my favorite salad combo. I like to combine these two greens (one is dense and one is leafy and airy) and eat them at almost every meal. Add it to pasta, on toast, with your ramen noodles, eat it alone as a salad with added garbanzo beans, etc. They are both always in my fridge. 

3. Garbanzo beans are my go-to for added boosts of protein in salads or in pasta or eaten alone. Keep them on hand. I like to buy the cold ones - store them in the fridge - ready to grab and go. No can openers needed. Speaking of garbanzo beans, have you seen all the cereals now made from beans? And of course the pastas too! We love love the Love Grown brand. There are lots of different flavors

4. Almonds are on here because they should always be in the pantry. They last a long time. So stock up and keep them on hand. You can make your own almond milk on demand. My kids ran out of their favorite store-bought almond milk the other day and so I just whipped up some of my homemade stuff so they could eat their favorite cereal. No need to rush to the store when you're out of milk. You can also make almond flour or almond butter at home in a pinch. Trader Joes sells raw nuts for at great price. 

5. Spike seasoning is another favorite. It's so old school but still so current - the herbs combination makes any vegetable taste delicious. You don't even have to add salt because the flavors are so great. 

6. Keep vanilla extra or vanilla bean paste on hand. You don't have to sweeten your almond milk, your chia pudding or even muffins and cookies as much if you add vanilla bean. It's a calorie-free, sugar-free, fat-free flavor enhancer. 

7. I try to cook without oil as much as possible. Ideally I would like a low-fat diet, but when I bake my vegetables or cook my noodles and tofu, I just love a good healthy fat to do that. Miyokos plant-based butter has seriously changed my life. It's basically cultured coconut oil (so it's obviously not low in saturated) and tastes amazing. Trader Joes sells it. 

8. Speaking of fat, Ripple has also changed the half & half game. Their half & half is unbelievably good. I use it in all kids of recipes. Check out my roasted red pepper pasta sauce that I featured on Instagram, it's creamy because of the Miyokos butter and this half & half. You don't get a weird after taste from it nor is it sweet like many plant-based creamers/creams tend to be. Try it in your coffee as well; you'll thank me. Target sells it!!!

9. Gluten-free oats are really crucial to a plant-based diet. They make a perfect breakfast (heat them up with some plant-based milk, add some of that vegan butter, vanilla bean and a touch of sweeter and berries). Or have you ever made overnight oats? Or you can add some dates and coconut to make a raw granola/muesli  - eat it with bananas and almond milk or with the Kite Hill yogurt. My Raw Vegan ebook contains breakfast recipes using gluten-free oats. Kite Hill and Forager make great yogurt alternatives. Try the plain flavors, you'll be shocked at how great they are and you can use them in any recipe that calls for plain yogurt! I'm definitely obsessed because yogurt isn't one of the things I love to make everyday. 

10. Turmeric is a spice that I love to keep around so I can whip up golden lattes. It's also an immunity booster and anti-inflammatory. Use it on vegetables when baking or in slow cooker dishes like curries or Indian style dishes. 

11. Nutritional yeast is something I use almost everyday (maybe 4-5 times a week). It's a great source of b12 (fortified) and adds a cheesy and nutty flavor to my sauces. You can even add toasted cashews and nutritional yeast to a blender and make a parmesan cheese type of seasoning. Have you tried my simple raw vegan tomato sauce? It uses nutritional yeast. So does my Queso Cheese dip. 

12. Has anybody heard of Brami bean snacks? Lupine beans (which is what Brami is) are high in plant-based protein, low in fat and fiber. For every 100 calories you get 13.4 grams of protein. Can you believe it? That's more than lentils and soy beans. At first they seem slimy and maybe unappetizing, but trust me, they are actually extremely addicting. Great emergency snack to keep in the car (you don't have to refrigerate them until you open them). 

13. Chia seeds don't go bad either. Keep them on hand for your overnight oats recipe and or make a good chia pudding (my go-to recipe below). Chia pudding, when made right, is to-die-for! Not only that but it's really satisfying and healthy for you. Chia seed jam is a game changer as well, have you tried that recipe yet?

14. Last but not least I use veganaise, tamari and sriracha type chili seasonings all the time. I pan fry mushrooms, tofu and tempeh in tamari (gluten-free soy sauce) and I make great dipping sauces with it. Vegan mayo isn't just for sandwiches, you can add it to cold potato, garbanzo and tofu salads or make creamy ranch or caesar dressings. Put it in your grilled cheese or savory wraps. Just a squirt or small spoonful of sriracha chili sauce adds a wonderful heat and spice to any sauce. Too much also makes dishes super spicy - which some people love. If you don't love overly spicy food just add a small amount for flavor. 

15. Manna Bread - this is a game changer! You'll love this sprouted low temperature cooked bread. It is so healthy, tastes nothing like processed bread. It almost feels like its healing the body as you eat it. Try it for lunch or breakfast. I have a bunch of recipes in my raw vegan ebook using manna bread. Grains should be apart of everybody's healthy diet if you ask me and this bread offers the perfect most easily digestible form of grains. 

16. Beyond Meat Chicken Strips. I'm sure you've all heard about Beyond Meat. They are making major waves in the food industry. I'm super impressed and always keep a bag of the frozen grilled chicken (vegan of course) strips on hand. They heat up really quickly in a pan and go well with any dish that needs some extra protein. I put it on salads, with rice or even in pasta. You can find it at almost any market - including Vons - these days. Amazon has them as well and the price is right! 

Chia Seed Pudding | Delicious, simple & vegan | #puremamas #purekitchenblog
Chia Seed Pudding Recipe | Delicious & Simple | Vegan & Gluten-free | #puremamas #purekitchenblog

Delicious Vegan Chia Seed Pudding Recipe

INGREDIENTS

Chia seed pudding | delicious and vegan! #purekitchenblog #puremamas
  • 2 cups fresh almond milk 
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean or extract
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or coconut sugar

DIRECTIONS

  1. Combine everything in a tupperware or airtight jar with a lid. 
  2. Store in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before serving. Preferably overnight. 
  3. Serve cold with fruit or other healthy toppings. 

Roman's Almond Butter Cups | Just 3 Ingredients

Halloween just happened a few days ago and it got me all inspired. My favorite candy as a kid were Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. But since those little buggers are filled with dairy and other crap, I don't indulge in them anymore. 

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups | vegan gluten-free

After drooling over the Reese's, I took it upon myself to make my own cups that weren't filled with crap but instead filled with healthy almond butter, coconut sugar and lots of love. These little almond butter cups were so easy to make that I wanted to share the recipe with all of you as well. My son Roman especially LOVED them. He took some to the movies with him last night (they went to see Thor). So i've decided that these should be Roman's version of Reese's. Almond ss Peanut. Milk vs Dark.  

Roman's Almond Butter Cups | vegan gluten free

These almond butter cups are so easy to make you'll feel like such a professional in the kitchen after making them. They aren't totally fool-proof, but for the most part, there aren't too many things you could do to screw them up. And the best part is they look so gourmet; you'll be so proud of yourself when your done. 

Roman's Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups | gluten-free vegan

And these Roman's Almond Butter Cups don't cost too much to make either. Just $4.00 for 7 or 8 cups? Not bad if you ask me. So have fun. Enjoy the process and the indulgence. And don't forget to let me know how they turned out...

Roman's Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups | vegan gluten-free
Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups | gluten-free Vegan

Roman's Almond Butter Cups Recipe

yields 8 cups

INGREDIENTS

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups Recipe | vegan gluten-free

DIRECTIONS

  1. Place the dark chocolate chips in a large glass mixing bowl. Place that mixing bowl over a saucepan filled 1/3 of the way with water. This will act as a double boiler and slowly/nicely melt your chocolate chips. 
  2. Turn oven onto medium-low heat heat. Using a wooden spoon or spatula, gently stir and fold the chips to help the process along.
  3. When the chocolate chips have melted completely, you'll want to add the half and half (optional step). I like this step because it gives the dark chocolate a little creamier texture but it's not required. 
  4. In a separate bowl mix the almond butter and coconut sugar until thoroughly combined. Set aside. 
  5. Line a cupcake pan with paper baking cups (aka muffin liners).
  6. When the chocolate has completely melted and texture is smooth, using a spoon dollop a teaspoon of the chocolate into the bottom of the paper cups. 
  7. Using your hands, flatten the almond butter mixture into silver dollar size circles. Place one in each of the cups, on top of the melted chocolate. 
  8. When that step is finished, cover the almond butter mixture completely with more melted chocolate. 
  9. Put the cupcake tray into the fridge for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!