Using Simple Vegan Recipes to Benefit Your Wallet, Health and Body

There are a lot of misconceptions that come with a vegan diet and
lifestyle. For starters, there are a whole host of benefits for eating
healthy, following a vegan diet, and utilizing the best vegan recipes.
However the main misconception is that eating vegan is instantly
healthy. This is not always the case. Balance and simple recipes are of
the utmost importance when it comes to a vegan lifestyle. Technically
you could indulge in an entire bag of potato chips at every meal and
still be considering a vegan. But you probably already know that is the
opposite of healthy eating. So what can you do in order to be sure you
go about your lifestyle the right way? The best starting point is to
seek out the best simple recipes and the best vegan recipes.
Vegan

Having
a variety of the best simple vegan recipes on hand can do wonders for
your diet plan and your overall health. Being a vegan comes with a
number of temptations that are sure to surround you at all times. If you
are not aware of the healthy balanced options available then you are
very likely to give in and opt for fast, easy choices that can leave
your heart, and your waistline, suffering later on. Push temptation to
the side and take advantage of the best simple recipes and you will feel
better in no time, and your heart will thank you later on.

Most
people will tell you that a vegan diet that is healthy, full of fiber,
and low in fat can do wonders for your heart. But as you already know,
following an efficient diet such as that is easier said than done. If
you can utilize some of the best vegan recipes that you can find online
then your chances of engaging in a healthy and satisfying diet plan will
improve greatly.

Being a vegan goes a lot deeper than simply
staying clear of animal products. There is so much temptation when it
comes to convenient foods, but you need to remember that these
convenient, fast foods can often be the highest in fat and calories.
However that does not always have to be the case. By finding the best
simple foods you can indulge in delicious meals that are easy to make
and easy on your body. Isn’t that exactly what you were looking for when
you decided to become a vegan in the first place?

The most
important thing that you should take away from this article is that a
vegan lifestyle is more than just a simple choice. To truly eat healthy
and benefit from the best vegan recipes you need to be committed and
prepared. Many people that choose to turn to a vegan diet have no idea
how to get started or how to improve their diet. By taking the time to
browse through the best simple recipes and find balanced meals that suit
your tastes, your budget, and your waistline you can do wonders for
your overall health.

Vegan Diet Tips: The Fastest Way For New Vegans To Cut Out Dairy

Before you cut out dairy, let’s examine why you are cutting out
dairy in order to add meaning to this new health detour you are about to
take.
Vegan Diet

All Dairy products come from cows. Milk, cheese, butter,
yogurt, cream cheese, and ice cream. The questions linger, “Does it
still taste great if it’s tainted with cruelty?” And, “Does it still
taste great if it’s unnecessarily elevating your cholesterol?”

Vegan foods are naturally cholesterol-free. Vegan cooking feels more enjoyable because the recipes are guaranteed cruelty-free.

Animal
product production methods at factory farms are a cruel experience for
animals. Picture infected udders from overuse, and cows that are
continuously lactating. Had enough? Does that glass of milk still sound
delicious?

Sample almond milk, hemp milk, soy milk, rice milk, and
coconut milk to see which varieties favor your taste. Hemp milk, almond
milk, and soy milk and coconut milk tend to be creamier. Rice milk has a
more watery consistency.

For a butter substitute, locate Earth
Balance plant-based butter. This vegan butter can be applied just like
butter made from dairy. Earth Balance brand has several varieties too
choose from depending on what’s on your menu.

Cutting out
dairy-based cheese can be the difference between living vegan and being a
more flexible vegetarian. What you need is vegan cheese that can make a
pizza or lasagna recipe a success. You need a vegan cheese that can be
used on sandwiches and wraps.

There are many vegan cheese brands
to try, but if you are a new vegan, save yourself some time and try
Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet cheddar for sandwiches and wraps, and
Daiya pre-shredded mozzarella for vegan pizzas.

Craving ice cream or yogurt? The vegan varieties taste amazing and are easy to find at most grocery stores.
Searching for new vegan products is fun, and once you find a few standby products that you like, eating as a vegan will be easy.

So,
what’s the fastest way for new vegans to cut out dairy? Just decide to
make it happen! Yes you can. And then start subbing in some of the vegan
recipe tips you’ve just learned.

Slow Cookers – Tips for Success

I think that slow cookers are one of the greatest kitchen
appliances out there. I like microwaves for the convenience, but crock
pots lead the way in terms of creating delicious food. Even better, with
a slow cooker, you can have a hot savory meal at the end of a busy day
with minimal effort on the part of the cook.
While they are easy to use, there are some helpful tips which should improve any one’s crock pot cooking.
Slow Cookers

1) Be sure that your crock pot is at least half full for best cooking results.
This
is because the heating elements in most models run along the bottom and
up the sides of the cooking crock. If your crock pot isn’t at least
half full, you may be trying to use a slow cooker that is too large for
that recipe. Food can stick and over cook, if the pot is too large.

2) Inexpensive cuts of meat work well.
The
long, slow, steaming method of slow cookers results in tender, moist
meat. This means that you can often get by with less expensive cuts of
meats and still serve a delicious, successful meal. Some good beef cuts
for a slow cooker are anything that says “chuck,” “rump,” or “shank”.
Briskets and short ribs are also good choices.

3) Because the moisture is retained in a slow cooker, be careful not to add too much liquid, unless you are making soup. 

4) In a slow cooker, one hour on high equals 2 hours on low. Use this for a guide if you need to adjust your cooking time.
For example:
You
will be putting meal in the slow cooker at 11:00, and you need  to have
supper at 6:00. This allows for 7 hours of cooking time.

However, the recipe calls for 8 hours on low. So, what to do?
Using
the adjustment of one hour on high equals two hours on low, the cooking
time can be reduced the necessary hour by cooking it for one hour on
high, then 6 hours on low.

5) It is possible to over cook food in a crock pot.
While
some recipes claim that the dish needs to be cooked all day, this is
rarely the reality.  Make the time to experiment with your recipes and
your slow cooker to see how long they really need.

6) Avoid lifting the lid.
Doing
so releases the steam and also drops the temperature and can result in
adding up to 30 minutes to the cooking time. Having said that, you may
need to watch closely toward the end of a recipe in order to avoid over
cooking, especially if the crock pot is new and you aren’t used to its
idiosyncrasies. If you are going to check, just try to lift the lid
quickly.

7) Crock pot liners can make clean up easier.
Crock
pot liners are disposable plastic bags that hold the ingredients while
they cook. At the end of the cooking time, transfer the meal into
serving dishes and toss the liner.
There are several different
brands out there. If you are comparing prices, be sure to check out how
many liners you actually get per package.

Slow Cooker Recipes: Cook Low And Slow With These Pork Shoulder Tacos!

Fancy cooking techniques and well-honed culinary skills are
great, but you can still make some of the most delicious (and
economical) meals with nothing but a skillet and a crock-pot. Here is
one of my favorite slow-cooker recipes: pork shoulder tacos. Make some
authentic Mexican food right in your own home with this cheap, easy, and
unbelievably delicious recipe!
Slow Cooker Recipes

Ingredients
First,
you’ll need to pick your meat. If you’re looking to feed 4 people and
want to have some leftovers, you’ll want to get a 4-5 pound hunk of
pork. You’ve got to account for the weight of the bone!
The best
cut of pork to use for tacos is the shoulder. It has tons of flavor, is
incredibly tender and juicy when slow-cooked, and usually costs no more
than 2-3 dollars per pound! Pick your meet, and then pick up these other
important ingredients.

1 large can tomato sauce (plain, not Italian)
cumin
chili powder
kosher salt
black pepper
canola oil

Prepping Your Pork
Begin
by scoring the large layer of fat on the back on the pork shoulder. If
you don’t know, scoring is simply cutting a cross-hatch pattern in the
fat without cutting into the actual meat. Generously salt and pepper
this layer of fat, and lay the whole thing down into a hot cast-iron pan
with some canola oil.
Once the fat has crisped up nicely, place
the pork shoulder into your crock-pot along with any fat drippings from
the pan. Then, make a sauce by combining the tomato sauce with 2-3
tablespoons each of cumin and chili powder. Pour this mixture over the
pork, and add enough water to bring the liquid level to about 3 inches.

Now
all you have to do is turn the slow-cooker to low and wait 6-8 hours or
until the meat is falling off the bone. Remove the bone, shred the
meat, and serve with tortillas, cheese, salsa verde and sour cream –
delicious!

Five Minutes To Extra Flavor
If you really
want to kick the flavor up a notch, take a few extra minutes to make
some “gravy” with the drippings from the crock pot. When you remove the
meat, pour the excess liquid into a bowl through a strainer. Put that
liquid into a pot on the stove, and gently boil it until the liquid
volume has reduced by roughly half. Add a few tablespoons of flour to
thicken it up, and you’ve got the best taco sauce possible!

Easy Meals – From Freezer to Crockpot

Dinner in a rush?
It is 6 p.m., you just
got home from work, you have 1 hour to feed your family and get back out
the door to a practice/game/recital/meeting and you have no idea what’s
for dinner.
Crockpot

Does this sound like a common story in your life? I
admit, it happens to often in my life as well. What a difference it
makes when you have a meal figured out, even better – have it already
prepared and ready to eat!

I received in the mail this week an ad
for a meal prep business. It is a great service where you can go to
their kitchen and prepare freezer meals, or purchase ready prepared
freezer meals that you simply heat and serve. I looked through the menu
and ingredients and decided that I could do better myself. So I did some
thinking and planning and in less than 2 hours (after the grocery
shopping) I had 10 meals in my freezer ready to go (and one of those
included a meal for 10 for my family over the holiday weekend).

I
have written before about the beauty of the slow cooker (“crock pot”),
so I won’t go into detail on how to use your slow cooker. But instead
focus on making ahead meals to make using your slow cooker even easier!
If you simply take 15 minutes in the morning for meal prep, put all the
ingredients in the slow cooker, when you get home dinner is hot and
ready to serve.

So now let’s take it even one step further.
1. Spend 1-2 hours on the weekend, prepare several meals and put them in your freezer.
2. One day ahead, remove tomorrow’s meal from the freezer, place in the refrigerator to thaw.
3.
In the morning (when life is busy), simply empty your freezer container
into the slow cooker. Turn on low heat and arrive home to a delicious
smelling house and dinner ready to eat.

Tips for freezing meals
1. Place meat into your freezer container last so when you pour it into the slow cooker it will be on the bottom.
2. Remove all the air out of your freezer container to maintain freshness.
3. Make 2 of each meal and store for up to 3 months.
4.
Though more tender foods such as legumes and fish work well in the slow
cooker, I recommend sticking to firmer meats such as pork, chicken and
beef for freeze-ahead slow cooker meals.

Meal ideas
Simply
place the ingredients into a freezer container in the layers listed
below. Remove all of the air from the container, label your container
with meal name and date of storage and place in the freezer.
You
can find lots of recipes for slow cooker meals, but it isn’t necessary.
You can use some basics that you and your family enjoy and put together
an array of different flavor options.
1. Start with vegetables or
fruit you enjoy – sweet peppers, white or sweet potatoes, winter squash,
onions, apples, pineapple. Chop pieces to uniform sizes.
2. Add
flavors you love. Adding dried herbs and sauces to your freezer packet
works well. For the most flavor add fresh herbs or other finishing
touches such as citrus (orange, lemon, lime), cheeses or high quality
olive or nut oils before serving.
a. Asian flavors may include basil, brown sugar, curry, garlic, ginger, sesame or soy sauce.
b. Italian flavors may include basil, Parmesan cheese, garlic, oregano, sun dried tomatoes, or marinara sauce.
c. Mediterranean flavors may include capers, feta cheese, garlic, olive oil, olives, oregano, parsley or tomatoes.
d. Mexican flavors may include cilantro, chilies, coriander, cumin, corn, lime, paprika.
3.
Add protein – chicken, pork or beef. Often the cheaper and fattier cuts
of meat work wonderfully because they will remain tender. Leaner cuts
such as pork tenderloin or white meat chicken breasts will become drier
with slow cooking.

Nutty Chicken
Chop 2
cups fresh broccoli, 2 large carrots and place in freezer container.
Place 3-4 chicken breasts in container (for 4 servings). Mix together ½ C
soy sauce, 1 TB maple syrup, 2 tsp. cornstarch, 2 minced garlic cloves,
2 tsp. fresh ginger. ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper and ½ C chicken broth until
combined. Pour sauce over chicken and vegetables. Remove air and seal
freezer container. Label bag and date. Use within 3 months and top with
sliced green onion and slivered almonds before serving.

There are
endless options of meals you can prepare – find some interesting recipes
or use the simple steps above to create your own. Give it a try and
enjoy the benefits: reduced stress, money saved on eating out, a well
nourished family – the effort is worth the benefits! Happy cooking!