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Bread-less Pizza Crust?

 I continuously provide vegan and vegetarian meal recipe and alternatives for multiple reasons, including those that are unsure about where to begin and how to incorporate new changes in their cooking habits. This recipe comes from Erica at Vegan Now in South Africa, where she is perfecting her skills and reconnecting with Self, and decided to share with us numerous recipes for healthier eating.

This is a new take on pizza crust for those looking to stay away from bread, but still wanting to enjoy great foods.

|Makes 2 Medium Sized Crusts|V + GF

Ingredients

1.5 cups ground polenta • 3.5 cups vegetable broth • 1 Tbsp olive oil • 1 tsp salt • 1 tsp garlic powder • 1 tsp oregano • 1 tsp basil  • 1/2 tsp parsley • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Instructions

  1. Line (2) 11′ round pans with parchment paper or use a nonstick spray and line with a little margarine.
  2. Over high heat, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and add olive oil, salt, garlic powder, oregano, basil, parsley, and black pepper.
  3. Whisking or stirring with a wooden spoon continuously, pour in polenta and continue whisking for 3-5 minutes until smooth and thick. You are looking for a stiff, but stir-able consistency.
  4. Scoop an even amount onto each pan and spread evenly around the pan. It should be about 1/4 – 1/2″ thick. *It is easiest to spread with slightly wet hands, spoon or silicone spatula.
  5. Set the pans in the fridge for about 30 minutes to set. If fridge doesn’t fit, leave on a surface for double the time
  6. Remove from the fridge and pre-heat your oven to 450 degrees (F).
  7. Bake crusts for about 25 minutes, flipping once halfway through. *Use a spatula to flip. While the crust is baking, pre-cook any veggies (if desired).
  8. Once the crust is done baking, layer with tomato sauce and toppings of your choice.
  9. Broil on low on the top rack for a few minutes until toppings are slightly browned.

Cut, serve, and enjoy!

Not sure about anyone else, but I absolutely loved this pizza alternative and can’t imagine ever returning to regular pizza!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Most are not aware of this but, May 15th is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day J So today is the day you can finally have that cheat meal. Or is it? I have found a vegan recipe for chocolate chip cookies that is SURE to knock the socks off of your entire family (even the meat eaters), and make sure you’re not taking steps backwards in your healthy eating. This particular recipe comes from Detoxinista.com and is a pretty awesome vegan treat!

Ingredients: (16 Servings)

1 ½ cups chickpeas (cooked, or 1, 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
½ cup gluten-free oat flour
¾ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
¾ cup dark chocolate chips

*You can substitute Baking Soda (1 tsp. for 4 tspn. Baking Powder or 1 tspn. Potassium bicarbonate. Also you can make your own flour by simply grinding gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or coffee grinder until a fine flour is created. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Process the chickpeas, coconut oil and vanilla in a large processor until relatively smooth. Add in the coconut sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and vinegar and blend until a smooth batter is formed.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips and pulse briefly until incorporated. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a lined baking sheet and use wet fingers to gently flatten each mound (they won’t spread a lot on their own.) Bake until the tops begin to crack and the edges are dry to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

“Egg-free and gluten-free baked goods tend to be on the softer side, especially if you leave them in an airtight container at room temperature. For best shelf life and texture, I recommend storing and serving these cookies directly from the freezer. If you don’t like cold cookies, they thaw relatively quickly (in about 30 minutes) and can be enjoyed at room temperature, too.”

Eye hope these are a great alternative to enjoying some of the best goodies known to man. And have a great CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY!!!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Muff it up Vegan Style

Eye’ve been saying time and time again that just because you decide to jump on the “health bandwagon”, doesn’t mean you get to lose out on eating some of your favorite foods. It also help for those parents that are looking to transitions their picky little eaters into eating less processed foods, and healthier alternatives. We like to include everything from ribs and barbecue sauce, to vegan spaghetti from Sicily, for all kinds of different eaters. This particular snack recipe came from the beautiful Queen Camilla Denise when she decided to find a vegan alternative to crave that sweet tooth.

   Here is her take on some great vegan muffins that the whole family is sure to love!

VEGAN WALNUT  STRAWBERRY  BANANA  MUFFINS

Ingredients:

3 Burro Bananas

1 cup Agave (if you like sweeter add another ½ cup)

3 tbsp. of Grapeseed oil

1 cup of ½ garbanzo bean flower

2 tbsp. Seamoss gel

¼ tsp. Sea salt

¾ cup walnuts

About 2 cut up strawberries (or however many you prefer)

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup Hemp milk

Instructions:

Bake on 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read over these recipes, and we hope that you and your family enjoy the goodness. It is important for us here at Empire of Gems to do our part in spreading healthy tips and suggestions for those looking for assistance. Not every change comes easy to everyone, so making small changes in your diet, like vegan muffins, can have a drastic effect on the overall progress of your self-evolution. So here’s to you and your health, because our health is our wealth.

 LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Sicily’s Vegan

Eye am always on the lookout for alternative recipes so that my family doesn’t have to miss out on some of their favorite foods.  Eye pulled this particular recipe out of one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, written by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, after they took a visit down the cobblestone streets of Sicily and stumbled upon this Italian masterpiece.

   FOR THE PASTA: 

Pinch Sea Salt  –  1 (16oz) package spaghetti or bucatini  –  2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

   FOR THE SAUCE:

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil  –  1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, finely chopped  –  ½ cup raw almonds, chopped

½ tsp. sea salt  –  ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 (16oz) can tomato paste  –  1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice  –  ¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup evaporated can sugar  –  1 tbsp. fresh thyme, stemmed and coarsely chopped

   FOR THE GARLIC OIL:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil  –  3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

   TIP: Bucatini, a thicker, hollow relative of spaghetti, works beautifully in this recipe so if you can find it, give it a try!

TO PREPARE THE PASTA:   In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add sea salt, and cook pasta as directed according to package. Drain pasta and coat with olive oil. Set aside.

TO PREPARE THE SAUCE1) Heat a high-walled pan over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, and garlic and cook about 8 minutes, or until caramelized. Add almonds, sea salt, and red pepper flakes and cook 4 more minutes, or until almonds are toasted. 2) Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in thyme.

TO PREPARE THE GARLIC OIL:  In a small saucepan over low-heat, cook oil and slices garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until fragrant. To serve, spoon garlic oil into base of pasta serving dish. Add desired amount of pasta over oil and scoop generous helping of thick sauce over pasta. Serve warm.

TIP: To further enhance the flavor of the sauce, cook it over a flame for up to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The purpose of pulling these vegan recipes from various cookbooks, is my way of helping those out that may not have the option to purchase literature, currently awaiting the delivery of one, or those simply looking for a quick fix for tonight’s dinner.

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Vegan Meats?

Many people have this misconception that if you decide to go vegan you’re giving up your favorite foods, but that’s not necessarily the case. Now, the health benefits of eliminating meat, dairy, processed foods and sugar are almost unlimited, not to mention the mental clarity that comes with changing your diet. Did you know there are numerous substitutes to the foods that toxify our bodies and bring us illnesses? Eye always tell people that going vegan doesn’t mean you lose the joy of eating foods you like, it just means you have to prepare it a little differently. So here are a few options Eye found in a vegan cookbook by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, for substituting meats for a healthier beginning.

Chicken

Gardein Chick’n Scallopini: Cook and slice onto salad, shred for tacos, or serve beside a pile of fluffy mashed potatoes.

Maitake Mushrooms: Also called “Hen of the Woods”, these ‘shrooms lend a chicken-like texture to enchiladas and veggie stir-fries.

Ground Beef

Beyond Meat Crumbles: Browning these chewy crumbles with onion and Mexican spices makes the perfect base for tacos.

Lentils: The humble lentil, when cooked, is a dead ringer for ground beef in Bolognese sauce or Sloppy Joes.

Sausage

Tofurky Italian Sausage: Sliced thinly, it’s pepperoni for your pizza. Straight of the grill and onto a bun, they trump any meat based burger.

Nuts & ‘Shrooms: For a heart sausage flavor and toothsome texture, you can try the combination of mushrooms and walnuts.

Bacon

Lightlife Tempeh Bacon: Sizzle a few slices and sandwich between layers of juice tomato and crisp lettuce and you’ve got an even better BTL!

Carrots: Yup! Carrots! A great alternative for breakfast when throwing some long, thin strips of seasoned carrots in a sizzling pan for pig-free bacon!

Pork

Field Roast Celebration Loaf: This stuffed when-gluten loaf will remind you of Sunday mornings at your Grandma’s house.

Jackfruit: Season canned young jackfruit with a tomato-y barbecue sauce, and you’ve got pulled-pork sandwiches!

Fish

Gardein Fish Filet: Wouldn’t you love to get the fish-stick flavor without the fins and the scales? Now you can, and it taste even better than the frozen fish fingers from childhood.

Tempeh: A bit of mayo and chopped up onions transforms steamed tempeh into a tuna salad facsimile that is amazing heaped on toasted bread.

These are just a few different recipes and alternatives for those wanting to change their diets but not sure they can go without the taste of meat, and Eye hope they help those just embarking on their health journey. Also make sure to check out the vegan cookbook by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, Eye Am grateful to share their recipes with you!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

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Let’s Roll Avocado!

Avocado Hand Roll with Ginger – Tamari Sauce

This hand roll has all the flavors of a veggie sushi roll, but it takes half the time to prepare. It can be loads of fun forming the sushi, as if it’s edible art. Plus, there are so many different fillings you can add to your hand roll, making a great alternative for dinner parties. The best part is, these hand rolls pear perfectly with a cold Japanese beer, or a hot sake depending on the day’s weather.

THIS RECIPE IS GLUTEN FREE AND NUT FREE | MAKES 6 – 8 HAND ROLLS

FOR THE RICE:

-I cup sushi rice (or brown rice) – 2 tbsp. rice vinegar – 1 tbsp. evaporated cane sugar – 1/2 tsp. sea salt

FOR THE FILLING:

1 (6oz) block gluten free baked Tofu, cut into thin matchsticks – 1/2 ripe avocado, pealed and cut into thin segments – 1/2 red or orange bell pepper, cut into thin matchsticks – 1 carrot, cut into long strips – 1 Persian (or 1/4 English) cucumber, halved and cut into thin strips – 4 toasted nori sheets (sea moss), halved – 2 tbsp. wasabi powder mixed with 1 tbsp. water (optional) – 1/2 cup pickled ginger

NOTE: Not all wasabi powder and paste is vegan. Search the label carefully for any added dairy.

To Prepare the Rice: Cook rice according to package directions. When cooked, transfer to large bowl. With wooden paddle, incorporate vinegar, sugar, and sea salt into rice until slightly sticky. Set aside to cool.

To Prepare the Filling: Arrange tofu, avocado, bell pepper, carrot, and cucumber on a plate within easy reach.

To Form the Hand Rolls:

  1. Place 1 nori (shiny-side down) in one hand. With dampened other hand, spread about 1/4 cup cooked sushi rice evenly over half the nori in a square.
  2. Place small amount of desired fillings in a diagonal line across rice, pointing toward thumb.
  3. Gently roll into a cone shape and seal edge with a few grains of sushi rice or with prepared wasabi (if using). Serve with ginger.

Eye got this recipe out of a vegan book written by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, and Eye hope you enjoy making it as much as Eye did. Let’s Get to Rolling!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA