Yes, Your Fur Babies Can Eat Vegan Too!

What my dogs eat is probably one of the top 5 questions I get asked on social media. The answer is my dogs eat only vegan food and they love it. I have been feeding them a plant-based diet for years and they are all doing extremely well! And even though many dog owners believe that their dogs must eat animal products, research shows this is simply not true. Dogs are the same as humans, they are omnivores, meaning they do not have to eat meat! You should also know that apart from fleas, the leading cause of skin allergic reactions in dogs is food allergies. These allergies frequently come from meat like beef, chicken, or lamb. A vegetarian or vegan diet that eliminates animal food sources will help to handle the allergic reaction and other health issues of your furry friends like liver disease and kidney stones.

My routine usually includes a home made breakfast for all my pups and vegan kibble for the remainder of the day. I do this because after a ton of research I know that the vegan brand dog food that I feed them has absolutely everything they need for a balanced diet but I also like to switch it up for breakfast so they don’t get bored with their food. My fav brand and my doggies fav brand of plant-based dog food is V-Dog (click here to see their products).

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Before you decide to make your own home made recipes for your dog family, remember you should always do your homework! There is a ton of reliable research available on the net so take some time and learn. You will also need to watch your pet closely in the beginning. Anytime you change their diet, you should watch and make sure they aren’t having any type of allergic reaction to their new food. If your dog has specific health issues, you can speak with your vet, but from my experience most know very little about plant-based diets. Also, there are a number of common foods you should never use in dog recipes. Some of these are: alcohol, apple seeds and the pits of most fruits, avocados, candy and chocolate (particularly anything containing Xylitol - a sweetener), coffee and tea, garlic, grapes, gum, onions and onion powder, raisins, rhubarb leaves, salt, walnuts, Xylitol (very toxic to dogs), and yeast dough. This is not a complete list and you should always check before preparing any dog food at home.

So, back to feeding our fur babies - I usually take a Sunday afternoon and make up a large batch of the home made stuff, then freeze it for the week. My dogs are all quite small so freezing the food in ice cube trays and then transferring to reusable plastic bags works for me but for larger dogs you can freeze larger portions.

These two recipes below include all of the essential amino acids as well as vitamins and minerals needed for a healthy pet. You can use your slow cooker or a large pot on the stove. You can also cook the ingredients separately or put them together at once into a pot, just leave out the seeds, yeast, kale, peas and spinach until the end to avoid cooking the nutrients out of them. In these recipes, I use cooked ingredients and mix them up at the end.

Lentil Chickpea Dog Food (makes about 4 cups of food)

- 1 C of cooked red or green lentils
- 1/2 C of cooked chick peas, unsalted and rinsed well
- 1/2 C each of: cooked sweet potato and cooked peas
- 1/2 C each of fresh chopped kale and apple
- 1 Tbsp each: Chia seeds, flax meal, ground or whole unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: turmeric, thyme, and rosemary**
- Taurine (buy on amazon and add according to the dosage on the package)
- CBD Oil (Optional-dosage per the brand)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional-1 tsp per 20 lbs of dog weight)
- Water if mixture is too thick.

Directions:
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add small amounts of water if the mixture is too thick.
- If you are cooking for smaller dogs, you can mash it up with a potato masher.
- Freeze in proper sealed portions.
- A the time of serving, let the portions thaw and mix in taurine, CBD oil and olive oil (if using).

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Quinoa Carrot Dog Food (makes about 4 cups)

- 1 C of cooked Quinoa
- 1/2 C of cooked black beans, unsalted and rinsed well
- 1/2 C each of cooked: diced carrot, green beans
- 1/2 C of chopped fresh spinach and apple
- 1 Tbsp each: hemp seeds, flax meal, ground or whole unsalted roasted pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp each: turmeric, thyme, and rosemary**
- Taurine (buy on amazon and add according to the dosage on the package)
- CBD Oil (Optional-dosage per the brand)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Optional-1 tsp per 20 lbs of dog weight)
- Water if mixture is too thick

Directions:
- Mix all of your ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
- Add small amounts of water if the mixture is too thick.
- If you are cooking for smaller dogs, you can mash it up with a potato masher.
- Freeze in proper sealed portions.
- A the time of serving, let the portions thaw and mix in taurine, CBD oil and olive oil (if using).

A couple of notes: Even though Taurine is not an essential amino acid, it is added to most pre-made dog foods and I include it in my recipes but I add it at the time of feeding so each dog gets the correct dosage. I also do this with CBD oil - adding it at the time of feeding so each dog receives the proper dosage. If your dog has winter dandruff or dry skin issues you can add olive oil at the time of feeding as well. Also, if your fur baby doesn’t like a particular fruit or veggie, switch it up to something else or hide it in the food. My dogs don’t really like kale or spinach so I pulverize it in a food processor first and then add it at the end to my recipe. Lastly, cut the ingredients up to suit the size of your dog - if you are feeding a German Shepherd there is no need to cut your carrots up too small.

**there is a lot of conflicting information regarding rosemary as an ingredient in dog food. If you are at all worried make a small batch to see how your dog reacts, or if you prefer, leave the ingredient out.

Fast and Easy Ways to Get Delicious Food Into Your Mouth!

Whether you are new to a plant-based life or you have been eating animal free for years, there are days you don’t want to have to think too much about your next meal nor do you want to find some of those tricky ingredients. I have put together some easy and fast tricks that you can use to make your meal prep a breeze.

Something I always do when I am grocery shopping, is to stock up on plant-based items that are on sale. So even if I don’t really need another tin of chickpeas or a bag of frozen kale, if it is on sale, I grab another one. Stocking up on just a few ingredients will make your meal planning much easier. In my pantry I always try and have several tins of beans – black, pinto, chickpeas and kidney; cans of cooked tomatoes and even cans of veggies (some people frown on canned veggies, but for the most part they are pretty good); bags of red and green lentils, rice, couscous; instant oatmeal; mushroom and veggie stock; canned coconut milk; nut butter; seeds and nuts (including flax and hemp seeds); breads and bagels; oils and vinegars; and loads of dried spices and nutritional yeast. I make sure my freezer is filled with frozen veggies and fruits (these are delicious and quite often much less expensive than fresh and obviously last longer); some convenience food like vegan pizza, veggie pot stickers or a mac and cheese. Lastly, I keep pre-made sauces; tofu; pickles; olives; nut milk; vegan butter; and fresh veggies in my fridge.

With a basic stocked pantry/freezer/fridge you can easily put together fast and delicious meals. Let’s start with some quick breakfast ideas.

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1)     Nut butter toast with sliced bananas and Chia seeds – Most bread and bagels are vegan but just check before you buy. Slather on your fav nut butter on two pieces of whole grain toast, add a sliced banana and sprinkle with Chia or Hemp seeds.

2)     Instant Oatmeal with apples and spices – Make your instant oatmeal and top with diced apple and your fav spices. I use cinnamon, maple syrup and cardamom. Then sprinkle it with hemp or chia seeds and top with a little nut milk if you like. You can add any type of fruit and even use frozen.

3)     Breakfast smoothie – there is no limit really to what you can add to this fast breaky meal. I always use whatever frozen fruit I have, some frozen kale or spinach, hemp and or chia seeds, cinnamon and nut milk. Sometimes I change it up by adding nut butter or instant espresso powder.

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4)     Avocado bagel/toast – Another simple and delicious meal! I mash my avocado with lime juice, salt and pepper and often top it with sliced tomato, bean sprouts or even pickled jalapeno, but you can get creative with whatever you have in your fridge. A trick to keeping your avo’s at the ripeness we like is to put the unripe fruit in the fridge and take one at a time out and set on your counter – after a day or two it will be at the prefect ripeness. Also, if you are looking for a lower carb option, skip the bread and add diced tomatoes, jarred peppers (sweet or hot), some nutritional yeast and chopped cilantro.

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5)     Overnight oats – These couldn’t be simpler because you make them the night before and they take only minutes to prepare. The choices here are endless but basically you add about 1/3 cup of instant oats along with the same amount of nut milk, then top with frozen berries, hemp, flax or chia seeds, and any spices you like to any type of container – I use mason jars because they hold the perfect amount and are transportable. Place the container in the fridge overnight and in the morning, they will be ready when you are.

6)     Smoothie bowl – This is completely customizable and is a great way to use up fruits in your fridge or freezer. Basically, this is a smoothie but just thicker and you eat it with a spoon. So just prepare your fav smoothie and don’t add as much liquid. Put it into a bowl, top with more fruit if you like and sprinkle with nuts or seeds.

7)     Breakfast Burrito – these will take a bit more prep time than a smoothie or toast, but the good thing is you can make a bunch up on the weekend and freeze them. Take one out the night before and put in your fridge. The sky is the limit with the fillings and a quick google search will give you hundreds of recipes but essentially, they are filled with either scrambled tofu or egg replacements, some beans, cooked or fresh veggies, some spices and plant-based cheese if you like. In mine, I include scrambled tofu which I add salt, pepper and ground cumin to while cooking; drained black beans, chopped avo and tomato, some salsa and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast to a whole wheat tortilla.

8)     Bacon and eggs – That is tempeh bacon and scrambled tofu. Most grocery stores stock tempeh bacon and it cooks very fast. Putting together a tofu scramble (firm tofu crumbled with your fingers, frozen kale, nutritional yeast, some chili powder, salt and pepper) takes only a couple of minutes, then fry up some tempeh bacon, add sliced tomato and your breakfast is done.

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9)     English muffin breaky sandwich – Once again, the sky is the limit! One that I love includes mashed chickpeas with ground cumin, sliced tomato and avo, vegan cheese and salsa. I put the ingredients on a toasted English muffin and put it in the microwave for a few seconds or under the broiler in the oven. So good and so easy!

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10)  Really lazy options – There are tons of prepared plant-based food options in your grocers’ freezers and shelves. Try vegan waffles topped with frozen fruit (heated up on the stove with a touch of water), maple syrup and hemp seeds. A bowl of cereal with sliced banana and chia seeds takes zero effort. Or a big plate of sliced fruit is another simple choice!

Whatever options you choose, eating a plant-based breakfast is much easier than it may seem. It is simple, delicious and animal free - good for you, the planet and the animals!

 

Easy Ways to Veganize Your Christmas Dinner

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What if Christmas doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. - Dr Seuss

Holidays are not about the presents, decorations or the food. They are about spending time with those you love, and your family and friends will love you no matter what you serve for a holiday meal! So why not start a new tradition? A vegan Christmas Dinner. It is delicious, healthy, easy and not a single animal will be killed in the process!!

I am going to show you easy changes for each part of a traditional meal.

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Appetizers and starters are so easy when it comes to vegan based options. Here are some great ideas for home made recipes, but serving simple treats like fresh veggies with hummus or tortillas and salsa will be loved by all your guests.

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Turkey or Roast Beef:

  • There are so many ready-made options in the stores today. Gardein is one I use and it is so easy and delicious. For real convenience, you can even buy it with the stuffing and gravy included. Other brands include: Beyond Meat, Tofurky, Yves, Trader Joe’s, and many others.

  • If you would like to serve home-made options, try my Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms or my Stuffed Pepper recipes here. There are also thousands of other recipe ideas all over the internet.

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Side Dishes:

  • Mashed potatoes are easy to prepare without animal products. Use either vegan butter or olive oil in place of butter. Adding roasted garlic or fresh herbs like Rosemary or Thyme is another great flavor booster.

  • All of your veggie dishes can easy be made using vegan butters, oils and fresh herbs. Your friends and family won’t taste any difference! Here are some easy recipes that include all of the traditional fav’s along with some new ones to try.

  • Stuffing is another dish that tastes even better when you take out all the animal products. Replacing meat broths with veggie or mushroom broth is easy and add loads of veggies, herbs and vegan butter or oil. Here is my favorite recipe, but the great thing about stuffing is you can add just about anything you like.

  • Gravy may seem like a difficult thing to make without using animal products but it is so easy and tastes even better than the traditional gravies. You can either make it yourself or many stores offer Vegan Gravy options. If you prefer a home made version here is a great recipe that I make myself.

    - 2 C of chopped fine mushrooms – any type you like
    -  2 cloves of garlic, diced small 
    -  ½ onion diced small
    -  2 C of mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
    -  ¼ C of AP flour
    -  2 Tbsp of oil (or vegan butter)
    -  1 tsp each: salt, pepper and thyme (dried-if using fresh use triple the amount)

    DIRECTIONS:
    -  Heat up the oil or butter over medium high heat in a large saucepan.
    -  Add mushrooms, onion and garlic and sauté for 4-5 minutes (or until soft).
    -  Add flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Cook for 1 minute.
    -  Slowly whisk in stock and cook for about 2-3 minutes (until it thickens).

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Vegan desserts have come a long way! You can now buy just about any type of dessert made without animal products. Here are some of my personal favorite recipes and pre-made products that will put the delicious finishing touch on your meal.

After putting together your first Vegan Christmas dinner, you will see how simple and delicious it is. Your health, the planet and especially the animals will thank you!

Remember if your store doesn’t carry vegan items, always ask them for it. Our food dollars control what is offered.

Blessed Protein Thanksgiving Snacks - Oatmeal, Chocolate and Coconut

Whether you serve these as part of your Thanksgiving desserts, or just snack on them while preparing your dinner, these easy plant based cookies taste amazing with the addition of Blessed Protein Choc Coconut Protein Powder.

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Blessed Protein Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies (makes about 30 cookies)

- 2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup Blessed Protein Choc Coconut Powder
- 1/2 tsp each: baking soda, baking powder and salt
- 1 C each: sugar and unsweetened nut milk
- 2 Tbsp each: coconut flakes and ground flaxseeds
- 2/3 cup canola oil (or substitute with applesauce)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups dairy-free chocolate chips

Directions:

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
- In a medium bowl mix oats, flour, Blessed Protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, coconut and salt. Set aside.
- Place sugar, nut milk and flax seeds in a bowl and mix with a hand mixer or use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and beat on low speed until smooth. Add the applesauce or oil and vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture and stir by hand until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and stir until chips are evenly distributed.
- Using a tablespoon scoop and place dough onto baking sheets, spacing about 2” apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, then cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely.

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Some quick and Easy Plant-Based Dinners

I have the luxury of working from home and I live on a farm where I grow all of my own food, but I know that a lot of people don’t live like this. So for anyone who is in a hurry to put dinner on the table for their family or for themselves I have put together some quick and easy recipes.

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Easy Pesto Pasta (Makes 4 servings)

- 1 C of basil leaves
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1/4 C of nuts (I use walnuts)
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil
- a pinch of salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tsp of nutritional yeast (optional)

- 4 servings of whatever type of pasta you like

Directions:
- Put all of your ingredients (except pasta lol) in a blender or food processor and blend. If it seems to thick, you can add small amounts of water or more olive oil.
- Cook your pasta according to the instructions. Keep 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Drain and add the pesto and reserved water to your pasta.

Options:
- Add chopped fresh veggies like cherry tomatoes, spinach or roasted peppers.
- Add zucchini “meat” balls (recipe below).

Zucchini “Meat” Balls (Makes 4 servings)

- 1 C of shredded zucchini (squeeze out as much of the liquid as you can)
- 1/2 C of thawed frozen corn
- 1/4 C of finely chopped onion (whatever you have on hand)
- 1/4 C each of flour and corn meal
- 1 Tbsp Nutritional yeast (optional) AND 1 Tbsp of nut milk
- 1/2 tsp each: salt, pepper, ground nutmeg and garlic powder
- about 3 Tbsp olive oil for frying

Directions:

- Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. If the mixture seems to dry add a small amount of nut milk. If it seems to wet add a small amount of corn meal or flour.
- Form the mixture into balls (you can refrigerate at this point to cook later).
- Heat the oil in a large pan over medium high heat.
- Cook and turn the balls until they are golden brown. Remove and place on a paper towel.

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Easy Vegetable Pho (Makes about 4 servings)

- 2 large containers (about 6 cups) of Vegan Pho broth**
- 3 cups of any type of frozen vegetables
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- 4 servings of thin rice noodles (about 1/2 package)
- 1/3 cup of each: fresh torn basil, chopped cilantro and fresh mint
- 1 lime cut into quarters
- peanuts, sliced hot peppers and hot sauce (optional)

Directions:
- Heat up your broth in a large pot over medium high heat.
- Add your rice noodles and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add your frozen vegetables and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Take off the heat and add your sprouts, basil, cilantro and mint.
- Serve and top with lime juice, additional soy sauce, hot sauce, sliced hot peppers and peanuts.

** If you can’t find Pho broth you can use vegetable or mushroom broth. Heat the broth up and add 1/4 cup of chopped onion, 1/4 cup of soy sauce, a couple of slices of ginger, 2-3 pieces of crushed garlic, a piece of star anise, 2-3 whole cloves and a piece or a pinch of cinnamon. Heat up and simmer for about 20 minutes, then strain and use in place of the broth above.

Soup for those cool days - Vegan French Onion

Who doesn’t love soup, especially during the cooler weather? This vegan French Onion soup is warm, comforting and really inexpensive to make! It uses simple ingredients that you probably already have, and it freezes well.

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Vegan French Onion Soup (Makes 6 servings)

- 5 cup of sliced onions*
- 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped fine
- 2 tsp each: dried thyme, salt, pepper
- 1 Tbsp sugar (or maple syrup)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp vegan butter
- 3/4 C of wine (I used red but use what you like)
- 2 quarts mushroom or veggie broth
- 6 slices of thick toasted bread (I actually used bagel halves)
- 1 1/2 cups of non dairy cheese shreds

*use what ever type of onions you prefer and slice to the size you like.

Directions:

- Heat the oil and butter in a large pot on medium heat, and add the onions, garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and sugar. Cook for about 45 minutes stirring often so they don’t stick.
- Add the wine and cook for about 10 minutes.
- Add the stock and cook for another 15-20 minutes. (If you are going to freeze, do so at this point)
- Transfer 1/6 of the soup to each of your oven proof dishes, add a slice of your toasted bread and top with 1/4 C of cheese.
- Place under the broiler and cook until the cheese is bubbly (about 4-5 minutes).
- Serve immediately and enjoy!

Blessed Protein Double Chocolate Pancakes

These vegan pancakes are so quick and easy and are especially delicious with the Blessed Protein Chocolaty flavor!

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Blessed Protein Double Chocolate Pancakes (Makes about 12-14 pancakes)

- 2 cups non dairy milk
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup mashed bananas
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted + more for frying
- 2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp Blessed Protein Chocolate Coco Flavor
- Pinch of salt
- ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips

 Dirtections:

- In two separate bowls, mix the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients whisking just until the lumps are gone.
- Mix in the choc chips.
- Heat frying pan on medium heat with a teaspoon of coconut oil. Add about ½ cup pancake batter onto the pan to form each pancake.
- Cook until the bubbles at the top to collapse about 2-3 minutes.
- Flip with a spatula and cook on other side for an additional 2 minutes.
- Continue until all batter is used up. Serve warm and enjoy!

Thanksgiving Plant Based Main Dishes

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Cooking a Thanksgiving feast shouldn’t be stressful. Most of the recipes listed here can be partially made up a head of time and then finished right before dinner, leaving you to be with your family and friends.

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Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms (Makes 8 servings)

- 8 large Portobello mushrooms (stems and gills removed)
- 2 pounds of potatoes, chopped
- 1 large package of baby spinach
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1 C vegan cheese shreds (I used Daiya mozzarella)
- 1 C bread crumbs*
- 3 Tbsp vegan butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp each: salt and chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

- Cook the potatoes and garlic in a medium pot for about 15-20 or until soft. Drain and add salt, pepper, rosemary, butter, and mash until they are the consistency you like. Stir in the spinach.
- While the potatoes are cooking, remove the mushroom stems (you can chop these and add to the potato mixture if you like). Remove the gills with a small spoon. Wash and dry the mushrooms and brush them with oil. Place on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Heat the oven to 375 Fahrenheit and cook the unstuffed mushrooms for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
- Using a large spoon overfill each mushroom with the potato mixture. Then top with 1/8 of the cheese and 1/8 of the bread crumbs. (at this point you can cover the tray and wait until you are ready to cook).
- Cook the stuffed mushroom for 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees or until golden brown.

*You can use seasoned croutons and crush them with a rolling pin or put in a food processor.

OPTION:

- You can replace the potato/spinach mixture with about 4-5 cups of uncooked vegan stuffing. Recipe follows:

BASIC VEGAN STUFFING
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil or vegan butter
- 2 of each, chopped: celery stock, carrot and onion
- 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 1/2 cup each: cooked rice and dried out bread cut into cubes
- 1 cup of vegetable or mushroom stock
- 2 tsp each: ground sage, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS
- Heat up oil or butter in a large pan on medium heat, add celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms and spices.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- Place rice, bread and veggie mixture into a large bowl and add as much stock as you need to make the mixture moist. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Put the mixture into a baking dish that has been greased with oil or butter. Cover with foil and cook at 375 for about 30 minutes. 

OPTIONS
- The sky is the limit with stuffing, add nuts, dried fruit or other vegetables.

Stuffed Sweet Peppers (Makes 8 servings)

These stuffed pepper are so easy and taste amazing. If you don’t like barley, you can easily replace it with rice, quinoa or any other grain you prefer. Also, changing the veggies to whatever you like or have on hand is perfectly fine. Just make sure you keep the total amounts close to the recipe.

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- 8 medium to large green, yellow or red sweet peppers
- 2 C cooked barley (see package for instructions)
- 1 C each: chopped mushrooms, onions, zucchini and spinach
- 2 Tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 Tbsp each: Thyme, Parley
- 1 tsp each: salt, pepper and chili powder
- 1-2 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 C of tomato or spaghetti sauce
- 1 C of non dairy cheese shreds (optional)

Directions:

- Rinse the bell peppers. Cut off the tops and carefully remove and remove the seeds and pith. If they wont stand up, cut a small slice off the bottom of the pepper.
- In a large pan, add the oil and heat to medium. Add vegetables, garlic, spices, salt and pepper. Cook for about 5-6 minutes or until soft. (if you are using other veggies that are firm, you may need to increase your cooking time).
- Stir the barley into the vegetables and mix until completely combined.
- Pour 1 C of the tomato sauce in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to hold 8 peppers (or two dishes if you need to).
- Add the barley/veggie mixture to each pepper and place in the baking dish.
- Top the peppers with the remaining tomato sauce and top with cheese shreds if using.
- Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes uncovered.

We don’t all have time to make everything from scratch. Today there are quite a few tasty options available to serve as a main, that will please everyone at your table. Gardein has some great options that come with the stuffing, gravy and cranberries, making your job easier. 

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Almost anything you can think of is now available in a plant based recipe and at your local supermarket. Remember, if you don’t see what you are looking for, ask for it. The more we demand these products, the more our grocery stores will stock them.

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Your New Thanksgiving Tradition - Plant Based Side Dishes

There are hundreds of easy vegan Thanksgiving recipes out there that will satisfy all of your friends and family. Here are just a few - as always, you can change these to match up with your tastes or whatever you have on hand. These recipes make about 4-5 servings and can be easily doubled or tripled.

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OVEN ROASTED BALSAMIC BRUSSEL SPROUTS:
- 3 cups Brussel sprouts cut in half
- 3 Tbsp each: balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Arrange Brussel sprouts on a baking sheet.
- Mix together oil, vinegar, salt and pepper and drizzle over sprouts.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

SPICY CORN
- 2 cups of frozen organic corn
- 1 tsp each: garlic powder, chili powder, lime juice
-  ½ tsp cayenne
- 1-2 Tbsp of Vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

DIRECTIONS:
- Mix all spices and add to frozen corn.
- Heat up in microwave or on stove top.
- Sprinkle with cheese or yeast and serve.
 

MAPLE CARROTS:
- 5-6 medium carrots, sliced on diagonal
- 1 Tbsp each: Vegan butter and maple syrup
- 2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
- Salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS:
- Boil carrots in water for about 15 minutes.
- Drain and stir in maple syrup, butter, rosemar.y, salt and pepper.
 

ROASTED ROOT VEGGIES WITH CURRY
- 4-5 cups of peeled and chopped root veggies: carrots, parsnips, turnip
- 1 large onion, chopped in big chunks
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped fine 
- Salt & pepper
- 2-3 Tbsp Cilantro or parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS:
- Preheat oven to 425. Toss all ingredients except cilantro together and layer on to two baking sheets. Cook for 15 minutes and turn over (or just stir them around). Cook another 15 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve.

OPTIONS:
- Replace curry powder with 1 tsp each: rosemary and thyme
 

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ASIAN STYLE GREEN BEANS
- 2 cups of frozen or fresh green beans
- 1/4 cup organic soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp each: garlic-minced, brown sugar and sesame oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

DIRECTIONS:
- Mix in medium bowl soy, garlic, brown sugar and pepper flakes.
- Toss green beans on mixture.
- Heat up sesame oil over medium heat. Add green beans and cook for 3-5 minutes –keep stirring.

OPTIONS:
- Use broccoli instead of green beans. Add sliced mushrooms or red pepper.
- Change up the spices - use olive oil, thyme, salt and pepper-delete soy, sugar and sesame oil.
 

CREAMED KALE
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil or olive oil
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 big bunch of kale cut into bite size pieces
- 3/4 cup coconut milk
- Salt & pepper
- Grated coconut (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
- Heat oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add kale, stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.
- Add coconut milk, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Top with coconut flakes if using.

OPTIONS:
- Replace kale with Swiss Chard or spinach.
 

GARLIC MASHED POTATOES
- 8 medium potatoes cut in chunks, peel if you prefer
- 3-4 Tbsp of vegan butter
- 5 cloves of roasted garlic (see note)
- salt, pepper and chives

DIRECTIONS
- Put potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Boil for about 30 minutes.
- Drain potatoes and add to a large bowl. Add butter, salt and pepper.
- Mash with a potato masher or use a hand mixer (don't over mix).
- Mash the roasted garlic and stir into potatoes.
- Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with chives and serve.

NOTE:
- To roast garlic, wrap cloves in tin foil add a few drops of olive oil and roast in oven at 400 for 30 minutes.

OPTIONS:
- Replace potatoes with sweet potatoes. Replace garlic with a small sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.
 

BASIC VEGAN STUFFING
- 2 Tbsp of olive oil or vegan butter
- 2 of each, chopped: celery stock, carrot and onion
- 1 cup of mushrooms, chopped
- 1 cup each: cooked rice and dried out bread cut into cubes
- 1 cup of vegetable or mushroom stock
- 1 tsp each: sage, thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper

DIRECTIONS
- Heat up oil or butter in a large pan on medium heat, add celery, carrots, onions, mushrooms and spices.
- Cook for about 5-6 minutes.
- Place rice, bread and veggie mixture into a large bowl and add as much stock as you need to make the mixture moist. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed.
- Put the mixture into a baking dish that has been greased with oil or butter. Cover with foil and cook at 375 for about 30 minutes. 

OPTIONS
- The sky is the limit with stuffing, add nuts, dried fruit or other vegetables.

Easy Thanksgiving Starters - All Plant based and All Easy!

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We are starting new traditions! A delicious plant based Thanksgiving dinner that everyone will love! 

Here are a couple of starters that can be served for a casual dinner or can be adapted to serve a large group of your friends and family.

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Spiced Pumpkin Soup (Serves 6 - 8)
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups medium chopped onion
- 2 tsp. each: minced ginger and garlic
- 1 tsp. each: ground cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, salt and pepper
- 4 cups low vegetable stock
- 2 x 15 oz cans pumpkin puree or 4 cups of chopped roasted pumpkin purée*
- 1 C coconut milk
- Toasted pumpkin seeds (optional - for garnish)
- Pomegranate seeds (optional - for garnish)

Directions:
- In a large stockpot heat oil and add onion and cook for 3-4 minutes. Then add ginger, garlic and spices. Cook over medium heat until onions are soft – about 4-5 minutes.

- Add stock and pumpkin puree. Increase temperature and bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.

- Stir in coconut milk and cook for another two minutes.

- Top with toasted pumpkin and pomegranate seeds.

* If you are making your own pumpkin puree, cut your pumpkin in half, remove seeds and place cut side down in a microwavable container. Add about 1 cup of water and heat on high for about 15 minutes (or until soft). Cool and then puree in a blender or food processor.

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This salad is easy to put together and you can change it up and add your fav ingredients. Also, use a bottled vegan salad dressing if you are in a hurry.

Spinach Salad with Cranberries and Pumpkin Seeds (6-8 servings)

- 1 large package of baby spinach
- 1 C of dried cranberries
- 1 C of roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1 C of drained mandarin oranges
- 1/2 C thinly sliced onions

Dressing:
- 2 Tbsp each: Olive oil, Apple Cider vinegar, honey, water
-2 tsp. Dijon mustard
- 1/2 tsp each: cinnamon, salt and pepper
- Mix all ingredients together is a container with a lid - shake well before dressing the salad.

Directions:
- Combine spinach, cranberries, oranges, onion and pumpkin seeds and toss with salad dressing.

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Here is a classic vegan cornbread that is both delicious and very easy to make. This recipe is dense and not too sweet, so if you like your corn bread sweet, just increase the maple syrup.

Vegan Corn Bread (8 - 10 servings)

- 2 C organic cornmeal
- 1 C all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp each: salt and cayenne powder
- 2 C nut milk (your choice)
- 1/2 C melted coconut oil
- 2-3 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Whisk together milk, coconut oil, vinegar and maple syrup in a large bowl. Taste and add more maple syrup if you like it sweeter.
- Combine all dry ingredient and mix well, then add to wet ingredients and stir until combined.
- Pour the mixture into an 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment paper, and cook for about 30-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown.