Ha!  I hate clickbait blog titles, but I couldn’t help myself with this one.  If you don’t mind (or thoroughly enjoy- no one is judging here) a lot of foul mouthed talk, and you want to make some plant-based recipes that are made with good, simple ingrinets, then you need to get your @$$ clicking and order Thug Kitchen: Party Grub.  
A few years ago, a friend sent me one of the man hilarious, and profanity filled, Thug Kitchen memes, with links to recipes.  The food was simple, clean-eating, and plant-based.  It wasn’t about the word Vegan at the forefront, just about good food, and the bonus was it was vegan.  These writers garnered a nice following on social media, and it was from all kinds of people, not just vegans.  Their recipes appeal to just about anyone with a sense of humor and taste buds.  A friend sent me this meme probably 3 or 4 years ago, and we still joke any time we see an avocado or one of us eats one, “Nature’s Butter, Bitch!”
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Anyway, sorry if that offended anyone…
So when I saw the new Thug Kitchen: Party Grub book at Target, I had to get it.  I have tried a handful of recipes, mostly because I just keep making this butternut squash over and over and don’t need other recipes.  The flavor combination is like nothing I would have ever come up with.  It’s mildly Middle Eastern tasting, which are flavors I’ve always loved (hello, hummus, dolmades, tabbouleh, baba ghanouj…), but at the same time it’s the comfort and familiarity of roasted butternut squash.  I love the way this recipe combines warm and rich roasted flavors with light and bright fresh herbs and citrus.  Just a home run for me year round.  I’m not sharing (sorry, I know they work hard to create their recipes just like me, and I want you to go buy the book).
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If the butternut squash isn’t enough to convince you that you need this book (and if you tasted this it would be), then the pizza dough is.  
I thought I had my pizza dough game pretty locked down.  I didn’t use a recipe, just went by feel, but somehow they have the magical proportions to make perfect pizza dough (or focaccia if you’re fancy).  This has made pizza night so much easier and cheaper and it tastes better than any dough we were getting elsewhere, so it’s not just about DIY, but DIY Better.  
The bloody mary recipe is a classic for Sunday mornings… it’s Sunday morning now, but I’m on a the tail end of a cold or I’d be writing this up slightly buzzed and with more colorful language.   Oh well, next time.

Well, that’s all for me as I do another sinus flush and then try to run the bad out of me and return to the world of the fully living.  I really do love this book, but even moreso the brand. The playful way they are spreading the plant-based/vegan/compassionate lifestyle just hits me right in the feels and the funny bone, and I wanted to take a bit of my sickly Sunday morning to share with you and encourage you to support them too.  Follow them on various social media platforms and maybe grab one of their books.  I don’t have the first one, Thug Kitchen, but I got it for my mom and will be having a blast cooking from it on our upcoming visit.  She already asked for a grocery list and I told her to pick out some recipes from the book and we’ll just make those.  
That’s also a great tip for vegans with non-vegan family- get them a cookbook with food that is their style (there’s a vegan cookbook for any style imaginable) and then when you visit they won’t be terrified not knowing what to make for you.  My mom loves some salty language and clean eating- so she was so excited to receive this one!

​Happy Eating Like You Give a Damn!

 

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Last week, I wrote a Throwback Thursday post about vegan ice creams, including homemade recipes.  I don’t seem to have gotten over that, since today I found myself mixing up an all new recipe.  For some reason I had planned on chocolate, and had one of those moments (rare moments) where I thought, “I’m just not in the mood for chocolate.”
Instead, I wanted maple and pecan.  I got some maple extract recently, to amp up the maple flavor in baked goods, in addition to maple syrup as my sweetener of choice.  I can’t get enough of the maple-y goodness.  As I started mixing the ingredients, it tasted to me like french toast, which I’ve also been craving lately.  The cinnamon was an afterthought that turned into the perfect addition to give it the flavor I wanted.  You could use more cinnamon, but my husband isn’t a fan, so I went mellow on it.

Recipe

2 cans coconut milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 tsp maple extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl or ideally a large measuring bowl with pour spout and put in ice cream maker for about 20 minutes. Top with pecans and more cinnamon for the full effect, or be like my kids and go simple.

The Gadget

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Nice Cream, You Scream, We all Scream for Dairy-Free Ice Cream!

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It’s been about a decade since I cut dairy from my diet completely.  I wish I could say it was for the cows, who I have always felt such love and esteem for, but it was my own selfish digestion that caused that particular dietary change.  I have always been lactose intolerant, but in my early-mid twenties, something shifted and milk no longer just gave me discomfort, it began making me violently ill.  It was super fun times- not.

Since then, I’ve spent many moons learning to replace dairy in my diet, and ice cream was definitely on the short list of Things I Need Dairy-Free Versions Of.   Over the years, I’ve met many people who share my dairy discomfort, as well as many vegans who have an ethical repulsion for dairy.  Whatever the path, if you find yourself seeking dairy free ice cream options- you are in luck!

Head to the Store

Most grocery stores (even in areas that don’t seem “vegan-friendly”) have a few dairy-free options.  Peta Kids has this great list of common brands that you can find in the grocery store.  If you have more options, there are all kinds of ice creams available commercially that are smaller batch.  My personal favorite is Nada Moo, which isn’t as widely available (I can’t get it in my small town), as it’s the creamiest.  I DID recently find the new Non-Dairy Ben and Jerry’s options and they did not disappoint.  The peanut butter cookies and cream is my favorite, ideally mixed with the coffee and caramel one.  The options in the store these days not only have the non-dairy goodness, but they also come with rice, almond, coconut, or cashew base, so there really is something for everyone.  You can also often find vegan sorbets, like Haagan Daz mango or raspberry sorbet. 
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Make Your Own

My husband and I are both allergic to dairy, so when we got an ice cream maker for our wedding, we were thrilled to try out making our own ice cream!  It took a while to get the hang of it though, and we had many flops.  Finally, my friend Tara gave me a foolproof recipe: 
1 can coconut milk (full fat)
1 small can coconut cream (or just the cream from a second can of full fat coconut milk)
Then you add sweeteners/flavors/add ins of choice.  
I like maple syrup, vanilla, and crushed up Newman’s O’s for a cookies and cream that is perfection.

Really, the possibilities are endless: You can use various extracts or fruit or nuts for whatever flavor you can imagine!

For a Cashew Coconut Blend, you can try the ice cream I used for my birthday ice cream cake.  It was so creamy and delicious!

Nice Cream

Nice Cream is a term used primarily for blended up frozen bananas and/or other frozen fruit.  You can use a quality blender, food processor, a machine specifically designed for it like “YoNanas” or similar, or in my case you can use a Champion Juicer like our Rainbow Sherbet recipe.

There’s a million ways to make this, just blending up frozen bananas and other fruit (bananas aren’t essential, but make it creamy and sweet naturally).  You may need to add a tiny bit of juice or non-dairy milk to blend it, but if you add too much you get a smoothie- so beware.  My favorites are banana peach, banana mango, or banana blueberry.  You can also blend in peanut butter, cocoa powder, or matcha powder for peanut butter, chocolate, or green tea ice cream.  

Toppings

Peanut Butter Caramel Sauce:  This was a huge hit at an ice cream demo my daughter and I taught last night.  It’s simply 2 parts Brown Rice Syrup and one part creamy peanut butter.  It is gooey, sweet, and caramely good.  Stir both ingredients together and try not to just eat it all with a spoon.  It’s nice on top of our ice cream or swirled in.

DIY Magic Shell in either chocolate, green tea, or peanut butter flavor:  Mix some warmed coconut oil (just warm enough to be liquid) with either cocoa powder, matcha powder, or powdered peanut butter and then add some maple syrup to taste.  It should be like a nice thick syrup consistency, but then when you pour over your ice cream it will harden.

Sprinkles: Let’s Do Organic makes great vegan sprinkles that are fun for baking and for topping sundaes 

Healthy Toppings:  Fun health food toppings like cacao nibs, hemp seeds, chia seeds, goji berries, and nuts give the look and whimsy of a classic sundae and give great nutrients as well!

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