Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

Easy Instant Pot Vegan Chana Masala (Vegan Chickpea Curry-oil-free)

I am a 1.5 generation child. A what? I was born in India and moved to California with my family when I was 6 years old, old enough to know how to use the toilet (but still run into walls) and young enough to be extremely impressionable. Growing up as a 1.5 generation child meant finding the right balance between being American without losing my culture. God bless my parents they wanted me to learn English quick [all I knew was yes, no, hi, and thank you–man was I polite ;)] so they forbade me from speaking Telugu at home. Before they knew it, Valley Girl Samantha was born, with am “um, like” this and a “no. way.” that.

As I grew up, I fought hard to retain my culture, but with little success, EXCEPT, and it’s a big EXCEPT (all caps worthy), when it came to the food. I lived Indian food. We ate it day in a day out with lots, and LOTS of rice. After I moved to college and then to Southern California for grad school, then all over the nation after that (long story), I ate less and less Indian food with every move and every passing year. I did however try every Indian restaurant which compelled me more to try cooking Indian food at home, minus the ghee, dairy and all other non-vegan stuff. Welcome to my journey I hope you enjoy these vegan chana masala–instant pot version.

INGREDIENTS for Oil-Free Vegan Chana Masala

Chickpea Curry-2

2 tbsp. vegetable broth

1 white or yellow onion (diced)

1-2 tbsp. garlic ginger paste (to your taste preference)

2 tbsp. curry powder

a handful of spinach

1 can of fire roasted diced tomatoes

1 can of lite coconut milk

1 can of garbanzo beans

Chickpea Curry-1

DIRECTIONS to make Delicious Vegan Chickpea Curry

  1. Set your instant pot to saute mode, and add the vegetable broth.
  2. Once the broth starts to sizzle a little, add your diced onions and sautee until they turn semi-clear.
  3. Add the garlic ginger paste and let it cook for up to 2 minutes, or until aromatic.
  4. Add the curry powder and toast it for about a minute.
  5. Add your can of drained garbanzo beans, diced tomatoes, and cocnut milk.
  6. If you prefer it spicy (add in a bit of red chilli pepper flakes–you can just as well add it directly to your dish at the end).
  7. Close the instant pot lid and cook it on high pressure for 6 minutes.
  8. Once time is up, release the pressure, open the lid and stir in the spinach.

If it’s more watery, you can easily enjoy it as a soup, but I personally think it’s best served with some rice or cauliflower rice.

Chickpea Curry-3

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite Indian dish?

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Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

Vegan Taco Ring – Easy Vegan Dinner Recipe

 

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I became vegan a few months after my husband and I moved to Illinois. January 1, 2016 marks my vegan birthday (cue balloons). As many vegans will tell you, the hardest part was finding fun recipes and thankfully, Instagram came to the rescue. I found a recipe similar to this ageees ago, but what I learned is that so many of these recipes can easily be tailored to your own. I especially love this one because it’s literally a garbage pile, in that you can throw all your leftovers into the mix, wrap it up, bake it and voila: taco ring.

A couple weekends ago, it was raining like crazy, and I wanted to bake and cook and just be around a warm oven. So I made the taco ring. What’s best about this is, you can easily make it for a potluck or a bring it to a party as your go-to meal because it’s literally SO easy to make and can be made really quickly too depending on the ingredients you use. The one I’m showing you guys below is a little more involved because it includes potatoes. Take out the potatoes and that literally cuts down about 20 mins of time. So, let’s get started!

Taco Ring Ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roll of crescent rolls (Pillsbury is accidentally vegan, but Annie’s makes vegan options)
  • 1 packed of Soyrizo (soy chorizo)–I get mine at Trader Joe’s (it’s the cheapest there too)
  • 1/2 packet of taco seasoning (also from Trader Joe’s)

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS

  • 1 pouch of potatoes
  • Veggies of your choice

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cut up all of your veggies and start sauteeing them.
3. Open your crescent rolls and lay them out to create a sun shape. The point side should be the outside of “the sun” and the wide side will overlap from piece to piece like below:

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4. Cook the soyrizo in a separate pan for about 5 minutes. Then toss the mixture with 1/2 packet of the taco seasoning.
5. Mix the soyrizo with the veggies and whatever else you want to fold into the mix.
6. Scoop the soyrizo mix onto the ring like below:

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7. It will get messy, but that’s ok. After you’ve scooped as much as that will fit, fold the point side into the wide side, like below:

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8. Optional: Add vegan cheese to each ring on the top:

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9. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes, then let it cool.

If You’re Using Potatoes

  1. Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces.
  2. Throw them in boiling water for 15 minutes, then drain and let them cool for 5 minutes, before tossing them into your taco ring mix.

Photo Sep 09, 4 38 32 PM

Question of the Day

Have you tried this kind of recipe before? What’s your go-to potluck meal?

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Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

Easy Vegan Banana Bread

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I went to college at UC Santa Barbara, and before every final, I would go to the Arbor (UCSB students–know what I’m talkin’ about?) and buy a thing of banana bread. That was my little ritual, so needless to say, banana bread has a special place in my heart (whether I passed those tests or not).

I decided to get a little nostalgic last night and make some banana bread. Ok, TBH, I had a pile of black bananas in the fridge that were grossing me out, so into a bowl of flour, sugar and other tid bits they went. It doesn’t take that much time or trouble, so try this for yourself and let me know if you love it!

Vegan Banana Bread Recipe

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Ingredients

3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup brown or coconut sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup plant milk
1/3 cup (80 mL) coconut oil, melted
2 teaspoons (10 mL) pure vanilla extract (add about 2 tbsp. maple syrup for a little bit more sweetness or a handful of chocolate chips)

Ingredients

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.

3. Spray a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan lightly.

4. Pour all the ingredients into the pan and bake it for 55 minutes.

Good luck!

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Vegan and Cruelty Free Beauty, Vegan Cruelty Free, Vegan Food

August 2018 Favorites

Well, Fall is upon us, which means there are a LOT of Fall favorites ahead. I figured I would kick of September with a recap of Summer…an ode to the glory days before the cold hits.

Ember Mug

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If you’re like me, you take forever to finish your hot beverage. I sometimes heat up a cup of tea, and leave it and forget about it, only to greet it hours later with an, “…oh yeah.” This mug uses smart technology (and it has an app–what!) to control your temperature and keep it at that temperature. Too hot? You can use the app to cool it down and set it at the exact temperature you prefer. It is the absolute first world answer to a first world problem, which should only be reserved really for the top 1%. Well now, we can live like the Beyonce’s and the Gates’ 😉

Born a Crime – Trevor Noah

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This was my local book club’s book of the month, and I highly recommend it! It’s a really insightful look into Trevor Noah’s life as a child growing up in apartheid South Africa. It reads more like little anecdotes, as if you met Trevor at a bar and he’s just telling you some stories from his life. Very well done. 10/10 recommend.

Favorite Vegan Food

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Sesame Seeds

I put sesame seeds on pretttty much EVERYTHING. It’s zero calories and offers a TON of flavors. Next time you eat something bland, toss some sesame seeds on it (and maybe some sriracha) and you’re golden.

Veggie Wavy Chips

…are way better than the veggie straws (like serious pass). I make my dinner into a dip of sorts and eat it with a bag of these chips (which are labeled vegan and are only 130 calories per bag). Otherwise, we have them on the side with our vegan burgers!

Vegan Chickpea Patties

…speaking of burgers, these patties are amazing! They carry them at Costco, and I’m SO proud that they are carrying a lot more vegan options. Even in their cafeteria! They have a vegan salad and acai bowls too. What? #mindblown

Foreo Luna Mini 2 Face Cleanser

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This face cleaning tool seriously leaves my face feeling SO soft. I talked about it in this full review here, and I still love it.

Barefoot Dreams CozyChic “In the Wild” Throw

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I wasn’t able to find is Barefoot Dreams blankets are cruelty-free, but what I have learned is that it is 100% worth it. It’s the SOFTEST blanket I’ve ever wrapped myself in, and am low-key looking forward to Winter just so I can walk around the house in it…even more than I do now.

Question of the Day

What are you loving this month?

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Vegan Food

Vegan Tom Ka Kai Recipe (Thai Coconut Milk Soup)

TKKFinalNoBread.jpgMy husband and I are adventurous eaters, well as adventurous as a vegan and a carnivore can be. Either way, one of our favorite cuisines is Thai and like every diner who feels like a food critic, we order Tom Ka Kai or Tom Ka Gai at every thai restaurant we try, and continue to compare, judge and rate. I know you do it too. Anyways, I decided it was time to walk the walk so wanted to try making a batch of thai coconut milk soup with tofu myself! It’s actually way easier than I thought and took very little effort. Most of the elbow grease goes into sourcing the ingredients. So, tie on your apron and get ready for the ultimate soup test.

Vegan Tom Ka Kai (aka Tom Ka Gai or Tom Kha Gai) Recipe

TKKIngredients

Ingredients

1 cup shitake mushrooms (or mushrooms of your choosing)
1 cup diced onions or shallots (about a quarter-inch in size)
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (use as much or as little of this as you like–the soup authentically has a very acidic taste so I err on the side of more)
2 lemongrass stalks
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp. crushed red chili pepper (or to taste)
2 small green or red chilies
2 tomatoes
1 package of firm tofu
1 can coconut milk
4 tbsp. liquid aminos

Directions

  1. Prep your ingredients: Cut the lemongrass stalks into about 1-inch long pieces. Slice the mushrooms into edible sizes, dice your onion, dice your chili peppers, slice your tomatoes into edible sizes, cube tofu into size of your choice.
  2. Heat a large pot until it sizzles when you sprinkle in some water. Now add the 1/2 cup of water, lemongrass, mushrooms, onions and lime juice and bring to a boil.
  3. Once boiling, add the diced chilis, red pepper flakes, tomato, coconut milk and tofu.
  4. Add the liquid aminos and stir for about 5-10 minutes or until it reaches your desired level of thickness.
  5. Remove your pot from the heat and stir in lime or lemon juice to taste.
  6. ENJOY!

Once you’ve made it, you’ll hands-down think your soup is the best you’ve ever had. I mean, that’s how it always works, right? 😉

Let us know what you think if you’ve made it and if you have any variations. I’d love to try how you change it up!

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Question of the Day

What’s one food you always compare whenever you eat out?