Boozy Peachy Ice Cream

I was having dinner with my Dad a couple of weeks ago and we were talking about this cinnamon vanilla infused sugar that he ordered, and how he’s been putting it on fresh peaches and then grilling them. At the mention of peaches, we began to remember when I was a kid and making homemade peach ice cream, I’m not talking using the new electric ice cream makers, I’m talking about the kind you used rock salt with and had a hand crank. That hard work was worth it though because to this day that is still my favorite kind of ice cream. So I thought to myself, how can I make a non-dairy version of this and maybe make it a little more grown up? So I did.

Let’s talk about non-dairy ice creams. Listen, they are good, but I’ve found that they miss some of the creaminess of the full dairy versions. Then I came across Revolution Gelato at my local Whole Food’s. Y’all…….when I tell you that, this gelato was everything I had been missing since going plant based! It’s so flavorful, and creamy, yes you read that right creamy! Currently, my freezer may or may not contain four different flavors (it really is that good y’all). So let’s make this treat shall we?

  • Revolution Gelato – I used Cardamom Spice but the Full Throttle Vanilla would be great too.
  • Peaches – one large peach is plenty for a couple of servings.
  • Bourbon
  • vegan butter
  • Sugar
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla
  • nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

You want to slice your peaches like above and add to a pan with your butter, spices vanilla and sugar. You want to warm it all through and the sugar will start to caramelize slightly. You’ll also want to take your gelato out of the freezer while you are cooking the peaches; it needs to soften a bit. Once your peaches start to caramelize add a splash (or a big splash) of bourbon. You want to let the alcohol cook out, leaving the flavor behind.

Scoop a couple of scoops of gelato into a dish and top with the boozy peachy sticky goodness, maybe sprinkle a little more cinnamon on top or a little granola and enjoy!!

“Fish” Taco Tuesday

Who doesn’t love tacos? I mean seriously if you know someone who actually says no to tacos, maybe reevaluate that relationship, kidding but only slightly. Everyone should love tacos and for the most part they are a pretty fool proof kind of dish. Although, the best ones in my opinion come from Taco trucks at 2 AM, I’m just saying. So you can imagine that becoming plant based, giving up tacos was not something that was going to happen for me. There are a lot of great meat alternatives out there, and I’ve tried most of them from the crumbles, jackfruit, beans and even pecan meat (we’ll get into that one later). But what do you use when you want a good fish taco? I mean I live in Florida, the availability to have fresh fish is literally all around me.

Lets talk hearts of palm. I’m a big believer in knowing what things taste like, plan, unseasoned so I can tell how I’m actually going to season them and also, I’m a texture girl. I need to know the texture because to me it changes the dish. I wasn’t the biggest fan of hearts of palm if I’m being honest here. The outside texture was a bit on the tough side and the center well mushy. I wasn’t the biggest fan. Then, I saw Tabitha Brown make them into fish sticks and well……GAME CHANGER; because now, I could have fish tacos. Let’s make them.

  • can of hearts of palm – drained and pat dry
  • unsweetened almond milk
  • flour
  • fish fry – if frying. if using an air fryer I’d go with panko.
  • multi purpose seasoning mix – use your favorite that doesn’t have added salt
  • garlic powder
  • chili powder
  • nori furikake – its a seaweed mixture you can find it at Whole Foods or even Amazon.

So just like we did when the eggplant a few days ago, we are going to make 2 batters with the exact same ingredients; one wet, one dry. The only difference here is how you are actually going to make them. You can of course fry them up, I mean they are fish sticks in which case add some fish fry mix to your batters. If like me you are going to use the air fryer or something similar, use panko. Its all about the crunch here y’all. So once your batters are made coat up your hearts of palm and let them rest a moment. Preheat the air fryer – 400. You are going to cook these babies for a total of 10 minutes (5 on each side).

Now let’s get into my favorite part of this whole thing, the actual taco. I’m a big fan of corn tortillas, but use whatever you like I mean you could probably use lettuce and make a lettuce cup situation (I’m slightly judging) but seriously whatever you like is what you should go with. Heat your tortillas guys. A little oil in a hot cast iron or pan and warm through on each side, it will make a difference. Once you figure out your taco vessel, plate it and top it up. The slaw from the BBQ the other day would be great on this, maybe a spicy mango salsa or even just your basics, lettuce, cheese and of course a spicy sauce. Mine was a take on a tarter sauce, vegan mayo, chili sauce, and dill pickles. Serve with your favorite side, I just did a quick black bean and corn saute with some Elote seasoning and of course avocado. When you bite into these babies they are going to give you everything you want in a fish taco. The crust is nice and crunchy and the inside nice and flaky like fish. Enjoy guys. Trust me you will love these, and if for some reason you don’t want to make them into tacos, the fish sticks with some homemade fries are just as great. Let me know which way you go.

BBQ What…….

Y’all living and being in the south we love our BBQ don’t we? I can tell you the best thing my Dad ever got was his Big Green Egg smoker/grill. I believe if he could he would make every meal for him and Mom on it. I mean is there anything better than the smell of the grill on a late Sunday afternoon, friends and family around and a cold beer in hand? I can’t really think of much better, except maybe figuring out a way to make it plant based. I found a brand that does just that, No Evil Foods has really up’d the game in the plant based meats. You really can give them a lot of flavor and it has the texture of meat. So I was really happy when I found out they do a version of Pulled Pork. I thought to myself, why not make a BBQ pulled “pork” sandwich with slaw? Yeah, let’s make that.

I am not really a cole slaw kinda girl, I do make a pretty mean slaw a few different ways. This is a make in advance kinda deal, because honestly the longer that it sits the better it gets. A few standard ingredients are all you need:

  • bag of cole slaw mix
  • vegan mayo
  • horseradish sauce
  • rice wine vinegar
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • apple
  • lemon juice
  • shredded carrots

Add your bag of slaw mix to a bowl with a splash of rice wine vinegar and olive oil. I always feel like there are never enough shredded carrots in the premixes so I add a handful of carrots to the mix. Let’s talk about the apple for a minute. A lot of folk add, sugar to their slaw. I’ve never seen the point when you can add it naturally and the apple is another layer of flavor and crunch. A granny smith is really great in this however, I only had fuji on hand so that’s what I went with. Take your standard box grater and grate the apple, skin and all. If you like your slaw really wet, keep the juice in the apple if not, give it a little squeeze and then toss it in with the slaw mix. add a heaping spoon of horseradish, I like it spicy but if you don’t like it so much then go with a little less. Add in a couple teaspoons of mayo, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Mix well. Cover and put in the fridge.

First things first, take your bun and season them. I know sounds super weird but y’all I’m telling ya it’s a game changer; a little butter a little salt and pepper pop in the oven with a couple slices of cheese on top. When you take the No Evil “Pork” out of the package and break it up you can see that it already has a little bit of sauce on it, and if you like it less saucy then fine, leave as is and add a couple splashes of water to the pan so nothing sticks to the bottom; but I’m a sauce fend and needed more of that deliciousness. You are really just heating everything through, which makes this a great weeknight meal if you are in a hurry or if you are making something quick for lunch. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking about making a little bbq bowl with some black beans, corn, rice spinach and maybe some avocado on the side….yeah that sounds pretty tasty; but let’s get back to this sandwich shall we. Don’t forget those buns y’all, things in the oven burn quickly! Plate your buns and pile on all of your delicious stuff, the bbq pulled “pork”, some slaw, top with some pickles even add some hot sauce if you want some spice. You can of course serve this with a million and one different sides, I kept it pretty simple and just went with some chips. Don’t forget the napkins y’all, like all good BBQ it’s messy!

Not your basic Oatmeal

I will be the first to admit that Monday thru Friday Oatmeal is my basic normal work day breakfast. It’s heart healthy, has protein, low calorie and well it can get boring. With so many “bowls” out there now it’s not surprising that people are getting more and more creative with their oatmeal. I’m not sure my Papa would approve, but then again his never met the points above. Don’t mistake what I just said, it was delicious and I would take a bowl of my Papa’s oatmeal any day of the week; even if it means eating all my daily calories in a day and having to do an extra workout – totally worth it.

Now I have tried overnight oats and I think they are great and a quick to-go type of breakfast. I’ve also been a big fan of The Hungry Girl’s Growing Oatmeal, but not a fan of artificial sweeteners. Aside from the chemicals used to create the “natural” sweeteners, they are one of the worst triggers for my migraines. Just some food for thought, if you suffer from migraines and eat or drink a lot of those type of sweeteners. Back to oatmeal. The great thing about oatmeal is that it’s a blank canvas. You can do anything you want to it. You can make is simple with just some almond milk or water or you can jazz it up to something way more nom worthy. Here’s what you need:

  • Oats – any kind will work, I had quick cook on hand so that’s what I went with.
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Vanilla extract
  • Agave
  • Fruit- use whatever you have on hand or what is currently in season. You know my motto colorful food is happy food. For this I went with bananas, strawberries, blueberries and kiwi.
  • Hazelnut-chocolate almond butter – I used Justin’s
  • slivered almonds – but use your favorite nut.

Add the oats, almond milk, vanilla extract and a good couple teaspoons of agave to a pot with a pinch of salt into a pot and let simmer. While the oats are doing their thing get to chopping up the fruit. By now, your oats should be going to a nice simmer and bubbling a little. Stir well, you don’t want those babies to stick to the bottom. Now take a good couple of teaspoons of the hazelnut-chocolate almond butter and put in a small bowl. Melt in the microwave, you should be good within 35 seconds or so. Time to put all these noms together! Grab a bowl, I prefer deep bowls. Add the hot oats, and a little bit of butter (i went with vegan), and a splash of almond milk – this step really gives your oats so much creaminess, so don’t skip it! Add your toppings, add your melty chocolaty hazelnut gooeyness first, then line up your fruit and nuts. Coconut flakes and seeds would be great with this too. Time to nom! Grab a spoon and a mug of coffee and enjoy my loves. This is sure to keep you full and energized for whatever your morning throws your way.

Quick Lunch Leftover Makeover

As a single gal, and as a gal that does not have any idea how to actually cook for one person. I mean seriously if you’ve mastered that skill – teach me your ways!!! Well, until I learn I will always have leftovers in my fridge. I gotta tell ya, I’ve never been the biggest fan of leftovers. Somehow in my mind leftovers equals food that wasn’t good enough to eat the first time around, when in reality it means another to enjoy the noms.

Lets talk lunch. Now when I’m going into the the office every day, I typically meal prep like a fend for the week. But working from home gives me a little more flexibility to not have most of my Sunday spent in the kitchen. Even still, I like my lunch hour to actually you know, eat and maybe relax a bit. Leftovers are perfect for this. For this dish, I took the Spanish White Bean Stew we made the other day and added a bit more vegetable stock to it; making it more of a soup. Now a few things go really well with soup, right? I went with a nice green salad. Nothing fancy, ( I mean we CAN make it fancy) Heres what we need to nom:

  • For the soup: Spanish White Bean Stew and Vegetable broth or stock.
  • For the salad: I like hearty greens, spinach, kale, arugula, char….but you pick your favorites.
    • cucumber
    • cherry tomatoes
    • dried cranberries (okay maybe i got a little fancy)
    • Croutons – I’ve mentioned Kelly’s Croutons before and seriously order yourself a bag. you won’t regret it ( in case you need it, kellycroutons.com
    • Bacon bits – I used Frontier Vegetarian Bits- Bac’uns from Whole Foods
    • Sprinkle of Kelly’s Cheesy Parm – use your favorite cheese
    • Dressing of choice

Okay so take your stew and broth in a pot and let heat through. While that’s happening make your salad. Wash your greens. Spin dry them to removed extra water. If you don’t have a salad spinner blotting with some paper towels. Dress your greens. Yup you heard me, add your dressing to your greens only. Trust me on this, I wouldn’t misled ya. Chop up your cucs and tomatoes. At this point, your soup should be hot. Put in a bowl and add to a plate. On the side of the bowl add your dressed greens, top with your chopped veggies, cranberries, croutons, bac’uns and cheese. You can really add anything to this salad. Any veggies that you have in the fridge will be great and if you need a little extra dressing (because some days require, extra dressing) then top it off! Remember colorful food is happy food and happy food makes us want to eat. A piece of crusty bread would be great here too or even a simple sandwich. It’s your lunch break – do what makes you happy. Grab a glass of sparkling water over ice and enjoy!!!

Spanish White Bean Stew

I don’t know about y’all but there is something to be said about a bowl of thick stew, soup or chili on a cold and dreary day with a big piece of warm crusty bread. Living in south Florida, I don’t really get those. I do have the ability to drop my AC on super raining days and pretend I’m somewhere cold.

Coming from a large family, or just a family in general beans are a great go to; dried or canned. They were a staple in the house growing up. A pot of beans could be a meal with some cornbread, they could feed a crowd and for the most part pretty cheap. I don’t know about y’all but that’s a win win win in my book. Living the plant based life, beans are still a staple, a great source of protein and can be used with and in just about everything.

So let’s talk about this stew, when I have the time I love cooking things low and slow and having my house smell just delicious; and this stew you can do just that or you can make it a little quicker. This is also something that you can freeze, which is a bonus for days when you just don’t have time to make something. If you decide to go the low and slow route, use dry white beans. But I was under a bit of a time crunch, meaning I had one of my best girlfriends here, cozy clothes to wear, binge watching and wine to drink. So back to this stew, if you have never had chorizo I’m not sure what to say here. It’s delicious and so flavorful and spicy. Typically chorizo is a pork based sausage that is seasoned with the chilies, garlic, onion, paprika and more. It comes in two types a hard chorizo which has the texture of a pepperoni or hard salami or Mexican style which is ground. Being plant based, I’ve had a hard time finding something that is comparable. But at my local Trader Joe’s I found a unicorn – SOY MEXICAN CHORIZO, yeah I yelled it, sorry it is and exciting moment here y’all. I can do so many things with this and honestly it takes me to a happy place. Let’s get to cooking, here’s what you’ll need:

  • Soy Mexican Chorizo
  • 3 whole carrots, peeled and diced
  • shallot or onion – diced
  • garlic – diced
  • mushrooms (any kind you like) – chopped
  • bag of spinach
  • 2 cans of white beans – low sodium or no salt if you can find them- drained and rinsed
  • vegetable broth or stock
  • thyme
  • better than bouillon seasoning- vegetable flavored

First things first, add some grapeseed oil to your pot, again I’m a big fan of cast iron so I went with my enameled dutch oven. Add your diced carrots, shallot and garlic. Saute until soft then add your mushrooms. Cook for a few minutes, then add the chorizo; it will be crumbly that’s how you want it. Cook until almost cooked through. Add beans and about half of your vegetable stock. gently scrape the brown bits from the bottom of your pot, that’s big flavor! Add your thyme and the better than bouillon – between 1/2 to 1 tablespoon. Let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add that bag of spinach and mix it in. Cover and let simmer so the spinach can wilt through. Serve it up my babes. You can top it with a few fresh herbs if you have them on hand or even some of your favorite shredded cheese. Now this is a stew so its on the thicker side but you still need some good warm butter bread to sop up all the juice. Grab a spoon and enjoy!

Eggplant Parmesan

I have a strong love for all things Italian. The food, culture, country, wine, people and the language. Most people assume that I am Italian, but much to mine and my Father’s displeasure we are not. I will say however that I was lucky enough to once be married into a crazy large Italian family and my MIL taught me all the tricks of the trade, including how to make the best sauce and Nonna’s Christmas Lasagna that only gets made once a year. But I digress, this post is not about Lasagna, its about eggplant. Eggplant in my opinion, doesn’t get enough credit. Its a ridiculously versatile vegetable. Yes the skin can be a bit um weird sometimes but it really can take on the flavor of whatever you season it with, and for my Plant Based fam, it has a wonderful meaty texture, its great in stews or even roasted. Typically Eggplant Parm is fried, and I mean why not? Remember I am from the south we fry everything. Some people have even made it in the oven but like all things that are supposed to be fried that you bake it looses some of the crunch. Thank baby Jesus for the air fryer y’all. Now if you don’t have an air fryer (get one) you can of course fry or bake these and they will be just as good (I promise). Let’s get started:

Here’s what you need…..
  • Eggplant
  • All Purpose flour
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Spices, Herbs and basic deliciousness – if you have fresh herbs then by all means please use them. But this is what I worked with; Granulated garlic, red pepper flakes, basil, oregano, thyme, onion powder. It is so important to SEASON your food, and no I do not consider salt and pepper seasoning.
  • Parmesan Cheese – plant based fam use your favorite, I really love Kelly’s Gourmet you can get it off of Amazon or from her website directly (which I suggest) at kellyscroutons.com
  • Mozzarella for topping
  • Marinara sauce – I won’t judge you for using your favorite jar sauce, I mean sometimes we need to be quick with things. BUTTTTTT a better (in my opinion) sauce takes just a few things: can of tomato sauce, onions, garlic and basil – simmer in a pan for a few minutes and you are good to go.
slice eggplant and make wet and dry batters

Here’s the thing y’all a good crust starts with both wet and dry batters. First, slice your eggplant, I sliced mine pretty thick. Make your batters. Wet: flour, all your seasoning, parmesan, and almond milk. You want it on the thicker side. Dry: panko, flour, all your seasoning and parmesan. Take your eggplant and cover it in the wet batter first then move it to the dry batter. The coating will be thick. Before you get your fingers all messy, go ahead and preheat your air fryer at around 400. Your eggplant slices should look like this:

all the nommsssssss

Once your air fryer is hot let’s cook these babies! 400 degrees for a total of 15 minutes. At 5 minutes flip. At this point, start heating or make your sauce. At 10 minutes add your mozzarella (oh yeah i didn’t forget) you can use slices, shreds whatever makes your heart happy. I used a combo of the Miyoko Mozz and the Daiya plant based mozzarella shreds. Go for another 5 minutes. Plate it up, and top with sauce and a dash more basil just because. It’s plenty filling as is, but you can serve it with a little side salad and of course, don’t forget the wine. Dig in fam!!

Berry Granola Yogurt Bowl

If you’re like me, busy just doesn’t seem to do my life justice. I am always going. But even in this time of Covid and all the uncertain there is in the world we need a bit of normal. At least, I do. So even though my day job has me working from home, I still keep a routine. I get up, work out, walk the pup, shower, breakfast and then log in to my work day. I’m all for quick bites, so I get where a protein shake or a green juice is the most ideal and honestly they are my go to’s. But some days, well some days you just need something more. And nothing is more than nomming on a nice bowl of colorful berries, granola and yogurt. Here’s what you need friends:

  • Unsweetened Almond Milk Yogurt: use your favorite. if you like flavored Greek yogurt or prefer cashew yogurt – get crazy. It’s your breakfast.
  • Berries: make it colorful y’all! Colorful food is happy food and we all need a good dose of happy! Make sure they are in season, makes the berries sweeter.
  • Granola: I went with my go-to Purely Elizabeth Vanilla Almond Butter, but go with what you like best. Some homemade granola would be killer in this….now that I think about it, that may be another post.
  • Agave: the berries are sweet enough on their own but I always feel like I need something to kinda make it hold together.

Take your favorite bowl and add some yogurt, I normally go with a half a cup. I mean we got toppings y’all. I love any fruit with yogurt but being a Summer gal, berries are my favorite. Make sure you wash and clean your berries. I used raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and sliced up some strawberries. Make it pretty, line your berries up however makes you happy then add the granola. Drizzle with agave. Grab your spoon and a mug of coffee, Enjoy y’all!!!!

Lemon Blueberry Granola Pancakes

Let’s talk pancakes shall we? Now listen, we all have our skill set and mine has never been making or shall I say flipping pancakes, so I tend to only have them when I’m in a restaurant or my best friend’s kitchen. But one of my favorite influencers, posted on her IG about pancakes. From that moment on, I only wanted pancakes. Quick Whole Foods visit later, and I was in business my friends!

Any of my nearest and dearest will tell you, I have a soft spot in my heart of hearts for all things lemon blueberry. My mother-in-law had introduced me to this wonderful combination of magical ingredients when she made me a lemon blueberry cheesecake for my birthday one year (she continued to make said cheesecake every birthday until she passed). So I thought, lemon blueberry….pancakes…..what could go wrong? Nothing, absolutely nothing went wrong with these pancakes. Here’s what you need and how you make deliciousness that is pancakes:

  • Pancake mix (use your favorite) I used Birch Benders Plant Protein Pancake & Waffle Mix.
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Lemon – zest and juice from half
  • Blueberries
  • Granola (again, use your favorite) I used Purely Elizabeth in Vanilla Almond Butter. I personally, love this brand. They mix seeds in with the grains and it makes it really yummy.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Butter- I prefer vegan butter and my favorite is Miyoko’s Creamery. it’s really delicious and honestly tastes just like real butter.
  • Maple syrup – don’t cut corners here, go for the good stuff.

You’re going to start by mixing your ingredients together. Pancake mix, almond milk, flax seed about a teaspoon (takes place of egg), zest, lemon juice, splash of vanilla, sprinkle of cinnamon, blueberries and granola. Mix well and set aside. You want to let the mix “rest” for a couple of minutes. So while that’s happening. Get your pan or griddle ready, personally I’m a big fan of cast iron skillets, they keep an even heat and give you those little crispy edges. Add butter to pan to heat up. Add a scoop of your pancake mix to the pan, I’d say a couple of heaping tablespoons depending on how big and thick you want your pancakes. Cook until edges begin to bubble. This is where things get dicey, if you are anything like me lol. Take a spatula, I used a fish spatula because its a little wider; carefully slide under pancake it should go in pretty easy since we greased the pan properly. Once under flip. Cook through for a couple more minutes. Add to plate with a spread of butter. Repeat until you have used all your mix. Top your pancakes with some more granola and blueberries. Warm up some of your maple syrup and drizzle on top. Y’all these pancakes were so good, I had to make them again this past weekend for my girlfriends! I’m tellin ya you will not be disappointed. If you try them and post to your social media tag me in them! I’d love to see what you come up with.

Until next time y’all. Happy eating!

Welcome to my kitchen..

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m Coll and this is my kitchen. I’m a foodie, photographer and home cook. I’m the friend that when you come over to visit, you will always be fed. It’s how I show my love. Raised in a large crazy family, food was the center of things. Being from a southern family just meant that the food was covered in butter and probably fried. Not always the healthiest, but man was it delicious. Growing up I watched my Mom and Grandmother make the most wonderful and simple meals. It was the way they showed love. I’m happy to say, that was passed down to me and something I try to do as much as I can.

About twelve years, ago I started a health journey and began taking steps to change my lifestyle. First was food. I needed to figure out a way to break the addiction I had to all things carbs, covered in butter and all the above. I also began working out. As my body, mind and soul began to change I noticed how, the pounds were not coming off. So I made a change again. This time, going more plant based. Now being a vegetarian wasn’t anything new for me. I tried it out in college, but like most things I tried in college it didn’t stick. Fast forward to 2020 – a year that has been filled with so much change from the norm, and here I am back at the plant based life. I’m a firm believer that you have to be in the right mindset to stick to anything; and with my mind firmly made up, I took the jump and haven’t looked back. My goal, (aside from being healthy) is to create some of the amazing family recipes not just healthier but plant based as well. Now if you are freaking out at this point, it’s okay. I’m not ONLY going to post plant based noms, I’m also going to share just some of the healthier options I’ve been able to come up with. I promise there will be something for everyone to enjoy. So put on some comfy clothes, sit back and enjoy a glass of your favorite and lets eat!!