About silverkitten04

Digital Publishing Specialist and Nature Photography Hobbiest. Also, amateur cook who loves to make easy recipes!

Quick and Easy Garlic Toast

Quick and Easy Garlic Toast

I recently received an email with an article on ways you can top toast. It reminded me of my garlic toast I’ve been addicted to making as of late. Of course, it’s because I love just about all things garlic. From adding extra in various recipes, like stir frys to even being on toast. So I figured, why not make a simple garlic toast? It tastes great with my homemade chicken zoodle soup which works perfectly when one is feeling unwell or needing warm meals during the colder months of the year.

I used my friend’s bread recipe and it tastes amazing! Yet it’s so simple and easy to make! I usually use my toaster oven to toast my bread but you can use a regular oven as well and set it to broil for about 5 minutes or until it’s toasted. You just need to keep a good eye on it so it doesn’t burn.

Some alternatives to add additional flavor would be to add shredded cheese of your choice on top or even add your favorite salsa. You can even turn it into a bruschetta-like my quick and easy recipe you can find here! Or you can even add mashed avocado with salt and pepper and some deli meat of choice like prosciutto too.

Quick and Easy Garlic Toast

Ingredients:

  • Bread slices
  • garlic powder
  • about 1 tsp of oil of choice per slice

Directions:

  1. Take your sliced bread and spread your oil on one side.
  2. After spreading out the oil, take your garlic powder and sprinkle over the oiled bread.
  3. Place your bread slices in your toaster oven and set it to toast for about 5 minutes or until desired toasty brown goodness. If using a regular oven, set to broil and broil until the desired toastiness.
  4. Remove from oven and enjoy! Just be careful as it’s hot!
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Daily Prompt: Leaves On A Stream – Meditation Technique

Daily Prompt: Leaves On A Stream – Meditation Technique


 

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Lake Elkhorn in Columbia, MD

 

With all the craziness going on in our society today, it is understandable that we are more stressed out than what should be considered normal. Our newsfeeds on social media and on TV are constantly scrolling with natural disasters, politicians trying to take away our rights to our life, liberty, and our pursuit of happiness (like access to affordable healthcare), and other individuals just being evil and hurting others. This is, of course, no short list of things that affect our daily lives. However, what sets us apart is how we deal with these stressors.

Some individuals just unplug from their electronics for a few days when it starts to become too much while others go to classes or join organizations that promote relaxation techniques of various kinds. Some do yoga, tai chi, and other forms of meditation while some others, depending on what is going on in that person’s life, may need a bit of extra help by talking with someone.

I strongly advise that if you need to talk to someone, please do. It is very beneficial and everyone needs some help from someone they can trust and/or a professional. If you need to talk to someone, please contact your country’s crisis hotline or suicide prevention number. They have professionals who are able to help and it is, most certainly, not shameful to ask for help when you really need it most.

I was recently introduced to a new meditation technique when I was undergoing cognitive behavior therapy. My therapist had introduced it as “Leaves on a Stream” meditation technique she herself had learned about.

Just think about it…


Imagine being in the woods. Sitting on the ground or up in a tree or even on the bank of a stream. If you look up towards the sky, what do you see? Sunlight trickling between the leaves as a gentle breeze blows through? 

As you start to drift your eyes downwards, you notice a leaf came unattached from the tree above. Floating gently down next to you till it reaches a stream nearby. Water gently trickling around little rocks like mini waterfalls and making little pools before continuing on its way. 

Now imagine, placing your stress and worries on that leaf that is floating down to the water. Then watch as it gently and slowly floats on the stream’s current away. 

Looking back up, another leaf has detached itself from the strong, majestic tree to float down before you. Again, place your stress and worries on that soft leaf and let it float down the stream.


This was how it was more or less explained to me. The beautiful imagery helping to calm my anxiety and ADD mind. Reducing high levels of built-up stress to having muscles relaxed and feeling more centered.

Personally, I have tried other types of meditation though some were not too successful. However, there were some that were successful. Back when I was in college, I took a class at my local community college called Tai Chi Chuan. The slow movements were meditative and calming for me. Along with the relaxing music, I was able to focus and feel more energized. I felt like I was normal. Now, how many individuals can say they felt that way? Probably not many if they are being honest. (Being normal? How fun is that?) Another thing I just remembered was a previous post I saw while scrolling through Facebook titled “Something to remember when stressed.” All of these things are important to our wellbeing. Be it physical or mental, it is something we need to focus and do as we can.

If this sort of imagery is not helpful for you, there are other meditative types of things one can do to help reduce stress. Listening to music you find calming, reading a book, taking a walk out in nature, cooking, and more. The possibilities are endless!

On an ending note, I had subscribed to a poetry subscription website and a poem that reminded me of this technique had beautiful imagery. It reminded me of leaves on a stream and my troubles and worries floating down it gently away.

From Knopf Poetry, a poem by Vera Pavlova:

sit by the river
keep pitching
your troubles in it
watch them
float away
with the current
too light
to drown

—from Album for the Young (and Old) 

via Daily Prompt: Leaf

Easy Chocolate Chip and Blueberry Sheet Pan Pancakes (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Allergy Friendly)

Easy Chocolate Chip and Blueberry Sheet Pan Pancakes (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Allergy Friendly)

This week while perusing social media (aka Facebook), I saw this really interesting set of pancake recipes from Buzzfeed. They had a set of about four recipes including peaches, blueberries, mixed berries, and banana chocolate chip. It looked really easy and good so I thought about how to change it to a vegan, gluten free, and allergy friendly diet. As you can see below, it’s pretty easy.

Though I must admit, I have the hardest time flipping pancakes. As funny as it is, this recipe is absolute perfection for my lack of flipping skills in the kitchen.

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Banana and Chocolate Chip Pancakes

Now as I was looking at the ingredients, it seemed pretty easy overall. You have a dry pancake mix, eggs, milk, and toppings. It’s pretty easy overall to substitute the eggs and milk for vegan versions. For me, I used home made hemp milk and flax eggs to replace those two. The pancake mix I used was from Namaste though you can use any pre-made mix or even your own dry mix. Also, since my baking sheet is small, I halved the recipe and it still came out perfect. Below is the half recipe. For the full recipe, you can find it on Buzzfeed here. The directions are pretty much the same as the original recipe. I just used a smaller temperature in the oven.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Pancake Dry Mix
  • 1 cup Nondairy Milk
  • 2 Flax Eggs
  • Toppings of choice

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line your baking sheet with a sheet of parchment paper.
  3. In the meantime, grind a couple tablespoons of flax seeds into a flaxseed meal. Add 5 tablespoons of water to 2 tablespoons of the flaxseed meal in a bowl. Stir and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes to thicken.
  4. In your electric mixer (or bowl), add all ingredients except your toppings. Then mix together.
  5. Pour the batter into the sheet pan and spread to the edges. Add your toppings then place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until cooked.
  6. Once fully cooked, serve immediately and enjoy!

Chicken Tacos Over Rice (Vegan Options)

Chicken Tacos Over Rice (Vegan Options)

Tacos are just one of those meals that are easy to prepare yet savory for a busy weeknight. Most of the time, it’s beef or pork that you get in the various restaurants but the chicken is pretty awesome too. If you’re vegan or interested in going a vegetarian route, the Lightlife brand has some amazing soy crumbles which are perfect and less expensive than a pound of hamburger.

If you’re not into rice, it also tastes amazing on top of a bed of lettuce as a salad. Lately, when I make my chicken “tacos” (I don’t have any home made tortillas on hand when the craving hits at times), I just toss it onto a bed of lettuce and add all my toppings from non-dairy queso cheese sauce to home made guacamole with a bit of extra lime squeezed over everything. It tastes amazing!

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts (approx. 1lb) (If Vegan/Vegetarian, use soy crumbles or extra firm tofu! 🙂 )
  • Taco seasoning (ex. McCormick, Old El Paso, or even home made is fine)
  • Rice of choice
  • Bell peppers sliced thin
  • Sweet onion sliced thin (1/2 to whole onion)
  • Medium to High heat oil of choice (I use canola oil)
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice in your rice cooker or saucepan as directed on the bag of rice.
  2. Cut chicken breasts and add to large frying pan with oil. Turn heat on medium to medium low.
  3. Cut bell peppers and onions fajita style. Set aside till chicken is fully cooked.
  4. Once the chicken is cooked, add the vegetables to the pan. Add a bit more oil if necessary so the vegetables do not stick to the pan. Stir then cover with a lid. Occasionally, remove the lid and stir the chicken and vegetables till the vegetables are desired softness.
  5. Add taco seasoning and water according to instructions on the seasoning packet.
  6. Cook for about 5 minutes on low heat or till sauce is thickened.
  7. Once rice and your chicken tacos are ready, plate and serve over the rice.

Options (Vegan/Vegetarian): If you’re vegan or wanting a vegan/vegetarian option, try replacing the meat above with soy crumbles or even extra firm tofu. 

Option 2: If you want to add an Asian flair to your meal, try a Thai Sweet Chili sauce instead of taco seasoning. 

How to Make Easy Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten Free, & Non-Vegan Options)

How to Make Easy Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal (Vegan, Gluten Free, & Non-Vegan Options)

I don’t know about you but since fall weather is approaching (Yay for no scorching heat days!), I tend to want warm, hearty meals for breakfast. What better breakfast than oatmeal? It’s simple, you can make it sweet or savory, and it can be vegan or non-vegan too!

My all-time favorite flavoring for oatmeal has been maple and brown sugar. Ever since I was young, this has been my ultimate go-to. Usually, it was instant oatmeal, as it was quick and easy to make, but now that I am experimenting more, I like using my own ingredients to make it rather than just using it out of a box. It has fewer chemicals and preservatives overall. Below is a photo of the ingredients I used minus the oatmeal. I love purchasing Gerbs Gluten Free Oats as they are allergy friendly and I can get a 4lb bag for about $30 on Amazon Prime.

Ingredients Maple & Brown Sugar

Ingredients – Cinnamon Powder, Vanilla Extract, Light Brown sugar, and Maple Syrup

The longest wait, I must admit is getting the water to boil. I love my pans but getting the water to boil on medium heat seems to take forever! Though must admit, doesn’t everything seem to take forever when you’re feeling hungry? Anyways! I hope you all will enjoy the simple and semi-healthy (at least less of a chemical storm really) for your morning breakfast!

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Gluten Free Oats Cooking in sauce pan

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup uncooked Gluten Free Traditional Rolled Oats
  • 1 cup of Water
  • 2 heaping Tbs of Organic Light Brown Sugar
  • A Dash of Vanilla Extract
  • A Dash of Ground Cinnamon
  • Maple Syrup to taste

Directions:

  1. Add water to soup pot and boil.
  2. Once the water comes to a boil, add oatmeal.
  3. Bring water back to a boil and boil for a couple of minutes.
  4. Cover and remove from heat for about 5 minutes till oats are soft.
  5. Pour cooked oatmeal into a serving bowl (or 2 if your sharing!). Then add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  6. Enjoy while hot!

Optional (vegan): Add fruit like cut bananas for an extra healthy and sweet bonus! Another option would be to add some flavored tempeh or extra firm tofu possibly with a sauce drizzled on top.

Optional (non-vegan): If you’re not vegan, you can add ham, bacon, eggs, and perhaps a bit of spice like chili flakes or sriracha on top to make it more savory and have an added bonus of protein and heat. The possibilities are endless!

Vanilla Apricot and Cinnamon Chia Pudding (Vegan)

Hello all!

I know it has been a bit since my last recipe post. I just came up with a new recipe for a Vanilla, Apricot, and Cinnamon Chia Pudding. Its nondairy and can be made allergy friendly too.

Vanilla apricot cinnamon hemp chia pudding

Anyways, this is really easy to put together. I just used a basic recipe for the pudding – 1 cup nondairy milk, 3 tablespoons of chia seeds, a dash of vanilla extract and cinnamon, and some premade apricot preserves. I added the preserves the next morning once the “pudding” part had formed overnight.

Of course this did come out super sweet so if anyone has suggestions on how to cut that sweetness back, I would appreciate it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nondairy milk
  • 3 tbs chia seeds
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • Dash of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbs or so of apricot preserves

Directions:

  1. Collect and measure out your ingredients above except the preserves.
  2. Mix the ingredients together (except the preserves) and let sit in the refrigerator overnight in a closed container.
  3. In the morning or just before serving, layer the preserves and the chia pudding.
  4. Then serve and enjoy!

Optional: can add fresh fruit and nondairy whipped cream as a topping.

National Coffee Milkshake Day

Happy National Coffee Milkshake Day!!!

Normally I am a big tea drinker but as of late I have been drinking home made coffee smoothies (I know not exactly a milkshake sorta but it’s coffee so I get a free pass?) and iced coffee for a quick pick-me-up. Of course, being as close to nondairy and allergy friendly as possible has made coming up with ideas for flavoring pretty fun.

So to celebrate this really cool, unofficial (though it would be awesome for it to be an official holiday) holiday, I have come up with an easy-to-make recipe for a simple and quick iced coffee. I’ve also included a link to my Vegan Hemp Coffee Smoothie too. All using nondairy and allergy friendly ingredients.

So! For the first recipe is the coffee smoothie which you can find here on my blog: Vegan Coffee Hemp Smoothie

Now, onto my simple iced coffee recipe.

Simple Iced Coffee

Ingredients:

  • 1/4-1 cup Nondairy milk
  • 1 Tbs Instant decaf coffee
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup (or so) Ice
  • Vanilla extract to taste
  • 1 packet of stevia or 1 Tsp of sweetener of choice

Directions:

  1. Make your coffee according to directions on the coffee container (or if you use a Keurig or another coffee maker, use 1 of those cups and use a small cup setting.).
  2. Let your coffee cool to room temperature or place in the fridge.
  3. Once your coffee is cool, add your nondairy milk, vanilla extract, and ice in a glass then pour your cooled coffee on top. Adjust the vanilla and any sweetener to taste.
  4. Stir and enjoy!

Optional: Try adding different extracts for a variety of flavors! Ex. Mint.

Vegan Coffee Hemp Smoothie

Vegan Coffee Hemp Smoothie

Vegan Coffee Hemp Smoothie

I find that every so often I could use a pick me up. Especially in the mornings or early afternoons where I feel like I’m running low on energy. Hence a Vegan Coffee Hemp Smoothie idea!

I found a good base recipe from http://www.kiipfit.com/coffee-hemp-smoothie/. Many thanks to the creator Gunjan Dudani!

This is approximately 1 serving size though could be split into two if your wanting to share. 😉

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBS Instant coffee granules (I used decaf)
  • 1/2-1 cup of ice
  • 1 cup hemp milk
  • 1 tsp approx of vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • Agave nectar (or sweetener of choice) to taste

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and blend till mixed.
  2. Enjoy!

Optional: You can also add frozen sliced bananas instead of ice cubes to make the smoothie more thick and frothy!

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (Vegan)

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes (Vegan)

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes

Happy Sunday morning!

Talk about having a creative cooking weekend! Three recipes in a week! I figured since it’s been awhile since I last made something for breakfast other than overnight oatmeal or ham biscuit sandwiches with a coffee smoothie, why not try pancakes?

So I decided to try making Apple Cinnamon Pancakes! Who doesn’t love pancakes once in awhile? Especially when it’s topped with fresh fruit and drizzled with delicious maple syrup. I decided to use a diced Gala apple as my topping. Of course, it would have tasted better if it was more of a compote but it’s a quiet Sunday morning.

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Diced Apple topping with a bit of lemon juice

To make this, I mostly followed the directions on Namaste’s Pancake and Waffle mix box but I just replaced the eggs and milk with nondairy/vegan options. You can use any box mix you like really, but just need to adjust the ingredients below to replace any eggs or milk it asks. For the eggs, I replaced it with 1/4 cup of applesauce per egg. You can, however, use any other type of substitution from flax eggs, a chia egg, 1/2 banana per egg, etc. Then for the 1/2 cup of milk, I just used some homemade hemp milk.

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Batter Mix Prep

This recipe makes about 6 to 8 pancakes overall.

Easy Apple Cinnamon Pancakes Pan cooking step

Ingredients:

  • Namaste Waffle and Pancake mix
  • 1/2 cup Nondairy milk
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (to replace eggs)
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • About 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • Maple Syrup
  • Toppings of choice
  • Vegan butter or oil for the frying pan/griddle

Directions:

  1. Prepare and measure your ingredients before adding them to a kitchen aid mixer with whisk attachment. (Or can add all the ingredients minus the maple syrup, toppings, and butter, to a regular mixing bowl and just whisk everything together)
  2. Turn on your mixer to a low setting and mix all the ingredients above with the exception of the last three.
  3. While your pancake mix is mixing, heat a frying pan or griddle over low heat. Add some butter or spray with oil. Once the pan/griddle is hot enough, take about a 1/4 cup of the now mixed together, pancake mix and add to your pan or griddle. (If there’s enough room, can try making two at a time.) You can add some additional cinnamon to your pancakes in this step too.
  4. Once your pancakes are starting to bubble, flip your pancake over to brown the other side. Once both sides are brown and cooked through, set on a plate before repeating step 3 and 4. You might have to use additional butter or oil spray to make sure your pancakes do not stick tot he pan/griddle.
  5. Once your pancakes are all cooked, add your toppings and syrup and enjoy!

Easy Unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce

Easy Unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce

Unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce

Making applesauce is quite easy. I never realized it till as of late and started cooking more. My dad originally found a recipe on how to make applesauce and it called for juice and sugar too I think. (It’s been awhile since I saw the recipe really) Anyways, It’s pretty simple overall to make. You can even omit the juice if you like as well as the sweetener if you’re wanting unsweet applesauce.

Unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce In Prep Stage

The only time-consuming part us just slicing and peeling apples. If you have an apple slicer, this process will go much faster but if you’re just using a knife, it will be a bit slower time wise.

Now the apples you choose will make your applesauce either sweet, sour, or roughly in the middle. If you want your applesauce to be sweet, I suggest using like Red Delicious or Fuji apples at least. If you’re looking for more sour, then Granny Smith apples would be a good choice. I usually use whatever apples are moderately sweet, like Gala, that Aldi’s offers for a good price and just add a bit of stevia as needed to make it perfect.

 

Unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce In Blender

I use my Ninja Pulse food processor to make everything I need from applesauce to smoothies and even dough too. It has been a great investment and works rather well. Next on my “to make” list will be trying out juicing recipes.

This recipe will make a small amount. If you’re wanting a large container of applesauce, I suggest at least doubling the recipe.

Unsweetened Cinnamon Applesauce

Ingredients:

  • 5 small to medium sized apples
  • 1/4 cup apple juice (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp of lemon juice
  • Cinnamon (optional to taste)
  • Stevia (optional to taste)

Directions:

  1. Wash, slice, and peel your apples. Then place each slice in your food processor or blender.
  2. Add lemon juice to keep apples from browning and add your cinnamon and stevia if you’re planning on sweetened cinnamon applesauce.
  3. Then add your liquid so it’s just enough to help blend everything together.
  4. Once blended to desired consistency, pour into a sealable container and place into your fridge to become cold.
  5. Enjoy!