Vegan Mac and Cheese

I haven’t posted a recipe in forever, as I had determined I’m definitely not a food blogger. So I didn’t take pics as I made this, but, I just had to share the recipe because I really enjoyed it.

I’ve tried a few different healthier macaroni and cheese recipes over the years, but this one won over my meat eating husband and sometimes picky 6 year old daughter. My husband couldn’t believe there wasn’t any dairy in this recipe (AND no vegan cheese ‘product’ like Daiya).🙌

Just a few notes about this…I’m terrible about following recipes and often just do my own thing and use a recipe as a general guide. Also, this is most definitely not Candida safe….after April I was given the go-ahead to start introducing those off limits foods and am struggling again. So although I’m good at not eating added sugars, the gluten free starches are a problem for me and cause me unbelievable discomfort. I think I will be battling this for life unfortunately. It’s hard to find that balance. That being said, this recipe tastes great!


I started out by boiling a few chopped red skin potates (left skin on), then once they were somewhat soft I dumped them into a pan with some avocado oil and sautéed them with the carrots, onions, tomatoes and garlic. In a separate pot I cooked 16oz of gluten free pasta. Then I dumped the cooked veggie mix plus maybe a cup or so of water, and the remaining ingredients into the blender and puréed until smoothe. Then I mixed that into the pot of cooked pasta and stirred to coat evenly. I steamed some broccoli and added it when serving. Done! I sprinkled mine with a little crushed red pepper. I doubled the recipe below. I’d suggest less ground pepper if you don’t like spicy food. I wish I knew where I found this recipe! If I find it, I’ll link 😊.

Vegan Mac & Cheese

INGREDIENTS:

2¼ cups water

1 medium potato (about 1 cup) or use ¾ cup mashed potatoes (I used maybe 6-7 organic red skin potatoes)

⅓ cup chopped carrots

4 garlic cloves or 1 tsp garlic powder

2 tbsp chopped onion or use ½ tsp onion powder

½ green chili (optional)

½ medium tomato, chopped

½ to 1 tsp prepared mustard

2 tsp soy sauce or liquid aminos (I omitted)

3 to 4 tbsp nutritional yeast

2 to 3 tsp lemon juice

2 tbsp avocado oil (omit to make oil free)

⅓ tsp paprika

½ tsp sriracha (optional)

¾ tsp or more salt

½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

8 oz elbows pasta, cooked to preference

1 cup broccoli, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

In a skillet, add water, potato, carrots, garlic, onion, chili and tomato. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 17 to 19 minutes or until the potato is very tender and breaks easily. (add 2 Tbsp cashews for creamier sauce). Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta to aldente. (in parallel with the above step if you like).

Add the potato carrot mixture to a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until smooth. taste and adjust salt and spice.

Transfer to the pan over medium heat. Add salt, white pepper, ⅓ tsp black pepper. Mix in. Bring to a boil. Carefully taste and adjust salt, cheesiness (add more nutritional yeast if needed).

Add the cooked pasta and broccoli or other veggies. Mix in. Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until the sauce comes to a good boil and thickens.

Let it sit for 5 minutes. Mix in the rest of the freshly ground black pepper (1/2 to ⅔ tsp). Sprinkle more pepper if you wish and serve/

NOTES

For creamier sauce or variation: Add tbsp cashews, or 1-2 Tbsp sesame seeds or pumpkin seeds with the potato and carrots or add a tbsp of flour to the blended sauce.

If you like your broccoli and veggies a bit cooked, add them to the pasta pot, 5 minutes before the pasta will be taken off heat. Drain both and keep aside.

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Run Streak Ended…or did it?


I completed 30 days of running at least a mile a day for #streakingwiththeCOOLKIDS, which was started by Jen (@pinkcupcakegirl). I averaged 3.43 miles a day (103 miles for the month), and 13,299 steps a day (always meeting my minimum goal of 10k a day).


I didn’t run on July 1st, but did lots of walking to meet my step goals. The streak really just instilled being more active. So if I’m not running because I’m biking or doing a HIIT workout, or taking a rest day, I’ll still be getting a few extra miles in by walking.

I am starting training on Sunday, July 2, for an 8 mile race that’s this fall and I have big goals for the race. So, starting with rested legs was important to me so that’s why I stopped the run streak, but continued with walking.

I loved seeing everyone’s posts on the Facebook group through the challenge. It was a place to share your daily triumphs and struggles too! It was cool having like 2,000+ other cheerleaders there going through the same thing!


Congrats to all the finishers!!

Product Review: Ripple Plant Milk

I am a label reader. I don’t just like to know what I’m eating, I have to know because of all the food sensitivities I have.

Anyway, one thing I never thought about was dairy milk. I drink almond or coconut milk that has zero sugar. My husband and daughter drink 2% organic dairy milk. I about fell over when I saw a cup of dairy milk has 12 GRAMS of sugar in it. TWELVE!!! In. Milk. What???

I immediately started looking at alternative milk options that had just as much protein and calcium as dairy milk.

I was floored when I found Ripple at our local grocery store, Meijer. It’s also sold at Target.

How’s this for comparison:

  • Protein: Dairy 8g, Ripple 8g
  • Calcium: Dairy 30%, Ripple 45%
  • Sugar: Dairy 12g, Ripple 0g
  • Iron: Dairy 0%, Ripple 15%
  • Vitamin D: Dairy 25%, Ripple 30%
  • Vitamin A: Dairy 10%, Ripple 10%
  • Vitamin C: Dairy 4%, Ripple 0%

Ripple is lactose free, nut free, gluten free, 100% vegan, and has 32mg Omega 3’s!  Amazing, right?! The protein comes from pea protein…yep the legume!

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen my story about Ripple plant milk.

Ripple was kind enough to send me some coupons for free sample 48oz. bottles, a hat and a market bag.

I gave it a try and my daughter had a little too. She likes it better than dairy milk. I thought I’d try it too even though peas are a food to avoid on the candida diet. The nut milk I drink doesn’t have much protein in it. I sadly had a Candida flare up after drinking Ripple (kind of a duh moment). It’s probably something that would have to be limited for me, just as fruit is. I stick with mostly berries for their lower sugar content. I did make a great post-workout smoothie with Ripple as the base. I added 2 tablespoons hemp protein to a little fruit.


There is one ingredient that has me thinking I’m not going to purchase Ripple again…Dipotassium Phosphate. Research has me kind of up in the air about its safety or place even being in our food, despite what the FDA says about its safety.

Honestly, there isn’t a single 100% perfect milk out on the market. Every single one has a downside. So we are all sticking with what we originally were drinking before Ripple until I can find an option that I’m 100% happy with. We all have a low sugar diet, so it’s probably not the end of the world that the dairy milk stays in our house for the time being.

That being said, I’d be happy to send some coupons to anyone interested in trying Ripple! Just send me a message through the contact form.

Product Review: OOFOS Sandals 


If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen me wearing OOFOS sandals after completing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville Half Marathon. I definitely appreciated being able to wear a sandal and have great support and unbelievable cushioning.


The sandals are extremely lightweight. I love that about them! With a thick cushioned sole I expected them to be a bit heavier. The OOfoam offers 37% more impact absorption than EVA, which is the traditional foam found in athletic shoes. 

You might think at first glance they’re just another pair of flip flops, but the special foam makes these feel completely different from your everyday flip flop. Their slogan “Feel the Oo!” is spot on!

“This means that with each step, the impact that travels from your feet up through your body is reduced by more than a third! So instead of stressing tired feet and joints after a workout, OOfoam and the patented OOFOS footbed absorb impact. When you’re not exercising, OOfoam gives your whole body the opportunity to relax, rebuild and recover.” — OOFOS

My first thought after trying them on was how supportive they felt. After walking around in them in the heat and humidity, I noticed they started sticking to my feet so I had some red marks on the top of my feet from the straps. I truly believe this was 100% due to the Nashville humidity, and the fact that they weren’t broken in yet. When we got home I cleaned them and decided to try them just walking around the house since it was still freezing here in Michigan. I didn’t have any issues! They felt fantastic!


“The impact absorption properties are allowing fitness enthusiasts, athletes and all others to recover faster and feel better. We combined OOfoam with a biomechanically engineered footbed to allow the foot to move in its natural planes of motion including superior arch support. We’re proud to bring you OOFOS…footwear that can truly make your hard-working feet and body feel better” — OOFOS


They come in a variety of different colors as well. I just went with the basic black so it would coordinate well with anything. But, I have my eye on a pink pair too 😊. 

I’ll update this post if I have any issues this summer with them, but right now I’m very happy with them.  I’d definitely suggest OOFOS to any athlete, nurse, or anyone who is on their feet for extended periods of time. I look forward to wearing them more this summer! 😊

Visit the OOFOS website to shop for your pair, and learn more about these sandals and their other products.