It’s all about the cheese

I love cheese. I love the taste, the smell, the gooey texture when melted and the mouth feel. Because I adore cheese, I have found it hard to transition from a vegetarian lifestyle to a vegan one. Consciously it is important to me to do this.  Climate change, better health and animal rights are all topics that have made me want to change my lifestyle. So, you can see it was a struggle.  A struggle until I found nutritional yeast. Nutritional yeast is the form of yeast called Saccharomyces cerevisiae.  When added to recipe it takes very similar to cheddar cheese! It’s allowed me to work towards veganism.

Nutritional yeast is found in most versions of vegan cheese. Vegan cheese also contains a variety of plant-based products.  These can include nuts, soy, seeds, coconut milk for creaminess, agar agar to firm the cheese, lemon for acidity, salt for flavour, tapioca starch to make the cheese melt better, and root veggies for bulk.

Like dairy based cheese vegan cheese comes in many varieties including Parmesan, mozzarella, cream cheese, shredded cheese, block sliced, nacho cheese, and Gouda. The best cheeses tend to have a cashew nut base as the taste is neutral and allows the flavourings to shine.

coconut oil image

Vegan cheese is often fortified with Vitamin B12; something that is essential for a healthy diet. In general plant-based cheese eaters tend to have better blood pressure and cholesterol than dairy consumers.

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Mushroom Potato Soup

Fresh vegetables a Canadian winter can be expensive so I tend to eat a lot of root veggies in the cold weather. Potatoes are a staple in m pantry. They’re easy to prepare and very versatile. They’re also very filling and can be made quickly.

Mushroom Potato Soup

Mushroom potato soup is a recipe that can be made ahead and frozen for those days you don’t have time to cook from fresh. The recipe includes potatoes, onions, garlic and mushrooms. It’s great with Rosemary Parmesan Bread Machine Buns, Home-style Bread or a Kitchen Sink Salad and Mustard Lemon Dressing.

The recipe uses mushrooms and stock. I used button mushrooms because their widely available but you can use your favourite variety. You could even reconstitute dried wild mushrooms for the recipe. You might want to try substituting veggie stock for mushroom as well.

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Fresh Cranberry Muffins

The recipe for fresh cranberry muffin is easy and versatile. The cranberries can be fresh or frozen. Just use whatever you have on hand. In either case chop the cranberries into small pieces or for a bigger burst of cranberry flavour leave them whole.

fresh cranberry muffins

This recipe uses a flax egg. For those of you who are new to vegan cooking flax eggs are a combination of flax meal and water. The mixture is allowed to set for 5 minutes until it gels. Once the mixture is thick the flax egg replaces a chicken egg one to one. Just mix 1 tbsp of flax meal and 2 1/2 tbsp of water thoroughly.

The recipe also calls for almond milk but it can be replaced with most nut milks, soy milk and even oat milk.

Cranberry muffins are great for lunch on a cold winter day or easy to grab for a quick breakfast. Serve with your favourite tea and jam or jelly.


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