Dairy Free Living: Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter

Dairy Free, Lifestyle

Something that I really, really, really, really miss about eating dairy is indulging in spoonfuls of Nutella chocolate spread. When cowboyfriend and I found ourselves at a grocery store a town or two over we found something magical…no, something dare I say it, downright divine. Justin’s chocolate hazelnut butter spread fulfilled all of my needs when it comes to taste, consistency and allergens. I was so excited after eating it I felt like I needed to tell you guys and alas, a new vein of the blog is born. I thought maybe y’all would appreciate reviews of dairy free products that you may have been wondering about. So the first installment is a rich and flavorful one.

The wholesome company was created by 20 something Justin in his kitchen, he was on a

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mission to create delicious and nutritious nut butter from natural ingredients that would substantially energize anyone for a day of vigorous activity. He began selling his nut butters at the local farmer’s markets in Colorado and slowly his business grew. As he releases more interesting and unique flavors to the line like maple almond butter we have become blessed with this gloriously delicious spread: Chocolate Hazelnut.

First of all, it is totally recommended that you mix the contents before eating. I was a little too excited to eat my little sample package and maybe forgot to mix it up before squeezing it directly into mouth. Natural things separate, it’s only natural. So give it a little mix and it will be just what the doctor ordered. The flavor is chocolatey, most definitely chocolatey. But it also has this nice, well rounded nutty quality that just puts a microphone to the all natural ingredients. Even better, this butter has 50% less sugar content than other leading chocolatey spreads. A major rule that we live by in this house is the ingredients list, I stay away from feeding Cowbae things with any chemical ingredients and refrain from sugars and their tricky substitutes where I can.

Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Spread includes Dry Roasted Hazelnuts, Dry Roasted Almonds, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa, Organic Cocoa Butter, Palm Oil, Vanilla Powder, Sea Salt. That’s it.

The final verdict is that I absolutely am in love with this nut butter, also every time I have said nut butter ever I giggle inside because… come on. Buy anyways aside from this being an amazingly delicious dairy free option, Justin’s is a giving company. They create wholesome, nutritious products and also give back to the community. Specifically, they focus on donating their time and efforts on the reservation in attempts to improve the quality of live for Native Americans. I think anyone and everyone that loves nutella or just things that taste good should try this new, fabulous product.

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Tips For Cutting Down On Sugar

Carajuana's Kitchen, Going Green, Lifestyle

Last night Cowboyfriend and I watched a documentary called Sugar Coated that broke down the marketing ploy that made sugar such an immense part of our diet. It also explained how this is assisting in a rapid increase in fatty liver disease in adolescents and children which was unheard of before the 1980’s. This got me to thinking about some of the tips that I’ve picked up since consciously watching my sugar intake. Years ago I became hyper focused on cutting high fructose corn syrup out of my diet and I came to a harsh realization: Sugar is in everything under countless different names. 

What I want to urge more people to do is to read the labels of their trusted bottled, packaged and frozen products in the store next time they visit. Sometimes up to 4 of the names in the long ingredient list of packaged foods are homonyms for sugar and sugarderived products. The reality is that sugar is a main cause in diabetes and heart disease but there is no FDA approval on how much sugar can be put into a product. This means that products in the store can be legally labelled healthy but may contain up to 30 grams of sugar per serving.

In my own journey to eating food that will make me and my body feel happy, I’ve found that these unhealthy additives are usually there to cut down on processing time and extend shelf life. Meaning that if we just spent time creating our food with love and intention we could be healthier. Above all else I’d recommend taking to the kitchen, the Pinterest and some new cookbooks to help you understand exactly how easy it is to whip up your own salad dressings or loaves of bread. Following technique from a simpler time will also help you and your family cut down on waste since a lot of these items are packaged (plastics) and shipped (fossil fuels). Here are some things to be aware of next time you hit the grocer.

  • Make Your Own Dressings & Sauces

Did you know that most salad dressings use a combination of 4-5 ingredients, all of which are generally in your house? It takes about 5-10 minutes to whip up a batch that lasts a couple of weeks, sometimes up to a month. If you have mayonnaise, dijon or regular mustard, olive oil and/or balsamic in your kitchen then you’re ready to experiment with new dressings. Even ketchup (aside from Annie’s Natural Organic brand) has loads of sugar in it, and all you need is some spices with tomato paste to make it on your own stovetop. Making these commonly used products at home will reduce the sugar count of your family drastically. Please be sure to check the mayonnaise ingredients before buying, our favorite is Just Mayo.

  • Skip The Low-Fat & Packaged Nonsense

This documentary also shed light on the fact that the Low Fat craze was a smoke and mirrors marketing ploy from the sugar companies to ensure that their industry wouldn’t be threatened by the fact that their product was a slow killer. In fact, most of the research that diabetes is related to fat intake was funded by the sugar companies as devastating facts about the harms of sugar were being proven in Europe, the low fat craze was there to make sure we wouldn’t see the harms of sugars.

Healthy fat is actually quite good for you: nuts, avocado and other natural fats are epic for your hair and skin. But much to the same vein of sugar in fruit being digested differently than sugar in sodas or even juices would be. Low Fat foods are made with even more preservatives, additives and unbearably scientifically named products that definitely aren’t in your pantry. Forget about eating these products and buying heavily marketed low fat items, it’s definite that they aren’t going to provide you with nutrition, which will only make your body call out for more sustenance. Instead eat a healthy, well rounded diet rich in vegetables and lean meats with little to no packaged assistance.

  • Bake some bread, go on. 

It is amazing how much sugar sneaks past us in breads, bagels, english muffins, etc. I know that people have make baking bread look like a super difficult process but I’ll tell you right now that it’s not. Baking a loaf of bread or even hamburger buns can be a super easy process with one tip: don’t over heat the water before putting the yeast in. Personally I had my fair share of rock hard, not risen loaves before I figured this out. As long as the yeast is happy, the bread will rise and you and your family will rejoice around warm yummy gluten sans sugar. Some of these recipes do call for a tablespoon or two but nothing compared to packaged breads. If this is impossible think about finding the local bakery in your town, just remember that fresh bread does get stale more quickly. But once that happens you can make some pretty epic croutons.

  • Put Down the Juices!

One of my cousins is a genius scientist, she just finished her law degree after accomplishing her docterate. Aside from being proud of her I also trust her when it comes to food science and she told me years ago that juice is useless. Our body cannot metabolize any of the vitamins or minerals in manufactured juice, it simply grabs the sugar before the drink moves through our system. This means every glass of juice is like eating a candy bar unless it has been juiced from a fresh source within the last 60 minutes. We all know to cut out all sodas to cut back on sugar, but put down the juice too. I’d recommend drinking only water, detoxing off of other beverages and then starting again. ALWAYS read the labels before buying a bottled drink whether it is marketed as tea, soda or juice. For vitamins that come from fruits that are commonly juiced, I’d recommend just eating the fruit. This is the best way for your body to get the vitamins that the fruit has to offer.

The Quest for Healthy Bread

Carajuana's Kitchen, how to

I’m sure I know what you’re thinking. Healthy bread? Impossible. Who does she think she is! Well guys, the reality is that the bread that we’re buying from stores tastes nothing like what bread really tastes like. There are sugars and preservatives and dangerous things added to mass produced bread products that can cause IBS, bloating and stomach ache. It’s possible that the massive surge in gluten allergies in the united states is due in large part to these exact additives. People aren’t allergic to gluten, their allergic to the chemicals that are used to make the process of creating real gluten easier and faster.

I’ve been making my own bread both by hand and in a bread maker for the last 6 months or so. Aside from breads I buy in a dish at a restaurant or the occasional bagel from the
store bakery every bit of gluten that I eat has been made at home. I thought that I was doing my best, that a loaf of bread needed eggs and milk and yeast and all of the ingredients that we were adding to the bread machine. But dudes, I was totally wrong. Michael Pollan’s documentary series Cooked on Netflix changed the way I will look at bread forever. He said that bread only need be made with three ingredients: flour, water and salt.  First I felt discouraged and then I pulled up my bootstraps and took action.

The first order of business was finding a flour mill that was close enough not to give me guilt on transport but organic and small enough to be freshly milled. I went with Montana Flour & Grains and ordered 10 lbs. of whole wheat. My starter was alive in only days and all of my tips on making it and everything afterwards was from The Kitchn. This blog is seriously one of the best for learning how to live from scratch, I highly recommend checking it out. The hardest part for me was turning my starter into bountiful dough that actually rose. I spent hours and hours multiple days in the last month or so tending to bread Bread 3 copydough that never rose. I pulled hard horrible rocks out of the oven and lamented about my failure.

BUT YOU GUYS! Today I finally cut into a crusty loaf of sourdough that had airy bubbles inside and a rich, sour flavor. I was so proud, now I can’t believe how much bread that I’ve eaten today because it is unbelievable delicious. I’m pondering on the thought that putting this much effort, failure and excitement into these loaves of bread makes them taste that much better. I think we owe it to ourselves to feel this feeling. Not just the deliciousness of the bread but the feeling of hard work blossoming into accomplishment.

Say you set a goal that seems too far off after assessing your current skill level. If someone has accomplished this goal in the past, then you’re capable of doing it too. Sure, there are prodigies that have an innate ability to carry out certain tasks with poetic ease but true prodigies are rare. In reality, with diligent study any human being can accomplish the same as any other. We’re all equal, it just depends if we believe in ourselves enough to keep trying. If the base of our existence is to be our best human selves that very truth lays out the groundwork to say that we’re capable of anything that we put our resources (mind, body & spirit) into.

“If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else!?” -RuPaul

Welcome Back Spring!! Berry Granola Recipe

Carajuana's Kitchen

Sometimes cooking and baking fails can turn into delicious accidents. Although this recipe started as a granola bar fail, it turned into a granola Yes! The gently toasted coconut adds an earthy sweetness to the deeply juicy dried berries. We enjoyed this so much while we sat on a fallen tree mid-hike. It’ll also be a great topping for morning chia pudding, yogurt or even pancakes and waffles. I am just so pleased to see organic berries back on the grocery store shelves. Hooray!!! Spring has sprung, enjoy this granola.

Ingredients:

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats

1 cup almonds; chopped

1 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup coconut oil; melted

2-3 TB honey

1 tsp flax seeds

1 tsp chia seeds

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup dried blueberries

1/4 cup dried pomegranate

1/4 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F, line a 9×9” glass baking dish with parchment and set aside. Grab a cookie sheet and cover it with parchment, evenly spread the almonds, coconut and oats on the parchment. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the grains are lightly browned and their aromas fill the kitchen. While the grain/nut mixture is baking mix together the salt, coconut oil, honey, seeds, vanilla and dried fruits in a medium sized bowl. Let the oats and nuts cool 2-3 minutes and then mix into the bowl with the fruit mixture in it. Once all of the ingredients are completely incorporated pour it into the baking dish and press down uniformly. Throw the mixture in the fridge for an hour or two, until it is completely cooled and clumping together. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

 

Homemade Chocolate Syrup

Carajuana's Kitchen, how to

One of my favorite food bloggers posted a round up of great vegan recipes for St. Patricks Day. The recipe that stuck out the most to me was for homemade Baileys, which I have chilling in the fridge right now(YUM). Cowbowfriend is the one who really loves the booze, I am the one who loves the sugary treats; so I made some chocolate syrup to decorate out the outsides of the glass of tasty whiskey filled goodness and give my lightweight self a little sugar to make the medicine go down. This recipe goes heavy on the rich chocolatey flavor and contains absolutely no sugar, just honey for sweetness. Keep leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 month in the fridge.

Ingredients:

1 cup water

1 tsp corn starch

1 cup cocoa

3/4 cup honey

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 TB vanilla

Directions: Combine water, cocoa, honey, corn starch & salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk considerably until all of the powder is absolutely dissolved, let it bubble and thicken for about 3 minutes; whisking regularly. Take the pan off of the heat and continue whisking, add the vanilla. Let the mixture sit in the desired storage container on the counter uncovered for about an hour to let it set.

Use it on a milkshake, bowl of ice cream, sweeten up some fruit for dessert or even indulge in a Baileys Irish Cream on your porch like I’m about to right now. Hope you had a good St. Patty’s ❤

Indian Bean and Rice Stew or Kitchari

ayurveda, Carajuana's Kitchen, Recipes

Two people, one milk allergy. Well, I guess it’s 2 milk allergies because we’re both allergic. We also like to eat at restaurants from time to time but hate bothering the chef and server with changing their recipes. This means we often walk out with full bellies that don’t digest very well. After a couple of days of uncomfortable movements I always turn to kitchari.

I know it’s probably not wise to mention bowel movements when writing up a recipe but shoot, that is one of the beautiful things about eating it. Ayurvedic thought systems like to cleanse by eating kitchari for 3-5 days 3 meals a day so that the digestive system can regulate itself. This mode of healing stems from the belief that the stomach was the center of the body, that if the digestive system was regular and enjoying itself the body would be freed up to heal itself more readily. This is all the more prevalent in our modern GMO, pesticide, additive ridden food system. Our body likes to digest kitchari and because of that it works sort of like a zamboni. If I still have your attention despite all the talks of BMing, here’s an amazing stew that can make you feel like a million bucks.

Ingredients:

2 TB ghee (coconut oil, olive oil and other fats work as well)

1 TB ground cumin

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp ground coriander

a dash of cinnamon

1 cardamom pod

1 clove

3 carrots; chopped

2 celery stalks; chopped

1/2 white onion; chopped

2 garlic cloves; diced

6 cups water or stock

1 TB tomato paste

1/2 cup brown rice

1 cup mung beans

1/4 cup red cabbage; chopped

1 cup kale; chopped

Directions: In a large stockpot heat the ghee or other fat that you chose. Put the cumin, fennel, coriander, turmeric and cinnamon in the pot and stir while they toast. When the spices have released their aromas put the carrots, onion, celery and garlic into the pot. Stir regularly until the onions are translucent and spice mixture coats the vegetables. Now add the stock or water. Add in the mung beans (soak overnight to help digestion) and brown rice and stir. Now slowly pour in the water, bring to a boil stirring regularly. Boil for about 5 minutes then turn down to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add chopped up kale and cabbage, cook for about 5-10 minutes longer. Cook and stir until the kale is wilted and before the cabbage loses it’s color to the broth.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe, it’s one of my favorites for kitchari as we move into a new season. <3<3

 

 

The Best Baked Chicken Breast

Carajuana's Kitchen, how to

Chicken is healthier than beef but cowboyfriend is a cattle rancher so I spend a lot of time trying to make chicken super delicious so our hearts and colons can take breaks from red meat. I adapted this recipe and added some herbs & spices to make the chicken taste a bit more vibrant. The sauce keeps the chicken juicy and the sauce stays creamy and savory with a node of sweetness that is just so delicious when paired with the astringency of rosemary. Serve with potatoes and steamed veggies for an absolutely delicious, inexpensive and easy to make dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

3 chicken breasts

1/4 cup AA maple syrup

1/4 cup yellow mustard

1 tsp fresh rosemary; chopped

1 tsp liquid aminos

1/4 tsp black pepper

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Whisk together the maple syrup, mustard and liquid aminos. Put the chicken into a 9×9” or 8×8” square baking dish. Sprinkle black pepper onto the chicken and pour the mustard mixture over the chicken evenly. Flip the breasts over a couple of times so that each side is evenly coated. Sprinkle the rosemary over the chicken and flip the breasts around in the sauce a bit longer.

Put the baking dish into the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes flip the breasts over and baste. Baste the chicken every 7-10 minutes for 40 minutes or until the thickest part of the chicken is at 140°F. Let the chicken sit for 5-10 minutes so that the juices can go back in the chicken. Serve with the sauce that is left in the pan.

 

Buffalo Chicken Salad with Dairy Free Blue Cheez Dressing

Carajuana's Kitchen

We love salad night, it’s truly a blessing that Josh is a cattle rancher that loves salads. When we’ve overdone the red meat in the past days or when we have hang nails (long story) we always have salad for dinner. This salad was inspired by this amazing dairy free blue cheese recipe that I got from Pixel Sprout, I adapted the recipe a bit to contain meat and more veggies in the salad. Bear with the ingredients list, it’s a bit long. This will serve about 2, I always make too much salad but then you have lunch tomorrow so it’s no loss. The list is only long because of the different components but feel free to mess around with whatever veggies you like in the salad.

INGREDIENTS

CHICKEN

2 Chicken Breasts

1-2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp salt

2 TV olive oil

BUFFALO SAUCE

1/4 cup Tapatio

1/4 cup vegan butter; melted (I use soy free earth balance)

2 TB distilled white vinegar

1 tsp soy sauce

BLUE CHEEZE DRESSING

1/2 cup Just Mayo

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/4 tsp tahini

1 TB water; for thinning

SALAD

1 cup kale; thinly chopped

2 cups leafy green lettuce; roughly chopped

1/4 cup purple cabbage; thinly sliced

5 large broccoli florets; sliced

2 carrots; chopped

1 celery stalk; chopped

1/8 cup sunflower seeds

CHICKEN: Preheat oven to 400°. Mince the garlic and mix with olive oil. Put the chicken breasts into a baking dish and sprinkle with salt on both sides. Cover with olive oil garlic mixture and flip breasts a couple of times to coat both sides evenly. Put into the oven and set the timer for 18 minutes, flip halfway through. Take out when internal temperature reaches 140°, a couple more minutes could be needed depending on the breast size. Let sit for 10 minutes before cutting.

BUFFALO SAUCE: Mix all of the ingredients together. Once the chicken is set slice the breast thinly and place in a  bowl. Douse the chicken with buffalo sauce, let sit 10-20 minutes for the sauce to fully soak into the chicken. Agitate the chicken regularly while soaking to make sure all of the chicken gets some yummy buffalo sauce. We’re a Tapatio family but feel free to use your favorite hot sauce in place of this in the recipe.

BLUE CHEEZE DRESSING: Measure the mayonnaise, salt, pepper and tahini with a whisk, While whisking add in the vinegar, lemon juice and water. Feel free to add another TB of water for consistency, it’s up to personal preference.

SALAD: Chop up all the veggies and mix together. Put the buffalo chicken on top of the salad and then top with dressing. If you mix the chicken in the salad it will turn into a gunky mess when trying to store leftovers.

 

Enjoy this yummy mixture, we ate it up so fast and the blue cheeze seriously tastes real despite lacking any cheese whatsoever. Yum Yum dairy free ❤

How To Make Oat Milk

Carajuana's Kitchen, how to

It has been a long time since I drank regular milk but I must say I’ve pretended that Lactaid worked for me and eaten cheese a couple of times since I admitted to myself that I was lactose intolerant. As I’ve continued to cook with almond, soy and coconut milks I have been feeling increasingly more uncomfortable with the additives. Carrageenan is almost always found in store bought coconut milk and can lead to chronic inflammation which can lead to other more serious diseases. Unfortunately there are preservatives and/or emulsifiers in every store bought non-dairy milk product. So I set about to find a financially conservative way to make “milk” at home.

Almonds are so expensive you guys, and cashews gave me a serious case of what felt like that scene in one of those Alien movies where the Alien pops out of the person’s stomach. (I’ve never seen an entire Alien film, that one scene was on a TV once in a house where I once was as a child… obviously it stuck with me). Anyways, steel cut oats are inexpensive, can be bought in bulk to cut down on waste and when manipulated correctly they can make a pretty delightful milk that works perfectly with simple drinking, cooking and baking.

Ingredients:

1 Cup Steel Cut Oats

3 cups of water

2 TB Maple Syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1 pinch of salt

Let the oats soak for up to 24 hours, I like to change the water 3 or 4 times because I buy my oats from wholesale bins so I worry about extra dirt and and yucky grocery store muck. After soaking the oats give them a good rinse and then completely empty all water. Don’t be alarmed by slime, oat slime is real and can just be washed off. Now put all of the mushy oats into the blender along with 3 cups of water, adding gradually. Slowly add the water and stop at 2 cups. Thickness depends on how much water is in the blender, so add the last cup slowly until a desirable consistency is reached.

Put the blender on high for 2-5 minutes and then slowly add the maple syrup while the blender is running. Maple syrup can bind up the milk to make it a bit more thick. Only blend on high for 10 seconds at most. Slowly pour the mixture into a fine mesh sieve and press the oats down to push out absolutely all liquid from the oat pulp. Do a couple of batches if you’re working with a small sieve. Mix the vanilla and pinch of salt into the milk. Throw in a mason jar and into the fridge, it will keep for about a week in the refrigerator.

 

Porkchops and Savory Apple Gravy

Carajuana's Kitchen

Some of my favorite dinners are just thrown together using what’s already in our fridge and pantry. Lately I’ve been really playing with the combination of pork chops and gravy and this has been my most favorite combination yet. The apple cider vinegar adds a delicious tang quality to the delicately sweet and savory dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 TB vegetable oil
  • 3 thin cut porkchops
  • 3/4 apple, cut into slices
  • 1/2 white onion, very thinly sliced
  • 2 TB white flour
  • 5 TB vegan butter
  • 3/4 cup oat milk
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  1. Generously salt the chops. Heat a skillet with 1 TB Vegetable Oil and 1 TB vegan butter until heated. Add the pork chops to the skillet and cook until heated through and delightfully browned on the outside.
  2. Pull the chops out and add the oat milk and apple cider vinegar and flour, while stirring scrape the drippings off of the bottom of the pan. Add the black pepper and salt and bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  3. While thickening the gravy heat another pan with 1 TB of butter, once heated throw in the apples and cook until softened. Place a new TB of butter and repeat with the thinly sliced onions until they are caramelized.
  4. Now put the chops back on the skillet just to heat them up. Plate the chop, then onion, then apples and top the whole lot with gravy.