Maple Alps

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Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

I don’t know how things were for you growing up, but for me, Brussels sprouts were the thing to avoid at all costs. All. Costs. I thought they were the most bland, disgusting things ever grown in someone’s garden.

Turns out, I just experienced a bad cook. Huh.

I’m never one to turn down food, especially if it’s a good roasted vegetable. I’ve come to learn that vegetables don’t have to be bland or boring. Foods that are good for you don’t have to taste awful (although medicine does, am I right?).

I remember when I first had some sprouts that tasted, well, good! I was shocked and amazed and I decided that Brussels sprouts and me could be friends again.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts | www.maplealps.com

This delicious side was inspired by my amazing Christmas vacation in Canada. It had been years since being able to go home to Canada for the holidays with my family, and I was over the moon at the miracle that occurred that allowed my hubby and me to go! We had a fantastic, albeit short, week.

Anyway, while there, my legendary mom whipped up some amazing Brussels sprouts. I had thirds.

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts | www.maplealps.com

It has been a very long, and very cold Winter, so I’ve loved finding solace in these delicious sprouts - even back in the good old US of A. They are delicious hot or cold and the hint of sweetness makes it perfect. They are the perfect side for pretty much anything. Not going to lie - I’ve even put them inside of ramen. For breakfast. Don’t judge.

I’ll keep this short so you can get right to the good stuff!

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts  | www.maplealps.com

Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts

What you need:

  • 1lb Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil (or vegan butter. alternatively, use water)

  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup

  • 2 tsp Roasted Garlic and Red Peppers Seasoning (optional) (I use this brand from Amazon)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

What to do:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

2) Wash and cut the sprouts in half. In a bowl, add all ingredients and toss until Brussels sprouts are completely coated

3) Spread your veggies on a prepped baking sheet

4) Bake for 45 minutes or until tender

 

How do you like your Brussels sprouts?


 
vegan pantry | www.maplealps.com/vegan-pantry
 
 
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts | www.maplealps.com

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps15 Comments

I was not really allowed to snack as a child. If I was hungry before bed, my dad would let me have a spoonful of honey or a cracker. If I was really good, sometimes both. I do understand now - eating a ton before laying your head down to sleep is not the best thing for your body. Instead of getting the rest it needs, it spends the night digesting and creating crazy dreams with crazy plotlines. 

But I'm not here to tell you about eating before bed (or my crazy dreams). I'm here to talk about a cracker. The kind you eat with soup and dips, of course.

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Vegan Crackers | www.maplealps.com

Sometimes I get these wild ideas in the kitchen when I don't feel quite up to the task at hand - namely the dishes. This particular time, it was to see if I could make a cracker. I'm a tad tired of bread and spread (but not really). I like crunchy foods, and what is crunchier than a wafer of flour and olive oil? Really. 

But of course, me being me, I couldn't just make a plain cracker. Oh, no. I had to make an Italian cracker. I happened upon some flavoured olive oil in my cupboard and decided to use that to infuse some Italian deliciousness into my little snacks. It worked perfectly. Of course, if you do not have herb-infused oil, feel free to add the herbs directly to your dough! 

The yeast flakes were to add a little "cheesy" flavour and colour. I love nutritional yeast flakes and add them to pretty much everything I eat, so it was a natural choice, really. 

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers | www.maplealps.com

I wonder who invented crackers. Was it a mistake? Was it some attempt to make bread last longer? I'm going to have to look that up some time. 

I am not sure why it took me so long to attempt making a cracker. After finding out how easy they are to whip up, I can't wait to experiement with more flavours and ingredients! 

I'm going to break these over some lentil soup! These would be great with a tomato and roasted almond dip too!

 

Related: Vegan Corn Chowder

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers | www.maplealps.com

EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan)

what you need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour

  • 2 teaspoon ground flax seed

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast flakes

  • 1/4 cup olive oil* (I used an infused one)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 3 cloves garlic**

what to do:

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. 

2) Pour olive oil in slowly, mixing it together. Some clumps will be created, but don't worry about it - it will help make a flakier cracker.

3) If you are adding garlic and herbs, mix in now

4) Slowly add water, mixing well. The dough will be rough, but that is okay. Do not overwork it. Add a tablespoon or two if the dough is still dry.

5) Divide the dough into half and form them into a ball. 

6) Press the dough into a rectangle shape and place it in-between two pieces of parchment paper.

7) Roll the dough until about a quarter of an inch thick and the size of about half a baking sheet.

8) Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle garlic on top if so desired. You can cut the dough now, or wait until after cooling to break it apart as you desire.

9) Bake for 20-25 minutes, until edges are brown. Break apart once cooled if you chose not to cut them.
 

Notes:
* I used Italian-flavoured olive oil. If you would like that flavour, just add 1 teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning.
** You can mix the garlic into the dough, or brush the tops of the crackers before baking and sprinkle it on top.
 

 
#vegan #pantry
 
EZ Cheez-E Garlic Crackers (vegan) | www.maplealps.com

Going Plant-Based? Here are 15 Things to Think About

HealthAmanda Walter | Maple Alps5 Comments

Different individuals want to go plant-based for different reasons. Some are told by a medical professional to do so, others just want to because they see the benefit (or saw too many documentaries). Whatever your decision, it’s important to note that going plant-based should not be seen as a diet. It is a lifestyle that will greatly improve your wellbeing and life!

Several times this past year I’ve been asked about how I went about going on a plant-based diet, and so I decided to share some tips on the blog. My plant based journey started for health reasons, and as I learned more and saw the benefits, I kept adding to the list. Ethical reasons, for example, were not something I originally thought of, but now is something I strongly advocate for. I feel satisfied with what I eat, because choosing a plant based diet has really forced me to be intentional about what I put in my body.

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Going Plant-Based? Here are 15 Things to Think About | www.maplealps.com

 

Motivation & Commitment

Remember your motivation for wanting to start a plant-based diet. Do you want to make healthier choices? Lose weight? Have more energy to accomplish your daily tasks? Live longer? Save animals? Remember your why!

 

Eat A Lot

Fresh plant-based food has a lot less caloric density than foods filled with empty and fatty [the bad kind] calories. Expect to want to eat a lot. I remember first transitioning and wondering why I was eating double the food, but losing weight.

 


Fill Your Fridge & Pantry with Healthy Food

It’s harder to eat unhealthy foods when your home is stocked with the good stuff! Purge your pantry and refrigerator and don’t feel guilty about tossing the food that is of little to no benefit for your body! If you’re thinking about money, think of it this way: a doctor bill in the USA will cost more than it costed for your junk food! A note: many products out there marketed for those on a plant-based diet are more or less “vegan junk food.” Be sure to read labels to ensure you’re getting nutritious foods - not just unhealthy alternatives to products that normally contain animal products. More on that later in this post.

 

Focus on Vegetables & Fruits - & Don’t Forget: Legumes Are Your friends.

Stock up on vegetables and fruits (bonus points if it’s all mostly in season!). Legumes are filling and so delicious! Best part? No nutrition labels to read! Try to avoid having to read them by getting foods that do not have a nutrition label (ideas: fresh produce, bulk beans and rices, etc.)

 

Make Food Swaps

Avocado on toast instead of butter or cream cheese, tofu instead of chicken, water instead of sugary drinks; there are plenty of easy food swaps to make your new plant-based diet doable

 

Take Food on the Go

We live in a time where we are always on the go. Eliminate the temptation to eat junk food or fast food by making sure to have wholesome snacks with you. Keep almonds in your bag and pack your own lunch - it’s not as hard as you might think! If you’re like me, using pretty, waste-free food storage containers might motivate you more!

 

Start One Meal at a Time

Eating plant-based is more than a diet. It is an entire lifestyle change. Ease into by starting with just one meal a day being completely plant-based. A good one to start with is breakfast. It’s so easy to make vegan pancakes, smoothies, granolas, muffins, and other great breakfast foods. Gradually add a plant-based afternoon meal, and you’ll soon find it is easy to have all of your meals completely free of animal products.

 

 

Get Educated and Get Resourceful

Watch documentaries, read books, talk with nutrition professionals. Just a few of my favorite resources: The Cheese Trap (book - get it here on Amazon), Forks Over Knives (documentary, cookbook, magazine, website), What the Health (documentary), How Not to Die (book - get on Amazon)

 

Get a Support Group/Friend

Everything is easier when you have someone supporting you or keeping you accountable. Enter the journey with a friend, or have your best cheerleader support you along the way. Have someone to report to if you need accountability. Maybe enlist someone to be your guinea pig for all the tasty recipes you’ll be whipping up.

 

But Start Your Change Quietly

Instead of telling everyone you know about your decision, you may want to start quietly. To be frank, you will avoid a lot of scrutiny and questioning as you answer these questions for yourself and figure out how to listen to your own body and deal with your own addictions (mine was cheese!). Focus on yourself and your mission. Remember your why and think about how much better you will feel.

 

Equip your Kitchen

Some plant-based foods require different kitchen tools. For example, you’ll likely scarcely use steak knives, but you’ll definitely need a high powered blender (definitely a kitchen essential)

 

Don’t Worry About the Protein

Those on a plant-based diet get plenty of protein. Unless you have an extreme medical condition, you do not need protein shakes to get it. Great sources of protein include beans, soy products like seitan and tofu, quinoa, hemp seeds and even nuts. Chances are, you’ll get more protein than those who are concerned about you getting that protein.

 

Keep Things Exciting

Try new foods and prepare ingredients in different ways. Blend flavors, experiment, and have fun! Start a dinner club. Buy a cookbook or two. Browse recipes on the web. Test out restaurants. There are also a ton of ethnic foods that are plant based and wholesome! Just have a blast trying out new things.

 

Be Mindful: Read Food Labels

This may shock you at first - especially if you were not in the habit of reading food labels. The first thing to look at is not the nutritional value, but the ingredient list. You may be surprised about what exactly is lurking in your favourite vegan snacks, but you will start feeling good about others! Remember: aim for have to read as few food labels as possible by buying whole foods that don’t require them!


 

Be Kind to Yourself

Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up. You’re human. Just get back up, dust yourself off and try again! And again(!) if need be.

 

 
Meal Planner | www.maplealps.com
 

Some Recipes to Get You Started:


 

Vegan Red Curry Paste

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps4 Comments

It's no secret that we love Thai food over here. I think it's the sweet and spicy flavours that really get us going. My husband loves Pad Thai and I especially love anything that can be dipped in peanut sauce. Okay, I'm starting to drool over here, so I'd better get to the point.

We love going for Thai, but it's not always easy to do. Being completely plant-based, it's hard to find a satisfying soup when eating out. Thankfully, eating in is ALWAYS an option - even when you're craving ethnic foods. I was craving a Thai soup and came across a few recipes, but the one that struck me was a coconut one. It needed Thai red curry paste and I somehow ended up recreating the paste before getting to the soup. I did this largely by reading the label of a jar I had in my fridge already. The result was delicious, so I tried it in another dish. Same tasty result. Before I get to those though, I thought I'd share the curry paste recipe. Patience though - the others are coming.

Quick + Easy Vegan Red Curry Paste | www.maplealps.com

I like having red curry paste on hand because it's perfect when you need a quick curry or soup whipped up! It makes leftovers and odds and ends taste like new - and since I always like to keep some coconut milk in the pantry, it's quick and easy. 

The one good thing about this paste is that it freezes extremely well. It works out because some of the ingredients are a little harder to find (depending on where you shop) and can be on the pricey side. The only ingredients I didn't have on hand were the peppers and the lemongrass. I always keep ginger in the freezer (you never know when you'll need it!). Anyway, back to freezing the paste, because you definitely don't want it to go to waste, it's good that it freezes. Just put a tablespoon into each section of an ice tray and freeze! Then keep it in a baggie to use in future dishes. We only have a moose ice tray that we got from some friends for our wedding, so we have moose-shaped red curry paste in our freezer. Whatever works!

Try this out in any recipe that calls for red Thai curry paste, and you won't even know you didn't buy it in a jar! It's so easy to put together - just dump everything into a food processor or high-speed blender and go! Perfect base for all sorts of dishes.

Quick + Easy Vegan Red Curry Paste | www.maplealps.com

Vegan Thai Red Curry Paste
Makes about 1 cup

Inch section of ginger, chopped
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander
½ tsp salt
1 lime - tested and juiced
3 red chillies, tops chopped off
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 TBSP liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
1 TBSP maple syrup (optional, to offset some heat)
1 stem of Lemongrass, chopped
6 green onion, sliced
½ red bell pepper (optional, to offset some heat)

To a food processor or high-speed blender, add all the ingredients. Process until it reaches your desired texture (I don't like mine too chunky, but you might!)

 

What do you use red curry paste for?


 

Lime Maple Tofu Fajitas (vegan + gluten free options)

RecipesAmanda Walter | Maple Alps13 Comments

When you think about a busy day you've just had rushing around doing everything under the sun, do you enjoy coming home to cook a meal? I personally do not. During the school year, a typical work day for me is both physically and emotionally draining. Kids are crazy (I do LOVE my job)! If it were at all possible, I would totally hire a chef to come and cook nutritious dinners for me - but alas, my budget does not allow for that (I don't even think I have to double check it to come to that conclusion, hehe!)

Thankfully, there are a few meals I can easily whip up that taste like they were being prepped for hours. These fajitas are one of those meals. It's quick, easy, and nutritious! They are also very versatile and work with just about any leftover in your kitchen. They also taste great the next day for lunch which is a huge bonus for me!

Lime Maple Tofu Fajitas (vegan + gluten free options) | www.maplealps.com

I'm not a Mexican food expert by any means. The very first time I ever made fajitas I was in Austria and decided to take a weekend trip to visit a friend. I wanted to make her dinner, so I threw some peppers, tomatoes and tofu in a pan and whipped up a similar product. Since that day, I've made these, and the recipe changes pretty much every time. I've since omitted the tomatoes from my original mixture, but I love the lime and maple I put in these. I actually have never looked up a fajita recipe, so I don't even honestly know if I can call these fajitas - but I suppose they are. Haha!

The trick is keeping your pan on low heat. It gives the onions a really nice caramelization and flavour. You can seriously add anything to the filling. I've added beans before. I've also done a crumbled TVP instead of tofu. And as I mentioned before, I've added tomatoes - crushed or diced or whatever my heart desired.

Lime Maple Tofu Fajitas (vegan + gluten free options) | www.maplealps.com

For the tofu, I baked it in the oven. It got to soak up some more of the lime and maple and doing it in the oven allowed it to get firmer and chewier. 

Anyhow, I'm glad to share this super quick and easy meal with you - hopefully it makes your work week easier!

Lime Maple Tofu Fajitas (vegan + gluten free options) | www.maplealps.com

Lime Maple Tofu Fajitas

1 large red onion, sliced
1 large red bell pepper, sliced
1 large orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 block extra firm tofu
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 lime
3 tsp maple syrup
Splash of olive oil

8 fajita sized tortillas (can get gluten free)

Garnish/Toppings Ideas:
Fresh cilantro
Fresh lime wedges
Fresh avocados/Guac
Lettuce
Diced tomatoes
Sour cream
Cashew cream sauce

1) Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F
2) Press the tofu in a kitchen towel so that you get as much water out as you can and cut it into long strips
3) On a prepared baking pan, lay the tofu and sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt, 1 tsp maple syrup, a bit of olive oil, and squeeze half a lime. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until nicely browned. Turn off oven and leave them in there until you're ready to add them to the vegetables.
4) To a pan, add a tiny bit of olive oil. On low heat, cool your onion for about 5 minutes until soft. 
5) Next, add the peppers and continue cooking.
6) Add the remaining tsp of salt, the cumin, chilli powder, and red pepper flakes and mix until the vegetables are coated.
7) Drizzle the maple syrup and the other half of the lime over it and add the garlic.
8) Carefully add the tofu, mix, and you are done!

 

What's your favourite quick dinner recipe?