Monday, July 14, 2014

Substitutes You Need For Going Vegan

So the question is, "When I go vegan, how am I supposed to eat my favorite dishes without using animal products?". Well, that was my question at least. Baking was the hardest part about going vegan for me, because eggs seemed impossible to substitute. However, a few minutes of really good research and trials provided me with a great list of vegan substitutes that I can use in every day cooking. Let me share this list with you to make life a little easier for you!

Awesome Egg Replacements!

Eggs are used most commonly in the baking world to hold a recipe together. They are also used in breakfast recipes a lot, and that can be hard to replace! Here are some alternatives I found! I will put a star {*} by ones that I have tried!

Applesauce- Applesauce is supposed to give off a sort of gas that makes the baked good nice and fluffy. Use about 1/3 or 1/4 cup of applesauce to replace one egg. A friend of mine does this, but adds a sprinkle of baking soda to the applesauce first to enhance the effect. Applesauce is mostly used for fluffiness. Try to use it in recipes that you don't mind a slight apple flavor. It shouldn't be too overpowering, especially if what  you are baking has a strong enough flavor of it's own.

Silken Tofu- Blend about 1/4 cup of tofu to replace one egg. Make sure it is really smooth before you add it to your recipe! If the baked good you are making needs to be a little fluffy, add some baking soda/powder.

Bananas- Bananas are good for sweet recipes because they are naturally sweet themselves. Also, bananas have a good binding qualities. Only one half of a banana should be used for one egg

Ground Flax Seed and Water*- Mix 1 tablespoon of ground flax seed and 2-3 tablespoons of water to replace one egg. This should really help hold all of your ingredients together!

Commercial Substitutes- If you can find an egg-look-a-like product, you can always try those! I'm too scared to try them myself, but who knows, they could be worth it! The packaging of the egg alternative should have instructions on replacements.

Non-Dairy Milks

Non-dairy milks are becoming more and more popular and easy to find with a rise of people becoming lactose-intolerant  or vegan. It's hard to really know which to try out first. Check out this list of different milks you can try! {*}

Soy Milk- Soy milk is probably the most popular milk alternative in grocery stores, and can be found in either the dairy aisles or sometimes in the baking aisles. This milk isn't for everyone, because of soy allergies. You can buy it flavored, sweetened, and plain. There are a ton of varieties! The most popular brand is Silk.

Oat Milk- This milk alternative is made from oats and is one of the creamiest you can find. Oat milk is best made at home, if you can find the right recipe!

Hemp Milk- Hemp milk is made in pretty much the same way almond milk is. It also has a nutty flavor and is derived from ground hemp seeds.

Almond or Nut Milk*- Almond Breeze is a good brand for almond milk, but if almonds aren't your thing, you can make milk from just about any nut. Most are best if flavored to your liking, but that goes for any type of milk on this list!

Coconut Milk*- Made from coconut meat, obviously, this has the perfect sweet and nutty flavor! It barely has to be sweetened, and is really good with breakfast food.

Combinations*- If you aren't satisfied with just one flavor, you can mix and match different types of milks! The most popular milk combination I've ever seen is vanilla, almond, and coconut milk, but whatever sounds best to you!

Meat and Cheese Alternatives

Tofu*- Perhaps the most popular meat alternative out there, tofu is solid, pressed soybean curd. It's flavorless on it's own, but there is so much that you can do with it! It soaks up just about any flavor that you add to it.

Tempeh- Fermented and pressed, tempeh is a little thicker than tofu and is really good for grilling.

Seitan*- Made from wheat gluten, seitan is best in little strips, like bacon.

Nutritional Yeast- If you need to add some cheesiness to your dishes, nutritional yeast, which comes as a powder, is your best yet. Use it to make cheesy sauces with a combination of flavors!

If this list was helpful, or you have more to add to it, let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Celestial Tea Herbal & Fruit Samplers Review

Okay, let's get this out of the way- I am in love with herbal teas and all of their benefits. I especially love the rare occasions I get to try several different types of tea. Naturally, when I saw these Celestial Seasonings sampler boxes at my grocery store I just had to have them! They come in cute little boxes, and each different flavor is packaged in a neat little pouch inside.

I have to say that the entire fruit sampler box was delicious! I was ecstatic to try each kind both warm and iced. Delicious both ways! If I had to choose just one as my favorite, I would definitely go with True Blueberry. It has really good herbs, as well as the freshest blueberry taste in almost any flavored drink I've ever had! Country Peach Passion is really good warm, and feels great on the throat if you are feeling a little scratchy. Both Zingers, Raspberry and Wild berry are delicious and are probably both best served cold, but you will be delighted with a hot steamy cup of either one, as well. My least favorite was the Black Cherry Berry, mostly because I'm not the biggest cherry fan. It was still delicious warm, though!

The herbal pack is not for everyone, and I want to make that clear! The Lemon Zinger is AMAZING, so amazing that I bought a full box of it. However, when you get to the peppermint tea, you will be sorely dissapointed. My advice for anyone who tries this is to a.) not let the tea bag sit very long in the water, and b.) sweeten the tea! I almost threw up the first time I tried it, because I let the tea bag sit for a good few minutes before taking my first sip. I still have all of the Peppermint tea bags left, and I'm not sure if I will be quite brave enough to try them again any time soon! Sleepytime tea is perfect for 9 p.m. when you are trying to relax your mind and catch some z's. The same could be said for the Chamomile tea. My second favorite flavor was the Honey Vanilla Chamomile. I tend to get colds when the seasons switch, so I will be buying a big box of this, since it's the perfect remedy for sore throats!

Overall, I have to say that Celestial Seasonings is one of my favorite tea brands. They are in pretty much every grocery store I've been to here in Ohio, so I imagine other states have them too! If you are not sure where to start on your herbal tea journey, buy both boxes and figure out which is your favorite!

xo, Brittany ♥

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

3 Perfect Ways To Find Your "Balance"

If a teeter totter can find balance, then so can you.
Recently, I've been obsessed with balancing- from balancing work and my home life, and balancing my time with others to time dedicated to myself. With a stressful job and being married, this isn't easy, but I wanted to share some things I've so far discovered in my journey.

Know When To Say No. 
One of the hardest things to do is to turn down an invitation, especially if you feel like you are going to hurt the other person's feelings. However, being a "yes" man and always being down for anything isn't really that desirable of a life. Start saying yes only to things that give you joy. If you agree to go along with something, but aren't enjoying your self, you are wasting your time and probably bumming out the other person. 

Dates With Your Loved One- & Your Self. 
Going on dates with your lover is important. Even if the date is Netflix and takeout, the formal bonding feeling of dating feels good no matter what stage your relationship is in. It helps take pressure off of other parts of your relationship or life, and just allows you to focus on each other. Try recreating that dating feeling for yourself whenever you can. Whether it's going to get coffee from your favorite coffee shop, or a walk in the woods, find time to focus on your inner self. 

Embrace All Of Your Emotions. 
Often times, we are afraid to really show our emotions in fear of what others might think. Forget that notion and realize that if humans weren't meant to feel a certain way, then they wouldn't have to ability to. Find ways to vent each emotion healthily and learn not to ignore them. This means even negative emotions such as anger and sadness. It's okay to feel these feelings, because they are honestly pretty humbling. If you would like, try starting a personal blog, journal or vlog (video blogging/journal-ing, or basically just venting on-camera) to express yourself.
xoxo, Brittany ♥

8 Inspirational Quotes To Ease A Troubled Mind

Here's a beautiful Ohio sunset for you!
I'm having a rough week, between my stressful job and being sick/in pain. The only thing that seems to be getting me through this week is chocolate, setting up this blog, and reading inspirational quotes. I comprised a list of 8 of my favorite quotes, most of which I found on Tumblr. I hope these inspire you to let go of your stress as well!
"She tastes like nectar and salt. Nectar and salt and apples. Pollen and stars and hinges. She tastes like fairy tales. Swan maiden at midnight. Cream on the tip of a fox’s tongue. She tastes like hope." - Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone 
"Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive."
"Nothing is absolute.  Everything changes, everything moves, everything revolves, everything flies and goes away."- Frida Kahlo
 "Death acts as a reminder to us of the transient nature of life. Every moment is precious and every living thing sacred."- Mark Ryan and John Matthews, The Wild Wood Tarot
"One day you will find someone who will love you like you deserve."- The Front Bottoms
"Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final."- Rainer Maria Rilke, from The Book of Hours
"We are earth people on a spiritual journey to the stars. Our quest, our earth walk, is to look within, to know who we are, to see that we are connected to all things, that there is no separation, only in the mind".- Lakota Seer 
 "Kindness should become the natural way of life,not the exception."- Gautama Buddha
These quotes really spoke to me, and I am grateful to have stumbled upon them! I will try to do more of these each week. I find that the easiest way to get through work is to think about anything other than work.