Tag Archives: easy

Delicious Dairy-Free Lasagna Roll-Ups

Last week a craving for lasagna hit. We’re talking Garfield style craving. I hit two issues though. The first issue was that a pan of lasagna, even eaten as leftovers, is simply way too much for the two of us. The second issue was that I really needed to find a way to make it dairy-free (reasons why I limit dairy found here).

Lasagna RollupWhile looking for dairy-free alternatives, I started seeing a lot of lasagna roll up recipes. Excuse me?! I had not only never heard of them, I had never thought of making them. I knew this was perfect because it meant I could make only as much as Andy and I wanted. As far as dairy-free, that turned out to be a bit more difficult. A lot of recipes used processed vegan parmesan and other “cheeses”. Then I came across multiple blogs mentioning cashew cream and I bonked myself on the forehead. Cashew cream is incredible for both sweet and savory purposes. It’s simply cashews (soaked if you have a regular blender) and water thrown in the vitamix into a smooth velvety mixture. Add chocolate and you have a chocolate like mousse / pudding. Add basil, a little garlic, Italian seasoning and you get an absolutely delicious spread for lasagna or just to put on top of pasta as is.

DSC_8974The cashew cream really added a delicious velvety texture and awesome flavor. In addition, the cream really helped the fillings stick while rolling.

Speaking of fillings I did both a vegan filling and a meat lovers filling using local hot italian sausage from Farmers Gate Market here in Maine. The best part is that you can put whatever you want in these roll ups, just like any other lasagna you would make. I sweated down some onions, garlic, spinach and mushrooms. On the vegan ones I left as is, on the meat ones I simply crumbled already cooked sausage on top. Because these typically are just heating up in the oven for a short period I would definitely make sure any meat is thoroughly cooked.

DSC_8977When it came to rolling up I first put down a layer of cashew cream on the noodle, then topping, and then rolled it up. Note on rolling, as you roll press in to make sure it’s tight. Some of the filling might fall out but that’s okay. I found if I kept an inch or two of noodle at the end filling free it helped it all hold it together easier.

DSC_8979DSC_8984Once I finished rolling I topped them with tomato sauce, put in the oven at 350 for 10-15 minutes, and then served! So incredibly easy, and so incredibly tasty.

DSC_8986These are definitely going to become a staple in our house. I know the cashew cream might sound odd if you’ve never made it before but I definitely encourage you to try it—even if you’re a regular dairy eater! I’m going to be honest, I actually liked the flavor of these better than when I’ve had lasagna with cheese which I certainly didn’t expect.

Dairy Free Lasagna Roll-Ups
A delicious dairy-free lasagna roll-up using cashew cream.
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Ingredients
  1. Few handfuls baby spinach
  2. 1/2 large onion, diced
  3. 3 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1/2 container small mushrooms
  5. Lasagna (as many noodles as rollups you want)
  6. 2 cups raw cashews
  7. 1 cup water
  8. Italian seasoning (to taste)
  9. Salt (to taste)
  10. Dried or fresh basil (to taste)
  11. Spaghetti sauce
Noodles
  1. Cook according to directions. Noodles should be al dente.
Filling
  1. Add onion to a hot skillet, cook until translucent
  2. Add garlic & mushrooms to the skillet
  3. Add spinach and cook until wilted
  4. Remove filling to bowl
  5. Add meat to skillet and cook thoroughly if using
Cashew Cream
  1. If using a Vitamix or other high powered blender, add raw cashews, spices and enough water to create a smooth paste. If using a regular blender, soak raw cashews overnight before using.
Rolls
  1. Drain noodles and slightly cool.
  2. One noodle at a time smear with a heaping tablespoon of cashew cream. Spread leaving 1-2 inches of noodle bare at the end.
  3. Add vegetables in a thin row and meat if using.
  4. Slowly roll the noodle tightly around the filling
  5. Place each roll, seam side down, into a rimmed baking pan for cooking
Bake
  1. Top the rolls with spaghetti sauce
  2. Bake at 350* for 10 minutes or until heated through.
Notes
  1. Fillings should be whatever you love best in a regular lasagna. Our favorite is spinach, onion, garlic, mushroom and local sausage. Meat should be thoroughly cooked before using as stuffing. Vegetables should be reduced properly as they will not cook down in the oven.
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
Roll ups – win.
Cashew cream – win.

xo,

Heather

 

Hearty Avocado Open-faced Breakfast Sandwich

DSC_8744-01 I love a hearty breakfast, but I like a hearty breakfast which leaves me feeling awake and ready to go. For me, unfortunately, animal products tend to leave me feeling a big sluggish. While this means the recipe below is a plant-based (vegan) breakfast, before you write this off, try it! Even if you’re a meat eater, this is not disappointing. For those who’ve never eaten tempeh, it’s wonderful, high in protein and very good for you. I tend to use the whole grain and/or flax one but use whichever looks best to you.

There are three things I prefer in a good breakfast: carbs, lacto-fermented veggies, and greens. I tend to have more energy, and overall feel better throughout the day. Oh, and one last thing, I need a quick breakfast. Even on weekends I don’t like to spend a ton of time in the kitchen in the morning. It’s delicious too.

Secret’s out though – it’s also great for lunch or dinner.

P.S. Husbands out there – my chainsaw wielding, carpenter, all around Maine man thinks this is delicious too.

Hearty Avocado Open-faced Breakfast Sandwich
Serves 2
A delicious plant-based, vegan breakfast sandwich which carnivores will love too if they give it a chance.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 thick slices hearty bread
  2. 1 block tempeh
  3. 1 large handful baby kale
  4. 1 avocado
  5. Garlic powder
  6. Splash soy sauce (optional)
  7. Splash mirin (optional)
  8. Green salsa (optional)
  9. Lacto fermented veggies (Kimchi works great with this)
Instructions
  1. Heat dry cast iron skillet on medium heat.
  2. Add two slices toast & weight down with a plate or sandwich press to get a nice toast on either side.
  3. While bread toasts, cut tempeh into four equal squares (standard tempeh block cut in half, and each half block halved again length wise).
  4. Place tempeh in a bowl and a splash of soy sauce and mirin. Gently ensure each piece gets coated.
  5. Remove toasted bread from skillet and set aside.
  6. Add tempeh & large handful of kale to the dry skillet
  7. Flip tempeh when browned and brown other side, stir kale and cool until wilted
  8. Cut avocado in half, remove seed, scoop out flesh with a spoon and cut into slices
  9. To toast, add two tempeh squares, topped with kale, a sprinkle of garlic salt, and avocado.
  10. If using green salsa drizzle on top of avocado
  11. If using kimchi either place to the side, or on top of avocado
Notes
  1. Photo includes kimchi and lacto-fermented beets from Gracies Garden, a Maine company.
Like A Cup Of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/
 xo,
Heather

Oh So Apple Saucy Granola

The other day Andy and I were talking about making some more items ourselves here at home. I already make my own garbanzo flour (it’s loud, but a Vitamix does a great job on dried garbanzo beans), and a few times I made my own almond milk, though I decided that was simply too labor intensive. One of the foods we realized I had never made was granola. It’s one of the easiest things to make and yet I had never even attempted it. Andy eats granola every  morning for breakfast, and growing up his mom often made it. Today I decided to give it a go.

Here was my hangup: Granola is insanely sugary and fattening if made regularly. I don’t mind the fat coming from the nuts but many of the recipes I saw included both a bunch of sugar and or butter to make it clump. Gulp. No thanks.

I had this absolutely delicious granola a long time ago baked with applesauce. It was sweet, low in fat, and contained only a little sugar. I knew I needed to replicate it. I was okay with using some sugar, and some agave nectar as long as total it didn’t exceed one cup (with at least have of that cup being raw agave nectar, and the sugar being raw brown sugar). After some googling I came across this recipe at Fake Ginger.

Her recipe is as follows:

Ingredients
  • 2½ cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • ⅓ cup raisins
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the applesauce with the honey and oil over low heat.
  4. Mix the applesauce mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat everything. Spread the mixture onto a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  5. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, until the granola is a deep brown. Remove from oven and stir in raisins. Cool completely before enjoying.

This is what it looks like before baking. I messed up the focus on my camera so just look at that tiny strip of in focus mix *hits self in face*. This is what happens when I don’t use my camera very much for a couple months.

Since we limit animal products in our diets, and I already had raw agave nectar on hand I decided to make the switch from honey. My other changes included using cake spice instead of cinnamon since I was out, choosing pecans and walnuts for my nuts, and adding about a half teaspoon of vanilla.

Here are a few notes:

  • I did about 4 1/2 rounds of 10 minutes – meaning 45 minutes and it was a little browner than my personal preference. I’ll do 30 minutes next time but I have to say it did sets up to a nice crunch and adding the raisins in made it a lot tastier. I think it honestly just comes down to preference on this one. Andy thinks it’s fine.
  • Next time I will also either cut out the salt all together, or cut to 1/8 of a teaspoon. I found 1/2 to be too much. I’m fairly salt sensitive though, in general a little amount is plenty for me. It didn’t taste salty at all to Andy.
  • Be careful turning the granola every 10 minutes so you don’t break down the clumps too much. It’s not a clump intensive granola like some, and I don’t think you will get that with an apple sauce granola. It still clumped nicely though, but if you are too aggressive during turning you’ll break them up.

It’s held up really nice, and once it was entirely cool I put it in a tupperware. The key is to make sure that it is entirely cool. Very Very cool. You don’t want any residual heat or else it will turn chewy and blech.

One of the things I really enjoy about this recipe is that it’s pretty versatile if you follow the basic recipe. Next time I’ll likely go with almonds and dried raspberries. Mmmm so tasty.

Verdict: There’s no need to ever buy granola again. This was both super cheap, and super easy. Give it a try!

xo,

Heather

DIY Simple Garden Trellises

Every year when we stake up our beans and tomatoes we use a simple piece of scrap wood and tie it on with cotton twine. This year I decided to shuck tradition and go for the all natural approach using sticks and fallen branches in the woods mixed with some twine. I decided I wanted to try two different types of trellises, a simple three leg one and a stand up one. I’m curious to see which one holds up better over time, and which one the peas prefer to crawl up. Eventually I would like to make a sapwood arbor which my peas can grow over, while my lettuce and basil grows under so they can have some relief from scorching sun and perhaps last longer. The only tools I needed were a small handsaw, large branch pruners (but I think the saw alone would be fine) and some scissors to cut your string/twine.

For all the wood below, give it a once over so you don’t bring diseased wood into your garden. Also, enjoy watching haying, but don’t get too close lest you get recruited to drive the tractor. Normally you wouldn’t care but you’re dying to try and make these trellises and nothing is going to stop you. Except the farmer, because you already feel like you’re shucking a neighborly responsibility. Sorry Steve.

People I know tend to refer to me as a little crunchy, which makes me laugh because I consider myself a homesteader but not particularly some super earthy hippie throwback. There’s nothing wrong with it, I just don’t see myself that way. While doing this project I looked down and realized I had just traipsed through the woods, picked up (or sawed off) branches and was sitting in the grass in a long maxi dress with a woven basket filled with twine. Then I remembered I make soap and a host of other cleaning products, I like showering every other day unless it’s really hot out or I have to, I prefer to be barefoot, I rarely if ever wear makeup and my favorite clothes in the world are either maxi dresses or chunky sweaters. Maybe I am a little crunchy. Country girl with a soft spot for a good pair of heels and a large makeup case she rarely uses but knows how to. I think that sounds good.

On this particular day though there was really no second guessing my crunch-level, and I was pretty much okay with it. Nothing wrong with a little creativity, work and savings. Oh, and did I mention I didn’t have to use the power tools at all to split the scrap wood into stakes? Yeah, I think that had a lot to do with it too.

Stand Up “Fence” Trellis

This was similar to fence building, in the sense you’ll need to do it in sections. Also, you may need to add some support to the lower legs because it ends up a little unsturdy. We’ll see how it holds up as the peas crawl but for now it’s good and hasn’t fallen down.

  1. Find two lengths of branch, rather straight but they don’t need to be perfect, which will act as your sides to the trellis.
  2. Figure out how much width you need and get smaller branches that will act as the climbing pieces for your beans. Mine were a little small but just remember they need to support the weight of the plant so nothing flimsy. Strip them of their branches and cut to width. You’ll want between 1-2″ at a minimum of overhang on either side so you can tie them up. 
  3. Once you have everything lined up, cut a very long piece of twine and slowly start wrapping it. You may need to sturdy the first piece between your legs. Make sure your outer piece on the first side doesn’t get twisted so it won’t stand up straight, especially if your side pieces were slightly curved like mine. My in-between branches would only fit if I had them turned inward, so I had to make sure to keep them that way. To tie them on you’ll want to wrap once and do a tight knot while leaving a 3-4 inch tail on the starting side. Wrap again the opposite direction like an “X” and knot again. Now keep wrapping over, around, under, side to side until it feels tight. It might not look pretty, but it should be rather secure. Make sure to keep your twine very tight while wrapping.
  4. Continue this method for all of your branches until they are secure.
  5. To place in the garden, firmly press where you would like it to go and then remove and pre-dig the holes for the posts to go in. Put the trellis posts in place and firmly pack the soil in around the posts. Jiggle the posts a little and then pack the dirt in again. You want this tight. If it’s still too wiggly, you can tie two sticks onto the bottom to make a brace. Just tie them on like the other pieces.

When you’re done, the trellis will look something like this.

Tripod Trellis

This trellis is significantly easier to do, so I won’t even break out the numbered bullet points. Go find three sizeable branches. Cut them to similar lengths. Place them where you want them in the garden and lean the tops together until it feels steady, tie them together with twine. Make sure to weave in and out of each branch instead of just around all three. This will increase the strength of it and keep it from falling apart. For me, this version was extremely steady and I could easily pick it up to move it without any digging. I just placed it over my peas, helped them get started up it and moved on.

 

The winner as of today: The tripod trellis. Much sturdier, no holes, easily moveable, and easier to assemble. I think the other one will be easier to harvest from though, but that still doesn’t negate how good I think the tripod trellis will turn out. If my decision changes I’ll let you know.

As a side project, I used some left over cuts I had to stake up my tomatoes. Nothing fancy, just pounded the stakes into the ground and then used some pieces of scrap fabric I had laying around to tie them up. Easy Peasey. Just a few more weeks and those green tomatoes will be big enough to pick. Mmm.

I really like the rustic and utilitarian nature of the trellises. I also love that they were free, very simple to pretty simple in difficulty, and involved no power tools. Plus, they make my garden look a little nicer. Win, win and win.

xo,

Heather

P.S. There’s another photo from this day, of a sneaky little bugger with yellow fur, over on my Instagram page. You can follow me at username: likeacupoftea or like the Like A Cup of Tea facebook page and click on the “Instagram” tab.

Easy Septic Safe Homemade Laundry Detergent

I have a thing for soap nuts. What are soap nuts? A glorious fruit. Confusing I know. They are, in a few words – natures detergent. They come from places like Nepal, so I make sure the ones I buy are fair trade. I’ve used them for about a year now for our laundry, sometimes switching out for regular detergent, and sometimes adding an oxygen booster—but I love these things. 4-5 of them in a muslin cotton bag thrown in the laundry and voila, clean pantaloons.

Lately however I’ve been really trying to pare down, even more than I already do, on the additives, chemicals, etc. It means using up what I already have, but interspersing tests of new items I can make at home to see how they hold up. I’m not someone who cares if someone else uses chemicals in their home, I just prefer to limit them in mine. My hope is that by the end of the summer all of the old chemicals will be used up and I’ll be down to cleaning with the following items:

  • Dr. Bronners
  • Soap Nuts
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Washing Soda
  • Borax (rarely)
  • Essential Oils

My first foray into testing soap nuts outside of their regular laundry use in solid form was to make them into a liquid detergent. Soap nuts work best when you use hot water, and we only use cold. So while they work fine, I wanted to see if there was a difference with the liquid. From what I’ve read, unless you are going to be preserving your liquid (yes, you can pressure can and water bath it), it’s best to make it small batches so it doesn’t spoil. I suppose you could also keep it in your fridge which would help to. (Here’s where I buy my soapnuts, but if you don’t want to make your own liquid they sell it too. )

After reading a couple recipes I decided to make a semi-higher concentrated version, since I know what clothes tend to look like around here especially in the summertime. So here’s the recipe I’m testing

  1. Add 15 soap nuts to 4 cups of water, and boil for 30 minutes until you have two cups of liquid. The full concentration recipe is 12-15 soapnuts in 6 cups of water, boiled for 30 minutes to 3 cups. Add extra water if needed to get to the two cups. Use one to three tablespoons per load.

This sounded easy enough.

My tips:

  • Either use a larger pot, or simmer this, don’t boil. You’ll see bubbles form because it’s a detergent. A rip roaring boil will make the water overflow. Don’t ask how I know this.
  • When you’re done, pour into a measuring cup to ensure you have boiled down far enough (or if too far, add more water back).
  • Place a fine mesh strainer over a glass container to separate the liquid from the soap nut pieces. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a mason jar or a bowl, just try not to use plastic. This mixture is hot and it could potentially melt the plastic, which would either make a mess or release chemicals into your soap nuts. Melted plastic = bad
  • Let cool completely before either capping in a mason jar for future use, or pouring into a dispenser. I used an old salad dressing bottle to hold it as I plan on making this in small batches.

So how does it hold up in laundry? I like it a lot, even more than regular soap nuts. I’ve been known to accidentally throw the muslin bag with soap nuts in the dryer which is a no no with soap nuts as they *should* air dry. Now, with that *should* said, I’ve never really had a problem with the dryer ruining mine unless they were already near the end of their useful life. Since I use cold water though, this liquid works way better.

Verdict? Win! I will be definitely making/using this more. One natural cleaner alternative down (and it’s so so easy).

Happy Greener Living,

Heather

Pst – This is a septic safe laundry detergent. I have used the other recipe with grated soap in the past, but stopped once I found out it can be dangerous for septic systems. Even though it may melt on high heat, the soap may re-solidify in your pipes and cause major damage down the line, so I’ve erred on the side of caution and stayed away from it.

Psst- This liquid is also very popular for other general cleaning purposes too from counters to windows, when mixed with vinegar and diluted. I have used neither of these before, but there are tons of recipes out there! If I test it, you’ll be sure to know.