Plant-Based Mini Baked Potatoes with Paprika

mini baked potatoes final

Plant-based Mini Baked Potatoes? Aren’t all potatoes plant-based? Believe me, my family typically loves to load these mini baked potatoes with lots of sour cream, cheese and bacon! These however are not those, these are a healthy alternative which are an awesome side to any dish, and are very simple to make. You probably already have all the ingredients in your house.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups halved mini potatoes.
  • 1 teaspoon paprika.
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt.
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil.
mini baked potatoes raw in bowl

Instructions

First step is to preheat the oven to 400 degrees, then rinse potatoes in cold water. I like to cut the potatoes in half, but depending how big they are you can cut into fourths. I used half a bag.

mini baked potatoes with spices in bowl

Now it’s time to add the olive oil, paprika, and garlic salt. A perk to this mini baked potato recipe is that there are no set measurements. I’ve added some suggested measurements to help you but to be honest I just eyeballed how much of each ingredient to pour in. You do not want the potatoes to be drowning in oil, so just add enough to lightly coat them. Then toss.

mini baked potatoes with spices on sheet

Lay them out on the pan. They can be facing up, down, or sideways, it doesn’t matter. Bake until they are soft and a light golden brown. Usually takes around 15 minutes give or take.

Final Verdict

mini baked potatoes cooked on sheet

These plant-based mini baked potatoes are the next best alternative to french fries! They are so delicious and can be paired with any lunch or dinner. If you’re like me and like salty foods, you can always add more garlic salt after cooking!

if you love potato recipes make sure to check out our earlier post Perfect Potato Recipes for a Plant-Based Diet!

3 Ideas to Keep Your Kids Entertained While in the House

Thousands of families are staying home in self-quarantine to help protect themselves and others from getting infected with Covid-19.  Me and my family are no different. The question we are consistently dealing with is what do in quarantine with our kids.

If you are quarantined with your kids, you may be fully realizing how long 24 hours in a day really is! 

Don’t worry if you’re at your wit’s end, we have come up with a list of 4 fun activities to keep your kids entertained and healthy

1. Host a Movie Night

One of the oldest tricks in the books regardless if you quarantined is to host a movie night with your kids! 

The key to this entertainment is to create a movie-theatre atmosphere. This activity can last much longer than just the two hours that the movie lasts- 

Here are some ideas to make the activity last all day:

  • Have your children plan and prepare a “movie snacks menu”
  • Have your children vote on what movie to watch
  • Create a comfy atmosphere in front of your TV. Ask your kids to help decorate!
  • Turn the lights off during the movie and try to make this an uninterrupted time

This may even help you relax as a parent. When was the last time you sat back and just enjoyed the company of your family?

While the Covid-19 pandemic is undoubtedly stressful and being in self-quarantine is an inconvenience, try to appreciate the unexpected family time you now have! 

2. Try Camping Indoors

When quarantined with kids, try to add a little bit of adventure to your days! 

Creating a fort is the ultimate activity to get kids involved and make them feel like they are in a whole new world. 

Here are instructions for an incredible camping adventure indoors:

Step 1: Set up a tent inside. If you don’t have a tent, a blanket fort will do just fine!

Step 2: Cook food that you would normally make at the campground. At-home s’mores still taste delicious!

Step 3: Share spooky (or funny) campfire stories. 

Step 4: Try stargazing from your living room with some amazing apps!

Step 5: Let giggling induce and don’t worry too much about bedtime. This is a memory they will have forever!

This activity also allows you to take a step back from the screen-time that is consuming so many of us during this self-quarantine! 

3. Teach Them How to Cook Their Favorite Dish

What special dish do you make for your child for their birthday? 

Or on a special holiday? 

There is no better time than during a quarantine to teach your kid how to make their favorite dish!

Kids are so curious and will love learning how to cook side-by-side with you in the kitchen. This is also a great time to teach them about staple meals you make in your household, kitchen safety, and dining etiquette! 

Fun for the Whole Family During Self-Quarantine

Don’t let the Covid-19 pandemic get you down. Self-quarantine is an excellent time to bond with your family and try some activities out that you enjoyed during your own childhood!

These activities are all learning activities for your children and will help peak their natural curiosity. 

Interested in reading more about healthy activities and family life? Make sure to check out our blog for more! 

My Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac Review

I love mac and cheese. My whole family loves mac and cheese. But on a plant-based diet we had been missing our fix. Enter Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac

I’m not sure what we were expecting when we started with this but we were pleasantly surprised by what we had in store for us. This box of Daiya’s Deluxe Cheezy Mac is advertised as dairy, soy and gluten free. Non-GMO verified and of course plant-based.

First I should mention that we got our box from Whole Foods and during quarantine the Amazon delivery worked great. Here’s a link to Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac directly on Amazon.

Nutritional Facts

I can’t say enough about reading the nutritional facts and how important that is. Regardless of how healthy you think you are keeping your family, even if you’re eating mac and cheese :). I started to do some digging.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac nutritional facts

So what stuck out to me was the amount of sodium per serving. Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac shows 580mg per serving! This of course seems quite high but let’s compare it to other non-dairy mac and cheese.

So while Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac doesn’t compare to the Velveeta version it still is inline with the other non-dairy mac & cheeses. I should mention, if the sodium topic is of interest to you then make sure to check out this article posted from healthline about other foods high in sodium. I learned that this is inline with what a hotdog or bratwurst of sodium per serving.

Unboxing

daiya deluxe cheezy mac unboxing

No surprises here. Standard bag of macaroni and bag of the secret sauce.

Time to Cook

daiya deluxe cheezy mac cooking

Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac comes with really tasty gluten free macaroni. It uses brown rice pasta to avoid the gluten and we really loved it.

daiya deluxe cheezy mac cooking

Once we added the cheese things started really coming together. A little secret: I NEVER use the whole packet of cheese. It always seemed too much and this case was no different. I think we ended up using about a quarter of the whole bag. Now you could argue that you don’t get the full effect of the dish but on the positive side you also don’t get the full sodium effect.

Final Verdict

daiya deluxe cheezy mac

The box says that it’s good for 3 servings. Which in my house usually means good for 1.5 people. This was no different. Overall we really enjoyed Daiya’s take on mac & cheese. The mac was great the non-dairy cheese was also not too over-powering. It definitely scratched an itch that we had. So if you’re looking for a wonderful alternative to a dairy based mac & cheese make sure to check out Daiya Deluxe Cheezy Mac.

Homemade Strawberry Vinegar

Homemade vinegar is full of nuances and flavors absent from most store-bought bottles. And, it’s simple to make!

While you can make vinegar from a variety of base ingredients, I’m going to cover how to make fresh homemade strawberry vinegar. The end result is a mix of sweet, tart, and fruity; a combination that works great in salad dressings and sauces.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is the product of fermentation, specifically the fermentation of alcohol. If you’ve ever experienced a sour bottle of wine, you know what I’m talking about.

While you may not be a chemistry whiz, the basic science behind production is easy to understand.

Technically, vinegar is the result of a two-part fermentation process. In the first step, yeasts convert carbohydrates, such as those in fruit or grains, into alcohol. In the second step, a specific type of bacteria calledAcetobacter ferment the alcohol into acetic acid. This acid gives vinegar its sour taste.

What do I Need to Make Vinegar at Home?

Vinegar is quite simple to make and only requires a few ingredients and tools. To get started you need the following:

  • Low-grade alcohol (wine, hard cider, champagne) OR a carbohydrate source (juice, fruit, grain, etc.)
  • Vinegar mother OR unfiltered vinegar
  • Large wide-mouth glass jar
  • Cheesecloth

How to Make Strawberry Vinegar

Although there are different ways to make strawberry vinegar, I’m going to cover a method that utilizes fresh berries. This method produces a product that captures the vibrant flavor of spring fruit.

Make the Alcohol

To begin, place 2-4 cups of strawberries in your glass jar. It’s fine to use the scraps from the tops of the strawberries, as well as any soft spots. However, avoid using any moldy spots, since they can impart an off flavor into the final product. Gently mash the berries until some juices are released.

homemade strawberry vinegar

Next, dissolve 1/2 cup of sugar in one quart of water. Pour this solution over the strawberries and stir. Cover the jar with cheesecloth and place it in a warm, dark area.

All areas have natural yeasts, so the ones present in your area will enter through the cheesecloth. Once they do so, they’ll start converting the sugars into alcohol. All you have to do is stir the jar each day and check for any surface molds. If you see any mold, remove it. After 10 days, strain out the solids.

Ferment into Vinegar

Now you have unfiltered strawberry wine. At this point, you’re ready to introduce Acetobacter.

For this step, you have two options. You can add a vinegar mother or add 1/4 cup of unfiltered vinegar, such as Bragg apple cider vinegar. At this point, recover the jar with cheesecloth and place it back in a warm, dark place.

Check the jar every day for any molds or off smells. The solution should smell fruity and boozy in the beginning, and eventually, it will smell sour. However, don’t stir the liquid, as this can disrupt the formation of the mother.

acetobacter

Speaking of the mother…don’t be alarmed when a rubbery pancake starts to appear on the surface of your liquid! This is the mother, and although it may look a little scary, it’s essential to the vinegar making process.

After two weeks, you can begin tasting your vinegar in the making. When it tastes sour like vinegar, it’s ready!

Strain out the mother and reserve it for future batches. Store the mother by covering it in a bit of vinegar or sugar water.

If you like, you can use cheesecloth to filter out any sediment from your vinegar. At this point, store your vinegar in an airtight container.

jars of vinegar

A Taste of Spring

Vinegar keeps for over a year, so you can revisit the flavors of spring all year long. Once you’ve mastered strawberry vinegar, you can try making other vinegar out of fruits like peaches and apples. With a pantry full of fruit vinegar, your salads will never be boring again!

If you liked my post on home strawberry vinegar make sure to check out my post on spring peas!

Obvious Health Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet

A few years ago, practicing a plant-based diet was a rare thing. But nowadays, it is the new normal! 

The reasons for trying out a plant-based diet are numerous. Many people reduce animal products in their diet to take a stance against animal cruelty or as a way to help the environment. Increasingly, people are adopting a plant-based diet for their health!

In the last decade, numerous health studies have come to light about the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet and cutting out animal products. 

In this article, we’re going to be talking about the most obvious health benefits of eating a plant-based diet!

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

First things first, let’s define a what it means to be plant-based!

A plant-based diet is exactly what it sounds like, a diet based around plants! This diet restricts or eliminates animal products altogether, as well as harmful things like refined sugar and other processed food. 

There are multiple types of plant-based diets, such as vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian, and pescetarian, but the important thing is that is focuses on the following five food groups:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Tubers
  • Legumes
  • Whole Grains

Now that you know the staples of a whole food plant-based diet, let’s talk about the benefits!

Whole Food Plant-Based Diet for Weight Management

It is a well-known fact that obesity is on the rise for people of all ages, especially in the United States! The culprit to this problem is sitting right on our plates.  

The standard American diet is full of red meat, refined sugar, fried foods, pre-packaged foods, and other unhealthy staples. This all contributes to weight gain. 

Being overweight can lead to health issues such as increased risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and cancer. 

Studies have shown that people who eliminate meat end up intaking far more nutrients as well as achieving successful weight management. A good place to start looking into this research is by looking into the Nutrient-Dense Approach to Weight Loss Management

The great thing about a plant-based approach to weight management is that it is less about what you “can’t” eat, and more about incorporating new foods into your diet!

A plant-based diet is not a “quick fix” for weight loss, it is a long term lifestyle switch to help you maintain a healthy weight for the entirety of your life.

 Lower Risk of Heart Disease and Other Diseases

In its current state, the health care system helps treat symptoms instead of prevent illness. 

The best way to prevent disease is by fueling it with a whole food plant-based diet. Here are the diseases and issues that this diet can help with:

  • Heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Cognitive Decline

To learn more about the research behind a plant-based diet and disease prevention, here are a few great resources to get you started:

A Healthy Immune System

In a society that is very focused on calories and macronutrients, (carbs, proteins, and fats) we tend to miss out on the most important thing- nutrients.

Eating a plant-based is not only going to keep you in a healthy calorie range, it is going to ensure you are getting enough iron, calcium, vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and other essential nutrients!

A healthy immune system is what protects your body from harmful bacterias and viruses. It is your body’s first line of defense, so make sure it has the armor it needs.

The Health Benefits of Eating a Plant-Based Diet

Eating a whole food plant-based diet is a way to prevent and treat diseases, manage your weight, and maintain a healthy immune system. 

Many people report that the health benefits have transformed their lives in ways that they couldn’t have imagined! 

But don’t take my word for it! Try eating a plant-based diet for yourself and see how it feels. 

Enjoy reading about health and food? Make sure to check out the blog for more!