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!

Spring Peas

As the weather warms and the ground thaws, it’s time to start thinking about eating and maybe even planting spring peas. By performing the small act of planting some seeds, you’ll be rewarded with climbing tendrils and sweet snacks that both you and your kids will love.

spring peas

Before you plant your spring peas, it’s important to understand the different types. Yes, there are different types of these veggies!

While there are hundreds of different individual varieties of peas available – including purple and yellow pods – there are three main categories: snap, snow, and shelling.

Snap Peas

snap peas

Often called sugar snap peas, these crunchy little veggies are seriously sweet! Since they’re one of my favorite spring treats, I find it hard to resist eating all of them as I’m harvesting.

When some do make it to the kitchen, I love to pair them in a salad with mint and lemon. The freshness of the mint and the sourness of the lemon balance out the sweetness of the peas.

Snow Peas

snow peas

Snow peas differ from snap peas in their pod shape and pea size. Snow peas have flatter pods that you should harvest when their peas are still small.

They taste similar to snap peas, but they’re a bit less sweet.

A great way to use snow peas is in a simple stir fry. Saute some minced onion, ginger, and garlic in oil on medium heat. Once these become fragrant, add in snow peas, sesame oil, and soy sauce and cook just until the peas are warm – about two minutes.

Shelling Peas

shelling peas

Also known as shell peas or English peas, these plants produce large, sweet peas encased in a tough pod. Unlike snap and snow peas, you don’t eat the entire pod.

These peas do take some work to eat since you’ll have to remove the individual peas from their pod by hand. However, this is a great activity for kids or a reason to get a group of friends together.

One of the best ways to prepare shelling peas is to simply saute them in some oil. They’re great with roasted or mashed potatoes.

How to Plant Peas

No matter what type of peas you choose to plant, it’s easy to grow your own.

These plants like cool weather, so plant seeds as soon as you can prepare the soil. Depending on where you live, this is typically some time in February, March, or April.

Plant seeds two inches apart and 1/2 inch deep. Once the pea plants are a few inches tall, they’ll start looking for something to hold on to. So, it’s a good idea to provide a trellis. You can weave a string between two sticks or t-posts, or you can build a teepee structure with bamboo or sticks.

About two months after planting your seeds, you’ll start seeing peas that are ready to harvest. Make sure to pick the peas a few times a week, as the pods mature quickly!

Snap to It

Now that you know about peas and how to grow them, it’s time to get started adding these to your garden. Even if you can’t grow your own, look for peas at local markets during April-June.

If you don’t know it already, you’ll soon learn that a fresh pea is one of spring’s sweetest treats!

If you like to garden, make sure to check out our other wonderful posts around growing your garden and 13 gardening hacks.

Plant-Based Recipes that Your Kids Will Love

When it comes to food, making your kids eat veggies or plant-based meals is a big challenge. However, the good news is that you can make delicious, nutritious plant-based recipes for your kids without even letting them know. So, if you are looking for some plant-based recipes for your kids, then read along.

Vegetarian Chili

Summer is around the corner and the season calls for some healthy, nutritious barbecue, without meat. Surprised? Well, the trick is to make healthy and “good looking” food so that your kids cannot disapprove of the recipe. You will need the following ingredients to make this mouthwatering dish.

vegetarian chili

Ingredients

  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 4 large potatoes
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup dry red lentils
  • 1 can red beans*
  • 1 can black beans*
  • 2 cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 packs reduced sodium chili spice
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp shredded cheese

*rinsed and drained

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes and dry them with a paper towel. Now, pierce the dried potatoes with a fork and wrap them into aluminum foil.
  2. Bake the potatoes at 400F for 60 to 90 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté onions in olive oil for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Now, add dry lentils and keep stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. In the next step, add tomatoes, beans, chili spice, and cilantro with 1 cup of water. Lower the flame and let it cook for 30 minutes.
  6. Keep occasionally stirring until the lentils get fully cooked; add water if needed.
  7. Slice the potatoes in half and top them with as much vegetarian chili as your kid likes. You can also sprinkle shredded cheese.
  8. Serve it in a baked potato, burgers, chicken, or anything that your kids will approve.

Crispy Cauliflower with Potato Tacos

It is hard to resist potatoes, especially when paired with crispy cauliflower and creamy dill dip. Your kids will love the baked tacos. The recipe is simple but offers the yummiest flavors to soothe the tastebuds. The crispy cauliflower is the star of the dish – it’s baked, not fried.

Crispy cauliflower with potato tacos

Ingredients

  • 1/2 medium-sized cauliflower
  • 2 medium-sized potatoes (diced)
  • 4 cups cabbage (shredded)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond/cashew milk
  • 1 tbsp apple vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cup finely ground almond flour
  • 1/2 cup raw pepitas (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Creamy vegan sauce

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Finely cut the medium-sized cauliflower into thick strips
  3. Add milk, 1 1/2 cups almond meal, and cider vinegar in a separate bowl. Mix well until it becomes a thin liquid.  
  4. In another bowl, add 3/4 cup almond meal, cumin, garlic powder, chili powder, pepitas, and salt.
  5. Coat cauliflower slices and diced potatoes first in the milk mixture and then in the dry mix.
  6. Place them on parched cookie sheets and bake until golden brown.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the creamy vegan sauce.
  8. Serve crispy cauliflowers with shredded cabbage on soft corn tortillas.

Greek Pasta Salad

You can make this simple recipe as a side dish or include in the main course by adding chicken or shrimp to it. Greek pasta salad also makes for yummy school lunch.

greek pasta salad
https://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/simple-greek-pasta-salad/

Ingredients 

For the Salad

  • 8 oz cooked and cooled pasta
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1/4 small, thinly sliced red onion
  • 1 pint grape tomato
  • 1 cup olives
  • 6 ounce crumbled feta cheese

For the Dressing

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta, drain and rinse it with cold water.
  2. Cut the veggies.
  3. Add the dressing ingredients in another bowl and whisk to mix well.
  4. Combine the veggies and dressing in a large bowl and mix with a spoon. Serve the salad at room temperature or chilled.

Our taste buds can change and adapt to new flavors; all you need to do is frequently expose your children to fresh flavors. It will help them appreciate nutritious and healthy food like these plant-based recipes.

Once you’re done with these plant-based recipes make sure to head over and check out another great post about vegan recipes for the grill.