Preparing for the weekend

Today was a super busy day for making some essentials for the weekend. I knew I wanted some sour cream, hummus, cheese, and mayo. I also wanted fresh bread (one loaf as a gift) and some butter!

So, I started the night before, putting two bowls of raw cashews and water in the refrigerator, one with just a cup of cashews, and another with 1.5 cups.

Then, starting early in the morning, I got busy. I was so busy making, that I didn’t really take photos, unfortunately. But, if you’d like to know about these kind of “staples” that I use, keep reading!

Plant-based Butter:

I haven’t tried any other butter recipes, because I’m just so happy with one I got from the “Seven Secrets Cookbook“. This butter is just cornmeal cooked with coconut milk, a bit of water, and salt. Then you blend it all together in a high speed blender and pour it into your butter dish, and it hardens in the fridge! I can’t find a similar recipe online, but maybe sometime I’ll post it. By the way, there are tons of great recipes in the Seven Secrets Cookbook. Grab yourself a copy!

I make this butter about every week and a half or so, and find that a double recipe really works best in my blender. You can freeze it, but it’s not awesome thawed. Otherwise, it’s just like butter for me, and incredible on fresh-baked whole wheat bread, or sourdough.

Plant-based Mayo:

For the mayo, I used that 1 cup of raw cashews I’d been soaking, and Shannon’s “Yup, It’s Veganoil-free mayo recipe. The only thing I change in this recipe that I’ve used several times is to not add that much, or any, sweetener, in this case agave nectar. I just think it makes the mayo too sweet, and that isn’t savory, to me! This recipe will also help you use some of that aquafaba!

Plant-Based Sour Cream:

The other 1.5 cups of soaked raw cashews was for the sour cream. This time I used Angela’s Cashew Sour Cream recipe from OhSheGlows.com. Most of these sour cream recipes are similar, and there is a good one in the Seven Secrets Cookbook, too. But, this one is pretty great. The only thing I change is the apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. I like just a regular white vinegar, because otherwise, the sour cream tastes sweet to me, not sour (especially the longer it sits.) I added a bit more lemon juice too, as I really want my sour cream to be sour!

No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread

No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread:

In my No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread recipe adaptation, I’d previously suggested that vital wheat gluten is optional, but I’ve changed my tune. It really gives the bread the ability to bend and not break, and makes less crumbs. So I highly recommend it. The recipe has been updated! (And, I’ve since updated it to 2 Tablespoons of vital wheat gluten!) I baked up two loaves in the evening after work, and they turned out great as usual. I feel very lucky that only my first attempt at bread never did really work!

Hummus (Among Us):

Hummus is already plant-based, so find your favorite recipe and use it! Seven Secrets Cookbook has one, and most all of them are based on the same theme. I tried to triple the recipe, and actually burnt out my blender, at least for a few minutes until the fuse reset. Hummus goes quickly at my house! One recipe I like is Hummus In The Blender from Susan at FatFreeVegan.com. Just leave out that added olive oil, as it’s completely unnecessary, and just added fat. Or, now check out my No-Oil Hummus (Among Us!) recipe that’s just been added!

Vegan Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Plant-based Cheddar Cheese:

This one takes just a little more time, but I again went with the Plant-Based Sharp Cheddar Cheese, and doubled the recipe. As usual, this came out great, and I had 6 tiny loaves of cheese ready to go!

So, now my weekend was ready, and I wouldn’t have to make any of the staples that I’d want!

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Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread

Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread

Jenn, over at Veggie Inspired has a great recipe for a Veggie Cream Cheese Spread, that, the moment I saw it, I knew I had to try it! It contained all kinds of things that sounded great and like they’d work well together. But, nothing screamed “cream cheese” to me, so I figured I’d like what I made, but not think it was cream cheese.

I. Was. So. Wrong!

I’m not sure what is in Jenn’s recipe that gives it the flavor it does, but if I had to guess, it’s that apple cider vinegar, and lemon juice. In fact, the recipe reeks of the ACV all the way through, and, to me, smells rather nasty. But, by the time you add all the veggies at the end, and let it sit overnight in the refrigerator (if you can wait that long), it’s nothing short of amazing, and just what I remember a good garden cream cheese spread should taste like! Combined with some Pretzel Crisps, it makes an incredible summer afternoon snack!

Check out Jenn’s recipe here (if you haven’t already clicked, had your mouth start watering, and forgotten about me!)

Or, find below, almost verbatim, with my modifications and notes:

Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread (Dairy Free)

Creamy and tangy with bits of fresh veggies throughout, this dairy free cream cheese is perfect on bagels or toast, as a spread in sandwiches or wraps, or as a dip for crackers or raw vegetables.
Prep Time12 hrs
Course: Breakfast, Breakfast, Dip, Sauce/Spread, Sauce/Spread
Servings: 16 people
Author: Jenn Sebestyen @ VeggieInspired.com

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups raw cashews soaked in water for several hours or overnight, drained and rinsed (Or not. See PBB Notes below.)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2-3 tbsp water
  • ¼ cup shredded carrots
  • ¼ cup diced bell pepper Orange, red, yellow or green, or all four!
  • 2 tbsp diced green onion
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill

Instructions

  • Be sure your cashews have soaked for several hours, or ideally, overnight. The longer they soak, the creamier your cream cheese will be. After soaking, drain and rinse the cashews.
  • To the bowl of a food processor, add the soaked cashews, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, onion powder, paprika, and garlic powder. Start to process to break up the cashews. You'll need to stop the food processor and scrape down the sides frequently to keep the mixture moving. Add the water 1 tbsp at a time until it comes together into a smooth spread. Be patient as this could take 5-10 minutes.
  • Once it’s smooth, transfer to a mixing bowl and add the carrots, red pepper, green onion, parsley, and dill. Stir to combine.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or a tiny splash of vinegar or lemon juice, if necessary.
  • Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and store in the fridge. It will set up and thicken slightly as it sits in the fridge and gets cold. You could eat it right away, but it’s better cold.

Notes

Don’t let the prep time for this recipe scare you. It’s all hands off, but the cashews must be soaked for SEVERAL hours, ideally overnight, to create a super smooth texture. In fact, your hands on time will only be about 10-15 minutes.
Plant-based-Bear.com Notes:
If you have a high speed blender, I’ve had success without soaking, but adding a bit more water. Remember that soaking will increase the mass of the cashews, so in my head I tried to figure out how many cashews, and how much water I think they might have absorbed. In my case, I was suddenly doubling a recipe I hadn’t planned on doubling, so added non-soaked cashews and about 4-5 T of extra water to let them absorb it. It worked perfectly.
In fact, I heartily recommend the high-speed blender.  Jenn’s food processor must be better than mine, as I really couldn’t ever seem to get the right consistency with the food processor alone, even while only using soaked cashews. So, I like my high speed blender to make sure everything gets creamy, but it can still take a few minutes.  I’d highly recommend doubling the recipe if using a large high speed blender though, as this should really help you get a creamy spread without near as much “scrape down.”  And, this spread is so amazing, you’ll easily eat double before it spoils!
I also recommend being quite generous on the last 5 ingredients, the veggies!  I haven’t gone wrong with having heaping tablespoons and 1/4 cups!
There also hasn’t been any need for me to “adjust” the flavoring at the end, but your taste may vary!
My spread has been orange-tinted and soupy when freshly-prepared, but after a sit in the refrigerator overnight, it seems to have a lighter color and tastes incredible!
Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread
Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread on a Pretzel Crisp!
Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread
Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread disappearing before my very eyes!
Plant-based Garden Cream Cheese Spread
The first attempt at this spread, but didn’t have any chips or bagels, so toasted sourdough had to do!
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No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread

Bread Day!

This morning I woke up early and noticed a forlorn cup of aquafaba in the fridge. So, I decided to use it for another batch of my No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread! And, I think I have this down, finally. I’ve made 3 batches of whole wheat bread successfully that are amazing, full size, rise properly, and all that!

To me, these look so good that I think I’m gifting them to a couple of friends today (as I still have a loaf of fresh bread from the last batch!)

Canned bread for the win!

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No-Oil Whole Wheat Bread
Fresh no-oil whole wheat canned bread!