Posts tagged cooking tips
Kitchen Hacks and Tricks for Making Traditional Holiday Favorites

It’s that time of year in which many of us spend double the amount of time in the kitchen and of course on Pinterest looking at all the gorgeous holiday decor and recipes. This year I had to live vicariously through you for Thanksgiving (since my kitchen is going through a BIG remodel), but as you can imagine, the second the kitchen is finished I’ll be going bananas with the candy canes and Christmas decor. The fact that my dream kitchen will probably be ready just in time for Christmas makes it all the more exciting, since it will be the first time I’ll be cooking for the many holiday gatherings we host in a kitchen that has space for all my culinary adventures. Finally!

There are so many delicious holiday recipes out there, and following a recipe will of course give you amazing results. You can even check out our collection of Holiday recipes here! Today however, I wanted to give you some quick hacks, tricks and tips for those of you who are getting adventurous and want to add a holiday twist to everything you’re making. You may have that yummy vegan roast covered, but how can we transform simple ingredients into the perfect dish for the Holidays? If we’ve got some veggies lying around, how can we give them that beautiful cozy winter and Christmas feeling? That’s what I’m going to give you today, a list of some cooking tricks and tips for making delicious vegan dishes for the Holidays.

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Learning a New Way of Cooking: Plant-Based Basics, Tips, Techniques and More

I often get asked the question of whether or not vegan cooking is more complicated than meat-based cooking. I love getting this one because after years of seriously cooking both types of foods I can honestly give you a straight answer from experience. Today we're tackling this topic and I'm going to teach you some plant-based cooking basics, show you some great tips and tricks, we're going to talk about cooking techniques and much more. First however, I'm going to tell you about my experience in cooking both types of cuisines, and share what cooking Thai food has to do with vegan cooking. It's going to be a total culinary party that will give you a ton of tips to help you out in the kitchen whenever you're cooking with plants.

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Grocery Day Meal Prep

You've heard me talk about the weekly habit that has changed my life in the kitchen the most many times in this blog. Sometimes I've called it batch cooking, sometimes I've called it meal prepping, sometimes I've called it my one pot of beans, one pot of grains ritual, sometimes I've called it the lifesaver, the money saver, the time saver, the sanity saver. We even have a whole section dedicated to this in our online program, with new batch cooking sessions coming soon. It doesn't matter how you call it, it can change your life and your way of eating! Why? Because you invest a little time in it, but it saves you 5 times as much throughout the week. It helps you build quick and delicious meals, and it helps protect you against the "I have no idea what to make for dinner brain fog syndrome". 

I first learned about this little weekly habit from Alicia Silverstone and her book The Kind Diet. In it, she talks about how making a pot of beans and a pot of grains a week can save you so much time the following one. It doesn't mean you'll be eating beans and rice every day, it means you have a sturdy base, already made for you to add additions or transform it into delicious dishes. A pot of beans and a pot of grains suddenly gets transformed into bean burritos with all the fixings, a seven layer dip, a veggie bowl, a big salad with tons of layers, veggie burgers, you get the idea.

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Ode to the Mushroom

When I was growing up I loved playing the "this or that" game. Someone gave you two options and you had to pick one or the other. "Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?", "spending the day at the beach or in the mountains". Since I'm a very indecisive person, this game was like the ultimate training for me, and I would constantly grill my mom with options she had to pick from. Because of this, I'm constantly drawn to articles titled the top five ways to prepare mac and cheese, or the parts of interviews in which the people I admire say what their favorite animal, fruit, curse word and quote are. I love picking favorites, yet it's so incredibly hard for me! There's one exception though, when it comes to picking a favorite vegetable (that isn't corn on the cob because I mean... NOTHING is better than sweet corn on the cob), I have a quick and easy answer: mushrooms.

We love mushrooms so much that whenever I want to make something Carlos doesn't particularly like, I just douse it with mushrooms. Mushrooms on top of cauliflower, mushrooms on top of a simple green salad, mushrooms on top of vegetable soup. We used to love mushrooms as meat eaters, but when we went vegan, our love of mushrooms grew exponentially. Why? Because mushrooms are the ultimate vegan meat!

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Cooking Hacks I've Learned Through the Years (Plus Some Cooking Stories)

I've told you before about my story with cooking (you can read it here and here!) and how it started from very early on. I was obsessed with the kitchen and ingredients since I was a very little girl, and my mother, bless her heart, always let me get in there and make a mess as you might recall from my stories of the "everything goes into them but mom eats them anyway caterpillar cookies".

The first recipe I truly learned how to master well were brownies. I took the recipe from a very old Betty Crocker book about entertaining I found in my mom's bookshelf, and which I still have (in pieces, but I have it). I practiced making them so often that I soon became the official brownie baker in my family and my school. There wasn't an event, party, holiday gathering or beach trip which didn't require me going into the pantry and whipping up a batch. The wonderful thing they don't tell you about being a kid and cooking is that somebody else does the shopping and all you have to do is raid the counters (yes!).

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Plant Based Food Pairings to Help you Improve your Cooking Skills (Part 2)

It's finally time to tackle part 2 of our food pairings series! In part 1, I told you why understanding food pairings plays such a huge role in improving your cooking skills, and it has to do with learning how to look at ingredients and decide to put them together in a recipe. To me, nothing screams freedom as a cook like being able to venture out of tried and true recipes and start creating meals that come from your own creativity and taste preferences. It's a great way to flex your cooking muscle but it's also a fantastic way to help save you time in the kitchen. It helps you lose the fear of cooking, and it takes perfectionism slightly out of the equation, and when that happens, and you're not afraid to experiment, you go into that kitchen with confidence and magical things can come from good ingredients. Food pairings (i.e. foods and flavors that go together really well), are the base for this type of cooking. We went through a pretty big list in part 1 of the series, but today I'm giving you even more in the hopes that this inspires you to come up with some ideas for dishes of your own.

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Grilling Season is Here! A Great Tip for Eating Really Healthy Throughout the Week

One of the things I love most about the summer is cooking and eating outside. We're blessed to have a terrace where grilling is an absolute must while the weather allows, and there are SO many ways to enjoy a completely vegan barbecue. Not only can you indulge in some of the vegan meats available nowadays, which I reserve for special occasions, but the beauty of grilling is actually that you can take very basic veggie ingredients and make them shine. 

To me there is no bigger flavor enhancer than the smokiness given by the grill.

If you're a grilling nut like we are, today I have a grilling trick that will help you eat extremely healthy during the week. It's something we've been doing for years every time Carlos fires up that grill.

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15 Vegan Cooking Hacks that will Help you Get Dinner on the Table in 20 Minutes

One of the greatest obstacles I see in people who are thinking about going vegan, or people who are trying to eat healthier and cook more at home, is time. Life has gotten so complicated. We're constantly stretched thin, multitasking and moving from one to do list to the next. Time has become one of the most precious commodities in people's lives. It also happens to be the number one excuse in people's lives.

Yes, it's an excuse. Albeit a valid one, it feels so present, so true to us and it makes us so nervous to have to add additional tasks into our day. This is especially the case when people are new to cooking. We might have seen our moms making these long elaborate meals as kids and we immediately think that's what cooking is.

Yes, I've been known to spend several hours in the kitchen just to make the perfect seitan roast, but that's what I call special cooking. Holiday cooking. It's not what we're going to talk about today. Today we're diving deep into daily cooking, which yes, with a few tricks, can become delicious, effortless and quick!

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