healthy comfort

Did everyone else have a crazy busy, nonstop Wednesday like I did????

Things started off nice and slow with this hot bowl of cocoa oats.

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They weren’t as chocolatey as last week, because I’m out of chocolate almond milk.  If you add too much cocoa powder, your oats will taste realllllly bland!!  I added 1.5T and had to add a little drizzle of maple syrup on top.

in the mix:

  • 3T oat bran
  • 3T rolled oats
  • 2T ground flax meal
  • splash of vanilla
  • 1.5T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 bannaa
  • 1/2c water
  • 3/4c unsweetened almond milk

topped with: vanilla bean cinnamon banana bread + walnuts + coconut + vanilla maple almond butter

I am obsessed with the banana bread AND the almond butter. 

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8:45am – 3:30pm insert –> ashley doing a million things

3:45pm:  Prep dinner.  I don’t prep dinner hours ahead of time typically, but when it’s an all-in-one casserole type dish, it’s so nice to get it ready ahead of time!

I’ve been eyeing up Angela’s vegan mac n’ cheeze, since she posted it a few weeks ago.  It looked SO creamy and delicious and used no soy! 

I wanted to put my own little spin on things, so adjustments were made.  Although I’m sure Angela’s was 100% cheezey + deeelicious!!

First change was subbing out potato for cauliflower. 

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Breadcrumbs, per Angela’s instruction.

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Notice the dollop of mustard??  I am not a fan of mustard, but felt that I should try it out in this recipe.  It was actually noticeable, but didn’t bother me at all!

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The uncooked sauce tasted SO DELICIOUS.  I knew this was going to be winner!

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I forget what type of noodle these are, but I used a mix of 100% durum semolina + whole wheat noodles.  I’m a huge fan of using noodles that trap sauce inside of them.  Shells would work extremely well in this too!

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I held off on putting the breadcrumbs on top, because the casserole dish was going to sit in the fridge for a few hours before baking.  No one likes soggy breadcrumbs.

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Sprinkled with paprika, covered, and in the fridge it went.  It took about 30min flat to prep + clean dishes.  Not bad!

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The only thing I had on my mind the rest of the day was DINNER.  I walked the doggles and then when Chris went home we left for the gym.  We both got a 1 free month membership to a gym called Miramount.  I’m not sure if they’re in other cities, but I had never heard of them before.  There are 4 in Ft. Collins.  The one we went to tonight is MASSIVE.  There is an extremely large climbing section, with bouldering too.  Very nice to have an all-in-one gym.  One location even has a pool.  Yay!  They have a million different classes to take too.  Hoping to hit up spin classes + vinyasa yoga.  The monthly cost for 2 people is pretty reasonable for all that they offer.  It’s cheaper than the climbing only gym we used to belong to!  I’m loving it so far. :)

We didn’t get home until 9:15pm!!!  I had a snack before we left to hold me over.  As SOON as we got home, I preheated the oven, and threw this sucker in!

Before I knew it, it was 10pm and chow time. 

Yes, this is vegan.  So there is no real cheese, but there is also no fake cheese.  It’s a crazy mixture of cashews, almond milk, nutritional yeast, and a few other things.  The consistency is like a thick alfredo sauce, just as Angela says.  So imagine baking a bunch of doughy noodles in alfredo sauce and then topping them with breadcrumbs. 

Oh yes.  It was fabulous.  More fabulous than any alfredo sauce I’ve ever eaten. 

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I will call this “healthy comfort.”  I’m not going to try and convince you how delicious this was.  Trust me and give it a go!

Husband approved.

Light box photos were not so flattering with this dish.

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I’m hoping to make this for the family, when I go home next week.  That will be the real test! 

Herbed Vegan Mac n’ Cheeze [adapted from Oh She Glows] serves 4-6

  • 1.5c raw, unsalted cashews
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of cauliflower
  • 2T nutritional yeast
  • 1.5t dried oregano
  • 1/2t dried parsley
  • 1.5 stems fresh rosemary
  • 1T earth balance [or butter]
  • 1/4c fresh lemon juice
  • 1t mustard
  • 1 1/3c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2t salt
  • 3 med. garlic cloves
  • fresh ground pepper
  • ~12-16oz pasta [depending on how saucy you like it]
  • paprika [optional to sprinkle on top]
  • 1 slice of bread
  1. Steam or boil chopped carrot, onion and cauliflower until just tender.  About 7-12min, depending on method.
  2. Pulse 1 piece of bread in food processor [or blender] until crumbs have formed.  Set aside.
  3. While veggies are cooking, combine nutritional yeast, cashews, oregano, parsley, rosemary, lemon juice, mustard, almond milk, earth balance, salt, garlic, and pepper in your food processor bowl.
  4. Process until smooth. [Should also work in a blender]
  5. Drain veggies and add to processor.  Process again until smooth.  About 1-2 minutes.
  6. Par-boil pasta for about 6 minutes. 
  7. Preheat oven to 350*.
  8. Drain water + rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.
  9. In a large bowl mix sauce + pasta.  It seems like a LOT of sauce, but it thickens a lot during baking.  If you want a lot of sauce, use 12oz of pasta.  If you want it less saucy use 16oz.
  10. In a 1.5-2qt casserole dish, pour in the mixture.  Top with paprika [optional] and bake covered for 30min.
  11. Uncover + top with breadcrumbs.  Broil on low for ~3min until nice and crispy.

There are no signs of all the veggies hiding in this sauce!! Loooove it.  So extremely flavorful.  Super filling and full of protein, fiber + health fats!  The rosemary + oregano were delicious additions.  I think next time I’m going to blend red peppers into the “cheeze” sauce and add different seasonings.  There are so many variations you could make with this recipe!

Dip your side of steamed veggies in this.  I dare you!!

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Gooooooodnight.  Up early for a swim and then getting ready for Jake to come this weekend.  Another action packed weekend of playing mom!!  So excited. :)