Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Latkes, latkes, latkes!

I love the taste of homemade latkes, but I only make them once a year because:

1. The oil smell permeates your entire life for like 3 days
2.  It is so time consuming!
3.  MESSY!

This year I was determined to take at least one of those things out of the equation.

I decided to roast my latkes!

I looked up a few recipes, but I love my own recipe so much I decided to just try things as I went tonight and see how it turned out.

Usually, that is a recipe for disaster, but it turned out SO WELL!
The smell is not as permanent or pervasive.  SO much less messy, and since I don't have to stand over the oven turning just 4 at a time, MUCH less time consuming.

Here is the recipe... it makes 52 latkes:

5 lbs yellow potatoes
3 large yellow onions
5 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tbsp baking powder
salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 425 and using two pans (I use a glass casserole and a baking stone), pour oil onto the bottom so it fully coats it in a thick layer.  In one pan I did avocado oil, in the other I did olive oil.  I think I will stick to avocado, it's a little lighter-- but both work.  Put the pans in the oven to preheat.

1. Shred all the potatoes in the food processor (you can peel or not, I ted to peel a bit of each but not the entire potato)
2.  Transfer the shredded potatoes into a bowl of cold water
3.  Finely chop the onions in the food processor (should look like applesauce)
4.  Beat 5 eggs with a fork in a  separate bowl
5.  After about 10-30 minutes, drain out the potatoes in a  colander.  Press down firmly and rotate, press again, rotate.  Add the onion-- keep on pressing and rotating, squeezing out the water.  Add several paper towels on top and squeeze one more time.  Toss the paper towel and dump the potato/onion mixture into a very big bowl.
6.  Add the egg and flour, salt & pepper and mixx well using your hands.
7. Scoop the mixture onto the hot oiled pans, I use a rounded scoop shown below.  After you've scooped them all, pat them down with the rounded side of the scoop.
8.  Roast for 8 minutes, then flip the and roast another 8 minutes.  They made need up to 10 minutes per side-- you decide.
9.  Plate them on a platter with paper towels underneath and enjoy with applesauce!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Hanukkah Theme Nights

Happy Hanukkah! Tuesday it begins!
Here are some fun traditions to make theme nights for each night, or a gelt pocket present Hanukkah calendar.
Find it at: www.etsy.com/shop/thezestynest
Light it up!

#happyhanukkah #hanukkahcalendar#hanukkahthemenights #hanukkahtheme#chanukah #chanukahtheme #gelt#hanukkahpresent

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Chocolate Pie

I saw this on the Today Show years ago-- maybe around New Year's.

Anyway, I skipped making the crust and just bought a vegan one .

This is SO easy and delicious-- I make 2 pies at once.

It is supposed to be served warm, but I really prefer it chilled:

1 crust (bake it 10 mins)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup milk (I used almond milk)
8 oz 365 brand chocolate chunks chips
2 eggs, beaten

Heat a pan and add milk & cream.
Once it boils, take it off heat and whisk in the chips till totally melted and mixed.
Add eggs and completely mix in.
Scrape into pie shell and bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  (If it's jiggly in the middle and you want to serve it warm, bake longer-- if you want it chilled, allow it to cool, then chill at least 1 hour.)

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Our Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu

We love Vegetarian Thanksgiving!  Honestly-- I think we get more veggies in (compared to the traditional meal) by about 200% and still feel so full we take a family nap in the afternoon!

More than half of our Thanksgiving meal is vegan-- but all of our desserts are vegetarian and my two little ones' favorite dish on Thanksgiving is mac & cheese.

 We may try to slowly veganize that mac & cheese, but over the last 10 years we went from full out turkey and everything to vegetarian Thanksgiving, and now (mostly) vegan.  So these recipes were slowly added in and eventually the ones I grew up with became unappealing to me after a few years of Thanksgivings.

Take a peek (or taste!) at all the recipes that end up on our Thanksgiving table and see if there's anything you can replace to start having a more plant-based Thanksgiving holiday.

Our Thanksgiving Menu (scroll down for recipes):

  • 365 brand vegan stuffing
  • Vegan gravy
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Mac & cheese
  • Big chunky salad (avocado, nuts, greens, cranberries)
  • Green beans almondine
  • Roasted veggies
  • Cheese plate


  • Vegan pumpkin pie (vegan crusts)
  • Chocolate pie (vegan crusts)

I can honestly say-- I have never tasted a better gravy than this vegan gravy.  And having a huge chunky salad instead of a turkey feels so much better in my body.  And it was hard for me to part with Pepperidge Farm stuffing a couple years ago-- but HOLY COW-- 365 brand vegan stuffing BLOWS IT AWAY!  Like, but a LOT!  Better tasting AND no crap added.

  • Vegan stuffing:
    In a hot pot, melt 1 stick Earth Balance
    Saute 1 cup finely chopped celery + 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
    Add 2 cups water + 1 vegan Rapunzel boullion cube
    Add 2 bags 365 brand Vegan Multigrain Stuffing and mix
    Bake 25 minutes at 350 and serve!

    Vegan gravy:
      • 1/2 cup oil (avocado, oil, grapeseed)
      • 1/3 cup chopped onion
      • 5 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
      • 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
      • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
      • 2 cups vegetable broth
      • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

      1. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the broth. Season with sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened

      2. Mashed potatoes:
      3. 5 lbs (1 bag) russet or yellow potatoes
      4. 1/2 stick Earth Balance
      5. 1/2- 1 cup 365 brand unsweetened almond milk (to desired consistency)
      6. Real Salt to taste
      7. Boil potatoes (put cut in large pieces in a pot of cold water, then turn on high)
      8. Put Earth Balance & milk in large bowl. Once potatoes come apart when you stick a form in them, scoop with wire skimmer into the bowl. Mash with hand masher.

      9. Mac & cheese recipe is here

      10. Big chunky salad (avocado, slivered almonds, greens, cranberries, arugala, kale, goat cheese, purple cabbage)

        Optional: Roasted veggies: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, sweet potato-- toss in avocado oil, salt and roast at 400 for 35 mins

      1. Green beans almondine:
      2. Fresh green beans
      3. Slivered almonds
      4. Lemon
      5. Salt
      Steam beans-- toss in the rest!

      Roasted veggies:
      Chop up cauliflower, Brussels sprouts-- any other veggies you like (carrots, sweet potato, onion, etc)-- toss in avocado oil & salt-- roast for 35-45 min at 400

      Pumpkin pie-- I use Minimalist baker's recipe, but with pre-bought vegan crusts

      Chocolate pie, click here

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The foods we eat at Mother Daughter Book Club

I'm part of a fabulous Mother Daughter book club based on Her Next Chapter.
Every month, we read a book, then we get together and each bring a food that was mentioned in the book.  I think that might be the best part! 
For November, we read Tortilla Sun and had some of the delicious foods featured in the book. The recipe for vegan homemade tortillas is here.
Homemade tortillas – I am no Nana, I could not get them round like the sun!… Slow cooked black beans, avocados, tortilla chips… All kinds of goodness. This was a great book to end the year on and we are excited for our book throw down next month to pick our 11 books for 2018. 📚📚

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Pebble Meditation Bags

We had a cozy little family meeting early last weekend in the backyard. We read this wonderful book on pebble meditation. We wish we had learned about meditation as children, so we want to start planting the seeds with our kids. We read the book, each made our own pebble meditation bag, and practiced the four meditations together. A Handful of Quiet is a wonderful book to get started with little ones on meditation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Daily Checklist

I was having a hard time… Getting started on a regimen...and then stopping, getting started again, stopping… So I decided to sit down and think of 10 things I could do every day that weren't too hard. An easy-ish list that would start to push me into a pattern that I couldn't stop so easily… I came up with this little daily checklist for myself and it's really been helping the last two weeks. I feel really good when I can check something off, and I feel like it helps me to continue making good choices, and even if I make a not so great choice, I just try to check another thing off.

Want to print copies for your week?  Click here.

👍#goodchoices #selfcare #healthyliving#dailychecklist @bragglivefoods @wholefoods #iodine