Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Holiday Polenta Fries


This holiday season, I've made a TON of recipes! Most of them were prepped in bulk for me for the week, but some were shared with my family. On Christmas Eve, I was asked to a bring an appetizer, so I searched for something that would be a crowd pleaser. I thought about making artichoke dip or something that was hearty and veganized, but I honestly thought the tofu and vegan parmesan would not go over well in that dish. *They're an acquired taste*

I stumbled upon this recipe, made it my own, and it was eaten within 20 minutes of me walking through the door!

Here's what you Need:

- 2 tubes of Basil & Garlic Polenta (you can find these in the pasta section of Whole Foods), quartered and sliced into 1 inch fries
- Olive Oil cooking spray
- Sea Salt & ground black pepper
- Jar of your favorite marinara sauce (I used the Roasted Garlic Organics Brand)

Step 1:

Preheat the oven to about 450 degrees F. Make sure you line your baking sheets with foil and the olive oil spray. You might want to use multiple ovens if you have them since two rolls of polenta won't fit on one sheet.

Step 2:

Place your cut polenta fries on your baking sheets and spray them lightly with the olive oil spray. Season them with salt and pepper. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. When they are crisp, but not burned, they are done!

Step 3:

Heat up your marinara sauce in a sauce pan. I did this for about 10 minutes on low heat, then poured them into a serving dish. Place the polenta fries around the sauce, dip, and enjoy! These are best when they're served warm with the sauce :)


This is a great dish for any occasion, but the garlic and polenta are super hearty and perfect for a holiday event! They taste like breadsticks, and I'll definitely be making these again since they are SO simple and absolutely delicious!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and share it with a friend! :) If you are a transitioning vegan or new vegan in need of community and support in safe space, make sure you join my Vegan Girl Gang community on Facebook! Click here to join the party <3




Tuesday, December 19, 2017

My 2018 Health & Happiness Community

It's time to get OBSESSED!!
I talk to so many women on a daily basis who get STUCK when it comes to committing fully to a health and fitness routine and simply putting themselves FIRST! Let's start 2018 by really making YOU a priority and getting the accountability you need to become the HEALTHIEST & HAPPIEST version of you! :)
Introducing my revamped 2018 Health & Happiness Community: 80 Day of Self Love, Killer Brand New Workouts, & a Kickass Meal Plan for your Lifestyle to Start 2018 with a BANG!!
What you get in this 80 Day Bootcamp:
- VIP Access to our app with daily accountability in a group setting
- A guided fitness routine for 80 days with a different workout each day (no getting bored or hitting plateaus, and this can be done in the comfort of your living room)
- A customized nutrition plan for your goals and dietary preferences for the whole 80 days (what to eat, how much and when--brand new vegan meal plan option too!)
- 30 day supply of my daily Superfood Smoothie (which has allowed me to not only stay on track with my health and fitness, but it has improved my immune system, digestion, curbed my cravings, and upped my energy levels!)
- Access to our exclusive online Bootcamp and community group, where we will be checking in for support, guidance & motivation
- Weekly private check-ins with me, your personal health coach, where we will track your progress and how you're feeling!
- Optional pre-workout (to help you CRUSH the workouts) and post-workout protein for your muscle recovery (to give you better overall results)
- Resistance bands and sliders that you will need for the workouts
- Portion control containers and a shaker cup for your superfood smoothie and supplements
- Access to all of the workouts online which you can stream for a full year (just like Netflix, but for workouts!!)
- Prizes for completing the program and/or participating in our online community group


This is the program we will be doing as a community:
Registration officially opened the 14th, with special pricing until the end of the month. It is a first come first serve group, with only 20 SPOTS available. The pricing depends on which package we would choose for you.

To secure YOUR spot, simply fill out this application to let me know you'd like to move forward and talk about which package option you would like.
Again, here is the application:
https://goo.gl/forms/rcPBwyomMrDeAHMZ2
You have the power to change your life. If your health is your priority, you'll find a way to put it first. Let's do this together girl.
LaurenMcHughHealth@gmail.com
<3

Vegan Garlic Mac N' Cheese


How can you go through the holidays without some savory vegan comfort food?! I have been wanting to try a new vegan mac n' cheese dish that isn't just made of carrots and potatoes, and THIS.IS.IT.

Cashews, nutritional yeast, roasted garlic, almond milk...aka Vegan HEAVEN!!



Let's talk Ingredients:

- 1 head of roasted garlic (this makes SUCH a flavor difference!!)
- 10 oz of any type of noodles you like. I used Organic Chickpea Fusilli, as well as a few ounces of lentil penne pasta to up the protein ;)
- 5 cloves of minced garlic
- 4 tbsp flour
- 2 cups original unsweetened almond milk
- Himalayan salt and black pepper to taste
- 4+ tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1/4 - 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs



Step 1:

I've honestly never roasted garlic in my life, so this was new for me. It's easy enough though. Simply preheat your oven to 400 degrees F and cut off the top of the head of garlic. Wrap it loosely in foil and drizzle the top with some olive oil and salt. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour. If it's golden brown and smells up your entire home, it's ready! 

Step 2:

Make your pasta in the meantime. The chickpea pasta takes about 11 minutes. Set aside.

Step 3:

Time to make the amazing cheese sauce! Heat a large skillet over medium heat (I'd recommend a wide sauce pan so it doesn't overflow). Add 4 tbsp olive oil, minced garlic, and stir for a few minutes. Then add in the 4 tbsp of flour and whisk for another minute. You'll want to be quick, as it clumps rather fast.

Step 4:

Add almond milk 1/2 cup at a time, whisking until 2 cups have been added. Cook for a few minutes and then remove from heat.



Step 5:

Transfer sauce to a nutribullet and add 1/2 tsp of salt, pepper, your vegan parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, and the roasted garlic. You'll need to squeeze the bulb to push out the cloves. Blend everything until it's creamy. 


Step 6:

Return to skillet and warm up the sauce. Add your cooked pasta and mix the sauce to cover the noodles. Turn your oven on broil, get a small pyrex dish, put your cheesy noodles in the sprayed dish, and top with vegan parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Broil for about 1 minute (mine burned just a bit).


Step 7:

Serve right away! I made some roasted purple cauliflower to go on the side, and it's delicious with a bit of Sriracha on top!


This was absolutely AMAZING!! Please try it out and let me know your thoughts below!! If you have any holiday dishes you'd like me to veganize or make healthier, comment below or shoot me an email :)






Monday, December 18, 2017

White Bean & Loaded Veggie Soup


I'm not a big soup person. In fact, when I was searching for different types of holiday recipes, I really wanted to avoid soups because I find them pretty dull.

But since I'm creating vegan holiday recipes, I knew there had to be at least one winner out there. I completely revamped this recipe, loaded it with veggies, and my secret weapon....Soyrizo (say whaaat?!), and it was freaking PHENOMENAL. It was even approved by my omnivore dad, who also ate the veganized french bread with vegan butter and nutritional yeast. Yup, WINNER!! ;)



Here's what you need:

- 1 large yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup carrots, sliced
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt and black pepper
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, quartered (I used about 2 medium ones, rinsed and skinned)
- 2 zucchini, quartered
- 2 14.5 oz cans of fire-roasted tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- 5 cups veggie stock (this was an entire container plus a cup from another one)
- 1 15 oz can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 package organic Soyrizo (I found this in the tofu section), crumbled and cooked with a little olive oil on medium heat for around 10 minutes (this adds a nice kick!)
- 3 cups cabbage, chopped


Step 1:

Chop all the veggies. This takes the bulk of the time. You can also stir fry the Soyrizo at this time.

Step 2:

Add 2 tbsp olive oil to a large pot. Add in the onion, garlic, carrots, and stir. Add some salt and pepper, then all the spices while stirring.


Step 3:

Then add in the zucchini, sweet potatoes, fire-roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce, and veggie stock. Let it simmer, then reduce heat to low and cover the pot. Set your timer for 15 minutes, then stir in the beans, cooked Soyrizo, add some more himalayan salt, and cover. Cook for about another 15 minutes.

Step 4:

Add in the cabbage, cover, and cook for about 5-10 minutes more. You want to make sure all the flavors have blended together.



Step 5:

You can now serve your delicious white bean and loaded veggie soup!! If you'd like, you can also get a small loaf of bread at the store and spread some vegan butter on it, with 21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F, add some nutritional yeast as well, wrap it in foil, and cook for about 15 minutes. Chop it up and dip it in your soup!


There are SO many servings of this soup, so I'd recommend freezing it or making it for a large holiday event! It's loaded with fiber, protein, vitamins, and veggie goodness! Add some vegan parmesan cheese and hot sauce to top it off! :)


If you try this recipe out, comment below and let me know how you enjoyed it! If there are any holiday dishes you'd like me to veganize, shoot me an email! :)



Friday, December 15, 2017

Excuses Do Not Change Your Life

So often I hear people making excuses for the most ridiculous things.
No matter what time of year, they'll always have the same excuse.
Excuses do not change your life, they keep you stagnant.
Want to know why?
You are not ready to take responsibility for your life and change your situation.



This stings, but look at every successful person. They didn't get to where they are now by making up excuses about not having enough time, resources, money, friends, family, support, etc. They got to where they are now because they failed forward, took responsibility for their lives, and changed what was necessary to move forward.

We all fail before we succeed--it's a part of life you might as well get comfortable being uncomfortable with.

Before I decided to put my health first, I faced eating disorders, binging, self hate, lack of funds, self doubt, different priorities, relationship problems, anger issues, and a perpetual cycle of depression.

I had to make a DECISION, make MYSELF a priority, and fail forward by taking it one day at a time. What do I mean by failing? Trying and not succeeding right out of the gate. If changing your life was easy, everyone would be doing it and living happily ever after.

But newsflash: no one is coming to save you. You have to do that yourself.


So I want to share with you something very powerful about all your excuses going through your head. Because I know that's happening.

They are simply justifications for why YOU are standing in your own way. I come from a place of tough love, because that is how I woke the hell up and realized that I'm the only person in charge of my life. If I couldn't change what needed to be done, I might as well give up. Because I'm on this planet to live big, have no regrets, and be the happiest and healthiest version of myself. That didn't come easy, that took me practically my whole life to turn around, but I'm here, I'm healthy, I'm happy, and I now help other women do the same.

But not when they're still stuck. Stuck and an excuse mindset = not ready

"Do any of the following sound familiar? I don't have the money, I have kids, I don't have kids, I am married, I am not married, I have to find balance in my life, I am overworked, I am underworked, too many people work here, we don't have enough people, my manager sucks/doesn't help me/won't leave me alone/is negative/is too jacked up, I don't like reading, I don't have time to study, I don't have time for anything, our prices are too high, our prices are too low, the customer won't call me back, the customer cancelled the appointment, people don't tell me the truth, they don't have the money, the economy is bad, the banks aren't lending, my owner is cheap, we don't have/can't find the right people, no one is motivated, people have bad attitudes, no one told me, it was someone else's fault, they keep changing their minds, I am tired, I need a vacation, the people I work with are losers, I'm depressed, I'm sick, my mom is sick, traffic is terrible, the competition is giving its product away, I have such bad luck..."

*DEEP BREATH* "will any of these excuses ever improve your situation? I doubt it." -- Grant Cardone, The 10X Rule




If something is important to you, you will find a way.

If not, you'll find an excuse.

All we have is the present, and I know from experience that if you wait for the right day to change your life, it'll never come. There will never be a right time; you must be desperate enough and hungry enough to CREATE IT.

Are you open and willing to create yours?

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Candy Cane Superfood Smoothie


Ho Ho Ho and a glass of...Superfoods?!
Yes girl, you've probably seen me post about these a thousand times, but I can't help it...my health has changed SIGNIFICANTLY since I started drinking my daily smoothies and I want to pay it forward! And can I just say they're freaking DELICIOUS?!

For the past 4 years, I've had my superfood smoothie every single day. I now have it as one of my meals when I break my fast. It's a full meal, and as a college student when I first started drinking them....I NEEDED the nutrients.

Unfortunately with soil depletion, we simply don't get the nutrients our body craves...even if we eat 5 servings of veggies per day! So my smoothie fills that gap for me!! :) As well as it having some protein in it, there’s over 70 superfoods, prebiotics, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, digestive enzymes, adaptogen herbs, antioxidants, and SO much goodness. It’s all conveniently in a serving per day.

I could honestly talk about this forever because I’m most passionate about amazing vegan nutrition! I know it has completely changed how I view my lifestyle; my skin has cleared up, it’s helped me maintain my weight, it’s the most consistent food in my diet, I have so much energy from it, my cravings have diminished, my allergies have disappeared and I used to be in the doctors once a month (with horrible flu-like symptoms), my whole family has also seen major benefits and loves it, my clients don’t go a day without it….so short answer, you’re going to want it. And to continue with it daily. ;)
On that note, here is one of my FAVE holiday recipes with my all time fave flavor: Cafe Latte Vegan! NOM
What You Need:
- Your choice of Superfood flavor (again, I use only the vegan flavors, and my favorite is the Cafe Latte Vegan Shakeology)
- 1 cup of Unsweetened Vanilla Cashew Milk, or Almond, or any plant-based one! 
- 3-4 ice cubes
- 1/2 frozen banana
- Handful of frozen spinach
- 2 tsp all natural almond or peanut butter
- 1 tbsp Udo's Oil (alternative to fish oil you can purchase on amazon)
Toppings:
- 1 mini crushed candy cane
- Sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes
- A Few Dandie's Vegan Marshmallows 
- Mini dairy free dark chocolate chips

In a nutribullet, simply blend together the ingredients, pour into a beautiful glass, top with your delicious holiday treats, and enjoy!! Over 70 superfoods consumed, holiday cheer, and nutrient PACKED! If you want more info on my superfoods and how to join my accountability bootcamp with 30 servings AND a library of home workouts you can do at your disposal, simply shoot me an email and I'll send you an application! :) We launch in January and I'm solidifying my community THIS month! <3

LaurenMcHughHealth@gmail.com


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Holiday Buddha Bowl


I've always wanted to try a Buddha Bowl. I see them ALL over social media, and I feel it's my rite of passage as a vegan to jump onboard. Since we are in Week 2 of my Vegan Holiday recipes, I made a holiday version!! Root vegetables are SO delish and hearty this time of year, and the broccolini looks like Christmas trees ;)

You can always add a lot more vegetables, but I found it to be a perfect combination!


What You Need:

- 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion, sliced into thick wedges
- 2 or 3 medium sweet potatoes, skinned and quartered
- 2 bundles broccolini, chopped and de-stemmed
- 1 15 oz can of chickpeas (or 2 if you want more, I'd recommend this!)
- *optional: add kale or a bed of spinach

For the chickpeas:
- 1 tsp cumin
- 3/4 tsp chili powder
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp oregano

Sauce to top the bowl:
You can add a delicious peanut dressing (mine is from Trader Joe's), vegan ranch, or create your own! I couldn't find tahini, so make sure to plan ahead if you make this!

- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 2-4 tbsp of hot water to thin the sauce
*Mix together and top yo veggies!*

Step 1:

Chop up the sweet potatoes, onions, and broccolini. Set aside broccolini. Place the sweet potatoes and onion on 2 baking sheets and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle with olive oil.


Step 2:

While the oven is preheating, wash the chickpeas and then lay them out on paper towels to dry. In the meantime, get out a mixing bowl and all your spices. Once the chickpeas are dry (I had them out when I was chopping the veggies), place into a mixing bowl and add in all the spices--mix together.



Step 3:

Put the onions and sweet potatoes in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. While they bake, heat on medium high heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the seasoned chickpeas, and stir. They take about 10 minutes to cook, and you'll see they brown a bit.



Step 4:

After 20 minutes, remove the root veggies from the oven and add the broccolini. I sprinkled a little more olive oil on top, then put them back in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Step 5:

Prepare your sauce and put your bowl together! I doubled this recipe, so this can easily make 4+ servings with the potatoes alone! I use my portion control containers to measure out the carbs, veggies, and protein (chickpeas). I'd definitely get more chickpeas next time so I have more servings to enjoy! Sprinkle your sauce on top and enjoy! :)



This is my favorite holiday meal so far!! You know it's healthy when you FEEL amazing afterwards!! Light, full of fiber, and protein-packed! Please let me know if you try this recipe and add anything! 
It is absolutely DELICIOUS! 



Monday, December 11, 2017

Masala Spiced Tofu Scramble




Happy Week 2 of Healthy Holiday Vegan Meals!! This week I thought I'd put a spin on a vegan classic: the tofu scramble. I wanted to change it up, but try something low maintenance and super easy to whip up on a winter night ;)


My Masala Spiced Tofu Scramble is just one of my recipes for the week, but stay tuned for my Holiday Buddha Bowl that I'll be creating later this week!



So let's dive in to this super simple recipe!
What you need:

- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 1 yellow onion, thickly sliced
- Container of Garam Masala or Tandoori Spice Blend (I got this at Safeway)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
- 2 packages extra-firm tofu, pressed dry
- *optional: add some greens! I also think red bell pepper would be a great addition.


Step 1:

Before you chop the onion and cauliflower, make sure you start draining your tofu. I wrap both blocks in paper towels, and put heavy objects on top. The longer you can drain it, the better!

Step 2:

Add the cauliflower and onion to a mixing bowl. Stir in 2 Tbsp olive oil, 3 Tbsp masala spice blend, and some salt and pepper. You want it heavily coated so it looks like the picture above. Then lay it out on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. 


Step 3:

While oven preheats, put your drained tofu in the mixing bowl with leftover spice mix. Using your hands, crumble up the tofu. 

Make sure you've drained your tofu at least 30 minutes.

Add the olives, 1 Tbsp olive oil, several shakes of the masala spice, and salt and pepper. I'd recommend dicing the olives so they cook evenly with the scramble. You can add a splash of hot sauce for more flavor.
Step 4: 

Add the onion and cauliflower to the preheated oven for 25 minutes. While that cooks, preheat a large skillet with some olive oil. Add the tofu mixture to it.



Step 5: 

Since you used 2 packages of tofu, this will take a little bit to cook. Make sure you add more salt, masala spice, and some pepper to taste. When you see the tofu browning, it is about done! After the 25 minutes of roasted veggies, stir them around and cook for about 10 more minutes or so. 


Plate the dish with the roasted veggies on bottom, and top with the tofu scramble! I absolutely LOVED this dish, and while it is unique and not everyone will love the spices, I'd definitely give it a go! The ingredients are super easy to find (I got the garam masala at Safeway), and the prep for this was also very fast, making it convenient to make for a holiday dinner. It's also perfect for meal prep and protein packed! I hope you enjoy it :) Make sure to share with friends!




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