Best Sandwich You’ll Ever Eat

James and I are sandwich lovers, especially grilled sandwiches. Our favorite weekend meal is lunch because it means grilled sandwich, homemade potato chips and soup. We used to eat grilled avocado sandwiches, but since we’ve started eating locally, we don’t eat avocados. Sad. A few weeks ago, we were driving in the car talking about what we would eat for lunch when we got home and I randomly thought of a spinach, hummus and tomato grilled sandwich. The rest is history.

Seriously though, this sandwich is hands down the best I’ve ever made. We’ve had it at least three times since then. The best part? You can use any veggies you have on hand AND it’s all local!

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5 Minute Tomato Soup

Yet another one of the staples in our house that I can’t believe I haven’t shared sooner.  This is one of the easiest soups you could possibly make and goes with just about any sandwich, wrap or salad. I make this almost every weekend because it’s easy and is the perfect dipping sauce for our sandwiches! It also reheats well, so sometimes I make a double batch to heat up later in the week!

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Homemade Potato Chips

As you’ve probably gathered, James and I are big potato fans.  French fries are our favorite, but potato chips are a close second.  We quit buying potato chips from the store a while ago, but occasionally get the craving for them.  One day, I got out the mandolin slicer and realized I could slice potatoes thin enough to  make potato chips. It was quite the aha moment!

Now, I make potato chips about twice a week.  I make them fresh every time because they only take about 5 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to bake.  They’re the perfect side to a sandwich or wrap and not to mention only have 3 ingredients.  That seems to be my magic number lately: three ingredient peanut butter cookies, three ingredient strawberry jam and now three ingredient potato chips.  I can’t imagine going back to store bought potato chips, these are just too good.

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Kitchen Scrap Veggie Stock 

I’ve been making homemade veggie stock for months now. I’ve always felt bad using carrots, celery, lentils and herbs just to flavor stock. Sometimes I would save the cooked veggies and make a lentil or veggie soup, other times I would reluctantly throw it away.

Jennifer (James’ sister) came down Easter weekend. We got her two plant-based cookbooks for her birthday. The cookbooks look amazing, but I don’t have any personal experience.  But if you’re  interested and can handle vulgar language, you should check them out.  As she flipped through these books, she showed me a kitchen scrap stock recipe. I started a jar that day and haven’t looked back.  I’ve made it twice since then and it’s literally the best of both worlds. I get to recycle my kitchen scraps AND make deliciously flavored stock.

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Meatless Meat loaf

I have been making this meatloaf for a while now, and am disappointed I haven’t shared it with you sooner.  It tastes delicious and is a great weekend menu idea because there is almost always leftovers to have during the week! Not to mention the taste.  This is the perfect comfort food Sunday dinner served with a side of veggies and mashed potatoes and gravy.  I have never really been a meatloaf fan, mainly because I couldn’t stomach the idea of baked ketchup on top.  I don’t know if I’m the only one who’s mom made it that way.  (She got the recipe from my Grandma and so on and so forth.) Usually I could convince her to leave a piece not coated with baked on ketchup, but even then I wasn’t really a fan.  I found a lentil meatloaf recipe a while back and have modified it to make it taste delicious.  If mom’s meatloaf tasted this well, I probably would have enjoyed it more as a child.

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Easy Vegan Gravy

If you’re anything like me, mashed potatoes and gravy are a comfort food. They’re also essential for holidays like Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Mashed potatoes alone doesn’t really do the trick, they NEED gravy.  Something about that warm, creamy gravy combined with the potato is delicious.  My mouth is watering just thinking about it.  I tried a few gravy recipes before I finally got it right.  Some recipes were just way too complicated, others didn’t quite taste right.  No one has time to spend 30 minutes making gravy for it to not even taste like gravy, am I right?

Rather than try disappointing gravy recipes like I did, stick with the tried and true recipe.  I have made this recipe several times and it tastes delicious every single time. It only takes maybe 10 minutes to make and I promise, you won’t regret it.

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3 Ingredient Strawberry Jam

It’s getting to be summer which means: strawberry season! Yay! A couple weeks ago I got slightly carried away and bought a big basket of strawberries. I got it home and immediately thought to myself,”what am I going to do with all of these strawberries?” Enter: strawberry jam. I had been wanting to make it for a while and finally had the strawberries to do it. It is so delicious and extremely easy. Not to mention only has three ingredients compared to the store bought jams and jellies.  I’ve been putting it on everything from toast to pancakes and eating it right out of the jar.

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Shop Local, Eat Local, Be Local

It is getting to be that time of year where Farmer’s Markets are in full swing. Lucky for us, our farmer’s market is year round and always has lots of delicious foods. It has been a slow transition, but I can happily say I now buy ALL of my fresh produce from the farmer’s market. What’s so special about local food? I’m glad you asked. Let’s dive in.
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Coffee: The Good, The bad and The Decaf

Anyone who knows me, or follows me on Instagram or Facebook knows my love of coffee.  Ninety percent of people in North America consume coffee on a daily basis, so I guess that makes me part of the majority.  I drink coffee Every. Single. Morning. It’s what helps kickstart my morning and gets my day off to a good start.  I used to drink my coffee with a little cream, then I switched to almond milk, now I drink it completely black with a sprinkle of cinnamon every now and then.

I never really thought about the health effects of coffee.  I have read numerous studies.  Some saying its good for you because of the antioxidants, others saying it’s bad because of the high caffeine content.  So, who’s right?  Well, in all fairness, both points are correct.  Good news first or bad news first?

Let’s go with the bad news. Caffeine.  Caffeine has some pretty nasty side effects.  I usually only drink one cup of coffee a day, so I don’t think the side effects are as potent, but still something to be mindful of.  Caffeine can increase your blood pressure and makes your heart work harder.  It also increases acid production.  For my caffeine junkies who depend on it to stay awake, sip on this: Caffeine shuts off the part of your brain that registers tiredness.  It tricks your brain by blocking adenosine receptors.    Too much caffeine causes the brain to be flooded with neurotransmitters and causes neurotransmitter resistance and receptor damage. What ends of happening is your body becomes de-sensitized to caffeine.  So you end up needing more to feel the same effects, basically like any other drug. (I experienced this first hand. I will discuss it later)

Ready for the good news?  Low doses of caffeine can improve mental performance and protect against Alzheimers disease.  Coffee is a great source of antioxidants and has been shown to reverse liver disease and help protect against cancer.

I am not writing this article to tell you to stop drinking coffee, we both know I haven’t.  I am writing this article as a warning and to make you aware.  You should not drink more than 8-10 ounces of caffeinated coffee per day.  Also, you should drink decaf coffee for 7-12 days every month.  This will reset your adenosine receptors and re-sensitize your body to caffeine.  I did half decaf half regular for a couple of days before making the switch so I didn’t get a caffeine headache.  Remember earlier when I said I had experienced the de-sensitization? Here’s my story: I tried decaf coffee for one week. Before this I had been drinking regular coffee pretty much everyday for years.  It never affected me.  I could drink coffee at 8 PM and still sleep perfectly fine.  When I tried to switch back to regular, I couldn’t fall asleep at night (this was after drinking coffee at 8 AM). I thought it was a fluke, but it happened multiple times.  When I took away the regular coffee and went back to decaf, I slept like a baby at my usual 9:00 PM.  Now, I drink decaf every day.  Try it out for a week.  You might be surprised!