Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce (and it tastes like cheese!)

STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING! A miracle has occurred!

I found a VEGAN cheese sauce that I actually like! I can hear it now, “But Dotchi… Bacon and cheese isn’t vegan.”

I know! That’s why this recipe is so cool. It is vegan but it tastes like Bacon Cheddar spread you would buy for crackers, only it tastes better… and spicier. I should warn you: I like spices. You can adjust the intensity to your liking though.

First the recipe because it drives me nuts when I have to scroll through 40 pages of recipe tales to get to the actual recipe. I am adding links to the stuff I use. I get nothing for this (I wish) this is just to help new cooks and those unfamiliar with some of the ingredients.

Further down I will tell the story of how I got to this…

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Vegan mac and cheese

Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Ingredients List in order of use (don’t judge it by the ingredients)

Step 1 ingredients

  • 2 cups Sweet Potatoes (the white ones, not yams) peeled and cubed
    • You could use regular russet, red, or golden potatoes.
  • 1 cup Carrot, peeled and cubed
  • Water for boiling

Step 2 Ingredients

  • 1/4 Cup Canola oil or Olive Oil
    • Honestly, you can use whatever oil you have on hand. Soy, Corn, flaxseed, avocado… As long as it is an edible oil and not automotive oil or snake oil.
  • 1/2 Cup So Delicious Coconut Milk Creamer
    • You can use whatever creamer you like or use Almond or soy milk. I prefer the creamer because it’s thicker… and it’s what I had at the moment.
    • Water works too if you are out of creamer or milk. It just tastes like it’s missing something.
  • 1 TBSP Honey or, for the strict vegan, Agave Nectar or Bee Free Honee
    • I know some vegans who allow honey and others that do not. Depending on how it was… raised?
    • This is easier to get out of the spoon if you add it after the oil – slides right out. You’re welcome.
  • 1 tsp Salt (I use Pink Himalayan Salt)
  • 1/4 tsp to 1/2 tsp Ground Chipotle or Paprika (I use chipotle for the spicy taste)
    • DO NOT spend that much on ground chipotle unless you have to. That is a ridiculous price! Hell, you can grind your own for cheaper than that!
    • Use less if you can’t handle spicy foods. Smoky paprika shouldn’t be spicy but will add a nice flavor to it.
  • 1/4 cup White Vinegar.
    • I use white vinegar because that’s what I have but you can use Apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, or anything else you like. It will taste a little different. I’ve been known to use any wine I have lying around *cough*.
  • 1/3 C Nutritional Yeast. This is NOT Brewer’s yeast or yeast in the little packets!

Step 1 of Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

  1. Put the potato pieces and carrot pieces in a pot with enough water for boiling.
  2. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat for about 20 minutes or until the food pieces are fork tender. Fork tender means it’s really super easy to stab it with a fork. 
  3. Once tender, drain the veggies and place them in a food processor (or blender. I’ve done both. Either works just fine)

Step 2 of Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce

  1. Add all the other ingredients into the food processor or blender.
  2. Turn on your food processor or blender and run it until everything is blended and all smooth and creamy like.
  3. You may need to stop and scrape down the sides in between running it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes it cooperates.

It will look like this:

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Serve this over veggies, pasta, potatoes… I really loved it on broccoli!

How I discovered Spicy Bacon Vegan Cheese Sauce

Okay, now for the rambling chatty part.

My friend, Java, is allergic to milk and cheese. One of the things we’ve been trying to find is a cheese substitute. We ran into a few problems… 

1. Some “non-dairy” cheeses have casein, a milk derivative, in them.

  • To me, that is as stupid as putting peanut oil on cashews (even when they aren’t salted!) or putting soy lecithin in almond milk and then declaring it a safe alternative to soy (I think they all switched to sunflower lecithin – another allergen of mine but not as unreasonable as soy lecithin).

2. Daiya has xanthum gum, which isn’t very kind on the digestive system. And I didn’t really care for the taste. It’s been awhile and I haven’t retried it. It didn’t win me over though.

3. Some are impossible to find in the areas we live. I live in NW Montana and shop in Montana, Idaho, and Washington. Java lives on the east coast in a southern state.

4. We needed to avoid Cashew because of dietary restrictions on Java’s end plus, it’s impossible to find it not drenched in peanut oil. 

What we’ve tried…

I tried various alternatives I found, like a box of Macaroni and Chreese. It was gluten-free, dairy-free, and supposed to taste like regular macaroni and cheese. I know what regular macaroni and cheese tastes like. It wasn’t even in the same ball park. It was like macaroni and dirt vomit. 

I tried a few others and they just flat sucked. They didn’t even have a hint of cheese flavor. They either tasted like dirt, vomit, bitter lemons, or something like that. They just were not good.

We also tried whatever store brand we could actually eat. But none of them had a good flavor. 

Mouth feel – It’s not really a criteria, but it does help.

And I haven’t even touched on mouth feel yet! (<- Hahaha, see what I did there!)

I am not a huge “mouth feel” kind of person. I survived on puree mush for quite a while. If it just has the flavor I am mostly happy. Hell, I drank pizza that wasn’t too bad!

BUT, mouth feel does compliment or destroy a food. If it’s supposed to be “melty and delicious” but comes out tasting like ass and having the consistency of curdled milk… nope nope nope!

Alternatively, if it’s supposed to be like pancakes, soft and fluffy, but comes out kind of flat and dense but tastes pretty okay, I can handle that.

But it takes a LOT to make “mouth feel” make or break something for me.

SQUIRREL ALERT! 

A.D.D. is easy as 1-2- OH EM GEE! A SQUIRREL!
Hey Sparky!

My worst mouth-feel story was vegan chocolate pudding. It had maple syrup, avocado, and cocoa powder. I like maple syrup. I like avocados. I like chocolate. So I didn’t think it would be too bad. I thought it might taste a little weird with the avocado.

But, meh, I made it anyway. I have never gagged so hard on something before in my life. It coated my mouth with a goo that felt like snot, acted like glue, and clung to my uvula for dear life. Luckily, the stomach acid helped clean it off as it went rushing by. It was absolutely horrible! 

Vegan Cheese Google Search

The other day, I was surfing around Google looking for something not food related when I found this link… 

Life-Changing Vegan Cheese Sauce

It’s gluten-free. It’s vegan. It’s cheese-ish. It looks like cheese sauce. It’s freaking orange!

She created hers from another recipe. You can find it here. It’s a nut-free, yeast-free, dairy-free, vegan, cheese-like sauce.

I looked at both and noticed that I would not be eating those because they call for soy sauce or coconut aminos. I can’t have soy. The coconut aminos are too expensive for me. Also, I can’t have lemon or paprika. Almond milk is out for us but I could use coconut milk. I altered the recipes to suit my needs and started cooking.

I made the first batch with the substitutions and it was pretty okay. Was it cheese-like? No. Was it a good substitute? Yes. I think it was.

Sharing the cheesy joy – the substitutions

Then I wanted to make it and share it with my older son and that’s when I ran into problems. He can’t have garlic, onion, lemon, or mustard. Also, I can’t have paprika. So there went a lot of flavor.

I substituted paprika for chipotle because I didn’t have any cayenne or mild pepper. I felt ground jalapeno would be too much.  

I added honey instead of lemon (a common substitution for me) because vinegar went in for mustard. I figured the lemon was probably for smoothing out the taste which is why I picked honey and not lime juice (which I am out of).

I think the mustard added zing to it so when I substituted it to share I just added vinegar since mustard is just mustard seed ground and LOTS of vinegar.

I skipped substituting the garlic and onion since chipotle is so much stronger than paprika.

I used sweet potatoes because I don’t react to them like russet potatoes (which is a rather painful reaction I would like to avoid).

I tinkered with the recipe a couple of times. I tossed one batch because it was too… something. It just wasn’t tasty. FINALLY, I came up with the recipe you see above but not with as much nutritional yeast. 

I liked it okay but I decided to add just a LITTLE bit more nutritional yeast. Fun fact: The nutritional yeast lid has two sides. One for sprinkling nutritional yeast and one for accidentally dumping too much into the blender. Whoops.

I decided it couldn’t be worse than some of the other concoctions I have come up with so, I blended it in.  

Vegan Spicy Bacon Cheese Sauce was born!

Then I tasted it. I couldn’t place the flavor at first. Cut me some slack… I haven’t had bacon, real or fake, since August 25, 2010. I had my son try it and I said, “Does it taste cheddary to you too?” He replied with, “It tastes like cheddar bacon spread you put on crackers.”

That’s when it clicked in my head! OMG! He was right! That was the flavor! I made cheddar bacon cheese sauce. Wait! No… I made VEGAN cheddar bacon cheese sauce. I also added too much chipotle. It was setting my face on fire.

I cut back on the chipotle, took out the black pepper I had added to my first batch, and carefully measured the nutritional yeast to see how much got to the “bacon cheddar” flavor. (1/4 cup for mild flavor, 1/3 cup for awesomeness)

We ate it by itself. I ate it with half the nutritional yeast which I think has a less bacon flavor but I like it. We also ate it on rice noodles. Today we ate it on broccoli and that is honestly my favorite way. It tastes so much like cheddar when on top of broccoli that I kind of impressed myself.

I finally dubbed it “Not-Cheese” and added it to the family recipe book.

I am more excited now about trying other recipes of homemade non-dairy cheeses and I’ll let you know when I try them.

My question to you is… 

How do you feel about mouth feel?

 

 

Weight Loss and Food

I was thinking about this today and thought I would post about it – so this is going to ramble a bit.

At my largest weight, I weighed 300+ pounds. I say “300+” because I had stopped weighing myself when the scale said 301. My pants were size 28…. and then those didn’t fit. I bought elastic waist pants because I didn’t want to see the waist number growing. For awhile, I wore a denim pink dress and a couple other tent-like outfits because I could not fit in my clothes anymore. Honestly, I hated myself at this point.

Then I stopped birth control (depoprevara – I gained 60 pounds in 2 months) and the weight SLOWLY started coming off. I remember when I could fit in my size 28 pants again. I was thrilled. I never thought I would be thrilled to be a size 28. LOL

And over the years my weight went up and down. In 2010, I found out all the foods I am allergic to and stopped eating them. I dropped the weight – like it fell off!

I ended up getting down to 193.6 before the jerk doctor in K-town decided to give me steroid shots. I BALLOONED! I hit 250 (or 257 – I can’t remember) and I cried. I had worked so hard to better myself only to have one asshole totally erase that in one poor decision backed by bureaucracy. I hate work comp and that doctor for that to this day.

Now, the weight is coming off again. My only struggle now is that I am never hungry. I even waited until I got hungry to eat. After DAYS, the dizziness set in and I ate even though I wasn’t hungry. I still haven’t felt hunger. I have to remember to eat. I forget some days. I stick to my old dietitian’s and nutritionist’s standards for calories.

My first thing is – get over 1000 calories a day (I was getting 548 cal a day avg when I saw her)! Or at least try. After that, I aim for between 1200 and 2000 a day. They wanted us to try for between 1500-1800 as a generic but, I would be fucking thrilled to hit 1000 calories a day for a month straight.

As for my weight, according to one place, my recommended weight is between 125 and 169. If I was at the lower end of that, I would look anorexic. MY goal (and most doctors are cool with this) is to get somewhere between 150 and 170.

When I weighed 173, I was quite happy with how I looked, how I felt, my body, etc. I wasn’t SKINNY but I wasn’t fat either. I was just right and I want to get to that again.

It will happen. I know it will. I just have to be patient and diligent… and remember to eat.

50 Questions: My Favorite Recipe

I couldn’t think of my favorite recipe because I like all food. I decided that once or twice a month, I would share one I like. 

I did one earlier but I can’t find it so I am redoing the question. I will link it here if I ever find it again. For #3 on the list of 50 Questions

Today’s choice is Bone Broth. I am not going to go into details about the benefits. You can Google that or read about it here or here. I used this  recipe from Wellness Mama.

Here is what I use

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds of Beef Bones (or chicken or whatever you want. I prefer beef bones and even used baby back rib bones)
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Onions (optional)
  • Carrots (Optional)
  • Cheese cloth (for straining the stuff out) or a metal strainer

I forgot the picture of the next steps which is sad considering it cooks for two days. Meh, I am forgetful.

I use 1.5 pounds of bones per pot. By the way, if this post says anything about a pit, that is supposed to say POT but my phone thinks I am cooking in a pit this week.

  1. Roast the bones in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit, or 177 Celcius, for about 30 minutes to an hour… or until you smell beef and remember you are cooking bones and totally didn’t hear the timer. Either way…
  2. Once it is done, put them in a pot with all the grease.
  3. Add water to fill the pot and add 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar.
  4. Let it soak for a couple of hours or until you remember you are making bone broth.

Adding the veggies!

  1. Chop the carrots and onions into chunks and throw them in the pot.
  2. I also add sweet potato peels, onion ends, yam peels, and anything else like that.
  3. At this point you can flavors like basil, parsley, etc. If you are adding garlic, add it on the last day 30 minutes before you take it off the stove. I have no idea why. That is what all the directions say.

Time to cook!

Bring it all to a nice rolling boil. Some people say skim the bubbles off, some say don’t. You can choose to skim if you want. I always forget to so mine is bubble infused.

After it’s at a rolling boil, I let it boil until I realize I am still cooking and then I turn it down to 2 (low/ simmer) on the stove.

As the water boils off, I heat up a pot of water and then pour it into the bone broth pit. See?! My phone is Autoco-wrecking “pot” to pit EVERY TIME!

Anywhoodles, let it simmer away all day and night and day and night, refilling the water as needed. I also keep a lid on it through the process.

When it’s done two days later -this isn’t from me forgetting I am cooking, this is how long it acually cooks- I strain it all through cheese cloth to get the bone and veggies out. I usually eat the good veggie chunks.

Refrigerate it to cool it and solidify the fat and grease. Then I scoop the fat gobs out because ew.

It will look like this when done

 

This isn’t eye-candy food. But it does taste good! And pouring it through the slatted side helps get more fat out.

Here it is heated up so you can see you won’t be sipping broth and chewing fat globules. 

You won’t get all the fat out

It’s actually really good. You can add salt if you want or other spices. I like mine plain or with a touch of basil.

There you have it!

Have a recipe you want to see me make allergy friendly?

Let me know and I will do my best!

 

Disclaimer: All the links on this post are affiliate ad link free. You can click freely if you would like.

How to Remember How Much You Drank

I sometimes forget how many times I filled my 32 ounce water bottle. Was it two or three times? 

Easy way to remember, each time I fill the bottle, I put a hair band or rubberband around the neck. Now I know, just by looking at it, that I drank 64 ounces today (once I finish this bottle).

Thought I would share.

Bone Broth: My First Batch

I got so excited when I read about  Bone Broth (AKA stock). Granted, I don’t think it’s the miracle cure-all that people say it is. But, I was willing to try it since my normal state is undernourished. 

I ended up getting beef ribs because bones are harder to find than I thought. I will have to search the Amish store later. I also had friends tell me to ask at the store as they do have them. But this batch was from rib bones.

Making a batch

I started by soaking the bones in cold water with apple cider vinegar for about two hours. I forgot to set an alarm so it wasn’t exact. It may have been a little more or a little less.

I chopped up what was left of an onion and then about 4 carrots. You don’t have to do this but I like those flavors. 

Then I added the chopped veggies, the bones, and the soaking water into the large crockpot and turned it on high. I let it cook for about 10 hours on high, then turned it to low overnight.

By the next morning it had boiled down so I added more water and turned it back to high until it was a rolling boil again. Then I turned it back down to low for the rest of the day.

Trying a taste at 24 hours

I decided to try a half cup at 24 hours to see how it tasted. It was meh. Not horrible. Not delicious either. I was seriously questioning if it was worth it.

48 Hour Taste Test 

At the 48 hour mark the broth was smelling SO good! It smelled like a heavenly soup with a roasted beef undertone. I had to try it again.

The second taste test was pretty good. It had a nice flavor. I ended up adding some garlic and letting it sit in the crockpot for a couple more hours.

Straining and Storing

I don’t have a huge container so I used a jug I have to store it in. I used a colander to strain all the veggies and bones out and poured the broth into the jug.

I have been storing it in the fridge and it seems to store well. It does have some fat globs floating in there but they are fine once I heat it up.

How is it working?

I have had a cup a couple times a day for the last two days. After the garlic, it tastes MUCH better! 

I do feel more awake. Before you get too excited, “more awake” is actually, “I can play on Reddit more” as doing almost anything still takes too much energy.

I haven’t had a ton of miracle healing but being a little more alert is a nice start.

 My gut isn’t hurting like it usually does. The twisting, cramping feeling that is normal for summertime is now an annoying sensation. That is a nice step up from the pain before. 

Just for those two, I am happy. And it tastes good.

What I am doing next

Next, I will add more gelatin to my diet again. It does help with joint pain. I haven’t done this in awhile because of the cost, but I am going to just grin and bear it next month.

I am going to also try chicken bone broth next. I heard fish broth is good but I’ll just have to trust them on that one. I have never cared for fish broth.

Have you tried bone broth? Do you make your own? Share your story in the comments.

Flintstone’s Meal!

Today I slow cooked some ribs. I am planning on making bone broth since I read it’s good for a lot of things, especially malnutrition. I figured I could take the bones and make it over the next day or two (or however long it’s supposed to cook).

I also have a lot of thinking left to do. I am still exhausted a lot. I have a service dog now too! But that means I have to walk and potty him which means I am in more pain and more exhausted. I thought about working on the blog right after morning walk and breakfast (which is actually noon for me).

So I will be trying that this next week (starting tomorrow). I’ll get a picture of Jack-Jack up also. I am really excited about having him as part of our family.