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?

 

 

Free or Cheap Hobbies. We Need Them.

Remember how I sometimes say, “Get a hobby!” in my posts? Like this post where I talk about rumors about me. Java reminded me about the hobbies list I am supposed to be making. Did I ever mention how forgetful I am?

Here are four hobbies for you to explore. I picked free or cheap hobbies ($20 or less) since most of my friends have limited resources. I will make more hobby posts later and add them to this post. The prices I am listing are the cheapest I can find here.

Feel free to add to the list by sending me a message. I’ll add it to the post. I’ll add your name if you want too.

I’ll assume that you have limited access to stores and no Wal-Mart nearby. So I will be using the stores in my small town or Amazon.com as pricing guides.

Hobby #1: Making paper beads

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A bowl of paper beads. All made by me!

Price range to start: Free to about $15

You will need

  • Scissors $1
  • Elmer’s glue $1
  • Round toothpicks (not flat or square) $1.59 or a paper bead roller (I don’t have one because they are about $10)
  • A small piece of cardboard or Styrofoam to stick the toothpicks in while the beads dry (I am going to guess you can find this for $1 – I use what I have)
  • Colorful paper, newspaper, magazine pages, or any piece of paper you have lying around the house
  • Optional: Sharpies or other markers to color white paper so you can make patterns – Sharpies can be pricey but I suggest those to off brand markers since they don’t run when use you run glue over them. I have found Sharpies for about $5 for a basic pack
  • Optional: Judikins Diamond Glaze ($5) to make them shiny. Modge Podge is horrible on the beads as far as long-term goes. While this is optional, I highly suggest it. I’ve also used shellac before. It lasts a lot longer, not that it matters! A bottle of Judikins lasted me a year.

The hobby

Cut strips of paper into triangles (or other shapes), then wrap it around a toothpick and glue the end down, then coat with Elmer’s glue to create beads. You can finish them off with Judikins Diamond Glaze. I suggest this product over Modge Podge as it works in any climate or humidity. I found Modge Podge remains sticky forever when I lived in Tennessee. 

Resources

This YouTube tutorial shows you how to make basic and fancy beads. The thing I like about this video is she shows you all the neat things you can buy to make paper beads and also explains some of the issues you could run into (like not enough glue). The only thing I do differently is that I leave my bead on the stick for a minute for it to dry while I am making another bead. I leave them on the stick until I glaze them. 

In the video above, the basic bead tutorial starts here. If you already know how to make basic beads, shaped paper beads tutorial starts here where she shows tube beads, pointy end beads, ball beads, saucer beads, triangle (or cone) bead, and a double bead.

Section 3 of the video has ideas for decorating your beads and shows all the optional things you can do to your beads. The only thing I disagree with is putting water in your glaze. I don’t like the way it looks or how it lasts. I put on the glaze like I do the glue. This is the section that makes the paper bead hobby get expensive!

I will try to get my shit together long enough this week to make a video on how I make my beads. Or a post. But jennibellie does a much better job than I ever could.

Variation? Plastic Bottle Beads! I am going to try this but it’ll cost a little more if you don’t have nail polish (can get it at the Dollar Store). I am sure you can get creative though!

Hobby #2: Coloring or Drawing

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“Scaredy Cat” By Dotchi Latham

Price range: $1 to $10 to start. 

You will need

  • Crayons, color pencils, or markers ($1)
  • Coloring book or Paper ($1)

Adult coloring books are a lot of fun and run from cheap to OMG! If you have a printer, you can print out pictures to color instead of buying a book.

For drawing, you can use any piece of paper you can find lying around the house. I use printer paper (which was about $3 for the whole pack). You can find drawing tutorials with a quick Google search. You may not be Picasso when you start but keep going! It’s fun to try and it takes my mind off of stress.

Coloring is good for stress and quite therapeutic. Thought I would throw that out there.

Hobby #3: Crochet or Knitting

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A scarf I made!

Price range to start: Starts at $8 but probably closer to $20

This one can get pricey. But it’s a fun hobby and you can use what you make.

You will need

  • A crochet hook or knitting needles (about $5)
  • Yarn ($3 a skein)
  • A pattern. (I would start with something easy like a scarf or a dishcloth)

A lot of the pattern websites will ask you to join the site to see the pattern. I tend to stick with Ravelry as some of the other sites spam the crap out of my email.

While this hobby can be expensive, I can find yarn and crochet hooks at the thrift store for almost nothing. So, while it CAN be expensive, you can definitely make it a lot cheaper by looking for deals and not hoarding yarn. This is the part that actually takes more practice than actually crocheting.

The best part of this hobby is that you can crochet hats, scarfs, and slippers for charities to help out others. Don’t think you can? There was an 86-year-old man who learned to knit so he could make hats for preemies.

Hobby #4: Hiking or Walking

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Price range: FREE! But you can buy things for it if you want.

This is another hobby that can be expensive if you let it. But really, all you need is someplace to walk to, a drink (stay hydrated!), and some time to enjoy it. 

You can drive to a rural area to hike and explore or try out some urban hiking.

You can combine this with photography (use your phone or a cheap camera) or keep a journal or blog about your hiking adventures.

What is your Hobby?

Java Asks “How Long Do You Rest Between Cleaning?”

I have a question … Let’s pretend that you are having a pretty good day not the best but pretty good. How long do you rest in between chores?

I got this text the other day and thought it would be better to go into details on the blog. I answered in text but it’s a shorter answer. Here it is:

Usually I work or clean for 10-30 minutes then rest for about an hour. Not even kidding. On a good day, I can rest for about 30 minutes.

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My longer answer is this…

When I was younger, I had this cleaning routine. My house looked GOOD! I was on top of the world. Now, not so much. I pick my battles with the house. I have levels of cleaning depending on how bad I hurt.

The Lowest Level: High Pain Day

On these days, I have a few lists I follow. Wake up routine, 420 List, and Before You Sleep.

My wake up routine is pretty simple now. I can do it on most of my horrible days. This is done after I go pee and take Jackjack outside to pee. This is done between the time I get up and 4:20 PM (the next list).

  • Get up!
    • Fold your blanket. I sleep in my recliner so I don’t make my bed. This is what I do instead. It becomes the dog/cat bed during the day. At night, they all sleep with me.
    • Feed Pets
    • Water Bowls
    • Scoop Poop (litter box). I’ll be honest, I do slack on this one. I try but some days my shoulders just kill me (have ever since Physical Therapy. I’ve never been the same).
    • Computer stuff (whatever I need to do that day)
  • Bathroom
    • Run a toilet brush around the toilet (usually done while I am in there)
    • Spray the tub if it needs it. (This literally takes one minute)
    • Wipe up your mess around the sink.
    • Empty the trash if needed. (I don’t empty the kitchen trash can though, it’s way to heavy for me.)
  • Kitchen
    • Did you eat something? (I have no appetite. I forget to eat)
    • Start dinner thawing or start it in the crock-pot. Plan what you are going to eat today.
    • Get someone to unload the dishwasher (I’ll explain later)
    • Load dishwasher.
    • Have someone start the dishwasher. (I’ll explain later)
  • Clothes
    • Did you change clothes? (Sometimes the answer is “Nope.” *checks box*)
    • Gather dirty laundry (on laundry day)
    • Look for dirty dishes and take them to the sink.
  • While you can still bend, tidy up the floor. Do it while you can! It will drive you nuts later!
  • Uncheck the 420 and before you sleep list.

420 Pain List

This list is all about pain management.

  • Have you taken your CBD oil?
  • Vape if you need it. 1 puff, wait 5 minutes. Repeat as needed.
  • Have coffee. How’s the headache?
  • Check the counter and sink.
  • Eat something.
  • Gather dishes and laundry. (This keeps me up and moving so I can’t just sit there and wallow in my own misery)

Before Bed or Sleep

This can be done from 420 on. It doesn’t matter when I do it, as long as it gets done.

  • Rotate dishes (someone empties, I load, someone starts)
  • Clean up the sink.
  • Clean the counters.
  • Set coffee pot
  • Set alarms
  • Scoop Poop
  • One Spot. (Put up shoes, purse, backpack, leash, coat, etc. Have it all in one spot so if you have to leave it is right there.)
  • Plan your meal for tomorrow (This is usually a mental thing. I just think, “bean burritos sound good” and that’s it.)
  • Uncheck the other lists
  • Go for a walk with Jackjack.

A note about the dishwasher.

Where I put (I’ll explain later) next to the dishwasher… this is the explaining part. I can either unload, load, OR start the dishwasher. I can’t do all three or I will be chair bound for days (or a week) from the pain. So, I have one kid unload, I load, and the other kid starts the dishwasher.

If we have a couple loads to catch up on, then the dishwasher stays parked in the kitchen (it’s a rolling dishwasher) and I will pile all the clean dishes on the deep freezer, load it again, and start it. Later, the kid that unloads can go through and put the pile of dishes away.

How I get shit done!

I’ll be honest, lately I haven’t done so well on this. But I am trying. Mostly, struggling. But still trying.

I do the basics first. That’s the three lists above. If that is all I can do that day, then so be it. That is all that gets done. If I can do more, then I use Motivated Moms to get me going and keep me motivated.

Frankly, four years of chronic pain gets to me sometimes. I don’t have pain pills to help the agony. I have marijuana and that is it. Some days, I push that to it’s limits.

I can’t clean like I could before. So using motivated moms makes me feel like less of a piece of crap. I feel like a failure because I struggle with my house. Having a check list that I can see that I am doing these chores and they got done… and it was EXTRA from my lists, that makes me not criticize myself so hard.

The rest breaks

I take rest breaks every 15 to 30 minutes, depends on how bad I am hurting. And then I stay put until the pain dies down some. That could take 30 minutes or it could take two hours. Depends on how horrible the pain is. 

If my pain is just out of control that day, I smoke and then take a nap. Some days, my kids know that I am going to be stuck in my chair all day. It happens. 

What is your cleaning like? Do you have to take breaks?

Java Asked: Low Carb Foods

I think I am going to make Java Asked a segment on here LOL. She gives me so many good ideas by asking questions. Last week she asked about low carb foods. Today I am going to share some ideas for the lowest carb foods that I can think of.

Disclaimer: I am not a dietitian, or a doctor, or a nurse, or any other kind of medical professional. This is not medical advice and should not be construed as such. This is just my opinion and research. see a doctor before changing your diet or doing anything else that might possibly kill you. Don’t just take the word of some random blogger who says she is crazy. If you aren’t going to go to a doctor, at least research it yourself. I’ll try to add helpful links to get you started at the end of the post.
Low-carb
By Telloxi (Own Work)[Public Domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Low Carb Foods

  • Nuts are always tasty.
    • Peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pistachio, and pecans. 
    • Word of caution for my allergic friends! Peanut oil is often used to coat other nuts. Learn from my mistake. Read the ingredients carefully!
  • Meat of any kind. Remember, my LowER carb diet didn’t have an “eat all you want” section. Eating anything in excess is not good for you… but let’s be real, some days pigging out on a steak, chicken leg, and some salmon feels kind of nice. That being said…
    • Turkey, chicken, beef, duck, and all kinds of fish!
    • Don’t deep fry your fish. Try cooking it on a grill with a bit of olive oil and seasonings. I always like a bit of garlic and onion. You could also add some paprika.
  • Eggs and cheese. I clump these together because I like to eat them together.
    • Any cheese is delicious. Honestly. I love cheese. If you want to try something new, go to the cheese section in your grocery store and find a new cheese to try. 
    • I love gouda, brie, blue cheese, and smoked cheeses.
  • Vegetables. There are a lot of veggies to try that are low carb.
    • This link has a section of above ground veggies that have lower carbs. (scroll down a little to see the veggies.
    • Actually, keep scrolling because the page has a lot of useful information.

10 Quick snack ideas

This is a list of snacks I liked when I was on the diet. I actually still like them. Some need to be prepped ahead of time to make them quick snacks.

Of course, there is always fresh veggies. But when you are sick of those, you can try these ten low carb ideas.

  1. Put a thin layer of pizza sauce on a plate. Sprinkle cheese on the sauce. Nuke in the microwave for a few seconds until the cheese is all melted. Enjoy. Careful. It will be hot.
  2. Nuts of any kind. Nut butter (try all of them!) on celery sticks is a great snack! If you hate the stringy celery bits, peel your celery with a vegetable peeler before making. Also, this is good with nut butter and jelly also. So light on the jelly though. 1 TBSP have about 15 carbs depending on the jelly.
  3. Yogurt is actually pretty good. But you have to check to make sure it isn’t loaded with sugar. Add a TBSP of granola or some ground nuts.
  4. Pickles. Dill to be exact. If you like pickles, you are in luck! One medium pickle has 1.5 carbs. If you truly want to try something crazy, bite off the top of the pickle, shove a finger down the middle of it and fill it with non-sweetened kool-aid powder. Eat it at your own risk. I like them. I am pretty sure I am the only one.
  5. Lunch meat. Wrap it around veggies or cheese. Careful with lunch meat. Besides the ingredients list being terrifying at times, it is really high in salt.
  6. Cook an egg and serve it in an avocado half with pepper and salt. You can thank me for this amazing dish later.
  7. This recipe right here. Add your own fillers to the mix for different flavors. This is good with just the egg too.
  8. Mini meatloaf. Same idea as #7 but done with meatloaf. I make mine with onion, food processor carrots (run it until it’s little bits), garlic, ketchup, a small amount of bread crumbs (to help it hold together), and egg. My recipe isn’t a science. I use what I have. Next time I make it, I will try to remember to post the recipe.
  9. Make a lettuce wrap instead of a sandwich. You put what you want (lunch meat, veggies, a little dressing) into a pice of romaine lettuce and chow down. My favorite was roast beef and cream cheese with some random veggie thrown in (usually broccoli).
  10. This one is not a quick snack. I just really like it. Make taco meat. Serve it over spaghetti squash, zucchini, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, or in a lettuce wrap. Add sour cream and salsa. Taco fix!

I will post the links a little later. I am exhausted from today.

Do you have any ideas for Java? Leave a comment below and I’ll pass it on.