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?

 

 

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Cabinet Peaks Medical Center – My how You Have Improved!

I didn’t post this week because of this. I thought I would share why.

Back Story – Before the ER Trip

I was having a blast with friends when I cross contaminated the pan I was using but didn’t realize it.

I figured it out a lot later. The oil brush I was using to coat the pan was the same one I used to coat the pan when I made pork for the boys. I made two batches of pork. I brushed the pan with oil between batches. The brush ended up with pork juices on it… and then I forgot to put it in the contamination sink OOPS!

So I am cooking, talking, and having a grand old time. My first tortilla gets done, the egg gets done (so that’s two things I have cooked in pork oil on both sides). I take a bite and swallow. I went to say something and as soon as I opened my mouth, I couldn’t breathe. At first I thought, “Must be something in my throat…” (why is that always my first thought???) and went for the sink to spit out everything in my mouth when I realized, DUH, I swallowed my food. I could feel that “marble stuck in my throat” feeling and I knew my throat was swelling… and it itched SO BAD!

AND Epi-pen to the leg!

At this point, my friend comes over and is cracking jokes about the Heimlich maneuver. When she sees me turning purple and asks in a serious tone, “Are you okay?” I managed to squeak out, “Epi”, and she went to get it. Of course, this is the one time I didn’t have my Epi-Pen on me in the kitchen.

I got the pen and stabbed myself in the leg and screw counting to ten. I just held it there until I could gasp for air in large quantities. Once I could breathe again, I did a quick count to ten then massaged the spot on my leg where I injected. My friend went to get my son and he helped me by getting the Benadryl. That’s when I noticed I was out of ranitidine (I found the back up bottle this morning. I have just enough to last until shopping day). I thought, “Meh. It’ll be fine.” and just took the Benadryl.

After 15 minutes (ish), I was still breathing okay. But, my throat still itched pretty bad (just not as bad as earlier). I was having waves of nausea so bad I was sure I was going to throw up any second.

Disclaimer: If you have to use your Epi-pen, call 911 and go to the hospital immediately. I have dealt with allergies since I was 9 years old. I know my body quite well. If I was responsible, I would go to the ER right away. But I deal with them often enough that I am not going to the ER every single time (even though I know I should). 

“But Dotchi, how is this different from your regular nausea?”

With my regular nausea, it’s the nausea where you think, “Man. I feel sick to my stomach and if I could only puke, I would feel better.” It’s rather mild. This nausea felt stronger and I was getting the “bubble under the tongue” I get seconds before I puke. Then it would dissipate and I would feel okay, only to have it happen a minute or later.

So I decided to call 911 at with my son’s encouragement (read as: “Seriously mom! Just go to the hospital!”). I hate going to the hospital because of the fear that it’s going to be that one doctor. I have an extreme fear that the man is going to kill me one of these days. Let me rephrase that: I HAD an extreme fear…

The ambulance showed up and I felt better seeing faces of people that have taken care of me before. I have to say, when I see a nurse that is at the clinic I go to, it made me feel so much better (not physically – just mentally). I got my little puke bag JUST in case, and we headed to the ER.

At Cabinet Peaks Medical Center ER

When we arrived my throat was still itching, just not as bad, and I was still having waves of nausea. I already knew everyone there by name because of my other trips to the ER and they were all nurses I like. YEAH! I was just hoping it wasn’t that one doctor who I fear the most.

The doctor was THAT doctor. So I was expecting hell and a complaint form afterwards. Instead I got …. a top-notch experience. 

Wait. What?

Yes! A good experience! He listened. He didn’t ignore what I was saying. He acknowledged my allergic reaction. He treated my reaction like I was expecting. He even came back in the room to make sure one of the medications was one I could have. It has dextrose in it (the non-dissolvable one does not but at the ER they have the dissolving tabs). Sometimes I have to pick my battles. I will take some pain and swelling over extreme nausea any day! 

For those of you asking why I didn’t just smoke some medical marijuana for my nausea. I don’t take marijuana and Benadryl together. I don’t feel it is safe.

The whole experience went well. I got checked in by the nurse/ EMT. My youngest son met everyone during this process. I got hooked up to the EKG. My vitals were still good when checked. I saw the doctor. I got meds. I played 20 questions with my son. I felt better. I got released. There were NO ISSUES

I… I am having conflicting emotions here. I am not sure what to think. I am so happy the doctor did a good job. I am cautiously optimistic that this is a good sign. I am going to check my records in a few days though. But… I am confused about this whole thing. He did good. He was polite. I am not sure how to react. I’ve spent the week thinking about it. I am just flabbergasted. 

Anyway, back to the post…

“How are you now?”

The next day, the abdominal cramps hit and I was poofy like I expected. I stayed on Benadryl, Ranitidine, and Ibuprofen for the day. My liquefied insides fell out by the end of day two also. I felt like a truck ran my over. I felt HORRIBLE but, at the same time, better also. (That’s hard to explain) And my leg was tender where I injected my Epi-pen. 

It’s been a few days since then. It happened on the 7th, I think… I lost track of days. Anywhoodles, over the next few days I recovered with no problems. I am now doing fine although I am a little rash here and there. Not sure what that is from. I think the two are unrelated? I can never tell with rashes.

But I had to share the good experience I had at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center’s Emergency Room. Plus, share the experience with the doctor because I am pleased with the experience.

50 Questions: My Bad Habit and Something I Lost

I decided to answer two questions since they have short answers.

50 questions #33 is

What are your bad habits? Share yours and why you won’t give it up. Ever.

My bad habit is…

Coffee!!! It’s really my only bad habit I can think of. I love coffee!

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Coffee Beans. Photo by Dotchi Latham.

Why I won’t give it up?

Migraines. It keeps the migraines at bay.

50 Questions #32: What is something you lost?

Psh, that is SO easy. First thing that popped into my head when I read this question: my virginity!

What? Don’t act you didn’t know. I gave birth to three boys. Here are two of them with Nana.

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Nana is so tiny next to them lol

Sorry, Mom. The stork didn’t really deliver my babies to me.

Happy New Years!

I had a blast for New Years. I played Jenga at my parents house at the New Year party.

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Jenga Champion 2016

Then went home for meds and hung out with the kids until the New Year rolled around. I had a drink of Candy Cane (1 shot Rumpleminze, 1 shot Hot Damn) and then ate Blueberries. Eventually I got tired and fell asleep. 

It was a lot of fun and I can’t wait to see what the New Year has in store. Please be an awesome year!

Happy 2017 Everyone!

New Year Resolutions? No thank you.

I have been thinking about this a lot this month. I want to do resolutions but I usually never stick to them because they are unrealistic. INSTEAD, I have decided on picking 12 goals (one for each month).

I won’t be doing the goals in that specific month though. Each month will have a theme and I am making a goal for that theme. Then my goal will be to get everything done by the end of the year.

If that makes sense… Here is what I have come up with so far.

  • January is something new. So learning Russian. I will be start the course over and doing it! 
  • February is something I love. Get all of my poems together and publish them. That’s the first thing I thought of. The second thing I thought of was to make a blanket for my children. But I am not sure I will be able to do that in a year. 
  • March is Spring and I usually do spring cleaning then. But this year, I want to get rid of a lot of stuff so I can work towards my plan of being homeless… or Home FREE. Now that I can drive again, it’s getting more real! I am super excited about that!
  • April – eh… What is there besides April Fools? Flowers? Rain? I am working on it. Sing in the rain? Make flowers? Grow a plant without killing it? I don’t know.
  • May – hmmm… What happens in May? Oh It’s National Bike Month! I will bike more? I need to find a way to carry my service dog while I bike. Any ideas?
  • June gloom – for this, I want to get a better hold of my depression and actually work on it and not pretend it doesn’t exist. Basically, focus on making myself healthier mentally.
  • July is independence! My goal for this is to get employed (working on it still… 4 years. Eventually someone will hire me), work on my writing seriously, and hopefully one of those will let me be closer to financial independence. Also, I am working on getting the van ready to live in and maybe figure out where I am going to park my RV.
  • August is my birthday month. Focusing on my health, I need to be more active. I know I can’t during summer but my goal will be to set goals in Google Fit and work towards them seriously instead of glancing at it, going “Welp, failed today too. Meh.” This time, I am going to actively work on it!
  • September is back to school. I am going to take the photography course here on reddit. I am stoked about this!
  • October is Leslie. She got me into the Earth’s Children Series which I got as my Reddit gift this year. I will read through all the books this year.
  • November is Thanksgiving. I want to try writing down things I am thankful for/ grateful for every day/ week. I did this years ago and really liked it. I drew a picture to represent every day and then I wrote what I was appreciated.
  • December, to my family, is about gifts. Every month, I want to find something I can give/ give back. A charity. Donations. A give away on my blog. Thanksgiving box for a needy family. Donate to Christmas is for Kids (a local charity). Donate to the food bank. Things like that. And just give back to my community.

Now to work on the missing month. Any thoughts on April?

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all are having a wonderful Christmas. If you aren’t celebrating Christmas, then I hope your day is the best ever. Today I am probably doing what I do every year. Having Christmas at my parents house!

I don’t look forward to much, but we have been doing this every year since 2008 and it’s the one thing I can’t for each year. Don’t you just love it when a tradition gets rolling?

We go to my parents, exchange gifts, and then spend time with each other. What could be better than family time? NOTHING! This is what I live for!

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Bad picture, I know. But isn’t that the cutest tree!?

While I enjoy my day, I hope you enjoy yours also. Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!