Load the Potato, Vegan Style

Majority of the masses believe that going vegan or vegetarian, limits them from enjoying the most simplest of meals. Loaded baked potato’s for example, is known to be sprinkled with bacon bits with sour cream falling off the sides. Not to mention the shredded cheese we add on top as well(especially down in the south). Now although that sounds amaze balls, your organs and immune system are screaming for you to stay away from dairy and meat products. Well then how in the hell are we suppose to enjoy a dang potato? Thanks to Erica over at Vegan Now located in South Africa, we have a great new way to enjoy a baked potato.

Ingredients

4 russet potatoes • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided (optional) • 1 19 oz can black beans or kidney beans (2 cups), drained and rinsed • 1/2 cup vegan BBQ sauce • 1 batch vegan white sauce • 1 small handful of chives, chopped • (US Customary – Metric)

Instructions

Preheat oven at 350F (180C) • Pierce the potatoes all over with a fork so steam can escape. Optionally, you can lightly rub the potatoes with a bit of olive oil over the skin. Place the potatoes directly on the rack in the oven, with a tray or piece of foil beneath to catch any drippings • Bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours (depending on the size of your potatoes) • Test to see if they’re done by piercing the potato with a knife, it should be soft all the way through • Cut a slit down the middle of the potato, (careful, it’s hot!), then using a towel or oven mitts, push the ends towards each other and the potato will pop open nicely • Fluff the insides with a fork.

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Then prepare the beans by adding them to a saucepan along with the BBQ sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes until the sauce thickens and the beans are heated through.

When everything is cooked and ready, assemble by dividing the BBQ beans among the potatoes, topping with the sauce, and finally adding a sprinkle of chives.

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

 

 

 

Vegan Chickpea Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten-free, Nut-free)

Most are not aware of this but, May 15th is Chocolate Chip Cookie Day J So today is the day you can finally have that cheat meal. Or is it? I have found a vegan recipe for chocolate chip cookies that is SURE to knock the socks off of your entire family (even the meat eaters), and make sure you’re not taking steps backwards in your healthy eating. This particular recipe comes from Detoxinista.com and is a pretty awesome vegan treat!

Ingredients: (16 Servings)

1 ½ cups chickpeas (cooked, or 1, 15 oz. can, drained and rinsed)
½ cup gluten-free oat flour
¾ cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar
¾ cup dark chocolate chips

*You can substitute Baking Soda (1 tsp. for 4 tspn. Baking Powder or 1 tspn. Potassium bicarbonate. Also you can make your own flour by simply grinding gluten-free rolled oats in a food processor or coffee grinder until a fine flour is created. 

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Process the chickpeas, coconut oil and vanilla in a large processor until relatively smooth. Add in the coconut sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and vinegar and blend until a smooth batter is formed.
  2. Add in the chocolate chips and pulse briefly until incorporated. Drop the dough by heaping tablespoons onto a lined baking sheet and use wet fingers to gently flatten each mound (they won’t spread a lot on their own.) Bake until the tops begin to crack and the edges are dry to the touch, about 18 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before serving.

“Egg-free and gluten-free baked goods tend to be on the softer side, especially if you leave them in an airtight container at room temperature. For best shelf life and texture, I recommend storing and serving these cookies directly from the freezer. If you don’t like cold cookies, they thaw relatively quickly (in about 30 minutes) and can be enjoyed at room temperature, too.”

Eye hope these are a great alternative to enjoying some of the best goodies known to man. And have a great CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE DAY!!!

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

Muff it up Vegan Style

Eye’ve been saying time and time again that just because you decide to jump on the “health bandwagon”, doesn’t mean you get to lose out on eating some of your favorite foods. It also help for those parents that are looking to transitions their picky little eaters into eating less processed foods, and healthier alternatives. We like to include everything from ribs and barbecue sauce, to vegan spaghetti from Sicily, for all kinds of different eaters. This particular snack recipe came from the beautiful Queen Camilla Denise when she decided to find a vegan alternative to crave that sweet tooth.

   Here is her take on some great vegan muffins that the whole family is sure to love!

VEGAN WALNUT  STRAWBERRY  BANANA  MUFFINS

Ingredients:

3 Burro Bananas

1 cup Agave (if you like sweeter add another ½ cup)

3 tbsp. of Grapeseed oil

1 cup of ½ garbanzo bean flower

2 tbsp. Seamoss gel

¼ tsp. Sea salt

¾ cup walnuts

About 2 cut up strawberries (or however many you prefer)

1 tsp. vanilla

½ cup Hemp milk

Instructions:

Bake on 375 for about 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thank you to everyone who takes the time to read over these recipes, and we hope that you and your family enjoy the goodness. It is important for us here at Empire of Gems to do our part in spreading healthy tips and suggestions for those looking for assistance. Not every change comes easy to everyone, so making small changes in your diet, like vegan muffins, can have a drastic effect on the overall progress of your self-evolution. So here’s to you and your health, because our health is our wealth.

 LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

Sicily’s Vegan

Eye am always on the lookout for alternative recipes so that my family doesn’t have to miss out on some of their favorite foods.  Eye pulled this particular recipe out of one of my favorite vegan cookbooks, written by Heather Bell and Jenny Engel, after they took a visit down the cobblestone streets of Sicily and stumbled upon this Italian masterpiece.

   FOR THE PASTA: 

Pinch Sea Salt  –  1 (16oz) package spaghetti or bucatini  –  2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

   FOR THE SAUCE:

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil  –  1 yellow onion, finely chopped

2 cloves, garlic, finely chopped  –  ½ cup raw almonds, chopped

½ tsp. sea salt  –  ½ tsp. red pepper flakes

1 (16oz) can tomato paste  –  1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes, drained

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice  –  ¼ cup red wine vinegar

¼ cup evaporated can sugar  –  1 tbsp. fresh thyme, stemmed and coarsely chopped

   FOR THE GARLIC OIL:

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil  –  3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

   TIP: Bucatini, a thicker, hollow relative of spaghetti, works beautifully in this recipe so if you can find it, give it a try!

TO PREPARE THE PASTA:   In a large pot, bring 2 quarts of water to a boil, add sea salt, and cook pasta as directed according to package. Drain pasta and coat with olive oil. Set aside.

TO PREPARE THE SAUCE1) Heat a high-walled pan over medium-low heat. Add oil, onion, and garlic and cook about 8 minutes, or until caramelized. Add almonds, sea salt, and red pepper flakes and cook 4 more minutes, or until almonds are toasted. 2) Add tomato paste, diced tomatoes, lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar and cook for 20 to 25 minutes, or until sauce is thickened, stirring frequently. Stir in thyme.

TO PREPARE THE GARLIC OIL:  In a small saucepan over low-heat, cook oil and slices garlic for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until fragrant. To serve, spoon garlic oil into base of pasta serving dish. Add desired amount of pasta over oil and scoop generous helping of thick sauce over pasta. Serve warm.

TIP: To further enhance the flavor of the sauce, cook it over a flame for up to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The purpose of pulling these vegan recipes from various cookbooks, is my way of helping those out that may not have the option to purchase literature, currently awaiting the delivery of one, or those simply looking for a quick fix for tonight’s dinner.

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA

Dallas Stand Up! This Queen is Representing!

Eye want to take the time to honor one of our very own Texas native woman, who is taking the term “giving back to your communities” to heart. Chelsia Renee, a 26 year old mother and day hairstylist with an entrepreneurial spirit, is putting in endless hours to create change for young ladies in the Dallas, Fort-Worth area. Although she was born here in Ft. Worth, her mother decided to move to Marlin, Texas to begin a new life, where she met Chelsia’s father. After growing up a bit she noticed that father was always on the lookout for ways and opportunities for betterment, and because of this, her family moved around a lot. DFW is where she has been stationed the longest, and she’s making some serious strides in her communities that we can’t help but to honor.

  During the day you can find her at the Chelsia Renee Hair Studio at Good Hair Day Salon, located in Duncanville on the south side of Cedar Ridge, in suite 259. Because Chelsia prides herself on women empowerment and self-love, she considers herself a Natural Hair Stylist. Meaning, she has the ability to transform your natural hair into a style all its own, that you are bound to love! She does however, provide protective styles for those interested. When not at the salon, Chelsia is putting in real work in her local community. She is the founder of Dallas’ own, Girls That Reach & Teach, where they support, educate, assist and empower young ladies and women to continue the legacy in making a difference in our communities. Girls That Reach & Teach (GTRT) speaks on the importance of mental health and creating healthy opportunities for progression and perseverance.

      We reached out to Chelsia to sit down with her for a one on one, just to pick her brain a bit and get more information on the wonderful things she’s accomplishing within the community. Here are some Q&A’s from her interview with us.

Empire of Gems (EOG): “Do you think you got your entrepreneurial spirit from your folks?”

Chelsia Renee (CR):  “So here’s the thing… until I met another part of my family that I never knew growing up and then realized ‘ahhhh, that’s where it came from’. … Plus I know it’s some ancestral isshh too.”

EOG:  “Eye see you spend your days doing hair, so what makes you different than any other hairstylist out here doing it?”

CR:  “There are times I feel extremely centered and connected, so I use those moments to still operate in purpose. Many of my clients leave and text saying how something I said has touched them, or they are now aware of something that they weren’t before they came in. I don’t try to be like any other stylist. I know my lane and I stay in it.”

EOG: “Eye noticed you have a non-profit organization here in DFW, what made you venture towards nonprofit?”

CR: “So many things. … The things I experienced growing up. I had great parents who instilled great things in me but, I didn’t always do what I was told and ended up in some unfortunate situations. As I grew older I paid close attention to the women in my family and I felt a responsibility to change some things. .. I sat on the vision for years and when I birthed my daughter Ayla Irie – Girls That Reach & Teach became a PRIORITY!”

EOG: “What inspired the name ‘Girls That Reach & Teach’?”

CR: “Well first, I WAS THAT! I was the girl who wanted more. It reflected my life, who I was, who I AM, and my purpose here in this life. The ‘Reach’ part represents learning, growing, evolving, and overcoming; while the ‘Teach’ part represents passing the baton to others”

EOG: “What do you hope to achieve with GTRT?”

CR: “I hope that through GTRT people are reminded of their purpose, I hope they know that they were created in divine order and with an assignment that only THEY can carry out. I hope that GTRT can serve as a reminder to people that they are more than what this world says they are and once they know it… they too will become a reminder to someone else who may need to be reminded.”

EOG: “Does GTRT offer any programs or extra-curricular activities to help keep young women on the right path?”

CR: “As of now we offer after school programs to provide ‘outreach’ INSIDE the school walls. We also host community events for the girls.”

EOG:  “If someone wants to get involved with Girls That Reach & Teach, where do they start?”

CR: “Don’t hesitate to reach out. The easiest way to get in touch with a GTRT team member is through email at gtrtoutreach@gmail.com you can also reach us at GTRTOutreach on Instagram and Facebook.”

EOG: “Before we go, earlier you stated that your ‘after school programs provide “outreach” INSIDE the schools’, how exactly does GTRT achieve this?”

CR: “Often times people associate “outreach” with community work… Outreach is an activity of providing services to any populations who might not otherwise have access to those services. So we take it INSIDE the schools. There were things I wished I could’ve learned about life while in school, those vital moments that mold us ‘in life’, we provide a space for the kids to talk about.”

EOG: “And if you could say one thing about the after school program, what would it be?”

CB: “Authentic. Raw. Necessary. If I could offer it to every child around the world I would.”

There you have it ladies and gentlemen (and everyone else in between J ) , one of Dallas’ very own making big changes in her community. Girls That Reach & Teach is headquartered in Mesquite, and the team is working diligently towards purchasing a building to provide even more opportunities. Being from the DFW myself, it is an honor to present and bring light to a Texas Girl. Especially one working towards breaking generational curses, and building generational wealth. Eye encourage everyone to go follow this Queen and her movement on social media. For those wanting to help or looking for a way to be a PART of change, you can help these young girls by donating to the Girls That Reach & Teach Outreach Programs, at the following resources.

Cash App @ $gtrtoutreach

PayPal @ gtrtoutreach@gmail.com

Checks can be made out to Girls That Reach & Teach.

Girls That Reach & Teach is also in search of a company/business to partner with where GTRT can host their events more consistently. If this is a way you can give back, please don’t hesitate to contact Chelsia Renee.

LIGHT + LOVE | RISHI OMKARA