The First Mess Cookbook + A Review

The First Mess cookbook is a plant-based symposium by Laura Wright. For the past few years she’s created a repertoire of decadent vegetarian and vegan recipes accompanied by lyrical writing and exquisite photography on her award winning blog.
Nourishment and sensory-overload (in a good way) is what comes to mind when I think of Laura’s food philosophy. Like many, I first discovered her blog  a few years ago when I was in search of more plentiful plant recipes to fill keep variety flowing in my life. Because of my own need to avoid gluten and wheat based recipes, her website was (and is) a ripe source of information and produce based goodness.

the first mess cookbook

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The Best Damn Plant Based Lasagna from then One Part Plant Cookbook GF/V

I know this is a pretty huge claim but let me tell y’all, Jessica Murnane nails the damn thing in her cookbook One Part Plant. Naturally its plant based so its essentially vegan and with the addition of gluten free noodles its safe for those with the common allergies and autoimmune conditions.

I managed to make this lasagna zero waste, thus I gave myself a huge pat on the back for it. The Tinkyada lasagna noodles come packaged in cardboard with no plastic or filler. I was ecstatic to find these at my local Whole Foods and while I have tried other brands of gluten free lasagna noodles in the past, I didn’t like them. To the point this was my first attempt in say 3 years to make lasagna. Yes that long. I purchased the veggies in reusable cotton bags and we happen to have fresh thyme growing outside. I still dream of the day gluten free pastas are available in bulk form. I’m giving you some side eye Whole Foods & Sprouts

one part plant vegan lasagna
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Ashwagandha Maple Walnut Milk (vegan + gluten free)

         I’m grateful for the many non-dairy/vegan milks we have nowadays. But at the same time some have preservatives/additives & they do not contain the same amount of other health properties you can get from other sources (i.e. some store-bought almond milks have about 1 or so grams of protein per serving yet a 1/4 of cup of almonds has 7 grams of protein.) However I will add they can be an easy way of getting fortified calcium & vitamin D, so I began to experiment with homemade nut & seed milks. If you consume a plant-based nourishment, nuts are an excellent source of omega fats, fiber, protein and sometimes iron (depending on the nut) that are necessary for our health & wellbeing. 
maple walnut milk
Ashwagandha Maple Walnut Milk a warming drink that is good for brain & hearth health. Walnuts contain omega fats & alpha linoleic acid, vitamin E and so on. Depending on what maple syrup you use (I use a Grade-A from a farmers market) it can contain about 8% iron per serving as well as polyphenols, zinc & manganese but this milk does not end there as I also added Aswangandha root powder. Ashwangandha is an adaptogen herb that calms the nervous system resisting physical & mental stressbuild tissue and support cognitive function. (*please do not use Ashwagandha Root Powder if you are pregnant/nursing, make the milk but omit the powder)

When you buy your walnuts make sure to store them in the freezer before use – the oils can go bad so preserve them well. This recipe calls for 1 cup of walnuts so this milk will have around 12 grams of protein but a serving size should be  2 or 3 cups this milk a day.

  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup walnuts, soaked in water for 4 hours and drained
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of organic Ashwagandha Root powder
  • 1 tablespoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pink sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon ceylon cinnamon

– Soak the walnuts in water 4 hours or so, this will make the nut easier to digest, good info: here
– Drain the walnuts, add the 5 cups of filtered water and pulse on a blender very well
– Using a nut-milk bag or a tea strainer (what I use to make my milks & juices), extract all milk
– Squeeze/Strain til you can’t extract no more!

– Return the walnut milk to the blender and add the other ingredients and blend

– Serve and store remaining milk in the refrigerator, lasts for up to 4 days.
Notes//
With the remaning “pulp” you can freeze it for later use in a dehydrator, add it to baking mix (it has a lot of fiber) or even oatmeal/porrdige. Don’t discard it!
Use raw honey, liquid stevia, or coconut nectar in place of maple syrup
Taste as you go, maybe you’d like more cinnamon or you can add nutmeg too.
Add more benefits by sprinkling good toppings like Living Intentions Superfood Cereal
My sources on Ashwangandha can be read more in depth here & here