Vegan Tzatziki (Greek Yogurt Dip)

You folks ready for some rad Mediterranean dishes? Because I love Mediterranean and Greek food so much that I actually work at a Mediterranean restaurant as my day job while I’m going to college. I have hummus and falafel every damn day at work. And I still crave it. I’m craving it right now. So if you’re here with me, you better get ready to love it too.

If you already love Greek food but you aren’t vegan, you probably know tzatziki sauce pretty well. If not, it’s time to play catch-up: tzatziki (supposed to be pronounced zot-zeek-ee but is pretty widely pronounced ta-zeek-ee instead, so I just fit in by sticking to the latter) is a Greek yogurt dip made with cucumber and dill. Working at a Mediterranean restaurant, it’s one of our most commonly ordered dips, but I had been vegan for years before beginning work there, so I have never actually tried our house tzatziki. Honestly, I’ve almost completely forgotten how dairy yogurt tastes, so sometimes I will smell our yogurt dips to try to remember, and for an instance I will, but the next instance I’ll have forgotten again. Obviously things go by in my life constantly that I will never try because of their use of animal products, but tzatziki has had me curious for a long time because it seems like something I might actually enjoy in my pitas or on my salads!

So, to align with my unending quest to veganize the world, I decided to jump right in to making a vegan yogurt dip, hoping that I would finally satisfy my curiosity.

 

 

An important step in making this yogurt dip is getting a good yogurt. I still haven’t found a brand that sells vegan greek yogurt, but I imagine that the thicker, more sour yogurt would be great for this recipe. If you ever find one or make one on your own, let me know what you think. Maybe I’ll just have to make one on my own as well! Instead of any greek style yogurts, I used So Delicious‘ plain coconut yogurt, but I think that coconut’s natural sweetness made it a little sweeter than other yogurt alternatives might. For this recipe, I used two of the small containers of plain coconut yogurt (about 11 oz.) so If you want to make a little more by using the bigger container (24 oz.) for your next poppin’ vegan Mediterranean party (we all know and love those), just double the rest of the ingredients!

 

 

Once you have your yogurt down, you’ll just need to add your cucumber, dill, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and your dip will be complete! It really is a great, refreshing dip to have with pita chips or in a classic Greek meal with rice and shredded greens. PLEASE do let me know if you try it out! I’d love to hear that I’m contributing to the vegan movement and not just making food and taking pictures of it just to sit in my room alone and write to myself 😀

 

5 from 1 vote
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Vegan Tzatziki Dip

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 2 containers vegan yogurt 5ish oz. each
  • 1/4 cucumber shredded
  • 1/2 squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh dill minced
  • 1 tsp salt to taste
  • 3/4-1 tsp pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Shred your cucumber, mince the garlic and the dill, and juice your lemon.

  2. Add all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until combined. Serve cold with pita bread, pita chips, or in a wrap or salad.

 

 

If you like this recipe, check out some of my other Mediterranean creations.

Love and peace to you,

Kassy

My Minimalist Journey

Hi friends! If you’re thinking “Wow, Kassy has been MIA for a while,” then you’re right! I have had a lot of life adjustments in the last few months, including moving twice, gaining two new friends and roommates, completing my first year of college, and in the process of all of that, I decided to downsize and minimize a LOT of my material possessions.

Actually, I’m skipping over a big (kind of embarrassing) detail about why I downsized so much. See, Mitch and I have been living down here in California for about a year now, going to school, meeting new people, and spending a butt ton on rent. Toward the end of our school year, we realized that we really needed to readjust our costs to keep afloat in the future, and the best way we thought to do that was to move out of the very expensive apartment we were living in. In an attempt to lower our rent costs as much as we possibly could, we started looking at unconventional housing options– why spend so much on rent if we care a lot less about the kind of place we live in and a lot more about the kind of places we could spend money going to with friends instead?

One simple day, we landed on the idea of getting a trailer (SPOILER: WE DIDN’T). We kind of loved the idea. We could buy a trailer, make it our own, park it at a campsite or a trailer park, and live in our tiny little home. In an attempt to pursue this dream, we realized that trailers are indeed tiny. So we decided pursue a back-burner dream of ours: to become hippy minimalists who live in a trailer and eat vegan food.

Over the next month, I really fell in love with the minimalism idea and felt like it aligned with so many things that I agree with and love already. The trailer idea didn’t work out the way we anticipated, and ultimately we moved into an apartments with two new rad roommates, but the minimalist journey continued for me. Before that point, I had been an absolute clothes junkie. I probably went shopping about once a week and every time seemed like a haul. It was always mindless, and  looking back I didn’t really enjoy the experience of shopping very much, but rather I enjoyed daydreaming about my future where I would wear the items I had in my cart, where I would look fabulous and fashionable and be the woman of my dreams. Shopping was also my way of “getting out of the house.” I felt like I was doing something valuable by adding to my wardrobe and simultaneously finding a hobby that I could do when I felt lonely or bored without needing or depending on anyone else. My dependence on shopping is so destructive, though. It always made my feel a little empty at the end of the night after shopping, because regardless of the number of clothes I had, I still didn’t’t feel satisfied. I’ve wasted money, time, and effort on it, and boy has it been a learning experience for me. And I say that my dependence “is” destructive instead of “was” because I don’t think that my dependence on shopping is even nearly solved. I still get the urge almost every day to go out and get something, and I work every day to channel what is often my loneliness or boredom into something more productive and fulfilling.

Today, I really only have a small fraction of the clothes that I used to own, with only eight shirts, five pairs of pants, two dresses, two rompers, and a few outfits for work and for the gym. So far, this more minimal lifestyle feels so so good. Though clothes were the hardest and most complicated items that I got rid of, it wasn’t only our wardrobes that we minimized. We ended up taking four or five packed-to-the-brim-with-boxes-on-our-laps trips to Goodwill, dropping off about 80% of our furniture, dishes (even my blogging dishes!), books, towels, bathroom products, and knick knacks. I can’t say exactly how I will feel in the future, but I know that right now, today, I feel good. I feel lighter. I feel like I am doing something good for the world by stopping my clothes habits and creating even more demand for more products. I feel like I’m able to focus more on the things I’m doing than the things I have. I have gone to the gym more. I have gone swimming more. I have read more. I have eaten better. I feel okay. I feel good.

If you’ve experienced a steep downsizing or minimized in your life, what was it like for you? How are you feeling now? Let me know!

Love and peace to you.

Salted Dark Chocolate Cookies

 

 

 

Let me just make you the guarantee right now that these will be the best vegan chocolate chip cookies you will ever bake. They are crisp on the edges, but gooey in the middle. They are sweet, buttery, and salty. There is a delicious contrast between the rich, melty chocolate and the thick, chewy cookie that contains it. Best of all, as soon as you take a bite you’ll realize how beautifully they match with a cup of milk. Almond milk that is 😉

I have been making a batch every day since perfecting the recipe, bringing them in to work, and even considering sending some home to my family to show them my proud work. Regardless of if you normally bake plant based recipes, I suggest you try it just to see how absolutely spectacular these cookies are without any animal products. Here is just a short list of the compliments I’ve gotten about them so far:

“They don’t even taste like they would be vegan!”

“You made these? They are, like, professional looking”

“Hey… Where dem cookies at dough? I need more” -my boss

“You DIDN’T get these out of a box?” -Good ol’ Mitch

 

 

I think that the secret to this delicious recipe is the dark chocolate and salt combo. I initially tried it with the Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate but have also tried it with the Trader Joe’s brand, and both have been amazing. You just chop the bars up like so:

 

 

 

and roll them into the sweet, buttery dough. I’ll leave you the recipe below, and if you bake them at your next fancy party, let me know! Your people will love them fo’ sho. (IT ALL RHYMED DID YOU NOTICE AND LOVE ME?)

 

Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

5 from 1 vote
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Salted Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 3 tbsp hot water
  • 1 cup Earth Balance butter (or similar vegan butter)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar vegan
  • 2 1/4 cup bleached flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp salt for topping cookies
  • 1 dark chocolate bar, chopped into bits

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.

  2. Mix together flax meal and hot water, and let sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Mix the butter substitute and the vanilla extract into the flax mixture until smooth.

  4. Add in the brown and white sugar and cream together with the butter mixture.

  5. Pour in the flour, baking soda, and salt, and mix everything together until stiff dough forms.

  6. Fold in dark chocolate chips until evenly mixed.

  7. Roll 2 tbsp of dough into circles in your hand and place them 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet (you can safely fit about 8 of these large cookies on a cookie sheet).

  8. Bake for 9-10 minutes, until golden on top and bottoms are golden brown.

  9. Pull cookies out and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

  10. Nom!

Coconut Carrot Soup

 

Have you ever tried carrot soup before?

If not, you’re probably like “ew, no. That sounds gross.”

And if you have, you’re probably like, “ew, no. That shit is bland.”

Which it usually is. But I have discovered something this weekend: the bland carrot soup makers of the world are just BAD at making carrot soup. If you throw some spices, some creamy coconut milk, and a little lemon juice, carrot soup is rad.

 

Plus, once you have your delicious, warm carrot soup in your bowl, you can pour some extra coconut milk in there to make some cool latte-esce designs and pretend you own a fancy restaurant that Gorden Ramsey would come to and not yell at you about.

Am I the only one with that dream? I can’t be. Can’t you just imagine having a place where he just sat down, ate your food, and genuinely didn’t have anything bad to say about it? I’d cry.

 

Back to the soup.

It’s good.

Try it out!

Love you.

Bye.

 

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Coconut Carrot Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion chopped
  • 5 cups carrots chopped
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp curry paste
  • 1-2 cans coconut milk to taste
  • 2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 2 tsp pepper or to taste

Instructions

  1. Chop vegetables as necessary.

  2. Bring yellow onion and carrots to a boil in vegetable broth, and turn to a low simmer until soft.

  3. Blend onion, carrots, and broth in blender for 30-45 seconds, until smooth.

  4. Pour blended mixture back into pot and add coconut milk, curry paste, salt, and pepper to taste preferences.

  5. Add coconut milk to the top to look pretty or just eat it up!

  6. PRO TIP: Serve with some toasted sourdough bread. It's so dang good.

Tropical Smoothie

Oh man, friends. I have been on a long and windy road since we last talked (over a MONTH ago whuuuut).

 

Here is a reminder of what I look like in case it’s been too long for you:

 

 

(I KNOW ITS BLURRY BUT MITCH IS TRYING REALLY HARD W HIS PHOTOS SO IF WE COULD JUST SMILE AND NOD THAT’D BE APPRECIATED)

I just recently started a new job at a cute little mediterranean restaurant down here, and I’ve just started a new quarter of school, so I have really been super busy. But I have also been in an enormous creative rut for the last month or so. Enjoying Earth is my passion, and I love everything I do with it, from instagramming to decorating mugs for Etsy, but I have recently just been feeling so drained and mentally blocked that I decided to give myself some time to figure out what I want to do, what directions I want to take with EE, and what I want to achieve from it. I never want to force any of my posts or any of my recipe development if it doesn’t feel right because I think it goes against what I want to be: open, sincere, and genuine. So boy did I take some time off. I took some time to think about new directions for myself and to reach out in my personal life to make some more personal connections along the way as well.

Let me catch you up in ten seconds about all of the fun and enriching stuff I did in the last month:

Went camping w/ UCI’s honors program

Road tripped and met some new friends

Hosted lovely in-laws

Made new friends at work and realized how grateful I am for it

Joined the vegan club at school (real damn excited about that one)

Decided with certainty that I want to have children some day

Pondered about my unique voice in the vegan community and asked myself deeply about what I had to offer

Pondered ways to embrace my unique voice and further my little piece of the v movement

Dropped a class knowing that it would impact my grade but prioritized my well-being and enjoyment over grades

Made some bombin new vegan recipes

Drank this yummy tropical smoothie out of a hollowed pineapple:

 

 

The smoothie recipe is super super simple, but if you would like to hollow out your pineapple for those rad instagram aesthetics, I suggest a pineapple corer/slicer. If you don’t have one, you can ride the struggle bus like me and just scoop out the middle with a strong metal spoon.

Love you all and I can’t wait to talk to you again soon and show you all of the fun new stuff I’ve been planning about!

Kassy

 

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Tropical Smoothie

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas medium, sliced and frozen
  • 1/2 cup pineapple chopped and frozen
  • 1/2 cup mango chopped and frozen
  • 1-2 cups coconut milk from can or carton

Instructions

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. If it's a little thick, add more coconut milk. If too thin, add more frozen fruits.