Vegan Mac and Cheez

Baked Vegan Mac and Cheez

I posted the pic, as seen here, on Instagram, and one friend asked me for the recipe, and another friend had it at my house and was surprised that there was no dairy cheese involved, so here’s my approximation. I’ve become that person that makes cashew cheez by “feel” instead of by recipe, and I think it tastes best when you do it to your own specifications.

Set oven to 350°F and gather your tools and ingredients.

Tools recommended: immersion blender, plastic cup for blending cheez with the immersion blender, ceramic/glass serving/baking dish.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb elbow noodles Sauce
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  •  1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp Miyoko Cultured Butter (vegan)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Quick soak the cashews. Bring about 2 cups of water to a boil, and simmer the cashews for 30 minutes, drain the water and set aside.
  2. Make the pasta according to recipe, making sure it’s al dente. Drain the water and put in a baking dish.
  3. Put the cashews in a immersion blender-friendly cup that holds around 2 cups, or put cashews in a blender. Add enough vegetable stock to just cover the cashews and keep handy in case you need to add more. Add the nutritional yeast, and start blending. Watching how the consistency changes while blending, add just enough vegetable stock for it to be a good cheese sauce consistency. Blend until smooth.
  4. Taste the mixture and add salt, pepper, and/or nutritional yeast to bump up the flavor. For a spicy kick, consider adding a tablespoon of smashed chilis in adobo.
  5. In a little dish melt the vegan butter and add the panko, salt and pepper to taste, stir together until well incorporated and set aside.
  6. Gently fold the cheez mixture in with the cooked pasta, then sprinkle evenly with the panko mix.
  7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the topping has a nice toasted brown look.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! This is an approximation of what I make, so let me know if you make it, how it turns out!

Coffee Shop Night Out

Interior of a coffee house stuck in time.

It’s my “night out” and I felt the need to post that I’m at a coffee shop that is stuck in a bit of a time warp, but that’s so much more prefarable than the first place I went, which was hosting an MLM jewelry event with a bunch of people who feel like an itchy, ill-fitting sweater.

Can’t speak to the coffee, but the cider, beer, and wine selection is quite decent.

Today: An Inventory

In addition to the standard keeping myself and my offspring alive and fed, and attending all scheduled appointments, I did the following:

  • Researched and watched videos regarding the diagnosis and repair of my washing machine, with plans made to further troubleshoot and possibly replace broken part.
  • Researched suspicious vine located in garden, confirmed likely specimen of Solanum dulcamara (bittersweet nightshade), and used m trusty long Kershaw knife to extract it from the ground.
  • Did two loads of laundry, using the hard reset method to turn on the machine (see repair needed above.)
  • Checked my blood pressure at the local pharmacy. (It’s actually quite good, especially after my kid has been quiet for a minute or two.)
  • Researched how to remove odd clear gel splotches that appeared on my car, and were resistant to the Brown Bear Carwash. Used method recommended in a Town and Country article to remove tree sap: hand sanitizer and then a wash down with a wet rag.
  • Made homemade avocado salsa (like guac and salsa mixed up.)
  • Cleaned kitchen to prep for dinner.
  • Watched an episode of Star Trek: Voyager while folding laundry.
  • Opened the windows to let the fresh air in after too many days of smoke outside.
  • Shipped N95 masks to my mother, since she doesn’t have Amazon Prime and needed them sooner.
  • Watered the ailing azaleas, peonies, and tree in my yard.
  • Fixed the air valve with replacement part on a Klean Kanteen water bottle.
  • Closed a couple tickets doing tech support for a volunteer gig.
  • Let my kid watch too much TV.

I have a problem with the terms “house wife,” homemaker, or Stay at Home Mom (even worse is SAHM, the acronym.) I haven’t found any other moms near me that have quite the affinity for resolving technical issues as well as doing the usual “homemaker” stuff. I can think of one other person, a former boss, actually, and she put my affinity for these things to shame. (She could bake 4 dozen perfect cupcakes before daybreak, or draft and make a skirt, then come to work and handle technical issues all day long. She also was excited to find out someone had a machine shop she could powdercoat and customize her industrial Kitchenaid mixer.)

It’s a particular kind of ennui driven by the fact that even in Seattle, being a parent means occupying extremely binary spaces.

Charity

This weekend we experienced our first package theft and our first credit card fraud since moving into the house. We’ve been here for seven years, and considering all the griping we hear from NIMBY’s around town, we’ve been long overdue for the package theft. I can mostly describe my feelings on this matter as annoyed and concerned. I wish we hadn’t lost our $40 Amazon package containing a two person large flower pot lifter. I also wish a misplaced credit card of ours hadn’t been used for a trip to a Shoreline sex shop (I’m more forgiving of the charges to Fred Meyer, Walgreens, and Shell.) Not that I wish to sex-shame thieves, but it seems even I hold to some sort of charity-money hierarchy.

There’s the old trope of the person who won’t give to street beggars because they might spend whatever change you throw in their cup on “drugs” or “booze.” Similar is the shaming of those who use their EBT card to pay for a tasty treat that has negligible nutritional value. So why is the sex store in Shoreline a bridge too far?

I laugh when I think to myself the reasons:

1. Fred Meyer has a decent selection of safer-sex products (lube, condoms, etc.) as well as “massagers.”
2. The Fred Meyer they went to is very close to a locally and woman owned sex shop.
3. They went to a chain store that was out of the way!

But really, that’s the thing about charity. When you give to organizations that distribute aid to the poor, it attaches those strings so you can wag your finger and control the lives of others from a distance. The truth is that I look at myself, and many others I know and love, and it is by luck we are as comfortable as we are because without that luck, we would find ourselves ground under the same rules and the same system that devalues the life and labor of so many. To access what little aid there is to the most vulnerable, it still requires so much time, effort, and skill that it’s easy to forget – ABLIST of us to forget – that some do not.

I choose to think of the theft and the fraud we experienced this weekend as an unexpected donation, because really, what is my other choice? To wish the thieves to be apprehended? And then what? The criminal justice system is so punitive and broken that I don’t really wish anyone to become entangled. There is no rehabilitation or treatment within. Best case scenario means you get out and get a case manager and options within the system, but you have to be able and willing to play the game. Check all the boxes, jump through the hoops, and if you’re using drugs, get clean and sober if you want a chance at housing.

Between banks and credit card companies offering protection against fraud, and the likelihood that Amazon will refund our loss, we’ve lost nothing. We are living comfortably in Seattle, a city of increasing wealth disparity. I imagine many of my neighbors could lose $500 of merchandise or credit without them noticing for days, if not weeks, when the same amount of money could make a world of difference to any number of the car-campers.

SOAP BOX: I just wish so many in Seattle weren’t fighting so hard to preserve and increase the wealth disparity. Large companies, like Amazon (who will likely refund us), bring tons of jobs to our city and provide jobs to those in the construction industry through their rapid expansion. However, because they are not paying their fair-share of taxes, the people they bring in 1) displace lower-wage earners as rent prices increase 2) put a greater strain on our transit and road infrastructure. Head Taxes, and other taxes on businesses like Amazon could fund low-income housing and create a more robust transit infrastructure.

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Today I managed to whip up my best version of vegan buttermilk biscuits. They ended up tiny because my biscuit cutter is tiny.

I used a basic buttermilk biscuit recipe, but substituted coconut milk and lime juice for buttermilk, and my new favorite thing, Miyoko’s Vegan Butter. This stuff is amazing, and I’m looking forward to trying it in more baked goods. It’s also great on popcorn and slathered on toast.

Vegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Oven Temp: 450°F

2 1/2 cups self-rising flour
4 oz (1/2 package) Miyoko’s Vegan Butter
1 cup Coconut Milk (full fat)
1 Tbsp Lime Juice (fresh squeezed, if possible)

1 – Mix the lime juice and the coconut milk together and set aside.

2 – Cut the Vegan Butter into the the flour using a fork and knife or a pastry cutter, so it is a crumbly texture, with pieces only as big as peas.

3 – Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture, stirring with a spoon and only until all of the flour is just moistened and pulling away from the outside of the bowl.

4 – knead briefly so it forms a smooth ball, then flatten to about 1/2 inch thick, use a 2in cutter to make the biscuits (or you can go crazy and cut them with a knife, or make them larger!)

5 – Bake for 10-12 minutes, until lightly blushed brown

Enjoy with more vegan butter, and maybe some jam!