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Vegan Ranch Dip

Editors note: We’re glad to bring you content from others in our community that are committed to a vegan lifestyle. This post is from Cheryl Still, who is working this summer with a local farm bringing wonderful produce to our local farmer’s markets. If you missed her previous post, check it out. This post takes a vegetable that’s plentiful in Michigan right now and gives you a great recipe!  Fresh and crisp raw vegetables—the amazing flavors of seasonal Michigan summer produce. Sugar snap peas, carrots, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and cucumbers are just a few of the vegetables that aesthetically please the eye with their bright colors while the fresh flavors and crisp textures satisfy the tongue just as much. Looking for a flavorful dip for your summer veggies? I’ve got just the one—a tangy and cool ranch dressing made from raw cashews and coconut cream, exploding with the flavor of fresh herbs. Keep reading to the end for the recipe. I made the dip for the first time while preparing for a camping trip this summer. It blew my mind! As soon as I got back from the camping trip, I made it again to enjoy with more fresh veggies from the farmers market. I would recommend it for using as a veggie dip, salad dressing, or anywhere you crave the fresh flavor of ranch…even for dipping vegan pizza into. The original recipe comes from a book that has become one of my vegan cooking resources: The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutes: The Latest and Greatest Methods for Veganizing Anything Using More Natural, Plant-Based Ingredients by Joni Marie Newman and Celine Steen. Not only does this book suggest substitute ingredients and alternative products for veganizing recipes and dishes, but the authors also provide directions for making these substitutions in your own kitchen. Helpful lists of meat, egg, and milk substitutes are charted out in this book along with recipes and side-by-side recipes veganized from their original animal product ingredients. I’ve found the information in this book to be educational as I veganize recipes and try out their published recipes, including this vegan ranch dip. Give this dip a try! I wasn’t disappointed. It’s another great way to compliment the great flavor of fresh veggies and herbs this summer.   Ranch-Y Dipping Sauce Original recipe from The Complete Guide to Even More Vegan Food Substitutes. Adapted by...
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Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Editors note: We’re glad to bring you content from others in our community that are committed to a vegan lifestyle. This post is from Cheryl Still, who is working this summer with a local farm bringing wonderful produce to our local farmer’s markets. If you missed her previous post, check it out. This post takes a vegetable that’s plentiful in Michigan right now and gives you a great recipe!  Looking for great recipes to highlight the bountiful crop of zucchinis right now in Michigan? This time of year, I’m on the lookout for recipes that incorporate this highly nutritious vegetable in new ways. Do you easily get bored of straight-up zucchini? These nutrition packed muffins bring a satisfying chocolatey sensation. Instead of tasting zucchini, you taste chocolate.  The applesauce, almond milk, and zucchini provide moisture, and the airy muffin texture is brought through the baking soda and the natural fruit acid from the applesauce. So thankful for more delicious uses for zucchini. Enjoy! Double Chocolate Zucchini Muffins Original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen. Veganized and adapted by Cheryl Still. Ingredients 3/4 c. oat flour (old fashioned oats ground into a flour) 1/2 c. whole wheat flour 1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder 1 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 2 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted (or substitute 2 Tbsp. unsweetened plain applesauce) 1/3 c. agave nectar or pure maple syrup (or more if you desire a much sweeter muffin) 1 tsp. pure vanilla 1 and a half flax eggs (1.5 Tbsp. ground flax seed + 4.5 Tbsp. warm water) 1 cup peeled and shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini) 1/4 c. unsweetened applesauce 1/2 c. almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk) 1/2 c. regular-sized or mini dairy-free chocolate chips Directions 1. Stir together the ground flax seed and warm water in a cup and set aside for at least 10 minutes to thicken. 2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 3. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with cupcake liners. (You could rub the inside of the liners with some extra coconut oil or cooking spray and then dust liners with cocoa powder if desired to enable easy removal from the liners, but this is not a necessary step.) 4.Squeeze the peeled and shredded zucchini of excess water with a paper towel. This is important, so don’t skip this step. 5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oat and wheat...
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Navigating Farmers Markets

Editors note: We’re glad to bring you content from others in our community that are committed to a vegan lifestyle. This post is from Cheryl Still, who is working this summer with a local farm bringing wonderful produce to our local farmer’s markets. She offered to share her expertise with you, and we’re thrilled to be able to share it with you.  We are so lucky to live in Michigan and experience all the seasons. From hot summer days to frosty winter nights, Michigan has so much to offer in regards to local fruits and veggies. If you need help figuring out how to enjoy all of Michigan’s plentiful harvests, here’s a quick guide that will help you find farmers markets and shop smarter. Make sure you read to the end to find some recipes for what to do with one of my favorite vegetables! Navigating Farmers Markets Do you have a favorite farmers market? Fulton Street, Ada, Holland, Muskegon, and the YMCA Veggie Van are just a handful of the markets around West Michigan supplying fresh food for individuals, families, and restaurants. With seasonal Michigan produce now in its prime, here’s what you need to know for successful navigation of local markets this summer and fall. West Michigan Farm Markets – This website is a great resource (organized by county) to provide you with farmers’ market names, addresses, directions, dates and hours, and websites. In addition, you will also see if the markets accept Bridge Cards, Double Up Food Bucks, WIC Project Fresh, and Senior Market Fresh. What’s In Season In Michigan? Buying fruits and vegetables during their Michigan growing season can help you save money and enjoy the pristine flavors of the season. So, how do you know if the produce at the markets is in-season, last year’s crop, or grown in Michigan greenhouses? Here’s a helpful guide from A Healthier Michigan. The article In Season In Michigan provides an alphabetical list of fruits and vegetables and which months they are in season. Last Year’s Crop Some produce at the markets are from last year’s crop. Root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips, onions, and garlic store well over the winter. This enables farmers to provide these items right away in early summer. Other examples of last year’s crops typically include maple syrup and apples being sold in June and July. It’s valuable to remember that fruits like grapefruits, oranges, mangos, bananas,...
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