Vegan peanut butter and fluff craving? No problem

I have been craving a peanut butter and fluff sandwich for awhile, and finally tonight was the tipping point. But, the store near me that carried a vegan fluff alternative stopped carrying it, and I never liked the taste and texture of that product anyhow. 

There’s a recipe in Betty Goes Vegan, but the description explained how difficult it was to get right, and I also didn’t have much time to make it, I wanted it right away.

So I created my own with a little idea. It took less than five minutes. I kind of whipped everything together without thinking about it, so the proportions may be off a bit in this recipe.

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Ingredients:

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp vanilla almond milk

Directions:

  1. Stir all ingredients with a spoon in a bowl.
  2. If needed, add more powdered sugar or rice syrup to make a consistency to your liking. 

 

Vegan Cottage Cheese recipe! I put it in my salad

 

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VEGAN COTTAGE CHEESE!

I was suddenly craving cottage cheese after a long time of not caring. I wanted it on a salad. So I whipped something up. The picture in the photo doesn’t really do it justice.

I made beet chips out of yellow beets from this recipe here, tossed some greens in balsamic vinegar, and put 1/4 cup of the cottage cheese on top.

Here is the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup raw cashews soaked in water for 2 hours, drained
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1/3 cup plain coconut milk yogurt
  • 2 tbsp vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup plain flavored non-dairy milk of choice (I used tempt hemp milk original)
  • 1 tbsp chickpea miso (or other miso of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt or more to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional, but recommended. You could put a bit of liquid stevia in it if you don’t want real sugar, or maybe coconut palm sugar or date syrup? or leave it out if you don’t think it needs it after tasting)

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and combine, leaving chunks of cashews.
  2. Place in a glass jar or large glass measuring cup and cover.
  3. Let sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours, overnight if you can wait to try it.
  4. Serve on top of salads, or eat with crackers, or however you like really!

Red Velvet Cookies with Macadamia Nuts

Yesterday I wanted cookies, but I also wanted cupcakes at the same time. So I came up with a compromise on this cookie recipe.

photo 1 (2)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 3/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp red food coloring (make sure it’s vegan…some have glycerine or cochineal in them…red 40 is vegan though…you could skip this if you’re against food colorings but they won’t be red velvet…)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • Powdered sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In the mixing bowl of a stand electric mixer, cream together the Earth Balance and evaporated cane juice. 
  3. Add applesauce, extracts, apple cider vinegar, food coloring, and almond milk.
  4. Add flour, baking powder, and cocoa powder and mix until combined.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips and macadamia nuts.
  6. Put some powdered sugar in a bowl, roll 1 tbsp of the dough into a ball, and roll in the powdered sugar.
  7. Flatten cookies with your hand on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 10-12 minutes, mine were done at 12.
  9. Let sit for five minutes than transfer to a cooling rack. They are good still warm, but the texture when cooled is really more awesome. Like a chewy yet caky cookie. Perfect for what I set out for!

photo 2 (3)

Update and recipe (Vegan beef patties!)

Hello Everyone!

I apologize for not posting as regularly as I used to, but I’m working hard on revitalizing my blog and coming up with some really amazing vegan recipes to share with you all.

Lately I have been planning for the Vegan Mofo (Month of Food) 2014 in September. I have about 30 recipes planned and they are being tested and written up as I work on them, so that it’s not so difficult to do once September rolls around…I’ll still be quite busy posting and updating them all then! I’m also swearing myself mostly to secrecy about it, even though I have a calendar all mapped out…haha. If you follow me elsewhere like on the facebook page you may get a few sneak peeks once in awhile when I get too excited for my own good! Otherwise, no spoilers!

Although I won’t be posting a new recipe every day after September is over, I do plan to have some really amazing recipes shared as often as I can, and I am already thinking up those as well! I’ve been a recipe creating dreamer lately…

I decided I couldn’t wait to make and share this recipe I thought up recently though.

Here is the story behind it!

When I lived in Boston awhile back, I lived down the street from a Jamaican restaurant. While I currently was not vegan at the time (they did have vegan food there though!! Including cupcakes!) I really loved their beef patties. And recently when I accompany my mother to BJ’s, I’ve been seeing cases of them, and wishing that they were vegan. The tipping point in which I decided to veganize a recipe was when someone on one of my vegan facebook groups shared that they ate a vegan patty at a restaurant, and couldn’t get the recipe from them…

Vegan Beef Patty Recipe:
pattiesMakes 8 patties

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp non hydrogenated organic vegetable shortening
  • 8 tbsp (one stick) Earth Balance 
  • 1/2 cup- 1 cup water

For the filling:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Salt, to taste
  • 28oz can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 14 oz Lightlife Gimme Lean ground beef style faux meat

To assemble:

  • 1 tbsp egg replacer powder
  • 4 tbsp water
  • Extra flour for rolling out the dough 

Directions:

Dough:

  1. If you have a food processor, place flour, turmeric, and salt into it and pulse. If not, stir these ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon until thoroughly combined. If using a food processor you may want to break it up into two equal batches depending on its capacity.
  2. For the food processor method, add 2 tbsp of shortening and/or Earth Balance at a time until you have used it all, pulsing each time. Pulse until a crumbly texture is met.
  3. For the non processor method, do similarly as above, except by using your fingers, two knives, or a pastry blender. 
  4. Add enough water as needed (slowly add it) to either the food processor or in the bowl until you form a firm, smooth, dough.
  5. Form the dough into two separate disks and wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half, or over night. (If you do overnight thaw about 10 minutes before using in the assembly.

 

Filling:

  1. In a large skillet/frying pan, heat the oil on medium heat.
  2. Add onion and cook until softened. 
  3. Add in the garlic and ginger and cook about a minute.
  4. Add turmeric, cumin, allspice, jalapeno, salt and peppr, and stir so that the onions get coated well with the spices.
  5. Add the tomatoes, thyme, scallions, and parsley, stirring every so often. Turn to low heat when boiling.
  6. Break up the tomatoes a bit with a spoon.
  7. Cook for about 15 minutes. Add in the Gimme Lean beef in large chunks as pictured in the photograph below. Cook for five minutes.
  8. Allow to thoroughly cool and then place the mixture in a blender and pulse a few times until combined.

Assembly:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Mix the egg replacer powder and water into a bowl.
  3. Lightly flour your surface area.
  4. If you kept the dough in the fridge overnight, let it sit to thaw for about ten minutes.
  5. I broke each disk into 4 equal size pieces and formed it into balls before I attempted to roll it out.
  6. Starting here is the tricky part, and it won’t be pretty unless you are a pastry chef…but roll out the dough into the best rectangle shape you can.
  7. Place about 1/4 cup of the filling into the middle.
  8. Using a brush, brush the egg replacer/water mixture around the edges of the dough around the filling.
  9. Fold over the pastry so that all edges meet. 
  10. Take a fork and pinch around the edges except for the part in the fold.
  11. Place the patties on a baking sheet with parchment paper for about 30 minutes in the oven (mine were done at around 28 minutes though, so keep your nose alert and check on them if they smell done)

You will probably have left over filling, I advise picking up a pre-made vegan pie crust from Whole
Foods or wherever and using that as a filling, since you’ll probably be a bit annoyed with doughs after dealing with the pastry on these…you can even easily freeze the pie and defrost and eat a a few weeks later!  Yum!

 

with vegan meat added

The filling before blending. 

fillingThe filling after blending.

finished pattyThe finished product!

I’m having someone over for dinner tonight, and I made these in advance because I was really worried they wouldn’t come out well, but they did! I’m excited!

I’m going to reheat them in a toaster oven so they don’t get soggy…

 

Another post about food and Girls Rock! Rhode Island.

Hello hello!

This past week I finished off my time of being the food/hospitality coordinator for the Girls Rock camp.

As you’ve been reading on my blog in the past perhaps, I have done this before for the Ladies Rock camp, which is one of their many programs they offer to women and girls in my state.

The Ladies Rock camp is 3 days long. Many women go from not having any musical experience in what they are trying to having enough to pull off an awesome performance on the third day and wow the crowd that has assembled to support them and cheer them on.

The past two Ladies’ camps I had organized all the food (for campers and volunteers), by getting donations of products and food from restaurants, asking volunteers to cook for us, and cooking and baking a lot myself.

It is very similar to my role at this Girls’ camp, except it is 5 days long, and a team of 25-30 volunteers get a separate lunch from the campers who also get lunches provided from them.

Many volunteers and campers (at Ladies rock mostly) have special dietary needs, like gluten free, vegetarian, or vegan, so I fit in well. It is usually easiest to try to make the bulk of the cooked meals vegan and gluten free, because then they accommodate everyone.

This year’s girl camp took about a full month of planning, organizing, and well, hustling basically, to get it all set up. I was very nervous about pulling it off prior to the start of camp, but it turned out ridiculously amazing by the end of it.

Before you read a bit about what we ate (I might forget some of it as there was so much food and my memory is a bit foggy!) check out this blog that was written about day 4 of camp, there is a section about me and my food and role at the camp (read the whole thing though!)

Monday- Breakfast was mostly bagels and pastries from White Electric (local coffee shop extraordinaire), and fruit. We had vegan chili, tortillas, and vegan brownies I made from this recipe here. Campers had sandwich supplies and lots of yummy snacks! There was also a snack time for campers and plenty of snacks of all types for everyone throughout the day, donated so kindly from Chex Finer Foods.

Tuesday- We had a similar breakfast as Monday. We had this salad I made, this recipe for chana masala , rice, and other various snack and meal options.

Wednesday for lunch? PIZZA DAY! We had a ton of wonderful pizza donated by Providence Flatbread Company! They make gluten free pizza, vegan pizza, and vegetarian pizza, as well as put their own spin on other classic pizzas. It was a huge hit.

rock! gluten free pot pie

rock! gluten free pot pie

Thursday was also a special day. I had made some savory pot pies. One was gluten free and a bit difficult to describe, but it was a gravy based veggie selection with some daiya cheese on the bottom. The next was a broccoli, nutritional yeast cheese sauce, and tempeh bacon one. The final one was the vegan samosa pot pie from the cookbook Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. I used her crust recipe for all the pies except the gluten free one. For the Gluten free one I made it with Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Crust Mix.
There was also a pea and Orzo salad with and without cheese made by a volunteer, and biscotti! The campers received lunch donated from Blaze restaurant, which was really great and generous. Check them out, they are actually where I went for my college graduation dinner and are awesome. They have a great vegan selection on the menu!

For snack Thursday we had an exceptionally special treat. Providence’s own, the world’s first vegan soft serve truck, Like No Udder, paid a visit and donated an ice cream or lemonade to all campers and volunteers. I was ridiculously excited about this, as you can see by the picture below.

vegan ice cream truck!

vegan ice cream truck!

On Friday everything was winding down, but the food didn’t stop coming. I had gotten up ridiculously early because I was so excited, and went to make this jackfruit untuna for the vegans because I was concerned they may need more selection. Since I was up so early, I also had time to make waffles for all the volunteers, which was a big hit. For lunch there was a cous cous salad, 2 different green salads, pasta salad, brownies, cookies, a large selection of fruits, and leftovers! Campers finished off the wide selection of sandwich supplies for their lunch.

I am so thankful to all of the volunteers, businesses (including New Harvest, who donated coffee) and parents or volunteers who helped with the cooking/procurement of food. It was a great success.

Now, last but not least in any sense, I leave you with the culmination of the camp, the grande finale, which is a link to the final showcase! I highly recommend you watch it, it shows why I am involved with this organization quite clearly and is totally amazing to watch.

To current and prospective vegans:

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Remember this next time you want to scold someone harshly for eating something like Oreos because it’s “processed food” or because you are not sure if the sugar can be verified as being vegan.

Remember your heart and what it wants. We will not be able to win over people’s hearts and minds to veganism if we do not treat people with kindness, respect, and understanding. (And if we keep that up, maybe one day arguing over Oreos will be a silly, moot point).

(This is in response to the constant fighting and bullying I see sometimes in vegan places online…which is often the home of many people’s first introduction to vegans and the idea of veganism).

Summertime Strawberry Lavender Lemonade Cooler

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 2 lemons worth of lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • Liquid stevia, to taste
  • Lavender extract, to taste (can find on Amazon, I bought mine at Sur la Table)

Directions:

Blend together, enjoy.

 

 

 

How running as a vegan might save my life somehow.

Okay, I have to try to write this out fast because I need to be on time to a job interview (!!!)

Good thing I already have it mostly formed in my head.

This isn’t a food post as usual. But, it has a lot to do with my life story, my interests, my path to a better life, health, and wellbeing which all fits into why I started and continue with this blog. Plus, most of my followers are people who I care about deeply, and it will hopefully make them happy to see me write about this!

It also relates to my most popular post ever, which was also not about food (go figure?!) that you can read here.

Anyways, I have been feeling horrible mentally lately. My mind is often telling me I am unable to make important decisions, motivate myself to get out of bed, do anything important, and that I am basically crap, even though I know deep down I am not and am much more capable than I feel, which is the most frustrating part. It may be my old friend depression returning, but it may be something else as well, because recently my doctor told me my thyroid test came back abnormal, and I have to get it rechecked soon. That would be nice if I actually had a hormonal reason for this misery, although I remain quite doubtful.

However, despite all the negativity creeping into my life these days, I am still plugging along at many things I hold dear to me now and somehow managing to convince myself I have to do them to feel better, or just do them regardless even if I do not feel better.

One of these things I have been keeping up with is running.

I may have mentioned somewhere that you have read that I could never really run, even as a child. I had completely given up on the idea long, long ago that I would ever be able to run at all, even if I was almost late to somewhere I had to walk more than 5 minutes to get to and being late would get me in trouble. It was especially evident in school when I had to run whatever they make you do for the physical fitness testing, I often felt I tasted blood in my throat after running for about 5 minutes.

This was seriously something I thought was impossible. But a year ago, apparently I set out to do just that. While I still can’t run 30 minutes straight which is my goal eventually, I am well on my way. I am registered for a 5k in mid August, and it is going to happen by then, I know this.

How do I know? I started the couch to 5k program on my phone a few days before I graduated from my community college on May 16. Today I just finished week 5, day 2 of the program. At first, it was easy, even with my long-held beliefs and self doubt about being able to do this. Week 5, day 2 of the program I am using is as follows:

5 minute warm-up

5 minute run

3 minute walk

8(!!!!!!) minute run

4 minute walk

5 minute run

5 minute cool-down

Before I started this run my mood was hopeless, and as I began to walk the warm-up, I was telling myself I was not going to be able to do it, especially the eight minute run.  But as soon as the buzzer went off to start the 8 minutes, something somehow changed! I was telling myself “here we go, you can get through this!” Then, before I knew it, it told me I had five minutes left. And since I had just finished running for 5 minutes successfully about six minutes ago, it triggered even more positive self talk! For a short second a negative thought crept in, reminding myself I still had to run another five minutes after I got to walk for four minutes after this (would I even finish these eight minutes?) but it quickly returned to all this self praise as my legs kept moving regardless. I told myself “I am really going to do this!) and as the buzzer went off telling me to start walking for four minutes, I was crying tears of joy.

Then I ran for another five minutes and cooled down and finished the work out, like a pro (gotta tell myself that! haha).

This run was exactly what I needed. Running is saving my life, I believe, because when I am most down on myself and feel like giving up, I am able to run. And in my mind, it was something I had previously deemed impossible. Yet, when I am feeling
my worst, I prove to myself I can do the impossible.

Here is a picture of me shortly after. It was hard to force myself to smile because I was fighting back some proud tears, which actually I have had lately more than I realize…

 

post run

 

 

 

Peter Piper Picked a (vegan) Jalapeno Popper Pizza Recipe! with cornmeal cream cheese stuffed crust! a lot of alliteration here!

Well now…

With Vegan Pizza Day coming up at the end of the month (June 28 to be exact- rsvp to the facebook event!) I wanted to provide you with a kickass, blow your mind, original recipe for a unique vegan pizza for this occasion.

Today I tested out my idea. I was worried it would not go as planned, but it came out flawless.

Image It has a cornmeal crust made from this recipe, a cauliflower white sauce, sliced jalapenos, daiya cheddar, cream cheese stuffed crust, and a sprinkling of whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Here is the recipe. I have taken lots of pictures throughout the pizza making process to explain what I did a bit better.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cornmeal crust (recipe here)–I let it rise for a half an hour, but it was a hot day so I can’t be sure how long it’ll take you exactly. You will also want a bit of extra cornmeal and flour for when you roll out the crust

For the sauce:

  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup unflavored almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • Sprinkle of white pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp miso (I used chickpea miso)
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp lemon juice

For the rest of the pizza:

  • 4 jalapeno peppers, chopped into slices
  • Daiya cheddar cheese shreds
  • 1 tub plain vegan cream cheese (I used Go Veggie! brand)
  • 2 tbsp whole wheat breadcrumbs

Directions:

  1. Make the dough according to recipe.
  2. Let rise and make the sauce.

To make the sauce:

  1. Steam cauliflower until soft, about 5 minutes.
  2. Place cauliflower and all other ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Place into a saucepan, and on medium heat, whisk frequently until bubbling and thickened a bit.

To assemble and cook the pizza:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Roll out the dough into a large circle. You will want to use extra flour/cornmeal on the surface and on the rolling pin to prevent sticking.
  3. Mix/stir up the vegan cream cheese until thick with a knife if it is separated as mine was.
  4. Using a tablespoon, place little dollops of the cream cheese a short distance away from the edge of the crust (see pictures below for a good idea of what I mean here).
  5. Then fold over the edges of the crust around it, pinching to secure slightly.
  6. Place about 2/3 cup or whatever you need of the sauce. You may need the whole batch, or you may need less, depending on how big your crust is. I used 2/3 cup.
  7. Sprinkle Daiya cheddar shreds around the top, use as much or as little as you like. I used about 1/2 cup.
  8. Place sliced jalapeno slices on top of the cheese.
  9. Sprinkle two tablespoons of whole wheat breadcrumbs.
  10. Bake 12-15 minutes in oven.
  11. Eat! And enjoy, because it’s pretty amazing if I dare say myself.

 

ImageA detailed picture of how I stuffed and folded the crust.

Image

After being baked and half eaten, a detail of the stuffed crustImage

A picture of a scrumptious baked slice

So there you have it! Hopefully I will be able to dream up some other ridiculous and amazing vegan pizza recipes this month, but we shall see. I do not know how I can top this one! haha

 

Vegan New England Style “Lobstah” salad made from hearts of palm and 7 days of new smoothie recipes to share!

Hello everybody, 

I did this thing this past week that I was going to blog about. Unfortunately I got a new laptop and when I transferred all the pictures I had  from my phone to my laptop, (including the ones I needed to make the blog entry) some of them got lost in the shuffle. I tried a new smoothie recipe every day of the week, and wanted to talk about them. Instead, lacking pictures, I will post the links to the recipes I used at the end of this entry.

I do however have a picture for the recipe I am about to share!

Growing up in the New England area of the East Coast United States, lobster salads have always been a thing. They’re also usually kind of a big treat. Today I was inspired by that, and wanted to make a vegan version. This is truly “lobstah” as Bostonians and Rhode Islanders would say, but is free from any cruelty towards the real sea creatures.

I used hearts of palm as the main “meat,” and some sun-dried tomatoes as well to give color, flavor, and texture. There is a mix of seafood-y spices, lemon juice, and other seasonings, and the mix of vegenaise and vegan sour cream makes a delightfully creamy dressing for it.

New England Vegan Hearts of Palm “Lobstah” Salad

Image

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans salad chopped hearts of palm, drained, placed in a food processor and pulsed a few times to further chop them
  • 1/2 cup julienned cut sun dried tomatoes (the kind that comes in a bag, not packed in oil. I’d actually recommend soaking these in warm water for an hour or until a bit softer prior to including them in the salad because I didn’t and some were chewier and a bit tough when I ate them…soaking would solve that problem, but is probably optional)
  • 1 tsp kelp granules
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dill
  • 1/4 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper (use less if placing on top of greens instead of on bread)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vegenaise
  • 1/2 cup vegan sour cream (I used tofutti)

Directions:

  1. Place chopped, drained, and processed hearts of palm in a mixing bowl or other large container.
  2. Add sun-dried tomatoes and stir.
  3. Add spices and take a spoon to mix them into the chopped hearts of palm and sun-dried tomatoes. Make sure they are evenly coated.
  4. Add lemon juice, vegenaise, and sour cream and stir. 
  5. Serve in a bun with some crunchy lettuce, or on top of salad greens with whatever other toppings you desire.
  6. Enjoy!

 

So there is that! Now as promised, here is the list and links to the smoothies I made each day last week:

  1. Raspberry Lime Zinger from Oh She Glows *Second place in my favorites!
  2. Pumpkin Chai from The Sweet Life
  3. Key Lime Pie Green Smoothie from Healthful Pursuit
  4. Pina Colada Smoothie from Foodie with Family
  5. Orange Creamsicle Smoothie (also from The Sweet Life) *My favorite one I tried!
  6. Chocolate Strawberry Almond Protein Smoothie from The Healthy Family and Home
  7. Chamomile Strawberry Quinoa Smoothie from Apron and Sneakers *Runner up for favorite :)