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.

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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

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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 :)

 

 

 

 

 

An Update finally! As of yesterday I am a graduate with an Associate’s degree!

Hurray! I graduated from my community college yesterday with high honors (my gpa ended up at a 3.72!). This was an extremely important milestone in my life, as it’s been a long time coming, and there was a point in my life where I never thought I would graduate from any college or even finish a semester. 

 

ImageAfter the ceremony and reception, we went to a local restaurant, Blaze, which has a whole section on the menu of vegan dishes. I got the Penne with pink vodka sauce, which also had a variety of mushrooms in it, and a huge portobello mushroom on top. It was quite good.

Then we went home, I whipped up some hot fudge sauce and some coconut whipped cream, and this happened:

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A vegan hot fudge sundae with FoMu salted caramel ice cream. FoMu is a Boston based vegan ice cream company that just started selling pints of their ice creams in RI Whole Foods stores! It is pricey but so worth it! http://www.fomuicecream.com/

I’m really excited to have graduated, and I’ll probably relax for a few days, and then get back to regular blogging activity! The last month and more of this semester was tough, but I got through it (even got straight As!) 

 

 

 

Vegan Bacon Flavored Kale Chip Recipe

I love anything faux bacon for some reason. I love the smoky and savory flavors with a hint of sweetness, I guess.

So last night I made my own recipe for another one of my favorite things; kale chips.

This recipe, though it works best in the dehydrator (I have never had success making kale chips in the oven, no matter how low I put the temperature, they always become burnt and have a strange overly cooked greens taste), is not truly a “raw” recipe, because it uses maple syrup, liquid smoke, and smoked paprika, and maybe a few other things that I’m not sure if they are raw or not. So if you care about being 100% raw, this recipe is probably not for you.

Otherwise, I definitely advise trying these if you are a fan of vegan bacon and kale chips!

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Vegan Bacon Flavored Kale Chip Recipe

Ingredients:

  • one bunch kale, or at least 6 cups chopped kale
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 cup raw cashews soaked in water (for at least two hours)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 cup water

Directions:

  1. Prepare the kale by washing it and breaking it into chunks if not already chopped. Make sure there are no large stems in any of the pieces. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Place the cashews (after being soaked, drained, and rinsed) into a food processor and add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Pulse until thoroughly combined and into a thick sauce like consistency.
  4. Pour over kale and coat the kale thoroughly with your hands.
  5. Place on the sheets of your dehydrator, at about 115 degrees Fahrenheit, overnight (about 10-12 hours, maybe more if still moist).
  6. Enjoy!

 

 

Sharing my breakfast today with my readers!

I made a delicious breakfast this morning.

I made lemon poppy seed pancakes from this recipe, topped with a tiny bit of Earth Balance Spread, and a side of Upton’s Naturals seitan bacon (my new favorite vegan bacon!).

 

Image I am hoping I will have time to post more soon, but it is starting to be crunch time at school.

I’m back with a new recipe! Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya

Hello there,

There are lots of new things happening in my life lately. I have lots of new ideas for this blog. I am planning on changing the content I post a bit, to be more informative about food and nutrition, post more of my recipes, and also talk about other vegan, health, and wellness related topics.

Unfortunately my last semester at my community college where I will graduate with my associate’s degree and planning for the next step of working towards my bachelor’s degree has had me quite busy lately. I hope to be able to find more time to write here though soon. By Summer there should definitely be more time.

Today I made a recipe though, and am sitting down to type it up and share it in this post.

Before I was vegan, my mom used to make Jambalaya with a seasoning mix and rice, chicken, shrimp, and sausage. I liked it even though it came from a box. I had been thinking about it lately, and how to veganize it.

I wanted to make it with quinoa because I am not the biggest fan of having rice all the time. Plus quinoa has more protein in it, which I like.

This recipe used store-bought meat substitutes for the vegan chicken and sausages, but you could find recipes to make your own if you desire. For the vegan shrimp, I had a plain batch of leftover shrimp seitan  that I froze and defrosted from when I made the vegan shrimp bao recipe. It is not gluten free because of the shrimp seitan, but there may or may not be other vegan shrimp alternatives that are gluten free that you can find in stores if that is important to you.

I do not know for sure if this is very authentic jambalaya, but since it is inspired by it, that is what I am calling it. It is really yummy though, that is for sure!

Image Recipe for Vegan Quinoa Jambalaya

Makes about 10 1 cup servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Vegan shrimp (either store bought or made from scratch via this recipe)
  • 2 Tofurky Italian Sausages, sliced into rounds
  • 3 pieces Gardein Chick’n Scallopini chopped into chunks
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus a bit more to cook the veggies
  • 4 cups cooked quinoa
  • 2 small-medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 1/2 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 8 oz canned tomato sauce (I used a no-salt added brand)
  • a splash to 1/4 cup of vegetable broth (I used Trader Joe’s Low Sodium broth)
  • 1 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or more if you like salt)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Before you really start to cook, combine the spices in a bowl or little ziplock bag and set aside. Also cook the quinoa in advance, if you wish. It takes about 10-15 minutes to cook, so either way is fine.
  2. Cook each vegan “meat” in a frying pan on medium heat with 1 tbsp of oil separately, one at a time, until slightly brown or golden. You can use the same pan for each of them, but I think it works best to cook one at a time, and then set it aside on a plate while you cook the next one.
  3. After the “meats” are cooked, heat a little more olive oil into the pan. Add the onions and peppers, and cook until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook for a bit longer, stirring a bit.
  5. Add a splash (or more) of vegetable broth, the spice mix, and tomato sauce. Make sure the spices and ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, then fold in the quinoa and the vegan shrimp, sausage, and chick’n. Stir to incorporate everything together.
  7. Allow to heat thoroughly. Adjust seasonings as desired.
  8. Eat! Enjoy!

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