Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 31, Last day. Vegan Trunk-Or-Treat

Hey, so I am able to post after all.

Tonight I went dressed as a silly unicorn lady and gave out Surf Sweets vegan gummy heart candy and lollipops to a bunch of vegan kids. I also decorated my trunk with a unicorn, “vegan love” theme. I knew most people would do stuff that was scary or animal themed, so I wanted to do something different that reminds us why we’re vegan: because we have compassion.

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My favorite local vegan business, Like No Udder (ice cream), was there too handing out free cones. They offered a choice of orange creamsicle with chocolate pieces or cookies and cream in cones.

I didn’t know many people there, but it was nice to give out candy to the kids and see their costumes. I was so happy to be able to do something like this because as far as I know, this is the first all-vegan Halloween event for kids in our state. It was put on by Rhode Island Vegan Awareness as well. I’m so glad kids and their families will now have a safe and fun all-vegan event to go to that they can trust each year.

I didn’t take photos of the other trunks except for one. This trunk belonged to the president of RIVA, who also is named Laura (see my post from yesterday for more on RIVA and Laura), and since I knew she’d give me permission to post it, I felt comfortable asking to take a picture to post. They were parked right next to me.

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Pretty cool, right?

Happy Halloween, and hope you all had a great Vegan Month of Food! I’ll be back posting stuff after a quick break, not as frequently as I did for MoFo, but hopefully more frequently than I was before it started.

And I’ll definitely keep you all updated on the progress of my Vegan Unicorn Book.

Be sure to check out the Instagram account, @unicorns.eat.vegan for more stuff like what I was doing this month! Plus soon I’ll be posting about some cruelty-free craft ideas!

And, as always, if you haven’t yet “liked” my facebook page for Banana Curl, Vegan Girl, go ahead and do so! I usually post when I make a new blog post, and sometimes some other stuff, so it is definitely a good way to keep on top of my updates.

XOXO

Laura

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Vegan MoFo 2017 Day 27: Meals for the young (at heart) unicorn bento

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Obento is the Japanese art of lunch making that is not only healthy and delicious but also visually appealing. In the United States where I (Laura) live, bento box lunches have caught on a bit, although they often don’t follow the Japanese tradition as much, which usually has a good portion of the meal as rice.

I love looking at pictures of creative bento boxes. They have bento box pictures for almost any animal or cartoon character you can think of. I especially like when the compartments of the box all work together to create one image, but I’d say that’s a more advanced bento artistry skill than where I am at now.

Usually the pictures I see feature nonvegan foods in them, so naturally, I was interested in contributing some vegan pictures of bento box lunches.

I know when I was in school as a vegetarian, other students used to make fun of my lunches because they looked weird or I ate different kinds of food. Though I don’t have kids of my own, I wonder if, especially with younger ages, bringing colorful and artistic bento lunches could get vegan kids to feel more comfortable at lunchtime. Other kids would hopefully be curious and excited to see what’s in the child’s lunch every day, especially if you take a creative approach to it. It would lessen the chance of bullying, and even maybe get them interested in vegan food.

It does take a bit of planning and time, although, it actually took me less time to make it than most of the meals I make for myself.

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The bento box I used was from PlanetBox (of which I get no benefit from promoting, I just liked them) which is an eco-friendly company. They have several different styles and come with little sealable containers as well. Each box style has the option to get decorative magnets included (free of charge). Obviously, I chose the Rover for its rainbow unicorn magnets. It appears that those magnets are currently sold out on PlanetBox’s website when I just looked, I wonder if they’ll be making them available again or not.

Because I wasn’t going to be taking my lunchbox anywhere or letting it sit in the fridge for awhile, I may have been able to get away with a little more. I wonder how transporting the food would work. I think the compartments keep the food well separated, but it did say in the instructions that came with it to put particularly juicy or runny foods in sealed containers rather than let them be freeform. So, that’s something to keep in mind if you’re going to use it as an actual lunch. I like the structure and challenge creating a bento box provided me. It helped me think differently about creating a complete meal.

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Here is what I did with mine:

  • I made a vegan coleslaw and added extra purple cabbage to make it more worthy of a unicorn.
  • I placed a tea sandwich shaped like a unicorn and decorated it with sriracha. For kids, I’d recommend some other squeezable sauce unless they like sriracha and spiciness.
  • I took the unicorn corn-on-the-cob holders and used them as skewers for rainbow fruit salad. You could use toothpicks or other decorative pointy items as well. Just remember that most schools have a no-tolerance policy for anything that resembles a weapon, so don’t go putting them on fake mini-swords or something. Use common sense, know your kids’ schools’ rules. If you want to avoid the skewer idea, you could use small cookie cutters and cut fruit into shapes.
  • I made some kettle popcorn out of kernels in my Whirley Pop. When it was all popped, I mixed in melted vegan butter, purple colored sugar, sprinkles, and a kettle corn flavored popcorn shaker that I got from the grocery that happened to be vegan. It came out delicious. If you want to save time though, buy a bag of kettle corn and add sprinkles of your own.
  • I put Just Ranch in a container for dipping gluten-free pretzels in.
  • I put a few Surf Sweets vegan heart-shaped gummy candies in the middle. You could also put some vegan fruit snacks, a small amount of rainbow colored candy, small cookie, etc.

 

There are many more options! Get creative.

Other items that would be neat:

  • Rainbow dipping veggies (especially if you can find some baby purple carrots)
  • Hummus or nut/seed butter
  • Rice or noodles
  • Salads (greens, potato, pasta, etc)
  • Vegan hot dogs/sausage (you can make them shaped like octopi by cutting them into small pieces horizontally and then cutting legs with vertical cuts
  • Tofu scrambles or tofu no egg salad
  • Breakfast for lunch with some kind of colored pancake in a cool shape or design or as a pancake sandwich, options are unlimited
  • Etc.

There are lots of bento box props, tools, and other neat stuff you can buy online or in stores. A lot of Asian markets will have stuff like this as well as bento boxes. Small cookie cutters, squeeze bottles, containers, cupcake liners, stuff found in the baking section of craft stores, pretty printed parchment paper, foil, old toys, etc. can all enhance your design or serve a function in the bento box as well.

Remember, as Fluffy says:

Fat Unicorn

 

 

 

The most perfect gluten free vegan chocolate chip cookies

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I basically honed my baking skills as a kid by making chocolate chip cookies from an alphabet cookbook for kids. It was the only recipe I used, and they always came out perfect. I thought my mom had thrown out the cookbook, but I recently found it and I had to veganize them and make them gluten free. The result was so perfect I was astonished!

Here it is:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup white vegan sugar
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted Earth Balance or refined coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp flaxmeal
  • 3 tbsp warm water
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Flour
  • 6 oz vegan chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Whisk flaxmeal with water in a small cup. Let sit and whisk several times until gelled.
  3. Mix together the sugars, melted Earth Balance or coconut oil, and flax egg.
  4. Stir in flour and baking soda.
  5. Add in chocolate chips.
  6. Form dough into small balls and place onto an ungreased cookie sheet. The recipe should make about 24 cookies.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Let cool and place on a cooling rack shortly after they come out of the oven.
  9. Enjoy ! I know I will!

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Gluten Free and Vegan Elvis Panini Sandwich!

I have been trying to eat more healthfully lately. In fact, ever since I went gluten free I have found it hard to make up the ridiculously delicious recipes I was used to creating in the past. But today I dreamed up an idea for an amazing unhealthy sandwich that at first I was skeptical of being able to pull off to meet my needs. As I continued to think about it, I devised the methods that could make it healthier, and is the perfect combination of delicious, ridiculous, healthfulness, and satiety level!

This sandwich is a peanut butter and nanner sandwich, with baked vegan rice paper bacun, made with light tapioca gluten free bread, grilled in a panini maker. This definitely is not a very original idea, I’ve seen many a vegan version of this sandwich on blogs and in cookbooks, but this is my version!

It came out so well, that my panini maker has been given a new life outside of sitting in my basement!

Let me walk you through the steps, in picture form. It’s easy!

Bake the rice paper bacun. I did this recipe’s marinade, minus the ground coconut, soaked the rice paper strips in cold water, then in the marinade, and put them on a cookie sheet sprayed with coconut oil. Then I baked them in a 350 degree F oven for about 15 minutes, checking and flipping every 5 minutes (some got done sooner than others, when that happened I took the ones that were done out and put it on a plate while the rest continued to cook)IMG_9197

Set aside.

Take two pieces of Ener-g gluten free light tapioca loaf bread and spray coconut oil on one side of both slices of bread. Put the coconut oil side down on a plate.

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Take out the peanut butter. This is a locally made, all natural, salt and sugar free peanut butter. It’s so good!

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Place one tablespoon of peanut butter on each slice of bread.

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Cut half a banana into slices. Place on one slice.

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Layer the rice paper bacun you made earlier on top of the bananas. Put the peanut butter slice down on top of the bacon to make the sandwich.

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Place the sandwich into a pre-heated panini grill on medium high for about 5 minutes, more or less depending on your device (check on it).

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Ready to go!

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Enjoy!

Vegan MoFo 2015 Day 3, Post #3. Quick and Easy recipe.

Hey everyone!

This quick and easy recipe also happens to follow yesterday’s theme, which is something I grew up with as a kid. The recipe is also in my zine. See yesterday’s post for details about that.

This recipe is simple and can be gluten free if you use gluten free english muffins (I like Ener-g, they remind me of brioches a little bit!) If you don’t like almost raw onions, however, I do not recommend you try this! But if you can tolerate them or like them, I definitely recommend you keep an open mind! It sounds a little weird, but it’s one of my favorite snacks/easy small lunches.

Onion and Green Pepper English Muffin Melts

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Just Mayo (Veganaise by Hampton Creek)
  • 1/2 cup daiya shredded mozzarella
  • English Muffin (gluten free or regular)

Directions:

  1. Toast English muffin.
  2. Prepare the spread by mixing together all other ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Spread the mix on each muffin half.
  4. Broil the English muffins until the cheese melts. About 2-5 minutes depending on the oven/toaster. Watch very carefully.
  5. Eat!

Have fun, kids! Happy MoFo! 🙂

My zine is finally done!

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You can buy it here on Etsy (but if you live in RI email me first at pleasinvegan@yahoo.com before doing so, because we may be able to arrange a pickup or something so you don’t have to pay/wait for shipping)!

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I was selling these for donations for Girls Rock RI at Ladies Rock Camp this weekend. Maybe you’ve seen my posts about it in the past, here, here, and here. You can also see this video of me during the camp, where I gave a speech about being food coordinator and some other fun stuff. I love this organization!

Here are some cool pics of it there!

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Also, this is so cool! It’s the shout out wall at camp…IMG_3616_2

Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe, slop slop sloppy joes!

Before I get to the recipe I have a funny story to share.

First of all, I don’t think my mother would have ever made sloppy joe’s for my brother and I to eat if it weren’t for my dad’s apparent love for musical comedy CDs.

My dad is famous in our family for several things. For awhile, it was always needing the newest technology to play music or movies with. He had cd players in his cars pretty early on. The other thing he was famous, but still continues to this day, is the sick joy he gets out of torturing his family with the way he listens to music when we are in the car with him. He will make a point to have a bunch of music queued up, and will play the first 30 seconds of each song, until he finds the most annoying song he has, and then listens to that one in its entirety.

Anyways, some time during my childhood, there was the song that all I remember from it was the chorus of “Sloppy Joe, slop sloppy Joe, yeah.” Except, until now, I had somehow thought that this song was either a Meatloaf song or some other classic rock group’s song (as those are probably my Dad’s other favorite types of Musicians). I don’t even know why, it’s obvious that this song was not meant to be serious. After researching for more details of the “Sloppy Joe song slop sloppy joe” (yes that’s what I googled) it was on an Adam Sandler CD. Apparently I was only 9 at the time when this song came out, and I don’t remember any of the other songs on this album. Up until now I hadn’t even realized it was an Adam Sandler song, even though I know all of the lyrics to the Chanukkah songs by heart.

So, as I realized that there did not yet exist a vegan sloppy joe recipe that’s main ingredient was jackfruit, this song popped back into my head and I made it up. The jackfruit ends up complementing the other flavors very well, because jackfruit is a bit tangy, and with the seasonings and sauce almost makes it taste like there are pickles in the recipe. To me it tastes kind of like a fake cheeseburger with no burger or cheese.

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Jackfruit Sloppy Joe Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cans jackfruit, drained and rinsed, chopped in a food processor
  • 1 1/2 cups Heinz Chili Sauce or ketchup
  • 1/4 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp turmeric (I’ve been reading all these articles lately about the benefits of turmeric lately, so I try to put it into my recipes as much as I can)
  • 1 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauce or vegan steak sauce
  • Vegenaise as needed
  • Vegan Kaiser rolls sliced in half

Directions:

  1. Heat oil on medium heat in a large frying pan with cover.
  2. Add in the onions, allow to cook until translucent.
  3. Add in the pepper and garlic and cook until the pepper turns bright green and then softens.
  4. Stir in the jackfruit and allow to cook for a few minutes. Stir for a bit, place the cover on top for a minute or two, and then take off the cover and stir a bit more.
  5. When the jackfruit has heated, reduce the heat to low and add the chili sauce, sugar, seasonings, and worcestershire sauce and stir until combined.
  6. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
  7. Spread Vegenaise onto the bun and put a generous amount of the sloppy joe mixture onto the bun.
  8. Try not to make too much of a mess of yourself while eating it.

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Vegan MoFo Day 23: Too Good Baked Goods Tuesdays: Soft Baked Pretzel with Date Caramel Dipping Sauce

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I love these pretzels so much. The date caramel sauce makes them even tastier. The best part is though, that once you make a batch of these, if you set aside four of them, you will be able to make the most amazing bread pudding casserole when I post the recipe for the next Sunday Brunch post. I can hardly contain myself.

If this recipe makes too many for you (it can make 14-20 pretzels) you can halve it or make the whole thing, bake them, and then freeze some of them to eat later.

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I’m starting to get sad that Vegan MoFo 2014 is almost over! I’ve met so many awesome people from different blogs and my blog has been doing really well. Boo 😦 But I’ll save my sorrows for now, since there is still a full week left! Gotta give thanks where it is due!

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Pretzel Ingredients:

  • 3 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (2 packages)
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 tablespoons baking soda
  • 4 -6 tablespoons Earth Balance(melted)
  • to taste coarse salt (optional)

Caramel sauce ingredients:

  • 8 medjool dates, with pits removed
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup original flavor coconut creamer
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Directions for pretzels:

  1. Mix yeast with lukewarm water in large mixing bowl until the yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add to the yeast mixture the sugar and salt and stir until dissolved; add flours and stir with a spoon until combined or mix in a standing mixer with the dough hook attached.
  3. Knead dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Let rise in the bowl with a towel covering it for 30 minutes.
  5. Around the time the dough is about to be ready, prepare a baking soda water bath with 4 cups warm water and 4 tbsp baking soda in another bowl. Stir this mixture often until ready to use (once you form the dough into pretzel shapes they will be dipped into this and baked).
  6. When the dough has risen, break dough into 14 even sized small balls, and then roll each ball into a snake/coil shape. There is an art to this that I have discovered. First, you knead the ball of dough and roll it around in your hand to soften it. Then you start to roll into a coil between the palm of your hands, focusing on the ends. Then you stretch it out by pulling it to elongate it, and roll it out more with the palm of one hand on a flat surface.
  7. Shape into pretzels…it’s pretty easy to figure it out, but you lay the coil down horizontally and curl the two ends in the middle so that they overlap.
  8. Dip the pretzels into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet (you will need at least two).
  9. Cover the baking sheets with a towel and allow pretzels to rise again 30 minutes. This is a good time to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  10. Bake for about 10 minutes.
  11. Upon taking out of the oven, immediately brush with melted earth balance.
  12. Sprinkle with salt if desired, immediately after applying the earth balance. Allow to cool completely before eating.

For the date caramel sauce:

  1. Place dates in a small bowl and cover with the water. Let sit at least one hour.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a blender until it is as smooth as you can get it.
  3. You can heat this up on a stovetop before serving if you want, but it isn’t actually all that necessary.

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This post was brought to you by Vegan MoFo 2014, and the letter ‘P’

Vegan MoFo 2014: Soup, Sandwich, Salad Saturdays: Easy Creamy Tomato Soup and Basil Grilled Daiya Cheese

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Growing up, as a kid I loved creamy tomato soup. I’d even put some mozzarella cheese shreds in the soup and let it melt and swirl it around. Thankfully, due to Daiya that part was easy. However, finding an easy to make vegan creamy tomato soup was more difficult. Luckily, I figured out something that tastes good, especially if you dip the Basil and Grilled Daiya Cheese sandwich in it too!

These are two very simple recipes to make, which I am happy about.

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Vegan Creamy Tomato Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 15-oz can organic tomato sauce
  • 1 cup unsweetened, original hemp milk
  • Italian Seasoning blend, to taste
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Daiya Mozzarella shreds (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a saucepan, mix together the tomato sauce, hemp milk, and seasoning (you can also add salt and pepper if desired).
  2. On medium heat, begin to heat up this mixture.
  3. When starting to become hot, whisk together the cornstarch and water to make a slurry in a little cup, and then whisk into the soup.
  4. Stir constantly until bubbling and thickened more. If the soup doesn’t really thicken you may need to add more cornstarch and water.
  5. Serve in a soup bowl and sprinkle some Daiya Mozzarella shreds into the soup for a melty, delicious extra kick, or dip the basil grilled Daiya cheese sandwich in it.

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Basil Grilled Daiya Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices bread of choice (I used sprouted rye)
  • 2 slices Daiya Provolone or Swiss
  • 6 leaves of fresh basil
  • Spray oil

Directions:

  1. I recommend lightly toasting the bread first, especially if you have a softer type of bread you are using.
  2. Spray each side of the bread with oil.
  3. Place the cheese slices on one slice of bread, followed by the basil leaves.
  4. Place the other slice of bread on top.
  5. Spray a bit more oil onto a frying pan.
  6. Heat on both sides of the sandwich on medium heat until the bread is crispy and brown and the cheese is melted.
  7. Dip in the soup or eat alone. Enjoy!

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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.