Kittens, final classes, vegfest, oh my!

Hi! I’ve been slacking a bit with my posts, but with good reason!

First, I adopted a kitten!

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He’s the best. He was already named when we got him. His name is Sam (his litter mates were all named after Lord of the Rings characters), but we like to call him Sammy. He’s so playful and cuddly but also a little skittish.

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(oh, and as you can see I am rocking a new colorful hair style!!) I’ve been spending a lot of time with him, bonding and such. He was really scared at first and was skeptical of sleeping in my bed, but now he likes to cuddle with me in it, especially in the mornings. He’s keeping me on a better sleep-wake routine which is awesome. He is 13 weeks old, and we got him when he was 12 weeks. He really loves people too, lots of people have met him so far, and he isn’t afraid or timid of any of us.

Next up on my big news, I finished all the work for my degree! As part of one of my classes, I made a new website too and got business cards! You can check it out at veg-edu-ables.com! I’m hoping to start mentoring people who want to be vegan near me, and doing other things like cooking classes, food demos, providing food for different organizations, helping with people’s writing (which can be for anything, vegan or otherwise, but most of my writing has something to do with veganism, so that’s why it’s there too!), and more! I finished all my work for my Bachelor of Science degree on October 18, 2015! I will have that paper in my hand some time after December 31st! (My college has 8 week terms, where you take 2 classes each term for a total of 4 classes per semester). I’m so happy to be done early and have some time to really start working on some of my awesome projects!

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This calls for some celebration!

Part of that celebration was going to the Boston Vegfest! I went there today with my mom…my mom was really excited because she’s lactose intolerant and could have cheese and chocolates and all kinds of stuff! She’s never actually been somewhere that she can have so much stuff at! I got a lot of cool stuff, some for my birthday coming up this Thursday the 29th…

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I couldn’t decide what stickers to get at Herbivore so I got a ton…also some pins from Compassion Co.

I also got this gluten free magic bar from FoMu:

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I also got a vegan bacon chocolate bar from Rescue Chocolate, a t-shirt with a cow on it that says “Create Kindness” from Herbivore, some (vegan of course) sour cream and chive cashews, some Pulsin protein bars (it’s really hard to find good gluten free AND vegan protein bars), and tons of free samples. My mom was especially excited that So Delicious was giving away free full size mocha ice cream pops, her fave! (I was surprisingly not very hungry and so I didn’t eat that much stuff until I had a vegan hot dog that came in a gluten free wrap and had a delicious kale salad, coconut bacon, and chipotle mayo on it!! yum!) It was a really great day and my mom actually loved it, which I was a little worried she wouldn’t like it as much as she did! 🙂

I came home and made some pizza with Schar’s gluten free crust which makes pizza so much easier for me. It was a buffalo chicken ranch pizza.

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I made it by spreading the buffalo sauce on the crust, putting a mix of Follow Your Heart (hand-shredded) mozzarella and cheddar on top, cooking up Beyond Meat vegan chicken strips and then cutting them into pieces and putting them on top…then I baked the pizza. When it was done I drizzled this amazing vegan ranch dressing I found at my local grocery store!

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It’s so good, it has a coconut milk base. I love it! And they have other varieties that are both gluten free and vegan that I want to try too! 🙂

So yeah, it’s a really easy pizza to make. I also made a similar one not too long ago with bbq sauce…

Anyways, that’s the update, hope you’re having as much fun as I am lately!!

Peanut Butter Ice Cream Sundaes!

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In my honest opinion, peanut butter and chocolate is the best combination of flavors in the world. So, I was looking in one of my mom’s cookbooks recently to veganize a Chinese Chicken Salad recipe, and found a recipe for peanut ice cream. It calls for egg yolks (which I veganized with aquafaba) and cream and all kinds of non vegan stuff, so I adapted it quite a bit. It came out quite good. Here’s the recipe:

Peanut butter ice cream sundaes

(Adapted from a non-vegan recipe in the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook)

Ingredients:

For peanut butter ice cream:

  • 1 can full fat regular coconut milk
  • 1 can Trader Joe’s coconut cream (you can use another can of coconut milk if you don’t have a nearby trader Joe’s, it may not come out as creamy but it will still be good.)
  • 1 15 oz can’s worth of drained chickpea liquid (also referred to as aquafaba)
  • ½ cup vegan sugar
  • 2/3 cup powdered peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter

For fudge sauce:

  • ¾ stick Earth Balance (6 tbsp)
  • ¼ pound block of dark chocolate, chopped
  • 2/3 cup vegan sugar
  • 1 tbsp instant coffee
  • 1 cup coconut milk from a can
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

For ice cream:

  1. Drain the chickpeas and set aside the liquid. Place in a small saucepan and heat on low until fizzy and reduced to 1/3 cup. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  2. Place the chickpea liquid into a ceramic mixing bowl along with the sugar. With an electric mixer, beat for about 5 minutes until peaks form and ribbons fall off the beaters.
  3. Pour the coconut milk and coconut cream into a large saucepan. Whisk a bit by hand until the clumps come out of the coconut cream and it is smooth. Heat on the stove until hot but not boiling.
  4. Take off the heat and add in the chickpea liquid/sugar mixture and whisk by hand until combined.
  5. Place on heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It is ready to go when the liquid coats the back of the spoon.
  6. Allow to cool for at least a half hour off the heat. Add in the peanut butter and peanut butter powder and transfer to a blender. Blend until combined.
  7. Place in a container and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Follow your ice creamer maker directions and then stick in the freezer after it’s ready for at least another hour before serving.

For fudge sauce:

  1. Melt the Earth Balance in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Shut off the heat once melted, and add all ingredients except vanilla.
  3. Heat over medium heat until boiling while stirring constantly.
  4. When boiling, turn to low and stir for an additional 5-10 minutes until smooth and thick.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and add in the vanilla extract.
  6. Allow to cool briefly and serve while still warm on top of ice cream. You will need to refrigerate and reheat (try steaming with a double boiler) when using again.
What the chickpea liquid and sugar should look like before you add it to the coconut

What the chickpea liquid and sugar should look like before you add it to the coconut

The ice cream when done

The ice cream when done

The chocolate sauce when done

The chocolate sauce when done

Top your ice cream and fudge with peanuts and coconut whipped cream (that is if you can master it! I haven’t been able to for some reason…go figure).

Christmas Re-cap

Oi. So the school semester finished Sunday the 21st and I was a bit of a mess. After that, I barely stopped. It was a whir of wrapping presents, menu planning, grocery shopping (multiple times, ugh), spending time with family, cooking, etc. Since then I haven’t really stopped either, until today…Thank Goodness.

Remember my menu? I stuck to it pretty closely with a few adjustments.

My mom actually made the salad and the eggplant Christmas Eve which was great. She actually helped so much with the cooking which was a big relief because even as I write this now, I still feel like I am recovering from being so stressed during school.

First, we had the greek salad:

Isa Does It Greek Diner Salad

Isa Does It Greek Diner Salad

Then we had the main course, which for me was a piece of Spanakopita pot pie and the eggplant parm.

Spinach Pot Pie

Spinach Pot Pie

Spinach Pot Pie-Inside

Spinach Pot Pie-Inside

Eggplant Parmesan

Eggplant Parmesan

The dessert I was making for Christmas Day got screwed up because my mom was trying to teach me a trick with the roll cake but forgot how to do it the correct way and it fell apart 😦 So we decided to save the mud pie for Christmas day, and instead would have the vegan peppermint stick ice cream I had made…The frosting for the cake was already made, so we ended up making some of the crumbled up cake, ice cream, frosting, crushed peppermint candies, and chocolate syrup into sundaes. Everyone was obsessed with the peppermint stick ice cream, and I really don’t blame them! It was so good. It’s been requested that I make it again.

Vegan xmas Ice Cream Sundae

Vegan xmas Ice Cream Sundae

Then on Christmas morning we had my famous pretzel bread pudding for breakfast:

Pretzel Bread Pudding

Pretzel Bread Pudding

For an appetizer I made the Hummus Pomodoro with Warm Pizza Crust from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen which was so good. Everyone really loved it, and my grandmother was telling me I selected some really good tomatoes, haha.

Festive hummus, pizza bread slices not pictured

Festive hummus, pizza crust slices not pictured

For dinner, here was my plate:

Clockwise from top left: Caramelized onion mashed potatoes, Gardein Holiday Roast, creamed spinach, and glazed carrots

Clockwise from top left:
Caramelized onion mashed potatoes, Gardein Holiday Roast, creamed spinach, and glazed carrots

And for dessert? Well, my grandmother decided to leave before we had it, so while I was waiting for my mom to take her home, I ended up whipping up a surprise. I had so much frosting leftover from the botched cake that I decided to make whoopie pies:

Whoops, I made Whoopie Pies

Whoops, I made Whoopie Pies

And we ate them along with the mud pie! (two gross but delicious sounding “pies,” haha)

Mud Pie!

Mud Pie!

This was also the first year I barely got any cooking related gifts.  Believe it or not, I’m okay with that. This is because:

A) I have way too many cookbooks and am now trying to make my own cookbook zine so I’m mostly eating my own creations.

B) I have pretty much everything I need in the way of utensils, though I did get a new measuring cup set and a cool little frosting thingy for decorating cakes and stuff in my stocking.

C) I am trying to also eat a bit healthier, so candy and junk food isn’t wise. Although, I did get a package of peppermint Bark Thins and Supercandy (they are vegan and basically gum drops with tons of B vitamins in them) in my stocking.

D) Apparently my love of working out has almost overtaken my love of cooking, at least, gift wise. I got some cool workout gear this year!

I do hope to use the two Whole Foods gift cards I got for presents for some food-related goodies/healthy foods! Yay.

Happy holidays everyone! I will probably not be posting until after the New Year, so I hope you all have a happy one!

My Xmas Menu

Happy holidays everyone!

Just a quick post to share my menu I have planned out for Christmas. I hope to post a bit more later on in the week.

Christmas eve dinner:

  • Greek Diner Salad from Isa Does It
  • Spinach pot pie (own recipe)
  • Eggplant Parmesan from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen
  • Dessert: Mississippi Mud Pie (own recipe)

Christmas day breakfast:

My pretzel bread pudding casserole

Christmas day appetizer:

Hummus Pomodoro with Warm Pizza Crust from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen

Christmas day meal:

  • Gardein Holiday Roast
  • Caramelized Onion Mashed Potatoes from Vegan Table
  • Creamed Spinach from Chloe’s Vegan Italian Kitchen
  • Glazed carrots (my mom’s recipe)
  • Dessert: Peppermint stick ice cream (my own recipe) and chocolate peppermint roll cake (my own recipe as well)

I’m so excited for all this! haha. Yum.

Have a delicious holiday season! 🙂

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.

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!) 

 

 

 

Foodie Friday Catch-up

I have forgotten/been busy and have been neglecting this for a few weeks. Aside from some Christmas food postings, and my recipe for my brownies the other night, I have not been posting much! Hopefully I can change that while I’m on break from school!

Anyways, I am going to fill in some gaps of some things I have made recently.

I think this is everything, except I did make the healthy (and delicious! might I add) waffle recipe from Isa Does it for New Year’s Morning and I forgot to take a picture of it. Oh, and I made a salad to share for a writing workshop I attended, also from Isa Does It (the avocado ranch one) that I forgot to to take a picture of as well.

Kale Salad with Butternut Squash and Lentils from Isa Does It

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I really loved the texture of this salad! The flavors were great. As a meal it was surprisingly satisfied. I’d definitely make it again and it was quite easy. The easier the better lately, in my opinion!

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Fruit Punch “winkies” from Bake and Destroy

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I also made these for the writing workshop with my new canoe pan I got for Christmas! The cake batter ends up coming out really thick and bakes like the consistency of a donut. You can’t really taste the fruit punch flavor as much as I’d like. Some tweaking of my own vegan twinkie creations is definitely in order! But it was great to have a recipe to work from and see if it works, get inspired by! Believe me…there’ll be more vegan twinkie recipes in the future. As someone of an aside…I need to get more practice with the frosting syringe so that the filling gets distributed evenly throughout the twinkie fully…

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Cucumber Ranch Bowl from Isa Does It

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This was quite good. I loved the crispy tofu and the  spices used to make it. The dressing has a bit of an odd texture but is good. The broccoli goes well and also gets more veggies into the dish. I liked the textures combined with the rice. I do not know for sure if it is something I would make again though? I thought it would be much better than I thought by the write up it had in the cookbook. I think it’s good for a one time trial…not sure what to rate it banana-wise since it was good enough, maybe I will settle on 3 good bananas? I cannot decide though! Ok 3 good bananas it is. But I would definitely make the tofu again, just in something different.

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So Delicious Coconut Milk Ice Cream (vanilla) with this strawberry sauce recipe

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I made this for my dessert on New Years Eve. It was really good, and not sickeningly sweet. I liked it a lot and put it on my waffles the next morning as a healthy topping! So good.

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Tempeh Soft Tacos (made with diy taco seasoning), with guacamole, lettuce, nutritional yeast, and salsa

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I used some recipes for reference for this. Mainly this one for the tempeh taco meat and this one (for the taco seasoning which I tweaked a bit by reducing salt and omitting the crushed red pepper). It was delicious though I put way too much of my guacamole onto it haha. Yum. The tempeh taco meat is definitely a good idea!

I have also been making a lot salads with some bbq’d Beyond Meat I got for free, eating the brownies I made last night, making a few daiya grilled cheese sandwiches, and other convenient foods but I need to get back to eating and cooking with more fresh veggies and such. I am going to try making the sweet potato gnocchi with tarragon cashew cream soon from Isa Does It. Be prepared to see that next week!

Pumpkin Ice Cream with the secret vegan “cream” ingredient that makes it amazing!

Okay, so pumpkin ice cream recipes may not be too original or anything, but the taste of this one I just made certainly is.

It basically tastes like pumpkin flavored frozen whipped cream.

The secret ingredient? A can of this:

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It requires an ice cream maker. I used the kind where the base of the machine gets frozen and then you pull it out of the freezer right before you’re about to put the ice cream liquid inside, turn it on, and let it mix itself until it turns into ice cream. I don’t know much about ice cream maker varieties but I love this one, and think it works quite well. Mine is a Hamilton Beach brand maker.

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The Creamiest Vegan Pumpkin Ice Cream Ever

Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 14 oz can coconut cream (I’m really not sure where you can find this otherwise besides Trader Joe’s so let me know if you find one elsewhere? Regular coconut milk in a can will NOT yield the same results but you could try it with some sort of thickener maybe? hmmm)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp liquid stevia

1/4 cup maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  2. Pulse until combined.
  3. Prep ice cream maker.
  4. Pour ice cream base into ice cream maker according to your machine’s directions.
  5. The time it will take to turn into ice cream will vary according to many different factors, so when it looks like ice cream or your preferred ice cream consistency, stop it. It sometimes helps to pour into a container and freeze for a bit if it’s still somewhat soupy and not turning into ice cream after awhile (at least let it run for a half hour before you do this, but then again, read your machine’s directions and gauge it by those).