My zine is finally done!

zine1

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)!

zine2

zine3

IMG_3529_2

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!

IMG_3573_2

IMG_3642

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

Advertisements

Vegan Mofo 2014: Too Good Baked Good Tuesday: Raspberry Lime Rickey Cupcakes!

Hello,

Today is the day I bring you the recipe that some of my friends from RIVA (Rhode Island Vegan Awareness) have been patiently waiting for almost a month since the vegan Summer picnic in which I originally brought them to. raspberrylimecupcakes

These have, in my opinion, the best tasting frosting ever! My mom who apparently finished all the leftovers of the frosting last night when I made them again yesterday from my class would agree.

Raspberry Lime Rickey Cupcake Recipe:

Makes 14 Jumbo cupcakes (use jumbo liners and fill them 2/3-3/4 full….)

or 24 regular size cupcakes

Ingredients for the cupcakes:

  • 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted not solid
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups unflavored (plain) almond milk
  • 2 limes worth of zest
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ~1/4 cup raspberries, preferably somewhat mushy when you use them

Ingredients for frosting:

  • 1/2 cup earth balance
  • 1/2 cup organic non hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup raspberry lime rickey syrup (link here)

Directions for cupcakes:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Place jumbo liners (if using) into a muffin pan…it says you can place them onto a cookie sheet but I’m doubtful. Maybe try that if you have enough batter to make a few more cupcakes though. I just put 2 extra liners into a muffin pan that has 6 slots.
  3. Mix the melted coconut oil and sugar together in a stand mixer. Make sure you’ve already grated the lime zest and juiced the limes for the next step because the coconut will solidify more if you stop to do that after this step.
  4. Add the almond milk, lime zest, lime juice, and vanilla and mix on a low setting until combined.
  5. Add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and mix until a batter forms. You will want to scrape down the sides of the bowl really good with a spatula, and then mix a bit more.
  6. Fold in the raspberries and mix until the raspberries combine and are no longer whole.
  7. Place about 1/3 cup into each jumbo cupcake liner, or until 2/3-3/4 of the way full. For regular size cupcakes, you will have about 2 1/4 tbsp to put in each cupcake liner.
  8. Bake for about 23-25 minutes for the jumbo cupcakes, mine were good at 24. If using regular sized cupcake liners, bake for about 20 minutes.
  9. They will be an interesting green color when done, which I thought was cool and I hadn’t actually anticipated that effect!

Directions for the frosting (beware, this frosting is seriously one of the most amazing things I’ve invented, I believe…)

  1. Cream together the Earth Balance and shortening in the mixer.
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar, mix until large clumps form.
  3. Add the raspberry lime syrup and mix until fluffy.
  4. It becomes the most beautiful light pink color! And its flavor is totally amazing!!
  5. Frost the cupcakes after they have completely cooled, and add garnishes like a lime wedge or a raspberry on top!

photo (11)

Vegan Mofo 2014: Day 15: Meaty Meatless Monday: Jackfruit Tutorial

Hey all!

Today for Meaty Meatless Monday I want to do a bit of a tutorial/guide to cooking with Jackfruit rather than sharing a specific recipe (although I will definitely share some of my favorite recipes for it).

For those of you that don’t know, Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that is popular in regions of Asia, that happens to be, when in the right form, a fantastic faux meat substitute for vegans in terms of it’s texture. It can be used in vegan pulled pork type recipes, bbq, as a crab or tuna substitute, even in a recipe for Philly Cheese Steak, to name a few! It is rich in iron as a half cup has 25% iron, but otherwise has fairly neutral nutritional value. It is similar to tofu in that it can take on whatever flavors you cook it with, with a bit more of tangy, even sweetly sour taste.

I jumped on the jackfruit wagon as soon as I could find a way to get some, and at first that meant purchasing it from Vegan Essentials’ online store. You can find a link to the actual jackfruit here. However, since every vegan I knew in my small state had said they couldn’t find it locally, I at first did not question them, and assumed the Asian Markets had been checked thoroughly since people had said they had looked there. Well, one day I decided to question that and see for myself. And low and behold, The Chinese American Mini Market in Cranston, RI had a big shelf of them, and they were less expensive than Vegan Essentials at $1.35 a can, as well as no shipping costs were needed. Hurray!

Another mistake I see people making is that there are two different types (maybe more, I don’t know) of Jackfruit. One is a sweeter, more fruit-like kind. It typically (if referring to Chaokoh brand which is the most commonly found canned brand) comes in a yellow container, like so:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This can still be used for other types of recipes, but won’t work if you want to make a shredded meat-like recipe. Notice that the can also says it is in syrup.

Instead, you want to buy young green jackfruit in brine (or water if you find other brands).  I am assuming based on the differences between the two, that this form is not as developed as the other, maybe even not quite ripe yet. Here is a picture of what you are looking for:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

To make it easier to remember though, I made some handy graphics to keep in mind when looking for the meaty type of jackfruit:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When preparing the jackfruit, you typically want to drain and rinse it before using. The easiest and best way I have found to shred it is to pulse it a few times in a food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, then it’s a good idea to simply follow the instructions the recipe usually includes that asks you to shred it with a fork, either before or after it is cooked.

Now, on to the recipes!

In books, my favorite recipes using jackfruit are from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. She has a recipe for yummy bbq’d jackfruit in the crockpot (which I believe is called Cannibal Corpse Crock Pot) that she also uses on top of a yummy kale salad. She also has a recipe for a sweet potato and walnut jackfruit hash (which she calls “You Don’t Know Jack Hash”) which I absolutely loved. Check her and her book out!

photo (7)

The jackfruit salad from Bake and Destroy

The Vegan Girl’s Guide to Life by Melisser Elliott also has a really great vegan carnitas taco recipe in it.

photo (8)

The jackfruit carnitas tacos

As far as websites go, here are my favorite, tried and true jackfruit recipes:

The V-Word (a fellow Mofo-er) has a mind blowing recipe for Vegan Philly Cheesesteak.

photo (9)

Vegan Philly Jackfruit Cheesesteak!

Finally, one of my absolute favorite non-tuna salad sandwich recipes can be found here. It is amazing, and unfortunately gets gobbled up so fast every time I make it that I don’t have any pictures. It was a big hit by itself (without the melt part) at Girls Rock this past Summer amongst the volunteers!

And how could I forget? My very own Jackfruit Chick’un Noodle Soup!

photo 1 (5)

So, in conclusion, do not be afraid to try jackfruit. It’s really fun to use and delicious, and there are many recipes you can find. I hope this settles some of the confusion you might have had if you are a jackfruit newbie looking to find it and don’t know much about it, as well.

180x180_g1-1

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.

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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:

Image

 

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!) 

 

 

 

Busy weekend!

I just finished out this past weekend in an amazing way. I am now fully exhausted, but it was worth it!

I helped to provide the food (as food coordinator) to Girls Rock Rhode Island’s Ladies Rock Camp again!

I wanted to make a quick post about what food I made and share a picture of a surprise I made for the campers…

If you want to know more about Girls Rock Rhode Island check out my post from last time I participated, here.

On the menu:

For breakfasts I made two kinds of muffins, a batch of chocolate chip coffee muffins and some lemon poppy seed muffins.

We also had plenty of donations of bagels, yogurts, pastries, fruit, and other stuff that was delicious!

Oh and coffee! It was provided by a local company called New Harvest.

For lunches-The first day I made an adapted version of the raw pad thai I posted here awhile ago. There were breads, chickpea salad (for sandwiches) and some volunteers made some rice, curry, and pasta salad. We also had a very generous donation of a bunch of snack items that were constantly put out with meals! I also made the Rosemary Chocolate Chip cookies from the book Isa Does It. The second day I made a taco salad and oat chocolate chip cookies. People so generously donated 2 big batches of chili (with some Daiya cheese on the side! I was so excited!), and two quiches! The final day we were so lucky to have The Providence Flatbread Company donate a huge batch of pizza for us! I tried the vegan pizza they made, and it was delicious! The gluten free pizzas went over really well too! Here is their website if you want to check them out! 

Dinners-The first night my friend Andrew made some awesome lentil stew and hummus and we also had some sandwich type salads and stuff. The second night more pizza was ordered, but I was not there so I do not know how that was!

Leftovers were at the final night at the showcase where all the women did an awesome job performing! I hope everyone really enjoyed the food (from what I heard it was great!) and congratulations to everyone who got on stage and did something so brave, inspiring, and empowering for themselves!

Image

The surprise cupcakes with a special message for campers!

Foodie (Photo) Friday #5: Eating out, Pumpkin/Chocolate muffins, Tofu Satay

Hello hello! It’s foodie (photo) Friday! Annnd… I did not make much food this week because I ended up going out to eat quite a bit.  I’ll talk about my dining experiences first before going on to the food pictures and recipe reviews:

I went to a burrito place that had seitan as a filling option (which I was very excited about) in Amherst, Massachusetts,  an Asian restaurant in Providence, RI  (the menu had mostly Thai and Chinese dishes but also some Cambodian I believe) where I got orange crispy tofu, garlic eggplant, and sticky white rice, and then tonight to The Grange in Providence where I got a pretzel bun po’ boy with fried oyster mushrooms, vegan remoulade, pickles, lettuce, and cole slaw.

It’s a big toss up between whether I liked The Grange or the Asian food better. I want to say I liked the Grange more. I was so excited when I was eating that sandwich. The flavors in it are amazing. And all the textures together worked really well. A mix of 3 crunchy elements (the pickles, lettuce, and mushrooms) and two soft/creamy (the bread and the remoulade). I was worried that the restaurant might not live up to the hype I’ve heard about it, but I was impressed by the food at least. The only complaint I may have but am undecided about is that I found the atmosphere kind of weird, it was noisy and too dark (I don’t really like dark restaurants, but maybe that is because my vision is not great in the dark? I honestly do not know!

The Asian restaurant (called Gourmet House) had a lot of options for tofu which is always a sign of a good Asian restaurant for me. Almost all the dishes you could choose tofu or tofu and vegetables with. The orange tofu was so good. I was not expecting it to come the way it was though. This tofu was more like what I remember the sauces being when I was an omnivore and had ordered lemon chicken. It was a thick, citrus-y orange flavored sauce, with no hint of soy sauce or anything that I was expecting. I liked it so much I may have gone a bit overboard by eating the whole plate of it. Oops. And the eggplant and rice were also very yummy. I liked the stickiness of the rice, I don’t think I’ve actually ever had sticky rice before. It’s kind of sweet. The eggplant was savory but also had a sweet flavor to it at the time. The eggplant itself melted in my mouth.

Sorry I didn’t take any pictures of my food at the restaurants, I was embarrassed to do so, heh.

Anyways, on to what I made from some tasty recipes this week.

The first:

venus chocolate pumpkin muffinsVenus Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins from Bake and Destroy by Natalie Slater. These are half and half pumpkin/chocolate muffins with a streusal topping. They’re difficult to make half and half so they look good, but they do taste pretty good. Next time I might omit the walnuts in the pumpkin, because I’d like a stronger pumpkin flavor. I think the walnuts might overpower it.

photo (51)

Also I had a hard time with my oven getting them cooked well enough. Even with the max time listed with the recipe they were still totally liquid in the middle when I put a toothpick in the center, I think I cooked them for 5-10 minutes more. I honestly cannot remember, sometimes my oven is a bit weird lately.

Overall, these tasted pretty good and the recipe was pretty straight forward and easy despite having to make 3 separate parts so I give it a 4 good banana, one bad banana. It lost one good banana because it just didn’t have that “wow” factor when I tasted it. But they’re good otherwise.

4bananas1

Second, was Tofu Satay from The 30 Minute Vegan cookbook.

tofu satay

I made it into a bowl with some quinoa and added extra peanut satay sauce on top. The satay sauce was perfect, it tasted exactly like the kind of peanut satay sauce I like, that I remember getting from the Thai restaurants I have been to. Sometimes people and companies make a type of peanut satay that doesn’t taste this good, maybe without coconut milk and less of a peanut buttery taste, but this was amazing. The tofu came out pretty good, but I wish I had baked it longer until it got a little more crispy, except I was hungry and impatient so oh well. The addition of raw scallions and red pepper made it a complete and tasty meal all together with the quinoa. So yay! I think this probably deserves a 5 good banana rating!

5bananas

That’s all, folks! I have some couple neat ideas for a few different kinds of posts this week, hopefully I’ll get some time to post them, but I do have some exams coming up as well, so I don’t know! But I hope so!

Until next time!

In deliciousness,

Laura