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Chocolate Banana Protein Pancakes with Maple-Peanut Butter Sauce (gluten free)

1 Mar
Lawd have mercy!

Lawd have mercy!

It’s been a long time. A long, long time. Suffice it to say that I’ve been very busy and that I never thought I’d find myself writing another post, certainly not now anyway. Since I last wrote, I’ve moved to central NY, taken a job at a farm animal sanctuary where on a daily basis, I care for about 600 rescued cows, chickens, pigs, turkeys, goats, sheep, and waterfowl–animals who have suffered tremendous agonies and have been lucky enough to end up in the safest place possible. And yet, they make up only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of those who will never know the things we all want and need regardless of our species: to be respected, to be loved unconditionally, and to feel safe. It’s been quite the experience.
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Apple Cider Poached Pears with Maple Pecan Raisin Topping and Tart Apple Cider Glaze

13 Jan

Apple Cider Poached Pears

Friends and fellow vegans!

Quite a chunk of time has lapsed since my last update and it’s been even longer since I’ve posted regularly. So much has changed in my life, but I’m finally all moved into my new place and I have my own kitchen again! Finally no more clutter, no more waiting for room to breathe, to create, or to explore food! Still, with this new move and this new job, I often find myself too exhausted to even think about blogging. When you think about it, working on a recipe, testing it out several times (if it’s not great at once, which sometimes it’s not), photographing it, sharing a story and typing it up, posting it, and promoting it is a lot of work. It’s almost like a second job, if you aren’t careless about it.

It’s been really great taking a break from the blog, despite it being forced at first and later, a choice. Yet, I’ve decided to gradually return to this world because cooking, baking, and sharing the abundant deliciousness of vegan food is an important part of  activism and as such, it’s important to me. Many of you keep asking for more recipes, which is flattering and empowering! Thank you! So, you’ll be seeing a bit more posts on here in the next few months. I’m going to try for anywhere from 2 to 3 a month depending on my schedule.

A lot of my eating habits lately have taken the focus off of baking and into more simple foods that focus on a raw ingredient. I’ve been actively trying to cut down, not on sugar, but on cakey-foods. It won’t last long, I’m sure. But for now, here’s a recipe that happened when I had a ripe pear that I didn’t just want to eat raw. Despite how simple and easy this recipe is, it’s quite impressive once served and it’s sure to make people think you’re some sort of healthy dessert genius. Let them be fooled! This dish is so naturally and perfectly sweet that it won’t give you a toothache from crazy amounts of added sugar. Served warm, it is wonderful and the pears cut so smoothly. The topping adds just the right amount of texture and crunch to the dish and if you happen to have pecan topping leftovers (it’s nearly impossible to stop yourself from eating it all at once), then you can refrigerate them and snack on them later or put them in your oatmeal the next day!

I hope you enjoy this treat as much as I did! Bon appetit and happy new year!

Apple Cider Poached Pears
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Banana Oatmeal Chia Pudding

3 Aug

With almond butter, dried cranberries, and sliced almonds. Yum!

 

Friends, colleagues, and comrades,

Quite a bit of time has lapsed since my last blog entry and even longer since my last recipe installment! For this, I apologize. It has been one crazy summer, unfortunately mine did not include John Cusack (movie reference, whoa!). My jobs and the exhaustion and stress that come with them have kept me from being able to devote any time at all to this blog, let alone to thinking creatively about food or even wanting to pretend that my kitchen is a chemistry lab/art studio. Also, living with quite a few people and sharing a large (but often occupied and cluttered) kitchen space really puts a damper on wanting to be in the kitchen at all or even wanting to be creative about food.

To be honest, this past year I’ve survived on mostly large salads, easy pasta dishes and stir-frys, and a variety of sandwiches and fruits. In other words, foods that don’t put me in the kitchen for more than 20 minutes. It’s been frustrating and at the same time really empowering because it’s basically forced me to eat a lot of food without prepping and in raw form. I think I’m healthier for it, sort of. But, I sure do go through a lot of produce (as if that’s ever a problem for healthy vegans)!

So just to catch up, because I know y’all totally care about my personal life–since my last post, I quit one of my jobs–the big one, the one that was making me very miserable and tired and unhealthy. It has been a month and since then a lot of really great things have happened including lots of sleep, lots of eating, lots of exercising, lots of traveling, lots of food sharing, lots of dog kisses, cat snuggles, and even baby sparrow cuddles, and lots of hang-outs with crucial friends, old and new, advocates and otherwise.

It’s been a really uplifting, healthy experience for me and I’m very happy to be able to wake up and take care of myself first, for once. One of the ways I’ve been practicing self-care is by making sure I eat a really good, nutrient dense breakfast. No more running out of the house with a piece of toast or a banana in my hand. I know, it sounds cliched, but it’s so important and so true that breakfast is a very important meal, if not the most important.

But I know you’re really here for the food so let’s talk about it!

I’ve been eating a lot of loaded non-dairy yogurt breakfasts as of late. Basically, almond milk/coconut milk based yogurt with  heaping portions of nuts, dried and raw fruit, hemp seeds, raw oats and my favorite…chia seeds. It was in noticing what chia seeds do when they are mixed with liquid and allowed to sit for some time–they become soft and almost gel-like, like tapioca–that I thought to bring you this next recipe. This recipe is so simple, anyone can make it, any time. All you need is a jar and a refrigerator, really. It takes only minutes to prepare and minutes to eat, and it conveniently fits in jar that you can take with you if you’re on the go!

When I had this yesterday, I calculated that it has at least 20 grams of protein (that’s half of my daily requirement!), 43% of my daily iron requirement, 49% of my daily calcium requirement, and 25 grams of fiber. Not to mention a ton of Omega 3’s and antioxidants thanks to the chia! Whoa. I can’t tell you how much this breakfast fueled my body for the day. I was sustained by this well after noon and, having planned to dedicate hours on my feet in the kitchen baking and to running errands, it was the perfect energy boost I needed to get my day started off right.

Here are two more awesome facts: when you make this it means that breakfast is ready right when you wake up and it’s delicious. Want more? This can easily be made into a chocolatey dessert–just use chocolate flavored non-dairy milk. Or, for you coffee lovers, you can make this a mocha-licious morning treat! I’m not a coffee drinker at all, but I tried my hand at a coffee version and the results are in–it’s caffeinated and it’s good. I added spices to my coffee version (which you can leave out if you wish) because being raised by a Dominican mother, you know to always put spices in your coffee, especially nutmeg. So what are you waiting for? Make your breakfast tonight and enjoy it tomorrow! Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie with Gingersnap Apricot Crust

23 Nov

For some crazy reason, I didn’t think I was busy enough this holiday season and so I decided to make two pies for my small family Thanksgiving get together. There are four of us and two pies. It’s a bit indulgent, but hey, why the heck not? Like I said, I like pie and I like custard type pies especially. So, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be an experience to remember without a proper pumpkin pie, right? Right.

Here’s a recipe I came up with for two reasons. First, after making the pumpkin cheesecake with the gingersnap oreo cookie crust, I couldn’t wait to try a full-on gingersnap crust. It only seemed fitting to hold the crust together with delicious dried fruit like you would a raw crust, and dried apricots caught my eye so, dried apricots it was! The second reason for constructing this pie was an attempt to make a vegan pumpkin pie that was creamy, but didn’t involve using silken tofu (or any soy for that matter) in the place of heavy cream. One of my family members is sensitive to soy and since we celebrate our holidays vegan, I wanted to make sure that I had a traditional pie option that would please everyone. Naturally, I sought solice in cashew cream and as per usual, cashew cream saved the day!

What came of this creation was an incredibly creamy, rich pumpkin pie with a crust that you won’t be able to stop yourself from eating. I’m really pleased with how “rustic” and homemade in appearance the pie came out as well since I’m not a fan of heavily manicured food (think: cupcakes). Some of the edges of the crust burned a little during baking because I “flash baked” the pie for a few minutes at first. I’ve removed that step to (hopefully) prevent that from happening again, but even if it does, the pie is still delicious and it actually adds a nice color contrast to the crust. The taste will hardly be affected.

I’m excited to present it to my family. I hope you will consider sharing this with yours as well!

Remember folks, imperialism and cultural imperialism (a.k.a how the first Thanksgiving came to be) is super awful, but in the spirit of forgiveness, peace, and justice for all creatures — have a happy vegan harvest! Continue reading

Pear and Apple Pie

22 Nov


Dear pear and apple lovers,

As you all may already know, I don’t like apples. Or pears. The day you see me eat one of these fruits raw is the day that no other edible foods exist for me to eat. I’ll even admit, apple pie has never been my favorite of the fruit pies. When it comes to me and pie: it’s custards or bust. As far as fruit pies go, I mostly like the crust. I’m a bread girl, what can I say? That being said, I simply can’t resist apples or pears in baked dishes or in ciders. I don’t know how or why I make the distinction. Maybe it’s the sugar. Or maybe it’s the pure, mind blowing comfort of delicious pastry dough.

In any case, it’s a little surprising that I decided to make a pie with the two fruits I generally don’t enjoy. But it isn’t for me, really. My brother, Job, has always been an apple pie aficionado. I don’t know anyone else who devours apple pie as much or as efficiently as he does. This Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to do a nice little sisterly thing and make him one. Don’t worry, I won’t blow the surprise — he doesn’t read this blog anyway. My brother isn’t vegan (yet), but this pie will likely make him think twice about ever eating another non-vegan pie again!

This recipe is pretty standard. You can chose to use all apples and so, you don’t have to use pears if you don’t want to. I chose to add them–Comice pears, to be exact–because it seemed fitting and different. And as far as pears go, Comice pears are deliciously soft, sweet, and juicy; the perfect match for tart Granny Smiths. The apricot jam glaze is something I’ve always used to replace the egg glaze used for browning the top of conventional non-vegan pies. You can use another jam if you prefer. I simply chose apricot because it’s lighter in flavor and because grape jam doesn’t lend itself to the aesthetics of this pie.

This recipe is pretty straight-forward and simple, but it will take you some time (most of which is just waiting for ingredients to chill properly). Take it along with you to your Thanksgiving feast (and don’t forget the vegan vanilla ice cream)! When everyone is telling you how delicious it is, remember to tell them it’s totally vegan too! Then follow up with stories of all the other awesome things you eat, wear, and use that don’t contain animal products.

As always: spread the love, share the food, be merry, and stuff your vegan face!

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Easy Pumpkin Cheesecake with Gingersnap Oreo Cookie Crust

16 Nov

Although VeganMoFo is over, I feel like I’m still in a mad dash to come up with fun, delicious recipes for the masses. Ah, the holidays: a time centered around families, food, and good will towards men. Why not aim for good will towards all creatures and make your holidays vegan? It’s super easy, super fun, and no one gets hurt–well except for Uncle Bob, but that’s because he over does it on the spiked cider. Oh, Uncle Bob…

One of my roommates has been on an intense pumpkin pie kick lately. So, as much as I’ve wanted to bake pumpkin pie in preparation for the upcoming holiday, I figured we were all maxed out on the pumpkin pies for now. So, naturally, a cheesecake was in order. A pumpkin cheesecake. With cookies. Because…well, because why the hell not? I rarely venture through the cookie aisle in grocery stores, but something drove me there this past week, right to the Newman O’s. When I saw they had ginger oreos, I knew–I knew the time had come for a miraculous, simple, cookie crust. And so it was. And so it is.

This recipe is so easy, you basically have no excuse not to try it this holiday season. The cheesecake filling is thick and smooth and so much like dairy cheesecake, you’ll have everybody fooled. The crust is gingery, crunchy, and practically caramelizes, giving it an overall flavor reminiscent of dulce de leche.

Ok, enough. I can’t say anymore without drooling unattractively, and I’ve got pies to bake, stuffing to pursue, and gravies to concoct! There’s only a little over a week left until my family’s anti-Thanksgiving vegan harvest. I hope this makes it onto your dessert plate; I know it will be on mine! Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Marshmallow Chocolate Chip Cookies

8 Oct

Hi friends! Would you all like a recipe for soft, sticky, gooey, delicious pumpkin cookies? Yes? I thought so. Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here’s a recipe inspired by, yet again, the almighty pumpkin. But I’ve taken it to a whole new level of deliciousness. I heard that Chicago Soy Dairy was doing a Dandies giveaway for VeganMoFo and I thought, well hey, I should make something with marshmallows! And so this recipe is partly inspired by that and partly inspired by wanting to make something with adult flavor — that is, something big on pumpkin spice flavors — but that also appeals to kids. And since no one is ever too old to enjoy marshmallows and chocolate, I thought this would be the perfect time to bake some cookies!

I’ll have to admit, at first, I was a little scared of trying this one out because I knew the marshmallows would basically become “fluff” (which is a popular non-vegan brand name for marshmallow creme). And although I like marshmallows, I’ve never liked them in spreadable form. Also, I knew that the cookies might break apart or flatten out because the marshmallows, under high heat, would dissolve. And so…they did. What came of it was an explosion of wonderful, gooey, sugary heaven. Some of the cookies “popped” like volcanoes and so weren’t as pretty, but once you put one in your mouth, it doesn’t matter what a cookie looks like, right? Nonetheless, many of the cookies were “presentable” and many of them were hard to resist on appearance alone — who can resist something that’s basically oozing with marshmallowy sugary goodness? Obviously, only a crazy person can. And none of us are  that sort of crazy now, are we?

I hope you’ll enjoy these as much as my family and I did. To give you fair warning: when you take them out of the oven they will be a gooey mess. So make sure to space them properly on the baking sheet so that they don’t stick to one another. Also, I decided to store these in the refrigerator so that they wouldn’t become too soft if left out for a long time (I made so many, I couldn’t possibly eat them all myself, and I live alone). If you’re just going to devour them all right away, then there’s no need to refrigerate them.

Be sure to check out my other marshmallow treat that uses Dandies Vegan Marshmallows: S’mores Pops! Enjoy!

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