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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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Red and Green Bean Dip

24 Dec

It’s Christmas Eve and all I can think about is food. Shocker. As I said in an earlier post, I am out of commission for a big, extravagant Christmas menu. Thanksgiving left me beat and I have been way too busy and overtired from work to even sit down and commit myself to looking up recipes or to try to invent something on the fly. Maybe next year. Definitely next year. Suffice it to say, that I have to feed my family something. I just haven’t figured out what that something is yet. For now, I’ve just had my mind on all those Christmas parties people go to in which they need to bring a dish to share. Why not a fun appetizer that will go flying off the table? Why not a nice festive looking dip?

So, here’s the final piece to my Christmas appetizer trio. This dip is something that came up out of need for something quick and easy to snack on and it hit the spot! The flavor is bold without being overpowering. What I love most about it though, is the festive presentation of the green kale and red kidney beans against the white bean background. It’s also thick and hearty and will serve as a nice lunch, if you’re so inclined. I recommend serving it with crackers that can hold up to it–I used sesame melba crackers. I prefer not adding oils to food if it isn’t necessary (and this dip doesn’t need it) but, if you’re using crackers that are more inclined to break in a dip, you can smooth out the dip by adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

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Stuffed Dates

24 Dec

I spent enough time in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day for both holidays so, with Christmas coming up in just 1 day, I figured I’d take it easy and work on a whole meal consisting of appetizers (okay, maybe there’s a lasagna in my family’s future too). Anyway, a few days ago, my housemates and I celebrated the first night of Hanukkah. One of my housemates brought almond butter stuffed dates to the table. They were so delicious and easy that I started thinking of other ways to enjoy them and make them more presentable, if you will. So this is what I came up with. I’m simply just sharing this for the sake of sharing yet another super easy vegan delight that will have everybody at your party thinking, “Why the hell didn’t I think of that?!”

As of late, dates have been my go-to source for dietary fiber and potassium. They also pack a powerhouse of good carbohydrates; the kind you need in the middle of a long day of work. Fill these with whatever you fancy. I found that the yogurt filled dates were my favorite. I highly recommend So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt if you can get your hands on it and, if like me, you try and stay as far away from the grittiness of soy based yogurts. Another way to enjoy the yogurt filled date is to add some freshly grated citrus like lemon or orange to the top. If you want a combination of sweet and savory, try filling these with vegan cream cheese. If you have kids, this is probably a really good way to get them to sneak something super healthy into their snacking habits! Enjoy!

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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

18 Oct


I’m still here, still alive, still in MoFo mode. But, it’s been a tremendously busy few weeks. Moving and working full time and MoFo-ing? What was I thinking?! I think I’m still in this. I think I can, I think I can! Anyhow, I finally finished packing and after a 13 hour move out of state, I’m finally settled in and in my new kitchen. So of course after all the cleaning and organizing and attempts to find the perfect lighting for photographing food, I put myself to work on one of my favorite recipes.

My roommate’s boyfriend who works on a farm, graciously bestowed us with a bounty of winter squash. Among them, my favorite — the acorn squash. If you haven’t noticed already, I really like stuffing food into more food (stuffed peppers, stuffed pasta, stuffed apples, stuffed summer squash).  Maybe someday I’ll invent a vegan version of TurDuckEn. So of course, seeing the squash, I felt the need to stuff it. It just had to happen.

This is a recipe I first tried out last year at thanksgiving time and really enjoyed. It went over really well with my family too. It’s very easy to make, has a lot of fall flavor to it, and is very comforting. You can adjust the spices as you wish. If you want it to be more spicy, add more chili powder; more cinnamon-y, add more cinnamon. There’s really no way to make this “the wrong way.” Also, I like to play around with other ingredients. Sometimes I use raisins or dried apricots, this time, I used dates and cranberries. Usually, I like to make this with red quinoa because it looks really beautiful against the orange squash, but I had only white quinoa on hand and that worked well too. If you’re all about presentation come vegan harvest (thanksgiving), then I’d definitely go with the red!

‘Til tomorrow! Continue reading

Three Bean Slow Cooker Chili

5 Oct

Hello MoFo’ers, after a lovely day off for cooking and baking, I’ve returned with a new comforting recipe for the season! Besides my toaster (I really love toast), there is no other kitchen appliance I love more than my slow cooker. I think it’s because both of these appliances make the kitchen smell great when they’re doing their job right. Also, they make tasty things to put in my mouth. But slow cookers are particularly awesome because they’re the only necessary kitchen tool for making great food if you’re someone who is often too busy to be home or stand over a stove.

Years ago, my mom gave me her cool, ugly, orange slow cooker manufactured and purchased in the 1970s. When I was growing up, I remember it always being kept in our basement and never in our kitchen. Every time we moved, it came with us for some reason, but it wasn’t because it was being used. I didn’t know what it was until I was older and it’s not because my mom decided to bring it upstairs and make something incredible. It’s because I saw one of the potpourri slow cookers and I put two and two together (it equals four, by the way). I’m not sure if it’s something my mom had ever used, to be honest. I don’t think she grasps the concept of how awesome it is to have an entire meal cooking slowly while you do something else. I keep telling her, it’s multi-tasking at it’s finest, but I think she’s scared of cooking in a way she’s not used to.

Anyway, when I moved to NH last year, I finally made use of it because I’d be gone for long hours at a time for class or work. I wanted to come home to something hot and ready to eat. And this is one of the recipes I would often put together because it’s simple and easy, and lasts a long time if you’re only one person. Oh, and of course, it’s delicious! I know, it’s not really “chili” if there isn’t a ground up dead animal in it, but I didn’t even want to take the steps to fake it. This is just a really vegan, product free, easy to make meal. Anyone with a crockpot can make it. I know it doesn’t look like much, but I swear, if you have a slow cooker, it’ll be one of your basic go-to’s too. Enjoy!

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So Easy 3 Bean Salad

27 Aug

The impending threat of losing power because of Hurricane Irene has got me wondering about what the hell I’m going to eat if the power goes out. Mind you, if the power goes for a few hours, everything in my fridge will be safe. I have plenty of dry goods and raw vegan recipes to keep me well fed for several days. But I’ve been in situations where the electricity hasn’t come back for days (ice storms, living in a rural part of NH, etc.) and on a scale of no fun to awesome…it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Yes, yes, I know I sound like a spoiled American.

Anyway, I went shopping today for raw veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, crackers, and canned goods — all things that will keep if the power goes. It’s like vegans were made to survive the apocalypse! And hell, even if all we get is a “tropical storm” (how exotic) and the power doesn’t go, then I’ll just use these delicious goods to make myself something fancy while I enjoy staying in, hearing the rain pound on the ceiling while I sip on a glass of wine and curl up with a good book or movie and my lovable old pup.

Here’s a super simple, limited ingredient, delicious recipe that I love to make for lunch on a regular, full power day or for picnics, beach outings, and vegan barbecues. Its resourcefulness and use during power outages has made itself apparent many times! As well as how very filling it is! You can enjoy this many ways: in a wrap, on bread, inside a raw bell pepper or cabbage leaf, in salad, or just on its own in a bowl! Make sure your beans aren’t canned in animal products and be wary of those sneaky “natural flavor” claims!

Also, while I have your attention…if you’re in New England this weekend, please be safe, check on your elderly neighbors and bring your pets and any strays you find indoors!

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Sun-dried Tomato & Lemon Mayo-free Potato Salad

9 Aug

Normally, I would make potato salad with Vegenaise or Mindful Mayo, but I decided to make this one mayo-free for two reasons: first, I have a friend who really hates mayo (vegan and not) and for whom I wanted to provide a simple, delicious, light, mayo-free recipe and secondly, I didn’t want to rely on a processed product to make a great vegan dish. The result is a really savory, beautiful, summery potato salad that can be eaten as a stand alone meal or served as a side dish at your next vegan barbecue.

It so happens that the friend for whom this was intended hates potato salad — even the mayo-free kind. Shucks. Sorry, Jessie! Well, I guess this doesn’t change anything except that she won’t be eating it. That doesn’t stop anyone else, though!

I love this recipe for it’s freshness and ease. By the time I was done chopping the veggies, the potatoes were done. And I love how much all the flavors stood out, but especially the lemon and tomato. I enjoyed this for lunch for several days and it was very filling. Next time, I will remember to share it with others around me and not just eat it all myself!

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Mint Basil Pesto

6 Jul

I love summer. I mostly love non-humid summers, but I’ll take this New England heat, if I must, for now. My favorite thing about summer is the extended daylight, but coming in at a close second is the near daily opportunity to go to a farmer’s market. I absolutely adore farmer’s markets. Big ones, little ones — anywhere where there are farmers with fresh fruits, vegetables, or vegan baked goods — that’s where I want to be.

My first visit to a farmer’s market was last year in Portland, Oregon. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better initiation to farmer’s markets than the lively and vibrant Portland Farmer’s Market at Portland State University (Saturdays 8:30 to 2!). It was like being in an amusement park. Ok, not really, but I was overwhelmed with excitement and I hadn’t even started cooking for myself yet. I think this is where the revolution began. To be fair, it truly began in California where, as a new vegan and Animal Care Intern at Farm Sanctuary, I had to learn how to feed myself. But the farmer’s market was like a different sort of Eden to me. So many colors, so many smells, so many authentic “Portlanders” (if you know what I mean)! In any case, I could have spent hours there just looking at the plethora of colorful earthly goods, but I gathered my necessities, a bottle of pear cider, and went home.

Well, let me tell you, the farmer’s market I went to last week was no PSU, but it was still — a farmer’s market. And like a kid in a candy store, I couldn’t help myself. I had to have a little of everything. This recipe is something that came of it. As soon as I smelled that fresh basil and mint, I knew something had to be done. Something had to be done and it had to be simple, fresh, delicious, and versatile. Besides, I’ve been wanting to get into canning and preserving for quite some time. I didn’t properly “can” this recipe because I knew I’d be using it all fairly quickly, but if you want to preserve a little bit of the gifts of the summer sun for later on this year, I suggest that you do. It’ll probably last longer than your tan. Continue reading

Pasta with Garlic Olive Oil and White Wine Mushrooms

12 Jun

I’ve been having a really nostalgic weekend. It seems, that even my dreams are just old memories. So, it’s stranger still when I’m in the grocery store, having no clue what to make for dinner, and I end up with a basket full of foods to make a meal that I once shared with someone five years ago when I hated (and was terrible at) cooking. Back then, someone else always cooked, and I always just ate. Sure, it sounds lovely, but it really isn’t that great. I like to have a say in what goes into my food.

I wasn’t vegan then, but this dish was and it’s just as good now as it was in the old days. I don’t remember all the specific ingredients quite that well, just the ones that stood out and that it was based off a Rachel Ray dish. So, I decided to update it for the present time, adding my own touch, perhaps to signify the coming on of years, the maturity that time bestows with age. It’s only too funny that the person who once made this for me, who I hadn’t seen in a year, called me while I was in the process of cooking this. The world works in mysterious ways, my friends.

This dish is sure to please the garlic lover in anyone. It’s pretty straight forward, there are no fancy spices — just salt, pepper, and oregano. And the combination of fresh herbs and white wine with garlic is just divine. Also, this one’s totally gluten free! But of course, you can use any kind of pasta you want. I just really enjoyed making something a little lighter in content and the green of the spinach pasta was a good combination for the other bright colors of this meal. Oh, and it may look like a lot of work, but this actually only took about 30 minutes. Enjoy! Continue reading

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