Tag Archives: Vegan

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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Hearty Beet, Cabbage & Potato Soup

15 Oct

Holy smokes, folks! It’s been a whole two months since my last post and a whole lot has happened since then! I’ve relocated to central NY, changed jobs, am raising an abandoned 1 month old kitten, and am temporarily living in a house with four other awesome vegans (hallelujah!). In just a few short weeks, I’ll have my own place and my own kitchen again. Woohoo! The recipes should surely abound then! But even that may be short lived as the west coast is calling my name, still, and the opportunity to answer has finally arrived. Warm weather means a whole different kind of eating, but at the moment the weather in the woods of NY is a little too frigid for my liking. Fall is in full bloom here and just a few days ago, we had some light snow. My heart sank. I detest that fluffy, cold white stuff and even more so now that I work outdoors. The only thing that redeems this weather is the promise of warm, hearty comfort food to come home to and this is a recipe that hits the spot!

There’s not a whole lot of complexity to this recipe. Beneath all the color, it’s a pretty basic potato soup–which is why I think it’s so great. If you want something easy to prepare, tasty, presentational, and filling then I think you’ll like this soup quite a bit. My very favorite thing about it–besides the simple, salty, starchy flavor and the big chunks of potatoes, cabbage, and beets in it–is of course, the vibrant color that comes from adding the beets and red cabbage to it. The beets also counteract the “soupy” flavor by adding just a hint of sweetness to the pot. If you want, you could peel the potatoes, but since it won’t affect the color of the soup, as it normally does in white potato soup, it’s really just an extra step you can avoid doing. See? I’m so thoughtful sometimes. I don’t want you to have to work too hard to enjoy delicious vegan food. And you shouldn’t have to so, what are you waiting for? Soup’s on!
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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

Vegan Restaurant Travel Series: NYC

26 Apr

Two flavor ice cream sundae at Lula's Sweet Apothecary

Often times, people wonder whether or not, as a vegan, they will ever be able to go out to eat again. Some even ask whether or not they can trust omni restaurants to listen to their questions and requests and prepare food accordingly so as to avoid eating undesirables and getting physically ill. Some may even make an excuse not to become vegan because, given the lack of vegan restaurants/vegan options in comparison to vegetarian options in other restaurants, becoming vegan would be “socially awkward.” For them having to ask questions or make requests about their food would be “too much work”–all in all, some might think veganism would slap a wet rag on their social lives.

If it comes down to rejecting animal use and not participating in the suffering of innocent beings or looking like a socially awkward and needy customer, I’ll take looking like a socially awkward pariah in a heartbeat. We can (and should) ask ourselves honestly whether our social lives or the appearance of being “like everyone else” or maintaining that “I’m a vegetarian, ohmygosh because vegans are so extreme!” ever justifies the enslavement and death of billions of nonhuman animals every year. It doesn’t.

The good news is: vegans and wannabe vegans don’t have to worry. It’s no surprise, but 100% vegan restaurants are popping up all over the country. And some have been quietly hiding close by for years (as you’ll see when I take you to New Hampshire). Veganism has come a long way in that respect. Thirty years ago an all-vegan restaurant was unheard of. Now, most vegans you meet can list off a few of them, if not name all the cities that have restaurants they want to go to.

I’ve visited a few of these US vegan dining meccas and I plan on continuing this oft traveled road. I’ll be doing these “travel food blogs” a few times this year as I’ll be traveling quite a bit and eventually moving. I hope you’ll decide to help out these wonderful restaurants by dining in. Many of these places are small and not as profitable as omnivorous or vegetarian restaurants, and it’s not because the food sucks–on the contrary, the food is delicious–it’s because, sadly, veganism is not the status quo and people are afraid of trying food that seems “different.”

Often, entrepreneurs open up vegetarian restaurants, instead, so as not to seem “extreme,” and to ensure that they’re profitable by being “unoffensive” at the expense of perpetuating the myth that dairy, eggs, and other non-flesh animal products are ethically justifiable and harmless. Unfortunately, it begets the whole issue of giving your money to places that think dairy and eggs are justifiable uses of animals. If it can be helped, I say, choose 100% vegan all the time! Of course, you don’t have to eat out at all to enjoy good food or be vegan, but if one or more of these places are at your disposal, do yourself a favor and help out your fellow vegan small business owners, whether you’re vegan or not: grab a seat!

Let’s start in the most likely place. It’s so nice they named it twice…
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Lemon Rosemary Risotto, Roasted Glazed Beets, and Beefless Tips in a Garlic and Thyme White Wine Sauce

3 Apr

This past week I had the luxury and ever-so beautiful blessing that comes with having your very own kitchen to work in. I know, it sounds a little weird, right? But when you think about food and creating recipes as much as I do, having your own kitchen–meaning one in which there will be no interruptions (save for the occasional dog begging for scraps) and one that’s always clean and thus, always ready to use–is the equivalent of an artist having their own studio in which to paint, or play music, or write. Now that I live with three other folks, the tranquility required for the process isn’t always there and so, in these moments when it is, I take on “projects,” otherwise known as “outrageously awesome whole meals that take more than 30 minutes to put together.”  So, today, I come to you with not one, not two, but three recipes! Each recipe can be made separately if you have limited time to devote to the whole meal or want to pair them with different entrees/sides, or you can combine them to create this exact marriage of tart, sweet, and savory!

I visited my mother recently and she, like I, doesn’t like to send anyone out her door without food. Especially her children. She gave me beets and she gave me Gardein Beefless Tips. The Arborio rice was on sale at the grocery store. So, this meal was serendipitous, really.  I’ll be brief about it because the pictures speak for themselves. The risotto is wonderfully creamy, lemony, and savory. I wanted to make something that tasted “clean” and savory all at once. A pairing of lemon and rosemary seemed fitting. I suggest using only as much lemon zest (grated lemon peel) as you can handle. I originally used 1 tablespoon and realized it needed to be taken back so, I’ve made a correction here for a suggested amount. The roasted beets are to die for, that is, if you like beets. They took the longest to cook so, I got started on those first and saved the glaze for last.

The beefless tips were utterly delicious. They came about from the memory of this meal, using white wine and mushrooms and the rest was improvised on cobwebbed memories of how to cook meat. I was so amazed at how well they took to the wine sauce, how savory they were, and how well they stood up to my memory of steak tips. In fact, they did this so well that, if you’re a vegan who simply never liked the taste of meat or who is easily put off by things that taste a lot like meat, I would forgo making these. But, if you want something incredibly delicious and something with which to impress non-vegans who swear on their lives that they “could ‘never’ be vegan because they like meat too much,” here’s your rebuttal. You’re welcome.

Buon appetito! Continue reading

Easy Peasy Smokey Mac N Cheesy

5 Mar

Hello, friends! It’s been a long, long time since my last post and for this, I apologize! Life has been overwhelmingly busy with work, with friends, with my newly adopted crippled hamster (yes, a hammy!), and with studying for the veterinary technician national exam. There have also been some recent changes to the way I feel comfortable creating recipes so, finding myself in the recipe writing, experimenting, and cooking “mode” is rare. Hopefully for all, posting this recipe will help me get back to form. So, as you can imagine, with the precious little time I have to cook for myself, when I do cook, it’s almost always easy, filling comfort food. Usually that means a massive, loaded salad, but every once in a while, it’s a pasta dish. I love pasta almost as much as I love casseroles and anything that requires an oven to cook.

Recently, I posted a photo of the less involved version of my Sweet Potato Baked Mac N Cheese on my personal Facebook page that got quite a bit of attention and requests for the recipe so, here it is, folks! This is a “staple” recipe in my book and one that I turn to whenever I need something quick and filling and good enough for lunch the next day. As far as I’m concerned, it gives its maddeningly unjust, sad, and fat laden dairy counterpart a swift kick in the arse–mostly because it’s free of animal exploitation (awesome!), and obviously because it’s delicious. Feel free to add vegan sausage, hot dogs, or broccoli–if you’re so inclined–to make it more hearty. I also recommend adding crisp tempeh bacon or barbecue spices if you like, to make it more “smokey.”

Until we meet again…enjoy!
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Walnut, Mustard, and Cilantro Pasta à la American Chop Suey

22 Jan

Several weeks ago, a friend of mine made a delicious brunch that included this very simple topping of crushed walnuts and cilantro over a bed of steamed kale. I’d never had anything like it and weeks later, it’s been hard to forget it. So, I started to think of other ways to incorporate it into a meal and, one late night after work when I was too hungry to go grocery shopping and had to make do with what was already in the house, this is what I came up with. This recipe has definitely replaced my standard, too-lazy-to-cook-”pasta and sauce”-go-to and is now living comfortably next to my smoky mac and cheese recipe on the list of easy, quick, comfort meals.

I love the unique flavor of this dish, how filling it is without being overly heavy like most pasta dishes, and how easily and quickly it’s put together. The flavor isn’t overly powerful, but it’s present, if that makes sense. It’s pleasantly delicious, somewhat creamy without using cream, and sure to hit the spot if you want to make a pasta dish that isn’t your standard red sauce and grain meat and cheese variety, but is still comforting.

All the ingredients are healthy, vegan pantry basics and easily found in your standard grocery store. They are also easy to substitute for a gluten free version. Even better yet, this recipe is a two for one deal: the walnut, mustard, and cilantro mixture itself would make a nice dip for crackers, if you’re so inclined. Personally, for that purpose I’d go with a cracker that’s just a simple base–like a rice cracker–to highlight the flavor of the dip.

Enjoy!

Raw ingredients and final product!

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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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Mashed Potato Stuffed Mushrooms

24 Dec

Here’s the second addition to the Christmas appetizer mini showdown. I tested these out two nights ago for dinner and fell in love. I couldn’t keep myself from eating (a lot of) the mashed potatoes before I even got to stuffing the mushrooms. But it’s because I like mushrooms–correction, it’s because I love mushrooms–that I soldiered on and completed the dish as I refrained from just “double fist-ing” the potatoes in one hand and mushrooms in the other and putting them straight into my mouth. I know, I know, the image isn’t a pretty one. Shrug. What can ya do?! Lucky for me, there was a small portion of mashed potatoes left when the mushrooms ran out…

This recipe is pretty simple and will stand alone as an impressive, hearty, and comforting addition to any party table. That is, if your guests like mushrooms. I know some people don’t. I also know those people are super crazy. Ok, maybe only just a little crazy. Or not at all. Whatever. Enjoy these savory morsels alongside your other appetizers or as a side to your main dish. No one will complain that you didn’t try and make something delicious and pretty! Besides, who doesn’t love food you don’t have to use utensils to eat? Really crazy people, that’s who. Don’t invite crazies to your parties. Happy HanukkahChristmasKwanzaNewYearAtheistPartyTime!

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