How Pinteresting…Vegan Flourless Chocolate Muffins

Pinterest claimed another one of my hunger pangs and forced me to make these vegan flourless chocolate muffins last weekend. I’m a little on the fence about them. While they were shared over 7K times online and pinned and repinned who knows how many more, I’m not totally convinced these muffins, while healthier than most, are worth the cals they pack (315 per muffin – omg). The texture is unique, more dense than breadlike (obviously, no flour) they do have a gooey brownie-like quality that makes them have a velvety mouth feel.

I do think these would be a great food to have pre-workout or on a marathon route somewhere in the middle to end as they contain many lovely natural sugars for energy, potassium from the bananas for your tired muscles,  and probably some health benefit from the cocoa (maybe caffeine or additional stimulant). They are dense, filling, and easy on the stomach. This is a pretty low-investment experiment. I had all of these items lying around my house, so give them a try for yourself. They take a matter of a few minutes to whip up in your food processor and just a few minutes in the oven. I added a generous pinch of salt after I tasted the batter as the recipe was a little bland as written. Report back what you think, I’d be curious to know.

Ingredient

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter (or nut butter of choice)
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Generous pinch of sea salt

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Pre-heat oven to 350.
In a food processor combine all ingredients. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
Once everything is mixed well, spoon batter into lined muffin cups. If using papers you might want to lightly spray the bottoms to avoid sticking. The batter will be VERY sticky. I found wetting a spoon kept it from sticking.
I topped a few of mine with a pinch of sea salt.
Place muffin pan in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes.
Wait until these are completely cooled before removing from the pan. When the timer goes off they will not look cooked, trust the recipe and pull them so you don’t try them out.  My recipe made 8.

 

Vegan Curried Sweet Potato and Corn Chowder

The last call for summer corn is upon us in Michigan. My favorite time of late summer/early fall is the week or two in which Honeycrisp apples overlap sweet summer corn harvest. Today from Versluis Farm I picked up 16 ears of corn, a half bushel of the last of the Ginger Gold apples, a half bushel of the first Honeycrisp apples, a few of the remaining plums and a few pints of white peaches. This time of year makes me a little sad…squash season will be upon us at anytime which means, more butternut, spaghetti, acorn and buttercup flesh than I can stand to consume frankly. I hope to make a few more grabs at the apples before they disappear and savor the sweets of summer.

To make the best use of corn today, I stripped it from the cob and created this soup to freeze for when I get all squashed out this winter. Savor summer friends, it is disappearing before our very eyes.

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, diced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1 poblano pepper, diced
  • 8 ears corn, stripped of kernels (save cobs for broth)
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 3 shallots, diced
  • 1 T garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp powdered onion
  • 2 tsp powdered garlic
  • 2 tsp – 1 1/2 T hot curry powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (approx 11-15 ounces depending on brand)
  • 6-8 C water
  • 3 T powdered bullion (I use Rapunzel brand)
  • 1-2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • juice and zest of 1 lime

corn

Instructions:

In a dutch oven, saute in extra virgin olive oil red bell pepper, green bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, poblano pepper, red onion, shallots, and garlic. Add corn after veggies are cooked through and cook together for one minute. To the veggies add spices, bullion, water and corn cobs stripped of kernels – the remaining starch helps thicken the soup. Simmer soup for 30-60 minutes then remove cobs and add full-fat coconut milk, lime juice and zest, stir. Before serving, do one of two things: use immersion blender to achieve additional thickness or transfer half of soup to food processor or blender until desired consistency is met. If you like a thicker chowder, consider using part mashed sweet potato and part diced. Serve with naan or any other carb. Freezes well.

Let’s Talk Turkey: F*CK Factory Farming

Since the data says that 97% of people are against cruelty to animals, it’s time for a reality check folks. I don’t like to push politics and policy on this blog much, but the reality of it is factory farming is fricking terrible. It’s bad for the environment, it’s bad for the quality of food that omnivores consume and it’s effing terrible for the ANIMALS on the farms. Most people don’t realize that there are no federal laws protecting farm animals from cruelty while they are housed on a farm or during transport to slaughter. There are limited protections for cows and pigs at slaughter that are inconsistently enforced and no protections for chickens or turkeys. Factory farms—which raise and slaughter billions of farm animals each year—view animals as cheap commodities rather than as individuals with their own needs and feelings. The cruelty inflicted by factory farms on these helpless animals is unconscionably brutal and would be considered a felony if cats or dogs were the victims.

To raise awareness and a few bucks for the Farm Sanctuary’s amazing mission and work, in October I’m walking with Team Vegan GR in the Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals to give animals a voice and to challenge the cruel practices of the factory farming industry. Please support my participation in the Walk for Farm Animals by making a donation today!

For more than 25 years, Farm Sanctuary has relied on the Walk for Farm Animals to support its life-saving mission to protect farm animals from cruelty, inspire change in the way society views and treats farm animals, and promote compassion. For more information about Farm Sanctuary, please visit their web site: www.farmsanctuary.org.

Need additional inspiration? Education? A kick in the ass? Let’s talk turkeys: 

Turkeys raised for human consumption are crowded into poorly ventilated industrial production facilities, sometimes with as many as 10,000 birds packed into a single factory building. In 2007, 265 million of these naturally explorative and socially sophisticated birds were slaughtered in the United States. Bred to grow alarmingly faster than their wild counterparts, turkeys suffer from numerous health complications, including heart disease and painful leg disorders.

turkey factory farm

  • Due to selective breeding, commercial male turkeys rapidly grow to a weight 3 times larger than wild male turkeys in only 4 months. Rapid growth and resulting heavy body weight can lead to heart problems and painful leg issues, which can eventually lead to crippling.
  • Male turkeys are bred to develop such large breasts that they can no longer mount females to reproduce naturally. Artificial insemination managed by humans is responsible for all reproduction in domesticated turkeys.
  • Turkeys may be confined so tightly that each bird has only between 2.5 to 4 square feet of space each. This space only gets tighter as the turkeys grow larger.
  • The dusty, ammonia-filled air inside these facilities is a consequence of poor ventilation and overcrowding. This highly contaminated air is associated with a host of health issues, including respiratory damage and irritated, swollen eyes.
  • Because a single worker may be responsible for the care of as many as 30,000 birds, these and other illnesses and injuries can easily go unnoticed.
  • Crowding at this level can cause turkeys to injure each other with sharp beaks and toes — a concern to producers because it damages the flesh — so turkeys often have portions of their beaks and toes removed at a young age. Turkeys are routinely debeaked, a painful process in which part of the sensitive, nerve-filled beak is removed using a hot blade, shears, or a high-voltage electrical current. It is also a practice for turkeys to have a portion of their toes removed with surgical shears. Each mutilation is done without pain reliever or anesthetic of any kind.

turkey poults on factory farm

  • Once they reach market weight — on average, 99 days for hens and 136 days for toms — turkeys are thrust into crates and transported to slaughter. Severe injuries, such as dislocated hips and wing fractures, have been reported as a result of rough handling during crating.
  • Transport may involve travel over long distances, subjecting turkeys to unfamiliar noises, motion, and extreme temperatures. These stresses, coupled with the deprivation of food and water during transport, contribute to the hundreds of thousands of turkeys who die before they even reach slaughter.
  • Following a stressful transport, turkeys arrive at the slaughterhouse. Although the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act requires animals to be rendered insensible before shackling and slaughter, the USDA does not interpret this law to include birds killed for food, and it does not protect turkeys

So WTF are you waiting for? Support me in my walk to educate the public about these egregious abuses and support legislation to end them.  Gobble, gobble. That’s “thank you” in turkey.

Raw, Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies with Sea Salt

You know by now my love affair with Pinterest. This recipe has been pinned for a bit on my Eat board and was long past time to try it. I dare say, you should go check out A House in The Hills blog where this post originated, blogger Sarah has lots of interesting things going on over there.

We have a bit of a peanut butter problem in our home, this hits the spot and is fairly healthy. Also, it doesn’t require you to turn on the oven and in the summer that’s critical in our home. Get your peanut butter cookie fix here:

  • 1 cup of raw almonds – I had 3/4 cup raw almonds in the pantry and supplemented them with 1/4 raw cashews
  • 1/2 cup of peanut butter – I used unsalted, chunky here
  • 1 cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • sea salt to garnish

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Combine raw nuts, peanut butter, dates and vanilla in your food processor or high power blender until a doughy texture comes together. Sarah recommend that you add more peanut butter if the dough is not sticking together properly. Remember you aren’t baking these babies, so it’s super important that they stick together! After you get the consistency you are striving for form into small balls and use a fork to create the traditional criss-cross mark on top of a baked cookie. Sprinkle with sea salt if you like. Although, I can see where a few chocolate chips might not be such a bad idea here either!

Store these in your fridge or freezer well packaged. Sarah from A House in the Hills says they are better the next day, but I am not sure mine have a shelf life of “the next day.”

Marinated Asian Tofu

I have a pantry full of delish Asian ingredients which I use to make varied marinades, dressings, etc. You would be shocked how great chickpea miso, oil, vinegar and some Sriracha sauce are as a salad dressing in a pinch. The ingredients are flexible, tasty and many of them vegan. This weekend we got together with Chef Dewicki and Andrea which means amazing food shall be had and this time was no exception. I opted to use all ingredients from my house, meaning no trips to the grocery store which challenges me in a very, very good way. Taking a cue from a recipe I’ve been eyeballing over on Pinterest, here is a marinated tofu recipe that I dropped atop peanut noodles and then added grilled veggies and roasted Urban Mushroom CSA goodies from their last delivery for a quick pasta salad.

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Marinade:

  • 1 tsp Ume plum vinegar
  • 3-4 T low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp rice wine
  • 1 glug maple syrup, use agave or other favored sweetener here if you want
  • 1 T nonflavored oil, I used canola
  • 1 T chopped garlic
  • 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp roasted sesame oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Sriracha
  • 1 tsp water

Whisk all ingredients together in a medium bowl. Drop in your pieces of tofu or tempeh, let soak for about 20 minutes, turning once at 10 minutes to cover all pieces. As I was roasting mushrooms anyway, I put the tofu pieces on a foil-covered roasting pan in the oven with the excess sauce at 375 for about 40 minutes. You want it firm and cooked, all marinade soaked up, but not dry. So keep an eye on it. I cut up my barely pressed tofu into matchsticks so they roasted pretty quickly. This method yields pretty concentrated flavor in the tofu, so go easy on the seasonings of the salad, wrap, pita or pasta you drop it on as you don’t want to make a salty mistake.

**Roasted mushroom images here to make you a little jealous. Although they would taste super yummy in the marinade too.

Maple Mustard Dressing

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Quick post here. I know it has been tooooooo long and I am reallllly sorry. This will make things better.

Maple mustard dressing came to life when Mr. Wonderful said “can we do mustard dressing?” Yes…yes we can. Here’s how:

Very scientific in measurements ;)
Makes about 1/2 cup

1 glug extra virgin olive oil
2 glugs maple syrup
1-2 glugs balsamic vinegar
3 big squeezes of your fave mustard
Water to get to your favorite consistency
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Whisk in water until you reach that ideal consistency. Pour on that lovely salad or use to dip stuff in. I feel like this would be amazing on potato salad. Happy summer salad days.

Cold Killer

I juice a few times a week. I think it is super fantastic. I actually crave kale and carrot juices sometimes, I realize this makes me a little on the odd side. I work with college students every week day in some capacity as mentor, professor, intern boss-lady, and boy-oh-boy do are they every germ-riddled. They eat like shit, never sleep, and basically act as petri dishes for cold cultures. I’m getting that spring drainage, sore throat, not sure if it is a cold or allergies or what right now and frankly who has time to be sick? So I thought I’d beat the may be cold into submission with a extra dose of vitamin C from juice, surely better than those powdered packets they sell at the drug store right? Hey, anything is worth a try. Here is what I gathered from the fridge for a yummy cold killer and soon to be be beach cocktail base (just add vodka). Cheers!

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  • 3-4 inches fresh ginger, peeled
  • 8 minnolas, or other orange available, peeled (make ‘em sweet-the rest of the ingredients are super tart)
  • 4 limes, peeled

Run through your trusty Breville juicer. Drink up! I drank a glass and froze the rest into cubes for “dosing” through the week.

Damn You Pinterest

Dear Pinterest,

You are an amazing resource for Vegan/Vegetarian inspiration; however, you are also a time suck. I login to your beautiful user interface bright with photos, inspiration, and photogenic love for a quick recipe and then I emerge 2-4 hours later in a fever wondering what in the hell happened to the last few hours of life.

I do use your helpful advice on how to remove blackheads naturally, and how to hack a mason jar into a dozen beautiful [and helpful] household uses. I absolutely appreciate you showing me stuff to make in my “spare time” whenever I manage to get some of that, giving me ridiculously easy fitness moves I could pull off at home [because you know summer beach bodies are built in the winter], in providing me with “fun and simple” easy-to-sew patterns of clothes I will never be able to make but desperately want to in order to appear “free and breezy” like that romantic tulle skirt you keep teasing me with in my feed, and lastly, the recipes...oh, the recipes. Your communities of recipes suck me in every single time.

This weekend I had something to show for it however, Vegan ‘Caramel’ Truffles [sadly sometimes I do not]. Thank you for loving photos of great vegan eats as much as I do, but damn you for making it so pretty and so helpful to a curious person like myself that I find it difficult to leave. You do relax my mind and that is worth at least $105.00 per hour according to my therapist bill.

Fondly,

Adrienne

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Vegan Sriracha Maple Glazed Veggies

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I totally missed the boat on posting Thanksgiving recipes this year-don’t judge me. Luckily this recipe isn’t just a “holiday” recipe so I can share with you now. It will warm you up from the inside out AND it’s a sneaky way to make veggies that sometimes get a bad rap, like brussels sprouts, into the belly of an unsuspecting friend with favorable results. I think this could be slathered on just about anything but for this recipe I chose sweet potatoes, raw cranberries (go with it okay), and brussels sprouts – I think any roasted veggie would do though, so experiment with whatever is in your pantry already.

  • 1/2 C maple syrup
  • 3T EVOO (about 1T per cup of veggies roasting)
  • 3T Sriracha
  • 1 1/2 T Braggs Aminos (or low sodium Tamari/soy sauce)
  • 1T chopped garlic
  • 1T minced fresh ginger
  • juice and zest of 1 lime

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl and dump over veggies in a roasting pan. Roast at 400, turning every 15 minutes, until veggies are slightly charred and glazed. Serve. Put leftovers over rice or in a tortilla the next day for a quick lunch.

Recipe adapted from Baker by Nature and Pocket Full of Thyme

Simple Chocolate Vegan Ganache

Don’t let your cupcakes go naked, or worse…be slathered in store bought frosting. Use your microwave to whip up a simple tasty vegan ganache. Paired with the best vegan chocolate cupcakes or drizzled you will ever eat or maybe even on PANCAKES, you will wonder why you ever shopped for frosting in the grocery store.

  • 1/2 C vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 C nondairy milk of choice (I used almond milk)
  • 2 T sweetener of choice (I used maple syrup)
  • Add-in’s: 1 T cinnamon and/or 1 T espresso powder

Directions: In a microwave safe measuring cup, combine all ingredients except add-in’s. Microwave in increments of 20-30 seconds, until chocolate chips melt. Whisk chocolate chip mixture together until smooth and velvety, then whisk in your desired add-in’s. Refrigerate to set up. When thickened drizzle over cake of choice. I love this recipe best: Vegan Chocolate Cake.

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Crock Pot Vegan: Sweet Potato, Kale, and Chickpea Soup

And….we’re back! After a few weeks off for bad behavior and a new ACL, I’m glad to be back. I’ve had my eye on this recipe for a few weeks now. It is sweet, savory, smooth and lumpy (in the best chickpea way). It’s sure to keep you full and warm when battling the winter chills. The original recipe calls for farro from Cookie + Kate but since I didn’t have any handy, I grabbed some wheat berries instead which I cooked first on the stove and added toward the end. 

 

Ingredients
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 small to medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced (or butternut squash)-I used a mix of both as I had some cubes frozen from fall.
  • Salt, to taste
  • 2-3 T red Thai curry paste (available in the Asian section at most grocery stores-check to be sure no anchovies or shrimp were sacrificed for your paste)
  • 1 C uncooked farro, rinsed (or 2 C cooked whole grains, like wheat berries, spelt berries or kamut)
  • 6 C vegetable broth (or water flavored with vegetarian bouillon cubes)
  • 1 C coconut milk (from a can-okay to use light)
  • 2 C cooked chickpeas (or one can of cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch of crinkly purple kale or green kale, finely chopped
  • Sriracha to taste, I dropped in 1T
Instructions for crock pot:
Chop and dump. Simple as that. Omit the cooked wheat berries and chickpeas until about an hour before you are going to serve then pop them in the cooker to warm up with the rest of the items. My soup took 6.5 hours in a large crock pot. I used the last hour to add the wheatberries and chickpeas.
Instructions for stove top from Cookie + Kate:
  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
  2. Stir in the onions, raw sweet red pepper, and sweet potato and a big pinch of salt. Sauté for five minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to soften.
  3. Add the curry paste and stir until the onions and sweet potatoes are coated and the curry is fragrant (about a minute).
  4. Add the farro, if that’s your grain of choice, and six cups of veggie broth or water and bouillon cubes and the coconut milk.
  5. Bring to a boil, then set the timer for thirty minutes, cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer.
  6. After thirty minutes, uncover the pot and add the chickpeas. Taste and season with more salt as needed (if it tastes flat, add more). If you chose to use cooked whole grains, add them now. Cover and simmer for another twenty minutes.
  7. Uncover, stir in the kale, add cayenne pepper if desired, and serve.
Notes

Veganize your “normal” food cravings with VeganGR

At VeganGR, we find that one of the stumbling blocks for many people struggling to eat a more plant-centered diet is that they feel like they are going to have to give up eating all the wonderful meals they grew up with and love. The truth is, anything can be veganized! Of course, that doesn’t mean you’re ever going to have a vegan porterhouse steak, but it’s really easy to replace certain flavors and foods in pretty much any recipe once you get the basics down. For instance, we use cashew cream in place of heavy whipping cream in recipes. Other substitutions are easier: Earth Balance butter in place of dairy butter or margarine, almond milk in place of cow’s milk, or vegetable broth in place of chicken broth. Take, for example, one night last week when Jon and I saw an ad for Olive Garden. It sparked a memory in him of having some sort of creamy potato and sausage soup from there many years ago. A quick Google search revealed it to be Zuppa Tuscano Italian Soup. We also found some copy cat recipes. A few minutes later, Jon was in the kitchen making it. Here’s the original recipe we found (from Food.com).

The ingredients:

  • 1 lb Italian sausage (I like mild sausage)
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup bacon bits (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 2 (8 ounce) cans chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

This recipe is pretty simple, and super easy to veganize! We happened to have some Tofurkey Italian Sausage in the fridge, so we used that. You might already know this, but most bacon bits are accidentally vegan, just check the label and you should be good to go. We didn’t have any on hand, so we just left them out. For the chicken broth, you could just sub vegetable broth, but we’re partial to Better Than Bullion’s No-Chicken Broth. It’s a great way to replicate the chicken flavor, and color in soups. The hardest part of this (which isn’t so very hard at all) is making cashew cream in place of the whipping cream. It’s pretty simple, especially if you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix. Soak 1 cup of cashews in water overnight, or at least for several hours (you can skip this step if you have a high-powered blender) Drain and rinse. Place them in your blender and cover with ½ inch of water. Blend on high for a few minutes until they are smooth. If you think they’re too thick, add more water. In the end, this is what our recipe looked like:

  • 1 lb Tofurkey brand Italian sausage chopped into small pieces
  • 2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half, and then in 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups kale or 2 cups swiss chard, chopped
  • 16 ounces Better Than Bullion No-Chicken broth
  • 1 quart water
  • 1 cup cashew cream

Instructions:

soup bowl with breadsticks on the side

Chop or slice uncooked sausage into small pieces. Brown sausage in your soup pot. Add vegetable broth and
water to pot and stir. Place onions, potatoes, and garlic in the pot. Cook on medium heat until potatoes are done. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for another 10 minutes. Turn to low heat. Add kale and cream. Heat through and serve.

Love at first juice

Amazon delivered my Breville Juice Fountain yesterday and today Mr. Wonderful and I made our first juice. Last week we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead and wanted to give a juice fast a try before the holidays.

Let me first tell you how liberating making a juice is. The whole process feels good. The noise feels good. The drinking feels good. The murdering of innocent veggies, feels good!! Even the clean up even feels good! I know, I’m on some nutrient dense high or something but seriously. Good.

This first time was basically about figuring out of how to operate the thing which was surprisingly uncomplicated. Choosing the fruit/veg came via whatever was in the fridge so here is our attempt recipe:

  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 bunches kale
  • 5 super mini apples
  • 1 C cranberries
  • 12 mini carrots

Juice ingredients one at a time, greens first. DRINK!

This made about 5- 16 ounce juices which is about a one person juice fast day.

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Vegan “Magic Shell”

I’m a sucker for ice cream. Even in the winter. Standard operating procedure on weekends at our home is to nosh on sundaes at some point; however, due to the power outage last week, we were down all standard items less some ice cream that we bought at 1:00 am on Friday night in a fury :) So what’s a girl to do? Well she makes “magic shell” from things on hand in the pantry of course. You bet. Don’t waste time, get this on some ice cream stat, yes, even in the winter.

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Vegan Magic Shell

  • 1/2 C vegan chocolate chips (Ghirardelli are a pantry staple of ours and accidentally vegan)
  • 1 heaping T crunchy or creamy peanut butter
  • 1 T coconut oil

Melt all items in a Pyrex or other microwave save dish for 30 seconds, stir until all ingredients have melted into a delicious velvety sauce. Resist urge to dump down throat, the “magic” happens when it hits the cold ice cream. Our fave is Vanilla Island by Luna & Larry.

Vegan Pumpkin Coconut Caramel Sauce

Crockpot creamer for coffee? Relatives coming over for the holidays? I’ll try just about anything in a crockpot once. This turned out surprisingly Starbucks-esque. I omitted the cardamom and cloves I’m not a big fan of those spices.

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1 can full-fat coconut milk (I used low-fat without too much of a texture problem it was obviously thinner)

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp ground allspice
  • Pinch of cloves

Add all the ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 9 hours. Store in fridge and add in your hot or iced coffee.

Recipe adapted from: Vegan Slow Cooking

Virtual Vegan Potluck – Ginger Carrot Soup

I know what you were thinking….when is the next Virtual Vegan Potluck? Well, it is YOUR lucky day. VVP is TODAY! The VVP is an online party that happens twice a year where food bloggers share PLANT-BASED recipes (of course) in any one of eight courses. We’ve been eating an obscene amount of soup in our home lately due to the dreary, drizzly, midwestern weather we are enduring in the mitten state so I didn’t have to go far for this recipe selection.

The coolest thing about the VVP is the linking up of every blog via the “back” (Vegan Runner Eats) and “forward” (Quinoa Kale and Exhale) buttons on the bottom of each blog in the Potluck. You are welcome for providing you with the opportunity for entering this veggie wormhole! Be sure to visit my friends in the other categories of course, but soup…soup is where it’s at. Click the buttons below for delish noms for the fall/winter months. I know you are spending most of you work time browsing the web for Thanksgiving meal ideas anyway, so why not hang out in the potluck for a while?

virtual vegan potluck welcome logo

I make a trek to Whole Foods Ann Arbor every so often and the first thing I usually grab from the produce section is a 5 pound bag of their organic carrots. I do this to 1) remind myself that baby carrots are not really a carrot, 2) that I love the serene process of preparing veggies for consuming (i.e. peeling, chopping, etc), and 3) that carrots have a TASTE. Yes. An. Actual. Taste. You don’t get a whole lotta taste from those Dole carrots at my local supermarket. You just don’t.

While scouring the Interwebs for delish recipes I often find that I like certain elements of multiple recipes, or a regular recipe that could stand to be veganized, and so I collect them, mix them up and then execute delish, satisfying, warm-in-your-belly soup.

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced small for fast cooking
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp onion powder or 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp curry powder (I did 1 tsp hot, 1 tsp sweet)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 T fresh chopped ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger (the fresh gives it a certain lively flavor in your mouth and a lot of zip!)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp garam marsala (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 5-6 C water (you want all of your carrots covered with liquid to start)
  • 2 veg boullion cubes
  • 1 can (14-16 oz) nondairy milk (in keeping with the spice theme above, I chose light coconut milk)
  • fine grain sea salt (as much as you need)

Process your carrots by peeling and chopping into uniform chunks so they cook at the same rate.

If using real garlic, onion, and or ginger heat a stock pot add 1 T of water and drop in raw ingredients. Heat until transluscent over medium heat careful not to burn fresh garlic. After your fresh ingredients are cooked through, or if not using fresh garlic, onion, and/or ginger, next drop carrots into stock pot followed by all other ingredients and bring mix to a gentle boil. Reduce heat to simmer or low and cook the soup until the carrots are tender. Remove from heat and let cool.

If you wish to puree the soup with a hand blender you can probably get away with blending right in the pot off the heat with some care so as not to splash molten carrot on yourself. If using a blender, be careful as you transfer hot liquids and above all consider the pressure factor in putting hot liquids in a covered blender. I will leave a part of the lid open and cover with a towel lightly so as to avoid an explosion. With either method, you control the consistency with additional water, veg broth, or as one blog suggested, orange juice! Taste and season with salt or more curry after your soup is pureed.

Some of the recipes I viewed suggested a squeeze of lemon after puree to bring out a lightness in the soup. Others finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, lemon oil, nut oils, sesame oil or chili oil. We love our carbs at the Wallace-DeVries home, so instead of oil, we finished this soup with Naan :)

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Ideas for this mashup come from: The Curvy Carrot, Eat Live Run, Whole Foods,  Simply Recipes, Mind Body Green, and May I Have That Recipe.

VVPL go back                                                             VVPL go forward

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It’s Coming……

VVPL its coming

Overnight Oats: Date & PB2 Edition

I have a love affair with overnight oats now; however, the first time I tried them I gagged and swore them off for good. That is until I discovered I didn’t care for the soaked chia texture present in so many of the overnight oat recipes, it was NOT the actual oats that I found offensive-just the cha, cha, cha chia. I researched a bunch of recipes and discovered that not all oats are created equal and that I could have oats sans chia without any fretting. From then on, I’ve had auto ship attached to my Amazon.com order for Bob’s Red Mill Oats every 30 days (I prefer the extra thick kind) and a full stomach well past the noon hour if I eat them for breakfast. And really, isn’t that every working girl’s dream? To NOT be STARVING at lunchtime? I think so. There is nothing worse than ravenous pre-noon snacking, binge drinking coffee to fill up your belling and/or a casual noon time stuffing that will put a pooch in your pencil skirt and a frown on your face for the rest of the day. Enough about my body image issues…you are here for the food.

jar of overnight oats with banana

Overnight oats:

  • 4 dates, pitted and sliced
  • 1/3 C whole oats
  • 2/3 C nondairy milk, I prefer almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 heaping T of PB2
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 banana, sliced just before you drop it into the oats the next day

The night before, add all ingredients but banana into a jar and place in fridge overnight. Next day, drop in sliced banana, stir and enjoy.

VeganGR: Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta & Spinach

My friends at VeganGR are pretty rad. From time to time they help me with content on this blog which is a life-saver really. Here’s a post that will help you with the fall chill. 

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s The Post Punk Kitchen and her cookbooks. One of our favorites is Appetite For Reduction. There are 125 low-calorie vegan recipes in it. The best thing we’ve found about these recipes is that none of them feel like diet food. Each dish is a fully satisfying meal.

One of the easiest (and delicious) meals to make is the Lasagna with Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta and Spinach. This recipe is super easy, very forgiving, and a great one-dish meal. This has been a wonderful dish to share with non-veg friends, as it always gets rave reviews. It’s also easy to modify and add your own touch. You could add vegan sausage, other veggies, vegan mozzarella cheese, or whatever you can dream up!

Here is the version I made last week:

For the Roasted Cauliflower Ricotta:

1 medium-size head cauliflower, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
2 t. olive oil
1/4 t. salt
1 pound extra-firm tofu
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
2 pinches of citric acid
2 T. of water (normally you can skip this and the citric acid and just use 2 T. of lemon juice, but I was out)
Ground black pepper to taste.

Roast the cauliflower in the oven by tossing it with olive oil and salt and laying it down on a pan with parchment paper. I like mine dark so I turn my oven up the highest it will go and let it stay in the oven until pieces start to char. I toss it a few times during this process.

When it’s done, I pull out the food processor and give the roasted cauliflower just a few pulses to break it down some (don’t over chop – you don’t want it to be too small). Then I mix that together with all the other ingredients to create the ricotta cheese layer. I usually end up adding a few extra pinches of salt till I have it tasting how I want it. This ricotta recipe is a great addition to any pasta dish – it doesn’t have to be used solely for this recipe!

For the Red Sauce:
There’s a recipe in the book to make your own, but I was lazy and used a jar of G.B. Russo’s Fire Roasted Eggplant and Zucchini sauce. Whatever your favorite is will do!

The Assembly:
For this part you’ll need lasagna noodles and about a cup of fresh spinach.Put a small amount of sauce in the bottom of your pan. Just enough to get it wet. Then repeat this 2 times.

  • Lay your noodles. I used No Bake Whole Wheat Lasagna noodles by Delallo.
  • Put down 1/3 of your ricotta mix
  • Cover that with a layer of spinach.

Top that with one more layer of noodles and a little sauce. Normally I sprinkle some black olives over the top to give it some saltiness (per Isa’s instructions in the book), but on this round I was out, so instead I saved a bit of the ricotta mix and put a little of that down for my top layer.

Bake for 40 minutes on 350 and you’re done!

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Virtual Vegan Potluck Fall Edition

You may have heard me talk about this before and if that is the case…I’m sorry [not sorry]. Virtual Vegan Potluck is coming your way November 16 with a super special featured ingredient….BEETS!

Now, now…wait a second…before you freak out about BEETS please consider that there are going to be a lot of non-beet dishes too. I just wanted to get this super vegan celebration of fall on your radar before your meal planning calendar fills up. I look forward to cooking up a soup as my contribution. I’m thinking a spicy lentil soup, vegan chili or tortilla soup. Any requests?

Organization Lacking…Send Help

So I came to my own blog today to look up a recipe and realized that I haven’t blogged in nearly a MONTH. It’s been a hell of a month. Here’s what is going on:

  • I am mid-semester teaching 4 classes at a local university as a visiting faculty member
  • I’m providing campaign support for a person running for congress through my former full time job, as a part time consultant
  • I am a full time PhD student closing in on my final year of classes about to start really caring about the dissertation process which could take YEARS to finish (OMG)beagles
  • I’m a doctoral research associate at my school discussed above part time
  • I’m married. I think I’m still married to that hunk with the beagles to the left
  • I’m disorganized when it comes to meal planning and can’t stand up for long periods of time because, wait for it….I tore my ACL/MCL and meniscus a month ago playing volleyball in an adult league-yes, I’m old enough to know better

In short, I have no idea if I am coming or going. My commute to and from classes for my PhD program is  between an hour and hour and a half two nights a week and the reading is killing me. I often forfeit my own reading and writing to grade student work. Cooking is the last thing on my mind and I have shamefully eaten pizza and forfeited my CSA pick up more times than I can count in the last six weeks. I’ve gone through nearly all of my frozen “emergency” meals and breads I gathered through the summer and we are just closing in on fall! EEK!

So how to reclaim sanity? Some of you would say, dump some of the items above? I say, that’s not an option right now. I’m looking more for tools, tips, techniques to make my eating better, faster, pre-planned and semi-healthy. Any suggestions?

If nothing else, thanks for listening and sorry for the far and few between posts. Winter semester should be less hectic and more delicious on this blog. Excuse me, I’m off to make overnight oats for breakfast and prep the coffee that gets me though this crazy life.

Yesterday Tacos, Today Taco Soup

Yesterday I made the tacos that I sometimes dream about in the winter, full of summer veggies practically radiating sunshine, tender-crisp, and juicy.  I love tacos, but even I can’t eat them every night for leftovers, so this seemed like the perfect solution: taco soup for the freezer and rest of the week.

Recipe:

Cook all veggies using summer tacos recipe found here spices and all, we will add a little more flavor below due to the dilution from the water. While I was charring all the veggies, I set half of each batch into a soup pot to create taco soup for later in the week.

To that add:

  • 1 tsp epazote
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1-2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp to 1T chipotle en adobo (sauce), depending on your like of heat
  • 2-3 C or 1-2 cans black beans, drained
  • 3 cans diced tomatoes, these can be fire roasted or normal diced tomatoes
  • 2 cubes veggie boullion 
  • 4-6 C of water, depending on your thoughts on consistency of soup

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Heat all ingredients through give it a taste and adjust the seasonings (salt for sure). Serve warm with a squeeze of lime, vegan sour cream, and tortilla chips or freeze to preserve the summer.

Last of Summer Squash, Summer Tacos

Adrienne:

Dinner tonight comes courtesy of an overdose of summer squash and tomatoes from our CSA. Can’t get enough of these tacos. Enjoy!

Originally posted on Veg Bon Vivant:

Today, it reached 86 degrees in west Michigan.  Did I mention it’s SEPTEMBER!  So what better way to celebrate summer’s last hurrah?  Summer Squash Tacos.  This is a colorful way to get your family/friends to eat their veggies AND use up that plethora of summer squash you have sitting in the crisper waiting for a slow veg death.  Throw in some homemade corn tortillas (thanks for the idea Chef Mike and Andrea) and you have a substantial tasting low-fat and low-cal dish.  Easy on the add on’s and you can keep it healthy and light.  Make the tortillas, the taste of fresh corn tortillas will change your life.  I swear.

Corn Tortillas

  • 2 C Masa Harina
  • 1 1/2 C Hot water
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Yeah, that’s it.  Three ingredients.  Combine the Masa Harina and salt with the hot water until it takes form, cover, toss in fridge for an…

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Corn Relish-Diva Style

This recipe comes from a dear friend and client The Canning Diva who taught my book group how to make and can everything from garlic to pickles to strawberry jam and salsa this year. Check out one of her canning, preserving or food dehydration classes in west Michigan or book a private party like I did and bring the Diva to you.

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Before corn season ends and just as pepper season is starting up, I can’t think of anything better than canning a bunch of corn relish then having it retreat to the shelf waiting for winter- a time when I’m hopelessly longing for summer’s sun.

corn relish

Homestyle Corn Relish

  • 4 C white vinegar
  • 1 ¼ C raw vegan sugar
  • 2 T sea salt
  • 8 C corn kernels, fresh is best but frozen corn can be used too
  • 3 C red and green bell peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 C jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 ¾ C celery, diced
  • 1 C onion, finely chopped
  • 2 T dry mustard
  • 2 tsp celery seeds
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ C water
  • 2 T ClearJel (The Canning Diva has also substituted Liquid Pectin with great results)

corn relish stock pot - colorsIn a medium-sized stock pot, combine vinegar, sugar and salt.  Bring to a boil over medium heat being sure to stir until all sugar is dissolved.  Gradually add corn, peppers, celery and onion being sure to keep everything boiling.  Stir often to avoid scorching.  Add the spices and stir.

Combine the water and ClearJel, mixing well to create a paste.  After making the paste, mix it well into the vegetable mixture while it is boiling.  Reduce heat and boil gently for 5 minutes being sure to stir often to avoid scorching.

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Ladle hot relish into hot jars being sure to leave ½” head space.  Wipe rims with a warm wash cloth dipped in vinegar and secure lids and rings.  Hand tighten.

This recipe can be hot water bathed.  Place jars in water bather and cover with warm water.  Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.  Remember, timing doesn’t start until water has come to a full rolling boil.  After

corn relish processed with gloves lids utensil

processing, remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes before removing jars.

EcoTrek Fitness Bars-Yep, They’re Vegan

This is a reblog from Kolene Allen of VeganGR. Periodically they review items for sale that are vegan or accidentally vegan. EcoTrek Fitness bars are available online, sometimes shipped in health/wellness boxes, or if you live in the Midwest…grocery stores and gas stations. My personal fave is the Chocolate Raspberry bar. Tastes too good to be healthy-really, it does.

I would never call myself an athlete, but I do try to keep in shape by running 3 miles 3 times a week. My post run recovery usually includes a green smoothie, normally packed with coconut milk, whatever fruit is in the house, and a handful of spinach or kale.

The times when I’m in a hurry and need something in a pinch, or I don’t feel like fussing with the blender, I reach for an energy bar. There are many on the market, though many of them are not vegan. And of those that are vegan, few qualify as edible due to the taste factor. That all changed when Cari Draft, founder of Grand Rapids based EcoTrek Fitness, sent us a sample of her whole food bars to try out.  Cari founded a program that offers outdoor group workouts that integrate cardio, strength training and flexibility. Then she created her very own whole food bar that is packed with 10 grams of protein and created from ingredients of the highest quality nutritional content. There are no refined sugars, artificial sweeteners or genetically modified ingredients anywhere in the bars.

Despite the fact that these bars contain green foods like spirulina, wheat grass and spinach, you would never know it. There are three flavors to choose from and each one is covered in chocolate and tastes like a candy bar!  Each one is 100% vegan and made right here in Grand Rapids. There are three flavors currently available. Dark Chocolate Toasted Coconut, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter, and my favorite, Dark Chocolate Raspberry. During my first bite I thought, “There’s no way this is good for me.”  I did a double check of the ingredient label, and I was wrong. These bars are packed full of goodness.

You can find EcoTrek Fitness bars at every single Meijer store and at a number of other places in Grand Rapids and Michigan, or buy them online.

For more vegan goodness, check out VeganGR.com