Lately I’ve become addicted to these delicious chocolate treats!
It’s very simple: organic fruit covered with organic dark chocolate. I started with the Dark Chocolate Coconut and I was hooked! From there I’ve tried Dark Chocolate Apricots (winner!) and Dark Chocolate Cherries (yum!)
I celebrated Meatless Monday today with a huge lunchtime vegan salad:
Organic baby lettuce
Organic bibb lettuce
Organic green onions
Organic pink lady apple*
I’ve added apples to my salads before, but since Kate introduced me to adding FENNEL I’ve become a fennel devotee. Wow is it delicious! I never would have thought of it as I didn’t think I liked fennel. But when chopped up small and added in along with an APPLE it’s awesome.
For the dressing I whipped up a vegan cumin-mustard vinaigrette that consisted of:
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c rice vinegar
1-2 T mustard
splotch of agave
pinch of cardamom
pinch of cumin
pinch of salt
And for dessert… a square of vegan dark chocolate!
Did you celebrate Meatless Monday? What did you have for lunch?
Remember on April 12 when KFC introduced their artery-clogging, blood pressure-blasting, heart-stopping sandwich called the “Double Down?”
“The one-of-a-kind Double Down features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets (Original Recipe(R) or Grilled), two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel’s Sauce. And no bun, of course. “
“The Handwich is two faux chicken patties breaded with cornflakes and special seasoning, fried with daiya and tofutti cheese, faux bacon, lettuce, tomato, red onion and a sweet mustard dijonaise (we add veggies because they’re manly too!)”
Thus proving that indeed you CAN be vegan and eat unhealthy junk food LOL!
In other breaking news, KFC announced today that later this month they will sell their 10 MILLIONTH Double Down sandwich.
Source: Jorge in Wonderland http://www.flickr.com/photos/78603183@N00/580541261/
And so KFC is going to keep the once “limited time only” Double Down on it’s menu forever.
I swear I must really belong in some alternate universe. :0
And while I personally believe that not just Monday but EVERY day should be meatless,
and not just for personal and planetary health reasons,
I joined the Meatless Monday movement and you can too!
Just go to the Meatless Monday website and sign up. You’ll get delicious meatless recipes sent to you each Meatless Monday.
I know it’s VERY challenging to go meatless when you are not used to it. So to help out I’m offering a vegan dessert recipe today that is, well meatless sort of by definition (“dessert!”) and happens to be dairy-free too! So it’s Meatless and Dairly-Less Monday here at Eat. Run. Do Yoga!
Vegan Coconut Rice Pudding
1 cup rice
2 cups water
2 cups coconut milk
optional: coconut extract, almond extract, orange essence, lemon or lime rind, nuts, dried fruit, other spices like ginger or nutmeg.
In a medium sized sauce pan, bring the water to boil. Add the rice and a dash of salt and simmer on low until the rice is starting to get tender – about 10 minutes or so.
Add in the coconut milk. Stir frequently until the rice gets soft.
Add in the cinnamon and any other spices you are using, along with agave nectar. I started with just a bit of agave and then kept adding until I got the sweetness I wanted. Continue to cook on low and stir for about 5 more minutes until you get the consistency you want.
Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract, and / or any other extract you are using, along with the dried fruits or nuts if using.
I went to a local pumpkin patch the other day – don’t you just love pumpkin patches? There is just something so enchanting about walking through a sea of plump orange pumpkins. I took home up a few carving pumpkins and a sugar pumpkin. Usually the smaller sugar pumpkins are the ones used for cooking, but I decided to try cooking one of the carving pumpkins just to see how it would turn out.
I sliced the carving pumpkin into large hunks, and scooped out the seeds and the stringy stuff. Then I put the pumpkin pieces on a lightly oiled cookie sheet and baked at 325F for about 90 minutes.
I scooped out the fleshy part and discarded the skin. Then tonight I made pumpkin soup! I love the Thai combination of coconut, chilis, and pumpkin, so I started with those ingredients and went from there.
Vegan Thai Pumpkin Soup
2 T canola oil
4 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 Thai chilis, chopped
2 T chopped ginger
1 t cinnamon
2 1/4 C veggie broth
1 can lite coconut milk
4 C chopped cooked pumpkin
1/2 t Thai chili paste (for extra spice – optional)
Fresh ground pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Pour the oil into a large saucepan or stockpot, and heat over low heat. Add the shallots, garlic, chilis, and ginger and saute until the shallots are soft.
Add the cinnamon, veggie broth, coconut milk, pumpkin, and chili paste. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the flavors have emerged.
Remove from heat and use an immersion blender to puree. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Here’s the finished soup, garnished with fresh basil:
I served the soup for dinner, along with thick slices of my homemade Multigrain Bread:
The bread recipe came from a book that Kat lent me, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Breadby Peter Reinhart and Ron Manville. If you are into baking your own bread, this is a great book as it gives a lot of the explanations on how the recipes work. It’s so interesting and chock full of recipes, so of course I ordered my own copy so that Kat could get her book back! There was one time when I never made bread from scratch, but it’s actually quite easy and not as time consuming as you might thing. Oh and homemade bread tastes amazing . Now it just seems like such a waste to buy bread!
Do you cook with fresh pumpkin? What do you make with it?
For the past few days I had this idea in my head to make a lime muffin. I started thinking about all the fabulous flavors that would go well with lime – cherry, raspberry, almond, chili – and then my friend Cheryl recommended “coconut.”
So I got to work making Coconut Lime Muffins and I have to say I think the very first batch was perfect! I took a recipe I found for non-vegan coconut lime muffins and my changes are below.
Vegan Coconut Lime Muffins
1.5 c AP flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c flaked coconut
1 T lime zest
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3/4 c sugar
1/4 cup applesauce
1 T MELTED coconut oil
1/4 c plain or vanilla soy milk
6 oz vanilla soy yogurt (with cultures)
2 T fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 c almond slivers (optional)
1/4 coconut for sprinkling on top
Preheat your oven to 350F and prepare a regular muffin pan (12 tins) by spraying it with canola oil.
Combine flours, coconut, lime zest, baking soda, and salt in your food processor and pulse 5-6 times before transferring to a large bowl. If you don’t have a food processor, then simply combine everything in a large bowl and whisk for about one minute.
In separate bowl, combine the sugar, applesauce, melted coconut oil, soy milk, soy yogurt, and fresh lime juice. Use an electric mixer for about 1-2 minutes or until all of the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed together.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and add in the almonds if using. Stir until just barely combined – you may still have a few spots of dry ingredients and that’s ok.
Immediately spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan so that each tin is filled to the top. I had some extra batter and ended up making about 9 more mini muffins in a separate muffin pan. Sprinkle coconut on top of each muffin.
Bake for 15-17 minutes, until the tops begin to brown. Remove from oven and let sit undisturbed for about 2 minutes before transferring the muffins to a rack to cool.
So even though the grocery stores have been hawking Halloween candy since the 4th of July, I figure some of you are like me and you buy your stash at the last minute – like, two weeks before the Big Day. Really, I buy candy ON Halloween Day so that I’m less likely to eat it all before it’s time to give it out. If I had it sitting around the house for a month I would totally eat it – I simply CAN NOT have candy just sitting around. And when I buy Halloween candy, I get the kinds I DON’T like. Again, so I won’t eat it. Actually, I don’t really LOVE Halloween – I mean, you’re opening your door to people wearing masks. The little kids are OK - it’s the big ones that give me the shivers. Anyway, I digress…
Vegan Halloween Candy
VegNews just posted a list of vegan Halloween candy. Here is their list, plus some more that I found while perusing the web. Don’t cave in! Stick to your vegan values and offer up these vegan Halloween candy treats**:
Go Max Go candy bars (vegan versions of 3 Muskateers, Snickers, Almond Joy, Milky Way)
Hubba Bubba bubblegum
Jolly Ranchers (lollipops and hard candy)
Mary Janes (regular and peanut butter kisses)
Now and Later
Paul Newman’s Orange Dark Chocolate
Peanut Butter Bars
Popcorn Balls (The Humphrey Company)
Pure Fun Lemon, Lime, and Orange Slices
Ring Pop lollipops
Root Beer Barrels
Smarties (U.S. Brand)
Sour Patch Kids
Starburst Jelly Beans
Surf Sweets Sour Berry Bears
Tropical Source candy bars and mini chocolate bags
Vegan Nougat (Australian Nougat Company)
** These all contain sugar that may or may not have been processed through bone chard. If you want to avoid non-vegan sugar, you might need to give out boxes of raisins or apples (did you know that no one has ever actually found a razor blade in a Halloween apple?). And, some of the above may also have trace amounts of animal body parts and secretions, so you may want to carefully check the labels if that is a concern to you.
If you are wondering about other candy that is not on this list, here are some non-vegan ingredients to watch out for:
Gelatin, carmine, rennet, pepsin, lard
Calcium mesoinositol hexaphosphate
Also -the following “E” numbers:
542 (derived from bone)
920 (L-cysteine hydrochloride; derived from hair and feathers)
Not only have I heard this a million times, I’ve said it myself when I was a vegetarian. I couldn’t imagine giving up cheese. I mean, how would I eat pizza? Or nachos? Or grilled cheese sandwiches? Going vegan and giving up cheese just seemed like such deprivation. And here I am just a few months later and I don’t crave cheese AT ALL. Here’s why:
Daiya Cheese is an amazing non-dairy cheese that is creamy and smooth, and melts perfectly. Unlike the soy cheeses that contain casein, a milk protein, Daiya is 100% vegan.
Nutritional yeast is an inactive yeast that has a nutty, cheesy flavor. I use nutritional yeast as a flavoring in scrambled tofu, a topping for popcorn, the based for “cheese” sauces, and a creamy, cheesey filling for a vegan grilled “cheese” sandwich. Not all nutritional yeasts taste the same – my current favorite brand is Red Star, which as an added benefit is also a good source of vitamin b12.
Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese is an AMAZING cream cheese replacement. I’ve used Tofutti cream cheese in several baking recipes, including a “Fruit Pizza” that was a huge hit at a party I recently attended. You can find Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese at Whole Foods and I recently saw it at Giant too!
Parma! Vegan Parmesancompletely satisfies any craving I have to sprinkle something on pasta. It’s made from walnuts, Red Star, and sea salt. It’s more of a seasoning than a cheese (i.e. it doesn’t melt), but I think even non-vegans would really like it.
Tofu can be a great substitute for recipes that include cottage or ricotta cheese. You cannot even tell that my vegan lasagna uses tofu and not ricotta.
Finally, many foods don’t even need cheese! I’ve discovered that many of my previously favorite cheese conduits are perfectly fine on their own. Cheese-free pizzas, made with a really good tomato sauce and lots of veggies is delicious (and of course I can use Daiya if I really want “cheese”). I don’t miss cheese on my salads – I instead toss in some walnuts and / or avocado instead. And other foods like burritos, soups, and pastas are fine without it – I’ve just gotten used to not including cheese on them.
I hope this is helpful if you are like me and just can’t imagine a cheese-less life. It’s easier than you think!
What is your favorite recipe for replacing or omitting cheese?
It’s been a very busy weekend for yours truly. We had our second weekend of yoga teacher training and can you believe that the teachers-in-training are already practice teaching? They are doing a fabulous job – I cannot wait for our next training weekend in November!
Because of the teacher training, this past weekend was not a typical weekend in terms of cooking and baking but I did manage to fit in a few runs
Friday: 6 miles at an 8:40 pace
Saturday : 3.25 miles at a 9:30 pace during my lunch hour
Sunday: 7.20 miles at an 8:40 pace
Today I’m going to take a yoga class with Tori at Flow Yoga – I’m really looking forward to it
For the last two weeks I’ve been working on a new recipe for Vanilla Spice Oatmeal Cookies. After numerous trial batches I am happy to say that I think I’ve got it down. These cookies are slightly crispy on the edges yet chewy in the center, with a hint of vanilla and sweet bursts of crystallized ginger throughout. And on the How Healthy Is Your Cookie scale, I’d say they are pretty much on the healthier side thanks to the minimal amount of oil and sugar being used – YAY!
Vanilla Spice Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 20-22 cookies
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1.5 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 Tablespoon flax seeds plus 3 Tablespoons water whisked together until frothy
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 T minced ginger root
1 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup diced crystallized ginger
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat two large baking sheets with cooking spray.
Combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ground ginger, baking soda, and salt in your food processor and pulse 4-5 times. Transfer to a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, applesauce, oil, flaxseed mixture, vanilla, and ginger root and blend well with a hand mixer.
Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir until combined.
Stir in the oats and the crystallized ginger.
Drop the batter by rounded tablespoons, 2” apart, onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on the baking sheets for two minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.
What are the top 3 dishes/recipes you are planning to cook? Rice and beans (a staple at my home), scrambled tofu (we have this every week!), and Crispy Cajun Chickpea Cutlets, a new-to-me recipe from vegandad.
Topping of choice for popcorn? Earth Balance and salt – sometimes a touch of nutritional yeast.
Most disastrous recipe/meal failure? Gnocchi! It turned into a gloopy flour soup! Total nightmare.
Favorite pickled item? Sauerkraut. I get very excited when I see Tempeh Reuben Sandwich on the menu!
How do you organize your recipes? I have tons of cookbooks in my kitchen. If I find a recipe online that looks interesting I’ll email it to myself and then store it in a file in my Mail called “recipes.” I also have a binder in my kitchen where I save hard copies of any online recipes I’ve tried and liked.
Compost, trash, or garbage disposal? Trash and garbage disposal. I’d like to compost but haven’t figured that one out yet.
If you were stranded on an island and could only bring 3 foods…what would they be (don’t worry about how you’ll cook them)?Almonds, Bananas, and spinach. That’s a very tough question.
Fondest food memory from your childhood? Eating my mom’s rigatoni. I LOVED it.