Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Website

Hello Everyone,

I have recently spent a lot of time launching a new website with a domain I own. The new site is simply, . It is much more user-friendly and, though I am sad to leave blogger, I think it will be better in the long run.

My latest post is on Vegan Zucchini Muffins which were quite good!

Take care,


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vegan Mango Coconut Muffins (Whole Wheat)

According to Rich these are the best muffins, vegan or otherwise, I have ever made.  They are light and sweet. The crumb topping is something I don't often do, but it is a nice treat. The pieces of mango keep the muffins moist and add their sweet, tropical flavors. The coconut gets nice and crisp on top. 

These muffins are also incredibly quick and simple to make. It was a hot day when I made them and I was in and out of the kitchen quickly. 

Cook Time: 45 min
Yield: 1 dozen muffins
Recipe: Inspired by The Bakerita
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour. 
1/2 cup brown sugar (not packed)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsweetened, shredded coconut
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup coconut oil
1 large banana mashed
3/4 cup of soy or almond milk 
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup of fresh mango peeled and cut into small 1/2 inch pieces

1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup oats
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and grease 1 muffin tin with vegan butter. 
2. Combine the dry ingredients (flour-baking powder) in a large bowl. 

3. Combine the wet ingredients (oil-vanilla) and whisk together until well combined. If your coconut oil is hard, you can whisk it separately to help it turn into oil. You could also leave it on the stove while it is pre-heating.
4. Add the wet and dry ingredients together, stirring until well combined. 

5. Fold in the chopped mango. Make sure your mango is not too large or it will break apart the muffins. After I took the picture below, I had to cut the mango again to make it smaller.

 6. In a small bowl, combine flour, coconut, and oats.

7. Mix in coconut oil and vanilla (for this phase, you want the oil to be a little hard because it will help to form the crumbs).

 8. Divide the batter evenly among the 12 muffin tins.

9. Add the crumb topping to each of the muffins.

10. Bake for 22-25 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or until a knife comes out clean. 
11. Let the muffins cool for about 7 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack. 

 11. Enjoy with a little jam, soy milk, or tea.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Vegan on the Road

Vegan on the Road: What's a Vegan Girl to Do?

Clearly I have been slacking lately. I am getting married in less than 3 weeks and on the nights I used to blog, I am doing wedding planning. :) I have been on the road a lot lately and had trouble finding things I could eat on the road. I thought that probably many vegans have the same problems.

Eating greens, veggies, beans, and whole grains takes extra thought and planning when one is eating at home. When a vegan is on the road, maintaining a healthy vegan diet can prove to be even more challenging. So what is a vegan to do? I will outline a few of my go-to-on-the-road staples that will hopefully help you to avoid going hungry.

Here is the scenario, you have been driving for about 3 hours (we vegans get hungry quickly) and you are STARVING, but all you see on the highway are fast food chains. Cheese and meat are ubiquitous at these places and, unfortunately, fresh greens and tofu are not. You start thinking about your dream vegan meal. Maybe it is a fresh kale salad, a warm and "cheesy" vegan pizza, or a tempeh reuben. At least so far, I can't help you find any of these prime choices on the road, but I can steer you in the direction of some decent vegan dishes that are available at some of the bigger chains. Below are some places that serve vegan food on the go.

When I am on the road for a while, this is one of my top choices. First of all, the atmosphere in Chipotle is clean and it doesn't feel like fast food. Vegans can get a burrito bowl filled with brown rice, black beans (the pinto beans have bacon in them so be careful), corn, grilled veggies, guacamole, lettuce, and salsa. I actually recommend skipping the veggies entirely because they are too oily. This burrito bowl is actually really filling, costs $7.49, and only has 575 calories - if you leave out the oily veggies. Oh, and the best thing about Chipotle – free seltzer! I also love their indie music selection.

The biggest drawback to Chipotle is the high sodium. The burrito bowl above has about 1900mg's of sodium! That is a lot for someone used to eating veggies. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend it all the time, just in a vegan emergency!

Moe's also has a vegan burrito bowl. They offer tofu, which is actually quite tasty. Again, the veggies are rather oily so I stick with the tofu and beans. I also really like Moe's pickled jalapeño's! They make a great spicy addition to the meal. Their burrito bowl without  veggies has about 457 calories and costs $7.39.

The negative aspects to Moe's also include high sodium. There are about 1700mg's of sodium in the burrito bowl I suggested. The atmosphere in Moe's is also very fast-foody. It smells like
grease, the staff has to wear annoying loud uniforms, and the menu looks more like a McDonalds menu than anything else. Additionally, all of their food comes with deep fried chips, which of course you can just ask not to have but it enhances the fast-food feel.

Of course, if you are in a big city you can find vegan solace at Whole Foods. I love their vegan pizza (if that was your craving, I came through for you!), salads, vegan Indian food, and smoothies! It is great because you can mix and match different foods on your plate. There are usually nice places to sit indoors and outdoors. The atmosphere is usually clean and it is a great
place to unwind!

The best part of going to Whole Foods…Kombucha!
The drawbacks to Whole Foods are the sodium and the costs. While I doubt the sodium is anywhere near the levels at Chipotle and Moes, I can't be sure because they don't have the same nutrition labeling for their hot food. Whole Foods is also about twice as expensive. There are no free drinks here (unless you want to drink out of the faucet… the bathroom.....) and I am always surprised at how much a salad costs. It is also a little annoying because everything is sold by weight, which means I am paying the same per pound for chickpeas that someone is paying for beef or fish. It seems a little unfair to the vegans and vegetarians, clearly we are supplementing the more expensive meat, fish, and cheese.

Those are my best vegan to-go suggestions. If all else fails, it is always a good idea to stop at a grocery store and get some fresh fruit, hummus, and crackers. As you can see, these options are vegan but not as healthy as some homemade vegan cooking or fresh greens. As a result, it is important to pack as much as you can from home. For example, I like to load up on apples,  bananas, homemade granola, and maybe some vegan cookies so I don't have to get too much out. However, especially in the heat, this isn't always possible. When it's not, now you know where to go!

If you are in another town or city, you can also check out a great vegan/vegetarian website finder.

Where do you go for vegan solace on the road? 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Vegan Banana Peanut Butter Muffins

We were pretty much out of food last Friday before going out of town, hungry, and too tired to go to the grocery store. I decided I would make something with the few ingredients I had in my house. First, I tried avocado muffins with the two overripe avocados I had in my house. They turned out to be beyond overripe. I had already mixed the dry ingredients and so I needed to figure out a recipe I could make with that. I opted for banana muffins, then Rich suggested I put peanut butter in them. They came out great!

The muffins were moist and slightly dense. They tasted like banana bread with a hint of peanut butter. They made a great dinner and pre-running snack the next morning.

This recipe was really quick and easy, assuming you don't try to make them with avocados first. Let me know how yours come out!

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 bananas
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegan butter (I use Earth Balance)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup soy milk

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
2. Mix dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and cinnamon) together in a small bowl.
3. Mash the bananas and place them in a large bowl.
4. Add the remaining ingredients, besides the soy milk, to the mixture. Using an electric mixture, beat for about 1 minute.
5. Add half the dry ingredients and 1/2 cup of soy milk, mix again with the electric mixer.
6.  Mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of soy milk until all is well combined.
7. Grease muffin tins or use muffin papers. Place about 1/4 cup of batter in each muffin cup.
8. Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Let cool for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
Yield: About 2 dozen muffins

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Vegan Meatball Recipe

This vegan meatball recipe is made using a few simple ingredients. In fact, I really wanted to make vegan meatballs but I did not have the proper ingredients for any one recipe. I made my own version using ingredients we had in the house. I was pretty nervous it wasn't going to work out, but Rich and I both loved them!

I have been wanting to make vegan meatballs from scratch for some time because I am against the fake meat products. I don't mean seitan, tempeh or tofu. I feel those foods are not trying to be a food they are not (although people can make them into dishes that resemble meat products). I don't like fake vegan products because they are not very healthy.

In order to make vegan food taste like meat, additives (sodium, natural and artificial flavorings, etc) must be used to get the meat-like flavor and consistency. When I make vegan burgers or meatballs, they don't taste like the meat-filled alternative because they are not filled with meat! They taste like something earthier and healthier that is a food all on its own.

When I first started eating more vegan food, I bought vegan meatballs and chopmeat for tacos. They both tasted so artificial! I assumed they were healthy when I bought them because they were vegan. When I looked at the nutritional value upon arriving home, I was appalled. They were very processed, sodium filled, and had lots of artificial flavors.
Homemade vegan meatballs
These vegan meatballs went really well with spelt pasta and lots of red sauce. You could also make a vegan meatball sandwich by placing them on some bread and adding sauce.

Yield: 24 meatballs
Cook Time: 45 minutes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
3 cloves garlic
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon blak pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon dill
1/2 cup oats
3 cups cooked chick peas
2 medium carrots
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/4-1/2 cup water
1 cup fresh parsley

"Raw" vegan meatballs cooking

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium-high heat.
2. Finely chop 1 large onion.
3. When the oil is hot, add the onion and minced garlic. Saute the onion mixture until it starts to turn brown. Then add your spices and cook for another 3 minutes. Remove this pan from heat and set aside.
4. If you are making pasta, put up your water now so it will be ready on time.
5. Place 1/2 cup of oats in a blender or food processor. Blend until they are finely ground. Remove the oats from the blender and place in a large bowl.
6. Place the chickpeas in the blender and pulse until they are mashed (this should take less than 1 minute).
7. Add the chickpeas to the bowl.

Cooked vegan meatballs
 8.Add the grated carrots, nutritional yeast, and 1/4 cup water. Mix by hand until the mixture is well combined and wet but sticky. You may need to add up to 1/2 cup of water to get the desired consistency. When you have the right consistency, add the parsley and the onion mixture.
9. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan on medium high heat. When the oil is hot, roll the chickpea mixture into ball of your desired size and cook them until browned on each side.
10. Enjoy hot on pasta or a sandwich!

I shared my fake vegan food pet peeve……fake meat products. Do you have one to share? 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Homemade Vegan Cracker Recipe

I have been wanting to make homemade crackers for some time. Yesterday Rich surprised me and got me my favorite vegan cheese. I really wanted some crackers to go with it, but the gourmet corner store wanted to charge me $5 for about 12 crackers that had half of their calories from fat. I couldn't justify it on so many levels. I decided this would be a great opportunity to finally make my own!
My favorite vegan cheese - made in Brooklyn!
This recipe was amazingly simple and I was pleasantly surprised by the crackers! They were light and savory. The whole wheat flour gave them a hearty flavor. The herbs and salt added the savory taste. The black pepper also made them a little spicy. My only complaint was they were a little thick, next time I will try to roll them thinner.

This recipe was inspired by a recipe from SpiceFoodie.

Cook Time: 25 minutes
Yield: 24-30 crackers

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (plus a little more for rolling and dusting)
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons italian herbs (mixed rosemary, thyme, oregano)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup warm water
4 tablespoons olive oil

1. Pre-head the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
Vegan cheese, apples, and homemade crackers!
2. Add all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.
3. Make a well in the center and add the water and olive oil. Stir until the flour is no longer visible.
4. Sprinkle flour on the place you will roll them out. Add more sprinkled flour to the top or your dough and dust your roller with flour.
5. Roll the dough so that it is about 1/8 inch thick and transfer to a baking dish lined with parchment paper.
6. Use a pizza slicer to cut the crackers to the desired size and shape.
7. Bake for 12-14 minutes and then remove from the oven.
8.  Move the crackers to a cooking rack and give them about 8 minutes to cool.
9. Sprinkle with a little salt and/or herbs.

You can really get creative with the herbs and spices added. What kinds of herbs will you try?

Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is simple, tasty, and much healthier than regular chocolate chip cookies. They are made of whole wheat pastry flour, so you are not consuming "empty" white flour calories. They have only 1/4 cup of sugar in the whole batch compared to 1 1/2 cups in the classic Nestle Toll House Recipe**.

I often make these cookies for non-vegans who are impressed by how tasty they are. A few years ago, I had an incentive in my classroom that resulted in my baking for them at the end of the week. These cookies were among their favorites!

One problem can be finding vegan chocolate chips. Whole Foods sells them guaranteed vegan. Trader Joe's used to sell a dairy free version. Last I checked they still don't have dairy added, but are not guaranteed dairy free.  You can also buy the Chocolate Dream Chocolate Chips at a health food store. Finally, some people (unfortunately I am not one of them) enjoy carob as a replacement for chocoalte. You can easily use carob chips in this recipe.

Cook Time:
Prep 8 minutes
Cook 10 minutes

Yield: 24 cookies

2 cups of whole wheat pastry flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
1/4 cup raw sugar (try to find a version that is finely ground. If you cannot, let the sugar sit in the milk for a few minutes to dissolve).
1/2 canola oil (or any vegetable oil)
1/3 cup soy or any non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.Place the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and chocolate chips in a large mixing bowl. Mix with a whisk  until well combined.
3. In a smaller bowl combine the sugar, oil, soy milk, and vanilla. Mix until well combined with a whisk.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a cookie spatula until the flour is completely mixed in.
5. Roll into small balls (about one inch) and place on parchment paper or a greased cookie sheet.
6. Bake for 10 minutes.
7. Place the cookie tray on a cooking rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing cookies and placing them on a cooking rack.

**The Nestle Toll House Recipe yields about twice as many cookies. Therefore, to compare more equally Nestle's recipe would require about 3/4 cup of sugar to make the same number of cookies.

Leave a note to let me know how they turned out!