Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Eating Outside of my Kitchen

I live in orlando.

I met this really nice gentlemen from Portland the other day and we had the best discussion about this nourishing sustainable lifestyle I'm attempting. He really encouraged me. He surprised me when he told me he thought it was great I was doing it here (in Orlando) because it was so much harder here than in Portland. I never thought it might be easier somewhere else. The community around you can of course guide you;

Would you all change your lifestyle if the community you lived in supported that change?

I feel so blessed that I can even eat out at all!
Chris and I went out to eat again so here is my review of Dandelion Cafe.

It's a VEGAN menu! I could dance, I mean really dance! I love being able to eat out and not feel like a "complicated order."
You do order at a counter and then seat yourself with a number and the food is brought to you, this is pretty common. It must be cost effective because it's common in omnivorous restaurants like Panera Bread too.

I ordered the "Machos Libre" and the "Simple Side Salad" with green goddess dressing.

Machos Libre are vegan nachos with chili and cheeze and I found them irresistible. I do have an affinity for salty crunchy cheezy things, so that might do it. haha. That sounded like one of those Taco Bell commercials.

Side salad was good... leafy and green. I like the flavor of the Green Goddess dressing but I'm not used to the creamy texture. I looked it up online and it's probably a mixture of green onion, avocado, and herbs. All good things!

Happy Eating!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Edamame Hummus & A Wrap for Lunch

A while back I had tried to make hummus with edamame with the standard hummus ingredients; tahini, lemon juice, garlic. It was good, but as I was munching on it I thought... this could be better!

I bought some shelled edamame*, plugged in the food processor and away we go.

Instead of olive oil I used a splash of sesame oil, instead of tahini I used some raw almond butter*, then I threw in some roasted garlic*, lemon juice*, powdered ginger*, sriracha, and hemp seed*. After I processed it all together I added sesame seeds*. It tastes very "asian" but I think it would also be good with wasabi instead of sriracha.

I added the hemp seed because I had just bought some for Chris who has been reading a vegan athlete's book and he uses a lot of hemp seed. It supposed to be good for you.

Then, I made a wrap for lunch.
I used the Ezekiel 4:9 wraps* which I love and Chris hates. It's probably the one area where we agree to disagree and whoever makes it to the store first gets to buy the kind they like. Which is me.

Let me also say normally I hate using tortillas for lunch when you make it ahead of time because it gets soggy and I end up throwing it away. That miraculously did not happen this time!

I put a romaine leaf* down on the bottom because the wrap is pretty fragile and the lettuce keeps the filling from spilling through any rips in the wrap.
Then carrots* and red cabbage chopped in the food processor. I didn't season the veggies, just left them raw and delicious.
Top with the hummus and roll it up.

* means that ingredient was organic in my version.
Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Carrots for Dinner

Me: "These carrots taste so meaty!"
Chris: "hahaha, you clearly haven't eaten meat in a while."

I bought these carrots from the store because I loved them. How adorable are they? I could have done an entire photo shoot with the carrots.
I didn't.
Okay, yes I did but I deleted most of them.
Moving on!

I wanted to cook up the carrots in more of a "main dish" sort of way than a side dish, so I roasted them whole.

I cut off the greens leaving about 1/2 inch of green attached. You want to see the little mohawk sticking up. Wash the carrots too since you're not peeling them.
Line the pan with foil. Honestly, I could have named my blog "Line the Pan with Foil" so let's just assume whenever I'm using a baking sheet I'm probably lining it with foil.
I made my roasting dressing right there on the baking sheet. Lazy style.

Pour on some agave nectar.
A splash of apple cider vinegar.
Roll the carrots around in the syrup.
Sprinkle on herbamare. I just bought herbamare for the first time and so far, I like it.
Pop the baking sheet in the oven at about 400 degrees.
Take it out when it looks like this.

The carrots get soft but not mushy. I thought they got meaty, Chris clearly did not.
I did not serve the carrots with the sauce, I pulled the carrots off the tray and actually tried to not get the sauce. The vinegar gets fruity and the agave is already sweet.

I served it over some wild rice. Viola. Vegan Meal.
Chris might not have thought they were not meaty but he sure ate more than his half. :)

Happy Eating.

Friday, January 27, 2012


I've heard debate over organic foods. Some say it's worth it and some say it's a waste.

My biggest question is then, a waste of what? A waste of money? Is spending your money on your food a waste of money?
I obviously can't answer that question for anyone else but me. Everyone has to come to their own answer.

For me... spending my money on what I eat is the absolute best way for me to spend it. Back in the day when I was growing up there was this cute little phrase they told us kids, "You are what you eat." I don't want to be full of genetically modified ingredients and pesticides that poison the ground and are harmful to the people applying them.

As of right now, Certified Organic is the strictest certification through the Food and Drug Administration. That's why I buy organic foods.

If spending your money on food is a waste I might suggest you limit your eating out, the mark-up on that junk is insane. That's just a piece of unsolicited budget advice that has nothing to do with organic foods :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Our go-to Kale Salad Recipe

I've made this so many times I forgot to take a picture. Oops.

De-stem your kale. I've used kurleykale and lactino kale. I like both options. Kurleykale feels more similar to lettuce I think.
Layer a few leaves on top of each other and roll, like a cigarette.
Then slice small ribbons. You are such an expect chef, you just made a Chiffonade.

Thinly slice red cabbage and mix in with the kale ribbons.

Next make the dressing: Oil Free!
1 part fresh orange juice to 1 part balsamic vinegar to half a part of dijon mustard. Whisk.

Pour about half of the dressing to start over the kale and cabbage and massage, add more dressing if you need too. Massage more.

Throw in a diced red pepper, sunflower seeds, green or red onion, and orange segments. It's so filling, low in fat, high in fiber, plant based, raw, and to top it off, it's yummy.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Raw Wraps

It looks like I was on a soup kick the past couple days.
I go on soup binges, I love soup.
but for those that like to chew... this post is not about soup.

This post is about a delicious wrap.

I feel like wraps were trendy 5 years ago. It was all the range to ditch the "boring" sandwich between two slices of bread and put it in one giant flatbread thing and roll it up. Wraps can stink. That first bite is all rolled flatbread, you have to chew 2 bites before you get to the goodness inside. I don't like that. Normally I'm a "boring" sandwich girl.

This wrap, is better than those bread-y ones, because it has no bread. In fact... it has nothing cooked at all! It's totally raw. It's more like a raw eggroll now that I think about, but I'm getting distracted.

  • Step One: Collard Leaves*!
Those giant fan looking beauties. To turn them into a wrap you should remove the tough stem, but don't damage the leaf. Flip the leaf over and gently slide your knife down the stem close to the leaf, removing it. I filmed myself doing it because I don't think I'm explaining too well.

Marinade your leafy wrappers in a mixture of 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp lemon juice*, and 2 tsp salt. Rub the marinade over the leaves to get them covered. I soaked mine for maybe two hours. I also wiped mine down with a paper towel before wrapping. The marinade should make them soft not wet.

  • Step Two: Filling!
1/2 bag of Shredded Carrots*,
1/2 a red pepper*,
1 portobella mushroom*,
2 green onions*,
2 springs of fresh mint*,
1/4 medium sized red cabbage

Just slice and dice everything up pretty small. Done! (Raw food is super quick right) I will say that Raw food is quicker because nothing is cooked, obviously, but be careful if you're using dull knives because there is a lot of chopping, dicing, or mincing: however you wanna word it. You can of course buy items from the grocery store pre-chopped like I did with these carrots but I wouldn't do that too much. Preservatives are often added to prevent discoloration and stuff.

  • Step Three: Sauce!
I actually measured this junk for the blog! Normally I'm a pinch of this, a dash of that, but nope, I broke out the dusty tablespoons just for this.

1 tsp minced garlic*
2 tsp raw almond butter*
1 tbsp lime juice*
4 dates*
1 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 tsp tamari*
1 tsp salt
sprinkle dried red pepper (or half a jalapeno)
sprinkle powdered ginger* (or fresh)
water to thin it out

Blend everything using your favorite blending instrument; blender, immersion blender, food processor. Add the water as needed to get it to a thin pudding type consistency. Then pour over the filling. I let mine sit about an hour simply because I got excited before we were going to eat but I like how it absorbed.

  • Step Four: Roll it up!

Roll the filling into your collard leaf and cut in half. Try not to sample the whole thing before it even makes it to the plate. That little guy in that photo, he never even made it to the dining room table.

* means that I used Organic for that ingredient.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mexi Pizza

I could wander around Whole Foods like my husband could wander around a bookstore. I like to get my book and get out, and really, I'd rather buy online. If Chris could buy groceries online, he would. I love meandering around the grocery store being inspired.

Whole Foods has so many organic things that the other stores don't have, like Organic Pizza Crusts! I saw these a while back and they make pizza even easier, and it's already pretty dang easy.

Italian pizza can be boring, so we like Mexi Pizza! This recipe is something we eat probably once a month.

1 Crust
1/4 cup Tomatillo Salsa
1/2 can Black Beans
1/2 cup Corn
5-6 baby Tomatoes cut into slices
Diya Cheddar Flavor

Smooth the salsa over the crust. add beans, corn, and tomatoes. Sprinkle with cheese! If my husband didn't hate cilantro I'd probably top it with some fresh cilantro.

Happy Eating!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Tuscan Bean Kale Soup

I used to really like the Zuppa Toscana soup from Olive Garden. It is described in their menu as, "Spicy sausage, russet potatoes, and cavolo greens in a creamy broth." The words "creamy broth" should be red flashing danger signs to anyone trying to avoid high fat items or dairy.

The basic principle of the soup isn't bad, spicy meat, potatoes, greens, creamy broth. Trying to eliminate animal products or high fat items from your diet can inspire you look for alternatives.

Spicy Sausage --> Vegan Sausage with extra black pepper
Russet Potatoes --> I decided to switch out my potatoes for cannellini beans. They are high in fiber and protein but low in fat, and I think an upgrade from potatoes.
Cavolo Greens --> Two bunches of organic kale
Creamy Broth --> I added about 2/3 of my beans directly into my soup but I put the other 1/3 into the food processor to form something that looks like mashed potatoes. I stirred the puree into the stock and viola! Creamy Broth.

Celery. White Onion. Olive Oil. Garlic. Cannellini Beans. Vegan Sausage. Vegetable Stock. Kale. Salt & Pepper.

Saute 1/2 cup celery and 3/4 cup onion in olive oil with 3-4 cloves of roasted garlic.

Roasting garlic is fun and easy. Chop the top off the entire bulb of garlic. Pour some olive oil over the top. Wrap in aluminum foil. Cook at 400 degrees for 20-30 min until the garlic cloves are soft, squishy, and super fragrant. The bitterness cooks out of them leaving lots of garlic goodness. I have been known to put a clove of roasted garlic on a cracker.

Add entire package of vegan sausage and cook until browned. The sausage absorbs a good bit of the water later on and so it isn't as crunchy as I'd like it to be. I might remove it next time after browning and then re-add in at the end (like people do with bacon bits).

Add vegetable stock and 2/3 of the cannellini beans. Bring to a boil.
Add 1/3 pureed cannellini beans and de-stemmed kale cut into bite size pieces. Salt and pepper to taste. Heavy on the pepper.

This soup is going to be less calories, less fat, less saturated fat, totally vegan, and maybe more delicious than the original!

Happy Eating.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

The other day I went to a restaurant. The menu item that I remember loving as a vegetarian wasn't vegan and I was confused as to why. What I wanted to order was the Butternut Squash Soup. Why would butternut squash soup have dairy in it? I ordered something else and moved on with my life, except I didn't! I kept thinking about it... "Why does a vegetable soup need animal product to make it taste yummy?" Then I got kind of angry, "I bet it doesn't need animal product to taste yummy stupid celebrity chef, I will recreate your soup even better than yours!"

So... In my anger I was off to re-create a animal product free butternut squash soup.

1. Roast a butternut squash and a sweet potato
2. Cook some onions in olive oil
3. Add some vegetable stock to the onions
4. Put the pieces of roasted vegetable in the stock and cook until very soft
5. Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth
6. Sprinkle in some salt, pepper, sriracha (just a little), and maybe some garlic powder.
7. Taste, I taste a lot when i am cooking. Then go crazy and sprinkle in a little dried rosemary.
8. Blend one last time.
9. Pour into bowls.
10. Top with the little swirl of sriracha and a swirl of cashew cream.

Cashew Cream:
Blend 1 part water, to 1.5 parts cashews, and little salt together and it forms a white creme fraiche looking thing.

Happy Eating!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vegan Raw Tart

I did it!
I actually made the tart.
My friend Kayla had to come over and watch the you tube videos with me and give me lots of help and encouragement, but still, we did it!

medjool dates*
unsweetened coconut*

6 medjool dates soaked in water*
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup agave nectar*
2 large avocados - mashed
2/3 cup cocoa powder

I took this tart into work and everyone tried some and everyone liked it! No one guessed there was an avocado in it! My boss does think I'm a little "twigs and berries" but who cares :) It's a dessert with no sugar, no flour, no butter, no eggs but it isn't just a bowl of fruit!
I was so proud of myself for this one, try it and you'll be proud of yourself too!

Finished Product:

* means I used organic
Happy Eating.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tahini Rice Bowl

Angela has a blog, I love her website.
It's inspired me in the kitchen like landscapes inspire painters.
Her version is called the Protein Power Goddess Bowl. Mine isn't, whatever.

First saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil.
Add red cabbage in a large dice.
Add 2 chopped tomatoes.
Add 1 red pepper.
Add one bunch of kale with the stems removed.
Add 1 cup green lentils.
Add 1 cup brown & wild rice.
Mix in 1 batch of the tahini dressing.
Let it all simmer together and then try not to eat it all so you can still have some at lunchtime the next day.

Tahini Dressing:
1/4 cup tahini
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
a little water to thin it out

Just process all the ingredients in your food processor.

The best part of this meal is that you can kind of add whatever you have leftover in your fridge, I think the kale and red pepper are needed but throw in whatcha got! and since it's all getting simmered it can be on the overly ripe side.
Happy Eating!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Lentil Meatballs?

I had gotten this idea for lentil meatballs from the internet of course.
Most of my inspiration comes from the internet and then I simply run with it.
I like a lentil loaf instead of meatloaf so why not have lentil meatballs!

Into the food processor:
1 cup cooked lentils*
2 sprigs of fresh parsley*
3 cloves of garlic*
1 scoop ground flaxseed
1/4 cup oatmeal* (maybe a little less)
3-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp white miso
a sprinkle of dried: roasted red pepper flakes, thyme, basil*, rosemary*
1 half a sprinkle of dried: paprika, cumin
1 dissolved vegan bullion cube into 2-3 tbsp hot water.

  • I cooked 1 cup of french green lentils and then used about 1 cup of the cooked product. I used the other cooked cup for another recipe but if I were just using them for this recipe I would have started seasoning them while they were cooking. Next time maybe...
  • I added the bullion water last through the chute once everything else is fairly processed.
  • The spices I used were simply because they seemed "italian" to me. I would suggest adding something spicy like the red pepper flakes though because the lentils can totally absorb some of the heat once you bite into it.

Then form into 1" balls. I don't think this recipe would work too well with larger faux meatballs because you do want that crunchy exterior, well I wanted it I should say.

Place them on a cookie sheet covered in foil and then drizzle with oil and spin the little lentil-nuggets around to get them all shiny.

Bake at 350 degrees until the bottom side gets brown, maybe 20 min. Then flip and let the other side get brown. I did that 4 times until all the sides were browned. At this point they do kind of feel like nuggets, brown and crunchy and delicious on the outside but moist and soft on the inside.

I ate two to make sure of this for you.

I am going to serve mine with sprouted spaghetti, tomato sauce, and fresh spinach. I might do a "raw" tomato sauce, any suggestions?

* means I used Organic for this ingredient.

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Raw Food Videos

I love you tube how-to videos. They are my favorite thing since Real Housewives of Orange County. (oh Lynn and your drunk daughters)

I especially love the cooking how-to videos.
Check these out... I bought avocados and I am waiting with bated breath for them to ripen so I can make and devour this tart!

Happy Eating

Monday, January 16, 2012

Icing Tests

More Cupcakes!
oh yes...

Chai Tea Icing - Good.
Strawberry Icing - Very Good.
Peanut Butter Icing - BEST!

Base of all icing:
1/2 cup vegan margarine. I use Earth Balance.
3-4 cups vegan organic powdered sugar.

Beat the "butter" until light and kind of fluffy. Slowly add sugar until mixed throughly and it looks, well, icing like. you can add a splash of soy milk too, it gets creamier if you do. vanilla extract is always good too but a base should be simple so I'm not going to make you do it; 1 tsp if you wanted though.

  • For the chai you brew 2 tea bags in not a lot of boiling water (3 tbsp) to make a strong concentrate. Add this with some cinnamon into the base and viola!

  • For strawberry I boiled 4-5 fresh berries in a bit of water and sugar. smoosh the berries with a spoon and release all the juices. then pour over a fine strainer and strain out delicious pink nectar. Add strawberry nectar to the base and extra powdered sugar because it's a little watery.

  • For peanut butter you add 1-2tbsp creamy organic peanut butter into the base along with a pinch of salt and an extra splash of soy milk since it's thicker and needs some creamy help.

Any other icing I should try? I mean, I could be talked into trying more...
Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Date Night

Do you couples out there have a Date Night?

We didn't really. I mean, no kids, no mortgage... what do we need to escape from? but then we were told by someone really wise that showing your spouse that they are worth the investment of getting dressed up, spending money, spending time, and leaving the house is very important. The more you invest into your relationship the more valuable it gets right?

Well... with the recent switch to veganism dates out of the house are more difficult.
Here are some recent reviews for you :)
I like a place with vegan options where I don't have to modify menu items, I don't like being "that girl" who has to change everything about her order. Besides, I understand a chef's menu as a unit and disrupting the integrity of his/her creation would kind of be like asking a artist to paint in blue because you prefer it. You could ask an artist to do that... but you probably wouldn't.

Review #1: The Yellow Dog Eats.
This was a total accident, a very happy accident. A menu with a vegan options (without any modifications!) and meaty options! Throw in adorable atmosphere and al fresco dining and I would go there every week. Gotta love supporting a locally owned place. My "downward dog" wrap (love not having a salad huh!?) was so good. I will say they were heavy handed on that sriracha so watch out and go for waterproof mascara! Chris loved their bbq sauce and raved about his sandwich too.

This chain has most "healthy lifestyle" folk cringing. Huge portions. Dessert menu from heaven. Huge portions. Also, not much is vegan without modification. I had the Thai Lettuce Wraps from the appetizer page of the menu. I asked the chicken simply be omitted but my waitress was amazing and suggested a switch to portobello mushroom. Yes please! This entree might have been my favorite because the portions were so large and sometimes vegan is code for small portion. The dessert menu has nothing but fresh fruit and we skipped it anyway after such a big dinner.

Review #3: Seasons 52.
There is no butter in this entire restaurant. Let's start there with a huge sigh of relief. There is literally no chance some prep cook spilled butter on your sauteing vegetables. Let me also say: totally separate vegan menu to order from with no need for modifications! I had the Ponzu-Glazed Tofu with Cremini Mushroom, Broccoli, and Roasted Potatoes. Plus a garden salad to start. This was my most enjoyable eating out experience since being a vegan. No ordering at a counter, pretty decor, no modifying the menu, and my husband ate pork and loved every second of his meaty dinner. I love seeing that man smile.

Review #4: Lazy Moon Cafe.
Pizza, every vegan scowls. Try this super laid back UCF staple, now serving diaya. I had the "treehugger" special with includes the vegan cheese alternative so there was no need to modify. Honestly... this pizza is better than the vegan restaurant's pizza. plus, the hubsy could have gotten meat had he wanted, but my maybe vegetarian convert skipped the meat this night. Plus we were out of there with 2 beers and 2 slices of pizza for under $25.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheezy Sauce Recipe


if you're thinking about veganism, either full time, part time, or whatever... pick up this cookbook: Vegan YumYum. It has pictures and delicious recipes and I love it.


if you're thinking about veganism you've probably thought, "I like cheese too much to be a vegan." It's a tough one to combat but try this cheezy sauce from the Vegan Yum Yum and you'll convert to veganism at least for one meal.

Whisk together 1/2 cup Earth Balance Vegan Margarine and 1/3 cup flour. I've used unbleached all purpose but let me know if you've tried rice flour. Do this over medium heat.
This makes a roux.
Then whisk in 1 tbsp red miso, 1 tbsp tomato paste, 3 tbsp tamari (or soy sauce), 1 tbsp lemon juice, and 1 tbsp tahini. One time I didn't have tahini and used a flax egg and it turned out delicious as well.
Whisk until this forms a red paste looking thing. Turn the heat to medium high
Then slowly whisk in 1 1/4 cup soy milk. Then 1/3-1/2 cup nutritional yeast.
Let it come to a simmer to thicken.

Then seriously pour over anything and everything: pasta for mac and cheeze, rice vegetable cheezy casseroles, boca crumbles to make a queso dip. I mean it, EVERYTHING. It isn't low calorie, it's vegan.

Happy Eating!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Do you like mushy foods?

I've been contemplating a mushy food feast!
I'm working on a great baba ganoush recipe to go along with my favorite roasted red pepper hummus. Plus I found a recipe for a white bean and artichoke dip that sounds delicious.

I love dips and crunchy things... chips and salsa, carrots and hummus, chocolate and pretzels.

Anyone have mushy dip recipes they like?

A Hummus that I like:
Puree the following together in a food processor:
2 cloves garlic
15oz can of chickpeas
2-3 tbsp chickpea water from can
3-4 roasted red peppers
1/4 cup of tahini (sometimes i use a tiny bit less)
5 tbsp lemon juice (sometime i get heavy handed)
tiny drizzle of olive oil

and then... I didn't have any chickpeas so what to do... use Edamame!!
I basically used the same recipe with the edamame but then I got to thinking maybe an asian edamame hummus with garlic, edamame, sesame oil, ginger, almond butter, and maybe sriracha? OH YES!

Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Chocolate Cupcakes

Cupcakes are delicious. I don't know many people that would disagree.
What about cupcakes without animal products?
Could they be delicious.
I say yes!

Chocolate Cupcakes
1 cup soy milk **
1 tsp apple cider vinegar**
1/3 cup canola oil**
3/4 cup sugar**
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/3 cup non alkaline cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
** means I used organic for this ingredient.

Oven: 350 degrees

1. Mix soy milk and vinegar, stir, and let sit for 5 min (you're making vegan buttermilk!)
2. Whisk together soy milk/vinegar, canola oil, sugar, vanilla in bowl number one.
3. Sift together the rest of the ingredients in bowl number two.
4. Mix the wet contents of bowl number one into the dry ingredients of bowl number two.
5. Pour batter into greased (I used Pam Spray**) cupcake pan.
6. Bake for 23-25 min. The official ready test is "until springy"

I made a chai tea (not)buttercream icing which was delicious but I'm working on a peanut butter one that I'm thinking I might like better.
I'll try and keep you up to date.

PS- Be careful when removing your cupcakes from the pan (aka, don't turn over and shake violently) because the corner of your cupcake may be missing like this one:

Happy Eating!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Vegan Ricotta

Want to make your favorite lasagna recipe without ricotta cheese?
This has been my favorite ricotta substitute so far:

1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
3 cloves garlic
1 package extra firm tofu
1/2 cup soy milk
salt and pepper to taste

Add everything to your food processor and process until smooth-ish
Spread onto lasagna and enjoy the delicious nutty-cheezy taste!