Friday, February 27, 2009

Smart Girl's Drinks

First, it's my honey's birthday...Happy Birthday Brad!!!

Secondly...a nice quote I found while perusing articles on holistic nutrition:

"Worrying is using your imagination to create something you do not want."
--Esther and Jerry Hicks

And thirdly...today's post is about liquid love!

I have been making smoothies most mornings to sip after I start my day with an early workout. Blueberry, acai, peach, strawberry, green...you name it! I am slowly experimenting with additions like ground flax seed and green food powders. My texture threshold is delicate, so I'm trying to ease into the smoothies with all that thick healthy stuff in them!!

The base for most of the smoothies and other recipes requiring non-dairy milks lately has been Ani Phyo's "mylk." In her Uncook Book and website, she gives recipes for various versions. I have enjoyed both the vanilla mylk and the praline mylk. These non-dairy mylks are easy to make and require nothing but soaking the nuts beforehand and blending the ingredients. Yum!!

Here's my praline mylk:




I just store the mylks in reused jars and use them the way I would pre-packaged almond, soy or rice milk. Delicious!!

Here's my sexy green smoothie from this morning. I used Jae Steele's recipe in Get It Ripe. Having had some awful green smoothie fiascoes in the past, I definitely recommend following a recipe at first, and being cautious with the additives. This recipe involves assorted fresh/frozen fruit, greens, fruit juice, water, and optional green foods powder. After starting my day with this drink, I truly feel alert, cheerful, and on-the-ball. Yay green smoothies!!
(Oooh this jar's first job was holding delicious New Orleans olive mix...it's still got the label on it! Teehee!)
Between these smoothies, my morning workouts, the discovery of the sauna at the gym, and my dogged efforts to stay focused on beneficial thoughts and ways of spending my time, I'm feeling pretty darn good!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Raw Sushi!

Eating Without Heating, as cheesy (maybe I should say corny, since this is a vegan blog!) as it looks, is turning out to be a great cookbook.




The flavors are good and the recipes are easy to follow. I made raw chocolate pudding last week that knocked my socks off. My second recipe to try was raw sushi! Oh my goodness, these were delicious. They are reminiscent of traditional sushi in flavor, but are squishier. I would definitely recommend this recipe. It even got the seal of approval from my favorite tester! I have seen raw sushis that call for parsnips, which I have no idea how to use (and possibly couldn't pick out of a big bad veggie lineup.) This recipe called for common ingredients and was a snap to make. I could have spent a little more time and made them prettier, but we were ready for some snacking!!


Mmm!


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sammich Satisfaction

Calling all vegans who miss egg/chicken/tuna salad sandwiches...dry your tears!

Check out these recipe ideas:

Faux chicken salad in How It All Vegan

Faux curried chicken salad in Vegan Planet

Save the Chicks/Tuna pate' in Ani Phyo's Ani's Raw Kitchen

Eat up!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Put The Pudding In Your Mouth!

Ok...this here is no Pudding Pop, but it'll do!



Besides my abiding love for Bill Cosby and his late-great frozen confections, I have a sweet tooth in general. My vegan eating habits have cultivated in me a great appreciation for light and simple desserts, usually of the fruit variety. That being said, sometimes the little kid in all of us needs a treat.
I checked out Eating Without Heating from my library and whipped up some chocolate pudding (recipe below!). This stuff was delicious, and I don't mean in that health food kind of way. It was just plain good! How could it not be with tahini in it. Mmmm!!

I don't know how to photograph wiggly jiggly snacks well, but here you go!


Raw Vegan Chocolate Pudding
1 c almond milk
3 T raw honey or 10 pitted dates (I used agave nectar)
2 T raw tahini
2 T raw carob
1/2 t salt
Blend.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Taco Salad!

Today I made a great taco salad for lunch. One thing that really helps me stay on track with healthy lunches is to spend a little extra time at night chopping things! I have mini Pyrex containers full of onions, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc. just waiting for me in the fridge when I need them. Chopping with a nice glass of wine can be really meditative after a long day too!

My taco salad consisted of: mixed greens, tomatoes, black olives, green onions, bell peppers, Tofutti sour cream, and two recipes by Ani Phyo: Taco Nut Meat and Nacho Cheeze. I also crumbled up a few organic tortilla chips for some added crunch.


Here's a close up of the Taco Nut Meat and Nacho Cheeze. I am loving Ani's book and recipes for their ease and taste!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Hot Doggy!

We had a funny looking but yummy meal of hot dogs and broccoli slaw!

Here are the vegan SmartDogs, topped with vegan black bean chili, mustard, and sauerkraut (mmmm)! My hot dogs are on top of sprouted grain Ezekiel bread.



Our slaw was a pre-packaged organic mix of broccoli and carrots, tossed with Ani Phyo's simple Greek dressing. Recipe below!



Ani Phyo's Simple Greek Dressing

2 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 extra virgin olive oil
1/2 t sea salt
1 t thyme

I put all this in a jar, closed it, and shook! Then I mixed it with the slaw and voila! It's very tart, so I added a few squirts of agave nectar, but that's a personal preference. It's delicious either way!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cookie Party!

On the night before Valentine's Day, I went to a cookie decorating party hosted by my friend Emily. I hopped on my bike and rode down to her cutie pie apartment to join the fun!

There were yummy snacks and sangria! Fondue, roasted pepper dip & bread, mozzarella and tomatoes, strawberries, and of course, the broken cookie pile!

Check out the heart straws!


She had neat magazine pages to give ideas, and had set up festive tables of candles, tulips, icing, and towers of sugar cookies!


Mixing the icing!

People getting crazy with the decorating!

Best cookie award! Decorated by the hostess herself. That sprinkle infested plate you see was more my pre-schooler style of decorating! :)
I highly recommend a cookie party. Fun all around!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Healthy On The Go

Hi lovelies!! Today I'm sharing some of the ways I try to be healthy and green when on the go.

Here's a typical morning at work: my beloved Sigg water bottle full and ready, a smoothie in one of the cups from my little blender, and a re-used jar full of fruit. Drink, eat, wash, repeat!


I also like to grab healthy snacks when I'm out. I'm fortunate to have a juice bar close to my house and work. Today I tried a wheatgrass shot for the first time! (Bonus snap of my library movies in the car!)


I followed up the wheat grass with a strawberry and cantaloupe juice. Yum! As mentioned before, I hope to add a juicer to my kitchen, because even though the plastic cups from the juice bar are recyclable, reusable is even better!



I usually carry Larabars, nuts, or some chopped veggies or whole fruit in my messenger back for snacking during the day. My Dr. Pepper/chocolate craziness gets the best of me sometimes, but I find that having good foods and drinks around me cuts down on those stress cravings.

How do you stay healthy and green on the go?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Smiley Lettuce Wraps

This weekend I made some raw jalapeno burgers and raw marinara. After another pride-inducing workout at the gym, I came home and built this happy plate full of food! I made wraps from romaine lettuce and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I don't have a dehydrator (soon to be remedied), so I spooned the raw burger recipe into the wraps rather than making patties. It was a great meal followed by Ani Phyo's raw apple pie that I posted about recently. Mmmm!

Raw Jalapeno Burgers:

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 cup walnuts, soaked for 4 hours
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked until very soft, reserve 1/8 cup soaking water
1 tablespoon Nama Shoyu
1 teaspoon Hamburger seasonings
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

In a food processor, combine walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes and soaking water until you achieve a meat consistency. Remove from processor. In a mixing bowl, lightly mix together walnut meat, onions, jalapeno peppers, Nama Shoyu, salt and pepper. Shape into 6 patties. Serve.

Optional: Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 1 hour.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Raw Snacks!

I worked out at 6:45 this morning!! I am serious about building some healthier habits. Yay!! Here are a couple of the snacks I've had in the last few days.

Fresh juice from a local juice bar/bakery, The Daily Harvest:

The first is an Orange Twist (orange and pineapple). The second is a Sweet Jane (my favorite and bliss in a cup!), which is carrots and apples. The juices are made right in front of you in a big whirring metal juicer. Yum! (I am hoping the wedding fairy brings me that moderately-priced juicer I signed up for, teehee!)


I also had raw avocado fries, a delicious snack I found on the Raw Inspiration blog.



"Slice up some avocado into 1/4-1/2 inch strips.

Tip: After slicing the avo in half score the flesh while it is still in the rind and then scoop out the meat and it will already be in strips.

Roll the avocado in a flax breading that is made up of:

1/2 cup ground flax seeds

1-2 tsp. garlic minced or powder

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. oregano

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast

After breading the avocado slices you can dehydrate them for about an hour. This warms them up as well as allows some of the oils of the avocado to soak into the breading. You could just eat them right away too.The spices can be varied and your imagination is the only limitation. I once made spicy chili fries and they rocked! Be well. "

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Purple rice, purple rice!


Yes, sing that title to the tune of "Purple Rain!" Yeah!

In my last post I mentioned purple rice. It's made me so happy that I though I would share.
Alter Eco Purple Jasmine Rice (Khao Gram variety) is a unique purple grain that is glutinous when cooked and has a delicate, sweet palate. Due to its rich taste and aesthetic appeal, this traditional rice is used by local communities for feasts and celebrations. It is grown exclusively in the fertile soil of the Esan Plateau, in the East of Thailand, situated close to the Cambodian border. This particular region has the ideal combination of soil and climatic conditions to produce nutritious and flavorful rice.

The purple rice is mixed with naturally perfumed White Jasmine rice to give it an ideal texture while retaining its vibrant purple color and sweet flavor.

Farmers of the Phakao Cooperative cultivate the Alter Eco Purple rice using traditional methods that ensure quality and respect for the environment. Chemical fertilizers and pesticides have been replaced with organic fertilizers and natural plant extracts to produce this premium quality, environmentally friendly rice. As such, the farmers of Phakao are contributing to a sustainable form of agriculture and preserving their cultural heritage.
Over the last few decades, production of this traditional rice was gradually abandoned in favor of the White Jasmine rice for which there was a greater demand. As a direct result of Alter Eco's development projects, this rice is again being grown and rediscovered.

Check it out!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cooking Lovefest!


My dear friend Erica came to visit us all the way from Portland, OR! We made sure to fill the weekend with lots of laughing and good cooking.

We made red lentil hummus from Get It Ripe, Peanut Butter Curry Conspiracy from The Starving Artist's Way, and super special secret recipe lemon poppy seed cake. It was great!

Peanut Butter Curry Conspiracy, on top of fair-trade organic purple rice!

Lemon poppy seed extravaganza!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Raw raw reeee!

I'm going to start focusing on more raw foods again. Winter has left me feeling sluggish (really, like a slow-moving slug!) and I feel the spring coming on!

Here is a delicious dessert from Ani Phyo. I like to make this one in little individual glass ramekins for desserts.



from “Ani’s Raw Food Kitchen”

makes 1 pie


ALMOND PIE CRUST

2 cups almonds, dry

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 cups pitted dates


SYRUP

1/2 cup pitted dates

1 orange, peeled and seeded

splash of water, as needed


FILLING

5 cups apples, peeled, seeded, thinly sliced, about 5 or 6 apples

1 cup raisins and/or cranberries

2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
P.S. My friend at All That Vegan Jazz pointed out that I didn't give any directions. Sorry! I don't have the book with me, but here are the basics. Process the crust ingredients till crumbly, then press into a pie plate or lots of little dishes, whatever you like. Fill the dish(es) with the filling (sliced apples, raisins, cinnamon) and top with the syrup (dates, orange, water, blended).
Up next will be a raw Pad Thai! Yum!!

Wedding Snacks

I have started searching for wedding foods to make for our party. I have yet to peruse Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World for wedding choices, but I'm guessing the Basic Chocolate and Vanilla Agave cupcakes will definitely be included. If you have any ideas (or requests, guests!) let me know. I need to figure out a time frame for making all this too...wheeee!

So far I picked:
Cucumber Tea Sandwiches from VeganYumYum- I have been waiting for an excuse to make these beauties!!

Chickpea Radish Hors D'Oeuvres from Vegan YumYum- I've never made anything with radish...we shall see!

Cheezy Garbanzo Spread from Compassion Over Killing- because I LOVE this stuff and everyone will be happy to see me munching on carrots as usual!



Makes about 2 cups

1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
1/2 cup roasted red peppers
3 tablespoons tahini (sesame seed butter)
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the liquid, and place them in a food processor or blender with the remaining ingredients. Process until very smooth. If using a blender, occasionally stop to push down the bean mixtures with a rubber spatula. The mixture should be quite thick, but if blending is difficult, add a tablespoon or two of the reserved bean liquid.
Serve on crackers or bread, in casseroles, or as a delicious filling for quesadillas.

Oh and I'd really like to make an old PETA (yes I know they are nuts!) recipe. It was a guest recipe by the B-52's...I think called Cosmic Zings. I gotta go dig through my recipe box!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wedding Fun!



Brad and I went to register for our wedding!


The registering process was tiring, but fun! We were given coupons for free snacks to munch on while we picked items. The stores entrusted us with clickers. All you have to do is point and shoot! The items magically add up on an electronic list. Very fancy!

Here are some of my favorites that we picked out:

Vase made of recycled magazines


Pretty cloth napkins

Blue plates! Yay!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Vegan YumYum Recipe


Yum yum is right! Last night we had Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta, a recipe from VeganYumYum. I paired it with green salad and balsamic vinaigrette and we were some happy campers. I took some liberties with the recipe based on what I had in the kitchen, and it was still delicious!!

Super Quick Tomato Basil Cream Pasta

Serves Two

1 Large, ripe tomato (2 cups roughly chopped, 1 1/2 cups blended)

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews

1 Tbs Tomato Paste

1/4 Cup Water

2 Tbs Olive Oil

2-4 Cloves Garlic, minced, optional

6 Ounces (ish) Whole Wheat Spaghetti

1 tsp Salt

2-3 Tbs Wine or Water, optional

1-2 tsp Freshly Cracked, Coarse Black Pepper

1 Large Handful Fresh Basil Leaves, chopped


Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Core the tomato, then roughly chop it. Add it to your blender, seeds, skin and all. Add cashews, tomato paste, and water. Blend until very smooth.

Add olive oil to a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and saute until golden, being careful not to burn.

Once water is boiling, add pasta. Pour sauce from the blender into the saute pan and bring to a simmer. Add salt and let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If desired add wine/water to thin out the sauce. Taste and season more if necessary. Let simmer until pasta is finished cooking.

Once pasta is cooked, drain. Add pasta to the saute pan with black pepper and freshly chopped basil leaves. Toss to coat.

Serve immediately, garnishing with more pepper and basil.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pyrex Love! North African Kale & Chickpea Soup!

My good friend Angela has been spring cleaning and dropped by two goodies for me. I promptly washed them and made something yummy to fill them with. I've been reading more about the yucky qualities of plastic, so glass food storage seems to be an all-around healthy, and really cute, idea!

To fill my new dishes and my belly, I made a delicious pot of North African Chickpea & Kale Soup. It is delicious, easy to make, and very healthy! I would definitely recommend the recipe in terms of easiness, taste, and cheap, nutritious ingredients. I got the recipe from Fat Free Vegan, a reliable and fun source.
The recipe gave me the chance to open up my treasured little box of saffron!

North African Chickpea and Kale Soup
Recipe:
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, sliced or diced
4 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8-1/4 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
generous pinch saffron, lightly crushed (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 3-inch cinnamon stick (didn't have, so I sprinkled in a little cinnamon instead)
3 cups cooked chickpeas (or 2 cans, drained and rinsed)
8 cups vegetable broth (or water plus bouillon)
1 large bunch kale, thick center ribs removed and chopped (at least 8 cups)
about 2 cups water
salt to taste
Spray a large saucepan with olive oil spray and heat it.
Add the onion and carrot and cook over medium-high heat until the onion begins to brown (about 5 minutes).
Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute.
Add the spices, including bay leaves and cinnamon stick, and cook, stirring, for another minute. Add the chickpeas and stir to coat them with the spices.
Pour in the 8 cups of vegetable stock, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Add the chopped kale and stir.
If necessary add water to cover the kale and cook until it is tender, about 10-25 minutes, depending on how cooked you like your kale.
Check frequently to see if it is becoming dry and add water as needed.
Add salt to taste and serve.