Tag Archives: vegan

Alicia Silverstone’s Raw Balls

21 May

These things – omg omg omg – are the tastiest little morsels ever. Friends who’ve tried them have said

“That’s the best thing I’ve ever tasted”

and

“Those cannot possibly be sugar-free”

and other things that were unintelligible.

Lately I’ve been making them to control my sugar cravings in the post-lunch lull at work. Dates and pure maple syrup provide benefits such as fiber, potassium, manganese, zinc, and other nutrients, and the fat and protein in the almond butter, walnuts, and almonds counteract their natural sugars, meaning I don’t have the spike (and crash) that I would with something like a cupcake. These are also very rich, so I’m satisfied with one or two. Win!

My only critique of this recipe is that it needs a better name. I had to put Alicia’s name in front of it to give it some credibility. As it is, whenever I say it out loud, I have to say it in a silly voice – because inside, I am a prepubescent. Raw balls. I digress.

I have made these two different ways. Originally, I used carob chips and processed them into a powder, because my closest health food store didn’t sell carob powder. These are sweetened with malted corn and barley. I also used toasted almond butter, which is sweetened with organic unrefined cane sugar. And, I suppose, not technically raw.

Then I wanted to make a truly refined-sugar-free version, so I processed a bar of unsweetened chocolate (100% pure cacao) and used raw almond butter, which is truly made from nothing but almonds.

Because of the fat and/or moisture content (?) in the chocolate, I wasn’t able to get a true powder consistency – it looked more like instant coffee that’s been hanging around too long – but it did the job.

The chocolate lent a bit more richness to this recipe than the carob, but I enjoy both. Of course, you could also sub unsweetened cocoa powder here. And you could use peanut butter or hazelnut butter instead of the almond… feel free to experiment!

Once all the ingredients are processed into a dough, roll it into 1″-2″ balls, then roll in a topping of your choice. I did half in unsweetened shredded coconut and half in a mixture of cocoa powder, cinnamon, and walnuts.

These get pretty mushy at room temperature, so I’d recommend eating them straight out of the fridge. And if transporting, be sure to do so in a hard, sealed container and not a Ziploc bag… not that you or I would ever make such a mushy mistake…

To your health!

RECIPE – Alicia Silverstone’s Raw Balls

Adapted from The Kind Diet, by Alicia Silverstone
Makes 10 to 12 balls.

1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup raw carob powder
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup almond butter
Optional: shredded unsweetened coconut, cocoa powder, instant coffee powder, spices, nuts – for rolling

Place the walnuts in a food processor and process until coarsely ground. Add the dates, and pulse until well combined with the nuts. Add the carob powder, syrup, vanilla extract, and salt. Process until mixture is thick and smooth. Add the almonds, and pulse a few times until combined; you want them to remain in crunchy chunks. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in almond butter with a sturdy spoon.

Form the mixture into golf-ball-size balls with your hands. Roll the balls in the topping of your choice. Place in a sealed container in the freezer until hardened.

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Totally Tubular Tofu Scramble!

15 Feb

If I said you had the body of an all-natural, organic-living, animal-loving, environment-nurturing, whale-saving sex machine,
would you hold it against me? Please?

-Vegetarian pickup lines, via VegNews Magazine

tofu scramble

Oh my goddess… I am in love with this breakfast. And this video:

Shit New Age Girls Say

Actually I love all the videos in this series, but making a tofu scramble for breakfast is something my five-years-ago self never thought I’d do, and makes me feel well on my way to becoming a New Age Girl.

Even worse, I’ve taken to adding kale to this scramble. KALE! I know, right? This is the green I’ve been seeing touted everywhere, and diligently avoiding. It’s bitter and thick and ruffly and way too nutritious to taste good. But in this scramble, it’s actually not half bad. So… baby steps.

kale, mushrooms, onion

I like to start out by sauteing whatever veggies I have on-hand. Current favorites for this scramble are kale, mushrooms, onion and garlic, but you can add in whatever veggies, herbs and spices sound good to you.

Next, I brown some extra-firm tofu, like so:

browned tofulooks like chikkin

Then I mix it all up with a sauce of nutritional yeast (for cheesy flavor and a kickin’ dose of nutrients), cumin, thyme, turmeric, salt and pepper, and garnish with fresh tomato and avocado.

tofu scramble

This scramble makes a hearty and satisfying meal any time of day. So get crazy, mix it up, and let me know what you think!

RECIPE – Tofu Scramble

Adapted from the Post Punk Kitchen
Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a side.

Sauce:
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
3 tablespoons water

Tofu:
2-3 tablespoons neutral oil, divided
1/2 red onion
1 pkg mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3-4 leaves kale, torn into bite-size pieces
1 pound extra-firm tofu, drained

Garnishes:
1 roma tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
handful of sliced almonds

First stir the spice blend together in a small cup. Add water and mix. Set aside.

Preheat a large, heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Saute the onion and mushrooms for about five minutes, then add in kale and garlic and saute for another two minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

In the same pan, break the tofu apart into bite-sized pieces and saute for about 10 minutes, using a spatula to stir often. Get under the tofu when you are stirring, scrape the bottom and don’t let it stick to the pan, that is where the good, crispy stuff is. Brown the tofu as uniformly as possible.

Add the sauce and stir gently to incorporate. Add the veggies back into the pan and cook to warm through. Serve hot.

Chocolate Raspberry Tart

9 Feb

Self-discipline implies some unpleasant things to me, including staying away from chocolate and keeping my hands out of women’s pants.
~Oleg Kiselev

When a dear friend asked me to make “something chocolatey” for his birthday, I immediately thought of my Rich Chocolate-Blackberry Torte with Raspberry Sauce. But since going flexi-vegan-vege-pescatarian, I’m reluctant to have animal products in the house. Luckily, my recent Christmas gift to myself – a vegan pie cookbook – provided a good solution.

I decided to make Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s chocolate raspberry tart with the almond crust variation. Since I had a cocoa-cinnamon-nutmeg mixture leftover from her chai spice cupcakes recipe, I decided to mix that into the crust as well.

food processor doughCrumbly, delicious almond crust is so easy to whip up in the food processor!

In her book, Ms. Moskowitz garnishes the tart with raspberries. But it’s not raspberry season, and I’ve already had a three-layer cake ruined by raspberries that molded the next day – in the summer! Since I was using frozen raspberries, I took the sauce from my former recipe and drizzled it over the top instead.

half-eaten tartThis is how the tart looks, half-decimated.

The coconut milk and coconut oil lent this ganache such an amazing creaminess, you’d never know it was non-dairy. And fear not, coconut-haters, there was no coconut flavor co-mingling with the chocolate. This tart was quickly devoured by the dozen guests at the party, super easy to make, and cruelty-free – I couldn’t be happier with it!

cafe & tartPairs well with Bailey’s coffee!

RECIPE – Chocolate Raspberry Tart

Adapted from Vegan Pie in the Sky.
Makes one 10-inch tart.

PRESS-IN ALMOND CRUST
2/3 cup sliced almonds
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons canola oil
3 or more tablespoons cold almond milk

CHOCOLATE GANACHE FILLING
3/4 cup coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons water
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen
extra fresh raspberries, for garnish (optional)

RASPBERRY SAUCE
4 oz raspberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Chambord
2 teaspoons sugar

Prepare the crust.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Pour the almonds into a food processor and pulse into a fine meal, then add the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar and salt, and pulse to combine. Continue to pulse and stream in canola oil, then pulse in 3 tablespoons of the almond milk. The mixture should hold together when pressed between your fingertips; if it still feels too crumbly, mix in one additional tablespoon of almond milk at a time.

Lightly spray a tart pan with nonstick cooking spray and sprinkle in the crust mixture. Press it into the bottom and sides of the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes or until crust is lightly browned, then set aside to cool.

Prepare the ganache.
In a small (2-quart) saucepot, bring the coconut milk, coconut oil, and water to a rolling boil.

Place the chocolate chips in a mixing bowl. In a separate small bowl, mash the raspberries into small pieces with a fork.

When the coconut milk mixture comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate. Cover the bowl with a place or lid and let sit for five minutes. Then, whisk the mixture together to create a thick ganache. Fold in the raspberries.

Pour the ganach into the baked tart shell. Smooth with a knife of spatula, if needed. Let chill for at least two hours before cutting. If you like, add fresh raspberries to the circumference of the crust to decorate. Or, combine all recipes for raspberry sauce into a food processor until liquid, then drizzle over the tart.

Slice the tart into 16 thin slices, dipping a knife into warm water and wiping it clean after each cut.

Hippie Baklava Cake

5 Dec

Recipe Source: For the Love of Food

Baklava is my specialty – I’ve been making my great-grandmother’s recipe for years. And while I’m not at all biased in saying it is THE BOMB, and content to make it the same way over and over and over again, this take on a classic intrigued me. It’s a baklava cake rather than pastry, meaning no phyllo to wrestle with. And further, it’s gluten, soy, dairy, egg, and grain-free!

(I’m labeling this recipe as vegan, although I know some vegans do not eat honey. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a substitute that compares in flavor – agave is a neutral sweetener – and when it comes to baklava, I am a traditionalist.)

baklava cake

I also liked that this recipe calls for almond flour, as I’ve had 2.5 lbs of it sitting in my fridge for a while, neglected. I was intrigued by the use of saffron in this recipe, and happy to use the traditional rosewater, since my family recipe doesn’t call for it. Basically – nice job, Noosh! What’s not to love?!

saffron

Since there are no eggs in this recipe, chia seed meal is combined with applesauce to create a binder. (This can also be achieved with flax seeds.) If you’re thinking about Chia pets right now, you’re not far off – the edible grade of these seeds is considered a superfood, high in protein, calcium, fiber, iron, omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, and antioxidants. Chia seeds absorb water, which gives them the perfect “gloopy” texture for replacing egg. I recommend grinding the seeds fresh in a coffee or spice grinder, if you have one.

chia meal & seeds

When the chia meal, applesauce, honey, rosewater, and saffron water are combined, they’ll have a syurpy texture. Combine with dry ingredients (almond flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking powder) to form the dough.

wet ingredients texture

The texture of this dough is somewhat crumbly and moist. In the original recipe, Noosh allowed for a range of measurements for the honey, and I used the higher end. I also sifted my almond flour, and I think these two decisions made the cake very smooth, sweet, and dense. Next time, I will scale down the honey (already done below), and perhaps not sift the flour to get the more crumbly texture from her pictures.

dough texture

I love using pistachios as a garnish – the green and purple are so lovely and eye-catching, and colors you don’t often get in baked goods. Top each slice with pistachios and a slivered almond, and this makes a unique, wonderfully allergy-friendly treat!

pistachios & almonds

Just be forewarned – you’ll want to serve this cake in small pieces – it’s very rich!

baklava cake

RECIPE – Baklava Cake
(gluten, soy, dairy, egg, grain free)

1/2 cup organic applesauce (unsweetened-just apples)
1 Tbsp organic chia seed meal
1/3 cup honey
1/2 tablespoon rose water
2 cups almond flour (Trader Joe’s)/7 ¾ oz/220 g
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon of prepared saffron (optional)

Topping
Slivered almonds
Ground pistachios

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease either an 8” glass or parchment-lined pan.

If using saffron, grind threads with a mortar and pestle, add 1/2 tablespoon boiling water, and let sit while you go on to the next step.

In mixer bowl, beat applesauce with chia meal on high for one minute, stopping once to scrape down the sides and bottom.

Add honey, rosewater, and saffron (if using) and beat until combined.

In a small bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: almond flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and baking powder. Add to mixer bowl and beat just until incorporated. Stir once or twice just to make sure the bottom was mixed in.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until top is lightly browned and toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a rack, slice in diamonds, and top with crushed pistachios and slivered almonds.

[Guest Post] Five easy ways to help animals

29 Nov

Writing this blog has been a transformational, eye-opening, consciousness-expanding process – more than I could have ever imagined when I haphazardly started it a couple years ago. One of my favorite surprises has been the relationships I’ve formed with fellow bloggers, some local, some not-so-local. Today I want to introduce you to one of them; Michelle from No Animals Harmed.

When I started exploring veganism, I wondered if my blog would become fully vegan recipes, and if I should rename it. I thought no animals were harmed in the making of this blog would be a fun tagline, so I googled it to see if it was already taken. That’s how I stumbled on Michelle, who had the brilliant idea first! At that time, we were even using the same layout for our blogs. The coincidence was so great that I had to laugh, and send her an email. I’ve been delighted to get to know her since, and to share this guest post with you today!

-Jen, Queen of the Spork

Michelle & OpalMichelle (human) and Opal (turkey friend) at Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary

Five easy ways to help animals

I’ve been doing animal activism for only a few years now, but I’ve learned that the majority of people within the animal rights movement genuinely want to help animals but have no idea where to start. When you learn the reality behind the billions of animals that are raised for meat, eggs and dairy products (not to mention the other areas where animals are exploited), it’s easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed. Here are five easy and effective ways to help animals that work within your busy schedule:

  1. Sign petitions. I know many people think that signing online petitions is worthless but I promise you, many victories within the animal rights movement have been made possible because people sign petitions. Only takes two seconds and your adding your voice to the greater movement. After you sign the petition, post the petition to your Facebook and Twitter accounts (or any other social networking site), asking your friends and family to sign the petition too.
  2. Volunteer at a local animal shelter. Spending even just an hour or two at your local animal shelter on a Saturday morning is fun (you get to play with dogs and cats, what could be better?) and is also a very rewarding experience. There have also been studies done that show spending time with dogs and cats put people in a better mood. You’ll get to spend time with a furry friend while boosting your sprits. Win/win. Also, donating supplies to your local shelter is another great way to give back.
  3. Don’t support circuses that use animals in their acts. Circuses such as Ringling Bros. have a long history of animal abuse and once people learn what really happens behind the scenes, people are shocked. Elephants are smart and sensitive animals and forcing them to perform tricks definitely isn’t entertainment. Make sure to only support animal-free circuses, such as Cirque De Soleil.
  4. Write letters to TV shows and newspapers. If you’re watching a TV show and the characters are abusing animals or you see a fur ad in your local newspaper/magazine, speak up and write a letter. Tell them why it’s wrong to abuse animals or why fur isn’t fashionable. Unless citizens speak up for animals and let their TV network or newspaper that something is wrong, then they will never think anything of their mistake.
  5. Cut back your meat intake. I’m a vegan myself but I understand that veganism isn’t something everybody can instantly get on board with. I support any steps taken to reduce animal suffering and the best way to help animals is to simply leave them off your plate. Try one meatless meal each week (such as trying out Meatless Mondays), or try going a whole day without eating meat. When I was still a meat eater, I would joke that I could never be vegan. Now my choice to be vegan is one of the greatest decisions I ever made.

Michelle is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a Bachelors degree in Sociology/Social Psychology. She currently works for PETA, where she helps people, help animals. She is also the founder of No Animals Harmed, a blog dedicated to all things vegan. Michelle lives in Los Angeles, with her companion dog Callie, who is 10 pounds of nothing but love.

http://noanimalsharmed.com/
https://facebook.com/noanimalsharmed
http://twitter.com/michellevegan

You can also reach Michelle via email at michellevegan@gmail.com.

Kuri Squash & Garlic Soup

2 Nov

Last weekend, I had a group of friends over to carve pumpkins. So naturally, we sat around cooking, eating, and talking instead. These are my favorite elements of any party, the only things I really care about. I made a “spooky” playlist for the iPod and a bunch of brand-new, perfect-for-Fall dishes. But I’m not blogging about any of those today. Because my fantastic, whimsical friend Lori showed up that day with a pumpkin to carve and a red kuri squash for me to try, because it looked cool.

kuri squashI’ve never seen one of these before, have you?

I opted to roast it and turn it into a soup with a few ingredients I already had lying around. Here’s how you, too, can make Friendship Squash Soup!

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Halve squash and place in a glass baking dish, cut sides down. Roast for 1 hour, until squash is soft when pierced with a fork. Remove from oven, let cool, then peel and discard skin. Scrape out seeds and set aside to roast, if desired.* Resist the urge to taste gooey, marshallowey black stuff that has oozed from the squash, as it tastes horrible and is likely carcinogenic. No really – don’t eat it. Mash the squash into a Tupperware container and refrigerate for two days, until you can get around to finishing this very simple soup.

2) Roughly chop 1/2 red or white onion leftover in your fridge. Saute with 1 clove of elephant garlic or 2-3 cloves of regular garlic, and about 2 tsp roughly chopped ginger root until the onions are translucent and soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in mashed, cooked squash.

elephant garlic

3) Transfer mixture to a food processor and squeeze in the juice of 1 lime. With the processor running, slowly pour in 2 cups vegetable stock. Season to taste. Then, because the soup isn’t spicy enough and you are obsessed with garlic, roughly chop and add in some raw garlic (1/2 elephant clove or 1 regular). Key point!

4) Serve warm and garnish with toasted pine nuts or roasted squash seeds. Serves 4.

kuri squash & garlic soup

*And as an added bonus, check out this recipe roundup from The Kitchn: 12 Things To Do with Pumpkin Seeds

Such a lovely snack for work! I could get addicted to these…

roasted squash seeds

Flavor EXPLOSION Chickpea Salad!!

5 Oct

Laughter is brightest where food is best.
~Irish Proverb

Recipe Source: The Kitchn

Some people might worry that cooking vegan means sacrificing flavor, and to them I say, this salad will blow that theory right out of the water! It’s bursting with rich, exotic flavor from cumin seeds, red pepper flakes, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, then cooled with parsley and mint, and given a tangy boost from lemon juice and zest. It’s an amazing marriage of flavors that satisfies even picky, ADD palates like mine. That’s why I’ve decided to rename the recipe from the original Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic – boring! I’m sorry Kitchn, but that title did not give it justice.

chickpea salad

This salad keeps fine for a few days, over the course of which the flavors will continue to mingle. This is one of my all-time favorite lunches. Another nice thing about it is it’s low in sodium. The original recipe calls for flaky sea salt to taste, but I don’t find it necessary. For ovo-lacto vegetarians and omnivores, a handful of feta cheese is a nice complement and adds a bit of salty flavor, but it’s beautiful even without.

One word on ingredients – you really want to use cumin seeds here, rather than cumin powder. They are distinctly different in flavor as well as texture, and toasting them gives a richness that manages to not be overwhelming like cumin powder can sometimes be.

cumin seed & red pepper

Finally, a note on safety – be careful when pouring the chickpeas into the pan, as any residual liquid from draining them will sizzle in the pan and can burn you. I’m speaking from experience here!

I hope you love this salad as much as I do. 🙂

recipe

  Warm Chickpea Salad with Cumin & Garlic
Serves 2

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon whole cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 (15-oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
1/4 cup Italian parsley, leaves only
4-6 fresh mint leaves
1/2 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 English cucumber
1/4 cup feta cheese, optional

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet (cast iron is nice) over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and crushed red pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about one minute or until the seeds are toasted. The cumin will turn slightly darker in color, and smell toasty.

Turn the heat to medium low and add the garlic. Cook, stirringly frequently, for about three minutes or until the garlic is turning golden. Do not let it scorch or turn brown.

Add the drained chickpeas and the chopped tomatoes and turn the heat up to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chickpeas are warmed through and are shiny with oil. Turn off the heat.

Strip any remaining stems away from the Italian parsley. Finely mince the parsley and the mint and toss this with the chickpeas. Stir the lemon juice and zest into the chickpeas.

Peel the cucumber and cut it in half lengthwise. Scrape out (and discard) the seeds with the tip of a teaspoon or grapefruit spoon. Dice the cucumber into small, 1/2-inch square cubes. Toss the cucumber with the chickpeas. Stir in feta cheese, if using, and taste.

Refrigerate for at least an hour before eating. This salad is best after it has had a chance to sit overnight in the fridge, letting its spices and juices soak together into more than the sum of its parts. Serve slightly warm or room temperature. Really good at any temperature, actually.