The Fussy Fork http://www.thefussyfork.com A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego Sun, 21 May 2017 19:48:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.5.9 Vegan Almond Butter Freezer Fudge http://www.thefussyfork.com/vegan-almond-butter-freezer-fudge/ Fri, 22 Jul 2016 02:28:07 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3276   The summertime heat has hit.  Which means it’s time to stock the freezer with delicious treats.  What’s my new favorite way to cool off?  Vegan, melt in your mouth, […]

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The summertime heat has hit.  Which means it’s time to stock the freezer with delicious treats.  What’s my new favorite way to cool off?  Vegan, melt in your mouth, almond butter freezer fudge with a chocolate topping–inspired by Oh She Glows’ and Detoxinista’s recipe.  The added bonus is that it’s super easy to make.

 

First, mix all of the almond butter base layer  ingredients together and pour into a greased loaf pan.  Place the loaf pan in the freezer for at least an hour before adding the chocolate topping.

 

[caption id="attachment_3279" align="alignnone" width="640"]Almond Butter Layer Almond Butter Layer[/caption]

 

Next, heat the coconut oil and whisk in the additional chocolate layer ingredients.

 

[caption id="attachment_3280" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chocolate Layer Chocolate Layer[/caption]

 

When the chocolate layer has cooled, pour on top of the frozen almond butter base.

 

[caption id="attachment_3281" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pouring Chocolate on Fudge Pouring Chocolate on Fudge[/caption]

 

Allow the fudge to freeze and then cut into pieces!!  I hope you enjoy this dessert as much as I have!

 

[caption id="attachment_3277" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Almond Butter Freezer Fudge Vegan Almond Butter Freezer Fudge[/caption]

 

Vegan Almond Butter Freezer Fudge
 
Ingredients
  • FUDGE LAYER
  • 1.5 cups almond butter
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • CHOCOLATE LAYER
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1.5 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • pink of salt
Instructions
  1. FUDGE:
  2. Lightly grease a loaf pan with coconut oil
  3. Place the almond butter in a mixing bowl.
  4. In a small pot, heat the coconut oil, maple syrup, and salt and stir until combined.
  5. Add the mixture to the almond butter and pour into the loaf pan.
  6. Freeze the loaf pan for one hour or until almond butter mixture is solid.
  7. CHOCOLATE LAYER
  8. In a small pot, heat the coconut oil until melted.
  9. Turn off the heat and whisk in unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt until smooth.
  10. Allow chocolate mixture to cool and pour on top of almond butter fudge layer.
  11. Allow the chocolate layer to freeze before cutting the first piece!

 

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Sweet Petite Confections http://www.thefussyfork.com/sweet-petite-confections/ Fri, 06 May 2016 03:55:22 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3241 Sweet Petite Confections Sign   I recently had the chance to visit Sweet Petite Confections and speak with founder, Michelle Lomelin and taste some of her amazing chocolates.  The first […]

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Sweet Petite Confections Sign

Sweet Petite Confections Sign

 

I recently had the chance to visit Sweet Petite Confections and speak with founder, Michelle Lomelin and taste some of her amazing chocolates.  The first thing I noticed after walking through the door was the wonderful aroma of chocolate hanging in the air.  The second thing I noticed was how delicate and beautiful all of the chocolates looked.  I couldn’t wait to dive in!

Cherry Bomb Bark:

Michelle’s creations don’t just look beautiful.  They are melt in your mouth good with creative, unique ingredients.  For example, the Cherry Bomb Bark is 64% dark chocolate blended with organic freeze dried cherries and popping rocks!  For me, this chocolate brought back the nostalgia of popping rocks I enjoyed as a child with an adult twist.

 

[caption id="attachment_3246" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cherry Bomb Bark Cherry Bomb Bark[/caption]

 

Seaside Bark:

Next up, was the Seaside Bark, made with dark chocolate, crisped rice, and Hawaiian salt.  I could have eaten this for days.  The sweet and salty combination was perfectly executed.  And I loved the palm trees, shells, and starfish pattern on the chocolates!

 

[caption id="attachment_3247" align="alignnone" width="640"]Seaside Bark Seaside Bark[/caption]

 

Sunrise Bark:

Daisies happen to be my favorite flower, so I couldn’t help but be pulled to this chocolate, the Sunrise.  This chocolate has freeze dried strawberries and corn flakes mixed in.  Michelle said that her son originally came up with the combination and has been a hit ever since.

 

[caption id="attachment_3248" align="alignnone" width="640"]Sunrise Sunrise[/caption]

 

Tuscan Sun Bark:

 

Although I enjoyed all of the chocolate, the Tuscan Sun bark was my favorite.  Made with candied basil, sun dried tomato, Hawaiian sea salt, and toasted almonds, this bark kept my taste buds engaged.  The candied basil was aromatic and the salty flavor of the sun dried tomatoes played perfectly with the sweetness of the chocolate.  It was a savory experience that I would like to repeat!

 

[caption id="attachment_3249" align="alignnone" width="640"]Tuscan Sun Tuscan Sun[/caption]

 

Mint Meltaways:

If you’re looking for a tasty dessert to cap off a dinner or just a snack to get you through the day, you needn’t look further.  The Mint Meltaways are a vegan chocolate lovers dream.  Organic coconut oil and organic peppermint essential oils are wrapped up in these dark chocolates.  And as the name suggests, they really do melt in your mouth.

 

[caption id="attachment_3244" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Mint Meltaways Vegan Mint Meltaways[/caption]

 

Sweet Petite Confections embraces holidays.  Currently, they are gearing up for Mother’s Day and graduation.  Below is a Mother’s Day lollipop that you won’t want to miss!

 

[caption id="attachment_3245" align="alignnone" width="425"]Mother's Day Lollipop Mother’s Day Lollipop[/caption]

 

Sweet Petite Confections is warm and inviting.  There are plenty of options out on display and you can always taste a few to see which chocolate matches your mood!

 

IMG_3918

 

Sweet Petite Confections also offers chocolate making classes.  This is now occupying the number one spot on my list for my next birthday activity!

 

3582 Mt. Acadia Blvd.

San Diego, CA 92111

858.688.0210

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Vegan Black Bean Brownies http://www.thefussyfork.com/vegan-black-bean-brownies/ http://www.thefussyfork.com/vegan-black-bean-brownies/#comments Tue, 02 Feb 2016 19:06:12 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3222 Oh how I love brownies.  Their chocolate gooey goodness always makes my day.  I enjoy brownies so much that I refuse to relegate them to “special treat” status.  This vegan […]

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Oh how I love brownies.  Their chocolate gooey goodness always makes my day.  I enjoy brownies so much that I refuse to relegate them to “special treat” status.  This vegan brownie recipe from the blog Chocolate Covered Katie offers a tasty and healthy alternative to the traditional dessert.  The result is a chewy, moist, chocolatey treat that you don’t have to feel guilty about eating and won’t sit in your stomach like a brick.

 

[caption id="attachment_3223" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Black Bean Brownies Vegan Black Bean Brownies[/caption]

 

And the best part is that these brownies are SO easy to make! Simply throw all of the ingredients (minus the chocolate chips) into a food processor!

 

[caption id="attachment_3228" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Black Bean Ingredients Vegan Black Bean Ingredients[/caption]

 

Remember to blend the ingredients well to avoid lumpy brownies!

 

[caption id="attachment_3227" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Black Bean Brownie Batter Vegan Black Bean Brownie Batter[/caption]

 

Next, it’s time to stir in the chocolate chips!  I, of course, added in a few extra because in my opinion, there’s no such thing as too much chocolate.

 

[caption id="attachment_3226" align="alignnone" width="640"]Adding in Chocolate Chips Adding in Chocolate Chips[/caption]

 

Then pour the batter into the greased pan 🙂

 

[caption id="attachment_3225" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pan of Vegan Black Bean Brownies Pan of Vegan Black Bean Brownies[/caption]

 

Pop the brownies into the oven and enjoy!  I can’t wait to make these again.

 

[caption id="attachment_3224" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Black Bean Brownies Vegan Black Bean Brownies[/caption]

 

Vegan Black Bean Brownies
 
Ingredients
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed well
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or increase maple syrup to ½ cup)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅓ cup to ⅔ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Combine all ingredients EXCEPT chocolate chips into a food processor until smooth
  3. Stir in the chips and pour into a greased 8 x 8 pan
  4. Cook the brownies for 15-18 minutes
  5. Allow brownies to cool for 10 minutes before cutting them

 

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Cafe Gratitude: Vegan Friendly http://www.thefussyfork.com/cafe-gratitude-vegan-friendly/ http://www.thefussyfork.com/cafe-gratitude-vegan-friendly/#comments Tue, 29 Dec 2015 17:21:29 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3165 LITTLE ITALY.  Cafe Gratitude is open, and if you haven’t yet eaten there, you are missing out.  It is a 100% organic, plant-based restaurant that has some of the most […]

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LITTLE ITALY.  Cafe Gratitude is open, and if you haven’t yet eaten there, you are missing out.  It is a 100% organic, plant-based restaurant that has some of the most delicious vegan food I have ever eaten.  Really.  Upon finishing my first meal there, I immediately purchased the restaurant’s cookbook.

The restaurant boasts a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options and an impressive array of specialty drinks.  Everything is named after an affirmation.  For example, “I am Fortified” is a delicious veggie bowl.

I’m a huge fan of Cafe Gratitude’s breakfast menu.  The “I am Open-Hearted” is two buckwheat flax pancakes served with maple syrup.  You can also add fresh fruit or cashew whipped cream.  In a breakfast world that is often dominated by omelets and cream sauces, these pancakes are like a breath of fresh air.  They are light and fluffy but won’t sit in your stomach like a ton of bricks.  I only wish I could have them for breakfast every day.

 

[caption id="attachment_3168" align="alignnone" width="640"]I am Open-Hearted: Gluten-Free Pancakes I am Open-Hearted: Gluten-Free Pancakes[/caption]

 

If you are not in the mood for pancakes, there is always the “I am Bonita” breakfast taco plate.  The plate has a base of sprouted probiotic brown rice or quinoa (or a mix if you want!) and is topped with black beans, salsa fresca, avocado, cashew nacho cheese, and toasted pumpkin seeds.  It is served with a side of four corn tortillas.  This is a filling and delicious option.  I’m usually stuffed by taco number three but find myself eating the fourth taco because it tastes so good!

 

[caption id="attachment_3166" align="alignnone" width="640"]I am Bonita: Vegan Breakfast Taco Plate I am Bonita: Vegan Breakfast Taco Plate[/caption]

 

When you’re ready to move on to a lunch or dinner entree, I recommend starting with the “I am Whole” macrobiotic bowl.  It is the first thing I ever ordered off the menu and remains my “go to” option.  Sprouted probiotic rice or quinoa is topped with braised garnet yams, adzuki beans, sea vegetables, seasonal sauteed greens, house made kim chee, black sesame seed gomasio, garlic-tahini sauce, teriyaki almonds, and sunflower sprouts.  All of the flavors and textures work together to create an irresistible bowl.   I especially love the crunch and taste of the teriyaki almonds!

 

[caption id="attachment_3172" align="alignnone" width="640"]I am Whole: Macrobiotic Bowl I am Whole: Macrobiotic Bowl[/caption]

 

One of my new favorites is the “I am Liberated” kelp noodle entree.  Heirloom cherry tomatoes, local black and green olives, wild arugula, basil hempseed pesto, cashew ricotta, and brazil nut parmesan coat marinated kelp noodles.  This is a light and fresh entree.  And the hempseed pesto, cashew ricotta, and brazil nut parmesan ensure that there is plenty of flavor.

 

[caption id="attachment_3178" align="alignnone" width="640"]I Am Liberated: Kelp Noodles with Peso I Am Liberated: Kelp Noodles with Peso[/caption]

 

I would be remiss, if I didn’t talk about the desserts at Cafe Gratitude.  Every time I am in the restaurant, I have to get up from the table to ogle their dessert case.  Below is the vegan and raw “I am Irresistible” chocolate coconut cream pie.  Not only does the pie look like a piece of art, it tastes exquisite.  Rich and smooth with a strong chocolate taste.  It’s the kind of dessert that makes you close your eyes while you’re eating it!

 

[caption id="attachment_3176" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan and Raw Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie Vegan and Raw Chocolate Coconut Cream Pie[/caption]

 

I also love the drinks at Cafe Gratitude.  It’s so much more than boring coffee and tea.  My favorite is the “I am Vibrant” Matcha Tea Latte (it is usually made with honey but you can ask for it to be left out or made with a vegan sweetener!).  The matcha tea makes this drink a bright, vibrant green.  It’s sure to take the chill out of any cold day.

 

[caption id="attachment_3170" align="alignnone" width="640"]I am Vibrant: Matcha Tea Latte I am Vibrant: Matcha Tea Latte[/caption]

 

My husband’s new favorite drinnk is the “I am Opulent” sparking water with essential oils.  Grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, ginger, and cinnamon oils are all added to sparkling water to create a drink that has a fun, subtle flavor.

 

[caption id="attachment_3171" align="alignnone" width="640"]I am Opulent: Sparkling Water with Essential Oils I am Opulent: Sparkling Water with Essential Oils[/caption]

 

The inside of Cafe Gratitude is beautiful.   Whether you decide to sit at the counter, at a booth inside, or at a table on the outside patio, you will enjoy bright spaces with lots of light.

 

[caption id="attachment_3175" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cafe Gratitude Bar Area Cafe Gratitude Bar Area[/caption]

 

Cafe Gratitude also has a whole area dedicated to “to go” orders.  It makes placing and picking up orders efficient.  It is also the place where you can examine the dessert offerings or peruse the store’s cookbook.  I hope you have a chance to enjoy this special restaurant soon!

 

[caption id="attachment_3174" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cafe Gratitude "To-Go" Station Cafe Gratitude “To-Go” Station[/caption]

 

1980 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 736-5077

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Vegan Lab: Superfood Cacao Class http://www.thefussyfork.com/vegan-lab-superfood-cacao-class/ Sun, 27 Sep 2015 18:20:39 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3181 The Vegan Lab is always on the move.  This time around, the Lab set up shop at the Art Institute of San Diego to offer a vegan cooking class dedicated entirely to […]

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The Vegan Lab is always on the move.  This time around, the Lab set up shop at the Art Institute of San Diego to offer a vegan cooking class dedicated entirely to cacao recipes.  That’s right, an entire class dedicated to chocolate’s healthy relative.  (Raw cacao beans are roasted and ground to make cocoa powder.   And cocoa powder is a crucial ingredient for making chocolate!)  Notably, the class focused on how to incorporate cacao into savory entrees–because chocolate is not just for dessert!

With many impressive resumes on the docket, we broke into small groups to make the magic.  My assignment:  Vegan Spring Rolls with Chocolate Balsamic Reduction.  Yes, please.

 

[caption id="attachment_3182" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ingredients Chocolate and Veggie Spring Rolls Ingredients Chocolate and Veggie Spring Rolls[/caption]

 

I began chopping and dicing.  Notice the small pieces of cacao that will later be wrapped into the spring rolls!  YUM!

 

[caption id="attachment_3183" align="alignnone" width="640"]Ingredients in Bowl Ingredients in Bowl[/caption]

 

Time to toast the sesame seeds!

 

[caption id="attachment_3184" align="alignnone" width="640"]Toasting Sesame Seeds Toasting Sesame Seeds[/caption]

 

Next, the chocolate balsamic reduction.  It was easier to make than I thought!  Once the ingredients were on the stove, I just had to be patient to wait for the mixture to thicken.

 

[caption id="attachment_3185" align="alignnone" width="640"]Chocolate Balsamic Reduction Chocolate Balsamic Reduction[/caption]

 

And what spring roll would be complete without a rice wrapper?  Traditional Vietnamese wrappers are a versatile and easy way to wrap up delicious fillings–simply soak them in water for about 10 seconds and you are ready to wrap!

 

[caption id="attachment_3186" align="alignnone" width="640"]Rice Paper Rice Paper[/caption]

 

Once the I mixed up the filling, I was ready!

 

[caption id="attachment_3187" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spring Roll Ingredients Mixed Together Spring Roll Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]

 

I admit that I am not the best at wrapping up spring rolls.  But the good news is that they tasted delicious.  They were fresh and light thanks to all of the fresh veggies and the cacao within the wraps coupled with the chocolate reduction ensured that every bite had the sweet hint of chocolate.  I can’t wait to make these again!

 

[caption id="attachment_3188" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Spring Rolls with Chocolate Balsamic Reduction Vegan Spring Rolls with Chocolate Balsamic Reduction[/caption]

Gina Sample, creator of the Vegan Lab, teaches a variety of classes around the county and focuses particularly on plant based nutrition for athletes.  If you have a chance to take one of her classes, I highly recommend it!

The Art Institute, home to the impressive kitchen seen in the pictures, offers a wide array of cooking classes.  Not all classes are vegan, but it’s nice they have some options!

Chocolate and Mango Veggie Spring Rolls
 
Ingredients
  • FILLING:
  • 1 carrot, julienne
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • ½ red pepper, julienne
  • ½ cucumber, julienne
  • ½ cup fresh mango, sliced
  • ⅓ cup shaved unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thai basil, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, minced
  • 1 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • ½ teaspoon lime zest
  • ¼ teaspoon chile flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 16 rice paper wrappers
  • CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC REDUCTION:
  • 1 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 to 2 ounces Bittersweet or unsweetened chocolate, grated
Instructions
  1. FILLING:
  2. In a large bow, mix together all ingredients, except salt, pepper, and spring roll wrappers
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste
  4. Dip rice paper sheets into warm water so they soften and become pliable
  5. Place rice paper sheets on a paper towel and then arrange fillings in the middle
  6. Fold over the two ends, then wrap it up like a burrito, making it as tight as possible
  7. Serve with Chocolate Balsamic Reduction
  8. CHOCOLATE BALSAMIC REDUCTION:
  9. Heat the balsamic vinegar in a small pot until it begins to boil
  10. Reduce to a simmer and stir periodically
  11. When about ¼ of the liquid has evaporated, add the grated chocolate slowly over the next few minutes, stirring throughout
  12. When the liquid has been reduced by half, the reduction is complete

 

We made so many delicious recipes in class, I couldn’t help but also share this Smokey Black Bean Chocolate Chili!  Check out the recipe below!

 

[caption id="attachment_3189" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Smokey Black Bean Chocolate Chili Vegan Smokey Black Bean Chocolate Chili[/caption]

 

Smokey Black Bean Chocolate Chili
 
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1-2 chipotle pepers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 2, 15 ounce cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup corn (fresh or frozen)
  • ⅓ cup cacao powder (or 2-4 oz. dark chocolate, chopped), or to taste
  • agave nectar or sweetener of choice, to taste
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
  • salt and peper, to taste
Instructions
  1. heat oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat. add onion and garlic, and cook for 405 minutes, until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally. add in chili powder and cumin cook for an additional 3 minutes until fragrant.
  2. add in the tomatoes, broth, vinegar, tamari, bell peppers, and carrots. bring to a boil. then reduce heat to medium-low and cover, leaving the lid slightly ajar. simmer for about 10 minutes or until carrots are soft but firm
  3. add beans, corn, cacao, agave nectar, cilantro, and the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (add a teaspoon at a time until it reaches your desired taste.) season with salt and pepper, and add an additional ½ cup or more of broth, if needed. then return to heat for a final 10 minutes or until beans and corn are heated through.
  4. serve with crushed cacao nibs, minced scallions, and diced avocado

 

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Coconut and Chocolate Cake from My Vegan Baking Class! http://www.thefussyfork.com/coconut-and-chocolate-cake-from-my-vegan-baking-class/ http://www.thefussyfork.com/coconut-and-chocolate-cake-from-my-vegan-baking-class/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:55:23 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3128 I love vegan cooking classes.  I always come away with recipes and a renewed enthusiasm for vegan food.   To say that my baby has been occupying my time recently […]

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I love vegan cooking classes.  I always come away with recipes and a renewed enthusiasm for vegan food.   To say that my baby has been occupying my time recently would be an understatement, because I realized I had not attended a cooking class in over  year!  Then last week, I was on Facebook and saw a post about an upcoming vegan cake class with Liz Gary (she teaches wonderful vegan cooking classes!).  My husband said he would be on baby duty, so I giddily drove myself over to the Art Institute for the class a few days later.

 

The kitchen was spacious and stocked with anything a baker might need — bowls, pans, trays, ovens, sinks etc…  Liz also had set up four cake stations (we would be making coconut, chocolate, carrot, and vanilla cakes) with recipes, mixers, spoons, whisks, and ingredients.  In short, it was a baker’s paradise.

 

[caption id="attachment_3148" align="alignnone" width="536"]Art Institute Kitchen Art Institute Kitchen[/caption]

 

Vegan Coconut Cake:

 

I decided to help make the coconut cake.  This coconut cake is serious about coconut.  It’s base is made from coconut batter batter that then has shredded coconut mixed into it.  The cake is topped with coconut icing and sprinkled with toasted coconut!!

First we added the dry ingredients to a bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_3130" align="alignnone" width="640"]Dry Ingredients Dry Ingredients[/caption]

 

In a separate bowl, we mixed the soy milk and the apple cider vinegar.  The apple cider vinegar curdles the soy milk, making a sort of vegan buttermilk!

 

[caption id="attachment_3131" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Buttermilk Vegan Buttermilk[/caption]

 

We then slowly added the dry ingredients to the buttermilk mixture and mixed in the shredded coconut.

 

[caption id="attachment_3132" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mixing in Shredded Coconut Mixing in Shredded Coconut[/caption]

 

Pour the batter (half and half) into the two pans.  Please note that the recipe below for this cake is for one 8 inch round cake.  If you want to make a double layer cake like we did in class, you will need to double the recipe.

While the cakes begin to bake in the oven, it’s time to start on the icing!

 

[caption id="attachment_3133" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Cake Batter in Pans Vegan Cake Batter in Pans[/caption]

 

Vegan Coconut Icing:

 

Place the powdered sugar, non-hydrogenated shortening, and vegan butter together in a bowl.

 

[caption id="attachment_3134" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Icing Ingredients Vegan Icing Ingredients[/caption]

 

After we mixed our icing together and added in the coconut extract, we decided to add a few tablespoons of almond milk to thin it out a little.  And because the kitchen was getting hot with cakes baking, we stored the icing in the fridge!

 

[caption id="attachment_3136" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Icing Vegan Icing[/caption]

 

Coconut Topping:

 

Up next, was the toasted coconut topping — a simple mix of shredded coconut and powdered sugar.  After a few minutes in the oven, the coconut was toasted and smelled delicious.  It’s definitely worth sneaking a taste of this on its own!

 

[caption id="attachment_3138" align="alignnone" width="640"]Toasted Shredded Coconut Toasted Shredded Coconut[/caption]

 

Preparing the Cake:

 

Once the cake cooked and cooled (well it had sort of cooled…more on that later), it’s important to make the tops of the cakes level, so you can stack them.

 

[caption id="attachment_3139" align="alignnone" width="640"]Leveling the Cake Leveling the Cake[/caption]

 

It was then icing time.  Liz had an excellent tip: put some icing on the cake stand before placing the cake on the surface.  The icing will act as an anchor, so the cakes won’t move while they are being iced.

 

[caption id="attachment_3140" align="alignnone" width="640"]Icing the Cake Icing the Cake[/caption]

 

As you can probably tell from the below picture, we did not have time to let our cake fully cool before icing it.  The coconut cake (I think because of the shredded coconut), is a fairly dense cake.  So if you are making this cake, remember to allow plenty of time for it to cool!

 

[caption id="attachment_3141" align="alignnone" width="640"]Fully Iced Cake Fully Iced Cake[/caption]

 

We then added the toasted coconut to the sides of the cake.  We also borrowed some raspberry topping (from another cake recipe) to play around with marbling.  And although we did not achieve professional results, that’s why classes are fun.  There are new techniques to try and no pressure to master them!

 

[caption id="attachment_3142" align="alignnone" width="640"]Final Vegan Coconut Cake Final Vegan Coconut Cake[/caption]

 

Another bonus of the class?  Everyone got to take a piece of each cake home!

More Information About the Class:

 

If you think the cake class sounds fun, Liz is teaching it again on August 15.  The class is held at the Art Institute in Mission Valley and put on by their GetCreative program (the section that offers fun one time classes.)  Check out the Art Institute’s website for more information.  There are also a few other vegan offerings — think cacao as a superfood — on the list that look interesting.  Finally, there is currently a Groupon you can use for the baking class!!

 

Vegan Coconut Cake
 
Ingredients
  • CAKE (for ONE 8 inch round cake):
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cane sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar
  • 1 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.75 cups shredded coconut

  • ICING:
  • 1 cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 4 cups organic powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon coconut extract
  • 3-5 tablespoons almond or rice milk
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. COCONUT CAKE
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  3. Lightly grease and flour baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  4. Combine soy milk and vinegar in a mixing bowl. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes until curdled.
  5. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a separate mixing bowl and stir until blended.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and the coconut oil to the milk mixture.
  7. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the milk mixture until blended.
  8. Stir in the shredded coconut.
  9. Transfer batter to baking pans.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes
  11. Store in airtight container in refrigerator for up to three days.

  12. ICING:
  13. Place vegetable shortening in a medium bowl and beat until smooth.
  14. Slowly add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and coconut extract.
  15. Add the milk substitute one tablespoon at a time until the frosting becomes thick and stiff peaks form. Beat on high for two minutes or until light and fluffy.

 

Vegan Chocolate Cake and Icing:

 

And because I love vegan desserts, I wanted to share a second vegan cake recipe from the class — the chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  Truly decadent.

 

[caption id="attachment_3143" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Chocolate Cake Vegan Chocolate Cake[/caption]

 

Bonus Vegan Chocolate Cake Recipe
 
Ingredients
  • CAKE (for ONE 8 inch round cake):
  • 2.5 cups pastry flour
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cup warm milk (soy, almond, or coconut are all fine!)
  • 1.5 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ⅔ cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ICING:
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • ½ cup non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons soy, almond, or coconut milk
Instructions
  1. CAKE:
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour two 8 inch baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  3. Combine warm milk and apple cider vinegar in bowl and let sit until curdled.
  4. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and sea salt in separate bowl, and stir until blended.
  5. Add the melted coconut oil and vanilla to the milk mixture.
  6. Slowly add dry ingredients to the milk mixture and blend for 1-2 minutes or until well blended.
  7. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  8. Store in airtight container for up to three days in a cool, dry place.

  9. ICING:
  10. Combine sugar, cocoa powder, butter substitute, shortening, and vanilla in mixing bowl.
  11. Mix ingredients gradually, adding in 1 tablespoon of vegan milk at a time until icing begins to hold stiff peaks with a smooth consistency.

 

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Civico 1845: Vegan Friendly http://www.thefussyfork.com/civico-1845-vegan-friendly/ http://www.thefussyfork.com/civico-1845-vegan-friendly/#comments Tue, 23 Jun 2015 16:42:20 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3106   LITTLE ITALY.  I can’t remember the last time I ate at an Italian restaurant.  In general, Italian food just doesn’t invite vegan modifications — there are too many cream sauces, […]

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Civico 1845 Sign Civico 1845 Sign[/caption]

 

LITTLE ITALY.  I can’t remember the last time I ate at an Italian restaurant.  In general, Italian food just doesn’t invite vegan modifications — there are too many cream sauces, meats, and cheeses to contend with.  So when I heard that there was an Italian restaurant offering not just one vegan option, but an entire vegan menu, imagine my surprise.

 

We arrived and decided to start with the Mushroom “Calamari” — breaded and fried Oyster mushrooms accompanied by a side of Arrabbiata sauce.  The lightly fried exterior provided the perfect crunch and protected the delicate flavor of a quality mushroom.  And dipping these mushrooms into the (clearly) homemade tomato-based sauce was a treat.  Suffice it to say there were only crumbs left on our plate.

 

[caption id="attachment_3108" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Mushroom "Calamari" Vegan Mushroom “Calamari”[/caption]

 

Next up was the Pesto Gnocchi, a plate brilliant in its simplicity.  Potato gnocchi topped with basil pesto.  I love the vibrant green of this entree.  The pesto sauce was refreshingly light, as the fresh taste of basil played the lead role and showcased the quality of the ingredients.  I also enjoyed a subtle twist on the gnocchi.  Instead of the usual rounded, pinched gnocchi, this dish featured smooth, quadratic pillows.  Delightful.  Each pillow is to be savored.

 

[caption id="attachment_3125" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Pesto Gnocchi Vegan Pesto Gnocchi[/caption]

 

I was also very excited to sample the vegan lasagna.  It boasts seitan ragout and vegan incarnations of bechamel, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.  Each ingredient shines brightly.  The seitan ragout is delicate, the bechamel sauce creamy, and the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses provide the nostalgia (for those of who grew up on the dairy versions).  In short, it was the best vegan lasagna I’ve ever had.  And this is very hard for me to say–as I truly love the vegan lasagna created by Angela Liddon at Oh She Glows.

 

[caption id="attachment_3109" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Lasagna Vegan Lasagna[/caption]

 

I love the interior of 1845 Civico.  It feels clean, fresh, and unique.  I particularly liked the wall showcasing various culinary instruments.

 

[caption id="attachment_3111" align="alignnone" width="640"]Civico 1845 Interior Civico 1845 Interior[/caption]

 

I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy my lunch outside on the patio.  It is the perfect place to enjoy a relaxing meal.

 

[caption id="attachment_3113" align="alignnone" width="541"]Civico 1845 Outdoor Patio Civico 1845 Outdoor Patio[/caption]

 

Finally, and importantly, the staff at 1845 Civico are impressive.  Our waiter was from Naples, and the owners (including the chef) are Italian, as well.  Each individual was passionate about the restaurant, the food, and making the experience as meaningful as possible.  Raise a glass!

If you are still reading this post, I will end with the biggest surprise.  The chef is vegan.  As a result, the vegan menu will be dynamic, always changing.  I expect this will be a fun ride.

 

1845 India Street

San Diego, CA 92101

619.431.5990

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Love Myself Organics Deodorant http://www.thefussyfork.com/love-myself-organics-deodorant/ http://www.thefussyfork.com/love-myself-organics-deodorant/#comments Sun, 17 May 2015 15:13:38 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3083 Chemicals and Cosmetics:   Did you know the average American woman uses 12 different health and beauty products before walking out of the house each day? And that cosmetics aren’t […]

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Chemicals and Cosmetics:

 

Did you know the average American woman uses 12 different health and beauty products before walking out of the house each day? And that cosmetics aren’t subject to the same level of scrutiny by the FDA as food and pharmaceuticals?  I encourage everyone to look at the ingredient list on their cosmetics.  Do you recognize the ingredients?  If not, do a Google search!  What are you putting on your body?  If you want an interesting starting point, check out this Bloomberg article listing the 10 Most Toxic Cosmetics as ranked by the Environmental Working Group.

 

I believe products we put on our skin and hair are just as important as the food we put in our body.  To this end, I have tried and enjoyed a number of natural shampoos, conditioners, and lotions.  Finding a natural deodorant that actually works, however, has eluded me.  Over the years, I’ve purchased several different brands of deodorants only to realize, each time, that . . . well . . . they did not work.  And so I continued to use the commercial deodorant, literally cringing as I put it on in the morning.  (Is aluminum a necessary ingredient?  Really?)

 

Love Myself Organics Deodorants:

 

Fast forward to me having a baby and going to a baby-and-mom workout class called Stroller Strides (which, as a side note, I highly recommend!).  At the end of a class, someone from Love Myself Organics talked a little bit about their natural deodorants and had everyone fill out raffle tickets to win a Love Myself Organics Natural Deodorant.  I have to say that I was not being the best listener as sleep deprivation and a 6 week old were wearing me out.  But as luck would have it, I won the deodorant!

 

[caption id="attachment_3091" align="alignnone" width="640"]Love Myself Organics Unscented Deodorant Love Myself Organics Unscented Deodorant[/caption]

 

At home, I looked at the ingredients: organic coconut oil, cocoa butter, arrowroot powder, baking soda, vegan candelilla wax, and essential oils.  I liked the short ingredient list and that the deodorant is organic, free from GMO’s, gluten-free, vegan, and cruelty free.  (And no aluminum, clearly.)  I decided to try it the next day.

 

[caption id="attachment_3086" align="alignnone" width="640"]Love Myself Organics Deodorant Ingredients Love Myself Organics Deodorant Ingredients[/caption]

 

The next morning, I put it on with a strong sense of skepticism.  A typical whirlwind day ensued.  (Typical new mom travails, nothing worthy of detail.)  It wasn’t until that night that I remembered to check in on how I smelled.  Pleasant surprise (shock, actually)–I was still smelling fresh!   I  am officially converted.  I have thrown out my commercial deodorant and won’t be experimenting with anymore natural brands.

 

The only decision I have left to make is what Love Myself Organics scent I like the best!

(1) Naked

I have been using the “Naked” deodorant and love it.  It has a pleasant coconut smell.

(2) Forever

I have recently been putting the “Forever” lavender scent into the rotation.  The smell is soothing and not overpowering.  I think it will provide me with a fun alternative when I feel like something different.

(3) Longtime

The final option is the Longtime Sandalwood scent.  This scent is earthier.  I find myself gravitating towards the other two Love Myself Organics scents, but I think it’s a matter of personal preference!

 

If you want to learn more about Love Myself Organics or their products, make sure to check out their website!

 

[caption id="attachment_3087" align="alignnone" width="640"]Love Myself Organics Deodorants Love Myself Organics Deodorants[/caption]

 

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Quick and Easy Vegan Guacamole http://www.thefussyfork.com/quick-and-easy-vegan-guacamole/ Tue, 05 May 2015 19:26:05 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3073 Growing up in Maryland, I did not encounter avocados very often.  In fact, I barely remember the food registering on my culinary radar.  Then I arrived in California.  Restaurant menus […]

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Growing up in Maryland, I did not encounter avocados very often.  In fact, I barely remember the food registering on my culinary radar.  Then I arrived in California.  Restaurant menus asked me if I wanted avocado added to salads and veggie burgers.  Farmers markets boasted multiples brands of avocados (who knew there such thing as a Bacon avocado?!?!).  Grocery stores devoted large spaces to display the green, bumpy skinned fruit.  I began to make up for lost time.  I greedily added avocado to all of my entrees and purchased more avocados than I could eat.  There was no such thing as over-doing it.

I was flipping through the Cafe Gratitude cookbook one day (one of my favorites!) and landed on a guacamole recipe.  I realized that I had never actually made guacamole.  It seemed like a grave oversight that needed to be remedied immediately.  The recipe was simple — one I could make in less than 10 minutes.

Since that day, I have mashed avocados, chopped cilantro, squeezed lemon, chopped jalapeno peppers, and pinched salt countless times to make this guacamole.

 

[caption id="attachment_3075" align="alignnone" width="640"]Mashed Avocado Mashed Avocado[/caption]

 

Guacamole is as versatile as it is tasty.  It is perfect for a dinner party appetizer or to bring as a beach day snack.  I throw it on wraps, scoop it up with chips, and have been known to eat it straight out of the bowl with a spoon!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!

 

[caption id="attachment_3074" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Guacamole Vegan Guacamole[/caption]

Quick and Easy Vegan Guacamole
 
Ingredients
  • 3 large avocados
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon chopped jalapeno
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅕ tablespoons lime or lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Mash avocados using mortar and pestle (or other mashing device!)
  2. Chop cilantro and jalapeno and add to mixture
  3. Add salt and lime or lemon juice
  4. Mix together
  5. Enjoy immediately or store in sealed container in refrigerator

 

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Cucina Urbana: Vegan Friendly http://www.thefussyfork.com/cucina-urbana-vegan-friendly/ http://www.thefussyfork.com/cucina-urbana-vegan-friendly/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 03:24:40 +0000 http://www.thefussyfork.com/?p=3044   BANKER’S HILL.  Each year I get excited about San Diego restaurant week, scouring the menus in search of vegan options.  And each year, I’m disappointed.  This time around, however, someone […]

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Cucina Urbana Sign[/caption]

 

BANKER’S HILL.  Each year I get excited about San Diego restaurant week, scouring the menus in search of vegan options.  And each year, I’m disappointed.  This time around, however, someone suggested that I contact Cucina Urbana.  And I am so happy that I did.  I called and spoke with Alison, who after checking with the restaurant’s chefs, let me know they would be happy to accommodate vegan diners.  Hooray!!

We arrived hungry and excited.  The first appetizer included Brussels sprouts with house made hot sauce.  When done poorly, Brussels sprouts can drag a meal down.  When done well, however, my husband and I will often battle for the last sprout.  That’s what happened here.  Cucina Urbana’s delectable sprouts were lightly covered with oil, slightly crispy on the outside, and the hot sauce offered a fun twist.

 

[caption id="attachment_3045" align="alignnone" width="640"]Brussels Sprouts with Hot Sauce Brussels Sprouts with Hot Sauce[/caption]

 

Our other appetizer was sweet pea hummus served with crispy pita and chili.  The sweet peas gave the hummus a vibrant green color, and the slightly salty pancetta was the perfect delivery device–not too heavy, leaving room for the entrees to come.

 

[caption id="attachment_3049" align="alignnone" width="640"]Edamame Hummus and Pita Edamame Hummus and Pita[/caption]

 

And what would an Italian experience be without pizza?  Cucina Urbana’s chefs whipped up a vegan pizza fresh from their brick oven.  There’s no reason to miss the cheese with this dazzling array of roasted veggies and home made tomato sauce.  The mushrooms were a highlight, the type one might find at the Farmer’s Market.

 

[caption id="attachment_3046" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Veggie Pizza Vegan Veggie Pizza[/caption]

 

The other entree was pasta with olives, vegetables and a delicious house made tomato sauce.  This dish demonstrates how simple dishes, when executed well, can stand out.  There is really no way to describe how the pasta melted in my mouth or how delicious the sauce tastes.  It makes you want to take small bites, so as to prolong the good times.

 

[caption id="attachment_3047" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Veggie Pasta Vegan Veggie Pasta[/caption]

 

Finally, for dessert we enjoyed a home made kiwi sorbet served with blueberry compote.  I’m not always a big fan of sorbet.  It is often the default offering for those who don’t know what else to serve vegans for dessert.  But again, Cucina Urbana exceeds expectations.  The kiwi flavor of the sorbet was fun and fresh, but it was the rich blueberry compote that tickled the taste buds.

 

[caption id="attachment_3048" align="alignnone" width="640"]Kiwi Sorbet with Blueberry Compote Kiwi Sorbet with Blueberry Compote[/caption]

 

I love the interior of Cucina Urbana with its high ceilings and dramatic lighting.  My dining experience at Cucina Urbana was one of my favorite dinners in a long while.  Thank goodness for restaurant week and special occasions!

If you do want to visit Cucina Urbana, it’s easy to make reservations through OpenTable.  You can even note special dietary requests (like “I’m vegan!”) under the “add a special request” section.

 

[caption id="attachment_3051" align="alignnone" width="640"]Cucina Urbana Interior Cucina Urbana Interior[/caption]

 

505 Laurel Street

San Diego, CA 92101

619.239.2222

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