A Search for Great Vegan Food in San Diego

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Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake

I’ve been having a real sweet tooth lately.  Maybe that’s what happens when you’re 5 months pregnant? I have been trying to at least divert my cravings to things that are somewhat healthy.  When my latest desire hit, I went to what has quickly become my favorite dessert cookbook: BabyCakes: Vegan, (Mostly) Gluten-Free, and (Mostly) Sugar-Free Recipes from New York’s Most Talked-About Bakery.  Normally, I’m a chocolate person.  However, there was something about the lemon/poppy seed combination that made me want to try it out.  And I am GLAD I did!!  I will be making this lemon poppy seed cake soon 🙂


[caption id="attachment_2667" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Loaves of Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Baked Loaves of Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread[/caption]


First, it’s time to round up the Lemon Poppy Seed Cake ingredients.


[caption id="attachment_2661" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Ingredients[/caption]


Place the rice milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seeds in a bowl without stirring, and set the bowl aside.


[caption id="attachment_2662" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients[/caption]


Measure out and mix together the lemon poppy seed cake dry ingredients — the gluten-free flour, brown rice flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.


[caption id="attachment_2663" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients[/caption]


Then it’s time to add the wet ingredients — coconut oil, agave nectar, apple sauce, vanilla extract, lemon extract, and lemon peel.


[caption id="attachment_2664" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Wet Ingredients[/caption]


Finally, add in the poppy seed mixture and combine.


[caption id="attachment_2665" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients Mixed Together Lemon Poppy Seed Wet Ingredients Mixed Together[/caption]


Grease the loaf pan (I decided to make mini loafs!) with coconut oil, and pour the batter in.  My batter was runnier than other loaf and cake batter I have made in the past.  But don’t worry!


[caption id="attachment_2666" align="alignnone" width="640"]Lemon Poppy Seed Batter in MIni Loaf Pan Lemon Poppy Seed Batter in MIni Loaf Pan[/caption]


My mini lemon poppy seed cake loaves turned out very well — they were super moist and a delightful contrast of sweet and tangy flavors.


[caption id="attachment_2668" align="alignnone" width="640"]Baked Lemon Poppy Seed Loaves in Pan Baked Lemon Poppy Seed Loaves in Pan[/caption]


I will for sure be making this lemon poppy seed cake again soon!!


[caption id="attachment_2671" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Bread[/caption]

Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Cake
  • ⅔ cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup poppy seeds
  • ¾ cup gluten-free flour (I use Bob's Red Mill)
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup coconut oil, plus extra to grease loaf pan
  • ¾ cup agave nectar
  • ⅓ cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • t tablespoons lemon extract
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Put rice milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seeds in bowl. Do NOT stir and set aside
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the gluten-free flour, the brown rice flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt
  4. Then add the coconut oil, agave nectar, applesauce, vanilla, lemon extract, lemon zest, and mix together.
  5. Stir in the rice milk, apple cider vinegar, and poppy seed mixture.
  6. Grease loaf pan with coconut oil.
  7. Pour batter into loaf pan and cook for 35 minutes. Rotate pan in oven 180 degrees after 18 minutes.
  8. Allow cake to cool for at least 20 minutes. Then use a knife to run around the edge of the loaf. Gently flip the loaf pan upside down and allow loaf to fall out into your hand. Place on a plate.
  9. Serve immediately or wait until completely cool to store in airtight container.


Stonewall’s Vegan Jerquee

Vegan Jerky?!


If you’re vegan, you probably thought your jerky days were behind you.  Or if you’re like me, you didn’t really eat jerky even when you did eat meat!  I do, however, like to try new things, so when Stonewall’s Jerquee offered to send me some samples, I was intrigued!

Stonewall’s Vegan Jerquee makes 9 varieties of vegetarian jerky, 8 of which are vegan (the BBQ Beef flavor has honey in it)!


[caption id="attachment_2580" align="alignnone" width="640"]4 Types of Stonewall's Vegan Jerquee 4 Types of Stonewall’s Vegan Jerquee[/caption]


What is Stonewall’s Vegan Jerquee?


Stonewall’s Jerquee uses 100% non-GMO soy as a base for their jerky.  Another perk of eating vegan jerky?  You don’t have to worry about growth hormones or antibiotics often present in animal based jerky.  Oh, and many of the flavors are also gluten-free!


[caption id="attachment_2581" align="alignnone" width="640"]4 More Types of Stonewall's Vegan Jerquee 4 More Types of Stonewall’s Vegan Jerquee[/caption]


I opened up the Original Mild flavor first, figuring I’d start with the basics.  The jerky comes in bite sized pieces that are chewy with a spicy and smokey flavor.  And it turns out that my 1.5 ounce bag contained 14 grams of protein!  The package also suggests putting the jerky in the microwave if you want a hot snack.  I don’t have a microwave, but I bet they would be good warm!


[caption id="attachment_2578" align="alignnone" width="466"]Original Mild Vegan Jerquee Original Mild Vegan Jerquee[/caption]


Of course, Stonewalls Vegan Jerquee doesn’t limit itself to “beef” jerky.  They also have varieties of “chicken” and “pepperoni.”  I liked the complex flavor in the Tandoori Chicken.  However, my favorite turned out to be the “Peppy Pepperoni” flavor.  Perhaps, this wasn’t a big surprise since I was a huge fan of pepperoni pizza before going vegan.


[caption id="attachment_2572" align="alignnone" width="640"]Spicy Chicken and Peppy Pepperoni Jerquee Spicy Chicken and Peppy Pepperoni Jerquee[/caption]


It turns out, I should have given vegan jerky a chance a long time a go.  With great flavor and a ton of protein, I’m going to be adding Stonewall’s Jerquee into my snack rotation!


[caption id="attachment_2571" align="alignnone" width="640"]Stonewall Vegan Jerquee Stonewall Vegan Jerquee[/caption]


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Pure Bar

Big ideas can come from unexpected places.  One day, Veronica Bosgraaf’s six-year old daughter, Anna, visited a petting zoo and decided she wanted to be a vegetarian.  Ms. Bosgraaf perused the grocery store for healthy, vegetarian snacks and was disappointed by the offerings.  So, she decided to make her own.  Ms. Bosgraaf began making bars out of ingredients like nuts, fruit, and brown rice protein.  The bars were well received both by her family and the community, and Pure Organic Bars were born.

It’s not hard to see why Pure Organic Bars quickly fly off of supermarket shelves.  The bars are certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO verified, and with flavors like Wild Blueberry, Cherry Cashew, and Chocolate Brownie, there is bar everyone is sure to love!  Most recently, Pure Bar debuted two new flavors: (1) Peanut Butter Chocolate and (2) Cashew Coconut.


[caption id="attachment_2266" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pure Bars Pure Bars[/caption]


Pure Bar: Peanut Butter Chocolate


The Peanut Butter Chocolate bar is part of Pure Bar’s Ancient Grain’s line (it’s made with a base of quinoa, amaranth, flax seeds, and hemp).  With a delicious peanut butter and chocolatey crunch and just 160 calories and 5 grams of protein, there’s no need to feel guilty after eating one!


[caption id="attachment_2267" align="alignnone" width="640"]Peanut Butter Chocolate Pure Bar Peanut Butter Chocolate Pure Bar[/caption]


Pure Bar: Cashew Coconut


Pure Bar found a unique plant protein source, the Sacha Inchi seed, when creating the Cashew Coconut flavor.  The Sacha Inchi seed is full of omega-3’s, protein, and fiber and was first cultivated by the Incas in Peru over 3,000 years a go.   The seed is thought to have a wide range of health benefits which  include promoting brain and bone health, easing joint pain, preventing premature aging,  improving vision and eye health, encouraging healthy skin and hair, and curbing free radical damage.  That’s a lot for one seed!  Click here to learn more about Sacha Inchi seed!

Bite into this bar and enjoy the creamy, smooth coconut taste.  The bar clocks in at 190 calories with 5 grams of protein.  A great, healthy, on-the-go snack!


[caption id="attachment_2268" align="alignnone" width="559"]Coconut Pure Bar Coconut Pure Bar[/caption]


To learn more about Pure Bar and their other great products (fruit and veggie strips anyone?), check out their website!


Vegan Granola: Part One (of Two)

Autumn in San Diego is somewhat misleading.  The sunshine feels more intense, because the marine layer is strangely absent.  The wind can feel warm, because the Santa Ana’s are blowing.  And the leaves don’t turn red and gold, because palm trees play by their own rules.  But I don’t care.  Fall is fall, and one of my favorite fall dishes is homemade vegan granola.


[caption id="attachment_1093" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Falling Out of Mason Jar Vegan Granola Falling Out of Mason Jar[/caption]


Granola’s sweet taste, crunchy texture, and versatile flavors make it a food for anytime during the day.  I love it as a snack on the run, or a peaceful breakfast at the kitchen table with a newspaper (ok, fine, it’s an US Weekly).  And this recipe goes well with the hemp milk recipe that I posted last week!


[caption id="attachment_1094" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Cluster Vegan Granola in Hemp Milk[/caption]


Angela Liddon writes an amazing vegan recipe blog called Oh She Glows.  I followed the recipe for her granola as follows:


If you have never made granola, don’t be intimidated.  It’s a forgiving recipe.  It will still taste good even if you add an extra handful of coconut or almonds!

The dry ingredients act as the base.


[caption id="attachment_1095" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Dry Ingredients Vegan Granola Dry Ingredients[/caption]


But you can throw in additional nuts, seeds, or dried fruit – whatever you are in the mood for.  Ms. Liddon suggests dried cranberries, raisins, and pumpkin seeds.  I don’t like raisins, so I ramped up on dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds!


[caption id="attachment_1097" align="alignnone" width="640"]Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Cranberries Pumpkin Seeds and Dried Cranberries[/caption]


I rounded up all of the wet ingredients…


[caption id="attachment_1096" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Wet Ingredients Granola Wet Ingredients[/caption]


And heated the wet ingredients, stirring until they combined.


[caption id="attachment_1102" align="alignnone" width="640"]Granola Wet Ingredients on Stove Granola Wet Ingredients on Stove[/caption]


I combined the wet and dry ingredients and mixed them together.


[caption id="attachment_1098" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola Mix Vegan Granola Mix[/caption]


Finally, I spread the mixture on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper or tin foil.  Your work is almost done!  The granola is then baked in the oven at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes.


[caption id="attachment_1099" align="alignnone" width="640"]Vegan Granola on Cookie Sheet Vegan Granola on Cookie Sheet[/caption]


As the granola begins to bake, your home will smell amazing.  (It’s worth taking a short walk outside, so you can enjoy the effect, upon reentry, at full force.)  To make sure that it bakes evenly, take the tray out of the oven every 15 minutes and stir it.  When the granola is done, let it cool.   Then break it up into pieces and store in an airtight container.


[caption id="attachment_1091" align="alignnone" width="517"]Vegan Granola in Mason Jar Vegan Granola in Mason Jar [/caption]


Hungry for more granola?  Me too!  Check back soon for “part two” – another vegan recipe, but VERY different!!


Vegan Granola: Part One (of Two)
Serves: 6 cups
  • 2.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw walnuts, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup raw sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup raw sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground flax
  • 2 tbsp sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 3-4 tbsp brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • ⅓ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup dried cranberries
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • handful pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients (including any add-ins) into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Place the wet ingredients in a saucepan and bring them to a boil.
  4. Turn down the heat and stir the ingredients until blended.
  5. Combine the dry and wet ingredients.
  6. Spread granola mixture in thin layer on cookie sheet lined with tin foil or parchment paper.
  7. Bake granola at 300 degrees for 45 minutes.
  8. Take the cookie sheet out of oven every 15 minutes to stir the granola mixture to ensure the granola bakes evenly.
  9. Allow granola to cool.
  10. Break granola up into pieces and store in airtight container.